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Title: An Old Story of My Farming Days Vol. I (of III). - (Ut Mine Stromtid)
Author: Reuter, Fritz, 1810-1874
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Old Story of My Farming Days Vol. I (of III). - (Ut Mine Stromtid)" ***

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Transcriber's Notes:

   1. Page scan source:
      http://www.archive.org/details/anoldstorymyfar02reutgoog

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



         _Each volume sold separately at the price of M 1,60_.



                               COLLECTION

                                   OF

                             GERMAN AUTHORS


                           TAUCHNITZ EDITION.


                           *   *   *   *   *


                                VOL. 34.

                    AN OLD STORY OF MY FARMING DAYS.

                            By FRITZ REUTER.

                       IN THREE VOLUMES.--VOL. 1.



                      LEIPZIG: BERNHARD TAUCHNITZ.

            LONDON: SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & COMPANY, LIMITED.
          ST. DUNSTAN'S HOUSE, FETTER LANE, FLEET STREET E.C.

      PARIS: LIBRAIRIE C. REINWALD, 15, RUE DES SAINTS-PÈRES; THE
                 GALIGNANI LIBRARY, 224, RUE DE RIVOLI.


         _This Collection of German Authors may be introduced_
                  _into England or any other country_.



                               COLLECTION

                                   OF

                            GERMAN AUTHORS.

                                VOL. 34.

                           *   *   *   *   *

                              AN OLD STORY
                  OF MY FARMING DAYS BY FRITZ REUTER.

                           IN THREE VOLUMES.
                                VOL. I.



                           TAUCHNITZ EDITION:
                          By the same Author,
                IN THE YEAR '13: . . . . . . . . 1 vol.

                               *   *   *



                              AN OLD STORY

                           OF MY FARMING DAYS

                          _(UT MINE STROMTID)_

                                   BY

                             FRITZ REUTER,
                      AUTHOR OF "IN THE YEAR '13:"

                            FROM THE GERMAN
                                   BY
                            M. W. MACDOWALL.

                           IN THREE VOLUMES.

                                VOL. I.

                         _Authorized Edition_.



                              LEIPZIG 1878
                          BERNHARD TAUCHNITZ.

           LONDON: SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE & RIVINGTON.
                  CROWN BUILDINGS, 188, FLEET STREET.
          PARIS: C. REINWALD & CIE, 15, RUE DES SAINTS PÈRES.



Well, well, it was not always so.--The father of the man who now rides
to town with white reins for his horse, and who drinks his couple of
bottles of champagne, had probably nothing better than small beer with
which to quench his thirst, and had his reins tied together with his
wife's garter. Ah, those were hard times in Mecklenburg when wheat was
sold in barrels on the public road for sixteen pence a bushel, good
measure too, to the labourers to feed their pigs with, and when, as in
Rostock, a whole load of oats was given in exchange for a loaf of
sugar.

Mecklenburg is a beautiful and a rich land, just the kind of country
that delights a farmer, but at the time of which I am speaking there
was great poverty and distress throughout the length and breadth of it,
and the collector knocked at every door, and demanded that the rent
should be paid, and whoever had anything to give, gave his last penny,
and he who had nothing to give was sold up.

Let no one imagine from this that our country-people hobbled about the
land like scare-crows during these hard times, or that one could read
the "Vater-unser" through their sunken cheeks--Nay!--they were as true
Mecklenburgers every bit then as now, only they had to manage
differently. Now-a-days one says: "Butter costs a shilling a pound,
which comes to so much a hundredweight, and if I sell so many
hundredweights of it, I shall be able to buy a glass-coach and four
horses to match from the sale of butter alone."--At that time one said:
"What mother? Butter cost two-pence? Then let's eat it by itself.--What
mother? The butcher offers fifteen shillings for the fat pig? Cut its
throat, mother, and put it in our own salting-tub."--The country-people
were all quite as strong and healthy then as now, and were quite as
well off as regarded food in the third decade of this century as at the
present day, it was the shoemakers' and tailors' bills that were the
difficulty, and as for ready money, they learnt what that really was
when they were called upon to pay their rent.

Yes, things are much improved of late years, and although the priests
say a thousand times that the world is worse than it was, I maintain
that it has grown better.

"Good morning, Mr. bailiff Wilbrandt!"--"Good morning, old friend, come
and have some breakfast"--"Good morning, father Hellwig!"--"Don't
bother me, I'm in a bad humour."--"Why, what's the matter?"--"A great
deal's the matter. My rent has almost doubled itself, and Zirzow has
done its part this year, and so here I am with £3000 that I don't
know how to invest. The Rostock bank won't take in any more money, so
what's to be done? Ah, Wilbrandt, it's a bad world!"--"Yes, it's a bad
world," replied the bailiff; and I also said: "Very bad," without for a
moment remembering the large sum of money I shall have to invest next
term.--"Yes," continued Wilbrandt, "who the devil thought of mortgages
in the old days?"--"True," said father Hellwig, "nobody thought of such
things then. Look you, when I went to old Solomon in Stemhagen[1], and
told him I wanted to borrow some money from him, he said to me:
'Hellwig,' he said, 'you have an honest face, it is marked with
small-pox--but there's no harm in that--you shall have the money.' And
then I had to spend one night in his house, and sleep in the same room
as he did. Now I have a bad habit of smoking myself to sleep, and so I
always take a freshly lit pipe to bed with me, and as Solomon was very
nervous about fire, he kept continually calling to me: 'Hellwig, are
you still smoking?' Ah, those were good old times!"--"Yes," said the
bailiff, "and how we used to rejoice when we had paid off the last
farthing of our small debts! The happiest part of my life passed away
with my last debts. Those were good old times."--"No," said I, "they
were bad old times. You managed to keep afloat in spite of hardships
and difficulties, and therefore you are worthy of all honour and
respect, but many other honest men couldn't do so, try as they
might."--Then Mr. X Y Z, a land-owner in the neighbourhood, came up,
and striking the table so hard with his walking-stick that all the
bottles danced, said: "Those who didn't get the better of their
difficulties weren't worth their salt."--"What," cried the bailiff,
"have you got to say to that?"--Then father Hellwig rose, and looking
at him with his honest old face, said: "You are a young man, and have
inherited your estate from your ancestors. You hav'n't the faintest
idea of the misery of those times.--You know all about it, old friend,"
he added, turning to me, "so tell us about what happened then."--"Yes,"
I answered, "I will tell the story of those old days."



                              AN OLD STORY
                           UT MINE STROMTID.



                               CHAPTER I.


On midsummer-day 1829, a man was seated in an arbour in a desolate
garden, plunged in sad reverie. The land to which the garden belonged
was a leasehold, situated on the river Peen, between Anclam and Demmin,
and the man who was seated in the cool, shady arbour was the tenant
farmer--that is to say; that is what he had been, for he was now
bankrupt, and an auction was going on in his yard, and all his goods
and chattels were being scattered to the four winds.

He was a tall, broad-shouldered man of forty-four years of age, with
hair of a dusky blond colour. All that work can do for a man had been
done for this man, and a better than he could nowhere be found. "Work,"
said his honest face: and "work" said his honest hands, which were now
folded on his knee as if in prayer.

Yes, in prayer! No one in all Pomerania had so much need of a little
talk with his God as this man. ''Tis a hard blow for any one when he
sees the household goods which he has brought together with the labour
of his hands and the sweat of his brow scattered over the wide world.
'Tis a hard blow for a farmer when he is obliged to let the cattle he
has reared with pain and trouble, pass into the hands of strangers, who
know nothing of the struggles that have filled his life; but it was
neither of these things that was lying so heavily on his soul just now,
it was another grievous sorrow that made him fold his hands, and raise
his eyes to heaven.

He had been a widower for one day only. His wife lay upon her last
bed--his wife! For ten long years he had been engaged to her; for ten
years he had toiled and laboured and done all that man could do to
provide a fitting home for her. His deep faithful love for his promised
wife filled his heart with tender music, such as the Whitsun bells ring
out over the green fields and blossoming trees. Four years ago he had
attained the end for which he had striven, had scraped together enough
money to set up house. An acquaintance of his who had inherited two
farms from his parents, let one of them to him at a high rent; a very
high rent; he knew that, none better; but love gives a man courage,
that kind of courage which conquers difficulties. All would have gone
well with him, if his good little wife had not got up so early in the
morning, and worked so hard, and if she had not come to have that
burning red spot on each cheek. All would have gone well with him,
if his landlord, instead of being a mere acquaintance, had been a
friend--and he was not that, for it was because of him that the auction
was going on in the farm-yard to-day.

Friend?--A man like that one who is sitting in the oak arbour can have
no friends? He _had_ true-hearted friends, but they could not help him,
they had nothing to give or lend. Wherever he looked, it seemed to him
as though he were surrounded by a high wall which hemmed him in and
stifled him, and so he cried with all his strength to God to save him
in his sore distress. A linnet and a chaffinch were singing in the
oak-boughs above his head, their feathers shining in the sun, the
flowers in the neglected garden scattered their fragrance all around,
and the oak-trees cast their cool shadow over him. If two lovers had
been sitting there, they would never have forgotten the place and how
it looked all their lives long.

And had _he_ not sat in that shady bower with a gentle hand clasped
within his own? Had not the birds sung as cheerily, and was not the
perfume of the flowers as sweet then as now? Had he not dreamt of
sitting on that very seat in his old age, and while immersed in that
dream of the future--who was it who had brought him a cool draught to
refresh him after his hard day's work? Who was it who had shared the
toil and care of his daily life, and had encouraged him by her
sympathy?

Gone--all gone!--Everything he had was to be sold, and the gentle
loving hand he had held in his own was stiff and cold. Then the man
felt as if the birds no longer sang their glad songs for him, as if the
flowers no longer grew for him in their sweetness and beauty, and as if
the glorious sun no longer shone for him, although his poor overcharged
heart still went on beating as strongly as before; and so he stretched
out his hands beyond birds and flowers, and even the golden sun, to the
divine Comforter, who better than any earthly joy can soothe the
wounded heart.

Hawermann sat thus in silent prayer, his hands clasped, and his brave
blue eyes, in which a wondrous light was shining as though from God's
own sun, raised to heaven, when a little girl came up to him and laid a
daisy on his knee. He drew the child,--she was his only one--closer to
him, and rising, took her in his arms. His eyes were full of tears as
he walked down the garden-path carrying his little girl and holding the
daisy she had given him in his hand.

He came to a young tree that he himself had planted; the straw rope by
which it was fastened to the pronged stick that supported it had become
loose, and the young tree was leaning all on one side. He straightened
it and fastened it again to its prop, scarcely conscious of what he was
doing, for his thoughts were far away, but it was his nature to give
help wherever it was wanted.

When a man is lost in thought, even though that thought may have led
him up to the blue heavens, if any little bit of his daily work should
happen to fall under his notice, he takes up the wonted task
involuntarily, and does what may be required at the moment, and so he
is wakened out of his reverie, and reminded of what is lying close at
hand and ought to be done, and that it is so is a great gift of God.

Hawermann walked up and down the garden, his eyes saw what was round
about him, and his thoughts returned to earth once more. Though the sky
of his future life was heavy with black, stormy clouds, still there was
one little scrap of blue that the clouds could not overcast, and that
was the thought of his little girl whom he was carrying in his arms,
and whose small childish hand was playing with his hair.

He left the garden and entered the farm-yard.--And what was going on
there?--Indifferent strangers were pressing up to the table where the
auctioneer was selling off the farmer's effects, each thinking only of
the bargains he wished to make. One after another all of Hawermann's
possessions were knocked down to the highest bidder. Those things that
he had collected bit by bit with toil and trouble to furnish his house,
were now being scattered abroad amid the jokes and laughter of all
present. Even the old things were going--that cupboard had belonged to
his old mother; that chest of drawers his wife had brought home with
her when she was married; he had given her that little work-table when
he was engaged to her.--His cows were tied in a long line and were
lowing to be taken to the pasture-field. The brown heifer his wife had
reared from a calf, and which had always been her pet, was standing
amongst them. He went up to it, and passed his hand caressingly down
its back. "Sir," said Niemann, the head-ploughman, "this is very
sad."--"Yes, Niemann, it _is_ sad, but it can't be helped," he
answered, turnings away and mingling in the crowd round the
auction-table.

As soon as the people saw that he wanted to get to the table they made
room for him courteously and kindly. He asked the auctioneer if he
might speak to him for a moment: "_Im_mediately, Mr. Hawermann," was
the reply, "in one moment, I've just finished with the household
things, then ...... a chest of drawers! six and two-pence! three-pence!
six and four-pence! going! going!--six and four-pence!--No one else bid
anything?--Going! going! gone!"--"Whose is it?"--"Tailor Brandt's," was
the answer.

Just at this moment some farmers rode into the yard, probably to look
at the cattle which were now about to be sold. Foremost amongst them
was a stout red-faced man, whose fat face was made even broader than it
was by nature, by the insolent expression that it wore. Men of this
species are often to be met with, but what distinguished this man from
the rest of his type were the small cunning eyes that peeped out over
his fat cheeks, and which seemed to say: It's all thanks to _us_ that
you are so well up in the world, _we_ know how to manage. The owner of
these eyes was also the owner of the farm of which Hawermann was
tenant. He rode right in amongst the crowd, and when he saw his unhappy
tenant standing among the other people, he was at once struck with
terror lest he should not get his full rent, and the cunning little
eyes that knew so well how to manage things for their own advantage
said to the insolence that found its home on his mouth and in his
expression: Up brother, now's the time to make yourself as big as
possible, for it'll cost you nothing! Then forcing his horse closer to
Hawermann, he called out in a loud voice so that every one might hear:
"Ha ha! These are the clever Mecklenburgers, who think they can teach
us how to farm properly! And what have they taught us? They've taught
us to drink red wine and cheat at cards, but as for farming!--they can
teach us better how to become bankrupt."

There was deep silence during this hard speech. Everyone looked first
at the speaker, and then at the man whom he had addressed. Hawermann
had started on hearing the voice and the words as though some one had
plunged a knife into his heart, and now he stood gazing silently on the
ground at his feet, not caring to defend himself, but a murmur arose
among the people, and a cry of: "ss--ss--for shame! This man drank no
red wine, he never cheated at cards--and his farming was most
excellent!"--"Who's the great gaby that was talking such nonsense?"
asked old Drenkhahn of Liepen, pressing closer with his heavy
thorn-stick in his hand.--"It's the man whose labourers go about
amongst us begging," cried lame Smidt.--"They hav'n't money to buy
a coat for their backs," cried Brandt, the tailor from Jarmen, "and
have to wear their Sunday clothes when they are working in the
fields."--"Yes," laughed the smith, "it's the man who was so glad to
see his labourers wearing such grand cloth coats when they were at
work, and they only did it because they couldn't afford to buy
smock-frocks, you know!"[2]

The auctioneer came up to the landlord, who was listening to all these
remarks with perfect indifference, and asked him: "How _could_ you say
that, Mr. Pomuchelskopp, how _could_ you?"--"Yes," said one of the men
who had come with him, "these people are right, you should be ashamed
of yourself for having aimed another blow at a man who is selling
everything he has honestly, that he may meet and pay off all his
debts."--"Ah," said the auctioneer, "if that were all. Mr. Hawermann's
wife died yesterday, and is lying upstairs on her last bed, and
so he is left alone in the world with a little girl, and _what_
prospects?"--"I didn't know that," muttered Pomuchelskopp sullenly. The
murmur of disapprobation now spread from the crowd to the landlord's
companions, and in a few moments more, Mr. Pomuchelskopp was left
alone, all the men who had accompanied him having ridden away to the
other side of the yard.

The auctioneer now approached Hawermann and said: "You wanted to speak
to me Mr. Hawermann?"--"Yes--yes," replied the farmer slowly, he seemed
to be coming to himself again like a martyr when he has been removed
from the rack. "I wished to ask you if you will also sell the few
things that remain to me by law, at the auction. I mean the bed and the
other things."--"With pleasure, but the furniture has sold badly, the
people have no money, and if you really want to sell those things, it
would be better to do so by private bargain."--"I haven't time for
that, and I'm badly in want of the money."--"Well if you really wish
it, I'll manage it for you," and then the auctioneer went about his
business again.

"Hawermann," said farmer Grot, who was one of the people that had
come on horseback, "you are so lonely here in your sorrow, do bring
your little girl and come and pay me a visit, my wife will be so
glad...."--"Thank you heartily for your kindness, but I can't accept
your invitation, I have something to do here."--"You mean your dear
wife's funeral, Hawermann," said farmer Hartmann, "when is it to be? We
will all be glad to do her the last honours."--"Thank you, thank you,
but that cannot be, it wouldn't be fitting, and I've just learnt that
one oughtn't to stretch one's foot further than one's own roof will
cover."--"Old friend, dear old neighbour and fellow-countryman," said
Wienk, the farm-bailiff, laying his hand on his shoulder, "don't
despair, things will get better."--"Despair! Wienk," said Hawermann
earnestly, and pressing his child closer in his arms he looked calmly
at the farm-bailiff with his honest blue eyes, and continued: "Is it
despair when one looks one's future full in the face, and tries to find
the best way of getting out of one's difficulties? I can't remain here,
no one could stay in a place where his ship had run aground. I must
live in another man's house. I must begin at the beginning again, and
do as I did before. I must take service once more, and so earn my daily
bread. And now good-bye all of you. You've been kind friends and
neighbours to me. Good-bye--good-bye. Shake hands, Louie. Remember me
to all at home. My wife...."--He was going to have said something more,
but could not get out the words, so he turned quickly and hastened
away.

"Niemann," he said to his head-ploughman whom he met at the other end
of the yard, "tell the rest of my people that my wife's funeral will be
at four o'clock to-morrow morning." Then he entered the house and went
into his bed-room. Everything had been taken away, even his bed and the
few small articles of furniture which had been left to him; nothing
remained but the four bare walls. Except that there was an old chest in
the corner near the window, on which the young wife of one of the
labourers was seated, her eyes red with weeping, and in the middle of
the room was a black coffin in which a pale, still, solemn figure was
lying, and the young woman had a green branch in her hand, with which
she fanned away the flies from the quiet face. "Stina," said Hawermann,
"you may go now, I will remain here."--"Oh, Sir, let me stay."--"No,
Stina, I shall remain here all night."--"Then, shall I take the little
one home with me?"--"No, leave her, she'll go to sleep."--The young
woman left the room. After a time the auctioneer brought Hawermann the
money for his things, and then everyone left the yard, and all was as
still and quiet without as within. He put the child down, and counted
the money on the window sill: "so much for the carpenter for making the
coffin; so much for the cross on the grave; so much for the burial fee;
so much for Stina, and with what remains I can make my way to my
sister's house."--It grew dark, the young woman brought in a candle,
and placed it beside the coffin, and gazed long in the pale face of her
dead mistress, then drying her eyes with her apron, she said: "Good
night," and Hawermann was once more alone with his child.

He opened the window, and looked out into the night; it was dark for
the time of year, no star was to be seen, the sky was covered with
black clouds, and the light breeze that sighed in the distance was warm
and fragrant. The quails were calling in the meadow, and a corncrake
was sounding its rain signal, and the first drops of the coming shower
were falling softly on the thirsty earth, which in its gratitude filled
the air with that sweet smell, known and loved by farmers, the smell of
the earth. How often had he been refreshed in spirit by such weather;
how often had his cares been chased away, and his hope been renewed by
it. Now he was free from those cares, but his joy was gone also--his
_one_ great joy had gone from him, and had taken with it all the
smaller ones as well. He closed the window, and turning round saw his
little daughter standing by the coffin, trying in vain to reach and
stroke the quiet face within. He lifted the child higher so that she
might do so, and the little girl stroked and patted her mother's face:
"Mammy--oh!"--"Yes," said Hawermann, "Mammy's cold," and seating
himself on the chest, he took the child on his knee, and wept bitterly;
seeing this, the little one cried too, till she cried herself to sleep,
so he held her gently in his arms, and drew his coat warmly round her.
He sat there all night long, keeping a true lyke-wake by his wife and
his dead happiness.

Next morning punctually at four o'clock the head-ploughman and the
other men who worked on the farm arrived, the lid of the coffin was
screwed down, and the procession moved off slowly to the little
churchyard. His child and he were the only mourners. The coffin was
lowered into the grave--a silent prayer--a handful of earth--and the
form of her who had encouraged and comforted him for years, of her who
had been his life and his joy, was hidden from his sight, and if ever
he wished to see her, he must live over again in thought the happy old
days when she was still at his side, until the time when the book of
memory will be closed on earth, and then--yes, then, his dear one will
reappear before him, beautiful and glorious.

He went and spoke to his work-people, shook hands with each of them,
and thanked them for the last service they had rendered him, said
good-bye to all, and then, after giving the head-ploughman the money to
pay for the coffin, the cross, and the burial fee, he set out on his
journey into the unknown future.

When he got to the last house in the hamlet, the labourer's young wife
was standing at the door with a child in her arms, he went up to her,
and said: "Stina, you nursed my poor wife faithfully in her last
illness. Here Stina!" and he tried to slip a few shillings into her
hand.--"Sir, Sir," cried the young woman. "Don't! you pain me. What
have you not done for us when you were rich, and now that evil days
have come to you, should we not do our part?--Ah, Sir, I have a favour
to ask of you. Leave your little girl here with me. I will love and
tend her as if she were my own. And is she not as good as mine? Did I
not nurse her when her mother was too weak to do it herself? Let me
have charge of the child!" Hawermann stood buried in thought. "Sir,"
continued the woman, "from what I hear you'll have to part with the
child sooner or later, and--but see, here comes Joseph, he will tell
you the same." The labourer came up, and as soon as he heard what they
were talking about, said: "Yes, Sir, she shall be treated like a
princess. We are strong, and well-to-do in the world, and the kindness
you have shown to us, we will richly repay to her."--"Nay," said
Hawermann, rousing himself, "that will never do, I can't consent to
that. I may be wrong in taking the child with me when my future is so
uncertain, but I've left so much behind me here, that I can't do
without the last that remains to me. No, no, I can't," he exclaimed
turning to go, "my child must remain with me. Goodbye, Stina--good-bye,
Rassow."--"If you won't leave the child with us. Sir," said the
labourer, "at least let me go with you, and carry her for you."--"No,
no," replied Hawermann, "I don't find her at all too heavy." Then the
young woman kissed and fondled his little daughter, and kissed her
again and again, and after he had resumed his journey, both she and her
husband stood for a long, long time looking after him. She, with tears
in her eyes and thinking most of the child; he, gravely and thinking
most of the man.--"Stina," he said, "we shall never have such another
master."--"God knows that," said she, and then they both went away
sorrowfully to their daily work.



                              CHAPTER II.


About forty miles from the place where Hawermann had laid his wife
in her quiet grave, was the farm of which Joseph Nüssler, his
brother-in-law, was tenant. The offices were ill-built, had fallen a
good deal out of repair, and the yard had altogether a very untidy
appearance. There was a large manure-yard here, and a small one there,
and carting and agricultural implements were all mixed up together in
confused masses like people at a fair; the manure-cart said to the
carriage: how did you get here, brother? and the plough asked the
harrow to dance, but music was wanting, for there was dead silence in
the yard. Every one was busy hay-making in the meadow, for the weather
was lovely. No one was looking out of any of the small open windows in
the long, low, thatched farm-house, for it was in the afternoon, and
the cook had finished her kitchen-work, and the housemaid had done with
her sweeping and dusting, and both of them had gone down to the meadow.
Even the farmer's wife, who always kept such order in the house, had
gone there too, rake in hand, for the hay ought to be in cocks before
the evening-dews began to fall.

Still there was life in the house although it was so quiet. In the
sitting-room, to the right of the entrance-hall, where the blue-painted
cupboard stood--the bar as they called it--and the sofa covered with
the black-glazed linen, which was rubbed up with boot-polish every
Saturday till it shone again, and the oak chest with the yellow
mounting, well, in this room sat two little girls of three years old
with round flaxen heads, and round rosy cheeks, playing at making
cheeses in a sand-box with their mother's thimble and two penny jars,
which they filled with the damp sand, and pressed down as hard as they
could, laughing gleefully whenever the lump kept its shape when turned
out.

These children were Lina and Mina Nüssler, and with their rosy cheeks
and yellow hair they looked for all the world like two little round
apples, growing on one stalk. They were twins, and even people who knew
them well, found it impossible to say which was Lina and which Mina,
for their names were not written on their faces, and if their mother
had not given them different coloured ribbons there would have been
great mistakes made; even their father, Joseph Nüssler, could not
distinguish the one from the other, he called Lina, Mina, and Mina,
Lina. But now no such mistakes need be made, for their mother had tied
up Lina's flaxen plaits with blue ribbon, and Mina's with red; but if
any one had only taken the trouble to look closely at them he must have
seen clearly that Joseph Nüssler was wrong, for Lina was half an hour
older than Mina, and even when the difference in age is small, still
birth-right always makes itself known, and Lina had quite the
upper-hand of Mina, but she comforted her little sister whenever she
was unhappy.

Besides these unimportant little twins there was yet another set of
twins in the room, and they were an old, experienced and very important
couple, who were peering down on the children from the oak chest, and
shaking in the soft breeze that came in at the open window. These were
the grandfather's peruke and the grandmother's best cap, which were
hanging on a couple of cap-stands, all ready to play their part on the
next day, which was Sunday.--"Look, Lina," said Mina, "there's
grandfather's p'uke," she couldn't pronounce the letter "r" properly
yet.--"You shouldn't say p'uke, you should say p'uke," said Lina who
couldn't pronounce her "rs" a bit better, but being the eldest she had
of course to put her little sister on the right way.

The little twins now got up, and standing in front of the chest looked
at the old twins on the cap-stands, and Mina, who was still very
thoughtless, stretched out her hand, and took her grandfather's peruke
from the stand. Then putting it on her own head with a "just look at
me" sort of expression, placed herself before the looking-glass, and
arranged the wig exactly as her grandfather wore it on Sundays. Now
Lina ought to have had more sense, but she began to laugh, and allowing
herself to be carried away by the fun of the thing, took her
grandmother's mob-cap from the other stand, and put it on in the
same way as her grandmother did every Sunday. Then Mina laughed,
and then they both laughed, and taking hands began to dance
"Kringelkranz-Rosendanz," and then stopped and laughed, and after that
they went on dancing again.

But Mina was really too thoughtless, she had kept her toy-jar in
her hand, and now in the very midst of the fun she let it fall,
and--crash--it was destroyed, and so was the fun. Mina began to cry
bitterly over the broken jar, and Lina cried to keep her company, but
after this had gone on for a short time Lina began to try to comfort
her sister: "Never mind, Mina, the wheel-wright will mend it for
you."--"Yes," sobbed Mina, but more quietly than before, "the
wheel-wright must mend it."--And then the two sorrowful little
creatures went out of doors, quite forgetting that they still had their
grandfather's and grandmother's Sunday-finery on their heads.

Now many people would think that it was a silly fancy of Lina's that
the wheel-wright could mend the broken jar, but who ever has known a
real country wheel-wright is aware that such a man can do anything.
When a wether is to be killed, the wheelwright is sent for. When a pane
of glass is broken, the wheel-wright has to nail a board across the
window that the rain and wind may not get it. When an old chair has
lost a leg, he is the doctor who makes it stand steady again. When a
bullock is to be blistered, he acts apothecary; in short, he puts
everything right that has gone wrong, and so Lina was a very sensible
girl when she proposed to take the jar to the wheel-wright.

Just as the children entered the yard a little man came in at the gate.
And this little man had a red face, and a very imposing red nose which
he always held cocked up in the air. He wore a square cap of no
particular colour with a tassel in front, and a long-tailed, loose,
grey linen-coat. He always kept his feet turned out in an exaggerated
first position which made his short legs look as if they were fastened
to his body in the wrong way. He had striped trousers and long boots
with yellow tops. He was not stout, and yet he was by no means thin, in
fact his figure was beginning to lose its youthful proportions.

The children walked on, and when they had got near enough for the
farm-bailiff--for such was the calling of the little man--to see what
they were wearing, he stood still, and raised his bushy yellow
eye-brows till they were quite hidden under his pointed cap, treating
them as if they were the most beautiful part of his face, and must
therefore be put away in a safe place out of all danger: "Bless me!"
cried he. "What's the matter?--What on earth have you been about?--Why
you've got the whole of your old grandparent's Sunday-finery on your
heads!"--The two little girls allowed themselves to be deprived of
their borrowed plumes without remonstrance, and showing the broken jar,
said that the wheel-wright was to mend it.--"What!" exclaimed Mr.
farm-bailiff Bräsig--that was the way he liked to be addressed--"is it
possible that there is such insummate folly in the world?--Lina, you
are the eldest and ought to have been wiser; and Mina, don't cry any
more, you are my little god-child, and so I'll give you a new jar at
the summer fair. And now get away with you into the house."--He drove
the little girls before him, and followed carrying the peruke in one
hand and the cap in the other.

When he found the sitting-room empty, he said to himself: "Of course,
every one's out at the hay.--Well I ought to be looking after my hay
too, but the little round-heads have made such a mess of these two bits
of grandeur, that they'd be sure to get into a scrape, if the old
people were to see what they've been after; I must stay and repair the
mischief that has been done."--With that he pulled out the pocket-comb
that he always carried about with him to comb his back-hair over to the
front of his head, and so cover the bald place that was beginning to
show. He then set to work at the peruke, and soon got that into good
order again. But how about the cap?--"What in the name of wonder have
you done to this, Lina?--It's morally impossible to get it back to the
proper _fassong_.--Ah--let me think.--What's the old lady like on
Sunday afternoons? She has a good bunch of silk curls on each side of
her face, then the front of the cap rises about three inches higher
than the curls; so the thing must be drawn more to the front. She
hasn't anything particular in the middle, for her bald head shows
through, but it always goes into a great bunch at the back where it
sticks out in a mass of frills. The child has crushed that part
frightfully, it must be ironed out."--He put his clenched fist into the
cap and pulled out the frills, but just as he thought he was getting
them into good order, the string that was run through a caser at the
back of the frilled mass gave way, and the whole erection flattened
out.--"Faugh!" he cried, sending his eye-brows right up in the air. "It
wasn't half strong enough to keep it firm. Only a bit of thread! And
the ends won't knot together again! God bless my soul! whatever induced
_me_ to meddle with a cap?--But, wait a bit, I'll manage it yet."--He
thrust his hand into his pocket, and drew out a quantity of string of
different sizes, for like every farm-bailiff who was worth anything he
always carried a good supply of such things about with him. He
searched amongst his store for some thing that would suit the case in
hand.--"Whip-cord is too thick--but this will do capitally," and then
he began to draw a piece of good strong pack-thread through the caser.
It was a work of time, and when he had got about half of it done, there
was a knock at the door; he threw his work on the nearest chair, and
called out: "Come in."

The door opened, and Hawermann entered with his little girl in his
arms. Bräsig started up. "What in the," he began solemnly, then
interrupting himself, he went on eagerly: "Charles Hawermann, where
have you come from?"--"From a place, Bräsig, where I have nothing more
to look for," said his friend. "Is my sister at home?"--"Everyone's out
at the hay; but what do you mean?"--"That it's all up with me. All the
goods that I possessed were sold by auction the day before yesterday,
and yesterday morning"--here he turned away to the window--"I buried my
wife."--"What? what?" cried the kind-hearted old farm-bailiff, "good
God! your wife. Your dear little wife?" and the tears ran down his red
face. "Dear old friend, tell me how it all happened."--"Ah, how it all
happened?" repeated Hawermann, and seating himself, he told the whole
story of his misfortunes as shortly as possible.

Meanwhile, Lina and Mina approached the strange child slowly and shyly,
stopping every now and then, and saying nothing, and then they went a
little nearer still. At last Lina summoned courage to touch the sleeve
of the stranger's frock, and Mina showed her the bits of her jar:
"Look, my jar is broken." But the little girl looked round the room
uneasily, till at last she fixed her great eyes on her father.

"Yes," said Hawermann, concluding his short story, "things have gone
badly with me, Bräsig; I still owe you £ 30, don't ask for it now, only
give me time, and if God spares my life. I'll pay you back every
farthing honestly."--"Charles Hawermann, Charles Hawermann," said
Bräsig, wiping his eyes, and blowing his imposing nose, "you're--you're
an ass! Yes," he continued, shoving his handkerchief into his pocket
with an emphatic poke, and holding his nose even more in the air than
usual, "you're every bit as great an ass as you used to be!"--And then,
as if thinking that his friend's thoughts should be led into a new
channel, he caught Lina and Mina by the waist-band, and put them on
Hawermann's knee, saying: "There, little round heads, that's your
uncle."--Just as if Lina and Mina were playthings, and Hawermann were a
little child who could be comforted in his grief by a new toy. He,
himself, took Hawermann's little Louisa in his arms, and danced about
the room with her, his tears rolling down his cheeks the while. After a
short time he put the child down upon a chair, upon the very chair on
which he had thrown his unfinished work, and right on the top of it
too.

In the meanwhile the household had come back from the hay-field, and a
woman's clear voice could be heard outside calling to the maids to make
haste: "Quick get your hoop and pails, it'll soon be sunset, and
this year the fold's[3] rather far off. We must just milk the cows in
the evening.--Where's your wooden-platter, girl? Go and get it at
once.--Now be as quick as you can, I must just go, and have a look at
the children."--A tall stately woman of five-and-twenty came into the
room. She seemed full of life and energy, her cheeks were rosy with
health, work, and the summer air, her hair and eyes were bright, and
her forehead, where her chip-hat had sheltered it from the sun, was
white as snow. Anyone could see the likeness between her and Hawermann
at first sight; still there was a difference, she was well-off, and her
whole manner showed that she would work as hard from temperament, as he
did from honour and necessity.

To see her brother and to spring to him were one and the same action:
"Charles, brother Charles, my second father," she cried throwing her
arms round his neck, but on looking closer at him, she pushed him away
from her, saying: "What's the matter? You've had some misfortune!--What
is it?"

Before he had time to answer his sister's questions, her husband,
Joseph Nüssler, came in, and going up to Hawermann shook hands with
him, and said, taking as long to get out his words as dry weather does
to come: "Good-day, brother-in-law; won't you sit down?"--"Let him tell
us what's wrong," interrupted his wife impatiently.--"Yes," said
Joseph, "sit down and tell us what has happened.--Good-day, Bräsig; be
seated, Bräsig."--Then Joseph Nüssler, or as he was generally called,
young Joseph, sat down in his own peculiar corner beside the stove. He
was a tall, thin man, who never could hold himself erect, and whose
limbs bent in all sorts of odd places whenever he wanted to use them in
the ordinary manner. He was nearly forty years old, his face was pale,
and almost as long as his way of drawling out his words, his soft blond
hair, which had no brightness about it, hung down equally long over his
forehead and his coat collar. He had never attempted to divide or curl
it. When he was a child his mother had combed it straight down over his
brow, and so he had continued to do it, and whenever it had looked a
little rough and unkempt, his mother used to say: "Never mind, Josy,
the roughest colt often makes the finest horse."--Whether it was that
his eyes had always been accustomed to peer through the long hair that
overhung them, or whether it was merely his nature cannot be known with
any certainty, but there was something shy in his expression, as if he
never could look anything full in the face, or come to a decision on
any subject, and even when his hand went out to the right, his mouth
turned to the left. That, however, came from smoking, which was the
only occupation he carried out with the slightest perseverance, and as
he always kept his pipe in the left corner of his mouth, he, in course
of time, had pressed it out a little, and had drawn it down to the
left, so that the right side of his mouth looked as if he were
continually saying "prunes and prism," while the left side looked as if
he were in the habit of devouring children.

There he was now seated in his own particular corner by the stove, and
smoking out of his own particular corner of his mouth, and while his
lively wife wept in sympathy with her brother's sorrow, and kissed and
fondled him and his little daughter alternately, he kept quite still,
glancing every now and then from his wife and Hawermann at Bräsig, and
muttering through a cloud of tobacco smoke: "It all depends upon what
it is. It all depends upon circumstances.--What's to be done now in a
case like this?"

Bräsig had quite a different disposition from young Joseph, for instead
of sitting still like him, he walked rapidly up and down the room, then
seated himself upon the table, and in his excitement and restlessness
swung his short legs about like weaver's shuttles. When Mrs. Nüssler
kissed and stroked her brother, he did the same; and when Mrs. Nüssler
took the little child and rocked it in her arms, he took it from her
and walked two or three times up and down the room with it, and then
placed it on the chair again, and always right on the top of the
grandmother's best cap.

"Bless me!" cried Mrs. Nüssler at last, "I quite forgot.--Bräsig, _you_
ought to have thought of it. You must all want something to eat and
drink!"--She went to the blue cupboard, and brought out a splendid loaf
of white household bread and some fresh butter, then she went out of
the room and soon returned with sausages, ham and cheese, a couple of
bottles of the strong beer that was brewed on purpose for old Mr.
Nüssler, and a jug of milk for the children. When everything was neatly
arranged on a white table cloth, she placed a seat for her brother, and
lifting her little niece, chair and all, put her beside her father.
Then she set to work and cut slices of bread, and poured out the beer,
and saw that there was enough for everybody.

"I'll be ready to give you something presently," she said, stroking her
little girls' flaxen heads fondly, "but I must see to your little
cousin first.--Here's so chair for you, Bräsig--Come, Joseph."--"All
right," said Joseph, blowing a last long cloud of smoke out of the left
corner of his mouth, and then dragging his chair forward, half sitting
on it all the time.--"Charles," said Bräsig, "I can recommend these
sausages. Your sister, Mrs. Nüssler, makes them most capitally, and
I've often told my housekeeper that she ought to ask for the receipt,
for you see the old woman mixes up all sorts of queer things that
oughtn't to go together at all; in short, the flavour is very
extraordinary and not in the least what it ought to be, although each
of the ingredients separately is excellent, and made of a pig properly
fattened on pease."--"Mother, give Bräsig some more beer," said
Joseph.--"No more, thank you, Mrs. Nüssler. May I ask for a little
kümmel instead?--Charles, since the time that I was learning farming at
old Knirkstädt with you, and that rascal Pomuchelskopp, I've always
been accustomed to drink a tiny little glass of kümmel at breakfast and
supper, and it agrees with me very well, I am thankful to say. But,
Charles, whatever induced you to have any business transactions with
such a rascal as Pomuchelskopp? I told you long ago that he was not to
be trusted, he's a regular old Venetian, he's a cunning dog, in short,
he's a--Jesuit."--"Ah, Bräsig," said Hawermann, "we won't talk about
it. He might have treated me differently; but still it was my own
fault, I oughtn't to have agreed to his terms.--I'm thinking of
something else now. I wish I could get something to do!"--"Of course,
you must get a situation as soon as possible.--The Count, my master, is
looking out for a steward for his principal estate, but don't be angry
with me for saying so Charles, I don't think that it would do for
you.--You see, you'd have to go to the Count every morning with
laquered boots, and a cloth coat, and you'd have to speak High-German,
for he considers our provincial way of talking very rude and
uncultivated. And then you'd have all the women bothering you, for
they have a great say in all the arrangements. You might perhaps
manage with the boots, and the coat, and the High-German--though you're
rather out of practice--but you'd never get on with the women. The
Countess is always poking about to see that all's going on rightly in
the cattle-sheds and pig-sties,--in short--it's, it's as bad as Sodom
and Gomorrah."--"Bless me!" cried Mrs. Nüssler, "I remember now. The
farm-bailiff at Pümpelhagen left at the midsummer-term, and that would
just be the place for you, Charles."--"Mrs. Nüssler is right as usual,"
said Bräsig. "As for the _Counsellor_[4] at Pümpelhagen"--he always
gave the squire of Pümpelhagen his professional title, and laid such an
emphasis on the word counsellor that one might have thought that he and
Mr. von Rambow had served their time in the army together, or at least
had eaten their soup out of the same bowl with the same spoon--"As for
the _Counsellor_ at Pümpelhagen, he is very kind to all his people,
gives a good salary, and is quite a gentleman of the old school. He
knows all about you too. It's just the very thing for you, Charles,
and I'll go with you to-morrow.--What do you say, young Joseph?"
--"Ah!" said Mr. Nüssler meditatively, "it all depends upon
circumstances."--"Good gracious!" exclaimed Mrs. Nüssler with a look of
anxiety on her pretty face. "I'm forgetting everything to-day. If
grandfather and grandmother ever find out that we've been having a
supper-party here without their knowledge, they'll never forgive me as
long as I live.--Sit a little closer children.--You might have reminded
me, Joseph."--"What shall I do now?" asked Joseph, but she had already
left the room.

A few minutes later she came back, accompanied by the two old people.
There was an expression of anxious watchfulness and aimless attention
in both faces, such as deaf people often have, and which is apt to
degenerate into a look of inanity and distrust.--It is a very true
saying that when a husband and wife have lived many years together, and
have shared each other's thoughts and interests, they at last grow to
be like one another in appearance, and even when the features are
different the expression becomes the same. Old Mr. and Mrs. Nüssler
looked thoroughly soured, and as if they had never had the least bit of
happiness or enjoyment all their lives long, such things being too
expensive for them; their clothes were thread-bare and dirty, as if
they must always be save, saving, and even found water a luxury that
cost too much money. There was nothing comfortable about their old age,
not a single gleam of kindliness shone in their lack-lustre eyes, for
they had never had but _one_ joy, and that was their son Joseph, and
his getting on in the world. They were now worn out, and everything was
tiresome to them, even their one joy, their son Joseph, was tiresome,
but they were still anxious and troubled about his getting on in the
world, that was the only thing they cared for now. The old man had
become a little childish, but his wife had still all her wits about
her, and could spy and pry into every hole and corner, to see that
everything was going on as she wished.

Hawermann rose and shook hands with the old people, while his sister
stood close by looking at them anxiously, to see what they thought of
the visitor. She had already explained to them in a few words, why her
brother had come, and that may have been the reason that the old faces
looked even sourer than usual, but still it might be because she had
provided a better supper than she generally did. They seated themselves
at table. The old woman caught sight of Hawermann's little girl: "Is
that his child?" she asked.--Her daughter-in-law nodded.--"Is she going
to remain here?" she asked.--Her daughter-in-law nodded again.--"O--h!"
said the old woman, drawling out the word till it was long enough to
cover all the harm she thought the cost of the child's keep would bring
upon her Joseph. "Yes, these _are_ hard times," she continued, as
though she thought speaking of the times would best settle the
question, "_very_ hard times, and every man has enough to do to get on
in the world himself."--Meanwhile the old man had done nothing but
stare at the bottle of beer and at Bräsig's glass: "Is that my beer?"
he asked.--"Yes," shouted Bräsig in his ear, "and most excellent beer
it is that Mrs. Nüssler brews, it's a capital _rajeunissimang_ for a
weak stomach!"--"What extravagance! What extravagance!" grumbled the
old man.--His wife eat her supper, but never took her eyes off the oak
chest opposite.

Young Mrs. Nüssler, who must have studied the peculiarities of her
mother-in-law with great care, looked to see what was the matter, and
found to her horror and dismay that the cap was gone from its stand.
Good gracious! what had become of it? She had plaited it up that very
morning, and hung it on the stand.--"Where's my cap?" the old woman at
last enquired.--"Never mind, mother," said her daughter-in-law bending
towards her, "I'll get it directly."--"Is it done up yet?"--The young
woman nodded, and thought, surely grandmother will be satisfied now,
but the old woman glanced into every corner of the room to see what she
could find out. Bräsig's countenance changed when he heard the cap
spoken of, and he looked about him hastily to see where the "beastly
thing" could have got to, but in another moment old Mrs. Nüssler
pointed at little Louisa Hawermann, and said with a venomous smile,
like a stale roll dipped in fly-poison: "It must be plaited all over
again."--"What's the matter?" cried her daughter-in-law, and starting
up as she spoke, she saw the ends of the cap ribbons hanging down below
the hem of the child's frock; she lifted her niece off the chair, and
was going to have picked up the cap, but the old woman was too quick
for her. She seized her crumpled head-gear, and when she saw the
flattened puffs, and Bräsig's bit of pack-thread hanging half in and
half out of the caser, her wrath boiled over, and holding up her cap so
that everyone might see it, exclaimed: "Good for nothing chit!" and was
going to have struck the little girl over the head with her cap.

But Bräsig caught her by the arm and said: "The child had nothing to do
with it," and then growled out in a half whisper: "the old cat!" At the
same moment loud crying was to be heard behind the grandmother's chair,
and Mina sobbed: "I'll never, never do it again," and Lina sobbed: "And
I'll never do it again."--"Bless me!" cried young Mrs. Nüssler, "it was
the little girls who did all the mischief.--Mother, it was our own
children that did it."--But the old woman had been too long accustomed
to turn everything to her own advantage, not to know how to make a
judicious use of her deafness; she never heard what she did not want to
hear; and she did not want to hear now. "Come," she shouted, and signed
to her husband.--"Mother, mother," cried her daughter-in-law, "give me
your cap, and I'll set it to rights."--"Who's at the fold?" asked the
old woman as she left the room with old Joseph.--Young Joseph lighted
his pipe again.--"Good gracious!" said Mrs. Nüssler, "she's quite right
there, I ought to be at the fold. Ah well, grandmother won't be civil
to me again for a month."--"Crusty," said Bräsig, "was an old dog, and
Crusty had to give in at last."--"Don't cry any more, my pets," said
the mother, wiping her little girl's eyes. "You didn't know what harm
you were doing, you are such stupid little things. Now be good
children, and go and play with your cousin, I must go to my work.
Joseph, just keep an eye on the children, please," and then Mrs.
Nüssler put on her chip-hat, and set off to the fold where the cows
were milked.

"A mother-in-law's the very devil!" said Bräsig. "But you, young
Joseph," he continued, turning to Mr. Nüssler, who was smoking as
calmly as if what had happened was nothing to him, "ought to be ashamed
of yourself for allowing your mother to bully your wife."--"But," said
young Joseph, "how can I interfere? I am her son."--"You needn't
actually _strike_ her," said Bräsig, "because your parents are given
you by God, but you might give her a little filial advice now and then,
such as befits an obedient son, and so prevent the devil of dispeace
getting into the house.--And as for you, Charles Hawermann, don't take
a little tiff like this to heart, for your sister has a cheerful
disposition, and an affectionate nature, so she'll soon be on good
terms with the old skin-flints again, and they can't get on without
her, she's the mainstay of the household.--But now," and he pulled an
enormous watch out of his pocket, the kind of watch that is called a
warming-pan, "it's seven o'clock, and I must go and look after my
work-people."--"Wait," said Hawermann, "I'll go part of the way with
you. Good-bye for the present, Joseph."--"Good-bye, brother-in-law,"
said young Joseph from his corner.

As soon as they were out of doors Hawermann asked: "I say, Bräsig,
how could you speak of the old people in such a way before their
son?"--"He's quite accustomed to it, Charles. No one has a good word
for the two old misers, they've quarrelled with all the neighbours, and
as for the servants, _they_ take very good care to keep out of the old
wretches' sight."--"My poor sister!" sighed Hawermann, "She used to be
such a merry light-hearted girl, and now, shut up in a house with such
people, and such a Nuss (slow) of a man."--"You're right enough there,
Charles, he is an old Nuss, and Nüssler (slow-coach) is his name; but
_he_ never bullies your sister, and although he is such an ass that he
can manage nothing himself, he has sense enough to see that your sister
is quite able to keep everything straight."--"Poor girl!--She married
that man for my sake, to make my way easier for me, she said; and for
our old mother's sake, to give her a comfortable home with one of her
children in her latter days."--"I know, I know, Charles.--I know
it from my own experience. Don't you remember it was during the
rye-harvest, and you said to me, Zachariah, you said, you must be in
love, for you're leading in your rye quite wet. And I said; how so? On
the Sunday before that we had had spruce-beer, and your sister was one
of the party, or else I shouldn't have led in the rye in such weather.
And then I told you that if I didn't change my mind your sister was the
only one of my three sweethearts that I'd marry.--Then you laughed
heartily, and said, she was too young.--What has being young to do with
it? I asked.--And then you said that my other two sweethearts came
first, and so they ought to have the preference. And then you laughed
again, and didn't seem to believe that I was in earnest. A short time
afterwards my lord the Count changed his mind, and said he wouldn't
have a married bailiff. And then a little more time passed, and it was
too late. Young Joseph made her an offer, and your mother begged her so
hard to take him, that she consented.--Ah well, that marriage ought
never to have been," and Bräsig looked down gravely. After a moment's
silence he went on--"When I saw the twins I felt drawn to them, and
thought that they might have been my own, and I almost wished that the
old woman, old Joseph, and young Joseph were in their graves.--It was
indeed a happy day for the old Jesuits when your sister brought her
loving heart and cheerful nature into their house, if it had been any
one else there would have been murder done long ago."

While they were talking they had left the village behind them, and were
now beside the large garden. Suddenly Hawermann exclaimed: "Look there,
the two old people are on the top of the hill yonder."--"Yes," said
Bräsig with a derisive chuckle, "there they are, the hypocritical old
Jesuits, standing in their hiding-place."--"Hiding-place?" asked
Hawermann, astonished. "Up there on the hill?"--"Even so, Charles, the
old creatures can trust no one, not even their own children, and when
they want to say anything to each other that they can't explain by
their usual signs, they always go to the very top of the hill where
they can see that there are no eavesdroppers, and shout their secrets
in one another's ears. Look at them cackling away, the old woman
has laid another dragon's egg, and now they're both going to hatch
it."--"How eagerly they're talking," said Hawermann. "Do you see how
the old woman is gesticulating? What can it all be about?"--"I know
what they are laying down the law about, for I know them well.--And
Charles," he continued after a short silence, "it is better that you
should understand the whole state of the case at once, and then
you'll know how to act. They're talking about you, and your little
girl."--"About me, and my little girl!" repeated Hawermann in
astonishment.--"Yes, Charles--don't you see. If you had come with a
great purse full of money, they would have received you with open arms,
for money is the only thing for which they have the slightest respect;
but as it is they regard you and the child in the light of beggarly
poor relations who will take the very bread out of the mouth of their
unfortunate son."--"Oh!" sighed Hawermann, "why didn't I leave the
child with the Rassows?--Who is to take care of her?--Can you advise me
what to do?--I can't leave her here in my sister's charge for my
sister's sake."--"Of course you'd like to have her near you. Well,
Charles, I'll tell you something. You must remain at the Nüsslers
to-night. To-morrow we'll go and see the _Counsellor_ at Pümpelhagen:
if we succeed there we'll look out for a good place for the child in
the neighbourhood; and if we don't succeed, we'll go to the town and
board her for the present with Kurz, the shopkeeper. And now
good-night, Charles! Don't be down-hearted, everything will look
brighter soon."--And so he went away.

"Ah, if everybody was only like you," thought Hawermann as he was
returning to his sister's house, "I should soon get the better of my
difficulties.--And get the better of them I must and shall," he
continued with a look of determination, his courage rising and
dispelling his sadness, in like manner as the sun disperses the
rain-clouds, "my sister shall not be made unhappy through me. I will
work hard for my little girl." ........

Later in the evening, when the milk had been poured into the pans in
the dairy, Hawermann and his sister went out into the garden together,
and she talked to him about his affairs, and he to her about hers.
"Don't be so sorry for me, Charles," she said, "I am quite used to my
life. It's true that the old people are hard and disagreeable, but
though they sometimes sulk with me for weeks at a time, I soon forget
their crossness when I'm out of their sight, and as for Joseph, I must
say this for him, he is never unkind, and has never said a hard word to
me. If he were only a little more quick-sighted, and a better manager;
but that's not to be expected of him. I've plenty to do with the house
and dairy without having the farm on my hands too, and a woman can't
manage that sort of thing properly, indeed Bräsig is the greatest
possible help to me in that respect. He goes over the fields and sees
what's being done about the place, and takes care that Joseph do'sn't
get behindhand with the work."--"How are you getting on upon the whole?
Does the farming pay well?" asked her brother.--"Not as well as it
might. There isn't enough spent on the land, and the old people won't
let us change the rotation of the crops, or try any new ways of
farming.--We've always made the two ends meet as yet, and had the rent
ready on the term-day; but now Joseph's two elder sisters, who are
married to Kurz, the general merchant, and to Baldrian, the rector of
the academy, are always dinning into the old people's and our ears that
they want their dowries paid. The rector doesn't actually require it,
but he is fond of money; Kurz would really be the better of his, for he
is in trade, and of course wishes to extend his business. Now the old
people want to make over nearly everything to Joseph at their death,
and they won't part with a single farthing of what is in their
possession just now, indeed grandmother has a hateful rhyme that she
always repeats when she hears of a case of this kind:


           'Wer seinen Kindern giebt das Brod
            Und leidet endlich selber Noth,
            Den schlag man mit der Keule todt.'


But it's wrong, very wrong of them, and they can't expect a blessing on
it, for one child is as good as another, and so I told the old people
at the very beginning. My goodness, what a rage they were in! _They_
had made all the money, and what had _I_ brought to my husband they'd
like to know? I ought to go down on my knees, and thank God that they
were going to make a rich man of Joseph.--But I had a good talk with
Joseph, and now he has paid over nearly two hundred and twenty-five
pounds to Kurz in instalments. His mother soon had an inkling as to
what we were about, and was very curious to know all the ins and outs
of the affair, but as Joseph isn't a good manager and can't do accounts
well, I take care of the purse, and never give her the chance of
peeping into it. No, no, grandmother, I'm not quite so stupid as that
comes to!--That's the chief bone of contention between the old people
and myself. They still want to keep Joseph under their thumb; but
Joseph is nearly forty years old, and if he won't rule himself, _I_
will rule him, for I am his wife and therefore the 'nearest' to him, as
our parson's wife would say. Now, Charles, tell me, am I right or
wrong?"--"You are quite right, Dorothea," said Hawermann.--Then they
wished each other "good-night," and went to bed.



                              CHAPTER III.


Bräsig arrived in good time next morning to go to Pümpelhagen
with Hawermann. Mrs. Nüssler was sitting in the porch paying the
farm-servants, and Joseph was sitting beside her smoking while she
worked.--Neither of the old people had come down yet, for the
grandmother had said to her daughter-in-law, she, at least, could not
join them in the parlour, for she had nothing to put on her head; and
the grandfather had said, they could all be quite happy without
him.--"That's really kind of them," said Bräsig. "There's no fear of
our dinner being spoilt now by their bad temper, for, Mrs. Nüssler,
I'm going to spend the day with Charles.--Come, Charles, we must be
off.--Goodbye little round-heads."

When they were out in the yard Bräsig stood still, and said: "Look,
Charles, did you ever see anything more like the desert of S'ara? One
heap of manure here and another there! And look, that's the drain old
Joseph cut from the farm-yard to the village horse-pond. And as for the
roofs," he continued, "they have enough straw to make new ones, but the
old people think money expended on thatching sheer waste. I come here
often, and for two reasons; firstly because of my stomach, and secondly
because of my heart. I've always found that well cooked food is not
only pleasant to the taste, but also produces a wholesome exhilaration
when followed by one of the little rages I generally get into here. And
I come here for the sake of your sister and the little round-heads. I
know that I am of use to her, for young Joseph just rolls on smoothly
like the wheel of the coach that runs every winter from here to
Rostock. How I should like to have him as leader in a three horse team,
harnessed into a farm cart, and then drive him with my whip!"--"Ah!"
said Hawermann as they came to a field, "they've got very good wheat
here."--"Yes, it's pretty fair, but what do you think they were going
to have had there instead?--Rye!--And for what reason? Simply because
old Joseph had sown rye in that field every year for twenty one
years!"--"Does their farm extend to the other side of the hill?"--"No,
Charles, it isn't quite such a fat morsel as all that, like bacon fried
in butter and eaten with a spoon! No, no, the wheat on the top of the
hill is mine."--"Ah, well, it's odd how soon one forgets.--Then your
land comes down as far as this?"--"Yes, Charles; Warnitz is a long
narrow estate, it extends from here on the one side as far as
Haunerwiem on the other. Now stand still for a moment, I can show you
the whole lie of the country from this point. Where we are standing
belongs to your brother-in-law, his land reaches from my wheat-field up
there to the right, as far as that small clump of fir-trees to the
left. You see, Rexow is quite a small farm, there are only a few more
acres belonging to it on the other side of the village. To the right up
there is Warnitz; and in front of us, where the fallow ground begins,
is Pümpelhagen; and down there to the left, behind the little clump of
firs, is Gürlitz."--"Then Warnitz is the largest?"--"No, Charles,
you've mistaken me there. Pümpelhagen is the best estate in the
neighbourhood, the wheat-land there produces forty-two loads, and that
is eight more than Warnitz can show. It would be a blessing if all the
other places were like it. The _Counsellor_ is a good man, and
understands farming, but you see his profession obliges him to live in
Schwerin, so he can't attend to Pümpelhagen. He has had a good many
bailiffs of one kind or another. He came into the estate when
everything was very dear, and there are a considerable number of
apothecaries[5] on it, so that he must often feel in want of money, and
all the more so that his wife is extravagant, and likes to live in a
constant whirl of gaiety. He is a worthy man and kind to his people,
and although the von Rambows are of very old family--my master, the
Count, often asks him to dinner, and he will not admit any but members
of the nobility to the honour of his acquaintance--he goes about quite
_doucimang_, and makes no fuss about his position."

Hawermann listened attentively to all that was said, for if he
succeeded in getting the place of bailiff, these things would all be of
importance to him, but his thoughts soon returned to the subject of his
greatest present anxiety.--"Bräsig," he said, "who is the best person
to take charge of my little girl?"--"I can't think of anyone. I'm
afraid that we must take her to the town to Kurz. Mrs. Kurz is an
excellent woman, and he, well he is a good hand at a bargain like all
tradesmen.--Only think, he sold me a pair of trousers last year.--I
wanted them for Sundays--they were a sort of chocolate colour:
well listen: the first morning I put them on, I went through the
clover-field, and when I came out of it, my trousers were as red as
lobsters, as high as the knee--bright scarlet I assure you. And then he
sent me some kümmel, it was Prussian made, wretched sweet stuff, and
very bad. I returned it, and told him a bit of my mind. But he won't
take the trousers back, and tells me he never wore them. Does the
fellow imagine that _I_ will wear red trousers?--Look, Charles, that's
Gürlitz down there to the left."--"And that, I suppose, is Gürlitz
church-steeple?" asked Hawermann.--"Yes!" said Bräsig, raising his
eye-brows till they were hidden by the brim of his hat--he always wore
a hat on Sunday--and opening his mouth as wide as he could, he stared
at Hawermann as if he wanted to look him through and through.
"Charles," he exclaimed, "you spoke of Gürlitz church-steeple, and as
sure as your nose is in the middle of your face the parson at Gürlitz
must take your child,"--"Parson Behrens?" asked Hawermann.--"Yes, the
same Parson Behrens who taught you and me at old Knirkstädt."--"Ah,
Bräsig, I was just wishing last night that such a thing were
possible."--"Possible? He must do it. It would be the best thing in the
world for him to have a little child toddling about his knees, and
growing up under his care, for he has no children of his own, has let
all the glebe land, and has nothing whatever to do but to read his
books and study, till any other man would see green and yellow specks
dancing before his eyes even with looking at him from a distance. It
would be a capital thing for him, and Mrs. Behrens is so fond of
children that the little ones in the village cling to her skirts
whenever she goes there. She is also a most excellent worthy woman, and
so cheerful that she and your sister get on capitally together."--

"If it could only be," cried Hawermann. "What do we not both owe that
man Zachariah, don't you remember that when he was assistant to the
clergyman at Knirkstädt, he held an evening class during the winter,
and taught reading and writing, and how kind he always was to us stupid
boys?"--"Yes, Charles, and how Samuel Pomuchelskopp used to get behind
the stove and snore till he nearly took the roof off, while we were
learning the three R's. Don't you remember when we got to the rule of
three in our sums, and tried to get the fourth unknown quantity? Ah
yes, in quickness I had the best of it, but in correctness, you had.
You got on better than I did in o'thography, but in _style_, in writing
letters, and in High German, I was before you. And in these points I'm
much improved since then, for I've made them my study, and of course
every one has his own _speshialitee_. Whenever I see the parson I feel
bound to thank him for having educated me so well, but he always laughs
and says he owes me far more for letting his glebe at such a good rent
for him. He is on very friendly terms with me, and if you settle down
here, I'll take you to call and then you'll see it for yourself."

Meanwhile they had reached Pümpelhagen, and Bräsig took Hawermann quite
under his protection as they crossed the court-yard, and addressing the
old butler, asked if his master was at home and able to see them.--He
would announce the gentlemen, was the servant's reply, and say that Mr.
Farm-bailiff Bräsig was there.--"Yes," said Bräsig.--"You see, Charles,
that he knows me, and the _Counsellor_ knows me also--and--did you
notice?--announce! That's what the nobility always have done when any
one calls on them, My lord the Count has three servants to announce his
visitors; that is to say, one servant announces to another who it is
that has called, and the valet tells his lordship. Sometimes queer
mistakes are made, as with the huntsman the other day. The first
footman announced to the second: 'The chief huntsman,' and the second
added the word 'master,' and the third announced the arrival of a
'grandmaster of the huntsmen.' So the Count came forward very cordially
to receive the strange gentleman who had come to see him, and--he found
no one but old Tibäul the rat-catcher."

The butler now returned and showed the two friends into a good-sized
room, tastefully, but not luxuriously furnished, and in the centre of
the room was a large table covered with papers and accounts. A tall
thin man was standing beside the table when they entered; he was a
thoughtful-looking, gentle-mannered man, and the same simplicity was
observable in his dress as in the furniture of his room. He appeared to
be about fifty-two or three, and his hair was of an iron grey colour;
he was perhaps shortsighted, for, as he went forward to receive his
visitors, he picked up an eye-glass that was lying on the table, but
without using it: "Ah, Mr. Bräsig," he said quietly, "what can I do for
you?"--Uncle Bräsig now involved himself in such a labyrinth of words
in his desire to speak grandly as befitted his company, that he would
never have extricated himself if the squire had not come to the rescue.
Looking more attentively at Hawermann, he said: "You want....? but," he
interrupted himself, "I ought to know you.--Wait a moment. Were you
not serving your apprenticeship twelve years ago on my brother's
estate?"--"Yes, Sir, and my name is Hawermann."--"Of course it is. And
to what do I owe the pleasure of seeing you here?"--"I heard that you
were looking out for a farm-bailiff, and as I was in want of just such
a place"--"But I thought you had a farm in Pomerania?" interrupted the
squire.--Now was the time for Bräsig to speak if he was going to say
anything of importance, so he exclaimed: "It's quite true, Mr.
Counsellor von Rambow that he had one, _had_ it, but has it no longer,
and it's no use crying over spilt milk. Like many other farmers he met
with inverses, and the hardness and wickedness of his landlord ruined
him.--What do you think of that, Sir?"

At this moment there was a loud shout of laughter behind Bräsig's back,
and when he turned round to see who it was he found himself face to
face with a boy of ten or twelve years old. Mr. von Rambow also smiled,
but fortunately it never occurred to Bräsig that their amusement could
mean anything but satisfaction with a well delivered speech, so he went
on seriously: "And then he came a regular cropper."--"I'm very sorry to
hear it," said Mr. von Rambow. "Yes," he continued with a sigh, "these
are very hard times for farmers, I only hope they'll change soon. But
now to business--Alick, just run upstairs and see if breakfast is
ready. It is quite true that I am looking out for a new bailiff, as I
have been obliged to part with the last man, because of--well, his
carelessness in keeping accounts--but," said he, as his son opened the
door and announced that breakfast was ready, "you hav'n't had breakfast
yet, we can finish our talk while we eat it." He went to the door, and
standing there signed to his guests to precede him.--"Charles,"
whispered Bräsig, "didn't I tell you? Quite like one of ourselves?" But
when Hawermann quietly obeyed the squire's sign and went out first, he
raised his eyebrows up to his hair, and stretched out his hand as
though to pull his friend back by his coat-tails. Then sticking out one
of his short legs and making a low bow, he said, "Pardon me--I couldn't
think of it--The _Counsellor_ always has the _paw_."--His way of bowing
was no mere form, for as he had a long body and short legs it was both
deep and reverential.

Mr. von Rambow went on first to escape his guest's civilities, and
Bräsig brought up the rear. The whole business was talked over in all
its bearings during breakfast; Hawermann got the place of bailiff with
a good salary to be raised in five or six years, and only one condition
was made, and that was that he should enter on his duties at once. The
new bailiff promised to do so, and the following day was fixed for
taking stock of everything in and about the farm, so that both he and
his employer might know how matters stood before the squire had to
leave Pümpelhagen. Then Bräsig told the "sad life-story" of the old
thorough-bred, which had come down to being odd horse about the farm,
and which he "had had the honour of knowing from its birth," and told
how it "had spavin, grease and a variety of other ailments, and so had
been reduced to dragging a cart for its sins."--After that he and
Hawermann took leave of Mr. von Rambow.

"Bräsig," said Hawermann, "a great load has been taken off my heart.
Thank God, I shall soon be at work again, and that will help me to
bear my sorrow.--Now for Gürlitz--Ah, if we are only as fortunate
there."--"Yes, Charles, you may well say you are fortunate, for you are
certainly wanting in the knowledge of life and fine tact that are
necessary for any one to possess who has to deal with the nobility. How
_could_ you, how _could_ you go out of the room before the
_Counsellor_?"--"I only did as he desired me, Bräsig, and I was his
guest, not his servant then. I wouldn't do so now, and believe me,
he'll never ask me to do it again."--"Well, Charles, let me manage the
whole business for you at the parsonage. I'll do it with the greatest
_finesse_."--"Certainly Bräsig, it will be very kind of you to do it
for me; if it were not for my dear little girl, I should never have the
courage to ask such a favour. If you will take the task off my
shoulders, I shall look upon it as the act of a true friend." When they
passed Gürlitz church they heard from the singing that service was
still going on, so they determined to wait in the parsonage till it was
over, but on entering the sitting-room, a round active little woman of
about forty years old came forward to receive them. Everything about
her was round, arms and fingers, head, cheeks and lips; and her round
eyes twinkled so merrily in her round smiling face that one would at
once jump to the conclusion that she had never known sorrow, and her
every action was so cheery and full of life that one could easily see
that she had a warm heart in her breast. "How d'ye do, Mr. Bräsig, sit
down, sit down. My pastor is still in church, but he would scold me if
I allowed you to go away.--Sit down, Sir--who are you?--I should have
liked to have gone to church to-day, but only think, the clergyman's
seat broke down last Sunday; lots of people go to it, you see, and one
can't say 'no,' and old Prüsshawer, the carpenter, who was to have
mended it this week, is down with a fever."--Her words poured out
smoothly like polished billiard-balls rolled by a happy child over the
green cloth.

Bräsig now introduced Hawermann as Mrs. Nüssler's brother. "And so you
are her brother Charles. _Do_ sit down, my pastor will be delighted to
see you.--Whenever Mrs. Nüssler comes here she tells us something about
you, and always in your praise--Mr. Bräsig can vouch for that. Good
gracious, Bräsig, what have _you_ got to do with my hymn-book? Just put
it down, will you. _You_ never read such things, you are nothing but an
old heathen. These are hymns for the dying, and what are hymns for the
dying to you? _You_ are going to live for ever. You're not a whit
better than the wandering Jew!--One has to think of death sometimes,
and as our seat is broken, and the old carpenter has a fever, I have
been reading some meditations for the dying."--While saying this she
quickly picked up her books and put them away, carefully going through
the unnecessary ceremony of dusting a spotless shelf before laying them
down on it.--Suddenly she went to the door leading to the kitchen, and
stood there listening; then exclaiming: "I was sure I heard it. The
soup's boiling over," hastened from the room.--"Well, Charles--wasn't I
right? Isn't she a cheery, wholesome--natured woman?--I'll go and
arrange it all for you," and he followed Mrs. Behrens to the kitchen.

Hawermann looked, round the room, and admired the cleanly, comfortable,
home-like, and peaceful look of everything around him. Over the sofa
was a picture of our Saviour, and encircling it, above and below, were
portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Behrens' relations, some coloured, some
black, some large, and some small. In the picture of our Lord, His
hands were raised in blessing, so Mrs. Behrens had hung the portraits
of her relatives beneath it that they might have the best of the
blessing, for she always regarded herself as the "nearest." She had
hung her own portrait, taken when she was a girl, and that of her
husband in the least prominent place over against the window, but God's
sun, which shone through the white window-curtains, and gilded the
other pictures, lighted up these two first of all. There was a small
book-case containing volumes of sacred and profane literature all mixed
up together, but they looked very well indeed, for they were arranged
more in accordance with the similarity of their bindings, than with
that of their contents. Let no one imagine that Mrs. Behrens did not
care for reading really good standard works, because she spoke the
Provincial German of her neighbourhood. Whoever took the trouble to
open one of the books, which had a mark in it, would see that she was
quite able to appreciate good writing, and her cookery-book showed that
she studied her own subjects as thoroughly as her husband did his, for
the book was quite full of the notes and emendations she had written at
the sides of the pages in the same way as Mr. Behrens made notes in his
books. As for her husband's favourite dishes she "knew them," she said,
"by heart, and had not to put in a mark to show where they were to be
found."

And it was in this quiet home that Hawermann's little daughter was to
spend her childhood, if God let him have his wish. The raised hands in
the Saviour's picture would seem to bless his little girl, and the
sunlight would shine upon her through these windows, and in those books
she would read what great and good men had written, and by their help
would gradually waken from childish dreams into the life and thoughts
of womanhood.--

As he was sitting there full of alternating hopes and fears, Mrs.
Behrens came back, her eyes red with weeping: "Don't say another word,
Mr. Hawermann, don't say another word. Bräsig has told me all, and
though Bräsig is a heathen, he is a good man, and a true friend to you
and yours. And my pastor thinks the same as I do, I know that, for we
have always been of one mind about everything. My goodness, what
hard-hearted creatures the old Nüsslers are," she added, tapping her
foot impatiently on the floor.--"The old woman," said Bräsig, "is a
perfect harpy."--"You're right, Bräsig, that's just what she is. My
pastor must try to touch the conscience of the two old people; I don't
mean about the little girl, she will come here and live with us, or I
know nothing of my pastor."--

Whilst Hawermann was expressing his deep gratitude to Mrs. Behrens her
husband came in sight. She always talked of him as "_her_" pastor,
because he belonged to her soul and body, and "_pastor_" because of his
personal and official dignity. He had nothing on his head, for those
high soft caps that our good protestant clergy now wear in common with
the Russian popes were not the fashion at that time, in the country at
least, and instead of wide bands, resembling the white porcelain plate
on which the daughter of Herodias received the head of John the Baptist
from her stepfather, he wore little narrow bands, which his dear wife
Regina had sewed, starched and ironed for him in all Christian
humility, and these little bits of lawn she rightly held to be the true
insignia of his office, and not the gown, which was fastened to his
collar with a small square piece of board. "For, my dear Mrs. Nüssler,"
she said, "the clerk has a gown exactly the same as that, but he
dar'n't wear bands, and when I see my pastor in the pulpit with these
signs of his office on, and watch them rising and falling as he speaks,
I sometimes think that they look like angels' wings upon which one
might go straight away up to heaven, except that the angels wear their
wings behind, and my pastor's are in front."

The parson was not an angel by any means, and was the last man in the
world to think himself one, but still his conduct was so upright, and
his face so expressive of love and good-will, that anyone could see in
a moment that he was a good man, and that his was a serious, thoughtful
mode of life, and yet--when his wife had taken off his gown and
bands--there was a bright sparkle in his eye that showed he did not at
all disdain innocent mirth. He was a man who could give good counsel in
worldly matters as well as in spiritual, and he was always ready to
stretch out a helping hand to those in need of it.

He recognised Hawermann the moment he saw him, and welcomed him
heartily: "How d'ye do, dear old friend, what an age it is since I saw
you last. How are you getting on?--Good morning, Mr. Bräsig."--Just as
Bräsig was about to explain the reason of his and Hawermann's visit,
Mrs. Behrens, who had begun to take off her husband's clerical
garments, called out: "Don't speak, Mr. Hawermann,--Bräsig be quiet,
leave it all to me.--I'll tell you all about it," she continued,
turning to her husband, "for the story is a sad one--yes, Mr.
Hawermann, terribly sad--and so it will be better for me to speak.
Come," and she carried her pastor off to his study, saying in apology
for doing so as she left the room: "I am the nearest to him, you know."

When Mr. Behrens returned to the parlour with his wife, he went
straight up to Hawermann, and taking his hand, said: "Yes, dear
Hawermann, yes, we'll do it. We'll do all that lies in our power with
very great pleasure. We have had no experience in the management of
children, but we will learn.--Won't we, Regina?" He spoke lightly, for
he saw how deeply Hawermann felt his kindness, and therefore wished to
set him at ease.--"Reverend Sir," he exclaimed at last, "you did much
for me in the old days, but this ....."--Little Mrs. Behrens seized her
duster, her unfailing recourse in great joy or sorrow, and rubbed now
this, and now that article of furniture vigorously, indeed there is no
saying whether she might not have dried Hawermann's tears with it, had
he not turned away.--She then went to the door and called to Frederika:
"Here, Rika, just run down to the weaver's wife, and ask her to send me
her cradle, for," she added, addressing Bräsig, "she doesn't require
it."--And Bräsig answered gravely: "But Mrs. Behrens, the child isn't
quite a baby."--So the clergyman's wife went to the door again, and
called to the servant: "Rika, Rika, not the cradle. Ask her to lend
me a crib instead, and then go to the parish-clerk's daughter, and
see if she can come this afternoon--Good gracious! I forgot it was
Sunday!--But if thine ass falls into a pit, and so on--yes, ask her if
she will come and help me to stuff a couple of little matrasses.--It
isn't a bit heathenish of me to do this, Bräsig, for it's a work of
necessity, as much so as when you have to save the Count's wheat on a
Sunday afternoon.--And, my dear Mr. Hawermann, the little girl must
come to us this very day, for Frank," turning to her husband, "the old
Nüsslers will grudge the child her food, and Bräsig, bread that is
grudged ....." she stopped for breath, and Bräsig put in: "Yes, Mrs.
Behrens, bread that is grudged maketh fat, but the devil take that kind
of fatness!"--"You old heathen! How _dare_ you swear so in a Christian
parsonage," cried Mrs. Behrens. "But the short and the long of it is
that the child must come here to-day."--"Yes, Mrs. Behrens," said
Hawermann, "I'll bring her to you this afternoon. My poor sister will
be sorry; but it's better for her and her household peace that it
should be so, and for my little girl ....." He then thanked the
clergyman and his wife gratefully and heartily, and when he had said
good-bye, and he and Bräsig were out of doors, he drew a long breath of
relief, and said: "Everything looked dark to me this morning, but now
the sun has begun to shine again, and though I have a disagreeable bit
of business before me, it is a happy day,"--"What is it that you have
to do?" asked Bräsig.--"I must go to Rahnstädt to see old Moses. He has
held a bill of mine for seventy-five pounds for the last eighteen
months. He took no part in my bankruptcy, and I want to arrange matters
with him."--"Yes, Charles, you ought to make everything straight with
him as soon as you can, for old Moses is by no means the worst of his
kind.--Now then, let's lay out our plan of operations for to-day. We
must return to Rexow at once, dine there, and after dinner young Joseph
must get the carriage ready for you to take your little girl to
Gürlitz; from Gürlitz you should drive on to Rahnstädt, and then in the
evening come over to Warnitz and spend the night with me, and early
next morning you can be at Pümpelhagen with the _Counsellor_, who
expects to see you in good time."--"That will do very well," said
Hawermann.

After dinner Bräsig asked young Joseph, if he would allow the
carriage to be got ready.--"Of course," cried Mrs. Nüssler.--"Yes, of
course," said young Joseph, who immediately went out and ordered it
himself.--"Charles," said his sister, "my dear brother, how willingly,
how _very_ willingly .... But you know why I can't. Bräsig will have
told you.--Oh me! to have peace in the house. Don't imagine for one
moment that Joseph and I are not of one mind, that he wouldn't do as
much as I; but you see he doesn't understand how to manage it, and his
words don't come easily to him. I'll always keep an eye on your child
as if she were my own, although that won't be necessary at the
parsonage."

The carriage drove up to the door.--"Why, hang it, young Joseph,"
cried Bräsig, "you've got out your state eq'ipage, the old yellow
coach!"--"Yes, Sir," said Christian, who was seated on the box, "and I
only hope we'll get safe home with the old thing, for it's rather
shaky, and the wheels are so loose that they rattle as much as if one
was riddling gravel through a sieve."--"Christian," said Bräsig, "you
must first of all drive through the village pond, and then through the
brook at Gürlitz, and lastly, into the pig's pond at Rahnstädt, that
the wheels may draw properly."--"And then I'll be a real sailor," said
Christian.

When Hawermann had taken leave of his friends, and had put his little
girl in the carriage, young Joseph hastily forced his way through the
group standing about the door; his wife exclaimed: "What's the
matter?"--"There," he said, thrusting a pound of twist into little
Louisa's hand--that was the only kind of tobacco he ever smoked--but on
looking closer, Hawermann saw that it was a great lump of sausage which
young Joseph had wrapped in tobacco-paper, having nothing else at hand
in which to put it.

Christian drove through the pond and brook as he had been desired. The
child was left at Gürlitz, and there is no need to tell how she was
kissed and petted and made to feel at home with the kind people who had
taken charge of her.--Hawermann drove on to Rahnstädt to see Moses.

Moses was a man of upwards of fifty. He had large expressive eyes, and
thick black eye-brows, but his hair was very white. His drooping
eye-lids and long dark lashes gave him a look of gentleness; he was of
the average height, and his figure was comfortably rounded; his left
shoulder was a little higher than his right, but that was caused by his
way of standing. Whenever he stood up he used to put his left hand in
his coat-pocket, and catch firm hold of the top of his trousers lest
they should slip down, for he only wore them braced up at the right
side. When his wife begged him to wear a strap at the left side also,
he said: "Why should I? When I was young and poor and had no money I
had only one strap to fasten my trousers, and yet I did my work and
married my Flora, and now that I am old and rich and have my Flora why
should I wear a second strap?" Then he patted Flora on the shoulder
gently, thrust his hand deeper into his pocket, and went back to his
work.

When Hawermann entered, he jumped up from his chair, and exclaimed:
"There now, it _is_ Hawermann!--Didn't I always tell you," he went on,
turning to his son, "that Hawermann was a good man and an honest
man?"--"Yes, Moses," said Hawermann, "I'm honest, but ...."--"Get up,
David, let Mr. Hawermann sit down here beside me. Mr. Hawermann has
something to say to me, and I have something to say to him.--Now,
David, you told me I ought to go to law.--And what did I say?--That I
wouldn't go to law, for Mr. Hawermann was an honest man. I only went to
law _once_, and that was when I had done business with a candidate for
the ministry. When I sent the fellow a letter asking him for my money,
he wrote and told me to read a verse in the Christian hymn-book.--What
was it again, David?"--"It was an _infamous_ verse," replied David:


          "'Mein Gewüssen beusst mich nicht,
            Moses kann mich nicht verklagen,
            Der mich frai und ledig spricht
            Würd aach maine Schulden tragen.

          "'Conscience doth not sting me
            Moses cannot touch me,
            He, who has set me free
            Bears all my debts for me.'"


"Yes," cried Moses, "that was it. And when I showed the letter in court
every one laughed, and when I showed my bill, they shrugged their
shoulders, and laughed again.--Aha, I said, you mean the paper is good,
but the fellow is worth nothing.--They answered that I was right, that
I might have him put in prison, but must pay for his keep while
there--so that in gaining my cause I'd not only have to pay all the
costs of the suit, but I'd also have to provide for the fellow who had
swindled me as long as his term of imprisonment lasted.--If that's the
way of it, I said, let him go free.--Mr. Hawermann, you will treat me
better than the Prussian law-courts."--"That's all very well, Moses,"
said Hawermann, "but I can't pay you, at least not yet."--"But," said
Moses, looking at him enquiringly, "you've got something left?"--"Not a
farthing," answered Hawermann sadly.--"Good God! Not a farthing!"
cried Moses starting to his feet; then addressing his son: "David,
what are you about? What are you staring at? What did you hear? Go
and fetch the book."--Then he began to walk up and down the room
impatiently.--"Moses," entreated Hawermann, "only give me time,
and you shall have every penny that I owe you, both principal and
interest."--Moses stood still and listened attentively to what he said.
"Hawermann," he cried at last, breaking into the patois of the
district, for the Jews of the old time were just like the Christians,
when they felt deeply they always used the dialect of the province in
which they lived, "you're an honest man."--And when David returned with
the book, his father said: "Why have you brought the book, David, take
it away again." Then to Hawermann: "Well, well, I began with nothing,
and you began with nothing. I have worked hard, you have also worked
hard; I have been lucky, you have been unlucky; I understand my
business, and you understand yours. What isn't to-day may be to-morrow,
and to-morrow you may get a place, and if you do you will save up your
wages and pay me, for you are an honest man."--"I've got a place
already," said Hawermann much relieved, "and it's a good place
too."--"Where?" asked Moses.--"With Mr. von Rambow of Pümpelhagen."--"I
congratulate you, Hawermann. He is an excellent man. Though he finds
the times hard, he's an excellent man, and though he doesn't do
business with me, he's an excellent man.--Flora," he shouted, putting
his head out at the door, "Mr. Hawermann is here, bring us two cups of
coffee."--And when Hawermann wished to decline the coffee, he said:
"You _must_ have it. When I was a lad and used to travel about the
country with a pack on my back, your mother often gave me a cup of hot
coffee in the cold weather, and afterwards when you were farm-bailiff I
never went to you in vain. We are both men. Drink it, Mr. Hawermann,
drink it up."--

And so this business was settled too, and that night when Hawermann
went to bed in Bräsig's house, his heart was much lighter and was full
of courage, and as he lay awake thinking over the events of the past
day, he could not help wondering whether his dear wife had been praying
for him in her heavenly home, and whether she would be a guardian
angel, ever at his side during the remainder of his life on earth.

Next morning he went up to Pümpelhagen, and when Mr. von Rambow and his
little son left two days later, he had quite settled down to his new
duties, and had got into the full swing of his work. There he remained
for many years in peace and contentment, for in course of time he lived
down his grief, and found his happiness in that of others.



                              CHAPTER IV.


Wheat was again growing in the field by the mill, as when Hawermann
came to Pümpelhagen eleven years before. Hawermann was on his way back
from church, for it was Sunday, and he had that morning listened to Mr.
Behrens' sermon and visited his little daughter. He was on foot, for
the church was but a short distance from home, and the weather was
as beautiful as midsummer could make it. As he went through the
wheat-field his heart was full of joy at the thought of the visible
blessing God had bestowed on that which had been sown in hope, and in
ignorance of what the future might bring forth. He himself profited
nothing by the blessing of the rich harvest, it all belonged to his
master, but he had the pleasure of seeing it, and the sight made his
heart overflow with joy and thankfulness. He whistled a merry air and
then smiled at himself when he found what he was doing, for he very
seldom felt inclined to show any outward signs of rejoicing. "Well," he
said to himself, "I've gone my rounds here for eleven years now, and
the worst is over. Let me go round once more, and other eyes shall see
it."--He turned into the path leading through the garden, which lay on
high ground to one side of a small plantation of oaks and beeches. The
foot-path was well swept and weeded, for the Squire and his family were
expected that afternoon. When Hawermann got to the edge of the wood, he
turned round and looked back at the wheat-field, saying to himself with
a smile: "Yes, it's a much heavier crop now than it was eleven years
ago; but I must be just; the weather has been far better for farming
this year than it was then. I wonder what the old gentleman will say to
it.--There's still a good long time to pass before the harvest though,
but we've got the rape as good as safe, that's one thing. I only hope
and trust that it isn't sold already," and he sighed. Then thinking
over the events of the past eleven years: "The old gentleman isn't a
bit richer than he was when I came. Indeed, how could he, with five
daughters and two sons-in-law to drain his purse, to say nothing of my
lady, who seems to think that because money is round, it may be set
rolling with impunity. And then the son, what a lot of money it takes
to keep him in a Prussian cavalry regiment!--Yes, the times are better,
far better than when I had my farm; but when a man once gets into
difficulties it's hard work getting straight again, and he has grown so
much older looking in the last year or two."--Hawermann was in no
particular hurry to get home, as dinner was put off until Mr. von
Rambow came, not that the Squire had given orders to that effect, but
it was an understood thing: "Yes," he thought, as he seated himself in
the shade, "he will be glad to see that the wheat is good, for it will
help him on, and he is in need of money. Fortunately the times are
better."

The times were really better, and for farmers the times may be likened
to a long, long cord stretching over England and America and the whole
earth, and uniting the different countries to each other. When this
cord gets slack and entangled, things go ill with the farmers and the
whole land, but when it is firm and steady again there is great
rejoicing in every heart. The cord was drawn much tighter now in our
little corner of the world, and young Joseph had turned his old
clay-pipe, his leaden snuff-box, the blue painted cupboard, and the
polished sofa out of the house, and the old yellow carriage was no
longer in the coachhouse; instead of these he had now a silver-mounted
meerschaum, and a "m'og'ny secletair," and a magnificent ottoman, and
there was a new carriage in the coach-house, which Bräsig always called
a "phantom," and he wasn't far wrong, for it was like a dream to see
such a carriage there. And the same cord passing from the Count to
Bräsig gave the latter, after his five and twenty years service,
written permission to marry as soon as he liked, and the promise, also
written, of a comfortable pension for his old age. When the cord was
slack it had twisted itself all round little Mrs. Behrens, in like
manner as boys tie up a cock-chafer, and when it was tightened she went
to her pastor, and continually buzzed in his ear that he ought to get
double the rent for his glebe lands now, to what he had done before.
And when Moses, at the end of the preceding year, added up his sum
total, and wrote under the long column of figures, a little one, and a
five and two large noughts: "Take away the book, David," he said, "the
balance is quite right."

But this cord, however straight and tight it may be drawn, is
influenced by human action, though God takes care that the slackening
and tightening are done properly, so that mankind is not either
destroyed or allowed to tumble aimlessly about like peas in a bag that
is violently shaken, but the _individual_ has as little power over the
cord as a cock-chafer has on the thread to which it is tied when
children play with it; like it, he can only buzz about within the space
allowed him. There is yet another cord which rules the world, and it
comes down from heaven, and God himself holds the end of it; this cord
was pulled a little tighter, and Zachariah Bräsig had gout, and it was
pulled a little tighter still, and the two old Nüsslers lay upon their
last bed; a little bit was broken off the end of it, an they were laid
in the grave.

Zachariah Bräsig was very cross when he found he had gout, and in his
ignorance declared that it was the new fashion of wearing brightly
polished boots, and the cold damp spring they had been having which had
given him gout, whereas he ought to have set it down to good eating and
to his daily little glass kümmel. He was as troublesome as a gad-fly,
and whenever Hawermann went to see him when the pain was bad, he used
to find him studying the papers the Count had given him relating to
marriage and a pension, and then he was always as cross as two sticks.
"Don't you see," he would say, "what a horrible position the Count's
paper puts me in. If I marry, my lord, the Count, will say that I am
too young for the pension and if I ask for the pension, I acknowledge
by so doing that I am too old to marry. Oh yes, the Count's not much
better than a Jesuit. He speaks me fair, and gets the better of me. He
writes down all sorts of scoundrelly padagraphs on a bit of paper which
prevent a man, who for the last eight-and-twenty years has worn himself
out in his service, enjoying his pension without blame; a man who was
engaged to three women twenty years ago, and who, now that he is fifty
cannot marry even _one_ woman.--Oh, I laugh at my lord's padagraphs!"

One man's meat is another man's poison! Bräsig was angry because the
cord had been pulled, but in young Joseph's home it had brought about a
pleasant change. In the old days, Mrs. Nüssler had tried in vain to
bring peace into the house, now it reigned there, and ruled the actions
of the whole family. Mrs. Nüssler was careful to keep it there now that
it had come; and the twins showed its gentle influence in their ways
and thoughts, and young Joseph also felt the change and tried to do his
duty as head of the family. It is true that he spoke as little as ever,
and still disliked smoking any tobacco except twist, and it is true
that he had not even yet grown out of tutelage, for after his parents'
death Hawermann and Bräsig had undertaken the guardianship of all
out-door affairs, had arranged about the work, had seen that the farm
was properly stocked, and had got everything in order. As the old
people had forgotten to take away with them the money they had hidden
under pillows, in old stockings, and in odd corners, it was easy to
make everything go on smoothly and well, and when at last the whole
place was in good order, young Joseph said: "What am I to do now?" and
left everything to go its own way. But the comfort and peace in which
he now lived had made him much more cheerful, and his kindness of
heart, which had never been allowed free play by his parents, was
patent to all, and if it sometimes made him do foolish things, it
mattered no more than did the schoolmaster's appearing at a funeral in
a red waistcoat, for, as he said in excuse: "What does it signify,
Reverend Sir, when one's heart is black?"

And what changes had time made at the Parsonage? The cord had been very
little pulled there. When Mr. Behrens felt a light touch on his arm
when he was busy writing his sermon, and looked round to see what it
was, it was only his little wife standing beside him, duster in hand,
and while she gave his chair an extra rub, she asked him whether he
would like the perch to be fried or boiled, and if he had just got in
his sermon to S. Peter's draught of fishes, or to the great fish-dinner
mentioned in the Gospel, so many tiresome unchristian thoughts of fried
fish served with horseradish and butter _would_ disturb him, that he
had hard work to keep his sermon and clerical dignity uninjured.--Once,
a long time ago, I got a beautiful lily-root from my friend Jülke, the
great gardener in Erfurt. Its leaves began to show in March, and the
first thing I did every morning, was to go and see how much the leaves
had grown during the night, and I watched it carefully to see when the
flower-bud began to form. Long before there was any sign of the flower,
when only green leaves were to be seen, I used to carry it from the
cold window to the warm stove, and again from the dusty stove to the
bright sunny window. And as with the plant, so with human life, there
is to me great delight in watching and tending it as it grows.--The
parson had also received a lily-root from the great Gardener, the Lord
God of Heaven, and he and his little wife had loved it, and tended it,
and now the flower was there--a human flower, which grew in the warm
sun-light of loving hearts, and Mrs. Behrens went to look at her the
first thing in the morning, buzzed round her at mid-day, rejoiced in
her healthy appetite, and put another spoonful on her plate, for she
said: food is necessary to life. In the evening under the lime-tree
before the door, she drew the same shawl round herself and the little
girl, that she might know the child was warm, and when it was time to
go to bed she gave her a good-night kiss: "God bless you my darling,
I'll call you to-morrow early, at five o'clock."

And the parson's first act was to go to her; he watched the tender
green leaves opening, propped his lily carefully, and taught her how to
grow straight and true, and when she had gone to bed, he said with the
implicit faith of a little child: "Regina, our lily will soon blossom
now."

So it came about without the dear old clergyman or his wife noticing
it, and without the child noticing it, that she had grown to be the
most important personage in the family. When she went dancing about the
house in her simple frock, her little silk handkerchief round her neck,
her cheeks rosy with health, and her hair hanging down her back
unconfined by ribbon or comb, the whole household rejoiced in her
happiness. When she sat quietly beside her foster-father learning her
lessons, and looking up at him with her great eyes while he taught her
something new and interesting, and then at last closed her books with a
deep sigh, as though she were sorry that lessons were over for the day,
and yet glad, for she had been hard at work for some time, and could
not have properly understood anything more, Mrs. Behrens would leave
her clippers at the door, and go about dusting the furniture in her
stockings. She was afraid of disturbing the lessons: "For," she said,
"teaching children is quite different from writing sermons, and if it's
a deadly sin to speak to old people when they're busy, a child's
mind--good gracious, the waving of a tulip-stalk would be enough to
distract its attention!"

Hawermann's little daughter was always pretty, but she never looked so
pretty as when running to meet her father, she took him by the hand and
led him to the great lime-tree under which the good clergyman and his
wife were sitting, and if Hawermann sometimes looked sad at the thought
of how little he could do for his own child, there was a whole heaven
of joy in her eyes because he was there, and she seemed to feel she
could best repay the love and kindness her foster-parents showed her,
through her love and gratitude to her father. She had just entered her
thirteenth year, and as yet hardly understood the feelings and impulses
of her own heart. She had never asked herself why her father was dear
to her. With Mr. and Mrs. Behrens it was different. She had daily signs
of their affection, and daily opportunities of doing little loving
services for them in return. While with him--she only knew he was her
father, and that he often said things to her that must have come from
his heart, and often looked at her with a quiet sadness that could not
fail to go to hers. If she had made out a debtor and creditor account,
the clergyman and his wife deserved more at her hands, but still----!
The Lord our God has so joined people together by the ties of nature
that they cannot be divided.----

This day had been a happy one for both Hawermann and his child, and now
he was sitting in the shady arbour overlooking the fields he had tilled
and the neighbouring country. Spring was gone, and the summer sun was
shining warmly and brightly through white fleecy clouds, a soft breeze
slightly cooled the air, and the green ears of corn were waving in the
sunshine as though the earth were fluttering her green silken banner in
honour of her sovereign lady the sun. Her regimental music sung by
thousands of birds was hushed now that the spring was gone, and only
the cuckoo and corn-crake were to be heard; and instead of the songs
that but a few weeks ago had sounded in every thicket, the wind came up
over the fields laden with sweet odours, for the hay-harvest had begun.
How pleasant it is to see a long stretch of country lying before one,
divided into stripes of green and yellow, here and there interspersed
with wooded hills; to see old earth decked out in the brilliant
garments which the seasons have woven for her. But still life in such a
place is not without its anxieties, and people are fearful lest by any
misfortune they should not reap as abundant a harvest as they ought,
from their little bits of land, and even these long lines of colour,
and the hills and trees, seem in their eyes poor and barren.--I am
quite aware that it is not so in reality, but they think so at the
time.--With us it is quite different, our fields stretch out in one
kind of corn as far as the woods, the rape-fields resembling a great
sea in the golden sunlight. Large meadows and paddocks are to be seen
full of cattle, and immense hay-fields in which long rows of mowers are
at work in their white shirt-sleeves. Everything is for the best and
works for a good end, and wherever the eye falls there is peace and
fruitfulness.--I know quite well that it is not the case, but one
thinks so at the time.--It all depends upon the way we look at a thing.
One man sees nothing but riches and peace, while another slips away
into the shade and lets the humming of the bees, and the soft
fluttering of the butterflies around him sink into his heart.--Hawermann
was filled with quiet thankfulness as gazing on this scene he went over
again, in thought, the events of the past eleven years. Everything had
gone well with him during that time, he had paid both Bräsig and Moses
what he owed them, and he was on good terms with his employer. Indeed
Mr. von Rambow had become almost confidential with him, for although
he was not accustomed to talk over his private affairs with anyone,
he had always found Hawermann so respectful, trustworthy and zealous
in his service, that he had gradually got into the habit of consulting
him about things that had more to do with himself individually than
with the management of the estate. As yet however he had never spoken
to him about his family worries, but now he was going to do so.

When Hawermann had been sitting in the arbour for a short time, he
heard a couple of carriages drive up to the door. "Here they are
already," he exclaimed, springing to his feet, and going towards the
house to receive the squire and his family.

Mr. von Rambow, with his wife, his three daughters and his son, had
come to spend six weeks or so at Pümpelhagen to enjoy a little
country-air. "Well, Mr. Hawermann," he said, "I fear that we have come
upon you sooner than you expected, but I got my business in Rostock
finished much more quickly than I had thought possible.--How is all
going on?--Is everything ready for the ladies?"--"Quite ready," said
Hawermann, "but I'm afraid that you'll have to wait a little before
dinner can be served."--"All the better," he answered. "The ladies will
have time to dress, and you can show me the wheat-field.--Alick"
turning to his son, a handsome young man in uniform, "you can
afterwards take your mother and sisters for a turn in the garden, for,"
with an effort to smile, "you take no interest in agriculture."--"Dear
father, I ....." the son began, but his father interrupted him, saying
kindly: "Never mind, my boy.--Now, Mr. Hawermann, come and show me the
wheat. It's in the field just below the garden, I think."

They walked away together. What a terrible change had taken place in
Mr. von Rambow's appearance, he had grown so old, and it was not only
the hand of time that had aged him, he seemed to have some anxiety
which was wearing him out.--At the sight of his wheat-field he cheered
up, and said: "What a splendid crop! I don't remember ever having seen
such wheat at Pümpelhagen before."--Hawermann was much pleased, but
like all of his class he did his best to hide it, and because his heart
laughed within him, he just scratched his head, and said they must wait
and see what sort of weather they had at the time of harvest, and that
there was generally a frightful quantity of rust down there at the edge
of the meadow.--"Anything that may happen to it now will be by no fault
of ours," said Mr. von Rambow, "I am very much pleased with the look
of this field.--Ah," he went on after a short pause, "why didn't we
know each other twenty years ago, it would have been better for us
both."--Hawermann became grave and sympathetic at once when he found
his master was in trouble.--They had now reached the place where the
Gürlitz estate marched with Pümpelhagen.--"That wheat doesn't look as
well as ours," said the squire.--"Well," replied Hawermann, "the soil
is every bit as good as ours, but it hasn't been well treated, it is
the Gürlitz glebe."--"A propos," interrupted Mr. von Rambow, "do you
know that Gürlitz is sold? It was sold a few days ago in Rostock for
twenty-five thousand nine hundred and fifty pounds. Prices are rising,
are they not, Hawermann? If Gürlitz is worth twenty-five thousand nine
hundred and fifty pounds, Pümpelhagen would be cheap at thirty-six
thousand," and he looked sharply at Hawermann as he spoke.--"Yes, Sir,
it would," replied Hawermann. "But the sale of Gürlitz may bring you
good luck in another way. You see it was arranged that the sale of the
estate should break the lease of the glebe lands which belong to it,
and as these lands march with your wheat-field, the best thing that you
can do is to take a lease of them yourself."--"My dear Hawermann! _I_
take the lease!" cried the squire, and then he turned away sadly, as if
he could not bear to look at it any longer. "I have enough on my
shoulders already," he added, "without undertaking anything new."--"You
shall have no trouble whatever about it, only give me power to act for
you, and I will arrange everything with Mr. Behrens."--"No, no,
Hawermann, it's impossible. The expense, the payment of rent in
advance, the large amount of stock required. I can't do it. I have
so many calls on my purse as it is, that I hardly know where to
turn."--Mr. von Rambow went back up the hill with so much difficulty,
and stumbled so often over the stones on the road, that Hawermann
sprang to him and offered him his arm. Just as they reached the garden
the old man became so giddy that the bailiff took him into the arbour,
and made him sit down and rest.--The squire soon recovered when brought
out of the hot sun, but Hawermann looking at him could hardly imagine
him to be the same man who had taken him into his service eleven years
ago. At last he began to speak again, and it seemed a relief to him to
unburden his mind.--"Dear Hawermann," he said, "I want you to do
something for me. My brother's son, Frank--you used to know him--has
left school, and will soon be of age, when he will have to take the
management of his estate into his own hands. I am his guardian by my
late brother's will, and have advised him to learn farming practically,
and as he has agreed to do so, I have chosen you to be his teacher. You
will find him an intelligent, good-hearted young fellow."--Hawermann
answered that he would do his best, he had known the lad when he was
quite a child, and had liked him.--"Ah!" sighed Mr. von Rambow, "why
couldn't my own boy have done the same? Why was I weak enough to give
way to my wife's entreaties against my better judgment? Nothing would
satisfy her but he must go into the army.--And now it has come to this,
he is deeply in debt, and I know he has not told me all, I see it in
his manner. If he would only confess I should know where we stand, and
I might be able to set him free from the money-lenders.--And what if I
also were to fall into their hands," he concluded in a low, broken
voice.--Hawermann was even more frightened by the expression of his
master's face than by his words, and he answered with emotion: "It
won't be so bad as that comes to, and then. Sir, you must remember that
you have still to be paid for the fifteen hundred bushels of rape, and
I'm certain there's all that."--"Ah," said Mr. von Rambow, "and I have
already been paid for seventeen hundred bushels, and the money is all
spent; but that isn't the worst of it. If that were all I shouldn't be
so troubled," he exclaimed, as though he must speak and so lighten the
burden of his anxiety. "The business I had to do at Rostock isn't
settled yet, though I told you it was. I only said that for the sake of
my family. I have undertaken to pay a debt of a thousand and fifty
pounds for one of my sons-in-law, and I find that I cannot raise so
large a sum in Rostock, though I had hoped to do so, and yet the money
must be in the hands of the man who has just bought Gürlitz in three
days' time.--Can you advise me what to do, old friend? You were once in
the same position as I am now, and you succeeded in freeing yourself;
don't be angry with me for referring to it. You are and have always
been an honest man, and can understand how miserable it makes me not to
know how to keep my honest name unstained."--Hawermann understood him
perfectly, he had once been in the same distress for want of thirty
pounds, as the squire was now for a thousand. "Have you spoken
to the purchaser of Gürlitz?" he asked, after a long pause of
deliberation.--"Yes," was the reply, "I told him frankly that I
should find it difficult to pay so large a sum at once."--"And what was
his answer?" said Hawermann, "perhaps that he was in want of it
himself?"--"No, I don't think that was it, but I didn't like his looks
at all, his manner was sly and smooth, and when I told him of my
difficulty his proposals were so cunningly made to entangle me, that I
at once broke off all negociations, and determined to do my utmost to
raise the money in proper time. But I have failed as you know, and
don't know where to turn, or what to do."--"I only know of one remedy,"
said Hawermann, "and that is to go to old Moses in Rahnstädt."--"To a
Jew?" asked the squire. "No," he exclaimed, "I'll never do that.--I
couldn't bear to fall into a usurer's hands.--No, rather than do that,
I'd bear Mr. Pomuchelskopp's impertinence."--"_Whose_ did you say?"
cried Hawermann, starting as if a wasp had stung him.--"Why the new
purchaser of Gürlitz of whom we have just been talking," said Mr. von
Rambow, looking at his bailiff in astonishment. "He is a Pomeranian,
and comes from a place nearer the river Peen; he is short and stout,
and has a fat face."--"Yes," said Hawermann. "And so it is he who is
going to be our neighbour here. It is he with whom you are going to
have money-transactions.--No, no, Mr. von Rambow, I beg, I entreat you
to have nothing to do with that man.--You can bear me witness that I
have never said anything good or bad of the man who ruined me, but now
that you are in danger, it becomes my duty to speak; that man was the
cause of all my misfortunes," and springing to his feet he went on
excitedly, his face as he spoke losing its usual calm expression, and
an angry sparkle coming into his eyes. "Yes, that is the man who drove
me out of house and home, who heaped one misery after another on me and
my poor wife, so that she at last broke down and died.--Oh, Sir,
whatever you do, beware of that man!"--The warning was too emphatic
to be passed over unheeded.--"But who can I get to help me?" he
enquired.--"Moses," answered Hawermann, firmly and decidedly. The
squire made a gesture of dissent, but Hawermann came a little nearer
him, and went on still more emphatically than before: "Mr. von Rambow,
Moses will help you, we will go to him after dinner, and I assure you
on my own knowledge of the man that you will never repent going to
him."

The squire rose and took Hawermann's arm. He found in him a support
both physical and moral, for when a calm, even-tempered man loses his
ordinary serene composure, he exerts a greater influence over others
than people of a more impulsive nature ever can.

The conversation during dinner was slight and subject to long pauses.
Each was busy with his own thoughts. Hawermann thought of his new and
formidable neighbours, the squire of the money he wanted to raise, and
the young lieutenant seemed as if he had lost himself in a long sum in
addition which he could not manage to add up rightly, so that if my
lady had not ridden her high horse a little, and spoken of the calls
she intended to make on the grand people in the neighbourhood, and
if the three girls had not chattered about the pleasures of a
country-life, and about all the pretty things they had seen during
their drive, it would have been a regular quaker's meeting.

After dinner Mr. von Rambow and his bailiff drove to Rahnstädt. The
squire felt as he entered the door of Moses' house as if he were going
to pick a guinea out of the mud with his hitherto clean hands. On the
threshold he was greeted with a stuffy smell of tarry wool that had
just left the back of the sheep on which it had grown, and which is a
very different article from the same wool when it is woven into a
carpet for a lady's boudoir. The entrance-hall and business-room were
very untidy, for though Flora was a good woman she never could manage
to keep the skins out of sight, for Moses said shortly that they were
part of the trade, and David was continually adding new items to the
list of things lying about, so that finally the house became a very
paradise for rats, for these delightful little creatures take as kindly
to the fusty smell of a wool-stapler's shop, as doves to oil of
aniseed.

Mr. von Rambow did not feel more comfortable when he was in the
business-room, for Moses was old-fashioned, and when business permitted
always wore his worst coat on the Christian Sabbath, holding it an
article of faith to make himself look as different as possible from
Christians in their holiday-attire. When he came forward hastily to
receive the squire, exclaiming: "Mr. von Rambow!--I am highly
honoured!" and then turning to his son who was spending his
Sunday-leisure from "wool-stapling" in the enjoyment of lying at full
length on the sofa: "Why don't you move, David? Why are you lying
there? Get up and let Mr. von Rambow sit down." And when he led the
squire to the sofa, and signed to him to sit down in the place David
had just quitted, poor Mr. von Rambow would willingly have left the
guineas lying in the dirt--if only he had not been in such desperate
need of them.

Hawermann at once set a chair for his master near the open window, and
then began to explain the business that had brought them to Rahnstädt.
As soon as Moses found what they had come for he sent David out of the
room, for although he let his son manage the wool-stapling part of his
trade as he liked, he did not consider him capable at five and twenty
years old of taking even a subordinate place in the moneylending
department. The moment the coast was clear--of David--he said again
that it was a great honour to do business with Mr. von Rambow. "What
have I always told you, Mr. Hawermann? Didn't I always say that Mr. von
Rambow was a good man, a very good man.--And, Mr. von Rambow, what have
I always said?--That Mr. Hawermann was an honest man, he worked and
saved, and has paid me everything he owed me to the uttermost
farthing."--But when he understood how large a sum was wanted he rather
drew back, and wished to have nothing to do with it, and if he had not
seen that Hawermann earnestly desired that he should undertake the
business, he would have refused point blank. And who knows whether he
would not have refused to have anything to do with the affair even
then, if he had not heard that the money was wanted to complete the
purchase of Gürlitz, and that failing his help the squire would have to
come to an arrangement with Mr. Pomuchelskopp. When he heard that name
Moses made a face of as much disgust, as if some one had offered him a
bit of unclean meat on a plate, and then exclaimed: "With
Pömüffelskopp!" that was the way he always pronounced the name. "Do you
know what sort of man he is?" and as he spoke, he made a movement as
though he were throwing a piece of unclean meat over his shoulder. "I
advised my son David to have nothing to do with Pömüffelskopp--but
young people!--David bought some wool from him. Very well, I said, you
will see, I said. And what did we discover? He had mixed the lumpy wool
of sheep that had died of disease with what was clean and good, and
also the dirty skins of wethers that had been slaughtered by the
butcher, to say nothing of two large stones that he had put in the
centre. Two large stones!--Good, I said. I paid him in Prussian
paper-money, making up the sum in small parcels containing about
fifteen pounds each, and amongst them I slipped in a few notes that
were either false, or which had passed out of currency, and lastly I
added two old lottery-tickets--these are the two large stones, I
said.--Oh, didn't he make noise enough about it? He came back with
Slus'uhr the attorney--a man of like nature with himself--" with that he
made as though he were throwing another bit of unclean meat over his
shoulder.--"He looks for all the world like one of David's rats, his
ears are put on his head in the same way--he must needs live, so he
lives like the rats on refuse and garbage, and gnaws through the honest
work of other people.--There was noise enough in all conscience now
that the two were together. They said they'd go to law. What's the good
of a law-suit? I asked. The wool and the money are on a par.--And do
you know, gentlemen, I said something more. I said that though the
attorney, Mr. Pömüffelskopp, and I are only _three_ Jews, still we
might be counted as _four_, for the two former were quite equal to
three in their own person.--Oh dear, what a noise they made, they
abused me to every one, but his worship the mayor said to me, Moses, he
said, you do a large business, but have never yet gone to law with any
one, leave them to do their worst. Mr. von Rambow, you shall have the
money this very day at a reasonable percentage, for as you are a good
man and deal kindly with your dependents, and have a good name in the
country-side, you shall have nothing to do with that Pömüffelskopp."

Borrowing money is disagreeable work, and he who writes this book knows
that it is so from his own experience, still there is a great
difference between borrowing from a kind-hearted old friend, and
applying to a man whose business it is to lend money.--The squire had a
good many small debts on his estate, but there were no large mortgages
on it, whenever he had wanted money before he had been able to get it
from his lawyer, or from a tradesman, and this was the first time his
old resources had failed him, and that he had been obliged to go to a
Jewish moneylender. He had an intense dislike to the business he was
about; the fear caused by the unwillingness Moses had at first shown
to lend him the money, and then the sudden relief when he found he
was to have it after all overpowered him so much, that he sank back
in his chair pale and trembling. Hawermann asked for some water for
him.--"Perhaps, Mr. von Rambow," asked Moses, "you'd like a mouthful of
wine better."--"No, water, water," cried Hawermann, and Moses rushed to
the door, and nearly knocked David down when he opened it, for David
had been listening at the key-hole. "David," he exclaimed, "what are
you standing there for? Why don't you go for some water?"

David brought the water, and the squire felt better as soon as he had
drunk it. Moses counted the gold out on the table, and the squire,
after picking them up, looked at his hands, and saw that they appeared
every whit as white and clean as before. And after he was once more
seated in the carriage, it seemed to him as he looked back at the
money-lender's house, as if he had left the heavy load of care he had
brought with him amongst the wool and sheep-skins in the warehouse. And
Moses stood in the door-way and bowed, and bowed, and glanced from side
to side to see whether his neighbours had observed that Mr. von Rambow
was there.--Still he was not so much overwhelmed with the honour done
him, as to be unable to look after his own affairs, he bent down his
head, and drawing Hawermann aside, whispered: "You are an honest man,
bailiff. When I concluded this piece of business I didn't notice how
ill the squire was. You must promise me that the money will be paid off
by the estate.--It is a question of life and death.--What have I to do
with a sick man and a bond?"

Now that the squire's mind was at rest about his money-difficulties his
health improved rapidly, and he began to look at everything in a more
cheerful light, and when a few days later Hawermann again proposed that
Mr. von Rambow should take a lease of the Gürlitz glebe, he consented
at once, and gave Hawermann permission to make all the necessary
arrangements with Mr. Behrens. Little Mrs. Behrens fluttered round her
husband and Hawermann while they talked, and said that "the rent ought
to be higher than before."--"Yes," answered Hawermann, "of course it
ought. The rent must be raised, for the times are better than they
were, but that matter will be easily settled, for it will be an
advantageous arrangement for both sides."--"Regina," said the pastor,
"it has just occurred to me that the flowers have never been watered
this morning."--"Goodness gracious me," cried Mrs. Behrens as she
hastened from the room, "I quite forgot the flowers."--"We'll get on
quicker now," said the pastor. "I confess that I'd rather have an
outsider for a tenant than the lord of the manor, for when the latter
has the glebe-lands there are often little disagreeables and disputes
that ought never to be between the parish-priest and his squire.
Besides that, merely as a matter of personal feeling I'd far rather
have Mr. von Rambow for a tenant than the new lord of the manor; you
see I have known him for many years.--So you really think I ought to
get a higher rent?"--"Most certainly, Sir, and I am commissioned to
offer you half as much again as you used to get. If I _myself_ were
going to take a lease of it from you, I should offer you more,
but ......"--"We understand each other, dear Hawermann," interrupted
Mr. Behrens. "I agree to your terms."--So when Mrs. Behrens returned
with little Louisa to say: "I needn't have gone after all, Louisa had
done it for me," business was all arranged. The child threw her arms
round her father's neck, exclaiming: "Oh father, father, what a good
plan it is!"--Why did she kiss her father, and what did it matter to
her who got the lease of the glebe?--Well, well, if her father had the
land he would have to look after it, and so she hoped to him oftener.

When Hawermann was walking down the path leading to the church he met
Zachariah Bräsig coming towards him. Bräsig had quite recovered from
the unphilosophical state of mind into which a fit of gout always threw
him, and now that the pain was over could take things as calmly and
philosophically as usual. "Good-day, Charles," he said. "I have been
waiting for you for some time in your room, but as the time hung rather
heavily on my hands I went at last to pay my respects to the
_Counsellor_. He delighted to see me, and received me with the greatest
possible kindness; but how dreadfully changed he is." True, Hawermann
replied, his master had become terribly aged and feeble, and he feared
that he would not long be spared to them.--"Yes," answered Bräsig, "but
what is life after all, Charles? What is human life? Look you, Charles,
it is as though it were a thing twirled round and round like an empty
purse from which not a single farthing can fall, however long one may
wait."--"Bräsig," said Hawermann, "I don't know what other people may
think of it, but life and work always seem to me to be one and the same
thing."--"Oh, ho! Charles, I have you now! You learnt that from parson
Behrens. He has spoken to me now and then on the subject, and he always
makes out that human life in this world is neither more nor less than a
sort of seed-time, and that Christian faith is the sun and rain that
makes the seed sprout and grow, and that only hereafter, in the other
world, comes the harvest, for while he is on earth, man must labour and
toil to the uttermost.--But, Charles, that is a wrong way of looking at
it, it goes clean against Scripture.--The Bible tells us of the lilies
of the field, how they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet our
Heavenly Father feeds them. And if God feeds them, they are alive, and
yet they do no work. And when I have that confounded gout, and can do
nothing--absolutely nothing, except flap the beastly flies away from my
face--can I be said to work? And yet I am alive, and suffer horrible
torture into the bargain. And, Charles," he continued, pointing to a
field on the right, "just look at those two lilies coming towards
us. I mean the lieutenant and his youngest sister; now have you ever
heard that lieutenants in a cavalry-regiment do any sort of hard work,
or that young ladies of rank and position busy themselves with
spinning? Yet there they come, alive and well, walking over the
rape-stubble."--"Will you wait a few minutes, Zachariah?" said
Hawermann. "They are coming straight towards us, and perhaps wish to
speak to us."--"All right," said Bräsig. "But I say, just look at the
young lady wading through the stubble with a long train to her gown,
and thin shoes!--Nay, Charles, life and suffering are one and the same
thing, and the suffering always begins at the small end, with the feet
for instance; and that this is true, witness my confounded gout, and
the young lady's thin shoes.--But what I wanted to say was this, that
your happiest time here is past and gone, for when the _Counsellor_ is
dead, you may look out for squalls.--You will then see strange things
come to pass with my lady, her unmarried daughters, and the
lieutenant.--Charles," he continued, after a few minutes silent
thought, "it would be well for you to be on good terms with the
crown-prince."--"Oh, Bräsig, what are you saying?" interrupted
Hawermann. "I shall keep to the straight road."--"Yes, Charles, I do so
too, and so does everyone who is not a Jesuit; but look at the young
lady, she is also going along the straight road, but it leads her
through the stubble!--Charles ....."

The young people had now come too near to allow him to finish his
sentence, so he only added in a sort of aside: "A Jesuit? No! But he's
a regular vocative case!"--

"Thank you, Mr. Hawermann, for waiting for us," said Alick von Rambow,
coming up to them. "My sister and I set out on our walk with two
different ends in view: her object was to find corn-flowers, and mine
was to find horses. She can't find any cornflowers, and I can't see any
horses."--"If you mean the common 'blue-bottle' by corn-flowers, Miss,"
said Bräsig. "But," he interrupted himself, "what a pity, that
confounded rape-stubble has torn your pretty dress," and he stooped
down as though he were about to try his hand at lady's maid's
work.--"Oh, it doesn't matter," cried the young lady, starting back,
"it's an old dress. But where shall I find the corn-flowers?"--"I'll
show you. There are a good lot of them down there on the Gürlitz march;
you'll find blue-bottles, red poppies, white gules, and thistles; in
short, a whole plantation of weeds."--"That is a capital plan,
Fidelia," said her brother, "while you go in search of corn-flowers
with Mr. Bräsig, I will ask Mr. Hawermann to show me the young horses,
for," turning to Hawermann, "you must know that my father was good
enough to tell me this morning, that I might choose one of the best of
the four-year-olds for my own use."--"I'll show them to you with great
pleasure," answered Hawermann, "there are some really good horses
amongst them."--So the two parties separated, and the last words
Hawermann heard Bräsig say as he walked away with Miss Fidelia were,
that he was delighted to make her acquaintance, for he had once had a
dog that was called "Fidel," and that it had been a splendid ratter.

Hawermann and the lieutenant went together to the paddock, and as they
walked they naturally talked about farming. The lieutenant was of a
lively disposition, and Hawermann had known him from his childhood, but
the bailiff found that he had learnt nothing about the subject on which
he was talking, that his views were inpracticable, and his questions
were so wide of the mark and displayed so much ignorance, that he could
not help saying to himself: "He's good-natured, very good-natured, but
he's very ignorant, and--good God!--when his father dies he will have
the estate, and will have to make his living out of it!"

After they had reached the paddock, and had examined each of the young
horses separately, the lieutenant said to Hawermann: "Well, what do you
say? Which ought I to take?"--"The brown," replied the bailiff.--"I
like the black better, don't you see the beautiful arch of his neck,
and what a finely shaped head he has?"--"Mr. von Rambow," said
Hawermann, "you don't ride on the head or neck of a horse, but on its
back and legs. You want a hack, and you'll get three times as much work
out of the brown as the black."--"The black looks as if he were partly
English?"--"You're quite right there, he is descended from Wild-fire;
but the brown is of the old Mecklenburg breed, and it is a pity that
these horses should be allowed to die out, that one should not take
pains to keep up what is good in our own country but should exchange it
for English racers."--"That may be all quite true," said Alick, "but as
all the officers in my regiment have black horses, I shall decide on
taking the black."

As Hawermann could not see the force of this reasoning, he remained
silent, and the conversation on the way back was not so easy as before;
but when they had nearly reached the house--right in front of the door,
and as if he had been preparing for this last step--the lieutenant
stopped the bailiff, and said with a deep sigh, and as if lifting a
heavy burden from his breast: "Hawermann, I have long wished to have a
little private talk with you.--Hawermann, I'm in debt--you must help
me.--I owe a hundred and thirty-five pounds, and I _must_ have the
money."--That was a bad proposal to make to Hawermann; but in really
serious matters the bailiff used the influence of his age, he looked
the young man of three and twenty full in the face, and said: "I can't
help you in this, Mr. von Rambow."--"Hawermann, dear Hawermann, I'm
desperately in want of the money."--"Then you ought to speak to your
father."--"To my father? No, no! he has already paid so much for me,
and now he is ill, it might do him harm."--"Still you should tell him.
Such things as this ought never to be discussed with strangers, they
should always be arranged between father and son."--"Strangers?" asked
Alick, looking at him reproachfully. "Do you really look upon me as
such a complete stranger, Hawermann!"--"No, Mr. von Rambow, no,"
exclaimed Hawermann, seizing his young master's hand, "you are no
stranger to me. And I will do anything for you that I possibly can.
This matter is in itself a mere nothing, and if I could not manage it
alone, my friend Bräsig would make up the rest; but, dear Mr. von
Rambow, your father is your natural helper, and it would be wrong to
pass him over."--"I can't tell my father," said Alick, plucking the
leaves off a willow-tree near him.--"You _must_ tell him," cried
Hawermann as emphatically as he could, "he feels that you are
concealing some of your debts from him, and that pains him."--"Has he
spoken to you about it?"--"Yes," replied Hawermann, "but only in
connection with his own great need of money which you already know
about."--"I know," said Alick, "and I also know the source from which
my father received assistance.--Well, I can do what my father did
before me," he added coldly and shortly as he entered the house.--"Mr.
von Rambow," cried Hawermann, following him hastily, "don't do that,
for Heaven's sake, you won't succeed, and you'll only be in a more
unpleasant position than before."--Alick would not listen to him.

A couple of hours later, lieutenant von Rambow was standing amongst the
wool-sacks and sheep-skins in the Jew's house, where David found his
amusement amongst the articles of his trade, and he seemed to be making
a despairing last appeal to Moses, who kept determined hold of his
purse-strings. "Really and truly, my lord Baron, I can't do it. And why
not? Can't I make by it? Can't I make a good deal by it?--Look you, my
lord Baron, there is David--David, what are you doing? What are you
looking at? Come here, David.--Look you, my lord Baron, here he is
standing before you and me, I won't give him the least sign, but will
go quietly into the next room, and then you can ask David." And with
that he walked right shoulder first into the next room.

Poor Alick's affairs must have been in a bad way before he would have
had anything to do with such a person as David, for if he in his grand
new uniform looked fit to draw the king's carriage, David's outer man
was so shabby and ill-conditioned that he was worthy of nothing better
than dragging a scavenger's cart. But in this sort of business
appearance is nothing, the chief thing is to know how to act in any
emergency, and David was quite up to the mark there. He had three
qualities that stood him in very good stead; firstly, he had the
incomparably sly, sharp expression and features of the Jewish usurer,
and as he stood before lieutenant von Rambow, chewing a bit of cinnamon
stalk he had taken from his mother's store-closet, as a remedy against
the close woolly smell of the warehouse, and gazing at him with his
head bent a little sideways, and one hand in his pocket, he looked as
impudent as if the ghosts of all the rats that had died in the house,
during all the years that he had carried on the wool-trade there, had
entered into him: secondly, he knew himself to be a far harder and more
unyielding man of business than his father, for having had so much to
do with wool, skins, &c., which are known to be difficult things to
deal with, had taught him much: and thirdly, he was quite up to the
most approved method of drawing on, or holding off, a customer, and
this he had also learnt in the wool-trade.

Naturally Alick could make nothing of such a highly gifted individual,
and very soon turned to go away with a heavy heart. David was so
pleased with the way in which he had conducted the case in hand, that
he began to compassionate the young man, and felt inclined to give him
a little friendly counsel, so he advised him to apply to attorney
Slus'uhr, "for he has the money, and he will arrange matters for you."

Lieutenant von Rambow had scarcely closed the door when Moses rushed
in, and exclaimed: "David, have you any conscience?--I'll tell you
something, you have none!--How could you send the lad to such a
cut-throat?"--"I have only sent him to his own people," replied David
maliciously. "He's a soldier, so he's a cut-throat too. And even
supposing that the attorney _does_ cut his throat, what's that
to _you_? And if he cuts the attorney's throat, what's that to
_me_?"--"David," said the old man, shaking his head, "I tell you again,
you have no conscience."--"What is conscience?" growled David. "When
you are doing business you send me away, and when you won't do business
you call me."--"David," said his father, "you are too young," and with
that he went into his room again.--"Am I too young?" muttered David
between his teeth. "Am I always to be too young? Well, I know a place
where I am not too young." Then he changed his coat, and set out in the
same direction as he had sent the lieutenant, to the house of attorney
Slus'uhr.

I do not know what he had to do there, but I know this, that young Mr.
von Rambow had to write a good many letters that evening when he got
back to Pümpelhagen, and that he sent a cheque in each of them, and
that when they were all finished he gave a deep sigh as if he had got
rid of a heavy burden. He did not know that although he had weathered
the first storm, he had acted like the old woman who heated the yeast
in her baking trough.



                               CHAPTER V.


About ten o'clock in the morning, a few days later, the sun was peeping
down on the garden of Gürlitz manor-house from behind a cloud. Her
daughter, the earth, had been having a great washing-day, and she
wanted to give her beloved child a little help with the drying of the
clothes. There is nothing more delightful than to see old mother sun
looking down sympathetically, her broad kindly old face showing between
the white sheets of cloud, and to see her seizing her watering-can now
and then to sprinkle the linen. At such times she is always in high
spirits, and, in spite of her old age and experience, is as changeable
in her humour as a young girl who is in love for the first time. One
moment she is sad and tearful, and the next laughing and joyous.

The old lady laughed heartily as she looked down on the garden at
Gürlitz. "Well," she cried, scattering her golden laughter over plants
and bushes, "one sees queer things sometimes in this stupid old world!
A neat white figure used to stand there, which by my help enabled those
poor hungry children of men to know the exact time to eat their dinner,
and now a fat, awkward looking fellow has taken its place, he has
green-checked trousers on, and there is a pipe in his mouth. Nothing is
done so foolishly anywhere else as in the world!" And with that she
laughed merrily over the new squire, Mr. Pomuchelskopp, who was
standing like a sun-dial, dressed in a yellow nankin-coat, and
green-checked trousers, in the same place where the graceful heathen
god Apollo used to be, except that while the god had a lyre in his
hand, he was provided with a short pipe. The sun's face clouded over
now and then when she saw her old friend, who, for so many years, had
noted her doings faithfully, lying neglected among the rankgrass and
nettles.--And then she began to laugh again.

Pomuchelskopp laughed too. There was no smile to be seen on his face,
but when stretching himself up as high as his short stature would
allow, he gazed around him, his heart rejoiced and cried: "It is all
mine! All mine!" He did not see the sun-beams which gilded the earth,
these made no impression on him; but the sun-beam within him, which was
caused by nothing better than pounds, shillings, and pence, lighted up
his heart, though it did not show in his face. Before an expression of
amusement could be seen there something very humorous must take place,
and matter to call it forth was not wanting.

His two youngest children, Tony and Phil, had come out into the garden,
and Phil had made himself a rod of docken and nettle-stalks, with which
he beat the statue of the fallen god, and that made father
Pomuchelskopp laugh most heartily, and Tony ran into the kitchen and
got a bit of charcoal, and was just going to give him a moustache, when
his father stopped him, and said: "Tony, don't do that, you may spoil
it, and perhaps we may sell it, Tony. But you may thrash it as much as
you like."--And so they beat the statue with their stinging rods, and
father Pomuchelskopp laughed till he shook in his green-checked
trousers.

At this moment "madam" appeared, and she was Pomuchelskopp's sterner
half. She was extremely tall, and as angular as king Pharaoh's seven
lean kine, her forehead was always wrinkled into a frown, as if the
cares of the whole world were laid upon her, or as if she were always
suffering a sort of martyrdom, or as if all the crockery broken by all
the maid-servants throughout the world belonged to her, and her mouth
had such a bitter curve that one would have thought that, she was
accustomed to drink vinegar, and eat sorrel. She wore every morning, in
spite of the hot summer-weather, a black merino dress that she had
bought once when she was in mourning, and that must therefore be worn
out, and when she changed it she put on a cotton gown which she had had
dyed olive green with elder-bark; and on such occasions as
Pomuchelskopp wore a blue coat and brass buttons, she put on a cap with
so many frills and furbelows that her weazened face peering out of it,
looked for all the world like a half starved mouse in a bundle of tow;
as for the rest of her dress, she wore petticoat on the top of
petticoat, but still her poor shrunken legs looked like a couple of
knitting-needles that had lost their way in a bag of odds and ends. At
such times it was advisable that her servants should keep out of her
way, for when she went about with velvet or silken streamers, her soul
was weighed down with the constant fear, of unnecessary expense in
housekeeping details.

She was a "mother" who pondered day and night how she might best make a
waistcoat for Phil out of an old dress of Mally's. She loved her
children according to the Scriptures, and so she chastened them, and
Tony might count two slaps on the back for every stain on his coat, and
two on the legs for every stain on his trousers. Yes, she was stern to
her own flesh and blood, but still she was able to rejoice in due
measure, as for instance to-day, when she came into the garden, and saw
how her youngest olive-branches were amusing themselves, a smile then
crossed her face like a pale gleam of sunshine in February when the
earth is still frozen, and which seems to say: "Never fear, spring is
coming at last."

She was the kind of wife of whom it might be said that she never in
thought, word, or deed sinned against the letter of her duty, although
Pomuchelskopp's conduct was rather trying, for in her opinion he was
often guilty of too great levity; for instance, when he thought a joke
a good one, he would laugh at it outright, and that was not seemly
behaviour in the father of a family, and must necessarily end by
impoverishing him, and bringing her and her children to beggary. She
therefore did more than she was bound to do by her marriage-vows, she
discouraged such outward signs of mirth, and gave him of her own
vinegar to drink, and of her own sorrel to eat. She lectured him--that
is to say when they were alone--as if he were her youngest son Phil,
she treated him as if he were still a child; in short, she bullied him
after her own fashion.--She never beat him--God forbid!--She contented
herself with words. She understood how to bring him round to her way of
thinking by the mode of her address: if he were behaving with
undignified thoughtlessness, she called him coldly and hardly by the
last syllable of his name, "Kopp," for she generally addressed him by
the two middle syllables, "Muchel;" but when he was acting so as to
meet with her entire satisfaction, for instance, when he sat crossly in
the corner of the sofa, and slashed angrily at the flies, she called
him by the beginning of his name in a loving tone, "Pöking."[6]

She did not call him "Pöking" to-day. "Kopp," she said, to show her
disapproval of his undignified manner of testifying his amusement at
what the boys were doing, "Kopp, why are you standing there smoking
like a chimney? Let us go and call at the parsonage."--"My chick,"
involuntarily taking the pipe out of his mouth, "we can set off at once
if you like. I shan't be a moment in changing my coat."--"Coat? Why!
you don't suppose that _I_ am going to put on my best black silk?--We
are only going to call on _our_ clergyman."--She laid as great an
emphasis on the word "our," as if she had been speaking of her
shepherd, or as if she thought that the parson was indebted to her for
his daily bread.--"Just as you like, my Henny. I can put on my brown
overcoat instead.--Phil, don't beat the statue any more, mama doesn't
like it."--"Never mind the children, Kopp, you've got enough to do, to
look after yourself. You'll go in your nankin-coat, it is clean and
good."--"My chuck," said Pomuchelskopp, who, when he was of a different
opinion from the wife of his bosom, always began with "Henny," and
ended with "chuck," "always dress in good style, my dearest chuck. Even
if we don't do it for the sake of the clergyman's family, let us do it
for our own sake. And if Mally and Sally go with us, they ought to
dress so as to make an imposing impression on the people at the
parsonage."

This last reason was deemed a sufficient one, and gained Pomuchelskopp
leave to put on his brown coat. He was made very happy by being allowed
to have his own way, a piece of good fortune that did not often happen
to him, so he felt proportionably grateful, and being desirous of
pleasing his Henny in return for her kindness, he wished to make her
partake in his joy. Let no one imagine however that Pomuchelskopp was
so ill-bred as to give audible signs of merriment in his own house, no,
he was always humble and quiet when there. He waved his hand towards
the fields around him, and said; "Look, my chick, these all belongs
to us!"--"Muchel," said madam shortly, "you are exaggerating, that
is Pümpelhagen down there."--"You are right, Henny, that is
Pümpelhagen.--But," he added, his little eyes twinkling avariciously as
he looked down on Pümpelhagen, "who knows?--If I am spared, and if I
sell my Pomeranian property well, and the times remain good, and the
old _Counsellor_ dies, and his son contracts debts ....."--"Yes,
Muchel," interrupted his affectionate wife with the satirical curl of
her lip, which the world had to accept as her only substitute for a
smile, for it was the nearest approach to one that ever was seen on her
face, "yes, that is just like old Strohpagel, when he said: if I were
ten years younger, and were steadier on my legs, and hadn't my wife,
you would all see what sort of fellow I really am!"--"Henny," said
Pomuchelskopp, putting on an injured expression, "how can you say such
a thing? How could I ever wish to get rid of you? I should never have
been able to buy Gürlitz without the eight thousand five hundred pounds
you inherited from your father. And what a splendid place Gürlitz is!
All that land belongs to it," and he waved his hand as he spoke.--"Yes,
Kopp," said his wife shortly, "except the glebe, which you have allowed
to slip through your fingers."--"Dear me, chuck, will you never leave
the subject of the glebe alone! What can I do?--You see I am a
straightforward, honest man, so what chance have I with a couple of sly
rogues like Hawermann and the parson? But we hav'n't done with each
other yet, _Mounseer_ Hawermann! We'll have some thing to say to each
other before long, reverend Sir!"

Three neat little maidens were seated in Mrs. Behrens' tidy parlour in
Gürlitz parsonage on the same morning. They were plying their needles
and tongues busily, for they were trying a race both in sewing and in
talking, and as they sat there they looked as sweet and rosy in
contrast with the white linen, as freshly plucked strawberries on a
white plate. And these three children were Louisa Hawermann, and the
twins, Lina and Mina Nüssler.--"Children," said little Mrs. Behrens, on
one of the many incursions from the kitchen into the parlour, "you
can't think what a pleasure it is to me in my old age when I am laying
the clean linen away in the chest, that I know exactly when I spun and
hemmed each separate piece! How differently one treats it when one
knows from experience how much trouble it has cost. Mina, Mina, that
hem's all crooked. Goodness gracious me, Louisa, I believe you've been
going on sewing without ever looking what you were about, don't you see
that you haven't got a knot on your thread! Now I must go and see that
the potatoes are boiling properly, for my pastor will soon be in," and
then she hastened from the room, only popping her head in at the door
again to say, "Mina and Lina, you are to remain to dinner," and so she
kept flying about between kitchen and parlour in measured time like the
pendulum of a clock and keeping everything in good order in both.

But how was it that Lina and Mina had joined Mrs. Behrens'
sewing-class? This was how it happened--When the two little girls had
grown so old that they could pronounce the letter "r," and no longer
cared about playing with the sand-box, but ran after Mrs. Nüssler all
day long, saying: "What shall we do now, mother?" Mrs. Nüssler told
young Joseph that it was high time for the children to have some
schooling: they must have a governess. Joseph had no objection, and his
brother-in-law Baldrian the schoolmaster, was commissioned to engage
one. When the governess had been six months at Rexow, Mrs. Nüssler said
she was a discontented old woman who did nothing but nagg at the
children all day long, and made her so uncomfortable that she scarcely
felt at home in her own house. So that governess had to take her
departure.--Kurz, the shop-keeper, chose the next, and one day, when no
one in Rexow had any suspicion of what was going to happen, the door
opened, and in marched an enormous woman, as tall as a grenadier, with
strongly marked eye-brows, a yellow complexion, and spectacles on her
nose, who introduced herself as the "new governess." She then began to
speak French to the two little girls, and finding that they were
innocent of all knowledge of that language, she addressed herself to
young Joseph in the same tongue. Such a thing had never happened to
young Joseph before, and it astonished him so much that he let his pipe
go out, and as they were drinking coffee at the time, he said, in order
to say something: "Mother, fill the new teacher's cup."--Well, in a
very short time the new governess ruled the whole house, but at last
Mrs. Nüssler who had borne it bravely as long as she could, said:
"Stop, this will never do. If any one is to rule here, it is I, for I
am the 'nearest,' as Mrs. Behrens would say," and so the grenadier had
to march.--Uncle Bräsig now tried what he could do, "so that the little
round-heads might learn something." He engaged what he called a
"capital teacher," and "one who is always merry, and who is not to be
beat in playing the piano-forty."--He was right. One evening in winter
a red-faced, smiling little woman arrived at Rexow, and she had not
been ten minutes in the house before she fell upon the newly bought
second-hand piano, and beat it and thumped it as if she were threshing
out corn. When she had gone to bed, young Joseph opened the piano, but
as soon as he found out that three of the strings were broken, he shut
it again, and said: "What's to be done now?"--There was great fun and
laughter in the house in those days, for the governess played and
frisked about with the little girls, till Mrs. Nüssler came to the
conclusion that her eldest daughter Lina was on the whole a more
sensible person than her teacher. She wanted to know what the children
were taught, and therefore begged Madmoiselle to draw out a plan of
lessons, and let her see it. Next day Lina brought her a large sheet of
paper containing the plan, which was as follows: German, French,
orthography, geography, religion, Scripture history, and the other kind
of history, and Bible natural history, and at the end came music,
music, music, music.--"Ah well," said she to Joseph, "she may teach
music as much as she likes, if only the religion is all right. What do
you think, Joseph?"--"Oh," said Joseph, "it all depends upon
circumstances!"--Nothing more would have been said, if Mrs. Nüssler had
not accidentally found out from Lina that the time that ought to have
been devoted to Scripture history, was spent in playing at ball, and
soon afterwards when she happened to be upstairs at the time of the
religious lesson, she heard peals of laughter from the school-room, and
on going there to see what sort of religion was being taught, she
found--Mademoiselle playing at Tig with the children. Mrs. Nüssler
would have nothing to say to a religious lesson of that kind, and so
Mademoiselle "Jack in the box" had to beat a retreat like her
forerunner the grenadier.

The worst of it was that it was in the middle of the quarter, and Mrs.
Nüssler complained of the children being always in her way, to which
Joseph merely said: "Oh, what can I do?" but at the same time he began
to study the Rostock newspaper very attentively, and one day he put
down the paper, and desired Christian to get the phaeton ready. His
wife was rather uneasy because she had no idea what he was going to do,
but as soon as she saw that his mouth was even more drawn down to the
left than usual, which was his way of giving a friendly smile, she
said to herself: "Let him be, he has got some kindly thought in his
head."--Three days later Joseph returned, bringing with him a shadowy
lady of a certain age, and the news spread like wild-fire: "Only think,
young Joseph has engaged a governess by himself this time!"--Bräsig
came on the following Sunday and looked her over, he was pretty well
satisfied with her, "but," he said, "mark my words, young Joseph, she
has got nerves."--Bräsig had not only a great knowledge of horses, he
had also a knowledge of men, and he was right. Mademoiselle had nerves,
many nerves. The twins had to go about the house on tip-toe.
Mademoiselle took Mina's ball away from her because she had once thrown
it against her window by mistake, and locked the piano to prevent Lina
playing, "Our cat has nine kittens," the only air which Miss "Jack in
the box" had taught her.--

In course of time Mademoiselle had fits of rigidity in addition to her
nerves, and Mrs. Nüssler had to rush and administer all sorts of
reviving drops to her, and Frida and Caroline had to sit up with her at
night, for one would have been afraid to do it alone. "I should send
her away if I were you," said Uncle Bräsig, but Mrs. Nüssler was too
kind-hearted to do that, she sent for the doctor instead.--Dr. Strump
came from Rahnstädt, and when he had looked at the clenched teeth of
the patient, he said it was a very interesting case, and explained it
by saying that he had lately been studying "The night-side of human
nature."--Young Joseph and his wife thought no evil, except that they
had been obliged to get up in the night several times, but something
else was to come.--One day when the doctor was there Caroline rushed
down-stairs: "Mistress, Mistress, the illness is at its height. The
doctor has been waving his hands before Mamselle's face, and now she's
prophesying, and she's telling the truth too. She told me that I had a
sweetheart."--"Heaven preserve me!" said Bräsig who happened to
be there. "The young woman ought to be in an asylum!"--And then
he followed Mrs. Nüssler upstairs.--After a little he came down
again, and asked: "What do you say _now_, young Joseph?"--Joseph sat
silently thinking for some time, at last he said: "It's no use,
Bräsig."--"Joseph," said Bräsig, striding up and down as he spoke, "I
advised you to send her away before, but now I say, _don't_ send her
away. I asked her what sort of rain we shall have to-morrow, and she
answered in her sun-and-bulist state, that we should have a regular
plump. If there is a plump tomorrow, take your perometer down from the
wall--perometers are of no more use, and yours has been standing at
'set fair' for the last two years--and then you can hang her in its
place, and so make the fortune of the whole neighbourhood."--Young
Joseph made no reply, and when he saw how frightfully it rained the
next day, he still said nothing, but pondered over the marvellous
circumstance for three days in silence. The news, meanwhile, spread
throughout the countryside that young Joseph had engaged a prophetess,
and that she had prophesied the heavy rain which had fallen on the
previous Saturday, and also that Caroline Kräuger and Mr. Farm-bailiff
Bräsig should be married before the year was out.--Naturally Dr. Strump
was not behind-hand in publishing the details of the interesting case
he was attending, and before long Mrs. Nüssler's quiet house became the
meeting-place of all the neighbourhood, every one going there either
from curiosity or to study the case from a scientific point of view;
and as Mrs. Nüssler would have nothing to do with it, and young Joseph
would have nothing to do with it, Zachariah Bräsig took the case in
hand when the doctor was not there, and conducted the visitors
up-stairs to Madmoiselle's apartment, and explained the nature of
somnambulism to them. Christian, the coach-man, held watch by
Madmoiselle's bed, because he was so brave that he did not fear the
devil himself, and Caroline and Frida were too frightened to remain in
the room, even in company, and indeed they did not consider it a proper
occupation for them, for they thought a somnambulist must be a very
wicked person.--Amongst the visitors was the young Baron von Mallerjahn
of Gräunenmur, who came every day to enquire scientifically into the
affair, and who at last used to go up to see Madmoiselle without
waiting for Bräsig. Mrs. Nüssler was very angry when she found out that
he did so, and told Joseph that he ought to be present at the
interviews, but her husband answered that Christian was there, and so
there was no need of him. At last however Christian came down, and said
that the young Baron had turned him out of the room because he smelt
too strongly of the stable, and that made Mrs. Nüssler cry with anger,
and if Bräsig had not appeared at that moment she would herself have
ordered the Baron out of the house, but Bräsig of course undertook to
do it for her. He therefore went up-stairs, and said politely, but
firmly: "My lord, will you be so good as to look at the other side of
the door?"--The Baron seemed to understand what was meant, for he
smiled rather constrainedly, and said that he was just then in magnetic
rapport with Mademoiselle. "What do you mean by a 'monetary report?'"
said Bräsig, "we want none of your money here, nor your reports either;
that's the reason that Christian was told to sit here."--Now Bräsig
was, without knowing it, in magnetic rapport himself, for whenever he
saw Mrs. Nüssler shed tears, it put him in a rage, so he now ended by
saying angrily: "And now, Sir, I must beg of you to go at once."--The
Baron was naturally put out at being addressed in such an unceremonious
manner, and asked haughtily, if Bräsig knew that he was extremely
rude.--"If you call that rude," cried Bräsig, seizing the Baron by the
arm, "I'll soon show you something else."--The noise they made wakened
Mademoiselle from her sleep, she started up off the sofa, and, seizing
the Baron by the other arm, declared that she would remain there no
longer; no one understood her except him, and she would go with
him.--"That's the best thing to do," said Bräsig. "One ought always to
speed the parting guest. Two flies at one blow!" he concluded, showing
them down-stairs.

The Baron's carriage drove up to the door, and the Baron himself looked
nervous and uncomfortable, but Mademoiselle was determined. "Well,
well, what's to be done now?" said young Joseph as he watched the
departure from the window.--"Young Joseph," said Bräsig as the carriage
drove out of the yard, "it all depends upon circumstances, and it's
hard to say. And, Mrs. Nüssler, let them be, the Baron will soon find
out now how to manage his monetary report."

For some time past Hawermann had been a great deal from home on his
master's business, and when he returned for a few days he had too much
to do about the farm to have time to attend to anything else. He had,
it is true, gone to see his sister once or twice, and had comforted her
by assuring her that the governess was ill, and would of course soon
get well again, but once when he came home he found that the doings at
Rexow were the talk of the whole neighbourhood. He was told that young
Joseph's sleeping Mademoiselle had run away with the Baron von
Mallerjahn, and that before she left she had infected Bräsig with the
gift of prophecy, and Christian with that of sleeping, so that Bräsig
now prophesied as he went about, and Christian could sleep standing.

Hawermann went to Mr. Behrens, asked him to tell him the rights of the
story, and to accompany him to his sister's house. "With pleasure,
Hawermann, I'll go with you gladly," said the clergyman, "but, to tell
you the truth, I have not taken any notice of the affair on principle.
I know that many of my brethren in Christ have tried the effect of
exorcism when such cases have fallen under their notice, but in my
opinion, in illnesses of this kind, the doctor is the proper person to
consult, and sometimes," he added with a sly smile, "the police are of
more use than any one else."

When they reached Rexow, they found Mrs. Nüssler, who was generally
able to see the bright side of everything, looking sad and weary. "Oh,
Mr. Behrens! My dear brother Charles!" she said. "That was a dreadful
woman, and I have been in great distress about her, but indeed, all the
governesses that I have tried have been dreadful people. That isn't the
worst of it. I shall get over that in time. What makes me miserable is
that my dear good little girls know nothing, and are learning nothing.
I can't bear to think that the time may come when my children may have
to sit silently amongst other young people of their own age and
standing, because they are too ignorant to join in the conversation,
and that perhaps they won't even be able to write a letter! Ah,
reverend Sir, you who are so learned can't understand how bitterly one
feels one's ignorance when one is in the company of people of one's own
station who have been properly educated, but I can understand it, and
so can you, Charles. Oh, Mr. Behrens, I'd rather send my little girls
away to school, though it would break my heart to part with them, and
Joseph and I would feel lost in the house without them, than that they
should grow up stupid and ignorant. When Louisa comes here she can
answer our questions sensibly, and she can read Joseph's newspapers.
Mina can also read, but when she comes to a foreign word she has to
spell it out. The other day Louisa read to us about 'Bordoe,' and that
I suppose is the right way to call the town, but Mina said 'B-o-r-d
Board, e-a-x oaks,' and what was the sense of calling it 'Boardoaks'
when it is always pronounced 'Bordoe?'"

During this long address of Mrs. Nüssler's the clergyman rose, and
walked thoughtfully up and down the room, at last he stood still and
said: "I have a proposal to make to you, neighbour. Perhaps Louisa is
farther advanced than your children, perhaps not. You need not part
with your little girls, if you will send them to me, and let me teach
them."--Whether Mrs. Nüssler had an undefined hope that her
difficulties would be ended in this way, or whether it was an utter
surprise to her, cannot be known, but this at any rate is certain, that
the relief was like a sudden turning from darkness to light. She looked
at the pastor with her frank blue eyes, and exclaimed: "Oh, Sir!" and
springing from her chair she went on: "Joseph, Joseph, did you hear?
Mr. Behrens says he will teach our little girls!"--Joseph had heard,
and had also risen. He wanted to say something, but not being able to
find the right words he just tried to seize the clergyman's hand, and
when he had got hold of it, he pressed it, and drawing Mr. Behrens to
the sofa, made him sit down by the little supper-table, and then when
Mrs. Nüssler and Hawermann had told the good man how happy he had made
them all, young Joseph said: "Mother, give the pastor a glass of beer."

So Mina and Lina became daily guests at Gürlitz parsonage. They were
still as like each other as two peas, except that Lina as the eldest
was a small half inch taller than Mina, and Mina was a good half inch
rounder than Lina, and, if you looked _very_ particularly, you could
see that Mina's nose was rather more of a snub than Lina's.

And now we return to when the three little girls were having their
sewing-lesson in Mrs. Behrens' parlour, on the day that the
Pomuchelskopps came to pay their first visit at the parsonage, for as
soon as the clergyman had finished his morning-lessons, his wife began
her share of the children's education.

"Goodness gracious me!" cried Mrs. Behrens, running into the parlour.
"Put away your sewing, children. Louisa, carry it all into my bed-room.
Mina, pick up all the threads and scraps that have fallen on the
carpet. Lina, put the chairs in order. The new squire is coming through
the church-yard with his wife and daughters, and will be here in a
minute--and my pastor hasn't come back from the christening at
Warnitz!" As she spoke, she involuntarily caught up her duster, but put
it down again immediately, for there was a knock at the door, and on
her calling out "come in," Pomuchelskopp, his wife, and his two
daughters, Amalia and Rosalia entered.

Pomuchelskopp tried to make a polite bow as he came in, but failed,
owing to his style of figure being of the unbending order, and said:
"We have done ourselves the honour of waiting upon Mr. and Mrs.
Behrens--and--and--hope to have the pleasure of making their
acquaintance, now--now--that we are such near neighbours."--Mrs.
Pomuchelskopp stood behind her lord as stiff and straight as if she had
swallowed the poker, and Mally and Sally in their bright silk dresses
looked, in contrast with the three little girls in their washed out
cotton-frocks, like gay butterflies beside common grubs.

Now although Mrs. Behrens was very confidential with her friends, her
manner to strangers was rather formal, and in her husband's absence it
was even more dignified than it would otherwise have been, so she drew
herself up, and her lilac cap-ribbons rose and fell under her firm
little chin with every word she spoke, as much as to say, "I am a
person to be treated with respect."--"The honour," she said, "is on
our side. I am sorry that my pastor is not at home.--Won't you sit
down?"--And she signed to Mr. and Mrs. Pomuchelskopp to seat themselves
on the sofa under the gallery of portraits, and the picture of our
Saviour with His hands raised to bestow the blessing, which, like the
rain and sunshine, falls alike on the just and the unjust.

While the elder people talked about indifferent subjects upon which
there could be no diversity of opinion, Louisa went up to the two young
ladies, and shook hands with them, and the twins followed her
example.--Now Mally and Sally were eighteen and nineteen years old, but
they were not at all pretty, for Sally's complexion was of an
unwholesome greenish gray colour, and Mally was her father's own child.
They had--alas--quite finished their education, and had been at the
Whitsun and Trinity balls in Rostock, so that their interests were of
course far removed from those of the little girls, and as they were not
particularly good-natured, they rather snubbed the children. And the
little girls either not wishing it to be remarked, or thinking it was
all right and proper, would not allow themselves to be repulsed by cold
answers, and Louisa said to Mally with great eyes of admiration: "Oh,
what a pretty dress you have on!"--All ladies however highly educated
are pleased with remarks of this kind, so Mally thawed a little, and
answered with a smile: "It is only an old gown, my new one cost thirty
shillings more with the trimming and making."--"Papa gave us our new
dresses for the Trinity ball. Oh, how we did dance to be sure!" added
Sally.--Louisa knew the proper services for Trinity Sunday, but she had
never in all her life heard of a Trinity ball, and besides that, she
had no very clear idea of what a ball was, for although Mrs. Behrens
had often spoken of what she had done in the days of her youth, and had
also confessed to having been at a ball, still when Louisa asked what a
ball was, she answered with all the dignity of a clergyman's wife, that
it was "a very silly kind of amusement," and alluded to the subject no
more.--Lina and Mina knew even less about it than she did. Their mother
had of course danced now and then when she was a girl, but only at
dances got up on the spur of the moment; and as for young Joseph, he
had certainly been at a ball once, but then he had stopped at the door
of the dancing-room, for he was so overwhelmed with shyness when he got
there, that he beat a speedy retreat without venturing further; and
uncle Bräsig had described it to them in a totally incomprehensible
manner, as a number of white dresses with red and green ribbons,
clarionets and flutes, waltzes and quadrilles, and a great many glasses
of punch. When uncle Bräsig told them this, he used to show them, with
his own short legs, the difference between a glissade and a hop, and
that made them laugh heartily, and was great fun, but what it all had
to do with a "ball," a ball such as their last governess had taken away
from Mina, they could not comprehend.

Mina therefore asked with great simplicity: "Do you play with a ball
when you are dancing?"--This question showed what a stupid innocent
little thing Mina was, but as she was the youngest and most
inexperienced of the party, it was unkind of the Miss Pomuchelskopps to
laugh at her as they did. "Well!" said Rosalia, "that is really too
silly!"--"Dear me, how very countrified!" said Mally, drawing herself
up, and putting on the high and mighty manner of a town-lady, and
looking as if she wished it to be supposed that she had been accustomed
to see Rostock cathedral out of her nursery-window from the time of
her babyhood, and as if she and his worship, the mayor, had been old
play-fellows.--Our poor little Mina blushed as red as a peony, for she
felt that she must have said something very foolish indeed, and Louisa
reddened with anger, for she could not bear to hear any one laughed at.
She did not mind it so much for herself, but when one of her friends,
any one whom she loved was treated so, it made her tingle all
over.--"Why are you laughing?" she asked quickly. "What is there to
laugh at in our not knowing what a ball is?"--"Look, look! What a rage
she's in!" laughed Mally.--"Dear child ....." she could not finish her
sentence, for Mr. Pomuchelskopp just then said excitedly: "I think it
is very wrong, Mrs. Behrens. I am the squire of Gürlitz, and if your
husband wanted to let the glebe....."--"My pastor has let it, and Mr.
von Rambow is an old friend of ours, and his estate, which marches as
well with our land as Gürlitz does, is also in this parish, and
then Hawermann, his farm-bailiff ....."--"Is a cunning rascal,"
interrupted Pomuchelskopp.--"Who has cheated us once already," added
his wife.--"What?" cried little Mrs. Behrens. "What?" She then stopped
short, for she remembered that Louisa was present, and she was afraid
of the child hearing and being hurt by what was said, so she contented
herself with making signs to her visitors to change the subject. But it
was too late. Louisa had heard, and was now standing before the surly
looking man and his cold-hearted wife: "_What_ did you call my father?
_What_ has he done?" And the gentle little creature who until that
moment had lived in peace with all men, was filled with burning wrath
against her father's slanderers, and her eyes flashed as she looked at
them.--It is said that the beautiful green earth will one day burst out
in fire and flame, and bury the work of men's hands and the temple of
God in ashes.--It was much the same with the child, a temple of the
living God that she had loved and reverenced was threatened with
destruction, and her sorrow found relief in an agony of tears as her
good foster-mother put her arm round her, and led her from the room.

Muchel looked at his Henny, and Henny at her Muchel; he had got into a
nice scrape now. It was quite a different thing when one of his
labourer's wives came to him weeping tears of blood, and told him a
dismal tale of starvation and misery, he knew what to do to get rid of
the woman, but now he could not think of anything to say or do, and as
he looked about him awkwardly he caught sight of the raised hands in
the Saviour's picture, and then he suddenly remembered one of the
lessons he had learnt in his boyhood, that Christ had once said:
"Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for
of such is the kingdom of Heaven."--He felt extremely uncomfortable.
And even his brave strong-minded Henny was quite confounded; she had
children of her own, and had often heard them cry when she punished
them, but this was different; her Mally and Sally had often looked at
her with angry eyes, and had stamped their feet at her with rage, but
this was different. She soon recovered herself however, and said:
"Don't look so idiotic, Kopp. What was that she said about her father?
Is Hawermann her father?"--"Yes," wept Mina and Lina, "she is Louisa
Hawermann," and then they left the room to join their tears with those
of their school-fellow, for though they did not know how deeply their
little cousin felt the blow she had just received, still their love and
sympathy were so great that they longed to comfort her.--"I didn't know
that," said Pomuchelskopp, using the same words that he had done eleven
years before when told of the death of Hawermann's wife.--"A spoilt
child!" said his Henny. "Come, Mally and Sally, we will go, I don't
think that Mrs. Behrens intends to come back to us."--And so they
departed like the year 1822, of which, to carry out the illustration,
Henny might be called the 1, because she was always number 1 in her own
estimation; Pomuchelskopp the 8, because of his round portliness, and
the daughters the 2s, for they resembled, to my mind, the figure 2 that
a goose makes when it is swimming in a pond.

Just as they left the house Mr. Behrens came back from Warnitz,
accompanied by uncle Bräsig. He knew from the dress of the
Pomuchelskopp family that they had come to pay a visit of ceremony, and
hastened from the carriage that he might speak to them before they
left. "Ah, how do you do! But," he added in astonishment, "where
is my wife?"--"She went away and left us," said Mrs. Pomuchelskopp
shortly.--"There must be some mistake," he said, "pray come in, and I
will rejoin you in a few minutes." He went away to look for his
wife.--Meanwhile Bräsig had approached his old acquaintance
Pomuchelskopp. "Good morning, Samuel. How are you?" he said.--"Thank
you, Mr. bailiff Bräsig, I am very well," was the answer.--Bräsig
raised his eye-brows, looked him full in the face, and whistled, and
when Mrs. Pomuchelskopp curtsied to him before going away, she might
have spared herself the trouble, for he had already turned his back
upon them, and was entering the house. "Come, Kopp," said his wife
crossly, and they went home.

Mr. Behrens found no one in the house; so he went into the garden, and
shouted, and very soon the twins appeared, red-eyed, from behind the
raspberry hedge. They pointed to the hornbeam arbour with anxious
faces, as much as to say that he would find the cause of their sorrow
there. He went to the arbour, and there he found his Regina sitting
with Louisa on her knee, comforting her. As soon as she saw her pastor
she put the child gently on the bench, and, drawing him away to a short
distance, told him all that had happened.

Mr. Behrens listened silently, but when his wife repeated the cruel
words that Mr. Pomuchelskopp had used in speaking of Hawermann, his
face flushed with anger, and his eyes were full of a deep compassion,
he then asked his wife to return to the house, for he would like to
speak to the child alone.--His beautiful human flower had now been hurt
for the first time, she had had her first blow from the pitiless world,
a blow that her gentle heart would never forget as long as it continued
to beat; she had now taken her place in the eternal battle of existence
that will last as long as the human race. It must have come--it must
have come to that at last, no one knew that better than he did, but he
also knew that the great object of those who undertake the education of
a human soul is to preserve it from such rude experiences until it has
grown strong to bear, so that the blow may neither strike so deep,
nor the wound take so long to heal--and this child knew nothing
of the malice and uncharitableness of the world.--He entered the
arbour.--Thou art still happy, Louisa, in spite of all that has come
and gone, for it is well for him who in an hour like this has such a
true-hearted friend by his side.

Mrs. Behrens found Bräsig in the parlour. Instead of sitting on the
sofa, or on a chair like a reasonable mortal, he had perched himself on
the edge of the table, and was working off the excitement caused by
Pomuchelskopp's snub, by throwing his legs about like weaver's
shuttles. "He had me there!" he muttered. "The Jesuit!"--When Mrs.
Behrens came in, Bräsig got off the table, and exclaimed:[7] "What is
it, when one has called a man by his Christian name for forty years,
and when one on meeting that man addresses him as one has been
accustomed to do, and meets with a frigid 'Mr. Bailiff Bräsig' in
return?"--"Ah, Bräsig ....."--"That is what Pomuchelskopp has just done
to me."--"Let the man alone! Just fancy what he did here," and then she
told the whole story. Bräsig was angry, very angry, he rushed up and
down the room puffing and blowing, and making use of such strong
language that Mrs. Behrens would have bidden him be silent, if she had
not been in as great a rage as himself; at last he threw himself into a
corner of the sofa, and stared moodily at the opposite wall without
uttering another word.

The clergyman soon afterwards joined them, and his wife looked at him
enquiringly. "She is watering the flowers," he said with a reassuring
smile, and then he began to pace the room thoughtfully. At length,
turning to Bräsig, he said: "What are you thinking about, my
friend?"--"The punishment of hell--I am thinking of the punishment
of hell, reverend Sir."--"And why?" asked Mr. Behrens.--Instead
of answering, Bräsig sprang to his feet, and said: "Is it true,
Sir, as you once told me, that there are mountains that vomit
fire?"--"Certainly," said the pastor.--"And is it a good or bad thing
for man that they do so?"--"The people who live near these mountains
regard it as a good thing, because it saves them from having such
violent earthquakes."--"Ah, well," said Bräsig, apparently rather
dissatisfied with the answer he had received. "But," he asked, "do the
flames come out of a mountain such as that in the same way as out of
one of our chimneys when it is on fire?"--"Something like it," replied
the clergyman, who had not the faintest idea what Bräsig was aiming
at.--"Then," said Bräsig with a stamp of his foot, "I wish that the
devil would seize Samuel Pomuchelskopp, and put him on the top of a
horrible fire-spouting mountain such as you have described, and roast
him there for a little."--"Ugh!" cried little Mrs. Behrens. "Bräsig,
you are nothing better than a heathen. How dare you express such a wish
in a Christian parsonage?"--"Mrs. Behrens," said Bräsig, throwing
himself once more into the corner of the sofa, "it would be a benefit
to humanity, and it is just the sort of benefit that I should be the
first to grant to Samuel Pomuchelskopp."--"Dear Bräsig," remonstrated
the clergyman, "we must not forget that when those people spoke so
offensively they did not intend to hurt our feelings."--"It's all the
same to me," answered Bräsig, "whether they intended it or not. He
enraged me intentionally, and what he said here unintentionally was a
thousand times worse than that. Reverend Sir, it is quite necessary to
get angry sometimes, and indeed a good farmer ought to be angry two or
three times a day, it is part of his work, but of course I don't mean a
regular passion, just enough vehemence to show the labourers that one
is in earnest. I will give you an instance. I told the carters
yesterday when I was top-dressing a field with marl, that I wished them
to drive their carts in regular order. Then I took my station by the
marl-pit, and saw that everything was done properly. Well, what do you
think happened? That scoundrel, Christian Kohlhaas--he's as stupid as
an ox--came up with his cart still full of marl! Why, you great ass, I
said, what are you doing here with your full cart? And the silly fellow
looked me full in the face, and said: he hadn't time to put the marl on
the field before the other carts left, and so, as he had been desired
to keep the line unbroken, he had just come away with his load.--Wasn't
that enough to make me angry? I was rather angry, but, as I said
before, one's rages are as different as their causes. An official
outburst, such as I have described, does one good, especially after
dinner, but this!--Pomuchelskopp and a farm-labourer are two very
different people. This is horrible, most horrible, and you'll see,
Mrs. Behrens, that I shall have another attack of that confounded
gout."--"Bräsig," entreated the little lady, "will you do me a great
favour? Don't tell Hawermann anything about what has happened
to-day."--"What do you take me for, Mrs. Behrens?--But now I will go
and comfort the child Louisa, and I will tell her that as true as
the sun shines, Samuel Pomuchelskopp is an infamous wretch of a
Jesuit."--"No, no," interrupted Mr. Behrens hastily, "don't do that.
The child will get over it, and I hope that it has done her no
harm."--"Well then, good-bye," said Bräsig, picking up his cap.--"Dear
me, Bräsig, ar'n't you going to remain to dinner?"--"Thank you very
much, Mrs. Behrens. There is a difference. I said that anger was good
_after_ dinner, not _before_, it does me harm then. I shall just go to
work at the marl-pit at once; but take care, Christian, I advise you
not to try that dodge again with the full cart!--Good-bye." And so he
went away.



                              CHAPTER VI.


Hawermann never heard of what had happened at the parsonage, but from
that day his daughter was even more loving and tender to him than
before, as if she had determined that her love should wipe away the
scandalous words that had been spoken regarding him. Mrs. Nüssler of
course heard all about it from her children, but she had not the heart
to trouble her brother by telling him what would so sorely distress
him; the clergyman and his wife were silent for the same reason, and
also because they hoped that the circumstance would die out of their
foster-child's memory, if it were never alluded to; Joseph Nüssler said
nothing, and Bräsig held his tongue as far as Hawermann himself was
concerned, but he indemnified himself for his silence, and for the
sharp attack of gout which came on the day after the scene at the
parsonage, by nearly raising the country-side against the
Pomuchelskopps, who so little understood how to gain the love and good
will of their neighbours, that they soon made themselves as
disagreeable in the eyes of those who lived near them as my wife's[8]
floors just before Whitsuntide--well-polished and shining as they are
at other times.

Pomuchelskopp looked upon his surroundings as a great garden in which
he might plant his self-esteem. Whether it gave him shade or flowers he
did not care; as long as what was sowed there flourished and grew
apace, it mattered not to him what form it took. He had come to
Mecklenburg for two reasons: firstly, because he thought the purchase
of Gürlitz a good bargain, and secondly, because he had an exalted
idea of his future position as justice of the peace. "Henny," he
said, "every one has the upper-hand of us here in Pomerania, and the
Sheriff is all-powerful, but in Mecklenburg _I_ shall be one of the
law-givers. And besides that, I've always heard that if rich men of the
middle-class only stick to the aristocracy through thick and thin, they
receive a patent of nobility after a time. Only think, Chuck, Mrs. von
Pomuchelskopp!--how would you like that? One mustn't crow too small in
this world!"--That was a sin of which he never was guilty. He gave up
his chief delight of making a great show with his money for fear of
having to do it in the company of tenant-farmers and bailiffs, and he
addressed old Bräsig coldly and distantly, and paid a visit of ceremony
to Bräsig's master, the Count, instead of to his old acquaintance. He
put on his blue coat with the brass buttons, and drove to Warnitz in
his grand new carriage drawn by four brown horses, and when he got
there he was as much out of place as a pig in a Jew's house. As soon as
he reached home again he seated himself crossly in the sofa-corner, and
flapped at the flies. His wife who was always loving to him when he was
in a bad-humour, asked him: "What is the matter with you. Pöking?"--He
growled out in reply: "What should be the matter with me? It isn't me,
it's those confounded aristocrats who are friendly one moment, and turn
a cold shoulder on one the next. He offered me a chair, and then asked
me very politely how he could be of service to me--I didn't want his
help, I'm better off than he is--but I couldn't think of anything to
say at the moment, and the silence grew so frightful that there was
nothing for it but to go away."--Notwithstanding this repulse
Pomuchelskopp did not crow any lower; he hung on the skirts of the
aristocracy as closely as the tail to the sheep, and though he had not
a penny to give any of his own people when they were in distress, or to
the poor artisans in the town who were often nearly starving, he always
had plenty of money for any extravagant young sprig of the nobility who
asked him for it; and though he prosecuted any poor man without mercy
who ventured to cross one of his corn-fields, yet he gave Bräsig's
master, the Count, leave to hunt over his land in harvest-time; and
though he treated his clergyman scandalously with regard to the
Easter-lamb, he allowed the Count's keepers to shoot a roe-deer at his
very door without a word of remonstrance. Yes, Samuel Pomuchelskopp had
high aims!

Hawermann kept out of his way, for he was of a quiet disposition and
disliked quarrelling, he was contented with his lot, and had plenty to
do. He felt like a storm-tossed mariner who had at last reached port,
and he had nothing to trouble him but anxiety about his master's
affairs.--A short time before he had received a letter with a black
seal, and written in an unknown hand, in which the Squire informed him
that he had had a slight stroke of paralysis, and had lost the use of
his right hand, and that a still greater misfortune than even that had
happened to him, his wife had died suddenly, and when apparently quite
well. Then he went on to say that his nephew, Frank, might be expected
at Pümpelhagen at the Michaelmas term to begin to learn farming,
adding: "he wishes to put his own hand to the work, and to learn
everything thoroughly, and I think he is right." These were the words
the Squire had dictated to his secretary.--A few weeks later Hawermann
got another letter in which Mr. von Rambow informed him that he had
given up his government appointment in Schwerin, and intended to take
up his abode at Pümpelhagen after Easter with his three unmarried
daughters, he could not come before that, because he must spend the
winter in Schwerin to be near his doctor. He then desired his bailiff
to see that the manor-house was put in a thorough state of repair.--Of
course, this change made a great difference to Hawermann, even though
he had done nothing to make him fear his master's eye, and though he
took great interest in all his concerns, yet he could not help thinking
that the quiet simple tenour of his life would be changed, and
besides--was not this the precursor of a still greater change?

Michaelmas came, and brought with it Frank von Rambow. He was by no
means a handsome young man, but he was strong and healthy, and on
looking closely at his grave face, one saw that his eyes had a very
good-natured expression; the shade of melancholy which was often to be
seen on his countenance was perhaps caused by his having lost both his
parents in his childhood, and therefore feeling himself alone in the
world. He was no genius, but he possessed sound good sense, and had
made the most of his opportunities; he had passed through all the
classes of the High School with credit, and had been thoroughly
prepared for the University, but, above all, he had learnt what would
be useful to him all his life long--to work! He might be likened to a
young tree that had been grown in a nursery-garden in poor soil, whose
stem had matured slowly, but was strong and good, whose top was firm
and upright, and whose branches were spread out equally on every side,
so that when the time came for it to be planted on other ground, it
could stand by itself without artificial support, and the gardener
said: "Let it be, it is straight and true to a line, it needs no stake
to keep it steady."

Frank von Rambow, whom Hawermann remembered as a three years old child,
was now twenty years of age, and had steady principles, views and
opinions such as few other young men in the province were possessed of.
He had two large estates, which had been completely freed from debt
during his long minority. Of course, he could not remember the time
when Hawermann was in his father's service, but he had been told how
fond of him the bailiff had always been, and when a single-minded,
good-hearted man knows that he sees before him one who has carried him
in his arms when he was a little child, an involuntary feeling of trust
and confidence in the man comes into his heart, and it seems to him as
if the intervening years had passed away, and he were a child again,
seeing the old sights and dreaming the old dreams.

And Hawermann returned the young man's trust and affection with all his
heart. Carefully and patiently he taught his pupil the work he had come
to learn, he showed him how to manage matters in byre and field, told
him why he did this or that, and tried to make everything easy to him;
but he found that his pupil would not have things made too easy for
him, that he was determined to learn everything practically, and so he
gave him his wish, and said of him what the gardener had said of the
tree; "Let him be, he needs neither prop nor support."

A new inmate was soon to join this quiet couple, and bring life and
excitement with him, and that was Fred Triddelfitz. As soon as
Triddelfitz, the apothecary in Rahnstädt, who was brother-in-law of
Mrs. Behrens, heard that Hawermann was teaching a young man farming, he
took it into his head that his son Fred, a fine lad of seventeen,
should also profit by Hawermann's lessons. "The higher branches of
farming are all that I require," said Fred, "for I was twice at
Möller's in the dog-days, and helped to lead in the corn there."

Little Mrs. Behrens refused to have anything to do with the
arrangement, for she knew her nephew, and did not wish to trouble
Hawermann with the charge of him, but her brother-in-law would not
leave her in peace till she undertook the business. Hawermann would
have gone through fire and water for the clergyman's family, but he
could make no promise till he had consulted his master. He therefore
wrote to Mr. von Rambow, and told him that young Triddelfitz was only
in the third division of the High School, that his head was full of
nonsense, but that he was a good-hearted lad all the same; still his
principal merit was that he was nephew of the clergyman's wife to whom
he, Hawermann, owed so much as the Squire already knew; besides that,
the father offered fifteen pounds a year for his son's board. Would Mr.
von Rambow allow Fred Triddelfitz to learn farming on his estate on
these terms?--The Squire wrote to say that he would not hear of
receiving money for the youth's board, that the fifteen pounds was to
pay for the teaching he got, and that was Hawermann's business, not
his. If Hawermann liked to do it, let him do it in God's name.--It was
a great pleasure to Hawermann to be told this, he could now do
something, however small, to show his gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Behrens
for the great service they had done him, and so he consented to receive
Fred without the payment of any fee.

Fred Triddelfitz arrived. But how did he come? Being the only son of
his mother--she had two daughters besides--he was so grandly got up for
his new mode of life that he might have passed for a farmer's
apprentice, a grain-merchant, a commercial-traveller, a farm-bailiff, a
tenant-farmer or a country-gentleman, according to the part he was
called upon to play, or as his own fancy dictated. He had kid-boots,
and leather-boots, laced-boots, top-boots and high-lows; he had
dressing-slippers, dancing-shoes, and shoes that came up well about his
instep; he had buttoned leggings, leggings for riding in, and other
kinds of leggings; he had evening-coats, linen smock-frocks,
tweed-coats, and pilot-jackets, he had greatcoats, waistcoats,
and water-proofs, and it would be impossible to mention the names of
all the various kinds of trousers and breeches with which he was
provided.--This outfit arrived at Pümpelhagen one beautiful morning in
a number of huge boxes, together with a feather-bed and an enormous
davenport; the carrier at the same time gave the pleasing intelligence
that the young gentleman might be expected at any moment, for he was on
the road, and his arrival had only been delayed by a slight difference
between him and his father's old sorrel-horse which he was riding; the
horse refused to go further than Gürlitz parsonage, because he had
never before been required to do so. How the battle would end the
carrier did not know, for he had left it still undecided, but the young
gentleman was coming all the same.

The carrier's information was correct, the young gentleman came; but
how did he come? He was dressed as grandly as if he had been the agent
of two large estates, and had been asked by his master, the Count, to
join his great hunting-party; he had on a green hunting-coat, white
leather-breeches, boots with yellow tops, and spurs, and over all he
wore a water-proof, not because it looked like rain, no, but because it
was a new kind of dress, and he wanted to hear what people said about
it. He was riding his father's sorrel-horse, and it was easy to see
that they were not on the best of terms with each other. The sorrel had
come to a stand in the middle of the large pond in front of the
parsonage, and had refused to move to the great terror of little Mrs.
Behrens, but at last after a struggle of about ten minutes, Fred got
the mastery by the aid of his riding-whip and spurs, and now when he
dismounted at Pümpelhagen his new water-proof was coated with mud. The
sorrel stood quietly in front of the door of the home-farm at
Pümpelhagen, stared straight before him, and asked himself: "Is _he_ a
fool, or am I one? I am seventeen years old, and so is he. I am of a
reddish brown colour, and so is he. He got his own way to-day, but I'll
have mine next time. If he ever attacks me with whip and spur again,
I'll just lie down quietly in the pond."

When Fred Triddelfitz entered the room where Hawermann, young Mr. von
Rambow, and the housekeeper Mary Möller were seated at dinner the
bailiff was startled, for he had never seen his new pupil before. Fred,
in his new green hunting-coat, looked exactly like an asparagus stalk
that had run to seed, he was so small and thin in the waist that any
one could easily have cut him in two with his own riding-whip. It was
quite true as the sorrel-horse had said, that he had red hair, his
cheek bones were high, his face freckled, and his manner self-confident
and bored. Hawermann could not help saying to himself: "Heaven preserve
me! Am I to teach this young fellow? It's all up with me now!"--He was
roused from his disagreeable reflections by a great shout of laughter
from Frank von Rambow in which Mary Möller joined, secretly and holding
her table-napkin up to her face to hide that she did so.--Fred, wishing
to talk down their laughter, had just begun: "Good morning. Sir, I hope
I see you well," when he caught sight of his old school-fellow at
Parchen, Frank von Rambow, who was in convulsions of laughter; he
looked at him rather sheepishly at first, but after a moment joined
heartily in the laugh against himself, and even grave old Hawermann
laughed till the tears rolled down his cheeks.--"Why," cried Frank,
"whatever induced you to get yourself up so grandly?"--"One should do
everything in style!" said Fred, whereupon Mary Möller once more
disappeared behind her table-napkin.--"Come, Triddelfitz," said
Hawermann, "sit down and have some dinner."--Fred did so, and anyone
would have said that the rascal was in luck, he had begun his country
life at the best time of the year for food, when geese were in season,
and as it was Sunday, a finely browned roast goose was on the table, so
that his first experience of a farmer's life might well be a pleasing
one to him. He did not spare the goose in any way, and Hawermann
thought that, if he sat on horseback as he did at table, if he paid as
much attention to the labourers as he did to the goose, if he
understood foddering a horse as well as feeding himself, and if he
swept everything under his charge as clean as his plate, he might
expect him to be a great acquisition to the place.

"Now, Triddelfitz," said Hawermann as soon as dinner was over, "go to
your room and change your clothes, and don't forget to wrap up your
grand riding-costume carefully for fear the moths should get at it, for
you won't want it again during the first two years that you are here.
We don't ride here, for all our work can be done on foot, and I do any
riding that may be necessary myself, when it is convenient."--Fred soon
returned to the parlour wearing good strong leather boots, breeches,
and a sort of pilot-jacket made of grass-green cloth.--"That's better,"
said Hawermann, "now come with me and I will show you what we are
doing."--They went out.--Next morning Fred went with seven of the young
men and women who worked on the farm, along the Rahnstädt road to open
any drains that were blocked up and so let the water run off wherever
it had collected in pools--what made this occupation especially
unpleasant was that it was a November day, and that a small persistent
rain was falling.--"Hang it all!" said Fred Triddelfitz, "I never
thought that it would be as bad as this."

One Sunday afternoon, about a fortnight or so after his arrival, Bräsig
rode up to the farm. Fred had by this time grown so far accustomed to
his position with Hawermann, to his monotonous employment, and to the
everlasting rain, that he was able partly to understand his duties as a
farming apprentice, and with his customary good nature had begun to pay
all sorts of little attentions to everyone about him. So when he saw
Bräsig ride up to the door, he ran out to meet him and take his
horse; but Bräsig shrieked out: "Keep away from me. Don't touch me.
Keep ten feet away from me.--Let Charles Hawermann come out and
speak to me."--Hawermann came: "Why don't you dismount, Bräsig?" he
asked.--"Don't help me down, Charles--just fetch me a soft chair, so
that I may dismount gently and gradually, and then put a sheep-skin mat
or something soft beside the chair for me to step upon, for I've got
that confounded gout again."--Everything was done as he wished.
Foot-stools were laid from the chair to the door, and then he slid
slowly and carefully from his saddle, and limped into the parlour. "Why
didn't you let me know you were ill, Bräsig, and I'd have gone to see
you with pleasure?"--"It wouldn't have been of any use, Charles, I had
to crawl out of the hole myself. But I came to tell you that I've given
up all hope."--"Of what?"--"Of marrying. I intend to accept the pension
that the Count promised me."--"I think that I should do the same in
your place, Bräsig."--"Your advice is very good no doubt, Charles, but
it is hard for a man of my age to give up the darling wish of a
life-time, and go to a water-cure place, for it's there Dr. Strump
wants to send me. I don't have Dr. Strump to attend me because I
believe that he knows how to cure me, but because he suffers from that
wretched gout himself, and when he's sitting beside me talking
learnedly about the benefit to be derived from taking Polchicum and
Colchicum, I feel comforted by the thought that such a clever man has
gout as badly as myself."--"Then you are going to a water-cure
establishment?"--"Yes, but not till spring. I've arranged all my plans.
I'll just manage as well as I can this winter; in spring I'll try the
water-cure, and at the midsummer term I'll retire on my pension, and go
to live at the old mill-house at Haunerwiem. I thought at first that
I'd go to Rahnstädt, but I shouldn't have a free house there, and I'd
have found a leg of mutton now and then too expensive a luxury to be
indulged in."--"You're quite right, Bräsig. It's much better for you to
remain in the country and near us; indeed I don't know what I should do
if I hadn't a sight of your honest old face every few days."--"Oh, you
wouldn't miss me much, you have so many people about you, especially
these two lads. And that reminds me, there was another thing I wanted
to say to you. Old Bröker in Kniep, and Schimmel in Radboom want you to
teach their sons fanning. I should consent to take them if I were you,
and by adding a room or two to the old farm-house you'd be able to set
up quite an aquademy of agriculture."--"You're joking, Bräsig! I've
enough to do with the two pupils I have already."--"Do you think so? I
hope they are well."--"Yes. You know them both, and I want you to tell
me what you think of them."--"I can't give any opinion as yet, I must
first see their way of going on. The first thing to teach a young
farmer is what a colt is always taught, to lead with the right foot.
Look, there's your young nobleman, call him here that I may have a
better sight of him."--Hawermann laughed, but agreed to Bräsig's
proposal and called Frank von Rambow. "Hm!" said Bräsig, "he walks
steadily and not too hurriedly, and doesn't put off time with looking
about him, but goes straight to the point. He'll do, Charles. Now for
the other!"--"Mr. von Rambow," asked Hawermann when the young man had
come up to the window, "where is Triddelfitz?"--"In his room," was the
answer.--"Hm!" said Bräsig. "Is he resting?"--"I don't know."--"Tell
him to come down," said Hawermann, "and you'd better come back soon
yourself, for coffee will be ready immediately."--"Charles," said
Bräsig, "you'll see that the apothecary's son is sound asleep this
afternoon."--"Never mind if he is, Bräsig, he was up very early this
morning giving out the feeds of corn for the horses."--"He oughtn't to
do it, Charles, young people get into the habit of sleeping in the
afternoon only too easily. Ah, there he is. Send him past the window
that I may get a good side view of him!"--"Triddelfitz," cried
Hawermann, putting his head out at the window, "go to the stable and
tell Joseph Boldten to have a pair of horses ready to drive Mr. Bailiff
Bräsig home later in the afternoon."--"Bon," said Fred Triddelfitz, and
then he set off at a good swinging pace along the causeway.--"Bless my
soul!" exclaimed Bräsig. "What a high action the fellow has! Look at
him, did you ever see such loose joints, soft muscles, and thin flanks!
You'll have to feed him up for a long time, Charles, before he has what
can be called a body. _How_ he's getting over the ground! He's a quick
dog that, a regular greyhound, and you'll soon have your hands full
with him I wager."--"Ah, Bräsig, he's so young. He'll soon quiet
down."--"Quiet? Sleeps after dinner? Says 'bong' when you send him a
message? And, look there--yes--he's coming back without ever having
been at the stables at all!"--"Didn't you say, Sir, that Joseph Boldten
was to drive?"--"Yes," cried Bräsig sharply, "Joseph Boldten is to
drive, and is not to forget what he is told.--Don't you see now that I
was right, Charles?"--"Oh, Bräsig," said Hawermann, who felt rather
cross with Fred for his stupidity, "let him be. We're not all alike.
He'll do well enough if he only pays a little more attention to what he
is told."

Hawermann seldom lost his temper, when he felt inclined to be cross he
struggled against the feeling until he conquered it. In spite of the
other ills of life which often filled his heart, such as care and
anxiety, he always refused Captain Cross-patch admittance, and if ever
he succeeded in making good his entrance, whispering ill-natured
remarks and lies in his ear, he showed him the door at once and bid him
begone, so that it was not long before he got rid of the intruder on
this occasion also, and was able to enjoy a confidential chat with
Bräsig which lasted till his friend went home.



                              CHAPTER VII.


The winter passed without the occurrence of any event of particular
interest. Hawermann was accustomed to the monotony of his life, and was
perfectly contented with it as far as he himself was concerned; but the
young people sometimes found it dull and lonely, especially Frank von
Rambow, for Fred Triddelfitz had his aunt at the parsonage, and his
dear mother a little further off at Rahnstädt, to say nothing of the
housekeeper, Mary Möller, who was close at hand, and who comforted him
in his loneliness with many a savoury morsel of spiced goose, or
sausage, so that there was soon a secret understanding between them.
Sometimes they treated each other like mother and son, for Mary Möller
was seven years older than Fred, she was _quite_ four and twenty;
sometimes a more tender sentiment was infused into their intercourse,
for Mary Möller was _only_ four and twenty, and Fred had always studied
novels more diligently than Latin grammar when he was at school; indeed
he had been a regular subscriber to the circulating-library, and was
therefore quite up to the most approved method of conducting an affair
of the kind. Besides that, his father's last words to him when he left
home were: Learn everything practically, a piece of advice which
Hawermann was also continually dinning into his ears, so he thought a
love-affair might be as useful to him as any other branch of knowledge,
and--do not misunderstand me, no harm was done--so it was, in providing
him with an abundant supply of spiced goose and sausages.

Hawermann therefore had not to find amusement for Fred, but Frank was
different, as he knew no one. Hawermann took him to call on Mr. and
Mrs. Behrens, and when Christmas came he offered to take him to the
parsonage, as Fred was in Rahnstädt with his mother. Frank accepted the
invitation. It was splendid weather for sledging, so they drove down to
the parsonage, where they found little Mrs. Behrens standing sentry by
the parlour door to prevent them going in: "No, Hawermann, no! You
mustn't go in there. Mr. von Rambow, may I ask you to go to my pastor's
study."--And the moment they entered the study Louisa sprang to her
father, kissed him, and told him in a whisper what presents she had
prepared, and where she had hidden them, what she was going to do, and
who was to act the part of Julklapp[9], so that she had only time for a
passing bow to Mr. von Rambow. The clergyman however shook the young
man warmly by the hand, and told him how glad he was to see him in his
house on this festival day. "But," he added, "we must do as we are bid
this evening, my wife is commander-in-chief to-day, and her love of
rule is never so strongly developed as on Christmas-eve"--He was right
there, for Mrs. Behrens popped her head in at the door every moment to
say: "Be patient for one minute. Pray sit still, the bell is just going
to ring," and then she rushed through the study with a blue paper
parcel hidden under her apron, and next moment she might be heard
laughing in the parlour.

At last the bell rang, the door flew open, and--ah!--there was the
fir-tree standing on the round table in the centre of the room,
and under it were arranged as many plates of apples, nuts, and
gingerbread-nuts as there were people in the house, and two extra ones,
one for Hawermann, and the other for his pupil. Mrs. Behrens bustled
round the table, seized Hawermann and Mr. von Rambow by the hand, and,
leading them up to the table, said: "This is your plate, and that is
yours. Louisa and my pastor will be able to find their own for
themselves," then turning round, she called out: "Come in," and the
pastor's man, George, and her own two maids, Rika and Dolly, appeared
in the door-way, ready to take their part in the rejoicings of the
evening, "Come in, that's your plate with the half-crown stuck in the
apple, and those with the red shawls are for the two maids, and the one
with the red waistcoat is for George. And Louie ...," she got no
further in her speech, for Louisa rushed at her with a cherry-coloured
woollen dress in her hand, seized her round the neck, and stopped her
mouth with kisses: "Mother, how good of you!" And now I must needs
confess with sorrow that little Mrs. Behrens so far forgot herself as
to tell a fib, not in words, but by nodding and winking at her pastor;
so Louisa sprang to her foster-father, and exclaimed: "It was you who
gave it me!" but Mr. Behrens shook his head, and replied that he was
innocent of the charge. Then she threw her arms round her own father's
neck, saying: "It was you, it was you." But the good old bailiff
confessed with a sad smile that he had had nothing to do with it, and
there were tears in his eyes, when after having stroked her hair
fondly, he took her by the hand and led her to Mrs. Behrens, saying:
"This is the person you have to thank, Louie," but the clergyman's wife
was too busy at that moment at least to listen to thanks, for she
called her husband to come and try on his new dressing-gown to see how
it fitted him, and asked whether it was not lucky that she had fixed
upon a new dressing-gown for his present, instead of the pair of
trousers she had at first thought of. And as the dressing-gown fitted
beautifully and was very becoming, she went back a few steps, and
looked at her husband in the same way as a child, who has put her new
doll in the sofa-corner that she may examine it from a little distance.
When she turned round she saw a blue paper parcel lying on her plate,
which Mr. Behrens had placed there unnoticed by her. She seized upon
it, and while untying the string, wondered audibly what it could
contain, and said she felt certain some one had been playing her a
practical joke; at last the paper was removed, and there was a
beautiful piece of black silk, enough to make a dress!--Every one was
happy: Hawermann had found a new pipe on his plate, which he filled and
began to smoke; the pastor had placed himself in the sofa-corner in his
new dressing-gown, and rejoiced in seeing the happy faces around him;
Mrs. Behrens and Louisa found it impossible to sit still, but were
continually moving about the room, and holding the materials for their
new dresses under their chins to see how they would look when made up,
and stroking them to show how smoothly they would lie. Frank on the
other hand withdrew a little into the background oppressed by the sad
feeling that he had never known a happy home-like Christmas-eve. He
rested his head on his hand as he thought that when kind friends and
relations had asked him to spend his Christmas-holidays with them, he
had there most of all missed the presence of the originals of the two
portraits over which he had placed garlands of _immortelles_. He felt
that he belonged to no one in this house either, but he must not
destroy the pleasure of others by showing his sadness, and with a great
effort he forced himself to look up and smile, and as he did so he
found Louisa's large beautiful eyes fixed on him full of sorrowful
sympathy as if she had been able to read his very heart.

"Julklapp!" cried Rika in her loud voice, and a parcel flew in at the
door addressed to "Mrs. Behrens." It was a pretty ruche, and no one
knew who had given it. And "Julklapp!" was shouted again. It was a
beautifully worked cushion for Mr. Behrens' arm-chair this time, and of
course nobody had had anything to do with it--Oh, what fibs were told
at the parsonage that evening!--And "Julklapp!" A letter was thrown
into the room which told of another letter that was to be found
upstairs in the garret, and that told of another in the cellar, and
that one of another, and again another ..... in short, if Mrs. Behrens
wished to get a very pretty embroidered collar which was intended for
her, she would have to run all over the house, and would at last find
it close at hand in the cupboard where her husband kept his boots.--And
"Julklapp!" It was a tremendous package this time, with Mr. Behrens'
name upon it, but when the outer covering was taken off it was
addressed to Mrs. Behrens, and then to George, and then to Rika, and
last of all to Louisa, and when the last paper was taken off a small
worktable was displayed, such as Hawermann had given his wife years
ago.--No one knew that, however, but himself.--And "Julklapp!"
Books for Louisa.--And "Julklapp!" A worsted-work footstool for
Hawermann.--Rika acted her part to perfection.--But now it was all over
and she came in to collect the bits of paper and string that were
scattered over the floor; but the door opened again suddenly and
unexpectedly, and "Julklapp!" cried a clear sweet voice, and when they
looked at the packet they saw that it was addressed to "The honourable
Francis von Rambow." Immediately afterwards Louisa slipped softly into
the parlour from the study, her face beaming with happiness.

Frank was overwhelmed with confusion, but when he opened the parcel, he
found a letter from his youngest cousin Fidelia, which informed him
that she and her two unmarried sisters had each sent him a Christmas
present. Alberta gave him a sofa-cushion, though he never lay on the
sofa; Bertha--a saddle-cloth, though he had no horse, and Fidelia--a
cigar-case, though he never smoked.--But what of that? They were all
things that might have been useful, and it is the giver, not the gift
that one thinks of at Christmas.--He no longer felt himself so much
alone in the world, and when he saw how much Louisa rejoiced for him,
he quite recovered himself and laughed and joked about his presents,
and whether Louisa would or not, she had to receive his thanks for
them, for he had recognised her voice when she threw in the parcel.

Rika then came back, and said: "They are all here now, ma'am."--"Then
we'll go to them," answered Mrs. Behrens.--"No, dear Regina," said her
husband, "let them come in here."--"But," she remonstrated, "they'll
bring in so much snow on their boots."--"Never mind that," said the
clergyman, then turning to the maid, "you won't object to get up a
little earlier than usual to-morrow morning to put the room in order
again, will you, Rika?"--No, Rika would do that with pleasure, and so
the door was thrown open and in streamed, one after the other, all the
little children in the village, flaxen heads, black heads and all!
There they stood rubbing their noses, staring with great eyes at the
apples and ginger-bread-nuts, and opening their mouths widely, looked
as if they wished to show the good things on the table the way in which
they ought to go.--"Now," said Mrs. Behrens, "let all our god-children
stand in the first row. You know, Hawermann," she added, "that we, that
is, my pastor and I stand nearest to our god-children after their own
parents,"--More than half of the children came forward, for Mr. and
Mrs. Behrens had stood sponsor for the greater number of the little
boys and girls in the village. An impostor took his place amongst the
rest, Joseph Rührdanz by name; he had noticed on the preceding year
that the god-children got more presents than the others; but Stina
Wasmuth saw what he was about, and pushed him away, saying: "You are
not a god-son, boy!" so he slunk back unable to carry out his
deception.

Mr. Behrens came forward with a pile of books under his arm, and he
gave a hymn-book to each god-child whom he was preparing for
confirmation, and to the others he gave copy-books, and slates, and
primers and catechisms as they were most wanted, and each of the little
ones said: "Thank you, god-father," but those who got the hymn-books
said: "Thank you very much, reverend Sir," for they were older than the
others.--Now it was Mrs. Behrens' turn. "Come," She said, "I'll take
the nuts; Louisa there's the ginger-bread for you, and Mr. von Rambow,
please take the basket of apples, and let us go down each row.--Arrange
yourselves in line, children, and have your dishes ready."--There was
so much pushing and shoving that this was a work of time, for everyone
wished to be in the first row,--at last they were all ready with their
dishes in their hands. The little girls held their aprons up at the
corners, but the boys were provided with anything and everything that
would hold their cakes and fruit; one had a tin measure; another
a flour bowl; another his father's hat, and another with quiet
self-possession held up a great five bushel sack in the firm persuasion
that it would be filled to the very top.--Now the division of the spoil
began.--"Look! here, here, here--stop!" cried Mrs. Behrens as she
reached a mischievous looking little lad, "this boy is to have no
apples, Mr. von Rambow, for he helped himself in the garden last
summer."--"Oh, ma'am!"--"Boy, didn't I myself chase you out of
the big apple-tree near the wall with a pitch-fork?"--"Oh, Mrs.
Behrens!"--"No, no, the boy who steals apples, gets none given him at
Christmas."--The division went on quietly again till they came to
Joseph Rührdanz, when the clergyman's wife stopped, and said: "Wasn't
it you who fought with Christian Casbom last week at the parsonage
gate, till Rika had to go out and separate you?"--"Yes, ma'am. He said
to me ...."--"Hush!--Louisa, Joseph is to have no gingerbread."--"But,
ma'am, we've made it all up again."--"Ah then, Louisa, you may give him
the gingerbread."--At last the fruit and cakes were all distributed,
and the children went away with their share, each merely saying;
"Good-night, good-night," for it was not the fashion amongst them to
say thank you.--No sooner were they gone than a different set of people
came in coughing and scraping. They were the old spinning women, and
the old brush-binders and wooden-shoemakers &c., in fact everyone in
the village who was too old and frail to work any more. Mr. Behrens
said a few kindly words of help and counsel, which were well received,
and his wife gave them each a tea-cake which they were also glad to
get, and as they went away, they prayed that the "blessing of God"
might rest on their pastor and his family.

At last, George, the clergyman's man-servant, and Hawermann brought the
sledge to the door, and then the two guests said good-bye. Hawermann's
first action before driving away was silently to take off the
sledge-bells, for the great bells in the church-tower were ringing out
their message to the whole world, while the sledge-bells only kept up a
merry tinkle for the high road. They drove through the village at a
foot's pace, and as they passed along they heard a sweet Christmas
Carol rising from many a labourer's hut and ascending to the quiet
heavens where God had placed the lights of His great Christmas tree,
under which the earth was stretched like a table covered with the pure
white cloth of snow that winter had spread over it, and which spring,
summer and autumn were in turn to deck with flowers and fruit in due
season.

They drove slowly out of the village, and when they came to the turn of
the road, Frank caught sight of Pomuchelkopp's manor house with its
brilliantly lighted windows: "They are keeping Christmas there too," he
said.--Yes, presents were given and received there, but Christmas was
not kept.

Pomuchelskopp had bought everything in Rostock, nothing in Rahnstädt.
"One should always do things in style!" he said, and then he told how
much he had paid for Mally's and Sally's new dresses, and when Sally
heard that Mally's had cost six shillings more than hers, she was
jealous of her sister, and Mally thought herself much better than
Sally. Then Phil and Tony quarrelled about a sugar doll, and when
Pomuchelskopp decided the dispute in favour of his pet son Phil, Tony
lost his temper and struck at Phil's head with his toy whip, but
instead of striking his brother, he hit the large mirror so hard that
it was broken in pieces; so Henny called order, and taking the tawse
out of the cupboard, punished Tony first, because of his naughtiness,
and then Phil, and lastly the other boys to keep them company. She did
not call her husband, Pöking, once during the whole evening, no, not
even when he gave her a new winter-bonnet trimmed with ostrich
feathers, she only said, as she took it: "Do you want to make a guy of
me, Kopp?"

When Frank went to bed that night he confessed to himself that he had
never spent such a pleasant Christmas in his life before, and when he
asked himself the reason, the sweet face of Louisa Hawermann appeared
before his mind's eye, and he said to himself: "An innocent happy child
like that makes a merry Christmas."

Something very unusual happened between Christmas and New-year's-day.
Joseph Nüssler drove up to the farm at Pümpelhagen in the phaëton and
wearing an enormous blue cloak with seven capes.--He could not get out
of the carriage, he said, for he had been away from home for a good
hour and a half, and had only called to say that the clergyman, and his
family and Bräsig were coming to a party at his house on Sylvester's
day, and that he wanted his brother-in-law to join them with his two
young people, and he, for his part, would as host provide a good bowl
of punch for the evening's entertainment. As soon as he had finished
this long speech, he shut up completely, and when Hawermann had
accepted his invitation, and Christian had begun to turn the carriage,
he merely muttered something like: "Good-bye then, brother-in-law,"
from beneath the seven capes, so Christian turned his head round and
called out: "The mistress told me to say that she expected you to come
to coffee."

Frank wrote and told Fred, who was still in Rahnstädt with his mother,
of the invitation, at the same time telling him that as his holiday was
over he had better go straight to Rexow on the last day of the year,
and then he could return to Pümpelhagen with Hawermann and him in the
evening.

A regular thaw had set in before Sylvester's day, and when Hawermann
and Frank arrived at the muddy farm-yard at Rexow, they saw Joseph
Nüssler standing in the doorway with bent knees. He was dressed in the
black coat and trousers that his wife had given him at Christmas, and
as he had put on the red cap which Mina had crocheted for his Christmas
present, he looked in the distance exactly like a stuffed dignitary of
the church. Bräsig, however, pushed him out into the yard, saying:
"Show yourself, Joseph. Do _les honours_ properly, so that Charles'
young nobleman may see that you know something of life."

As soon as Joseph had got over his labours of receiving the company,
and Mr. and Mrs. Behrens had arrived and had spoken to the twins, Mrs.
Nüssler took her brother aside and told him how the farm had been
paying that year; Mr. Behrens entered into conversation with Mr. von
Rambow; his wife talked to the little girl about their Christmas
presents; Joseph seated himself in his old corner by the stove and said
nothing, and Bräsig went about from one group to another, his feet and
legs incased in seal-skin boots that came up as high as his waist, as
though Christmas were come again and he were going to act Ruklas[10] to
frighten the children.--The sun shone in at the window and gilded the
steam that curled from the coffee-pot, and the thin cloud of smoke from
the clergyman's pipe, reminding one of the light fleecy clouds which
float upon the summer sky, but a black wintry storm-cloud rose from
behind the stove, for Joseph was sitting there smoking as though for a
wager.--Fortunately for those present, his wife had taken the
precaution of emptying his tobacco-pouch of the twist he kept there,
and of putting a very mild kind of tobacco in its place, but he had
been so long accustomed to the hard work of smoking the coarse native
tobacco he was in the habit of using, that he thought the same exertion
was necessary with the mild foreign tobacco he had now in his pipe.
Outside the house black clouds were gathering on the horizon, but no
one in the cosy parlour was troubled by thoughts of a coming storm.

Mrs. Nüssler's parlour-maid now came in, and telling her mistress that
a carter had just brought a box from the apothecary in Rahnstädt, asked
where it was to be put.--"Good heavens!" cried Mrs. Behrens, "it will
be Fred's clothes. My dear pastor, you will see that my brother-in-law
has been so foolish as to let the boy ride again, and on that wild
sorrel horse too that no one else has ever ridden!"--"You needn't be
anxious, Mrs. Behrens," said Hawermann with a half laugh he could not
suppress, "the sorrel isn't so bad as you think."--"Oh, but Hawermann,
when he was riding to Pümpelhagen before, I saw how the horse stood
still and refused to move."--"Ah," said Bräsig "the mere obstinacy
shown by the beast is nothing, the danger is, that when the young
rascal conquers, the horse generally starts forward suddenly, and then
the rider is apt to lose his balance and tumble off."--But little Mrs.
Behrens was not to be comforted by what Bräsig told her, she opened the
window and asked the carter whether Fred was riding, and whether the
horse was wild.--"As quiet as a lamb," was the answer, "and if he lets
the horse alone, it'll let him alone. He isn't far off now."--That was
a pleasant piece of news, and Mrs. Behrens seated herself on the sofa
again with a sigh of relief, saying: "Ah me, I always tremble for my
sister's sake when I see that boy. He's continually getting into some
stupid scrape or other."--"You may depend upon that," said Bräsig.

They were both right. In the short time, between Christmas and
New-year's-day, he had got into no end of scrapes, and all of them in
his grand new clothes too, for in spite of the bad weather he wore his
green hunting-coat, white leather breeches, and top-boots regularly
every day, and sometimes even during the night; that is to say, that on
one occasion when he had remained till a late hour at a supper-party
composed of merry young farming apprentices as great dandies as
himself, he was found lying on the top of his bed with his boots and
spurs on by the servant when she took him his hot water in the
morning.--Some people might be inclined to laugh and shrug their
shoulders, but the fact of the matter is, that at this party, Fred had
happened to meet his old friend Augustus Prebberow, who had been going
about in top-boots for a year and a half longer than himself, and that
the joy of seeing his old friend again, and the highly intellectual
conversation in which he had taken part, had rather overcome him.
Augustus Prebberow had taken the opportunity of giving him a great deal
of good advice as to how he ought to behave to his "governor"--that was
what he called Hawermann, and what was the best way of managing his
governor, and then he had gone on to give him examples from his own
experience, of the proper way to treat the bondager-lads, how to make
them go head over heels, climb a greased pole, &c. &c. As soon as they
had exhausted that branch of farming they had turned the conversation
to horses. Fred had then told the whole of his experience with the
sorrel. He had taken care to explain that the sorrel was a good horse,
but that as his father, the apothecary, who had had him since he was a
foal, loved him as the apple of his eye, he had never cared to cure him
of his tricks, and now the horse had grown obstinate in his own
opinion, and thought he knew better than anyone else; but that he,
Fred, was determined to teach him better manners. His chief fault was
that he absolutely refused to go a step further when he had taken it
into his stupid old head that he had done enough, and that then neither
working the bit, nor tche-tcheing, neither whip nor spur made the
slightest impression on him.--"And you really allow that?" Augustus had
asked. "Well, then I'll tell you what to do next time. Take a large jug
of water with you, and ride on quietly till he comes to a stand-still
and refuses to move--listen--pull at the bit, give him the spur, and
fling the jug of water between his ears--all at the same time you
understand--so that the crockery should break on his head and the water
run into his eyes."

When Fred set out for Rexow he remembered this piece of advice, and
determined to try whether it would really succeed. So off he set, the
reins in his left hand, the whip under his left arm, and a large jug
quite full of water in his right hand. Of course his progress was only
at a foot's pace, for if he had gone fast he would have spilt the
water, and as the sorrel was too old to care about going quickly
everything went well till they reached the farm-yard at Rexow. Fred
then wished to turn his gallant steed down the drive leading to the
front-door, so he gave the sorrel a touch of the spurs in his ribs, and
immediately the horse stopt as though rooted to the spot; whether it
was only his way, or whether he was a sly dog and remembered what had
happened at the parsonage-pond is more than I can tell. Now was the
time for Fred to try his stratagem. He jerked the bit, used his spurs
energetically, and dashed the jug of cold water between the horse's
ears. "Ugh!" grunted the sorrel with a shake of the head, to show that
he had no intention of moving on, but was quite contented to remain
where he was, and then he sank down gently and quietly to the ground
where he stretched himself out at full length. Fred was obliged to
follow his example, for though he had sufficient presence of mind to
free himself from the stirrups, still he could not help falling beside
his horse.

The company assembled in Mrs. Nüssler's parlour had seen the whole
dispute between Fred and the sorrel, and little Mrs. Behrens trembled
for her sister's darling when she saw Fred raise himself in his
stirrups, and fling the great kitchen-jug at his opponent, but when she
saw the sorrel's gentle reproof, and her nephew lying on the soft but
slightly cool "bed of honour" which Heaven had covered with a coating
of mud, made by the rain and thaw, and which Joseph Nüssler had also
aided to soften with his farm-carts, she could not help joining in the
hearty fit of laughter with which the rest of the party had greeted
Fred's down-fall. She then said to her husband: "It will do him a great
deal of good!"--"Yes," said Bräsig, "and a cold in the head will do him
no harm either. What business had he to treat the poor old beast so
shockingly."

Fred approached like the half-moon, one side shining and brilliant, the
other dark, and gloomy. "What a mess you've made of your clothes, my
dear boy," cried his Aunt from the open window. "Don't come into the
parlour in that state. Fortunately your box has arrived, so you can
easily change your things."

This was done, and then Fred made his appearance in his grandest
clothes: a blue cut-away coat and black cloth-trousers, and went about
the room with all the airs and graces of a young squire, though
inwardly he was fretting and fuming over Bräsig's pointed jests and
Mrs. Behrens' remarks. Frank on the contrary was in high spirits, he
talked and joked with the three little girls, got the twins to let him
see their Christmas presents, and laughed, heartily when Lina and Mina
showed him two great flannel-bags which uncle Bräsig had given them "to
keep their extremities warm, and so prevent them having gout before
their time." He had never before been in the society of girls younger
than himself, and was so pleased with the innocent confidences made to
him by these three little maids, that when supper-time came he seated
himself beside the children, and when Mrs. Nüssler asked him to take
his proper place near the head of the table, he begged to be allowed to
remain where he was.

It was a merry supper-party, every one except Fred and Joseph took part
in the conversation. Fred was cross and uncomfortable, and was angry
with himself for not being able to talk and laugh like Frank. Joseph
was also silent, it is true, but then he was always ready to laugh, and
if Bräsig so much as opened his mouth, he prepared to join in the burst
of laughter which was sure to follow. When the punch was placed on the
table, Lina, as the steadiest of the two sisters, was chosen to
dispense it to the company, and her father recovering speech for the
time being, and determining to do his duty as host, said, or rather
murmured: "Give Bräsig some punch, Lina."--The punch helped Fred also
to find his tongue, though it did not improve his temper. He was
displeased with Frank's way of behaving, and thought that though the
little girls were quite children, they ought on this occasion to be
treated like grown-up young ladies, and have a higher sort of
conversation addressed to them, he therefore took up the same theme
which he had found answer at the Rahnstädt ball when he was dancing the
cotillion with the mayor's daughter, a lady of five and twenty. "Miss
Hawermann," he began. The child looked at him in astonishment, and when
he once more said: "Miss Hawermann," she burst out laughing, and said:
"I'm not Miss, I'm only Louisa Hawermann!" And Frank could not help
joining in her merriment.--Disagreeable as this was, Fred was too well
aware that his behaviour was correct, to be much put out by the
reception it met with, he therefore proceeded to describe the ball he
had been at in Rahnstädt, and to repeat what he had said to the mayor's
daughter, and what she had said to him, and as he did so he addressed
the twins as well as Louisa, taking care to call them "Miss Nüssler"
and "Miss Mina Nüssler." As every one at table was talking and
laughing, he raised his voice higher and higher, till at last there was
dead silence all round him, and every eye was fixed on him in
astonishment. Joseph, who sat beside him, drew back a little, and
stared at him in blank amazement, that any one man could pour forth
such a stream of words. Bräsig peered round the corner at him from
behind Joseph, and winked at Hawermann as much as to say: "Didn't I
tell you, Charles, that he was a regular greyhound?"--Hawermann kept
his eyes fixed on his plate, and looked angry. Mrs. Nüssler was anxious
and ill at ease, feeling that as hostess it would hardly do for her to
desire her guest to be quiet, and to choose a different style of
conversation. The pastor shook his head gravely, while little Mrs.
Behrens gave more decided tokens of disapprobation by burying her chin
in her breast till her cap-ribbons were almost lost to view, and by
flouncing up and down on her chair as if it were too hot for her; but
when Fred began to describe the schottish, and told how the gentleman
puts his arm round the lady's waist, she started up exclaiming: "Don't
any of you speak! I'm his Aunt, and am therefore the nearest to him.
Come here Fred."--And when Fred rose slowly, and approached her with an
air of high-bred nonchalance, she seized him by the lappel of his coat,
and pulling him towards the door, said: "Come, my dear boy, come away
with me," and so left the room with him. They could all hear the murmur
of Mrs. Behrens' voice as she lectured her nephew, her words flowed on
uninterruptedly in spite of his protestations until she had finished
what she wanted to say, when she reopened the door, and leading Fred
into the room, pointed to his chair, and said: "Sit down there, and
speak like a reasonable mortal."

Fred did as he was bid, that is to say, he obeyed the first command;
the second was too hard for him. How was it possible to talk sensibly
after having begun by talking sentimentally, and so make a flat ending
to a well begun conversation.--Frank and the three children gradually
resumed their former merry talk, while the older people spoke about
graver subjects, and so the conversational coach rolled on smoothly,
except when Bräsig drove it against a stone with a sudden jerk. Mrs.
Behrens managed to act the part of moral policeman towards the offender
while taking her full share in the conversation of the elders, and Fred
sat silently fuming, and pouring punch, like oil, on the flames of his
wrath, internally stigmatising Frank as a "sneak," and the little girls
as "silly baggages," who understood nothing of the ways of polite
society.

But notwithstanding the contempt he felt for the society of such mere
children, he was seized with a certain feeling of jealousy, when he
saw, as he imagined, that Frank liked talking to Louisa Hawermann best
of all, he made up his mind to put an end to that state of things, and
to try what he, Fred Triddelfitz could do, that is to say, when his
aunt was not there.

Meanwhile it had grown very late without anyone having noticed how
quickly time was flying, when suddenly a terrible form was seen
standing in the parlour; it was dressed in warm patch-work garments,
and blew a loud blast on the cow-horn it held in its hand, and then
began to ring still more discordantly. It was Augustus Stowsand, a
half-witted fellow who lived on the estate, and whom Joseph Nüssler,
having no other use for him, had made night-watchman. The serving men
and maids peeped in at the open door to see how he got on, and giggled,
and pushed each other forward, and drew each other back. Everyone began
to wish everyone else a happy new year, and then as soon as quiet was
restored, the pastor made a little speech which began jestingly, and
ended seriously. He reminded his auditors that every year they were
nearer death than before, and that every year they might have the
comfort of making new ties of friendship and love, and of drawing the
old ones tighter. And when he looked round the room on the conclusion
of his address, his little wife threw her arms about him; Mr. and Mrs.
Nüssler drew closer to each other, Hawermann and Bräsig clasped hands;
the twins embraced, and Frank stood by Louisa Hawermann's side. Fred
was nowhere to be seen, his bad temper had conveyed him out of the
room.--Thus ended the year 1839.



                             CHAPTER VIII.


Bräsig set out on his journey to the water-cure establishment[11] at
Easter, and at the same time Mr. von Rambow and the three daughters
arrived at Pümpelhagen.--"I fear that there's no chance of his ever
getting better," said Hawermann to himself when he saw the squire, and
Frank was of the same opinion, and as they sat together on the evening
of the family's arrival, they talked sadly of what was surely coming,
and the next day when Frank had, as was natural, gone to live with his
uncle and cousins at the manor-house, Hawermann felt the old farm-house
dull and empty without him, for he had grown to love his pupil.

The neighbours all came to call on the squire during the first week
after his coming home. Pomuchelskopp amongst the number. He was dressed
in his blue coat with the brass buttons, and drove up to the door in
his grand new carriage which looked, even more imposing than before,
because of the coat-of-arms on the pannels. He had paid half a
sovereign to a man in Vienna for the arms, which were a cod's head on
an azure field, but the stupid labourers who knew nothing about
cod-fish, and who perhaps saw a certain resemblance between the coat of
arms and their master, always spoke of it as a "fool's head on a blue
ground." Pomuchelskopp had given up all thought of being on visiting
terms with Bräsig's master the count, and there were no other members
of the aristocracy in the neighbourhood, so he rejoiced in Mr. von
Rambow's coming to Pümpelhagen; but he met with a disappointment. He
told the old butler, Daniel Sadenwater, in a tone of heart-felt anxiety
of his distress where he heard of Mr. von Rambow's illness, and how he
could not resist coming to enquire after him personally, adding that he
had known the squire well in Rostock. Daniel listened with stolid
gravity, and then went to tell his master who it was that had called,
he returned in a few minutes, as stolidly grave as before, and said
that the squire regretted that he did not feel well enough to admit
visitors. Pomuchelskopp was very much put out by this, and spent the
rest of the afternoon sulking in his favourite sofa corner, and his
wife, who was always loving and tender to him at such times, called him
"Pöking," which must have gone a long way towards making up for his
disappointment.

Mr. von Rambow required no other society than he had at home. His two
elder daughters had no other thought from morning to-night than how
best to nurse and take care of him, and the youngest, who was the pet
and darling of the whole family, and who was perhaps a little spoilt,
and rather too young and girlish for her age, did her utmost to cheer
and amuse him. Frank had constituted himself his uncle's secretary, and
besides that took care to smooth down all the small worries that
necessarily arise in a household so conducted as that at Pümpelhagen,
especially when there is illness in the family; but Hawermann above all
was of service to the squire, who could not do without him, and who
consulted him about many things which did not properly fall under his
jurisdiction. So it happened that Hawermann had no time to go down to
the parsonage, and if Louisa wanted to see him she had either to join
him in the fields, or to come up to the farm-house when he was in at
dinner. Miss Fidelia von Rambow sometimes met her at such times, and as
was natural took a fancy to her, for young maids and old maids like
each other's society, and women who have not yet left early youth very
far behind them, are refreshed and attracted by the youthfulness of
girls who are standing on the brink of womanhood, and thus it was that
the child and the young lady soon became fast friends. I cannot answer
the question whether it is good for a young girl to be on intimate
terms with a woman much older than herself with the customary "yes,"
for it depends very much on the character of the elder lady whether
such a friendship does good or harm, but in this case Louisa was not
hurt by it. Miss Fidelia was good and true, and was unusually free from
the small vanities of good society, and although her mother used to be
distressed at it, as tending to unfit her for taking her proper place
in society, her father rather encouraged her in her inartificial ways.
Unfortunately, however, it was his fault that she was somewhat gushing,
and that she would never grow any older than she was, for she had
always had to laugh and coax away his cares and troubles, and so had,
unconsciously, retained ways and manners only suited to a very young
girl. The business of the day engaged her attention too much to allow
of Louisa taking part in her vagaries or copying her ways, and her
companionship had a salutary effect, for Louisa was of a thoughtful
disposition, and had sufficient good sense only to learn those pretty
gracious little ways which were in keeping with her own character.
There was give and take on both sides.

If Louisa did not know the ways of good society, Miss Fidelia knew as
little about the ways of the world in which she was now living, and
Louisa was often of great use to her in that respect. A disagreeable
thing happened to the young lady about this time. Her father had sent
for a beautiful new chess from Schwerin for a birthday-present for her;
Alberta gave her a summer-hat, and Bertha, a shawl. When the things
arrived the two elder sisters at once began to dress their darling in
her new clothes, and then standing round her, looked at her from head
to foot, and admired her in her finery, and Bertha exclaimed: "What a
little _fée_ she is!"--Now Caroline Kegel, the housemaid, happening to
be in the room at the time, and having nothing particular to do, went
downstairs to the kitchen, and said: "Girls, only fancy. Miss Bertha
says that our little Missy looks like a 'little quey'!"[12]--Of course
this was too good a joke to be allowed to die out, and before long Miss
Fidelia was known by no other name than the "little quey." This went on
for some time, but at last it reached the young lady's ears, and then
there was great displeasure shown, and after due enquiry Caroline Kegel
was dismissed from the house in an agony of tears.--Louisa coming to
call met Caroline walking down the steps roaring and crying, and on
going into the house found Miss Fidelia crying in her room. One word
led to another, and as soon as Louisa understood what was the matter,
she felt very sorry for both of them, and laying her hand on the young
lady's shoulder, said: "The servants meant no harm."--"Yes," cried
Fidelia, "they did, they did. They are rude coarse creatures."--"No,
no, don't say that," Louisa entreated. "Our servants are not rude, they
have as tender hearts as the higher classes. As my father says, they
only require to be known to be valued, and it is difficult to do that,
for their language separates them from their masters."--"That's got
nothing to do with it," cried Fidelia, "'little quey' is a rude
coarse expression."--"It was a misunderstanding," said Louisa, "the
country-people had never heard the word '_fée_' before, and as they
have a word which sounds something like it, 'quey,' they thought that
was what your sister meant, and naturally it struck them as being very
odd. They never intended to hurt your feelings.--You are loved by all
your servants."--This last piece of information, which Louisa did not
mean as flattery, but merely as a statement of fact, went a long way to
destroy the impression that the nick-name "little quey" had made on the
young lady, and when she went on warmly and impressively to describe
what Mr. Behrens, who knew the people in their joys and sorrows, had
told of their loyalty and depth of feeling, Fidelia was quite appeased,
and regained her natural good-humour. She said that she was determined
to try to know and understand the people about her, so that she might
not misjudge them for the future, and then she took Caroline Kegel into
favour again.

Fidelia questioned Frank on the subject, and he praised the peasantry
of Pümpelhagen highly. The squire also bore witness to the good
character of his people, and went on to say that the forefathers of his
vassals had lived under his ancestors from time immemorial. The first
Mr. von Rambow of whom anything was known had two serving-men, one of
whom was called "Äsel" and the other "Egel"--so the story goes at
least. In course of time the descendants of these two men grew and
multiplied, and many mistakes were made amongst the "Äsels" and
"Egels." One Egel often got a bushel of rye that was intended for
another Egel, and one Äsel a good beating which another Äsel should by
rights have had. These mistakes increased in number during the rule of
one of his ancestors who--he confessed it with shame--was troubled with
a short memory, and came to such a pass that the Mrs. von Rambow of
that day, who was much cleverer than her husband, could stand it no
longer.--A good plan occurred to her, and as her will was law in the
house she had power to carry it out. One Sunday morning she called
together all the householders in the village, and asked each of them
his Christian name and surname. These she wrote down--for she knew how
to write, and then taking the first letter of the Christian name, she
added it to the surname, and so rechristened the whole village: for
instance: "Korl Egel," became "Kegel;" "Pagel Egel," "Pegel;" "Florian
Egel," "Flegel;" and "Vulrad Äsel," "Väsel;" "Peiter Äsel," "Päsel,"
and "David Äsel," "Däsel," &c. &c. &c. "And," the squire went on, "it
is a very remarkable fact that according to tradition the forefather of
the line of 'Egel' had flaxen hair, while the first of the 'Äsels' had
black hair, and this is still a characteristic of their descendants.
Besides that, they have kept up their family talents as well as their
family looks: old documents tell us that the original Egel was very
skilful in making trowels, spoons, rakes and sabots, while the first
Äsel had a wonderfully fine voice for singing, and so it is to this
very day, and that is why my ancestors and I have always been
particular in choosing an Äsel as night-watchman, and an Egel as
wheel-wright. And so Fidelia," he said in conclusion, "you will find
that the night-watchman is David Däsel, and the wheel-wright, Fritz
Flegel."

Miss Fidelia was delighted with this story, and having a great deal of
time on her hands, the whim seized her to visit all the labourers'
cottages, and when there she hindered the women at their work with her
idle chatter, and distributed her cast off finery amongst the children.
Indeed, if Louisa had not interposed, she would, on one occasion, have
presented Päsel's Molly, a child of eleven, with an old veil and a hat
trimmed with ostrich-feathers, and another time, she wanted to give
Däsel's Chrissy, whose work it was to take the geese down to the pond,
a beautiful pair of pale blue satin-shoes.

The village fathers shook their heads gravely over this state of
matters, but the mothers were better pleased with it, "for," they said,
"if she's a little weak-minded, still she's good and kind," and instead
of calling her "little quey" as they had done at first, they had now no
other name for her but "nice homely little quey."

Parson Behrens shook his head also when he heard of this kind of
beneficence. He said that the Pümpelhagen peasantry were the best in
his parish because they had always been under the rule of the same
family, and had always been treated justly and kindly, while the
Gürlitz villagers had been spoilt by a constant change of masters. He
was well aware that nothing is so hurtful to the character as receiving
lavish and undeserved benefits, and therefore determined to speak to
the young lady. He did so on the first opportunity, and explained to
her that the Pümpelhagen vassals were so well off that unless any of
them were thrown out of work by age or ill-health, or had lost their
cattle by an epidemic, they were quite able to support themselves, and
added that indiscriminate alms-giving only taught people to rely upon
outside help instead of on their own exertions; he showed her that the
common people, as well as those in a better worldly position, should be
allowed to go their own way independently, and that no outsider
ought--even in kindness--to meddle in their private affairs.

I am happy to say that Miss Fidelia took the hint, and for the future
limited her charity to those who could not help themselves, that is, to
the sick and aged, and these looked upon her, not as a "little quey,"
but as a sweet little fée. Louisa helped her in this good work, and
Frank, who sometimes accompanied them, saw to his surprise that the
merry little maiden could at times look very grave and thoughtful, and
that her great eyes rested on sick old women with the same
comprehending and sympathetic compassion as they had done on him last
Christmas-eve. He was glad to see that it was so, but he did not know
why.

Spring was gone, and summer had come, when one Sunday morning Hawermann
received a letter from Bräsig dated from Warnitz, in which his friend
requested him to remain at home that day, for he had returned and
intended to call on him that afternoon. When Bräsig arrived, he sprang
from his saddle with so much force that one might have thought he
wanted to go through the road with both legs. "Oho!" cried Hawermann,
"how brisk you are! You're all right now, ar'n't you?"--"As right as a
trivet, Charles. I've renewed my youth."--"Well, how have you been
getting on, old boy?" asked Hawermann, when they were seated on the
sofa and their pipes were lighted.--"Listen, Charles. Cold, damp,
watery, clammy--that's about what it comes to. It's just turning a
human being into a frog, and before a man's nature is so changed, he
has such a hard time of it, that he begins to wish that he had come
into the world a frog: still, it isn't a bad thing! You begin the day
with the common packing, as they call it. They wrap you up in cold,
damp sheets, and then in woollen blankets, in which they fasten you up
so tight that you can't move any part of your body except your toes. In
this condition they take you to a bath-room, and a man goes before you
ringing a bell to warn the ladies to keep out of your way. Then they
place you, just as God made you, in a bath, and dash three pails of
water over your bald head--if you happen to have one, and after that
they allow you to go away. Well, do you think that that's the end of
it? Nay, Charles, there's more to follow: but it's a good thing all the
same. Now you've got to go for a walk in a place where you've nothing
earthly to do. I've been accustomed all my life to walk a great deal,
but then it was doing something, ploughing or harrowing, spreading
manure or cutting corn, and there I'd no occupation whatever. While
walking you are expected to drink ever so many tumblers of water, ever
so many. Some of the people were exactly like sieves, they were always
at it, and they used to gasp out 'What splendid water it is!' Don't
believe them, Charles, it is nothing but talk. Water applied externally
is bad enough in all conscience, but internally it's still more
horrible. Then comes the sitz-bath. Do you know what a bath at four
degrees below zero is like? It's very much what you would feel if you
were in hell, and the devil had tied you down to a glowing iron chair,
under which he kept up a roaring fire; still it's a good thing! Then
you've to walk again till dinner-time. And now comes dinner. Ah,
Charles, you have no idea what a human being goes through at a
water-cure place! You've got to drink no end of water. Charles, I've
seen ladies, small and thin as real angels, drink each of them three
caraffes as large as laundry-pails at a sitting--and then the potatoes!
Good gracious, as many potatoes were eaten in a day as would have
served to plant an acre of ground! These water-doctors are much to be
pitied, their patients must eat them out of house and home. In the
afternoon the water-drinking goes on as merrily as before, and you may
now talk to the ladies if you like; but in the morning you may not
approach them, for they are not then dressed for society. Before dinner
some of them are to be seen running about with wet stockings, as if
they had been walking through a field of clover, others have wet
bandages tied round their heads, and all of them let their hair hang
down over their shoulders, and wear a Fenus' girdle round their waists,
which last, however, is not visible. But in the afternoon, as I said,
you may talk to them as much as you like, but will most likely get
short answers unless you speak to them about their health, and ask them
how often they have been packed, and what effect it had on them, for
that is the sort of conversation that is most approved of at a
water-cure establishment. After amusing yourself in this way for a
little you must have a touche (douche), that is a great rush of
ice-cold water--and that's a good thing too. Above all, Charles, you
must know that what every one most dislikes, and whatever is most
intensely disagreeable is found to be wholesome and good for the
constitution."--"Then you ought to be quite cured of your gout," said
Hawermann, "for of all things in the world cold water was what you
always disliked the most."--"It's easy to see from that speech that
you've never been at the water-cure, Charles. Listen--this is how the
doctor explained the whole thing to me. That confounded gout is the
chief of all diseases--in other words, it is the source of them all,
and it proceeds from the gouty humour which is in the bones, and which
simply tears one to pieces with the pain, and this gouty substance
comes from the poisonous matter one has swallowed as food--for example
kümmel or tobacco--or as medicine at the apothecary's. Now you must
understand that any one who has gout must, if he wishes to be cured, be
packed in damp sheets, till the water has drawn all the tobacco he has
ever smoked, and all the kümmel he has ever drunk out of his
constitution. First the poisonous matter goes, then the gouty
matter, and last of all the gout itself."--"And has it been so with
you?"--"No."--"Why didn't you remain longer then? I should have stayed
on, and have got rid of it once for all if I had been you."--"You don't
know what you are talking about, Charles. No one could stand it, and no
one has ever done it all at once.... But now let me go on with my
description of our daily life.--After the touche you are expected to
walk again, and by the time that is finished it has begun to grow dusk.
You may remain out later if you like, and many people do so, both
gentlemen and ladies, or you may go into the house and amuse yourself
by reading. I always spent the evening in studying the water-books
written by an author named Franck, who is, I understand, at the head of
his profession. These books explain the plan on which the water-doctors
proceed, and give reasons for all they do; but it's very difficult to
understand. I could never get further than the two first pages, and
these were quite enough for me, for when I'd read them I felt as
light-headed and giddy as if I had been standing on my head for half an
hour. You imagine, no doubt, Charles, that the water in your well is
water? He does not think so! Listen, fresh air is divided into three
parts: oxygen, nitrogen, and black carbon; and water is divided into
two parts: carbon and hydrogen. Now the whole water-cure the'ry is
founded on water and air. And listen, Charles, just think of the wisdom
of nature: when a human being goes out into the fresh air he inhales
both black carbon and nitrogen through his windpipe, and as his
constitution can't stand the combination of these two dreadful things,
the art of curing by water, steps in, and drives them out of his
throat. And the way that it does so is this: the oxygen grapples with
the carbon, and the hydrogen drives the nitrogen out of your body. Do
you understand me, Charles?"--"No," said Hawermann laughing heartily,
"you can hardly expect me to do that."--"Never laugh at things you
don't understand, Charles. Listen--I have smelt the nitrogen myself,
but as for the black carbon, what becomes of it? That is a difficult
question, and I didn't get on far enough with the water-science to be
able to answer it. Perhaps you think that parson Behrens could explain
the matter to me, but no, when I asked him yesterday he said that he
knew nothing about it. And now, Charles, you'll see that I've still got
the black carbon in me, and that I shall have that beastly gout
again."--"But, Zachariah, why didn't you remain a little longer and get
thoroughly cured?"--"Because," and Bräsig cast down his eyes, and
looked uncomfortable, "I couldn't. Something happened to me. Charles,"
he continued, raising his eyes to his friend's face, "you've known me
from my childhood, tell me, did you ever see me disrespectful to a
woman?"--"No, Bräsig, I can bear witness that I never did."--"Well,
then, just think what happened. A week ago last Friday the gout was
very troublesome in my great toe--you know it always begins by
attacking the small end of the human wedge--and the water-doctor said:
'Mr. Bailiff,' he said, 'you must have an extra packing. Dr. Strump's
colchicum is the cause of this, and we must get rid of it.' Well, it
was done; he packed me himself, and so tight that I had hardly room to
breathe, telling me for my comfort that water was more necessary for me
than air, and then he wanted to shut the window. 'No,' I said, 'I
understand the the'ry well enough to know that I must have fresh air,
so please leave the window open.' He did as I asked, and went away.[13]
I lay quite still in my compress thinking no evil, when suddenly I
heard a great humming and buzzing in my ears, and when I could look up,
I saw a swarm of bees streaming in at my window, preceded by their
queen. I knew her well, Charles, for as you know I am a bee-keeper. One
spring the school-master at Zittelwitz and I got fifty-seven in a
field. I now saw that the queen was going to settle on the blanket
which the doctor had drawn over my head. What was to be done? I
couldn't move. I blew at her, and blew and blew till my breath was all
gone. It was horrible! The queen settled right on the bald part of my
head--for I had taken off my wig as usual to save it--and now the whole
swarm flew at my face. That was enough for me. Quickly I rolled out of
bed, freed myself from the blanket, wriggled out of the wet sheets, and
reached the door, for the devil was at my heels. I got out at the door,
and striking out at my assailants blindly and madly, shrieked for help.
God be praised and thanked for the existence of the water-doctor--his
name is Ehrfurcht--he came to my rescue, and, taking me to another
room, fetched me my clothes, and so after a few hours rest I was able
to go down to the dining-room--_salong_ as they call it--but I still
had half a bushel of bee-stings in my body. I began to speak to the
gentlemen, and they did nothing but laugh. Why did they laugh, Charles?
You don't know, nor do I. I turned to one of the ladies, and spoke to
her in a friendly way about the weather; she blushed. What was there in
the weather to make her red? I can't tell, nor can you, Charles. I
spoke to the lady who sings, and asked her very politely to let us hear
the beautiful song which she sings every evening. What did she do,
Charles? She turned her back upon me! I now busied myself with my own
thoughts, but the water-doctor came up to me, and said courteously:
'Don't be angry with me, Mr. Bailiff, but you've made yourself very
remarkable this afternoon.'--'How?' I asked.--'Miss von Hinkefuss was
crossing the passage when you ran out of your room, and she has told
every one else in strict confidence.'--'And so,' I said, 'you give me
no sympathy, the gentlemen laugh at me, and the ladies turn their
pretty backs upon me. No, I didn't come here for that! If Miss von
Hinkefuss had met _me_, if half a bushel of bee-stings had been planted
in _her_ body, I should have asked her every morning with the utmost
propriety how she was. But let her alone! There is no market where
people can buy kind-heartedness! Come away, doctor, and pull the stings
out of my body.'--He said he couldn't do it.--'What!' I asked, 'can't
you pull bee-stings out of a man's skin?'--'No,' he said, 'that is to
say, I _can_ do it, but I dare not, for that is an operation such as
surgeons perform, and I have no diploma for surgery from the
Mecklenburg government.'--'What?' I asked, 'you are allowed to draw
gout out of my bones, but it is illegal for you to draw a bee-sting out
of my skin? You dare not meddle with the outer skin which you can see,
and yet you presume to attack my internal maladies which you can't see?
_Thank_ you!'--Well, Charles, from that moment I lost all faith in the
water-doctor, and without faith they can do nothing as they themselves
tell you when it comes to the point. So I went away quietly and got old
Metz, the surgeon at Rahnstädt, to draw out the stings. That was the
end of the water-cure; still it's a good thing; one gets new ideas
in a place like that, and even if one's gout is not cured, one
gains some notion of what a human being can suffer. And now, Charles,
this is a water-book I have brought you, you can study it in the
winter-evenings."--Hawermann thanked him, and the conversation was
changed to farming, and then to the two apprentices.--"Well," asked
Bräsig, "how's your pupil, Mr. von Rambow, getting on?"--"Very well,
indeed, Bräsig, he's getting to understand the work, I'm only sorry I
can't have him more with me. He does what he has to do without loss of
time, and more than that, I know from Daniel Sadenwater that he spends
many a night by my old master's sick-bed, even though he must often be
very tired. He's like the man mentioned in the Bible whose hand always
finds something to do, and whose heart is full of love."--"Well,
Charles, your greyhound?"--"Oh, he isn't so bad, he has a lot of
maggots in his head, but there's no harm in him. He does what he is
told, though he's sometimes a little forgetful--but so were we at his
age."--"The best thing about your lads is that they are strong. I was
at Christian Klockmann's, and he has a son of fourteen who isn't at all
well. He complains of feeling tired all day long, and is always half
asleep. He won't eat at proper times, and when out in the fields always
wants something to eat."--"Oh, no," said Hawermann, "my boys are not
like that."--"And so Mr. Frank watches by the old gentleman at night,"
said Bräsig, "that's pretty hard work for him. Then the _Counsellor_
must be really ill. Remember me to him, Charles. And now good-by, I
must be going, for my lord, the Count, wants to see me about particular
business." And Bräsig rode away.

The squire had grown very weak in the last few days, he had had another
slight stroke, but fortunately it had not affected his speech, and that
evening Frank asked Hawermann to go up to the manor-house, for his
uncle wanted to speak to him.

The bailiff found Fidelia in the sick-room trying to amuse her father
by telling him this or that little incident in her lively girlish
way.--Alas, poor thing, she little knew that her father would soon be
beyond the reach of her voice. The squire desired her to leave him
alone with Hawermann, and as soon as she was gone, he looked at the
bailiff sorrowfully, and said: "Hawermann, dear Hawermann, when our
greatest joys cease to affect us, it shows that the end is at
hand."--Hawermann looked at him earnestly and could not hide from
himself that the worst would soon come, for he had often seen death
before, so he bent his eyes sadly on the ground, and asked: "Wasn't the
doctor here to-day?"--"Ah, Hawermann, the _doctor_. What good can he
do? I'd rather have Mr. Behrens with me now.--But first of all I want
to speak to you on business of importance. Sit down there beside
me."--When the bailiff was seated the Squire went on quickly and
brokenly as if he felt that his time was as short as his breath. "My
will is in Schwerin. I have thought of everything, but--when my illness
came on so suddenly--and my wife's death too--I am afraid that my
affairs are not in such good order as they ought to be."--After a few
minutes rest he went on. "My son will have the estate, and my two
married daughters have received their share, but the three unmarried
ones--poor children!--I have been able to do very little for them.
Alick must help them--and alas, he will have enough to do to provide
for himself. He writes that he wishes to remain in the army for a few
years longer--it would be quite right for him to do so, if he would
only live economically--he could then save some of his farming
profits--to pay his debts.--But the Jew, Hawermann, the Jew! Will he
wait do you think? Did you speak?"--"No, Sir; but Moses will wait; I am
quite sure that he will wait. And even if he does not, a great deal of
money can be raised on the estate, far more than would have been
possible a few years ago."--"Yes, yes. Land has increased in value very
much. But still--Alick knows nothing about farming--I have made Frank
send him numbers of agricultural books--he ought to study them--they
would be of great service to him, would they not, Hawermann?"--"Ah,"
said Hawermann to himself, "my old master would never have trusted to
mere book knowledge when he was well, he was far too practical and wise
to have done such a thing; but there is no use troubling him now if the
thought comforts him." So the bailiff only said that he thought so
too.--"And, dear old friend, you will remain with him," entreated the
Squire, "give me your hand, and promise that you will remain with
him."--"Yes," said Hawermann, his eyes full of tears, "I will not leave
Pümpelhagen as long as I can be of use to you or yours."--"I knew it,"
said his master, sinking back upon his pillow exhausted; "but--Fidelia
must write--I must see him again--see him with you."--His strength was
going fast, and his breathing had become heavy and gasping.

Hawermann rose softly and rang the bell, and when Daniel Sadenwater
came, he drew him into the ante-room: "Sadenwater, our master is much
worse, I don't think it can last long now, you had better call
the young ladies and their cousin; but don't say anything too
certainly."--A sad look came over the old servant's calm face, stirring
it as the evening breeze passing over the quiet waters of a lake. He
looked in at the half open door of the sick-room sorrowfully, and
murmured as though he wished to excuse himself to himself: "Oh God! And
I have served him for thirty years ...." And then he turned and went
away.

Frank and the young ladies came in.--The poor girls had no idea how
quickly the stone was rolling down hill now, they had always felt so
certain that their father would get better, that the doctor would cure
him, or if it were beyond his power, that God would do so. They had
hitherto taken it in turn to watch by their father, and why were they
all sent for at once, and here were Frank, Hawermann and Daniel
too?--"Oh God! what is ..... what is .....?" asked Fidelia turning
anxiously to the old bailiff.--Hawermann took her hand and pressed it:
"Your father," he could not have said "the Squire" at such a moment,
"is much worse; he is very ill, and wishes to see your brother .... Mr.
von Rambow; if you will write him a line and tell him, the coachman can
post the letter on his way to fetch the doctor. Your brother may be
here in three days time."--"It can hardly last three hours," said
Sadenwater who joined Hawermann in the ante-room.

The three daughters sat or stood round their father's bed weeping
silently, for they saw that they would soon lose him who had been their
comfort and support all their lives, and their heart beats quicker and
quicker as they tried to think of something that would keep him a
little longer amongst them, while his heart beat more faintly and
slowly every minute.

Frank sat in the ante-room and listened to every sound, and now and
then joined his cousins in the sick-room for a few minutes. He had
never before seen a human life ebbing away, and his thoughts turned to
his own father, whom he had always pictured to himself as resembling
his uncle, and he felt as if he were losing his father for the second
time. He sorrowed for his cousin Alick who was absent, and who could
not possibly arrive in time.--Hawermann stood by the open window and
looked out into the night. It was just such a sweet calm night as that
one long ago when his heart was full of grief. His wife had passed away
then--and now his friend was going. Who would be the next?--Would it be
his turn, or ...? Only God could answer that question, for all things
are in His hands.--And Daniel Sadenwater sat by the stove with a basket
on his knee containing the silver forks and spoons he had burnished
every evening for thirty years. On a chair beside him were a piece of
chamois-leather and a blue checked pocket-handkerchief, and he
alternately rubbed up the silver with the one, and dried his eyes with
the other; but when he came to the fork which had his master's name
upon it, and which he had cleaned every evening for thirty years there
was such a mist before his eyes that he could not see whether it was
bright or dull, so he put the basket down by his side, and sat staring
at the fork while the tears ran down his cheeks and his heart was full
of the unspoken question: "Who will use it now?"

During all this time of restless sorrow, the pendulum of the old clock
on the wall kept up its measured beat as though time were sitting by
the bed rocking her tired child gently and surely to sleep--his last
sleep. At length it came, and the Squire's eyes were for ever closed,
the dark curtain separating here from hereafter had fallen softly, and
on this side of it the three daughters wept aloud for him who was gone
from amongst them, and wrung their hands as they mourned the sorrow
that had come. Fidelia threw herself on her father's body with a
passionate burst of crying that ended in a fit of hysterics, and Frank,
full of compassion, took her in his arms and carried her out of the
room. The two elder sisters followed, their hearts filled with a new
sorrow, fear for their darling. Hawermann on being left alone with
Daniel Sadenwater, quietly closed his master's eyes, and then went away
with a heavy heart, while Daniel, still holding the fork in his hand,
seated himself at the foot of the bed, and turned his calm face on his
master's which was even calmer than his own.



                              CHAPTER IX.


Three days later Alick arrived, too late to see his father, but not too
late to pay him the last honours. The postilion blew the usual cheery
blast on his horn as they drove into the court-yard, and three pale
women dressed in black at once appeared in the doorway of the
manor-house.--What is our grief to the rest of the world?--The young
Squire soon got to understand his real situation, for the full weight
of all the disagreeables of his position, whether caused by his own
fault or not fell upon him at once: the visitation of God, his own
ignorance and folly, the poverty of his sisters and his powerlessness
to help them, and the memory of his father's love and kindness which
had never failed in good or evil days. These things all weighed upon
him. It was his nature to feel a sort of nervous irritation when things
went ill with him, even when matters were not so grave as they now
were. He sighed and bemoaned himself, and asked again and again why
this or that was the case, and when he heard from Frank that his
father's last words had been spoken in private to Hawermann, he called
the old bailiff aside and questioned him as to what had passed between
them. Hawermann told him the whole truth, making him understand that
his father's last trouble had been uneasiness about his future, and
whether he would be able by good management of his estate to keep
himself and his sisters.

Yes, of course he would do that! He swore to himself that he would do
it when a short time afterwards he was alone in the garden; he would
double his profits, he would live quietly, would do without society,
and would not join in the extravagant amusements of his brother
officers. He could do that easily, quite easily, but he could not leave
the army as Hawermann proposed, and go somewhere to learn farming
thoroughly; no, _that_ was impossible, he was too old for that, and
then too it would be derogatory to his position as an officer, and
besides that, it was unnecessary. When he came to live at home he would
soon get into the way of it all, and meanwhile he would live
economically, would pay his debts, and would study the agricultural
works his old father had had so much at heart.

Thus it is that people deceive themselves, often even at the gravest
and most important time in their lives.

The funeral took place on the following day. No invitations were given,
but the Squire had been so much loved and respected that a number of
the neighbours attended of their own free will. Bräsig's master, the
Count, came amongst others, and showed by his manner that he thought it
a great honour to be allowed to be present. Bräsig was there also, he
stood near the coffin, and when everyone else cast down their eyes, he
raised his, and when Hawermann passed near him, he caught him by the
coat and whispered: "Ah, Charles, what is human life?" He said no more,
but Joseph Nüssler who was standing beside him, muttered: "What can
anyone do now?"--Round about them were the villagers, all the Pegels
and Degels, and Päsels and Däsels were there, and when Mr. Behrens came
in with the youngest daughter by his side, and standing by the coffin
gave a short address which touched the hearts even of the strangers
present, many tears were shed by old eyes for the kind master who was
gone. They were tears of gratitude to the old Squire, and of fear lest
the young Squire might not resemble his father.

When the address was finished the procession moved off to the
church-yard. The coffin was placed in a carriage, and Daniel Sadenwater
took his seat beside it, and sat there as stiff and motionless, even to
the calm serenity of his face, as if he had all his life been a
monument at the head of his master's grave. Then came the carriage
containing the young Squire and his three sisters, then the Count's
carriage, then the clergyman and Frank who tried to persuade Hawermann
to go with them, but he refused, saying that he wished to accompany the
labourers, then several more carriages, then Joseph Nüssler, and lastly
Hawermann on foot with Bräsig and the villagers.

When they got to Gürlitz, Bräsig stooped towards Hawermann and
whispered: "I have it now, Charles."--"What have you got,
Zachariah?"--"The pension from my lord the Count. When I left you after
my last visit, I rode straight to him and got it all right, padagraph
by padagraph, thirty-seven pounds ten a year, ten-thousand peats,
and rooms in the mill-house at Haunerwiem rent free, and besides
that, I am to have a small garden for vegetables, and a bit of
potato-ground."--"I'm glad to hear it, Zachariah. You'll be able to
spend your old age there very comfortably."--"Yes, indeed, Charles,
especially when I add to that the interest of the money I have saved.
But why are we stopping?"--"They are going to take the coffin out of
the carriage," said Hawermann. He then turned to the villagers, and
said: "Kegel, Päsel! You'd better go now, my lads, and help to carry
the coffin." He went forward with the men to make the necessary
arrangements. Bräsig followed him.

Meanwhile the mourners had all got out of the carriage, and when Alick
and his three sisters were standing on the road little Mrs. Behrens and
Louisa Hawermann, who were both dressed in black joined them, and Mrs.
Behrens with heart-felt compassion pressed the hands of the two elder
ladies who had hitherto always held themselves aloof from her, because
they were so much impressed with the dignity of their social
position--but death and sorrow make all men equal, the great and mighty
of the earth bow beneath the hand of God, for they feel that they are
nothing in comparison with Him, and at such times the lowly come
forward to meet them, for they know that the sympathy which they show
comes from God.--To-day David Däsel had had the pleasure of shaking
hands with the ladies, and they had had the comfort of seeing in his
honest face and tearful eyes how truly he grieved for them.--Louisa
threw her arms round her friend, Miss Fidelia, and not knowing how to
express her sympathy with her, contented herself with saying: "There!"
with a deep sigh, as she thrust a bunch of red and white roses into her
hand, and while doing so she looked at her friend as much as to say
that she intended the flowers, which were her greatest treasures to be
a sign of her loving sympathy.

All eyes were turned on the child of fourteen--but was she still a
child?--Are those only buds, or are the leaves really showing when the
birch-tree shimmers green after a warm shower of rain in May? And as
for the human soul, it puts forth its leaves when first under the
influence of some strong feeling, in like manner as the birch after
rain. "Who is that?" Alick asked his cousin who was staring at the
child.--"Who is that young girl, Frank?" he asked again, touching his
cousin's arm.--"That young girl?" asked Frank as if he could hardly
take away his eyes from her, "that child, you mean? She is Mr.
Hawermann's daughter."--The bailiff was also watching her, and
as he did so he remembered his thoughts on the night of the
Squire's death. "No," he said to himself, "surely the Lord won't do
that."--Nonsense!--She was not ill. Oh God, if she had inherited her
mother's constitution, his poor wife had had just such beautiful rosy
cheeks.--"I say, just look!" said Bräsig rousing him out of his
reverie.--"It _is_ him! Just look, Charles, here's Samuel
Pomuchelskopp! And he has got on a black swallow-tail coat!"

He was right.--Pomuchelskopp advanced and made as low a bow to the
ladies as his short stature would permit, then turning to the
lieutenant: "Pardon me--neighbourly friendship--_extreme_ sympathy with
you on this melancholy occasion--_greatest_ respect for the late Mr.
von Rambow--hope that there may be friendship between Pümpelhagen and
Gürlitz"--In short he said whatever occurred to him on the spur of the
moment, and when the young Squire had thanked him for his attention, he
felt as happy as if he had bestowed all possible sympathy. He then
passed the whole procession under review, and when he found that the
Count was the only other landed proprietor there, he edged himself
amongst the people so that he should at least come immediately behind
him, and as they proceeded to the church-yard he took care to put his
feet down on the foot-prints of his aristocratic acquaintance, and
this, though a matter of complete indifference to the Count, was a
great pleasure to him.

The funeral was over.--The mourners assembled for a short time at the
parsonage. Little Mrs. Behrens was torn in two by conflicting feelings,
for on the one hand she would have liked to have joined the three Miss
von Rambows on the sofa, and to have comforted them; and on the other
hand she wanted to move about the room, and offer the cake and wine to
her guests, but as Louisa had undertaken the latter, and her pastor the
former duty, she sat as despondingly in her large arm-chair as if old
Mr. Metz the surgeon had been sewing the two halves together again, and
she was still suffering from the pain of the operation.

Louisa had done her part, and the guests were all going away one after
the other; Joseph Nüssler, who was one of the last, made a half bow to
the lieutenant, and then going up to Mrs. Behrens pressed her hand as
emphatically as if it had been her father who had just died, and said
sorrowfully: "Ah yes, it all depends upon circumstances!"--The parson
had also done his part as well as he could, but it is much easier to
satisfy the hungry stomach with food and wine than to feed the hungry
heart with hope and courage. He gently led the Miss von Rambows from
thoughts of the past to thoughts of the future, and helped them to lay
out a plan for their new life. He advised them as to what was best and
wisest for them to do, and as to where they should live, so that when
they went away with their brother they had gained courage to face what
was before them and consult how they could best arrange their future
lives so as to make the two ends meet.

But other people were also trying to shape the future after their own
fashion. There were not only flowers of mourning and sorrow growing on
the Counsellor's grave, but thistles, nettles and weeds of all kinds
were to be found there sown by the lost happiness of Pümpelhagen, and
surrounding all was a thick border of usurer's daisies.[14] He who
would reap that harvest must have no fear of being stung by the
nettles. He who has to deal with nettles must grasp them firmly, and
the man dressed in green-checked trousers, who is now standing in
Gürlitz garden and looking down upon Pümpelhagen will seize them
boldly, but he must wait till the right moment comes. The usurer's
daisies must have time to grow and bear seed.

"_That_ stone is well out of my way now," he thought with a smile of
satisfaction, "and it was the cornerstone.--Who is there now?--The
lieutenant?--We'll soon manage him, we'll give him plenty of money on
mortgages, renew his bills, and in short gradually lead him on, and
then we'll have it all our own way. Or, let me see? Mally is a pretty
girl; or Sally; she would do as well. Mr. von Zwippelwitz said the
other day when I was lending him money to buy the sorrel-colt, that
Sally's eyes were like--what was it he said? fire wheels, or
torches?--but it doesn't much matter, Sally will remember.--I know how
to deal with people of this kind now, and there's no fear of my being
taken in.--He'd only do it if his affairs were in a desperate
condition; safe is safe.--Always keep a tight hold of the purse
strings!--If he ever does it there'll be no end of a fuss made;
but he'll never consent till he's at the last gasp.--And what
else?--Hawermann.--The cunning scoundrel!--What?--This very
morning.--He made no sign that he had ever seen me before!--Did he
really think that I should have bowed first?--A fellow like that!--Why
he is in service!--Wait a bit, once let me have the upper hand of the
lieutenant and you shall see my friend!--And then Bräsig.--The
rascal!--Does he mean to put another stumbling-block in my way?--Ha,
ha! It's a great joke, the old fool doesn't know that it was I who had
him turned out of Warnitz, that the attorney, acting under my
directions, gave the Count a hint that the farming at Warnitz was
disgracefully bad.--So there Bräsig, you are well out of my way now at
Haunerwiem.--And the parson!--Yes, Mr. Behrens.--I was asked to go into
his house to-day, and we were so civil to each other.--Oh! _I_ know
your civility!--There are the glebe-lands right before me.--What?--Deny
me your glebe, and then offer me civility!--Ah! Just wait a little, and
I'll get the better of you all, for I have the power to do so.--I have
_money_."--And with that he slapped his breeches pocket with his fat
hand in the joy of his heart till the gold seals on his watch-chain
danced like a tailor on a meal-tub, but suddenly he became quiet, for a
hard hand tapped him on the shoulder and Henny said: "Muchel, you are
wanted"--"Who is it, my chuck?" asked Pomuchelskopp very gently, for
his wife's presence always subdued him.--"Attorney Slus'uhr, and David
the son of old Moses."--"Capital, capital!" said Pomuchelskopp throwing
his arm round his Henny's waist, so that he looked exactly like a
cucumber hanging to a hop-pole. "Just look at Pümpelhagen; what a fine
place it is! Isn't it a shame that it's in such hands?--That both these
men should have come to-day is almost like the leading of Providence,
isn't it, my chick?"--"Ah, it's a toss up, Kopp!--You'd better try
something more likely; but come and speak to those people. Plans such
as you were talking about are too long in coming to pass to please
me."--"Never be in too great a hurry, too great a hurry, chuck," said
Pomuchelskopp as he followed his wife to the house.

Slus'uhr and David were standing in Pomuchelskopp's room, and David was
going through a sort of martyrdom. When he set out that day he had
unfortunately put his large signet-ring on his finger, and fastened his
gold watch-chain across his waist-coat, and, in spite of his unwonted
grandeur, when he entered the room he placed himself modestly with his
back to the window, but Philipp Pomuchelskopp caught sight of the ring,
and Tony of the shining chain, so they fell upon David's jewelry like a
couple of ravens, and pulled at the ring and tugged at the chain, and
while Tony danced upon David's splay feet, Phil who had one knee on a
chair kicked his shins which were his weak point. His flat feet might
be likened to arable land in March, on which the devil had sown a
goodly crop of corns; and his shins had to be tenderly treated because
they alone supported the weight of his body, as nature had not endowed
him with calves to help them in this necessary duty.--The attorney was
standing in the other window in front of Sally's chair. That young lady
was busy making a sofa cushion for her father in tent-stitch. Her work
represented a picture of country life. There was a long barn, and
beside it a plum-tree on which were hanging blue plums as large as your
fist; in front of the barn several hens and a cock with brilliant
plumage were scratching the ground, beyond the fowls was a pond on
which were swimming ducks and geese that were white and beautiful as
swans, and in the foreground was an immense pig, fat and ready for the
butcher.--Old Moses was right, the attorney was the very image of a
rat, his ears were set on his head in the same way as a rat's,
and he was small and thin like all the rats in Rahnstädt which
had not been fattened in David's warehouse. His complexion was
yellow-grey, his eyes were yellow-grey, and his hair and moustache were
yellow-grey, but Mally and Sally Pomuchelskopp declared that he was
very interesting--Bräsig called it, interested--he could talk so
pleasantly.--It was natural that the attorney should like talking of
his own cleverness better than of the folly of other people, for no
business man ever likes to point out a good thing to other people till
he has got all that he can out of it. And how could the attorney help
it, if his cleverness was so great that it could not be hidden? Was it
his fault if his cleverness grew so much that there was no room in his
soul to contain both it and that stupid little virtue honesty, so that
the latter had to be cast out neck and crop?--We men cannot judge such
matters fairly--rats are rats--and as David himself said when rats were
mentioned: They are too much for me.

This afternoon, he was telling with great glee how he had promised to
provide a silly fool with a rich wife, and how he had fleeced him every
time he sent him to pay his court to some impossible person till at
last the stupid idiot had lost almost everything he possessed.--"How
very interesting," tittered Sally as Pomuchelskopp came into the room,
saying: "Ah, here you are!--Glad to see you Mr. Slus'uhr.--How d'ye do,
David!"--Sally was still in fits of laughter, but as father
Pomuchelskopp signed towards the door with his head, she collected her
plums, fowls, ducks, geese and pig, and then saying: "Come away, Tony
and Phil, father's busy," left the room with her brothers.
Pomuchelskopp was always said to be "busy" when he was working amongst
his crop of usurer's daisies.

"Mr. Pomuchelskopp," said David, "I've come about the skins, and I
wanted to speak to you about the wool.--I had a letter ....."--"Why,
what's all this about? wool and skins!" cried the attorney. "You can
arrange that afterwards.--We've come about the business you know
of."--Anyone could see that the attorney was a new-fashioned man of
business who did not like to waste time with a long preface, but who
always came to the point at once, and Mr. Pomuchelskopp no doubt liked
a man of this kind, who grasped his nettles boldly, for he went up to
him, and shaking his hand warmly made him sit on the sofa beside
him.--"Yes," he said, "it's a difficult matter and will take a long
time to settle."--"Hm!--That depends upon how long we hold out. And
difficult?--I've done harder things before now. David has bills to the
amount of three hundred and seventy-five pounds. I myself sent him a
hundred and twenty-five pounds last term. Will you have the bills? Here
they are."--"It's a good investment," said Pomuchelskopp smoothly, and
rising he paid down ready money for the papers the attorney had
brought.--"Will you have mine too?" asked David.--"Yes, I'll take
them," said Pomuchelskopp as benignantly as if he were bestowing a
great favour on the world at large. "But gentleman," he continued, as
he counted out the money, "I have one stipulation to make. You must let
him think that you owe me the full amount of these bills and must have
the money. Just give him a fright, you understand, for if he is left
too quiet, he'll have all his wits about him and will slip out of our
hands, for he can easily raise money elsewhere."--"Yes," said the
attorney, "that isn't a bad plan, I could easily do that; but David has
something to tell you that you ought to know."--"Yes," said David, "I
have had a letter from Mark Seelig in P---- where Mr. von Rambow's
regiment is stationed, and he tells me that he can see you three
hundred pounds worth of the lieutenant's bills. And if you like to have
them, why not buy?"--"Hm!" said Pomuchelskopp, "it's a large sum to pay
at once--but--well you can buy the bills."--"I also have a stipulation
to make," said David, "you must sell me the wool."--"Why not?" asked
the attorney pressing his client's foot with his own. "Why shouldn't he
go and look at it now?"--And Pomuchelskopp took the hint, and civilly
showed David out that he might go and inspect the purchase he intended
to make, and when he returned to his seat the attorney laughed and
said: "We understand each other."--"What do you mean?" asked
Pomuchelskopp startled.--"I have known what you were after all along,
my fine fellow, and if you'll come down handsomely you may do what you
like for all I care."--How frightfully sharp the rascal was!
Pomuchelskopp was breathless. "Mr. Slus'uhr, I don't deny ....."--"You
needn't explain; it isn't necessary; we can understand each other quite
well without that. If matters go as they ought you will be owner of
Pümpelhagen before very long, and David will have his percentage, and
I--well I could do the business on my own account, but the place is a
little too large for me--a mill or a farm would suit me better than
such an enormous estate.--It will cost you no end of money."--"That it
will indeed; but never mind. It makes me miserable to see a fine
property like that in such inefficient hands."

The attorney peered at him out at the corner of his eye, as much as to
say: are you in earnest?--"What's the matter? Why are you looking at
me?"--"Ah!" said Slus'uhr, laughing, "you amused me. Two may play at
the same game. You don't really think that you can bring an estate like
Pümpelhagen into the market, by buying up bills to the extent of a few
hundred pounds? You'll have to do much more than that, you must get all
the mortgages on the property into your own hands."--"I intend to do
so," whispered Pomuchelskopp. "But how am I to get possession of the
bond for a thousand and fifty pounds which old Moses holds? I'm afraid
there's no hope."--"_I_'ll have nothing to do with Moses, I can tell
you; but there's David, you might get him to manage it. Still, that's
nothing to what will have to be done. You ought to make up to the
lieutenant, pretend to wish him well, and lend him money yourself now
and then when he's in a worse fix than usual, and then you should be
hard up in your turn, and be obliged to sell his bills--to me if you
like--and if you do that I will touch him up a bit, and at length when
the time for the crash comes--you ...."--"Yes, yes," whispered
Pomuchelskopp excitedly, "I'll do it, but I should like to have him at
home first, so you must give him no peace about the bills till he is
forced by the state of his affairs to leave the army."--"Oh, that's
easy enough to manage. If you don't want anything more difficult than
that, it'll all be plain sailing."--"Ah, but there is something else,"
whispered Pomuchelskopp, "_there's Hawermann_; as long as he is in that
puppy's confidence we shall make no way."--"How stupid you are!"
laughed the attorney. "Did you ever hear of a young man confiding his
money-troubles unreservedly to an old friend? No, no! And it's just as
well for us that they never do. If that is all, Hawermann may stay as
long as he likes at Pümpelhagen; but wait a moment--perhaps it would be
better that he should go--he's too good a farmer--if he makes
Pümpelhagen pay as well for the future as it has done during the last
few years, it will be a long time before it slips out of the
lieutenant's hands."--"Hawermann a good farmer!--He!--Why he tried it
for himself once and failed!"--"You do him injustice there. It is a
great mistake to think your opponent weaker than he really is. He must
go."--"Yes, but how are we to get rid of him?"--"_I_ can't help you
there," laughed the attorney, "but you can manage it when you are
providing the lieutenant with the golden sovereigns he needs so much. A
well-directed hint as to the bailiff's being too old for his place
would have a good effect. The devil will prompt you when the time
comes."--"That's all very well," said Pomuchelskopp impatiently, "but
it's slow work, and my wife is always in such a hurry."--"In this case
she'll have to wait quietly," said the attorney with calm decision. "An
affair of this kind can't be settled in a day. Remember how long
Pümpelhagen has belonged to the von Rambow family; you can't expect to
get it away from them at a moment's notice. But now--hush! I hear David
coming, and he must not know what we have been talking about. You
understand, he is to know of nothing but that you like taking up good
bills."

When David entered the room he saw before him a couple of happy faces;
Pomuchelskopp was laughing as if the attorney had been making a good
joke, and the attorney was laughing as if Pomuchelskopp had been
telling an amusing story. But David was not half so stupid as he looked
at that moment, he knew that he had been sent out of the way, and that
his colleagues were laughing at something very different from a
joke.--"They have _their_ secrets," he said to himself, "and I have
_mine_."--So he seated himself at the opposite side of the table to
Pomuchelskopp, and said with the most stupidly unconcerned expression
in the world, such as only a Jewish rogue can put on: "I've seen
it."--"Well?" asked Pomuchelskopp.--"Hm!" said David, shrugging his
shoulders, "you say that it has been washed. Well--perhaps it
has."--"What, don't you believe me? Isn't it as white as
swan's-down?"--"Humph! If you ever saw swan's-down like it, perhaps it
may be like swan's-down."--"What is your offer?"--"Look here! We had a
better from Löwenthal in Hamburg--the great house of Löwenthal in
Hamburg--the price per stone is two pounds three and sixpence."--"Yes,
I know all that; you always get them to write you some scoundrelly
nonsense of that kind."--"A house like that of Löwenthal never advises
one of anything that is not true."--"Come, come," interrupted the
attorney, "this isn't business, it's quarrelling. Suppose you send for
a couple of bottles of wine, Pomuchelskopp, and then you'll both manage
to strike a bargain more easily."--Mr. Slus'uhr insisted on his plan
being acceded to, and the squire had to obey; he rang the bell, and
when Stina Dorothy came in, he said politely and confidentially--for he
was always polite to the members of his own household, above all to the
women, from his Henny down to the nursery-maid:--"Bring two bottles of
wine, Dorothy; the blue seal you know."

When the wine was put on the table Pomuchelskopp filled three glasses,
then taking his, he emptied it at a draught, David merely smelt his,
and when the attorney had finished his glass, he said: "Now, gentlemen,
I've got something to say to you," and as he spoke, he winked across
the table at David, and pressed Pomuchelskopp's foot under the table.
"Suppose, David, you consent to give two pounds five per stone, and you
Pomuchelskopp--pressing his foot again--don't want ready money, a bill
to be paid on S. Antony's day would suit you better if the security is
good."--"Yes," said Pomuchelskopp taking the hint, "and if you give me
your father's bond on Pümpelhagen, the security is so good, that I'll
give you the overplus of the wool-money into the bargain"--"There's
nothing to object to in that," said David. "But how about the lumpy
wool?"--No attention was paid to his remark, so he repeated: "How about
the lumpy wool?"--"Oh that," said Pomuchelskopp, "of course you'll only
pay me half...."--"Stop," interrupted the attorney. "You'll get the
lumpy wool for nothing if you bring the bond."--"I don't see anything
against that," said David. When they had finished the wine, and were
going out to their carriage, the attorney whispered jocosely to
Pomuchelskopp: "David might begin the attack on the lieutenant
to-morrow, and next week I can look him up myself."--Pomuchelskopp
pressed his hand as gratefully as if he had just saved Phil from
drowning. As soon as his visitors were gone he went back to his Henny,
and with her assistance they soon arranged the future to their
satisfaction. The attorney sat in the carriage smiling at his good
day's work, he was pleased with himself, for he saw that he was
cleverer than either of the other two; and David sat by his side, and
said to himself: "Let them be. They have their secrets, but I have the
lumpy wool!"

But he had reckoned without his host! When he got home and told his
father of the bargain he had made, and asked for the Pümpelhagen bond,
Moses looked over his shoulder at him, and said: "So, you went with
that cut-throat, the attorney, to visit Pomüffelskopp--who is another
cut-throat--and bought his wool; then all that I've got to say is: you
can pay for it with _your own_ bonds, for you shall have none of
_mine_. _You_ may do business with rats if you like, but _I_'ll have
nothing to do with them."--So David's chance of getting the lumpy wool
was small.



                               CHAPTER X.


That made it worse, much worse for the poor lieutenant next morning
when David was shown into his room. No one could accuse David of being
softhearted--not even his own mother--but he had changed very much
since Mr. von Rambow had last seen him. He had had some sort of human
kindness in his expression when he was counting out the gold the
lieutenant wanted in attorney Slus'uhr's office; but now that he had
come to ask for his money he looked so hard and cruel that the young
man was half frightened even before he knew for what he had come. And
then there was nothing for it but to renew the bill, for David insisted
on its either being renewed or paid at once, adding, "very well then,
Sir, just sign this paper and it will do." When this was done David's
face relaxed, and became what it had been on their first acquaintance.

"Thank God! that's over now," thought the lieutenant. But a few days
later a carriage drove into the court, and attorney Slus'uhr was seated
in it.--"Merciful Heaven!" sighed Hawermann, shaking his head, "has he
got into his clutches too?"--And when the attorney was shown into the
lieutenant's room, he also exclaimed: "Merciful Heaven!" on seeing his
visitor. Still, this was a less painful piece of business than with
David, for the attorney was a more respectable looking man, and easier
to talk to; his clothes were always clean and neat, and even handsome,
and he had the art of making his conversation in keeping with his
dress--as long as it was his interest to do so. The lieutenant made him
sit down on the sofa, and ordered coffee, and it seemed at first as if
they were going to have a pleasant conversation about the weather, and
the neighbourhood, and human wickedness--the attorney had a great deal
to say on that head, for he had all his life been accustomed to look at
the failings of others, and never at his own. "Yes," he said, in
allusion to a certain tradesman in Rahnstädt, "only think, Mr. von
Rambow, of the wickedness of that man. In the kindness of my heart I
gave that man--that is to say, that not having so much money of my own,
I had to borrow some at a large percentage--well, as I was saying, I
lent him enough money to free him from his difficulties, and he was
very grateful--but _now_, when I want to have it again,--_must_ have
it--he turns up on me, and threatens to have me tried at law for asking
too high a percentage."--Naturally the attorney said no more on that
part of the subject, he had only mentioned it to give the lieutenant a
fright, and it did not fail in having the required effect. In order to
turn the subject, the young man asked what kind of shop the tradesman
had. The attorney, however, was too well up to his work to allow
himself to be put off, so he answered the question shortly, and then
went on: "But I have gone to law with him instead, and now he'll see
what will happen---his credit is gone--and then the scandal! I never
went to law with one of my clients before, but he has himself to thank
for it. What do you think?"--It was thus that the attorney carried the
war into Mr. von Rambow's country, and the poor young fellow prepared
to receive the attack that was to be made on him. He coughed, and moved
about restlessly, but said nothing, for he did not know what to say. It
was all the same to the attorney, who only brought his battery a little
nearer: "But, thank God, I hav'n't always such rascals to deal with. He
is quite an exception. By the way, as we are talking of money," here he
drew out his pocketbook, "allow me to return you your bill," and he
handed the lieutenant the bill for a hundred and twenty-five pounds,
and as he did so he pricked his rat-like ears, his grey eyes stood out
more prominently than usual from his yellow-grey face, and he licked
his dry lips in the same way as his prototype does at the sight of a
nice bit of fat bacon. Our poor lieutenant took the bill, and tried to
deceive the lawyer by putting on an indifferent manner. Yes, he said,
he would take the bill, and would send the money; he had started for
Pümpelhagen so suddenly, and the cause of his coming was so sad that he
had not thought of bringing money with him to meet the bill.--Ah,
replied Slus'uhr, he could quite believe that, he remembered so well
when _his_ father died; yes, at such a time it was impossible to think
of anything but the loss one had sustained.--And as he said this
he put on such a pitying expression that the lieutenant felt renewed
courage--but, added the attorney, he had been obliged to look forward
to the punctual payment of this bill, for he was much in want of
money as he had to pay up a large sum at once--and so he must have
the bill discharged.--"But this is such little money," interrupted
Alick.--"Yes--yes," said the attorney slowly, and at the same time
taking some more papers from his pocket-book. "These are also for small
sums," laying on the table before him the bills for upwards of three
hundred pounds, which David had bought in the town where the
lieutenant's regiment was stationed.--Alick was startled out of his
pretended indifference: "How do you come by these papers?" he
cried.--"Surely, Mr. von Rambow," was the answer, "you are aware that
it is the nature of bills to change hands in course of business,
therefore it ought not to surprise you that I should have accepted
these in lieu of money, more especially as it saved me a great deal of
trouble in writing, and at the post-office."--The lieutenant felt more
uncomfortable than even at first, but still he had not the faintest
suspicion of the plot against him. "But, Mr. Slus'uhr," he said, "I
hav'n't got the money at this moment."--"You hav'n't!" cried the
attorney, glaring at him as much as to say that he suspected him of
being in league with the devil to play him false. "No, no," he added,
"I don't believe that."--What could the lieutenant say now. The
attorney had looked him full in the face, and had told him coolly that
he didn't believe what he said, that he could pay if he would. At
length the beautiful old plan of putting off the evil day was agreed
to. The lieutenant would gladly have arranged it so before, but the
attorney would not at first consent, for he wanted to taste the full
enjoyment of his position, and to make a better bargain for himself
than David had done. His happiest moments were those when he could say
to himself: I am far cleverer than any of my neighbours, I can set down
my foot on gentle and simple, and I delight in seeing them writhing
under my tread.

These were the troubles and anxieties which weighed upon Alick von
Rambow, and disturbed him in his mourning for his father. The soul can
fight its way through God-sent sorrows however deep and agonizing they
may be. When it at length reaches port after having done battle
manfully with the mighty billows of that wide and eternal sea, it is
strengthened and purified by what it has gone through, and is able to
face life again with a larger experience, and a greater courage. But it
is otherwise with those whose trouble is caused by their own sins, they
have fallen into a quagmire, and some of the mud sticks to them, so
that they are ashamed to look other men in the face. This was the case
with the young squire, he was ashamed of having led such a foolish and
thoughtless life; he was ashamed of having allowed himself to fall a
prey to usurers, whether Jew or Christian; he was ashamed of being
unable to think of any plan by which he might extricate himself from
the mire into which he had fallen, and of having saved himself for the
moment by means that would only serve to draw him further into the
slough. How easy it would have been for him to have kept out of all
this trouble if he had only taken Hawermann's advice. And how willingly
would the bailiff help him now that loyalty to the old squire did not
stand in the way. But the human heart is very reserved and timid, and
thinks it will find rest when far away from the place where it has
suffered pain and mortification, so Alick left Pümpelhagen sooner than
his sisters had expected.

He found everything as he had left it when he reached the barracks, but
_he_ himself was changed, at least he told himself so every day; but if
his brother officers had been asked their opinion on the subject, they
would have said that they saw no difference in him, which was quite
natural, as the only change in him was that he made plenty of good
resolutions, but never put them in practice. He was determined to be
economical; he was determined to follow his father's advice, and read
the agricultural books he had sent him, as much of them, at least, as
he could; he was determined .... he was determined .... Oh, what did he
not determine to do?--His economy began early in the morning with his
coffee; for a whole long week he drank it without sugar, for, said he,
"Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves;"
after coffee he smoked a cigar, for which he now paid at the rate of
two pounds seventeen a thousand, instead of three pounds; he scolded
his servant for giving him butter at breakfast; he ordered his groom to
give his horses half feeds of corn instead of whole feeds as before,
because, he said, oats were so dear. Of all his new regulations this
was the only one that lasted--probably because he and his horses did
not dine together--the rest came to an end after a week's trial. And
why? Because, he said, he could not carry out his plan in everything,
and to be of use it must be done thoroughly. It was not much better
with his studies. He knew the first three pages of each of the books on
farming almost by heart, he had read them so often. He always began at
the very beginning again when he took them up, for if he did not, he
lost the sense of what he was reading. To make up for this
conscientiousness on his part, he sometimes amused himself by picking
out the most interesting bits of the books, and when he had gone
through them all in this way, reading a page about horses here, and
another there, he threw them aside, and said that he knew all about it
now, and indeed understood the whole affair better than the authors
themselves. Ah, well--what good did all that reading do him? He knew
nothing of agriculture practically, and a farmer must be _practical_,
theory is worse than useless to him. He made the acquaintance of a Mr.
von so and so whose estate lay near the town in which his regiment was
quartered; like Mr. von so and so he asked the bailiff what they were
doing to-day whenever he rode to the farm, and then he went home again
understanding as much about the real state of matters as Mr. von so and
so himself, for he knew as well as his friend that manure had been
carted in Seelsdorf on the 15th of June, and that the young horse at
Basedow was descended from Gray Momus; or else he went out to shoot
over the barley-stubble with Mr. von so and so, and as they walked,
found on enquiry that the last load of barley had been led in on the
27th of August; then he shot a few partridges, and when he came home at
night he knew as well as Mr. von so and so whether the partridges were
good.

He liked that way of farming very much, and as people generally enjoy
talking of what pleases them, our friend Alick was not behindhand in
this respect, and so of course soon gained a reputation of
understanding such matters, and was regarded as a shining light by his
comrades. As most of his brother officers were the sons of noblemen who
were possessed of large estates they knew that in course of time they
would have to give up their easy comfortable garrison life and
undertake the difficult task of managing a property in such a way as to
gain the largest possible income from it, they therefore looked upon
Alick as a miracle of diligence and imagined that he enjoyed the
thought of the hard work before him. The greater number of them admired
him heartily for it, but there were several foolish fellows amongst
their number, who were such fine gentlemen, that they considered taking
an interest in such matters beneath the dignity of an officer in his
majesty's service.

Alick was always chosen as umpire in any dispute on farming matters,
and as he had to defend his position by argument, he was obliged to
keep his eyes open lest he should be worsted, and so his knowledge
gradually increased. Great progress had been made in the science of
agriculture during the last few years, for Professor Liebig had written
a learned book for the benefit of country-gentlemen, which was filled
with analytical observations about coal, and nitre, and sulphur, and
gypsum, and chalk, and ammonia, and which explained hydraulics and
irrigation--it was enough to make any sane man go mad only to read it!
And yet everyone who wished to increase his knowledge of such matters,
and to dip his fingers into science, bought the book, and sitting down,
read and read till his brain whirled, and when he had finished the book
he hardly knew whether gypsum was nutritious or otherwise--for clover,
not for men--or whether he ought to attribute the odour of the
farm-yard to the presence of ammonia or not.--Alick got the book and
read it diligently, but it quite stupified him, he felt as if his head
were going to burst, and his mind became a blank, so he shut it up, and
would soon have forgotten all about it, if he had not made the
acquaintance of a good-natured chemist, who showed him the different
substances specified by the professor and let him examine and smell
them for himself. This was learning the thing practically, and from
that moment he understood the whole matter as well as Liebig himself,
and so never needed to look into the book again.

There was one branch of agriculture in which he took particular
interest, viz. farming implements and machinery. He had always
delighted in mechanical contrivances, and when a boy had made a little
mill for himself, and although his mother hated to see him employ his
hands in any useful way, he had, when at school, insisted on having
private lessons in bookbinding. These little accomplishments were very
useful to him now, for, with the help of drawings of the new-fashioned
American plough and Scotch harrow, he found it quite easy to cut out of
wood miniature ploughs, harrows and rollers, and in this occupation he
found much innocent amusement.--He did not rest satisfied with this, he
went further, and attempted to make whip-lashes, bird-rattles, &c. He
would probably have been contented with these triumphs of mechanical
skill--and it was certainly much to his credit that he did not think it
beneath his dignity to use carpenter's tools--if he had not become
acquainted with a half-mad old watch-maker, who had spent his life and
substance in trying to discover the secret of perpetual motion for the
good of his ungrateful fellow creatures. This benefactor of his species
showed him his whole plan, pointed out how one wheel acted in
connection with another, and showed him rollers, screws and springs,
and then another wheel; he showed him machines that would not go, and
some that did go, and others that would not go as they ought; he showed
him machines which Alick could understand, and some which he could not
understand, and one or two which he himself could not understand. The
whole thing interested Alick so much that he at once joined the noble
army of benefactors of mankind, and determined to invent something. His
great desire was to invent a machine which would plough, harrow, roll
and act as clod-breaker at the same time, and it was a touching sight
to see the handsome young cavalry-officer sitting beside the weazand
old watch-maker and thinking how he could by his invention be of use in
his generation.

So matters might have continued for a long time, and he might have made
a wonderful invention for the good of mankind, and might also in the
pursuit of this object have been brought to beggary by the increasing
number of his bills, for of course while thus engaged, he had neither
time nor inclination to think of the payment of his debts, and though
Pümpelhagen brought him in a good income he had enough to do with it.
He had to pay interest on the money borrowed by his father, and to
provide for his sisters, and then he lived happily on what remained
without a thought of his own debts now that he had got over the first
onslaught of the usurers.

But there are two spirits, a brother and sister, who at a moment's
notice awake even the most indifferent of men from their dreams by the
warm fire-side, and drive them out into the storm and rain, and these
are Hate and Love. Hate seizes a man, by the scruff of the neck and
throws him out violently, saying: Get out, you blackguard!--Love takes
him gently by the hand and leads him to the door, saying: Come with me
and I will show you something better than this. But it is six of the
one and half-a-dozen of the other, for whichever of these spirits comes
to a man he is at once obliged to leave the warm chimney corner whether
he will or no.--Alick had to make acquaintance with them both, and by
no fault of his own.

I do not know whether it is still the case, but it used to be the
custom in the Prussian army for the colonel of a regiment to send in
regular reports of the conduct of his officers to the war-office at
Berlin, and King Frederic William was in the habit of looking over
these reports himself just to see how everything was going on in the
different companies. Now Alick's good old colonel liked his young
lieutenant extremely, and that for many reasons. One of them was this;
The colonel had once possessed an estate over at Länneken, near Bütow
and Lauenburg, which he had farmed on the most curious and eccentric
principles in the world, and now that he had an auditor who was capable
of entering into the merits of the case, he launched forth in
explanation. The chief peculiarity of his system was that he would
allow no manure to be used on his land, because he could not see the
use of it; in short he had his own little ways of doing things, and
like a stage-coachman who has grown too old to drive, he found intense
enjoyment in talking over his experiences. Alick listened attentively
and silently, for it would not have done to contradict his commanding
officer, and so the old colonel thought him an unusually clever fellow.
Alick's name therefore always appeared well in the report, but
unfortunately the colonel spelt very badly, and on one occasion he
wrote: "Lieutenant von Rambow is a very 'fe-iger' (cowardly) officer,"
when he meant "fähiger" (smart). The king saw this and wrote on the
margin of the report, "I do not require cowards in my army--dismiss him
at once." The old colonel was in despair, he must set matters right,
but he could see no help for it but to consult his adjutant as to how
it should be done. The latter showed him his mistake and then not being
able to hold his tongue, told everyone what had happened, and before
long poor Alick became the butt of his regiment. The man who laughed
loudest, and referred to the matter oftenest, was a pompous fool of
"very old family," who had always disapproved of Alick's agricultural
talk, not because he found it stupid or mistaken, but because he found
fault with everything he did, and now he battered his comrade with his
heavy jests so unmercifully that all his brother officers noticed it.
Alick alone remarked nothing.

Then something else happened; Mr. von so and so from whom Alick had
learnt so much farming when riding, or with his gun in his hand, had a
wonderfully beautiful daughter--I am not exaggerating, she was really a
lovely girl. The lieutenant of "very old family" paid her great
attention, but she would have nothing to say to him, and rather showed
a preference for her other admirer, Alick. Whether it was that the lady
was so stupid as to dislike the lieutenant of "very old family," or
whether she wanted to marry a man who was really a man, or whether
Alick's good-nature and his gentle deference to women pleased her,
cannot be known, but before long Alick was as happy as a king, and the
lieutenant of "very old family" was left out in the cold.

It chanced about this time that the officers of the cavalry-regiment
gave a great ball, and that the lieutenant of very old family got a
pair of false calves made for the occasion. His own comrades scarcely
recognised him--his nether man was so changed, and as was natural when
so many young people were together, such a good opportunity for playing
a practical joke could not be allowed to pass, more especially when a
mischief-maker like the adjutant was amongst them. The adjutant
managed, unperceived by his victim, to pin a number of butterflies on
the false calves of the lieutenant of "very old family" who danced away
with them quite happily. Everyone looked and laughed and pointed him
out to their friends, till at last he himself caught sight of the
decorations on his false calves, and turning in a rage upon the first
laughing face he saw, which, as chance would have it, was Alick's,
growled: "If you had not been properly described already in the
colonel's report, I should have had all the pleasure in the world in
characterising you in the same way."--Alick did not take in the meaning
of the words, but he heard the contemptuous tone in which they were
uttered, and, being an extremely fiery young gentleman, said angrily in
reply to his rival, that he had not the remotest idea of what he meant,
but that his tone was most insulting, and that he must answer for what
he had said. He then went and asked his captain, with whom he was on
very friendly terms, what it all meant, and the explanation he received
was not exactly calculated to lessen his resentment. He challenged the
lieutenant of "very old family," and then challenged the adjutant for
making known the colonel's mistake; and the lieutenant of "very old
family" also challenged the adjutant because of the butterflies. So, a
few days later, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, they all three drove
out to a cool and shady wood attended by their seconds and witnesses,
doctors and surgeons, and there they slashed at each other's faces with
their swords, and shot at each other, and after that peace was once
more established amongst them. Alick had received a cut on the nose,
because he had very foolishly parried a blow with his face instead of
with his sword.

The cut did him no harm although it did not add to his beauty, for Mr.
von so and so's pretty daughter heard of what had happened, and after
she had put two and two together, and had guessed that their rivalry
was the true cause of their disagreement, who could blame the girl for
being even kinder to Alick than before.

Now I could tell you the whole of Alick and Frida's love story if I
chose to do so, and then everyone would say that I had chosen a hero
and heroine such as are not to be met with every day, a lieutenant in a
cavalry-regiment and a nobleman's daughter. But I will refrain. In the
first place because I never give myself more to do than I can help, and
who is to oblige me to give the tradesman's young daughters who may
possibly read this book private lessons in the way a cavalry-officer
makes love, or to show young men without position how to make love to a
nobleman's daughter.--And who will guarantee its not having that
effect?--Secondly, I wish to say once for all that I am not writing for
the young, but for the old who take a book to fan away the flies, and
to make them forget their worries as they lie on the sofa in the
afternoon.--Thirdly, I have still three girls to marry before the end
of my book, and just let who ever wants to know what _that_ is, ask the
mother of three unmarried daughters. Louisa Hawermann must of course be
married, and would it not be a shame to make the twins old maids and
leave them to get through the world as best they can?--Fourthly and
lastly, I do not feel myself capable of describing the love-making of a
lieutenant in a cavalry-regiment. Such a thing is beyond me and beyond
Joseph; it would require a Shakespeare or a Mühlbach to do it justice,
and indeed who knows whether Shakespeare would have succeeded either,
for as far as I know he never even attempted it.--The short and the
long of it is that they were married at Whitsun-tide in the year 1843,
and Mr. von so and so having no other dowry to give his daughter on
that momentous occasion, gave her--his blessing. Now that he is our
Alick's father-in-law we will call him by his right name, Mr. von
Satrop of Seelsdorf, but it is as well to mention at the same time that
Seelsdorf was far more deeply mortgaged than Pümpelhagen.

Frida von Satrop was a sensible girl, and thoroughly understood, even
before her marriage, that as the lieutenant's affairs were somewhat
involved, and as she herself had not a farthing, it would be much
better for him to leave the army, and Alick consented to do so, for he
saw that the joke about his cowardice was not likely to die out for a
long time to come, and that the old colonel's blunder in the report
would always remain there with the red ink stroke to mark it, and
besides that he wanted to try some of his farming theories at
Pümpelhagen, and to see whether he could not by these means make more
money out of the estate and so pay off his debts.

He therefore sent in his papers, packed up his uniform, scarf and
epaulettes, took sad leave of his trusty sword before laying it in the
chest beside the other things, and then nailing down the lid affixed
his seal to it, and tied on to it a piece of paper on which he had
written these words: "The seal is to be broken by my heir if I should
happen to die suddenly," and then the chest was sent to Pümpelhagen.
Alick was married in a black dress-coat, and as soon as the ceremony
was performed he and his young wife set off on their wedding-tour to
the Rhine.

How he arrived at Pümpelhagen on midsummer's-day 1843, must be told in
another chapter.



                              CHAPTER XI.


The three years since his father's death which Alick had spent with his
regiment, and which he had filled with agricultural study, heroic deeds
and a love-affair, had been equally well employed at Pümpelhagen, for
these three occupations had taken as prominent a part in the life of
our old friends there as they had in his. Of the farming there is no
need to speak; but the heroic deeds and the love-affairs might never
have become known, had it not been for Fred Triddelfitz's conduct on
one of the feast-days of the church. The friendship between him and
Mary Möller had changed from that of a mother and son to that of a
sister and brother; but on her side there was a very tender affection,
which she showed in the way she kept him supplied with ham and
sausages, indeed Mary was sometimes guilty of building up insecure
castles in the air about priests and rings, bridal-wreaths, farms and
self-government, so that the change in her sentiments was not a little
alarming. Then Fred gradually took fright lest Hawermann should
discover his secret luncheons, &c., and that his aunt, and mother, and
father would, when they heard of what he had been doing, lecture him by
the hour, tell him how silly he was, and--in short make it very
disagreeable for him, Taking his love-affairs all together it must be
confessed that though he did not dislike a talk with the twins, or--if
his aunt were well out of the way--with Louisa Hawermann, his greatest
happiness was caused by his friendship with Mary Möller. The heroic
deeds done at Pümpelhagen during these three years were all performed
within his own sphere of action. At first he had only shown his courage
and enterprise secretly to the farm-lads, for if Hawermann had
discovered what he was about, the great glory his cane had won him on
the farmboys' shoulders would have been quickly dissipated. As time
went on he grew bolder from not being found out, and on Palm Sunday
morning he ventured, in an evil hour for himself, to treat one of the
grooms in the same way, but the man was impertinent enough to forget
the respect due to him, and seized him by the collar, and beat him so
hard across the back and shoulders with his own cane, that Mary Möller
had to spend the greater part of the afternoon in applying damp towels
to his shoulders they--smarted so terribly. The worst of it all was
that every time Mary Möller laid a cool piece of linen on his back, she
made his conscience prick him by recapitulating all the kindnesses she
had shown him, and in spite of the pain and discomfort from which he
was suffering, asked him point blank what his intentions were, taking
care to assure him at the same time, that she believed in his love, and
that he would be true to her. He did not like that sort of talk at all,
for he himself believed far more strongly in his love for good eating
than in his love for her, and as for his intentions, he would rather
not tell what they were. He stammered a few words of no particular
meaning, and the better his back felt, the less inclined he was to tie
himself down in any way; he tried to turn the conversation to another
subject, but she would not allow that to be done, and laid the damp
linen on his back less gently than at first. "Triddelfitz," she said at
last when she found that she could get no satisfactory answer from him,
"what am I to think of you?" And then, having finished arranging the
linen on his back, she came round in front of him, and putting her arms
akimbo, stared him full in the face. He was rather afraid of what might
follow, and said deprecatingly: "What do you mean, Polly?"--"What do I
mean? Shall I have to tell you more distinctly?" she cried, her eyes
losing their former sweet and loving expression, "am I always to be led
by the nose?" So saying she came dose up to him, and slapped him right
between the shoulders on the top of the bandages.--"Ugh!--Hang it all!"
he shrieked. "That _did_ hurt."--"Ah, that hurt you, did it?" she
asked. "And do you think that it doesn't hurt me to see the man to whom
I have shown so much kindness treating me so deceitfully?"--"Oh, Polly!
What _do_ you mean?"--"What do I mean? This is what I mean!"--thud,
came her hand down on his back.--"Confound it! It's burning like
fire."--"I'm glad to hear it. It's only what you deserve for making a
poor girl believe all your fine speeches and promises."--"Bless me,
Polly, I'm only nineteen!"--"What has that got to do with it?"--"And
then I'd like to take a situation as bailiff somewhere first, and
then----" --"Well, and then what?"--thud, came another slap on the
back.--"For Heaven's sake, mind what you are about! You're hurting me
frightfully."--"Mind what _you_ are about with _me_. Well, and
then?"--"And then I shall be ready to take a farm, and that will be in
about ten years time, I suppose."--"Well, and _then_?" she asked with a
determination that was dreadful to him.--"Yes--and then," Fred
stammered, with a nervous dread of the consequence of what he was going
to say, "you will be too old."--His Polly Möller stood for a moment as
though rooted to the spot, her eyes blazing with anger, then, bending
forward, she struck him on the mouth with the wet bandages she had in
her hand, and as she did so, the water in the linen fell upon his neck
and ears in spray: "Too _old_? You fool! Too old, did you say?" then
snatching up the basin of water she dashed it over his head and
shoulders, and ran out of the room. While Fred stood there puffing and
blowing, she pushed the door a little open again, and cried: "You'd
better never show your face in my kitchen again."

That was the end of this love-affair, at least for the present, and it
was also the end of the dainty little luncheons eaten in secrecy. Fred
Triddelfitz stood motionless where Mary Möller had left him, and
thought over the change in his circumstances, and of how essentially
this love-affair of his had differed from all his preconceptions and
from all the novels he had read, and then he made use in his ill-humour
of the same expression that he had used when, soon after his arrival at
Pümpelhagen, he had been sent road-mending on a rainy day in November:
"I never thought it would be as bad as this!--What a blessing," he
added, "that the governor is out, otherwise he'd have been certain to
have heard the row she made."

Hawermann and Frank had gone to church at Gürlitz that morning. The
farmer walked on silently, his heart full of love and gratitude to God
for all His fatherly goodness to him and to his child who was to be
confirmed on that Palm Sunday morning. As he went down the dry
foot-path--there had been a slight frost during the night--his eyes
rested on the bright scene before him, the snow was still lying in
white patches beside the ditches, and under the shade of the dark
pines, while the rye-fields with their tender green carpet on which the
sun poured down its golden light, announced that Easter was nigh, and
quietly awaited the promised resurrection. The smoke rising from the
chimneys of the small villages round about was gilded by the sun's
rays, showing how little the aspect of nature is affected by the cares
and troubles of man, and from the church-towers on every hand was to be
heard a solemn peal ringing over woods and meadows.--"Ah, if she had
only lived to see this day!" said the old man aloud, forgetting that he
was not alone.--"Who?" asked Frank with some hesitation, and fearing
lest he might be thought intrusive.--"My poor wife, the mother of my
dear child," the old man answered softly, as he turned his honest face
and looked kindly at the youth at his side, as much as to say: My face
and my heart tell the same tale, as you would know if you could only
read my thoughts.--"Yes," he went on, "my good wife. But what am I
saying? She sees our child better than I can, she does more for her
than I can, and her thoughts are higher than the blue heavens, and her
joy purer than the golden sunlight."--Frank walked on in silence not
wishing to disturb the bailiff; he had never before felt such a deep
reverence for his dear old friend, and now as he looked at him, and saw
his white hair lying on his broad forehead as white and pure as those
patches of snow on the ground, and read in his expression a full
assurance of hope, and a calm faith in the resurrection, such as was
also to be seen in the face of nature, for while his countenance was
irradiated with the sunshine of love, the earth was bathed in that of
the golden sun. At last he could resist the impulse no longer, and
seized the old man's hand, saying: "Hawermann, dear Hawermann, you must
have had a great deal of sorrow during your life."--"Not more," was the
answer, "than other people have, but enough for me to remember as long
as I live."--"Will you tell me about it? It is not curiosity that makes
me ask."--"Why not?" he said, and then he told him his whole story, but
without once mentioning Pomuchelskopp's name; "and," he said in
conclusion, "as my child was once my only comfort, she is now my only
joy."

While thus talking they reached the parsonage. Little Mrs. Behrens had
grown rather older and rounder in the last few years, and did not trot
about the house quite so restlessly as she used to do. To-day she sat
perfectly still, leaving her duster to lie idly in its drawer, where it
found life as dull as a pug-dog in a toy kennel; for the solemnity of
the act to be performed that day in church forbade her attending to
matters belonging only to the work-a-day world, above which she was
raised for the time being by reason of her position of clergyman's
wife, which made her the "nearest" to those taking part in the
ceremony. Still, try as she might she could not keep quite motionless,
and though she did not bustle about from place to place as usual, she
could not resist going to see how her pastor was getting on, and then
tying his bands for him and giving him a glass of wine; after that she
went in search of Louisa, straightened her ruffles and whispered words
of love and encouragement in her ear, and now that young Joseph, Mrs.
Nüssler, the little twins and Bräsig had come, she was just about to
resume her customary ways of going on when the church-bell rang out its
last peal. The twins were also to be confirmed, and when Mrs. Behrens
saw the three pretty children--Lina and Mina on either side of Louisa,
who was a head taller than her little cousins--walking up the
church-yard path, her eyes filled with tears: "Hawermann," she said,
"our child has no gold chains and brooches such as it is now the
foolish fashion for girls to wear at their confirmation; and, dear
Hawermann, that black silk is thirty years old, I wore it last on the
first Sunday I went to church after my marriage, and a happy heart beat
within it I can assure you, for it was full of love to my pastor--I
never wore it afterwards for it soon grew too tight for me, I was
always rather stout, and so you see it is as good as new, and no one
would ever find out that a bit had been added to the bottom of the
skirt to lengthen it. And, Hawermann, I have put the money you gave
me to buy a new dress into Louisa's purse. You are not angry with
me, I hope? I wanted so much to see my gown in all its old glory
again."--When they got to the church-door Bräsig pulled Hawermann back
by the coat, and then said, looking at him with great emotion the
while: "A confirmation such as this is a remarkable thing, a _very_
remarkable thing, Charles. When I saw the three little girls going on
before us I suddenly remembered my own confirmation which put an end to
that dreadful work of herding sheep which I hated so at my father's,
and permitted me to do some real farming. Just as these three little
girls are going to church, I went with my companions, Charles Brandt
and Christian Guhl, only that we did not wear black silk gowns; no,
Christian had on a green coat, Charles, a brown one, and mine was grey;
and instead of the nosegay of flowers that the little girls are
carrying in their hands, we had each a small green sprig in our
button-holes, and then we did not walk in a row like these children,
but followed each other in single file like geese on their way to the
pond.--Ah yes, it was just like this."

When the congregation had sung a hymn, Mr. Behrens preached his sermon.
He had grown much older looking, but his voice was strong, his thoughts
were well and clearly expressed, and his words were uttered with a
gentle dignity. Age is less injurious to a clergyman's influence than
to that of any one else, if only the man is worthy of his office. His
people not only hear his words but look back upon the course of his
long, true and honourable life and see in him a living example of
goodness, as well as a mere preacher of it.--And that was the case with
parson Behrens.

Now was the time for the examination, and the young girls took off
their shawls. Louisa clasped her arms round her father and
foster-mother with tears in her eyes; and Mrs. Nüssler kissed her
twin-daughters lovingly; young Joseph wanted to say something, but said
nothing after all, and then the three children left the parsonage pew
and took their places at the altar.--"I wonder," said Bräsig to Frank,
who was standing beside him, "how the little round-heads will get
through their examination, I'm afraid that my god-daughter Mina will
break down completely." And then he blew his nose and wiped his eyes.

Frank made him no answer, he had lost sight of all but one face, and
that face which he knew so well had a look on it to-day that he had
never seen before; he saw but one form, usually so graceful and active,
but now slightly bent with a feeling of solemnity and awe, and the
hands which had always given him such eager welcome were now raised in
devotion, and it seemed to him as if God Himself were standing by the
bending figure in the simple black dress, within which Mrs. Behrens'
heart had once beat so happily, and showed him the purity of the heart
that was now within it and told him to see that his heart was fit to
take its place by hers. He felt as if he had been accustomed to see a
beautiful landscape brilliant with sunshine and had had no thought
awakened by its beauty but one of careless enjoyment, but now he felt
as if he had returned to the same place after a long absence, and saw
it bathed in the calm, pure light of the moon, and lo, all was changed.
It seemed to him as though there were a weight upon his heart, and he
were begging for mercy with supplicating hands raised to heaven, and he
was filled with a deep compassion for himself, for he felt what a poor,
miserable gift his heart would be were he to presume to offer it to
such loveliness. And this deep compassion for oneself, this secret
craving for a better heart, which comes over us when our eyes are
opened to see that moonlight loveliness, we children of men call
"love."

Bräsig stood beside him and every now and then whispered a few words to
him which he did not hear, and which, if he had heard, he would have
thought great nonsense. Perhaps he might even have been angry if he had
listened to what was said to him, and yet the old bailiff only spoke as
he felt, for he had lost the rose coloured spectacles of youth, and saw
everything through a greyer medium. Bräsig underwent a frightful
martyrdom while the examination was going on; he was so terrified lest
his god-daughter Mina should break down, and every time she answered a
question rightly he gave vent to such a tempestuous sigh, that if Mr.
Behrens had been a clergyman of the new school, he would have imagined
that he had brought some miserable sinner to repent in dust and
ashes.--"God be praised and thanked!" murmured the sinner, "Mina knows
her catechism." Then going up to Frank: "It's coming now, only listen."
And getting round to the other side of Hawermann: "Do listen, Charles.
Mina will have it. Mina will have to answer the great water question. I
knew it quite well, but Christian Guhl couldn't answer it, so I was
made to say it instead. I've forgotten all but the beginning now: 'For
water truly accomplishes nothing, but only the spirit of God.'"--While
Mina gave the answer without hesitation the old man repeated it
after her word for word. The churchwarden now came up with the
collecting-bag, and Bräsig dropped half-a-crown into it with a bang, as
though he expected his donation to buy him freedom from the weight of
his anxiety. He then turned round, and seizing Mrs. Nüssler by the
hand, exclaimed almost aloud: "_Did_ you hear our little roundheads?"
after which he blew his nose so loudly that Mrs. Nüssler had to
remonstrate with him for disturbing the congregation.

If anyone had examined the tie that bound Bräsig to little Mina, a tie
which was founded on the memory of his old affection for her mother, it
would have been found to be quite as strong, although much calmer than
that by which Frank wished to bind Louisa to himself.--Love is
manifold, and reveals itself in the most unexpected forms. It flies up
to heaven on rosy pinions, and walks the earth clumsily in wooden
shoes; it speaks with "tongues" as the apostles did on that first
Whitsunday-morning, and again it sits by our side like an innocent
child; it gives the loved one diamonds and coronets, or acts like old
bailiff Schecker, who paid his court to my aunt Schäning by presenting
her with a fat capon.

When the confirmation ceremony was over and the Holy Communion had been
for the first time received by the young people, Mr. Behrens retired to
the vestry, and Samuel Pomuchelskopp, whose son Tony was one of those
confirmed on that day, stalked past the clergyman's pew, in his best
blue coat, and followed him there. Instead of going into the room he
merely put his head in at the door--"To show everyone what a noodle he
is," whispered Bräsig to Hawermann--and in a loud voice, as if he had
been at market instead of in church, invited the parson to come up to
the manor-house and have some broth, roast-beef and a bottle of red
wine with him.--"That everyone may hear what a confounded Jesuit he
is," whispered Bräsig.--The clergyman regretted that he could not
accept the invitation, as he was not only rather tired, but also
expected some friends to dinner at the parsonage. As Pomuchelskopp went
away he glanced over his shoulder at the occupants of the parsonage
pew, and was about to bow with such condescension that it would have
been a pleasure to look at him, when he caught sight of the quizzical
expression of Bräsig's face. Our old friend was what Mrs. Behrens, if
she had seen him at that moment, would have called too bad a Christian
to keep his evil thoughts from showing themselves in his face even when
he was in God's own house.--How different he looked a few minutes later
when the three young girls came up to receive his kiss and blessing
after they had had those of their parents and foster-parents. He raised
his eyebrows as high as he could, and frowned solemnly, so as to make
himself look as paternal as possible. And he succeeded very well as far
as Louisa and Lina were concerned, but when his little Mina came to
him, he felt as if he himself were a child again, and caught her in his
arms, saying so that she only could hear: "Never mind, Mina, never
mind. I'll give you something nice." And because he could think of
nothing suitable on the spur of the moment, and chanced to have
his handkerchief in his hand, he added: "I'll give you a dozen
pocket-handkerchiefs--nice bright ones too." For he wanted to do the
thing well when he was about it.

All of the company had now offered their good wishes and had kissed the
children, but two of their number had come off badly in this respect.
Young Joseph only got half a kiss, and Frank got none at all. As far as
young Joseph was concerned it was his own fault, for he had squeezed
himself into a corner of the seat in such a way that the girls could
only get at the small right side of his mouth, while the left, and
larger half was completely hidden by the wood-work of the pew. And
Frank--he had not yet come down to earth, he was raised in thought far
above all sublunary things, and it was not till they had reached the
church-door that he took Louisa's hand in his and said something to
her, but what it was he could not have told five minutes later.--He was
in love. That beautiful face with its look of rapt devotion had
conquered him--and for ever.

It is possible that some punctilious matron, or perhaps some
very strict maiden lady--whether old or merely come to years of
discretion--may be displeasured with this part of my story, and ask me:
"Why did the young man not look out for a suitable wife elsewhere if he
must needs do such a worldly thing as fall in love?"--To which I can
only reply: "Honoured Madam, or most respected Miss so and so, the
young man was so new to those little affairs, of which you, from your
earlier experience, have such a thorough comprehension, that he did not
regard falling in love as at all a worldly action. And when and where
ought a young man to fall in love? Is such a thing only allowable at a
garden party in summer, or during the cotillon at a ball in winter? If
there are many roads leading to Rome there are far more which lead to
marriage, and he who can date the beginning of his journey along one of
these roads from a meeting in church, is much wiser than he who sets
out from a ball-room. In the first instance the altar is near at hand,
and in the second there is often a long and miry lane to be traversed
before the lovers can reach the altar, so that thin shoes and boots are
sometimes worn and travel-stained when they enter the holy estate of
matrimony. Do you not agree with me, honoured Madam. Am I not right,
most respected Miss so and so?"

A simple repast was set out in the parsonage. Bräsig was in high
spirits and beamed upon every one like sunshine after rain. The old
clergyman was also cheerful, for like Solomon he knew that there is a
time for every purpose, "a time to cast away stones, and a time to
gather stones together;" but still the remembrance of what had taken
place that morning was strong upon them all, and neither Mrs. Behrens
nor Mrs. Nüssler recovered the full use of their tongues until they
were sitting over the coffee-table. Immediately after dinner the old
clergyman went to lie down on the sofa in his study to rest after his
exertions, and enjoy a quiet nap. Hawermann went out for a walk with
his daughter and his two nieces, for he thought that the calm beauty of
the spring-day would soothe the excitement in their young hearts, and
Frank went with them, his heart full of the influence of the spring of
love newly awakened within him. Joseph Nüssler found a corner which was
almost as comfortable as his favourite seat at home, and Bräsig paced
up and down the room with a long pipe in his mouth. Since he had had
his pension he had entirely changed the character of his walk, and
turned out his feet far more than of old, indeed it may be said that
when his face was turned to the north his feet pointed due east and
west. He did it to show that he was his own master, and to prove that
long years of walking over ploughed fields had not destroyed his grace
of movement, or prevented his appearing worthy of his new position,
that of a gentleman at large. The two ladies seated themselves on the
sofa above which the pictures were hung.

"Yes, dear Mrs. Nüssler," said Mrs. Behrens, "thank God, the children
have done well so far. Louisa is now sixteen and a half, and your girls
are six months older than she is. My pastor says, and I know that he is
right, that they are well educated, and so if ever they have to work
for themselves they are quite able to do so. They might get situations
as governesses any day."--Bräsig came to a standstill, raised his
eyebrows, and blew such a thick cloud of smoke towards the sofa that
even young Joseph was amazed.--"Ah, yes," replied Mrs. Nüssler, "and
the children have to thank you and Mr. Behrens for that," here she
seized her friend's hand. "Brother Charles and I have often agreed that
though we were quite able to provide them with their daily bread, to
see that their dresses were neat and suitable, and to teach them to be
honest and truthful, and everything that relates merely to domestic
life, still we were not capable of teaching them such things as make
human beings worthy of the name. Am I not right Joseph?"--A comfortable
grunt of acquiescence came from behind the stove, it was a sound
resembling that which a faithful old dog would utter when his back was
stroked by a friendly hand.--"Did you hear, Mrs. Behrens? Joseph quite
agrees with me."--"Don't say that please," remonstrated Mrs. Behrens,
not wishing to be thanked, "I've done very little for your girls after
all, it was different with Louisa of course, for I was the nearest to
her. But--what I was going to say was this--we've never spoken of it
before--do you intend one of your children, Mina perhaps, to go out as
a governess?"--"_What_?" cried Mrs. Nüssler, staring at the clergyman's
wife in as great astonishment as if she had just announced that Mina
has serious intentions of having herself elected pope of Rome, but when
Mrs. Behrens began to explain her meaning more clearly, Bräsig
interrupted her by bursting into a hearty fit of laughter: "Ha, ha, ha!
What a joke! What a joke! Did hear, young Joseph? Our little Mina a
governess! ha, ha!"--Mrs. Behrens sat stiffly back in her corner
like a doll that had had its ears bored, her rosy turned purple with
anger, and her lilac cap-rib vibrated with every word as she said
indignantly: "What are you laughing at, Bräsig? Are you laughing
at me, pray? Are you laughing because I thought that Mina might become
a governess? Perhaps, Mr. bailiff Bräsig," she continued drawing
herself up proudly, "you are not aware that _I_ was a governess once,
and that teaching children is a _very_ different thing from beating
farm-lads?"--"Ah, but--don't be angry, Mrs. Behrens--ha, ha, ha!--our
Mina a governess."--But Mrs. Behrens had lost her temper too completely
to be able to remain silent, so she went on excitedly: "There is a
great difference between educated and uneducated people; a person like
_you_ could never governess!"

As she uttered these words her parson, who been wakened by Bräsig's
laughter, entered the room. He was struck by the comicality of the
idea, and being too short-sighted to see his wife's angry face,
laughing: "Ha, ha! Bräsig a governess!"--A great change came over Mrs.
Behrens on her husband's entrance; although she had been boiling over
with wrath the moment before, the mere fact of his presence seemed to
cast oil on the troubled waters, and she grew calm and quiet. She was
sometimes guilty of uttering a hasty word, or of reddening with anger
when he was in the room, but she had never yet given way to a regular
fit of passion in his presence, and so her honest round face, which
only a moment ago was flushed with anger, now glowed with a deeper
blush of shame at the thought that she, a clergyman's wife, had so far
forgotten herself, and on such a day too. The feeling of shame drove
away the last remnants of her anger, and when she heard her own words
repeated, that Bräsig could never be a governess, she hid her face in
her handkerchief and laughed heartily though silently.

Mrs. Nüssler had been sitting on thorns during the scene between Mrs.
Behrens and Bräsig, and when the parson came in, she sprang to her
feet, exclaiming: "Oh, reverend Sir, I am the innocent cause of the
quarrel. Bräsig, have done with your stupid laughter. Bless me, if Mrs.
Behrens thinks that my Mina ought to be a governess--I have no
objection. If you and Mrs. Behrens really think it better for her, I
will give my consent, for you've always given me good advice. Don't you
agree with me, Joseph?"--Joseph came out from behind the stove as he
answered: "Yes. It all depends upon circumstances; if she ought to go,
let her go." As soon as he had finished speaking he left the room, most
probably to consider the matter in solitude.--"What is the meaning of
all this?" asked the clergyman, "are you in earnest, Regina?"--Mrs.
Nüssler approached the little lady anxiously: "Never mind, Mrs.
Behrens.--I hope you're ashamed of yourself, Bräsig?--Dear Mrs.
Behrens, don't cry any more," and as she spoke she drew the
handkerchief away from her friend's face gently, but on seeing the
laughing face raised to hers she started back a step or two,
exclaiming: "Why, what's all this!"--"Only a misunderstanding,
neighbour," said the old gentleman smiling. "No one ever thought
seriously that Mina ought to be a governess. No, our children shall
never swell the number of poor unhappy girls who are knocked about from
place to place in the world, and earn their bread as dependents. No,
our children shall, please God, become good wives, and notable
mistresses of households, and in course of time they may with our full
consent become governesses--to their own children."--"Reverend Sir--dear
Mr. Behrens," cried Mrs. Nüssler, looking as if she were relieved from
a terrible dread, "God bless you for saying that. Our Mina shall not be
a governess. Joseph--where are you, Joseph? Ah, he must have gone out
to hide his grief. Yes, Mr. Behrens, she shall learn to be a good
housekeeper. You shall see that I'll do my best to teach her
thoroughly."--"Yes," cried Bräsig, "and she must be able to cook a good
dinner."--"Of course, Bräsig. Ah, Mr. Behrens, I found all the
governesses that I tried such a handful! And last week I went to
call on the wife of the new deputy sheriff--she had once been a
governess--and I found her a weakly sort of creature who moves about
the house as listlessly as if she couldn't be troubled with anything,
and then she's one of those sort of people who always wants what
she can't get. She's a poor white-faced thing, and looks as if she
thought herself a sweet holy martyr--interesting looking, _she_ calls
it."--"Bosh!" said Bräsig.--"And, Mrs. Behrens," continued Mrs.
Nüssler, "she always has the eggs hard boiled, and the roasts burnt in
her house. Good gracious! I'm not one of those who say that women ought
not to be educated, and well educated too, so that they may be able to
read the newspapers, and may know all about old Fritz and his people,
and may even be able to tell in what countries the orange and
quinine-trees are to be found; still, these things are only pleasant to
know, they are not necessary; and, Mrs. Behrens, I always say that if
any woman doesn't know that sort of thing she can always wait till she
meets some one learned enough to give her the information she requires;
but, Mrs. Behrens, knowing how meat ought to be roasted is a different
thing altogether! There can be no question of waiting in such a case,
for dinner comes at a regular hour, and, living in the country as I do,
Mrs. Behrens, there is no one I can trust to look after these things,
except a stupid servant who'd be sure to make some dreadful mistake if
she were left to herself."--"You're quite right, neighbour," said the
clergyman, "the girls must learn to be good housekeepers."--"That's
what I say, reverend Sir, that's just what I say. Goodness gracious me!
That poor little woman, the deputy sheriffs wife, knows nothing about
house-keeping. Only fancy! She asked me how many pairs of shoes my
children wore out in the year when they were seven years old; she asked
me how we milked the pigs at Rexow, and she asked me what the chickens
said. Ah, reverend Sir, Louisa must not be a governess either."--"No,
we don't want her to be one, and as Hawermann thinks as we do on the
subject, it is arranged that she should remain here and learn
housekeeping. Regina is beginning to take things too easily, and,"
seating himself on the sofa beside his wife, and putting his arm round
her waist, "she is growing too old to have so much on her hands, so she
is glad to have a young girl to help her to manage the house, and
besides that, she could not bear to part with Louisa."--"You would like
it even less than I should, pastor. I'm beginning to feel myself quite
shelved, I assure you, it's 'Louisa bring me this,' and 'Louisa get me
that' from morning till night."--"Well, well, I don't deny it, I should
miss the child terribly if she were to go away."

Hawermann now came back with the children and Frank. When they had
nearly reached the door they saw young Joseph walking excitedly up and
down the garden. As she approached him, he went up to his daughter
Mina, and taking her in his arms, kissed her and said: "It isn't my
fault, Mina," and when Hawermann asked him what was the matter, he
merely answered: "Brother-in-law, what must be, must be." When the
party was separating to go home, and Joseph was seated in the carriage,
he felt as if he were driving a victim up to the sacrificial altar.
Although his wife explained the whole matter thoroughly to him, and
told him that Mina was not to be a governess, the conversation at the
parsonage had made such an indelible impression on him, that he could
never get over the idea that Mina had a sorrowful life before her. From
this time forward he always made her sit beside him at dinner, and gave
her all the little titbits in the dish before him, as if each meal were
to be the last before her sorrows began.



                              CHAPTER XII.


So it was that the little girls' mode of life was settled as far as it
is possible for human beings to settle the future of other people.
But fate often interferes with the best laid schemes which worthy
white-haired elders have made, and introduces the most unexpectedly
incongruous elements. The worst of making such plans is that they never
succeed whether they are wise or foolish, because the good old
white-haired people have forgotten to call back to their remembrance
the thoughts and feelings which influenced them before their hair began
to turn grey. The old clergyman never seriously thought for a moment
that any young man would come and take his foster-daughter away from
him, and Mrs. Behrens, who, after the manner of women, thought much and
often of the probability of such an event happening at some time or
other, comforted herself with the thought that Louisa knew no one she
could marry. She did not count Frank because of his position in
society; and as for Triddelfitz, she regarded him as mere boy, for he
was continually getting into scrapes and being scolded by her. She was
now to be shown that a beautiful young girl, even though she may live
in a parsonage, attracts young men to flutter round her as much as a
flower does a butterfly. She was to see that the caterpillar which but
a short time ago had roused her wrath in a different fashion, had
turned into a gorgeous yellow butterfly which delighted to hover round
the sweet flower she had so long tended. She would have thought the
whole affair a good joke if the butterfly had not been her sister's
son, and the flower Louisa Hawermann.

A few days after the confirmation Fred came to Gürlitz, his heart full
of hatred to all women. The basin of water he had had thrown over his
head, and being turned out of the paradise of good things to which he
had been so long accustomed, had had a chilling effect on him; and as
his novels had taught him that any young man who had been deceived in
the character of his lady-love as he, Fred, had been, had a right to
hate all women, he made use of his right and hated them. He had not
been to Gürlitz for a long time because he wanted to punish his aunt
for her constant lectures by depriving her of the pleasure of seeing
him. When Fred had been sitting in the parlour for some time nursing
his hatred of women, and only deigning to talk to the clergyman, little
Mrs. Behrens went to join Louisa in the kitchen, and told her with
great glee of his quiet manner: "Fred is very much improved," she said.
"Thank God, he is growing wiser as he gets older."--Louisa laughed, but
made no answer. Though she had not had much opportunity of studying the
ways and manners of young men, still she knew Fred Triddelfitz too well
to trust to appearances. Any one who understood the boy knew that if he
tried to play some part that was unnatural to him, such as pretending
to be a woman-hater, the real Fred Triddelfitz would suddenly reappear
in his true colours and startle every one, but more especially his dear
aunt. He had not been long in the same room with Louisa before he threw
overboard his hatred of women, and all remembrance of Mary Möller, the
wash-hand-basin, and the larder, and took in a large cargo of romantic
ideas as ballast instead; this cargo he called "falling in love with
Louisa." And as he had got rid of the trammels of the old love he was
able to set sail gaily and make for the open sea. At first he tacked
about so much that his aunt was puzzled, but as soon as he reached the
high seas "of feeling," unfurled his top-gallant-sails, and had the
rudder well in hand, she discovered what he was about, and was very
much frightened. She looked upon him as a daring sea-rover, a pirate, a
corsair who was trying to run down the dainty little brig in which she
had shipped all her motherly love and hopes.

She tried a feint or two to draw off his attention, but the pirate kept
on his course unchecked. She showed her parson the red danger signal
she had hoisted in her distress, but he seemed to look upon the whole
affair as a good joke, perhaps because he was convinced that the brig
was in no danger. He sat back comfortably in his sofa corner, sometimes
laughing and sometimes shaking his head.--Little Mrs. Behrens lost all
patience with her nephew and called him in her own mind: "A silly boy,
a young rascal, and a little wretch." But when the pirate began to fire
one broadside after another of honied phrases and poetical sentiments
at the tiny craft, she gallantly steamed out to sea to defend it and
opened her attack on the rover by throwing her grappling irons, taking
him in tow and carrying him off with her in triumph: "Come, my boy,
come. I want to speak to you, Fred. You may as well take your hat with
you." When she had him safe in the still-room she man[oe]uvred him into
a corner where he was unable to move because of the barricade of jars,
tubs, &c., and then seizing a loaf of bread cut a tremendously thick
slice, saying: "You must be hungry, Freddy. You have an empty stomach,
sonny, and an empty stomach makes people say and do things that they
had better not.--There now I've spread it with butter for you, here's
the cheese, won't you have a bit--set to work, my boy, and eat a good
luncheon."--Fred stood silently before her not knowing what to do; he
had wished to win a heart, and instead of that he had been given a
slice of bread and butter! He was about to speak, but his aunt would
not allow him: "I know what you are going to say, my boy, so you
needn't speak, my child. But here--just to please me--here is a bottle
of beer, pray take it out to Hawermann who is sowing peas in the field
below the garden. Tell him that it's some of the beer he likes so much,
it comes from the mayor of Stavenhagen's brewery." While speaking she
took him through the kitchen, and let him out at the back door. As he
was going, she called after him through a chink in the doorway: "You
won't be able to come and see us for a long time as you've begun to sow
the corn and will of course have a great deal to do--no, no, my boy, it
can't be helped--but when you come back, in autumn perhaps, Louisa will
be seventeen, and you must give up talking such childish nonsense to
her as you've been doing to-day, she'll be too old for such folly then.
Good-bye now, sonny, eat your bread and butter." Then she shut the door
leaving Fred outside with a great slice of bread in one hand, and a
bottle of beer in the other.

He felt that his aunt had treated him very badly, and was so angry at
first that he felt inclined to throw the bread and butter in at the
kitchen window and the bottle of beer after it, at the same time vowing
that he would never again set foot in the parsonage as long as he
lived. But second thoughts are always best, so he turned and walked
down the garden path glancing now at the bread and butter and now at
the bottle of beer, and saying to himself: "Hang it all, I'm not a bit
hungry. The old lady didn't hit the right nail on the head there. But
the fact is she only wanted to get rid of me.--Wait a bit, auntie, you
won't get the better of me so easily! I know when and where Louisa goes
to walk.--She must be mine! Whatever happens, she must be mine!" Then
he threw himself under the hedge at the end of the garden and proceeded
to lay out his plan of operations in this new love affair. How angry he
would have been if he had known that Louisa saw him from her garret
window!--He did not know that however, and as he was afraid that his
bread and butter would fall on the gravel and be spoilt, he thought it
better on the whole to eat it while it was good, and when he had
finished it, he said: "I don't care a farthing for my aunt and Mary
Möller; Louisa is an angel! She must be mine! It's quite clear that my
relations won't approve of our love.--_Bong!_ No girl like Louisa is
ever to be won without a struggle. I'll ...... yes, what ought I to
do?"--Before he did anything else he thought it as well to drink the
bottle of beer, and when he had finished it every drop, he rose and
crossed the ploughed field with renewed courage, stamping his firm
determination into the soft soil as he went on: "She _shall_ be mine!"
And when the seed had sprung up the villagers, said: "Look, do you see
where the devil has been sowing thistles and nettles amongst old
bailiff Hawermann's corn!"

So Fred went heart and soul into his new love affair. There was one
good thing in it, and that was that he was now far more amenable to the
bailiff than before, because he looked on him in the light of his
future father-in-law. He sat by his side in the evening and told him
how much his father would advance to set him up in business, and asked
his advice as to whether, he should buy or rent a farm, or consulted
him about buying a large tract of land in Livonia or Hungary. The old
man gently talked him out of any of his ideas which were simply absurd,
but he silently rejoiced in the change that had taken place in his
pupil: "The young rascal used to be able to talk of nothing but riding,
dancing and hunting, and now he speaks of sensible things however
foolishly." One evening when he and Fred were alone, Frank having gone
to Gürlitz, he was still more astonished by Fred's confiding to him
that if he remained in Mecklenburg he would either buy or rent a place
with a good house in the middle of a park--park was the very word he
used, not garden--for, he said, he owed it to his future wife that
everything should be done in good style, and added, that he would love
and care for her nearest relations like a father, as he said this he
looked at the bailiff with such a touchingly affectionate gaze that the
latter felt quite uncomfortable. "Triddelfitz," remonstrated Hawermann,
"you are surely not so foolish as to think yourself in love at your
age?"--Fred answered that it might be so, or it might not be so,
but he could at least say with certainty, that he intended his old
father-in-law to have a whole wing in his house for his sole use, and
that as he had always been accustomed to plenty of fresh air and
exercise, he should keep a couple of horses for him to ride or drive.
Having said this, he rose and began to walk up and down the room with
long strides, waving his hands as he went, so that Hawermann, who was
sitting in the sofa corner, had to move his head about from side to
side in his efforts to keep his eye on his pupil's movements. When he
was saying good-night that evening, Fred pressed the old gentleman's
hand as warmly and emphatically as if it were a matter of life and
death, and a moment later when Hawermann suspected no evil, he was
startled to feel a warm hand stroking his white hair, then a head bent
over him and a hearty kiss was pressed on his brow. Before the old man
had had time to recover from his consternation, Fred had left the room.

Fred was a very good-hearted young fellow and wished the whole world to
be as happy as he was himself. His intentions were good but his actions
were foolish. He had never gone back to see his aunt at Gürlitz. It
made him cross to think of the wretched day when he had been forbidden
to show his feelings to Louisa, and yet he daily lived over again all
that had passed on that occasion. Bitter as the thought was, it was not
long before gall was added to the draught he had to drink--And by whom
was this added?--By Frank!--During the whole of that spring Frank went
to Gürlitz whenever he had time, and in summer when the three Miss von
Rambows came to Pümpelhagen, Louisa used to go and see them very often,
and when she was there Frank was never far away, while he--our poor
Fred, was not with them, and had to content himself with envying them
from a distance.

I did not mean to say, and I am sure that no one who reads this book
would ever imagine that Fred was mean and wicked enough to be spying
and prying into what did not concern him, but he would have been very
stupid if he had not suspected what Frank was about. And this was quite
right and proper, a young man who is really in love ought to feel the
pangs of jealousy, for jealousy is a necessary ingredient in the tender
passion, and I always look upon any man the course of whose love is
utterly unruffled by anxiety or by the presence of a rival as very like
my neighbour Mr. Hamann, who is in the habit of riding with only one
spur. Frank was the rival in this case, and Fred regarded him as such,
and before long had put him in the same category as his aunt and Mary
Möller, he never addressed him and kept all his conversation for his
future father-in-law.

No human being can stand more than a certain amount of pain, after that
it becomes unbearable and a remedy must be found; now the only remedy a
lover finds effectual is an interview with his sweetheart. Matters had
come to such a pass with Fred that he could no longer exist without
seeing Louisa, so he began to lie in wait for her in all sorts of holes
and corners. Every hollow-tree was a good hiding-place from which he
could watch for her coming, every ditch was of use in concealing his
advance, every hill was a look-out from which he could sweep the
country with his gaze, and every thicket served him for an ambush. He
was so much in earnest that he could not fail to succeed in his
attempts to see her, and he often gave Louisa a great fright by
pouncing out upon her, when she least expected him, and when she was
perhaps thinking of ..... we will not say Frank. Sometimes he was to be
seen rearing his long slight figure out of a bush like a snake in the
act of springing, sometimes his head would appear above the green ears
of rye like a seal putting its head above water, and sometimes as she
passed under a tree he would drop down at her side from the branches
when he had been crouched like a lynx waiting for its prey. At first
she did not mind it much, for she looked upon it as a new form of his
silly practical joking, and so she only laughed and talked to him about
some indifferent subject; but she soon discovered that a very
remarkable change had taken place in him. He spoke gravely and solemnly
and uttered the merest nothings as if they had been the weightiest
affairs of state. He passed his hand meditatively across his forehead
as if immersed in profound thought, and when she spoke of the weather,
he laid his hand upon his heart as if he were suffering from a sudden
pain in the side. When she asked him to come to Gürlitz he shook his
head sadly, and said: Honour forbade him to do so. When she asked him
about her father, his words poured forth like a swiftly flowing stream:
The bailiff was an angel; there never was, and never would be such a
man again on the face of the earth; _his_ father was good and kind, but
_hers_ was the prince of fathers. When she asked after Miss Fidelia, he
said: He never troubled himself about women, and was utterly
indifferent to _almost_ all of them; but once when, as ill luck would
have it, she asked him about Frank, his eyes flashed and he shouted:
"Ha!" once or twice with a sort of snort, laughed scornfully, caught
hold of her hand, slipped a bit of paper into it, and plunged head
foremost into the rye-field, where he was soon lost to sight.--When she
opened the paper she found that it contained the following effusion:


                                TO HER.

     "When with tender silvery light
      Luna peeps the clouds between,
      And 'spite of dark disastrous night
      The radiant sun is also seen,
      When the wavelets murmuring flow
      When oak and ivy clinging grow,
      Then, O then, in that witching hour
      Let us meet _in my_ lady's bow'r.

     "Where'er thy joyous step doth go
      Love waits upon thee ever,
      The spring-flow'rs in my hat do show
      I'll cease to love thee never.
      When thou'rt gone from out my sight
      Vanished is my sole delight.
      _Alas!_ Thou ne'er canst understand
      What I've suffered at thy hand.

     "My _vengeance_ dire! will fall on him,
      The foe who has hurt me sore,
      Hurt _me_! who writes this poem here;
      _Revenge!!_ I'll seek for ever more."

                                       Frederic Triddelfitz.

_Pümpelhagen, July_, 3d, 1842.


The first time that Louisa read this effusion she could make nothing of
it, when she had read it twice she did not understand it a bit better,
and after the third reading she was as far from comprehending it as she
had been at first; that is to say, she could not make out who it was on
whom the unhappy poet wished to be revenged. She was not so stupid as
not to know that the "Her" was intended for herself.

She would have liked to have been able to think that the whole affair
was only a silly joke, but when she remembered Fred's odd manner she
was obliged to confess that it was anything but a joke, and so she
determined to keep as much as possible out of his way. She was such a
tender-hearted little creature that she was full of compassion for
Fred's sufferings. Now pity is a bridge that often leads to the
beautiful meadows stretched on the other side of it full of rose-bushes
and jasmine-hedges, which are as attractive to a maiden of seventeen
as cherries to a bird, and who knows whether Louisa might not have
been induced to wander in those pleasant groves, had she not been
restrained by the thought of Fred riding amongst the roses on the old
sorrel-horse, holding a great slice of bread and butter in one hand and
a bottle of beer in the other. In spite of her compassion for him she
could not help laughing, and so remained safely on this side of the
bridge; she liked best to watch Fred from a distance, for the sorrel
might have lain down in the pond again, and Fred might have smeared her
with the bread and butter. The stupidest lads under the sun may often
win the love of girls of seventeen, and even men with only an apology
for a heart are sometimes successful, but alas for the young fellow who
has ever condescended to wear motley, he can never hope to win his
lady's affection, for nothing is so destructive to young love as a
hearty fit of laughter.

Louisa could not restrain her laughter when she thought of the
ludicrous scene that had just taken place, but she suddenly stopped in
the midst of her merriment, for she felt as if a soft hand had just
taken hers, and as if a pair of dark eyes were looking at her
affectionately. Perhaps this thought may have come into her head
because she caught sight of Frank coming towards her from the distance.
The next moment it flashed into her mind that it was Frank on whom Fred
wished to be revenged, and so when they met a deep blush overspread her
face, and feeling that that was the case made her so angry with herself
that she blushed even deeper than before. Frank spoke to her in his
usual courteous manner about indifferent things, but she was strangely
shy, and answered him at cross-purposes, for her mind was full of Fred
and his vows of vengeance.

"Heaven knows what's the matter," thought Frank as he was returning
home after having walked a short way with her, "she isn't at all like
herself to-day. Is it my fault? Has she had anything to vex or annoy
her? What was that piece of paper she was tearing up?"--Meanwhile he
had reached the place where he had met her. Some of the bits of paper
were still lying on the ground, and he saw on one of them, without
picking it up: "_Revenge!_ I'll seek for evermore Frederic
Triddelfitz." This made him curious for he knew Fred's handwriting, so
he looked about and found two more bits of paper, but when he put
them together he could make nothing more out of them but: "clinging
grows ... that witching hour .... meet in my lady's bow'r ..... Spring
flowers .... I'll cease to ... from out my sight .... my sole delight
... _Alas!_ thou ne'er ... my _vengeance_ dire! .... The foe ...
_Revenge!!_ I'll seek for evermore Frederic Triddelfitz." The wind had
blown away all the rest.

There was not much to be made out of it, but after a time Frank came to
the conclusion that Fred Triddelfitz was in love with Louisa, dogged
her footsteps, and wanted to be revenged on her for some reason only
known to himself. It was a ridiculous affair altogether, but still when
he remembered that Fred Triddelfitz was as full of tricks as a donkey's
hide of grey hair, and that he might easily do something that would be
of great annoyance to Louisa, Frank determined to keep watch, and not
to let Fred out of his sight when he went in the direction of Gürlitz.

Fred had broken the ice, he had spoken, he had done his part, and it
was now Louisa's turn to speak if anything was to come of it. He
waited, and watched, and got no answer. "It's a horrid shame," he said
to himself. "But she isn't up to this sort of thing yet, I must show
her what she ought to do." Then he sat down and wrote a letter in a
feigned hand.


Address: "To Her that you know of.

Inscription: "Sweet Dream of my soul!

"This letter can tell you nothing, it only contains what is absolutely
necessary for you to learn, and you will find it in the _third_
rose-bush in the _second_ row. I'll tell you the rest by word of mouth,
and will only add: Whenever you see a _cross_ drawn in _white chalk_ on
the garden-door, you will find the disclosure of my sentiments under
the flower-pot beside the third rose-bush in the second row. The
_waving_ of a _pocket-handkerchief_ on the _Gürlitz_ side of the house
will be a token of your presence, and of your desiring an interview;
_my_ signal, on the other hand, will be _whistling_ three times on the
crook of my stick. (Our shepherd taught me how to do it, and love makes
everything easy to learn). _Randyvoo_: The large ditch to the _right_
of the bridge.

                 "Ever thine!!

                       "From Him whom you know of."

"P.S. Pardon me for having written this in my shirt-sleeves, it is such
a frightfully hot day.----"


This letter fell into the wrong hands, for it was Mrs. Behrens who
found it when she went out to water her flowers, whilst Louisa, who was
now a notable little housekeeper, was busy indoors making gooseberry
jam. The clergyman's wife had no scruples about opening and reading the
letter, and after she had done so she was quite convinced that it was
intended for Louisa, and had been written by her nephew Fred.

She could not tell Louisa of her discovery, for that would simply have
been playing into Fred's hands, she had therefore to content herself
with talking of letters in general, and trying to find out in a
round-about kind of way whether Louisa had received any epistles such
as she had in her pocket, but as the girl did not understand what she
meant, she determined not to tell her pastor what had happened. For,
she thought, why should she make him angry by telling him of the
foolish boy's love troubles, and besides that, it would have been very
painful for her to have to give evidence against her own flesh and
blood--and unfortunately Fred was her sister's son. But she wished with
all her heart that she could have have had a few minutes quiet talk
with the culprit himself, and that was impossible, for she never saw
him by any chance.

She was very silent and thoughtful for a few days, and took the entire
charge of watering the flowers into her own hands. It was just as well
that she did so, for soon afterwards she found a letter drenched with
rain under the third rose-bush in the second row. This letter was still
more to the point than the last:


Address: "To _Her_, the _only_ woman I adore.

Inscription: "Soul of my existence!!

"We are surrounded by pitfalls; I am aware that our foe watches my
every step.--Cowardly _spy_, I _scorn_ you!--Have no fear, Beloved, I
will conquer all difficulties.--One bold deed will bring our love
_recognition_. At two o'clock to-morrow afternoon, when the _Dragon_ is
asleep that guards my _treasure_, I shall expect to see your signal
with the pocket-handkerchief. As for myself, I shall then be hidden
behind the manure heap on the bank beside the large ditch, and shall
whistle three times on the crook of my stick to entice you to come to
me. And--even though the powers of hell should fight against me--I have
sworn to be ever

                                          Thine."


Mrs. Behrens was furious when she read this letter. "The ....!
The ....! Oh you young rascal! 'When the dragon is asleep!' The wretch
means me by that! But wait a bit! _I_'ll entice _you_ to come to _me_,
and though the powers of hell won't touch you, if once I get hold of
you, I'll give you such a box on the ear as you never had before!"

About two o'clock next day, Mrs. Behrens rose from her sofa and went
into the garden. The parlour-door creaked and the garden-door banged as
she went out, and the parson hearing the noise, looked out at the
window to see what it was that took his wife out at that unusual
hour, for as a general rule she did not move from her sofa till
three had struck. He saw her go behind a bush and wave her
pocket-handkerchief.--"She's making signs to Hawermann, of course,"
said he, and then he went and lay down again. But the fact of the
matter is that she only wanted to show her sister's son how much she
longed to get within reach of his ears. But he did not come, not yet
were his three whistles to be heard.--She returned to her room very
crossly, and when her husband asked her at coffee time to whom she had
been making signals in the garden, she was so overwhelmed with
confusion that in spite of being a clergyman's wife--I am sorry to have
to confess it--she told a lie, and said that she had found it so
frightfully close she had been fanning herself a little.

On the third day after that she found another letter:


Address: "To _Her_ who is intended for me by _Fate_.

Inscription: "_Sun_ of my _dark_ existence!!

"Have you ever suffered the _pains of hell_? I have been enduring them
since two o'clock in the afternoon of the day before yesterday when I
was hidden behind the manure-heap. The weather was lovely, our _foe_
was busy in the clover-field, and your handkerchief was waving in the
perfumed air like one of those tumbler pigeons I used to have long ago.
I was just about to utter the three _whistles_ we had agreed upon, when
that stupid old _ass_ Bräsig came up to me, and talked to me for a
_whole hour by the clock_ about the farm. As soon as he was gone I
hastened to the ditch, but, _oh agony!_ I was terribly disappointed.
The time must have seemed very long to you, for you were gone.--But
now, _listen_. As soon as I have finished my curds and cream this
evening I shall start for the place of _Randyvoo_ where I shall be
hidden _punctually at half-past eight_. This is Saturday, so the parson
will be writing his sermon, and the _Dragon_ will be busy, so it is a
favourable _opportunity_ for us to meet, and the _alder-bushes_ will
screen us from every eye, (Schiller!) Wait awhile--thy rest comes
presently (Göthe) in the _arms_ of thy _adorer_, who would _sell_ all
that is dear to him, if he could _buy_ what is dear to thee with the
proceeds.


           "Again to meet! again to meet!
            Till then I fain would sleep;
            My longings and my thoughts to steep
            In Lethe's waters dark and deep.
            My loved one I again shall see,
            There's rapture in the thought!
            In the hope to-morrow of thee,
            My darling, I fear nought.


("The _beginning_ is by myself, the _middle_ part by Schiller, and the
_end_ by a certain person called Anonymous who writes a great deal of
poetry, but I have altered his lines to suit the present case.)

"_In an agony of longing to see you_,

                                    Ever Thine."


"_No!_" cried little Mrs. Behrens when she had read the letter. "This
is really too much of a good thing! Ah, my dear sister, I'm sorry for
you! Well, it's high time for _other_ people to interfere, and I think
that being his aunt, I am the proper person to do so. And I will do
it," she exclaimed aloud, stamping her foot emphatically, "and I should
like to see who'd dare to prevent me!"

"I promise not to interfere with you, Mrs. Behrens," said Bräsig,
coming from behind the bee-hives.

"Have you been listening, Bräsig?" asked Mrs. Behrens rather
sharply.--"'Listening!' I never listen! I only keep my ears open, and
then I hear what's going on; and I keep my eyes open, and see what
passes before me. For instance, I see that you are very cross."--"Yes,
but it's enough to drive an angel wild."--"Ah, Mrs. Behrens, the angels
are wild enough already in all conscience, but we don't need to speak
of them just now, for I believe that the devil himself is going about
Pümpelhagen."--"Goodness gracious me! Has Fred ....?"--"No," answered
Bräsig, "I don't know what it is, but certainly there's something
up."--"How?"--"Mrs. Behrens, Hawermann is in a bad humour, and that is
enough to show you that something unpleasant is going on. When I
went to Pümpelhagen last week I found him busy with the hay and
rape-harvest, and said: 'Good-morning,' I said.--'Good-morning,' said
he.--'Charles,' I began, and was going to have said something when he
interrupted me by asking: 'Have you seen Triddelfitz anywhere?'--'Yes,'
I answered.--'Where?' he asked.--'Sitting in the large ditch,' I
said.--'Did you see young Mr. von Rambow?' he asked.--'He's sitting in
the next ditch close behind Fred,' I replied.--'What are they doing?'
he asked.---'Playing,' I said.--'You don't give me much comfort,' he
said, '_playing_, when there's so much to be done!'--'Yes, Charles,'
I said, 'and I played with them.'--'What were you playing at?' he
asked.--'We had a game at "I spy," Charles. You must understand that
your grey-hound was peeping over the edge of the ditch towards Gürlitz,
and your young nobleman was watching the grey-hound, so I hid myself in
the marl-pit, and watched them both. When ever one of them turned the
others ducked, so there we sat peeping and ducking till at last I found
it a very tiresome amusement, and, leaving my hiding-place, went
to join Mr. von Rambow.' 'Good-day,' I said.--'Good-day,' he
replied.--'Pardon me,' I said, 'but which of your farming-operations is
it that is occupying your attention just now?'--'I,' he stammered,
'w--wanted to see how the peas were getting on!'--'H'm!' I said. 'Ah!'
I said. 'I understand.' Then I bade him 'good-bye,' and went to have a
look at the grey-hound. Don't be angry, Mrs. Behrens, but that's what I
always call your nephew."--"Not at all, not at all!" cried the little
lady, though her own name for him was different.--Then Bräsig
continued: "'Good-day,' I said, 'may I ask what you are doing
here?'--'Oh, nothing in particular,' he said, looking rather foolish,
'I'm only looking at the peas.'--'Now, Charles,' I said, 'if you can
get the peas staked by setting those two lads to look at them, why all
that I can say is that you're a deuced lucky fellow.'--'The devil take
it!' he said, 'they're both up to some folly. Mr. von Rambow is quite
changed this summer, he isn't like the same person. He goes about in a
dream, forgets all that I tell him, and so I can't rely on him as I
used to do. And as for that other stupid dolt, he's worse than
ever.'--Now, Mrs. Behrens, pray don't be angry with Hawermann for
calling your nephew a 'stupid dolt.'"--"Certainly not," replied Mrs.
Behrens, "for that's just what he is."--"Well, you see that all
happened a week ago, but this morning I went out early with my
fishing-rod to try whether I couldn't catch a few trout, when just as I
was coming in this direction I caught sight of your nephew, the
greyhound. He slipped cautiously into the garden, and after remaining
there for a few minutes, came out again. Meanwhile I perceived that the
young nobleman was watching him from amongst the thorn-bushes by the
side of the ditch; but what was my astonishment when I saw that my good
old friend Charles Hawermann was following them on the hill-side. I
brought up the rear, and so we all went on in single file quite round
the village, and I couldn't help laughing when I thought that each of
us only knew of the presence of the game he was stalking, and was
totally unaware that he himself was being stalked in his turn. We're
all to be at it again to-morrow I believe, for Hawermann, who has
followed them twice already, is determined to get to the bottom of the
mystery; so if either you or the parson has a fancy to join us in the
hunt, you can follow me."--"Thanks very much," said Mrs. Behrens,
"but I've got my part to play already. Bräsig, can you keep a
secret?"--"Like a safe when the padlock is on," he answered.--"No, no.
Do be serious. Can you be silent?"--"I beg your pardon," he said
gravely, and clapped his hand on his mouth in token of shame at his
ill-timed jesting, though had anyone else done it, he would have given
him a black eye for his pains.--"Why well then, listen," said Mrs.
Behrens, who now proceeded to relate all that she knew of the
affair.--"Wheugh!" whistled Bräsig, "what a fool that nephew of yours
is."--Mrs. Behrens then read him the letters she had found. "Hang it,"
cried Bräsig, "where did the young rascal get that grand way of
expressing himself. Stupid as he is in other matters, he can write much
better than one would expect."--When she came to the bit about the
dragon Bräsig laughed heartily, and said: "That's you, Mrs. Behrens,
that's you!"--"I know," she answered sharply, "but the ass in the third
letter is intended for you, so neither of us need laugh at the other.
But now, Bräsig, you see that it's quite necessary that I should get
hold of the little wretch, and box his ears well for him."--"You're
quite right, and it's easily managed. Listen. You and I must hide at
the bottom of the garden at eight o'clock this evening; at half past
eight, Louisa must take her place in the ditch, and you'll see that
he'll come like a bear to wild honey; and then we'll spring out upon
him, and take him prisoner before he knows where he is."--"That won't
do at all, Bräsig. If I were going to act in that sort of way I
shouldn't require your help. It would be a great misfortune if Louisa
were ever to know anything about this, and I'd rather that neither
Hawermann nor even my pastor should hear of it."--"H'm, h'm!" said
Bräsig. "Then .... then .... Stop! I have it now. Mrs. Behrens, you
must make yourself as thin as possible, put on Louisa's clothes, and go
to the _randyvoo_ in her stead. Then, as soon as he is seated by your
side, and is on the point of kissing you, you must seize him by the
scruff of the neck, and hold on till I come."--"Nay, Bräsig, that would
never do!"--"Don't you think so, Mrs. Behrens? You understand that if
he doesn't see his sweet-heart in the ditch, you'll never manage to
inveigle him there; and if we don't nab him unexpectedly, we'll
never succeed in catching him, for he's a long-legged, thin-flanked
grey-hound, and if it came to a race, we'd be nowhere with our short
legs and round bodies."--It was quite true; but no! she go to a
_rendezvous_? And Bräsig was very stupid, how could she ever get into
Louisa's gown?--But Bräsig would not be convinced; he maintained that
it was the only way in which she could get the interview she wanted
with her nephew, and assured her that all she had to do was to put on
Louisa's shawl and Leghorn hat, and then go and sit on the edge of the
ditch. "You must remember to sit down," he continued, "for if you
remain standing he will see at once that you're a foot shorter, and at
least a foot broader than Louisa."--At last--at last Mrs. Behrens
allowed herself to be persuaded, and when she went out at the back-door
about eight o'clock that evening, wearing Louisa's shawl and hat, the
parson who was standing at his study-window thinking over his sermon,
said to himself wonderingly: "What on earth is Regina doing with
Louisa's hat and shawl? And there's Bräsig coming out of the arbour. He
must want to speak to me about something--but it's a very odd thing
altogether!"

Mrs. Behrens went down the garden path with Bräsig feeling ready for
anything that might befall. She opened the garden-gate and went out
alone, leaving Bräsig squatted under the hedge like a great toad, but
no sooner was she by herself than her courage oozed away, and she said:
"Come to the ditch with me, Bräsig, you're too far away there, and must
be close at hand to help me when I've caught him."--"All right!" said
Bräsig, and he accompanied her to the ditch.

Canal-like ditches such as this are no longer to be found in all the
country-side, for the thorough system of drainage to which the land has
been subjected has done away with their use; but every farmer will
remember them in the old time. They were from fifteen to twenty feet
wide at the top, but tapered away till quite narrow at the bottom, and
were fringed with thorns and other bushwood. They were generally dry
except in spring and autumn, when there was a foot or a foot and half
of water in them, or in summer for a day or two after a thunder-storm.
That was the case now.--"Bräsig hide yourself behind that thorn so that
you may come to the rescue at once."--"Very well," said Bräsig.--"But,
Mrs. Behrens," he continued after a pause, "you must think of a signal
to call me to your help."--"Yes," she said. "Of course! But what shall
it be? Wait! when I say; '_The Philistines be upon thee_' spring upon
him."--"I understand, Mrs. Behrens!"

"Goodness gracious me!" thought the clergyman's wife. "I feel as if I
were quite a Delilah. Going to a _rendezvous_ at half past eight in the
evening! At my age too! Ah me, in my old age I'm going to do what I
should have been ashamed of when I was a girl."--Then aloud. "Bräsig
don't puff so loud anyone could hear you a mile off." Resuming her
soliloquy: "And all for the sake of a boy, a mischievous wretch of a
boy. Good gracious! If my pastor knew what I was about!"--Aloud. "What
are you laughing at, Bräsig? I forbid you to laugh, it's very silly of
you."--"I didn't laugh, Mrs. Behrens."--"Yes, you _did_, I heard you
distinctly."--"I only yawned, Mrs. Behrens, it's such frightfully slow
work lying here."--"You oughtn't to yawn at such a time. I'm trembling
all over.--Oh, you little wretch, what misery you have caused me! I
can't tell anyone what you've made me suffer, and must just bear it in
silence. It was God who sent Bräsig to my help."--Suddenly Bräsig
whispered in great excitement, his voice sounding like the distant cry
of a corn-crake: "Mrs. Behrens, draw yourself out till you're as long
as Lewerenz's child;[15] make yourself as thin as you possibly can, and
put on a pretty air of confusion, for I see him coming over the crest
of the hill. His figure stands out clearly against the sky."--Little
Mrs. Behrens felt as if her heart had stopped beating, and her anger
waxed hotter against the boy who had brought her into such a false
position. She was so much ashamed of herself for being where she was,
that she would most assuredly have run away if Bräsig had not laughed
again, but as soon as she heard that laugh, she determined to stay and
show him that he was engaged in a much more serious undertaking than he
seemed to imagine.--

It was quite true that Bräsig had laughed this time, for he saw a
second and then a third black figure following the first down the hill.
"Ha, ha, ha!" he chuckled in his hiding-place in the thorn-bush,
"there's Charles Hawermann too! I declare the whole overseeing force of
Pümpelhagen is coming down here to see how the peas are growing in
the dusk of evening. It's as good as a play!"--Mrs. Behrens did not see
the others, she only saw her sister's son who was coming rapidly
towards her. He hastened over the bridge, ran along the bank, sprang to
her side, and threw his arms round her neck, exclaiming: "Sweet
angel!"--"Oh you wicked little wretch!" cried his aunt trying to seize
him in the way Bräsig had desired her, but instead of that she only
caught hold of the collar of his coat. Then she called out as loudly as
she could: "The Philistines be upon thee!" and immediately Bräsig the
Philistine started to his feet.--Confound it! His foot had gone to
sleep!--But never mind! He hopped down the bank as quickly as he
could, taking into consideration that one leg felt as if it had a
hundred-and-eighty pound weight attached to the end of it, but just as
he was close upon his prey he tripped over a low thorn-bush and tumbled
right into the foot and a half of water.--And there he sat as immovably
as if he had gone back to the hydropathic establishment, and were in
the enjoyment of a sitz-bath! Fred stood as if he had been turned to
stone, and felt as though he were suffering from a douche-bath, for his
dear aunt was clutching him tightly and scolding him to her heart's
content: "The dragon has caught you now my boy! Yes, the dragon has
caught you!"--"And here comes the ass," shouted Bräsig picking himself
out of the water and running towards him. But Fred had now recovered
from his astonishment. He shook himself free from his aunt, and darting
up the bank would have escaped had he not at the same moment
encountered a new enemy--Frank. In another second Hawermann had joined
them, and Mrs. Behrens had scarcely recovered from the shock of seeing
him, when her pastor came up, and said: "What's the matter, Regina?
What does all this mean?"--The poor little lady's consternation was
indescribable, but Bräsig, from whose clothes the water was running in
streams, was too angry to hold his tongue, and exclaimed: "You
confounded rascal! You greyhound!" giving Fred a hearty dig in the ribs
as he spoke. "It's all your fault that I shall have another attack of
gout. But now, I'll tell you what, everyone shall know what a d--d
Jesuit you are. Hawermann, he ....."--"For God's sake," cried Mrs.
Behrens, "don't attend to a single word that Bräsig says. Hawermann,
Mr. von Rambow, the whole thing is ended and done with. It's all over
now, and what has still to be done or said can quite well be managed by
my pastor alone; it's a family matter and concerns no one but
ourselves. Isn't that the case, my dear Fred? It's merely a family
matter I assure you, and no one has anything to do with it but we
two. But now, come away, my boy, we'll tell my pastor all about it.
Good-night, Mr. von Rambow. Good-night, Hawermann, Fred will soon
follow you. Come away, Bräsig, you must go to bed at once."

And so she managed to disperse the assembly. The two who were left in
ignorance of what had happened, went home separately, shaking their
heads over the affair. Hawermann was indignant with his two young
people, and put out because he was to have no explanation of their
conduct. Frank was mistrustful of everyone; he had recognised Louisa's
hat and shawl in spite of the darkness, and thought that the mystery
must have something to do with her, though how, he was unable to
conjecture.

Fred was much cast down in spirit. The clergyman and his wife went on
in front of him, and the latter told her husband the whole story from
beginning to end, scolding her hopeful nephew roundly the whole time.
The procession moved on towards the parsonage, and as the evil-doer
guessed that a bad half-hour awaited him there, he had serious thoughts
of making his escape while it was possible, but Bräsig came as close up
to him as if he had known what he was thinking of, and that only made
him rage and chafe the more inwardly. When Bräsig asked Mrs. Behrens
who it was that had come up in the nick of time, and she had answered
that it was Frank, Triddelfitz stood still and shaking his fist in the
direction of Pümpelhagen, said fiercely: "I am betrayed, and _she_ will
be sold, sold to that man because of his rank and position!"--"Boy!"
cried Mrs. Behrens, "will you hold your tongue!"--"Hush, Regina," said
her husband, who had now a pretty good idea of what had taken place,
"now please go in and see that Bräsig's room is prepared, and get him
sent to bed as quickly as you can. I will remain here and speak to
Fred."

This was done. The parson appealed to Fred's common sense, but his
sense of injury far exceeded that other, and his spirit seethed and
boiled like wine in the process of fermentation. He put aside all the
clergyman's gentle arguments, and declared passionately that his own
aunt had determined to destroy the whole happiness of his life, and
that she cared more for the rich aristocrat than for her sister's son.

Within the house matters were going on in the same unsatisfactory
manner; uncle Bräsig refused to go to bed in spite of all Mrs. Behrens'
entreaties. "I can't," he said, "that is to say, I can, but I mustn't
do it; for I must go to Rexow. I had a letter from Mrs. Nüssler to say
that she wanted my help." The same yeast which had caused Fred to
seethe and boil over was working in him, but more quietly, because it
had been a part of his being for a longer time. At last, however, he
was persuaded to go to bed as a favour to Mrs. Behrens, and from fear
of bringing on an attack of gout by remaining in his wet things, but
his thoughts were as full of anxious affection for Mrs. Nüssler, as
Fred's were of love for Louisa when on leaving the parsonage he
exclaimed passionately: "Give her up, does he say! Give her up!--The
devil take that young sprig of the nobility!"



                             CHAPTER XIII.


Next day--it was Sunday morning--when Bräsig awoke, he gave himself a
comfortable stretch in the soft bed. "A luxury," he said to himself,
"that I've never before enjoyed, but I suppose one would soon get
accustomed to it." Just as he was about to get up the housemaid came
in, and taking possession of his clothes, placed a black coat,
waistcoat and pair of trousers over the back of a chair in their stead.

"Ho, ho!" he said with a laugh as he examined the black suit; "It's
Sunday, and this is a parsonage; but surely they never think that I'm
going to preach to-day!" He lifted one article of clothing after the
other curiously, and then said: "Ah! I see now, it's because mine were
wet through in the ditch last night, so they've given me a suit
belonging to his Reverence. All right then!--here goes." But it did not
go so easily after all! And as for comfort, that was totally out of the
question. The trousers were a very good length, but were frightfully
tight. The lower buttons of the waistcoat could neither be coaxed nor
forced into the button-holes, and when he put on the coat, there was an
ominous cracking somewhere between the shoulders. As for his arms, they
stood out from his body as if he were prepared to press the whole world
to his faithful heart on this particular Sunday.

After he was dressed he went down stairs, and joined Mrs. Behrens in
the parlour. As to his legs, he looked and walked very much as he had
done ever since he had received his pension; but as to the upper part
of his body! Mrs. Behrens burst out laughing when she saw him, and
immediately took refuge behind the breakfast table, for he advanced
with his arms outstretched as if he wished to make her the first
recipient of his world-embrace.--"Keep away from me, Bräsig!" she
laughed. "If I had ever imagined that my pastor's good clothes would
have looked so ridiculous on you I'd have let you remain in bed till
dinner-time, for your own things won't be washed and dried before
that."--"Oh, ho!" laughed Bräsig, "that was the reason you sent me
these things, was it? I thought perhaps you wanted to dress me up for
another _randyvoo_ to-day."--"Now, just listen to me, Bräsig!" said
little Mrs. Behrens, blushing furiously. "I forbid you to make such
jokes. And when you're going about in the neighbourhood--you have
nothing to do now except to carry gossip from one house to another--if
you ever tell any one about that wretched _rendezvous_ of last
night--I'll never speak to you again."--"Mrs. Behrens, you may trust me
not to do that," here he went nearer the clergyman's wife with both
arms outstretched, and she once more retreated behind the table.
"Indeed, you've nothing to fear. I'm not a Jesuit."--"No, Bräsig,
you're an old heathen, but you ar'n't a Jesuit But if you say anything
about it .... Oh me! Hawermann must be told, my pastor says so. But if
he asks about it, don't mention my name, please. Oh, dear! If the
Pomuchelskopps were ever to hear of it, I should be the most miserable
of women. God knows, Bräsig, that what I did, I did for the best,
and for the sake of that innocent child. I've sacrificed myself for
her."--"That's quite true," answered Bräsig with conviction, "and so
don't let fretting over it give you any grey hairs. Look here. If
Charles Hawermann asks me how you came to be there, I'll say--I'll
say--h'm!--I'll say that you had arranged a _randyvoo_ with
me."--"_You!_ Fie, for shame!"--"Nay, Mrs. Behrens, I don't see that.
Am I not as good as the young grey-hound any day? And don't our ages
suit better?" And as he spoke he looked as innocently surprised at her
displeasure as if he had proposed the best possible way out of the
difficulty. Mrs. Behrens looked at him dubiously, and then said,
folding her hands on her lap: "Bräsig, I'll trust to you to say nothing
you ought not to say. But Bräsig--dear Bräsig, do nothing absurd.
And .... and .... come and sit down, and drink a cup of coffee." She
took hold of his stiff arm and drew him to the table, much as a miller
draws the sails of a windmill when he wants to set it going.

"Thank you," said Bräsig. He managed to get hold of the handle of the
cup after a struggle, and lifted it as if he were a juggler and the cup
were at least a hundred pounds in weight, and as if he wanted to make
sure that all the audience saw it properly. Then he tried to sit down,
but the moment he bent his knees a horrible cracking noise was heard,
and he drew himself up again hastily--whether it was the chair or the
trousers that cracked he did not know. He therefore drank his coffee
standing, and said: it didn't matter, for he hadn't time to sit down,
he must go to Mrs. Nüssler at once because of her letter.--Mrs. Behrens
implored him to wait until his clothes were dry, but in vain; Mrs.
Nüssler's slightest wish was regarded by him as a command, and was
inscribed as such in the order-book of his conscience. So he set out
for Rexow along the Pümpelhagen road, the long tails of his clerical
garment floating behind him. His progress was as slow and difficult as
that of a young rook learning to fly.

As he passed Pümpelhagen, Hawermann saw him, and called him to stop,
adding: "Bless me, Zachariah, why are you dressed so oddly?"--"An
accident, nothing but an accident. You remember that I fell into the
muddy water in the ditch last night. But I haven't time to stop now, I
must go to your sister."--"My sister's business can wait better than
mine, Bräsig. I've noticed lately that a great many things are going on
behind my back, that I'm not wanted to know. It wouldn't have mattered
so much, but that I saw last night that both the parson and his wife
are better informed than I am, and that these good people want to hide
the true state of the case from me out of the kindness of their
hearts."--"You're right, Charles. It is out of kindness."--"Certainly,
Bräsig, and I am not mistrustful of them, but I can't help thinking
that it's something that concerns me very nearly, and that I ought to
know. What were you doing yesterday evening?"--"I, Charles? I was
just having a _randyvoo_ with Mrs. Behrens in the ditch."--"And the
parson?"--"We knew nothing of what brought him, Charles. He took us by
surprise when he came."--"What had Mr. von Rambow to do with it?"--"He
caught your grey-hound by the scruff of the neck, and perhaps threw me
into the water by accident."--"_What had Fred Triddelfitz to do with
it?_" asked Hawermann impressively, "and what had Louisa's hat and
shawl got to do with it?"--"Nothing more than that they didn't fit Mrs.
Behrens at all, for she's far too stout to wear them."--"Zachariah,"
said Hawermann, stretching his hand towards his friend over the low
hedge, "you are trying to put me off. _Won't_ you tell me what is the
matter, we are such old friends--or is it that you must not tell
me?"--"The devil take the _randyvoo_ and Mrs. Behrens' anxiety," cried
Bräsig, seizing Hawermann's hand and shaking it vehemently over the
hedge and amongst the tall nettles that grew there, till the smart of
the stings made them both draw back. "I'll tell you, Charles. The
parson's going to tell you himself, so why shouldn't I? Fred
Triddelfitz fell in love with you sometime ago, most likely because of
the good fatherly advice you have often given him, and now it seems his
love for you has passed on to your daughter. Love always passes on,
for example with me from your sister to Mina."--"Do be serious,
Bräsig!"--"Am I not always in earnest, Charles, when I speak of your
sister and Mina?"--"I am sure you are," cried Hawermann, seizing his
friend's hand again in spite of the nettles, "but, tell me, what had
Frank to do with it?"--"I think that he must have fallen in love with
you too, and that his love has also passed on from you to your
daughter."--"That would be a great pity," cried Hawermann, "a very
great pity. God only knows how it's to be stopped."--"I'm not so sure,
Charles, that you're right in thinking it a misfortune, for he has two
estates ...."--"Don't talk about that Bräsig, but come in and tell me
all that you know."

As soon as Bräsig had told as much as he knew of the affair, he set off
down the foot-path that led to Rexow. Hawermann stood and watched him
till he was out of sight, and then said to himself; "He's a good man,
his heart's in the right place, and if I find that it is so, I will
.... but .... but ....!"--He was not thinking of Bräsig when he said
this, but of Frank.----

On this Sunday morning young Joseph was sitting in his easy chair
beside the parlour-fire waiting to be called to breakfast. Lina and
Mina had spread the cloth and arranged dishes of ham, sausages, bread,
and butter neatly on the table, and now that everything else was ready,
Mrs. Nüssler came in carrying a skillet with hot buttered eggs: "Come
along, Joseph," she said, "don't let the eggs get cold," and then she
left the room again to see that all was going on rightly outside.

The eggs were still bubbling and sputtering in the skillet--but young
Joseph did not move. Whether it was because he had not yet finished his
pipe, and felt that he ought not to be deprived of his customary smoke
before breakfast, or whether it was because he had fallen into a brown
study over the two letters which were lying open on his knee, cannot be
known with any certainty. But whatever the cause may have been he did
not move, and kept staring straight before him at one particular spot
under the stove. And on that spot at which he was staring lay young
Bolster, who was staring back at him. Young Bolster was the last
descendant of the Bolster family, and had been born and brought up in,
the house since old Joseph's time; When he was spoken to he was called
"Bolster," but he was always spoken of as the "crown-prince," not for
his own sake, no, but for Joseph's sake, for this was the only joke--if
indeed it might be called one--that he had been able to make on the dog
after long consideration.

So, as I have just said, the two young people, young Joseph and young
Bolster, stared hard at each other. They were both plunged in deep
thought, the one about the letters, and the other about the savoury
smell of the eggs in the skillet. Joseph never moved a hair's breadth;
but the crown-prince sometimes rubbed his paw gently over his
thoughtful face, and raising his pointed nose in the air, refreshed
himself with a sniff at the good things on the table. At last he crept
out from under the stove, put on a look of polite entreaty, and tried
to attract Joseph's attention by wagging his tail. But young Joseph
never moved a muscle, and young Bolster saw that he was not conscious
of his presence, so he advanced to the table, looking round slyly out
of the corner of his eye as he did so; but more from fear of Mrs.
Nüssler's coming than of young Joseph's seeing what he was about. He
then rested his head on the breakfast-table, and indulged in the
pleasures of hope, like a great many other young people. But though
hope is all very well for a time, every one likes his hope to be
realized after having shown a proper amount of patience. The
crown-prince, therefore, placed his feet--only his forefeet--on the
chair, and so got a little nearer the object of his desire. His nose
touched the plate on which the rosy slices of ham were lying.--Ah!
young people!--And then he snatched a bit as quickly as we used to
steal a kiss from sweet red lips when we were young.

"Bolster!" cried young Joseph as reproachfully as a mother could have
done when she saw her daughter kissed so unceremoniously. But still he
did not move, and Bolster--either because he thought he had a right to
kiss all the sweet red lips in his kingdom, or because he had grown a
hardened offender--looked at him impudently, wiped his mouth, and
licked his lips for more. Joseph stared at him without moving, and in
another moment Bolster was standing on the chair, this time with
his hind legs also, and had set to work to finish the dish of
sausages.--"Bolster!" cried young Joseph. "Mina, Bolster's eating
up the sausages!" but still he did not move.--The crown-prince
moved, however; as soon as he had finished the plate of sausages
he went to the principal dish, the skillet containing the buttered
eggs.--"Mother, mother!" cried young Joseph, "he's eating up all the
eggs now!"--Meantime young Bolster had burnt his nose in the hot
skillet; he started back, and in so doing upset the skillet, and
knocked the bottle of kümmel over with his tail. The whole table shook,
but still young Joseph did not move. He contented himself with
shouting: "Mother! Mother! That beast of a dog is eating up all the
eggs!"

"What are you bellowing at in your own house, young Joseph?" cried a
voice at the door, and then some one came in who frightened Joseph
considerably. He was so much startled that he let his pipe fall out of
his mouth, raised both his hands, and exclaimed: "All good spirits
praise God, the Lord!--Is that you reverend Sir, or is it you, Bräsig?"

Yes, it was Bräsig, or at least it was very like him, as Joseph would
have seen if he had had time to look. But he had not time, for the
new-comer had caught Bolster in the very act of pilfering, and was now
rushing about the room, looking in every corner for a stick with which
to chastise the delinquent, his long black coat tails streamed behind
him as he ran, and his angry red face showed between the high collar of
his black coat, and his tall black hat which had fallen half over his
eyes with the violence of his exertions. He looked for all the world
like one of those terrible bogies with which nurses frighten naughty
children. Young Joseph was no longer a child, but he was really
alarmed; he started up from his chair, and holding on to the back of it
tightly, kept shouting: "Reverend Sir!--Bräsig!--Bräsig!--Reverend
Sir!"--But the crown-prince was still very young and so he was
frightened out of his wits. The door was shut so that he could not make
his escape that way. He rushed wildly round the room, till at last,
springing at the window, he dashed right through it into the road,
carrying a great part of it along with him.

The noise was enough to waken the dead, so why did Mrs. Nüssler not
come in from the kitchen? She did not appear till Bräsig shoving his
hat out of his eyes with one hand, and pointing at the broken window
with the other, said: "It's all your fault, young Joseph! That poor
creature the crown-prince didn't know that he was doing any harm. All
the good kümmel spilt!"--"Good gracious!" cried Mrs. Nüssler, letting
her hands fall limply by her side. "What's the meaning of all this,
Joseph? Law, Bräsig! How very odd you do look to be sure!"--"Mother,"
said young Joseph, "the dog and Bräsig ..... What could I do?"--"For
shame, young Joseph," cried Bräsig, beginning to walk up and down the
room, the long tails of his coat almost sweeping the pool of kümmel as
he passed it, "Who is master in this house? Is it you or young
Bolster?"--"But, Bräsig, whatever induced you to make such a guy of
yourself?" asked Mrs. Nüssler.--"Ah!" replied Bräsig, looking at her
reproachfully, "what was to be done? I fell into the water yesterday
evening during a _randyvoo_ with Mrs. Behrens, and my clothes were
still too wet to put on this morning. And then the letter I got from
you yesterday telling me that you wanted to consult me about family
matters! How else could I have come?--And is it _my_ fault that the
parson is as long as Lewerenz's child, as thin as a mere slip of a
girl, and has a larger head than I happen to have got? Why did Mrs.
Behrens lend me her husband's clothes, and why did all the stupid
labourers, who saw me in the distance on the path leading to Gürlitz
church, call out: 'Good-morning, reverend Sir' when I was coming here
in the kindness of my heart to help you out of your family
difficulties?"--"Bräsig," said young Joseph, "I swear ....."--"Swear
not at all, young Joseph, for you will go to the bad place if you do.
Do you call it a family council when the kümmel is lying in a pool on
the floor, and I have to go about in the parson's clothes?"--"Bräsig,
Bräsig," said Mrs. Nüssler, who hardly recognised the friend of her
youth in the angry little man, and who had been busily engaged in
picking up the bits of broken glass, and straightening the table-cloth,
&c., "that's a small matter. See now, I've got everything neat and tidy
again."--Bräsig could not keep up his anger when Mrs. Nüssler spoke so
kindly to him, so he merely growled out in a low voice: "Hang it, young
Joseph, I used to hope that you'd grow wiser in time and cease to need
leading strings, but what's bred in the bone comes out in the blood!
Well now, tell me what's the matter?"

"Yes," said Mrs. Nüssler ...... "Yes," said young Joseph, and his wife
stopped thinking that Joseph was really going to explain, but he only
added: "It all depends upon circumstances!" So she went on: "You know
that Godfrey Baldrian, who is Joseph's nephew, is a very religious
young man and has been working hard preparing to become candidate for a
living--but you must often have seen him here?"--"Yes," said Bräsig
with a nod, "he's a very good young man, a sort of Methodist, and wears
his hair combed straight down behind his ears to make him look like the
pictures of our Lord. He tried to convert me once when he saw me going
out to fish on a Sunday morning."--"That's the very man I mean. Well,
he hasn't quite finished with the university yet, and his father, the
school-master, wants us to let him come here for a time that he may
study without interruption. And we wanted to ask you whether we ought
to consent to this arrangement."--"Why not? Methodists are quiet,
well-behaved people who only care about the conversion of others, and
you, Mrs. Nüssler, will provide them with an object, and young Joseph
is--thank God!--not to be converted by me and young Bolster."--"That's
all very well, Bräsig, but the thick end of the wedge is coming. You
see that Rudolph Kurz, another nephew of Joseph's, is also studying for
Holy Orders, and we have had a letter from his father to say that as he
understands that Godfrey is going to lodge with us for a time, he would
like us to take his son too. Now Rudolph has been amusing himself in
Rostock instead of working, and his father thinks he'll be able to read
better in a quiet place like this. But I just ask you how that's
possible? If he didn't learn in Rostock where he had all sorts of
learned professors to help him, do you think that he'll do any better
when there's only Joseph and me?"--"I know him too," answered Bräsig,
"he's a very nice young fellow. Before he went to the university he
caught me half-a-dozen perch in the black pool, the smallest of which
weighed a pound and a half."--"Yes, of course, you know him. It was he
who brought Mina safely down to us, when she was a silly little thing
of six years old and had climbed up the ladder to the roof to see the
stork's nest. I remember yet how she stood up there clapping her hands
with glee while we stood below in an agony of fright. He could do that
sort of thing quite well, but as for book learning, he never took
kindly to that! Rector Baldrian tells me that he has been fighting a
great deal in Rostock. Only fancy they fought with swords, and he,
Rudolph, was one of them. The duels were about the daughter of a rich
merchant at Rostock."--"Do you really mean to tell me that!" cried
Bräsig. "Bless me! So they really fought a duel for the sake of a
merchant's pretty daughter! Ah, young Joseph, women are the cause of
all the mischief that goes on in the world."--"Yes, Bräsig, that's
quite true; but what's to be done now?"--"I don't see much difficulty
in answering," replied Bräsig. "If you don't want the two young
divinity students, write and say so; but if you want them, write and
tell them to come. You've plenty of room for them, and can easily
provide them with enough to eat and drink. As for their books, you'll
have to look out a place for them to be stowed; and I should think
they'd have a great number. If you are only going to take one of the
young men, I advise you to choose the fighter, for I'd much rather be
fought with than converted."--"That's all very fine, Bräsig, but you
see we have consented to take Godfrey Baldrian, and the Kurzes would be
angry if we were to refuse to receive their son."--"Very well then,
take them both."--"But, Bräsig, the two little girls .... they've just
been confirmed .... Come, Joseph, speak."--And Joseph began: "It all
depends upon circumstances. Look here, Bräsig, Mina was--as you
know--brought up to be a governess, and my old mother always used to
say that it never did to have a governess and a divinity student in the
same house."--"Ha, ha! Young Joseph! I understand you now. You mean
that they'd fall in love. Pooh! nonsense! Little round-head in
love!"--"Nay, Bräsig, don't think it such a ridiculous idea!--I am
their mother and so I ought to know. I wasn't as old as the twins when
...."--Mrs. Nüssler stopped abruptly for Bräsig's face grew very long,
and he looked at her enquiringly.--Fortunately Joseph came to the
rescue by saying: "Give Bräsig something to drink, mother. Bräsig, you
see it might quite well happen, and what are we as their parents to
do?"--"Let them alone, young Joseph! Why does God send young folks into
the world, if He doesn't intend them to love each other? But the little
round-heads!"--"It's easy for you to talk, Bräsig," said Mrs. Nüssler
quickly, "but you shouldn't speak of a serious matter so lightly. Hatch
a common looking egg and perhaps a basilisk creeps out!"--"Let it!"
cried Bräsig.--"Let it, do you say?" exclaimed Mrs. Nüssler, "then I
don't agree with you. Joseph isn't of a nature to be anxious about
anything. He wouldn't care if all the maids in the house were to fall
in love, throw up their places and marry; while I--good gracious!--I
have my hands full in trying to keep everything straight, and in
holding my eyes open to see what they want to hide from me, for I know
that a good deal goes on behind my back that ought not to be."--"But
why not consult me?" asked Bräsig.--"_You_," said Mrs. Nüssler smiling,
"you don't understand that kind of thing."--"What!" cried Bräsig. "_I_
not understand, and yet I was once engaged to three women ...."--He got
no further, for Mrs. Nüssler's face lengthened as much as his own had
done a short time before, and she looked at him so enquiringly, that he
swallowed his glass of kümmel at a single gulp to hide his
embarrassment--"It's a silly affair altogether," he said after a pause,
"and it's all young Joseph's fault."--"Mine, Bräsig! What had I to do
with it?"--"What? I'll tell you. You let the crown-prince eat up your
breakfast before your very eyes; you allow two divinity students to
come and live in your house, and then you don't know how to get out of
the scrape you've got yourself into. I--I give in--about the little
round-heads, and the devil take the students! I'll watch the duellist;
do you keep your eye on the Methodist, for he's the worst of the
two."--"That's all that can be done," said Mrs. Nüssler, getting up
from her chair.

The two divinity students took possession of their new quarters at
Michaelmas, and at the same time Frank went to the agricultural college
at Eldena. As Frank walked down the path outside the parsonage garden
for the last time, a lovely face peeped through the hedge at him, from
the same place where Fred had disposed of the bread and beer.

When Louisa went into the parlour that evening, Mrs. Behrens took the
tall handsome girl upon her knee, kissed her, and pressed her to her
heart.--Women never can let well alone!



                               FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: _Translator's note_. Stemhagen, properly Stavenhagen,
Reuter's birth-place.]

[Footnote 2: _Translator's note_. The feudal-system was kept up longer
in Mecklenburg than elsewhere, the peasantry belonged to the estate,
and always continued to work on it. A Mecklenburg squire often beat his
labourers when he was angry with them.]

[Footnote 3: _Translator's note_. In Mecklenburg the cows are always
milked in the fields.]

[Footnote 4: _Translator's note_. The Kammer is the chief government
office in Mecklenburg, and Mr. von Rambow was a member of it.]

[Footnote 5: A mortgage or lien.]

[Footnote 6: _Translator's note_. "ing" is used instead of "chen" as a
diminutive in Mecklenburg.]

[Footnote 7: _Translator's note_. I have changed Thou and You into
Christian name, &c., as it sounds better in English.]

[Footnote 8: _Translator's note_. Daring the spring cleaning.]

[Footnote 9: _Translator's note_. "It is the custom in Scandinavia, as
with us, for friends to exchange presents, good wishes, and visits on
Christmas-day and New-year's-day..... If 'St. Nicholas' in the Rhenish
Provinces, 'Knecht Ruprecht' in Northern and Central Germany announce
the arrival of these holidays to children, whom they reward or punish
according to circumstances, the 'Julklapp,' takes their place in
Pomerania, bestows welcome gifts, and recalls the memory of the highest
god of our forefathers." From "Unsere Vorzeit" by Dr. W. Wagner, vol.
I. part II. page 138.]

[Footnote 10: _Translator's note_. Knecht Ruprecht.]

[Footnote 11: _Translator's note_. Bad Stuer. Stuer belongs to the von
Flotow family, one of the oldest families in Mecklenburg, and the
hydropathic establishment was put up by Rausse who has written a number
of well known books on hydropathy. J. Duboc's "Auf Reuter'schem
Boden."]

[Footnote 12:  _Translator's note_. "Quey," Scotch for heifer, used
here because it was the only word of that meaning into which "fée"
could be changed. Caroline makes "kleine Fée"--"lütt Veih."]

[Footnote 13: _Translator's note_. This story is founded on fact, and
during Reuter's last visit to Stuer (from the 13th of December 1868
till the 29th of January 1869) he discovered to his great amusement
that he had been given the very room in which the director of the
establishment told him the hero of the tale had been attacked by a
neighbour's bees while he was lying helpless in the "packing" sheets.
Sec Duboc's "Auf Reuter'schem Boden" in Westermann's "Monats-Hefte."]

[Footnote 14: _Translator's note_. A yellow flower.]

[Footnote 15: _Translator's note_. A common saying in Mecklenburg, the
origin of which is unknown.]



                             END OF VOL. I.



                   GERMAN AUTHORS TAUCHNITZ EDITION.

On the Heights by _B. Auerbach_. Translated by F. E. Bunnett. 3 vols.

In the Year '13 by _Fritz Reuter_. Translated from the Platt-Deutsch by
Charles Lee Lewes, 1 vol.

Faust by _Goethe_. From the German by John Anster, LL. D. 1 vol.

Undine, Sintram and other Tales by _Fouqué_. Translated by F. E.
Bunnett. 1 vol.

L'Arrabiata and other Tales by _Paul Heyse_. From the German by Mary
Wilson, 1 vol.

The Princess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and other Tales by _H.
Zschokke_. From the German by M. A. Faber. 1 vol.

Nathan the Wise and Emilia Galotti by _G. E. Lessing_. The former
translated by W. Taylor, the latter by Charles Lee Lewes, 1 vol.

Behind the Counter [Handel und Wandel] by _F. W. Hackländer_. From the
German by M. Howitt. 1 vol.

Three Tales by _W. Hauff_. From the German by M. A. Faber. 1 vol.

Joachim von Kamern and Diary of a poor young Lady by _Maria Nathusius_.
From the German by Miss Thompson. 1 vol.

Poems from the German of _F. Freiligrath_. 1 vol.

Gabriel, a Story of the Jews in Prague by _S. Kohn_. From the German by
Arthur Milman, M.A. 1 vol.

The Dead Lake and other Tales by _Paul Heyse_. From the German by Mary
Wilson, 1 vol.

Through Night to Light by _Karl Gutzkow_. From the German by M. A.
Faber. 1 vol.

An Egyptian Princess by _G. Ebers_, Translated by E. Grove. 2 vols.

Flower, Fruit and Thorn Pieces by _Jean Paul Friederich Richter_. From
the German by Noel. 2 vols.

Ekkehard, a Tale of the tenth Century by _J. V. Scheffel_. Transl. from
the German by S. Delffs. 2 v.

The Princess of the Moor [Das Haideprincesschen] by _E. Marlitt_. 2
vols.

Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship by _Goethe_. From the German by
Eleanor Grove. 2 vols.

Barbarossa and other Tales by _Paul Heyse_. 1 vol.

Prince Bismarck. By _W. Görlach_. From the German by Miss M. E. v.
Glehn. With Portrait. 1 vol.

The Vulture Maiden [Die Geier-Wally] by _W. v. Hillern_. From the
German by C. Bell & F. Poynter. 1 v.

Uarda. A Romance of ancient Egypt by _Georg Ebers_. 2 vols.

Homo Sum. A Novel by _G. Ebers_. From the German by C. Bell. 2 vols.

An old Story of my Farming Days [Ut Mine Stromtid] by _Fritz Reuter_.
From the German by M. W. Macdowall. 3 vols.

The Hour will come by _W. v. Hillern_. From the German by C. Bell. 2
vols.

The Sisters. A Romance by _G. Ebers_. From the German by C. Bell. 2
vols.

Brigitta. A Tale by _B. Auerbach_. From the German by C. Bell, 1 vol.

Spinoza. A Novel by _B. Auerbach_. Translated by E. Nicholson. 2 vols.

Klytia. A Story of Heidelberg Castle by _George Taylor_. From the
German by Sutton Eraser Corkran. 2 v.

Stella by _Fanny Lewald_. From the German by B. Marshall. 2 vols.

Joshua by _Georg Ebers_. From the German by C. & M. Bell. 2 vols.

Per Aspera by _Georg Ebers_. From the German by C. Bell. 2 vols.

       _Any volume may be had separately, price M 1,60 stitched_.

                           *   *   *   *   *

                      BERNHARD TAUCHNITZ, LEIPZIG,
                      AND SOLD BY ALL BOOKSELLERS.





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