The Project Gutenberg eBook of The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 02

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Title: The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 02

Editor: Kuno Francke

Release date: February 1, 2004 [eBook #11366]
Most recently updated: December 25, 2020

Language: English


Produced by Stan Goodman, Jayam Subramanian and PG Distributed












         By Calvin Thomas

         Translated by James Anthony Froude and R. Dillon Boylan

         Translated by Julia Franklin

         Translated by Louis H. Gray

      THE PEDAGOGIC PROVINCE (from "Wilhelm Meister's Travels").
         Translated by R. Dillon Boylan

         Translated by George Krielin

         Translated by Bailey Saunders

         Translated by John Oxenford

         Translated by Louis H. Gray

         Translated by Frances H. King



Edward reading aloud to Charlotte and the Captain

Charlotte receives Ottilie. By P. Grotjohann

Edward and Ottilie. By P. Grotjohann

Edward, Charlotte, Ottilie and the Captain discuss the new plan of the house. By Franz Simm

Ottilie examines Edward's Presents. By P Grotjohann

Luciana posing as Queen Artemisia. By P. Grotjohann

Ottilie. By Wilhelm von Kaulbach

The Old Theatre, Weimar. By Peter Woltze

Martin Wieland. By E. Hader

Princess Amalia


Weimar seen from the North

Goethe and his Secretary. By Johann Josef Schmeller

Goethe's Study

The Garden at Goethe's City House, Weimar. By Peter Woltze

Schiller's Garden House at Jena. Drawing by Goethe

The float at Jena. Drawing by Goethe

View into the Saale Valley near Jena. Drawing by Goethe

K.F. Zelter


In the spring of the year 1807 Goethe began work on the second part of Wilhelm Meister. He had no very definite plot in view, but proposed to make room for a number of short stories, all relating to the subject of renunciation, which was to be the central theme of the Wanderjahre. In the course of the summer, while he was taking the waters at Karlsbad, two or three of the stories were written. The following spring he set about elaborating another tale of renunciation, the idea of which had occurred to him some time before. But somehow it refused to be confined within the limits of a novelette. As he proceeded the matter grew apace, until it finally developed into the novel which was given to the world in 1809 under the title of The Elective Affinities.

When that which should be a short story is expanded into a novel one can usually detect the padding and the embroidery. So it is certainly in this case. Those long descriptions of landscape-gardening; the copious extracts from Ottilie's diary, containing many thoughts which would hardly have entered the head of such a girl; the pages given to subordinate characters, whose comings and goings have no very obvious connection with the story,—all these retard the narrative and tend to hide the essential idea. The strange title, too, has served to divert attention from the real centre of gravity. Had the tale been called, say, "Ottilie's Expiation," there would have been less room for misunderstanding and irrelevant criticism; there would have been less concern over the moral, and more over the artistic, aspect of the story.

What then was the essential idea? Simply to describe a peculiar tragedy resulting from the invasion of the marriage relation by lawless passion. As for the title, it should be remembered that there was just then a tendency to look for curious analogies between physical law and the operations of the human mind. Great interest was felt in suggestion, occult influence, and all that sort of thing. Goethe himself had lately been lecturing on magnetism. He had also observed, as no one can fail to observe, that the sexual attraction sometimes seems to act like chemical affinity: it breaks up old unions, forms new combinations, destroys pre-existing bodies, as if it were a law that must work itself out, whatever the consequences. Such a process will now and then defy prudence, self-respect, duty, even religion,—going its way like a blind and ruthless law of physics. But if this is to happen the recombining elements must, of course, have each its specific character; else there is no affinity and no tragedy.

It is no part of the analogy that the pressure of sex is always and by its very nature like the attraction of atoms. Aside from the fact that character consists largely in the steady inhibition of instinct and passion by the will, there is this momentous difference between atoms or molecules, on the one hand, and souls on the other: the character of the atom or molecule is constant, that of the soul is highly variable. There is no room here for remarks on free will and determinism; suffice it to say that Goethe does not preach any doctrine of mechanical determinism in human relations. The scientific analogy must not be pressed too hard. It is really not important, since after all nothing turns on it. Whatever interest the novel has it would have if all reference to chemistry had been omitted. Goethe's thesis, if he can be said to have one, is simply that character is fate.

He imagines a middle-aged man and woman, Edward and Charlotte, who are, to all seeming, happily united in marriage. Each has been married before to an unloved mate who has conveniently died, leaving them both free to yield to the gentle pull of long-past youthful attachment. Their feeling for each other is only a mild friendship, but that does not appear to augur ill, since they are well-to-do, and their fine estate offers them both a plenty of interesting work. Edward has a highly esteemed friend called the Captain, who is for the moment without suitable employment for his ability and energy. Edward can give him just the needed work, with great advantage to the property, and would like to do so. Charlotte fears that the presence of the Captain may disturb their pleasant idyl, but finally yields. She herself has a niece, Ottilie, a beautiful girl whom no one understands and who is not doing well at her boarding-school. Charlotte would like to have the girl under her own care. After much debate the pair take both the Captain and Ottilie into their spacious castle.

And now the elective affinity begins to do its disastrous work. Edward, who has always indulged himself in every whim and has no other standard of conduct, falls madly in love with the charming Ottilie, who has a passion for making herself useful and serving everybody. She adapts herself to Edward, fails to see what a shabby specimen of a man he really is, humors his whims, and worships him—at first in an innocent girlish way. Charlotte is not long in discovering that the Captain is a much better man than her husband; she loves him, but within the limits of wifely duty. In the vulgar world of prose such a tangle could be most easily straightened out by divorce and remarriage. This is what Edward proposes and tries to bring about. The others are almost won over to this solution when the event happens that precipitates the tragedy: the child of Edward and Charlotte is accidentally drowned by Ottilie's carelessness.

It is a very dubious link in Goethe's fiction that this child, while the genuine offspring of Edward and Charlotte, has the features of Ottilie and the Captain. From the moment of the drowning Ottilie is a changed being. Her character quickly matures; like a wakened sleep-walker she sees what a dangerous path she has been treading. She feels that marriage with Edward would be a crime. She resists his passionate appeals, and her remorse takes on a morbid tinge. It becomes a fixed idea. Happiness is not for her. She must renounce it all. She must atone—atone—for her awful sin. For a moment they plan to send her back to school, but she cannot tear herself away from Edward's sinister presence. At last she refuses food and gradually starves herself to death. The wretched Edward does likewise.

Any just appreciation of Goethe's art in The Elective Affinities must begin by recognizing that it is about Ottilie. For her sake the book was written. It is a study of a delicately organized virgin soul caught in the meshes of an ignoble fate and beating its wings in hopeless misery until death ends the struggle. The other characters are ordinary people: Charlotte and the Captain ordinary in their good sense and self-control, Edward ordinary in his moral flabbiness and his foolish infatuation. His death, to be sure, is unthinkable for such a man and does but testify to the unearthly attraction with which the girl is invested by Goethe's art. The figure of Ottilie, like that of her spiritual sister Mignon, is irradiated by a light that never was on sea or land. She is a creature of romance, and we learn without much surprise that her dead body performs miracles. One is reminded of that medieval lady who is doomed to eat the heart of her crusading lover and then refuses all other food and dies. That Edward is quite unworthy of the girl's love, that the death of the child is no sufficient reason for her morbid remorse, is quite immaterial, since at the end of the tale we are no longer in the realm of normal psychology. A season of dreamy happiness, as she moves about in a world unrealized; then a terrible shock, and after that, remorse, renunciation, hopelessness, the will to die. Such is the logic of the tale.





Edward—so we shall call a wealthy nobleman in the prime of life—had been spending several hours of a fine April morning in his nursery-garden, budding the stems of some young trees with cuttings which had been recently sent to him.

He had finished what he was about, and having laid his tools together in their box, was complacently surveying his work, when the gardener came up and complimented his master on his industry.

"Have you seen my wife anywhere?" inquired Edward, as he moved to go away.

"My lady is alone yonder in the new grounds," said the man; "the summer-house which she has been making on the rock over against the castle is finished today, and really it is beautiful. It cannot fail to please your grace. The view from it is perfect:—the village at your feet; a little to your right the church, with its tower, which you can just see over; and directly opposite you, the castle and the garden."

"Quite true," replied Edward; "I can see the people at work a few steps from where I am standing."

"And then, to the right of the church again," continued the gardener, "is the opening of the valley; and you look along over a range of wood and meadow far into the distance. The steps up the rock, too, are excellently arranged. My gracious lady understands these things; it is a pleasure to work under her."

"Go to her," said Edward, "and desire her to be so good as to wait for me there. Tell her I wish to see this new creation of hers, and enjoy it with her."

The gardener went rapidly off, and Edward soon followed. Descending the terrace, and stopping as he passed to look into the hot-houses and the forcing-pits, he came presently to the stream, and thence, over a narrow bridge, to a place where the walk leading to the summer-house branched off in two directions. One path led across the churchyard, immediately up the face of the rock. The other, into which he struck, wound away to the left, with a more gradual ascent, through a pretty shrubbery. Where the two paths joined again, a seat had been made, where he stopped a few moments to rest; and then, following the now single road, he found himself, after scrambling along among steps and slopes of all sorts and kinds, conducted at last through a narrow more or less steep outlet to the summer-house.

Charlotte was standing at the door to receive her husband. She made him sit down where, without moving, he could command a view of the different landscapes through the door and window—these serving as frames, in which they were set like pictures. Spring was coming on; a rich, beautiful life would soon everywhere be bursting; and Edward spoke of it with delight.

"There is only one thing which I should observe," he added, "the summer-house itself is rather small."

"It is large enough for you and me, at any rate," answered Charlotte.

"Certainly," said Edward; "there is room for a third, too, easily."

"Of course; and for a fourth also," replied Charlotte. "For larger parties we can contrive other places."

"Now that we are here by ourselves, with no one to disturb us, and in such a pleasant mood," said Edward, "it is a good opportunity for me to tell you that I have for some time had something on my mind, about which I have wished to speak to you, but have never been able to muster up my courage."

"I have observed that there has been something of the sort," said

"And even now," Edward went on, "if it were not for a letter which the post brought me this morning, and which obliges me to come to some resolution today, I should very likely have still kept it to myself."

"What is it, then" asked Charlotte, turning affectionately toward him.

"It concerns our friend the Captain," answered Edward; "you know the unfortunate position in which he, like many others, is placed. It is through no fault of his own; but you may imagine how painful it must be for a person with his knowledge and talents and accomplishments, to find himself without employment. I—I will not hesitate any longer with what I am wishing for him. I should like to have him here with us for a time."

"We must think about that," replied Charlotte; "it should be considered on more sides than one."

"I am quite ready to tell you what I have in view," returned Edward. "Through his last letters there is a prevailing tone of despondency; not that he is really in any want. He knows thoroughly well how to limit his expenses; and I have taken care for everything absolutely necessary. It is no distress to him to accept obligations from me; all our lives we have been in the habit of borrowing from and lending to each other; and we could not tell, if we would, how our debtor and creditor account stands. It is being without occupation which is really fretting him. The many accomplishments which he has cultivated in himself, it is his only pleasure—indeed, it is his passion—to be daily and hourly exercising for the benefit of others. And now, to sit still, with his arms folded; or to go on studying, acquiring, and acquiring, when he can make no use of what he already possesses;—my dear creature, it is a painful situation; and alone as he is, he feels it doubly and trebly."

"But I thought," said Charlotte, "that he had had offers from many different quarters. I myself wrote to numbers of my own friends, male and female, for him; and, as I have reason to believe, not without effect."

"It is true," replied Edward; "but these very offers—these various proposals—have only caused him fresh embarrassment. Not one of them is at all suitable to such a person as he is. He would have nothing to do; he would have to sacrifice himself, his time, his purposes, his whole method of life; and to that he cannot bring himself. The more I think of it all, the more I feel about it, and the more anxious I am to see him here with us."

"It is very beautiful and amiable in you," answered Charlotte, "to enter with so much sympathy into your friend's position; only you must allow me to ask you to think of yourself and of me, as well."

"I have done that," replied Edward. "For ourselves, we can have nothing to expect from his presence with us, except pleasure and advantage. I will say nothing of the expense. In any case, if he came to us, it would be but small; and you know he will be of no inconvenience to us at all. He can have his own rooms in the right wing of the castle, and everything else can be arranged as simply as possible. What shall we not be thus doing for him! and how agreeable and how profitable may not his society prove to us! I have long been wishing for a plan of the property and the grounds. He will see to it, and get it made. You intend yourself to take the management of the estate, as soon as our present steward's term is expired; and that, you know, is a serious thing. His various information will be of immense benefit to us; I feel only too acutely how much I require a person of this kind. The country people have knowledge enough, but their way of imparting it is confused, and not always honest. The students from the towns and universities are sufficiently clever and orderly, but they are deficient in personal experience. From my friend, I can promise myself both knowledge and method, and hundreds of other circumstances I can easily conceive arising, affecting you as well as me, and from which I can foresee innumerable advantages. Thank you for so patiently listening to me. Now, do you say what you think, and say it out freely and fully; I will not interrupt you."

"Very well," replied Charlotte; "I will begin at once with a general observation. Men think most of the immediate—the present; and rightly, their calling being to do and to work; women, on the other hand, more of how things hang together in life; and that rightly too, because their destiny—the destiny of their families—is bound up in this interdependence, and it is exactly this which it is their mission to promote. So now let us cast a glance at our present and our past life; and you will acknowledge that the invitation of the Captain does not fall in so entirely with our purposes, our plans, and our arrangements. I will go back to those happy days of our earliest intercourse. We loved each other, young as we then were, with all our hearts. We were parted: you from me—your father, from an insatiable desire of wealth, choosing to marry you to an elderly and rich lady; I from you, having to give my hand, without any especial motive, to an excellent man, whom I respected, if I did not love. We became again free—you first, your poor mother at the same time leaving you in possession of your large fortune; I later, just at the time when you returned from abroad. So we met once more. We spoke of the past; we could enjoy and love the recollection of it; we might have been contented, in each other's society, to leave things as they were. You were urgent for our marriage. I at first hesitated. We were about the same age; but I as a woman had grown older than you as a man. At last I could not refuse you what you seemed to think the one thing you cared for. All the discomfort which you had ever experienced, at court, in the army, or in traveling, you were to recover from at my side; you would settle down and enjoy life; but only with me for your companion. I settled my daughter at a school, where she could be more completely educated than would be possible in the retirement of the country; and I placed my niece Ottilie there with her as well, who, perhaps, would have grown up better at home with me, under my own care. This was done with your consent, merely that we might have our own lives to ourselves—merely that we might enjoy undisturbed our so-long-wished-for, so-long-delayed happiness. We came here and settled ourselves. I undertook the domestic part of the ménage, you the out-of-doors and the general control. My own principle has been to meet your wishes in everything, to live only for you. At least, let us give ourselves a fair trial how far in this way we can be enough for each other."

"Since the interdependence of things, as you call it, is your especial element," replied Edward, "one should either never listen to any of your trains of reasoning, or make up one's mind to allow you to be in the right; and, indeed, you have been in the right up to the present day. The foundation which we have hitherto been laying for ourselves, is of the true, sound sort; only, are we to build nothing upon it? is nothing to be developed out of it? All the work we have done—I in the garden, you in the park—is it all only for a pair of hermits?"

"Well, well," replied Charlotte, "very well. What we have to look to is, that we introduce no alien element, nothing which shall cross or obstruct us. Remember, our plans, even those which only concern our amusements, depend mainly on our being together. You were to read to me, in consecutive order, the journal which you made when you were abroad. You were to take the opportunity of arranging it, putting all the loose matter connected with it in its place; and with me to work with you and help you, out of these invaluable but chaotic leaves and sheets to put together a complete thing, which should give pleasure to ourselves and to others. I promised to assist you in transcribing; and we thought it would be so pleasant, so delightful, so charming, to travel over in recollection the world which we were unable to see together. The beginning is already made. Then, in the evenings, you have taken up your flute again, accompanying me on the piano, while of visits backwards and forwards among the neighborhood, there is abundance. For my part, I have been promising myself out of all this the first really happy summer I have ever thought to spend in my life."

"Only I cannot see," replied Edward, rubbing his forehead, "how, through every bit of this which you have been so sweetly and so sensibly laying before me, the Captain's presence can be any interruption; I should rather have thought it would give it all fresh zest and life. He was my companion during a part of my travels. He made many observations from a different point of view from mine. We can put it all together, and so make a charmingly complete work of it."

"Well, then, I will acknowledge openly," answered Charlotte, with some impatience, "my feeling is against this plan. I have an instinct which tells me no good will come of it."

"You women are invincible in this way," replied Edward. "You are so sensible, that there is no answering you, then so affectionate, that one is glad to give way to you; full of feelings, which one cannot wound, and full of forebodings, which terrify one."

"I am not superstitious," said Charlotte; "and I care nothing for these dim sensations, merely as such; but in general they are the result of unconscious recollections of happy or unhappy consequences, which we have experienced as following on our own or others' actions. Nothing is of greater moment, in any state of things, than the intervention of a third person. I have seen friends, brothers and sisters, lovers, husbands and wives, whose relation to each other, through the accidental or intentional introduction of a third person, has been altogether changed—whose whole moral condition has been inverted by it."

"That may very well be," replied Edward, "with people who live on without looking where they are going; but not, surely, with persons whom experience has taught to understand themselves."

"That understanding ourselves, my dearest husband," insisted Charlotte, "is no such certain weapon. It is very often a most dangerous one for the person who bears it. And out of all this, at least so much seems to arise, that we should not be in too great a hurry. Let me have a few days to think; don't decide."

"As the matter stands," returned Edward, "wait as many days as we will, we shall still be in too great a hurry. The arguments for and against are all before us; all we want is the conclusion, and as things are, I think the best thing we can do is to draw lots."

"I know," said Charlotte, "that in doubtful cases it is your way to leave them to chance. To me, in such a serious matter, this seems almost a crime."

"Then what am I to write to the Captain?" cried Edward; "for write I must at once."

"Write him a kind, sensible, sympathizing letter," answered Charlotte.

"That is as good as none at all," replied Edward.

"And there are many cases," answered she, "in which we are obliged, and in which it is the real kindness, rather to write nothing than not to write."


Edward was alone in his room. The repetition of the incidents of his life from Charlotte's lips; the representation of their mutual situation, their mutual purposes, had worked him, sensitive as he was, into a very pleasant state of mind. While close to her—while in her presence—he had felt so happy, that he had thought out a warm, kind, but quiet and indefinite epistle which he would send to the Captain. When, however, he had settled himself at his writing-table, and taken up his friend's letter to read it over once more, the sad condition of this excellent man rose again vividly before him. The feelings which had been all day distressing him again awoke, and it appeared impossible to him to leave one whom he called his friend in such painful embarrassment.

Edward was unaccustomed to deny himself anything. The only child, and consequently the spoilt child, of wealthy parents, who had persuaded him into a singular, but highly advantageous marriage with a lady far older than himself; and again by her petted and indulged in every possible way, she seeking to reward his kindness to her by the utmost liberality; after her early death his own master, traveling independently of every one, equal to all contingencies and all changes, with desires never excessive, but multiple and various—free-hearted, generous, brave, at times even noble—what was there in the world to cross or thwart him?

Hitherto, everything had gone as he desired! Charlotte had become his; he had won her at last, with an obstinate, a romantic fidelity; and now he felt himself, for the first time, contradicted, crossed in his wishes, when those wishes were to invite to his home the friend of his youth—just as he was longing, as it were, to throw open his whole heart to him. He felt annoyed, impatient; he took up his pen again and again, and as often threw it down again, because he could not make up his mind what to write. Against his wife's wishes he would not go; against her expressed desire he could not. Ill at ease as he was, it would have been impossible for him, even if he had wished, to write a quiet, easy letter. The most natural thing to do, was to put it off. In a few words, he begged his friend to forgive him for having left his letter unanswered; that day he was unable to write circumstantially; but shortly, he hoped to be able to tell him what he felt at greater length.

The next day, as they were walking to the same spot, Charlotte took the opportunity of bringing back the conversation to the subject, perhaps because she knew that there is no surer way of rooting out any plan or purpose than by often talking it over.

It was what Edward was wishing. He expressed him self in his own way, kindly and sweetly. For although, sensitive as, he was, he flamed up readily—although the vehemence with which he desired anything made him pressing, and his obstinacy made him impatient—his words were so softened by his wish to spare the feelings of those to whom he was speaking, that it was impossible not to be charmed, even when one most disagreed, with him.

This morning, he first contrived to bring Charlotte into the happiest humor, and then so disarmed her with the graceful turn which he gave to the conversation, that she cried out at last:

"You are determined that what I refused to the husband you will make me grant to the lover. At least, my dearest," she continued, "I will acknowledge that your wishes,—and the warmth and sweetness with which you express them, have not left me untouched, have not left me unmoved. You drive me to make a confession;—till now, I too have had a concealment from you; I am in exactly the same position with you, and I have hitherto been putting the same restraint on my inclination which I have been exhorting you to put on yours."

"Glad am I to hear that," said Edward. "In the married state, a difference of opinion now and then, I see, is no bad thing; we learn something of each other by it."

"You are to learn at present, then," said Charlotte, "that it is with me about Ottilie as it is with you about the Captain. The dear child is most uncomfortable at the school, and I am thoroughly uneasy about her. Luciana, my daughter, born as she is for the world, is there training hourly for the world; languages, history, everything that is taught there, she acquires with so much ease that, as it were, she learns them off at sight. She has quick natural gifts, and an excellent memory; one may almost say she forgets everything, and in a moment calls it all back again. She distinguishes herself above every one at the school with the freedom of her carriage, the grace of her movement, and the elegance of her address, and with the inborn royalty of nature makes herself the queen of the little circle there. The superior of the establishment regards her as a little divinity, who, under her hands, is shaping into excellence, and who will do her honor, gain her reputation, and bring her a large increase of pupils; the first pages of this good lady's letters, and her monthly notices of progress, are forever hymns about the excellence of such a child, which I have to translate into my own prose; while her concluding sentences about Ottilie are nothing but excuse after excuse—attempts at explaining how it can be that a girl in other respects growing up so lovely seems coming to nothing, and shows neither capacity nor accomplishment. This, and the little she has to say besides, is no riddle to me, because I can see in this dear child the same character as that of her mother, who was my own dearest friend; who grew up with myself, and whose daughter, I am certain, if I had the care of her education, would form into an exquisite creature.

"This, however, has not fallen in with our plan, and as one ought not to be picking and pulling, or for ever introducing new elements among the conditions of our lives, I think it better to bear, and to conquer as I can, even the unpleasant impression that my daughter, who knows very well that poor Ottilie is entirely dependent upon us, does not refrain from flourishing her own successes in her face, and so, to a certain extent, destroys the little good which we have done for her. Who are well trained enough never to wound others by a parade of their own advantages? and who stands so high as not at times to suffer under such a slight? In trials like these, Ottilie's character is growing in strength, but since I have clearly known the painfulness of her situation, I have been thinking over all possible ways to make some other arrangement. Every hour I am expecting an answer to my own last letter, and then I do not mean to hesitate any more. So, my dear Edward, it is with me. We have both, you see, the same sorrows to bear, touching both our hearts in the same point. Let us bear them together, since we neither of us can press our own against the other."

"We are strange creatures," said Edward, smiling. "If we can only put out of sight anything which troubles us, we fancy at once we have got rid of it. We can give up much in the large and general; but to make sacrifices in little things is a demand to which we are rarely equal. So it was with my mother,—as long as I lived with her, while a boy and a young man, she could not bear to let me be a moment out of her sight. If I was out later than usual in my ride, some misfortune must have happened to me. If I got wet through in a shower, a fever was inevitable. I traveled; I was absent from her altogether; and, at once, I scarcely seemed to belong to her. If we look at it closer," he continued, "we are both acting very foolishly, very culpably. Two very noble natures, both of which have the closest claims on our affection, we are leaving exposed to pain and distress, merely to avoid exposing ourselves to a chance of danger. If this is not to be called selfish, what is? You take Ottilie. Let me have the Captain; and, for a short period, at least, let the trial be made."

"We might venture it," said Charlotte, thoughtfully, "if the danger were only to ourselves. But do you think it prudent to bring Ottilie and the Captain into a situation where they must necessarily be so closely intimate; the Captain, a man no older than yourself, of an age (I am not saying this to flatter you) when a man becomes first capable of love and first deserving of it, and a girl of Ottilie's attractiveness?"

"I cannot conceive how you can rate Ottilie so high," replied Edward. "I can only explain it to myself by supposing her to have inherited your affection for her mother. Pretty she is, no doubt. I remember the Captain observing it to me, when we came back last year, and met her at your aunt's. Attractive she is,—she has particularly pretty eyes; but I do not know that she made the slightest impression upon me."

"That was quite proper in you," said Charlotte, "seeing that I was there; and, although she is much younger than I, the presence of your old friend had so many charms for you, that you overlooked the promise of the opening beauty. It is one of your ways; and that is one reason why it is so pleasant to live with you."

Charlotte, openly as she appeared to be speaking, was keeping back something, nevertheless; which was that at the time when Edward came first back from abroad, she had purposely thrown Ottilie in his way, to secure, if possible, so desirable a match for her protégée. For of herself, at that time, in connection with Edward, she never thought at all. The Captain, also, had a hint given to him to draw Edward's attention to her; but the latter, who was clinging determinately to his early affection for Charlotte, looked neither right nor left, and was only happy in the feeling that it was at last within his power to obtain for himself the one happiness which he so earnestly desired; and which a series of incidents had appeared to have placed forever beyond his reach.

They were on the point of descending the new grounds, in order to return to the castle, when a servant came hastily to meet them, and, with a laugh on his face, called up from below, "Will your grace be pleased to come quickly to the castle? The Herr Mittler has just galloped into the court. He shouted to us, to go all of us in search of you, and we were to ask whether there was need; 'whether there is need,' he cried after us, 'do you hear? But be quick, be quick.'"

"The odd fellow," exclaimed Edward. "But has he not come at the right time, Charlotte? Tell him, there is need,—grievous need. He must alight. See his horse taken care of. Take him into the saloon, and let him have some luncheon. We shall be with him immediately."

"Let us take the nearest way," he said to his wife, and struck into the path across the churchyard, which he usually avoided. He was not a little surprised to find here, too, traces of Charlotte's delicate hand. Sparing, as far as possible, the old monuments, she had contrived to level it, and lay it carefully out, so as to make it appear a pleasant spot on which the eye and the imagination could equally repose with pleasure. The oldest stones had each their special honor assigned them. They were ranged according to their dates along the wall, either leaning against it, or let into it, or however it could be contrived; and the string-course of the church was thus variously ornamented.

Edward was singularly affected as he came in upon it through the little wicket; he pressed Charlotte's hand, and tears started into his eyes. But these were very soon put to flight, by the appearance of their singular visitor. This gentleman had declined sitting down in the castle; he had ridden straight through the village to the churchyard gate; and then, halting, he called out to his friends, "Are you not making a fool of me? Is there need, really? If there is, I can stay till mid-day. But don't keep me. I have a great deal to do before night."

"Since you have taken the trouble to come so far," cried Edward to him, in answer, "you had better come through the gate. We meet at a solemn spot. Come and see the variety which Charlotte has thrown over its sadness."

"Inside there," called out the rider, "come I neither on horseback, nor in carriage, nor on foot. These here rest in peace: with them I have nothing to do. One day I shall be carried in feet foremost. I must bear that as I can. Is it serious, I want to know?"

"Indeed it is," cried Charlotte, "right serious. For the first time in our married lives, we are in a strait and difficulty, from which we do not know how to extricate ourselves."

"You do not look as if it were so," answered he. "But I will believe you. If you are deceiving me, for the future you shall help yourselves. Follow me quickly, my horse will be none the worse for a rest."

The three speedily found themselves in the saloon together. Luncheon was brought in, and Mittler told them what that day he had done, and was going to do. This eccentric person had in early life been a clergyman, and had distinguished himself in his office by the never-resting activity with which he contrived to make up and put an end to quarrels: quarrels in families, and quarrels between neighbors; first among the individuals immediately about him, and afterward among whole congregations, and among the country gentlemen round. While he was in the ministry, no married couple was allowed to separate; and the district courts were untroubled with either cause or process. A knowledge of the law, he was well aware, was necessary to him. He gave himself with all his might to the study of it, and very soon felt himself a match for the best trained advocate. His circle of activity extended wonderfully, and people were on the point of inducing him to move to the Residence, where he would find opportunities of exercising in the higher circles what he had begun in the lowest, when he won a considerable sum of money in a lottery. With this, he bought himself a small property. He let the ground to a tenant, and made it the centre of his operations, with the fixed determination, or rather in accordance with his old customs and inclinations, never to enter a house when there was no dispute to make up, and no help to be given. People who were superstitious about names, and about what they imported, maintained that it was his being called Mittler which drove him to take upon himself this strange employment.

Luncheon was laid on the table, and the stranger then solemnly pressed his host not to wait any longer with the disclosure which he had to make. Immediately after refreshing himself he would be obliged to leave them.

Husband and wife made a circumstantial confession; but scarcely had he caught the substance of the matter, when he started angrily up from the table, rushed out of the saloon, and ordered his horse to be saddled instantly.

"Either you do not know me, you do not understand me," he cried, "or you are sorely mischievous. Do you call this a quarrel? Is there any want of help here? Do you suppose that I am in the world to give advice? Of all occupations which man can pursue, that is the most foolish. Every man must be his own counsellor, and do what he cannot let alone. If all go well, let him be happy, let him enjoy his wisdom and his fortune; if it go ill, I am at hand to do what I can for him. The man who desires to be rid of an evil knows what he wants; but the man who desires something better than he has got is stone blind. Yes, yes, laugh as you will, he is playing blindman's-buff; perhaps he gets hold of something, but the question is what he has got hold of. Do as you will, it is all one. Invite your friends to you, or let them be, it is all the same. The most prudent plans I have seen miscarry, and the most foolish succeed. Don't split your brains about it; and if, one way or the other, evil comes of what you settle, don't fret; send for me, and you shall be helped. Till which time, I am your humble servant."

So saying, he sprang on his horse, without waiting the arrival of the coffee.

"Here you see," said Charlotte, "the small service a third person can be, when things are off their balance between two persons closely connected; we are left, if possible, more confused and more uncertain than we were."

They would both, probably, have continued hesitating some time longer, had not a letter arrived from the Captain, in reply to Edward's last. He had made up his mind to accept one of the situations which had been offered him, although it was not in the least up to his mark. He was to share the ennui of certain wealthy persons of rank, who depended on his ability to dissipate it.

Edward's keen glance saw into the whole thing, and he pictured it out in just, sharp lines.

"Can we endure to think of our friend in such a position?" he cried; "you cannot be so cruel, Charlotte."

"That strange Mittler is right after all," replied Charlotte; "all such undertakings are ventures; what will come of them it is impossible to foresee. New elements introduced among us may be fruitful in fortune or in misfortune, without our having to take credit to ourselves for one or the other. I do not feel myself firm enough to oppose you further. Let us make the experiment; only one thing I will entreat of you—that it be only for a short time. You must allow me to exert myself more than ever, to use all my influence among all my connections, to find him some position which will satisfy him in his own way."

Edward poured out the warmest expressions of gratitude. He hastened, with a light, happy heart, to write off his proposals to his friend. Charlotte, in a postscript, was to signify her approbation with her own hand, and unite her own kind entreaties with his. She wrote, with a rapid pen, pleasantly and affectionately, but yet with a sort of haste which was not usual with her; and, most unlike herself, she disfigured the paper at last with a blot of ink, which put her out of temper, and which she only made worse with her attempts to wipe it away.

Edward laughed at her about it, and, as there was still room, added a second postscript, that his friend was to see from this symptom the impatience with which he was expected, and measure the speed at which he came to them by the haste in which the letter was written.

The messenger was gone; and Edward thought he could not give a more convincing evidence of his gratitude, than in insisting again and again that Charlotte should at once send for Ottilie from the school. She said she would think about it; and, for that evening, induced Edward to join with her in the enjoyment of a little music. Charlotte played exceedingly well on the piano, Edward not quite so well on the flute. He had taken a great deal of pains with it at times; but he was without the patience, without the perseverance, which are requisite for the completely successful cultivation of such a talent; consequently, his part was done unequally, some pieces well, only perhaps too quickly—while with others he hesitated, not being quite familiar with them; so that, for any one else, it would have been difficult to have gone through a duet with him. But Charlotte knew how to manage it. She held in, or let herself be run away with, and fulfilled in this way the double part of a skilful conductor and a prudent housewife, who are able always to keep right on the whole, although particular passages will now and then fall out of order.


The Captain came, having previously written a most sensible letter, which had entirely quieted Charlotte's apprehensions. So much clearness about himself, so just an understanding of his own position and the position of his friends, promised everything which was best and happiest.

The conversation of the first few hours, as is generally the case with friends who have not met for a long time, was eager, lively, almost exhausting. Toward evening, Charlotte proposed a walk to the new grounds. The Captain was delighted with the spot, and observed every beauty which had been first brought into sight and made enjoyable by the new walks. He had a practised eye, and at the same time one easily satisfied; and although he knew very well what was really valuable, he never, as so many persons do, made people who were showing him things of their own uncomfortable, by requiring more than the circumstances admitted of, or by mentioning anything more perfect, which he remembered having seen elsewhere.

When they arrived at the summer-house, they found it dressed out for a holiday, only, indeed, with artificial flowers and evergreens, but with some pretty bunches of natural corn-ears among them, and other field and garden fruit, so as to do credit to the taste which had arranged them.

"Although my husband does not like in general to have his birthday or christening-day kept," Charlotte said, "he will not object today to these few ornaments being expended on a treble festival."

"Treble?" cried Edward.

"Yes, indeed," she replied. "Our friend's arrival here we are bound to keep as a festival; and have you never thought, either of you, that this is the day on which you were both christened? Are you not both named Otto?"

The two friends shook hands across the little table.

"You bring back to my mind," Edward said, "this little link of our boyish affection. As children, we were both called so; but when we came to be at school together, it was the cause of much confusion, and I readily made over to him all my right to the pretty laconic name."

"Wherein you were not altogether so very high-minded," said the Captain; "for I well remember that the name of Edward had then begun to please you better, from its attractive sound when spoken by certain pretty lips."

They were now sitting all three round the same table where Charlotte had spoken so vehemently against their guest's coming to them. Edward, happy as he was, did not wish to remind his wife of that time; but he could not help saying, "There is good room here for one more person."

At this moment the notes of a bugle were heard across from the castle. Full of happy thoughts and feelings as the friends all were together, the sound fell in among them with a strong force of answering harmony. They listened silently, each for the moment withdrawing into himself, and feeling doubly happy in the fair circle of which he formed a part. The pause was first broken by Edward, who started up and walked out in front of the summer-house.

"Our friend must not think," he said to Charlotte, "that this narrow little valley forms the whole of our domain and possessions. Let us take him up to the top of the hill, where he can see farther and breathe more freely."

"For this once, then," answered Charlotte, "we must climb up the old footpath, which is not too easy. By the next time, I hope my walks and steps will have been carried right up."

And so, among rocks, and shrubs, and bushes, they made their way to the summit, where they found themselves, not on a level flat, but on a sloping grassy terrace, running along the ridge of the hill. The village, with the castle behind it, was out of sight. At the bottom of the valley, sheets of water were seen spreading out right and left, with wooded hills rising immediately from their opposite margin, and, at the end of the upper water, a wall of sharp, precipitous rocks directly overhanging it, their huge forms reflected in its level surface. In the hollow of the ravine, where a considerable brook ran into the lake, lay a mill, half hidden among the trees, a sweetly retired spot, most beautifully surrounded; and through the entire semicircle, over which the view extended, ran an endless variety of hills and valleys, copse and forest, the early green of which promised the near approach of a luxuriant clothing of foliage. In many places particular groups of trees caught the eye; and especially a cluster of planes and poplars directly at the spectator's feet, close to the edge of the centre lake. They were at their full growth, and they stood there, spreading out their boughs all around them, in fresh and luxuriant strength.

To these Edward called his friend's attention.

"I myself planted them," he cried, "when I was a boy. They were small trees which I rescued when my father was laying out the new part of the great castle garden, and in the middle of one summer had rooted them out. This year you will no doubt see them show their gratitude in a fresh set of shoots."

They returned to the castle in high spirits, and mutually pleased with each other. To the guest was allotted an agreeable and roomy set of apartments in the right wing of the castle; and here he rapidly got his books and papers and instruments in order, to go on with his usual occupation. But Edward, for the first few days, gave him no rest. He took him about everywhere, now on foot, now on horseback, making him acquainted with the country and with the estate; and he embraced the opportunity of imparting to him the wishes which he had been long entertaining, of getting at some better acquaintance with it, and learning to manage it more profitably.

"The first thing we have to do," said the Captain, "is to make a magnetic survey of the property. That is a pleasant and easy matter; and if it does not admit of entire exactness, it will be always useful, and will do, at any rate, for an agreeable beginning. It can be made, too, without any great staff of assistants, and one can be sure of getting it completed. If by-and-by you come to require anything more exact, it will be easy then to find some plan to have it made."

The Captain was exceedingly skilful at work of thus kind. He had brought with him whatever instruments he required, and commenced immediately. Edward provided him with a number of foresters and peasants, who, with his instruction, were able to render him all necessary assistance. The weather was favorable. The evenings and the early mornings were devoted to the designing and drawing, and in a short time it was all filled in and colored. Edward saw his possessions grow out like a new creation upon the paper; and it seemed as if now for the first time he knew what they were, as if they now first were properly his own.

Thus there came occasion to speak of the park, and of the ways of laying it out; a far better disposition of things being made possible after a survey of this kind, than could be arrived at by experimenting on nature, on partial and accidental impressions.

"We must make my wife understand this," said Edward.

"We must do nothing of the kind," replied the Captain, who did not like bringing his own notions in collision with those of others. He had learnt by experience that the motives and purposes by which men are influenced are far too various to be made to coalesce upon a single point, even on the most solid representations. "We must not do it," he cried; "she will be only confused. With her, as with all people who employ themselves on such matters merely as amateurs, the important thing is, rather that she shall do something, than that something shall be done. Such persons feel their way with nature. They have fancies for this plan or that; they do not venture on removing obstacles. They are not bold enough to make a sacrifice. They do not know beforehand in what their work is to result. They try an experiment—it succeeds—it fails; they alter it; they alter, perhaps, what they ought to leave alone, and leave what they ought to alter; and so, at last, there always remains but a patchwork, which pleases and amuses, but never satisfies."

"Acknowledge candidly," said Edward, "that you do not like this new work of hers."

"The idea is excellent," he replied; "if the execution were equal to it, there would be no fault to find. But she has tormented herself to find her way up that rock; and she now torments every one, if you must have it, that she takes up after her. You cannot walk together, you cannot walk behind one another, with any freedom. Every moment your step is interrupted one way or another. There is no end to the mistakes which she has made."

"Would it have been easy to have done it otherwise?" asked Edward.

"Perfectly," replied the Captain. "She had only to break away a corner of the rock, which is now but an unsightly object, made up as it is of little pieces, and she would at once have a sweep for her walk and stone in abundance for the rough masonry work, to widen it in the bad places, and make it smooth. But this I tell you in strictest confidence. Her it would only confuse and annoy. What is done must remain as it is. If any more money and labor is to be spent there, there is abundance to do above the summer-house on the hill, which we can settle our own way."

If the two friends found in their occupation abundance of present employment, there was no lack either of entertaining reminiscences of early times, in which Charlotte took her part as well. They determined, moreover, that as soon as their immediate labors were finished, they would go to work upon the journal, and in this way, too, reproduce the past.

For the rest, when Edward and Charlotte were alone, there were fewer matters of private interest between them than formerly. This was especially the case since the fault-finding about the grounds, which Edward thought so just, and which he felt to the quick. He held his tongue about what the Captain had said for a long time; but at last, when he saw his wife again preparing to go to work above the summer-house, with her paths and steps, he could not contain himself any longer, but, after a few circumlocutions, came out with his new views.

Charlotte was thoroughly disturbed. She was sensible enough to perceive at once that they were right, but there was the difficulty with what was already done—and what was made was made. She had liked it; even what was wrong had become dear to her in its details. She fought against her convictions; she defended her little creations; she railed at men who were forever going to the broad and the great. They could not let a pastime, they could not let an amusement alone, she said, but they must go and make a work out of it, never thinking of the expense which their larger plans involved. She was provoked, annoyed, and angry. Her old plans she could not give up, the new she would not quite throw from her; but, divided as she was, for the present she put a stop to the work, and gave herself time to think the thing over, and let it ripen by itself.

At the same time that she lost this source of active amusement, the others were more and more together over their own business. They took to occupying themselves, moreover, with the flower-garden and the hot-houses; and as they filled up the intervals with the ordinary gentlemen's amusements, hunting, riding, buying, selling, breaking horses, and such matters, she was every day left more and more to herself. She devoted herself more assiduously than ever to her correspondence on account of the Captain; and yet she had many lonely hours; so that the information which she now received from the school became of more agreeable interest.

To a long-drawn letter of the superior of the establishment, filled with the usual expressions of delight at her daughter's progress, a brief postscript was attached, with a second from the hand of a gentleman in employment there as an Assistant, both of which we here communicate.


"Of Ottilie, I can only repeat to your ladyship what I have already stated in my former letters. I do not know how to find fault with her, yet I cannot say that I am satisfied. She is always unassuming, always ready to oblige others; but it is not pleasing to see her so timid, so almost servile.

"Your ladyship lately sent her some money, with several little matters for her wardrobe. The money she has never touched, the dresses lie unworn in their place. She keeps her things very nice and very clean; but this is all she seems to care about. Again, I cannot praise her excessive abstemiousness in eating and drinking. There is no extravagance at our table, but there is nothing that I like better than to see the children eat enough of good, wholesome food. What is carefully provided and set before them ought to be taken; and to this I never can succeed in bringing Ottilie. She is always making herself some occupation or other, always finding something which she must do, something which the servants have neglected, to escape the second course or the dessert; and now it has to be considered (which I cannot help connecting with all this) that she frequently suffers, I have lately learnt, from pain in the left side of her head. It is only at times, but it is distressing, and may be of importance. So much upon this otherwise sweet and lovely girl."


"Our excellent superior commonly permits me to read the letters in which she communicates her observations upon her pupils to their parents and friends. Such of them as are addressed to your ladyship I ever read with twofold attention and pleasure. We have to congratulate you upon a daughter who unites in herself every brilliant quality with which people distinguish themselves in the world; and I at least think you no less fortunate in having had bestowed upon you, in your step-daughter, a child who has been born for the good and happiness of others, and assuredly also for her own. Ottilie is almost our only pupil about whom there is a difference of opinion between myself and our reverend superior. I do not complain of the very natural desire in that good lady to see outward and definite fruits arising from her labors. But there are also fruits which are not outward, which are of the true germinal sort, and which develop themselves sooner or later in a beautiful life. And this I am certain is the case with your protégée. So long as she has been under my care, I have watched her moving with an even step, slowly, steadily forward—never back. As with a child it is necessary to begin everything at the beginning, so it is with her. She can comprehend nothing which does not follow from what precedes it; let a thing be as simple and easy as possible, she can make nothing of it if it is not in a recognizable connection; but find the intermediate links, and make them clear to her, and then nothing is too difficult for her.

"Progressing with such slow steps, she remains behind her companions, who, with capacities of quite a different kind, hurry on and on, learn everything readily, connected or unconnected, recollect it with ease, and apply it with correctness. And again, some of the lessons here are given by excellent, but somewhat hasty and impatient teachers, who pass from result to result, cutting short the process by which they are arrived at; and these are not of the slightest service to her; she learns nothing from them. There is a complaint of her handwriting. They say she will not, or cannot, understand how to form her letters. I have examined closely into this. It is true she writes slowly, stiffly, if you like; but the hand is neither timid nor without character. The French language is not my department, but I have taught her something of it, in the step-by-step fashion; and this she understands easily. Indeed, it is singular that she knows a great deal, and knows it well, too; and yet when she is asked a question, it seems as if she knew nothing.

"To conclude generally, I should say she learns nothing like a person who is being educated, but she learns like one who is to educate—not like a pupil, but like a future teacher. Your ladyship may think it strange that I, as an educator and a teacher, can find no higher praise to give to any one than by a comparison with myself. I may leave it to your own good sense, to your deep knowledge of the world and of mankind, to make the best of my most inadequate, but well-intended expressions. You may satisfy yourself that you have much happiness to promise yourself from this child. I commend myself to your ladyship, and I beseech you to permit me to write to you again as soon as I see reason to believe that I have anything important or agreeable to communicate."

This letter gave Charlotte great pleasure. The contents of it coincided very closely with the notions which she had herself conceived of Ottilie. At the same time, she could not help smiling at the excessive interest of the Assistant, which seemed greater than the insight into a pupil's excellence usually calls forth. In her quiet, unprejudiced way of looking at things, this relation, among others, she was contented to permit to lie before her as a possibility; she could value the interest of so sensible a man in Ottilie, having learnt, among the lessons of her life, to see how highly true regard is to be prized in a world where indifference or dislike are the common natural residents.


The topographical chart of the property and its environs was completed. It was executed on a considerable scale; the character of the particular localities was made intelligible by various colors; and by means of a trigonometrical survey the Captain had been able to arrive at a very fair exactness of measurement. He had been rapid in his work. There was scarcely ever any one who could do with less sleep than this most laborious man; and, as his day was always devoted to an immediate purpose, every evening something had been done.

"Let us now," he said to his friend, "go on to what remains for us, to the statistics of the estate. We shall have a good deal of work to get through at the beginning, and afterward we shall come to the farm estimates, and much else which will naturally arise out of them. Only we must have one thing distinctly settled and adhered to. Everything which is properly business we must keep carefully separate from life. Business requires earnestness and method; life must have a freer handling. Business demands the utmost stringency and sequence; in life, inconsecutiveness is frequently necessary, indeed, is charming and graceful. If you are firm in the first, you can afford yourself more liberty in the second; while if you mix them, you will find the free interfering with and breaking in upon the fixed."

In these sentiments Edward felt a slight reflection upon himself. Though not naturally disorderly, he could never bring himself to arrange his papers in their proper places. What he had to do in connection with others, was not kept separate from what depended only on himself. Business got mixed up with amusement, and serious work with recreation. Now, however, it was easy for him, with the help of a friend who would take the trouble upon himself; and a second "I" worked out the separation, to which the single "I" was always unequal.

In the Captain's wing, they contrived a depository for what concerned the present, and an archive for the past. Here they brought all the documents, papers, and notes from their various hiding-places, rooms, drawers, and boxes, with the utmost speed. Harmony and order were introduced into the wilderness, and the different packets were marked and registered in their several pigeon-holes. They found all they wanted in greater completeness even than they had expected; and here an old clerk was found of no slight service, who for the whole day and part of the night never left his desk, and with whom, till then, Edward had been always dissatisfied.

"I should not know him again," he said to his friend, "the man is so handy and useful."

"That," replied the Captain, "is because we give him nothing fresh to do till he has finished, at his convenience, what he has already; and so, as you perceive, he gets through a great deal. If you disturb him, he becomes useless at once."

Spending their days together in this way, in the evenings they never neglected their regular visits to Charlotte. If there was no party from the neighborhood, as was often the case, they read and talked, principally on subjects connected with the improvement of the condition and comfort of social life.

Charlotte, always accustomed to make the most of opportunities, not only saw her husband pleased, but found personal advantages for herself. Various domestic arrangements, which she had long wished to make, but which she did not know exactly how to set about, were managed for her through the contrivance of the Captain. Her domestic medicine-chest, hitherto but poorly furnished, was enlarged and enriched, and Charlotte herself, with the help of good books and personal instruction, was put in the way of being able to exercise her disposition to be of practical assistance more frequently and more efficiently than before.

In providing against accidents, which, though common, yet only too often find us unprepared, they thought it especially necessary to have at hand whatever is required for the recovery of drowning men—accidents of this kind, from the number of canals, reservoirs, and waterworks in the neighborhood, being of frequent occurrence. This department the Captain took expressly into his own hands; and the observation escaped Edward, that a case of this kind had made a very singular epoch in the life of his friend. The latter made no reply, but seemed to be trying to escape from a painful recollection. Edward immediately stopped; and Charlotte, who, as well as he, had a general knowledge of the story, took no notice of the expression.

"These preparations are all exceedingly valuable," said the Captain, one evening. "Now, however, we have not got the one thing which is most essential—a sensible man who understands how to manage it all. I know an army surgeon, whom I could exactly recommend for the place. You might get him at this moment, on easy terms. He is highly distinguished in his profession, and has frequently done more for me, in the treatment even of violent inward disorders, than celebrated physicians. Help upon the spot, is the thing you often most want in the country."

He was written for at once; and Edward and Charlotte were rejoiced to have found so good and necessary an object on which to expend so much of the money which they set apart for such accidental demands upon them.

Thus Charlotte, too, found means of making use, for her purposes, of the Captain's knowledge and practical skill; and she began to be quite reconciled to his presence, and to feel easy about any consequences which might ensue. She commonly prepared questions to ask him; among other things, it was one of her anxieties to provide against whatever was prejudicial to health and comfort, against poisons and such like. The lead-glazing on the china, the verdigris which formed about her copper and bronze vessels, etc., had long been a trouble to her. She got him to tell her about these, and, naturally, they often had to fall back on the first elements of medicine and chemistry.

An accidental, but welcome occasion for entertainment of this kind, was given by an inclination of Edward to read aloud. He had a particularly clear, deep voice, and earlier in life had earned himself a pleasant reputation for his feeling and lively recitations of works of poetry and oratory. At this time he was occupied with other subjects, and the books which, for some time past, he had been reading, were either chemical or on some other branch of natural or technical science.

One of his especial peculiarities—which, by-the-by, he very likely shares with a number of his fellow-creatures—was, that he could not bear to have any one looking over him when he was reading. In early life, when he used to read poems, plays, or stories, this had been the natural consequence of the desire which the reader feels, like the poet, or the actor, or the story-teller, to make surprises, to pause, to excite expectation; and this sort of effect was naturally defeated when a third person's eyes could run on before him, and see what was coming. On such occasions, therefore, he was accustomed to place himself in such a position that no one could get behind him. With a party of only three, this was unnecessary; and as with the present subject there was no opportunity for exciting feelings or giving the imagination a surprise, he did not take any particular pains to protect himself.

One evening he had placed himself carelessly, and Charlotte happened by accident to cast her eyes upon the page. His old impatience was aroused; he turned to her, and said, almost unkindly:


"I do wish, once for all, you would leave off doing a thing so out of taste and so disagreeable. When I read aloud to a person, is it not the same as if I was telling him something by word of mouth? The written, the printed word, is in the place of my own thoughts, of my own heart. If a window were broken into my brain or into my heart, and if the man to whom I am counting out my thoughts, or delivering my sentiments, one by one, knew beforehand exactly what was to come out of me, should I take the trouble to put them into words? When anybody looks over my book, I always feel as if I were being torn in two."

Charlotte's tact, in whatever circle she might be, large or small, was remarkable, and she was able to set aside disagreeable or excited expressions without appearing to notice them. When a conversation grew tedious, she knew how to interrupt it; when it halted, she could set it going. And this time her good gift did not forsake her.

"I am sure you will forgive me my fault," she said, when I tell you what it was this moment which came over me. I heard you reading something about Affinities, and I thought directly of some relations of mine, two of whom are just now occupying me a great deal. Then my attention went back to the book. I found it was not about living things at all, and I looked over to get the thread of it right again."

"It was the comparison which led you wrong and confused you," said Edward. "The subject is nothing but earths and minerals. But man is a true Narcissus; he delights to see his own image everywhere; and he spreads himself underneath the universe, like the amalgam behind the glass."

"Quite true," continued the Captain. "That is the way in which he treats everything external to himself. His wisdom and his folly, his will and his caprice, he attributes alike to the animal, the plant, the elements, and the gods."

"Would you," said Charlotte, "if it is not taking you away too much from the immediate subject, tell me briefly what is meant here by Affinities?"

"I shall be very glad indeed," replied the Captain, to whom Charlotte had addressed herself. "That is, I will tell you as well as I can. My ideas on the subject date ten years back; whether the scientific world continues to think the same about it, I cannot tell."

"It is most disagreeable," cried Edward, "that one cannot now-a-days learn a thing once for all, and have done with it. Our forefathers could keep to what they were taught when they were young; but we have, every five years, to make revolutions with them, if we do not wish to drop altogether out of fashion."

"We women need not be so particular," said Charlotte; "and, to speak the truth, I only want to know the meaning of the word. There is nothing more ridiculous in society than to misuse a strange technical word; and I only wish you to tell me in what sense the expression is made use of in connection with these things. What its scientific application is I am quite contented to leave to the learned; who, by-the-by, as far as I have been able to observe, do not find it easy to agree among themselves."

"Whereabouts shall we begin," said Edward, after a pause, to the
Captain, "to come most quickly to the point?"

The latter, after thinking as little while, replied shortly:

"You must let me make what will seem a wide sweep; we shall be on our subject almost immediately."

Charlotte settled her work at her side, promising the fullest attention.

The Captain began:

"In all natural objects with which we are acquainted, we observe immediately that they have a certain relation to themselves. It may sound ridiculous to be asserting what is obvious to every one; but it is only by coming to a clear understanding together about what we know, that we can advance to what we do not know."

"I think," interrupted Edward, "we can make the thing more clear to her, and to ourselves, with examples; conceive water, or oil, or quicksilver; among these you will see a certain oneness, a certain connection of their parts; and this oneness is never lost, except through force or some other determining cause. Let the cause cease to operate, and at once the parts unite again."

"Unquestionably," said Charlotte, "that is plain; rain-drops readily unite and form streams; and when we were children, it was our delight to play with quicksilver, and wonder at the little globules splitting and parting and running into one another."

"And here," said the Captain, "let me just cursorily mention one remarkable thing—I mean, that the full, complete correlation of parts which the fluid state makes possible, shows itself distinctly and universally in the globular form. The falling water-drop is round; you yourself spoke of the globules of quicksilver; and a drop of melted lead let fall, if it has time to harden before it reaches the ground, is found at the bottom in the shape of a ball."

"Let me try and see," said Charlotte, "whether I can understand where you are bringing me. As everything has a reference to itself, so it must have some relation to others."

"And that," interrupted Edward, "will be different according to the natural differences of the things themselves. Sometimes they will meet like friends and old acquaintances; they will come rapidly together, and unite without either having to alter itself at all—as wine mixes with water. Others, again, will remain as strangers side by side, and no amount of mechanical mixing or forcing will succeed in combining them. Oil and water may be shaken up together, and the next moment they are separate again, each by itself."

"One can almost fancy," said Charlotte, "that in these simple forms one sees people that one is acquainted with; one has met with just such things in the societies amongst which one has lived; and the strangest likenesses of all with these soulless creatures are in the masses in which men stand divided one against the other, in their classes and professions; the nobility and the third estate, for instance, or soldiers and civilians."

"Then again," replied Edward, "as these are united under common laws and customs, so there are intermediate members in our chemical world which will combine elements that are mutually repulsive."

"Oil, for instance," said the Captain, "we make combine with water with the help of alkalis——"

"Do not go on too fast with your lesson," said Charlotte. "Let me see that I keep step with you. Are we not here arrived among the affinities?"

"Exactly," replied the Captain; "we are on the point of apprehending them in all their power and distinctness; such natures as, when they come in contact, at once lay hold of each other, each mutually affecting the other, we speak of as having an affinity one for the other. With the alkalis and acids, for instance, the affinities are strikingly marked. They are of opposite natures; very likely their being of opposite natures is the secret of their inter-relational effect—each reaches out eagerly for its companion, they lay hold of each other, modify each other's character, and form in connection an entirely new substance. There is lime, you remember, which shows the strongest inclination for all sorts of acids—a distinct desire of combining with them. As soon as our chemical chest arrives, we can show you a number of entertaining experiments which will give you a clearer idea than words, and names, and technical expressions."

"It appears to me," said Charlotte, "that, if you choose to call these strange creatures of yours related, the relationship is not so much a relationship of blood as of soul or of spirit. It is the way in which we see all really deep friendship arise among men, opposite peculiarities of disposition being what best makes internal union possible. But I will wait to see what you can really show me of these mysterious proceedings; and for the present," she added, turning to Edward, "I will promise not to disturb you any more in your reading. You have taught me enough of what it is about to enable me to attend to it."

"No, no," replied Edward, "now that you have once stirred the thing, you shall not get off so easily. It is just the most complicated cases which are the most interesting. In these you come first to see the degrees of the affinities, to watch them as their power of attraction is weaker or stronger, nearer or more remote. Affinities begin really to interest only when they bring about separations."

"What!" cried Charlotte, "is that miserable word, which unhappily we hear so often now-a-days in the world; is that to be found in nature's lessons too?"

"Most certainly," answered Edward; "the title with which chemists were supposed to be most honorably distinguished was, artists of separation."

"It is not so any more," replied Charlotte; "and it is well that it is not. It is a higher art, and it is a higher merit, to unite. An artist of union is what we should welcome in every province of the universe. However, as we are on the subject again, give me an instance or two of what you mean."

"We had better keep," said the Captain, "to the same instances of which we have already been speaking. Thus, what we call limestone is a more or less pure calcareous earth in combination with a delicate acid, which is familiar to us in the form of a gas. Now, if we place a piece of this stone in diluted sulphuric acid, this will take possession of the lime, and appear with it in the form of gypsum, the gaseous acid at the same time going off in vapor. Here is a case of separation; a combination arises, and we believe ourselves now justified in applying to it the words 'Elective Affinity;' it really looks as if one relation had been deliberately chosen in preference to another.

"Forgive me," said Charlotte, "as I forgive the natural philosopher. I cannot see any choice in this; I see a natural necessity rather, and scarcely that. After all, it is perhaps merely a case of opportunity. Opportunity makes relations as it makes thieves; and as long as the talk is only of natural substances, the choice to me appears to be altogether in the hands of the chemist who brings the creatures together. Once, however, let them be brought together, and then God have mercy on them. In the present case, I cannot help being sorry for the poor acid gas, which is driven out up and down infinity again."

"The acid's business," answered the Captain, "is now to get connected with water, and so serve as a mineral fountain for the refreshing of sound or disordered mankind."

"That is very well for the gypsum to say," said Charlotte. "The gypsum is all right, is a body, is provided for. The other poor, desolate creature may have trouble enough to go through before it can find a second home for itself."

"I am much mistaken," said Edward, smiling, "if there be not some little arrière pensée behind this. Confess your wickedness! You mean me by your lime; the lime is laid hold of by the Captain, in the form of sulphuric acid, torn away from your agreeable society, and metamorphosed into a refractory gypsum."

"If your conscience prompts you to make such a reflection," replied Charlotte, "I certainly need not distress myself. These comparisons are pleasant and entertaining; and who is there that does not like playing with analogies? But man is raised very many steps above these elements; and if he has been somewhat liberal with such fine words as Election and Elective Affinities, he will do well to turn back again into himself, and take the opportunity of considering carefully the value and meaning of such expressions. Unhappily, we know cases enough where a connection apparently indissoluble between two persons, has, by the accidental introduction of a third, been utterly destroyed, and one or the other of the once happily united pair been driven out into the wilderness."

"Then you see how much more gallant the chemists are," said Edward.
"They at once add a fourth, that neither may go away empty."

"Quite so," replied the Captain. "And those are the cases which are really most important and remarkable—cases where this attraction, this affinity, this separating and combining, can be exhibited, the two pairs severally crossing each other; where four creatures, connected previously, as two and two, are brought into contact, and at once forsake their first combination to form into a second. In this forsaking and embracing, this seeking and flying, we believe that we are indeed observing the effects of some higher determination; we attribute a sort of will and choice to such creatures, and feel really justified in using technical words, and speaking of 'Elective Affinities.'"

"Give me an instance of this," said Charlotte.

"One should not spoil such things with words," replied the Captain. "As I said before, as soon as I can show you the experiment, I can make it all intelligible and pleasant for you. For the present, I can give you nothing but horrible scientific expressions, which at the same time will give you no idea about the matter. You ought yourself to see these creatures, which seem so dead, and which are yet so full of inward energy and force, at work before your eyes. You should observe them with a real personal interest. Now they seek each other out, attract each other, seize, crush, devour, destroy each other, and then suddenly reappear again out of their combinations, and come forward in fresh, renovated, unexpected form; thus you will comprehend how we attribute to them a sort of immortality—how we speak of them as having sense and understanding; because we feel our own senses to be insufficient to observe them adequately, and our reason too weak to follow them."

"I quite agree," said Edward, "that the strange scientific nomenclature, to persons who have not been reconciled to it by a direct acquaintance with or understanding of its object, must seem unpleasant, even ridiculous; but we can easily, just for once, contrive with symbols to illustrate what we are speaking of."

"If you do not think it looks pedantic," answered the Captain, "I can put my meaning together with letters. Suppose an A connected so closely with a B, that all sorts of means, even violence, have been made use of to separate them, without effect. Then suppose a C in exactly the same position with respect to D. Bring the two pairs into contact; A will fling himself on D, C on B, without its being possible to say which had first left its first connection, or made the first move toward the second."

"Now then," interposed Edward, "till we see all this with our eyes, we will look upon the formula as an analogy, out of which we can devise a lesson for immediate use. You stand for A, Charlotte, and I am your B; really and truly I cling to you, I depend on you, and follow you, just as B does with A. C is obviously the Captain, who at present is in some degree withdrawing me from you. So now it is only just that if you are not to be left to solitude a D should be found for you, and that is unquestionably the amiable little lady, Ottilie. You will not hesitate any longer to send and fetch her."

"Good," replied Charlotte; "although the example does not, in my opinion, exactly fit our case. However, we have been fortunate, at any rate, in today for once having met all together; and these natural or elective affinities have served to unite us more intimately. I will tell you, that since this afternoon I have made up my mind to send for Ottilie. My faithful housekeeper, on whom I have hitherto depended for everything, is going to leave me shortly, to be married. (It was done at my own suggestion, I believe, to please me.) What it is which has decided me about Ottilie, you shall read to me. I will not look over the pages again. Indeed, the contents of them are already known to me. Only read, read!"

With these words, she produced a letter, and handed it to Edward.



"Your ladyship will forgive the brevity of my present letter. The public examinations are but just concluded, and I have to communicate to all the parents and guardians the progress which our pupils have made during the past year. To you I may well be brief, having to say much in few words. Your ladyship's daughter has proved herself first in every sense of the word. The testimonials which I inclose, and her own letter, in which she will detail to you the prizes which she has won, and the happiness which she feels in her success, will surely please, and I hope delight you. For myself, it is the less necessary that I should say much, because I see that there will soon be no more occasion to keep with us a young lady so far advanced. I send my respects to your ladyship, and in a short time I shall take the liberty of offering you my opinion as to what in future may be of most advantage to her.

"My good assistant will tell you about Ottilie."


"Our reverend superior leaves it to me to write to you of Ottilie, partly because, with her ways of thinking about it, it would be painful to her to say what has to be said; partly, because she herself requires some excusing, which she would rather have done for her by me.

"Knowing, as I did too well, how little able the good Ottilie was to show out what lies in her, and what she is capable of, I was all along afraid of this public examination. I was the more uneasy, as it was to be of a kind which does not admit of any especial preparation; and even if it had been conducted as usual, Ottilie never can be prepared to make a display. The result has only too entirely justified my anxiety. She has gained no prize; she is not even amongst those whose names have been mentioned with approbation. I need not go into details. In writing, the letters of the other girls were not so well formed, but their strokes were far more free. In arithmetic, they were all quicker than she; and in the more difficult problems, which she does the best, there was no examination. In French, she was outshone and out-talked by many; and in history she was not ready with her names and dates. In geography, there was a want of attention to the political divisions; and for what she could do in music there was neither time nor quiet enough for her few modest melodies to gain attention. In drawing she certainly would have gained the prize; her outlines were clear, and the execution most careful and full of spirit; unhappily, she had chosen too large a subject, and it was incomplete.

"After the pupils were dismissed, the examiners consulted together, and we teachers were partially admitted into the council. I very soon observed that of Ottilie either nothing would be said at all, or if her name was mentioned, it would be with indifference, if not absolute disapproval. I hoped to obtain some favor for her by a candid description of what she was, and I ventured it with the greater earnestness, partly because I was only speaking my real convictions, and partly because I remembered in my own younger years finding myself in the same unfortunate case. I was listened to with attention, but as soon as I had ended, the presiding examiner said to me very kindly but laconically, 'We presume capabilities: they are to be converted into accomplishments. This is the aim of all education. It is what is distinctly intended by all who have the care of children, and silently and indistinctly by the children themselves. This also is the object of examinations, where teachers and pupils are alike standing their trial. From what we learn of you, we may entertain good hopes of the young lady, and it is to your own credit also that you have paid so much attention to your pupil's capabilities. If in the coming year you can develop these into accomplishments, neither yourself nor your pupil shall fail to receive your due praise.'

"I had made up my mind to what must follow upon all this; but there was something worse that I had not anticipated, which had soon to be added to it. Our good Superior, who like a trusty shepherdess could not bear to have one of her flock lost, or, as was the case here, to see it undistinguished, after the examiners were gone could not contain her displeasure, and said to Ottilie, who was standing quite quietly by the window, while the others were exulting over their prizes: 'Tell me, for heaven's sake, how can a person look so stupid if she is not so?' Ottilie replied, quite calmly, 'Forgive me, my dear mother, I have my headache again today, and it is very painful.' Kind and sympathizing as she generally is, the Superior this time answered, 'No one can believe that,' and turned angrily away.

"Now it is true—no one can believe it—for Ottilie never alters the expression of her countenance. I have never even seen her move her hand to her head when she has been asleep.

"Nor was this all. Your ladyship's daughter, who is at all times sufficiently lively and impetuous, after her triumph today was overflowing with the violence of her spirits. She ran from room to room with her prizes and testimonials, and shook them in Ottilie's face. 'You have come badly off this morning,' she cried. Ottilie replied in her calm, quiet way, 'This is not the last day of trial.' 'But you will always remain the last,' cried the other, and ran away.

"No one except myself saw that Ottilie was disturbed. She has a way when she experiences any sharp unpleasant emotion which she wishes to resist, of showing it in the unequal color of her face; the left cheek becomes for a moment flushed, while the right turns pale. I perceived this symptom, and I could not prevent myself from saying something. I took our Superior aside, and spoke seriously to her about it. The excellent lady acknowledged that she had been wrong. We considered the whole affair; we talked it over at great length together, and not to weary your ladyship, I will tell you at once the desire with which we concluded, namely, that you will for a while have Ottilie with yourself. Our reasons you will yourself readily perceive. If you consent, I will say more to you on the manner in which I think she should be treated. The young lady your daughter we may expect will soon leave us, and we shall then with pleasure welcome Ottilie back to us.

"One thing more, which another time I might forget to mention: I have never seen Ottilie eager for anything, or at least ask pressingly for anything. But there have been occasions, however rare, when on the other hand she has wished to decline things which have been pressed upon her, and she does it with a gesture which to those who have caught its meaning is irresistible. She raises her hands, presses the palms together, and draws them against her breast, leaning her body a little forward at the same time, and turns such a look upon the person who is urging her that he will be glad enough to cease to ask or wish for anything of her. If your ladyship ever sees this attitude, as with your treatment of her it is not likely that you will, think of me, and spare Ottilie."

Edward read these letters aloud, not without smiles and shakes of the head. Naturally, too, there were observations made on the persons and on the position of the affair.

"Enough!" Edward cried at last, "it is decided. She comes. You, my love, are provided for, and now we can get forward with our work. It is becoming highly necessary for me to move over to the right wing to the Captain; evenings and mornings are the time for us best to work together, and then you, on your side, will have admirable room for yourself and Ottilie."

Charlotte made no objection, and Edward sketched out the method in which they should live. Among other things, he cried, "It is really very polite in this niece to be subject to a slight pain on the left side of her head. I have it frequently an the right. If we happen to be afflicted together, and sit opposite one another—I leaning on my right elbow, and she on her left, and our heads on the opposite sides, resting on our hands—what a pretty pair of pictures we shall make."

The Captain thought that might be dangerous. "No, no!" cried out Edward. "Only do you, my dear friend, take care of the D, for what will become of B, if poor C is taken away from it?"

"That, I should have thought, would have been evident enough," replied

"And it is, indeed," cried Edward; "he would turn back to his A, to his Alpha and Omega;" and he sprung up and taking Charlotte in his arms, pressed her to his breast.


The carriage which brought Ottilie drove up to the door. Charlotte went out to receive her. The dear girl ran to meet her, threw herself at her feet, and embraced her knees.

"Why such humility?" said Charlotte, a little embarrassed, and endeavoring to raise her from the ground.

"It is not meant for humility," Ottilie answered, without moving from the position in which she had placed herself; "I am only thinking of the time when I could not reach higher than to your knees, and when I had just learnt to know how you loved me."

She stood up, and Charlotte embraced her warmly. She was introduced to the gentlemen, and was at once treated with especial courtesy as a visitor. Beauty is a welcome guest everywhere. She appeared attentive to the conversation, without taking a part in it.

The next morning Edward said to Charlotte, "What an agreeable, entertaining girl she is!"

"Entertaining!" answered Charlotte, with a smile; "why, she has not opened her lips yet!"

"Indeed!" said Edward, as he seemed to bethink himself; "that is very strange."

Charlotte had to give the new-comer but a very few hints on the management of the household. Ottilie saw rapidly all the arrangements, and what was more, she felt them. She comprehended easily what was to be provided for the whole party, and what for each particular member of it. Everything was done with the utmost punctuality; she knew how to direct, without appearing to be giving orders, and when any one had left anything undone, she at once set it right herself.

As soon as she had found how much time she would have to spare, she begged Charlotte to divide her hours for her, and to these she adhered exactly. She worked at what was set before her in the way which the Assistant had described to Charlotte. They let her alone. It was but seldom that Charlotte interfered. Sometimes she changed her pens for others which had been written with, to teach her to make bolder strokes in her handwriting, but these, she found, would be soon cut sharp and fine again.

The ladies had agreed with one another when they were alone to speak nothing but French, and Charlotte persisted in it the more, as she found Ottilie more ready to talk in a foreign language, when she was told it was her duty to exercise herself in it. In this way she often said more than she seemed to intend. Charlotte was particularly pleased with a description, most complete, but at the same time most charming and amiable, which she gave her one day, by accident, of the school. She soon felt her to be a delightful companion, and before long she hoped to find in her an attached friend.

At the same time she looked over again the more early accounts which had been sent her of Ottilie, to refresh her recollection with the opinion which the Superior and the Assistant had formed about her, and compare them with her in her own person. For Charlotte was of opinion that we cannot too quickly become acquainted with the character of those with whom we have to live, that we may know what to expect of them; where we may hope to do anything in the way of improvement with them, and what we must make up our minds, once for all, to tolerate and let alone.


This examination led her to nothing new, indeed; but much which she already knew became of greater meaning and importance. Ottilie's moderation in eating and drinking, for instance, became a real distress to her.

The next thing on which the ladies were employed was Ottilie's toilet. Charlotte wished her to appear in clothes of a richer and more recherché sort, and at once the clever active girl herself cut out the stuff which had been previously sent to her, and with a very little assistance from others was able, in a short time, to dress herself out most tastefully. The new fashionable dresses set off her figure. An agreeable person, it is true, will show through all disguises; but we always fancy it looks fresher and more graceful when its peculiarities appear under some new drapery. And thus, from the moment of her first appearance, she became more and more a delight to the eyes of all who beheld her. As the emerald refreshes the sight with its beautiful hues, and exerts, it is said, a beneficent influence on that noble sense, so does human beauty work with far larger potency on the outward and on the inward sense; whoever looks upon it is charmed against the breath of evil, and feels in harmony with himself and with the world.

In many ways, therefore, the party had gained by Ottilie's arrival. The Captain and Edward kept regularly to the hours, even to the minutes, for their general meeting together. They never kept the others waiting for them either for dinner or tea, or for their walks; and they were in less haste, especially in the evenings, to leave the table. This did not escape Charlotte's observation; she watched them both, to see whether one more than the other was the occasion of it. But she could not perceive any difference. They had both become more companionable. In their conversation they seemed to consider what was best adapted to interest Ottilie; what was most on a level with her capacities and her general knowledge. If she left the room when they were reading or telling stories, they would wait till she returned. They had grown softer and altogether more united.

In return for this, Ottilie's anxiety to be of use increased every day; the more she came to understand the house, its inmates, and their circumstances, the more eagerly she entered into everything, caught every look and every motion; half a word, a sound, was enough for her. With her calm attentiveness, and her easy, unexcited activity, she was always the same. Sitting, rising up, going, coming, fetching, carrying, returning to her place again, it was all in the most perfect repose; a constant change, a constant agreeable movement; while, at the same time, she went about so lightly that her step was almost inaudible.

This cheerful obligingness in Ottilie gave Charlotte the greatest pleasure. There was one thing, however, which she did not exactly like, of which she had to speak to her. "It is very polite in you," she said one day to her, "when people let anything fall from their hand, to be so quick in stooping and picking it up for them; at the same time, it is a sort of confession that they have a right to require such attention, and in the world we are expected to be careful to whom we pay it. Toward women, I will not prescribe any rule as to how you should conduct yourself. You are young. To those above you, and older than you, services of this sort are a duty; toward your equals they are polite; to those younger than yourself and your inferiors you may show yourself kind and good-natured by such things—only it is not becoming in a young lady to do them for men."

"I will try to forget the habit," replied Ottilie; "I think, however, you will in the meantime forgive me for my want of manners, when I tell you how I came by it. We were taught history at school; I have not gained as much out of it as I ought, for I never knew what use I was to make of it; a few little things, however, made a deep impression upon me, among which was the following: When Charles the First of England was standing before his so-called judges, the gold top came off the stick which he had in his hand, and fell down. Accustomed as he had been on such occasions to have everything done for him, he seemed to look around and expect that this time too some one would do him this little service. No one stirred, and he stooped down for it himself. It struck me as so piteous, that from that moment I have never been able to see any one let a thing fall, without myself picking it up. But, of course, as it is not always proper, and as I cannot," she continued, smiling, "tell my story every time I do it, in future I will try to contain myself."

In the meantime the fine arrangements which the two friends had been led to make for themselves, went uninterruptedly forward. Every day they found something new to think about and undertake.

One day as they were walking together through the village, they had to remark with dissatisfaction how far behind-hand it was in order and cleanliness, compared to villages where the inhabitants were compelled by the expense of building-ground to be careful about such things.

"You remember a wish we once expressed when we were traveling in Switzerland together," said the Captain, "that we might have the laying out of some country park, and how beautiful we would make it by introducing into some village situated like this, not the Swiss style of building, but the Swiss order and neatness which so much improve it."

"And how well it would answer here! The hill on which the castle stands, slopes down to that projecting angle. The village, you see, is built in a semicircle, regularly enough, just opposite to it. The brook runs between. It is liable to floods; and do observe the way the people set about protecting themselves from them; one with stones, another with stakes; the next puts up a boarding, and a fourth tries beams and planks; no one, of course, doing any good to another with his arrangement, but only hurting himself and the rest too. And then there is the road going along just in the clumsiest way possible,—up hill and down, through the water, and over the stones. If the people would only lay their hands to the business together, it would cost them nothing but a little labor to run a semi-circular wall along here, take the road in behind it, raising it to the level of the houses, and so give themselves a fair open space in front, making the whole place clean, and getting rid, once for all, in one good general work, of all their little trifling ineffectual makeshifts."

"Let us try it," said the Captain, as he ran his eyes over the lay of the ground, and saw quickly what was to be done.

"I can undertake nothing in company with peasants and shopkeepers," replied Edward, "unless I may have unrestricted authority over them."

"You are not so wrong in that," returned the Captain; "I have experienced too much trouble myself in life in matters of that kind. How difficult it is to prevail on a man to venture boldly on making a sacrifice for an after-advantage! How hard to get him to desire an end, and not hesitate at the means! So many people confuse means with ends; they keep hanging over the first, without having the other before their eyes. Every evil is to be cured at the place where it comes to the surface, and they will not trouble themselves to look for the cause which produces it, or the remote effect which results from it. This is why it is so difficult to get advice listened to, especially among the many: they can see clearly enough from day to day, but their scope seldom reaches beyond the morrow; and if it comes to a point where with some general arrangement one person will gain while another will lose, there is no prevailing on them to strike a balance. Works of public advantage can be carried through only by an uncontrolled absolute authority."

While they were standing and talking, a man came up and begged of them. He looked more impudent than really in want, and Edward, who was annoyed at being interrupted, after two or three fruitless attempts to get rid of him by a gentler refusal, spoke sharply to him. The fellow began to grumble and mutter abusively; he went off with short steps, talking about the right of beggars. It was all very well to refuse them an alms, but that was no reason why they should be insulted. A beggar, and everybody else too, was as much under God's protection as a lord. It put Edward out of all patience.

The Captain, to pacify him, said, "Let us make use of this as an occasion for extending our rural police arrangements to such cases. We are bound to give away money, but we do better in not giving it in person, especially at home. We should be moderate and uniform in everything, in our charities as in all else; too great liberality attracts beggars instead of helping them on their way. At the same time there is no harm when one is on a journey, or passing through a strange place, in appearing to a poor man in the street in the form of a chance deity of fortune and making him some present which shall surprise him. The position of the village and of the castle makes it easy for us to put our charities here on a proper footing. I have thought about it before. The public-house is at one end of the village, a respectable old couple live at the other. At each of these places deposit a small sum of money, and let every beggar, not as he comes in, but as he goes out, receive something. Both houses lie on the roads which lead to the castle, so that any one who goes there can be referred to one or the other."

"Come," said Edward, "we will settle that on the spot. The exact sum can be made up another time."

They went to the innkeeper, and to the old couple and the thing was done.

"I know very well," Edward said, as they were walking up the hill to the castle together, "that everything in this world depends on distinctness of idea and firmness of purpose. Your judgment of what my wife has been doing in the park was entirely right; and you have already given me a hint how it might be improved. I will not deny that I told her of it."

"So I have been led to suspect," replied the Captain; "and I could not approve of your having done so. You have perplexed her. She has left off doing anything; and on this one subject she is vexed with us. She avoids speaking of it. She has never since invited us to go with her to the summer-house, although at odd hours she goes up there with Ottilie."

"We must not allow ourselves to be deterred by that," answered Edward. "If I am once convinced about anything good, which could and should be done, I can never rest till I see it done. We are clever enough at other times in introducing what we want, into the general conversation; suppose we have out some descriptions of English parks, with copper-plates, for our evening's amusement. Then we can follow with your plan. We will treat it first problematically, and as if we were only in jest. There will be no difficulty in passing into earnest."

The scheme was concerted, and the books were opened. In each group of designs they first saw a ground-plan of the spot, with the general character of the landscape, drawn in its rude, natural state. Then followed others, showing the changes which had been produced by art, to employ and set off the natural advantages of the locality. From these to their own property and their own grounds, the transition was easy.

Everybody was pleased. The chart which the Captain had sketched was brought and spread out. The only difficulty was, that they could not entirely free themselves of the plan in which Charlotte had begun. However, an easier way up the hill was found; a lodge was suggested to be built on the height at the edge of the cliff, which was to have an especial reference to the castle. It was to form a conspicuous object from the castle windows, and from it the spectator was to be able to overlook both the castle and the garden.

The Captain had thought it all carefully over, and taken his measurements; and now he brought up again the village road and the wall by the brook, and the ground which was to be raised behind it.

"Here you see," said he, "while I make this charming walk up the height, I gain exactly the quantity of stone which I require for that wall. Let one piece of work help the other, and both will be carried out most satisfactorily and most rapidly."

"But now," said Charlotte, "comes my side of the business. A certain definite outlay of money will have to be made. We ought to know how much will be wanted for such a purpose, and then we can apportion it out—so much work, and so much money, if not by weeks, at least by months. The cash-box is under my charge. I pay the bills, and I keep the accounts."

"You do not appear to have overmuch confidence in us," said Edward.

"I have not much in arbitrary matters," Charlotte answered. "Where it is a case of inclination, we women know better how to control ourselves than you."

It was settled; the dispositions were made, and the work was begun at once.

The Captain being always on the spot, Charlotte was almost daily a witness to the strength and clearness of his understanding. He, too, learnt to know her better; and it became easy for them both to work together, and thus bring something to completeness. It is with work as with dancing; persons who keep the same step must grow indispensable to one another. Out of this a mutual kindly feeling will necessarily arise; and that Charlotte had a real kind feeling toward the Captain, after she came to know him better, was sufficiently proved by her allowing him to destroy her pretty seat, which in her first plans she had taken such pains in ornamenting, because it was in the lay of his own, without experiencing the slightest feeling about the matter.


Now that Charlotte was occupied with the Captain, it was a natural consequence that Edward should attach himself more to Ottilie. Independently of this, indeed, for some time past he had begun to feel a silent kind of attraction toward her. Obliging and attentive she was to every one, but his self-love whispered that toward him she was particularly so. She had observed his little fancies about his food. She knew exactly what things he liked, and the way in which he liked them to be prepared; the quantity of sugar which he liked in his tea; and so on. Moreover, she was particularly careful to prevent draughts, about which he was excessively sensitive, and, indeed, about which, with his wife, who could never have air enough, he was often at variance. So, too, she had come to know about fruit-gardens and flower-gardens; whatever he liked, it was her constant effort to procure for him, and to keep away whatever annoyed him; so that very soon she grew indispensable to him—she became like his guardian angel, and he felt it keenly whenever she was absent. Besides all this, too, she appeared to grow more open and conversible as soon as they were alone together.

Edward, as he advanced in life, had retained something childish about himself, which corresponded singularly well with the youthfulness of Ottilie. They liked talking of early times, when they had first seen each other; and these reminiscences led them up to the first epoch of Edward's affection for Charlotte. Ottilie declared that she remembered them both as the handsomest pair about the court; and when Edward would question the possibility of this, when she must have been so exceedingly young, she insisted that she recollected one particular incident as clearly as possible. He had come into the room where her aunt was, and she had hid her face in Charlotte's lap—not from fear, but from a childish surprise. She might have added, because he had made so strong an impression upon her—because she had liked him so much.

While they were occupied in this way, much of the business which the two friends had undertaken together had come to a standstill; so that they found it necessary to inspect how things were going on—to work up a few designs and get letters written. For this purpose, they betook themselves to their office, where they found their old copyist at his desk. They set themselves to their work, and soon gave the old man enough to do, without observing that they were laying many things on his shoulders which at other times they had always done for themselves. At the same time, the first design the Captain tried would not answer, and Edward was as unsuccessful with his first letter. They fretted for a while, planning and erasing, till at last Edward, who was getting on the worst, asked what o'clock it was. And then it appeared that the Captain had forgotten, for the first time for many years, to wind up his chronometer; and they seemed, if not to feel, at least to have a dim perception, that time was beginning to be indifferent to them.

In the meanwhile, as the gentlemen were thus rather slackening in their energy, the activity of the ladies increased all the more. The every-day life of a family, which is composed of given persons, and is shaped out of necessary circumstances, may easily receive into itself an extraordinary affection, an incipient passion—may receive it into itself as into a vessel; and a long time may elapse before the new ingredient produces a visible effervescence, and runs foaming over the edge.

With our friends, the feelings which were mutually arising had the most agreeable effects. Their dispositions opened out, and a general goodwill arose out of the several individual affections. Every member of the party was happy; and they each shared their happiness with the rest.

Such a temper elevates the spirit, while it enlarges the heart, and everything which, under the influence of it, people do and undertake, has a tendency toward the illimitable. The friends could not remain any more shut up at home; their walks extended themselves further and further. Edward would hurry on before with Ottilie, to choose the path or pioneer the way; and the Captain and Charlotte would follow quietly on the track of their more hasty precursors, talking on some grave subject, or delighting themselves with some spot they had newly discovered, or some unexpected natural beauty.

One day their walk led them down from the gate at the right wing of the castle, in the direction of the hotel, and thence over the bridge toward the ponds, along the sides of which they proceeded as far as it was generally thought possible to follow the water; thickly wooded hills sloped directly up from the edge, and beyond these a wall of steep rocks, making further progress difficult, if not impossible. But Edward, whose hunting experience had made him thoroughly familiar with the spot, pushed forward along an overgrown path with Ottilie, knowing well that the old mill could not be far off, which was somewhere in the middle of the rocks there. The path was so little frequented, that they soon lost it; and for a short time they were wandering among mossy stones and thickets; it was not for long, however, the noise of the water-wheel speedily telling them that the place which they were looking for was close at hand. Stepping forward on a point of rock, they saw the strange old, dark, wooden building in the hollow before them, quite shadowed over with precipitous crags and huge trees. They determined directly to climb down amidst the moss and the blocks of stone. Edward led the way; and when he looked back and saw Ottilie following, stepping lightly, without fear or nervousness, from stone to stone, so beautifully balancing herself, he fancied he was looking at some celestial creature floating above him; while if, as she often did, she caught the hand which in some difficult spot he would offer her, or if she supported herself on his shoulder, then he was left in no doubt that it was a very exquisite human creature who touched him. He almost wished that she might slip or stumble, that he might catch her in his arms and press her to his heart. This, however, he would under no circumstances have done, for more than one reason. He was afraid to wound her, and he was afraid to do her some bodily injury.

[Illustration: EDWARD AND OTTILIE]

What the meaning of this could be, we shall immediately learn. When they had got down, and were seated opposite each other at a table under the trees, and when the miller's wife had gone for milk, and the miller, who had come out to them, was sent to meet Charlotte and the Captain, Edward, with a little embarrassment, began to speak:

"I have a request to make, dear Ottilie; you will forgive me for asking it, if you will not grant it. You make no secret (I am sure you need not make any), that you wear a miniature under your dress against your breast. It is the picture of your noble father. You could hardly have known him; but in every sense he deserves a place by your heart. Only, forgive me, the picture is exceedingly large, and the metal frame and the glass, if you take up a child in your arms, if you are carrying anything, if the carriage swings violently, if we are pushing through bushes, or just now, as we were coming down these rocks—cause me a thousand anxieties for you. Any unforeseen blow, a fall, a touch, may be fatally injurious to you; and I am terrified at the possibility of it. For my sake do this: put away the picture, not out of your affections, not out of your room; let it have the brightest, the holiest place which you can give it; only do not wear upon your breast a thing, the presence of which seems to me, perhaps from an extravagant anxiety, so dangerous."

Ottilie said nothing, and while he was speaking she kept her eyes fixed straight before her; then, without hesitation and without haste, with a look turned more toward heaven than on Edward, she unclasped the chain, drew out the picture, and pressed it against her forehead, and then reached it over to her friend, with the words:

"Do you keep it for me till we come home; I cannot give you a better proof how deeply I thank you for your affectionate care."

He did not venture to press the picture to his lips; but he caught her hand and raised it to his eyes. They were, perhaps, two of the most beautiful hands which had ever been clasped together. He felt as if a stone had fallen from his heart, as if a partition-wall had been thrown down between him and Ottilie.

Under the miller's guidance, Charlotte and the Captain came down by an easier path, and now joined them. There was the meeting, and a happy talk, and then they took some refreshments. They would not return by the same way as they came; and Edward struck into a rocky path on the other side of the stream, from which the ponds were again to be seen. They made their way along it, with some effort, and then had to cross a variety of wood and copse—getting glimpses, on the land side, of a number of villages and manor-houses, with their green lawns and fruit-gardens; while very near them, and sweetly situated on a rising ground, a farm lay in the middle of the wood. From a gentle ascent, they had a view, before and behind, which showed them the richness of the country to the greatest advantage; and then, entering a grove of trees, they found themselves, on again emerging from it, on the rock opposite the castle.

They came upon it rather unexpectedly, and were of course delighted. They had made the circuit of a little world; they were standing on the spot where the new building was to be erected, and were looking again at the windows of their home.

They went down to the summer-house, and sat all four in it for the first time together; nothing was more natural than that with one voice it should be proposed to have the way they had been that day, and which, as it was, had taken them much time and trouble, properly laid out and gravelled, so that people might loiter along it at their leisure. They each said what they thought; and they reckoned up that the circuit, over which they had taken many hours, might be traveled easily with a good road all the way round to the castle, in a single one.

Already a plan was being suggested for making the distance shorter, and adding a fresh beauty to the landscape, by throwing a bridge across the stream, below the mill, where it ran into the lake; when Charlotte brought their inventive imagination somewhat to a standstill, by putting them in mind of the expense which such an undertaking would involve.

"There are ways of meeting that too," replied Edward; "we have only to dispose of that farm in the forest which is so pleasantly situated, and which brings in so little in the way of rent: the sum which will be set free will more than cover what we shall require, and thus, having gained an invaluable walk, we shall receive the interest of well-expended capital in substantial enjoyment—instead of, as now, in the summing up at the end of the year, vexing and fretting ourselves over the pitiful little income which is returned for it."

Even Charlotte, with all her prudence, had little to urge against this. There had been, indeed, a previous intention of selling the farm. The Captain was ready immediately with a plan for breaking up the ground into small portions among the peasantry of the forest. Edward, however, had a simpler and shorter way of managing it. His present steward had already proposed to take it off his hands—he was to pay for it by instalments—and so, gradually, as the money came in, they would get their work forward from point to point.

So reasonable and prudent a scheme was sure of universal approbation, and already, in prospect, they began to see their new walk winding along its way, and to imagine the many beautiful views and charming spots which they hoped to discover in its neighborhood.

To bring it all before themselves with greater fulness of detail, in the evening they produced the new chart. With the help of this they went over again the way that they had come, and found various places where the walk might take a rather different direction with advantage. Their other scheme was now once more talked through, and connected with the fresh design. The site for the new house in the park, opposite the castle, was a second time examined into and approved, and fixed upon for the termination of the intended circuit.

Ottilie had said nothing all this time. At length Edward pushed the chart, which had hitherto been lying before Charlotte, across to her, begging her to give her opinion; she still hesitated for a moment. Edward in his gentlest way again pressed her to let them know what she thought—nothing had as yet been settled—it was all as yet in embryo.

"I would have the house built here," she said, as she pointed with her finger to the highest point of the slope on the hill. "It is true you cannot see the castle from thence, for it is hidden by the wood; but for that very reason you find yourself in another quite new world; you lose village and houses and all at the same time. The view of the ponds with the mill, and the hills and mountains in the distance, is singularly beautiful—I have often observed it when I have been there."

"She is right," Edward cried; "how could we have overlooked it. This is what you mean, Ottilie, is it not?" He took a lead pencil, and drew a great black rectangular figure on the summit of the hill.

It went through the Captain's soul to see his carefully and clearly-drawn chart disfigured in such a way. He collected himself, however, after a slight expression of his disapproval and went into the idea. "Ottilie is right," he said; "we are ready enough to walk any distance to drink tea or eat fish, because they would not have tasted as well at home—we require change of scene and change of objects. Your ancestors showed their judgment in the spot which they chose for the castle; for it is sheltered from the wind, with the conveniences of life close at hand. A place, on the contrary, which is more for pleasure parties than for a regular residence, may be very well yonder there, and in the fair time of year the most agreeable hours may be spent there."

NEW PLAN OF THE HOUSE From the Painting by Franz Simm]

The more they talked it over, the more conclusive was their judgment in favor of Ottilie; and Edward could not conceal his triumph that the thought had been hers. He was as proud as if he had hit upon it himself.


Early the following morning the Captain examined the spot: he first threw off a sketch of what should be done, and afterward, when the thing had been more completely decided on, he made a complete design, with accurate calculations and measurements. It cost him a good deal of labor, and the business connected with the sale of the farm had to be gone into, so that both the gentlemen now found a fresh impulse to activity.

The Captain made Edward observe that it would be proper, indeed that it would be a kind of duty, to celebrate Charlotte's birthday with laying the foundation-stone. Not much was wanted to overcome Edward's disinclination for such festivities—for he quickly recollected that a little later Ottilie's birthday would follow, and that he could have a magnificent celebration for that.

Charlotte, to whom all this work and what it would involve was a subject for much serious and almost anxious thought, busied herself in carefully going through the time and outlay which it was calculated would be expended on it. During the day they rarely saw each other, so that the evening meeting was looked forward to with all the more anxiety.

Ottilie meantime was complete mistress of the household—and how could it be otherwise, with her quick methodical rays of working? Indeed, her whole mode of thought was suited better to home life than to the world, and to a more free existence. Edward soon observed that she only walked about with them out of a desire to please; that when she stayed out late with them in the evening it was because she thought it a sort of social duty, and that she would often find a pretext in some household matter for going in again—consequently he soon managed so to arrange the walks which they took together, that they should be at home before sunset; and he began again, what he had long left off, to read aloud poetry—particularly such as had for its subject the expression of a pure but passionate love.

They ordinarily sat in the evening in the same places round a small table—Charlotte on the sofa, Ottilie on a chair opposite to her, and the gentlemen on each side. Ottilie's place was on Edward's right, the side where he put the candle when he was reading—at such times she would draw her chair a little nearer to look over him, for Ottilie also trusted her own eyes better than another person's lips, and Edward would then always make a move toward her, that it might be as easy as possible for her—indeed he would frequently make longer stops than necessary, that he might not turn over before she had got to the bottom of the page.

Charlotte and the Captain observed this, and exchanged many a quiet smile at it; but they were both taken by surprise at another symptom, in which Ottilie's latent feeling accidentally displayed itself.

One evening, which had been partly spoilt for them by a tedious visit, Edward proposed that they should not separate so early—he felt inclined for music—he would take his flute, which he had not done for many days past. Charlotte looked for the sonatas which they generally played together, and they were not to be found. Ottilie, with some hesitation, said that they were in her room—she had taken them there to copy them.

"And you can, you will, accompany me on the piano?" cried Edward, his eyes sparkling with pleasure. "I think perhaps I can," Ottilie answered. She brought the music and sat down to the instrument. The others listened, and were sufficiently surprised to hear how perfectly Ottilie had taught herself the piece—but far more surprised were they at the way in which she contrived to adapt herself to Edward's style of playing. Adapt herself, is not the right expression—Charlotte's skill and power enabled her, in order to please her husband, to keep up with him when he went too fast, and hold in for him if he hesitated; but Ottilie, who had several times heard them play the sonata together, seemed to have learnt it according to the idea in which they accompanied each other—she had so completely made his defects her own, that a kind of living whole resulted from it, which did not move indeed according to exact rule, but the effect of which was in the highest degree pleasant and delightful. The composer himself would have been pleased to hear his work disfigured in a manner so charming.

Charlotte and the Captain watched this strange unexpected occurrence in silence, with the kind of feeling with which we often observe the actions of children—unable exactly to approve of them, from the serious consequences which may follow, and yet without being able to find fault, perhaps with a kind of envy. For, indeed, the regard of these two for one another was growing also, as well as that of the others—and it was perhaps only the more perilous because they were both stronger, more certain of themselves, and better able to restrain themselves.

The Captain had already begun to feel that a habit which he could not resist was threatening to bind him to Charlotte. He forced himself to stay away at the hour when she commonly used to be at the works; by getting up very early in the morning he contrived to finish there whatever he had to do, and went back to the castle to his work in his own room. The first day or two Charlotte thought it was an accident—she looked for him in every place where she thought he could possibly be. Then she thought she understood him—and admired him all the more.

Avoiding, as the Captain now did, being alone with Charlotte, the more industriously did he labor to hurry forward the preparations for keeping her rapidly-approaching birthday with all splendor. While he was bringing up the new road from below behind the village, he made the men, under pretence that he wanted stones, begin working at the top as well, and work down, to meet the others; and he had calculated his arrangements so that the two should exactly meet on the eve of the day. The excavations for the new house were already done; the rock was blown away with gunpowder; and a fair foundation-stone had been hewn, with a hollow chamber, and a flat slab adjusted to cover it.

This outward activity, these little mysterious purposes of friendship, prompted by feelings which more or less they were obliged to repress, rather prevented the little party when together from being as lively as usual. Edward, who felt that there was a sort of void, one evening called upon the Captain to fetch his violin—Charlotte should play the piano, and he should accompany her. The Captain was unable to refuse the general request, and they executed together one of the most difficult pieces of music with an ease, and freedom, and feeling, which could not but afford themselves, and the two who were listening to them, the greatest delight. They promised themselves a frequent repetition of it, as well as further practice together. "They do it better than we, Ottilie," said Edward; "we will admire them—but we can enjoy ourselves together too."


The birthday was come, and everything was ready. The wall was all complete which protected the raised village road against the water, and so was the walk; passing the church, for a short time it followed the path which had been laid out by Charlotte, and then winding upward among the rocks, inclined first under the summer-house to the right, and then, after a wide sweep, passed back above it to the right again, and so by degrees out on to the summit. A large party had assembled for the occasion. They went first to church, where they found the whole congregation assembled in their holiday dresses. After service, they filed out in order; first the boys, then the young men, then the old; after them came the party from the castle, with their visitors and retinue; and the village maidens, young girls, and women, brought up the rear.

At the turn of the walk, a raised stone seat had been contrived, where the Captain made Charlotte and the visitors stop and rest. From here they could see over the whole distance from the beginning to the end—the troops of men who had gone up before them, the file of women following, and now drawing up to where they were. It was lovely weather, and the whole effect was singularly beautiful. Charlotte was taken by surprise, she was touched, and she pressed the Captain's hand warmly.

They followed the crowd who had slowly ascended, and were now forming a circle round the spot where the future house was to stand. The lord of the castle, his family, and the principal strangers were now invited to descend into the vault, where the foundation-stone, supported on one side, lay ready to be let down. A well-dressed mason, a trowel in one hand and a hammer in the other, came forward, and with much grace spoke an address in verse, of which in prose we can give but an imperfect rendering.

"Three things," he began, "are to be looked to in a building—that it stand on the right spot; that it be securely founded; that it be successfully executed. The first is the business of the master of the house—his and his only. As in the city the prince and the council alone determine where a building shall be, so in the country it is the right of the lord of the soil that he shall say, 'Here my dwelling shall stand; here, and nowhere else.'"

Edward and Ottilie were standing opposite one another, as these words were spoken; but they did not venture to look up and exchange glances.

"To the third, the execution, there is neither art nor handicraft which must not in some way contribute. But the second, the founding, is the province of the mason; and, boldly to speak it out, it is the head and front of all the undertaking—a solemn thing it is—and our bidding you descend hither is full of meaning. You are celebrating your Festival in the deep of the earth. Here within this small hollow spot, you show us the honor of appearing as witnesses of our mysterious craft. Presently we shall lower down this carefully-hewn stone into its place; and soon these earth-walls, now ornamented with fair and worthy persons, will be no more accessible—but will be closed in forever!

"This foundation-stone, which with its angles typifies the just angles of the building, with the sharpness of its molding, the regularity of it, and with the truth of its lines to the horizontal and perpendicular, the uprightness and equal height of all the walls, we might now without more ado let down—it would rest in its place with its own weight. But even here there shall not fail of lime and means to bind it. For as human beings who may be well inclined to each other by nature, yet hold more firmly together when the law cements them, so are stones also, whose forms may already fit together, united far better by these binding forces. It is not seemly to be idle among the working, and here you will not refuse to be our fellow-laborer;" with these words he reached the trowel to Charlotte, who threw mortar with it under the stone—several of the others were then desired to do the same, and then it was at once let fall. Upon which the hammer was placed next in Charlotte's, and then in the others' hands, to strike three times with it, and conclude, in this expression, the wedlock of the stone with the earth.

"The work of the mason," went on the speaker, "now under the free sky as we are, if it be not done in concealment, yet must pass into concealment—the soil will be laid smoothly in, and thrown over this stone, and with the walls which we rear into the daylight we in the end are seldom remembered. The works of the stone-cutter and the carver remain under the eyes; but for us it is not to complain when the plasterer blots out the last trace of our hands, and appropriates our work to himself; when he overlays it, and smooths it, and colors it.

"Not from regard for the opinion of others, but from respect for himself, the mason will be faithful in his calling. There is none who has more need to feel in himself the consciousness of what he is. When the house is finished, when the soil is smoothed, the surface plastered over, and the outside all overwrought with ornament, he can even penetrate through all disguises and still recognize those exact and careful adjustments to which the whole is indebted for its being and for its persistence.

"But as the man who commits some evil deed has to fear, that, notwithstanding all precautions, it will one day come to light—so too must he expect who has done some good thing in secret, that it also, in spite of himself, will appear in the day; and therefore we make this foundation-stone at the same time a stone of memorial. Here, in these various hollows which have been hewn into it, many things are now to be buried, as a witness to some far-off world—these metal cases hermetically sealed contain documents in writing; matters of various note are engraved on these plates; in these fair glass bottles we bury the best old wine, with a note of the year of its vintage. We have coins too of many kinds, from the mint of the current year. All this we have received through the liberality of him for whom we build. There is space yet remaining, if guest or spectator desires to offer anything to the after-world!"

After a slight pause the speaker looked round; but, as is commonly the case on such occasions, no one was prepared; they were all taken by surprise. At last, a merry-looking young officer set the example, and said, "If I am to contribute anything which as yet is not to be found in this treasure-chamber, it shall be a pair of buttons from my uniform—I don't see why they do not deserve to go down to posterity!" No sooner said than done, and then a number of persons found something of the same sort which they could do; the young ladies did not hesitate to throw in some of their side hair combs—smelling bottles and other trinkets were not spared. Only Ottilie hung back; till a kind word from Edward roused her from the abstraction in which she was watching the various things being heaped in. Then she unclasped from her neck the gold chain on which her father's picture had hung, and with a light gentle hand laid it down on the other jewels. Edward rather disarranged the proceedings, by at once, in some haste, having the cover let fall, and fastened down.

The young mason who had been most active through all this, again took his place as orator, and went on: "We lay down this stone for ever, for the establishing the present and the future possessors of this house. But in that we bury this treasure together with it, we do it in the remembrance—in this most enduring of works—of the perishableness of all human things. We remember that a time may come when this cover so fast sealed shall again be lifted; and that can only be when all shall again be destroyed which as yet we have not brought into being.

"But now—now that at once it may begin to be, back with our thoughts out of the future—back into the present. At once, after the feast, which we have this day kept together, let us on with our labor; let no one of all those trades which are to work on our foundation, through us keep unwilling holiday. Let the building rise swiftly to its height, and out of the windows, which as yet have no existence, may the master of the house, with his family and with his guests, look forth with a glad heart over his broad lands. To him and to all here present herewith be health and happiness."

With these words he drained a richly cut tumbler at a draught, and flung it into the air, thereby to signify the excess of pleasure by destroying the vessel which had served for such a solemn occasion. This time, however, it fell out otherwise. The glass did not fall back to the earth, and indeed without a miracle.

In order to get forward with the buildings, they had already thrown out the whole of the soil at the opposite corner; indeed, they had begun to raise the wall, and for this purpose had reared a scaffold as high as was absolutely necessary. On the occasion of the festival, boards had been laid along the top of this, and a number of spectators were allowed to stand there. It had been meant principally for the advantage of the workmen themselves. The glass had flown up there, and had been caught by one of them, who took it as a sign of good luck for himself. He waved it round without letting it out of his hand, and the letters E and O were to be seen very richly cut upon it, running one into the other. It was one of the glasses which had been executed for Edward when he was a boy.

The scaffoldings were again deserted, and the most active among the party climbed up to look round them, and could not speak enough in praise of the beauty of the prospect on all sides. How many new discoveries does not a person make when on some high point he ascends but a single story higher. Inland many fresh villages came in sight. The line of the river could be traced like a thread of silver; indeed, one of the party thought that he distinguished the spires of the capital. On the other side, behind the wooded hill, the blue peaks of the far-off mountains were seen rising, and the country immediately about them was spread out like a map.

"If the three ponds," cried some one, "were but thrown together to make a single sheet of water, there would be everything here which is noblest and most excellent."

"That might easily be effected," the Captain said. "In early times they must have formed all one lake among the hills here."

"Only I must beseech you to spare my clump of planes and poplars that stand so prettily by the centre pond," said Edward. "See!" He turned to Ottilie, bringing her a few steps forward, and pointing down—"those trees I planted myself."

"How long have they been standing there?" asked Ottilie.

"Just about as long as you have been in the world," replied Edward. "Yes, my dear child, I planted them when you were still lying in your cradle."

The party now betook themselves back to the castle. After dinner was over they were invited to walk through the village to take a glance at what had been done there as well. At a hint from the Captain, the inhabitants had collected in front of the houses. They were not standing in rows, but formed in natural family groups; part were occupied at their evening work, part out enjoying themselves on the new benches. They had determined, as an agreeable duty which they imposed upon themselves, to have everything in its present order and cleanliness, at least every Sunday and holiday.

A little party, held together by such feelings as had grown up among our friends, is always unpleasantly interrupted by a large concourse of people. All four were delighted to find themselves again alone in the large drawing-room, but this sense of home was a little disturbed by a letter which was brought to Edward, giving notice of fresh guests who were to arrive the following day.

"It is as we supposed," Edward cried to Charlotte. "The Count will not stay away; he is coming tomorrow."

"Then the Baroness, too, is not far off," answered Charlotte.

"Doubtless not," said Edward. "She is coming, too, tomorrow, from another place. They only beg to be allowed to stay for a night; the next day they will go on together."

"We must prepare for them in time, Ottilie," said Charlotte.

"What arrangement shall I desire to be made?" Ottilie asked.

Charlotte gave a general direction, and Ottilie left the room.

The Captain inquired into the relation in which these two persons stood toward each other, and with which he was only very generally acquainted. They had some time before, both being already married, fallen violently in love with each other; a double marriage was not to be interfered with without attracting attention. A divorce was proposed. On the Baroness's side it could be effected, on that of the Count it could not. They were obliged seemingly to separate, but their position toward each other remained unchanged, and though in the winter at the Residence they were unable to be together, they indemnified themselves in the summer, while making tours and staying at watering-places.

They were both slightly older than Edward and Charlotte, and had been intimate with them from early times at court. The connection had never been absolutely broken off, although it was impossible to approve of their proceedings. On the present occasion their coming was most unwelcome to Charlotte; and if she had looked closely into her reasons for feeling it so, she would have found it was on account of Ottilie. The poor innocent girl should not have been brought so early in contact with such an example.

"It would have been more convenient if they had not come till a couple of days later," Edward was saying; as Ottilie re-entered, "till we had finished with this business of the farm. The deed of sale is complete. One copy of it I have here, but we want a second, and our old clerk has fallen ill." The Captain offered his services, and so did Charlotte, but there was something or other to object to in both of them.

"Give it to me," cried Ottilie, a little hastily.

"You will never be able to finish it," said Charlotte.

"And really I must have it early the day after tomorrow, and it is long," Edward added.

"It shall be ready," Ottilie cried; and the paper was already in her hands.

The next morning, as they were looking out from their highest windows for their visitors, whom they intended to go some way and meet, Edward said, "Who is that yonder, riding slowly along the road?"

The Captain described accurately the figure of the horse-man.

"Then it is he," said Edward; "the particulars, which you can see better than I, agree very well with the general figure, which I can see too. It is Mittler; but what is he doing, coming riding at such a pace as that?"

The figure came nearer, and Mittler it veritably was. They received him with warm greetings as he came slowly up the steps.

"Why did you not come yesterday?" Edward cried, as he approached.

"I do not like your grand festivities," answered he; "but I am come today to keep my friend's birthday with you quietly."

"How are you able to find time enough?" asked Edward, with a laugh.

"My visit, if you can value it, you owe to an observation which I made yesterday. I was spending a right happy afternoon in a house where I had established peace, and then I heard that a birthday was being kept here. Now this is what I call selfish, after all, said I to myself: you will only enjoy yourself with those whose broken peace you have mended. Why cannot you for once go and be happy with friends who keep the peace for themselves? No sooner said than done. Here I am, as I determined with myself that I would be."

"Yesterday you would have met a large party here; today you will find but a small one," said Charlotte; "you will meet the Count and the Baroness, with whom you have had enough to do already, I believe."

Out of the middle of the party, who had all four come down to welcome him, the strange man dashed in the keenest disgust, seizing at the same time his hat and whip. "Some unlucky star is always over me," he cried, "directly I try to rest and enjoy myself. What business have I going out of my proper character? I ought never to have come, and now I am persecuted away. Under one roof with those two I will not remain, and you take care of yourselves. They bring nothing but mischief; their nature is like leaven, and propagates its own contagion."

They tried to pacify him, but it was in vain. "Whoever strikes at marriage," he cried;—"whoever, either by word or act, undermines this, the foundation of all moral society, that man has to settle with me, and if I cannot become his master, I take care to settle myself out of his way. Marriage is the beginning and the end of all culture. It makes the savage mild; and the most cultivated has no better opportunity for displaying his gentleness. Indissoluble it must be, because it brings so much happiness that what small exceptional unhappiness it may bring counts for nothing in the balance. And what do men mean by talking of unhappiness? Impatience it is which from time to time comes over them, and then they fancy themselves unhappy. Let them wait till the moment is gone by, and then they will bless their good fortune that what has stood so long continues standing. There never can be any adequate ground for separation. The condition of man is pitched so high, in its joys and in its sorrows, that the sum which two married people owe to each other defies calculation. It is an infinite debt, which can only be discharged through all eternity.

"Its annoyances marriage may often have; I can well believe that, and it is as it should be. We are all married to our consciences, and there are times when we should be glad to be divorced from them; mine gives me more annoyance than ever a man or a woman can give."

All this he poured out with the greatest vehemence: he would very likely have gone on speaking longer, had not the sound of the postilions' horns given notice of the arrival of the visitors, who, as if on a concerted arrangement, drove into the castle-court from opposite sides at the same moment. Mittler slipped away as their host hastened to receive them, and desiring that his horse might be brought out immediately, rode angrily off.


The visitors were welcomed and brought in. They were delighted to find themselves again in the same house and in the same rooms where in early times they had passed many happy days, but which they had not seen for a long time. Their friends too were very glad to see them. The Count and the Baroness had both those tall fine figures which please in middle life almost better than in youth. If something of the first bloom had faded off them, yet there was an air in their appearance which was always irresistibly attractive. Their manners too were thoroughly charming. Their free way of taking hold of life and dealing with it, their happy humor, and apparent easy unembarrassment, communicated itself at once to the rest; and a lighter atmosphere hung about the whole party, without their having observed it stealing on them.

The effect made itself felt immediately on the entrance of the new-comers. They were fresh from the fashionable world, as was to be seen at once, in their dress, in their equipment, and in everything about them; and they formed a contrast not a little striking with our friends, their country style, and the vehement feelings which were at work underneath among them. This, however, very soon disappeared in the stream of past recollection and present interests, and a rapid, lively conversation soon united them all. After a short time they again separated. The ladies withdrew to their own apartments, and there found amusement enough in the many things which they had to tell one another, and in setting to work at the same time to examine the new fashions, the spring dresses, bonnets, and such like; while the gentlemen were employing themselves looking at the new traveling chariots, trotting out the horses, and beginning at once to bargain and exchange.

They did not meet again till dinner; in the meantime they had changed their dress. And here, too, the newly arrived pair showed to all advantage. Everything they wore was new, and in a style which their friends at the castle had never seen, and yet, being accustomed to it themselves, it appeared perfectly natural and graceful.

The conversation was brilliant and well sustained, as, indeed, in the company of such persons everything and nothing appears to interest. They spoke in French that the attendants might not understand what they said, and swept in happiest humor over all that was passing in the great or the middle world. On one particular subject they remained, however, longer than was desirable. It was occasioned by Charlotte asking after one of her early friends, of whom she had to learn, with some distress, that she was on the point of being separated from her husband.

"It is a melancholy thing," Charlotte said, "when we fancy our absent friends are finally settled, when we believe persons very dear to us to be provided for for life, suddenly to hear that their fortunes are cast loose once more; that they have to strike into a fresh path of life, and very likely a most insecure one."

"Indeed, my dear friend," the Count answered, "it is our own fault if we allow ourselves to be surprised at such things. We please ourselves with imagining matters of this earth, and particularly matrimonial connections, as very enduring; and as concerns this last point, the plays which we see over and over again help to mislead us; being, as they are, so untrue to the course of the world. In a comedy we see a marriage as the last aim of a desire which is hindered and crossed through a number of acts, and at the instant when it is reached the curtain falls, and the momentary satisfaction continues to ring on in our ears. But in the world it is very different. The play goes on still behind the scenes, and when the curtain rises again we may see and hear, perhaps, little enough of the marriage."

"It cannot be so very bad, however," said Charlotte, smiling. "We see people who have gone off the boards of the theatre, ready enough to undertake a part upon them again."

"There is nothing to say against that," said the Count. "In a new character a man may readily venture on a second trial; and when we know the world we see clearly that it is only this positive, eternal duration of marriage in a world where everything is in motion, which has anything unbecoming about it. A certain friend of mine, whose humor displays itself principally in suggestions for new laws, maintained that every marriage should be concluded only for five years. Five, he said, was a sacred number—pretty and uneven. Such a period would be long enough for people to learn each other's character, bring a child or two into the world, quarrel, separate, and what is best, get reconciled again. He would often exclaim, 'How happily the first part of the time would pass away!' Two or three years, at least, would be perfect bliss. On one side or the other there would not fail to be a wish to have the relation continue longer, and the amiability would increase the nearer they got to the parting time. The indifferent, even the dissatisfied party, would be softened and gained over by such behavior; they would forget, as in pleasant company the hours pass always unobserved, how the time went by, and they would be delightfully surprised when, after the term had run out, they first observed that they had unknowingly prolonged it."

Charming and pleasant as all this sounded, and deep (Charlotte felt it to her soul) as was the moral significance which lay below it, expressions of this kind, on Ottilie's account, were most distasteful to her. She knew very well that nothing was more dangerous than the licentious conversation which treats culpable or semi-culpable actions as if they were common, ordinary, and even laudable, and of such undesirable kind assuredly were all which touched on the sacredness of marriage. She endeavored, therefore, in her skilful way, to give the conversation another turn, and, when she found that she could not, it vexed her that Ottilie had managed everything so well that there was no occasion for her to leave the table. In her quiet observant way a nod or a look was enough for her to signify to the head servant whatever was to be done, and everything went off perfectly, although there were a couple of strange men in livery in the way who were rather a trouble than a convenience. And so the Count, without feeling Charlotte's hints, went on giving his opinions on the same subject. Generally, he was little enough apt to be tedious in conversation; but this was a thing which weighed so heavily on his heart, and the difficulties which he found in getting separated from his wife were so great that it had made him bitter against everything which concerned the marriage bond—that very bond which, notwithstanding, he was so anxiously desiring between himself and the Baroness.

"The same friend," he went on, "has another law which he proposes. A marriage shall be held indissoluble only when either both parties, or at least one or the other, enter into it for the third time. Such persons must be supposed to acknowledge beyond a doubt that they find marriage indispensable for themselves; they have had opportunities of thoroughly knowing themselves; of knowing how they conducted themselves in their earlier unions; whether they have any peculiarities of temper, which are a more frequent cause of separation than bad dispositions. People would then observe each other more closely; they would pay as much attention to the married as to the unmarried, no one being able to tell how things may turn out."

"That would add no little to the interest of society," said Edward. "As things are now, when a man is married nobody cares any more either for his virtues or for his vices."

"Under this arrangement," the Baroness struck in, laughing, "our good hosts have passed successfully over their two steps, and may make themselves ready for their third."

"Things have gone happily with them," said the Count. "In their case death has done with a good will what in others the consistorial courts do with a very bad one.

"Let the dead rest," said Charlotte, with a half serious look.

"Why so," persevered the Count, "when we can remember them with honor? They were generous enough to content themselves with less than their number of years for the sake of the larger good which they could leave behind them."

"Alas! that in such cases," said the Baroness, with a suppressed sigh, "happiness is bought only with the sacrifice of our fairest years."

"Indeed, yes," answered the Count; "and it might drive us to despair, if it were not the same with everything in this world. Nothing goes as we hope. Children do not fulfil what they promise; young people very seldom; and if they keep their word, the world does not keep its word with them."

Charlotte, who was delighted that the conversation had taken a turn at last, replied cheerfully:

"Well, then, we must content ourselves with enjoying what good we are to have in fragments and pieces, as we can get it; and the sooner we can accustom ourselves to this the better."

"Certainly," the Count answered, "you two have had the enjoyment of very happy times. When I look back upon the years when you and Edward were the loveliest couple at the court, I see nothing now to be compared with those brilliant times, and such magnificent figures. When you two used to dance together, all eyes were turned upon you, fastened upon you, while you saw nothing but each other."

"So much has changed since those days," said Charlotte, "that we can listen to such pretty things about ourselves without our modesty being shocked at them."

"I often privately found fault with Edward," said the Count, "for not being more firm. Those singular parents of his would certainly have given way at last; and ten fair years is no trifle to gain."

"I must take Edward's part," struck in the Baroness. "Charlotte was not altogether without fault—not altogether free from what we must call prudential considerations; and although she had a real, hearty love for Edward, and did in her secret soul intend to marry him, I can bear witness how sorely she often tried him; and it was through this that he was at last unluckily prevailed upon to leave her and go abroad, and try to forget her."

Edward bowed to the Baroness, and seemed grateful for her advocacy.

"And then I must add this," she continued, "in excuse for Charlotte. The man who was at that time suing for her, had for a long time given proofs of his constant attachment to her; and, when one came to know him well, was a far more lovable person than the rest of you may like to acknowledge."

"My dear friend," the Count replied, a little pointedly, "confess, now, that he was not altogether indifferent to yourself, and that Charlotte had more to fear from you than from any other rival. I find it one of the highest traits in women, that they continue so long in their regard for a man, and that absence of no duration will serve to disturb or remove it."

"This fine feature, men possess, perhaps, even more," answered the Baroness. "At any rate, I have observed with you, my dear Count, that no one has more influence over you than a lady to whom you were once attached. I have seen you take more trouble to do things when a certain person has asked you, than the friend of this moment would have obtained of you, if she had tried."

"Such a charge as that one must bear the best way one can," replied the Count. "But as to what concerns Charlotte's first husband, I could not endure him, because he parted so sweet a pair from each other—a really predestined pair, who, once brought together, have no reason to fear the five years, or be thinking of a second or third marriage."

"We must try," Charlotte said, "to make up for what we then allowed to slip from us."

"Aye, and you must keep to that," said the Count; "your first marriages," he continued, with some vehemence, "were exactly marriages of the true detestable sort. And, unhappily, marriages generally, even the best, have (forgive me for using a strong expression) something awkward about them. They destroy the delicacy of the relation; everything is made to rest on the broad certainty out of which one side or other, at least, is too apt to make their own advantage. It is all a matter of course; and they seem only to have got themselves tied together, that one or the other, or both, may go their own way the more easily."

At this moment, Charlotte, who was determined once for all that she would put an end to the conversation, made a bold effort at turning it, and succeeded. It then became more general. She and her husband and the Captain were able to take a part in it. Even Ottilie had to give her opinion; and the dessert was enjoyed in the happiest humor. It was particularly beautiful, being composed almost entirely of the rich summer fruits in elegant baskets, with epergnes of lovely flowers arranged in exquisite taste.

The new laying-out of the park came to be spoken of; and immediately after dinner they went to look at what was going on. Ottilie withdrew, under pretence of having household matters to look to; in reality, it was to set to work again at the transcribing. The Count fell into conversation with the Captain, and Charlotte afterward joined them. When they were at the summit of the height, the Captain good-naturedly ran back to fetch the plan, and in his absence the Count said to Charlotte:

"He is an exceedingly pleasing person. He is very well informed, and his knowledge is always ready. His practical power, too, seems methodical and vigorous. What he is doing here would be of great importance in some higher sphere."

Charlotte listened to the Captain's praises with an inward delight. She collected herself, however, and composedly and clearly confirmed what the Count had said. But she was not a little startled when he continued:

"This acquaintance falls most opportunely for me. I know of a situation for which he is perfectly suited, and I shall be doing the greatest favor to a friend of mine, a man of high rank, by recommending to him a person who is so exactly everything which he desires."

Charlotte felt as if a thunder-stroke had fallen on her. The Count did not observe it: women, being accustomed at all times to hold themselves in restraint, are always able, even in the most extraordinary cases, to maintain an apparent composure; but she heard not a word more of what the Count said, though he went on speaking.

"When I have made up my mind upon a thing," he added, "I am quick about it. I have put my letter together already in my head, and I shall write it immediately. You can find me some messenger who can ride off with it this evening."

Charlotte was suffering agonies. Startled with the proposal, and shocked at herself, she was unable to utter a word. Happily, the Count continued talking of his plans for the Captain, the desirableness of which was only too apparent to Charlotte.

It was time that the Captain returned. He came up and unrolled his design before the Count. But with what changed eyes Charlotte now looked at the friend whom she was to lose. In her necessity, she bowed and turned away, and hurried down to the summer-house. Before she was half way there, the tears were streaming from her eyes, and she flung herself into the narrow room in the little hermitage, and gave herself up to an agony, a passion, a despair, of the possibility of which, but a few moments before, she had not had the slightest conception.

Edward had gone with the Baroness in the other direction toward the ponds. This ready-witted lady, who liked to be in the secret about everything, soon observed, in a few conversational feelers which she threw out, that Edward was very fluent and free-spoken in praise of Ottilie. She contrived in the most natural way to lead him out by degrees so completely that at last she had not a doubt remaining that here was not merely an incipient fancy, but a veritable, full-grown passion.

Married women, if they have no particular love for one another, yet are silently in league together, especially against young girls. The consequences of such an inclination presented themselves only too quickly to her world-experienced spirit. Added to this, she had been already, in the course of the day, talking to Charlotte about Ottilie; she had disapproved of her remaining in the country, particularly being a girl of so retiring a character; and she had proposed to take Ottilie with her to the residence of a friend who was just then bestowing great expense on the education of an only daughter, and who was only looking about to find some well-disposed companion for her—to put her in the place of a second child, and let her share in every advantage. Charlotte had taken time to consider. But now this glimpse of the Baroness into Edward's heart changed what had been but a suggestion at once into a settled determination; and the more rapidly she made up her mind about it, the more she outwardly seemed to flatter Edward's wishes. Never was there any one more self-possessed than this lady; and to have mastered ourselves in extraordinary cases, disposes us to treat even a common case with dissimulation—it makes us inclined, as we have had to do so much violence to ourselves, to extend our control over others, and hold ourselves in a degree compensated in what we outwardly gain for what we inwardly have been obliged to sacrifice. To this feeling there is often joined a kind of secret, spiteful pleasure in the blind, unconscious ignorance with which the victim walks on into the snare. It is not the immediately doing as we please which we enjoy, but the thought of the surprise and exposure which is to follow. And thus was the Baroness malicious enough to invite Edward to come with Charlotte and pay her a visit at the grape-gathering; and, to his question whether they might bring Ottilie with them, to frame an answer which, if he pleased, he might interpret to his wishes.

Edward had already begun to pour out his delight at the beautiful scenery, the broad river, the hills, the rocks, the vineyard, the old castles, the water-parties, and the jubilee at the grape-gathering, the wine-pressing, etc., in all of which, in the innocence of his heart, he was only exuberating in the anticipation of the impression which these scenes were to make on the fresh spirit of Ottilie. At this moment they saw her approaching, and the Baroness said quickly to Edward that he had better say nothing to her of this intended autumn expedition—things which we set our hearts upon so long before so often failing to come to pass. Edward gave his promise; but he obliged his companion to move more quickly to meet her; and at last, when they came very close, he ran on several steps in advance. A heartfelt happiness expressed itself in his whole being. He kissed her hand as he pressed into it a nosegay of wild flowers which he had gathered on his way.

The Baroness felt bitter in her heart at the sight of it. Even whilst she was able to disapprove of what was really objectionable in this affection, she could not bear to see what was sweet and beautiful in it thrown away on such a poor paltry girl.

When they had collected again at the supper-table, an entirely different temper was spread over the party. The Count, who had in the meantime written his letter and dispatched a messenger with it, occupied himself with the Captain, whom he had been drawing out more and more—spending the whole evening at his side, talking of serious matters. The Baroness, who sat on the Count's right, found but small amusement in this; nor did Edward find any more. The latter, first because he was thirsty, and then because he was excited, did not spare the wine, and attached himself entirely to Ottilie, whom he had made sit by him. On the other side, next to the Captain, sat Charlotte; for her it was hard, it was almost impossible, to conceal the emotion under which she was suffering.

The Baroness had sufficient time to make her observations at leisure. She perceived Charlotte's uneasiness, and occupied as she was with Edward's passion for Ottilie, she easily satisfied herself that her abstraction and distress were owing to her husband's behavior; and she set herself to consider in what way she could best compass her ends.

Supper was over, and the party remained divided. The Count, whose object was to probe the Captain to the bottom, had to try many turns before he could arrive at what he wished with so quiet, so little vain, but so exceedingly laconic a person. They walked up and down together on one side of the saloon, while Edward, excited with wine and hope, was laughing with Ottilie at a window, and Charlotte and the Baroness were walking backward and forward, without speaking, on the other side. Their being so silent, and their standing about in this uneasy, listless way, had its effect at last in breaking up the rest of the party. The ladies withdrew to their rooms, the gentlemen to the other wing of the castle; and so this day appeared to be concluded.


Edward went with the Count to his room. They continued talking, and he was easily prevailed upon to stay a little time longer there. The Count lost himself in old times, spoke eagerly of Charlotte's beauty, which, as a critic, he dwelt upon with much warmth.

"A pretty foot is a great gift of nature," he said. "It is a grace which never perishes. I observed it today, as she was walking. I should almost have liked even to kiss her shoe, and repeat that somewhat barbarous but significant practice of the Sarmatians, who know no better way of showing reverence for any one they love or respect, than by using his shoe to drink his health out of."

The point of the foot did not remain the only subject of praise between two old acquaintances; they went from the person back upon old stories and adventures, and came on the hindrances which at that time people had thrown in the way of the lovers' meetings—what trouble they had taken, what arts they had been obliged to devise, only to be able to tell each other that they loved.

"Do you remember," continued the Count, "an adventure in which I most unselfishly stood your friend when their High Mightinesses were on a visit to your uncle, and were all together in that great, straggling castle? The day went in festivities and glitter of all sorts; and a part of the night at least in pleasant conversation."

"And you, in the meantime, had observed the back-way which led to the court ladies' quarter," said Edward, "and so managed to effect an interview for me with my beloved."

"And she," replied the Count, "thinking more of propriety than of my enjoyment, had kept a frightful old duenna with her. So that, while you two, between looks and words, got on extremely well together, my lot, in the meanwhile, was far from pleasant."

"It was only yesterday," answered Edward, "when we heard that you were coming, that I was talking over the story with my wife and describing our adventure on returning. We missed the road, and got into the entrance-hall from the garden. Knowing our way from thence as well as we did, we supposed we could get along easily enough.

"But you remember our surprise on opening the door. The floor was covered over with mattresses on which the giants lay in rows stretched out and sleeping. The single sentinel at his post looked wonderingly at us; but we, in the cool way young men do things, strode quietly on over the outstretched boots, without disturbing a single one of the snoring children of Anak."

"I had the strongest inclination to stumble," the Count said, "that there might be an alarm given. What a resurrection we should have witnessed."

At this moment the castle clock struck twelve.

"It is deep midnight," the Count added, laughing, "and just the proper time; I must ask you, my dear Edward, to show me a kindness. Do you guide me tonight, as I guided you then. I promised the Baroness that I would see her before going to bed. We have had no opportunity of any private talk together the whole day. We have not seen each other for a long time, and it is only natural that we should wish for a confidential hour. If you will show me the way there, I will manage to get back again; and in any case, there will be no boots for me to stumble over."

"I shall be very glad to show you such a piece of hospitality," answered Edward; "only the three ladies are together in the same wing. Who knows whether we shall not find them still with one another, or make some other mistake, which may have a strange appearance?"

"Do not be afraid," said the Count; "the Baroness expects me. She is sure by this time to be in her own room, and alone."

"Well, then, the thing is easy enough," Edward answered.

He took a candle, and lighted the Count down a private staircase leading into a long gallery. At the end of this, he opened a small door. They mounted a winding flight of stairs, which brought them out upon a narrow landing-place; and then, putting the candle in the Count's hand, he pointed to a tapestried door on the right, which opened readily at the first trial, and admitted the Count, leaving Edward outside in the dark.

Another door on the left led into Charlotte's sleeping-room. He heard her voice, and listened. She was speaking to her maid. "Is Ottilie in bed?" she asked. "No," was the answer; "she is sitting writing in the room below." "You may light the night-lamp," said Charlotte; "I shall not want you any more. It is late. I can put out the candle, and do whatever I may want else myself."

It was a delight to Edward to hear that Ottilie was writing still. She is working for me, he thought triumphantly. Through the darkness, he fancied he could see her sitting all alone at her desk. He thought he would go to her, and see her; and how she would turn to receive him. He felt a longing, which he could not resist, to be near her once more. But, from where he was, there was no way to the apartments which she occupied. He now found himself immediately at his wife's door. A singular change of feeling came over him. He tried the handle, but the bolts were shot. He knocked gently. Charlotte did not hear him. She was walking rapidly up and down in the large dressing-room adjoining. She was repeating over and over what, since the Count's unexpected proposal, she had often enough had to say to herself. The Captain seemed to stand before her. At home, and everywhere, he had become her all in all. And now he was to go; and it was all to be desolate again. She repeated whatever wise things one can say to oneself; she even anticipated, as people so often do, the wretched comfort that time would come at last to her relief; and then she cursed the time which would have to pass before it could lighten her sufferings—she cursed the dead, cold time when they would be lightened. At last she burst into tears; they were the more welcome, since tears with her were rare. She flung herself on the sofa, and gave herself up unreservedly to her sufferings. Edward, meanwhile, could not take himself from the door. He knocked again; and a third time rather louder; so that Charlotte, in the stillness of the night, distinctly heard it, and started up in fright. Her first thought was—it can only be, it must be, the Captain; her second, that it was impossible. She thought she must have been deceived. But surely she had heard it; and she wished, and she feared to have heard it. She went into her sleeping-room, and walked lightly up to the bolted tapestry-door. She blamed herself for her fears. "Possibly it may be the Baroness wanting something," she said to herself; and she called out quietly and calmly, "Is anybody there?" A light voice answered, "It is I." "Who?" returned Charlotte, not being able to make out the voice. She thought she saw the Captain's figure standing at the door. In a rather louder tone, she heard the word "Edward!" She drew back the bolt, and her husband stood before her. He greeted her with some light jest. She was unable to reply in the same tone. He complicated the mysterious visit by his mysterious explanation of it.

"Well, then," he said at last, "I will confess, the real reason why I am come is, that I have made a vow to kiss your shoe this evening."

"It is long since you thought of such a thing as that," said Charlotte.

"So much the worse," he answered; "and so much the better."

She had thrown herself back in an armchair, to prevent him from seeing the slightness of her dress. He flung himself down before her, and she could not prevent him from giving her shoe a kiss. And when the shoe came off in his hand, he caught her foot and pressed it tenderly against his breast.

Charlotte was one of those women who, being of naturally calm temperaments, continue in marriage, without any purpose or any effort, the air and character of lovers. She was never expressive toward her husband; generally, indeed, she rather shrank from any warm demonstration on his part. It was not that she was cold, or at all hard and repulsive, but she remained always like a loving bride, who draws back with a kind of shyness even from what is permitted. And so Edward found her this evening, in a double sense. How sorely did she not long that her husband would go; the figure of his friend seemed to hover in the air and reproach her. But what should have had the effect of driving Edward away only attracted him the more. There were visible traces of emotion about her. She had been crying; and tears, which with weak persons detract from their graces, add immeasurably to the attractiveness of those whom we know commonly as strong and self-possessed.

Edward was so agreeable, so gentle, so pressing; he begged to be allowed to stay with her. He did not demand it, but half in fun, half in earnest, he tried to persuade her; he never thought of his rights. At last, as if in mischief, he blew out the candle.

In the dim lamplight, the inward affection, the imagination, maintained their rights over the real; it was Ottilie that was resting in Edward's arms; and the Captain, now faintly, now clearly, hovered before Charlotte's soul. And so, strangely intermingled, the absent and the present flowed in a sweet enchantment one into the other.

And yet the present would not let itself be robbed of its own unlovely right. They spent a part of the night talking and laughing at all sorts of things, the more freely as the heart had no part in it. But when Edward awoke in the morning, on his wife's breast, the day seemed to stare in with a sad, awful look, and the sun to be shining in upon a crime. He stole lightly from her side; and she found herself, with strange enough feelings, when she awoke, alone.


When the party assembled again at breakfast, an attentive observer might have read in the behavior of its various members the different things which were passing in their inner thoughts and feelings. The Count and the Baroness met with the air of happiness which a pair of lovers feel, who, after having been forced to endure a long separation, have mutually assured each other of their unaltered affection. On the other hand, Charlotte and Edward equally came into the presence of the Captain and Ottilie with a sense of shame and remorse. For such is the nature of love that it believes in no rights except its own, and all other rights vanish away before it. Ottilie was in child-like spirits. For her—she was almost what might be called open. The Captain appeared serious. His conversation with the Count, which had roused in him feelings that for some time past had been at rest and dormant, had made him only too keenly conscious that here he was not fulfilling his work, and at bottom was but squandering himself in a half-activity of idleness.

Hardly had their guests departed, when fresh visitors were announced—to Charlotte most welcomely, all she wished for being to be taken out of herself, and to have her attention dissipated. They annoyed Edward, who was longing to devote himself to Ottilie; and Ottilie did not like them either; the copy which had to be finished the next morning early being still incomplete. They staid a long time, and immediately that they were gone she hurried off to her room.

It was now evening. Edward, Charlotte, and the Captain had accompanied the strangers some little way on foot, before the latter got into their carriage, and previous to returning home they agreed to take a walk along the water-side.

A boat had come, which Edward had had fetched from a distance, at no little expense; and they decided that they would try whether it was easy to manage. It was made fast on the bank of the middle pond, not far from some old ash trees on which they calculated to make an effect in their future improvements. There was to be a landing-place made there, and under the trees a seat was to be raised, with some wonderful architecture about it: it was to be the point for which people were to make when they went across the water.

"And where had we better have the landing-place on the other side?" said
Edward. "I should think under my plane trees."

"They stand a little too far to the right," said the Captain. "You are nearer the castle if you land further down. However, we must think about it."

The Captain was already standing in the stern of the boat, and had taken up an oar. Charlotte got in, and Edward with her—he took the other oar; but as he was on the point of pushing off, he thought of Ottilie—he recollected that this water-party would keep him out late; who could tell when he would get back? He made up his mind shortly and promptly; sprang back to the bank, and reaching the other oar to the Captain, hurried home—making excuses to himself as he ran.

Arriving there he learnt that Ottilie had shut herself up—she was writing. In spite of the agreeable feeling that she was doing something for him, it was the keenest mortification to him not to be able to see her. His impatience increased every moment. He walked up and down the large drawing-room; he tried a thousand things, and could not fix his attention upon any. He was longing to see her alone, before Charlotte came back with the Captain. It was dark by this time, and the candles were lighted.

At last she came in beaming with loveliness: the sense that she had done something for her friend had lifted all her being above itself. She put down the original and her transcript on the table before Edward.

"Shall we collate them?" she said, with a smile.

Edward did not know what to answer. He looked at her—he looked at the transcript. The first few sheets were written with the greatest carefulness in a delicate woman's hand—then the strokes appeared to alter, to become more light and free—but who can describe his surprise as he ran his eyes over the concluding page? "For heaven's sake," he cried, "what is this? this is my hand!" He looked at Ottilie, and again at the paper; the conclusion, especially, was exactly as if he had written it himself. Ottilie said nothing, but she looked at him with her eyes full of the warmest delight. Edward stretched out his arms. "You love me!" he cried: "Ottilie, you love me!" They fell on each other's breast—which had been the first to catch the other it would have been impossible to distinguish.

From that moment the world was all changed for Edward. He was no longer what he had been, and the world was no longer what it had been. They parted—he held her hands; they gazed in each other's eyes. They were on the point of embracing each other again.

Charlotte entered with the Captain. Edward inwardly smiled at their excuses for having stayed out so long. Oh! how far too soon you have returned, he said to himself.

They sat down to supper. They talked about the people who had been there that day. Edward, full of love and ecstasy, spoke well of every one—always sparing, often approving. Charlotte, who was not altogether of his opinion, remarked this temper in him, and jested with him about it—he who had always the sharpest thing to say on departed visitors, was this evening so gentle and tolerant.

With fervor and heartfelt conviction, Edward cried, "One has only to love a single creature with all one's heart, and the whole world at once looks lovely!"

Ottilie dropped her eyes on the ground, and Charlotte looked straight before her.

The Captain took up the word, and said, "It is the same with deep feelings of respect and reverence: we first learn to recognize what there is that is to be valued in the world, when we find occasion to entertain such sentiments toward a particular object."

Charlotte made an excuse to retire early to her room where she could give herself up to thinking over what had passed in the course of the evening between herself and the Captain.

When Edward sprang on shore, and, pushing off the boat, had himself committed his wife and his friend to the uncertain element, Charlotte found herself face to face with the man on whose account she had been already secretly suffering so bitterly, sitting in the twilight before her, and sweeping along the boat with the sculls in easy motion. She felt a depth of sadness, very rare with her, weighing on her spirits. The undulating movement of the boat, the splash of the oars, the faint breeze playing over the watery mirror, the sighing of the reeds, the long flight of the birds, the fitful twinkling of the first stars—there was something spectral about it all in the universal stillness. She fancied her friend was bearing her away to set her on some far-off shore, and leave her there alone; strange emotions were passing through her, and she could not give way to them and weep.

The Captain was describing to her the manner in which, in his opinion, the improvements should be continued. He praised the construction of the boat; it was so convenient, he said, because one person could so easily manage it with a pair of oars. She should herself learn how to do this; there was often a delicious feeling in floating along alone upon the water, one's own ferryman and steersman.

The parting which was impending sank on Charlotte's heart as he was speaking. Is he saying this on purpose? she thought to herself. Does he know it yet? Does he suspect it or is it only accident? And is he unconsciously foretelling me my fate?

A weary, impatient heaviness took hold of her; she begged him to make for land as soon as possible and return with her to the castle.

It was the first time that the Captain had been upon the water, and, though generally he had acquainted himself with its depth, he did not know accurately the particular spots. Dusk was coming on; he directed his course to a place where he thought it would be easy to get on shore, and from which he knew the footpath which led to the castle was not far distant. Charlotte, however, repeated her wish to get to land quickly, and the place which he thought of being at a short distance, he gave it up, and exerting himself as much as he possibly could, made straight for the bank. Unhappily the water was shallow, and he ran aground some way off from it. From the rate at which he was going the boat was fixed fast, and all his efforts to move it were in vain. What was to be done? There was no alternative but to get into the water and carry his companion ashore.

It was done without difficulty or danger. He was strong enough not to totter with her, or give her any cause for anxiety; but in her agitation she had thrown her arms about his neck. He held her fast, and pressed her to himself—and at last laid her down upon a grassy bank, not without emotion and confusion * * * she still lay upon his neck * * * he caught her up once more in his arms, and pressed a warm kiss upon her lips. The next moment he was at her feet: he took her hand, and held it to his mouth, and cried:

"Charlotte, will you forgive me?"

The kiss which he had ventured to give, and which she had all but returned to him, brought Charlotte to herself again—she pressed his hand—but she did not attempt to raise him up. She bent down over him, and laid her hand upon his shoulder and said:

"We cannot now prevent this moment from forming an epoch in our lives; but it depends on us to bear ourselves in a manner which shall be worthy of us. You must go away, my dear friend; and you are going. The Count has plans for you, to give you better prospects—I am glad, and I am sorry. I did not mean to speak of it till it was certain but this moment obliges me to tell you my secret * * * Since it does not depend on ourselves to alter our feelings, I can only forgive you, I can only forgive myself, if we have the courage to alter our situation." She raised him up, took his arm to support herself, and they walked back to the castle without speaking.

But now she was standing in her own room, where she had to feel and to know that she was Edward's wife. Her strength and the various discipline in which through life she had trained herself, came to her assistance in the conflict. Accustomed as she had always been to look steadily into herself and to control herself, she did not now find it difficult, with an earnest effort, to come to the resolution which she desired. She could almost smile when she remembered the strange visit of the night before. Suddenly she was seized with a wonderful instinctive feeling, a thrill of fearful delight which changed into holy hope and longing. She knelt earnestly down, and repeated the oath which she had taken to Edward before the altar.

Friendship, affection, renunciation, floated in glad, happy images before her. She felt restored to health and to herself. A sweet weariness came over her. She lay down, and sank into a calm, quiet sleep.


Edward, on his part, was in a very different temper. So little he thought of sleeping that it did not once occur to him even to undress himself. A thousand times he kissed the transcript of the document, but it was the beginning of it, in Ottilie's childish, timid hand; the end he scarcely dared to kiss, for he thought it was his own hand which he saw. Oh, that it were another document! he whispered to himself; and, as it was, he felt it was the sweetest assurance that his highest wish would be fulfilled. Thus it remained in his hands, thus he continued to press it to his heart, although disfigured by a third name subscribed to it. The waning moon rose up over the wood. The warmth of the night drew Edward out into the free air. He wandered this way and that way; he was at once the most restless and the happiest of mortals. He strayed through the gardens—they seemed too narrow for him; he hurried out into the park, and it was too wide. He was drawn back toward the castle; he stood under Ottilie's window. He threw himself down on the steps of the terrace below. "Walls and bolts," he said to himself, "may still divide us, but our hearts are not divided. If she were here before me, into my arms she would fall, and I into hers; and what can one desire but that sweet certainty!" All was stillness round him; not a breath was moving;—so still it was, that he could hear the unresting creatures underground at their work, to whom day or night are alike. He abandoned himself to his delicious dreams; at last he fell asleep, and did not wake till the sun with his royal beams was mounting up in the sky and scattering the early mists.

He found himself the first person awake on his domain. The laborers seemed to be staying away too long: they came; he thought they were too few, and the work set out for the day too slight for his desires. He inquired for more workmen; they were promised, and in the course of the day they came. But these, too, were not enough for him to carry his plans out as rapidly as he wished. To do the work gave him no pleasure any longer; it should all be done. And for whom? The paths should be gravelled that Ottilie might walk presently upon them; seats should be made at every spot and corner that Ottilie might rest on them. The new park house was hurried forward. It should be finished for Ottilie's birthday. In all he thought and all he did, there was no more moderation. The sense of loving and of being loved, urged him out into the unlimited. How changed was now to him the look of all the rooms, their furniture, and their decorations! He did not feel as if he was in his own house any more. Ottilie's presence absorbed everything. He was utterly lost in her; no other thought ever rose before him; no conscience disturbed him; every restraint which had been laid upon his nature burst loose. His whole being centered upon Ottilie. This impetuosity of passion did not escape the Captain, who longed, if he could, to prevent its evil consequences. All those plans which were now being hurried on with this immoderate speed, had been drawn out and calculated for a long, quiet, easy execution. The sale of the farm had been completed; the first instalment had been paid. Charlotte, according to the arrangement, had taken possession of it. But the very first week after, she found it more than usually necessary to exercise patience and resolution, and to keep her eye on what was being done. In the present hasty style of proceeding, the money which had been set apart for the purpose would not go far.

Much had been begun, and much yet remained to be done. How could the Captain leave Charlotte in such a situation? They consulted together, and agreed that it would be better that they themselves should hurry on the works, and for this purpose employ money which could be made good again at the period fixed for the discharge of the second instalment of what was to be paid for the farm. It could be done almost without loss. They would have a freer hand. Everything would progress simultaneously. There were laborers enough at hand, and they could get more accomplished at once, and arrive swiftly and surely at their aim. Edward gladly gave his consent to a plan which so entirely coincided with his own views.

During this time Charlotte persisted with all her heart in what she had determined for herself, and her friend stood by her with a like purpose, manfully. This very circumstance, however, produced a greater intimacy between them. They spoke openly to each other of Edward's passion, and consulted what had better be done. Charlotte kept Ottilie more about herself, watching her narrowly; and the more she understood her own heart, the deeper she was able to penetrate into the heart of the poor girl. She saw no help for it, except in sending her away.

It now appeared a happy thing to her that Luciana had gained such high honors at the school; for her great aunt, as soon as she heard of it, desired to take her entirely to herself, to keep her with her, and bring her out into the world. Ottilie could, therefore, return thither. The Captain would leave them well provided for, and everything would be as it had been a few months before; indeed, in many respects better. Her own position in Edward's affection, Charlotte thought, she could soon recover; and she settled it all, and laid it all out before herself so sensibly that she only strengthened herself more completely in her delusion, as if it were possible for them to return within their old limits—as if a bond which had been violently broken could again be joined together as before.

In the meantime Edward felt very deeply the hindrances which were thrown in his way. He soon observed that they were keeping him and Ottilie separate; that they made it difficult for him to speak with her alone, or even to approach her, except in the presence of others. And while he was angry about this, he was angry at many things besides. If he caught an opportunity for a few hasty words with Ottilie, it was not only to assure her of his love, but to complain of his wife and of the Captain. He never felt that with his own irrational haste he was on the way to exhaust the cash-box. He found bitter fault with them, because in the execution of the work they were not keeping to the first agreement, and yet he had been himself a consenting party to the second; indeed, it was he who had occasioned it and made it necessary.

Hatred is a partisan, but love is even more so. Ottilie also estranged herself from Charlotte and the Captain. As Edward was complaining one day to Ottilie of the latter, saying that he was not treating him like a friend, or, under the circumstances, acting quite uprightly, she answered unthinkingly, "I have once or twice had a painful feeling that he was not quite honest with you. I heard him say once to Charlotte: 'If Edward would but spare us that eternal flute of his! He can make nothing of it, and it is too disagreeable to listen to him.' You may imagine how it hurt me, when I like accompanying you so much."

She had scarcely uttered the words when her conscience whispered to her that she had much better have been silent. However, the thing was said. Edward's features worked violently. Never had anything stung him more. He was touched on his tenderest point. It was his amusement; he followed it like a child. He never made the slightest pretensions; what gave him pleasure should be treated with forbearance by his friends. He never thought how intolerable it is for a third person to have his ears lacerated by an unsuccessful talent. He was indignant; he was hurt in a way which he could not forgive. He felt himself discharged from all obligations.

The necessity of being with Ottilie, of seeing her, whispering to her, exchanging his confidence with her, increased with every day. He determined to write to her, and ask her to carry on a secret correspondence with him. The strip of paper on which he had, laconically enough, made his request, lay on his writing-table, and was swept off by a draught of wind as his valet entered to dress his hair. The latter was in the habit of trying the heat of the iron by picking up any scraps of paper which might be lying about. This time his hand fell on the billet; he twisted it up hastily, and it was burnt. Edward observing the mistake, snatched it out of his hand. After the man was gone, he sat himself down to write it over again. The second time it would not run so readily off his pen. It gave him a little uneasiness; he hesitated, but he got over it. He squeezed the paper into Ottilie's hand the first moment he was able to approach her. Ottilie answered him immediately. He put the note unread in his waistcoat pocket, which, being made short in the fashion of the time, was shallow, and did not hold it as it ought. It worked out, and fell without his observing it on the ground. Charlotte saw it, picked it up, and after giving a hasty glance at it, reached it to him.

"Here is something in your handwriting," she said, "which you may be sorry to lose."

He was confounded. Is she dissembling? he thought to himself. Does she know what is in the note, or is she deceived by the resemblance of the hand? He hoped, he believed the latter. He was warned—doubly warned; but those strange accidents, through which a higher intelligence seems to be speaking to us, his passion was not able to interpret. Rather, as he went further and further on, he felt the restraint under which his friend and his wife seemed to be holding him the more intolerable. His pleasure in their society was gone. His heart was closed against them, and though he was obliged to endure their society, he could not succeed in re-discovering or in re-animating within his heart anything of his old affection for them. The silent reproaches which he was forced to make to himself about it were disagreeable to him. He tried to help himself with a kind of humor which, however, being without love, was also without its usual grace.

Over all such trials Charlotte found assistance to rise in her own inward feelings. She knew her own determination. Her own affection, fair and noble as it was, she would utterly renounce.

And sorely she longed to go to the assistance of the other two. Separation, she knew well, would not alone suffice to heal so deep a wound. She resolved that she would speak openly about it to Ottilie herself. But she could not do it. The recollection of her own weakness stood in her way. She thought she could talk generally to her about the sort of thing. But general expressions about "the sort of thing," fitted her own case equally well, and she could not bear to touch it. Every hint which she would give Ottilie recoiled on her own heart. She would warn, and she was obliged to feel that she might herself still be in need of warning.

She contented herself, therefore, with silently keeping the lovers more apart, and by this gained nothing. The slight hints which frequently escaped her had no effect upon Ottilie; for Ottilie had been assured by Edward that Charlotte was devoted to the Captain, that Charlotte herself wished for a separation, and that he was at this moment considering the readiest means by which it could be brought about.

Ottilie, led by the sense of her own innocence along the road to the happiness for which she longed, lived only for Edward. Strengthened by her love for him in all good, more light and happy in her work for his sake, and more frank and open toward others, she found herself in a heaven upon earth.

So all together, each in his or her own fashion, reflecting or unreflecting, they continued on the routine of their lives. All seemed to go its ordinary way, as, in monstrous cases, when everything is at stake, men will still live on, as if it were all nothing.


In the meantime a letter came from the Count to the Captain—two, indeed—one which he might produce, holding out fair, excellent prospects in the distance; the other containing a distinct offer of an immediate situation, a place of high importance and responsibility at the Court, his rank as Major, a very considerable salary, and other advantages. A number of circumstances, however, made it desirable that for the moment he should not speak of it, and consequently he only informed his friends of his distant expectations, and concealed what was so nearly impending.

He went warmly on, at the same time, with his present occupation, and quietly made arrangements to insure the continuance of the works without interruption after his departure. He was now himself desirous that as much as possible should be finished off at once, and was ready to hasten things forward to prepare for Ottilie's birthday. And so, though without having come to any express understanding, the two friends worked side by side together. Edward was now well pleased that the cash-box was filled by their having taken up money. The whole affair went forward at fullest speed.

The Captain had done his best to oppose the plan of throwing the three ponds together into a single sheet of water. The lower embankment would have to be made much stronger, the two intermediate embankments to be taken away, and altogether, in more than one sense, it seemed a very questionable proceeding. However, both these schemes had been already undertaken; the soil which was removed above being carried at once down to where it was wanted. And here there came opportunely on the scene a young architect, an old pupil of the Captain, who partly by introducing workmen who understood work of this nature, and partly by himself, whenever it was possible, contracting for the work itself, advanced things not a little, while at the same time they could feel more confidence in their being securely and lastingly executed. In secret this was a great pleasure to the Captain. He could now be confident that his absence would not be so severely felt. It was one of the points on which he was most resolute with himself, never to leave anything which he had taken in hand uncompleted, unless he could see his place satisfactorily supplied. And he could not but hold in small respect, persons who introduce confusion around themselves only to make their absence felt and are ready to disturb in wanton selfishness what they will not be at hand to restore.

So they labored on, straining every nerve to make Ottilie's birthday splendid, without any open acknowledgment that this was what they were aiming at, or, indeed, without their directly acknowledging it to themselves. Charlotte, wholly free from jealousy as she was, could not think it right to keep it as a real festival. Ottilie's youth, the circumstances of her fortune, and her relationship to their family, were not at all such as made it fit that she should appear as the queen of the day; and Edward would not have it talked about, because everything was to spring out, as it were, of itself, with a natural and delightful surprise.

They, therefore, came all of them to a sort of tacit understanding that on this day, without further circumstance, the new house in the park was to be opened, and they might take the occasion to invite the neighborhood and give a holiday to their own people. Edward's passion, however, knew no bounds. Longing as he did to give himself to Ottilie, his presents and his promises must be infinite. The birthday gifts which on the great occasion he was to offer to her seemed, as Charlotte had arranged them, far too insignificant. He spoke to his valet, who had the care of his wardrobe, and who consequently had extensive acquaintance among the tailors and mercers and fashionable milliners; and he, who not only understood himself what valuable presents were, but also the most graceful way in which they should be offered, immediately ordered an elegant box, covered with red morocco and studded with steel nails, to be filled with presents worthy of such a shell. Another thing, too, he suggested to Edward. Among the stores at the castle was a small show of fireworks which had never been let off. It would be easy to get some more, and have something really fine. Edward caught the idea, and his servant promised to see to its being executed. This matter was to remain a secret.

While this was going on, the Captain, as the day drew nearer, had been making arrangements for a body of police to be present—a precaution which he always thought desirable when large numbers of men are to be brought together. And, indeed, against beggars, and against all other inconveniences by which the pleasure of a festival can be disturbed, he had made effectual provision.

Edward and his confidante, on the contrary, were mainly occupied with their fireworks. They were to be let off on the side of the middle water in front of the great ash-tree. The party were to be collected on the opposite side, under the planes, that at a sufficient distance from the scene, in ease and safety, they might see them to the best effect, with the reflections on the water, the water-rockets, and floating-lights, and all the other designs.

Under some other pretext, Edward had the ground underneath the plane-trees cleared of bushes and grass and moss. And now first could be seen the beauty of their forms, together with their full height and spread, right up from the earth. He was delighted with them. It was just this very time of the year that he had planted them. How long ago could it have been? he asked himself. As soon as he got home he turned over the old diary books, which his father, especially when in the country, was very careful in keeping. He might not find an entry of this particular planting, but another important domestic matter, which Edward well remembered, and which had occurred on the same day, would surely be mentioned. He turned over a few volumes. The circumstances he was looking for was there. How amazed, how overjoyed he was, when he discovered the strangest coincidence! The day and the year on which he had planted those trees, was the very day, the very year, when Ottilie was born.


THE long-wished-for morning dawned at last on Edward; and very soon a number of guests arrived. They had sent out a large number of invitations, and many who had missed the laying of the foundation-stone, which was reported to have been so charming, were the more careful not to be absent on the second festivity.

Before dinner the carpenter's people appeared, with music, in the court of the castle. They bore an immense garland of flowers, composed of a number of single wreaths, winding in and out, one above the other; saluting the company, they made request, according to custom, for silk handkerchiefs and ribands, at the hands of the fair sex, with which to dress themselves out. When the castle party went into the dining-hall, they marched off singing and shouting, and after amusing themselves a while in the village, and coaxing many a riband out of the women there, old and young, they came at last, with crowds behind them and crowds expecting them, out upon the height where the park-house was now standing. After dinner, Charlotte rather held back her guests. She did not wish that there should be any solemn or formal procession, and they found their way in little parties, broken up, as they pleased, without rule or order, to the scene of action. Charlotte staid behind with Ottilie, and did not improve matters by doing so. For Ottilie being really the last that appeared, it seemed as if the trumpets and the clarionets had only been waiting for her, and as if the gaieties had been ordered to commence directly on her arrival.

To take off the rough appearance of the house, it had been hung with green boughs and flowers. They had dressed it out in an architectural fashion, according to a design of the Captain's; only that, without his knowledge, Edward had desired the Architect to work in the date upon the cornice in flowers, and this was necessarily permitted to remain. The Captain had arrived on the scene just in time to prevent Ottilie's name from figuring in splendor on the gable. The beginning, which had been made for this, he contrived to turn skilfully to some other use, and to get rid of such of the letters as had been already finished.

The garland was set up, and was to be seen far and wide about the country. The flags and the ribands fluttered gaily in the air; and a short oration was, the greater part of it, dispersed by the wind. The solemnity was at an end. There was now to be a dance on the smooth lawn in front of the building, which had been inclosed with boughs and branches. A gaily-dressed working mason took Edward up to a smart-looking girl of the village, and called himself upon Ottilie, who stood out with him. These two couples speedily found others to follow them, and Edward contrived pretty soon to change partners, catching Ottilie, and making the round with her. The younger part of the company joined merrily in the dance with the people, while the elder among them stood and looked on.

Then, before they broke up and walked about, an order was given that they should all collect again at sunset under the plane-trees. Edward was the first upon the spot, ordering everything, and making his arrangements with his valet, who was to be on the other side, in company with the firework-maker, managing his exhibition of the spectacle.

The Captain was far from satisfied at some of the preparations which he saw made; and he endeavored to get a word with Edward about the crush of spectators which was to be expected. But the latter, somewhat hastily, begged that he might be allowed to manage this part of the day's amusements himself.

The upper end of the embankment having been recently raised, was still far from compact. It had been staked, but there was no grass upon it, and the earth was uneven and insecure. The crowd pressed on, however, in great numbers. The sun went down, and the castle party was served with refreshments under the plane-trees, to pass the time till it should have become sufficiently dark. The place was approved of beyond measure, and they looked forward to a frequent enjoyment of the view over so lovely a sheet of water, on future occasions.

A calm evening, a perfect absence of wind, promised everything in favor of the spectacle, when suddenly loud and violent shrieks were heard. Large masses of the earth had given way on the edge of the embankment, and a number of people were precipitated into the water. The pressure from the throng had gone on increasing till at last it had become more than the newly laid soil would bear, and the bank had fallen in. Everybody wanted to obtain the best place, and now there was no getting either backward or forward.

People ran this and that way, more to see what was going on than to render assistance. What could be done when no one could reach the place?

The Captain, with a few determined persons, hurried down and drove the crowd off the embankment back upon the shore, in order that those who were really of service might have free room to move. One way or another they contrived to seize hold of such as were sinking; and with or without assistance all who had been in the water were got out safe upon the bank, with the exception of one boy, whose struggles in his fright, instead of bringing him nearer to the embankment, had only carried him further from it. His strength seemed to be failing—now only a hand was seen above the surface, and now a foot. By an unlucky chance the boat was on the opposite shore filled with fireworks—it was a long business to unload it, and help was slow in coming. The Captain's resolution was taken; he flung off his coat; all eyes were directed toward him, and his sturdy vigorous figure gave every one hope and confidence: but a cry of surprise rose out of the crowd as they saw him fling himself into the water—every eye watched him as the strong swimmer swiftly reached the boy, and bore him, although to appearance dead, to the embankment.

Now came up the boat. The Captain stepped in and examined whether there were any still missing, or whether they were all safe. The surgeon was speedily on the spot, and took charge of the inanimate boy. Charlotte joined them, and entreated the Captain to go now and take care of himself, to hurry back to the castle and change his clothes. He would not go, however, till persons on whose sense he could rely, who had been close to the spot at the time of the accident, and who had assisted in saving those who had fallen in, assured him that all were safe.

Charlotte saw him on his way to the house, and then she remembered that the wine and the tea, and everything else which he could want, had been locked up, for fear any of the servants should take advantage of the disorder of the holiday, as on such occasions they are too apt to do. She hurried through the scattered groups of her company, which were loitering about the plane-trees. Edward was there, talking to every one—beseeching every one to stay. He would give the signal directly, and the fireworks should begin. Charlotte went up to him, and entreated him to put off an amusement which was no longer in place, and which at the present moment no one could enjoy. She reminded him of what ought to be done for the boy who had been saved, and for his preserver.

"The surgeon will do whatever is right, no doubt," replied Edward. "He is provided with everything which he can want, and we should only be in the way if we crowded about him with our anxieties."

Charlotte persisted in her opinion, and made a sign to Ottilie, who at once prepared to retire with her. Edward seized her hand, and cried, "We will not end this day in a lazaretto. She is too good for a sister of mercy. Without us, I should think, the half-dead may wake, and the living dry themselves."

Charlotte did not answer, but went. Some followed her—others followed these: in the end, no one wished to be the last, and all followed. Edward and Ottilie found themselves alone under the plane-trees. He insisted that stay he would, earnestly, passionately, as she entreated him to go back with her to the castle. "No, Ottilie!" he cried; "the extraordinary is not brought to pass in the smooth common way—the wonderful accident of this evening brings us more speedily together. You are mine—I have often said it to you, and sworn it to you. We will not say it and swear it any more—we will make it BE."

The boat came over from the other side. The valet was in it—he asked, with some embarrassment, what his master wished to have done with the fireworks?

"Let them off!" Edward cried to him: "let them off! It was only for you that they were provided, Ottilie, and you shall be the only one to see them! Let me sit beside you, and enjoy them with you." Tenderly, timidly, he sat down at her side, without touching her.

Rockets went hissing up—cannon thundered—Roman candles shot out their blazing balls—squibs flashed and darted—wheels spun round, first singly, then in pairs, then all at once, faster and faster, one after the other, and more and more together. Edward, whose bosom was on fire, watched the blazing spectacle with eyes gleaming with delight; but Ottilie, with her delicate and nervous feelings, in all this noise and fitful blazing and flashing, found more to distress her than to please. She leant shrinking against Edward, and he, as she drew to him and clung to him, felt the delightful sense that she belonged entirely to him.

The night had scarcely reassumed its rights, when the moon rose and lighted their path as they walked back. A figure, with his hat in his hand, stepped across their way, and begged an alms of them—in the general holiday he said that he had been forgotten. The moon shone upon his face, and Edward recognized the features of the importunate beggar; but, happy as he then was, it was impossible for him to be angry with any one. He could not recollect that, especially for that particular day, begging had been forbidden under the heaviest penalties—he thrust his hand into his pocket, took the first coin which he found, and gave the fellow a piece of gold. His own happiness was so unbounded that he would have liked to share it with every one.

In the meantime all had gone well at the castle. The skill of the surgeon, everything which was required being ready at hand, Charlotte's assistance—all had worked together, and the boy was brought to life again. The guests dispersed, wishing to catch a glimpse or two of what was to be seen of the fireworks from the distance; and, after a scene of such confusion, were glad to get back to their own quiet homes.

The Captain also, after having rapidly changed his dress, had taken an active part in what required to be done. It was now all quiet again, and he found himself alone with Charlotte—gently and affectionately he now told her that his time for leaving them approached. She had gone through so much that evening, that this discovery made but a slight impression upon her—she had seen how her friend could sacrifice himself; how he had saved another, and had himself been saved. These strange incidents seemed to foretell an important future to her—but not an unhappy one.

Edward, who now entered with Ottilie, was informed at once of the impending departure of the Captain. He suspected that Charlotte had known longer how near it was; but he was far too much occupied with himself, and with his own plans, to take it amiss, or care about it.

On the contrary, he listened attentively, and with signs of pleasure, to the account of the excellent and honorable position in which the Captain was to be placed. The course of the future was hurried impetuously forward by his own secret wishes. Already he saw the Captain married to Charlotte, and himself married to Ottilie. It would have been the richest present which any one could have made him, on the occasion of the day's festival!

But how surprised was Ottilie, when, on going to her room, she found upon her table the beautiful box! Instantly she opened it; inside, all the things were so nicely packed and arranged that she did not venture to take them out; she scarcely even ventured to lift them. There were muslin, cambric, silk, shawls and lace, all rivalling one another in delicacy, beauty, and costliness—nor were ornaments forgotten. The intention had been, as she saw well, to furnish her with more than one complete suit of clothes but it was all so costly, so little like what she had been accustomed to, that she scarcely dared, even in thought, to believe it could be really for her.


The next morning the Captain had disappeared, having left a grateful, feeling letter addressed to his friends upon his table.


He and Charlotte had already taken a half leave of each other the evening before—she felt that the parting was for ever, and she resigned herself to it; for in the Count's second letter, which the Captain had at last shown to her, there was a hint of a prospect of an advantageous marriage, and, although he had paid no attention to it at all, she accepted it for as good as certain, and gave him up firmly and fully.

Now, therefore, she thought that she had a right to require of others the same control over themselves which she had exercised herself: it had not been impossible to her, and it ought not to be impossible to them. With this feeling she began the conversation with her husband; and she entered upon it the more openly and easily, from a sense that the question must now, once for all, be decisively set at rest.

"Our friend has left us," she said; "we are now once more together as we were—and it depends upon ourselves whether we choose to return altogether into our old position."

Edward, who heard nothing except what flattered his own passion, believed that Charlotte, in these words, was alluding to her previous widowed state, and, in a roundabout way, was making a suggestion for a separation; so that he answered, with a laugh, "Why not? all we want is to come to an understanding." But he found himself sorely enough undeceived, as Charlotte continued, "And we have now a choice of opportunities for placing Ottilie in another situation. Two openings have offered themselves for her, either of which will do very well. Either she can return to the school, as my daughter has left it and is with her great-aunt; or she can be received into a desirable family, where, as the companion of an only child, she will enjoy all the advantages of a solid education."

Edward, with a tolerably successful effort at commanding himself, replied, "Ottilie has been so much spoilt, by living so long with us here, that she will scarcely like to leave us now."

"We have all of us been too much spoilt," said Charlotte; "and yourself not least. This is an epoch which requires us seriously to bethink ourselves. It is a solemn warning to us to consider what is really for the good of all the members of our little circle—and we ourselves must not be afraid of making sacrifices."

"At any rate I cannot see that it is right that Ottilie should be made a sacrifice," replied Edward; "and that would be the case if we were now to allow her to be sent away among strangers. The Captain's good genius has sought him out here—we can feel easy, we can feel happy, at seeing him leave us; but who can tell what may be before Ottilie? There is no occasion for haste."

"What is before us is sufficiently clear," Charlotte answered, with some emotion; and as she was determined to have it all out at once, she went on: "You love Ottilie; every day you are becoming more attached to her. A reciprocal feeling is rising on her side as well, and feeding itself in the same way. Why should we not acknowledge in words what every hour makes obvious? and are we not to have the common prudence to ask ourselves in what it is to end?"

"We may not be able to find an answer on the moment," replied Edward, collecting himself; "but so much may be said, that if we cannot exactly tell what will come of it, we may resign ourselves to wait and see what the future may tell us about it."

"No great wisdom is required to prophesy here," answered Charlotte; "and, at any rate, we ought to feel that you and I are past the age when people may walk blindly where they should not or ought not to go. There is no one else to take care of us—we must be our own friends, our own managers. No one expects us to commit ourselves in an outrage upon decency: no one expects that we are going to expose ourselves to censure or to ridicule."

"How can you so mistake me?" said Edward, unable to reply to his wife's clear, open words. "Can you find it a fault in me, if I am anxious about Ottilie's happiness? I do not mean future happiness—no one can count on that—but what is present, palpable, and immediate. Consider, don't deceive yourself; consider frankly Ottilie's case, torn away from us, and sent to live among strangers. I, at least, am not cruel enough to propose such a change for her!"

Charlotte saw too clearly into her husband's intentions, through this disguise. For the first time she felt how far he had estranged himself from her. Her voice shook a little. "Will Ottilie be happy if she divides us?" she asked. "If she deprives me of a husband, and his children of a father!"

"Our children, I should have thought, were sufficiently provided for," said Edward, with a cold smile; adding, rather more kindly, "but why at once expect the very worst?"

"The very worst is too sure to follow this passion of yours," returned Charlotte; "do not refuse good advice while there is yet time; do not throw away the means which I propose to save us. In troubled cases those must work and help who see the clearest—this time it is I. Dear, dearest Edward! listen to me—can you propose to me that now at once I shall renounce my happiness! renounce my fairest rights! renounce you!"

"Who says that?" replied Edward, with some embarrassment.

"You, yourself," answered Charlotte; "in determining to keep Ottilie here, are you not acknowledging everything which must arise out of it? I will urge nothing on you—but if you cannot conquer yourself, at least you will not be able much longer to deceive yourself."

Edward felt how right she was. It is fearful to hear spoken out, in words, what the heart has gone on long permitting to itself in secret. To escape only for a moment, Edward answered, "It is not yet clear to me what you want."

"My intention," she replied, "was to talk over with you these two proposals—each of them has its advantages. The school would be best suited to her, as she now is; but the other situation is larger, and wider, and promises more, when I think what she may become." She then detailed to her husband circumstantially what would lie before Ottilie in each position, and concluded with the words, "For my own part I should prefer the lady's house to the school, for more reasons than one; but particularly because I should not like the affection, the love indeed, of the young man there, which Ottilie has gained, to increase."

Edward appeared to approve; but it was only to find some means of delay. Charlotte, who desired to commit him to a definite step, seized the opportunity, as Edward made no immediate opposition, to settle Ottilie's departure, for which she had already privately made all preparations, for the next day.

Edward shuddered—he thought he was betrayed. His wife's affectionate speech he fancied was an artfully contrived trick to separate him for ever from his happiness. He appeared to leave the thing entirely to her; but in his heart his resolution was already taken. To gain time to breathe, to put off the immediate intolerable misery of Ottilie's being sent away, he determined to leave his house. He told Charlotte he was going; but he had blinded her to his real reason, by telling her that he would not be present at Ottilie's departure; indeed, that, from that moment, he would see her no more. Charlotte, who believed that she had gained her point, approved most cordially. He ordered his horse, gave his valet the necessary directions what to pack up, and where he should follow him; and then, on the point of departure, he sat down and wrote:


"The misfortune, my love, which has befallen us, may or may not admit of remedy; only this I feel, that if I am not at once to be driven to despair, I must find some means of delay for myself, and for all of us. In making myself the sacrifice, I have a right to make a request. I am leaving my home, and I return to it only under happier and more peaceful auspices. While I am away, you keep possession of it—but with Ottilie. I choose to know that she is with you, and not among strangers. Take care of her; treat her as you have treated her—only more lovingly, more kindly, more tenderly! I promise that I will not attempt any secret intercourse with her. Leave me, as long a time as you please, without knowing anything about you. I will not allow myself to be anxious—nor need you be uneasy about me: only, with all my heart and soul, I beseech you, make no attempt to send Ottilie away, or to introduce her into any other situation. Beyond the circle of the castle and the park, placed in the hands of strangers, she belongs to me, and I will take possession of her! If you have any regard for my affection, for my wishes, for my sufferings, you will leave me alone to my madness; and if any hope of recovery from it should ever hereafter offer itself to me, I will not resist."

Thus last sentence ran off his pen—not out of his heart. Even when he saw it upon the paper, he began bitterly to weep. That he, under any circumstances, should renounce the happiness—even the wretchedness—of loving Ottilie! He only now began to feel what he was doing—he was going away without knowing what was to be the result. At any rate he was not to see her again now—with what certainty could he promise himself that he would ever see her again? But the letter was written—the horses were at the door; every moment he was afraid he might see Ottilie somewhere, and then his whole purpose would go to the winds. He collected himself—he remembered that, at any rate, he would be able to return at any moment he pleased; and that by his absence he would have advanced nearer to his wishes: on the other side, he pictured Ottilie to himself forced to leave the house if he stayed. He sealed the letter, ran down the steps, and sprang upon his horse.

As he rode past the hotel, he saw the beggar to whom he had given so much money the night before, sitting under the trees; the man was busy enjoying his dinner, and, as Edward passed, stood up, and made him the humblest obeisance. That figure had appeared to him yesterday, when Ottilie was on his arm; now it only served as a bitter reminiscence of the happiest hour of his life. His grief redoubled. The feeling of what he was leaving behind was intolerable. He looked again at the beggar. "Happy wretch!" he cried, "you can still feed upon the alms of yesterday—and I cannot any more on the happiness of yesterday!"


Ottilie heard some one ride away, and went to the window in time just to catch a sight of Edward's back. It was strange, she thought, that he should have left the house without seeing her, without having even wished her good morning. She grew uncomfortable, and her anxiety did not diminish when Charlotte took her out for a long walk, and talked of various other things; but not once, and apparently on purpose, mentioning her husband. When they returned she found the table laid with only two covers. It is unpleasant to miss even the most trifling thing to which we have been accustomed. In serious things such a loss becomes miserably painful. Edward and the Captain were not there. The first time, for a long while, Charlotte sat at the head of the table herself—and it seemed to Ottilie as if she was deposed. The two ladies sat opposite each other; Charlotte talked, without the least embarrassment, of the Captain and his appointment, and of the little hope there was of seeing him again for a long time. The only comfort Ottilie could find for herself was in the idea that Edward had ridden after his friend, to accompany him a part of his journey.

On rising from table, however, they saw Edward's traveling carriage under the window. Charlotte, a little as if she was put out, asked who had had it brought round there. She was told it was the valet, who had some things there to pack up. It required all Ottilie Is self-command to conceal her wonder and her distress.

The valet came in, and asked if they would be so good as to let him have a drinking cup of his master's, a pair of silver spoons, and a number of other things, which seemed to Ottilie to imply that he was gone some distance, and would be away for a long time.

Charlotte gave him a very cold, dry answer. She did not know what he meant—he had everything belonging to his master under his own care. What the man wanted was to speak a word to Ottilie, and on some pretence or other to get her out of the room; he made some clever excuse, and persisted in his request so far that Ottilie asked if she should go to look for the things for him? But Charlotte quietly said that she had better not. The valet had to depart, and the carriage rolled away.

It was a dreadful moment for Ottilie. She understood nothing—comprehended nothing. She could only feel that Edward had been parted from her for a long time. Charlotte felt for her situation, and left her to herself.

We will not attempt to describe what she went through, or how she wept. She suffered infinitely. She prayed that God would help her only over this one day. The day passed, and the night, and when she came to herself again she felt herself a changed being.

She had not grown composed. She was not resigned, but after having lost what she had lost, she was still alive, and there was still something for her to fear. Her anxiety, after returning to consciousness, was at once lest, now that the gentlemen were gone, she might be sent away too. She never guessed at Edward's threats, which had secured her remaining with her aunt. Yet Charlotte's manner served partially to reassure her. The latter exerted herself to find employment for the poor girl, and hardly ever,—never, if she could help it,—left her out of her sight; and although she knew well how little words can do against the power of passion, yet she knew, too, the sure though slow influence of thought and reflection, and therefore missed no opportunity of inducing Ottilie to talk with her on every variety of subject.

It was no little comfort to Ottilie when one day Charlotte took an opportunity of making (she did it on purpose) the wise observation, "How keenly grateful people were to us when we were able by stilling and calming them to help them out of the entanglements of passion! Let us set cheerfully to work," she said, "at what the men have left incomplete: we shall be preparing the most charming surprise for them when they return to us, and our temperate proceedings will have carried through and executed what their impatient natures would have spoilt."

"Speaking of temperance, my dear aunt, I cannot help saying how I am struck with the intemperance of men, particularly in respect of wine. It has often pained and distressed me, when I have observed how, for hours together, clearness of understanding, judgment, considerateness, and whatever is most amiable about them, will be utterly gone, and instead of the good which they might have done if they had been themselves, most disagreeable things sometimes threaten. How often may not wrong, rash determinations have arisen entirely from that one cause!"

Charlotte assented, but she did not go on with the subject. She saw only too clearly that it was Edward of whom Ottilie was thinking. It was not exactly habitual with him, but he allowed himself much more frequently than was at all desirable to stimulate his enjoyment and his power of talking and acting by such indulgence. If what Charlotte had just said had set Ottilie thinking again about men, and particularly about Edward, she was all the more struck and startled when her aunt began to speak of the impending marriage of the Captain as of a thing quite settled and acknowledged. This gave a totally different aspect to affairs from what Edward had previously led her to entertain. It made her watch every expression of Charlotte's, every hint, every action, every step. Ottilie had become jealous, sharp-eyed, and suspicious, without knowing it.

Meanwhile, Charlotte with her clear glance looked through the whole circumstances of their situation, and made arrangements which would provide, among other advantages, full employment for Ottilie. She contracted her household, not parsimoniously, but into narrower dimensions; and, indeed, in one point of view, these moral aberrations might be taken for a not unfortunate accident. For in the style in which they had been going on, they had fallen imperceptibly into extravagance; and from a want of seasonable reflection, from the rate at which they had been living, and from the variety of schemes into which they had been launching out, their fine fortune, which had been in excellent condition, had been shaken, if not seriously injured.

The improvements which were going on in the park she did not interfere with; she rather sought to advance whatever might form a basis for future operations. But here, too, she assigned herself a limit. Her husband on his return should still find abundance to amuse himself with.

In all this work she could not sufficiently value the assistance of the young architect. In a short time the lake lay stretched out under her eyes, its new shores turfed and planted with the most discriminating and excellent judgment. The rough work at the new house was all finished. Everything which was necessary to protect it from the weather she took care to see provided, and there for the present she allowed it to rest in a condition in which what remained to be done could hereafter be readily commenced again. Thus hour by hour she recovered her spirits and her cheerfulness. Ottilie only seemed to have done so. She was only for ever watching, in all that was said and done, for symptoms which might show her whether Edward would be soon returning: and this one thought was the only one in which she felt any interest.

It was, therefore, a very welcome proposal to her when it was suggested that they should get together the boys of the peasants, and employ them in keeping the park clean and neat. Edward had long entertained the idea. A pleasant—looking sort of uniform was made for them, which they were to put on in the evenings after they had been properly cleaned and washed. The wardrobe was kept in the castle; the more sensible and ready of the boys themselves were intrusted with the management of it—the Architect acting as chief director. In a very short time, the children acquired a kind of character. It was found easy to mold them into what was desired; and they went through their work not without a sort of manoeuvre. As they marched along, with their garden shears, their long-handled pruning-knives, their rakes, their little spades and hoes, and sweeping-brooms; others following after these with baskets to carry off the stones and rubbish; and others, last of all, trailing along the heavy iron roller—it was a thoroughly pretty, delightful procession. The Architect observed in it a beautiful series of situations and occupations to ornament the frieze of a garden-house. Ottilie, on the other hand, could see nothing in it but a kind of parade, to salute the master of the house on his near return.

And this stimulated her and made her wish to begin something of the sort herself. They had before endeavored to encourage the girls of the village in knitting, and sewing, and spinning, and whatever else women could do; and since what had been done for the improvement of the village itself, there had been a perceptible advance in these descriptions of industry. Ottilie had given what assistance was in her power, but she had given it at random, as opportunity or inclination prompted her; now she thought she—would go to work more satisfactorily and methodically. But a company is not to be formed out of a number of girls, as easily as out of a number of boys. She followed her own good sense, and,—without being exactly conscious of it, her efforts were solely directed toward connecting every girl as closely as possible each with her own home, her own parents, brothers and sisters: and she succeeded with many of them. One lively little creature only was incessantly complained of as showing no capacity for work, and as never likely to do anything if she were left at home.

Ottilie could not be angry with the girl, for to herself the little thing was especially attached—she clung to her, went after her, and ran about with her, whenever she was permitted—and then she would be active and cheerful and never tire. It appeared to be a necessity of the child's nature to hang about a beautiful mistress. At first, Ottilie allowed her to be her companion; then she herself began to feel a sort of affection for her; and, at last, they never parted at all, and Nanny attended her mistress wherever she went.

The latter's footsteps were often bent toward the garden, where she liked to watch the beautiful show of fruit. It was just the end of the raspberry and cherry season, the few remains of which were no little delight to Nanny. On the other trees there was a promise of a magnificent bearing for the autumn, and the gardener talked of nothing but his master and how he wished that he might be at home to enjoy it. Ottilie could listen to the good old man forever! He thoroughly understood his business; and Edward—Edward—Edward—was for ever the theme of his praise!

Ottilie observed how well all the grafts which had been budded in the spring had taken. "I only wish," the gardener answered, "my good master may come to enjoy them. If he were here this autumn, he would see what beautiful sorts there are in the old castle garden, which the late lord, his honored father, put there. I think the fruit-gardeners there are now don't succeed as well as the Carthusians used to do. We find many fine names in the catalogue, and then we bud from them, and bring up the shoots, and, at last, when they come to bear, it is not worth while to have such trees standing in our garden."

Over and over again, whenever the faithful old servant saw Ottilie, he asked when his master might be expected home; and when Ottilie had nothing to tell him, he would look vexed, and let her see in his manner that he thought she did not care to tell him: the sense of uncertainty which was thus forced upon her became painful beyond measure, and yet she could never be absent from these beds and borders. What she and Edward had sown and planted together were now in full flower, requiring no further care from her, except that Nanny should be at hand with the watering-pot; and who shall say with what sensations she watched the later flowers, which were just beginning to show, and which were to be in the bloom of their beauty on Edward's birthday, the holiday to which she had looked forward with such eagerness, when these flowers were to have expressed her affection and her gratitude to him! But the hopes which she had formed of that festival were dead now, and doubt and anxiety never ceased to haunt the soul of the poor girl.

Into real open, hearty understanding with Charlotte, there was no more a chance of her being able to return; for indeed, the position of these two ladies was very different. If things could remain in their old state—if it were possible that they could return again into the smooth, even way of calm, ordered life, Charlotte gained everything; she gained happiness for the present, and a happy future opened before her. On the other hand, for Ottilie all was lost—one may say, all; for she had first found in Edward what life and happiness meant; and, in her present position, she felt an infinite and dreary chasm of which before she could have formed no conception. A heart which seeks, feels well that it wants something; a heart which has lost, feels that something is gone—its yearning and its longing change into uneasy impatience—and a woman's spirit, which is accustomed to waiting and to enduring, must now pass out from its proper sphere, must become active and attempt and do something to make its own happiness. Ottilie had not given up Edward—how could she? Although Charlotte, wisely enough, in spite of her conviction to the contrary, assumed it as a thing of course, and resolutely took it as decided that a quiet rational regard was possible between her husband and Ottilie. How often, however, did not Ottilie remain at nights, after bolting herself into her room, on her knees before the open box, gazing at the birthday presents, of which as yet she had not touched a single thing—not cut out or made up a single dress! How often with the sunrise did the poor girl hurry out of the house, in which she once had found all her happiness, away into the free air, into the country which then had had no charms for her. Even on the solid earth she could not bear to stay; she would spring into the boat, row out into the middle of the lake, and there, drawing out some book of travels, lie rocked by the motion of the waves, reading and dreaming that she was far away, where she would never fail to find her friend—she remaining ever nearest to his heart, and he to hers.


It may easily be supposed that the strange, busy gentleman, whose acquaintance we have already made—Mittler—as soon as he received information of the disorder which had broken out among his friends, felt desirous, though neither side had as yet called on him for assistance, to fulfil a friend's part toward them, and do what he could to help them in their misfortune. He thought it advisable, however, to wait first a little while; knowing too well, as he did, that it was more difficult to come to the aid of cultivated persons in their moral perplexities, than of the uncultivated. He left them, therefore, for some time to themselves; but at last he could withhold no longer, and he hastened to seek out Edward, on whose traces he had already lighted. His road led him to a pleasant, pretty valley, with a range of green, sweetly-wooded meadows, down the centre of which ran a never-failing stream, sometimes winding slowly along, then tumbling and rushing among rocks and stones. The hills sloped gently up on either side, covered with rich corn-fields and well-kept orchards. The villages were at proper distances from one another. The whole had a peaceful character about it, and the detached scenes seemed designed expressly, if not for painting, at least for life.

At last a neatly kept farm, with a clean, modest dwelling-house, situated in the middle of a garden, fell under his eye. He conjectured that this was Edward's present abode; and he was not mistaken.

Of this our friend in his solitude we have only thus much to say—that in his seclusion he was resigning himself utterly to the feeling of his passion, thinking out plan after plan, and feeding himself with innumerable hopes. He could not deny that he longed to see Ottilie there; that he would like to carry her off there, to tempt her there; and whatever else (putting, as he now did, no check upon his thoughts) pleased to suggest itself, whether permitted or unpermitted. Then his imagination wandered up and down, picturing every sort of possibility. If he could not have her there, if he could not lawfully possess her, he would secure to her the possession of the property for her own. There she should live for herself, silently, independently; she should be happy in that spot—sometimes his self-torturing mood would lead him further—be happy in it, perhaps, with another.

So days flowed away in increasing oscillation between hope and suffering, between tears and happiness—between purposes, preparations, and despair. The sight of Mittler did not surprise him; he had long expected that he would come; and now that he did, he was partly welcome to him. He believed that he had been sent by Charlotte. He had prepared himself with all manner of excuses and delays; and if these would not serve, with decided refusals; or else, perhaps, he might hope to learn something of Ottilie—and then he would be as dear to him as a messenger from heaven.

Not a little vexed and annoyed was Edward, therefore, when he understood that Mittler had not come from the castle at all, but of his own free accord. His heart closed up, and at first the conversation would not open itself. Mittler, however, knew very well that a heart that is occupied with love has an urgent necessity to express itself—to pour out to a friend what is passing within it; and he allowed himself, therefore, after a few speeches backward and forward, for this once to go out of his character and play the confidant in place of the mediator. He had calculated justly. He had been finding fault in a good-natured way with Edward for burying himself in that lonely place, upon which Edward replied:

"I do not know how I could spend my time more agreeably. I am always occupied with her; I am always close to her. I have the inestimable comfort of being able to think where Ottilie is at each moment—where she is going, where she is standing, where she is reposing. I see her moving and acting before me as usual; ever doing or designing something which is to give me pleasure. But this will not always answer; for how can I be happy away from her? And then my fancy begins to work; I think what Ottilie should do to come to me; I write sweet, loving letters in her name to myself, and then I answer them, and keep the sheets together. I have promised that I will take no steps to seek her; and that promise I will keep. But what binds her that she should make no advances to me I Has Charlotte had the barbarity to exact a promise, to exact an oath from her, not to write to me, not to send me a word, a hint, about herself? Very likely she has. It is only natural; and yet to me it is monstrous, it is horrible. If she loves me—as I think, as I know that she does—why does she not resolve, why does she not venture to fly to me, and throw herself into my arms? I often think she ought to do it; and she could do it. If I ever hear a noise in the hall, I look toward the door. It must be her—she is coming—I look up to see her. Alas! because the possible is impossible, I let myself imagine that the impossible must become possible. At night, when I lie awake, and the lamp flings an uncertain light about the room, her form, her spirit, a sense of her presence, sweeps over me, approaches me, seizes me. It is but for a moment; it is that I may have an assurance that she is thinking of me, that she is mine. Only one pleasure remains to me. When I was with her I never dreamt of her; now when I am far away, and, oddly enough, since I have made the acquaintance of other attractive persons in this neighborhood, for the first time her figure appears to me in my dreams, as if she would say to me, 'Look on them, and on me. You will find none more beautiful, more lovely than I.' And so she is present in every dream I have. In whatever happens to me with her, we are woven in and in together. Now we are subscribing a contract together. There is her hand, and there is mine; there is her name, and there is mine; and they move one into the other, and seem to devour each other. Sometimes she does something which injures the pure idea which I have of her; and then I feel how intensely I love her, by the indescribable anguish which it causes me. Again, unlike herself, she will rally and vex me; and then at once the figure changes—her sweet, round, heavenly face draws out; it is not she, it is another; but I lie vexed, dissatisfied and wretched. Laugh not, dear Mittler, or laugh on as you will. I am not ashamed of this attachment, of this—if you please to call it so—foolish, frantic passion. No, I never loved before. It is only now that I know what to love means. Till now, what I have called life was nothing but its prelude—amusement, sport to kill the time with. I never lived till I knew her, till I loved her—entirely and only loved her. People have often said of me, not to my face, but behind my back, that in most things I was but a botcher and a bungler. It may be so; for I had not then found in what I could show myself a master. I should like to see the man who outdoes me in the talent of love. A miserable life it is, full of anguish and tears; but it is so natural, so dear to me, that I could hardly change it for another."

Edward had relieved himself slightly by this violent unloading of his heart. But in doing so every feature of his strange condition had been brought out so clearly before his eyes that, overpowered by the pain of the struggle, he burst into tears, which flowed all the more freely as his heart had been made weak by telling it all.

Mittler, who was the less disposed to put a check on his inexorable good sense and strong, vigorous feeling, because by this violent outbreak of passion on Edward's part he saw himself driven far from the purpose of his coming, showed sufficiently decided marks of his disapprobation. Edward should act as a man, he said; he should remember what he owed to himself as a man. He should not forget that the highest honor was to command ourselves in misfortune; to bear pain, if it must be so, with equanimity and self-collectedness. That was what we should do, if we wished to be valued and looked up to as examples of what was right.

Stirred and penetrated as Edward was with the bitterest feelings, words like these could but have a hollow, worthless sound.

"It is well," he cried, "for the man who is happy, who has all that he desires, to talk; but he would be ashamed of it if he could see how intolerable it was to the sufferer. Nothing short of an infinite endurance would be enough, and easy and contented as he was, what could he know of an infinite agony? There are cases," he continued, "yes, there are, where comfort is a lie, and despair is a duty. Go, heap your scorn upon the noble Greek, who well knows how to delineate heroes, when in their anguish he lets those heroes weep. He has even a proverb, 'Men who can weep are good.' Leave me, all you with dry heart and dry eye. Curses on the happy, to whom the wretched serve but for a spectacle. When body and soul are torn in pieces with agony, they are to bear it—yes, to be noble and bear it, if they are to be allowed to go off the scene with applause. Like the gladiators, they must die gracefully before the eyes of the multitude. My dear Mittler, I thank you for your visit; but really you would oblige me much, if you would go out and look about you in the garden. We will meet again. I will try to compose myself, and become more like you."

Mittler was unwilling to let a conversation drop which it might be difficult to begin again, and still persevered. Edward, too, was quite ready to go on with it; besides that of itself, it was tending toward the issue which he desired.

"Indeed," said the latter, "This thinking and arguing backward and forward leads to nothing. In this very conversation I myself have first come to understand myself; I have first felt decided as to what I must make up my mind to do. My present and my future life I see before me; I have to choose only between misery and happiness. Do you, my best friend, bring about the separation which must take place, which, in fact, is already made; gain Charlotte's consent for me. I will not enter upon the reasons why I believe there will be the less difficulty in prevailing upon her. You, my dear friend, must go. Go, and give us all peace; make us all happy."

Mittler hesitated. Edward continued:

"My fate and Ottilie's cannot be divided, and shall not be shipwrecked. Look at this glass; our initials are engraved upon it. A gay reveller flung it into the air, that no one should drink of it more. It was to fall on the rock and be dashed to pieces; but it did not fall; it was caught. At a high price I bought it back, and now I drink out of it daily—to convince myself that the connection between us cannot be broken; that destiny has decided."

"Alas! alas!" cried Mittler, "what must I not endure with my friends? Here comes superstition, which of all things I hate the worse—the most mischievous and accursed of all the plagues of mankind. We trifle with prophecies, with forebodings, and dreams, and give a seriousness to our every-day life with them; but when the seriousness of life itself begins to show, when everything around us is heaving and rolling, then come in these spectres to make the storm more terrible."

"In this uncertainty of life," cried Edward, "poised as it is between hope and fear, leave the poor heart its guiding-star. It may gaze toward it, if it cannot steer toward it."

"Yes, I might leave it; and it would be very well," replied Mittler, "if there were but one consequence to expect; but I have always found that nobody will attend to symptoms of warning. Man cares for nothing except what flatters him and promises him fair; and his faith is alive exclusively for the sunny side."

Mittler, finding himself carried off into the shadowy regions, in which the longer he remained the more uncomfortable he always felt, was the more ready to assent to Edward's eager wish that he should go to Charlotte. Indeed, if he stayed, what was there further which at that moment he could urge on Edward? To gain time, to inquire in what state things were with the ladies, was the best thing which even he himself could suggest as at present possible.

He hastened to Charlotte, whom he found as usual, calm and in good spirits. She told him readily of everything which had occurred; for from what Edward had said he had only been able to gather the effects. On his own side, he felt his way with the utmost caution. He could not prevail upon himself even cursorily to mention the word separation. It was a surprise, indeed, to him, but from his point of view an unspeakably delightful one, when Charlotte, at the end of a number of unpleasant things, finished with saying:

"I must believe, I must hope, that things will all work round again, and that Edward will return to me. How can it be otherwise as soon as I become a mother?"

"Do I understand you right?" returned Mittler.

"Perfectly," Charlotte answered.

"A thousand times blessed be this news!" he cried, clasping his hands together. "I know the strength of this argument on the mind of a man. Many a marriage have I seen first cemented by it, and restored again when broken. Such a good hope as this is worth more than a thousand words. Now indeed it is the best hope which we can have. For myself, though," he continued, "I have all reason to be vexed about it. In this case I can see clearly no self-love of mine will be flattered. I shall earn no thanks from you by my services; I am in the same case as a certain medical friend of mine, who succeeds in all cures which he undertakes with the poor for the love of God; but can seldom do anything for the rich who will pay him. Here, thank God, the thing cures itself, after all my talking and trying had proved fruitless."

Charlotte now asked him if he would carry the news to Edward: if he would take a letter to him from her, and then see what should be done. But he declined undertaking this. "All is done," he cried; "do you write your letter—any messenger will do as well as I—I will come back to wish you joy. I will come to the christening!"

For this refusal she was vexed with him—as she frequently was. His eager, impetuous character brought about much good; but his over-haste was the occasion of many a failure. No one was more dependent than he on the impressions which he formed on the moment. Charlotte's messenger came to Edward, who received him half in terror. The letter was to decide his fate, and it might as well contain No as Yes. He did not venture, for a long time, to open it. At last he tore off the cover, and stood petrified at the following passage, with which it concluded:

"Remember the night-adventure when you visited your wife as a lover—how you drew her to you, and clasped her as a well-beloved bride in your arms. In this strange accident let us revere the providence of heaven, which has woven a new link to bind us, at the moment when the happiness of our lives was threatening to fall asunder and to vanish."

What passed from that moment in Edward's soul it would be difficult to describe! Under the weight of such a stroke, old habits and fancies come out again to assist to kill the time and fill up the chasms of life. Hunting and fighting are an ever-ready resource of this kind for a nobleman; Edward longed for some outward peril, as a counterbalance to the storm within him. He craved for death, because the burden of life threatened to become too heavy for him to bear. It comforted him to think that he would soon cease to be, and so would make those whom he loved happy by his departure.

No one made any difficulty in his doing what he purposed—because he kept his intention a secret. He made his will with all due formalities. It gave him a very sweet feeling to secure Ottilie's fortune—provision was made for Charlotte, for the unborn child, for the Captain, and for the servants. The war, which had again broken out, favored his wishes: he had disliked exceedingly the half-soldiering which had fallen to him in his youth, and that was the reason why he had left the service. Now it gave him a fine exhilarating feeling to be able to rejoin it under a commander of whom it could be said that, under his conduct, death was likely and victory was sure.

Ottilie, when Charlotte's secret was made known to her, bewildered by it, like Edward, and more than he, retired into herself—she had nothing further to say: hope she could not, and wish she dared not. A glimpse into what was passing in her we can gather from her Diary, some passages of which we think to communicate.

There often happens to us in common life what, in an epic poem, we are accustomed to praise as a stroke of art in the poet; namely, that when the chief figures go off the scene, conceal themselves or retire into inactivity, some other or others, whom hitherto we have scarcely observed, come forward and fill their places. And these putting out all their force, at once fix our attention and sympathy on themselves, and earn our praise and admiration.

Thus, after the Captain and Edward were gone, the Architect, of whom we have spoken, appeared every day a more important person. The ordering and executing of a number of undertakings depended entirely upon him, and he proved himself thoroughly understanding and businesslike in the style in which he went to work; while in a number of other ways he was able also to make himself of assistance to the ladies, and find amusement for their weary hours. His outward air and appearance were of the kind which win confidence and awake affection. A youth in the full sense of the word, well-formed, tall, perhaps a little too stout; modest without being timid, and easy without being obtrusive, there was no work and no trouble which he was not delighted to take upon himself; and as he could keep accounts with great facility, the whole economy of the household soon was no secret to him, and everywhere his salutary influence made itself felt. Any stranger who came he was commonly set to entertain, and he was skilful either at declining unexpected visits, or at least so far preparing the ladies for them as to spare them any disagreeableness.

Among others, he had one day no little trouble with a young lawyer, who had been sent by a neighboring nobleman to speak about a matter which, although of no particular moment, yet touched Charlotte to the quick. We have to mention this incident because it gave occasion for a number of things which otherwise might perhaps have remained long untouched.

We remember certain alterations which Charlotte had made in the churchyard. The entire body of the monuments had been removed from their places, and had been ranged along the walls of the church, leaning against the string-course. The remaining space had been levelled, except a broad walk which led up to the church, and past it to the opposite gate; and it had been all sown with various kinds of trefoil, which had shot up and flowered most beautifully.

The new graves were to follow one after another in a regular order from the end, but the spot on each occasion was to be carefully smoothed over and again sown. No one could deny that on Sundays and holidays when the people went to church the change had given it a most cheerful and pleasant appearance. At the same time the clergyman, an old man and clinging to old customs, who at first had not been especially pleased with the alteration, had become thoroughly delighted with it, all the more because when he sat out like Philemon with his Baucis under the old linden trees at his back door, instead of the humps and mounds he had a beautiful clean lawn to look out upon; and which, moreover, Charlotte having secured the use of the spot to the Parsonage, was no little convenience to his household.

Notwithstanding this, however, many members of the congregation had been displeased that the means of marking the spots where their forefathers rested had been removed, and all memorials of them thereby obliterated. However well preserved the monuments might be, they could only show who had been buried, but not where he had been buried, and the where, as many maintained, was everything.

Of this opinion was a family in the neighborhood, who for many years had been in possession of a considerable vault for a general resting-place of themselves and their relations, and in consequence had settled a small annual sum for the use of the church. And now this young lawyer had been sent to cancel this settlement, and to show that his client did not intend to pay it any more, because the conditions under which it had been hitherto made had not been observed by the other party, and no regard had been paid to objection and remonstrance. Charlotte, who was the originator of the alteration herself, chose to speak to the young man, who in a decided though not a violent manner, laid down the grounds on which his client proceeded, and gave occasion in what he said for much serious reflection.

"You see," he said, after a slight introduction, in which he sought to justify his peremptoriness; "you see, it is right for the lowest as well as for the highest to mark the spot which holds those who are dearest to him. The poorest, peasant, who buries a child, finds it some consolation to plant a light wooden cross upon the grave, and hang a garland upon it, to keep alive the memorial, at least as long as the sorrow remains; although such a mark, like the mourning, will pass away with time. Those better off change the cross of wood into iron, and fix it down and guard it in various ways; and here we have endurance for many years. But because this too will sink at last, and become invisible, those who are able to bear the expense see nothing fitter than to raise a stone which shall promise to endure for generations, and which can be restored and made fresh again by posterity. Yet this stone it is not which attracts us; it is that which is contained beneath it, which is intrusted, where it stands, to the earth. It is not the memorial so much of which we speak, as of the person himself; not of what once was, but of what is. Far better, far more closely, can I embrace some dear departed one in the mound which rises over his bed, than in a monumental writing which only tells us that once he was. In itself, indeed, it is but little; but around it, as around a central mark, the wife, the husband, the kinsman, the friend, after their departure, shall gather in again; and the living shall have the right to keep far off all strangers and evil-wishers from the side of the dear one who is sleeping there. And, therefore, I hold it quite fair and fitting that my principal shall withdraw his grant to you. It is, indeed, but too reasonable that he should do it, for the members of his family are injured in a way for which no compensation could be even proposed. They are deprived of the sad sweet feelings of laying offerings on the remains of their dead, and of the one comfort in their sorrow of one day lying down at their side."

"The matter is not of that importance," Charlotte answered, "that we should disquiet ourselves about it with the vexation of a lawsuit. I regret so little what I have done, that I will gladly myself indemnify the church for what it loses through you. Only I must confess candidly to you, your arguments have not convinced me; the pure feeling of an universal equality at last, after death, seems to me more composing than this hard determined persistence in our personalities and in the conditions and circumstances of our lives. What do you say to it?" she added, turning to the Architect.

"It is not for me," replied he, "either to argue, or to attempt to judge in such a case. Let me venture, however, to say what my own art and my own habits of thinking suggest to me. Since we are no longer so happy as to be able to press to our breasts the in-urned remains of those we have loved; since we are neither wealthy enough nor of cheerful heart enough to preserve them undecayed in large elaborate sarcophagi; since, indeed, we cannot even find place any more for ourselves and ours in the churches, and are banished out into the open air, we all, I think, ought to approve the method which you, my gracious lady, have introduced. If the members of a common congregation are laid out side by side, they are resting by the side of, and among their kindred; and, if the earth be once to receive us all, I can find nothing more natural or more desirable than that the mounds, which, if they are thrown up, are sure to sink slowly in again together, should be smoothed off at once, and the covering, which all bear alike, will press lighter upon each."

"And is it all, is it all to pass away," asked Ottilie, "without one token of remembrance, without anything to call back the past?"

"By no means," continued the Architect; "it is not from remembrance, it is from place that men should be set free. The architect, the sculptor, are highly interested that men should look to their art—to their hand, for a continuance of their being; and, therefore, I should wish to see well-designed, well-executed monuments; not sown up and down by themselves at random, but erected all in a single spot, where they can promise themselves endurance. Inasmuch as even the good and the great are contented to surrender the privilege of resting in person in the churches, we may, at least, erect there or in some fair hall near the burying place, either monuments or monumental writings. A thousand forms might be suggested for them, and a thousand ornaments with which they might be decorated."

"If the artists are so rich," replied Charlotte, "then tell me how it is that they are never able to escape from little obelisks, dwarf pillars, and urns for ashes? Instead of your thousand forms of which you boast, I have never seen anything but a thousand repetitions."

"It is very generally so with us," returned the Architect, "but it is not universal; and very likely the right taste and the proper application of it may be a peculiar art. In this case especially we have this great difficulty, that the monument must be something cheerful and yet commemorate a solemn subject; while its matter is melancholy, it must not itself be melancholy. As regards designs for monuments of all kinds, I have collected numbers of them, and I will take some opportunity of showing them to you; but at all times the fairest memorial of a man remains some likeness of himself. This better than anything else, will give a notion of what he was; it is the best text for many or for few notes, only it ought to be made when he is at his best age, and that is generally neglected; no one thinks of preserving forms while they are alive, and if it is done at all, it is done carelessly and incompletely; and then comes death; a cast is taken swiftly of the face; this mask is set upon a block of stone, and that is what is called a bust. How seldom is the artist in a position to put any real life into such things as these!"

"You have contrived," said Charlotte, "without perhaps knowing it or wishing it, to lead the conversation altogether in my favor. The likeness of a man is quite independent; everywhere that it stands, it stands for itself, and we do not require it to mark the site of a particular grave. But I must acknowledge to you to having a strange feeling; even to likenesses I have a kind of disinclination. Whenever I see them they seem to be silently reproaching me. They point to something far away from us—gone from us; and they remind me how difficult it is to pay right honor to the present. If we think how many people we have seen and known, and consider how little we have been to them and how little they have been to us, it is no very pleasant reflection. We have met a man of genius without having enjoyed much with him—a learned man without having learnt from him—a traveler without having been instructed,—a man to love without having shown him any kindness.

"And, unhappily, this is not the case only with accidental meetings. Societies and families behave in the same way toward their dearest members, towns toward their worthiest citizens, people toward their most admirable princes, nations toward their most distinguished men.

"I have heard it asked why we heard nothing but good spoken of the dead, while of the living it is never without some exception. It should be answered, because from the former we have nothing any more to fear, while the latter may still, here or there, fall in our way. So unreal is our anxiety to preserve the memory of others—generally no more than a mere selfish amusement; and the real, holy, earnest feeling would be what should prompt us to be more diligent and assiduous in our attentions toward those who still are left to us."


Under the stimulus of this accident, and of the conversations which arose out of it, they went the following day to look over the burying-place, for the ornamenting of which and relieving it in some degree of its sombre look, the Architect made many a happy proposal. His interest too had to extend itself to the church as well; a building which had caught his attention from the moment of his arrival.

It had been standing for many centuries, built in old German style, the proportions good, the decorating elaborate and excellent; and one might easily gather that the architect of the neighboring monastery had left the stamp of his art and of his love on this smaller building also; it worked on the beholder with a solemnity and a sweetness, although the change in its internal arrangements for the Protestant service had taken from it something of its repose and majesty.

The Architect found no great difficulty in prevailing on Charlotte to give him a considerable sum of money to restore it externally and internally, in the original spirit, and thus, as he thought, to bring it into harmony with the resurrection-field which lay in front of it. He had himself much practical skill, and a few laborers who were still busy at the lodge might easily be kept together, until this pious work too should be completed.

The building itself, therefore, with all its environs, and whatever was attached to it, was now carefully and thoroughly examined; and then showed itself, to the greatest surprise and delight of the Architect, a little side chapel, which nobody had thought of, beautifully and delicately proportioned, and displaying still greater care and pains in its decoration. It contained at the same time many remnants, carved and painted, of the implements used in the old services, when the different festivals were distinguished by a variety of pictures and ceremonies, and each was celebrated in its own peculiar style.

It was impossible for him not at once to take this chapel into his plan; and he determined to bestow especial pains on the restoring of this little spot, as a memorial of old times and of their taste. He saw exactly how he would like to have the vacant surfaces of the walls ornamented, and delighted himself with the prospect, of exercising his talent for painting upon them; but of this, at first, he made a secret to the rest of the party.

Before doing anything else, he fulfilled his promise of showing the ladies the various imitations of, and designs from, old monuments, vases, and other such things which he had made, and when they came to speak of the simple barrow-sepulchres of the northern nations, he brought a collection of weapons and implements which had been found in them. He had got them exceedingly nicely and conveniently arranged in drawers and compartments, laid on boards cut to fit them, and covered over with cloth; so that these solemn old things, in the way he treated them, had a smart dressy appearance, and it was like looking into the box of a trinket merchant.

Having once begun to show his curiosities, and finding them prove serviceable to entertain our friends in their loneliness, every evening he would produce one or other of his treasures. They were most of them of German origin—pieces of metal, old coins, seals, and such like. All these things directed the imagination back upon old times; and when at last they came to amuse themselves with the first specimens of printing, woodcuts, and the earliest copper-plate engraving, and when the church, in the same spirit, was growing out, every day, more and more in form and color like the past, they had almost to ask themselves whether they really were living in a modern time, whether it were not a dream, that manners, customs, modes of life, and convictions were all really so changed.

After such preparation, a great portfolio, which at last he produced, had the best possible effect. It contained indeed principally only outlines and figures, but as these had been traced upon original pictures, they retained perfectly their ancient character, and most captivating indeed this character was to the spectators. All the figures breathed only the purest feeling; every one, if not noble, at any rate was good; cheerful composure, ready recognition of One above us, to whom all reverence is due; silent devotion, in love and tranquil expectation, was expressed on every face, on every gesture. The old bald-headed man, the curly-pated boy, the light-hearted youth, the earnest man, the glorified saint, the angel hovering in the air, all seemed happy in an innocent, satisfied, pious expectation. The commonest object had a trait of celestial life; and every nature seemed adapted to the service of God, and to be, in some way or other, employed upon it.

Toward such a region most of them gazed as toward a vanished golden age, or on some lost paradise; only perhaps Ottilie had a chance of finding herself among beings of her own nature. Who could offer any proposition when the Architect asked to be allowed to paint the spaces between the arches and the walls of the chapel in the style of these old pictures and thereby leave his own distinct memorial at a place where life had gone so pleasantly with him?

He spoke of it with some sadness, for he could see, in the state in which things were, that his sojourn in such delightful society could not last forever; indeed, that perhaps it would now soon be ended.

For the rest, these days were not rich in incidents; yet full of occasion for serious entertainment. We therefore take the opportunity of communicating something of the remarks which Ottilie noted down among her manuscripts, to which we cannot find a fitter transition than through a simile which suggested itself to us on contemplating her exquisite pages.

There is, we are told, a curious contrivance in the service of the English marine. The ropes in use in the royal navy, from the largest to the smallest, are so twisted that a red thread runs through them from end to end, which cannot be extracted without undoing the whole; and by which the smallest pieces may be recognized as belonging to the crown.

Just so is there drawn through Ottilie Is diary, a thread of attachment and affection which connects it all together, and characterizes the whole. And thus these remarks, these observations, these extracted sentences, and whatever else it may contain, were, to the writer, of peculiar meaning. Even the few separate pieces which we select and transcribe will sufficiently explain our meaning.


"To rest hereafter at the side of those whom we love is the most delightful thought which man can have when once he looks out beyond the boundary of life. What a sweet expression is that—'He was gathered to his fathers!'"

"Of the various memorials and tokens which bring nearer to us the distant and the separated—none is so satisfactory as a picture. To sit and talk to a beloved picture, even though it be unlike, has a charm in it, like the charm which there sometimes is in quarrelling with a friend. We feel, in a strange sweet way, that we are divided and yet cannot separate."

"We entertain ourselves often with a present person as with a picture. He need not speak to us, he need not look at us, or take any notice of us; we look at him, we feel the relation in which we stand to him; such relation can even grow without his doing anything toward it, without his having any feeling of it: he is to us exactly as a picture."

"One is never satisfied with a portrait of a person that one knows. I have always felt for the portrait-painter on this account. One so seldom requires of people what is impossible, and of them we do really require what is impossible; they must gather up into their picture the relation of every body to its subject, all their likings and all dislikings; they must not only paint a man as they see him, but as every one else sees him. It does not surprise me if such artists become by degrees stunted, indifferent, and of but one idea; and indeed it would not matter what came of it, if it were not that in consequence we have to go without the pictures of so many persons near and dear to us."

"It is too true, the Architect's collection of weapons and old implements, which were found with the bodies of their owners, covered in with great hills of earth and rock, proves to us how useless is man's so great anxiety to preserve his personality after he is dead; and so inconsistent people are, the Architect confesses to have himself opened these barrows of his forefathers, and yet goes on occupying himself with memorials for posterity."

"But after all why should we take it so much to heart? Is all that we do, done for eternity? Do we not put on our dress in the morning, to throw it off again at night? Do we not go abroad to return home again? And why should we not wish to rest by the side of our friends, though it were but for a century?"

"When we see the many gravestones which have fallen in, which have been defaced by the footsteps of the congregation, which lie buried under the ruins of the churches, that have themselves crumbled together over them, we may fancy the life after death to be as a second life, into which a man enters in the figure, or the picture, or the inscription, and lives longer there than when he was really alive. But this figure also, this second existence, dies out too, sooner or later. Time will not allow himself to be cheated of his rights with the monuments of men or with themselves."

It causes us so agreeable a sensation to occupy ourselves with what we can only half do, that no person ought to find fault with the dilettante, when he is spending his time over an art which he can never learn; nor blame the artist if he chooses to pass out over the border of his own art, and amuse himself in some neighboring field. With such complacency of feeling we regard the preparation of the Architect for painting the chapel. The colors were got ready, the measurements taken, the cartoons designed. He had made no attempt at originality, but kept close to his outlines; his only care was to make a proper distribution of the sitting and floating figures, so as tastefully to ornament his space with them.

The scaffoldings were erected. The work went forward; and as soon as anything had been done on which the eye could rest, he could have no objection to Charlotte and Ottilie coming to see how he was getting on.

The life-like faces of the angels, their robes waving against the blue sky-ground, delighted the eye, while their still and holy air calmed and composed the spirit, and produced the most delicate effect.

The ladies ascended the scaffolding to him, and Ottilie had scarcely observed how easily and regularly the work was being done when the power which had been fostered in her by her early education at once appeared to develop. She took a brush, and with a few words of direction, painted a richly folding robe, with as much delicacy as skill.

Charlotte, who was always glad when Ottilie would occupy or amuse herself with anything, left them both in the chapel, and went to follow the train of her own thoughts, and work her way for herself through her cares and anxieties which she was unable to communicate to a creature.

When ordinary men allow themselves to be worked up by common every-day difficulties into fever-fits of passion, we can give them nothing but a compassionate smile. But we look with a kind of awe on a spirit in which the seed of a great destiny has been sown, which must abide the unfolding of the germ, and neither dare nor can do anything to precipitate either the good or the ill, either the happiness or the misery, which is to arise out of it.

Edward had sent an answer by Charlotte's messenger, who had come to him in his solitude. It was written with kindness and interest, but it was rather composed and serious than warm and affectionate. He had vanished almost immediately after, and Charlotte could learn no news about him; till at last she accidentally found his name in the newspaper, where he was mentioned with honor among those who had most distinguished themselves in a late important engagement. She now understood the method which he had taken; she perceived that he had escaped from great danger; only she was convinced at the same time that he would seek out greater; and it was all too clear to her that in every sense he would hardly be withheld from any extremity.

She had to bear about this perpetual anxiety in her thoughts, and turn which way she would, there was no light in which she could look at it that would give her comfort.

Ottilie, never dreaming of anything of this, had taken to the work in the chapel with the greatest interest, and she had easily obtained Charlotte's permission to go on with it regularly. So now all went swiftly forward, and the azure heaven was soon peopled with worthy inhabitants. By continual practice both Ottilie and the Architect had gained more freedom with the last figures; they became perceptibly better. The faces, too, which had been all left to the Architect to paint, showed by degrees a very singular peculiarly. They began all of them to resemble Ottilie. The neighborhood of the beautiful girl had made so strong an impression on the soul of the young man, who had no variety of faces preconceived in his mind, that by degrees, on the way from the eye to the hand, nothing was lost, and both worked in exact harmony together. Enough; one of the last faces succeeded perfectly; so that it seemed as if Ottilie herself was looking down out of the spaces of the sky.

They had finished with the arching of the ceiling. The walls they proposed to leave plain, and only to cover them over with a bright brown color. The delicate pillars and the quaintly molded ornaments were to be distinguished from them by a dark shade. But as in such things one thing ever leads on to another, they determined at least on having festoons of flowers and fruit, which should, as it were, unite heaven and earth. Here Ottilie was in her element. The gardens provided the most perfect patterns; and although the wreaths were as rich as they could make them, it was all finished sooner than they had supposed possible.

It was still looking rough and disorderly. The scaffolding poles had been run together, the planks thrown one on the top of the other; the uneven pavement was yet more disfigured by the parti-colored stains of the paint which had been spilt over it.

The Architect begged that the ladies would give him a week to himself, and during that time would not enter the chapel; at the end of it, one fine evening, he came to them, and begged them both to go and see it. He did not wish to accompany them, he said, and at once took his leave.

"Whatever surprise he may have designed for us," said Charlotte, as soon as he was gone, "I cannot myself just now go down there. You can go by yourself, and tell me all about it. No doubt he has been doing something which we shall like. I will enjoy it first in your description, and afterwards it will be the more charming in the reality."

Ottilie, who knew well that in many cases Charlotte took care to avoid everything which could produce emotion, and particularly disliked to be surprised, set off down the walk by herself and looked round involuntarily for the Architect, who, however, was nowhere to be seen and must have concealed himself somewhere. She walked into the church, which she found open. This had been finished before; it had been cleaned up, and service had been performed in it. She went on to the chapel door; its heavy mass, all overlaid with iron, yielded easily to her touch, and she found an unexpected sight in a familiar spot.

A solemn, beautiful light streamed in through the one tall window. It was filled with stained glass, gracefully put together. The entire chapel had thus received a strange tone, and a peculiar genius was thrown over it. The beauty of the vaulted ceiling and the walls was set off by the elegance of the pavement, which was composed of peculiarly shaped tiles, fastened together with gypsum, and forming exquisite patterns as they lay. This and the colored glass for the windows the Architect had prepared without their knowledge, and a short time was sufficient to have it put in its place.

Seats had been provided as well. Among the relics of the old church some finely carved chancel chairs had been discovered, which now were standing about at convenient places along the walls.

The parts which she knew so well now meeting her as an unfamiliar whole, delighted Ottilie. She stood still, walked up and down, looked and looked again; at last she seated herself in one of the chairs, and it seemed, as she gazed up and down, as if she was, and yet was not—as if she felt and did not feel—as if all this would vanish from before her, and she would vanish from herself; and it was only when the sun left the window, on which before it had been shining full, that she awoke to possession of herself and hastened back to the castle.

She did not hide from herself the strange epoch at which this surprise had occurred to her. It was the evening of Edward's birthday. Very differently she had hoped to keep it. How was not every thing to be dressed out for this festival and now all the splendor of the autumn flowers remained ungathered! Those sunflowers still turned their faces to the sky; those asters still looked out with quiet, modest eye; and whatever of them all had been wound into wreaths had served as patterns for the decorating a spot which, if it was not to remain a mere artist's fancy, was only adapted as a general mausoleum.

And then she had to remember the impetuous eagerness with which Edward had kept her birthday-feast. She. thought of the newly erected lodge, under the roof of which they had promised themselves so much enjoyment. The fireworks flashed and hissed again before her eyes and ears; the more lonely she was, the more keenly her imagination brought it all before her. But she felt herself only the more alone. She no longer leant upon his arm, and she had no hope ever any more to rest herself upon it.


"I have been struck with an observation of the young architect.

"In the case of the creative artist, as in that of the artisan, it is clear that man is least permitted to appropriate to himself what is most entirely his own. His works forsake him as the birds forsake the nest in which they were hatched.

"The fate of the Architect is the strangest of all in this way. How often he expends his whole soul, his whole heart and passion, to produce buildings into which he himself may never enter. The halls of kings owe their magnificence to him; but he has no enjoyment of them in their splendor. In the temple he draws a partition line between himself and the Holy of Holies; he may never more set his foot upon the steps which he has laid down for the heart-thrilling ceremonial, as the goldsmith may only adore from far off the monstrance whose enamel and whose jewels he has himself set together. The builder surrenders to the rich man, with the key of his palace, all pleasure and all right there, and never shares with him in the enjoyment of it. And must not art in this way, step by step, draw off from the artist, when the work, like a child who is provided for, has no more to fall back upon its father? And what a power there must be in art itself for its own self-advancing, when it has been obliged to shape itself almost solely out of what was open to all, only out of what was the property of every one, and therefore also of the artist!"

"There is a conception among old nations which is awful, and may almost seem terrible. They pictured their forefathers to themselves sitting round on thrones, in enormous caverns, in silent converse; when a new comer entered, if he were worthy enough, they rose up, and inclined their heads to welcome him. Yesterday, as I was sitting in the chapel, and other carved chairs stood round like that in which I was, the thought of this came over me with a soft, pleasant feeling. Why cannot you stay sitting here? I said to myself; stay here sitting meditating with yourself long, long, long, till at last your friends come, and you rise up to them, and with a gentle inclination direct them to their places. The colored window panes convert the day into a solemn twilight; and some one should set up for us an ever-burning lamp, that the night might not be utter darkness."

"We may imagine ourselves in what situation we please, we always conceive ourselves as seeing. I believe men only dream that they may not cease to see. Some day, perhaps, the inner light will come out from within us, and we shall not any more require another.

"The year dies away, the wind sweeps over the stubble, and there is nothing left to stir under its touch. But the red berries on yonder tall tree seem as if they would still remind us of brighter things; and the stroke of the thrasher's flail awakes the thought how much of nourishment and life lie buried in the sickled ear."


How strangely, after all this, with the sense so vividly impressed on her of mutability and perishableness, must Ottilie have been affected by the news which could not any longer be kept concealed from her, that Edward had exposed himself to the uncertain chances of war! Unhappily, none of the observations which she had occasion to make upon it escaped her. But it is well for us that man can only endure a certain degree of unhappiness; what is beyond that either annihilates him, or passes by him, and leaves him apathetic. There are situations in which hope and fear run together, in which they mutually destroy one another, and lose themselves in a dull indifference. If it were not so, how could we bear to know of those who are most dear to us being in hourly peril, and yet go on as usual with our ordinary everyday life?

It was therefore as if some good genius was caring for Ottilie, that, all at once, this stillness, in which she seemed to be sinking from loneliness and want of occupation, was suddenly invaded by a wild army, which, while it gave her externally abundance of employment, and so took her out of herself, at the same time awoke in her the consciousness of her own power.

Charlotte's daughter, Luciana, had scarcely left the school and gone out into the great world; scarcely had she found herself at her aunt's house in the midst of a large society, than her anxiety to please produced its effect in really pleasing; and a young, very wealthy man, soon experienced a passionate desire to make her his own. His large property gave him a right to have the best of everything for his use, and nothing seemed to be wanting to him except a perfect wife, for whom, as for the rest of his good fortune, he should be the envy of the world.

This incident in her family had been for some time occupying Charlotte. It had engaged all her attention, and taken up her whole correspondence, except so far as this was directed to the obtaining news of Edward; so that latterly Ottilie had been left more than was usual to herself. She knew, indeed, of an intended visit from Luciana. She had been making various changes and arrangements in the house in preparation for it; but she had no notion that it was so near. Letters, she supposed, would first have to pass, settling the time, and unsettling it; and at last a final fixing: when the storm broke suddenly over the castle and over herself.

Up drove, first, lady's maids and men-servants, their carriage loaded with trunks and boxes. The household was already swelled to double or to treble its size, and then appeared the visitors themselves. There was the great aunt, with Luciana and some of her friends; and then the bridegroom with some of his friends. The entrance-hall was full of things—bags, portmanteaus, and leather articles of every sort. The boxes had to be got out of their covers, and that was infinite trouble; and of luggage and of rummage there was no end. At intervals, moreover, there were violent showers, giving rise to much inconvenience. Ottilie encountered all this confusion with the easiest equanimity, and her happy talent showed in its fairest light. In a very little time she had brought things to order, and disposed of them. Every one found his room—every one hand his things exactly as they wished, and all thought themselves well attended to, because they were not prevented from attending on themselves.

The journey had been long and fatiguing, and they would all have been glad of a little rest after it. The bridegroom would have liked to pay his respects to his mother-in-law, express his pleasure, his gratitude, and so on. But Luciana could not rest. She had now arrived at the happiness of being able to mount a horse. The bridegroom had beautiful horses, and mount they must on the spot. Clouds and wind, rain and storm, they were nothing to Luciana, and now it was as if they only lived to get wet through, and to dry themselves again. If she took a fancy to go out walking, she never thought what sort of dress she had on, or what her shoes were like; she must go and see the grounds of which she had heard so much; what could not be done on horseback, she ran through on foot. In a little while she had seen everything, and given her opinion about everything; and with such rapidity of character it was not easy to contradict or oppose her. The whole household had much to suffer, but most particularly the lady's maids, who were at work from morning to night, washing, and ironing, and stitching.

As soon as she had exhausted the house and the park, she thought it was her duty to pay visits all around the neighborhood. Although they rode and drove fast, "all around the neighborhood" was a goodly distance. The castle was flooded with return visits, and that they might not miss one another, it soon came to days being fixed for them.

Charlotte, in the meantime, with her aunt, and the man of business of the bridegroom, were occupied in determining about the settlements, and it was left to Ottilie, with those under her, to take care that all this crowd of people were properly provided for. Gamekeepers and gardeners, fishermen and shopdealers, were set in motion, Luciana always showing herself like the blazing nucleus of a comet with its long tail trailing behind it. The ordinary amusements of the parties soon became too insipid for her taste. Hardly would she leave the old people in peace at the card-table. Whoever could by any means be set moving (and who could resist the charm of being pressed by her into service?) must up, if not to dance, then to play at forfeits, or some other game, where they were to be victimized and tormented. Notwithstanding all that, however, and although afterward the redemption of the forfeits had to be settled with herself, yet of those who played with her, never any one, especially never any man, let him be of what sort he would, went quite empty-handed away. Indeed, some old people of rank who were there she succeeded in completely winning over to herself, by having contrived to find out their birthdays or christening days, and marking them with some particular celebration. In all this she showed a skill not a little remarkable. Every one saw himself favored, and each considered himself to be the one most favored, a weakness of which the oldest person of the party was the most notably guilty.

It seemed to be a sort of pride with her that men who had anything remarkable about them—rank, character, or fame—she must and would gain for herself. Gravity and seriousness she made give way to her, and, wild, strange creature as she was, she found favor even with discretion itself. Not that the young were at all cut short in consequence. Everybody had his share, his day, his hour, in which she contrived to charm and to enchain him. It was therefore natural enough that before long she should have had the Architect in her eye, looking out so unconsciously as he did from under his long black hair, and standing so calm and quiet in the background. To all her questions she received short, sensible answers; but he did not seem inclined to allow himself to be carried away further, and at last, half provoked, half in malice, she resolved that she would make him the hero of a day, and so gain him for her court.

It was not for nothing that she had brought that quantity of luggage with her. Much, indeed, had followed her afterward. She had provided herself with an endless variety of dresses. When it took her fancy she would change her dress three or four times a day, usually wearing something of an ordinary kind, but making her appearance suddenly at intervals in a thorough masquerade dress, as a peasant girl or a fish-maiden, as a fairy or a flower-girl; and this would go on from morning till night. Sometimes she would even disguise herself as an old woman, that her young face might peep out the fresher from under the cap; and so utterly in this way did she confuse and mix together the actual and the fantastic, that people thought they were living with a sort of drawing-room witch.

But the principal use which she had for these disguises were pantomimic tableaux and dances, in which she was skilful in expressing a variety of character. A cavalier in her suite had taught himself to accompany her action on the piano with the little music which was required; they needed only to exchange a few words and they at once understood each other.

One day, in a pause of a brilliant ball, they were called upon suddenly to extemporize (it was on a private hint from themselves) one of these exhibitions. Luciana seemed embarrassed, taken by surprise, and contrary to her custom let herself be asked more than once. She could not decide upon her character, desired the party to choose, and asked, like an improvisatore, for a subject. At last her piano-playing companion, with whom it had been all previously arranged, sat down at the instrument, and began to play a mourning march, calling on her to give them the Artemisia which she had been studying so admirably. She consented; and after a short absence reappeared, to the sad tender music of the dead march, in the form of the royal widow, with measured step, carrying an urn of ashes before her. A large black tablet was borne in after her, and a carefully cut piece of chalk in a gold pencil case.

One of her adorers and adjutants, into whose ear she whispered something, went directly to call the Architect, to desire him, and, if he would not come, to drag him up, as master-builder, to draw the grave for the mausoleum, and to tell him at the same time that he was not to play the statist, but enter earnestly into his part as one of the performers.

Embarrassed as the Architect outwardly appeared (for in his black, close-fitting, modern civilian's dress, he formed a wonderful contrast with the gauze crape fringes, tinsel tassels, and crown), he very soon composed himself internally, and the scene became all the more strange. With the greatest gravity he placed himself in front of the tablet, which was supported by a couple of pages, and drew carefully an elaborate tomb, which indeed would have suited better a Lombard than a Carian prince; but it was in such beautiful proportions, so solemn in its parts, so full of genius in its decoration, that the spectators watched it growing with delight, and wondered at it when it was finished.

All this time he had not once turned toward the queen, but had given his whole attention to what he was doing. At last he inclined his head before her, and signified that he believed he had now fulfilled her commands. She held the urn out to him, expressing her desire to see it represented on the top of the monument. He complied, although unwillingly, as it would not suit the character of the rest of his design. Luciana was now at last released from her impatience. Her intention had been by no means to get a scientific drawing out of him. If he had only made a few strokes, sketched out something which should have looked like a monument, and devoted the rest of his time to her, it would have been far more what she had wished, and would have pleased her a great deal better. His manner of proceeding had thrown her into the greatest embarrassment. For although in her sorrow, in her directions, in her gestures, in her approbation of the work as it slowly rose before her, she had tried to manage some sort of change of expression, and although she had hung about close to him, only to place herself into some sort of relation to him, yet he had kept himself throughout too stiff, so that too often she had been driven to take refuge with her urn; she had to press it to her heart and look up to heaven, and at last, a situation of that kind having a necessary tendency to intensify, she made herself more like a widow of Ephesus than a Queen of Caria. The representation had to lengthen itself out and became tedious. The pianoforte player, who had usually patience enough, did not know into what tune he could escape. He thanked God when he saw the urn standing on the pyramid, and fell involuntarily as the queen was going to express her gratitude, into a merry air; by which the whole thing lost its character, the company, however, being thoroughly cheered up by it, who forthwith divided, some going up to express their delight and admiration of the lady for her excellent performance, and some praising the Architect for his most artistlike and beautiful drawing.


The bridegroom especially paid marked attention to the Architect. "I am vexed," he said, "that the drawing should be so perishable; you will permit me, however, to have it taken to my room, where I should much like to talk to you about it."

"If it would give you any pleasure," said the Architect, "I can lay before you a number of highly finished designs for buildings and monuments of this kind, of which this is but a mere hasty sketch."

Ottilie was standing at no great distance, and went up to them. "Do not forget," she said to the Architect, "to take an opportunity of letting the Baron see your collection. He is a friend of art and of antiquity. I should like you to become better acquainted."

Luciana was passing at the moment. "What are they speaking of?" she asked.

"Of a collection of works of art," replied the Baron, "which this gentleman possesses, and which he is good enough to say that he will show us."

"Oh, let him bring them immediately," cried Luciana. "You will bring them, will you not?" she added, in a soft and sweet tone, taking both his hands in hers.

"The present is scarcely a fitting time," the Architect answered.

"What!" Luciana cried, in a tone of authority; "you will not obey the command of your queen!" and then she begged him again with some piece of absurdity.

"Do not be obstinate," said Ottilie, in a scarcely audible voice.

The Architect left them with a bow, which said neither yes nor no.

He was hardly gone, when Luciana was flying up and down the saloon with a greyhound. "Alas!" she exclaimed, as she ran accidentally against her mother, "am I not an unfortunate creature? I have not brought my monkey with me. They told me I had better not; but I am sure it was nothing but the laziness of my people, and it is such a delight to me. But I will have it brought after me; somebody shall go and fetch it. If I could only see a picture of the dear creature, it would be a comfort to me; I certainly will have his picture taken, and it shall never be out of my sight."

"Perhaps I can comfort you," replied Charlotte. "There is a whole volume full of the most wonderful ape faces in the library, which you can have fetched if you like."

Luciana shrieked for joy. The great folio was produced instantly. The sight of these hideous creatures, so like to men, and with the resemblance even more caricatured by the artist, gave Luciana the greatest delight. Her amusement with each of the animals, was to find some one of her acquaintance whom it resembled. "Is that not like my uncle?" she remorselessly exclaimed; "and here, look, here is my milliner M., and here is Parson S., and here the image of that creature—bodily! After all, these monkeys are the real incroyables, and it is inconceivable why they are not admitted into the best society."

It was in the best society that she said this, and yet no one took it ill of her. People had become accustomed to allow her so many liberties in her prettinesses, that at last they came to allow them in what was unpretty.

During this time, Ottilie was talking to the bridegroom; she was looking anxiously for the return of the Architect, whose serious and tasteful collection was to deliver the party from the apes; and in the expectation of it, she had made it the subject of her conversation with the Baron, and directed his attention on various things which he was to see. But the Architect stayed away, and when at last he made his appearance, he lost himself in the crowd, without having brought anything with him, and without seeming as if he had been asked for anything.

For a moment Ottilie became—what shall we call it?—annoyed, put out, perplexed. She had been saying so much about him—she had promised the bridegroom an hour of enjoyment after his own heart; and with all the depth of his love for Luciana, he was evidently suffering from her present behavior.

The monkeys had to give place to a collation. Round games followed, and then more dancing; at last, a general uneasy vacancy, with fruitless attempts at resuscitating exhausted amusements, which lasted this time, as indeed they usually did, far beyond midnight. It had already become a habit with Luciana to be never able to get out of bed in the morning or into it at night.

About this time, the incidents noticed in Ottilie's diary become more rare, while we find a larger number of maxims and sentences drawn from life and relating to life. It is not conceivable that the larger proportion of these could have arisen from her own reflection, and most likely some one had shown her varieties of them, and she had written out what took her fancy. Many, however, with an internal bearing, can be easily recognized by the red thread.


"We like to look into the future, because the undetermined in it, which may be affected this or that way, we feel as if we could guide by our silent wishes in our own favor."

"We seldom find ourselves in a large party without thinking; the accident which brings so many here together, should bring our friends to us as well."

"Let us live in as small a circle as we will, we are either debtors or creditors before we have had time to look round."

"If we meet a person who is under an obligation to us, we remember it immediately. But how often may we meet people to whom we are, ourselves, under obligation, without its even occurring to us!"

"It is nature to communicate one's-self; it is culture to receive what is communicated as it is given."

"No one would talk much in society, if he only knew how often he misunderstands others."

"One alters so much what one has heard from others in repeating it, only because one has not understood it."

"Whoever indulges long in monologue in the presence of others, without flattering his listeners, provokes ill-will."

"Every word a man utters provokes the opposite opinion."

"Argument and flattery are but poor elements out of which to form a conversation."

"The pleasantest society is when the members of it have an easy and natural respect for one another."

"There is nothing in which people more betray their character than in what they find to laugh at."

"The ridiculous arises out of a moral contrast, in which two things are brought together before the mind in an innocent way."

"The foolish man often laughs where there is nothing to laugh at.
Whatever touches him, his inner nature comes to the surface."

"The man of understanding finds almost everything ridiculous; the man of thought scarcely anything."

"Some one found fault with an elderly man for continuing to pay attention to young ladies. 'It is the only means,' he replied, 'of keeping one's-self young, and everybody likes to do that.'"

"People will allow their faults to be shown them; they will let themselves be punished for them; they will patiently endure many things because of them; they only become impatient when they have to lay them aside."

"Certain defects are necessary for the existence of individuality. We should not be pleased, if old friends were to lay aside certain peculiarities."

"There is a saying, 'He will die soon,' when a man acts unlike himself."

"What kind of defects may we bear with and even cultivate in ourselves?
Such as rather give pleasure to others than injure them."

"The passions are defects or excellencies only in excess."

"Our passions are true phoenixes: as the old burn out, the new straight rise up out of the ashes."

"Violent passions are incurable diseases; the means which will cure them are what first make them thoroughly dangerous."

"Passion is both raised and softened by confession. In nothing, perhaps, were the middle way more desirable than in knowing what to say and what not to say to those we love."


So swept on Luciana in the social whirlpool, driving the rush of life along before her. Her court multiplied daily, partly because her impetuosity roused and attracted so many, partly because she knew how to attach the rest to her by kindness and attention. Generous she was in the highest degree; her aunt's affection for her, and her bridegroom's love, had heaped her with beautiful and costly presents, but she seemed as if nothing which she had was her own, and as if she did not know the value of the things which had streamed in upon her. One day she saw a young lady looking rather poorly dressed by the side of the rest of the party, and she did not hesitate a moment to take off a rich shawl which she was wearing and hang it over her—doing it, at the same time, in such a humorous, graceful way that no one could refuse such a present so given. One of her courtiers always carried about a purse, with orders, whatever place they passed through, to inquire there for the most aged and most helpless persons, and give them relief, at least for the moment. In this way she gained for herself all round the country a reputation for charitableness which caused her not a little inconvenience, attracting about her far too many troublesome sufferers.

Nothing, however, so much added to her popularity as her steady and consistent kindness toward an unhappy young man, who shrank from society because, while otherwise handsome and well-formed, he had lost his right hand, although with high honor, in action. This mutilation weighed so heavily upon his spirits, it was so annoying to him, that every new acquaintance he made had to be told the story of his misfortune, that he chose rather to shut himself up altogether, devoting himself to reading and other studious pursuits, and once for all would have nothing more to do with society.

She heard of the state of this young man. At once she contrived to prevail upon him to come to her, first to small parties, then to greater, and then out into the world with her. She showed more attention to him than to any other person; particularly she endeavored, by the services which she pressed upon him, to make him sensible of what he had lost in laboring herself to supply it. At dinner, she would make him sit next to her; she cut up his food for him, that he might have to use only his fork. If people older or of higher rank prevented her from being close to him, she would stretch her attention across the entire table, and the servants were hurried off to make up to him what distance threatened to deprive him of. At last she encouraged him to write with his left hand. All his attempts he was to address to her and thus, whether far or near, she always kept herself in correspondence with him. The young man did not know what had happened to him, and from that moment a new life opened out before him.

One may perhaps suppose that such behavior must have caused some uneasiness to her bridegroom. But, in fact, it was quite the reverse. He admired her exceedingly for her exertions, and he had the more reason for feeling entirely satisfied about her, as she had certain features in her character almost in excess, which kept anything in the slightest degree dangerous utterly at a distance. She would run about with anybody, just as she fancied; no one was free from danger of a push or a pull, or of being made the object of some sort of freak. But no person ever ventured to do the same to her; no person dared to touch her, or return, in the remotest degree, any liberty which she had taken herself. She kept every one within the strictest barriers of propriety in their behavior to herself, while she, in her own behavior, was every moment overleaping them.

On the whole, one might have supposed it had been a maxim with her to expose herself indifferently to praise or blame, to regard or to dislike. If in many ways she took pains to gain people, she commonly herself spoiled all the good she had done, by an ill tongue, which spared no one. Not a visit was ever paid in the neighborhood, not a single piece of hospitality was ever shown to herself and her party among the surrounding castles or mansions, but what, on her return, her excessive recklessness let it appear that all men and all human things she was only inclined to see on the ridiculous side.

There were three brothers who, purely out of compliment to one another, kept up a good-natured and urbane controversy as to which should marry first, had been overtaken by old age before they had got the question settled; here was a little young wife with a great old husband; there, on the other hand, was a dapper little man and an unwieldy giantess. In one house, every step one took one stumbled over a child; another, however many people were crammed into it, never would seem full, because there were no children there at all. Old husbands (supposing the estate was not entailed) should get themselves buried as quickly as possible, that such a thing as a laugh might be heard again in the house. Young married people should travel: housekeeping did not sit well upon them. And as she treated the persons, so she treated what belonged to them; their houses, their furniture, their dinner-services—everything. The ornaments of the walls of the rooms most particularly provoked her saucy remarks. From the oldest tapestry to the most modern printed paper; from the noblest family pictures to the most frivolous new copper-plate: one as well as the other had to suffer—one as well as the other had to be pulled in pieces by her satirical tongue, so that, indeed, one had to wonder how, for twenty miles round, anything continued to exist.

It was not, perhaps, exactly malice which produced all this destructiveness; wilfulness and selfishness were what ordinarily set her off upon it: but a genuine bitterness grew up in her feelings toward Ottilie.

She looked down with disdain on the calm, uninterrupted activity of the sweet girl, which every one had observed and admired; and when something was said of the care which Ottilie took of the garden and of the hot-houses, she not only spoke scornfully of it, in affecting to be surprised, if it were so, at there being neither flowers nor fruit to be seen, not caring to consider that they were living in the depth of winter, but every faintest scrap of green, every leaf, every bud which showed, she chose to have picked every day and squandered on ornamenting the rooms and tables, and Ottilie and the gardener were not a little distressed to see their hopes for the next year, and perhaps for a longer time, destroyed in this wanton recklessness.

As little would she be content to leave Ottilie to her quiet work at home, in which she could live with so much comfort. Ottilie must go with them on their pleasure-parties and sledging-parties; she must be at the balls which were being got up all about the neighborhood. She was not to mind the snow, or the cold, or the night-air, or the storm; other people did not die of such things, and why should she? The delicate girl suffered not a little from it all, but Luciana gained nothing. For although Ottilie went about very simply dressed, she was always, at least so the men thought, the most beautiful person present. A soft attractiveness gathered them all about her; no matter whereabouts in the great rooms she was, first or last, it was always the same. Even Luciana's bridegroom was constantly occupied with her; the more so, indeed, because he desired her advice and assistance in a matter with which he was just then engaged.

He had cultivated the acquaintance of the Architect. On seeing his collection of works of art, he had taken occasion to talk much with him on history and on other matters, and especially from seeing the chapel had learnt to appreciate his talent. The Baron was young and wealthy. He was a collector; he wished to build. His love for the arts was keen, his knowledge small. In the Architect he thought that he had found the man he wanted; that with his assistance there was more than one aim at which he could arrive at once. He had spoken to his bride of what he wished. She praised him for it, and was infinitely delighted with the proposal. But it was more, perhaps, that she might carry off this young man from Ottilie (for whom she fancied she saw in him a kind of inclination), than because she thought of applying his talents to any purpose. He had shown himself, indeed, very ready to help at any of her extemporized festivities, and had suggested various resources for this thing and that. But she always thought she understood better than he what should be done, and as her inventive genius was usually somewhat common, her designs could be as well executed with the help of a tolerably handy domestic as with that of the most finished artist. Further than to an altar on which something was to be offered, or to a crowning, whether of a living head or of one of plaster of paris, the force of her imagination could not ascend, when a birthday, or other such occasion, made her wish to pay some one an especial compliment.

Ottilie was able to give the Baron the most satisfactory answer to his inquiries as to the relation of the Architect with their family. Charlotte had already, as she was aware, been exerting herself to find some situation for him; had it not been indeed for the arrival of the party, the young man would have left them immediately on the completion of the chapel, the winter having brought all building operations to a standstill; and it was, therefore, most fortunate if a new patron could be found to assist him, and to make use of his talents.

Ottilie's own personal position with the Architect was as pure and unconscious as possible. His agreeable presence, and his industrious nature, had charmed and entertained her, as the presence of an elder brother might. Her feelings for him remained at the calm unimpassioned level of blood relationship. For in her heart there was no room for more; it was filled to overflowing with love for Edward; only God, who interpenetrates all things, could share with him the possession of that heart.

Meanwhile the winter sank deeper; the weather grew wilder, the roads more impracticable, and therefore it seemed all the pleasanter to spend the waning days in agreeable society. With short intervals of ebb, the crowd from time to time flooded up over the house. Officers found their way there from distant garrison towns; the cultivated among them being a most welcome addition, the ruder the inconvenience of every one. Of civilians too there was no lack; and one day the Count and the Baroness quite unexpectedly came driving up together.

Their presence gave the castle the air of a thorough court. The men of rank and character formed a circle about the Baron, and the ladies yielded precedence to the Baroness. The surprise at seeing both together, and in such high spirits, was not allowed to be of long continuance. It came out that the Count's wife was dead, and the new marriage was to take place as soon as ever decency would allow it.

Well did Ottilie remember their first visit, and every word which was then uttered about marriage and separation, binding and dividing, hope, expectation, disappointment, renunciation. Here were these two persons, at that time without prospect for the future, now standing before her, so near their wished-for happiness, and an involuntary sigh escaped out of her heart.

No sooner did Luciana hear that the Count was an amateur of music, than at once she must get up something of a concert. She herself would sing and accompany herself on the guitar. It was done. The instrument she did not play without skill; her voice was agreeable: as for the words one understood about as little of them as one commonly does when a German beauty sings to the guitar. However, every one assured her that she had sung with exquisite expression, and she found quite enough approbation to satisfy her. A singular misfortune befell her, however, on this occasion. Among the party there happened to be a poet, whom she hoped particularly to attach to herself, wishing to induce him to write a song or two, and address them to her. This evening, therefore, she produced scarcely anything except songs of his composing. Like the rest of the party he was perfectly courteous to her, but she had looked for more. She spoke to him several times, going as near the subject as she dared, but nothing further could she get. At last, unable to bear it any longer, she sent one of her train to him, to sound him and find out whether he had not been delighted to hear his beautiful poems so beautifully executed.

"My poems?" he replied, with amazement; "pray excuse me, my dear sir," he added, "I heard nothing but the vowels, and not all of those; however, I am in duty bound to express all gratitude for so amiable an intention." The dandy said nothing and kept his secret; the other endeavored to get himself out of the scrape by a few well-timed compliments. She did not conceal her desire to have something of his which should be written for herself.

If it would not have been too ill-natured, he might have handed her the alphabet, to imagine for herself, out of that, such laudatory poem as would please her, and set it to the first melody that came to hand; but she was not to escape out of this business without mortification. A short time after, she had to learn that the very same evening he had written, at the foot of one of Ottilie's favorite melodies, a most lovely poem, which was something more than complimentary.

Luciana, like all persons of her sort, who never can distinguish between where they show to advantage and where to disadvantage, now determined to try her fortune in reciting. Her memory was good, but, if the truth must be told, her execution was spiritless, and she was vehement without being passionate. She recited ballad stories, and whatever else is usually delivered in declamation. At the same time she had contracted an unhappy habit of accompanying what she delivered with gestures, by which, in a disagreeable way, what is purely epic and lyric is more confused than connected with the dramatic.

The Count, a keen-sighted man, soon saw through the party, their inclinations, dispositions, wishes, and capabilities, and by some means or other contrived to bring Luciana to a new kind of exhibition, which was perfectly suited to her.

"I see here," he said, "a number of persons with fine figures, who would surely be able to imitate pictorial emotions and postures. Suppose they were to try, if the thing is new to them, to represent some real and well-known picture. An imitation of this kind, if it requires some labor in arrangement, has an inconceivably charming effect."

Luciana was quick enough in perceiving that here she was on her own ground entirely. Her fine shape, her well-rounded form, the regularity and yet expressiveness of her features, her light-brown braided hair, her long neck—she ran them all over in her mind, and calculated on their pictorial effects, and if she had only known that her beauty showed to more advantage when she was still than when she was in motion, because in the last case certain ungracefulness continually escaped her, she would have entered even more eagerly than she did into this natural picture-making.

They looked out the engravings of celebrated pictures, and the first which they chose was Van Dyk's Belisarius. A large well-proportioned man, somewhat advanced in years, was to represent the seated, blind general. The Architect was to be the affectionate soldier standing sorrowing before him, there really being some resemblance between them. Luciana, half from modesty, had chosen the part of the young woman in the background, counting out some large alms into the palm of his hand, while an old woman beside her is trying to prevent her, and representing that she is giving too much. Another woman who is in the act of giving him something, was not forgotten. Into this and other pictures they threw themselves with all earnestness. The Count gave the Architect a few hints as to the best style of arrangement, and he at once set up a kind of theatre, all necessary pains being taken for the proper lighting of it. They were already deep in the midst of their preparations, before they observed how large an outlay what they were undertaking would require, and that in the country, in the middle of winter, many things which they required it would be difficult to procure; consequently, to prevent a stoppage, Luciana had nearly her whole wardrobe cut in pieces, to supply the various costumes which the original artist had arbitrarily selected.

The appointed evening came, and the exhibition was carried out in the presence of a large assemblage, and to the universal satisfaction. They had some good music to excite expectation, and the performance opened with the Belisarius. The figures were so successful, the colors were so happily distributed, and the lighting managed so skilfully, that they might really have fancied themselves in another world, only that the presence of the real instead of the apparent produced a kind of uncomfortable sensation.

The curtain fell, and was more than once raised again by general desire. A musical interlude kept the assembly amused while preparation was going forward, to surprise them with a picture of a higher stamp; it was the well-known design of Poussin, Ahasuerus and Esther. This time Luciana had done better for herself. As the fainting, sinking queen she had put out all her charms, and for the attendant maidens who were supporting her, she had cunningly selected pretty, well-shaped figures, not one among whom, however, had the slightest pretension to be compared with herself. From this picture, as from all the rest, Ottilie remained excluded. To sit on the golden throne and represent the Zeus-like monarch, Luciana had picked out the finest and handsomest man of the party, so that this picture was really of inimitable perfection.

For a third they had taken the so-called "Father's Admonition" of Terburg, and who does not know Wille's admirable engraving of this picture? One foot thrown over the other, sits a noble knightly-looking father; his daughter stands before him, to whose conscience he seems to be addressing himself. She, a fine striking figure, in a folding drapery of white satin, is only to be seen from behind, but her whole bearing appears to signify that she is collecting herself. That the admonition is not too severe, that she is not being utterly put to shame, is to be gathered from the air and attitude of the father, while the mother seems as if she were trying to conceal some slight embarrassment—she is looking into a glass of wine, which she is on the point of drinking.

Here was an opportunity for Luciana to appear in her highest splendor. Her back hair, the form of her head, neck, and shoulders, were beyond all conception beautiful; and the waist, which in the modern antique of the ordinary dresses of young ladies is hardly visible, showed to the greatest advantage in all its graceful, slender elegance in the really old costume. The Architect had contrived to dispose the rich folds of the white satin with the most exquisite nature, and, without any question whatever, this living imitation far exceeded the original picture, and produced universal delight.

The spectators could never be satisfied with demanding a repetition of the performance, and the very natural wish to see the face and front of so lovely a creature, when they had done looking at her from behind, at last became so decided that a merry impatient young wit cried out aloud the words one is accustomed to write at the bottom of a page, "Tournez, s'il vous plait," which was echoed all round the room.

The performers, however, understood their advantage too well, and had mastered too completely the idea of these works of art to yield to the most general clamor. The daughter remained standing in her shame, without favoring the spectators with the expression of her face. The father continued to sit in his attitude of admonition, and the mother did not lift nose or eyes out of the transparent glass, in which, although she seemed to be drinking, the wine did not diminish.

We need not describe the number of smaller after-pieces for which had been chosen Flemish public-house scenes and fair and market days.

The Count and the Baroness departed, promising to return in the first happy weeks of their approaching union. And Charlotte now had hopes, after having endured two weary months of it, of ridding herself of the rest of the party at the same time. She was assured of her daughter's happiness, as soon as the first tumult of youth and betrothal should have subsided in her; for the bridegroom considered himself the most fortunate person in the world. His income was large, his disposition moderate and rational, and now he found himself further wonderfully favored in the happiness of becoming the possessor of a young lady with whom all the world must be charmed. He had so peculiar a way of referring everything to her, and only to himself through her, that it gave him an unpleasant feeling when any newly-arrived person did not devote himself heart and soul to her, and was far from flattered if, as occasionally happened, particularly with elderly men, he neglected her for a close intimacy with himself. Every thing was settled about the Architect. On New Year's day he was to follow him and spend the Carnival at his house in the city, where Luciana was promising herself infinite happiness from a repetition of her charmingly successful pictures, as well as from a hundred other things; all the more as her aunt and her bridegroom seemed to make so light of the expense which was required for her amusements.

And now they were to break up. But this could not be managed in an ordinary way. They were one day making fun of Charlotte aloud, declaring that they would soon have eaten out her winter stores, when the nobleman who had represented Belisarius, being fortunately a man of some wealth, carried away by Luciana's charms to which he had been so long devoting himself, cried out unthinkingly, "Why not manage then in the Polish fashion? You come now and eat up me, and then we will go on round the circle." No sooner said than done. Luciana willed that it should be so. The next day they all packed up and the swarm alighted on a new property. There indeed they found room enough, but few conveniences and no preparations to receive them. Out of this arose many contretemps, which entirely enchanted Luciana; their life became ever wilder and wilder. Huge hunting-parties were set on foot in the deep snow, attended with every sort of disagreeableness; women were not allowed to excuse themselves any more than men, and so they trooped on, hunting and riding, sledging and shouting, from one place to another, till at last they approached the residence, and there the news of the day and the scandals and what else forms the amusement of people at courts and cities gave the imagination another direction, and Luciana with her train of attendants (her aunt had gone on some time before) swept at once into a new sphere of life.


"We accept every person in the world as that for which he gives himself out, only he must give himself out for something. We can put up with the unpleasant more easily than we can endure the insignificant.

"We venture upon anything in society except only what involves a consequence.

"We never learn to know people when they come to us: we must go to them to find out how things stand with them.

"I find it almost natural that we should see many faults in visitors, and that directly they are gone we should judge them not in the most amiable manner. For we have, so to say, a right to measure them by our own standard. Even cautious, sensible men can scarcely keep themselves in such cases from being sharp censors.

"When, on the contrary, we are staying at the houses of others, when we have seen them in the midst of all their habits and environments among those necessary conditions from which they cannot escape, when we have seen how they affect those about them, and how they adapt themselves to their circumstances, it is ignorance nay, worse, it is ill-will, to find ridiculous what in more than one sense has a claim on our respect.

"That which we call politeness and good breeding effects what otherwise can only be obtained by violence, or not even by that.

"Intercourse with women is the element of good manners.

"How can the character, the individuality, of a man co-exist with polish of manner?

"The individuality can only be properly made prominent through good manners. Every one likes what has something in it, only it not be a disagreeable something.

"In life generally, and in society, no one has such high advantages as a well-cultivated soldier.

"The rudest fighting people at least do not go out of their character, and generally behind the roughness there is a certain latent good humor, so that in difficulties it is possible to get on, even with them.

"No one is more intolerable than an underbred civilian. From him one has a right to look for a delicacy, as he has no rough work to do.

"When we are living with people who have a delicate sense of propriety, we are in misery on their account when anything unbecoming is committed. So I always feel for and with Charlotte, when a person is tipping his chair. She cannot endure it.

"No one would ever come into a mixed party with spectacles on his nose, if he did but know that at once we women lose all pleasure in looking at him or listening to what he has to say.

"Free-and-easiness, where there ought to be respect, is always ridiculous. No one would put his hat down when he had scarcely paid the ordinary compliments if he knew how comical it looks.

"There is no outward sign of courtesy that does not rest on a deep moral foundation. The proper education would be that which communicated the sign and the foundation of it at the same time.

"Behavior is a mirror in which every one displays his own image.

"There is a courtesy of the heart. It is akin to love. Out of it arises the purest courtesy in the outward behavior.

"A freely offered homage is the most beautiful of all relations. And how were that possible without love?

"We are never further from our wishes than when we imagine that we possess what we have desired.

"No one is more a slave than the man who thinks himself free while he is not.

"A man has only to declare that he is free, and the next moment he feels the conditions to which he is subject. Let him venture to declare that he is under conditions, and then he will feel that he is free.

"Against great advantages in another, there are no means of defending ourselves except love.

"There is something terrible in the sight of a highly-gifted man lying under obligations to a fool.

"'No man is a hero to his valet,' the proverb says. But that is only because it requires a hero to recognize a hero. The valet will probably know how to value the valet-hero.

"Mediocrity has no greater consolation than in the thought that genius is not immortal.

"The greatest men are connected with their own century always through some weakness.

"One is apt to regard people as more dangerous than they are.

"Fools and modest people are alike innocuous. It is only your half-fools and your half-wise who are really and truly dangerous.

"There is no better deliverance from the world than through art; and a man can form no surer bond with it than through art.

"Alike in the moment of our highest fortune and our deepest necessity, we require the artist.

"The business of art is with the difficult and the good.

"To see the difficult easily handled, gives us the feeling of the impossible.

"Difficulties increase the nearer we are to our end.

"Sowing is not so difficult as reaping."


The very serious discomfort which this visit had caused to Charlotte was in some way compensated to her through the fuller insight which it had enabled her to gain into her daughter's character. In this, her knowledge of the world was of no slight service to her. It was not the first time that so singular a character had come across her, although she had never seen any in which the unusual features were so largely developed; and she had had experience enough to show her that such persons, after having felt the discipline of life, after having gone through something of it, and been in intercourse with older people, may come out at last really charming and amiable; the selfishness may soften and eager restless activity find a definite direction for itself. And therefore, as a mother, Charlotte was able to endure the appearance of symptoms which for others might perhaps have been unpleasing, from a sense that where strangers only desire to enjoy, or at least not to have their taste offended, the business of parents is rather to hope.

After her daughter's departure, however, she had to be pained in a singular and unlooked-for manner, in finding that, not so much through what there really was objectionable in her behavior, as through what was good and praiseworthy in it, she had left an ill report of herself behind her. Luciana seemed to have prescribed it as a rule to herself not only to be merry with the merry, but miserable with the miserable; and in order to give full swing to the spirit of contradiction in her, often to make the happy, uncomfortable, and the sad, cheerful. In every family among whom she came, she inquired after such members of it as were ill or infirm, and unable to appear in society. She would go to see them in their rooms, enact the physician, and insist on prescribing powerful doses for them out of her own traveling medicine-chest, which she constantly took with her in her carriage; her attempted cures, as may be supposed, either succeeding or failing as chance happened to direct.

In this sort of benevolence she was thoroughly cruel, and would listen to nothing that was said to her, because she was convinced that she was managing admirably. One of these attempts of hers on the moral side failed very disastrously, and this it was which gave Charlotte so much trouble, inasmuch as it involved consequences and every one was talking about it. She never had heard of the story till Luciana was gone; Ottilie, who had made one of the party present at the time, had to give her a circumstantial account of it.

One of several daughters of a family of rank had the misfortune to have caused the death of one of her younger sisters; it had destroyed her peace of mind, and she had never been properly herself since. She lived in her own room, occupying herself and keeping quiet; and she could only bear to see the members of her own family when they came one by one. If there were several together, she suspected at once that they were making reflections upon her, and upon her condition. To each of them singly she would speak rationally enough, and talk freely for an hour at a time.

Luciana had heard of this, and had secretly determined with herself, as soon as she got into the house, that she would forthwith work a miracle, and restore the young lady to society. She conducted herself in the matter more prudently than usual, managed to introduce herself alone to the poor sick-souled girl, and, as far as people could understand, had wound her way into her confidence through music. At last came her fatal mistake; wishing to make a scene, and fancying that she had sufficiently prepared her for it, one evening she suddenly introduced the beautiful pale creature into the midst of the brilliant, glittering assembly; and perhaps, even then, the attempt might not have so utterly failed, had not the crowd themselves, between curiosity and apprehension, conducted themselves so unwisely, first gathering about the invalid, and then shrinking from her again; and with their whispers, and shaking their heads together, confusing and agitating her. Her delicate sensibility could not endure it. With a dreadful shriek, which expressed, as it seemed, a horror at some monster that was rushing upon her, she fainted. The crowd fell back in terror on every side, and Ottilie had been one of those who had carried back the sufferer utterly insensible to her room.

Luciana meanwhile, just like herself, had been reading an angry lecture to the rest of the party, without reflecting for a moment that she herself was entirely to blame, and without letting herself be deterred by this and other failures, from going on with her experimentalizing.

The state of the invalid herself had since that time become more and more serious; indeed, the disorder had increased to such a degree that the poor thing's parents were unable to keep her any longer at home, and had been forced to confide her to the care of a public institution. Nothing remained for Charlotte, except, by the delicacy of her own attention to the family, in some degree to alleviate the pain which had been occasioned by her daughter. On Ottilie, the thing made a deep impression. She felt the more for the unhappy girl, as she was convinced, she did not attempt to deny it to Charlotte, that by a careful treatment the disorder might have been unquestionably removed.

So there came, too, as it often happens, that we dwell more on past disagreeables than on past agreeables, a slight misunderstanding to be spoken of, which had led Ottilie to a wrong judgment of the Architect, when he did not choose to produce his collection that evening, although she had so eagerly begged him to produce it. His practical refusal had remained, ever since, hanging about her heart, she herself could not tell why. Her feelings about the matter were undoubtedly just; what a young lady like Ottilie could desire, a young man like the Architect ought not to have refused. The latter, however, when she took occasion to give him a gentle reproof for it, had a very valid excuse to offer for himself.

"If you knew," he said, "how roughly even cultivated people allow themselves to handle the most valuable works of art, you would forgive me for not producing mine among the crowd. No one will take the trouble to hold a medal by the rim. They will finger the most beautiful impressions, and the smoothest surfaces; they will take the rarest coins between the thumb and forefinger, and rub them up and down, as if they were testing the execution with the touch. Without remembering that a large sheet of paper ought to be held in two hands, they will lay hold, with one, of an invaluable proof-engraving of some drawing which cannot be replaced, like a conceited politician laying hold of a newspaper, and passing judgment by anticipation, as he is cutting the pages, on the occurrences of the world. Nobody cares to recollect that if twenty people, one after the other, treat a work of art in this way, the one-and-twentieth will not find much to see there."

"Have not I often vexed you in this way?" asked Ottilie. "Have not I, through my carelessness, many times injured your treasures?"

"Never once," answered the Architect, "never. For you it would be impossible. In you the right thing is innate."

"In any case," replied Ottilie, "it would not be a bad plan, if in the next edition of the book of good manners, after the chapters which tell us how we ought to eat and drink in company, a good circumstantial chapter were inserted, telling how to behave among works of art and in museums."

"Undoubtedly," said the Architect; "and then curiosity-collectors and amateurs would be better contented to show their valuable treasures to the world."

Ottilie had long, long forgiven him; but as he seemed to have taken her reproof sorely to heart, and assured her again and again that he would gladly produce everything—that he was delighted to do anything for his friends—she felt that she had wounded his feelings, and that she owed him some compensation. It was not easy for her, therefore, to give an absolute refusal to a request which he made her in the conclusion of this conversation, although when she called her heart into counsel about it, she did not see how she could allow herself to do what he wished.

The circumstances of the matter were these: Ottilie's exclusion from the picture-exhibition by Luciana's jealousy had irritated him in the highest degree; and at the same time he had observed with regret, that at this, the most brilliant part of all the amusements at the castle, ill health had prevented Charlotte from being more than rarely present; and now he did not wish to go away without some additional proof of his gratitude, which, for the honor of one and the entertainment of the other, should take the thoughtful and attractive form of preparing a far more beautiful exhibition than any of those which had preceded it. Perhaps, too, unknown to himself, another secret motive was working on him. It was so hard for him to leave the house, and to leave the family. It seemed impossible to him to go away from Ottilie's eyes, under the calm, sweet, gentle glance of which the latter part of the time he had been living almost entirely alone.

The Christmas holidays were approaching; and it became at once clear to him that the very thing which he wanted was a representation with real figures of one of those pictures of the scene in the stable—a sacred exhibition such as at this holy season good Christians delight to offer to the divine Mother and her Child, of the manner in which she, in her seeming lowliness, was honored first by the shepherds and afterward by kings.

He had thoroughly brought before himself how such a picture should be contrived. A fair, lovely child was found, and there would be no lack of shepherds and shepherdesses. But without Ottilie the thing could not be done. The young man had exalted her in his design to be the mother of God, and if she refused, there was no question but the undertaking must fall to the ground. Ottilie, half embarrassed at the proposal, referred him and his request to Charlotte. The latter gladly gave her permission, and lent her assistance in overcoming and overpersuading Ottilie's hesitation in assuming so sacred a personality. The Architect worked day and night, that by Christmas-eve everything might be ready.

Day and night, indeed, in the literal sense. At all times he was a man who had but few necessities; and Ottilie's presence seemed to be to him in the place of all delicacies. When he was working for her, it was as if he required no sleep; when he was busy about her, as if he could do without food. Accordingly, by the hour of the evening solemnity, all was completed. He had found the means of collecting some well-toned wind instruments to form an introduction, and produce the desired temper of thought and feeling. But when the curtain rose, Charlotte was taken completely by surprise. The picture which presented itself to her had been repeated so often in the world, that one could scarcely have expected any new impression to be produced. But here, the reality as representing the picture had its especial advantages. The whole space was the color rather of night than of twilight, and there was nothing even of the details of the scene which was obscure. The inimitable idea that all the light should proceed from the child, the artist had contrived to carry out by an ingenious method of illumination which was concealed by the figures in the foreground, who were all in shadow. Bright looking boys and girls were standing around, their fresh faces sharply lighted from below; and there were angels too, whose own brilliancy grew pale before the divine, whose ethereal bodies showed dim and dense, and needing other light in the presence of the body of the divine humanity. By good fortune the infant had fallen asleep in the loveliest attitude, so that nothing disturbed the contemplation when the eye rested on the seeming mother, who with infinite grace had lifted off a veil to reveal her hidden treasure. At this moment the picture seemed to have been caught, and there to have remained fixed. Physically dazzled, mentally surprised, the people round appeared to have just moved to turn away their half-blinded eyes, to be glancing again toward the child with curious delight, and to be showing more wonder and pleasure than awe and reverence—although these emotions were not forgotten, and were to be traced upon the features of some of the older spectators.

But Ottilie's figure, expression, attitude, glance, excelled all which any painter has ever represented. A man who had true knowledge of art, and had seen this spectacle, would have been in fear lest any portion of it should move; he would have doubted whether anything could ever so much please him again. Unluckily, there was no one present who could comprehend the whole of this effect. The Architect alone, who, as a tall, slender shepherd, was looking in from the side over those who were kneeling, enjoyed, although he was not in the best position for seeing, the fullest pleasure. And who can describe the mien of the new-made queen of heaven? The purest humility, the most exquisite feeling of modesty, at the great honor which had undeservedly been bestowed upon her, with indescribable and immeasurable happiness, was displayed upon her features, expressing as much her own personal emotion as that of the character which she was endeavoring to represent.

Charlotte was delighted with the beautiful figures; but what had most effect on her was the child. Her eyes filled with tears, and her imagination presented to her in the liveliest colors the hope that she might soon have such another darling creature on her own lap.

They had let down the curtain, partly to give the exhibitors some little rest, partly to make an alteration in the exhibition. The artist had proposed to himself to transmute the first scene of night and lowliness into a picture of splendor and glory; and for this purpose had prepared a blaze of light to fall in from every side, which this interval was required to kindle.

Ottilie, in the semi-theatrical position in which she found herself, had hitherto felt perfectly at her ease, because, with the exception of Charlotte and a few members of the household, no one had witnessed this devout piece of artistic display. She was, therefore, in some degree annoyed when in the interval she learnt that a stranger had come into the saloon, and had been warmly received by Charlotte. Who it was no one was able to tell her. She therefore made up her mind not to produce a disturbance, and to go on with her character. Candles and lamps blazed out, and she was surrounded by splendor perfectly infinite. The curtain rose. It was a sight to startle the spectators. The whole picture was one blaze of light; and instead of the full depth of shadow, there now were only the colors left remaining, which, from the skill with which they had been selected, produced a gentle softening of tone. Looking out under her long eyelashes, Ottilie perceived the figure of a man sitting by Charlotte. She did not recognize him; but the voice she fancied was that of the Assistant at the school. A singular emotion came over her. How many things had happened since she last heard the voice of him, her kind instructor. Like a flash of forked lightning the stream of her joys and her sorrow rushed swiftly before her soul, and the question rose in her heart: Dare you confess, dare you acknowledge it all to him? If not, how little can you deserve to appear before him under this sainted form; and how strange must it not seem to him who has only known you as your natural self to see you now under this disguise? In an instant, swift as thought, feeling and reflection began to clash and gain within her. Her eyes filled with tears, while she forced herself to continue to appear as a motionless figure, and it was a relief, indeed, to her when the child began to stir—and the artist saw himself compelled to give the sign that the curtain should fall again.

If the painful feeling of being unable to meet a valued friend had, during the last few moments, been distressing Ottilie in addition to her other emotions, she was now in still greater embarrassment. Was she to present herself to him in this strange disguise? or had she better change her dress? She did not hesitate—she did the last; and in the interval she endeavored to collect and to compose herself; nor did she properly recover her self-possession until at last, in her ordinary costume, she had welcomed the new visitor.


In so far as the Architect desired the happiness of his kind patronesses, it was a pleasure to him, now that at last he was obliged to go, to know that he was leaving them in good society with the estimable Assistant. At the same time, however, when he thought of their goodness in its relation to himself, he could not help feeling it a little painful to see his place so soon, and as it seemed to his modesty, so well, so completely supplied. He had lingered and lingered, but now he forced himself away; what, after he was gone, he must endure as he could, at least he could not stay to witness with his own eyes.

To the great relief of this half-melancholy feeling, the ladies at his departure made him a present of a waistcoat, upon which he had watched them both for some time past at work, with a silent envy of the fortunate unknown, to whom it was by-and-by to belong. Such a present is the most agreeable which a true-hearted man can receive; for while he thinks of the unwearied play of the beautiful fingers at the making of it, he cannot help flattering himself that in so long-sustained a labor the feeling could not have remained utterly without an interest in its accomplishment.

The ladies had now a new visitor to entertain, for whom they felt a real regard, and whose stay with them it would be their endeavor to make as agreeable as they could. There is in all women a peculiar circle of inward interests, which remain always the same, and from which nothing in the world can divorce them. In outward social intercourse, on the other hand, they will gladly and easily allow themselves to take their tone from the person with whom at the moment they are occupied; and thus by a mixture of impassiveness and susceptibility, by persisting and by yielding, they continue to keep the government to themselves, and no man in the cultivated world can ever take it from them.

The Architect, following at the same time his own fancy and his own inclination, had been exerting himself and putting out his talents for their gratification and for the purposes of his friends; and business and amusement, while he was with them, had been conducted in this spirit, and directed to the ends which most suited his taste. But now in a short time, through the presence of the Assistant, quite another sort of life was commenced. His great gift was to talk well, and to treat in his conversation of men and human relations, particularly in reference to the cultivation of young people. Thus arose a very perceptible contrast to the life which had been going on hitherto, all the more as the Assistant could not entirely approve of their having interested themselves in such subjects so exclusively.

Of the impersonated picture which received him on his arrival, he never said a single word. On the other hand, when they took him to see the church and the chapel with their new decorations, expecting to please him as much as they were pleased themselves, he did not hesitate to express a very contrary opinion about it.

"This mixing up of the holy with the sensuous," he said, "is anything but pleasing to my taste; I cannot like men to set apart certain special places, consecrate them, and deck them out, that by so doing they may nourish in themselves a temper of piety. No ornaments, not even the very simplest, should disturb in us that sense of the Divine Being which accompanies us wherever we are, and can consecrate every spot into a temple. What pleases me is to see a home-service of God held in the saloon where people come together to eat, where they have their parties, and amuse themselves with games and dances. The highest, the most excellent in men, has no form; and one should be cautious how one gives it any form except noble action."

Charlotte, who was already generally acquainted with his mode of thinking, and, in the short time he had been at the castle, had already probed it more deeply, found something also which he might do for her in his own department; and she had her garden-children, whom the Architect had reviewed shortly before his departure, marshalled up into the great saloon. In their bright, clean uniforms, with their regular orderly movement, and their own natural vivacity, they looked exceedingly well. The Assistant examined them in his own way, and by a variety of questions, and by the turns which he gave them, soon brought to light the capacities and dispositions of the children; and without its seeming so, in the space of less than one hour he had really given them important instruction and assistance.

"How did you manage that?" asked Charlotte, as the children marched away. "I listened with all my attention. Nothing was brought forward except things which were quite familiar, and yet I cannot tell the least how I should begin to bring them to be discussed in so short a time so methodically, with all this questioning and answering."

"Perhaps," replied the Assistant, "we ought to make a secret of the tricks of our own handicraft. However, I will not hide from you one very simple maxim, with the help of which you may do this, and a great deal more than this. Take any subject, a substance, an idea, whatever you like; keep fast hold of it; make yourself thoroughly acquainted with it in all its parts, and then it will be easy for you, in conversation, to find out, with a mass of children, how much about it has already developed itself in them; what requires to be stimulated, what to be directly communicated. The answers to your questions may be as unsatisfactory as they will, they may wander wide of the mark; if you only take care that your counter-question shall draw their thoughts and senses inwards again; if you do not allow yourself to be driven from your own position—the children will at last reflect, comprehend, learn only what the teacher desires them to learn, and the subject will be presented to them in the light in which he wishes them to see it. The greatest mistake which he can make is to allow himself to be run away with from the subject; not to know how to keep fast to the point with which he is engaged. Do you try this on your own account the next time the children come; you will find you will be greatly entertained by it yourself."

"That is very good," said Charlotte. "The right method of teaching is the reverse, I see, of what we must do in life. In society we must keep the attention long upon nothing, and in instruction the first commandment is to permit no dissipation of it."

"Variety, without dissipation, were the best motto for both teaching and life, if this desirable equipoise were easy to be preserved," said the Assistant; and he was going on further with the subject, when Charlotte called out to him to look again at the children, whose merry troop were at the moment moving across the court. He expressed his satisfaction at seeing them wearing a uniform. "Men," he said, "should wear a uniform from their childhood upwards. They have to accustom themselves to work together; to lose themselves among their equals; to obey in masses, and to work on a large scale. Every kind of uniform, moreover, generates a military habit of thought, and a smart, straight-forward carriage. All boys are born soldiers, whatever you do with them. You have only to watch them at their mock fights and games, their storming parties and scaling parties."

"On the other hand, you will not blame me," replied Ottilie, "if I do not insist with my girls on such unity of costume. When I introduce them to you, I hope to gratify you by a parti-colored mixture."

"I approve of that, entirely," replied the other. "Women should go about in every sort of variety of dress; each following her own style and her own likings, that each may learn to feel what sits well upon her and becomes her. And for a more weighty reason as well—because it is appointed for them to stand alone all their lives, and work alone."

"That seems to me to be a paradox," answered Charlotte. "Are we then to be never anything for ourselves?"

"O, yes!" replied the Assistant. "In respect of other women assuredly. But observe a young lady as a lover, as a bride, as a housewife, as a mother. She always stands isolated. She is always alone, and will be alone. Even the most empty-headed woman is in the same case. Each one of them excludes all others. It is her nature to do so; because of each one of them is required everything which the entire sex have to do. With a man it is altogether different. He would make a second man if there were none. But a woman might live to an eternity, without even so much as thinking of producing a duplicate of herself."

"One has only to say the truth in a strange way," said Charlotte, "and at last the strangest thing will seem to be true. We will accept what is good for us out of your observations, and yet as women we will hold together with women, and do common work with them too; not to give the other sex too great an advantage over us. Indeed, you must not take it ill of us, if in future we come to feel a little malicious satisfaction when our lords and masters do not get on in the very best way together."

With much care, this wise, sensible person went on to examine more closely how Ottilie proceeded with her little pupils, and expressed his marked approbation of it. "You are entirely right," he said, "in directing these children only to what they can immediately and usefully put in practice. Cleanliness, for instance, will accustom them to wear their clothes with pleasure to themselves; and everything is gained if they can be induced to enter into what they do with cheerfulness and self-reflection."

In other ways he found, to his great satisfaction, that nothing had been done for outward display; but all was inward, and designed to supply what was indispensably necessary. "In how few words," he cried, "might the whole business of education be summed up, if people had but ears to hear!"

"Will you try whether I have any ears?" said Ottilie, smiling.

"Indeed I will," answered he, "only you must not betray me. Educate the boys to be servants, and the girls to be mothers, and everything is as it should be."

"To be mothers?" replied Ottilie. "Women would scarcely think that sufficient. They have to look forward, without being mothers, to going out into service. And, indeed, our young men think themselves a great deal too good for servants. One can see easily, in every one of them, that he holds himself far fitter to be a master."

"And for that reason we should say nothing about it to them," said the Assistant. "We flatter ourselves on into life; but life flatters not us. How many men would like to acknowledge at the outset, what at the end they must acknowledge whether they like it or not? But let us leave these considerations, which do not concern us here.

"I consider you very fortunate in having been able to go so methodically to work with your pupils. If your very little ones run about with their dolls, and stitch together a few petticoats for them; if the elder sisters will then take care of the younger, and the whole household know how to supply its own wants, and one member of it help the others, the further step into life will not then be great, and such a girl will find in her husband what she has lost in her parents.

"But among the higher ranks the problem is a sorely intricate one. We have to provide for higher, finer, more delicate relations; especially for such as arise out of society. We are, therefore, obliged to give our pupils an outward cultivation. It is indispensable, it is necessary, and it may be really valuable, if we do not overstep the proper measure in it. Only it is so easy, while one is proposing to cultivate the children for a wider circle, to drive them out into the indefinite, without keeping before our eyes the real requisites of the inner nature. Here lies the problem which more or less must be either solved or blundered over by all educators.

"Many things, with which we furnish our scholars at the school, do not please me; because experience tells me of how little service they are likely to be in after-life. How much is in a little while stripped off; how much at once committed to oblivion, as soon as the young lady finds herself in the position of a housewife or a mother!

"In the meantime, since I have devoted myself to this occupation, I cannot but entertain a devout hope that one day, with the companionship of some faithful helpmate, I may succeed in cultivating purely in my pupils that, and that only, which they will require when they pass out into the field of independent activity and self-reliance; that I may be able to say to myself, in this sense is their education completed. Another education there is indeed which will again speedily recommence, and work on well nigh through all the years of our life—the education which circumstances will give us, if we do not give it to ourselves."

How true Ottilie felt were these words! What had not a passion, little dreamed of before, done to educate her in the past year! What trials did she not see hovering before her if she looked forward only to the next—to the very next, which was now so near!

It was not without a purpose that the young man had spoken of a helpmate—of a wife; for with all his diffidence, he could not refrain from thus remotely hinting at his own wishes. A number of circumstances and accidents, indeed, combined to induce him on this visit to approach a few steps toward his aim.

The Lady Superior of the school was advanced in years. She had been already for some time looking about among her fellow-laborers, male and female, for some person whom she could take into partnership with herself, and at last had made proposals to the Assistant, in whom she had the highest ground for feeling confidence. He was to conduct the business of the school with herself. He was to work with her in it, as if it was his own; and after her death, as her heir, to enter upon it as sole proprietor.

The principal thing now seemed to be, that he should find a wife who would cooperate with him. Ottilie was secretly before his eyes and before his heart. A number of difficulties suggested themselves, and yet again there were favorable circumstances on the other side to counterbalance them. Luciana had left the school; Ottilie could therefore return with the less difficulty. Of the affair with Edward, some little had transpired. It passed, however, as many such things do, as a matter of indifference, and this very circumstance might make it desirable that she should leave the castle. And yet, perhaps, no decision would have been arrived at, no step would have been taken, had not an unexpected visit given a special impulse to his hesitation. The appearance of remarkable people, in any and every circle, can never be without its effects.

The Count and the Baroness, who often found themselves asked for their opinion, almost every one being in difficulty about the education of their children, as to the value of the various schools, had found it desirable to make themselves particularly acquainted with this one, which was generally so well spoken of; and under their present circumstances, they were more easily able to carry on these inquiries in company.

The Baroness, however, had something else in view as well. While she was last at the castle, she had talked over with Charlotte the whole affair of Edward and Ottilie. She had insisted again and again that Ottilie must be sent away. She tried every means to encourage Charlotte to do it, and to keep her from being frightened by Edward's threats. Several modes of escape from the difficulty were suggested. Accidentally the school was mentioned, and the Assistant and his incipient passion, which made the Baroness more resolved than ever to pay her intended visit there.

She went; she made acquaintance with the Assistant; looked over the establishment, and spoke of Ottilie. The Count also spoke with much interest of her, having in his recent visit learnt to know her better. She had been drawn toward him; indeed, she had felt attracted by him; believing that she could see, that she could perceive in his solid, substantial conversation, something to which hitherto she had been an entire stranger. In her intercourse with Edward, the world had been utterly forgotten; in the presence of the Count, the world appeared first worth regarding. The attraction was mutual. The Count conceived a liking for Ottilie; he would have been glad to have had her for a daughter. Thus a second time, and worse than the first time, she was in the way of the Baroness. Who knows what, in times when passions ran hotter than they do now-a-days, this lady might not have devised against her? As things were, it was enough if she could get her married, and render her more innocuous for the future to the peace of mind of married women. She therefore artfully urged the Assistant, in a delicate, but effective manner, to set out on a little excursion to the castle; where his plans and his wishes, of which he made no secret to the lady, he might forthwith take steps to realize.

With the fullest consent of the Superior he started off on his expedition, and in his heart he nourished good hopes of success. He knew that Ottilie was not ill-disposed toward him; and although it was true there was some disproportion of rank between them, yet distinctions of this kind were fast disappearing in the temper of the time. Moreover, the Baroness had made him perceive clearly that Ottilie must always remain a poor, portionless maiden. To be related to a wealthy family, it was said, could be of service to nobody. For even with the largest property, men have a feeling that it is not right to deprive of any considerable sum, those who, as standing in a nearer degree of relationship, appear to have a fuller right to possession; and really it is a strange thing, that the immense privilege which a man has of disposing of his property after his death, he so very seldom uses for the benefit of those whom he loves, only out of regard to established usage appearing to consider those who would inherit his estate from him, supposing he made no will at all.

Thus, while on his journey, he grew to feel himself entirely on a level with Ottilie. A favorable reception raised his hopes. He found Ottilie indeed not altogether so open with him as usual, but she was considerably matured, more developed, and, if you please, generally more conversible than he had known her. She was ready to give him the fullest insight into many things which were in any way connected with his profession; but when he attempted to approach his proper object, a certain inward shyness always held him back.

Once, however, Charlotte gave him an opportunity for saying something. In Ottilie's presence she said to him, "Well now, you have looked closely enough into everything which is going forward in my circle. How do you find Ottilie? You had better say while she is here."

Hereupon the Assistant signified, with a clear perception and composed expression, how that, in respect of a freer carriage, of an easier manner in speaking, of a higher insight into the things of the world, which showed itself more in actions than in words, he found Ottilie altered much for the better; but that he still believed it might be of serious advantage to her if she would go back for some little time to the school, in order methodically and thoroughly to make her own forever what the world was only imparting to her in fragments and pieces, rather perplexing her than satisfying her, and often too late to be of service. He did not wish to be prolix about it. Ottilie herself knew best how much method and connection there was in the style of instruction out of which, in that case, she would be taken.

Ottilie had nothing to say against this; she could not acknowledge what it was which these words made her feel, because she was hardly able to explain it to herself. It seemed to her as if nothing in the world was disconnected so long as she thought of the one person whom she loved; and she could not conceive how, without him, anything could be connected at all.

Charlotte replied to the proposal with a wise kindness. She said that she herself, as well as Ottilie, had long desired her return to the school. At that time, however, the presence of so dear a companion and helper had become indispensable to herself; still she would offer no obstacle at some future period, if Ottilie continued to wish it, to her going back there for such a time as would enable her to complete what she had begun, and to make entirely her own what had been interrupted.

The Assistant listened with delight to this qualified assent. Ottilie did not venture to say anything against it, although the very thought made her shudder. Charlotte, on her side, thought only how to gain time. She hoped that Edward would soon come back and find himself a happy father; then she was convinced all would go right; and one way or another they would be able to settle something for Ottilie.

After an important conversation which has furnished matter for after-reflection to all who have taken part in it, there commonly follows a sort of pause, which in appearance is like a general embarrassment. They walked up and down the saloon. The Assistant turned over the leaves of various books, and came at last on the folio of engravings which had remained lying there since Luciana's time. As soon as he saw that it contained nothing but apes, he shut it up again.

It may have been this, however, which gave occasion to a conversation of which we find traces in Ottilie's diary.


"It is strange how men can have the heart to take such pains with the pictures of those hideous monkeys. One lowers one's-self sufficiently when one looks at them merely as animals, but it is really wicked to give way to the inclination to look for people whom we know behind such masks."

"It is a sure mark of a certain obliquity, to take pleasure in caricatures and monstrous faces, and pigmies. I have to thank our kind Assistant that I have never been vexed with natural history; I could never make myself at home with worms and beetles."

"Just now he acknowledged to me, that it was the same with him. 'Of nature,' he said, 'we ought to know nothing except what is actually alive immediately around us. With the trees which blossom and put out leaves and bear fruit in our own neighborhood, with every shrub which we pass by, with every blade of grass on which we tread, we stand in a real relation. They are our genuine compatriots. The birds which hop up and down among our branches, which sing among our leaves, belong to us; they speak to us from our childhood upward, and we learn to understand their language. But let a man ask himself whether or not every strange creature, torn out of its natural environment, does not at first sight make a sort of painful impression upon him, which is only deadened by custom. It is a mark of a motley, dissipated sort of life, to be able to endure monkeys, and parrots, and black people, about one's self."

"Many times when a certain longing curiosity about these strange objects has come over me, I have envied the traveler who sees such marvels in living, everyday connection with other marvels. But he, too, must have become another man. Palm-trees will not allow a man to wander among them with impunity; and doubtless his tone of thinking becomes very different in a land where elephants and tigers are at home."

"The only inquirers into nature whom we care to respect, are such as know how to describe and to represent to us the strange wonderful things which they have seen in their proper locality, each in its own especial element. How I should enjoy once hearing Humboldt talk!"

"A cabinet of natural curiosities we may regard like an Egyptian burying-place, where the various plant gods and animal gods stand about embalmed. It may be well enough for a priest-caste to busy itself with such things in a twilight of mystery. But in general instruction, they have no place or business; and we must beware of them all the more, because what is nearer to us, and more valuable, may be so easily thrust aside by them."

"A teacher who can arouse a feeling for one single good action, for one single good poem, accomplishes more than he who fills our memory with rows on rows of natural objects, classified with name and form. For what is the result of all these, except what we know as well without them, that the human figure preëminently and peculiarly is made in the image and likeness of God?"

"Individuals may be left to occupy themselves with whatever amuses them, with whatever gives them pleasure, whatever they think useful; but 'the proper study of mankind is man.'"


There are but few men who care to occupy themselves with the immediate past. Either we are forcibly bound up in the present, or we lose ourselves in the long gone-by, and seek back for what is utterly lost, as if it were possible to summon it up again, and rehabilitate it. Even in great and wealthy families who are under large obligations to their ancestors, we commonly find men thinking more of their grandfathers than their fathers.

Such reflections as these suggested themselves to our Assistant, as, on one of those beautiful days in which the departing winter is accustomed to imitate the spring, he had been walking up and down the great old castle garden, and admiring the tall avenues of the lindens, and the formal walks and flower-beds which had been laid out by Edward's father. The trees had thriven admirably, according to the design of him who had planted them, and now when they ought to have begun to be valued and enjoyed, no one ever spoke of them. Hardly any one even went near them, and the interest and the outlay was now directed to the other side, out into the free and the open.

He remarked upon it to Charlotte on his return; she did not take it unkindly. "While life is sweeping us forward," she replied, "we fancy that we are acting out our own impulses; we believe that we choose ourselves what we will do, and what we will enjoy. But in fact, if we look at it closely, our actions are no more than the plans and the desires of the time which we are compelled to carry out."

"No doubt," said the Assistant. "And who is strong enough to withstand the stream of what is around him? Time passes on, and in it, opinions, thoughts, prejudices, and interests. If the youth of the son falls in the era of revolution, we may feel assured that he will have nothing in common with his father. If the father lived at a time when the desire was to accumulate property, to secure the possession of it, to narrow and to gather one's-self in, and to base one's enjoyment in separation from the world, the son will at once seek to extend himself, to communicate himself to others, to spread himself over a wide surface, and open out his closed stores."

"Entire periods," replied Charlotte, "resemble this father and son whom you have been describing. Of the state of things when every little town was obliged to have its walls and moats, when the castle of the nobleman was built in a swamp, and the smallest manor-houses were only accessible by a draw-bridge, we are scarcely able to form a conception. In our days, the largest cities take down their walls, the moats of the princes' castles are filled in; cities are no more than great places, and when one travels and sees all this, one might fancy that universal peace was just established, and the golden age was before the door. No one feels himself easy in a garden which does not look like the open country. There must be nothing to remind him of form and constraint, we choose to be entirely free, and to draw our breath without sense of confinement. Do you conceive it possible, my friend, that we can ever return again out of this into another, into our former condition?"

"Why should we not?" replied the Assistant. "Every condition has its own burden along with it, the most relaxed as well as the most constrained. The first presupposes abundance, and leads to extravagance. Let want reappear, and the spirit of moderation is at once with us again. Men who are obliged to make use of their space and their soil, will speedily enough raise walls up round their gardens to be sure of their crops and plants. Out of this will arise by degrees a new phase of things: the useful will again gain the upper hand; and even the man of large possessions will feel at last that he must make the most of all which belongs to him. Believe me, it is quite possible that your son may become indifferent to all which you have been doing in the park, and draw in again behind the solemn walls and the tall lindens of his grandfather."

The secret pleasure which it gave Charlotte to have a son foretold to her, made her forgive the Assistant his somewhat unfriendly prophecy of how it might one day fare with her lovely, beautiful park. She therefore answered without any discomposure: "You and I are not old enough yet to have lived through very much of these contradictions; and yet when I look back into my own early youth, when I remember the style of complaints which I used then to hear from older people, and when I think at the same time of what the country and the town then were, I have nothing to advance against what you say. But is there nothing which one can do to remedy this natural course of things? Are father and son, parents and children, to be always thus unable to understand each other? You have been so kind as to prophesy a boy to me. Is it necessary that he must stand in contradiction to his father? Must he destroy what his parents have erected, instead of completing it, instead of following on upon the same idea, and elevating it?"

"There is a rational remedy for it," replied the Assistant. "But it is one which will be but seldom put in practice by men. The father should raise his son to a joint ownership with himself. He should permit him to plant and to build; and allow him the same innocent liberty which he allows to himself. One form of activity may be woven into another, but it cannot be pieced on to it. A young shoot may be readily and easily grafted with an old stem, to which no grown branch admits of being fastened."

The Assistant was glad to have had the opportunity, at the moment when he saw himself obliged to take his leave, of saying something agreeable to Charlotte, and thus making himself a new link to secure her favor. He had been already too long absent from home, and yet he could not make up his mind to return there until after a full conviction that he must allow the approaching epoch of Charlotte's confinement first to pass by before he could look for any decision from her in respect to Ottilie. He therefore accommodated himself to the circumstances, and returned with these prospects and hopes to the Superior.

Charlotte's confinement was now approaching; she kept more in her own room. The ladies who had gathered about her were her closest companions. Ottilie managed all domestic matters, hardly able, however, the while, to think what she was doing. She had indeed utterly resigned herself; she desired to continue to exert herself to the extent of her power for Charlotte, for the child, for Edward. But she could not see how it would be possible for her. Nothing could save her from utter distraction, except patiently to do the duty which each day brought with it.

A son was brought happily into the world, and the ladies declared, with one voice, it was the very image of its father. Only Ottilie, as she wished the new mother joy, and kissed the child with all her heart, was unable to see the likeness. Once already Charlotte had felt most painfully the absence of her husband, when she had to make preparations for her daughter's marriage. And now the father could not be present at the birth of his son. He could not have the choosing of the name by which the child was hereafter to be called.

The first among all Charlotte's friends who came to wish her joy was Mittler. He had placed expresses ready to bring him news the instant the event took place. He was admitted to see her, and, scarcely able to conceal his triumph even before Ottilie, when alone with Charlotte he broke fairly out with it; and was at once ready with means to remove all anxieties, and set aside all immediate difficulties. The baptism should not be delayed a day longer than necessary. The old clergyman, who had one foot already in the grave, should leave his blessing, to bind together the past and the future. The child should be called Otto; what name would he bear so fitly as that of his father and of his father's friend?

It required the peremptory resolution of this man to set aside the innumerable considerations, arguments, hesitations, difficulties; what this person knew, and that person knew better; the opinions, up and down, and backward and forward, which every friend volunteered. It always happens on such occasions that when one inconvenience is removed, a fresh inconvenience seems to arise; and in wishing to spare all sides, we inevitably go wrong on one side or the other.

The letters to friends and relations were all undertaken by Mittler, and they were to be written and sent off at once. It was highly necessary, he thought, that the good fortune which he considered so important for the family, should be known as widely as possible through the ill-natured and misinterpreting world. For indeed these late entanglements and perplexities had got abroad among the public, which at all times has a conviction that, whatever happens, happens only in order that it may have something to talk about.

The ceremony of the baptism was to be observed with all due honor, but it was to be as brief and as private as possible. The people came together; Ottilie and Mittler were to hold the child as sponsors. The old pastor, supported by the servants of the church, came in with slow steps; the prayers were offered. The child lay in Ottilie's arms, and as she was looking affectionately down at it, it opened its eyes and she was not a little startled when she seemed to see her own eyes looking at her. The likeness would have surprised any one. Mittler, who next had to receive the child, started as well; he fancying he saw in the little features a most striking likeness to the Captain. He had never seen a resemblance so marked.

The infirmity of the good old clergyman had not permitted him to accompany the ceremony with more than the usual liturgy.

Mittler, however, who was full of his subject, recollected his old performances when he had been in the ministry, and indeed it was one of his peculiarities that, on every sort of occasion, he always thought what he would like to say, and how he would express himself about it.

At this time he was the less able to contain himself, as he was now in the midst of a circle consisting entirely of well-known friends. He began, therefore, toward the conclusion of the service, to put himself quietly into the place of the clergyman; to make cheerful speeches aloud, expressive of his duty and his hopes as godfather, and to dwell all the longer on the subject, as he thought he saw in Charlotte's gratified manner that she was pleased with his doing so.

It altogether escaped the eagerness of the orator, that the good old man would gladly have sat down; still less did he think that he was on the way to occasion a more serious evil. After he had described with all his power of impressiveness the relation in which every person present stood toward the child, thereby putting Ottilie's composure sorely to the proof, he turned at last to the old man with the words, "And you, my worthy father, you may now well say with Simeon, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen the savior of this house.'"

He was now in full swing toward a brilliant peroration, when he perceived the old man to whom he held out the child, first appear a little to incline toward it, and immediately after to totter and sink backward. Hardly prevented from falling, he was lifted to a seat; but, notwithstanding the instant assistance which was rendered, he was found to be dead.

To see thus side by side birth and death, the coffin and the cradle, to see them and to realize them, to comprehend not with the eye of imagination, but with the bodily eye, at one moment these fearful opposites, was a hard trial to the spectators; the harder, the more utterly it had taken them by surprise. Ottilie alone stood contemplating the slumberer, whose features still retained their gentle sweet expression, with a kind of envy. The life of her soul was killed; why should the bodily life any longer drag on in weariness?

But though Ottilie was frequently led by melancholy incidents which occurred in the day to thoughts of the past, of separation and of loss, at night she had strange visions given her to comfort her, which assured her of the existence of her beloved, and thus strengthened her, and gave her life for her own. When she laid herself down at night to rest, and was floating among sweet sensations between sleep and waking, she seemed to be looking into a clear but softly illuminated space. In this she would see Edward with the greatest distinctness, and not in the dress in which she had been accustomed to see him, but in military uniform; never in the same position, but always in a natural one, and not the least with anything fantastic about him, either standing or walking, or lying down or riding. The figure, which was painted with the utmost minuteness, moved readily before her without any effort of hers, without her willing it or exerting her imagination to produce it. Frequently she saw him surrounded with something in motion, which was darker than the bright ground; but the figures were shadowy, and she could scarcely distinguish them—sometimes they were like men, sometimes they were like horses, or like trees, or like mountains. She usually went to sleep in the midst of the apparition, and when, after a quiet night, she woke again in the morning, she felt refreshed and comforted; she could say to herself, Edward still lives, and she herself was still remaining in the closest relation toward him.


The spring was come; it was late, but it therefore burst out more rapidly and more exhilaratingly than usual. Ottilie now found in the garden the fruits of her carefulness. Everything shot up and came out in leaf and flower at its proper time. A number of plants which she had been training up under glass frames and in hotbeds, now burst forward at once to meet, at last, the advances of nature; and whatever there was to do, and to take care of, it did not remain the mere labor of hope which it had been, but brought its reward in immediate and substantial enjoyment.

There was many a chasm, however, among the finest shoots produced by Luciana's wild ways, for which she had to console the gardener, and the symmetry of many a leafy coronet was destroyed. She tried to encourage him to hope that it would all be soon restored again, but he had too deep a feeling, and too pure an idea of the nature of his business, for such grounds of comfort to be of much service to him. Little as the gardener allowed himself to have his attention dissipated by other tastes and inclinations, he could the less bear to have the peaceful course interrupted which the plant follows toward its enduring or its transient perfection. A plant is like a self-willed man, out of whom we can obtain all which we desire, if we will only treat him his own way. A calm eye, a silent method, in all seasons of the year, and at every hour, to do exactly what has then to be done, is required of no one perhaps more than of a gardener. These qualities the good man possessed in an eminent degree, and it was on that account that Ottilie liked so well to work with him; but for some time past he had not found himself able to exercise his peculiar talent with any pleasure to himself. Whatever concerned the fruit-gardening or kitchen-gardening, as well as whatever had in time past been required in the ornamental gardens, he understood perfectly. One man succeeds in one thing, another in another; he succeeded in these. In his management of the orangery, of the bulbous flowers, in budding shoots and growing cuttings from the carnations and auriculas, he might challenge nature herself. But the new ornamental shrubs and fashionable flowers remained in a measure strange to him. He had a kind of shyness of the endless field of botany, which had been lately opening itself, and the strange names humming about his ears made him cross and ill-tempered. The orders for flowers which had been made by his lord and lady in the course of the past year, he considered so much useless waste and extravagance—all the more, as he saw many valuable plants disappear, and as he had ceased to stand on the best possible terms with the nursery gardeners, who, he fancied, had not been serving him honestly.

Consequently, after a number of attempts, he had formed a sort of a plan, in which Ottilie encouraged him the more readily because its first essential condition was the return of Edward, whose absence in this, as in many other matters, every day had to be felt more and more seriously.

Now that the plants were ever striking new roots, and putting out their shoots, Ottilie felt herself even more fettered to this spot. It was just a year since she had come there as a stranger, as a mere insignificant creature. How much had she not gained for herself since that time! but, alas! how much had she not also since that time lost again! Never had she been so rich, and never so poor. The feelings of her loss and of her gain alternated momentarily one with another, chasing each other through her heart; and she could find no other means to help herself, except always to set to work again at what lay nearest to her, with such interest and eagerness as she could command.

That everything which she knew to be dear to Edward received especial care from her may be supposed. And why should she not hope that he himself would now soon come back again; and that, when present, he would show himself grateful for all the care and pains which she had taken for him in his absence?

But there was also a far different employment which she took upon herself in his service; she had undertaken the principal charge of the child, whose immediate attendant it was all the easier for her to be, as they had determined not to put it into the hands of a nurse, but to bring it up themselves by hand with milk and water. In the beautiful season it was much out of doors, enjoying the free air, and Ottilie liked best to take it out herself, to carry the unconscious sleeping infant among the flowers and blossoms which should one day smile so brightly on its childhood—among the young shrubs and plants, which, by their youth, seemed designed to grow up with the young lord to their after-stature. When she looked about her, she did not hide from herself to what a high position that child was born: far and wide, wherever the eye could see, all would one day belong to him. How desirable, how necessary it must therefore be, that it should grow up under the eyes of its father and its mother, and renew and strengthen the union between them!

Ottilie saw all this so clearly that she represented it to herself as conclusively decided, and for herself, as concerned with it, she never felt at all. Under this fair heaven, by this bright sunshine, at once it became clear to her, that her love if it would perfect itself, must become altogether unselfish; and there were many moments in which she believed it was an elevation which she had already attained. She only desired the well-being of her friend. She fancied herself able to resign him, and never to see him any more, if she could only know that he was happy. The one only determination which she formed for herself was never to belong to another.

They had taken care that the autumn should be no less brilliant than the spring. Sun-flowers were there, and all the other plants which are never tired of blossoming in autumn, and continue boldly on into the cold; asters especially were sown in the greatest abundance, and scattered about in all directions to form a starry heaven upon the earth.


"Any good thought which we have read, anything striking which we have heard, we commonly enter in our diary; but if we would take the trouble, at the same time, to copy out of our friends' letters the remarkable observations, the original ideas, the hasty words so pregnant in meaning, which we might find in them, we should then be rich indeed. We lay aside letters never to read them again, and at last we destroy them out of discretion, and so disappears the most beautiful, the most immediate breath of life, irrecoverably for ourselves and for others. I intend to make amends in future for such neglect."

"So, then, once more the old story of the year is being repeated over again. We are come now, thank God, again to its most charming chapter. The violets and the may-flowers are as its superscriptions and its vignettes. It always makes a pleasant impression on us when we open again at these pages in the book of life."

"We find fault with the poor, particularly with the little ones among them, when they loiter about the streets and beg. Do we not observe that they begin to work again, as soon as ever there is anything for them to do? Hardly has nature unfolded her smiling treasures, than the children are at once upon her track to open out a calling for themselves. None of them begs any more; they have each a nosegay to offer you; they were out and gathering it before you had awakened out of your sleep, and the supplicating face looks as sweetly at you as the present which the hand is holding out. No person ever looks miserable who feels that he has a right to make a demand upon you."

"How is it that the year sometimes seems so short, and sometimes is so long? How is it that it is so short when it is passing, and so long as we look back over it? When I think of the past (and it never comes so powerfully over me as in the garden), I feel how the perishing and the enduring work one upon the other, and there is nothing whose endurance is so brief as not to leave behind it some trace of itself, something in its own likeness."

"We are able to tolerate the winter. We fancy that we can extend ourselves more freely when the trees are so spectral, so transparent. They are nothing, but they conceal nothing; but when once the germs and buds begin to show, then we become impatient for the full foliage to come out, for the landscape to put on its body, and the tree to stand before us as a form."

"Everything which is perfect in its kind must pass out beyond and transcend its kind. It must be an inimitable something of another and a higher nature. In many of its tones the nightingale is only a bird; then it rises up above its class, and seems as if it would teach every feathered creature what singing really is."

"A life without love, without the presence of the beloved, is but poor comédie à tiroir. We draw out slide after slide, swiftly tiring of each, and pushing it back to make haste to the next. Even what we know to be good and important hangs but wearily together; every step is an end, and every step is a fresh beginning."


Charlotte meanwhile was well and in good spirits. She was happy in her beautiful boy, whose fair promising little form every hour was a delight to both her eyes and heart. In him she found a new link to connect her with the world and with her property. Her old activity began anew to stir in her again.

Look which way she would, she saw how much had been done in the year that was past, and it was a pleasure to her to contemplate it. Enlivened by the strength of these feelings, she climbed up to the summer-house with Ottilie and the child, and as she laid the latter down on the little table, as on the altar of her house, and saw the two seats still vacant, she thought of gone-by times, and fresh hopes rose out before her for herself and for Ottilie.

Young ladies, perhaps, look timidly round them at this or that young man, carrying on a silent examination, whether they would like to have him for a husband; but whoever has a daughter or a female ward to care for, takes a wider circle in her survey. And so it fared at this moment with Charlotte, to whom, as she thought of how they had once sat side by side in that summer-house, a union did not seem impossible between the Captain and Ottilie. It had not remained unknown to her, that the plans for the advantageous marriage, which had been proposed to the Captain, had come to nothing.

Charlotte went on up the cliff, and Ottilie carried the child. A number of reflections crowded upon the former. Even on the firm land there are frequent enough ship-wrecks, and the true, wise conduct is to recover ourselves, and refit our vessel at fast as possible. Is life to be calculated only by its gains and losses? Who has not made arrangement on arrangement, and has not seen them broken in pieces? How often does not a man strike into a road and lose it again! How often are we not turned aside from one point which we had sharply before our eye, but only to reach some higher stage. The traveler, to his greatest annoyance, breaks a wheel upon his journey, and through this unpleasant accident makes some charming acquaintance, and forms some new connection, which has an influence on all his life. Destiny grants us our wishes, but in its own way, in order to give us something beyond our wishes.

Among these and similar reflections they reached the new building on the hill, where they intended to establish themselves for the summer. The view all round them was far more beautiful than could have been supposed; every little obstruction had been removed; all the loveliness of the landscape, whatever nature, whatever the season of the year had done for it, came out in its beauty before the eye; and already the young plantations, which had been made to fill up a few openings, were beginning to look green, and to form an agreeable connecting link between parts which before stood separate.

The house itself was nearly habitable; the views, particularly from the upper rooms, were of the richest variety. The longer you looked round you, the more beauties you discovered. What magnificent effects would not be produced here at the different hours of day—by sunlight and by moonlight? Nothing could be more delightful than to come and live there, and now that she found all the rough work finished, Charlotte longed to be busy again. An upholsterer, a tapestry-hanger, a painter, who could lay on the colors with patterns, and a little gilding, were all which were required, and these were soon found, and in a short time the building was completed. Kitchen and cellar stores were quickly laid in; being so far from the castle, it was necessary to have all essentials provided; and the two ladies with the child went up and settled there. From this residence, as from a new centre point, unknown walks opened out to them, and in these high regions the free, fresh air and the beautiful weather were thoroughly delightful.

Ottilie's favorite walk, sometimes alone, sometimes with the child, was down below, toward the plane-trees, along a pleasant footpath leading directly to the point where one of the boats was kept chained in which people used to go across the water. She often indulged herself in an expedition on the water, only without the child, as Charlotte was a little uneasy about it. She never missed, however, paying a daily visit to the castle garden and the gardener, and going to look with him at his show of greenhouse plants, which were all out now, enjoying the free air.

At this beautiful season, Charlotte was much pleased to receive a visit from an English nobleman, who had made acquaintance with Edward abroad, having met him more than once, and who was now curious to see the laying out of his park, which he had heard so much admired. He brought with him a letter of introduction from the Count, and introduced at the same time a quiet but most agreeable man as his traveling companion. He went about seeing everything, sometimes with Charlotte and Ottilie, sometimes with the gardeners and the foresters, often with his friend, and now and then alone; and they could perceive clearly from his observations that he took an interest in such matters, and understood them well; indeed, that he had himself probably executed many such.

Although he was now advanced in life, he entered warmly into everything which could serve for an ornament to life, or contribute anything to its importance.

In his presence, the ladies came first properly to enjoy what was around them. His practised eye received every effect in its freshness, and he found all the more pleasure in what was before him, as he had not previously known the place, and was scarcely able to distinguish what man had done there from what nature had presented to him ready made.

We may even say that through his remarks the park grew and enriched itself; he was able to anticipate in their fulfilment the promises of the growing plantations. There was not a spot where there was any effect which could be either heightened or produced, but what he observed it.

In one place he pointed to a fountain which, if it was cleaned out, promised to be the most beautiful spot for a picnic party; in another, to a cave which had only to be enlarged and swept clear of rubbish to form a desirable seat. A few trees might be cut down, and a view would be opened from it of some grand masses of rock, towering magnificently against the sky. He wished the owners joy that so much was still remaining for them to do, and he besought them not to be in a hurry about it, but to keep for themselves for years to come the pleasures of shaping and improving.

At the hours which the ladies usually spent alone he was never in the way, for he was occupied the greatest part of the day in catching such views in the park as would make good paintings, in a portable camera obscura, and drawing from them, in order to secure some desirable fruits from his travels for himself and others. For many years past he had been in the habit of doing this in all remarkable places which he visited, and had provided himself by it with a most charming and interesting collection. He showed the ladies a large portfolio which he had brought with him, and entertained them with the pictures and with descriptions. And it was a real delight to them, here in their solitude, to travel so pleasantly over the world, and see sweep past them, shores and havens, mountains, lakes, and rivers, cities, castles, and a hundred other localities which have a name in history.

Each of the two ladies had an especial interest in it—Charlotte the more general interest in whatever was historically remarkable; Ottilie dwelling in preference on the scenes of which Edward used most to talk—where he liked best to stay, and which he would most often revisit. Every man has somewhere, far or near, his peculiar localities which attract him; scenes which, according to his character, either from first impressions, or from particular associations, or from habit, have a charm for him beyond all others.

She, therefore, asked the Earl which, of all these places, pleased him best, where he would like to settle, and live for himself, if he might choose. There was more than one lovely spot which he pointed out, with what had happened to him there to make him love and value it; and the peculiar accentuated French in which he spoke made it most pleasant to listen to him.

To the further question, which was his ordinary residence that he properly considered his home, he replied, without any hesitation, in a manner quite unexpected by the ladies:

"I have accustomed myself by this time to be at home everywhere, and I find, after all, that it is much more agreeable to allow others to plant, and build, and keep house for me. I have no desire to return to my own possessions, partly on political grounds, but principally because my son, for whose sake alone it was any pleasure to me to remain and work there—who will, by-and-by, inherit it, and with whom I hoped to enjoy it—took no interest in the place at all, but has gone out to India, where, like many other foolish fellows, he fancies he can make a higher use of his life. He is more likely to squander it.

"Assuredly we spend far too much labor and outlay in preparation for life. Instead of beginning at once to make ourselves happy in a moderate condition, we spread ourselves out wider and wider, only to make ourselves more and more uncomfortable. Who is there now to enjoy my mansion, my park, my gardens? Not I, nor any of mine—strangers, visitors, or curious, restless travelers.

"Even with large means, we are ever but half and half at home, especially in the country, where we miss many things to which we have become accustomed in town. The book for which we are most anxious is not to be had, and just the thing which we most wanted is forgotten. We take to being domestic, only again to go out of ourselves; if we do not go astray of our own will and caprice, circumstances, passions, accidents, necessity, and one does not know what besides, manage it for us."

Little did the Earl imagine how deeply his friend would be touched by these random observations. It is a danger to which we are all of us exposed when we venture on general remarks in a society the circumstances of which we might have supposed were well enough known to us. Such casual wounds, even from well-meaning, kindly-disposed people, were nothing new to Charlotte. She so clearly, so thoroughly knew and understood the world, that it gave her no particular pain if it did happen that through somebody's thoughtlessness or imprudence she had her attention forced into this or that unpleasant direction. But it was very different with Ottilie. At her half-conscious age, at which she rather felt than saw, and at which she was disposed, indeed was obliged, to turn her eyes away from what she should not or would not see, Ottilie was thrown by this melancholy conversation into the most pitiable state. It rudely tore away the pleasant veil from before her eyes, and it seemed to her as if everything which had been done all this time for house and court, for park and garden, for all their wide environs, were utterly in vain, because he to whom it all belonged could not enjoy it; because he, like their present visitor, had been driven out to wander up and down in the world—and, indeed, in the most perilous paths of it—by those who were nearest and dearest to him. She was accustomed to listen in silence, but on this occasion she sat on in the most painful condition; which, indeed, was made rather worse than better by what the stranger went on to say, as he continued with his peculiar, humorous gravity:

"I think I am now on the right way. I look upon myself steadily as a traveler, who renounces many things in order to enjoy more. I am accustomed to change; it has become, indeed, a necessity to me; just as in the opera, people are always looking out for new and newer decorations, because there have already been so many. I know very well what I am to expect from the best hotels, and what from the worst. It may be as good or it may be as bad as it will, but I nowhere find anything to which I am accustomed, and in the end it comes to much the same thing whether we depend for our enjoyment entirely on the regular order of custom, or entirely on the caprices of accident. I have never had to vex myself now, because this thing is mislaid, or that thing is lost; because the room in which I live is uninhabitable, and I must have it repaired; because somebody has broken my favorite cup, and for a long time nothing tastes well out of any other. All this I am happily raised above. If the house catches fire about my ears, my people quietly pack my things up, and we pass away out of the town in search of other quarters. And considering all these advantages, when I reckon carefully, I calculate that, by the end of the year, I have not sacrificed more than it would have cost me to be at home."

In this description Ottilie saw nothing but Edward before her; how he too was now amidst discomfort and hardship, marching along untrodden roads, lying out in the fields in danger and want, and in all this insecurity and hazard growing accustomed to be homeless and friendless, learning to fling away everything that he might have nothing to lose. Fortunately, the party separated for a short time. Ottilie escaped to her room, where she could give way to her tears. No weight of sorrow had ever pressed so heavily upon her as this clear perception (which she tried, as people usually do, to make still clearer to herself), that men love to dally with and exaggerate the evils which circumstances have once begun to inflict upon them.

The state in which Edward was came before her in a light so piteous, so miserable, that she made up her mind, let it cost her what it would, that she would do everything in her power to unite him again with Charlotte, and she herself would go and hide her sorrow and her love in some silent scene, and beguile the time with such employment as she could find.

Meanwhile the Earl's companion, a quiet, sensible man and a keen observer, had remarked the new trend in the conversation, and spoke to his friend about it. The latter knew nothing of the circumstances of the family; but the other being one of those persons whose principal interest in traveling lay in gathering up the strange occurrences which arose out of the natural or artificial relations of society, which were produced by the conflict of the restraint of law with the violence of the will, of the understanding with the reason, of passion with prejudice—had some time before made himself acquainted with the outline of the story, and since he had been in the family had learnt exactly all that had taken place, and the present position in which things were standing.

The Earl, of course, was very sorry, but it was not a thing to make him uneasy. A man must hold his tongue altogether in society if he is never to find himself in such a position; for not only remarks with meaning in them, but the most trivial expressions, may happen to clash in an inharmonious key with the interest of somebody present.

"We will set things right this evening," said he, "and escape from any general conversation; you shall let them hear one of the many charming anecdotes with which your portfolio and your memory have enriched themselves while we have been abroad."

However, with the best intentions, the strangers did not, on this next occasion, succeed any better in gratifying their friends with unalloyed entertainment. The Earl's friend told a number of singular stories—some serious, some amusing, some touching, some terrible—with which he had roused their attention and strained their interest to the highest tension, and he thought to conclude with a strange but softer incident, little dreaming how nearly it would touch his listeners.


"Two children of neighboring families, a boy and a girl, of an age which would suit well for them at some future time to marry, were brought up together with this agreeable prospect, and the parents on both sides, who were people of some position in the world, looked forward with pleasure to their future union.

"It was too soon observed, however, that the purpose seemed likely to fail; the dispositions of both children promised everything which was good, but there was an unaccountable antipathy between them. Perhaps they were too much like each other. Both were thoughtful, clear in their wills, and firm in their purposes. Each separately was beloved and respected by his or her companions, but whenever they were together they were always antagonists. Forming separate plans for themselves, they only met mutually to cross and thwart each other; never emulating each other in pursuit of one aim, but always fighting for a single object. Good-natured and amiable everywhere else, they were spiteful and even malicious whenever they came in contact.

"This singular relation first showed itself in their childish games, and it continued with their advancing years. The boys used to play at soldiers, divide into parties, and give each other battle, and the fierce haughty young lady set herself at once at the head of one of the armies, and fought against the other with such animosity and bitterness that the latter would have been put to a shameful flight, except for the desperate bravery of her own particular rival, who at last disarmed his antagonist and took her prisoner; and even then she defended herself with so much fury that to save his eyes from being torn out, and at the same time not to injure his enemy, he had been obliged to take off his silk handkerchief and tie her hands with it behind her back.

"This she never forgave him: she made so many attempts, she laid so many plans to injure him, that the parents, who had been long watching these singular passions, came to a mutual understanding and resolved to separate these two hostile creatures, and sacrifice their favorite hopes.

"The boy shot rapidly forward in the new situation in which he was placed. He mastered every subject which he was taught. His friends and his own inclination chose the army for his profession, and everywhere, let him be where he would, he was looked up to and beloved. His disposition seemed formed to labor for the well-being and the pleasure of others; and he himself, without being clearly conscious of it, was in himself happy at having got rid of the only antagonist which nature had assigned to him.

"The girl, on the other hand, became at once an altered creature. Her growing age, the progress of her education, above all, her own inward feelings, drew her away from the boisterous games with boys in which she had hitherto delighted. Altogether she seemed to want something; there was nothing anywhere about her which could deserve to excite her hatred, and she had never found any one whom she could think worthy of her love.

"A young man, somewhat older than her previous neighbor-antagonist, of rank, property, and consequence, beloved in society, and much sought after by women, bestowed his affections upon her. It was the first time that friend, lover, or servant had displayed any interest in her. The preference which he showed for her above others who were older, more cultivated, and of more brilliant pretensions than herself, was naturally gratifying; the constancy of his attention, which was never obtrusive, his standing by her faithfully through a number of unpleasant incidents, his quiet suit, which was declared indeed to her parents, but which, as she was still very young, he did not press, only asking to be allowed to hope—all this engaged him to her, and custom and the assumption in the world that the thing was already settled carried her along with it. She had so often been called his bride that at last she began to consider herself so, and neither she nor any one else ever thought any further trial could be necessary before she exchanged rings with the person who for so long a time had passed for her bridegroom.

"The peaceful course which the affair had all along followed was not at all precipitated by the betrothal. Things were allowed to go on both sides just as they were; they were happy in being together, and they could enjoy to the end the fair season of the year as the spring of their future more serious life.

"The absent youth had meanwhile grown up into everything which was most admirable. He had obtained a well-deserved rank in his profession, and came home on leave to visit his family. Toward his fair neighbor he found himself again in a natural but singular position. For some time past she had been nourishing in herself such affectionate family feelings as suited her position as a bride; she was in harmony with everything about her; she believed that she was happy, and in a certain sense she was so. Now first for a long time something again stood in her way. It was not to be hated—she had become incapable of hatred. Indeed the childish hatred, which had in fact been nothing more than an obscure recognition of inward worth, expressed itself now in a happy astonishment, in pleasure at meeting, in ready acknowledgments, in a half willing, half unwilling, and yet irresistible attraction; and all this was mutual. Their long separation gave occasion for longer conversations; even their old childish foolishness served, now that they had grown wiser, to amuse them as they looked back; and they felt as if at least they were bound to make good their petulant hatred by friendliness and attention to each other—as if their first violent injustice to each other ought not to be left without open acknowledgment.

"On his side it all remained in a sensible, desirable moderation. His position, his circumstances, his efforts, his ambition, found him so abundant an occupation, that the friendliness of this pretty bride he received as a very thank-worthy present; but without, therefore, even so much as thinking of her in connection with himself, or entertaining the slightest jealousy of the bridegroom, with whom he stood on the best possible terms.

"With her, however, it was altogether different. She seemed to herself as if she had awakened out of a dream. Her fightings with her young neighbor had been the beginnings of an affection; and this violent antagonism was no more than an equally violent innate passion for him, first showing under the form of opposition. She could remember nothing else than that she had always loved him. She laughed over her martial encounter with him with weapons in her hand; she dwelt upon the delight of her feelings when he disarmed her. She imagined that it had given her the greatest happiness when he bound her: and whatever she had done afterward to injure him, or to vex him, presented itself to her as only an innocent means of attracting his attention. She cursed their separation. She bewailed the sleepy state into which she had fallen. She execrated the insidious lazy routine which had betrayed her into accepting so insignificant a bridegroom. She was transformed—doubly transformed, forward or backward, whichever way we like to take it.

"She kept her feelings entirely to herself; but if any one could have divined them and shared them with her, he could not have blamed her: for indeed the bridegroom could not sustain a comparison with the other as soon as they were seen together. If a sort of regard to the one could not be refused, the other excited the fullest trust and confidence. If one made an agreeable acquaintance, the other we should desire for a companion; and in extraordinary cases, where higher demands might have to be made on them, the bridegroom was a person to be utterly despaired of, while the other would give the feeling of perfect security.

"There is a peculiar innate tact in women which discovers to them differences of this kind; and they have cause as well as occasion to cultivate it.

"The more the fair bride was nourishing all these feelings in secret, the less opportunity there was for any one to speak a word which could tell in favor of her bridegroom, to remind her of what her duty and their relative position advised and commanded—indeed, what an unalterable necessity seemed now irrevocably to require; the poor heart gave itself up entirely to its passion.

"On one side she was bound inextricably to the bridegroom by the world, by her family, and by her own promise; on the other, the ambitious young man made no secret of what he was thinking and planning for himself, conducting himself toward her no more than a kind but not at all a tender brother, and speaking of his departure as immediately impending; and now it seemed as if her early childish spirit woke up again in her with all its spleen and violence, and was preparing itself in its distemper, on this higher stage of life, to work more effectively and destructively. She determined that she would die to punish the once hated; and now so passionately loved, youth for his want of interest in her; and as she could not possess himself, at least she would wed herself for ever to his imagination and to his repentance. Her dead image should cling to him, and he should never be free from it. He should never cease to reproach himself for not having understood, not examined, not valued her feelings toward him.

"This singular insanity accompanied her wherever she went. She kept it concealed under all sorts of forms; and although people thought her very odd, no one was observant enough or clever enough to discover the real inward reason.

"In the meantime, friends, relations, acquaintances had exhausted themselves in contrivances for pleasure parties. Scarcely a day passed but something new and unexpected was set on foot. There was hardly a pretty spot in the country round which had not been decked out and prepared for the reception of some merry party. And now our young visitor, before departing, wished to do his part as well, and invited the young couple, with a small family circle, to an expedition on the water. They went on board a large beautiful vessel dressed out in all its colors—one of the yachts which had a small saloon and a cabin or two besides, and are intended to carry with them upon the water the comfort and conveniences of land.

"They set out upon the broad river with music playing. The party had collected in the cabin, below deck, during the heat of the day, and were amusing themselves with games. Their young host, who could never remain without doing something, had taken charge of the helm to relieve the old master of the vessel, and the latter had lain down and was fast asleep. It was a moment when the steerer required all his circumspectness, as the vessel was nearing a spot where two islands narrowed the channel of the river, while shallow banks of shingle stretching off, first on one side and then on the other, made the navigation difficult and dangerous. Prudent and sharp-sighted as he was, he thought for a moment that it would be better to wake the master; but he felt confident in himself, and he thought he would venture and make straight for the narrows. At this moment his fair enemy appeared upon deck with a wreath of flowers in her hair. 'Take this to remember me by,' she cried out. She took it off and threw it at the steerer. 'Don't disturb me,' he answered quickly, as he caught the wreath; 'I require all my powers and all my attention now.' 'You will never be disturbed by me any more,' she cried; 'you will never see me again.' As she spoke, she rushed to the forward part of the vessel, and from thence she sprang into the water. Voice upon voice called out, 'Save her, save her, she is sinking!' He was in the most terrible difficulty. In the confusion the old shipmaster woke, and tried to catch the rudder, which the young man bade him take. But there was no time to change hands. The vessel stranded; and at the same moment, flinging off the heaviest of his upper garments, he sprang into the water and swam toward his beautiful enemy. The water is a friendly element to a man who is at home in it, and who knows how to deal with it; it buoyed him up, and acknowledged the strong swimmer as its master. He soon overtook the beautiful girl, who had been swept away before him; he caught hold of her, raised her and supported her, and both of them were carried violently down by the current, till the shoals and islands were left far behind, and the river was again open and running smoothly. He now began to collect himself; they had passed the first immediate danger, in which he had been obliged to act mechanically without time to think; he raised his head as high as he could to look about him and then swam with all his might to a low bushy point which ran out conveniently into the stream. There he brought his fair burden to dry land, but he could find no signs of life in her; he was in despair, when he caught sight of a trodden path leading among the bushes. Again he caught her up in his arms, hurried forward, and presently reached a solitary cottage. There he found kind, good people—a young married couple; the misfortunes and the dangers explained themselves instantly; every remedy he could think of was instantly applied; a bright fire blazed up; woolen blankets were spread on a bed, counterpane, cloaks, skins, whatever there was at hand which would serve for warmth, were heaped over her as fast as possible. The desire to save life overpowered, for the present, every other consideration. Nothing was left undone to bring back to life the beautiful, half-torpid, naked body. It succeeded; she opened her eyes! her friend was before her; she threw her heavenly arms about his neck. In this position she remained for a time; and then a stream of tears burst out and completed her recovery. 'Will you forsake me,' she cried, 'now when I find you again thus?' 'Never,' he answered, 'never,' hardly knowing what he said or did. 'Only consider yourself,' she added; 'take care of yourself, for your sake and for mine.'

"She now began to collect herself, and for the first time recollected the state in which she was; she could not be ashamed before her darling, before her preserver; but she gladly allowed him to go, that he might take care of himself; for the clothes which he still wore were wet and dripping.

"Their young hosts considered what could be done. The husband offered the young man, and the wife offered the fair lady, the dresses in which they had been married, which were hanging up in full perfection, and sufficient for a complete suit, inside and out, for two people. In a short time our pair of adventurers were not only equipped, but in full costume. They looked most charming, gazed at each other, when they met, with admiration, and then with infinite affection, half laughing at the same time at the quaintness of their appearance, they fell into each other's arms.

"The power of youth and the quickening spirit of love in a few moments completely restored them; and there was nothing wanting but music to have set them both off dancing.

"To have found themselves brought from the water on dry land, from death into life, from the circle of their families into a wilderness, from despair into rapture, from indifference to affection and to love, all in a moment: the head was not strong enough to bear it; it must either burst, or go distracted; or if so distressing an alternative were to be escaped, the heart must put out all its efforts.

"Lost wholly in each other, it was long before they recollected the alarm and anxiety of those who had been left behind; and they themselves, indeed, could not well think, without alarm and anxiety, how they were again to encounter them. 'Shall we run away? shall we hide ourselves?' asked the young man. 'We will remain together,' she said, as she clung about his neck.

"The peasant having heard them say that a party was aground on the shoal, had hurried down, without stopping to ask another question, to the shore. When he arrived there, he saw the vessel coming safely down the stream. After much labor it had been got off; and they were now going on in uncertainty, hoping to find their lost ones again somewhere. The peasant shouted and made signs to them, and at last caught the attention of those on board; then he ran to a spot where there was a convenient place for landing, and went on signalling and shouting till the vessel's head was turned toward the shore; and what a scene there was for them when they landed. The parents of the two betrothed first pressed on the banks; the poor loving bridegroom had almost lost his senses. They had scarcely learnt that their dear children had been saved, when in their strange disguise the latter came forward out of the bushes to meet them. No one recognized them till they were come quite close. 'Whom do I see?' cried the mothers. 'What do I see?' cried the fathers. The preserved ones flung themselves on the ground before them. 'Your children,' they called out; 'a pair.' 'Forgive us!' cried the maiden. 'Give us your blessing!' cried the young man. 'Give us your blessing!' they cried both, as all the world stood still in wonder. 'Your blessing!' was repeated the third time; and who would have been able to refuse it?"


The narrator made a pause, or rather he had already finished his story, before he observed the emotion into which Charlotte had been thrown by it. She got up, uttered some sort of an apology, and left the room. To her it was a well-known history. The principal incident in it had really taken place with the Captain and a neighbor of her own; not exactly, indeed, as the Englishman had related it. But the main features of it were the same. It had only been more finished off and elaborated in its details, as stories of that kind always are when they have passed first through the lips of the multitude, and then through the fancy of a clever and imaginative narrator; the result of the process being usually to leave everything and nothing as it was.

Ottilie followed Charlotte, as the two friends begged her to do; and then it was the Earl's turn to remark, that perhaps they had made a second mistake, and that the subject of the story had been well known to, or was in some way connected with, the family. "We must take care," he added, "that we do no more mischief here; we seem to bring little good to our entertainers for all the kindness and hospitality which they have shown us; we will make some excuse for ourselves, and then take our leave."

"I must confess," answered his companion, "that there is something else which still holds me here, which I should be very sorry to leave the house without seeing cleared up or in some way explained. You were too busy yourself yesterday when we were in the park with the camera, in looking for spots where you could make your sketches, to have observed anything else which was passing. You left the broad walk, you remember, and went to a sequestered place on the side of the lake. There was a fine view of the opposite shore which you wished to take. Well, Ottilie, who was with us, got up to follow; and then proposed that she and I should find our way to you in the boat. I got in with her, and was delighted with the skill of my fair conductress. I assured her that never since I had been in Switzerland, where the young ladies so often fill the place of the boatmen, had I been so pleasantly ferried over the water. At the same time I could not help asking her why she had shown such an objection to going the way which you had gone, along the little by-path. I had observed her shrink from it with a sort of painful uneasiness. She was not at all offended. 'If you will promise not to laugh at me,' she answered, 'I will tell you as much as I know about it; but to myself it is a mystery which I cannot explain. There is a particular spot in that path which I never pass without a strange shiver passing over me, which I do not remember ever feeling anywhere else, and which I cannot the least understand. But I shrink from exposing myself to the sensation, because it is followed immediately after by a pain on the left side of my head, from which at other times I suffer severely.' We landed. Ottilie was engaged with you, and I took the opportunity of examining the spot, which she pointed out to me as we went by on the water. I was not a little surprised to find there distinct traces of coal in sufficient quantities to convince me that at a short distance below the surface there must be a considerable bed of it.

"Pardon me, my Lord; I see you smile; and I know very well that you have no faith in these things about which I am so eager, and that it is only your sense and your kindness which enable you to tolerate me. However, it is impossible for me to leave this place without trying on that beautiful creature an experiment with the pendulum."

The Earl, whenever these matters came to be spoken of, never failed to repeat the same objections to them over and over again; and his friend endured them all quietly and patiently, remaining firm, nevertheless, to his own opinion, and holding to his own wishes. He, too, again repeated that there was no reason, because the experiment did not succeed with every one, that they should give them up, as if there was nothing in them but fancy. They should be examined into all the more earnestly and scrupulously; and there was no doubt that the result would be the discovery of a number of affinities of inorganic creatures for one another, and of organic creatures for them, and again for each other, which at present were unknown to us.

He had already spread out his apparatus of gold rings, marcasites, and other metallic substances, a pretty little box of which he always carried about with himself; and he suspended a piece of metal by a string over another piece, which he placed upon the table. "Now, my Lord," he said, "you may take what pleasure you please (I can see in your face what you are feeling), at perceiving that nothing will set itself in motion with me, or for me. But my operation is no more than a pretense; when the ladies come back, they will be curious to know what strange work we are about."

The ladies returned. Charlotte understood at once what was going on. "I have heard much of these things," she said; "but I never saw the effect myself. You have everything ready there. Let me try whether I can succeed in producing anything."

She took the thread in her hand, and as she was perfectly serious, she held it steady, and without any agitation. Not the slightest motion, however, could be detected. Ottilie was then called upon to try. She held the pendulum still more quietly and unconsciously over the plate on the table. But in a moment the swinging piece of metal began to stir with a distinct rotary action, and turned as they moved the position of the plate, first to one side and then to the other; now in circles, now in ellipses; or else describing a series of straight lines; doing all the Earl's friend could expect, and far exceeding, indeed, all his expectations.

The Earl himself was a little staggered; but the other could never be satisfied, from delight and curiosity, and begged for the experiment again and again with all sorts of variations. Ottilie was good-natured enough to gratify him; till at last she was obliged to desire to be allowed to go, as her headache had come on again. In further admiration and even rapture, he assured her with enthusiasm that he would cure her forever of her disorder, if she would only trust herself to his remedies. For a moment they did not know what he meant; but Charlotte, who comprehended immediately after, declined his well-meant offer, not liking to have introduced and practised about her a thing of which she had always had the strongest apprehensions.

The strangers were gone, and notwithstanding their having been the inadvertent cause of strange and painful emotions, left the wish behind them, that this meeting might not be the last. Charlotte now made use of the beautiful weather to return visits in the neighborhood, which, indeed, gave her work enough to do, seeing that the whole country round, some from a real interest, some merely from custom, had been most attentive in calling to inquire after her. At home her delight was the sight of the child, and really it well deserved all love and interest. People, saw in it a wonderful, indeed a miraculous child; the brightest, sunniest little face; a fine, well-proportioned body, strong and healthy; and what surprised them more, the double resemblance, which became more and more conspicuous. In figure and in the features of the face, it was like the Captain; the eyes every day it was less easy to distinguish from the eyes of Ottilie.

Ottilie herself, partly from this remarkable affinity, perhaps still more under the influence of that sweet woman's feeling which makes them regard with the most tender affection the offspring, even by another, of the man they love, was as good as a mother to the little creature as it grew, or rather, she was a second mother of another kind. If Charlotte was absent, Ottilie remained alone with the child and the nurse. Nanny had for some time past been jealous of the boy for monopolizing the entire affections of her mistress; she had left her in a fit of crossness, and gone back to her mother. Ottilie would carry the child about in the open air, and by degrees took longer and longer walks with it, carrying a bottle of milk to give the child its food when it wanted any. Generally, too, she took a book with her; and so with the child in her arms, reading and wandering, she made a very pretty Penserosa.


The object of the campaign was attained, and Edward, with crosses and decorations, was honorably dismissed. He betook himself at once to the same little estate, where he found exact accounts of his family waiting for him, on whom all this time, without their having observed it or known of it, a sharp watch had been kept under his orders. His quiet residence looked most sweet and pleasant when he reached it. In accordance with his orders, various improvements had been made in his absence, and what was wanting to the establishment in extent, was compensated by its internal comforts and conveniences. Edward, accustomed by his more active habits of life to take decided steps, determined to execute a project which he had had sufficient time to think over. First of all, he invited the Major to come to him. This pleasure in meeting again was very great to both of them. The friendships of boyhood, like relationship of blood, possess this important advantage, that mistakes and misunderstandings never produce irreparable injury; and the old regard after a time will always reestablish itself.

Edward began with inquiring about the situation of his friend, and learnt that fortune had favored him exactly as he most could have wished. He then half-seriously asked whether there was not something going forward about a marriage; to which he received a most decided and positive denial.

"I cannot and will not have any reserve with you," he proceeded. "I will tell you at once what my own feelings are, and what I intend to do. You know my passion for Ottilie; you must long have comprehended that it was this which drove me into the campaign. I do not deny that I desire to be rid of a life which, without her, would be of no further value to me. At the same time, however, I acknowledge that I could never bring myself utterly to despair. The prospect of happiness with her was so beautiful, so infinitely charming, that it was not possible for me entirely to renounce it. Feelings, too, which I cannot explain, and a number of happy omens, have combined to strengthen me in the belief, in the assurance, that Ottilie will one day be mine. The glass with our initials cut upon it, which was thrown into the air when the foundation-stone was laid, did not go to pieces; it was caught, and I have it again in my possession. After many miserable hours of uncertainty, spent in this place, I said to myself, 'I will put myself in the place of this glass, and it shall be an omen whether our union be possible or not. I will go; I will seek for death; not like a madman, but like a man who still hopes that he may live. Ottilie shall be the prize for which I fight. Ottilie shall be behind the ranks of the enemy; in every intrenchment, in every beleaguered fortress, I shall hope to find her, and to win her. I will do wonders, with the wish to survive them; with the hope to gain Ottilie, not to lose her.' These feelings have led me on; they have stood by me through all dangers; and now I find myself like one who has arrived at his goal, who has overcome every difficulty and who has nothing more left in his way. Ottilie is mine, and whatever lies between the thought and the execution of it, I can only regard as unimportant."

"With a few strokes you blot out," replied the Major, "all the objections that we can or ought to urge upon you, and yet they must be repeated. I must leave it to yourself to recall the full value of your relation with your wife; but you owe it to her, and you owe it to yourself, not to close your eyes to it. How can I so much as recollect that you have had a son given to you, without acknowledging at once that you two belong to each other forever; that you are bound, for this little creature's sake, to live united, that united you may educate it and provide for its future welfare?"

"It is no more than the blindness of parents," answered Edward, "when they imagine their existence to be of so much importance to their children. Whatever lives, finds nourishment and finds assistance; and if the son who has early lost his father does not spend so easy, so favored a youth, he profits, perhaps, for that very reason, in being trained sooner for the world, and comes to a timely knowledge that he must accommodate himself to others, a thing sooner or later we are all forced to learn. Here, however even these considerations are irrelevant; we are sufficiently well off to be able to provide for more children than one, and it is neither right nor kind to accumulate so large a property on a single head."

The Major attempted to say something of Charlotte's worth, and Edward's long-standing attachment to her; but the latter hastily interrupted him. "We committed ourselves to a foolish thing, that I see all too clearly. Whoever, in middle age, attempts to realize the wishes and hopes of his early youth, invariably deceives himself. Each ten years of a man's life has its own fortunes, its own hopes, its own desires. Woe to him who, either by circumstances or by his own infatuation, is induced to grasp at anything before him or behind him. We have done a foolish thing. Are we to abide by it all our lives? Are we, from some respect of prudence, to refuse to ourselves what the customs of the age do not forbid? In how many matters do men recall their intentions and their actions; and shall it not be allowed to them here, here, where the question is not of this thing or of that, but of everything; not of our single condition of life, but of the whole complex life itself?"

Again the Major powerfully and impressively urged on Edward to consider what he owed to his wife, what was due to his family, to the world, and to his own position; but he could not succeed in producing the slightest impression.

"All these questions, my friend," he returned, "I have considered already again and again. They have passed before me in the storm of battle, when the earth was shaking with the thunder of the cannon, with the balls singing and whistling around me, with my comrades falling right and left, my horse shot under me, my hat pierced with bullets. They have floated before me by the still watch-fire under the starry vault of the sky. I have thought them all through, felt them all through. I have weighed them, and I have satisfied myself about them again and again, and now forever. At such moments why should I not acknowledge it to you? You too were in my thoughts, you too belonged to my circle; as, indeed, you and I have long belonged to each other. If I have ever been in your debt I am now in a position to repay it with interest; if you have been in mine you have now the means to make it good to me. I know that you love Charlotte, and she deserves it. I know that you are not indifferent to her, and why should she not feel your worth? Take her at my hand and give Ottilie to me, and we shall be the happiest beings upon the earth."

"If you choose to assign me so high a character," replied the Major, "it is the more reason for me to be firm and prudent. Whatever there may be in this proposal to make it attractive to me, instead of simplifying the problem, it only increases the difficulty of it. The question is now of me as well as of you. The fortunes, the good name, the honor of two men, hitherto unsullied with a breath, will be exposed to hazard by so strange a proceeding, to call it by no harsher name, and we shall appear before the world in a highly questionable light."

"Our very characters being what they are," replied Edward, "give us a right to take this single liberty. A man who has borne himself honorably through a whole life, makes an action honorable which might appear ambiguous in others. As concerns myself, after these last trials which I have taken upon myself, after the difficult and dangerous actions which I have accomplished for others, I feel entitled now to do something for myself. For you and Charlotte, that part of the business may, if you like it, be given up; but neither you nor any one shall keep me from doing what I have determined. If I may look for help and furtherance, I shall be ready to do everything which can be wished; but if I am to be left to myself, or if obstacles are to be thrown in my way, some extremity or other is sure to follow."

The Major thought it his duty to combat Edward's purposes as long as it was possible; and now he changed the mode of his attack and tried a diversion. He seemed to give way, and only spoke of the form of what they would have to do to bring about this separation, and these new unions; and so mentioned a number of ugly, undesirable matters, which threw Edward into the worst of tempers.

"I see plainly," he cried at last, "that what we desire can only be carried by storm, whether it be from our enemies or from our friends. I keep clearly before my own eyes what I demand, what, one way or another, I must have; and I will seize it promptly and surely. Connections like ours, I know very well, cannot be broken up and reconstructed again without much being thrown down which is standing, and much having to give way which would be glad enough to continue. We shall come to no conclusion by thinking about it. All rights are alike to the understanding, and it is always easy to throw extra weight into the ascending scale. Do you makeup your mind, my friend, to act, and act promptly, for me and for yourself. Disentangle and untie the knots, and tie them up again. Do not be deterred from it by nice respects. We have already given the world something to say about us. It will talk about us once more; and when we have ceased to be a nine days' wonder, it will forget us as it forgets everything else, and allow us to follow our own way without further concern with us." The Major had nothing further to say, and was at last obliged to sit silent; while Edward treated the affair as now conclusively settled, talked through in detail all that had to be done, and pictured the future in every most cheerful color, and then he went on again seriously and thoughtfully: "If we think to leave ourselves to the hope, to the expectation, that all will go right again of itself, that accident will lead us straight, and take care of us, it will be a most culpable self-deception. In such a way it would be impossible for us to save ourselves, or reestablish our peace again. I who have been the innocent cause of it all, how am I ever to console myself? By my own importunity I prevailed on Charlotte to write to you to stay with us; and Ottilie followed in consequence. We have had no more control over what ensued out of this, but we have the power to make it innocuous; to guide the new circumstances to our own happiness. Can you turn away your eyes from the fair and beautiful prospects which I open to us? Can you insist to me, can you insist to us all, on a wretched renunciation of them? Do you think it possible? Is it possible? Will there be no vexations, no bitterness, no inconvenience to overcome, if we resolve to fall back into our old state? and will any good, any happiness whatever, arise out of it? Will your own rank, will the high position which you have earned, be any pleasure to you, if you are to be prevented from visiting me, or from living with me? And after what has passed, it would not be anything but painful. Charlotte and I, with all our property, would only find ourselves in a melancholy state. And if, like other men of the world, you can persuade yourself that years and separation will eradicate our feelings, will obliterate impressions so deeply engraved; why, then the question is of these very years, which it would be better to spend in happiness and comfort than in pain and misery. But the last and most important point of all which I have to urge is this: supposing that we, our outward and inward condition being what it is, could nevertheless make up our minds to wait at all hazards, and bear what is laid upon us, what is to become of Ottilie? She must leave our family; she must go into society where we shall not be to care for her, and she will be driven wretchedly to and fro in a hard, cold world. Describe to me any situation in which Ottilie, without me, without us, could be happy, and you will then have employed an argument which will be stronger than every other; and if I will not promise to yield to it, if I will not undertake at once to give up all my own hopes, I will at least reconsider the question, and see how what you have said will affect it."

This problem was not so easy to solve; at least, no satisfactory answer to it suggested itself to his friend, and nothing was left to him except to insist again and again, how grave and serious, and in many senses how dangerous, the whole undertaking was; and at least that they ought maturely to consider how they had better enter upon it. Edward agreed to this, and consented to wait before he took any steps; but only under the condition that his friend should not leave him until they had come to a perfect understanding about it, and until the first measures had been taken.


Men who are complete strangers, and wholly indifferent to one another, if they live a long time together, are sure both of them to expose something of their inner nature, and thus a kind of intimacy will arise between them. All the more was it to be expected that there would soon be no secrets between our two friends, now that they were again under the same roof together, and in daily and hourly intercourse. They went over again the earlier stages of their history, and the Major confessed to Edward that Charlotte had intended Ottilie for him at the time at which he returned from abroad, and hoped that some time or other he might marry her. Edward was in ecstasies at this discovery; he spoke without reserve of the mutual affection of Charlotte and the Major, which, because it happened to fall in so conveniently with his own wishes, he painted in very lively colors.

Deny it altogether, the Major could not; at the same time, he could not altogether acknowledge it. But Edward only insisted on it the more. He had pictured the whole thing to himself not as possible, but as already concluded; all parties had only to resolve on what they all wished; there would be no difficulty in obtaining a separation; the marriages should follow as soon after as possible, and Edward could travel with Ottilie.

Of all the pleasant things which imagination pictures to us, perhaps there is none more charming than when lovers and young married people look forward to enjoying their new relation to each other in a fresh, new world, and test the endurance of the bond between them in so many changing circumstances. The Major and Charlotte were in the meantime to have unrestricted powers to settle all questions of money, property, and other such important worldly matters; and to do whatever was right and proper for the satisfaction of all parties. What Edward dwelt the most upon, however, what he seemed to promise himself the most advantage from was this:—as the child would have to remain with the mother, the Major would charge himself with the education of it; he would train the boy according to his own views, and develop what capacities there might be in him. It was not for nothing that he had received in his baptism the name of Otto, which belonged to them both.

Edward had so completely arranged everything for himself, that he could not wait another day to carry it into execution. On their way to the castle, they arrived at a small town, where Edward had a house, and where he was to stay to await the return of the Major. He could not, however, prevail upon himself to alight there at once, and accompanied his friend through the place. They were both on horseback, and falling into some interesting conversation, rode on further together.

On a sudden they saw, in the distance, the new house on the height, with its red tiles shining in the sun. An irresistible longing came over Edward; he would have it all settled that very evening; he would remain concealed in a village close by. The Major was to urge the business on Charlotte with all his power; he would take her prudence by surprise; and oblige her by the unexpectedness of his proposal to make a free acknowledgment of her feelings. Edward had transferred his own wishes to her; he felt certain that he was only meeting her half-way, and that her inclinations were as decided as his own; and he looked for an immediate consent from her, because he himself could think of nothing else.

Joyfully he saw the prosperous issue before his eyes; and that it might be communicated to him as swiftly as possible, a few cannon shots were to be fired off, and if it was dark, a rocket or two sent up.

The Major rode to the castle. He did not find Charlotte there; he learnt that for the present she was staying at the new house; at that particular time, however, she was paying a visit in the neighborhood, and she probably would not have returned till late that evening. He walked back to the hotel, to which he had previously sent his horse.

Edward, in the meantime, unable to sit still from restlessness and impatience, stole away out of his concealment along solitary paths known only to foresters and fishermen, into his park; and he found himself toward evening in the copse close to the lake, the broad mirror of which he now for the first time saw spread out in its perfectness before him.

Ottilie had gone out that afternoon for a walk along the shore. She had the child with her, and read as she usually did while she went along. She had gone as far as the oak-tree by the ferry. The boy had fallen asleep; she sat down; laid it on the ground at her side, and continued reading. The book was one of those which attract persons of delicate feeling, and afterward will not let them go again. She forgot the time and the hours; she never thought what a long way round it was by land to the new house; but she sat lost in her book and in herself, so beautiful to look at, that the trees and the bushes round her ought to have been alive, and to have had eyes given them to gaze upon her and admire her. The sun was sinking; a ruddy streak of light fell upon her from behind, tinging with gold her cheek and shoulder. Edward, who had made his way to the lake without being seen, finding his park desolate, and no trace of human creature to be seen anywhere, went on and on. At last he broke through the copse behind the oak-tree, and saw her. At the same moment she saw him. He flew to her, and threw himself at her feet. After a long, silent pause, in which they both endeavored to collect themselves, he explained in a few words why and how he had come there. He had sent the Major to Charlotte; and perhaps at that moment their common destiny was being decided. Never had he doubted her affection, and she assuredly had never doubted his. He begged for her consent; she hesitated; he implored her. He offered to resume his old privilege, and throw his arms around her, and embrace her; she pointed down to the child.

Edward looked at it, and was amazed. "Great God!" he cried; "if I had cause to doubt my wife and my friend, this face would witness fearfully against them. Is not this the very image of the Major? I never saw such a likeness."

"Indeed!" replied Ottilie; "all the world say it is like me."

"Is it possible?" Edward answered; and at the moment the child opened its eyes—two large, black, piercing eyes, deep and full of love; already the little face was full of intelligence. He seemed as if he knew both the figures which he saw standing before him. Edward threw himself down beside the child, and then knelt a second time before Ottilie. "It is you," he cried; "the eyes are yours! ah, but let me look into yours; let me throw a veil over that ill-starred hour which gave its being to this little creature. Shall I shock your pure spirit with the fearful thought, that man and wife who are estranged from each other, can yet press each other to their heart, and profane the bonds by which the law unites them by other eager wishes? Oh yes! As I have said so much; as my connection with Charlotte must now be severed; as you will be mine, why should I not speak out the words to you? This child is the offspring of a double adultery. It should have been a tie between my wife and myself; but it severs her from me, and me from her. Let it witness, then, against me. Let these fair eyes say to yours, that in the arms of another I belonged to you. You must feel, Ottilie, oh! you must feel, that my fault, my crime, I can only expiate in your arms."

"Hark!" he called out, as he sprang up and listened. He thought that he
had heard a shot, and that it was the sign which the Major was to give.
It was the gun of a forester on the adjoining hill. Nothing followed.
Edward grew impatient.

Ottilie now first observed that the sun was down behind the mountains; its last rays were shining on the windows of the house above. "Leave me, Edward," she cried; "go. Long as we have been parted, much as we have borne, yet remember what we both owe to Charlotte. She must decide our fate; do not let us anticipate her judgment. I am yours if she will permit it to be so. If she will not, I must renounce you. As you think it is now so near an issue, let us wait. Go back to the village, where the Major supposes you to be. Is it likely that a rude cannon-shot will inform you of the results of such an interview? Perhaps at this moment he is seeking for you. He will not have found Charlotte at home; of that I am certain. He may have gone to meet her; for they knew at the castle where she was. How many things may have happened! Leave me! she must be at home by this time; she is expecting me there with the baby."

Ottilie spoke hurriedly; she called together all the possibilities. It was too delightful to be with Edward; but she felt that he must now leave her. "I beseech, I implore you, my beloved," she cried out; "go back and wait for the Major."

"I obey your commands," cried Edward. He gazed at her for a moment with rapturous love, and then caught her close in his arms. She wound her own about him, and pressed him tenderly to her breast. Hope streamed away, like a star shooting in the sky, above their heads. They thought then, they believed, that they did indeed belong to each other. For the first time they exchanged free, genuine kisses, and separated with pain and effort.

The sun had gone down. It was twilight, and a damp mist was rising about the lake. Ottilie stood confused and agitated. She looked across to the house on the hill, and she thought she saw Charlotte's white dress on the balcony.

It was a long way round by the end of the lake; and she knew how impatiently Charlotte would be waiting for the child. She saw the plane-trees just opposite her, and only a narrow interval of water divided her from the path which led straight up to the house. Her nervousness about venturing on the water with the child vanished in her present embarrassment. She hastened to the boat; she did not feel that her heart was beating; that her feet were tottering; that her senses were threatening to fail her.

She sprang in, seized the oar, and pushed off. She had to use force; she pushed again. The boat shot off, and glided, swaying and rocking into the open water. With the child in her left arm, the book in her left hand, and the oar in her right, she lost her footing, and fell over the seat; the oar slipped from her on one side, and as she tried to recover herself, the child and the book slipped on the other, all into the water. She caught the floating dress, but lying entangled as she was herself, she was unable to rise. Her right hand was free, but she could not reach round to help herself up with it; at last she succeeded. She drew the child out of the water; but its eyes were closed, and it had ceased to breathe.

In a moment, she recovered all her self-possession; but so much the greater was her agony; the boat was drifting fast into the middle of the lake; the oar was swimming far away from her. She saw no one on the shore; and, indeed, if she had, it would have been of no service to her. Cut off from all assistance, she was floating on the faithless, unstable element.

She sought for help from herself; she had often heard of the recovery of the drowned; she had herself witnessed an instance of it on the evening of her birthday; she took off the child's clothes, and dried it with her muslin dress; she threw open her bosom, laying it bare for the first time to the free heaven. For the first time she pressed a living being to her pure, naked breast.

[Illustration: OTTILIE. From the Painting by Wilhelm von Kaulbach]

Alas! and it was not a living being. The cold limbs of the ill-starred little creature chilled her to the heart. Streams of tears gushed from her eyes, and lent a show of life and warmth to the outside of the torpid limbs. She persevered with her efforts; she wrapped it in her shawl, she drew it close to herself, stroked it, breathed upon it, and with tears and kisses labored to supply the help which, cut off as she was, she was unable to find.

It was all in vain; the child lay motionless in her arms; motionless the boat floated on the glassy water. But even here her beautiful spirit did not leave her forsaken. She turned to the Power above. She sank down upon her knees in the boat, and with both arms raised the unmoving child above her innocent breast, like marble in its whiteness; alas, too, like marble, cold; with moist eyes she looked up and cried for help, where a tender heart hopes to find it in its fulness when all other help has failed.

The stars were beginning one by one to glimmer down upon her; she turned to them and not in vain; a soft air stole over the surface, and wafted the boat under the plane-trees.


She hurried to the new house, and called the surgeon and gave the child into his hands. It was carried at once to Charlotte's sleeping-room. Cool and collected from a wide experience, he submitted the tender body to the usual process. Ottilie stood by him through it all. She prepared everything, she fetched everything, but as if she were moving in another world; for the height of misfortune, like the height of happiness, alters the aspect of every object. And it was only when, after every resource had been exhausted, the good man shook his head, and to her questions, whether there was hope, first was silent, and then answered with a gentle No! that she left the apartment, and had scarcely entered the sitting-room, when she fell fainting, with her face upon the carpet, unable to reach the sofa.

At that moment Charlotte was heard driving up. The surgeon implored the servants to keep back, and allow him to go to meet her and prepare her. But he was too late; while he was speaking she had entered the drawing-room. She found Ottilie on the ground, and one of the girls of the house came running and screaming to her open-mouthed. The surgeon entered at the same moment, and she was informed of everything. She could not at once, however, give up all hope. She was flying up stairs to the child, but the physician besought her to remain where she was. He went himself, to deceive her with a show of fresh exertions, and she sat down upon the sofa. Ottilie was still lying on the ground; Charlotte raised her, and supported her against herself, and her beautiful head sank down upon her knee. The kind medical man went backward and forward; he appeared to be busy about the child; his real care was for the ladies; and so came on midnight, and the stillness grew more and more deathly. Charlotte did not try to conceal from herself any longer that her child would never return to life again. She desired to see it now. It had been wrapped up in warm woolen coverings. And it was brought down as it was, lying in its cot, which was placed at her side on the sofa. The little face was uncovered; and there it lay in its calm sweet beauty.

The report of the accident soon spread through the village; every one was aroused, and the story reached the hotel. The Major hurried up the well-known road; he went round and round the house; at last he met a servant who was going to one of the out-buildings to fetch something. He learnt from him in what state things were, and desired him to tell the surgeon that he was there. The latter came out, not a little surprised at the appearance of his old patron. He told him exactly what had happened, and undertook to prepare Charlotte to see him. He then went in, began some conversation to distract her attention, and led her imagination from one object to another, till at last he brought it to rest upon her friend, and the depth of feeling and of sympathy which would surely be called out in him. From the imaginative she was brought at once to the real. Enough! she was informed that he was at the door, that he knew everything and desired to be admitted.

The Major entered. Charlotte received him with a miserable smile. He stood before her; she lifted off the green silk covering under which the body was lying; and by the dim light of a taper, he saw before him, not without a secret shudder, the stiffened image of himself. Charlotte pointed to a chair, and there they sat opposite each other, without speaking, through the night. Ottilie was still lying motionless on Charlotte's knee; she breathed softly, and slept or seemed to sleep.

The morning dawned, the lights went out; the two friends appeared to awake out of a heavy dream. Charlotte looked toward the Major, and said quietly: "Tell me through what circumstances you have been brought hither, to take part in this mourning scene."

"The present is not a time," the Major answered, in the same low tone as that in which Charlotte had spoken, for fear lest she might disturb Ottilie; "this is not a time, and this is not a place for reserve. The condition in which I find you is so fearful that even the earnest matter on which I am here loses its importance by the side of it." He then informed her, quite calmly and simply, of the object of his mission, in so far as he was the ambassador of Edward; of the object of his coming, in so far as his own free will and his own interests were concerned in it. He laid both before her, delicately but uprightly; Charlotte listened quietly, and showed neither surprise nor unwillingness.

As soon as the Major had finished, she replied, in a voice so light that to catch her words he was obliged to draw his chair closer to her: "In such a case as this I have never before found myself; but in similar cases I have always said to myself, how will it be tomorrow? I feel very clearly that the fate of many persons is now in my hands, and what I have to do is soon said without scruple or hesitation. I consent to the separation; I ought to have made up my mind to it before; by my unwillingness and reluctance I have destroyed my child. There are certain things on which destiny obstinately insists. In vain may reason, may virtue, may duty, may all holy feelings place themselves in its way. Something shall be done which to it seems good, and which to us seems not good; and it forces its own way through at last, let us conduct ourselves as we will.

"And, indeed, what am I saying? It is but my own desire, my own purpose, against which I acted so unthinkingly, which destiny is again bringing in my way? Did I not long ago, in my thoughts, design Edward and Ottilie for each other? Did I not myself labor to bring them together? And you, my friend, you yourself were an accomplice in my plot. Why, why, could I not distinguish mere man's obstinacy from real love? Why did I accept his hand, when I could have made him happy as a friend, and when another could have made him happy as a wife? And now, look here on this unhappy slumberer. I tremble for the moment when she will recover out of this half death-sleep into consciousness. How can she endure to live? How shall she ever console herself, if she may not hope to make good that to Edward, of which, as the instrument of the most wonderful destiny, she has deprived him? And she can make it all good again by the passion, by the devotion with which she loves him. If love be able to bear all things, it is able to do yet more; it can restore all things; of myself at such a moment I may not think.

"Do you go quietly away, my dear Major; say to Edward that I consent to the separation; that I leave it to him, to you, and to Mittler, to settle whatever is to be done. I have no anxiety for my own future condition; it may be what it will; it is nothing to me. I will subscribe whatever paper is submitted to me, only he must not require me to join actively. I cannot have to think about it, or give advice."

The Major rose to go. She stretched out her hand to him across Ottilie. He pressed it to his lips, and whispered gently: "And for myself, may I hope anything?"

"Do not ask me now!" replied Charlotte. "I will tell you another time. We have not deserved to be miserable; but neither can we say that we have deserved to be happy together."

The Major left her, and went, feeling for Charlotte to the bottom of his heart, but not being able to be sorry for the fate of the poor child. Such an offering seemed necessary to him for their general happiness. He pictured Ottilie to himself with a child of her own in her arms, as the most perfect compensation for the one of which she had deprived Edward. He pictured himself with his own son on his knee, who should have better right to resemble him than the one which was departed.

With such flattering hopes and fancies passing through his mind, he returned to the hotel, and on his way back he met Edward, who had been waiting for him the whole night through in the open air, since neither rocket nor report of cannon would bring him news of the successful issue of his undertaking. He had already heard of the misfortune; and he too, instead of being sorry for the poor creature, regarded what had befallen it, without being exactly ready to confess it to himself, as a convenient accident, through which the only impediment in the way of his happiness was at once removed.

The Major at once informed him of his wife's resolution, and he therefore easily allowed himself to be prevailed upon to return again with him to the village, and from thence to go for a while to the little town, where they would consider what was next to be done, and make their arrangements.

After the Major had left her, Charlotte sat on, buried in her own reflections; but it was only for a few minutes. Ottilie suddenly raised herself from her lap, and looked full with her large eyes in her friend's face. Then she got up from off the ground, and stood upright before her.

"This is the second time," began the noble girl, with an irresistible solemnity of manner, "this is the second time that the same thing has happened to me. You once said to me that similar things often befall people more than once in their lives in a similar way, and if they do, it is always at important moments. I now find that what you said is true, and I have to make a confession to you. Shortly after my mother's death, when I was a very little child, I was sitting one day on a footstool close to you. You were on a sofa, as you are at this moment, and my head rested on your knees. I was not asleep, I was not awake: I was in a trance. I knew everything which was passing about me. I heard every word which was said with the greatest distinctness, and yet I could not stir, I could not speak; and if I had wished it, I could not have given a hint that I was conscious. On that occasion you were speaking about me to one of your friends; you were commiserating my fate, left as I was a poor orphan in the world. You described my dependent position, and how unfortunate a future was before me, unless some very happy star watched over me. I understood well what you said. I saw, perhaps too clearly, what you appeared to hope of me, and what you thought I ought to do. I made rules to myself, according to such limited insight as I had, and by these I have long lived; by these, at the time when you so kindly took charge of me, and had me with you in your house, I regulated whatever I did and whatever I left undone.

"But I have wandered out of my course; I have broken my rules; I have lost the very power of feeling them. And now, after a dreadful occurrence, you have again made clear to me my situation, which is more pitiable than the first. While lying in a half torpor on your lap, I have again, as if out of another world, heard every syllable which you uttered. I know from you how all is with me. I shudder at the thought of myself; but again, as I did then, in my half sleep of death, I have marked out my new path for myself.

"I am determined, as I was before, and what I have determined I must tell you at once. I will never be Edward's wife. In a terrible manner God has opened my eyes to see the sin in which I was entangled. I will atone for it, and let no one think to move me from my purpose. It is by this, my dearest, kindest friend, that you must govern your own conduct. Send for the Major to come back to you. Write to him that no steps must be taken. It made me miserable that I could not stir or speak when he went. I tried to rise—I tried to cry out. Oh, why did you let him leave you with such unlawful hopes!"

Charlotte saw Ottilie's condition, and she felt for it; but she hoped that by time and persuasion she might be able to prevail upon her. On her uttering a few words, however, which pointed to a future—to a time when her sufferings would be alleviated, and when there might be better room for hope, "No!" Ottilie cried, with vehemence, "do not endeavor to move me; do not seek to deceive me. At the moment at which I learn that you have consented to the separation, in that same lake I will expiate my errors and my crimes."


Friends and relatives, and all persons living in the same house together, are apt, when life is going smoothly and peacefully with them, to make what they are doing, or what they are going to do, even more than is right or necessary, a subject of constant conversation. They talk to each other of their plans and their occupations, and, without exactly taking one another's advice, consider and discuss together the entire progress of their lives. But this is far from being the case in serious moments; just when it would seem men most require the assistance and support of others, they all draw singly within themselves, every one to act for himself, every one to work in his own fashion; they conceal from one another the particular means which they employ, and only the result, the object, the thing which they realize, is again made common property.

After so many strange and unfortunate incidents, a sort of silent seriousness had passed over the two ladies, which showed itself in a sweet mutual effort to spare each other's feelings. The child had been buried privately in the chapel. It rested there as the first offering to a destiny full of ominous foreshadowings.

Charlotte, as soon as ever she could, turned back to life and occupation, and here she first found Ottilie standing in need of her assistance. She occupied herself almost entirely with her, without letting it be observed. She knew how deeply the noble girl loved Edward. She had discovered by degrees the scene which had preceded the accident, and had gathered every circumstance of it, partly from Ottilie herself, partly from the letters of the Major.

Ottilie, on her side, made Charlotte's immediate life much more easy for her. She was open, and even talkative, but she never spoke of the present, or of what had lately passed. She had been a close and thoughtful observer. She knew much, and now it all came to the surface. She entertained, she amused Charlotte, and the latter still nourished a hope in secret to see her married to Edward after all.

But something very different was passing in Ottilie. She had disclosed the secret of the course of her life to her friend, and she showed no more of her previous restraint and submissiveness. By her repentance and her resolution she felt herself freed from the burden of her fault and her misfortune. She had no more violence to do to herself. In the bottom of her heart she had forgiven herself solely under condition of the fullest renunciation, and it was a condition which would remain binding for all time to come.

So passed away some time, and Charlotte now felt how deeply house and park, and lake and rocks and trees, served to keep alive in them all their most painful reminiscences. They wanted change of scene, both of them, it was plain enough; but how it was to be effected was not so easy to decide.

Were the two ladies to remain together? Edward's previously expressed will appeared to enjoin it—his declarations and his threats appeared to make it necessary; only it could not be now mistaken that Charlotte and Ottilie, with all their good will, with all their sense, with all their efforts to conceal it, could not avoid finding themselves in a painful situation toward each other. In their conversation there was a constant endeavor to avoid doubtful subjects. They were often obliged only half to understand some allusion; more often, expressions were misinterpreted, if not by their understandings, at any rate by their feelings. They were afraid to give pain to each other, and this very fear itself produced the evil which they were seeking to avoid.

If they were to try change of scene, and at the same time (at any rate for a while) to part, the old question came up again: Where was Ottilie to go? There was the grand, rich family, who still wanted a desirable companion for their daughter, their attempts to find a person whom they could trust having hitherto proved ineffectual. The last time the Baroness had been at the castle, she had urged Charlotte to send Ottilie there, and she had been lately pressing it again and again in her letters. Charlotte now a second time proposed it; but Ottilie expressly declined going anywhere, where she would be thrown into what is called the great world.

"Do not think me foolish or self-willed, my dear aunt," she said; "I had better tell you what I feel, for fear you should judge hardly of me; although in any other case it would be my duty to be silent. A person who has fallen into uncommon misfortunes, however guiltless he may be, carries a frightful mark upon him. His presence, in every one who sees him and is aware of his history, excites a kind of horror. People see in him the terrible fate which has been laid upon him, and he is the object of a diseased and nervous curiosity. It is so with a house, it is so with a town, where any terrible action has been done; people enter them with awe; the light of day shines less brightly there, and the stars seem to lose their lustre.

"Perhaps we ought to excuse it, but how extreme is the indiscretion with which people behave toward such unfortunates, with their foolish importunities and awkward kindness! You must forgive me for speaking in this way, but that poor girl whom Luciana tempted out of her retirement, and with such mistaken good nature tried to force into society and amusement, has haunted me and made me miserable. The poor creature, when she was so frightened and tried to escape, and then sank and swooned away, and I caught her in my arms, and the party came all crowding round in terror and curiosity!—little did I think, then, that the same fate was in store for me. But my feeling for her is as deep and warm and fresh as ever it was; and now I may direct my compassion upon myself, and secure myself from being the object of any similar exposure."

"But, my dear child," answered Charlotte, "you will never be able to withdraw yourself where no one can see you; we have no cloisters now: otherwise, there, with your present feelings, would be your resource."

"Solitude would not give me the resource for which I wish, my dear aunt," answered Ottilie. "The one true and valuable resource is to be looked for where we can be active and useful; all the self-denials and all the penances on earth will fail to deliver us from an evil-omened destiny, if it be determined to persecute us. Let me sit still in idleness and serve as a spectacle for the world, and it will overpower me and crush me. But find me some peaceful employment, where I can go steadily and unweariedly on doing my duty, and I shall be able to bear the eyes of men, when I need not shrink under the eyes of God."

"Unless I am much mistaken," replied Charlotte, "your inclination is to return to the school."

"Yes," Ottilie answered; "I do not deny it. I think it a happy destination to train up others in the beaten way, after having been trained in the strangest myself. And do we not see the same great fact in history? some moral calamity drives men out into the wilderness; but they are not allowed to remain as they had hoped in their concealment there. They are summoned back into the world, to lead the wanderers into the right way; and who are fitter for such a service, than those who have been initiated into the labyrinths of life? They are commanded to be the support of the unfortunate; and who can better fulfil that command than those who have no more misfortunes to fear upon earth?"

"You are selecting an uncommon profession for yourself," replied Charlotte. "I shall not oppose you, how ever. Let it be as you wish; only I hope it will be but for a short time."

"Most warmly I thank you," said Ottilie, "for giving me leave at least to try, to make the experiment. If I am not flattering myself too highly, I am sure I shall succeed: wherever I am, I shall remember the many trials which I went through myself, and how small, how infinitely small they were compared to those which I afterward had to undergo. It will be my happiness to watch the embarrassments of the little creatures as they grow; to cheer them in their childish sorrows, and guide them back with a light hand out of their little aberrations. The fortunate is not the person to be of help to the unfortunate; it is in the nature of man to require ever more and more of himself and others, the more he has received. The unfortunate who has himself recovered, knows best how to nourish, in himself and them, the feeling that every moderate good ought to be enjoyed with rapture."

"I have but one objection to make to what you propose," said Charlotte, after some thought, "although that one seems to me of great importance. I am not thinking of you, but of another person: you are aware of the feelings toward you of that good, right-minded, excellent Assistant. In the way in which you desire to proceed, you will become every day more valuable and more indispensable to him. Already he himself believes that he can never live happily without you, and hereafter, when he has become accustomed to have you to work with him, he will be unable to carry on his business if he loses you; you will have assisted him at the beginning only to injure him in the end."

"Destiny has not dealt with me with too gentle a hand," replied Ottilie; "and whoever loves me has perhaps not much better to expect. Our friend is so good and so sensible, that I hope he will be able to reconcile himself to remaining in a simple relation with me; he will learn to see in me a consecrated person, lying under the shadow of an awful calamity, and only able to support herself and bear up against it by devoting herself to that Holy Being who is invisibly around us, and alone is able to shield us from the dark powers which threaten to overwhelm us."

All this, which the dear girl poured out so warmly, Charlotte privately reflected over; on many different occasions, although only in the gentlest manner, she had hinted at the possibility of Ottilie's being brought again in contact with Edward; but the slightest mention of it, the faintest hope, the least suspicion, seemed to wound Ottilie to the quick. One day when she could not evade it, she expressed herself to Charlotte clearly and peremptorily on the subject.

"If your resolution to renounce Edward," returned Charlotte, "is so firm and unalterable, then you had better avoid the danger of seeing him again. At a distance from the object of our love, the warmer our affection, the stronger is the control which we fancy that we can exercise on ourselves; because the whole force of the passion, diverted from its outward objects, turns inward on ourselves. But how soon, how swiftly is our mistake made clear to us, when the thing which we thought that we could renounce, stands again before our eyes as indispensable to us! You must now do what you consider best suited to your circumstances. Look well into yourself; change, if you prefer it, the resolution which you have just expressed. But do it of yourself, with a free consenting heart. Do not allow yourself to be drawn in by an accident; do not let yourself be surprised into your former position. It will place you at issue with yourself and will be intolerable to you. As I said, before you take this step, before you remove from me, and enter upon a new life, which will lead you no one knows in what direction, consider once more whether really, indeed, you can renounce Edward for the whole time to come. If you have faithfully made up your mind that you will do this, then will you enter into an engagement with me, that you will never admit him into your presence; and if he seeks you out and forces himself upon you, that you will not exchange words with him?"

Ottilie did not hesitate a moment; she gave Charlotte the promise, which she had already made to herself.

Now, however, Charlotte began to be haunted with Edward's threat, that he would only consent to renounce Ottilie, as long as she was not parted from Charlotte. Since that time, indeed, circumstances were so altered, so many things had happened, that an engagement which was wrung from him in a moment of excitement might well be supposed to have been cancelled. She was unwilling, however, in the remotest sense to venture anything or to undertake anything which might displease him, and Mittler was therefore to find Edward, and inquire what, as things now were, he wished to be done.

Since the death of the child, Mittler had often been at the castle to see Charlotte, although only for a few moments at a time. The unhappy accident which had made her reconciliation with her husband in the highest degree improbable, had produced a most painful effect upon him. But ever, as his nature was, hoping and striving, he rejoiced secretly at the resolution of Ottilie. He trusted to the softening influence of passing time; he hoped that it might still be possible to keep the husband and the wife from separating; and he tried to regard these convulsions of passion only as trials of wedded love and fidelity.

Charlotte, at the very first, had informed the Major by letter of Ottilie's declaration. She had entreated him most earnestly to prevail on Edward to take no further steps for the present. They should keep quiet and wait, and see whether the poor girl's spirits would recover. She had let him know from time to time whatever was necessary of what had more lately fallen from her. And now Mittler had to undertake the really difficult commission of preparing Edward for an alteration in her situation. Mittler, however, well knowing that men can be brought more easily to submit to what is already done, than to give their consent to what is yet to be done, persuaded Charlotte that it would be better to send Ottilie off at once to the school.

Consequently, as soon as Mittler was gone, preparations were at once made for the journey. Ottilie put her things together; and Charlotte observed that neither the beautiful box, nor anything out of it, was to go with her. Ottilie had said nothing to her on the subject; and she took no notice, but let her alone. The day of the departure came; Charlotte's carriage was to take Ottilie the first day as far as a place where they were well known, where she was to pass the night, and on the second she would go on in it to the school. It was settled that Nanny was to accompany her, and remain as her attendant.

This capricious little creature had found her way back to her mistress after the death of the child, and now hung about her as warmly and passionately as ever; indeed she seemed, with her loquacity and attentiveness, as if she wished to make good her past neglect, and henceforth devote herself entirely to Ottilie's service. She was quite beside herself now for joy at the thought of traveling with her, and of seeing strange places, when she had hitherto never been away from the scene of her birth; and she ran from the castle to the village to carry the news of her good fortune to her parents and her relations, and to take leave.

Unluckily for herself, she went, among other places, into a room where a person was who had the measles, and caught the infection, which came out upon her at once. The journey could not be postponed. Ottilie herself was urgent to go. She had traveled once already the same road. She knew the people of the hotel where she was to sleep. The coachman from the castle was going with her. There could be nothing to fear.

Charlotte made no opposition. She, too, in thought, was making haste to be clear of present embarrassments. The rooms which Ottilie had occupied at the castle she would have prepared for Edward as soon as possible, and restored to the old state in which they had been before the arrival of the Captain. The hope of bringing back old happy days burns up again and again in us, as if it never could be extinguished. And Charlotte was quite right; there was nothing else for her except to hope as she did.


When Mittler was come to talk the matter over with Edward, he found him sitting by himself, with his head supported on his right hand, and his arm resting on the table. He appeared in great suffering.

"Is your headache troubling you again?" asked Mittler.

"It is troubling me," answered he; "and yet I cannot wish it were not so, for it reminds me of Ottilie. She too, I say to myself, is also suffering in the same way at this same moment, and suffering more perhaps than I; and why cannot I bear it as well as she? These pains are good for me. I might almost say that they were welcome; for they serve to bring out before me with the greater vividness her patience and all her other graces. It is only when we suffer ourselves, that we feel really the true nature of all the high qualities which are required to bear suffering."

Mittler, finding his friend so far resigned, did not hesitate to communicate the message with which he had been sent. He brought it out piecemeal, however; in order of time, as the idea had itself arisen between the ladies, and had gradually ripened into a purpose. Edward scarcely made an objection. From the little which he said, it appeared as if he was willing to leave everything to them; the pain which he was suffering at the moment making him indifferent to all besides.

Scarcely, however, was he again alone, than he got up, and walked rapidly up and down the room; he forgot his pain, his attention now turning to what was external to himself. Mittler's story had stirred the embers of his love, and awakened his imagination in all its vividness. He saw Ottilie by herself, or as good as by herself, traveling on a road which was well known to him—in a hotel with every room of which he was familiar. He thought, he considered, or rather he neither thought nor considered; he only wished—he only desired. He would see her; he would speak to her. Why, or for what good end that was to come of it, he did not care to ask himself; but he made up his mind at once. He must do it.

He summoned his valet into his council, and through him he made himself acquainted with the day and hour when Ottilie was to set out. The morning broke. Without taking any person with him, Edward mounted his horse, and rode off to the place where she was to pass the night. He was there too soon. The hostess was overjoyed at the sight of him; she was under heavy obligations to him for a service which he had been able to do for her. Her son had been in the army, where he had conducted himself with remarkable gallantry. He had performed one particular action of which no one had been a witness but Edward; and the latter had spoken of it to the commander-in-chief in terms of such high praise that, notwithstanding the opposition of various ill-wishers, he had obtained a decoration for him. The mother, therefore, could never do enough for Edward. She got ready her best room for him, which indeed was her own wardrobe and store-room, with all possible speed. He informed her, however, that a young lady was coming to pass the night there, and he ordered an apartment for her at the back, at the end of the gallery. It sounded a mysterious sort of affair; but the hostess was ready to do anything to please her patron, who appeared so interested and so busy about it. And he, what were his sensations as he watched through the long, weary hours till evening? He examined the room round and round in which he was to see her; with all its strangeness and homeliness it seemed to him to be an abode for angels. He thought over and over what he had better do; whether he should take her by surprise, or whether he should prepare her for meeting him. At last the second course seemed the preferable one. He sat down and wrote a letter, which she was to read:


"While you read this letter, my best beloved, I am close to you. Do not agitate yourself; do not be alarmed; you have nothing to fear from me. I will not force myself upon you. I will see you or not, as you yourself shall choose.

"Consider, oh! consider your condition and mine. How must I not thank you, that you have taken no decisive step! But the step which you have taken is significant enough. Do not persist in it. Here, as it were, at a parting of the ways, reflect once again. Can you be mine:—will you be mine? Oh, you will be showing mercy on us all if you will; and on me, infinite mercy.

"Let me see you again!—happily, joyfully see you once more! Let me make my request to you with my own lips; and do you give me your answer your own beautiful self, on my breast, Ottilie! where you have so often rested, and which belongs to you for ever!"

As he was writing, the feeling rushed over him that what he was longing for was coming—was close—would be there almost immediately. By that door she would come in; she would read that letter; she in her own person would stand there before him as she used to stand; she for whose appearance he had thirsted so long. Would she be the same as she was?—was her form, were her feelings changed? He still held the pen in his hand; he was going to write as he thought, when the carriage rolled into the court. With a few hurried strokes he added: "I hear you coming. For a moment, farewell!"

He folded the letter, and directed it. He had no time for sealing. He darted into the room through which there was a second outlet into the gallery, when the next moment he recollected that he had left his watch and seals lying on the table. She must not see these first. He ran back and brought them away with him. At the same instant he heard the hostess in the antechamber showing Ottilie the way to her apartments. He sprang to the bedroom door. It was shut. In his haste, as he had come back for his watch, he had forgotten to take out the key, which had fallen out, and lay the other side. The door had closed with a spring, and he could not open it. He pushed at it with all his might, but it would not yield. Oh, how gladly would he have been a spirit, to escape through its cracks! In vain. He hid his face against the panels. Ottilie entered, and the hostess, seeing him, retired. From Ottilie herself, too, he could not remain concealed for a moment. He turned toward her; and there stood the lovers once more, in such strange fashion, in each other's presence. She looked at him calmly and earnestly, without advancing or retiring. He made a movement to approach her, and she withdrew a few steps toward the table. He stepped back again. "Ottilie!" he cried aloud, "Ottilie! let me break this frightful silence! Are we shadows, that we stand thus gazing at each other? Only listen to me; listen to this at least. It is an accident that you find me here thus. There is a letter on the table, at your side there, which was to have prepared you. Read it, I implore you—read it—and then determine as you will!"

She looked down at the letter; and after thinking a few seconds, she took it up, opened it, and read it: she finished it without a change of expression; and she laid it lightly down; then joining the palms of her hands together, turning them upward, and drawing them against her breast, she leant her body a little forward, and regarded Edward with such a look, that, eager as he was, he was compelled to renounce everything he wished or desired of her. Such an attitude cut him to the heart; he could not bear it. It seemed exactly as if she would fall upon her knees before him, if he persisted. He hurried in despair out of the room, and leaving her alone, sent the hostess in to her.

He walked up and down the antechamber. Night had come on, and there was no sound in the room. At last the hostess came out and drew the key out of the lock. The good woman was embarrassed and agitated, not knowing what it would be proper for her to do. At last as she turned to go, she offered the key to Edward, who refused it; and putting down the candle, she went away.

In misery and wretchedness, Edward flung himself down on the threshold of the door which divided him from Ottilie, moistening it with his tears as he lay. A more unhappy night had been seldom passed by two lovers in such close neighborhood!

Day came at last. The coachman brought round the carriage, and the hostess unlocked the door and went in. Ottilie was asleep in her clothes; she went back and beckoned to Edward with a significant smile. They both entered and stood before her as she lay; but the sight was too much for Edward. He could not bear it. She was sleeping so quietly that the hostess did not like to disturb her, but sat down opposite her, waiting till she woke. At last Ottilie opened her beautiful eyes, and raised herself on her feet. She declined taking any breakfast, and then Edward went in again and stood before her. He entreated her to speak but one word to him; to tell him what she desired. He would do it, be it what it would, he swore to her; but she remained silent. He asked her once more, passionately and tenderly, whether she would be his. With downcast eyes, and with the deepest tenderness of manner she shook her head in a gentle No. He asked if she still desired to go to the school. Without any show of feeling she declined. Would she then go back to Charlotte? She inclined her head in token of assent, with a look of comfort and relief. He went to the window to give directions to the coachman, and when his back was turned she darted like lightning out of the room, and was down the stairs and in the carriage in an instant. The coachman drove back along the road which he had come the day before, and Edward followed at some distance on horseback.


It was with the utmost surprise that Charlotte saw the carriage drive up with Ottilie, and Edward at the same moment ride into the court-yard of the castle. She ran down to the hall. Ottilie alighted, and approached her and Edward. Violently and eagerly she caught the hands of the wife and husband, pressed them together, and hurried off to her own room. Edward threw himself on Charlotte's neck and burst into tears. He could not give her any explanation; he besought her to have patience with him, and to go at once to see Ottilie. Charlotte followed her to her room, and she could not enter it without a shudder. It had been all cleared out. There was nothing to be seen but the empty walls, which stood there looking cheerless, vacant, and miserable. Everything had been carried away except the little box, which from an uncertainty what was to be done with it, had been left in the middle of the room. Ottilie was lying stretched upon the ground, her arm and head leaning across the cover. Charlotte bent anxiously over her, and asked what had happened; but she received no answer.

Her maid had come with restoratives. Charlotte left her with Ottilie, and herself hastened back to Edward. She found him in the saloon, but he could tell her nothing.

He threw himself down before her; he bathed her hands with tears; he flew to his own room, and she was going to follow him thither, when she met his valet. From this man she gathered as much as he was able to tell. The rest she put together in her own thoughts as well as she could, and then at once set herself resolutely to do what the exigencies of the moment required. Ottilie's room was put to rights again as quickly as possible; Edward found his, to the last paper, exactly as he had left it.

The three appeared again to fall into some sort of relation with one another. But Ottilie persevered in her silence, and Edward could do nothing except entreat his wife to exert a patience which seemed wanting to himself. Charlotte sent messengers to Mittler and to the Major. The first was absent from home and could not be found. The latter came. To him Edward poured out all his heart, confessing every most trifling circumstance to him, and thus Charlotte learnt fully what had passed; what it had been which had produced such violent excitement, and how so strange an alteration of their mutual position had been brought about.

She spoke with the utmost tenderness to her husband. She had nothing to ask of him, except that for the present he would leave the poor girl to herself. Edward was not insensible to the worth, the affection, the strong sense of his wife; but his passion absorbed him exclusively. Charlotte tried to cheer him with hopes. She promised that she herself would make no difficulties about the separation; but it had small effect with him. He was so much shaken that hope and faith alternately forsook him. A species of insanity appeared to have taken possession of him. He urged Charlotte to promise to give her hand to the Major. To satisfy him and to humor him, she did what he required. She engaged to become herself the wife of the Major, in the event of Ottilie consenting to the marriage with Edward; with this express condition, however, that for the present the two gentlemen should go abroad together. The Major had a foreign appointment from the Court, and it was settled that Edward should accompany him. They arranged it all together, and in doing so found a sort of comfort for themselves in the sense that at least something was being done.

In the meantime they had to remark that Ottilie took scarcely anything to eat or drink. She still persisted in refusing to speak. They at first used to talk to her, but it appeared to distress her, and they left it off. We are not, universally at least, so weak as to persist in torturing people for their good. Charlotte thought over what could possibly be done. At last she fancied it might be well to ask the Assistant of the school to come to them. He had much influence with Ottilie, and had been writing with much anxiety to inquire the cause of her not having arrived at the time he had been expecting her; but as yet she had not sent him any answer.

In order not to take Ottilie by surprise, they spoke of their intention of sending this invitation in her presence. It did not seem to please her; she thought for some little time; at last she appeared to have formed some resolution. She retired to her own room, and before the evening sent the following letter to the assembled party:


"Why need I express in words, my dear friends, what is in itself so plain? I have stepped out of my course, and I cannot recover it again. A malignant spirit which has gained power over me seems to hinder me from without, even if within I could again become at peace with myself.

"My purpose was entirely firm to renounce Edward, and to separate myself from him for ever. I had hoped that we might never meet again; it has turned out otherwise. Against his own will he stood before me. Too literally, perhaps, I have observed my promise never to admit him into conversation with me. My conscience and the feelings of the moment kept me silent toward him at the time, and now I have nothing more to say. I have taken upon myself, under the accidental impulse of the moment, a difficult vow, which if it had been formed deliberately, might perhaps be painful and distressing. Let me now persist in the observance of it so long as my heart shall enjoin it to me. Do not call in any one to mediate; do not insist upon my speaking; do not urge me to eat or to drink more than I absolutely must. Bear with me and let me alone, and so help me on through the time; I am young, and youth has many unexpected means of restoring itself. Endure my presence among you; cheer me with your love; make me wiser and better with what you say to one another: but leave me to my own inward self."

The two friends had made all preparation for their journey, but their departure was still delayed by the formalities of the foreign appointment of the Major, a delay most welcome to Edward. Ottilie's letter had roused all his eagerness again; he had gathered hope and comfort from her words, and now felt himself encouraged and justified in remaining and waiting. He declared, therefore, that he would not go; it would be folly, indeed, he cried, of his own accord, to throw away, by over precipitateness, what was most valuable and most necessary to him, when although there was a danger of losing it, there was nevertheless a chance that it might be preserved. "What is the right name of conduct such as that?" he said. "It is only that we desire to show that we are able to will and to choose. I myself, under the influences of the same ridiculous folly, have torn myself away, days before there was any necessity for it, from my friends, merely that I might not be forced to go by the definite expiration of my term. This time I will stay: what reason is there for my going; is she not already removed far enough from me? I am not likely now to catch her hand or press her to my heart; I could not even think of it without a shudder. She has not separated herself from me; she has raised herself far above me."

And so he remained as he desired, as he was obliged; but he was never easy except when he found himself with Ottilie. She, too, had the same feeling with him; she could not tear herself away from the same happy necessity. On all sides they exerted an indescribable, almost magical power of attraction over each other. Living, as they were, under one roof, without even so much as thinking of each other, although they might be occupied with other things, or diverted this way or that way by the other members of the party, they always drew together. If they were in the same room, in a short time they were sure to be either standing or sitting near each other; they were only easy when as close together as they could be, but they were then completely happy. To be near was enough; there was no need for them either to look or to speak: they did not seek to touch one another, or make sign or gesture, but merely to be together. Then there were not two persons, there was but one person in unconscious and perfect content, at peace with itself and with the world. So it was that, if either of them had been imprisoned at the further end of the house, the other would by degrees, without intending it, have moved forward like a bird toward its mate; life to them was a riddle, the solution of which they could find only in union.

Ottilie was throughout so cheerful and quiet that they were able to feel perfectly easy about her; she was seldom absent from the society of her friends: all that she had desired was that she might be allowed to eat alone, with no one to attend upon her but Nanny.

What habitually befalls any person repeats itself more often than one is apt to suppose, because his own nature gives the immediate occasion for it. Character, individuality, inclination, tendency, locality, circumstance, and habits, form together a whole, in which every man moves as in an atmosphere, and where only he feels himself at ease in his proper element.

And so we find men, of whose changeableness so many complaints are made, after many years, to our surprise, unchanged, and in all their infinite tendencies, outward and inward, unchangeable.

Thus in the daily life of our friends, almost everything glided on again in its old smooth track. Ottilie still displayed by many silent attentions her obliging nature, and the others, like her, continued each themselves; and then the domestic circle exhibited an image of their former life, so like it that they might be pardoned if at times they dreamt that it might all be again as it was.

The autumn days, which were of the same length with those old spring days, brought the party back into the house out of the air about the same hour. The gay fruits and flowers which belonged to the season might have made them fancy it was now the autumn of that first spring, and the interval dropped out and forgotten; for the flowers which now were blooming were the same as those which then they had sown, and the fruits which were now ripening on the trees were those which at that time they had seen in blossom.

The Major went backward and forward, and Mittler came frequently. The evenings were generally spent in exactly the same way. Edward usually read aloud, with more life and feeling than before; much better, and even, it may be said, with more cheerfulness. It appeared as if he was endeavoring, by light-heartedness as much as by devotion, to quicken Ottilie's torpor into life, and dissolve her silence. He seated himself in the same position as he used to do, that she might look over his book; he was uneasy and distracted unless she was doing so, unless he was sure that she was following his words with her eyes.

Every trace had vanished of the unpleasant, ungracious feelings of the intervening time. No one had any secret complaint against another; there were no cross purposes, no bitterness. The Major accompanied Charlotte's playing with his violin, and Edward's flute sounded again, as formerly, in harmony with Ottilie's piano. Thus they were now approaching Edward's birthday, which the year before they had missed celebrating. This time they were to keep it without any outward festivities, in quiet enjoyment among themselves. They had so settled it together, half expressly, half from a tacit agreement. As they approached nearer to this epoch, however, an anxiety about it, which had hitherto been more felt than observed, became more noticeable in Ottilie's manner. She was to be seen often in the garden examining the flowers: she had signified to the gardener that he was to save as many as he could of every sort, and she had been especially occupied with the asters, which this year were blooming in beautiful profusion.


The most remarkable feature, however, which was observed about Ottilie was that, for the first time, she had now unpacked the box, and had selected a variety of things out of it, which she had cut up, and which were intended evidently to make one complete suit for her. The rest, with Nanny's assistance, she had endeavored to replace again, and she had been hardly able to get it done, the space being over full, although a portion had been taken out. The covetous little Nanny could never satisfy herself with looking at all the pretty things, especially as she found provision made there for every article of dress which could be wanted, even the smallest. Numbers of shoes and stockings, garters with devices on them, gloves, and various other things were left, and she begged Ottilie just to give her one or two of them. Ottilie refused to do that, but opened a drawer in her wardrobe, and told the girl to take what she liked. The latter hastily and awkwardly dashed in her hand and seized what she could, running off at once with her booty, to show it off and display her good fortune among the rest of the servants.

At last Ottilie succeeded in packing everything carefully into its place. She then opened a secret compartment which was contrived in the lid, where she kept a number of notes and letters from Edward, many dried flowers, the mementos of their early walks together, a lock of his hair, and various other little matters. She now added one more to them, her father's portrait, and then locked it all up, and hung the delicate key by a gold chain about her neck, against her heart.

In the meantime, her friends had now in their hearts begun to entertain the best hopes for her. Charlotte was convinced that she would one day begin to speak again. She had latterly seen signs about her which implied that she was engaged in secret about something; a look of cheerful self-satisfaction, a smile like that which hangs about the face of persons who have something pleasant and delightful which they are keeping concealed from those whom they love. No one knew that she spent many hours in extreme exhaustion, and that only at rare intervals, when she appeared in public through the power of her will, she was able to rouse herself.

Mittler had latterly been a frequent visitor, and when he came he staid longer than he usually did at other times. This strong-willed, resolute person was only too well aware that there is a certain moment in which alone it will answer to smite the iron. Ottilie's silence and reserve he interpreted according to his own wishes; no steps had as yet been taken toward a separation of the husband and wife. He hoped to be able to determine the fortunes of the poor girl in some not undesirable way. He listened; he allowed himself to seem convinced; he was discreet and unobtrusive, and conducted himself in his own way with sufficient prudence. There was but one occasion on which he uniformly forgot himself—when he found an opportunity for giving his opinion upon subjects to which he attached a great importance. He lived much within himself, and when he was with others, his only relation to them generally was in active employment on their behalf; but if once, when among friends, his tongue broke fairly loose, as on more than one occasion we have already seen, he rolled out his words in utter recklessness, whether they wounded or whether they pleased, whether they did evil or whether they did good.

The evening before the birthday, the Major and Charlotte were sitting together expecting Edward, who had gone out for a ride; Mittler was walking up and down the saloon; Ottilie was in her own room, laying out the dress which she was to wear on the morrow, and making signs to her maid about a number of things, which the girl, who perfectly understood her silent language, arranged as she was ordered.

Mittler had fallen exactly on his favorite subject. One of the points on which he used most to insist was, that in the education of children, as well as in the conduct of nations, there was nothing more worthless and barbarous than laws and commandments forbidding this and that action. "Man is naturally active," he said, "wherever he is; and if you know how to tell him what to do, he will do it immediately, and keep straight in the direction in which you set him. I myself, in my own circle, am far better pleased to endure faults and mistakes, till I know what the opposite virtue is that I am to enjoin, than to be rid of the faults and to have nothing good to put in their place. A man is really glad to do what is right and sensible, if he only knows how to get at it. It is no such great matter with him; he does it because he must have something to do, and he thinks no more about it afterward than he does of the silliest freaks which he engaged in out of the purest idleness. I cannot tell you how it annoys me to hear people going over and over those Ten Commandments in teaching children. The fifth is a thoroughly beautiful, rational, preceptive precept. 'Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother.' If the children will inscribe that well upon their hearts, they have the whole day before them to put it in practice. But the sixth now? What can we say to that? 'Thou shalt do no murder;' as if any man ever felt the slightest general inclination to strike another man dead. Men will hate sometimes; they will fly into passions and forget themselves; and as a consequence of this or other feelings, it may easily come now and then to a murder; but what a barbarous precaution it is to tell children that they are not to kill or murder! If the commandment ran, 'Have a regard for the life of another—put away whatever can do him hurt—save him though with peril to yourself—if you injure him, consider that you are injuring yourself;'—that is the form which should be in use among educated, reasonable people. And in our Catechism teaching we have only an awkward clumsy way of sliding into it, through a 'what do you mean by that?'

"And as for the seventh; that is utterly detestable. What! to stimulate the precocious curiosity of children to pry into dangerous mysteries; to obtrude violently upon their imaginations, ideas and notions which beyond all things you should wish to keep from them! It were far better if such actions as that commandment speaks of were dealt with arbitrarily by some secret tribunal, than prated openly of before church and congregation—"

At this moment Ottilie entered the room.

"'Thou shalt not commit adultery,'"—Mittler went on—"How coarse! how brutal! What a different sound it has, if you let it run, 'Thou shalt hold in reverence the bond of marriage. When thou seest a husband and a wife between whom there is true love, thou shalt rejoice in it, and their happiness shall gladden thee like the cheerful light of a beautiful day. If there arise anything to make division between them, thou shalt use thy best endeavor to clear it away. Thou shalt labor to pacify them, and to soothe them; to show each of them the excellencies of the other. Thou shalt not think of thyself, but purely and disinterestedly thou shalt seek to further the well-being of others, and make them feel what a happiness is that which arises out of all duty done; and especially out of that duty which holds man and wife indissolubly bound together.'"

Charlotte felt as if she was sitting on hot coals. The situation was the more distressing, as she was convinced that Mittler was not thinking the least where he was or what he was saying; and before she was able to interrupt him, she saw Ottilie, after changing color painfully for a few seconds, rise and leave the room.

Charlotte constrained herself to seem unembarrassed. "You will leave us the eighth commandment," she said, with a faint smile.

"All the rest," replied Mittler, "if I may only insist first on the foundation of the whole of them."

At this moment Nanny rushed in, screaming and crying: "She is dying; the young lady is dying; come to her, come."

Ottilie had found her way back with extreme difficulty to her own room. The beautiful things which she was to wear the next day were laid out on a number of chairs; and the girl, who had been running from one to the other, staring at them and admiring them, called out in her ecstasy, "Look, dearest madam, only look! There is a bridal dress worthy of you."

Ottilie heard the word, and sank upon the sofa. Nanny saw her mistress turn pale, fall back, and faint. She ran for Charlotte, who came. The medical friend was on the spot in a moment. He thought it was nothing but exhaustion. He ordered some strong soup to be brought. Ottilie refused it with an expression of loathing: it almost threw her into convulsions, when they put the cup to her lips. A light seemed to break on the physician: he asked hastily and anxiously what Ottilie had taken that day. The little girl hesitated. He repeated his question, and she then acknowledged that Ottilie had taken nothing.

There was a nervousness of manner about Nanny which made him suspicious. He carried her with him into the adjoining room; Charlotte followed; and the girl threw herself on her knees, and confessed that for a long time past Ottilie had taken as good as nothing; at her mistress's urgent request, she had herself eaten the food which had been brought for her; she had said nothing about it, because Ottilie had by signs alternately begged her not to tell any one, and threatened her if she did; and, as she innocently added, "because it was so nice."

The Major and Mittler now came up as well. They found Charlotte busy with the physician. The pale, beautiful girl was sitting, apparently conscious, in the corner of the sofa. They had begged her to lie down; she had declined to do this; but she made signs to have her box brought, and resting her feet upon it, placed herself in an easy, half recumbent position. She seemed to be wishing to take leave; and by her gestures, was expressing to all about her the tenderest affection, love, gratitude, entreaties for forgiveness, and the most heartfelt farewell.

Edward, on alighting from his horse, was informed of what had happened; he rushed to the room; threw himself down at her side; and seizing her hand, deluged it with silent tears. In this position he remained a long time. At last he called out: "And am I never more to hear your voice? Will you not turn back toward life, to give me one single word? Well, then, very well. I will follow you yonder, and there we will speak in another language."

She pressed his hand with all the strength she had; she gazed at him with a glance full of life and full of love; and drawing a long breath, and for a little while moving her lips inarticulately, with a tender effort of affection she called out, "Promise me to live;" and then fell back immediately.

"I promise, I promise!" he cried to her; but he cried only after her; she was already gone.

After a miserable night, the care of providing for the loved remains fell upon Charlotte. The Major and Mittler assisted her. Edward's condition was utterly pitiable. His first thought, when he was in any degree recovered from his despair, and able to collect himself, was, that Ottilie should not be carried out of the castle; she should be kept there, and attended upon as if she were alive: for she was not dead; it was impossible that she should be dead. They did what he desired; at least, so far as that they did not do what he had forbidden. He did not ask to see her.

There was now a second alarm, and a further cause for anxiety. Nanny, who had been spoken to sharply by the physician, had been compelled by threats to confess, and after her confession had been overwhelmed with reproaches, had now disappeared. After a long search she was found; but she appeared to be out of her mind. Her parents took her home; but the gentlest treatment had no effect upon her, and she had to be locked up for fear she would run away again.

They succeeded by degrees in recovering Edward from the extreme agony of despair; but only to make him more really wretched. He now saw clearly, he could not doubt how, that the happiness of his life was gone from him for ever. It was suggested to him that if Ottilie was placed in the chapel, she would still remain among the living, and it would be a calm, quiet, peaceful home for her. There was much difficulty in obtaining his consent; he would only give it under condition that she should be taken there in an open coffin; that the vault in which she was laid, if covered at all, should be only covered with glass, and a lamp should be kept always burning there. It was arranged that this should be done, and then he seemed resigned.

They clothed the delicate body in the festal dress, which she had herself prepared. A garland of asters was wreathed about her head, which shone sadly there like melancholy stars. To decorate the bier and the church and chapel, the gardens were robbed of their beauty; they lay desolate, as if a premature winter had blighted all their loveliness. In the earliest morning she was borne in an open coffin out of the castle, and the heavenly features were once more reddened with the rising sun. The mourners crowded about her as she was being taken along. None would go before; none would follow; every one would be where she was, every one would enjoy her presence for the last time. Men and women and little boys—there was not one unmoved; least of all to be consoled were the girls, who felt most immediately what they had lost.

Nanny was not present; it had been thought better not to allow it, and they had kept secret from her the day and the hour of the funeral. She was at her parents' house, closely watched, in a room looking toward the garden. But when she heard the bells tolling, she knew too well what they meant; and her attendant having left her out of curiosity to see the funeral, she escaped out of the window into a passage, and from thence, finding all the doors locked, into an upper open loft. At this moment the funeral was passing through the village, which had been all freshly strewed with leaves. Nanny saw her mistress plainly close below her, more plainly, more entirely, than any one in the procession underneath; she appeared to be lifted above the earth, borne as it were on clouds or waves, and the girl fancied she was making signs to her; her senses swam, she tottered, swayed herself for a moment on the edge, and fell to the ground. The crowd drew asunder on all sides with a cry of horror. In the tumult and confusion, the bearers were obliged to set down the coffin; the girl lay close by it; it seemed as if every limb was broken. They lifted her up, and by accident or providentially she was allowed to lean over the body; she appeared, indeed, to be endeavoring, with what remained to her of life, to reach her beloved mistress. Scarcely, however, had the loosely hanging limbs touched Ottilie's robe, and the powerless finger rested on the folded hands, than the girl started up, and first raising her arms and eyes toward heaven, flung herself down upon her knees before the coffin, and gazed with passionate devotion at her mistress.

At last she sprang, as if inspired, from off the ground, and cried with a voice of ecstasy: "Yes, she has forgiven me; what no man, what I myself could never have forgiven. God forgives me through her look, her motion, her lips.

"Now she is lying again so still and quiet, but you saw how she raised herself up, and unfolded her hands and blessed me, and how kindly she looked at me. You all heard, you can witness that she said to me: 'You are forgiven.' I am not a murderess any more. She has forgiven me. God has forgiven me, and no one may now say anything more against me."

The people stood crowding around her. They were amazed; they listened and looked this way and that, and no one knew what should next be done. "Bear her on to her rest," said the girl. "She has done her part; she has suffered, and cannot now remain any more amongst us." The bier moved on, Nanny now following it; and thus they reached the church and the chapel.

So now stood the coffin of Ottilie, with the child's coffin at her head, and her box at her feet, inclosed in a resting-place of massive oak. A woman had been provided to watch the body for the first part of the time, as it lay there so beautiful beneath its glass covering. But Nanny would not permit this duty to be taken from herself. She would remain alone without a companion, and attend to the lamp which was now kindled for the first time; and she begged to be allowed to do it with so much eagerness and perseverance, that they let her have her way, to prevent any greater evil that might ensue.

But she did not long remain alone. As night was falling, and the hanging lamp began to exercise its full right and shed abroad a larger lustre, the door opened and the Architect entered the chapel. The chastely ornamented walls in the mild light looked more strange, more awful, more antique, than he was prepared to see them. Nanny was sitting on one side of the coffin. She recognized him immediately; but she pointed in silence to the pale form of her mistress. And there stood he on the other side, in the vigor of youth and of grace, with his arms drooping, and his hands clasped piteously together, motionless, with head and eye inclined over the inanimate body.

Once already he had stood thus before in the Belisarius; he had now involuntarily fallen into the same attitude. And this time how naturally! Here, too, was something of inestimable worth thrown down from its high estate. There were courage, prudence, power, rank, and wealth in one single man, lost irrevocably; there were qualities which, in decisive moments, had been of indispensable service to the nation and the prince; but which, when the moment was passed, were no more valued, but flung aside and neglected, and cared for no longer. And here were many other silent virtues, which had been summoned but a little time before by nature out of the depths of her treasures, and now swept rapidly away again by her careless hand—rare, sweet, lovely virtues, whose peaceful workings the thirsty world had welcomed, while it had them, with gladness and joy; and now was sorrowing for them in unavailing desire.

Both the youth and the girl were silent for a long time. But when she saw the tears streaming fast down his cheeks, and he appeared to be sinking under the burden of his sorrow, she spoke to him with so much truthfulness and power, with such kindness and such confidence, that, astonished at the flow of her words, he was able to recover himself, and he saw his beautiful friend floating before him in the new life of a higher world. His tears ceased flowing; his sorrow grew lighter: on his knees he took leave of Ottilie, and with a warm pressure of the hand of Nanny, he rode away from the spot into the night without having seen a single other person.

The surgeon had, without the girl being aware of it, remained all night in the church; and when he went in the morning to see her, he found her cheerful and tranquil. He was prepared for wild aberrations. He thought that she would be sure to speak to him of conversations which she had held in the night with Ottilie, and of other such apparitions. But she was natural, quiet, and perfectly self-possessed. She remembered accurately what had happened in her previous life; she could describe the circumstances of it with the greatest exactness, and never in anything which she said stepped out of the course of what was real and natural, except in her account of what had passed with the body, which she delighted to repeat again and again, how, Ottilie had raised herself up, had blessed her, had forgiven her, and thereby set her at rest for ever.

Ottilie remained so long in her beautiful state, which more resembled sleep than death, that a number of persons were attracted there to look at her. The neighbors and the villagers wished to see her again, and every one desired to hear Nanny's incredible story from her own mouth. Many laughed at it, most doubted, and some few were found who were able to believe.

Difficulties, for which no real satisfaction is attainable, compel us to faith. Before the eyes of all the world, Nanny's limbs had been broken, and by touching the sacred body she had been restored to strength again. Why should not others find similar good fortune? Delicate mothers first privately brought their children who were suffering from obstinate disorders, and they believed that they could trace an immediate improvement. The confidence of the people increased, and at last there was no one so old or so weak as not to have come to seek fresh life and health and strength at this place. The concourse became so great, that they were obliged, except at the hours of divine service, to keep the church and chapel closed.

Edward did not venture to look at her again; he lived on mechanically; he seemed to have no tears left, and to be incapable of any further suffering; his power of taking interest in what was going on diminished every day; his appetite gradually failed. The only refreshment which did him any good was what he drank out of the glass, which to him, indeed, had been but an untrue prophet. He continued to gaze at the intertwining initials, and the earnest cheerfulness of his expression seemed to signify that he still hoped to be united with her at last. And as every little circumstance combines to favor the fortunate, and every accident contributes to elate him; so do the most trifling occurrences love to unite to crush and overwhelm the unhappy. One day, as Edward raised the beloved glass to his lips, he put it down and thrust it from him with a shudder. It was the same and not the same. He missed a little private mark upon it. The valet was questioned, and had to confess that the real glass had not long since been broken, and that one like it belonging to the same set had been substituted in its place.

Edward could not be angry. His destiny had spoken out with sufficient clearness in the fact, and how should he be affected by the shadow? and yet it touched him deeply. He seemed now to dislike drinking, and thenceforward purposely to abstain from food and from speaking.

But from time to time a sort of restlessness came over him; he would desire to eat and drink something, and would begin again to speak. "Ah!" he said, one day to the Major, who now seldom left his side, "how unhappy I am that all my efforts are but imitations ever, and false and fruitless. What was blessedness to her, is pain to me; and yet for the sake of this blessedness I am forced to take this pain upon myself. I must go after her; follow her by the same road. But my nature and my promise hold me back. It is a terrible difficulty, indeed, to imitate the inimitable. I feel clearly, my dear friend, that genius is required for everything; for martyrdom as well as the rest."

What shall we say of the endeavors which in this hopeless condition were made for him? His wife, his friends, his physician, incessantly labored to do something for him. But it was all in vain: at last they found him dead. Mittler was the first to make the melancholy discovery; he called the physician, and examined closely, with his usual presence of mind, the circumstances under which he had been found. Charlotte rushed in to them; she was afraid that he had committed suicide, and accused herself and accused others of unpardonable carelessness. But the physician on natural, and Mittler on moral grounds, were soon able to satisfy her of the contrary. It was quite clear that Edward's end had taken him by surprise. In a quiet moment he had taken out of his pocketbook and out of a casket everything which remained to him as memorials of Ottilie, and had spread them out before him—a lock of hair, flowers which had been gathered in some happy hour, and every letter which she had written to him from the first and which his wife had ominously happened to give him. It was impossible that he would intentionally have exposed these to the danger of being seen by the first person who might happen to discover him.

But so lay the heart, which but a short time before had been so swift and eager, at rest now, where it could never be disturbed; and falling asleep, as he did, with his thoughts on one so saintly, he might well be called blessed. Charlotte gave him his place at Ottilie's side, and arranged that thenceforth no other person should be placed with them in the same vault. In order to secure this, she made it a condition under which she settled considerable sums of money on the church and the school.

So lie the lovers, sleeping side by side. Peace hovers above their resting-place. Fair angel faces gaze down upon them from the vaulted ceiling, and what a happy moment that will be when one day they wake again together!



So much has already been written of Shakespeare that it would seem as if nothing remained to be said; yet it is the peculiarity of a great mind ever to stimulate other minds. This time I propose to consider Shakespeare from more than one point of view—first as a poet in general, then as compared with poets ancient and modern, and finally, as a strictly dramatic poet. I shall endeavor to show what effect the imitation of his art has produced upon us and what effect it is capable of producing in general. I shall voice my agreement with what has already been said by repeating it upon occasion, but shall express my dissent positively and briefly, without involving myself in a conflict of opinions. Let us, then, take up the first point.



The highest that man can attain is the consciousness of his own thoughts and feelings, and a knowledge of himself which prepares him to fathom alien natures as well. There are people who are by nature endowed with such a gift and by experience develop it to practical uses. Thence springs the ability to conquer something, in a higher sense, from the world and affairs. The poet, too, is born with such an endowment, only he does not develop it for immediate mundane ends, but for a more exalted, universal purpose. If we rate Shakespeare as one of the greatest poets, we acknowledge at the same time that it has been vouchsafed to few to discern the world as he did: to few, in expressing their inward feelings of the world, to give the reader a more realizing sense of it. It becomes thoroughly transparent to us; we find ourselves suddenly the confidants of virtue and vice, of greatness and insignificance, of nobility and depravity—all this, and more, through the simplest means. If we seek to discover what those means are, it appears as if he wrought for our eyes; but we are deceived. Shakespeare's creations are not for the eyes of the body. I shall endeavor to explain myself.

Sight may well be termed the clearest of our senses, that through which transmissions are most readily made. But our inward sense is still clearer and its highest and quickest impressions are conveyed through the medium of the word; for that is indeed fructifying, while what we apprehend through our eyes may be alien to us and by no means as potent in its effects. Now, Shakespeare addresses our inward sense, absolutely; through it the realm of fancy created by the imagination is quickened into life and thus a world of impressions is produced for which we can not account, since the basis of the illusion consists in the fact that everything seems to take place before our eyes. But if we examine Shakespeare's dramas carefully, we find that they contain far less of sensuous acts than of spiritual expressions. He allows events to happen which may be readily imagined; nay, that it is better to imagine than to see. Hamlet's ghost, the witches in Macbeth, many deeds of horror, produce their effect through the imagination; and the abundant short interludes are addressed solely to that faculty. All such things pass before us fittingly and easily in reading, whereas they are a drag in representation and appear as disturbing, even as repellent elements.

Shakespeare produces his effects by the living word, and that may be best transmitted by recitation; the listener is not distracted by either good or inadequate representation. There is no greater or purer delight than to listen with closed eyes to a Shakespearean play recited, not declaimed, in a natural, correct voice. One follows the simple thread which runs through events of the drama. We form a certain conception of the characters, it is true, from their designation; but actually we have to learn from the course of the words and speeches what goes on within, and here all the characters seem to have agreed not to leave us in the dark, in doubt, in any particular.

[Illustration: THE OLD THEATRE, WEIMAR From a Water Color by Peter

To this end all conspire—heroes and mercenaries, masters and slaves, kings and messengers; the subordinate figures, indeed, being often more effective in this respect than the superior ones. Everything mysteriously brewing in the air at the time of some great world-event, all that is hidden in the human soul in moments of supreme experience, is given expression; what the spirit anxiously locks up and screens is freely and unreservedly exposed; we learn the meaning of life and know not how.

Shakespeare mates himself with the world-spirit; like it he pervades the world; to neither is anything concealed; but if it is the function of the world-spirit to maintain secrecy before, indeed often after, the event, it is the poet's aim to divulge the secret and make us confidants before the deed, or at least during its occurrence. The vicious man of power, well-meaning mediocrity, the passionate enthusiast, the calmly reflective character, all wear their hearts upon their sleeves, often contrary to all likelihood; every one is inclined to talk, to be loquacious. In short, the secret must out, should the stones have to proclaim it. Even inanimate objects contribute their share; all subordinate things chime in; the elements, the phenomena of the heavens, earth and sea, thunder and lightning, wild beasts, raise their voices, often apparently in parables, but always acting as accessories.

But the civilized world, too, must render up its treasures; arts and sciences, trades and professions, all offer their gifts. Shakespeare's creations are a great, animated fair, and for this richness he is indebted to his native land.

England, sea-girt, veiled in mist and clouds, turning its active interest toward every quarter of the globe, is everywhere. The poet lived at a notable and momentous time, and depicted its culture, its misculture even, in the merriest vein; indeed, he would not affect us so powerfully had he not identified himself with the age in which he lived. No one had a greater contempt for the mere material, outward garb of man than he; he understands full well that which is within, and here all are on the same footing. It is thought that he represented the Romans admirably; I do not find it so; they are all true-blue Englishmen, but, to be sure, they are men, men through and through, and the Roman toga, too, fits them. When we have seized this point of view, we find his anachronisms highly laudable, and it is this very disregard of the outer raiment that renders his creations so vivid.

Let these few words, which do not by any means exhaust Shakespeare's merits, suffice. His friends and worshipers would find much that might be added. Yet one remark more It would be difficult to name another poet each of whose works has a different underlying conception exerting such a dominating influence as we find in Shakespeare's.

Thus Coriolanus is pervaded throughout by anger that the masses will not acknowledge the preeminence of their superiors. In Julius Cæsar everything turns upon the conception that the better people do not wish any one placed in supreme authority because they imagine, mistakenly, that they can work in unison. Anthony and Cleopatra, calls out with a thousand tongues that self-indulgence and action are incompatible. And further investigation will rouse our admiration of this variety again and again.



The interest that animates Shakespeare's great spirit lies within the limits of the world; for though prophecy and madness, dreams, presentiments, portents, fairies and goblins, ghosts, witches and sorcerers, form a magic element which color his creations at the fitting moment, yet those phantasms are by no means the chief components of his productions; it is the verities and experiences of his life that are the great basis upon which they rest, and that is why everything that proceeds from him appears so genuine and pithy. We perceive, therefore, that he belongs not so much to the modern world, which has been termed the romantic one, as to a naive world, since, though his significance really rests upon the present, he scarcely, even in his tenderest moments, touches the borders of longing, and then only at the outermost edge.

Nevertheless, more intimately examined, he is a decidedly modern poet, divided from the ancients by a tremendous gulf, not as regards outward form, which is not to be considered here at all, but as regards the inmost, the profoundest significance of his work.

I shall, in the first place, protect myself by saying that it is by no means my intention to adduce the following terminology as exhaustive or final; my attempt is, rather not so much to add a new contrast to those already familiar, as to point out that it is included in them. These contrasts are:

Antique Modern

Naive Sentimental

Pagan Christian

Heroic Romantic

Real Idealistic

Necessity Freedom

Sollen (Duty; shall; must; should). Wollen (Desire; inclination; would).

The greatest torments, as well as the most frequent, that beset man spring from the discordances in us all between duty and desire, between duty and performance (Vollbringen); and it is these discordances that so often embarrass man during his earthly course. The slightest confusion, arising from a trivial error which may be cleared up unexpectedly and without injury, gives rise to ridiculous situations. The greatest confusion, on the contrary, insoluble or unsolved, offers us the tragic elements.

Predominant in the ancient dramas is the discordance between duty and desire; in the modern, that between desire and performance. Let us, for the present, consider this decisive difference among the other contrasts, and see what can be done with it in both cases. Now this, now that side predominates, as I have remarked; but since duty and desire cannot be radically separated in man, both motives must be found simultaneously, even though the one should be predominant and the other subordinate. Duty is imposed upon man; "must" is a hard taskmaster; desire (das Wollen) man imposes upon himself; man's own will is his heaven. A persistent "should" is irksome; inability to perform is terrible; a persistent "would" is gratifying; and the possession of a firm will may yield solace even in case of incapacity to perform.

We may look at games of cards as a sort of poetic creation; they, too, consist of these two elements. The form of the game, combined with chance, takes the place of the "should" as the ancients recognized it under the name of fate; the "would," combined with the ability of the player, opposes it. Looked at in this way, I should call the game of whist ancient. The form of this game restricts chance, nay, the will itself; provided with partners and opponents, I must, with the cards dealt out to me, guide a long series of chances which there is no way of controlling. In the case of ombre and other like games, the contrary takes place. Here a great many doors are left open to will and daring; I can revoke the cards that fall to my share, can make them count in various ways, can discard half or all of them, can appeal from the decree of chance, nay, by an inverted course can reap the greatest advantage from the worst hand; and thus this class of games exactly resembles the modern method in thought and in poetic art.

Ancient tragedy is based upon an unavoidable "should," which is intensified and accelerated only by a counteracting "would." This is the point of all that is terrible in the oracles, the region where Oedipus reigns supreme. Sollen appears in a milder light as duty in Antigone. But all Sollen is despotic, whether it belongs to the domain of reason, as ethical and municipal laws, or to that of Nature, as the laws of creation, growth, dissolution, of life and death. We shudder at all this, without reflecting that it is intended for the general good. Wollen, on the contrary, is free, appears free, and favors the individual. Wollen, therefore, is flattering, and perforce took possession of men as soon as they learned to know it. It is the god of the new time; devoted to it, we have a dread of its opposite, and that is why there is an impassable gulf between our art, as well as our mode of thought, and that of the ancients. Through Sollen, tragedy becomes great and forceful; through Wollen, weak and petty. Thus has arisen the so-called drama, in which the awful power of Fate was dissolved by the will; but precisely because this comes to the aid of our weakness do we find ourselves moved if, after painful expectation, we finally receive but scant comfort.

If now, after these preliminary reflections, I turn to Shakespeare, I can not forbear wishing that my readers should themselves make the comparison and the application. Here Shakespeare stands out unique, combining the old and the new in incomparable fashion. Wollen and Sollen seek by every means, in his plays, to reach an equilibrium; they struggle violently with each other, but always in a way that leaves the Wollen at a disadvantage.

No one, perhaps, has represented more splendidly the great primal connection between Wollen and Sollen in the character of the individual. A person, from the point of view of his character, should: he is restricted, destined to some definite course; but as a man, he wills. He is unlimited and demands freedom of choice. At once there arises an inner conflict, and Shakespeare puts it in the forefront. But then an outer conflict supervenes, which often becomes acute through the pressure of circumstances, in the face of which a deficiency of will may rise to the rank of an inexorable fate. This idea I have pointed out before in the case of Hamlet; but it occurs repeatedly in Shakespeare; for as Hamlet is driven by the ghost into straits which he cannot pass through, so is Macbeth by witches, by Hecate, and by the arch-witch, his wife; Brutus by his friends; nay, even in Coriolanus, we find a similar thing—in short, the conception of a will transcending the capacity of the individual is modern. But as Shakespeare represents this trouble of the will as arising not from within but through outside circumstances, it becomes a sort of Fate and approaches the antique. For all the heroes of poetic antiquity strive only for what lies within man's power, and thence arises that fine balance between will, Fate, and performance; yet their Fate appears always as too forbidding, even where we admire it, to possess the power of attraction. A necessity which, more or less, or completely, precludes all freedom, does not comport with the ideas of our time; but Shakespeare approaches these in his own way; for, in making necessity ethical, he links, to our gratified astonishment, the ancient with the modern. If anything can be learned from him, it is this point that we should study in his school. Instead of exalting our romanticism—which may not deserve censure or contempt—unduly and exclusively, and clinging to it in a partisan spirit, whereby its strong, solid, efficient side is misjudged and impaired, we should strive to unite within ourselves those great and apparently irreconcilable opposites—all the more that this has already been achieved by the unique master whom we prize so highly, and, often without knowing why, extol above every one. He had, to be sure, the advantage of living at the proper harvest-time, of expending his activity in a Protestant country teeming with life, where the madness of bigotry was silent for a time, so that a man like Shakespeare, imbued with a natural piety, was left free to develop his real self religiously without regard to any definite creed.



If lovers and friends of art wish fully to enjoy a creation of any kind, they delight in it as a whole, are permeated by the unity with which the artist has endowed it. To a person, on the other hand, who wishes to discuss such productions theoretically, to assert something about them, and therefore, to inform and instruct, discrimination becomes a duty. We believed we were fulfilling that duty in considering Shakespeare first as a poet in general, and then comparing him with the ancient and the most modern poets. And now we wish to complete our design by considering him as a dramatist.

Shakespeare's name and worth belong to the history of poetry; but it is doing an injustice to all the dramatists of earlier and later ages to present his entire merit as belonging to the history of the theatre.

A person of universally acknowledged talent may make a doubtful use of his endowments. Not everything produced by such a superior mind is done in the most perfect way. Thus Shakespeare belongs essentially to the history of poetry; in the history of the theatre he figures only accidentally. Because we can admire him unqualifiedly in the first, we must in the latter take into consideration the conditions to which he submitted and not extol those conditions as either virtues or models.

We distinguish closely allied forms of poetic creation, which, however, in a vivid treatment often merge into each other: the epic, dialogue, drama, stage play, may be differentiated. An epic requires oral delivery to the many by a single individual; dialogue, speech in private company, where the multitude may, to be sure, be listeners; drama, conversation in actions, even though perhaps presented only to the imagination; stage play, all three together, inasmuch as it engages the sense of vision and may be grasped under certain conditions of local and personal presence.

It is in this sense that Shakespeare's productions are most dramatic; he wins the reader by his mode of treatment, of disclosing man's innermost life; the demands of the stage appear unessential to him, and thus he takes an easy course, and, in an intellectual sense, we serenely follow him. We transport ourselves with him from one locality to another; our imagination supplies all the intermediate actions that he omits; nay, we are grateful to him for arousing our spiritual faculties in so worthy a fashion. By producing everything in theatrical form, he facilitates the activity of the imagination; for we are more familiar with the "boards that mean the world" than with the world itself, and we may read and hear the most singular things and yet feel that they might actually take place before our eyes on the stage; hence the frequent failure of dramatizations of popular novels.

Strictly speaking, however, nothing is dramatic except that which strikes the eye as symbolic—an important action which betokens one still more important. That Shakespeare could attain this height too is evidenced in the scene where the son and heir takes the crown from the side of the father slumbering on his deathbed, places it on his own head, and struts off with it.[2] But these are only episodes, scattered jewels separated by much that is undramatic. Shakespeare's whole mode of procedure finds something unaccommodating in the actual stage; his great talent is that of an epitomist, and since poets are, on the whole, epitomists of Nature, we must here, too, acknowledge Shakespeare's great merit; only we deny, at the same time, and that to his credit, that the stage was a worthy sphere for his genius. It is precisely this limitation of the stage, however, which causes him to restrict himself.

But he does not, like other poets, select particular materials for particular works; he makes an idea the central point and refers the earth and the universe to it. As he condenses ancient and modern history, he can utilize the material of every chronicle, and often adheres to it literally. Not so conscientiously does he proceed with the tales, as Hamlet attests. Romeo and Juliet is more faithful to tradition; yet he almost destroys its tragic content by the two comic figures, Mercutio and the nurse, probably presented by two popular actors—the nurse undoubtedly acted by a man. If we examine the structure of the play very closely, we notice that these two figures and the elements touching them, appear only as farcical interludes, which, with our love of the logical and harmonious, must strike us as intolerable.

But Shakespeare is most marvelous when he adapts and recasts plays already in existence. We can institute a comparison in the case of King John and Lear; for the older dramas are still extant. But in these instances, likewise, he is again rather a poet than a dramatist.

But let us, in conclusion, proceed to the solution of the riddle. The imperfection of the English stage has been represented to us by well-informed men. There is not a trace of those requirements of realism to which we have gradually become used through improvements in machinery, the art of perspective, the wardrobe, and from which it would be difficult to lead us back into the infancy of those beginnings, to the days of a stage upon which little was seen, where everything was only indicated, where the public was satisfied to assume the chamber of the king lying behind a green curtain, the trumpeter who sounded the trumpet always at a certain spot, and many like things. Who at present would permit such assumptions? Under those conditions Shakespeare's plays were highly interesting tales, only they were recited by a number of persons, who, in order to make somewhat more of an impression, were characteristically masked as the occasion demanded, moved about, came and went, but left it to the spectator's imagination to fancy at will paradise and palaces on the empty stage.

How, indeed, did Schröder achieve the great credit of putting Shakespeare's plays upon the German stage but by epitomizing the epitomizer? Schröder confined himself entirely to what was effective; he discarded everything else, indeed, even much that was essential, when it seemed to him that the effect upon his nation, upon his time, would be impaired. Thus it is true, for example, that by omitting the first scene of King Lear he changed the character of the piece; but he was right, after all, for in that scene Lear appears so ridiculous that one can not wholly blame his daughters. The old man awakens our pity, but we have no sympathy for him, and it is sympathy that Schröder wished to arouse as well as abhorrence of the two daughters, who, though unnatural, are not absolutely reprehensible.

In the old play which is Shakespeare's source, this scene is productive, in the course of the play, of the most pleasing effects. Lear flees to France; daughter and son-in-law, in some romantic caprice, make a pilgrimage, in disguise, to the seashore, and encounter the old man, who does not recognize them. Here all that Shakespeare's lofty, tragic spirit has embittered is made sweet. A comparison of these dramas affords ever renewed pleasure to the lover of art.

In recent years, however, the notion has crept into Germany that Shakespeare must be presented on the German stage word for word, even if actors and audience should fairly choke in the process. The attempts, induced by an excellent, exact translation,[3] would not succeed anywhere—a fact to which the Weimar stage, after honest and repeated efforts, can give unexceptionable testimony. If we wish to see a Shakespearean play, we must return to Schröder's adaptation; but the dogma that, in representing Shakespeare, not a jot or tittle may be omitted, senseless as it is, is constantly being reechoed. If the advocates of this view should retain the upper hand, Shakespeare would in a few years be entirely driven from the German stage. This, indeed, would be no misfortune; for the solitary reader, or the reader in company with others, would experience so much the purer delight.

The attempt, however, in the other direction, on which we have dilated above, was made in the arrangement of Romeo and Juliet for the Weimar stage. The principles upon which this was based, we shall set forth at the first opportunity, and it will perhaps then be recognized why that arrangement—the representation of which is by no means difficult, but must be carried out artistically and with precision—had no success on the German stage. Similar efforts are now in progress, and perhaps some result is in store for the future, even though such undertakings frequently fail at the first trial.



[To the Memory of the noble Poet, Brother, and Friend, Wieland.]

    Most serene protector!
    Right worshipful master I
    Very honorable assembly I

Although under no circumstances does it become the individual to set himself in opposition to ancient, venerable customs, or of his own will to alter what our ancestors in their wisdom have deemed right and have ordained, nevertheless, had I really at my bidding the magician's wand which the muses in spirit intrusted to our departed friend, I should in an instant transform all these sad surroundings into those of joy. This darkness would straightway grow radiant before your eyes, and before you there would appear a hall decked for a feast, with varied tapestries and garlands of gaiety, joyous and serene as our friend's own life. Then your eyes, your spirit, would be attracted by the creations of his luxuriant imagination; Olympus with its gods, introduced by the Muses and adorned by the Graces, would be a living testimony that he who lived amid such glad surroundings, and who also departed from us in the spirit of that gladness, should be counted among the most fortunate of mankind, and should be interred, not with lamentation, but with expressions of joy and of exultation.

And yet, what I cannot present to the outward senses, may be offered to the inward. Eighty years, how much in how few syllables! Who of us dares hastily to run through so many years and to picture to himself the significance of them when well employed? Who of us would dare assert that he could in an instant measure and appraise the value of a life that was complete from every point of view?

[Illustration: MARTIN WIELAND]

If we accompany our friend step by step through all his days, if we regard him as a boy and as a youth, in his prime and in his old age, we find that to his lot fell the unusual fortune of plucking the bloom of each of these seasons; for even old age has its bloom, and the happiest enjoyment of this, also, was vouchsafed him. Only a few months have passed since for him the brethren of our lodge crowned their mysterious sphinx with roses, to show that, if the aged Anacreon undertook to adorn his exalted sensuality with the rose's light twigs, the ethical sensuousness, the tempered joy of life and wit which animated our noble friend also merited a rich and abundant garland.

Only a few weeks have elapsed since this excellent man was still with us, not merely present but active at our gatherings. It was through the midst of our intimate circle that he passed from things earthly; we were the nearest to him, even at the last; and if his fatherland as well as foreign nations celebrate his memory, where ought this to be done earlier and more emphatically than by us?

I have not, therefore, dared to disobey the mandates of our masters, and before this honorable assembly I speak a few words in his memory, the more gladly since they may be fleeting precursors of what in the future the world and our brotherhood shall do for him. This is the sentiment, and this the purpose, for the sake of which I venture to entreat a gracious hearing; and if what I shall say from an affection tested for almost forty years rather than for mere rhetorical effect—by no means well composed, but rather in brief sentences, and even in desultory fashion—may seem worthy neither of him who is honored nor of them who honor, then I must remark that here you may expect only a preliminary outline, a sketch, yes, only the contents and, if you so will, the marginal notes of a future work. And thus, then, without more delay, to the theme so dear, so precious, and, indeed, so sacred to us!

Wieland was born in 1733 near Biberach, a small imperial free-town in Swabia. His father, a Lutheran clergyman, gave him a careful training and imparted to him the first elements of education. He was then sent to the monastery of Bergen on the Elbe, where the truly pious Abbot Steinmetz presided over an educational institution of good repute. Thence he went to the University of Tübingen, and then lived for some time as a private tutor in Bern, but he was soon attracted to Bodmer, at Zurich, who, like Gleim at a later date in North Germany, might be called the midwife of genius in South Germany. There he gave himself over entirely to the joy that arises from youth's self-creation, when talents develop under friendly guidance without being hampered by the higher requirements of criticism. Soon, however, he outgrew this stage, returned to his native town, and henceforth became his own teacher and trainer, while with ceaseless activity he pursued his inclination toward literature and poetry.

His mechanical official duties as the chief of the chancery robbed him, it is true, of time, though they could not deprive him of joy and courage; and that his spirit might not be dwarfed amid such narrow surroundings, he fortunately became acquainted with Count Stadion, whose estates lay in the vicinity, and who was a minister of the Prince Elector of Mainz. In this illustrious and well-appointed house the atmosphere of the world and of the court was for the first time wafted to him; he became no stranger to domestic and foreign affairs of state; and in the count he gained a patron for all his life. In consequence, he did not remain unknown to the Prince Elector of Mainz, and since the University of Erfurt was to be revived under Emmerich Joseph, our friend was summoned thither, thus exemplifying the tolerant sentiments which, from the beginning of the century, have spread among men who are akin through the Christian faith, and have even permeated humanity as a whole.

He could not labor long at Erfurt without becoming known to the Duchess Regent of Weimar, at whose court Count von Dalberg, so active in every form of good work, did not fail to introduce him. An adequate education of her princely sons was the chief object of a tender mother, herself highly cultured, and thus he was called thither to employ his literary talents and his moral endowments for the best interests of the princely house, for our weal, and for the weal of all.

The retirement promised him after the completion of his educational duties was given him at once, and since he received a more than promised alleviation of his domestic circumstances, he led, for nearly forty years, a life of complete conformity to his disposition and to his wishes.

The influence of Wieland on the public was uninterrupted and permanent. He educated his generation up to himself, giving to the taste and to the judgment of his contemporaries a decided trend, so that his merits have already been sufficiently recognized, appraised, and even portrayed. In many a work on German literature he is discussed as honorably as judiciously; I need only recall the laudations which Küttner, Eschenburg, Manso, and Eichhorn have bestowed upon him.

And whence came the profound influence which he exercised on the Germans? It was a result of the excellence and of the openness of his nature. In him man and author had completely interpenetrated; he wrote poetry as a living soul, and lived the poet's life. In verse and prose he never hid what was at the instant in his mind and what each time he felt, so that judging he wrote and writing he judged. From the fertility of his mind sprang the fertility of his pen.

I do not employ the term "pen" as a rhetorical phrase; here it is valid in the strictest sense, and if a pious reverence pays homage to many an author by seeking to gain possession of the quill with which he formed his works, the quill of which Wieland availed himself, would surely be worthy of this distinction above many another. For the fact that he wrote everything with his own hand and most beautifully, and, at the same time, with freedom and with thoughtfulness; that he ever had before him what he had written, carefully examining, changing, improving, indefatigably fashioning and refashioning, never weary even of repeatedly transcribing voluminous works—this gave to his productions the delicacy, the gracefulness, the clearness, the natural elegance which can be bestowed on a work already completed, not by effort, but by unruffled, inspired attention.

This careful preparation of his writings had its origin in a happy conviction which apparently came to him toward the end of his residence in Switzerland, when impatience at production had in some measure subsided, and when the desire to present a perfected result to the public had become more decidedly and more obviously active.

Since, then, in him the man and the poet were a single individuality, we shall also portray the latter when we speak of the former. Irritability and versatility, the accompaniments of poetical and of rhetorical talents, dominated him to a high degree, but an acquired rather than an innate moderation kept them in equilibrium. Our friend was capable of enthusiasm in highest measure, and in youth he surrendered himself wholly to it, the more actively and assiduously since, in his case, for several years that happy period was prolonged when within himself the youth feels the worth and the dignity of the most excellent, be it attainable or not.

In that pure and happy field of the golden age, in that paradise of innocence, he dwelt longer than others. The house where he was born, in which a cultivated clergyman ruled as father; the ancient, linden-embowered monastery of Bergen on the Elbe, where a pious teacher kept up his patriarchal activity; Tübingen, still monastic in its essential form; those simple Swiss dwellings about which the brooks murmured, which the lakes laved, and which the cliffs surrounded—everywhere he found another Delphi, everywhere the groves in which as a mature and cultivated youth he continued to revel even yet. There he was powerfully attracted by the monuments of the manly innocence of the Greeks which have been left us. Cyrus, Araspes, Panthea, and forms of equal loftiness revived in him; he felt the spirit of Plato weaving within him; he felt that he needed that spirit to reproduce those pictures for himself and for others—so much the more since he desired not so keenly to evoke poetic phantoms as, rather, to create a moral influence for actual beings.

Yet the very fact that he had the good fortune to dwell so protractedly in these loftier realms, and that he could long regard as the most perfect verity all that he thought, felt, imagined, dreamed, and fancied—this very fact embittered for him the fruit which he was obliged at last to pluck from the tree of knowledge.

Who can escape the conflict with the outer world? Even our friend is drawn into this strife; reluctantly he submits to contradiction by experience and by life; and since, after a long struggle, he succeeds not in uniting these august figures with those of the vulgar world, or that high desire with the demands of the day, he resolves to let the actual pass current as the necessary, and declares that what has thus far seemed real to him is phantasy.

Yet even here the individuality and the energy of his spirit reveals itself to be worthy of admiration. Despite all the fulness of his life, despite so strong a joy of living, despite noble inward talents and honorable spiritual desires and purposes, he feels himself wounded by the world and defrauded of his greatest treasures. Henceforth he can in experience nowhere find what had constituted his joy for so many years, and what had even been the inmost content of his life; yet he does not consume himself in idle lamentations, of which we know so many in the prose and verse of others, but he resolves upon counter-action. He proclaims war on all that cannot be demonstrated in reality; first and foremost, therefore, on Platonic love, then on all dogmatizing philosophy, especially its two extremes of Stoicism and Pythagoreanism. Furthermore, he works implacably against religious fanaticism, and against all that to reason appears eccentric.

But he is at once overwhelmed with anxiety lest he go too far, lest he himself act fantastically, and now he simultaneously begins battle against commonplace reality. He opposes everything which we are accustomed to understand under the name Philistinism—musty pedantry, provincialism, petty etiquette, narrow criticism, false prudery, smug complacency, arrogant dignity, and whatever names may be applied to all these unclean spirits, whose name is Legion.

Herein he proceeds in an absolutely natural manner, without preconceived purpose or self-consciousness. He stands before the dilemma of the conceivable and the real, and, as he must advise moderation to control or to unite the two, he must hold himself in check, and must be many-sided, since he wishes to be just.

He had long been attracted by the pure, rational uprightness of noble Englishmen, and by their influence in the moral sphere, by an Addison, by a Steele; but now in their society he finds a man whose type of thought is far more agreeable to him.

Shaftesbury, whom I need only mention to recall a great thinker to the mind of every well-informed man,—Shaftesbury lived at a time when much disturbance reigned in the religion of his native land, when the dominant church sought by force to subdue men of other modes of thought. State and morals were also threatened by much that must arouse the anxiety of the intelligent and right-thinking. The best counter-action to all this, he believed, was cheerfulness; in his opinion, only what was regarded with serenity would be rightly seen. He who could look serenely into his own bosom must be a good man. This was the main thing, and from it sprang all other good. Spirit, wit, and humor were, he held, the real agencies by which such a disposition should come in contact with the world. All objects, even the most serious, must be capable of such clarity and freedom if they were not bedizened with a merely arrogant dignity, but contained within themselves a true value which did not fear the test. In this spirited endeavor to become master of things it was impossible to avoid casting about for deciding authorities, and thus human reason was set as judge over the content, and taste over the manner, of presentation.

In such a man our Wieland now found, not a predecessor whom he was to follow, nor a colleague with whom he was to work, but a true elder twin brother in the spirit, whom he perfectly resembled, without being formed in his likeness; even as it could not be said of the Menæchmi which was the original, and which the copy.

What Shaftesbury, born in a higher station, more favored with worldly advantages, and more experienced by travel, office, and cosmopolitan knowledge, did in a wider circle and at a more serious period in sea-girt England, precisely this our friend, proceeding from a point at first extremely limited, accomplished through persistent activity and through ceaseless toil, in his native land, surrounded on every side by hills and dales; and the result was—to employ, in our condensed address, a brief but generally intelligible term—that popular philosophy whereby a practically trained intelligence is set in decision over the moral worth of things, and is made the judge of their aesthetic value.

This philosophy, prepared in England and fostered by conditions in Germany, was thus spread far and wide by our friend, in company with countless sympathizers, by poems and by scholarly works, even by life itself.

And yet, if we have found Shaftesbury and Wieland perfectly alike so far as point of view, temperament, and insight are concerned, nevertheless, the latter was far superior to the former in talent; for what the Englishman rationally taught and desired, the German knew how to elaborate poetically and rhetorically in verse and prose.

In this elaboration, however, the French mode of treatment was necessarily most suitable to him. Serenity, wit, spirit, and elegance are already at hand in France; his luxuriant imagination, which now desires to be occupied only with light and joyous themes, turns to tales of fairies and knights, which grant it the greatest freedom. Here, again, in the Arabian Nights and in the Bibliotheque universelle des romans, France offered him materials half-prepared and adapted, while the ancient treasures of this sort, which Germany possesses, still remained crude and unavailable.

It is precisely these poems which have most widely spread and most firmly established Wieland's fame. Their light-heartedness gained them access to everyone, and even the serious Germans deigned to be pleased with them; for all these works appeared indeed at a happy and favorable time. They were all written in the spirit which we have developed above. Frequently the fortunate poet undertook the artistic task of giving a high value to very mediocre materials by revising them; and though it cannot be denied that he sometimes permits reason to triumph over the higher powers, and at other times allows sensuality to prevail over the moral qualities, yet we must also grant that, in its proper place, everything which can possibly adorn noble souls gains supremacy.

Earlier than most of these works, though not the earliest of all, was the translation of Shakespeare. Wieland did not fear impairment of his originality by study; on the contrary, he was convinced at an early date that a lively, fertile spirit found its best stimulus not only in the adaptation of material that was already well known, but also in the translation of extant works.

In those days the translation of Shakespeare was a daring thought, for even trained litterateurs denied the possibility of the success of such an undertaking. Wieland translated freely, grasped the sense of his author, and omitted what appeared to him untranslatable; and thus he gave to his nation a general idea of the most magnificent works of another people, and to his generation an insight into the lofty culture of by-gone centuries.

Great as was the effect of this translation in Germany, it appears to have exercised little influence upon Wieland himself. He was too thoroughly antagonistic to his author, as is sufficiently obvious from the passages omitted and passed over, and still more from the appended notes, in which the French type of thought is evident.

On the other hand, the Greeks, with their moderation and clarity, are to him most precious models. He feels himself allied with them in taste; religion, customs, and legislation all give him opportunity to exercise his versatility, and since neither the gods nor the philosophers, and neither the nation nor the nations are any more compatible than politicians and soldiers, he everywhere finds the desired opportunity, amid his apparent doubts and jests, of repeatedly inculcating his equitable, tolerant, human doctrines.

At the same time, he takes delight in presenting problematical characters, and he finds pleasure, for example, in emphasizing the lovable qualities of a Musarion, a Lais, and a Phryne without regard to womanly chastity, and in exalting their practical wisdom above the scholastic wisdom of the philosophers.

But among these he also finds a man whom he can develop and set forth as the representative of his own convictions—I mean Aristippus. Here philosophy and worldly pleasure are through wise moderation so united in serene and welcome fashion that the wish arises to be a contemporary in so fair a land, and in such goodly company. Union with these educated, right-thinking, cultivated, joyous men is so welcome, and it even seems that so long as one may walk with them in thought, one's mind will be as theirs, and one will think as they.

In these circles our friend maintained himself by careful experiments, which are still more necessary to the translator than to the poet; and thus arose the German Lucian, which necessarily presented the Greek to us the more vividly since the author and the translator could be regarded as true kindred spirits.

But however much a man of such talents preaches decency, he will, nevertheless, sometimes feel himself tempted to transgress the boundaries of propriety and decorum, since from time immemorial genius has reckoned such escapades among its prerogatives. Wieland indulged this impulse when he sought to assimilate himself to the daring, extraordinary Aristophanes, and when he was able to translate his jests, as audacious as they were witty, though he toned them down with his own innate grace.

For all these presentations an insight into the higher plastic art was also obviously necessary, and since our friend was never vouchsafed the sight of those ancient masterpieces which still survive, he sought to rise to them in thought, to bring them before his eyes by the power of imagination; so that we cannot fail to be amazed to see how talent is able to form for itself a conception even of what is far away. Moreover, he would have been entirely successful if his laudable caution had not restrained him from taking decisive steps; for art in general, and especially the art of the ancients, can neither be grasped nor comprehended without enthusiasm. He who will not commence with amazement and with admiration finds no entrance into the holy of holies. Our friend, however, was far too cautious, and how could he have been expected to make in this single instance an exception from his general rule of life?

If, however, he was near akin to the Greeks in taste, in sentiment he was still more closely allied to the Romans—not that he would have allowed himself to be carried away by republican or by patriotic zeal, but he really finds his peers among the Romans, whereas he has, in a sense, only fictitiously assimilated himself to the Greeks. Horace has much similarity to him; himself an artist, and himself a man of the court and of the world, he intelligently estimates life and art; Cicero, philosopher, orator, statesman, and active citizen, also closely resembles him—and both arose from inconsiderable beginnings to great dignities and honors.

While our friend occupies himself with the works of both these men, how gladly would he transport himself back into their century and their surroundings, and transfer himself to their epoch, in order to transmit to us a clear picture of that past; and he succeeds amazingly. Perhaps, on the whole, more sympathy might be desired for the men with whom he is concerned, but such is his fear of partisanship that he prefers to take sides against them rather than on their behalf.

There are two maxims of translation. The one demands that the author of an alien nation be brought over to us so that we may regard him as our own; the other, on the contrary, lays upon us the obligation that we should transfer ourselves to the stranger and accommodate ourselves to his conditions, to his diction, and to his peculiarities. The advantages of both are sufficiently well known to all cultured men by masterly examples. Our friend, who here also sought the middle way, endeavored to combine both; yet, as a man of taste and feeling, in doubtful cases he gave the preference to the first maxim.

Perhaps no one has so keenly felt as he how complicated a task translation is. How deeply was he convinced that not the letter but the spirit giveth life! Consider how, in his introductions, he first endeavors to shift us to the period and to make us acquainted with the personages; how he then makes his author speak in a way which we already know, akin to our own thought and familiar to our ear; and how, finally, in his annotations, he seeks to explain and to obviate many a detail which might remain obscure, rouse doubt, and be offensive. Through this triple endeavor one can see clearly that he first has mastered his subject, and then he also takes the most praiseworthy pains to put us in a position in which his insight can be communicated to us, that we also may share the enjoyment with him.

Although he was equally master of many tongues, yet he clung to the two in which the value and the dignity of the ancient world have most purely been transmitted to us. For little as we would deny that many a treasure has been drawn and is still to be drawn from the mines of other ancient literatures, so little shall we be contradicted when we assert that the language of the Greeks and of the Romans has transmitted to us, down to this very day, priceless gifts which in content are equal to the best, and in form are superior to every other.

The organization of the German Empire, which includes so many small states within itself, herein resembled the Greek. Since the tiniest, most unimportant, and even invisible city had its special interests it was constrained to cherish and to maintain them, and to defend them against its neighbors. Accordingly, its youth were early roused and summoned to reflect upon affairs of state. And thus Wieland, too, as the chief of the chancery of one of the smallest imperial free-towns, was in a position calculated to make of him a patriot and, in the best sense of the term, a demagogue; as when later, in one such instance, he resolved to bring down upon himself the temporary disfavor of his patron, the neighboring Count Stadion, rather than to make an unpatriotic submission.

His Agathon itself teaches us that within this sphere as well he gave preference to sound principles; nevertheless, he took such interest in the realities of life that all his occupations and all his predilections ultimately failed to prevent him from thinking about the same. He particularly felt himself summoned anew to this when he dared promise himself a weighty influence on the training of princes from whom much might be expected.

In all the works of this type which he wrote a cosmopolitan spirit is manifest, and since they were composed at a time when the power of absolute monarchy was not yet shaken, it became his main purpose insistently to set their obligations before the rulers and to point them to the happiness which they should find in the happiness of their subjects.

Now, however, the epoch came when an aroused nation tore down all that had thus far stood, and seemed to summon the spirits of all the dwellers upon earth to a universal legislation. On this matter, likewise, he declared himself with cautious modesty; and by rational presentations, which he clothed under a variety of forms, he sought to produce some measure of equilibrium in the excited masses. Since, however, the tumult of anarchy became more and more furious, and since a voluntary union of the masses appeared inconceivable, he was the first once more to counsel absolutism and to designate the man to work the miracle of reëstablishment.

If, now, it be remembered in this connection that our friend wrote concerning these matters not, as it were, after, but during, events, and that, as the editor of a widely-read periodical he had occasion—and was even compelled—on the spur of the moment to express his views each month, then he who is called to trace chronologically the course of his life will perceive, not without amazement, how attentively he followed the swift events of the day, and how shrewdly he conducted himself throughout as a German and as a thinking, sympathetic man. And here is the place to recall the periodical which was so important for Germany, the Deutscher Merkur. This undertaking was not the first of its kind, yet at that time it was new and significant. The name of its editor immediately created great confidence in it; for the fact that a man who was himself a poet also promised to introduce the poems of others into the world, and that an author to whom such magnificent works were due would himself pass judgment and publicly express his opinion—this aroused the greatest hopes. Moreover, men of worth quickly gathered about him, and this alliance of preëminent litterateurs was so active that the Merkur during a period of several years may be employed as a textbook of our literary history. On the public generally its influence was profound and significant, for if, on the one hand, reading and criticism became the possession of a greater multitude, the desire to give instant expression to his thoughts became active in everyone who had anything to give. More was sent to the editor than he expected and desired; his success awakened imitators; similar periodicals arose which crowded upon the public, first monthly, then weekly and daily, and which finally produced that confusion of Babel of which we were and are witnesses, and which, strictly speaking, springs from the fact that everyone wishes to talk, but no one is willing to listen..

The quality which maintained the value and the dignity of the Deutscher Merkur for many years was its editor's innate liberality. Wieland was not created to be a party leader; he who recognizes moderation as the chief maxim cannot make himself guilty of one-sidedness. Whatever excited his active spirit he sought to equalize within himself through taste and common sense, and thus he also treated his collaborators, for none of whom he felt very much enthusiasm; and as, while translating the ancient authors whom he so highly esteemed, he was accustomed frequently to attack them in his notes, so, by his disapproving annotations, he often vexed, and actually estranged, valued and even favorite contributors.

Even before this, our friend had been forced to endure full many an attack on account of major or minor writings; so much the less as the editor of a periodical could he escape literary controversies. Yet here, too, he shows himself ever the same. Such a paper war can never last long for him, and if it threatens to be in any degree protracted, he gives his opponent the last word and goes his wonted path.

Foreigners have sagaciously observed that German authors regard the public less than the writers of other nations, and that, therefore, one can tell from his writings the man who is developing himself, and the man who seeks to create something to his own satisfaction,—and, consequently, the character of these two types soon becomes obvious. This quality we have already ascribed to Wieland in particular; and it will be so much the more interesting to arrange and to follow his writings and his life in this sense, since, formerly and latterly, the attempt has been made to cast suspicion on our friend's character from these very writings. A large number of men are even yet in error regarding him, since they fancy that the man of many sides must be indifferent, and the versatile man must be wavering; it is forgotten that character is concerned simply and solely with the practical. Only in that which a man does and continues to do, and in that to which he is constant, does he reveal his character, and in this sense there has been no more steadfast man, no man constantly more true to himself, than Wieland. If he surrendered himself to the multiplicity of his emotions, and to the versatility of his thoughts, and if he permitted no single impression to gain dominion over him, in this very way he proved the firmness and the sureness of his mind. This witty man played gladly with his opinions, but—I can summon all contemporaries as witnesses—never with his convictions. And thus he won for himself many friends, and kept them. That he had any decided enemy is not known to me. In the enjoyment of his poetic works he lived for many years in municipal, civic, friendly, and social surroundings, and gained the distinction of a complete edition of his carefully revised works, and even of an édition de luxe of them.

But even in the autumn of his years he was destined to feel the influence of the spirit of the age, and in an unforeseen manner to begin a new life, a new youth. The blessings of sweet peace had long ruled over Germany; general outward safety and repose coincided most happily with the inward, human, cosmopolitan views of existence. The peaceful townsman seemed no longer to require his walls; they were dispensed with; and there was a yearning after rustic life. The security of landed property gave confidence to everyone; the untrammelled life of nature attracted everyone; and as man, born a social being, can often fancy to himself the sweet deceit that he lives better, easier, happier in isolation, so Wieland also, who had already been vouchsafed the highest literary leisure, seemed to look about him for an abode more quiet in which to cultivate the Muses; and when he found opportunity and strength to obtain an estate in the very vicinity of Weimar, he formed the resolution there to pass the remainder of his life. And here they who have often visited him, and who have lived with him, may tell in detail how it was precisely here that he appeared in all his charm as head of the house and of the family, as friend, and as husband, and especially how, since he could indeed withdraw from men but men could not dispense with him, he most delightfully developed his social virtues as a hospitable host.

While inviting younger friends to elaborate this idyllic portrayal, I may merely note, briefly and sympathetically, how this rural joy was troubled by the passing away of a dear woman friend who resided with them, and then by the death of his esteemed and careful consort. He laid these dear remains in his own property, and although he resolved to give up agricultural cares, which had become too intricate for him, and to dispense with the estate which for some years he had enjoyed, he retained for himself the place and the space between his two dear ones that there he, too, might find his resting place. And there, then, the honorable brethren have accompanied him, yea, brought him, and thus have they fulfilled his lovely and pleasant wish that posterity might visit and reverence his tomb within a living grove.

Yet not without a higher reason did our friend return to the city, for his devotion to his great patroness, the Duchess Dowager, had more than once given him sad hours in his rural retirement. He felt only too keenly how much it cost him to be far from her. He could not forego association with her, and yet he could enjoy it only with inconvenience and with discomfort. And thus, after he had seen his household now expanded and now contracted, now augmented and now diminished, now gathered together and now scattered, the exalted princess draws him into her own immediate circle. He returns, occupies a house very close to the princely residence, shares in the summer sojourn in Tiefurt, and now regards himself as a member of the household and of the court.

In very peculiar measure Wieland was born for the higher circles of society, and even the highest would have been his proper element; for since he nowhere wished to stand supreme, but gladly sought to take part in everything, and was inclined to express himself with moderation regarding everything, he must inevitably appear an agreeable companion, and in still higher degree he would have been such in a more light-hearted nation which did not take too seriously every form of recreation.

For his poetic and his literary aspirations were alike addressed immediately to life, and though he did not seek a practical end with absolute invariability, yet he ever had a practical aim before his eyes, whether it was near or far. Therefore his thought was always clear, his phraseology was lucid and readily intelligible, and since, with his extensive knowledge, he continually held to the interest of the day, followed it, and intelligently occupied himself with it, his conversation also was diversified and stimulating throughout; so that I have not readily become acquainted with anyone who more gladly received and more spiritedly responded to whatever happy idea others might bring forward.

Bearing in mind his type of thought, his mode of entertaining himself and others, and his honorable purpose of influencing his generation, he can scarcely be reproached for feeling an antagonism toward the more modern philosophical schools. When, at an earlier period, Kant gave merely the preludes of his greater theories in his minor writings, and in a lighter style seemed to express himself problematically upon the most weighty themes, then he still stood close enough to our friend; but when the huge system was erected, all those who had thus far gone their way poetizing and philosophizing in full freedom, were forced to see in Kant's monumental work a menacing citadel which would limit their serene excursions over the field of experience.

Yet not merely the philosophers, but also the poets, had much, and, indeed, everything, to fear from the new intellectual tendency, so soon as large numbers should allow themselves to be attracted by it. It would at first appear as though its purpose was mainly directed toward knowledge, and then toward the theory of morals and its immediately subsidiary subjects. It was readily obvious, however, that, if it was intended to establish, more firmly than had hitherto been the case, those weighty affairs of higher knowledge and of moral conduct, and if there the demand was made for a sterner, more coherent judgment, developed from the depths of humanity—it was readily obvious, I repeat, that taste also would soon be referred to such principles, and, therefore, the attempt would be made absolutely to set aside individual fancies, chance culture, and popular peculiarities, and to evoke a more general law as a deciding factor.

This was, moreover, actually realized, and in poetry a new epoch emerged which was necessarily as antagonistic to our friend as he was to it. From this time on he experienced many unfavorable judgments, yet without being very deeply influenced by them; and I here expressly mention this circumstance, since the consequent struggle in German literature is as yet by no means allayed and adjusted, and since a friend who desires to value Wieland's merits and sturdily to uphold his memory must be perfectly conversant with the situation of affairs, with the rise and with the sequence of opinions, and with the character and with the talents of the cooperators; he must know well the powers and the services of both sides; and, to work impartially, he must, in a sense, belong to both factions. Yet from those minor or major controversies which arose from his intellectual attitude I am drawn by a serious consideration, to which we must now turn.

The peace which for many years had blissfully dwelt amid our mountains and hills, and in our delightfully watered valleys, had long been, if not disturbed, at least threatened, by military expeditions. When the eventful day dawned which filled us with amazement and alarm, since the fate of the world was decided in our walks, even in those terrible hours toward which our friend's carefree life flowed on, fortune did not desert him, for he was saved first through the precaution of a young and resolute friend, and then through the attention of the French conquerors, who honored in him both the meritorious author, famed throughout the world, and a member of their own great literary institute.

Soon afterward he had to bear the loss of Amelia, so bitter to us all. Court and city endeavored to extend him every compensation, and soon afterward he was favored by two emperors with insignia of honor, the like of which he had not sought, and had not even expected, throughout his long life.

Yet in the day of joy as in the day of sorrow he remained constant to himself, and thus he exemplified the superiority of delicate natures, whose equanimity knows how to meet with moderation good and evil fortune alike.

But he appeared most remarkable of all, considered in body and in spirit, after the bitter calamity which befell him in such advanced years when, together with a beloved daughter, he was very severely injured by the overturning of his carriage. The painful results of the accident and the tedium of convalescence he bore with the utmost equanimity, and he comforted his friends rather than himself by the declaration that he had never met with a like misfortune, and it might well have seemed pleasing to the gods that in this way he discharge the debt of humanity. Now, moreover, he speedily recovered, since his constitution, like that of a youth, was quickly restored, and thus he became a proof for us of the way in which great physical strength may be combined with delicacy and clean living.

As, then, his philosophy of life remained firm even under this test; such an accident produced no change in his convictions or in his mode of life. Companionable after his recovery as before, he took part in the customary recreations of the social life of the court and of the city, and with true affection and with constant endeavor shared in the activities of the brethren of our lodge. But however much his eye seemed always fixed on things earthly, and on the understanding and utilization of them—yet, as a man of exceptional gifts, he could in no wise dispense with the extramundane and the supersensual. Here also that conflict, which we have deemed it our duty to portray in detail above, became evident in a remarkable degree; for though he appeared to reject everything which lay outside the bounds of general knowledge, and beyond the sphere of what may be exemplified from experience, none the less, while he did not transgress the lines so sharply drawn, he could never refrain, in tentative fashion, as it were, from peeping over them, and from constructing and representing, in his own way, an extramundane world, a state concerning which all the innate powers of our soul can give us no information.

Single traits of his writings afford manifold examples of this; but I may especially recall his Agathodämon and his Euthanasie, and also those beautiful declarations, as rational as they were sincere, which he was permitted, only a short while since, to express openly and frankly before this assembly. For a confiding love toward our lodge of brethren had developed within him. Acquainted even as a youth with the historical traditions regarding the mysteries of the ancients, he indeed shunned, in conformity with his serene, lucid mode of thought, those dark secrets; yet he did not deny that precisely under these, perhaps uncouth, veils, higher conceptions had first been brought to barbarous and sensual men, that, through awe-inspiring symbols, powerful, illuminating ideas had been awakened, the belief in one God, ruling over all, had been introduced, virtue had been represented more desirably, and hope for the continuance of our existence had been purified both from the false terrors of a dark superstition and from the equally false demands of an Epicurean sensuality.

Then, as an aged man left behind on earth by so many valued friends and contemporaries, and feeling himself in many respects alone, he drew near to our dear lodge. How gladly he entered it, how constantly he attended our gatherings, vouchsafed his attention to our affairs, rejoiced in the reception of excellent young men, was present at our honorable banquets, and did not refrain from expressing his thoughts upon many a weighty matter—of this we are all witnesses; we have recognized it with friendly gratitude. Indeed, if this ancient lodge, often reëstablished after many a change of time, required any testimony here, the most perfect would be ready at hand, since a talented man, intelligent, cautious, circumspect, experienced, benevolent, and moderate, felt that with us he found kindred spirits, and that with us he was in a company which he, accustomed to the best, so gladly recognized to be the realization of his wishes as a man and as a social being.

Although summoned by our masters to speak a few words concerning the departed, before this so distinguished and highly esteemed assembly, I might surely have ventured to decline to do so, in the conviction that not a fleeting hour, not loose notes superficially jotted down, but whole years, and even several well weighed and well ordered volumes are requisite worthily to celebrate his memory in consideration of the monument which he has worthily erected for himself in his works and in his influence. This delightful duty I undertook only in the conviction that what I have here said may serve as an introduction to what should in future be better done by others at the repeated celebration of his memory. If it shall please our honored masters to deposit in their ark, together with this essay, all that shall publicly appear concerning our friend, and, still more, what our brethren, whom he most greatly and most peculiarly influenced and who enjoyed an uninterrupted and a closer association with him, may confidentially express and communicate, then through this would be collected a treasure of facts, of information, and of valuations which might well be unique of its kind, and from which our posterity might draw, in after times, in order to protect, to maintain, and to hallow for evermore so worthy a memory with love unwavering.



Our pilgrims had performed the journey according to program, and prosperously reached the frontier of the province in which they were to learn so many wonderful things. On their first entry they beheld a most fertile region, the gentle slopes of which were favorable to agriculture, its higher mountains to sheep-feeding, and its broad valleys to the rearing of cattle. It was shortly before the harvest, and everything was in the greatest abundance; still, what surprised them from the outset, was that they saw neither women nor men, but only boys and youths busy getting ready for a prosperous harvest, and even making friendly preparations for a joyous harvest-home. They greeted now one, and now another, and inquired about the master, of whose whereabouts no one could give an account. The address of their letter was: To the Master or to the Three, and this too the boys could not explain; however, they referred the inquirers to an overseer, who was just preparing to mount his horse. They explained their object; Felix's frank bearing seemed to please him; and so they rode together along the road.

Wilhelm had soon observed that a great diversity prevailed in the cut and color of the clothing, which gave a peculiar aspect to the whole of the little community. He was just on the point of asking his companion about this, when another strange sight was displayed to him; all the children, howsoever they might be occupied, stopped their work, and turned, with peculiar yet various gestures, toward the party riding past; and it was easy to infer that their object was the overseer. The youngest folded their arms crosswise on the breast, and looked cheerfully toward the sky; the intermediate ones held their arms behind them, and looked smiling upon the ground; the third sort stood erect and boldly; with arms at the side, they turned the head to the right, and placed themselves in a row, instead of remaining alone, like the others, where they were first seen.

Accordingly, when they halted and dismounted, just where several children had ranged themselves in various attitudes and were being inspected by the overseer, Wilhelm asked the meaning of these gestures.

Felix interposed, and said cheerfully: "What position have I to take, then?"

"In any case," answered the intendant, "at first the arms across the breast, and looking seriously and gladly upward, without turning your glance." He obeyed; how ever he soon exclaimed: "This does not please me particularly; I see nothing overhead; does it last long? But yes, indeed," he exclaimed joyfully, "I see two hawks flying from west to east; that must be a good omen!"

"It depends on how you take to it, how you behave yourself," rejoined the former; "now go and mingle with them, just as they mingle with each other."

He made a sign, the children forsook their attitudes, resumed their occupations or went on playing as before. "Will you, and can you," Wilhelm now asked, "explain to me that which causes my wonder? I suppose that these gestures, these positions, are greetings, with which they welcome you."

"Just so," answered the other; "greetings, that tell me at once at what stage of cultivation each of these boys stands."

"But could you," Wilhelm added, "explain to me the meaning of the graduation? For that it is such, is easy to see."

"That is the part of better people than me," answered the other; "but I can assure you of this much, that they are no empty grimaces, and that, on the contrary, we impart to the children, not indeed the highest, but still a guiding and intelligible explanation; but at the same time we command each to keep and cherish for himself what we may have chosen to impart for the information of each: they may not chat about it with strangers, nor amongst themselves, and thus the teaching is modified in a hundred ways. Besides this the secrecy has very great advantages; for if we tell people immediately and perpetually the reason of everything, they think that there is nothing behind. To certain secrets, even if they may be known, we have to show deference by concealment and silence, for this tends to modesty and good morals."

"I understand you," said Wilhelm. "Why should we not also apply spiritually, what is so necessary in bodily matters? But perhaps in another respect you can satisfy my curiosity. I am surprised at the great variety in the cut and color of their clothes, and yet I do not see all kinds of color, but a few only, and these in all their shades, from the brightest to the darkest. Still I observe, that in this there cannot be meant any indication of degrees of either age or merit; since the smallest and biggest boys mingled together, may be alike in cut and color, whilst those who are alike in gestures do not agree with one another in dress."

"As concerns this, too," their companion replied, "I cannot explain any further; yet I shall be much mistaken it you depart hence without being enlightened about all that you may wish to know."

They were now going in search of the master, whom they thought that they had found; but now a stranger could not but be struck by the fact that the deeper they got into the country, the more they were met by a harmonious sound of singing. Whatsoever the boys set about, in whatever work they were found engaged, they were for ever singing, and in fact it seemed that the songs were specially adapted to each particular occupation, and in similar cases always the same. If several children were in any place, they would accompany each other in turns.

Toward evening they came upon some dancing, their steps being animated and guided by choruses. Felix from his horse chimed in with his voice, and, in truth, not badly; Wilhelm was delighted with this entertainment, which made the neighborhood so lively. "I suppose," he observed to his companion, "you devote a great deal of care to this kind of instruction, for otherwise this ability would not be so widely diffused, or so perfectly developed."

"Just so," replied the other; "with us the art of singing forms the first step in education; everything else is subservient to it, and attained by means of it. With us the simplest enjoyment, as well as the simplest instruction, is enlivened and impressed by singing; and even what we teach in matters of religion and morals is communicated by the method of song. Other advantages for independent ends are directly allied; for, whilst we practise the children in writing down by symbols on the slate the notes which they produce, and then, according to the indication of these signs, in reproducing them in their throats, and moreover in adding the text, they exercise at the same time the hand, ear, and eye, and attain orthography and calligraphy quicker than you would believe; and, finally, since all this must be practised and copied according to pure metre and accurately fixed time, they learn to understand much sooner than in other ways the high value of measure and computation. On this account, of all imaginable means, we have chosen music as the first element of our education, for from this equally easy roads radiate in every direction."

Wilhelm sought to inform himself further, and did not hide his astonishment at hearing no instrumental music.

"We do not neglect it," replied the other, "but we practise it in a special place, inclosed in the most charming mountain-valley; and then again we take care that the different instruments are taught in places lying far apart. Especially are the discordant notes of beginners banished to certain solitary spots, where they can drive no one crazy; for you will yourself confess, that in well-regulated civil society scarcely any more miserable nuisance is to be endured than when the neighborhood inflicts upon us a beginner on the flute or on the violin. Our beginners, from their own laudable notion of wishing to be an annoyance to none, go voluntarily for a longer or shorter period into the wilds, and, isolated there, vie with one another in attaining the merit of being allowed to draw nearer to the inhabited world; on which account they are, from time to time, allowed to make an attempt at drawing nearer, which seldom fails, because in these, as in our other modes of education, we venture actually to develop and encourage a sense of shame and diffidence. I am sincerely glad that your son has got a good voice; the rest will be effected all the more easily."

They had now reached a place where Felix was to remain, and make trial of his surroundings, until they were disposed to grant a formal admission. They already heard from afar a cheerful singing; it was a game, which the boys were now enjoying in their play-hour. A general chorus resounded, in which each member of a large circle joined heartily, clearly, and vigorously in his part, obeying the directions of the superintendent. The latter, however, often took the singers by surprise, by suspending with a signal the chorus-singing, and bidding some one or other single performer, by a touch of his bâton, to adapt alone some suitable song to the expiring tune and the passing idea. Most of them already showed considerable ability, a few who failed in the performance willingly paid their forfeit, without exactly being made a laughing-stock. Felix was still child enough to mix at once among them, and came tolerably well out of the trial. Thereupon the first style of greeting was conceded to him; he forthwith folded his arms on his breast, looked upward, and with such a droll expression withal, that it was quite plain that no hidden meaning in it had as yet occurred to him.

The pleasant spot, the kind reception, the merry games, all pleased the boy so well, that he did not feel particularly sad when he saw his father depart; he looked almost more wistfully at the horse as it was led away; yet he had no difficulty in understanding, when he was informed that he could not keep it in the present locality. On the other hand, they promised him that he should find, if not the same, at all events an equally lively and well-trained one when he did not expect it.

As the superior could not be found, the overseer said: "I must now leave you, to pursue my own avocations; but still I will take you to the Three, who preside over holy things: your letter is also addressed to them, and together they stand in place of the Superior."

Wilhelm would have liked to learn beforehand about the holy things, but the other replied. "The Three in return for the confidence with which you have left your son with us, will certainly, in accordance with wisdom and justice, reveal to you all that is most necessary. The visible objects of veneration, which I have called holy things, are included within a particular boundary, are not mingled with anything, or disturbed by anything; only at certain times of the year, the pupils, according to the stages of their education, are admitted to them, in order that they may be instructed historically and through their senses; for in this way they carry off with them an impression, enough for them to feed upon for a long time in the exercise of their duty."

Wilhelm now stood at the entrance of a forest-valley, inclosed by lofty walls; on a given signal a small door was opened, and a serious, respectable-looking man received our friend. He found himself within a large and beautifully verdant inclosure, shaded with trees and bushes of every kind, so that he could scarcely see some stately walls and fine buildings through the dense and lofty natural growth; his friendly reception by the Three, who came up by-and-by, ultimately concluded in a conversation, to which each contributed something of his own, but the substance of which we shall put together in brief.

"Since you have intrusted your son to us," they said, "it is our duty to let you see more deeply into our methods of proceeding. You have seen many external things, that do not carry their significance with them all at once; which of these do you most wish to have explained?"

"I have remarked certain seemly yet strange gestures and obeisances, the significance of which I should like to learn; with you no doubt what is external has reference to what is within, and vice versa; let me understand this relation."

"Well-bred and healthy children possess a great deal; Nature has given to each everything that he needs for time and continuance: our duty is to develop this; often it is better developed by itself. But one thing no one brings into the world, and yet it is that upon which depends everything through which a man becomes a man on every side. If you can find it out yourself, speak out."

Wilhelm bethought himself for a short time, and then shook his head.
After a suitable pause, they exclaimed "Veneration!"

Wilhelm was startled.

"Veneration," they repeated. "It is wanting in all, and perhaps in yourself. You have seen three kinds of gestures, and we teach a threefold veneration, which when combined to form a whole, only then attains to its highest power and effect. The first is veneration for that which is above us. That gesture, the arms folded on the breast, a cheerful glance toward the sky, that is precisely what we prescribe to our untutored children, at the same time requiring witness of them that there is a God up above who reflects and reveals Himself in our parents, tutors and superiors. The second, veneration for that which is below us. The hands folded on the back as if tied together, the lowered, smiling glance, bespeak that we have to regard the earth well and cheerfully; it gives us an opportunity to maintain ourselves; it affords unspeakable joys; but it brings disproportionate sufferings. If one hurts oneself bodily, whether faultily or innocently; if others hurt one, intentionally or accidentally; if earthly chance does one any harm—let these be well thought of, for such danger accompanies us all our life long. But from this condition we deliver our pupil as soon as possible, directly we are convinced that the teachings of this stage have made a sufficient impression upon him; but then we bid him be a man, look to his companions, and guide himself with reference to them. Now he stands erect and bold, yet not selfishly isolated; only in a union with his equals does he present a front toward the world. We are unable to add anything further."

"I see it all," replied Wilhelm; "it is probably on this account that the multitude is so inured to vice, because it takes pleasure only in the element of ill-will and evil speech; he who indulges in this, soon becomes indifferent to God, contemptuous toward the world, and a hater of his fellows; but the true, genuine, indispensable feeling of self-respect is ruined in conceit and presumption."

"Allow me, nevertheless," Wilhelm went on, "to make one objection: Has it not ever been held that the fear evinced by savage nations in the presence of mighty natural phenomena, and other inexplicable foreboding events, is the germ from which a higher feeling, a purer disposition, should gradually be developed?"

To this the other replied: "Fear, no doubt, is consonant with nature, but not reverence; people fear a known or unknown powerful being; the strong one tries to grapple with it, the weak to avoid it; both wish to get rid of it, and feel happy when in a short space they have conquered it, when their nature in some measure has regained its freedom and independence. The natural man repeats this operation a million times during his life; from fear he strives after liberty, from liberty he is driven back into fear, and does not advance one step further. To fear is easy, but unpleasant; to entertain reverence is difficult but pleasing. Man determines himself unwillingly to reverence, or rather never determines himself to it; it is a loftier sense which must be imparted to his nature, and which is self-developed only in the most exceptionally gifted ones, whom therefore from all time we have regarded as saints, as gods. In this consists the dignity, in this the function of all genuine religions, of which also there exist only three, according to the objects toward which they direct their worship."

The men paused. Wilhelm remained silent for awhile in thought; as he did not feel himself equal to pointing these strange words, he begged the worthy men to continue their remarks, which too they at once consented to do.

"No religion," they said, "which is based on fear, is esteemed among us. With the reverence which a man allows himself to entertain, whilst he accords honor, he may preserve his own honor; he is not at discord with himself, as in the other case. The religion which rests on reverence for that which is above us, we call the ethnical one; it is the religion of nations, and the first happy redemption from a base fear; all so-called heathen religions are of this kind, let them have what names they will. The second religion, which is founded on that reverence which we have for what is like ourselves, we call the Philosophic; for the philosopher, who places himself in the middle, must draw downward to himself all that is higher, and upward to himself all that is lower, and only in this central position does he deserve the name of the sage. Now, whilst he penetrates his relations to his fellows, and therefore to the whole of humanity, and his relations to all other earthly surroundings, necessary or accidental, in the cosmical sense he lives only in the truth. But we must now speak of the third religion, based on reverence for that which is below us; we call it the Christian one, because this disposition of mind is chiefly revealed in it; it is the last one which humanity could and was bound to attain. Yet what was not demanded for it? not merely to leave earth below, and claim a higher origin, but to recognize as divine even humility and poverty, scorn and contempt, shame and misery, suffering and death; nay, to revere and make lovable even sin and crime, not as hindrances but as furtherances of holiness! Of this there are indeed found traces throughout all time; but a track is not a goal, and this having once been reached, humanity cannot turn backward; and it may be maintained, that the Christian religion having once appeared, can never disappear again; having once been divinely embodied, cannot again be dissolved."

"Which of these religions do you then profess more particularly?" said

"All three," answered the others, "for, in point of fact, they together present the true religion; from these three reverences outsprings the highest reverence, reverence for oneself, and the former again develop themselves from the latter, so that man attains to the highest he is capable of reaching, in order that he may consider himself the best that God and nature have produced; nay, that he may be able to remain on this height without being drawn through conceit or egoism into what is base."

"Such a profession of faith, developed in such a manner, does not estrange me," replied Wilhelm; "it agrees with all that one learns here and there in life, only that the very thing unites you, that severs the others."

To this the others replied: "This confession is already adhered to by a large part of the world, though unconsciously."

"How so, and where?" asked Wilhelm.

"In the Creed!" exclaimed the others, loudly; "for the first article is ethnical, and belongs to all nations: the second is Christian, for those struggling against sufferings and glorified in sufferings; the third finally teaches a spiritual communion of saints, to wit, of those in the highest degree good and wise: ought not therefore in fairness the three divine Persons, under whose likeness and name such convictions and promises are uttered, to pass also for the highest Unity?"

"I thank you," replied the other, "for having so clearly and coherently explained this to me—to whom, as a full-grown man, the three dispositions of mind are not new; and when I recall, that you teach the children these high truths, first through material symbols, then through a certain symbolic analogy, and finally develop in them the highest interpretation, I must needs highly approve of it."

"Exactly so," replied the former; "but now you must still learn something more, in order that you may be convinced that your son is in the best hands. However, let this matter rest for the morning hours; rest and refresh yourself, so that, contented and humanly complete, you may accompany us farther into the interior tomorrow."



Most Serene Princess,

Most Gracious Lady,

Another benefaction has been added to the many which art and science owe to Your Highness by the most gracious permission to publish the following letters of Winckelmann. They are addressed to a man who had the happiness of counting himself among your servants, and soon afterward of living in close relation with Your Highness, at the time when Winckelmann found himself in the most embarrassing circumstances, the straightforward and touching narration of which one cannot read without sympathy.

Had these pages come to the attention of Your Highness in those days, the dictates of your noble and charitable heart would have immediately put an end to such distress, changed the fate of a most excellent man, and directed it more happily for the future.

But who indeed ought to think of what might have happened, when so many gratifying things that actually took place lie before us?

Your Highness has, since that time, established and supported much that is useful and promotive of happiness, while our gracious and sympathetic Prince adds constantly to the great number of his benefactions.

One may without vainglory recall the good that for us and for others has been accomplished in our limited circle, the least significant aspects of which cannot but excite the observer's admiration, which would be greatly increased if a well informed writer should take the trouble to describe its origin and growth.

[Illustration: PRINCESS AMALIA]

The intention of the benefactors was never selfish but was always directed toward the good to be accomplished. The higher culture of this land all the more deserves an annalist, since much formerly existed and flourished of which all visible traces have now disappeared. May Your Highness, in the consciousness of having been the prime mover and constant participant in these enterprizes, attain that peculiar domestic happiness, a hale and hearty old age, and long continue to enjoy the brilliant period now opening for our circle, in which we hope that all that has been accomplished will be further increased, unified and strengthened, and thus handed down to posterity.

Cherishing the flattering hope that I shall continue to rejoice in that inestimable favor with which Your Highnesses have deigned to adorn my life, I am, with respectful devotion,

Your Most Serene Highness' obedient servant,


The friends of art who have for several years been associated at Weimar are surely privileged to speak of their relation to the general public, because (and this is the final test) they have always expressed similar convictions and have been guided by well tried principles. Not that, limited to certain modes of apprehending matters, they have obstinately maintained a single point of view. On the contrary, they willingly confess that they have learned much from diverse expression of opinion, all the more so as they now learn with pleasure that their efforts in behalf of culture are constantly becoming more closely allied to the general progress of higher education in Germany.

With much gratification they call attention to the Propyloea, to the critical and descriptive programs of no less than six exhibitions of painting and statuary, to the many expressions of opinion in the _Jenaisische Litteraturzeitung, and to the published translation of the Life of Benvenuto Cellini.

Although these writings have not been printed and bound in the same volumes and do not form parts of a single work, they have, nevertheless, all been written in the same spirit. They have proved a leaven to the whole, as we are learning slowly, but not without gratification; so that there is no longer occasion to remember ingratitude often experienced, and open or secret opposition.

The present publication is an immediate sequel to the foregoing works, and of its contents we mention here only the most important.


The historical conception of related conditions promotes the more rapid development of the artist as well as of the man. Every individual, especially if he be a man of capacity, at first seems far too important to himself. Trusting in his independent power, he is inclined to champion far too quickly this or that maxim; he strives and labors with energy along the path he has himself chosen; and when at length he becomes conscious of his one-sidedness and his error, he changes just as violently, enters upon another perhaps equally erroneous course, and clings to principles equally faulty. Not until late in life does he become aware of his own history and realize how much further a constant development in accordance with well tested principles might have led him.

If the connoisseur owes his insight to history alone, which embodies the ideas which give rise to art, for the young artist the history of art is of the greatest importance.

[Illustration: WINCKELMANN]

He should not, however, search in it for indistinct models, to be pursued passionately, but for the means of realizing himself and his point of view, with its limitations. But unfortunately, even the immediate past is seldom instructive to man, through no fault of his own. For while we are learning to understand the mistakes of our predecessors, time is itself producing new errors which, unobserved, ensnare us, and the account of which is left to the future historian with just as little advantage to his own generation.

But who would indulge in such mournful observations, and not rather endeavor to promote the greatest possible clearness of view in his own branch of study? This is the duty assumed by the writer of the present sketch, the difficulty of which will be seen by connoisseurs, who, it is hoped, will point out its deficiencies and correct its imperfections, thereby making a satisfactory future work possible.


Letters are among the most important monuments which the individual leaves behind him. Imaginative persons often picture to themselves, even in solitary musings, the presence of a distant friend, to whom they impart their most private opinions; and in the same manner a letter is a kind of soliloquy. For often the friend to whom, we write is rather the occasion than the subject of the letter. Whatever rejoices or pains, oppresses or occupies us, is poured forth from the heart. As lasting evidences of an existence or a condition, such papers are the more important for posterity, the more the writer lives in the moment and the less he is concerned with the future. Winckelmann's letters sometimes have this desirable character.

Although this excellent man, who educated himself in solitude, was reticent in society, serious and discreet in his personal life and conduct toward others, he was free and unconstrained in his letters, in which he often reveals himself, without hesitation, just as he felt. We see him worried, troubled, confused, doubting and dilatory, but also cheerful, alert, bold, daring, and unrestrained to the degree of cynicism; altogether, however, as a man of tempered character and confident in himself; who, although the outer conditions offered to his imagination so much to choose from, usually chose the best way, except when he took the last impatient step which cost him his life.

His letters, having the general characteristics of rectitude and directness, differ according to the persons to whom they are addressed, which is always the case when a clever correspondent imagines those present with whom he is speaking at a distance, and therefore no more neglects what is proper and suitable than he would in their presence.

Thus the letters addressed to Stosch (to mention only a few of the larger groups of Winckelmann's letters) seem to us fine testimonials of honest cooperation with a friend for a definite purpose; a proof of his great endurance in a difficult task, thoughtlessly undertaken without proper preparation, but courageously and happily concluded; they sparkle with the liveliest literary, political, and society news, and form a charming picture of life, which would have been more interesting if they could have been printed entire and unmutilated. Charming also is his frankness, even in passionate disapproval of a friend for whom the writer was never tired of testifying as much respect as love, as much gratitude as attachment.

The consciousness of his own superiority and dignity, combined with a genuine appreciation of others, the expression of friendship, cordiality, playfulness and pleasantry, which characterize the letters to his Swiss friends, make this collection extremely interesting and lovable as well as exceedingly instructive, although Winckelmann's letters cannot on the whole be termed instructive.

The first letters to Count Bünau, in the valuable Dassdorf collection, reveal an oppressed, self-absorbed spirit, which hardly ventures to look up to such an exalted patron. That remarkable letter in which Winckelmann announces his change of religion is a real galimatias, an unfortunate and confused document.

The first half of our own collection serves to make this period comprehensible, yea, immediately intelligible. They were written partly at Nöthenitz, partly at Dresden, and are directed to an intimate and trusted friend and comrade. The writer stands revealed in all his distress, with his pressing, irresistible desires, but on the road to a new and distant happiness, earnestly sought.

The other half of our letters are written from Italy. They preserve their direct, unrestrained character; but above them hovers the joyfulness of the southern sky, and they are inspired with an exuberant delight in the goal which he has attained. Besides this, they give, compared with other contemporary letters that are already known, a more complete view of his position.

The pleasure of appreciating and passing judgment upon the importance of this collection, which is perhaps greater from the psychological than from the literary point of view, we leave to receptive hearts and judicious minds. We shall add only a few words about the man to whom they were written, in accordance with our available information.

Hieronymus Dieterich Berendis was born at Seehausen in the Altmark in the year 1720, studied law in the University of Halle, and was for some years after his student days auditor of the Royal Prussian Regiment of Hussars, usually called the Black Hussars from their uniform, but at the time named after their Commander von Ruesch. After leaving that rude life, he continued his studies in Berlin. During a sojourn at Seehausen he made the acquaintance of Winckelmann, whose intimate friend he became, and through whose recommendation he was afterward engaged as tutor of the youngest Count Bünau. He conducted his pupil to Brunswick where the latter studied at the Karolinum. When the Count afterward entered the French service, his father, who was at that time minister of state at Weimar, conducted Berendis into the service of the Duke, in which he first became military counsellor, entering afterward the service of the Dowager Duchess as Financial Councillor and Keeper of the Privy Purse. He died on the 26th of October, 1783, at Weimar.


The most deserving citizen, no matter how great his service may have been to his country and his city in a wider or narrower field, receives but one funeral. Others, however, have so distinguished themselves by worthy benefactions that they are honored by a public celebration of the anniversary of their death, on which occasion the lasting influence of their beneficence is praised. In the same sense we have every cause to offer from time to time a well meaning tribute to the memory of the men who have bestowed inexhaustible mental benefactions upon us.

From this point of view the slight tribute which friends of similar opinions now offer should be regarded as a testimonial of their appreciation, not as an account of his services. The feast at which it is offered will be participated in by all appreciative minds on the occasion of the recently discovered letters of Winckelmann, now for the first time published.


The following essays, written by three friends, whose opinions on art in general, as well as on the services of Winckelmann, coincide, were intended as a basis for a more extended essay on this remarkable man, and to furnish the materials for a work which should have at once the merit of diversity and of unity.


But as in life many an undertaking encounters all kinds of obstacles, which hardly allow the requisite material to be collected, to say nothing of giving it the desired form, so here only half of the whole as planned appears.

In the present instance, however, the half may be prized more than the whole, since, by the study of three individual opinions on the same subject, the reader may to a greater extent be stimulated and incited to form an individual conception of the significant life and character of Winckelmann, which can now be easily accomplished by the aid of the earlier and more recently published materials. We therefore hope to merit gratitude if, instead of waiting for a later opportunity and promising a future achievement, we freely offer, in Winckelmann's own refreshing manner, only that which is already prepared, even though it be not complete, in order that it may after its own fashion exert a timely influence in the great world of life and culture.


The memory of noteworthy men and the presence of important works of art, awaken from time to time a spirit of contemplation. Both stand before us as legacies of each succeeding generation, the former by reason of their deeds and fame, the latter actually preserved as indefinable realities. Every judicious observer knows full well that only the contemplation of these men and monuments in their entirety would be of real value, and yet we are always attempting to make them more comprehensible by our reflection and our words.

One is especially impelled to this when something new relating to such subjects is discovered and made known. We trust therefore that the public will find our renewed observations on Winckelmann, his character and his achievements a timely contribution, since the letters which are now published throw a more vivid light upon his mode of thought and the conditions under which he labored.


Even to ordinary mortals Nature has not denied a very precious endowment—I refer to that lively impulse felt from earliest childhood, to take hold of the external world, to learn to know it, to enter into relation with it, and to form with it a complete whole. Certain chosen spirits, on the other hand, often have the peculiarity of feeling a kind of aversion to actual life, withdraw into themselves, and create in themselves a world of their own, in this wise achieving the highest inner development.

But when, in especially gifted men, appears the need common to all of us of seeking in the external world a corresponding realization for all the gifts with which Nature has endowed them, thereby raising their inner being to a self-relying whole, we may be assured of the development of a character in which both the present and the future world will rejoice.

Winckelmann was a man of this kind. Nature had placed in him whatever makes and adorns the true man. Furthermore, he devoted his entire life to the search for that which is harmonious and worthy in man and in art, which is primarily concerned with man.

An obscure childhood, insufficient instruction in his youth, disjointed and scattered studies in early manhood, the pressure of a school position, and all the worry and annoyance that are experienced in such a career—all these he had suffered as many others have. He had reached the age of thirty without having enjoyed a single favor at the hands of fate; yet in him were planted the germs of an enviable happiness, very possible to realize.

Even in these unhappy days we find the trace of that impulse to know for himself with his own eyes the conditions of the world, gloomy and disjointed traces it is true, but expressed with sufficient decision. A few attempts to see strange lands, undertaken without sufficient reflection, were unsuccessful. He dreamed of a journey to Egypt; he set out by way of France, but unforeseen obstacles turned him back. More wisely guided by his genius, he at last seized upon the idea of forcing his way to Rome. He felt how very profitable a sojourn in the Eternal City would be for him. This was no whim, no mere thought; it was a decided plan, which he undertook to realize with cleverness and decision.


Man can accomplish much by the opportune use of individual powers, he can even accomplish extraordinary things by the combination of several powers; but the unique, the startling, he can only achieve when all capabilities are evenly united in him. This last was the happy lot of the ancients, especially of the Greeks in their best period; to the other two alternatives we moderns are unfortunately limited by fate.

When the healthy nature of man acts as a unit, when he realizes his place in the world as part of a great and worthy whole, when a harmonious well-being accords him a pure and free happiness—then the universe, if it had the power of self-realization, its end attained, would rejoice and admire this culmination of its own genesis and existence. For to what purpose is the array of suns, planets and moons, of stars and milky ways, of comets and nebulae, of worlds existing and arising, if it be not that a happy man may unconsciously rejoice in his own existence?

While, in almost every act of contemplation, the modern thinker, as we have just done, projects himself into the infinite, to return only in the end—if he is happy enough in succeeding therein—to a limited proposition, the ancients, without following a long, round-about path, found their exclusive happiness within the lovely confines of this world. Here they were placed, to this end they had been called, here their activity found its field, their passion its object and nourishment.

Why are their poets and historians the wonder of the judicious, the despair of rivals, unless it be because the actors introduced by them were so deeply concerned in their own selves, in the narrow circle of the fatherland, within the circumscribed path of their own life as well as that of their fellow citizens, and because with all their mind, inclination, and power, they worked in and for the present? Under such conditions it could not be difficult for a writer of their opinion to immortalize such a present. What was actually occurring was for them the only thing of value, just as for us only what is thought or felt seems of greatest worth.

In a certain sense the poet lived in his imagination, just as the historian lived in the political, and the investigator in the natural world. All held fast to the nearest, the true, the actual, and even the pictures of their fantasy have bone and marrow. Man, and whatever was human, was considered of the highest value, and all his inner and external relations to the world were represented with the same great intelligence with which they were observed. Feeling and observation had not been separated; that almost incurable breach in the healthy power of man had not yet occurred.

Not only in enjoying happiness, but in enduring unhappiness also, these natures were remarkably gifted. For as a healthy tissue resists illness and is speedily restored after every attack, so the wholesome mind of such natures quickly and easily recovers from internal and external misfortune. Such an antique nature, in so far as one can make this statement of any of our contemporaries, was reincarnated in Winckelmann. At the very beginning it endured its mighty probation, and was not tamed by thirty years of humility, discomfort, and sorrow; it could neither be diverted from its path, nor blunted by adversity. As soon as he attained a worthy freedom, he appears well rounded and complete, quite in the antique sense. He was to live a life of action, enjoyment and self denial, joy and suffering, possession and loss, exaltation and debasement—yet in such a strange medley he was always satisfied with the beautiful world in which such a variable fate befalls us.

Just as in life he possessed a really antique spirit, so in his studies he was faithful to the same ideal. In the treatment of science in general the ancients were in a rather unfortunate position, since for the comprehension of the varied objects of nature a division of powers and capabilities, a disintegration of unity (so to speak) is almost unavoidable. In a like case the modern scholar encounters an even greater danger, because in the detailed investigation of manifold subjects, he runs the risk of scattering his energies and of losing himself in disconnected knowledge, without supplementing the incomplete, as the ancients succeeded in doing, by the completeness of his own personality.

However much Winckelmann wandered about in the fields of possible and profitable knowledge, guided partly by pleasure and inclination, partly by necessity, he always came back sooner or later to antiquity, especially to Greek antiquity, with which he felt himself most closely related, and with which he was destined so happily to be united in his best days.


The description of the ancient point of view, concerned only with this world and its assets, leads us directly to the observation that such advantages are conceivable only in a pagan mind. That confidence in oneself, that activity in the present, the pure worship of the gods as ancestors and the admiration of them quasi as artistic creations only, resignation to an all-powerful fate, the yearning for future fame, itself dependent upon activities in this world—all these belonging necessarily together, constitute such an inseparable whole that they form a condition of human existence planned by Nature herself. In the highest moment of happiness, as well as in the deepest of sacrifice, even of destruction, we are always conscious of an indestructible well-being.

This pagan point of view pervades Winckelmann's deeds and writings, and is expressed especially in his early letters, where he is still wearing himself out in the conflict with more modern religious opinions. This mode of thought, this remoteness from the Christian point of view, indeed his repugnance of it, must be remembered in judging his so-called change of religion. The churches into which the Christian religion is divided were a matter of complete indifference to him, because in his inmost nature he never belonged to any of them.


Since the ancients, as we boast, were really entire men, they must, as they found all happiness in themselves and the world, have learned to know the relations of human beings in the widest sense; they could not therefore be lacking in that delight which arises from the attachment of similar natures.

Here also a remarkable difference between ancient and modern times is revealed. The relation to woman, which with us has become so tender and spiritual, hardly rose above the limits of the lowest satisfaction. The relation of parents to children seems to have been of a somewhat more tender character. The friendship of persons of the male sex for one another, with them took the place of all other sentiments; although they pictured the maidens Chloris and Thyia as inseparable friends, even in Hades.

The passionate fulfilment of loving duties, the joy of inseparability, the devotion of one for the other, their avowed allegiance during life, and the duty of sharing death itself, if necessary, fill us with astonishment. One even feels ashamed of one's own generation when poets, historians, philosophers and orators overwhelm one with amazing stories, events, sentiments and opinions, all of the same tenor and purport.

For a friendship of this character, Winckelmann felt himself born—not only capable of it, but requiring it to the highest degree. He realized himself only in the relation of friendship; he recognized himself only in that image of the whole which requires a third for its completion.

Even at an early period he applied this ideal to a probably unworthy object; to whom he consecrated himself, for whom he vowed himself to live and to suffer; for whom he found even in his poverty the means of being rich, of giving and of sacrificing; indeed he would not have hesitated to surrender his existence, his very life. It is in this relation that Winckelmann, even in the midst of poverty and need, feels rich, generous and happy, because he is able to do something for him whom he loves above everything else, and in whom he has, as the highest sacrifice, to excuse even ingratitude.

However the times and circumstances might alter, Winckelmann reshaped every object of worth with which he came in contact, to fit this ideal of friendship. Although many of these attachments easily and quickly vanish, the fine sentiment underlying them won for him the heart of many an excellent man, and brought him the happiness of living in the most beautiful relation with the best men of his age and environment.


Although such a deep need of friendship really creates and idealizes the object of its affection, the lover of antiquity would, through it alone, achieve only a one-sided moral excellence. The external world would offer him little, if along with it a related, similar need and a satisfying object of this need did not fortunately appear—we refer to the demand for the sensuously beautiful, as revealed in a tangible object. For the supreme product of an ever evolving nature is the beautiful man. It is true that Nature can but seldom produce him, because the ideal is opposed by many existing conditions, and even her almighty power cannot tarry long with the perfect, and perpetuate the beauty it has produced; for, to be exact, we may say it is only for a moment that the beautiful man remains beautiful.

Against this mutability art now enters the lists. For, by being placed at the summit of nature, man views himself as a complete nature, which must now produce another consummation. He attains this end by striving for virtue and perfection, by appealing to selection, arrangement, harmony and significance, through which he at length rises to the production of a work of art, which achieves a brilliant place among his other works and actions. Once achieved and standing in its ideal reality before the world, it produces a lasting and supreme effect. For in its spiritual development from all of man's powers, it adopts all that is noble and lovable; and by spiritualizing the human form and raising man above himself, it closes the circle of his life and activity, and deifies him in the present, in which both past and future are included. By such emotions were those overwhelmed who saw the Olympian Jupiter, as we gather from the descriptions and testimony of the ancients. God had become man in order to raise man to God. One beheld supreme dignity and was inspired by supreme beauty. In this sense we can only acknowledge that the ancients were right when they said, with profoundest conviction, that it was a misfortune to die without having seen this great work.

For the appreciation of this beauty Winckelmann was by nature fitted. He first learned of it in the writings of the ancients, but encountered it personified in the works of art, in which we all first learn to know it, that we may recognize and treasure it in nature's living creations.

When, however, the requirements of friendship and of beauty both find inspiration in the same object, the happiness and gratitude of man seem to pass all bounds. All that he possesses he would gladly give as a feeble testimony of his attachment and his devotion.

So we often find Winckelmann in friendship with beautiful youths, and never does he appear more animated and lovable than in such, though often only flitting, moments.


With such opinions, with such needs and longings, Winckelmann for a long time served objects alien to his own desires. Nowhere about him did he see the least hope of help and assistance.

Count Bünau, in his capacity of a private gentleman, needed only to buy one valuable book less in order to open for Winckelmann the road to Rome; as a minister of state he had influence enough to have helped this excellent man out of every difficulty; but he was probably unwilling to lose so capable a servant, or else he had no appreciation of the great service he would have rendered the world by encouraging a gifted man. The Court at Dresden, from which Winckelmann might eventually hope for adequate support, professed the Roman faith, and there was scarcely any other way to attain favor and consideration than through confessors and other members of the clergy.

The example of a Prince is a mighty influence in his country, and incites with secret power every citizen to like actions in private life, especially to moral actions. The religion of a Prince always remains in a certain sense the ruling religion, and the Roman faith, like a whirlpool, draws the quietly passing waves to itself and into its vortex.

In addition to this Winckelmann must have felt that a man, in order to be a Roman in Rome, in order to identify himself with the life there, and to enjoy confidential association, must necessarily profess the religion of his associates, must yield to their faith, and accommodate himself to their usages. The final result actually shows that he could not have attained his end without this early decision, which was made much easier for him by the fact that, as a thorough heathen by nature, he had never become Christianized by his Protestant baptism.

Yet this change in his condition was not achieved without a bitter struggle. We may, in accordance with our convictions, and for reasons sufficiently weighty, make a final decision which is in perfect harmony with our volition, desires and needs, which indeed seems unavoidable for the maintenance and continuance of our very existence, so that we are in perfect accord with ourselves. But such a decision may contradict the prevailing opinion and the convictions of many people. Then a new struggle begins, which, while it may cause no uncertainty, yet may occasion discomfort, impatience and annoyance, because we discover occasional inconsistencies in our actions while we suspect the existence of many more in ourselves.

And so Winckelmann, before his intended step, seemed anxious, fearful, sorrowful and swayed by deep emotion when he thought of its probable effect, especially upon his first patron, Count Bünau. How beautiful, sincere and upright are his confidential expressions upon this point!

For every man who changes his religion is marked by a certain stigma from which it seems impossible to free him. From this it is evident that men cherish a steadfast purpose above all else, all the more so because they, divided into factions, constantly have their own safety and stability in mind. This is not a matter of feeling or conviction. We should be steadfast precisely there where fate rather than choice places us. To remain faithful to one people, one city, one Prince, one friend, one woman; to trace back everything to them; to labor, want and suffer everything for their sake—this is estimable. To desert them is hateful; inconstancy is contemptible.

Thus is indeed the harsh, the very serious side of the question, but it may also be viewed from another point of view from which it has a more pleasing and less serious aspect. Certain conditions of society, which we in no sense approve of, certain moral blemishes in others, have an especial charm for the imagination. If the comparison be permitted, we might say that it is in this matter as it is with game which, to the cultivated palate, tastes far better slightly tainted than when fresh. A divorced woman or a renegade make an especially interesting impression. Persons who would otherwise appear to be merely interesting and agreeable, now appear admirable. It cannot be denied that Winckelmann's change of religion considerably heightens in our imagination the romantic side of his life and being.

But to Winckelmann himself the Catholic religion presented nothing attractive. He saw in it only the masquerade dress which he threw around him, and expressed himself bitterly enough about it. Even at a later period he does not seem to have sufficiently observed its usages, and by loose speech he perhaps made himself suspicious to devout believers—here and there at least a slight fear of the Inquisition is perceptible.


The transition from literature, even from the highest things that have been expressed in word and language, from poetry and rhetoric, to the plastic and graphic arts is difficult, indeed almost impossible. For there lies between the two a tremendous chasm, over which only a specially adapted nature can help us. We have now a sufficiently large number of documents lying before us to enable us to judge how far Winckelmann succeeded in doing this.

Through the joy of appreciation he was first attracted to the treasures of art; but in order to use and judge them, he required artists as intermediaries, whose more or less authoritative opinions he was able to comprehend, revise, and express. In this manner originated his treatise Concerning the Imitation of Greek Masterpieces in Painting and Sculpture, with two appendices, published while he was still in Dresden.

However much Winckelmann appears, even here, to be upon the right path; however many delightful, fundamental passages these writings contain, however correctly the final aim of art is already defined in them, they are nevertheless, both as regards form and subject, so baroque and curious, that one would in vain seek their meaning, unless he had definite information concerning the personality of the connoisseurs and judges of art at that time assembled in Saxony, and concerning their abilities, opinions, inclinations and whims. These writings will therefore remain a sealed book to posterity, unless well informed connoisseurs of art, who lived nearer those times, should soon decide either to write or cause to be written a description of the then existing conditions, in so far as this is still possible. Lippert, Hagedorn, Oeser, Dietrich, Heinecken and Oesterreich loved, practised and promoted art, each in his own way. Their purposes were restricted, their maxims were one-sided, yea, very often, freakish. They circulated stories and anecdotes, the varied application of which was intended not only to entertain but also to instruct society. From such elements arose the earliest treatises of Winckelmann, which he himself very soon found unsatisfactory, as indeed he did not conceal from his friends.

Although not sufficiently prepared, yet with some practical experience, he at length began his journey, and reached that country where for the receptive mind the time of real culture begins—that culture which permeates the entire being, and finds expression in creations which must be as real as they are harmonious, because they have, as a matter of fact, proved powerful as a firm bond of union between most different natures.


Winckelmann was at last in Rome, and who could be worthier to feel the influence which that great privilege is able to produce upon a truly perceptive nature! He sees his wish fulfilled, his happiness established, his hopes more than satisfied. His ideals stand embodied about him. He wanders astonished through the ruins of a gigantic age, the greatest that art has produced, under the open sky; freely he lifts his eyes to these wonderful works as to the stars of the firmament, and every locked treasure is opened for a small gift. Like a pilgrim, the newcomer creeps about unobserved; he approaches the most sublime and holy treasures in an unseemly garment. As yet he permits no detail to distract him, the whole affects him with endless variety, and he already feels the harmony which finally must arise for him out of these infinitely diversified elements. He gazes upon, he examines everything, and to make his happiness complete, he is taken for an artist, as every one in his heart would gladly be.

In lieu of further observations, we submit to our readers the overpowering influence of the situation, as a friend has clearly and sympathetically described it.

"Rome is a place where all antiquity is concentrated into a unity for our inspection. What we have felt with the ancient poets, concerning ancient forms of government, we believe more than ever to feel, even to see, in Rome. As Homer cannot be compared with other poets, so Rome can be compared with no other city, the Roman country with no other landscape. Most of this impression is no doubt due, it is true, to ourselves, and not to the subject; but it is not only the sentimental thought of standing where this or that great man has stood, it is an irresistible attraction toward what we regard as—although it may be through a necessary deception—a noble and sublime past; a power which even he who wished to cannot resist, because the desolation in which the present inhabitants leave the land and the incredible masses of ruins themselves attract and convince the eye. And as this past appears to the mind in a grandeur which excludes all envy, in which one is more than happy to take part, if only with the imagination (indeed, no other participation is conceivable); and as the senses too are charmed by the beauty of form, the grandeur and simplicity of the figures, the richness of the vegetation (though not luxuriant like that of a more southern region), the precision of the outlines in the clear air and the beauty of the colors in their transparency—so the enjoyment of nature is here a purely artistic one, free from everything distracting. Everywhere else the ideas of contrast appear and the enjoyment of nature is elegiac or satiric. It is true that these sentiments exist only for us. To Horace, Tibur seemed more modern than does Tivoli to us, as is proved by his 'Beatus ille qui procul negotiis,' but it is only an illusion to imagine that we ourselves would like to be inhabitants of Athens or Rome. Only in the distance, separated from everything common, only as a thing of the past, must antiquity appear to us. This is the sentiment of a friend and myself, at least, in regard to the ruins; we are always incensed when a half sunken ruin is excavated; for this can only be a gain for scholarship at the expense of the imagination. There are only two things which inspire me with an equal horror: that the Campagna di Roma should be built up, and that Rome should become a well policed city, in which no man any longer carried a knife. Should such an order-loving Pope appear—which may the seventy-two cardinals prevent—shall move away. Only if such divine anarchy and such a heavenly wilderness remain in Rome, is there place for the shadows, one of which is worth more than the whole present race."


But Winckelmann might have groped a long time among the multitudes of antique survivals in search of the most valuable objects and those most worthy of his observation, if good fortune had not immediately brought him into contact with Mengs. The latter, whose own great talent was enthralled by the ancient works of art and especially by such as were beautiful, immediately introduced his friend to the most excellent—a fact worthy of our attention. Here Winckelmann learned to recognize beauty of form and its treatment, and was immediately inspired to undertake a treatise, Concerning the Taste of the Greek Artists. But one cannot go about studying works of art for any length of time without discovering that they are the productions not only of different artists but of different epochs, and that all investigations concerning the place of their origin, their age, their individual merit must be undertaken together. Winckelmann, with his unerring perception, soon found that this was the axis on which the entire knowledge of art revolves. He confined himself at first to the most sublime works, which he intended to present in a treatise, Concerning the Style of Sculpture in the Age of Phidias, but he soon rose above these details to the idea of a history of art, and discovered a new Columbus, a land long surmised, hinted at and discussed—yea, a land, we might say, that had formerly been known and forgotten.

It is sad to observe how at first through the Romans, afterward through the invasion of northern peoples, and the confusion arising in consequence, mankind came into such a state that all true and pure culture was for a long time retarded in its development, indeed was almost made impossible for the entire future. In any field of art and science that we may contemplate, a direct and unerring perception had already revealed much to the ancient investigator which, during the barbarism which followed, and through the barbaric manner of escaping from barbarism, became and remained a secret; which it will long continue to be for the masses, because the general progress of higher culture in modern times is but slow. This remark does not apply to technical progress, of which mankind happily makes use without asking questions as to whence it comes and whither it leads.

We are impelled to this observation by certain passages of ancient authors, in which anticipations, even indications, of a possible and necessary history of art appear. Velleius Paterculus observes with great interest, the coincidence in the rise and fall of all the arts. As a man of the world, he was especially concerned with the observation that they could be maintained only for a short time at the highest point which it was possible for them to reach.

From his standpoint he could not regard all arts as a living entity [Greek: (psoon)], which must necessarily reveal an imperceptible beginning, a slow growth, a short and brilliant period of perfection, and a gradual decline—like every other organic being, except that it is manifested in a number of individuals. He therefore assigns only moral causes, which certainly must be included as contributory, but hardly satisfy his own great sagacity, because he probably feels that a necessity here exists which cannot be compounded out of detached elements.

"That the grammarians, painters and sculptors fared as did also the orators, every one will find who examines the testimony of the ages; the highest development of every art is invariably circumscribed by a very short space of time. Just why a number of similarly endowed, capable men make their appearance within a certain cycle of years and devote themselves to the same art and its advancement, is a matter upon which I have often reflected, without discovering any cause that I might present as true. Among the most probable causes the following seem to me the most important: Rivalry nourishes the talents; here envy, and there admiration, incite to imitation, and the art promoted with so much diligence quickly reaches its culmination. It is difficult to remain in a state of perfection, and what does not advance retrogrades. And so in the beginning we endeavor to attain our models, but when we despair of surpassing or even approaching them, diligence and hope grow old, and what we fail to attain, is no longer pursued. We cease to strive after the possession already obtained by another, and search for something new. Relinquishing that in which we cannot shine, we seek another goal for our efforts. From this inconstancy, it seems to me, arises the greatest obstacle to the production of perfect works of art."

A passage of Quintilian, containing a concise outline of the history of ancient art, also deserves to be pointed out as an important document in this domain. In his conversations with Roman art lovers, Quintilian must also have noticed a striking resemblance between the character of Greek artists and Roman orators, and then have sought to gain more exact information from connoisseurs and art-lovers. In his comparative presentation, in which the character of the art is each time associated with that of the age, he is compelled, without knowing or wishing it, to present a history of art.

They say that the first celebrated painters whose works are visited not by reason of their antiquity alone, were Polygnotus and Aglaophon. Their simple color still finds eager admirers, who prefer such crude productions and the beginnings of an art just evolving, to the greatest masters of the following epoch—as it seems to me in accordance with a point of view peculiar to themselves. Afterward Zeuxis and Parrhasius, who lived at about the same period—at the time of the Peloponnesian war—greatly promoted art. The former is said to have discovered the laws of light and shadow, the latter to have devoted himself to a careful investigation of lines. Furthermore, Zeuxis gave more content to the limbs and painted them fuller and more portly. In this regard, as is believed, he followed Homer, who delights in the most powerful forms, even in women. Parrhasius, however, has such a determinative influence that he is called the law-giver of painting, because the types of gods and heroes which he created were followed and adopted by others as norms.

Thus painting flourished from about the time of Philip to that of the successors of Alexander, but with great diversity of talent. Protogenes surpassed all inexactitude, Pamphilius and Melanthius in thoughtfulness, Antiphilus in facility, Theon the Samian in invention of strange apparitions called fantasies, Apelles in spirit and charm. Euphranor is admired because he must be counted among the best in all the requirements of art, and excelled at the same time in painting and sculpture.

"The same difference is also found in sculpture. Kalon and Hegesias worked in a severe style, like that of the Etruscans; Kalamis was less austere; Myron more delicate still.

"Polyclitus possessed diligence and elegance above all others. By many the palm is assigned to him; but that some fault might be ascribed to him, it was said that he lacked dignity. For while he has made the human form more graceful than nature reveals it, he does not seem to have been able to present the dignity of the gods. Indeed, he is said in his art to have avoided representing mature age, and never to have ventured beyond unfurrowed cheeks.

"But what Polyclitus lacked is ascribed to Phidias and Alcamenes. Phidias is said to have formed the images of gods and men most perfectly, and to have far surpassed his rivals, especially in ivory. One would form this judgment even if he had designed nothing else than the Minerva of Athens or the Olympian Jupiter at Elis, the beauty of which was of great advantage, as has been said, to the established religion; so closely does the work approach the majesty of the god himself.

"Lysippus and Praxiteles have, according to the universal opinion, most nearly approached truth; Demetrius, on the other hand, is blamed because he went too far in this direction, in that he preferred mere resemblance to beauty."


Man is rarely fortunate enough to secure the aids for his higher education from quite unselfish patrons. Even those who believe that they have the best intentions only promote that which they love and know, or, more readily still, what is of advantage to them. Thus it was literary and bibliographical accomplishments which recommended Winckelmann formerly to Count Bünau and later to Cardinal Passione.

The connoisseur of books is everywhere welcome, and he was even more so at a time when the pleasure of collecting notable and rare books was livelier than it now is, and the profession of librarian was more restricted. A great German library resembled a great Roman library; they could vie with each other in the possession of books. The librarian of a German count was a desirable member of a cardinal's household, and immediately found himself at home there. Libraries were real treasure-houses, instead of being, as now, with the rapid progress of the sciences and the useful and useless accumulation of printed matter—nothing more than useful store-rooms and useless lumber-rooms. So that a librarian has cause, now far more than before, to be informed of the progress of science and of the value and worthlessness of writings, and a German librarian has to possess attainments which would be lost in other countries.

But only for a short time, and only as long as it was necessary to secure a moderate means of support, did Winckelmann remain true to his original literary occupation. He soon lost interest also in everything that related to critical investigation, and was willing neither to compare manuscripts nor to give information to German scholars who wished to question him upon many subjects.

But even before this his attainments had served him as an advantageous introduction. The private life of the Italians, especially of the Romans, has, for many reasons, something of a secret character. This secrecy, this isolation, if you will, extended also to literature. Many a scholar devoted his life in secret to an important work, without either desiring or being able to have it published. Here also, more than in any other land, were to be found men who, with diverse attainments and great insight, could not be moved to make them known, either in written or printed form. The way to the society of such men Winckelmann soon found opened. He mentions particularly among them Giacomelli and Baldani, and speaks with pleasure of his increasing acquaintances and his growing influence.


But his greatest good fortune was to become a member of the household of Cardinal Albani. This prelate, possessed of a large fortune and wielding a powerful influence, showed from his very youth a great love of art; he had also the best opportunity of satisfying it and a luck in collecting which verged upon the miraculous. In later years he found his greatest pleasure in the task of placing this collection in worthy surroundings, in this wise rivaling those Roman families who had at an earlier period been cognizant of the value of such treasures. It was, in fact, his chief pleasure to overload the assigned spaces, in accordance with the manner of the ancients. Building crowded upon building, hall upon hall, corridor upon corridor; fountains and obelisks, caryatides and bas-reliefs, statues and vases were lacking neither in court-yard nor in garden, while the greater or smaller rooms, galleries and cabinets contained the choicest art specimens of all times.

We observed in passing that the ancients had in a similar manner filled their palaces and gardens. The Romans so overloaded their capital that it seems impossible that everything recorded could have found place there. The Via Sacra, the Forum, the Palatine were so overloaded with buildings and monuments that the imagination can hardly conceive of a crowd of people finding room in any of them. Fortunately the actual results of excavated cities come to our assistance, and we can see with our own eyes how narrow, how small, how, so to speak, like architectural models rather than real buildings these structures are. This remark is true even of the Villa of Hadrian, in the construction of which there were space and wealth enough for something extensive.

In such an overloaded condition was the villa of his lord and friend when Winckelmann departed this scene of his highest and most gratifying education. So also it remained after the death of the cardinal, to the joy and wonder of the world, until in the course of all-changing, all-dispersing time, it was robbed of its entire adornment. The statues were removed from their niches and pedestals, the bas-reliefs were torn from the walls, and the whole enormous collection was packed for transportation. Through an extraordinary change of affairs these treasures were conducted only as far as the Tiber. In a short time they were returned to the possessor, and the greatest part of them, except a few jewels, still remain in the old location. Winckelmann might have witnessed the first sad fate of this Elysium of art and its extraordinary return; but happily for him, death spared him this earthly suffering for which the joy of the restoration would hardly have made sufficient amends.


But he also encountered many a good fortune upon life's journey. Not only did the excavations of antiquities proceed energetically and fortunately at Rome, but the discoveries at Herculaneum and Pompeii were at that time partly new, or had remained partly unknown through envy, secrecy and delay. He thus reaped a harvest which furnished work enough for his mind and his activities.

It is a sad thing when one is compelled to consider the existing as accomplished and completed. Armories, galleries and museums to which nothing is added have something funereal and ghostly about them; the mind is restricted in such a limited field of art. One becomes accustomed to regard such collections as completed, instead of being reminded of the necessity of constant acquisition and of the fact that, in art as in life, nothing is completed but is constantly changing.

Winckelmann found himself in a fortunate position. The earth gave up her treasures, and through a constant, active commerce in art many ancient possessions came to light, passed before his eyes, aroused his enthusiasm, challenged his judgment, and increased his knowledge.

No small advantage accrued to him through his relations with the heir of the large Stosch collection. Not until after the death of the collector did he become acquainted with this little world of art, over which he presided in accordance with his best judgment and convictions. It is true that all parts of this exceedingly valuable collection were not treated with equal care; the whole of it deserved a catalogue for the delectation and the use of later amateurs and collectors. Much was squandered; but in order to make the excellent gems which it contained better known and more marketable, Winckelmann undertook in conjunction with the heir of Stosch to write a catalogue, concerning which undertaking, its hasty but always able treatment, the surviving correspondence furnishes remarkable testimony.

Our friend was thus intently occupied with the Stosch possessions before their dispersal and with the ever increasing Albani collection; and everything which passed through his hands, either for collection or dispersal, increased the treasure with which he was storing his mind.

Even when Winckelmann first approached the study of art and learned to know the artists in Dresden, appearing in this branch as a beginner, he was fully developed as a writer. He had a comprehensive view of ancient history and, in many ways, of the development of the various sciences. Even in his previous humble condition he felt and knew antiquity, as well as what was worthy in the life and in the character of the present. He had already formed a style. In the new school which he entered, he listened to his masters, not only as a docile pupil but as a learned disciple. He easily acquired their special attainments, and began immediately to use and to adapt to his purposes everything that he learned.

In a higher sphere of action than was his at Dresden, in the nobler world revealed to him at Rome, he remained the same. What he learned from Mengs, what he was taught by his surroundings, he did not keep long to himself; he did not let the new wine ferment and clarify; but rather as we say that one learns from teaching, so he learned while planning and writing. How many a title has he left us, how many subjects has he not mentioned upon which a work was to follow! Like this beginning was his entire antiquarian career. We find him always active—occupied with the moment, which he seizes and holds fast as if it only could be complete and satisfactory, and even so he let himself be instructed by the following moment. This attitude of mind should be remembered in forming an estimate of his works.

That they ultimately received their present form, printed directly from Winckelmann's manuscript notes, is due to many often unimportant circumstances. A single month later and we should have had works, more correct in content, more precise in form, perhaps something quite different. Just for this reason we so deeply regret his premature death, because he would have constantly rewritten his works and enriched them with the attainments of the (ever) later phases of his life.

Everything that he has left us, therefore, was written as something living for the living, not for those who are dead in the letter. His works, combined with his correspondence, are the story of a life; they are a life itself. Like the life of most people, they resemble rather a preparation for a work than the latter in its accomplishment. They give cause for hopes, for wishes, for premonitions. If one tries to correct them he sees that he must first correct himself; if he wishes to criticize them, he sees that he might himself, upon a higher plane of knowledge, be subjected to the same criticism; for limitation is everywhere our lot.


With the progress of civilization, not all parts of human labor and activity in which culture is revealed, flourish equally; rather in accordance with the favorable character of persons and conditions, one necessarily surpasses the other, and thus arouses a more general interest. A certain jealous displeasure often arises in consequence, among members of a family so varied in its branches, who often are the less able to endure one another, the more closely they are related.

It is for the most part a baseless complaint, when this or that adept in science and art complains that just his branch is being neglected by contemporaries; for an able master has only to appear in order to concentrate attention upon himself. If Raphael should reappear today, we should bestow upon him a superabundance of honor and riches. An able master arouses excellent pupils and their activities extend their ramifications into the infinite.

From the earliest times philosophers especially have incurred the hatred, not only of their fellow scientists, but of men of the world and bons vivants, perhaps more by the position they assume than by their own fault. For as philosophy in accordance with her nature must make demands upon the universal and the highest, she must regard worldly objects as included in and subordinated to herself.

Nor are these pretentious demands specifically denied; every man rather believes that he has a right to take part in her discoveries, to make use of her maxims, and to appropriate whatever else she may have to offer. But as philosophy, in order to become universal, must make use of her own vocabulary of unfamiliar combinations and difficult explanations, which are in harmony neither with the life nor with the momentary needs of men of the world, she is despised by those who cannot find the handle by which she might easily be grasped.

Yet, if, on the other hand, one wished to accuse the philosophers because they do not know how to translate doctrine into life, and because they make the most mistakes exactly where all their convictions should be converted into action, thereby diminishing their own credit in the eyes of the world—no lack of examples might be found to verify such accusations.

Winckelmann often complains bitterly of the philosophers of his day and their widespread influence; but I think one can escape from every influence by limiting oneself to his own line of work. It is strange that Winckelmann did not attend the University at Leipsic, where, under the direction of Johann Friedrich Christ, he might, without troubling himself about a single philosopher in existence, have made much more comfortable progress in his favorite study.

This is perhaps the proper place for an observation which we should like to make, in view of recent events—that no scholar can afford to reject, oppose, or scorn the great philosophical movement begun by Kant, except the true investigators of antiquity, who by the peculiarity of their study seem to be especially favored above all other men. For since they are occupied with the best that the world has produced and only examine the trivial and the inferior in their relation to the most excellent, their attainments reach such fullness, their judgment such certainty, their taste such consistency, that they appear within their own circle most wonderfully, even astonishingly, cultured. Winckelmann also attained this good fortune, in which indeed he was greatly assisted by the influence of the fine arts and of life itself.


Although Winckelmann in reading the ancient authors paid great attention to the poets, an exact examination of his studies and of the course of his life reveals no particular inclination to poetry; on the contrary, an aversion occasionally appears. His preference for the old and accustomed Lutheran church hymns and his desire to possess an uncensored song book of this kind in Rome reveals the typical and sturdy German, but not the friend of poetry.

The works of the poets of past ages appear to have interested him at first as documents of ancient languages and literature, later as witnesses for the fine arts. It is all the more wonderful and gratifying when he himself appears as a poet, as an able, unmistakable one, in his description of statues and in almost all of his later writings. He sees with his eyes, he grasps with his mind, works indescribable, and yet he feels an irresistible impulse to master them by the spoken and the written word. The perfect master-work, the idea in which it had its origin, the emotion that was awakened in him in beholding it, he wishes to impart to the hearer or the reader. Reviewing the array of his aptitudes, he finds himself compelled to seize upon the most powerful and dignified expression at his command. He is compelled to be a poet, whatever he may think, whether he wishes or not.


As much value as Winckelmann placed upon the world's esteem, as much as he desired a literary reputation, as much as he endeavored to present his work in the best form and to elevate it by a certain dignified style, he was nevertheless in no wise blind to its faults, but rather was the first to observe them, as one would expect from a man of his progressive nature, always seizing upon and working over new materials. The more he had labored upon a subject, dogmatically and didactically, had maintained and established this or that interpretation of a monument, this or that explanation or application of a passage, the more conspicuous did his own mistakes seem to him. As soon as he had convinced himself of them by new data, the more quickly was he inclined to correct them in any way possible.

If the manuscript was at hand, it was rewritten; if it had been sent to the printer, corrections and additions were appended. Of all this penance he made no secret to his friends, for his character was based upon truth, straight-forwardness, frankness, and honesty.


A happy thought became clear to him, not suddenly but as the work progressed—we mean his Monumenti Inediti. It is quite evident that he was at first tempted by his desire to make new subjects known, to explain them in a happy manner and to enlarge the study of antiquity to the greatest possible extent; added to this was the interest of testing the method once set forth in his history of art, by means of objects which he laid before the eyes of the reader. For he had finally developed the felicitous resolve, in this preliminary treatise, quietly to correct, purify, compress, and perhaps even partly supplant, his already completed work on the history of art.

Conscious of former mistakes which people who were not inhabitants of Rome could scarcely have reproached him with, he wrote a work in the Italian language, which he intended should be appreciated in Rome itself. Not only did he devote to it the greatest attention, but he also selected friendly connoisseurs with whom he carefully went over the work, most cleverly using their insight and judgment, and thus created a work which will go down as a heritage for all ages. Not only did he write it, but he undertook its publication, achieving, as a poor layman, that which would do honor to a well established publisher, or to academies of large means.


Should so much be said of Rome without remembering the Pope, who had, at least indirectly, conferred many, many benefits upon Winckelmann? Winckelmann's sojourn in Rome fell for the most part under the government of Benedict XIV. Lambertini, a gay and easy-going man, who preferred letting others rule to ruling, himself; and so the different positions which Winckelmann filled may have come to him rather through the favor of his exalted friends than through the appreciation of his services by the Pope.

Nevertheless, we find him on one important occasion in the presence of the Head of the Church; he was honored by being allowed to read several passages of the Monumenti Inediti to the Pope, thus achieving also, along this line, the highest honor which an author could receive.


In the case of very many men, especially in the case of scholars, their achievements seem the important thing, and in these their character finds little expression. With Winckelmann the reverse was the case. All that he produced is principally important and valuable because his character is always revealed in it. As we have already expressed certain generalities concerning his character under the headings, The Antique, Paganism, Friendship, and Beauty, the more detailed account deserves a place here, near the end of our essay.

Winckelmann was in all respects a character who was honest with himself and with others. His native love of truth constantly developed, the more independent and unhampered he felt, until he finally considered the polite indulgence of errors traditional in life and in literature to be a crime.

Such a nature could comfortably withdraw into itself; vet even here we discover in him the ancient characteristic of always being occupied with himself, but without really observing himself. He thinks only of himself, not about himself; his mind is occupied with what he has before him; he is interested in his whole being, in its entire compass, and he cherishes the belief that his friends are likewise interested therein. We, therefore, find everything mentioned in his letters, from the highest moral to the most common physical need; indeed he directly states that he preferred to be entertained with personal trifles rather than with important affairs. At the same time he remains a complete riddle to himself, and even expresses astonishment over his own being, especially in consideration of what he was and what he had become. But every man may thus be regarded as a charade of many syllables, of which he himself can spell only a few, while others easily decipher the whole word.

Nor do we find in him any pronounced principles. His unerring feeling and cultured mind served him as a guide in morals as well as in aesthetics. His ideal was a kind of natural religion, in which God appears as the ultimate source of the beautiful and hardly as a being having any other relation to man. His conduct was most beautiful in all cases involving duty and gratitude.

His provision for himself was moderate, and not the same at all times. He always labored most diligently to secure a competence for his old age. His means are noble; in his efforts to attain every end he shows himself honest, straightforward, even defiant, and at the same time clever and persevering. He never works after a fixed plan, but always instinctively and passionately. His pleasure in every discovery is intense, for which reason errors are unavoidable, which, however, in his rapid progress are corrected as quickly as he sees them. Here also he always maintains an antique principle; the certainty of the point of departure, the uncertainty of the aim to be reached, as well as the incomplete and imperfect character of the treatment as soon as it becomes extensive.


Little prepared by his early mode of life, Winckelmann did not at first feel at ease in company, but a feeling of dignity soon took the place of education and custom, and he learned very rapidly to conduct himself in accordance with his surroundings. The gratification felt in association with distinguished, wealthy and celebrated people and the pleasure of being esteemed by them everywhere appears. As regards facility of intercourse, he could not have found himself in a better place than Rome.

He himself observes, that however ceremonious the Roman grandees, especially the clerical, appeared in public, at home they were pleasant and intimate with the members of their household; but he did not observe that this intimacy concealed the oriental relation of lord and servant. All southern nations would find it intolerably tiresome to have to maintain the constant mutual tension in association with their dependents which the northerners are accustomed to.

Travelers have observed that the slaves in Turkey behave toward their masters with more ease than northern courtiers toward their princes, or dependents with us toward their superiors. Yet, examined closely, these marks of consideration have been really introduced for the benefit of the dependents, who by these means always remind their superior what is due them.

The southerner, however, craves for hours in which to take his ease, and this accrues to the advantage of his household. Such scenes are described by Winckelmann with great relish; they lighten whatever dependence he may feel, and nourish his sense of freedom which was averse to every fetter that might restrain him.


Although Winckelmann was very happy in his association with the natives, he suffered all the more annoyance and tribulation from strangers. It is true that nothing can be more exasperating than the usual stranger in Rome. In every other place the traveler can better look out for himself and find something suitable to his needs; but whoever does not accommodate himself to Rome is an abomination to the man of real Roman sentiment.

The English are reproached because they take their tea-kettles everywhere along with them, even dragging them to the summit of Mt. Ætna. But has not every nation its own tea-kettle, in which its citizens on their travels brew a bundle of dried herbs brought along from home?

Such hurrying and arrogant strangers, never looking about them, and judging everything in accordance with their own narrow limitations, were denounced by Winckelmann more than once; he vows never to show them about, and yet finally allows himself to be persuaded to do it. He jests over his inclination to play the schoolmaster, to teach and to convince, and indeed many advantages accrued to him through the association with persons important by reason of their rank and services. We mention only the Prince of Dessan, the Crown Prince of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Brunswick, and Baron von Riedesel, a man who showed himself quite worthy of our friend in his attitude toward art and antiquity.


Winckelmann constantly sought after esteem and consideration; but he wished to achieve them through real merit. He always insists upon thoroughness of subject, of means, and of treatment, and is therefore very hostile toward French superficiality.

He found in Rome opportunities to associate with strangers of all nations, and maintained such connections in a clever, effective manner. He was pleased with, indeed he sought after, honorary degrees of academies and learned societies.

But he achieved greatest prominence by that great document of his merits, over which he silently labored with great diligence—I refer to his History of Ancient Art. It was immediately translated into the French language, and made him known far and wide.

The real value of such a work is perhaps best appreciated immediately after its publication: its efficiency is recognized, the new matter is quickly adopted. The contemporaries are astonished at the sudden assistance they obtained, while a colder posterity nibbles disgustedly at the works of its masters and teachers, and makes demands which would never have occurred to it, if the very men criticised had not accomplished so much.

And so Winckelmann was recognized by the cultured nations of Europe at a time when he was sufficiently established at Rome to be honored with the important position of Director of Antiquities.


Notwithstanding his recognized and often vaunted happiness, Winckelmann was always tortured by a restlessness which, as its foundations lay deep in his nature, assumed various forms.

During the times of his early poverty and his later dependence upon the bounty of a court and the favor of many a wellwisher, he always limited himself to the smallest needs, that he might not become dependent or at least not more dependent than absolutely necessary. In the meantime he was always strenuously occupied in gaining by his own exertions a livelihood for the present and for the future, for which at length the successful illustrated edition of his Monumenti Inediti offered the fairest hope.

But these uncertain conditions accustomed him to look for his subsistence now here, then there; now to accept a position with small advantage to himself—in the house of a cardinal, in the Vatican or elsewhere; then, when he saw some other prospect, magnanimously to give up his place, while looking about for something else and lending an ear to many a proposition.

Further, one who lives in Rome is constantly exposed to the passion for traveling to all parts of the world. He finds himself in the centre of the ancient world, and the lands most interesting to the investigator of antiquity lie close about him. Magna Græcia, Sicily, Dalmatia, the Peloponnesus, Ionia, and Egypt—all of them are, so to say, offered to the inhabitants of Rome, and awaken an inexpressible longing in one who, like Winckelmann, was born with the desire to see. This is increased by the great number of strangers on their passage through Rome making sensible or useless preparations to travel in these lands, and who on their return never tire of describing distant wonders and exhibiting specimens of them.

And so Winckelmann planned to travel everywhere, partly on his own responsibility, partly in company with such wealthy travelers as would recognize the value of a scholarly and talented comrade.

Another cause of this inner restlessness and discomfort does honor to his heart—the irresistible longing for absent friends. Upon this the ardent desire of a man that otherwise lived so much in the present seems to have been peculiarly concentrated; he sees his friends before him, he converses with them through letters, he longs for their embraces, and wishes to repeat the days formerly lived together.

These wishes, especially directed toward his friends in the North, were awakened anew by the Peace of Hubertusbury (Feb., 1763). It would have been his pride to present himself before the great king who had already honored him with an offer to enter his service; to see again the Prince of Dessau, whose exalted, reposeful nature he regarded as a gift of God to the earth; to pay his respects to the Duke of Brunswick, whose great capacities he well knew how to prize; to praise in person Minister of State von Münchausen, who had done so much for science, and to admire his immortal foundation at Göttingen; to rejoice again in the lively and intimate intercourse with his Swiss friends—such allurements filled his heart and his imagination; with such images was his mind so long occupied that he unfortunately followed this impulse and so went to his death.

He was devoted body and soul to his Italian lot to such an extent that every other one seemed insufferable to him. On his former journey, the cliffs and mountains of Tyrol had interested, yea, delighted him, and now, on his return to the fatherland, he felt terrified, as if he were being dragged through the Cimmerian portal and convinced of the impossibility of continuing his journey.


And thus upon the highest pinnacle of happiness that he could himself have wished for, he departed this earth. His fatherland awaited him, his friends stretched their arms toward him; all the expressions of love which he so deeply needed, all testimonials of public honor, which he valued so highly, awaited his appearance, to be heaped upon him. And in this sense we may count him happy, that from the summit of human existence he ascended to the blessed, that a momentary shock, a sudden, quick pain removed him from the living. The infirmities of old age, the diminution of mental power, he did not experience; the dispersal of the treasures of art, which he had foretold, although in another sense, did not occur before his eyes. He lived as a man and departed hence as a complete man. Now he enjoys in the memory of posterity the advantage of appearing only as one eternally vigorous and powerful; for in the image in which a man leaves the earth he wanders among the shadows, and so Achilles remains for us an ever-striving youth. That Winckelmann departed so early, works also to our advantage. From his grave the breath of his power strengthens us, and awakens in us the intense desire always to continue with zeal and love the work that he has begun.

[Illustration: GOETHE AND HIS SECRETARY J. J. Schmeller ]



There is nothing worth thinking but it has been thought before; we must only try to think it again.

How can a man come to know himself? Never by thinking, but by doing. Try to do your duty, and you will know at once what you are worth. But what is your duty? The claims of the day.

The longer I live, the more it grieves me to see man, who occupies his supreme place for the very purpose of imposing his will upon nature, and freeing himself and his from an outrageous necessity—to see him taken up with some false notion, and doing just the opposite of what he wants to do; and then, because the whole bent of his mind is spoilt, bungling miserably over everything.

In the works of mankind, as in those of nature, it is really the motive which is chiefly worth attention.

In Botany there is a species of plants called Incompletæ; and just in the same way it can be said there are men who are incomplete and imperfect. They are those whose desires and struggles are out of proportion to their actions and achievements.

It is a great error to take oneself for more than one is, or for less than one is worth.

From time to time I meet with a youth in whom I can wish for no alteration or improvement, only I am sorry to see how often his nature makes him quite ready to swim with the stream of the time; and it is on this that I would always insist, that man in his fragile boat has the rudder placed in his hand, just that he may not be at the mercy of the waves, but follow the direction of his own insight.

If I am to listen to another man's opinion, it must be expressed positively. Of things problematical I have enough in myself.

Piety is not an end, but a means: a means of attaining the highest culture by the purest tranquility of soul. Hence it may be observed that those who set up piety as an end and object are mostly hypocrites.

Reading ought to mean understanding; writing ought to mean knowing something; believing ought to mean comprehending; when you desire a thing, you will have to take it; when you demand it, you will not get it; and when you are experienced, you ought to be useful to others.

The stream is friendly to the miller whom it serves; it likes to pour over the mill wheels; what is the good of it stealing through the valley in apathy?

Theory is in itself of no use, except in so far as it makes us believe in the connection of phenomena.

"Le sens common est le génie de l'humanité." Common-sense, which is here put forward as the genius of humanity, must be examined first of all in the way it shows itself. If we inquire the purpose to which humanity puts it, we find as follows: Humanity is conditioned by needs. If they are not satisfied, men become impatient; and if they are, it seems not to affect them. The normal man moves between these two states, and he applies his understanding—his so-called common sense—to the satisfaction of his needs. When his needs are satisfied, his task is to fill up the waste spaces of indifference. Here, too, he is successful, if his needs are confined to what is nearest and most necessary. But if they rise and pass beyond the sphere of ordinary wants, common-sense is no longer sufficient; it is a genius no more, and humanity enters on the region of error.

There is no piece of foolishness but it can be corrected by intelligence or accident; no piece of wisdom but it can miscarry by lack of intelligence or by accident.

Justice insists on obligation, law on decorum. Justice weighs and decides, law superintends and orders. Justice refers to the individual, law to society.

The history of knowledge is a great fugue in which the voices of the nations one after the other emerge.

If a man is to achieve all that is asked of him, he must take himself for more than he is, and as long as he does not carry it to an absurd length, we willingly put up with it.

People whip curds to see if they cannot make cream of them.

Wisdom lies only in truth.

When I err, every one can see it; but not when I lie.

Before the storm breaks, the dust rises violently for the last time—the dust that is soon to be laid for ever.

Men do not come to know one another easily, even with the best will and the best purpose. And then ill-will comes in and distorts everything.

In the world the point is, not to know men, but at any given moment to be cleverer than the man who stands before you. You can prove this at every fair and from every charlatan.

Not everywhere where there is water, are there frogs; but where you have frogs, there you will find water.

In the formation of species Nature gets, as it were, into a cul-de-sac; she cannot make her way through, and is disinclined to turn back. Hence the stubbornness of national character.

Many a man knocks about on the wall with his hammer, and believes that he hits the right nail on the head every time.

Those who oppose intellectual truths do but stir up the fire, and the cinders fly about and burn what they had else not touched.

Those from whom we are always learning are rightly called our masters; but not every one who teaches us deserves this title.

It is with you as with the sea: the most varied names are given to what is in the end only salt water.

It is said that vain self-praise stinks in the nostrils. That may be so; but for the kind of smell which comes from unjust blame by others the public has no nose at all.

There are problematical natures which are equal to no position in which they find themselves, and which no position satisfies. This it is that causes that hideous conflict which wastes life and deprives it of all pleasure.

Dirt glitters as long as the sun shines.

He is the happiest man who can set the end of his life in connection with the beginning.

A state of things in which every day brings some new trouble is not the right one.

The Hindoos of the Desert make a solemn vow to eat no fish.

To venture an opinion is like moving a piece at chess it may be taken, but it forms the beginning of a game that is won.

Truth belongs to the man, error to his age. This is why it has been said that, while the misfortune of the age caused his error, the force of his soul made him emerge from the error with glory.

I pity those who make much ado about the transitory nature of all things and are lost in the contemplation of earthly vanity: are we not here to make the transitory permanent? This we can do only if we know how to value both.

A rainbow which lasts a quarter of an hour is looked at no more.

Faith is private capital, kept in one's own house. There are public savings-banks and loan-offices, which supply individuals in their day of need; but here the creditor quietly takes his interest for himself.

During a prolonged study of the lives of various men both great and small, I came upon this thought: In the web of the world the one may well be regarded as the warp, the other as the woof. It is the little men, after all, who give breadth to the web, and the great men firmness and solidity; perhaps, also, the addition of some sort of pattern. But the scissors of the Fates determine its length, and to that all the rest must join in submitting itself.

Truth is a torch, but a huge one, and so it is only with blinking eyes that we all of us try to get past it, in actual terror of being burnt.

The really foolish thing in men who are otherwise intelligent is that they fail to understand what another person says, when he does not exactly hit upon the right way of saying it.

One need only grow old to become gentler in one's judgments. I see no fault committed which I could not have committed myself.

Why should those who are happy expect one who is miserable to die before them in a graceful attitude, like the gladiator before the Roman mob?

By force of habit we look at a clock that has run down as if it were still going, and we gaze at the face of a beauty as though she still loved.

Dilettantism treated seriously, and knowledge pursued mechanically, end by becoming pedantry.

No one but the master can promote the cause of Art. Patrons help the master—that is right and proper; but that does not always mean that Art is helped.

The most foolish of all errors is for clever young men to believe that they forfeit their originality in recognizing a truth which has already been recognized by others.

It is much easier to recognize error than to find truth; for error lies on the surface and may be overcome; but truth lies in the depths, and to search for it is not given to every one.

No one should desire to live in irregular circumstances; but if by chance a man falls into them, they test his character and show of how much determination he is capable.

An honorable man with limited ideas often sees through the rascality of the most cunning jobber.

Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then criticism will gradually yield to him.

The masses cannot dispense with men of ability, and such men are always a burden to them.

If you lay duties upon people and give them no rights, you must pay them well.

I can promise to be sincere, but not to be impartial.

Word and picture are correlatives which are continually in quest of each other, as is sufficiently evident in the case of metaphors and similes. So from all time what was said or sung inwardly to the ear had to be presented equally to the eye. And so in childish days we see word and picture in continual balance; in the book of the law and in the way of salvation, in the Bible and in the spelling-book. When something was spoken which could not be pictured, and something pictured which could not be spoken, all went well; but mistakes were often made, and a word was used instead of a picture; and thence arose those monsters of symbolical mysticism, which are doubly an evil.

The importunity of young dilettanti must be borne with good-will; for as they grow old they become the truest worshippers of Art and the Master.

People have to become really bad before they care for nothing but mischief, and delight in it.

Clever people are the best encyclopædia.

There are people who make no mistakes because they never wish to do anything worth doing.

A man cannot live for every one; least of all for those with whom he would not care to live.

I should like to be honest with you, without our falling out; but it will not do. You act wrongly, and fall between two stools; you win no adherents and lose your friends. What is to be the end of it?

If a clever man commits a folly, it is not a small one.

I went on troubling myself about general ideas until I learnt to understand the particular achievements of the best men.

The errors of a man are what make him really lovable.

As in Rome there is, apart from the Romans, a population of statues, so apart from this real world there is a world of illusion, almost more potent, in which most men live.

Mankind is like the Red Sea; the staff has scarcely parted the waves asunder before they flow together again. Thoughts come back; beliefs persist; facts pass by never to return.

Of all peoples, the Greeks have dreamt the dream of life the best.

We readily bow to antiquity, but not to posterity. It is only a father that does not grudge talent to his son. The whole art of living consists in giving up existence in order to exist.

All our pursuits and actions are a wearying process. Well is it for him who wearies not.

Hope is the second soul of the unhappy.

At all times it has not been the age, but individuals alone, who have worked for knowledge. It was the age which put Socrates to death by poison, the age which burnt Huss. The ages have always remained alike.

If a man knows where to get good advice, it is as though he could supply it himself.

A man must pay dear for his errors if he wishes to get rid of them, and even then he is lucky.

Enthusiasm is of the greatest value, so long as we are not carried away by it.

Error is related to truth as sleep to waking. I have observed that on awakening from error a man turns again to truth as with new vigor.

Every one suffers who does not work for himself. A man works for others to have them share in his joy.

Common-sense is born pure in the healthy man, is self-developed, and is revealed by a resolute perception and recognition of what is necessary and useful. Practical men and women avail themselves of it with confidence. Where it is absent, both sexes find anything necessary when they desire it, and useful when it gives them pleasure.

All men, as they attain freedom, give play to their errors. The strong do too much, and the weak too little.

The conflict of the old, the existing, the continuing, with development, improvement and reform, is always the same. Order of every kind turns at last to pedantry, and to get rid of the one, people destroy the other; and so it goes on for a while, until people perceive that order must be established anew. Classicism and Romanticism; close corporations and freedom of trade; the maintenance of large estates and the division of the land—it is always the same conflict which ends by producing a new one. The best policy of those in power would be so to moderate this conflict as to let it right itself without the destruction of either element. But this has not been granted to men, and it seems not to be the will of God.

A great work limits us for the moment, because we feel it above our powers; and only in so far as we afterward incorporate it with our culture, and make it part of our mind and heart, does it become a dear and worthy object.

There are many things in the world that are at once good and excellent, but they do not come into contact.

When men have to do with women, they get spun off like a distaff.

It may well be that a man is at times horribly threshed by misfortunes, public and private: but the reckless flail of Fate, when it beats the rich sheaves, crushes only the straw; and the corn feels nothing of it and dances merrily on the floor, careless whether its way is to the mill or the furrow.

In the matter of knowledge, it has happened to me as to one who rises early and in the dark impatiently awaits the dawn and then the sun, but is blinded when it appears.

People often say to themselves in life that they should avoid a variety of occupation, and, more particularly, be the less willing to enter upon new work the older they grow. But it is easy to talk, easy to give advice to oneself and others. To grow old is itself to enter upon a new business; all the circumstances change, and a man must either cease acting altogether, or willingly and consciously take over the new rôle.

To live in a great idea means to treat the impossible as though it were possible. It is just the same with a strong character; and when an idea and a character meet, things arise which fill the world with wonder for thousands of years.

Napoleon lived wholly in a great idea, but he was unable to take conscious hold of it. After utterly disavowing all ideals and denying them any reality, he zealously strove to realize them. His clear, incorruptible intellect could not, however, tolerate such a perpetual conflict within; and there is much value in the thoughts which he was compelled, as it were, to utter, and which are expressed very peculiarly and with much charm.

Man is placed as a real being in the midst of a real world, and endowed with such organs that he can perceive and produce the real and also the possible.

All healthy men have the conviction of their own existence and of an existence around them. However, even the brain contains a hollow spot, that is to say, a place in which no object is mirrored; just as in the eye itself there is a little spot that does not see. If a man pays particular attention to this spot and is absorbed in it, he falls into a state of mental sickness, has presentiments of 'things of another world,' which are, in reality, no things at all, possessing neither form nor limit, but alarming him like dark, empty tracts of night, and pursuing him as something more than phantoms, if he does not tear himself free from them.

To the several perversities of the day a man should always oppose only the great masses of universal history. That we have many criticisms to make on those who visit us, and that, as soon as they depart, we pass no very amiable judgment upon them, seems to me almost natural; for we have, so to speak, a right to measure them by our own standard. Even intelligent and fair-minded men hardly refrain from sharp censure on such occasions.

But if, on the contrary, we have been in their homes, and have seen them in their surroundings and habits and the circumstances which are necessary and inevitable for them; if we have seen the kind of influence they exert on those around them, or how they behave, it is only ignorance and ill-will that can find food for ridicule in what must appear to us in more than one sense worthy of respect.

Women's society is the element of good manners.

The most privileged position, in life as in society, is that of an educated soldier. Rough warriors, at any rate, remain true to their character, and as great strength is usually the cover for good nature, we get on with them at need.

No one would come into a room with spectacles on his nose, if he knew that women at once lose any inclination to look at or talk to him.

There is no outward sign of politeness that will be found to lack some deep moral foundation. The right kind of education would be that which conveyed the sign and the foundation at the same time.

A man's manners are the mirror in which he shows his portrait.

Against the great superiority of another there is no remedy but love.

It is a terrible thing for an eminent man to be gloried in by fools.

It is said that no man is a hero to his valet. That is only because a hero can be recognized only by a hero. The valet will probably know how to appreciate his like—his fellow-valet.

Fools and wise folk are alike harmless. It is the half-wise, and the half-foolish, who are the most dangerous.

To see a difficult thing lightly handled gives us the impression of the impossible.

Difficulties increase the nearer we come to our aim.

Sowing is not so painful as reaping.

If any one meets us who owes us a debt of gratitude, it immediately crosses our mind. How often can we meet some one to whom we owe gratitude, without thinking of it!

To communicate oneself is Nature; to receive a communication as it is given is Culture.

Contradiction and flattery make, both of them, bad conversation.

By nothing do men show their character more than by the things they laugh at.

An intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, a wise man hardly anything.

A man well on in years was reproved for still troubling himself about young women. "It is the only means," he replied, "of regaining one's youth; and that is something every one wishes to do."

A man does not mind being blamed for his faults, and being punished for them, and he patiently suffers much for the sake of them; but he becomes impatient if he is required to give them up.

Passion is enhanced and tempered by avowal. In nothing, perhaps, is the middle course more desirable than in confidence and reticence toward those we love.

To sit in judgment on the departed is never likely to be equitable. We all suffer from life; who, except God, can call us to account? Let not their faults and sufferings, but what they have accomplished and done, occupy the survivors.

It is failings that show human nature, and merits that distinguish the individual; faults and misfortunes we all have in common; virtues belong to each one separately.

It would not be worth while to see seventy years if all the wisdom of this world were foolishness with God. The true is Godlike; we do not see it itself; we must guess at it through its manifestations.

The real scholar learns how to evolve the unknown from the known, and draws near the master.

In the smithy the iron is softened by blowing up the fire, and taking the dross from the bar. As soon as it is purified, it is beaten and pressed, and becomes firm again by the addition of fresh water. The same thing happens to a man at the hands of his teacher.

What belongs to a man he cannot get rid of, even though he throws it away.

Of true religions there are only two: one of them recognizes and worships the Holy that, without form or shape, dwells in and around us; and the other recognizes and worships it in its fairest form. Everything that lies between these two is idolatry.

The Saints were all at once driven from heaven; and senses, thought and heart were turned from a divine mother with a tender child, to the grown man doing good and suffering evil, who was later transfigured into a being half-divine in its nature, and then recognized and honored as God himself. He stood against a background where the Creator had opened out the universe; a spiritual influence went out from him; his sufferings were adopted as an example, and his transfiguration was the pledge of ever-lastingness.

As a coal is revived by incense, so prayer revives the hopes of the heart.

From a strict point of view we must have a reformation of ourselves every day, and protest against others, even though it be in no religious sense.

It should be our earnest endeavor to use words coinciding as closely as possible with what we feel, see, think, experience, imagine and reason. It is an endeavor which we cannot evade, and which is daily to be renewed.

Let every man examine himself, and he will find this a much harder task than he might suppose; for, unhappily, a man usually takes words as mere make-shifts; his knowledge and his thought are in most cases better than his method of expression.

False, irrelevant, and futile ideas may arise in ourselves and others, or find their way into us from without. Let us persist in the effort to remove them as far as we can, by plain and honest purpose.

Where I cannot be moral, my power is gone.

A man is not deceived by others; he deceives himself.

Laws are all made by old people and by men. Youths and women want the exceptions, old people the rules.

Chinese, Indian and Egyptian antiquities are never more than curiosities; it is well to make acquaintance with them; but in point of moral and æsthetic culture they can help us little.

The German runs no greater danger than to advance with and by the example of his neighbors. There is perhaps no nation that is fitter for the process of self-development; so that it has proved of the greatest advantage to Germany to have obtained the notice of the world so late.

The greatest difficulties lie where we do not look for them.

The mind endowed with active powers and keeping with a practical object to the task that lies nearest, is the worthiest there is on earth.

Perfection is the measure of heaven, and the wish to be perfect the measure of man.

When a great idea enters the world as a Gospel, it becomes an offense to the multitude, which stagnates in pedantry; and to those who have much learning, but little depth, it is folly.

You may recognize the utility of an idea, and yet not quite understand how to make a perfect use of it.

Credo Deum! That is a fine, a worthy thing to say; but to recognize God where and as he reveals himself, is the only true bliss on earth.

Kepler said: 'My wish is that I may perceive the God whom I find everywhere in the external world, in like manner also within and inside me.' The good man was not aware that, in that very moment, the divine in him stood in the closest connection with the divine in the Universe.

What is predestination? It is this: God is mightier and wiser than we are, and so he does with us as he pleases.

Toleration should, strictly speaking, be only a passing mood; it ought to lead to acknowledgment and appreciation. To tolerate a person is to affront him.

Faith, Love and Hope once felt, in a quiet sociable hour, a plastic impulse in their nature; they worked together and created a lovely image, a Pandora in the higher sense, Patience.

'I stumbled over the roots of the tree which I planted.' It must have been an old forester who said that.

Does the sparrow know how the stork feels?

Lamps make oil spots, and candles want snuffing; it is only the light of heaven that shines pure and leaves no stain.

If you miss the first button-hole, you will not succeed in buttoning up your coat.

A burnt child dreads the fire; an old man who has often been singed is afraid of warming himself.

It is not worth while to do anything for the world that we have with us, as the existing order may in a moment pass away. It is for the past and the future that we must work: for the past, to acknowledge its merits; for the future, to try to increase its value.

Let no one think that people have waited for him as for the Savior.

Character in matters great and small consists in a man steadily pursuing the things of which he feels himself capable.

Can a nation become ripe? That is a strange question. I would answer, Yes! if all the men could be born thirty years of age. But as youth will always be too forward and old age too backward, the really mature man is always hemmed in between them, and has to resort to strange devices to make his way through.

The most important matters of feeling as of reason, of experience as of reflection, should be treated of only by word of mouth. The spoken word at once dies if it is not kept alive by some other word following on it and suited to the hearer. Observe what happens in social converse. If the word is not dead when it reaches the hearer, he murders it at once by a contradiction, a stipulation, a condition, a digression, an interruption, and all the thousand tricks of conversation. With the written word the case is still worse. No one cares to read anything to which he is not already to some extent accustomed; he demands the known and the familiar under an altered form. Still, the written word has this advantage, that it lasts and can await the time when it is allowed to take effect.

Opponents fancy they refute us when they repeat their own opinion and pay no attention to ours.

It is with history as with nature and with everything of any depth, it may be past, present or future: the further we seriously pursue it, the more difficult are the problems that appear.

Every phenomenon is within our reach if we treat it as an inclined plane, which is of easy ascent, though the thick end of the wedge may be steep and inaccessible.

If a man would enter upon some course of knowledge, he must either be deceived or deceive himself, unless external necessity irresistibly determines him. Who would become a physician if, at one and the same time, he saw before him all the horrible sights that await him?

Literature is a fragment of fragments: the least of what happened and was spoken, has been written; and of the things that have been written, very few have been preserved.

And yet, with all the fragmentary nature of literature, we find thousandfold repetition; which shows how limited is man's mind and destiny.

We must remember that there are many men who, without being productive, are anxious to say something important, and the results are most curious.

Some books seem to have been written, not to teach us anything, but to let us know that the author has known something.

An author can show no greater respect for his public than by never bringing it what it expects, but what he himself thinks right and proper in that stage of his own and others' culture in which for the time he finds himself.

That glorious hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus, is really an appeal to genius. That is why it speaks so powerfully to men of intellect and power.

Translators are like busy match-makers; they sing the praises of some half-veiled beauty, and extol her charms, and arouse an irresistible longing for the original.

My relations with Schiller rested on the decided tendency of both of us toward a single aim, and our common activity rested on the diversity of the means by which we endeavored to attain that aim.

The best that history gives us is the enthusiasm it arouses.

We really learn only from those books which we cannot criticise. The author of a book which we could criticise would have to learn from us.

That is the reason why the Bible will never lose its power; because, as long as the world lasts, no one can stand up and say: I grasp it as a whole and understand all the parts of it. But we say humbly: as a whole it is worthy of respect, and in all its parts it is applicable.

There is and will be much discussions as to the use and harm of circulating the Bible. One thing is clear to me mischief will result, as heretofore, by using it fantastically as a system of dogma; benefit, as heretofore, by a loving acceptance of its teachings.

I am convinced that the Bible will always be more beautiful the more it is understood; the more, that is, we see and observe that every word which we take in a general sense and apply specially to ourselves, had, under certain circumstances of time and place, a peculiar, special and directly individual reference.

If one has not read the newspapers for some months and then reads them altogether, one sees, as one never saw before, how much time is wasted with this kind of literature.

Shakespeare's Henry IV. If everything were lost that has ever been preserved to us of this kind of writing, the arts of poetry and rhetoric could be completely restored out of this one play.

Shakespeare's finest dramas are wanting here and there in facility: they are something more than they should be, and for that very reason indicate the great poet.

The dignity of Art appears perhaps most conspicuously in Music; for in Music there is no material to be deducted. It is wholly form and intrinsic value, and it raises and ennobles all that it expresses.

It is only by Art, and especially by Poetry, that the imagination is regulated. Nothing is more frightful than imagination without taste.

Art rests upon a kind of religious sense; it is deeply and ineradicably in earnest. Thus it is that Art so willingly goes hand in hand with Religion.

A noble philosopher spoke of architecture as frozen music; and it was inevitable that many people should shake their heads over his remark. We believe that no better repetition of this fine thought can be given than by calling architecture a speechless music.

In every artist there is a germ of daring, without which no talent is conceivable.

Higher aims are in themselves more valuable, even if unfulfilled, than lower ones quite attained.

In every Italian school the butterfly breaks loose from the chrysalis.

Let us be many-sided! Turnips are good, but they are best mixed with chestnuts. And these two noble products of the earth grow far apart.

In the presence of Nature even moderate talent is always possessed of insight; hence drawings from Nature that are at all carefully done always give pleasure.

A man cannot well stand by himself, and so he is glad to join a party; because if he does not find rest there, he at any rate finds quiet and safety.

It is difficult to know how to treat the errors of the age. If a man oppose them, he stands alone; if he surrender to them, they bring him neither joy nor credit.

There are some hundred Christian sects, every one of them acknowledging God and the Lord in its own way, without troubling themselves further about one another. In the study of nature, nay, in every study, things must of necessity come to the same pass. For what is the meaning of every one speaking of toleration, and trying to prevent others from thinking and expressing themselves after their own fashion?

We more readily confess to errors, mistakes and short-comings in our conduct than in our thought. And the reason of it is that the conscience is humble and even takes a pleasure in being ashamed. But the intellect is proud, and if forced to recant is driven to despair. * * *

This also explains how it is that truths which have been recognized are at first tacitly admitted, and then gradually spread, so that the very thing which was obstinately denied appears at last as something quite natural.

Ignorant people raise questions which were answered by the wise thousands of years ago.

Our advice is that every man should remain in the path he has struck out for himself, and refuse to be overawed by authority, hampered by prevalent opinion, or carried away by fashion.

Every investigator must, before all things, look upon himself as one who is summoned to serve on a jury. He has only to consider how far the statement of the case is complete and clearly set forth by the evidence. Then he draws his conclusion and gives his vote, whether it be that his opinion coincides with that of the foreman or not.

The history of philosophy, of science, of religion, all shows that opinions spread in masses, but that that always comes to the front which is more easily grasped, that is to say, is most suited and agreeable to the human mind in its ordinary condition. Nay, he who has practised self-culture in the higher sense may always reckon upon meeting an adverse majority.

What is a musical string, and all its mechanical division, in comparison with the musician's ear? May we not also say, what are the elementary phenomena of nature itself compared with man, who must control and modify them all before he can in any way assimilate them to himself?

Everything that we call Invention or Discovery in the higher sense of the word is the serious exercise and activity of an original feeling for truth, which, after a long course of silent cultivation, suddenly flashes out into fruitful knowledge. It is a revelation working from within on the outer world, and lets a man feel that he is made in the image of God. It is a synthesis of World and Mind, giving the most blessed assurance of the eternal harmony of things.

A man must cling to the belief that the incomprehensible is comprehensible; otherwise he would not try to fathom it. A man does not need to have seen or experienced everything himself. But if he is to commit himself to another's experiences and his way of putting them, let him consider that he has to do with three things—the object in question and two subjects.

If we look at the problems raised by Aristotle, we are astonished at his gift of observation. What wonderful eyes the Greeks had for many things! Only they committed the mistake of being overhasty, of passing straightway from the phenomenon to the explanation of it, and thereby produced certain theories that are quite inadequate. But this is the mistake of all times, and still made in our own day.

Hypotheses are cradle-songs by which the teacher lulls his scholars to sleep. The thoughtful and honest observer is always learning more and more of his limitations; he sees that the further knowledge spreads, the more numerous are the problems that make their appearance.

If many a man did not feel obliged to repeat what is untrue, because he has said it once, the world would have been quite different.

There is nothing more odious than the majority; it consists of a few powerful men to lead the way; of accommodating rascals and submissive weaklings; and of a mass of men who trot after them, without in the least knowing their own mind.

When I observe the luminous progress and expansion of natural science in modern times, I seem to myself like a traveler going eastward at dawn, and gazing at the growing light with joy, but also with impatience; looking forward with longing to the advent of the full and final light, but, nevertheless, having to turn away his eyes when the sun appeared, unable to bear the splendor he had awaited with so much desire.

We praise the eighteenth century for concerning itself chiefly with analysis. The task remaining to the nineteenth is to discover the false syntheses which prevail, and to analyze their contents anew.

A school may be regarded as a single individual who talks to himself for a hundred years, and takes an extraordinary pleasure in his own being, however foolish and silly it may be.

In science it is a service of the highest merit to seek out those fragmentary truths attained by the ancients, and to develop them further.

Nature fills all space with her limitless productivity. If we observe merely our own earth, everything that we call evil and unfortunate is so because Nature cannot provide room for everything that comes into existence, and still less endow it with permanence.

The finest achievement for a man of thought is to have fathomed what may be fathomed, and quietly to revere the unfathomable.

There are two things of which a man cannot be careful enough: of obstinacy, if he confines himself to his own line of thought; of incompetency, if he goes beyond it.

The century advances; but every individual begins anew.

What friends do with us and for us is a real part of our life; for it strengthens and advances our personality. The assault of our enemies is not part of our life; it is only part of our experience; we throw it off and guard ourselves against it as against frost, storm, rain, hail or any other of the external evils which may be expected to happen.

A man cannot live with every one, and therefore he cannot live for every one. To see this truth aright is to place a high value upon one's friends, and not to hate or persecute one's enemies. Nay, there is hardly any greater advantage for a man to gain than to find out, if he can, the merits of his opponents: it gives him a decided ascendency over them.

Every one knows how to value what he has attained in life; most of all the man who thinks and reflects in his old age. He has a comfortable feeling that it is something of which no one can rob him.

The best metempsychosis is for us to appear again in others.

It is very seldom that we satisfy ourselves; all the more consoling is it to have satisfied others.

We look back upon our life only as on a thing of broken pieces, because our misses and failures are always the first to strike us, and outweigh in our imagination what we have done and attained.

Nature! We are surrounded by her and locked in her clasp—powerless to leave her, and powerless to come closer to her. Unasked and unwarned she takes us up into the whirl of her dance, and hurries on with us till we are weary and fall from her arms.

We live in the midst of her and are strangers. She speaks to us unceasingly and betrays not her secret.

We are always influencing her and yet can do her no violence.

Individuality seems to be all her aim, and she cares naught for individuals. She is always building and always destroying, and her work-shop is not to be approached.

Nature lives in her children only, and the mother, where is she? She is the sole artist—out of the simplest materials the greatest diversity; attaining, with no trace of effort, the finest perfection, the closest precision, always softly veiled. Each of her works has an essence of its own; every shape that she takes is in idea utterly isolated; and yet all forms one.

She plays a drama; whether she sees it herself, we know not; and yet she plays it for us who stand but a little way off.

She has thought, and she ponders unceasingly; not as a man, but as Nature. The meaning of the whole she keeps to herself, and no one can learn it of her.

She rejoices in illusion. If a man destroys this in himself and others, she punishes him like the hardest tyrant. If he follows her in confidence, she presses him to her heart as if it were her child.

Her children are numberless. To no one of them is she altogether niggardly; but she has her favorites, on whom she lavishes much, and for whom she makes many a sacrifice. Over the great she has spread the shield of her protection.

She spurts forth her creatures out of nothing, and tells them not whence they come and whither they go. They have only to go their way; she knows the path.

The drama she plays is always new, because she is always bringing new spectators. Life is her fairest invention, and Death is her device for having life in abundance.

She envelops man in darkness, and urges him constantly to the light. She makes him dependent on the earth, heavy and sluggish, and always rouses him up afresh.

She creates wants, because she loves movement. How marvelous that she gains it all so easily! Every want is a benefit, soon satisfied, soon growing again. If she gives more, it is a new source of desire; but the balance quickly rights itself.

She lets every child work at her, every fool judge of her, and thousands pass her by and see nothing; and she has her joy in them all, and in them all finds her account.

Man obeys her laws even in opposing them; he works with her even when he wants to work against her.

Speech or language she has none; but she creates tongues and hearts through which she feels and speaks.

Her crown is Love. Only through Love can we come near her. She puts gulfs between all things, and all things strive to be interfused. She isolates everything, that she may draw everything together. With a few draughts from the cup of Love she repays for a life full of trouble.

She is all things. She rewards herself and punishes herself; and in herself rejoices and is distressed. She is rough and gentle, loving and terrible, powerless and almighty. In her everything is always present. Past or Future she knows not. The present is her Eternity. She is kind. I praise her with all her works. She is wise and still. No one can force her to explain herself, or frighten her into a gift that she does not give willingly. She is crafty, but for a good end; and it is best not to notice her cunning.

She is whole, and yet never finished. As she works now, so can she work forever.

She has placed me in this world; she will also lead me out of it. I trust myself to her. She may do with me as she pleases. She will not hate her work. I did not speak of her. No! what is true and what is false, she has spoken it all. Everything is her fault, everything is her merit.


(Extracts from the Author's Preface.) TRANSLATED BY JOHN OXENFORD

This collection of Conversations with Goethe took its rise chiefly from an impulse, natural to my mind, to appropriate to myself by writing any part of my experience which strikes me as valuable or remarkable.

Moreover, I felt constantly the need of instruction, not only when I first met with that extraordinary man, but also after I had lived with him for years; and I loved to seize on the import of his words, and to note it down, that I might possess them for the rest of my life.

When I think how rich and full were the communications by which he made me so happy for a period of nine years, and now observe how small a part I have retained in writing, I seem to myself like a child who, endeavoring to catch the refreshing spring shower with open hands, finds that the greater part of it runs through his fingers.

* * * * *

I think that these conversations not only contain many valuable explanations and instructions on science, art, and practical life, but that these sketches of Goethe, taken directly from life, will be especially serviceable in completing the portrait which each reader may have formed of Goethe from his manifold works.

Still, I am far from imagining that the whole internal Goethe is here adequately portrayed. We may, with propriety, compare this extraordinary mind and man to a many-sided diamond, which in each direction shines with a different hue. And as, under different circumstances and with different persons, he became another being, so I, too, can only say, in a very modest sense, this is my Goethe.

* * * * *

[Illustration: GOETHE'S STUDY]

My relation to him was peculiar, and of a very intimate kind: it was that of the scholar to the master; of the son to the father; of the poor in culture to the rich in culture. He drew me into his own circle, and let me participate in the mental and bodily enjoyments of a higher state of existence. Sometimes I saw him but once a week, when I visited him in the evening; sometimes every day, when I had the happiness to dine with him either alone or in company. His conversation was as varied as his works. He was always the same, and always different. Now he was occupied by some great idea, and his words flowed forth rich and inexhaustible; they were often like a garden in spring where all is in blossom, and where one is so dazzled by the general brilliancy that one does not think of gathering a nosegay. At other times, on the contrary, he was taciturn and laconic, as if a cloud pressed upon his soul; nay, there were days when it seemed as if he were filled with icy coldness, and a keen wind was sweeping over plains of frost and snow. When one saw him again he was again like a smiling summer's day, when all the warblers of the wood joyously greet us from hedges and bushes, when the cuckoo's voice resounds through the blue sky, and the brook ripples through flowery meadows. Then it was a pleasure to hear him; his presence then had a beneficial influence, and the heart expanded at his words.

Winter and summer, age and youth, seemed with him to be engaged in a perpetual strife and change; nevertheless, it was admirable in him, when from seventy to eighty years old, that youth always recovered the ascendancy; those autumnal and wintry days I have indicated were only rare exceptions.

His self-control was great—nay, it formed a prominent peculiarity in his character. It was akin to that lofty deliberation (Besonnenheit) through which he always succeeded in mastering his material, and giving his single works that artistical finish which we admire in them. Through the same quality he was often concise and circumspect, not only in many of his writings, but also in his oral expressions. When, however, in happy moments, a more powerful demon[7] was active within him, and that self-control abandoned him, his discourse rolled forth with youthful impetuosity, like a mountain cataract. In such moments he expressed what was best and greatest in his abundant nature, and such moments are to be understood when his earlier friends say of him, that his spoken words were better than those which he wrote and printed. Thus Marmontel said of Diderot, that whoever knew him from his writings only knew him but half; but that as soon as he became animated in actual conversation he was incomparable, and irresistibly carried his hearers along.

* * * * *


_Weimar, June 10.[8]—I arrived here a few days ago, but did not see Goethe till today. He received me with great cordiality; and the impression he made on me was such, that I consider this day as one of the happiest in my life.

Yesterday, when I called to inquire, he fixed today at twelve o'clock as the time when he would be glad to see me. I went at the appointed time, and found a servant waiting for me, preparing to conduct me to him.

The interior of the house made a very pleasant impression upon me; without being showy, everything was extremely simple and noble; even the casts from antique statues, placed upon the stairs, indicated Goethe's especial partiality for plastic art, and for Grecian antiquity. I saw several ladies moving busily about in the lower part of the house, and one of Ottilie's beautiful boys, who came familiarly up to me, and looked fixedly in my face.

After I had cast a glance around, I ascended the stairs, with the very talkative servant, to the first floor.

He opened a room, on the threshold of which the motto Salve was stepped over as a good omen of a friendly welcome. He led me through this apartment and opened another, somewhat more spacious, where he requested me to wait, while he went to announce me to his master. The air here was most cool and refreshing; on the floor was spread a carpet; the room was furnished with a crimson sofa and chairs, which gave a cheerful aspect; on one side stood a piano; and the walls were adorned with many pictures and drawings, of various sorts and sizes.

Through an open door opposite, one looked into a farther room, also hung with pictures, through which the servant had gone to announce me.

It was not long before Goethe came in, dressed in a blue frock-coat, and with shoes. What a sublime form! The impression upon me was surprising. But he soon dispelled all uneasiness by the kindest words. We sat down on the sofa. I felt in a happy perplexity, through his look and his presence, and could say little or nothing.

He began by speaking of my manuscript. "I have just come from you," said he; "I have been reading your writing all the morning; it needs no recommendation—it recommends itself." He praised the clearness of the style, the flow of the thought, and the peculiarity that all rested on a solid basis and had been thoroughly considered. "I will soon forward it," said he; "today I shall write to Cotta by post, and send him the parcel tomorrow." I thanked him with words and looks.

We then talked of my proposed excursion. I told him that my design was to go into the Rhineland, where I intended to stay at a suitable place, and write something new. First, however, I would go to Jena, and there await Herr von Cotta's answer.

Goethe asked whether I had acquaintance in Jena. I replied that I hoped to come in contact with Herr von Knebel; on which he promised me a letter which would insure me a more favorable reception. "And, indeed," said he, "while you are in Jena, we shall be near neighbors, and can see or write to one another as often as we please." We sat a long while together, in a tranquil, affectionate mood. I was close to him; I forgot to speak for looking at him—I could not look enough. His face is so powerful and brown! full of wrinkles, and each wrinkle full of expression! And everywhere there is such nobleness and firmness, such repose and greatness! He spoke in a slow, composed manner, such as you would expect from an aged monarch. You perceive by his air that he reposes upon himself, and is elevated far above both praise and blame. I was extremely happy near him; I felt becalmed like one who, after many toils and tedious expectations, finally sees his dearest wishes gratified.

Thursday, September 18.—"The world is so great and rich, and life so full of variety, that you can never want occasions for poems. But they must all be occasional[9] poems; that is to say, reality must give both impulse and material for their production. A particular case becomes universal and poetic by the very circumstance that it is treated by a poet. All my poems are occasional poems, suggested by real life, and having therein a firm foundation. I attach no value to poems snatched out of the air.

"Let no one say that reality wants poetical interest; for in this the poet proves his vocation, that he has the art to win from a common subject an interesting side. Reality must give the motive, the points to be expressed, the kernel, as I may say; but to work out of it a beautiful, animated whole, belongs to the poet. You know Fürnstein, called the Poet of Nature; he has written the prettiest poem possible, on the cultivation of hops.

"I have now proposed to him to make songs for the different crafts of working-men, particularly a weaver's song, and I am sure he will do it well, for he has lived among such people from his youth; he understands the subject thoroughly, and is therefore master of his material. That is exactly the advantage of small works; you need only choose those subjects of which you are master. With a great poem, this cannot be: no part can be evaded; all which belongs to the animation of the whole, and is interwoven into the plan, must be represented with precision. In youth, however, the knowledge of things is only one-sided. A great work requires many-sidedness, and on that rock the young author splits."


I told Goethe that I had contemplated writing a great poem upon the seasons, in which I might interweave the employments and amusements of all classes. "Here is the very case in point," replied Goethe; "you may succeed in many parts, but fail in others which refer to what you have not duly investigated. Perhaps you would do the fisherman well, and the huntsman ill; and if you fail anywhere, the whole is a failure, however good single parts may be, and you have not produced a perfect work. Give separately the single parts to which you are equal, and you make sure of something good.

"I especially warn you against great inventions of your own; for then you would try to give a view of things, and for that purpose youth is seldom ripe. Further, character and views detach themselves as sides from the poet's mind, and deprive him of the fulness requisite for future productions. And, finally, how much time is lost in invention, internal arrangement, and combination, for which nobody thanks us, even supposing our work is happily accomplished.

"With a given material, on the other hand, all goes easier and better. Facts and characters being provided, the poet has only the task of animating the whole. He preserves his own fulness, for he needs to part with but little of himself, and there is much less loss of time and power, since he has only the trouble of execution. Indeed, I would advise the choice of subjects which have been worked before. How many Iphigenias have been written! yet they are all different, for each writer considers and arranges the subject differently; namely, after his own fashion.

"But, for the present, you had better lay aside all great undertakings. You have striven long enough; it is time that you should enter into the cheerful period of life, and for the attainment of this, the working out of small subjects is the best expedient."

Sunday, October 19.—Today, I dined for the first time with Goethe. No one was present except Frau von Goethe, Fräulein Ulrica, and little Walter, and thus we were all very comfortable. Goethe appeared now solely as father of a family, helping to all the dishes, carving the roast fowls with great dexterity, and not forgetting between whiles to fill the glasses. We had much lively chat about the theatre, young English people, and other topics of the day; Fräulein Ulrica was especially lively and entertaining. Goethe was generally silent, coming out only now and then with some pertinent remark. From time to time he glanced at the newspaper, now and then reading us some passages, especially about the progress of the Greeks.

They then talked about the necessity of my learning English, and Goethe earnestly advised me to do so, particularly on account of Lord Byron; saying, that a character of such eminence had never existed before, and probably would never come again. They discussed the merits of the different teachers here, but found none with a thoroughly good pronunciation; on which account they deemed it better to go to some young Englishman.

After dinner, Goethe showed me some experiments relating to his theory of colors. The subject was, however, new to me; I neither understood the phenomena, nor what he said about them. Nevertheless, I hoped that the future would afford me leisure and opportunity to initiate myself a little into this science.

* * * * *

Thursday, November 13.—Some days ago, as I was walking one fine afternoon towards Erfurt, I was joined by an elderly man, whom I supposed, from his appearance, to be an opulent citizen. We had not talked together long, before the conversation turned upon Goethe. I asked him whether he knew Goethe. "Know him?" said he, with some delight; "I was his valet almost twenty years!" He then launched into the praises of his former master. I begged to hear something of Goethe's youth, and he gladly consented to gratify me.

"When I first lived with him," said he, "he might have been about twenty-seven years old; he was thin, nimble, and elegant in his person. I could easily have carried him in my arms."

I asked whether Goethe, in that early part of his life here, had not been very gay. "Certainly," replied he; "he was always gay with the gay, but never when they passed a certain limit; in that case he usually became grave. Always working and seeking; his mind always bent on art and science; that was generally the way with my master. The duke often visited him in the evening, and then they often talked on learned topics till late at night, so that I got extremely tired, and wondered when the duke would go. Even then he was interested in natural science.

"One time he rang in the middle of the night, and when I entered his room I found he had rolled his iron bed to the window, and was lying there, looking out upon the heavens. 'Have you seen nothing in the sky?' asked he; and when I answered in the negative, he bade me run to the guard-house, and ask the man on duty if he had seen nothing. I went there; the guard said he had seen nothing, and I returned with this answer to my master, who was still in the same position, lying in his bed, and gazing upon the sky. 'Listen,' said he to me; 'this is an important moment; there is now an earthquake, or one is just going to take place;' then he made me sit down on the bed, and showed me by what signs he knew this."

I asked the good old man "what sort of weather it was." "It was very cloudy," he replied; "no air stirring; very still and sultry."

I asked if he at once believed there was an earthquake on Goethe's word.

"Yes," said he, "I believed it, for things always happened as he said they would. Next day he related his observations at court, when a lady whispered to her neighbor, 'Only listen, Goethe is dreaming.' But the duke, and all the men present, believed Goethe, and the correctness of his observations was soon confirmed; for, in a few weeks, the news came that a part of Messina, on that night, had been destroyed by an earthquake."

Friday, November 14.—Towards evening Goethe sent me an invitation to call upon him. Humboldt, he said, was at court, and therefore I should be all the more welcome. I found him, as I did some days ago, sitting in his armchair; he gave me a friendly shake of the hand, and spoke to me with heavenly mildness. The chancellor soon joined us. We sat near Goethe, and carried on a light conversation, that he might only have to listen. The physician, Counsellor Rehbein, soon came also. To use his own expression, he found Goethe's pulse quite lively and easy. At this we were highly pleased, and joked with Goethe on the subject. "If I could only get rid of the pain in my left side!" he said. Rehbein prescribed a plaster there; we talked on the good effect of such a remedy, and Goethe consented to it. Rehbein turned the conversation to Marienbad, and this appeared to awaken pleasant reminiscences in Goethe. Arrangements were made to go there again, it was said that the great duke would join the party, and these prospects put Goethe in the most cheerful mood. They also talked about Madame Szymanowska, and mentioned the time when she was here, and all the men were solicitous for her favor.

When Rehbein was gone, the chancellor read the Indian poems, and Goethe, in the meanwhile, talked to me about the Marienbad Elegy.

At eight o'clock, the chancellor went, and I was going, too, but Goethe bade me stop a little, and I sat down. The conversation turned on the stage, and the fact that Wallenstein was to be done tomorrow. This gave occasion to talk about Schiller.

"I have," said I, "a peculiar feeling towards Schiller. Some scenes of his great dramas I read with genuine love and admiration; but presently I meet with something which violates the truth of nature, and I can go no further. I feel this even in reading Wallenstein. I cannot but think that Schiller's turn for philosophy injured his poetry, because this led him to consider the idea far higher than all nature; indeed, thus to annihilate nature. What he could conceive must happen, whether it were in conformity with nature or not."

"It was sad," said Goethe, "to see how so highly gifted a man tormented himself with philosophical disquisitions which could in no way profit him. Humboldt has shown me letters which Schiller wrote to him in those unblest days of speculation. There we see how he plagued himself with the design of perfectly separating sentimental from naive poetry. For the former he could find no proper soil, and this brought him into unspeakable perplexity."

"As if," continued he, smiling, "sentimental poetry could exist at all without the naive ground in which, as it were, it has its root."

"It was not Schiller's plan," continued Goethe, "to go to work with a certain unconsciousness, and as it were instinctively; he was forced, on the contrary, to reflect on all he did. Hence it was that he never could leave off talking about his poetical projects, and thus he discussed with me all his late pieces, scene after scene.

"On the other hand, it was contrary to my nature to talk over my poetic plans with anybody—even with Schiller. I carried everything about with me in silence, and usually nothing was known to any one till the whole was completed. When I showed Schiller my Hermann and Dorothea finished, he was astonished, for I had said not a syllable to him of any such plan.

"But I am curious to hear what you will say of Wallenstein tomorrow. You will see noble forms, and the piece will make an impression on you such as you probably do not dream of."

Saturday, November 15.—In the evening I was in the theatre, where I for the first time saw Wallenstein. Goethe had not said too much; the impression was great, and stirred my inmost soul. The actors, who had almost all belonged to the time when they were under the personal influence of Schiller and Goethe, gave an ensemble of significant personages, such as on a mere reading were not presented to my imagination with all their individuality. On this account the piece had an extraordinary effect upon me, and I could not get it out of my head the whole night.

Sunday, November 16.—In the evening at Goethe's; he was still sitting in his elbow-chair, and seemed rather weak. His first question was about Wallenstein. I gave him an account of the impression the piece had made upon me as represented on the stage, and he heard me with visible satisfaction.

M. Soret came in, led in by Frau von Goethe, and remained about an hour. He brought from the duke some gold medals, and by showing and talking about these seemed to entertain Goethe very pleasantly.

Frau von Goethe and M. Soret went to court, and I was left alone with

Remembering his promise to show me again his Marienbad Elegy at a fitting opportunity, Goethe arose, put a light on the table, and gave me the poem. I was delighted to have it once more before me. He quietly seated himself again, and left me to an undisturbed perusal of the piece.

After I had been reading a while, I turned to say something to him, but he seemed to be asleep. I therefore used the favorable moment, and read the poem again and again with a rare delight. The most youthful glow of love, tempered by the moral elevation of the mind, seemed to me its pervading characteristic. Then I thought that the feelings were more strongly expressed than we are accustomed to find in Goethe's other poems, and imputed this to the influence of Byron—which Goethe did not deny.

"You see the product of a highly impassioned mood," said he. "While I was in it I would not for the world have been without it, and now I would not for any consideration fall into it again.

"I wrote that poem immediately after leaving Marienbad, while the feeling of all I had experienced there was fresh. At eight in the morning, when we stopped at the first stage, I wrote down the first strophe; and thus I went on composing in the carriage, and writing down at every stage what I had just composed in my head, so that by the evening the whole was on paper. Thence it has a certain directness, and is, as I may say, poured out at once, which may be an advantage to it as a whole."

"It is," said I, "quite peculiar in its kind, and recalls no other poem of yours."

"That," said he, I "may be, because I staked upon the present moment as a man stakes a considerable sum upon a card, and sought to enhance its value as much as I could without exaggeration."

These words struck me as very important, inasmuch as they threw a light on Goethe's method so as to explain that many-sidedness which has excited so much admiration.


Friday, January 2.—Dined at Goethe's, and enjoyed some cheerful conversation. Mention was made of a young beauty belonging to the Weimar society, when one of the guests remarked that he was on the point of falling in love with her, although her understanding could not exactly be called brilliant.

"Pshaw," said Goethe, laughing, "as if love had anything to do with the understanding. The things that we love in a young lady are something very different from the understanding. We love in her beauty, youthfulness, playfulness, trustingness, her character, her faults, her caprices, and God knows what 'je ne sais quoi' besides; but we do not love her understanding. We respect her understanding when it is brilliant, and by it the worth of a girl can be infinitely enhanced in our eyes. Understanding may also serve to fix our affections when we already love; but the understanding is not that which is capable of firing our hearts, and awakening a passion."

We found much that was true and convincing in Goethe's words, and were very willing to consider the subject in that light. After dinner, and when the rest of the party had departed, I remained sitting with Goethe, and conversed with him on various interesting topics.

We discoursed upon English literature, on the greatness of Shakespeare, and on the unfavorable position held by all English dramatic authors who had appeared after that poetical giant.

"A dramatic talent of any importance," said Goethe, "could not forbear to notice Shakespeare's works, nay, could not forbear to study them. Having studied them, he must be aware that Shakespeare has already exhausted the whole of human nature in all its tendencies, in all its heights and depths, and that, in fact, there remains for him, the aftercomer, nothing more to do. And how could one get courage only to put pen to paper, if one were conscious in an earnest, appreciating spirit, that such unfathomable and unattainable excellences were already in existence!

"It fared better with me fifty years ago in my own dear Germany. I could soon come to an end with all that then existed; it could not long awe me, or occupy my attention. I soon left behind me German literature, and the study of it, and turned my thoughts to life and to production. So on and on I went in my own natural development, and on and on I fashioned the productions of epoch after epoch. And at every step of life and development, my standard of excellence was not much higher than what at such step I was able to attain. But had I been born an Englishman, and had all those numerous masterpieces been brought before me in all their power, at my first dawn of youthful consciousness, they would have overpowered me, and I should not have known what to do. I could not have gone on with such fresh light-heartedness, but should have had to bethink myself, and look about for a long time, to find some new outlet."

I turned the conversation back to Shakespeare. "When one, to some degree, disengages him from English literature," said I, "and considers him transformed into a German, one cannot fail to look upon his gigantic greatness as a miracle. But if one seeks him in his home, transplants oneself to the soil of his country, and to the atmosphere of the century in which he lived; further, if one studies his contemporaries, and his immediate successors, and inhales the force wafted to us from Ben Jonson, Massinger, Marlowe, and Beaumont and Fletcher, Shakespeare still, indeed, appears a being of the most exalted magnitude; but still, one arrives at the conviction that many of the wonders of his genius are, in some measure, accessible, and that much is due to the powerfully productive atmosphere of his age and time."

"You are perfectly right," returned Goethe. "It is with Shakespeare as with the mountains of Switzerland. Transplant Mont Blanc at once into the large plain of Lüneburg Heath, and we should find no words to express our wonder at its magnitude. Seek it, however, in its gigantic home, go to it over its immense neighbors, the Jungfrau, the Finsteraarhorn, the Eiger, the Wetterhorn, St. Gotthard, and Monte Rosa; Mont Blanc will, indeed, still remain a giant, but it will no longer produce in us such amazement."

"Besides, let him who will not believe," continued Goethe, "that much of Shakespeare's greatness appertains to his great vigorous time, only ask himself the question, whether a phenomenon so astounding would be possible in the present England of 1824, in these evil days of criticising and hair-splitting journals?"

"That undisturbed, innocent, somnambulatory production, by which alone anything great can thrive, is no longer possible. Our talents at present lie before the public. The daily criticisms which appear in fifty different places, and the gossip that is caused by them amongst the public, prevent the appearance of any sound production. In the present day, he who does not keep aloof from all this, and isolate himself by main force, is lost. Through the bad, chiefly negative, æsthetical and critical tone of the journals, a sort of half culture finds its way into the masses; but to productive talent it is a noxious mist, a dropping poison, which destroys the tree of creative power, from the ornamental green leaves, to the deepest pith and the most hidden fibres.

"And then how tame and weak has life itself become during the last two shabby centuries. Where do we now meet an original nature? and where is the man who has the strength to be true, and to show himself as he is? This, however, affects the poet, who must find all within himself, while he is left in the lurch by all without."

The conversation now turned on Werthe. "That," said Goethe, "is a creation which I, like the pelican, fed with the blood of my own heart. It contains so much from the innermost recesses of my breast—so much feeling and thought, that it might easily be spread into a novel of ten such volumes. Besides, as I have often said, I have only read the book once since its appearance, and have taken good care not to read it again. It is a mass of congreve-rockets. I am uncomfortable when I look at it; and I dread lest I should once more experience the peculiar mental state from which it was produced."

I reminded him of his conversation with Napoleon, of which I knew by the sketch amongst his unpublished papers, which I had repeatedly urged him to give more in detail. "Napoleon," said I, "pointed out to you a passage in Werther, which, it appeared to him, would not stand a strict examination; and this you allowed. I should much like to know what passage he meant."

"Guess!" said Goethe, with a mysterious smile.

"Now," said I, "I almost think it is where Charlotte sends the pistols to Werther, without saying a word to Albert, and without imparting to him her misgivings and apprehensions. You have given yourself great trouble to find a motive for this silence, but it does not appear to hold good against the urgent necessity where the life of the friend was at stake."

"Your remark," returned Goethe, "is really not bad; but I do not think it right to reveal whether Napoleon meant this passage or another. However, be that as it may, your observation is quite as correct as his."

I asked the question, whether the great effect produced by the appearance of Werther was really to be attributed to the period. "I cannot," said I, "reconcile to myself this view, though it is so extensively spread. Werther made an epoch because it appeared—not because it appeared at a certain time. There is in every period so much unexpressed sorrow—so much secret discontent and disgust for life, and, in single individuals, there are so many disagreements with the world—so many conflicts between their natures and civil regulations, that Werther would make an epoch even if it appeared today for the first time."

"You are quite right," said Goethe; "it is on that account that the book to this day influences youth of a certain age, as it did formerly. It was scarcely necessary for me to deduce my own youthful dejection from the general influence of my time, and from the reading of a few English authors. Rather was it owing to individual and immediate circumstances which touched me to the quick, and gave me a great deal of trouble, and indeed brought me into that frame of mind which produced Werther. I had lived, loved, and suffered much—that was it."

"On considering more closely the much-talked-of Werther period, we discover that it does not belong to the course of universal culture, but to the career of life in every individual, who, with an innate free natural instinct, must accommodate himself to the narrow limits of an antiquated world. Obstructed fortune, restrained activity, unfulfilled wishes, are not the calamities of any particular time, but those of every individual man; and it would be bad, indeed, if every one had not, once in his life, known a time when Werther seemed as if it had been written for him alone."

Sunday, January 4.—Today, after dinner, Goethe went through a portfolio, containing some works of Raphael, with me. He often busies himself with Raphael, in order to keep up a constant intercourse with that which is best, and to accustom himself to muse upon the thoughts of a great man. At the same time, it gives him pleasure to introduce me to such things.

We afterwards spoke about the Divan[10]—especially about the "book of ill-humor," in which much is poured forth that he carried in his heart against his enemies.

"If I have, however," continued he, "been very moderate: if I had uttered all that vexed me or gave me trouble, the few pages would soon have swelled to a volume.

"People were never thoroughly contented with me, but always wished me otherwise than it has pleased God to make me. They were also seldom contented with my productions. When I had long exerted my whole soul to favor the world with a new work, it still desired that I should thank it into the bargain for considering the work endurable. If any one praised me, I was not allowed, in self-congratulation, to receive it as a well-merited tribute; but people expected from me some modest expression, humbly setting forth the total unworthiness of my person and my work. However, my nature opposed this; and I should have been a miserable hypocrite, if I had so tried to lie and dissemble. Since I was strong enough to show myself in my whole truth, just as I felt, I was deemed proud, and am considered so to the present day.

"In religious, scientific, and political matters, I generally brought trouble upon myself, because I was no hypocrite, and had the courage to express what I felt.

"I believed in God and in Nature, and in the triumphs of good over evil; but this was not enough for pious souls; I was also required to believe other points, which were opposed to the feeling of my soul for truth; besides, I did not see that these would be of the slightest service to me.

"It was also prejudicial to me that I discovered Newton's theory of light and color to be an error, and that I had the courage to contradict the universal creed. I discovered light in its purity and truth, and I considered it my duty to fight for it. The opposite party, however, did their utmost to darken the light; for they maintained that shade is a part of light. It sounds absurd when I express it; but so it is: for they said that colors, which are shadow and the result of shade, are light itself, or, which amounts to the same thing, are the beams of light, broken now in one way, now in another."

Goethe was silent, whilst an ironical smile spread over his expressive countenance. He continued—

"And now for political matters. What trouble I have taken, and what I have suffered, on that account, I cannot tell you. Do you know my 'Aufgeregten?'"[11]

"Yesterday, for the first time," returned I, "I read the piece, in consequence of the new edition of your works; and I regret from my heart that it remains unfinished. But, even as it is, every right-thinking person must coincide with your sentiments."

"I wrote it at the time of the French Revolution," continued Goethe, "and it may be regarded, in some measure, as my political confession of faith at that time. I have taken the countess as a type of the nobility; and, with the words which I put into her mouth, I have expressed how the nobility really ought to think. The countess has just returned from Paris; she has there been an eye-witness of the revolutionary events, and has drawn, therefore, for herself, no bad doctrine. She has convinced herself that the people may be ruled, but not oppressed, and that the revolutionary outbreaks of the lower classes are the consequence of the injustice of the higher classes. 'I will for the future,' says she, 'strenuously avoid every action that appears to me unjust, and will, both in society and at court, loudly express my opinion concerning such actions in others. In no case of injustice will I be silent, even though I should be cried down as a democrat.'

"I should have thought this sentiment perfectly respectable," continued Goethe; "it was mine at that time, and it is so still; but as a reward for it, I was endowed with all sorts of titles, which I do not care to repeat."

"One need only read Egmont," answered I, "to discover what you think. I know no German piece in which the freedom of the people is more advocated than in this."

"Sometimes," said Goethe, "people do not like to look on me as I am, but turn their glances from everything which could show me in my true light. Schiller, on the contrary—who, between ourselves, was much more of an aristocrat than I am, but who considered what he said more than I—had the wonderful fortune to be looked upon as a particular friend of the people. I give it up to him with all my heart, and console myself with the thought that others before me had fared no better.

"It is true that I could be no friend to the French Revolution; for its horrors were too near me, and shocked me daily and hourly, whilst its beneficial results were not then to be discovered. Neither could I be indifferent to the fact that the Germans were endeavoring, artificially, to bring about such scenes here, as were, in France, the consequence of a great necessity.

"But I was as little a friend to arbitrary rule. Indeed, I was perfectly convinced that a great revolution is never a fault of the people, but of the government. Revolutions are utterly impossible as long as governments are constantly just and constantly vigilant, so that they may anticipate them by improvements at the right time, and not hold out until they are forced to yield by the pressure from beneath.

"Because I hated the Revolution, the name of the 'Friend of the powers that be' was bestowed upon me. That is, however, a very ambiguous title, which I would beg to decline. If the 'powers that be' were all that is excellent, good, and just, I should have no objection to the title; but, since with much that is good there is also much that is bad, unjust, and imperfect, a friend of the 'powers that be' means often little less than the friend of the obsolete and bad.[12]

"But time is constantly progressing, and human affairs wear every fifty years a different aspect; so that an arrangement which, in the year 1800, was perfection, may, perhaps, in the year 1850, be a defect.

"And, furthermore, nothing is good for a nation but that which arises from its own core and its own general wants, without apish imitation of another; since what to one race of people, of a certain age, is a wholesome nutriment, may perhaps prove a poison for another. All endeavors to introduce any foreign innovation, the necessity for which is not rooted in the core of the nation itself, are therefore foolish; and all premeditated revolutions of the kind are I unsuccessful, for they are without God, who keeps aloof from such bungling. If, however, there exists an actual necessity for a great reform amongst a people, God is with it, and it prospers. He was visibly with Christ and his first adherents; for the appearance of the new doctrine of love was a necessity to the people. He was also visibly with Luther; for the purification of the doctrine corrupted by the priests was no less a necessity. Neither of the great powers whom I have named was, however, a friend of the permanent; much more were both of them convinced that the old leaven must be got rid of, and that it would be impossible to go on and remain in the untrue, unjust, and defective way."

Tuesday, January 27.—Goethe talked with me about the continuation of his memoirs, with which he is now busy. He observed that this later period of his life would not be narrated with such minuteness as the youthful epoch of Dichtung and Wahrheit.[13] "I must," said he, "treat this later period more in the fashion of annals: my outward actions must appear rather than my inward life. Altogether, the most important part of an individual's life is that of development, and mine is concluded in the detailed volumes of Dichtung and Wahrheit. Afterwards begins the conflict with the world, and that is interesting only in its results.

"And then the life of a learned German—what is it? What may have been really good in my case cannot be communicated, and what can be communicated is not worth the trouble. Besides, where are the hearers whom one could entertain with any satisfaction?

"When I look back to the earlier and middle periods of my life, and now in my old age think how few are left of those who were young with me, I always think of a summer residence at a bathing-place. When you arrive, you make acquaintance and friends of those who have already been there some time, and who leave in a few weeks. The loss is painful. Then you turn to the second generation, with which you live a good while, and become most intimate. But this goes also, and leaves us alone with the third, which comes just as we are going away, and with which we have, properly, nothing to do.

"I have ever been esteemed one of Fortune's chiefest favorites; nor will I complain or find fault with the course my life has taken. Yet, truly, there has been nothing but toil and care; and I may say that, in all my seventy-five years, I have never had a month of genuine comfort. It has been the perpetual rolling of a stone, which I have always had to raise anew. My annals will render clear what I now say. The claims upon my activity, both from within and without, were too numerous.

"My real happiness was my poetic meditation and production. But how was this disturbed, limited, and hindered by my external position! Had I been able to abstain more from public business, and to live more in solitude, I should have been happier, and should have accomplished much more as a poet. But, soon after my Goetz and Werther, that saying of a sage was verified for me—'If you do anything for the sake of the world, it will take good care that you shall not do it a second time.'

"A wide-spread celebrity, an elevated position in life, are good things. But, for all my rank and celebrity, I am still obliged to be silent as to the opinion of others, that I may not give offense. This would be but poor sport, if by this means I had not the advantage of learning the thoughts of others without their being able to learn mine."

* * * * *

Wednesday, February 25.—Today, Goethe showed me two very remarkable poems, both highly moral in their tendency, but in their several motives so unreservedly natural and true, that they are of the kind which the world styles immoral. On this account he keeps them to himself, and does not intend to publish them.

"Could intellect and high cultivation," said he, "become the property of all, the poet would have fair play; he could be always thoroughly true, and would not be compelled to fear uttering his best thoughts. But, as it is, he must always keep on a certain level; must remember that his works will fall into the hands of a mixed society; and must, therefore, take care lest by over-great openness he may give offense to the majority of good men. Then Time is a strange thing. It is a whimsical tyrant, which in every century has a different face for all that one says and does. We cannot, with propriety, say things which were permitted to the ancient Greeks; and the Englishmen of 1820 cannot endure what suited the vigorous contemporaries of Shakespeare; so that, at the present day, it is found necessary to have a Family Shakespeare."

"Then," said I, "there is much in the form also. The one of these two poems, which is composed in the style and metre of the ancients, would be far less offensive than the other. Isolated parts would displease, but the treatment throws so much grandeur and dignity over the whole, that we seem to hear a strong ancient, and to be carried back to the age of the Greek heroes. But the other, being in the style and metre of Messer Ariosto, is far more hazardous. It relates an event of our day, in the language of our day, and as it thus comes quite unveiled into our presence, the particular features of boldness seem far more audacious."

"You are right," said he; "mysterious and great effects are produced by different poetical forms. If the import of my Romish elegies were put into the measure and style of Byron's Don Juan, the whole would be found infamous."

The French newspapers were brought. The campaign of the French in Spain under the Duke d'Angoulême, which was just ended, had great interest for Goethe. "I must praise the Bourbons for this measure," said he; "they had not really gained the throne till they had gained the army, and that is now accomplished. The soldier returns with loyalty, to his king; for he has, from his own victories, and the discomfitures of the many-headed Spanish host, learned the difference between obeying one and many. The army has sustained its ancient fame, and shown that it is brave in itself, and can conquer without Napoleon."

Goethe then turned his thoughts backward into history, and talked much of the Prussian army in the Seven Years' War, which, accustomed by Frederic the Great to constant victory, grew careless, so that, in after days, it lost many battles from over-confidence. All the minutest details were present to his mind, and I had reason to admire his excellent memory.

"I had the great advantage," said he, "of being born at a time when the greatest events which agitated the world occurred, and such have continued to occur during my long life; so that I am a living witness of the Seven Years' War, of the separation of America from England, of the French Revolution, and of the whole Napoleon era, with the downfall of that hero, and the events which followed. Thus I have attained results and insight impossible to those who are born now and must learn all these things from books which they will not understand.

"What the next years will bring I cannot predict; but I fear we shall not soon have repose. It is not given to the world to be contented; the great are not such that there will be no abuse of power; the masses not such that, in hope of gradual improvement, they will be contented with a moderate condition. Could we perfect human nature, we might also expect a perfect state of things; but, as it is, there will always be a wavering hither and thither; one part must suffer while the other is at ease, envy and egotism will be always at work like bad demons, and party strife will be without end.

"The most reasonable way is for every one to follow his own vocation to which he has been born, and which he has learned, and to avoid hindering others from following theirs. Let the shoemaker abide by his last, the peasant by his plough, and let the king know how to govern; for, this is also a business which must be learned, and with which no one should meddle who does not understand it."

Returning to the French papers, Goethe said: "The liberals may speak, for when they are reasonable we like to hear them; but with the royalists, who have the executive power in their hands, talking comes amiss—they should act. They may march troops, and behead and hang—that is all right; but attacking opinions, and justifying their measures in public prints, does not become them. If there were a public of kings, they might talk.

"For myself," he continued, "I have always been a royalist. I have let others babble, and have done as I saw fit. I understood my course, and knew my own object. If I committed a fault as a single individual, I could make it good again; but if I committed it jointly with three or four others, it would be impossible to make it good, for among many there are many opinions."

Goethe was in excellent spirits today. He showed me Frau von Spiegel's album, in which he had written some very beautiful verses. A place had been left open for him for two years, and he rejoiced at having been able to perform at last an old promise. After I had read the "Poem to Frau von Spiegel," I turned over the leaves of the book, in which I found many distinguished names. On the very next page was a poem by Tiedge, written in the very spirit and style of his Urania. "In a saucy mood," said Goethe, "I was on the point of writing some verses beneath those; but I am glad I did not. It would not have been the first time that, by rash expressions, I had repelled good people, and spoiled the effect of my best works.

"However," continued Goethe, "I have had to endure not a little from Tiedge's Urania; for, at one time, nothing was sung and nothing was declaimed but this same Urania. Wherever you went, you found Urania on the table. Urania and immortality were the topics of every conversation. I would by no means dispense with the happiness of believing in a future existence, and, indeed, would say, with Lorenzo de' Medici, that those are dead even for this life who hope for no other. But such incomprehensible matters lie too far off to be a theme of daily meditation and thought-distracting speculation. Let him who believes in immortality enjoy his happiness in silence, he has no reason to give himself airs about it. The occasion of Tiedge's Urania led me to observe that piety, like nobility, has its aristocracy. I met stupid women, who plumed themselves on believing, with Tiedge, in immortality, and I was forced to bear much dark examination on this point. They were vexed by my saying I should be well pleased if, after the close of this life, we were blessed with another, only I hoped I should hereafter meet none of those who had believed in it here. For how should I be tormented! The pious would throng around me, and say, 'Were we not right? Did we not predict it? Has not it happened just as we said?' And so there would be ennui without end, even in the other world.

"This occupation with the ideas of immortality," he continued, "is for people of rank, and especially ladies, who have nothing to do. But an able man, who has some thing regular to do here, and must toil and struggle and produce day by day, leaves the future world to itself, and is active and useful in this. Thoughts about immortality are also good for those who have not been very successful here; and I would wager that, if the good Tiedge had enjoyed a better lot, he would also have had better thoughts."

* * * * *

Tuesday, November 9.—I passed this evening with Goethe. We talked of Klopstock and Herder; and I liked to listen to him, as he explained to me the merits of those men.

"Without those powerful precursors," said Goethe, "our literature could not have become what it now is. When they appeared, they were before their age, and were obliged, as it were, to drag it after them; but now the age has far outrun them, and they who were once so necessary and important have now ceased to be means to an end. A young man who would take Klopstock and Herder for his teachers nowadays would be far behindhand."

We talked over Klopstock's Messiah and his Odes, touching on their merits and their defects. We agreed that he had no faculty for observing and apprehending the visible world, or for drawing characters; and that he therefore wanted the qualities most essential to the epic and dramatic poet, or, perhaps it might be said, to the poet generally.

"An ode occurs to me," said Goethe, "where he makes the German Muse run a race with the British; and, indeed, when one thinks what a picture it is, where the two girls run one against the other, throwing about their legs and kicking up the dust, one must assume that the good Klopstock did not really have before his eyes such pictures as he wrote, else he could not possibly have made such mistakes."

I asked how he had felt towards Klopstock in his youth. "I venerated him," said Goethe, "with the devotion which was peculiar to me; I looked upon him as my uncle. I revered whatever he had done, and never thought of reflecting upon it, or finding fault with it. I let his fine qualities work upon me; for the rest, I went my own way."

We came back to Herder, and I asked Goethe which of his works he
thought the best. "His Idea for the History of Mankind" (Ideen zur
Geschichte der Menschheit)
, replied Goethe, "are undoubtedly the best.
In after days, he took the negative side, and was not so agreeable."

"Considering the great weight of Herder," said I, "I cannot understand how he had so little judgment on some subjects. For instance, I cannot forgive him, especially at that period of German literature, for sending back the manuscript of Goetz von Berlichingen without any praise of its merits, and with taunting remarks. He must have utterly wanted organs to perceive some objects."

"Yes, Herder was unfortunate in this respect," replied Goethe; "nay," added he, with vivacity, "if his spirit were present at this conversation, it would not understand us."

"On the other hand," said I, "I must praise Merck, who urged you to print Goetz."

"He was indeed an odd but important man," said Goethe. "'Print the thing,' quoth he, 'it is worth nothing, but print it.' He did not wish me to make any alteration in it, and he was right; for it would have been different, but not better."

Wednesday, November 24.—I went to see Goethe this evening, before going to the theatre, and found him very well and cheerful. He inquired about the young Englishmen who are here. I told him that I proposed reading with Mr. Doolan a German translation of Plutarch. This led the conversation to Roman and Grecian history; and Goethe expressed himself as follows:

"The Roman history," said he, "is no longer suited to us. We have become too humane for the triumphs of Cæsar not to be repugnant to our feelings. Neither are we much charmed by the history of Greece. When this people turns against a foreign foe, it is, indeed, great and glorious; but the division of the states, and their eternal wars with one another, where Greek fights against Greek, are insufferable. Besides, the history of our own time is thoroughly great and important; the battles of Leipsic and Waterloo stand out with such prominence that that of Marathon and others like it are gradually eclipsed. Neither are our individual heroes inferior to theirs; the French Marshals, Blücher, and Wellington, vie with any of the heroes of antiquity."

We then talked of the late French literature, and the daily increasing interest in German works manifested by the French.

"The French," said Goethe, "do well to study and translate our writers; for, limited as they are both in form and motives, they can only look without for means. We Germans may be reproached for a certain formlessness; but in matter we are their superiors. The theatrical productions of Kotzebue and Iffland are so rich in motives that they may pluck them a long time before all is used up. But, especially, our philosophical Ideality is welcome to them; for every Ideal is serviceable to revolutionary aims.

"The French have understanding and esprit, but neither a solid basis nor piety. What serves the moment, what helps his party, seems right to the Frenchman. Hence they praise us, never from an acknowledgment of our merits, but only when they can strengthen their party by our views."

We then talked about our own literature, and of the obstacles in the way of some of our latest young poets.

"The majority of our young poets," said Goethe, "have no fault but this, that their subjectivity is not important, and that they cannot find matter in the objective. At best, they only find a material, which is similar to themselves, which corresponds to their own subjectivity; but as for taking the material on its own account, when it is repugnant to the subjectivity, merely because it is poetical, such a thing is never thought of.

"Still, as I have said, if we only had important personages, formed by great studies and situations in life, it might still go well with us, at least as far as our young lyric poets are concerned."


Monday, January 10.—Goethe, consistently with his great interest for the English, has desired me to introduce to him the young Englishmen who are here at present.

After we had waited a few minutes, Goethe came in, and greeted us cordially. He said to Mr. H., "I presume I may address you in German, as I hear you are already well versed in our language." Mr. H. answered with a few polite words, and Goethe requested us to be seated.

Mr. H.'s manners and appearance must have made a good impression on Goethe; for his sweetness and mild serenity were manifested towards the stranger in their real beauty. "You did well," said he "to come hither to learn German; for here you will quickly and easily acquire, not only a knowledge of the language, but also of the elements on which it rests, our soil, climate, mode of life, manners, social habits, and constitution, and carry it away with you to England."

Mr. H. replied, "The interest taken in the German language is now great, so that there is now scarcely a young Englishman of good family who does not learn German."

"We Germans," said Goethe, good-humoredly, "have, however, been half a century before your nation in this respect. For fifty years I have been busy with the English language and literature; so that I am well acquainted with your writers, your ways of living, and the administration of your country. If I went over to England, I should be no stranger there.

"But, as I said before, your young men do well to come to us and learn our language; for, not only does our literature merit attention on its own account, but no one can deny that he who now knows German well can dispense with many other languages. Of the French, I do not speak; it is the language of conversation, and is indispensable in traveling, because everybody understands it, and in all countries we can get on with it instead of a good interpreter. But as for Greek, Latin, Italian, and Spanish, we can read the best works of those nations in such excellent German translations, that, unless we have some particular object in view, we need not spend much time upon the toilsome study of those languages. It is in the German nature duly to honor, after its kind, everything produced by other nations, and to accommodate itself to foreign peculiarities. This, with the great flexibility of our language, makes German translations thoroughly faithful and complete. And it is not to be denied that, in general, you get on very far with a good translation. Frederick the Great did not know Latin, but he read Cicero in the French translation with as much profit as we who read him in the original."

Then, turning the conversation on the theatre, he asked Mr. H. whether he went frequently thither. "Every evening," he replied, "and find that I thus gain much towards the understanding of the language."

"It is remarkable," said Goethe, "that the ear, and generally the understanding, gets the start of speaking; so that a man may very soon comprehend all he hears, but by no means express it all."

"I experience daily," said Mr. H., "the truth of that remark. I understand very well whatever I hear or read; I even feel when an incorrect expression is made use of in German. But when I speak, nothing will flow, and I cannot express myself as I wish. In light conversation at court, jests with the ladies, a chat at balls, and the like, I succeed pretty well. But, if I try to express an opinion on any important topic, to say anything peculiar or luminous, I cannot get on."

"Be not discouraged by that," said Goethe, "since it is hard enough to express such uncommon matters in one's own mother tongue."

He then asked what Mr. H. read in German literature. "I have read Egmont," he replied, "and found so much pleasure in the perusal that I returned to it three times. Torquato Tasso, too, has afforded me much enjoyment. Now I am reading Faust, but find that it is somewhat difficult."

Goethe laughed at these last words. "Really," said he, "I would not have advised you to undertake Faust. It is mad stuff, and goes quite beyond all ordinary feeling. But since you have done it of your own accord, without asking my advice, you will see how you will get through. Faust is so strange an individual that only few can sympathize with his internal condition. Then the character of Mephistopheles is, on account of his irony, and also because he is a living result of an extensive acquaintance with the world, also very difficult. But you will see what lights open upon you. Tasso, on the other hand, lies far nearer the common feelings of mankind, and the elaboration of its form is favorable to an easy comprehension of it."

"Yet," said Mr. H., "Tasso is thought difficult in Germany, and people have wondered to hear me say that I was reading it."

"What is chiefly needed for Tasso," replied Goethe, "is that one should be no longer a child, and should have been in good society. A young man of good family, with sufficient mind and delicacy, and also with enough outward culture, such as will be produced by intercourse with accomplished men of the higher class, will not find' Tasso difficult."

The conversation turning upon Egmont, he said, "I wrote Egmont in 1775—fifty years ago. I adhered closely to history, and strove to be as accurate as possible. Ten years afterwards, when I was in Rome, I read in the newspapers that the revolutionary scenes in the Nether lands there described were exactly repeated. I saw from this that the world remains ever the same, and that my picture must have some life in it."

Amid this and similar conversation, the hour for the theatre had come.
We arose, and Goethe dismissed us in a friendly manner.

As we went homeward, I asked Mr. H. how he was pleased with Goethe. "I have never," said he, "seen a man who, with all his attractive gentleness, had so much native dignity. However he may condescend, he is always the great man."

Professor Riemer was announced, Rehbein took leave, and Riemer sat down with us. The conversation still turned on the motives of the Servian love-poems. Riemer was acquainted with the topic, and made the remark that, according to the table of contents given above, not only could poems be made, but that the same motives had been already used by the Germans, without any knowledge that they had been treated in Servia. He mentioned some poems of his own, and I mentioned some poems by Goethe, which had occurred to me during the reading.

"The world," said Goethe, "remains always the same; situations are repeated; one people lives, loves, and feels like another; why should not one poet write like another? The situations of life are alike; why, then, should those of poems be unlike?"

"This very similarity in life and sensation," said Riemer, "makes us all able to appreciate the poetry of other nations. If this were not the case, we should never know what foreign poems were about."

"I am, therefore," said I, "always surprised at the learned, who seem to suppose that poetizing proceeds not from life to the poem, but from the book to the poem. They are always saying, 'He got this here; he got that there.' If, for instance, they find passages in Shakespeare which are also to be found in the ancients, they say he must have taken them from the ancients. Thus there is a situation in Shakespeare, where, on the sight of a beautiful girl, the parents are congratulated who call her daughter, and the youth who will lead her home as his bride. And because the same thing occurs in Homer, Shakespeare, forsooth, has taken it from Homer. How odd! As if one had to go so far for such things, and did not have them before one's eyes, feel them and utter them every day." "Ah, yes," said Goethe, "it is very ridiculous."

"Lord Byron, too," said I, "is no wiser, when he takes Faust to pieces, and thinks you found one thing here, the other there."

"The greater part of those fine things cited by Lord Byron," said Goethe, "I have never even read, much less did I think of them, when I was writing Faust. But Lord Byron is great only as a poet; as soon as he reflects, he is a child. He knows not how to help himself against the stupid attacks of the same kind made upon him by his own countrymen. He ought to have expressed himself more strongly against them. 'What is there is mine,' he should have said, 'and whether I got it from a book or from life, is of no consequence; the only point is, whether I have made a right use of it.' Walter Scott used a scene from my Egmont, and he had a right to do so; and because he did it well, he deserves praise. He has also copied the character of my Mignon in one of his romances; but whether with equal judgment, is another question. Lord Byron's transformed Devil[14] is a continuation of Mephistopheles, and quite right too. If, from the whim of originality, he had departed from the model, he would certainly have fared worse. Thus, my Mephistopheles sings a song from Shakespeare, and why should he not? Why should I give myself the trouble of inventing one of my own, when this said just what was wanted. If, too, the prologue to my Faust is something like the beginning of Job, that is again quite right, and I am rather to be praised than censured."

Goethe was in the best humor. He sent for a bottle of wine, and filled for Riemer and me; he himself drank Marienbad water. He seemed to have appointed this evening for looking over, with Riemer, the manuscript of the continuation of his autobiography, perhaps in order to improve it here and there, in point of expression. "Let Eckermann stay and hear it too," said Goethe; which words I was very glad to hear, and he then laid the manuscript before Riemer, who began to read, commencing with the year 1795.

I had already, in the course of the summer, had the pleasure of repeatedly reading and reflecting on the still unpublished record of those years, down to the latest time. But now to hear them read aloud in Goethe's presence, afforded quite a new enjoyment. Riemer paid especial attention to the mode of expression; and I had occasion to admire his great dexterity, and his affluence of words and phrases. But in Goethe's mind the epoch of life described was revived; he revelled in recollections, and on the mention of single persons and events, filled out the written narrative by the details he orally gave us. That was a precious evening! The most distinguished of his contemporaries were talked over; but the conversation always came back to Schiller, who was so interwoven with this period, from 1795 to 1800. The theatre had been the object of their united efforts, and Goethe's best works belong to this time. Wilhelm Meister was completed; Hermann and Dorothea planned and written; Cellini translated for the "Horen;" the "Xenien" written by both for Schiller's Musenalmanach; every day brought with it points of contact. Of all this we talked this evening, and Goethe had full opportunity for the most interesting communications.

"Hermann and Dorothea," said he, "is almost the only one of my larger poems which still satisfies me; I can never read it without strong interest. I love it best in the Latin translation; there it seems to me nobler, and as if it had returned to its original form."

Wilhelm Meister was often a subject of discourse. "Schiller blamed me for interweaving tragic elements which do not belong to the novel. Yet he was wrong, as we all know. In his letters to me, there are most important views and opinions with respect to Wilhelm Meister. But this work is one of the most incalculable productions; I myself can scarcely be said to have the key to it. People seek a central point, and that is hard, and not even right. I should think a rich, manifold life, brought close to our eyes, would be enough in itself, without any express tendency, which, after all, is only for the intellect. But if anything of the sort is insisted upon, it will perhaps be found in the words which Frederic, at the end, addresses to the hero, when he says—'Thou seem'st to me like Saul, the son of Kish, who went out to seek his father's asses, and found a kingdom.' Keep only to this; for, in fact, the whole work seems to say nothing more than that man, despite all his follies and errors, being led by a higher hand, reaches some happy goal at last."

We then talked of the high degree of culture which, during the last fifty years, had become general among the middle classes of Germany, and Goethe ascribed the merit of this not so much to Lessing as to Herder and Wieland. "Lessing," said he, "was of the very highest understanding, and only one equally great could truly learn of him. To a half faculty he was dangerous." He mentioned a journalist who had formed himself on Lessing, and at the end of the last century had played a part indeed, but far from a noble one, because he was so inferior to his great predecessor.

"All Upper Germany," said he, "is indebted to Wieland for its style. It has learned much from him; and the capability of expressing itself correctly is not the least."

On mentioning the Xenien,[15] he especially praised those of Schiller, which he called sharp and biting, while he called his own innocent and trivial.

"The Thierkreis (Zodiac), which is by Schiller," said he, "I always read with admiration. The good effects which the Xenien had upon the German literature of their time are beyond calculation." Many persons against whom the Xenien were directed, were mentioned on this occasion, but their names have escaped my memory.

After we had read and talked over the manuscript to the end of the year 1800, interrupted by these and innumerable other observations from Goethe, he put aside the papers, and had a little supper placed at one end of the table at which we were sitting. We partook of it, but Goethe did not touch a morsel; indeed, I have never seen him eat in the evening. He sat down with us, filled our glasses, snuffed the candles, and intellectually regaled us with the most agreeable conversation. His remembrance of Schiller was so lively, that the conversation during the latter part of the evening was devoted to him alone.

Riemer spoke of Schiller's personal appearance. "The build of his limbs, his gait in the street, all his motions," said he, "were proud; his eyes only were soft."

"Yes," said Goethe, "everything else about him was proud and majestic, only the eyes were soft. And his talent was like his outward form. He seized boldly on a great subject, and turned it this way and that, and handled it this way and that. But he saw his object, as it were, only in the outside; a quiet development from its interior was not within his province. His talent was desultory. Thus he was never decided—could never have done. He often changed a part just before a rehearsal.

"And, as he went so boldly to work, he did not take sufficient pains about motives. I recollect what trouble I had with him, when he wanted to make Gessler, in Tell, abruptly break an apple from the tree, and have it shot from the boy's head. This was quite against my nature, and I urged him to give at least some motive to this barbarity, by making the boy boast to Gessler of his father's dexterity, and say that he could shoot an apple from a tree at a hundred paces. Schiller, at first, would have nothing of the sort: but at last he yielded to my arguments and intentions, and did as I advised him. I, on the other hand, by too great attention to motives, kept my pieces from the theatre. My Eugenie[16] is nothing but a chain of motives, and this cannot succeed on the stage.

"Schiller's genius was really made for the theatre. With every piece he progressed, and became more finished; but, strange to say, a certain love for the horrible adhered to him from the time of The Robbers, which never quite left him even in his prime. I still recollect perfectly well, that in the prison scene in my 'Egmont,' where the sentence is read to him, Schiller would have made Alva appear in the background, masked and muffled in a cloak, enjoying the effect which the sentence would produce on Egmont. Thus Alva was to show himself insatiable in revenge and malice. I, however, protested, and prevented the apparition. He was a great, odd man.

"Every week he became different and more finished; each time that I saw him, he seemed to me to have advanced in learning and judgment. His letters are the fairest memorials of him which I possess, and they are also among the most excellent of his writings. His last letter I preserve as a sacred relic, among my treasures." He rose and fetched it. "See and read it," said he; giving it to me.

It was a very fine letter, written in a bold hand. It contained an opinion of Goethe's notes to "Rameau's Nephew," which exhibit French literature at that time, and which he had given Schiller to look over. I read the letter aloud to Riemer.

"You see," said Goethe, "how apt and consistent is his judgment, and that the handwriting nowhere betrays any trace of weakness. He was a splendid man, and went from us in all the fulness of his strength. This letter is dated the 24th of April, 1805. Schiller died on the 9th of May."

We looked at the letter by turns, and were pleased both with the clear style and the fine handwriting. Goethe bestowed several other words of affectionate reminiscence upon his friend, until it was nearly eleven o'clock, and we departed.

* * * * *

Wednesday, October 15.—I found Goethe in a very elevated mood this evening, and had the pleasure of hearing from him many significant remarks. We talked about the state of the newest literature, when Goethe expressed himself as follows:

"Deficiency of character in individual investigators and writers is," he said, "the source of all the evils of our newest literature.

"In criticism, especially, this defect produces mischief to the world, for it either diffuses the false instead of the true, or by a pitiful truth deprives us of something great, that would be better.

"Till lately, the world believed in the heroism of a Lucretia—of a Mucius Scævola—and suffered itself, by this belief, to be warmed and inspired. But now comes your historical criticism, and says that those persons never lived, but are to be regarded as fables and fictions, divined by the great mind of the Romans. What are we to do with so pitiful a truth? If the Romans were great enough to invent such stories, we should at least be great enough to believe them.

"Till lately, I was always pleased with a great fact in the thirteenth century, when the Emperor Frederic the Second was at variance with the Pope, and the north of Germany was open to all sorts of hostile attacks. Asiatic hordes had actually penetrated as far as Silesia, when the Duke of Liegnitz terrified them by one great defeat. They then turned to Moravia, but were here defeated by Count Sternberg. These valiant men had on this account been living in my heart as the great saviors of the German nation. But now comes historical criticism, and says that these heroes sacrificed themselves quite uselessly, as the Asiatic army was already recalled, and would have returned of its own accord. Thus is a great national fact crippled and destroyed, which seems to me most abominable."

After these remarks on historical critics, Goethe spoke of another class of seekers and literary men.

"I could never," said he, "have known so well how paltry men are, and how little they care for really high aims, if I had not tested them by my scientific researches. Thus I saw that most men care for science only so far as they get a living by it, and that they worship even error when it affords them a subsistence.

"In belles lettres it is no better. There, too, high aims and genuine love for the true and sound, and for their diffusion, are very rare phenomena. One man cherishes and tolerates another, because he is by him cherished and tolerated in return. True greatness is hateful to them; they would fain drive it from the world, so that only such as they might be of importance in it. Such are the masses; and the prominent individuals are not better.

"—— 's great talents and world-embracing learning might have done much for his country. But his want of character has deprived the world of such great results, and himself of the esteem of the country.

"We want a man like Lessing. For how was he great, except in character—in firmness? There are many men as clever and as cultivated, but where is such character?

"Many are full of esprit and knowledge, but they are also full of vanity; and that they may shine as wits before the short-sighted multitude, they have no shame or delicacy—nothing is sacred to them.

"Madame de Genlis was therefore perfectly right when she declaimed against the freedoms and profanities of Voltaire. Clever as they all may be, the world has derived no profit from them; they afford a foundation for nothing. Nay, they have been of the greatest injury, since they have confused men and robbed them of their needful support.

"After all, what do we know, and how far can we go with all our wit?

"Man is born not to solve the problems of the universe, but to find out where the problem begins, and then to restrain himself within the limits of the comprehensible.

"His faculties are not sufficient to measure the actions of the universe; and an attempt to explain the outer world by reason is, with his narrow point of view, but a vain endeavor. The reason of man and the reason of the Deity are two very different things.

"If we grant freedom to man, there is an end to the omniscience of God; for if the Divinity knows how I shall act, I must act so perforce. I give this merely as a sign how little we know, and to show that it is not good to meddle with divine mysteries.

"Moreover, we should only utter higher maxims so far as they can benefit the world. The rest we should keep within ourselves, and they will diffuse over our actions a lustre like the mild radiance of a hidden sun."

Sunday, December 25.—"I have of late made an observation, which I will impart to you.

"Everything we do has a result. But that which is right and prudent does not always lead to good, nor the contrary to what is bad; frequently the reverse takes place. Some time since, I made a mistake in one of these transactions with booksellers, and was sorry that I had done so. But now circumstances have so altered, that, if I had not made that very mistake, I should have made a greater one. Such instances occur frequently in life, and hence we see men of the world, who know this, going to work with great freedom and boldness."

I was struck by this remark, which was new to me.

I then turned the conversation to some of his works, and we came to the elegy Alexis and Dora.

"In this poem," said Goethe, "people have blamed the strong, passionate conclusion, and would have liked the elegy to end gently and peacefully, without that outbreak of jealousy; but I could not see that they were right. Jealousy is so manifestly an ingredient of the affair, that the poem would be incomplete if it were not introduced at all. I myself knew a young man who, in the midst of his impassioned love for an easily-won maiden, cried out, 'But would she not act to another as she has acted to me?'"

I agreed entirely with Goethe, and then mentioned the peculiar situations in this elegy, where, with so few strokes and in so narrow a space, all is so well delineated that we think we see the whole life and domestic environment of the persons engaged in the action. "What you have described," said I, "appears as true as if you had worked from actual experience."

"I am glad it seems so to you," said Goethe. "There are, however, few men who have imagination for the truth of reality; most prefer strange countries and circumstances, of which they know nothing, and by which their imagination may be cultivated, oddly enough.

"Then there are others who cling altogether to reality, and, as they wholly want the poetic spirit, are too severe in their requisitions. For instance, in this elegy, some would have had me give Alexis a servant to carry his bundle, never thinking that all that was poetic and idyllic in the situation would thus have been destroyed."

From Alexis and Dora, the conversation then turned to Wilhelm Meister. "There are odd critics in this world," said Goethe; "they blamed me for letting the hero of this novel live so much in bad company; but by this very circumstance that I considered this so-called bad company as a vase into which I could put everything I had to say about good society, I gained a poetical body, and a varied one into the bargain. Had I, on the contrary, delineated good society by the so-called good society, nobody would have read the book.

"In the seeming trivialities of Wilhelm Meister, there is always something higher at bottom, and nothing is required but eyes, knowledge of the world, and power of comprehension to perceive the great in the small. For those who are without such qualities, let it suffice to receive the picture of life as real life."

Goethe then showed me a very interesting English work, which illustrated all Shakespeare in copper plates. Each page embraced, in six small designs, one piece with some verses written beneath, so that the leading idea and the most important situations of each work were brought before the eyes. All these immortal tragedies and comedies thus passed before the mind like processions of masks.

"It is even terrifying," said Goethe, "to look through these little pictures. Thus are we first made to feel the infinite wealth and grandeur of Shakespeare. There is no motive in human life which he has not exhibited and expressed! And all with what ease and freedom!

"But we cannot talk about Shakespeare; everything is inadequate. I have touched upon the subject in my Wilhelm Meister but that is not saying much. He is not a theatrical poet; he never thought of the stage; it was far too narrow for his great mind: nay, the whole visible world was too narrow.

"He is even too rich and too powerful. A productive nature[17] ought not to read more than one of his dramas in a year if it would not be wrecked entirely. I did well to get rid of him by writing Goetz, and Egmont,[18] and Byron did well by not having too much respect and admiration for him, but going his own way. How many excellent Germans have been ruined by him and Calderon!

"Shakespeare gives us golden apples in silver dishes. We get, indeed, the silver dishes by studying his works; but, unfortunately, we have only potatoes to put into them."

I laughed, and was delighted with this admirable simile.

Goethe then read me a letter from Zelter, describing a representation of Macbeth at Berlin, where the music could not keep pace with the grand spirit and character of the piece, as Zelter set forth by various intimations. By Goethe's reading, the letter gained its full effect, and he often paused to admire with me the point of some single passage.

"Macbeth," said Goethe, "is Shakespeare's best acting play, the one in which he shows most understanding with respect to the stage. But would you see his mind unfettered, read Troilus and Cressida, where he treats the materials of the Iliad in his own fashion."

The conversation turned upon Byron—the disadvantage in which he appears when placed beside the innocent cheerfulness of Shakespeare, and the frequent and generally not unjust blame which he drew upon himself by his manifold works of negation.

"If Lord Byron," said Goethe, "had had an opportunity of working off all the opposition in his character, by a number of strong parliamentary speeches, he would have been much more pure as a poet. But, as he scarcely ever spoke in parliament, he kept within himself all his feelings against his nation, and to free himself from them, he had no other means than to express them in poetical form. I could, therefore, call a great part of Byron's works of negation 'suppressed parliamentary speeches,' and think this would be no bad name for them."

We then mentioned one of our most modern German poets, Platen, who had lately gained a great name, and whose negative tendency was likewise disapproved. "We cannot deny," said Goethe, "that he has many brilliant qualities, but he is wanting in—love. He loves his readers and his fellow-poets as little as he loves himself, and thus we may apply to him the maxim of the apostle—'Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not love (charity), I am become as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.' I have lately read the poems of Platen, and cannot deny his great talent. But, as I said, he is deficient in love, and thus he will never produce the effect which he ought. He will be feared, and will be the idol of those who would like to be as negative as himself, but have not his talent."

* * * * *


Thursday evening, January 18.—The conversation now turned wholly on Schiller, and Goethe proceeded thus: "Schiller's proper productive talent lay in the ideal; and it may be said he has not his equal in German or any other literature. He has almost everything that Lord Byron has; but Lord Byron is his superior in knowledge of the world. I wish Schiller had lived to know Lord Byron's works, and wonder what he would have said to so congenial a mind. Did Byron publish anything during Schiller's life?"

I could not say with certainty. Goethe took down the Conversations Lexicon, and read the article on Byron, making many hasty remarks as he proceeded. It appeared that Byron had published nothing before 1807, and that therefore Schiller could have seen nothing of his.

"Through all Schiller's works," continued Goethe, "goes the idea of freedom; though this idea assumed a new shape as Schiller advanced in his culture and became another man. In his youth it was physical freedom which occupied him, and influenced his poems; in his later life it was ideal freedom.

"Freedom is an odd thing, and every man has enough of it, if he can only satisfy himself. What avails a superfluity of freedom which we cannot use? Look at this chamber and the next, in which, through the open door, you see my bed. Neither of them is large; and they are rendered still narrower by necessary furniture, books, manuscripts, and works of art; but they are enough for me. I have lived in them all the winter, scarcely entering my front rooms. What have I done with my spacious house, and the liberty of going from one room to another, when I have not found it requisite to make use of them?

"If a man has freedom enough to live healthy, and work at his craft, he has enough; and so much all can easily obtain. Then all of us are only free under certain conditions, which we must fulfil. The citizen is as free as the nobleman, when he restrains himself within the limits which God appointed by placing him in that rank. The nobleman is as free as the prince; for, if he will but observe a few ceremonies at court, he may feel himself his equal. Freedom consists not in refusing to recognize anything above us, but in respecting something which is above us; for, by respecting it, we raise ourselves to it, and by our very acknowledgment make manifest that we bear within ourselves what is higher, and are worthy to be on a level with it.

"I have, on my journeys, often met merchants from the north of Germany, who fancied they were my equals, if they rudely seated themselves next me at table. They were, by this method, nothing of the kind; but they would have been so if they had known how to value and treat me.

"That this physical freedom gave Schiller so much trouble in his youthful years, was caused partly by the nature of his mind, but still more by the restraint which he endured at the military school. In later days, when he had enough physical freedom, he passed over to the ideal; and I would almost say that this idea killed him, since it led him to make demands on his physical nature which were too much for his strength.

"The Grand Duke fixed on Schiller, when he was established here, an income of one thousand dollars yearly, and offered to give him twice as much in case he should be hindered by sickness from working. Schiller declined this last offer, and never availed himself of it. 'I have talent,' said he, 'and must help myself.' But as his family enlarged of late years, he was obliged, for a livelihood, to write two dramas annually; and to accomplish this, he forced himself to write days and weeks when he was not well. He would have his talent obey him at any hour. He never drank much; he was very temperate; but, in such hours of bodily weakness, he was obliged to stimulate his powers by the use of spirituous liquors. This habit impaired his health, and was likewise injurious to his productions. The faults which some wiseacres find in his works I deduce from this source. All the passages which they say are not what they ought to be, I would call pathological passages; for he wrote them on those days when he had not strength to find the right and true motives. I have every respect for the categorical imperative. I know how much good may proceed from it; but one must not carry it too far, for then this idea of ideal freedom certainly leads to no good."

Amid these interesting remarks, and similar discourse on Lord Byron and the celebrated German authors, of whom Schiller had said that he liked Kotzebue best, for he, at any rate, produced something, the hours of evening passed swiftly along, and Goethe gave me the novel, that I might study it quietly at home.

* * * * *

Wednesday, February 21.—Dined with Goethe. He spoke much, and with admiration, of Alexander von Humboldt, whose work on Cuba and Colombia he had begun to read and whose views as to the project for making a passage through the Isthmus of Panama appeared to have a particular interest for him. "Humboldt," said Goethe, "has, with a great knowledge of his subject, given other points where, by making use of some streams which flow into the Gulf of Mexico, the end may be perhaps better attained than at Panama. All this is reserved for the future, and for an enterprising spirit. So much, however, is certain, that, if they succeed in cutting such a canal that ships of any burden and size can be navigated through it from the Mexican Gulf to the Pacific Ocean, innumerable benefits would result to the whole human race, civilized and uncivilized. But I should wonder if the United States were to let an opportunity escape of getting such work into their own hands. It may be foreseen that this young state, with its decided predilection to the West, will, in thirty or forty years, have occupied and peopled the large tract of land beyond the Rocky Mountains. It may, furthermore, be foreseen that along the whole coast of the Pacific Ocean, where nature has already formed the most capacious and secure harbors, important commercial towns will gradually arise, for the furtherance of a great intercourse between China and the East Indies and the United States. In such a case, it would not only be desirable, but almost necessary, that a more rapid communication should be maintained between the eastern and western shores of North America, both by merchant-ships and men-of-war, than has hitherto been possible with the tedious, disagreeable, and expensive voyage round Cape Horn. I therefore repeat, that it is absolutely indispensable for the United States to effect a passage from the Mexican Gulf to the Pacific Ocean; and I am certain that they will do it.

"Would that I might live to see it!—but I shall not. I should like to see another thing—a junction of the Danube and the Rhine. But this undertaking is so gigantic that I have doubts of its completion, particularly when I consider our German resources. And thirdly, and lastly, I should wish to see England in possession of a canal through the Isthmus of Suez. Would I could live to see these three great works! it would be well worth the trouble to last some fifty years more for the very purpose."

* * * * *

Thursday, May 3.—The highly successful translation of Goethe's dramatic works, by Stapfer, was noticed by Monsieur J. J. Ampere in the Parisian Globe of last year, in a manner no less excellent, and this affected Goethe so agreeably that he very often recurred to it, and expressed his great obligations to it.

"Ampere's point of view is a very high one," said he.

"When German critics on similar occasions start from philosophy, and in the consideration and discussion of a poetical production proceed in a manner that what they intend as an elucidation is only intelligible to philosophers of their own school, while for other people it is far more obscure than the work upon which they intended to throw a light, M. Ampere, on the contrary, shows himself quite practical and popular. Like one who knows his profession thoroughly, he shows the relation between the production and the producer, and judges the different poetical productions as different fruits of different epochs of the poet's life.

"He has studied most profoundly the changing course of my earthly career, and of the condition of my mind, and has had the faculty of seeing what I have not expressed, and what, so to speak, could only be read between the lines. How truly has he remarked that, during the first ten years of my official and court life at Weimar, I scarcely did anything; that despair drove me to Italy; and that I there, with new delight in producing, seized upon the history of Tasso, in order to free myself, by the treatment of this agreeable subject, from the painful and troublesome impressions and recollections of my life at Weimar. He therefore very happily calls Tasso an elevated Werther.

"Then, concerning Faust, his remarks are no less clever, since he not only notes, as part of myself, the gloomy, discontented striving of the principal character, but also the scorn and the bitter irony of Mephistopheles."

In this, and a similar spirit of acknowledgment, Goethe often spoke of M. Ampere. We took a decided interest in him; we endeavored to picture to ourselves his personal appearance, and, if we could not succeed in this, we at least agreed that he must be a man of middle age to understand the reciprocal action of life and poetry on each other. We were, therefore, extremely surprised when M. Ampere arrived in Weimar a few days ago, and proved to be a lively youth, some twenty years old; and we were no less surprised when, in the course of further intercourse, he told us that the whole of the contributors of the. Globe, whose wisdom, moderation, and high degree of cultivation we had often admired, were only young people like himself.

"I can well comprehend," said I, "that a person may be young and may still produce something of importance—like Mérimée, for instance, who wrote excellent pieces in his twentieth year; but that any one at so early an age should have at his command such a comprehensive view, and such deep insight, as to attain such mature judgment as the gentlemen of the Globe, is to me something entirely new."

"To you, in your Heath,"[19] returned Goethe, "it has not been so easy; and we others also, in Central Germany, have been forced to buy our little wisdom dearly enough. Then we all lead a very isolated miserable sort of life! From the people, properly so called, we derive very little culture. Our talents and men of brains are scattered over the whole of Germany. One is in Vienna, another in Berlin, another in Königsberg, another in Bonn or Düseldorf—all about a hundred miles apart from one another, so that personal contact and personal exchange of thought may be considered as rarities. I feel what this must be, when such men as Alexander von Humboldt come here, and in one single day lead me nearer to what I am seeking and what I require to know than I should have done for years in my own solitary way."

"But now conceive a city like Paris, where the highest talents of a great kingdom are all assembled in a single spot, and by daily intercourse, strife, and emulation, mutually instruct and advance each other; where the best works, both of nature and art, from all the kingdoms of the earth, are open to daily inspection; conceive this metropolis of the world, I say, where every walk over a bridge or across a square recalls some mighty past, and where some historical event is connected with every corner of a street. In addition to all this, conceive not the Paris of a dull, spiritless time, but the Paris of the nineteenth century, in which, during three generations, such men as Molière, Voltaire, Diderot, and the like, have kept up such a current of intellect as cannot be found twice in a single spot in the whole world, and you will comprehend that a man of talent like Ampere, who has grown up amid such abundance, can easily be something in his four-and-twentieth year.

"You said just now," said Goethe, "that you could well understand how any one in his twentieth year could write pieces as good as those of Mérimée. I have nothing to oppose to this; and I am, on the whole, quite of your opinion that good productiveness is easier than good judgment in a youthful man. But, in Germany, one had better not, when so young as Mérimée, attempt to produce anything so mature as he has done in his pieces of Clara Gazul. It is true, Schiller was very young when he wrote his Robbers, his Love and Intrigue, his Fiesco; but, to speak the truth, all three pieces are rather the utterances of an extraordinary talent than signs of mature cultivation in the author. This, however, is not Schiller's fault, but rather the result of the state of culture of his nation, and the great difficulty which we all experience in assisting ourselves on our solitary way.

"On the other hand, take up Béranger. He is the son of poor parents, the descendant of a poor tailor; at one time a poor printer's apprentice, then placed in some office with a small salary; he has never been to a classical school or university; and yet his songs are so full of mature cultivation, so full of wit and the most refined irony, and there is such artistic perfection and masterly handling of the language that he is the admiration, not only of France, but of all civilized Europe.

"But imagine this same Béranger—instead of being born in Paris, and brought up in this metropolis of the world—the son of a poor tailor in Jena or Weimar, and let him commence his career, in an equally miserable manner, in such small places—then ask yourself what fruit would have been produced by this same tree grown in such a soil and in such an atmosphere.

"Therefore, my good friend, I repeat that, if a talent is to be speedily and happily developed, the great point is that a great deal of intellect and sound culture should be current in a nation.

"We admire the tragedies of the ancient Greeks; but, to take a correct view of the case, we ought rather to admire the period and the nation in which their production was possible than the individual authors; for though each of these pieces differs a little from every other, and though one of these poets appears somewhat greater and more finished than the other, still, taking all things together, only one decided character runs through the whole.

"This is the character of grandeur, fitness, soundness, human perfection, elevated wisdom, sublime thought, pure, strong intuition, and whatever other qualities one might enumerate. But when we find all these qualities, not only in the dramatic works that have come down to us but also in lyrical and epic works, in the philosophers, the orators, and the historians, and in an equally high degree in the works of plastic art that have come down to us, we must feel convinced that such qualities did not merely belong to individuals, but were the current property of the nation and the whole period.

"Now, take up Burns. How is he great, except through the circumstance that the whole songs of his predecessors lived in the mouth of the people—that they were, so to speak, sung at his cradle; that, as a boy, he grew up amongst them, and the high excellence of these models so pervaded him that he had therein a living basis on which he could proceed further? Again, why is he great, but from this, that his own songs at once found susceptible ears amongst his compatriots; that, sung by reapers and sheaf-binders, they at once greeted him in the field; and that his boon-companions sang them to welcome him at the ale-house? Something was certainly to be done in this way.

"On the other hand, what a pitiful figure is made by us Germans! Of our old songs—no less important than those of Scotland—how many lived among the people in the days of my youth? Herder and his successors first began to collect them and rescue them from oblivion; then they were at least printed in the libraries. Then, more lately, what songs have not Bürger and Voss composed! Who can say that they are more insignificant or less popular than those of the excellent Burns? but which of them so lives among us that it greets us from the mouth of the people? They are written and printed, and they remain in the libraries, quite in accordance with the general fate of German poets. Of my own songs, how many live? Perhaps one or another of them may be sung by a pretty girl to the piano; but among the people, properly so called, they have no sound. With what sensations must I remember the time when passages from Tasso were sung to me by Italian fishermen!

"We Germans are of yesterday. We have indeed been properly cultivated for a century; but a few centuries more must still elapse before so much mind and elevated culture will become universal amongst our people that they will appreciate beauty like the Greeks, that they will be inspired by a beautiful song, and that it will be said of them 'it is long since they were barbarians.'"

Tuesday, December 16.—I dined today with Goethe alone, in his work-room. We talked on various literary topics.

"The Germans," said he, "cannot cease to be Philistines. They are now squabbling about some verses, which are printed both in Schiller's works and mine, and fancy it is important to ascertain which really belong to Schiller and which to me; as if anything could be gained by such investigation—as if the existence of such things were not enough. Friends, such as Schiller and I, intimate for years, with the same interests, in habits of daily intercourse, and under reciprocal obligations, live so completely in each other that it is hardly possible to decide to which of the two the particular thoughts belong.

"We have made many distiches together; sometimes I gave the thought, and Schiller made the verse; sometimes the contrary was the case; sometimes he made one line, and I the other. What matters the mine and thine? One must be a thorough Philistine, indeed, to attach the slightest importance to the solution of such questions."

"Something similar," said I, "often happens in the literary world, when people, for instance, doubt the originality of this or that celebrated man, and seek to trace out the sources from whence he obtained his cultivation."

"That is very ridiculous," said Goethe; "we might as well question a strong man about the oxen, sheep, and swine, which he has eaten, and which have given him strength.

"We are indeed born with faculties; but we owe our development to a thousand influences of the great world, from which we appropriate to ourselves what we can, and what is suitable to us. I owe much to the Greeks and French; I am infinitely indebted to Shakespeare, Sterne, and Goldsmith; but in saying this I do not show the sources of my culture; that would be an endless as well as an unnecessary task. What is important is to have a soul which loves truth, and receives it wherever it finds it.

"Besides, the world is now so old, so many eminent men have lived and thought for thousands of years, that there is little new to be discovered or expressed. Even my theory of colors is not entirely new. Plato, Leonardo da Vinci, any many other excellent men, have before me found and expressed the same thing in a detached form: my merit is, that I have found it also, that I have said it again, and that I have striven to bring the truth once more into a confused world.

"The truth must be repeated over and over again, because error is repeatedly preached among us, not only by individuals, but by the masses. In periodicals and cyclopædias, in schools and universities; everywhere, in fact, error prevails, and is quite easy in the feeling that it has a decided majority on its side.

"Often, too, people teach truth and error together, and stick to the latter. Thus, a short time ago, I read in an English cyclopædia the doctrine of the origin of Blue. First came the correct view of Leonardo da Vinci, but then followed, as quietly as possible, the error of Newton, coupled with remarks that this was to be adhered to because it was the view generally adopted."

I could not help laughing with surprise when I heard this. "Every wax-taper," I said, "every illuminated cloud of smoke from the kitchen, that has anything dark behind it, every morning mist, when it lies before a steady spot, daily convinces me of the origin of blue color, and makes me comprehend the blueness of the sky. What the Newtonians mean when they say that the air has the property of absorbing other colors, and of repelling blue alone, I cannot at all understand, nor do I see what use or pleasure is to be derived from a doctrine in which all thought stands still, and all sound observation completely vanishes."

"My good innocent friend," said Goethe, "these people do not care a jot about thoughts and observations. They are satisfied if they have only words which they can pass as current, as was well shown and not ill-expressed by my own Mephistopheles:

  "Mind, above all, you stick to words,
  Thus through the safe gate you will go
  Into the fane of certainty;
  For when ideas begin to fail
  A word will aptly serve your turn," etc.

Goethe recited this passage laughing, and seemed altogether in the best humor. "It is a good thing," said he, "that all is already in print, and I shall go on printing as long as I have anything to say against false doctrine, and those who disseminate it.

"We have now excellent men rising up in natural science," he continued, after a pause, "and I am glad to see them. Others begin well, but afterwards fall off; their predominating subjectivity leads them astray. Others, again, set too much value on facts, and collect an infinite number, by which nothing is proved. On the whole, there is a want of originating mind to penetrate back to the original phenomena, and master the particulars that make their appearance."

A short visit interrupted our discourse, but when we were again alone the conversation returned to poetry, and I told Goethe that I had of late been once more studying his little poems, and had dwelt especially upon two of them, viz., the ballad[20] about the children and the old man, and the "Happy Couple" (die glücklichen Gatten).

"I myself set some value on these two poems," said Goethe, "although the
German public have hitherto not been able to make much out of them."

"In the ballad," I said, "a very copious subject is brought into a very limited compass, by means of all sorts of poetical forms and artifices, among which I especially praise the expedient of making the old man tell the children's past history down to the point where the present moment comes in, and the rest is developed before our eyes."

"I carried the ballad a long time about in my head," said Goethe, "before I wrote it down. Whole years of reflection are comprised in it, and I made three or four trials before I could reduce it to its present shape."

"The poem of the 'Happy Couple,'" continued Goethe, "is likewise rich in motives; whole landscapes and passages of human life appear in it, warmed by the sunlight of a charming spring sky, which is diffused over the whole."

"I have always liked that poem," said Goethe, "and I am glad that you have regarded it with particular interest. The ending of the whole pleasantry with a double christening is, I think, pretty enough."

We then came to the Bürgergeneral (Citizengeneral); with respect to which I said that I had been lately reading this piece with an Englishman, and that we had both felt the strongest desire to see it represented on the stage. "As far as the spirit of the work is concerned," said I, "there is nothing antiquated about it; and with respect to the details of dramatic development, there is not a touch that does not seem designed for the stage."

"It was a very good piece in its time," said Goethe, "and caused us many a pleasant evening. It was, indeed, excellently cast, and had been so admirably studied that the dialogue moved along as glibly as possible. Malcolmi played Märten, and nothing could be more perfect.

"The part of Schnaps," said I, "seems to me no less felicitous. Indeed, I should not think there were many better or more thankful parts in the repertoire. There is in this personage, as in the whole piece, a clearness, an actual presence, to the utmost extent that can be desired for a theatre. The scene where he comes in with the knapsack, and produces the things one after another, where he puts the moustache on Märten, and decks himself with the cap of liberty, uniform, and sword, is among the best." "This scene," said Goethe, "used always to be very successful on our stage. Then the knapsack, with the articles in it, had really an historical existence. I found it in the time of the Revolution, on my travels along the French border, when the emigrants, on their flight, had passed through, and one of them might have lost it or thrown it away. The articles it contained were just the same as in the piece. I wrote the scene upon it, and the knapsack, with all its appurtenances, was always introduced, to the no small delight of our actors."

The question whether the Bürgergeneral could still be played with any interest or profit, was for a while the subject of our conversation.

Goethe then asked about my progress in French literature, and I told him that I still took up Voltaire from time to time, and that the great talent of this man gave me the purest delight.

"I still know but little of him," said I; "I keep to his short poems addressed to persons, which I read over and over again, and which I cannot lay aside."

"Indeed," said Goethe, "all is good which is written by so great a genius as Voltaire, though I cannot excuse all his profanity. But you are right to give so much time to those little poems addressed to persons; they are unquestionably among the most charming of his works. There is not a line which is not full of thought, clear, bright, and graceful."

"And we see," said I, "his relations to all the great and mighty of the world, and remark with pleasure the distinguished position taken by himself, inasmuch as he seems to feel himself equal to the highest, and we never find that any majesty can embarrass his free mind even for a moment."

"Yes," said Goethe, "he bore himself like a man of rank. And with all his freedom and audacity, he ever kept within the limits of strict propriety, which is, perhaps, saying still more. I may cite the Empress of Austria as an authority in such matters; she has repeatedly assured me, that in those poems of Voltaire's, there is no trace of crossing the line of convenance."

"Does your excellency," said I, "remember the short poem in which he makes to the Princess of Prussia, afterwards Queen of Sweden, a pretty declaration of love, by saying that he dreamed of being elevated to the royal dignity?"

"It is one of his best," said Goethe, and he recited the lines—

    "Je vous aimais, princesse, et j'osais vous le dire;
  Les Dieux et mon reveil ne m'ont pas tout ôté,
    Je n'ai perdu que mon empire."

"How pretty that is! And never did poet have his talent so completely at command every moment as Voltaire. I remember an anecdote, when he had been for some time on a visit to Madame du Chatelet. Just as he was going away, and the carriage was standing at the door, he received a letter from a great number of young girls in a neighboring convent, who wished to play the 'Death of Julius Cæsar' on the birthday of their abbess, and begged him to write them a prologue. The case was too delicate for a refusal; so Voltaire at once called for pen and paper, and wrote the desired prologue, standing, upon the mantlepiece. It is a poem of perhaps twenty lines, thoroughly digested, finished, perfectly suited to the occasion, and, in short, of the very best class."

"I am very desirous to read it," said I.

"I doubt," said Goethe, "whether you will find it in your collection. It has only lately come to light, and, indeed, he wrote hundreds of such poems, of which many may still be scattered about among private persons."

"I found of late a passage in Lord Byron," said I, "from which I perceived with delight that even Byron had an extraordinary esteem for Voltaire. We may see in his works how much he liked to read, study, and make use of Voltaire.

"Byron," said Goethe, "knew too well where anything was to be got, and was too clever not to draw from this universal source of light."

The conversation then turned entirely upon Byron and several of his works, and Goethe found occasion to repeat many of his former expressions of admiration for that great genius.

"To all that your excellency says of Byron," said I, "I agree from the bottom of my heart; but, however great and remarkable that poet may be as a genius, I very much doubt whether a decided gain for pure human culture is to be derived from his writings."

"There I must contradict you," said Goethe; "the audacity and grandeur of Byron must certainly tend towards culture. We should take care not to be always looking for it in the decidedly pure and moral. Everything that is great promotes cultivation as soon as we are aware of it."

* * * * *

Thursday, February 12.—Goethe read me the thoroughly noble poem, "Kein Wesen kann zu nichts zerfallen" (No being can dissolve to nothing), which he had lately written.

"I wrote this poem," said he, "in contradiction to my lines—

    'Denn alles muss zu nichts zerfallen
    Wenn es im Seyn beharren will,' etc.

   ('For all must melt away to nothing
    Would it continue still to be')—

which are stupid, and which my Berlin friends, on the occasion of the late assembly of natural philosophers, set up in golden letters, to my annoyance."

The conversation turned on the great mathematician, Lagrange, whose excellent character Goethe highly extolled.

"He was a good man," said he, "and on that very account, a great man. For when a good man is gifted with talent, he always works morally for the salvation of the world, as poet, philosopher, artist, or in whatever way it may be.

"I am glad," continued Goethe, "that you had an opportunity yesterday of knowing Coudray better. He says little in general society, but, here among ourselves, you have seen what an excellent mind and character reside in the man. He had, at first, much opposition to encounter, but he has now fought through it all and enjoys the entire confidence and favor of the court. Coudray is one of the most skilful architects of our time. He has adhered to me and I to him, and this has been of service to us both. If I had but known him fifty years ago!"

We then talked about Goethe's own architectural knowledge. I remarked that he must have acquired much in Italy.

"Italy gave me an idea of earnestness and greatness," said he, "but no practical skill. The building of the castle here in Weimar advanced me more than anything. I was obliged to assist, and even to make drawings of entablatures. I had a certain advantage over the professional people, because I was superior to them in intention."

We talked of Zelter.

"I have a letter from him," said Goethe, "in which he complains that the performance of the oratorio of the Messiah was spoiled for him by one of his female scholars, who sang an aria too weakly and sentimentally. Weakness is a characteristic of our age. My hypothesis is, that it is a consequence of the efforts made in Germany to get rid of the French. Painters, natural philosophers, sculptors, musicians, poets, with but few exceptions, all are weak, and the general mass is no better."

"Yet I do not give up the hope," said I, "of seeing suitable music composed for Faust."

"Quite impossible!" said Goethe. "The awful and repulsive passages which must occasionally occur, are not in the style of the time. The music should be like that of Don Juan. Mozart should have composed for Faust. Meyerbeer would, perhaps, be capable; but he would not touch anything of the kind;[21] he is too much engaged with the Italian theatres."

Afterwards—I do not recollect in connection to what—Goethe made the following important remark:

"All that is great and skilful exists with the minority. There have been ministers who have had both king and people against them, and have carried out their great plans alone. It is not to be imagined that reason can ever be popular. Passions and feelings may become popular; but reason always remains the sole property of a few eminent individuals."

Sunday, December 6.—Today, after dinner, Goethe read me the first scene of the second act of Faust.[22] The effect was great, and gave me a high satisfaction. We are once more transported into Faust's study, where Mephistopheles finds all just as he had left it. He takes from the hook Faust's old study-gown, and a thousand moths and insects flutter out from it. By the directions of Mephistopheles as to where these are to settle down, the locality is brought very clearly before our eyes. He puts on the gown, while Faust lies behind a curtain in a state of paralysis, intending to play the doctor's part once more. He pulls the bell, which gives such an awful tone among the old solitary convent halls, that the doors spring open and the walls tremble. The servant rushes in, and finds in Faust's seat Mephistopheles, whom he does not recognize, but for whom he has respect. In answer to inquiries he gives news of Wagner, who has now become a celebrated man, and is hoping for the return of his master. He is, we hear, at this moment deeply occupied in his laboratory, seeking to produce a Homunculus. The servant retires, and the bachelor enters—the same whom we knew some years before as a shy young student, when Mephistopheles (in Faust's gown) made game of him. He is now become a man, and is so full of conceit that even Mephistopheles can do nothing with him, but moves his chair further and further, and at last addresses the pit.

Goethe read the scene quite to the end. I was pleased with his youthful productive strength, and with the closeness of the whole. "As the conception," said Goethe, "is so old—for I have had it in my mind for fifty years—the materials have accumulated to such a degree, that the difficult operation is to separate and reject. The invention of the whole second part is really as old as I say; but it may be an advantage that I have not written it down till now, when my knowledge of the world is so much clearer. I am like one who in his youth has a great deal of small silver and copper money, which in the course of his life he constantly changes for the better, so that at last the property of his youth stands before him in pieces of pure gold."

We spoke about the character of the Bachelor. "Is he not meant," said I, "to represent a certain class of ideal philosophers?"

"No," said Goethe, "the arrogance which is peculiar to youth, and of which we had such striking examples after our war for freedom, is personified in him. Indeed, every one believes in his youth that the world really began with him, and that all merely exists for his sake.

"Thus, in the East, there was actually a man who every morning collected his people about him, and would not go to work till he had commanded the sun to rise. But he was wise enough not to speak his command till the sun of its own accord was really on the point of appearing."

Goethe remained a while absorbed in silent thought; then he began as follows: "When one is old one thinks of worldly matters otherwise than when one is young. Thus I cannot but think that the demons, to teaze and make sport with men, have placed among them single figures, which are so alluring that every one strives after them, and so great that nobody reaches them. Thus they set up Raffael, with whom thought and act were equally perfect; some distinguished followers have approached him, but none have equalled him. Thus, too, they set up Mozart as something unattainable in music; and thus Shakespeare in poetry. I know what you can say against this thought; but I only mean natural character, the great innate qualities. Thus, too, Napoleon is unattainable. That the Russians were so moderate as not to go to Constantinople is indeed very great; but we find a similar trait in Napoleon, for he had the moderation not to go to Rome."

Much was associated with this copious theme; I thought to myself in silence that the demons had intended something of the kind with Goethe, inasmuch as he is a form too alluring not to be striven after, and too great to be reached.

Wednesday, December 16.—Today, after dinner, Goethe read me the second scene of the second act of "Faust," where Mephistopheles visits Wagner, who is on the point of making a human being by chemical means. The work succeeds; the Homunculus appears in the phial, as a shining being, and is at once active. He repels Wagner's questions upon incomprehensible subjects; reasoning is not his business; he wishes to act, and begins with our hero, Faust, who, in his paralyzed condition, needs a higher aid. As a being to whom the present is perfectly clear and transparent, the Homunculus sees into the soul of the sleeping Faust, who, enraptured by a lovely dream, beholds Leda visited by swans, while she is bathing in a pleasant spot. The Homunculus, by describing this dream, brings a most charming picture before our eyes. Mephistopheles sees nothing of it, and the Homunculus taunts him with his northern nature.

"Generally," said Goethe, "you will perceive that Mephistopheles appears to disadvantage beside the Homunculus, who is like him in clearness of intellect, and so much superior to him in his tendency to the beautiful and to a useful activity. He styles him cousin; for such spiritual beings as this Homunculus, not yet saddened and limited by a thorough assumption of humanity, were classed with the demons, and thus there is a sort of relationship between the two."

"Certainly," said I, "Mephistopheles appears here in a subordinate situation; yet I cannot help thinking that he has had a secret influence on the production of the Homunculus. We have known him in this way before; and, indeed, in the 'Helena' he always appears as a being secretly working. Thus he again elevates himself with regard to the whole, and in his lofty repose he can well afford to put up with a little in particulars."

"Your feeling of the position is very correct," said Goethe; "indeed, I have doubted whether I ought not to put some verses into the mouth of Mephistopheles as he goes to Wagner, and the Homunculus is still in a state of formation, so that his cooperation may be expressed and rendered plain to the reader.

"It would do no harm," said I. "Yet this is intimated by the words with which Mephistopheles closes the scene—

  Am Ende hangen wir doch ab
  Von Creaturen die wir machten.

  We are dependent after all,
  On creatures that we make."

"True," said Goethe, "that would be almost enough for the attentive; but
I will think about some additional verses."

"But," said I, "those concluding words are very great, and will not easily be penetrated to their full extent."

"I think," said Goethe, "I have given them a bone to pick. A father who has six sons is a lost man, let him do what he may. Kings and ministers, too, who have raised many persons to high places, may have something to think about from their own experience."

Faust's dream about Leda again came into my head, and I regarded this as a most important feature in the composition.

"It is wonderful to me," said I, "how the several parts of such a work bear upon, perfect, and sustain one another! By this dream of Leda, Helena gains its proper foundation. There we have a constant allusion to swans and the child of a swan; but here we have the act itself, and when we come afterwards to Helena, with the sensible impression of such a situation, how much more clear and perfect does all appear!"

Goethe said I was right, and was pleased that I remarked this.

"Thus you will see," said he, "that in these earlier acts the chords of the classic and romantic are constantly struck, so that, as on a rising ground, where both forms of poetry are brought out, and in some sort balance each other, we may ascend to 'Helena.'

"The French," continued Goethe, "now begin to think justly of these matters. Both classic and romantic, say they, are equally good. The only point is to use these forms with judgment, and to be capable of excellence. You can be absurd in both, and then one is as worthless as the other. This, I think, is rational enough, and may content us for a while."

* * * * *


Sunday, March 14.—This evening at Goethe's. He showed me all the treasures, now put in order, from the chest which he had received from David, and with the unpacking of which I had found him occupied some days ago. The plaster medallions, with the profiles of the principal young poets of France, he had laid in order side by side upon tables. On this occasion, he spoke once more of the extraordinary talent of David, which was as great in conception as in execution. He also showed me a number of the newest works, which had been presented to him, through the medium of David, as gifts from the most distinguished men of the romantic school. I saw works by St. Veuve, Ballanche, Victor Hugo, Balzac, Alfred de Vigny, Jules Janin, and others.

"David," said he, "has prepared happy days for me by this present. The young poets have already occupied me the whole week, and afford me new life by the fresh impressions which I receive from them. I shall make a separate catalogue of these much esteemed portraits and books, and shall give them both a special place in my collection of works of art and my library."

One could see from Goethe's manner that this homage from the young poets of France afforded him the heartiest delight.

He then read something from the Studies, by Emile Deschamps. He praised the translation of the Bride of Corinth, as faithful, and very successful.

"I possess," said he, "the manuscript of an Italian translation of this poem, which gives the original, even to the rhymes."

The Bride of Corinth induced Goethe to speak of the rest of his ballads. "I owe them, in a great measure, to Schiller," said he, "who impelled me to them, because he always wanted something new for his Horen. I had already carried them in my head for many years; they occupied my mind as pleasant images, as beautiful dreams, which came and went, and by playing with which my fancy made me happy. I unwillingly resolved to bid farewell to these brilliant visions, which had so long been my solace, by embodying them in poor, inadequate words. When I saw them on paper, I regarded them with a mixture of sadness. I felt as if I were about to be separated for ever from a beloved friend."

"At other times," continued Goethe, "it has been totally different with my poems. They have been preceded by no impressions or forebodings, but have come suddenly upon me, and have insisted on being composed immediately, so that I have felt an instinctive and dreamy impulse to write them down on the spot. In such a somnambulistic condition, it has often happened that I have had a sheet of paper lying before me all on one side, and I have not discovered it till all has been written, or I have found no room to write any more. I have possessed many such sheets written crossways, but they have been lost one after another, and I regret that I can no longer show any proofs of such poetic abstraction."

The conversation then returned to the French literature, and the modern ultra-romantic tendency of some not unimportant men of genius. Goethe was of opinion that this poetic revolution, which was still in its infancy, would be very favorable to literature, but very prejudicial to the individual authors who effect it.

"Extremes are never to be avoided in any revolution," said he. "In a political one, nothing is generally desired in the beginning but the abolition of abuses; but before people are aware, they are deep in bloodshed and horror. Thus the French, in their present literary revolution, desired nothing at first but a freer form; however, they will not stop there, but will reject the traditional contents together with the form. They begin to declare the representation of noble sentiments and deeds as tedious, and attempt to treat of all sorts of abominations. Instead of the beautiful subjects from Grecian mythology, there are devils, witches, and vampires, and the lofty heroes of antiquity must give place to jugglers and galley slaves. This is piquant! This is effective! But after the public has once tasted this highly seasoned food, and has become accustomed to it, it will always long for more, and that stronger. A young man of talent, who would produce an effect and be acknowledged, and who is great enough to go his own way, must accommodate himself to the taste of the day—nay, must seek to outdo his predecessors in the horrible and frightful. But in this chase after outward means of effect, all profound study, and all gradual and thorough development of the talent and the man from within, is entirely neglected. And this is the greatest injury which can befall a talent, although literature in general will gain by this tendency of the moment."

"But," added I, "how can an attempt which destroys individual talents be favorable to literature in general?"

"The extremes and excrescences which I have described," returned Goethe, "will gradually disappear; but at last this great advantage will remain—besides a freer form, richer and more diversified subjects will have been attained, and no object of the broadest world and the most manifold life will be any longer excluded as unpoetical. I compare the present literary epoch to a state of violent fever, which is not in itself good and desirable, but of which improved health is the happy consequence. That abomination which now often constitutes the whole subject of a poetical work, will in future only appear as an useful expedient; aye, the pure and the noble, which is now abandoned for the moment, will soon be resought with additional ardor."

"It is surprising to me," remarked I, "that even Mérimée, who is one of your favorites, has entered upon this ultra-romantic path, through the horrible subjects of his Guzla."

"Mérimée," returned Goethe, "has treated these things very differently from his fellow-authors. These poems certainly are not deficient in various horrible motives, such as churchyards, nightly crossways, ghosts and vampires; but the repulsive themes do not touch the intrinsic merit of the poet. On the contrary, he treats them from a certain objective distance, and, as it were, with irony. He goes to work with them like an artist, to whom it is an amusement to try anything of the sort. He has, as I have said before, quite renounced himself, nay, he has ever renounced the Frenchman, and that to such a degree that at first these poems of Guzla were deemed real Illyrian popular poems, and thus little was wanting for the success of the imposition he had intended."

"Mérimée," continued Goethe, "is indeed a thorough fellow! Indeed, generally, more power and genius are required for the objective treatment of a subject than is supposed. Thus, too, Lord Byron, notwithstanding his predominant personality, has sometimes had the power of renouncing himself altogether, as may be seen in some of his dramatic pieces, particularly in his Marino Faliero. In this piece one quite forgets that Lord Byron, or even an Englishman, wrote it. We live entirely in Venice, and entirely in the time in which the action takes place. The personages speak quite from themselves and from their own condition, without having any of the subjective feelings, thoughts, and opinions of the poet. That is as it should be. Of our young French romantic writers of the exaggerating sort, one cannot say as much. What I have read of them—poems, novels, dramatic works—have all borne the personal coloring of the author, and none of them ever makes me forget that a Parisian—that a Frenchman—wrote them. Even in the treatment of foreign subjects one still remains in France and Paris, quite absorbed in all the wishes, necessities, conflicts, and fermentations of the present day."

"Béranger also," I threw in experimentally, "has only expressed the situation of the great metropolis, and his own interior."

"That is a man," said Goethe, "whose power of representation and whose interior are worth something. In him is all the substance of an important personality. Béranger is a nature most happily endowed, firmly grounded in himself, purely developed from himself, and quite in harmony with himself. He has never asked—what would suit the times? what produces an effect? what pleases? what are others doing?—in order that he might do the like. He has always worked only from the core of his own nature, without troubling himself as to what the public, or what this or that party, expects. He has certainly, at different critical epochs, been influenced by the mood, wishes, and necessities of the people; but that has only confirmed him in himself, by proving to him that his own nature is in harmony with that of the people; and has never seduced him into expressing anything but what already lay in his heart.

"You know that I am, upon the whole, no friend to what is called political poems, but such as Béranger has composed I can tolerate. With him there is nothing snatched out of the air, nothing of merely imagined or imaginary interest; he never shoots at random; but, on the contrary, has always the most decided, the most important subjects. His affectionate admiration of Napoleon, and his reminiscences of the great warlike deeds which were performed under him, and that at a time when these recollections were a consolation to the somewhat oppressed French; then his hatred of the domination of priests, and of the darkness which threatened to return with the Jesuits—these are things to which one cannot refuse hearty sympathy. And how masterly is his treatment on all occasions! How he turns about and rounds off every subject in his own mind before he expresses it! And then, when all is matured, what wit, spirit, irony, and persiflage, and what heartiness, naivete, and grace, are unfolded at every step! His songs have every year made millions of joyous men; they always flow glibly from the tongue, even with the working-classes, whilst they are so far elevated above the level of the commonplace, that the populace, in converse with these pleasant spirits, becomes accustomed and compelled to think itself better and nobler. What more would you have? and, altogether, what higher praise could be given to a poet?"

"He is excellent, unquestionably!" returned I. "You know how I loved him for years, and can imagine how it gratifies me to hear you speak of him thus. But if I must say which of his songs I prefer, his amatory poems please me more than his political, in which the particular references and allusions are not always clear to me."

"That happens to be your case," returned Goethe; "the political poems were not written for you; but ask the French, and they will tell you what is good in them. Besides, a political poem, under the most fortunate circumstances, is to be looked upon only as the organ of a single nation, and, in most cases, only as the organ of a single party; but it is seized with enthusiasm by this nation and this party when it is good. Again, a political poem should always be looked upon as the mere result of a certain state of the times; which passes by, and with respect to succeeding times takes from the poem the value which it derived from the subject. As for Béranger, his was no hard task. Paris is France. All the important interests of his great country are concentrated in the capital, and there have their proper life and their proper echo. Besides, in most of his political songs he is by no means to be regarded as the mere organ of a single party; on the contrary, the things against which he writes are for the most part of so universal and national an interest, that the poet is almost always heard as a great voice of the people. With us, in Germany, such a thing is not possible. We have no city, nay, we have no country, of which we could decidedly say—Here is Germany! If we inquire in Vienna, the answer is—this is Austria! and if in Berlin, the answer is—this is Prussia! Only sixteen years ago, when we tried to get rid of the French, was Germany everywhere. Then a political poet could have had an universal effect; but there was no need of one! The universal necessity, and the universal feeling of disgrace, had seized upon the nation like something dæmonic; the inspiring fire which the poet might have kindled was already burning everywhere of its own accord. Still, I will not deny that Arndt, Körner, and Rückert, have had some effect."

"You have been reproached," remarked I, rather inconsiderately, "for not taking up arms at that great period, or at least cooperating as a poet."

"Let us leave that point alone, my good friend," returned Goethe. "It is an absurd world, which does not know what it wants, and which one must allow to have its own way. How could I take up arms without hatred, and how could I hate without youth? If such an emergency had befallen me when twenty years old, I should certainly not have been the last; but it found me as one who had already passed the first sixties.

"Besides, we cannot all serve our country in the same way, but each does his best, according as God has endowed him. I have toiled hard enough during half a century. I can say, that in those things which nature has appointed for my daily work, I have permitted myself no repose or relaxation night or day, but have always striven, investigated, and done as much, and that as well, as I could. If every one can say the same of himself, it will prove well with all."

"The fact is," said I, by way of conciliation, "that you should not be vexed at that reproach, but should rather feel flattered at it. For what does it show but that the opinion of the world concerning you is so great that it desires that he who has done more for the culture of his nation than any other should at last do everything!"

"I will not say what I think," returned Goethe. "There is more ill-will towards me hidden beneath that remark than you are aware of. I feel therein a new form of the old hatred with which people have persecuted me, and endeavored quietly to wound me for years. I know very well that I am an eyesore to many; that they would all willingly get rid of me; and that, since they cannot touch my talent, they aim at my character. Now, it is said, I am proud; now, egotistical; now, full of envy towards young men of genius; now, immersed in sensuality; now, without Christianity; and now, without love for my native country, and my own dear Germans. You have now known me sufficiently for years, and you feel what all that talk is worth. But if you would learn what I have suffered, read my 'Xenien', and it will be clear to you, from my retorts, how people have from time to time sought to embitter my life.

"A German author is a German martyr! Yes, my friend, you will not find it otherwise! And I myself can scarcely complain; none of the others has fared better—most have fared worse; and in England and France it is quite the same as with us. What did not Molière suffer? What Rousseau and Voltaire? Byron was driven from England by evil tongues, and would have fled to the end of the world, if an early death had not delivered him from the Philistines and their hatred.

"And if it were only the narrow-minded masses that persecuted noble men! But no! one gifted man and one genius persecutes another; Platen scandalizes Heine, and Heine Platen, and each seeks to make the other hateful; while the world is wide enough for all to live and to let live; and every one has an enemy in his own talent, who gives him quite enough to do.

"To write military songs, and sit in a room! That forsooth was my duty! To have written them in the bivouac, when the horses at the enemy's outposts are heard neighing at night, would have been well enough; however, that was not my life and not my business, but that of Theodore Körner. His war-songs suit him perfectly. But to me, who am not of a warlike nature, and who have no warlike sense, war-songs would have been a mask which would have fitted my face very badly.

"I have never affected anything in my poetry. I have never uttered anything which I have not experienced, and which has not urged me to production. I have composed love-songs only when I have loved. How could I write songs of hatred without hating! And, between ourselves, I did not hate the French, although I thanked God that we were free from them. How could I, to whom culture and barbarism are alone of importance, hate a nation which is among the most cultivated of the earth, and to which I owe so great a part of my own cultivation?

"Altogether," continued Goethe, "national hatred is something peculiar. You will always find it strongest and most violent where there is the lowest degree of culture. But there is a degree where it vanishes altogether, and where one stands to a certain extent above nations, and feels the weal or woe of a neighboring people, as if it had happened to one's own. This degree of culture was conformable to my nature, and I had become strengthened in it long before I had reached my sixtieth year."

* * * * *


Sunday, March 11.—The conversation turned upon the great men who had lived before Christ, among the Chinese, the Indians, the Persians, and the Greeks; and it was remarked, that the divine power had been as operative in them as in some of the great Jews of the Old Testament. We then came to the question how far God influenced the great natures of the present world in which we live?

"To hear people speak," said Goethe, "one would almost believe that they were of opinion that God had withdrawn into silence since those old times, and that man was now placed quite upon his own feet, and had to see how he could get on without God, and his daily invisible breath. In religious and moral matters a divine influence is indeed still allowed, but in matters of science and art it is believed that they are merely earthly and nothing but the product of human powers.

[Illustration: SCHILLER'S GARDEN HOUSE AT JENA Drawing by Goethe]

"Let any one only try, with human will and human power, to produce something which may be compared with the creations that bear the names of Mozart, Raphael, or Shakespeare. I know very well that these three noble beings are not the only ones, and that in every province of art innumerable excellent geniuses have operated, who have produced things as perfectly good as those just mentioned. But if they were as great as those, they rose above ordinary human nature, and in the same proportion were as divinely endowed as they.

"And, after all, what does it all come to? God did not retire to rest after the well-known six days of creation, but, on the contrary, is constantly active as on the first. It would have been for Him a poor occupation to compose this heavy world out of simple elements, and to keep it rolling in the sunbeams from year to year, if He had not had the plan of founding a nursery for a world of spirits upon this material basis. So He is now constantly active in higher natures to attract the lower ones."

Goethe was silent. But I cherished his great and good words in my heart.

Early in March.[23]—Goethe mentioned at table that he had received a visit from Baron Carl Von Spiegel, and that he had been pleased with him beyond measure.

"He is a very fine young man," said Goethe; "in his mien and manners he has something by which the nobleman is seen at once. He could as little dissemble his descent as any one could deny a higher intellect; for birth and intellect both give him who once possesses them a stamp which no incognito can conceal. Like beauty, these are powers which one cannot approach without feeling that they are of a higher nature."

Some days later.—We talked of the tragic idea of Destiny among the Greeks.

"It no longer suits our way of thinking," said Goethe; "it is obsolete, and is also in contradiction with our religious views. If a modern poet introduces such antique ideas into a drama, it always has an air of affectation. It is a costume which is long since out of fashion, and which, like the Roman toga, no longer suits us.

"It is better for us moderns to say with Napoleon, 'Politics are Destiny.' But let us beware of saying, with our latest literati, that politics are poetry, or a suitable subject for the poet. The English poet Thomson wrote a very good poem on the Seasons, but a very bad one on Liberty, and that not from want of poetry in the poet, but from want of poetry in the subject."

"If a poet would work politically, he must give himself up to a party; and so soon as he does that, he is lost as a poet; he must bid farewell to his free spirit, his unbiased view, and draw over his ears the cap of bigotry and blind hatred.

"The poet, as a man and citizen, will love his native land; but the native land of his poetic powers and poetic action is the good, noble, and beautiful, which is confined to no particular province or country, and which he seizes upon and forms wherever he finds it. Therein is he like the eagle, who hovers with free gaze over whole countries, and to whom it is of no consequence whether the hare on which he pounces is running in Prussia or in Saxony.

"And, then, what is meant by love of one's country? What is meant by patriotic deeds? If the poet has employed a life in battling with pernicious prejudices, in setting aside narrow views, in enlightening the minds, purifying the tastes, ennobling the feelings and thoughts of his countrymen, what better could he have done? How could he have acted more patriotically?

"To make such ungrateful and unsuitable demands upon a poet is just as if one required the captain of a regiment to show himself a patriot, by taking part in political innovations and thus neglecting his proper calling. The captain's country is his regiment, and he will show himself an excellent patriot by troubling himself about political matters only so far as they concern him, and bestowing all his mind and all his care on the battalions under him, trying so to train and discipline them that they may do their duty if ever their native land should be in peril.

[Illustration: THE MOAT AT JENA Drawing by GOETHE]

"I hate all bungling like sin, but most of all bungling in state-affairs, which produces nothing but mischief to thousands and millions.

"You know that, on the whole, I care little what is written about me; but yet it comes to my ears, and I know well enough that, hard as I have toiled all my life, all my labors are as nothing in the eyes of certain people, just because I have disdained to mingle in political parties. To please such people I must have become a member of a Jacobin club, and preached bloodshed and murder. However, not a word more upon this wretched subject, lest I become unwise in railing against folly."

In the same manner he blamed the political course, so much praised by others, of Uhland.

"Mind," said he, "the politician will devour the poet. To be a member of the States, and to live amid daily jostlings and excitements, is not for the delicate nature of a poet. His song will cease, and that is in some sort to be lamented. Swabia has plenty of men, sufficiently well educated, well meaning, able, and eloquent, to be members of the States, but only one poet of Uhland's class."

* * * * *

The last stranger whom Goethe entertained as his guest was the eldest son of Frau von Arnim; the last words he wrote were some verses in the album of this young friend.

* * * * *

The morning after Goethe's death, a deep desire seized me to look once again upon his earthly garment. His faithful servant, Frederic, opened for me the chamber in which he was laid out. Stretched upon his back, he reposed as if asleep; profound peace and security reigned in the features of his sublimely noble countenance. The mighty brow seemed yet to harbor thoughts. I wished for a lock of his hair; but reverence prevented me from cutting it off. The body lay naked, wrapped only in a white sheet; large pieces of ice had been placed near it, to keep it fresh as long as possible. Frederic drew aside the sheet, and I was astonished at the divine magnificence of the limbs. The breast was powerful, broad, and arched; the arms and thighs were full, and softly muscular; the feet were elegant, and of the most perfect shape; nowhere, on the whole body, was there a trace either of fat or of leanness and decay. A perfect man lay in great beauty before me; and the rapture which the sight caused made me forget for a moment that the immortal spirit had left such an abode. I laid my hand on his heart—there was a deep silence—and I turned away to give free vent to my suppressed tears.




January 25, 1804.

How many an hour have I thought of you with genuine and lively interest; and nearly every time I have marveled at the outrageous intention which correspondents can express, that, when far apart, they will write to each other once a month. Distance absolutely precludes interest in trifles that are close to us; how can we tell each other our daily joys and sorrows, when the voice which speaks must wait so long for the sound of the answering voice; and then those unexpected chances happen which in an instant destroy our careful plans so that, when we would continue, we know not where we should begin.

This time, in remembrance of so much that has passed, and in anticipation of so much that is to be, I intend to write you a long letter that the stream may run once more.

Meanwhile you have suffered a bitter loss, of which I shall not speak. I trust that all the agencies which nature has contrived for man to alleviate such woes may have been and may in the future be at your behest; for they alone can repair the evil they have wrought.

Fernow has come to us; he bears himself gallantly and well, though an unfortunate fever has given him a deal of trouble. Since he is in earnest about what he does, and is essentially of an honest disposition, we are having a good, profitable, and pleasant time together.

Riemer is staying with my August, and I hope they will get along right well together.

Schiller is continually advancing with great strides, as usual; his Tell is magnificently planned and, so far as I have seen it, executed in masterly fashion.

I myself have been placed, by the swindling spirit which has come over the gentlemen of Jena, and especially over the proprietors of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, under the lamentable necessity of again laboring in person on behalf of this antiquated body of municipal teachers, wherein I have lost nearly four months of my own time—not precisely because I did much, but because, notwithstanding, everything had to be done, and everything that must be done takes time; and thus for the last three months I have been unable to present you with even a single little poem.

Meanwhile life has brought us much of interest. Professor Wolf of Halle spent two weeks with us; Johannes von Müller is here now; and for four weeks Madame de Staël has also honored us with her presence.

The drawings of the late Herr Carstens, which Fernow brought with him, have given me much pleasure, since through them I have first learned to know this rare talent, which, alas, was held back by circumstances in earlier days, and which at last was mown down even yet unripe.

A couple of large pictures by Hackert have arrived, and anything more perfect, as faithful copies of reality, could scarcely be imagined.

As to my studies and hobbies, I do not know whether I have ever said anything to you about my collection of modern medals in bronze and copper, beginning with the second half of the fifteenth century, and coming down to the most recent times.

I chanced upon this in connection with my revision of Cellini; for, since in the north we must be content with crumbs, it seemed possible for me to gain even an approximately clear survey of plastic art only through the aid of original medals from the various centuries, which, as is generally known, invariably kept close to the sculpture of their time. Through exertion, favor, and good fortune I have already succeeded extremely well in making a rather important collection. Permit me to include a couple of commissions and desiderata.

1. For a couple of old medals said to be in the possession of Mercandetti.[24]

2. For papal medals from Innocent XIII inclusive; I have very fine specimens of Hamerani's[25] medals of Clement XI.

3. For a medal to be ordered from Mercandetti, a commission which I especially urge both on you and on Humboldt; for the enterprise is, I must admit, a serious one; in the long run, some satisfaction may probably be gained; but should it fail, money will be lost and vexation will be the result.

* * * * *


July 30, 1804.

Months ago I wrote the inclosed sheet to your dear wife. She has recently been here, and I have had the pleasure of conversing with her; she has, so I hear, safely reached Paris and been delivered. I trust that, ere long, she may there embrace your dear brother, who has, in a sense, risen for us from the dead. Your precious letter of February 25 reached me safely in good time, and as I reflect on the long interval during which I have left you without news from me, I now note through what singular emotions I have passed during this time.

Schiller's Tell has been completed for some time and is now on the stage. It is an extraordinary production wherein his dramatic skill puts forth new branches, and it justly creates a profound sensation. You will surely receive it before long, for it is already in press.

I have permitted myself to be persuaded to try to make my Götz von
suitable for the stage.

This was an undertaking well-nigh impossible, for its very trend is untheatrical; like Penelope, I, too, have ceaselessly woven and unwoven it for a year; and in the process I have learned much, though, I fear, I have not perfectly attained the end which I had in view. In about six weeks I hope to present it, and Schiller will, no doubt, speak to you about it.

Have you chanced to see our Jena Literatur-Zeitung for this year, and has anything which it contained aroused your interest?

I am extremely grateful to you for the very welcome information which you give me regarding an improvisatrice. Could I possibly dare to make use of it in the advertising columns of the Literatur-Zeitung? What you have said I would modify in every way consonant with its relation to the public, which needs not know everything. If you could occasionally communicate to me some information of this type from the wealth of your observations, you would confer a great pleasure upon us.

Since Jagemann's death, Fernow has received an appointment at the library of the Duchess Dowager, and his connection with it is of great value for her house and for the society which assembles there; he makes love for Italian literature a living force and gives occasion for witty readings and conversations.

Generally speaking, Weimar is like heaven since the Bottiger goblin [26] has been banished; and our school is also going very well indeed. A professorship has been given to Voss's eldest son, who inherits from his father that fundamental love for antiquity, especially from the linguistic side, which, after all, is the principal thing in a teacher of the classics.

Riemer also conducts himself very well in my house, and I am fairly satisfied with the progress of my boy, who, I must admit, has a greater interest in subject-matter than in diction.

Madame de Staël's intention of spending a portion of the summer here has been frustrated by her father's death. She has taken Schlegel with her from Berlin; they are together in Coppet; and will probably go to Italy toward winter. Such a visit would doubtless be more delightful to you, dear friend, than many another.

My warmest thanks are due you for sending me the Odes of Pindar in translation; they have given a very pleasant hour of recreation to Riemer and myself.

I trust to your goodness to see that the inclosed memorandum is delivered to Mercandetti, and perhaps to confer with him in person about the matter. Then among your ministering spirits you perhaps have some one who would keep an eye on the affair in future. I should be glad if our old patron[27] were given such a public token of gratitude, which should also be noteworthy from the artistic side, but it must be acknowledged that it is always a daring venture to place any order at such a distance, and, therefore, I entreat your friendly participation.

Above all things it is important that Mercandetti should make a moderate charge. He demands three piasters for his Alfieri, which he offers for sale and which is said to be as large as his Galvani. If, now, he asks somewhat more for the archchancellor's medal, which is ordered and which is not supposed to be any larger, surely the extra expense should not be much, and if it is relatively cheap, I am confident of securing him two hundred subscribers. As has already been noted in the memorandum, he will render himself better known in Germany through this medal than through any other work, a fact which cannot fail to be of great moment to him in the series of distinguished men of the previous century, which he intends to issue. Forgive me for adding this new burden to your many duties, and yet endeavor to conduct the affair so that it will not require much writing to and fro, and so that, in his reply to the memorandum, Mercandetti will accept our offer. Letters are now delayed intolerably; one from Florence here takes twenty days, and more.

It comforts me greatly that you have been pleased with my Natural Daughter, for though at times I long remain silent toward my absent friends, my desire is, nevertheless, suddenly to resume relations with them through that which I have toiled over in silence. Unfortunately, I have given up this play, and do not know when I shall be able to resume work on it.

Have you seen the twenty lyric poems which have been published by me in my Annual of this year? Among them are some that ought not to displease you. Do not render like for like, but write me soon. Communicate to me many observations on lands, nations, men, and languages, which are so instructive and so stimulating. Do not delay, moreover, to give me some information regarding your own health and that of your dear wife.

Weimar, July 30, 1804.

* * * * *


August 31, 1812.

Faithful to its nature, Teplitz continues to be, esteemed friend, unfavorable to our coming together. This inconvenience is doubly vexatious to me now that, after your departure from Karlsbad, I deliberately thought over the value of your presence, and wished to continue our interviews. I was especially grieved that your beautiful presentation of the manner in which languages received their expansion over the world was not completely drawn up, although the most of it remained with me. If you wish to give me a real proof of friendship, have the kindness to write out for me such an abstract, and I shall have a hemispherical map colored for myself accordingly and add it to Lesage's Atlas, since, in view of my residence abroad for so much of the year, I am compelled to think more and more of my general need of a compendious and tabulated traveling library. Thus, with the assistance of Aulic Councillor Meyer, the history of the plastic arts and of painting is now being written on the margin of Bredow's Tabellen, and thus in a very large number of cases your linguistic map will help to refresh my memory and serve as a guide in much of my reading.

I would gladly have spoken with you in detail regarding Berlin and all that which, according to your previous preparations and suggestions, is going on there. Great cities always contain within themselves the image of whole empires, and even though distorted by exaggerations which degenerate into caricature, they nevertheless present the nation in concentrated form to the eye.

State Councillor Langermann, whose good will and energy are so beautifully balanced, has now delighted me for two weeks with his instructive conversation, and both by word and by example revived my courage for many things which I had been on the point of abandoning. It is very enlivening indeed to re-behold the world in its entirety through the medium of a truly energetic man; for the Germans seldom know how to inspire in details, and never as a whole.

I here find an entirely natural transition to the information which you give me—that our friend Wolf is not satisfied with Niebuhr's work, although he preëminently should have had reason to be. I feel, however, very calm about it, for I value Wolf infinitely when he works and acts, but I have never known him to be sympathetic, especially as regards the affairs of the present, and herein he is a true German. Moreover, he knows entirely too much to permit himself to be instructed further and not to discover the gaps in the knowledge of others. He has his own mode of thought; how should he recognize the merits of the views of others? And the great endowments which he possesses are the very ones which are adapted to rouse and to maintain the spirit of contradiction and of rejection.

As to myself, a layman, I have been very greatly indebted to Niebuhr's first volume, and I hope that the second will increase my gratitude toward him. I am very curious about his development of the lex agraria. We have heard of it from the time of our youth without gaining any clear conception of it. How pleasant it is to listen to a learned and original man on such a theme, especially in these days, when the summons comes for a more free and unprejudiced consideration of the law of states and nations, as well as of all the relations of civil law. It becomes obvious what an advantage it is to know little, and to have forgotten very much of that little. I never love to mingle in the wrangles of the day, but I cannot forego the delight of quietly snapping my fingers at them. I trust that the small leaf inclosed may win a smile from you.

I beg you to give my best regards to your wife, and convey my kindest greetings to the Körners. When the young man [28] again has anything ready, I beg that it may be sent me at once. This time I should be most happy to receive a rather large article for January 30, the birthday of the duchess. A thousand fare-you-wells!

* * * * *


Weimar, February 8, 1813.

With sincere thanks I recognize the fact that you have been able so quickly and so perfectly to fulfil your friendly promise. Your beautiful sketch has given me an entirely new impulse to studies of all sorts. It is no longer possible for me to collect materials; but when they are brought to me in so concentrated a form, it becomes a source of very real pleasure for me speedily to fill the gaps in my knowledge and to discover a thousand relations to what information I already possess.

As soon as I can spend a few quiet weeks at Jena in March, I shall get about my task, which, after your preliminary work, is in reality only a pastime. Bertuch has had some maps of Europe printed for me in a brownish tint. One of these is to be laid on a large drawing-board, and the boundaries are to be colored. I shall then indicate the main languages and, so far as possible, the dialects as well, by attaching little slips; and Bertuch is not unwilling then to have such a map engraved, an easy task in his great establishment which is provided with artists of every kind. Please have the kindness, therefore, to proceed and to send me the continuation at the earliest possible moment. A map of the two hemispheres is now ready and is to have the languages indicated in like fashion. From my inmost heart I wish success to your translation of Æschylus, which continually becomes more and more elaborate, and I rejoice that you have not let yourself be frightened away from this good work by the threats of the Heidelberg Cyclops[29] and his crew. At the present moment they menace our friend Wolf, who certainly is no kitten, with ignominious execution, because he also dared to land on the translation island which they have received from Father Neptune in private fief, and to bring with him a readable Aristophanes. It is written, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord," but still more blessed are they who go mad over some conceitedness.

Our friend Wieland is blessed in the first sense; he has died in his Lord, and without particular suffering has passed over to his gods and heroes. What talent and spirit, learning, common sense, receptivity, and versatility, conjoined with industry and endurance, can accomplish, utile nobis proposuit exemplar. If every man would so employ his gifts and his time, what marvels would then take place!

I have passed my winter as usual, much distracted with my work, yet with tolerable health, so that it has gone quickly and not without profit. In November and December my plans were disarranged by theatrical preparations for the long-expected Iffland, who did not come till toward the close of the year, and also by preparations for his performances, which gave me great pleasure. In January and February there were four birthdays, when either our inventive genius or our collaboration was demanded; and thus much has been frittered away, willingly, to be sure, but fruitlessly.

What I have done meanwhile with pleasure and real interest has been to make a renewed effort to find among extant monuments a trace of those of which descriptions have come down to us. Philostrati were again the order of the day, and as to the statues, I believe that I have got on the track of the Olympian Zeus, on which so many preliminary studies have already been made, and also on that of the Hera of Samos, the Doryphorus of Polycletes, and especially on that of the Cow of Myron and of the bull that carried Europa. Meyer, whose history of ancient art, now written in a fair copy, furnished the chief inspiration, takes a lively interest, since both his doubt and his agreement are invariably well-founded.

And thus I shall now close for this time, in the hope of soon seeing something from your dear hand once more.

* * * * *


Tennstädt, September 1, 1816. The great work to which you, dearest friend, have devoted a large portion of your life, could not have reached me at a better time; it finds me here in Tennstädt, a little provincial Thuringian bathing town which is probably not entirely unknown to you. Here I have now been for five weeks, and alone, since my friend Meyer left me.

Here, at first, I indulged in a cursory reading both of the introduction and of the drama[30] itself, to my no small edification; and inasmuch as I am now, for the second time, enjoying the details together with the whole, I will no longer withhold my thanks for this gift.

For even though one sympathetically concerns one's self with all the praiseworthy and with all the good that the most ancient and the most modern times afford, nevertheless, such a pre-ancient giant figure, formed like a prodigy, appears amazing to us, and we must collect all our senses to stand over against it in an attitude even approximately worthy of it. At such a moment there is no doubt that here the work of all works of art is seen, or, in more moderate language, a model of the highest type. That we now can control this easily is our indebtedness to you; and continuous thanks must fervently reward your efforts, though in themselves they bring their own reward.

This drama has always been to me one of those most worthy of consideration, and through your interest it has been made accessible earlier than the rest. But, more than ever, the texture of this primeval tapestry now seems most marvelous to me; past, present, and future are so happily interwoven that the reader himself becomes the seer, that is, he becomes like unto God, and yet, in the last resort, that is the triumph of all poetry in the greatest and in the least.

But if we here perceive how the poet had at his service each and every means by which so tremendous an effort may be produced, we cannot refrain from the highest admiration. How happily the epic, lyric, and dramatic diction is interwoven, not compelling, but enticing us to sympathize with such cruel fates! And how well the scanty didactic reflection becomes the chorus as it speaks! All this cannot receive too high a mead of praise.

Forgive me, then, for bringing owls to Athens as a thanks-offering. I could truly continue thus forever, and tell you what you yourself have long since better known. Thus I have once more been astonished to see that each character, except Clytemnestra, the linker of evil unto evil, has her exclusive Aristeia, so that each one acts an entire poem, and does not return later for the possible purpose of again burdening us with her affairs. In every good poem poetry in its entirety must be contained; but this is a flugleman.

The ideas in your introduction regarding synonymy are precious; would that our linguistic purists were imbued with them! We will not, however, contaminate such lofty affairs with the lamentable blunders whereby the German nation is corrupting its language from the very foundation, an evil which will not be perceived for thirty years.

You, however, my dearest friend, be and remain blessed for the benefaction which you have done us. This your Agamemnon shall never again leave my side.

I cannot judge the rhythmic merit, but I believe I feel it. Our admirable, talented, and original friend Wolf—although he becomes intractable in case of contradiction—who spent a number of days with me, speaks very highly of your careful work. It will be instructive to see how the Heidelberg gentlemen[31] conduct themselves.

Let me have a word from you before you go to Paris, and give my greetings to your dear wife. How much I had wished to see you this summer, for so many things are in progress on every side that only days suffice to consider what is to be furthered and how. Fortunately for me, nothing is approaching that I must absolutely refuse, even though everything is not undertaken and conducted according to my convictions. And it is precisely this bitter-sweet which can be treated only orally and in person.

* * * * *


Weimar, June 22, 1823.

Your letter, dear and honored friend, came at a remarkable juncture which made it doubly interesting; Schiller's letters had just been collected, and I was looking them through from the very first, finding there the most charming traces of the happy and fruitful hours which we passed together. The invitation to the Horen is contained in the first letter of June 13, 1794; then the correspondence continues, and with every letter admiration for Schiller's extraordinary spirit and joy over his influence on our entire development increases in intensity and elevation. His letters are an infinite treasure, of which you also possess rich store; and as, through them, we have made noteworthy progress, so we must read them again to be protected against backward steps to which the precious world about us is inclined to tempt us day by day and hour by hour.

Just imagine to yourself now, my dearest friend, how highly welcome your announcement seemed to me at this moment when, after ripe reflection, I desired to give you very friendly counsel to visit us toward the end of October. Should the gods not dispose otherwise concerning us, you will surely find me, and whatever else is near and dear to you, assembled here; quiet, personal communication may very happily alternate with social recreations, and, above all things, we can take delight in Schiller's correspondence, since then you will also bring with you the letters of several years, and in the fruitful present we may edify and refresh ourselves with the fair bloom of by-gone days. Riemer sends his very best greetings; he is well; our relation is permanent, mutually beneficial, and profitable. Aulic Councillor Meyer has left for Wiesbaden; unfortunately, his health is not of the best.

Two new numbers of Ueber Kunst und Alterthum and Zur Naturwissenschaft are about to appear—the fruits of my winter's labors. Fortunately, they have been so carefully prepared that no noteworthy hindrance was presented by my troubles and by the subsequent illness of our Grand Duchess, which filled us all, especially my convalescent self, with fear and anxiety.

Please give my kindest regards to your wife, and, by the way, I need not assure you that you will certainly be most highly welcome to our most gracious court. In my household children and grandchildren will meet you with joyous faces; our nearest friends we shall assemble as we wish. If in the interval you should have some message for me, I beg you to send it to my address here, for then it will reach me most quickly.

And now I again send the very best of all kind greetings to your dear wife; may good fortune bring me once more to her side. Pardon a somewhat distracted way of writing, indicative of packing.

* * * * *


October 22, 1826.

Your letter and package, most honored friend, gave me a very welcome token of your continuous remembrance and friendly sympathy. I wish, however, that I might have received an equal assurance of your good health. For my own part, I cannot complain; a ship that is no longer a deep-sea sailer may perhaps still be useful as a coaster.

I have passed the entire summer at home, laboring undisturbed at editing my works. Possibly you still remember, my dearest friend, a dramatic Helena, which was to appear in the second part of Faust. From Schiller's letters at the beginning of the century I see that I showed him the commencement of it, and also that he, with true friendship, counseled me to continue it. It is one of my oldest conceptions, resting on the marionette tradition that Faust compelled Mephistopheles to produce Helen of Troy for his nuptials. From time to time I have continued to work on it, but the piece could not be completed except in the fulness of time, for its action has now covered three thousand years, from the fall of Troy to the capture of Missolonghi. This can, therefore, also be regarded as a unity of time in the higher sense of the term; the unities of place and action are, however, likewise most carefully regarded in the usual acceptation of the word. It appears under the title:


Classico-Romantic Phantasmagoria.

Interlude to Faust.

This says little indeed, and yet enough, I hope, to direct your attention more vividly to the first instalment of my works which I hope to present at Easter.

I next ask, with more confidence, whether perchance you still remember an epic poem which I had in mind immediately after the completion of Hermann and Dorothea—in a modern hunt a tiger and a lion were concerned. At the time you dissuaded me from elaborating the idea, and I abandoned it; now, in searching through old papers, I find the plot again, and cannot refrain from executing it in prose; for it may then pass as a tale, a rubric under which an extremely large amount of remarkable stuff circulates.

Very recently there has reached my hermitage the portrayal of the very active life of a man of the world, which highly entertains me—the journal of Duke Bernhard of Weimar, who left Ghent in April, 1825, and who returned to us only a short time past. It is written uninterruptedly, and since his station, his mode of thought, and his demeanor introduced him to the highest circles of society, and since he was at ease among the middle classes and did not disdain the most humble, his reader is very agreeably conducted through most diverse situations, which, for me at least, it was highly important to survey directly.

Now, however, I must assure you that the outline which you have sent is extremely profitable to Riemer and myself, and has given a most admirable opportunity for discussions on linguistics and philosophy. I am by no means averse to the literature of India, but I am afraid of it; for it draws my imaginative power towards the formless and the deformed, against which I am forced to guard myself more than ever; but if it comes over the signature of a valued friend, it will always be welcome, for it gives me the desired opportunity to converse with him on what interests him, and what must certainly be of importance.

Now, as I prepare to close, I simply say that I am engaged in combining and uniting the scattered Wanderings of Wilhelm Meister, in its old and new portions, as two volumes. While engaged in which task nothing could give me greater delight than to welcome the chief of wanderers, your highly esteemed brother, to our house, and to learn directly of his ceaseless activity; nor do I fail to express my hearty wishes to your dear wife for the best results from the cure which she is seeking in such lofty regions.

And so, for ever and ever, in truest sympathy, GOETHE.

* * * * *


October 19, 1830.

How often during these weeks, my dear and honored friend, have I sought refuge at your side, again taken out your magnificent letters, and found refreshment in them!

As almost in an instant the earthquake of Lisbon caused its influences to be felt in the remotest lakes and springs, so we also have been shaken directly by that western explosion, as was the case forty years ago.

How comforting it must have been for me in such moments to take up your priceless letters, you yourself will feel and graciously express. Through a decided antithesis I was carried back to those times when we felt mutually pledged to procure a preliminary culture, when, united with our great and noble friend, we strove after concrete truths, and most faithfully and diligently sought to attain all that was most beautiful and sublime in the world about us, for the edification of our willing, yearning spirits, and to fill to its full an atmosphere which required substance and contents.

How beautiful and splendid is it now that you should lay the foundations for your latest composition (Review of Goethe's Italian Travels) in that happy soil, that you should seek to explain me and my endeavors at that laborious time, and that attentively and lovingly you should have traced back that which in my efforts might seem incidental or lacking in coherence, in sequence, to a spiritual necessity and to individual characteristic combinations.

Here, now, there would be a most beautiful theme for discussion by word of mouth. It is impossible to commit to writing how I was mirrored in your words; how I received elucidation on many things; how, at the same time, I was again challenged to reflect on the many enigmas that ever remain unsolved in man, even as regards himself; and seriously to reflect on the inner nexus of many qualities which cross in the individual and which, despite a certain degree of contradiction, are intertwined and united.

Here belongs preëminently my relation to plastic art, to which you have devoted an attention so deserving of thanks. It is marvelous enough that man feels an irresistible impulse to prosecute what he cannot achieve, and yet that by this very process he is most essentially furthered in his actual achievements.

That, however, this long-delayed letter may no further lag behind, I shall close, but shall, nevertheless, at the same time inform you that, while I uttered the sentiments written above, I once more returned to your letters, and by seeing myself mirrored in them afresh was challenged to new considerations, and was powerfully reminded of those times when, united in spirit though not in body, we, already advanced in years, enjoyed with the strength of youth and with delight those idyllic days.

For six months [32] now my son has shared in the exuberance with which, on the priceless peninsula, nature and centuries have, with most marvelous intricacy, amassed and destroyed in life, created and demolished in the arts, and played with the fates of men and nations.

He went by steamer from Leghorn to Naples, where he may be even yet, a decision which, once carried out, has brought very special advantages. He found Professor Zahn there, and himself, under this scholar's guidance, completely at home both above and below the ground.

Since now you, too, my dearest friend, are accustoming yourself to dictating, send me in a happy hour of leisure often a tiny friendly word, so that, from time to time, I may more frequently and concretely be aware of the coexistence which has already so long been vouched us on this terrestrial ball. I tear myself unwillingly from this communication; how much I have to say floats before me, but at this time I shall delay only to bless the fortunate star which at this moment rises over you and your estimable brother. May what has so charmingly been inaugurated endure for the enjoyment of rich results to you and to us all!

And so ever!

Weimar, October 19, 1830. J. W. VON GOETHE.

* * * * *


Weimar, December 1, 1831.

Already informed by the public press, honored friend, that the beating waves of that wild Baltic have exercised so happy an influence on the constitution of my dearest friend, I have rejoiced in a high degree, and have done all honor and reverence to the waters which so often wreak destruction. Your welcome note gave the fairest and the best of all substantiation to these good tidings, so that with comfort I could look forth from my hermitage over the monastery gardens veiled in snow, since I could fancy to myself my dearest friend in his four-towered castle, amid roomy surroundings, surveying a landscape over which winter had spread far and wide, and at the same time with good courage pursuing to the minutest detail his deep-founded tasks.

Generally speaking, I can perhaps say that the apperception of great productive maxims of nature absolutely compels us to continue our investigations to the minutest possible details, just as the final ramifications of the arteries meet, at the extreme finger-tips, the nerves to which they are linked. In particular I might perhaps say that I have often been brought more closely to you than you probably know; for conversations with Riemer very often turn on a word, its etymological signification, formation and mutation, relationship, and strangeness.

I have been highly grateful to your brother, for whom I find no epithet, for several hours of frank, friendly conversation; for although assimilation of his theory of geology, and practical work in accordance with it, are impossible for my mental process, yet I have seen with true sympathy and admiration how that of which I cannot convince myself in him obtains a logical coherence and is amalgamated with the tremendous mass of his knowledge, where it is then held together by his priceless character.

If I may express myself with my old frankness, my most honored friend, I gladly admit that in my advanced years everything becomes more and more historical to me. Whether a thing has happened in days gone by, in distant realms, or very close to myself, is quite immaterial; I even seem to become more and more historical to myself; and when, in the evening, Plutarch is read to me, I often appear ridiculous to myself, should I narrate my biography in this way.

Forgive me expressions of this character! In old age men become garrulous, and since I dictate, it is very easy for this natural tendency to get the better of me.

Of my Faust there is much and little to say; at a peculiarly happy time the apothegm occurred to me:

  "If bards ye are, as ye maintain;
  Now let your inspiration show it."

And through a mysterious psychological turn, which probably deserves investigation, I believe that I have risen to a type of production which with entire consciousness has brought forth that which I myself still approve of—though perhaps without being able ever again to swim in this current—but which Aristotle and other prose-writers would even ascribe to a sort of madness. The difficulty of succeeding consisted in the fact that the second part of Faust—to whose printed portions you have possibly devoted some attention—has been pondered for fifty years in its ends and aims, and has been elaborated in fragmentary fashion, as one or the other situation occurred to me; but the whole has remained incomplete.

Now, the second part of Faust demands more of the understanding than the first does, and therefore it was necessary to prepare the reader, even though he must still supply bridges. The filling of certain gaps was obligatory both for historical and for æsthetic unity, and this I continued until at last I deemed it advisable to cry:

"Close ye the wat'ring canal; to their fill have the meadows now drunken."

And now I had to take heart to seal the stitched copy in which printed and unprinted are thrust side by side, lest I might possibly be led into temptation to elaborate it here and there; at the same time I regret that I cannot communicate it to, my most valued friends, as the poet so gladly does.

I will not send my Metamorphosis of Plants, translated, with an appendix, by M. Soret, unless certain confessions of life would satisfy your friendship. Recently I have become more and more entangled in these phenomena of nature; they have enticed me to continue my labors in my original field, and have finally compelled me to remain in it. We shall see what is to be done there likewise, and shall trust the rest to the future, which, between ourselves, we burden with a heavier task than would be supposed.

From time to time let us not miss on either side an echo of continued existence.


Weimar, March 17, 1832.

After a long, involuntary pause I begin as follows, and yet simply on the spur of the moment. Animals, the ancients said, were taught by their organs. I add to this, men also, although they have the advantage of teaching their organs in return.

For every act, and, consequently, for every talent, an innate tendency is requisite, working automatically, and unconsciously carrying with itself the necessary predisposition; yet, for this very reason, it works on and on inconsequently, so that, although it contains its laws within itself, it may, nevertheless, ultimately run out, devoid of end or aim. The earlier a man perceives that there is a handicraft or an art which will aid him to attain a normal increase of his natural talents, the more fortunate is he. Moreover, what he receives from without does not impair his innate individuality. The best genius is that which absorbs everything within itself, which knows how to adapt everything, without prejudicing in the least the real fundamental essence—the quality which is called character—so that it becomes the element which truly elevates that quality and endows it throughout so far as may be possible.

Here, now, appear the manifold relations between the conscious and the unconscious. Imagine a musical talent that is to compose an important score; consciousness and unconsciousness will be related like the warp and the woof, a simile that I am so fond of using. Through practice, teaching, reflection, failure, furtherance, opposition, and renewed reflection the organs of man unconsciously unite, in a free activity, the acquired and the innate, so that this process creates a unity which sets the world in amaze. This generalization may serve as a speedy reply to your query and as an explanation of the note that is herewith returned.

Over sixty years have passed since, in my youth, the conception of Faust lay before me clear from the first, although the entire sequence was present in less detailed form. Now, I have always kept my purpose in the back of my mind and I have elaborated only the passages that were of special interest to me, so that gaps remain in the second part which are to be connected with the remainder through the agency of a uniform interest. Here, I must admit, appeared the great difficulty of attaining through resolution and character what should properly belong only to a nature voluntarily active. It would, however, not have been well had this not been feasible after so long a life of active reflection, and I let no fear assail me that it may be possible to distinguish the older from the newer, and the later from the earlier; which point, then, we shall intrust to future readers for their friendly examination.

Beyond all question it will give me infinite pleasure to dedicate and communicate these very serious jests to my valued, ever thankfully recognized, and widely scattered friends while still living, and to receive their reply. But, as a matter of fact, the age is so absurd and so insane that I am convinced that the candid efforts which I have long expended upon this unusual structure would be ill rewarded, and that, driven ashore, they will lie like a wreck in ruins and speedily be covered over by the sand-dunes of time. In theory and practice, confusion rules the world, and I have no more urgent task than to augment, wherever possible, what is and has remained within me, and to redistill my peculiarities, as you also, worthy friend, surely also do in your castle.

But do you likewise tell me something about your work. Riemer is, as you doubtless know, absorbed in the same and similar studies, and our evening conversations often lead to the confines of this specialty. Forgive this delayed letter! Despite my retirement, there is seldom an hour when these mysteries of life may be realized.



Weimar, July 28, 1803.

I have followed you so often in my thoughts that unfortunately I have neglected to do so in writing. Just a few lines today, to accompany the inclosed page. Of Mozart's Biography I have heard nothing further, but I will inquire about it and also about the author. Your beautiful Queen made many happy while on her journey, and no one happier than my mother; nothing could have caused her greater joy in her declining years.

Do write me something about the performance of The Natural Daughter, frankly and without consideration for my feelings. I have a mind anyhow to shorten some of the scenes, which must seem long, even if they are excellently acted. Will you outline for me sometime the duties of a concert conductor, so much, at all events, as one of our kind needs to know in order to form a judgment of such a man, and in case of need, to be able to direct him? Madame Mara sang on Tuesday in Lauchstaedt; how it went off I do not yet know. For the songs which I received through Herr von Wolzogen I thank you mostly heartily in my own name and in the name of our friends. It was no time to think of producing them. I hope soon to send you the proof-sheets of my songs, and I beg you to keep them secret at first, until they have appeared in print.


You now have the Bride of Messina before you in print and as you learn the poet's intentions from his introductory essay, you will know better how to appreciate what he has done, and how far you can agree with him. I will, regarding your letter, jot down my thoughts on the subject; we can come to an understanding in a few words.

[Illustration: K. F. ZELTER, E. A. Seemann]

In Greek tragedy four forms of the chorus are found, representing four epochs. In the first, between the songs in which gods and heroes are extolled and genealogies, great deeds, and monstrous destinies are brought before the imagination, a few persons appear and carry the spectator back into the past. Of this we find an approximate example in the Seven before Thebes of, Eschylus. Here, therefore, are the beginnings of dramatic art, the old style. The second epoch shows us the chorus in the mass as the mystical, principal personage of the piece, as in the Eumenides and Supplicants. Here I am inclined to find the grand style. The chorus is independent, the interest centres in it; one might call this the Republican period of dramatic art; the rulers and the gods are only attendant personages. In the third epoch it is the chorus which plays the secondary part; the interest is transferred to the families, and the members and heads who represent them in the play, with whose fate that of the surrounding people is only loosely connected. Then, the chorus is subordinate, and the figures of the princes and heroes stand preëminent in all their exclusive magnificence. This I consider the beautiful style. The pieces of Sophocles stand on this plane. Since the crowd is forced merely to look on at the heroes and at fate, and can have no effect on either their special or general nature, it takes refuge in reflection and assumes the office of an able and welcome spectator. In the fourth epoch the action withdraws more and more into the sphere of private interests, and the chorus often appears as a burdensome custom, as an inherited fixture. It becomes unnecessary, and therefore, as a part of a living poetic composition, it is useless, wearisome, and disturbing; as, for example, when it is called upon to guard secrets in which it has no interest, and things of that sort. Several examples are to be found in the pieces of Euripides, of which I will mention Helen and Iphigenia in Tauris.

From all this you will see that, for a musical reconstruction of the chorus, it would be necessary to make experiments in the style of the first two epochs; and this might be accomplished by means of quite short oratorios.

* * * * *


Weimar, June 1, 1805.

Since writing to you last, I have had few happy days. I thought I should die myself, and instead I lose a friend,[33] and with him the half of my being. I would really begin a different mode of life, but for one of my years there is no way of doing that. I only look straight ahead of me each day, and do the thing nearest to me without thinking of the consequences.

But as people in every loss and misfortune try to find a pretext for amusement, I have been urgently solicited in behalf of our theatre, and on many other sides, to celebrate on the stage the memory of the departed one. I wish to say nothing further on the subject, except that I am not disinclined to it, and all I would ask of you now is whether you are willing to assist me in the matter; and, first, whether you would furnish me with your motet—"Man lives," etc., about which I have read in the Musical Review, No. 27; also whether you would either compose some other pieces of a solemn character, or else select and make over to me some musical pieces already composed—the style of which I will indicate later—as a foundation for appropriate compositions. As soon as I know your real opinion on the subject, you shall receive further details.

Your beautiful series of little essays on orchestra organization I have left lying around till now, and the reason is that they contained a sort of satire on our own conditions.

Now Reichard wishes them for the Musical Review. I hunt them up again, look them over, and I feel that I really could not deprive the Intelligence Page of our Literatur-Zeitung of them. Some of our conditions here have changed, and, after all, a man may surely be allowed to censure those things which he did not try to hinder.

Privy Councillor Wolf of Halle is here at present. If only I could hope to see you also here this year! Would it not be possible for you to come to Lauchstaedt the end of July, so as to help, there on the spot, in the preparation and performance of the above-mentioned work?

Think it over and only tell me there is a possibility of it; we shall then be able to devise the means of bringing it to pass.

* * * * *


Weimar, October 30, 1808.

The world of art is just now too much run down for a young man to be able to realize exactly where he stands. People always search for inspiration everywhere but in the place where it originates, and if they do once catch sight of the source, then they cannot find the path leading to it. Therefore I am reduced to despair by half a dozen of the younger poetic spirits, who, though endowed with extraordinary natural talent, will scarcely accomplish much that I can ever take pleasure in. Werner, Ochlenschlaeger, Arnim, Brentano and others are still working and practising at their art, but everything they do is absolutely lacking in form and character. Not one of them can understand that the highest and only operation of nature and art is the creation of form, and in the form, detail, so that each single thing shall become, be, and remain something separate and important. There is no art in letting your talent go to suit your humor and convenience.

The sad part of it is that the humorous, because it has no support and no law within itself, sooner or later degenerates into melancholy and bad temper. We have been forced to experience the most horrible examples of this in Jean Paul (see his last production in the Ladies' Calendar) and in Görres (see his Specimens of Writing). Moreover, there are always people enough to admire and esteem that sort of thing, because the public is always grateful to every one who tries to turn its head.

Will you be obliging enough, when you have a quarter of an hour's spare time, to sketch for me, in a few rough lines, the aberrations of our youthful musicians? I should like to compare them with the errors of the painters; for a man must once for all set his heart at rest about these things, execrate the whole business, stop thinking about the culture of others, and employ the short time that remains to him on his own works. But even while I express myself thus disagreeably, I must, as always happens to good-natured blusterers, contradict myself immediately, and beg you to continue your interest in Eberwein at least until Easter; for then I will send him to you again. He has acquired great confidence in you, and great respect for your institution, but unhappily even that does not mean much with young people. They still secretly think it would also be possible to produce something extraordinary by their own foolish methods. Many people gain some comprehension that there is a goal, but they would like very much to reach it by loitering along mazy paths.

You have been sufficiently reminded of us throughout this month by the newspapers. It was worth much to be present in person at these events. I also came in for a share of the favorable influence of such an unusual constellation. The Emperor of France was very gracious to me. Both Emperors decorated me with stars and ribbons, which we desire in all modesty thankfully to acknowledge. Forgive me for not writing you more about the latest events. You must have already wondered when you read the papers that this stream of the great and mighty ones of earth should have rolled on as far as Weimar, and even over the battlefield of Jena. I cannot refrain from inclosing to you a remarkable engraving. The point where the temple is placed, is the farthest point toward the north-east reached by Napoleon on this tour. When you visit us, I will place you on the spot where the little man with the cane is shown parceling off the world.

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Weimar, February 28, 1811.

I have read somewhere that the celebrated first secretary of the London Society, Oldenburg, never opened a letter until he had placed pen, ink, and paper before him, and that he then and there, immediately after the first reading, wrote down his answer. Thus he was able to meet comfortably the demands of an immense correspondence. If I could have imitated this virtue, so many people would not now be complaining of my silence. But this time your dear letter just received has roused in me such a desire to answer, by recalling to my mind all the fullness of our life during the summer, that I am writing these lines, if not immediately after the first reading, at least on awaking the next morning.

I think I anticipated that the good Pandora would slow down somewhat when she reached home again. Life in Töplitz was really too favorable to this sort of work, and your meditations and efforts were so steadily and undividedly centred upon it, that an interruption could not help calling forth a pause. But leave it alone; there is so much done on it already that, at the right moment, the remainder will, in all likelihood, come of its own accord.

I cannot blame you for declining to compose the music to Faust. My proposition was somewhat ill-considered, like the undertaking itself. It can very well rest in peace for another year; for the trouble which I had in working over the Resolute Prince[34] has about exhausted the inclination which we must feel when we set about things of that sort. This piece has indeed turned out beyond all expectation, and it has given much pleasure to me and to others. It is no small undertaking to conjure up a work written almost two hundred years ago, for an entirely different clime, for a people of entirely different customs, religion, and culture, and to make it appear fresh and new to the eyes of a spectator. For nowhere is anything antiquated and without direct appeal more out of place than on the stage.

Touching my works you shall, before everything else, receive the thirteenth volume. It is very kind of you not to neglect the Theory of Color; and the fact that you absorb it in small doses will have its good effect too. I know very well that my way of handling the matter, natural as it is, differs very widely from the usual way, and I cannot demand that every one should immediately perceive and appropriate its advantages. The mathematicians are foolish people, and are so far from having the least idea what my work means that one really must overlook their presumption. I am very curious about the first one who gets an insight into the matter and behaves honestly about it; for not all of them are blindfolded or malicious. But, at any rate, I now see more clearly than ever what I have long held in secret, that the training which mathematics give to the mind is extremely one-sided and narrow. Yes, Voltaire is bold enough to say somewhere: "I have always remarked that geometry leaves the mind just where it found it." Franklin also has clearly and plainly expressed a special aversion to mathematicians, in respect to their social qualities, and finds their petty contradictory spirit unbearable.

As concerns the real Newtonians, they are in the same case as the old Prussians in October, 1806. The latter believed that they were winning tactically, when they had long since been conquered strategically. When once their eyes are opened they will be startled to find me already in Naumburg and Leipzig, while they are still creeping along near Weimar and Blankenheim. That battle was lost in advance; and so is this. The Newtonian Theory is already annihilated, while the gentlemen still think their adversary despicable. Forgive my boasting; I am just as little ashamed of it as those gentlemen are of their pettiness. I am going through a strange experience with Kugelchen, as I have done with many others. I thought I was making him the nicest compliment possible; for really the picture and the frame had turned out most acceptably, and now the good man takes offence at a superficial act of politeness, which one really ought not to neglect, since many persons' feelings are hurt if we omit it. A certain lack of etiquette on my part in such matters has often been taken amiss, and now here I am troubling some excellent people with my formality. Never get rid of an old fault, my dear friend; you will either fall into a new one, or else people will look upon your newly acquired virtue as a fault; and no matter how you behave, you will never satisfy either yourself or others. In the meantime I am glad that I know what the matter is; for I wish to be on good terms with this excellent man.

Regarding the antique bull, I should propose to have him carefully packed in a strong case, and sent to me for inspection. In ancient times these things were often made in replica, and the specimens differ greatly in value. To give any good bronze in exchange for another would be a bad bargain, as there are scarcely ever duplicates of them, and those that we do find are doubly interesting on account of their resemblances and dissimilarities. The offer I could make at present is as follows: I have a very fine collection of medals, mostly in bronze, from the middle of the fifteenth century up to our day. It was collected principally in order to illustrate to amateurs and experts the progress of plastic art, which is always reflected in the medals. Among these medals I have some very beautiful