Titan: A Romance. v. 1 (of 2) by Jean Paul

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.




The "Titan" is Jean Paul's longest--and the author meant it, and held it, to be his greatest and best--romance; and his public (including Mr. Carlyle) seems, on the whole, to have sustained his opinion. He was ten years about it, and his other works, written in the interval, were preparatory and tributary to this.

As to the _general_ meaning of the title there can hardly, on the whole, be any doubt. It does _not_ refer, as the division into Jubilees and Cycles might, to be sure, suggest to one on first approaching it, to the titanic scale and scope of the work, but to the titanic violence against which it is aimed.

It seems, indeed, from a letter of the author's, that he thought at first of calling it "Anti-Titan." The only question in regard to the _application_ of the title seems to be, whether the champion of truth and justice against the moral Titans in this case was meant to be understood as represented by the hero of the story, with his friends, resisting the iniquity which moved earth and hell to ruin him, or whether the book itself is the Anti-Titan, and an age of extravagance the Titan.

A French critic says of the "Titan":--

"It is a poem, a romance; a psychological _résumé_, a satire, an elegy, a drama, a fantasy; having for theme and text the enigma of civilization in the eighteenth century.

"How is it to end, this civilization which exaggerates alike intellectual and industrial power at the expense of the life of the soul,--wholly factitious, theatrical,--intoxicating, consuming itself with pleasure, seeking everywhere new enjoyments,--exploring all the secrets of nature, without being able to penetrate the first causes, the secrets of God,--what will be the fate of these generations supersaturated with romances, dramas, journals, with science, ambition, with vehement aspirations after the unknown and impossible?...

"In augmenting the sum of its desires, will it augment the sum of its happiness? Is it not going to increase immensely its capacity of suffering?

"Will it not be the giant that scales heaven--

"And that falls crushed to death?


In giving his romance the title of "Titan," says the same writer, "it is not Albano de Cesara the author has in view, but his antipode, Captain Roquairol,--that romantic being, that insatiable lover of pleasure, that anticipated Byron, that scaler of heaven,--who, after having piled mountain upon mountain to attain his object, ends in finding himself buried under the ruins....

"Even while at work upon 'Hesperus,' he had formed the resolution of placing a pure man, great and noble, by the side of a reprobate, and of surrounding them both with a multitude of beings corresponding to them. He wished to concentrate in a single work all the ideas of high philosophy which he had disseminated in his other creations, and to show them followed by their natural consequences. So strong a mind could not stop there: he resolved to show the absurdity of exaggeration, whether in good or in evil, in virtue or in vice.

"Hence those reproductions of the same types, those satellites gravitating around their respective planets; in fine, those parodies of the principal personages of the drama.

"By the side of the coldness and the vast plans of Don Gaspard de Cesara, we have the no less dangerous intrigues, though upon a less elevated scale, of the Minister von Froulay; by the side of the ventriloquist Uncle, the lying Roquairol; the Princess Isabelle is opposed to Linda de Romeiro, the aerial Liana to her physical counterpart, the Princess Idoine; the comic vulgarity of Dr. Sphex contrasts with the more elevated buffoonery of Schoppe; and if we have Bouverot, we have also Dion, that Greek so elegant and so noble, happy mixture of the antique and the modern, that artist so sensible and so true....

"The history of Albano, opposed to Roquairol, is the history, taken from his tenderest childhood to the epoch of his greatest development, of a being who, as the strictest consequence of a quite special education, goes through life, wounding himself with all its griefs, drinking at the source of all its lawful pleasures; suffering with nobleness, tasting of happiness, but only the purest kind; exposed every instant to see himself drawn away by fallacious principles, and nevertheless moving on with a steady step towards the end which his reason has marked out for him; sacrificing to the fulfilment of his duties all the delights that a debauched court can offer a young man entering into the world. While all the personages who gravitate around him, and who represent each a different aberration from the fundamental principle of the work, fall successively at his side, victims of the natural consequences of their passions, he, strengthening himself by every fall of which he is witness, ends by attaining the loftiest position which the ambition of man can desire,--a position which he could not have expected, and for which, consequently, he had not been able to make the sacrifices that, in the course of the work, he does not cease to achieve."

The author whom we have thus copiously quoted alludes to Jean Paul's having had the idea of "Titan" while writing "Hesperus." This reminds us of a Philistine disparagement of the "Titan," that so many of the characters of the other work reappear here under new names. There are some critics who ought to object to the full moon, that she is only the same old moon that we had, in her first quarter or half, several nights ago. However, as we have not yet had "Hesperus" in English, nor are likely to for some time, this kind of objection will not trouble English readers of "Titan."

Jean Paul has been justly praised for his success in drawing and shading female characters. Our French critic says: "Richter has the rare merit of placing on the stage in the same work six female personages, who have not a shadow of resemblance to each other, and who, from the moment of their appearance on the scene to that of their quitting it, never deviate a single minute from the character the author has given them."

The fate of his Titanide, Linda, created a loud remonstrance in Germany; and one can hardly, indeed, help feeling as if poetic justice had been a little caricatured, at least, in Richter's disposal of that half strong-headed and half headstrong woman. Painful, however, as her end is, the Translator could not listen an instant to the suggestion of omitting a line of the scenes in which that terrible tragedy is brought to a close.

When the "Titan" first appeared, complaint was made by some that there was too much of drollery, by others that there was not enough; some found too much sentimentality, others too much philosophy; the Translator has found it full, if not of that brevity which is the soul of _wit_ (not, however, of humor), yet of that variety which is the spice of life.

The Translator (or Transplanter, for he aspires to the title) of this huge production, in his solicitude to preserve the true German aroma of its native earth, may have brought away some part of the soil, and even stones, clinging to the roots (_stones of offence_ they may prove to many, stones of stumbling to many more). He can only say, that if he had made Jean Paul always talk in ordinary, conventional, straightforward, instantly intelligible prose, the reader would not have had _Jean Paul the Only_.

And yet it is confidently claimed that, under all the exuberance of metaphor and simile, and learned technical illustrations and odd digressions, and gorgeous episodes and witching interludes, that characterizes Richter, every attentive and thoughtful reader will find a broad and solid ground of real good sense and good feeling, and that in this extraordinary man whom, at times, his best friends were almost tempted to call a crazy giant, will be found one whose _heart_ (to use the homely phrase) is ever _in the right place_.

It has seemed necessary to give a few notes, and only a few. Properly to furnish such a work with annotations would require Jean Paul's own voluminous un-commonplace-books of all out-of-the-way knowledge, and that _Dictionary to Jean Paul_ which one of his countrymen began, but unfortunately carried only through one of his works, the work on Education, _Levana_.

The Translator desires emphatically to express his obligations to his friend, Rev. Dr. Furness, of Philadelphia, and to _his_ friend, the accomplished scholar, Mr. Knorr, to whose kind and patient care whatever of accuracy or felicity there may be in his version of the first Jubilee is largely due; also, to Rev. Dr. Hedge, and all the friends who have helped him with suggestion and encouragement in this large and difficult undertaking, he makes his warmest acknowledgments;--and he closes by commending the Titan to all lovers of the humanities, confident (in the words of Mrs. Lee, in her Life of Jean Paul) that "the more it is read, the more it will be acknowledged a work of exalted genius, pure morality, and perennial beauty."





Aphrodite, Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia once looked down into the clear-obscure of earth, and, weary of the ever-bright but cold Olympus, yearned to enter in beneath the clouds of our world, where the Soul loves more because it suffers more, and where it is sadder but more warm. They heard the holy tones ascend, with which Polyhymnia passes invisibly up and down the low, anxious earth, to cheer and lift our hearts; and they mourned that their throne stood so far from the sighs of the helpless.

Then they determined to take the earthly veil, and to clothe themselves in our mortal form. They came down from Olympus; Love and little loves and genii flew playfully after them, and our nightingales fluttered to meet them out of the bosom of May.

But, as they touched the first flowers of earth, and flung only rays of light, and cast no shadows, then the earnest Queen of gods and men, Fate, raised her eternal sceptre, and said: "The immortal becomes mortal upon the earth, and every spirit becomes a human being!"

So they became human beings and sisters, and were called _Louisa_, _Charlotte_, _Theresa_, _Frederica_; the little loves and genii transformed themselves into their children, and flew into their maternal arms, and the motherly and sisterly hearts throbbed full of new love in a great embrace. And when the white banner of the blooming spring fluttered abroad, and more human thrones stood before them,--and when, blissfully softened by love, the harmonica of life, they looked upon each other and their happy children, and were speechless for love and bliss,--then did Polyhymnia, invisible, float by over them, and recognize them, and gave them the tones wherewith the heart expresses and awakens love and joy.

And the dream was ended and fulfilled; it had, as is always the case, shaped itself after waking reality. Therefore, be it consecrated to the four fair and noble sisters, and let all which is like it in _Titan_ be so consecrated too!



[1] The Titan was published during the years 1800-1803. The four sisters were the four daughters of the Duke of Mecklenburg, viz. the Duchess of Hildburghausen, the Princess von Solms, the Princess of Thun and Taxis, and the Louisa who afterward became Queen of Prussia, and was so in the Liberation War.--TR.






































On a fine spring evening, the young Spanish Count Cesara came, with his companions, Schoppe and Dian, to Sesto, in order the next morning to cross over to the Borromæan island, Isola Bella, in Lago Maggiore. The proudly blooming youth glowed with the excitement of travelling, and with thoughts of the coming morrow, when he should see the isle, that gayly decorated throne of Spring, and on it a man who had been promised him for twenty years. This twofold glow exalted my picturesque hero to the form of an angry god of the Muses. His beauty made a more triumphal entry into Italian eyes than into the narrow Northern ones from the midst of which he had come; in Milan many had wished he were of marble, and stood with elder gods of stone, either in the Farnese Palace or in the Clementine Museum, or in the Villa of Albani; nay, had not the Bishop of Novara, with his sword at his side, a few hours before, asked Schoppe (riding behind) who he was? And had not the latter, with a droll squaring of the wrinkle-circle round his lips, made this copious answer (by way of enlightening his spiritual lordship): "It's my Telemachus, and I am the Mentor. I am the milling-machine and the die which coins him,--the wolf's tooth and flattening mill which polishes him down,--the man, in short, that regulates him"?

The glowing form of the youthful Cesara was still more ennobled by the earnestness of an eye always buried in the future, and of a firmly shut, manly mouth, and by the daring decision of young, fresh faculties; he seemed as yet to be a burning-glass in the moonlight, or a dark precious stone of too much color, which the world, as in the case of other jewels, can brighten and improve only by cutting _hollow_.

As he drew nearer and nearer, the island attracted him, as one world does another, more and more intensely. His internal restlessness rose as the outward tranquillity deepened. Beside all this, Dian, a Greek by birth and an artist, who had often circumnavigated and sketched Isola Bella and Isola Madre, brought these obelisks of Nature still nearer to his soul in glowing pictures; and Schoppe often spoke of the great man whom the youth was to see to-morrow for the first time. As the people were carrying by, down below in the street, an old man fast asleep, into whose strongly marked face the setting sun cast fire and life, and who was, in short, a corpse borne uncovered, after the Italian custom, suddenly, in a wild and hurried tone, he asked his friends, "Does my father look thus?"

But what impels him with such intense emotions towards the island is this: He had, on Isola Bella, with his sister, who afterward went to Spain, and by the side of his mother, who had since passed to the shadowy land, sweetly toyed and dreamed away the first three years of his life, lying in the bosom of the high flowers of Nature; the island had been, to the morning slumber of life, to his childhood's hours, a Raphael's painted sleeping-chamber. But he had retained nothing of it all in his head and heart, save in the one a deep, sadly sweet emotion at the name, and in the other the squirrel, which, as the family scutcheon of the Borromæans, stands on the upper terrace of the island.

After the death of his mother his father transplanted him from the garden-mould of Italy--some of which, however, still adhered to the tap-roots--into the royal forest of Germany; namely, to Blumenbühl, in the principality of Hohenfliess, which is as good as unknown to the Germans; there he had him educated in the house of a worthy nobleman, or, to speak more meaningly and allegorically, he caused the pedagogical professional gardeners to run round him with their water-pots, grafting-knives, and pruning-shears, till the tall, slender palm-tree, full of sago-pith and protecting thorns, outgrew them, and could no longer be reached by their pots and shears.

And now, when he shall have returned from the island, he is to pass from the field-bed of the country to the tanvat and hot-bed of the city, and to the trellises of the court garden; in a word, to Pestitz, the university and chief city of Hohenfliess, even the sight of which, until this time, his father had strictly forbidden him.

And to-morrow he sees that father for the first time! He must have burned with desire, since his whole life had been one preparation for this meeting, and his foster-parents and teachers had been a sort of chalcographic company, who had engraved in copper a portrait of the author of his life-book so magnificently opposite the title-page. His father, Gaspard de Cesara, Knight of the Golden Fleece (whether Spanish or Austrian I should be glad to be precisely informed myself), a spirit naturally three-edged, sharp, and brightly polished, had in his youth wild energies, for whose play only a battle-field or a kingdom would have been roomy enough, and which in high life had as little power of motion as a sea-monster in a harbor. He satisfied them by playing star-parts with all ranks in comedies and tragedies, by the prosecution of all sciences, and by an eternal tour: he was intimate and often involved with great and small men and courts, yet always marched along as a stream with its own waves through the sea of the world. And now, after having completed his travels by land and sea round the whole circumference of life, round its joys and capacities and systems, he still continues (especially since the Present, that ape of the Past, is always running after him) to pursue his studies and geographical journeyings; but always for scientific purposes, just as he visits now the European battle-fields. As for the rest, he is not at all gloomy, still less gay, but composed and calm; he does not even hate and love, blame and praise other men any more than he does himself, but values every one in his kind, the dove in hers and the tiger in his. What often seems vengeance is merely the determined, soldier-like tread wherewith a man, who can never flee and fear, but only knows how to advance and stand his ground, tramples down larks'-eggs and ears of corn.

I think that the corner which I have thus snipped off from the Whistonian chart of this comet, for the benefit of mankind, is broad enough. I will, before I discourse further, reserve the privilege to myself, of sometimes calling Don Gaspard _the Knight_, without appending to him the Golden Fleece; and, secondly, of not being obliged by courtesy towards the short memory of readers to steal from his son Cesara (under which designation the old man will never appear) his Christian name, which, to be sure, is _Albano_.

As Don Gaspard was about leaving Italy for Spain, he had, through Schoppe, caused our Albano, or Cesara, to be brought hither without any one's knowing why he did it at so late a period. Was it his pleasure, perhaps, to gaze into the full spring-time of the young twigs? Did he wish to unfold to the youth some rules for rustics in the century-almanac of court life? Would he imitate the old Gauls, or the modern inhabitants of the Cape, who never suffered their sons in their presence till they were grown up and capable of bearing arms? Was nothing less than that his idea? This much only I comprehend, that I should be a very good-natured fool if I were, in the very fore-court of the work, to suffer myself to be burdened with the task of drawing and dotting out from the few data that I now have, in the case of a man so remarkable, and whose magnetic needle declines so many degrees,--a Wilkes's magnetic table of inclinations;--he, not I, is the father of his son, to be sure, and he knows of course why he did not send for him till his beard was grown.

When it struck twenty-three o'clock (the hour before sundown), and Albano would have counted up the tedious strokes, he was so excited that he was not in a condition to ascend the long tone-ladder;[2] he must away to the shore of the Lago, in which the up-towering islands rise like sceptred sea-gods. Here stood the noble youth, his inspired countenance full of the evening glow, with exalted emotions of heart, sighing for his veiled father, who, hitherto, with an influence like that of the sun behind a bank of clouds, had made the day of his life warm and light. This longing was not filial love,--_that_ belonged to his foster-parents, for childlike love can only spring up toward a heart whereon we have long reposed, and which has protected us, as it were, with the first heart's-leaves against cold nights and hot days,--his love was higher or rarer. Across his soul had been cast a gigantic shadow of his father's image, which lost nothing by Gaspard's coldness. Dian compared it to the repose on the sublime countenance of the Juno Ludovici; and the enthusiastic son likened it to another sudden chill which often comes into the heart in company with too great warmth from another's heart, as burning-glasses burn feeblest precisely in the hottest days. He even hoped he might perchance melt off by his love this father's heart, so painfully frozen to the glaciers of life: the youth comprehended not how possible it was to resist a true, warm heart, at least his.

Our hero, reared in the Carthusian monastery of rural life, and more in past ages than his own, applied to every subject antediluvian gigantic standards of measurement; the invisibility of the Knight constituted a part of his greatness, and the Moses'-veil doubled the glory which it concealed. Our youth had, in general, a singular leaning toward extraordinary men, of whom others stand in dread. He read the eulogies of every great man with as much delight as if they were meant for him; and if the mass of people consider uncommon spirits as, for that very reason, bad,--just as they take all strange petrifactions to be Devil's bones,--in him the reverse was the case: in him _love_ dwelt a neighbor to _wonder_, and his breast was always at the same time wide and warm. To be sure, every young man and every great man who looks upon another as great, considers him for that very reason as too great. But in every noble heart burns a perpetual thirst for a nobler, in the fair, for a fairer; it wishes to behold its ideal out of itself, in bodily presence, with glorified or adopted form, in order the more easily to attain to it, because the lofty man can ripen only by a lofty one, as diamond can be polished only by diamond. On the other hand, does a litterateur, a cit, a newspaper carrier or contributor wish to get a glimpse of a great head,--and is he as greedy for a great head as for an abortion with three heads,--or a Pope with as many caps,--or a stuffed shark,--or a speaking-machine or a butter-machine,--it is not because his inner man is burdened and beset by the soul-inspiring ideal of a great man, pope, shark, three-headed monster, or butter-model, but it is because he thinks, in the morning, "I can't help wondering how the creature looks," and because, in the evening, he means to tell how he looks, over a glass of beer.

Albano looked from the shore with increasing restlessness across the shining water toward the holy dwelling-place of his past childhood, his departed mother, his absent sister. The songs of gladness thrilled through him as they came floating along on the distant boats; every running wave--the foaming surge--raised a higher in his bosom; the giant statue of St. Borromæus,[3] looking away over the cities, embodied the exalted one (his father) who stood erect in his heart, and the blooming pyramid, the island, was the paternal throne; the sparkling chain of the mountains and glaciers wound itself fast around his spirit, and lifted him up to lofty beings and lofty thoughts.

The first journey, especially when Nature casts over the long road nothing but white radiance and orange-blossoms and chestnut-shadows, imparts to the youth what the last journey often takes away from the man,--a dreaming heart, wings for the ice-chasms of life, and wide-open arms for every human breast.

He went back, and with his commanding eye begged his friends to set sail this very evening, although Don Gaspard was not to come to the island till to-morrow morning. Often, what he wanted to do in a week, he proposed to himself for the next day, and at last did it at once. Dian tapped the impetuous Boreas on the head lovingly, and said: "Impatient being, thou hast here the wings of a Mercury, and down there too (pointing to his feet)! But just cool off! In the pleasant after-midnight we embark, and when the dawn reddens in the sky we land." Dian had not merely an artistic eye to his well-formed darling, but also a tender interest in him, because he had often, in Blumenbühl, where he had business as public architect, been the friend and guide of his childhood and youth, and because now on the island he must tear himself from his arms for some time and be absent at Rome. Since he (the public architect) considered the same extravagance which he would rebuke in an old man to be no extravagance in a youth,--an inundation to be no inundation in Egypt, though it would be in Holland,--and since he assumed a different average temperature for every individual, age, and people, and in holy human nature found no string to be cut off, but only at most to be tuned, surely Cesara must have cherished toward the cheerful and indulgent teacher, on whose two tables of laws stood only, Joy and moderation! a right hearty attachment, even more hearty than for the laws themselves.

The images of the present and of the near future and of his father had so filled the breast of the Count with greatness and immortality, that he could not comprehend how any one could let himself be buried without having achieved both, and that as often as the landlord brought in anything, he pitied the man, particularly as he was always singing, and, like the Neapolitans and Russians, in the minor key, because he was never to be anything, certainly not immortal. The latter is a mistake; for he gets his immortality here, and I take pleasure in giving place and life to his name, _Pippo_ (abbreviated from Philippo). When, at last, they paid and were about to go, and Pippo kissed a Kremnitz ducat, saying, "Praised be the holy Virgin with the child on her _right_ arm," Albano was pleased that the father took after his pious little daughter, who had been all the evening rocking and feeding an image of the child Jesus. To be sure, Schoppe remarked, she would carry the child more _lightly_ on her left arm;[4] but the error of the good youth is a merit in him as well as the truth.

Beneath the splendor of a full moon they went on board the bark, and glided away over the gleaming waters. Schoppe shipped some wines with them, "not so much," said he, "that there is nothing to be had on the island, as for this reason, that if the vessel should leak, then there would be no need of pumping out anything but the flagons,[5] and she would float again."

Cesara sank, silently, deeper and deeper into the glimmering beauties of the shore and of the night. The nightingales warbled as if inspired on the triumphal gate of spring. His heart grew in his breast like a melon under its glass-bell, and his breast heaved higher and higher over the swelling fruit. All at once he reflected that he should in this way see the tulip-tree of the sparkling morn and the garlands of the island put together only like an artificial, Italian silk-flower, stamen by stamen, leaf by leaf; then was he seized with his old thirst for one single draining draught from Nature's horn of plenty; he shut his eyes, not to open them again, till he should stand upon the highest terrace of the island before the morning sun. Schoppe thought he was asleep; but the Greek smilingly guessed the epicurism of this artificial blindness, and bound, himself, before those great insatiable eyes the broad, black taffeta-ribbon, which, like a woman's ribbon or lace mask, contrasted singularly and sweetly with his blooming but manly face.

Now the two began to tease and tantalize him in a friendly way with oral night-pictures of the magnificent adornments of the shores between which they passed. "How proudly," said Dian to Schoppe, "rises yonder the castle of Lizanza, and its mountain, like a Hercules, with twelvefold girdles of vine-clusters!" "The Count," said Schoppe in a lower tone to Dian, "loses a vast deal by this bandaging of his eyes. See you not, architect, to speak poetically, the glimmer of the city of Arona? How beautifully she lays on Luna's blanc d'Espagne, and seems to be setting herself out and prinking up for to-morrow in the powder-mantle of moonshine which is flung around her! But that is nothing; still better looks St. Borromæus yonder, who has the moon on his head like a freshly-washed night-cap; stands not the giant there like the Micromegas of the German body politic, just as high, just as stiff and stark?"

The happy youth was silent, and returned for answer a hand-pressure of love;--he only dreamed of the present, and signified he could wait and deny himself. With the heart of a child from whom the curtains and the after-midnight hide the approaching Christmas present of the morrow, he was borne along in the pleasure-boat, with tightly bandaged eyes, toward the approaching, heavenly kingdom. Dian drew, as well as the double light of the moonshine and the aurora permitted, a sketch of the veiled dreamer in his scrap-book. I wish I had it here, and could see in it how my darling, with the optic nerves tied up, strains at once the eye of dream directed toward the inner world, and the ear of attention so sharply set toward the outer. How beautiful is such a thing, painted,--how much more beautiful realized in life!

The mantle of night grew thinner and cooler,--the morning air fanned livingly against the breast,--the larks mingled with the nightingales and with the singing boatmen,--and he heard, beneath his bandage, which was growing lighter and lighter, the joyful discoveries of his friends, who saw in the open cities along the shore the reviving stir of human life, and on the waterfalls of the mountains the alternate reflections of clouds and ruddy sky. At last the breaking splendors of morn hung like a festoon of Hesperides-apples around the distant tops of the chestnut-trees; and now they disembarked upon Isola Bella.

The veiled dreamer heard, as they ascended with him the ten terraces of the garden, the deep-drawn sigh and shudder of joy close beside him, and all the quick entreaties of astonishment; but he held the bandage fast, and went blindfold from terrace to terrace, thrilled with orange-fragrance, refreshed by higher, freer breezes, fanned by laurel-foliage,--and when they had gained at last the highest terrace, and looked down upon the lake, heaving its green waters sixty ells below, then Schoppe cried, "Now! now!" But Cesara said, "No! the sun first!" and at that moment the morning wind flung up the sunlight gleaming through the dark twigs, and it flamed free on the summits,--and Dian snatched off the bandage, and said, "Look round!" "O God!" cried he with a shriek of ecstasy, as all the gates of the new heaven flew open, and the Olympus of nature, with its thousand reposing gods, stood around him. What a world! There stood the Alps, like brother giants of the Old World, linked together, far away in the past, holding high up over against the sun the shining shields of the glaciers. The giants wore blue girdles of forest, and at their feet lay hills and vineyards, and through the aisles and arches of grape-clusters the morning winds played with cascades as with watered-silk ribbons, and the liquid brimming mirror of the lake hung down by the ribbons from the mountains, and they fluttered down into the mirror, and a carved work of chestnut woods formed its frame.... Albano turned slowly round and round, looked into the heights, into the depths, into the sun, into the blossoms; and on all summits burned the alarm-fires of mighty Nature, and in all depths their reflections,--a creative earthquake beat like a heart under the earth and sent forth mountains and seas.... O then, when he saw on the bosom of the infinite mother the little swarming children, as they darted by under every wave and under every cloud,--and when the morning breeze drove distant ships in between the Alps,--and when _Isola Madre_ towered up opposite to him, with her seven gardens, and tempted him to lean upon the air and be wafted over on level sweep from his summit to her own,--and when he saw the pheasants darting down from the _Madre_ into the waves,--then did he seem to stand like a storm-bird with ruffled plumage on his blooming nest, his arms were lifted like wings by the morning wind, and he longed to cast himself over the terrace after the pheasants, and cool his heart in the tide of Nature.

Ashamed, he took, without looking round him, the hands of his friends and pressed them in mute fervor, that he might not be obliged to speak. The magnificent universe had painfully expanded, and then blissfully overflowed his great breast; and now, when he opened his eyes, like an eagle, wide and full upon the sun, and when the blinding brightness hid the earth, and he began to be lonely, and the earth became smoke and the sun a soft, white world, which gleamed only around the margin,--then did his whole, full soul, like a thunder-cloud, burst asunder and burn and weep, and from the pure, white sun his mother looked upon him, and in the fire and smoke of the earth his father and his life stood veiled.

Silently he went down the terraces, often passing his hand across his moist eyes to wipe away the dazzling shadow which danced on all the summits and all the steps.

Exalted Nature! when we see and love thee, we love our fellow-men more warmly; and when we must pity or forget them, thou still remainest with us, reposing before the moist eye like a verdant chain of mountains in the evening red. Ah, before the soul in whose sight the morning dew of its ideals has faded to a cold, gray drizzle,--and before the heart, which, in the subterranean passages of this life, meets no longer men, but only dry, crooked-up mummies on crutches in catacombs,--and before the eye which is impoverished and forsaken, and which no human creature will any longer gladden,--and before the proud son of the gods whom his unbelief and his lonely bosom, emptied of humanity, rivet down to an eternal, unchangeable anguish,--before all these thou remainest, quickening Nature, with thy flowers and mountains and cataracts, a faithful comforter; and the bleeding son of the gods, cold and speechless, dashes the drop of anguish from his eyes, that they may rest, far and clear, on thy volcanoes, and on thy Springs, and on thy suns!


I could wish nothing finer for one whom I held dear, than a mother,--a sister,--three years of living together on Isola Bella,--and then in the twentieth, a morning hour when he should land on the Eden-island, and, enjoying all this with the eye and memory at once, clasp and strain it to his open soul. O thou all too happy Albano, on the rose-parterre of childhood,--under the deep, blue sky of Italy,--in the midst of luxuriant, blossom-laden citron-foliage,--in the bosom of _beautiful_ nature, who caresses and holds thee like a mother, and in the presence of _sublime_ nature, which stands like a father in the distance, and with a heart which expects its own father to-day!

The three now roamed with slow, unsteady steps through the swimming paradise. Although both of the others had often trodden it before, still their silver age became a golden age, by sympathy with Albano's ecstasy; the sight of another's rapture wakes the old impression of our own. As people who live near breakers and cataracts speak louder than others, so did the majestic sounding of the swollen sea of life impart to them all, even Schoppe, a stronger language; only he never could hit upon such imposing words, at least gestures, as another man.

Schoppe, who must needs fling a farewell kiss back to dear Italy, would gladly still have conserved the last scattered drops that hung around the cup of joy, which were sweet as Italian wines, full of German fire without the German acid. By acid he meant leave-taking and emotion. "If fate," said he, "fires a single retreating shot, by Heaven, I quietly turn my nag and ride whistling back. The deuce must be in the beast (or on him) if a clever jockey could not so break his mourning steed that the creature should carry himself very well as a companion-horse to the festive steed.[6] I school my sun-horse as well as my sumpter-horse far otherwise."

First of all, now, they took possession of this Otaheite-island by marches, and every one of its provinces must pay them, as a Persian province does its emperor, a different pleasure. "The lower terraces," said Schoppe, "must deliver to us squatter-sovereigns the tithe of fruit and sack, in citron and orange fragrance,--the upper pays off the imperial tax in _prospects_,--the Grotto down below there will pay, I hope, Jews-scot in the _murmur_ of waters, and the cypress-wood up yonder its princess's tribute in _coolness_,--the ships will not defraud us of their Rhine and Neckar toll, but pay that down by showing themselves in the distance."

It is not difficult for me to perceive that Schoppe, by these quizzical sallies, aimed to allay the violent commotions of Cesara's brain and heart; for the splendor of the morning enchantment, although the youth spoke composedly of lesser things, had not yet gone from his sight. In him every excitement vibrated long after (one in the morning lasted the whole day), for the same reason that an alarm-bell keeps on humming longer than a sheep-bell; although such a continuing echo could neither distract his attention nor disturb his actions or his words.

The Knight was to come at noon. Meanwhile they roamed and revelled and went humming about in stiller enjoyment with bees-wings and bees-probosces through the richly-honeyed Flora of the island; and they had that serene naturalness of children, artists, and Southern people, which sips only from the honey-cup of the moment; and, accordingly, they found in every dashing wave, in every citron-frame, in every statue among blossoms, in every dancing reflection, in every darting ship, more than one flower which opened its full cup wider under the warm sky, whereas, with us, under our cold one, it fares as with the bees, against whom the frosts of May shut the flowers up. O, the islanders are right! Our greatest and most lasting error is, that we look for life, that is, its happiness, as the materialists look for the soul, in the combination of parts, as if the whole or the relation of its component parts could give us anything which each individual part had not already. Does then the heaven of our existence, like the blue one over our heads, consist of mere empty air, which, when near to, and in little, is only a transparent nothing, and which only in the distance and in gross becomes blue ether? The century casts the flower-seeds of thy joy only from the porous sowing-machine of minutes, or rather, to the blest eternity itself there is no other handle than the instant. It is not that life consists of seventy years, but the seventy years consist of a continuous life, and one has lived, at all events, and lived enough, die when one may.


When, at length, the three sons of joy were about to seat themselves in the dining-hall of a laurel grove before their meat-and-drink offering, which Schoppe had stored away in the provision ship at Sesto, at that moment, a genteel stranger, elegantly dressed in one color, came through the twigs, with slow, stately steps, up to the reclining company, and addressed himself, forthwith, without inquiry, to Cesara, in slow, soft, and precisely pronounced German: "I am intrusted with an apology to Sir Count Cesara."--"From my father?" asked he quickly. "Beg pardon,--from my prince," replied the stranger; "he forbade your noble father, who arose ill, to travel in the cool of the morning, but towards evening he will meet you. In the mean time," he added, with a gracious smile and a slight bow, "I sacrifice something on the noble Knight's account, in commencing the pleasure of being longer with you hereafter, Sir Count, by bringing you disappointment." Schoppe, who was neater at guessing than at speaking, immediately broke out,--for he never let himself be imposed upon by any man: "We are then pedagogic copartners and confederates. Welcome, dear Gray-leaguesman!"[7] "It gives me pleasure," said the stranger, coldly, who was dressed in gray.

But Schoppe had hit it; the stranger was hereafter to occupy the place of chief tutor to Cesara, and Schoppe was collaborator. To me this seems judicious; the electric-sparkling Schoppe could serve as the cat's-skin, the fox-tail, the glass cylinder, which should completely charge our youth, composed as he was of conductors and non-conductors; the chief tutor, as principal, being the operator and spark-taker, who should discharge him with his Franklin's-points.

The man was named Von Augusti, was Lector to the prince, and had lived much in the great world; he seemed, as is the case with all of this court-stamp, ten years older than he really was, for he was in fact only just thirty-seven.

One would have to suffer for it from the inverted ink-pots of the reviewing Xanthippes, if one should leave the reviewers or Xanthippes in any uncertainty as to who the prince really was of whom we have all made mention above. It was the hereditary Prince of Hohenfliess, in whose village of Blumenbühl the Count had been brought up, and into whose chief city he was next to remove. The Hohenfliess Infante was hurrying back, in a great dust and all out of breath, from Italy, wherein he had left much spare coin and land-scrip, to Germany, in order there to coin, upon his own account, allegiance-medals, because his reigning father was going down the steps into the hereditary sepulchre, and was even now within a few paces of his coffin.

During dinner the Lector Augusti spoke of the lovely scenery with true taste, but with little warmth and impulse, preferring it by far to some Tempestas[8] in the Borromæan palace. Thence he passed on, in order to have occasion of mentioning the Knight as often as possible, to the personalities of the Court, and confessed that the German gentleman, M. de Bouverot, stood in especial favor,--for with courtiers and saints everything goes by grace,--and that the Prince was uncommonly afflicted in his nerves, &c. Courtiers, who, for the most part, cut their very souls according to the pattern of another's, do, however, draw up their ministerial reports of court so copiously and seriously for the uninitiated, that the reader of their gazettes must needs either laugh or go to sleep; a court-man and the book _Des Erreurs et de la Verité_ call the general of the Jesuits God, the Jesuits men, and the non-Jesuits beasts. Schoppe listened with a dreadful pucker and twist of feature; he hated courts bitterly. Young Albano thought not much better of them; nay, as he was fond of venture, and liked much better to work and fight with the arm than with the fingers of the inner man, and delighted in tackling to the snow-plough and harrow and sowing-machine of life war-horses and thunder-steeds, instead of a team of clever home-and field-horses, of course people who went carefully and considerately to work, and would rather do light, lacquered work, and delicate ladies' work, than Hercules'-labors, he did not particularly fancy. However he could not but feel a respect for the modesty of Augusti, (based as it was upon a noble self-reliance,) which never let him say a word about himself, as well as for the knowledge he had gained by travel.

Cesara,--by the way I shall continue through this Cycle to write it with a C, agreeably to the Spanish orthography; but in and after the 4th, since I am not used to that letter in my orthography, and cannot be forever misrepresenting myself through a long book, it will be written with a Z,--Cesara could not hear enough from the Lector about his father. He related to him the last act of the Knight in Rome, but with an irreligious coldness which produced in the youth a chill of a different kind. Don Gaspard, namely, had laid a wager with a German Nuncius, picture against picture, that he would take a certain German (Augusti would not name him), whose life was only one prolonged, moral filth-month in the princely stable of Epicurus, and in two days, without seeing him, would convert him for as long a time as the Nuncio should desire. The latter accepted the wager, but caused the German to be secretly watched. After two days the German locked himself up, became devout, pale, still, bed-ridden, and in conduct came near to a true Christian. The Nuncio watched the mischief for a week, then demanded the sudden retransformation, or the Circe's wand, which should bring back again the beastly shape. The Knight touched the German with the wand, and the Epicurean swine stood there perfectly sound and well. I know not which is the more inexplicable, the miracle, or the cold-bloodedness of the thing. But the Lector could not say with what menstrua Gaspard forced these rapid solutions and evaporations and precipitations.

At length the Lector, who had long been _frappé_ with the vocation and the collaboratorship of the singular Schoppe, came, by polite circumlocutions, upon the question, how the Knight had become acquainted with him. "Through the Pasquino," he replied. "He was just stepping round the corner of the Palazzo degli Ursini, when he saw some Romans and our hereditary prince standing round a man who was on his knees (they were my knees) before the statues of Pasquino and Marforio, and offering to them the following prayer: Dear Castor and Pollux! why do ye not secularize yourselves out of the ecclesiastical estate, and travel through my Germany _in partibus infidelium_, or as two diligent vicars? Could you not go round among the cities of the empire as missionary preachers and referendaries, or post yourselves as _chevaliers d'honneur_ and armorial bearers on either side of a throne? Would to God they might at least vote thee, Pasquino, royal high-chaplain and master of ceremonies in the court chapels, or let thee down from the roof by a rope at the christening as baptismal angel! Say, could not you twins, now, once come forward and speak as petition-masters-general in the halls of the Diet, or, as _magistri sententiarum_, oppugn one another within the walls of the universities on Commencement days? Pasquino, can no Delia Porta[9] restore thee, were it only so far that thou mightest, at least, at Congresses and treaty-makings of the diplomatic corps, play the _silhouetteur_ as the figure-head of the stove, or must you serve at the highest only in university libraries, as the busts of critical editors? Ah, gay pair, would that Chigi, who stands here beside me, might only model you into a portable pocket edition for ladies, I would put you by, and not take you out of my pocket till I reached Germany! I can, however, do it even here on the island," said Schoppe; whereupon he drew forth the satirical work of art; for the renowned architect and modeller, Chigi, who heard him, had really cast a copy of it. Schoppe went on to tell how Don Gaspard then seriously stepped up to him, and asked him, in Spanish, who he was. "I am (he answered also in Spanish) actual Titular librarian to the Grand Master at Malta, and a descendant of the so-called grammatical dog, the toothed humanist, Scioppius (German Schoppe); my baptismal name is Pero, Piero, Pietro (Peter). But many here call me, by mistake, Sciupio or Sciopio (extravagance)."

Gaspard had an impartial, deep-reaching eye for every spirit, even though it were most unlike his own; and, least of all, did he seek a repetition of himself. He therefore took the librarian home with him. Since, now, the latter seemed to live solely by portrait-painting, and was besides just meaning to go back to Germany, he accordingly proposed to this rich, many-eyed, rough spirit, Albano's society, which only the present fellow-laborer, Augusti, was to share with him. But there were four things which the librarian demanded beforehand, as preliminaries,--a sitting from the Count, his profile, and--when both these had been granted--yet a third and a fourth, in the following terms: "Must I suffer myself to be _calendered_[10] by the three estates, and forced to take on gloss and smoothness by polishing-presses? I will not; whithersoever else, be it to heaven or hell, I will accompany your son, but not into the stamping-washing-roasting-melting-and-forcing-works of great houses." This was granted easiest of all; besides, the second Imperial vicegerent of the paternal supremacy, Augusti, was appointed to the business in question. But upon the fourth point they came near falling out. Schoppe, who would rather be an outlaw than a slave or a freedman, and whose ground, no less imperially free than fruitful, would not endure a hedge, could accommodate himself only to accidental, undetermined services, and felt obliged to decline the _fixum_ of a salary. "I will," said he, "deliver occasional sermons, but none of your weekly sermons; nay, it may be, oftentimes, I shall not enter the desk for a half-year together." The Knight considered it beneath him to be under obligations, and drew back, till Schoppe hit upon the diagonal road, and said he would give his society as a _don gratuit_, and should expect of the Knight, from time to time, a considerable _don gratuit_ in return. As for the rest, Schoppe was now full as dear to the Knight as the first-best Turk of the Court who had ever helped him up his carriage-steps; his trial of a man was like a post-mortem examination, and after the trial he neither loved nor hated more cordially; to him, as he looked into the show-piece of blustering life, the manager and the first and second mistresses, and the Lears and Iphigenias and heroes were no friends, nor were the Kasperls and the tyrants and supernumeraries foes, but they were simply different actors in different parts. Ah, Gaspard, standest thou, then, in the front box, and not also on the stage of life itself? And dost thou not in the great drama recognize, like Hamlet, a lesser one? Ay, does not every stage imply, after all, a twofold life,--a copying and a copied?

Either the glass or two (or more) of wine, or else his annoying contrast to the elegant, sedate Lector, set Schoppe's winnowing-mill with all its wheels in motion, though this humor of his found small scope on the enchanting island; and when Augusti expressed a wish that Schoppe might go to Germany under happier auspices than other painters, the latter drew forth a pack of gilded pictures of German patron saints, and said, shuffling them: "Many a one would here lay a papal miserere on the desk and sing it off, particularly if, like me, he had to go into winter quarters among the German ice and fog-banks in the middle of spring;--and it is with reluctance, I am free to confess, I leave the Harlequin and Pulzinella and Scapin, and the whole _comedia dell' arte_ behind. But the gentlemen saints whom I here shuffle have brought the lands under their charge into high and dry condition, and one passes through them with comfort. Mr. Architect, you laugh, but you know altogether too little of what these painted heavenly advowees hourly undertake in behalf of the German circles. Mr. Architect, show me, after all, a country anywhere, in which so many cudgels, programmes, professors, _Perukes-allongées_, learned advertisements, imperial notices, cits and surburbans, ceremonies, coronations, and Heidelberg tubs, but without indwelling Diogeneses, are to be mustered together as in the aforementioned? Or I appeal to you, Mr. Von Augusti! Point out to me, I pray, one single territory which is provided with such a _Long Parliament_, namely, a most lengthy Diet of the Empire, as it were, an extraordinarily wholesome _pillula perpetua_[11] which the patient is incessantly swallowing, and which as incessantly purges him; and who is not reminded, as well as myself, in this connection, of the _capitulatio perpetua_, and in general of the body politic of the Empire, that _perpetuum immobile_,--and on good grounds?" Here Schoppe drank. "The body of the Empire becomes thereby, like the first principle of morals, or like virgin earth, altogether insoluble; nay, supposing one of us were to take an electoral sword, and cut it in two therewith, as if it were an earwig, still the half with the teeth would, like the cloven earwig, turn round and eat the latter half clean up,--and then there would be the whole continuous earwig rejoined and well fed into the bargain. It is not by any means to be regretted as a consequence of this close _nexus_ of the Empire, that the corpus can devour and digest its own limbs, as the brook-crab does its stomach, without any real harm to itself, so that the corpus, like a Homeric god, can only be wounded, but not killed. Take this bunchy polypus-stalk, I often say, mash it to a pulp with Rösel,--turn it wrong side outward like a glove,--like Lichtenberg, cut the polypus in two dexterously with a hair,--like Trembley, stick and incorporate several severed limbs into one another, as other naturalists do imperial cities, abbeys, small provinces into greater, or the reverse,--and then examine after some days; verily, magnificent and whole and well, thy polypus will be found sitting there again, or my name is not Schoppe."

The Count had heard him again and again on this subject, and could therefore more easily and properly smile; the Lector, however, was learning all this for the first time, and even the comic actor is not such to his new hearers. But amidst all these diversions there still sounded on in Albano's soul a confused tumult, like the murmuring of the waterfall of the coming times. He peered longingly through the wavering seams of the laurel-foliage, out toward the shining hills, when Dian said, in his painter's-language: "Is it not as if all the gods stood, with thousands of cornucopias, on the mountains around Lago Maggiore, and poured down wine and cascades, till the lake, like a goblet of joy, foams over and gushes down with the brimming juice?" Schoppe replied: "Pleasures of exceeding flavor, like pineapples, have the misfortune, that, like pineapples, they make the gums bleed." "I think," said Augusti, "that one ought not to reflect much upon the pleasures of life, any more than upon the beauties of a good poem; one enjoys both better without counting or dissecting them." "And I," said Cesara, "would calculate and dissect from very pride; whatever came of it I would abide, and I should be ashamed to be unhappy about it. If life, like the olive, is a bitter fruit, then grasp both with the press, and they will afford the sweetest oil." Here he rose to remain alone on the island till evening; he asked indulgence, but gave no excuse. His lofty, ambitious soul was incapable of descending to the smallest lie, even towards an animal. In Blumenbühl he used daily to entice the tame pigeons near him by holding out food; and his foster-sister often begged him to catch one; but he always said, "No," for he would not betray the confidence even of a brute creature.

While they followed him with their eyes, as he slowly retired through the laurel shades, with the shadows dancing after him and stray sunbeams gliding down over him, and, as in a dream, gently bent the branches apart with his hands extended before him, Dian broke forth: "What a statue of Jupiter!" "And the ancients," said Schoppe, joining in, "believed, moreover, that every god dwelt in his own statue." "A magnificent, threefold breadth of brow, nasal bridge, and breast!" continued Dian. "A Hercules planting olive-trees on Olympus!" "It struck me very much," said the Lector, "that, after considerable study, I could read in his countenance what I wished and what was mutually contradictory,--coldness, warmth, innocence and gentleness, most readily defiance and force." Schoppe added: "It may be still harder for himself to compel such a congress of warring powers within him to become a peace-congress." "How beautifully," said the humanly feeling Dian, "must love sit upon so mighty a form, and how sublimely must anger!" "Those are two poetic beauties," replied Schoppe, "out of which two Pedagogiarchs and Zenophons, like us, can make little with their Cyrus in their Cyropædia."


Zesara had tasted only three glasses of wine; but the must of his thick, hot blood fermented under it mightily. The day grew more and more into a Daphnian and Delphic grove, in whose whispering and steamy thicket he lost himself deeper and deeper,--the sun hung in the blue like a white glistening snow-ball,--the glaciers cast their silvery glances down into the green,--from distant clouds it thundered occasionally,[12] as if spring were rolling along in his triumphal chariot far away towards us at the north,--the living glow of the climate and the hour, and the holy fire of two raptures, the remembered and the expected, warmed to life all his powers. And now that fever of young health seized upon him, in which it always seemed to him as if a particular heart beat in every limb,--the lungs and the heart are heavy and full of blood,--the breath is hot as a Harmattan wind,--and the eye dark in its own blaze,--and the limbs are weary with energy. In this overcharge of the electrical cloud he had a peculiar passion for destroying. When younger, he often relieved himself by rolling fragments of rock to a summit and letting them roll down, or by running on the full gallop till his breath grew _longer_, or most surely by hurting himself with a penknife (as he had heard of Cardan's doing), and even bleeding himself a little occasionally. Seldom do ordinary, and still seldomer extraordinary, men attain full-blooming youth of body and spirit, but when it does happen, so much the more luxuriantly does one root bear a whole flower-garden.

With such emotions Albano now stood alone behind the palace towards the south, when a sport of his boyish years occurred to him.

He had, namely, often in May, during a heavy wind, climbed up into a thick-limbed apple-tree, which supported a whole green hanging cabinet, and had laid himself down in the arms of its branches. And when, in this situation, the wavering pleasure-grove swung him about amidst the juggling play of the lily-butterflies and the hum of bees and insects and the clouds of blossoms, and when the flaunting top now buried him in rich green, now launched him into deep blue, and now into the sunshine, then did his fancy stretch the tree to gigantic dimensions: it grew alone in the Universe, as if it were the tree of endless life, its root pierced far down into the abyss, the white-red clouds hung upon it as blossoms, the moon as a fruit, the little stars glistened like dew, and Albano reposed in its infinite summit, and a storm swayed the summit from day into night and from night into day.

And now he stood looking up to a tall cypress. A southeast breeze had arisen from its siesta in Rome, and flying along had cooled itself by the way in the tops of the lemon-trees and in a thousand brooks and shadows, and now lay cradled in the arms of the cypress. Then he climbed up the tree, in order at least to tire himself. But how did the world stretch out before him, with its woods, its islands, and its mountains, when he saw the thunder-cloud lying over Rome's seven hills, just as if that old spirit were speaking from the gloom which once wrought in the seven hills as in seven Vesuviuses, that had stood before the face of the earth so many centuries with fiery columns, with erect tempests, and had overspread it with clouds and ashes and fertility, till they at last burst themselves asunder! The mirror-wall of the glaciers stood, like his father, unmelted before the warm rays of heaven, and only glistened and remained cold and hard,--from the broad expanse of the lake the sunny hills seemed on every hand to rise as from their bath, and the little ships of men seemed to lie fast stranded in the distance,--and, floating far and wide around him, the great spirits of the past went by, and under their invisible tread only the woods bowed themselves, the flower-beds scarcely at all. Then did the outward past become in Albano his own future,--no melancholy, but a thirst after all greatness that inhabits and uplifts the spirit, and a shrinking from the unclean baits of the future painfully compressed his eyelids, and heavy drops fell from them. He came down, because his internal dizziness grew at last to a physical. His rural education and the influence of Dian, who reverenced the modest course of nature, had preserved the budding garden of his faculties from the untimely morning sun and hasty growth; but the expectation of the evening and the journey he had taken had conspired to make the day of his life now too warm and stimulating.

Roaming and dreaming, he lost himself among orange-blossoms. Suddenly it was to him as if a sweet stirring in his inmost heart made it enlarge painfully, and grow void, and then full again. Ah, he knew not that it was the fragrances which he had here in childhood so often drunk into his bosom, and which now darkly but powerfully called back every fantasy and remembrance of the past, for the very reason that fragrances, unlike the worn-out objects of the eye and ear, seldomer present themselves, and therefore the more easily and intensely renew the faded sensations. But when he happened into an arcade of the palace, which was colored mosaically with variegated stones and shells, and when he saw the waves playing and dancing on the threshold of the grotto, then did a moss-grown past all at once reveal itself: he sounded his recollections,--the colored stones of the grotto lay as it were full of inscriptions of a former time before his memory. Ah, here had he been a thousand times with his mother! She had showed him the shells and forbidden him to approach the waves; and once, as the sun was rising and the rippled lake and all the pebbles glistened, he had waked up on her bosom, in the midst of the blaze of lights.

O, was not, then, the place sacred, and was not here the overpowering desire pardonable, which he had so long felt to-day, to open a wound in his arm for the relief of the restless and tormenting blood?

He scratched himself, but accidentally too deep, and with a cool and pleasant exaltation of his more lightly-breathing nature he watched the red fountain of his arm in the setting sun, and became, as if a burden had fallen off from him, calm, sober, still, and tender. He thought of his departed mother, whose love remained now forever unrequited. Ah, gladly would he have poured out this blood for her,--and now, too, love for his sickly father gushed up more warmly than ever in his bosom. O come soon, said his heart, I will love thee so inexpressibly, thou dear Father!

The sun grew cold on the damp earth,--and now only the indented mural crown formed by the gold wedges of the glacier-peaks glowed above the spent clouds,--and the magic-lantern of nature threw its images longer and fainter every moment, when a tall form, in an open red mantle, came slowly along towards him round the cedar-trees, pressed with the right hand the region of its heart, where little sparks glimmered, and with the half-raised left crushed a waxen mask into a lump, and looked down into its own breast. Suddenly it stiffened against the wall of the palace in a petrified posture. Albano placed his hand upon his light wound, and drew near to the petrified one. What a form! From a dry, haggard face projected between eyes which gleamed on, half hid beneath their sockets, a contemptuous nose with a proud curl,--there stood a cherub with the germ of the fall, a scornful, imperious spirit, who could not love aught, not even his own heart, hardly a higher,--one of those terrible beings who exalt themselves above men, above misfortune, above the earth, and above conscience, and to whom it is all the same whatever human blood they shed, whether another's or their own.

It was Don Gaspard.

The sparkling chain of his order, made of steel and precious stones, betrayed him. He had been seized with the catalepsy, his old complaint. "O father!" said Albano, with terror, and embraced the immovable form; but it was as if he clasped cold death to his heart. He tasted the bitterness of a hell,--he kissed the rigid lip, and cried more loudly,--at last, letting fall his arm, he started back from him, and the exposed wound bled again without his feeling it; and gnashing his teeth with wild, youthful love and with anguish, and with great ice-drops in his eyes, he gazed upon the mute form, and tore its hand from its heart. At this Gaspard, awaking, opened his eyes, and said, "Welcome, my dear son!" Then the child, with overmastering bliss and love, sank on his father's heart, and wept, and was silent. "Thou bleedest, Albano," said Gaspard, softly holding him off; "bandage thyself!" "Let me bleed; I will die with thee, if thou diest! O, how long have I pined for thee, my good father!" said Albano, yet more deeply agitated by his father's sick heart, which he now felt beating more heavily against his own. "Very good; but bandage thyself!" said he; and as the son did it, and while hurrying on the bandage, gazed with insatiable love into the eye of his father,--that eye which cast only cold glances like his jewelled ring; just then, on the chestnut-tops which had been to-day the throne of the morning sun, the soft moon opened soothingly her holy eye, and it was to the inflamed Albano, in this home of his childhood and his mother, as if the spirit of his mother were looking from heaven, and calling down, "I shall weep if you do not love each other." His swelling heart overflowed, and he said softly to his father, who was growing paler in the moonlight, "Dost thou not love me, then?" "Dear Alban," replied the father, "one cannot answer thee enough: thou art very good,--it is very good." But with the pride of a love which boldly measured itself with his father's, he seized firmly the hand with the mask, and looked on the Knight with fiery eyes. "My son," replied the weary one, "I have yet much to say to thee to-day, and little time, because I travel to-morrow,--and I know not how long the beating of my heart will let me speak." Ah, then, that previous sign of a touched soul had been only the sign of a disordered pulse. Thou poor son, how must thy swollen sea stiffen before this sharp air,--ah, how must thy warm heart cleave to the ice-cold metal, and tear itself away not without a skin-peeling wound!

But, good youth! who of us could blame thee that wounds should attach thee as it were by a tie of _blood_ to thy true or false demigod,--although a demigod is oftener joined to a demi-beast than a demi-man,--and that thou shouldst so painfully love! Ah, what ardent soul has not once uttered the prayer of love in vain, and then, lamed by the chilling poison, like other poisoned victims, not been able any longer to move its heavy tongue and heavy heart! But love on, thou warm soul! like spring-flowers, like night-butterflies, tender love at last breaks through the hard-frozen soil, and every heart, which desires nothing else than a heart, finds at last its bosom!


The Knight took him up to a gallery supported by a row of stone pillars, which lemon-trees strewed all over with perfumes and with little, lively shadows, silver-edged by the moon. He drew two medallions from his pocket-book,--one represented a remarkably youthful-looking female face, with the circumscription, "Nous ne nous verrons jamais, mon fils." "Here is thy mother," said Gaspard, giving it to him, "and here thy sister"; and handed him the second, whose lines ran into an indistinct, antiquated shape, with the circumscription, "Nous nous verrons un jour, mon frère." He now began his discourse, which he delivered in such a low tone and in so many loose sheets (one comma often coming at one end of the gallery and the next at the other), and with such an alternation of quick and slow paces, that the ear of any eavesdropping inquisitor keeping step with them, under the gallery, had there been one down there, could not have caught three drops of connected sound. "Thy attention, dear Alban," he continued, "not thy fancy, must now be put on the stretch. Thou art, unhappily, to-day too romantic for one who is to hear so many romantic things. The Countess of Cesara ever loved the mysterious; thou wilt perceive it in the commission which she gave me a few days before her death, and which I was obliged to promise I would execute this very Good-Friday."

He said further, before beginning, that, as his catalepsy and palpitation of the heart increased critically, he must hasten to Spain to arrange his affairs, and, still more, those of his ward, the Countess of Romeiro. Alban made one brotherly inquiry about his dear sister, so long separated from him; his father gave him to hope he should soon see her, as she intended to visit Switzerland with the Countess.

As I do not perceive what people will gain by it, if I insert those (to me) annoying geese-feet[13] with the everlasting "said he," I will relate the commission in person. There would, at a certain time (the Knight said), come to him three unknown persons,--one in the morning, one at noon, and one in the evening,--and each one would present him a card, in a sealed envelope, containing merely the name of the city and the house wherein the picture-cabinet, which Albano must visit the very same night, was to be found. In this cabinet he must touch and press all the nails of the pictures till he comes to one behind which the pressure makes a repeating-clock, built into the wall, strike twelve. Here he finds behind the picture a secret arras-door, behind which sits a female form with an open souvenir and three rings on her left hand, and a crayon in her right. When he presses the ring of the middle finger, the form will rise amidst the rolling of the internal wheel-work, step out into the chamber, and the wheel-work, which is running down, will stop with her at a wall whereon she indicates, by the crayon, a hidden compartment, in which lie a pocket-perspective glass and the waxen impression of a coffin-key. The eye-glass of the perspective arranges by an optical anamorphosis the snarl of withering lines on the medallion of his sister, which he had to-day received, into a sweet, young form, and the object-glass gives back to the immature image of his mother the lineaments of mature life. Then he is to press the ring-finger, and immediately the dumb, cold figure will begin to write with the crayon in the souvenir, and designate to him, in a few words, the place of the coffin, of whose key he has the waxen impression. In the coffin lies a black marble slab, in the form of a black Bible; and when he has broken it he will find a kernel therein, from which is to grow the Christmas-tree of his whole life. If the slab is not in the coffin, then he is to give the last ring of the little finger a pressure,--but what this wooden Guerike's weather-prophet of his destiny would do, the Knight himself could not predict.

I am fully of opinion that from this bizarre testament the repeating-work and half of the wheel-work might easily be broken out, (just as clocks are now made in London with only two wheels,) without doing the dial-work or the movement of the hands the least injury.

Upon Albano all this testamentary whirl and whiz had, contrary to my expectation, almost no effect; excepting to produce a more tender love for the good mother who, when she already beheld, in the stream of life below, the swift image of the pouncing hawk of death, thought only of her son. Upon the fixed, iron countenance of his father he so gazed during this narrative with tender gratitude for the pains he had taken to remember and relate, as almost to lose the thread of the discourse, and in the moonshine and to the eye of his fancy the Knight grew to a Colossus of Rhodes, hiding half the horizon of the present, a being for whom this testamentary memory-work seemed almost too trivial.

Thus far Don Gaspard had spoken merely as a genuine man of the world, who always excludes from his speech (into which no special, intimate relations enter) all mention or flattery of a person, of others as well as of himself, and regards even historical persons merely as conditions of things, so that two such impersonalities with their grim coldness seemed to be only two speaking logics or sciences, not living beings with beating hearts. O, how softly did it flow, like a tender melody, into Albano's lovesick heart, which the pure and mild moon, and the glimmering island-garden of his early days, and the voice of his mother sounding on and echoing in his soul, all conspired to melt, when at length the _father_ said: "So much have I to tell of the Countess. Of myself I have nothing to say to thee but to express my constant satisfaction hitherto with thy life." "O, give me, dearest father, instruction and counsel for my future government," said the enraptured man, and as Gaspard's right hand twitched convulsively toward his more hurriedly beating heart, he followed it with his left to the sick spot and pressed intensely the hysterical heart as if he could arrest by grasping at the spokes this down-hill-rolling wheel of life. The Knight replied: "I have nothing more to say to thee. The _Linden City_ (Pestitz) is now open to thee; thy mother had shut it against thee. The hereditary Prince, who will soon be Prince, and the minister, Von Froulay, who is my friend, will be thine. I believe it will be of service to thee to cultivate their acquaintance."

The sharp-sighted Gaspard saw at this moment suddenly flit across the pure, open countenance of the youth strange emotions and hot blushes, which nothing immediate could explain, and which instantly passed away, as if annihilated, when he thus continued: "To a man of rank, sciences and polite learning, which to others are final ends, are only means and recreations; and great as thy inclination for them may be, thou wilt, however, surely, in the end give actions the preference over enjoyments; thou wilt not feel thyself born to instruct or amuse men merely, but to manage and to rule them. It were well if thou couldst gain the minister, and thereby the knowledge of government and political economy which he can give thee; for in the sketch of one country as well as of one court thou hast the grand outlines of every greater one to which thou mayest be called, and for which thou wilt have to educate thyself. It is my wish that thou shouldst be even a favorite of the Prince and the Court, less because thou hast need of connections than because thou needest experience. Only through men are men to be subdued and surpassed, not by books and superior qualities. One must not display his worth in order to gain men, but gain them first, and then, and not until then, show his worth. There is no calamity like ignorance; and not so much by virtue as by understanding is man made formidable and fortunate. Thou hast at most to shun men who are too like thee, particularly the noble." The corrosive sublimate of his irony consisted here, not in his pronouncing "noble" with an accented, ironical tone, but in his pronouncing it, contrary to what might have been expected, coldly and without any tone at all. Albano's hand, still on his, had for some time slipped down from his father's heart along the sharp-edged steel chain of his order to the golden, metal-cold lamb that hung from it. The youth, like all young men and hermits, had too severe notions of courtiers and men of the world: he held them to be decided basilisks and dragons,--although I can still excuse that, if he means by basilisks only what the naturalists mean,--wingless lizards,--and by dragons, nothing but winged ones, and thus regards them only as amphibia, hardly less cold and odious than Linnæus defines such to be. Besides, he cherished (so easily does Plutarch become the seducer of youth whose biographer he might have been, like me) more contempt than reverence for the _artolatry_ (loaf and fish service) of our age, always transubstantiating (inversely) its _god_ into _bread_,--for the best bread-studies or bread-carts,--for the making of a _carrière_,--for every one, in short, who was not a dare-devil, and who, instead of catapultas and war machines, operated with some sort of invisible magnetic wands, suction-works, and cupping-glasses, and took anything in that way. Every young man has a fine season in his life when he will accept no office, and every young woman has the same in hers, when she will accept no husband; by and by they both change, and often take one another into the bargain.

As the Knight advanced the above propositions, certainly not offensive to any man of the world, there swelled in his son a holy, generous pride,--it seemed to him as if his heart and even his body, like that of a praying saint, were lifted by a soaring genius far above the race-courses of a greedy, creeping age,--the great men of a greater time passed before him under their triumphal arches, and beckoned him to come nearer to them: in the east lay Rome and the moon, and before him the Circus of the Alps,--a mighty Past by the side of a mighty Present. With the proud and generous consciousness that there is something more godlike in us than prudence and understanding, he laid hold of his father, and said: "This whole day, dear father, has been one increasing agitation in my heart. I cannot speak nor think rightly for emotion. Father, I will visit them all; I will soar away above men; but I despise the dirty road to the object. I will in the sea of the world rise like a living man by _swimming_, and not like a drowned man by _corruption_. Yes, father, let Fate cast a gravestone upon this breast, and crush it, when it has lost virtue and the divinity and its own heart."

What made Albano speak so warmly was that he could not avoid an irrepressible veneration for the great soul of the Knight; he continually represented to himself the pangs and the lingering death of so strong a life, the sharp smoke of so great a coldly quenched fire, and inferred from the emotions of his own living soul what must be those of his father, who in his opinion had only gradually thus crumbled upon a broad bed of black, cold worldlings, as the diamond cannot be volatilized except on a bed of dead, burnt-out, blacksmith's coals. Don Gaspard, who seldom, and then only mildly, found fault with men,--not from love, but from indifference,--patiently replied to the youth: "Thy warmth is to be praised. All will come right in good time. Now let us eat."


The banquet-hall of our Islanders was in the rich palace of the absent Borromæan family. They conceded to the lovely island the prize-apple of Paris and the laurel-wreath. Augusti and Gaspard wrote their eulogies upon it in a clear, easy style, only Gaspard used the more antitheses. Albano's breast was filled with a new world, his eye with radiance, his cheeks with joyous blood. The Architect extolled as well the taste as the purse of the hereditary Prince, who by means of both had brought with him to his country, not artistic masters indeed, but still masterpieces, and at whose instance this very Dian was going to Italy to take casts for him there of the antiques. Schoppe replied: "I hope the German is as well supplied with painters' academies and painters' colics as any other people; our pictures on goods, our illuminated Theses in Augsburg, our margins of newspapers, and our vignettes in every dramatic work, (whereby we had an earlier _Shakespeare Gallery_ than London,) our gallows-birds hung in effigy,--are well known to every one, and show at first sight how far we carry the thing. But I will even allow that Greeks and Italians paint as well as we; still we tower far above them in this, that we, like nature and noble suitors, never seek isolated beauty, without connected advantage. A beauty which we cannot also roast, sell at auction, wear, or marry, passes with us only for just what it is worth; beauty is with us (I hope) never anything else but selvage and trimming to utility, just as, also, at the Diet of the Empire, it is not the side-tables of confectionery, but the session-tables, that are the proper work-tables of the body politic. Genuine Beauty and Art are therefore with us set, painted, stamped only on things which at the same time bring in something; e. g. fine Madonnas only in the journals of fashion,--etched leaves only on packages of tobacco-leaves,--cameos on pipe-bowls,--gems on seals, and wood-cuts on tallies; flower-pieces are sought, but on bandboxes,--faithful Wouwermanns, but in horses' stalls before the stallions,[14]--bas-reliefs of princes' heads, either on dollars or on Bavarian beer-pitcher covers, but both must be of unalloyed pewter,--rose-pieces and lily-pieces, but on tattooed women. On a similar principle, in Basedow's system of education, beautiful painting and the Latin vocabulary were always linked together, because the Institute more easily retains the latter by the help of the former. So, too, Van der Kabel never painted a hare to order, without requiring for himself one freshly-shot model after another to eat and copy. So again, the artist Calear painted beautiful hose, but painted them immediately on to his own legs."

The Knight heard such talk with pleasure, though he neither laughed at nor imitated it; to him all colors in the prism of genius were agreeable. Only to the Architect it was not enough in Greek taste, and not courtly enough for the Lector. The latter turned round to the departing Dian, with a somewhat flattering air, while Schoppe was recovering breath for renewed detraction of us Germans, and said: "Formerly Rome took away from other lands only works of art, but now artists themselves."

Schoppe continued: "So also our statues are no idle, dawdling citizens, but they all drive a trade;--such as are caryates hold up houses; such as are angels bear baptismal vessels; and heathen water-gods labor at the public fountains, and pour out water into the pitchers of the maidens."

The Count spoke warmly for us, the Lector brilliantly: the Knight remarked, that the German taste and the German talent for poetic beauties made good and explained their want of both for other beauties (on the ground of climate, form of government, poverty, &c.). The Knight resembled a celestial telescope, through which the planets appear larger and the suns smaller; like that instrument, he took away from suns their borrowed lustre, without restoring to them their true and greater glory; he cut in twain, indeed, the noose of a Judas, but he extinguished the halo on a Christ's head, and in general he sought to make out ingeniously a parity and equality between darkness and light.

Schoppe was never silenced (I am sorry that in his toleration-mandate for Europe the German Circles should have been left out). He began again: "The little which I just brought forward in praise of the serviceable Germans has, it seems, provoked contradiction. But the slight laurel-crown which I place upon the holy body of the Empire shall never blind my eyes to the bald spots. I have often thought it commendable in Socrates and Christ, that they did not teach in Hamburg, in Vienna, or in any Brandenburg city, and go through the streets with their disciples; they would have been questioned, in the name of the magistrates, whether they could not work; and had both been with families in Wetzlar, they would have extorted from the latter the _negligence-money_.[15] Touching the poetic art, Sir Knight, I have known many a citizen of the Empire who could make but little out of an ode unless it were upon himself: he fancied he could tell when poetic liberties infringed upon the liberty of the Empire: such a man, who certainly always marched to his work regularly, composedly, and considerately in Saxon term-times, was exceedingly pained and perplexed by poetic flights. And is it, then, so unaccountable and bad? The worthy inhabitant of an imperial city binds on in front a napkin when he wishes to weep, in order that he may not stain his satin vest, and the tears which fall from his eyes upon a letter of condolence he marks as he would any darker punctuation: what wonder, if, like the ranger, he should know no fairer flower than that on the posteriors of the stag, and if the poetical violets, like the botanical,[16] should operate upon him as a mild emetic. Such were, according to my notion, one way at least of warding off the reproach which is flung at us Germans."


What a singular night followed upon this singular day! Sleepy with travelling, all went to rest; only Albano, in whom the hot eventful day still burned on, said to the Knight that he could not now, with his breast full of fire, find coolness and rest anywhere but under the cold stars and the blossoms of the Italian spring. He leaned against a statue on the upper terrace, near a blooming balustrade of citrons, that he might sweetly shut his eyes beneath the starry heaven, and still more sweetly open them in the morning. Even in his earlier youth had he, as well as myself, wished himself upon the Italian roofs of warm lands, in order, not as a night-walker, but as a regular sleeper, to wake up thereon.

How magnificently there does the eye open upon the radiant hanging gardens full of eternal blossoms above thee, whereas on thy German sweltry feather-pillow thou hast nothing before thee, when thou lookest up, but the bed-tail!

While Zesara was thus traversing waves, mountains, and stars with a stiller and stiller soul, and when at last garden and sky and lake ran together into one dark Colossus, and he sadly thought of his pale mother, and of his sister, and of the announced wonders of his future life, a figure dressed all in black, with the image of a death's-head on its breast, came slowly and painfully, and with trembling breath, up the terraces behind him. "Remember death!" it said. "Thou art Albano de Zesara?" "Yes," said Zesara, "who art thou?" "I am," it said, "a father of death.[17] It is not from fear, but from habit, I tremble so."

The limbs of the man continued to quake all over, in a frightful and almost audible manner. Zesara had often wished an adventure for his idle bravery; now he had it before him. Meantime, however, he kept a sharp watch with his eye, and when the monk said, "Look up to the evening star and tell me when it goes down, for my sight is weak," he threw only a hasty glance upwards. "Three stars," said he, "are still between it and the Alps." "When it sets," the father continued, "then thy sister in Spain gives up the ghost, and thereupon she will speak with thee here from Heaven." Zesara was hardly touched by a finger of the cold hand of horror, simply because he was not in a room, but in the midst of young Nature, who stations her mountains and stars as watchmen around the trembling spirit; or it may have been because the vast and substantial bodily world, so near before us, crowds out and hides with its building-work the world of spirits. He asked, with indignation: "Who art thou? What knowest thou? What wilt thou?" and grasped at the folded hands of the monk, and held both imprisoned in one of his. "Thou dost not know me, my son," said the father of death, calmly. "I am a Zahouri,[18] and come from Spain from thy sister; I see the dead down in the earth, and know beforehand when they will appear and discourse. But their apparition above ground I do not see, and their discourse I cannot hear."

Here he looked sharply at the youth, whose features suddenly grew rigid and lengthened, for a voice like a female and familiar one began slowly over his head: "Take the crown,--take the crown,--I will help thee." The monk asked: "Is the evening-star already gone down? Is _it_ talking with thee?" Zesara looked upward, and could not answer; the voice from Heaven spake again, and said the same thing. The monk guessed as much, and said: "Thus did thy father hear thy mother from on high, when he was in Germany; but he had me thrown into prison for a long time, because he thought I deceived him." At the mention of his "father," whose disbelief of the spiritual Zesara knew, he hurried the monk, by his two hands held fast in his own single and strong one, down the terraces, in order to hear where the voice might now be. The old man smiled softly; the voice again spake above him, but in these words: "Love the beautiful one,--love the beautiful one,--I will help thee." A skiff was moored to the shore, which he had already seen during the day. The monk, who apparently wished to do away the suspicion of a voice being concealed anywhere, stepped into the gondola, and beckoned him to follow. The youth, relying on his bodily and mental strength and his skill in swimming, boldly pushed off with the monk from the island; but what a shudder seized upon his innermost fibres, when not only the voice above him called again, "Love the beautiful one whom I will show thee,--I will help thee," but when he even saw, off toward the terrace, a female form, with long, chestnut-brown hair, and dark eyes, and a shining, swan-like neck, and with the complexion and vigor of the richest climate, rise, like a nobler Aphrodite, revealed down to her bosom, from out the deepest waves. But in a few seconds the Goddess sank back again beneath the surface, and the spirit-voice continued to whisper overhead, "Love the beautiful one whom I showed thee." The monk coldly and silently prayed during the scene, of which he heard and saw nothing. At length he said: "On the next Ascension-day, at the hour of thy birth, thou wilt stand beside a heart which is not within a breast, and thy sister will announce to thee from Heaven the name of thy bride."

When before us feeble, rheumy creatures, who, like Polypuses and flowers, only _feel_ and _seek_, but cannot _see_ the light of a higher element, a flash darts, in the total eclipse of our life, through the earthly mass which hangs before our higher sun,[19] that ray cuts in pieces the nerve of vision, which can bear only _forms_, not _light_; no burning terror wings the heart and the blood, but a cold shudder at our own thoughts, and in the presence of a new, incomprehensible world, chains the warm stream, and life becomes ice.

Albano, from whose teeming fancy a chaos might spring as easily as a universe, grew pale; but it was with him as if he lost not so much his spirit as his understanding. He rowed impetuously, almost unconsciously, to the shore,--he could not look the father of death in the face, because his wild fancy, tearing everything to pieces, distorted and distended all forms, like clouds, into horrid shapes,--he hardly heard the monk when he said, by way of farewell, "Next Good Friday, perhaps, I may come again." The monk stepped on board a skiff which came along of itself (propelled, probably, by a wheel under the water), and soon disappeared behind, or in, the little Fisher's island (Isola peschiere).

For the space of a minute Alban reeled, and it appeared to him as if the garden and the sky and all were a floating and fleeting fog-bank,--as if nothing _were_, as if he had not lived. This arsenical qualm was at once blown away from his stifled breast by the breath of the Librarian, Schoppe, who was piping merrily at the chamber window; all at once his life grew warm again, the earth came back, and existence _was_. Schoppe, who could not sleep for warmth, now came down to make his own bed also on the tenth terrace. He saw in Zesara an intense inward agitation, but he had long been accustomed to such, and made no inquiries.


Not by reasonings, but by pleasantries, is the ice most easily melted in our choked-up wheel-work. After a chatty hour, not much more was left of all that had passed in the youth's mind than a vexatious feeling and a happy one; the former, to think that he had not taken the monk by the cowl and carried him before the Knight; and the latter, at the remembrance of the noble female form, and at the very prospect of a life full of adventures. Still, when he closed his eyes, monsters full of wings, worlds full of flames, and a deep-weltering chaos, swept around his soul.

At last, in the cool of the after-midnight, his tired senses, under a slow and dissolving influence, approached the magnetic mountain of slumber; but what a dream came to him on that still mountain! He lay (so he dreamed) on the crater of Hecla. An upheaved column of water lifted him with it, and held him balanced on its hot waves in mid-heaven. High in the ethereal night above him stretched a gloomy tempest, like a long dragon, swollen with devoured constellations; near below hung a bright little cloud, attracted by the tempest,--through the light gauze of the little cloud flowed a dark red, either of two rose-buds or of two lips, and a green stripe of a veil or of an olive-twig, and a ring of milk-blue pearls or of forget-me-not,--at length a little vapor diffused itself over the red, and nothing was there but an open, blue eye, which looked up to Albano infinitely mild and imploring; and he stretched out his hands towards the enveloped form, but the water-column was too low. Then the black tempest flung hailstones, but in their fall they became snow, and then dew-drops, and at last, in the little cloud, silvery light; and the green veil swept illuminated in the vapor. Then Albano exclaimed, "I will shed all my tears and swell the column, that I may reach thee, fair eye!" And the blue eye grew moist with longing, and closed with love. The column grew with a loud roaring, the tempest lowered itself, and pressed down the little cloud before it, but he could not touch it. Then he tore open his veins and cried, "I have no more tears, but all my blood will I pour out for thee, that I may reach thy heart." Under the bleeding the column rose higher and faster,--the broad, blue ether began to swim, and the tempest was dissipated like spray, and all the stars that it had swallowed came forth with living looks,--the little cloud, hovering freely, floated gleaming down to the column,--the blue eye, as it approached, opened slowly, and suddenly closed and buried itself deeper in its light; but a soft sigh whispered in the cloud, "Draw me to thy heart!" O, then he flung his arms through the flashing light and swept away the mist, and snatched a white form, that seemed to be made of moonlight, to his glowing breast. But ah! the melting snow of the light escaped from his hot arms,--the beloved one melted away and became a tear, and the warm tear found its way through his breast, and sank into his heart, and burned therein; and his heart began to dissolve, and seemed as if it would die.... Then he opened his eyes.

But what an unearthly waking! The little, white, spent cloud, stained with storm-drops, still hung bending down over him, in Heaven,--it was the bright, lovingly near moon, that had come in above him. He had bled in his sleep, the bandage of his wounded arm having been pushed off by its violent movement. His raptures had melted the night-frost of ghostly terror. In a transfiguring euthanasia, his firm being fluttered loosely around like an uncertain dream,--he had been wafted and rocked upward into the starry heaven as on a mother's breast, and all the stars had flowed into the moon and enlarged her glory,--his heart, flung into a warm tear, gently dissolved therein,--out of him was only shadow, within him dazzling light,--the wind of the flying earth swept by before the upright flame of his soul, and it bent not. Ah, his Psyche glided with keen, unruffled, inaudible falcon-pinions, in silent ecstasy through the thin air of life....

It appeared to him as if he were dying, for it was some time before he became aware of the increasing warmth of his bleeding left arm, which had lifted him into the long Elysium that reached over from his dreaming into his waking state. He refastened the bandage more tightly.

All at once he heard, during the operation, a louder plashing below him than mere waters could make. He looked over the balcony, and saw his father and Dian, without a farewell,--which, with Gaspard, was only the poisonous meadow-saffron in the autumnal moment of leave-taking,--fleeing, like blossom-leaves dropped out of the flower-wreath of his life, away across the waves amid the swan-song of the nightingales!... O, thou good young man, how often has this night befooled and robbed thee! He spread out his arms after them,--the pain of the dream still continued, and inspired him,--his flying father seemed to him a loving father again,--in anguish he called down, "Father, look round upon me! Ah, how canst thou thus forsake me without a syllable? And thou too, Dian! O comfort me, if you hear me!" Dian threw kisses to him, and Gaspard laid his hand upon his sick heart. Albano thought of that copyist of death, the palsy, and would gladly have held out his wounded arm over the waves, and poured out his warm life as a libation for his father, and he called after them, "Farewell! farewell!" Languishing, he pressed the cold, stony limbs of a colossal statue to his burning veins, and tears of vain longing gushed down his fair face, while the warm tones of the Italian nightingales, trilling in response to each other from bank and island, sucked his heart till it was sore with soft vampyre-tongues.----Ah, when thou shalt be loved, glowing youth, how thou wilt love!--In his thirst for a warm, communicative soul, he woke up his Schoppe, and pointed out to him the fugitives. But while the latter was saying something or other consolatory, Albano gazed fixedly at the gray speck of the skiff, and heard not a word.


The two continued up, and refreshed themselves by a stroll through the dewy island; and the sight of the alto-rilievo of day, as it came out in glistening colors from the fading crayon-drawings of the moonlight, woke them to full life. Augusti joined them, and proposed to them to take the half-hour's sail over to Isola Madre. Albano heartily besought the two to sail over alone, and leave him here to his solitary walks. The Lector now detected, with a sharper look, the traces of the young man's nightly adventures,--how beautifully had the dream, the monk, the sleeplessness, the bleeding, subdued the bold, defiant form, and softened every tone, and that mighty energy was now only a magic waterfall by moonlight! Augusti took it for caprice, and went alone with Schoppe; but the fewest persons possible comprehend, that it is only with the fewest persons possible, (and not with an army of visitors,) properly only with two,--the most intimate and like-minded friend and the beloved object,--one can bear to take a walk. Verily, I had as lief kneel down to make a declaration of love openly, in the face of a whole court, on the birthday of a princess,--for show me, I pray, the difference,--as to gaze on thee, Nature, my beloved, through a long vanguard and rear-guard of witnesses to my enraptured attitude!

How happy did solitude make Albano, whose heart and eyes were full of tears, which he concealed for shame, and which yet so justified and exalted him in his own mind! For he labored under the singular mistake of fiery and vigorous youths,--the idea that he had not a tender heart, had too little feeling, and was hard to be moved. But now his enervation gave him a soft, poetical forenoon, such as he had never before known, and in which he would fain have embraced tearfully all that he had ever loved,--his good, dear, far-off foster parents in Blumenbühl; his poor father, ill just in spring, when death always builds his flower-decked gate of sacrifice; and his sister, buried in the veil of the past, whose likeness he had gotten, whose after-voice he had heard this night, and whose last hour the nightly liar had brought so near to him in his fiction. Even the nocturnal magic-lantern show, still going on in his heart, troubled him by its mysteriousness, since he could not ascribe it to any known person, and by the prediction that at his birth-hour, which was so near,--the next Ascension-day,--he should learn the name of his bride. The laughing day took away, indeed, from the ghost-scenes their deathly hue, but gave to the crown and the water-goddess fresh radiance.

He roamed dreamily through all holy places in this promised land. He went into the dark Arcade where he had found his childhood's relics and his father, and took up, with a sad feeling, the crushed mask which had fallen on the ground. He ascended the gallery, checkered with lemon-shadows and sunbeams, and looked toward the tall cypresses and the chestnut summits in the far blue, where the moon had appeared to him like an opening mother's eye. He approached a cascade, behind the laurel-grove, which was broken into twenty landing-places, as his life was into twenty years, and he felt not its thin rain upon his hot cheeks.

He then went back again to the top of the high terrace to look for his returning friends. How brokenly and magically did the sunshine of the outward world steal into the dark, holy labyrinth of the inner! Nature, which yesterday had been a flaming sun-ball, was to-day an evening star, full of twilight: the world and the future lay around him so vast, and yet so near and tangible, as glaciers before a rain appear nearer in the deepening blue. He stationed himself on the balcony, and held on by the colossal statue; and his eye glanced down to the lake, and up to the Alps and to the heavens, and down again; and, under the friendly air of Hesperia, all the waves and all the leaves fluttered beneath their light veil. White towers glistened from the green of the shore, and bells and birds crossed their music in the wind: a painful yearning seized him, as he looked along the track of his father; and, ah! toward the _warmer_ Spain, full of voluptuous spring-times, full of soft orange-nights, full of the scattered limbs of dismembered giant mountain-ridges, heaped around in wild grandeur,--thither how gladly would he have flown through the lovely sky! At length, joy and dreaming and parting were all melted into that nameless melancholy, in which the excess of delight clothes the pain of limitation,--because, indeed, it is easier to _overflow_ than to _fill_ our hearts.

All at once Albano was touched and smitten,--as if the Divinity of Love had sent an earthquake into his inner temple, to consecrate him for her approaching apparition,--as he read on a young Indian-tree near him the little sign bearing its name,--the "Liana." He gazed upon it tenderly, and said again and again, "Dear Liana!" He would fain have broken off a twig for himself; but when he reflected, that if he did water would run out of it, he said, "No, Liana, I will not cause thee to weep!" and so forbore, because in his memory the plant stood in some sort of relationship to an unknown dear being. With inexpressible longings to be away, he now looked toward the temple-gates of Germany,--the Alps. The snow-white angel of his dream seemed to veil herself deep in a spring-cloud, and to glide along in it speechless,--and it was to him as if he heard from afar harmonica-tones. He drew forth, just for the sake of having something German, a letter-case, whereon his foster-sister Rabette had embroidered the words, "Gedenke unserer" (Think of us): he felt himself alone, and was now glad to see his friends, who were gayly rowing back from Isola Madre.

Ah, Albano, what a morning would this have been for a spirit like thine ten years later, when the compact bud of young vigor had unfolded its leaves more widely and tenderly and freely! To a soul like thine would have arisen at such a period, when the present was pale before it, two worlds at once,--the two rings around the Saturn of time,--that of the past and that of the future: then wouldst thou not merely have glanced over a short interval of race-ground to the pure, white goal, but turned thyself round, and surveyed the long, winding track already run. Thou wouldst have reckoned up the thousand mistakes of the will, the missteps of the soul, and the irreparable waste of heart and brain. Couldst thou then have looked upon the ground without asking thyself: "Ah, have the thousand and four earthquakes[20] which have passed through me, as through the land behind me, enriched me as these have enriched the soil? O, since all experiences are so dear,--since they cost us either our days, or our energies, or our illusions,--O why must man every morning, in the presence of Nature, who profits by every dew-drop that stands in a flower-cup, blush with such a sense of impoverishment over the thousand vainly dried tears which he has already shed and caused! From springs this almighty mother draws summers; from winters, springs; from volcanoes, woods and mountains; from hell, a heaven; from this, a greater,--and we, foolish children, know not how from a given past to prepare for ourselves a future, which shall satisfy us! We peck, like the Alpine daw, at everything shiny, and carry the red-hot coals aside as if they were gold-pieces, and set houses on fire with them. Ah! more than one great and glorious world goes down in the heart, and leaves nothing behind; and it is precisely the stream of the higher geniuses which flies to spray and fertilizes nothing, even as high waterfalls break and flutter in thin mist over the earth."

Albano welcomed his friends with atoning tenderness; but the youth became, as the day waxed, as dull and heavy-hearted as one who has stripped his chamber at the inn, settled his bill, and has only a few moments left to walk up and down in the bare, rough stubble-field, before the horses are brought. Like falling bodies, resolutions moved in his impetuous soul with increasing velocity and force every new second: with outward mildness, but inward vehemence, he begged his friends to start with him this very day. And so in the afternoon he went away with them from the still island of his childhood, speedily to enter, through the chestnut avenues of Milan, on a new theatre of his life, and to come upon the trap-door, which opens down into the subterranean passage of so many mysteries.


[2] Scale.--TR.

[3] This statue, thirty-five ells high, on a pedestal of twenty-five ells, in whose head twelve men can find room, stands near Arona, and is exactly of a height with Isola Bella, which stands over against it, and which rises on ten gardens or terraces built one upon another.--_Keysler's Travels, &c._, Vol. I.

[4] The old Kremnitz ducats have the infant Jesus on the right arm; but the new and _lighter_ ones on the left.

[5] Franklin advised the preserving and corking up of vessels from which all the liquor had been drunk, in order thereby to keep the ship afloat.

[6] The horse, in the funeral procession of a prince, that comes last, and is decked out gayly for the successor of the deceased.--TR.

[7] Gray-league (Grau-bünden), the Swiss Canton of the Grisons.--TR.

[8] Pictures by Peter Molyn, who, on account of his fine storms, was called only Tempesta.

[9] The Pasquino is notoriously mutilated.--Delia Porta was a great restorer of old statues.

[10] I. e. to be pressed between two wooden cylinders and a metallic one.

[11] This pill consists of Antimonia Regia, and by reason of its hardness may be swallowed over and over again with the same effect each time; only a little wine is sprinkled on it before each repetition of the experiment.

[12] _Tirare di primavere_, the people call it; and Peter Schoppe translated it grandly enough, _Electrical pistol-firing of spring_.

[13] Quotation-marks.--TR.

[14] A good Wouwermann means, in painters' language, a well-executed horse, the sight of which has an influence on the beauty of the future colt.

[15] This name is given to the quantum which is withheld from the associate judges of the Supreme Court when they have not worked enough.

[16] The Ipecacuanha belongs to the Violet species.

[17] Of the order of St. Paul, or _memento mori_, which died in France in the seventeenth century. The above address is its usual greeting.

[18] The Zahouris in Spain are, as is well known, gifted with the power of discerning corpses, veins of metal, &c. far under the earth.

[19] According to the account of some astronomers, that the sun, when eclipsed, has sometimes shone through an opening of the moon, Ulloa, e. g., assures us that he once witnessed.

[20] In Calabria (1785) a thousand and four earthquakes happened in the space of three fourths of a year.--_Münter's Travels, &c._



Before I dedicated Titan to the Privy-Legation's-Counsellor and Feudal Provost of Flachsenfingen, Mr. Von Hafenreffer, I first requested permission from him in the following terms:--

"Since you have assisted far more in this history than the Russian Court did in Voltaire's Genesis-History of Peter the Great, you cannot confer any handsomer favor upon a heart longing to thank you, than the permission to offer and dedicate to you, as to a Jew's God, what you have created."

But he wrote me back on the spot:--

"For the same reason, you might still better, in imitation of Sonnenfels, dedicate the work to yourself, and, in a more just sense than others, combine in one person author and patron. I beg you then (were it only on Mr. Von **'s and Mrs. Von **'s account) to leave me out of the play, and confine yourself to the most indispensable notices, which you may be pleased to give the public, of the very mechanical interest which I have in your beautiful work; but for the gods' sake, hic hæc hoc hujus huic hunc hanc hoc hoc hac hoc.


The Latin line is a cipher, and shall remain dark to the public. What the same public has to demand in the way of Introductory Programme consists of four explanations of title, and one of fact.

The first nominal explanation, which relates to the _Jubilee Period_, I get from the founder of the Period, the Rector Franke, who explains it to be an Era or space of time, invented by him, of one hundred and fifty-two Cycles, each of which contains in itself its good forty-nine tropical Lunar-Solar years. The word _Jubilee_ is prefixed by the Rector for this reason, that in every seventh year a lesser, and in every seven times seventh, or forty-ninth, a greater, Jubilee-, Intercalary-, Indulgence-, Sabbath-, or Trumpet-year occurred, in which one lived without debts, without sowing and laboring, and without slavery. I make a sufficiently happy application, as it seems to me, of this title, Jubilee, to my historical chapters, which conduct the business-man and the business-woman round and round in an easy cycle or circle full of free Sabbath-, Indulgence-, Trumpet-, and Jubilee-hours, in which both have neither to sow nor to pay, but only to reap and to rest; for I am the only one who, like the bowed and crooked-up drudge of a ploughman, stand at my writing-table, and see sowing-machines, and debts of honor, and manacles, before and on me. The seven thousand four hundred and forty-eight tropical Lunar-Solar years which one of Franke's Jubilee periods includes are also found with me, but only dramatically, because in every chapter just that number of ideas--and ideas are, indeed, the long and cubic measure of time--will be presented by me to the reader, till the short time has become as long to him as the chapter required.

A Cycle, which is the subject of my second nominal definition, needs by this time no definition at all.

The third nominal definition has to describe the _obligato-leaves_, which I edit in loose sheets in every Jubilee period. The obligato-leaves admit absolutely none but pure contemporaneous facts, less immediately connected with my hero, concerning persons, however, the more immediately connected with him; in the obligato-leaves, moreover, not the smallest satirical extravasate of digression, no, not of the size of a blister, is perceptible; but the happy reader journeys on with his dear ones, free and wide awake, right through the ample court-residence and riding-ground and landscape of a whole, long volume, amidst purely historical figures, surrounded on all sides by busy mining-companies and Jews'-congregations, advancing columns on the march, mounted hordes, and companies of strolling players,--and his eye cannot be satisfied with seeing.

But when the Tome is ended, then begins--this is the last nominal definition--a small one, in which I give just what I choose (only no narrative), and in which I flit to and fro so joyously, with my long bee's-sting, from one blossom-nectary and honey-cell to another, that I name the little sub-volume, made up as it is merely for the private gratification of my own extravagance, very fitly my _honey-moons_, because I make less honey therein than I eat, busily employed, not as a working-bee to supply the hive, but as a bee-master to take up the comb. Until now I had surely supposed that every reader would readily distinguish the transits of my satirical trailing-comets from the undisturbed march of my historical planetary system, and I had asked myself: "Is it, in a monthly journal, any sacrifice of historical unity to break off one essay, and follow it up with a new one; and have the readers complained at all, if e. g. in the annual sets of the 'Horen,' Cellini's history, as is sometimes the case, breaks off abruptly, and a wholly different paper is foisted in?" But what actually happened?

As in the year 1795 a medical society in Brussels made the _contrat-social_ among themselves, that every one should pay a fine of a crown, who, during a meeting, should give utterance to any other sound than a medical one; so, as is well known, has a similar edict, under date of July 9th, been issued to all biographers, that we shall always stick to the subject-matter,--which is the history,--because otherwise people will begin to talk with us. The intention of the mandate is this, that when a biographer, in a Universal History of the World, of twenty volumes, or even a longer one,--as in this, for instance,--thinks or laughs once or twice, i. e. digresses, the culprit shall stand out in the critical pillory as his own Pasquino and Marforio,--which sentence has been already executed on me more than once.

Now, however, I put an entirely new face upon matters, inasmuch as, in the first place, I draw a marked line in this work between history and digression, a few cases of dispensation excepted; secondly, inasmuch as the liberties which I had taken in my former works are in the present reduced to a prescriptive right and confirmed into a servitude, the reader surrenders at once when he knows, that, after a volume full of Jubilee-periods, one is to follow which is entirely full of nothing but honey-months. I take shame to myself, when I remember how I once, in former works, stood with the beggar's staff before the reader, and begged for the privilege of digression, when I might, after all,--as I do here,--have extorted the loan, as one has to demand of women, as a matter of course, not only the _tribute_ as _alms_, but also the _don gratuit_ as _quarterly assessment_. So does not merely the cultivated Regent at the Diet, but even the rude Arab, who extorts from the traveller, besides the cash, a deed of gift for the same.

I come now to the Privy-Legation's-Counsellor, Von Hafenreffer, who is the subject of my promised _exposé of fact_.

It must have been formerly learned from the 45th Dog-Post-Day, who governs Flachsenfingen, namely, my revered father. This striking promotion of mine was, at the bottom, more a step than a spring; for I was, previously, no less than a Jurist, consequently the germ or bud of an embryo Doctor _utriusque_, and consequently a nobleman, since in the Doctor the whole spawn and yolk of the Knight lies; therefore the former, as well as the latter, when anything chances by, lives upon his saddle or stirrup, although less in a robber's castle than in a robber's chamber; I have, therefore, since the preferment, changed less myself than my castle of residence;--the paternal seat in Flachsenfingen is at present my own.

I care not now to eat my sugar-cake at court with sin,--although one earns sugar-cake and manna more comfortably than ship-bread,--but I represent, in order to make a profit upon my adventure, the whole Flachsenfingen Department of Foreign Affairs at home here in the castle, together with the requisite deciphering chancery. This, then, is what we shall do: we have a Procurator in Vienna, two Residents in five Imperial cities, a Secretary of the Comitia in Ratisbon under the Cross-Bench,[21] three Chancery-clerks of the circle, and an Envoyé-Plenipotentiary at a well-known and considerable court not far from Hohenfliess, who is no other than the aforementioned Mr. Feudal Provost Von Hafenreffer. To the latter my father has even advanced a complete silver-service, which we lend him, till he shall have received his recall, because it is for our own interest that a Flachsenfingen ambassador should, while abroad, do extraordinary honor, by his extravagance, to the princely hat or coronet of Flachsenfingen.

Now it is no joke to stand on such a post as this of mine; the whole legation-writing-and-reading company write to me under frank, the _chiffre banal_ and the _chiffre déchiffrant_ are in my hands, and I understand, as it seems to me, the whole mess. It is unutterable, all that I thus learn: it could not be read by men nor drawn by horses, if I were disposed to hatch, biographically, and feed and reel off the whole silk-worm seed of novels, which the corps of ambassadors send me every post-day in closely-sealed packages. Yes (to use another metaphor), the biographical timber which my float-inspection launches for me from up above,--now into the Elbe, now into the Saale, now into the Danube,--stands already so high before me in the ship-yard, that I could not use it up, supposing I drove on the æsthetical building of my biographical fools'-ships, masquerade-balls, and enchanted castles, day and night, year out and year in, and never danced, nor rode, nor spoke, nor sneezed again in my life....

Verily, whenever (as I often do) I weigh my ovary as an author against many another spawn, I ask out-right, with a certain chagrin, why a man should come to bear so great a one, who cannot give it forth from himself for want of time and place, while another hardly lays and hatches a wind-egg. If I could despatch a picket from my legation-division to knightly book-makers with its official reports, would they not gladly exchange ruins for castles, and subterranean cloister-passages for corridors, and spirits for bodies? whereas, now, for want of the official reports of a picket, wenches must represent women of the world, veimers[22] ministers of justice, as well as jesters pages, castle-chaplains court-preachers, and robber-barons the Pointeurs.[23]

I come back to my ambassador, Von Hafenreffer. At the above-mentioned distinguished court sits this excellent gentleman, and supplies me--without neglecting other duties--from month to month with as many personalities of my Hohenfliess hero as he can, by means of his legation-soothsayers or clairvoyants, ferret out;--the smallest trifles are with him weighty enough for a despatch. Certainly a quite different way of thinking from that of other ambassadors, who in their reports make room only for events which afterwards are to make their entrance into the Universal History! Hafenreffer has in every _cul de sac_, servant's chamber and attic, in every chimney and tavern, his opera-glass of a spy, who often, in order to discover one of my hero's virtues, takes upon himself ten sins. Of course, with such a hand-and-horse service of good luck, no one of us can wonder,--that is, I mean, with such a cistern-wheel turned for me by Fortune herself,--with such thieves' thumbs affixed to my own writing-fingers,--with such silhouetteurs of a hero, who make everything except color,--in short, with such an extraordinary concatenation of circumstances, or Montgolfiers,[24]--it cannot of course be anything but just what is expected, if the man who is lifted by them should, on his mountain height up there, bring together and afterward send down a work which will be freely translated after the last day (for it deserves as much) on the Sun, on Uranus and Sirius, and for which even the lucky quill-scraper who nibbed the pens for it, and the compositor who prints the errata, will take more airs upon themselves than the author himself, and upon which neither the swift scythe nor the tardy _tooth_ of time,--especially since the latter can, if requisite, be cut in two by the tooth-saw of the critical file,--shall be able to make any impression. And when to such eminent advantages the author adds that of humility, then there is no longer any one to be compared with him; but unhappily every nature holds itself,--as Dr. Crusius does the world,--not for the best, indeed, but still as very good.

The present _Titan_ enjoys, besides, the further advantage that I at this moment inhabit and grace the paternal court, and accordingly, as draughtsman, have certain sins near and bright before my eyes in a position most favorable for observation, of which at least Vanity, Libertinism, and Idleness will stay and sit for their likeness; for fate has sowed these mushrooms and mosses as high as possible among the upper classes, because in the lower and broader they would have spread too much, and sucked them dry,--which seems to be the pattern of that same foresight by which ships always have their assafoetida which they bring from Persia hanging overhead on the mast, in order that its stench may not contaminate the freight on deck. Moreover, I have up here in the court all the new fashions already around me for my observation and contempt, before they have been, down below there, only traduced, not to say commended,--e. g. the fine fashion of the Parisians, that women shall by a slight tuck in their dress show their calves, which they do in Paris, in order to let it be seen that they are not gentlemen, who, as is well known, walk on wooden legs,--this fashion will to-morrow or day after to-morrow (for it has arrived on an individual lady) be certainly introduced. But the females of Flachsenfingen imitate this fashion on quite another ground,--for gentlemen among us have no defect,--and that is, as a way of proving that they are human beings, and not apes (to say nothing less), since, according to Camper and others, man alone has calves. The same proof was adduced ten years ago, only on higher grounds. For since, according to Haller, man is distinguished from monkey in no other respect than by the possession of a posterior, the female officers of the crown, the dressing-maids, sought as much as possible to magnify in the persons of their mistresses this characteristic of their sex by art,--by the so-called _cul de Paris_; and, with such a penultimate of the ultimate, it became then a jest and an amusement to distinguish at a distance of two hundred paces a woman of the world from her female ape,--a thing which now many who know their Buffon by heart will venture to do, when they are no nearer to her than too near.

Similar biographical Denunciantes and Familiars I maintain in several of the German cities;--my honored father pays for them;--in most places one, but in Leipsic two, in Dresden three, in Berlin six, in Vienna as many in every quarter of the city. Machines of such a nature, so much like perspective-glasses, whereby one can survey from his bed all that is going on in the street below, of course make it easy for an author, from behind his inkstand, to see clear down into dark household operations going on in some by-lane, hidden among buildings twenty miles distant. Therefore, the singular case may happen to me every week, that a staid, quiet man, whom nobody knows but his barber, and whose course of life is like a dark, unfrequented _cul de sac_, but whom one of my envoys and spies secretly follows, with a biographical concave mirror, which casts an image of the man, waistcoat, breeches, walk, and all, into my study, situated at a distance of thirty miles,--the case may occur to me, I say, that such a secluded man shall accidentally step up to the counter of the bookseller, and in my work, which lies there smoking hot from the oven, shall find himself, with all his hair, buttons, buckles, and warts, as clearly pictured out on the three hundred and seventy-first page, as the impressions of _Indian_ plants which are found on rocks in France. That, however, is no matter.

People, on the other hand, who live at the same place with me, as the people of Hof formerly did, come off well; for I keep no ambassadors near me.

But this very advantage of getting my anecdotes, not out of my head, but from despatches, obliges me to take more pains in putting them into cipher, than others would have in dressing them up or thinking them out. No less a miracle than that which bars up and hides the masonic mystery, and the invisible church, and the invisible lodge, has seemed thus far to avert the discovery of the _true_ names of my histories, and, indeed, with such success, that of all the manuscripts which have hitherto been despatched to the publishers, filled with conjectures on the subject, not one has smelt the mouse,--and truly fortunate for the world; for so soon, e. g., as one person shall have nosed out the names of the first volumes of Titan, disguised as they have been in the best hieroglyphic chancery offices, that moment I upset my inkstand, and publish no more.

Nothing is to be inferred from the names which I use, for I press into the service God-parents for my heroes in the most singular ways. Have I not, e. g., often of an evening, during the marching and countermarching of the German armies, who made their crusades to the holy sepulchre of freedom, gone up and down through the lanes of the camp, with my writing-tablets in my hands, and caught and entered the names of the privates,--which, just before bedtime, were called out aloud, like the names of saints,--just as they fell, in order to distribute them again among my biographical people? And has not merit been promoted thereby, and many a common soldier risen to be a nobleman fit for table and tournament, and have not provost-marshals been raised to ministers of justice, and red-cloaks to _patribus purpuratis_? And did ever a cock crow in all the army after this corps of observation slinking round mobilized on two legs?

For authors who wish at the same time to narrate and disguise true anecdotes, I am, perhaps, on the whole, a model and file-leader. I have studied and imitated longer than other historical inquirers those little innocent stretching and wrenching processes which can make a history unrecognizable to the very hero of the same, and I fancy I know how one is to make good biographies of princes, protocols of high traitors, legends of saints, and auto-biographies; no stronger touches decide the matter than those slight ones, by which Peter of Cortona (or Beretino) in the presence of Ferdinand of Tuscany transformed a weeping child into a laughing one, and the reverse.

Voltaire demands more than once, as he always does,--for he gave mankind, like an army, every order of march three times, and repeated himself and everything else most indefatigably,--that the historian shall arrange his history after the law-table of the drama, to a dramatic focal point. It is, however, one of the first dramatic rules which Lessing, Aristotle, and the Greek models give us, that the dramatic poet must lend to every historical circumstance which he treats all that is favorable to the poetic illusion, as well as keep clear of everything opposite, and that he must never sacrifice beauty to truth, but the reverse. Voltaire gave, as is well known, not only the easy rule, but the hard model also; and this great theatre poet of the world's theatre, in his _benefit_ dramas of Peter and Charles, never stuck to the truth where he was sure he could attain sooner to illusion. And that is properly the genuine romantic history corresponding to the historical romance. It is not for me, but for others,--namely, the Provost and the Secretaries of Legation,--to decide how far I have treated a true history illusorily. It is a misfortune that the true history of my hero can hardly ever see the light; otherwise the justice might be done me that connoisseurs would confront my poetical deviations with the truth, and thereafter give each of us more easily his own, as well the truth as myself. But this reward is what all royal historiographers and scandalous chroniclers must resign _nolens volens_, because the true history never appears in conjunction with their works.

But in the composition of a history an author must also keep a sharp look-out upon this point, that it shall not only hit and betray no real persons, but also no false ones, and in fact nobody at all. Before I, e. g., choose a name for a bad prince, I must look through the genealogical index of all governing and governed families, in order not to use a name which some person or other already bears; thus, in Otaheite, even the words which sound like the name of the king are abolished after his coronation, and supplied by others. Now, as I was formerly acquainted with no living courts at all, I was not in a situation, when preparing the battle-pieces and night-pieces which I painted of the Cabals, the Egoism, and the Libertinism of biographical courts, to succeed in skilfully avoiding every resemblance to real ones; yes, for such an idiot as I, it was a miserable help, even, to be often laying Machiavelli open before me, in order, with the assistance of the French history, by painting from the two, to turn off the edge of the application at least upon countries in which no Frenchman or Italian ever had the influence that is generally attributed to both of them upon other Germans; just as Herder, in opposition to those naturalists who derive certain misshapen tribes of men from a half-parentage of apes, makes the very good remark that most of the resemblances to apes--the retreating skull of the Calmucks, the prominent ears of the Pevas, the slender hands in Carolina--appear just in those countries where there are no apes at all. Formerly, then, as was said, striking unlikenesses I could not succeed in hitting; now, on the contrary, every court around which my legation-flotilla coasts is well known to me, and therefore secure from accidental resemblances, particularly every one which I describe,--that of Flachsenfingen, that of Hohenfliess, &c. The theatrical mask which I have on in my works is not the mask of the Greek comedian, which was embossed after the face of the individual satirized,[25] but the mask of Nero, which, when he acted a goddess on the stage, looked like his mistress,[26] and when he acted a god, like himself.

Enough! This digressive introductory programme has been somewhat long, but the Jubilee-period was so, too: the longer the St. John's day of a country, the longer its St. Thomas's night. And now let us dance along together into the book,--into this free ball of the world,--I first as leader in the dance, and then the readers as hop-dancers after me; so that, amidst the sounding baptismal and funeral bells in the Chinese house of this world-building,--welcomed by the singing-school of the muses,--serenaded from on high by the guitar of Phoebus,--we may dance gayly from Tome to Tome, from Cycle to Cycle, from one digression to another, from one dash to another,--till either the work comes to an end, or the workman, or everybody!


[21] _Querbank_,--Bench for Protestant Bishops in the Germanic Diet.

[22] _Veimer_,--old Westphalian judges.

[23] Tellers in faro-banks.

[24] The inventor of the balloon.--TR.

[25] Reflexions Critiques sur la Poesie, etc. de Dubois, Tom. I. Sect. 42.

[26] Sueton. Nero.



10. CYCLE.

In the bloom of youthful powers, and the brightness of youthful prospects, the Count, between his two companions, flew back through the full, glowing Milan, where the ear and the cluster and the olive often ripen together on the same clod of earth. The very name of Milan (Mayland) opened to him a whole spring, because, like myself, in all things which belong to May--in May-flowers, May-chafers, even May butter--he found, when a child, as much enchantment as in childhood itself. Add to this, that he was on horseback; the saddle was with him a princely seat of the blest, while a saddle-room was a Ratisbon bench of counts, and every nag his Pegasus. While on the island, and during that mental and bodily exhaustion in which the soul loves better to frequent clare-obscure and pastoral worlds, than hot, dusty military- and fencing-schools, all anticipation of the coming riddles and conflicts of his life had been repulsive to him; but now, with his heart full of the glow of travel and the blood of spring, he stretched out his young arms no less for a foe than for a female friend, as if thirsting for a double conquest.

The farther the island receded, so much the more did the magic-smoke around the nocturnal apparition sink to the ground, and leave behind in full view merely an inexplicable juggler. Now for the first time he revealed the ghost-story to his companions. Schoppe and Augusti shook their heads thoughtfully, but each thought of something different;--the Librarian sought a _physical_ solution of the acoustic and optical illusion; the Lector sought a _political_ one: he could not at all comprehend what the stage-manager of this grave-digger's scene specially meant by it all.

This one comfort the Librarian held to, that Alban on his birthday was directed to pay a visit to the heart without a breast, which visit he could just forego, and so make the seer out to be a myops and a liar. "Would to Heaven," said he, "an Ezekiel would just prophesy to me that I should bring him to the gallows! I would not do it for any money, but I would, without mercy, make it fatal, not to his neck, but to his credit and his brains." To his incredulous father, also, Albano wrote, during the journey, not without a blush, the incredible history; for he had too few years over his head, and too much energy and daring, to love reserve in himself or others. Only weak, caterpillar- and hedgehog-like souls curl and crumple up into themselves at every touch: under the free brain beats gladly a free heart.

At last, when sunny mountains and shady forests enough, like days and nights that have been lived through, had been left behind them, they approached the goal of their long riding-ground, full of countries, and now the Principality of _Hohenfliess_ lay only one principality distant from them. This second principality, which was next-door neighbor to the first, and which by breaking through the walls might easily have been merged with it into one common political structure, was called, as is known to geographical readers, _Haarhaar_. The Lector told the Librarian, as they approached the armorial and boundary stones, that the two courts looked upon each other almost as deadly foes; not so much because they were _diplomatic_ relatives--although it is true that, among princes, uncle, cousin, brother, signify no more than brother-in-law applied to postilions, or father and mother to the old folks among the Brandenburghers--as because they were really relatives, and each other's heirs. It would cost me too much room, if I were disposed to set before the reader the family-trees of the two courts,--which were their Upas-trees and Dragon-trees,--with all their heraldic leaves, water-shoots, and lichens; the result must content him, namely, that Hohenfliess, land and people, would fall to the principality of Haarhaar, in case the hereditary prince, Luigi, the last hollow shoot and sapling of the male stock of Hohenfliess, were to wither away. What hordes of Venetian Lion-heads Haarhaar pours into the land of future inheritance, who are to devour nothing there but learned advertisements and placards, and what knavish bands of political mechanics it colonizes there, as in a sort of Botany Bay, cannot be told for want of time. And yet Haarhaar again, on the other hand, is so generous as to desire nothing more heartily than to see the financial estate of Hohenfliess--its business, agriculture, silk manufactures, and breed of horses--in the highest bloom, and to hate and curse in the highest degree all public extravagance, that enervation of the great intercostal-nerve (money), as the mightiest canonical impediment to population. "The Regent," says the truly philanthropic Prince of Haarhaar, "is the chief shepherd, not the butcher, of the state: not even the wool-shears should he take into his hands so often as the shepherd's-flute; not of the _energies_ and _matrimonial prospects_ of others is our cousin (Luigi) master, but of his own, these he must ruin!"

As they rode into the territory of Hohenfliess, they might have made an excursion to Blumenbühl,[27] which lies aside from Pestitz, and taken a look, as it were, at the nursery of Albano (Isola Bella being his cradle), had not the latter felt a burning hunger and thirst for the city, and a dread like hydrophobia of a second leave-taking, which besides only confuses the clear echo of the first. His journey, the conversation of his father, the pictures of the conjurer, the nearness of the academy, had so ruffled up our bird roc's wing-feathers, which at his age are always too long as the steering tail-feathers are too short, that they would only have been sprained in the confinement of Blumenbühl. By Heavens! he longed to be something in the state or the world; for he felt a deadly disgust towards that narcotic waste of high life through whose poppy-garden of pleasure men stagger about, sleepy and drunken, till they fall down in a twofold lameness.

It may not have been remembered by the readers of the first Jubilee, because it was in a note, that Albano had never yet been permitted to go to Pestitz, and on very good grounds indeed, which are known, however, to the Knight only, but not to me. This long closing of the city-gates against him only made him the more eager to enter them. And now they stood with their horses upon a broad eminence, whence they saw the church-towers of Pestitz before them in the west, and, if they turned round, the tower of Blumenbühl below them to the east; from the one and from the other came floating to them a noonday hum: Albano heard his future and his past sounding together. He looked down into the village, and up at a neat little red house on a neighboring mountain, which gleamed after him, like a bright pictured urn of long-extinguished days. He sighed; he looked over the far building-ground of his future life, and now with loosened rein dashed onward toward the towers of the Linden-city, as towards the palms of his race-ground.

But the neat little house played its antics before him like a red shadow. For, ah! had he not once in that herdsman's hut spent a dreamy day, full of adventures, and that, too, in the very season of childhood, when the soul, on the rainbow-bridge of fancy, glides along, dry-shod, over the walls and ditches of this lower earth? We will now go back with him into this lovely day, this childhood's eve of life's festival, and become acquainted with those earlier hours, which sent back to him so sweetly from this herdsman's hut the Ranz des Vaches of youth.

11. CYCLE.

It was, then, on a magnificent St. James's day--and likewise on the birthday of the Provincial Director, Wehrfritz, who, however, had not received the title yet--that this same director--that was to be--had his chariot trundled out in the morning to ride to Pestitz, and see the Minister, and, as Factor of the Province, convert the _flail_ of the state, by way of experiment, into a _drill-plough_. He was a brisk, bustling man, to whom a day of furlough was longer than a day of drill to others, and to whom nothing made time pass heavily but pastime. "In the evening, however," he said to himself, "I'll make a good day of it, for it happens to be my birthday." His birthday present was to consist in making one; he proposed, namely, to bring home little Albano an Oesterlein's harpsichord out of his own purse,--little as there was in it,--and a music-master, into the bargain, at the desire of Don Gaspard.

But why not, at the outset, explain all this in the clearest manner to the reader?

Don Gaspard, then, in revising a scheme of education for Albano, had chosen that more attention should be paid to his bodily health than to mental superfetation; he thought the tree of knowledge should be grafted with the tree of life. Ah! whoever sacrifices health to wisdom has generally sacrificed wisdom too, and only _inborn_ not _acquired_ sickliness is profitable to head and heart. Accordingly, Albano had not to lug along, bending under the weight, the many-volumed encyclopædia of all sciences in his book-straps, but merely grammars. That is to say, the rector of the place,--named Wehmeier, better known by the title of Band-box-master,--after schooling the village youth for the usual number of hours, was accustomed to seek his fairest _Struve's spare hours_, his _Otia_ and _Noctes Hagianæ_, in teaching Albano, and driving into the mill-wheel axle of the everlastingly active boy--impelled by internal streams--alphabetic pins,--so as to make it the barrel of a speech-organ. Of course, however, Zesara soon wished to move something heavier than the key-board of languages; thus, for example, the language-organ barrel became, in a proper sense, the barrel of a hand-organ. For whole hours, without any special knowledge of counterpoint, would he practise on the parish organ (he knew neither note nor key, and stood hard, all through the piece, on the thundering pedal), trying his hand at the most horrible discords, before which the Enharmonics of all Piccinists must be struck dumb, only to bury himself so much the longer and deeper in the accidental prize of a chord. So, also, did his soul, full of sap, work off its energy in leaf-buds, as it were, and shoots and runners, by making pictures, clay statuary, sun-dials, and designs of all sorts, and even in the juristical rockery of his foster-father, for example, in Fabri's State Chancery, it sent its thirsty roots around and out over the dry leaves, as plants do often in herbariums. O, how he pined for lessons and teachers vaguely dreamed of (just as in childhood he had aspired from octavos to quartos, from quarto to folio, from folio even to a book as large as the world, which would be the world itself)! But so much the better! only hunger digests, only love impregnates; the sigh of longing alone is the animating _aura seminalis_ to the Orpheus egg of knowledge. This you do not consider, you flying teachers, who give children the draught earlier than the thirst; you who, like some florists, insert into the split stock of the flowers ready-made lack-dyes, and put foreign musk into their cups, instead of simply giving them morning sun and flower-soil,--and who grant young souls no quiet hours, but bustle round them during the dusting period of their blooming vine, against all the rules of the vine-dressers, with your hoeing and your dunging and your clipping. O, can you ever, when you thus prematurely force them, with their unripe organs, into the great realm of truths and beauties, just as we all, alas! with our dark senses, creep into lovely Nature, and blunt ourselves to the perception of her beauty,--can you ever, in any way, make good to them the great year which they would have lived to see, had they, growing up like the new-created Adam, been able to turn round with their open, thirsty senses, in the glorious universe of spirits? Hence it is that your _élèves_ so nearly resemble the foot-paths, which in spring grow green first of all, but at a later period wind along yellow and hard-trodden through the blooming meadows.

Wehrfritz, as he stood on the carriage-steps and turned his face towards him, repeated his charge to have an oversight of the young Count, and made the mark ["with care"] with which merchants commend valuable boxes of goods to the post, strong and thick upon him: he loved the fiery child as his own (he had only one, and that not a son); the Knight had confidence in him, and, to justify it, since the point of honor was the centre of gravity and pole of all his motions, he would, without hesitation, if the boy, for instance, should break his head, cut his own off; and finally Albano must stand a remarkably good examination at evening before the new teacher from the city.

Albina von Wehrfritz, the spouse, promised everything in the name of all that was sacred; she might have compared herself to the Evangelists Mark and John, because her impetuous husband quite often represented the creatures who are pictured as the companions of the two saints, those king-beasts, the lion and the eagle, just as many another wife, in reference to her companion, may be compared with Luke, and mine with Matthew.[28] Besides, she had bespoken for the evening a little family feast, full of sportive, party-colored ephemerons of joy, and by great good luck already, some days before, the diploma had come in which installed our Wehrfritz as Provincial Director, and which had been laid up against this day as a birthday christening present.

But hardly had Wehrfritz got beyond the castle garden when Albano stepped forth with his project, and announced his intention of sitting out the whole holiday up there in the solitary little shooting-house; for he loved to play alone, and an elderly guest was pleasanter to him than a boy to play with. Women are like Father Lodoli, who (according to Lambert's day-book) shunned nothing so much as the little word, Yes; at least, they do not say it till after, No. The foster-mother (I will, however, in future, cut off from her and from the foster-sister, Rabette, that annoying _foster_) said, without thinking, No, although she knew that she had never yet carried one through against the stubborn little fellow. Then she borrowed very good dehortations from the will and pleasure of the Provincial Director, and bade him consider,--then the red-cheeked, good-natured Rabette took her brother's part, and pleaded for him, without knowing why,--then Albina protested at least he should not expect his dinner to be sent to him on the mountain,--then he marched out of the yard.... So have I often stood by and watched how the female elbows and knuckles, during the stemming of a strong opposition, gradually, before my eyes, became gristle, and bent up. Only in the presence of Wehrfritz had Albina strength enough for a long No.

12. CYCLE.

Our hero had passed over from those childish years in which Hercules strangled the serpents, into the years of confirmation, when he warmed them under his waistcoat, to behead them again in later years. Exultingly did his new and old Adam--they flew side by side--flap their wings out there under a blue heaven which had absolutely no anchoring ground. What cared he for meal-time? All children before and during a journey carry no stomach under their wings, just as that of the butterfly shrinks up when his wings are spread. The oft-mentioned herdsman's hut, or little shooting-house, was nothing less than a shooting-house with a sentry-box, for a pensioned soldier's wife, with a shooting-stand in the lower story and a summer-house chamber in the upper, wherein old Wehrfritz every summer meant to have a rural party and a bird shooting, but never had it, because the poor man dismasted and unrigged himself in his work-chamber as others do in their dining-room. For, although the state entices its servants like dogs for the tenth time, only to cudgel them off again for the eleventh, and although Wehrfritz every assize day forswore all state business and earnings,--because an honest man like him finds always in the body politic as much to restore as in the antique statues of which only the stone _drapery_ remains,--nevertheless, he knew no softer couch and feather-bed to rest on, than a still higher bench of oars, and he was just now making every exertion to be Provincial Director.

The German courts will have their own thoughts on the subject when I offer them the following boyish idyl. My black-eyed shepherd stormed the herdsman's mountain fortification, and received from the soldier's wife the door-key to the white and green summer cabinet. By Heavens! when all eastern and western window-shutters and windows were flung open, and the wind stole fluttering through the papers and cooling through the sweltry chamber, and when, outside, heaven and earth stood round about the windows and looked in beckoning,--when Albano beheld, under the window toward the east, the deep broad valley with the leaping, stony brook, on which all the glimmering disks of light which, like pebbles, the sun shot aslant, glanced up the mountain side,--when at the western window he saw, behind hills and woods, the arc of the sky, the mountain of the Linden-city, that slept like a coiled-up giant on the earth,--when he placed himself at one window after another, and said, "How magnificent!" then his raptures in the chamber grew at last so exalted, that he must needs go forth, in order, out of doors, to exalt them still higher.

The Goddess of Peace seemed to have here her church and her church seat. The active soldier's wife was planting early peas in a little garden full of high bushes, and now and then threw up a clod of earth into the cherry-tree among the feathered fruit-thieves, and again fell to sprinkling indefatigably the new linen and the planted salad, and yet ran willingly from time to time to the little ten-year-old maiden, who, blind from the measles, sat knitting on the door-sill, and only when she dropped a stitch called on her mother as interposing goddess. Albano stationed himself on the outermost balcony of the lovely opening valley, and every fanning of the wind breathed into his heart the old childish longing, that he could only fly. Ah, what bliss thus to snatch himself away from the receding earthly footstool, and cast himself free and passive into the broad ether!--and so plashing up and down in the cool, all-pervading air-bath, to fly at mid-day into the darkling cloud, and unseen to float beside the lark as she warbles below it,--or to sweep after the eagle, and in the flight to see cities only as sculptured assemblages of steps, and long streams only as gray, loose threads drawn between two or three countries, and meadows and hills shrunk up to little color-grains and colored shadows, and at length alight on the peak of a tower, and place himself over against the blazing evening sun, and then to soar upward when he had sunk, and look down once more into his eye still beaming on, bright and open, in the vault of night, and at last, when the earth-ball, whirling over, hides his orb, to flutter, intoxicated with rapture, into the forest-conflagration of all the red clouds!...

Whence comes it that these bodily wings lift us like spiritual ones? Whence had Albano this irrepressible longing for heights, for the slater's weaver-shuttle, for mountain-peaks, for the balloon,--just as if these were helpers out of bed to the prisoners of this low earth-couch? Ah, thou dear deluded one! Thy soul, still covered with its chrysalis shell, confounds as yet the horizon of the eye with the horizon of the heart, and outer elevation with inner, and soars through the physical heaven after the ideal one! For the same power which in the presence of great thoughts lifts our head and our body and expands the chest, raises the body also even with the dark yearning after greatness, and the chrysalis swells with the beating wings of the Psyche; yes, it must needs be, that by the same band wherewith the soul draws up the body the body also can lift up the soul.

The least Albano could do was to fly on foot down the mountain, to wade along with the brook, which was running away into the pale-green birch thicket to cool itself. Often before had his Robinsonading mania blown him to all points and leaves of the wind-rose,[29] and he loved to go with an unknown road a pretty piece of way to see what way it would itself take. He ran along on the silver Ariadne's thread of the brook, deep into the green labyrinth, and proposed, in fact, to come out through the back door of the long thicket upon a distant prospect. He could not accomplish it,--the birches grew now lighter, now darker, the brook broader,--the larks seemed to sing, out there, far and high overhead;--but he was obstinate. Extremes had from of old a magnetic polarity for him; as the medium had only points of indifference. Thus, for example, except the highest degree of the barometer, no other was so agreeable to him as the lowest, and the shortest day was as welcome as the longest; but the day after either was fatal.[30]

At last, after the progress of some hours in time and space, he heard, beyond the lightening birches, and through a noise louder than that of the brook, his name uttered repeatedly, in low tones of commendation, by two female voices. Instantly he galloped panting back again, indifferent to the risk of lungs and life. He heard his name long after again called out on all sides of him, but in a cry;--it was his private patron saint, the castellain of the hut, who fired these shots of distress on his account at the foot of the mountain.

He went up thither, and the round table of the earth lay clear and with a singularly softening aspect around his thirsty eye. Truly, the stretch of distance, together with weariness, must have reminded this bird of passage, behind the song-grating of the breast, of his own distant lands and times, and have made him melancholy at the thought, when the landscape so mottled with red roofs spread out before him its white, glistening stones and ponds, like light-magnets and sun-splinters,--when he saw on the long, gray causeway to Linden-town--views of which hung in the summer-house, and of which two spires shot up among the mountains--distant travellers plodding on toward the city whose gates for him were closed,--and when, indeed, everything seemed flying westward, the pigeons that went whispering by, floating over the grain-fields, and the shadows of the clouds that glided lightly away over high gardens.... Ah, the youngest heart has the waves of the oldest, only without the sounding-lead to fathom their depths! Learned Germany has, I perceive, for several cycles, held itself ready for great fates and fatalities, which are to give this herdsman's day of my hero the necessary dignity; I, who ought to have the first knowledge on the subject, do not at present know of any such. Childhood--ah yes, every age--often leaves behind in our hearts imperishable days, which every other heart had forgotten: so did this day never fade from Albano's. Sometimes a child's-day is at once made immortal by a clearer glimpse of consciousness; in children, especially such as Zesara, the spiritual eye turns far earlier and more sharply upon the world within the breast than they show or we imagine.

Now it struck one o'clock in the castle-tower. The near and beloved tone, reminding him of his near foster-mother, and of the denied dinner, and the sight of the little blind one, who already had her twig of the bread-tree or her dry reindeer's moss in her hand,--and the thought that this was the birthday of his foster-father,--and his inexpressible love for his afflicted mother, upon whose neck he often suddenly fell when he was alone,--and his heart, bedewed with Nature, made him begin to weep. But not for this did the stubborn little fellow go home; only the Alpine shepherdess had run on unbidden to betray the fugitive to his seeking mother.

He would fain in this noonday stillness extort from the little blind Lea, upon whose countenance a soft, delicate line-work ran legibly through the punctuation of the pocks, a few words, or at least, as a fellow-laborer, the long stick wherewith she had to drive the pigeons from the peas and the sparrows from the cherries; but she pressed her arm in silence against her eyes, bashful before the distinguished young gentleman. At last the woman brought the pottage for the lost son, and from Rabette a little smelling-bottle of dessert-wine into the bargain.

Albina von Wehrfritz was one of those women who, unlike states, keep only their promises, but never a threat,--resembling the forest-officers of Nuremberg, who, upon the smallest violation of the forest-laws, impose a fine of one hundred florins, and in the same hour modify it to one hundred kreutzers.[31] They, however, like Solon, who gave out his laws for a hundred years in advance, give out theirs according to the proportion of their smaller jurisdiction, to last one hundred seconds.

13. CYCLE.

I would make more out of Albano's commemoration-dinner, which he, like a grown-up trencher-man, could carve in the little chamber, and distribute among the family circle, and at which he could fill for himself, were I not going to meet weightier incidents which befell during the carrying back of the table dinner-service.

Albano went out, with the whole sea of his inner being sparkling and phosphorescing under the influence of the wine and the forenoon, and the blue heaven fluttering in stronger breezes around him. He felt as if the morning had long since gone by; and he remembered it with a tender emotion, as we all in youth remember childhood, in age youth,--even as at evening we remember the morning,--and the forms of Nature drew nearer to him and moved their eyes like Catholic images. Thus does the present offer us only shapes for optical anamorphoses, and only our spirit is the sublime mirror which transposes them into fair human forms. With what a sweet dip into dreams did he, when he met the fanning of the eastern wind, close his eyes, and draw the hum of the landscape, the screaming of the cocks and birds, and a herdsman's flute, as if deeper and deeper into his shaded soul! And then when he opened his eyes again on the shore of the mountain, there lay peaceful down below in the valley the pastured white lambs by the side of the flutist, and overhead in heaven lay stretched out far away above them the shining, fleecy lamb-clouds!

Meanwhile, he was fain for once to take the liberty of shutting his eyes and groping too far into the garden,--besides, the blind girl did not see,--holding his arms open before him so as not to run against anything, when all at once his breast touched a second, and looking up, he found the trembling maiden so near to him, who bent aside, stammering, "Ah, no! ah, no!" "It is only I," said the innocent one, holding her fast; "truly, I will not harm thee!"--and as she, with a modest shyness, trusted him, he held her a little while, and gazed down on her bowed head with sweet emotion.

Heartily glad would he have been to give the terrified one dole-money and benefits in this comedy for the poor; he had, however, nothing by him, till, luckily, his sister Rabette, that bandagist,--from whose ribbon mania he erroneously concluded that many girls are diabolically possessed for ribbons, and swallow them like jugglers, but never give them back,--she, and his new hair-band, came into his mind. He wound off, joyfully, the long, silken swathing-band from his head on hers. But the lovely neighborhood, the tie-work of an _inner_, finer band, and the blessedness of giving, and the vivacity of his inborn exuberance, so overcame him, that he would gladly have emptied the Green Cellar of Dresden into her apron, when a Jew pedler, with his smaller, silken one on his stomach, and with a bagful of bought-up hair on his back, came trudging up the Pestitz road. The Jew suffered himself, very willingly, to be called, but nothing to be borrowed from him, despite all bills of exchange proposed to be drawn upon parents and pocket money. Ah, a magnificent red cap-ribbon would have been as becoming to Lea's blind eyes as a red bandage to a wound! For a blind lady loves to prink herself as much as one who can see, unless she is self-conceited, and would rather please herself in the glass than others out of it. The merchant was very glad to let her feel of the ribbon, and said he bought up hair in the villages, and yesterday the children of the inn, with a piece of burning punk, had crisped up his whole sackful of queues into short wool, and if the young gentleman would let him trim his brown hair down to the nape of the neck, he should, on the spot, have the ribbon, and a very serviceable leather queue of Würzburg fabric into the bargain. What was to be done? The ribbon was very red,--so was Lea with hope,--the Jew said he must pack up,--besides, the hair-queue which he had hitherto worn ran like a second backbone down over the whole of the first, and became to Alban, by reason of the tedious swathing, every morning, a check-rein and snaffle-bridle of his mettle. In brief, the poor, plucked hare resigned to the Jew the royal French Insigné, and buckled on the Würzburg sheath.

And now he shook her hand right soundly, and said, with a whole Paradise of loving joyousness in his face: "The ribbon is, no doubt, very pleasant to thee, thou poor, blind thing!" Then the everlasting rogue actually climbed the cherry-tree in order, up there, as a living scare-crow, to spoil the cherries for the sparrows, and, as a fruit-god, to throw down several of them to her as rosaries and festoons.

By Heaven! up there among the heart-cherries, it seemed as if real wolf-cherries must be working in the head of the boy: as the earth had her dark, middle ages, so have children often dark, middle days, full of pure _monkery_ and mischief. On the high boughs, the growing landscape, and the sun declining towards the mountains, and particularly the spires of Pestitz, gleamed upon him with such heavenly light, that he could not now imagine to himself anything higher than the bird-pole near him, nor any more blessedly enthroned crown-eagle than one on the pole....

But now I beg every one of my fair readers either to step into the shooting-house, or make the best of her way out of it with the soldier's wife, who is running on to tell the naughty thing to her gracious lady,--for few of them can stand it out with me to see our hero, the male support of _Titan_, firmly planted by some farmers' boys--to whom, moreover, Albina has intrusted the _remarche-règlement_ of hastening his return--on a cross-stick, which is fitted in just under the crotch of the bird-pole, and with his belly bound down to it, and so lying horizontal in the air, gradually lifted through the wide sweep of the arch, and held up in mid-heaven. It is too bad! but the servants could not possibly resist the supplications of his mighty eyes, his picturesque will and spirit, and the offered recompenses and coronation-coins, in comparison with which he verily weighed only half as much as the last bird.

I am, nevertheless, partial to thee, little one, despite that stiff dare-neck of thine built up between head and heart. Thy monstrous Baroque-pearls of energies will time soon, as the artists in the Green Cellar do with physical pearls, use up in the finishing of a fine figure!

The imperial history of our imperial eagle on his pedestal, covering at the same time the events that took place on the mountain, when the Band-box master and Provincial Director came accidentally to the manned bird-pole, shall be incontinently resumed, when we have the 14th Cycle.

14. CYCLE.

Master Wehmeier, who could not at a distance explain to himself the form and motion of the bird, had made up towards it, and now saw his pupil lifted up on the cross. He fell instantly into the plunge-bath of an icy shudder at his daring, but soon came out of this into the shower-bath of a perspiring anxiety, which came over him at the thought of seeing every minute his _élève_ fall down and be crushed into twenty-six fragments, like Osiris, or into thirty, like the Medicean Venus; "and this too, now," he thought besides, "just as I have brought the young Satan so far along in languages, and lived to win some honor by him." He therefore scolded only the operators in the raising department, but not the sentinel aloft, because there was reason to apprehend he might take a lurch in the effort of answering, and pitch down. Hard upon the heels of the optical chariot with which the Devil threatened to run over the master, thus spell-bound in the circle of agonizing anxiety, followed a real one, wherein sat the future Provincial Director. Ah, good God! Besides, the Director always filled up his whole gall-bladder full of bitter extracts at the Minister's house, merely because he found there better-behaved and stiller children, without, however, reflecting--like a hundred other fathers who must be included in the charge--that children, like their parents, appear better to strangers than they are, and that, above all, city life, instead of the porous, thick bark of village life, overlays them with a smooth, white birch-roll, while yet, in the end, like their parents and courtiers, they prove to resemble chestnuts, being smooth only on the outer shell, but within confoundedly bristly. Thus surely will the finest man in the country always be outwitted by at least princes and ministers, who are ten years old,--supposing even he could manage it more easily with their fathers.

When Wehrfritz saw his foster-son in his eyrie on the Schreckhorn, and the Band-box master below, looking up at him, he imagined the instructor had arranged it all, and began loudly to vent upon his neck, from the locked-up carriage, a little heaven of thunder-storms and thunder-claps. The persecuted Wehmeier began also, upon the mountain, to bawl up at the Schreckhorn, by way of making it evident to the Director that he was in the way of his office, and with the hammer of the law, as with a forming stamp-hammer, could mould a pupil as well as another man. The soldier's wife wrung her hands,--the servants arranged themselves for the taking down from the cross,--the poor little fellow, in a fever, drew his knife, and called down, "He would instantly cut himself loose and cast himself down so soon as ever any one should let down the pole." He would have done it--and put an untimely end to his life and my Titan--merely because he dreaded the disgrace of the real and verbal insults he might get from his father before so many people (yes, in the chariot sat a gentleman who was a perfect stranger) worse than suicide and hell. But the Director, full of foolhardihood himself, and yet proportionately hating it in a child, was not to be disconcerted at that, and cried out, in a terrible tone, after the servant who had the key of the coach-door; he would get out and go up. He was indescribably exasperated, first, because behind the coach he had fastened on an Oesterlein's harpsichord as a gift for the present day of joy;--ah, Albano! why do thy joys, like the slurs of an ale-house fiddler, end in a discord?--and, secondly, because he had there a singing-dancing-music-and fencing-master from the polished and brilliant house of the Minister for Albano, sitting beside him on the cushion as spectator of this _début_. Gottlieb sprang from the box, and round before the coach-door, ran his hand, cursing, through all his pockets;--the coach-key was not in one of them. The incarcerated Director lashed himself up and down in his cage like a wagging leopard, and his fury was like that of a lion, who, when one hunter after another has shot at him, flies at the third. At all events, there was Alban, in his noose, sawing the air to and fro. The Band-box master was best off; for he was half dead, and his cold body, running all away in a sweat of agony, transmitted little more sense of the outward world; his consciousness was packed away tight and good as snuff in cold lead.

Ah, I feel more keenly for the tormented boy than if I were sitting with him up on the pole; over his touchingly noble countenance, with its finely-curved nose, shame and the western aurora throw a purple hue, and the low sun hangs with kisses on his cheeks, as if on the last and highest roses of the dark earth, and he must withdraw his defiant eyes from the beloved sun and from the day which still dwells thereon, and from the two steeple knobs of the Linden-city which glimmer on the sides turned from him, and sorrowfully cast down his strongly-drawn and sharply-angled eyebrows, which Dian likened to the too heroic and energetic ones of the infant Jesus in Raphael's ascending Madonna, to behold the hot and close altercation which was taking place on the ground below.

Gottlieb, with all his pains, could not squeeze out the key, for he had it in his pocket, and in his hand, and did not like much to produce it, from partiality for the young master, whom the whole service loved, "as if they could eat him,"--as much as they loved the nine-pin alley. He voted for sending and fetching the lock-smith, but the coachman outvoted him, with the advice to drive immediately to the door of the work-shop,--and growled at the horses, and drove off the imprisoned, controversial preacher in his pulpit, with the packed-up Oesterlein's harpsichord, at a smart trot. All that the Bombardier, during Gottlieb's mounting, had time to throw out of the carriage, consisted in his staving through a window, and firing, from the port-hole, a few of the most indispensable parting shots at the ill-omened bird on the pole.

By this time the magister had recovered his spirit and vexation, and boldly commanded the taking down of the Absalom. While the child came slowly down before him on his perch, he inserted the five incisor-teeth of his fingers, as a music-pen, into his scalp, and ruled or raked down along his occiput, with a view to playfully rectifying the crooked line of the hair, by pulling it moderately with his hand, as with the end of a fiddle-stick, when, to his astonishment, off came from my hero the Würzburg queue like a tail-feather.

Wehmeier stared at the _cauda prehensilis_ (the ring-tail), and by his attention's being thus drawn off to the lesser fault, Albano gained as much as Alcibiades did from the lopping off of the tail of his--Robespierre. The magister thanked God that he would not sup to-day with old Wehrfritz, and sent him, with his mock queue, brow-beaten, home.

15. CYCLE.

The good-hearted Albina had been all day long removing out of the way of her lord all inflammatory stuff (for the vitriol naptha of his nervous spirit caught the fire of anger afar off), in order that nothing might transform her pleasure-castles into incendiary places of joy,--yes, as a sort of suburbs to the heavenly Jerusalem of the evening, Rabette had packed away an orchestra of miners that had chanced to pass by, in the cabinet of the dining-room,--and for Albano Albina had already contrived an heraldic costume, in which he should deliver to him the _vocation_ of the Province. Ah, but what did the lady get from it all but flames, which Wehrfritz vomited forth at his entrance, while he, as a camel in his maw, had laid up besides, a long, cold stream of water for the sprinkling of the magister?

Albina, who, like most women, took the gall-stone pelting of her husband for the fifty pounds of passengers' ballast, which, to a passenger in the marriage-stage-coach, go free, cheerfully gave him, at first, as ever, credit of being right, and concealed every tear of unhappiness, because cold sprinkling hardens men and salad,--then step by step she took back the right,--but made the blame at first mild on her tongue, as nurses make the washing-water of the children lukewarm in their mouths,--and at last said he should just give the child up to her.

But we are making old Wehrfritz swell under our hand to a dragon of the Apocalypse, to a beast of Gevaudan, and a tyrant, whereas he is in reality only a lamb with two little horns. Had he not on his birth-feast in the drudging year of his slaving life a claim upon one unburdened evening, at least with a child whom he loved more strongly than his own, and for whom he had loaded himself down with a harpsichord and a teacher? And had he not a hundred times forbidden him--though he himself dared and did too much--to imitate him, and risk himself upon horseback, or in a tempest, in a pouring rain, or in a snow-storm? And had he not just come from the pedagogical knout-master, the Minister, whose educational system was only a longer real territion and a shorter condemnation? And does not the sight of stern parents make one sterner, and of mild ones, on the contrary, milder?

Albano first met Rabette with his leathern hind-axle in his hand, on his defiant way to the father's study, and therefore to the court-martial punishment of a real revolutionary tribunal. But she caught him from behind, with the angelic greeting, "Art thou here, Absalom?" and set him down by force; and, after the necessary astonishment and questioning, tied on the _vena cava_ of his hair tightly and ungently, and showed up to him, in a fearful light, the whirlwind of paternal wrath that awaited him; and again, in a ludicrous light, the lull of the musical mountain-department, who, near the dining-room, that race-ground and hunting-ground of the Director, striding up and down in rage and impatience, were waiting with a pause for times of peace; and finally she released him with a kiss, saying, "I pity you, you rogue!"

He marched, with a defiance which the tightness of his hair aggravated, into the dining-room. "Out of my sight!" said the sparkling assailant. Alban instantly stepped back out of the door, enraged at the injustice of this wrath, and for that very reason the less troubled at its unhealthiness; for his benefactor kept passionately running up to the table, which was spread for the birthday feast, and, after an old bad habit of his, extinguishing the well-kindled lime-pit of his indignation with wine.

In a few moments the musical academy and mining company, transformed by their ill-humor into growling contra-bassists, struck up also. The time had been tedious to them in the dry cabinet, so the bassoonist and the violinist had taken it into their heads to entertain themselves with a low tuning. The Director, who could not comprehend what in the world that forlorn sound was that floated around him, took it for some time to be a melodious humming in his ears, when suddenly the hammer-master of the dulcimer let his musical hammer fall on the stringed floor. Wehrfritz in an instant tore open the doors, and saw before him the whole musical nest and conspiracy sitting in a circle, armed and waiting. He asked them, hastily, "What business they had in the cabinet?" and, after a flying donation of a few curses and cuffs, ordered the whole garrison, without any tinkling noise, with their leather aprons and _culs de Paris_, to take themselves off instantly.

Albina, with a tender look, beckoned her outlawed darling into her sewing-chamber, where she asked him, quite composedly, because she knew he would not lie, to tell the truth. After hearing his report, she represented to him a little his fault (although she blamed the present child, in comparison with the absent man, pretty much in the style in which she had previously blamed the present man, in comparison with the absent child), and still more the consequences; she pointed out (untying and tying again his cravat the while, and buttoning some of his waistcoat buttons) how her husband was disgraced in Albano's person before the second school-consul, (with four and twenty Fasces,) whom he had brought with him, the music- and dancing-master, Mr. Von Falterle, who was up-stairs dressing himself; how the dancing-master would certainly write all about it to Don Gaspard; and how for her good man the whole sweet, painted jelly-apple of to-day's joy had been turned into water: and now he must, even on this festive day, afflict his soul in solitude, and, perhaps, catch his death from drinking so much to drown his anger. Women, like harpers, usually, during their playing, convert, with small pedals, the whole tones of truth into semi-tones. After she had still further enumerated to him all the paternal evening-tempests which he had ever drawn upon himself by his rides and his Robinson's voyages of discovery, and whose thunder-claps had, on every occasion, only melted down the lightning-conductor (namely, herself), she added, with that touching tone flowing, not from the bony throat, but from the swelling heart, "Ah, Albano, thou wilt one day think of thy foster-mother, when it is too late!" and melted into tears.

Hitherto the unmeltable slags and the molten portion of his heart had been boiling up together within him, and the warm flood had pressed upward, ever higher and hotter, in his bosom, only his face had remained cold and hard,--for certain persons have, exactly at the melting point, the greatest appearance and capacity of hardening, as snow freezes just before a thaw; but now the strain upon the too tightly-bound queue, which was the paradoxical sign of the approaching eruption, made him, in the paroxysm of his fury, tear the Würzburg appendage off over his head. Before Albina saw it, she had handed him the Directorship appointment, with the words, "I ought hardly to do it; but just hand it to him, and say it was my present, and that thou wilt be quite another boy in future." But when she saw his hand armed, she asked, in a terrified tone, with the deep echo of a wearied-out grief, "Alban!" and turned immediately away from the poor child, whose pain she misunderstood, with too bitter tears, and said: "What new trouble is this? O, how you all torment my heart to-day! Go away! O, come here," she called after him, "and relate the circumstances!" And when he had innocently and truly done this, her voice, overpowered with tears, could no longer blame him, but only say, mildly, "Well, then, carry the present." Nevertheless, she had it in mind to represent to her husband the abbreviation of the hair as an act of obedience to her will, and to the fashion of city children in high life.

Alban went; but on the painful way, the full glands of his tears and his long-repressed heart broke forth, and he entered with eyes still weeping before his solitary foster-father, who was resting his tired and thinking head; and the boy held out to him, while yet a great way off, the big-sealed document, and could only say, "The present," and nothing more, and sparks darted with the storm-drops from his hot eyes. Lay thyself, innocent one, softly on thy father's unbuttoned bosom; and while he holds in his right hand the enchanted cup of glory, and makes himself drunk with it, let him not on any account push thee away with his left! The repelling hand will by and by come to pulsate languidly and lightly upon thy wet, fiery cheeks, and warm, penitent eyes: then will the old man read the _Decretum_ over again still more slowly, so as almost to postpone the very first sound; then will he, when thou, with indescribable impetuosity, pressest his hand to thy face to kiss it, make appear as if he had just awaked, and say, with saltpetre coldness and glistening eyes, "Call mother"; and then, when thou liftest upon him thy glowing countenance all quivering with love from under thy downfallen locks, and when they are flung softly back from thy cherry cheeks,--then will he look a pretty long time after his departing darling, and brush away something from his eyes, that he may run over the address of the diploma at his will.

Say, Albano, have I not guessed right?

16. CYCLE.

Every post of honor lifts the heart of a man who is placed on it above the vapor of life, the hail-clouds of calamity, the frosty mists of discontent, and the inflammable air of wrath. I will hold the magic leaf of a favorable criticism before a gnashing were-wolf: immediately he shall stand before me as a licking lamb, with little twirling tail; and if the wife of an author could only play before her heated literary partner every time a critical trumpeter's piece on Fame's trumpet, he would become like an angel, and she like that ale-house fiddler who, in his bear-catching, softened the Saul in Bruin by his jigs.

Wehrfritz came to meet Albina as a new-born seraph, and recounted to her his glory. Yes, in order to atone to her for the explosions of his Etna, he said not, as usual, _nolo episcopari_; he did not say he was hemmed round by an impassable mountain chain of labors; but, instead of that perverse drawing back of the hand from the out-shaking cornucopia of fortune,--instead of that virgin bashfulness of rapture which is more common to brides,--he betrayed the heartiness of a widow, and told Albina her wishes of the morning had already become gifts; and asked what had become of the promised supper, and the company, and the Magister, and the dancing-master (whom the other had not yet seen), and Rabette, and all.

But Albina had already long since announced to the Magister, through Albano, the invitation, and the dispersion of all storms, and the arrival of the new commission. Wehmeier, to tell the truth, had the greatest reluctance to eat with a nobleman, merely because, as entertaining _acteur_ of the table, he had so much to do with conversing, _savoir vivre_, looking out for others, keeping his limbs in proper attitude, and passing all eatables, that, for want of leisure, he was obliged to swallow such little things as pickled cucumbers, chestnuts, crabs' tails, and the like, down whole, and without tasting them; so that afterward he often had to carry round with him the hard fodder, like a swallowed Jonah, for three days together in the hunter's pouch of his stomach. Only this time he gladly dressed himself for the feast, because he was curious and angry about his pedagogical colleague, and that out of anxiety lest haply this new joint-tenant should assume to himself the magnificent _winter crop_ in Alban's sowed field as his own _summer crop_. He ascribed to his abbreviated method of teaching all the wonderful energies of his pupil, i. e. to the water-soil the aromatic essence of the plant which grew therein.[32]

With so much the greater indulgent love he came, leading with his own hand the halved pupil, to Rabette's cabinet, in a sap-green plush with a three-leaved collar. "Mr. Von Falterle here," said Rabette on his entrance, not from raillery, but from inconsiderateness; "thought some time ago it was you when the dog tried to get in." "My dear sir," replied coldly and gravely the _paradeur_ of a Falterle by the side of our farm-horse, "the dog scratched at the door; but it is usual, as well at the minister's as in all great houses of Paris, for every one to scratch with the finger-nail when he wishes admittance merely into a cabinet, and not into a principal apartment."

What a splendidly picturesque contrast of the two brothers-in-office!--the master of accomplishments with the motley scarf-skin or hind-apron of a yellow summer-dress, as if with the yellow outer wings of a buttermoth, whose dark under-wings represent the waistcoat (when he unbuttons it); Wehmeier, on the other hand, in a roomy, sap-green plush, which a tent-maker seemed to have hung on him, and with belly and shanks quivering in the black velvet half-mourning of candidates, who wear it till they carbonize into clear black. Falterle had his glazed frost pantaloons plated and cast round his legs, and every wrinkle in them produced one upon his face, as if the latter were the lining of the former; while along the thighs of the Band-box-master wound upward the cockle-stairs of his swaddling modests.[33] The former in bridal-shoes, the latter in pump-chambers,--the one flapping up like a soft, slimy gold tench, with the belly-fins of his bosom-ruffles, with the side-fins of his hand-ruffles, and with the tail-fins of a trinomial root or queue hanging on three little ermine tails; the Magister, in his green plush, looking for all the world like a green whiting or a chub. A magnificent set-off, I repeat!

The whiting would gladly have eaten up the tench, when the goldfish led forth on his right arm Rabette, and on his left Albano, to dinner. But now it grew much worse. Alban, with his usual impetuosity, had his napkin open first,--which became now, as it were, introductory programme and dokimasticum of Falterle's system of teaching. "_Posément, Monsieur_," said he to the novice, "_il est messéant de déplier la serviette avant que les autres aient déplié les leurs_." After some minutes, Alban thought he would blow his soup cool; it was one _à la Brittanière_, with rings. "_Il est mésseant, Monsieur_," said the master of accomplishments, "_de souffler sa soupe_." The Band-box-master, who had already made up his mouth to vent a puff from the bellows of his chest at a spoonful of rings, stopped short, frightened into a dead calm.

When afterward a veal-stuffed cabbage-bomb fell like a central sun on the table-cloth, the Magister boldly gobbled down the burning minced veal, as a juggler or an ostrich swallows glowing coals, and breathed more inwardly than outwardly.

After the bomb, came in a pike _au four_, to which, as is well known, the cutting away of the head and tail, and the closing up of the belly give the appearance of a roe's loin. When Albano asked his old teacher what it was, the latter replied, "A delicate roe's loin." "_Pardonnez, Monsieur_," said his rival gourmand, "_c'est du brochet au four, mon cher Compte; mais il est mésseant de demander le nom de quelque mets qu'il soit,--on feint de le savoir_."

It is easy to show that this horizontal shot from a double rifle pierced through the Magister's marrow and bone; the _instruments of passion_ which lay in the cut-off head of the pike _au four_, as in an armory, continued to do their execution in his. Like most schoolmasters, he thought himself to have the finest manners, so long as he taught them, and fought against bad ones; so long he prized them uncommonly, just as he did his dress; but when he was outdone in either, then he must needs despise them from his heart. It brought him to his legs again that he was all the while silently comparing the master of accomplishments with the two Catos and Homer's heroes, who ate not much better than swine, and that he thus tied the Viennite to a pillory, and thrashed him most lustily thereon, with one hand, while with the other he rung above him the shame-bell. Yes, he placed himself, in order to make his official brother small, upon a distant planet, and looked down upon the bomb and the pike _au four_, and could not help laughing up there on his planet, to find that this yellow-silk shop-keeper of Nature, with his rubbish of brains, was no bigger than a paste-eel. Then he pitied his forsaken pupil, and so came down again, and swore on the way to weed as much out of him every day as that other fellow raked in.

We shall learn quite soon enough how Albano's nerves quivered on this lathe, and under these smoothing-planes. The Director was indescribably delighted with this pedagogical cutting and polishing of so great a diamond, although the cutting (according to Jeffries) takes from all diamonds half their weight, and although he himself had all his, and more carats than angles. Wehrfritz could never entirely forgive,--at which point he was now aiming, because he had brought with him for the little one the Oesterleins harpsichord,--until at least with one word he had inflicted a short martyrdom; accordingly, blind to Albano's concealed bloody expiation of the fault, he communicated to the company how strictly the Minister educated his children, how they, e. g., for any involuntary coughing or laughing at the table, like Prussian cavalry soldiers, who fall off or lose their hats in the wind, suffer punishment, and how they were, to be sure, no older than Albano, but quite as well-mannered as grown people. At the house of the Minister he had, on the contrary, boasted to-day the acquirements of his foster-son; but many parents build up in every other house smoking altars of incense for the same child, which in their own they smoke with brimstone, like vines and bees. Besides, deuse take it! they, like princes (fathers of their country), make redoubled demands precisely when children have satisfied immoderate ones; so that the latter, by _opera supererogationis_ in the shape of advanced lessons, forfeit rather than win their play-hours. Do we not admire it in great philosophers, e. g. Malebranche, and great generals, e. g. Scipio, that, after the greatest achievements which they made in the kingdom of truths, or in a geographical, they betook themselves to the nursery, and there carried on real child's fooleries, in order gently to relax the bow wherewith they had shot so many lies and liars to the ground. And why shall not this simile, wherewith St. John defended himself when he allowed himself a play-hour with his tame partridge, also excuse children for being children, when they have previously stretched too crooked the yet thin bow?

But now on with our story! Old Wehrfritz recounted to Rabette, in a very friendly manner, "how he had seen to-day the pupil of Don Zesara, the magnificent Countess de Romeiro, actually only twelve years old, but with such a deportment as only a court dame had, and how the noble Knight experienced more joy than usual in his little ward." These hard, clattering words tore, as if he had hydrophobia, the open nerves of the ambitious boy, since the Knight had hitherto been to him the life's-goal, the eternal wish, and the _frère terrible_, wherewith they kept him under,--but he sat still there without a sign, and choked his crying heart. Wehrfritz recognized this dumb lip-biting of feeling; however, he acted as if Albano had not understood him.

Now began the Viennite too, hurling about his fire-balls into all corners and niches of the Ministerial Vatican, merely to throw a favorable light upon his dancing and music scholars therein, as well as himself. Cannot the daughter of the Minister, hardly ten years old, speak all the modern languages and play on the harmonica, which Albano has never yet once heard, and even execute four-handed sonatas of Kotzeluch, and sing already like a nightingale, on boughs that have not yet put on their foliage too, and in fact passages from operas, which made her nightingale breast grow hollow, so that he had to leave? Yes, cannot her brother do far more, and has he not read out all the circulating libraries, particularly the plays, which he also performs on amateur stages into the bargain? And is he not at this precise hour making his case right good in to-day's masquerade ball, if he only meets there the object that inspires him? Wehmeier did wrong to sit opposite our jewel-humming-bird, Falterle, like a horned-owl or a bird-spider, ready to pluck and eat the humming-bird every minute. Verily, Falterle said nothing out of malice; he could not despise or hate anybody, because his mental eyes were so deeply buried in his own inflated "I," that he could not look with them at all out beyond his swollen self; he harmed no soul, and fluttered round people only as a still butterfly, not as a buzzing, stinging horse-fly, and sucked no blood, but only honey (i. e. a little praise).

"Pray, tell me, Mr. Von Falterle," said Wehrfritz, who, so soon as he had brought down this cold lightning-flash upon Albano, would no longer shoot cold and flying insinuations at him, "does the young minister sometimes sit on a bird-pole, like our Albano here?" That was too much for thee, tormented child! "No," said Albano, in a brassy tone, and with the friendliness of a corpse, which signifies another death to follow; and with an optical cloud of floating complexions, left the seat cracking under his dumb convulsions, and with clenched fingers went slowly out.

The poor young man had, to-day, since the apparent forgiveness of his Adamitish fall, and since the sight of the elegant new teacher, for whom he had so long rejoiced in hope, and whose fine copperplate encasement was just of a kind to have an imposing effect upon a child, cast off the last chrysalis-shell of his inner being, and promised himself high things. Some hand had within an hour snatched his inner man from the close, drowsy cradle of childhood,--he had sprung at once out of the warming-basket, had thrown stuffed-hat and frock far away from him,--he saw the _toga virilis_ hanging in the distance, and marched into it, and said, "Cannot I, too, be a youth?"

Ah, thou dear boy! man, especially the rosy-cheeked little man, too easily cheats himself with taking repentance for reformation, resolutions for actions, blossoms for fruits, as on the naked twig of the fig-tree seeming _fruits_ sprout forth, which are only the fleshy rinds of the _blossoms_!

And now, while all the nerves and roots of his soul lay naked and exposed to the harsh air, and with such fair, fresh impulses,--just now must he be so often trampled upon and disgraced. Honor burned in his bosom,--he determined to pass through the coming years as through a white colonnade of monumental pillars,--already a mere Alumnus from the city was, to his soul thirsting for glory and knowledge, a classic author,--and was he to endure it that the Director should falsely accuse, and the Vienna master caricature him to the Knight his father? Hard tears were struck, like sparks, from his proud, insulted soul, and the heat dissolved the comet nucleus of his inner world into a sweltry mist. In short, he resolved to run away to Pestitz in the night,--rush into his father's presence, tell him all, and then come home again without saying a word of it. At the end of the village he found a night-express, of whom he inquired the way to Pestitz, and who wondered at the little pilgrim without a hat.

But first let my readers look with me at the nest of the supper-party. This very express brought the Vienna master a bad piece of news touching the so-long-praised son of the Minister, whose name was Roquairol.

The above-mentioned female pupil of the Knight, the little Countess of Romeiro, was very beautiful: cold ones called her an angel, and enthusiastic ones a goddess. Roquairol had none of your Belgic veins, wherein, as in Saturn, all liquids lie as fixed, frozen bodies, but African arteries, in which, as in Mercury, melted metals run round. When the Countess was with his sister, he was always trying, with the common boldness of boys in high-life, to run his heart, filled with a venous system of quick matches, upon hers, as a good fireship; but she placed his sister as a fire-wall before her. Unfortunately she had gone, by chance, dressed as Werther's Lotta, to this evening's masquerade, and the splendor of her despotic charms was swallowed up and flashed round by eyes all darkly glowing behind masks: he took his inner and outer both off, pressed towards her, and demanded, with some haste--because she threatened to be off, and with some confidence, which he had won on the amateur-stage, and with pantomimic passionateness, which on that stage had always gained him the finest serenade of clapping hands--demanded nothing just now but reciprocal love. Werther's Lotta haughtily turned upon him her splendid back, covered with ringlets; beside himself, he ran home, took Werther's costume and pistol and came back. Then, with a physiognomical hurricane on his countenance, he stepped up before her and said, showing the weapon, he would kill himself here in the hall, if she rejected him. She looked upon him a little too politely, and asked what he wanted. But Werther, half drunk with Lotta's charms, with Werther's sorrows, and with punch, after the fifth or sixth "No!" (being already used to public acting,) before the whole masquerade, pointed the murderous weapon against himself, pulled the trigger, but luckily injured only his left ear-flap,--so that nothing more can be hung on that,--and grazed the side of his head. She instantly fled, and set out upon her journey, and he fell down, bleeding, and was carried home.

This story blew out many lamps in Falterle's triumphal arch, and lighted up many on Wehmeier's; but it set Albina at once into agony about her quite as wild mad-cap Albano. She asked after him in the kitchen, and the express-messenger helped her to a clew by his account of the boy without a hat. She hastened, herself, in her usual extravagance of anxiety, out through the village. A good genius--the yard-dog, Melak--had proved the antagonist-muscle and turnpike-gate of the fugitive. That is to say, Melak wanted to go too, and Alban chose rather that a patron and coast-guard so serviceable to the castle-yard, and who oftener warned away intruders than the night-watch did themselves, should go home again. Melak was firm in his matters: he wanted reasons,--namely, sticks and stones thrown at him; but the weeping boy, whose burning hands the cold nose of the good-natured animal refreshed, could not give him a hard word, but he merely turned the fawning dog right about, and said softly, Go home! But Melak recognized no decrees except loud ones; he kept turning round again; and in the midst of these inversions,--during which, in Albano's mind, always on a Brockenberg and seeing giant forms loom and glide through the clouds, his tears and every undeserved word burned deeper and deeper,--he was found by his innocent mother.

"Albano," said she, with a friendly but forced composure, "thou here in the cold night-air?" This conduct and language of the only soul which he had injured, took so strong a hold on his full soul, which needed a vent, whether in tears or in gall, that, with a spasmodic shock of his overstrained heart, he sprang upon her neck, and hung there, melted in tears. At her questions, he could not confess his cruel purpose, but merely pressed himself more strongly to her heart. And now came the anxious and penitent Director, too, following after, whom the child's situation had melted over, and said: "Silly devil! was my meaning then so evil?" and took the little hand to lead the way back again. Probably Albano's anger was exhausted by the effusion of love, and satisfied through the appeasing of his ambition; accordingly and immediately, strange to tell, with greater affection towards Wehrfritz than towards Albina, he went back with them, and wept by the way, merely from tender emotion.

When he entered the room, his face was as if transfigured, though a little swollen; the tears had washed away, as with a flood, his defiance, and drawn all his heart's soft lines of beauty upon his countenance, somewhat as the rain shows in transparent, trembling threads the heaven-flower (nostock), which does not appear in the sun. He placed himself in a posture of attention near his father, and kept his hand the whole evening, and Albina enjoyed in the double love a double bliss; and even on the faces of the servants lay scattered fragments of the third mock-rainbow of the domestic peace,--the sign of the covenant after the assuaging of the waters.

Verily, I have often formed the wish--and afterwards made a picture out of it--that I could be present at all reconciliations in the world, because no love moves us so deeply as _returning_ love. It must touch Immortals, when they see men, the heavy-laden, and often held so widely asunder by fate or by fault, how, like the Valisneria,[34] they will tear themselves away from the marshy bottom, and ascend into a fairer element; and then, in the freer upper air, how they will conquer the distance between their hearts and come together. But it must also pain Immortals when they behold us under the violent _tempests_ of life arrayed against each other on the _battle-field_ of enmity, under double blows, and so mortally smitten at once by remote destiny and by that nearer hand which should bind up our wounds!


[27] I have already said that he was brought up there, under the Provincial Director, _Von Wehrfritz_.

[28] With this Evangelist, as is well known, an angel is associated.

[29] Compass.

[30] Odious, or tabooed.--TR.

[31] To a German President of Finance, Vol. I. p. 296.

[32] For Boyle found in his experiments that ranunculi, mints, &c., which he suffered to grow large in the water, developed the usual aromatic virtues.

[33] Some would rather hear this word than _breeches_.

[34] The female Valisneria lies rolled up under the water, out of which it lifts its bud, to bloom in the open air; the male then loosens itself from the too short stalk and swims to her with its dry blossom-dust.



17. CYCLE.

If we open the two school-rooms, we shall see the Band-box-master, in the forenoon, sitting and brooding upon the two-yolked eggs of the _élève_, and the accomplishing master, in the afternoon, just as the cock-pigeon guards the nest the former part of the day, and the female the latter.

Now Wehmeier, as well as his competitor, was fain to take possession of his pupil with wholly new instructions; but what were new to him were new to himself. Like most of the older schoolmasters, he knew--of astronomy, except the little that was found in the book of Joshua, and of physics, except the few errors which existed in his rather-forgotten than torn-up manuscript books, and of philosophy, except that of Gottsched, which required, however, a riper pupil, and of other real sciences--strictly speaking, nothing, except a little history. If ever--in the literary Sahara, to which the tormenting screw of school-lessons, without end, and the beggar's or cripple's wagon of a life without pay, that had been turned rather into dross than into ore, had exiled him--new methods of teaching or new discoveries came to his ears (they never came to his eyes), he noted, at the moment, that they were his own, only with a shade of variation; and he concealed from no one the plagiarism. I heartily beg, however, all silken and powdered and curly-haired Princes' instructors, blame not too sorely my poor Wehmeier, so deeply overlaid with the heavy, thick strata of fate, for his subterranean optics and his crookedness of posture, but reckon his eight children and his eight school-hours and his approaching fifties in his life's grotto of Antiparos, and then decide whether the man can, under these circumstances, come out again into light?

But yet of history he knew, as was said, something; and this he seized upon as pedagogical lucky-bone and Fortunatus's wishing-cap. Had he not already, in that epical, picturesque style of paraphrase,--whereby he could relate the smallest market-town history in such an interesting and fictitious way, (for whence will a good story-teller draw the thousand lesser but necessary touches but from his head?)--lectured out to his Albano Hübner's Biblical History, in a manner extremely touching? And which wept most during the delivery, teacher or scholar?

Now he had three historical courses open before him. He could strike into the geographical road, which begins with the wretchedest history in the world,--the history of countries. But only the British and the French, at most, can begin history as an epic, and a description of the earth backward; on the contrary, a Haarhaar, Baireuth, or Mecklenberg princely patristic gives hollow teeth hollow nuts to crack, without meat for head and heart. And does not one magnify thereby a twig of history, on which the accident of birth has deposited the young barkchafer, most disproportionately into a tree of consanguinity? And what cares one in Berlin, for instance, to inquire after a lineage of Margraves, or in Hof, after the pedigree of the Regents of Hohenzollern?

The second method is the chronological, or that which tackles the horses in front; this starts with the birthday of the world, which, according to Petavius and the Rabbins, came into the world on the forenoon of the 22d October,[35] hastens on to the 28th of October as the first clown's and blunderhead's day of the young Adam, then marches away over the 29th, the first Sunday, Fast-day, and Bankruptcy-day, and so on down to the Bankruptcy- and Fast-day of the latest child of Adam, who is compelled to listen to the case.

This milky-way was, for our Magister, too long, too dreary, too strange. He steered the middle track between the foregoing, which leads to the rich two Indies of history, Greece and Rome. The ancients work upon us more through their deeds than through their writings, more upon the heart than upon the taste; one fallen century after another receives from them the double history as the two sacraments and means of grace for moral confirmation, and their writings, to which their stone works of art attach every after age, are the eternal Bible-institute against every failure of a Kanstein's. But let us now, on a fine summer morning, walk along several times before the Rectorate-residence, and listen, ourselves also, outside, to hear with what voice the Magister within, although in old-fashioned applications, cites out of Plutarch,--the biographical Shakespeare of Universal History,--not the shadowy world of states, but the angels of the churches who shine therein, the holy family of great men, and cast a passing glance at the sparkling eye with which the inspired boy hangs upon the moral antiques which the teacher, as in a foundery, assembles around him. O, when the mighty storm-clouds of the heroic past thus hung around Zesara's soul as on a mountain, and descended upon it with still lightnings and drops, was not then the whole mountain charged with heavenly fire, and every green thing that blossomed thereupon fertilized, quickened, and called forth? And could he, then, so beautifully beclouded, haply look down into low reality? Nay, did not teacher as well as scholar, amid the market-din of the Roman and Athenian forums, where they went round in the train of Cato and Socrates, remain entirely ignorant that the busy mistress was cooking, bed-making, scolding, and scouring close beside them? Of the eight screaming children, on account of the very multitude, they heard nothing; for a single buzzing fly a man cannot bear, without a terrible effort, in his chamber, while he could easily a whole swarm. Even so, from their eyes, the school-room, on whose floor nothing was wanting which is thrown into canary-cages for nest-building,--hair, moss, roe's-hair, pulled flannel, and finger-lengths of yarn,--was hidden by the floor of the (geographical and historical) Old World, which, like the pavement of St. Paul's church in Rome, consists of marble ruins full of broken inscriptions.

18. CYCLE.

The reader is now curious about the afternoon, when the _élève_ is sent into the polishing-mill of the Viennite, in order to know what sort of a polishing he gets there. It cannot but make him still more curious, when I repeat that Wehmeier, who, like other literati, resembled the elephant in clumsiness and sagacity, found nothing more agreeable to think of--and, therefore, to describe--in ancient history, than a great man, who had on little, as, for instance, Diogenes, or went barefoot, like Cato, or unshaven, like the philosophers; nay, he hit the very Mittel-Mark, and drew out for himself Frederick the Second's clothes, whereby he gained as much as Mr. Pagé in Paris, and carried _his_ shirts, like the noble Saladin's, and with similar proclamations, on poles for show, and sketched, as a second _Scheiner_, the best map we have of the sun-spots of snuff on Frederick. Then he took these naked, rough colossi, and piled them together into one scale, and threw into the other the light, wainscoted figures, like Falterle and the nice Nuremberg Kinder-gärten of modern courts, and besought the scholar to take notice which way the swaying tongue of the balance would incline....

I am not wholly on thy side here, Magister, since vigorous youths too easily, without any prompting, tear in pieces the thin plate of the ceremonial law, and often the platers, the head masters of ceremonies, into the bargain. For weaklings, the method is good.

Now, when Albano came to the accomplishing master, he could but faintly, on account of the loud resonance of the previous lesson,--for children of a certain depth, like buildings of a certain size, give an _echo_,--apprehend what Falterle commanded; and only when he remained some days without the historical sensation was he more widely open to the lesser instructions, as gilded things cannot be silvered over till the gold is worn off. The misfortune was, too, that he had to go through his task-dances in the very next room to the study of the Director, who was there occupied with his own. It often happened that Wehrfritz, when Alban was as _distrait_ and inattentive in the Anglaise as a partner in love, would cry out, while he was dictating in there, "In the name of the three devils, chassez!" Quite as many cases might one reckon in which, when the music-master, like a bass-drum, with everlasting exhortations glided away through adagio into piano, the man had to call out in there, with the strongest imaginable fortissimo, "Pianissimo, Satan! pianissimo!" Sometimes he was obliged to rise from his labors, when, in the fencing-lesson, all admonitions to "quart!" availed nothing, and open the door, and, grim with fury, say to him of Vienna, "For God's sake, sir, don't be a hare! Prick his leather soundly, if he doesn't mind!" Whereupon the courtly fencing-master would only gently encourage him to "quart thrust."

Nevertheless, he learned much. In such early years one cannot rise above the finery nor the fine arts of a Falterle, who, besides, was reinforced with the magical advantage of having shone and taught in the forbidden metropolis. Only the loud stride and the boots were not to be taken from the pupil; but the shoulders soon grew horizontal, and the head perpendicular; and the oscillating fingers, together with the restless body, were steadied with Stahl's eye-holder. In general, men with a _liberal_ soul in a finely-built body have already, without Falterle's espalier-wall and scissors, an agreeable shape and stature. Moreover, he felt toward the neat, friendly Falterle that holy _first love for men_ wherewith a child's heart twines round all inmates of his home and village; and simply for this reason, that a lady could wind the Viennite about her ring-finger,--yes, inside of the gold ring itself,--and because he spoke and lied about the Knight of the Golden Fleece as about a king, and because he was the most agreeable creature that ever trod the earth.

As I mean in my biographies to teach tolerance and even-handed justice toward all characters, I must here lead the way with a pattern of toleration, by remarking of Falterle, that his poor, thin soul had not the power to develop itself under the stone table of the laws of etiquette, and under the wooden yoke of an imposing station. To whom did the poor devil ever do any harm? Not even to ladies, for whom indeed he was always laboring before the looking-glass, like a copperplate engraver, upon his dear self, but only, like other sculptors, by this artistic work, to display pure beauties, not to mislead them. The sea-water of his life--for he is neither a millionnaire, nor even the greatest _savant_ of the age, although he has read about among many circulating libraries--is sweetened by the water of beauty, wherein he hourly bathes. He swills and gormandizes scarcely at all. If he curses and swears, he does it in foreign languages, as the Papist makes his prayers, and flatters very few except himself.

The vain man, and still more the vain woman, hate vain persons much too violently; for such persons, after all, are more diseased in the head than in the will. I can here cheerfully appeal to every thinking reader, whether he ever, even when he was going about with an uncommonly vain feeling, remembers to have detected any deep qualms of conscience or discords in himself, which, however, were never wanting, when he lied very much or was too hard. Much rather has he, on such occasions, experienced an uncommonly agreeable rocking of his inner man in the cradle of state. Hence a vain man is as hard to cure as a gambler; but for this further reason,--most sins are occasional sermons and occasional poems, and must frequently be set aside, from the third to the tenth commandment inclusive. Marriage, the Sabbath, a man's word, cannot be broken at any given hour. One cannot bear false witness against himself, any more than he can play ninepins or fight a duel with himself. Many considerable sins can only be committed on Easter-Fair or New-Year's Day, or in the Palais Royal, or in the Vatican. Many royal, margravely, princely crimes are possible only once in a whole life; many never at all,--for instance, the sin against the Holy Ghost. On the contrary, one can praise and crown himself inwardly day and night, summer and winter, in every place,--in the pulpit, in the Prater, in the general's tent, on the back seat of a sleigh, in the princely chair, in any part of Germany,--for instance, in Weimar. What! and must one let this perennial balsam-plant, which continually perfumes the inner man, be plucked up or lopped off?

19. CYCLE.

All these occupations and thorns were to Albano right good, sharp earthquake-conductors, since in his bosom already more subterranean storm-matter circulated than is needed to burst the thin wall of a man's chest. Now he began to get on deeper and deeper into the wild thunder-months of life. The longing to see Don Zesara caught new warmth from the Roman history, which lifted up on high before him Caesar's colossal image, and wrote under it, "Zesara." The veiled Linden-city was carried over by his fancy and set upon seven hills, and exalted to a Rome. A post-horn rang through his innermost being, like a Swiss Ranz des Vaches, which builds out into the ether all summits of our wishes in long and shining mountain-chains; and it blew for him the signal of a tent-striking, and all cities of the earth lay with open gates and with broad highways round about him. And when, at this period, on a cool, clear summer morning, he marched along metrically by the side of a regiment on its way to Pestitz, so long as he could hear the sound of the drums and fifes, then did his soul celebrate a Handel's Alexander's Feast; the past became audible,--the rattling of the triumphal cars, the movement of the Spartan bands and their flutes, and the clear trumpet of Fame,--and, as if at the sound of the last trumpets, his soul arose among none but glorified dead on the unbolted earth, and, with them, still marched onward.

When History leads a noble youth to the plains of Marathon, and up to the Capitol, he would fain have at his side a friend,--a comrade,--a brother-in-arms, but no more than this,--no sister-in-arms; for a heroine injures a hero greatly. Into the energetic youth friendship enters earlier than love: the former appears, like the lark, in the early spring of life, and goes not away till late autumn; the latter comes and flees, like the quail, with the warm season. Albano already heard this lark warbling, invisible, in the air: he found a friend, not in Blumenbühl, not in the Linden-city, not in any place, but in his own bosom; and the name of that friend was--Roquairol.

The case was this: For people like myself, country life is the honey wherein they take the pill of city life. Falterle, on the contrary, could not worry down the bitter country life without the silvering-over of city life: thrice every week he ran over to Pestitz, either into the boxes of the amateur-theatre as dramaturgist, or on the stage itself as actor. Now, on every such occasion, he took his little part-book out into the village with him, and there, relying on this rehearsal of the play, studied his part independently of those of his colleagues; just as, to this day, every state-servant commits his to memory without a glance at those of his fellow-performers: hence every one of us consists of only one faculty, and, as in the Russian hunting-music, knows how to fife only one tone, and must throw his strength into the pauses. Into these fragments of theatricals, then, borrowed from Falterle, Albano entered with a rapture which his master soon sought to increase by exchanging for these limited sectors of the globe the whole dramatic world.

The Viennite had long since eulogized before him the suicidal mad-cap Roquairol as a genius in learning,--and himself as particularly such in teaching; and now he adduced the proof of it from the great parts which the mad-cap always played so well. For the rest, it was not his fault that he did not exceedingly disparage the Minister's son, whom he envied, not only for his theatrical, but for his erotic achievements. For the inventively rich Roquairol had with that shot at himself in his thirteenth year saluted and won the whole female sex, and made himself, out of a sacrificial victim, priest of sacrifices, and manager of the amateuress-theatre, attached to the amateur-theatre; whereas the shy, stupid Falterle, with his still-born fancy, could never bring a charmer to any other step than the pas retrograde in a minuet, or to anything more than a setting of the fingers, when he wanted to get himself set in her heart. But the vain man cannot deny others any praise which is also his own.

How must all this have won our friend's admiration for a youth whom he saw pass through his soul now as Charles Moor, now as Hamlet, as Clavigo, as Egmont! As regards the notorious masquerade-shot described in a former Jubilee period, our so inexperienced Hercules, dazzled as he was by the naked dagger of Cato, must have accredited that shot to such a kindred Heraclide, as one of his twelve tragical labors. The fee-court-provost Hafenreffer even tells me, Albano once disputed with the Vienna gentleman, who had long since let himself down from a schoolmaster to a schoolmate, about the finest ways of dying, and, in opposition to the tender Falterle, who declared _himself_ in favor of the sleeping-potion, declared himself on Roquairol's side, even with the stronger addition: "He should like best of all to stand on the top of a tower and draw the lightning on his head!" In this latter article he shows the high feeling of the ancients, who held death by lightning to be no damnation, but a deification; but might not physical causes also have had something to do with it, for his elbows and his hair often flashed out, in the dark, electric fire, and more than once a holy circle streamed out round his head even in the cradle? The Provost is strong for this view of the matter.

Albano, at last, could find no way to cool his fiery heart but by taking paper and writing to the invisible friend, and giving it in charge to the gentleman from Vienna. Falterle, who was complaisance itself--and withal untruth itself, too--in spite of his aversion to Roquairol, took the letters with him, and was _heartily glad to do it_ ("I am quite at home at the Minister's," said he); but never delivered a single one of them, since he had as little influence in the proud Froulay-palace as with the son himself, and so he merely brought back with him every time a new and valid reason why Roquairol had not been able to answer: he was either too very busy, or in the sick-chair, or in company,--but every letter _had delighted him_; and our unsuspecting youth firmly believed it all, and kept on writing and hoping. It would have been handsomely done of the Legation's-counsellor, had he only, that is to say, if he could, been so obliging as to hand over to me Albano's palm-leaves of a loving heart; not for the archives of this book, but merely for my documents relating to the case, for the catalogue of petals, which I for my own private use am stitching and gluing together, of Albano's flowering-time.

20. CYCLE.

Our Zesara, on entering into the years when the song of poets and nightingales flows more deeply into the softened soul, became suddenly another being. He grew stiller and wilder at once, more tender and more impetuous, as, for instance, he once flew in the highest rage to the help of a dog yelping under the blows of the cudgel. Heaven and earth, which hitherto in his bosom, as in the Egyptian system, had run into each other, that is to say, the ideal and the real, worked themselves free from each other, and Heaven ascended and receded, pure and high and brilliant,--upon the inner world rose a sun and upon the outer a moon, but the two worlds and hemispheres attracted each other and made one whole,--his step became slower, his bright eye dreamy, his athlete-gymnastics less frequent,--he could not now help loving all human beings more warmly, and feeling them more near to him; and often with closed eyes he fell trembling upon the neck of his foster-mother, or out in the open air bade his foster-father, at his starting on his journeys, a more lonely and heartfelt farewell.

And now before such clear and sharp eyes the Isis-veil of Nature became transparent, and a living Goddess looked down into his heart with features full of soul. Ah, as if he had found his mother, so did he now find Nature,--now for the first time he knew what spring was, and the moon, and the ruddy dawn, and the starry night.... Ah, we have all once known it, we have all once been tinged with the morning-redness of life!... O, why do we not regard all _first_ stirrings of human emotion as holy, as firstlings for the altar of God? There is truly nothing purer and warmer than our first friendship, our first love, our first striving after truths, our first feeling for Nature: like Adam, we are made mortals out of immortals; like Egyptians, we are governed earlier by gods than by men; and the ideal foreruns the reality, as, with some trees, the tender _blossoms_ anticipate the broad, rough _leaves_, in order that the latter may not set before the dusting and fructifying of the former.

When, as often happened, Albano came home from his inner and outer roamings, at once intoxicated and thirsty,--with senses at the same time _shut_ and _sharpened_, but dreaming like sleepers who feel the more painfully the putting out of the light,--at such times of course it needed only a few cold drops of cold words to make the hot, flowing soul, upon the contact of the strange, cold bodies, scatter in zigzag and globules; whereas a warm mould would have rounded the fluid mass into the loveliest form.

Circumstances being such, of course no one will wonder at what I am presently to report. The dancing-, music-, and fencing-master, who boasted little of his steps, touches, and thrusts, but so much the more of his (Imperial Diet-) Literature,--for he had the new names of the months, the orthography of Klopstock, and the Latin characters in German letters sooner in _his_ letters than any one of us,--would fain show the house of Wehrfritz that he understood a little more of literature and knew a thing or two better than other Viennites (the more so since he read absolutely nothing, not even political newspapers and novels, because he preferred real, living men); he therefore never came into the house without two pockets full of romance and verse for Rabette and Albano. He was encouraged in this by his endless officiousness, and his emulous race-running with his colleague Wehmeier in education, and the interest which he took in the youth now growing so silent, whom he wished to help out of the sweet _dreams_ which the _ruby_[36] of his glittering young life inspired with the exegetic _dream-books_, the works of the poets. The revolution which had taken place in the youth, who now mowed away whole romantic glades of Everdingen, and plucked whole poetical flower-borders of Huysum, I have now neither time nor wish even so much as tolerably to portray, on account of the above-promised wondrous circumstance; suffice it, that Albano, so situated,--the heaven of the poetic art open before him, the promised land of Romance spread out before his eyes,--resembled a planet, assailed by several whizzing comets, and blazing up with them into a common conflagration.

But what further? The Vienna master--this I must still premise--was a vain fool (at least in matters of humility, for example, his pigmy feet, his literature, his success with women), and particularly loved, by familiar pictures of great ones and ladies, to have inferred his confederation with the originals. The poor devil was, to be sure, poor, and believed, with many other authors, that he--unlike Solomon, who prayed for wisdom and received gold--had inversely had the misfortune while supplicating for the latter to receive only the former. In short, on such grounds as these he would have been very glad, let it be observed in passing, to know that the belief prevailed in the house of Wehrfritz that he stood on very good terms with his former pupil, the Minister's daughter,--_Liana_, I think it was, if I read Hafenreffer's handwriting correctly,--and that he quite often saw her, and spoke with her mother. Add to this, that there was not one word of truth in the whole: through the temple in which Liana was there was no door-way for him. But so much the less could he let the Director get ahead of him, who often saw her, and always praised her more warmly at home, merely for the sake of scolding the rude innocence of Rabette, who had never been educated by anybody. The Vienna master wished also, of course, to draw the Count--to whom he only showed the coasts of Roquairol's isle of friendship afar off, but no point for landing--cunningly away from the brother through the sister (he had found it impossible longer to deceive and hold him back); for why did he paint it out before him at such length, how poisonously, some years before, the night-and death-chill brought on by that parting shot of a brother whom she too devotedly loved had fallen upon those tender, white leaves of her heart?

Quite often would he, during a meal, hang up broad merit-tables, countersigned by Wehrfritz, of Liana's progress in music and painting, in order, seemingly, to stimulate his pupil on the harpsichord and in drawing to greater achievements. For if it was not for appearance' sake, why did he paste up such very long altar-pieces of Liana's charms before Rabette, that impartial one, who, vying only with parsons' daughters, and not with those of ministers, heard almost as gladly the praise of _city_ beauties as we do of _Homer's_, and in whose presence only a windy fool, that would fain hold himself upright in the saddle before women by singing the praises of other women, could intone such eulogies as his were of Liana? Verily, before such a resigned and unenvious soul as Rabette,--especially as her complexion and hands and hair were none of the softest, at least harder than Falterle's,--I would not for any prize-medal in the world have undertaken, as he however did, to bring near, in high colors, the happy results with which the Minister, in order to bring over Liana's uncommonly youthful beauty, by proper training, into her present years, had done his best by means of delicate and almost meagre fare, by tight lacing, by shutting up his orangery, whose window he seldom lifted off from this flower of a milder clime,--still less would I have cared to be able to describe, like him, how she had thereby become a tender creature of pastil-dust, which the gusts of fate and the monsoons of climate could almost blow to pieces,--and that she actually could only wash herself with spirits of soap, and only with the softest linen dry herself without pain, and could not pluck three gooseberries without making her finger bleed.

The shallow Viennite, who, if he spied a man of rank standing up on the cupola of a mountain, could never take off his hat before him, down in the marsh, without saying, in a low tone, at the same time, "Your most profoundly obedient servant!" and who spoke of distinguished people, at the farthest, only in familiar or satirical tones (to show his connection), but never in earnest criticism, was, of course, as became him, not the man to call old Froulay a stiff, sharp gravestone, under which two such tender flowers as his lady with the ivy (Liana) twining round her, crooked and crowded, had to wind their way out into light. Mr. Von Hafenreffer, to his honor,--in respect that he is a Legation's-Counsellor and Fee-Court-Provost,--makes here the quite different but more feeling observation, that the hard strata of such connections as those through which Liana's life-rill must needs filter and force its way, make it purer and clearer, just as all hard strata are filtering-stones of water,--and all her charms become, indeed, through her father's tyranny, torments, but also all her torments become, through her own patience, charms....

But, good Zesara, supposing now thou art compelled, daily, to hear all this,--and supposing the master of accomplishments forgets not to depict, besides, how she has never grieved him with a disobedient look, or a tardiness, how cheerfully she always brought him the paper-marks of the lessons, and, at the end, her schooling-money or an invitation,--and how carefully, mildly, and courteously she behaved toward her servants, and how one must have thought her heart could not be warmer than her very philanthropy made it, if one had not seen her still more ardent filial affection for her mother;--good Zesara, I say, what if thou hearest all this in addition to thy romances, and that, too, of the sister of thy Roquairol; for every one, if it is only half practicable, loves to spin himself into one chrysalis with the sister of his friend,--and beside all this, of a maiden in the consecrated Linden-city, about which Don Gaspard, as the old Prussians[37] did about their sacred groves, draws additional mystic curtains; and, what is harder than all, just after the turning-point of thy seventeenth year, Zesara, when the monsoons and spring winds of the passions already sweep over the waves of the blood! For, of course, at an earlier period, in the midst of the learned club of so many linguists,--i. e. books of linguists, of eclectics, upper-rabbins,--of ten wise men from the East and from Greece, and, by reason of the uncommonly dazzling _Epictetus'-lamps_ which the said Decemvirate of wise men had lighted at the day-star of the wise ones,--at such a time, I say, it was hardly to be expected of thee that love's little Turin-lantern, which he kept as yet unopened in his pocket, should strike thy eye very strongly! But now, my dear, now, I say! Truly, nowhere could any of us find less fault, if we are uncommonly attentive to it, with what he does in the 21st Cycle, than in this 20th.


[35] The preceding fine October days, as well as the Dog-holidays and April, and, in short, the rest of the previous part of the year, were created on the above-mentioned 22d October, and the said day itself also, after their time. I thus easily shift the inquiry about all that earlier period. For if any one dates the world differently, e. g. from the 20th March, as Lipsius and the Fathers did, still he must fall in with my after-creation of the forepart of the year, when I thrust home upon him with his own previous question.

[36] It used to be believed that a ruby gave pleasant dreams.

[37] Arnold's Ecclesiastical History of Prussia, Vol. I.



21. CYCLE.

How many blessed Adams of sixteen and a half years will be at this moment enjoying their siesta in the grass of Paradise, and seeing their future bosom-companion created out of the materials of their own hearts! But they seek her not, like the first Adam, close beside them on the building-spot, but at a good distance from their own couch, because distance of space lends as much enchantment to the view as distance of time. Accordingly, every youth seats himself in the mail-coach with the full persuasion that in the cities for which he is booked quite different and more divine Madonnas stand at the doors of the houses than in his cursèd one; and the young men of those cities, again, on their part, take passage in the arriving stage-coach, and go riding hopefully into his.

Ah, this sounds far too rude and harsh for all that I have in my mind, and it is to me as if I were offering the reader, instead of the living, floating rose-fragrance, only the stiff, hard, thick, porcelain-rose! Albano, I will uncover and unclose thy silent, thickly-curtained heart, so that we all may see therein the saintly image of Liana, the ascending Raphael's-Mary, but, like the pictures of the saints in Passion-week, hanging behind the veil, which thou liftest with trembling to adore it, when thou openest thy books of devotion,--the Romances,--and when thou findest therein the prayers which belong to thy saint. Even _I_ find it hard not to do like thee and the ancients, and make a mystery of the name of thy guardian goddess,--concerning inner spiritual apparitions (for outer ones are bodily apparitions) the seer is glad to be silent nine days long;--and with thy blind belief in Liana's virtuous character being a thousand times higher than thine is, and with thy holy sense of honor, which watches over another's, it is, of course, a riddle to thee how others, for instance the Vienna master or Wehrfritz, without the least blushing, can talk so loudly and fondly of her, when thou thyself hardly darest before others to--dream of her much. Truly, Albano is a good creature! Further, how such a light Psyche as Liana, so crystallized into solid ether, somewhat like the risen Christ, can at all eat carps and pick the bones out,--or stir the stack of salad in the blue dish with the long, wooden, miniature pitch-forks,--or how it can be that she weighs half a pound more in the sedan than a blue butterfly,--or how she can laugh loud (but that, however, she never did, my friend);--all this, and in general the whole petty service of this incarnate earthly life, was, to the winged youth, a riddle and a real impossibility, or at least the reality thereof was a sort of _fixed-star occultation_; why shall I suppress that he would have been far less astonished at a pair of angel's footsteps stamped into Italian rocks, than at a pair of Liana's in the ground, and that he would have given for any one single trace or relic of her--I mention only a thread-spool or a tambour-flower--nothing less than whole cords of the wood of the holy cross, together with casks of the holy nails, and several apostolic wardrobes, together with the holy duplicate-bodies into the bargain.

So have I often longingly wished I could have only a pound of earth from the moon, or as much as a horn of sun-dust from the sun, before me on my table and in my hands. So do most of us authors of consequence hover before a reader out of our own country in like manner as fine, ethereal images, of whom it is hard to comprehend how they can eat a slice of bacon, or drink a glass of March beer, or wear a pair of boots; it seems as if people would collapse when they read anything about Lessing's razor, Shakespeare's English saddle, Rousseau's bear-skin cap, Psalmist David's navel, Homer's sleeve, Gellert's queue-tie, Ramler's night-cap, and the bald-pate under mine, though that is not of much more consequence.

The old Provincial Director, seeing that a maiden in no way gains so much with a youth as by praises which his parents bestow upon her, made some considerable contributions toward the canonization of Liana, by frequently weighing against her the rustic Rabette, who laughed just as he did, and insinuating a contrast between his indulgent wife and the strict Minister's lady: he then took occasion to set forth in detail after what strict rules of pure composition this counterpointist (the Minister's lady) harmoniously arranged the melodious tones of Liana, and particularly how she discountenanced all rudeness and laughter. Female souls are peacocks, whose jewelled plumage must be sheltered in nice and whitened apartments, whereas ours remain clean in duck-coops. Albano pictured to himself mother and daughter in the double forms in which the painters give us angels, namely, the intelligent, strict mother, as one who hides in a long cloud, with only her _head_ visible, and Liana as a glorified child that, with its tender wings, flutters about a white cloud.

How he longed for something, though it were only a fallen, faded rose of--silk from Pestitz; and yet he could not for shame ask the Vienna teacher for anything except at the very last, after long thinking, though with a betraying glow, for one--lesson-mark; "for he had never yet seen one," he said. Falterle had one at this moment in his pocket,--the number 15, Liana's former age, was written upon it;--she might have written the number possibly;--still it was something. Ah, could he not more willingly have beset the Director for some romances out of the portable-library of the Minister's lady, in which the daughter must certainly have read, yes, and might well even have forgotten some notes of her reading? He actually did it; but Wehrfritz condemned and cursed in the beginning all romances as poisoned letters; then he forgot over five times to ask for any;--and finally he brought with him a novel of Madam Genlis, together with a Gotha pocket-almanac. These books of the blest--in comparison with which my own works and the Alexandrine Library and the blue library are only miserable _remittenda_--had all the stamps of women's books; for they all contained some ornament or other of female heads, namely, a thimbleful of hair-powder as they do, fag-ends of silk-ribbon as they do, for demarcation-lines and memoranda of readings,--and just the same fragrance (which Semler also praises in the books of alchemy), and which they seemed to have borrowed from the blossoms of Paradise. Ah, happy reader of the fairest book (I mean the Count), canst thou ask more?

By all means; and he found more, too, namely, in the latter end of the Gotha pocket-almanac, on the two blank parchment-leaves, the words, "Concert for the Poor, the 21st February," and "Play for the Poor, the 1st Nov." I have often, in my chase after mysteries, beaten out, on these leaves, the weightiest ones from the bush. "Yes, that is my pupil's hand," said Falterle; "she and her mother seldom let such an opportunity slip, because the Minister does not allow them otherwise to give much to the poor." Do not detain me here about the beauty of her handwriting,--besides one writes better on parchment and slate than on paper, and a literary lady, exactly unlike a literary man in this, has more calligraphy than illiterate ones,--but let me hasten on to the working of these _incunabula_ of Liana, whose Dominical characters diffuse over a loving man nothing but bright, inner Sundays of the soul, and whose leaves resemble in sanctity the Epistles which, in the Middle Ages, fell from heaven upon the earth. Now, for the first time, was it to him as if the flying angel, whose shadow hitherto had only glided over the earth, folded up his pinions, and held his downward course in the track of the shadow, not far from the spot where Albano stands. He learned the Gotha pocket-almanac by heart.

As he believed Liana to be much tenderer and better than he, and as she appeared to his fancy like Hesper, who, among all the planets, moves around the sun with the least eccentricity, and he to himself like the distant Uranus, who does so with the greatest; and since he could not, without a blaze of shame on his cheek, think of falling behind the daughter and mother in moral polish, he became at once (no man knew why) more gentle, mild, compliant, attentive to his person, obedient to the Vienna teacher,--for Liana had been so too,--and his whole Vesuvius[38] was kept under by the veil of a saint. The North American adores the form which appears to him in dreams, as his guardian spirit. O, does not even thus, to the youth, a fair dream often become his genius?

22. CYCLE.

A Whitsuntide, such as I am now about to describe, Albano, excepting in the Acts of the Apostles, one can hardly find anywhere else than in thine!

He had, hitherto, often listened to Liana's invalid-history with the deafness of a vigorous, fire-proof youth, when, on one occasion, the Director brought word home, that the pious lady of the Minister would let her daughter partake the sacrament on the first Whitsuntide holiday, because she was apprehensive death regarded such a creature as a strawberry, which must be plucked before the sun had shone upon it. Ah, Albano saw death at this moment groping about, and with his stony heel treading on the pale red berry and crushing it. And then this Philomela without a tongue, because she had hitherto been compelled to be dumb, had, like a Procne, sent him only the pictured history of her heavy existence, and only the leaves of parchment! All loving emotions, like plants, shoot up the most rapidly in the tempestuous atmosphere of life. Albano felt at once a wide, deep woe, and a tormenting fever-warmth in his heart, eaten hollow as it was by death. In his musical and poetic phantasyings on his Oesterlein's-harpsichord, the dreamed tones of Liana's voice and the weeping music of the harmonica, which she could play, and which he had never heard, strangely mingled, like her swan-song, with his harmonies. But this was not enough; he even wrote, secretly, a Tragedy, (thou good soul!) wherein he, with wet eyes, intrusted all his tenderest and bitterest feelings to _another's_ lips,--but he only kindled them fearfully, while he expressed them. Every one can remark that he proposed in this way to escape that babbler and spy, accident; but not every one observes--something quite original in the case; in _another's_ name, he might, he thought, venture to give his deep pain a more passionate expression, for which, in his own name, before so many stoic classical heroes, he could not for shame muster up the courage. But in this way the classics could not touch him.

The still, warm enthusiasm grew under the hot covering of this glass bell much greater yet; namely, to such a degree, that he touchingly begged his foster-parents to let him on the first Whitsuntide holiday go to the--Holy Sacrament. The dilapidated state of the village church, wherein it could hardly be partaken a year longer, must needs speak as strongly in his favor, as the dilapidated state of Liana's health did in hers. Always will there remain in our poor human souls, separated from each other by bodies and wildernesses, the longing to be at least doing the same thing at the same time with one another, at one and the same hour to look up at the moon, or (as Addison relates) to send our prayers above it; and thus is thy wish, Albano, a human, a tender one, to kneel at the same hour with thy invisible Liana, at the steps of the altar, and then to rise fiery and commanding after the coronation of the inner man! He had in the still country built up the altar of religion high and firm in his soul, as all men of lofty fancy do: on mountains are always seen temples and chapels.

But I must never accompany him into the Whitsuntide church before ascending with him the church-tower. Could anything be conceived more delicious, than when, at this period, on fair Sundays, so soon as there was nothing but the heavy sun swimming through the wide heavens, he climbed to the belfry of the tower, and, covered with the murmuring waves of the chime, looked out all alone over the earth below, and upon the western boundary hills of the beloved city? When presently the storm of sound swept and confounded all together, and when the jewel-sparkling of the ponds, and the flowery pleasure-tent of the frolicking spring, and the red castles on the white roads, and the scattered trains of church-going people slowly winding along between the dark-green corn-fields, and the stream girdling round the rich pastures and the blue mountains, those smoking altars of morning sacrifices, and the whole extended splendor of the visible creation poured into his soul with a glimmering overflow, and all appeared to him as a dim dream-landscape--O then arose his inner colosseum full of silent, godlike forms of spiritual antiques, and the torch-gleam of Fancy[39] glanced round upon them like the play of a moving magic life,--and there he saw among the gods a _friend_ and a _loved_ one reposing, and he glowed and trembled.... Then the bells died away with a heavy groan, and became dumb,--he stepped back from the bright spring into the dark tower,--he fastened his eye only on the empty, blue night before him, into which the distant earth sent up nothing save sometimes a butterfly blown out of its course, a swallow cruising by, or a pigeon hovering overhead,--the blue veil of Ether[40] fluttered in a thousand folds over veiled gods in the distance,--O then, then the cheated heart could not but exclaim, in its loneliness, Ah! where shall I find--where, in the wide regions of space, in this short life--the souls which I love eternally and so profoundly? Ah, thou dear one! what is more painfully and longer sought, then, than a heart? When man stands before the sea and on mountains, and before pyramids and ruins, and in the presence of misfortune, and feels himself exalted, then does he stretch out his arms after the great _Friendship_. And when music, and moonlight, and spring and spring tears softly move him, then his heart dissolves, and he wants _Love_. And he who has never sought either is a thousand times poorer than he who has lost both.

Let us now step into the Whitsuntide church, where the deep stream of his fancy, for the first time in his life, overflowed, and carried his heart far away, and sounded on with it in a new channel: a physical storm had swollen this stream. Early in the forenoon, the dark powder-house of a storm-cloud stood mute near the hot sun, and was glowing with his beams; and only occasionally, during divine service, some distant, strange cloud let fall a clap on the fire-drum: but when Albano stepped before the altar with exalted, glorified emotions, and when he ventured only to mask his love for Liana in an inward prayer for her, and in a picture of her to-day's devotion, and of her pale form in the dark bride-attire of piety, and when he softly felt as if his purified, sanctified soul were now more worthy of that lovely one,--just then, the tempest, with all its playing war-machines and revolving cannons,[41] marched over from the Linden-city, and passed, armed and hot, right over the church. Albano, however, in the consciousness of a holy inspiration, felt no fear; but so soon as he heard the distant rumbling of the falling avalanche, he thought only of Liana, and of its striking the Linden-city church; and now, when over his head the sun kindled with his hot looks the powder-tower of the storm-cloud, and made it fly into a thousand flashes and claps, then did that partiality for the death by lightning which had been nourished in him by the ancients drive the terrible supposition into his heart, that Liana was now dead and lost to him in the glory of transfigured holiness. O then, must he indeed also believe that now the wing of the lightning snatches him above the clouds. And when long flashes blazed about the saint and the angels of the altar, and when the trembling voices of the singers, growing louder, and the tolling of the familiar bells, mingled with the crashing thunder, and he caught, amid the deafening din, a high, fine organ-tone, which he took for one of the tones of that unheard harmonica,--then did he mount, deified, upon the triumphal and thunder-car by the side of his Liana; the theatre-curtain of life and the stage burned away from under him; and they soared away, linked together and radiant, far through the cool, pure ether!...

But the twelfth hour banished these spiritual apparitions and the tempest; Albano stepped out into a bluer, cooler, breezier sky,--and the glistening sun looked down with a friendly smile on the affrighted earth, whose bright tears still quivered in all her flower-eyes. And now when in the afternoon Albano heard of the peaceful march of the thunder through Liana's city, then by his faith in her newly-assured life, and by the soft dead-gold of resting fancy, and by the holy stillness of the regenerated bosom, and by the increased fervor of his love, there grew up out of all regions of his soul an evening-red, magic Arcadia,--and never did a man enter upon a fairer one.

23. CYCLE.

IT arises not merely from my courtesy towards a reading posterity, my dear Zesara, but also from a real courtesy toward thee, that I so faithfully transcribe all acts in this pastoral of thy life; in thy later days these melodious ones shall echo in thy ears refreshingly out of my book, and in the evening, after thy labors, thou wilt read nothing more gladly than my labors here.

The following night deserves its Cycle. Soon after Whitsuntide he was tormented with weekly medical notes upon a new malady of poor Liana, which had begun, just as if he had guessed right, on Sacrament-day. He heard that she was living or suffering in _Lilar_, the pleasure- and residence-garden of the old Prince, in company with her brother, of whose silence the Vienna master had just got up to his thousand and first reason. Now, around Lilar, although not far from Pestitz, his father had drawn no chains of prohibition. Liana's night-lamp might, perhaps, glimmer a welcome, or at all events her harmonica sound one,--yes, her brother might haply be still walking round in the garden,--the June night was, besides, serene and magnificent. Ah, in short, he started.

It was late and still; far out of the sleeping village, of which all the lights were extinguished, he could still catch the flute-pieces of the clock in the castle upon the Pestitz mountain. It was a quickener to him, that his road lay for some distance along the Linden-city causeway. He fixed his eyes steadily on the western mountains, where the stars seemed to fall to _her_ like white blossoms. Up on the distant height, the Hercules' cross-way, the right arm ran downward and wound along through groves and meadows to the blooming Lilar.

March on, drunk with joy, full of young, light images, through the Italian night, which glimmers and breathes its fragrance around thee, and which, as over Hesperia, not far from the warm moon, hangs out a golden evening-star[42] in the blue west, as if over the dwelling of the beloved soul! To thee and thy young eyes the stars as yet only shed down hopes, no remembrances; thou hast in thy hand a plucked, stiff apple-twig, full of _red_ buds, which, like unhappy beings, become too _pale_ when they bloom out; but thou makest not, as yet, any such applications thereof as we do.

Now he stood glowing and trembling in a dell before Lilar, which, however, a singular round wood, of walks lined with trees, still hid from his view. The wood grew up in the middle to a blooming mount, which was embosomed and encircled so curiously with broad sunflowers, festoons of cherries, and glancing silver-poplars and rose-trees, that it seemed, by the picturesque _ignes-fatui_ of the moon, to be a single, enormous kettle-tree, full of fruits and blossoms. Albano was fain to ascend its summit, and be, as it were, on the observatory of the heaven, or Lilar, spread out below; he found at last in the wood an open alley.

The foliage, with its spiral alleys, wound him round into a deeper and deeper night, through which not the moon, but only the heat lightnings, could break, with which the warm, cloudless heavens were overcharged. The magic circles of the mount rose ever smaller and smaller out of the leaves into the blossoms,--two naked children, among myrtles, had twined their arms caressingly about each other's bent head,--they were statues of Cupid and Psyche,--rosy night-butterflies were licking, with their short tongues, the honey-dew from the leaves, and the glowworms, like sparks struck off from the glow of evening, went trailing like gold threads around the rose-bushes; he climbed amid summits and roots behind the aromatic balustrade toward heaven; but the little spiral alley running round with him hung before the stars purple night-violets, and hid the deep gardens with orange summits; at length he sprang from the highest round of his Jacob's-ladder, with all his senses, out into an uncovered, living heaven; a light hill-top, only fringed with variegated flower-cups, received and cradled him under the stars, and a white altar gleamed brightly beside him in the moonlight.

But gaze down, fiery man, with thy fresh heart, full of youth, on the magnificent, immeasurable, enchanted Lilar! A second twilight-world, such as tender tones picture to us, an open morning-dream spreads out before thee, with high triumphal arches, with whispering labyrinthine walks, with islands of the blest; the pure snow of the sunken moon lingers now only on the groves and triumphal gates, and on the silver-dust of the fountain-water, and the night, flowing off from all waters and vales, swims over the Elysian fields of the heavenly realm of shadows, in which, to earthly memory, the unknown forms appear like Otaheite-shores, pastoral countries, Daphnian groves, and poplar-islands of our present world,--wondrous lights glide through the dark foliage, and all is one lovely, magic confusion. What mean those high, open doors or arches, and the pierced groves and the ruddy splendor behind them, and a white child sleeping among orange-lilies and gold-flowers, from whose cups delicate flames trickle,[43] as if angels had flown too near over them? The lightnings reveal swans, sleeping on the waves under clouds drunk with light, and their flaming trains blaze like gold after them in among the thick trees,[44] as goldfishes turn their burning backs out of the water,--and even around thy summit, Albano, the great eyes of the sunflowers turn on thee their fiery looks, as if kindled by the sparks of the glowworms.

"And in this kingdom of light," thought Albano, trembling, "the still angel of my future hides himself and glorifies it, when he appears. O where dwellest thou, good Liana? In that white temple? or in the arbor between the rose-fields? or up there in the green Arcadian summer-house?" If love makes even pangs to be pleasures, and exalts the shadowy sphere of the earth into a starry sphere, O what an enchantment will it lend to delight! Albano could not possibly, in this outer and inner splendor, think of Liana as sick; he represented to himself just now only the blissful future, and with a yearning embrace knelt down at the altar; he looked toward the glittering garden, and pictured to himself how it would be when he should one day tread with _her_ every island of this Eden,--when holy Nature should lay his and her hands in one another upon these altar-steps,--when he should sketch to her on the way the Hesperia of life, the pastoral land of first love, and then its holy exultation and its sweet tears, and how he should not then be able to look round into the eyes of that most tender heart, because he should already know that they were overflowing with bliss. Just then he saw, in the moonshine above the triumphal arches, two illuminated forms move like spirits; but his glowing soul went on with its painting, and he imagined to himself how, when the nightingales trilled in this Eden, he should look up to her and say, in a delirium of love, "O Liana, I bore thee long ago in my heart,--once upon that mountain, when thou wast sick."...

This startled him, and he came to himself; he was indeed on the mountain,--but he had forgotten the sickness. Now, kneeling, he threw his arms around the cold stone, and prayed for her whom he so loved, and who, also, surely had prayed here; and his head sank, weeping and darkened, upon the altar. He heard human steps approaching down below on the winding hill, and, with trembling joy, he thought it might be his father; but he boldly remained on his knees. At last there stepped in across the flowery border a tall, bent old man, like the noble bishop of Spangenberg; his calm countenance smiled full of eternal love, and no pains appeared upon it, and it seemed to fear none. The old man, in mute gladness, pressed the youth's hands together as a sign that he should pray on, knelt down beside him, and that ecstasy to which frequent prayer transfigures one spread its saintly radiance over that form full of years. Singular was this union and this silence. The fragment of the moon, which was all that yet jutted above the earth, burned darklier, and at last went down; then the old man rose, and, with that easiness of transition which comes from being habituated to devotion, put questions about Albano's name and residence; after the answer, he merely said, "Pray on thy way to God, the all-gracious,--and go to sleep before the storm comes, my son!"

Never can that voice and form pass away out of Albano's heart; the soul of the old man peered, like the sun in an annular eclipse, shining, full circle, out over the dark body, which strove to hide it with its earth-mould. Deeply struck, to the very roots of his nerves, Albano rose, and the broadening flashes of the lightning showed him now, down below near the enchanted garden, a second dark, entangled, horrible one, a sort of Tartarus to the Elysium. He departed with singular and conflicting emotions,--the future, and the beings therein, appeared to him, on his way, to stand very near, and already to run to and fro like theatre lights behind the transparent curtain,--and he longed for some weighty enterprise as a refreshment for his inflamed heart; but he had to rest his head, full of this heath-fire, on the pillow, and the high thunder, like a god of the night, mingled with its first claps in his dreams.

24. CYCLE.

THE unknown old man lingered many days in Albano's soul, and would not stir. In fact, the channel of his life now needed a bend, to break the stress of the stream. Fate can educate men like him only by a change of circumstances, just as it can weak ones only by a continuance of the same. For if it went on much longer in this way, and the chandelier in his temple should, by inner earthquakes, be thrown into ever increasing vibrations, the consequence would be, at last, that no candle could any longer burn therein. What Imperial-Diet-grievances did not Wehrfritz and Hafenreffer already jointly present on the subject, when the shipmaster Blanchard, in Blumenbühl, went up with his aerostatic soap-bubbles, and Zesara could hardly, by almost the absolute despotism of the Director, be kept back from embarking! And how divine a thing does he not imagine it would be, not only to hurl down to the earth its iron rings and arrest warrants, and soar away, perpendicularly, above all its market-rubbish and boundary-trees and Hercules'-pillars, and sweep around it as a constellation, but also to hover above the magic Lilar and the hermetically-sealed Linden-city with devouring eyes, and to lift a whole, full, heavy world to his thirsty heart, by the handle of a single look!

But fate broke the fall of this swift stream. Namely, as good luck would have it, the Blumenbühl church had this long time been daily threatening to tumble down,--and I was wishing the Whitsuntide lightning had gone in there, and had made ears and legs for the building committee,--when by still greater good luck the old Prince was taken sick. Now in the church was the hereditary sepulchre of the Prince, which could not conveniently serve, on the other hand, as the hereditary sepulchre of the church.

About this time it must needs happen that the old Princess, with the Minister Froulay, passed through the village. The two had long since commissioned themselves as Imperial vicars, business-agents, and sceptre bearers of the State, because the feeble old gentleman had been glad to give up the amusements and burdens, the glitter and weight of the crown, and admit those two feudal guardians into the hereditary office of the sceptre. In short, the age of the church, together with that of the princely couple, decided the building of a new roofing and covering for the vault.

The Provincial-Director was one of the inspecting committee, and invited the distinguished company to his house; among whom, the Provincial architect, Dian, and the Counsellor of Art, Fraischdörfer, as artists, and the little princess as naturalist, are particularly to be noticed.

The poor dancing-master got wind of the procession through a telescope, just as he was stretching his feet, full of _pas_, into a warm foot-bath. It will not gratify anybody, that the Vienna gentleman had but one thing in common with the old Magister,--what the Devil shares with the horse, namely, the foot, which measured its good foot and a half, Paris measure, and that, therefore, his double root, in the narrow forcing-pots of shoes, shot out into a fruit-bearing, knotty-stock, full of inoculating eyes, i. e. corns. To-day he would have cut these gordian knots in a foot-bath; but, as it was, he must, on occasion of such a visit,--although he had never stretched them,--put on his tightest children's shoes, for effect. Thus are men often caught with too tight shoes, as monkeys are with too heavy ones.

Albano, on the contrary, stood in buskins. In general, every one who simply came from Pestitz, had, in his eyes, consecrated holy earth on his soles; and here he looked with the loving reverence of a village youth upon a somewhat oldish, but red-cheeked and tall-built princess, whose chin was bent up by time, and whose friendly face--perhaps, by way of hiding the many wrinkles--was buried deep in a whole bush of millinery. She kept this head moving to and fro with a smiling comparison, as of brother and sister, between him and Rabette; for mothers always look, in mothers, for the children first. He should have further known that he had before him a friend of Liana in the frizzle-headed _little_ princess, who, although already of his age, yet with a friendly liveliness, which can never be subscribed to by the court-marshalship, looked up at all, and even took Rabette by the hand, and drew from her an indescribably good-natured and stiff smile. The formidable one of the party was to him the Minister, a man full of strong parts, both of body and soul, full of furious, murderous passions, only that they lay bound with flowery chains, and with respect to whom, although his hard face was written over only out of courtliness with the twelve friendly signs of the zodiac of love, it would not be specially apparent how one could be father and guide to the weak-nerved Liana, when the iron parts, of which man carries more in his blood than any other animal, had settled, not as in the case of Götz of Berlichingen, into his hand, but into his brow and heart.

I give merely a flying glance at the only member of the company who was intolerable to Albano,--the art-counsellor, Fraischdörfer, who had thrown off his face, like the drapery of the ancients, into folds of simple and noble greatness. This man, I must explain, had wanted for many years to have our bashful little hero sit to him, even to the very pit of his stomach, in order to represent, whether in a crayon likeness or a medallion I know not, his face, and the broad, high, Plato-like breast shining out from his shirt-frills. But the bashful child played about himself with his hands and feet so lustily, that nothing could possibly be caught and copied except the naked face without the pedestal, the thorax. Before me, on the contrary, dear academy, must thou now for years keep thyself on the model-stand, like a stylite, and expose to my drawing-pen thy head and thy breast, together with its cubic contents, not to mention the groupings at all.

He had, perhaps, to thank his noble form for it, that the beautifully built, straight-nosed, and magnificently slender Dian--with his raven hair and black, eagle eye, who in every pliant motion showed a higher freedom of carriage than is gained in ball-rooms and court-saloons--came up to him warmly, and, with very few glances, saw to the green bottom of the deep but clear sea of the young man, and discerned the pearl-banks there. Albano, with his too loud, vehement voice,--with his respectful but sharply-moving eyes,--with his rooted posture,--expressed an agreeable mixture of inward culture and ascendency with external rustic modesty and mildness, like a tulip-tree not as yet cut up for a tulip-bed,--a rural hermitage and log-house with golden furniture. He had the faults of youth in its recluseness; but men and winter radishes must be sowed _far apart_, in order that they may grow _large_: men and trees that stand near together have, it is true, a more slender and tapering trunk, but no power to brave the tempest, nor such a rich crown and branching as those that stand free. With the most unembarrassed heartiness, the architect disclosed to the glowing youth, "They should from this time forth see each other every week, since he was to come daily to oversee the building of the church."

The whole Wehrfritz household is now peeping out after the majestic procession, even to the last disappearing chariot-wheel, and is, of course, eager to say three words upon the lavender-water of joy that leaves such a fragrance behind it, which the procession had sprinkled into all corners and upon all pieces of furniture. From the Master of exercises--who, with the compression-machines on his feet, stood only so far as the excrescences in Purgatory, but from there up to the crown of his head in heaven (because the affable Princess had remembered very well his five positions)--even to the modest Rabette, the eulogist of her victorious rival,--and even to Albina, who was agreeably impressed with such warm, motherly love in a Fürstinn toward the Princess,--and even to the Director, who looked back with pleasure on the nobly sustained blade- and anchor-proof of his foster-son and the universal probity of this converted portion of the great world, because the man never observed that Princes and Ministers, just as they have in their wardrobes mountain- and mining-habits, so also carry about in their dressing-chamber Directorate-dresses, furred gowns of justice, consistorial sheep-skins, and women's opera-dresses;--from all these, even to the Director, the glad echo swelled, to die away in Zesara with an alarm-cannon. His ambition took arms; his liberty-tree shot forth into blossoms; the standards of his youthful wishes were consecrated and flung to the breeze of heaven; and on the myrtle crown he covered a heavy helm with a glittering, high-waving, plumed crest....

The following Cycle is composed merely for the purpose of showing how all this is to be taken.

25. CYCLE.

It is also my opinion that the antiphonious double choir of the two educational colleagues, Wehmeier and Falterle, had hitherto trained our Norman, as well as two similar gymnasiarchs, Governess England and domestic French instructress France, have actually educated the charity-school-girl Germany according to the best school-books, so that now we, in our turn, are in a condition to school the Poles, and, with the ferule, from the desk of our princely schools, to kantschu them down as much as is necessary.

But now too much had waked up in Albano. He felt overswelling energies which found no teacher. His father, roving round through Italy, seemed to be neglecting him. That seat of the muses, Pestitz,--which now had _one_ more muse added to its number,--seemed to be unjustly barred against him. Often he knew not how to stay away. Fancy, heart, blood, and ambition were at boiling heat. In such a case, as in every fermenting cask, nothing is more dangerous than an empty space, whether from a want of knowledge or of occupation.

_Dian filled up the cask._

He came each week from the city, as if he had to arrange the hammer-work of the church, according to plans, as well as the building of its walls. A youth who sees his first Greek cannot, at the outset, rightly believe it at all; he takes him for a classic glorification,--a printed sheet out of Plutarch. And if his heart burns like that of my hero, and if his Greek is of Spartan descent, like Dian,--namely, an unconquered _Mainotte_, who has been brought up in the classic double choir of the æsthetic singing-schools in Atiniah (Athens) and Rome,--then is it natural that the inspired youth should stand every day in the dust-and rubbish-clouds of the falling church-walls, and wait to see his commander come forth from behind the cloudy pillar.

Dian accompanied his beloved in his walks, often read half the night with him, and took him with him on the architectural journeys which he had constantly to make into the country. He introduced him with inspired reverence into the holy world of Homer and of Sophocles, and went with him among the loftier beings of this twin Prometheus, those nobly formed, completely developed men, yet unperverted by a partial provincial culture, who, like Solomon, had a time for everything human,--for laughing, weeping, eating, fearing, and hoping,--and who shunned merely rude immoderateness; who sacrificed on the altars of all gods, but on that of Nemesis first of all. And Dian, whose inner man was a whole, from which no member is torn away, no one swollen, and all fully grown, himself went round with his darling as such a Greek of Homer and Sophocles. While Wehmeier and the foster-parents were always running after him with a pulpit and a pew, at every passionate expression of anger, or desire, or exultation, he, on the contrary, with fair, liberal freedom, made room for him to unfold himself to his full breadth and height. He respected in the youth the St. Elmo's or St. Helena's fire, as he did frost in an old man: the heart of vigorous men, he thought, must, like a porcelain vase, in the beginning, be turned too large and too wide; in the furnace of the world it would soon enough shrink up to a proper size. I too require of youth, at first, intolerance, then, after some years, tolerance,--that as the stony, sour fruit of a strong young heart, this as the soft winter-fruit of an older head.

But while the Architect drew with him, and with him examined casts of the antiques and works of art, he at the same time made manifest most beautifully to the youth his love for the artistical _sign of the Balance_ in man (who ought to be his own work of art), and his aversion to every paroxysm, which breaks the outward beauty as well as the inward into folds and wrinkles, and his desire to regulate his form and his heart after the lofty pattern of repose on the antiques.

The Architect, as artists often do, and the Swiss still oftener, preserved European culture and rural _naïveté_ and simplicity side by side, like his beloved profession, wherein, more than in other arts, beauty and surveying reason border upon each other; he therefore at first let Albano look in and listen at the window of the philosophical lecture-hall from without, standing in the open air. He led him, not into the stone-quarry, lime-pit, and timber-yard of metaphysics, but directly into the ready-made, beautiful oratory, formed of the materials thence collected, otherwise called Natural Theology. He did not let him forge and solder ring after ring of any iron chain of reasoning, but showed such a one to him as a deep-reaching well-chain, whereby Truth, sitting at the bottom, is to be drawn up; or as a chain hanging from heaven, whereby the lower gods (the philosophers) are to draw Jupiter down. In short, the _skeleton_ and _muscle-preparation_ of metaphysics he concealed in the _God-man_ of religion. And so it should be (in the beginning); grammar is learned from language more easily than the latter from the former; criticism from works of art, the skeleton from the body, more easily than the reverse; although we always do reverse it. Unfortunate is it for the youth of our day, that they are obliged to shake the drops and the insects from the tree of knowledge, before the fruit.

And now he boldly threw open to him all the chamber-doors of the philosophical schools, i. e. the three heavens; for in this youthful season one still takes the wick of every learned light of the world for asbestos, as Brahmins dress themselves in asbestos; and the masses of ice around the poles of our spiritual world represent, at this early age, like the actual ones in the visible world, cities and temples on azure-blue columns.

Now when Albano had read himself to the flaming point upon some great idea or other, as Immortality or Deity, he had then to write upon it; because the Architect believed, and I too, that in the educational world nothing goes beyond writing,--not even reading and speaking; and that a man may read thirty years with less improvement than he would gain by writing a half. It is just in this way that we authors mount to such heights; hence it is that even the worst of us, if we hold out, become somewhat, at last, and write ourselves up from Schilda to Abdera, and from there away up to Grub Street.

But what a glowing hour then came on for our darling! What are all Chinese lantern-festivals to the high festival for which an inflamed youth lights up all the chambers of his brain, and in this illumination throws out his first essays?

In the forepart, and on the very threshold of the essay perhaps, Albano still crept along step by step, and made use merely of his head; but as he got further on, and his heart quivered with wings, and like a comet he must needs sweep along before only shimmering constellations of great truths, could he then restrain himself from imitating the rosy-red Flamingo, who, in his passage towards the sun, seems to paint himself into a flying brand, and to clothe himself in wings of fire? When at length he reached the practical application, verily every one was like the others; in each he formed and sowed an Arcadia full of human angels, who in three minutes could cross over on a Charon's pontoon thrown in for the purpose, and land in the Elysium which floated so near: in every one of these practical applications all men were saints, all saints beatified; all mornings blossoms, and all evenings fruit; Liana perfectly well, and he not far from it--her lover;--all nations ascended more easily the noonday heights; and he upon his own, like men upon mountains, saw everything good nearer to him. Ah! the whole boggy present, full of stumps and blood-suckers, had he kicked aside, and was now encircled only with floating green worlds, full of pastures, which the sun-ball of his head had projected into the ether.

Blissful, blissful time! thou hast long since gone by! O, the years in which man reads and makes his first poems and systems, when the spirit creates and blesses its first worlds, and when, full of fresh morning-thoughts, it sees the first constellations of truth come up bringing an eternal splendor, and stand ever before the longing heart, which has enjoyed them, and to which time, by and by, offers only astronomical newspapers and refraction-tables on the morning-stars, only antiquated truths and rejuvenated lies! O, then was man, like a fresh, thirsty child, suckled and reared with the milk of wisdom; at a later period he is only cured with it, as a withered, sceptical, hectic patient! But thou canst, indeed, never come back again, glorious season of _first love_ for the truth, and these sighs can only give me a warmer remembrance of thee; and if thou ever shouldst return, it certainly could not be down here in the low mine-shaft of life, where our morning splendor consists of the little flames that play upon the quartz crystals, and our sun is a mine-lamp,--no; but it may happen then, when death reveals us, and tears away from over the heads of the pale-yellow workmen the coffin-lid of the mine-shaft, and we now again stand as first men on a new, full earth, and under a fresh, immeasurable heaven!

Into this golden age of his heart fell also his acquaintance with Rousseau and Shakespeare, of whom the former exalted him above his century, and the latter above this life. I will not say here how Shakespeare ruled, sovereign, in his heart,--not through the breathing of living characters, but by lifting him up out of the loud kingdom of earth into the silent realm of infinity. When one dips his head at night under water, there is an awful stillness round about him; into a similar supernatural stillness of the under-world does Shakespeare introduce us.

What many schoolmasters may blame in Dian is this, that he gave the youth all books indiscriminately, without any exact course of reading. But Alban asked, in later years: "Is such a course anything but folly? Is it possible? For does Fate ever arrange the appearance of new books, or systems, or teachers, or outward circumstances, or conversations, so according to paragraphs, that one needs nothing more than to transcribe all that passes upon the memory, and he shall have the order into the bargain? Does not every head need and make its own? And does more depend on the order in which the meats follow each other, or on the digestion of them?"

26. CYCLE.

While Dian was causing a nobler temple to go up in the heavens than the stone one in the village, the Princess, whose _castrum doloris_ this was to be, died; they had, therefore, to deposit her remains for a time in the accommodations of a Pestitz church. This changed one or two thousand things. The Crown-prince of Hohenfliess, Luigi, must now, will he nill he, come back from Italy, to the princely chair, in which the old man, bent up with years, had, for a long time, diminutive and speechless, been rather lying than sitting,--although the Minister standing behind the princely arm-chair took off his figure and voice in a sufficiently lively manner. Don Gaspard, who had not listened to any of the previous letters of Albano, now despatched to him the following orders, which rushed like fiery wine through his veins: "On my way back from Italy we meet, in thy birthplace, _Isola Bella_. Thou wilt be sent for." Even readers who have not had a week's practice in folding and sealing letters of a diplomatic corps, will easily observe that the Knight of the Fleece is thinking to bring his son acquainted with the young prince, and to establish and insure their first Pestitz connections.

But I beg the world now to measure the Paradise of a man, who after so long seafaring at last sees the long shores of the new world stretch out into the ocean. Was not life at this moment open to him in a hundred directions? Laurel-wreaths, ivy-wreaths, flower-wreaths, myrtle-wreaths, wheat-garlands,--all these crowns overhung the great gate of Pestitz and its house-doors. Thou brother, thou sister, (I mean Roquairol and Liana,) what a full, yearning soul was marching to meet you! and what a dreaming and innocent one! Homer and Sophocles, and the ancient history and Dian, and Rousseau, that magus of youth,--and Shakespeare and the British weeklies (wherein a higher and more human poesy speaks than in their abstract poems),--all these had left behind in the happy youth an everlasting light, an unparalleled purity, wings for every Mount Tabor, and the fairest but most difficult wishes. He resembled, not the urbane French, who, like ponds, reflect the hue of the nearest bank, but those loftier men, who, like the sea, wear the color of the boundless heavens.

In fact, now was the ripest, best point of time for his change. Through Dian and his journeys, even Albano's _exterior_ man had been trained to grace in fashionable saloons. Men, like bullets, go farthest when they are smoothest; besides, there remained sticking on Zesara diamond-points enough at which mediocrity stumbles and is wounded, and even uncommon worth is an uncommon fault,--as _high_ towers, for that very reason, appear _bent over_. Zesara learned, even outside the circle of country youngsters, a readiness of ideas and words, which formerly stood at his service only in a state of enthusiasm; for wit, generally a foe of the latter, was with him merely a servant and child thereof. He did not, like witty sucklings, coquette with all ideas, but he was either beset by them or not touched at all; hence came that silent, slow, unostentatious ripening of his power; he resembled mountains of a gradual ascent, which always yield more booty than those which rise abruptly. With great trees, the seed is smaller and in spring the blossoms later than in the case of small bushes.

The time ere Gaspard's messenger came to take him away was to the detained youth an eternity, and the village a prison; it shrivelled up to the household-buildings of a convent. The hidden plan of his life, written, however, by encaustic into his brain, was, as with all such young men, this, to be and do nothing more than--everything; that is to say, to bless, to glorify, and to enlighten at once himself and a country,--to be a Frederick II. upon the throne; in other words, a storm-cloud, which should contain thunders of excommunication for the sinner, electrical light for the deaf, blind, and lame, showers for the insects, and warm drops for thirsty flowers, hail for enemies, an attraction for everything, for leaves and dust, and a rainbow for the end. Now, as he could not succeed Frederick II., he proposes to be hereafter minister at least,--especially as Wehrfritz made so much out of this by-sceptre,--this offshoot and chip of the mother sceptre,--and in his spare hours a great poet and philosopher withal.

I shall be delighted, Count, if thou shouldst become a second Frederick, the second and only; my book will profit by it and I myself mould my future thereby as a rare historiographer, compounded of Zenophon, Curtius, and Voltaire!

27. CYCLE.

Zesara will never forget the spring evening, on which he saw a passenger in a greatcoat,--a little limping and covered with brown travelling-paint, to which his white eyeballs formed a shining contrast,--wade across the shallow brook beside the high bridge, and how, further, the passenger took with him a watch-man's cane which the then Lieutenant of the Beggar's Police had just leaned against his house-door, a vicarious fellow-laborer, and handed the said cane, on his way, to a cripple, with the words: "Old man, I have nothing by me smaller than the stick. If anybody asks you about it, just tell them you are keeping guard in the village against the confounded beggar tribe, but have not eyes enough." At the same time our pilgrim reached out to a rector's little son, who needed it for about three minutes, his pocket-handkerchief.

It was of course our old Librarian by title, Schoppe, whom Don Gaspard had despatched with the note of invitation for Isola Bella. Albano's delight was so great, that only some days later did the youth mistake the odd humorist, whereas the latter soon correctly weighed the light, ardent, still wildling. Did it not fare still worse with the old Provincial Director, who, merely because he rated the _body_ politic of the Empire as high as if he were the installed _soul_ therein, upon Schoppe's sallies against the constitution, came out in a patriotic fury: "Sir," said he, in an excited manner, "even if there were a flaw anywhere, still a true German would be bound to maintain a profound silence on the subject, unless he can help the matter, especially in such cursed times."

The finest of all was, that, at Luigi's request, the Architect had to set out at the same time, for the purpose of fetching casts of antiques from Rome.

And now march on, that soon ye may come back again, and we may at last for once fairly enter Pestitz! It may well be expected that thou, good child (I should rather say, wild-bee), wilt take thy flight from the rural honey-tree into the glass beehive of the city, with deeper pangs than thou hadst imagined beforehand,--has not even the old foster-father gone off on his journey without saying his farewell, only to escape thine?--and, as to thy good mother, it seems to her as if one of the angry Parcæ were tearing a son from her breast, as if his tender love-bond, woven only of childish familiarity, would not stretch out into the far future,--and thy sister locks herself up in the attic, her rustic heart raging with fiery torments, and cannot say anything to thee, nor give thee anything, but a letter-case previously and privately worked by her with the silken circumscription: "Remember us!" and even on thy laurel-seeking head will the triumphal arch or rainbow of leave-taking, when thou passest under it, fling down heavy, heavy drops, (ah, they will continue to hang longer on the eyes that look after thee!) thy honest old teacher Wehmeier will pour out upon thee the last stream of his words and tears, and say, and thy tender heart will not smile at it: "He is a worn out, old fellow, and has now nothing before him but the hole (the grave); thou, on the contrary, art a fresh, young blood, full of languages and antiquities and magnificent, god-given talents,--of course he shall not live to see thee make a famous man, but his children well may; and these poor worms,--thou must one day adopt them, young master!"

Thou pure soul, on every familiar house, on every dear garden and valley will sorrow, indeed, sharpen her clasp-knife, and tear open therewith softly gushing wounds in thy glowing, tender heart. What do I say? even from thy friendly morning- and evening-heights, the nunnery-gratings of thy holiest hopes, and from Liana herself, thou wilt seem to be stealing away.

But cast thy weeping eyes over the broad, blue Italy, and dry them in the spring breezes. Life begins,--the signals for the martial exercises and tournaments of manly youth are given, and, in the midst of the Olympic battle-games, thou wilt hear the music of neighboring concert- and dancing-halls magnificently pealing around thee.

What phantasies are these I am playing here? What! is it not more than too well known to all of us, that he has been gone this long time, ever since the very first Jubilee-period,--yes, and come back again, and has already, ever since the second--and we are now counting the fourth--been sitting in company with the Librarian and the Lector, on horseback, before Pestitz, unable to get in, on account of the barricade of the----


[38] In Catania, the veil of St. Agatha is the only antidote to Etna.

[39] Allusion to the torches, before which the Colosseum and the Antiques and the glaciers, which are both, are seen magically gleaming.

[40] As the Queen of Heaven, Juno is always, by the ancients, clothed in a blue veil.--_Hagedorn on Painting._

[41] An old machine that fires many shots at once.

[42] In Italy the stars look not silvery, but golden.

[43] In a tempestuous atmosphere, little flames are emitted by orange-lilies, gold-flowers, sunflowers, Indian pinks, &c.

[44] Probably on fluttering gold plates after the birds.



28. CYCLE.

When he came to the fork of the road, of which the right prong points to Lilar, Albano, with a somewhat heavy heart, spurred his horse across, and flew up the hill, till the bright city, like an illuminated St. Peter's dome, blazed far and wide in this spring night of his fancies. It lay, like a giant, with its shoulders (the upper city) resting on the heights, and stretched its other half (the lower city) down into the valley. It was noon, and not a cloud in heaven; at noonday a city stands before you in full, white disk, whereas a village does not, until evening, come out of its first quarter into full light. It was well fortified, not by Rimpler or Vauban, but by a blooming palisade of lindens. The long wall of the palaces of the mountain-city gleamed from above a welcome to our Albano, and the statues, on their Italian roofs, directed themselves towards him as way-guides and criers of joy; over all the palaces ran the iron framework of the lightning-rods, like a throne-scaffolding of the thunder, with golden sceptre-points; down along the side of the mountain lay camped the lower city, by the side of the stream between shady avenues, with its gay façades towards the streets, and its white back turned toward Nature; carpenters were hammering away like a forge on the green-sward among the peeled trunks of trees, and the children were clattering round with the birch-bark; cloth-makers were stretching out green cloths like bird-nets in the sun; from the distance came white-covered carriers'-wagons jogging along the country-road, and by the sides of the way shorn sheep were grazing under the warm shadow of the rich, bright linden-blossoms,--and over all these groups the noonday chime of bells from the dear, familiar towers (those relics and light-houses that gleamed out of the dusk of his earlier days), floated like one all-embracing and animating soul, and called together the friendly throngs of people.

Contemplate the heated face of my hero, who at last is riding into the open streets, built up in his fancy of temples of the sun, where, who knows but that at every long window, on every balcony, Liana may be standing? where the lying or prophetic riddles of Isola Bella must be unravelled,--where all household gods and household fates of his nearest future lie hid,--where now the Mont Blanc of the Court and the Alps of Parnassus, both of which he has to climb, lie with their feet stretching close before him. All this would have oppressed me not a little; but in the young man, especially before the chandelier of the sun, a shower of light gushed down. O, when the morning-wind of youth blows, the inner mercury-column stands high, even though the external weather be not of the best.

Few of us, when we have gone on horseback to the academy, may have happened into such a refreshing stir as met my hero: chimney-sweeps were singing away overhead out of their pulpits and black holes to the passers below, and a building-orator,[45] on the ridgepole of a new house, was exorcising the future conflagration, and quenching one in his own breast, and slinging the glass fire-bucket far over the scaffolding; yes, when we have ridden with our hero through the laughing congregation of the roof-preacher, and through the ranks of blooming sons of the Muses,[46] who stand arm in arm, among whom Alban sent round his fiery eye to find his Roquairol,--after all this, when we reach his future residence, a new clamor salutes our ears.

It came from the Land-physicus[47] Sphex, his future landlord, who is to resign to him half his palace (for the Doctor is made wealthy by his cures), because the house lies exactly in the highest part of the upper city, or the Westminster of the Court; while in the lower town are domiciled the students and the _city_. The short, thick-set Dr. Sphex was standing, as our trio rode up, by the side of a tall man, who sat upon a stone bench, and held in readiness two drum-sticks upon a child's drum. At a signal from Sphex, the tall man beat a faint roll upon his drum, and the Doctor said to him, calmly, "Vagabond!" Although Sphex had turned round a little toward the loud, approaching horsemen, still he soon made him go on with his tattooing, and said, "Scoundrel!" but during the last beat he just hastily slipped in, "Scamp!"

The horsemen dismounted; the Doctor led them, without ceremony, into the house, after he had given the drummer a hint, with his hand, not to stir. He opened them their four (or twelve) walls, and said, coldly, "Step into your three cavities." Albano marched out of the warm splendor of day into the cool, purple Erebus of the red-hung chamber, as into a picture-hall of painting dreams, into a silver-hut, as it were, for the dark mine-work of his life. He recognized therein the open hand of his rich father, from the pictures of the carpet to the alabaster statues on the wall; and in the cabinet he found, among the gifts of his foster-parents, all his poetical and philosophical text-books, which had been sent after him,--fair reflections from the still land of youth, left far behind him by his journey, in whose flower-vases only concordias had hitherto bloomed, whereas now wild rockets must be planted in them. Then (not the goddess of night her mantle, but) the goddess of twilight threw her veil over his eye, and, in the clare-obscure, made the forms of youth--many of them armed, many crowned, a troop of fates and graces--beset his heart, which had hitherto been so calm, with their arms and levers, until it became soft and languid _for three minutes_; verily, to a youth, especially this one, the sea-storms, those favorites of the painter, the laboring volcanoes of the natural philosopher, and the comets of the astronomer, are full as precious, in the moral world, as they are to them in the physical.

Albano, now separated from Liana only by streets and days, almost feared his dreamy raptures might betray their object. "Any letters?" inquired the Lector, in his short manner, abbreviated for the sake of adaptation to citizens. "Bring it up, Van Swieten!" said Sphex, to a little son, who, with two others, named Boerhave and Galen, had hitherto been acting as a corresponding deciphering-chancery to the new guests behind a curtain. "Our old Lord," added Sphex, at once, as if it had some connection with the letter, "has done lording it at last; for five days he has been dead as a mouse, as I long ago predicted." "The old Prince?" asked Augusti, with astonishment. "But why have I not yet remarked anything of funeral bells, knockers hung with black, bottles of tears, and lamentation in the city?" inquired Schoppe.

The Physicus explained. Namely, he had, as physician in ordinary, prophesied, with sufficient boldness, the third day's dying of the old prince, and happily hit it. Only as, exactly one day after the mournful event, his successor, Luigi, proposed to make his entrance into Pestitz, and, as the announcement of the high death would have extinguished, with lachrymal-vessels, the whole oil-fed illumination in honor of the son, and hung the flowery triumphal arches with mourning-weeds, the people had not been willing, although to the greatest disadvantage of the prophetic Sphex, to let matters get wind before the new prince had had his reception, just as that Greek, at the news of his son's death, postponed mourning till after the completion of his thanksgiving sacrifice. Sphex protested that he had many years before fixed, in the case of the illustrious deceased, the nativity of his consumption by his white teeth,[48] and never had he hit a death-hour better than at that time; he would, however, leave it to any and every man to decide whether a physician, who has made his prophecy everywhere known, can spin much silk in a period of such political embezzlement. "But," replied Schoppe, "if people continue to carry along their deceased monarchs, like their dead soldiers, as if they were alive, in the ranks; still they can hardly do otherwise; for as in the case of great men it is generally so plaguy hard to prove that they are living, so is it also no easy thing to make out when they are dead; coldness and stiffness and corruption prove too little. To be sure, one may, perhaps, conceal royal death-beds for the same reason which led the Persians to hide royal graves, in order to abridge as much as possible for the poor children, the people, the bitter interval between the death and the new inauguration. Yes, as according to a legal fiction the king never dies, we have to thank God that we ever learn the fact at all, and that it does not fare with his death as with the death of the quite as immortal Voltaire, which the Paris journalists were not permitted, by any means, to announce."

Van Swieten and Boerhave and Galen, after staying out a long while, brought in a letter for Albano, with Gaspard's seal; he tore it open, with the unsuspecting eagerness of youth, without a glance at the cover; but the Lector took that into his hand and turned it over and over like a Post-Office Clerk, Doctor of Heraldry, and Keeper of the Seal, as was his custom at the inquest of sphragistic wounds, and gently shook his head over the badly renewed and patched patent of nobility, namely, the impression of the arms on the wax. "Have the youngsters done any injury to the seal?" said Sphex. "My father, also," said Albano, reading to conceal an agitation which reached even to the outer man, and which a flight of heavy thoughts had suddenly occasioned among all his inner twigs, "has already heard of the Prince's death." At that Augusti shook his head still more; for as Sphex had previously jumped at once from the subject of the letter to that of the Prince's death, this leap almost presupposed the reading of the same. Let my reader deduce from this the rule, to take the distance of two tones, from one to the other of which people jump in his presence, and to infer from that the intermediate and connecting tone between the two, which they wish to conceal.

At present it was very well for the Count that the Doctor showed the tutors their apartments; ah, his soul, already staggering with the events of the past day, was now so intensely tossed by the contents of the letter!

29. CYCLE.

When Sphex opened the Librarian's room for him, the said room was already occupied with a box of vipers (also arrived from Italy), with three-quarters of a hundred weight of flax, a white hoop-petticoat, and three silk shoes, with the holes punched, belonging to the doctoress, and a supply of camomile. The medical married couple had thought the pedagogical couple nested together; but Schoppe replied admirably well, and almost with some irony toward the more politely treated Augusti: "The more powerful and intellectual and great two men are, so much the less can they bear each other under one ceiling, as great insects, which live on _fruits_, are unsocial (for example, in every hazel-nut there sits only one chafer), whereas the little ones, which only live on _leaves_,--for instance, the leaf-lice,--cleave together nest-wise." Zesara would by all means have been glad to hold to his insatiable heart the friend whom fate had placed thereupon, constantly in every situation and season as a brother-in-arms; but Schoppe has the right of it. Friends, lovers, and married people must have everything else in common, but not a chamber. The gross requisitions and trifling incidents of bodily presence gather as lamp-smoke around the pure, white flame of love. As the echo is always of more syllables the farther off our call starts, so must the soul from which we desire a fairer echo not be too near ours; and hence the nearness of souls increases with the distance of bodies.

The Doctor caused his noisy children to run like a cleansing stream through the Augean stable; but he went down again to the drummer, with whom, according to his own story, his connection stood thus: Sphex had already, several years before, ventured certain peculiar conjectures upon the secretion of fat and the diameter of the fat-cells, in a treatise which he would not publish till he could append to it the anatomical drawings thereunto appertaining, for which he was awaiting the dissection and injection of the drummer that sat there. This sickly, simple, flabby man, named _Malt_, he had a year since, when certain symptoms of the fat-eye attached to him, taken to board gratis, on condition that he should let himself be dissected when he was dead. Unfortunately Sphex has found, for a considerable time, that the corpse daily falls away and dries up from the likeness of an eel to a horned-snake; and he cannot possibly make out what does it, since he allows him nothing emaciating, neither thinking, nor motion, nor passions, sensibility, vinegar, nor anything else.

As to the drum, the corpse is obliged--since he is full as hard of hearing as he is of comprehending, and never can adopt a reason, for the very reason that he never hears one--to carry that round, strapped to him, because during its vibration he can better apprehend what his employer and prosector has to censure in him.[49] The Doctor now began to scold at him down below--Schoppe stood listening at the window--in the following wise: "I would the Devil had taken your cursed father of blessed memory before he had died. You shrink up like army-cloth under your lamentation, and yet never wake him up, though you cried your nose away. Drum better, church-mouse! Don't you know, then, scrub, that you have made a contract with another, to grow into fat as well as you can, and that it's expensive maintaining a fellow that steals his wages in this way, till he becomes available? Others would gladly grow fat, if they had such a chance. And you! speak, rope!" Malt let the drum-sticks clatter down under his thighs, and said: "Thou hast hit the true secret of thy trouble with me,--there is no real blessing upon our grease,--and one of us silently wears away at the thought. As to my blessed father, verily, I send him out of my head, let him happen in when he will."

30. CYCLE.

The paternal letter, which shook Albano's soul in all its joints, runs, when translated, thus:--

"Dear Albano: I regret to say, that in the Campanian vale I received a letter informing me of the continued recurrence and increasing violence of thy sister's asphyxias; it was written on Good Friday, and looked forward to her death as a settled thing. I, too, am prepared for the event. So much the more am I struck with thy account of the juggler of the Island, who would play the prophet. Such a prediction presupposes some circumstance or other, which I must trace out more nearly in Spain. I think I already know the impostor. Be thou, on thy birthday, watchful, armed, cool, and bold, and, if possible, hold the _jongleur_ fast; but bring no ridicule upon thyself by speaking of the subject. Dian is in Rome, working away right bravely. Put on court-mourning for the dear old Prince, out of courtesy. Addio!

"G. DE C."

"Ah, precious sister!" he sighed inwardly, and drew out her medallion, and looked through his tears upon the features of an old age which was denied her, and read with dim eyes the refuted subscription: "We see each other again." Now, when life was opening before him broad and smiling, it came home to him much more nearly, that fate laid its hand so darkly and heavily upon his sister; to which was added, too, the melancholy question, whether he was not guilty of her disappearance and decline, since on his account the frightful Zahouri of the Island had carried on perhaps a sacrificing jugglery: even the circumstance that she was his weakly twin-sister was a pang. But now his feelings stood contending against each other in his mind, as on a battle-field. "What destiny is on its way to meet me!" thought he. "Take the crown!" that voice had said. "What one?" his ambitious spirit rose up and asked, and boldly conjectured whether it consisted of laurels or thorns or metals. "Love the beautiful one!" it had said; he asked not, however, in this case, "What one?" only he feared, since the father of Death seemed terribly to certify his name and credentials, that the voice announced for the ascension- and birth-night might name some other name than the most beloved.

In the evening, after the three new-comers had fairly got through their household arrangements,--which, however, had never yet been able to efface from Albano's undulating soul the multiplied magic splendor of the Linden-city,--the Lector introduced the Count to the hereditary prince, Luigi. That individual was engaged half an hour every day copying in the picture-gallery; and appointed the two to attend him there. They went in. Any other than myself would have set before the world a bill of fare _raisonné_ of all the show-dishes in the gallery; but I cannot so much as present it with the seventeen pictures, over whose charms those silken shame-aprons or veils hung, which a Paris dame would gladly take off from her own, merely for the sake of modestly covering therewith works of art. One may easily conceive that our Alban, in this picture-gallery, must have been vividly reminded of that one of his mother's,[50] and that he would gladly have pressed every nail, had no one been there.

But the Princess Julienne was there, whom he (as we all do) still recognized right well as a Blumenbühl acquaintance, as she also did him. She was truly full of youthful charms, but one did not find these out till one had been for two days violently in love with her; that made her every minute afterward prettier, as in fact love is rather the father than the son of the goddess of grace, and his quiver the best casket of jewels and the richest toilet-box, and his bandage the best _mouchoir de Venus_ and beauty-patch that I know.

She was just sketching the gypsum-cast of a noble old head, which seemed to the Count as if it must have been drawn from the antique-cabinet of his memory, and toward which his swelling heart flowed out right lovingly; but he could not recall the original. At last Julienne, in despite of etiquette, said, looking up most kindly, "Ah, dear Augusti, my father lies dead in Lilar." The word Lilar suddenly colored, in Albano, the pale image of recollection,--perfectly like this white bust had the old man in the moonshine looked, who, in that poetical summer-night, pressed Zesara's hands together on the mountain for prayer, and said, "Go home to sleep, dear son, ere the storm comes." Now another would have inquired after the name of the bust, and then, and not till then, have disclosed the nocturnal history; but the Count, in his warmth, did merely the latter, after waiting a short time for the conversation to run out. Augusti, when Albano began the history--to _him_ a foreign one--of his acquaintance with the original, was on thorns to interrupt him; but Julienne gave him a nod, to let him go on, and the youth true-heartedly communicated to the sympathizing soul the beautiful meeting, with a tenderness of emotion and fire, both of which increased when her eyes flowed over into her smiles. "It was my father,--that is his cast," said Julienne, weeping and glad. Albano, after his manner, clasped his hands together, with a sigh, before the bust, and said, "Thou noble, heartily-beloved form!" and his large eye gleamed with love and sorrow.

The good female soul was carried away by a sympathy so uncourtly, and she gave herself up completely to her inborn fire. Female and court life is truly only a longer _punishment of bearing arms_ (as, according to the model of the yes-sirs, there are no-sirs, so royal governesses are true no-ma'ams); the seven-colored cockade of gay, dancing liberty is there torn off, or runs into the black of court-mourning; every female pleasure-grove must be an unholy one; I know nothing more fatal,--but the curly-haired Julienne, in spite of you and me, broke through the eternal imprisonment (with sweet bread and strong water), some twelve times a day, and laughed to the free heavens, and offended (herself and others never) the royal governess always. She now related to the Count (while from nervous weakness and vivacity she continued to smile more brightly and speak more rapidly) how her dear, feeble father, more childlike than childish, whose old lips and disabled thoughts could not possibly any longer do more than lisp a response to prayers, had shut himself up with a snowy-headed mystical court-preacher in an oratory at Lilar (a gray head loves to hide itself before it disappears forever, and seeks, like birds, a dark place for going to sleep),--and how she and Fräulein von Froulay (Liana) had alternately read prayers before the half-blind old man, and, as it were, tolled the evening-bell of devotion to the weary, sleep-drunken life. She painted how, in this antechamber of the tomb, he had outlived or forgotten all that he had once loved; how he had kept always asking after her mother, whose death was ever slipping again from his memory; and how the dimmed eye had taken every hour of the day for evening, and accordingly every one who went out as one going to bed.

We will not look too long at this late time of life, when men again, like children, shrink up for the more lasting cradle of the grave; and when, like flowers sleeping at evening, they become _undistinguishable_, and grow all alike, even before death makes them so.

The Lector, like all courtiers, was particularly ill-suited with these funereals; he would also fain heal the Job's malady of her lamentation by changing the current of discourse, and bringing it nearer to Liana. But in the very act of describing the sympathy and sacrifices of this friend, and when memory brought back to her the long, tearful embrace in which Liana had locked her and pain at once as it were fast to her bosom, then came back into her heart anew every dark, heavy drop of blood which her powerful arteries had sent forth, and she ceased to portray either this history or the head upon which she had been engaged.

The two female friends were none of those who send a kiss to each other through two thicknesses of veil, or who know how to hug each other without wounding or bruising a curl, or whose love-feast every year, as the sacramental bread every century, breaks lighter and thinner; but they loved each other intensely,--with eyes, lips, and hearts,--like two good angels. And if hitherto joy had taken her harvest-wreath and made it a wedding-ring of friendship, so now did grief seek to do the same with his girdle of thorns. You good souls! to me it is very easily imaginable how such a pure, bright linking of souls should at once painfully distend and blissfully exalt the heart of your friend Albano, as the aerostatic ball at once destructively swells and soars. For Liana's entry, there stood besides beautifully decorated triumphal gates to the highest heavens in his innermost being!

Meanwhile a stranger would not, without this pen of mine (nor I myself without the fee-provost Hafenreffer), have been able to observe anything in the Count, while speaking, except a mild, wandering glow in his face, and rapidity of utterance.

31. CYCLE.

Into the midst of these delineations and enjoyments the successor, or rather the _afterwinter_ of the cold old man, Luigi, suddenly entered. With a flat, carved work of spongy face, on which nothing expressed itself but the everlasting discontent of life-prodigals, and with a little full-grown miniver[51] on his head (as forerunner of the wisdom-teeth), and with the unfruitful superfetation of a voluminous belly, he came up to Albano with the greatest courtliness, in which a flat frostiness towards all men stood prominent. He immediately began to dust about him with the bran of empty, rapid, disconnected questions, and was constantly in a hurry; for he suffered almost more ennui than he caused; as in general, there is no one with whom life drags so disagreeably as with him who tries to make it shorter. Luigi had run over the earth as quickly as through a powdering room, and had, as in such a room, become decently gray; the milk-vessels of his outer and inner man had, because they were to be converted into cream-pots and custard-cups, for that very reason, perverted themselves into poison-cups and goblets of sorrow. As often as I pass along before a painted prince's-suite in a corridor, I always fall upon my old project, and say, with entire conviction: "Could we only contrive for once, like the Spartans and all the older nations, to get a regent to the throne in a _healthy_ state, then we should have a _good_ one into the bargain, and all would go well. But I know these are no times for such a thing. It is a sin, that only at torture do surgeons and physicians assist, not at joy, to point out nicely the degree of pleasure as they do of the rack, and to indicate the innocent conditions."

Albano, a stranger in the company and in the eyes of this class of men, looked upon the gulf between himself and Luigi as much less deep than it was; it was merely annoying and uncomfortable to him, as it is to certain people, when, without their knowledge, a cat is in the chamber. The progress of moral enervation and refinement will yet so cleanse and equalize all our exteriors,--and according to the same law, indeed, by which _physical weakness_ throws back the _eruptions of the skin_ and drives them into the _nobler_ parts,--that verily an angel and a satan will come at last to be distinguishable in nothing except in the heart. Alban had already brought with him from Wehrfritz, whom he always heard contending for the right of the province against the prince, an aversion to his successor; so much the more easily flamed up in him a moral indignation, when Luigi turned toward the pictures and drew aside the curtains or aprons from several of the most indecent, in order, not without taste and knowledge, to appraise their artistic worth. A copied Venus of Titian, lying upon a white cloth, was only the forerunner. Although the innocent hereditary prince made his _voyage pittoresque_ through this gallery with the artistical coldness of a gallery inspector and anatomist, and sought more to show than to enrich his knowledge, still the inexperienced youth took it all up with a deaf and blind passionateness, which I know not how to vindicate in any way, not even by the presence of the princess, and so much the less, because in the first place she busily divided her soul only between the gypsum-bust and its copy, and because, secondly, in our day, ladies' watches and fans (if they are tasty) have pictures on them which Albano would want other fans to hide. The two flames of wrath and shame overspread his face with a glowing reflection; but his awkward honesty of scorn contrasted with the ease of the Lector, who with his cold tone, quite as precise as it was light, preserved independence and protected purity. "They please me not, one of them," he said, with severity: "I would give them all away for a single storm of Tempesta's." Luigi smiled at his scholar-like eye and feeling. When they stepped into the second picture-chamber, Albano heard the Princess going away. As this apartment threatened him with still more rent veils of the _un_holiest, he took his leave without special ceremony, and went back without the Lector, who had to-day to give a reading.

Never did Schoppe grasp his throbbing hand more heartily than this time; the aspect of an abashed young man is almost fairer (especially rarer) than that of an abashed virgin; the former appears more tender and feminine, as the latter appears more strong and manly, by a mixture of the indignation of virtue. Schoppe, who, like Pope, Swift, Boileau, forced into combination a sacred reverence for the sex with cynicism of dress and language, emptied the greatest vials of wrath upon all libertinage, and fell like a satirical Bellona upon the best free people; this time, however, he rather took them under his protection, and said, "The whole tribe love the blush of shame in others decidedly, and defend it more willingly than shamelessness, just as (and on the same kind of grounds) blind persons prefer the _scarlet_ color. One may liken them to _toads_, who set the costly toad-stone (their heart) on no other cloth as they do upon a _red_ one."

The Lector--who with all his purity and correctness would, nevertheless, without hesitation, have helped a Scarron write his ode on the seat of a duchess--when he would treat the matter of the Count's flight, was at a loss what to make of it, when the latter sprinkled him with some rose-vinegar, and said, "The bad man's father is lying on the board, and one lies before his own iron brow: O, the bad man!" Certainly the physical and moral nearness of the two fair female hearts, and his love for them, had done most to excite the Count against Luigi's artistic cynicism. The Lector merely replied, "He would hear the same at the Minister's and everywhere; and his false delicacy would very soon surrender." "Do the saints," inquired Schoppe, "dwell only _upon_ the palaces and not _in_ them?" For Froulay's bore upon its platform a whole row of stone apostles; and on one corner stood a statue of Mary, which was to be seen from Sphex's house among nothing but roofs.

Youthful Zesara! how does this marble Madonna chase the blood-waves through thy face, as if she were the sister of thy fairer one, or her tutelar and household goddess! But he took care not to hasten his entrance into this _Lararium_ of his soul, namely, the delivery of his father's letter of introduction, by a single whisper, for fear of suspicion; so many missteps does the good man make in the very gentile fore-court of love; how shall he stand in the fore-court of the women, or get a footing in the dim Holy of Holies?

32. CYCLE.

The Court now caused to be made known in writing (it could not speak for sorrow) that the dead Nestor had departed this life. I set aside here the lamentation of the city, together with the rejoicing of the same over the new perspective. The Land-physicus Sphex had to eviscerate the Regent like a mighty beast,--whereas we subjects are served up with all our viscera, like snipes and ground-sparrows, on the table of the worms. At evening, there reposed the pale one on his bed of state,--the princely hat and the whole electrical apparatus of the throne-thunder lay quite as still and cold beside him on a Tabouret; he had the suitable torches and corpse-watchers around him. These Swiss-guards of the dead (the sound of the word rings through me, and I at this moment see Liberty lying on her bed of state in the Alps, and the Swiss guarding her) consist, as is well known, of two regency-counsellors, two counsellors of the exchequer, and so on. One of the exchequer-counsellors was Captain Roquairol. It can be only touched upon here, in the way of interpolation, how this youth, who of financial matters understood little more than a treasury-counsellor in ----h,[52] arose, nevertheless, to be a counsellor in war-matters there,--namely, against his own will, through old Froulay, who (in himself no very sentimental gentleman) was always reviving and retouching the youthful remembrances of the old Prince, because, in this tender mood, one could get from him by begging what one would. How odious and low! so can a poor prince have not a smile, not a tear, not a happy thought, out of which some court-mendicant, who sees it, will not make a door-handle to open something for himself, or a dagger-handle to inflict a wound; not a sound can he utter which some forester and bugle-master of the chase shall not pervert to the purpose of a mouth-piece and tally-ho.

Julienne, at nine o'clock in the evening, visited the only heart which, in the whole court, beat like hers and for hers,--her good Liana. The latter gladly offered her forehead to her commencing sick-headache, and sought only to feel and to still another's pain. The friends, who, before strangers' eyes, only displayed pleasantry, and before each other only a tender, enthusiastic seriousness, sank more and more deeply into this mood before the severe and religious lady of the Minister, who never found in Julienne so much soul as in the soft hour after weeping, as stock-gilliflowers begin to scent the air when they are sprinkled. Not the struggle, but the flight of pain, beautifies the person; hence the countenance of the dead is transfigured, because the agonies have cooled away. The maidens stood enthusiastically together at the window, the waxing moonlight of their fancy was made full moonlight by that of the outer world; they formed the nun's-plan to live together, and go in and out together for life. Often it seemed to them, in this still hour of emotion (and the thought made them shudder), as if the murmuring wings of departed souls swept by over them (it was only a couple of flies, who, with feet and wings, had caught a few tones on the harp of the Minister's lady); and Julienne thought most bitterly of her dead father in Lilar.

At last she begged the sister of her soul to ride with her this night to Lilar, and to share and assuage the last and deepest woe of an orphan. She did it willingly; but the "yes" was hard to extort from the Minister's lady. I see the gentle forms step, from their long embrace in the carriage, out into the mourning chamber at Lilar,--Julienne, the smaller of the two, with quivering eyes and changing color; Liana, more pale with megrim and mourning, and milder and taller than her companion, having completed her growth in her twelfth year.[53]

Like supernatural beings the two maidens beamed upon Roquairol's soul, already burning in every corner. A single tear-drop had power to bring into this calcining oven boiling and desolation. Already this whole evening had he been glancing at the old man with fearful shudderings at the childish end of that faded spirit, which once had been as fiery as his own now was; and the longer he looked, so much the thicker smoke-clouds floated from the open crater of the grave over into his green-blooming life, and he heard therein a thundering, and he saw therein an iron hand glowing and threatening to grasp at human hearts.

Amidst these grim dreams, which illuminated every inner stain of his being, and which sternly threatened him that a day would come, when, in his volcano too, there would remain nothing fruitful but the--ashes, the mournful maidens entered, who, on their way, had wept only over the face that had grown _cold_, and now wept still more heavily over the form that had grown _beautiful_; for the hand of death had effaced from it the lines of the last years,--the prominent chin, the fire-mounds of the passions, and so many pains underscored with wrinkles, and had, as it were, painted upon the earthly tabernacle the reflection of that fresh, still morning light which now invested the disrobed soul. But upon Julienne a black taffeta-plaster on the eyebrows, which had been left behind by a blow,--this sign of wounds made a more violent impression than all signs of healing: she observed only the tears, but not the words of Liana. "O, how beautifully he rests there!" "But why does he rest?" said her brother, with that voice, murmuring from his innermost being, which she recognized as coming from the amateur-stage; and grasped her hand with agitation, because he and she loved each other fervently, and his lava broke now through the thin crust: "for this reason,--because the heart is cut out of his breast, because the wheel is broken at the cistern, because the fire-wheel of rapture, the fountain-wheel of tears, moves therein no more!"

This cruel allusion to the opening of the body wrought terribly on the sick Liana. She must needs avert her eyes from the covered breast, because the anguish cramped the breath in her lungs; and yet the wild man, desolating others as well as himself, who had hitherto been silent by the side of the stiff corpse-guard, went on with redoubled crushing: "Feel'st thou how painfully this cricket-ball of fate, this Ixion's wheel of the wishes, rolls within us? Only the breast without a heart is calm."

At once Liana took a longer and more intense look at the corpse; an ice-cold edge, as if of death's scythe, cut through her burning brain,--the funeral torches (it seemed to her) burned dimmer and dimmer,--then she saw in the corner of the chamber a dark cloud playing and growing up;--then the cloud began to fly, and, full of gushing night, rushed over her eyes,--then the thick night struck deep roots into her wounded eyes, and the affrighted soul could only say, "Ah, brother, I am blind!"

Only hard man, but no woman, will be able to conceive that an æsthetic pleasure at the murderous tragedy found its way into Roquairol's frightful anguish. Julienne left the dead, and her old sorrow, and, with the new one, flung herself around her neck, and moaned: "O my Liana, my Liana! Seest thou not yet? Do look up at me!" The distracted and distracting brother led on the sister, upon whose pale cheeks only single drops fell like hard, cold water, with the sharp question: "Does no destroying angel, with red wings, whiz through thy night; hurls he no yellow vipers at thy heart, and no sword-fish into thy network of nerves, in order that they may be entangled therein, and whet their saw-teeth in the wounds? I am happy in my pain; such thistles scratch us up,[54] according to good moralists, and smooth us down too. Thou anguish-stricken blind one, what say'st thou,--have I made thee truly miserable again?" "Madman!" said Julienne, "let her alone: thou art destroying her." "O, he is not to blame for that," said Liana; "the headache long since made it misty to my eyes."

The friends took their departure in double darkness, and therein will I leave it with all its agonies. Then Liana begged her maiden to say nothing of it to her mother so little time before sleep, since it might, perhaps, go away in the night. But in vain; the Minister's lady was accustomed to close her day on the bosom and lips of her daughter. The latter now came in, led along, and sought her mother's heart with a groping, sidelong motion, and, in this beloved neighborhood, could no longer refrain from a softer weeping; then, indeed, all was betrayed and confessed. The mother first sent for the Doctor before she, with wet eyes and with her gentle arms around her, heard her afflicted daughter's story. Sphex came, examined the eyes and pulse, and made no more of it than a nervous prostration.

The Minister, who had everywhere in the house leading-hounds with fine--ears, came in, upon being informed; and while Sphex stood by, he made, except long strides, nothing but this little note, "_Voyez, Madame, comme votre le Cain[55] joue son rôle à merveille_."

As soon as Sphex had gone out, Froulay let loose several billion-pounders and hand-grenades upon his lady. "Such," he observed, "are the consequences of your visionary scheme of education (to be sure his own, in respect to his son, had not turned out specially well). Why did you let the sick ninny go?" He would himself have still more gladly allowed it from courtly views; but men love to blame the faults which they have been saved the trouble of committing; in general, like head-cooks, they had rather apply the knife to the _white_- than to the _dark_-feathered fowl. "_Vous aimez, ce me semble, à anticiper le sort de cette reveuse un peu avant qu'il soit decidé de nôtre._"[56] Her silence only made him the more bitter. "_O, ce sied si bien à votre art cosmétique que de rendre aveugle et de l'être, le dieu de l'amour s'y prête de modèle._" Wounded by this extreme severity,--especially as the Minister himself had chosen and commanded this very _cosmetic_ education of Liana, against the maternal wishes, to gratify his political ones,--the mother had to go and hide and dry her wet eyes in her daughter's bosom. Married men and the latest literati regard themselves as flints, whose power of giving _light_ is reckoned according to their _sharp corners_. Our forefathers ascribed to a diamond belt the power to kindle love between spouses. I also still find in jewels this power; only this stone (which appertains to the flint species) leaves one, after the marriage-compact, as cold and hard as it is itself. Probably Froulay's marriage-bond was one of such precious stone.

But the lady only said, "Dear Minister, leave we that! only spare you the sick one." "_Voilà précisement ce qui fût votre affaire_," said he, laughing scornfully. In vain did Liana eloquently and touchingly pour out to him her mistaken yet moving convictions, (aimed at the wall, however,) and plead for her brother, which everlasting advocacy of all sorts of people (which proved too much) was her only failing;--all in vain, for his sympathy with an afflicted one consisted in nothing but fury against the tormentors, and his love toward Liana showed itself only in hatred of the same. "Peace, fool! But _Monsieur le Cain_ comes not into my house, madam, till further orders!" Out of forbearance, I say nothing further to the old conjugal bully than go--to the devil, or at least to bed.

33. CYCLE.

The German public may still remember the _obligato-sheets_ promised in the Introductory Programme, and ask me what has become of them. The foregoing Cycle was the first, most excellent Public; but see through the matter, how it is with obligato-sheets, and that perhaps as much history lies therein as in any one Cycle, however it may be called.

The Count had not yet learned anything of Liana's misfortune, when he, with the others, went down to the dinner of the Doctor, who to-day was very hospitable. They found him seized with a most violent fit of laughter, his hands thrust into his sides, and his eyes bent over two little ointment vessels on the table. He stood up, and was quite serious. The fact was, he found in Reil's Archives of Physiology, that, according to Fourcroy and Vauquelin, tears dye violet-juice green, and therefore contain alkali. In order to prove the proposition and the tears, he had thrown himself into a chair, and laughed in right hearty earnest, so as afterward to cry and get a drop or two for the brine-gauge of the proposition; he would gladly have wrought himself into another kind of emotion, but he understood his own nature, and knew that nothing could be got out of it so,--not a drop.

He left the guests alone a moment,--the lady was not yet to be seen,--Malt sat on an ottoman,--the children had satirical looks,--in short, Impudence dwelt in this house as in her temple. Ridicule had no effect upon the old man, and he only countermanded what displeased himself, not what displeased others.

At length the rosy-cheeked wife of the physician flourished into the apartment,--as preparatory course or preamble of the dinner,--with three or four _esprits_ or _feathers in her cap_,--with a dapple neck-apron,--in a red ball-dress, from which waltzing had taken out the color in which she had rouged,--and with a perforated fancy-fan. If I wished, I could be interested in her; for, touching these _esprits_ (since the _esprit_, like the brain in Embrya, often sets itself upon the brain-pan, and there suns itself), she thought women and partridges were best served up at table with feathers on their heads; touching the fan, she meant to have it understood she had just come from a morning call (whereby she very clearly implied that ladies could no more go through the streets without their fan-stick than joiners without their rule); touching the rest, she knew the guest was a Count. Accordingly, it appears that she belongs to the honorables, who (for the most part), like rattlesnakes, are never better to be enjoyed than when one has previously put the head out of the way; but that we have still time enough to believe, when we come to understand her better.

The beautiful Zesara was for her blind, deaf, dumb, destitute of smell, taste, feeling; but there are many women whom one cannot, with the greatest pains and tediousness, displease; Schoppe could do it more easily. Sphex, for his own personal predilections, made more out of a cell of fat in Malt than out of the whole cellular texture of a lady, even of his own; like all business people, he held women to be veritable _angels_, whom God had sent for the ministration of the saints (the business men).

The dinner course began. Augusti, a delicate eater, enjoyed much, and took not only to the fine service, but to the torn napkins; the like of which he had often had in his lap at court, because there, in morals and in linen, rents are preferred to plasters. Soon, as usual, came forth even the outposts and first skirmishes of miserable dishes, the common prophets and forerunners of the best tit-bits, although at a hundred tables I have cursed them, that they did not, like good monthly magazines, give the best pieces first, and the most meagre last. The Doctor had already said to the three boys,--"Galen, Boerhave, Van Swieten, what is the polite way of sitting?" and the three physicians had already shoved three right hands between the waistcoat buttons, and three left hands into the waistcoat pockets, and sat waiting, "bolt upright" when good chap-sager was brought in for the dessert Sphex partly expressed pleasure in cheese, partly a horror of it, just as he found it in the way of his shop-business. He remarked, on one hand, how joiners, in their glue-pot, had no better glue than what stood here before them,--it had just that binding quality in a man,--yet he would rather, for his own individual self, with Dr. Junker, apply it externally, like arsenic; but he also confessed, on the other hand, that the chap-sager for the Lector was poison. "I would pledge myself for it," said he, "that you, if one could examine you, would be found hectic! the long fingers and the long neck speak in my favor, and particularly are white teeth, according to Camper, a bad sign. Persons, on the contrary, who have a set of teeth like my lady there may feel safe."

Augusti smiled, and merely asked the Doctor's lady, at what time one could best gain access to the Minister.

Such poisonous reflections, as well as cats'-dinners,[57] he gave out, not from satirical malice, but from mere indifference to others, whom, like an honest man, he never suffered in the least to sway him in his actions. With the liberty-cap of the doctor's hat on his head, he received, from his medical indispensableness, so many academic freedoms, that he, between his four house-walls, ate and acted not more freely than between the showy, bristling pale-work of the court. Did he ever there--I ask that--let a drop of sweet wine pass his lips without previously drawing out an Ephraimite, which did not itself outlive the probation-day, and hanging it in the glass, merely to prove before the court whether the Ephraimite therein did not grow black? And if the silver did so, was there not as good as a demonstration of the wine being oversmoked, and could not the physician have _applied_ the whole right neatly, court, sweetness, blackening, poisoning, and oversmoking, if he had been the man to do it?

The Lector's accidentally inquiring about the time of seeing the Minister was what Albano had to thank for saving him from first learning the painful misfortune in the house of the Minister, or in the presence of the blind girl herself. "You can," answered Sara, the Doctoress, "also despatch the servant; he will subscribe for you all; I, however, pity none as I do the daughter." Now broke loose a storm of questions about the unknown accident. "It is so," began the physician, sulkily; but soon (because he saw in some eyes water for his mill, and because he sought to roll off all medical blame from himself upon Captain Roquairol) he set himself as well as he could to pathetic detail, and lied almost like a sentimentalist. With an unobserved hint to the _affected_ lady, he pushed an empty dish towards her as a lachrymatory, in order that nothing might be lost. From the eclipsed eyes of the vainly struggling youth, this first woe of his life snatched some great drops. "May recovery be possible?" asked Augusti, exceedingly troubled, on account of his connection with the family.

"Certainly; it is a mere affection of the nerves," replied Schoppe, briskly, "and nothing more." Whytt relates, that a lady who had too much acid in her stomach (in the _heart_ it were still worse) saw everything in a _cloud_, as girls do at the approach of sick-headache. Sphex, who had lied only for the sake of pathos and alkali, and who was vexed that the Librarian should have been of his private opinion, answered just as if the latter had not spoken at all. "The highest degree of consumption, Mr. Lector, often winds up with blindness, and it were well, in this case, to prescribe for both. Meanwhile I am acquainted with a certain periodical nervous blindness. I had the case in a lady[58] whom I brought out of it merely by blood-letting, smoke of burnt coffee, and the evening fog from the water; this we are now trying again in the case of our nervous patient. A dutiful physician will, however, always wish the devil would take mother and brother."

In other words, the return of Liana's periodical malady almost distracted him. Offences against his honor, his love, his sympathy, never wrought the Physicus into a heat; through all such he kept on his glazed frost surtout; but disturbances of his cures heated him even to the degree of flying to pieces; and so are we all a kind of Prince-Rupert's-drops, which can bear the hammer and never break, till one just breaks off the little thread point, and they fly into a thousand splinters; with Achilles, it was the heel, with Sphex, the medical D.'s ring-finger, with me, the writing-finger. The Doctor now shook out the contents of his heart, as some call their gall-bladder; he swore by all the devils he had done more for her than any and every physician,--he had, however, already foreseen that such a stupid education--merely to look well and pray and read and sing--would prove a cursed poor economy,--he had often longed to break the harmonica-bells and tambour-needles,[59]--he had often called the attention of the mother, with sufficient distinctness and without indulgence, to Liana's so-called charms, and to her sensibility, her bright redness of cheeks, and velvet-soft skin; but had seemed to himself, by so doing, almost to gratify more than to distress her. The only thing that delighted him was, that the maiden had, some years before, caught a deadly sickness from the first holy sacrament, from which he had tried to keep her away, because he had already experienced, in the case of a fourth patient, the most melancholy consequences from this holy act.

To the astonishment of every one my Count took part against all with Roquairol. Ah, thy first spring-storms were even now whirling round imprisoned in thy bosom, without a friendly hand to give them an outlet, and thou wouldst cover thy bloody grief! And wast thou not seeking a spirit full of flames, and eyes full of flames for thine own, and wouldst thou not rather have entered into brotherhood with a thundering hell-god than with an insipid pietistical saint, forever gnawing like a moth? Sharply he asks the Doctor, "What have you done with the Prince's heart?" "I have it not," said Sphex, startled; "it lies in _Tartarus_,[60] although it would have been more profitable to science had one been permitted to put it among one's preparations; it was large and very singular." He was thinking how often--when he could--he had, as an augur, during the dissection, secretly slipped aside one or another important member--as a princely or a cavalier-robber, _à la minutta_--for his study,--a honey-bag which he gladly cut out for himself with his anatomical honey-knife.

"Has the young lady, then, an unhappy passion, or anything of the sort?" inquired Schoppe. "More than one," said Sphex; "cripples, idiots, young orphans, blind Methusalems,--all these passions she has. Sports and young gentlemen, I often say to the old lady, would be better for her health."

But on this point, in the requirement of cheerfulness, I give in to him. Joy is the only universal tincture which I would prepare; it works uniformly as _antispasmodicum_, as _glutinans_ and _astringens_. The oil of gladness serves as ointment for _burns_ and _chills_ at once. Spring, for example, is a spring-medicine; a country-party, an oyster-medicine; a recreation at the watering-places is, in itself, a glass of _bitters_; a ball is a _motion_; a carnival, a _course_[61] of medicine;--and hence the seat of the _blest_ is at the same time the seat of the _immortals_.

"Yes, he had finally," the Doctor concluded,--"as they were people of rank,--prescribed a dose of _pride_ (of the meadows), which manifests all the officinal healing powers of joy; taken in a stronger dose, it works fully as well as enjoyment itself, enlivens the pulse, steels the fibres, opens the pores, and chases the blood through the long venous labyrinth.[62] In the case of his weakly lady, such as they saw her there, he had used, he said, this medicament long ago by dresses and a doctor's rank, and had helped her to her legs thereby. But he would rather cure sixty common women than one distinguished one,--and he should regret, as family physician, merely his receipts and medical opinions, in case, as he certainly believed, the fair Liana should go hence."

The first question which Albano, who never missed anything that was said, put to Augusti on the way back from the Doctor's, was, What the Doctor's wife meant by the subscribing servant? He explained it. There is, namely, in Pestitz, as in Leipsic, an observance, that when a man dies or falls into any other misfortune, his family place a blank sheet of paper, with pen and ink, in the entrance-hall, in order that persons, who take and show a nearer interest, may send a lackey thither, to set their names on the paper as well as he knows how; this merchant-like indorsement of the nearer interest, this descending representative system by means of servants, who are generally, now-a-days, the telegraphs of our hearts, sweetens and alleviates for both cities great sorrow and sympathy through pen and ink.

"What! is that it? O God!" said Alban, and grew unusually indignant, as if people were forcing servants upon him as chrysographs and business-agents of his feelings. "O ye egotistical jugglers! through the pen of scribbling lackeys do ye pour yourselves out? Lector, I would condole with Satan himself more warmly than thus!"

Why is this veiled spirit so lively and loud? Ah, everything had moved him. Not merely lamentation over poor Liana, persecuted by all the nightly arrows of destiny, entered like iron into his open heart, but also amazement at the gloomy intermingling of fate with his young life. Roquairol's ever-recurring expression, "_Breast without a heart_," sounded to him as if it must be familiar; at last the converse of the expression came to his thoughts, the word of the Sphinx on the island, "_Heart without a breast_." So, then, even this riddle was solved, and the place fixed, when he was to hear, contrary to every expectation, the prophecy of the loved one; but how incomprehensible,--incomprehensible!

"O yes! Liana she is called, and no God shall change the name," said his innermost soul. For in earlier years even the most vigorous youth prefers, in maidens, interesting delicacy of health and a tender fulness of feeling and a moisture of the eye,--just as, in general, at Albano's age, one values the flood (later the ebb) of the eyes too highly, although, too often, like an over-rich inundation, they wash away the seed-corns of the best resolutions;--whereas, at a later period, (because he proposes to himself marriage and housekeeping,) he looks out rather for bright and sharp than after moist eyes, and for cold and healthy blood.

As Albano, for the most part, drew down the fire from his internal clouds on the discharging chains of the harpsichord strings,--seldomer into the Hippocrene of poetry,--so did he now unconsciously make out of his inner _charivari_ a passage on the harpsichord. I transpose his fantasy into my fancy in the following manner. On the softest minor-tones the blindness, with its long pains, passed by, and in the whispering-gallery of music he heard all the soft sighs of Liana repeated aloud. Then harder minor-tones led him down into Tartarus, to the grave and heart of the friendly old man who had once prayed with him, and then, in this spirit-hour, fell softly, like a dew-drop from heaven, the sound, Liana! With a thunder-clap of ecstasy he fell into the major-key, and asked himself, "This delicate, pure soul could fate promise to thy imperfect heart?" And when he answered himself, that she would perhaps love him, because she could not see him,--for first love is not vain; and when he saw her led by her gigantic brother, and when he thought of the high friendship which he would give and require of _him_; then did his fingers run over the keys in an exalting war-music, and the heavenly hours sounded before him, which he should enjoy, when his two eternal dreams should pass over livingly out of night into day, and when brother and sister should furnish at once, to his so youthful heart, a loved one and a friend. Here his inner and outer storms softly died away, and the evenly-balanced _temperament_ of the instrument became that of the player....

But a soul like his is more easily appeased with sorrow than with joy. As if the reality had already arrived, he pressed on still further; indescribably fair and unearthly, he saw Liana's image trembling in her cup of sorrow; for the crown of thorns easily ennobles a head to a Christ's head, and the blood of an undeserved wound is a redness on the cheek of the inner man, and the soul which has suffered too much is easily loved too much. The tender Liana appeared to him as already spun into the funeral veil for the Flora of the second world, as the tender limbs of the bee-nymph lie transparently folded over the little breast,--the white form of snow, which had once, in his dream, melted away on his heart, opened the bright little cloud again, and looked, blind and weeping, upon the earth, and said, "Albano, I shall die before I have seen thee."--"And even if thou shouldst never see me," said the dying heart in his breast, "yet will I still love thee. And even if thou shouldst soon pass away, Liana, still I gladly choose sorrow, and walk faithfully with thee till thou art in heaven."... Heaven and hell had both at once drawn aside their curtains before him,--only a few notes, and those the same as before, and only the highest, and that only interruptedly and faintly, could he any longer strike; and at last his hands sank down, and he began to weep, but without too severe pangs,--as the storm which has unburdened itself of its lightnings and thunders stands now over the earth only as a soft, diffused rain.


[45] One who dedicated a new house (somewhat as we name a ship). The _glass fire-bucket_ which _quenched the inner conflagration_ was probably the wine-glass or beer-tumbler.--TR.

[46] Collegians.--TR.

[47] Provincial Physician.--TR.

[48] According to Camper, hectic patients have very white and fair teeth.

[49] Derham (in his Physico-Theology, 1750) observes that the deaf hear best under a noise; e. g. one hard of hearing, under the sound of bells; a deaf housewife, under the drumming of the house-servant. Hence when princes and ministers, who for the most part hear badly, are passing through the country, kettle-drums are beat and cannon fired, so that they can hear the people more easily.

[50] In whose wall the lady with the souvenir sits.

[51] A kind of gray fur.--TR.

[52] Baireuth.--TR.

[53] This precocious completion of growth I have observed in many distinguished women, just as if these Psyches should resemble butterflies, which do not grow after coming out of the chrysalis state.

[54] Cloth is roughened with thistles, i.e. scratched up, in order to the better shearing of it afterwards.

[55] A distinguished actor of tragedy.

[56] He means here their divorce, which was only deferred by the mutual wish to keep Liana.

[57] Poor dinners, just as cat-silver is an inferior metal.--TR.

[58] A weak-nerved lady (I know not whether it is the same) who had much religion, fancy, and suffering, became, as she tells me, blind in the same way, and was cured in the same way.

[59] The eternal pricking of the sensitive finger-nerves by knitting, tambour, and other needles, perhaps as much as the touching of the harmonica-bells, makes one, by stimulating, weak in the nerves.

[60] Tartarus is the melancholy part of Lilar.

[61] Kursus--corso.--TR.

[62] Pride of the meadows quickens the circulation of the blood even to frenzy. This whole observation on the pharmaceutic value of pride of the meadows is taken from Tissot's "Traité sur les Nerfs."



34. CYCLE.

Postulates--apothegms--philosophems--Erasmian adages--observations of Rochefoucauld, La Bruyere, Lavater, do I in one week invent in countless numbers, more than I can in six months get rid of by bringing them into my biographical _petits soupés_ as episode-dishes. Thus does the lottery-mintage of my _unprinted_ manuscripts swell higher and higher every day, the more extracts and winnings I deal out to my reader therefrom in print. In this way I creep out of the world without having, while in it, said anything. Lavater takes a more rational course; he lets the whole lottery-wheel, filled with treasures, under the title of manuscripts (just as we, inversely, despatch manuscripts to the publishers by mail under the title of printed matter) circulate even among the _literati_.

But why shall I not do the same, and let at least one or two lymphatic veins of my water-treasure leap up and run out? I limit myself to ten persecutions of the reader,--calling my ten aphorisms thus, merely because I imagine the readers to be martyrs of their opinions, and myself the Regent who converts them by force. The following aphorism, if one reckons the foregoing as the first persecution, is, I hope, the


Nothing sifts and winnows our preferences and partialities better than an imitation of the same by others. For a genius there are no sharper polishing-machines and grinding-disks at hand than his apes. If, further, every one of us could see running along beside him a duplicate of himself, a complete Archimimus[63] and repeater in complimenting, taking off the hat, dancing, speaking, scolding, bragging, &c.; by Heaven! such an exact repeating-work of our discords would make quite other people out of me and other people than we are at present. The first and least step which we should take toward reflection and virtue would be this, that we should find our bodily methodology, e. g. our walk, dress, dialect, our oaths, looks, favorite dishes, &c., no better than those of all others, but just the same. Princes have the good fortune that all courtiers around them station themselves as faithful supernumerary copyists and pier-mirrors of _their_ selves, and propose to improve them by this Helot-mimicry. But they seldom attain their good end, because the Prince,--and that were also to be feared of me and the reader,--like the principle of _non-distinguendum_, does not believe in any real twins, but imagines that in morals, as in catoptrics, every mirror and mock rainbow shows everything _inverted_.


It is easier and handier for men to flatter than to praise.


In the centuries before us humanity appears to us to be growing up; in those which come after us, to be fading away; in our own, to burst forth in glorious bloom: thus do the clouds, only when in our zenith, seem to move straight forward, those in front of us come up from the horizon, the others behind us sail downward with fore-shortened forms.


What makes old age so sad is, not that our joys, but that our hopes then cease.[64]


The old age of women is sadder and more solitary than that of men; spare, therefore, in them their years, their sorrows, and their sex! In fact, life often resembles the trap-tree with its spines directed upward, on which the bear easily clambers up to the honey-bait, but from which he can slide down again only under severe stings.


Have compassion on Poverty, but a hundred times more on Impoverishment! Only the former, not the latter, makes nations and individuals better.


Love lessens woman's delicacy and increases man's.


When two persons, in suddenly turning a corner, knock their heads together, each begins anxiously to apologize, and thinks only the other feels the pain and that he himself has all the blame. (Only I excuse myself without any embarrassment, for the very reason that I know, by my persecutions, how the other party thinks.) Would to God we did not invert this in the case of moral offences!


Deluded and darkened man, living on from the mourning veil to the corpse-veil, thinks there is no further evil beyond that which he has immediately to overcome; and forgets that after the victory the new situation brings a new struggle. Hence, as before swift ships there swims a hill of water and a corresponding billowy abyss glides along close behind, so always before us is there a mountain, which we hope to climb, and behind us still a deep valley out of which we seem to have ascended.

Thus does the reader vainly hope now, after having stood out ten persecutions, to ride into the haven of the story, and there to lead a peaceable life, free from the troubled one of my characters; but can any spiritual or worldly arm, then, protect him against scattered similes,--against hemispherical headaches,--whimsies,--reviews,--curtain-lectures, --rainy months,--or in fact honey-moons, which come in at the end of every volume?--

Now for our History! In the evening Albano and Augusti went with the paternal letter of credit to the Minister's. The frostiness and pride of that individual the Lector endeavored, on their way, to varnish over by praising his laboriousness and discernment. With a knocking at his heart the Count seized the door-knocker to the heaven- or hell-gate of his future destiny. In the antechamber--that higher servant's apartment and _Limbus infantum et patrum_--there were still people enough, for Froulay regarded an antechamber as a stage, which must never be empty, and on which, as in the Jewish temple, according to the Rabbins, for those who kneel and pray, it is never too close. The Minister's lady was not present as a patient here, merely because she was looking after one of her own elsewhere. The Minister also was not here,--because he made few ceremonies, and only demanded uncommonly many,--but in his working-cabinet; he had heretofore had his head under the warm throne-canopy and taken a deep bite into the forbidden apple of the Empire, therefore he willingly made a sacrifice (not _to_ others, but _of_ others), and let himself, as a saintly statue, be hung round with votive limbs, without having to bestir his own, and, like St. Franciscus at Oporto, with letters of thanks and petitions which he never opens.

Froulay came, and was--as ever, _aside_ from business--as courteous as a Persian. For Augusti was his home friend,--i. e. the Minister's lady was _his_ home-friend,--and Albano was not a good person to run against; because one had occasion for his foster-father in the votes of the Province, and because the youth by a peculiar and proper pride of his own commanded men. There is a certain noble pride through which merits shine brighter than through modesty. Froulay had not the most comfortable part before him; for the Court of Haarhaar was as disaffected toward the Knight of the Fleece, as he was toward it;[65] but Haarhaar was to be without doubt (according to all Italian _surgical_ reports) and in a few years (according to all _nosological_ ones) the heir of his inheritance and throne. Now the bad thing about it was, that the Minister, who, like a good Christian, looked mainly to the future, had to creep along between the German Herr von Bouverot, on the one hand, who was secretly a creature of Haarhaar, and the demands of the present moment, on the other.

He received the Count, I said, in an uncommonly obliging manner, as well as the Lector, and disclosed to the two that he must present to them his lady, who desired their acquaintance. He sent word to her, but, without waiting an answer, conducted them both into her apartment. Now was it to the youth as if the heavy door of a still and holy temple turned on its hinges. Even I too, at this moment, during their passage through the rooms, share so in his foolishness that I fall into full as great anxiety, as if I went in behind them. When we entered the eastern room, which was extended out at pleasure by picturesque paper-tapestry into a latticed arbor of woodbine, there sat merely the Minister's lady, who received us pleasantly, with firm and cold reserve in look and tone. Her severely closed and faintly-marked lips mutely spoke a seriousness which is the gift of a good heart, and a stillness which is the ornament of beauty,--as many wings, only when they are folded, shower down peacocks'-eyes,--and her eye gleamed with the good-will of reason; but the eyelids had been, by stern years, drawn deeply in, with a sickly expression, over the mild sight. Ah, as oftentimes between newly-married people a dividing sword was laid, so did Froulay grind daily at a three-edged one which separated him and her! Singularly did the impure roil on his face contrast with the aftersummer serenity on hers, although before witnesses, as it seemed, he took away the irony from his courteousness towards her, and kept hatred, as others do love, only for solitude.

Fortunately this nut-tree, which threw an unwholesome, frosty nut-shadow on the whole flowerage of love and poetry, soon transplanted itself back again among more congenial guests. The Minister's lady, after the first expressions of courtesy, directed herself more to the Lector, whose correct, civilian's measure accorded entirely with her religious one; especially as only he could ask and condole with her about Liana. She replied, that this room of Liana's had been left exactly as it was the evening the blindness came on, in order that, when she recovered, it might remain for her a pleasant remembrancer, or a mournful one for others, if she did not. O, deeply moved Albano, if every absence glorifies, how much more must it do so with so many traces of the beloved object's presence! I confess, except a loved one, I know of nothing lovelier than her sitting-room in her absence.

On Liana's work-table lay a sketched outline of a Christ's head near the open Messiah,--a folded walking-veil, together with the green walking-fan, with inscribed wishes of female friends,--some cut-out envelopes,--the gossiping letter of one of Froulay's tenants,--a whole lacquerwork sheep-fold, with wagon, stalls, and house, with whose Lilliputian Arcadia she had proposed to please Dian's children,[66]--a plucked leaf from the thinning album of a female friend, which she had trimmed with an India-ink flower border and then planted full of fair wishes, of which fate had robbed her own life. Ah, beautiful heart, how fondly would I sketch and hand round something like a tabular view of all the little mosaic of thy lightsome past, had the fee-provost entered more intimately into these matters! But what moves me and the Count more deeply is a framed embroidery, on which her needle, like an ingrafting-knife, had, on that dark day, ingrafted a rose with two buds, and which wanted nothing more but the thorns. O, _these_ had destiny only too fully developed on thy roses of joy, and then pressed them so deeply through thy breast even to the heart!

At no hour of his life was Albano's love so tender and holy as at this, or his sympathy so fervent. Fortunately, the Minister's lady was all the time looking out of the window into the garden, and did not perceive his emotion. At last she went on to point out Liana's harmonica, which stood near; then was his heart too full and visible; he started with the hasty words, _he had never yet heard one_, and stepped before it. Ah, he was fain to touch something whereon her finger had so often rested. He laid his hand, as upon a sacred thing, on those prayer-bells which had so often trembled under hers for pious thoughts; but they gave him no answer, till the Lector, a connoisseur in the A B C as in the technology of all arts, gave him in three words the indispensable instructions. Now did he drink into his soul, full of sighs and struggles, the first tri-clang, the first plaintive syllables of that mother-tongue of the pining breast,--ah, of those _mutes'-bells_ which the inner man shakes in his hand, because he has no tongue! and his veins beat wildly like wings which wafted him up from the ground, and bore him to a higher prospect than that which opens into the last joy or the last agony. For in strong men great pains and joys become overlooking heights of the whole road of life.

I know not whether many readers will believe the fault _possible_, which he now _actually_ committed. The Minister's wife, in the course of conversation, had very naturally--_apropos_ of Liana and Roquairol--fallen upon the proposition that no school is more necessary to children than that of patience, because, either the will must be broken in childhood or the heart in old age. Ah, she and her daughter themselves knelt, indeed, full of patience, before fate, whether loading or armed; although the mother's was a pious patience, which looked more to Heaven than to the wound, Liana's a loving patience, which resigns itself to new sorrows as to old sicknesses, as a queen does on coronation-day to the pains and friction of her heavy jewelry, and like a child that sweetly sleeps away and more sweetly dreams away his scars. But Zesara, who like a wolf fled the very clanking of a chain, and new, exasperated, against everything of the kind, from the light carcanets and chains of knighthood even to the heavy harbor-chains which obstruct the passage of youth out into the laboring sea, could not restrain himself, especially with that heart of his so full of emotions, from saying, in too great warmth: "Man must defend himself; sooner would I, in a free struggle, empty all my veins on the stirring battle-field than shed one drop from them bound to the rack."--"Patience," said the Minister's lady, who was full of it, "contends and conquers also, only in the heart."--"Dear Count," said Augusti, alluding not merely to Arria,[67] "the women must always say to the men, 'It does not hurt!'"

I have not till now had an opportunity to make known this fault of Albano, that he never spoke his opinion more freely and strongly than just then when he had reason to fear losing one or two heavens of his life by the stake; in cases of less danger he could be more yielding. Although, therefore, he observed that the Minister's lady was painfully reminded thereby of the muscular, but also hard-grasping, hand of her wild son,--or much rather _for the very reason_ that he observed it, and because he proposed to be armor-bearer to this future friend,--he stuck to his opinion, threw all instruments for breaking in the young manly will out of the school-rooms into the street, and said, in his strongly relieved style: "The Goths preferred never to send their children to school, in order that they might remain lions. Even if maidens must be soaked in milk a day before planting them out in the civil world, boys, however, must be stuck, like apricots, with the stony shell in the earth, because they will soon enough throw off and forsake the stone by their rooting and growth."--The Lector, with his fine openness,--a crystal vase with golden edge,--remarked, with a gentle reprimand of Alban's impetuosity, that at least the way in which they had severally adduced their proofs was one of those very proofs themselves; and women needed and showed more patience with persons, and we more with things.

The Minister's wife, who imagined herself listening more to her son than to his friend, was silent, and stepped nearer to the window. Amid these war-troubles the evening had wheeled her resplendent moon up over the eastern mountains, and the streams of her light flowed in at this moment, from all quarters, through the whole garden that lay stretched out before the eastern room, and lay in its broad alleys and flower-circles, when all at once a little round house appeared through upshooting water-jets, kindled into triumphal arches by the moon-light, and stood, even to its Italian trellised roof, all in a blaze. With soft emotion, the Minister's lady said: "On that water-house stands my Liana; she is trying the evaporation of the fountain; the physician promises himself much therefrom. And Providence grant it!"

But the agitated Zesara, with all his sharp eyes, could not, however, in the full dazzling light of the level moon, and behind the quivering nunnery-grate of confined silver-or lymphatic-veins, individualize anything at this moment from the glimmering Eden, except an undistinguishable, still, white form. But it was enough for a weeping and burning heart. "Thou angel of my youthful dreams," thought he, "may it be thou! I greet thee with a thousand woes and joys. Ah! can there then be sorrows in thee, thou heavenly soul!" And it came over him, that if she were here in the room, with her afflicted and enchanting form, she would melt his whole being with sympathy, and he could now have cast off the embrace of the brother, by whose hand fate had closed her soft eyes in that long dream.

The stifling air of the most painful sympathy caused him to look away, and turn round, and fasten on the open Messiah those eyes whose drops he would not show; but the recollection that he was repeating her last reading-pleasure made them fall only hotter and thicker. Suddenly something darkening, which fluttered down before the window like a falling raven, directed his look again to Liana, over whom stood a fully illuminated little cloud, as if it were a risen or descending saintly halo. Immortals seemed to dwell thereupon as on Ossian's clouds, awaiting their sister; and when she at length moved and slowly sank down into the water-house, seemed it not then as if her garment of flesh were passing into the earth, and her peaceful spirit into the cloud?

Here Augusti, as the mother had to follow the returning invalid into the sick-chamber, gave him the hint for departure, which he took willingly; his love contented itself for the present with solitude, and with the hope of another meeting. Young love and young birds need, in the beginning, only to be _warmed_ by _covering_, and not till later to be _nourished_.

But a paraclete or comforter whispered softly in the ear of the youth's heart as they departed: to-morrow thou wilt see her only a few steps from thee in the garden! And that is very easily brought about; he has only, at evening-twilight to-morrow, when the evening-walker makes use of her eye-medicine, to repair to the alley, and from among the leaves look freely up into the magic countenance, and then drink in the whole doctrine of felicity in one paragraph, one passage, breath, moment;--but what a prospect!

The Count begged the Lector not to sit long with the busy Minister. When they found him again, he hardly--behind a pile of public documents--remembered, after considerable (perhaps counterfeited) thought, that they had been there, and deeply regretted that they were going away. Ah, the comforter is whispering all the evening and all night,--To-morrow, Albano!

35. CYCLE.

As the juggling night threw our Albano from one side and vision to the other,--for not the near past but the near future wearies us with rehearsals of our waking acts, with dreams,--how glad he was, in the morning, that his fairest future had not yet gone by. Two very Eulenspiegelish wishes often lodge in man: I often form the wish with my whole heart, that some real joy of mine, e. g. a master-work, a pleasure-journey, &c., might yet at last have an end; and, secondly, the wish above referred to, that one or another pleasure might stay away a little longer.

The evening came with the greatest pleasure of all, when Zesara, like Le Gentil starting for the East Indies, set off for the eastern park of the Minister, to observe the transit of his evening star Venus; but only through the moon. Before the lighted windows of the palace he stopped among the people, and reflected, whether it were quite allowable thus to run into the garden; but really, had he been turned back, his thirsting heart would have carried him in through a whole Clerus and Diplomatic Congress posted before the gate. Boldly he strode along through the noisy palace before a barricade of tackled carriages, turned the iron lattice-gate, and stepped hastily into the nearest leafy avenue. Here, attended by a torch-dance of gleaming hopes, he went to and fro, but his eye was a telescope, and his ear was a hearing-trumpet. The green avenue wound up over the garden till it grew into another near the bath-house; into this he entered so as not to meet the blind one, or rather her attendant.

But nothing came. To be sure he had not, like the moon,--as was, indeed, to have been expected of him,--come a half-hour too late, but in fact a half-hour too early. The moon, that star which leads wise men full of incense to the adoration, at last let fall broad, long, silver-leaves, like festive tapestry, into Liana's eastern room,--the Madonna on the palace was arrayed in the halo and nun's-veil of her rays,--the Minister's wife stood already at the window,--Nature played the larghetto[68] of an enchanted evening in deeper and deeper strains,--when Albano caught nothing further except a smaller one, made up of mere tones, which came from the bath-house, the pleasure-seat of all his wishes, and which, dying, would fain breathe its last with the spring-day. But he could not guess who played it. One might have inferred that it was Roquairol, merely because he afterward, as I shall relate, according to the April-like nature of his musical temperament, sprang up out of pianissimo into a too wild fortissimo. The brother, exiled by his father, could at least in the bath-house see and console his dear sister, and show her his love and his penitence; although his stormy repentance makes a second necessary, and at last became only a more pious repetition of his fault.

Although Albano's fancy was a retina of the universe, on which every world sharply pictured itself, and his heart the sounding-board of the sphere-music, in which each revolved, yet neither the evening nor the larghetto, with their rays and tones, could pierce through the high waves which expectation as well as anxiety (both obscure nature and art) dashed up within him. The bank of the fountains is entwined around with a green ring of orange-trees, whose blossoms, in the East, according to the Selam-cipher, signify _hopes_; but really one after another was short-lived, when he thought of the cold, clear mother, or of his perhaps vain waiting. The fountains leaped not yet,--he kept plucking away, like a premature autumn, more and more of the broad fan-leaves from his blooming Spanish wall, and still, through all his widening windows, saw no Liana coming down along the pebbly path (which was impossible, for the very reason that she had been long standing in the bath-house with her brother), and he began to despair of her appearance, when the brother suddenly stormed into the above-mentioned fortissimo, and all the fountains sent up before the moon murmuring wreaths of sparkling silver. Albano looked out....

Liana stood up there in the glimmer of the moon, behind the fluttering water. What an apparition! He tore asunder the twigs of the foliage before his face, and gazed, uncovered and breathless, upon the sacredly beautiful form! As Grecian gods stand and look unearthly before the torch, so shone Liana before the moon, overshadowed with the myriad glancing reflections of the silvery rainbows, and the blest youth saw irradiated the young, open, still Mary's-brow, upon which no vexation and no effort had as yet cast a wave,--and the thin, tender, scarcely-arched line of the eyebrows,--and the face like a perfect pearl, oval and white,--and the loosely flowing ringlets lying on the May-flowers over her heart,--and the delicate grace's-proportions, which, like the white attire, seemed to exalt the form,--and the ideal stillness of her nature, which made her place, instead of an arm, only a finger upon the balustrade, as if the Psyche only floated over the lily-bells of the body, and neither shook nor bowed them,--and the large blue eyes, which, while the head sank a little, opened upward with such inexpressible beauty, and seemed to lose themselves in dreams and in distant plains reflecting the evening-twilight's glow!

Thou too fortunate man!--to whom the only visible goddess, Beauty, appears so suddenly, in her omnipotence, and attended by all her heavens! The present, with its shapes, is unknown to thee,--the past fades away,--the near tones seem to steal from the depth of distance,--the unearthly apparition overflows and overpowers with splendor the mortal breast!

Ah, why must a deep, cold cloud steal through this pure and lofty heaven? Ah, why didst thou not find the heavenly one earlier or later?--and why must she herself remind thee of her sorrow?

For Liana--into whose veiled eye only a strong light could trickle through--was looking for the moon, which was a little overhung by its own aurora, and she turned her head around gropingly, because she thought a linden-top concealed it;--and this uncertain inclination so suddenly pictured to him her misfortune in a thousand colors! A quick pang pressed his eyes, so that tears and sparks darted from them, and pity cried within him: "O thou innocent eye! why art thou veiled? Why from this grateful, good soul is May and the whole creation taken away? And she sends round in vain a look of love after her mother and her companion, and--O God! she knows not where they stand."

But the curtain of the moon soon floated aside, and she smiled serenely on its radiance, as the blind Milton in his immortal song smiles upon the sun, or as an inhabitant of earth smiles upon the earliest splendor of the next life.

A nightingale, who hitherto, while hopping after a glow-worm among the distant flowers, had responded to the tones in the chamber only with single game-calls and complemental notes of joy, flew nearer to Liana, and the winged miniature-organ drew out at once all its flute-stops, so that Liana, forgetting her blindness, looked down, and Albano started back alarmed, as if she were looking upon him. Then was her pale face, upon the cheeks of which a light redness played, as upon the white pink, tenderly suffused with the faint red bloom of emotion under the mingling tones of the brother and of the nightingale,--the eyelids quivered oftener over the gleaming eyes,--and at last the gleam became a quiet tear,--it was not a tear of pain nor of joy, but that soft tear in which the longing of the heart overflows; as, in spring, overfull twigs, though unwounded, weep.

There dwells in man a rough, blind cyclops, who in our storms always begins to speak, and gives us fatal counsel. Frightfully at this moment, in Zesara, did the whole awakened energy of his bosom bestir itself,--that wild spirit which drags us on condor's wings to the brink of the precipice; and the cyclops cried aloud in him: "Rush out,--kneel before her,--tell her thy whole heart;--what though thou then art lost forever, if thou hast only caught one sound of this soul!--and then cool and sacrifice thyself in the cold waters at her feet." Verily he thirsted for the fresh basin in which the fountains leaped back. But ah! before this gentle, this afflicted and pure one? "No," said the good spirit in him, "wound her not again, as her brother did. O spare her! be silent, respectful: then thou lovest her."

Here he stepped out on the illuminated earth as into a heavenly hall, and took the open sun-path, but softly, along before the fountains. As he passed by her, all at once the arcade of drops, which had half latticed her round, collapsed, and Liana stood cloudless, as a pure Luna, without her cloud-court, in the deep blue of heaven; a shining lily[69] from the next world, which, to herself, is a sign that she is soon to pass thither. O his heart, full of virtue, felt with trembling the nearness of virtue in another; and, with all signs of the deepest veneration, he walked along by the quiet being, who could not observe them.

Not till, at every step, a heaven had escaped from him, and he at last had none but the one above his head, did he become quite gentle; and then he was glad that he had not been bolder. How the earth now shines to him, how the heaven of suns approaches him, how his heart loves! O, at some future time after yet many years, when this _glowing_ rose-garden of rapture already lies far behind thy back, how softly and magically will it, when thou turnest round and lookest toward it, glimmer after thee as a _white_ rose-parterre of memory!


[63] The title of a man, among the Romans, who walked behind the corpse and acted out the looks and character which the deceased had when living.--_Pers._, Sat. 3.

[64] As Solomon says, "Desire shall fail."--TR.

[65] It had formerly refused to give the Spanish knight the hand of the Princess; but I have had the promise of satisfactory documents on this weighty article.

[66] Dian's family reside at Lilar.

[67] Roman Arria, who stabbed herself to show her Poetus how to die.--TR.

[68] A movement in music a little more than two degrees quicker than adagio.--TR.

[69] It used to be believed that a lily lying in the singing-seats signified the death of the person to whom it belonged.



36. CYCLE.

If the Feudal-Provost Von Hafenreffer had no existence except as a creature of my fancy, I should certainly proceed with my history, and tell the world, as matter of fact (and the whole romance-writing set would go to the death upon it[70]), that Albano was sitting there the next morning, blind and deaf, behind the broad bandage which the bandage-maker Cupid had bound before his eyes,--that he had not been able to count more than _five_, except at evening, when he cast up the strokes of the clock, in order, afterward, to run in a magic circle round the Froulay water-house, like one who sets out to _charm the fire_ which glides snake-like after him,--that he had, through those two blow-holes[71] wherewith sentimental whales blubber right out in bookstores, spouted out considerable streams,--for the rest, had never looked at another book (except some leaves in the book of Nature), nor at another human being (except a blind man),--"and to this my surgeon's certificate of erotic wound-fevers (I would say at the conclusion of my lies) Nature manifestly sets her privy seal."

That she does not, says Hafenreffer; these are nothing but confounded lies; the case is quite otherwise, thus:--

Zesara never stole a second time into Froulay's garden; a proud blush of shame darted over him at the very thought of the painful blush with which he should come in contact, for the first time, with a mistrustful or inquiring eye.

But in this wise the dear soul remained hid from him until her recovery, as the May-month did from her; and he silently tormented himself with reckonings up of her sufferings and doubts of her cure. He was ashamed to be taking any pleasure during her period of sadness, and forbade himself the enjoyment of spring and the visiting of Lilar: ah! he knew too, full well, that the loving spring and Lilar, where she had received so many joys and the last wound, would make his heart too ungovernable and too full.

His thirst for knowledge and worth, his pride, which bade him stand in a glorious light with his father and his two friends, impelled him onward in his career. With all his native fire he threw himself upon jurisprudence, and took no longer any other walks than between the lecture-room and his study-chamber. To this zeal he was driven by a characteristic passion for completeness; everything imperfect was to him almost a physical horror; he was shocked at defective collections, broken sets of monthly magazines, lawsuits left to sleep, libraries, because he could never read them out, people who died as aspirants for office, or in the midst of building-plans, or without a rounded system of thought, or as journeymen clothiers' boys or shoemakers' apprentices, and even Augusti's flute-playing, which he only took up _by the way_. It was the same energy which made him hold the bridle of Psyche's winged horse tight, and stick the rowel of the spur into him; even when a child he had experimented on this kind of force, in the holding of his breath, or in the painful pressure of a sore spot,--and, by Heaven! he now, figuratively, did both again. There dwelt in him a mighty will, which merely said to the serving-company of impulses, Let it be! Such a will is not stoicism, which rules merely over internal _malefactors_, or _knaves_, or _prisoners of war_, or _children_, but it is that genially energetic spirit, which conditions and binds the healthy _savages_ of our bosoms, and which says more royally to itself, than the Spanish regent to others, I, the king!

Ah, of course (how could his warm soul do otherwise?) he often stood, at midnight, before the breezy window, and looked tearfully at the white Madonna of the ministerial palace, silvered by the pure moon. Yes, in the daytime, he often sketched in his souvenir (it happened to be a fountain and a form behind it, nothing more), or he read in the Messiah (naturally going on with the canto which he had already begun at the house of the Minister's lady), or he informed himself about nervous maladies, (was he, perhaps, with all his studying, guarded against them?) or he let the fire of his fingers run over the strings,--nay, he would have plucked nothing but roses, although with thorns, had this been their blooming season.

And this sighing, stifled soul must shut itself up! O, he began already to fear every key of the harpsichord would become a stylus, the instrument itself a box of letters, and all actions treacherously legible words. For he must keep silent. The first young love, like that of business people (those of the Electorate of Saxony excepted), needs no instruments of speech, at most only a portable inkstand and pen. Only worldly people, who repeat their declarations of love quite as often as the players, are in a situation--and on similar grounds--to publish them, just as the players do. But in the holier season of life the image of the most beloved soul is hung, not in the parlor and antechamber, but in the dim, silent oratory: only with loved ones do we speak of loved ones. Ah, it was with reluctance that he even heard others speak of his saint; and he often stole (with the altar of incense in his bosom) out of the room where people were carrying round for her a censer more full of coal-smoke than of frankincense.

37. CYCLE.

They were expecting every day in Pestitz the return of the German gentleman M. de Bouverot, who had been in Haarhaar, putting the last retouching hand to the almost sketched marriage contract between Luigi and a Haarhaar princess, Isabella. Augusti was not partial to him, and even said Bouverot had no _honnêteté_;[72] and related the following, but with the soft irony of a man of the world:

Some years before, Bouverot had been sent by the court of Haarhaar[73] to the Pope at Rome, in relation to certain canonical difficulties; just at the time when Luigi also made the princely procession to Rome, together with his Romish indictions.[74] Now Haarhaar, which in truth already went _chapeau-bas_ with the princely hat of Hohenfliess, and had every possible officinal prospect of wearing it, would not, for this very reason, present the appearance of looking with cold eyes on the extinction of the race of Hohenfliess, the more, as the very male support of the line, Luigi, even in his first years, was not a hero of any great nervous significance. Nay, it must needs be a matter of some consequence to the court of Haarhaar that the good thin autumn-flowerage should return, if possible, _otherwise_ than it went out; and even on such grounds it privily instructed the German gentleman to rule and watch over all his pleasures and pains as _maître de plaisirs_,--especially with _maîtresses de plaisirs_,--in such a manner as to give perfect satisfaction in this respect. Meanwhile, if our princely abiturient[75] had started pure as a foetus, unhappily he was brought back ground down to a _punctum saliens_, especially as, by sundry caprioles and other leaps through the hoop of pleasure, he was spoiled for the leap into the knight's saddle. It may be possible that the German gentleman was too sanguine in his expectations of the rejuvenescence of the Prince; yes, he may have imitated the youth-restoring, wondrous essence of the Marquis d'Aymar,[76] whereby an innocent old lady, who anointed herself with the elixir more than her years required, was, through the excessive renovation, reduced to a little child. In short, by this crusade under the Knight of the Cross, Bouverot, the princely seat of Hohenfliess--as is often the consequence of crusades--will be left open at the proper time, and Haarhaar will seat itself thereon.

I confess reluctantly that Albano, in the beginning,--because, with all his sharp-sightedness, his purity was quite as great,--comprehended the fact only confusedly; but when he did get the idea, it was to him _pharmaceutic_ manna, as it was to Schoppe _Israelitish_. "The Knight of the Cross," said the latter, "beareth not his cross in vain,--it does him quite as much service as one daubed on the houses in Italy does to them: not a soul may do on either of them what even in Rome may be done before every antechamber."

Not long after that our three friends were going out into the street just at the hour when the noisy carriages rolled along to tea and play, when a litter was carried by before them with the seat _backward_, whereupon, however, a man was sitting. "Holy Father!" cried Schoppe, "in there sits, bodily, Cephisio, from Rome, who must sometime or other give me a sound drubbing."--"Softly, softly!" said Augusti, "that is the German gentleman; Cephisio is his Arcadian name."[77]--"Well, I rejoice so much the more that I once in my life had a hearty, downright set-to with the red-nose," said he, turning round and accompanying the litter, with his arms thrust under it, for almost ten paces, in order to get a better view of the caged bird, before the latter snatched-to the curtains. Albano caught a glimpse within the litter, as it passed swiftly along, only of a sharp eye drawn like a dagger, and a red-glowing nose-bud.

Schoppe came back and related the transactions in Rome. He said, against all mortal sinners, blood-guilty men, and imps of iniquity he bore no such bitter and grim wrath as against professional bankers, _croupiers_,[78] and _Grecs_; if he had a canker-worm-iron wherewith he might scrape away this vermin from the earth, or a cochineal-mill wherewith he might grind them to powder, he would do it most cordially. "O heavens!" he then broke out, "had I in fact my foot just stretched out over the curling, coiling worm-stalk (and though that foot had the gout in it), I would gladly dash it down upon them, and tread out the vile filth." But what he could, he did. Being his own travelling servant, and a decoy-spider, darting to and fro through all Europe, he had full often the pleasure of getting these faro-leaf-caterpillars and leaf-sappers under his thumb,--of becoming their pretended associate,--learning their tactics,--and then rolling some fire-wheel or other into their hissing snakes'-hole. I am not intimately instructed whether it is known in Leipsic who the ringleader was that, a short time since, at the fair, played a mock-police with mimic-constables, and broke up a bank;--at least the bankers were altogether out on the subject, because they were expecting the real police the next day, and were begging for some indulgences and _il_legal-benefits; but I am in a condition here to name the thief-catcher: it was Schoppe. The spoils he applied mostly to the purpose of running new mines under the faro-tables.

With Cephisio he had played his cards otherwise. He stepped up before his bank, and looked on for some minutes, and at last presented a card with a shield-louis-d'or. It won, and he showed behind the card a long roll of louis. Bouverot would not pay this roll. "He had not seen anything," he said. "What is your _croupier_ sitting there for, then?" said Schoppe, and pronounced them swindlers, if they did not pay. To escape greater damage, they paid him his winnings. He took the money coldly, and departed, with these words to the Pointeurs: "Gentlemen, I assure you, you are playing here with finished cheats; but they have paid me only because I knew them." Amidst the increasing stiffness and paleness of the partners he turned, and slowly, with his broad-shouldered, compact figure, and his knotty cudgel, walked away unscathed.

Augusti wished from his heart--for the persecution's sake--that Bouverot might not know the Librarian again. They found at home an invitation from the Minister to tea and supper. "The poor daughter!" said Augusti; "for the sake of this Bouverot, the half-blind one must go to-morrow to the table." Meanwhile, our youth will then surely see her again at last, and only a spring-day separates him from the dearest object! If Augusti is right, then my observation fits in here, that a good sound villain is always the motive-pike which sets the still, quaker-like carp-tribe in the pond to swimming; the hidden pock-matter, which brings cold children at once to life.

38. CYCLE.

Liana's eyes healed, but only slowly: Nature would not lead her at once out of her sombre prison into the sun; she could now, like the philosophers, just recognize light rather than forms. Nevertheless, the Minister issued cabinet orders that she should day after to-morrow play on the harmonica, appear at the _souper_, and even make the salad, and thereby mask her blindness. He sometimes commanded impossible things, in order to meet with as much disobedience as his anger needed for the purpose of venting itself in punishment. Certain people keep themselves all day long full of vexation beforehand for some coming event or other, like urinal phosphate, which always boils under the microscope, or forges, wherein every day fire breaks out.

The Minister's lady pronounced her soft, firm, No. About the harmonica she said she had asked the Doctor, in his name, who had strictly forbidden it; and the rest was an impossibility. Here he could already, he felt so like it, be angry at several things, especially at the asking of the Doctor, which, however, had not yet taken place; he grew mad enough, and swore he should act according to _his own_ principles, and devil a bit did he care for _other_ people's.

This _principle_ was in the present case the German gentleman. That is to say, the above-mentioned anecdote--Bouverot's guardianship of the hereditary Prince on his travels, or the design of the thing--had at both courts come to be the common talk in assemblies and at tables, and was hidden only from the Prince Luigi; for on thrones, there are almost no mysteries to any one excepting him (hardly his wife) who sits thereupon, as in whispering-galleries the people in distant corners hear everything aloud, only not he who stands in the middle. The German gentleman was, therefore, in the Hohenfliess system, the important port-vein and pulmonary artery wherewith even Froulay would water himself. The latter is obliged throughout to serve the present and the future, or two masters, of whom the one of Haarhaar might very soon be his.

Bouverot was attached not merely to Froulay the minister, but to Froulay the father; a man like him, who causes to be sent after him from Italy a whole cabinet of Art, and whose acquaintance with the arts has so long knit together even him and the Prince, must know how to prize a Madonna of such carnation as Liana, and of the Romish school, and, what is more, who, detached from the canvas, moved as a full, breathing rose. As to marrying the rose, that he could not propose to himself, because he was a German Herr.

He had not seen her since his Italian tour,--nor had the Count either,--to both the Minister wished to show her as a round pearl of special whiteness and figure. Froulay had--which after all happens oftener than we imagine--quite as much vanity as pride; the latter to repel blame, the former to court praise. But I should have now to write a tournament-chronicle to tell posterity the half of all his raging and racing and lance-thrusts, in a fight wherein he served under the banners of enmity, vanity, and avarice. He was no more to be hunted to death than a wolf. All weapons were alike to him, and he was ever taking sharper and more poisonous ones. In the old _judicial_ duels between man and wife, the man stood commonly up to his stomach in a pit, in order to bring his strength down to a level with the woman's, and she struck at him with a stone tied up in a veil; but in the _matrimonial_ duels the man seems to stand in the free air and the woman in the earth, and she often has only the _veil_ without the stone.

In this combat there stepped between the two a shining peace-angel who caught the wounds, namely, Liana. The daughter, who had an enthusiastic love for her mother, and the womanly reverence for the stronger sex toward her father, and who suffered so endlessly under their strifes, fell upon her mother's neck and begged her to allow her what her father demanded; she would certainly do everything so as not to excite observation; she would take the greatest pains and practise herself specially beforehand,--ah, he would otherwise only be still more unkind to her poor brother,--this discord, merely on her account, was so painful to her, and perhaps more injurious than playing on the harmonica.

"My child, thou knowest," said the mother, for now she _had_ asked, "what the physician said yesterday against the harmonica; the rest is at thine own risk!" Liana kissed her joyfully. She must needs be led to her father, that she might make known to him aloud the gladness of her obedience. "I thank you, and be hanged," said he, softly; "it is simply your cursed duty." She left him with her joy dissipated to atoms, but without any great pangs; she was already accustomed to this.

39. CYCLE.

The Lector, while they were yet on their way to the Minister's, begged Albano to moderate the fire of his assertions and his pantomimes. He made known to him only so much of the family-jar as was necessary, in order that he might not, by a mistaken idea of her restoration, throw Liana into embarrassment. As they entered the card-room, everything was already in full blaze.

As, at this time, no one is presented to him, I must do it; they are disciples (at least _twelfth_ disciples) of the Minister.

And first, I introduce to thee the holy President of Justice, Von Landrok, a good apothecary's-balance of Themis, which weighs out scruples, and wherein no false weights lie; but what is quite as bad, much smut, rubbish, and rust. Those at the ombre-table near by are the lords and ladies of Vey, Flöl, and Kob, sleek, fine souls, like minerals in cabinets, polished off on the show-side, but on the concealed base still jagged and scratching.

Go with me to the entrance of the next apartment; here I have to present to thee the young but fat canon Von Meiler, who, in order to line and stuff out and pad his inner man with a thick, warm, outer one, needs to fleece no more peasants yearly than the number of linden-trees the Russian peels for his bark-shoes, namely, one hundred and fifty.

The apartment into which thou art looking I present to thee as a fly-glass full of courtiers, who, in order to enter into the _kingdom of heaven_, have become not merely _children_, but in fact _embryons_ of four weeks, who, as is well known, look like flies; if Swift desires of his servants nothing more than the _shutting-to_ of the doors, these wish nothing of their employer and bread-provider but the _leaving-open_ of the same.

I have the honor to set before thee yonder--it is he who is not playing--the holy Church-Counsellor, Schäpe, who would fain be chief chaplain to the court; a soft scoundrel, who soaks and softens the seed-corns of the divine and human word, like melon-seed (they are thereby to spring up sooner in the heart), so long in sugared wine, that they rot in it; a spiritual lord who never in his life _offered_ any other prayers than the two which he always refuses, the _fourth_ and _fifth_.[79]

But the Lector will soon name to thee, at the window, every one of the lords and dames, coldly, gently, and without pantomime. At present the Minister himself conducts thee to a gentleman, one of the players, with a cross on, who drinks water with saltpetre, and is continually licking his dry mouth; it is _Bouverot_,--he is just rising in thy presence; examine the cold, but impudent and cutting, sharply-ground eye, whose corners resemble a pair of open tinman's-shears, or a trap set,--the red nose, and the hard, lipless mouth, whose reddish crab's-claw, worn off by whetting, pinches together,--the cocked-up chin, and the whole stocky, firm figure. Albano does not surprise him; he has already seen all men, and he inquires about no one.

The Minister refreshed the youth, whose inner being was one snarl, with the promise that at supper he would present to him his daughter. He offered him a game; but Alban replied, with a too youthful accent, he never played.

He could now roam round through the lanes of the card-tables, and survey whatever he wished. In such a case one posts himself, if there is no one of the company whom he can endure, exactly before or beside the face he detests the most, in order inwardly to lash himself into vexation at every word and every feature of the countenance. Albano might have had many visages in his eye which were, at least in a small degree, intolerable, and by which he might have stationed himself;--nay, no sufficient reasons could have been assigned why he should not have given his whole attention to a certain chaffy, dried up paste-eel, a weakling full of impertinence, who was observing through an eye-glass the card constellations as they came up, while Albano could extend the feelers of his optic nerves even to the spots on the cards in the second apartment;--there would, indeed, have been no reasons, had not the German gentleman been there; before him he must place himself; of him he knew the most and the worst; he stood in distant connection with Schoppe, even with Liana. Furies! in the neighborhood of certain faces the pinions of the soul crumple up and mew themselves as swans' and pigeons' feathers are crushed before eagles' quills; it was as uncomfortable and close for all the innocent feelings in such a roomy breast as Albano's, as it is to a flock of pigeons into whose cote some one has thrown the tail of a polecat.

I cannot disguise the fact, he muttered and growled inwardly at all the man did and had,--whether it was his having fingers whose points were finely shaved for the faro-game, and whose nails had been somewhat peeled off by an altogether worse game of _hazard_ yet,--or his looking occasionally through the hair of his eyebrows,--or (only once) squashing a fly by a sudden snapping to of his lips like a fly-trap,--or his uttering now a line of German and now of French, which I expect of good circles, whereas only low people never bring out a German word, except a few, such as _Lansquenet_,[80] _canif_ (kneif), _birambrot_ (bier am brod), excepted. Suffice it, he thought always of Schoppe's fine expression: "There are men and times at which and with whom nothing could be more refreshing to an honest man than--to give them a sound drubbing." Duelling is quite as good, thought the Count.

However, Schoppe must here be justified by an authority. Namely, the author himself, otherwise such a soft, warm swan-skin, could never stand behind card-table-chairs without becoming a complete game-cock, and spreading out his scratching, bristly wing the wider the longer he idly looked on; the reason is this, that in general one finds only those people more and more tolerable and better upon acquaintance, with whom one pursues and purposes the same kind of objects.

Albano wished heartily he had his brother-in-arms Schoppe with him now; he went often, it is true, to Augusti to vent himself; but _he_ always sought to pacify him; yes, by keeping himself constantly engaged with the church-counsellor, he cut off from him the opportunity of betraying his youthful, inexperienced soul to listeners. Moreover, the Lector chose afterward for half an hour--what familiar friends often do in the absence of familiar female friends--the latter (namely, absence).

The Count stood some time behind Bouverot's seat, and looked into a Chinese mirror, japanned on the inside with grotesque figures, and changed his position constantly, till he brought Cephisio's face to appear therein right beside a painted dragon, just by way of comparison;--all this went on, interrupted, however, by constantly increasing heart-beatings for Liana, when the servants opened the doors to the supper-hall; and now his heart thumped even to pain, and his form, already so blooming with youth, hung all full of the roses of happy and modest confusion.

40. CYCLE.

With beating heart and burning cheek he made his way into the midst of the motley promenading throng with some old lady or other, who, in her vanity, misunderstood him, and at once hung on his arm like a spring-bracelet, and who got nothing from him but--answers. With flying and piercing glances he stepped into the bright hall, which seemed as if it were made of crystallized light, and into the sea of heads. He was just making some answer when he caught, in the tumult behind him, the low words, "I certainly hear my brother,"--and immediately the still lower refutation, "It is my Count." He turned round; between the Lector and her mother stood the dear Liana, a modest, timid, pale-red angel, in a black silk dress, over which ran only the glittering spring-frost of a silver chain, and with a light ribbon in her blond hair. The mother presented her to him, and the tender cheek bloomed more redly,--for she had, indeed, confounded the similar voices of the guest and the brother,--and she cast down those beautiful eyes which could see nothing. Ah, Albano, how violently thy heart trembles now that the past has become present, the moonlit night a spring morning; and this still form, now so near thee, works far more mightily than in any dream! She was too holy in his sight for him to have been able to utter a lie before her about the apparent recovery; he preferred silence;--and thus the warmest friend of her life came to her the first time only veiled and dumb.

The Lector soon led her away to her seat under the second lustre; opposite her sat her mother (probably, for this reason, that the good, unconscious daughter, who surely could not always be letting her eyelids fall, might raise them with friendliness and propriety towards a beloved being); the German gentleman, as an acquaintance, seated himself, without further ceremony, on her right, Augusti on her left,--Zesara, as Count, came far up above beside the highest lady.

Deuse take it! that is, unfortunately, so often my own case! I assert the upper seat of honor,--and observe, a mile below me, the daughter, but, like a myops, only half of her, and can bring about nothing the whole evening. Do pray transpose me without any scruples down beside her,--you have to deal with nothing more than a puffed-up man,--why, on earth, as in the heavens, must, then, the largest planets be placed exactly the farthest from their sun?

I now draw my readers to the Minister's table, not to show them the ministerial pomp ingrafted upon avarice, or his dance of honor hemmed in between the parallel lines of etiquette, or even his family arms, which were carried round on every chafing-dish and salt-cellar, and with the ice and mustard,--enough for us to know the ubiquity of the insignia upon his flower-pots, shirts, bed-clothes, dog's cravats, and all his thoughts; but the reader shall just now look only at my hero.

He is very prominent. Upon such a new-comer, people, in a residence-city, have already, before he has fairly given the driver his drinking-money, got all possible light of nature and revelation; nineteen of the company were fastened upon him as his moral odometers. The boldness of his nature and his rank made up with him for worldly tact, which was missed nowhere except in this, that he never took sides except in the very strongest manner, and always ran off into general and cosmopolitan observations. But see, I pray you!--O, I wish Liana could see it,--how the rosy glow and the fresh green of his healthiness shines among the yellow sicklings of the age, out of whom, as from ships on the African coast of youth, all the pitch that held them together had run out,--and how the cheek-redness of spiritual health, a tender, ever-returning suffusion (from anxiety about Liana) graces him, whereas most of the world's people at the table seem, like cotton wool, to take all colors more easily than _red_!

He looked and listened, against the salvation-laws of visiting, too much to Liana. She ate, under the heightened redness of a fear of mistaking, only sparingly, but without embarrassment; the Lector, with easy hand, barred up against her the smallest road to error. What astonished him was, that she covered such a sensitive and easily weeping heart with such an unembarrassed cheerfulness of countenance and conversation. Young man! _that_ is, with the most delicate maidens, free from pangs of love, no covering and disguise, but an enjoying of the moment and habitual courtesy! She retained so considerately (what she had probably learned beforehand) the relative rank of the familiar voices, that she never directed her answer to the wrong place. She, however, looked often to her mother with full eyes, and smiled then still more serenely, not, however, for the purpose of deceiving, but from real, hearty love.

Touching her salad, the best and most fit to be a prince's table-guest among my female readers, who had seen her mix it, would have taken several fork-loads thereof. Uncommonly charming was it, when, growing more earnest and red, she drew off her glove before the blue, celestial hemisphere of glass; with white hands and supple arms, without a silken fold, worked away in the green, between the blue of the glass and the black of the silk; considerately felt for the vinegar-and oil-castors, and poured out as much as her practice (and the deciphered advice of the Lector,--at least so it seems to me) directed. By heavens! the dressing is, in this case, the salad; and the vain Minister, who had no understanding of pictures, had a great eye for things that would make good pictures.

The mother seemed scarcely to look at the leaf-mixing. To the Count, the Minister's lady seemed to-day to have only good-breeding and no pious strictness; but he did not yet sufficiently know those polished women, who have refinement without wit, sensibility without fire, clearness without coldness; who borrow of the snail his feelers, his softness, his coolness, and his dumb gait, and who demand and deserve more confidence than they obtain.

At this moment came in Cephisio, like an angel among three men in the fiery furnace, but a dark angel. To the Count, his contiguity of seat, and every word he addressed to Liana, was already a crucifixion,--only to pass with a look from her to him was an agony, little different from that which I should have, if I had spent a day at Dresden in the antique Olympus of ancient gods, and then, on going out, should fall into a refectory full of swollen monks, or into a naturalist's cabinet full of stuffed malefactors' skins and bottled embryo-spiders. However he was pacified--in my opinion, only deceived--by one thing, that the German gentleman did not blaze away in lyrics beside her, was neither in heaven nor out of his head, but in his head, and quite composed and very polite. There are no pigeons, Count,--ask the farmers,--which the hawks oftener pounce upon than the _glossy white_ ones!

The German gentleman now produced a snuff-box, with a neat picture of Lilar, and asked Liana how it pleased her; he liked the sentimentality of it particularly.

The Lector was terrified, leaned forward toward the box-piece, and threw out a few opinions beforehand which should guide the half-blind one in forming her own; but after she had passed it two or three times obliquely against the lights and near before her eyes, she was able to express an original opinion herself, that the child illuminated by the half-sunken sun, who is drawn aloft by a flower-chain under the triumphal arch, was, to her feelings, "so very lovely." Here--and I have observed the same case in a half-blind lady of powerful fancy and receptive sense of art--the effort and the artistic sense, or the spiritual eye, came to meet the bodily half-way. The box, as well as its snuff, was presented farther on, and came down along to the Counsellor of Arts, Fraischdörfer, upon whom the new Prince's love of the arts and the favorite's knowledge in them now placed new crowns; he found fault with nothing but the white of the blossoms. "Spring," said he, "is, by reason of its wearisome whiteness, a mere monochrome; I have visited Lilar only in autumn." "There is the nightingale's song, too, which we of course cannot paint, but yet we can hear it," said Liana, cheerfully; he was her teacher, and now, in the technology of painting, even her father's. Over all her acquisitions and inner fruits and blossoms the rose of silence had been painted; to that her tyrannical father had entirely accustomed her, and especially before men, in whom she always revered copied fathers.

When the landscape came to Albano, and he held before him in miniature that spring night when Lilar and the noble old man appeared to him so enchantingly,--and as he touched what the dear soul had handled,--and now in his own soul all accordant strings trembled,--just then the Devil struck again a dissonant chord of the seventh:--

"The Prince, gracious sir," said the Minister to the German gentleman, "was yesterday buried in private; only eight days hence we have the public interment. We are obliged to hasten, because the suspension of the court-mourning lasts until the inauguration, on _ascension-day_, is gone by." I am too much excited to express myself upon the eternal master of ceremonies, Froulay, who would have raised a lantern-tax in the sun, and bridge-toll before park-bridges and asses'-bridges; but Albano, dazzled by so many side-lights and glancing rays,--reminded of Liana's sorrow over the old man, of his birthday, of the heart without a breast, and of the madness of the world,--was not in a condition, however much he had intended appearing in gentleness and lambs' clothes before Froulay, to keep the latter on; but he must needs (and louder than he meant), in opposition to his next neighbor, the Church Counsellor, Schäpe, with too great youthful exasperation (not lessened by the eager listening of Liana for the brotherly voice) declare himself against many things,--against the everlasting dead sham-life of men,--against the ceremonial haughtiness of a soulless form,--against this starving on love merely from making false shows of it;--ah, his whole heart burned on his lip!

The honest Schäpe, whom I just now called a scoundrel, took, with several expressions of countenance, Albano's part. But I do not by any means, friend Albano!--thou hast yet to learn for the first time that men, in respect to ceremonies, modes, and laws, like a flock of sheep, will, in a body, provided the bell-wether can only be got to leap over a pole, continue to leap carefully over the same place when the pole has been taken away;--and the most and highest leaps, in the state, are those we make without the pole. But a youth would be an ordinary one who should love civil life very early, however certain it is that he and we all judge too bitterly the faults of every office which we do not ourselves hold.

The company listened in silence, and, out of politeness, only inwardly admired; on Liana fell a tender seriousness.

They rose,--the closeness vanished,--so did his zeal;--but, whether it came from the speaking, or the contemplation of the loved object, or from a youthful over-leaping of the hedges of visiting-propriety,--(it arose not, however, from want of manners),--the fact is not to be denied (and I do my best, too, to give it exactly) that the Count left the poor old lady who had been escorted in by him,--Hafenreffer himself knows not her name,--left her standing, and, I believe unconsciously, took Liana under his escort. Ah, her! What shall I say of the magic nearness of the dreamed-of soul,--of the light resting of her hand, felt only by the arm of the inner man, not of the outer,--of the shortness of the heavenly way, which should have been at least as long as Frederick Street? Verily, he himself said nothing,--he thought merely of the abominable Inhibitorial-room, where their separation must take place,--he trembled at every effort to speak. "You have, perhaps," said Liana, lightly and openly, who loved to hear the friendly voice, especially after the warm discourse, "already visited our Lilar?"--"Truly not; but have you?" he said, too much confused. "My mother and I have made it our favorite home every spring."

Now were they in the parting-chamber. Alas! there and thus he stood with her, who saw nothing, for some seconds immovable, and looked straight before him, wanting to say something, till he was aroused by her mother, who was eagerly seeking, for her affection, which the whole evening had been nourishing, a sequestered hour on her daughter's heart,--and so all was over, for both vanished like apparitions.

But Alban was as a man who is deserted by a glorious dream, and who all the morning is so inwardly blest, but remembers the dream no more. And yet, stands not Lilar open to him, and will he not surely see it, so soon as ever Liana can see it too?

Never was he more gentle. The attentive Lector, in this warm, fruitful seed-time, threw in some good seed. He said, as they looked out together into the moonlit night, Albano had this evening hardly brought forward anything but thorny and exaggerated truths, which only imbitter, but do not enlighten. At another time the Count would have asked him whether he should have carried himself like Froulay and Bouverot, who, with all possible tolerance, presented theses and antitheses to each other, like an academical respondent and opponent, who previously prepare in concert logical wounds and plasters of equal length;--but to-day he was very kindly disposed towards him. Augusti had so delicately and affectionately cared for mother and daughter,--he had, without blackening or whitewashing, said much good, but nothing hastily, and his expositions had been calmly listened to: he had neither flattered nor offended. Albano, therefore, replied, softly: "But it is surely better to imbitter, dear Augusti, than to put to sleep. And to whom shall I then say the truth but to those who have it not nor any faith in it? Surely not to others." "One can speak any truth," said he, "but one cannot reckon as truth every mode and mood in which he speaks it."

"Ah!" said Albano, and looked up; beneath the starry heaven stood the marble Madonna of the palace, like a patron saint, softly illuminated,--and he thought of her sister,[81]--and of Lilar,--and of spring,--and of many dreams,--and how full his heart was of eternal love, and that he had as yet no friend and no loved one.


[70] Lit. "Let themselves be struck dead thereupon," i. e. lay their life that it was so. We have a vulgarism: "I'll be shot if it's not so."--TR.

[71] _Blase-löcher_, mouth-pieces.--TR.

[72] _Honnêteté_ entirely excludes, in the higher classes, murder; _dés honnêteté_, lying, &c., except in a _certain_ degree.

[73] This court is Catholic, but the country Lutheran; and to this latter confession that of Hohenfliess also subscribes.

[74] Or convocations every fifteen years.--TR.

[75] A departing graduate.--TR.

[76] See Count Lamberg's Day-book of a Man of the World.

[77] Whoever goes to the Academy of the Arcadians, takes an Arcadian name.

[78] One who watches the card and takes up the money at the bank.--TR.

[79] Give us our daily bread, and forgive us our debts.--[? TR.]

[80] Lanzknecht.--TR.

[81] Liana.--TR.



41. CYCLE.

I Sat up all last night till towards morning,--for I cannot suffer any strange _déchiffreur_ in the case,--in order to cipher out the Jubilee to the very last word, so enchained was I by its charms; I hope, however, as the mere thin leaf-skeleton from Hafenreffer's hand has already done so much, that now, when I run through its veins with sap-colors and glossy green, the leaf will do absolute miracles.

With the Count it had been troubled weather since last evening. For the patient, modest form which he had seen shone, like the purpose of a great deed, before all the images of his soul; and in his dreams, and before he sank to slumber, her gentle voice became the Philomela of a spring-night. Withal, he heard them continually talking about her, especially the Doctor, who every morning announced further progress of the ocular cure, and at last placed Liana's setting out for Lilar nearer and nearer. To hear of a loved one, however, even the most indifferent thing, is far mightier than to think of her. He heard further, that her brother, since the murder of her eyes, had withdrawn entirely from the city, in which he would not again appear except on a so-called festive-steed at the Prince's funeral;--and around this Eden, or rather around its creatress, so high a garden-wall had been run, and he went round the wall and found no gate.

I know nothing more odious than this; but in what residence-city is it otherwise? If I ever wrote a Romance (of which there is no probability), one thing I affirm openly, there is nothing which I would so sedulously shun as a residence-city, and a heroine in it saintly enough for a canoness. For the conjunction of the upper planets is more easily brought about than that of the upper class of lovers. Does _he_ wish to speak alone with _her_ at Court or at tea or in her family, there stands the Court, the tea-party, the family close by;--will he meet her in the park, she rides, like the Chinese couriers, double, because we give a consciousness to maidens, as nature gives all important organs, duplicate, just as we give good wine double bottom;--will he meet her at least accidentally in the street, then there stalks along behind her (if the street lies in Dresden), a sour servant as her plague-vinegar, soul-keeper, _curator sexus_, _chevalier d'honneur_, genius of Socrates, contradictor, and Pestilentiary. In the country, on the other hand, the parson's daughter takes a run (that is all), because the evening is so heavenly, about the fields of the parsonage, and the candidate needs do nothing more than put on his boots. Really, among people of rank, the mantle of (erotic) love seems in the beginning to be a Dr. Faust's mantle, which swears to soar over everything, whereas it merely covers over everything; only, at last, there stands a Schreckhorn, a Mount Pilate, and a Jungfrau, before one's nose.

Blessed hero! On Friday came the Lector, and reported, that on Monday the illustrious deceased--namely, his empty coffin--is to be buried, and Roquairol rides the festive-steed,--and Liana is almost well, for she goes with the Minister's lady to-morrow to Lilar, in all probability to escape some sad black-bordered notes of condolence,--and, on the following ascension-day comes the consecration and masquerade....

Blessed hero! I repeat. For hitherto what hast thou possessed of the blooming vale of Tempe, except the barren heights whereon thou stood'st looking down into the enchantment?

42. CYCLE.

On the May-Saturday-evening, at 7 o'clock, every vapor disappeared from the sky, and the brightly departing sun went to meet a glorious Sunday. Albano, who then, at length, meant to visit the unseen Lilar, was, on the evening before, as sacredly happy as if he were celebrating confession eve before the first holy supper;--his sleep was one constant ecstasy and awaking, and in every dream a mimic Sunday morning rose, and the future became the dark prelude of the present.

Early on Sunday he was about to sally forth, when he had to pass by the half-glass door of the Doctor. "Sir Count, one moment!" cried he. When he entered, the Doctor said, "Directly, dear Sir Count!" and went on with what he was about. To the painters, who, in future centuries, will draw from me as they have hitherto from Homer, I present the following group of the Doctor as a treasure; he lay on his left side; Galen was smoothing down his father's back with a little scratch-brush, while Boerhave stood near him with a broad comb, and kept dragging that instrument perpendicularly (not obliquely) through the hair. He always said he knew nothing that cheered him up so, and was such a good aperient, as brush and comb. Before the bed stood Van Swieten in a thick fur, which the correctioner had to wear when the weather was warm and his behavior bad, in order that he might, thus arrayed, be laughed at, as well as half roasted.

Two girls stood waiting there in full Sunday gala, and were thinking of going out into the country to see a parson's daughter, and to the village church; these he first mauled, limb by limb, with the hammer of the law. He loved to make his children antipodes of Romish defendants, who appear in rags and tatters, and so he set them in the pillory, all ruffled and tasselled, especially before strangers. The Count had already this long time, on the red children's account, been standing with his face turned toward the open window; he could not, however, refrain from saying, in Latin, "Were he his child, he would long ago have made way with himself; he knew nothing more degrading than to be scolded in finery." "It takes so much the deeper hold," said Sphex, in German, and fired only these few farewell shots after the girls: "You are a pair of geese, and will do nothing in church but just cackle about your rags and tags; why don't you mind the parson? He is an ass, but he preaches well enough for you she-asses; in the evening do you tell me every word of the sermon."

"Here is a laxative drink, Sir Count, which, as you are going to Lilar, I beg you to give the Architect's lady for her little toads; but don't take it ill!" By the deuse! that is what precisely those people most frequently say, who, themselves, never take anything ill. The Count,--who at another time would have contemptuously turned his back upon him,--now blushing and silent before the preserver of his Liana, put it into his pocket, because, too, it was for the children of his beloved Dian, to whose spouse he wished to bear greetings and news.

43. CYCLE.

Lilar is not, like so many princely gardens, a torn-out leaf of a Hirschfeld,--a dead landscape-figurant and mimic- and miniature-park,--one of those show-dishes which are now served up and sketched at every court, of ruins, wildernesses, and woodland-cottages, but Lilar is the _lusus naturæ_ and bucolic poem of the romantic and sometimes juggling fancy of the old Prince. We shall soon enter in a body behind our hero, but only into _Elysium_. _Tartarus_ is something entirely different, and the second part of Lilar. This separation of the contrasts I praise even more than all. I have long wanted to go into a better garden than the common chameleonic ones are, where one hands you China and Italy, summer-house and charnel-house, hermitage and palace, poverty and riches (as in the cities and hearts of the proprietors), all on one dish, and where day and night, without an aurora, without a mezzotinto, are placed side by side. Lilar, on the contrary,--where the Elysium justifies its happy name by connected pleasure-tents and pleasure-groves, as the Tartarus does its gloomy one, by lonesome, veiled horrors,--_that_ is drawn right out of my heart.

But where is our youth now going with his dreams? He is yet on the romantic road that leads into Lilar, properly the first garden-walk of the same. He strolled along an embowered road, which gently rose over hills, with open orchards, and into yellow-blooming grounds, and which, like the Rhine, now forced its way through green, ivy-clad rocks, and now opened its flying, smiling shores behind the twigs. Now the white benches under jessamine bushes and the white country-seats became more frequent; he drew nearer, and the nightingales and canary-birds[82] of Lilar came roving along, like birds announcing land. The morning blew fresh through the spring, and the indented foliage yet held fast its light, ethereal drops. A carrier lay sleeping on his rack-wagon, which the beasts, browsing right and left, safely drew along the smooth road. Albano heard, in the Sunday stillness, not the war-cry of oppressive labor, but the peace-bells of the towers: in the morning chime the future speaks, as in evening chimes the past; and at this golden age of the day there stood, also, a golden age in his fresh bosom.

Now the fork-tailed chimney-swallows began to quiver with their purple breasts over the heavenly blue of the wild germanders, announcing the approach of our dwellings as well as their own; when his road seemed about to pass through an old, open, ruined castle, overhung with rich, thick leaves, like scales, at whose entrance, or egress, a red arm, pointing aside with the white inscription, "Way out of Tartarus into Elysium," stretched out toward a neighboring thicket.

His heart rose within him at this double nearness of such opposite days. With long steps he pressed on toward the Elysian wood, which seemed to be cut off from him by a broad ditch. But he soon came out of the bush-work before a green bridge, which flung its arch like a giant serpent across the ditch, not, however, on the earth, but among the summits of the trees. It bore him in through a blooming wilderness of oaks, firs, silver-poplars, fruit-trees, and lindens. Then it brought him out into the open country, and now Lilar, from the east, flung, over the wide-extending spikes of grain, the splendor of a high golden ball to meet him. The bridge sank gently with him again into fragrant, glimmering broom, and beneath and beside him sang and fluttered canary-birds, thrushes, finches, and nightingales, while the well-fed brood slept under the covert of the bridge. At last, after passing an arched avenue, it came up again to the light, and now he saw the blooming mountain cupola with the white altar, whereon he had knelt on a night of his youth; and farther to the south behind him, the veil and dividing-wall of Tartarus, a high-reared wood; and as he stepped onward, Elysium opened upon him more broadly,--a lane of small houses with Italian roofs full of little trees, smiled joyfully and familiarly upon the sight out of the green world-map of dells, groves, paths, lakes; and in the east five triumphal gates opened passages into a wide-extending plain, waving on like a green-glistening sea, and in the west five others stood opposite to them with opened lands and mountains.

As Albano passed down along the slowly-descending sweep of the bridge, there came forth into view, now blazing fountains, now red beds, now new gardens enfolded in the great one, and every step created the Eden anew. Full of awe he stepped out, as upon a hallowed soil, on the consecrated earth of the old Prince and the _pious father_[83] and Dian and Liana; his wild course was arrested, and entangled, as if by an earthquake; the pure paradise seemed made merely for Liana's pure soul; and now for the first time a timid question about the propriety of his hasty journey, and the loving fear of meeting for the first time her healed eye, made his happy bosom grow uneasy.

But how festal, how living, is all around him! On the waters which gleam through the groves swans are gliding; the pheasant stalks away into the bushes, deer peep curiously behind him out of the wood through which he has come, and white and black pigeons run busily under the gates, and on the western hills hang bleating sheep by the side of reposing lambs; even the breast of the turtle-dove in some hidden valley trembles with the _languido_ of love. He strode through a long, high-bushed rose-field, that seemed a settlement and plantation of hedge-sparrows and nightingales, which hopped out of the bushes on the growing grass-banks, and ran out in vain after little worms; and the lark sailed away on high over this second world, made for the more innocent of God's creatures, and sank behind the gates into the grain-fields.

Intoxicate thyself more and more, good youth, and link thy flowers into a chain as closely as the boy toward whom thou art hastening. For, overhead, on the Italian roof, before whose balustrade-breastwork silver-poplars, girdled about with broad vine-leaves, played, and which, in the spring-night, he had taken for a bower in roses, stood a blooming boy bent forward, who was letting down a chain of marigolds, and kept fastening on new rings to the too short green cable. "My name is Pollux," he answered briskly to Alban's soft question, "but my sister is named Helena,[84] but my little brother is named Echion." "And thy father?" "He is not here now, he is away off there in Rome; just go in to mother Chariton, I am coming immediately." On what fairer day, in what fairer place, with what fairer hearts could he come into the holy family of the beloved Dian, than on this morning, and with this mood?

He went into the bright, laughing house, which was full of windows and green Venetian blinds. When he entered into the spring-room he found Chariton, a young, slender woman, looking almost like a girl of seventeen,[85] with the little Echion at her breast, defending herself against the sickly and excitable Helena, who, standing in a chair under the window, kept swinging in a many-leaved sling of a vine-branch, and trying to girdle and blind therewith the eyes of her mother. With charming confusion, wishing at once to rise, with her left hand to remove the leafy fetters without tearing, and to cover up the suckling more closely, she stepped forward, inclining her head, to meet the beautiful youth, with childlike friendliness and warmth, but with infinite shyness, not on account of the rank indicated by his dress, but because he was a man, and looked so noble, even like her Greek. He told her, with an enchanting love, which, perhaps, she had never seen so magnificently pictured, on his strong countenance, his name, and the gratitude which his heart kept in store for her husband, and the news and greetings which he had brought from him. How the innocent fire blazed out of the dark eyes of the timid creature! "Was then my lord," so she called her husband, "very well and happy?" And so she began now, unembarrassed as a child, a long examination all about her husband.

Pollux came dancing in with his long chain. Alban playfully took out the Doctor's medicine from his pocket, and said, "This is what you are to take." "Must I drink it right down, mother?" said the hero. Here she inquired quite as naively after the detailed prescriptions of the Doctor, until the little suckling at her breast rebelled, and drove her into a by-room to sit over the cradle. She excused herself, and said the little one must go to sleep, because she was going to walk with Liana, for whom she was looking every minute.

Children love powerful faces. Alban was at once the favorite of children and dogs, only he could never act with the little jumping troop, on the childish playground, when grown spectators were in the boxes.

"I can do a good many things!" said Pollux. "And I can read, sir!" rejoined Helena to her brother. "But then only in German; but I can read Latin letters splendidly, you!" replied the little man to her, and ran round through the room after readings and specimens; but in vain. "Man, wait a little!" said he, and ran up-stairs into Liana's chamber, and brought one of Liana's letters.

43a. CYCLE.

Albano knew not that Liana had the upper--so bloomingly shaded--chamber reserved for her own private use, wherein she frequently--especially when her mother remained behind in the city--drew, wrote, and read. The childlike Chariton, inspired with the love-draught of friendship, did not know at all how she could possibly so much as show her warmth of kindness to the fair, affectionate friend: ah, what was a chamber? Now into this always open room came the children, whom Liana sometimes heard read; and thus was Pollux able on the present occasion to fetch out of the solitary room the sheet which she had written this morning.

While Albano, during the errand, sat so alone in the keeping-room of the far-off friend of his youth, near _his_ still, pale daughter, who looked now at him and now at a toy sheep-fold, as well known to him as Liana's eastern chamber, when the morning breeze swept in the glorious hum through the cool window, especially when, in the light cut-work of the floor the Chinese shadows of the vine and poplar foliage crinkled into each other, and when, at length, Chariton began to sing the suckling to sleep with a quicker, louder lullaby, which sounded to him like her echoing sigh after the fair land of her youth; then was his full heart, which had been already so stirred by all the events of the morning, wondrously moved, and--especially by the flickering sham-fight of the shadows--almost to tears; and the child looked up more and more meaningly into his face.

Then came Pollux back with his two quarto leaves, and now set himself at once to his lesson. The very first page composed the melody to Alban's inner songs; but he could neither guess the authoress nor the date of the letter, except further along, by a desultory sort of reading to and fro. The leaves belonged to previous ones; not so much as a grain of writing-sand evinced their recent birth (for Liana was too courtly to use any); further, all the names were disguised; that is to say, Julienne, to whom they were directed, had unfortunately in Argenson's _bureau de décachetage_, where she resided, i.e. at court, demanded them in cipher, and she accordingly took the name of Elisa; Roquairol was called Charles, and Liana her little Linda. Linda, as will be well remembered, is the baptismal name of the young Countess of Romeiro, with whom the Princess on the day of that (for Roquairol) so bloody masquerade had established an eternal heart- and letter-alliance; Liana, to whose pure, poetic eyes every noble woman became a blessed saint and heroine, the opaque jewel a bright, pure, transparent one, loved the high Countess as if with the heart of her brother and her female friend at once, and the gentle soul named herself, unconscious of her worth, only the little Linda of her Elisa.

Nor did Albano recognize the delicate running-hand; Julienne loved the French language even to its letters, but Liana's resembled not the scrawled Gallic protocols, but the neatly-rounded handwriting of the English.

Here is her leaf at last. O thou lovely being! how long have I thirsted for the first sounds of thy refreshing soul!

"Sunday Morning.

"... But to-day, Elisa, I am so profoundly happy, and the evening-mist is transformed to an aurora in heaven. I ought not to give thee yesterday's work at all. I was too much troubled. But might not my dear mother, who had come hither merely for my sake, become thereby still sicker, whatever appearances of tolerable health she might, for that very reason, assume with me? And then came thy form, beloved one, and all thy sorrow and the painful neighborhood,[86] and our last evening here. O how reproachfully did all that pass before my heavy heart! So, as we stopped before the house of dear Chariton, and she kissed my mother's hand with tears of joy; then was I so weak that I too turned aside and shed tears, but other tears,--I wept for the rejoicing one herself, who indeed could not know whether at that hour her precious friend in Rome might not be sick or dying.

"But now the dark, gray mist is wholly blown away from the flower-garden of thy little Linda, and all the blossoms of life shine in their pure, high colors before her. After midnight my mother's headache passed almost entirely away, and she was still sleeping so sweetly this morning. O, what were my feelings then! Soon after five o'clock I went down into the garden and shrunk back at the splendor which burned in the dew and between the leaves; the sun was just looking in under the triumphal gates,--all the lakes sparkled in a broad fire,--a gleaming haze floated like a saintly halo around the edge of the earth which the heaven touched,--and a high waving and singing streamed through the splendor of morn.

"And into this unlocked world I had come back restored and so happy. I wanted continually to cry out: 'I have thee again, thou bright sun! and you, ye lovely flowers! and ye proud mountains, ye have not changed! and ye are green again, and, like me, renewed, ye sweet scented trees!' I floated, as if transfigured, in an endless felicity, Elisa, weak, but light and free; I had, so it seemed to me, put off this burdensome clay under the earth and kept only the beating heart, and in my enraptured bosom warm tear-fountains gushed down, as if over flowers, and covered them with brightness.

"'Ah, God!' said I, trembling at the very greatness of my joy, 'was it then a mere sleep, that immovable repose of mother?' and I must needs (smile on!) before I went further, go up to her again. I crept breathless to the bedside, bent listeningly over her, and my good mother opened slowly her still gently dozing eyes, looked upon me languidly but affectionately, and closed them again without stirring, and gave me only her dear hand.

"Now could I right blissfully return to my garden; I bore, however, a morning-greeting to the ever-cheerful Chariton, and told her that I might be found on the broad way to the _altar_,[87] if I should be wanted for anything. Ah, Elisa, what feelings then were mine! And why had I not thee by the hand, and why could not my distressed Charles see that his sister was so happy? As, after a warm rain, the evening-red and the liquid sunlight run from all the gold-green hills, so stood a quivering splendor over my whole inner being and over my past, and everywhere lay bright tears of joy. A sweet gnawing consumed away my heart as if to death, and all was so near to me and so dear! I could have answered the whispering aspen and thanked the spring-breezes which fanned so coolingly my hot eye! The sun had laid itself with a motherly warmth on my heart, and brooded over us all,--the cold flower, the naked young bird, the stiff butterfly, and every creature. Ah, such should man be too, thought I; and I took the sandy path, and spared the life of the poor little blade of grass and the flower that peeped so lovingly, which truly breathe and wake like us. I drove not away the thirsty white butterflies and pigeons which stood beside each other and bent down from the moist turf to drink. O, I could have stroked the waves ... this creation is truly so precious and from God's hand, and every the smallest-shaped heart has surely its blood and a longing, and into every little eye-point under the leaf the whole sun and a little spring enter and abide!

"I leaned, a little exhausted, under the first triumphal arch, ere I ascended to the altar, and looked out into the glimmering landscape full of villages and orchards and hills; and the glistening dew, and the ringing of the village-bells, and the chime of the herd-bells, and the floating of the birds over all, filled me with peace and light. Yes, in such peace and seclusion and serenity will I spend my fleeting life, thought I: does not the little Sad-cloak persuade me, who, before my eyes, with his wings torn by autumn, nevertheless flutters again around his flowers; and does not the night-butterfly admonish me, who clings, chilled, to the hard statue, and cannot soar to the blossoms of day? Therefore will I never stir from my mother; only let the precious Elisa stay with us as long as her Linda lives, and call her noble friend soon,[88] that I may see and heartily love her!

"I went up the green-shaded mountain, but with pain: joy weakens me so much. Think of me, Elisa: I shall some time die of a great joy or of a great, all too great woe! The spiral path to the altar was painted with the hues of the blossom-dust, and overhead, not colored and stationary, but shifting, burning rainbows quivered through the twigs of the mountain. Why stood I to-day in a splendor such as I never knew before?[89] And when the morning breeze fanned and lifted me, and when I dipped myself deeper into the blue heaven, then said I, 'Now thou art in Elysium.' Then it was to me as if a voice said, 'This is the earthly Elysium, and thou art not yet sanctified for the other.' O, how ardently did I then form the purpose to disentangle myself from so many faults, and especially to renounce that too hasty imagination of offence, which I may indeed conceal from others, but through which I nevertheless injure them. And then I prayed at the altar, and thanked the Eternal Goodness, and wept unconsciously; perhaps too much, but yet without my eyes smarting.

"At last I wrote the poem of thanks which I append to this, and which I will put into verse, if the _pious father_ approves.


"'Do I then gaze again with blessed eyes into thy blooming world, thou All-loving One, and weep again, because I am happy? Why did I then fear? When I went under the earth in the darkness like the dead, and caught only a distant sound of the loved ones and of spring above me, why was my feeble heart in fear that there was no more hope for life and light? For thou wast by me in the darkness, and didst lead me up out of the vault into thy spring; and around me stood thy joyous children, and the serene heavens, and all my smiling loved ones! O, I will now hope more steadfastly! Continue thou to break off from the sick plant all rank flowers, that the rest may more fully ripen! Thou dost indeed lead thy human creatures into thy heaven and to thyself over a long mountain; and they go through the storms of life along the mountain, only overshadowed, not smitten, by the clouds, and only our eye grows wet. But when I come to thee, when Death again throws his dark cloud over me, and draws me away from all that I love into the deeper cavern, and thou, All-gracious, settest me free once more, and bearest me into thy spring,--into a still fairer one than this, which is itself so magnificent,--will then my frail heart, near thy judgment-seat, beat as gladly as to-day, and will the mortal bosom dare to breathe in thy ethereal spring? O, make me pure in this earthly one, and let me live here, as if I were already walking in thy heaven!'"

* * * * *

If even you, ye friends, who have never seen her, are yet won and touched by the patient, pure form, which can resignedly rejoice that the storm-cloud has, after all, only sent down rain-drops upon it, and no hailstones, how must she then have agitated the deeply-moved heart of her friend! He felt a consecration of his whole being, just as if Virtue came down incarnate in this shape from heaven, to hallow him with her smile, and then flew back in a shining path, and he followed, inspired and exalted, in her track.

He urged the boy instantly to carry back the leaves, in order to spare her and himself--as she might appear any moment--the most painful of surprises; yet he firmly resolved--cost what it might--to be true, and confess to her, this very day, what he had done.

The little fellow ran up stairs and down again, remained a long time before the door, and came in with Liana by the hand, who was dressed in white, with a black veil. She looked in and around a little perplexed, as she with both hands pushed back the veil from her friendly face; but she heard Chariton's lullaby. She did not know him till he spoke; and then her whole beautiful being reddened like an illuminated landscape after an evening shower: she had the pleasure, she said, of knowing his father. Probably she knew the son still better by Julienne's and Augusti's pictures, and on more congenial sides; her sisterly heart was certainly moved, too, by his brotherly voice; for the charm, and even preferableness, of resemblance and copy is so great, that one who looks like even an indifferent person becomes more dear to us, like the echo of an empty sound, merely because, in this case as in the imitative art, the past and absent, shining through the fancy, become a present.

The gradually lowering tone of the mother's lullaby announced the sinking of the infant to slumber, and at last the diminuendo died away, and Chariton, with glistening eyes, ran to take Liana's hand. A frank and serene friendship bloomed between the innocent hearts, and held them entwined, as the vine does the neighboring poplars. Chariton related to her what Albano had related, with a reliance upon her most fervent sympathy. Liana listened to her friend with eager attention; but that was quite as much as if she were looking at the historical source itself that was so near at hand.

44. CYCLE.

At last they began a journey through the garden. Pollux very reluctantly, and only after Liana's promise to draw him a horse again to-day, stayed behind as patron-saint of the cradle. Alban said, to the extreme joy of the Architect's wife, who could now show the beautiful man everything, that he had seen but little of Lilar yet. How bewitchingly the two forms, linked in friendship, walked before him side by side! Chariton, although a matron, yet of a Grecian slenderness, fluttered along as a younger sister beside the lily-form of her somewhat taller Liana. The former seemed, according to the classification of the landscape-painters, nature in motion; Liana, nature in repose. As he joined Liana again, by whose left hand Helena was running along,--the mother on the right,--he found her softly-descending profile indescribably touching, and around the mouth he recognized lines which sorrow had drawn, the scars of returning days; while the lovely maiden, on the sunny side of the front face, as in her easy conversation, manifested a free, benignant cheerfulness, which Albano, who had never knocked at the school-room door of any young ladies' academy, found it hard to reconcile with her tearful poetry. O, if the tear of woman passes away lightly, so flutters away still more lightly woman's smile; and the latter, still oftener than the former, is only appearance!

He tried, from a longing of the thirsty heart, to catch the little one's hand, but she hung with both upon Liana's left; presently, however, she skipped away, and plucked three iris-flowers,--which, like her, resembled butterflies,--and gave one to her mother, and two to Liana, with the words, "Give _him_ one too!" And Liana handed it to him, lifting her friendly face upon him as she did so with that holy maiden-look which is bright and attentive, but not searching, expressive of childlike sympathy without giving and demanding. Nevertheless, several times during the day did she let those holy eyes sink down; but what compelled her to it was, that on Zesara's rocky face, softened though it was by love, there rested a physiognomical right of the stronger: he seemed to look upon a shy soul with a hundred eyes, and his two true ones blazed as warmly, although quite as purely, as the sun's eye in the ether.

The iris-flowers have this peculiarity, that one smells them, another not; only to these three beings in one did the cups open themselves equally wide, and they rejoiced long over this community of enjoyment. Helena ran forward and disappeared behind a low bush; she sat on a child's bench by a child's table, awaiting, with a smile, the grown people. The good old Prince had low moss-benches, little garden-chairs, little table- and pot-orangeries, and the like, placed everywhere, for the children, about the resting-places of their elders; for he loved to draw these refreshing open flowers of humanity near to his heart! "One wishes so often," said Liana, "to live in the patriarchal time, or in Arcadia, or in Otaheite; children are, indeed,--do you not believe so?--everywhere the same, and one has already in them what only the most remote time and the most remote region can insure." He indeed believed it, and gladly; but he kept asking himself, How can such an unstained Aphrodite be born out of the dead sea of a court, as pure dew and rain arise out of the briny water of the ocean?

While speaking, she occasionally drew an uncommonly graceful--how shall I write it--_H'm!_ after her words, which, although a grammatical blunder at court, betrayed an unspeakable good nature; but I describe it, not in order that all my fair readers may let this attractive interjection be heard the very next Sunday.

"The same," replied Albano,--but he meant it well,--"holds of the animals: the swan yonder is like the one in Paradise." She took it just as it was meant; but the reason was the pious Father Spener, her teacher; for at Albano's question touching Lilar's abundance of beautiful and gentle creatures, she answered: "The old Lord loved these creatures with a real tenderness, and they could often bring him even to tears. The pious Father thinks so too; he says, since they do everything at God's behest by instinct, accordingly it seems to him, when he contemplates the care of the parents for their young, just as if the Infinitely Gracious One were doing it all himself." They ascended now a half-shaded bridge, over a long water-mirror hung round with quivering poplars, wherein Liana's emblem, namely, a swan, slept on the water-rings, the bent neck beautifully nestled on the back, the head upon the wing, and gently wafted more by the breezes than by the waves. "So reposes the innocent soul!" said Alban, and thought, perhaps, of Liana, but without the courage to confess it. "And thus it awakes!" Liana added with emotion, as this white magnified dove slowly raised its head from the wing; for she thought of her mother's waking on this very day.

Chariton, as if all made up of salient points, was continually turning to Liana, and asking: "Shall we go this way? or in through there? or out through here? If my lord were only here! he knows all about it." She would gladly have led him round every fount and every flower, and looked into the youth's face as lovingly as into that of her friend. Liana said to her, on the cross way at the bridge: "I think the flute-dell yonder, with the gleaming gold ball, will perhaps be pleasantest, especially for a lover of music; and, besides, they will look for me there, when they bring the harp to my mother." She had promised to come back to her as soon as that arrived. She shunned every path toward the south, where Tartarus frowned behind its high curtain.

Liana spoke now of the contest between painting and music, and of Herder's charming official report of this strife. She, although a votary of the pencil, gave in her vote, as was natural to the female and the lyric heart, entirely for tones, and Albano, although a good pianist, was rather for colors, "This magnificent landscape," said Albano, "is in fact a picture, and so is every fair human form." "Were I blind," said Chariton, naively, "then I should not see my lovely Liana." She replied: "My teacher, the Counsellor of Arts, Fraischdörfer, also set painting above music. But to me, when I hear music, it is as if I heard _a loud past_ or _a loud future_. Music has something holy; unlike the other arts, it cannot paint anything but what is good."[90] Verily, she was herself a moral church-music, the angel-stop in the organ. The pure Albano felt, by her side, the necessity and the existence of a yet tenderer purity; and it seemed to him as if a man might injure, even unconsciously, a soul like this, whose understanding was hardly anything more than a finer feeling,--as window-glasses of pure transparency are often broken, because they appear as if they were not. He turned round mechanically, because he was always one step in advance, and not only the blooming Lilar, but also Liana's full form, shone at once and transfigured into his soul. To clasp her to his heart was not now his yearning, but to snatch this being, who had so often suffered, from every flame; to rush for her, sword in hand, upon her foe, to bear her mightily through the deep, cold hell-floods of life;--that would have illuminated his existence.

45. CYCLE.

They saw, already, some moist lights, of the high fountains that leaped from above down into the flute-dell, flickering aloft before them, when Liana, contrary to Chariton's expectation, begged them both to go with her into a pathless oak-grove;--she looked upon him so contentedly and open-heartedly as she said it, and without that womanly suspicion of being misunderstood! In the dusky grove rose a wild rock, with the words, "To my friend Zesara." The late Princess had caused this memorial Alp to be erected to Albano's father. Struck, agitated, with smarting eyes the son stood before it, and leaned upon it, as on Gaspard's breast, and pressed his arm up against the sharp stone, and cried, with the deepest emotion, "O thou good father!" His whole youth, and Isola Bella, and the future, fell at once upon a heart which the whole morning had wrought upon, and it could not longer restrain the pressing tears. Chariton was serious, Liana continued faintly to smile,--but like an angel in prayer. How often, ye fair souls! have I, in this chapter, been compelled to constrain my deeply-impressed heart, which would fain address and disturb you: but I will constrain it again!

They stepped silently back into daylight. But Albano's waves of emotion never fell suddenly; they expanded themselves into broad rings. His eye was not yet dry when he came into the heavenly vale,--into that resting-place of the wishes, where dreams might have gone round freely, without sleep. Chariton--from her earnestness much more busy--had, after a questioning glance at Liana to know whether she might, (namely, let certain machines play,) hastened on before them. They passed through the blooming veil, which retired as they approached;--and Albano beheld now the youthful dream of an enchanted valley in Spain, that entangled one in a net of scents and shadows, set out livingly on the earth before him. On the mountains bloomed orange-walks, the stands hidden in the higher terrace,--everything which bears great blossoms on its twigs, from the Linden even to the grape-vine and the apple-tree, drank down below at the brook, or climbed or crowned the two long mountains, which wound, with their blossoms, around the flowers of the low ground, and mutually inclined themselves, to promise an endless valley; fountains placed on the slopes of the mountains threw behind one another silver rainbows over the trees into the brook; in the east burned the gold globe beside the sun,--the last mirror of his dying evening-glance. "Receive my thanks, thou noble old man!" Albano was continually repeating.

Liana went with him along the western ridge as far as a bank covered with blossoms, under the arch that fluttered above, where one may survey the first and second windings of the vale, and, over in the north, high pines, and behind them, the spire of a church-tower, and below, an auricula meadow, while Chariton, opposite them on the eastern height, behind a statue of a Muse,--for the Nine Muses beamed from the green Tempe,--seemed to be winding up weights and pressing springs. "My brother," Liana, in a low tone, broke the silence, going on meanwhile with the knitting-work which she had taken from her friend, "wishes very much to see you." The soul of Albano, now awakened with all its holy faculties, felt itself wholly like her, and free from embarrassment, and he said, "Even in my childhood I loved your _Charles_ like a brother; I have as yet no friend." The tenderly-moved souls did not remark that the word Charles came from the letter.

All at once single flute-tones floated up overhead on the mountains and out of the bowers,--more and more continually joined them,--they quivered through each other in a beautiful confusion,--at last flute-choirs broke forth mightily on all sides, like angels, and soared toward heaven;--they proclaimed how sweet is spring, and how joy weeps, and how our heart longs, and then vanished overhead in the blue spring,--and the nightingales flew up from the cool flowers and alighted on the bright tree-tops, and cried joyfully into the triumphal songs of May,--and the fanning of the morning-breeze swayed the lofty, glimmering rainbows to and fro, and threw them far into the flowers.

Liana's work sank out of her hands into her lap, and, in a way peculiar to herself, while she leaned her head forward like a Muse, she cast her eye upward, fixing it upon a dreamy distance; her blue eye glimmered as the blue cloudless ether overflows with soft lightning in the tepid summer-night;--but the youth's spirit blazed up in its emotion, like the sea in a storm. She drew down the black veil,--certainly not against sun and air alone; and Albano, with an inner world pictured on his agitated form, played--a sublime contrast to himself--with the ringlets of the little Helena, whom he had drawn towards him, and looked, with big tears, into her simple, little face, which understood him not.

At this moment the mother came hastening over into the silence, and asked, in a very friendly manner, how he liked it all. His other ecstasies resolved themselves into a commendation of the tones; and the dear Greek herself extolled what she had often heard, more and more strongly, as if it were new to her, and listened most intently with him.

A maiden with the harp looked in through the entering-thicket of the vale, and Liana saw the sign, and rose up. As she was on the point of raising her veil and departing, the great-hearted youth bethought him of his confession: "I have read your to-day's letter,--by heaven, I must say it now!" said he. She drew the veil no higher, and said, with trembling voice, "You surely have not read it! you could not have been in my chamber?" and looked at Chariton. He replied, he had not read it all, but yet a good deal of it; and related in three words a much milder history than Liana could have hoped. "The naughty Pollux!" Chariton kept saying. "O God, forgive me, I pray you, this sin of ignorance!" said Albano. She threw back the dark veil for a second, and said, with heightened color and downcast look, appeased, perhaps, by her joy at the agreeable disappointment of her worse expectation: "It belonged merely to a female friend; and you will perhaps, if I ask you, not read anything again." And during the fall of the veil her eye looked up soothingly and forgivingly, and with her beloved she slowly departed from him.

O thou holy soul, love my youth! Art thou not the first love of this heart of fire, the morning-star in the early dawn of his life, thou, this good, pure, and tender one? O, the first love of man, the Philomel among the spring-tones of life, is always indeed, because we so err, so hardly treated by Fate, and always killed and buried, but now, if for once, two good souls, in the white-blossomed May of life, bearing the sweet tears of spring in their bosoms, with the glistening buds and hopes of a whole youth, and with the first, unprofaned longing, and with the firstling of life as well as of the year, the forget-me-not of love in their hearts,--if such kindred beings could meet each other and trust each other, and in the blissful month swear a union for all the wintry months of this earthly time; and if each heart could say to the other,--"Hail to me, that I found thee in the holiest season of life, before I had erred; and that I can die and not have loved anyone like thee!"--O Liana! O Zesara! how fortunate must your beautiful souls be!

The youth lingered a few minutes longer in the magic world that was working around him, whose tones and fountains murmured like the waters and machines in the solitary mine; but at last there was something violent in the solitary monotone and glimmer of the valley, wherein he had been left so alone. He hurried on by the nearest way, sprinkled occasionally with veins of water, through the curtain of foliage, and stepped out once more into the free morning earth of Lilar. How strange! how distant! how changed was all! Into his wide open inner world the outer world poured in with full streams. He himself was changed; he could not go into the night of the oak-grove, to the rocky emblem of his father. When he was over the bridge that stands in the twigs, he saw the gentle company slowly walking over the broad silver-white garden-path, and he blessed Liana, who could now press to her agitated heart the heart of a mother. The little one often whirled round dancing, and perhaps saw him, but no one turned back. The harp, carried along after them, was swept by the eastern breeze, and it snatched tones from the awakened strings as from an Æolian harp, and bore them onward with it; and the youth listened with melancholy to the receding murmur, as of swans that hasten away over the lands, while behind him the empty vale continued to speak lonesomely in the fluting pastoral-songs of love, and hovering tones, gliding along after him, came faintly and dimly to his ear. But he went back up the mountain of the altar; and as he looked over the bright region, and saw still the white forms moving in the distance, he let his whole, beautiful soul dissolve itself in weeping. And here close we the richest day of his youthful life!

But, ye good beings, who have a heart, and find none, or who have the loved objects only _in_, and not _on_, your bosoms, am I not, like the Greeks, drawing all these pictures of bliss, as it were, on the marble sarcophagi of your changed, slumbering past? Am I not the _Archimime_, who, following after, mimics before you the mouldering forms which your soul has buried? And thou, younger or poorer man, to whom time, instead of a past, has only given a future,--wilt thou not one day say to me, I should have concealed from thee many blessed forms, like holy bodies, for fear thou wouldst worship them? and wilt thou not add, that, had it not been for these Phoenix-portraits, thou mightst have cherished lighter wishes, and had many fulfilled? And how much pain have I then caused you all! But myself, too; for how could it fare better with me than with the rest of you?

Your conclusion would, accordingly, be this: since you can never really live pleasant days so pleasantly as they shine afterward in _memory_, or beforehand in _hope_, you would, therefore, rather have the present day without either; and since only at the two poles of the elliptic arch of time one can catch the low music of the spheres, and in the centre of the present nothing, you would, therefore, rather stay and listen in the middle; but as to the past and the future,--neither of which can any man live to see, because they are only two different poesy-gardens of our heart, an Iliad and Odyssey, a Milton's Paradise Lost and Regained,--you will not listen to them at all, or have anything to do with them, in order that you may nestle down, deaf and blind, in an animal present.

By Heaven! sooner give me the finest, strongest poison of ideals, so that I may at least not snore away my moment, but dream it away, and then die on it! But the very dying would be my own fault; for whoso would fain translate _poetic_ dreams into waking reality[91] is more foolish than the North American, who realizes his _nightly_ ones: he proposes, like a Cleopatra, to pervert the splendor of the pearls of dew into a refreshing drink, and the rainbow of fancy to a permanent arch, bridging over the rain-waters. Yes, O God, Thou wilt and canst give us one day a reality, which shall embody and redouble and satisfy our present ideals,--as thou hast, indeed, already proved to us, in our love here below, which intoxicates us with moments in which the inner becomes the outer, and the Ideal, Reality; but _then_--no, for the Then of the life hereafter, this little _Now_, has no voice; but if, I say, here below fiction could become fact, and our pastoral poetry pastoral life, and every dream a day,--ah, even then would desire still remain enhanced only, not fulfilled: the higher reality would only beget a higher poetry, and higher remembrances and hopes;--in _Arcadia_ we should pine after _Utopia_; and on every sun we should see an unfathomable starry heaven retiring before us, and we should--sigh as we do here!


[82] They have a whole room for winter quarters, of which in summer the windows are merely thrown open.

[83] Such was the general title of the secluded Emeritus, the court preacher, Spener, who resided there, and who was related to the noble old pious Spener, not only on the paternal side, but also on the spiritual.

[84] They had these names as twins.

[85] The grammar seems to require "a still almost maidenly looking woman of seventeen years," but the translator did not dare to think Jean Paul could have meant that, consistently with the ages of the three children, though, as an Oriental, Chariton may have married _very_ young.

[86] The Tartarus with Julienne's father's heart.

[87] Such is the name of that mount which Albano found in the well-known spring night.

[88] Linda de Romeiro.

[89] The reason is, that after her recovery she was still short-sighted, and to a short-sighted person the dew is so much the more brilliant.

[90] This proposition, that pure music, without text, cannot represent anything immoral, deserves to be more investigated and developed by me.

[91] It cannot be objected to me, that in fact the scenes of my book have been actually experienced, and that no one would wish to experience any better; for in the representation of fancy reality assumes new charms, charms with which every other faded present magically glimmers through the memory. I appeal here to the sensations of the very characters who figure in _Titan_, whether they would not in my book--in case they should ever light upon it--find in the pictured scenes, which, however, are their own, a higher enchantment, which has gone from the real, and which, to be sure, might produce such an effect--but altogether illusorily--that my characters could wish to live _their own life_.



46. CYCLE.

Ripening love is the stillest: the shady flowers in this spring, as in the other, shun sunlight. Albano spun himself deep into his Sunday-dreams, and drew, as well as he could, the green poppy-leaf of reality into his web,--namely, the Monday, which was to show him, at the state-burial of the Prince, the brother of his maiden-friend.

This day of festive sadness, at which the third but greatest princely coffin was to be conveyed to its repose, at last broke, and had been made momentous already by the preparatory festival, at which the two first coffins, together with the old man, had been interred, somewhat as virtues are buried in the very beginning of a century, and not till its end their empty names and wrappages and half-bindings. At the rehearsal- and prefiguring-burial of the illustrious deceased, the old pious Father Spener too, his last friend, had gone down with him into the vault, in order to have opened the wooden and tin casing of the run-down wheel-work, and to cover over upon the still breast of the dear sleeper his youthful portrait and his own with the colored side down, without speaking or weeping; and the court made much of this morning- and evening-offering of friendship.

Everything swells up monstrously for man, of which they are obliged to talk a long while,--all Pestitz societies were auxiliary funeral societies, and full of burial-marshals,--every scaffolding of the neighboring future was a mausoleum, and every word a funeral sermon or an epitaph upon the pale man. Sphex, as his physician in ordinary, rejoiced in his part of the sorrow and the procession,--the Lector had already tried on the court mourning, in the place of his cast-off winter-garb, and found it to fit,--the court-marshal had not a minute's rest, and the last day, which opens all graves and closes none, had come to him now before its time,--the Minister, Von Froulay, whom the cold Luigi willingly left to do everything, was, as a lover of old princely pomp, and as convoking director of the present occasion, as much in heaven himself as was the illustrious deceased,--the women had risen from their beds this morning as to a new life, because to these busy _drapery-paintresses_ a long chain of coats and of their wearers probably weighs as much as a span of blood-related horses does to their husbands.

Albano waited impatiently at the window for Liana's brother, and loved the invisible one more and more ardently; like two connected wings, Friendship and Love stirred and lifted each other within him. The mourning-spool, namely, the empty coffin, had been fixed in Tartarus, and was gradually wound off, and now the dark mourning-ribbon would soon be ready to be stretched to the upper city. Already, for an hour and a half before the arrival of the procession, the saltpetre of the female crowd had been crystallized on the walls and the windows. Sara, the Doctor's wife, came up with the children and the deaf Cadaver into Schoppe's chamber, the second door of which stood open into Albano's, and, with an ogling, amorous look, spoke in to the Count: "Up here one can overlook the whole much better, and his excellency will pardon it." "You just stay together there, and don't you trouble M. the Count," said she, turning back to the children, and was on the point of entering the Count's chamber, at whose threshold Schoppe, just coming from Albano, caught and stopped her.

Now Sara was one of those common women who are more carried away themselves by their own charms than successful in carrying others away therewith. She would merely set her face in the chair, and let it kindle and singe and burn, while she on her part (relying on her _lazy Jack_[92] of a visage) quietly and coolly worked away at other things, either simple trash or vile scandal; and then when she had been a _clothes'-rod_ of women, as Attila was a Heaven's rod of nations, she looked round and surveyed the damage which the fire of her face had done in the male tinder-boxes. Particularly on the rich and beautiful Count had she an eye,--under Cupid's bandage. Her head was full of good physiognomical fragments; and Lavater's objection, that most physiognomists unfortunately study nothing in the whole man but the face, could not hit in any point her pure physiognomical sense.

Schoppe, readily divining that with this female soul-dealer the walk or _gang_ was a press-gang,[93] the white linen, hunting-gear, the shawl, a bird-net,[94] and the neck, a swan's-neck for any fox that happened to be near, caught her by the hand at the threshold of the two chambers, and asked her, "Do you, also, take as much interest as I in the universal joy of the land, and the long-desired court-mourning? Your eyes indicate something like it, Mrs. Provincial Physician." "What interest do you mean?" said the medical lady, struck quite stupid. "In the pleasure of the courtiers, who, in general, are distinguished from monkeys, as the orang-outangs are, by the fact that they seldom make leaps of joy; at least, like young performers on the piano-forte, they drum away, without the smallest emotion, their most mournful and their merriest pieces one after the other. O, if only nothing bitter should spoil the mourning of the court-household! Do you wish the dear ones to have arrayed themselves in vain in the black robes of joy, wherein, like the grandsons of those who were left behind in the battle of Leuctra, they go to meet the jubilee of a new prince? What!" Unluckily she replied, in a sarcastic tone: "Black is, in these parts, the mourning-color, Mr. Schoppe." "Black, Mrs. Doctor!" (he bounced back with astonishment.) "Black?--black is a travelling-color, and bridal-color, and gala-color, and, in Rome, a princely-children's color; and, in Spain, it is a law of the empire that the courtiers, like the Jews in Morocco,[95] shall appear in black.

"Pestalozzi, madam--but there's Malt, does he understand me?" Schoppe turned round to the man, who had his drum on, and meant secretly to tap it during the procession, so as to catch something of the muffled funeral drums, and exhorted him to give a beat or two, in order that he might profit by the discourse. "Malt," said he, louder, "Pestalozzi remarks very justly, that the great ones of our time, in face, dress, posture, image-worship, superstition, and love for charlatans, approach daily nearer and nearer the Asiatics; it speaks in favor of Pestalozzi, that they borrow of the Chinese, who dress themselves in black for joy, and in white for mourning, not merely temples and gardens and caricatures, but also this very black of joy."

Among the children,--of whom the uneducated alone were not ill-bred,--Boerhave, Galen, and Van Swieten made themselves most prominent by the inlaid work and designs of the present company, which they were engraving on their bread and butter; and Galen showed his satirical projection of Mama, saying, "Only see what a long nose I have made Mama have!"

The Librarian, who was turning something similar, arrested her, as she offered to go in, assuring her he would not let her pass till she surrendered to his views: the funeral column of march could hardly have got an acre's distance out of Tartarus, and would give him time enough. He continued:--

"Genuine mourning, on the contrary, my dear, always, like anger, makes one party-colored, or, like terror, white; e. g. the creatures of a dead Pope mourn violet, so does the French king, his lady chestnut brown, the Venetian Senate, for their Doge, red. But to a regent you cannot, more than I, allow any mourning whatever; to the high-priest and a Jewish king[96] it was wholly forbidden; why should we allow the household more than the master? And must not a sovereign, my best one! who should permit the expensiveness of public mourning, manifestly open afresh the closed wounds of private sorrow? And could he, when, like Cicero,[97] he had, by his exile, thrown twenty thousand people into mourning weeds, answer it to his conscience, that his last act was a _Droit d'Aubaine_, a robbery, and that the dying-bed, whereupon one formerly bequeathed clothing to servants and the poor, should now strip them thereof? No, madam, that does not look like regents at least, who often, even by their dying, as Marcion[98] asserted of Christ's journey to hell, bring up a Cain, Absalom, and several others of the Old-Testament culprits out of hell into the heaven of the new administration.

"You do not yet give in, and the Cadaver looks at me like a cow; but consider this: peruke- and stuff-weavers have frequently besought crowned heads to wear their manufactures, in order that they might get a sale for them;--an hereditary and crown-prince, on the first happy consecration- and regency-day, when he deposes, that is, deposits his predecessor in the ground, puts on coal-black, because the black wool is not good for much, and does not sell well, and such an example at once strikes the whole metropolis,--even cattle, drums, pulpits, black. Only one word more, love: I assure you there is nothing coming yet but the company of choristers. For this very reason has the princely corpse, which might easily spoil the whole pleasure of the funeral, been previously disposed of, and only a vacant box is carried along, in order that the procession may have no other _pensées_ than _Anglaises_[99].... O dearest, one last word: What can you see, then, in the corps of equerries and pages? Well, go now! I too rejoice to see at once so many people, and the prince so happy in the midst of his children."

But the longer he saw the procession growing, that loose juggler's thread, by which they were letting down the empty but figured chest of Cypselus[100] into the family vault, so much the more indignant became his mockery. He applied his hypothesis to every sable member of the dark chain. He praised them for opening the _bal masqué_ of the new administration with these slow minuet steps, and preparing themselves for the waltz of the wedding and the grandfather's-dance of the allegiance-day. He said, as one loved on festive days to make everything easy for himself and his beast, as, accordingly, the Jews, on the Sabbath, would not allow themselves or their cattle to carry anything, not even the hens to carry the rags sticking to them; so he saw with pleasure, that in the ceremony-carriages, and in the parade-box, and on the mourning-horses, nothing was suffered to lie or sit; yes, that even the trains of the mourning-mantles were borne by pages, and the four points of the bier-cloth by four stout gentlemen. The only fault he found was, that the soldiery in their joy had seized their guns upside down, and that precisely the persons of the highest rank, Luigi, Froulay, Bouverot, as they came from a hasty funeral potation at once into the open air, were obliged, by reason of their staggering, to be led along and held up on both sides.

47. CYCLE.

In Albano another spirit spoke than in Schoppe, but the two soon met. To the Count the night-like forms of crape, the still funeral banners, the dead-march, the creeping sick-man's-walk, and the tolling of the bells, opened wide all earth's charnel-houses, especially as before his blooming eyes these death plays came for the first time: but one thing more loudly than all--one will hardly guess what--proclaimed before him the partings of life,--namely, the beat of the drum stifled by the funeral cloth; a muffled drum was to him a broken reverberation of all earthly catacombs. He heard the dumb, strangled complainings of our hearts,--he saw higher beings looking down from above on the lamentable three hours' comedy of our life, wherein the ruddy child of the first act fades in the fifth to the old man in jubilee, and then, grown up and bowed down, vanishes behind the falling curtain.

As, in spring, we think more of death, autumn, and winter than in summer, so also does the most fiery and energetic youth paint out to himself in _his_ season of life's year, the dark leafless one oftener and more vividly than the man in that stage which is nearest to it; for in both springs the wings of the ideal unfold widely and find room only in a future. But before the youth, Death comes in blooming, Greek form; before the tired, older man, in Gothic.

Schoppe generally began with _comic_ humor, and ended with _tragic_; so also now did the empty mourning-chest, the crape of the horses, their emblazoned caparisons, the Prince's contempt of the heavy German Ceremonial; in short, the whole heartless mummery, lead him up to an eminence, to which the contemplation of a multitude of men at once always impelled him, and where, with an exaltation, indignation, and laughing bitterness hard to describe, he looked down upon the eternal, tyrannical, belittling, objectless and joyless, bewildered and oppressed frenzy of mankind, and his own too.

Suddenly a gay, shining knight broke the dark chain: it was Roquairol, on the parading gala-horse, who agitated our two men, and none besides. A pale, broken-down face, glazed over with long inward fire, stripped of all youthful roses, lightening out of the diamond-pits of the eyes under the dark, overhanging eyebrows, rode along in a tragic merriment, in which the lines of the veins were redoubled under the early wrinkles of passion. What a being, full of worn-out life! Only courtiers or his father could have set down this tragic exultation to an adulatory rejoicing over the new regency; but Albano took it all into his heart, and grew pale with inward emotion, and said, "Yes, it is he! O, good Schoppe, he will certainly become our friend, this distracted youth. How painfully does the noble one laugh at this gravity, and at crowns, and graves and all! Ah, he too has, indeed, once died." "There the rider is right," said Schoppe, with quivering eyes, and suddenly tapped Albano's hand and then his own head; "my very skull here appears to me like a close _bonsoir_, like a light-extinguisher, which death claps upon me,--we are neat silvered figures, kept up in an electrical dance, and we leap up with the spark; fortunately I am still alive and kicking,--and there is our good Lector creeping along, too, and trailing his long crape,"--in which respect Augusti's citizenly-serious mood contrasted very strongly with the humanly-serious one of the Librarian.

All at once Schoppe, out of patience with this general emotion, said: "What a masquerade for the sake of a mask! Rag and tag for a piece of rag-paper! Throw a man quietly into his hole, and call nobody to see. I always admire London and Paris, where they toll no alarm-bells, nor set the neighborhood stirring, when the undertaker carries one, who has fallen asleep, to bed." "No, no," said Zesara, full of capacity for grief, "I admire it not: to whomsoever the holy dead are of no consequence, to him the living are so too;--no, I will gladly let my heart break into one tear after another, if I can only still remember the dear being."

O, how did the neighborhood accord with his heart! In a cistern, before which the coffin of the coffin passed by, there stood a bronze statue of the old man on horseback, who saw pass by below him the unsaddled mourning-horses, and the mounted festive-steed; a deaf and dumb man was stopping from door to door, and making, with his bell, a begging jingle, which neither he nor the buried one could hear: and was not the forgotten Prince laid in the earth all unseen, and more lonesome than any one of his subjects? O Zesara! it sank into thy heart, how easily man is forgotten, whether he lies in the urn or in the pyramid; and how our immortal self is regarded, like an actor, as _absent_, so soon as it is once behind the scenes, and frets and fumes no longer among the players on the stage.

But had not the gray hermit, Spener, laid upon the sunken breast of that deeper hermit a double youth? O, in this frosty hour of pomp and pageantry, counts not the faithful Julienne every tone of the funeral bell with the beads of her tears,--that poor daughter whom sickness has exempted from the ceremonials, not from pain, who now has lost her _last but one_, perhaps her _last_ relative, since her brother is hardly one? And will not Liana, in her Elysium, guess the farce of sorrow which is acted so near to her over behind the high trees in Tartarus? And if she suspects anything, O how profoundly will she mourn!

All this the noble youth heard in his soul, and he thirsted hotly after the friendship of the heart: it was to him as if its mountain- and life-air floated down from eternity, and blew the grave-dust away from his life-path, and he saw, up yonder, the Genius place his inverted torch upon the cold bosom, not to extinguish the immortal life, but to enkindle the immortal love.

He could not now do otherwise than go forth into the open air, and, amid the flying tones of spring and the deep, hollow murmur of the receding dead march, write the following words to Liana's brother, in which he said to him, after a youthful style, Be my friend!


"Stranger! At this hour, when, in the dead sea and through our tears, the triumphal columns and thrones of men and their bridge-posts appear to us _broken_, a true heart puts a question to thee frankly, and let thine answer it willingly and in truth!

"Has the longest prayer of man been answered to thee, stranger, and hast thou thy friend? Do thy wishes and nerves and days grow together with his, like the four cedars on Lebanon, which can bear nothing around them but eagles? Hast thou two hearts and four arms, and livest thou twice over, as if immortal, in the battling world? Or standest thou solitary and alone upon a frosty, dumb, slender, glacier-point, having no human being to whom thou canst show the Alps of creation, and with the heavens arching far above thee and abysses yawning below? When thy birthday comes, hast thou no being to shake thy hand, and look thee in the eye and say, We still cleave together faster than ever?

"Stranger: if thou hast had no friend, hast thou deserved one? When spring kindled into life, and opened all her honey-cups, and her serene heaven, and all the hundred gates of her Paradise, hast thou, like me, bitterly looked up and begged of God a heart for thine? O when, at evening, the sun went down like a mountain, and his flames departed from the earth, and now only his red breath floated upward to the silvery stars, hast thou beheld the brotherly shadows of friendship which sank together on battle-fields, like stars of one constellation, stealing forth through the bloody clouds out of the old world, like giants; and didst thou think of _this_,--how imperishably they loved each other, and thou, like me, wast alone? And, solitary one, when night--that season at which the spirit of man, as in torrid climes, _toils_ and _travels_--reveals her cold suns above thee in a sparkling chain, and when, still, among all the distant forms of the ether there is no dear loved one, and immensity painfully draws thee up, and thou feelest, upon the cold earth, that thy heart beats against no breast but only thine own,--O beloved! weepest thou then, and most bitterly?

"Charles, often have I reckoned up, on my birthday, the increasing years,--the feathers in the broad wing of time,--and thought upon the sounding flight of youth: then I stretched my hand far out after a friend, who should stick by me in the Charon's skiff wherein we are born, when the seasons of life's year glide by along the shore before me, with their flowers and leaves and fruits, and when, on the long stream, the human race shoots downward in its thousand cradles and coffins.

"Ah, it is not the gay, variegated shore that flies by, but man and his stream: forever bloom the seasons in the gardens up and down along the shore; only _we_ sweep by once for all before the garden, and never return.

"But our friend goes too. O, if thou at this hour of death's juggleries art contemplating the pale Prince, with the images of youth on his breast, and thinking of the gray friend who secretly bewails him in Tartarus, then will thy heart dissolve, and in soft, warm flames run round through thy bosom, and softly say: 'I will love, and then die, and then love--O Almighty, show me the soul which longs and languishes like mine!'

"If thou say'st that, if thou art thus, then come to my heart: I am as thou. Grasp my hand, and hold it till it withers. I have seen thy form to-day, and on it the marks of life's wounds: hasten to me; I will bleed and struggle at thy side. I have long and early sought and loved thee. Like two streams will we mingle and grow, and bear our burdens, and dry up together. Like silver in the furnace, we will run together with glowing light, and all slags shall lie cast out around the pure shimmering metal. Laugh not, then, any longer so grimly, to think what _ignes-fatui_ men are; like _ignes-fatui we_ burn and fly away in the rainy storm of time. And then, when time is gone by, we find each other again, and it will be again in the spring.


48. CYCLE.

How gloriously,--before all the beating veins of the inner man, like those of the outer in old age, have stiffened into gristle, and all the vessels have become inflexible and earthy, and the moral pulse, like the physical, hardly makes sixty strokes in a minute, and before the shy old fool, at every emotion, reserves a piece of his nature which he keeps cold and dry, and which is to wait for another occasion, as sprinkled raspberry leaves always remain dry on the rough side,--how gloriously, I say, before this period of espionage, does a youth, especially an Albano, step along his path, how freely, boldly, and exultingly! and seeks with equal confidence the friend and the foe, and closes with him, to fight either for him or against him!

Let this excuse Albano's fiery letter! The next day he received from Roquairol this answer:--

"I am as thou. On ascension-evening I will seek thee among the masks.


The redness of mortification rushed over the Count's face at this artificial postponement of the acquaintance; he felt that, after such a tone from the heart, _he_ would have immediately, without a dead interim of five days, and without an _homage-day masquerade_ in a double sense, gone to his friend and become his. But now he swore no longer to run to meet him, but only to wait for him. However, the roused indignation soon subsided, and he began to invent fairer and fairer mitigations for the first leaf of the so-long-sought favorite. Charles might certainly, e. g. not wish to mix up the holy time of the first recognition with this bustle of taking the allegiance-oath,--or that first suicidal masquerade might have made every succeeding one an inspiring era of a new second life,--or he knew, perhaps, in fact, about Albano's birthday,--or, finally, this glowing spirit chose to run or fly on his own track.

Meanwhile, his note made the Count reproach himself for his own letter, as if it had been a sin against his Schoppe; he held it to be a sin, in one friendship, to yearn after another; but thou mistakest, fair soul! Friendship has steps which lead up on the throne of God, through all spirits, even to the Infinite: only love is satiable, and, like truth, admits no three degrees of comparison; and a single being fills its heart. Moreover, Albano and Schoppe, in such a mutual metempsychosis of their ideas, and such a near relationship of their pride and nobility, held each other far more dear than they showed to each other. For, as Schoppe, in fact, showed nothing, one could love him in return only with the finger on the lip, but, perhaps, so much the more strongly. Albano was a burning-hot concave mirror, which has its object near, and represents it erect behind itself; Schoppe one which holds the object far off, and throws an inverted image of it into the air.

On the evening before his birthday, and the day of allegiance, Albano stood alone at his window, and pondered his past,--for a last day is more solemn than a first: on the 31st of December I reckon up three hundred and sixty-five days and their fates; on the first of January I think of nothing, because, in fact, the whole future is transparent, or may be all out in five minutes;--while the vesper-bell pealed over the fast-closing twentieth year of his life, and the vesper-hour rose within him, he measured the _abside-line_[101] of his moral being, and looked up at the towering pile of the approaching morrow, which hung full either of spring-showers or hailstones. Never yet had he so tenderly surveyed the circle of his beloved beings, or glanced through the open doors of futurity, as at this time.

But the fair hour was spoiled by Malt, who burst in with the information that the limping gentleman had leaped overboard. From the dormer-window might be seen a returning village funeral-procession, conglomerated around the spot on the bank where Schoppe had plunged in. With frightful wildness--for in Albano indignation was next-door neighbor to terror and pain--he dragged along with him, as he flew to the rescue, the lazy provincial physician, and even threatened him with hard words; for Sphex was going to wait for a carriage, and meanwhile represent to himself the possible cases of too late preparations for a rescue, and besides, perhaps, cherished a hope of serving up Schoppe, on the anatomical table, as Doctor's-feast of science.

The youth ran out with him,--through corn-fields, amidst tears and amidst curses,--with alternate clenched fist and outspread palm, and his eye grew more and more dim and dizzy, and his heart hotter and hotter, the nearer they approached the dark circle. At last they could not only see the Librarian, but also hear him; in good case he turned towards them his curly head from among the reeds, and, occasionally, as he was haranguing the mourning-retinue, he flung up, in a fiery manner, his hairy arm above the water-plants.

Of course the case stood thus:--

His sorites, as long as he lived, was the following: "He had come into the world, not feet foremost, but head foremost, and, accordingly, carried his head and nose high and lofty,[102] because he could not help it. Now he knew of no more genuine freedom than health;--every malady shuts up and warps the soul, and the earth is, merely for that reason, a universal block-house, _la salpetrière_ and house of bruises;[103]--whoso made use of an oyster-snail-viper medicine was himself a slimy, snaky, sticking viper, oyster, snail, and therefore the ever-free savages killed their invalids, and the vigorous Spartans gave no patient an office, least of all the crown;--and strength was especially necessary, in our degenerate days, in order to maul qualified subjects, because, to his certain knowledge, the fist with some substance in it was the best plaintiff's plea and _actio ex lege diffamari_ which a citizen could institute."

Therefore he bathed summer and winter in ice-cold water, just as he, for the same reason, kept himself temperate in all things.

Now, then, in this odious May-weather, he had merely, in his gray hussar-cloak,--at home, his night-gown,--and with shoes down at the heel, gone to the water-side; he had previously stripped himself at the house so as to be ready as soon as he should arrive at the bank. The mourning-company, who saw him go at his swift pace down to the water, and at last throw off everything and leap in, could not but believe the man meant to drown himself, and ran in a body to his bathing-place, not to let him do it. "Do not drown himself!" cried the mourning-company of blacks, while yet afar off. He just let them come on till he could discourse the matter to them somewhat nearer, in the following wise:--"I am yet open to conviction; I can hear reason, good folk, though I am already standing up to my neck in the water; but suffer yourselves to be correctly informed in this case, dear _Cherstens_ generally, for so Christians were called in the time of Charles. I am a poor Sacramentarian, and can hardly recollect what I have hitherto lived on, it was so bloody-desperate little. Whatever I have undertaken in this world, no blessing went with it, but it was all crab's-track backwards and forward. I set up, in Vienna, a neat little magazine of snipes' dung, but I made nothing out of it for want of snipes. I took hold on the other end, and hawked about in Carlsbad, for the lords and great ones, who are accustomed to set a picture upon every old stool and piece of trumpery, fine engravings for waste-paper and privy purposes, in order that, instead of the mere printed paper, they might have something tasty for consumption; but the whole set was left, a dead loss, on my hands, because the manner was too hard and not ideal enough. In London I prepared ready-made speeches (for I am a _litterateur_) to be used by men who are hanged, and yet would fain have something to say for themselves: I offered them to the richest parliamentary orators, and even knaves of booksellers, but came near having to use the speeches for myself. I would gladly have got my living by vomiting,[104] but that requires funds. I tried once to get a settlement as note-stand to a count's regiment, because it looks stupid enough on drill- and parade-days to see every one with a musical flap hanging on his shoulder, from which his next neighbor behind plays. I offered for a trifle to wear all the musicalia on my own person, and stand before them with the notes; but the first-lieutenant (who is at once in the regency and in the treasury) thought it would make the fifers laugh when they came to blow. Thus has it fared with me from time immemorial, dear Cherstens--but don't trample about on my precious cloak there! As ill luck would have it, I entered into wedlock with a lady of Vienna, who was endowed with melted seals;[105] her name was _Prænumerantia Elementaria Philanthropia_;[106] you don't know what this means in German,--a real hell-broom, who chased me, all heated, like a hunted stag, into the reeds here. Cherstens, I should defame myself in the water, were I to come out plainly with the whole story of our woful condition;[107] ... in short, my Philanthropia before marriage was soft as the spines of a new-born hedge-hog, but in the nuptial state, when the foliage was off, I saw, as on trees in winter, one raven's- and devil's-nest after another. She was all the time dressing herself and dressing herself, till it was time to undress; when a fault in me or the children had been removed, she would still continue to scold a little, as one continues to vomit, when the emetic and everything is out; she indulged me preciously little, and had I had a Fontanel[108] she would have reproached me for the fresh pea which I should have been obliged every day to put into it; in short, we two pulled opposite ways,--the linch-pin of love came out in the struggle, and I came with the forward-wheels down into the water here, and my Prænumerantia stays with the hind-wheels at home. See, my women, this is why I do violence to myself--besides, the gnawing-man[109] would have, at any rate, caught me by the throat; but behold yourselves in me as in a mirror! For when a man who is a _litterateur_, and therefore, as you yet know by the case of Fichte, goes about as instituted overseer, schoolmaster, and mentor of the human race, leaps overboard before his wife's face, and lets his Ephorie and tutorship go, you may conclude from this of what your own husbands, who cannot measure themselves with me at all in learning, are capable, in case you are such Prænumerantias, Elementarias, and Philanthropias as unfortunately you have the appearance of being. But," he concluded suddenly, as he saw Albano and the Doctor, "clear yourselves away; I am going to drown myself!"

"Ah, dear Schoppe!" said Albano. Schoppe blushed at his situation. "It must be a clown," said the retiring funeral retinue. "What child's foolery is this, then?" asked Sphex, resenting Albano's former passion and the anatomical misshot, and derived satisfaction from telling the story of the latter's rage. Schoppe knew how heartily the noble youth loved him, and he would not say anything, because he was ashamed, but he swore to himself (in the grotesque style to which he was accustomed even in soliloquy) very shortly to let him into his breast-cavern, and show him hanging therein a whole, wild heart full of love.

49. CYCLE.

The blue day on which an ascension, a rendering of allegiance, and a birthday were to be celebrated already stood over Pestitz, after having cast off its morning-red,--two horses were already harbingers of four, the lowly coach-box, of the highest,--the country nobility already went down, uncomfortably frizzled, into the rooms of the inn, and scolded at being cheated out of the fairest weather for heath-cock coupling, and the city nobility, yet unpowdered, spoke of the day, but without real earnestness,--the court-micrometer,[110] the court-marshal, was surrounded by all his quartermasters,--the court-transit-instruments,[111] the courtiers, instead of their half-holiday, when they work only in the afternoon, had a whole working-day, and were already standing at the wash-table,--the allegiance-preacher, Schäpe, believed almost every word of his discourse, because he had read it too many times over, and the nearness of publication infused emotion into him,--there was no longer a domino to be had for the evening, except among the Jews,--when a man alighted at the door of the Doctor's house, who among all others was the most honest and hearty about the allegiance, the Director Wehrfritz. There were a son and a father in each other's arms, a fiery youth and a fiery man. Albano seemed to him no longer to be the old Albano, but--warmer than ever. He brought with him from "his women," as he called them, congratulatory letters and birthday presents; he himself made not much of the birthday or forgot it, and Albano had only celebrated it a little just after waking. These festivals belong more to the other sex, who gladly toy with times and seasons in the way of loving and giving.

The Titular Librarian marched out to a village, named Klosterdorf, where the Mayor with his family, after an ancient custom, had to imitate the Prince with his, and so, as commissioner, drive in the allegiance of the neighboring circle; this, Schoppe said, he still was pleased with, but the other worked too fatally on his inwards. The Director, dazzled by the prospects of the day, and posted in the front with an official speech to the chivalry, fell into a quarrel with Schoppe. "The Exchequer and the Court," said he, "have been, of course, from time immemorial, such as they are; but the Princes, dear sir, are good; they are themselves sucked dry, and then they seem to be the suckers." "Somewhat," rejoined Schoppe, "as the death-vampyres only give out blood from themselves, while they appear to take it; but I make up for that again by attributing wholly to the Regents, besides the sins of others, the merits, victories, and sacrifices of others also; herein they are the pelicans, who shed a blood for their children which really at a distance seems to be their own."

All went off: Schoppe, out into the country; Wehrfritz, to church with the procession; Albano, into a spectator's-box in the allegiance-hall; for he would not in any wise be stuck into the train of the Prince, not even as embroidery. Soon the noisy stream of pomp came sounding back into the hall. The chivalry, the spirituality, and the cities mounted the stage, where the oath was to be taken. In the court-yard of the castle one foot stood upon another, and a needle might, to be sure, have reached the ground, but no one could do so, to pick it up; everybody looked up at the balcony, and cursed before he _swore_. The Prince, too, stayed not away; the throne, that graduated and paraphrased princely seat, stood open, and Fraischdörfer had decorated it with beautiful mythological and heraldic shoulder-pieces and appendages.

Opposite the Count bloomed the court-dames, and below them a rose and a lily, Julienne and Liana. As one lifts his eye from the stiff frosty landscape of winter to the blue breathing heavens which looked down upon our spring evenings, and wherein the light summer clouds floated and the rainbow stood, so did he glance over the shining snow-light of the court at the lovely Grace of spring, around whom remembrances hung, like flowers, and who now stood so far aloof, so cut off, so imprisoned in the heavy finery of the court! Only through her friend, who sits beside her, was she gently melted and harmonized with the dazzling present.

Now began fine official speeches, the longest being made by the old Minister, the shortest by Wehrfritz: the Prince let the warm eulogies glide over his December-visage without thawing it down,--a mistaken indifference! For the praise of the Minister, as well as of other court-servants, may yet help him with posterity, since, according to Bacon, no praise is of more consequence than that which servants give, because they surely know their master best.

Then the Upper-Secretary, Heiderscheid, read Luigi's genealogical table, and illuminated the hollow family-tree, together with its dryness, and the last pale green twig; with sunken eyes Julienne heard this amid the _vivat_ of the people, and Albano, never subdued by _one_ thought alone, saw her eyes, and could not, however intently the Regent listened, avoid the funeral picture, how, one day, and that very soon, this extinguished man would bear down after him the name of his whole race into the vault; he saw them carving the inverted arms and hanging the shield upside down, and heard the shovels strike against the helmet and fling the earth after the coffin. Gloomy idea! the tender sister would certainly have wept, had she only been alone!

At last the turn came to those, to whom it never comes first, although they are the only ones who have a hearty meaning in such ceremonies. Heiderscheid stepped out on the balcony, and caused the noisy swarming multitude to stretch out the forefinger and thumb, and repeat the oath after him. The mass, always fascinated, shouted their _vivat_; in the dazzled eyes gleamed the confident expectation of a better regency and love for the unknown individual. The Count, whom a multitude generally made enthusiastic, as it did Schoppe melancholy, glowed with the inspiration of brotherly love and thirst for achievement; he saw princes, like omnipotent ones, holding sway on their eminences, and saw the blooming provinces and the gay cities of a wisely-ruled land spread out before him; he represented to himself how he, were he a prince, could, with the electric sparkling of the sceptre-point, dart, with an animating shock, into millions of united hearts at once, whereas he could now, with so great difficulty, scarcely kindle a few of the nearest; he saw his throne, as a mountain in morning light, pouring out, instead of lava, navigable streams through the lands, and breaking the storms, with a hum of harvests and festivals around its feet; he thought to himself how far, from such a high place, he could send light abroad, like a moon, which does not hide the sun by day, but, from her elevation, flings his distant brightness into the night,--and how he would, instead of only defending, _create_ and _educate_ freedom, and be a regent for the sake of forming self-regents.[112] "But why am I not one?" said he mournfully.

Noble youth! do thy estates, then, furnish thee no subjects? But just so does the lesser prince believe he would govern a duchy quite otherwise, and the higher one believes the same in regard to a kingdom, and so does the highest, in regard to universal monarchy.

Meanwhile, all through this singular uneasy day, wild perspectives of youth passed to and fro before him, and the old spirit-voice, which he was going to meet to-day, repeated in him the dark exhortation, Take the crown! Wehrfritz came back in the evening with a red face from the fiery allegiance-banquet, and Albano took an agitated leave of him, as if of the ebb and calm of life--his childish youth; for to-day he launched out deeper into its waves. Schoppe came back and wanted to have him before the sight-hole of his show-box, wherein he slid through the vicariate-allegiance-swearing in Klosterdorf, in a series of comic pictures; but these contrasted too severely with higher ones, and gave little pleasure.

At night Albano put on his beautiful, serious character-mask, that of a knight-templar,--for a comic one his form, and almost his mood, was too great;--the latter was made still more solemn by this funeral dress of a whole murdered knightly order. After he had caused to be described to him once more the awful paths of Tartarus, and the burial-place of the Prince's heart, to avoid mistaking of the way in the night, he went forth, about ten o'clock, with a high-heaving bosom, which the night-larvæ[113] of fancy, together with friendship and love and the whole future, conspired to excite.

50. CYCLE.

Albano stepped, for the first time, into the inverted puppet-world of a masquerade, as into a dancing realm of the dead. The black forms, the slit masks, the strange eyes, gleaming as out of night behind them, which, as in that mouldering Sultan in the coffin, alone remained alive,--the mingling and mimicking of all ranks, the flying and ring-running of the clinking dance, and his own solitude under the mask,--all this translated him, with his Shakespearian frame of spirit, into an enchanted and ghostly island full of juggleries, chimeras, and metamorphoses. Ah, this is the bloody scaffold, was his first thought, where the brother of thy Liana rent his young life, like a mourning-garment; and he looked fearfully round, as if he feared Roquairol might again attempt death.

Among the masks he found no one under which he could suppose him to be; this meaningless cousinship of standing parts, footmen, butchers, Moors, ancestors, &c.,--these could not conceal any loved one of Albano's. Lonesomely and inquisitively he paced up and down behind the rows of the Anglaise; and more than ten eyes, which glistened opposite in the annular eclipse of the lace mask,--for women, from their open-heartedness, do not love masks, but are fond of showing themselves,--followed the powerfully and pliantly built form, which, with the bold helm and plume, with the crossed white mantle and the gleaming mail on his breast, seemed to bring a knight out of the heroic age.

At last a masked lady, who was chatting between unmasked ones, came up to him with long steps and large feet, and boldly grasped his hand as if for a dance. He was extremely embarrassed at the boldness of the summons, and about the choice of an answer; it is valor precisely that loves to marry itself to gallantry, as the Damascene blade, besides hardness, possesses a perpetual fragrance; but the lady only wrote in his hand his initials, with the interrogation-mark after them,--"_v. C.?_" and after the Yes, the charming one said, softly, "Do you not remember me? the master of exercises, Von Falterle?" Albano testified, notwithstanding his dislike of the part, a real joy at finding again a companion of his youth. He asked which mask was Captain Roquairol; Falterle assured him he had not yet arrived.

By this time--as the footmen, the butchers, Falterle, &c., were only the snow-drops of this masquerade-spring--better flowers--violets, forget-me-nots, and primroses--had sprung up or come in. For one such forget-me-not I see a churl entering, puffed out behind and before, and convex like a burning-glass, who now opened the back-door and shook out confects from his hump-back, and then the front-door and produced sausages. Hafenreffer, however, writes me the invention has once before appeared at a masquerade in Vienna. Then came a company of German play-cards, which shuffled and played out and took each other; a fine emblem of atheism, which exhibits it wholly free from the absurdity wherewith men have so loved to disfigure it! Mr. Von Augusti appeared also, but in simple dress and domino; he became (incomprehensibly to the Count) very soon the polar-star of the dancers, and the controlling Cartesian vortex of the dancing-school.

With what miserable, black ammunition-biscuit and beggar's-bread of enjoyment these people get along! thought Albano, to whom, all day long, his dreams, those Jupiter's-doves, had been bringing ambrosia. And how pale and stale is their fire, their fancy, and their speech, he thought too. Verily, a life down in a gloomy glacier-chasm! for he imagined everybody must speak and feel as intensely and ardently as he.

Now came a limping man, with a great glass-chest on his belly; of course it was easy to recognize the Librarian; he had on--either because he sent too late, or would not pay, for a domino--something black, which he had borrowed of a mourning-cloak lender, and was covered from shoulder-blade to shin-bone with awful masks, which he, with many finger-signs, offered mostly to those people who played their parts behind the opposite kind, e. g. short-nosed ones to long noses. He was waiting for the beginning of a hop Anglaise, the notes for which stood just on the hand-organ of his chest; then he, too, began; he had therein an excellent puppet-masquerade which had been planed out by Bestelmaier, and now he set the little masks to hopping parallel with the great ones. His object was a comparative anatomy of the two masquerades, and the parallelism was melancholy. Besides, he had rigged it all out with by-work: little dumb persons swung their little bells in the chest; a tolerably grown-up child rocked the cradle of an inanimate doll, with which the little fool still played; a mechanic was working away at his speaking machine, by which he was going to show the world how far mere mechanism could go toward giving life to puppets; a live, white mouse[114] sprang out by a little chain, and would have upset many of the club, if he could have broken it; a starling, buried-alive, a true first Greek comedy and school for scandal in miniature, was practising upon the dancing-company the death-blow of the tongue with perfect freedom and without distinction; a looking-glass-wall mimicked the living scenes of the chest so deceptively, that every one took the images for true puppets.

The point of this comico-tragic dagger came home directly enough upon Albano, as, besides, the hopping wax-figure-cabinet of the great masquerade seemed to double the solitude of man, and to separate two selves by four faces; but Schoppe went further.

In his glass case stood a faro-bank, and by it a little man, who cut out the masked banker in black paper, but into a likeness of the German gentleman; this picture he carried into the card-chamber, where a bank-keeping mask--most certainly Cephisio--must needs hear and see him. The banker looked at him some time inquiringly. Another, dressed wholly in black, with a dying expression, which represented the _Hippocratica facies_,[115] did the same. Albano looked towards it with a fiery glance, because it occurred to him it might be Roquairol, for it had his stature and torch-like eye. The pale mask lost much, and kept redoubling its loss; at that it drank out of a quill immoderate draughts of Champagne wine. The Lector came up; Schoppe kept on playing before the eyes that crowded round; the pale mask looked steadily and sternly at the Count. Schoppe took off his own before Bouverot; but there was another under it; he pulled this off; it disclosed an under-mask of the under-mask; he carried on the process to the fifth root;--at last his own rough face came forth, but bronzed with gold-beater's skin and distorted, as it turned towards Bouverot, with an almost frightful glaze and smile.

The pale mask itself seemed to start, and hastened with long strides off into the dancing-hall; it threw itself wildly into the wildest of the dance. This, too, confirmed Albano's conjecture, as well as its great defying hat, which seemed to him a crown, because he prized nothing more highly about manly attire than fur, cloak, and hat.

More and more fingers continually drew the letters "_v. C._" in his hand, and he nodded composedly. The time surrounded him with manifold dramas, and everywhere he stood between theatre-curtains. As with uneasy head and heart he stepped to the window, to see whether he should soon have moonshine for his night-walk, he saw a heavy hearse, flanked by torches, move along across the market, which was conveying a manor-lord to his family-vault; and the undisturbed night-watchman called out, behind the creeping dead man, the beginning of the spirit-hour and of a birth-hour, which is precious to us. Could his smitten heart refrain from saying to him how sharply Death, the hard, solid, insoluble, with its glacier-air, sweeps through the warm scenes of life, and leaves behind it all over which it breathes stiff and snow-white? Could he help thinking of the cold young sister, whose voice now awaited him in Tartarus? And as Schoppe, with his puppet-parody, came to him, and he pointed out to him the street, and the latter said: "Bon! Friend Death sits on his game-wagon, and glances quietly up, as if the friend would say, 'Bon! only dance on; I make my return trip, and carry you too to your place and spot,'"--how close must it have been to him under his sultry visor! At this second the pale mask came, with others, to the window; he opened his glowing face for coolness; a hasty draught of wine, and still more his fancy, showed him the world in burning surfaces; the mask surveyed him closely, with a dark, uncertain glow of the eye, which he at last could no longer bear, because it might as well have been kindled by hatred as by love, just as the spots on the sun seem now like abysses and now like mountains.

Eleven o'clock had gone by; he suddenly disappeared from the hot looks and the crushing throng, and betook himself on his way to the heart without a breast.

51. CYCLE.

While he stood at the gate awaiting his sword, a group of new masks (mostly representatives of lifelessness, e. g. a boot, peruke-stand, &c.) came running into the city, and peered with astonishment at the tall, white, knightly stranger. He took his sword with him, but no servant. Whatever the danger into which the visit of a secluded, gloomy catacomb-avenue, and the foreknowledge of this visit on the part of others, might plunge him, his character left him no other choice than the one which he had made; no, he would sooner have let himself be murdered than shamed before his father.

How thy spirit mounted aloft, like a lightning-flash darting upward toward heaven, when the great Night, with her saintly halo of stars, stood erect before thee!--Beneath the heavens there is no terror, only under the earth!--Broad shadows lay across his road to Elysium, which on Sunday had been colored with dew-drops and butterflies. In the distance fiery prongs grew out of the earth and moved along;--it was the hearse with the torches in the lower road. When he came to the cross-way which leads through the ruined castle into Tartarus, he looked round toward the enchanted grove, on whose winding bridge life and songs of joy had met him; all was dumb therein, and only a long gray bird of prey (probably a paper dragon) wheeled over it to and fro.

He passed through the old castle into an orchard that had been sawed down, and looked like a tree-churchyard; then into a pale wood, full of peeled May-trees, which with faded ribbons and banners all looked toward Elysium,--a withered pleasure grove of so many happy days. Some windmills, with their long shadow-arms, struck into the midst, and were continually seizing and vanishing.

Impetuously Albano ran down a stairway darkened with hangings, and came upon an old battle-field,--a gloomy waste with a black wall, of which the monotony was broken only by white gypsum heads, which stood in the earth as if they were on the point of sinking or of resurrection; a tower full of blind gates and blind windows stood in the midst, and the solitary clock talked with itself therein, and, with its iron rod swaying to and fro, seemed fain to divide the wave of time, which ever tended to run together again: it struck three quarters to twelve, and deep in the wood the echo murmured as if in sleep, and softly spake once more to fleeting man of fleeting time. The road ran in an eternal circle round about the churchyard wall, without coming to a gate. Alban must, according to his information, seek a spot in the wall where it roared and reeled under him.

At last he stepped upon a stone which sank with him; then a section of the wall fell down; and a tangled wood, full of clumps of trees, whose stems twined together into bush-work, intercepted every beam of the moon. As he looked round him under the gate, there hung over the shadowy stairway a pale head like a bust of the murder-field, and passed down without a body, and the bloodless dead seemed to awake and run after it;--the cold hellstone[116] of horror contracted his heart: he stood: the death's-head hovered immovable over the last step!

All at once his heart sucked in warm blood again; he turned toward the misshapen wood with drawn sword, because he was bearing along his life in his hand near armed Death. He followed in the darkness of the moss-green towers the roar of the subterranean flood and the rocking of the ground. Unfortunately he looked round again, and there stood the death's-head behind him still, but high in the air on the trunk of a giant. The extreme of horror always drove him with compressed eyes full upon a phantom; he called twice through the echoing wood, "Who's there?" But when, at this moment, a second head seemed all at once to stand beside the first, then his hand clove, frozen, to the ice-cold key of the gate of the world of the dead, and he tore it away bleeding.

He fled, and plunged through thicker and thicker twigs, till at last he came out into an open garden and into the splendor of the moon; here, ah here, when he saw the holy, immortal heavens and the rich stars in the north gleaming again, which never rise nor set, the pole-star and Friederich's-Ehre,[117] the Bear and the Serpent, and Charles's Wain and Cassiopæa, which looked down upon him mildly, as if with the bright winking eyes of eternal spirits, then his spirit asked itself, "Who can lay hands on me? I am a spirit among spirits"; and the courage of immortality beat again in his warm breast.

But what a singular garden! Great and little flowerless beds, full of yew, rue, and rosemary, divided it among them; a circle of weeping birches drooped like a funeral train around the mute spot; under the garden murmured the buried brook, and in the middle stood a white altar, near which lay a man.

Albano was strengthened by the appearance of the common dress and the mechanic's bundle on which the sleeper rested; he stepped quite close to him, and read the golden inscription of the altar: "Take my last offering, all-gracious one!" The heart of the Prince must here be mouldering in the altar.

Ah, after these rigid scenes, it soothed his soul even to tears to find here human words and a human sleep, and the remembrance of God; but as he looked with emotion at the sleeper, suddenly that sister's voice which he had heard on Isola Bella said softly in his ear, "I give thee Linda de Romeiro." "Ah, good God!" he cried, and turned round; and there was nothing on either side of him, and he held himself up by the corner of the altar. "I give thee Linda de Romeiro," it said again; frightfully the thought seized him, that the hovering death's-head might be speaking near him, and he shook the sound sleeper, who woke not, and shook and called still more violently, when the voice spake for a third time.

"What?" said the drowsy man, "directly! What will he?--you?" and raised himself reluctantly and with a yawn; but at the sight of the naked sword fell down on his knees, and said: "Mercy! I will, indeed, give up all!"

"Zesara!" a cry came from the wood,--"Zesara, where art thou?" and he heard his own voice; but now he boldly called back, "At the altar!" A black form rushed out, with a white mask in hand, and hesitated in the moonlight before the armed one. Then at length Albano recognized the brother of Liana, for whom he had so long panted; he flung his sword behind him, and ran to meet him. Roquairol stood before him mute, pale, and with a sublime repose on his countenance. Albano continued to stand near him, and said with emotion, "Hast thou been seeking me, Charles?" Roquairol nodded silently, and had tears in his eyes, and opened his arms. Ah, then could the blissful man, with all the flames and tears of love fall upon the long-loved soul, and he kept saying incessantly, "Now we have each other! now we have each other!" And more and more passionately he embraced him, as the pillar of his future, and melted into tears, because now, indeed, the buried love of so many years and so many choked up fountains of the poor heart could at once gush forth. Roquairol, trembling, only clasped him to himself gently with one arm, and said, but without passion, "I am a dying man, and that is my face," holding forth the yellow death-mask; "but I have my Albano, and will die on his bosom."

Wildly they twined around each other; the sap of life, Love, ran through them with a creative power; the ground over the rolling, subterranean flood shook more violently; and the starry heaven, with the white, magic breath of its trembling stars, floated around the magic glow.

Ah ye happy ones!

52. CYCLE.

Some men are born fast friends; their first finding of each other is only a second, and they then, like those who have been long parted, bring to each other not only a future, but a past also;--this latter our happy ones demanded of one another impatiently. Roquairol answered Alban's question, How he came hither, in a fiery manner: "He had been following him this whole evening,--he had gazed at him at the window during the funeral pomp with such a painful longing, and had almost been constrained to fly and embrace him,--he had already, but a moment ago, stood close by him, and at his question, 'Who's there?' immediately taken off his mask." Now did Albano's fallen arm strike again tensely through the thin magic-lantern show of ghostly fear, as he now learned that the two-headed giant had grown entirely out of an optically-magnifying, mistaken notion of the distance of a form which was so near, and the death's-head had forfeited its body on the stairway only by the dark curtains and its black dress; even the hard spirit-scene at the altar seemed to him now less insuperable through the rich gain of living love.

Roquairol asked him what woe or joy had driven him hither at midnight to a _Moravian_ churchyard, and whither he had sent the man with the sword. Albano did not know that Moravians reposed here; and, moreover, he had not observed that the sword, probably from fear of its being used, had been stolen. He answered, "My dead sister was fain to speak with me at the altar; and she has spoken"; but he feared to say more of this. Then Roquairol's countenance suddenly changed; he stared at him, and demanded confirmation and explanation; during this he looked into the air as if he would draw faces from it by his looks, and said monotonously, fixing his eyes, however, on Albano the while, "Dead one, dead one, speak again!" But only the death-flood went on speaking under them, and nothing more. But he threw himself before the altar on his knees, and said in measured tone, and yet with trembling lips: "Fly open, spirit-gate, and show thy transparent world. I fear not you, the transparent ones; I become one of you, when you appear, and walk with you, and become an apparition myself." "O my good one, forbear," Albano entreated, not only from piety, but from love also; for an accident, a night-bird shooting over, might, indeed, kill them by horror: this horror stood, too, not far from them; for on the illuminated side of the weeping birches stepped out a white, majestic old form. But when Roquairol, frantic with wine and fancy, reached out the dying mask into the air, and said, turning toward the grave of the heart, "Take this face, if thou hast none, old man, and look at me from behind it!" Alban seized him; the white form stepped back with bowed head and folded arms into the branches; the round tower on the battle-field struck the hour, and the dreamy region, murmuring, struck a response.

"Come to my warm heart, thou passionate soul. O that I were permitted to receive thee on my very birthday, at my very birth-hour!" This sound melted at once the ever-changing man, and he hung upon him with wet eyes of joy, and said: "And to keep me even till our dying hours! O look not upon me, thou unchangeable, because I appear so wavering and broken; in the waves of life man breaks and crinkles as the staff flickers in the water, but the essential being stands nevertheless firm as the staff. I will follow thee into other parts of Tartarus; but still relate the history."

To give this history amounted to opening a _sanctum sanctorum_ of the inner man, or even a coffin to the light of day; but do you believe that Albano bethought himself a minute? or would you yourselves? We are all better, franker, warmer friends than we know and show; only let the right spirit meet you,--such a one as thirsting Love ever demands,--pure, large, clear, and tender and warm,--and you give him everything, and love him without measure, because he is without fault. Albano found in this stranger the first friend who ever responded to his whole heart with like tones, the first eye which his shy feelings did not shun, a soul before whose first tear flowers started up out of his whole future life as out of the dry wastes of torrid climes during the rainy season;--hence love gave his strong spirit only the equable, broad motion of a sea, whereas his friend, although older and longer-trained, was a stream with waterfalls.

Charles led him into the so-called catacomb, while he listened to the ghost-story of Isola Bella, which, however, from having been exhausted by the former, he heard with diminished fear. A dreary, charred vale, full of sunken shafts, basked gray in the moonshine; out of the wood crept forth the death-flood below their feet, and leaped down a stony stairway into the catacombs. The two followed it on another that ran by its side. The entrance bore as frontispiece an old dial-plate, of which the lightning had once struck away the hour _one_. "One?" said Albano; "singular!--just our coming hour!"

How adventurously does the catacomb now wind onward! The long death-flood murmurs obscurely far in through the darkness, and glimmers at times under the silvery stream which the moonlight sends in through the shaft-openings; immovable creatures--horses, dogs, birds--stand drinking on the dark bank, that is to say, their stuffed skins; small gravestones, worn smooth by time, with a few names and limbs, are the pavement; on a brighter niche we read that a nun was immured here; in another stands the petrified skeleton of a miner, who was buried alive, with gilded ribs and thighs; in scattered spots were black paper hearts of men shot by the arquebuse, and heaped-up nosegays of poor sinners; the rod which had whipped a forgiven penitent to death, a glass bust with a phosphorus point in the water, chrisom-cloths[118] and other children's clothes and playthings, and a dwarf skeleton.

As the explanatory words of Roquairol, whose life-path always ran down into vaults and out over graves, beat out life more and more thin and transparent before him, Zesara, after his manner, at once shaking his head, heaving forward his breast, stamping in the sand, and cursing (which he easily did in terror and in strong emotion), broke out with the words: "By the Devil! thou crushest my breast and thine own. It is not so! Are we not together? Have I not thy warm, living hand? Burns not within us the fire of immortality? Burnt-out coals are these bones, and nothing more; and the heavenly flame which has consumed them has again seized upon other fuel, and blazes on. O," he added, as if comforted, and stepped into the brook and looked through the opening of the shaft up to the rich moon, which streamed down from heaven, and his great eyes filled with splendor,--"O, there is a heaven and an immortality; we remain not in the dark hole of life; we, too, sweep through the ether like thee, thou shining world!"

"Ah, thou glorious one," said Charles, whose soul consisted of souls, "I will now bring thee to a more cheerful place." They had hardly gone eight steps, when it darkened behind them, and a sword, flung in overhead, came perpendicularly down, and struck with its point in the sand under the waves. "O thou infernal devil up there!" cried the infuriate Roquairol; but Albano was softened at the thought of the iron virgin[119] of the death-hour, who had folded her sharp arms together so near him. They clasped each other more warmly, and went silent and sad towards a low music and a grave-mound. They seated themselves upon it opposite an avenue which formed a right angle with the tormenting catacomb, lined with green moss, and of which crumbled sparks of rotten wood pointed out the extent. It lost itself in an open gate, and a prospect of Elysium, of which only the white summits of some silver-poplars were distinguishable, and in the distance was seen the spring redness of midnight blooming in the heavens, and two stars twinkling overhead. The gate, however, was grated, and guarded by a skeleton with an Æolian harp in his hand, which seemed to strike upon it the thin minor tones which the draught of wind just now wafted into the cavern.

"Here," said Charles, at the beautiful spot, and made more curious by the deadly fling of Albano's sword, "finish your narrative of to-day!" Albano reported to him candidly the word which the sister's voice had spoken: "I give thee Linda de Romeiro." In the tumult of his inner being he thought not of the anecdote, that she was the very one for whom Charles when a boy had proposed to die. "Romeiro?" he started up. "Be still! She? O thou mocking executioner, Fate! Why she, and to-day? Ah, Albano, for her I early braved death," he continued, weeping, and sank upon his breast, "and that is what has made my heart so bad, because I have lost her. Do thou only take her, for thou art a pure spirit; the glorious shape which appeared to thee on the sea, so she looks, or now still fairer. Ah, Albano!" This noble youth trembled at the complicated plot, and at the destiny, and said: "No, no, thou dear Charles, thou thinkest falsely about everything."

Suddenly it was as if all the constellations rang, and a melodious spirit-choir thronged in through the gate. Albano was startled. "Nothing; let be," said Charles. "It is not the skeleton; the _pious father_ is walking in the _flute-dell_, and is just drawing out his flutes, because he prays. But how sayest thou, I think falsely of everything?" "How?" repeated Albano, and could not, in the magic circle of these echoes, which all-powerfully brought back to him that Sunday morning, either think or speak. For did not the silver-poplars wave to and fro against the stars, and rosy clouds lie couched about the heavens, and did not the whole Elysium pass openly by with the sounds which had floated through it, with the tears which had besprinkled it, and with the dreams which no heart forgets, and with the holy form which eternally abides in his breast? And now he held so fast the hand of her brother; so near was he to love and friendship, those two foci in the ellipse of life's pathway; impetuously he embraced the brother, with the words: "By Heaven, I say to thee, she whom thou hast just named concerns me not, and never will."

"But, Albano, thou dost not surely know her yet?" said Charles, pursuing his inquiries, perhaps, too hardly; for the noble youth beside him was too bashful and too steadfast to unlock the sanctuary of wishes to the kinsman of his loved one; to a stranger he could have done it much more easily. "O torment me not," he answered sensitively; but he added more softly, "Believe me, I pray you believe me, this first time, my good brother!" Charles yielded full as seldom as he; and although swallowing the inquisitive tone, and speaking in a right loving one, nevertheless said this: "By my bliss, I'll do it, and with joy; a heart must have been heartily loved and divinely blessed which can renounce such a one." Ah, does Albano, then, know that! He only leaned silently, with his fiery cheek full of roses, on Liana's brother, shunning scrutiny for shame; but when the expiring calls of the flute-dell gathered together like sighs in his breast, and reminded him too often how that Sunday morning closed, how Liana stole away, and how he looked after her with dim, wet eyes from the altar; then, although his heart did not break, his eye broke into tears, and he wept violently, but silently, on his first friend.

Then, with mute souls, they turned homeward, and looked thoughtfully toward the long, vanishing ways of the future; and when they parted, they well felt that they loved each other right heartily, that is, right bitterly.

On the morrow the pious father lay prostrate under a shock which was more blissful than mournful; for he said he had in the night seen his friend, the deceased Prince, walking, clad in white, through Tartarus.


[92] [_Fauler Heinz._] Or Athanor, a chemical stove, which works on for a long time without poking. [Corresponding to our air-tight stove. _Athanor_, from the Greek, _undying_?--TR.]

[93] The translator had to resort to the Scotch to help him get this pun into English.

[94] Ezek. xiii. 18: "Woe to the women that sew pillows to all arm-holes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature, to hunt souls!"--TR.

[95] According to Lempriere.

[96] Sanhedrim, c. 2, Misch. 3.

[97] Cic. ad Quirit. post redit, c. 3.

[98] His sect represented Christ's journey to hell as having released all the wicked from that region, but not Abraham, Enoch, the prophets, &c.--Tertul. adv. Marcion.

[99] A title given to black colors.

[100] The Corinthian, who was hidden from his enemies in a chest of cedar, ivory, and gold, richly adorned with figures in relief, and at last expelled the usurpers and mounted the throne.--TR.

[101] The line which is drawn from the aphelion to the perihelion, the two apsides, or the nearest and farthest points of a planet's distance from the sun.

[102] A child coming into the world face foremost cannot afterward bend its head forward.--_The Mother of a Family_, Vol. V.

[103] The name of the Invalid Hospital in Copenhagen.

[104] In Darwin's Zoönomy, page 529, the case is adduced of a man who did this before spectators. In Paris another did the same by swallowing air.

[105] In Vienna there was an Institute which made new sealing-wax out of old, and endowed poor persons with the proceeds.

[106] Such was the tasteless name by which Basedow was going to baptize a daughter, in memory of the appearing of an elementary work by subscription. See Schlichtegroll's Necrology.

[107] _Wehestande_, a parody of _Ehestande_, wedded state.

[108] An issue.

[109] A name given in some places to the consumption.

[110] A micrometer consists of fine threads stretched across in the telescope, which serve to measure the smallest distance.

[111] The transit-instrument, or culminatory, observes when a star has reached the highest point in its course.

[112] Autarchs; for monarchs or sole-rulers are etymologically distinguished from self-rulers.

[113] Ghosts of the dead.--TR.

[114] Does he allude to the frightful white form, in my "vision of annihilation"?

[115] A phrase applied to the form of a dying man. [Properly a distemper which gives one a deathly look. See Bailey's Dictionary.--TR.]

[116] The _lapis infernalis_, or silver cautery.--TR.

[117] Frederick's Honor.

[118] Linen cloths smeared with aromatic ointment, anciently placed on the heads of children just born or baptized.--TR.

[119] An allusion to a well-known instrument of the Inquisition.--TR.



53. CYCLE.[121]

Not toward the years of childhood, but toward the season of youth, should we revert the most longingly, if we came forth out of the latter as innocent as out of the former. It is the festival day of our life, when all avenues are full of music and finery, and all houses are hung round with golden tapestries, and when Existence, Art, and Virtue, like gentle _goddesses_, still woo us with caresses; whereas, in after years, they summon us, like stern _gods_, with commands! And at this period Friendship dwells as yet in a serenely open Grecian temple, not, as later, in a narrow Gothic chapel.

Richly and majestically did life now glitter around Albano, covered with islands and ships; he had his whole breast full of friendship and youth, and could now let the impetuous energy of love, which on Isola Bella had rebounded from a statue, from his father, burst freely and joyously upon a man who appeared to him fully as his youthful dream had sketched him. He could not let go Charles for a day; he laid bare to him his soul and his whole life--(only Liana's name retired deeper and deeper into his heart); all models of friendship among the ancients he was fain to copy and renew, and do and suffer everything for his loved friend; his being was now a double-choir; he drank in every joy with two hearts; a double heaven embosomed his life in pure ether.

When, on the following day, he met the form of the new friend,--which was all that remained to him of the nightly show-piece of the spirit-world, as a pale moon is left by the extinguished stars of night,--and when he found him so bald-headed and white, as the fiery smoke-column of an Ætna ascends gray in the daytime, he seemed to see the whilom suicide standing before him, the more freely, but all the more warmly, did he stretch his hand across to the solitary being, who, after his leap over life, dwelt now only on his grave, as on a remote island. Others, for this very reason, would draw their hand away: the baffled self-murderer, who has made a rent in this fair, firm life, comes back from his death-hour as a strange, uncomfortable ghost, whom we can trust no longer, because in his ungovernableness he may at any moment play again the give-away game with the human form.

Therefore Albano saw in the chaotic life of the Captain only the disorder of a being who is packing up and marching away. When he stepped for the first time into his friend's summer-chamber, he saw, of course, a servant's livery wardrobe, a theatrical green-room, and an officer's tent before him at once. On the table lay confused tribes of books, as on a battle-field, and on Schiller's Tragedies the Hippocratic face of the masquerade, and on the Court Almanac a pistol; the book-shelf was occupied by the sword-belt, together with its wash-ball of chalk, a chocolate-mill, an empty candlestick, a pomatum-box, matches, the wet hand-towel and the dried mouth-napkin; the glasshouse of a run-down hour-glass, and the washing-and the writing-table stood open, on which latter I, to my astonishment, look in vain for any support whatever, or writing-sand on it; the comb-cloth, or powder-mantle, leaned back on the ottoman, and a long neck-cloth rode on the stove-screen, and the antlers on the wall had two hats with feathers shoved over the right and left ears; letters and visiting-cards were impaled like butterflies on the window-curtains. I should not have been capable of writing a billet there, much less a Cycle.

Is there not, however, a sunny-bright, free-fluttering age, when one loves to see everything which announces roving unrest, striking of tents, and nomadic liberty, and when one would be thankful to keep house in a travelling-carriage, and write and sleep therein? And does not one in those years look upon precisely such a students' chamber as this as a spiritual students' endowment of genius, and every chaos as an infusorial one full of life? Forgive my hero this truant time; there was still something noble in his nature, that kept him back from becoming an imitator of what he eulogized.

As, after the melting away of a late winter, all at once the green garment of earth flutters up high in flowers and blossoms, so in the warm air of friendship and fancy did Albano's nature start up at once into luxuriant verdure and bloom. Charles had and understood all states of the heart; he created them dramatically in himself and others; he was a second Russia, which harbors all climates, from France even to Nova Zembla, and wherein, for that very reason, every one finds his own: he was everything to everybody, although for himself nothing. He could throw himself into any character, although for that very reason it sometimes took his fancy only to carry out the most convenient. The girths, belly-bands, cruppers, and saddle-straps of court, town, and city life, his Bucephalus had long since cleared; and if the Count was vexed every day at the lingual leading-string of the Lector, who pronounced everything correctly.--Kanaster instead of Knaster, Juften instead of Juchten, Fünfzig instead of Füfzig, and Barbieren (the _r_ in which I myself take to be a stupid barbarism),--Roquairol was a free-thinker, even to the degree of being a hectoring free-speaker; and spoke, according to an expression of his own, which was at the same time an example of the fact, "right out of his liver and jaw." He was annoyed that there should still cleave to the Count a certain epic dignity of speech acquired from books. They often thought over and cursed with one another the pitiful bald life which one would lead, who, like the Lector, should live as a well-bred citizen of extraction, have conduite and a nice dress, and a tolerable dapper knowledge of several departments, and for refreshment his table-wine, and taste for excellent masters in painting and other arts, and should advance to higher posts merely as stepping-stones to still higher, and yet, after all this, have to stretch himself out, all frizzled and washed, in his coffin, in order that the gigantic body-world might, forsooth, hand over its Pestitz representative also to the sublime world of spirits. No, said Albano, rather throw a dark mountain-chain of sorrows into the dead level of life, that one may, at least, have a prospect and something great.

But Roquairol was not the man that he seemed to him;--friendship has its deceptions as well as love;--and often, when he had long looked upon this love-drunken, high-hearted youth, with his chaste maiden-cheeks and proud, manly brow, who reposed such a confidence upon _his_ wavering soul, and whose heart stood so wide open, and the holiness of whose fancy even he envied, then did the delusion of the noble one move him even to pain, and his heart struggled to break forth, and longed to say to him, with tears: Albano, I am not worthy of thee! But in that case I lose him, he always added; for he shunned the moral orthodoxy and decision of a man, who was not, like a maiden, to be provoked and repelled and won back again, all in sport. And yet the day came--the momentous day for both--when he did it. How could he ever have resisted _Fancy_, when he only resisted _by and through_ Fancy? I do him half injustice: hear the better angel, who opens his mouth.

Roquairol is a child and victim of the age. As the higher youth of our times are so early and richly overhung with the roses of joy that, like the inhabitants of spice-islands, they lose their smell, and by and by put under their heads a Sybarite-pillow of roses, drink rose-sirup and bathe themselves in rose-oil,[122] until nothing more is left them thereof for a stimulus except the thorns, so are most of them--and often the very same ones--stuffed full in the beginning, by their philanthropic teachers, with the _fruits_ of knowledge, so that they come soon to desire only the honey-thick extracts, then the cider and perry thereof, until at last they ruin themselves with the brandy made of that. Now if, in addition to this, they have, like Roquairol, a fancy that makes their life a naphtha-soil, out of which every step draws fire, then does the flame, into which the sciences are thrown, and the consumption become still greater. For these burnt-out prodigals of life there is then no new pleasure and no new truth left, and they have no old one entire and fresh; a dried-up future, full of arrogance, disgust with life, unbelief and contradiction, lies round about them. Only the wing of fancy still continues to quiver on their corpse.

Poor Charles! Thou didst still more! Not merely truths, but feelings also, he anticipated. All grand situations of humanity, all emotions to which Love and Friendship and Nature exalt the heart, all these he went through in poems earlier than in life, as play-actor and theatre-poet earlier than as man, earlier on the sunny side of fancy than on the stormy side of reality; hence, when they at last appeared, living, in his breast, he could deliberately seize them, govern them, kill them, and stuff them well for the refrigeratory of future remembrance. The unhappy love for Linda de Romeiro, which, at a later period, would perhaps have steeled him, opened thus early all the veins of his heart, and bathed it warmly in its own blood; he plunged into good and bad dissipations and amours, and afterward represented on paper or on the stage everything that he repented or blessed; and every representation made him grow more and more hollow, as abysses have been left in the sun by ejected worlds. His heart could not do without the holy sensibilities; but they were simply a new luxury, a tonic, at best; and precisely in proportion to their height did the road run down the more abruptly into the slough of the unholiest ones. As in the dramatic poet angelically pure and filthy scenes stand in conjunction and close succession, so in his life; he foddered, as in Surinam, his hogs with pine-apples; like the elder giants, he had soaring wings and creeping snakes'-feet.[123]

Unfortunate is the female soul which loses its way, and is caught in one of these great webs stretched out in mid-heaven; and happy is she, when she tears through them, unpoisoned, and merely soils her bees'-wings. But this all-powerful fancy, this streaming love, this softness and strength, this all-mastering coolness and collectedness, will overspread every female Psyche with webs, if she neglects to brush away the first threads. O that I could warn you, poor maidens, against such condors, which fly up with you in their claws! The heaven of our days hangs full of these eagles. They love you not, though they think so; because, like the blest in Mahomet's paradise, instead of their lost arms of love, they have only wings of fancy. They are like great streams, warm only along the shore, and in the middle cold.

Now enthusiast, now libertine in love, he ran through the alternation between ether and slime more and more rapidly, till he mixed them both. His blossoms shot up on the varnished flower-staff of the Ideal, which, however, rotted, colorless, in the ground. Start with horror, but believe it,--he sometimes plunged on purpose into sins and torments, in order, down there, by the pangs of remorse and humiliation, to cut into himself more deeply the oath of reformation; somewhat as the physicians, Darwin and Sydenham, assert that _strengthening_ remedies (Peruvian bark, steel, opium) work more powerfully when _weakening_ ones (bleeding, emetics, &c.) have been previously prescribed.

External relations might, perhaps, have helped him somewhat, and the vow of poverty might have made the two other vows lighter for him; had he been sold as a negro slave, his spirit would have been a free white, and a work-house would have been to him a purgatory. It was for this reason the early Christians always gave those who were possessed some occupation or other, e. g. sweeping out the churches,[124] &c. But the lazy life of an officer wrought upon him to make him only still more vain and bold.

So stood matters in his breast, when he came to Albano's,--hunting like an epicure after love, but merely to play with it; with an untrue heart, whose feeling was more lyric poetry, than real, sound being; incapable of being true, nay, hardly capable of being false, because every truth assimilated to the poetic representation, and this again to that; able much more easily on the stage and at the tragic writing-desk to hit the true language of passion than in life, as Boileau could only imitate dancers, but never a dance; indifferent, contemptuous, and decided against the exhausted, worthless life, wherein all that is settled and indispensable--hearts and joys and truths--melted down and floated about; with reckless energy, capable of daring and sacrificing anything which a man respects, because he respected nothing, and ever looking round after his iron patron-saint, Death; faint-hearted in his resolutions, and even in his errors fluctuating, and yet devoid only of the _tuning-hammer_, and not of the _tuning-fork_, of the finest morality; and, in the midst of the roar of passion, standing in the bright light of reflection, as the victim of the hydrophobia knows his madness, and gives warning of it.

Only _one_ good angel had not flown with the rest,--Friendship. His so often blown-up and collapsed heart could hardly soar to love; but friendship it had not yet squandered away. His sister he had hitherto loved as a friend,--so fraternally, so freely, so increasingly! And now Albano, splendidly armed, had come to his embrace!

In the beginning he played with him, too, lyingly, as he had with himself at the masquerade and in Tartarus. He soon observed that the country youth saw him falsely, dazzled by his own rays, but he chose rather to verify the error than to correct it. Men--and he--are like the fountain of the sun near the Temple of Jupiter Ammon, which in the morning only was cold; at noon, lukewarm; in the evening, warm; and at midnight, hot: now he depended so much on the seasons of the day, as the sound and vigorous Albano did so little, who accordingly imagined a great man was great all day, from the time of getting up to the time of lying down, as the heralds always represent the eagle with outspread wings, that he seldom went in the morning, but mostly in the evening, to Albano, when the whole girandole[125] of his faculties and feelings burned in the wine-spirit which he had previously poured upon it out of flasks.

But do you know the medicine of example, the healing power of admiration, and of that soul-strengthener, reverence? "It is shameful of me," said Roquairol, "when he is so credulous and open and honest. No, I will deceive the whole world, only not his soul!" Such natures would fain make good their devastation of humanity by being true to one. Humanity is a constellation, in which _one_ star often describes half the figure.

From this hour forth, his resolution of the heartiest confession and atonement stood fixed; and Alban, before whom life had not yet run down into a jelly of corruption, but was capable of being analyzed as a sound and well-defined organism, and who did not, like Charles, complain that nothing would take right hold of him, but everything played round him like air,--_he_ it was who was to bring back youth to his sick wishes, and with the help of the pure youth's unwavering perceptions and the danger of losing his friendship, Roquairol proposed forcing himself to keep with _him_ the word of fruit-bearing repentance, which to himself he had too often broken.

Let us follow him into the day, when he tells everything.

54. CYCLE.

Once Albano came early in the forenoon to the Captain, when the latter was usually, according to his own expression, "a fag-end of a yesterday's candle stuck on thorns"; but to-day he stood working away blusteringly at the piano-forte and writing-desk by turns; and, like a dried-up infusorial animal, was already, even at this early hour, the same old, busy creature, because wine enough had been poured upon him, that is to say, a good deal. Full of rapture, he ran to meet the welcome friend. Albano brought him from Falterle the childish leaves of love--for the Master of Exercises had not had the heart to throw them into the fire--which he had written from Blumenbühl to the unknown heart. Charles would have been moved on the subject almost to tears, had he not already been so before the arrival. The Count had to stay there all day, and neglect everything; it was his first day of irregularity; it was comic to see how the otherwise unfettered youth, subservient, however, to a long habit of daily exertions, struggled against the short calm, in which he should sail no ship, as against a sin.

Meanwhile, it was heavenly; the low-lying day of childhood, which once clothed him with wings, when the house was full of guests, and he, wherever he wanted to be, came up again above the horizon; the conversation played and made gifts with everything which exalts and enriches us; all his faculties were unchained and in ecstatic dance. Men of genius have as many festal days as others do working days, and hence it is that they can hardly endure a trivial and commonplace[126] intercalary-day, and especially on such days of youth! When Charles conjured before him tragic storm-clouds from Shakespeare, Goethe, Klinger, Schiller, and life saw itself colossally represented in the poetic magnifying-mirror, then did all the sleeping giants of his inner world rise up; his father came and his future, even his friend stood forth there as in new relief, out of that shining, fantastic time of childhood, when he had dreamed of him beforehand in these characters; and in the internal procession of heroes, even the cloud that floated through the heavens and the guard-troop marching away across the market were incorporated. His friend appeared to him far greater than he was, because, like all youths, he still believed of actors and poets, that, like miners, they always received into their bodies the metals in which they labored. How often they both said, in that favorite metaphor of the young man, "Life is a dream," and only became thereby more glad and wide-awake! The old man says it differently. And the dark gate of death, to which Charles so loved to lead the way, became before the youth's eye a glass door, behind which lay the bright, golden age of the belated heart in immeasurable meadows.

Maidens, I own,--as their conversations are more fragmentary, matter-of-fact, and less intoxicating,--instead of such an Eden-park, go for a spruce Dutch garden, well trimmed with crab's-shears and lady-scissors, which is furnished them every day in the afternoon by the black hour, which serves up to them on the coffee- or tea-table, the small black-board[127] of some evil reports, a couple of new shawls sitting by, a well-bred man who passes by with a will or marriage certificate, and finally the hope of the domestic report. Come back to our young men!

Towards evening the Captain received a red billet. "Very well!" said he to the woman who brought it, and nodded. "You'll get nothing out of that, madam," said he, turning toward Albano. "Brother, guard only against married women. Just snap once, for a joke, at one of their red beauty-patches; instantly they dart their fish-hooks into your nape.[128] Seven of these hooks, such as you see here, have made a lodgement in mine alone." The innocent child Albano! He took it for something morally great to assert at once the friendship of seven married ladies, and would gladly have been in Charles's case; he could not see the mischief of it,--that these female friends, like the Romans, love to clip the wings of victory (namely, of ourselves), so that the Divinity may not fly any farther.

On a fine day, nothing is so fine as its sunset. The Count proposed to ride out into the evening twilight, and on the hill to look at the sun. They trotted through the streets; Charles pulled off his great cocked-up hat, now before a fine nose, now before a great pair of eyes, now before transparent forelocks. They flew into the Linden avenue, which was festally decked with a motley wain-scoting of female street-_sitters_.[129] A tall woman, with piercing, fiery eyes, in a red shawl and yellow dress, strode through the female flower-bed, towering like the flower-goddess: it was the authoress of the red note; she was, however, more attentive to the beautiful Count than to her friend. On all walls and trees bloomed the rose-espalier of the evening redness. They blustered up the white road toward Blumenbühl; on both sides the gold-green sea of spring heaved its living waves; a feathered world went rowing about therein, and the birds dove down deep among the flowers; behind the friends blazed the sun, and before them lay the heights of Blumenbühl, all rosy-red. Having reached the eminence, they turned their horses toward the sun, which reposed behind the cupolas and smoke-columns of the proudly burning city, in distant, bright gardens. In wondrous nearness lay the illuminated earth round about them, and Albano could see the white statues on Liana's roof blush like life under the blooming clouds. He drove his horse close to his companion's, to lay his hand on Charles's shoulder; and thus they beheld in silence how the lovely sun laid down his golden cloud-crown, and, with the fluttering foliage-breath around his hot brow, descended into the sea. And when it grew dusky on the earth, and a glow lighted up the heavens, and Albano leaned across and drew his friend over to his burning heart, then rose the evening-chime in Blumenbühl. "And down below there," said Charles, with soft voice, and turned thither, "lies thy peaceful Blumenbühl, like a still churchyard of thy childhood's days. How happy are children, Albano,--ah, how happy are children!" "Are not we so?" answered he, with tears of joy. "Charles, how often have I stood on high places, in evenings like this, and fervently stretched out my childish hands after thee and after the world. Now indeed I have it all. Truly, thou art not right." But he, sick with the murmur and ringing-in-his-ears of long past times, remained deaf to the word, and said, "Only our cradle-songs, only those cradle-songs, sounding back on the memory, soothe the soul to slumber, when it has wept itself hot."

More silently and slowly they rode back. Albano bore a new world of love and bliss in his bosom; and the youth,--not yet a debtor to the past, but a guest of the present,--sweetly unbent by the long Jubilee of the day, sank into clear-obscure dreams, like a towering bird of prey hanging silent on pinions open with ecstasy.

"We will stay all night at Ratto's," said Charles, when they reached the city.

55. CYCLE.

They alighted down in Ratto's Italian Cellar. The house seemed to the Count at first, after the contemplation of broad nature, like a fragment of rock rolled upon it,--although every story, indeed, groans under architectural burdens,--but the heavy feeling of subterranean confinement[130] soon forgot itself, and singular was the sound that came down into the Italian vault of the rattling of carriages overhead. The Captain bespoke a _punch royal_. If he goes on so in his good fire-regulation, and always has a full cask at home as extinguishing-apparatus, and his hose-pipes well proved, then my book cannot be touched by the objection, that, as in Grandison, too much tea is consumed; more likely is it that too much strong drink will be absorbed.

Schoppe was sitting in the Italian souterrain. He loved not the Captain, because his inexorable eye spied out in him two faults which to him were heartily intolerable, "the chronic ulcer of vanity and an unholy guzzling and gormandizing upon feelings." Charles paid him back his dislike; the hottest waves of his enthusiasm immediately bristled up in ice-peaks before the Titular Librarian's face. Only not to-day! He drank so amply of king's-punch,--whereof a couple of glasses might have burnt through all the heads of Briareus or of the Lernean serpent,--that he then said everything, even pious things. "By heavens!" said he, healing himself in this Bethesda-pool by--drawing from it, "since it is all fiddle-faddle about this growing better, one should obfuscate himself[131] with a shot, in order that the baited spirit may once for all go free from its wounds and sins." "From sins?" said Schoppe; "lice and tape-worms of the better sort will by all means emigrate from my territory, when I grow cold; but the worst of them my inner man will certainly carry up with it. By the hangman! who tells you, then, that this whole churchyard of poor sinners here below shall at once march home as an invisible church full of martyrs and Socrateses, and every Bedlam come out a high-light lodge? I was thinking to-day of the next world, when I saw a woman in the market with five little pigs, every one of which she would fain drive before her with a string tied to its leg, but which shot off from her and from each other like wisps of electric light; now, said I, we, with our few faculties and wishes, which this cultivating age sets out _in quintuplo_, fare already as pitifully as the woman with her drove; but when we get ten or more new farrows by the rope, as the second world, like an America, must surely bring new objects and wishes, how will the Ephorus[132] manage his office there? I prepare myself to expect there greater indescribable distresses, feudal crimes and oppositions." But Roquairol was in his red blaze; he exalted himself far above Schoppe and above himself, and denied immortality plumply, by way of parodying Schoppe. "An individual man," said he, "could hardly, on his own account alone, believe in immortality; but when he sees the masses, he has pity, and holds it worth the while, and believes the second world is a _monte testaceo_ of human potsherds. Man cannot come nearer to God and the Devil hereafter than he does already here; like a tavern-sign, his _reverse_ is painted just like his _obverse_. But we need the fictitious future for a present; when we hover ever so still above our slime, we yet are continually flapping, like carps lying still, with poetic fins and wings. Hence we must needs dress up the future paradise so gloriously that only gods shall fit into it, but, just as in princes' gardens, no dogs. Mere trumpery! We cut out for ourselves glorified bodies, which resemble soldiers'-coats; _pockets_ and _buttonholes_ are wanting; what pleasure can they hold, then?" Albano looked upon him with amazement. "Knowest thou, Albano, what I mean? Just the opposite." So easy is everything for fancy, even freaks of humor.

At this moment he was called out. He came back with a red billet-doux. He put on his cravat,--he had been sitting there _à la Hamlet_,--and said to Albano he would fly back in an hour. At the threshold he paused, still thinking whether he should go, then ran swiftly up the steps.

In Albano the cup of joy, into which the whole day had been pouring, overflowed with the sparkling foam of a waggish humor. By heaven! drollery became him as charmingly as an emotion, and he often walked round for a long time without speaking, with a roguish smile, as slumbering children smile, when, as the saying is, angels are playing with them.

Roquairol came back with strangely excited eyes; he had stormed wildly into his heart; he had been wicked, for the sake of despairing, and then, on his knees, at the bottom of the precipice, confessing to his friend the nature of his life. This man, so wilful, lay involuntarily bound to the windmill wings of his fancy, and was now fettered by a calm, now whirled round by the storm, which he imagined himself cutting through. He was now, after the analogy of the fire-eaters, a fire-drinker, in the uneasy expectation of Schoppe's departure. The latter departed at last, despite Albano's entreaty, with the answer: "_Redeem the time_, says the Apostle; but that means, Prolong your life all you can: _that_ is time. To this end the best shops of the times, the apothecaries', require that a man, after _punch royal_, shall go to bed and sweat immoderately."

Now how changed was all! When Zesara joyfully fell on his neck,--when the delirium of youth grew to the melodies of love, as the rain in Derbyshire-hollow at a distance becomes harmonies,--when from the Count's lips flowed sweetly, as one bleeds in his sleep, his whole inner being, his whole past life, and all his plans of the future, even the proudest (only not the tenderest one),--and when, like Adam in the state of innocence (according to Madame Bourignon), he placed himself in such crystal transparency before his friend's eye, not from weakness, but from old instinct, and in the faith that such his friend must be,--then did tears of the most loving admiration come into the eyes of the unhappy Roquairol at the unvarnished purity, and at the energetic, credulous, unsophisticated nature, and at the almost smile-provoking _naïve_ and lofty earnestness of the red-cheeked youth. He sobbed upon that joy-drunken bosom, and Albano grew tender, because he thought he was too little so, and his friend so very much in that mood.

"Come out o' doors,--out o' doors!" said Charles; and that had long been Albano's wish. It struck one, as they saw, on the narrow cellar-stairs, the stars of the spring heaven overhead glistening down through the entrance of the shaft. How freshly flowed the inhaled night over the hot lips! How firmly stood the world-rotunda, built with its fixed rows of stars high and far away over the flying tent-streets of the city! How was the fiery eye of Albano refreshed and expanded by the giant masses of the glimmering spring, and the sight of day slumbering under the transparent mantle of night! Zephyrs, the butterflies of day, fluttered already about their dear flowers, and sucked from the blossoms, and brought in incense for the morning; a sleep-drunken lark soared occasionally into the still heavens with a loud day in her throat; over the dark meadows and bushes the dew had already been sprinkled, whose jewel-sea was to burn before the sun; and in the north floated the purple pennons of Aurora, as she sailed toward morning. With an exalting power the thought seized the youth, that this very minute was measuring millions of little and long lives, and the walk of the sap-caterpillar and the flight of the sun, and that this very same time was being lived through by the worm and God, from worlds to worlds, through the universe. "O God!" he exclaimed, "how glorious it is to exist!"

Charles merely clung, with the drooping, heavy feathers of the night-bird, to the cheerful constellations around him. "Happy for thee," said he, "that thou canst be thus, and that the sphinx in thy bosom still sleeps. Thou knowest not what I am about to do. I knew a wretch who could portray her right well. In the cavern of man's breast, said he, lies a monster on its four claws, with upturned Madonna's face, and looks round smiling, for a time, and so does man too. Suddenly it springs up, buries its claws into the breast, rends it with lion's-tail and hard wings, and roots and rushes and roars, and everywhere blood runs down the torn cavern of the breast. All at once it stretches itself out again, bloody, and smiles away again with the fair Madonna's face. O, he looked all bloodless, the wretch! because the beast so fed upon him and thirstily lapped at his heart."

"Horrible!" said Albano; "and yet I do not quite understand thee." The moon at this moment lifted herself up, together with a flock of clouds that lay darkly camped along her sides, and she drew a storm-wind after her, which drove them among the stars. Charles went on more wildly: "In the beginning, the wretch found it as yet good: he had as yet sound pains and pleasures, real sins and virtues; but as the monster smiled and tore faster and faster, and he continued to alternate more and more rapidly between pleasure and pain, good and evil; and when blasphemies and obscene images crept into his prayers, and he could neither convert nor harden himself; then did he lie there, in a dreary exhaustion of bleeding, in the tepid, gray, dry mist-banks of life, and thus was dying all the time he lived.--Why weepest thou? Knowest thou that wretch?" "No," said Albano, mildly. "I am he!" "Thou? Terrible God, not thou!" "O, it is I; and though thou despisest me, thou wilt be what I ... No, my innocent one, I say it not. See, even now the sphinx rises again. O pray with me, help me, that I may not be obliged to sin,--only not be obliged! I must drink, I must debauch, I must be a hypocrite,--I am a hypocrite at this moment." Zesara saw the rigid eye, the pale, shattered face, and, in a rage of love, shook him with both arms, and stammered, with deep emotion, "By the Almighty! this is not true! thou art indeed so tender and pale and unhappy and innocent."

"Rosy-cheek," said Charles, "I seem to thee pure and bright as yonder orb; but she too, like me, casts a long shadow up toward heaven." Zesara let go of him, took a long look toward the sublime, dark Tartarus, encompassing Elysium like a funeral train, and pressed away bitter tears, which flowed at the remembrance how he had found therein his first friend, who was now melting away at his side. Just then the night-wind tore up a fir-tree which had been killed by the wood-caterpillar, and Albano pointed silently to the crashing tree. Charles shrieked: "Yes, that is I!" "Ah, Charles, have I then lost thee to-day?" said the guiltless friend, with infinite pain; and the fair stars of spring fell like hissing sparks into his wounds.

This word dissolved Charles's overstrained heart into good, true tears; a holy spirit came over him, and bade him not torment the pure soul with his own, not take away its faith, but silently sacrifice to it his wild self, and every selfish thought. Softly he laid himself on his friend's bosom, and with magical, low words, and full of humility, and without fiery images, told him his whole heart; and that it was not wicked, but only unhappy and weak, and that he ought to have been as heartily sincere towards him, who thought too well of him, as towards God; and that he swore, by the hour of death, to be such as he,--to confess to him everything, always,--to become holy through him. "Ah, I have only been loved so very little!" he concluded. And Albano, the love-intoxicated, glowing man, the good man, who knew by his own experience the sacred excesses and exaggerations of remorse, and took these confessions to be such, came back, inspired, to the old covenant with unmeasured love. "Thou art an ardent man!" said Charles; "why do men, then, always lie frozen together on each other's breasts, as on Mount Bernard,[133] with rigid eye, with stiffened arms? O why camest thou to me so late? I had been another creature. Why came she[134] so early? In the village down below there, at the narrow, lowly church-door,--there I first saw her through whom my life became a mummy. Verily, I am speaking now with composure. They carried along before me, as I went out to walk, a corpse-like white youth on a bier into Tartarus: it was only a statue, but it was the emblem of my future. An evil genius said to me, 'Love the fair one whom I show thee.' She stood at the church-door, surrounded by people of the congregation, who wondered at the boldness with which she took up, in her two hands, a silver-gray, tongue-darting snake, and dandled it. Like a daring goddess, she bent her firm, smooth brow, her dark eye, and the rose-blossoms of her countenance upon the adder's head, which Nature had trodden flat, and played with it close to her breast. 'Cleopatra!' said I, although a boy. She, too, even then, understood it, looked up calmly and coldly from the snake, and gave it back, and turned round. O, on my young breast she flung the chilling, life-gnawing viper. But, truly, it is now all gone by, and I speak calmly. Only in the hours, Albano, when my bloody clothes of that night, which my sister has laid up, come before my eyes, then I suffer once more, and ask, 'Poor, well-meaning boy! wherefore didst thou then grow older?' But, as I said, it is all over now. To thee, only to thee, may a better genius say, 'Love the fair one whom I show thee!'"

But what a world of thoughts now flew at once into Albano's mind! "He continues to torment himself," thought he, "with the old jealousy about Romeiro. I will open heart to heart, and tell the good brother that it is indeed his sister I love, and that eternally." His cheeks glowed, his heart flamed, he stood, priest-like, before the altar of friendship, with the fairest offering, sincerity. "O Charles," said he, "now, perhaps, she might be otherwise disposed towards thee. My father is travelling with her, and thou wilt see her." He took his hand, and went with him more quickly up to a dark group of trees, to unfold, in the shadow, his tenderly blushing soul. "Take my most precious secret," he began, "but speak not of it,--not even with me. Dost thou not guess it, my first brother? The soul that I have loved, as long as I have loved thee?"--softly, very softly he added,--"thy sister?" and sank on his lips to kiss away the first sounds.

But Charles, in the tumult of rapture and of love, like an earth at the up-coming of Spring, could not contain himself; he pressed him to himself; he let him go; he embraced him again; he wept for bliss; he shut to Albano's eyes, and said, as if he had found his sister anew, "Brother!" In vain did Albano seek to stifle, with his hand, every other syllable on his lips. He began to paint to the excited youth--who, amid the secluded and poetic book-world, had acquired a higher tenderness than the actual intercourse of society teaches--the portrait of Liana; how she did and suffered; how she watched and pleaded for him, and even impoverished herself to wipe out his debts; how she never severely blamed, but only mildly entreated him, and all that, not from artificial patience, but from genuine, ardent love; and how this, after all, made up hardly the accessories of her picture. In this purer inspiration than the foregoing evening had granted him, what crowned his bliss was, that he could love his sister, among all beings, the most intensely and the most disinterestedly, and with a love the most free from poetic luxury and caprice. Really strengthened by the feeling that he could, for once, exult with a pure and holy affection, he lifted once more in freedom his disengaged hands, hitherto, like Milo's, jammed and caught in the tree of happiness and life, which he would fain have torn open; he breathed fresh, living air and courage, and the plan of his inner perfection was now gracefully rounded by new good fortune and a consciousness full of fair objects.

The moon stood high in heaven, the clouds had been driven away, and never did the morning-star rise brighter on two human beings.


[120] At the canonization of a saint, the _Devil_ was heard by _attorney_, in the shape of objections to the act. Jean Paul, with a slight variation of the sense of the old title, hints a converse process in Roquairol's case, making the better angel show cause why sentence of _damnation_ should not be absolutely pronounced against him.--TR.

[121] Here began Jean Paul's second volume of the Titan.--TR.

[122] Ottar of Roses.--TR.

[123] The above description of Roquairol reminds one of a German _Sinn-spruch_ on sensuality, from the Persian:--

"Make his reason serve his passions, That is what man never should; _To the Devil's kitchen, angels_ _Never carry wood_."

[124] Simon's Christian Antiquities. Mursinna, &c., p. 143.

[125] Branch candlestick.--TR.

[126] Schlendrians,--of a slow fellow,--corresponding to our _old fogy_.--TR.

[127] Or Black-book.--TR.

[128] Allusion to the mode of angling for frogs with a bit of red cloth.

[129] Spazier-sitzerinnen,--not _gängerinnen_, i. e. street-walkers.--TR.

[130] _Zwinger_ means, originally, the narrow space between town-walls and town.--TR.

[131] Literally, press something before his brow.--TR.

[132] Overseer, a Lacedæmonian officer.--TR.

[133] Strangers who are frozen are placed by the monks, unburied, beside each other, each leaning on the next one's breast.

[134] Linda de Romeiro.



56. CYCLE.

Joyfully did Roquairol, on the first evening when he knew his father had gone a journey, bear to his friend the invitation to go with him to his mother. Albano blushed charmingly for the first time, at the thought of that fiery night which had wrung from him the oldest mystery; for hitherto neither of them, in the common hours of life, had retouched the sacred subject. Only the Captain could easily and willingly speak of Linda as well as of every other loss.

Liana always beheld her brother--the creator and ruling spirit of her softest hours--with the heartiest joy, although he generally wanted to get something when he came; for joy she flew to meet him, with the book in her hand which she had been reading as her mother embroidered. She and her mother had spent the whole day pleasantly and alone, alternately relieving each other at embroidering and reading; as often as the Minister travelled, they were at once free from discord and from the visiting Charivari. With what emotion did Albano recognize the eastern chamber, from which he had seen, for the first time, the dear maiden, only as a blind one, standing in the distance between watery columns! The good Liana received him more unconstrainedly than he could meet her, after Charles's initiation into his wishes. What a paradisiacal mingling of unaffected shyness and overflowing friendliness, stillness and fire, of bashfulness and grace of movement, of playful kindness, of silent consciousness! Therefore belongs to her the magnificent surname of Virgil, the maidenly. In our days of female Jordan-almonds, academical, strong-minded women, of hop-dances and double-quick-march steps in the flat-shoe, the Virgilian title is not often called for. Only for ten years (reckoning from the fourteenth) can I give it to a maiden; afterward she becomes more manneristic. Such a graceful being is usually at once thirteen and seventeen years old.

Why wast thou so bewitchingly unembarrassed, tender Liana! excepting because thou, like the Bourignon, didst not once know what was to be avoided, and because thy holy guilelessness excluded the suspicious spying out of remote designs, the bending of the ear toward the ground to listen for an approaching foe, and all coquettish manifestoes and warlike preparations? Men were as yet to thee commanding fathers and brothers; and therefore didst thou lift upon them, not yet _proudly_, but so _affectionately_, that true pair of eyes!

And with this good-natured look, and with her smile,--whose continuance is often, on _men's_ faces, but not on _maidens'_, the title-vignette of falsehood,--she received our noble youth, but not him alone.

She seated herself at the embroidery-frame; and the mother soon launched the Count out into the cool, high sea of general conversation, into which only occasionally the son threw up a green, warm island. Alban looked on to see how Liana made her mosaic flower-pieces grow; how the little white hand lay on the black satin ground (Froulay's _thorax_ is to wear the flowers on his birthday), and how her pure brow, over which the curly hair transparently waved, bent forward, and how her face, when she spoke, or when she looked after new colors of silk, lifted itself up, animated with the higher glow of industry in the eye and on the cheek. Charles sometimes hastily stretched out his hand towards her. She willingly reached hers across; he laid it between his two, and turned it over, looked into the palm, pressed it with both hands, and the brother and sister smiled upon each other affectionately. And each time Albano turned from his conversation with the mother, and true-heartedly smiled with them. But poor hero! It is of itself a Herculean labor to sit idly by where fine work is going on, such as embroidery, miniature painting, &c.; but above all, with a spirit like thine, which has so many sails, together with a couple of storms in behind, to lie inactively at anchor beside the embroidery-frame, and not to be, say, a spinning Hercules (that were easy), but only one that sees spinning,--and that, too, in the presence of a great spring and sunset out of doors,--and, in addition to all this, in the company of a mother, so chary of her words (in fact, before any mother, it is of itself an impossibility to introduce an edifying conversation with the daughter),--these are sore things.

He looked down sharply at the embroidered Flora. "Nothing pains me so much," said he,--for he always philosophized, and everything useless on the earth troubled him grievously,--"as that so many thousand artificial ornaments should be created in vain in the world, without a single eye ever meeting and enjoying them. It will touch me very nearly if this green leaflet here is not especially observed." With the same sorrow over fruitless, unenjoyed plantings of labor, he often shut his eyes upon wall-paper foliage, upon worked flowers, upon architectural decorations. Liana might have taken it as a painter's censure of the overladen stitch-garden, which, merely out of love for her father, she was sowing so full,--for Froulay, born in the days when they still trimmed the gold-lace with clothes, rather than the reverse, was fond of buttoning a little silk herbary round his body,--but she only smiled, and said, "Well, the little leaf has surely escaped that evil destiny: it _is_ observed."

"What matters a thing's being forgotten and useless?" said Roquairol, taking up the word, full of indifference to the Lector, who was just entering, and full of indifference to the opinion of his mother, to whom, as well as to his father, only the entreaties of his sister sometimes made him submissive. "Enough that a thing _is_. The birds sing and the stars move in majesty over the wildernesses, and no man sees the splendor. In fact, everywhere, in and out of man, more passes unseen than seen. Nature draws out of endless seas, and without exhausting them; we, too, are a nature, and should draw and pour out, and not be always anxiously reckoning upon the profit, for watering purposes, of every transient shower and rainbow. Just keep on embroidering, sister!" he concluded, ironically.

"The Princess comes to-day!" said the Lector, and, delighted with the prospect, Liana kissed her mother's hand. She looked up often and confidentially from her embroidery at the courtier, who seemed to be very intimate, but who, as a refined man, was full as much respected and as respectful as if he were there for the first time.

The announcement of the Princess set the Captain into a charming state of easy good-humor; a female part was to him as necessary for society as to the French for an opera, and the presence of a lady helped him as much in teaching, as the absence of a button did Kant.[135] By way of drawing his sister off from the flowers, he removed the red veil from a statue on the card-table, and threw it, like a little red dawn, over the lilies on the face of the embroideress; just then the door opened and Julienne entered. Liana, trying to remove the veil, in her haste to welcome her, entangled herself in the little red dawn. Albano mechanically reached out to her his hand to relieve her of the veil, and she gave it to him, and a dear, full look besides. O how his enraptured eye shone!

Julienne brought with her a train of _jeux d'esprit_. The Captain, who, like a pyrotechnist, could give his fire all forms and colors, reinforced her with his; and his sister sowed, as it were, the flowers with which the zephyrettes of raillery could play. Julienne almost said no to yes, and yes to no; only toward the Minister's lady was she serious and submissive,--a sign that, on her arena of disputation, among the grains of sand particles of golden sand still lay, whereas for philosophers the arena is the prize and the ground,--at once the battle-field, the _Champ de Mars_, and the _Champs Elysées_. Upon the Count she fixed her passionate gaze as boldly as only princesses may venture to and love to; and when he returned the glance of her brown eye, she cast it down; but she remembered him, from her old visit in Blumenbühl, and inquired after his friends. He now entered with pleasure upon something that was as ardent as his own soul,--encomiums. It is against the finest politeness to praise or blame persons with warmth,--things one may. While he portrayed with grateful remembrance his sister Rabette, Julienne became so earnestly and deeply absorbed in his eye, that she started, and asked the Lector about the steps of the _Anglaise_ which he had led at the masquerade. When he had done his best to give an idea of it, she said she had not understood a word of what he had been saying; one must, after all, execute it.

And herewith I suddenly introduce my fair readers in a body to a domestic ball of two couples. See the two sisters-in-soul, side by side, like two wings on _one_ dove, harmoniously flutter up and down. Albano had expected Julienne would form a contrast, by nimble and sprightly fluttering, to the still, hovering movement of her friend; but both undulated lightly, like waves, by and through each other, and there was not a motion too much nor too swift.

Hence I have so often wished that maidens might always dance exactly like the Graces and the Hours,--that is to say, only with one another, not with us gentlemen. The present union of the female wave-line with the masculine swallow-like zigzag, as well in dress as in motion, does not remarkably beautify the dance.

Liana assumed a new ethereal form, somewhat as an angel while flying back into heaven lays aside his graceful earthly one. The dancing-floor is to woman's beauty what the horse's back is to ours; on both the mutual enchantment unfolds itself, and only a rider can match a dancing maiden. Fortunate Albano! thou who hardly dar'st take the finger-points of Liana's offered hand in thine! thou gettest enough. And only look at this friendly maiden, whose eyes and lips Charis so smilingly brightens for the dance, and who yet, on the other hand, appears so touchingly, because she is a little pale! How different from those capricious or inflexible step-sisters, who, with half a Cato of Utica on the wrinkled or tightly stretched face, hop, fall back, and slip round. Julienne flies joyfully to and fro; and it is hard to say before whose eyes she loves to flutter best, Liana's or Albano's.

When it was done, Julienne wanted to begin over again. Liana looked at her mother, and immediately begged her friend rather for a cooling off. A mere pretext! A female friend loves to be alone with a female friend; the two loved each other before people only with a veil upon their hearts, and longed for the dark arbor where it might fall off. Liana had a real loving impatience, till she could, with her duplicate-soul, her twin-heart, snatch moments free from witnesses in the garden of evening and May. They came back changed and full of tender seriousness. The lovely beings were perhaps as like each other in their innermost souls and in stillness as in the dance, and more so than they seemed.

And thus passed with our youth a fair-starred evening! Pardon him, however, that he grasped and pressed this nosegay so close as to feel some of the thorns. His heart, whose love grew painfully near another, could not help finding this other, where there was no sign of response, at once _higher_ and _farther_ off. Her love was love of man,--her smile was meant for every kind eye,--she was so cheerful. In Lilar she easily passed into emotion and general contemplations; not so here,--of course she would look right sympathetically upon her wildly loving brother, who, since that confession-night, had twined himself as if with oak-roots around the darling; but her half-blind love for the brother might indeed be only, in the deceiving light of reflection, shining upon _his_ friend. All this the modest one said to himself. But what he had enjoyed in full measure of ecstasy was the increasing, clear, tender, steadfast love of his soul's-brother.

57. CYCLE.

As to Liana's secret inclination and Zesara's prospects I shall never once institute any conjectures, although I might erase them again before printing. I remember what came of it, when I and others, on a former occasion, covered over with our hands Hafenreffer's official reports upon matters of consequence, and undertook to unfold at length, by pure fancy, how things might have gone on;--it was of no use! And naturally enough; for women and Spanish houses have, to begin with, many _doors_ and few _windows_, and it is easier to _get_ into their hearts than to _look_ into them. Particularly maidens', I mean; since women, physiognomically and morally, are more strongly marked and boldly developed, I would rather undertake to guess at and so portray ten mothers than two daughters. The bodily portrait-painters make the same complaint.

Whoever observes the influence of night, will find that the doubts and anxieties which he had contracted the evening previous about the heroine of his life it has, for the most part, completely killed by the time it gets to be towards morning. Albano, in the spring morning, opened his eyes upon life as in a triumphal car, and the fresh steeds stamped before it, and he could only let them have the reins.

He alighted with his friend at Liana's after a few years, that is, days; the Minister had not yet come back. Heavens! how new and bloomingly young was her form, and yet how unchanged her demeanor! Why is it, thought he, that I can get only her motions, not all her features, by heart? Why can I not imprint this face, even to the least smile, like a holy antique, cleanly and deeply upon my brain, that so it may float before me in eternal presence? For this reason, my dear: young and beautiful forms are the very ones which are hard for the memory as for the pencil; and coarse, old, masculine ones easier for both. Again he filled himself with joys and sighs by looking at her,--and these were increased by the nearness of the garden, wherein June with his evening splendor lay encamped. O, if only _one_ moment could come to him, in which his whole soul might speak its inspiration! Out of doors there lay the young, fiery spring, basking, like an Antinoüs, in the garden, and the moon, impatient for the fair June-night, stood already under the gate of the east, and found the living day and the lingering sun still in the field. But the mother refused to the asking look of Liana the sight of sunset,--"on account of the unwholesome _Serein_."[136] Albano, with his heart full of manly blood, thought this maternal barrier around a child's health very small.

The hour for shutting gates upon to-day's Eden would have struck for him the next minute, had it not been for the Captain and the _Cereus serpens_.

The Captain came running down from the Italian roof, and announced that the Cereus would bloom this evening at ten o'clock, the gardener said, and he should stay there. "And thou too," he said to Albano. All that the double limitations of forbearing tenderness toward sister and friend would allow he lovingly set at stake, for the sake of pleasing the latter. Liana herself begged him to wait for the blooming; she was so delighted to find it was so near! Her soul hung upon flowers, like bees and dew. Already had her friend, the pious Spener, who fixed an enraptured eye upon these living arabesques of God's throne, made her a friend to these mute, ever-sleeping children of the Infinite; but still more had her own maidenly and her suffering heart done it. Have you never met tender, female souls, into whose blossoming time fate had thrown cold clouds, and who now, like Rousseau, sought other flowers than those of joy, and who wearied themselves with stooping, in valleys and on rocks, to gather and to forget, and to fly from the dead _Pomona_ to the young _Flora_? The thorough-bass and Latin, wherewith _Hermes_ proposes to divert maidens, must yield here to the broad, variegated hieroglyphics of Nature, the rich study of Botany.

A nameless tenderness for Liana came into Albano's soul at the little four-seated supper-table; it seemed to him as if he were now nearer to her, and a relative; and yet he comprehended not his kinswoman, when, from every serious mood into which her mother sank, she strove to win her back with pleasantries. Out of doors the nightingales were calling man into the lovely night; and no one pined more to be abroad than he.

For the soul's eyes, the _blue_ of heaven is what the _green_ of earth is to the bodily eyes, namely, an inward strengthening. When Zesara, at length, came free and clear out of the fetters of the room,--out of this spiritual house-arrest into the free realm of heaven, and beneath all the stars and on the magic Olympus of statues, at which he had so often longingly looked up,--then did his forcibly contracted breast elastically expand: how the constellations of life moved to meet each other in brighter forms; how did spring and night sit enthroned!

The old gardener, who, simply from a grateful attachment to "the good-souled, condescending Fräulein," had, with rare pains, forced these early blossoms from the _Cereus serpens_, stood up there already, apparently as an observer of the flowers, but in fact as an expectant of the greatest praise, with a brown, indented, pitted, and serious face, which did not challenge praise with a single smile.

Liana thanked the gardener before she came to the blossoms; then she praised them and his pains. The old man merely waited for every other one of the company to be astonished also; then he went drowsily off to bed, with a firm faith that Liana would to-morrow remember him in such a way as to make him contented.

The exotic beads of nectar-fragrance which hung in five white calyxes, crowned as it were with brown leaf-work, seized the fancy. The odors from the spring of a hotter clime drew it away into remote dreams. Liana only stroked with a soft finger, as one glides over eyelids, the little incense-vases, without touching with predatory hand the full little garden of tender stamina which crowded together in the cup. "How lovely, how very tender!" said she, with childlike happiness. "What a cluster of five little evening stars! Why come they only by night,--the dear, shy little flowers?" Charles seemed to be on the point of breaking one. "O let it live!" she begged; "to-morrow they will all have died of themselves. Charles! thus does so much else fade," she added, in a lower tone. "Everything!" said he, sharply. But the mother, against Liana's will, had heard it. "Such death-thoughts," said she, "I love not in youth; they lame its wings." "And then," replied Liana, with a maiden-like turning of the tables, "it just stays with us, that's all, like the crane in Kleist's fable, whose wings they broke, so that he could not travel with the rest into the warm land."

This gay, motley veil of deep earnestness was not transparent enough for our friend. But by and by the good maiden took pains to look just as the careful mother wished. The benumbing lily which the earth wears on her breast, the moon; and the whole dazzling Pantheon of the starry heavens; and the city, with its pierced-work of night-lights; and the high, majestic, dark avenues; and on meadows and brooks the milk-white lunar-silver, wherewith the earth spun itself into an evening-star; and the nightingales singing out of distant gardens;--did not all this stir omnipotently every heart, till it would fain confess with tears its longing? And the softest heart of all which beat at this moment below the stars, could it have succeeded in wholly veiling itself? Almost! She had accustomed herself, before her mother, to dry away with her eye, so to speak, the tear, before it grew big enough to fall.

Singular was her appearance, the next minute, to the Count. The mother was speaking with her son; Liana stood, far from the latter, with face turned half aside, and a little discolored by the moon, near a white statue of the holy Virgin, and looking out into the night. All at once she looked upon him and smiled, just as if a living being had appeared to her in the abyss of ether, and her lip would speak. Earthly form more exalted and touching had never before met his eyes; the balustrade by which he held swayed to and fro (but it was he himself who shook it), and his whole soul cried, "To-day, now, I love the heavenly one with the highest, the deepest love I have felt." So he also said lately, and so will he say oftener: can man, with the innumerable waves of love, institute measurements of altitude, and point to that one which has mounted the highest? Thus does man, whereever he may be standing, always imagine himself standing in the centre of heaven.

Ah, at this moment he was again surprised, but it was with an "Ah!" Liana went to her mother, and when _she_ felt in the hand of her darling a slight shudder, she importuned her to go out of the night-air, and would not give over till she left with her the magic spot.

The friends stayed behind. According to Albano's reckoning, it would not, of course, have been too much, if, in this frank time, wherein our holier thoughts, hidden by the common light of day, reveal themselves like stars, they had all lingered on the roof till toward morning. The two walked for a time up and down in silence. At last the incense-altar of the five flowers held them fast. Albano clasped accidentally the neighboring statue with both hands, and said: "On high places, one wants to throw something down,--even himself oftentimes; and I, too, would fain throw myself off into the world, into far-distant lands, as often as I gaze into the nightly redness yonder, and as often as I come under orangery-blossoms, as under these. Brother, how is it with thee? The heavens and the earth open out so broadly: why, then, must the spirit so creep into itself?" "Just so do I feel," said he; "and in the head, generally, has the spirit more room than in the heart." But here, by a delicate guess, he arrived, through agreeably circuitous routes, at the accidental discovery of the reason why his sister had hurried down so soon.

"Even to obstinacy," said he, "she pushes her care for her mother. The last time, when she observed that mother saw her grow pale under the dance, she immediately ceased. To me alone she shows her whole heart, and every drop of blood, and all innocent tears therein; especially does she believe something in respect to the future, which she anxiously conceals from mother." "She smiled to herself just before she went away," said Albano, and drew Charles's hand over his eyes, "as if she saw up there a being from the veiled world." "Didst thou too see that?" replied Charles. "And then did her lip stir? O friend, God knows what infatuates her; but this is certain, she firmly believes she is to die next year." Albano would not let him speak further. Too intensely excited, he pressed himself to his friend's breast; his heart beat wildly, and he said: "O brother, remain always my friend!"

They went down. In the apartment which adjoined Liana's they found her piano-forte open. Now that was just what the Count had missed. In passion--even in mere fire of the brain--one grasps not so much at the pen as at the string; and in that state alone does musical fantasying succeed better than poetic. Albano, thanking, meanwhile, the muse of sweet sounds that there were forty-four transitions,[137] seated himself at the keys, with the intention now to beat a musical fire-drum, and roar like a storm into the still ashes, and drive out a clear, sparkling swarm of tones. He did it, too, and well enough, and better and better; but the instrument struggled, rebelled. It was built for a female hand, and would only speak in female tones, with lute-plaints, as a woman with a friend of her own sex.

Charles had never heard him play so, and was astonished at such fulness. But the reason was, the Lector was not there; before certain persons--and he was one of them--the playing hand freezes, so that one only labors and lumbers to and fro in a pair of leaden gloves; and, secondly, before a multitude it is easier playing than before one, because the latter stands definitely before the soul, the former floats vaguely. And, besides all that, blessed Albano, thou knowest who hears thee. The morning air of hope flutters around thee in tones,--the wild life of youth stalks with vigorous limbs and loud strides up and down before thee,--the moonlight, undesecrated by any gross earthly light, hallows the sounding apartment. Liana's last songs lie open before thee, and the advancing moonshine will let thee read them soon,--and the nightingale in the mother's neighboring chamber contends with thy tones, as if summoned by the Tuba to the field.

Liana came in with her mother, not till late, because the heavy din of tones had something in it hard and painful to both. He could see the two sitting sidewise at the lower window, and how Liana held her mother's hand. Charles, after his manner, walked up and down with long steps, and sometimes stood still near him. Albano, in this nearness of the still soul, soon came out of the wilderness of harmony into simple moonlit passages, where only a few tones moved delicately like graces, and quite as lightly linked as they. The artistical hurly-burly of unharmonious _ignes fatui_ is only the forerunner of the melodious Charites; and these alone insinuate themselves into the softer souls. It seemed to him--the illusion was complete--as if he were speaking aloud with Liana; and when the tones, like lovers, went on ever repeating the same thing from heartiness and zest, did he not mean Liana, and say to her, "How I love thee! O how I love thee!" Did he not ask her, "Why mournest thou? why weepest thou?" And did he not say to her, "Look into this mute heart, and fly not from it, O pure, innocent one, my own!"

How did the good youth blush, when suddenly the caressing friend placed his hands over _his_ friend's eyes, which hitherto, unseen in the darkness, had been overflowing for love! Charles stepped warmly to his sister, and she, of her own accord, took his hand and said words of love. Then Albano took refuge in the murmuring wilderness of sounds, until his eyes were dried enough for the leave-taking by lamp-light; by slow degrees he let the cradle of our heart cease rocking, and closed so mildly and faintly, and was silent for a little while, and then slowly rose. O, in this mute, young bosom lived every blessed thing which the most glorious love can bestow!

They parted seriously. No one spoke of the music. Liana seemed transfigured. Albano dared not, in this spirit-hour of the heart, with an eye which had so recently calmed itself, rest long upon her mild blue ones. Her deeply touched soul expressed itself, as maidens are wont, to her brother only, and that by a more ardent embrace. And from the holy youth she could not, in parting, conceal the tone and the look, which he will never forget.

That night he awoke often, and knew not what it was that so blissfully rocked his being. Ah! it was the tone whose echo rang through his slumber, and the dear eye which still looked upon him in his dreams.


[135] He is said, in teaching, to have always looked at the spot on a student's coat where the button was gone; and was embarrassed when it was sewed on again.

[136] The evening hour, which people in southern countries shun so much.

[137] From one key to another.--TR.



58. CYCLE.

Happy Albano! thou wouldst not have remained so, hadst thou, on the birthday of the Minister, heard what he then proposed!

Already, for a considerable time, had Froulay been full of noticeable, stormy signs, and might any moment, one must needs fear, let the thunderbolt fly from him; that is to say, he was gay and mild. Thus, also, in the case of phlegmatic children, does great liveliness threaten an eruption of the chicken-pox. As he was a father and a despot,--(the Greeks had for both only the one word, despot,)--so was it expected of him, as connubial storm-maker,[138] that he would provide the usual storms and foul weather for his family. Connubial storm-material for the mere _troubling_ of marriage can never be wanting, when one considers how little is required even for its dissolution; for instance, among the Jews, merely that the woman scream too loud, burn the dinner, leave her shoes in the place for the man's, &c. Beside all this, there was much in the present case about which there was a good chance to thunder; e. g. Liana, upon whom one might visit the misdemeanor of the brother, because he obstinately stayed away and begged for no grace. One always loves to let his indignation loose upon wife, daughter, and son at once, and would rather be a land-rain than a transient shower; one child can more easily imbitter than sweeten a whole family.

But Froulay still continued the smiling John. Nay, did he not--I have the proofs--carry it so far, that when, on one occasion, his daughter, in taking leave of the Princess, fell upon her neck,--instead of representing to her, with flashing eyes, how one must only accept, not reciprocate, familiarities with superiors, and must take care not to forget one's self precisely then, when _they_ do forget themselves,--and instead of sternly asking whether she had ever seen him, in his warmest love toward the Prince, offend against _the Dehors_,--instead, I say, of doing this, and hailing and storming the while, did he not merely break out that once into the fair words: "Child, thou art too affectionate toward thy distinguished friend; ask thy mother; she knows, too, what friendly _liaisons_ are"?

Only Liana--although so often deceived by these calms--was full of unutterable hope and joy at the domestic peace, and believed in its permanence, especially as the paternal birthday was so near, that Olympiad and normal period upon which and by which the house reckoned so largely. During the whole year the Minister had been looking out for this day, in order, in the morning, when the congratulations came, not to forget to make believe he had forgotten it, but to be astonished on the subject,--all owing to business, he said; and at evening, when the guests came,--on account of business he never dined, he said, to astonish _them_. He was alternately the worshipper and image-breaker of etiquette, ministerial and opposition party thereof, as his vanity dictated.

Liana importuned her brother, till he promised to do something to please his father; he composed, for the purpose, a family-piece, in which he introduced the whole confession-night between himself and Albano, only he converted Albano into a sister. Liana gladly studied this part also for the birthday, although she had to deliver the blooming vest.

The Minister, contrary to expectation, accepted the vest, the Captain and his hand-bill for the evening's performance, graciously; for he was wont, on former occasions, like some other fathers, to growl the louder the more his children stroked him. He danced away like a Polack right merrily with his family, and stuck the rod[139] behind the fur. Nothing worse at this moment revolved in his head than the question, where it would be best to open the amateur theatre, whether in the _Salon de Lecture_ or in the _Salon des bains domestiques_; for the two halls were entirely distinguished from one another, and from the other chambers, by their names.

The day came. Albano, whose invitation Charles had to extort, because the Minister, out of pride, hated his pride, brought with him, unfortunately, in his soul, the tone which Liana had given him the last time to carry home with him. His hope had hitherto lived upon this tone. O blame him not for it! The airy nothing of a sigh bears often a pastoral world or an orcus on its ephemeron's-wing. Everything weighty may, like a rock, be placed on a point, whereupon a child's finger can set it in rotation.

But the tone had died away. Liana knew no other way than that, in the visiting congregation,--of whose moral pneumatophobia,[140] after all, she was not aware in its full extent,--one should hide every religious emotion behind the church fan. Boxes, pit, and farthing gallery were, almost at the usual play-hour, set off and filled out with Gratulantes, all fit to be canons. The German gentleman was made particularly prominent by the rich and insolent ostentation of his circumstances. Of the visiting-company-lane it can, in passing, only be observed, that in it, as in the antiphlogistic system, _oxygen_[141] played the chief part, which, however, was given out less by the lungs than by the heart.

When the curtain rose, and Roquairol made that night of forgiveness and ecstasy pass by again in a still more glowing form than it had actually had; when this dreamy imitation seemed the first appearance of the actual reality, how hotly and deeply did he burn himself thereby into his friend's soul! (Good Albano! This art of being his own _revenant_, his own ghost, his mock- and mimic-self, and of counterfeiting the splendid edition of his own life, should have left thee smaller hopes!) The Count must needs, in this most grave society that ever sate around him, break out into an unseemly weeping. And why did Charles put Albano's words, of that memorable night, into the mouth of Liana, so bewitchingly interesting in her emotion, and thus make his love, wrought upon by so many charms, grow even to anguish?

The German gentleman himself gave to Liana, that white swan, floating, tinged with rosy redness, through the evening glow of Phoebus, several loud, and to the Count annoying signs of approbation. The Minister was chiefly glad that all this happened in his honor, and that the point of the last act was still going to throw a very special epigrammatic laurel-wreath on his crown.

He got the wreath. The pair of children were very favorably criticised by the Erlangen literary gazette[142] of spectators, and by the belles-lettres review, and covered over with crowns,--with noble martyrs' crowns. The German gentleman had and used the public right of ushering in the Coronation, and the Coronation-car. Base man! why should thy beetle's-eyes be permitted to creep gnawingly over the holy roses which emotion and sisterly love plants on Liana's cheeks? But how much gayer still was the old gentleman,--so much so that he flirted with the oldest ladies,--when he saw the knight bring out magnificently into full daylight his interest in Liana, not fantastically or sentimentally, but by still and steady advances and marked attention, by jokes and glances and sly addresses, and at last by something decisive! That is to say, the German gentleman drew the old man into a cabinet, and both came back out of it vehemently animated.

The lovely Liana, withdrawn into her own heart, fled from the upas-tree of the laurel away to her comforting mother. Liana had preserved, in the midst of the stormy mill-races of daily _assemblées_, a low voice and a delicate ear, and the tumult had driven her inward, and left her almost shy.

The fair soul seldom guessed anything, except a fair soul: she so easily divined her like; with such difficulty her counterpart. Bouverot's advances seemed to her the usual forward and side steps of manly courtesy; and his knightly celibacy did not allow her entirely to understand him. Do not the lilies of innocence bloom earlier than the roses of shame, as the purple color, in the beginning, only dyes pale, and not till afterward puts on the red glow, when it lies before the sun? She kept herself this evening near her mother, because she perceived in her an unwonted seriousness. When Froulay had taken off from his head the birthday garland, wherein were planted more thorns and stalks than flowers,--when he had taken off the crown of thorns, and stood in his night-cap amidst his family,--he addressed himself to the business whereupon he had been thinking all the evening. "My little dove," said he to his daughter, borrowing a good expression from the Bastile,[143]--"my little dove, leave me and _Guillemette_ alone." He now laid bare his upper teeth by a characteristic grin, and said he had, as he hoped, something agreeable to communicate to her. "You know," he continued, "what I owe to the German gentleman." He meant not thanks, but money and consideration.

We love to dwell upon it as a matter of great praise in the family of the Quintii,[144] that they never possessed gold: I adduce--without arraying a thousand other families of whom the same is to be sworn--only Froulay's. Certain families, like antimony, have no chemical affinity whatever with that metal, however much they might wish it; certainly Froulay wished it: he looked very much to his interest (to nothing else), he willingly (although only in cases of collision) set conscience and honor aside; but he got no further than to great outlays and great projects, simply because he sought money, not as the end and aim of his ambition, but only as the means of ambition and enterprise. Even for some pictures which Bouverot had purchased for the Prince in Italy he still owed that individual the purchase-shilling which he had taken out of the treasury. By his bonds as if by circulars, he stood in widely-extended connections. He would gladly have transposed his marriage contract into a bond, and had, with his lady, at least that most intimate community--of goods; for, under present circumstances, divorce and bankruptcy stood in neighborly relations to each other; but, as was said, many men, with the best talons,--like the eagle of the Romish king,[145]--have nothing in them.

He continued: "Now, perhaps, this _géne_ will cease. Have you hitherto made any observations upon him?" She shook her head. "I have," he replied, "for a long time, and such as were really consoling to me,--_j'avais le nez bon quant à cela_,--he has a real liking for my Liana."

The Minister's lady here could draw no inference, and begged him, with disguised astonishment, to come to the _agreeable_ matter. Comically on his face did the show of friendship wrestle with the expectation that he should be under the necessity immediately of being exasperated. He replied: "Is not _this_ an agreeable matter? The knight means it in earnest. He wished now to be privately espoused to her; after three years he retires from the order, and her fortune is made. _Vous êtes, je l'espere, pour cette fois, un peu sur mes interêts, ils sont les vôtres._"

Her maternal heart, so suddenly and deeply wounded, wept, and could hardly be concealed. "Herr von Froulay!" said she, when she had composed herself a little; "I do not disguise my astonishment. Such a disparity in years, in tastes, in religion."[146]

"That is the knight's affair, not ours," he replied, refreshed by her angry confusedness, and, like the weather, in his coldness threw only fine, sharp snow, no hail. "As to Liana's heart, I beg you just to sound that." "O, that innocent heart? You are mocking!" "_Posito!_ so much the more gladly will the _innocent_ heart reconcile itself to make her father's fortune, if she is not the greatest egotist. I should never love to constrain an obedient daughter." "_N'epuiséz pas ce chapitre; mon coeur est en presse._ It will cost her her life, which already hangs by such frail threads." This allusion always struck the fire of wrath from his flint. "_Tant mieux_," said he; "then it will never go further than an engagement! I had almost said--_Sacre!_ and who is to blame for that? So it fares with me at the hands of the Captain too,--in the beginning my children promise everything, then they turn out nothing. But, madam," he said, swiftly and venomously collecting himself; and, instead of compressing his lips and teeth, merely pinching moderately the auditory organs of a sleeping lap-dog; "you alone indeed know, by your influence upon Liana, how to dress and redress everything. Perhaps she belongs to you by a still prior claim than to me. I am not then compromitted with the knight. The advantages I detail no further." His breast was here already warmed under the vulture-skin of rage.

But the noble lady now indignantly rose, and said: "Herr von Froulay! hitherto I have not spoken of myself. Never will I counsel or countenance or consent to it,--I will do the opposite. Herr von Bouverot is not worthy of my Liana."

The Minister, during this speech, had several times unnecessarily snapped-to the snuffers over the wax candles, and only beheaded the point of the flame; the fixed air of wrath now colored the roses of his lips (as the chemical does botanical ones) blue. "_Bon!_" he replied, "I travel; you can reflect on the subject,--but I give my word of honor, that I never consent to any other match; and though it were (whereupon he looked at the lady ironically) still more considerable[147] than the one just projected,--either the maiden obeys or she suffers, _decidéz_! _Mais je me fie à l'amour que vous portéz au pere et à la fille; vous nous rendréz tous assêz contens._" And then he went forth, not like a tempest, but like a rainbow, which he manufactured out of the eighth color only, namely, the black, and that with his eyebrows.

After some days of resentment with the mother and the daughter, he rode, as Luigi's business-agent, to Haarhaar to see the princely bride. The oppressed mother confided to her oldest and only friend, the Lector, the sad secret. The two had now a pure relation of friendship toward one another, which, in France, in consequence of the higher respect for women, is more common. In the first years of the ministerial forced marriage, which dawned not with morning dew, but with morning frost, perhaps the hawk-moth[148] Cupid fluttered after them; but by and by children drove away this sphinx. The wife is often forgotten when she becomes the mother. She, therefore, with her characteristic cool and clear strength, took all that was ambiguous in her relation to Augusti forever out of the way; and he made her firmness more easy by his own, because he, with more love of honor than of women, grew not more red at any kind of braided-work than at that of a basket,[149] and erroneously believed that a man who receives it, has as much to be ashamed of as a woman who does.

The Lector could foresee that she would also, after her divorce,--which she postponed only for Liana's sake,--remain single, if only for this reason, in order not to deprive her daughter of an allodial estate, Klosterdorf, for the reservation of which she had now for one and twenty years exposed herself to the battering-ram and scythe-chariot and blunderbuss of the old Minister. Whether she was not even silently intending her dear Liana for a man so firm and tender, who differed from her in nothing but in a worldly coolness toward positive religion, is another and more delicate question. Such a reciprocal gift were worthy such a mother and friend, who must know from her heart, that combined feelings of tenderness and honor prepare for a loved soul a surer bliss than the love which genius offers, that alternation of flying heat and flying cold,--that fire which, like the electric, always twice destroys,--in the stroke and in the rebound. The Lector himself started not that question; for he never made rash, unsafe plans; and what one would have been more so than that of such a connection, in his poverty, or with such a father-in-law, in a country where, as in the Electorate of Saxony, a statute, so beneficial (for parents), can countermand even a marriage of many years' standing, which has been concluded without parental consent?

With moist eyes the Minister's lady showed him the new storm-clouds, which had again descended upon her and her Liana. She could build upon his fine eye for the world, upon his dumb lip and upon his ready hand for business. He said, as ever, he had foreseen all this; but proved to her that Bouverot, if only from avarice, would never exchange his knightly cross for the wedding-ring, whatever designs he might cherish with regard to Liana. He gave her to surmise, so far as a tender regard to her sore relations would tolerate, to what degree of readiness for compliance with Bouverot's wishes the very frailty of Liana's life might allure the Minister, in order to harvest it before it had done blooming. For Froulay could much more nimbly swallow demands against honor than injuries done to his vanity, as the victim of hydrophobia can much more easily get down solid morsels than fluids. Yet all this did not sound so immorally hard to the Minister's lady as readers of the middling classes might imagine; I appeal to the more sensible among the higher.

Augusti and the Minister's lady saw that something must certainly be done for Liana during the Minister's absence; and both wonderfully coincided in their project. Liana must go into the country this pleasant season,--she must muster up health for the wars that were in prospect,--she must be put out of the way of the knight's visits, which now the birthday would multiply fourfold,--even the Minister must have nothing to object to the place. And where can this be? Simply under the roof of the Director Wehrfritz, who cannot endure the German gentleman, because he knows his poisonous relation to the Prince. But of course there are first still other mountains to be climbed than that which lies on the way to Blumenbühl.

The reader himself must now get over a low one; and that is a short comico-tragic Extra-leaf upon


The following is certain: every owner of a very beautiful or very rich daughter keeps, as it were, a Pitt under his roof, which to himself is of no service, and which he must put to its first use after it has long lain idle, by selling it to a _Regent_.[150] Strictly and commercially speaking, daughters are not an article of trade; for the parental grand adventurers no one can confound with those female dealers in second-hand frippery, and stall-women, whose transit-business one does not love to name; but a stock, with which one gains in a South Sea, or a clod, wherewith one transfers symbolically (_scortatione_) real estate. "_Je ne vends que mes paysages et donne les figures par dessus le marche_,"[151] said Claude Lorraine, like a father,--and could easily say it, because he had the figures painted in his landscapes by _others_;--even so in the purchase or marriage-contract only the knightly seats are supposed, and the bride who resides upon them is thrown into the bargain. Even so, higher up, is a princess merely a blooming twig, which a princely sponsor plucks off and carries home, not for the sake of the _fruits_, but because a _bee-swarm_ of lands and people has attached itself thereto.

If a father, like our Minister, has not much, then he can pawn his children, as the Egyptians did their parents (namely, the mummies of them), as mortgages and hand-pledges or imperial pawns, which are not redeemed.

At present the mercantile order, which formerly dealt only in foreign products, has got possession of this branch of commerce also; methinks, however, they might find room enough in their lower vaults to be selfish and damned, without going up stairs to the daughter. In Guinea only the nobility can trade; with us they are cut off and debarred from almost all trade, except the small trade in daughters, and the few other things which grow on their own estates; hence is it that they hold so fast to this liberty of trade, and that the noblesse seem here to be a Hanse alliance for this delicate branch of business; so that one may, in some manner, compare the high standing[152] of this class with the _higher_ one (in a literal sense) which marketable people in Rome were obliged to mount[153] in order to be seen.

It is a common objection of young and (so-called) sensitive hearts, that this sort of transaction very much constrains, or in fact crushes love; whereas nothing perhaps makes so good a preparation for it as this very thing. For when the bargain is once concluded and entered by the bookkeeper (the parson) in the ledger, then does the time truly come on when the daughter can consider and provide for her heart, namely, the fair season after marriage, which is universally assumed in France and Italy, and is gradually coming to be in Germany also, as the more suitable time for a female heart to choose freely among the host of men; her state then, like the Venetian, grows out of a commercial into a conquering one. The husband himself, too, is quite as little interrupted afterward as beforehand in his love by this short business transaction; all is, that now--as in Nuremberg every Jew is followed by an old woman--close upon the heels of our bridegroom a young one is seen. Nay, often, the nuptial tradesman conceives an inclination even for the article which he has carried home with him,--which is an uncommon piece of good fortune; and as Moses Mendelssohn, with his bundle of silken wares under his arm, thought out his _letters_ upon the _affections_, so do better men, amidst their business, meditate love-letters on this branch of trade, and deal with the virgin--as merchants in Messina[154] do with the holy virgin--in Co.; but of course such profitable connections of love with business must always be rare birds, and are little to be counted upon.

The foregoing I wrote for parents who are fond of sporting with children's happiness; I will now out of their and my sport make something serious. I ask you, in the first place, about your right to prescribe for morally free beings their inclinations, or even the show of inclination, and by one act of despotism to stretch the poisonous leaden sceptre over a whole free life. Your ten years more of apprenticeship to life make as little distinction in the reciprocal liberty as talent or its want. Why do you not as well enjoin upon your daughters _friendship_ for life? Why do you not, in the second marriage, exercise the same right? But you have even no right to reject, except in the age of minority, when the child has not yet any right to choose. Or do you demand, upon their leaving the paternal roof, as pay for training them up to freedom, the sacrifice of this very freedom itself? You act as if you had been educators, without having been yourselves educated; whereas you are merely paying off to your children a heavy inherited debt to your parents, which you can never pay back to _them_; and I know but one unpaid creditor in this respect, the first man, and but one insolvent debtor, the last. Or do you shield yourselves under the barbarously immoral Roman prejudice, which offers children for sale as white negroes of the parents, because the power allowed at an earlier period over the non-moral being slips over, unobserved from the gradualness of its development, into a power over the moral being?

If you may, out of love, force children to their happiness, so may they afterward, quite as well out of gratitude force you to yours. But what is, then, the happiness for which you are to throw away their whole heart, with all its dreams? Chiefly _your own_; _your_ glory and aggrandizement, _your_ feuds and friendships, are they to quench and buy with the offering of their innermost souls. Dare you own aloud your silent presuppositions in regard to the happiness of a forced marriage; for example, the dispensableness of love in wedlock, the hope of a death, the (perhaps) double infidelity, as well toward the connubial merchant as toward the extra-connubial lover? You must presuppose them sinners,[155] in order not to be yourselves robbers?

Tell me not that marriages of inclination often turn out ill, and forced marriages often well enough, as may be seen in the instance of the Moravians, the old Germans, and Orientals. Name me rather all barbaric times and nations, in which--for both indeed only reckon the man, never the wife--a happy marriage means nothing more than a happy husband. No one stands by near enough to hear and to count a woman's sighs; the unheard pang becomes at last speechless; new wounds weaken the bleeding of the oldest. Further: the ill-luck of fancy-marriages is chargeable upon your very opposition to them, and your war against the married couple. Still further: every forced marriage is, in fact, for the most part, half a marriage of fancy. Finally: the best marriages are in the middling class, where the bond is more apt to be love; and the worst in the higher, where it is more a mercenary motive; and as often as in these classes a prince should choose merely with his heart, he would get a heart, and never lose nor betray it.

Now, then, what sort of a hand is that into which you so often force the fairest, finest, richest, but rebellious one? Commonly, a black, old, withered, greedy fist. For decrepit, rich, or aspiring libertines have too much of the connoisseur, too much satiety and freedom, to steal any other than the most splendid creatures; the less perfect fall into the hands and homes of mere lovers and amateurs. But how base is a man, who, abandoned of his own character, backed merely by the despotic edict of a stranger, paying for his fortune with a stolen one, can now drag away the unprotected soul from the yearning eyes of a weeping love into a long, cold life, and clasp her to his arms as against the edges of frosty swords, and therein so near to his eye see her bleed and grow pale and quiver! The man of honor even gives with a blush, but he takes not with a blush; and the better lion, the beast, spares woman;[156] but these soul-buyers extort from constrained beings at last even the testimony of free-will.

Mother of the poor heart, which thou wilt bless by misfortune, hear me! Suppose thy daughter should harden herself against the misery which is forced upon her, hast thou not reduced her rich dream of life to empty sleep, and taken out of it love's islands of the blest, and all that bloomed thereon; the fair days when one roamed over them, and the perpetual happy retrospect of them when they already lie with their blooming peaks low in the horizon? Mother, if this happy time was ever in thy breast, then snatch it not from thy daughter; and if it was barbarously torn from thee, then think of thy bitter pang, and bequeath it not!

Suppose, further, she makes the kidnapper of her soul happy, reckon now what she might have been to its darling; and whether she does not then deserve anything better than to gratify a jailer, locked in with her forever by one shutting of the prison-door. But it seldom fares so well as this; thou wilt heap a double disaster upon thy soul,--the long agony of thy daughter, and the growing coldness of her husband, who by and by comes to feel and resent refusals. Thou hast cast a shadow over the time when man first needs the morning-sun,--namely, youth. O, sooner make all other seasons of the day of life cloudy; they are all alike, the third and the fourth and fifth decades; only at sunrise let it not rain into life; only this one never returning, irredeemable time darken not!

But how, if thou shouldst be sacrificing not merely joys, relations, a happy marriage, hopes, a whole posterity, to thy plans and commands, but the very being herself[157] whom thou constrainest? Who can justify thee, or dry thy tears, when thy best daughter,--for she is the very one who will be most likely to obey, be dumb and die, as the monks of La Trappe see their cloister burn down, without one of them breaking the vow of silence,[158]--when she, I say, like a fruit half in the sun and half in the shade, blooms outwardly, and inwardly grows cold and pale; when she, dying after her lifeless heart, at last can no longer conceal anything from thee, but for years bears round the paleness and the pangs of decline in the very orient of life; and when thou canst not console her, because thou hast crushed her, and thy conscience cannot suppress the name of infanticide; and when at last the worn-out victim lies there under thy tears, and the wrestling creature, so affrighted and so young, so faint, and yet thirsting for life, forgiving and complaining, with languishing and longing looks, with painfully confused and conflicting emotions, sinks with her blooming limbs into the bottomless flood of death,--O guilty mother on the shore, thou who hast pushed her in, who will comfort thee? But I would call every guiltless one, and show her the bitter dying, and ask her, Shall thy child also perish thus?

59. CYCLE.

It was a romantic day for Zesara, even outwardly; sun-sparks and rain-drops played dazzlingly through the heavens. He had received a letter from his father, dated at Madrid, which stamped at last the black seal of certainty on the threatened death of his sister, and in which there was nothing agreeable but the intelligence that Don Gaspard, with the Countess of Romeiro, whose guardianship he was now concluding, would travel in autumn (the Italian spring) to Italy. Two tones had been, in his life, stolen away from the musical scale of love; he had never known by experience what it was to love a brother or a sister. The coincidence of her death-night with that night in Tartarus, this whole clawing into the holy images and wishes of his heart, stirred up his spirit, and he felt with indignation how impotently a whole assailing world might seek to remove Liana's image from his soul; and again he painfully felt, that this very Liana herself believed in her near decline.

In this situation was he found by an unexpected invitation from the Minister's lady herself,--sun-sparks and rain-drops played in his heaven also. He flew; in the antechamber stood the angel who broke the six apocalyptic seals,--Rabette. She had run to meet him from a bashfulness before company, and had embraced him sooner than he her. How gladly did he look into the familiar, honest face! with tears he heard the name of brother, when he had lost a sister to-day!

The reason of her appearance was this: when the Director was at the Minister's lady's the last time, the latter had, with easy, disguised hand, opened her house to his daughter, "for the sake of a knowledge of empty city life, and for change,"--in order that she might hereafter venture to knock at _his_ door on her own daughter's behalf. He said he would "forward the female wild deer to her with pleasure, and all possible despatch." And as in Blumenbühl Rabette had answered him No, then Yes, then No, then Yes, and had held with her mother, even before midnight, an imperial-exchequer-revision, a mint-probation-day about everything which a human being from the country can wear in the city, she packed up there and unpacked here.

"Ah, I am afraid in there," said she to Albano; "they are all too clever, and I am now so stupid!" He found beside the domestic trio the Princess also, and the little Helena from Lilar, that lovely medallion of a fine day to his stirred heart. Indescribably was he smitten with Liana's womanly advances to Rabette, as if he shared her with her. With courtesy and tenderness, a mildness also, which was without falsehood or pride, came to the help of the embarrassed playmate, on whose face the inborn gayety and eloquence of nature now singularly contrasted with her artificial dumb gravity. Charles, with his ready familiarity, was more in a condition to entangle than to extricate her; only Liana gave to her soul and tongue, if only by the embroidery-frame, a free field; Rabette could write with the embroidering needle, no illuminated and initial letters, indeed, but still a good running-hand.

She gave--turning her face toward her brother's, in order to pluck courage therefrom--a clear report of the dangerous road and upsets, laughing all the while, after the manner of the people when they are telling their mishaps. Her brother was to her, at the company's expense, both company and world; upon him alone streamed forth her warmth and speech. She said she could from her chamber see him "play on the harpsichord." Liana immediately led both thither. How richly and sublimely, beyond Rabette's demands upon city-life, was the maidenly _hospitium_ set out, from the tulip (not a blooming one, but a work-basket of Liana's,--although every tulip is such a basket for the finger of spring) even to the piano-forte, of which she, of course, for the present can use no more than seven treble-keys for half a waltz? Five moderate trunks of clothes--for therewith she thought to come out, and show the city that the country too could wear clothes--represented to him in their well-known flower-pieces and tin bands the old impressions (_incunabula_) of his earliest days of life; and to-day every trace of the old season of love refreshed him. She made him look for his windows, from one of which the Librarian was fixing a hard gaze on a paving-stone in the street to see how often he could hit it by spitting.

Here alone, in the presence only of the brother, Liana spoke more loudly to the sister the word of friendship, and assured her how happy she meant to make her, and how sincere she was in all that she promised. O look not into the flame of the pure, religious, sisterly love with any yellow eye of jealousy! Can you not comprehend that this fair soul even now distributes its rich flames among all sisterly hearts, until love concentrates them into _one_ sun; as, according to the ancients, the scattered lightnings of night gather themselves in the morning into one solid solar orb? She was, everywhere, an eye for every heart; like a mother, she never once forgot the little in the great; and she poured out (let no one deny me the privilege of printing this minute example) for little Helena the cup of coffee, which the Doctor forbade, half full of cream, in order that it might be without strength or harm.

The impatient Princess had already looked ten times toward the heavens, through which now beams of light, now rain-columns flew, till at length out of the consumed cloud-snow the broad fields of blue grew up, and Julienne could lead out the delighted young people into the garden, to the annoyance of the Minister's lady, who did not like to expose Liana to the _Serein_,--five or six blasts of the evening-wind, and the wading through rain-water that stood a nineteenth of a line[159] deep. She herself stayed behind. How new-born, glistening, and inviting was all down below! The larks soared out of the distant fields like tones, and warbled near over the garden,--in all the leaves hung stars, and the evening air threw the liquid jewelry, the trembling earrings, from the blossoms down upon the flowers, and bore sweet incense to meet the bees. The Idyl of the year, Spring, parcelled its sweet pastoral land among the young souls. Albano took his sister's hand, but he listened vacantly to her intelligence from home. Liana went far in advance with the Princess, and bathed herself in the open heavens of confidential communion.

Suddenly Julienne stood still, chatting playfully with her, in order to let the Count come up, and to inquire after letters from Don Gaspard, and after tidings of the Countess Romeiro. He communicated, with glowing countenance, the contents of to-day's letter. In Julienne's physiognomy there was a smile almost of raillery. To the intelligence of Linda's intended journey she replied: "That is just herself; she will fain learn everything,--travel over everything. I wager she climbs up _on_ Mont Blanc and _into_ Vesuvius. Liana and I call her, for this reason, the Titaness." How graciously did Liana listen, with her eyes wholly on her female friend! "You are not acquainted with her?" she inquired of the tortured one. He answered, emphatically, in the negative. Roquairol came up; "_Passéz, Monsieur_," said she, making room, and giving him a sign to move on. Liana looked very earnestly after. "_La voici!_" said Julienne, letting the cover of a likeness spring up, by a pressure, on a ring of her little hand. Good youth! it was exactly the form which arose, that magic night, out of Lago Maggiore, sent to thee by the spirits! "She is hit there, exactly," said she to the agitated man. "Very," said he, confusedly. She did not investigate this contradictory[160] "very"; but Liana looked at him; "very--beautifully and boldly!" he continued; "but I do not love boldness in women." "O, one can readily believe that of men!" replied Julienne; "no hostile power loves it in the other party."

They passed along now through the chestnut avenue by the holy spot where Albano had seen, for the first time, the bride of his hopes shining and suffering behind the water-jets. O it was here that he would gladly, with that soul of his painfully excited by the mutual reaction of wonderful circumstances, have knelt down before the still angel so near him! The tender Julienne perceived that she had to spare an agitated heart; after a tolerably loud silence, she said, in a serious tone: "A lovely evening,--we'll go to the water-house. There is where Liana was cured, Count! The fountains must leap, too." "O the fountains!" said Albano, and looked with indescribable emotion upon Liana. She thought, however, he meant those in the flute-dell. Helena cried out behind for them to wait, and came tripping along after with two little hands full of dewy auriculas, which she had plucked, and gave them all to Liana, expecting from her, as collatress of benefices, the flower-distribution. "The little one, too, still thinks of the beautiful Sunday at Lilar," said Liana. She gave the Princess one or two, and Helena nodded; and when Liana looked at her, she nodded again, as a sign the Count should have something too: "More yet!" she cried, when he had got some; and the more Liana gave, the more did the child cry, "More,"--as children are wont to do, in the hyperboles of their tendency to the infinite.

They went over a green bridge, and came into a neat room. Instead of the piano-forte formerly there, stood a glass chapel of the goddess of music, a harmonica. The Captain screwed in behind a tapestry-door, and immediately all the confined spring-waters shot up outside with silvery wings toward heaven. O how the sprinkled world burned as they stepped out on the top!

Why wast thou, my Albano, just at this hour not entirely happy? Why, then, do pains pierce through all our unions,--and why does the heart, like its veins, bleed most richly when it is heated? Above them lay the still, wounded heavens in the bandage of a long, white mass of cloud; the evening sun stood as yet behind the palace, but on both sides of it his purple mantle of clouds floated in broad folds away across the sky; and if one turned round toward the east to the mountains of Blumenbühl, green living flames streamed upward, and, like golden birds, the _ignes fatui_ danced through the moist twigs and on the eastern windows, but the fountains still threw their white silver into the gold.

Then the sun swam forth, with red hot breast, drawing golden circles in the clouds, and the arching water-shoots burned bright. Julienne bent upon Albano--near whom she had constantly remained, as if by way of atonement--a hearty look, as if he were her brother, and Charles said to Liana, "Sister, thy evening song!" "With all my heart," said she; for she was right glad of the opportunity to withdraw herself, with the melancholy seriousness of her enjoyment, and down below in the solitary room to utter aloud, on the harmonica-bells, all that which rapture and the eyes bury in silence.

She went down; the melodious requiem of the day went up,--the zephyr of sound, the harmonica, flew, waving, over the garden-blossoms,--and the tones cradled themselves on the thin lilies of the up-growing water, and the silver lilies burst aloft for pleasure, and from the brightness of the sun, into flamy blossoms, and over yonder reposed mother sun in a blue pasture, and looked greatly and tenderly upon her human children. Canst thou, then, hold thy heart, Albano, so that it shall remain concealed with its joys and sorrows, when thou hearest the peaceful virgin walking in the moonlight of tones? O when the tone which trickles down in the ether announces to her the early wasting away of her life, and when the soft, long-drawn melodies flow away from her like the rose-oil of many crushed days; dost thou not think of that, Albano? How the human creature plays! The little Helena flings up auriculas at the flashing water-veins, in order that she may dash one of them with the spray of the intercepted jet, and the youth Zesara bends far over the balustrade, and lets the stream of water leap off from his sloping hand upon his hot face and eye, in order to cool and conceal himself. The fiery veil was snatched from him by his sister; Rabette was one of those persons whom this musical tremor gnaws upon even physically, just as, on the other hand, the Captain was little affected by the harmonica, and indeed was always least moved when others were most so; there were no pains with which the innocent girl was less familiar than with sweet ones; the bitter-sweet melancholy into which she sank away in the idle solitude of Sundays, she and others had scolded at as mere sullenness. At this moment she felt all at once, with a blush, her stout heart seized, whirled round, and scalded through as by hot whirlpools. Besides it had to-day already been swayed to and fro by the meeting with her brother again, the leaving of her mother, and her confused bashfulness before strangers, and even by the sight of the sunny-red mountain of Blumenbühl. In vain did the fresh brown eyes and the overripe full lip battle against the uprending pain; the hot springs tore their way through, and the blooming face with the strong chin grew red and full of tears. Painfully ashamed, and dreading to be taken for a child, especially as all her companions' emotions had remained invisible, she pressed her handkerchief over her burning face, and said to her brother, "I must go away, I am not well, I shall choke,"--and ran down to the gentle Liana.

Yes, thou needest only carry thither thy shy pangs! Liana turned, and saw her hastily and violently drying her eyes. Ah, hers too were indeed full. When Rabette saw it, she said, courageously, "I absolutely cannot hear it,--I must scream,--I am really ashamed of myself." "O thou dear heart," cried Liana, joyfully falling upon her neck, "be not ashamed, and look into my eye! Sister, come to me, as often as thou art troubled; I will gladly weep with thy soul, and dry thy eye even sooner than my own." There was an overmastering enchantment in these tones,--in these looks of love, because Liana fancied she was mourning over some eclipsed star or other of her life. And never did trembling gratitude embrace more freshly and youthfully a venerated heart than did Rabette Liana.

And now came Albano. Awakened by the dying away of the cradle-song, he had hurried after her, leaving all the cold and other drops unwiped from his fiery cheeks. "What ails thee, sister?" he asked, hastily. Liana, still lingering in the embrace and the inspiration, answered quickly, "You have a good sister; I will love her as her brother does." The sweet words of the so deeply affected souls and the fiery storm of his being carried him away, and he clasped the embracing ones and pressed the sisterly hearts to each other and kissed his sister; when, at the sight of Liana's confused bending aside of her head, he was terrified and flamed up crimson.

He must needs fly. With these wild agitations he could not stay in the presence of Liana, and before the cold, mirroring glances of the company. But the night was to be as wonderful as the day; he hastened with live looks, that appeared like angry ones, out of the city to the Titaness, Nature, who at once calms and exalts us. He went along by exposed mill-wheels, about which the stream wound itself in foam. The evening clouds stretched themselves out like giants at rest, and basked in the ruddy dawn of America, and the storm swept among them, and the fiery Briareuses started up; night built the triumphal-arch of the milky-way, and the giants marched gloomily under. And in every element Nature, like a storm-bird, beat her rustling wings.

Albano lay, without knowing it, on the woodland bridge of Lilar, under which the wind-streams went roaring through. He glowed like the clouds with the lingering tinges of _his_ sun; his inner wings were, like those of the ostrich, full of spines, and wounded while they lifted him; the romantic spiritual day, the letter of his father, Liana's tearful eyes, his boldness, and then his bliss and remorse about it, and now the sublime night-world on all sides round about him, passed to and fro within him and shook his young heart; he touched with his fiery cheek the moistened tree-tops, and did not cool himself, and he was near to that sounding, flying heart, the nightingale, and yet hardly heard her. Like a sun, his heart goes through his pale thoughts, and quenches on its path one constellation after another. On the earth and in the heavens, in the past and in the future, stood before Albano only one form; "Liana," said his heart, "Liana," said all nature.

He went down the bridge and up the western triumphal-arch, and the glimmering Lilar lay before him in repose. Lo! there he saw the old "pious father" on the balustrade of the arch, fast asleep. But how different was the revered form from the picture of it which he had shaped to himself according to that of the deceased Prince. The white locks, flowing richly down under the Quaker hat, the femininely and poetically rounded brow, the arched nose and the youthful lip, which even in late life had not yet withered, and the childlikeness of the soft face, announced a heart which, in the evening-twilight of age, takes its rest and looks toward the stars. How lonely is the holy sleep! The Death-angel has conducted man out of the light world into the dark hermitage built over it; his friends stand without near the cell; within, the hermit talks with himself, and his darkness grows brighter and brighter, and jewels and pastures and whole spring-days gleam out at last,--and all is clear and broad! Albano stood before the sleep with an earnest soul, which contemplates life and its riddles;--not only the incoming and the outgoing of life are hidden with a manifold veil, but even the short path itself; as around Egyptian temples, so around the greatest of all temples sphinxes lie, and, reversing the case as it was with the sphinx, he only solves the riddle who dies.

The old man spoke, behind the speech-grating of sleep, with dead ones who had journeyed with him over the morning meadows of youth, and addressed with heavy lip the dead Prince and his spouse. How sublimely did the curtain of the venerable countenance, pictured over with a long life, hang down before the pastoral world of youth dancing behind it, and how touchingly did the gray form roam round with its youthful crown in the cold evening dew of life, taking it for morning-dew, and looking toward the east, and toward the sun! The youth ventured only to touch lovingly a lock of the old man; he meant to leave him, in order not to alarm him with a strange form, before the rising moon should have touched his eyelids and awakened him. Only he would first crown the teacher of his loved one with the twigs of a neighboring laurel. When he came back from it, the moon had already penetrated with her radiance through the great eyelids, and the old man opened them before the exalted youth, who, with the glowing rosy moon of his countenance, glorified by the moon overhead, stood before him like a genius with the crown. "Justus!" cried the old man, "is it thou?" He took him for the old Prince, who, with just such blooming cheeks and open eyes, had passed before him in the under-world of dreams.

But he soon came back out of the dreamy Elysium into the botanical, and knew even Albano's name. The Count, with open mien, grasped his hands, and said to him how long and profoundly he had respected him. Spener answered in few and quiet words, as old men do who have seen everything on the earth so often. The glory of the moonlight flowed down now on the tall form, and the quietly open eye was illumined,--an eye which not so much penetrates as lets everything penetrate it. The almost cold stillness of the features, the youthful gait of the tall form, which bore its years upright as a crown upon the head, not as a burden upon the back, more as flowers than as fruit, the singular mixture of former manly ardor and of womanly tenderness,--all this called up before Albano the image of a prophet of the Eastern land. That broad stream which came roaring down through the alps of youth, glides now calmly and smoothly through its pastures; but throw rocks before it, and again it starts up roaring.

The old man looked upon the youthful youth, the oftener the more warmly. In our days youth is, in young men, a bodily and spiritual beauty at once. He invited him to accompany him this beautiful night to his quiet cottage, which stands overhead there near the church-spire, that looks down from above into flute-dell. On the singular, mazy paths which they now took, Lilar was transformed to Albano's eyes into a new world; like flying silver clouds of night, the glimmering beauties were continually shifting and arranging themselves together into new groups, and occasionally the two companions penetrated through exotic shrubbery with lively-colored blossoms and wondrous odors. The pious father asked him with interest about his former and present life.

They came to the opening of a dark passage into the earth. Spener, in a friendly manner, took Albano's right hand, and said this way led _up_ to his mountain-abode. But soon it seemed to go downward. The stream of the vale, the Rosana, sounded even in here, but only single drops of moonlight trickled through scattered mountain openings overspun with twigs. The excavation extended farther downward; still more remotely murmured the water in the vale. And yet a nightingale sang a lay that grew nearer and nearer. Albano was composed and silent. Everywhere they went along before narrow gates of splendor which only a star of heaven seemed to fling in. They descended now to a distant, illuminated magic bower of bright red and poisonous dark flowers, arched over at once with little peaked leaves and great broad foliage; and a confusing white light, partly sprinkled about by the living rays that gushed in, and partly flying off from the lilies only as white dust, drew the eye into an intoxicating whirl. Zesara entered with a dazzled eye, and as he looked to the right, in the direction of the fire that rained in, he found Spener's eye sharply fixed upon something to the left; he looked thither, and saw an old man, entirely like the deceased Prince, dart by and stalk into a side cavern; his hand quivered with affright, so did Spener's,--the latter pressed hastily on downward; and at last there glistened a blue, starry opening: they stepped out....

Heavens! a new starry arch; a pale sun moves through the stars, and they swim, as in play, after him,--below reposes an enraptured earth full of glitter and flowers; its mountains run gleaming away up toward the arch of heaven, and bend over toward Sirius; and through the unknown land delights glide, like dreams over which man weeps for joy.

"What is that? Am I on or under the earth?" said Albano, astounded; and his wandering eye fled for refuge to the face of a living man,--"I saw a dead man." Much more affectionately than before, the old man answered, "This is Lilar; behind us is my little house!" He explained the mechanical illusion[161] of the descent. "Here, now, have I stood so many thousand times, and feasted myself with so fervent a heart on the works of God. How looked the form, my son?" "Like the dead Prince," said Alban. In a startled, but almost commanding tone, Spener said, with a low voice, "Be silent, like me, until his time,--it was not he. Thy salvation and the salvation of many hangs thereon. Go no more to-day through the passage."

Albano, half-angered by all the experience of this singular day, said, "Well, then, I go back through Tartarus. But what means the ghostly creation that everywhere pursues me?" "Thou hast," said the old man, lovingly and refreshingly, laying a finger on the youth's brow, "nothing but invisible friends about thee,--and cast thyself everywhere upon God. There are a great many Christians who say, God is near or far off, that his wisdom and his goodness appear quite specially in one age or another,--truly that is idle deception; is he not the unchangeable, eternal Love, and does he not love and bless us at one hour just as much as at another?" As we ought, properly, to call the eclipse of the sun an eclipse of the earth, so it is man who is obscured, never the Infinite; but we are like the people who look at the obscuration of the sun in the water, and then, when the water trembles, cry out, "See how the glorious sun struggles!"

Albano stepped into the solitude of the old man's neatly ordered dwelling, only with heaviness, because, in the hot ashes of his volcano, every feeling put forth and throve the more luxuriantly. Spener pointed over from his mountain-ridge to the little so-called "Thunderhouse,"[162] and advised him to occupy it this summer. Albano took his leave at length, but his agitated heart was a sea, in which the morning sun is glowingly still half reflected, and into which, at evening, a lead-colored storm dips, and which swells glistening under the storm. He looked up from below at the old man, who was looking after him; but he would hardly have wondered to-day if _he_ had either sunk or ascended. With indignant and spirited resolutions, to stake and sacrifice his life for his love, at which cold hands were grasping, he strode without any fear through Tartarus, which, by the magnifying mirror of night, was distorted into a black giant armament: thus is the spirit-world only a region of our inner world, and _I_ fear only _myself_. When he stood before the altar of the heart in the dumb night, where nothing was audible but the thoughts, then did the bold spirit advise him repeatedly to call upon the dead old man, and swear aloud by his heart, full of dust; but when he looked up to the fair heavens, his heart was consecrated, and only prayed, "O good God, give me Liana!"

It grew dark; the clouds, which he had taken for the shining mountains of a new earth, stretching away into the heavens, had reached the moon, and overshadowed it with darkness.


[138] _Tempestiarii_, or Storm-makers, was a name given, in the Middle Ages, to the master-wizards who could conjure up foul weather. Weather-prayers were used in the churches against them, and other wizard-masters called in to counteract the former.

[139] The Polish dancer always carries a rod under the fur-dress, wherewith his partner is excused by a blow or two, when she makes a misstep.--_Upper Siles. Monthly Mag._, July, 1788.

[140] Dread of spirits.

[141] The German for this is _sauer-stoff_ (sour-stuff).--TR.

[142] A noted review in Richter's day, published at Erlangen near Nuremberg.--TR.

[143] Thus did the turnkeys name their prisoners.

[144] Alexand. ab Al., v. 4.

[145] To distinguish himself from the eagle of the Emperor, who holds something in both claws.

[146] Bouverot was a Catholic.

[147] He meant one with the poor Lector.

[148] Literally, "twilight-bird."--TR.

[149] To _get the basket_ means a refusal.--TR.

[150] I do not mean (as perhaps may appear from the _selling_) Pitt the Minister, but Pitt the Diamond, which the father of the present Pitt traded away to the Duke Regent of France, and for whose splinters he got twelve thousand ducats into the bargain.

[151] I sell only my landscapes, and throw in the figures.

[152] _Stand_, in German, has the double meaning of an _estate_ and a _stand_.--TR.

[153] Plaut. Bacch., Act 4, Scen. 7, 4, 16, 17.

[154] Seventh Part of the new Collection of Travels.

[155] I speak more particularly of the daughters, because they are the most frequent and greatest victims; the sons are bloodless mass-offerings.

[156] Pliny, Nat. Hist., VIII. 16.

[157] And this is quite probable. Dr. Edward Hill reckoned that in England eight thousand die annually of unhappy love,--of broken hearts, as the Englishwomen touchingly express it. Beddoes shows that vegetable food--and of this such victims are particularly fond--fosters consumption, and that females incline to this. Besides, the times of longing, which of itself, even without disappointment, as homesickness shows, is a poisonous revolving leaden ball, occur in youth, when the seed of pectoral maladies most easily springs up. O many married ones fall, under misconstructions, victims to the death-angel, into whose hand they had, previously to marriage, put the sword they themselves had sharpened!

[158] Forster's Views, Vol. I.

[159] A line (French) is one twelfth of an inch.--TR.

[160] Because he had just said he did not know her.--TR.

[161] Weigel. in Jena, invented the inverted bridge (_pons heteroclitus_), a stairway on which a person seems to descend, by going up.--_Bush's Handbook of Inventions_, Vol. VII.

[162] It had the name from its height and its being so often struck with lightning.



60. CYCLE.

Out of the drops which the harmonica had wrung from Rabette's heart the old enchanter, Fate, is perhaps preparing, as other enchanters do out of blood, dark forms; for Roquairol had seen it, and wondered at the sensibility of a heart which hitherto had been set in motion more by occupations than by romances. Now he drew nearer to her with a new interest. Since the night of the oath, he had drawn his heart out of all unworthy fetters. In this freedom of victory, he went forward proudly, and stretched out his arms more lightly and longingly after noble love. He now visited his sister incessantly; but he still kept to himself. Rabette was not fair enough for him, beside his tender sister. She was an artificial ribbon-rose beside one by Van der Ruysch; she said herself, naively, that she looked, with her village-complexion in white lawn, like black-tea in white cups. But in her healthy eyes, not yet corroded into dimness by tragical drops, and on her fresh lips, life glowed; her powerful chin and her arched nose threatened and promised spirit and strength; and her upright and downright heart grasped and repelled decidedly and intensely. He determined to prove her. The Talmud[163] forbids to inquire after the price of a thing, when one does not mean to buy it; but the Roquairols always cheapen and look further. They tear a soul in two, as children do a bee, in order to eat out of it the honey which it would gather. They borrow from the eel, not only his dexterity in slipping away, but also the power to twine around the arm and crush it.

And now he let all the dazzling powers of his multi-form nature play before her,--the sense of his ascendency permitted him to move freely and gracefully, and the careless heart seemed open on all sides,--he linked so freely earnestness and jest, glow and glitter, the greatest and the least, and energy with mildness. Unhappy girl! now art thou his; and he snatches thee from thy _terra firma_ with rapacious wings up into the air, and then hurls thee down. Like a vine running on a lightning-rod, thou wilt richly unfold thy powers and bloom up on him; but he will draw down the lightning upon himself and thy blossoms, and strip thee of thy leaves and rend thee utterly.

Rabette had never conceived of such a man, much less seen one; he made his way by main force into her sound heart, and a new world went in after him. Through Liana's love for the Captain, hers mounted still higher; and the two could speak of their brothers in friendly reciprocation. The good Liana sought to bring to the help of her friend many a thing which would hardly take hold, particularly mythology, which, by reason of the French pronunciation of the names of the gods, was still more unserviceable to her. Even with books Liana sought to bring them together; so that reading was to her a sort of week-day Divine service, which she attended with true devotion, and was always delighted when it was over. Through all these water-wheels of knowledge streamed Roquairol's love, and helped drive and draw. How many blushes now flitted without any occasion over her whole face! The laugh which once expressed her gayety, came now too often, and betokened only a helpless heart, which longed to sigh.

So stood matters with her when Charles once playfully stole behind her and covered her eyes with his hand, in order, under the mask of her brother's voice, to give her soft, sisterly names. She confounded the similar voices; she pressed the hand heartily, but her eye was hot and moist. Then she discovered the mistake, and flew with the concealed evening and morning redness of her countenance out of the room. Now he looked closer into the eyes of Liana, who blamed him for it, and hers too had wept. She would fain at first conceal from him the object of the sisterly emotion; but another's No was to him, of old, an auxiliary verb,--a fair wind blowing him into port. Liana grew more and more agitated; at last she related how Rabette's account of Albano's youthful history had drawn from her in turn the history of his early relations, and that she had portrayed to her the bloody night of the masquerade, and even shown his bloody dress. "And then," said Liana, "she wept with me as heartily as if she had been thy sister. O, it is a dear heart!" Charles saw the two linked together like two pastures, namely, by the rainbow which stands over both with its drops; he drew her with thankful love to his breast. "Art thou then happy?" asked Liana, in a tone ominous of something sad.

She must needs disclose to him her full heart, and tell him all. He heard with astonishment, how that whole Tartarus-night, on which the unknown voice had promised Linda de Romeiro to his friend, had been made known to her. By whom? She held an inexorable silence; he contented himself, because, to be sure, it could only have been Augusti, who was the only one that knew of it. "And now believest thou, thou heart from heaven," said he, "that I and the brother of my soul could ever separate by robbing each other? O, it is all otherwise, all otherwise! He curses the mock-spirits and the object of the mimicry. O he loves me; and my heart will rejoice in the day when it is his!" The touching ambiguity of these last words dissolved him in a sacred melancholy.

But she, in the midst of the heartiest overflow of feeling, took part, as if out of piety, with the spirits, and said: "Speak not thus of spiritual apparitions! They exist, that I know,--only one needs not fear them." Here, however, with firm hand she held fast the veil over her experiences; he too had known long since, that, notwithstanding her most tremblingly delicate feelings, which shrunk even from the sight of the blue veins on the lily hand, as from a wound, she had appeared unexpectedly courageous before the dead and in the ghostly hours of fantasy.

Behind the waves of so different an emotion which now drove his heart up and down, Rabette was eclipsed. He burned now only for the hour when he could tell his Albano the singular treachery of the Lector.

61. CYCLE.

Even before the Captain disclosed to his friend Augusti's probable treachery, Albano was almost entirely at variance with his two tutors. In a circle full of young hearts which beat for one another, and still more fondly fight for one another, two always take an indissoluble hold of each other, and become one at others' expense.

Albano boldly broke with every one whom Charles displeased. Besides, Schoppe had long been loved by few, because few can endure a perfectly free man; the flower-chains hold better, they think, when galley-chains run through them. He, therefore, could not bear it, when one "with too close a love clambered up round him so tightly that he had the freedom of his arms no more than if he wore them in bandages of eighty heads."[164] The sarcastic liveliness of his pantomime chilled the Captain, by having the appearance of a somewhat stricter observation, more than did the composed face of the Lector, who from that very circumstance took everything more sharply into his still eye.

The good Schoppe had one fault which no Albano forgives, namely, his intolerance toward the "female saintly images of isinglass," as he expressed it,--toward the tender errors of the heart, the sacred excesses by which man weaves into this short life a still shorter pleasure. On one occasion Charles walked up and down with arms akimbo and drooping head, as on a stage, and said, accidentally, so that the Titular-librarian overheard him, "O I was very little understood by the world in my youth." He said nothing further; but let anybody shake, in jest, a baker's dozen[165] of hornets, a basket of crabs, a mug of wood-pismires, all at once over the Librarian's skin, and take a flying observation of the effect of the stinging, nipping, biting; then can one, in a measure at least, conceive what a quivering, swelling, and irritation there was in him, so soon as he heard the above-mentioned phraseology. "Mr. Captain!" he began, drawing in a long breath, "I can stand through a good deal on this rusty, stupid earth,--famine, pestilence, courts, the stone, and fools from pole to pole; but your phraseology surpasses the strength of my shoulders. Sir Captain, you may, most certainly, use this rhetoric with perfect justice, because you, as you say, are not understood. But, O heavens! O devils! I hear, in fact, thirty thousand young men and maidens, from one circulating-library to another, all with inflated breast, saying and groaning round and round, that nobody understands them, neither their grandfather nor their god-parents, nor the conrector, when, in fact, the wrapping-paper,[166] commonplace pack does not itself understand. But the young man means by this merely a maiden, and the maiden a young man; these can appreciate each other. Out of love will I undertake, as out of potatoes, to serve up fourteen different dishes; let one just shear off, as they do off of the bears in Göttingen, its beastly hair, and no Blumenbach would any longer recognize it.

"Mr. Von Froulay, I have somewhat often compared this cursed exaltation of souls, merely from low motives, with the English horsetails, which also always stand pointing to heaven, only because their sinews have been cut. Must not one be mad, when one hears every day, and reads every day, how the commonest souls, the very doggerels and trumpeters' pieces of Nature, think themselves exalted by love above all people, like cats that fly with hogs' bladders buckled on to them; how they rendezvous in the hare's form and emporium of love, the other world, as on a Blocksberg, and how, on this finch-ground, in this theatrical green-room (or dressing-room, which then becomes the opposite), they drive their business until they are coupled. Then it's all over; fancy and poesy, which now should be to them for the first time serviceable, are caught! They run away from them like lice from the dead, although on these the hair continues to sprout out. They shudder at the next world; and when they become widowers and widows, they do their courting very well without the hogs' bladders, and without the decoy-feathers, and the folding screen of the next world. Such a thing as this now, Sir Captain, provokes one, and then, in the heat, the just must suffer with the unjust, as your ears unfortunately attest!"

Alban, who never light-mindedly forgave, silently separated himself from a heart, which, as he unjustly said, quenched the flames of love with satiric gall.

In the chain of friendship with Augusti, one ring after another absolutely broke in twain. The Count found in the Lector a spirit of littleness which was more revolting to him than any bad spirit. The elegance of a good courtier, his propensity to keep the smallest secrets as faithfully as the greatest, his passion for starting up behind every action a long plan, his thirsty curiosity for genuine historical sources, at court and in the city, and his coldness toward philosophy, so dried up the overstrained image which Albano had formed of him, that it wrinkled up and grew full of rents. Such dissimilarities never rise among cultivated men to open feuds; but they secretly put upon the inner man one piece of armor after another, till he stands there in solid mail, and strikes out.

Now, in addition to all this, the Lector bore the Captain a hearty grudge, because he cost the Minister's lady many anxious hours, and Liana, and even the Count, much money, and because he seemed to him to pervert the youth. The otherwise directly ascending flame of Albano was now, by the obstacles thrown in the way of his love, bent on all sides, and, like soldering fire, burned more sharply; but this sharpness Augusti ascribed to the friend. Albano appeared to those whom he loved warmer, to those whom he endured colder, than he was, and his earnestness was easily confounded with defiance and pride; but the Lector imagined that Albano's love was stolen from him by Charles.

He undertook, with equal refinement and frankness, to play off on the Count a good map-card of the spots which were thickly sown in the heavenly body of this Jupiter. But he tore every map. Charles's painful confessions on that night extinguished all additions by other hands. And Albano's grand faith, that one must shield a friend entirely, and trust him entirely, warded off every influence. O it is a holy time, in which man desires offerings and priests, _without fail_, for the altar of friendship and love, and--beholds them; and it is a too cruel time, in which the so often cheated, belied bosom prophesies to itself, on another's bosom, in the midst of the love-draught of the moment, the cold neighborhood of bankruptcy!

As the Lector saw perfectly that Alban, at many of his charges against Charles,--for instance, of his wildness and disorder,--remained cold, for the reason that he might deem himself to be reproached over another's shoulders, as the French (according to Thickness) give strangers praise over their own; he now, instead of the point of similarity, took hold of an entire dissimilarity of the Captain, his light-mindedness toward the sex. But this only made the matter worse. For, in matters of love, Charles was to him the higher fire-worshipper, and the Lector only the one whom the coal of this fire blackens. Augusti cherished, in regard to love, pretty nearly the principles of the great world, which, merely for honor's sake, he never coined into action, and he assigned only the cloud-heaven near the earth to love. The Captain, however, spoke of a third heaven, or heaven of joy, as belonging thereto, wherein only saints are the blest. Augusti, after the manner of the great world, spoke much more freely than he acted, and sometimes as openly as if he were dining in the hall of a watering-place. Charles spoke like a maiden. The virgin ear of Albano, which was mostly closed in good visiting-parlors, and which in study-chambers remained open, united to his want of the experience that a cynical tongue is often found in the most continent men, for instance, in our buffoonery-loving forefathers, and an ascetic one in modest libertines,--these two things must naturally have involved the pure young man in a double error.

Thus did Augusti start up within him more and more storm-birds. Both came often to the verge of a complete feud and challenge; for the Lector had too much honor to fear any one thing, and dared in cold blood as much as another in hot.

Now, at length, did Charles disclose fully to his friend, though with all the tenderness of friendship, Liana's acquaintance with that Tartarus-night. "The otherwise reserved Lector must be after nearer advantages with his tattling," Albano concluded, and now the toad of jealousy, which lives and grows in the living tree without any visible way in or out, nursed itself to full size in his warm heart. Unanswered love is besides the most jealous. God knows whether he is not scenery-master of these ghost scenes working in and through each other with so many wheels. All these are Albano's private conclusions; open accusations were forbidden by his sense of honor. But his warm heart, always expressing itself, demanded a warmer society, and this he found when he followed the pious father, and went to Lilar into the Thunderhouse, into the midst of the flowers and summits, in order, lying nearer to the heart of Nature, to dream and enjoy more sweetly.

There was only one warm, sun-bright spot for him in Charles's historical picture; namely, the hope that perhaps only the mistakes about his relation to the Countess, out of which Liana had been helped by her brother, had dictated to her the evenly cold deportment which she had hitherto maintained towards him. On this sunny side Rabette threw a billet, in which she wrote him that she was going back to her parents on Saturday, because the Minister was coming. That hope, this intelligence, the prospect of less favorable circumstances, his going to Lilar,--all this decided him in the purpose of snatching to himself a solitary moment, and therein casting off before Liana the veil from his soul and hers.

62. CYCLE.

Singularly did events cut across each other on the day when Albano came into the Ministerial house to take leave of Rabette, and (a trembling voice said within him) of Liana, too. Rabette beckoned to him, from the window, to come to her chamber. She had folded together the Icarus's wings of her apparel into the trunks. Over her inner being a prostrating storm swept to and fro. Charles had disturbed the equilibrium of her heart by his warmth, and had not restored it again by a word of recompense. Like the doves, she flutters around the high conflagration. O may she not, like them, escape with singed feathers, and come back again, and at last fall into it! She said she had longed for her friends, ever since she saw yesterday a flock of sheep driven through the city. She should accompany, on Saturday, Liana and her mother to attend the consecration of the church, and the interment of the princely couple. He begged her, so abruptly and eagerly, to contrive for him to-day a solitary moment with her friend in the garden, that he absolutely did not hear her sweet news of Liana's intention to stay there and make her a visit.

Alas! he found with the Minister's lady that showman of magnificent pictures, who, like Nature, made not only a beginning of his spring, but an end of his autumn, with poisonous flowers,[167] Mr. Von Bouverot. Dian had sent him four heavenly copies from Rome; these he opened with dry, artistic palate. Liana received the Count again as ever. Was, perhaps, Raphael's _Madonna della Sedia_, in whose heaven-descended palladium her tender soul was absorbed, the seal-keeper of her holiest mystery? The all-forgetting artistic passion became her so gracefully! Her optic nerves had become, by her long painting, like delicate feelers, which closed fast around lovely forms. Certain female forms, like this one, stirred up her whole soul. For she had, in childhood, sketched in her inner heaven shining constellations of the heroines of romances, and in general of unseen women; great ideas of their spirit, their heavenly walk, their exaltation above all that she had ever seen; and she had felt equal shyness and longing to meet one such. Hence she went forth out of this colossal nympheum[168] of her fancy, so easily dazzled, and with such warm, heartfelt reverence, to meet pure female friends and the Countess Romeiro. Now certain pictures brought back these altar-pieces like copies. The good girl thought not of _this_, but her friend may well have done so, that one needed only to quicken into life the eyes of this loving, down-gazing Mary, and merely to warm these lips with tones, and then one had Liana.

The German gentleman went on, and now placed beside each other Raphael's Joseph, telling his brothers a dream, and the older Joseph, interpreting one to a king, and began to translate the three Raphaels into words, and that with so much felicity, and not only with so much insight into mechanics and genius, but also with such a precise setting forth of every human and moral lineament, that Albano took him for a hypocrite, and Liana for a very good man. She seized every word with a wide-open heart. When Bouverot painted the prophesying Joseph, as at once childlike, natural, still, and firm as a rock, and glowing and threatening, there stood the original at her side.

There also dropped from the German gentleman much thought about Da Vinci's boy Christ in the Temple, about the magnificently executed fraternization and adoption of the boy and the youth in one face. Liana had also copied the copy, but she and her mother were modestly silent on the subject.

But at last Franciscus Albani disturbed the calm that had hitherto prevailed, by his "Repose during the Flight." While he acted the dream-interpreter to these picturesque dreams, and Rabette had her eyes fastened sharply on the Saint Joseph of this picture, sitting beside Mary, with an open book, Liana said, unluckily, "A fine Albani!" "I should think not," Rabette whispered; "brother is much more beautiful than this praying Joseph!" She had confounded Albani with Albano; her whole picture-gallery lay in the hymn-book, whose hymns she separated from each other with golden-red saints. The others did not comprehend; they knew him only as Count of Zesara,--but Liana, sweetly blushing, flung at Rabette a tenderly reproving glance, and looked, with mute endurance, more closely at another picture. Never before in Albano,--in whom the strongest and the tenderest feelings coupled, as the echo makes thunder louder and music lower,--had the bitter-sweet mingling of love and pity and shame wrought more warmly, and he could have at once knelt down before the maiden, and yet have kept silent.

The German gentleman had finished, and said to the men, with a look full of victory, "He had, however, something more in his case, which bore away the palm from the Raphaels; and he would beg them to follow him into the adjoining apartment." On the way, he observed, that few works were executed with such magnificent freedom and bold abandon. In the room he unpacked a little bronze Satyr, against whom an overtaken nymph is defending herself. "Divine!" said Bouverot, and held the group by a thread, in order not to rub off the rust. "Divine! I set the Satyr against the Christ!" Few have even a moderate idea of the amazement of my hero, when he saw the critic set virtue and vice at once at a round table, without any quarrel for precedency.

With a fiery glance of contempt, he turned away, and wondered that the Lector remained. It seems to be unknown to him that painting, like poetry, only in its childhood related to gods and divine service, but that by and by, when they grew up to a higher stature, they must needs stride out from this narrow churchyard,--as a chapel[169] was originally a church with church-music, until both were left out, and the pure music retained. Bouverot had the regard for pure form in so high a degree, that not only the smuttiest, most immoral subject, but even the most pure and devout, could not contaminate his enjoyment; like slate, he stood the two proofs of heating and freezing, without undergoing any change.

Albano had seen the maidens through the window in the alley, and hastened down to take leave of his sister, and to something more weighty. He came, with fuller roses on his cheeks than those which glowed around him, to a grassy bank, where Liana, with his sister, was sitting behind the red parasol, with half-drooping eyelids, and head bent aside, softly absorbed in the harvest of evening, suffused with a sunny redness by the parasol, in white dress, with a little slender black cross on her tender bosom, and with a full rose; she looked upon our lover so simply, her voice was so sisterly, and all was such pure, careless love! She told him how delighted she was with the scenes of his youth, and with country life, and how Rabette would conduct her everywhere; and particularly to the consecration discourse, which her father-confessor, Spener, was to deliver on Sunday. She talked herself into a glow, with picturing how greatly the great breast of the old man would be moved by the dirge and pæan over the ashes of his princely friend.

Rabette had nothing in her mind but the solitary minute, which she would fain leave her brother to enjoy with her. She begged her, in a lively manner, to play for her yet once more on the harmonica. Albano, at this proposal, plucked for himself a moderate nosegay from the--foliage of the tree that hung over his head. Liana looked at her warningly, as much as to say: "I shall spoil thy cheerfulness for thee again." But she insisted. At the entrance into the water-house, a light blush flitted across Albano, at the thought of the latest past and the nearest future.

Liana speedily opened the harmonica, but the water, the colophonium[170] of the bells, was wanting. Rabette was just going to fill a glass down at the fountains, for the sake of leaving them alone; but the Count, from manly awkwardness about entering at once into a ruse, stepped courteously before her and fetched it himself. Hardly, at length, had the lovely, pleasing creature laid, with a sigh, her delicate hands on the brown bells, when Rabette said to her, she would go down into the alley to hear how it sounded at a distance. As if at the painful sunstroke of a too sudden and great pleasure, his heart started up, he heard the triumphal car of love rolling afar off, and he was fain to leap into it and rattle away into life. The credulous Liana took the withdrawal for a veil which Rabette wished to throw over her eye, sweetly breaking into tears at music, and immediately removed her hands from the bells; but Rabette kissed her entreatingly, pressed back her hands upon them, and ran down. "The true heart!" said Liana; but this pure, guileless confidence in her friend touched him, and he could not say, Yes.

When, in the meadows of Persia, a happy one, who, on the luxuriant enamel has been sleeping down among the pinks and lilies and tulips, blissfully opens his eyes at the first evening call of the nightingale upon the still, tepid world, and the motley twilight, through which some gold threads of the evening sun float glowingly: that blissful one is like the youth Albano in the enchanted chamber,--the Venetian blinds scattered round broken lights, trembling green shadows; and there was a holy twilight as in groves around temples; only murmuring bees flew, out of the loud, distant world, through the silent cell, into the noise again. Some sharp streaks of sunshine, like lightnings before sleepers, were wafted romantically to and fro with the rose; and in this dreamy grotto, amid the rustling wood of the world, the solitude was not disturbed by so much as the shadowy existence of a mirror.

Into this enchantment she let the tones fly out of her hands like nightingales,--the tones were propelled towards Albano, as by a storm, now more clearly, and now more faintly; he stood before her, with folded hands, as if in prayer, and hung with thousand looks of love on the downward gazing form; all at once she lifted upon him that holy eye, full of sympathy, but she suddenly cast it down before the sun-glance of his.

Now the great eyelids immovably closed upon the sweet looks, and gave her, like a sleep, the appearance of absence; she seemed a white May-flower on wintry soil, hanging down its blossom-bells. She was a dying saint in the devotion of harmony, which she heard rather than made; only the red lip she took with her as a warm reflection of life, as a last rose, that was to deck the fleeting angel; O could he disturb this prayer of music with a word of his?

With narrower and narrower circles did the magnetic vortex of tones and of love clasp him round,--and now, when the drawing of the harmonica, like the water-drawing of the scorching sun, licked up his heart; and when the lightnings of passion darted over his whole life, and illumined the mountain-ridges of the future and the valleys of the past, and when he felt his whole being concentrated into one moment, he saw some drops trickle out from Liana's drooping eyes, and she looked up cheerfully to let them fall; then Albano snatched her hand away from the keys, and cried, with the heart-rending tone of his longing, "O God, Liana!"

She trembled, she blushed, she looked at him, and knew not that she still wept and looked on, and continued to play no more. "No, Albano, no!" she said, softly, and drew her hand out of his, and covered her face, started at the pause of the musical tones, and collected herself and again made them flow out slowly, and said, with trembling voice: "You are a noble being. You are like my Charles, but quite as passionate. Only one request! I am about to leave the city for a while."

His alarm at this became ecstasy, when she named the place, his Blumenbühl. She went on with difficulty before the delighted lover; her hand often lay for a long time on the dissonance in forgetfulness of the analysis; her eyes glimmered more moistly, although she said nothing more than this: "Be to my brother, who loves you inexpressibly, as he has loved no other yet,--O be to him everything! My mother recognizes your influence. Draw him,--I will speak it out!--especially draw him off from playing deeply!"

He could hardly, for his confusion, asseverate the "Yes," when Rabette came running in with the almost unsuitably accented tidings, that the mother was coming. Probably she had seen that Rabette was alone. Albano parted from the pair with abrupt wishes of a pleasant journey, and forgot, in the flurry, to answer in the affirmative Rabette's request for a visit. The mother, meeting him, ascribed his ardor to a brother's emotion at taking leave.

While he hastened through the wealth of the season, he thought of the rich future,--of Liana's stammering and veiling: do not fair female souls, like those angels before the prophet, need only two wings to lift them, but four to veil themselves? The sea of life ran in high waves, but everywhere it flashed on its broad surface, and sparks dropped from the oar.

63. CYCLE.

Ah, on the morning following this, the evening redness of a whole heaven had grown, to be sure, into a sad cloudiness. For Liana walked before the youth in such long, thick veils. Any mystery of trouble throws up cold cloister-walls between hearts drawn near together; that is manifest. Hitherto accidents of various kinds had bent aside some flowers which Liana had drawn as a veil over her heart (as the ground stories in cities prevent looking in at the windows by flowers and grape-vines), and had disclosed the darkest corner of the background, in which something like the reverse side of a bust hung, which, turned round, would perhaps resemble the Count. But as yet the image hangs with its face toward the wall. However, a female heart is often like marble; the cunning stone-cutter strikes a thousand blows, without the Parian block showing the line of a crack; but all at once it breaks asunder into the very form which the cunning stone-cutter has so long been hammering after.

On Saturday, when the Minister's lady and the pair of friends were about to start for Blumenbühl, in order to behold the burial and the consecration, the Captain came to the Count, not only full of joy,--for he had gladly, out of love to Rabette, helped make for Liana, not _wings_ indeed, but still _wing-shells_, and out of a threefold interest for his friend, helped tighten the fly-work,--but also full of anxiety. But, ye muses! why in the poetical world are there rarely any occurrences which have such manifold motives as often in the actual?

His anxiety was simply this, lest his father should arrive earlier than his mother went off,--for he knew the Minister. The latter intended, according to his letters, to arrive on Monday or Tuesday (Saturday at the latest); but this might--as Froulay loved to let his friends swim in the broad play-room of expectation--still more certainly threaten that he--because, like the Basle clocks,[171] he always struck an hour too early, and came in the hope of catching his people at some right odious thing--might at any minute come driving in at the court-yard gate. If he came driving furiously up this forenoon, or at the moment when the servant was lifting the daughter into the carriage, and the mother already sat therein, then was this much certain, by a thousand conclusions from observance, that both would have to go up into the house again; that he would order all trunks and boxes unpacked, and, as to the daughter of the Provincial Director, after her ten thousand entreaties,--although her very second would freeze upon her lips,--he would, in a friendly manner, with quite jocose equanimity, let her be carried home, as a solitary member of a conclave, in a close carriage. Certain men--and he is their generalissimo--know no sweeter cordial for themselves, than to put under lock and key, before the very nose of their friends, the garden-gates of some Arcadia or other, for which they have not drawn up for them a map of the route and region, and judicially to seal them up. Besides, just before a pleasure party, most parents secrete gall; if Froulay, in fact, could absolutely prevent one, that was as much for him as if he were himself returning home from one red and gay.

At three o'clock in the afternoon, our friends went to walk beneath the loveliest sky. Everything had been already arranged; Charles proposed to follow to-morrow; Albano not till Monday, after the general return (his tender motives, and the hard ones of others, decided it); and there floated through the whole vaulted blue no cloud but Charles's concern lest the second depositing of the princely corpse might draw his father along as early as to-day,... when he suddenly cried out, with a curse: "There he comes!" He knew him by the tiger-spotted post-team, and still more by the long line of horses tackled on tandem. A purgatorial moment of life! The carriage rattled swiftly down the street; the head horses streamed forth in a longer and quite disorderly train; the people stared. At last the pulling distance became an acre long,--that seemed quite impossible,--when Albano's eagle eye discovered that there was no leather connection between the post-train, and at last, that in fact there was merely a strange churl, with two horses, accidentally riding along before the carriage, and at this moment they saw the open triumphal car, with the female trinity slowly moving up the Blumenbühl heights, and the blended tulip-bed of the three parasols glimmered long after them.


[163] Basa Metzia, c. 4, m 10.

[164] The _head_ of a bandage is a technical term in surgery.--TR.

[165] The German word _mandel_ (literally _almond_) means a collection of _fifteen_. There being no one word expressing it collectively in English, _baker's dozen_ (which means thirteen) seems to come near enough.--TR.

[166] See Dr. Franklin's verses, comparing different classes of people to different kinds of paper. Sparks's edition of Franklin's Works, Vol. II. p. 161.--TR.

[167] It is well known that spring flowers, on account of dampness and shade, are for the most part suspicious; as also the autumnal ones.

[168] Museum of Nymphæ or Chrysalides.--TR.

[169] In the artistic technical sense.--TR.

[170] A black resin, used for violin-strings.--TR.

[171] Alluding to the case where by this change of the town-clock the Basle people outwitted an enemy--TR.



64. CYCLE.

So many tender and holy sensibilities flutter round in our inner world, which, like angels, can never assume the bodily form of outward action, so many rich, full flowers stand therein which bear no seed, that it is lucky poetry has been invented, which easily treasures up all these inborn spirits and the flower-fragrance in its limbo. With this I catch, dear Albano, thy glorious perfume-breathing Sunday, and hold fast the invisible incense for the Schneider's-skin of the world!

On Sunday he moved to the thunder-house in Lilar. The Lector kept himself up with the hope that the Count would very soon tread down the flower-parterre of the new enjoyment as flat and dead as a cross-way. It was a fine morning, all sprinkled with dew; a fresh wind blew from Lilar over the blooming grain; and the sun burned alone in a cool heaven. Over the Blumenbühl road a swarm of people were plodding onward, and no one went long alone; on the Eastern heights he saw his friend Charles, with bowed crest, dashing to meet the sun.

The breezes of Lilar came flying to welcome him with a breath of orange-fragrance, and blew away the ashes which rested on the glowing altar-coals of that first magnificent Sunday. He went down the bridge, and Pollux, early in his finery, came driving a ruffled turkey-cock to meet him. A _Soeur Servante_ of old Spener had been already for an hour cooking at Chariton's, merely to see him go by. The latter ran, festally decked, out of the house, which opened itself gayly with all its windows to the whole heavens, to meet him, and, in the confusion of her joy, broke out with the main matter first, namely, that everything was ready and beautiful up there in the little house, and whether he would have his dinner up there. She would fain, in the midst of the conversation, pull Pollux out of the Count's fingers, but he let him swing up for a kiss, and won thereby every heart, even the old one behind the kitchen fire.

While he marched off toward his little house through the western triumphal arch, he felt, with indescribable strength and sweetness, that the lovely time of youth is our Italy and Greece, full of gods, temples, and bliss,--and which, alas! so often Goths and Vandals stalk through and strip with their talons.

His blooming path ran at length into the descending and ascending stairway, which he had passed with Spener; single streaks of day burned themselves into the moist ground and painted the scattered twigs fiery and golden. In the mystic bower, where the dead Prince had stalked along before him in the by-cavern, he found no such cavern, but only an empty niche. He stepped out above, as out of the haunch of the earth. His little house lay on the crooked back of the mountain ridge. Down below reposed around him those elephants of the earth, the hills, and Lilar gloriously swelling in blossoms, and he looked from his windows into the camp of the giants of Nature.

Meanwhile he could not now stay on the window-sill, nor near the inspiring Æolian harp, nor in the eye-prison of books; through streams and woods and over mountains fresh nature longed to sweep. That he did.

There are sometimes between the every-day days of life--when the rainbow of Nature appears to us only broken up, and as a misshapen, motley mass on the horizon--certain creation-days, when she rounds and contracts herself into a fair form, nay, when she becomes alive, and speaks to us like a soul. To-day Albano had such a day for the first time. Ah, years often pass away and bring no such day! While he went thus roaming along on both sides of the mountain ridge, the northeast wind began to flow fuller and fuller to meet him;--without wind, a landscape was to him a stiff, fast-nailed wall-tapestry;--and now the wind rolled the solid land over into a fluid state. The neighboring trees shook themselves like doves sweetly shuddering in its bath, but in the distance the woods stood fast, like hosts in battle array, and their summits like lances. Majestically swam through the blue the silvery islands, the clouds, and on the earth shadows stalked like giants over streams and mountains; in the valley sparkled the Rosana, and rolled into the oak grove. He went down into the warm vale; the flowery pastures foamed and their seed played in its cloud-fleece ere the earth caught it; the swan spread voluptuously his long wing; pairs of doves were pecking each other for love; and everywhere lay beds and twigs full of hot maternal bosoms and eggs. Like a glorious blue bouquet, the neck of the reposing peacock played off its dissolving colors in the high grasses. He stepped under the oaks, which with knotty arms seized hold upon heaven, and with knotty roots the earth. The Rosana talked alone with the murmuring wood, and ate away, foaming, at the rocky crags and at the decaying shore;--night and evening and day chased each other in the mystic grove. He stepped into the stream, and went out with it before a warm, busy plain full of villages, and out from them came the Sabbath sounds, and out of the grain-fields larks arose, and on the mountains human foot-paths crept upward,--the trees lifted themselves up as living things, and the distant men seemed to be fast-rooted, and became only little shoots on the low bark of the enormous tree of life.

The soul of the youth was cast into the holy fire; like asbestos-paper, he drew it out quenched and blank; it was to him as if he knew nothing, as if he were _one_ thought; and here the feeling came upon him in a wonderfully new manner, that is the world, thou art on the world;--he was _one_ being with it,--all was _one_ life, clouds and men and trees. He felt himself grasped by innumerable polypus-arms, and swallowed up at the same time with them, and yet running on in the infinite heart.

In a blissful bewilderment he arrived at his dwelling, from which little Pollux came rolling down the mountain to meet him, and call him to dinner. In the little house the very thought of his heart was expressed by the Æolian harp at the open window. While the child was thundering away with his little fist on the harpsichord, and the birds joyfully screamed in out of the trees, the soul of the world swept exulting and sighing through the Æolian strings, now lawlessly and now regularly, playing with the storms and they with it; and Albano seemed to hear the streams of life rushing between their shores, the countries of the earth,--and through flower-veins and oak-veins, and through hearts,--around the earth, bearing clouds on their bosom,--and the stream, which thunders through eternity, a Divine hand was pouring out under the veil.

Albano came, with the innocent boy dancing before him, to the still smiling mother. Even here, between the four walls, the sails continued to propel him which the great morning had swelled. Nothing surprised him, nothing seemed to him common, nothing remote; the wave and the drop in the endless sea of life flowed away in indivisible union with the streams and whirlpools which it bore onward. Before Chariton he stood like a shining god, and she would gladly have veiled either him or herself. Never was humanity individualized in purer forms, crippled by no alloy of provincialism or nationality, than in this circle of joy, wherein childhood, womanhood, and manhood, twined with flowers, met and softly clasped each other.

Chariton spoke constantly of Liana, out of love, not merely for the absent one, but also for the one who stood near; for, although she looked with those open eyes, which seem more to image quietly than to behold, more to let in than to draw in, still she was, like children, virgins, country people, and savages, at once open-heartedly true and keen. She had easily detected Albano's love, because everything is easier to disguise from women,--even hatred, than its opposite. She praised Liana infinitely, particularly her incomparable kindness; and "her lord had said, few men had so much heart as she, for she had often been, without any fear, whole nights with her in Tartarus." Certainly, neither was this explicable to the Count. The marvellous is the aureole of a beloved head; a sun, softened down to a human countenance, takes less powerful hold than a beloved countenance glorified into a sun-image.

More and more heartily delighted at his delight, she offered to lead him into Liana's chamber. A simple little chamber,--under a green twilight of glimmering vine foliage, some books of Fénelon and Herder, old flowers still in their water-glasses, little Chinese dishes, Julienne's portrait, and another of a deceased youthful friend, whose name was Caroline, an unstained writing-stand, with English-pressed paper,--was what he found. The holy spring hours of the virgin passed by before him, dropping dew like sunny clouds.

He happened to touch a penknife, when Chariton brought quills to be cut, "because," she said, "they had so much trouble on this score since her master had gone away." For a woman can more easily drive any pen--even the epic and Kantian--than make one; and here, as in several other cases, the stronger sex must lend the weaker a hand.

Albano wished to see, also, the working-chamber of his teacher; but this she decidedly--although an hour's eating together had not given her any new courage--refused, because her master had forbidden it. He begged once more; but she smiled more and more painfully, and adhered to her gentle no.

He now dreamed away the murmur of the morning in the magic garden, on whose waters and paths the moonshine and reflection of memory played. Out of the nine million square miles of common earth, how do certain poetical lands stand out to a poetical heart! On the mountain with the altar, where he once saw her disappear down below, the afternoon chime of Blumenbühl came wafted to him with the fanning of a freer ether; and his childhood's life, and the present scenes yonder, and Liana, gave him a tender heart, and he surveyed, with dimmer eyes, the transfigured land.

At evening came happy church-goers from Blumenbühl, and praised the consecration and the burial mightily. He saw the pious father still standing up there on the back of the mountain. The morning when he should be able to see Liana a whole day, and perhaps tell her all, overspread his life with a morning dew, glimmering around him in splendid rainbow circles. Even in bed he sang for joy the morning song of the rowers on Lago Maggiore,--the constellations over Blumenbühl shone through the open window of his little Alp-house down into his closing eye. When the bright moon and flute-tones from the vale awakened him again, the silent rapture still glowed on under the ashes of slumber, and grew till it closed his eyes again.

65. CYCLE.

Under a fresh morning-blue, Albano, full of hopes that he should to-day clear up his life, so constantly running into white fog, took the same old road which once brought him hither by night (in the 23d Cycle) in order on the mountain to see Elysium and Liana. The whole blooming path was to him a Roman earth, out of which he dug up the beautifully pictured vases of the past; and the nearer the village, so much the broader grew the hallowed spots. He wondered that the lambs and shepherd-boys had not, like the grass, shot up taller during his absence, which, itself, in consequence of the growth of his heart and the many-complexioned vicissitude of his experiences, appeared very much prolonged to his imagination. Like a morning draught of clear alpine-water, the old clang of the herdsman's horn gushed into his breast; but the narrow alder-path, into which he used to drive the Director's riding-horse before unsaddling, and the very court-yard, even the four walls and the ceiling-pictures of domestic bliss, cramped up both root and summit in his swelling soul, which longed to grow into the earth and into the heavens; he was yet in the years when one opens high to the air with a treadle the tympan of life's clavichord, in order that the harmonious roar may swell out everywhere.

In the castle how profusely was his heart covered with hearts, and the youngest love drowned by the old, from the easily weeping mother, Albina, even to the hand-extending old servants, who, on his account, stirred more briskly their petrified limbs! He found all his loves--Liana excepted--in Wehrfritz's study,[172] because he loved "young folk" and discourse, and always insisted that they should set out the breakfast on his table of papers, which, he said, was as good as a breakfast-table with varnished scrap-pictures that nobody saw. Albano tormented himself with the fear that the Minister's lady had been the church-robber of a very goddess, and carried Liana back yesterday,--till the Captain hastily explained the non-appearance. The good soul had had yesterday to atone for the commotion of her sympathizing heart with sick-headache. Her loved teacher, Spener, with his sublime soul-stillness,--those eyes, which wept no more over the earth, buried with the princely pair,--standing with his head under the cold polar star of eternity, so that now, like the pole, it no longer saw any stars rise or set,--calmly, and with hands apostolically folded in one another, speaking so all-persuasively upon the sorrow and the great end of this pale life, pressing, with his inspired speech, men's hearts to the verge of tearful emotion, and yet with exalted tenderness drawing them back from extreme grief, that so only the heart may weep without the eye,--and then the consecration of the coupled coffins and of the church,--O, in the delicate Liana these emotions could not surely fail to grow into sorrows, and all that her teacher buried in silence was in her spoken aloud. In addition to this, she had not taken the usual medicine of keeping still, but had disguised all her pangs behind active joy, so as to give her departing mother no pains, although herself far too great ones.

Into the midst of this explanation she herself entered pleasantly, in a white morning-dress, with a nosegay of Chinese roses,--a little pale and tired,--looking up with a dreamy softness,--her voice somewhat low,--the roses on her cheeks closed into buds,--and, like a child, smiling upon every heart;--thou angel of heaven! who may dare to love and reward thee? She beheld the lofty youth;--all the lilies of her still face were, contrary to her wont, baptized into a heavenly morning-red of joy, and a tender purple lingered upon them.

She asked him, with an open manner, why he had not come yesterday to the festivities, and disclosed, as a matter of moment, that they would all to-day visit the pious father, for whom she had been tying her dwarf-roses. He took gladly the fourth voice in the concert of the pleasure-party. What a magnificent hanging garden, with its loveliest flowers and prospects, is built out into the evening-hours! How many happy ones a single roof covers!

The ingenuous Rabette, more brisk and busy for her still gladness, was, unweariedly, Liana's sick-nurse and Roquairol's lion-keeper and _maîtresse de plaisirs_, who made every one of the mother's ground-plans of pleasure broader by a half, and her whole being was so happy! Ah, her poor innocent heart had not yet, indeed, been loved by any one, and therefore it glows, with the fresh energies of the first love, so brightly and truly before a mighty one which seems to come down to it with a blessing, like a loving god, drawing after it a whole heaven! Roquairol saw how bewitchingly a busy activity shook aside in the play-room of her character and her occupations the heavily hanging foliage, which in the visiting parlor darkly overspread her real worth; she was even made more lovely by the darker, neat house-dress, since he by his preaching had sent back every white drapery of her brunette person into the wardrobe. She would not obey her mother in this matter, till he had demanded it. Nay, he had yesterday brought her to the point of really wearing about with her the watch which the proud Minister's lady had presented her, though she blushed like fire at the unwonted ornament. Meanwhile he proposed to take with her, as it were, a true serpentine flowery way to the altar of his love's _loud_ Yes,--the _silent_ one he was saying all the time;--he knew she would get in at once so soon as he rode forth with the conch-chariot of Venus, to which he had tackled a dove and a hawk.

How gloriously the forenoon flew away on golden wing-shells and on transparent wings! The beloved Albano was introduced into all the changes of the house; the finest was in his study-chamber, which Rabette had transformed into her toilet-chamber, sewing-room, and study, and which again, since yesterday, had become guest-chamber and library to Liana. How gladly did he step to the western window, where he had so often caused his invisible father and the beloved one to appear, in an unearthly manner, in the crystal mirror of his fancy! On the panes were many L's and R's drawn by his boyish hand. Liana asked what the R's meant; "Roquairol," said he, for she did not inquire after the L. With infinite sweetness did the thought flow around his heart, that his beloved was indeed to live through some blooming days in the dreamy cell of his first fresh life. Liana showed him with childlike joy how she shared everything, that is, the chamber, fairly with Rabette, in her double housekeeping and chum-ship, and how she made her very hostess her guest.

I have often admired with envy the fine, light, nomadic life of maidens in their Arcadian life-segments; easily do these _doves of passage_ flutter into a strange family, and sew and laugh and visit there, with the daughter of the house, one or two months, and one takes the ingrafted shoot for a family twig; on the other hand, we _house-pigeons_ are inhabitive and hard to transplant, and generally, after a few days, journey back again. Since we, as more brittle material, less easily melt in with the family ore; since we do not weave our work into that of others so easily as maidens do theirs,--because carriages full of working-tools must follow after us,--and since we need much and contrive much;--from all this our claim to a passport is very well deduced, without the least detriment to our characters.

After a half-eternity of dressing,--since, in the neighborhood of the loved one, an hour of absence lasts longer than a month when she is far off,--the maidens entered, equipped for travelling, in the black dress of brides. How charmingly the roses become Rabette, in her dark hair, and the lace edging on the white neck, and the timid flames of her pure eye, and the flitting blushes! And Liana--I speak not of this saint. Even the good old Director, when the innocent face looked upon him so childlike from beneath the white veil of India muslin, sprinkled with gold wire, which was simply thrown over her head after the manner of the nuns, could not but give his satisfaction words: "Like a nun, like an angel!" She answered: "I wanted once really to be one with a friend; but now I take the veil later than she," she added, with a wondrous tone.

She hung to-day with tender enthusiasm upon Rabette, perhaps from the weakness of ill health, perhaps from love for Albano and the parents, and perhaps because Rabette, in her love, was so good and beautiful, and because she herself was nothing but heart. She had, besides, the sacred fault of forming too enthusiastic conceptions of her female friends,--into which the nobler maidens easily fall, and which belongs less to married women,--carried to an unusual height; thus, for instance, her friend Caroline, who had met her like a heroine of romance only on the romantic playground of friendship and beautiful nature, she could not, in the beginning, without a rending away of the saintly halo, at all conceive of as having hands, which drove the needle and flat-iron, and other implements of the female field of labor.

Whoso will feel the tenderest participation in joy, let him look not at happy children, but at the parents who rejoice to see them happy. Never did the blue-eyed and round-eyed Albina--across whose face time had struck many a note of life thrice over, among which, however, no step-motherly discord appeared--look oftener to and fro, and more benignantly, than from one to another of these couples; for such they were, according to the maternal astrology of the aberrations and perturbations of these double-stars. The father, who maintained the "hypocrisy and spiritlessness[173] of the young people now-a-days," compared with the ambition of his contemporaries and comrades, was chained to the Captain, who, as manager of his inner theatre, had to-day assigned himself the part of a gay youth. He pleased him even by the pithy flowers of speech, which the hidden breeze let fly from him; for as every genius must have its rough idiom, its doggerel verse, so had he--(others have the devil, the deuse)--the journeyman's greeting of genius, _Rascal_, together with the derivatives, _rascality_, &c. But how much more mightily did Albano carry away all female hearts by the stillness with which, like a quiet aftersummer, he let fall his fruits. The parents ascribed this reserve to city life: as if Charles had not been longer to this painter's school! No, Love is the Italian school of man; and the more vigorous and elevated he is, of precisely so much the higher tenderness is he capable, as on high trees the fruit rounds itself into a milder and sweeter form than on low ones. Not in unmanly characters does mildness charm, but in manly ones; as energy does, not in unwomanly ones, but in the womanly.

The good youth! While Charles, unhappily, always knew clearly when his glance burned and lightened, how innocently blazes from thy eyes a glowing heart, which knows it not! May thy evening be the seed-corn of a youth full of blossoms! The chariot rolls on, without thy knowing whether it is to be a chariot of Elijah or of Phaeton, whether thou art, by means of it, to soar to heaven or to fall therefrom!

66. CYCLE.

The carriage flew through the village with the four young people. How grateful to our youth was the expanse of heaven and of earth! The portal of life--youth--was hung with flowers and lights. They rolled along at the foot of the mountain by the bird-pole, the sign-post of a boyish Arcadia, by the cradle where, in the enraptured sleep of childhood, he had stretched out his boyish arm after the high heaven; and through the birch thicket, now dwindled in his eyes to a bush, which, on that golden morning, he had found so broad and long; and by the open triumphal arch of the east, behind which the sea of the many-shaped Lilar poured the tide of its charms; and when they arrived behind the mountain-wall of the flute-dell, they sent back the carriage.

They walked on a glorious earth, under a glorious heaven. Pure and white swam the sun like a swan through the blue flood,--meadows and villages crowded up close around the distant, low mountain-ridges; a soft wind swayed the green waves of the crop to and fro all over the plain; on the hills shadows lay fast asleep under the wings of white clouds; and behind the summits of the heights the mast-trees of the Rhine ships majestically sailed away.

As Albano went along so close by the side of his beloved, the purgatory burning under his Eden fell back deeper and deeper into the earth's core; full of uneasiness and hope, he cast his fiery eye now on the summer, now on the mild vesper-star, which glimmered so near to him out of the spring ether. The good maiden seemed to-day more still, serious, and restless than usual. As they went through a little wood, open on all sides, along the ridge of a hill that ran round the flute-dell, Liana suddenly said to the Count, she heard flutes. Scarcely could he say, he heard only far-off turtle-doves, when she at once collected herself as for something wonderful, fixed her eyes on heaven, smiled, and suddenly looked round toward Albano, and grew red. Then turning to him, she said: "I will be frank; I hear at this moment music within me.[174] Forgive me to-day my weakness and tenderness; it comes from yesterday." "I--you?" said he, passionately; for he, about whom in sicknesses only burning images stormed, was inspired with veneration for a being to whom, as if from her higher world, low tones like golden sunbeams reach down in her pains, and pass veiled through the rough deep.

But Liana, as if for the sake of turning aside his enthusiasm, came upon the subject of her friend Caroline, and told how she always hovered before her on such days, and especially on this walk. "In the beginning I sought her out," said Liana, "because she resembled my Linda. She was my instructress, although she was only a few weeks older than I. Her pure, severe, unflinching character, and her readiness to sacrifice herself cheerfully and in silence, made her even, if I may say so, worthy of veneration in the eyes of her mother. She was never seen to weep, tender as she was, for she wished to keep her mother always cheerful. We were going to take the veil in company, for the sake of being always together; I should not live to become old, she said, and I must spend my short life happily and without anxiety; but also in preparation for the next. Ah, she herself went up before me! Night-watching by the sick-bed of her mother, and sorrow for her death, took her away. She received the holy supper, for which we were preparing ourselves together, only on her death-bed. Then did the angel give me this veil, in which I am some time to follow her. O good, good Caroline!" She wept unconcealedly, and pressed, with emotion, Albano's hand. "O, I should not have begun about this! There comes already our friend; we will be right cheerful!"

They had now passed through a high wood of under-brush, which teasingly disclosed and hid by turns the landscapes that glided around them, and had come near to the spire which looks in upon the flute-dell, and near which lay a solitary church and Spener's dwelling, and in the plain below the open village. Spener came to meet his pupil--after the manner of old men--unconcerned about the others; and a young roe ran after him. A beautiful spot! Little white peacocks; turtle-doves at large; a city of bees in the midst of their bee-flora,--all bespoke the tranquil old man, whom the earth serves and honors, and who, indifferent towards it, lives only in God. He came--disappointing one's expectation of an ecclesiastical gravity--with a light playfulness upon the gay train, and laid his finger in benediction on the forehead of Liana, who seemed to be his granddaughter, as it were, a second tree-blossom in the late autumn of life. In a daughterly way, she placed the bunch of dwarf-roses in his bosom, and took very careful notice whether it pleased him. She smiled quite serenely, and all her tears seemed fanned away; but she resembled the rain-sprinkled tree, when the sun laughs out again,--the least agitation flings the old rain from the still leaves.

The old man was delighted with the sympathy of the young people, and remained with them upon the blooming and resounding eminence, which sat enthroned between a wide landscape and the richly laden mountain-ridge, running away into Elysium. Since, as with one who ascends in a balloon, the tones of earth did not reach him from so great a distance as its forms, they let him talk more than listen, as one spares old people.

He spoke soon of that in which his heart lived and breathed, but in a singular, half-theological, half-French, Wolfian, and poetic speech. One ought, of many a mystic's poetry and philosophy to give, instead of verbal, real translations, in order that it may be seen how the pure gold of truth glows under all wrappages. Spener says, in my translation: "He had formerly, before he found the right way, tormented himself in every human friendship and love. He had, when he was fervently loved, said to himself, that he could surely never so regard or love himself; and even so the beloved being could not truly so think of itself, as the loving one did, and though it were ever so perfect or so full of self-love. If every one looked upon others as upon himself, there could be no ardent love. But all love demands an object of infinite worth, and dies of every inexplicable and clearly recognized failure; it projects its objects out of all and above all, and requires a reciprocal love without limits, without any selfishness, without division, without pause, without end. Such an object is verily the divine being, but not fleeting, sinful, changeable man. Therefore must the lovesick heart sink into the Giver himself of this and of all love, into the fulness of all that is good and beautiful, into the disinterested, unlimited, universal Love, and dissolve and revive therein, blest in the alternation of contraction and expansion. Then it looks back upon the world and finds everywhere God and his reflection: the worlds are his deeds; every pious man is a word, a look, of the All-loving; for love to God is the Divine thing, and the heart yearns for him in every heart."

"But," said Albano, whose fresh, energetic life rebelled against all mystical annihilation, "how, then, does God love us?" "As a father loves his child, not because it is the best child, but because it needs him."[175] "And whence," he further inquired, "comes, then, the evil in man, and whence sorrow?" "From the Devil," said the old man, and pictured out uninterruptedly, with transfigured joy, the heaven of his heart,--how it was always surrounded with the all-beloved, all-loving One, how it never desired any good fortune or any gifts from him at all (which one did not wish even in earthly love), but only a higher and higher love towards himself, and how, while the evening mists of old age were gathering thicker and thicker around his senses, his heart felt itself, in the darkness of life, embraced more and more closely by the invisible arms. "I shall soon be with God!" said he, with a radiance of love on that countenance of his, chilled with life, and breaking in under the weight of years. One could have borne to see him die. So stands Mont Blanc before the rising moon; night veils his feet and his breast, but the light summit hangs high in the dark heaven as a star among the stars.

Liana, like a daughter, had not let her eye nor her hand go from him, and had languishingly drunk in every sound; her brother had heard him with more pleasure than Albano, but merely for the sake of remodelling more clearly and fully the mystic Hero into the mimic Mount Athos of his representation, and Rabette had contemplated him as in a church among believing by-thoughts.

He withdrew now without ceremony to take care of his animals, which he loved, as he did everything involuntary, for instance, children, as coming at first hand from God. "Everything is divine," he said, "and nothing earthly but what is immoral." He could not bear to smoke bees with brimstone, let flowers dry up with thirst in the pot-cage, or see an overdriven wounded horse, and he passed by a butcher's stall not without shuddering limbs.

"Shall we," said friend Charles, "take in the glorious evening on the magnificent mountain road, and see thy thunder-house, and cast down every cup of sorrow into the vales below?" Through what a magic neighborhood did they now pass along the sloping ridge of the thunder-house! On the right, as it were, the occident of nature; on the left, the orient; before them Lilar, glittering in the _faerie_ of evening,--lying in the arms of the glancing Rosana,--golden grain behind silver-poplars, and overhead a heaven filled with a life-intoxicated, tumultuous creation,--and the sun-god stalking away over his evening-world, and stooping a little under the midnight to raise his golden head in the east. Albano went forth, holding Liana's holy hand. "O how beautiful is all!" said he. "How the fluttering world-map rustles and murmurs with long streams and woods,--how the eastern mountains bask in steadfast repose,--how the groves climb the hills, with glowing stems! One could plunge down into the smoking vales and into the cold, glistening waves. Ah, Liana, how beautiful is all!" "And God is on the earth," said she. "And in thee!" said he, and thought of the word of the old man, that love seeks God, and that he dwells in the heart which we esteem.

Now came rolling toward him the great waves which the Æolian-harp dashed out in the thunder-house; and his genius flew by before him with the words, "Tell her there thy whole heart!"

Before the little tabernacle of yesterday's dreams his stormy heart was dissolved; and the sun and the earth reeled before his passionate tears. As he entered with her into the rosy splendor of the evening sun that filled the apartment, and into the spirit-like din of tones discoursing with one another alone, he seized Liana's hands and pressed them wildly to his breast, and sank down before her speechless and dazzled; flames and tears suffused his eyes and his cheeks,--the whirlwind of tones blew into his blazing soul,--the mild angel of innocence bowed herself, weeping and trembling, toward the burning sun-god, and a sharp pain twined itself like a pale serpent through the roses of the mild countenance,--and Albano stammered: "Liana, I love thee!"

Then the serpent turned round and clasped and covered the sweet rosy form. "O good Albano! thou art unhappy, but I am innocent!" She stepped back with dignity, and quickly drew down the white veil over her face, and said, beside herself, "Wouldst thou love the dead? This is my corpse-veil; the coming year it will lie upon this face." "That is not true," said Albano. "Caroline, answer him!" said she, and stared at the burning sun as if looking for a higher apparition. Frightful moment! as during an earthquake the sea heaves and the air rests in fearful stillness, so was his lip dumb beside the veiled one, and his whole heart was a storm. On the strings swept by a sighing world of spirits, and the last ended with a sharp scream. The beauty of the earth was distorted before him, and in the evening clouds broad fiery banners were planted; and the sun's eye shut-to in blood.

All at once Liana folded her hands as if in prayer, and smiled and blushed; then she raised the veil from her divine eyes, and the transfigured one, tinged with the rosy reflection, looked on him tenderly,--and cast her eye down,--and raised it again,--and again let it sink,--and the veil fell again before her, and she said, in a low tone, "I will love thee, good Albano, if I do not make thee miserable." "I will die with thee!" said he. "What then?"--And now let a holy cloud veil the sun-god, who moves flaming through the midst of his stars!

His solitude and Liana's solution of so many wonders were suspended by the entrance of Rabette and Charles, who both seemed more touched than blessed,--she by the comforting nearness of the loved one, he by the singular situation and the subduing evening; for after certain beings a storm follows, and they must, against their will, make the steps that they take more rapid.

When Albano, with the peace-angel of his life, with the beloved one, who, in the midst of the rush of her feelings, heard, nevertheless, the voice of her female friend, walked forth again once more alone upon the rocky causeway between fragrant vales of Tempe in the glimmering world, he felt as if he had struggled through his life like an eagle through a storm-cloud, and as if the black tempest were running far away below his wings, and the whole starry heaven burned bright above his head. Liana, with maidenly nobleness and firmness, gave him, before he had put a question, the answer: "I must now tell you a mystery, which I have hidden from every one, and even from my mother, because it would have disquieted her. I spoke just now of my never-to-be-forgotten Caroline. On the day of my sacrament, which I had wished to take with her, I went back by night from my teacher to my mother, and in fact through the singular, long cavern, wherein one seems to descend, when one is in reality going upward. My maid went before with the lantern. In the romantic arbor, where a concave mirror stands, I turn round toward the full moon which was streaming in, from a dread of the wild mirror, which distorts people too horribly. Suddenly I hear a heavenly concert, such as I often heard again afterward in sicknesses,--I think of my blessed friend,--and gaze, full of longing, into the moon. Then I saw her opposite to me, beaming with innumerable rays: in her fair eyes was a tender look, but yet something dissolving; the tender mouth, almost the only living feature, resembled a red, but transparent fruit, and all her hues seemed to be nothing but light. Yet only in the blue eye and red mouth did the angel seem like Caroline. I could sketch her, if one could paint with light. I became dangerously sick; then she appeared to me oftener, and refreshed me with inexpressibly sweet tones,--they were not properly words,--whereupon I always sank into a soft sleep, as into a sweet death. Once I asked her--more with inner words--whether I should, then, soon come to her into the realm of light. She answered, I should not die just now, but somewhat later; and she named very clearly the coming year, and the very day, which I have, however, forgotten.... O dear Albano! forgive me only a few words! I soon recovered, and mourned over the slow, lingering passage of time...."

"No," Albano interrupted her, for his feelings were striking against each other like swords, "I revere, but I hate her dangerous phantom. Fancy and sickness are the parents of the air-born, destroying angel, who flies scorching, like a dumb heat-lightning, over all the blossoms of youth!"

She answered, with emotion, "O thou good, pure spirit! thou hast never distressed me, thou hast ever comforted, guided, made me happy and holy,--a phantom is it, Albano? It even preserves me against all phantoms of terror, against all ghostly fear, because it is always about me. Why, if it is only a phantom, does it never appear to me in my dreams?[176] Why comes it not when I will? But it comes only in weighty cases; then I consult and obey it very willingly. It has already to-day, Albano," she added, in a lower and fainter tone, "twice appeared to me on the way, when I heard the inner music, and previously in the thunder-house, when the sun went down, and has affectionately answered me."

"And what says it, heavenly one?" asked Albano, innocently. "I saw it only on the way, and asked no question," replied the childlike one, blushing; and here, all at once, her holy soul stood unconsciously without a veil before him; for she had, in the thunder-house, received from the invisible Caroline the yes to her love; because that being was her own creation, and this a suggestion of her own. Yes indeed, heavenly one! thou standest before the mirror with the virgin's veil over thy form, and when thy image softly raises its own, thou fanciest thyself still covered!

No word can express Albano's veneration for such a sanctified heart, which dreamed into such distinctness glorified beings; whose golden flowers only grew the higher over the thought of death, as earthly ones do in churchyards over the reality; which, simultaneously with his own, invisible hands had drawn into two similar dreams;[177] to which one was ashamed to give common truths for its holy errors. "Thou art from heaven," he said, inspired, and his joy became the pearl melted in the eye which quenches the thirst of the human heart; "therefore thou wouldst go back thither!" "O, I consecrate to thee, my friend," said she, smilingly weeping, and pressed his hand to her pure heart, "the whole little life which I have, every hour to the last, and I will, meanwhile, prepare thee for everything which God sends."

Before they entered the cottage of the pious father, Albano seized his friend's hand, and the sisters joined each other. The friends went forward for a time in silence; Charles looked upon Albano, and found the peace of blessedness upon his face. When the latter saw how Liana pressed her overfraught heart to her sister's, then were sincerity and joy too strong in him, and he fell without a word upon the heart of the dear brother of the eternal bride, and let him silently guess all from his tears of bliss. O, he might have guessed it, to be sure, from the bridal look of love which his sister more seldom removed from his friend, and from the heartiness wherewith she drew Rabette to her heart; just as if they two would soon be related to each other, as if her brother himself would soon speak more sweetly, since he for some time had no longer called her the little Linda; and consecrated her thereon for the heart of her brother. Not before the pious father did the enraptured look hold itself much in abeyance, which Albano, standing as if under the gate of eternity, cast into the heavens, gleaming like worlds one behind another; he was still and tender, and in his heart dwelt all hearts. O love _one_ heart purely and warmly, then thou lovest all hearts after it, and the heart in its heaven sees like the journeying sun, from the dew-drop even to the ocean, nothing but mirrors which it warms and fills.

But in Roquairol started up immediately, when he saw the heavenly bliss so near, the mutinous spirit of his past, and struck with a bloody epilepsy the limbs of the inner man: those immortal sighings after an ever-flying peace again tormented him; his transgressions and errors, and even the hours when he innocently suffered, were painfully reckoned up before him; and then he spoke, (and stirred every heart, but most of all poor Rabette's, which he pressed against his own to warm himself, as, according to the tradition, the eagle does with the dove, after which he does not tear her to pieces,)--nobly he spoke then of life's wilderness, and of fate, which burns out man, like Vesuvius, into a crater, and then again sows cool meadows therein, and fills it again with fire; and of the only blessedness of this hollow life, love, and of the injury inflicted, when fate with its winds sways and rubs a flower[178] to and fro, and thereby cuts through the green skin against the earth.

But while he thus spoke, he looked on the glowing Rabette, and would fain by these warmings burst open, as it were by force, the fast-closed flower-bud of his love, and spread its leaves out under the sun. O the bewildered and yearning one was surely not yet quite happy even to-day, and he wished not so much to affect others as himself.

With what blissful presentiments did they step out again before the sphinx of night, who lay smiling before them with soft, starry glances! Did they not go through a still, glimmering, subterranean world, light and free, without the heavy clogging earth on their feet, while in the wide Elysium the warm ether only flutters because invisible Psyches fan it with their wings? And out of the flute-dell the old man sends after them his tones as sweet arrows of love, in order that the swelling heart may blissfully bleed of their woundings. Albano and Liana came out upon a prospect where the broad eastern landscape, with its light-streaks of blooming poppy-fields, and its dark villages, ascended the soft mountains, where the moon awoke, and the splendor of her garment already swept like that of a spirit through heaven: here they remained standing and waiting for Luna. Albano held her hand. All the mountain-ridges of his life stood in a glowing dawn. "Liana," said he, "what innumerable springs are there at this moment up yonder on the worlds which hang in the heavens; but this is the fairest!" "Ah, life is lovely, and to-day it is too dear to me! Albano," she added, in a low voice, and her whole face became an exalted, tearless love, and the stars wove and embroidered its bridal dress, "if God calls me, then may he let me always appear to thee as Caroline does to me. O, if I could only attend thee thus through thy whole dear life, and console and warn thee, I would willingly wish for no other heaven."

But as he was about to express the fulness of his love, and the anger of his pain about the death-delusion, just then came his wild friend, who, like a Vesuvius, pouring out at once lava- and rain-streams over the credulous Rabette, had made both her heart and his own only fuller, not lighter; then Charles beheld the glorified beings and the blue horizon, where already the moon was flinging forth her glimmering light between the bristling mast-peaks and summits, and looked again into the splendor of holy love. Then could he no longer contain himself; his heart, full of agony, mounted to an eternal purpose, as if to God, and he embraced Albano and Rabette, and said: "Beloved man! beloved maiden! keep my unhappy heart!"

Rabette clung around him compassionately, as a mother around her child, and gave up to him, in hot, gushing tears, her whole soul. Albano, astonished, enfolded in his arms the love-bond; Liana was drawn to the beloved hearts by the whirlpool of bliss. Unheard the flutes sounded on, unseen waved the white banners of the stars overhead. Charles spoke frantic words of love, and wild wishes of dying for joy. Albano touched trembling Liana's flower-lip, as John kissed Christ, and the heavy milky-way bent down like a magic wand toward his golden bliss. Liana sighed: O mother, how happy are thy children! The moon had already flown up into the blue, like a white angel of peace, and glorified the great embrace; but the blest ones marked it not. Like a sounding waterfall, their rich life covered them, and they knew not that the flutes had ceased, and all the hills were shining.[179]


[172] Museum (home of the muses) is the beautiful German name for it.--TR.

[173] _Kopf-und Ohr-hängerei._ Hanging down of head (hypocrisy) and ears.--TR.

[174] This self-resounding--as the Æolian-harp [_riesen-harfe_, giant-harp, in German.--TR.], when the weather changes, sounds without a touch--is common in sick-headache and other maladies of weakness; hence in dying; for instance, in Jacob Boehme, life, like a concert-clock, rung out its hours amidst surrounding harmonies.

[175] Some disinterested love or other must from eternity have existed. As there are eternal truths, so must there also be an eternal love.

[176] For the same reason, perhaps, that the poet does not see his, so often and distinctly beheld, creations pass in his dreams among the images of the day.

[177] For on his and her sacrament-day he had imagined her death by lightning.

[178] The winter stock-jelliflower.

[179] Jean Paul's second volume ends here.--TR.



67. CYCLE.

I have often in the theatre made the pleasant experience, that when painful scenes immediately followed the rising of the curtain, I took but a slight interest in them, while in joyful ones which, immediately after the music, came on with their own music, I took the greatest; man demands more that sorrow than that rapture should show its motive and its apology. Without hesitation, therefore, I begin a third volume[180] with blisses of which, to be sure, the foregoing couple have been preparing more than enough.

At the moment where our story has arrived, among all the descendants of Adam who lifted a glad face to heaven, and imaged in that face a still fairer heaven, there must have been some one who had the highest heaven,--a happiest of all men. Ah yes! And to be sure, among all suffering creatures upon this _globe_, which our short race makes a _plain_, there must also have been one most unhappy; and may the poor man soon lie down to sleep under, not _on_, his rocky road! Although I could wish that Albano might not be the happiest of all,--in order that there might yet be a higher heaven above his,--still it is probable that, on the morning after that holiest night, in his present dream of the richest dream, deep in the threefold bloom of youth, of nature, and of anticipation, he bore the broadest heaven in himself which the narrow bosom of man can span.

He looked from his thunder-house,--that little temple on whose walls still lingered the radiance of the goddess who had therein become visible to him,--out over the new-created mountains and gardens of Lilar; and it was to him as if he looked into his white and red blooming future, adorned with mountain-peaks and fruit-tree-tops, a full Paradise built out into the naked earth. He looked round in his future after any robbers of joy who might attack his triumphal chariot; he found them all visibly too weak to cope with his arms and weapons. He called up Liana's parents, and his own father, and the host of spirits which had hitherto been working in the air, and set them out on the road which lay between him and his beloved; in his muscles glowed more than sufficient power easily to dash through them to her, and take her with him into his life by main force. "Yes," said he, "I am completely happy, and need nothing more,--no fortune, only my heart and hers!" Albano, may thy evil genius not have heard this dangerous thought, so as to carry it to Nemesis! O, in this wildly entangled wood of thy life, no step, even in the blooming avenues of pleasure, is wholly safe; and amidst the very fulness of this artistic garden there awaits thee a strange, gloomy upas-tree, and breathes cold poisons into thy life! Therefore it was better as it was once, when men were still lowly and prayed to God even in their great raptures; for in the neighborhood of the Infinite One the fiery eye sinks and weeps, but only out of gratitude.

Let no mean almanac measurement be applied to the fair eternity which he now lived, when he saw the beloved every evening, every morning, in her little village. As evening star she went forth before his dreams; as morning star, before his day. The interval both filled out with letters, which they themselves carried to each other. When they parted at evening, not long before they were to see each other again, and while in the north already the rose-bud twigs shot along low down in the heavens, which during men's sleep speedily grew out toward the east, in order to hang down from heaven with thousands of full-blown roses ere the sun and love came back again,--and when his friend Charles stayed with him by night, and he asked, in the course of an hour, whence the light came, whether from the morning or from the moon,--and when he sallied forth, while moon and morning still appeared together in the dew-dripping pleasure-woods,--and when the road, left only a few hours before, appeared wholly new and the absence too long, (because Cupid's wing is half a second-hand, which shows the day of the month, and half a month-hand, which points to the second, and because, in the neighborhood of the loved one, the shortest absence lasts longer than the longest when she is far away,)--and when at last he saw her again,--then was the earth a sun, from which rays proceeded: his heart stood all in light; and as a man, who on a spring morning dreams of a spring-morning, finds it still brighter around him when he awakes, so, after the blessed youthful dream of the beloved, did he open his eyes before her, and desire the fairest dream no more.

Sometimes they saw each other, when the long summer day was too long, on distant mountains, where by appointment they looked upon the harvests; sometimes Rabette came alone to Lilar to her brother, that he might hear something from Liana. When Liana had read a book, he read it after her; often he read it first and she last. Whatever of divine the fairest, purest souls can manifest to each other when they unfold themselves,--a holy heart which makes one still holier, a glowing heart which makes one still more glowing,--that they manifested to each other. Albano was mild toward all, and the radiance of a higher beauty and youth filled his countenance. The fair realms of nature and of his childhood were both adorned by love, not it by either of them; he had mounted from the pale, light moon-car of hope upon the sounding, shining sun-car of living ecstasy. Even on the galleys of wooden sciences, as if animated by the wonder-working hand of Bacchus, masts and shrouds fluttered out into vine-stalks and clusters. If he went to the Froulay house, he always, because he went in full of tolerance, came back without any sacrifice of the same: the Minister, who had returned from Haarhaar with a veil of gay, blooming ideas on his face, imparted to him charming prospects of the exultation wherewith city and country would celebrate the approaching marriage-feast of the Prince and the gain of the most beautiful bride.

And had he not, in addition to all, his friend too? When one stands so close before the flame of joy, one does indeed shun men,--because they easily step between us and the pleasant warmth,--but one seeks them too; a hearty friend is our wish and joy, who shall gently lead on, without chasing away, the happy dream in which we sleep and speak. Charles played softly into his friend's dream; he would, however, have also done it from sincere love for the sister.

In fact, with so much youth, summer weather, innocence, freedom, beautiful scenery, and deep love and friendship, there may well be constructed, even on this low earth, something like that which up in heaven is called a heaven; and a celestial chart, an Elysium-atlas, which one should map out thereof, would perhaps look not far otherwise than this: in front, a long pastoral land, with scattered pleasure-castles and summer-houses; a philanthropist's grove in the middle, the Tabor mountains overhead, with herdsmen upon them, long Campanian vales; then the broad archipelago, with St. Peter's islands; over on the other side the shores of a new pastoral continent, all covered with Daphnean groves and gardens of Alcinoüs; behind that again, stretching far inward, an Arcadia; and so on.

All the philosophy and stoicism that he now had in him--for he held that which the arm out of the clouds gave him as booty gained by his own--Albano applied to the purpose of taking _from_ his ecstasy the moderation which they impart. Moderation, he said, was only for patients and pigmies; and all those anxious, evenly balanced sticklers for temperament[181] and time-keepers had, whether in the cultivation of a pleasure or of a talent, profited themselves more than the world; on the contrary, their antipodes had benefited the world more than themselves.[182]

He kept in view very good fundamental principles. Man, said he, is free and without limits,--not in respect to what he will do or enjoy, but in respect to what he will do without; he can, if he _will_, will to dispense with _everything_. In fact, he continued, one has simply the choice, either _always_ or _never_ to fear; for thy life-tent stands over a loaded mine, and, round about, the hours aim at thee naked weapons. Only one in a thousand[183] hits; and, in any case, I am sure I would sooner fall standing than bending like a coward. But, he concluded, in order to justify himself on the subject, is then steadfastness made for nothing better than for a surgeon and serving-maid, and not much rather for our muse and goddess? for it is not surely a good, merely because it helps do without something which we have lost, but it is intrinsically one, and a greater than the one whose place it supplies; even the happiest must acquire it, even without outward occasion or bestowal; yes, it is so much the better, if it is possessed earlier than applied.

These deceptions or justifications were partly weapons of self-defence against the tragic Roquairol, who would fain heighten every pleasure, and even those of his friend, by sombre contrasts; and partly they were such as a noble man, who hitherto has plunged into sorrow without measuring its depth, and who would always feel his power of swimming through life, must necessarily fall upon, when he is inwardly aware that the centre of gravity of his bliss and of his hell has shifted and fallen out of himself into another being. "O, what if she should die?" he asked himself. He had not been wont to shudder so at the thought of any death as of this. Therefore he squeezed these thorns of fancy right sharply in his hand in order to crush them. At last, when the pure country air of love and the shepherd-dance in this Arcadia had brought more and more roses to Liana's cheek, then his thorns ceased to grow.

To all other vipers of life, so long as they could find no entrance through Liana's heart, he was inaccessible. At whatever price,--and though he should have to forsake, give up, provoke, undertake all,--he would buy Liana. The phantoms of terror which came threateningly to meet him out of two houses,--Froulay's and Gaspard's,--he let come on, and dispelled them: let the foe once show himself, thought he, so am I his foe too. Often he stood in Tartarus, and found, in this still life of death _in rilievo_, peace of soul. The actual world takes more quickly our image than we its; even here he gained soft, broad, life-illumining hopes and sweet tears, which flowed from him at the thought of Liana's faith in her death, not because he believed in the probability, but in the improbability thereof, which, through love and joy and recovery, would daily grow greater.

Only one misfortune was there for him, against which every weapon snapped in pieces, whose possibility, however, he held to be a sinful thought,--namely, that he and Liana, by some fault or time or the world's influence, might cease to love each other. Here, relying on two hearts, he boldly defied the future. O, who has not said, when, in reliance upon a warm eternity, he has expressed his rapture, The Fatal Sister may clip the thread of our life, but shall she come and open the scissors against the bond of our love? The very next day the Fatal Sister has stood before him, and snapped the scissors to.

68. CYCLE.

Once Roquairol came quite late to take Albano with him to the "Evening-Star Party" at the herdsman's hut, which he had arranged with Rabette. The Captain loved to build around the warm springs of his love and joy the well-curb of wholly select days and circumstances; if he could contrive it, for instance, he made his declarations of love, say on a birthday, during a total eclipse of the sun, on a valentine's day, in a blooming hot-house in winter, in a skating chair on the ice, or in a charnel-house; so, too, he loved to quarrel with others in significant days and places, in the church-pew, in the beginning of spring or winter, in the green-room of the amateur theatre, at a great fire, or not far from Tartarus or in the flute-dell. Albano, however, was too young, as others are too old, to have to season his fresh feeling with artificial hours and situations; he preferred to beautify the latter through the former.

With impetuous joy Albano flew along the road to the unexpected pleasure. Last evening had been so rich,--the four rivers of Paradise had, in one cataract, poured down from heaven into his heart,--and this evening he would leap into its sprayey whirlpool. The evening heaven itself was so fair and pure, and Hesperus went with growing splendor down his brightly glimmering path.

Rabette waited at the foot of the mountain on which stood the herdsman's hut (the little shooting-house), in order to lead him unsuspecting to the unprepared female friend, who at the window, with her gleaming eye on Hesperus, lay musing, and thought of the full, glowing autumn flowers, which, at this late time of her life, and so shortly before the longest night, were springing up. She was troubled to-day about many things. She had, in fact, sought hitherto more to deserve and to justify than to enjoy and increase her love, and more to bless with it another's heart than her own. How indescribably she longed to do deeds for him,--only sacrifices were to her deeds,--and she really envied her friend who had, every time, at least to prepare Charles a beverage. As she knew no other way, she expressed her devoted zeal by greater daughterly love and attention to Albano's parents and sister; and learned even to cook a little, which other ministers' daughters, who make nothing but salad and tea, must pardon her, especially when they reflect that, in Liana's case, they themselves would not have done otherwise, but rather have made one dish more. Yes, she accounted Rabette as more virtuous, because she could be more broadly and extensively active; Rabette, on the other hand, held Liana to be the better of the two, because she prayed so much the more. A similar error they repeated twofold in respect to the brothers; Rabette thought Charles the gentler, and Liana, Albano; both, according to inferences from their mutual reports.

So long as a woman loves, she loves right on, steadily. A man has to do something between whiles. Liana transformed everything into his image and his name: this mountain, this little chamber, this, to him once dangerous, bird-pole, became the crayon pencils for his stereotype image. She always came back upon this, that he deserved something better than her; for love is lowliness, on the wedding-ring sparkles no jewel. It touched her that her early death affected him. There she saw still the maiden blinded by the small-pox, whom he had once unconsciously pressed to his heart;[184] and, with the quick apprehension of sadness, she felt herself to resemble the blind one also, in that incident, and not merely in the similar, although shorter night, which pain had once thrown over her eyes.

As gentle as her emblem, Hesperus, dipping into the western horizon of life, did she seem to her lover. She never could pass immediately out of her own heart into the startling present; her turnings were always like those of the sunflower, very slow, and every sensation lived long in her faithful breast. Seldom, indeed, does a lover find the welcome of his loved one like the last image, which the farewell had imparted to him; a female soul must--so man desires--with all the wings, storms, heavens, of the last minute, sound over into the next. But Liana had ever received her friend shyly and softly, and otherwise than she had parted with him; and sometimes, to his fiery spirit, this tender waiting, this slow lifting of the eyelid, appeared almost as a return to the old coldness.

To-day it seized the more ardent Count more strongly than usual. Like a pair of strange children who are to become acquainted with each other, and smile upon and touch each other, the two stood beside each other friendly and embarrassed. She told how she had made his sister tell her of his childish break-neck adventure on this mountain. A loved maiden knows no more beautiful, no richer history than that of her friend. "O even then," he said with emotion, "I looked toward thy mountains! Thy name, like a golden inscription, was written on my whole youth. Ah, Liana! didst thou haply love me as I thee, when thou hadst not yet seen me?"

"Certainly not, Albano," answered she, "not till long after!" She meant, however, her blindness; and said he appeared to her in this twilight of the eyes, on that evening when he ate with her father, like an old northern king's son, somewhat like Olo,[185] and she had had a certain awe before him, as for her father and brother. Her high respect for men the fewest were hardly worthy to guess, not to say, occasion. "And how when thou hadst regained thy sight?" said Albano. "I just told thee that," she replied naively. "But when thou didst so love my brother," she continued, "and wast so good to thy sister, then to be sure I quite took heart, and am now and henceforth thy second sister. Besides, thou hast lost one--Albano, believe me, I know I am surely unworthy, especially of thee; but I have _one_ consolation."

Perplexed by this mixture of sanctity and coldness, he could only passionately kiss her, and was constrained, without contradicting her, to ask forthwith, "What consolation?" "That thou wilt one day be entirely happy," said she softly. "Liana, speak more plainly!" said he. For he understood not that she meant her death and the announcement of Linda by the spirits. "I mean after one year," she replied, "from the date of the predictions." He looked at her speechless, wild, guessing and trembling. She fell weeping upon his heart, and suddenly gave vent to the swell of inward sighs: "Shall I not then be dead at that time," said she with deep emotion, "and look down from eternity to see that thou art rewarded for thy love to Liana? And that, too, certainly in a high degree!"

Weep, be angry, suffer, exult, and wonder more and more, passionate youth! But, to be sure, thou comprehendest not this lowly soul!--Holy humility! thou only virtue which God, not man, created! Thou art higher than all which thou concealest or knowest not! Thou heavenly beam of light! like the earthly light,[186] thou showest all other colors and floatest thyself invisible, colorless, in heaven! Let no one profane thy unconsciousness by instruction! When thy little white blossoms have once fallen, they come not again, and around thy fruits only modesty then spreads her foliage.

Painfully did the heart in Albano split into contradictions, as if into two, his own heart and Liana's. She was nothing but pure love and lowliness, and the splendor of her talents was only a foreign border-work, as white marble images of the gods have the variegated border only as decoration: one could not do anything but adore her, even in her errors. On the other hand, she had, in conjunction with tender, susceptible feelings, such firm opinions and errors; his modesty fought so vainly against her humility, and his clear-sightedness against her visionary tendency. The hostile train which this propensity drew after it he saw too clearly sweeping along over all the joys of her life. His ever-besetting suspicion, that she loved him merely because she hated nothing, and that she was always a sister instead of a lover, again charged home upon him like an armed man. Thus did all things fight together in this case,--duty and desire, fortune and place. Both were new and unknown to each other, because of love; but Liana divined as little as he. O how strange to each other and unlike each other two human beings, kindred souls, become, merely because a Divinity hovers between the two and shines upon both!

Something remained in him unharmonious and unsolved. He felt it so sadly, now that the summer night glimmered for higher raptures than he possessed; now that, deep in the ether, the trembling evening star pressed on after the sun through the rose-clouds under which he was buried; now that the meadows of grain breathed perfume and murmured not, and the closed pastures grew green and did not glow, and the world and every nightingale slept, and life below was a still cloister-garden, and, only overhead, the constellations, like silver, ethereal harps, seemed to tremble and sound before the spring winds of distant Edens.

He must needs see Liana again to-morrow, by way of tuning his heart. Rabette came up from the mountain with her friend, infinitely animated. Both seemed almost exhausted with laughing and joking; for Roquairol carried everything, even mirth, to the degree of pain. He had converted the evening star, for which he had given the invitation, into a hothouse and homestead of pleasant conceits and allusions. At first he would not come home with her, even to-morrow; but at last he consented, when Rabette assured him "she understood the fine gentleman well enough, but he must nevertheless just let her take care of things."

When the ruddy dawn arose, Albano, accompanied by him, came again; but the garden-gate of the "manor-garden" was already open, and Liana already in the arbor. A stitched book of public documents (seemingly) lay in her lap, and her folded hands beside it; she looked rather straightforward, as in thought, than upwards, as in prayer; yet she received her Albano with so mild and distant a smile, as a man, greeting a guest who comes right into the midst of his prayers, smiles upon him, and then continues his devotion. The Count had hitherto been obliged always to prepare himself for a certain reserve in her reception of him. A misunderstanding, which returns quickly, however often it is removed, acts again and again as deludingly and freshly as at the first time. He felt very strongly that something more fixed than that first virgin bashfulness, wherewith a maiden will always invent for the dazzling sun of love, besides the dawn, a twilight too, and again another for that, hindered the fiery melting together of their souls.

He asked what she was reading; she hesitated, covering it up. A thought, suddenly darting upon her, seemed to open her heart; she gave him the book, and said it was a French manuscript,--namely, written prayers, drawn up by her mother several years before, which touched her more than her own thoughts; but still there was ever-more looking through her tenderly woven face a cloistral thought, which sought to leave her heart. What could Albano object to this Psalmist of the heart? Who can answer a songstress? A praying female stands, as does also an unhappy one, on a high, holy place, which our arms cannot reach. But how miserable must most prayers be, since, although in earlier life possessing the attraction of charms, like the rosary, which is made out of sweet-smelling woods, yet afterward in advanced age they act only as blemishes, and like the relic or the death's-head with which the rosary itself ends!

Without waiting for his question, she told him at once what had disturbed her during her prayer; namely, this passage in it: _O mon Dieu, fais que je sois toujours vraie et sincere_, &c., whereas she had hitherto concealed her love from her dear mother. She added, she would come now very soon, and then the closed heart should be opened to her. "No," said he, almost angrily, "thou mayest not; thy secret is also mine!" Men are often hardened by that in prose which in poetry softens them; for example, woman's piety and open-heartedness.

Now no one hated more than he the clutching of the parental writing-finger, forefinger, and little finger into a pair of clasped hands; not that he feared, on the part of the Minister, wars or rivals,--he rather presupposed open arms and feasts of joy,--but because, to his magnanimous spirit, at once claiming and granting liberty, nothing was more revolting than the reflection, what smutty turf now for the kindling of the fire the parents might lay on the altar of love, or what pots they might set on to boil; how easily, then, even poetic parents often transform themselves with the children into prosaic or juristical ones, the father into an administrative, the mother into a financial board; how, then, to say the least, the court atmosphere makes one a bondsman, just as only the poetic heaven's ether makes free; and what perturbations his Hesperus might expect from the attracting world, the old Minister, who found nothing more unprofitable about love than love itself, and to whom the holiest sensibilities seemed about as useful for marriages of rank as the Hebrew is for preachers, namely, more in examination than in actual service. So ill did he think of his father-in-law, for he knew not something still worse.

But the good daughter thought far higher of her mother than did a stranger, and her heart struggled painfully against concealing from her her love. She appealed to her brother, who was just entering. But he was wholly of Albano's mind. "Women," he added, not in the best humor, "are more fond of speaking _about_ love than _in_ love; men, the reverse." "No," said Liana, decidedly; "_if_ my mother ask me, I cannot be untrue." "God!" cried Albano, with a shudder, "and who could wish that?" For to him, also, free truth was the open helmet of the soul's nobility; only he spoke it merely from self-respect, and Liana out of human affection.

Rabette came with the tea-things and a flask, wherein was tea-juice and elementary fire, or nerve-ether for the Captain,--arrack. He never liked to visit people in the morning, with whom he could not drink it till evening; Rabette had yesterday guessed this naughtiness, and to-day gratified it. "How can the soul," said the sound Albano to him often, "make itself a slave to the belly and the senses? Are we not already bound closely enough by the fetters of the body, and thou wilt still draw chains through the chains?" To this Roquairol had always the same answer: "Just the reverse! Through the corporeal itself, I free myself from the corporeal; for instance, by wine from blood. As long as thou canst never escape servitude to the bodily senses, and all thy consciousness and thy thinking can only, through a bodily servitude, attaching itself to the glebe of the earth, abide in their nobility; I cannot perceive why thou dost not properly use these rebels and despots as thy servants? Why must I let the body only work ill upon me, and not advantageously as well?" Albano stood to it, that the still light of health was more dignified than the poppy-oil flame of a slave of opium; and the fate of being prisoner of war to the body, which one spirit has to bear in common with the whole human army, more honorable than the cramping confinement of a personal arrest.

To-day, however, not even the spirituous brimstone-smoked tea-water could wash away a certain discontent from Roquairol, whom night-watching had colored more pale, as it had the Count more red. He could not be reconciled to it, that the manor-garden was all shut in with a board-fence as high as a man, which was less intended as a billiard-table border, not to let the eye-ball go out, than as a mountebank's booth, to let nothing in, and which of course insured no other _prospect_ than the prospect proper; quite as little did the pleasure-garden commend itself to his favor by the fact that the turf-benches on which they sat in the arbor had not yet been mowed, that in all the beds only vegetables for the trimming of cooked meat flapped about, that nothing ripe yet hung there but one or two moles in their hanging death-beds, that on a bowling-green, whereupon one rolls into a tinkling middle-hole, the crooked return-alley let the balls run home again, much more easily than they could--unless one threw them--be made to pass over the earth-bottom of the main alley, and that no orangery was anywhere to be seen, excepting once, when fortunately the garden-gate stood open, just as a blooming orangery box passed by in a wheelbarrow on its way to Lilar.

The Captain needed only to bring forward these particulars satirically, and thereby inwardly to wound the outwardly laughing Rabette,--because no woman can bear to hear fault found with her bodily property, whether it be children, clothes, cakes, or furniture;[187] and then his mountain-heights could gradually disencumber themselves of their clouds again, and Rabette become still more uncommonly gay.

Albano, in this morning hour of the day, and, as it were, of childhood, and in this little paradise-garden of his childish years, was inwardly glad,--for in the first love, as in Shakespeare's pieces, nothing depends on the wooden stage of the performance; but to-day's afterwinter of yesterday's chill would nevertheless not melt. The morning-blue began to be filled with brighter and brighter golden fleeces; as the garden, like small cities, had only two gates, the upper and the lower, he opened like an aurora that of the morning sun; the splendor gushed in over the smoking green; the Rosana gliding below caught lightnings, and flung them over hitherward; Albano departed finally full of love and bliss.

But the love was greater than the bliss.

69. CYCLE.

Flying Spring! (I mean love, just as one calls the after summer a _flying summer_) thou hurriest away of thyself over our heads with arrowy speed; why do authors again hurry over thee? Thou art the German blossoming season; which is never a blossoming month long. We read all winter in almanacs and similes much about its magnificence, and we pine for it; at last it hangs thick on the dark boughs six days long, and beside that, under cold May showers, sweeping bliss-month[188] storms, and with a dumb-session of half-frozen nightingales,--and then, when one comes out at length into the garden, the footpath is already white with blossoms, and the tree at most full of green; then it is over, till in winter we again hear with exaltation of heart the beginning of a tale: "It was just in the lovely season of the blossoming." Even so do I see few authors, at the long session-and-scribbling-table of romance, working right and left for the benefit of the reading-desk, who, after the long preface to love, do not so soon as, like a war, it is declared, forthwith conclude it; and really, there are more steps _to_ love than _in_ it; all that is _coming to be_,--for instance, spring, youth, morning, learning,--opens out more widely and in a richer variety of hues than fixed _being_; but is not this latter in turn a progress, only a higher; and this, again, a state of being, only a quicker?

Albano would fain lead along more beautifully the fleeting, divine season, when the heart is our god; he would have it rather fly _upward_ than fly _away_. He was angry the next day with nobody but himself. He tore his way through such petty and yet closely entangling troubles, through a condition like that of men during an earthquake, when an invisible vapor holds the heavy foot as a snare. "I would rather let myself be rained on upon mountains," said he, "than in valleys." Men of quick fancy more easily reconcile themselves to the loved one when she is absent, than when she is present.

After some days, he went again to Blumenbühl just before sundown. A burning red cut through the night-like gloom of the foliage. His darkening, woody road was made, by the flames which danced about therein, an enchanted one. He transferred his illuminated present deep into a future, shady past. O, after years, thought he, when thou returnest, when all is gone by and changed, the trees grown up, human beings passed away, and only the mountains and the brook left, then wilt thou congratulate thyself that thou couldst once in these walks so often journey to thy sweetest heart, and on either hand the music and the glory of Nature went along with thy joyful soul, as the moon seems to the child to run after him through all streets. An unwonted rapture flung through his whole being the long, broad streak of sunshine; the farthest flowers of his fancy opened; all tones came through a brighter ether, and sounded nearer. The flowers around him, too, exhaled a keener fragrance, and the peal of the bell sounded nearer; and both are signs of foul weather.

Thus inwardly happy, he made his appearance,--and, indeed, without Roquairol, who in fact came more and more seldom,--and found his beloved up in his childhood's study, her guest-chamber, which was now the usual scene of his visits. In a white dress, with dark trimming, as in a beautiful half-mourning, she sat at the drawing-table with her eyes sharper than usual, buried in a picture. She flew to his heart, but only to lead him back presently to the dear form upon which her heart hung as in a mother's arms. She related that her mother had been here to-day with the Princess, and had showed so much pleasure in her improving color, such infinite kindness toward her happy daughter. "She was obliged," continued she, "to let me take a slight sketch of her, in order that I might only look upon her so much the longer, and have something of her to keep by me. I am just finishing the outline of the face, but it is absolutely too poor a likeness." She could not tear her fancy away from the image, and still less from the original. To be sure, no more beautiful medallion can hang _on_ a daughter's heart, or in fact _in_ it, than that of a mother; but, nevertheless, Albano thought to-day the hanging-ring took up too broad a space.

She talked only of her mother. "I certainly sin," said she; "she asked me in such a friendly way whether thou camest often, but I said only yes, and nothing further. O good Albano, how gladly would I have given up to her frankly my whole soul!"

He answered, that the mother seemed not to be so frank; she perhaps knew already the whole through the Lector, and the pure draught of love would now be continually disturbed by foreign substances. Against Augusti he declared himself very strongly, but Liana quite as strongly upheld him. Through both that counterfeiter of the coin of truth, namely, suspicion,--the suspicion that she perhaps loved him as she loved everything, since she grew as by a living tie to everything good,--gained, under Albano's sensibilities, which besides had been to-day so warm and glad, more and more mint-stamps and currency.

She suspected nothing, but she came back to the subject of her secrecy. "But why, then, does it make me unhappy," said she, "if it is right? Beloved one, my Caroline too appears to me no longer, and truly that is no good sign." This spectral-machinery always came on as oppressively and gloomily to him as a thunder-cloud in the outer world. His old exasperation against the teasings practised in his own case by apes of the air, whom he could not lay hold of, passed over into a similar feeling against Liana's optical self-deception. That veil presented her by Caroline, wherewith, in the beginning, she had so sublimely arrayed herself for the cloister of the tomb,--that travelling veil for the next world,--had long been to this Hercules a burning garment, drenched in the poisonous blood of a Nessus; therefore she no longer dared to wear it before him. The conclusion that the fancy of being destined to death laid the seed of the reality, and that in the deep overhanging cloud an accident might easily attract the striking-spark of death, fell like a mourning into his love festival. So are all strange sea-wonders of fancy (like this death-delusion) desired only _in_ fancy (in romance), but not in life, except once on fantastic heights; but then must such comets, like others, soon recede again from our heaven.

He spoke now very seriously,--of suicidal fancies, of life's duties, of wilful blindness to the fairest signs of her recovery, among which he reckoned as well the disappearance of the optical Caroline as the blooming of her color. She heard him patiently; but through the Princess, who, notwithstanding her love, seldom left behind with him pleasant impressions, her fancy had to-day taken quite another road, far beyond herself and her grave. She stood only before Linda's image, of which Julienne had this afternoon communicated to her sharper outlines than maidens are wont to give of maidens. "She is a very good girl," they say of each other. Linda's manly spirit, her warm attachment to Gaspard in connection with her contempt of the mass of men, her inflexibility, her bold strides in manly knowledge, her masterly and often severe letters, more pithy than flowery, and, most of all, her probably approaching arrival, took a powerful hold of Liana's tender heart. "My Albano must have her," was the constant thought of this disinterested soul; and if the Princess had had the intention of humiliating comparisons, she remarked it not, but fulfilled it. The good creature found, too, so much of a higher providence here,--for example, that her brother need now no longer be the rival of her lover and of his friend,--that she herself could portray beforehand her vigorous Albano to the proud Romeiro, and that certainly, despite all opposition, all the ghostly prophecies strikingly connected and coincided with each other. All this she now said (because she concealed only her sorrows, not her hopes) right to the Count's face.

What a gnashing bite did an evil genius at this moment make into his tenderest life! That glowing love which neither divides nor is divided possessed _his_ heart, he thought, not hers. He came very near to showing up his inner being just as it was, all kindled at once, as if by a lightning stroke, into a lofty blaze. Only the innocent white brow, with festive roses in its little ringlets; the childishly bright looking-up of the pure blue pair of eyes, and the soft face, which even at a musical fortissimo, and at every vehemence in movement or laughter on the part of another, caught a sickly redness from the beating heart; and his indignant shame at the levity with which a man can abuse his omnipotence and his sex, to the terror of the tenderer, restrained him, like guardian spirits; and he said merely, in that noble anger which sounded like a tender emotion, "O Liana, thou art hard to-day!"

"And yet I am indeed so tender!" said the innocent one. The two had hitherto been standing at the window, before the dark tempest which came rolling on out of Lilar. She turned suddenly round; for since the day of her blindness, when a dark cloud had seemed to fly towards her, she had never been able to look at one long; and Albano's tall form, with his whole live-glowing face and his soul-speaking eyes, stood illumined by the evening light before her. With the hand which he left free she softly and playfully swept aside the dark hair from his defiant forehead, smoothed the contracted eyebrow, and said, as his look stung like a sun, and his mouth shut with determination, "O, joyfully, joyfully, shall this fair face one day smile!" He smiled, but sadly. "And then shall I be still more blest than to-day!" said she, and started, for a lightning-flash darted across his earnest face, as over a jagged mountain, and showed it, like that of the god of war, illuminated with war-flames.

He hurried away; would not be held back; spoke of a weather-cooling; went out into the storm; and left Liana behind in the joy that she had spoken to-day merely out of pure love. From the last house in the village Rabette flew to meet him; the torrents of the restrained tears rolled down his cheeks. "What dost thou want? why weepest thou?" she cried. "Thou art dreaming!" cried he, and hurried, without further answer, out into the tempest, which had suddenly, like a mantle-fish, flung itself stiflingly over the whole heaven. There, under the rain-drops and lightning-flashes, he began, first of all, to reckon up for himself the best proofs that Liana had saintly charms, divine sense, all virtues, especially universal philanthropy, daughterly, sisterly, friendly affection, only not, however, the glowing love for one person,--at least, not for him. She is so entirely and exclusively--such is always his conclusion--possessed and absorbed with the present object, whether it be myself or a broken arm of the little Pollux, that it hides from her heaven and earth. Hence the setting of her life's day, with all the attendant partings, is no more to her than the setting of a star. Hence it was that I stood beside her so long, with a heart full of the pangs of love, and she saw not into my love, because she found none in her own bosom. And this is what makes it so bitter, when man, pining in poverty among the common hearts of earth, is rendered by the noblest only unhappy at last.

The rain pattered and trickled through the leaves, the fire darted through the woods, and the Wild Huntsman of the storm drove his crazy chase. This refreshed and rejoiced him like the cooling hand of a friend taking his to guide him. As he ascended, not through the cavern, but outside over the back of the mountain to his high thunder-house, he saw a thick, gray night of rain settle down heavily upon the green Lilar, and on the winding Tartarus rested under the flashes the illuminated storm. He shuddered, on entering his little house, at a cry which his Æolian-harp emitted under the snatches of the wind; for it had once, gilded by the evening sun, ethereally clothed his young love like starlight, and had followed it with ever-varying tones, as it went out over this suffering life.

70. CYCLE.

On the morning after both storms were dissolved into a still cloudiness.--And out of the great griefs came only errors. Weaklings that we are! when at our sham execution fate touches us with the rod, not with the sword, we sink impotently from the block, and feel the process of dying reach far into our life! All fevers, including spiritual ones, are cooled by the freshness of a new morning, just as sad evening stirs all their embers into a glow. Who of us has not at evening,--that proper witching hour of tormenting spectres, house-haunting ghosts and hobgoblins,--caught in the threads which he himself had spun, but which he took for a web spread by other hands, entangled himself more and more deeply the more he turned about and tried to extricate himself, till in the morning he saw his turnkey before him, namely, himself?

Albano saw on the whole theatre of yesterday's war nothing left standing but a pale, kindly figure in half-mourning, who looked round after him with innocent maidenly eyes, and toward which he could not help looking over, albeit she was now more a bride of God than of a mortal. He felt now, to be sure, more strongly how high his demands upon real friends rose, than he once did, when he could heighten at pleasure the highest which he made upon the beings of his dreams, whom he always cast exactly into the temporary mould of his heart; and how he was possessed by a spirit that spared no one, that would stretch the wings of every other according to its own, because it could bear no individuality except that which was copied.

He had hitherto experienced from all his loved ones too little opposition, as Liana had too much; both extremes injure one. The spiritual as well as the physical man, without the resistance of the outer atmosphere, is blown up and burst by the inner, and without the resistance of the inner is crushed by the outer; only the equilibrium between inner resistance and outer pressure keeps a fair play-room open for life and its culture. Besides, men--since only the best of them appreciate in the best of their own sex strong conviction--can hardly tolerate it in women, and would have them not merely the reflection, but even the echo, of themselves. They want, I mean, not merely the look, but also the word, that says yes.

Albano punished himself with several days of voluntary absence, till the unclean clouds should have cleared away from within him which had overshadowed the gnomon of the sundial of his inner man. "When I am quite cheerful and good-natured," said he, "I will go back to her, and err no more." He errs at this moment. Whenever a strange, uncomfortable semitone has repeatedly intruded itself between all the harmonies of two natures, it swells more and more fatally till it drowns the key-note, and ends all. The dividing tone was, in this case, the strength of the man's pitch in connection with the strength of the woman's. But the highest love is most easily wounded by the slightest difference. O, little avails it then for man to say to himself, I will be another man! Only in the finest, only in unimpaired enthusiasm, does he propose to himself such a thing; but it is just when the feeling is impaired, when he were hardly capable of the purpose, that he has to rise to the fulfilment of it, and then he can hardly make the achievement.

The Count went in the morning, as usual, to his lecture-rooms and parlors in the city. In the former it was hard for him to fix his instruments and his eyes upon the stars of the sciences, and to take sight, sailing as he was on such a sea of emotion. In the latter he found the Lector colder than ever, the Bibliothecary warmer, the household more inflated. He went to Roquairol, whom he to-day loved and treated still more cordially, as if by way of atonement to his offended sister. Charles said at once, with his sudden and tragical flinging up of the curtain of futurity, "All was discovered,--in the highest degree of probability!" As often as lovers see that their Calypso's island--which, to be sure, lies free on the open ocean--has at length come to the eyes of the seafaring world, and that they are making sail for it, they are astonished to an astonishing degree; for is there any one Paradise which has such a loose and low palisado, allowing every passer-by to see in, as theirs?

For a long time, he related, had the Doctor's children always had something to fetch from the Architect's wife at Lilar,--flowers, medicine-phials, &c.; certainly as spy-glasses and ear-tubes of Augusti, who again was the opera-glass of his mother. In short, his father had, at least, been at the Greek woman's yesterday, but had luckily found only an empty package[189] from Rabette to him (Charles), which, according to the liberties of the ministerial Church, he had opened and closed.

"Why _luckily_?" said Albano. "I will justify and honor my love before the world." "I referred to myself," he replied; "for never was my father more friendly to me than since he broke open my last letters. He is this afternoon in Blumenbühl, and it may well be more on my own account than my sister's."

Albano had no fear that the city could drill mining-galleries under his childhood's land, so as to blow up in one conflagration the blessed isle,--could he not trust his character and courage and Liana's own?--but it pained him now that he had so needlessly robbed the childlike Liana of the joy and merit of a childlike open-heartedness. How he longed now for the atoning and recompensing moment of the first meeting again, after the next morning!

He stayed by his friend as by a consolation, and did not go back till the evening redness floated about in the rain-clouds. When he came, he found already awaiting him a letter from Liana, written to-day.

"O good Albano, why camest thou not? How much I had to say to thee! How I trembled for thy sake on Friday, when the frowning cloud pursued thee with its thunder! Thou hast weaned me too much from sorrow, so strange and heavy has it become to me now. I was inconsolable the whole evening; at last, when night fell, the thought sank into my mind that thou hadst been oppressed as with presentiments, and that the lightning loved to strike the thunder-house. Why, indeed, art thou there? I hurried up, and knelt by my bed, and prayed to God, although the storm had long been dispersed, that he would have preserved thee. Smile at my tardy prayer; but I said to him, 'Thou knewest indeed, all-gracious One, that I would pray.' I was consoled, too, when I looked up to the stars, and the broken ray of joy trembled within me.

"But in the morning Rabette made me sad again. She had seen thee weeping on the road. A thousand times have I asked myself, whether I am to blame for that. Can it have come from this,--for she says so,--that I afflict thee too much with my death thoughts? Never more shalt thou hear them; the veil, too, is laid away; but I calculated upon thee according to my brother, to whom, as he himself says, the dusk of death is an evening-twilight, in which forms seem to him more lovely. Truly, I am quite blest; for thou art even so, and yet hast so little in having me,--only a small flower for thy heart, but I have thyself. Leave me my grave-mound; therefrom, as from a mountain, comes better, more fruitful soil into my valley. O how one loves, Albano, when all around us crumbles and sinks and melts away in smoke, and when, still, the bond and splendor of love stand firm and inviolate on the fleeting ground of life, as I have often seen with emotion, when standing by waterfalls, a rainbow hover, undisturbed and unchanged, over the bursting, impetuous floods! O, would that the nightingales were yet singing; now I could sing with them! Thy Æolian-harp, my harmonica, how gladly would I have it in my hand! My father was with us, and more cheerful and friendly toward all than ever. Lo, even he is kindly disposed! My parents surely send no tempest into our feast of roses. I readily did him the pleasure, therefore,--forgive it!--of promising him, that I would receive no visits from strangers in a strange house--because, he said, it was improper. I must go home for some days on account of the Prince's marriage; but I shall see thee soon. O forgive! When my father speaks softly, my soul cannot possibly say, No. Farewell, my noble one!


"P. S. Soon a little leaf will come fluttering again over to thy mountain. Only continue in perpetual joy! O God! why am I not stronger? What beings shouldst thou then take to thy heart!--Thou dear one!"

How was he shamed by this full-blooming love, which never rightly knows when it is misunderstood, and which presupposes no other fault than its own! How sadly did the thought of the commanded separation affect him now, after the voluntary one! He could now love her as a guarding angel _before_ Paradise, how much more as a giving angel _in_ it! But it is hard for a man, as the youth felt, clearly to distinguish in the female heart, especially in this one, intention from instinct, ideas from feelings, and in this dark, full heaven to count and arrange all the stars. Everything like hardness, every unpromising bud, arose at last as a flower; and her worth unfolded itself piece-wise like spring; whereas, generally, from other maidens, a traveller who visits them carries away with him directly at his first evening's departure a little complete flower-catalogue of all their charms and arts, as a Brocken-passenger gets at the tavern a neat nosegay of the various kinds of mosses which are found on the mountain.

He supposed she was now with her parents; and he followed, not as a pouting schoolboy, but as a harmonious man, the giant of destiny. In the garden rainy weather held sway, the crop of every heavy tempest, which, like a war, always devastates the scene of conflict.

The promised leaflet appeared: "Only be happy. We shall see each other very, very soon, and then most blissfully. Forgive me! Ah, I long exceedingly!"

Now he experienced what days they were which had _once_--that is, only a few days ago--passed before him as divine apparitions, and which now again were to come up in the East as returning stars! Why does a blessing, not till it is lost, cut its way like a sharp diamond so deeply into the heart? Why must we first have lamented a thing, before we ardently and painfully love it? Albano threw both past and future away from him, that he might dwell wholly and purely in that present which Liana had promised him.

71. CYCLE.

On Sunday morning, when all the blue heavens stood open, and the earth was festally decked with pearls and twigs, a gentle finger tapped at Albano's door, which could belong to none but a female hand. It was Liana who entered at so early an hour; Rabette and Charles without uttered a loud greeting. On his exulting breast fell the beautiful maiden, blooming from, her walk, with blessed, bright eyes, a freshly bedewed rose-bud. It was his finest morning; he had a clear feeling of Liana's love. As the Æolian-harp sounded in, she looked towards it, remembered with a blush that fairest evening of the covenant, and listened in silence, and dried her eyes when she turned them again towards Albano. But he could not enter into this temple of joy without having cleansed and healed himself by a frank confession of his late errors. What a sweet rivalry ensued between them of confessing and forgiving, when Liana lovingly exclaimed and owned that she had not understood him lately, that only she was the blamable one, and that she would begin this very moment to speak better. She could not give herself any comfort about the secret pangs which she had caused her friend. As mahogany furniture cracks in no temperature, and contracts no spots, and needs no polishing, so was it with this heart, Albano's felt, as he now swore to himself always, even when he did not understand her, to say to himself, She is right.

She solved for him the riddle of her appearing to-day with those friendly looks which a good nature redoubles, when it has anything to sweeten,--namely, she was going back to Pestitz to-day; but the carriage would not come till late, till evening, in fact, about tea-time, and so there remained a whole day before them; and she hoped her father would not take this circuitous route through Lilar as a breach of her promise. A loving maiden grows unconsciously more bold. Thereupon she sought to make him quite calm about the peaceful intentions of her father, and represented his strictness, in subjecting himself and others to convenience, as the reason of his prohibition, as well as of her being summoned back to the wedding-festival. Albano, so soon after the oath which he had just sworn to himself, kept it, and said, She is right.

The Captain came in with the red-cheeked Rabette, whose eyes glistened with joy. The small apartment did not, by narrowness and confusion, make the pleasure less. Charles, generally so much like Vesuvius, which in the first hours of morning is still covered with snow, presented already a warm summit; he seated himself at the instrument and thundered into the noisy presence with a prestissimo (which lay open) of Haydn's,--that true hour-caller of rejoicing hours,--and played, to the astonishment of the females, the hardest part so easily, at sight, that he rather played into it, than from it, and kept composing much (for instance, the bass) himself; whereas Albano, with almost comic fidelity, gave you the exact truth in music quite as much as in history, which, again, always became in Charles's mouth a piece of his own personal biography. The morning added wings to all their souls, whereas noon always binds men's wings down,--hence Aurora goes with winged steeds, and the god of day with wingless ones. "But how now are our seven pleasure-stations to be made out?" inquired Charles, "for the day lies like a garden-hall, with nothing but pleasure-avenues on all sides open before us." "Charles, is it not, then, a matter of indifference _where_ a man loves?" said Albano. Blessed one, whose heart needs nothing but one heart more, no park into the bargain, no _opera seria_, no Mozart, no Raphael, no eclipse of the moon, not so much as moonlight, and no read or acted romance!

"First, I must see my Chariton," said Liana. "Yes," added her brother, immediately, "she can bring our dinner after us into the gothic temple." He proposed, namely, on this lovely day, to dine in the twelfth century, and to sit by a sombre, motley window-light, and on sharp-cornered, heavy, thick furniture, and, as it were, darkly under the earth of a green present, glistening overhead, to sit with blooming faces; for thus did he overload the fullest enjoyments with external contrasts, and enjoyed every happy present most in the near gleam and reflection of the sharpened sickle which was to mow them away.[190] "God forbid and avert it, friend!" said Rabette. Albano, too, deemed the friendly Greek, her laughing children, and the neighboring rose-fields far preferable, and, with the aid of Liana, prevailed. Before the embowered cottage the children came running to meet them, Helena, with her little apron full of orange-blossoms, which she had picked up, for the breaking of them off had been forbidden her, and Pollux, in the last, light bandage of his broken arm, the hand of which had now been obliged to work with its companion, the right hand, at puckering up and cracking the rose-leaves. Both gave notice: "Mother was not ready yet, and had dressed them first." But presently, neat and simple as a priestess destined to dance around the altar of gods of joy, sprang Chariton to meet her Liana, and, as she came, continued adjusting her hastily donned clothes by a light hitching and twitching. "This," said Roquairol, after he had easily obtained from Rabette a nodding assent thereto, because she had not understood his French request for the same, "is my spouse since yesterday,"--and he enjoyed without further circumstance the right of thouing her, which she, since the friendly encouragement of the Minister, accepted the more fondly with maidenly presentiments.

When Liana kindly announced four noonday guests for Chariton, there stood in the dark eyes of the Greek gleams of joy, and the little face, with great arched Italian eyebrows, became a stereotype smile, which was not culinary embarrassment, but merely tongueless joy; which only made her white semicircle of teeth shine more broadly, when Charles spoke right out: "Surely thou canst help her, wife!" "Of course!" said Rabette, quite delighted; because her heart had no longer any other lips than her two hands, for which, if they could only lay hold of hard work, it was full as much as if they were pressed by the hand of a lover. Did she not again and again curse her awkward, hesitating throat, when Roquairol, in her presence, poured out his sounding and fiery torrents of speech? On this occasion, when he had again set off the surroundings with artificial, shadowy refinements, he insisted upon it, of course, that Chariton should be executive secretary, and Rabette only corresponding secretary. Liana, too, out of a like womanliness, would fain do something for her darling; but since she, as a maiden of rank, could not cook anything, but only bake a little, accordingly it was assigned her,--but reluctantly on the part of her friend, who never loved to see the sweet form anywhere else than, like other butterflies, by his side among the flowers,--at a quite late moment, and for a space of ten minutes, with her eyes and in extraordinary cases with her three writing-fingers, to co-operate in making the snow-balls, which were to close and crown the dessert.

Never had kitchen ball-queen a broader canopy, or a more beautifully carved sceptre and apple, or fairer _dames d'atour_[191] than Chariton, and vessels and fire were quite thrown into the shade thereby.

Now the happy couples--and the children too--went out into the joyful day, into the youthful garden, in order, like planets, with their moons, to stand now near each other, now far off, now in opposition, and now in conjunction, on their heavenly orbit around the same sun. "We will launch out at a venture," said Charles, in port, "and see whether we do not meet." Albano went with Liana after the children, who were already skipping along on the little houses through the rose-walks, on the bridge over the singing wood. He whose heart beats in such calm blissfulness, seeks in the invisible church no visible one: the whole temple of nature is the temple of love, and everywhere stand altars and pulpits. On the smoothly descending life-stream man stands without rudder, happy in his skiff, and leaves it to its own will.

Then the children, mindful of the maternal prohibition against excursions, led the way up along the right, over the bridged eminence, to the western triumphal arch; and Helena, merely as guide of the little convalescent, ran forward quite unexpectedly and wildly with his hand. How gladly did Albano follow the little pilots and pointers! Heavens! when they looked round them on the magnificent height, and into the rich outspread day, and then into each other's eyes, how freely and broadly did the arches of their life-bridge rear themselves, and ships, with swollen sails and proudly towering masts, sail away beneath! Rose-trees clambered up the triumphal arches, the children reached up, snatched roses from their summits, and trudged away (working out and proving the unusual obedience) over four gates, in order, from the fifth, to look down into the smooth, shining lake, and to descend into the "enchanted wood," where art, like the children, played her pranks.

Out of the entrance of the wood came forth Charles and Rabette, on their way back to Chariton over the arches, the former bound to the wine-cellar (he had something empty therefrom in his hand), and she intending to run a moment into the kitchen. He went blissfully, as if on wings, and said: "Life travels to-day in the constellation of the wain, far away through the blue." He turned round, however, to let the _Pleiades_ rise before them, that is, the so-called "inverted rain," which ascends only for the space of five minutes, and properly only in an illumination. He led them all into the wondrous wood, through a light that lay in noonday slumber, glowing under free trees, whose stems, standing far asunder, only tendered each other their long twigs. At the focus of the picturesque paths, he let them await the play of the rain. The children sprang after him with their hopes, and, backed by the courage of the grown ones, sat down by them, on designated seats of the gods, or children's seats, between two little round lakes.

While Charles ran swiftly up and down in zigzag, attending to the hydraulic and other mechanism,--nearly according to the points of the labyrinth-garden in Versailles,--they could fly about through the magic wood that rose everywhere. An all-powerful arm of the Rosana, which swept by without, struck in among the flowers, and bore a heavy, rich world; now the water was a fixed mirror, now a winding, beating vein, now a gushing spring, now a flash of lightning behind flowers, or a dark eye behind leafy veils; tapering shores, short beds, children's gardens, round islands, little hills, and tongues of land lay between: they held their motley, blooming children on arm and bosom, and the blue eyes of the forget-me-not, and the full tulip-cheeks, and the white-cheeked lilies played together like brothers and sisters apart from strangers, but roses ran through all. Now they heard a murmuring and purling; the lakes beside them bubbled up; on a peeled May-tree, fenced in on an island, the yellow fir-needles began to drop from above; from the hanging birches on the tongue of land, an inner rain dripped and glided down; out of the two lakes beside them water-jets flew like flying-fishes toward heaven. Now it gushed everywhere, and rows of fountains, those water-children, played with the flower-children. Like birds, streams fluttered with broad wings out of the laurel-hedges, and fell into the groups of roses. On a hill full of oaks, a water-snake crawled up; victoriously shot out from all the mouths of the shores besieging arches to the summits; suddenly the cheated spectators found themselves overhung with rainbows, for the lakes flung their waters high across over them, so that the wavering sun blazed through the lattice-work of drops, as through a shivered jewel-world. The children screamed with a terror of joy. The scared birds cruised through the shower; night butterflies were cast down; the turtle-doves shook themselves on the ground, beaten down in the torrents; the banks and the beds held their blooming little ones beneath the heavens.

After five minutes the whole was over, and nothing remained, save that in all flowers and eyes the moist radiance trembled, and on the waves the stars continued to glisten. The children ran after the wonder-worker, Charles. "All is over outwardly," said Albano, "but not within us. I am to-day perfectly and peacefully happy; for thou lovest me, and the whole world, too, is friendly. Art thou, too, happy, Liana?" She answered, "Still more happy, and I must needs weep for joy if I told how happy I am." But she was weeping already. "See! drops!" said she, naively, as he looked upon her, and wiped _his_, which were the sprinklings of the rainbow, softly from his cheeks. His lips touched her holy, tender eye, but the other remained open, and her love looked out from it at him, and never did her holy soul hover nearer to him.

After a few minutes this inverted heavenward shower was also over. They went across the middle of the free gardens to the eastern parts and gates. How brightly lay the coasts of the future before them, with thick, high green, and nightingales flying around the shores! Rapture makes the manly heart more womanly. The voice of his full bosom spoke but softly to Liana, on whose countenance, turned sidewise and heavenward, lay a still, pious gratitude; his fiery glance moved but slowly, and rested on the beautiful world; and he went without hasty strides around the smallest points of land. The young nightingale whet her well-fed bill against the twig, and shook herself merrily; the old one sang a short lullaby, and skipped chanting after fresh food; and everywhere flew and screamed across each other's paths the children of spring and their parents. Little white peacocks ran, without their pride, like little children in the grass. Blissfully floated the swan between her waves, with the white arch over the eyes that dipped under, and blissfully hovered the glistening music-fly, like a fixed star, undisturbed in the air, over a distant, flowery bell. The butterflies, flying flowers, and the flowers, fettered butterflies, sought and sheltered each other, and laid their variegated wings to wings; and the bees exchanged flowers only for blossoms, and the rose which has no thorns for them they exchanged only for the linden.

"Liana," said Albano, "how I love the whole world to-day, on thy account! I could give the flowers a kiss, and press myself into the very heart of the full trees; I could not tread in the way of the long chafer down there." "Should one," she replied, "ever feel otherwise? How can a human being, I have often thought, who has a mother, and knows her love, so afflict and rend the heart of a brute mother? But Spener says, we do not forgive beasts even their virtues." "Let us go to him," said he.

They came out through the eastern gate on the mountain-way behind the flute-dell, up to the house of old Spener, which lay in noonday brightness; but, as they heard loud reading and praying, they chose rather to walk by at a great distance, in order not to throw so much as their shadow into his holy heaven.

They gazed into the fair, still flute-dell, and would fain go directly in; at length it spoke up to them with one flute. Their friends seemed to be down below there. The flute continued long to complain, as if lonely and forsaken; no sisters and no fountains murmured in with it. At last there rose, panting, in company with the flute, a timid, trembling singer's voice, struggling forth. It was Rabette, behind the tall bushes. She stirred both to the depths of the soul, because the poor creature, with the labor of her helpless voice, was rendering her loved one the meek sacrifice of obedience. "O my Albano," said Liana, twining around him with ecstasy, "what sweetness to think that my brother is happy, and has found peace of soul, and _that_ through thy sister!" "He deserves all my peace," said he, with emotion; "but we will not disturb the two, but go back the old way." For Rabette's tones were often cut short, but it was uncertain whether by fear, or by kisses, or by emotion.

When they came in again through the eastern gate, the songstress and Charles came out of the green portal to meet them, both with wet eyes. Charles, stepping impetuously over living beds, and with wandering eyes, grasped a hand of both with his, and said, "This is, for once in this rainy world, a day which does not look like a night. Brother, but when one is so deeply blest, and catches the music of the spheres, the tones are such as were once heard in token that from Mark Antony his patron deity, Hercules, was departing." Thus are joys, like other jewels, mechanical poisons, which only in the distance shine, but, when touched and swallowed, eat into us. But Albano replied, smiling, "Since thou now fearest, dear friend, thou hast nothing to fear; for thou art not perfectly happy. I, however, alas! fear nothing." "Bravo!" said Charles; "now go into your kitchen, maiden!" He went into the so-called "Temple of Dreams," but soon hastened after her into the forbidden kitchen.

Albano visited Liana's spring chamber. Here he painted to himself from memory that bright Sunday when Liana led him through Lilar, and he let the past soothingly glimmer into the present; but the latter overpowered the former with its beams. Out in the garden stood and shone, so it seemed to him, the pure pillars of his heaven, the supporters of his temple, the trees; and all that he here saw near him belonged again to his happiness, Liana's books and pictures and flowers, and every little mark of her tender hand.

At last the saint of the Rotunda herself--suffused with a virgin blush at this nearness and at his blushing--stepped in, to take him away into the cool dining-room. It was small and dusky, but the heart needs not for its heaven much space nor many stars therein, if only the star of love has arisen. To the table-talk,--whereby alone an eating becomes a human one,--and to the jokes,--the finest _entremets_, the powdered sugar of conversation,--the children contributed their share, especially as they, unqualified to ascend from the forbidden _thou_ to _you_, always used thou-you at once. The deeply-red Chariton made extracts from Dian's letters and from the history of her life, and from the surgeon's bulletins in relation to Pollux's broken arm; she sought to extol the snow-balls, listened with a half-credulous, half-cunning look to the Captain, who spun out the sportive marriage-thou toward Rabette into five acts, and smiled with pleasure just where it was required. Especially did that music-barrel of all souls, Charles, spin joyously round; that Jupiter, around whom the eclipses of so many satellites were always flying, could show a great, serene splendor, when he and others wished. As often as Albano, according to the old way, would not come to his tragedy, he drew up the curtain of a comedy. To the good Rabette a word was as good as a look from him, although she only returned the latter, so as neither to fall into the _Thou_ nor into the _You_. Albano, knit with ears and eyes to one soul, could not produce with his lips much more than a smile of bliss; he could more easily have made a hymn than a _bon-mot_, a grace at meat than a dinner speech. For his Liana was to-day too affectionate, so contentedly and exhilaratingly did the sweet maiden look round with such hearty play, acting the chatty, bantering hostess, that a man who saw it and thought of her firm death-belief, would only have been so much the more deeply affected by this dance around the grave with flowers on the head, though he should remark--or rather for the very reason of his remarking--that she was here merely carrying on a joke with jocoseness itself for the sake--according to her new moral funeral arrangement--of sweetening for her beloved every parting-hour, as well the next as the last of all. But this was hard to perceive, because in female souls every show easily becomes reality, whether it be a sad or a gay one.

How happy was her friend and every good being to think that the saint pronounced herself blest! And then she became, in turn, still more so. Thus does the radiance of joy dart to and fro between sympathizing hearts, as between two mirrors, in growing multiplication, and grows without end.

72. CYCLE.

The hour of departure came rolling on with swifter and swifter wheels; more constellations of joy went down than came up. Thus do the blooming vineyards of life always grow green on the ups and downs of a mountainous way, never on a smooth plain. The two lovers needed quiet now, not walks. They took the nearest, the path to the thunder-house. They stepped into the glimmering vesper-grounds as into a new land; at mid-day man is awakened from one dream after another, and has always forgotten and sees things always new. In Albano the golden splendor of the strings of joy still lingered under the declining sun; he told her gladly, how often he would visit her at her parents', and how he certainly hoped to find them friendly. Liana, as a daughter and a lover, retouched all his hopes with her own. But now she let her hitherto light heart, which had been rocking itself on the flowers of sport, sink back upon the solid ground of earnest.

When there is peace and fulness in a man, he wishes not to enjoy anything else but himself; every motion, even of the body, jostles the full nectar-cup. They hastened out of the loud, lively garden into the still, dark thunder-house. But when, as if parted from the world, which lay out around the windows, brightly glistening and far receding, they stood alone together in the little twilight, and looked upon each other,--and when Albano's soul became like a sun-drunken mountain at evening, light, warm, firm, and fair, and Liana's soul like an up-gushing spring on the mountain, which glides away purely bright and cool and hidden, and only under the touch of the evening-beam glows in rosy redness,--and now that these souls had just found each other in the wide, unharmonious world,--then did a mighty joy thrill through them like a prayer, and they cast themselves upon each other's hearts, and glowed and wept and looked upon each other exaltedly in the embrace;--and, on the Æolian-harp, suddenly the folding doors of an inspired concert-hall flew open, and outswelling harmonies floated by, and suddenly again the gates shut to.

They seated themselves at the breezy eastern window, before which the mountains of Blumenbühl and Lilar's hills and paths lay in the sunlight. Around them was evening shade, and all was still, and the Æolian-harp breathed low. They only looked at each other, and felt joy to their innermost being that they loved and possessed each other. How ecstatically did they look, from the protection of this citadel, down into the sounding, stirring world! Down below the wind blew the blaze of poppies and tulips far and wide, and in among the heavy, yellow harvest. The silver-poplars, wearing eternal May-snow, fluttered with uptossing splendor; a flock of pigeons went rustling away, and dipped into the blue; and overhead, amid flying clouds, stood those round temples of God, the mountains, in rows, beside each other, bearing alternate nights and days; and the pious father stood alone on his hill, and handed his roe tender branches.

"Thus may we ever remain!" said Albano, and pressed her dear hand with both of his to his heart. "Here and hereafter!" said she. "Albano, how often have I wished thou wert at the same time my female friend, that I might speak with thee of thyself! Who on the earth knows how I esteem thee, except myself alone?" "Here and hereafter? Liana, I am happier than thou, for I alone believe in our _long_ life here," said he, all at once changed.

Whatever, now, may have been the reason,--whether that man is not at all accustomed to be happy in a pure present, severed from all future and past, because his inner heaven, like the natural one, directly over his head and close to him, always looks dark-blue, and only round about the distant horizon radiant; or that there is a bliss so tender and unearthly as, like the moonshine, to be made too dark by every passing cloud, whereas a sturdy one, like daylight, can bear the broadest; or that Albano was too much like men who always in joy feel their powers so strongly that they would rather kick over the table of the gods than see a dish or a loaf of the heavenly bread less thereupon, rather be perfectly miserable than not perfectly happy;--suffice it, he could not and would not be guilty of longer fear and concealment.

So, when Liana, instead of answering, only embraced him, and was silent, because she meant to remain the whole day true to her promise not to dash the festal tapestry of fair days with a shade of mourning-cloth, then, as if urged on by a strange spirit, he spoke out: "Thou answerest nothing? Only joys, not sorrows, shall I share? Thou hast not thy veil? Wilt thou spare _me_ as a weakling? and thee alone shall thy death-belief continue to oppress? Liana, I will have pangs, too, and all thine,--tell all!"

"Truly, I only meant to keep my promise," said she, "and no more. But what then shall I say to thee, dear?"

"Dost thou believe, then, that thou art certainly to die after a year, superstitious one?--heavenly one!" said he.

"In so far as it is God's will, certainly," said she. "O my good Albano, how can I help my belief, much as it pains thee too?" And here she could no longer restrain her tears, and all the crucifixes of memory started up alive in the fair soul, and bled intensely.

"God's will?" asked he. "Quite as well might he at this moment precipitate a winter as an iceberg, into this happy summer. God?" he repeated, looked up, knelt down, and prayed, "O thou all-loving God--But thou shalt not die to me!" He turned, as if in anger, towards her, incapable of continuing his prayer, for the cry of his heart, and wiping hastily with both hands over his moist face. Now he prayed on, with a soft, trembling voice: "No, thou all-loving One! kill not this fair, young life! Leave us together long in purity and in peace."

She knelt involuntarily at his side;--to-day more exhausted with pleasures and unknown inner victories, even with long walking, so much the more intensely struck by a moving reality that she had been spoiled and softened by moving fancies, and inexpressibly afflicted at Albano's sorrow;--she could not speak; her head and neck bowed, as under a burden suddenly laid upon them; and thus, as one heavily overclouded by a whole life, she looked down upon the floor. The embracing death-flood sounded with one arm around her; then did she see, without looking up, her Caroline pass by somewhere in bridal dress, and with the white, gold-spangled veil trailing along far over life; and she saw clearly how the celestial shape, when Albano begged for her life, shook its head slowly to and fro. "Cease to pray!" she cried, inconsolably. "But listen to me, thou cold apparition, and only make _him_ happy!" she prayed, but she saw nothing more; and, with inexpressible love, she hid her face, marked all over with the lines of agony, upon his breast.

Here her brother called up, that the carriage was ready. She threw down a quick, thin-voiced "Yes." "Must we part?" asked Albano; the fiery rain of ecstasy had now fallen back into his open soul, in the shape of a darker rain of ashes; and so he went on without any bounds to his anguish. "Then have we seen each other for the last time?" and under the closed eyelid his noble eye wept.

"No! in the name of the All-gracious, no!" said she, and rose to go. "Stay!" said he, and she staid, and embraced him again. "But do not accompany me!" she entreated. "Not!" said he, and held her for some time as she withdrew, by the tips of the fingers; it pained him so much, when he saw the sufferings which had been brought upon this still form, that these white wings of innocence had beaten themselves bloody against his cliffs and mountain-horns. He drew her again to himself, ere he let her and his salvation go from him. He looked after her as she slowly stole down along the sunny mountain, drying her eyes under the twigs, and went with bowed head along all the gay, blooming paths of the forenoon's walk. But he gazed not after, when her carriage rolled away across the joyous wood; he stood at the eastern window, and saw his childhood's mountains tremble, because he had forgotten to dry his eyes.


[180] The Titan was originally divided into four volumes.--TR.

[181] A musical term, meaning the compensation made by transferring to imperfect concords part of the beauty of the perfect ones.--TR.

[182] Every partial development of course works well for the whole; but only for this reason, because its opposite partial one balances it in a higher equation and sum total, so that all individual men are only the limbs of a single giant, such as the Swedenborgian _man_ is. But in so far as, in one individual, a want arises which helps out an opposite one in another,--so that the road of humanity plagues and trips equally much by hills and by hollows,--it will be seen that every one-sided fulness is, only a cure of the times, not their health; and that the higher law is, after all, a culture slower in the individual, but still harmonious; less in amount, indeed, but impartial, and thereby, in the long run, even more rapid. We always forget that--as in mechanics power and time are mutual supplements--eternity is the infinite power.

[183] According to Borreux, the engineer, literally only every thousandth shot from small-arms hits. So is it in all cases; fear death, and then there stand flower-pots ready to fall from chamber-windows, lightnings from the blue sky, air-guns going off, polypuses in the heart, mad dogs, robbers, every gash in the finger, _aqua toffana_, proud flesh, &c., in short, all nature--that ever-going, crushing cochineal-mill--stands with innumerable open scissors of fate round about thee, and thou hast no consolation, save this, that--nevertheless people grow eighty years old. Fear impoverishment: then fire, flood, famine, and war, banditti and revolutions, set upon thee with greedy claws and fangs; and yet, thou rich man! the poor man--creeping along under the same birds of prey--becomes at last as rich as thou. March, therefore, boldly through the slumbering lion-herd of dangers, lying on the right and left, and go up to the fountain, only do not wantonly wake them up; of course a hell-god drags down individuals who feared nothing; but so, too, does a higher God draw up individuals who expected nothing; and fear and hope are swallowed in one common night.

[184] Titan, 13. Cycle.

[185] At the court of King Olaus, the royal youth Olo, dressed as a peasant, offered himself as a champion of the daughter against robbers. Then did the fire of the eyes and nobleness of form tell as proof of a high descent; thus did Suanhita, for example, recognize King Regner in a herdsman's guise by the beauty of his eye and face. The king's daughter looked searchingly into Olo's flaming eye, and came near swooning; she essayed a second look, and was senseless; and at the third, swooned. The divine youth therefore cast his eyelids down but uncovered his brow and his golden hair and the signs of his rank. See "The German and his Native Land," by Rosenthal and Karg, Vol. I. pp. 166, 167.

[186] For what we call light is only an intenser white. No one sees, by night, the luminous stream which rushes upward along by the earth, pouring from the sun upon the full moon.

[187] This warmer, tenderer, more timid, ever-praised sex, living more in the opinion of others than in its own, is poisonously pierced by a reproach which only pricks _us_ so as to draw a little blood, as noxious beasts, in warm countries and months, poison, and in cold ones only wound. Therefore let the girls' schoolmaster consider that a dose which is satire upon the boy--who, besides, must withstand opinion--becomes a lampoon, when it lights upon his sister.

[188] Poetic name for May.--TR.

[189] In which were always enclosed letters from Liana to Albano. Let every one see here, by two examples, how on the harmonica of love a brother must stand in front as key-bank for the sister, who would reach the bells. There should, therefore, always be a couple of couples, diametrically connected in sisterhood and affection.

[190] "Such a character," writes Hafenreffer in this connection, "were desirable for romancing Kotzebues, for they, as he always will, according to his nature, create and raise the dignity of the situation by the accidental place thereof, might, under the cloak of his personality, humor entirely their own and disguise the weakness of the poet under the weakness of the hero." Methinks this is, so far as a biographer of romancers can decide, very striking.

[191] Tiring-women.--TR.



73. CYCLE.

Clouds like these last consisted with Albano less of falling drops than of settling dust. His life was yet a hothouse, and stood therefore toward the sunny side. Every day brought a new apology for the absent sweetheart, till at last she needed one no longer. But still he gave to every day its letter of indulgence for her silence; by and by they grew into letters of respite (moratories); finally, when she never let anything at all be heard or read from her; then he began to re-examine the afore-said apologies, and strike out many things therein.

Quite as little could he find for himself, or for a note, a way of access to her. Even the Captain had been gone for some days on a journey to Haarhaar. With faint hands he held the heavy, drained cup of joy, which, when empty, weighs the heaviest. The wild hypotheses which man in such a case trots[192] through him--as in this, for instance, that of Liana's being sick, having caught cold, her imprisonment, absence on a journey--are, in their alternation and value, to be compared with nothing, except with the quite as great wildness and number of the plans which he enlists and dismisses,--that of abduction, of hate, of a duel, of despair.

The terrible motionless time had no gnomon on its dial-plate. He stood as near his fate as man does to his dreams, without being able to recognize or prepare for its form, any more than one can for that which dreams will take. He went often into the city, through all whose streets there was riding, running, and driving, because they were about bringing and nailing together the beams for the grandest throne-scaffolding, on which the princely bride at her introductory compliment in the land, might look round the farthest; but he heard nothing there of his own bride, except that she quite often visited the picture-gallery with the Minister.

Hereby two distressing hypotheses, that of her sickness, and that of her being at war with her family, seemed to lose their stings. The best, though the hardest thing was, to go straight to the Minister, as to Vesuvius, in order there to have the fairest prospect. He visited the Vesuvius. In fact this volcano was never more still and green. He asked after everything, and expressed himself upon much which immediately concerned the marriage festival; nor did he seek to conceal his hopes and wishes that the Count would help welcome the admirable bride.

At last the latter, too, must venture to unfold _his_ hopes and wishes about the ladies. The Minister replied, with uncommon pleasantness, that the two had just carried back the "charming Mademoiselle von Wehrfritz" to Blumenbühl; and indulged himself forthwith in a eulogium of that "unsophisticated nature." Albano soon took his leave, but much happier than when he came. A few street-lamps[193] certainly were now burning on his path.

But in the morning he fell into a little obscure alley, where there was not a single one; in other words, Rabette, the little reindeer, came running to Lilar, as she yesterday had to Pestitz,--for what is a race of a mile to a country-girl, else than a simple _Allemande_?[194]--and shook and shook her heart before him, even to its very ears, but nothing fell out of it except pleasant images, a few heavens, a complete wedding-day, a couple of parents-in-law, and a Captain's wife. "The Minister had been so courteous toward me, but--the mother afterward still more so toward my parents; and they have mentioned and praised the Captain so much,--in short, they of course know all, my glorious, heartily-loved brother!" said she,--but of Liana she had nothing to bring to her glorious brother, except a bill of her health; her joyous eye had not turned toward any dark region whatever. "We were not alone a minute, that is the reason of it," she added, and came again upon the subject of her Captain, whom the Minister had sent out on the Haarhaar road, as chief marshal of the escort of the Princess; yet she referred him to the illumination night in Lilar, when she and Liana, and the parents on both sides, had arranged to be there. Thou good creature! who is so cruel as to begrudge thee the glittering ring of joy, which thou contemplatest on thy brown and hard-boiled hand, and who does not fondly wish that its stones may never fall out?

Soon after, the brother of the past festivals flew to the heart of the deserted one,--Charles. He repeated almost exactly Rabette's deposition, although not her rapture; he said,--but without special emotion,--that his father actually threw him the brotherly hand kiss through several rooms, distinguished and designated him quite particularly, and kindly made use of him for business purposes; and all this merely since he had become acquainted with his love for Rabette, and the silent assent of the parents; for with his father, though the heart was of no account, yet Rabette's fief was, especially as one could not trust, with all the romantic stock-jobbing of his heart, that he would not himself one day realize the poorest result.

With a sighing breast, which would gladly have imparted more to an expecting one, Charles merely related that he had found Liana well and quiet, but not alone for one minute. The association of another's want with his own open, rich fortune was, so Albano believed, the fair, tender reason why Charles glided with such cool, fleeting pleasure over the parental benediction of his soul's bond. O, how he loved him at this moment! Could he have loved him ever so much more, he would have done it, though Liana had been actually lost to the sum of his happiness, merely to show himself and him that holy friendship wants no third heart in order to love a second.

This cloud of silence lay fixed for weeks, and grew more and more dark around his fairest heights; and the guiltless one went round and round through the darkness in a circle of contradictions. How must this youth have harassed himself when he thought, as he soon did, that the parents would, in all probability, reject an alliance with him, as he, indeed, thought himself obliged rather to forget than to reciprocate their advances, and that they might sacrifice two hearts to political heartlessness; or when he let fall upon the innocent Liana the suspicion of giving way before parental assaults, which suspicion received reinforcement from the past through the conjecture that she had embraced him rather in poetical enthusiasm and from goodness, and more with wings than with arms, and that, in fact, accustomed to such long submissions, she could hardly distinguish sacrifices and inclinations, and might take one for the other; or when, as he soon and oftenest did, he turned the point of all these weapons against his own breast, and asked himself why he had such a firm confidence in friendship, and such a wavering one in love. Then this reproach led him to a second, upon every previous one, which he had cast upon the good soul merely for the sake, according to the proselyting system and reforming mania which men exercise more upon their wives than upon their friends, of melting her down for his own mould. This last he might rue; as Holberg[195] observes that men do not keep estates so well as women, because the former are always wanting to improve them more than the latter; on the same ground, also, lovers spoil women more than these do them.

For the sake merely of getting more expeditiously from the tedious tribunal of the future his sentence of death, or a more agreeable document, he went again to the ministerial house. He was again smilingly received by the Minister, and seriously by the mother; and, in reply to his question, Liana was not quite well. He laid before old Schoppe (who now pressed his friendship upon him more warmly, and who, for some time near the dissecting-knife of the Doctor, had not studied any other heart than that which was to be spattered to pieces and prepared) a short question about the Doctor's visits at the Minister's. How was he astonished when he heard that no one out of the house any longer made any visits to it, (while Liana, quite blooming, went into all circles,) except merely the Lector, who made very frequent ones!

He well comprehended that only the Medusa's-heads of the parents could turn the softest heart into stone against him; but even this he found not right. He boldly demanded that she should love him more than her parents, "not from egotism," said he to himself, "not on my account, but on her own." A lover wishes a great, indescribable love, of which he thinks himself always only the accidental and unworthy object, merely for the sake of tendering the highest himself.

Even the silent Lector, who generally placed all newly rising lights behind light-shades and fire-screens, communicated unbidden to the Count the novel tidings that Liana would be, under the administration of the coming Princess, something--[196]maid of honor. His old jealous suspicion of Augusti's wishes or relations allowed him no answer to that.

Now his spirit manned itself, and he wrote straight to the soul that belonged to him, and sent the letter to her brother for delivery. The latter came the next day, but seemed to him not to have any answer yet, because he would otherwise have given it with the first greeting. Charles introduced him to the Haarhaar court, where he had lately been; said every nerve there had on jack-boots, and every heart a hoop-petticoat; then went on to eulogize the youngest, but most unpopular Princess, _Idoine_; declared she possessed, in addition to all her other advantages,--for instance, purity, kindness, decision of character, which even on the throne selects for itself its own lot and life,--the further grace of amiableness, since even the princely bride, who loved no one else, hung upon her heart, and--last, not least--the advantage of a very deceptive similarity to Liana.

"Has Liana received my letter yet?" asked Albano. Charles handed it back to him. "By Heaven!" said he, ardently, and yet ambiguously, "I could not get it to her just now. But, brother, canst thou believe, only for one minute, that she does not remain forever most thine?" "I do not believe anything at all!" said Albano, offended, and tore his leaf on the spot into little bits no bigger than the letters. "Only _we_ will," he continued, with a tone of emotion, "remain, as we are, firm as iron, and flexible as iron when it comes out of the furnace." The deeply touched friend sought to console him with the following: "Only wait, I pray, the illumination evening;[197] then she will speak with thee. She must certainly appear, and thou wilt wonder in what character, and for whom." He nodded silently; he easily gathered her part from her resemblance to Idoine, and from her expected office at court. But what help was it to his fortune?

With the return of his note, which he despatched against his pride, that same pride came back in renewed strength. Now was a hot seal stamped on Albano's bleeding lip; he had now nothing for and before him, except time, which was now his poison, and would by and by, as he hoped, be his antidote. Nothing was ever master over his sense of honor, when it was once roused. He could look forward to a scaffold on which blood spurted out, but he could not look upon a pillory where, under the heavy, poisonous, murderous pain of scorn and self-contempt, a downcast, distracted face hung on the sinful breast.

Charles sometimes approached with a few lights the long night-like riddle; but Albano, however much he wished them, staggered him by opposition, and sought not even to hear him, much less to ask him questions. So he lay on hard, youthful, thorny rose-buds, which a single hour can open into tender roses. Victories beget victories, as defeats do defeats; he found now, if not a complete relief from the emotions which besieged him, nevertheless a mountain-fortification against them, provisioned for a little eternity, in the shape of an astronomical observatory. With an entire and firmly collected soul he threw himself upon theoretical astronomy, in order not to see daylight, and upon practical astronomy in order not to see night. The watch-tower stood indeed upon a mountain intermediate between the city and Blumenbühl, and commanded a view of both; but he cast his eyes only upon the constellations, not upon those rosy-red spots of the earth, where they now could have sucked out of the cold flower-cups only water instead of honey. Thus amid the festive preparations in Lilar did he go armed to meet the long delaying evening when the presence of the fairest soul should either bless or destroy him, vainly looking from time to time at the distant telegraph of his destiny, which was constantly moving, uncertain whether with peaceful or hostile significance.

74. CYCLE.

To remove the seals from the enrolled acts of the foregoing history for the purpose of looking into it,--or to push back the blinds and shove up the windows of the same,--or to uncover so many covered ways and vehicles,--or, in fine, the whole matter,--all that is mere metaphors,--and the most inappropriate ones, too,--which cannot serve any other purpose than only to hold off still longer and more tediously the long-expected solution, which they would fain describe; much rather and better, methinks, will the whole war and peace position in the ministerial palace be at once freely laid bare as follows:--

Herr Von Froulay had, as has been already mentioned, come home from Haarhaar with a _Belle-vue_ in his face, and with a _mon-plaisir_ in his heart (provided these tropes do not seem more elaborate than exquisite). He told his lady openly, what had hitherto detained and enchanted him so long,--the future Princess, who had conceived for him a more than ordinary fancy. He threw a full, glorifying light on her enriched understanding,--he never praised anything beyond this in ladies,[198]--as well as a faint streak of shade upon his own _her's_; and pronounced himself fortunate in the possession of a person whose fine, persistent coquetry (he said) he for his part could recommend as a model, and whose attachment he, in fact, (that he pretended not to conceal,) reciprocated half-way, but only half-way, for it was perfectly true, what the Duke of Lauzun[199] asserted: in order to keep the love of Princesses, one must just hold them in right hard and short. In the old man accordingly there shoots up, as we see, quite late,--not unlike the case of fresh teeth,--which oftentimes old men do not cut till they are nonagenarians,--a lover's heart beneath the star; only it is more to be wished than hoped, he will especially play the ridiculous in the matter. For as he all the week long holds the helm of state, either on the rower's bench, to keep it in motion, or on the cabinet-maker's bench, to trim it down into a fine and light shape for the Prince; the consequence is, he is so tired when Saturday comes, that no Virgil and no tempest could persuade him--and though his feet had not more steps to take for the purpose than the number of feet in Virgil's hexameter, or of commandments in the Decalogue of Moses--to accompany a Dido out of the storm into the nearest cave. He does no such thing. He remains quite as free from sentimental and pathetic love as from sensual, especially as he apprehends that the former would in the end entangle him in the latter, because like a minor-tone it has quite a different returning scale from its ascending one. The ironical and stinging element in the man made every marriage--even that of souls--to him as well as to other world's people as disagreeable in the end as the spines of the hedgehogs make theirs. He lays up, therefore, in the future for the Princess only a cold, politic, coquettish, courtly love, such as she herself haply has, and such as he has occasion for, in order less to gain her than to gain from her, and to gain first of all the entire Prince. I promise myself cosmopolitan readers, who, I hope, find no offence to this personage in Froulay's partiality for his lady; for so soon as the court-preacher has but once laid his joining hand on the Princess, then has this house-steward made, as it were, the cut in the pea-hen,[200] and she can then be taken off untouched, and be feasted on in other places.

I have already (in the second volume) intimated the anxiety of the Minister's lady lest the Minister, if he should (in this volume) come back and not find Liana at home, should chafe; but, contrary to expectation, he approved; her use of the country air-bath fell in exactly with his design of sending her into the vapor-bath of the court atmosphere. He told her mother that it by no means displeased him that she should now be entirely well, since the new Princess would select her for her maid of honor, whenever he should say the word. He could not for three minutes see a sceptre or a sceptrelet lying by him without proving its polarity for himself, and either attracting or repelling something with it. As the famous theologian, Spener,--a predecessor of our Spener,--prayed to God so beautifully thrice a day for his friends, one finds with similar pleasure that the courtier daily prays a little for his friends before his god, the Prince, and seeks to obtain something.

The Minister's lady, never opposing his changeable plans in the sketch, but only in the execution, easily became reconciled with his latest one, because it at least seemed rather to stand in no auxiliary relation to the old one of the bethrothal to Bouverot.

One evening, unfortunately, the fatal, anxious Lector--who pasted the smallest visiting-card to a Fulda's historic chart--arrived in her presence with his packet-ship, and came ashore having under his two arms the state and imperial advertisements of her two children; he had one of them under each; and yet why do I fly out upon the man? Could a double-romance, especially when played in the open air, remain better concealed than a single one?

Her astonishment can be compared with the greater astonishment of her husband, who happened to have just been screwing on in the third chamber his tin ear,--made by Schropp of Magdeburg,--in order to listen to the servants, and who now caught a number of things. Nevertheless, the double-ear, with the broad meshes of its nocturnal lark-net, had only fished up from Augusti's low, whispering, courtly lips single, long, proper names,--such as Roquairol and Zesara. Hardly had the soft-spoken Lector gone out, when he stepped gayly into the chamber, with his ear in his hand, and demanded of her a report of the reports. He held it beneath his dignity either to patch up or disguise his suspicion,--which, even in the friendliest and gayest mood, would never shut its Argus ears and eyes,--or to dissemble his eavesdropping, with so much as a syllable or a blush of shame; the fair lilies of the most colorless impudence were not painted, but branded on him. The Minister's lady immediately seized upon the female expedient, of telling the truth--half-way; namely, the agreeable truth of Roquairol's well-received advances at the house of Wehrfritz, whose estate and provincial directorship had been cast into a very fitting shape for a father-in-law. Meanwhile the Minister had seen in his lady's face the mourning-border around this pleasant notification-document, far too clearly and broadly not to inquire about that prominent word "Zesara," which his delicate tin searcher had also caught up, but he inquired in vain; for the mother held her good daughter too dear to set this wolf on the scent for her into her Eden; she hoped to get her out of it in a gentler way, by a divine voice and angels; and so evaded his question.

But the wolf now ran farther on in his track; he got the gout in his stomach,--so it was reported to Dr. Sphex,--demanded of him speedy aid, and also some intelligence of his tenant, the Count. Doctor and Madam Sphex had already a grudge against the inflated youth; through their four juvenile envoys, as _enfans perdus_ in every sense, as four hearing-organs of every city rumor, much might be brought in on advice-yachts from Blumenbühl and Lilar. In short, the auricular organs fitted in so well to those of others, that Froulay, in a few days, was in a situation to ask, with his lily brow, the Greek woman for a letter to his son, which he offered to take along with him.

He found one, which he broke open with great joy, without, however, finding anything therein from Albano's or Liana's hand, but only some stupid allusion of Rabette to that couple, which, to the Minister, were as much as if, with his sharp exciseman's-probes, he had bored into Liana's heart and lighted upon contraband there. Without any long, slavish copying of the former seal, he set a second upon the letter, and went away enlightened by it.

We can all follow him, when we have detained ourselves only a few minutes for his justification, with my

_Apology and Defence[201] in the Matter of the Second Seal upon Letters in State Affairs._

Whether the examination of other people's letters pertains to old Froulay as minister or father,--(although the latter presupposes the former, the father of the country implying every other father and his own too,)--I will not decide, except by the parenthesis just inserted. The state which tackles on the post-horses before letters has, it should seem, the right to examine more narrowly, under the closed visor of the seal, these not so much _blind_ as blinding _passengers_,[202] in order to know whether it is not using its horses in the service of its enemies. The state, an ever-drawing light-magnet, means certainly only to have light in the case, and particularly light upon all light in general; it requires only the naked truth, without cover or covering. All that rides and fares through its gates must, though it were dressed in a surtout, just open its _red_ mouth, and say what name and business.

As the common soldier must first show his letters to his officer, the garrison-soldier of the Bastile to the governor, the monk his to the prior, the American colonist his to the Dutchman,[203]--in order that he may burn them up, if they find fault with him,--so, surely, can no statesman, whether he regards the state as a barrack, or as an Engelsburg, or as a _monasterium duplex_, or as a _European possession in Europe_, deny it the right to keep all its letters as open as bills of lading, patents of nobility, bills of sale, and apostolic epistles are. The only mistake is, that it does not get hold of the letters before they are enveloped and sealed. That is immoral enough; for it necessitates the government to open and shut,--to draw the letter out of the case, and put it back again, as the cook with pains turns the snail out of his shell, and then, when he is once taken off from the fire, shoves him back again into it, to serve him up therein.

This last is the point of the compass and cardinal wind which is to guide us onward; for universally acknowledged as it is, just as custom and observance are, that the government, on the same ground on which it opens the _last_ will, must have the power to unseal also the last but one, and the one before that, and finally the very first, before its heir can do it, and that a prince must be able still more readily to bring servants' letters into the same deciphering chancery (and into their antechamber, the unsealing chamber), wherein the letters of princes and legates fly open before the caper-spurge,[204] nevertheless the cork-drawing of letters,--the joint seal, the vicariate seal, the laborious imitation of the L. S., or _loco sigilli_,--all this is something very annoying and almost detestable; out of the wrong a right must therefore be made by constitutional repetition.

Something of the kind might be brought about, I flatter myself, if it were commanded to write letters only on stamp-paper. An inspecting and stamping office appointed for that purpose would then read everything over beforehand.

Or one might prohibit in future all private seals, just as they do mint-stamps for private coin. A seal-department would then interfere, with full rights, and seal up, as they now do the legacies of the deceased, so in that case those of the living.

Or--which is perhaps preferable--an epistolary _censorship_ must commence. Unprinted newspapers, _nouvelles à la main_,[205]--that is, letters,--can never, inasmuch as they divulge still greater mysteries, demand a greater freedom of censorship than printed newspapers; especially as every letter, now-a-days, so easily becomes a circular, going everywhere. A catalogue of prohibited letters (_index expurgandarum_) would always be, in that case, a _word to correspondents_.

Or let the postmasters be put under oath that they will be faithful referendaries of whatever they find weighty or considerable in the letters, which, before despatching, they have laid in the mental letter-balance, and closed again, with the hope, according to the Leibnitzian principle of the non-distinguishable seal, of speeding them far and wide.

If the State finds all these ways of reading and closing letters new and difficult, then it may go on in its own way--of opening them.

* * * * *

Froulay flew, laughing, to his lady, and assured her her falsehood towards him was no news to him at all. Her present plan, merely to work against Herr von Bouverot and himself, he understood full well. Hence it was that Rabette had had to come in, and the daughter to go out. Meanwhile he would show the hypocrite and bigot, or whoever it might be, that she had not merely a mother, but a father too. "She must immediately come home; _je la ferai damer,[206] mais sans vous et sans M. le Compte_," he concluded, with an allusion to the office of court-dame.

But the Minister's lady began, in accordance with her vehement contempt of his projects and powers, with that coldness which would have more exasperated every ardent one than this cold one, to say to him that she must needs disapprove and oppose Liana's and the Count's love still more than he did; that she had merely, in an excessive and otherwise never disappointed confidence in Liana's openness of soul, believed her rather than herself, and, notwithstanding so many signs of Albano's partiality, let her go to Blumenbühl; that she would, however, give him her word on the spot to act with as much energy and spirit against the Count as against the German gentleman, and that she was, as surely as she knew Liana, almost certain of the easiest and happiest result.

Of course this was unexpected to him and--incredible, especially after the previous concealment; only the finest man's soul distinguishes in the female the blending boundaries of self-deception and wilful delusion, weakness and deceit, accident and intent; besides, the Minister's lady was one of those women whom one must first love in order to know them, a case which is generally reversed. He readily accepted on the one hand the confession of her agreement and co-operation,--merely for the sake, hereafter, of turning it as a weapon against her;--but he could not conceal, on the other hand, that _there again_ (that was always his phrase) she had, according to her own confession, neglected to watch over her children from a want of jealousy. He retained the habit, when an open-hearted soul showed him its breaches, of marching in upon it through those breaches, as if he himself had made them. The penitent who knelt before him for forgiveness he would crush still lower, and instead of the key of absolution draw forth the hammer of the law.

I owe it here to the Spaniards, who will one day become acquainted with me through miserable translations,[207] and to the Austrian knighthood of the Golden Fleece, who perhaps read the original in a counterfeit edition, to assign the reasons why the house of Froulay did not bespeak feasts of joy--instead of court-mourning--on the occasion of these advances by a son of their order, a Spanish Grandee, who often lays upon himself a German princely sceptre as a yardstick to measure himself withal. For every Spaniard must have hitherto wondered about this.

I answer every nation. The Froulays had, in the first place, nothing against the union except the--certainty of separation; since on the same ground, which the Knights of the Fleece and the Spaniards have opposed to me, old Gaspard de Zesara can in no wise suffer a bridge to be thrown over from his Gothard to the Jungfrau [virgin]. Secondly, on this very ground the Minister could oppose to this romantic love a much older, wiser, which he bore toward the German gentleman and his moneys and _liaisons_, as well as the old grudge of the Knight of the Fleece. Thirdly, the Minister's lady had, beside these same grounds,--and besides several in favor of the Lector, perhaps,--one quite decisive one, and that was, she could not endure the Count; not merely and solely for the reason that she discovered a painful similarity between him and her son, and even husband, in pride, in excitability, in the characteristic fierceness of genius against poor married women, in want of religious humility and devoutness; but the principal reason why she could not well endure him was this: that she could not bear him. As the system of Predestination sentences some men to hell, whether they afterward deserve heaven or not, so a woman never takes back an enmity to which she has once doomed any one, all that country and city, God, time, and the individual's virtues may say to the contrary, notwithstanding.

In the treaty of peace, concluding the usual chamber-war, the following private articles were adjusted between the married couple: The Count must be, on the Father's and Director's account, treated with the most courtly consideration, and shoved aside,--and Liana gently and gradually drawn away from Wehrfritz's house,--the whole dissolution of the engagement must seem to happen of itself without parental interference, merely through the breaking off of the daughter,--and the whole affair remain a mystery. Froulay hoped to keep the whole interlude or episode concealed from Liana's earlier-intended, the German gentleman, particularly as he, just now, in August, was more at the card-tables of the baths than at home.

So it stood; and into this cold, awful pass the friendly Liana moved on, when on that warm living Sunday she left the blessed, open Lilar. Refined and sanctified by joy,--for every Paradise was to her a purifying Purgatory,--she came nobly to her mother's bosom, without remarking the strange seriousness of the reception by reason of the earnest warmth of her own. Her easy confession of the garden-company opened the trying scene,--almost in the _coulisse_. For the mother, who would fain have begun otherwise, had to mount the thunder-car at once, in order to thunder and lighten against such incomprehensible forgetfulness of female propriety; and yet she held in the thunder-steeds in mid-career, in order to enjoin upon Liana immediately, as the Minister might come any moment, a perfect silence on the subject of to-day's garden-party. Now she cast the deepest strengthening shade upon her previous mute falsehood towards a mother; for she arbitrarily transposed in her story the sowing and blossoming time of this love, even into the days preceding the journey to the country. How did the warm soul shudder at the possibility of such an unkindness! She led her mother as far as she could up along the pure, light pearl-brook of her history and love, and told all that we know, but without giving much satisfaction, because she left out precisely the main point; for, out of forbearance toward her mother, she felt obliged to let the apparition of Caroline, who in the beginning had been the image-stormer of her love and then its inspiring muse and bride's-maid, together with the death-certificate of the future, remain out of sight in the narration.

She held, with fervent pressure, her mother's hand amidst more and more cheerful assurances, how she had always been disposed to tell her everything; she thought hopingly, she needed to save nothing but her _open_ heart. O thou hast more to save, thy warm, thy whole and living heart! Her mother now, from old habit, half believing her, found fault with nothing more than the whole affair, its impropriety, impossibility, folly. "O good mother," said Liana, simply remaining tender under the harsh picturing of the future Albano; "O he is not such, assuredly not!" Quite as tenderly did she far overlook the darkly-sketched future refusal of Don Gaspard, because to her faith the earth was only a blooming grave-mound hanging in the ether. "Ah!" said she, meaning how little time she was for this world, "our love is not so important!" Her mother took this word and the whole gentleness of her resistance, as preludes of an easy victory.

At this moment Albano's father-in-law came in with a kettle-drum, alarm-bell, fire-drum, and rattlesnake, in his girdle, in order therewith to make himself audible. First he inquired,--for he had been listening in vain,--in a very exasperated manner, of the Minister's lady, where she had stowed away his ear (it was the tin duplicate ear, wherein, as in a Venetian lion's-head, all mysteries and accusations of the whole service and family met); he said, he had a little occasion for it just now, particularly since the newest "adventures of his worthy daughter there." The Siamese physicians begin the healing of a patient with treading upon him, which they call softening. In a similar manner Froulay loved to soften, by way of moral pre-cure; and accordingly began, with the above-mentioned speaking-machines in his girdle, to declare his sentiments explicitly on the subject of degenerate children; upon their arts and artifices; and upon intrigues behind fathers' backs (so that no father can accompany a volume of love-poems with a prose preface); backed up many points with the strongest political grounds, which all had reference to himself and his interest, and wound up with a little cursing.

Liana heard him calmly, as one already accustomed to such daily returning equinoctial storm-bursts, without any other emotion, except that she often raised her downcast eye pityingly upon him, out of tender sympathy for the paternal dissatisfaction. In a calm he became loudest. "You will see to it, madam," said he, "that to-morrow forenoon she sends the Count what she has of his, together with a farewell, and notifies him of her new office, as an easy excuse; thou art to be court-dame to the reigning Princess, although thou didst not deserve that I should labor for thee!"

"That is hard!" cried Liana, with breaking heart, falling upon her mother. He supposed she meant the separation from Albano, not from her mother, and asked, angrily: "Why?" "Father, I would so gladly," said she, and turned only her face away from the embrace, "die near my mother!" He laughed; but the Minister's lady herself shut to the hell-gates upon the flames which he still would fain have vomited forth, and assured him it was enough, Liana would certainly obey her parents, and she herself would be surety for it. The preacher of the law came down his pulpit-stairs with an audible ejaculation about a better security, calling back, as he went, that his ear must be produced to-morrow, and though he should have to search for it in all chests and cupboards.

The mother kept silence now, and let her daughter softly weep on her neck; to both, after this drought of the soul, the draught of love was refreshment and medicine. They came out of each other's arms with cheered spirits, but both with entirely delusive hopes.

75. CYCLE.

A hard, black morning; only the outward atmospheric morning was dark-blue; there was nothing loud and stormy, except perchance the swarms of bees in the linden-thicket; the heaven's ether seemed to flutter away high over the stony streets, so as to settle down low in the bright open Lilar upon all hill-tops and tree-tops, and, blue as peacock's plumage, to play its hues over the twigs.

Liana found on her writing-table a billet, folded in large quarto, wherein the Minister, ever-working, like a heart, sought even at this early hour of the morning, before raising out of the public documents for the several administration and exchequer counsellors the transient tempests which were necessary to fruitfulness, to descend upon his shuddering daughter with a cold morning rain-gust. In the decretal letter referred to, he developed more in detail, upon a sheet and a half what he had meant yesterday,--separation on the spot; and offered six grounds of separation,--first, his uncongenial relation with the Knight of the Fleece; secondly, her own and the Count's youth; thirdly, the approaching place of court-dame; fourthly, that she was his daughter, and this the first sacrifice to which he, her father, for all his previous ones, had ever laid claim; fifthly, she might perceive, by his indulgent "Yes," to the love of her brother, whose apparent improvement he held out to her as a model, that he lived and cared only for the welfare of his children; sixthly, he would send her to Fort * * * to his brother, the commandant, in case she were refractory, by way of exiling, punishing, and bringing her round; and neither weeping, nor falling at feet, nor mother, nor hell should bend him; and he gave her three days' time for reflection.

Mutely, and with wet eyes, she handed to her who had been hitherto her comforter the heavy sheet. But the comforter had become a judge: "What wilt thou do?" said the Minister's lady. "I will suffer," said Liana, "in order that _he_ may not suffer; how could I so sorely sin against him?" The mother, whether actually under the old notion of her easy conversion, or from dissimulation, took that "He" for the father, and asked: "Say'st thou nothing of me?" Liana blushed at the substitution, and said: "Ah! poor me, I will not indeed be happy,--only true!" How had she during this night prayingly lived and wept amidst the fearful wars of all her inner angels! A love so guiltless, consecrated by her holy friend in heaven,--a fidelity so exceedingly abridged by early death; so sound-hearted a youth, shooting up with high, fruit-bearing summit heavenward, whom not even ghostly voices could scare or allure out of his faithful childhood's love toward her, insignificant one; the everlasting discomfort and grief which he would experience at the first, greatest lie against his heart; her short, straight path through life, and the nearness of that cross-way, at which she should wish to throw back,--not stones, but flowers upon the other pilgrims;--all these forms took her by _one_ hand to draw her away from her mother, who called after her with the words: "See how ungratefully thou art going from me, and I have so long suffered and toiled for thee!" Then came Liana back again out of the dusky, warm rose-vale of love into the dry, flat earth-surface of a life, wherein nothing breaks the monotony save her last mound. O how imploringly did she look up to the stars, to see whether they did not move as the eyes of her Caroline, and tell her _how_ she must sacrifice herself, whether for her lover or for her parents; but the stars stood friendly, cold, and still in the steadfast heavens.

But, when the morning sun again beamed upon her heart, it beat hopefully, newly strengthened with the resolution to endure this day for Albano full many sorrows,--ah yes, even the first. Could Caroline, thought she, approve a love to which I must be untrue?

Hardly had she left the lips of her mother with the morning greeting, when the latter sought, but more earnestly than yesterday, to draw up the roots of this steadfast heart out of its strange soil by a longer use of yesterday's flower-extractor. In her comparative anatomy of Albano and Roquairol, from the similarity of voice even to that of stature, she grew more and more cutting, till Liana, with a maiden's wit, at once asked, "But why may my brother, then, love Rabette?" "_Quelle comparaison!_" said the mother. "Art thou nothing better than she?" "She _does_, strictly speaking, much more than I," said she, quite candidly. "Didst thou never quarrel with the wild Zesara?" asked the mother. "Never, except when I was in the wrong," said she, innocently.

The mother was alarmed to perceive more and more clearly that she had to pull up deeper and stronger roots than light flowers strike into the soil. She concentrated all her maternal powers of attraction and lifting-machines upon one point, for the upturning of the still green myrtle. She disclosed to her the Minister's dark plan of an alliance with the German gentleman, her hitherto concealed strifes and sighs on the subject, her thus far effectual resistance, and the latest paternal stratagem, to make her a garrison-prisoner with his brother, and thereby probably Herr von Bouverot a besieger of the citadel.

For some readers and relicts of the heavy, old-fashioned, golden age of morality, the remark is here introduced and printed, that a peculiar, cold, unsparing, often shocking and provoking, candor of remark upon the nearest relatives and the tenderest relations is so very much at home in the higher ranks, that even the fairer souls, among whom, surely, this mother belongs, cannot, absolutely, understand or do otherwise.

"O thou best mother!" cried Liana, agitated, but not by the thought of the rattle and the snaky breath of Bouverot, or of his murderous spring at her heart,--she thought with as much indifference of being betrothed to him as any innocent one does of his dying on a scaffold,--but by the thought of the long building over and crowding out of sight of the motherly tears, the streams of motherly love, which had hitherto flowed nourishingly deep down under her flowers. She threw herself gratefully between those helpful arms. They closed not around her, because the Minister's lady was not to be made weak and soft by any washing wave and surge of sudden emotion.

Into this embrace the Minister struck or stepped in. "So!" said he, hastily. "My ear, madam," he continued, "cannot be found again at all among the domestics; I have that to tell you." For he had to-day posted himself upon a law-giving Sinai, and thundered into the ears of the service assembled at its foot the inquiry after his own ear, "because I must believe," he had said to them, "that you, for very good reasons, have stolen it from me." Then he had swept like a hail-storm, or a kitchen-smoke in windy weather, through the servants' apartments and corners, one by one, in quest of his ear. "And thou?" said he, in a half-friendly tone to Liana. She kissed his hand, which he, as the Pope does his foot, always despatched for kisses, as proxy and lip-bearer, agent, and _de latere nuncio_ of his mouth.

"She continues disobedient," said the severe lady. "Then she is a little like you," said he, because the mistrustful one looked upon the embrace as a conspiracy against him and his Bouverot. Upon this, his ice-Hecla burst out, and flamed and flowed, now upon daughter, now upon wife. The former was absolutely a miserable creature, he said; and only the Captain was worth anything, whom he luckily had educated by himself alone. He saw through all, heard all, though they had hid away his ear-trumpet. There was, accordingly, as he saw, (he pointed to his unsealed morning-psalm,[208]) a communication between the two colleges; but he invoked God to punish him if he did not--"my dear daughter, pray answer at last!" he begged.

"My father," said Liana, who, since the fraternization of Bouverot and the ill treatment from her mother, had begun to feel her heart wake up, which, however, could only despise and never hate, "my mother has to-day and yesterday told me all; but I have surely duties towards the Count!" A bolder liveliness than her parents had ever missed or found in her beamed under her upraised eye. "Ah, I will truly remain faithful to him just as long as I live," said she. "_C'est bien peu_," replied the Minister, astounded at such pertness.

Liana listened now, for the first time, after the word which had escaped her; then, in order to justify the past and her mother, she conceived the pleasant and ridiculous purpose, of moving and converting the old gentleman by her ghost-visions or dream-seeings. She begged of him a solitary interview, and afterward--when it was reluctantly granted--intreated him therein for his sacred promise to be silent towards her mother, because she feared to show to that loving one the clock-wheels of her death-bell rattling so near to the fatal stroke. The old gentleman could only, with a comic expression,--which made him look like one who with a bad cold wants to laugh,--vow that he would keep his word so far as was necessary, because never, so far as he could recollect, had his word been kept by him, only he had been often kept by his word. In such men, word and deed are like theatrical thunder and lightning, which, though generally occurring in close connection, and simultaneously in heaven, on the stage break forth out of separate corners, and by means of different operators. But Liana would not rest till he had put on a word-keeping, sincere face,--a painted window. Thereupon she began, after a kissing of the hand,[209] her ghostly history.

With unbroken seriousness, and firmly contracted muscles, he heard the extraordinary narration through; then, without saying a word, he took her by the hand and led her back into the presence of her mother, to whom he handed her over with a long psalm of praise and thanksgiving about her successful daughter's-school. "His boy's-school with Charles had not been blessed to him, at least in this degree," he added. As a proof, he frankly communicated to her--cold-bloodedly working up all Liana's pangs, as the coopers do cypress-branches into cask-hoops--the little which he had promised to bury in silence, because he always prostituted either himself or the other party, generally both. Liana sat there, deeply red, and growing hotter and hotter, with downcast eyes, and begged God to preserve her filial love towards her father.

No sympathizing eye shall be further pained with the opening of a new scene, when the ice of his irony broke, and became a raging stream, into which flowed tears of maternal indignation, also, at the thought of a precious being, and her feverish, fatal, dreaming of herself away into the last sleep. The object and the danger almost united the married couple for the second time; when there is a glazed frost, people go very much arm in arm. "Thou hast sent nothing to Lilar?" asked the father. "Without your permission I certainly should not do it," said she; but she meant her letters, not Albano's. He took advantage of the misunderstanding, and said, "Thou hast, however, surely." "I will gladly do, and let be done everything," said she, "but only on condition the Count consents, in order that I may not appear to him disingenuous; he has my sacred word for my truth!" At this mild firmness, at this Peter's rock overgrown with tender flowers, the father stumbled the hardest. In addition to this, the transition of a haughty lover from his own wishes to those of his enemies, supposing they had allowed Liana the question to the Count, was so impossible on the one hand, and the solicitation of this change, whether it were granted or refused, absolutely so degrading on the other, that the astounded Minister's lady felt her pride rise, and asked again, "Is this thy last word to us, Liana?" And when Liana, weeping, answered, "I cannot help it; God be gracious to me!" she turned away indignantly toward the Minister, and said: "Do now what you take to be _convenable_; I wash my hands in innocence!" "Not so entirely, _ma chère_; but very well!" said he, "thou wilt stay after to-morrow in thy chamber, till thou hast corrected thyself, and art more worthy of our presence!" he announced, as he went out, to Liana; firing at her meanwhile two eye-volleys, wherein, according to my estimate, far more reverberating fires, tormenting ghosts, eating, devouring medicaments, brain and heart-borers, were promised, than a man can generally hold to give or bear to receive.

Poor maiden! Thy last August is very hard, and no harvest-month day! Thou lookest out into the time, where thy little coffin stands, on which a cruel angel wipes away the still fresh flower-pieces of love running round it, in order that it may, all white, as rosy-white as thy soul or thy last form, be consigned to the grave!

This banishment by her mother into the desert of her cloister-chamber was quite as frightful to her, only not more frightful than her anger, which she had to-day, only for the third time, experienced, though not deserved. It was to her as if now, after the warm sun had gone down, the bright evening glow had also sunk below the horizon, and it grew dark and cold in the world. She remained this whole day, which was yet allowed her, with her mother; gave, however, only answers, looked friendly, did everything cheerfully and readily, and--as she quickly dashed away, with her tiny finger, every gathering dew-drop out of the corner of her eyes, as if it were dust, because she thought, at night I can weep enough,--she had very dry eyes; and all that, in order not to be an additional burden to her oppressed mother. But she, as mothers so easily do, confounded a timid, loving stillness with the dawning of obduracy; and when Liana, with the innocent design of consolation, wished to have Caroline's picture brought for her from Lilar, this innocence also passed for hardness, and was punished and reciprocated with a corresponding on the part of the parent, namely, with the permission to send. Only the Minister's lady demanded the French prayers of her again, as if she were not worthy to lay them under her present heart. Never are human beings smaller than when they want to plague and punish without knowing _how_.

As every one who rules, whether he sits on a chair of instruction or a princely one, or, like parents, on both, when the occupant of its footstool once leaves off his former obedience, imputes that obedience to him, not as a mitigation, but as an aggravation of his offence, so did the Minister's lady also toward her hitherto so uniformly docile child. She hated her pure love, which burned like ether, without ashes, smoke, or coal, so much the more, and held it to be either the author or the victim of an incendiary fire, particularly as her own married love hitherto had seldom been anything more than a showy chimney-piece.

Liana at last, too heavily constrained, since on the other side of the wall-tapestry the serene day, the loveliest sky was blooming, ascended to the Italian roof. She saw how people were travelling and riding back contentedly from their little places of pleasure, because the earth was one; on Lilar's bushy path the walkers were sauntering with a blissful slowness home,--in the streets there was a loud carpentering at the festive scaffoldings and Charles's-wains for the princely bride, and the finished wheels were rolled along for trial,--and everywhere were heard the drillings of the young music, which when grown up was to go before her. But when Liana looked upon herself, and saw her life alone standing here in dark raiment,--over yonder the empty house of her loved one, here her own, which to her had also become empty,--this very spot, which still reminded her of a lovelier, rarer blossoming than that of the _Cereus serpens_,--and oh! this cold solitude, in which her heart to-day, for the first time, lived without a heart; for her brother, the chorister of her short song of gladness, had been sent off, and Julienne had for some time been incomprehensibly invisible to her,--no, she could not see the fair sun go down, who, so serene and white, was sinking to slumber with his high evening star,--or listen to the happy evening chorus of the long day, but left the shining eminence. O how does joy die a stranger in the untenanted, dark bosom, when she finds no sister and becomes a spectre there! Thus does the beautiful green, that spring color, when a cloud paints it, betoken nothing but long moisture.

When she entered, soon, the asylum of day, the bedchamber, the heavens without flashed heat-lightning; O why just now, cruel fate?--But here, before the still-life of night, when life, covered with her veil, sounds more faintly,--here may all her tears, which a heavy day has been pressing,[210] gush forth freely. On the pillow, as if it bore the last, long sleep, rests this exhausted head more softly than on the bosom which reproachfully reckons up against it its tears; and it weeps softly, not _upon_, only _for_ loved ones.

According to her custom, she was on the point of opening her mother's prayers, when she recollected, with a startled feeling, that they had been taken from her. Then she looked up with burning tears to God, and prepared alone out of her broken heart a prayer to him, and only angels counted the words and the tears.

76. CYCLE.

The father had made this chamber-imprisonment a punitory mark of her refusal. With deep anguish she uttered this mute no, in the very fact that she voluntarily stayed in the chamber, and denied her mother the morning kiss. She had, in the course of the night, cast many an ardent look at the dead image of her counsellor Caroline, but no original, no fever-created form had appeared to her. Can I longer doubt, she inferred from this, that the divine apparition, which has spoken the assenting word to my love, was something higher than my own creation, since I must otherwise have been able to form it again over against her picture?

She had Albano's blooming letters in her desk, and opened it, in order to look over from her island into the remote orient land of warmer times; but she shut it to again; she was ashamed to be secretly happy, while her mother was sorrowful, who into these melancholy days had not even come, like her, out of pleasant ones.

Froulay did not long leave her alone, but soon sent for her; not, however, to sound her or pronounce her free, but for the purpose--which, as may well be conceived, required an unvarnished brow and cheek, whose fibrous network was as hard to be colored as his with the Turkish red of shame--of appointing her his mistress in artistic language, and taking her with him to the Prince's gallery, in order to learn from her the explanation of these frontispieces (for such they were to him) in this private deaf-and-dumb institution so well that he might be in a condition, so soon as the Princess should come to inspect it, to represent something better than a mute before the beauties of the pictures and the image-worshipping Regentess. Liana had to transfer an impression of every pictured limb, with the praise or blame appertaining thereunto, over into his serious brain, together with the name of the master. How delightedly and completely did she give this kallipædeia to her growling old cornute,[211] and would-be _connoisseur_ in painting, who paid her not a single thankful look as instruction-money!

At noon, for the first time, did the daughter find her longed-for mother, among the kitchen-servants, very serious and sad. She ventured not to kiss her mouth, but only her hand, and opened upon her her love-streaming eyes only timidly and a little. Dinner seemed a funeral-feast. Only the old gentleman, who on a battle-field would have danced his marriage-minuet, and celebrated his birthday, was in good spirits and appetite, and full of salt. In case of a family jar, he usually ate _en famille_, and found in biting table-speeches, as common people do in winter and in famine, a sharper zest for food. Quarrelling, of itself, strengthens and animates, as physicians can electrify themselves merely by whipping something.[212]

Laughable, and yet lamentable, was it that poor Liana, who was all day long to keep a prison, was always called out of it just for to-day,--this time into the carriage again, which was to set down the sad heart and the smiling face before nothing but bright palaces. She had to go with her parents to the Princess, and look as happy as they, who, on the melancholy road, regarded her as if she were to be envied. So does the heart which has been born not far from the throne never bleed, except behind the curtain, and never laugh but when it rises; just as these same distinguished ones were formerly executed only in secret. The Prince, who was ridiculously loud on the subject of his marriage; Bouverot, just returned from card-tables or privateering planks, whom Liana now, since the latest intelligences, could only endure with a shudder; and the Princess herself; who excused her previous absence from her on account of the distraction of preparing for the festival, and who very strangely jested at once about love and men,--only to a Liana who guessed so little, suffered so much, and endured so willingly, could all these beings and incidents seem anything but the most intolerable.

Ah, what was intolerable, but the iron unchangeableness of these connections, the fixedness of such an eternal mountain-snow? Not the greatness, but the indefiniteness, of pain; not the minotaur of the labyrinth, its cellar-frost, sharp-cornered rocks, and vaults, make the breast contract and the blood curdle therein, but the long night and winding of its egress. Even under bodily maladies, therefore, unwonted new ones, whose last moment stretches away beyond our power of prediction, appear to us more ominous and oppressive than recurring ones, which, as neighboring frontier-enemies, are ever attacking us, and find us in arms.

Thus stood the dumb Liana in a cloud, when the exulting Rabette, with a bosom full of old joys and new hope, came running into the house,--that sister of the holy youth who had been torn away from her, that confederate of such glorious days. She was honorably received, and constantly attended by a guard of honor,--the Minister's lady,--because she might, indeed, as likely be an ambassadress of the Count as an electress of her son. The cunning girl sought to snatch some solitary moments with Liana by boldly begging for her company to Blumenbühl. The company was granted, and even that of the mother freely offered, into the bargain. Liana led the way to Blumenbühl over the still-blooming churchyard of buried days. What a torrent of tears struggled upward in her breast when she parted from the still happy Rabette! _She_ had innocently left to the house one of the greatest apples of discord for the evening meal which the Minister had ever plucked for his fruit-dish with his apple-gatherer. Therefore he supped again _en famille_. That is to say, a silly word had escaped Rabette about the Sunday's meeting at Lilar. "Of that," said Froulay, in a very friendly manner, "thou hast not made one word of remark, daughter." "I did to my mother immediately," she replied, too fast. "I should be glad, too, to take an interest in thy amusements," said he, saving up his fury. In the pleasantest mood imaginable did this raftsman of so many tears and hewn-down blossoming branches, which he let float down thereupon, take his seat at the supper-table. He first asked servants and family for his auxiliary ear. Thereupon he passed over to the French, although the plate-exchangers found a rough translation thereof for themselves, a _versio interlinearis_, on his face, by way of giving notice that the distinguished Count had been there, and had inquired after mother and daughter. "With good right he asked for you both," continued the moral glacier, who loved to cool his warm food. "You are conspired, as I heard again to-day, to keep silence towards me; but why, then, shall I still trust you?" He hated from his heart every lie which he did not utter himself; so he seriously regarded himself as moral, disinterested, and gentle, merely for this reason, that he inexorably insisted upon all this in the case of others. With an abundant supply of the stinging nettles of persiflage,--the botanical ones also come forward best in cold and stony soil,--he covered over all his opening and closing lobster-claws, as we keep brook-crabs in nettles, and took first his tender child between the claws. Her soft, submissive smile he took for contempt and wickedness. How comes this soft one intelligibly by his paternal name, unless one assumes the old hypothesis, that children are usually most like that for which the pregnant mother vainly longed, which in this case was a soft spouse? Then he assailed, but more vehemently, the mother, in order by his mistrust to set her at variance with his daughter; yes, in order, perhaps, to torment the latter, by means of her mother's sufferings, into childlike sacrifices and resolutions. He very freely declared himself--for the egotist finds the most egotists, as love and Liana find only love, and no self-love--against the egotism around and beside him, and concealed not how very cordially he cursed them both for female egotists (as the old heathen did the Christians for atheists). The Minister's lady, accustomed to live with the Minister in no wedlock so little as in that of souls,--as Voltaire defines friendship,--said merely to Liana, "For whom do I suffer so?" "Ah, I know," she answered, meekly. And so he dismissed both full of the deepest sorrows, and thought afterward of his business matters.

This general distress was increased by something which should have lessened it. The Minister was vexed that he had daily, in the midst of his wrath, to consult the taste of the women upon his--exterior. He wanted, at the marriage festival,--for the sake of his beloved,--to be a true bird of paradise, a Paradeur, a _Vénus a belles fesses_.[213] Of old he had loved to act the double part of statesman and courtier, and would fain, by way of monopolizing pride and vanity, grow into a Diogenes-Aristippus. Something of this, however, was not vanity; but that tormenting spirit of the male sex, the spirit of order and orthodoxy, would not go out of him. He was a man who would flourish against his very livery the clothes-switch wherewith the servant had let a few particles of dust settle on the state coat; still more dangerous was it--because he sat between two looking-glasses, the frizzling-glass and the large mirror in the stove-screen--to lay the dust rightly on his own wool; and hardest of all was it for him to be satisfied with the _fixing_ of his children. Liana, as artist, had now to suggest the proper color of a new surtout. _Sachets_, or smelling-bags, he directed to be filled, and with them his pockets; and a musk-plant pot placed in his window, not because he wished to use the leaves for perfume (that he expected of his fingers), but because he wished to anoint his fingers by rubbing the leaves together. Patent pomatum for the hands, and English pressed ornamental paper also for the same (when they wished to use a _billet-doux_ pen), and other knickknacks, excited less attention than the snuff which he procured for himself; not, however, for his nose, but for his lips, in order to rub them red. In fact, he would have rendered himself quite ridiculous in the eyes of many a merry blade, if such a one had seen him draw privately out of his souvenir the hair-tweezers, and with them the hair out of his eyebrows, just where the saddle of life, as upon a horse's back, had worn it white; and only the Minister himself could look serious during the process, when he sat before the looking-glass, smiling through all the finest ways of smiling,--the best one he caught and kept,--or when he tried the most graceful modes of throwing one's self on the sofa,--how often he had to practise this!--and finally, in short, through all his operations upon himself.

Fortunately for the mother, the good Lector came; from the hand of this old friend she had so often taken, if not a Jacob's ladder, yet a mining-ladder, upon which to climb out of the abyss; hopefully she now laid before him all her trouble. He promised some help, upon the condition of speaking with Liana alone in her chamber. He went to her and declared tenderly his knowledge and her situation.

How did the childlike maiden blush at the sharp day-beams which smote the scented night-violet of her love! But the friend of her childhood spoke softly to this smitten heart, and of his equal love for her and her friend; of the temperament of her father, and of the necessity of considerate measures; and said the best was to make him a sacred vow that she would yield to her parent's wish of her strictly avoiding the Count, only until he had received from his father, to whom he himself, as attendant of the son, had long been obliged to communicate intelligence and inquiries about the new connection, the yes or no in respect to it; if it were "no,"--which he would not answer for,--then Albano must solve the riddle; if it were "yes," he himself would stand security for a second on the part of her parents; at the same time, however, he must lay claim to her profoundest silence toward them in relation to his inquiries, whereby they might perhaps find themselves compromitted. Thereby he rooted himself only the more deeply in her confidence.

She asked, trembling, how long the answer would tarry? "Six, eight, eleven days after the nuptials at most!" said he, reckoning. Yes, good Augusti! "Ah! we are all suffering, indeed," said she, and added, confidentially, and out of a weeping breast: "But is he well?" "He is diligent," was the reply.

So he brought her, burdened with two secrets, and for the present consenting to an interim-separation, back to her mother; but she bestowed only upon the Lector the reward of a friendly look. He desired, meantime,--after his Carthusian manner,--no other reward than the most good-natured silence toward the Minister on the subject of his interference, since the latter might hold his deserts in this connection much greater than they were.

The eight days' improvement and abstinence was announced to the Minister. He believed, however,--keeping in reserve a mistrust towards his lady,--that he could carry the war farther into the enemy's country with his own weapons; nevertheless, he contented himself, at the same time, with the new respite and Liana's disincarceration, for the sake of driving his daughter before him to his beloved at the nuptial festival, blooming and healthy as a sparkling pea-hen.

Roquairol at this moment came back, and ushered into the house a cloud or two full of beautiful, bright morning redness. He delivered to his father tidings and greetings from the Princess. To Liana he brought the echo of that beloved voice, which had once said to her heaven: "Let it be!"--ah! the last melody among the discords of the unharmonious time! He guessed easily--for he learned little from his mother, who neglected him, and nothing from her daughter--how all stood. When he was actually on the point of slipping Albano's letter to her, in the twilight of evening, into her work-bag, and she said, with an ah! of love, "No, it is against my word,--but at some future time, Charles!"--then he saw, as he expressed it, "with crying indignation, his sister, in Charon's open boat, sailing into the Tartarus of all sorrows." About his friend he thought less than of his sister. The friendly, flattering Minister--he presented, as a proof of it, a valuable saddle to the Captain--informed him of Rabette's visit, and gave hints about betrothment and the like. Charles said, boldly: "He postponed every thought of his own happiness, so long as his dear sister saw none before her." By way of drawing the old gentleman again into more interest for Liana, he suggested to him a romantic invention for the marriage festival, which Froulay did not dream of, when he already stood quite close to it; namely, Idoine (the sister of the bride) was strikingly like Liana. The Princess loved her inexpressibly, but saw her only seldom, because on account of her strong character, which once refused a royal marriage, she lived in a village built and governed by herself, in a courtly exile from court. He now proposed to his father the poetic question, whether, on the illumination night, Liana might not for a few minutes, in the dream-temple, which was entirely suited to this beautiful illusion, delight the Princess with the image of her beloved sister.

Whether it was that love toward the Princess made the Minister bolder, or he was intoxicated by the desire of brilliantly introducing Liana to her office of court-lady; suffice it, he found in the idea good sense. If anything supplied tobacco for the calumet of the _ex parte_ peace which he had made with his son, it was this theatrical part. He hastened immediately to the Prince and the Princess with the prayer for his permission and her sympathy; and then, when he had secured both, he hastened on to his Orestes, Bouverot, and said: "_Il m'est venu une idée tres singulière qui peut-être l'est trop; cependant le prince l'a approuvée_," etc.,--and finally--for he must not forget her either--to Liana.

The Captain had already sought to persuade her beforehand. The mother opposed the dramatic imitation from self-respect, and Liana from humility; such a representation seemed to her a piece of presumption. But at last she gave in, simply because the sisterly love of the Princess had seemed to her so great and unattainable, just as if she did not cherish a similar sentiment in her own heart; thus she always regarded only the image in the mirror, not herself, as beautiful; just as the astronomer thinks the same evening, with its red splendors and night shadows, more sublime and enchanting, when he finds it in the moon, than when he stands in the midst of it on the earth. Perhaps, too, there entered another element of secret sweetness into Liana's love for the Prince's bride, namely, a step-daughter's affection; because she should once have been the bride of the Knight Gaspard. Women regard relationship more than we; hence, too, their ancestral pride is always several ancestors older than ours.

Thus, then, did she make ready her oppressed heart for the light plays of the shining festival, which the coming Cycles are to present on the New-Year's holiday, as it were, of a new Jubilee.


Cambridge: Stereotyped and Printed by Welch, Bigelow, & Co.


[192] This is Jean Paul's own image.--TR.

[193] That is, of course, some lights of hope.--TR.

[194] A German or Suabian dance.--TR.

[195] His Moral Treatises, Vol. II. p. 96.

[196] The Germans call the dash the _stroke of thought_. Here it implies an emphatic pause, as much as to say, "What do you think is coming?"--TR.

[197] At the Prince's marriage.

[198] With the Egyptians the enchanters were only learned men; with him the learned women were enchantresses.

[199] _Mémoires secrets sur les Règnes de Louis XIV._, etc. Par Duclos. Tom. I.

[200] It is well known that a cut is made in a fowl left whole as a sign that it has been upon the Prince's table, so that it may not be set on again, but otherwise enjoyed.

[201] In German, _Schutz- und Stich-blatt_,--literally, a plate to defend the hand in parrying and thrusting,--_Blatt_, meaning _leaf_ (of paper) also, conveys a _pun_ not easily translated.--TR.

[202] The blind-passenger in the German stage-coach corresponds to our _dead-head_ in stage or steamboat.--TR.

[203] See Klockenbring's collected Essays.

[204] (In German, _Spring-wurzel_.) The juice of some plant (perhaps Devil's-milk) highly and quickly corrosive.--TR.

[205] News by hand.--TR.

[206] The King had to _damer_, or make a dame of an unmarried maiden of rank, before she could go to Versailles to court.

[207] Not so miserable perhaps as a French mangling the translator remembers to have seen.--TR.

[208] He refers to the letter he had left on Liana's table, and which she had shown to her mother.--TR.

[209] _Fist_ in the original.--TR.

[210] I.e. as in a wine-press.--TR.

[211] Alluding to the horned hat once worn by graduated printers' apprentices.--TR.

[212] Beseke discovered it. See "On the Elemental Fire," by him, 1786.

[213] Venus with beautiful thighs.--TR.

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