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

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


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

Title: An Old Story of My Farming Days Vol. II (of III). - (Ut Mine Stromtid)
Author: Reuter, Fritz, 1810-1874
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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

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



Transcriber's Note:
   1. Page scan source:
      http://www.archive.org/details/anoldstorymyfar00reutgoog

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

   3. Greek text is transliterated and bracketed [Greek: ].



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



                               COLLECTION

                                   OF

                             GERMAN AUTHORS


                           TAUCHNITZ EDITION.


                           *   *   *   *   *


                                VOL. 35.

                    AN OLD STORY OF MY FARMING DAYS.

                            By FRITZ REUTER.

                       IN THREE VOLUMES.--VOL. 2.



                      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. 35.


                           *   *   *   *   *


                              AN OLD STORY
                  OF MY FARMING DAYS BY FRITZ REUTER.


                           IN THREE VOLUMES.
                                VOL. II.



                              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. II.


                         _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.



                              AN OLD STORY

                           UT MINE STROMTID.



                               CHAPTER I.


On the 23rd of June 1843, the eldest son of David Däsel and the
youngest daughter of John Degel were seated on a bench in the
pleasure-grounds at Pümpelhagen. They had gone out to enjoy the beauty
of the moonlight evening together. Sophia Degel said to her companion:
"What made you look so foolish, Kit, when you came back from taking the
horses over to meet the squire?"--"It was no wonder if I looked a
little foolish. He took me into the sitting-room at the Inn and showed
me his wife, and, says he, 'this is your new mistress.' Then she gave
me a glass of wine, and made me drink it at once"--"What's she like?"
asked the girl.--"Why," said Christian, "it's rather difficult to
describe her. She's about your height; her hair is bright and fair like
yours, and her colouring is red and white like yours. She has grey eyes
like you, and she has just such another sweet little mouth."--Here he
gave Sophia a hearty kiss on her pretty red lips.--"Lawk a daisy!
Christian!" cried the girl, freeing herself from his embrace, "I
suppose then that you gave her just such another kiss as you've given
me?"--"Are you crazy?" asked Christian, and then went on soothingly.
"No, that would have been impossible. That! sort have something about
them that doesn't go with our sort. The lady might have sat here on the
bench beside me till doom's day, and I'd never have thought of giving
her a kiss."--"I see!" said Sophia Degel, rising and tossing her pretty
head; "you think that _I_'m good enough for that sort of thing! Do
you?"--"Sophia," said Christian, putting his arm round her waist again,
in spite of her pretended resistance, "that kind of woman is far too
small and weakly for us to admire; why if I wanted to put my arm round
a creature like that--as I'm doing to you just now, Sophia--I'd be
frightened of breaking or crushing her. Nay," he continued, stroking
her hair, and beginning to walk home with her, "like mates with
like."--When they parted Sophia was quite friends with Christian again.
"I shall see the lady in the morning," she said, as she slipped away
from his detaining arm, "the girls are all going to make wreaths of
flowers to-morrow, and I'm going to help."

Every one at Pümpelhagen was busy weaving garlands, and setting up a
triumphal arch across the avenue. Next morning Hawermann saw the last
touches put to the arch, to which Mary Möller added a bunch of flowers
here, and a bit of green there, as it seemed to be required, and Fred
Triddelfitz fluttered about amongst the village-lads and lasses
as a sort of volunteer-assistant, in all the grandeur of his green
hunting-coat, white leather breeches, long boots with yellow tops, and
blood-red neck-tie. While they were employed in this manner, uncle
Bräsig joined them in his very best suit of clothes. He wore pale blue
summer-trousers, and a brown coat which he must have bought in the year
one. It was a very good fit at the back, and was so long in the tails
that it nearly reached the middle of his calf, but it showed rather too
great an expanse of yellow piqué waistcoat in front. As the coat was
the same colour as the bark of a tree, he might be likened to a tree
that had been struck by lightning, and which showed a broad stripe of
yellow wood in front where the bark had been torn away. He also wore a
black hat about three quarters of a yard high. "Good morning, Charles.
How are you getting on? Aha! I see that the erection is nearly
finished. It looks very nice, Charles--but still, I think that the arch
might have been a little bit higher, and you might have had a couple of
towers, one on the right hand and the other on the left. I once saw
that done at Güstrow in the time of old Frederic Francis, when he came
back in triumph! But where's the banner?"--"There's none," said
Hawermann, "we hav'n't one."--"Do try to remember where we can get one,
Charles. You can't possibly do without a flag of some kind. The
lieutenant was in the army, and so he must have a flag flying in his
honour. Möller," he called without turning round, "just fetch me two
servant's sheets and sew them together lengthwise; Christian Päsel,
bring me a smooth straight pole, and you, Triddelfitz, get me the brush
you use for marking the sacks, and a bottle of ink."--"Bless me!
Zachariah. What on earth are you going to do?" asked Hawermann, shaking
his head.--"Charles," said Bräsig, "it's a great mercy that the
lieutenant was in the Prussian army, for if he had been in a
Mecklenburg regiment we should never have managed to get the right
colours. Now it's quite easy to rig up a Prussian flag. Black ink and
white sheets! we want nothing more."--Hawermann at first thought of
dissuading his friend from making the flag, but on second thoughts he
let him go on unchecked, for, thought he, the young squire will see
that he meant it kindly.

So Bräsig set to work, and painted a great "vivat!!!" on the sheets.
"Hold tight!" he shouted to Mary Möller and Fred Triddelfitz who were
helping him, "I want to get 'Lieutenant and Mrs. Lieutenant' properly
written on the banner."--He had decided, after much thought, on putting
"Lieutenant and Mrs. Lieutenant" after the "vivat", instead of "A. von
Rambow and F. von Satrop" as he had at first intended, for von Rambow
and von Satrop are merely the names of two noble families, and he had
all his life had a great deal to do with people of that kind, while he
had never yet known a lieutenant, and therefore thought the title a
very distinguished one.

When the flag was finished he trotted across the court with it, and
stuck it up on the highest step of the manor-house, and then hastened
down stairs again to see how it looked from below. After that, he tried
hanging it out at the granary-window, and again from the loft above the
stable where the sheep were wintered; but none of these places met with
his approval. "It won't do at all, Charles," he said at last; but after
a long pause he added: "I have it now!" and pointing at the arch he
continued, "That's the very place for it."--"Ah, but," said Hawermann,
"don't you see that if you put it there, it'll hide our arch
completely. The great poplar over there prevents any wind getting at
your banner, and so it's hanging to the pole like an immense icicle
that hasn't melted since last winter."--"I'll soon put that right,
Charles," cried Bräsig, pulling a quantity of twine out of his pocket,
and tying one bit to the upper and another bit to the lower end of his
banner. "Gustavus Kegel," he called to the boy who fed the pigs, "are
you a good climber?"--"Yes, Sir," answered Gustavus.--"Very well then,
my dear pig's Marcary," said Bräsig, laughing heartily at his own joke,
and all the grooms, and farm-lads, and lasses laughed because he did,
"take the ends of these strings, climb the poplar with them, and then
draw tight."--Gustavus did as he was desired, and drew the banner as
tight and firm as if he had been setting a main-sail in preparation for
Pümpelhagen leaving her moorings and sailing away. Bräsig meanwhile
stood by the pole or mast like a captain during a sea-fight, and looked
as if he were commanding the whole ship's company: "He may come now as
soon as he likes, Charles. I'm quite ready for him."

But Fred Triddelfitz was not ready yet, for he had constituted himself
commander-in-chief of the land-forces, and wanted to arrange his army
in two lines, one on each side of the road. The first of these lines
was formed of the old labourers, the grooms, and the farm-lads. The
other of the married women, the maid-servants, and the girls who worked
on the farm. After a good deal of trouble he partially succeeded in
arranging the men to his mind; but it was otherwise with the women; he
could not manage them at all. The married women were each armed with
one of their little olive-branches, for, as they said, Josy and Harry
ought to see all that was going on at such a time; but unfortunately
the said olive-branches required so much dancing and talking to, to
keep them quiet, that it spoilt the look of the whole line. The
maid-servants refused to acknowledge Fred's authority, and Sophia Degel
even went so far as to say that he had better not attempt to order
_her_ about, for she would obey no one but Mamselle Möller.[1] As for
the light infantry of farm-girls, they were never in the same spot for
two minutes at a time! There was no managing them, for they seemed to
be under the impression that the enemy was in sight, and that it was
their bounden duty to take some dapper young foe prisoner on the spot.
Fred Triddelfitz struck the crook-stick he had intended to use as his
marshal's baton on the ground before them, and said that they were not
worth all the trouble he was taking with them. He then went to
Hawermann and told him: He would have nothing more to do with it, and
as the bailiff did not entreat him to persevere, he asked if he might
have the use of his horse to ride out, and see whether the young squire
and his wife were coming. Hawermann was rather unwilling to allow him
to do so, out of regard for his old horse, but Bräsig whispered: "Let
him go, Charles, for our preparations will have a much more imposing
effect when we get rid of the grey-hound."

Fred rode off towards Gürlitz; but no sooner was he gone than Bräsig
had a new cause of displeasure in the conduct of Strull, the
schoolmaster, who now came up followed by all the youthful descendants
of the Äsels and Egels who were of an age to go to school, each with
his or her hymn-book open. The order which Fred had vainly endeavoured
to introduce amongst his forces was effected in a moment with the
new-comers, for Master Strull was always accustomed to maintain
discipline amongst his scholars. He divided his followers into two
parties; one of which was formed of Äsels, for he could count on their
singing properly, and the other was composed of Egels, who--as he knew
by sad experience--had very peculiar ideas regarding time and tune.

"Bless me, Charles! What does this mean?" asked Bräsig when he saw the
schoolmaster arrive on the scene of action.--"Why, Bräsig, Master
Strull wants to pay his respects to the squire along with the rest of
us, and I don't see any reason why the school-children shouldn't sing
what he has taught them as well as they can."--"Much too 'clesiastical
for the lieutenant, much too 'clesiastical! Do you happen to have a
drum or a trumpet about the place?"--"No," laughed Hawermann, "we
hav'n't any instruments of that kind."--"I'm very sorry to hear it,"
said Bräsig.--"But stop! Christian Däsel come and hold the flag-staff
for me, will you? It's all right, Charles," he added as he went away.
But if Hawermann had known what he was going to do, he would have made
him give up his plan. Bräsig signed to the night-watchman David Däsel
to come and speak to him apart, and then asked him if he had brought
his instrument with him. David thought for a moment in silence; at last
he said: "Here!" and held up the stick which he like all the other
workmen had brought by Fred Triddelfitz's orders that they might be
waved in honour of the lieutenant. "You stupid old dunder-head!" cried
Bräsig impatiently, "I mean your musical-instrument."--"Do you mean my
horn? It's at home."--"Can you blow a tune upon it?"--Yes, David said,
he could blow _one_.--"No man can do more than he is able!" said
Bräsig. "Now go and get your horn and come behind the cattle-shed, and
let me hear what it's like."

When they were alone in the meeting place appointed by Bräsig, David
put the horn to his lips and blew as loud as if he wanted to announce
that the cattle-shed was on fire: "The Prussians have taken Paris,"
&c., for he was very musical. "_Stop!_" cried Bräsig, "you must blow
gently just now, for I want to surprise Hawermann; but when the
lieutenant comes you may do it as loud as ever you like. Now, listen.
When the schoolmaster has got through all his 'clesiastical nonsense,
keep your eye on me, and when you see me wave the flag-staff three
times, be sure you blaze away."--"Very well, Sir; but we must see first
of all that the old watch-dog is safely on the chain, for he and I are
not quite friends just now, and if he sees me with the horn he'll be
sure to fly upon me."--"I'll see to that," said Bräsig, and then he
went back with Däsel to join the others near the triumphal arch, and
when he got there, he resumed his former place as supporter of the
flag-staff. They were just in time to see Fred Triddelfitz riding up
the hill as fast as the old horse could go, when he was near enough for
his voice to be heard, he called out: "They're coming, they're coming!
They're at Gürlitz now."

Yes, they were coming. Alick von Rambow and his fair young wife were
driving slowly towards their home on that lovely summer-morning. They
were in an open carriage, and Alick pointed beyond Gürlitz to the wide
green meadows bathed in sunshine and to the shady woods of Pümpelhagen,
and said: "Look, dearest Frida, there it is; that is our home."--These
words were few and simple, but they did as well as any others to
express the pride and happiness he felt in being able to provide such a
beautiful home for his young wife, and she understood his meaning
perfectly, and rejoiced in feeling how much he loved her.--She was of a
calm gentle nature, and might be likened to a quiet brook flowing
peacefully by the hill-side and through a cool shady wood far removed
from the busy high-way; but now the bright sunshine had found out its
secret course, and shone down upon it, lighting up the flowers and
grasses on its banks, and showing the brilliant colouring of the
pebbles lying under its still waters like treasures before undreamed
of. And so the little brook flowed on, making a sweeter and merrier
music than before it had been wakened to new life by the magic wand of
the sun.

Her appearance was much as Christian Däsel had described it, but he had
not seen her cheeks flush with pleasant excitement as they were now
doing, while she looked in the direction in which Alick was pointing;
nor had he seen her grey eyes swimming with happy tears as she turned
them on her husband.

"Ah!" she exclaimed, slipping her hand into Alick's: "How beautiful it
is! I never saw such a rich land! Just look at those corn-fields over
there!"--"Yes," said Alick, who was much pleased with her delight, "the
soil here is a great deal richer than in your province." It was a pity
that he did not stop there, but she had alluded to his pet hobby,
farming, so he went on: "But there is much room for improvement in our
farming operations; sufficient intelligence has never yet been brought
to bear on the subject, and so we don't make half as much out of the
land as we might. Look there at that wheat-field on the other side of
the hill! It is part of the Pümpelhagen estate, and I hope, in a couple
of years' time, to have a crop of plants of great mercantile value in
that field, and then you'll see that it will bring me in three times as
much money as it does now."--Then he launched forth on the commercial
value of flax, hops, oil producing plants, carraway and anise-seed,
with which, in alternate years, he, as a good farmer, would sow clover
and esparcet, "to keep his cattle in good condition, and to make
manure." After that he went on to explain what plants were used for
dyes, and told his wife that red was extracted from the madder, blue
from woad and yellow from weld, and said that he was certain to get a
good price for crops of that kind. Just as he had reached this point
and was riding his hobby much to his own satisfaction, he was startled
by a horse passing the carriage at full gallop. It was Fred Triddelfitz
who appeared in all the brilliance of a rainbow, and disappeared with
the velocity of a falling star.

"What was that?" cried Frida, and Alick shouted: "Heigh! Heigh!" But
Fred took no notice, for he had to bring the news to the people at the
triumphal arch, and had only time as he galloped past Gürlitz manor to
call out to Pomuchelskopp whom he saw standing at the gate, that they
were coming, and would be at the village in five minutes.--"Come, Mally
and Sally, it's high time for you to come!" shouted Pomuchelskopp over
the garden-hedge, and Mally and Sally threw the bit of worsted work
they were doing; down amongst the nettles beside the arbour, put on
their Leghorn hats, and took their stand one on each side of their
father. Then father Pomuchelskopp said to them: "Don't look round,
girls, whatever you do, for we must seem as if we had come out for no
other reason than to have a walk this beautiful morning."

But he was doomed to meet with disappointment.--The Pümpelhagen
carriage was driving slowly through the village, when Mrs. von Rambow
suddenly asked her husband: "Who is that lovely girl who bowed to us
just now?" He answered that it was Louisa Hawermann, his bailiff's only
daughter, and that the house beside which she was standing was the
parsonage. Meanwhile Muchel and his two daughters were going out at
their gate as if for a walk, when as ill-luck would have it, our old
friend Henny was driven by the demon of housekeeping to go out and feed
the chickens. She had on a white cotton cap trimmed with frills round
the face, and the inevitable black merino gown which she still
considered good enough for morning wear. When she saw Pomuchelskopp and
the two girls passing out at the gate, she was very angry with her
husband for going without her, and so she rubbed the chickens food off
her hands on the old black skirt, and followed them. Her stiff
unbending figure clothed in white and black looked exactly like a
tombstone going out for a walk.

"Muchel!" she called after her husband.--"Don't look round," said
Muchel, "our being here must seem to be accidental."--"Kopp!" she
shouted. "Ar'n't you going to wait for me? Do you want me to run myself
out of breath?"--"I'm sure I don't care whether you do or not," growled
Pomuchelskopp. "Don't look round, girls, I hear the carriage now. It'll
be here immediately."--"But, father," remonstrated Sally, "that's
mother calling."--"Pshaw! Mother here, mother there!" cried
Pomuchelskopp in a rage. "She'll spoil everything. But, my dear
children," he continued after a short pause, "don't repeat what I've
just said to your mother."--Henny now came up with them, very much out
of breath with her run: "Kopp!" she began, but got no further in her
speech, for the carriage had now reached them, and Pomuchelskopp stood
still, and making a low bow, exclaimed: "A-ah!--I wish you joy, I wish
you joy!" and Mally and Sally curtsied at the same time as their father
spoke. Alick desired the coachman to stop, and said he was glad to see
Mr. Pomuchelskopp and his family looking so well. Whilst this was going
on, Muchel was pulling his wife's dress secretly as a sign to her to
greet the von Rambows also, but she remained standing as stiff and
straight as before, only puffing and blowing a little after her late
exertions. Frida leant back in the carriage, and looked as if she had
nothing to do with what was going on. Muchel then proceeded to speak of
the happy chance which had led to the unexpected pleasure of this
meeting, and told how he and his two daughters were taking a walk, and
had never .... here he stopped short, for at the same moment he
received a sharp pinch from Henny, and heard her whisper savagely:
"You're treating your wife with very little respect!"--As soon as
Pomuchelskopp came to this abrupt conclusion of his address, Alick
signed to the coachman to drive on, saying at the same time that he
hoped soon to have the pleasure of seeing his neighbour again.

Pomuchelskopp stood still with a very hang-dog look, and Mally and
Sally took their former places at his side, but instead of pursuing
their walk as they had intended, they turned their steps homeward,
Henny following them, and leading her recalcitrant husband back to his
duty after her usual gentle fashion. Never, as long as he lived, did
Pomuchelskopp forget the events of that morning, or the admonitions
with which his wife overwhelmed him.

"Those seemed to be very disagreeable people," said Frida as they drove
away.--"You are quite right in your supposition," answered Alick, "but
they are very rich."--"Ah!" cried Frida, "mere riches don't make
pleasant companions."--"True, dearest Frida, but the man is an
excellent farmer, and for that reason, as well as because he is a near
neighbour, we must admit him and his family to our acquaintance."--"Are
you in earnest, Alick?"--"Certainly," he replied.--After a little
thought, she asked: "What sort of man is the clergyman?"--"I know him
very slightly, but my father had a high opinion of him, and my bailiff
has a great love and respect for him.--But," he added after a pause,
"that is only natural, for the parson has brought up his only child
almost from her infancy."--"Oh; the beautiful girl we saw at the
parsonage door; but of course the clergyman's wife had more to do with
that than he had. Do you know her?"--"Yes--that is to say, I've seen
her. She appeared to be a cheery old lady."--"They must be very good
people," said Frida decidedly.--"Dear Frida," said Alick settling
himself more comfortably in his corner, "how quickly you women jump at
a conclusion! You think that because these people adopted a child
who was no relation to them, and---and--have brought her up well,
that ......" He was going to have enlightened his wife as to the
probable double motive which composes every action, however apparently
good, by showing her some of the lessons he had learnt in what he
called "knowledge of human nature"--for it is a well known fact that
puppies which have been blind for nine days of their life, always think
they understand more of the ways of the world on the tenth day than all
of their surroundings put together.--But before he could go on to prove
the wickedness of the world, his young wife started forward on her
seat, exclaiming: "Oh, Alick, look. A flag and a triumphal arch. They
are preparing a grand reception for us."--And Degel the coachman said,
looking over his shoulder at her: "Yes, Madam. I wasn't to tell you,
but now you've seen it for yourself. I must drive very slowly now for
fear the horses should take fright."



                              CHAPTER II.


At last they drove up to the assembled villagers, and Hawermann
approaching the carriage said a few words of welcome that came straight
from his heart, and as Alick, in spite of his knowledge of human
nature, had nothing ready to say on the spur of the moment, the young
lady bent forward and gave the old man her hand with a friendly smile.
As she did so, she read in his face as he did in hers, truth, honesty
and uprightness. Alick now shook hands in his turn. Then the
schoolmaster came forward followed by the line of Äsel, and gave out
the key-note of one of the "Hymns of thanksgiving for peculiar
mercies." The one chosen was No. 245 in the Mecklenburg hymn-book, and
was intended to be used "after a severe thunder-storm." Very wisely,
however, Master Strull began at the second verse because he thought it
most suited to his squire: "Lord, we praise thy might."--Bräsig now
wanted to wave his flag, but Gustavus Kegel held on tight: "Will you
let the string go, you young rascal!" he cried.--"We know thy dreadful
wrath!" sang the schoolmaster.--"Let the string go; d'ye hear me, boy?"
said Bräsig impatiently.--"Yea, in thee do we trust, nor find thee to
fail," sang the schoolmaster.--"Wait till I get hold of you, boy, and
I'll give you such a thrashing," cried Bräsig.--"Thy kindness how
tender, how firm to the end," sang the schoolmaster.--"I say, Sir, the
strings have caught in the poplar," cried Gustavus. So Bräsig pulled
and tugged at the banner, and in setting it free dragged off some of
the small branches and leaves round which the string was entangled. The
schoolmaster sang: "Hark, the crash of the storm." Fred Triddelfitz,
who had meanwhile taken possession of the dinner-bell that was kept in
the passage, rang a violent alarum. Bräsig waved his banner, and all
the men and women, young men and maidens, boys and girls shouted at the
top of their voices: "Hurrah! Hurrah!" And David Däsel blew on his
horn: "The Prussians have taken Paris, &c." so solemnly that it was
enough to touch the heart of even a dog. At the last toot of the horn,
at the end of the first line, the old watch-dog, which Gustavus Kegel
had let loose for fun, rushed at David Däsel's legs, and at the same
moment the two brown horses began to dance and snort so much, that it
was lucky that Degel the coachman was prepared for something of the
kind happening, and at once drove on to the front-door. Alick got out
of the carriage, and then helped his young wife out. The house was as
grandly decorated within as without, and Mary Möller bustled about
amongst the garlands of leaves and flowers in her new red jackonet
gown, with a flushed face and red arms. As soon as she had grown a
little cooler amongst the flowers, she rushed back to the kitchen to
see how the cook was getting on with the dinner, just as if she were an
iron heater and must be put in the oven again every time she got cool.
As Mrs. von Rambow crossed the threshold, Mary came forward to meet her
with her red arms extended as if she were a daughter of Moloch, and
placed a wreath of blush-roses on her mistress' head. Then stepping
back a few paces, and kneading her arms as if she wanted to make them
flash fire, she repeated the following address, which she and Bräsig
had been three months in composing:


                 "Hail to thee our queen and lady dear!
                  I swear to do all my duty here,
                  To be of thine ev'ry wish observant,
                  And to remain thy most obedient,
                  Ever faithful, humble servant."


She threw open the dining-room door when she had concluded her address,
and showed the table ready spread for dinner. Nothing could have been
better timed, for it was long past the usual hour. Alick whispered a
few words to his wife, who nodded assent, and then turning to the old
bailiff with a smile, told him that he must be her guest that day, and
asked him to invite the schoolmaster and the young gentleman, who was
learning farming, to dine with them also; adding that she hoped the
good old gentleman, who had waved the banner, would likewise give her
the pleasure of his company. After that she left the room and went to
thank Mary Möller for her address, and for the excellent way in which
she had managed the household during their absence, and said that now
that she had come home, she would herself help Mary to continue as she
had begun. Mary Möller blushed so red with pleasure, that she might be
said to resemble a baker's oven filled with glowing red-hot coals.

The guests soon afterwards assembled. Hawermann brought Bräsig into the
dining-room with him, and introduced him to the squire and his wife as
a very dear old friend of his, adding, that he had known the late
squire well, and that he had always taken a warm interest in the joys
and sorrows at Pümpelhagen. Then Bräsig went up to Alick, and seizing
his hand whether he would or not, shook it heartily and assured him
with many an emphatic nod, of his eternal friendship, saying in
conclusion: "I'm delighted to see you looking so well, Sir. And as I
was just saying to Charles, I hope and trust that you will follow in
the footsteps of your worthy father."--He now went up to Mrs. von
Rambow, and taking her hand, said: "Honoured Mrs. Lieutenant von
Rambow," here he was on the point of kissing her hand, but suddenly
changing his mind, went on: "No, I will not. I was always expected to
kiss the Countess' hand as a sort of courtly duty; I should never be
able to bring myself to do it again if I were to treat you in the same
way, you look so good and kind. But remember if ever you want anyone to
do you a service--my name is Zachariah Bräsig--send for me--I live a
short five miles from here at Haunerwiem--and I promise that the day
shall not be too hot, nor the night too dark for me to help you."

This sort of talk is either understood or misunderstood according to
the character of the hearer. Bräsig, like an honest man spoke out of
the fulness of his heart without fear of misconception, but Alick did
not take his speech to him as it was meant. He thought it very
impertinent of a man like old Bräsig to hold up any one--even his own
father who had always been so good to him--as an example for him to
follow, so he remained silent and displeased.--Frida, on the contrary,
had the gift of reading character, and saw the real kindness of heart
below the eccentricity of diction, and so laying her hand again in that
of the old gentleman she made him sit beside her at table.

Fred Triddelfitz arrived soon after Hawermann. He was dressed like a
young squire in a blue coat and brass buttons, that looked exactly like
a child of Pomuchelskopp's best blue coat. The schoolmaster came next.
He was a tall muscular man, who appeared to be better fitted by nature
for hewing wood, than for thrashing children. With his round black head
and seedy black clothes he resembled nothing so much as a huge nail
that fate had stuck crookedly in a wall, and which had now grown rusty
in its unnatural position. His face also was somewhat rusty. The only
thing about him that might be said to look cheerful was his shirt
front, and that was because his mother, seeing that it had grown yellow
with lying in the drawer had freshened it up by rubbing some laundry
blue on it, under which process it had gained a lovely sea-green
colour.

These two last guests were received with more cordiality by Alick than
the two first; he made them sit one on each side of him at dinner, and
was much pleased when he heard that Fred's father was the apothecary at
Rahnstädt, and that he understood chemical analysis. When uncle Bräsig
heard the word analysis, he said in a low voice to Hawermann:
"Annalissis! Annalissis! What in all the world is that? Is it an
insect?" Then, without waiting for an answer, he turned to Alick, and
said: "For that sort of thing, my dear Sir, you should get the
apothecary's son to bring you a pot of 'urgent Napoleon' (unguentum
Neapolitanum)."--Naturally enough Alick did not understand what he
meant, and even if he had understood he had not time to explain, for by
this time they were all seated and dinner had begun. The schoolmaster
looked rather uncomfortable, for he was seated on the extreme edge of
his chair.--Alick now introduced his favourite subject of conversation,
farming as it ought to be at Pümpelhagen. He told his guests that he
intended to manure the land with bone-dust, nitre and guano, and to
make a large hop-garden in the field below the flower-garden. Poor old
Hawermann listened to all these plans in silence, saying to himself
that he had never imagined that the new squire had such strange views
of agriculture, and that he wondered how Bräsig could laugh as he was
doing. But it was only natural that Bräsig should laugh, he regarded
the whole thing as a joke, and a very good joke too; it never occurred
to him that Alick could possibly be in earnest, and when he said in
conclusion: "But of course the ground must be thoroughly prepared
first," Bräsig answered with a hearty laugh: "Yes--and when we've had a
good crop of hops, we'll plant raisins and almonds there to feed the
pigs. And then, Madam," turning to Mrs. von Rambow, "you'll see what
capital pork a pig fattened on raising and almonds will produce."

Of course Alick did not like that; he looked straight at his plate, and
drew his eye-brows together, but he was riding his hobby too gallantly
to give in for so slight a check, and went on to explain his views
about agricultural machines. He described the plough and clod-breaker
in one, which he was trying to invent, addressing his remarks chiefly
to Triddelfitz, who replied in such learned terms that Mary Möller
listened with open mouth, and beat upon her breast, murmuring: "God be
merciful to me a sinner! And I really, fool that I was, thought myself
a fit wife for a man like that! Nay, one might as soon, expect a goose
and an eagle to set up house together."--As soon as dinner was
finished, Mrs. von Rambow rose to leave the dining-room, saying to
Hawermann as she did so, that she and Alick had agreed to walk over the
farm on the next morning, and that she hoped Hawermann would go with
them. He was only too delighted to do as she asked. When she had left
the room the wine was passed round, and Daniel Sadenwater--whom Alick
had retained in his service at his wife's request--was desired to bring
cigars.

Bräsig helped himself to a "ceegar" as he called it, and told Mr. von
Rambow that he smoked such things now and then, but not one of those
that Bröker, the sexton, had in his shop; no, they were too strong, and
besides that, they didn't look nice, and some people even went so far
as to say that Bröker rubbed them up in the same way as the old women
at the apple-stalls do their apples, to make them look fresh, which to
say the least was very nasty. Alick made no reply to this remark,
for--somehow or other--he did not like Bräsig. The old man was too
satirical when other people's notions of farming did not agree with his
own. Fred Triddelfitz was a very different sort of person; he had
nodded and shaken his head, had looked astonished, had Oh'd and A'd at
the proper times, and had altogether seemed so much impressed by the
wisdom of what he had heard, that Alick began to look upon himself as a
good useful tallow-candle, stuck in a tall candle-stick, and set where
it could give light to Pümpelhagen and the neighbouring villages--and
perhaps even to the whole world. But in spite of his foibles, Alick was
really a good-hearted man, he only wanted to enlighten the world at
large, and to make the little world over which he reigned happy and
comfortable in his own way. He called Hawermann to join him in the
window, and asked him how Fred was getting on. Hawermann replied that
he was pretty well satisfied with him, and that he hoped he would be a
reasonably good farmer in course of time. That was sufficient to
confirm Alick in his good opinion of the young man, and he next
enquired what salary he received, and whether a horse was kept for his
use. No, Hawermann said, he hadn't a horse, and he neither paid nor
received any money.

Alick then went to Fred, and said to him: "I'm very much pleased,
Triddelfitz, to hear from Mr. Hawermann that he is perfectly satisfied
with the progress you are making, I, therefore, intend to offer you a
small salary of ten pounds a year, and the keep of a horse."--Fred
hardly knew whether he was standing on his heels or his head: Hawermann
so much pleased with him! Could it be possible? Ten pounds a year of
pocket-money! That was very delightful, but a horse! His breath was so
taken away with surprise and pleasure, that he could only stammer out a
few words of thanks. Alick did not give him time to recover his
presence of mind, but retired once more to the window with Hawermann.
Fred could think of nothing but his good fortune. His head was as full
of all the horses in the neighbourhood, black and brown, chestnut and
bay as if the Mecklenburg government had suddenly determined that the
Rahnstädt horse-market should be held in it. Bräsig sat opposite,
watching him with a smile of amusement. At last Fred exclaimed:
"Oh, Mr. Bräsig, I _must_ have her before the Grand-Duke comes to
Rahnstädt next month, for it has been arranged that his Royal
Highness is to be received and conducted into the town by a company of
young farmers."--"Who must you have?" asked Bräsig.---"Augustus
Prebberow's sorrel-mare, Whalebone."--"I know her," said Bräsig
indifferently.--"She's a beauty!"--"An old r ...." radical, he was
going to have called her, but stopped himself because he thought it too
vulgar an expression to be used in the aristocratic mansion in which he
then was. "She's an old democrat, and won't be of any use to you when
the Grand-Duke makes his entrance into Rahnstädt, for she'll never hear
the people cheering him."--That was a pity, because there would be a
great deal of shouting and hurrahing at such a time, but then Fred knew
how fond Bräsig was of opposing everything he did too well to let his
ridicule turn him from his fixed intentions.

Meanwhile Alick had been giving his old bailiff a short lecture on the
immense advance that had been lately made in the science of
agriculture, and when he had finished what he had to say, he pressed a
book into Hawermann's hand, saying: "I hope you will like this book,
which I have much pleasure in giving you, and which, I firmly believe,
will henceforth be the only recognised authority in agricultural
matters."--Hawermann thanked him for his gift, and then as it was
beginning to grow dusk, he and his companions took leave of Mr. von
Rambow. Bräsig and Master Strull accepted the bailiff's invitation to
accompany him home. And Fred went to the stables.

Why he went there no one knew, not even he himself. He went there by
instinct to look at the horses; he wanted to bring his inward feelings
into more conformity with his outward circumstances, and so he visited
the old farm-horses that he had already seen a thousand times, and
examined their legs carefully. He thought of all the horses he knew
that had anything the matter with them. One had spavin--_he_ would take
care not to buy a horse that had spavin. Another horse's legs were not
quite so straight as they might be, and a third had string-halt--he had
learnt to distinguish that, within the last two years. A fourth had the
staggers--any man would be a fool to buy that horse. A fifth had been
fired for another illness, and so on, and so on. But there was another
thought uppermost in his mind as he stood in the door-way of the
stables. And that thought was of the wonderful beauty and refinement of
Mrs. von Rambow. The young rascal imagined that he had fallen over head
and ears in love with her, and now in spite of Alick's kindness to him
about the horse, he did not hesitate to cause him unhappiness--in
thought. "Yes," he said, as he stood in the door-way in the gathering
darkness, "what is Louisa Hawermann in comparison with that angelic
lady? Ah, Louisa, I'm sorry for you! I don't know how on earth I came
to fall in love with you. And then Mina and Lina. They're poor little
bits of things. And Mary Möller--pah! That would never have done. She
looked like a great red plum to-day, and Mrs. von Rambow like a
delicately tinted peach. When the sorrel-mare is mine, I can perhaps go
on a message for the lady--to the post or somewhere. And then, when she
comes home at night from a ball at Rahnstädt, I may perhaps open the
carriage-door for her, if Daniel Sadenwater happens to be out of the
way. If she has forgotten her handkerchief or--or her goloshes at
Rahnstädt, I'll mount my sorrel-mare, and--tch, tch--I'll get back with
her things in half an hour; ten miles in half an hour!---'Here are your
goloshes, Madam,' I'll say. 'Thanks, Triddelfitz,' she'll answer, 'your
attention .....' The devil take that beastly pole!" he exclaimed; for
as he was going home in the dark immersed in dreams about his new
love-affair, he tripped over a pole that had been left in the yard
through his own carelessness, and now he lay at full length on ground
that felt wonderfully cool and soft. What he had fallen on he could not
tell, though his nose made him suspect what it was, and he thought it
might be better to go to his own room, and find out before joining
Hawermann in the parlour.

The three old gentlemen on arriving at the bailiff's house, seated
themselves comfortably in the parlour, and then Bräsig asked: "Is that
book a no-vell, Charles, to amuse you on winter evenings?"--"I hardly
know what it is, Zachariah, but I'll light the lamp and look."--When
the lamp was lighted, Hawermann was going to look at the title
of the book, but Bräsig took it out of his hand, saying: "Nay,
Charles, we have a learned man here, Strull must read it to us."--The
schoolmaster drew a long breath, and began to read as if it were Sunday
and he were reading the gospel for the day; and whenever he paused for
breath, it was when he came to a word he did not know. "'Printing and
Paper from Frederic Vieweg & Son in Brunswick Chemistry in relation to
A-gri-culture and Phy-si-ology.'"--"Stop!" cried Bräsig. "That's not
the word, it's fisionomy."--"No," said Stroll, "it's pronounced
'phy-si-ology' here."--"Well, it doesn't much matter," said Bräsig.
"Foreign words are rather peculiar, one man pronounces them in this
way, and another in that.--Please go on!"--"'By Justus Liebig Drrr of
Medicine and Philosophy Professor of Chemistry in the Ludwig University
at Giessen Knight of the Ludwig-order of the Grand-duchy of Hesse and
of the third class of the order of S-t-Anne of the Russian Empire
Foreign member of the Royal Society of Science at Stockholm of
the'--there's something in Latin that I can't read--'in London Honorary
member of the Dublin Academy--cor-res-pon-d .....'"--"Stop!" cried
Bräsig. "Preserve us all, Charles! What a lot of things that fellow
is."--"But that isn't nearly all," said the schoolmaster, "there's as
much again to come yet."--"Then we'll skip all that. Go on!"--"'Fifth
revised and enlarged edition Published by Vieweg & Son Brunswick 1843.'
Now comes a preface."--"We'll skip that too," said Bräsig, "begin where
the book begins."--"There's a heading 'Subject' and it has got a stroke
under it"--"All right!" said Bräsig. "Fire away!"--"'The task of
organic chemistry is to investigate the chemical conditions of
life and the completed development of all organisms.' End of the
sentence."--"_What_ did you say?" asked Bräsig.--"'Of all organisms,'"
repeated the schoolmaster.--"Well!" exclaimed Bräsig. "I've heard many
an outlandish word, but Organism, Organ ..... Stay! Charles, do you
remember the bit of Gellert we had to learn by heart for parson
Behrens: 'Mr. Orgon went to the door.' Perhaps this Orgon has something
to do with that one."--"Do let the schoolmaster read on, Bräsig,
otherwise we'll never understand."--"Why, Charles, talking of a thing
is great use in teaching us what it means. You'll see that this book is
just like those I tried to read about the water-cure, and begins with
all kinds of incompr'ensible things. Now go on!"--"'The duration of all
living things is dependent upon their reception of certain materials
which we call food and which are necessary for the development and
reproduction of every organism.' End of the sentence."--"The man's
right enough there," said Bräsig. "All living creatures require food,
and"--here he took the book from Strull---"'it is necessary for
every organism.' I know what he means by organism now, it's the
stomach."--"Yes," assented the schoolmaster, "but you forget that he
uses the word 'reproduction' also."--"Ah!" said Bräsig, with a wave of
his hand. "'Production.' That's a thing that has only been known in the
last few years. When I was a child no one ever heard of production, and
now they call every bushel of wheat and every ox a production. I'll
tell you what it is, Master Strull, they only use these words as a
flower of speech and to show how learned they are."--When they had read
a little more of the book the schoolmaster rose to go home, and then
the two old friends were left alone together, for Bräsig was to
spend the night at Pümpelhagen.--At last Hawermann said with a
deep sigh: "I'm very much afraid, Zachariah, that bad times are
beginning for me."--"Why, what do you mean? Your young squire is
a merry light-hearted sort of man, and is fond of a joke too.
Didn't you notice that in the way he was talking about farming at
dinner to-day?"--"What _you_ thought a joke, Bräsig, _he_ meant in
earnest"--"_In earnest!_"--"Most certainly. He has studied farming; in
new-fashioned books which don't at all approve of our old-fashioned
ways, and I can't undertake the management of these new ways of farming
at my age, for I don't understand them well enough."--"You're right
there, Charles. People who have been accustomed to climb high towers
from the time they were little children, don't get dizzy when they are
called upon to do it in their old age, and people who have been brought
up to learn science in their childhood find it quite easy to dance
on a scientific tight rope when they are old. Do you understand
me?"--"Perfectly. And, Bräsig,"--pointing to the book--"we were never
taught to dance on that rope when we were young, and now my old bones
are too stiff to attempt it. I've nothing to say against the new ways,
I don't understand them, and if Mr. von Rambow will tell me how he
wants things to be done, I'll carry out his views as well as I can; but
I'm afraid that that kind of farming will require a great deal of money
if it is to be done properly, and our purse is not a very heavy one. I
thought at first that he would get something with his wife, but he
didn't.[2] He had to get all new things in Rahnstädt himself, and
they're not paid for yet"--"Don't distress yourself about that,
Charles. He has made a good choice all the same. I was much taken with
the young lady."--"So was I, Bräsig."--"You see what a woman can do in
keeping things straight in what your sister has done. I'm going to call
on her to-morrow, for those two young parsons seem to have been getting
into a scrape of some kind. Good-night, Charles."--"Good-night,
Bräsig."



                              CHAPTER III.


Next morning Fred Triddelfitz swam about the farm-yard at Pümpelhagen
like a pickerel in a fish-pond, for he had put on his green
hunting-coat and grey breeches, in order that--as he said to
himself--Mrs. von Rambow might have something pleasant to look at. His
eyes which used to glance ever and anon at Hawermann's window when he
was at work in the yard, were now turned often and curiously in the
direction of the manor-house, and when the squire opened his window and
called him, he shot across the yard as if he were indeed a pickerel and
Alick were the bait he wanted to catch.

"Triddelfitz," said Mr. von Rambow, "I have determined to make a short
address to my people this morning, will you tell them to come up to the
house at nine o'clock."--"Aye, aye, Sir," said Fred, who thought that
answer more respectful than any other he could have used.--"Where is
the bailiff? I want to speak to him; but there's no hurry."--"He has
just gone out at the back gate with Mr. Bräsig."--"Very well. When he
comes back will do perfectly."--Fred made as grand a bow as he could,
and turned to go, but after walking away a few steps, he went back
and asked: "Pray, Sir, do you want to see the women as well as the
men?"--"No, only the men. But wait a moment--yes, you can tell the
married women to come too."--"Aye, aye, Sir," said Fred, who then set
off round the village, and desired all the married women, and the
men who worked on the farm to go up to the manor-house in their
Sunday-clothes.--It was now eight o'clock, and if the ploughmen who
were at work in the more distant fields were to get up to Pümpelhagen
in time, they must be called at once, so he set off to fetch them.

Hawermann had accompanied his old friend a little bit of the way
towards Rexow, and then crossing the fields, he went to see how the
ploughmen were getting on with their work. Whilst he was there, Fred
came over the hill and made towards him in as straight a line as he
could, considering his way of walking and the roughness of the ploughed
land. "Mr. Hawermann," he said, "the men must unyoke their horses at
once, for the squire wants all the workmen to be up at the manor-house
at nine. He is going to make them a speech."--"What is he going to do?"
asked Hawermann surprised.--"Make a speech," was the answer. "All the
other men and the married women have received orders to be ready.
He had forgotten the women, but I reminded him of them."--"You'd
better," ....--"have left it alone," Hawermann was going to have said,
but he stopped himself in time and added quietly: "Go and give the men
your message."--"But you're wanted too."--"Very well," answered the old
man turning to go home with a heavy heart.--That bit of land ought to
have been finished that morning, and now nothing to speak of could be
done till the afternoon.--And there was another thing. His master had
made this arrangement on the very first day without telling him of his
intention. He had consulted Triddelfitz, not him, and yet there was no
such desperate need of hurry.--Still that did not grieve him so much as
the thought of the speech. What on earth was he going to say? Was he
going to lecture them about their duty? If he was it was unnecessary
to do so. The people went to their work as naturally as to their
dinner ..... they did not think about their duty, they just did it. It
would be a great pity to speak to them either in praise or blame upon
the subject. Too much talk did more harm than good. Labourers were like
children, if they were praised for doing their duty, they began to
think that they had done more than their duty.--Or was he going to give
them some proof of his generosity? He was quite good-natured enough for
that.--But what could he give them?--They had all they needed. He could
give them nothing tangible, for he knew too little of their position to
do so, he would, therefore, be obliged to content himself with vague
figures of speech and meaningless promises, which everyone would of
course interpret according to his own hopes and wishes, and which it
would be impossible ever to realize.

These were Hawermann's thoughts as he went to join his master in his
study. Mrs. von Rambow was in the room ready dressed for her walk over
the farm. She went forward to meet him as he came in and said: "We must
wait for a little, Mr. Hawermann, Alick wants to speak to the people
before we go."--"That won't take long," said Alick who was turning over
some papers.--There was a knock at the door.--"Come in."--And Fred
entered with a letter in his hand: "From Gürlitz," he said.--Alick
broke the seal and read the letter. It was from attorney Slus'uhr to
say that when David and he happened to be passing Gürlitz that morning
they had gone in to see Mr. Pomuchelskopp, from whom they had
accidentally heard of Mr. von Rainbow's return home, and as they wished
to speak to him on particular business, they would do themselves the
pleasure, &c. &c. There was also a postscript to say that the business
was very pressing. Alick was in a very painful position, for he could
not refuse to receive the two men however much he might wish to do so.
He went out to the door, and told the messenger that he would be glad
to see the gentlemen, but when he returned to the study he looked so
grave and anxious that his wife asked him what was the matter. "Oh,
nothing," he answered. "I'm thinking about my speech. I'm afraid that
it will last longer than I thought at first, and so perhaps it would
be better if you and Mr. Hawermann were to set out at once without
waiting for me."--"Oh, Alick, without you! I had been looking
forward ...."--"But you see, my dear child, I can't help it. I know the
whole place perfectly, and--and I will follow you as soon as I possibly
can."--It seemed to Hawermann that the squire was nervously anxious to
get rid of them both, so he came forward and asked Mrs. von Rambow if
she would go with him now. She consented and followed him somewhat
gravely.

Soon after they were gone Alick addressed the assembled villagers, but
his whole pleasure in making his speech from the throne was destroyed
by the remembrance of the disagreeable letter in his pocket. The speech
was much what Hawermann had imagined it would be. It was made up of
good advice and promises couched in such long words and high-flown
language, that the villagers were quite puzzled as to what it all
meant; the only thing they understood was that the squire had promised
them all sorts of good things, and had said that any one who had a
favour to ask was to go at once to him, and his request would meet with
fatherly consideration.--"Ah!" said Päsel to Näsel. "That's a good look
out for us. He'll do that, will he? I'll go to him to-morrow, and ask
if I may bring up a calf this year."--"You got one last year."--"That
doesn't matter, I can sell it to the weaver at Gürlitz."--"Well," said
Kegel to Degel, "I'll go to him to-morrow, and ask him to give me
another bit of potato-ground next spring, and tell him that my piece
isn't big enough to supply my family."--"That was because you didn't
hoe your potatoes at the right time; the bailiff gave you a bit of his
mind about it you remember."--"What does that matter? The devil a bit
he knows about that, and he's our master now, and not the bailiff."--So
the people went away restless and discontented with their present
condition, and Alick himself was anxious and unhappy because of the
visit that was hanging over him that morning. The only person at
Pümpelhagen who was perfectly contented was Fred Triddelfitz, so the
young squire had not cast the pearls of his speech entirely before
swine.

Slus'uhr and David arrived, and what can I say about their visit? They
sang the same song as before, and Alick had to renew his bills again.
From long practice he had grown quite expert at this. Borrowing money
is a dreadful thing, nothing comes up to it except perhaps being
beheaded or hung, neither of which is precisely a pleasant experience;
still I have known people who never rested till they had borrowed from
all the Jews and Christians they could persuade to lend them money.
Alick was not as bad as that, but yet he thought it as well to make use
of the present opportunity, and get a new loan from David of sufficient
money to pay for the refurnishing of the house. His excuse was that it
was better "to have to do with one usurer than with several," and it
never seemed to occur to him that that one was as bad as a dozen.

Meanwhile Hawermann and Mrs. von Rambow were walking over the farm. The
beauty of the summer-morning soon chased away the slight shadow of
displeasure from the lady's fair face, and she began to look about her,
and try with right good will to learn something about farming in
Mecklenburg. Hawermann soon discovered to his great delight that she
was by no means so ignorant of agricultural matters as she thought
herself. She had been brought up in the country, and had always taken
an intelligent interest in what was going on around her. She liked to
know why this or that was done, a mere superficial knowledge did not
content her. So it was that she already knew enough about farming to
understand the reasons for the differences she noticed between the
crops at Pümpelhagen and those at her old home. The soil on her
father's estate was light and sandy, while here it was a rich clay,
well suited for the cultivation of wheat. The old bailiff gave her many
simple little hints which helped her very much. They were both
delighted with their walk, and a friendly confidence in each other was
the result of their common enjoyment of the same subjects.

When they reached the Gürlitz march, Hawermann showed her the
glebe-lands, and told her that the late squire had taken a lease of
them.--"And the barley over there," asked Mrs. von Rambow. "That's part
the Gürlitz estate, and it belongs to Mr. Pomuchelskopp."--"Ah, that
was the gentleman who met us yesterday with his family," cried Frida.
"What sort of man is he?"--"I never see anything of him," said
Hawermann, rather confused.--"Don't you know him?" asked Mrs. von
Rambow.--"Yes--no--that is, I used to know him; but we hav'n't seen
anything of each other since he came here," replied the old man, and
then he introduced another subject of conversation, but Frida laid
her hand upon his arm, and asked: "Mr. Hawermann, you know that I
am a stranger in this neighbourhood, and Alick seems to know very
little about these people. Tell me, are they proper acquaintances for
us?"--"No," said Hawermann shortly.--They walked on silently, at
last Mrs. von Rambow stood still, and asked: "Can you, and will you
tell me the reason why you broke off your old acquaintance with that
man?"--Hawermann looked at her long and earnestly. "Yes," he said at
length, but more as if he were speaking to himself than to her. "And if
you believe me as the late squire did, it will perhaps be better for
you to know it."--He then told her his story plainly and quietly,
hiding nothing and exaggerating nothing. Mrs. von Rambow listened
attentively and without interrupting him. When he had finished
she merely said: "I didn't like what I saw of these people
yesterday, and now I dislike them."--They had been walking through the
glebe-lands for some time, and had reached the hedge at the end of the
parsonage-garden; suddenly they heard a sweet young voice at the other
side of the hedge exclaim: "Good-morning, father, good-morning," and at
the same moment the lovely girl that Mrs. von Rambow had seen at the
parsonage-door on the preceding day sprang through the garden-gate
towards her father. But on seeing who was with him she blushed
deeply and stopped short, so that if Hawermann wanted to have his
good-morning-kiss, he would have to go and help himself to it.

The old man introduced his daughter to Mrs. von Rambow with much loving
pride, and the squire's young wife, after a few kindly words of
greeting, asked her to come up to Pümpelhagen to see her father and
herself. When Hawermann had charged his daughter with messages to Mr.
and Mrs. Behrens, they took leave of Louisa, and continued their
walk.--"The clergyman and his wife are very good people, are they not?"
asked Frida.--"Madam," said Hawermann, "I can't give you an impartial
answer to that question. They have saved all that remained to me after
my misfortunes. They have brought up my only child with loving care,
and have taught her all the good she knows. I can never think of them
without the greatest reverence and the deepest gratitude. But if you
want to know more about them, ask any one you like in the parish. Rich
and poor, high and low will all speak of them with affection."--"Mr.
Pomuchelskopp too?" asked the lady.--"If he were to speak honestly and
without prejudice, he would bear the same testimony," answered the old
man; "but unfortunately he had a disagreement with the parson when he
first came here about the glebe. It was not Mr. Behrens' fault. I was
the real cause of it, for it was I who persuaded the late squire to
take a lease of the land. And, Madam," he continued after a pause,
"Pümpelhagen can never pay so well without the glebe; having the
lease of it is an advantage that cannot be given up without great
loss."--Frida made the bailiff explain to her in what this advantage
consisted, and as soon as she understood the whole case, she determined
that she would do her best to keep the glebe for Pümpelhagen.

When they got home, they saw attorney Slus'uhr and David driving away
from the door, and Alick bowing and smiling as much as if Slus'uhr had
been his colonel, and David had been a young count.--"Who is that?"
Frida asked of Hawermann.--He told her.--When she came up to her
husband, she said: "What have you to do with these people, Alick, and
why were you so extraordinarily polite to them?"--"Polite?" repeated
Alick rather confused. "Why not? I am polite to every body," glancing
at Hawermann as he spoke.--"Of course you are," said his young wife,
slipping her hand within his arm, "but these were common Jew traders,
and ...."--"My dear child," interrupted Alick, who did not wish her to
finish her sentence, "the man is a wool-stapler, and I've no doubt I
shall often have to do business with him."--"And the other?" she
asked,--"Oh, he is--he only happened to come with his friend. I've
nothing to do with him."--"Good-bye, Mr. Hawermann," said Frida,
shaking hands with the old man, "and thank you so very much for having
gone with me this morning." She then went into the house, and Alick
followed her; but he looked round again when he had reached the
door-way, and saw that the old bailiff's eyes were fixed on him
sorrowfully. He could not meet that sad gaze, and turning away he
followed his wife into the house.

In that look of honest sorrow lay the future of the three people who
had just parted. Alick had told a lie, he had betrayed the confidence
of his young wife for the first time, and Hawermann knew it; and Alick
knew that Hawermann knew it. A stone was now lying in the way, over
which any one passing by that road might easily stumble, for the way
had grown dark through untruth and deceit, and none could warn the
traveller of the hidden danger. Frida as yet walked on in innocent
fearlessness, but sooner or later her foot would strike against that
stone. Alick, moreover, deceived himself, he thought he could guide
Frida safely past the stone that lay in her path without her ever being
aware of its existence, and he knew that the road was clear on the
other side of it. Hawermann saw the danger distinctly that menaced the
family at Pümpelhagen, and he would willingly have done what he could
to help them out of it, but when he would have stretched out his hand
to assist and warn, Alick thrust it away with outward calmness, but
inward displeasure. It is said that a wicked man grows to hate any one
who shows him forbearing kindness, that may be the case, but such
hatred is nothing to the gnawing impatient dislike which a _weak_ man
feels towards him, who alone in all the world knows some mean action of
which he has been guilty. This kind of dislike does not come all at
once, like the hatred born of open strife; no, it creeps slowly and
gradually into the heart in like manner as the wood-louse bores its
tunnels into the wainscoting, till at last it gains as complete
possession of the heart as the insect does of the wood.



                              CHAPTER IV.


Bräsig went to Rexow that morning to see Mrs. Nüssler as he had
intended. The crown-prince was in the doorway when he arrived, and came
forward to meet him with such a hearty wag of the tail that anyone
would have thought him a most christian-minded dog, and would have
imagined that he had quite forgiven Bräsig the fright he had given him
the last time he was at Rexow. There was a look of such quiet
satisfaction in his yellow brown eyes that one would have thought that
everything was going on well in the house; that Mrs. Nüssler was busy
in the kitchen, and that Joseph was comfortably seated in his own
particular arm-chair. But it was not so. When Bräsig went into the
parlour he certainly found Joseph in his old place, but Mrs. Nüssler
was standing in front of him, and was giving him a lecture about caring
for nothing, and never interfering when things were going wrong,
although it was his duty to do so. As soon as she saw Bräsig, she went
up to him and said angrily: "And _you_ keep out of the way, Bräsig.
Everyone may be standing on their heads here for anything _you_ care,
and it's all your fault that we ever took those two lads into the
house."--"Gently!" said Bräsig. "Gently! Don't excite yourself, Mrs.
Nüssler! Well what's all this about the divinity students?"--"A very
great deal! But I should never have said a word about it, for they're
Joseph's relations, and 'it's an ill bird that files its own nest!'
There has been no peace or comfort in the house since the two young men
have been here, and if it goes on like this much longer, I'm afraid
that I shall have a quarrel with Joseph himself."--"Mother," said young
Joseph, "what can I do?"--"Hold your tongue, young Joseph," cried
Bräsig, "it's all your fault. Why didn't you teach them better
manners?"--"Come, come, Bräsig," said Mrs. Nüssler, "just leave Joseph
to me if you please, and remember it's your fault this time. You
promised to keep an eye on the young men, and see that they didn't get
into mischief, and instead of that, you let one of them do what he
likes and never trouble your head to see what he's after, while you
encourage the other to spend all his time in fishing and such like
nonsense, instead of minding his books, so that he's always out in the
fields, and comes home in the evening with a lot of perch about the
length of my finger, and when I think the day's work is over, I'm
expected to go back to the kitchen and cook that trash!"--"What!" cried
Bräsig. "Does he only bring you in such tiny little fish? That's queer
now, for I've shown him all the best pools for catching large perch.
Then you must .....!--Just wait!"--"I'll tell you," interrupted Mrs.
Nüssler, "you must forbid him to fish, for he didn't come here to do
that. His father sent him here to learn something, and he's coming to
see him this very afternoon."--"Well, Mrs. Nüssler," said Bräsig, "I
can't help admiring the presistency with which he has followed my
advice about fishing. Hasn't he done anything else though?"--"A great
deal, both of them have done a great deal. I've never spoken about it
because they're Joseph's relations, and at first everything went on
_pretty_ well. It was an idle, merry life at first; my two little girls
were very much brightened up by the change and all went on smoothly.
Mina here, and Rudolph there, Lina here, and Godfrey there. They talked
sense with Godfrey and nonsense with Rudolph. The two lads worked away
properly at their books in the morning; Godfrey indeed sometimes read
so long that it gave him a headache, and Rudolph did quite a fair
amount of study. But that did not last long. They soon began to quarrel
and wrangle about theological questions, and Godfrey, who knows more
than the other, said that Rudolph did not speak from a Christian
standpoint."--"Did he say 'standpoint'?" put in Bräsig.--"Yes, that was
his very word," answered Mrs. Nüssler.--"Oho!" said Bräsig. "I think I
hear him. While other people end with standpoint, Methodists always
begin with it. And then I suppose he wanted to convert him?"--"Yes,"
said Mrs. Nüssler. "That's just what he wanted to do. But you see the
other lad is much cleverer than Godfrey, and made so many jokes about
all that he said, that at last Godfrey quite lost his temper, and so
the discomfort in the house grew worse and worse. I don't know how it
was, but my two girls mixed themselves up in the quarrel. Lina who is
the gravest and most sensible took Godfrey's side of the argument, and
Mina laughed and giggled over Rudolph's jokes."--"Yes," interrupted
Joseph, "it's all according to circumstances!"--"You ought to be
ashamed of yourself, young Joseph," said Bräsig, "for allowing such a
Hophnei to remain in the house."--"Nay, Bräsig," said Mrs. Nüssler,
"let Joseph alone, he did his best to make matters comfortable again.
When Godfrey talked about the devil till we all felt quite eerie,
Joseph believed in his existence; and when Rudolph laughed at, and
ridiculed all belief in him, Joseph laughed as heartily as anyone. When
the dispute ran highest, my little Mina took all Godfrey's books to
Rudolph's room, and all Rudolph's to Godfrey's, and when the young men
looked rather cross, she said quickly, that they'd better both study
the subject thoroughly, and then perhaps they might agree better
about it than at present."--"Mina's a clever little woman," cried
Bräsig.--"Well," continued Mrs. Nüssler. "They didn't like it at all at
first; but whatever Godfrey's faults may be, he's a good-natured lad,
so he began to study Rudolph's books. And the other at last set to work
at Godfrey's, for you see it was wintry weather and it gave him
something to do. You should have seen them a short time afterwards!
They had changed as much as their books. Godfrey made poor jokes about
the devil, and Rudolph sighed and groaned, and spoke of the devil as if
he knew him intimately, and as if he were accustomed to sit down to
dinner with us every day and to eat his potatoes like any other honest
man. Then my little girls turned right round. Mina took Godfrey's part;
and Lina took Rudolph's, for Rudolph said that Godfrey didn't speak
from a Christian standpoint."--"Ugh!" said Bräsig, "he oughtn't to have
said that. But wait a bit! Is he really that sort of fellow, and can't
he ever catch a good-sized perch?"--"And then," cried Mrs. Nüssler
indignantly, "they were all at sixes and sevens again, because of that
horrible perch fishing, for as soon as spring returned and the perch
began to bite, Rudolph cared no more about the Christian standpoint. He
took his fishing-rod, and went out after you all day long. The other
went back to his old opinion about the existence of the devil, you see
he was preparing for his examination and couldn't get through it
properly without that. My two girls didn't know which of their cousins
to trust to."--"They're a couple of rascals," cried Bräsig, "but it's
all the Methodist's fault, what business had he to bother the other
about the devil and the Christian standpoint?"--"No, no, Bräsig, I've
nothing to say against him for that. He has learnt something, has
passed his examination, and may be ordained any day. But Rudolph does
nothing at all, he only makes mischief in the house."--"Why, what has
he been after now? Has he been fishing for whitings?" asked Bräsig
raising his eyebrows.--"Whitings!" said Mrs. Nüssler scornfully. "He
has been fishing for a sermon. You must know that, Mrs. Baldrian wanted
to hear her son preach, so she asked the clergyman at Rahnstädt to let
him preach in his church, and he said he might do so. She then went and
told her sister what she had done, and Mrs. Kurz was very much put out
that her son wasn't as far on as his cousin, so she went to the old
parson too and asked him to allow Rudolph to preach for him some day
soon. Well the clergyman was so far left to himself as to arrange that
Rudolph should preach on the same day as Godfrey. The two young men had
a great argument as to which was to have the forenoon and which the
afternoon, but at last it was settled that Rudolph should preach in the
morning. Well, Godfrey set to work as hard as he could, and spent the
whole day from morning till evening in the arbour. As he has a bad
memory he learnt his sermon by repeating it aloud. Rudolph did nothing
but amuse himself as usual, till the two last days, when he seated
himself on the grass bank behind the arbour, and seemed to be thinking
over his sermon. On the Sunday morning, Joseph drove the two young
clergymen and us to Rahnstädt. We went into the parsonage pew, and I
can assure you I was in a great fright about Rudolph, but the rogue
stood there as calmly as if he were quite sure of himself, and when the
time came for him to preach, he went up into the pulpit and began his
sermon. He got on so well that everyone listened attentively, and I was
so pleased with the boy that I turned to whisper to Godfrey, who sat
next to me, how relieved and overjoyed I was, when I saw that he was
moving about restlessly in his seat, and looking as if he would like to
jump up and pull Rudolph out of the pulpit: 'Aunt,' he said, 'that is
_my_ sermon.' And so it was, Bräsig. The little wretch had got it by
heart from hearing his cousin learning it aloud in the arbour."--"Ha,
ha, ha!" laughed Bräsig. "What a joke! What a capital joke!"--"Do you
call it a _joke_?" said Mrs. Nüssler angrily. "Do you call playing a
trick like that in God's house a joke?"--"Ha, ha, ha!" roared Bräsig.
"I know that it's wicked to laugh, and I know that only the devil could
have prompted the lad to play such a trick, but I can't help it, I must
laugh at it all the same."--"Oh, of course," said Mrs. Nüssler crossly,
"of course _you_ do nothing but laugh while we are like to break our
hearts with grief and anger."--"Never mind me," said Bräsig soothingly,
"tell me, what did the Methodist do? Ha, ha, ha! I'd have given a good
deal for a sight of his face!"--"You would, would you? Of course he
couldn't preach the same sermon in the afternoon, so the parson had to
give his people one of his old sermons over again; but he was very
angry, and said that if he chose to make the circumstance public,
Rudolph might go and hang himself on the first willow he came
across."--"But the Methodist?"--"The poor fellow was miserable, but he
didn't say a word. However his mother said enough for two, and she
spoke so harshly to her sister Mrs. Kurz about what had happened, that
they're no longer on speaking terms. There was a frightful quarrel. I
was both ashamed and angry at the way they went on, for both Baldrian
and Kurz joined in the squabble, and even Joseph began to mix himself
up in it, but fortunately our carriage drove up, and I got him away as
quickly as I could."--"What did the duellist say?"--"Oh, the wretch was
wise enough to run away here as soon as he had concluded his stolen
sermon."--"And you gave him a regular good scolding, I suppose," said
Bräsig.--"Not I indeed," said Mrs. Nüssler decidedly. "I wasn't going
to put my finger in that pie. His father is coming to-day and he is
'the nearest' to him, as Mrs. Behrens would say; and I've told Joseph
that he's not to mix himself up in the affair or to talk about it at
all. He's quite changed latterly. He has got into the habit of putting
up his back and meddling with things with which he has nothing to do.
Now just keep quiet, Joseph."--"Yes, Joseph, hold your tongue," said
Bräsig.--"And my two girls," continued Mrs. Nüssler, "are quite
different from what they used to be. Since that unlucky sermon their
eyes have always been red with crying, and they've gone about the house
as quietly as mice. They hardly ever say a word to each other now,
though they used never to be separate, and when one of them was happy
or unhappy the other had to know all about it immediately. My household
is all at odds."--"Mother," said young Joseph rising from his chair
with a look of determination, "that's just what I say, and I _will_
speak; you'll see that the boys have put it into their heads."--"What
have they put into their heads, Joseph?" asked Mrs. Nüsller
crossly.--"Love affairs," said Joseph, sinking back into his corner.
"My dear mother always used to say that when a divinity student and a
governess were in same house ...... And you'll see the truth of it with
Godfrey and Mina."--"Law, Joseph! How you do talk to be sure! May God
preserve you in your right mind! That's all nonsense, but if it were
the case, the divinity student should leave the house at once and
Rudolph too. Come away, Bräsig, I've got something to say to you."

As soon as they had left the house, Mrs. Nüssler signed to Bräsig to
follow her into the garden, and when they were seated in the arbour,
she said: "I can't stand Joseph's eternal chatter any longer, Bräsig.
It was Rudolph who taught him to speak so much continually encouraging
him to talk last winter, and has got into the habit now and won't give
it up. But, tell me honestly--remember you promised to watch--have you
seen anything of the kind going on?"--"Bless me! No. Not the faintest
approach to anything of the sort."--"I can't think it either," said
Mrs. Nüssler thoughtfully. "At first Lina and Godfrey, and Mina and
Rudolph used to go about together. Afterwards Mina took to Godfrey, and
Lina to Rudolph, but ever since the examination Lina and Godfrey have
been on their old terms with each other once more, while Mina and
Rudolph have never made friends again; indeed I may say that she has
never so much as looked at him since the day he preached in
Rahnstädt."--"Ah, Mrs. Nüssler," said Bräsig, "love shows itself in
most unexpected ways. Sometimes the giving of a bunch of flowers is a
sign of it, or even a mere 'good-morning' accompanied by a shake of the
hand. Sometimes it is shown by two people stooping at the same moment
to pick up a ball of cotton that one of them has dropped, when all that
the looker-on sees is that they knocked their heads together in trying
which could pick it up first. But gradually the signs become more
apparent. The girl blushes now and then, and the man watches whatever
she does; or the girl takes the man into the larder, and gives him
sausages, or cold tongue, or pig's cheek, and the man begins to wear a
blue or a red neck-tie; but the surest sign of all is when they go out
on a summer-evening for a walk in the moonlight, and you hear them sigh
without any cause. Now, has anything of that kind been going on with
the little roundheads?"--"No, I can't say that I've noticed them doing
that, Bräsig. They used to go to the cold meat-larder sometimes it's
true, but I soon put an end to that; I wasn't going to stand that
sort of thing; and as for blushing, I didn't notice them doing that
either, though of course I've seen that their eyes are often red with
crying."--"Well," said Bräsig, "there must have been a reason for
that--I'll tell you what, Mrs. Nüssler: you just leave the whole
management of the affair in my hands, for I know how to arrange such
matters. I soon put an end to that sort of nonsense in Fred
Triddelfitz. I'm an old hunter, and I'll ferret the matter out for you,
but you must tell me where they generally meet."--"Here, Bräsig, here
in this arbour. My girls sit here in the afternoon with their work, and
then the other two join them. I never thought any harm of it."--"All
right!" said Bräsig, going out of the arbour, and looking about him. He
examined a large cherry-tree carefully which was growing close by, and
seeing that it was thickly covered with leaves he looked quite
satisfied. "That'll do," he said, "what can be done, shall be
done."--"Goodness, gracious me!" said Mrs. Nüssler, "I wonder what will
happen this afternoon! It's very disagreeable. Kurz is coming at
coffee-time, and he is desperately angry with his son for playing such
a trick on his cousin. You'll see that there will be a terrible
scene."--"That's always the way with these little people," said Bräsig,
"when the head and the lower part of the constitution are too near each
other, the nature is always fiery."--"Ah!" sighed Mrs. Nüssler as she
entered the parlour, "it'll be a miserable afternoon."

She little knew that misery had long ago taken up its abode in her
house.

Whilst these arrangements were being made downstairs the twins were
busy sewing in their garret-room. Lina was seated at one window, and
Mina at the other; they never looked up from their work, and never
spoke to each other as in the old days at Mrs. Behren's sewing-class.
They worked away as busily as if the world had been torn in two, and
they had to sew up the rent with their needles and thread, while their
serious faces and deep sighs showed that they were fully aware of the
gravity of their employment. It was strange that their mother had not
told Bräsig how sadly pale they had grown. The change must have been
very gradual for her not to have noticed it. But so it was. The two
apple-cheeked maidens looked as if they had been growing on the
north-side of the tree of life, where no sun-beams could ever come to
brighten their existence, and tinge their cheeks with healthful colour.
They could no longer be likened to two apples growing on one stalk. At
last Lina's work fell on her lap, she could go on sewing no more, her
eyes were so full of tears, and then large drops began to roll slowly
down her pale cheeks; Mina took out her handkerchief and wiped her
eyes, for her tears were falling upon her work, and so the two little
sisters sat weeping each in her own window, as if all her happiness
were gone past recall.

Suddenly Mina jumped up, and ran out of the room as if she must go out
into the fresh air, but she stopped short on the landing, for she
remembered that her mother might see her and ask her what was the
matter, so she remained outside the door crying silently. And then Lina
started up to go and comfort Mina; but she suddenly remembered that she
did not know what to say to her, so she remained standing within the
room beside the door, crying also. It often happens that a thin wall of
separation rises between two loving hearts, and while each would give
anything to get back to the other, neither will be the first to turn
the handle--for in every such partition wall there is a door with a
handle on each side of it--and so they remain apart in spite of their
longing to be reconciled.

But fortunately the twins were not so selfishly proud as to allow this
state of matters to go on for ever. Mina opened the door, and said:
"Why are you crying, Lina?" and Lina immediately stretched out both
hands to her sister, and said: "Oh, Mina, why are you crying?" Then
they fell upon each other's necks and cried again, and the colour
returned to their cheeks as if a sunbeam had kissed them, and they
clung to each other as if they were once more growing on the same
stalk.--"Mina, I will let you have him. You must be happy," said
Lina.--"No, Lina," said Mina, "he likes you most, and you are much
better than I am."--"No, Mina. I've quite made up my mind. Uncle Kurz
is coming this afternoon, and I'll ask father and mother to let
me go home with him, for I couldn't remain here and see it all just
yet."--"Do so, Lina, for then you'll be with his parents, and when you
both come back, I'll ask Godfrey to get his father to look out for a
situation for me as governess in some town far, far from home, for I
couldn't stay here either."--"Mina!" cried Lina, holding her sister
from her at arm's length, and looking at her in amazement, "with
_his_ parents? With _whose_ parents?"--"Why--Rudolph's."--"You
meant Rudolph?"--"Yes, why who did you mean?"--"I?--Oh, I meant
Godfrey."--"No, did you really?" exclaimed Mina, throwing her arms
round Lina's neck, "but is it possible? How is it possible? We don't
mean the same after all then!"--"Ah!" said Lina who was the most
sensible of the two, "what a great deal of unnecessary pain we have
given each other!"--"Oh, how happy I am," cried Mina, who was the least
sensible, as she danced about the room. "All will be well now."--"Yes,
Mina," said Lina the sensible, joining in the dance. "Everything will
go on happily now."--Then silly little Mina threw herself into her
sister's arms again--she was so happy.

If people would only turn the handle of the door that divides them from
their friends while there is yet time, all would go well with them,
even though it might not bring such intense joy as it did to the two
girls in the little garret-room.

The sisters cried one moment and laughed the next; then they danced
round the room, and after that they sat on each other's knees, and told
how it all happened, and sorrowed over their own stupidity, which had
prevented them seeing the true state of the case. They wondered how it
was that they had not had an explanation sooner, and then they
confessed to each other exactly how matters stood between them and
their cousins, and ended by being more than half angry with the two
young men, whom they accused of being the real cause of the
misunderstanding. Lina said that she had been in great doubt before,
but that ever since last Sunday she had been quite certain that Mina
cared for Godfrey because of her constant tears; and Mina said that she
had been miserable because of the wicked trick Rudolph had played in
church about the sermon, and that she had been puzzled to account for
Lina's tears. Lina then explained that she had been so very sorry for
poor Godfrey's disappointment. All was made up now between the sisters,
and when the dinner-bell rang they ran down-stairs together arm in arm,
looking as sweet and fresh as two roses. Bräsig, who had seated himself
with his back to the light that he might see them better, was very much
astonished when he caught sight of their happy faces. "What," he said
to himself, "these two girls changed and shy, and suffering from some
secret grief? In love? Not a bit of it! They're as merry as crickets."

The sound of the dinner-bell brought Godfrey Baldrian, or the
methodist, as Bräsig called him. Lina blushed and turned away from him,
not in anger, but because she remembered the confession she had just
made in the garret. And Bräsig said to himself "That's very odd now!
Lina seems to have taken the infection, but how can she care for a
scare-crow of a methodist?"--Bräsig expressed himself too strongly but
still it must be acknowledged that Godfrey was no beauty. Nature had
not given him many personal advantages, and he did not use those that
he had in the wisest possible way. For example his hair. He had a thick
head of yellow hair that would have provoked no criticism, and indeed
would have looked quite nice if it had only been cut properly, but
unfortunately he had taken the pictures of the Beloved disciple John as
his model, and had parted his hair down the middle, and brushed it into
ringlets at the ends, though the upper part of his head showed that the
real nature of his hair was to be straight. I have nothing to say
against little boys of ten or even twelve going about with curls, and
the mothers of these same little boys would have still less objection
to it than I should, for they delight in stroking the curls lovingly
out of their children's faces, and in combing them out smooth when
visitors come to the house. Some mother have even gone so far, when
their children's hair did not curl naturally as to screw it up in paper
or use tongs, but that was a mistake on their part. If it were the
fashion, I should have nothing to say against even old people wearing
curls, for it looks very nice in some ancient pictures, but there are
two remarks I should like to make while on this subject, and these are:
a man with thin legs ought never to wear tight trousers, and he whose
hair does not curl naturally should cut it short. Our poor Godfrey's
hair, which hung down his back, was burnt to a sort of dun colour by
the sun, and as he liked it to look smooth and tidy, he put a good deal
of pomade on it, which greased his coat-collar considerably. Beneath
this wealth of hair was a small pale face with an expression of
suffering on it, which always made Bräsig ask sympathisingly what
shoemaker he employed, and whether he was troubled with corns. The
rest of his figure was in keeping with his face. He was tall,
narrow-chested, and angular, and that part of the human body which
shows whether a man enjoys the good things of life, was altogether
wanting in him. Indeed he was so hollowed out where the useful and
necessary digesting apparatus is wont to show its existence by a gentle
roundness of form, that he might be said to be shaped like the inside
of Mrs. Nüssler's baking-trough. For this reason Bräsig regarded him as
a sort of wonder in natural history, for he eat as much as a ploughman
without producing any visible effect. Let no one imagine that the
methodist did not do his full duty in the way of eating and drinking; I
have known divinity students, and know some now, with whom I should
have no chance in that respect. But the fact is that young men whose
minds are employed in theological studies are generally somewhat thin,
as will be seen in any of the numerous divinity students to be met with
in Mecklenburg; when they have been settled in a good living for a few
years, they begin to fill out like ordinary mortals. Bräsig remembered
this, and did not despair of seeing Godfrey a portly parson one of
these days, though how it was to come about was rather a puzzle to him.
Such was Godfrey Baldrian in appearance; but his portrait would not be
complete if I did not add that he had the faintest possible tinge of
Phariseeism in his expression. It was only a tinge, but with
Phariseeism as with rennet, a very small quantity is enough to curdle a
large pan of milk.

They sat down to dinner, and Joseph asked: "Where is
Rudolph?"--"Goodness gracious me, Joseph, what are you talking about!"
said Mrs. Nüssler crossly. "I'm sure you might know by this time that
Rudolph is always late. I daresay he's out fishing; but whatever he's
about I can assure him that if he doesn't come in in time for dinner,
he may just go without."--The meal was a very silent one, for Bräsig
was too much occupied watching what was going on to be able to talk,
and Mrs. Nüssler had enough to do wondering over the cause of the
remarkable change in her daughters' appearance. The twins sat side by
side, and looked as happy as if they had just awakened from a
disagreeable dream, and were rejoicing that it was only a dream, and
that the warm sun-beams were once more shining upon them.



                               CHAPTER V.


When dinner was over, Mina whose turn it was to help her mother to
clear away the dishes, tidy the room, and prepare the coffee, asked her
sister: "Where are you going, Lina?"--"I'll get my sewing and go to the
arbour," answered Lina.--"Very well," said Mina, "I'll join you there
as soon as I'm ready."--"And I'll go too," said Godfrey, "for I've got
a book I want to finish."--"That's right," said Bräsig, "It'll be a
deuced good entertainment for Lina."--Godfrey felt inclined to take the
old man to task for using such a word as "deuced," but on second
thoughts refrained from doing so, for he knew that it was hopeless to
try to bring Bräsig round to his opinion, so he followed the girls from
the room.--"Bless me!" cried Mrs. Nüssler. "What can have happened to
my girls? They were as quiet as mice and never said a word to each
other till this afternoon, and now they are once more one heart and one
soul."--"Hush, Mrs. Nüssler," said Bräsig, "I'll find out all about
it for you to-day. Joseph, come with me; but mind you're not to
talk."--Joseph followed him to the garden, and when they got there
Bräsig took his arm: "Now hold your tongue, Joseph," he said, "don't
look round, you must appear to be taking a walk after dinner." Joseph
did as he was told with much success. When they reached the cherry-tree
beside the arbour, Bräsig stood still and said; "Now then, Joseph, give
me a back--but put your head close to the stem of the tree." Joseph was
about to speak, but Bräsig pressed down his head, saying: "Hold your
tongue, Joseph--put your head nearer the tree." He then stepped
on his back, and when standing there firmly, said; "Now straighten
yourself--It does exactly!" Then seizing the lower branch with both
hands, Bräsig pulled himself up into the tree.--Joseph had never spoken
all this time but now he ventured to remark: "But, Bräsig, they're not
nearly ripe yet."--"What a duffer you are, Joseph," said Bräsig,
thrusting his red face through the green leaves which surrounded him.
"Do you really think that I expect to eat Rhenish cherries at
midsummer. But go away now as quickly as you can and don't stand there
looking like a dog when a cat has taken refuge in a tree."--"Ah well,
what shall I do?" said Joseph, going away and leaving Bräsig to his
fate.

Bräsig had not been long in his hiding-place, when he heard a light
step on the gravel walk, and, peering down, saw Lina going into the
arbour with such a large bundle of work in her arms that if she had
finished it in one day it would have been difficult to keep her in
sewing. She laid her work on the table and, resting her head on her
hand, sat gazing thoughtfully at the blue sky beyond Bräsig's
cherry-tree.--"Ah, how happy I am," she said to herself in the fulness
of her grateful heart. "How happy I am. Mina is so kind to me; and so
is Godfrey, or why did he press my foot under the table at dinner. What
made Bräsig stare at us so sharply, I wonder? I think I must have
blushed. What a good man Godfrey is. How seriously and learnedly he can
talk. How decided he is, and I think he has the marks of his spiritual
calling written in his face. He isn't the least bit handsome it is
true; Rudolph is much better looking, but then Godfrey has an air with
him that seems to say: 'don't disturb me by telling me of any of your
foolish worldly little vanities, for I have high thoughts and
aspirations, I am going to be a clergyman.' I'll cut his hair short
though as soon as I have the power."--It is a great blessing that every
girl does not set her heart on having a handsome husband, for otherwise
we ugly men would all have to remain bachelors; and pleasant looking
objects we should be in that case, as I know of nothing uglier than an
ugly old bachelor.--Lina's last thought, that of cutting Godfrey's
hair, had shown so much certainty of what was going to happen, that she
blushed deeply, and as at the same moment she heard a slow dignified
step approaching, she snatched up her work and began to sew busily.

Godfrey seated himself at a little distance from his cousin, opened his
book and began to read, but every now and then he peeped over the edge
of it, either because he had read it before, or because he was thinking
of something else.--That is always the way with Methodistical divinity
students even when they firmly believe what they teach. Before the
examination they think of nothing but their spiritual calling, but
after the examination is well over human nature regains its sway, and
they look out for a fitting wife, before they begin to think of a
parsonage.--Godfrey was like all the rest of his kind, and as no other
girls except Mina and Lina had come in his way, and as Lina attended to
his admonitions far more docilely than her sister, he determined to
make her his help-meet. He was ignorant as to how such matters ought to
be conducted, and felt a little shy and awkward. He had got no further
in his wooing than pressing his lady-love's foot under the table, and
whenever he had done so he was always much more confused than Lina,
whose foot had received the pressure.

However he had determined that the whole matter should be settled
that day, so he began: "I brought this book out entirely for your
sake, Lina. Will you listen to a bit of it just now?"--"Yes," said
Lina.---"What a slow affair it's going to be," thought Bräsig, who
could hardly be said to be lying on a bed of roses, his position in the
cherry-tree was so cramped and uncomfortable.--Godfrey proceeded to
read a sermon on Christian marriage, describing how it should be
entered into, and what was the proper way of looking upon it. When he
had finished he drew a little nearer his cousin and asked: "What do you
think of it, Lina?"--"It's very nice," said Lina.--"Do you mean
marriage?" asked Godfrey.--"O-oh, Godfrey," said Lina, her head
drooping lower over her work.--"No, Lina," Godfrey went on drawing a
little closer to her, "it isn't at all nice. I am thankful to see that
you don't regard the gravest step possible in human life with
unbecoming levity. Marriage is a very hard thing, that is to say, in
the Christian sense of the word."--He then described the duties, cares
and troubles of married life as if he wished to prepare Lina for taking
up her abode in some penal settlement, and Bräsig, as he listened,
congratulated himself on having escaped such a terrible fate. "Yes,"
Godfrey continued, "marriage is part of the curse that was laid on our
first parents when they were thrust out of paradise." So saying he
opened his Bible and read the third chapter of Genesis aloud. Poor Lina
did not know what to do, or where to look, and Bräsig muttered: "The
infamous Jesuit, to read all that to the child." He nearly jumped down
from the tree in his rage, and as for Lina, she would have run away if
it had not been the Bible her cousin was reading to her, so she hid her
face in her hands and wept bitterly. Godfrey was now quite carried away
by zeal for his holy calling; he put his arm round her waist, and said:
"I could not spare you this at a time when I purpose making a solemn
appeal to you. Caroline Nüssler, will you, knowing the gravity of the
step you take, enter the holy estate of matrimony with me, and become
my Christian help-meet?"--Lina was so frightened and distressed at his
whole conduct that she could neither speak nor think; she could only
cry.

At the same moment a merry song was heard at a little distance:


           "One bright afternoon I stood to look
            Into the depths of a silver brook,
            And there I saw little fishes swim,
            One of them was grey, I look'd at him.
            He was swimming, swimming and swimming
            And with delight seemed overbrimming;
            I never saw such a thing in my life
            As the little grey fish seeking a wife."


Lina struggled hard to regain her composure, and then, in spite of the
Bible and the Christian requirements demanded of her, she started up
and rushed out of the arbour. On her way to the house she passed Mina
who was coming out to join her with her sewing. Godfrey followed Lina
with long slow steps, and looked as much put out as the clergyman who
was interrupted in a very long sermon by the beadle placing the church
key on the reading desk and saying that he might lock up the church
himself when he had done, for he, the beadle, must go home to dinner.
Indeed he was in much the same position as that clergyman. Like him he
had wished to preach a very fine sermon, and now he was left alone in
his empty church.

Mina was an inexperienced little thing, for she was the youngest of the
family, but still she was quick-witted enough to guess something of
what had taken place. She asked herself whether she would cry if the
same thing were to happen to her, and what it would be advisable for
her to do under the circumstances. She seated herself quietly in the
arbour, and began to unroll her work, sighing a little as she did so at
the thought of the uncertainty of her own fate, and the impossibility
of doing anything but wait patiently.--"Bless me!" said Bräsig to
himself as he lay hidden in the tree. "This little round-head has come
now, and I've lost all feeling in my body. It's a horribly slow
affair!"--But the situation was soon to become more interesting, for
shortly after Mina had taken her seat a handsome young man came round
the corner of the arbour with an fishing rod over his shoulder and a
fish basket on his back.--"I'm so glad to find you here, Mina," he
exclaimed, "of course you've all finished dinner."--"You need hardly
ask, Rudolph. It has just struck two."--"Ah well," he said, "I suppose
that my aunt is very angry with me again."--"You may be certain of
that, and she was displeased with you already, you know, even without
your being late for dinner. I'm afraid, however, that your own stomach
will punish you more severely than my mother's anger could do, you've
neglected it so much to-day."--"All the better for you to-night. I
really couldn't come sooner, the fish were biting so splendidly. I went
to the black pool to-day, though Bräsig always advised me not to go
there, and now I know why. It's his larder. When he can't catch
anything elsewhere he's sure of a bite in the black pool. It's cram
full of tench. Just look, did you ever see such beauties?" and he
opened the lid of his basket as he spoke, and showed his spoil, adding:
"I've done old Bräsig this time at any rate!"--"The young rascal!"
groaned Bräsig as he poked his nose through the cherry-leaves, making
it appear like a huge pickled capsicum such as Mrs. Nüssler was in the
habit of preserving in cherry-leaves for winter use. "The young rascal
to go and catch my tench! Bless me! what monsters the rogue has
caught!"--"Give them to me, Rudolph," said Mina. "I will take them into
the house, and will bring you something to eat out here."--"Oh no,
never mind."--"But you mustn't starve," she said.--"Very well
then--anything will do. A bit of bread and butter will be quite
enough, Mina."--The girl went away, and Rudolph seated himself in the
arbour.--"The devil take it!" muttered Bräsig, stretching his legs
softly, and twisting and turning, in the vain endeavour to find a part
of his body which was not aching from his cramped position. "The wretch
is sitting there now! I never saw such goings on!"

Rudolph sat buried in thought, a very unusual circumstance with him. He
was easy-going by nature, and never troubled himself beforehand about
vexations that might come to him. He was not in the habit of brooding
over his worries, but on the contrary always tried to forget them. He
was tall and strongly made, and his mischievous brown eyes had
sometimes a look of imperious audacity which was in perfect keeping
with the scar on his sunburnt cheek that bore witness that he had not
devoted his whole time and energy to the study of dogmatic Theology.
"Yes," he said to himself as he sat there waiting for his cousin, "I
must get myself out of this difficulty! I could bear it as long as it
was far off, for there was always plenty of time to come to a decision,
but two things must be settled to-day beyond recall. My father is
coming this afternoon. I only hope that my mother won't take it into
her head to come too, or I should never have courage to do it. I'm as
well suited to be a clergyman as a donkey is to play the guitar, or as
Godfrey is to be colonel of a cavalry-regiment. If Bräsig were only
here, he'd stand by me I know--And then Mina--I wish it were all
settled with her."--At this moment Mina appeared carrying a plate of
bread and butter--Rudolph sprang up, exclaiming: "What a dear good
little girl you are, Mina!" and he threw his arm round her waist as he
spoke.--Mina freed herself from him, saying: "Don't do that. Ah, how
could you have been so wicked? My mother is very angry with you."--"You
mean about the sermon," he answered, "well yes, it was a stupid
trick."--"No," said Mina quickly, "it was a wicked trick. You made game
of holy things."--"Not a bit of it," he replied. "These trial sermons
are not holy things, even when they are preached by our pious cousin
Godfrey."--"But, Rudolph, it was in _church_!"--"Ah, Mina, I confess
that it was a silly joke. I didn't think sufficiently of what I was
doing. I only thought of the sheepish look of amazement Godfrey's face
would wear, and that tickled me so much that I was mad enough to play
the trick. Now don't let us talk any more about it, Mina," he said
coaxingly, as he slipped his arm round her waist again.--"No, I won't
allow that," said Mina. "And," she went on, "the parson said that
if he were to make the story known, you'd never get a living all your
life."--"Then I hope that he'll tell everyone what I did and it'll end
all the bother."--"What do you mean?" asked Mina, pushing him from her
and staring at him in perplexity. "Are you in earnest?"--"Never
more so in my life. I've entered the pulpit for the first and last
time."--"Rudolph!" cried Mina in astonishment.--"What's the use of
trying to make me a clergyman," said Rudolph quickly. "Look at Godfrey
and then look at me. Do you think I should make a good parson. And
then, there's another thing, even if I were so well up in theology that
I could puzzle the learned professors themselves, they would never pass
me in the examination. All that they care about is having men who can
adopt all their cant phrases. If I were the apostle Paul himself they'd
refuse to pass me, if they caught sight of this little scar upon my
cheek."--"What are you going to do then?" asked Mina anxiously,
and laying her hand upon his arm, she added: "Oh, _don't_ be a
soldier!"--"I should think not! No, I want to be a farmer."--"The
confounded young rascal!" muttered Bräsig.--"Yes, my own dear little
Mina," continued Rudolph, drawing her to his side on the bench, "I
intend to be a farmer; a real good hard-working farmer, and you, dear
Mina, must help me to become one."--"What!" said Bräsig to himself,
"is she to teach him to plough and harrow?"--"I, Rudolph?" asked
Mina.--"Yes, my sweet child," he answered, stroking her smooth hair and
soft cheeks; then taking her chin in his hand, he raised her face
towards him, and looking into her blue eyes, went on: "If I could only
be certain that you'd consent to be my little wife as soon as I'd a
home to offer you, it would make everything easy to me, and I should be
sure of learning to be a good farmer. Will you, Mina, will you?"--Mina
began to cry softly, and Rudolph kissed away the tears as they rolled
down her cheeks, and then she laid her little round-head on his
shoulder. Rudolph gave her time to recover her composure, and after a
few minutes she told him in a low whisper that she would do as he
asked, so he kissed her again and again.--Bräsig seeing this exclaimed
half aloud: "The devil take him! Stop that!"--Rudolph found time to
tell her in the midst of his kissing that he intended to speak to his
father that afternoon, and said amongst other things that it was a
pity, Bräsig was not there, as he was sure he would have helped him to
make his explanation to his father, who, he knew, thought a great deal
of Bräsig's advice.--"The young rascal to catch my fish!" muttered
Bräsig.--Then Mina said: "Bräsig was here this morning and dined with
us. I daresay he is enjoying an after dinner sleep now."--"Just listen
to little round-head," said Bräsig to himself. "An after dinner sleep
indeed! But everything is settled now, and I needn't cramp my bones up
here any longer."--And while Rudolph was saying that he would like to
see the old man before he went into the house, Bräsig slipped out of
his hiding-place in the cherry-tree, and clinging with both hands to
the lowest branch, let his legs dangle in the air, and shouted: "Here
he is!"--Bump! He came down on the ground, and stood before the lovers
with an expression on his red face which seemed to say that he
considered himself a competent judge on even the most delicate points
of feeling.

The two young people were not a little startled. Mina hid her face in
her hands as Lina had done, but she did not cry; and she would have run
away like Lina if she and uncle Bräsig had not always been on the most
confidential terms with each other. She threw herself into uncle
Bräsig's arms, and in her desire to hide her blushing face, she tried
to burrow her little round-head into his waistcoat-pocket, exclaiming:
"Uncle Bräsig, uncle Bräsig, you're a very naughty old man!"--"Oh!"
said Bräsig, "you think so, do you?"--"Yes," answered Rudolph, who had
mounted his high horse, "you ought to be ashamed of listening to what
you were not intended to hear."--"Moshoo Rudolph," said the old bailiff
stiffly, "I may as well tell you once for all, that shame is a thing
that must never be mentioned in connection with me, and if you think
that your grand airs will have any effect upon me, you're very much
mistaken."--Rudolph saw clearly that such was the case, and as he did
not want to quarrel with the old man for Mina's sake, he relented a
little, and said more gently that he would think nothing more of what
had occurred, if Bräsig could assure him that he had got into the tree
by accident, but still he considered that Bräsig ought to have coughed,
or done something to make his presence known, instead of sitting still
and listening to the whole story from A to Z.--"Oh," said Bräsig, "I
ought to have _coughed_, you say, but I _groaned_ loud enough, I can
tell you, and you couldn't have helped hearing me if you hadn't been so
much taken up with what you yourself were about. But _you_ ought to be
ashamed of yourself for having fallen in love with Mina without Mrs.
Nüssler's leave."--Rudolph replied that that was his own affair, that
no one had a right to meddle, and that Bräsig understood nothing about
such things.--"What!" said Bräsig. "Have you ever been engaged to three
girls at once? _I_ have, Sir, and quite openly too, and yet you say
that I know nothing about such things! But sneaks are all alike. First
of all you catch my fish secretly in the black pool, and then you catch
little Mina in the arbour before my very eyes. No, no, let him be,
Mina. He shall not hurt you."--"Ah, uncle Bräsig!" entreated Mina, "do
help us, we love each other so dearly."--"Yes, let him be, Mina, you're
my little god-child; you'll soon get over it."--"No, Mr. Bräsig," cried
Rudolph, laying his hand on the old man's shoulder, "no, dear good
uncle Bräsig, we'll never get over it; it'll last as long as we live. I
want to be a farmer, and if I have the hope before me of gaining Mina
for my wife some day, and if," he added slyly, "you will help me with
your advice, I can't help becoming a good one."--"What a young rascal!"
said Bräsig to himself, then aloud: "Ah, yes, I know you! You'd be a
latin farmer like Pistorius, and Prætorius, and Trebonius. You'd sit on
the edge of a ditch and read the book written by the fellow with the
long string of titles of honour, I mean the book about oxygen, nitrogen
and organisms, whilst the farm-boys spread the manure over your
rye-field in lumps as big as your hat. Oh, I know you! I've only known
one man who took to farming after going through all the classes at the
High-school, who turned out well. I mean young Mr. von Rambow,
Hawermann's pupil."--"Oh, uncle Bräsig," said Mina, raising her head
slowly and stroking the old man's cheek, "Rudolph can do as well as
Frank."--"No, Mina, he _can't_. And shall I tell you why? Because he's
only a grey-hound, while the other is a man"--"Uncle Bräsig," said
Rudolph, "I suppose you are referring to that silly trick that I played
about the sermon, but you don't know how Godfrey plagued me in his zeal
for converting me. I really couldn't resist playing him a trick."--"Ha,
ha, ha!" laughed Bräsig. "No, I didn't mean that, I was very much
amused at that. So he wanted to convert you, and perhaps induce you to
give up fishing? He tried his hand at converting again this afternoon,
but Lina ran away from him; however that doesn't matter, it's all
right."--"With Lina and Godfrey?" asked Mina anxiously. "And did you
hear all that passed on that occasion too?"--"Of course I did. It was
for her sake entirely that I hid myself in that confounded cherry-tree.
But now come here, Moshoo Rudolph. Do you promise never to enter a
pulpit again, or to preach another sermon?"--"Never again."--"Do you
promise to get up at three o'clock in the morning in summer, and give
out the feeds for the horses?"--"Punctually."--"Do you promise to
learn how to plough, harrow, mow and bind properly? I mean to bind
with a wisp, there's no art in doing it with a rope."--"Yes," said
Rudolph,--"Do you promise when coming home from market never to sit in
an inn over a punch-bowl while your carts go on before, so that you are
obliged to reel after them?"--"I promise never to do so," said
Rudolph.--"Do you promise--Mina, do you see that pretty flower over
there, the blue one I mean, will you bring it to me, I want to smell
it--do you promise," he repeated as soon as Mina was out of hearing,
"never to flirt with any of those confounded farm-girls?"--"Oh, Mr.
Bräsig, do you take me for a scoundrel?" asked Rudolph, turning away
angrily.--"No, no," answered Bräsig, "but I want you to understand
clearly from the very beginning that I will strangle you if ever you
cause my little god-child to shed a tear." And as he spoke he looked so
determined, that one might have thought he was going to begin the
operation at once. "Thank you, Mina," he said, taking the flower from
her, and after smelling it putting it in his button-hole. "And now come
here, Mina, and I will give you my blessing. Nay, you needn't go down
on your knees, for I'm not one of your parents, I'm only your
god-father. And, Moshoo Rudolph, I promise to take your part this
afternoon when your father comes, and to help you to free yourself from
being bound to a profession you don't like. Come away both of you, we
must go in now. But, Rudolph, remember you mustn't sit on the grass and
read, but must see to the proper manuring of your fields yourself. Look
this is the way the farm-lads ought to hold their pitch-forks, not like
that. Bang! and tumble off all that is on it; no, they must shake the
fork gently three or four times, breaking and spreading the manure as
they do so. When a bit of ground is properly spread it ought to look as
smooth and clean as a velvet table-cover."--He then went into the house
accompanied by the two young people.



                              CHAPTER VI.


Towards the middle of the afternoon Kurz, the general-merchant, and
Baldrian, the rector of the academy, set out for Rexow. Kurz very soon
repented having asked the rector to accompany him, for it is an
extremely uncomfortable thing for a short man to have a long-legged
friend as companion in a walk. As they went along the road, the rector
said jestingly that their way of walking made a capital verse of the
kind the Romans loved, and which they called a dactyle, for they went
long, short short; long, short short. This witticism made Kurz angry,
for he regarded it as a reflection on his legs, and on his power of
walking, so he tried hard to lengthen his steps.--"Now we are making a
spondee," said the rector.--"Do me the favour, brother-in-law," said
Kurz angrily, and gasping for breath, "not to thrust your learning down
my throat; I'm too hot to bear it"--Then he passed his handkerchief
over his heated face, took off his coat and hung it over his
walking-stick. Kurz's principal trade was that of druggist, but he also
dealt in drapery and other goods, and as in this latter branch of trade
there were always remnants left of various materials, he found his
short stature very convenient in using up any odd pieces of cloth that
might be left on his hands. About a year and a half before this when
clearing his shop of old and useless goods, he found a remnant of stuff
that had once been in fashion for ladies' cloaks, the pattern of which
was a giraffe browsing on a tall palm-tree. He considered the piece of
cloth too good to throw away, and as he could not induce any one to buy
it, he had it made into a summer-coat for himself. And now he walked
along the Rexow road carrying it like a banner, as if he were the
youngest ensign in the army of a small German prince, whose coat of
arms was a giraffe and a palm-tree. Rector Baldrian stalked on by his
side in a yellow nankin-coat, and looked as if he were the leader of
the right wing of the same prince's bodyguard, always supposing that
the said prince had chosen to dress his body-guard in yellow nankin for
a little change.

"Bless me!" said Mrs. Nüssler, who was in the parlour, "Kurz is
bringing the rector with him."--"So he is," answered Bräsig, "but he
won't be much in our way this afternoon, for I intend to interrupt him
whenever I see fit."--They were both afraid, and not unreasonably so,
of Baldrian's love of making long speeches.

The two visitors now came into the room, and the rector began to talk
about his pleasure in seeing his old friends again, and told them how
he had embraced the opportunity of Kurz's going to Rexow to accompany
him as he could not have a better excuse. Bräsig answered shortly that
his long legs were the best excuse he could have for the walk, and then
turned away from him. As Mrs. Nüssler was busy talking to Kurz the
rector had to content himself with addressing the rest of his remarks
to Joseph, who listened to the stream of words with the most
praiseworthy attention, and when it ceased, merely said: "How-d'ye-do,
brother-in-law; won't you sit down."--Kurz was in a bad humour.
Firstly, because he wanted to give his son a scolding; secondly,
because Baldrian had nearly walked him off his legs; and thirdly,
because he had got a slight chill from taking off his coat, and was
suffering from hiccough. His bad temper, however, was nothing unusual,
for he had almost always something to displease him. He was a radical,
not with regard to the affairs of the state, for such people were then
unknown in Mecklenburg, but as far as the municipal government of the
town in which he lived was concerned. He had long made it the task of
his life to get the charge of the town-jail out of the hands of the
long-nosed baker who was so shamefully favoured by the mayor. He gasped
and hiccoughed, and his heated face crowned with stubbly grey hair
might, without too great a stretch of imagination, be likened to a
freshly cut spiced ham that had been thickly strewed with pepper and
salt on the top. The resemblance was incomplete in one particular, for
there was no knife to be seen, but Bräsig took care to put that right.
He went to the knife-basket, took a sharp dinner-knife out of it,
and going up to the spiced ham, said: "Come, Kurz, sit down there
for a moment."--"What do you want?" asked Kurz.--"To show my
sympathy for your hiccough. Now, Keep your eyes fixed on the sharp
edge of the knife. I shall bring the edge of the knife nearer and
nearer to you, so; but you must be frightened or it will do no good.
Nearer--and--nearer, as if I wanted to stab you on the nose. Nearer
and--nearer till I almost touch your eyes."--"Hang it!" cried Kurz,
springing to his feet "Do you mean to put out my eyes?"--"Capital!"
said Bräsig. "Capital! I've given you a fright, and that ought to have
cured you."--It really had the effect of sending away his hiccough, but
did not lessen his ill-humour.--"Where's my son?" he asked. "I've got a
crow to pick with him. Ah, brother-in-law," he went on, turning to
Joseph, "I've had enough to anger me. There's my son here; then at the
court-house about the management of the jail; at home with my wife
because of that silly affair of the sermon; in the shop with a stupid
apprentice, who when asked for a penny-weight of black silk-thread gave
the customer half an ounce instead! And again on the road here with the
rector's long legs."--"Mother," said young Joseph, pushing a coffee-cup
nearer his wife, "give Kurz some coffee."--"Oh, brother-in-law," said
Mrs. Nüssler, "there's plenty of time for all that. Let us talk over
the matter quietly first, and don't speak to the boy about what he did
until your anger has cooled a little, or you will only be pouring oil
on the flames."--"I'll ...." began Kurz passionately, but he got no
further, for at the same moment the door opened, and Godfrey came in.

Godfrey looked unusually solemn as he went up to his father and wished
him good-day. His pompous manner, and the severe gravity of his
deportment were enough to make one imagine, that his patron saint had
taken care to clothe him in unapproachable dignity, that he might the
more easily keep himself unspotted from the world.--"How-d'ye-do, papa.
I hope you are well," he said giving his father a kiss in the hollow of
his cheek, which the latter returned by making a kiss in the air
thereby reminding one of a carp when he puts his head out of the water.
"How is mama just now?" the son continued, for Godfrey had been taught
to say "papa and mama" from his earliest years, because though the
rector thought it quite right and proper for tradesmen's children to
call their parents "father and mother," he did not consider it seemly
that the children of well educated people should do so. Kurz was always
indignant at "such affectation," for his son of course said "father and
mother"--"How-d'ye-do, uncle," continued Godfrey addressing Kurz, "and
how are you, Mr. bailiff Bräsig," then turning to his father he went
on: "I am particularly glad that you have come to-day, for I want to
speak to you about a matter of the deepest interest to myself."--"Aha!"
said Bräsig to himself. "He's making a good beginning."

The rector went out into the yard with his son, and Bräsig placed
himself in the window that he might watch them. Mrs. Nüssler came up to
him and said: "Well, Bräsig, have you found out anything this afternoon
with regard to my children?"--"Don't be anxious, Mrs. Nüssler, the
mystery is unravelled."--"What do you mean?" cried Mrs. Nüssler. "What
have you discovered?"--"You'll soon hear what it is, for look put
there, that has got something to do with it. Why do you think that the
rector shakes hands with and embraces the Methodist so warmly? Is it
because of his Christian faith? No, I will tell you why. It is because
you are such a good manager."--Bräsig had as great a knowledge of human
nature and of the human heart as if he had been a soothsayer, but like
all soothsayers he spoke darkly, and so Mrs. Nüssler was unable to
understand what he meant. "But," she exclaimed, "why does he embrace
Godfrey because I am a good manager?"--Bräsig had another fault in
common with all soothsayers and that was that he never answered a
direct question unless it suited him to do so. "Look!" he said. "Why
does he give his son his blessing? Is it not because he knows
that money can buy everything that a man can desire, and that
there is plenty of it here?"--"But what has that got to do with my
children?"--"You'll soon see. Look! The Methodist is going away now,
just watch his father. Preserve us all! He's preparing a speech, and
it's sure to be a long one, for everything about him is long,
especially his cer'monious politeness."--When the rector came in he
proved what a good judge of human nature Bräsig was, for no sooner had
he entered the room than he began: "Ladies and gentlemen, a wise man of
old gave utterance to this incontestable proposition, that that
household is to be regarded as the happiest in which peace and comfort
are to be found. That is the case here. I have not come to disturb your
peace--my worthy brother-in-law Kurz may do as he likes--I have come
here by chance, but chance is often only another name for destiny, and
it sometimes leads us without our knowledge to the most important
events of our lives. Such has been the case to-day. This chance may
lead to good or it may lead to ill, but as I do not wish to say too
much just now, I will allude to this part of the subject no more for
the present. Dear brother-in-law Joseph, I address myself to you as the
real head of this happy family"--Joseph stared at him in as blank
amazement as if the rector had said that he was the autocrat of all the
Russias, and that he ought by rights to sit on a throne in the royal
palace at Moscow--"Yes," repeated the rector, "I address myself to you
as the _real_ head of the family, and you will, I am sure, pardon me if
I also turn to my dear sister-in-law, who has ever conducted the
affairs of her own immediate circle with so much wisdom and love that
the blessed effects of her rule have extended themselves to other
families, related to her's by the ties of consanguinity--I allude more
particularly to the kind reception my son Godfrey met with here and
which has been of the greatest possible advantage to him.--You, my dear
brother-in-law Kurz, also belong to the family, at least on the female
side, through--but we will say no more about that in this happy
hour--suffice it to say that I know you will rejoice with me in my joy.
But now," approaching Bräsig, "'[Greek: pos t' ar' io, ton prostuxomai
auton?]' which signifies: How shall I address you, Mr. bailiff Bräsig?
for though you cannot be called a member of the family in the strict
sense of the word, yet you have always been so helpful in deed, and so
wise in counsel ...."--"If that's the case," interrupted Bräsig, "I'll
give you some good advice now. If you don't keep a better hold of the
reins you'll never get to the end."--"End!" ejaculated the rector,
whose inborn sanctimoniousness was only covered by a thin crust of
scholastic pedantry. "End!" he repeated, raising his eyes to heaven.
"Will it lead to a good or a bad end? Who can tell what the end will
be?"--"I can," answered Bräsig, "for I heard the beginning in that
confounded cherry-tree this afternoon. The end is that the Methodist
will marry our Lina."

What an uproar there was!--"Goodness gracious me!" cried Mrs. Nüssler.
"Godfrey!--our child!"--"Yes," said the rector, who now that he had
been stopped in his harangue stood before them with much the same dazed
expression as Klein the engineer at Stavenhagen had worn, when on
trying some engines to see whether they would answer, a pipe burst
unexpectedly and his glory was suddenly eclipsed.--Kurz started up,
exclaiming: "The rascal! Godfrey evidently thinks no small beer of
himself!"--And Joseph also rose, but more slowly, and asked: "Was it
Mina you said, Bräsig?"--"No, young Joseph, only Lina," answered Bräsig
quietly.--"So you knew all about it, Bräsig, and yet you never told
me," said Mrs. Nüssler reproachfully.--"Oh, I know more than that," he
replied, "but why should I have told you? It could make no difference
whether you knew it a quarter of an hour sooner or later, and besides
that, I thought it would have been a pleasant surprise for you."--"Here
he is," said the rector, bringing Godfrey in from the front hall where
he had been awaiting the result of the interview, "and he relies on
your kindness for a favourable decision."

Godfrey's manner was so totally different from what it had been a short
time before that he looked like another man. He had got rid of his
pomposity and look of self-sufficiency, for he was too thoroughly in
earnest at that moment to put on any little airs, and was contented to
show himself as he really was, namely, a man full of doubt and hope, of
fear and love; in short, a human being and not a machine. And assuredly
true love is in itself so beautiful, being one of the deepest and
tenderest feelings of humanity, that he could not have made it more
beautiful by retaining his grave clerical manner. Godfrey had not felt
this to be the case at first, but now his love had gained such power
over him that he told Mrs. Nüssler and Joseph his tale so simply and
naturally, that Bräsig said to himself: "What a change there is in that
young fellow! If Lina has improved him so much in this short time,
there are great hopes for the future. He may become a very pleasant,
agreeable man in course of time."

Mrs. Nüssler listened silently to what Godfrey had to say for himself.
Although she really liked her nephew, she did not feel at all sure that
she could give him her daughter, and was very much puzzled and
distressed. "Good gracious, Godfrey," she at last exclaimed, "I know
that you are a good lad, and that you've been working hard for your
examination, but ....." Here she was interrupted by her husband for the
first time in her life. As soon as Joseph understood that it was not
Mina he became calm, and sat down again; he collected his thoughts
while Godfrey was speaking, and when he saw all eyes fixed on him he
determined to speak, and so interrupting his wife, he said: "Ah,
Godfrey, it all depends upon circumstances. I will do my duty as father
of the family. If my wife gives her consent, so do I, and if Lina gives
her consent, I will do so too."--"Bless me, Joseph!" cried Mrs.
Nüssler. "What on earth are you saying? _Do_ be quiet. I must speak to
my daughter first. I must hear what she says before anything is
settled."--And she hastened from the room.

They had not to wait long till she came back with Lina, and followed by
Mina and Rudolph, who probably intended making their confession when
they saw that matters were going smoothly with the other two. Lina
blushed as red as a rose when, letting go her mother's hand, she
returned Godfrey's kiss, and then threw herself into her mother's arms.
After that she seated herself on her father's knee, and tried to give
him a kiss, but could not for coughing, and no wonder, for Joseph in
his excitement was smoking as if for a wager, so she only said:
"Father," and he answered: "Lina." When she got up Bräsig was standing
at her side, and he patted her shoulder, and said: "Never mind, Lina,
I'll give you a present too."--Godfrey now came up to her, and taking
her by the hand led her up to his father, who stooped down so low to
give her a paternal embrace, that the others all thought he wanted to
pick a hair-pin off the floor. The rector then prepared to make another
speech, but Bräsig put a stop to it by drumming "The old Dessauer" so
loud on the window-pane that no one could hear a single word, and as he
drummed he stared out of the window as fixedly as if the way the
sunlight fell on the fruit-trees in Joseph's garden were particularly
worthy of his attention. He was thinking of the apple-tree which might
have been his, long, long ago, but which Joseph had planted in his own
garden, while he had had to look on. But in spite of that he had always
taken as great care of the tree as if it had been his, had tended it,
and watched over it. And the tree had borne fruit, two round rosy
apples, which as time went on grew ripe and beautiful in his eyes, and
then two boys saw them, climbed over the wall, and one of them plucked
an apple and put it in his pocket, while the other prepared to follow
his example. Well, well, boys are boys, and apples and boys always go
together. He knew that, and had often told himself that it would come
to pass sooner or later, but it made him sad to think that the care of
the little apple-cheeked maidens was passing out of his hands, and he
could not yet bring himself to consent to give his little round-heads
up to other people, so he drummed more vehemently than before on the
window.

Kurz here blew his nose so loudly that one might be pardoned for
thinking he wanted to blow a trumpet in accompaniment to Bräsig's drum.
He did not do it however because his feelings were touched by what was
going on, but because he was very angry. He felt as much out of place
in this quiet scene of domestic happiness, as a fifth wheel in a
carriage, but as he knew that good manners required him to congratulate
his relations, he advanced to do so with a forced smile which made him
look as if he were eating a plum pickled in vinegar. He passed his son
Rudolph without even glancing at him, and made his civil speeches to
the right hand and to the left with the worst possible grace. When he
reached the rector he could restrain himself no longer, for the thought
of his son's misdeeds overwhelmed him, and he turned to Rudolph,
saying: "Ar'n't you ashamed of yourself?" Then to the others: "Pardon
me, but this business must be settled first--Ar'n't you ashamed of
yourself? Hav'n't you cost me more money than Godfrey ever cost his
father? Have you learnt anything? Tell me what you have learnt."--"Dear
brother-in-law," said the rector, laying his hand on Kurz's head as
kindly as if he had been a little boy, and had done his latin exercise
well, "he can't tell you all that he has learnt at a moment's
notice."--"What!" cried Kurz, jerking his head from under the rector's
hand. "Did _you_ bring me here, or was it I who brought you? I
think that I brought you, and so have a right to have my business
done."--"Ar'n't you ashamed of yourself?" he cried, turning again to
Rudolph. "Look, there's Godfrey. He has passed his examination, and is
engaged to a pretty girl--and a nice girl too," here he made a bow
which he intended for Lina, but in his excitement he directed it to
Mrs. Nüssler. "He may get a church to-morrow," bowing to Bräsig instead
of Godfrey, "whilst you--whilst you--have gone about fighting, and have
done nothing. You have also contracted debts, but I won't pay them,"
and then although no one had contradicted him, he repeated: "I won't
pay them! No, I won't pay them!" After which he joined Bräsig at the
window, and began to help him to drum.

Poor Rudolph stood on thorns during this address. It is true that he
was naturally of an easy going disposition, and that he generally took
his father's admonitions as they were intended, for let no one imagine
Kurz meant all he said when he was angry with his son. No. It was that
he loved his boy so dearly, he could not bear to acknowledge that the
rector's son had done so much better than he had. But although Rudolph
was quite aware that that was the case, he felt hurt and angry with his
father for having taken him to task before so many witnesses, and if
his eyes had not fallen on Mina, he would have said some of the bitter
words which rushed to his lips. Mina was very pale, and was trembling
violently in her intense sympathy for him, who since that afternoon,
was bone of her bone, and flesh of her flesh, and Rudolph seeing it
swallowed down the hasty words he was about to have uttered, feeling
for the first time that he must no longer be swayed by impulse, but
read in Mina's eyes her opinion of his every action. And I think that
is one of the greatest blessings true love brings to the young.

"Father," he said after he had regained his self-command, and then
unheeding the grave faces round him, he went up to his father and laid
his hand on his shoulder, "Come, father! I've done with silly tricks
and practical jokes from this time forward."--Kurz went on drumming on
the glass, and Bräsig ceased to do it. "Father," Rudolph went on,
"you're quite right to be displeased with me, I know that I deserve it,
but ...."--"_Do_ stop that confounded drumming," said Bräsig, pushing
Kurz's hand down.--"Father," continued Rudolph, seizing his father's
hand, "let all be forgiven and forgotten!"---"No," said Kurz, thrusting
both his hands into his pockets.--"What!" cried Bräsig, "you won't do
that? I know quite well that nobody has any business to interfere
between a father and son, but all the same I intend to interfere, for
it's your own fault that the dispute is such a public one. Do you mean
to tell me that you won't forgive and forget your own son's folly?
Don't you remember sending me that nasty sweet Prussian kümmel long
ago? And didn't I forgive you, and go on dealing with you, and paying
my debts honourably?"--"I have always served you honestly," answered
Kurz.--"Oh, indeed!" said Bräsig sarcastically, "when you sold me that
pair of trousers for instance? Young Joseph, you remember them, and can
bear me witness how they changed colour."--"Pshaw! That stupid story of
yours about the trousers," cried Kurz. "You've talked about them often
enough, and ...."--"Well, you know, them," interrupted Bräsig. "Now
confess. Wasn't it pure wickedness on your part to let me take them,
when you knew they would turn red, and yet, have I not forgiven and
forgotten? That's to say I hav'n't forgotten, for I've a distinct
recollection of the whole affair. And you needn't forget the young man,
you need only forgive him."--"Dear brother-in-law," began the rector,
who thought it incumbent on him to preach peace as he had formerly been
a clergyman, but Kurz stopped him short, and said: "Say no more for
pity sake! You're engaged to a pretty girl, and will soon get a
living--I mean that your son Godfrey will--while we--we--have learnt
nothing, and so will never have a chance of either!" And so saying he
began to walk rapidly up and down the room.--"Father," cried Rudolph,
"listen to me."--"Yes," said Mrs. Nüssler whose heart was sore for the
lad; then going up to Kurz she took him by the arm, and went on, "you
must and shall listen to what he has to say, for although that was a
very wrong and silly trick he played about the sermon--and no one could
have been more angry with him than I was--still he is a dear good boy,
and many a father would be proud of having such a son."--"Very well,"
replied Kurz, "I will hear what he has to say." Placing himself
opposite his son, and sticking his thumbs in the arm-holes of his
waist-coat, he went on: "What have you to say? Go on. What have you to
say for yourself?"--Rudolph looked entreatingly but firmly at his
father as he answered: "Dear father, I know that you will be sorry, but
I can't help it, I cannot be a clergyman, and I intend to be a farmer."

It is said that bears are taught to dance by being put on a heated iron
floor, where they are obliged to keep jumping about continually to
prevent their feel being burnt. On hearing his son's words, Kurz began
to dance round Rudolph as spasmodically as if the devil had heated Mrs.
Nüssler's parlour floor, as the bear keepers are in the habit of doing.
"Well, this is delightful!" he said at every jump he gave. "The nicest
thing I ever heard. My son, after having cost me so much money, after
having had such an excellent education wants to be a farmer! a
clod-breaker! a country-bumpkin! a lout!"--"Young Joseph," cried
Bräsig, "shall we allow that to pass? Get up, young Joseph! Sir!" he
continued going up to Kurz. "Do _you_, a mere herring-dealer, a seller
of molasses, dare to look down upon us farmers? Sir, do you know what
we are? We are the backbone of the nation. If we did not exist, and did
not give you employment, you tradesmen would have to go about the
country with packs on your backs. And yet you think that your son has
had too good an education to be a farmer! You sometimes say that he has
learnt too much, and then again you say that he has not learnt enough,
just as it suits you. Sir, do you really think--come here and stand
beside me, Joseph--do you think that it is necessary for a man to be a
fool or an ass before he can be a good farmer?"--"Dear brother-in-law,"
began the rector once more.--"Do you wish to kill me with your long
speeches?" snapped Kurz. "You've shorn your lamb; I came here to shear
my black sheep, and everyone falls upon me and wants to shear me
instead."--"Now, Kurz," said Mrs. Nüssler, "do try to be sensible. What
can't be cured must be endured. If Rudolph doesn't want to be a
clergyman, he is the 'nearest' as Mrs. Behrens would say, and ought to
be the best judge. It seems to me that if he is only a good man, it
doesn't matter whether he preaches or ploughs."--"Father," said
Rudolph, seeing that the old man appeared to be impressed by what he
had heard, "do give your consent, you don't know how much the happiness
of my life depends upon it."--"Who'll teach you?" asked Kurz still
crossly. "No one I'll be bound!"--"That's my affair," said Bräsig, "I
know a man, who'll do it. Hilgendorf in Tetzleben, who understands the
most learned the'ries in agriculture, and who has made some great
scholars into good practical farmers. He once had a poet amongst his
pupils, who used to write verses under the hedge, and who, instead of
saying that the sun had risen, used to say that Aurora was looking down
upon the fields and meadows. Then, when he wanted to describe how the
black storm clouds were rising, he said that cloud citadels were being
piled up in the western heavens, and instead of saying that it was
dropping, he used to say that a few drops of rain were falling
softly from the sky. But in spite of all this Hilgendorf succeeded
in making the poet a useful member of society. Rudolph must go to
him."--"Yes," answered Kurz, "he shall go to him, but I will tell
Hilgendorf ...."--"Tell him whatever you like father," said Rudolph,
seizing his father's hand, "but there's one thing I want to ask
you ...."--"Stop! Stop!" cried Kurz. "I know you're going to speak of
your debts, but don't tell me about them to-day. I've had enough to
bear with hearing that you're going to be a mere country bumpkin. I
won't pay them I tell you," pushing his son away from him as he
spoke.--"And you shan't have to do it, father," said Rudolph drawing
himself up to his full height, and looking at the old gentleman, with
an expression of such manly determination that all eyes were fixed on
him. "You shan't have to do it. I have contracted new obligations today
and have sworn to myself that I will fulfil them at any cost. This is
the person to whom I am indebted," he continued, going up to Mina, who
had hidden her face on her sister's shoulder at the beginning of the
quarrel, and who felt as if the Last Judgment had begun. He put his arm
round her waist, and went on: "And if I'm ever good for anything, you
must thank her for it--it will all be her doing," his eyes filled with
tears as he spoke, "and she has promised to be my wife."--"The young
rascal!" said Bräsig passing the back of his hand across his eyes, then
taking his former place in the window he began to drum "the old
Dessauer" once more, and he was the only one who was able to make music
on the occasion.--The others all stood as though they had been turned
to stone.--"Goodness gracious me!" Mrs. Nüssler at last exclaimed.
"What does all this mean?"--"What?" cried Joseph. "Did he say,
Mina?"--"Mercy on us, Joseph!" interrupted Mrs. Nüssler. "I wish you'd
be quiet. Mina, tell me what it means."--But Mina looked so white and
still as she stood there, her head resting on Rudolph's shoulder, that
it seemed as if she would never raise it, and never speak again.--Kurz
had grasped the whole meaning of the situation in a moment, and before
speaking did up a couple of sums in addition in his head. He was so
much pleased with the result of his calculation of Joseph's savings
that he began to dance again, but no longer like a polar bear; no, this
time he resembled a red Indian dancing his war-dance in sign of victory
while Bräsig supplied the music. Rector Baldrian's face was the only
one that remained calm and composed during all this excitement, and his
expression was as inscrutable as my own when I look into a Hebrew
Bible.--"What is it? What does it mean? What is all this?" cried Mrs.
Nüssler throwing herself into a chair. "My two children! Both my little
girls on one and the same day! And didn't you promise me," she said,
turning suddenly upon Bräsig, "that you would be on the watch?"--"Did I
not watch, Mrs. Nüssler," remonstrated Bräsig, "till all my bones
ached? But misfortunes never come single, and who can prevent
them? What do you say, Joseph?"--"I say nothing, but my dear mother
always used to say that a candidate for the ministry, and a
governess....."--"Joseph," cried Mrs. Nüssler, "you're talking me to
death! You've learnt to chatter since that wretched Rudolph came to the
house."--"What a fool you were not to tell me before," said Kurz to his
son as he danced round him and Mina, "I would have forgiven you long
ago for the sake of the dear little daughter-in-law you're giving me."
As he said this he took Mina's face between his hands and kissed
her.--"Mercy me!" exclaimed Mrs. Nüssler. "Kurz is calling her his
daughter-in-law, and kissing her, and yet his son has nothing to do,
and Mina is such an inexperienced little thing!"--"Oh?" asked Bräsig.
"You mean because she's the youngest? Come away with me, I want to
speak to you in private for a moment," and he drew her away to a corner
of the room where they both stood still and stared into the match-box
which was hanging on the wall. "Mrs. Nüssler," he said, "what's right
for one is equally right for the other. You've given Lina your
blessing, why won't you give it to Mina also? It's quite true that
she's the most inexperienced of the two because she's the youngest, but
Mrs. Nüssler you must rec'lect that the difference in age between twins
is so small that it's hardly worth counting. You have agreed to give
your daughter to the Methodist, although the devil alone knows how he
will treat her--none of us can tell, for neither you nor I nor Joseph
have ever studied for the priesthood--while the duellist--didn't you
notice how determined he looked, as if he would defend Mina against the
whole world--is a capital young fellow. And more than that, he's going
to be a farmer, so we can look after him, and you, Hawermann and I, and
even Joseph if he chooses, can keep him up to the mark. There's another
thing I want to say, Mrs. Nüssler, and that is, I always thought that
Joseph would grow to understand things better as he grew older, but he
doesn't. No, he doesn't, and so you may look: upon the lad as the best
son-in-law you could have had, and quite a blessing to you, for you see
that we are getting old, and if I were to die--not that I'm going to do
so just yet--it would be a great comfort to me to know that you had
some one belonging to you, who could take care of you."--When he had
finished speaking Bräsig continued to stare into the match-box, and
Mrs. Nüssler threw her arm round his neck and gave him the first kiss
he had ever had from her, then she said gently and quietly: "Bräsig if
you really think it right, I'm sure that it can't be against the will
of God."--Many an arbour has been the scene of a more passionate kiss
than that one, but if the old match-box in the corner could have spoken
I do not think that it would have changed places with it.

Mrs. Nüssler turned, and going to Rudolph, said: "Rudolph I will say no
more against it; I consent." She took Mina in her arms and then drew
Lina to her, so that the twins were clasped together in her embrace as
they used to be when they were children; she called them by the old pet
names she had given them long ago, and yet everything was quite
different to-day from what it had been then. In that old time she had
given them all they had, and now she had to receive from them; but hope
is not to be overcome, like the bee it makes its way into every flower
and helps itself to the honey it contains.

Meanwhile Bräsig was pacing the room with long strides; he held his
nose very high in the air, blowing it loudly every now and then, arched
his eyebrows, and pointed his feet straight out to the right and left
with as much dignity as if he were the father of the two girls, and
their forgiveness lay in his hands. As he walked up and down the
picture of a beautiful young woman came to his remembrance, he saw her
as once of old, her head crowned with a garland of ferns and yellow
corn-flowers, and he thought how well they suited the quiet loving
eyes. She seemed to take him by the hand, to lead him gently to the
mother and children, and laying his hands upon their heads to whisper:
"Never mind, they belong to you too."

Rudolph went up to Godfrey, held out his hand and said: "You're not
angry with me now, are you Godfrey?"--And Godfrey pressing his cousin's
hand warmly, replied: "How can you think so, dear brother. Forgiveness
is a Christian duty."--The rector coughed preparatory to making another
speech, and Kurz caught him by the coat tails and entreated him not to
meddle with the affair.--It was then that Joseph's absence was
discovered.--"Where was he?"--"Goodness gracious me!" cried Mrs. Nüssler
suddenly. "What's become of my Joseph?"--"Bless me! Where's Joseph?"
asked all the others, but Bräsig was the first who thought of going in
search of him. He hastened out of the front door into the yard,
shouting: "Joseph!" and then he ran to the back door and called:
"Joseph!" On his way back, he peeped into the kitchen where he caught
sight of a red face watching the coals under the great copper kettle,
and he saw that it was Joseph.

While Joseph was in the parlour, he was suddenly overwhelmed by the
feeling that it behoved him to do something under such peculiar
circumstances, and his heart felt so hot and heavy that 80° F. in the
shade was too cold for him, and so he had taken refuge in the kitchen,
in order to bring his outward and inward temperature more nearly to the
same degree. There was another reason for his having gone there, and
that was that he could not imagine a family festival without a bowl of
punch, so he was busy making it when his friend found him. Bräsig
helped him by taking the tasting part of the business off his hands,
and when they returned to the parlour they looked exactly like two
fiery dragons guarding a treasure, for they came in carrying Mrs.
Nüssler's largest soup-tureen between them. When Joseph put the tureen
on the table, he merely said: "There!" so Bräsig turning to the twins,
said: "Go and thank your father. He has thought of everything."

While the old gentlemen gathered round the punch bowl, and the young
people were amusing themselves in their own way, Mrs. Nüssler slipped
out of the room. She needed a little quiet time to speak to a much
older friend than even Bräsig, before she could rejoin the others. The
twins were full of happy anticipations of the future, and blushed rosy
red whenever uncle Bräsig called attention to them in any joking
speech, and that pleased him so much that he was often guilty of doing
so. "Yes," he said to Godfrey, "there are all kinds in the world, that
mischievous thing Methodism amongst others. You wanted to convert
_me_; take care, I intend to convert _you_. I'll convert you through
Lina."--And when Godfrey was about to answer him, he rose, and shaking
hands with him heartily said: "Never mind you shall have it all your
own way when once you have a living. I mean you well at heart, we've
smoked the pipe of peace together."--Then he said to Rudolph: "Wait a
bit! You caught my tench, you rascal, but Hilgendorf will take your
fishing-rod from you," so saying he went up to the lad and whispered in
his ear: "I don't mean you harm! You must think of Mina whenever you
have to weigh out a bushel of corn; and next spring when you've to
stand amongst a dozen harrows, while a high east-wind is blowing no end
of lime dust down your nose, and closing it up as if a swallow had
built her nest in it; and when the sun, seen through the lime dust
flying about you looks as round and red as a copper kettle you must
think that it's Mina's face looking down at you. Mustn't he, my dear
little god-child?"

When the rector had drunk three glasses of punch to the health of each
set of lovers, and one to the health of the whole company, he was no
longer to be restrained even by Kurz, but was determined to make a
speech in spite of all opposition. He rose, picked up the tea-ladle,
and the sugar-tongs which had been left on the table since coffee time,
coughed twice to clear his throat, and then seeing that he had
attracted every one's attention, and that Joseph watched each movement
he made with curiosity and interest, he gazed thoughtfully at the spoon
and the sugar-tongs. Suddenly thrusting the tea-ladle under Bräsig's
nose, he asked: "Do you know this?" as emphatically as if Bräsig had
stolen it and were now required to confess his guilt. "Yes," was the
answer, "what do you mean?"--Upon which Baldrian held the sugar-tongs
out to Kurz and asked if he knew them.--He acknowledged that he did,
adding that they belonged to Joseph.--"Yes" the rector went on, "you
know them, that is to say, you have an idea of them as sensible objects
of knowledge; you can distinguish them from other objects by their
colour, brightness and shape, but you do _not_ know the moral teaching
I derive from them."--Here he looked round upon them all as if to
challenge anyone to dispute his assertion.--"No, you are ignorant of
that, so I must make it known to you and explain it to you. Look,
before long the careful mistress of this house will come, and taking
these things which in appearance have no connection with each other,
and will lay them side by side in the same tea-caddy; in thousands of
households they are to be found in the same tea-caddy, and for
thousands of years this has been the case. It is a custom sanctified
by its antiquity, and what is joined together ought not to be put
asunder. Adam"--holding up the sugar-tongs--"and Eve"--holding up the
tea-ladle--"were joined together, for they were created for one
another"--he held up both the tongs and the ladle--"and God Himself
put them in the tea-caddy of paradise. And what did Noah do? He built
an ark--or a tea-caddy, if you like to give it that name, dear
friends--and called male and female, and they came at once in obedience
to his call." He now made the sugar-tongs walk across the table,
pressing the ends together and letting them out again as he did so, and
then he made the tea-ladle follow close behind the tongs. "And went
....."--"Come in!" shouted Bräsig who heard a knock at the door,
and in came Fred Triddelfitz. Hawermann had sent him to ask Mrs.
Nüssler to lend him some rape-cloths, for the rape harvest was about to
begin. This interruption obliged the rector to stop short in his
harangue.--Joseph promised to give Hawermann what he required. Fred
could not help wondering what had happened when he smelt the punch, and
saw the rector standing up in the position he had been wont to assume
in former times when Fred was a schoolboy, and the rector was about to
cane him for some juvenile offence, so he crossed the room softly on
tip-toe, and seated himself quietly. Then Joseph said; "Give
Triddelfitz some punch, Mina."--Fred drank his glass of punch, and
the rector continued to stand, ready to go on with his speech as soon
as order was restored.--"Let us begin at the beginning," said Bräsig,
"for Triddelfitz knows nothing of what has happened."--"We were
talking ...." began the rector, but Kurz broke in impatiently: "About
the sugar-tongs and the tea-ladle, and you told us that they both
belonged to the tea-caddy," then taking the things out of his
brother-in-law's hand and tossing them into their places in the
tea-box, he went on: "There they are, male and female in Noah's ark,
and now I think we may talk about our own affairs. You must know,
Triddelfitz, that we are rejoicing over a double engagement, and that's
the reason that the rector here wanted to preach us a sermon as
a sort of ornament to the plain matter of our discourse. How is
Hawermann?"--"Quite well, thank you," said Fred rising, then turning to
the lovers he congratulated them, at first ceremoniously, but ended in
an off-hand sort of way as if it were only a birthday, and the twins
were betrothed every year.--The rector still remained standing, the
better to seize his opportunity.

"Give your uncle Baldrian some punch, Lina," said Joseph, She did so,
and the rector drank it. Instead of changing the current of his
thoughts, it only made him more obstinately determined to finish his
speech, but whenever he attempted to begin he was always interrupted by
Joseph, Kurz, Bräsig or Fred, and when at last he brought up his heavy
artillery in the shape of "thoughts upon the estate of matrimony,"
Bräsig said to him with the most innocent air in the world: "Yours has
been a particularly happy marriage, hasn't it rector?" Upon which
Baldrian subsided into his chair with a deep sigh, caused either by the
thought of his own marriage, or by his inability to finish his speech.
I think that the latter was the true reason of his sigh, for in my
opinion it is much easier to meet with an example of a happy marriage,
than with a good speech.

As it was now growing late, the rector, Kurz, and Triddelfitz said
"good-bye," and Rudolph went with them, for Mrs. Nüssler and Bräsig
were agreed that he must set to work at his new employment as soon as
possible, as he had led an idle life long enough already. Joseph and
Bräsig accompanied their friends a little way.

"How's your new squire getting on, Triddelfitz?" asked Bräsig.--"He's
getting on uncommonly well, thank you, Mr. Bräsig. He made a speech to
the labourers this morning which was really very good!"--"What!" cried
Kurz. "Does he make speeches too?"--"What on earth had he to talk
about?" asked, Bräsig.--"What did you say he had done?" asked
Joseph.--"Made a speech," said Triddelfitz.--"I thought he was going to
be a farmer," said Joseph.--"Of course," answered Triddelfitz. "But
what's to prevent a farmer making a speech?"--Joseph could not get over
it; a farmer make a speech! He had never heard of such a thing before,
and pondered over it for the rest of the evening in silence, only
saying the last thing before going to sleep: "He must be a very clever
fellow!"--Bräsig's admiration was not so easily won, and he asked
again: "What did he say? If he had any arrangements to make with the
labourers, wasn't Hawermann there to receive his orders?"--"Mr.
Bräsig," said the rector, "a good speech is never out of place.
Cicero ...."--"Who was Cicero?"--"The most eloquent speaker of
antiquity."--"I don't mean that. I want to know what his occupation
was. Was he a farmer or a merchant; was he in a government-office, or
was he a doctor? Or what?"--"He was, as I tell you, the most eloquent
speaker of antiquity."--"Antiquity here, antiquity there! If he was
nothing more than that, I don't think much of the word-monger. Every
man ought to have some useful employment. And now, Rudolph, let me
advise you never to be a speechifier. You may fish if you like, perch
or trout, which ever you can get, but if once you get into the habit of
making long speeches you'll never be good for much as a fisherman. Now
good-night all of you. Come Joseph."--They then went back to Rexow.
Fred also took leave of the others, and striking through the fields to
the right took a short cut to Pümpelhagen.

He thought deeply as he went along the quiet field-path. He was not
jealous, but still he had an uncomfortable feeling that his old
school-fellows at Rahnstädt grammar-school had passed him in the race
of life, for they were both engaged to be married while he was still
free. However he soon comforted himself by the thought that _he_ could
never have engaged himself to a girl like either of the twins; that if
Lina or Mina had been offered to him he would not have accepted the
gift, and Louisa Hawermann was not good enough for him either. He would
have been a fool if he had been contented with the first best plum he
could reach, for such plums are always sour, no, he would wait till
they were all ripe, and then he would take his choice. Till his choice
was made, he had the pleasant feeling that, he could have any one he
liked to honour with his regard, in the same way as before he bought
his horse, he might have his choice of all horses. However he had made
up his mind to buy Augustus Prebberow's mare Whalebone the very next
day.



                              CHAPTER VII.


A few weeks passed by, during which Alick, instead of going about the
place and seeing how his estate was managed, shut himself up with
Flegel, the carpenter, and busied himself in making a machine from
the model he had formerly invented, that would act as harrow and
clod-breaker at one and the same time. He wanted to complete it as soon
as possible, for the benefit of himself, and the world at large. All
the letters and accounts which ought to have been attended to
regularly, and which form a portion of the necessary daily work of any
one who has a large estate to manage, were pushed aside as matters of
small moment. When Alick came home to dinner or supper he looked as
grave and important as if he had been busy at the farm all day, and
wished his wife to see how very necessary his presence was for the
proper conduct of affairs. And who is so credulous as a young wife?
Some one may say: a girl during her engagement. But that is a mistake,
for her position is not so assured. She is always trying to know and
understand her future husband better. But when once a woman thinks she
knows a man's character, and has given him her hand, she follows him
blindly until the bandage is torn rudely from her eyes. Then she
strives against the truth, refuses to credit what she sees, and thinks
it her duty to disbelieve the testimony of her own eyes. They were not
wicked actions that he hid from her; they were only follies which he
firmly believed would improve his affairs. But it was a pity that he
did not know what he was doing, and that she did not see it. It never
occurred to her that he could act differently with regard to his share
of the duties of the estate, from what she did in her own domain of
kitchen, larder and dairy, where she went about daily, looking
carefully into everything, and learning all that she could, so as to be
able to take the charge of everything into her own hands.

Nothing lasts more than a certain time, and as old Kopk, the shepherd,
said: Puppies have their eyes opened on the ninth day.

Late one afternoon when Mrs. von Rambow was walking up and down the
garden under the shade, of the high hedge which ran round the corner of
the yard near the workshop, she heard an angry dialogue on the other
side of it. "So--you don't like the looks of it! Do you think that I
like it any better? Ugh! Get along with you! Get along with you,
or ...."--Thud came something against the door. She wondered what was
the matter and peeped through the hedge, but could only see the old
carpenter Frederic Flegel. There was no one else there, and all the
noise was made by the carpenter, who was quarrelling with his tools and
his work. It is amusing to see a man in a rage with his own handiwork,
and Mrs. von Rambow smilingly watched the old man: "Go to the devil!
You're a deal more trouble than you're worth."--Thud! Thud! His
foot-rule flew over the half-door, and when he had picked it up, he
stood staring at the ground at his feet, muttering: "Confound the
thing! It has nearly bothered me out of my life!"--"Good-evening,
Flegel," said another voice, and Kegel, the labourer, coming up, leant
upon his spade and asked: "What are you working at here? It's a holiday
you know."--"Working at, did you say? There's enough to be done in all
conscience! It'll be the death of me! Look. That's supposed to be a
model! I can work from a model as well as any man, but devil a bit can
I make head or tail of that thing."--"Is it the same machine that you
were working at before?"--"Of course it is, and it won't be finished
this summer either."--"He must be a clever fellow to be able to invent
a thing like that."--"Do you think so? Then let me tell you that any
fool can do that sort of inventing, but it takes a wise man to make a
really useful machine. Look you, there are three kinds of people in the
world. Those who understand how a thing ought to be, but can't make it
themselves; those who can't understand, but can work under direction,
and those who can neither understand how a thing should be made, nor
are able to make it, and he belongs to the last class," so saying he
flung his foot-rule at the door again, adding: "And what's to be done I
don't know."--"Well, Flegel, I must say that I can't make out what he
means. He said we were to go straight to him whenever we wanted
anything, so I went and told him I required more potato-ground, and he
said he didn't understand the rights of the case, and that he would ask
Mr. Hawermann. And you see if it comes to that I've no chance, for he
knows that the reason I ran short before was because I didn't hoe my
potatoes properly."--"Mr. Hawermann's a great deal easier to work for
though. He says to me: 'Flegel,' says he, 'make a handle for this hoe;'
I do it, and then he says: 'Flegel, this wheel wants mending;' I mend
it as he desires, and have no more trouble; but with him ..... Ah well,
Kegel, mark my words, he'll come to grief, and so shall we before very
long."--"You're right there," answered the labourer, "it's all of a
piece with my potato-ground."--"Fair play's a jewel!" said Flegel as he
locked the workshop-door and put on his blouse. "It's your own fault
about the potatoes, remember. If you'd looked after them properly you'd
have had enough."--"Yes," replied Kegel, shouldering his spade, and
walking away with the carpenter, "but that doesn't help me to the
garden, and it seems that I must just get on with what I have."

It is a true saying that even great and learned people are pleased when
they hear the praises of those they love from the mouths of children or
inferiors, and it is equally true that a harsh judgment coming from the
same source hurts and saddens those who hear it. It was not much that
she had heard. It was only village-gossip such as foolish men
continually utter, but the smile had died out of the young wife's eyes,
and a look of displeasure had taken its place. Circumstances had
prevented her husband fulfilling the promises he had made in ignorance
of all they implied; his kindness of heart had carried him further than
he had intended.

Mrs. von Rambow was very silent when Alick came in to supper, and he on
the contrary was more talkative than usual. "Now then, Frida dear," he
began, "we are pretty well settled, and I think it's high time for us
to make some calls on our neighbours."--"Very well Alick, but who do
you mean?"--"I think," he said, "that we ought to begin with those who
live within walking-distance of us."--"Then we should go to see our
clergyman first."--"We'll go there of course--but not quite yet."--"Who
else is there?" asked Frida thoughtfully. "Oh, Mr. Pomuchelskopp and
Mr. Nüssler."--"Dear Frida," said Alick, looking a little grave,
"surely you're joking when you speak of the Nüsslers. We can't admit
tenant-farmers to our acquaintance."--"I don't quite agree with you
there," answered his wife quietly. "I think more of what people are,
than of their position. Your customs here may be different from
ours in Prussia, but when I lived in my father's house we knew a great
many families intimately, who only rented the land on which they lived.
Mrs. Nüssler is said to be very nice."--"She is the sister of my
bailiff. I can't call at her house; it wouldn't do."--"But Mr.
Pomuchelskopp?"--"That's quite different. He is a land-owner, is rich,
and is a justice of peace as well as myself ...."--"And has a bad name
in the parish, and his wife still worse. No, Alick, I won't go
there."--"My dear child ...."--"No, Alick; I don't think that you quite
see all the bearings of the case. Supposing Mr. Nüssler had bought
Gürlitz, would you have called on him?"--"That's supposing an
impossibility. I will not call on the Nüsslers," he said angrily.--"Nor
I on the Pomuchelskopps, I dislike them so much," said Mrs. von Rambow
decidedly.--"Frida," began her husband.--"No, Alick," she said firmly,
"I'll drive to Gürlitz with you to-morrow, but will get out at the
parsonage."

That was the end of it. There was no quarrel, but both held to their
own determination. Frida would gladly have given way to her husband, if
it had not been for the disagreeable feeling left on her mind by what
she had heard, which made her feel that Alick said and did things
rashly without considering the consequences, and wanted firmness to
carry out his intentions. Alick would gladly have given way to his wife
had he not felt that Pomuchelskopp was a rich man, and that he might
find it useful to be on friendly terms with him; and he would have
liked to have gone to Rexow, had it not been that the foolish notions
he had picked up in his regiment stuck in his throat.

It was all over now, and could not be altered. The beginning of strife
had made its way into the house, and the door had remained ajar so that
it might enter in and take up its abode there. Domestic strife may be
likened to the tail of a kite, such as children play with, the string
forming it is very long, and there are small bundles attached to it at
regular intervals. Now though these bundles are only scraps of paper,
still when once they get entangled it is long and weary work trying to
straighten out the tail again, for there is neither beginning nor end
to be found.

The next afternoon they started on foot for Gürlitz, as Alick had
agreed to Frida's request to walk instead of driving. After taking her
to the door of the parsonage Alick left her, and promising to call for
her on his way home, set off for the manor-house.

They had just finished coffee at the Pomuchelskopps, and Phil, Tony and
the other little ones were still hanging about the table like foals
before the hayrack. They dipped bits of bread into the sugar at the
bottom of the coffee-cups, and smeared their faces therewith. Then they
mashed up the softened bread with tea-spoons and their fingers, and
wrote their own beautiful name "Pomuchelskopp" on the table with spilt
coffee and milk, glancing at their mother every now and then
innocently, as much as to say, it wasn't me. Mrs. Pomuchelskopp was
seated at the table, dressed in her old black gown, and watching the
children to see that they were behaving themselves. Pomuchelskopp
himself was lying on the sofa smoking, and looking at the picture of
domestic happiness, sloppy bread and melted sugar before him. He had
finished his coffee, for he always had a cup made particularly for
himself, though he never got it, for Mally and Sally whose duty it was
to make the coffee in turns used to drink half of the cup prepared for
him, and then fill it up from the family coffee-pot. He lay back in the
sofa-corner, his left leg crossed over his right according to the
ordinance of Duke Adolphus of Cleves: "When a judge is sitting in the
judgment-hall, let him always cross his left leg over his right," &c,
and if he was not a judge, he was in point of fact more than that; he
was a law-giver, and was busy thinking how absolutely necessary it was
for him to attend the Mecklenburg parliament when it next met.

"Henny," he said, "I intend to go to the next parliament."--"Oh!" said
his wife, "hav'n't you any other opportunity of spending money?"--"Why,
chick, my position demands that I should show myself there, and it
won't cost me much. The next parliament is to meet at Malchin, which
isn't far from here, and if I take a basket ....."--"Then I suppose you
expect me to put on your boots, and wade through the mud to see that
the men are doing their work?"--"You needn't trouble to do that, my
chick. Gus will look after everything of that sort, and if I'm wanted I
can be home at an hour's notice."--"But father," said Mally, who was
considered a great politician because she was the only one of the
family who ever read the Rostock newspaper to such purpose as to know
where their Serene Highnesses the Grand-Duke and Grand-Duchess were
staying, for Pomuchelskopp looked at nothing but the state of the corn
and money markets. "But father," she said, "you ought not to go unless
you are prepared to try and bring about some reforms of great
importance, such as allowing middle-class landowners to wear red coats,
and then the convent question." She spoke as if she thought the convent
question had reference to herself.--"What!" cried Pomuchelskopp, rising
and pacing the room with long strides, "you surely don't think so
meanly of your father as to imagine that he would go and give his votes
and influence to the middle-class landowners and neglect the interests
of his own family? No, if anything goes wrong here, write for me to
come home. And as for the red coat, if I'm to have it I know the best
way--Let everyone look out for himself--It'll redound more to my honour
if I win it for myself _alone_, and not merely as one of a lot of poor
wretches who have only a few hundred pounds to bless themselves with.
When I come home and say: Mally, I alone have got it; you may be proud
of your father." While saying this he crossed the room, and blew a
cloud of tobacco smoke right in the face of his innocent child, making
her look like one of the angels with a trumpet sitting in the clouds,
and as if she had only to put the mouth piece of the trumpet to her
lips to blow a blast in her father's honour.--"Are you crazy, Kopp?"
asked his wife.--"Let me alone, Henny. We must keep up our dignity.
Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are. If I vote with the
nobles and ....."--"I should have thought that you'd have had enough
snubbing from the nobles already."--"Henny," remonstrated
Pomuchelskopp, but was stopped by Sally who was seated at the
window, exclaiming: "Law! Here's Mr. von Rambow coming across the
court."--"Henny," said Pomuchelskopp again, turning his expressive eyes
reproachfully on his wife, "you see that a nobleman is coming to my
house! But now, clear out of this, will you," he went on, driving his
younger olive branches out at the door. "Mally take away the coffee
things. Sally bring a duster and be quick about it. And Henny go and
put on another gown."--"What!" said his wife. "Is the young man coming
to my house, or am I going to his? As he thinks fit to come here, he
may just take me as he finds me."--"Henny," entreated Pomuchelskopp,
"let me implore you to do as I ask, you'll spoil the whole visit if you
appear in that old black dress."--"Are you a fool, Muchel?" she asked
without moving. "Do you think that he is coming here for the sake of
either of us? He's only coming because he needs our help, and so my
dress is quite good enough."--Muchel begged her once more to do as he
wanted, but in vain.--Mally and Sally hastened from the room to make
themselves tidy, but their mother remained sitting on her chair as
stiff and upright as a poker.

Alick entered and greeted the worthy couple, and it must be confessed
that his politeness was as great to the lady in the old black dress as
to the gentleman in the green checked trousers. He made himself so
pleasant and talked so agreeably that Henny was charmed and called her
husband Pöking; indeed before the end of the visit, even she came to
the conclusion that the old gown looked too shabby to be worn any
longer.--Mally then came into the room pretending that she had
forgotten something, and she was soon afterwards followed by Sally, who
pretended that she had come for something. Pomuchelskopp introduced
them, and the meaningless chit chat of the earlier part of the visit
was changed to a learned discussion about Sally's worsted-work, which
in its turn gave place to a political conversation, when Mally took up
the newspaper. Philip now came in and stationed himself in the corner
behind his mother; he was followed by Tony, who joined him in his
retreat, and then all the little ones came in singly and surrounded
their mother, till Henny looked like an old black hen with all her
chickens taking refuge under her wing when a hawk is overhead. And when
she took the key of the linen press out of her basket--for she felt she
could do no less--and left the room, she was followed by the whole
brood, for they knew that the short-bread was kept there which Henny
baked twice a year, and then kept for any important occasion. It cannot
be denied that these cakes were uncommonly good at first, but in course
of time they contracted a slight flavour of brown soap from their
proximity to the linen; but that was no drawback in the estimation of
the family at Gürlitz manor, they had been accustomed to the flavour
from their infancy and would quite have missed it if it had not been
there. If Alick had not been so deeply engaged talking to Pomuchelskopp
he could not have helped hearing the begging and coaxing going on
outside.--"Do give me some, mother"--"And me too, mother."--But
Pomuchelskopp had taken him in hand and was determined to give his
visitor a good impression of himself and his family. "Look here, Mr.
von Rambow," he said, "you will find that ours is an extremely quiet
family; I myself am a quiet man, and my wife," here he glanced round
the room to make sure that his Henny was well out of hearing, "is also
quiet, and so we have brought up our daughters and our other children
very quietly. We make no show, and only care to live a simple family
life. We don't desire to make many acquaintances, for I am thankful to
say we are sufficient to ourselves, but," he added putting on a
dignified patriarchal air, "everyone of us has some duty to perform;
each of us has some necessary work which he or she _must_--I say _must_
carry out after having once undertaken to perform it, and I am
convinced that the blessing of God rests upon such work when it is
conscientiously done."--Alick replied politely that these sentiments
did him honour.--"Yes," said Pomuchelskopp taking Phil by his coat
collar and drawing him forward with his mouth ninety eight per cent
full of short bread and two per cent of brown soap, "Make a bow, Phil.
Look at this little fellow, Mr. von Rambow. It's his duty to hunt for
eggs, I mean for the eggs of those hens that may chance to lay out in
the wood, he gets a ha'penny far every dozen he brings in, and the
money is put in a savings-box for him. Phil, my boy, tell us how much
you've made already by egg hunting?"--"One pound, four, and seven
pence," answered Philip.--"You see then, my dear boy," said
Pomuchelskopp patting his son on the head encouragingly, "that God's
blessing always rests on the diligent. Then," he continued turning to
Alick, "Tony gets so much a pound for all the old iron, nails and
horse-shoes that he can find, while Polly, Harry and Steenie are
allowed to sell all the apples, pears and plums--of course I only mean
those that have fallen under the trees, most of them are mere trash,
but still the townspeople are glad enough to buy them. So you see
Mr. von Rambow that my children have each their own particular
apartment"--Alick smothered a laugh at the last word, while Mally and
Sally glanced to each other and then looked down and smiled at their
father's mistake. Pomuchelskopp like Bräsig was sometimes guilty of
mispronouncing or using a long word in the wrong place, but there was
this difference between them, that Bräsig used long words from sheer
love of them, and although he knew that he often made absurd mistakes
he did not mind that a bit, while Pomuchelskopp who did it in
self-glorification, took such accidents rather ill-humouredly. He knew
that he had made some ridiculous blunder when he saw his daughters
laughing at him, and was much relieved by his wife coming in with the
cake and wine. She had taken the opportunity of changing her dress, and
now wore a light yellow silk gown and a large mob-cab.--"Henny," said
Pomuchelskopp, "not that wine. When we have such distinguished visitors
let us always have the best we possess."--"Say what you want then,"
replied his wife shortly. He did so, and then went on with the thread
of his discourse. "Even my two eldest daughters have their own
particular lines. Sally is most interested in art, such as embroidery
and music; while Mally delights in reading the newspaper and in
studying politics." Alick was surprised to hear that, so few young
ladies cared about such things, and Mally assured him that it was quite
necessary for some member of a household to know what was going on at
the seat of government, and her father did not read that part of the
paper. She then went on to say that just as Mr. von Rambow arrived they
had been agreeing that her father ought to attend the next meeting of
parliament. "Yes, Mr. von Rambow," said Muchel, "I intend to go; not
because of the changes my middle class colleagues want to bring
about, I care nothing for them, and I know the difference between
lords and commons perfectly. I'm only going because I wish to show
those people what is the proper mode of action." Alick now enquired,
for something to say, whether Mr. Pomuchelskopp had many acquaintances
in the neighbourhood. "Who is there for me to know?" asked
Pomuchelskopp. "Mr. Nüssler at Rexow? Why he's a fool. And as for the
farm-bailiff that wouldn't quite do, and there's nobody else in the
neighbourhood."--"Then I suppose that you are only intimate with the
clergyman and his family?"--"No, not even with them. The parson's
conduct has been such from the very first, that I could have nothing to
do with him. He has friends whom I don't like; and besides that, he has
adopted the daughter of your bailiff Hawermann, and I don't wish my
girls to be thrown into such society."--"I thought that she seemed to
be nice," said Alick.--"Oh yes, I've no doubt she is," replied
Pomuchelskopp. "I've nothing to say against the girl. You see, Mr. von
Rambow, I'm a quiet man. I used to know Hawermann long ago, and I won't
say he deceived me, but ..... Besides that, I didn't like the way in
which the girl was thrown with young Mr. von Rambow by her father
and the people at the parsonage."--"With my cousin Frank?" asked
Alick.--"Yes, his name was Frank. I mean the young gentleman who learnt
farming with Hawermann. I don't know him myself, for he never entered
my house, and I'm just as well pleased if what people tell me is
true."--"He still writes to her," said Henny.--"No, mother," said
Mally, "you can't say that, his letters are always addressed to Mr.
Behrens. Our postman carries the parsonage letters too," she added,
addressing Alick.--"It's all the same," said Henny, "which he writes
to."--"This is the first time I've heard of it," said Alick looking
down at the floor.--"Oh," said Pomuchelskopp, "the whole country-side
knows it. She ran after him wherever he went, under pretext of
visiting her father and your sisters, and if ever anything came between
them Hawermann and the people at the parsonage made it all right
again."--"No, father," cried Sally, "old Bräsig was the greatest
match-maker amongst them, and he always carried their letters to
each other."--"Who is this Bräsig?" asked Alick who was now very
angry.--"He's a sly rogue," cried Henny.--"Yes, that's just what he
is," said Pomuchelskopp disdainfully. "He has a small pension from
Count .... and has nothing earthly to do but to go about making
mischief. Besides that he's ....."--"No, father," interrupted Mally,
"I'll tell. The old man is a democrat, Mr. von Rambow; an out and out
de-mo-crat."--"You're right there," said Pomuchelskopp, interrupting
Mally in his turn, "and I shouldn't be at all surprised if the
scoundrel were also an incendiary."

Alick remembered that he had had that good-for-nothing fellow to dine
with him at his own table, and that by Hawermann's fault. The
conversation had irritated him so much, that he, not finding the
shortbread a sufficient inducement to prolong his visit, took leave,
and was accompanied by Pomuchelskopp as far as the gate of the
court-yard. "Is what you have told me about my cousin quite true?"
asked Alick as they crossed the yard.--"Mr. von Rambow," said
Pomuchelskopp, "I'm a quiet old man, and people at my age don't trouble
themselves about love stories. I only repeated what others had told
me."--"Ah well, I suppose that it's a mere passing caprice; a case of
'out of sight, out of mind.'"--"No, I don't think so," replied
Pomuchelskopp thoughtfully. "If I know Hawermann at all, he's a sly
dog, and too wide awake to his own interest to let such a chance slip
out of his fingers. Your cousin has fallen into his toils."--"The boy
has only lost his head," said Alick, "and he'll soon learn more sense.
Good-bye, Mr. Pomuchelskopp. Thank you for telling me about my cousin.
I hope soon to have the pleasure of seeing you at my house. Good-bye,"
and with that he turned down the road to the right--"I beg your
pardon," cried Pomuchelskopp. "You're going the wrong way. The
Pümpelhagen road is to the left."--"I know," said Alick, "but I'm going
to the parsonage to fetch my wife. Goodbye."

"Ah!" said Pomuchelskopp as he went back to the house. "This is
charming, de-lightful! And why shouldn't she be there? It's quite
proper for Mr. von Rambow to come to my house, but I'm not good enough
for his wife to know! Children," he exclaimed as he entered the family
sitting-room, "Mrs. von Rambow is at the parsonage. We ar'n't grand
enough for her ladyship I suppose!"--"Well, Pöking," said his
wife, "I congratulate you upon having been again taken in by an
aristocrat."--"Is it possible!" cried Sally.--"It's an undoubted fact,"
said her father, giving Tony and Phil the remains of the short bread,
and then added: "Now be off, you young rascals." After that he threw
himself into the sofa corner and slashed at the flies, while his wife
hovered about him, and made satirical remarks about grand
acquaintances, beggars and aristocrats: "Sally," she said at last,
"take that bottle of wine back to the cellar, there's enough of it
remaining for your father to treat another of his grand friends on some
future occasion."--After a long silence she exclaimed: "Come to the
window, father. Look there. Your grand friend and his butterfly wife
are passing, and do you see who they've got with them. Your incendiary
old Bräsig."

It was quite true. Bräsig was walking along the Pümpelhagen road with
the Rambows, and was so pleased with the young lady's gentle kindness,
that he took no notice of Alick's short answers. He had met Mrs. von
Rambow at the parsonage and thought her even prettier and nicer than on
the memorable occasion of the dinner-party.

Well might he like and admire her; well might anybody like her who had
seen her in the parsonage that day. When she entered the parlour she
found the clergyman lying on the sofa weak and ill; he would have risen
to receive her, but she would not allow him to do so. Then laying both
hands on little Mrs. Behrens' shoulders she entreated the good old lady
to help her in her new life, saying that she often needed good advice.
After that she went to Bräsig and shook his hand warmly like an old
friend.--When Louisa came in shortly afterwards, she greeted her also
like an old friend, and could not help looking at her again and again,
as if there were always something new to be read in her face, and as
she did so she grew thoughtful like a person reading a beautiful book,
who cannot turn to a new page before thoroughly understanding the
preceding ones.

Mrs. von Rambow found that there were many pages of the book of human
life for her to study in that quiet room. Mr. Behrens, with his long
experience and loving sympathy for all men; Mrs. Behrens with her great
housekeeping talents, her happy nature and true-heartedness; Louisa
with her modesty and thoughtfulness, and her pleasure in making
acquaintance with Mrs. von Rambow, who bore the same name as that she
used to know so well, and which was so dear to her; and then there was
Bräsig, who might be looked upon as forming a sort of commentary upon
the others to make their meaning clearer, and Mrs. von Rambow read the
commentary with as much pleasure as we young rogues used to do the Ass'
Bridge ad modum Minellii in Cornelius Nepos. There was so much innocent
mirth and affectionate sympathy amongst these people that Mrs. von
Rambow felt almost as gay as if she were making one of a party of happy
children dancing "kringel-kranz," with Louisa for their queen, round
the bole of a shady old tree.

Alick at last joined the happy circle at the parsonage, but what he had
just heard had made him too cross to be able to enter into the spirit
of what was going on. He disliked the thought of his wife being in such
company as he now found her, and was still more put out when Bräsig
said: "How d'ye do, Lieutenant von Rambow." Instead of answering, he
turned to the clergyman, and addressed a few words to him about
his health and the weather, but his manner was so cold that his
warm-hearted wife could not bear to see it, and hastily rose to take
leave, that the friendliness with which she had been received might not
be utterly chilled, and that Alick's manner might have no worse effect
than a slight shower of hail on a summer-day.

They took their departure, but uncle Bräsig went with them. Mr. von
Rambow's coldness made no impression on him, for he knew that he had
done nothing to deserve it; his conscience was clear of offence.
Another reason for his going with them was that he had a high opinion
of his powers of conversation being able to charm any man out of a bad
temper, and bring him back to a more cheerful view of life. He
therefore walked on beside the young squire, and talked to him about
this and that, but all his efforts were unavailing to change the short
cold answers he received into more friendly ones. When Mr. von Rambow
stopped at the end of the road leading to the church, and asked him
which way he was going, it suddenly flashed upon the old man that his
companion thought he wanted to thrust himself upon him.--"This takes me
by surprise, Sir," he said, standing still in his turn. "Are you
ashamed of walking with me in the public road? Well, let me assure you
that it wasn't for your sake that I came with you, but entirely out of
respect, for your wife, she has been so very kind to me. I won't
incommodate you any further," then making a deep bow to Mrs. von
Rambow, he went across the rape-stubble to where Hawermann was busy
superintending the stacking of the rape-straw.

"Why were you so unkind to that good-natured old man, Alick," asked
Frida.--"That good-natured old man, as you call him, is nothing better
than a mischievous fellow and a match-maker."--"Do you really think so?
And do you think that our Hawermann would be so fond of him if he
were?"--"Why not, when he finds him useful?"--Frida looked at him
anxiously: "What's the matter with you, Alick? You used to be so kind
to every one, and so trustful. What can have set you against these two
people? People who have always been friendly and honest in all their
dealings with you."--"Friendly!--Well, why not? It's their interest to
be so, I'm the owner of the estate. But honest?--Time will show. From
all that I hear honesty isn't quite the term _I_ should use."--"What
have you heard? And from whom did you hear it?" cried Frida quickly.
"Tell me, Alick. I am your wife."--"I've heard a good many things,"
answered Alick with a sneer. "I've heard that 'our' Hawermann, as you
call him, was once bankrupt, and the best that I've heard is that he
made use of the influence he had acquired as teacher to bring about a
sort of engagement between my cousin Frank and his daughter. In this he
was assisted by Mr. and Mrs. Behrens, and that old match-maker, Bräsig.
And," he continued angrily, "the young fool has allowed himself to be
caught in their snares."--Mrs. von Rambow felt her spirit rise against
such a base libel. She knew how impossible it was for that innocent
child Louisa Hawermann to have lent herself to such a scheme, and more
than that, she resented the scandalous story as an insult to womanhood.
Her eyes flashed, as laying her hand on her husband's arm, She made him
stand still, and said: "You've been in very bad company, and have
allowed yourself to be influenced by unworthy people." Then letting her
hands fall to her side she went on sadly: "Oh, Alick, Alick, you are so
good and true, how can you let such mean whispers affect your honest
judgment?"--Alick was astonished at the zeal with which his wife took
up the case, and would willingly have withdrawn what he had said, but
he _had_ said it, and he would have despised himself if he had not
stuck to his opinion, so he asked: "What is the matter, Frida? It is a
fact that my foolish cousin has got his name mixed up with that of the
girl. It's the common talk of the neighbourhood."--"If you will change
your way of putting it. If you will say that your cousin has fallen in
love with the girl, I will believe it. I hardly know him, but I shall
like him all the better if it is so."--"What? Do you think that my
cousin who is rich and independent ought to marry my bailiff's
daughter?"--"The advantage of being rich and independent is that a man
is free to choose as he likes, and your cousin has not chosen
unworthily."--"Then you think that it would be a pleasant thing for me
to be connected by marriage with my farm-bailiff! And let the plotters
win the day! No, I'll never consent to bear that silently."--"Why,"
cried Frida, "don't you see that the lie and calumny are in that part
of your story. How can you believe such a wretched piece of scandal?
How can you believe--putting aside the lovely innocent face of the
girl--such ill of that unsophisticated old man, that loving father
whose only joy is in his daughter's happiness; how can you think such
wickedness possible in that dignified old clergyman or his true-hearted
wife; or even in the good man who has just left us deeply wounded by
your harshness to him, and whose uprightness and honesty are easily
seen in spite of his mistaken use of long words? Do you really think it
possible that these good people would make a mere speculation of their
darling's beauty?"--"But," said Alick, "they only want to make her
happy."--"Oh," answered Frida gravely and sadly, "then you and I have
very different notions of happiness. Nobody can be made happy by such
means."--"I'm not talking of my _own_ idea of happiness," said Alick,
struck by her reproachful tone. "I only mean what these kind of people
think happiness."--"Don't deceive yourself, Alick. For God's sake,
don't deceive yourself. A high worldly station may enable one to take a
large view of human affairs, but believe me, in a less exalted position
love influences the lives of men in a way that it unfortunately can
seldom do those of higher rank. In short, we often have to do without
it," she said slowly, and wiping a tear from her eyes as she thought of
her motherless childhood passed in the society of a father whose life
was spent in a hard struggle to keep up his position, and who found an
unfailing comfort in every distress--in field-sports.

Then they went home. Alick in the goodness of his heart was kind and
affectionate to his wife, and she took his kindness and affection as
they were meant; thus peace was ratified between them--outwardly at
least--for they each held to their own opinion.

Bräsig meanwhile made his way to where Hawermann was standing by
the rape-stacks. He was angry, very angry. Such a thing had never
happened to him before, except that once when Pomuchelskopp was rude to
him, and he felt that the only way to get rid of his wrath was to
expend a little of it on some labourer who might deserve it from his
stupidity.--"Good-day, Charles," he said, passing Hawermann with his
head in the air, and his eyebrows raised as high as they would go. He
walked round one of the stacks, and then placing himself in front of
his friend, asked: "Are you trying to make a pancake?"--"Don't talk of
it," said Hawermann, looking very much put out, "I've been angry enough
about it as it is. I sent Triddelfitz to look after the stacking of the
rape yesterday, and told him to make the stacks twenty feet broad and
high in proportion, and he has only made them half what I told him.
When I came out here I found the mischief done, and I hav'n't time to
undo it all. It must just remain as it is--fortunately it's only straw,
so that it won't hurt much if it should happen to rain before I can get
it into the yard, but I hate to see such unworkmanlike stacks in one of
my fields."--"Yes, Charles, and your neighbour Pomuchelskopp won't fail
to draw attention to it."--"Let him! But what Triddelfitz means by
it I can't make out. He has been neither to hold nor to bind since Mr.
von Rambow promised him the horse."--"Have you spoken to him
seriously?"--"What's the good of it? He can think of nothing but
horses. He doesn't want my advice about that even, for Mr. von Rambow
advised him to get an English mare, and has promised to buy all the
foals. He won't listen to a word I say, and I'm sure he'll end by
buying that wretched screw."--"Doesn't he want to get Augustus
Prebberow's sorrel-mare Whalebone?"--"Yes, that's the very one he has
set his heart on."--"Capital!" cried Bräsig. "Splendid! He'll ride
about, and show himself off on that old mare when the Grand Duke makes
his triump'ant entrance into Rahnstädt. Charles, that grey-hound of
yours is a treasure."--"Yes," answered Hawermann drily, and glancing at
his stacks, "you're about right there."--"Oh, I don't mean as a farmer,
but as an amusing fellow, especially when he and your young squire get
together."--"Bräsig," said Hawermann gravely, "don't speak in that way
of my master before the labourers."--"Quite right, Charles, I oughtn't
to have done so, but come away with me."--When they were, out of
hearing of the work-people Bräsig stood still, and said slowly and
emphatically: "Charles, that _young gentleman_ was ashamed to be seen
walking with me on the public road. What do you say to that? He gave me
to understand as much in the presence of his lovely wife."--He then
told all that had happened. Hawermann tried to talk him into a better
humour, but did not quite succeed. Bräsig at last exclaimed with
indignant emphasis: "It was his own folly that made him act as he did,
but it was Samuel Pomuchelskopp who roused him to do it. He had just
been calling at Gürlitz manor. And you may say what you like, Charles,
your master's a fool, and when once you've been sent about your
business, I'll amuse myself by coming over here, and standing on the
top of this hill that I may see what a mess your master and your
grey-hound make of the farm."--"Well," said Hawermann, "if you want to
see something queer you needn't wait till then. Just look over there!"
He pointed as he spoke over the thorn-bush behind which they happened
to be standing, and down the road. Bräsig did as he was desired, and
was so struck by amazement at what he saw, that he was unable to utter
a word. At last he said: "Why, Charles, your grey-hound has gone crazy.
Apothecaries often go mad, and I daresay their children inherit the
disease from them."--It really seemed as if Bräsig was right. Fred was
riding the famous sorrel-mare up the road at a foot's pace. He had
taken off his hat, and was waving it violently, and shouting as loud as
he could: "Hurrah! Hurrah!" and all apparently for his own edification,
for he could not see the two old men behind the thorn-bush till
they advanced towards him, and Hawermann asked whether he had gone
mad.--"It's all a lie," said Fred.--"What's a lie?" asked Hawermann
angrily.--"That the mare won't stand shouting," and with that he began
to hurrah again.--"Look!" he said dismounting and tying his horse to a
willow-branch, and then going to a little distance he shouted "hurrah!"
once more. "You see she doesn't shy a bit. And you," turning to Bräsig
who looked as if he were on the point of bursting out laughing, "told
me she couldn't stand it, and you see it isn't true."--"I see," said
Bräsig, shaking with laughter, "but still it's quite true. I said what
I said, and it was this, that she couldn't _hear_ it, and neither she
can, for the creature's as deaf as a post, and has been so for all the
five years that I've known her."--On hearing this Fred Triddelfitz,
clever, quick-witted Fred Triddelfitz stood staring at the old man with
the most sheepish expression in the world. "But," he stammered out at
last, "Augustus Prebberow is a great friend of mine, and he never told
me that"--"Ah," said Bräsig, "you'll soon find out that friendship
counts for less than nothing in horse-dealing."--"Never mind,
Triddelfitz," said Hawermann kindly, for he was sorry for the lad. "The
mare may suit you very well though she's deaf; it's better to be deaf
than tricky."--"Oh," said Fred, his spirits rising. "I know what to do.
Look now--yes, that's spavin she has got, but still she's a
thoroughbred. She's in foal by Hector. Mr. von Rambow has promised to
buy all the foals, and when I've sold three or four ...."--"You'll buy
a large estate," interrupted Bräsig. "We all know that. Now ride home
quietly, and take care that you don't break your milk-jug on the way
like that girl. You remember it Charles. In Gellert's Fables."

Fred rode off.--"The rascally grey-hound!" said Bräsig.--"I don't know
why," said Hawermann, "but I can't help liking the lad. He is so
sweet-tempered."--"That's because he's young, Charles."--"Perhaps so,"
answered Hawermann thoughtfully, "but just look at him, riding away on
the deaf old mare as happy as a king."



                             CHAPTER VIII.


And Fred was happy; he was the happiest creature at Pümpelhagen, for
there was not much of that blessing to be found there, and the
realities of life were discovered to be very different from what
everybody had expected. Hawermann saw more distinctly every day that
his old peaceful life was gone for ever, for the young squire was so
full of plans he did not know how to execute, that he left but little
time for the necessary work of the farm, which had to be hurried over
anyhow. The labourers were kept in such a bustle that they got confused
and made mistakes, and then when anything went wrong Hawermann had to
bear the blame.--Neither was Mr. von Rambow happy, his debts weighed
upon him and also the fact of their concealment from his wife. He was
troubled by the letters he received from David and Slus'uhr, with whom
he had made it a condition of his doing business with them, that they
should never show their faces at Pümpelhagen, and they were only too
glad to consent to this arrangement, for the more the affair was
involved in secrecy, the better chance they had of fleecing him. When
they got him into their clutches at Rahnstädt for a consultation, they
could turn the screw on him to better purpose than at Pümpelhagen,
where they had to treat him with more deference, as he was in his own
house. But Alick had another reason besides this for his unhappiness.
He wanted to be master, but had not the power, for before a man takes
the reins of government into his own hands he ought to have a
_practical_ knowledge of the work to be done, not merely a
_theoretical_ knowledge such as he had, and which made him imagine he
knew everything much better than anyone else. "The great point is to be
able to do a thing yourself," old Flegel the carpenter used to say, and
he was right. The most unfortunate of men is the one who undertakes to
do what he knows nothing about.--And Frida?--She was not happy either;
she saw that her husband did not confide in her; that they held
opposite opinions on many important subjects; that he was totally
ignorant of the work to which he was now to devote his life; that he
threw the blame of his own mistakes on other people's shoulders, and
more than that, she felt--what was harder than aught else for a clever
woman to bear--that he made himself ridiculous. She was convinced that
Pomuchelskopp, who, much to her distress, often came over to
Pümpelhagen, must have other reasons for doing so than mere neighbourly
civility, and that he must often laugh in his sleeve at the crude,
ill-considered opinions propounded by her husband.--She made up her
mind to try and discover the motive for his visits; but that
determination did not tend to increase her happiness.

Fred Triddelfitz was the happiest creature in all Pümpelhagen, and if
we except the twins, he might be called the happiest in the whole
parish. But the twins must be excepted, for a girl who is engaged to a
man she loves, is much happier than anyone else, even than her lover.
Godfrey had taken a situation as tutor in the family of a good tempered
enterprising landowner of the middle-class, whose sons he taught and
flogged with cheerful conscientiousness. Rudolph was earning farming
from Hilgendorf at Little-Tetzleben, where he had to superintend the
spreading of manure over the fields till they were covered as though
with a soft blanket, and on going to bed at night he used to whistle or
sing merrily, but as he was very tired he always fell asleep before he
had finished the first verse.--Happy as these two undoubtedly were,
their happiness was not to be compared with that of the little twins
who sat side by side sewing busily at their trousseaux, or making jokes
with their father and mother, or telling Louisa all about it, or
showing bits of their letters. No, no. Even Fred's joy in the
possession of his new horse was not to be named in the same day with
it.

But the boy was really very happy. His first act every morning was to
go to the stable which his treasure shared with Mr. von Rainbow's two
riding horses, and Hawermann's old hack. He fed his mare himself; he
even stole the oats from under the noses of the other horses and gave
them to her, indeed--little as he liked work in general--he rubbed her
down with his own hands, for which Christian Däsel, who had charge of
the riding horses, did not thank him.--On Sunday afternoon when there
was nothing else to be done, he went into the stable, shut the door,
and seating himself on the corn-bin stroked her gently, and looked on
well pleased while his beloved mare eat her oats and chopped straw.
When she could eat no more, he rose, passed his hand caressingly down
her back and called her his "good old woman."--He never failed to visit
her three times a day, and no one could blame him for it, for his
future wealth depended upon the success of his speculation.

But there is no joy without a flaw.--In the first place he did not like
his sorrel mare to be in the next stall to Hawermann's old horse, she
was too good to be in such company; and secondly, he had a never ending
battle with Christian Däsel about the food and cleaning of his
favourite. "Mr. Triddelfitz," Christian said on one occasion when they
were disputing about it. "I'll tell you something. I give each of the
horses under my charge an equal quantity of food, and I rub them all
down with equal care, but I've noticed that you always take away the
oats intended for the bailiff's old horse and give them to your own.
Don't take it ill of me, Mr. Triddelfitz, if I say that the one animal
is every bit as good as the other, and that both must live. But what's
the meaning of this," he asked, going, up to the rack. "Why, it's some
of the calves' hay! How did it come here? I should get into no end of a
scrape if the bailiff should happen to see it."--"I know nothing about
it," said Fred, and it was quite true that he did not.--"I don't care,"
said Christian, "but I only give you fair warning that I'll break the
legs of anyone I find bringing it. I won't have any such goings on
here."

Christian Däsel set himself to watch for the person who smuggled the
calves' hay into the stables, and before long he made a discovery. Who
was it who broke the stable laws for the sake of Fred's sorrel-mare;
who was it who was hard-hearted enough to deprive the innocent little
calves of their provender for the sake of Fred's sorrel-mare; who was
it who was so lost to every good feeling as to put Fred's sorrel-mare
in danger of having her legs broken by Christian for having the hay at
all? Who was it, I say? I shall have to tell who it was, for no one
would guess. It was Mary Möller who brought Fred's "old woman" a
handful of the sweet hay every time she left the young calves and went
past the stable where the riding-horses were kept. Perhaps some one may
exclaim: Stop, you're getting on too fast, how did there happen to be
young calves so late in summer? To which I reply: My dear friend,
surely I have a right to skip a few months if I like, and the fact is
that I'm telling you what happened in the winter of 1844, about
New-year's-time. And if I am asked: But how did Mary Möller come to do
such a thing? I will answer, that that is as stupid a question as the
one about the young calves. Havn't I as good a right to tell you about
nice people who can forgive and forget, as about malicious wretches who
go on nagging to all eternity? Mary Möller was a woman who was generous
enough to be able to forgive and forget, and as she could no longer
show her love for Fred in the old way, she contented herself with
showing it to his horse by giving it the calves' hay. It was a touching
incident, and Fred was much moved when he discovered, from finding his
old sweetheart and Christian Däsel quarrelling at the stable-door, that
it was she who had shown him this kindness in secret. He therefore made
friends with her again and they once more entered into the old sausage
and ham alliance.

Winter had come as I said before, and nothing of particular interest
had happened in the neighbourhood, except that Pomuchelskopp had
attended the parliament which met late in autumn, and had caused great
excitement in his quiet family circle by his determination to do so.
Henny rushed about the house, knocking everything about that there was
no fear of breaking by such rough usage, and banging the doors; she did
not even hesitate to say that her husband was mad. Mally and Sally took
their father's part against her in secret, for they had heard that Mr.
von Rambow, who was to command the guard round the parliament-house,
drew a large part of his income from the grand ball given after the
meeting of parliament was over, and to which he could give a ticket of
admittance for the sum of eight and four pence. They had been to a
Whitsun market ball at Rostock, and also to an agricultural meeting,
but a parliament ball! That must be far more delightful than anything
they had as yet experienced. They roused their father to summon up all
his courage, and act in opposition to the will of his beloved wife. "My
chick," he said, "I can't help it I promised Mr. von Rambow that I
would go. He started yesterday and expects me to follow him."--"Oh,
indeed!" said Henny. "Then I suppose that his grand lady wife expects
me too?"--"She isn't going, my chuck. If I neglect this opportunity of
showing myself, and of proving that I am a man in whom the nobility may
trust, how can I expect them to raise me to their rank? I am going
away in a black coat to-day, and I shall perhaps come back in a red
one."--"You're sure to have it all your own way," answered his wife
sarcastically as she left the room.--"I've as good a chance as any of
the other noblemen," he muttered after her as she retreated.--"Good
gracious, father," cried Sally running away, "I know ...." A few
minutes afterwards she came back with a scarlet petticoat which she
threw over her father's shoulders like a herald's mantle, and then she
made him look at himself in the glass. Mr. Pomuchelskopp was turning,
twisting and examining the effect of his decoration when his wife came
back, and seeing what he was about exclaimed: "If you _will_ make a
fool of yourself, do it in the parliament house and not in my
drawing-room."

Pomuchelskopp took this for a consent to his going to the parliament,
and so he went. His discomforts began from the moment of his arrival at
Malchin, for after he had taken a room at Voitel's Inn, he discovered
that the nobility all patronised the Bull, and that no one went to
Voitel's except the mayors of towns and middle-class landowners with
whom he did not care to associate. He hung about the coffee-room for
some time and got in everybody's way, for he did not know what to do
with himself. At last he summoned courage to ask whether anyone had
seen Mr. von Rambow of Pümpelhagen, as all his hopes rested on Alick.
Nobody had seen him, but at last some one remembered that Mr. von
Rambow had driven out to Brülow grange that afternoon with Mr. von
Brülow to see a thoroughbred horse. It was a great disappointment to
Mr. Pomuchelskopp for Alick was his mainstay, and was to introduce him
to his noble friends, and now he had gone away to inspect a horse. He
at last turned in his despair to a stout dignified looking man with a
smiling face, but unfortunately for him he did not see the mischievous
sparkle in the stranger's eyes which showed how thoroughly he enjoyed a
joke, for if he had seen it he would have refrained from appealing to
him: "Pardon me," he said, "I am Squire Pomuchelskopp of Gürlitz and
have come here to attend parliament for the first time. You look so
good-natured that I venture to ask you what I ought to do now."--"Ah,"
said the gentleman, taking a pinch of snuff and looking at him
enquiringly. "You want to know what you have to do? You hav'n't
anything particular to do; of course you've paid all the necessary
visits of ceremony?"--"No," answered Pomuchelskopp.--"Then you must go
and call on the government commissioner, the Chief of the constabulary,
and High Sheriff at once. Good-evening, Langfeldt, where are you
going?" he exclaimed, breaking off in his sentence and addressing a man
who was leaving the inn with a lantern in his hand.--"To make those
tiresome calls," and half turning round he added: "Shall I find you
here when I come back, Brückner? I shan't be long."--"Well, make as
much haste as you can," said the good-natured looking man, and
addressing Pomuchelskopp again he went on: "Then you hav'n't paid
those visits yet?"--"No," was the answer.--"I strongly advise you to
get them over as soon as you can. The gentleman you saw with the
lantern is going to make the same calls as you, so that all you have to
do is follow him. Yes, that's a capital plan! But you must make
haste."--Pomuchelskopp snatched his hat from the peg, hastened out of
doors, and ran down the streets of Malchin in pursuit of the lantern as
fast as his round-about figure and shortness of breath would allow
him.--The good-natured looking man took a pinch of snuff smilingly,
seated himself at one of the tables and said to himself with a chuckle
of enjoyment: "I'd give a good deal to see Langfeldt now!"

And it would have been well worth the trouble! Langfeldt, who was mayor
of Güstrow, having arrived at the house of the government commissioner
from Shwerin, entered the hall, and, giving his lantern into the charge
of a footman, was shown into an audience-chamber. Scarcely was this
done when some one came puffing and blowing up the steps, and
Pomuchelskopp made his appearance. He made a low bow to the footman and
said: "Can you tell me, Sir, where I can ad the gentleman who has just
come to call?"--The man opened a door and Pomuchelskopp entered the
room, and made a series of deferential bows to Langfeldt, whom he
mistook for the government commissioner; mistake for which he might the
more readily be pardoned, that the worshipful mayor of the border town
of Güstrow was in the habit of holding his head so high, that it looked
as if it would go through the ceiling, and that was quite what might be
expected of a Mecklenburg government commissioner. He however met
Pomuchelskopp right by showing him the real man, and then, as his own
business was finished, he went way taking his lantern with him.
Pomuchelskopp, in deadly fear of losing sight of him, made a bow to the
commissioner and hurried after Langfeldt and his lantern. The same
thing took place at the house of the Chief of the constabulary forces.
The mayor had just begun to make a polite speech when Pomuchelskopp
panted into the room after him.--"What brings that fellow here, I
wonder," he asked himself, and at once taking leave hoped to make good
his escape; but Pomuchelskopp was wary and the lantern was his only
guide, so off he steered again in its wake.--They met once more at the
house of the High Sheriff of the Wendish district and Langfeldt lost
his temper at the intrusion. As he knew the High Sheriff well, indeed
they were members of the same select committee, he was determined to
come to the bottom of the affair, and enquired sternly: "Sir, may I ask
why you are pursuing me?"--"I--I," stammered Pomuchelskopp, "I have as
good a right as you to make calls."--"Then make them by yourself,"
cried the mayor.--The High Sheriff tried to smooth over matters, and
Pomuchelskopp began to put on a look of clownish stupidity, but no
sooner did the mayor get out of doors than he again started in
pursuit.--Langfeldt became still more angry and turning round in the
street, said: "Sir, why are you running after me?"--And Pomuchelskopp
had now lost the shyness which the High Sheriff's presence had made him
feel, and knew that it was only a mayor he had to deal with, so he
answered loftily: "Sir, I am every bit as much the Grand Duke's
pheasant as you are!"--He meant to have said "vassal," but used the
word pheasant by mistake.[3]--However angry a man may be he is certain
to be amused by a ludicrous blunder such as Pomuchelskopp had made, and
as the mayor happened to be a good tempered fellow in the main, he
burst out laughing, and said: "All right then. Come away. I see what
sort of man you are."--"And," cried Pomuchelskopp furiously, for he
bitterly resented being laughed at, "let me tell you, I've got every
bit as good a right to go to these places as you have!" Having said
that he set off once more in pursuit of the lantern. But he might have
spared himself the trouble, for Langfeldt had finished paying his
visits, and was now on his way back to his inn. Arrived there, he took
his key off the nail and went to get some money to pay his stakes at
ombre. On looking round he found that Pomuchelskopp had followed him
into the room.--The mayor put his lantern on the table, and as the
affair amused him, he said laughingly: "Pray tell me what you
want?"--"I tell you that I've every bit as much right to pay visits as
you have," said Pomuchelskopp, who was boiling over with rage at
finding himself made a laughing-stock.--"But whom do you want to see
here?"--"What's that to you?" said Pomuchelskopp, "the gentleman I have
come to visit will soon be in," and he seated himself on a chair with a
flop.--"This is as good as a play!" said the mayor, and going to the
door he called out: "Sophia, bring candles." When the servant brought
the candles he asked: "Did you ever see a pheasant, Sophia?--Look
there," pointing to Pomuchelskopp, "that's a pheasant, one of the Grand
Duke's pheasants!"--Sophia ran away in fits of laughter. A few minutes
afterwards the landlord came in to have a look at the pheasant, and he
was soon followed by his children, who showed their amusement so openly
that Pomuchelskopp was not long in finding out whom he was visiting. He
went away in a rage and the mayor followed him lantern in hand.

The good-natured looking gentleman said to his friend smilingly as he
entered the coffee-room at Voitel's: "Well, Langfeldt, have you
finished your calls?" "To be sure!" exclaimed the mayor, "I understand
it all now, I wonder that I didn't guess at once that you had sent that
idiot after me."--Then he told the whole story, and as even members of
parliament like a little fun, Pomuchelskopp was known ever after by the
nick-name of the "pheasant," and Alick, whose footsteps he was
continually dogging, was called the "game-keeper," while Mally and
Sally who came to the ball in splendid attire were talked of as the
"chickens." On one occasion when Pomuchelskopp had to record his vote
in favour of a motion, he wrote "yeaws" instead of "yes," so a wit, who
saw what he had done, proposed that he should be called the
"parliamentary-donkey," but nobody was inclined to adopt the new name,
and the old one of "pheasant" carried the day.

Pomuchelskopp cannot be said to have had much enjoyment during the time
he attended the sitting of parliament, for even the nobles to whom he
paid court, and with whom he voted, would have nothing to do with him
for fear of making themselves ridiculous, and when he was at home again
his wife made him even more uncomfortable by her compassionate
"Pöking." He was ill at ease, and yet neither Mally nor Sally came to
his rescue, for they had had no dancing on the evening of the
parliamentary ball, but had been left sitting as motionless as
if they had been hatching eggs. The womenkind all united in stabbing
the poor quiet man and law-giver with their sharp words as he sat
cowering in his sofa-corner, till the sight of his misery would have
softened a heart of stone.--"Well, Pöking, were you much thought
of at the parliament?"--And: "Will they soon make you a nobleman,
father?"--And: "What do people do, Pöking, when they are up at the
parliament-house?"--"How can I tell?" he said. "They're always
fighting."--"What was settled about the nunneries, father?"--"I can't
tell. You'll know soon enough from the Rostock newspaper."--Then he
rose and went to the barn, where he got rid of some of his ill-temper
by abusing the farm-servants.



                              CHAPTER IX.


The new year 1844 had come and winter was gone. Spring was waiting at
the door till the Lord of the house gave him permission to enter, and
re-clothe the earth with her garment of leaves, grass and flowers. When
the ice and snow melted all hearts at Pümpelhagen grew lighter as
though awakened to new life by the sunshine. Even old Hawermann was
happier as he worked away in the fields, and while he sowed the
corn-seed in the dark soil, God sowed the seed of hope in his sad
heart. As Mr. and Mrs. von Rambow had gone to visit some of their
relations he was able to get on quicker with the work of the farm, and
also to see more of his daughter than during the winter. He had seen
and spoken to her that morning at church, and he was now spending the
Sunday afternoon quietly in his sitting-room thinking over the past. No
one interrupted him for a long time, as Fred was in the stable with his
mare, and that was a great comfort to the old man, for he could now
find his pupil at a moment's notice if he wanted him, which was not
always the case before.

Bräsig came in: "How-d'ye-do, Charles," he said.--"What?" cried
Hawermann, starting up, "I thought you were laid up with gout, and was
just meditating paying you a visit, but the difficulty was that Mr.
von Rambow is from home, and Triddelfitz isn't to be trusted just
now."--"Why, what's the matter with him?"--"Oh, his old mare is going
to foal very soon."--"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed Bräsig. "The thoroughbred
foal that he's going to sell to the squire."--"Yes. But tell me,
hav'n't you had another attack of gout?"--"Well, Charles, it's very
difficult to tell whether one has had the real thing or not. But it
comes to much the same thing in the long run, for one's suff'ring is
quite as severe in the one case as in the other. The only great
difference is in the _cause_. You see _real_ gout is brought on by good
eating and drinking, and what I had wasn't quite the right kind, for it
was caused by wearing wretched thin-soled patent leather boots."--"What
on earth makes you wear such things then?"--"I had them when I was in
the Count's service, and I can't throw them away. But what I wanted to
say was this: have you seen the parson today?"--"Yes."--"Well, how is
he?"--"He looks ill, and is very weak; when he got into the pulpit the
perspiration stood in great beads on his forehead from the exertion,
and he had to rest quietly on the sofa for some time after he went
home."--"Hm! Hm!" sighed Bräsig, shaking his head. "I'm sorry to hear
that, Charles, but we must remember that he's an old man now."--"Yes,
that's true," said Hawermann thoughtfully.--"How's your little girl?"
asked Bräsig.--"She's very well, thank you, Zachariah. She was here
last week, but I had no time to speak to her, as I had to go and see to
the sowing of the corn. Mrs. von Rambow saw her though, and called her
into the house where she kept her till the evening."--"Charles," said
Bräsig, and getting up from his chair he walked up und down the room,
biting the mouth-piece of his pipe so hard in his excitement that the
knob broke short off, "believe me, your squire's wife is a capital
product of humanity."--Hawermann also rose and paced the room. Every
time the old friends passed each other in their walk they gave their
pipes a vehement puff, and Bräsig said: "Well, Charles, am I not
right?" and Hawermann answered: "Quite right, Zachariah."--Who knows how
long they would have gone on repeating this question and answer, if a
carriage had not driven up to the door, and Kurz and the rector made
their appearance.

"How-d'ye-do! How-d'ye-do!" cried Kurz as he entered the parlour. "Oh,
I see, you're here too, Mr. Bräsig. How are you, old friend? I've come
to speak to you about the clover-seed, Hawermann."--"Good-day!" said
Baldrian to Bräsig, drawling out the word "day" till one would have
thought he wanted that day to last to all eternity, "how are you my
worthy friend?"--"Pretty bobbish," replied Bräsig.--"Hawermann,"
interrupted Kurz, "isn't it splendid seed?"--"Well, Kurz," said
Hawermann, "I've seen worse seed and I've seen better. I put a little
of it on a hot shovel, and as you know, if it's good seed it ought to
jump off the shovel with a skip like a flea, but a good many of the
grains never moved at all."--"You don't look quite so blooming, my dear
Sir," continued the rector, "as on that memorable occasion when we met
round the punch-bowl to celebrate the betrothals at Rexow."--"There's a
good reason for that," said Hawermann, laying his hand affectionately
on Bräsig's shoulder, "my dear old friend has been suffering from
gout."--"I see," laughed the rector, trying to be witty,


                "'Vinum, der Vater,
                  Und c[oe]na, die Mutter,
                  Und Venus, die Hebamm,
                  Die machen podagram.'"[4]


"The seed is splendid," cried Kurz again, "you won't see finer between
Grimmen and Greifswald."--"Take care, Kurz!" said Hawermann, "don't
crow too loud, remember the proverb!"--"Listen!" Bräsig exclaimed, at
the same moment addressing the rector. "Don't talk French to me! I
can't understand you. But what do you mean by talking of Fenus? What
have I and my gout to do with Fenus?"--"My honoured friend," said the
rector with a deep bow, "permit me to inform you that Venus was the
name given in ancient times to the goddess of love."--"I don't care
about that," answered Bräsig, "she may have been anything you like, but
now-a-days every stupid shepherd's dog is called Venus."--"No,
Hawermann," exclaimed Kurz eagerly, "I assure you that when clover has
the real purply red colour it ....."--"Yes, Kurz," was the answer,
"but yours wasn't like that."--"My good friend," said the rector to
Bräsig, "Venus was a goddess, as I told you before, and how a
shepherd's dog ...."--"But," interrupted Bräsig, "you make a mistake in
saying she was a goddess, for a Fenus was a kind of bird. Now,
Charles, us'n't we to hear of a bird called the Fenus when we
were children?"--"Ah, I see what you mean now," said the rector,
who had received a new light on the subject. "You're thinking of
the Arabian bird, the Ph[oe]nix, which builds its nest of costly
spices ..."--"Humbug!" interposed Kurz. "How is it possible
for any bird to build a nest with cloves, pepper, cummin and
nutmegs."--"My dear brother-in-law, are you not aware that it is an old
saga?"--"Then," said Bräsig, "the saga tells what isn't true, and
besides that, you don't pronounce the word rightly. It isn't Ph[oe]nix
but Ponix, and they arn't birds at all, but small horses that come from
Sweden and Ireland, and not from Arabia, as you say. The Countess
always used to drive two of these ponixes in her carriage."--The
rector was going to put his friend right, but Kurz stopped him:
"No, brother-in-law," he said, "just let it alone. We're all willing
to admit that you're much better up in learned subjects than
Bräsig."--"Let him say what he will," said Bräsig, standing before the
rector, and looking quite ready to fight out the point.--"No, no,"
cried Kurz, "we didn't come here to quarrel about Venuses or
clover-seed, but to have a good game at Boston."--"That's much better,"
said Hawermann, beginning to prepare the table.--"Stop, Charles," said
Bräsig, "that isn't proper work for you to do; the apprentice ought to
do it for you."--He then put his head out at the window and shouted
"Triddelfitz" across the court. Fred came running to see why he was
wanted. "We're going to play at Boston, Triddelfitz, so please put the
table in order for us, and get a dish of some kind for the pool, then
you can fill our pipes and make a handful of matches."--As soon as Fred
had done this they sat down to play, but could not begin at once, as
they had first to determine what the stakes were to be. Kurz wanted to
do things grandly when he was about it, and proposed penny points, but
he was always of a reckless disposition, and the others agreed with
Bräsig that the stake was too high, as they were not playing for the
pleasured of winning other people's money. At last Hawermann got them
to fix on a smaller sum, and to begin.--"Diamond begins," said the
rector.--"Kurz deals," said Bräsig. They might have begun now,
but the rector laid his hand upon the cards, and said as he looked
round upon the circle: "What a strange thing it is! We are all
sensible men, and yet we are playing at a game, which, if old tales are
true, was invented for the amusement of a mad king. King Charles of
France ....."--"No, no, good people," said Kurz, pulling the cards
from under the rector's hand, "if we're going to play let us play, and
if we're going to talk let us talk."--"Fire away!" said Bräsig, and
Kurz began to deal, but in his haste, he misdealt. "Try again!" This
time it was all right, and they could begin.--"I pass," said Hawermann.
It was now the rector's turn, and they had all to wait till he had
arranged his cards, for he had a superstitious fancy for picking up his
cards singly, thinking it would bring him better luck, and as he was
very conscientious in all his actions he was careful to arrange them in
regular order, placing the sevens and fives in such a way that he could
see the centre mark on each card, and so distinguish between them and
the sixes and fours.--Kurz meanwhile laid his cards on the table,
folded his hands and sighed.--"I pass," said the rector.--"I knew
that," said Kurz, who was quite aware that it would be very odd play if
his brother-in-law were to declare anything, but still he was always
frightened, lest Baldrian should return the lead when he himself had
declared anything, and when in consequence he had nothing more, or else
should not lead up to him when he ought.--"Pass," said Bräsig whose
turn it now was.--"Boston grandissimo," said Kurz.--"Who can
follow?"--"Pass," said Hawermann.--"Dear brother-in-law," said the
rector, "I--I--one trick, two tricks--this'll be the third. I
follow."--"Oh," said Kurz, "but remember, we're not going to pay
together, we're each to pay for ourselves."--"Then, Charles," said
Bräsig, "if that's the way _of_ it we'll have to give them a double
beating."--"No talking," said Kurz.--"Certainly not," answered
Hawermann, laying the ten of hearts on the table; "'Archduke Michael
fell on the land.'"--"C[oe]ur, Mr. Bräsig," said the rector throwing
down the knave of hearts.--"'Hug me (Herze mich), and kiss me, but
don't crumple my collar,'" said Bräsig playing the queen.--"The lady
must have a husband," said Kurz putting down the king and taking the
trick. He then played a small club; "clubs."--"Quick, snap it
up," cried Bräsig to Hawermann.--"Hush!" said Kurz, "no talking
allowed."--"Of course not," said Hawermann playing a small club.--"Well
done our side," said the rector playing the nine.--"I've conquered with
a club and a lady," said Bräsig taking the trick with the queen.--"What
the mischief!" cried Kurz. "He has no more clubs. I wonder what he
has!"--"Keep a bright look out, Charles, we're going to begin," cried
Bräsig; "Sir," he went on turning to Kurz, "this is Whist. The
ace of spades leads the way," and he threw down the ace. The king
followed: "Long live the king!" and then the queen: "Give place
to the ladies!"--"Hang it!" cried Kurz laying his cards on the table
and staring at the rector; "what _can_ he have? He has no spades
either!"--"Dear brother-in-law," said the rector, "I'll do my part
afterwards."--"And then it'll be too late," said Kurz taking up his
cards again with as deep a sigh as if the rector had been ill-treating
him and he was determined to bear it with the resignation of a
Christian--"Charles," asked Bräsig, "how many tricks have we
altogether?"--"Four," answered Hawermann.--"Hush," said Kurz. "That's
not the game. No talking allowed."--"I wasn't giving any hints," said
Bräsig. "I was only asking a question. Now, Charles, do your best. I
can make _one_ more trick, and so if you make another we'll do."--"_I_
shall make one," said Kurz positively.--"And so shall I," said the
rector.--After a couple of rounds, Kurz laid his hand over his tricks
and said: "I've got mine now."--Diamonds were led. Baldrian recklessly
played his queen, and Bräsig threw down the king, exclaiming: "Where
are you going to, my pretty maid?" so the poor old rector was
out-done, and he muttered confusedly: "I don't understand how that
happened."--"Because you don't know the rules of Whist," cried
Kurz.--"Charles," said Bräsig, "if you had only been paying proper
attention to the game you might have got another of their good
cards."--"Might I? Well, you made a mistake too, you ought to have
returned my lead that time I led hearts."--"Now, Charles, how could I
when I had none. I had nothing but the king."--"Well, brother-in-law,"
exclaimed Kurz, "you threw away the game. Why did you play the nine of
trumps when you had the king. If you hadn't done that the game would
have been ours."--"Faugh!" said Bräsig with great contempt, "you boy,
you savage! How can you say that, when you remember what a strong hand
I had in spades, to say nothing of my other cards. What do you mean by
it?"--"Sir, do you think that when I agreed to play at Boston I should
be afraid of your stupid grumbling?" said the rector.--"Don't let's
talk about it any more," said Hawermann beginning a new deal. "It's
always unpleasant to play a game over again."

They began to play once more with the firm determination to get the
better of their adversaries.--The rector won as was right and proper,
for, as is well known, the one who loses the first game is sure to win
the second.--Kurz looked gloomy for a time, but afterwards brightened
up: "Ten grandissimo," he said. Everybody was astonished, and so was
he. He looked at his cards again, and repeated: "Ten grandissimo," laid
the cards on the table and began to walk up and down the room: "That's
the way they play in Venice and in other great towns," he said in
conclusion.

Fred Triddelfitz entered the parlour at the moment when Kurz was
triumphant and the others hardly knew what to do next. He looked pale
and frightened: "Mr. Hawermann," he said, "do please come with
me."--"What's the matter?" asked Hawermann starting up, but Kurz forced
him back into his chair, saying: "You mustn't go till you've finished
the game. The same thing happened to me once before, at the time of the
great fire, I had just laid a grandissimo on the table when everyone
ran away."--"Confound it," cried Hawermann freeing himself from Kurz,
"can't you tell me what it is. Is there a fire?"--"No," stammered Fred,
"it's--it's--it's only something that has happened to me."--"What has
happened to you?" asked Bräsig sharply across the table.--"My mare has
got a foal," said Fred.--"Is that all?" said Bräsig, "she has often had
one before and I don't see what's to frighten you in that. Such an
event is always a subject of rejoicing."--"I know," said Fred,
"but--but--it looks so very odd. You must come, Mr. Hawermann."--"Is
the foal dead?" asked Hawermann.--"No," answered Fred. "It's quite
well, it only looks so odd ..... Christian Däsel says it's a young
camel."--"Bless me!" cried Hawermann. "We'll put off the game till
another time. Will you all come with me?"--And in spite of Kurz's
expostulations they all followed Fred to the stable.--"I never saw a
foal like it," said Fred while they were on their way there, "its ears
are so long," and he showed them his arm from his elbow upwards.

When they came to the stable they found Christian Däsel in the stall,
where the sorrel-mare was making much of her foal, which was trying to
skip about merrily though rather staggeringly. He turned to Bräsig and
said with a shake of his head: "Please, Sir, what in all the world is
it?"--Bräsig looked at Hawermann and said emphatically: "Yes, I know
what it is, Charles, this thorough-bred foal is neither more nor less
than a mule."--"You're right," said Hawermann.--"A mule?" cried Fred,
rushing into the stall and, notwithstanding the mother's displeasure,
succeeding in getting hold of the foal's head and examining its face,
eyes and ears with anxious scrutiny. As soon as he was convinced of the
dreadful truth, he exclaimed angrily: "I'd like to strangle the
creature, as I can't get at Augustus Prebberow."--"For shame,
Triddelfitz!" said Hawermann gravely. "Don't you see how pleased its
mother is with it although it isn't a thoroughbred?"--"Yes," said
Bräsig, "and she's 'the nearest' to it, as Mrs. Behrens would say. You
may strangle Augustus Prebberow though for all I care; he's a thrice
distilled contraband rascal!"--"Nay," said Fred, whose wrath had given
place to sadness, "how is it possible? He was my best friend, and yet
he cheated me into buying a deaf mare and a mule. I'll prosecute
him."--"I tell you that friendship and honesty are nowhere in
horse-dealing," said Bräsig, taking Fred by the arm and leading him out
of the stable, "but I'm _very_ sorry for your disappointment. You've
paid dearly for your experience in horse-dealing, but that's what
everyone has to do. You mustn't go to law about it, for a law-suit is
an endless thing; it'll still be going on long after the mule is dead.
Look here," he said, making Fred walk up and down the yard with him,
"I'll tell you a story as a warning. Old Rütebusch of Swensen sold his
own brother-in-law, who was bailiff here before Hawermann, a regular
porcupine of a riding-horse. Well, or as you always say, 'Bong,' three
days afterwards the bailiff wished to try his new inquisition. He
climbed into the saddle, and it was really climbing, I can tell you,
for the horse, which had very short legs, had poked up its back till it
looked more like a rainbow than anything else. No sooner was he mounted
than the beast ran away with him, and never stopped till it had got
deep into the village pond, right up to the neck in fact, and there was
no inducing it to move either one way or the other. That was a blessing
though in one sense, both for the horse and the bailiff, as they would
otherwise most likely have been drowned. The bailiff shouted for help.
The water was too deep to allow him to wade ashore, and he couldn't
swim, so at last old Flegel the carpenter had to save him in a boat.
Then there was a law-suit, for the bailiff said the horse was incurably
mad, or as we farmers call it 'witless,' and Rütebusch must take it
back, as madness when proved was sufficient cause to dissolve any
bargain. Rütebusch refused, and the brothers-in-law became on such bad
terms that they couldn't see each other three miles off without getting
into a rage. The law-suit went on. All the Swensen people were called
upon to swear that the horse was in full possession of its senses, and
the Pümpelhagen people had to swear to the contrary. The law-suit went
on for five years, and during that time the horse was left quietly in
the stable eating his oats comfortably, for the bailiff had never
ridden him since the first day, as he looked upon him as a dangerous
wretch that had sold his soul to the devil, and he didn't dare to kill
the beast because he was what is called the _corpus delictus_ of the
whole affair. The most learned vetinairy surgeons, six in number, were
brought to look at the horse, but no good came of that, for they didn't
agree. Three of them said he was all there, and the other three
pronounced him mad. The lawsuit went on, and a number of other
law-suits branched out of it, for the learned horse-doctors accused
each other of being malicious and rude, and ended by going to law. Then
a famous professor of vetinairy surgery in Berlin was applied to, and
he wrote to desire them to cut off the horse's head and send it to him,
as he must examine the brain before he could pronounce judgment. It's
very difficult to say of any reasonable human being whether he is
witless or wise, and how much more difficult is it to speak decidedly
of an unreasoning animal. The bailiff determined to do as the professor
wished, but old Rütebusch and his legal advisers wouldn't consent, so
the law-suit went on as before. At last Rütebusch died, and six months
later his brother-in-law died also. They hadn't made up their quarrel
at the time of their death and each of them went into eternity clinging
to his own opinion; the one that the horse was in his right senses and
the other that he was mad. The law-suit was then suspendicated and
three weeks afterwards the old horse died of fat and idleness. The head
was nicely pickled and was sent to the learned professor at Berlin, who
wrote clearly and decidedly that the horse had never been mad in all
its life; that in point of fact it had been every bit as sane as he was
himself, and that he only wished for the sake of the rival litigants
that their brains had been in as perfect a condition as that of the
horse. And he was right, for the rascally boy who had saddled the
bailiff's horse, confessed to me afterwards when he was in my service,
that he had tied a burning sponge under the poor beast's tail out of
revenge, because the bailiff had thrashed him the day before. Now I ask
you as a reasonable mortal, didn't the horse show his wisdom by running
into the pond and so putting out the fire? The great law-suit was at an
end, but the little ones between the farriers are still going on. And
now I'll tell you something; Hawermann is a great friend of old
Prebberow, the father of your roguish friend, and he will try to make
an arrangement for you and see that you have fair play. You may go now,
but don't be unkind to the innocent little foal or its mother, for they
are not to blame for your having been cheated, indeed the mother was as
much cheated as you were." Bräsig then went to join his friends and
they all resumed their places at the card-table.

"All right!" said Kurz, "well it was ten grandissimo, and my turn to
play."--"Charles," said Bräsig, "you must have a talk with old
Prebberow some time or other, and try to make better terms for that
confounded grey-hound of yours."--"I'll see to it, Zachariah, and it'll
all come right. I'm heartily sorry for the poor boy having his pleasure
spoilt like this--a mule of all things in the world!"--"I perceive,"
said the rector, laying down the cards which he had just finished
arranging, "that you all talk of that little new born foal as a mule,
and mule is the term used in natural history ....."--"Don't drive us
mad with your natural history!" cried Kurz who had been sitting
on thorns in fear of a long harangue. "Are we playing at natural
history or at cards? Look, there's the ace of diamonds lying on the
table."--They went on with their game and Kurz won. He was never tired
of talking of his ten grandissimo during the next few weeks.

They played in the most friendly manner, till the rector who had
arranged his money in a half circle, found out that he had won ten
shillings, and then seeing that fortune was beginning to go against
him, determined to stop playing; he therefore rose, and complaining of
his feet having grown very cold, put his winnings in his pocket.--"If
you suffer from cold feet," said Bräsig, "I'll tell you an excellent
cure; take a pinch of snuff every morning before you have eaten
anything and that'll prevent your ever having cold feet."--"Nonsense!"
cried Kurz, who had been winning, "what's to make his feet
cold?"--"Why," said the rector, defending himself, "can't I have cold
feet as well as you? Don't you always complain of having cold feet at
the club when you've been winning?" And so Baldrian succeeded in
keeping his right to cold feet and to what he had won. After a little
further talk the two town's people drove away taking Bräsig with them
as far as their roads went in the same direction.

Just as Hawermann was going to bed he heard loud talking and scolding
outside his door, and immediately afterwards Fred Triddelfitz and
Christian Däsel came into the room.--"Good evening, Sir," said
Christian, "and I don't care a bit."--"What's the matter?" asked
Hawermann.--"Well, Sir," said Fred, "you know--how--how disappointed I
was about the--the mule, and now Christian won't let the poor thing
remain in the stable."--"Why not," asked Hawermann.--"You see, Sir,"
answered Christian, "I don't mind anything else, but I can't consent to
that. My work lies amongst horses and foals, and I never set up to
undertake camels and mules. And why? If I did Mr. Triddelfitz would be
for bringing apes and bears into my stable next."--"But if I tell you
that the mule is to stay there, and that you're to treat it as you
would any other foal?"--"Nay then, of course I must do it if you tell
me that, and it's all right now. Well, goodnight, Sir, I hope you'll
not take it ill of me saying what I did," and so saying he went
away.--"Mr. Hawermann," asked Fred, "what do you think that Mr. von
Rambow will say when he hears what has happened, and Mrs. von Rambow
too?"--"Don't distress yourself, they won't trouble themselves about
it"--"Ah," sighed Fred as he left the room, "I'm awfully sorry that
this has happened."

When the squire came home he was told the whole story of the
sorrel-mare by Christian, and as he was a good-natured fellow at heart,
and really liked Fred, whom he felt to be somewhat like himself in
disposition, he spoke kindly and comfortingly to the lad, saying:
"Never mind! Our little traffic in thorough-bred foals has come to
nothing as the mare had made a mésalliance. We'll soon put her and her
foal out into the field, and you'll see that things will turn out
better than you expect"--Every one took an interest in the little mule,
which soon became a general favourite. When the village children were
passing through the field on Sunday afternoons they went to the
enclosure where the foals were kept and looking at the mule used to
say: "Look, Josy, that's it."--"Yes, that's the one. Just look how he's
waggling his ears."--"I say, he's kicking like a donkey."--And when the
young women who worked on the farm trooped past the enclosure, they
also stood still, saying: "Look, Stina, that's Mr. Triddelfitz's
mule."--"Come, Sophie, let's go a little nearer."--"No, I'd rather not.
What an ugly beast it is to be sure."--"You've no right to say so. You
don't dislike him so much, for he always gives you the easiest bits of
work."--The sorrel-mare, the mule and Fred became well known in all the
country side, and wherever the latter showed himself, he was asked how
the mule was getting on, much to his chagrin. The little mule was happy
and careless of all the remarks made about him, he ran and jumped about
the paddock with the other well-born, high-bred foals, and when one of
them tried to bully him he was quite able to take his own part.



                               CHAPTER X.


Everything went on well at Pümpelhagen that year. The harvest was
plenteous, and the price of corn was high. Alick von Rambow saw a way
opening before him of getting out of his difficulties; he did up his
accounts over and over again, and saw clearly that if he sold the rape
for so much, the sheep for so much, and the cattle for so much, that
all this, with what he got for the wheat would be amply sufficient to
pay off the last farthing of his debts. The devil himself must take
part against him, if he failed to do so. He thought that the reason of
his good fortune this year was that he himself was at Pümpelhagen, and
was therefore able to look after things with his own eyes. The eye of
the master is to a farm what the sun is to the world, everything ripens
under it, and the tender blades of grass grow green under his footstep.
So thinking, it was not long before Alick quite forgot that these
blessings were the gift of God, and began to look upon them as the
result of his own efforts, and even the high price of corn seemed to
him to be a piece of well merited good fortune.

He rode his high horse without fear, and even when the farming and
household expenses of the moment ran away with all the bank-notes with
which David and Slus'uhr had provided him, and his small change began
to run short, he congratulated himself on his excellent farming which
gave him such unlimited credit in the neighbourhood, that Pomuchelskopp
had offered to lend him various small sums from time to time. He had
accepted loans from Pomuchelskopp without fear, in order to get rid of
David for the time being, so that he paid David and Slus'uhr with
Pomuchelskopp's money, and they paid it back to Pomuchelskopp, and he
again lent it to Alick, thus the money was kept continually going round
and round in a circle. It would altogether have been a very pleasant
little arrangement, if Pomuchelskopp had not been obliged to take the
trouble of removing the marks from the bills for fear of Alick's
finding out that it was always his own money that he got back. It could
not be helped however if Pomuchelskopp still wished to keep his plans
for gaining the Pümpelhagen acres a profound secret from his victim,
and indeed he enjoyed the sense of power which came of his rapid
intimacy with Alick far too much to grudge the trouble he had to take.

Alick was also perfectly satisfied with the course events were taking,
for he was always well supplied with money to ward off the attacks of
the usurers, and at what seemed to him a very small price, for he never
thought of adding up at the end of the year how much the total came to,
and he was firmly convinced that his affairs were better attended to
now that he lived at Pümpelhagen than they had ever been before. It was
the old story over again. When a young squire who knows nothing
whatever of farming wants to make improvements, he always begins with
the live-stock. And why is this the case? Well, I imagine it is because
young gentlemen think this subject the easiest to understand. All that
they have to do is to buy a new bull, and a ram or two of some new
fashioned breed, and then, as the laws of cattle-breeding are still
sufficiently indefinite to allow of much theorising, even the stupidest
of them has no difficulty in speaking learnedly on the subject. They
have only to pass over as of no account, all that the old men around
them have learnt from the experience of years, and they do not find it
hard to do; after that these youthful farmers are as worthy of being
listened to, in their own opinion at least, as those whose hair has
grown grey at the work.

There was a dairy of Breitenburg cows at Pümpelhagen, which the old
squire had bought by Hawermann's advice and with Hawermann's
assistance. This dairy must now be improved, so Alick went to
Sommersdorf in Pommerania where there was a great cattle-show, and
bought a splendid Ayrshire bull by Pomuchelskopp's advice. He bought
this bull because he was handsome, because he came from Scotland, and
because he was something new. There was a flock of Negretti sheep which
produced a great quantity of wool, and were of a high market-value, but
as Pomuchelskopp _said_ he had got four and sixpence a stone more for
his wool, the young squire was induced to buy a couple of Electoral
rams from his worthy neighbour, for which he was obliged to pay ready
money. It never occurred to Alick to set the sum he made by the large
quantity of wool given by his sheep, against that gained by
Pomuchelskopp for the smaller quantity of finer wool; had he done so he
might have found the result to be in his own favour, but unfortunately
for him he had enough to do adding up other sums on a different
subject.

Hawermann defended himself from the new arrangements as well as he
could, but his efforts were vain. His master looked upon him as an old
man who clung to the traditions of his youth too vehemently to be able
to advance with the age, and when the old man's reasons against the
introduction of some new method were unanswerable, he always said
impatiently: "Hang it! Let's try how it does at all events," and it
never entered his head to remember that experiments run away with more
money than anything else. The bailiff could do nothing, and only
thanked God that the squire had not yet really thought of breeding
thorough-bred horses, though he spoke of doing it every now and then.
Mrs. von Rambow could do nothing, for she was not aware of the way in
which her husband put off the evil day of paying his debts, and in
ordinary matters she was obliged to be contented with the result of
what she saw, and that was that Alick was apparently satisfied with the
course of events, and was looking forward to a golden future.

The Pomuchelskopps at Gürlitz manor were also happy; I do not mean that
they enjoyed great domestic happiness, they were too modest to expect
such a thing? but they were satisfied with their financial condition,
and looked forward to still greater wealth coming to them in a short
time, for the boundary between Pümpelhagen and Gürlitz was growing more
shadowy every day. Pomuchelskopp's only difficulty after any new
business-transaction with Alick was to keep his Henny quiet, for in her
ardour for possession she was anxious to cross the boundary, and seize
upon Pümpelhagen without further delay.

There was great contentment in Joseph Nüssler's house, and much looking
forward to a golden future of the ideal sort, such as poets mean when
they try to describe the "golden glory of the dawn," not that they
think the brilliance of gold an exact representation of that wonderful
light in the eastern sky, but because they know nothing more beautiful,
they so seldom get a glimpse of it. Godfrey gradually got rid of his
long hair, and began to look upon the world with other eyes than
before. He no longer used the mental blue spectacles they had provided
him with at Erlangen or elsewhere, and much to Bräsig's delight he even
went so far as to play at Boston, though it must be confessed that he
did it very badly; on another occasion he had got on horse-back, and
had managed to fall off without hurting himself, and he had appeared at
Joseph Nüssler's Harvest Home. He did not dance, that is to say before
all the rest, but he enjoyed a quiet turn with Lina in the next room,
and at the end of the evening he sang "Vivallera!" clearly but
wretchedly ill. And Rudolph? It is sufficient to repeat what Hilgendorf
said to Bräsig about him: "He'll do, Bräsig. He's just such another
youngster as I was myself; there's no tiring him; he's as strong as a
horse. He has only to glance at a thing, and he knows how to do it at
once, and it was just the same with me. And as for books? He never
opens one! And that's like me again."--Mrs. Nüssler rejoiced in her
children's happiness; and young Joseph and young Bolster sat quietly by
the hour together, gazing straight before them, and saying nothing,
they were thinking of the time when they would each have a new heir to
their dignities, young Joseph in Rudolph, and young Bolster in young
Bolster the seventh. Theirs could not be called a looking forward to a
golden dawn, but to contented natures like Joseph and Bolster the
evening-sky has likewise its golden light.

Every house in the parish had its share of happiness, each of them
after its kind, but one house formed an exception to this rule,
although it used to have its full share. In winter round the fire-side,
and in summer under the great lime-tree, or in the arbour in the garden
there always used to be a calm peaceful happiness, in which the child
Louisa as she played about the old house and grounds, and little Mrs.
Behrens, who ruled all things duster in hand, had had part, and also
the good old clergyman, who had now done with all earthly things for
ever. Peace had taken leave of the house, and had gone forth calmly to
the place from whence she came, and during that time of illness, care
and sorrow had taken up their abode there, deepening with the growing
weakness of the good old man. He did not lie long in bed, and had no
particular illness, so that Dr. Strump of Rahnstädt could not find
amongst all the three thousand, seven hundred and seventy seven
diseases of which he knew, one that suited the present case. Peace
seemed to have laid her hand on the old man's head in blessing, and to
have said to him: "I am going to leave thee, but only for a short time,
I shall afterwards return to thy Regina. Thou needest me no more,
because thou hast had me in thy heart during all the long years thou
hast fought the good fight of faith. Now sleep softly, thou must needs
be tired."

And he was tired, very tired. His wife had laid him on the sofa under
the pictures, that he might look out at the window as much as he liked,
Louisa had covered him comfortably with rugs and shawls, and then they
had both left the room softly that he might rest undisturbed. Out of
doors the first flakes of snow were falling slowly, slowly from the
sky; it was as quiet and still outside as within his heart, and he felt
as if the blessing of Christ were resting upon him. No one saw it, but
his Regina was the first to find it out--he rose, and, pushing the
large arm-chair up to the cupboard, opened the door, and sitting down,
began to examine the treasures that he had kept as relics of the past.
Some of them had belonged to his father, and some to his mother, they
were all reminiscences of what he had loved.

This cupboard was the place where he had stowed away whatever reminded
him of all the chief events of his life, and they had become relics the
sight of which did him good when he was down-hearted. They were not
preserved in crystal vessels or in embroidered cases, but were simply
placed on the shelf, and kept there to be looked at whenever he wanted
to see them. When he felt low and sad it did him good to take out these
relics, and to live over again in thought the happy days of which they
reminded him, and he never closed the cupboard-door without gaining
strength and courage, or without thanking God silently for his many
blessings. There lay the Bible his father had given him when he was a
boy; the beautiful glass vase his old college-friend had sent him; the
pocket-book his Regina had worked for him during their engagement; the
shell which a sailor had sent him in token of his gratitude for having
been shown the way to become a better man; the pieces of paper on which
Louisa, Mina and Lina had written their Christmas and New Year's-day
messages of affection, as also some of their earlier bits of handiwork;
the withered myrtle wreath his wife had worn on her wedding-day; the
large pictorial Bible with the silver-clasps that Hawermann had given
him on his seventieth birthday, and the silver-mounted meerschaum that
Bräsig had given him on the same occasion, and down below on the lowest
shelf were three pairs of shoes, the shoes that Louisa, Regina and he
had worn when they first entered the parsonage.

Old shoes are not beautiful in themselves, but the memories attached to
these made them beautiful in his eyes, so he took them out of the
cupboard, and laid them down by his side, and then placing his first
Bible on his knee, he opened it at our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, and
began to read. No one saw him, but that was not necessary, and his
Regina knew it when it was all over. He grew very tired, and resting
his head in the corner of the great chair fell asleep like a little
child.

And so they found him when they came back. Mrs. Behrens seated herself
on the arm of his chair, clasped him in her arms, closed his eyes, and
then resting her head against his, wept silently. Louisa knelt at his
feet, and laying her folded hands on his knee, looked with tearful eyes
at the two quiet faces that were so dear to her. Then Mrs. Behrens
rose, and folding down the leaf of the Bible, drew it softly out of her
husband's hand, and Louisa also rose and threw her arms round her
foster-mother's neck. They both wept long and passionately, till at
last when it was growing dusk Mrs. Behrens replaced the shoes in the
cupboard, saying as she did so: "I bless the day when we came to this
house together," and while laying Louisa's little shoes beside them,
she added: "and I bless the day when the child came to us." She then
closed the cupboard-door.

The good old clergyman was buried three days later in the piece of
ground he had long ago sought out for his last resting-place, and
any one standing by the grave, which was lighted by the earliest
rays of the morning-sun, might easily see into the parlour in the
parsonage-house.

The people who had been at the funeral were all gone home, and
Hawermann had also been obliged to go, but uncle Bräsig, who had spent
the day at the parsonage helping his friends in every possible way, had
announced his intention of remaining for the night. Seeing the two
women standing arm in arm at the window buried in sad thought, he
slipped quietly upstairs to his bed-room, and going to the window
looked sorrowfully down into the church-yard, where the newly made
grave showed distinctly against the white snow surrounding it. He
thought of the good man who lay there, who had so often helped him with
kindness and advice, and he swore to himself that he would be a
faithful friend to Mrs. Behrens.--Down-stairs the two sad-hearted women
were gazing at the same grave, and silently vowing to show each other
all the love and tenderness that he who was gone from them had been
wont to bestow. Little Mrs. Behrens thanked God and her husband for the
comforter she had in her adopted daughter whom she held in her arms,
and whose smooth hair she stroked, as she kissed her lovingly. Louisa
prayed that God would bless the lessons she had learnt from her
foster-father, and would give her strength to be a good and faithful
daughter to the kind woman who had been as a mother to her. New-made
graves may be likened to flower-beds in which the gardener puts his
rarest and most beautiful plants; but alas, ill-weeds sometimes take
root there also.

Two people were standing in one of the windows at Gürlitz manor on the
same evening, and gazing out in the dusk, but not towards the
church-yard and parsonage; no, they were looking covetously at the
glebe-lands, and Pomuchelskopp said to his Henny that they were
sure to fall into their hands soon, for he would be the first to
propose to take a lease of them when the new clergyman came to the
parish.--"Muchel," answered his wife, "the Pümpelhagen people will
never stand that; they'll take very good care not to let the land slip
through their fingers."--"Through _their_ fingers did you say, Henny?
Why, don't you know that their very fate is in my hands?"--"That's
quite true as far as it goes, but perhaps a young clergyman may come
who would like to farm his own glebe."--"Chuck, Chuck, you're not as
clever as you used to be. We have to choose the new parson, and we'll
choose a methodist. Those clergymen who are never to be seen without a
Bible and hymn-book are the kind we want, for they have no time to
farm."--"You ar'n't the only patron, remember. Pümpelhagen, Rexow, and
Warnitz have votes as well as you."--"But, my Chick, don't you know
that Warnitz and Rexow have no chance if they vote against Pümpelhagen.
If the Pümpelhagen people and mine only vote together ....."--"Don't
trust to your people, Kopp, they've no particular love for you. Mrs.
Behrens will be against you, and all the villagers will do her bidding
to a man."--"I shall get rid of her as soon as possible. She must leave
the village at once. There's no house in the neighbourhood for a
parson's widow to live in, and _I_'m not going to build one. No,
no, Mrs. Behrens must go away, and the sooner the better in my
opinion."--"What a fool you are, Kopp! Don't you know that she has a
right to remain at the parsonage until the new clergyman is elected?"
And with that Henny walked away.--"Chuck," Pomuchelskopp called after
her, "I'll manage it, dear Chuck."

Many an evil weed flourished upon that quiet grave, and covetous hands
were stretched out to seize the place left vacant by the good old man,
but harm always comes sooner or later to him who with greedy joy uses
the misfortunes of the widow and orphan for his own advantage, and
makes capital for himself of his neighbour's necessities.



                              CHAPTER XI.


Bräsig remained a week at the parsonage, and did everything that was
necessary to be done at such a time. He made the inventary, wrote a
large bundle of letters announcing the sad news of Mr. Behrens' death,
and took them to the post-office himself in spite of snow, cold and
gout, settled accounts with the Rahnstädt tradesmen, and was now seated
at the breakfast-table with Mrs. Behrens and Louisa on the Monday after
the funeral, taking his last meal before leaving them, when a carriage
stopped at the door, and Frank von Rambow getting out of it entered the
room with joyful impetuosity. But on seeing the deep mourning worn by
both the women, he stood still and exclaimed: "What has happened? Where
is Mr. Behrens?"--The widow rose from her arm-chair, and going to the
young man shook hands with him, and said with difficulty: "My pastor
is gone. He has gone home, and wished to be remembered to all, to
all ...." Here she broke down, and covering her face with her
pocket-handkerchief, continued: "To all he loved, and you were one of
those."--Louisa now went and shook hands with him, but without
speaking. When he entered the room the blood had rushed to her face,
but she had had time to regain self-command. Bräsig then welcomed the
new-comer, and began to talk of this or that to change the current of
his friends' thoughts, which had gone back to the time when they first
knew of their bereavement; but Frank did not hear a word that he said,
and stood as motionless as if he had been struck by lightning, the news
he had just heard had shattered his joyful anticipations so completely.

He had been at the agricultural school at Eldena for the last two
years, where he had worked hard, and had learnt all that was needed to
make him a good farmer; the practical part of his business he had been
taught by Hawermann, and so now that he was of age he was fitted to
take possession of his estate, and even to take a wife if he felt
inclined. The prudent advice of Mr. Behrens had prevented him hurrying
on to such a consummation too quickly. His disposition was neither cold
nor calculating, and his heart beat as warmly in his breast as that of
any other young man who was very much in love, but he had been obliged
to think for himself while so young that he had grown cautious, and
had accustomed himself to think twice before doing anything of
importance--some people said that he was too cautious--but it is a
fault on the right side. In this instance he was right to consider well
the step he proposed taking, for it was the most important of his life.
He had buried the sweet dream of happiness deep in his heart in the
same way as the kernel of the acorn is hidden by its hard shell; he had
not pleased himself with building up images of ideal bliss, but had
waited patiently till the proper time came for the seed to sprout out
of which was to grow the stately tree under whose shade he and his
Louisa might sit in peace. Whenever he had longed to go and see her, he
struggled against the temptation, for he did not wish to speak to her
then, he wanted to leave her free, and to give her plenty of time to
make up her mind unharassed by opposition. And when his heart bled at
the thought that he must not see her, he used to strengthen himself by
saying: "Be still. This is no game of chance. I must learn to be worthy
of her. And then if I win her, success will be all the sweeter."

He was now of age and was able to take his place in the world as a man.
The time was come where pride and honour no longer stood in the way and
he might tell his love to her whom he deemed the noblest, sweetest girl
on the face of the earth. The seed had begun to sprout, the tender
green shoot was showing above the soil, and the time was come to tend
it that it might grow into a tree; not only was it time to do so, it
was his duty. So at last yielding to the dictates of his warm heart,
and putting aside all further deliberation, he got into a carriage and
set out for Gürlitz parsonage.

Now that he had arrived there, the song of joy his heart had been
singing on the journey was hushed, and he stood between the two
black-robed women feeling more sorrowful than he had ever done before.
The object of his journey must remain unknown, for his own feelings,
respect for the grief he saw in his friends, and his own sorrow for the
true and good man who had passed away from them, all combined to keep
him silent, at the cost of much pain to himself.--Love is selfish and
cares nothing for the feelings of others is a common saying, and often
a true one. It has a world of its own, and goes it own way as though
the fate of others were nothing to it; but when it comes from God, its
course is determined by the eternal laws of right and goodness, and its
influence on sad hearts is sweet and calm as the light of the evening
star.

Such was the character of Frank's love, it could neither hurt nor annoy
the people with whom he had to do, on the contrary it comforted and did
good to all. He said nothing of the errand that had brought him to
Gürlitz, and when he took leave of his friends he felt like the
traveller, who, towards the end of a long and toilsome journey, sees a
church-spire rising in the distance and walks on cheerily, thinking
that his destination will soon be reached, but who is undeceived by the
sight of the first houses of the village, and finds that he has yet
further to go.

It was a beautiful winter-day when Frank set out to walk from the
parsonage to Pümpelhagen, letting the carriage follow slowly. Bräsig
went with him. The young man was busily engaged with his own thoughts,
while Bräsig was not at all inclined to be silent so that they were by
no means suitable companions. Bräsig might certainly have held his
tongue and have kept all the stories that came into his head to
himself, but it was one of his peculiarities never to see when he was
not wanted. He could not help seeing at last that he received no answer
to his remarks, and then he stood still, curiously enough, nearly on
the same spot where Alick had given him to understand that he did not
want his company any further, and asked: "Perhaps my presence is
disagreeable to you. It was just about this very place that your
cousin Mr. von Rambow told me that he did not wish me to walk with him,
if that is the case with you, I can easily leave you alone."--"Dear
Mr. Bräsig," said Frank; taking the old man's hand, "don't be
angry with me, but I can't help thinking about the death of the good
old clergyman, and the sad change that has taken place in the
parsonage."--"If that is it," answered Bräsig pressing his hand, "I
quite understand, and only think the better of you for it. I have
always told Mrs. Behrens and little Louisa that you are one of the
cultivated farmers such as one meets with in books, for you have a deal
of humanity in you and yet you are quite able to keep order amongst
those confounded farm-lads; I tell Rudolph that he can't do better than
follow your ensample."--He then went on to tell Frank about Rudolph and
Mina, Godfrey and Lina, and from them he passed to other people living
in the parish; Frank forced himself to listen attentively, so that by
the time they reached Pümpelhagen he knew all that had been going on
during his absence, even to the doings of Pomuchelskopp and his
Henny.--"Well," said Bräsig in conclusion as they entered the
court-yard at Pümpelhagen, "you're going to see your cousin, I suppose,
and I'm going to Hawermann, but there is one request that I want to
make you; let what I have told you about Pomuchelskopp and his
projections remain a secret between us, and you may trust me to have my
eye upon him and to put a spoke in his wheel whenever I can."

But Frank did not go to the manor-house, he hastened to the bailiff's
quicker than Bräsig could follow, rushed into the parlour where he had
spent so many quiet hours alone with Hawermann, and fell upon his neck.
The old man's eyes were moist, and the cheeks of the youth were
flushed, as if age had given his best gift, the dew of his blessing,
and the young heart on receiving it were revived and strengthened.--It
should always be so.--Frank then went up to Fred Triddelfitz, and
holding out his hand, said: "How d'ye do, Fred."--But Fred was proud,
with a true middle-class pride; and he had also a desire for revenge
which was born on the evening he had been caught in the field-ditch
near the parsonage, so he said quietly: "How d'ye do, Mr. von
Rambow."--"What's the matter, Fred?" asked Frank turning him round, and
letting him stand as if Fred were some inexplicable note of
interrogation to which he must find an answer, then shaking hands with
the two old gentlemen, he went to his cousin's house.--"Charles," said
Bräsig, seating himself by the table on which dinner was laid, "that
young Mr. von Rambow is really a most capital fellow. Ah, what a
splendid roast of pork! It's an age since I saw roast pork."

Alick welcomed his cousin heartily, for he was really pleased to see
him. He and Frank were the last male descendants of their race. Frida,
who had only met Frank once before, on the occasion of her marriage,
was glad to renew her acquaintance with him, and did all in her power
to make his visit a pleasant one. When Hawermann was crossing the yard
after dinner, on his return from seeing Bräsig part of the way home,
she sent out, and invited him to come to coffee, because she knew that
Frank would like it. Then it came out that Frank had gone to the
bailiff's before appearing at the manor-house, which made Alick rather
angry; he frowned with displeasure and Frida saw that his manner
changed and became haughty. That would not have mattered much, however,
if he had not been so foolish and unjust as to revenge Frank's mistake,
if mistake it were, on Hawermann by the coldness of his demeanour.

The company were therefore not on such easy terms as they might have
been, and every friendly word which Hawermann and Frank exchanged added
to Alick's wrath; he grew stiffer and colder every moment, so that in
spite of the sunshine of Mrs. von Rambow's kindness, the conversation
was in danger of dying away, when suddenly Hawermann jumped up, looked
out at the window and then hastened from the room.--Alick's face
flushed with anger: "What very extraordinary conduct! Most improper!"
he said. "My bailiff seems to think that he may dispense with the
commonest rules of politeness."--"Something of great importance must
have happened," answered Frida going to the window. "What can he be
saying to that labourer?"--"It's Regel," said Frank who had also gone
to the window.--"Regel? Regel?" asked Alick starting up. "That's the
messenger I sent to Rostock yesterday with three hundred pounds in
gold, he surely can't have got back already."--"What can it be," cried
Frank, "I never saw the old man so excited. Look, he has seized hold of
the labourer," and with that he rushed out of the house, followed by
Alick.

When they reached the yard, they saw that the old bailiff had caught
the strong young labourer by the collar, and was shaking him so
violently that his hat fell off and rolled into the snow: "That's a
lie," he exclaimed, "a mean, wicked lie! Mr. von Rambow," he said,
"this fellow says that he has lost the money!"--"No, it was taken away
from me," cried the labourer who was deadly pale.--Alick also changed
colour. He had long owed the three hundred pounds to some people in
Rostock, and had put off paying the debt till he could put it off no
longer; Pomuchelskopp had lent him the money to pay it--and now it was
gone.--"It's a lie!" cried Hawermann. "I know the fellow. He isn't one
to allow the money to be taken from him by force. He could and would
keep any ten men at bay who only wanted to steal a little tobacco from
him," and he shook the man again.--"Wait!" said Frank, separating them.
"Let the man explain the whole affair quietly. What's all this about
the money?"--"They took it away from me," said Regel. "When I got to
Gallin wood on the other side of Rahnstädt this morning, two men
came up to me, and one of them asked me to give him a light for his
pipe. I refused, and so the other caught me by the waist and knocked me
down. They then took the black parcel out of my pocket and ran away
with it into Gallin wood, and I ran after them but couldn't catch
them."--"But," interrupted Alick, "how does it happen that you just
reached Gallin wood this morning, it's only a couple of miles on the
other side of Rahnstädt. Didn't I tell you plainly to get a passport
from the mayor of Rahnstädt, and to walk all night so as to be able to
pay over the money in Rostock at twelve o'clock to-day?"--(If the money
were not paid at that hour proceedings were to be instituted against
him.)--"Yes, Sir," said the labourer, "and I did get the passport.
Here it is," pulling it out of the lining of his hat, "but I really
couldn't walk a whole winter's night, so I remained with my friends
in Rahnstädt, and thought that I'd be sure to get to Rostock in
time."--"Christian Däsel," cried Hawermann, who had grown quite calm
again, his previous excitement having been caused by the conviction
that the labourer was telling him a lie.--"Mr. von Rambow," he asked,
as soon as Christian came, "will you not send for a magistrate?" and
when Alick had consented, he said: "Christian, harness two of the
carriage horses into the dog-cart, and go for the mayor of Rahnstädt;
I'll have a letter for you to take by the time you're ready to start.
Now, Regel, come with me, and I'll put you in a quiet place where
you'll have time to come to your senses," he then took the labourer
away to his house and locked him up in one of the rooms.

When Alick went back to the house with his cousin, he had a good
opportunity for consulting him about his affairs, but he did not do it
although he knew that Frank was both able and willing to help him. It
is a true saying that the real spendthrift turns for help much more
readily to a hard-hearted usurer than to his friends and relations.--He
is too proud to confess his debts and sins, but not too proud to humble
himself by begging and borrowing from disreputable Jews. Such conduct
however cannot, in the true sense of the word, be said to arise from
pride, but from a miserable insensate cowardice, a fear of the kind and
sensible advice of friends and relations.

Alick was silent, and Walked restlessly up and down the room while his
wife and cousin talked over what had occurred. He felt himself to be in
a very disagreeable position, for unless the money was paid, his
creditor, perhaps all his creditors, would go to law with him. He could
bear it no longer, and though it was rapidly growing dark, ordered his
horse, and went out for what he called a ride--in reality it was to see
Mr. Pomuchelskopp.

Pomuchelskopp listened sympathetically to Mr. von Rambow's story, and
loudly bewailed the wickedness of mankind, adding that in his opinion
when Mr. von Rambow went to the expense of having a bailiff, that
bailiff ought to be able to choose a trustworthy man to send on an
errand of such importance. He did not want to say more at present, but
still he must confess that he thought Hawermann always acted too much
on his own judgment; for instance with regard to the glebe lands; he
had persuaded the late squire to rent the fields for his own benefit,
and he, Pomuchelskopp would prove clearly that the lease of the glebe
had been injurious to the interests of Pümpelhagen. He then went on to
tell Alick a long winded tale, which he could not understand, because
he was a very poor arithmetician, and besides that, could think of
nothing but his lost money at the moment. He therefore said "yes" to
everything his companion told him, and at last forced himself to ask
Pomuchelskopp to lend him another three hundred pounds. Pomuchelskopp
at first looked doubtful, scratched his ear, and then said, "yes" in
his turn, but only on condition that Alick should not rent the glebe
from the new clergyman.--Mr. von Rambow might have turned restive at
this condition being annexed to the bargain, but Pomuchelskopp showed
once more by figures that Pümpelhagen and Gürlitz would both gain by
the arrangement. Alick only half heard what was said to him, and at
length agreed to give a written consent to the plan proposed; his debts
were pressing, and he must rid himself of the worst claims at any cost.
He was just the kind of man who would cut the throat of his only milch
cow in hopes of making money by the sale of its skin.

Everything was settled now. Alick signed the paper given him.
Pomuchelskopp packed up the parcel of three hundred pounds and sent his
own groom with it to the Rahnstädt post office. This was much the
wisest thing to do, for thus no one at Pümpelhagen got to know anything
of the affair. Alick told himself two things so often during his ride
home that he ended by believing them: the first was, that the loss of
the money was entirely Hawermann's fault; and the second was, that he
was glad to have got rid of the glebe lands on such terms.



                              CHAPTER XII.


In the meantime the mayor of Rahnstädt, who was chief-magistrate in
Alick's district, had arrived at Pümpelhagen, bringing Slus'uhr with
him as clerk. The mayor had made good use of his time; before starting
he had sent a detective to all the public houses and shops which
farm-labourers were wont to frequent, to find out whether the labourer
Regel from Pümpelhagen had been there, and thus he had discovered
enough to assist him in his enquiry. Regel had come to his office about
four o'clock on the previous afternoon, had got a passport from him,
and had showed him the parcel of money, which was sewed up in a piece
of black wax-cloth, and he had seen that the seal on the packet was
still intact. The man--who was of a very talkative disposition--had
told him, he was to walk all night, and that considering the time of
year was a good deal to require of any one, but still the fellow was
very strong and healthy looking; there was no fear of its being too
dark for a traveller to see his way, the snow covering the ground made
it so light; he had advised the man to set out at once, but he had not
started till nearly midnight. Regel had gone into a public house, and
had bought a glass of schnaps; at nine o'clock he was seen standing in
front of a shop drinking brandy, giving himself airs, and talking of
the money he was carrying, he even went so far as to show the parcel to
one of the shopmen. Where he had gone next the mayor did not yet know,
but looked upon it as an undoubted fact that the man had got very
drunk, and asked Alick and Hawermann whether he was in the habit of
drinking.--"I don't know," answered Alick, "my bailiff can answer that
question better than I."--The squire's tone was so peculiar that
Hawermann looked at him enquiringly, and seemed as though about to say
something, but changing his mind he merely said to the mayor, that he
had never noticed anything of the kind in the man, nor yet had he ever
heard of his being drunk; he had little to say against any of the
Pümpelhagen labourers in that respect, and least  of all against
Regel.--"That may be," said the mayor, "but the man was drunk for all
that. Once is the first time, as we say--he was certainly drunk when he
came to my office. Will you send for his wife."

His wife came. She was a young and nice-looking woman; but a very few
years ago she had been the prettiest girl in the village, neat, trim,
and frank, like every Mecklenburg country-maiden, now children and
housework had stolen away all the roses from her cheeks, and had
made her thin and angular--married women soon grow old in our
country-districts. She also looked sad and anxious. Hawermann was very
sorry for her, so he went to her, and said: "Don't be afraid, Dame
Regel. Tell the truth, and all will be well."--"Lawk a daisy! Mr.
Hawermann, what is it? What's the matter? What has my husband
done?"--"Tell me, Dame Regel, does your husband often drink more brandy
than is good for him?" asked the mayor.--"No, Sir, he was never known
to have done such a thing in his life. He never drinks brandy, we have
none in the house; the only time he ever tastes it, is during the
harvest when he gets it from the farm the same as the other men."--"Had
he not had some brandy yesterday before he left home?" asked the mayor
again.--"No, Sir. He had his dinner, and then went away about half-past
two. No, Sir .... but stop. I didn't see it, but still .... I remember
now! Yesterday evening when I looked into the cupboard, I found the
brandy-bottle empty."--"But I thought you told me you had no brandy in
the house?" asked the mayor.--"Neither we have; that was the remains of
the brandy used at the funeral; we buried our eldest little girl last
Friday, and some of the brandy was left. Ah, how miserable he was! How
very miserable he was!"--"You think that your husband drank it?"--"Yes,
Sir, who else could have done it?"

The case was made out so far, and Dame Regel was allowed to go.--"We've
got out the story of the brandy," whispered Slus'uhr to Alick, winking
and blinking slyly at the mayor, "I only hope that we'll make out as
much about the missing money."--"Take down the examination, clerk,"
said the mayor quietly, pointing to a seat. "Let the labourer Regel be
sent for, and put upon oath."--"Mr. Mayor," cried Alick, springing to
his feet, "I don't understand what the brandy has got to do with my
money. The fellow has stolen it!"--"That's just what I want to find
out," replied the mayor calmly. "Has he stolen it, or has he been
acting for some one else, or was he in a condition to carry out either
of these actions," and going up to the young squire, he said kindly but
decidedly: "Mr. von Rambow, a man who had made up his mind to steal
three hundred pounds wouldn't go and get drunk first. And then I must
remind you that it is my duty as a magistrate to look after the
interests of the accused, as much as after yours."

Regel was now brought into the room. He was deadly pale, but had lost
all the nervousness he had shown in the morning when the old bailiff
was questioning him, and looked as stern and hard as if his figure had
been hewn out of granite. He confessed that he had drunk all the brandy
that had been left in the cupboard at home; that he had had more at
Rahnstädt; that he had been still in the wine-shop at nine o'clock;
that he had spent the night with his friends, and had set out on his
journey again about six in the morning; but he remained true to his
first story, and maintained that two men had taken the money from him
by force in Gallin wood. Whilst this last part of the deposition was
being taken down, the door opened, and Dame Regel, rushing up to her
husband, threw herself into his arms. In Mecklenburg courts of justice
strict formality is not considered necessary, so there are no police to
prevent the occurrence of incidents of this kind.--"Joe! Joe! Have you
made your wife and children miserable for ever?"--"Oh, Molly, Molly, I
didn't do it. My hands are clean. Did you ever know me steal?"--"Tell
these gentlemen the whole truth, Joe."--The labourer hesitated, turned
dusky red and then pale again, looking shyly and uncertainly at his
wife: "Mary, did I ever take what was not my own?"--Dame Regel let her
hands fall from his shoulders: "No, Joe, you never did that. You never
did that. But you have told lies; you have often told me a lie." She
hid her face in her apron, and went out; Hawermann followed her. The
labourer was removed.

The mayor had not disturbed the meeting between the husband and wife,
it was against rules, but it might furnish him with a clue, and show
the truth. Alick started, and began to walk rapidly up and down the
room when he heard Dame Regel say: "You have told lies, you have often
told me a lie." His conscience reproached him, he hardly knew why on
this evening of all others, but he felt that he too had never stolen
anything, and that he too had _lied_. But like every man who is not
upright in heart, the moment his conscience pricked him, he lied to
himself again, and denied the accusation his conscience had brought
against him. He and the labourer were very different; he had only told
a _fib_ for his wife's sake, to save her uneasiness, while the labourer
had _lied_ for his own sake.

Ah, Mr. von Rambow, if you remain as you are, the devil will yet reap a
goodly harvest in your soul!

Slus'uhr, having finished, slipped up to Alick, and whispered: "Yes,
Mr. von Rambow, the man who lies will also steal."--Alick shivered at
the words; partly because of the turmoil in his own heart, and partly
because he knew how very like stealing Slus'uhr's business was; he was
not merely astonished, he was horrified at the impudence of the man. He
would not have been so startled however, if he had only heard the
stories people told of the attorney.

Nothing more could be done for the moment, as all the witnesses,
including the labourer's friends, were in Rahnstädt, the mayor
therefore ordered that the prisoner should remain at Pümpelhagen that
night, locked up in some secure place, and that he should be brought to
Rahnstädt on the next day.--"Then let him be put in the front-cellar of
the manor-house," said Alick to Hawermann who had come back.--"Wouldn't
it be better, Sir, to leave him in the room where I put him before, in
the farm-house, as the window is barred with iron ....."--"No,"
answered Alick sharply, "the cellar-windows are also grated, and I wish
to prevent his having the opportunity of speaking to his friends which
he might have at the farm."--"I'm a light sleeper, Mr. von Rambow, and
if you want to make sure, a trustworthy man might guard the door."--"I
have already told you what I desire you to do. The matter is far too
important for me to trust to your light sleep, or to the guard that a
comrade of that rascal would keep."--Hawermann looked at him in
surprise, said, "as you will," and left the room.

It was about ten o'clock in the evening, supper had long been on the
table, Mary Möller had groaned and moaned over everything being spoilt,
and Frida was rather cross because of having to wait so long for news,
and because of the supper; the only thing that kept her patient was
talking to Frank. At length the gentlemen came back, and Frida went to
the mayor, and asked: "He didn't steal the money, did he? I hope
not."--"No, Madam," answered the mayor calmly and decidedly, "the
labourer didn't steal the money; it was stolen from him, or he lost
it."--"Thank God!" she said from the bottom of her heart, "I'm so glad
that the man isn't a thief. I should hate the thought of there being
dishonest people in the village."--"Surely you don't imagine that our
people are better than those in other places. They're the same
everywhere," said Alick.--"Mr. von Rambow," said Hawermann, who had
come to supper, "our people are perfectly honest; I have been here long
enough to be convinced of that. There hasn't been a single case of
theft known in all the years that I've been at Pümpelhagen."--"Ah!
That's what you've always told me, and now--yes now, you see that my
foolish credulity has made me lose three hundred pounds. If you really
know the people so well, what induced you to recommend me to use that
man of all others as my messenger?"--Hawermann stared at him: "It seems
to me," he said, "that you want to make out that the loss of the money
is my fault, but I cannot acknowledge that to be the case. It is true,"
he went on, his face reddening with anger, "that I advised you to send
Regel to Rostock, but my only reason for doing so, was that you have
always hitherto used him as a messenger in your money transactions; he
has been more than ten times at Gürlitz for you, and attorney Slus'uhr
can bear witness to how often you have sent to him by that man."--Frida
looked quickly at Slus'uhr when she heard this, and the attorney
returned her gaze; neither of them spoke, and different as their
thoughts were, it seemed that each could read the other's soul. Frida
saw in the sly sinister expression of the attorney's eyes, that he was
a man who would not scruple to use his power over her husband to the
uttermost, while the attorney on his side read in the clear thoughtful
eyes of the lady of the house, that she was the person he had to fear
most in the prosecution of his designs. Alick stifled a hasty answer to
what the bailiff had said, when he saw the old man's grave determined
face, and Frida's look of enquiry. Slus'uhr was also silent, but
watched anxiously lest his prey should escape him. Thus Frank and the
mayor were the only people at table who were unaware that Hawermann's
words had touched a sore subject, and they were the only ones who were
able to keep up a conversation. The party separated as soon as supper
was over; the mayor spent the night at the manor-house.

Everyone at Pümpelhagen was sound asleep with the exception of two
pairs of married people. These were Mr. and Mrs. von Rambow, and the
labourer and his wife. Alick and Frida were sitting at their own fire
side, he longing to tell his wife all that weighed upon him and made
him miserable; to tell the whole truth for once. But he could not. She
entreating him to confide in her now that she knew so much, now that
she knew of his money difficulties; she said that she would economise,
but begged him to give up all transactions with Pomuchelskopp and
Slus'uhr, and to consult Hawermann who would be able to advise him what
to do. Alick always did things by halves; he never told a downright
lie, and yet he did not tell the truth. He did not deny his present
need of three hundred pounds, but said that no one could help his means
being straightened after having met with so considerable a loss. He had
not had time to consider what was best to be done, and could not yet
see what he should sell to meet the claim--but he never said that he
had already sold some fine wheat and had got the money for it too.
He assured her that his business relations with Pomuchelskopp and
Slus'uhr--he never spoke of David--could do him no harm; it was an old
story now with both of them--he did not tell her of his new dealings
with Pomuchelskopp--and he had found both very civil in their treatment
of him, "but," he said in conclusion, "you know it would never
do for me to talk to Hawermann about money matters, it wouldn't be
fitting."--Alick's untruths were more a suppression of the truth than
direct falsehoods, and indeed when putting his arm round his wife's
waist, he assured her that his affairs would soon be in good order; he
was merely saying what he, for the moment, fully believed.--Frida was
sad at heart when she left him.

The other husband and wife were not in a warm room like these; the
labourer was confined in a cold cellar, while his wife knelt at the
window of his prison unheeding the cold drizzling November rain which
was wetting her to the skin, they were not sitting side by side, but
were separated by an iron grating.--"Joe," she whispered through the
grating, "tell the truth."--"They stole it from me," was the
answer.--"Who stole it, Joe?"--"How can I tell?" he said, and it was
the truth; he did not know the name of the woman who had taken the
black pocket-book out of his waistcoat pocket in the full light of day,
when he was reeling along the Gallin road only half conscious of what
he was doing after his potations of the night before, to say nothing of
the two gills of brandy he had taken that morning on an empty stomach.
He could not tell the truth; how could he acknowledge that he, a young
strong man, had allowed a woman to steal three hundred pounds from him
on the public road? He could not do it even to save his life.--"You're
telling me a lie, Joe! If you can't tell me the truth, won't you tell
it to our old bailiff?"--It was impossible, he could not tell him of
all people; especially when he remembered how solemnly he had once
promised Hawermann that he would never again tell a lie. He could not
do it.--"Bring me my file, Mary, and any silver you have"--"What do you
mean, Joe?"--"I'm going to run away."--"Oh, Joe, Joe, will you really
leave me and the babies all alone?"--"I must go, Molly. I'll never get
on here now."--"Only tell the truth, Joe, and all will be well."--"If
you don't bring me the file and some money, I'll kill myself
to-night."--There was much entreaty of her husband here also, as
upstairs in the sitting-room, but the truth remained unspoken, and this
wife left her husband with as sad a heart as the other had done.

Next morning there was great excitement at Pümpelhagen when it became
known that the labourer had escaped. The mayor made arrangements for
his apprehension, and then drove home with the attorney. Alick was
furious, no one knew exactly with whom, but probably with himself, for
it was by his orders that Regel had been locked up in the cellar.

Pomuchelskopp arrived at breakfast time to ask what had really
happened, for, as he said, he had only heard a vague rumour of what had
taken place. Frank received him coldly and stiffly; Alick on the
contrary welcomed him warmly. Pomuchelskopp told many stories of the
shameful way in which the magistrates were befriending the common
people, and of the extreme kindness the mayor of Rahnstädt had always
shown any rogues he had to deal with. He told of thefts which had been
perpetrated on himself or his friends, and ended by saying that he
believed with Hawermann that the labourer had not committed the theft,
"I mean," he said in conclusion, "that he didn't do it for himself; but
was employed by some one else; no labourer would dare to steal such a
large sum as three hundred pounds; the deed would become known too
soon. And so, Mr. von Rambow, I advise you to keep your eye on those
who may have assisted the labourer in his flight, or who even take his
part."--Alick's mind was so restless and upset by anger and anxiety
that it was ready to receive the seeds of suspicion which Pomuchelskopp
was trying to sow. He walked up and down the room, thinking: Yes,
Pomuchelskopp was right, he was well up to things of the kind and
therefore was sure to know best; but who was it who had helped Regel to
escape? He knew no one. Who had taken Regel's part? Why Hawermann, to
be sure, when he said so decidedly that the man must have lost the
money. But when he first heard what had happened he had seized the
fellow by the collar? That might have been all pretence though. And why
did he want to have the man put into the room next his own? Perhaps
that he might speak to him; perhaps that he might help him to run away?

These would have been foolish thoughts for a wise man to have had; but
the devil is "cunning," he does not choose the wise and the strong as
his instruments, but the foolish and weak.

"What is your bailiff saying to that woman, I wonder?" said
Pomuchelskopp, who was looking out at the window.--"It's Dame Regel,"
said Frank, who was standing beside him.--"Yes," said Alick hastily,
"what can he be saying to her? I'd like to know very much."--"It's an
odd thing certainly," remarked Pomuchelskopp.

Hawermann and the labourer's wife were standing in the yard, and he
seemed to be talking earnestly to her; she appeared to be unwilling
to do as he wanted, but at last gave way and followed him to the
manor-house. They entered the room.--"Mr. von Rambow," said Hawermann,
"Dame Regel has just confessed that it was she who helped her husband
to escape last night."--"Yes, Sir," said the woman, moving her hands
and feet about restlessly, "I did. I did, but I couldn't help it, for
he said he'd kill himself if I didn't get him away;" the tears rolled
down her cheeks, and she hid her face in her apron.--"A nice story,"
said Alick harshly. "There seems to have been a regular plot!"--Frank
went to the woman and making her sit down, asked: "Didn't he tell you
where he had spent the night with the money?"--"No, Sir, he told me
nothing, and I know that all he did tell me were lies; the only thing
I know for certain is that he didn't steal the money."--Alick now turned
upon Hawermann and asked: "What made you give the woman an audience
without orders?"--Hawermann was startled at the words, but still more
at the tone of this question: "I thought," he answered calmly, "that it
would be a good thing to find out when and how the man escaped, and so
perhaps discover some indication of his whereabouts."--"Or perhaps to
_give_ an indication," cried Alick, and then he turned away hastily as
though afraid of the consequences of what he had said.--Hawermann had
not understood the sense of the words, but the tone in which they were
uttered hurt him: "I don't know what you mean," he said gravely, "but I
wish you to know that I will not stand being spoken to as you have been
doing both last night and this morning. I took no notice of it
yesterday out of consideration for Mrs. von Rambow, but in the present
company"--here he glanced at Pomuchelskopp--"there is no need for such
forbearance on my part," as soon as he had done speaking he went away
and the labourer's wife followed him. Alick was going after him, but
was stopped by Frank: "What are you going to do, Alick? Just think of
what you said. Your words were even crueller to the old man than he
imagined."--"That was a strong measure," said Pomuchelskopp, as if he
were talking to himself, "a very strong measure for a bailiff; but it's
time for me to go home now," and putting his head out at the window, he
called for his horse. He felt that everything was going on as he wished
at Pümpelhagen.

The horse was brought round. Alick accompanied his neighbour to the
door, and Frank remained in the room.--"Your cousin seems to be a most
excellent young man," said Pomuchelskopp, "but he knows nothing of the
world, he appears to be ignorant of what is suitable conduct in master
and servant." So saying, he rode away.

Alick rejoined his cousin, and tossing the cap he had put on to go to
the door, as a protection against the cold morning air, into a corner
of the sofa, exclaimed: "A d--d rascally story! The devil take the
whole business! There's no one to be trusted."--"Alick," said Frank
gently, as he went up to him, "you are doing your people a grievous
wrong, you are doing yourself wrong, dear cousin, by nursing such
unjust suspicious in your kind heart."--"Unjust? What do you mean? I've
been robbed of three hundred pounds"--"The money has been lost, Alick,
by the thoughtlessness and folly of a labourer."--"_Lost_, did you say?
Are you going to repeat the tale my bailiff has thought fit to tell
me?"--"Everyone is of the same opinion, Alick; the mayor himself
says ....."--"Don't talk to me about what that old fool said. If I had
only conducted the examination myself I should have discovered
something before now; if I had even spoken to the woman first this
morning she'd have told a different story; but now ... It's nothing
more nor less than bribery!"--"Stop, Alick!" cried Frank sternly.
"You've hinted at that already this morning but fortunately were not
understood. You are now making an open accusation, and I must know what
your grounds are for making such a charge."--"I have good reasons for
doing so."--"Just consider for a moment. You are accusing an honest old
man; you are unjustly and hastily casting a slur on a man who has lived
for sixty years in the world and whose honour in unblemished."--Alick
grew calmer and tried to excuse himself: "I never said that he had done
it, only that he might have done it."--"It's just as bad to suspect him
of perhaps doing such a thing; the suspicion hurts you as much as it
does the old man. Only think, Alick," he went on laying his hand
affectionately on his cousin's shoulder, "how long and faithfully
Hawermann has looked after your father's and your own interests. To
me," he added in a low tone, "he has been more than that, he has been a
true friend and a painstaking teacher."

Alick walked up and down the room. He felt he was wrong--at least for
the moment--but he was too much of a moral coward to acknowledge that
he wanted to throw the blame of his own faults and follies on
Hawermann's shoulders, so taking refuge in the mode of action commonly
employed by weak souls when in a difficulty such as the present, he
determined to carry the war into the enemy's country. He once more shut
his heart to the pure unvarnished truth, selling it, as it were, for a
piece of silver.

"Of course," he said, "Hawermann is much more to you than he
is to me."--"What do you mean?" asked Frank looking at him
quickly.--"Nothing," said Alick. "I only meant that you will soon call
him, 'father.'" The worst of this speech was the intention he showed in
it to wound the man who had cared for him enough to tell him the truth.
He had used the gossip he had heard from Pomuchelskopp because it was
the only weapon he knew of that would answer the purpose.--Frank
reddened. The secret he had deemed so holy was dragged into the common
light of day at such a time and in such a way as to make the intended
insult the more apparent. The blood rushed to his face, he struggled to
command himself, and said: "That has nothing to do with what we are
speaking about."--"How do you make that out?" asked Alick. "To my mind
it fully explains the warmth with which you defend Mr. Hawermann."--"He
needs no defence. His whole life is his best defence."--"To say nothing
of his beautiful daughter," said Alick striding up and down the room,
and congratulating himself upon the success of his last remark.--Frank
was very angry, but he forced himself to say quietly: "Do you know
her?"--"Yes; no; that is, I've seen her. I met her at the parsonage,
and she often comes to see my wife. She's a very pretty girl upon my
honour. I first noticed her when she was quite a child at my father's
funeral."--"Did you not try to become better acquainted with her when
you found that I loved her?"--"No, Frank, no. Because I knew that
nothing could come of such a love affair."--"Then you knew more than I
did."--"I know even more than that. I know how you have been hunted and
caught, and how they tried to make sure of you."--"Who told you that?
But why do I ask? Such scandalous gossip can only proceed from one
house in this neighbourhood--now that we are talking on this subject I
will tell you frankly that I intend to marry the girl if she will have
me."--"She won't say no! She'll take good care not to say no!" cried
Alick angrily. "And so you are really going to be such a fool? You
seriously intend to bring this disgrace on our family?"--"Take care
what you say, Alick!" said Frank passionately. "I don't see, however,
how the matter affects you."--"What? _I_ am the head of our old family,
and do you think that it is nothing to me when a younger member of our
race disgraces himself by a mésalliance?"--Again Frank commanded
himself, and said: "You yourself married for love, and nothing
else."--"That was different," said Alick, who thought he was now
getting the best of the argument. "My wife is my equal in birth; she is
the daughter of an old and noble house, while the girl you love is only
the daughter of my bailiff, and was brought up by the clergyman and his
wife out of charity."--"For shame!" cried Frank. "How dare you treat
misfortune as if it were a crime."--"I don't care," stormed Alick. "I
tell you once for all that I'll never call my bailiff's daughter,
cousin; the wench shall never cross this threshold."--Frank turned
deadly pale, and said with a voice that trembled from suppressed
emotion: "That is enough. You need say no more, we must part. Louisa
shall never cross your threshold, nor I either." With that he went
away. Frida met him at the door, she had heard the loud voices in the
next room and had come to see what was the matter: "Frank, Frank, what
is it?" she asked.--"Good-bye, Frida," he said quickly and went out
across the yard towards the bailiff's house.

"Alick," cried Frida going up to her husband, "what have you been
doing? What have you been doing?"--Alick walked proudly up and down
the room as if conscious of having put the whole world right and of
having shown it the way it ought to go: "I've been showing a young
man," he said, "a young rustic, who has made a fool of himself for the
sake of a fair face, what he is about. I made his position clear to
him."--"Did you dare to do that?" said Frida, sinking into a chair
pale and trembling. She fixed her great clear eyes on her husband
as he continued his triumphal march and went on: "Did you _dare_ to
thrust your petty pride of birth between two noble and loving
souls?"--"Frida," said Alick, whose conscience told him he had done
wrong, but who refused to acknowledge it, "I believe that I have done
my duty."--It is a curious fact that those people who never do their
duty, pride themselves most upon doing it.--"Oh," cried Frida, starting
to her feet, "you have wounded a true and noble heart most sorely.
Alick," she entreated, laying her clasped hands upon his shoulder,
"Frank has gone to the bailiff's house, won't you follow him and say
that you are sorry for having hurt him, and bring him back again to
us?"--"Am I to beg his pardon before my bailiff? No thank you, I'd
rather not do that! It is too good a joke," he said working himself
into a rage, "I've been robbed of three hundred pounds, my bailiff
orders me about, my cousin takes his beloved father-in-law's part, and
now my own wife joins with them against me!"--Frida stared at him, let
her hands fall, drew her shawl round her, and said: "If you won't go, I
will."--As she left the room he called after her: "Go, go, but the old
scoundrel shall leave my service."

When she crossed the yard the horses were being put into Frank's
carriage, and as she entered the parlour Hawermann had just said:
"You'll forget it in time, Mr. von Rambow. Your life has hitherto been
spent in a narrow circle of friends; you should travel--I think that
you ought to do so--and then you'll soon change your mind. But, dear
Frank," the old man added familiarly in memory of old times, "let me
entreat of you not to bring unrest to my child by telling her of
this."--"No, Hawermann, I promise," said Frank, and then Frida came
in.--"Bless me!" cried Hawermann. "I quite forgot. Excuse me, Madam,"
and he left the room.

"He's always so thoughtful, so very thoughtful," said Frida.--"Indeed
he is," answered Frank looking after the old man. The carriage drove up
to the door, but had to wait there for a long time, Mrs. von Rambow and
Frank had so much to say to each other, and when they parted Frida's
eyes were red with weeping, and Frank looked much moved: "Say goodbye
to the good old man for me," he said, and then added in a lower voice,
"and to Alick too." He shook hands with her once more. The carriage
drove away.



                             CHAPTER XIII.


Young Joseph was sitting in his usual place by the fire-side, smoking.
Young Bolster was lying under his chair with his head stretched out far
enough to be able to see his master. Young Joseph looked back at him
but said nothing, and Bolster was also silent. It was very still and
quiet in Rexow farm-house on that December afternoon, the only noise
that was to be heard came from Mrs. Nüssler's basket-chair upon which
she was sitting in the window; every time she made a stitch in her
knitting it creaked out a remark upon it, a circumstance not to be so
much wondered at, when it is remembered that Mrs. Nüssler had now
become what might be called rather a stout lady. The old chair was
creaking even more than usual to-day, for she had knitted herself into
a deep reverie, and the more she became immersed in her own thoughts
the louder her chair creaked in unison with her every movement.--"Ah
me!" she said, laying her knitting down in her lap. "What a strange
thing it is that the sorrow of one human being is often the cause
of happiness for another. Do you know what I was thinking of,
Joseph?"--"No," said young Joseph, looking at young Bolster, but
Bolster could not help him to guess.--"Joseph," she asked, "how do you
think it would do for Godfrey to offer himself as a candidate for the
Gürlitz living? I know that Godfrey's but a poor rush-light in
comparison with the old parson; but a man of his kind is likely enough
to get the living, and why shouldn't he as well as another?"--Joseph
said nothing.--"Even if Pomuchelskopp were against him, our people and
those at Warnitz would vote for him, so that it all depends upon what
the squire of Pümpelhagen does, whether the election goes against him
or not. What do you say Joseph?"--"Oh," said Joseph, "it all depends
upon circumstances," and then because he was very much taken with the
idea, he added, "What's to be done now?"--"Oh, dear," said Mrs.
Nüssler, "what's the use of talking to you about it. I wish that Bräsig
were here, he would and could tell us what to do." And then she took up
her work, and began to knit vehemently.

Half an hour later Mrs. Nüssler exclaimed: "'Speak of an angel, and you
see his wings.' Here's Bräsig driving into the yard. Who's that with
him? Rudolph--just fancy, Rudolph! I wonder why Rudolph has come
to-day? Now, Joseph do me a favour--the lad does everything so
nicely--don't overwhelm him with talk." Then she hastened from the room
to receive her guests.

She had put off too much time, and she was not the first, for there was
Mina clasped in Rudolph's arms. "Goodness gracious me!" cried Mrs.
Nüssler, "what are you doing here, Mina?" She then took Rudolph into
the parlour with her.--"Well," said Joseph. "Sit down, Bräsig. Sit
down, Rudolph."--But they were not ready to do that yet, Rudolph had
too much to say to Mina and Lina to be able to sit down quietly, and
Bräsig's head felt as if it were going round and round like the hands
of a clock, so he walked quickly up and down the room making his legs
act pendulum, and thus working off some of his excitement. "Have you
heard the news, young Joseph?" he asked. "They hav'n't caught him after
all."--"Who?" asked Joseph. "Preserve us all, Joseph," said Mrs.
Nüssler, "can't you let Bräsig go on? You always interrupt people so
suddenly; _do_ let him finish his story! Who is it that they hav'n't
caught, Bräsig?"--"Regel," said Bräsig. "They traced him as far
as Wismar where they found that their prey had escaped them. He
had sailed out into the Baltic eight days before in a Swedish
trading-vessel."--"Oh, dear," cried Mrs. Nüssler, "What a misfortune
that may be for my brother Charles."--"You're right, Mrs. Nüssler.
Charles is hardly to be known for the same person he used to be, he has
insulated himself entirely, and looks very miserable. He feels the
misfortune bitterly--not for his own sake--but for his master's, for as
you will see, the young squire will sooner or later have to declare
himself insolvent."--"That would be the death of Charles," said Mrs.
Nüssler.--"What help is there?" continued Bräsig. "The young man has
ruined himself with open eyes. His latest fad is the breeding of
thorough-bred horses. Old Prebberow told me that he had got into
Lichtwarte's hands, and that he had sold him a thorough-bred horse
which has a ruptured muscle, spavin, and string-halt, and a variety of
other diseases; as soon as he was in possession of this beautiful
creature Mr. von Rambow bought, with a great flourish of trumpets, a
thorough-bred mare, and now, I'm told, he has serious thoughts of
taking Triddelfitz's deaf old mare off his hands, and so setting up a
hospital for sick horses in Mecklenburg. The little mule is to be
thrown into the bargain, and I'm glad of that, for it's the only
healthy member of the stud."--"Let him be, Bräsig; he must fight his own
battles," said Mrs. Nüssler. "Joseph and I were talking of young
Mr..... Mina, you and Rudolph may go into the garden for a little, and
Lina you'd better go with them;" as soon as they were gone, she
said: "It's about the Gürlitz living. I wish that Godfrey could get
it."--"Mrs. Nüssler," said Bräsig, standing before her and looking
important, "what you have just said may be called an idea, and no one
in the whole world is so quick in seizing an idea as a woman. How did
you manage to get hold of this idea though?"--"It is my own thought
entirely," she answered, "for Joseph never agrees with me now-a-days.
He has always some objection to everything I propose."--"Joseph, be
quiet," said Bräsig, "you were wrong to oppose your wife, for her idea
is a good one. I'll answer for Warnitz, the Count and Countess will, I
know, agree to let the people vote as I wish them. You, young Joseph,
must see to Rexow. Pomuchelskopp will be against us from love of
opposition, but that doesn't matter. Pümpelhagen is the only
difficulty. Who's to speak to Mr. von Rambow? Hawermann? Nothing could
be less _apropos_ at this moment. Myself? Impossible, for he has
insulted me. Young Joseph? I can't trust young Joseph, he'd content
himself with using some of his favourite forms of speech. Godfrey? He's
a good fellow, but too slow. Who else is there? Rudolph? He is a clever
lad, as Hilgendorf tells me. Yes, Rudolph must go, and you, Mrs.
Nüssler, must go with him, because of family circumstances, and that
the young man may be more at ease."--"Good gracious!" cried Mrs.
Nüssler. "Do you mean that _I_ am to go and see Mr. von Rambow?"--"No,"
said Zachariah Bräsig, "you are to go to Mrs. von Rambow, and Rudolph
to the squire. Where's Rudolph. He must come in at once."

Rudolph was quite ready to go to Pümpelhagen for his cousin's sake, and
so it was settled that he and his aunt should drive over there on the
following day.

When the deputation arrived at Pümpelhagen, Mr. von Rambow was out
riding, but when their coming was announced to his wife, she received
them very kindly.--"Madam," said Mrs. Nüssler, going frankly up to Mrs.
von Rambow, and beginning to speak to the point without much loss of
time, "Madam, I hope that you will not be offended with me if I talk to
you in the dialect I'm accustomed to; I can speak better, but it's very
difficult. We keep up old customs at Rexow, and I always say that I'd
rather have bright shining tin plates, than silver ones that are dull
from want of rubbing."--Frida took off the good woman's shawl, made her
sit down on the sofa, and signed to Rudolph to take a chair; just as
she was about to seat herself, Mrs. Nüssler rose and said
confidentially: "You see, Madam, this is my nephew and future
son-in-law. He's the son of Kurz, the shopkeeper in Rahnstädt, from
whom you also get your things."--Rudolph bowed, and now Mrs. von Rambow
at last persuaded her visitor to seat herself, and took her place
beside her. "He has been to college," Mrs. Nüssler went on, "but didn't
do much there. Now that he has turned farmer, however, he does very
well, as Hilgendorf tells Bräsig."--Although what she said was all in
Rudolph's praise, he found it rather embarrassing, and said: "But, my
dear aunt, we hadn't come here to talk of me, but of Godfrey"--"Yes,
Madam, he's quite right. You see I've got another nephew who also wants
to be my son-in-law, I mean the son of rector Baldrian in Rahnstädt. He
has passed all his examinations, and knows everything he needs to know.
He's quite fit to be a clergyman any day. Now that our good old parson
has gone from us--and oh, Madam, what an excellent man he was--you
won't think ill of me for saying that I'd like to keep my Lina near me,
and to have Godfrey at Gürlitz parsonage."--"No, dear Mrs. Nüssler,"
said Frida, "I think that it is quite natural in you to wish it, and if
I had anything to do with it, your son-in-law should certainly get the
living. I've heard so much good of you and your daughters."--"Have you
really," said Mrs. Nüssler, looking pleased, "well, they _are_ dear
children."

At this moment foot-steps were heard approaching, and Mr. von Rambow,
who had returned from his ride, entered the room. His wife introduced
her visitors to him, and Alick, when he heard their names, made rather
a long face. Rudolph would not allow himself to be put out by this
reception, he held a trump-card that he thought would soon change the
aspect of affairs, so he said: "May I speak to you alone for a moment,
Mr. von Rambow?"--Alick took him into the next room.

"I understand, Mr. von Rambow," said Rudolph, "that you were robbed of
three hundred pounds the week before last. The money, I think you said,
was in Danish double Louis d'ors. From what I hear there is no chance
of your catching the labourer, but the police are busy tracing the
money."--"What?" cried Alick. "How do you know that?"--"I understand
that the detective, employed by the mayor of Rahnstädt, found clear
traces of the money yesterday afternoon. I was in my father's shop when
a woman, a weaver's wife, who with her husband is trying to get a
decree of divorce, came in and asked for change for a Danish double
Louis d'or. I know the woman to be in abject poverty, and the mayor
knows it also from the proceedings in the divorce case. My father and I
made the circumstance known to the authorities, and after examination
it was discovered that she had more money than the gold piece she had
shown. She could give no account of how she had become possessed of the
money, and--this is the most damaging part of the whole evidence--it
has been proved that she went along the same road as your messenger on
the same morning."--"Is it possible!" cried Alick. "Then the labourer
didn't steal the money after all."--"It seems," said Rudolph, "as if he
had been robbed. The mayor has committed the woman to prison for sundry
small thefts that have been proved against her, and has forbidden my
father and me to tell any one what we know, but when he heard that I
was coming into this neighbourhood, he desired me to let you know what
has been done. You will no doubt have a letter from him to-night
on the subject."--"Thank you, Mr. Kurz," said Alick, "for having come
here to tell this news," and he shook hands heartily with the young
man.--Rudolph smiled, and said: "I should certainly have come even if
that had been the only object of my visit which it was not. You saw my
aunt in the drawing-room, she has come to see you about something she
has much at heart."--"If I can be of any use ...." said Alick
courteously.--"I will explain. One of my cousins, who is a theological
student, offers himself, through my aunt, as a candidate for the living
of Gürlitz."--"A cousin? Are you not a theological student?"--"I was,
Mr. von Rambow," answered Rudolph brightly, "but I don't think I was,
what people call, highly organised enough to be a clergyman, so I
became a farmer, and I can assure you," looking laughingly at Alick as
he spoke, "I never was so happy in my life as I am now."--In spite of
Alick's faults and foibles, he was too good hearted not to be pleased
and touched by the freshness of the other, so he said heartily: "That's
right! That's right! I've taken to it too. The life of a Mecklenburg
farmer is the happiest of all. Where are you living just now, Mr.
Kurz?"--"With the greatest farmer of the century," laughed Rudolph,
"with Hilgendorf at Little Tetzleben."--"A most admirable man," cried
Alick, "and thorough-bred! I mean has thorough-bred horses."--And now
they began to praise Grey Momus, Herodotus, and Black Overshire, &c.,
and to praise Hilgendorf's management, and when Rudolph at last rose to
take leave, Mr. von Rambow shook hands with him warmly, and said: "You
may rely upon your cousin having my vote, Mr. Kurz."

When they went into the drawing-room, Mrs. Nüssler rose, and said to
her hostess: "He'll do all that he can for you and the squire," then
going up to Mr. von Rambow she said: "You'll give us your vote, won't
you, Mr. von Rambow? How happy I shall be to be able to keep my Lina so
near me."--Alick disliked this free way of speaking, and--without any
particular reason for it, disliked the Nüssler manner, but being
pleased at the prospect of recovering his money, and having had his
heart further opened by his horsey talk with Rudolph, he was on this
occasion able to see the sterling qualities of Mrs. Nüssler under her
somewhat unpolished manner. He went to his wife and said: "Dear Frida,
we have some hope now of recovering our three hundred pounds."--"Thank
God!" said Mrs. Nüssler, "Rudolph, did you speak to Mr. von
Rambow?"--"Yes," answered Alick. "And it's all settled, I promise
to give your nephew my vote; but--I should like to see him
first."--"That's only right and proper," said Mrs. Nüssler. "No one
cares to buy a pig in a poke! You'll see when he comes to preach that
he's quite up to the mark. But, goodness gracious me! This is folly.
Like every other man, he has his own little ways, I can't deny that."

Then they drove away. Godfrey had a good chance of the living.
"Everything promises well," said Bräsig, "but Godfrey must manage with
Pomuchelskopp himself. Let the iron be struck while it is hot, and as
neither God nor man can help him with Samuel Pomuchelskopp the sooner
he tries his fate with him the better." This advice was considered
good, so Godfrey was written to and told what had already been done for
him, at the same time he was ordered to make his appearance at Rexow on
the following day, there to receive further instructions.

He arrived, and when Bräsig had explained everything to him shortly, he
consented to make the difficult visit. Christian, the coachman, drove
the "phantom" round to the door; Lina put in a foot-stool, cloaks and
shawls, and wrapped up her future husband warmly. "That's right, Lina,"
said Bräsig, "wrap him up well that he mayn't catch cold, and that his
lovely voice mayn't be lost in this frightful weather."--Suddenly
Joseph rose from his corner by the stove, and said: "Mina, my
cloak."--"The world's coming to an end!" cried Bräsig.--"Joseph, what
are you about?" cried Mrs. Nüssler.--"Mother," said Joseph, "you went
with Rudolph, and I intend to go with Godfrey. I shall do my part." And
as he said this he nodded his head so decidedly, and looked round at
them all with such determination that Bräsig exclaimed: "As sure as
your nose is in the middle of your face, I never in all my life saw
anything like this."--"Ah, Bräsig," said Mrs. Nüssler, "he's quite
changed of late, but let him go quietly, no talking will prevent
it."--So Joseph was allowed to go. Lina went straight upstairs to her
little garret-room and prayed as passionately for Godfrey's success in
his difficult interview as if he had been going to his execution.

Joseph and Godfrey drove through the deep lane silently; neither spoke,
for each was buried in his own thoughts, the only remark made during
the drive was when Christian, turning his head over his shoulder, said:
"This would just be the place for an upset, Sir, if one were driving in
a dark night."--It was about three o'clock in the afternoon when they
arrived at Gürlitz manor.

Pomuchelskopp was lying on the sofa looking unhappy and rubbing his
eyes, for Gustavus had disturbed him in his after dinner sleep by
choosing a plate to take to the loft, for it was Saturday and he wanted
to make up an account of the measurement of the grain, "Gus," he cried
angrily, "you'll be a fool all your life, a regular ninny! You
nincompoop! I'll put you on a pedestal to let all the people see what
an ass you are."--"But, father ....."--"Father here, father there! How
often have I told you never to make a clatter with the plates when I'm
asleep! What carriage is that driving into the yard?"--"My eye!" cried
Gustavus. "It's our neighbour Nüssler and another gentleman."--"Idiot!"
said Pomuchelskopp. "Hav'n't I often told you not to call every Jack
and Tom 'neighbour'? Brinkmann the labourer, is my neighbour in the
sense that he lives close to my garden. I won't be every man's
neighbour," and when he had said that he went out to see what was going
on.

Joseph and Godfrey had got out of the carriage by this time, and Joseph
now came forward, saying: "How-d'ye-do, neighbour."--Pomuchelskopp made
him one of the very low bows he had learnt to make when he was
attending parliament, and signed to him to go into the parlour. The
silence in the parlour was so intense that the only sound to be heard
was a faint creak from one of the chairs when it was moved. Godfrey
thought that Joseph ought to speak, Joseph thought that Godfrey ought
to speak, and Pomuchelskopp would not speak for fear of compromising
his interests in some way. At last, however, Godfrey began: "Mr.
Pomuchelskopp," he said, "good old parson Behrens has gone to his rest,
and though it may seem hard and unchristian to make an application for
the living so soon after his death, I do not think that in doing so I
am really sinning against proper feeling, or true Christianity, for I
am only acting in accordance with the advice of my own parents and of
those of my future wife."--Godfrey had now opened the proceedings to
the best of his ability; but still Pomuchelskopp was quite justified in
drawing himself up a little and saying: That might be all very well,
but he wanted to know with whom he had the honour to be talking. Joseph
signed to Godfrey to answer, and Godfrey said that he was the son of
rector Baldrian, and a theological student. As soon as this information
had been given Joseph leant back in his chair comfortably, as though he
had nothing more to do and might have a quiet pipe. But as Muchel did
not ask him to smoke, he was obliged to content himself with making a
fruitless movement with his lips as if he were doing so, which made him
look exactly like a Bohemian carp, gasping for air.--"Sir," said
Pomuchelskopp, "a good many of your sort have already called upon me,
and asked for my vote,"--that was a lie, but it was the only way he
knew of making a bargain, for he looked upon a living as a species of
merchandise, and chaffered as much about it as he would have done with
a butcher who came to buy his fat pigs,--"but," he went on, "I sent
them all away for the present without an answer, for there is only one
thing that I care about in the whole business."--"And that is?" asked
Godfrey. "My examina ....."--"I don't care a pin about that," said Mr.
Pomuchelskopp. "I mean the glebe lands. If you will promise to give me
a lease of the glebe--of course I should give you a good rent, a very
good rent,--you shall have my vote, but not otherwise."--"I think I
heard," said Godfrey, "that the glebe is let to Mr. von Rambow, and I
should not like ...."--"You need have no scruple on that head," said
Pomuchelskopp decidedly.--Joseph said nothing, but looked at his future
son-in-law as much as to say: "What have you to say to that, my
boy?"--Godfrey was very much taken aback, for he was ignorant of
worldly matters, but after a moment's thought his whole honest soul
revolted against such a bargain, so he answered frankly: "I cannot and
will not make you such a promise, I do not wish to gain the living by
these means. There is plenty of time to settle matters of this kind,
and they had better be left alone until I am in office."--"That's the
way, is it?" said Pomuchelskopp with a cunning smile. "Then let me tell
you that the fox is not to be trapped; 'a bird in the hand', &c; if Mr.
von Rambow does not want the glebe, you may perhaps let it to your
father-in-law. Is it not so, to your father-in-law?"

That was a horrible idea Pomuchelskopp had promulgated.--Joseph take a
lease of the glebe! Joseph, who already found the burden of his daily
work more than he could bear! He sprang to his feet and said:
"Neighbour, when a man does what he can, he can't do more than he can;
and what am I to do now? If the squire of Pümpelhagen won't have the
glebe, I won't have it either, I've enough to do without."--"Mr.
Nüssler," said Pomuchelskopp slyly, "will you give me your promise in
black and white that you won't take a lease of the glebe?"--"Yes,"
cried Joseph from the bottom of his heart; he then reseated himself and
resumed his former occupation of pretending to smoke.--Pomuchelskopp
began to walk up and down the room, and as he did so thought within
himself: Mr. von Rambow was not going to renew his lease, and Joseph
wouldn't take it if it were offered him, so that all danger from
without was guarded against, for the glebe was too small for anyone to
rent by itself. The only remaining fear was lest Godfrey should wish to
farm the land himself, and Pomuchelskopp was determined to find out.
Now God has created many different kinds of men, each of whom has his
own special capacity; there was one thing that was completely wanting
in Godfrey's composition, and that was all comprehension of
agricultural subjects. Bräsig had given himself no end of trouble to
teach Godfrey a few of the rudiments of the subject, but all his
efforts were vain. It is impossible to get from any man that which he
does not possess. Godfrey did not know the difference between oats and
barley, he could not tell a cow from a bull, and his ignorance was
altogether so dense that Bräsig said to himself at last: "God bless my
soul! I don't see how the poor lad is ever to get through the world!"

Pomuchelskopp was not long in discovering this weak point in Godfrey's
composition, and he rejoiced greatly thereat: "He'll never be a
farmer," he said to himself, "and so he's just the man for me. But, I
mustn't let him see that."--"Sir," he said aloud, "I am satisfied with
you so far, for you seem to be a very large-minded sort of person, and
also a man of morality"--he thought that a particularly good word for
the occasion--"you will not grant my request--good!--neither shall I
grant yours. But if Mr. Nüssler will sign a written document to the
effect that he will not take a lease of the glebe, I am willing to have
a further conversation with you on this subject, for, as I said, I am
satisfied with you so far."

Young Joseph signed the paper as he was asked, and then he and his
nephew drove away from Gürlitz manor perfectly contented with what they
had done. They had gained nothing from their visit, but an indefinite
promise from Pomuchelskopp, for which Joseph had had to put his name to
a paper; but still they were pleased with the result of their
application. Joseph was convinced that his signature had been the
ultimate cause of their good luck, and had secured the living to his
future son-in-law.

Joseph and Godfrey wanted to go to the parsonage, but Christian, the
coachman, refused point blank to take them there, for, as he said, it
was getting as dark as pitch; so the "phantom" floated back to Rexow
like a ghostly shadow in the mist and gloom. Now sleep is the almost
inevitable consequence of a long drive through the mist and darkness of
night, therefore it was not wonderful that Joseph sank into a peaceful
slumber shortly after leaving Gürlitz, and soon afterwards Christian
followed his example and though he seemed to be driving, the horses
really went of their own accord; had it been daylight this would of
course have been discovered, but as it was, no one saw it. Godfrey was
the last to fall asleep, and when he did so his dreams were all of
Lina, his election sermon, and the first sermon he should preach after
he had been chosen minister of the parish. When they reached the spot
where Christian had made the remark that it was a good place for an
upset, and when Godfrey was dreaming of his election papers, the
carriage began to sway from side to side in a terrible manner; then the
fore wheel rose in the air, and the hind wheel on Godfrey's side sank
in a deep hole--and the next moment--they were all tumbled into the
ditch.

I have seen many Grand Ducal chamberlains get out of their carriages at
my neighbour, Mrs. Laurence's inn, but never in all my life did I see
anything so perfect as the way in which Joseph was shot out of the
phaeton; he fell on the top of Godfrey into the muddy ditch, and
Christian, not to be behindhand with his master, tumbled from the box
in such a manner as to lie side by side in the ditch with him.--"Faugh!
Oh! Just stay where you are, Sir," cried the honest old fellow. "The
horses are standing quite still!"--"You idiot!" said Joseph.--"Thank
God!" said Christian rising, "none of my bones are broken. But stay
where you are, Sir, I'll catch the horses."--"You idiot!" cried Joseph
once more as he struggled to his feet, while Godfrey was coughing and
choking in the deep mud bed in which he was lying, "what on earth made
you upset us?"--"It all depends upon circumstances," answered
Christian, who had learnt to make use of his master's favourite
expressions during his long years of service at Rexow, "what was to be
done on such a road in a pitch dark night?"--Joseph did not know what
else to say, now that the very words were taken out of his mouth, so he
contented himself with asking: "Are any of your bones broken,
Godfrey?"--"No, uncle," said the divinity student, "and yours?"--"No,
I'm all right except my nose, which I think has been knocked off my
face altogether."--Meanwhile the carriage had been raised, and when
Joseph and Godfrey had resumed their seats in it, Christian once more
turned round on the box, and said: "Didn't I tell you so this very
afternoon? This is the exact place."--"Idiot!" said Joseph rubbing his
nose energetically, "you had gone to sleep."--"To sleep, Sir, to sleep?
It doesn't much matter in such pitch darkness whether one's asleep or
awake; I told you before. I know the road by heart and I warned you."
And whenever he told the story afterwards to the other servants, he
always added: "but I told him how it would be beforehand," and made out
that Joseph was a regular daredevil who had no fear of risking his
life.

They drove home, and Godfrey was the first to get out of the carriage.
Lina had long been uneasy about their absence, and was listening
anxiously for every sound that should bring her certainty of the good
or evil fate of her father and lover. There was a noise outside. They
are coming!--It was only the sighing of the wind in the poplars.--But
now!--Yes, it was a carriage, it same nearer, it drove up to the door.
She sprang up and rushed out of the room, but had to stop a moment with
her hand pressed to her side to still the beating of her heart, which
was torn by the conflicting emotions of hope and fear. Would Godfrey
bring her good news or had he failed in his attempt? She ran out into
the porch. "Don't come near me!" cried Godfrey, but his warning came
too late, for Lina, although she was the eldest of the family, was
still very thoughtless, and she had thrown herself into his arms as
soon as she saw him. But suddenly she felt her hands and arms quite
damp and cold, it almost felt as if she were embracing a frog,
and letting him go, she exclaimed: "Good gracious! what's the
matter?"--"The carriage was upset," said Godfrey; "the carriage was
upset by the Providence of God; I mean that Christian upset the
carriage, and God has providentially shielded us from all harm."--"What
objects you look, to be sure!" said Bräsig, who just then came
into the porch with a candle in his hand, and saw Joseph behind
Godfrey.--"Yes, Bräsig," said Joseph, "it's just as it is. We've had an
accident."--"How did you manage it," asked Bräsig. "I don't see how any
reasonable mortal can get himself upset on his own roads; a man of your
age too! You must have gone to sleep, Joseph."--"Merciful Heaven!"
cried Mrs. Nüssler, "what a sight you've made of yourself, Joseph!" and
she turned him round before the candle, as if he were a roast she was
turning on a spit--"Mercy! Joseph, look at your nose!"--"His Reverence
is in a nice mess too," said Bräsig, examining Godfrey from head to
foot. "Hollo," he cried, "just look at Lina! Why, Lina, were you in the
upset too? Mrs. Nüssler, do you see that she has got half the road from
here to Gürlitz sticking to her clothes."

Lina blushed deeply, and Mina at once began to rub her down, while
Mrs. Nüssler did the same kind office to her husband: "My goodness,
Joseph, what a state you're in, to be sure. And your beautiful new
cloak!"--Joseph had bought the cloak twenty years before, when he was
engaged to be married.--"This'ill never do," he said, "I must change my
clothes, and then to-morrow they can all be put in the oven, and
thoroughly dried."--They all agreed that it was the only thing to be
done, and soon afterwards uncle and nephew were able to join the rest
of the family in the parlour. Mrs. Nüssler now caught sight of her
Joseph's nose in the bright light, and exclaimed: "Joseph, look at your
nose!"--"You said so before," said Joseph.--"Well," said Bräsig, "I
should be telling a downright lie if I were to say that I had ever
thought your nose a particularly handsome one; but keep this nose! and
what a nose it is!"--"For shame, Bräsig. Why do you wish him to keep
this nose. Preserve us all! it's growing thicker every moment! What's
to be done?"--"Mrs. Nüssler," said Bräsig, "he must go to the
water-cure."--"What!" cried Mrs. Nüssler, "my Joseph go to a water-cure
because he has given his nose a little bit of a knock."--"Please,
understand me," said Bräsig, "I don't mean him to try the water-cure on
his whole body, on his legs and arms; no, I only mean him to put a cold
plaget on his nose. Or, Joseph, what do you say to bleeding your nose a
little. It would cool it down nicely if you did."--Joseph could not
agree to the last proposal, so they determined to try the effect of
cold water. At last he settled down in his chair with stately
composure, a wet linen rag on his nose, and his pipe in his mouth.

"But now," said Bräsig, "none of us have heard what arrangements you
made with Samuel Pomuchelskopp."--"Yes," said Lina, "what did you do
Godfrey?"--Godfrey then described their interview with the squire of
Gürlitz, and when he had done, Joseph said: "It's all right. I signed a
paper."--"And what paper did you sign?" asked Bräsig angrily.--"A
promise not to take a lease of the glebe."--"That was a very foolish
thing to do. Oh the Jesuit! He wants the land himself. Nightingale, I
hear you, you want to get it all your own way! That's your aim and
object! But--but"--here Bräsig sprang to his feet and began to pace the
room with long strides--"I'll catch you in your own net. Don't count
your chickens before they're hatched! Samuel Pomuchelskopp, we've not
done with each other yet. What did the celebrated poet say of David and
Goliath? I look upon myself as David, and upon him as Goliath. 'He took
the sling in his hand and struck him on the forehead, and so did for
him.' And how beautifully the celebrated poet ends the story by saying:
'Thus it is with all boasters, when they think they stand, they are
sure to have a fall.'--And so it shall be with you, Samuel. I've
been in a passion, Mrs. Nüssler, so I can't eat any supper, and will
say 'good-night' now as I've a good many things to think about."--He
took his candle and went to his room, and the others followed his
example soon after supper was finished. Lina lay awake for a long time
in anxious thought, listening to the wind in the trees by her window,
and to uncle Bräsig walking about in his room, which was below hers.



                              CHAPTER XIV.


The year 1845 had come, and the earth had completed another of its old
crooked courses. Day and night, joy and sorrow had changed places again
and again, just as they used to do in the old time, just as they have
done since the Lord God created day and night, placed man in the Garden
of Eden, and then drove him out again. How many days and nights, and
how much joy and sorrow have come into the world since then! The day
shines for every man, and the night closes over every man; there is no
respect of persons. But is it the same with joy and sorrow? Are they
meted out to every one with equal justice? I think so. God stretches
His hand over each individual, and happiness and grief, consolation and
care are equally spread over the world, and each has his share in them;
but man does not see clearly, he often changes what is meant for his
happiness into sorrow, and thrusts the cup of consolation away from him
as if it contained gall, and then laughs away his care.

The men and women whose history I am relating in this book were no
better than the rest of their kind, and acted in the same way as their
neighbours would have done. Two things that God has sent into the world
especially form our joy and sorrow; in the first there is no gall
mixed, and our feelings about the other cannot be laughed away; these
are Birth and Death, the Beginning and the End. And in the little world
of which I am writing there was also Beginning and End, Birth and
Death. A beautiful young wife was sitting in the manor-house at
Pümpelhagen with to little daughter on her knee, and the child had
reopened the doors of the mother's heart, so that she was able to feel
the sunshine of God's goodness. The dark shadowy figures which had
surrounded Frida ha vanished in the clear light of day, and she was
happy, very happy.--Close by Gürlitz parsonage was a grave often
visited by two women clothed in deep mourning, who, when spring came
on, planted flowers upon it, and who later in the season, when the old
lime-tree came into leaf, sat side by side on the bench beneath it, as
in the old days when Mrs. Behrens and her little Louisa had been
wrapped in the folds of the same shawl. But now it was Louisa who
sheltered her foster-mother, and wrapped her own shawl round her. Thus
the two women sat silently blessing the memory of him who was gone from
them; they were often joined by Hawermann, and then the three mourners
would sit together till the shades of evening fell; none of them thrust
aside the cup of consolation which had been given them, and so when
they separated they felt comforted and refreshed.

The first violence of grief was over at the parsonage, but its traces
were still to be seen in the look of chastened sorrow, the Angel of
Death had imprinted on the faces of those who remained, after he had
taken their husband and father from them. The Angel had kissed Louisa's
forehead as he went and had left her graver, higher thoughts than she
had ever had before; he had clasped little Mrs. Behrens in his arms,
and after that embrace her old lively impetuosity had died away leaving
in its place a calm gentle determination to dedicate her future life to
the carrying out of her pastor's wishes. She only lived in her memory
of him, everything must remain as he had been used to see it. His
arm-chair was placed before his study-table on which his last sermon
was lying with the pen beside it, and his old Bible was kept open at
the place where his hand had ruffled the leaves when he was dying. The
first thing she did every morning was to go to his study with her
duster and put everything in good order for the day, and when this was
done she would often look round at the door as though she expected him
to come in and say: "Thank you, dear Regina," as in the old time. At
dinner Louisa always prepared for three people, and the pastor's chair
was kept in its old place because her foster-mother liked it to be so,
and it seemed to her as if he must needs come in as usual with some
cheerful greeting. She took care not to indulge in the luxury of woe,
but always tried to make the meal pass as pleasantly as it used to do,
and never despised any consoling thought that came to her. This state
of things could not go on for ever. Some new clergyman must have the
living sooner or later, and then Mrs. Behrens would be obliged to leave
the house and even the village, for there was no house for her to go
to. She must go away from her husband's grave, for Pomuchelskopp, who
alone had power to let her stay, had determined that she should go. She
watched the fruit-trees her husband had planted blossom for the last
time. She sat under the flowering palm-willow where she had so often
sat by his side for the last time. She had seen the spring come and
wind his leafy garlands round her old home for the last time. Now
summer was showering his golden glory over the world. She said to
Louisa one day with a sad smile: "When the swallows take their flight
in autumn, Louisa, we shall have to go too." As she spoke she felt the
full bitterness of death had come to her.

Hawermann was her most untiring friend and she allowed herself to be
guided by him in all things. With the best will in the world to spare
her, he could not save her from having to leave the parish; but at
least he could make the parting as easy as possible for her. Kurz the
shopkeeper had a house adjoining the one in which he himself lived,
which he wanted to let with its back garden, and this house Hawermann
arranged as much as he could in the style of the parsonage. He took
Louisa into his confidence and got her to measure the size of the
parsonage rooms, after which, Schulz the cabinet maker was ordered to
furnish the rooms in the new house according to Louisa's measurements
and description; but he utterly refused to do so, "for," he said, "I
can't do it. Women always measure by their belts or apron strings and I
can't do anything from that sort of measurement. All the same, plans
are plans, and I don't like drawn plans; I get on much better
when I carry my plans in my head."--Kurz was of opinion that the
more the new house differed from the old one, the better it would
be, but Hawermann was not to be dissuaded, and Schulz seeing how
determined he was, said: "If you will have it so, I'll go out to
the parsonage and make all the measurements myself."--So one morning
early while Mrs. Behrens was asleep, Schulz appeared and made all
the necessary measurements. When he was doing so he might have
been heard muttering: "Seven--seven--five and twenty--five and
twenty--Kurz--Hawermann--Kurz--Hawermann--bother--a mistake here would
have put it all wrong--too great a space--a beam across--Ah, yes--all
right--yes, yes, done, done!" After that was done he went out, and
getting into his tax-cart drove his lazy brown pony home, and as he
jogged along the road he matured his plan. The furnishing was now
begun, and Hawermann was very well pleased with the result of Schulz's
plan upon the whole, although he would have liked a few little things
to have been different, however the cabinetmaker was so pleased with
the look of the house that he would change nothing, and Hawermann was
obliged to be satisfied with things as they were. Kurz helped as much
as he could, by giving a ready consent to all their wishes.

As I said before, there was great joy at Pümpelhagen. Frida's clear
eyes were turned lovingly on her little daughter, and motherly love had
woven an invisible veil with which to cover their clear-sightedness,
and hide the impending gloom from her for the time being. It had never
been the case before in her active life, but now she indulged in one
dream after another of the future happiness of her husband and child,
especially when she held the baby out for its father to look at.
Alick's heart was also full of joy. He came out and in continually to
look at his wife and child, but still there was one drop of bitterness
in his cup: he had hoped for a son to carry on his old and noble race,
and he was disappointed. It is a sad thing for an innocent little girl
to come into the world when she is not wanted, and to have to suffer
because of the disappointed hopes of other people. Alick would have
been angry if any one had said that to him, for he had really rejoiced
in spite of his disappointment. He had at once announced the "good
news" to all his acquaintances, not excepting the horse-dealers he
employed, and Pomuchelskopp; he had only forgotten to announce the
event to three people: to his cousin Frank--"the young fool"--to Mrs.
Behrens--"the match-maker"--and to Mrs. Nüssler--"the under-bred old
woman." When he laid the envelopes containing the announcements on his
wife's bed and she expressed her surprise that he had omitted these
three people, he answered coldly, that he did not care to have anything
to do with such persons, and that if she wished to send them
announcements she must do it herself. She did so.

A few days later Louisa called to congratulate Mrs. von Rambow in Mrs.
Behrens' name. While she was there, Alick came into the room, but as
soon as he saw her, he bowed and went away again, saying: "Ah, Miss
Hawermann. Pray excuse me."--A couple of days after that Mrs. Nüssler
drove up to the door in the "phantom," and Alick seeing her arrival
went off into the fields. When he came back he heard from Daniel that
Mrs. Nüssler was still with Mrs. von Rambow, and exclaimed angrily: "I
can't understand what pleasure my wife can find in the society of such
uneducated people!" This was a very uncalled for remark on Alick's
part; for only a few weeks earlier he had spent an evening in the
society of some horse-breeders of the same quality as his friend, Mr.
von Brülow, who was pronounced by some of the people present to be a
man of vast knowledge. A young doctor, who happened to be one of the
party, had then remarked that he did not think the knowledge Mr. von
Brülow had displayed was so very great after all, upon which Alick had
risen and glancing over his shoulder at the overbold young man, had
said, that any one who had met with Mr. von Brülow's success in rearing
foals and keeping up a good stock of thoroughbreds must assuredly be
looked upon as a man of vast knowledge and experience. And now forsooth
he regarded good Mrs. Nüssler as an ignorant old woman, although she
was giving his wife the benefit of her experience, together with
sensible and practical advice as to the best way of rearing his little
child. Pomuchelskopp came in his turn, dressed in his blue coat and
brass buttons, seated in his carriage with the coat-of-arms on the
panels and drawn by four horses. That pleased Alick better. His ways
were so much more high-bred! The young squire received Pomuchelskopp
heartily, and made him stay to supper; after which he showed his
visitor his thoroughbred mare and foal, with both of which
Pomuchelskopp seemed to be much pleased. At last laying his hand on the
young man's arm, Pomuchelskopp said: "This is very good, Mr. von
Rambow, very good indeed for a beginning; but if you really intend to
make money by horse-breeding you must set up a paddock, for as you know
fresh air is a necessity when you want to bring up young creatures of
any kind. Freedom, freedom, Mr. von Rambow. That's one of the most
indispensable requisites to ensure success. And you could manage it so
easily here. You might make the land behind the park into four
paddocks, one for each of your four mares. Look, I mean the land over
there stretching up to the top of the hill; you'd only have to sow it
with grass and clover seed instead of with corn, and then you see how
conveniently the brook flows through the field. You couldn't have a
better place. Naturally," he went on after a pause during which Alick
had been thinking silently, "your bailiff wouldn't approve of that
plan."--"My bailiff has to obey orders," said Alick hastily.--"Of
course," answered Pomuchelskopp soothingly, "and besides that he
doesn't understand horses."--"The space you propose wouldn't be
large enough for corn if I left out the best bit of ground," said
Alick.--"Ah," replied Pomuchelskopp, glancing over his shoulder, "but
you'll have to alter the fences at any rate, for you have always had
the glebe hitherto, and now you're going to give it up. Taking in a
little more or less can make no difference."--"True," said Alick
shortly, for the promise he had given in his time of need was weighing
heavily upon him, and he had as great a dislike as any other man to
give up an advantageous possession in which he had taken pride. But
Pomuchelskopp was so true and honest in his desire for his welfare, and
gave him such good advice, that--as he thought--he could not want for
much when he had such a friend at his side; and when they parted, Alick
shook his neighbour heartily by the hand and then retired to his room,
his head full of the new paddocks.

Hawermann came across the yard, and Alick seeing him, put his head out
at the window, and called: "Mr. Hawermann." When the old man had come
up to the window, he said: "How far have you got on with sowing the
barley behind the park?"--"I think that we shall be finished by the
day after to-morrow; we're going to begin the bit beyond the brook
to-morrow."--"Good. It goes to the top of the hill--I will tell you the
particulars afterwards--be sure you sow Timothy, rye-grass and white
clover with the barley. Send Triddelfitz to Rahnstädt to-morrow for the
seed; he had better get it from David."--"But no one ever lays down
grass immediately after barley."--"Did you not hear me _tell_ you to
sow grass in that field? I intend to make paddocks there for the mares
and foals."--"Paddocks? Paddocks?" questioned the old man, as if he
could not believe what he had heard.--"Yes, paddocks," said Alick,
preparing to shut the window.--"Mr. von Rambow," entreated Hawermann,
laying his hand on the window sill, "that bit of ground is the best in
the whole field, and if you separate it from the rest the field will be
too small. That was the reason the late squire took a lease of Gürlitz
glebe." The bailiff said exactly what Alick had himself said a short
time before, and Alick knew that he was right; but what master likes to
confess that a dependent is right!--"I don't intend to renew my lease
of the glebe," said the squire.--The old man's hands sank to his side:
"Give up the glebe," he murmured. "Sir, that land has brought us .... I
have it all written down and ...."--"I don't care. I'll tell
you, I don't intend to keep it."--"Mr. von Rambow, it is impossible
....."--"Didn't you hear me say that _I don't intend to take a new
lease of the glebe_."--"Oh, Sir, let me entreat you to consider
....."--"What do you mean?" cried Alick, slamming down the window and
muttering as he turned away: "A troublesome old fool! A self-important
old humbug!" He then threw himself into a chair and thought about the
paddocks he was going to set up; but the brilliant pictures of success
his imagination had painted but a short time before, would not return
at his call, and at last he put aside the thought for the moment with a
vague sense of ill-usage.

And the old man? He went back to the field feeling pained and sad at
heart. He found it very difficult, in spite of all his love and
gratitude for the kindness of the old squire, to bear the unkindness of
his benefactor's only son. And what was the use of it all? What good
did his remaining at Pümpelhagen do? How could he help the young
squire? In nothing. Step by step, Mr. von Rambow was approaching the
edge of the precipice, and when he put out his hand to save him, he was
thrust back; and though his heart was full of love and good-will to his
young master and his whole house, he was treated like an unfaithful
servant, who cared for nothing but his wages.--"Triddelfitz," he said
when he got to the barley field, "the squire wants this part of the
field near the brook and up to the top of the hill sowed down with
grass. He will explain what he wishes to be done more particularly
when he comes out. You'd better sow the barley rather thinner
here."--"What's he going to do with it?" asked Fred.--"He'll tell you
himself if he thinks fit. There he is coming out of the garden," added
the bailiff as he turned to go away.

"Triddelfitz," said Mr. von Rambow when he came up, "I want to have
this piece of ground up to the top of the hill sowed with grass, and so
you must get the seed for it from David to-morrow. I intend to turn
this part of the field into paddocks."--"Capital!" cried Fred. "I
wondered whether we shouldn't have to set up something of the kind
before long."--"Yes, it's quite necessary."--"Of course it is. Quite
necessary," said Fred in a tone of the utmost conviction. Let no one
think that he was merely swimming with the stream; he meant every
word that he said thoroughly, and if he had had the slightest notion of
the expense and misery these paddocks were to cause, he would never
have said a word in their favour, but--as I said before--he was
honestly of the same opinion as his master in all matters of this
description.--"Have you a measuring pole here?" asked Alick.--"A
measuring pole? No," said Fred with a slightly contemptuous and at the
same time modest and conscious laugh. "I have invented a new instrument
for measuring. If you'll allow me, I'll get it and show it to you," and
then he hastened to the nearest ditch, out of which he pulled an
enormous wooden hoop that originally had been round a barrel. A piece
of rope was woven and twisted about the hoop, and into the centre of
this rope, he thrust the end of his walking stick, as if through the
nave of a wheel, thus making the hoop roll round. "The circumference of
the hoop is exactly the same as the length of one of those measuring
poles," he explained, "and whenever the hoop has turned completely
round this hammer strikes that board, so you see we have only to count
the number of times it goes round to be able to measure the land
exactly."--"Let me see! Let me see!" cried Alick with all his old
love of invention awake within him. "Was it entirely your own
thought?"--"Yes, it's quite my own invention," replied Fred; but he
ought to have said that he owed the discovery to his own laziness, for
he did not like making his long body stoop.--"Well, measure that bit of
land for me," said Alick. And then he went home, and as he went he said
to himself: Triddelfitz will make me a capital farm-bailiff. He's
wide-awake, and it's much easier to work with him than with Hawermann.

After a short time the old bailiff came back, and said angrily to Fred:
"What are you about, Triddelfitz? You're sowing the barley much too
thick."--"I don't see how that can be the case," said Fred, "I held the
machine as you told me, and I measured the land myself."--"Impossible!"
cried Hawermann. "My eyes can't deceive me so completely. Where's the
measuring pole?"--"I hav'n't a measuring pole," said Fred, "and I don't
require one," he added defiantly, for the squire's recognition of this
discovery was too pleasant to be forgotten. "I measure everything with
my instrument," he said, pointing to his invention which was lying at
his feet--"What?" cried Hawermann, "What on earth is that?"--"An
invention of mine," answered Fred, with as much pride as if he had
invented the first steam engine.--"Oh, that's it, is it?" said
Hawermann. "Take your hoop and measure me off ten poles length along
there."--Fred lifted up his invention, and set it rolling; Hawermann
walked by his side pacing the ground: "How much is that?" he
asked.--"Ten poles," answered Fred.--"I only make it nine, and two
feet," said the bailiff.--"That's impossible," answered Fred, "you must
have miscounted, for my hoop goes quite right."--"Five of my steps make
a Mecklenburg pole," said the bailiff, "but you see that you're
mismanaging the whole piece of ground because you're too stupid
to set to work properly. How could you expect a machine like that
to answer on a hill-side, when it would require very smooth and
even ground before it could possibly do at all? It's nothing but
laziness--laziness! Go and get a proper measuring pole at once!" Then
opening his pocket-knife he cut Fred's invention into small pieces, and
after that he re-arranged the sowing-machine.

Fred stood still gazing blankly at his invention which was being
chopped to bits before his eyes. It is a dreadful blow to anyone who
thinks he has made a discovery that will benefit the world, when he
suddenly finds that he has failed to realize his idea. Fred had meant
so well--to himself first of all--and then to his colleagues, and to
all land-measurers throughout the province of Mecklenburg; he had
wanted to save them the trouble of stooping, and now his invention was
lying at his feet an utter wreck. "I'll get the measuring pole," he
said to himself, "it's no good trying now. I'd rather a thousand times
work with the squire than with old Hawermann." During his walk home to
get the pole, he felt very bitter against the bailiff, and quite forgot
that he had ever wished to give him the best rooms in his house, and to
keep a pair of carriage horses and a hack for his use. On his arrival
at the farm he had a few minutes talk with Mary Möller, with whom he
was on as friendly terms as ever. She told him of the squire's
interview with Hawermann at the window, and he was much comforted when
he heard of it. As he went back to the field with the measuring pole
over his shoulder, and a nice little bit of sausage in his hand, he
said to himself: "Poor old fellow, I'm not a bit angry with him now.
He's old, and can't take in new ideas."



                              CHAPTER XV.


So the seed-time passed away, and summer came in its turn. Mrs. von
Rambow no longer went about the farm as much as before, and the old
bailiff had to do without the comfort of her kindly smile and friendly
words of greeting, which used to give him encouragement to persevere.
She had other and pleasanter occupations now, which fully engrossed her
attention. She was so much taken up with hopes, wishes, and plans for
the little child she rocked in her arms, that she rather neglected
outside duties. Alick had also changed a good deal since the birth of
the baby. He took a vaguely gloomy view of his responsibility as
the father of a family, and instead of going about his estate as
formerly, and seeing how matters were going on, in the same manner as a
field-marshal looks after what is under his charge, he now inspected
each farming-detail as carefully as a corporal does those regimental
matters which lie in his department. He put his finger into every pie,
not excepting the feeding-troughs in the cattle-sheds. He might always
have done that if he had liked, and it is delightful to see a squire
interesting himself in such things, but he had better not have meddled
with the existing regulations, for he did not understand how to improve
them. He would give foolishly ignorant orders, alter all the
arrangements the bailiff had made, and then when he had got everything
at sixes and sevens, he would go home and say grumblingly: "That old
man is of no use whatever. He's far too old. I can't stand it much
longer."--Christian Segel said one day to Derrick Snäsel: "What's to be
done now, I wonder; the squire tells me to do one thing, and the
bailiff tells me to do another."--"Well, lad," said Derrick, "if the
squire says ...."--"But it's such a stupid thing to do."--"You needn't
be in too great a hurry, and if the squire desires you to do it, it
can't be helped."

Harvest had begun, and the grain was falling under the mower's scythes.
The rye was all cut, and the sheaves had been standing in the fields
for three days.--"Mr. Hawermann," cried Alick out at the window, and as
soon as the bailiff had come up he went on: "I want you to lead in the
rye to-morrow."--"It's too soon, Sir. The weather has been so damp and
heavy both yesterday and to-day, that the corn hasn't dried properly;
besides that it's still quite soft, and some of the ears are rather
green yet."--"It'll do all right. Where shall you begin to lead
in?"--"If we are to do it, we should begin below the village, and
have two sets of carts going, one to take the rye to the great barn,
and the other to the barn where we usually store the barley."--"What?
Below the village? Two sets of carts? Why?"--"Because the nearer the
village we begin the more we shall be able to save in the day, and it
looks rather like rain. The reason I proposed having two sets of carts
was to prevent the people and the waggons getting into each other's
way."--"H'm!" said Alick, "I shall take what you have said into
consideration," and then he shut the window. After due consideration he
made up his mind that he would get in the rye alone, with Fred
Triddelfitz's help. Hawermann should have nothing whatever to do with
it, and in order to show him that he was of no use, the rye should be
taken from the field to the barn with _one_ set of carts. Alick did not
quite understand what one set or two sets of carts meant, but that was
of no consequence, as of course it was only one of the old bailiff's
antiquated notions with which he would have nothing to do.

At five o'clock next morning he was up and about. Finding the bailiff
in the yard, he went up to him, and said with a friendly smile:
"I've been thinking it over, Mr. Hawermann, and--don't be angry with
me--would so much like to manage this all by myself with young
Triddelfitz to help me"--The old man stood before him in speechless
amazement. At last he said slowly and sadly: "And I am only to look on
then, Sir. You'd rather have the assistance of a foolish young
apprentice than have mine." Then grasping his walking-stick more
firmly, he gazed at Mr. von Rambow with sparkling eyes that looked
quite youthful in the old face. He continued: "You were a little boy,
Sir, when I entered your good father's service, and devoted myself to
him. He thanked me on his death-bed, thanked me. But you--you have made
my life hard to me, and now you want to insult me."--He walked away,
and Alick followed him, saying: "Indeed, Mr. Hawermann, I never meant
to do that, I assure you. I only wished to try ....."--But he had meant
it so; he knew very well that he had meant it so; he wanted to rid
himself of the old man, for he knew too much of his affairs, and often
made him feel ashamed.

The bailiff went to his room, shut his door, and sat down to think, but
it was long before he could make up his mind to any course of action.
Meanwhile there was much shouting and talking going on in the yard.
"Triddelfitz."--"Mr. von Rambow."--"Where are you going, Joseph?"--"I
don't know, I've had no orders."--"What are you going to do with that
harrow, Fred Päsel?"--"How can I tell, I'm going to harrow the ploughed
land."--"What a fool you are," cried Fred Triddelfitz, "we're going to
lead in the rye."--"I'm sure I don't care, what isn't to be, isn't to
be," pulling the harrow out of the cart, "I shall do whatever the
bailiff tells me."--"Flegel," shouted the squire.--"Fred Flegel,"
repeated Triddelfitz.--"What do you want," shouted a gruff voice from
the hay-loft.--"Where are the boards to heighten the waggons?" asked
Fred Triddelfitz.--"There, just as they were," was the answer, "no one
told me, they'd be required to-day."--"What's to be done now?" asked
the labourer Näsel.--"God alone knows," answered Pegel, "we've received
no orders."--"Flegel," cried Fred, "we're going to lead in the rye, and
the waggon-wheels must be greased."--"You may do it for all I care,"
shouted Flegel from the loft. "Here's the tub if you want it"--"Where's
Hawermann, Mr. von Rambow, mayn't I call him?"--"No," answered Alick
lowly as he turned away.--"Well then," said Fred, who was growing
rather anxious, "we won't get any of the rye in this morning."--"That
doesn't matter. We can begin this afternoon."--"But what are the
labourers to do till then?" "Confound the labourers," said Alick
petulantly and turning to go, "it's always the labourers. They can
make themselves useful here in the yard until they are wanted. Stop
a moment," he added looking back, "they can help to grease the
waggon-wheels."

Meantime the old bailiff was sitting at his desk, thinking how best he
could write something that it nearly broke his heart to have to write.
He was about to sever the tie that bound him to the place where the
late squire had been so good to him. He heard some of the foolish talk
that was going on in the yard, and started to the window to put things
right, but no sooner had he got there than he drew back again,
remembering that he had nothing more to do with it. He crumpled up the
letter he had begun, and tried to write another, which gave him as
little satisfaction as the first. He put all his writing things
together and shut his desk. What was he to do now? What was there for
him to do? Nothing! He was supposed to be beyond work. He threw himself
into the corner of the sofa, and thought and thought.

Everything was ready for leading in the rye by the afternoon, thanks to
the exertions of the old carpenter, and of two or three of the
steadiest of the old labourers. So the work began. Alick got on
horseback, and took command of the whole affair, and Fred, not to be
outdone by his master, must needs ride also. As his deaf mare was lame
he mounted a spirited old thoroughbred, and acted as adjutant. They set
off. Six pairs of horses were taken out, and a pair of these was
harnessed into each of the six harvest-waggons, which were then driven
out of the yard in a row. Order was of more importance than anything
else. On one side were the forkers, and the men who standing in the
waggons arranged the sheaves on them, then others went to the barns to
be ready to receive the loaded waggons, and the field-workers got into
the waggons, and set off for the corn-field preceded by Alick and Fred
on horseback. Such an arrangement was never known before at Pümpelhagen
as on that lovely afternoon; but order must be maintained. The old
carpenter, Frederic Flegel, stood at the barn-door and watched the
harvesters set out: "Wonders will never cease," he muttered, scratching
his head, "however it's no business of mine," and as he went back to
his work, he said: "What has become of our old bailiff?"

Hawermann was still sitting quietly in his room thinking. His first
anger had passed away, and he was able to write calmly, so he rose and
wrote a few lines giving up his situation at Christmas, and asking for
leave of absence during harvest, for he knew that he could be of no use
there. Having done this he took his hat and stick, and went out; he
felt that he must have fresh air; he was stifling in the house. He
seated himself on a stone wall under the shade of an elder-bush, and
gazed down the Warnitz road to see if the waggons were coming; but
there were no waggons to be seen; the only moving object he could
descry was Bräsig, who was coming towards them along the Warnitz
road.--"As sure as your nose is in the middle of your face, I can't
understand you, Charles! Why are you leading in the rye so soon? It's
as green as grass! And what do you mean by letting six waggons follow
one another in a row? And why are the loaded waggons stopping on the
road?"--"I don't know, Bräsig. You must ask the squire and
Triddelfitz."--"What?"--"I've nothing more to say, Bräsig"--"How? Why?
What do you mean?" asked Bräsig, raising his eyebrows as high as he
could in his astonishment.--"I've nothing more to say," repeated the
old man with quiet sadness, "I am put on one side; the squire thinks me
too old to be of any use."--"Charles," said Bräsig, laying his hand on
his friend's shoulder, "what's the matter? Tell me."--And so Hawermann
told him all that had happened. When Bräsig knew the whole story he
turned round, and clenched his teeth savagely, looking as if he wished
the beautiful world, at which he was glaring so angrily, were a
hazel-nut that he might grind it between his teeth. Then he growled
passionately as he looked down the Warnitz road: "The Jesuits! The
beastly Jesuits!" and turning again to Hawermann, he said: "Triddelfitz
is another serpent you have warmed in your bosom, Charles."--"How do
you make that out, Bräsig? He must do as he is told."--"Here he comes
at a gallop, and all the six waggons after him! Will they ever keep up,
I wonder--just look how top-heavy they are! It's a comedy, an
agricultural comedy! Mark my words! There'll be an upset at the old
bridge!" cried uncle Bräsig, dancing as vehemently on his poor gouty
legs, as if he wished to make them pay the penalty of all the mischief
that had been done that day. I am sorry to have to confess it, but it
is nevertheless true that Bräsig was full of delight at the thought
that the returning harvesters were almost certain to meet with an
accident, which he thought would only serve them right after what had
happened that morning. "There it is, as flat as a flounder!" he
exclaimed joyfully when the first overloaded waggon reached the turn of
the bridge, and then upset.--"Wo!" was shouted from the bridge.
"Confound it! won't you stop! Wo, can't you!" Fred looked round about
him, what was to be done? He did not know what to do. Suddenly he
caught sight of Hawermann and Bräsig, seated on the wall, galloped up
to them, and said: "Oh, Mr. Hawermann ....."--"Sir, you've made your
bed, and must lie upon it!" interrupted Bräsig.--"Oh, Mr. Hawermann,
what are we to do? The first waggon is lying right across the bridge,
and the others can't move."--"Ride quickly ...."--"Hold your tongue,
Charles, you've been set aside like a lamb for the sacrifice, and have
nothing to do with it," exclaimed Bräsig.--"No, never mind, the men are
wiser than you, they're putting everything right down there."--"It
isn't my fault, Sir," said Fred, "Mr. von Rainbow gave all the orders
himself. The waggons are to go in a row, and are to move on quickly
though they are overloaded."--"Then obey orders, and ride till your
tongue hangs out of your mouth like a dog's," said Bräsig.--"He's on
horseback over there on the heather-hill, and is overlooking and
ordering everything himself."--"Then, I suppose, he has a telespope in
one hand and a field-marshal's baton in the other like old Blücher in
the hop-market at Rostock," said Bräsig scornfully.--"Ride on to the
farm," interrupted Hawermann, "and see that each waggon sets off again
for the field the moment it is emptied."--"I dar'n't do that," answered
Fred, "the squire has given express orders that the waggons are all to
go back to the field in a row as they came. He says that order must be
maintained."--"Then you can tell him that I never saw a finer specimen
of a donkey in all my life ....."--"Bräsig, take care what you say,"
cried Hawermann warningly.--"Than--than your little mule, Mr.
Triddelfitz," added uncle Bräsig with great presence of mind.

Fred rode away to the farm.--"Charles," said Bräsig, "let us go too. We
shall see everything capitally from your window."--"It's all the same
to me," said Hawermann with a deep sigh, "where I am; whether here or
there." So they went. The waggons all drove into the yard, the first
right up to the barn, and the others in a row behind it. The forkers
muttered that they were being worked to death; the labourers grumbled
about the wet rye, and asked who was to thrash it out in winter; the
men in charge of the horses laughed and played each other stupid tricks
to while away the time they had to wait doing nothing, and Fred rode
about the yard with a quiet conscience, for he was doing his duty, and
carrying out his master's orders. As soon as the rye was all put in the
barn, he placed himself at the head of the empty waggons and the
procession moved off. The forkers and stackers closed the barn door
softly to shade them from the sun, lay down and went to sleep, for they
had plenty of time to enjoy a nap.--"What a delightfully quiet harvest
time, Charles," said Bräsig, "the yard is as silent as death, and not a
leaf is stirring! It's a great pleasure to me to see anything of the
kind, for I assure you I had never thought such a thing possible."--"It
isn't at all pleasant to me," replied Hawermann, "I see misfortune
coming. Two or three mistakes of this kind will deprive the squire of
the people's respect. As soon as they begin to see that it's really
ignorance and not a new mode of farming that has brought about
the changes, they'll begin to take their own way. I am very sorry
for the unfortunate young squire, and still more so for his poor
wife."--"There's Mrs. von Rambow coming out of the house, and there's
the nursery-maid with the baby asleep in a perambulator. But,
Charles--come to the window quick--what's all this?"--It was certainly
worth the trouble of hastening to the window, there was now a stir and
movement in the yard, which a moment before had been so still and
quiet, Fred Triddelfitz thundered up to the farm on the old
thoroughbred Bill, Alick followed about twenty yards behind, and
shouted: "Triddelfitz."--"Coming," cried Fred, galloping out at the
other gate with Alick still in pursuit.--"What the devil does
all this mean?" asked Bräsig. He had hardly time to ask the question
when Fred and Alick came back and recrossed the yard shouting:
"Triddelfitz."--"Coming."--"Have you gone mad, Sir?" asked Bräsig as
Fred galopped past the farm-house, but he received no answer. Fred was
sitting crumpled up like a sack in his saddle, and when he heard
Bräsig's question could not help giggling from fright and misery. As he
passed Mr. von Rambow he tried to touch his cap, but knocked it off
instead, and Frida cried out anxiously: "Alick, Alick, what's the
matter?" but got no answer, for Alick was too busy. Suddenly Bill
jumped over the fence in front of the sheep's pen, and Fred was thrown
head over heels into a heap of straw. Alick now drew in his horse and
called again: "Triddelfitz."--"Coming, Mr. von Rambow," answered Fred
from out of the straw.--"What devil drove you to ride so hard?" asked
Alick.--"None," said Fred, getting up, and finding to his great joy
that he had met with no injury, "I was riding one, that's all, and I
think that Bill ran away with me."--"You're right enough there," said
Christian, who had come out of the stable to see what was the matter.
"You gee, Sir," turning to Mr. von Rambow, "the count used to ride Bill
in steeple-chases, and when once the beast gets his head, he goes on
till he finds a fence or hurdle to jump, and after he has had a good
run he stands as quiet as a lamb. Just look at him now."--"Alick,"
asked Mrs. von Rambow, who now came up, "what is it?"--"Nothing, my
dear; I had given Triddelfitz an order, and no sooner had he ridden off
than a better plan occurred to me, so I followed him to make the
desired change, but his horse ran away with him, and I went in
pursuit."--"Thank God it was no worse," she said. "But, Alick, won't
you come in and have some tea?"--"Yes," he said, "I've been working
very hard to-day and am rather tired. Triddelfitz, just go on as we
have been doing."--"All right, Sir," answered Fred, and then Alick went
back to the house with his wife.

"Alick," she asked, when they were seated at tea, "I don't understand.
The harvest waggons used always to come into the yard one by one as
they were filled, at my father's place, but I see that you're making
them come in a string of six."--"I know the old-fashioned way
perfectly, Frida dear, but I think that it's a bad way, and one in
which it's impossible to keep order; while if you have a train of six
waggons you can easily maintain order."--"Did Hawermann arrange it in
that way?"--"Hawermann? No. He has nothing whatever to do with it. I
have at last found it necessary to emancipate myself from the bailiffs
leading-strings, and have told him that I intend to bring in the
harvest without his assistance."--"Alick, what have you done! He'll
never stand that."--"He must though. He must learn that _I_ am
master here."--"He has always treated you as such. Dear Alick,
what you have done to day cannot fail to do us a great deal of
harm," and she leant back in her chair in deep and painful
thought.--Alick felt uncomfortable and a little cross.--The door opened
and Daniel Sadenwater brought in a letter: "With Mr. Hawermann's
compliments."--"There it is," said Frida.--Alick read the letter: "The
bailiff gives up his place at Christmas. He may go now for all I care.
I don't require a bailiff. Besides that, I could get a hundred instead
of him if I liked. I'm only sorry that it was he who gave up his place,
not I who told him to go," and starting to his feet, he began to walk
up and down the room. Frida sat still, and said nothing. Alick felt
that her silence was meant as a reproach. He knew that he was in a
difficult position, but that he must not confess it even to himself,
and must lay the blame of what had happened on the shoulders of
another, so he went on: "But it's your fault, it all comes of your
taking that pretentious old scoundrel's part"--Frida made no answer;
she rose and left the room.

That evening she sat by her little daughter's cradle and rocked her to
sleep. Alas, who can rock his thoughts to sleep as she did her child! A
baby comes straight from God, and still has the peace of heaven in its
heart; but human thoughts come from earth, and are full of care and
trouble and utter weariness; to such as are burdened with these, sleep
is unattainable. Alick was right, he could easily get another bailiff,
a hundred if he wanted them. But Frida was also right: they were losing
a true friend.



                              CHAPTER XVI.


There was great joy in Joseph Nüssler's house. Godfrey was elected, he
was to have the living of Gürlitz. And to whom did he especially owe
his election? Why to our good simple-minded old friend Pomuchelskopp,
to be sure. His was the casting vote. Three divinity students preached
one after the other, each anxiously struggling so to interpret the Word
of God as to please the congregation, and prove himself most worthy of
obtaining the living. "Henny," said Pomuchelskopp, when Godfrey had
finished his sermon, and was passing his handkerchief over his white
face, "Henny," he said, "we'll choose this one, for he's the
stupidest."--"How can you be sure," asked his loving wife, "does one
fool always know another when he sees him?"--"My chuck," said
Pomuchelskopp, overlooking his affectionate wife's pleasantry, either
because he was so accustomed to her little jokes, or because Godfrey's
sermon had touched him, for Godfrey had preached on the text: "Forgive
your enemies."--"Henny, listen. The first of these students, the one
with the red face, is a son of old farmer Hamann, and custom is a great
thing, you'll see that fellow will work his own glebe; the second,
look, there he is, was seen examining the glebe by Gustavus, and was
heard asking the parsonage-coachman, who had charge of the barns, for
the roofs were in bad order. There'd be no hope with either of these;
the rector's son is the man for us."--"He who reckons wrong, reckons
without his host," said Henny drily.--"I hav'n't done so at any rate,"
answered Pomuchelskopp, "Mr. von Rambow and Nüssler have both given me
a written agreement not to take the land, the young man can't farm
himself, he's far too stupid for that, and the ground is too small to
make it worth while for any one to take it by itself. He must let it to
me, I am sure of getting it, and I can say to him: So much, and _not a
penny more!_"--So Godfrey was elected, for almost all the votes were
given to him, only one or two of the oldest labourers at Rexow gave
their votes to their master, Joseph Nüssler. But that was merely an
oversight and made no difference, for it was all in the family.

So, as I said before, there was great joy in Joseph Nüssler's house.
The twins basked in the sunshine of happiness, and made plans for the
future. Mina was quite as happy as Lina though she had not the same
cause. Still she could not help remembering that her father had said
one day when he came from the fields, that he found the sole management
of the farm too hard work, and only wished that Rudolph were far enough
on to be able to come and help him. Her mother had certainly answered
that he ought to be ashamed of himself for saying such a thing, for he
was still a young man, and he had replied that he would go on by
himself a little longer. But still Mina saw that her father would
really like to have Rudolph there, and so it would come to pass sooner
or later. Lina's things were all ready, the trousseau was prepared, and
Mrs. Nüssler's sitting-room looked more like a shop than anything else,
Spinning, knitting, sewing, embroidering, crocheting were going on
there, bales of goods were unwound and then wound up again. Every one
was busy, even young Joseph and young Bolster. Young Joseph had to help
to wind skeins of wool or cotton. He sat straight up with his pipe in
his mouth, and a skein of knitting cotton over his hands, his wife
stood in front of him, and wound it into a ball. Then he had a little
rest, but when Lina or Mina came in he had to begin again. And young
Bolster did not escape; if ever any one had cause to curse the marriage
it was he; he was continually being tramped on and tumbled over, and at
last came to the conclusion that it was better on the whole to take up
his abode in the yard than in the parlour until the trousseau was
finished.

"Well," said Mrs. Nüssler one evening as she laid her hands in her lap,
"the marriage may take place to-morrow, Bräsig, for all I care. I'm
ready."--"Then," answered Bräsig, "you needn't put off any longer, for
no doubt the methodist and Lina are ready when you are."--"Ah, Bräsig,
that shows how little you know about it. The chief thing is still
wanting. The government hasn't given its consent--what's the right word
for it--to the election as yet"--"Oh, yes, I know what you mean,
'confirmed his call,' as they say now-a-days; for my own part, I
consider 'vocated' a better word, we always used it long ago when
the late parson Behrens came to the parish, but it has gone out of
fashion now."--At this moment Christian, the coachman, came in, and
said: "Good-evening, Mistress, here are the newspapers."--"Wer'n't
there any letters at the post-office?" asked Mrs. Nüssler.--"Yes,"
said Christian, "there was one letter."--"Why didn't you bring
it?"--"_Nay!_" said Christian scornfully, as if to show that that was
too great a piece of folly for him to have been guilty of, "they
asked such a ransom for it, that I hadn't enough, money to pay for
it."--"How much was it?"--"One pound four! What do you say to that?
They said there was a post-mark, or a post-stamp, or something of
that kind on it. It came in the mail-cart, and is addressed to
the young gentleman, I mean our Miss Lina's bridegroom."--"Good
gracious, Christian! What a dear letter! Who can it be from, I
wonder?"--"I know," said Christian, "but I don't intend to tell,"
and he glanced at Bräsig.--"You may speak out before Mr. Bräsig," said
his mistress.--"Very well," answered Christian. "It was from a woman,
but I've forgotten her name."--"Mercy!" cried Mrs. Nüssler. "From a
woman! To my future son-in-law! And costing one pound four!"--"A
common occurrence!" said Bräsig. "A common occurrence, even amongst
methodists!"--"So it is!" said Christian, preparing to leave the
room.--"Christian," and Mrs. Nüssler rose, "you must take the rye
to Rahnstädt tomorrow, ask particularly what name it is at the
post-office, and I'll give you the money, for I must have the
letter."--"Very well, mistress," said Christian, going away, "if you
want it, you shall have it."--"Bräsig," exclaimed Mrs. Nüssler,
throwing herself back into her wicker-chair, and making it groan
loudly, "what has my son-in-law to do with women's letters?"--"I
don't know," said Bräsig. "I hav'n't the slightest idea, and I never
trouble my head about secrets. Wait till the end, and you're sure to
know."--"But," said Mrs. Nüssler, "Godfrey's such a quiet sort of
fellow."--"Methodists ar'n't to be trusted," replied Bräsig, "never put
faith in a Jesuit!"--"Bräsig," cried Mrs. Nüssler, springing to her
feet so suddenly that her old chair gave a loud creak, "if there's any
secret, I'll take my child back. If Rudolph had got into a scrape, I'd
have forgiven him, for he's a thoughtless lad, but not hypocritical.
But Godfrey! No. Not as long as I live. A man who pretends to be so
much better than his neighbours, and then--no, let him keep away from
me and mine. I'll have nothing to do with a man of that kind."

When Godfrey appeared at the supper-table, his future mother-in-law
looked at him from head to foot, and from side to side, as if he had
been trying to cheat her into taking false coin for true. And when
Godfrey begged Lina to bring a glass of fresh water to him in his room
after supper, Mrs. Nüssler interposed and said, that Lina had something
else to do, so he turned to Mary, the parlour-maid, and asked her to do
it, but Mrs. Nüssler told him he had better go to the pump for it
himself, it was no further for him to go than for Mary. Thus she drew a
magic circle round him, over which no woman must venture.

The next day when they were all at dinner, the coachman came to the
door, and signing to Mrs. Nüssler, said: "Oh, if you please, mistress,
I want to speak to you for a moment."--Mrs. Nüssler at once signed to
Bräsig, and the two old friends went out into the porch with
Christian.--"Well?" asked Mrs. Nüssler.--"Here it is," said Christian,
pulling a large letter out of his pocket, "and I know the woman's name
too."--"Well?" asked Mrs. Nüssler again.--"Yes," whispered Christian in
his mistress' ear, "her Christian name is 'Minnie,' and her family name
is 'Stry.'"--"What? Mini--stry?" cried Mrs. Nüssler.--"Ha, ha, ha!"
laughed Bräsig, pulling the letter out of Mrs. Nüssler's hand. "That
comes of ignorant people meddling with outlandish words; this is the
vocatation from the ministry," and opening the parlour-door, he
shouted: "Hurrah! You old methodist you! The marriage is to be next
week."--And Mrs. Nüssler threw her arms round Godfrey's neck, kissed
him, and said: "Godfrey, dear Godfrey, I've done you great wrong; but
never mind, Godfrey, Lina shall bring you some water every evening, and
the marriage shall be whenever you like."--"Bless me!" said Godfrey.
"What is ....."--"Nay, Godfrey, I can't explain, it's too hard for me,
but I'll tell you when you've been married three years."

So the wedding took place, and I might tell how Mina and Lina had a
good cry together after the ceremony was over; how nice Godfrey looked
when Lina had cut his hair properly; how Mrs. Nüssler assured every one
who came near her that she was not bit tired, which meant that she was
completely worn out. But I'll tell nothing about the marriage that I
did not see myself, and there is one thing I can vouch for having seen
it, and that is, that at half-past three the two old friends, young
Joseph and young Bolster, lay down on the sofa together, and fell fast
asleep.

Hawermann was at the marriage, but was very quiet and sad; Louisa was
there also, her heart full of love for her little Lina, and she was
very quiet too, but quietly happy. Mrs. Behrens had refused the
invitation sent her, but just as all the company were giving three
cheers for the bride and bridegroom, the door opened, and Mrs. Behrens
came into the room in her widow's weeds. She threw her arms round
Lina's neck, and said: "I am glad that you are to have it, very very
glad; and I pray that you may be as happy as I was. You are now the
nearest," Then she kissed her and patted her on the shoulder, and after
that turned away and hastened out of the room without looking at any
one else. As soon as she was in the passage she called: "Hawermann,"
but she need not have done that for he was already by her side, and
after helping her into the carriage, he took his place beside her, and
so they drove back to Gürlitz.

They got out of the carriage at the entrance to the church-yard, and
walked together to the quiet green grave, there they stood hand in hand
silently gazing at it and at the flowers that were growing on it. As
they turned to go away little Mrs. Behrens said with a deep sigh: "I am
ready now, Hawermann." They got into the carriage again and drove to
Rahnstädt. "Louisa knows all about it," she said, "and will follow me
tomorrow with the things." They went together into the new house, and
little Mrs. Behrens kissed Hawermann, and thanked him for his kindness
to her in having made everything look so like the dear old parsonage.
She went to the window, and looking out, said: "Yes, it's very very
like; all is here except the grave."--They looked out of the window for
a long time in silence, at last Hawermann took her hand and said: "Mrs.
Behrens, I have a great favour to ask of you. I have given Mr. von
Rambow warning and am to leave him at Christmas. Will you let me have
the garret, and will you allow me to board with you?"--If it had not
been such a sad moment for them both' she would have asked a number of
questions, and would have talked the whole thing over, but as it was
she only said: "Your home is always wherever Louisa and I are. You are
the nearest to us both."

It is ever thus in the world; what brings joy to one, brings sorrow to
another, and marriage and death go side by side, although the
difference between them is greater than between summer and winter.
There are some people to be found with such beautiful dispositions,
that in spite of their loss being the other's gain, or of their having
gained by the other's loss, their love to each other forms a bridge
over the abyss which might have separated them, but which their
generous love has changed into a firm bond of union. And of this Mrs.
Behrens and Lina were a bright example. Each clung to the other with a
comprehending love and sympathy that never failed as long as they
lived.

And our old friend Godfrey did his part to strengthen the ties binding
Mrs. Behrens to her old home. In his first sermon also it must be
confessed that he thought less of himself than of the example his
predecessor had always showed, so that when Bräsig came out of church
he stroked Lina's cheek and kissed Mina, saying: "He is growing much
more sensible. Methodists are often quite reasonable mortals; but
they're the devil's own. I once knew a Methodist, I mean parson
Mehlsack, who was really a good sort of man, but he had given himself
so completely to the devil that he no longer preached about God; and as
for the parson over in the beautiful Cracow districts, he proved
padagraphically that there are _three hundred and thirty three_
separate devils rushing about the world, without counting the regular
devil and his grandmother. Now look here, Lina, this is the chief
discomfort for the like of us in such matters. Suppose that you, and
some of your friends seat yourselves round a bowl of punch in
Rahnstädt, and you finish that bowl, and then another, and another, and
a gentleman in a brown surtout seats himself beside you--the devil
always wears a brown surtout, it's part of the contract that he should
do so--and talks to you pleasantly the whole evening, and when you wake
next morning, you see the same gentleman standing before you, and he
says to you, says he: 'Good morning, my friend, you signed a paper for
me last night,' he then shows you his cloven foot, and if he's in a
good humour, he lets you have a sight of his tail, and flips you
playfully over the ears with it, and so you become his heritable
property. That's the way with _honest_ Methodists, and with the other's
it's even worse I can tell you."

So Godfrey and his wife took up their abode at the parsonage, and Mina
of course went to pay them a visit. It sometimes happened when Godfrey
came into the parlour in the dusk that he gave Mina a kiss by mistake,
but it did not matter, for it was all in the family. A short time after
the young couple went to their new home, Pomuchelskopp, his wife, Mally
and Sally went to return the clergyman's call, and to try to get the
lease of the glebe. Pomuchelskopp offered Godfrey half as much as Mr.
von Rambow had given for the land, and his wife declared that it wasn't
worth a penny more, for Joseph Nüssler had refused to take it. Godfrey
bowed, and was going to have said: "Yes," when Lina started up out of
her sofa corner, and said: "Wait a moment! I've got something to say to
that. We must ask the advice of some one who understands the matter,"
and she called out at the door: "Uncle Bräsig, please come here."--So
he came in dressed in a loose linen coat, and taking his stand right in
front of his old school-fellow who was wearing his blue coat and brass
buttons, asked: "What's the matter?"--Lina went up to him: "Uncle
Bräsig," she said, "_need_ the glebe be let. I should so like to farm
it myself."--"Then it shan't be let, my dear little Lina," he said,
stooping and kissing her, "I will farm it myself."--"I won't have any
small tenant," cried Pomuchelskopp.--"Don't be afraid, Samuel--a--don't
be afraid, Mr. Samuel, I am only going to be his reverence's
bailiff."--"Mr. Nüssler signed a paper giving me the land...."--"No,
showing what a fool you are," said Henny, thrusting her husband out of
the room.

"My dear parson," said uncle Bräsig as he and Godfrey were walking in
the garden, "you have not to thank me for having made this arrangement,
it was all Lina's doing. It is a marvel to me how positive these
innocent little creatures grow when once they're married. Well, perhaps
it's better to trust everything to them, they always know best. Most
probably you will wish to talk me out of my hatred of certain people,
for you no doubt preach from the Christian standpoint of holding out
your left cheek to the man who struck you on the right cheek, but
I tell you that there must be hatred; where there is no hatred there
can be no love, and I don't at all approve of the story of the
right and left cheeks. I confess that I can hate; I hate Samuel
Pomuchelskopp!--How?--What?--Why?--Wouldn't you hate him if he treated
you as he treats me?"--"My dear Sir, the wickedness of the principles
you have just ....." he was about to have vindicated his right to be a
clergyman by giving the old bailiff as severe a lecture, as he had done
on a former occasion about fishing, when fortunately Lina came up and
throwing her arms round her old friend's neck, exclaimed: "Uncle
Bräsig, dear uncle Bräsig, how are we ever to thank you for giving up
your quiet life for our sake."--"Don't distress yourself, Lina. Love is
as strong as hatred. Did you notice that I called Pomuchelskopp, Mr.
Samuel, although he was really christened Samivel, which is a much
grander name."--"No, no," interrupted Godfrey, "he must have been
christened Samuel."--"No, reverend Sir, 'Samuel' is a Jewish name,
and although he is really a Jew, that is, a white one, he was
christened _Samivel_, and his wife's name is Canary."--"Uncle Bräsig,"
laughed Lina, "what a funny way of pronouncing it. Her name is
Cornelia."--"It's quite possible, Lina, that she may call herself that
now, for she may well be ashamed of the ugliness of her real name, but
I know that I'm right. When the old parson at Bobzin died, and the
clerk was taking the register-books for the new clergyman to look at, I
saw amongst the entries: 'Mr. Samivel Pomuchelskopp to Miss Canary
Kläterpott,' so you see that you see she was a Kläterpott, and a Canary
too.--But that's enough of her, Lina, she has got nothing to do with
us, and you and I will do everything capitally together and will have a
happy union in farming matters. You must give me the small corner room
overlooking the yard, and the devil himself must take part against me,
if Godfrey isn't able to farm his own land after a year and a day.
Good-bye, for the present. I know of two good milch-cows which I shall
at once secure, then I'll get those two horses from old Prebberow, and
we'd better keep George, Mr. Behrens' former servant, for he's a
splendid dickshun'ry of the management of horses and cattle. Good-bye,"
and he went away, old heathen that he was, in his clinging to his
hatred.

Whoever maintains that he has a right to hate another man, must be
content to be hated in his turn, and no one was so hated on that day as
uncle Bräsig himself.

When the Pomuchelskopps were at home again, Henny began to stroke the
quiet father of the family and Mecklenburg law-giver the wrong way, and
stung him with her sharp words as though with thorns and nettles. She
continually taunted him in the words of her favourite proverb: "Ah,
yes, Kopp," she would say, "you're as wise as the Danish horse which
always came home three days before it began to rain!"--At last the much
enduring man could bear it no longer, he sprang to his feet,
exclaiming: "Mally, have I not always been a kind father to you?"--But
Mally was too deeply ingrossed in the Rostock paper to be able
to answer.--"Sally," he cried, "can I help the world being so
wicked?"--But Sally stitched and sewed the body of a little cupid in
her worsted work so diligently that she could only sigh and look as if
she were sorry her father was not like the cupid in her work that she
might run her needle into him after her mother's example. Gustavus then
came in clattering a slate against a board, as if he had been sent for
to play an accompaniment to the family drama.

But when things get to a certain pass they become unbearable! Human
nature cannot deny the argument of a stick, and our old friend was now
determined to show his rebellious family that he was master in his own
house; having thus asserted himself he rushed out of doors and left
them alone. He hastened into the garden, and up to the sundial, but he
found no comfort there. He had certainly showed his own flesh and blood
that he would not be bullied, but that did not make him happier, for
there before his very eyes lay the glebe, the beautiful glebe. And
beyond that was Pümpelhagen. Both of these were his by rights, for had
he not paid three hundred pounds for the glebe, and how much more to
Slus'uhr, to David and to that wretch Mr. von Rambow! He could not bear
the sight, and turning round, gazed up into the blue sky, and asked
himself if there was any justice on the face of the earth. At that
moment Phil came to him, and pulled him by the tail of his blue
coat--for in putting Henny down, he had for the time being put an end
to all order in the house--and told him that Mr. von Rambow was there,
and wanted to speak to him.

Mr. von Rambow? Ah, ha! He had some one now whom he could bully, he
would make him pay for all the discomfort he had suffered that morning
at the hands of his own family. Mr. von Rambow? Well! He was about to
have gone to him, when his visitor stood before him: "Good morning, Mr.
Pomuchelskopp. I hope I see you well--I came to hear what arrangements
you had made about the glebe."--Ah! The glebe! Wait, I mustn't let
him guess, and Pomuchelskopp looked slyly down to the point of his
nose without making any reply.--"Well," said Alick, "how is it
settled?"--But Pomuchelskopp made no answer, and continued to gaze down
his nose as if it were a mile long, and he had not nearly reached the
end of it yet.--"What's the matter with you, neighbour? I hope it's all
right."--"I hope so too," answered Muchel, stooping to pull up a weed,
"at least the three hundred pounds I lent you are all right?"--"Why?"
stammered Alick in amazement, "but what has that to do with it?"--Wait,
Alick. Do not be in such a hurry. Wait. He wants to plague you a
little. What must be, must be.--"Mr. von Rambow," said Muchel pulling
up another fine weed, and then turning to his visitor with a flushed
face, "Mr. von Rambow, you got the three hundred pounds, and _I_ was to
have had the glebe, but I hav'n't got it."--"Why, you were so sure of
it ..." began Alick.--"Not nearly so sure as you. You got the three
hundred pounds--didn't you now? You got the money I say--and I," here
he tapped his left foot impatiently on the ground and muttered the next
words in a low gruff tone that seemed to come from the lowest region of
his stomach, "and I, have been taken in!"--"But ...."--"You needn't say
'but' to me, I've heard enough 'buts' this morning. Let us talk of
bills instead," here he groped in his pocket, "Oh, Ah, I see I have
another coat on, my pocket-book isn't here. I've had one of your
bills for the last three weeks."--"But, Mr. Pomuchelskopp, pray--why
do you speak to me about it to-day? It isn't my fault that you didn't
get the lease of the glebe."--It was all of no use. He had better
have been quiet. Pomuchelskopp had heard too much that day of the
glebe, so he pretended not to hear Alick's last words, and said: "I am
a kind-hearted man, and am always willing to do what I can for my
friends. People say that I'm rich, but I am not rich enough to be able
to throw away money. There's time enough for that, But, Mr. von Rambow,
I must _see_, I must _see_ something. I must see to my business, and
when a man signs a bill, he must see ...."--"Oh, Mr. Pomuchelskopp,"
cried Alick in great anxiety, "I forgot all about it. Indeed ..... I
didn't remember."--"Oh," said Muchel. "You didn't remember? But a man
ought to remember such things, and ...." he suddenly stopped himself
before he had said too much, for his eye fell on Pümpelhagen--no--He
must take care--He must not shake the tree before the plums were ripe.
"And," he went on, "I have to thank that fellow Bräsig for my
disappointment. That's all the reward I get for the kindness I showed
the man when he was a lad. I lent him money to buy a watch. I gave him
trousers when his own were torn, and now? Ah! I know what it is, it's
all that sly rascal Hawermann's fault."

If you give the devil _one finger_, he seizes your _whole hand_, and
then he leads you where he wills, and if he desires it, you must fall
on your knees before him, and entreat him for mercy in your abject
misery and gnawing pain. So it was with Alick. He was obliged to agree
with Pomuchelskopp, for he had now to row in the same boat with him,
and so he joined him in his accusations of Bräsig and Hawermann. Why?
Because Pomuchelskopp held his bills and had therefore the whip hand of
him. The light-hearted, gallant young officer of a few years back, was
gone, and in his stead was a broken spirited man who tried by telling
all the scandalous stories he had heard of the two old bailiffs to
propitiate the Moloch who stood beside him in a blue coat and brass
buttons. He had betrayed his best friend. He had spoken falsely. As he
thought of what he had done while he was riding home, he felt a bitter
contempt of himself rising up in his heart, and he rode quickly in
order to leave the house where he had behaved so basely as far behind
him as possible.

He rode home, and when he came to his fields where Hawermann was at
work, he saw the old bailiff standing in the full heat of the sun
beside the sowing machine, getting everything in order. When he saw
that, he felt as if coals of fire were burning his head. When he had
gone a little further he met a man in a linen coat, and saw that it was
uncle Bräsig. Bräsig was standing by the wall and shouting across the
field: "Good day, Charles. Here I am at the old work, I'm going to buy
some cows, and everything is getting into good order. We're going to
farm ourselves, and Samuel Pomuchelskopp is out in his reckoning." At
that moment he heard Alick's horse, and turned round to see who was
there. The remorse Alick felt for what he had done made him speak more
kindly than usual: "How d'ye do, Mr. Bräsig. You're always on your
legs?"--"Why not, Mr. von Rambow? They do me good service in spite of
gout now and then, and as I've undertaken to manage farming matters for
the young people at the parsonage, I am on my way to Gülzow, to get a
couple of milch-cows from farmer Pagel for the parson."--"You know all
about such things of course, Mr. Bräsig," said Alick wishing to be
civil.--"Yes, thank God, I know pretty well. We farmers have only to
give a glance at a field and we can see whether it has been properly
treated. Look, I was over there yesterday," pointing to the paddocks,
"I went past the fence, and I saw that the mare and foal were quite
starved, and no wonder. Some one steals the oats out of their manger
and if you want to put a stop to that, you'll have to have a lock put
on it."--Alick looked at him; was it not pure love of aggravation that
made him say that? Naturally! He gave his horse a touch of the spur:
"Good-bye," he said and rode away.--Bräsig looked after him: "If he's
too great a fool to take the hint, he needn't do it. I meant him well.
It seems to me as if the young nobleman does not want God's .... nay, I
oughtn't to say that. He'll come to his senses at last, but he'll have
much to suffer first. Charles," he shouted across the field, "he has
given me another hint to mind my own business!" Then he went away to
buy the cows.



                             CHAPTER XVII.


Winter had come again, and the earth had to consent, with or against
her will, to receive her rude visitant. It is all very well when winter
comes in pleasantly with bright frosty weather, but when it brings a
nasty cold rain at Christmas time, it is very disagreeable. This year,
however, it came in merrily as I have often known it do, with the
cracking of whips and tinkling of sledge-bells. I remember well how
William of Siden-Bollentin drove up to my door in a sledge, his horses
smoking in the frosty air. He sprang to the ground, rubbed his cold
blue cheeks, slapped his arms once--twice--thrice, across his chest to
warm himself, and said: "Good-morning, Mr. Reuter, I've come to fetch
you. My master and mistress send their compliments, and you've nothing
to do but to get into the sledge, for the foot-bags and cloaks are
lying in a heap on the seat ready for you. To-morrow's Christmas, and
little Jack told me to drive as hard as I could."--When winter comes
like that my wife and I rejoice and welcome it with delight, so we gave
the old groom a glass of wine, seated ourselves in the sledge, and off
we went at the rate of ten miles an hour--and yet when we got to the
front-door at Bollentin, Fred Peters greeted us with: "What the devil
has made you so long in coming?"--His wife embraced my wife, took off
her hood, and said to me; "Uncle Reuting, I have a nice little dish of
cabbage and sausage ready for you."--And the two girls, Lizzie and
Annie, whom I have so often carried in my arms when they were little
babies, ran up to me, gave their old uncle a hearty kiss, and then
threw themselves into my wife's arms. Fred and Max, who were now great
school-boys, came and shook my hand in the old high-school fashion, and
while they were doing so, Jack was watching his opportunity to spring
out upon me. As soon as he caught me, I gave him a ride on my foot, and
would have liked to have been his playfellow for the rest of the
evening. Then little Ernest, the baby, was introduced to me, and we all
stood round that wonder of the world, and exclaimed at his look of
wisdom, and at his being able to take so much notice. Last of all came
the old grand-mother. After that the amusements of the evening began.
The Christmas tree was lighted up. The Julklapp knocked, and the first
thing it threw in was a poem written by my wife, the only one she ever
made, and which was as follows: "Here I sit, and am so hot; and ask
naught by day ....." There it ended, and it was no matter, for it was
perfect as a fragment. Then Christmas day came with a solemn hush into
the world, and God scattered His soft snow-flakes like down upon the
face of the earth, so that no sound was to be heard without. On the
next day parson Pieper and his wife, and the superintendent and his
wife came, and Anna too, who is a great pet of mine, for she was once
my pupil. Then came Mrs. Adam, the doctor's wife, and Mrs. Schönermark,
the sheriff's wife; they brought Lucy Dolle with them, and she had
rather an uncomfortable seat between the two ladies. After that another
sledge drove up, out of which Dr. Dolly lifted a great round bundle,
beside which he had been sitting, and handed it over to the two
parlour-maids, who were standing ready to receive it. When the bundle
was unrolled, and all the furs, cloaks, shawls and foot-bags which
composed its outer covering had been removed, Mr. Schröder, the
barrister, was disclosed to view. He was not ready even then, for he
seated himself on one of the hall-chairs, and Sophie took possession
of one leg, and Polly of the other, and then they pulled off his
fur-boots, while I held him firmly, lest his legs should be tugged off.
Then came another sledge, and out of it sprang Rudolph Kurz--he jumped
right over the reins the coachman was holding in his hand, and after
him came Hilgendorf. Do you know, Hilgendorf? Hilgendorf, our Rudolph's
teacher? No? Well, it is not necessary that you should. To describe him
in a few words: Hilgendorf is a natural curiosity, his bones are made
of ivory--"pure ivory." He is so hard that any one thumping him on the
shoulder or knee has his hand badly bruised--because of his ivory
bones.

Then coffee was drunk, and the barrister told stories, very good
stories they were too, and he told them with fire, that is to say, his
pipe was continually going out while he was talking, and he had to
light it again every now and then, so that before long he had smoked a
whole boxful of matches. Max was deputed to sit beside him, and see
that he did not catch fire during his consumption of matches. After
that there was whist with van der Heydt and Manteufel, and various
other things of the sort, for that was the barrister's usual play.
During supper, whilst he was disposing of roast goose and other good
things, the barrister made all kinds of beautiful poems out of the most
extraordinary rhymes; for instance, "Hilgendorf," "Schorf," and "Torf,"
and when given "Peters," he made the next lines end with "Köters," and
"versteht er's." When we at last separated, we all shook hands, and
parted in peace and good-will, every face saying: "Till next year!"

The day after Christmas passed very differently at Pümpelhagen. The
weather was bright and beautiful there also, but the peace and
good-fellowship that should have made the day a happy one, were
wanting. Each member of the household was busy with his or her own
private thoughts, with the exception of Fred Triddelfitz and Mary
Möller, who spent the afternoon together eating ginger-bread-nuts. Fred
said after a time: "I can eat no more, Polly, for I have to go on a
journey to-morrow. I am to take three loads of wheat to Demmin, and if
I eat more ginger-bread I may be ill. I shouldn't like that you know,
especially as I want to make up the parcel of our reading-books for the
library, that I may change them in Demmin, and so let us have something
to read in the evening." He then rose and went out to visit his
sorrel-mare, and Mary Möller felt that his heart was not entirely hers,
for he divided it between her and his mare.

Hawermann was sitting alone, buried in thought. He was very grave, for
he felt that his active work in the world had now come to an end, that
he might fold his hands on his knees, and take his rest. He was sad
when he thought of how his life at Pümpelhagen had ended, and how all
his joy in the place had turned to sorrow.

Alick and Frida were sitting in another room. They were together, and
yet they were alone, for they thought their own thoughts, and did not
confide them to each other. They were silent; Frida calm and quiet, and
Alick rather cross. Suddenly sledge-bells were heard outside, and
Pomuchelskopp drove up to the door. Frida picked up her work and left
the room, so Alick was obliged to receive his visitor alone.

The two gentlemen were soon busily engaged talking of farming matters,
such as horse-breeding, and the price of corn. The afternoon would have
passed innocently and peacefully, if Daniel Sadenwater had not brought
in the post-bag. Alick opened it, and found a letter for Hawermann. He
would at once have given it to Daniel, but he saw his own crest on the
envelope, and on looking more closely, he discovered that it was
addressed in his cousin's hand-writing. "Is that confounded plot still
going on behind my back?" he exclaimed, as he threw the letter to
Daniel, almost hitting him in the face with it: "Take that to the
bailiff."--Daniel went away looking rather dazed, and Pomuchelskopp
asked Alick sympathisingly what had put him out.--"Isn't it enough to
make any one angry to see how that idiotic cousin of mine has allowed
himself to be caught in the toils laid for him by that old rascal and
his daughter, and how obstinate he is in carrying on that foolish
love-affair?"--"Oh," said Muchel, "I thought that was over long
ago. I was told that your cousin had broken off all connection with
these people as soon as he heard what every one was saying about
them."--"What is it?" asked Alick.--"Oh, what is said about your
bailiff and the labourer, Kegel--isn't that the man's name--and the
three hundred pounds."--"Tell me, what do people say?"--"You know. I
think that was why you gave the old fellow the sack."--"I don't
understand. Tell me what you mean."--"Everyone knows it. It is said
that Hawermann and the labourer had made a compact together. That
Hawermann let the labourer escape, and that he got half of the money
for doing so. That he gave him an estate-pass, which enabled him to get
an engagement as ordinary seaman at Wismar."--Alick paced the room with
long strides: "It isn't possible! He can't have deceived me so
shamefully!"--"Ah, people even go so far as to say that he and the
labourer had arranged about the theft from the very first, but I don't
believe that."--"Why not? What was the old sinner talking secretly to
the woman for? What made him take such a prominent part then, when he
is generally so very retiring."--"If there had been anything in that,"
said Pomuchelskopp, "the mayor of Rahnstädt would surely have noticed
it"--"The mayor! I have very little confidence in his judgment. They
make out now that the wife of a poor weaver was the thief who stole the
money from the labourer on the public road. And why? Because she tried
to get change for a Danish double Louis d'or which she had found. She
declared that she had found it, nothing would make her change her
story, and so the wise mayor of Rahnstädt had to set her free."--"Yes,"
answered Muchel, "and the man who saw the Louis d'or was Kurz, the
shopkeeper, and he is a relation of Hawermann's I think."--"I'd
give another hundred pounds with pleasure," cried Alick, "if I could
only get to the bottom of this villany."--"It would be difficult
to manage," said Pomuchelskopp, "but, first of all I'd--when does he
go?"--"Hawermann? To-morrow."--"Well, you should go over his books very
carefully, you can't tell whether they're in good order or not. Be
particular to add up the columns of figures yourself, and you may
perhaps find something wrong, at any rate it's the best check. He must
have feathered his nest pretty well, for I hear he is going to live in
Rahnstädt on his savings. Certainly he has been receiving a high salary
here for a number of years, but I know that he had to pay off a good
many, and rather considerable debts, when he first became your father's
bailiff. After that he--as I hear from attorney Slus'uhr--lent out his
small savings, and perhaps some of the estate-money at usury, and has
made a good thing of it."--"Oh," cried Alick, "and when I asked him
once ....." but he stopped short in order not to betray himself, but he
felt as if he hated Hawermann for not having helped him when he could
so easily have done so, for having refused him assistance because he
had not offered him a high enough percentage on the money he had wanted
to borrow.

After this there was very little more conversation, for each of the
gentlemen had too much to think of to care to talk, and when
Pomuchelskopp at length drove home, he left young Mr. von Rambow a prey
to all kinds of suspicious fancies, which made him so restless and
uneasy that he could not go to sleep the whole night.

In an upper room in the Pümpelhagen farm-house Hawermann was sitting
over his desk, with his account-book open before him. He was going over
the last months' accounts to make sure that they were all right, and
corresponded with the quantity of money he had in his safe. Since Alick
had come into the estate, he had taken him the books every quarter to
be examined, but the young squire sometimes said he had no time to look
at them, and sometimes without looking at them, had returned them,
saying, he was sure they were all right, and that it was not necessary
to show them to him. Hawermann had not made use of this carelessness of
his master, but had been even more particular than before, and had kept
his books as he had been accustomed to do from his youth up. He had
taught Triddelfitz to keep an account of the corn used, and to bring it
to him every week; if ever the lad made a mistake in his report he
scolded him for it far more severely than for any carelessness in other
things.

While the old man was sitting at his desk Fred came in, and asked his
advice about this or that concerning his journey to Demmin. When all
was settled, and Fred was about to leave the room, the bailiff called
him back: "Triddelfitz," he said, "I hope you have your corn-account
ready."--"Yes," said Fred, "that's to say, very nearly."--"Didn't I ask
you to be particular about having it ready for me to-night, and to be
sure that you added it up properly?"--"All right," said Fred, leaving
the room. Daniel Sadenwater came in, and brought the bailiff a letter;
and as it was growing dark Hawermann took it to the window. When he saw
that it was from Frank his heart beat quicker, and as he read it, his
eyes shone with pride and joy, and his heart softened and thawed under
the influence of the young man's affection, in the same way as the snow
on the roof melts in the sunshine, and before he had finished the
letter a few tears had fallen from his eyes upon the paper.

Frank wrote that he had heard that Hawermann was going to leave
Pümpelhagen, that he was now free, and must consent to his sincere
desire to write to Louisa at once. The enclosed letter was to be given
to her, and Frank hoped that it would lead to three people being
happier than before.

The bailiff's hands trembled as he put his daughter's letter into his
pocket-book, and his knees knocked together as he thought of the future
happiness or unhappiness of his only child being thus in his hands. He
seated himself on the sofa, and considered what he ought to do. In the
morning the sea sometimes rises in wild billows, at noon it is calmer,
but still gloomy and uncertain looking, but in the evening the blue sky
is reflected in the smooth mirror of the water, and the setting sun
encloses the picture in a golden frame.

Something of this sort was going on in the old man's spirit. At first
his thoughts were tumultuous and confused, then he grew calmer, and was
able to think whether he should be failing in his duty to Mr. von
Rambow if he consented to do as Frank wished him. But what duty did he
owe to the man who had returned him evil for good, and who was even now
driving him away by his conduct? None. And he raised his head proudly,
feeling that his conscience could not reproach him for his actions or
thoughts, and then he determined that he would not sacrifice his best
and dearest for the sake of a foolish boy, that he could not make his
child suffer because of unjust social prejudices. Then he pleased
himself by thinking of the happy future before Frank and Louisa, and
lost himself in a delicious day-dream.

While he was thus engaged the door opened, and Christian Degel rushed
into the room, exclaiming: "Oh, sir, you must come at once, the
Rubens-mare has been taken very ill, and we don't know what to do." The
bailiff rose and hastened to the stable.

Scarcely was he gone than Fred Triddelfitz came in carrying a
portmanteau, club-books, shirts, and clothes of all kinds. He laid the
portmanteau on a chair by the window, and began to pack up his things
that he might be able to cut a figure in Demmin, when he caught sight
of Hawermann's farm-book; for the old man had forgotten in his
excitement to shut his desk.--"That'll, do for me," said Fred, and
seating himself in the window as it was beginning to grow dark, he set
to work to enter the corn-account.

Before he had quite finished Christian rushed into the room again: "Mr.
Triddelfitz, you must go at once--this very moment--and fetch a
rape-cloth from the granary, we are going to pack the mare in wet
sheets." When Fred heard footsteps coming he hid the book behind him on
the chair, and when Christian thrust the key of the granary into his
hand, he left the book lying on the chair and went away with the groom.
He met Mary Möller coming from the cow-house just as he got to the
granary door; "Mary," he cried, "will you be so kind as to put up my
things for me. You'll find them with the portmanteau on the chair at
the parlour window; be sure you don't forget the books."--Mary did as
she was asked. It was very dark and she was in love, so she packed
Hawermann's farm-book as well as the novels from the lending library.

When Hawermann came back from the stable he locked his desk without
noticing that anything was missing, and next morning Fred Triddelfitz
set off at cock-crow for Demmin with his wheat and portmanteau, never
thinking he had anything with him that he ought not to have had.

After the old bailiff had given the labourers their orders for the last
time, he returned to his house to collect and pack his things so that
he might leave that afternoon, but before he was quite ready, Daniel
Sadenwater came in, and desired him to come to Mr. von Rambow.

Alick had spent a very restless night; his best thoroughbred mare in
which he had placed his hopes had been taken ill; the suspicion
Pomuchelskopp had aroused, troubled him; the difficulty of farming by
himself overwhelmed him, and then he must pay Hawermann's wages at
once, to say nothing of various small sums he had got the bailiff to
pay for him to the labourers, and the total amount of which he did not
know. The bailiff had given him warning, not he the bailiff, and he
must try to think of some pretext to put off paying him at once what he
owed him. A good reason for such conduct is difficult to find, but a
subject of quarrel is always to be had, and may be made to serve as a
pretext for putting off the payment of one's debts. It is a wretched
means to gain such an end, but a very common one! And Alick determined
to make use of it, thereby showing how much his pride as a man and a
gentleman had been lowered. Nothing has so much influence on a weak
man's character as being short of money, especially when he wants to
keep up appearances. "Needy and bumptious" is a true proverb.

When Hawermann came in, he turned to the window, and asked while he
looked out into the yard: "Is the mare quite well again?"--"No," said
Hawermann, "she is still ill, and I think you should send for the
vet."--"I will see that he comes. But," he added, still staring out of
the window, "she would have been quite well if the stables had been
properly looked after, and if she had not been fed on that bad, mouldy
hay."--"Mr. von Rambow, you know that the hay got a good deal of rain
this summer, but still it's by no means mouldy. And you took the entire
charge of the thoroughbreds into your own hands, for when I made a
slight change in the stable a few weeks ago, you forbade my order being
obeyed, and undertook to manage the horses yourself."--"Of course! Of
course!" cried Alick beginning to walk up and down the room, "we know
all that. It's the old story over again." Suddenly he came to a
stand-still before Hawermann, and looking at him a little uncertainly,
went on: "You're going away to-day, ar'n't you?"--"Yes," said
Hawermann, "after our last agreement ...."--"I needn't," interrupted
the young squire, "let you go before Easter unless I choose, and I
insist upon your staying here until the second of January."--"You're
right, but ....."--"That isn't so much longer for you to stay,"
interrupted Alick, "and we must go over our accounts. Go and get your
book now."--Hawermann went.

Alick was determined to save his money a little longer if he could.
When Hawermann came back with his book, he might say that he had not
time to look at it at that moment, and if the bailiff begged him to do
it, he might get on his high horse, and say that the second of January
would be time enough. But matters were to go more easily for him than
he had thought. Hawermann did not return. He waited, and waited, but
still Hawermann did not return. At last he sent Daniel Sadenwater to
seek him, and then he came back with the butler. The old bailiff was
pale and excited, and as he entered the room, he exclaimed: "I don't
understand it. How can it have happened?"--"What's the matter?" asked
Alick.--"Mr. von Rambow, I was busy finishing my book yesterday
afternoon, and when I had done I put it in my desk, and now it is
gone."--"A nice story forsooth," cried Alick scornfully, and the seed
Pomuchelskopp had sowed in his soul began to grow, "yes, it's a nice
story. When no one wanted the book it was always ready, and now that it
is asked for, it has disappeared."--"I entreat of you," urged
Hawermann, "don't judge so quickly. It will be found; it must be
found," and he hurried away.

After a time he came back, "It isn't there," he said mournfully, "it
has been stolen from me."--"That's a good joke!" working himself into a
rage. "My three hundred pounds were not stolen, at least you said they
were not, and now you say your book is stolen, because it suits you to
say so."--"Oh God!" cried the old man, "give me time!" He clasped his
hands together: "Oh God, my book is gone."--"Yes," cried Alick, "and
the labourer Regel is also gone, and everyone knows how he escaped. My
three hundred pounds are also gone, and everyone knows where they are
to be found. Have you noted them in the book?" he asked advancing close
to Hawermann, and looking him full in the face.--The old man stared at
him, and then looking all round as if to make sure where he was, let
his clasped hands fall to his side. He shivered from head to foot as
does a giant river when about to break its icy fetters, and the blood
rushed through his limbs and tingled in his face, like the waters of
the great river, when they have freed themselves from their bonds, and
rush swiftly on their course carrying all before them. Beware of such
times, children of men! "Scoundrel!" he shouted, springing upon Alick,
who had: retreated a few steps when he saw the expression of the
other's face. "Scoundrel!" he cried, "my honest name..." Alick got into
a corner and seized the weapon that was always kept there. "Scoundrel!"
cried the old man, "your gun and my honest name!" And now began a
violent struggle for possession of the gun, which the bailiff caught by
the stock and tried to wrench out of his opponent's hand. Bang! The gun
went off.--"Oh Lord!" cried Alick, falling back upon the sofa. The old
man stood beside him with the gun in his hand.--The door opened, and
Mrs. von Rambow rushed up to her husband: "What is it? What's the
matter?" she exclaimed, and all the love she had ever felt for him came
back with a rush. "Oh, what is this? Blood!"--"Never mind," said Alick,
trying to raise himself, "it's only my arm."--The old man stood
motionless with the gun in his hand. His fury was calmed, but he felt
that he had done an evil deed that he could never wash out however long
he might live.--Daniel and the housemaid both ran into the room, and
with their help Alick's coat was taken off and he was laid upon the
sofa. His arm was much lacerated by the shot, and the blood dripped
upon the floor.--"Go for a doctor," said Mrs. von Rambow, while she
tried to stop the flow of blood by binding handkerchiefs round her
husband's arm. She had not enough to be of any use, so she rose to
fetch more. She had to pass Hawermann on her way to the door. He was
standing pale and motionless by his master's side. "Murderer!" she said
as she went out, and again when she came in she repeated: "Murderer!"
The old man made no reply, but Alick raised himself, and said: "No,
Frida, no. He is not that," for even an unrighteous man speaks the
truth when he feels that he has escaped death by a hair's breadth,
"but," he added, still harping on the old theme, "he is a cheat and a
thief. Get out of my sight as quick as you can," he said addressing the
bailiff.--The old man's face flushed, he opened his mouth as if to
speak, and then seeing how Mrs. von Rambow shrank from him, he
staggered out of the study.

He went to his own room: "A cheat and a thief," the words rang in his
ears. He went to the window and looked out into the yard. He saw
everything that went on there, but he saw it as in a dream. "A cheat
and a thief," that was the only thing he could understand, that alone
was real. He saw Christian Degel driving out of the yard; he knew that
the man had gone to fetch the doctor; he threw the window wide open and
was about to desire him to drive as hard as he could; but--"a cheat and
a thief" was what he involuntarily called out instead of the order he
had intended to give; he shut the window again. But the book! The book
must be found--the book! He pulled everything out of the boxes he had
already packed; he strewed all his possessions about the floor; he fell
upon his knees--not to pray, for he was "a cheat and a thief"; he poked
about under his desk with his stick, under his chest of drawers, and
under his bed; the book must be somewhere, the book! All in vain! "A
cheat and a thief." He once more took his stand in the window, and
looked out; he still had his walking stick in his hand, was he going
out, or what did he want with the stick? Yes, he would go out, he would
go away from here, far away! He snatched up his hat, and went out.
Where should he go? It was all the same to him, all the same, but habit
led him to Gürlitz. As he went along the familiar road, old thoughts
came back to him: "My child! My child!" he cried, "my honest name!" He
felt his breast pocket--yes, he had put his pocket-book there, he had
his daughter's happiness safe. What was the use of it now? He had
destroyed the power that letter contained of making her happy, his
honesty was doubted, and that shot had made matters even worse than
they were before. A few bitter tears were wrung from him in his agony
of spirit, and the tears brought him comfort; he knew that he had only
meant to wrest the gun from Alick, not to hurt him; his conscience
acquitted him of that crime, and he breathed more freely--but his
honest name was gone and with it the happiness of his only child. Oh,
how distinctly he remembered his joy yesterday when he had read and
thought over that letter in his own room, when he had indulged in
day-dreams of his daughter's future happiness, and now, all was changed
and lost. The brand attached to his name would sink into his daughter's
heart and bring her sorrow and shame. But what had his child to do with
it? Alas! The curses and brands that rest on the father descend to the
children even to the fourth generation, and the same hedge of thorns
which separated him from all honest men came between his daughter and
happiness. But he was innocent. Who would believe him if he were to say
so? He, whose white robe of innocence has been, however unjustly,
smirched, may go on his way through the world, no one will wash him
clean; even if God were to proclaim his innocence by signs and
wonders--the world would not believe. "Oh," he cried, "I know the
world!" Then his eyes fell on Gürlitz manor, Pomuchelskopp's home, and
out of a corner of his heart, a corner he thought he had closed and
barred for evermore, rose the dread figure of Hate, the tears he had
shed for his child dried on his cheek, and his voice which had before
uttered the words involuntarily, now repeated them, "a cheat and a
thief," and angry thoughts rose thick and fast in his mind: "he is the
cause of it all, and we must be quits some day!"

He went through Gürlitz, but saw nothing on the right hand or the left.
All he had loved there were gone from the place, he had only to do with
his hate, and had only one object to set before him in life.--Bräsig
was standing by the parsonage barn, and seeing his friend went forward
to meet him: "Good morning, Charles. Where are you going? But what's
the matter?"--"Nothing, Bräsig! But leave me, leave me alone. Come to
Rahnstädt to-morrow, come to-morrow," so saying he walked on and left
him. When he came to the hill on the other side of Gürlitz, from the
top of which Alick had first shown his young wife his beautiful estate
of Pümpelhagen, and where she had shown such unaffected pleasure in
what she saw, he stood still. It was the last point from which he could
see the place where he had been so happy, and where he had as it were
wept tears of blood when his honour and his name had been so cruelly
tarnished. His whole soul rebelled against his fate: "The miserable
liar!" he said. "And she--she called me a 'murderer' once, then she
said it again: 'murderer,' and turned from me in horror.--Your day of
sorrow is coming upon you all. I could have saved you, and I would have
saved you. I watched over your interests and served you as faithfully
as a dog, and you have thrust me from you like a dog; but ...." and he
turned to resume his walk to Rahnstädt, hatred still possessing his
soul.



                               FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: _Translator's note_. The housekeeper in a large farm in N.
Germany is a person of great consequence, and is always called
Mamselle.]

[Footnote 2: _Translator's note_. In Germany the wife has to provide,
as well as her own trouseau, all the house and table-linen, and all the
furniture even tables and chairs.]

[Footnote 3: _Translator's note_. "Fasan"--"Vasall."]

[Footnote 4:     "Vinum, the father,
                  And c[oe]na, the mother,
                  And Venus, the nurse,
                  Make gout much worse."]



                            END OF VOL. II.



                   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.





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

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home