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Full text of "Gradiva: A Pompeiian Fancy"

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GRADIVA 
A POMPEIIAN FANCY 



GRADIVA 

A POMPEIIAN FANCY 



WILHELM JENSEN 



HELEN M. DOWNEY 




NEW YOKK 

MOFFAT, YAKD AND COMPANY 

1918 



^o^iHn.:y: 



u- 



Copyright, 1918, by 
MOPPAT. YARD & COMPANY 

Publiehed February, 19X8 






GRADIVA 

On a visit to one of the great antique collec- 
tions of Rome, Norbert Hanold had discovered 
a bas-relief which was exceptionally attractive to 
him, so he was much pleased, after his return to 
Germany, to be able to get a splendid plaster-cast 
of it. This had now been hanging for some years 
on one of the walls of his work-room, all the other 
walls of which were lined with bookcases. Here 
it had the advantage of a position with the right 
light exposiu'e, on a wall visited, though but 
briefly, by the evening sun. About one third 
life-size, the bas-relief represented a complete fe- 
male figure in the act of walking; she was stiU 
young, but no longer in childhood and, on the 
other hand, apparently not a woman, but a Ro- 
man virgin about in her twentieth year. In no 
way did she remind one of the numerous extant 
bas-reliefs of a Venus, a Diana, or other Olym- 
pian goddess, and equally little of a Psyche or 
njnnph. In her was embodied something hu- 
manly commonplace — ^not in a bad sense — ^to a 
degree a sense of present time, as if the artist, in- 



4 GRADIVA 

stead of making a pencil sketch of her on a sheet 
of paper, as is done in our day, had fixed her in 
a clay model quickly, from life, as she passed on 
the street, a tall, slight figure, whose soft, wavy 
hair a folded kerchief almost completely boimd; 
her rather slender face was not at all dazzling; 
and the desire to produce such effect was ob- 
viously equally foreign to her; in the delicately 
formed features was expressed a nonchalant 
equanimity in regard to what was ocdu-ring about 
her; her eye, which gazed calmly ahead, bespoke 
absolutely unimpaired powers of vision and 
thoughts quietly withdrawn. So the young 
woman was fascinating, not at all because of plas- 
tic beauty of form, but because she possessed 
something rare in antique sculpture, a realistic, 
simple, maidenly grace which gave the impression 
of imparting life to the relief. This was effected 
chiefly by the movement represented in the pic- 
ture. With her head bent forward a little, she. 
held slightly raised in her left hand, so that her 
sandaled feet became visible, her garment which 
fell in exceedingly voluminous folds from her 
throat to her ankles. The left foot had advanced, 
and the right, about to follow, touched the groimd 
only lightly with the tips of the toes, while the 
sole and heel were raised almost vertically. This 
movement produced a double impression of ex- 
ceptional agility and of confident composure. 



\ 



GRADIVA 6 

and the flight-like poise, combined with a firm 
step, lent her the peculiar grace. 

Where had she walked thus and whither was 
she going? Doctor Norbert Hanold, docent of 
archaeology, really found in the relief nothing 
noteworthy for his science. It was not a plastic 
production of great art of the antique times, but 
was essentially a Roman genre production and 
he could not explain what quality in it had 
aroused his attention; he knew only that he had 
been attracted by something and this effect of 
the first view had remained unchanged since 
then. In order to bestow a name upon the piece 
of sculpture, he had called it to himself Gradiva, 
**the girl splendid in walking." That was an 
epithet applied by the ancient poets solely to 
Mars Gradivus, the war-god going out to battle, 
yet to Norbert it seemed the most appropriate 
designation for the bearing and movement of the 
young girl, or, according to the expression of our 
day, of the young lady, for obviously she did not 
belong to a lower class but was the daughter of 
a nobleman, or at any rate was of honorable 
family. Perhaps — ^her appearance brought the 
idea to his mind involuntarily — she might be of 
the family of a patrician aedile whose office was 
connected with the worship of Ceres, and she was 
on her way to the temple of the goddess on some 
errand. 



6 GRADIVA 

Yet it was contrary to the young archaeologist's 
feeling to put her in the frame of great, noisy, 
cosmopolitan Rome. To his mind, her calm, 
quiet manner did not helong in this complex ma- 
chine where no one heeded another, but she be- 
longed rather in a smaller place where every one 
knew her, and, stopping to glance after her, said 
to a companion, "That is Gradiva'' — ^her real 
name Norbert could not supply — ^**the daughter 

of , she walks more beautifully than any 

other girl in our city." 

As if he had heard it thus with his own ears, 
the idea had become firmly rooted in his mind, 
where another supposition had developed almost 
into a conviction. On his Italian j oumey, he had 
spent several weeks in Pompeii studying the 
ruins; and in Germany, the idea had suddenly 
come to him one day that the girl depicted by the 
relief was walking there, somewhere, on the 
peculiar stepping-stones which have been exca- 
vated; these had made a dry crossing possible 
in rainy weather, but had aflforded passage for 
chariot-wheels. Thus he saw her putting one 
foot across the interstice while the other was 
about to follow, and as he contemplated the girl, 
her immediate and more remote environment rose 
before his imagination like an actuality. It 
created for him, with the aid of his knowledge of 
antiquity, the vista of a long street, among the 



GRADIVA 7 

houses of which were many temples.and porticoes. 
DifiFerent kinds of business and trades, stalls, 
work-shops, taverns came into view; bakers had 
their breads on display; earthenware jugs, set 
into marble counters, oflFered everythmg requisite 
for household and kitchen ; at the street corner sat 
a woman oflFering vegetables and fruit for sale 
from baskets; from a half dozen large walnuts 
she had removed half of the shell to show the 
meat, fresh and soimd, as a temptation for pur- 
chasers. Wherever the eye turned, it fell upon 
lively colors, gaily painted wall surfaces, pillars 
with red and yellow capitals ; everything reflected 
the glitter and glare of the dazzling noonday sun. 
Farther oflF on a high base rose a gleaming, white 
statue, above which, in the distance, half veiled 

* 

by the tremulous vibrations of the hot air, loomed 
Moimt Vesuvius not yet in its present cone shape 
and brown aridity, but covered to its furrowed, 
rocky peak with glistening verdure. In the 
street only a few people moved about, seeking 
shade wherever possible, for the scorching heat 
of the summer noon hour paralyzed the usually 
bustling activities. There Gradiva walked over 
the stepping-stones and scared away from them a 
shimmering, golden-green lizard. 

Thus the picture stood vividly before Norbert 
Hanold's eyes, but from daily contemplation of 
her head, another new conjecture had gradually 



8 GRADIVA 

arisen. The cut of her features seemed to him, 
more and more, not Roman or Latifi, but 
Greek, so that her Hellenic ancestry gradually 
became for him a certainty. The ancient settle- 
ment of all southern Italy by Greeks offered 
sufficient ground for that, and more ideas pleas- 
antly associated with the settlers developed. 
Then the young "domina'* had perhaps spoken 
Greek in her parental home, and had grown up 
fostered by Greek cultiu*e. Upon closer consid- 
eration he found this also confirmed by the ex- 
pression of the face, for quite decidedly wisdom 
and a delicate spirituality lay hidden beneath her 
modesty. 

These conjectures or discoveries could, how- 
ever, establish no real archaeological interest in 
the little relief and Norbert was well aware that 
something else, which no doubt might be under 
the head of science, made him retiu-n to frequent 
contemplation of the likeness. For him it was 
a question of critical judgment as to whether the 
artist had reproduced Gradiva's manner of walk- 
ing from life. About that he could not become 
absolutely certain, and his rich collection of 
copies of antique plastic works did not help him 
in this matter. The nearly vertical position of 
the right foot seemed exaggerated ; in all experi- 
ments which he himself made, the movement left 
his rising foot always in a much less upright posi- 



GRADIVA 9 

tion; mathematically formulated, his stood, dur- 
ing the brief moment of lingering, at an angle of 
only forty-five degrees from the groimd, and this 
seemed to him natiu*al for the mechanics of walk- 
ing, because it served the purpose best. Once he 
used the presence of a young anatomist friend 
as an opportunity for raising the question, but the 
latter was not able to deliver a definite decision, 
as he had made no observations in this connec- 
tion. He confirmed the experience of his friend, 
as agreeing with his own, but could not say 
whether a woman's manner of walking was dif- 
ferent from that of a man, and the question re- 
mained unanswered. 

In spite of this, the discussion had not been 
without profit, for it suggested something that 
had not formerly occurred to him; namely, ob- 
servation from life for the pm-pose of enlighten- 
ment on the matter. That forced him, to be sure, 
to a mode of action utterly foreign to him; 
women had formerly been for him only a concep- 
tion in marble or bronze and he had never given 
his feminine contemporaries the least considera- 
tion; but his desire for knowledge transported 
Ihim into a scientific passion in which he siu-ren- 
dered himself to the peculiar investigation which 
he recognized as necessary. Thi? was hindered 
by many difficulties in the human throng of the 
larg^ citjr, ^jici results of the research were to be 



10 GRADIVA 

hoped for only in the less frequented streets. 
Yet, even there, long sldrts generally made the 
mode of walking midiseemible, for almost no one 
but housemaids wore short skirts and they, with 
the exception of a few, because of their heavy 
shoes could not well be considered in solving the 
question. In spite of this he steadfastly con- 
tinued his survey in dry, as weU as in wet weather; 
he perceived that the latter promised the quickest 
results, for it caused the ladies to raise their skirts. 
To many ladies, his searching glances directed 
at their feet must have inevitably been quite 
noticeable; sometimes a displeased expression of 
the lady observed showed that she considered his 
demeanor a mark of boldness or ill-breeding; 
sometimes, as he was a young man of very cap- 
tivating appearance, the opposite, a bit of en- 
couragement, was expressed by a pair of eyes. 
Yet one was as incomprehensible to him as the 
other. Gradually his perseverance resulted in 
the collection of a considerable number of ob- 
servations, which brought to his attention many 
differences. Some walked slowly, some fast, 
some ponderously, some buoyantly. Many let 
their soles merely glide over the ground; not 
many raised them more obliquely to a smarter 
position. Among all, however, not a single one 
presented to view Gradiva's manner of walking. 
That filled him with satisfaction that he had not 



GRADIVA 11 

been mistaken in his arehaeological judgment of 
the relief. On the other hand,- however, his ob- 
servations caused him annoyance, for he found 
the vertical position of the lingering foot beau- 
tiful, and regretted that it had been created by 
the imagination or arbitrary act of the sculptor 
and did not correspond to reality. 

Soon after his pedestrian investigations had 
yielded him this knowledge, he had, one night, a 
dream which caused him great anguish of mind. 
In it he was in old Pompeii, and on the twenty- 
fourth of August of the year 79, which witnessed 
the eruption of Vesuvius. The heavens held the 
doomed city wrapped in a black mantle of smoke ; 
only here and there the flaring masses of flame 
from the crater made distinguishable, through a 
rift, something steeped in blood-red light ; all the 
inhabitants, either individually or in confused 
crowd, stunned out of their senses by the unusual 
horror, sought safety in flight; the pebbles and 
the rain of ashes fell down on Norbert also, but, 
after the strange manner of dreams, they did not 
hurt him, and in the same way, he smelled the 
deadly sulphur fumes of the air without having 
his breathing impeded by them. As he stood 
thus at the edge of the Forum near the Jupiter 
temple, he suddenly saw Gradiva a short distance 
in front of him. Until then no thought of her 
presence there had moved him, but now suddenly 



12 GRADIVA 

it seemed natural to him, as she was, of course, a 
Pompeiian girl, that she was living in her native 
city and, without his having any suspicion of it, 
was his contemporary. He recognized her at 
first glance ; the stone model of her was splendidly 
striking in every detail, even to her gait; involun- 
tarily he designated this as "lente festinans.'* 
So with buoyant composure and the calm un- 
mindfuhiess of her surroundmgs peculiar to her, 
she walked across the flagstones of the Forum to 
the Temple of Apollo. She seemed not to notice 
the impending fate of the city, but to be given up 
to her thoughts; on that account he also forgot 
the frightful occurrence, for at least a few mo- 
ments, and because of a feeling that the hving 
reality would quickly disappear from him again, 
he tried to impress it accurately on his mind. 
Then, however, he became suddenly aware that 
if she did not quickly save herself, she must per- 
ish in the general destruction, and violent fear 
forced from him a cry of warning. She heard 
it, too, for her head turned toward him so that her 
face now appeared for a moment in full view, yet 
with an utterly uncomprehending expression; 
and, without paying any more attention to hun, 
she continued in the same direction as before. 
At the same time, her face became paler as if 
it were changing to white marble; she stepped 
up to the portico of the Temple, and then, be- 



GRADIVA 13 

tween the pillars, she sat down on a step and 
slowly laid her head upon it. Now the peb- 
bles were falling in such masses that they con- 
densed into a completely opaque ciu*tain; hasten- 
ing quickly after her, however, he found his way 
to the place where she had disappeared from his 
view, and there she lay, protected by the project- 
ing roof, stretched out on the broad step, as if 
for sleep, but no longer breathing, apparently 
stifled by the sulphur fumes. From Vesuvius 
the red glow flared over her coimtenance, which, 
with closed eyes, was exactly hke that of a beau- 
tiful statue. No fear nor distortion was appar- 
ent, but a strange equanimity, calmly submitting 
to the inevitable, 'was manifest in her features. 
Yet they quickly became more indistinct as the 
wind drove to the place the rain of ashes, which 
spread over them, first like a gray gauze veil, then 
extinguished the last glimpse of her face, and 
soon, hke a Northern winter snowfall, buried the 
whole figure under a smooth cover. Outside, the 
pillars of the Temple of Apollo rose, now, how- 
ever, only half of them, for the gray fall of ashes 
heaped itself likewise against them. 

When Norbert Hanold awoke, he still heard 
the confused cries of the Pompeiians who were 
seeking safety, and the dully resounding boom 
of the surf of the turbulent sea. Then he came 
to his senses ; the sun cast a golden gleam of light 



14 GRADIVA 

across his bed ; it was an April morning and out- 
side sounded the various noises of the city, cries 
of venders, and the rumbling of vehicles. Yet 
the dream picture still stood most distinctly in 
every detail before his open eyes, and some time 
was necessary before he could get rid of a feeling 
that he had really been present at the destruction 
on the bay of Naples, that night nearly two 
thousand years ago. While he was dressing, he 
first became graduaUy free from it, yet he did not 
succeed, even by the use of critical thought, in 
breaking away from the idea that Gradiva had 
lived in Pompeii and had been buried there in 79. 
Rather, the former conjecture had riow become to 
him an established certainty and now the second 
also was added. ^With woful feeling he now 
viewed in his living-room the old relief which had 
assumed new significance for him. It was, in a 
way, a tombstone by which the artist had pre- 
served for posterity the likeness of the girl who 
had so early departed this hf e. Yet if one looked 
at her with enlightened understanding, the ex- 
pression of her whole being left no doubt that, on 
that fateful night, she had actually lain down to 
die with just such calm as the dream had showed. 
An old proverb says that the darlings of the gods 
are taken from the earth in the full vigor of youth. 
Without having yet put on a collar, in morning 
array, with slippers on his feet, Norbert leaned on 



GRADIVA 15 

the open window and gazed out. The spring, 
^ which had finally arrived in the north also, was 
without, but announced itself in the great quarry 
of the city only by the blue sky and the soft air, 
yet a foreboding of it reached the senses, and 
awoke in remote, sunny places a desire for leaf- 
green, fragrance and bird song; a breath of it 
came as far as this place; the market women on 
the street had their baskets adorned with a few, 
bright wad flowers, and at an open window, a 
canary in a cage warbled his song. Norbert felt 
sorry for the poor fellow for, beneath the clear 
tone, in spite of the joyful note, he heard the 
longmg for freedom and the open. 

Yet the thoughts of the young archaeologist 
dallied but briefly there, for something else had 
crowded into them. Not until then had he be- 
come aware that in the dream he had not noticed 
exactly whether the living Gradiva had really 
walked as the piece of sculpture represented her, 
and as the women of to-day, at any rate, did not 
walk. That was remarkable because it was the 
basis of his scientific interest in the relief; on the 
other hand, it could be explained by his excite- 
ment over the danger to her life. He tried, in 
vain, however, to recall her gait. 

Then suddenly something like a thrill passed 
through him; in the first moment he could not 
say whence. But then he realized; down in the 



16 GRADIVA 

street, with her back toward him, a female, from 
figm^e and dress undoubtedly a young lady, was 
walking along with easy, elastic step. Her dress, 
which reached only to her ankles, she held lifted 
a little in her left hand, and he saw that in walking 
the sole of her slender foot, as it followed, rose 
for a moment vertically on the tips of the toes. 
It appeared so, but the distance and the fact 
that he was looking down did not admit of cer- 
tainty. 

Quickly Norbert Hanold was in the street 
without yet knowing exactly how he had come 
there. He had, hke a boy sliding down a railing, 
flown like lightning down the steps, and was run- 
ning down among the carriages, carts and people. 
The latter directed looks of wonder at him, and 
from several lips came laughing, half mocking 
exclamations. He was unaware that these re- 
ferred to him; his glance was seeking the young 
lady and he thought that he distinguished her 
dress a few dozen steps ahead of him, but only 
the upper part ; of the lower half, and of her feet, 
he could perceive nothing, for they were concealed 
by the crowd thronging on the sidewalk. 

Now an old, comfortable, vegetable woman 
stretched her hand toward his sleeve, stopped him 
and said half grinning, "Say, my dear, you prob- 
ably drank a little too much last night and are you 
looking for your bed here in the street? You 



GRADIVA 17 

would do better to go home and look at yourself 
in the mirror." 

A burst of laughter from those nearby proved 
it true that he had shown himself in garb not 
suited to public appearance, and brought him 
now to realization that he had heedlessly run 
from his room. That surprised him because he 
insisted upon conventionaUty of attire and, for- 
saking his project, he quickly retiu*ned home, ap- 
parently however, with his mind still somewhat 
confused by the dream and dazed by illusion, for 
he had perceived that, at the laughter and ex- 
clamation, the young lady had turned her head a 
moment and he thought he had seen not the face 
of a stranger, but that of Gradiva looking down 

upon him. 

• •••••• 

Because of considerable property, Doctor Nor- 
bert Hanold was in the pleasant position of being 
unhampered master of his own acts and wishes 
and, upon the appearance of any incUnation, of 
not depending for expert counsel about it on any 
higher court than his own decision. In this way 
he differed most favorably from the canary, who 
could only warble out, without success, his inborn 
impulse to get out of the cage into the sunny 
open. Otherwise, however, the young archaeolo- 
gist resembled the latter in many respects. He 
had not come into the world and grown up in 



18 GRADIVA 

natural freedom, but already at birth had been 
hedged in by the grating with which family tra- 
dition, by education and predestination, had sur- 
rounded him. From his early childhood no doubt 
had existed in his parents' house that he, as the 
only son of a university professor and antiqua- 
rian, was called upon to preserve, if possible to 
exalt, by that very activity the glory of his fa- 
ther's name ; so this business continuity had always 
seemed to him the natm-al task of his future. He 
had clung loyally to it even after the early deaths 
of his parents had left him absolutely alone; in 
connection with his brilliantly passed examina- 
tion in philology, he had taken the prescribed 
student trip to Italy and had seen in the original 
a number of old works of art whose imitations^ 
only, had formerly been accessible to him. Noth- 
ing more instructive for him than the collec- 
tions of Florence, Rome, Naples could be offered 
anywhere; he could furnish evidence that the 
period of his stay there had been used excellently 
for the enrichment of his knowledge, and he had 
returned home fully satisfied to devote himself 
with the new acquisitions to his science. That 
besides these objects from the distant past, the 
present still existed round about him, he felt only 
in the most shadowy way; for his feelings marble 
and bronze were not dead, but rather the only 
really vital thing which expressed the purpose 



GRADIVA 19 

and value of human life; and so he sat in the 
midst of his walls, books and pictures, with no 
need of any other intercourse, but whenever pos- 
sible avoiding the latter as an empty squandering 
of time and only very reluctantly submitting oc- 
casionally to an inevitable party, attendance at 
which was required by the connections handed 
down from his parents. Yet it was known that 
at such gatherings he was present without eyes or 
ears for his surroundings, and as soon as it was 
any way permissible, he always took his leave, 
imder some pretext, at the end of the lunch or 
dinner, and on the street he greeted none of those 
whom he had sat with at the table. That served, 
especially with young ladies, to put him in a 
rather unfavorable light ; for upon meeting even 
a girl with whom he had, by way of exception, 
spoken a few words, he looked at her without a 
greeting as at a quite unknown person whom he 
had never seen. Although perhaps archaeology, 
in itself, might be a rather curious science and al- 
though its alloy had effected a remarkable amal- 
gamation with Norbert Hanold's nature, it could 
not exercise much attraction for others and af- 
forded even him little enjojnnent in life according 
to the usual views of youth. Yet with a perhaps 
kindly intent Nature had added to his blood, with- 
out his knowing of the possession, a kind of cor- 
rective of a thoroughly unscientific sort, an unusu- 



20 GRADIVA 

ally lively imagination which was present not only 
in dreams, but often in his waking hours, and es- 
sentially made his mind not preponderantly 
adapted to strict research method devoid of inter- 
est. From this endowment, however, originated 
another similarity between him and the canary. 
The latter was born in captivity, had never known 
anything else than the cage which confined him 
in narrow quarters, but he had an inner feeling 
that something was lacking to him, and soimded 
from his throat his desire for the unknown. Thus 
Norbert Hanold understood it, pitied him for it, 
returned to his room, leaned again from the win- 
dow and was thereupon moved by a feeling that 
he, too, lacked a nameless something. Meditation 
on it, therefore, could be of no use. The indefi- 
nite stir of emotion came from the mild, spring 
air, the sunbeams and the broad expanse with its 
fragrant breath, and formed a comparison for 
him; he was likewise sitting in a cage behind a 
grating. Yet this idea was immediately followed 
by the palliating one that his position was more 
advantageous than that of the canary for he had 
in his possession wings which were hindered by 
nothing from flying out into the open at his pleas- 
ure. 

But that was an idea which developed more 
upon reflection. Norbert gave himself up for a 
time to this occupation, yet it was not long before 



GRADIVA 21 

the project of a spring journey assumed definite 
shape. This he carried out that very day, packed 
a light valise, and before he went south by the 
night express, cast at nightfall another regretful 
departing glance on Gradiva, who, steeped in the 
last rays of the sun, seemed to step out with more 
buoyancy than ever over the invisible stepping- 
stones beneath her feet. Even if the impulse 
for travel had originated in a nameless feeling, 
further reflection had, however, granted, as a 
matter of course, that it must serve a scientific 
purpose. It had occurred to him that he had 
neglected to inform himself with accm-acy about 
some important archaeological questions in con- 
nection with some statues in Rome and, without 
stopping on the way, he made the journey of a 
day and a half thither. 

Not very many personally experience the 
beauty of going from Germany to Italy in the 
spring when one is young, wealthy and independ- 
ent, for even those endowed with the three latter 
requirements are not always accessible to such a 
feeling for beauty, especially if they (and alas 
they form the majority) are in couples on the 
Jays or weeks after a wedding, for such allow 
^^lothing to pass without an extraordinary delight, 
which is expressed in numerous superlatives ; and 
filially they bring back home, as profit, only what 



22 GRADIVA 

they would have discovered, felt or enjoyed ex- 
actly as much by staying there. In the spring 
such dualists usually swarm over the Alpine 
passes in exactly opposite direction to the birds 
of passage. During the whole journey they 
billed and cooed around Norbert as if they were 
in a rolling dove-cot, and for the first time in his 
life he was compelled to observe his fellow beings 
more closely with eye and ear. Although, from 
their speech, they were all German country peo- 
ple, his racial identity with them awoke in him 
no feeling of pride, but the rather opposite one, 
that he had done reasonably well to bother as lit- 
tle as possible with the homo sapiens of Linnaean 
classification, especially in connection with the 
feminine half of this species; for the first time 
he saw also, in his immediate vicinity, people 
brought together by the mating impulse without 
his being able to imderstand what had been the 
mutual cause. It remained incomprehensible to 
him why the women had chosen these men, and 
still more perplexing why the choice of the men 
had fallen upon these women. Every time he 
raised his eyes, his glance had to fall on the face 
of some one of them and it found none which 
charmed the eye by outer attraction or possessed 
indication of intellect or good nature. To be 
sure, he lacked a standard for measm^ing, for of 
course one could not compare the women of to- 



GRADIVA 23 

day, with the suhlime heauty of the old works of 
art, yet he had a dark suspicion that he was not 
to blame for this unkind view, but that in all ex- 
pressions there was something lacking which or- 
dinary life was in duty bound to offer. So he 
reflected for many hours on the strange impulses 
of himian beings, and came to the conclusion that 
of all their follies, marriage, at any rate, took the 
prize as the greatest and most incomprehensible 
one, and the senseless wedding trips to Italy 
somehow capped the climax of this buffoonery. 

Again, however, he was reminded of the canary 
that he had left behind in captivity, for he also 
sat here in a cage, cooped in by the faces of young 
bridal couples which were as rapturous as vapid, 
past which his glance could only occasionally 
stray through the window. Therefore it can be 
easily explained that the things passing outside 
before his eyes made other impressions on him 
than when he had seen them some years before. 
The olive foliage had more of a silver sheen ; the 
solitary, towering cypresses and pines here and 
there were delineated with more beautiful and 
more distinctive outlines; the places situated on 
the mountain heights seemed to him more charm- 
ing, as if each one, in a manner, were an individual 
with different expression; and Trasimene Lake 
seemed to him of a soft blue such as he had never 
noticed in any surface of water. He had a feel- 



M GRADIVA 

ing that a Nature unknown to him was surround- 
ing the railway tracks, as if he must have passed 
through these places before in continual twilight, 
or during a gray rainfall, and was now seeing 
them for the first time in their golden abundance 
of color. A few times he surprised himself in a 
desire, formerly unknown to him, to alight and 
seek afoot the way to this or that place because 
it looked to him as if it might be concealing some- 
thing peculiar or mysterious. Yet he did not 
allow himself to be misled by such unreasonable 
impulses, but the "diretissimo" took him directly 
to Rome where, already, before the entrance into 
the station, the ancient world with the ruins of 
the temple of Minerva Medica received him. 
When he had finally freed himself from his cage 
filled with "inseparables," he immediately secured 
accommodations in a hotel well known to him, in 
order to look about, from there, without exces- 
sive haste, for a private house satisfactory to 
him. 

Such a one he had not yet found in the course 
of the next day, but retxmied to his "albergo" 
again in the evening and went to sleep rather ex- 
hausted by the unaccustomed Italian air, the 
strong sun, much wandering about and the noise 
of the streets. Soon consciousness began to fade, 
but just as he was about to fall asleep he was 
again awakened, for his room was connected with 



t 
I 



GRADIVA 25 

the adjoining one by a door concealed only by a 
wardrobe, and into this came two guests, who had 
taken possession of it that morning. From the 
voices which somided through the thin partition, 
they were a man and a woman who unmistakably 
belonged to that class of German spring birds of 
passage with whom he had yesterday journeyed 
hither from Florence. Their frame of mind 
seemed to give decidedly favorable testimony 
concerning the hotel cuisine and it might be due 
to the good quality of a Castellin-romani wine 
that they exchanged ideas and feelings most dis- 
tinctly and audibly in North German tongue: 

"My only Augustus.'* 

"My sweet Gretchen." 

"Now again we have each other." 

"Yes, at last we are alone again." 

"Must we do more sight-seeing to-morrow?" 

"At breakfast we shall look in Baedeker for 
what is still to be done." 

"My only Augustus, to me you are much more 
pleasing than Apollo Belvedere." 

"And I have often thought, my sweet 
Gretchen, that you are much more beautiful than 
the Capitoline Venus." 

"Is the volcano that we want to climb near 
here?" 

"No, I think we'll have to ride a few hours 
more in the train to get there." 



26 GRADIVA 

"If it should begin to belch flame just as we 
got to the middle, what would you do?" 

"Then my only thought would be to save you, 
and I would take you in my arms — so." 

"Don't scratch yourself on that pin I" 

"I can think of nothing more beautiful than to 
shed my blood for you." 

"My only Augustus." 

"My sweet Gretchen." 

With that the conversation ceased, Norbert 
heard another ill-defined rustling and moving of 
chairs, then it became quiet and he fell back into 
a doze which transported him to Pompeii just 
as Vesuvius again began its eruption. A vivid 
throng of fleeing people caught him and among 
them he saw Apollo Belvedere lift up the Capi- 
toline Venus, take her away and place her safely 
upon some object in a dark shadow; it seemed to 
be a carriage or cart on which she was to be car- 
ried off, for a rattling sound was soon heard from 
that direction. This mythological occurrence did 
not amaze the yoimg archaeologist, but it struck 
him as remarkable that the two talked German, 
not Greek, to each other for, as they half regained 
their senses, he heard them say: 

"My sweet Gretchen." 

"My only Augustus." 

But after that the dream picture changed com- 
pletely. Absolute silence took the place, gf th^ 



GRADIVA 27 

confused sound, and instead of smoke and fire- 
glow, bright, hot sunlight rested on the ruins of 
the buried city. This likewise changed grad- 
ually, became a bed on whose white linen golden 
beams circled up to his eyes, and Norbert Han- 
old awoke in the scintillating spring morning of 
Rome. 

Within him, also, however, something had 
changed; why, he could not surmise, but a 
strangely oppressive feeling had again taken pos- 
session of him, a feeling that he was imprisoned in 
a cage which this time was called Rome. As he 
opened the window, there screamed up from the 
street dozens of venders' cries far more shrill to 
his ear than those in his German home; he had 
come only from one noisy quarry to another, and 
a strangely uncanny horror of antique collections, 
of meeting there Apollo Belvedere or the Capito- 
line Venus, frightened him away. Thus, after 
brief consideration, he refrained from his inten- 
tion of looking for a dwelling, hastily packed 
his valise again and went farther south by train. 
To escape the "inseparables," he did this in a 
third class coach, expecting at the same time to 
find there an interesting and scientificaUy useful 
company of Italian folk-types, the former models 
of antique Works of art. Yet he found nothing 
but the usual dirt, Monopol cigars which smelled 
horribly, little warped fellows beating about with 



28 GRADIVA 

arms and legs, and members of the female sex, 
in contrast to whom his coupled country-women 
seemed to his memory almost like Olympian 

goddesses. 

• •••••• 

Two days later Norbert Hanold occupied a 
rather questionable space called a "room" in 
Hotel Diomed beside the eucalyptus-guarded 
"ingresso" to the excavations of Pompeii. He 
had intended to stay in Naples for some time to 
study again more closely the sculptures and wall- 
paintings in the Museo Nazionale, but he had 
had an experience there similar to that in Rome. 
In the room for the collection of Pompeiian 
household furniture he f oimd himself wrapped in 
a cloud of feminine, ultra-fashionable travel-cos- 
tumes, which had doubtless all' quickly replaced 
the virgin radiance of satin, silk or lace bridal fin- 
ery ; each one clung to the arm of a young or old 
companion, likewise faultlessly attired, according 
to men's fashion standards ; and Norbert's newly 
gained insight into a field of knowledge formerly 
unknown to him had advanced so far as to permit 
him to recognize them at first glance ; every man 
was Augustus, every girl was Gretchen. Only 
this came to light here by means of other forms of 
conversation tempered, moderated and modified 
by the ear of publicity. 

"Oh, look, that was practical of them; we'll 



GRADIVA 29 

surely have to get a meat warmer like that too." 

"Yes, but for the food that my wife cooks it 
must be made of silver." 

"How do you know that what I cook will taste 
so good to you?" 

The question was accompanied by a roguish, 
arch glance and was answered in the affirmative, 
with a glance varnished with lacquer, "What you 
serve to me can be nothing but delicious." 

"No ; that surely is a thimble I Did the people 
of those days have needles?" 

"It almost seems so, but you could not have 
done anything with that, my darling, it would be 
much too large even for your thumb." 

"Do you really think that? And do you like 
slender fingers better than broad ones?" 

"Yours I do not need to see ; by touch I could 
discover them, in the deepest darkness, among all 
the others in the world." 

"That is really awfully interesting. Do we 
still really have to go to Pompeii also?" 

"No, that will hardly pay; there are only old 
stones and rubbish there ; whatever was of value, 
Baedeker says, was brought here. I fear the sim 
there would be too hot for your delicate com- 
plexion and I could never forgive myself that." 

"What if you should suddenly have a negress 
for a wife?" 

"No, my imagination fortunately does not 



30 GRADIVA 

reach that far, but a freckle on your little nose 
would make me unhappy. I think, if it is agree- 
able to you, we'll go to Capri to-morrow, my dear. 
There everything is said to be very comfortable 
and in the wonderful light of the Blue Grotto I 
shall first realize completely what a great prize I 
have drawn in the lottery of happiness." 

"You — ^if any one hears that, I shall be almost 
ashamed. But wherever you take me, it is agree- 
able to me, and makes no difference, for I have 
you with me.'' 

Augustus and Gretchen over again, somewhat 
toned down and tempered for eye and ear. It 
seemed to Norbert Hanold that he had had thin 
honey poured upon him from all sides and that he 
had to dispose of it swallow by swallow. A sick 
feeling came over him and he ran out of the 
Museo Nazionale to the nearest "osteria** to 
drink a glass of vermuth. Again and again the 
thought intruded itself upon his mind : — ^Why did 
these hundred fold dualities fill the museums of 
Florence, Rome, Naples, instead of devoting 
themselves to their plural occupations in their na- 
tive Germany? Yet from a number of chats and 
tender talks, it seemed to him that the majority 
of these bird couples did not intend to nest in the 
rubbish of Pompeii, but considered a side trip 
to Capri much more profitable, and thence orig- 
inatea his sudden impulse to do what they did not 



GRADIVA 31 

do. There was at any rate offered to him a 
chance to be freed from the main flock of this mi- 
gration and to find what he was vainly seeking 
here in Italy. That was also a duahty, not a 
wedding duality, but two members of the same 
family without cooing bills, silence and science, 
two calm sisters with whom only ofie could coimt 
upon satisfactory shelter. His desire for them 
contained something formerly unknown to him; 
if it had not been a contradiction in itself, he 
could have applied to this impulse the epithet 
"passionate" — and an hour later he was abeady 
sitting in a "carrozzella" which bore him through 
the interminable Portici and Resina. The jour- 
ney was like one through a street splendidly 
adorned for an old Roman victor; to the right 
and left almost every house spread out to dry in 
the sun, like yellow tapestry hangings, a super- 
abimdant wealth of "pasta di Napoli,'' the great- 
est dainty of the country, thick or thin macaroni, 
vermicelli, spaghetti, canelloni and fidelini, to 
which smoke of fats from cook-shops, dust-clouds, 
flies and fleas, the fish scales flying about in the 
air, chimney smoke and other day and night in- 
fluences lent the familiar delicacy of its taste. 
Then the cone of Vesuvius looked down close by 
across brown lava fields ; at the right extended the 
gulf of shimmering blue, as if composed of liquid 
malachite and lapis lazuli. The little nutshell on 



S2 GRADIVA 

wheels flew, as if whirled forth by a mad storm 
and as if every moment must be its last, over the 
dreadful pavement of Torre del Greco, rattled 
through Torre dell' Annunziata, reached the Dios- 
curi, Hotel Suisse and Hotel Diomed, which 
measured their power of attraction in a ceaseless, 
silent, but ferocious struggle, and stopped before 
the latter whose classic name, again, as on his 
first visit, had determined the choice of the young 
archaeologist. With apparently, at least, the 
greatest composure, however, the modem Swiss 
competitor viewed this event before its very door. 
It was calm because no different water from what 
it used was boiled in the pots of its classic neigh- 
bor; and the antique splendors temptingly dis- 
played for sale over there had not come to light 
again after two thousand years under the ashes, 
any more than the ones which it had. 

Thus Norbert Hanold, contrary to all expecta- 
tions and intentions, had been transported in a 
few days from northern Germany to Pompeii, 
found the Diomed not too much filled with hu- 
man guests, but on the other hand populously 
inhabited by the musca domestica communis, the 
common house-fly. He had never been subject 
to violent emotions; yet a hatred of these 
two-winged creatures burned within him ; he con- 
sidered them the basest evil invention of Nature, 
on their account much pref <erred the winter to the 



GRADIVA S3 

summer as the only time suited to human life, and 
recognized in them invincible proof against the 
existence of a rational world-system. Now they 
received him here several months earlier than he 
would have fallen to their infamy in Germany, 
rushed immediately about him in dozens, as upon 
a patiently awaited victim, whizzed before his 
eyes, buzzed in his ears, tangled themselves in his 
hair, tickled his nose, forehead and hands. 
Therein many reminded him of honeymoon 
couples, probably were also saying to each other 
in their language, *'My only Augustus" and "My 
sweet Gretchen" ; in the mind of the tormented 
man rose a longing for a "scacciamosche," a splen- 
didly made fly-flapper like one imearthed from 
a burial vault, which he had seen in the Etruscan 
museum in Bologna. Thus, in antiquity, this 
worthless creature had likewise been the scourge 
of humanity, more vicious and more inevitable 
than scorpions, venomous snakes, tigers and 
sharks, which were bent upon only physical in- 
jury, rending or devouring the ones attacked; 
against the former one could guard himself by 
thoughtful conduct. From the common house- 
fly, however, thire was no protection, and it para- 
lyzed, disturbed and finally shattered the psychic 
life of human beings, their capacity for thinking 
and working, every lofty flight of imagination 
and every beautiful feeling. Hunger or thirst 



34 GRADIVA 

for blood did not impel them, but solely the dia- 
bolical desire to torture; it was the "Ding an sich" 
in which absolute evil had found its incarnation. 
The Etruscan "scacciamosche," a wooden handle 
with a bunch of fine leather strips fastened to it, 
proved the following: they had destroyed the 
most exalted poetic thoughts in the mind of 
Aeschylus ; they had caused the chisel of Phidias 
to make an irremediable slip, had run over the 
brow of Zeus, the breast of Aphrodite, and from 
head to foot of all Olympian gods and goddesses ; 
and Norbert felt in his soul that the service of a 
human being was to be estimated, above all, ac- 
cording to the number of flies which he had killed, 
pierced, burned up or exterminated in hecatombs 
during his life, as avenger of his whole race from 
remotest antiquity. 

For the achievement of such fame, he lacked 
here the necessary weapon, and like the great- 
est battle hero of antiquity, who had, however, 
been alone and imable to do otherwise, he 
left the field, or rather his room, in view of the 
hundredfold overwhelming number of the com- 
mon foe. Outside it dawned upon him that he 
had thereby done in a small way what he would 
have to repeat on a larger scale on the morrow. 
Pompeii, too, apparently offered no peacefully 
gratifying abode for his needs. To this idea was 



GRADIVA 36 

addedy at least dimly^ another, that his dissatis- 
faction was certainly caused not by his surround- 
ings alone, but to a degree found its origin in 
him. To be sure, flies had always been very re- 
pulsive to him, but they had never before trans- 
ported him into such raging fury as this. On 
accoimt of the jomney his nerves were undeni- 
ably in an excited and irritable condition, for 
which indoor air and overwork at home during 
the winter had probably begun to pave the way. 
He felt that he was out of sorts because he lacked 
something without being able to explain what, 
and this ill-humor he took everywhere with him ; 
of course flies and bridal couples swarming en 
masse were not calculated to make life agreeable 
anywhere. Yet if he did not wish to wrap him- 
self in a thick cloud of self -righteousness, it could 
not remain concealed from him that he was travel- 
ing aroimd Italy just as aimless, senseless, blind 
and deaf as they, only with considerably less ca- 
pacity for enjoyment. For his traveling com- 
panion, science, had, most decidedly, much of an 
old Trappist about her, did not open her mouth 
when she was not spoken to, and it seemed to 
him that he was almost forgetting in what lan- 
guage he had communed with her. 

It was now too late in the day to go into Pom- 
peii through the "ingresso." Norbert remem- 



36 GRADIVA 

bered a circuit he had once made on the old city- 
wall, and attempted to mount the latter by means 
of all sorts of bushes and wild growth. Thus he 
wandered along for some distance a little above 
the city of graves, which lay on his right, motion- 
less and quiet. It looked like a dead rubbish field 
already almost covered with shadow, for the eve- 
ning sun stood in the west not far from the edge 
of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Round about on the 
other hand it still bathed all the hilltops and fields 
with an enchanting brilliancy of life, gilded the 
smoke-cone rising above the Vesuvius crater and 
clad the peaks and pinnacles of Monte Sant' An- 
gelo in purple* High and solitary rose Monte 
Epomeo from the sparkling, blue sea glittering 
with golden light, from which Cape Misemma 
reared itself with dark outline, like a mysterious, 
titanic structure. Wherever the gaze rested, a 
wonderful picture was spread combining charm 
and sublimity, remote past and joyous present. 
Norbert Hanold had expected to find here what 
he longed for vaguely. Yet he was not in the 
mood for it, although no bridal couples and flies 
molested him on the deserted wall; even nature 
was unable to offer him what he lacked in his sur- 
roundings and within himself. With a calmness 
bordering closely on indifference, he let his eyes 
pass over the all-pervading beauty, and did not 
regret in the least that it was growing pale and 



GRADIVA 37 

fading away in the sunset, but returned to the 

Diomed, as he had come, dissatisfied. 

■ ■••■•• 

But as he had now, although with ill-success, 
been conveyed to this place through his indiscre- 
tion, he reached the decision overnight, to get 
from the folly he had committed at least one 
day of scientific profit and went to Pompeii on 
the regular road as soon as the "ingresso" was 
opened in the morning. In httle groups com- 
manded by official guides, armed with red Baede- 
kers or their foreign cousins, longing for secret 
excavations of their own, there wandered before 
and behind him the population of the two hotels. 
The still fresh, morning air was filled almost ex- 
clusively by English or Anglo-American chatter ; 
the German couples were making each other mu- 
tually happy with German sweets and inspiration 
up there on Capri behind Monte Sant' Angelo 
at the breakfast table of the Pagano. Norbert 
remembered how to free himself soon, by well 
chosen words, combined with a good "mancia," 
from the burden of a *'guida" and was able to 
piu-sue his purposes alone and unhindered. It 
afforded him some satisfaction to know that 
he possessed a faultless memory; wherever his 
glance rested, everything lay and stood exactly as 
he remembered it, as if only yesterday he had 
imprinted it in his mind by means of expert ob- 



88 GRADIVA 

servation. This continually repeated experience 
brought, however, the added feeling that his pres- 
ence there seemed really very unnecessary, and a 
decided indifference took possession of his eyes 
and his intellect more and more, as during the 
evening on the wall. Although, when he looked 
up, the pine-shaped smoke-cone of Vesuvius gen- 
erally stood before him against the blue sky, yet, 
remarkably, it did not once appear in his memory 
that he had dreamed some time ago that he had 
been present at the destruction of Pompeii by the 
volcanic eruption of 79. Wandering around for 
horn's made him tired and half -sleepy, of course, 
yet he felt not the least, suggestion of anything 
dreamlike, but there lay about him only a con- 
'f usion of fragments of ancient gate arches, pillars 
and walls significant to the highest degree for 
archaeology, but, viewed without the esoteric aid 
of this science, really not much else than a big 
pile of rubbish, neatly arranged, to be sure, but 
extremely devoid of interest; and although sci- 
ence and dreams were wont formerly to stand on 
footings exactly opposed, they had apparently 
here to-day come to an agreement to withdraw 
their aid from Norbert Hanold and deliver him 
over absolutely to the aimlessness of his walking 
and standing around. 

So he had wandered in all directions from the 
Forum to the Amphitheater, from the Porta di 



GRADIVA 39 

Stabia to the Porta del Vesuvio through the 
Street of Tombs as well as through countless 
others, and the sun had likewise, in the mean- 
while, made its accustomed morning journey to 
the position where it usually changes to the more 
comfortable descent toward the sea. Thereby, 
to the great satisfaction of their misunderstood, 
hoarsely eloquent guides, it gave the English 
and American men and women, forced to go there 
by a traveler's sense of duty, a signal to become 
mindful of the superior comfort of sitting at the 
lunch-tables of the twin hotels ; besides they had 
seen with their own eyes everything that could be 
required for conversation on the other side of the 
ocean and channel; so the separate groups, sati- 
ated by the past, started on the return, ebbed in 
common movement down through the Via Ma- 
rina, in order not to lose meals at the, to be sure 
somewhat euphemistically Lucullan, tables of the 
present, in the house of Diomed or of Mr. Swiss. 
In consideration of all the outer and inner cir- 
cumstances, this was doubtless also the wisest 
thing that they could do, for the noon sun of May 
was decidedly well disposed toward the lizards, 
butterflies and other winged inhabitants or visi- 
tors of the extensive mass of ruins, but for the 
northern complexion of a Madame or Miss its 
perpendicular obtrusiveness was unquestionably 
beginning to become less kindly, and, supposedly 



40 GRADIVA 

in some causal connection with that, the **charm- 
ings" had already in the last hour considerably 
diminished, the "shockings'* had increased in the 
same proportion, and the masculine "ah's'* pro- 
ceeding from rows of teeth even more widely dis- 
tended than before had begun a noticeable tran- 
sition to yawning. 

It was remarkable, however, that simultan- 
eously with their vanishing, what had formerly 
been the city of Pompeii assumed an entirely 
changed appearance, but not a living one; it 
now appeared rather to be becoming completely 
petrified in dead immobility. Yet out of it 
stirred a feeling that death was beginning to talk, 
although not in a manner intelligible to human 
ears. To be sure, here and there was a sound as if 
a whisper were proceeding from the stone which, 
however, only the softly murmuring south wind, 
Atabulus, awoke, he who, two thousand years 
ago, had buzzed in this fashion about the temples, 
halls and houses, and was now carrying on his 
playful game with the green, shimmering stalks 
on the low ruins. From the coast of Africa he 
often rushed across casting forth wild, f uU blasts : 
he was not doing that to-day, but was gently fan- 
ning again the old acquaintances which had come 
to light again. He could not, however, refrain 
from his natural tendency to devastate, and blew 



GRADIVA 41 

I 

with hot breath, even though lightly, on every- 
thing that he encountered on the way. 

In this, the sun, his eternally youthful mother, 
helped him. She strengthened his fiery breath, 
and accomplished, besides, what he could not, 
steeped everything with trembling, glittering, 
dazzling splendor. As with a golden eraser, she 
effaced from the edges of the houses on the 
semitae and crepidine viarum, as the sidewalks 
were once called, every slight shadow, cast into all 
the vestibules, inner courts, peristyles and bal- 
conies her luminous radiance, or desultory rays 
where a shelter blocked her direct approach. 
Hardly anywhere was there a nook which success- 
fully protected itself against the ocean of light 
and veiled itself in a dusky, silver web; every 
street lay between the old walls like long, rip- 
pling, white strips of linen spread out to bleach ; 
and without exception all were equally motion- 
less and mute, for not only had the last of the 
rasping and nasal tones of the English and Amer- 
ican messengers disappeared, but the former 
slight evidences of lizard- and butterfly-life 
seemed also to have left the silent city of ruins. 
They had not really done so, but the gaze per- 
ceived no more movement from them. 

As had been the custom of their ancestors out 
on the mountain slopes and cliff walls, for thou- 



42 GRADIVA 

sands of years, when the great Pan laid himself 
to sleep, here, too, in order not to disturb him, 
they had stretched themselves out motionless or, 
folding their wings, had squatted here and there; 
and it seemed as if, in this place, they felt even 
more strongly the command of the hot, holy, 
noonday quiet in whose ghostly hour life must be 
silent and suppressed, because during it the dead 
awake and begin to talk in toneless spirit-lan- 
guage. 

This changed aspect which the things round 
about had assumed really thrust itself less upon 
the vision than it aroused the emotions, or, more 
correctly, an unnamed sixth sense; this latter, 
however, was stimulated so strongly and persist- 
ently that a person endowed with it could not 
throw oflF the effect produced upon him. To be 
sure, of those estimable boarders already busy 
with their soup spoons at the two "albergW near 
the "ingresso," hardly a man or woman would 
have been counted among those thus invested, but 
Nature had once bestowed this great attention 
upon Norbert Hanold and he had to submit to its 
effects, not at aU because he had an understanding 
with it, however, for he wished nothmg at aU and 
desired nothing more than that he might be sitting 
quietly in his study with an instructive book in his 
hand, instead of having undertaken this aimless 
spring joiuney. Yet as he had turned back from 



GRADIVA 48 

the Street of Tombs through the Hercules gate 
into the center of the city and at Casa di Sallustio 
had turned to the left, quite without purpose or 
thought, into the narrow *'vicolo," suddenly that 
sixth sense was awakened in him; but this last 
expression was not really fitting, rather he was 
transported by it into a strangely dreamy condi- 
tion, about half way between a waking state and 
loss of senses. As if guarding a secret, every- 
where round about him, suffused in light, lay 
deathly silence, so breathless that even his own 
lungs hardly dared to take in air. He stood at 
the intersection of two streets where the Vicolo 
Mercurio crossed the broader Strada di Mercurio, 
which stretched out to right and left; in answer 
to the god of commerce, business and trades had 
formerly had their abodes here; the street cor- 
ners spoke silently of it ; many shops with broken 
counters, inlaid with marble, opened out upon 
them; here the arrangement indicated a bakery, 
there, a number of large, convex, earthenware 
jugs, an oil or flour business. Opposite more 
slender, two-handled jars set into the counters 
showed that the space behind them had been a 
bar-room ; surely in the evening, slaves and maids 
of the neighborhood might have thronged here to 
get wine for their masters in their own jugs; one 
could see that the now illegible inscription inlaid 
with mosaic on the sidewalk in front of the shop 



44 GRADIVA 

was worn by many feet ; probably it had held out 
to passers-by a recommendation of the excellent 
wine. On the outer-wall, at about half the height 
of a man, was visible a "graflSto" probably 
scratched into the plastering, with his finger-nail 
or an iron nail, by a schoolboy, perhaps de- 
risively explaining the praise, in this way, that 
the owner's wine owed its peerlessness to a 
generous addition of water. For from the 
scratch there seemed raised before Norbert Han- 
old's eyes the word "caupo," or was it an il- 
lusion. Certainly he could not settle it. He 
possessed a certain skill in deciphering "graflSiti" 
which were difficult, and had already accom- 
plished widely recognized work in that field, 
yet at this time it completely failed him. Not 
only that, he had a feeling that he did not un- 
derstand any Latin, and it was absurd of him 
to wish to read what a Pompeiian school youth 
had scratched into the wall two thousand years 
before. 

Not only had all his science left him, but 
it left him without the least desire to regain it ; he 
remembered it as from a great distance, and he 
felt that it had been an old, dried-up, boresome 
aunt, dullest and most superfluous creature in the 
world. What she uttered with puckered lips and 
sapient mien, and presented as wisdom, was all 



GRADIVA 45 

vain, empty pompousness, and merely gnawed 
at the dry rind of the fruit of knowledge without 
revealing anything of its content, the germ of 
life, or bringing anything to the point of inner, 
intelligent enjoyment. What it taught was a 
lifeless, archaeological view and what came from 
its mouth was a dead, philological language. 
These helped in no way to a comprehension with 
soul, mind and heart, as the saying is, but he, who 
possessed a desire for that, had to stand alone 
here, the only living person in the hot noonday 
silence among the remains of the past, in order 
not to see with physical eyes nor hear with cor- 
poreal ears. Then something came forth every- 
where without movement and a soundless speech 
began ; then the sun dissolved the tomb-like rigid- 
ity of the old stones, a glowing thrill passed 
through them, the dead awoke, and Pompeii be- 
gan to live again. 

The thoughts in Norbert Hanold's mind were 
not really blasphemous, but he had an indefinite 
feeling deserving of that adjective, and with this, 
standing motionless, he looked before him down 
the Strada di Mercurio toward the city-wall. 
The angular lava-blocks of its pavement still lay 
as faultlessly fitted together as before the devas- 
tation, and each one was of a light-gray color, yet 
such dazzling luster brooded over them that they 



46 GRADIVA 

stretched like a quilted silver-white ribbon pass- 
ing in faintly glowing void between the silent 
walls and by the side of column fragments. 

Then suddenly — 

With open eyes he gazed along the street, yet 
it seemed to him as if he were doing it in a dream. 
A little to the right something suddenly stepped 
forth from the Casa di Castore e PoUuce, and 
across the lava stepping-stones, which led from 
the house to the other side of the Strada di Mer- 
curio, Gradiva stepped buoyantly. 

Quite indubitably it was she; even if the sim- 
beams did surround her figure as with a thin veil 
of gold, he perceived her in profile as plainly 
and as distinctly as on the bas-rehef . Her head, 
whose crown was entwined with a scarf which fell 
to her neck, inclined forward a little ; her left hand 
held up lightly the extremely voluminous dress 
and, as it reached only to her ankles, one could 
perceive clearly that in advancing, the right foot, 
lingering, if only for a moment, rose on the tips of 
the toes almost perpendicularly. Here, how- 
ever, it was not a stone representation, everything 
in uniform* colorlessness ; the dress, apparently 
made of extremely soft, clinging material, was not 
of cold marble-white, but of a warm tone verging 
faintly on yellow, and her hair, wavy under the 
scarf on her brow, and peeping forth at the tem- 
ples, stood out, with golden-brown radiance, in 



GRADIVA 47 

bold contrast to her alabaster countenance. 

As soon as he caught sight of her, Norbert's 
memory was clearly awakened to the fact that he 
had seen her here once already in a dream, walk- 
ing thus, the night that she had lain down as if to 
sleep over there in the Forum on the steps of the 
Temple of Apollo. With this memory he be- 
came conscious, for the first time, of something 
else ; he had, without himself knowing the motive 
in his heart, come to Italy on that account and 
had, without stop, continued from Rome and 
Naples to Pompeii to see if he could here find 
trace of her — ^and that in a literal sense, — for, 
with her unusual gait, she must have left behind 
in the ashes a foot-print different from all the 
others. 

Again it was a noonday dream-picture that 
passed there before him and yet also a reality. 
For that was apparent from an effect which it 
produced. On the last stepping-stone on the 
farther side, there lay stretched out motionless, in 
the burning sunlight, a big lizard, whose body, as 
if woven of gold and malachite, glistened brightly 
to Norbert's eyes. Before the approaching foot, 
however, it darted down suddenly and wriggled 
away over the white, gleaming lava pave- 
ment. 

Gradiva crossed the stepping-stones with her 
cahn buoyancy, and now, turning her back. 



48 GRADIVA 

walked along on the opposite sidewalk ; her desti- 
nation seemed to be the house of Adonis. Before 
it she stopped a moment, too, but passed then, 
as if after further deliberation, down farther 
through the Strada di Mercurio. On the left, 
of the more elegant buildings, there now stood 
only the Casa di Apollo, named after the numer- 
ous representations of Apollo excavated there, 
and, to the man who was gazing after her, it 
seemed again that she had also surely chosen the 
portico of the Temple of Apollo for her death 
sleep. Probably she was closely associated with 
the cult of the sun-god and was going there. 
Soon, however, she stopped again; stepping- 
stones crossed the street here, too, and she walked 
back again to the right side. Thus she turned 
the other side of her face toward him and looked a 
little different, for her left hand, which held up 
her gown, was not visible and instead of her 
curved arm, the right one hung down straight. 
At a greater distance now, however, the golden 
waves of sunlight floated around her with a 
thicker web of veiling, and did not allow him to 
distinguish where she had stopped, for she disap- 
peared suddenly before the house of Meleager. 
Norbert Hanold still stood without having moved 
a limb. With his eyes, and this time with his cor- 
poreal ones, he had surveyed, step by step, her 
vanishing form. Now, at length, he drew a deeg 



GRADIVA 49 

breath, for his breast too had remained almost 
motionless. 

Simultaneously the sixth sense, suppressing 
the others completely, held him absolutely in its 
sway. Had what had just stood before him been 
a product of his imagination or a reality? 

He did not know that, nor whether he was 
awake or dreaming, and tried in vain to collect 
his thoughts. Then, however, a strange shudder 
passed down his spine. He saw and heard noth- 
ing, yet he felt from the secret inner vibrations 
that Pompeii had begun to live about him in the 
noonday hour of spirits and so Gradiva lived 
again, too, and had gone into the house which she 
had occupied before the fateful August day of the 
year 79. 

From his former visit, he was acquainted with 
the Casa di Meleagro, had not yet gone there this 
time, however, but had merely stopped briefly in 
the Museo Nazionale of Naples before the wall 
paintings of Meleager and his Arcadian huntress 
companion, Atalanta, which had been found in the 
Strada di Mercurio in that house, and after which 
the latter had been named. Yet as he now again 
acquired the ability to move and walked toward 
it, he began to doubt whether it really bore its 
name after the slayer of the Caledonian boar. 
He suddenly recalled a Greek poet, Meleager, 
who, to be sure, had probably lived about a cen- 



60 GRADIVA 

tury before the destruction of PompeiL A de- 
scendant of his, however, might have come here 
and built the house for himself. That agreed 
with something else that had awakened in his 
memory, for he remembered his supposition, or 
rather a definite conviction, that Gradiva had been 
of Greek descent. To be sure there mingled with 
his idea the figure of Atalanta as Ovid had pic- 
tured it in his "Metamorphoses": 

" — ^her floating vest 
"A polished buckle clasped — ^her careless locks 
"In simple knot were gathered — " 

Trans, by Henry King. 

He could not recall the verses word for word, 
but their content was present in his mind; and 
from his store of knowledge was added the fact 
that Cleopatra was the name of the young wife 
of Oeneus' son, Meleager. More probably this 
had nothing to do with him, but with the Greek 
poet, Meleager. Thus, under the glowing sun 
of the Campagna, there was a mythological-liter- 
ary-historical-archaeological juggling in his head. 

When he had passed the house of Castor and 
Pollux and that of the Centaur, he stood before 
the Casa di Meleagro from whose threshold there 
looked up at him, still discernible, the inlaid greet- 
ing "Ave." On the wall of the vestibule. Mer- 
cury was handing Fortuna a pouch filled with 



GRADIVA 61 

money; that probably indicated, allegorically, the 
riches and other fortunate circumstances of the 
former dweller. Behind this opened up the in- 
ner court, the center of which was occupied by a 
marble table supported by three griffins. 

Empty and silent, the room lay there, appear- 
ing absolutely unfamiliar to the man, as he en- 
tered, awaking no memory that he had already 
been here, yet he then recalled it, for the interior 
of the house offered a deviation from that of the 
other excavated buildings of the city. The per- 
istyle adjoined the inner court on the other side 
of the balcony toward the rear — ^not in the usual 
way, but at the left side and on that account was 
of greater extent and more splendid appearance 
than any other in Pompeii. It was framed by a 
colonnade supported by two dozen pillars painted 
red on the lower, and white on the upper half. 
These lent solemnity to the great, silent space; 
here in the center was a spring with a beautifully 
wrought enclosure, which served as a fish-pool. 
Apparently the house must have been the dwell- 
ing of an estimable man of culture and artistic 
sense. 

Norbert's gaze passed around, and he listened. 
Yet nowhere about did anything stir, nor was 
the slightest sound audible. Amidst this cold 
stone there was no longer a breath; if Gra- 
diva had gone into Meleager's house, she had 



62 GRADIVA 

already dissolved again into nothing. At the 
rear of the peristyle was another room, an oecus, 
the former dining-room, likewise surrounded on 
three sides by pillars painted yellow, which shim- 
mered from a distance in the light, as if they were 
encrusted with gold. Between them, however, 
shone a red far more dazzling than that from the 
walls, with which no brush of antiquity, but young 
Nature of the present had painted the ground. 
The former artistic pavement lay completely 
ruined, fallen to decay and weather worn; it was 
May which exercised here again its most ancient 
dominion and covered the whole oecus, as it did 
at the time in many houses of the buried city, with 
red, flowering, wild poppies, whose seeds the 
winds had carried thither, and these had sprouted 
in the ashes. It was a wave of densely crowded 
blossoms, or so it appeared although, in reality, 
they stood there motionless for Atabulus found 
no way down to them, but only hummed away 
softly above. Yet the sim cast such flaming, 
radiant vibrations down upon them that it gave 
an impression of red ripples in a pond undulating 
hither and thither. Norbert Hanold's eyes had 
passed unheeding over a similar sight in other 
houses, but here he was strangely thrilled by it. 
The dream flower grown at the edge of Lethe 
filled the space, and Hypnos lay stretched in 
their midst dispensing sleep, which dulls the 



GRADIVA 68 

senses, with the saps which night has gathered in 
the red chalices. It seemed to the man who had 
entered the dining-room through the portico of 
the peristyle as if he felt his temples touched by 
the invisible slumber wand of the old vanquisher 
of gods and men, but not with heavy stupor; only 
a dreamily sweet lovehness floated about his con- 
sciousness. At the same time, however, he still 
remained in control of his feet and stepped along 
by the wall of the former dining-room from which 
gazed old pictures : Paris, awarding the apple ; a 
satyr, carrying in his hand an asp and tormenting 
a young Bacchante with it. 

But there again suddenly, imforeseen — only 
about five paces away from him — in the narrow 
shadow cast down by a single piece of the upper 
part of the dining-room portico, which still re- 
mained in a state of preservation, sitting on the 
low steps between two of the yellow pillars was 
a brightly clad woman who now raised her head. 
In that way she disclosed to the unnoticed arrival, 
whose footstep she had apparently just heard, a 
full view of her face, which produced in him a 
double feeling, for it appeared to him at the same 
time unknown and yet also familiar, abeady 
seen or imagined; but by his arrested breathing 
and his heart palpitations, he recognized, unmis- 
takably, to whom it belonged. He had found 
what he was looking for, what had driven him 



64» GRADIVA 

unconsciously to Pompeii ; Gtradiva continued her 
visible existence in the noonday spirit hour and 
sat here before him, as, in the dream, he had seen 
her on the steps of the Temple of Apollo. 
Spread out on her knees lay something white 
which he was unable to distinguish clearly; it 
seemed to be a papyrus sheet, and a red poppy- 
blossom stood out from it in marked contrast. 

In her face surprise was expressed; under the 
lustrous, brown hair and the beautiful, alabaster 
brow, two rarely bright, starlike eyes looked at 
him with questioning amazement. It required 
only a few moments for him to recognize the con- 
formity of her features with those of the profile. 
They must be thus, viewed from the front, and 
therefore, at first glance, they had not been really 
unfamiliar to him. Near to, her white dress, by 
its slight tendency to yellow, heightened still 
more the warm color; apparently it consisted of 
a fine, extremely soft, woolen material, which 
produced abundant folds, and the scarf around 
her head was of the same. Below, on the nape 
of the neck, appeared again the shimmering, 
brown hair artlessly gathered in a single knot ; at 
her throat, under a dainty chin, a little, gold clasp, 
held her gown together. 

Norbert Hanold dimly perceived that invol- 
untarily he had raised his hand to his soft Panama 
hat and removed it; and now he said in Greek, 



GRADIVA 66 

" Are you Atalanta, the daughter of Jason, or 
are you a descendant of the family of the poet, 
Meleager?" 

Without giving an answer, the lady addressed 
looked at him silently with a calmly wise expres- 
sion in her eyes and two thoughts passed through 
his mind; either her resurrected self could not 
speak or she was not of Greek descent and was 
ignorant of the language. He therefore sub- 
stituted Latin for it and asked : "Was your fa- 
ther a distinguished Pompeiian citizen of Latin 
origin? 

To this she was equally silent, only about her 
delicately curved lips there was a slight quiver 
as if she were repressing a burst of laughter. 
Now a feeling of fright came upon him; appar- 
ently she was sitting there before him like a si- 
lent image, a phantom to whom speech was 
denied. Consternation at this discovery was 
stamped fully and distinctly upon his features. 

Then, however, her lips could no longer resist 
the impulse ; a real smile played about them and 
at the same time a voice sounded from between 
them, "If you wish to speak with me, you must 
do so in German.'* 

That was really remarkable from the mouth 
of a Pompeiian woman who had died two cen- 
turies before, or would have been so for a person 
hearing it in a different state of mind. Yet every 



'I •' ■/ ' C 



66 GRADIVA 

oddity escaped Norbert because of two waves of 
emotion which had rushed over him, one because 
Gradiva possessed the power of speech, and the 
other was one which had been forced from his 
inmost being by her voice. It sounded as clear 
as was her glance ; not sharp, but reminiscent of 
the tones of a bell, her voice passed through the 
sunny silence over the blooming poppy-field, and 
the young archaeologist suddenly realized that he 
had ah-eady heard it thus in his imagination, and 
involuntarily he gave audible expression to his 
feeling, "I knew that your voice sounded Uke 
that/' 

One could read in her countenance that she was 
seeking comprehension of something, but was not 
finding it. To his last remark she now re- 
sponded, "How could you? You have never 
talked with me." 

To him it was not at all remarkable that she 
spoke German, and, according to present usage, 
addressed him formally; as she did it, he un- 
derstood completely that it could not have 
happened otherwise and he answered quickly, 
"No — ^not talked — ^but I called to you when you 
lay down to sleep and stood near you then — ^your 
face was as calmly beautiful as if it were of mar- 
ble. May I beg you — ^rest it again on the step 
in that way." 

While he was speaking, something peculiar 



GRADIVA 57 

had occurred. A golden butterfly, faintly 
tinged with red on the inner edge of its upper 
wing, fluttered from the poppies toward the pil- 
lars, flitted a few times about Gradiva's head and 
then rested on the brown, wavy hair above her 
brow. At the same time, however, she rose, slen- 
der and tall, for she stood up with deliberate 
haste, curtly and silently directed at Norbert an- 
other glance, in which something suggested that 
she considered him demented ; then, thrusting her 
foot forward, she walked out in her character- 
istic way along the pillars of the old portico. 
Only fleetingly visible for a while, she finally 
seemed to have sunk into the earth. 

He stood up, breathless, as if stunned ; yet with 
heavy understanding, he had grasped what had 
occ^ured before his eyes. The noonday ghost 
hour was over and in the form of a butterfly, a 
winged messenger had come up from the asphodel 
meadows of Hades to admonish the departed one 
to return. For him something else was associated 
with this, although in confused indistinctness. 
He knew that the beautiful butterfly of Mediter- 
ranean countries bore the name Cleopatra, and 
this had also been the name of Caledonian Me- 
leager's young wife who, in grief over his death, 
had given herself as sacrifice to those of the lower 
world. 

From his mouth issued a call to the girl who 



58 GRADIVA 

was departing, "Are you coming here again to- 
morrow in the noon hour?'' Yet she did not turn 
around, gave no answer, and disappeared after 
a few moments in the corner of the dining-room 
behind the pillar. Now a compelling impulse 
suddenly incited him to hasten after her, but her 
bright dress was no longer visible anywhere; 
glowing with the hot sun's rays, the Casa di Me- 
leagro lay about him motionless and silent ; only 
Cleopatra hovered on her red, shimmering, golden 
wings, making slow circles again above the multi- 
tude of poppies. 

• •••••• 

When and how he had returned to the "in- 
gresso," Norbert Hanold could not recall; in his 
memory he retained only the idea that his ap- 
petite had peremptorily demanded to be ap- 
peased, though very tardily, at the Diomed, and 
then he had wandered forth aimlessly on the first 
good street, had arrived at the beach north of 
Castellamare where he had seated himself on a 
lava-block, and the sea-wind had blown around his 
head until the sun had set about half way between 
Monte Sant' Angelo above Sorrento and Monte 
Epomeo on Ischia. Yet, in spite of this stay of 
at least several hours by the water, he had ob- 
tained from the fresh air there no mental relief, 
but was returning to the hotel in the same condi- 
tion in which he had left it. He found the other 



GRADIVA 59 

guests busily occupied with dinner, had a little 
bottle of Vesuvio wine brought to him in a comer 
of the room, viewed the faces of those eating, 
and listened to theu- conversations. From the 
faces of all, as well as from their talk, it appeared 
to him absolutely certain that in the noon hour 
none of them had either met or spoken to a dead 
Pompeiian woman who had returned again 
briefly to life. Of course all this had been a fore- 
gone conclusion, as they had all been at limch 
at that time; why and wherefore, he himself 
could not state, yet after a while he went over to 
the competitor of the Diomed, Hotel Suisse, sat 
down there also in a corner, and, as he had to 
order something, likewise before a little bottle 
of Vesuvio and here he gave himself over to the 
same kind of investigations with eye and ear. 
They led to the same results but also to the fur- 
ther conclusion that he now knew by sight all the 
temporary, living visitors of Pompeii. To be 
sure, this effected an increase of his knowledge 
which he could hardly consider an enrichment, 
but from it he experienced a certain satisfying 
feeling that, in the two hostelries, no guest, either 
male or female, was present with whom, by 
means of sight and hearing, he had not entered 
into a personal, even if one-sided, relation. Of 
course, in no way had the absurd supposition en- 
tered his mind that he might possibly meet 



60 GRADIVA 

Gradiva in one of the two hotels, but he could 
have taken his oath that no one was staying in 
them who possessed, in the remotest way, any 
trace of resemblance to her. During his observa- 
tions, he had occasionally poured wine from his 
little bottle to his glass, and had drunk from 
time to time; and when, in this manner, the 
former had gradually become empty, he rose and 
went back to the Diomed. The heavens were 
now strewn with countless, flashing, twinkling 
stars, but not in the traditionally stationary way, 
for Norbert gathered the impression that Per- 
seus, Cassiopeia and Andromeda with some 
neighbors, bowing lightly hither and thither, were 
performing a singing dance, and below, on earth, 
too, it seemed to him that the dark shadows of the 
tree-tops and buildings did not stay in the same 
place. Of course on the groxmd of this region — 
imsteady from ancient times — ^this could not be 
exactly surprising, for the subterranean glow 
lurked everywhere, after an eruption, and let a 
little of itself rise in the vines and grapes from 
which was pressed Vesuvio, which was not one 
of Norbert Hanold's usual evening drinks. He 
still remembered, however, even if a little of the 
circular movement of things might be ascribed to 
the wine, too, that since noon all objects had dis- 
played an inclination to whirl softly about his 
heady and therefore he found, in the slight in- 



GRADIVA 61 

crease, nothing new, but only a continuation of 
the formerly existing conditions. He went up 
to his room and stood for a little while at the 
open window, looking over toward the Vesuvius 
mound, above which now no cone of smoke spread 
its top, but rather something like the fluctuations 
of a dark, purple cloak flowed back and forth 
aroimd it. Then the young archaeologist un- 
dressed, without having lighted the light, and 
sought his couch. Yet, as he stretched himself 
out upon it, it was not his bed at the Diomed, but 
a red poppy-field whose blossoms closed over him 
like a soft cushion heated by the sun. His 
enemy, the common house-fly, constrained by 
darkness to lethargic stupidity, sat fiftyfold 
above his head, on the wall, and only one, moved, 
eveii in its sleepiness, by desire to torture, buzzed 
about his nose. He recognized it, however, not 
as the absolute evil, the century-old scourge of 
humanity, for before his eyes it poised like a red- 
gold Cleopatra. 

When, in the morning, the sun, with lively as- 
sistance from the flies, awoke him, he could not 
recall what, besides strange, Ovid-like metamor- 
phoses, had occurred during the night about his 
bed. Yet doubtless some mystic being, contin- 
uously weaving dream- webs, had been sitting be- 
side him, for he felt his head completely over- 
hung and filled with them, so that all ability to 



62 GRADIVA 

think lay inextricably imprisoned in it and only 
one thing remained in his consciousness ; he must 
again be in Meleager's house at exactly noon. 
In this connection, however, a fear overcame him, 
for if the gatekeepers at the "ingresso" looked at 
him, they would not let him in. Anyway it was 
not advisable that he should expose himself to 
close observation by human eyes. To escape 
that, there was, for one well informed about Pom- 
peii, a means which was, to be sure, against the 
rules, but he was not in a condition to grant to 
legal regulation a determination of his conduct. 
So he climbed again, as on the evening of his ar- 
rival, along the old city-wall, and upon it walked, 
in a wide semicircle, around the city of ruins to 
the solitary, ungarded Porta di Nola. Here it 
was not difficult to get down into the inside and 
he went, without burdening his conscience very 
much over the fact that by his autocratic deed he 
had deprived the administration of a two-lira en- 
trance fee, which he could, of course, let it have 
later in some other way. 

Thus, unseen, he had reached an uninteresting 
part of the city, never before investigated by any 
one and still mostly unexcavated; he sat down in 
a secluded, shady nook and waited, now and then 
drawing his watch to observe the progress of 
time. Once his glance fell upon something in 
the distance gleaming, silvery-white, rising from 



GRADIVA 68 

the ashes, but with his unreliable vision, he was 
unable to distinguish what it was. Yet invol- 
untarily he was impelled to go up to it and there 
it stood, a tall, flowering asphodel-plant with 
white, bell-like blossoms whose seeds the wind had 
carried thither from outside. It was the flower 
of the lower world, significant and, as he felt, 
destined to grow here for his purpose. He broke 
the slender stem and returned with it to his seat. 
Hotter and hotter the May sun burned down as 
on the day before, and finally approached its 
noonday position; so now he started out through 
the long Strada di Nola. This lay deathly still 
and deserted, as did almost all the others; over 
there to the west all the morning visitors were 
already crowding again to the Porta Marina and 
the soup-plates. Only the air, suffused with 
heat, stirred, and in the dazzling glare the sol- 
itary figure of Norbert Hanold with the asphodel 
branch appeared like that of Hermes, Psyche's 
escort, in modem attire, starting out upon the 
journey to conduct a departed soul to Hades. 

Not consciously, yet following an instinctive 
impulse, he found his way through the Strada 
della Fortima farther along to the Strada di 
Mercurio and turning to the right arrived at the 
Casa di Meleagro. Just as lifelessly as yester- 
iday, the vestibule, inner coiul: and peristyle re- 
ceived him, and between the piUars of the latter 



64 GRADIVA 

the poppies of the dining-room flamed across to 
hioL As he entered, however, it was not clear to 
him whether he had heen here yesterday or two 
thousand years ago to seek from the owner of the 
house some information of great importance to 
archaeology; what it was, however, he could not 
state, and besides, it seemed to him, even though 
in contradiction to the above, that all the science 
of antiquity was the most purposeless and indif- 
ferent thing in the world. He could not under- 
stand how a human being could occupy himself 
with it, for there was only a smgle thing to which 
all thinking and investig^^tion must be directed: 
what is the nature of the physical manifestation 
of a being like Gradiva, dead and alive at the 
same time, although the latter was true only in 
the noon hour of spirits — or had been the day be- 
fore, perhaps the one time in a century or a thou- 
sand years, for it suddenly seemed certain that 
his return ;,-day was in vain. He did not meet 
the girl he was looking for, because she was not 
allowed to come again until a time when he too 
would have been dead for many years, and was 
buried and forgotten. Of course, as he walked 
now along by the wall below Paris awarding the 
apple, he perceived Gradiva before him, just as 
on yesterday, in the same gown, sitting between 
the same, two, yellow pillars on the same step. 
Yet he did not allow himself to be deceived by 



GRADIVA 66 

tricks of imagination, but knew that fancy alone 
was deceptively depicting before his eyes what he 
had reaDy seen there the day before. He could 
not refrain, however, from stopping to indulge 
in the view of the shadowy apparition created by 
himself and, without his Imowing it, there passed 
from his lips in a grieved tone the words, "Oh 
that you were still alive 1'* 

His voice rang out, but after that breathless 
silence again reigned among the ruins of the old 
dining-room. Yet soon another soimded through 
the vacant stillness, saying, "Won't you sit down 
too? You look exhausted.!* 

Norbert Hanold's heart stood still a moment. 
His head, however, collected this much reason ; a 
vision could not speak; or was an aural hallucina- 
tion practicing deception upon him? With fixed 
gaze, he supported himself against the pillar. 

Then again asked the voice, and it was the one 
which none other than Gradiva possessed, "Are 
you bringing me the white flowers?" 

Dizziness rushed upon him; he felt that his 
feet no longer supported him, but forced him to 
be seated; and he slid down opposite her on the 
step, against the pillar. Her bright eyes were 
directed toward his face, yet with a diflferent look 
from the one with which she had gazed at him 
yesterday when she suddenly rose and went away. 
In that, something ill-humored and repellent had 



66 GRADIVA 

spoken; but it had disappeared, as if she had, in 
the meanwhile, arrived at a different view-point, 
and an expression of searching inquisitiveness or 
curiosity had taken its place. Likewise, she 
spoke with an easy familiarity. As he remained 
silent, however, to the last question also, she 
again resumed, "You told me yesterday that 
you had once called to me when I lay down to 
sleep and that you had afterwards stood near me ; 
my face was as white as marble. When and 
where was that? I cannot remember it and I beg 
you to explain more exactly/* 

Norbert had now acquired enough power of 
speech to answer, "In the night when you sat on 
the steps of the Temple of Apollo in the Forum 
and the fall of ashes from Vesuvius covered you.*' 

"So-— then. Yes, to be sure, — ^that had not oc- 
curred to me, but I might have thought that it 
would be a case like that. When you said it 
yesterday, I was not expecting it and I was ut- 
terly imprepared. Yet that happened, if I re- 
call correctly, two thousand years ago. Were 
you living then? It seems to me you look 
younger." 

She spoke very seriously, but at the end a 
faint, extremely sweet smUe played about her 
mouth. He hesitated in embarrassment and an- 
swered, stuttering slightly, "No, I really don't 
believe I was alive in the year 79 — ^it was per- 



GRADIVA 67 

haps — ^yes, it surely is a psychic condition which 
is called a dream that transported me into the 
time of the destruction of Pompeii — ^but I recog- 
nized you again at first glance." 

In the expression of the girl sitting opposite 
him, a few feet away, surprise was apparent and 
she repeated in a tone of amazement, "You rec- 
ognized me again? In the dream? By what?" 

*'At the very first; by your manner of walk- 

ing." 

"Had you noticed that? And have I a special 
manner of walking?" 

Her astonishment had grown perceptibly. 
He replied, "Yes — don't you realize that? A 
more graceful one — at least among those now liv- 
ing—does not exist. Yet I recognized you im- 
mediately by everything else too, your figure, 
face, bearing and drapery, for everything agreed 
most minutely with the bas-relief of you in 
Rome." 

"Ah, really — " she repeated in her former 
tone,— "with the bas-rehef of me m Rome. Yes, 
I hadn't thought of that either, and at this mo- 
ment I don't know exactly — what is it — and you 
saw it there then?" 

Now he told her that the sight of it had at- 
tracted him so that he had been highly pleslsed to 
get a plaster-cast of it in (lermany and that for 
years it had himg in his room. He observed it 



68 GRADIVA 

daily and the idea had come to him that it must 
represent a young Pompeiian girl who was walk- 
ing on the stepping-stones of a street in her na- 
tive city ; and the dream had confirmed it. Now 
he knew also that he had been impelled by it to 
travel here again to see whether he could find 
some trace of her ; and as he had stood yesterday 
noon at the comer of Strada di Mercurio, she, 
herself, exactly Uke her image had suddenly 
walked before him across the stepping-stones, as 
if she were about to go over into the house of 
Apollo. Then farther along she had recrossed 
the street and disappeared before the house of 
Meleager. 

To this she nodded and said, "Yes, I intended 
to look up the house of Apollo, but I came here.** 

He continued, "On that account the Greek 
poet, Meleager, came to my mind and I thought 
that you were one of his descendants and were 
returning — in the houl* which you are allowed — 
to your ancestral home. When I spoke to you 
in Greek, however, you did not understand.'* 

"Was that Greek? No, I don't understand it 
or IVe probably forgotten it. Yet as you came 
again just now, I heard you say something that 
I could understand. You expressed the wish 
that some one might still be alive here. Only I 
did not imderstand whom you meant by that.** 

That caused him to reply that, at sight of her. 



GRADIVA 69 

he had helieved that it was not really she, but 
that his imagination was deceptively putting her 
image before him in the place where he had met 
her yesterday. At that she smiled and agreed, 
"It seems that you have reason to be on your 
guard against an excess of imagination, although, 
when I have been with you, I never supposed 
so." She stopped, however, and added, "Wh^t 
is there peculiar about my way of walking, which 
you spoke of before?" 

It was noteworthy that her aroused interest 
brought her back to that, and he said, "If I may 
ask—" 

With that he stopped, for he suddenly remem- 
bered with fear that yesterday she had suddenly 
risen and gone away when he had asked her to lie 
down to sleep again on that step, as on that of 
the Temple of Apollo, and, associated darkly with 
this, there came to him the glance which she had 
directed upon him in departing. Yet now the 
calm, friendly expression of her eyes remained 
and as he spoke no further, she said, "It was nice 
that your wish that some one might still be alive 
concerned me. If you wish to ask anything of 
me on that account, I will gladly respond." 

That overcame his fear, and he replied, "It 
would make me happy to get a close view of you 
walking as you do in the bas-relief." 

Willingly, without answering, she stood up and 



70 GRADIVA 

walked along between the wall and the pillars. 
It was the very buoyantly reposeful gait, with 
the sole raised almost perpendicularly, that was 
so firmly imprinted on his mind, but for the first 
time he saw that she wore, below the raised gown, 
not sandals, but light, sand-colored shoes of fine 
leather. When she came back and sat down 
again silently, he involuntarily started to talk of 
the difference in her foot-covering from that of 
the bas-relief. To that she rejoined, "Time, of 
course, always changes everything, and for the 
present sandals are not suitable, so I put on 
shoes, which are a better protection against rain 
and dust ; but why did you ask me to walk before 
you? What is there peculiar about it?" 

Hep repeated wish to learn this proved her not 
entirely free from feminine curiosity. He now 
explained that it was a matter of the peculiarly 
upright position of the rising foot, as she walked, 
and he added how for weeks he had tried to ob- 
serve the gait of modern women on the streets in 
his native city. Yet it seemed that this beautiful 
way of walking had been completely lost to them, 
with the exception, perhaps, of a single one who 
had given him the impression that she walked 
in that way. To be sure, he had not been able to 
establish this fact because of the crowd about her, 
and he had probably experienced an illusion, for 



I, 6RADIVA 71 

it had seemed to him that her features had re- 
sembled somewhat those of Gradiva. 

"What a shame," she answered. "For con- 
firmation of the fact would surely have been of 
great scientific importance, and if you had suc- 
ceeded, perhaps you would not have needed to 
take the long journey here; but whom were you 
just speaking of? Who is Gradiva?'* 

"I have named the bas-relief that, because I 
didn't know yoiu^ real name and don't know it 
yet, either." 

This last he added with some hesitancy and 
she faltered a moment before replying to the 
indirect question, "My name is Zge." 

With pained tone the words escaped him: 
"The name suits you beautifully, but it soimds 
to me like bitter mockery, for *Zoe' means 'life.' " 

"One must adapt himself to the inevitable," 
she responded. "And I have long accustomed 
myself to being dead; but now my time is over 
for to-day; you have brought the grave-flower 
with you to conduct me back. So give it to me." 

As she rose and stretched forth her slender 
hand, he gave her the asphodel cluster, but was 
careful not to touch her fingers. Accepting the 
flowering branch, she said, "I thank you. To 
those who are more fortunate one gives roses in 
spring, but for me the flower of oblivion is the 



72 GRADIVA 

right one from your hand. To-morrow I shall 
be allowed to come here again at this hour. If 
your way leads you again into the house of Me- 
leager, we can sit together at the edge of the 
poppies, as we did to-day. On the threshold 
stands 'Ave' and I say it to you, * Ave' T' 

She went out and disappeared, as yesterday, 
at the turn in the portico, as if she had there sunk 
into the ground. Everything lay empty and 
silent again, but, from some distance, there once 
rang, short and clear, a sound like the merry note 
of a bird flying over the devastated city. This 
was stifled immediately, however. Norbert, who 
had remained behind, looked down at the step 
where she had just been sitting; there something 
white shimmered ; it seemed to be the papyrus leaf 
which Gradiva had held on her knees yesterday 
and had forgotten to take with her to-day. Yet 
as he shyly reached for it, he found it to be a little 
sketch-book with pencil drawings of the different 
ruins in several houses of Pompeii. The page 
next to the last showed a drawing of the grifiin- 
table in the central court of the Casa di Meleagro, 
and on the last was the beginning of a reproduc- 
tion of the view across the poppies of the dining- 
room through the row of pillars of the peristyle. 
That the departed girl made drawings in a sketch- 
book of the present mode was as amazing as had 
been the fact that she expressed her thoughts in 



GRADIVA 73 

Grerman. Yet those were only insignificant 
prodigies beside the great one of her revivifica- 
tion^ and apparently she used the midday hour 
of freedom to preserve for herself, in their present 
state, with unusual artistic talent, the surround- 
ings in which she had once Kved. The drawings 
testified to delicately cultivated powers of percep- 
tion, as each of her words did to a clever intel- 
lect; and she had probably often sat by the old 
grifiin-table, so that it was a particularly precious 
reminder. 

Mechanically Norbert also went, with the little 
book, along the portico and at the place where 
this turned, he noticed in the wall a narrow cleft 
wide enough to afford, to an imusually slender 
figure, passage into the adjoining building, and 
even farther to the Vicolo del Fauno at the other 
side of the house. Suddenly, however, the idea 
flashed through his mind that Zoe-6radiva did 
not sink into the ground here— that was essen- 
tially imreasonable, and he could not understand 
how he had ever believed it — ^but went, on this 
street, back to her tomb. That must be in the 
Street of Tombs and rushing forth, he hastened 
out into the Strada di Mercurio and as far as the 
gate of Hercules ; but when, breathless and reek- 
ing with perspiration, he entered this, it was al- 
ready too late. The broad Strada di Sepolcri 
stretched out empty and dazzlingly white, only 



74 GRADIVA 

at its extremity, behind the glimmering curtain of 
radiance, a faint shadow seemed to dissolve wi- 
certainly before the Villa of Diomede. 

Norbert Hanold passed the second half of the 
day with a feeling that Pompeii was everywhere, 
or at least wherever he stopped, veiled in a cloud 
of mist. It was not gray, gloomy and melan- 
choly as formerly, but rather cheerful and vari- 
colored to an extraordinary degree, blue, red and 
brown, chiefly a light-yellowish white and ala- 
baster white, interwoven with golden threads of 
sunbeams. This injured neither his power of 
vision, nor that of hearing, only, because of it, 
thinking was impossible, and that produced a 
cloud-wall whose effect rivaled the thickest mist. 
To the young archaeologist it seemed almost as if 
hourly, in an invisible and not otherwise notice- 
able way, there was brought to him a little bottle 
of Vesuvio wine, which produced a continuous 
whirling in his head. From this he instinctively 
sought to free himself by the use of correctives, on 
the one hand drinking water frequently, and on 
the other hand moving about as much and as far 
as possible. His knowledge of medicine was not 
comprehensive, but it helped him to the diagnosis 
that this strange condition must arise from ex- 
cessive congestion of blood in his head, perhaps 
associated with accelerated action of the heart ; for 



GRADIVA 75 

he felt the latter, — something formerly quite im- 
known to him — occasionally heating fast against 
his chest. Otherwise, his thoughts, which could 
not penetrate into the outer world, were not in the 
least inactive within, or more exactly, there was 
only one thought there, which had come into sole 
possession and carried on a restless, though vain 
activity. It continually turned ahout the ques- 
tion of what physical nature Zoe-Gradiva might 
possess, whether during her stay in the house of 
Meleager she was a corporeal being or only an 
illusory representation of what she had formerly 
been. For the former, physical, physiological 
and anatomical facts seemed to argue that she had 
at her disposal organs of speech and could hold a 
pencil with her fingers. Yet Norbert was over- 
whelmed with the idea that if he should touch her, 
even lightly place his hand on hers, he would then 
encounter only empty air. A peculiar impulse 
urged him to make sure of this, but an equally 
great timidity hindered him from even thinking 
of doing it. For he felt that the confirmation of 
either of the two possibilities must bring with it 
something inspiring fear. The corporeal exist- 
ence of the hand would thrill him with horror, and 
its lack of substance would cause him deep pain. 
Occupied vainly with this problem, which was 
impossible to solve scientifically, without experi- 
ment, he arrived, in the course of his extensive 



76 GRADIVA 

wanderings that afternoon, at the foothills of the 
big mountain group of Monte Sant' Angelo, ris- 
ing south from Pompeii, and here he unexpect- 
edly came upon an elderly man, already gray- 
bearded, who, from his equipment with aU sorts of 
implements, seemed to be a zoologist or botanist 
and appeared to be making a search on a hot, 
sunny slope. He turned his head, as Norbert 
came close to him, looked at the latter in sur- 
prise for a moment and then said, "Are you 
interested in Faraglionenm? I should hardly 
have supposed it, but it seems thoroughly prob- 
able that they are found not only in the Faragliom 
of Capri, but also dwell permanently on the main- 
land. The method suggested by my colleague, 
Eimer, is really good; I have already used it often 
with the best of success. Please remain quite 
still—" 

The speaker stopped, stepped carefully for- 
ward a few paces and, stretched out motionless on 
the ground, held a little snare, made of a long 
grassblade, before a narrow crevice in the rock, 
from which the blue, chatoyant, little head of a 
lizard peeped. Thus the man remained without 
the slightest movement, and Norbert Hanold 
turned about noiselessly behind him and returned 
by the way he had come. It seemed to him dimly 
that he had already seen the face of the lizard- 
hunter once, probably in one of the two hotels; 



GRADIVA 77 

to this fact the latter's manner pointed. It was 
hardly credible what foolishly remarkable pur- 
poses could cause people to make the long trip to 
Pompeii; happy that he had succeeded in so 
quickly ridding himself of the snare-layer, and 
being again able to direct his thoughts to the prob- 
lem of corporeal reality or unreality, he started 
on the return. Yet a side street misled him once 
to a wrong turn and took hun, instead of to the 
west boundary, to the east end of the extensive 
old city- wall; buried in thought, he did not notice 
the mistake until he had come right up to a build- 
ing which was neither the Diomed nor the 
Hotel Suisse. In spite of this it bore the sign 
of a hotel ; nearby he recognized the ruins of the 
large Pompeiian amphitheater and the memory 
came to him that, near this latter, jthere was an- 
other hotel, the Albergo del Sole, which, on 
account of its remoteness from the station, was 
sought out by only a few guests and had remained 
unknown to even him. The walk had made him 
hot ; besides, the cloudy whirling in his head had 
not diminished ; so he stepped in through the open 
door and ordered the remedy deemed useful by 
him for blood congestion, a bottle of lime-water. 
The room stood empty except, of course, for the 
fly-visitors gathered in full numbers, and the im- 
occupied host availed himself of the opportunity 
to reconmiend highly his house and the excavated 



78 GRADIVA 

treasures it contained. He pointed suggestively 
to the fact that there were, near Pompeii, people 
at whose places there was not a single, genuine 
piece among the many objects offered for sale, 
but that all were imitations, while he, satisfying 
himself with a smaller nxmaber, offered his guests 
only things undoubtedly genuine. For he ac- 
quired no articles which he himself had not seen 
brought to the light of day, and, in the course 
of his eloquence, he revealed that he had also been 
present when they had found near the Forum the 
young lovers who had clasped each other in firm 
embrace when they realized their inevitable de- 
struction and had thus awaited death. Norbert 
had already heard of this discovery, but had 
shrugged his shoulders about it as a fabulous in- 
vention of some especially imaginative narrator, 
and he did so now, too, when the host brought in to 
him, as authentic proof, a metal brooch encrusted 
with green patina, which, in his presence, had 
been gathered with the remains of the girl from 
the ashes. When the arrival at the Sun Hotel 
took it in his own hand, however, the power of 
imagination exercised such ascendency over him 
that suddenly, without further critical considera- 
tion, he paid for it the price asked from English 
people, and, with his acquisition, hastily left the 
Albergo del Sole, in which, after another turn, 
he saw, in an open window, nodding down, an 



GRADIVA 79 

asphodel branch covered with white blossoms, 
which had been placed in a water-glass; and with- 
out needing any logical connection, it rushed 
through his mind, at the sight of the grave-flower, 
that it was an attestation of the genuineness of 
his new possession. 

Thi» he viewed with mingled feelings of ex- 
citement and shyness, keeping now to the way 
along the city-wall to Porta Marina. Then it 
was no fairy tale that a couple of young lovers 
had been excavated near the Forum in such an 
embrace, and there at the Apollo temple he had 
seen Gradiva lie down to sleep, but only in a 
dream; that he knew now quite definitely; in 
reality she might have gone on still farther from 
the Forum, met some one and died with him. 

From the green brooch between his fingers a 
feeling passed through him that it had belonged to 
Zoe-Gradiva, and had held her dress closed at the 
throat. Then she was the beloved fiancee, per- 
haps the young wife of him with whom she had 
wished to die. 

It occurred to Norbert Hanold to hurl the 
brooch away. It burned his fingers as if it had 
become glowing, or more exactly, it caused him 
the pain such as he had felt at the idea that he 
might put his hand on that of Gf adiva and en- 
coimter only empty air. 

Reason,^ nevertheless, asserted the upper hand; 



80 GRADIVA 

he did not allow himself to he controlled hy im- 
agination against his will. However probable it 
might be, there was still lacking invincible proof 
that the brooch had belonged to her and that it had 
been she, who had been discovered in the young 
man's arms. This judgment made it possible 
for him to breathe freely, and when, at the dawn 
of twilight, he reached the Diomed, his long wan- 
dering had brought to his sound constitution need 
of physical refreshment. Not without appetite 
did he devour the rather Spartan evening meal 
which the Diomed, in spite of its Argive origin, 
had adopted, and he then noticed two guests, 
newly-arrived in the course of the afternoon. By 
appearance and language they marked themselves 
as Germans, a man and a woman; they both had 
youthful, attractive features endowed with in- 
tellectual expressions ; their relation to each other 
could not be determined, yet, because of a certain 
resemblance, Norbert decided that they were 
brother and sister. To be sure the young man's 
fair hair diflPered in color from her light-brown 
tresses. In her gown she wore a red Sorrento 
rose, the sight of which, as he looked across from 
his corner, stirred something in his memory with- 
out his being able to think what it was. The 
couple were the first people he had met on his 
journey who seemed possibly congenial. They 
talked with one another, over a little bottle, in not 



GRADIVA 81 

too plainly audible tones, nor in cautious whis- 
perings, apparently sometimes about serious 
W .n/imetJes about gay thing,, for at 
times there passed over her face a half -laughing 
expression which was very becoming to her, and 
aroused the desire to participate in their conver- 
sation, or perhaps might have awakened it in 
Norbert, if he had met them two days before in 
the room otherwise populated only by Anglo- 
Americans. Yet he felt that what was passing 
through his mind stood in too strong contrast to 
the happy naivete of the couple about whom there 
imdeniably lay not the slightest cloud, for they 
doubtless were not meditating profoundly over 
the essential nature of a girl who had died two 
thousand years ago, but, without any weariness, 
were taking pleasure in an enigmatical problem 
of their Uf e of the present. His condition did not 
harmonize with that ; on the one hand he seemed 
superfluous to them, and on the other, he recoiled 
from an attempt to start an acquaintance with 
them, for he had a dark feeling that their bright, 
merry eyes might look through his forehead into 
his thoughts and thereby assume an expression 
as if they did not consider him quite in his right 
mind. Therefore he went up to his room, stood, 
as yesterday, at the window, looking over to the 
purple night-mantle of Vesuvius and then he lay 
down to rest. Exhausted, he soon fell asleep and 



82 GRADIVA 

dreamed, but remarkably nonsensdcally. Some- 
where in the smi Gradiva sat making a trap out 
of a blade of grass, in order to catch a lizard, and 
she said, "Please stay quite still — ^my colleague is 
right ; the method is really good and she has used 
it with the greatest success." 

Norbert Hanold became conscious in his dream 
that it was actually the most utter madness, and 
he cast about to free himself from it. He suc- 
ceeded in this by the aid of an invisible bird, who 
seemingly uttered a short, merry call, and car- 
ried thf iLrd away in its beak ; Jterwids every- 
thing disappeared. 

• .••••• 

On awakening, he remembered that in the 
night a voice had said that in the spring one gave 
roses, or rather this was recalled to him through 
his eyes, for his gaze, passing down from the win- 
dow, came upon a bright bush of red flowers. 
They were of the same kind as those which the 
young lady had worn in her bosom, and when he 
went down, he involuntarily plucked a couple and 
smelled of them. In fact, there must be some- 
thing pecuhar about Sorrento roses, for their 
f ra^ance seemed to him not only wonderful, but 
quite new and imf amiliar, and at the same time 
he felt that they had a somewhat liberating ef- 
fect upon his mind. At least they freed him 
from yesterday's timidity before the gatekeepers. 



GRADIVA 83 

for he went, according to directions, in through 
the "ingresso" to Pompeii, paid double the 
amount of admission feei^ and quickly struck out 
upon streets which took him from the vicinity of 
other visitors. The little sketch-book, from the 
house of Meleager, he carried along with the 
green brooch and the red roses, but the fragrance 
of the latter had made him forget to eat break- 
fast and his thoughts were not in the present, but 
were directed exclusively to the noon hour which 
was still far oflF ; he had to pass the remaining in- 
terval and for this purpose he entered now one 
house, now another, as a result of which activity 
the idea probably occurred to him that Gradiva 
had also walked there often before or even now 
sought these places out sometimes — ^his supposi- 
tion that she was able to do it only at noon was 
tottering. Perhaps she was at liberty to do it in 
other hours of the day, possibly even at night in 
the moonlight. The roses strengthened this sup- 
position strangely for him, when he inhaled, as he 
held them to his nose; and his deliberations, com- 
plaisant, and open to conviction, made advances 
to this new idea, for he could bear witness that 
he did not cling to preconceived opinions at all, 
but rather gave free rein to every reasonable ob- 
jection, and such there was here without any 
doubt, not only logically, but desirably valid. 
Only the question arose whether, upon meeting 



8* GRADIVA 

her then, the eyes of others could see her as a 
corporeal being, or whether only his possessed the 
ability to do that. The former was not to be de- 
nied, claimed even probability for itself, trans- 
formed the desirable thing into quite the opposite, 
and transported him into a low-spirited, restless 
mood. The thought that others might also speak 
to her, and sit down near her to carry on a con- 
versation with her, made him indignant; to that 
he alone possessed a claim, or at any rate a privi- 
lege, for he had discovered Gradiva, of whom no 
one had formerly known, had observed her daily, 
taken her into his hfe, to a degree, imparted to 
her his life-strength, and it seemed to him as if 
he had thereby again lent to her life that she 
would not have possessed without him. There- 
fore he felt that there devolved upon him a right, 
to which he alone might make a claim and which 
he might refuse to share with any one else. 

The advancing day was hotter than the two 
preceding; the sim seemed to have set her mind 
to-day on a quite extraordinary feat, and made it 
. regrettable, not only in an archaeological, but also 
in a practical connection, that the water system 
of Pompeii had lain burst and dried up for two 
thousand years. Street fountains here and there 
commemorated it and likewise gave evidence of 
their informal use by thirsty passers-by, who had, 
in order to bend forward to the jet, leaned a hand 



GRADIVA 86 

on the marble railing and gradually dug out a 
sort of trough in the place, in the same way that 
dropping wears away stone; Norbert observed 
this at a corner of the Strada della Fortima, and 
from that the idea occurred to him that the hand 
of Zoe-Gradiva, too, might formerly have rested 
here in that way, and involuntarily he laid his 
hand into the little hollow, yet he immediately re- 
jected the idea, and felt annoyance at himself 
that he could have done it; the thought did not 
harmonize at all with the nature and bearing of 
the young Pompeiian girl of a refined family; 
there was something profane in the idea that she 
could have bent over so and placed her lips on the 
very pipe from which the plebeians drank with 
coarse mouths. In a noble sense, he had never 
seen anything more seemly than her actions and 
movements ; he was frightened by the idea that she 
might be able to see by looking at him that he had 
had the incredibly imreasonable thought, for her 
eyes possessed something penetrating; a couple 
of times, when he had been with her, the feeling 
had seized him that she looked as if she were seek- 
ing for access to his inmost thoughts and were 
looking about them as if with a bright steel probe. 
He was obliged, therefore, to take great care that 
she might come upon nothing foolish in his mental 
processes. 
It was now an hour until noon and in order to 



86 GRADIVA 

pass it, he went diagonally across the street into 
the Casa del Fauno, the most extensive and mag- 
nificent of all the excavated houses. Like no 
other, it possessed a double inner court and 
showed, in the larger one, on the middle of the 
ground, the empty base on which had stood the 
famous statue of the dancing faun after which 
the house had been named. Yet there stirred in 
Norbert Hanold not the least regret that this 
work of art, valued highly by science, was no 
longer here, but, together with the mosaic picture 
of the Battle of Alexander, had been transferred 
to the Museo Nazionale in Naples ; he possessed 
no further intention nor desire than to let time 
move along, and he wandered about aimlesslv in 
this place through the large building. Behind 
the peristyle opened a wider room, surrounded by 
numerous pillars, planned either as another repe- 
tition of the peristyle or as an ornamental garden; 
so it seemed at present for, like the dining-room 
of the Casa di Meleagro, it was completely cov- 
ered with poppy-blooms. Absentmindedly the 
visitor passed through the silent dereliction. 

Then, however, he stopped and rested on one 
foot; but he found himself not alone here; at 
some distance his glance fell upon two figures, 
who first gave the impression of only one, be- 
cause they stood as closely as possible to each 
other. They did not see him, for they were con- 



GRADIVA 87 

cemed only with themselves, and, in that comer, 
because of the pillars, might have beheved them- 
selves undiscoverable by any other eyes. Mu- 
tually embracing each other, they held their lips 
also pressed together and the unsuspected spec- 
tator recognized, to his amazement, that they 
were the yoimg man and woman who had last 
evening seemed to him the first congenial people 
encountered on this trip. For brother and sister, 
their present position, the embrace and the kiss, 
it seemed to him, had lasted too long. So it was 
surely another pair of lovers, probably a young 
bridal couple, an Augustus and Gretchen, too. 
Strange to relate, however, the two latter did 
not, at the moment, enter Norbert's mind, and the 
incident seemed to hun not at all ridiculous nor 
repulsive, rather it heightened his pleasure in 
them. What they were doing seemed to him as 
natiu*al as it did comprehensible; his eyes clung 
to the living picture, more widely open than they 
ever had been to any of the most admired works 
of art, and he would have gladly devoted himself 
for a longer time to his observation. Yet it 
seemed to him that he had wrongfully penetrated 
into a consecrated place and was on the point of 
disturbing a secret act of devotion; the idea of 
being noticed there struck terror to his heart and 
he quickly turned, went back some distance 
noiselessly on tiptoe and, when he had passed be- 



88 GRADIVA 

yond hearing distance, ran out with hated hreath 
and beating heart to the Vicolo del Fauno. 

• • • • • . • • . 

When he arrived before the house of Meleager, 
he did not know whether it was abeady noon, and 
did not happen to question his watch about it, but 
remained before the door, standing looking down 
with indecision for some time at the "Ave" in the 
entrance. A fear prevented him from stepping 
in, and strangely, he was equally afraid of not 
meeting Gradiva within, and of finding her there ; 
for, during the last few moments, he had felt 
quite sure that, in the first case, she would be stay- 
ing somewhere else with some younger man, and, 
in the second case, the latter would be in company 
with her on the steps between the pillars. To- 
ward the man, however, he felt a hate far stronger 
than against all the assembled coiomon house- 
flies; until to-day he had not considered it pos- 
sible that he could be capable of such violent in- 
ner excitement. The duel, which he had always 
considered stupid nonsense, suddenly appeared to 
him in a diflferent light ; here it became a natiu*al 
right which the man injured in his own rights, or 
mortally insulted, made use of as the only avail- 
able means to secure satisfaction or to part with 
an existence which had become purposeless. So 
he suddenly stepped forward to enter ; he would 
challenge the bold man and would — ^this rushed 



GRADIVA 89 

upon him almost more powerfully — express un- 
reservedly to her that he had considered her some- 
thing better, more noble, and incapable of such 
vulgarity. 

He was so filled to the brim with this rebellious 
idea that he uttered it, even though there was not 
apparently the least occasion for it, for, when he 
had covered the distance to the dining-;oom with 
stormy haste, he demanded violently, "Are you 
alone?" although appearances allowed of no 
doubt that Gradiva was sitting there on the steps, 
just as much alone as on the two previous days. 

She looked at him amazed and replied, "Who 
should still be here after noon? Then the people 
are all hungry and sit down to meals. Natm*e 
has arranged that very happily for me." 

His surging excitement could not, however, be 
allayed so quickly and without his knowledge or 
desire, he let shp, with the conviction of certainty, 
the conjecture which had come over him outside; 
for he added, to be sure somewhat foolishly, that 
he could really not think otherwise. 

Her bright eyes remained fixed upon his face 
until he had finished. Then she made a motion 
with one finger against her brow and said, 
"You — " After that, however, she continued, 
"It seems to me quite enough that I do not re- 
main away from here, even though I must expect 
that you are coming here at this time; but thQ 



90 GRADIVA 

place pleases me and I see that you have hrought 
me my sketch-book that I forgot here yesterday. 
I thank you for your vigilance. Won't you give 
it to me?'* 

The last question was well founded for he 
showed no disposition to do so, but remained mo- 
tionless. It began to dawn upon him that he had 
imagined and worked out a monstrous piece of 
nonsense, and had also given expression to it; 
in order to compensate, as far as possible, he now 
stepped forward hastily, handed Gradiva the 
book, and at the same time sat down near her on 
the step, mechanically. Casting a glance at his 
hand, she said, "You seem to be a lover of roses.'* 

At these words he suddenly became conscious 
of what had caused him to pluck and bring them 
and he responded, *'Yes, — of course, not for my- 
self, have I — ^you spoke yesterday — and last 
night, too, some one said it to me — ^people give 
them in spring." 

She pondered briefly, before she answered, 
"Ah, so — ^yes, I remember. To others, I meant, 
one does not give asphodel, but roses. That is 
polite of you ; it seems your opinion of me is im- 
proved.'' 

Her hand stretched out to receive the red 
flowers and, handing them to her, he rejoined, "I 
believed at first that you could be here only dur- 
ing the noon hour, but it has become probable to 



GRADIVA 91 

me that you also, at some other time — ^that makes 
me very happy — " 

"Why does it make you happy?" 

Her face expressed lack of comprehension — 
only about her lips there passed a slight, hardly 
noticeable quiver. Confused he oflfered, "It is 
beautiful to be alive ; it has never seemed so much 
so to me before — I wished to ask you?" He 
searched in his breast pocket and added, as he 
drew out the object, "Has this brooch ever be- 
longed to you ?" 

She leaned forward a little toward it, but shook 
her head, "No, I can't remember. Chronologi- 
cally it would, of course, not be impossible, for it 
probably did not exist until this year. Did you 
find it in the sun perhaps? The beautiful, green 
patina surely seems familiar to m,e, as if I had 
already seen it." 

Involuntarily he repeated, "In the sun? — ^why 
in the sun?" ' ^ i - 1 • 

" 'Sole' it is called here. It brings to light 
many things of that sort. Was the brooch said 
to have belonged to a yoimg girl who is said to 
have perished, I believe, in the vicinity of the 
Fonmi, with a companion?" 

"Yes, who held his arm about her — " 

'•Ah, so—" 

The two little words apparently lay upon 
Gradiva's tongue as a favorite interjection and 



92 GRADIVA 

she stopped after it for a moment, before she 
added, "Did you think that on that accomit I 
might have worn it? and would that have made 
you a little — ^how did you say it before? — ^un- 
happy?" 

It was apparent that he felt extraordinarily re- 
lieved and it was audible in his answer, "I am 
very happy about it — for the idea that the brooch 
belonged to you made me — dizzy." 

"You seem to have a tendency for that. Did 
you perhaps forget to eat breakfast thiis morn- 
ing? That easily aggravates such attacks; I do 
not suflFer from them, but I make provisions, as it 
suits me best to be here at noon. If I cai;i help 
you out of your unfortunate condition a little by 
sharing my lunch with you — " \ 

She drew out of her pocket a piece of white 
bread wrapped in tissue paper, broke it, put hd^lf 
into his hand and began to devour the other with 
apparent appetite. Thereby her exceptionally 
dainty and perfect teeth not only gleamed be- 
tween her lips with pearly ghtter, but in bitmg 
the crust caused also a crunching soimd so that 
they gave the impression of being not unreal 
phantoms, but of actual, substantial reality. 
Besides, with her conjecture about the postponed 
breakfast, she had, to be sure, hit upon the right 
thing; mechanically he, too, ate and felt from it 
a decidedly favorable eflfect on the clearing of 



\ 



GRADIVA 98 

his thoughts. So, for a little while, the couple 
did not speak further, but devoted themselves si- 
lently to the same practical occupation until 
Gradiva said, "It seems to me as if we had already 
eaten our bread thus together once two thousand 
years ago. Can't you remember it?'* 

He could not, but it seemed strange to him now 
that she spoke of so infinitely remote a past, for 
the strengthening of his mind by the nourishment 
had brought with it a change in his brain. The 
idea that she had been going around here in Pom- 
peii such a long time ago would no longer har- 
monize with soimd reason; everything about her 
seemed of the present, as if it could be scarcely 
more than twenty years old. The form and color 
of her face, the especiaUy charming, brown, wavy 
hair, and the flawless teeth; also, the idea that 
the bright dress, marred by no shadow of a spot, 
had lain countless years in the pimaice ashes con- 
tained something in the highest degree incon- 
sistent. Norbert was seized by a feeling of doubt 
whether he were really sitting here awake or were 
not more probably dreaming in his study, where, 
in contemplation of the likeness of Gradiva, he 
had been overcome by sleep, and had dreamed 
that he had gone to Pompeii, had met her as a 
person still hving and was dreaming further that 
he was still sitting so at her side in the Casa di 
Meleagro. For, that she was really still alive 



94. GRADIVA 

or had been living again could only have hap- 
pened in a dream — ^the laws of nature raised an 
objection to it — 

To be sure, it was strange that she had just 
said that she had once shared her bread with him 
in that way two thousand years ago. Of that 
he knew nothing and even in the dream could find 
nothing about it. 

Her left hand lay witH the slender fingers 
cahnly on her knees. They bore the key to the 
solution of an inscrutable riddle — 

Even in the dining room of the Casa di Me- 
leagro, the boldness of the common house-fiy was 
not deterred; on the yellow pillar opposite him 
he saw one running up and down in a WOTthless 
way in greedy quest; now it whizzed right past 
his nose. 

He, however, had to make some answer to her 
question, if he did not remember the bread that 
he had formerly consumed with her and he said 
suddenly, "Were the fiies then as devilish as 
now, so that they tormented you to death?" 

She glanced at him with utterly incompre- 
hending astonishment and repeated, "The fliies? 
Have you flies on your mind now?'' 

Then suddenly the black monster sat upon her 
hand, which did not reveal by the slightest quiver 
that she noticed it. Thereupon, however, there 
united in the young archaeologist two powerful 



GRADIVA 95 

impulses to execute the same deed. His hand 
went up suddenly and clapped with no gentle 
stroke on the fly and the hand of his neighbor. 

With this blow there came to him, for the first 
time, sense, consternation and also a joyous fear. 
He had delivered the stroke not through empty 
air, but on an imdoubtedly real, living and warm, 
human hand which, for a moment apparently 
absolutely startled, remained motionless under 
his. Yet then she drew it away with a jerk, and 
the mouth above it said, "You are surely appar- 
ently crazy, Norbert Hanold." 

The name, which he had disclosed to no one in 
Pompeii, passed so easily, assuredly and clearly 
from her Kps that its owner jumped up from the 
steps, even more terrified. At the same time 
there sounded in the colonnade footsteps of peo- 
ple who had come near unobserved ; before his con- 
fused eyes appeared the faces of the congenial 
pair of lovers from the Casa del Fauno, and the 
young lady cried, with a tone of greatest surprise, 
"Zoel You here, too? and also on your honey- 
moon? You have not written me a word about 

it, you know.'' 

....... 

Norbert was again outside before Meleager's 
house in the Strada di Mercurio. How he had 
come there was not clear to him, it must have 
happened instinctively, and, caused by a light- 



96 GRADIVA 

ning-like illumination in him, was the only thing 
that he could do not to present a thoroughly ridic- 
ulous figure to the young couple, even more to the 
girl greeted so pleasantly by them, who had just 
addressed him by his Christian and family names, 
and most of all to himself. For even if he 
grasped nothing, one fact was indisputable. 
Gradiva, with a warm, human hand, not unsub- 
stantial, but possessing corporeal reality, had ex- 
pressed an indubitable truth; his mind had, in the 
last two days, been in a condition of absolute 
madness; and not at all in a silly dream, but 
rather with the use of eyes and ears such as is 
given by nature to man for reasonable service. 
Like everything else, how such a thing had hap- 
pened escaped his understanding, and only darkly 
did he feel that there must have also been in the 
game a sixth sense which, obtaining the upper 
hand in some way, had transformed something 
perhaps precious to the opposite. In order to 
get at least a little more light on the matter by 
an attempt at meditation, a remote place in soli- 
tary silence was absolutely required ; at first, how- 
ever, he was impelled to withdraw as quickly as 
possible from the sphere of eyes, ears and other 
senses, which use their natural functions as suits 
their own purpose. 

As for the owner of that warm hand, she had, 
at any rate, from her first expression, been sur- 



GRADIVA ' 97 

prised by the unforeseen and unexpected visit at 
noon in the Casa di Meleagro in a not entirely 
pleasant manner. Yet, of this, in the next in- 
stant, there was no trace to be seen in her bright 
countenance; she stood up quickly, stepped to- 
ward the young lady and said, extending her 
hand, "'It certainly is pleasant, Gisa; chance 
sometimes has a clever idea too. So this is your 
husband of two weeks? I am glad to see him, 
and, from the appearance of both of you, I ap- 
parently need not change my congratulations for 
condolence. Couples to whom that would be ap- 
phed are at this time usually sitting at lunch in 
Pompeii ; you are probably staying near the *in- 
gresso' ; I shall look you up there this afternoon. 
No, I have not written you anything; you won't 
be oflFended at me for that, for you see my hand, 
unlike yours, is not adorned by a ring. The at- 
mosphere here has an extremely powerful effect 
on the imagination, which I can see in you ; it is 
better, of course, than if it made one too matter 
of fact. The young nxan who just went out is 
laboring also under a remarkable delusion; it 
seems to me that he beheves a fly is buzzing in his 
head ; well, every one has, of course, some kind of 
bee in his bonnet. As is my duty, I have some 
knowledge of entomology and can, therefore, be 
of a little service in such cases. My father and I 
live in the 'Sole'; he, too, had a sudden and 



98 GRADIVA 

pleasing idea of bringing me here with him if I 
would be responsible for my own entertainment, 
and make no demands upon him. I said to my- 
self that I should certainly dig up something in- 
teresting alone here. Of course I had not reck- 
oned at all on the find which I made — I mean the 
good fortune of meeting you, Gisa ; but I am talk- 
ing away the time, as is usually the case with an 
old friend — My father comes in out of the sun 
at two o'clock to eat at the *Sole'; so I have to 
keep company there with his appetite and, there- 
fore, I am sorry to say, must, for the moment 
forego your society. You will, of course, be able 
to view the Casa di Meleagro without me ; that I 
think likely, though I can't understand it, of 
course. Favorisca, signorl Arrivederci, Gi- 
setta ! That much Italian I have already learned 
and one really does not need more. Whatever 
else is necessary one can invent — ^please, no, senza 
complimenti !" 

This last entreaty of the speaker concerned 
a polite movement by which the young husband 
had seemed to wish to escort her. She had ex- 
pressed herself most vividly, naturally and in a 
manner quite fitting to the circumstances of the 
imexpected meeting of a close friend, yet with 
extraordinary celerity, which testified to the ur- 
gency of the declaration that she could not at 
present remain longer. So not more than a few 



GRADIVA 99 

minutes had passed since the hasty exit of Nor- 
bert Hanoldy when she also stepped from the 
house of Meleager into the Strada di Mercurio. 
This lay, because of the hour, enlivened only here 
and there by a cringing lizard, and for a few 
moments the girl, hesitating, apparently gave 
herself over to a brief meditation. Then she 
quickly struck out in the shortest way to the gate 
of Hercules, at the intersection of the Vicolo di 
Mercurio and the Strada di Sallustio, crossed the 
stepping-stones with the gracefully buoyant Gra- 
diva-walk, and thus arrived very quickly at the 
two ruins of the side wall near the Porta Erco- 
lanese. Behind this there stretched at some 
length the Street of Tombs, yet not dazzlingly 
white, nor overhung with glittering sunbeams, as 
twenty-four hours ago, when the young archaeol- 
ogist had thus gazed down over it with searching 
eyes. To-day the sun seemed to be overcome by 
a feeling that she had done a little too much good 
in the morning; she held a gray veil drawn before 
her, the condensation of which was visibly being 
increased, and, as a result, the cypresses, which 
grew here and there in the Strada di Sepolcri, 
rose unusually sharp and black against the heav- 
ens. It was a picture different from that of yes- 
terday; the brilliance which mysteriously glittered 
over everything was lacking; the street also as- 
sumed a certain gloomy distinctness and had at 



100 GRADIVA 

present a dead aspect which honored its name. 
This impression was not diminished by an iso- 
lated movement at its end, but was rather height- 
ened by it; there, in the vicinity of the Villa of 
Diomede, a phantom seemed to be looking for 
its grave, and disappeared wider one of the 
monimients. 

It was not the shortest way from the house of 
Meleager to the Albergo del Sole, rather the ex- 
actly opposite direction, but Zoe-Gradiva must 
have also decided that time was not yet importun- 
ing so violently to limch, for after a quite brief 
stop at the Hercules gate, she walked farther 
along the lava-blocks of the Street of Tombs, 
every time raising the sole of her lingering foot 
almost perpendicularly. 

The Villa of Diomede — named thus, for people 
of the present, after a moniunent which a certain 
freed-man, Marcus Arrius Diomedes, formerly 
promoted to the directorship of this city-section, 
had erected nearby for his lady, Arria, as well as 
for himself and his relatives — ^was a very exten- 
sive building and concealed within itself a part 
of the history of the destruction of Pompeii not 
invented by imagination. A confusion of exten- 
sive ruins formed the upper part; below lay an 
unusually large sunken garden surrounded by a 
well preserved portico of pillars with scanty rem- 



GRADIVA 101 

« 

nants of a fountain and a small temple in the 
cuddle ; and farther along two stairways led down 
to a circular cellar-vault, lighted only dimly hy 
gloomy twilight. The ashes of Vesuvius had 
penetrated into this also and the skeletons of 
eighteen women and children had been found 
here ; seeking protection they had fled, with some 
hastily gathered provisions, into the half-subter- 
ranean space and the deceptive refuge had become 
the tomb of all. In another place the supposed, 
nameless master of the house lay, also stretched 
out choked on the ground ; he had wished to escape 
through the locked garden-door, for he held the 
key to it in his fingers. Beside him cowered an- 
other skeleton, probably that of a servant, who 
was carrying a considerable nimiber of gold and 
silver coins. The bodies of the unfortunates had 
been preserved by the hardened ashes; in the 
museum at Naples there is under glass, the exact 
impression of the neck, shoulders and beautiful 
bosom of a young girl clad in a fine, gauzy gar- 
ment. 

The Villa of Diomede had, at one time, at least, 
been the inevitable goal of every dutiful Pompeii 
visitor, but now, at noon, in its rather roomy soli- 
tude, certainly no curiosity lingered in it, and 
therefore it had seemed to Norbert Hanold the 
place of refuge best suited to his newest mental 
needs. These longed most insistently for grave- 



102 GRADIVA 

like loneliness, breathless silence, and quiescent 
peace; against the latter, however, an impelling 
restlessness in his system raised comiter-claims, 
and he had been obliged to force an agreement be- 
tween the two demands, such that the mind tried 
to claim its own and yet gave the feet liberty to 
follow their impulse. So he had been wandering 
around through the portico since his entrance; he 
succeeded thus in preserving his bodily equilib- 
rium, and he busied himself with changing his 
mental state into the same normal condition; that, 
however, seemed more difficult in execution than 
in intention; of course it seemed to his judgment 
unquestionable that he had been utterly foolish 
and irrational to believe that he had sat with a 
young Pompeiian girl, who had become more or 
less corporeally alive again, and this clear view 
of his madness formed incontestably an essential 
advance on the return to sound reason ; but it was 
not yet restored entirely to normal condition, for, 
even if it had occurred to him that Gradiva was 
only a dead bas-relief, it was also equally beyond 
doubt that she was still alive. For that irrefut- 
able proof was adduced ; not he alone, but others 
also, saw her, knew that her name was Zoe and 
spoke with her, as with a being as much alive, in 
substance, as they. On the other hand, however, 
she knew his name too, and again, that could orig- 
inate only from a supernatural power; this dual 



GRADIVA 103 

nature remained enigmatic even for the rays of 
understanding that were entering his mind. Yet 
to this incompatible duality there was joined a 
similar one in him, for he cherished the earnest 
desire to have been destroyed here in the Villa of 
Diomede two thousand years ago, in order that 
he might not run the risk of meeting Zoe-Gradiva 
again anywhere; at the same time, however, an 
extraordinarily joyous feeling was stirring 
within him, because he was still alive and was 
therefore able to meet her again somewhere. 
To use a comimonplace yet fitting simile, this 
was turning in his head like a mill-wheel, and 
through the long portico he ran around likewise 
without stopping, which did not aid him in the 
explanation of the contradictions. On the con- 
trary, he was moved by an indefinite feeling that 
everything was growing darker and darker about 
and within him- 

Then he suddenly recoiled, as he turned one of 
the fom* comers of the colonnade. A half dozen 
paces away from him there sat, rather high up on 
a fragmentary wall-ruin, one of the young girls 
who had found death here in the ashes. 

No, that was nonsense, which his reason re- 
jected. His eyes, too, and a nameless something 
else recognized that fact. It was Gradiva; she 
was sitting on a stone ruin as she had formerly 
sat on the step, only, as the former was consider- 



104 GRADIVA 

ably higher, her slender feet, which hung down 
free in the sand-color shoes, were visible up to her 
dainty ankles. 

With an instinctive movement, Norbert was at 
first about to run out between the pillars through 
the garden ; what, for a half hour, he had feared 
most of anything in the world had suddenly ap- 
peared, viewed him with bright eyes and with lips 
which, he felt, were about to burst into mocking 
laughter; yet they didn't, but the familiar voice 
rang out calmly from them, "You'll get wet out- 
side." 

Now, for the first time, he saw that it was rain- 
ing ; for that reason it had become so dark. That 
imquestionably was an advantage to all the plants 
about and in Pompeii, but that a himian being 
in the place would be benefited by it was ridicu- 
lous, and for the moment Norbert Hanold feared, 
far more than danger of death, appearing ridicu- 
lous. Therefore he involuntarily gave up the 
attempt to get away, stood there, helpless, and 
looked at the two feet, which now, as if somewhat 
impatient, were swinging back and forth ; and as 
this view did not have so clearing an eflfect upon 
his thoughts that he could find expression for 
them, the owner of the dainty feet again took up 
the conversation. "We were interrupted before; 
you were just going to tell me something about 
flies — I imagined that you were making scientific 



GRADIVA 106 

investigations here — or about a fly in your head. 
Did you succeed in catching and destroying the 
one on my hand?*' 

This last she said with a smiling expression 
about her lips, which, however, was so faint and 
charming, that it was not at all terrifying. On 
the contrary, it now lent to the questioned man 
power of speech, but with this limitation, that the 
young archaeologist suddenly did not know how 
to address her. In order to escape this dilemma, 
he found it best to avoid that and replied, "I was 
— as they say — somewhat confused mentally and 
ask pardon that I — ^the hand — ^in that way — ^how 
I could be so stupid, I can't understand — ^but I 
can't understand either how its owner could use 
my name in upbraiding me for my — ^my mad- 
ness/' 

Gradiva's feet stopped moving and she re- 
joined, still addressing him famiharly, "Your 
power of understanding has not yet progressed 
that far, Norbert Hanold. Of course, I can not 
be surprised, for you have long ago accustomed 
me to it. To make that discovery again I should 
not have needed to come to Pompeii, and you 
could have confirmed it for me a good hundred 
miles nearer," 

"A hundred miles nearer" — ^he repeated, per- 
plexed and half stuttering — "where is that?" 

*T)iagonally across from your house, in the 



106 GRADIVA 

comer house; in my window, in a eage> is a ca- 
nary." 

Like a memory from far away this last word 
moved the hearer, who repeated, "A canary" — 
and he added, stuttering more — "He — ^he sings?" 

"They usually do, especially in spring when 
the Sim begins to seem warm again. In that 
house lives my father, Richard Bertgang, pro- 
fessor of zoology." 

Norbert Hanold's eyes opened to a width never 
before attained by them, and then he said, "Bert- 
gang — ^then are you — ^are you — ^Miss Zoe Bert- 
gang? But she looked quite diflferent — ^" 

The two dangling feet began again to swing a 
little, and Miss Zoe Bertgang said in reply, "If 
you find that form of address more suitable be- 
tween us, I can use it too, you know, but the other 
came to me more naturally. I don't know 
whether I looked diflferent when we used to run 
about before with each other as friends every day, 
and occasionally beat and cuflfed each other, for 
a change, but if, in recent years, you had favored 
me with even one glance, you might perhaps have 
seen that I have looked like this for a long time. 
— ^No, now, as they say, it's pouring pitchforks; 
you won't have a dry stitch." 

Not only had the feet of the speaker indicated 
a return of impatience, or whatever it might be, 
but also in the tones of her voice there appeared 



GRADIVA 107 

a little didactic, ill-humored curtness, and Nor- 
bert had thereby been overwhelmed by a feeling 
that he was running the risk of slipping into the 
role of a big school-boy scolded and slapped in 
the face. That caused him to again seek mechan- 
ically for an exit between the pillars, and to the 
movement which showed this impulse Miss Zoe's 
last utterance, indiflferently added, had reference ; 
and, of course, in an undeniably striking way, be- 
cause for what was now occurring outside of the 
shelter, "pouring" was really a mild term. A 
tropical cloudburst such as only seldom took pity 
on the sununer thirst of the meadows of the Cam- 
pagna, was shooting vertically and rushing as if 
the Tyrrhenian Sea were pouring from heaven 
upon the Villa of Diomede, and yet it continued 
like a firm wall composed of billions of drops 
gleaming like pearls and large as nuts. That, in- 
deed, made escape out into the open air impos- 
sible, and forced Norbert Hanold to remain in 
the school-room of the portico while the young 
school-mistress with the dehcate, clever face made 
use of the hindrance for further extension of her 
pedagogical discussion by continuing, after a brief 
pause : — 

"Then up to the time when people call us 
^Backfisch,' for some unknown reason, I had really 
acquired a remarkable attachment for you and 
thought that I could never find a more pleasing 



108 GRADIVA 

friend in the world. Mother, sister, or brother I 
had not, you know ; to my father a slow-worm in 
alcohol was far more interesting than I, and peo- 
ple (I count girls such) must surely have some- 
thing with which they can occupy their thoughts 
and the like. Then you were that something, but 
when archaeology overcame you, I made the 
discovery that you — excuse the familiarity, but 
your new formality sounds absurd to me — I was 
saying that I imagined that you had become an 
intolerable person, who had no longer, at least for 
me, an eye in his head, a tongue in his mouth, nor 
any of the memories that I retained of our child- 
hood friendship. So I probably looked different 
from what I did formerly for when, occasionally, 
I met you at a party, even last winter, you did not 
look at me and I did not hear your voice ; in this, 
of course, there was nothing which marked me 
out especially, for you treated all the others in 
the same way. To you I was but air, and you, 
with your shock of light hair, which I had for- 
merly pulled so often, were as boresome, dry and 
tongue-tied as a stuffed cockatoo and at the same 
time as grandiose as an — ^archaeopteryx ; I believe 
the excavated, antediluvian bird-monster is so 
called ; but that your head harbored an imagina- 
tion so magnificent as here in Pompeii to consider 
me something excavated and restored to life — I 
had not surmised that of you, and when you sud- 



GRADIVA 109 

denly stood before me unexpectedly, it cost me 
some effort at first to understand what kind of 
incredible fancy your imagination had invented- 
Then I was amused and, in spite of its madness, 
it was not entirely displeasing to me. For, as I 
said, I had not expected it of you." 

With that, her expression and tone somewhat 
mollified at the end, Miss Zoe Bertgang finished 
her unreserved, detailed and instructive lecture 
and it was indeed notable how exactly she then 
resembled the figure of Gradiva on the bas-relief, 
not only in her features, her form, her eyes, ex- 
pressive of wisdom, and her charmingly wavy 
hair, but also in her graceful manner of walking 
which he had often seen; her drapery, too, dress 
and scarf of a cream-colored, fine cashmere ma- 
terial which fell in soft, voluminous folds, com- 
pleted the extraordinary resemblance of her 
whole appearance. There might have been much 
foolishness in the belief that a young Pompeiian 
girl, destroyed two thousand years ago by Ve- 
suvius, could sometimes walk around alive again, 
speak, draw and eat bread, but even if the belief 
brought happiness, it assimied everywhere, in the 
bargain, a considerable amount of incomprehen- 
sibility; and in consideration of all the circimi- 
stances, there was incontestably present, in the 
judgment of Norbert Hanold, some mitigating 



110 GRADIVA 

ground for his madness in for two daj^ consider- 
ing Gradiva a resurrection. ' ^e </ v . iu 

Although he stood there dry under the portico 
roof, there was established, not quite ineptly, a 
comparison betweeuthim and a wet poodle, who 
has had a bucketful of water thrown on his head ; 
but the cold shower-bath had really done him 
good. Without knowing exactly why, he felt that 
he was breathing much more easily. In that, of 
course, the change of tone at the end of the ser- 
mon — for the speaker sat as if in a pulpit-chair — 
might have helped especially; at least thereat a 
transfigured light appeared in his eyes, such as 
awakened hope for salvation through faith pro- 
duces in the eyes of an ardently affected church- 
attendant; and as the rebuke was now over, and 
there seemed no necessity for fearing a further 
continuation, he succeeded in saying, "Yes, now 
I recognize — ^no, you have not changed at all — ^it 
is you, Zoe — ^my good, happy, clever comrade — 
it is most strange—" 

"That a person must die to become alive again ; 
but for archaeologists that is of course neces- 



99 



sary. 

"No, I mean your name — " 

"Why is it strange?" 

The young archaeologist showed himself famil- 
iar with not only the classical languages, but also 



GRADIVA 111 

with the etymology of German, and continued, 
"'Because Bertgang has the same meaning as 
Gradiva and signifies Ue one splendid in walk- 
ing/ '' 

Miss Zoe Bertgang's two sandal-like shoes 
were, for the moment, because of their movement, 
reminiscent of an impatiently see-sawing wag- 
tail waiting for something; yet the possessor of 
the feet which walked so magnificently seemed 
not at present to be paying any attention to philo- 
logical explanations ; by her countenance she gave 
the impression of being occupied with some hasty 
plan, but was restrained from it by an exclama- 
tion of Norbert Hanold's which audibly emanated 
from deepest conviction, "What luck, though, 
that you are not Gradiva, but are like the con- 
genial young lady 1" 

That caused an expression as of interested sur- 
prise to pass over her face and she asked, "Who is 
that ? Whom do you mean V^ 

"The one who spoke to you in Meleager's 
house." 

"Do you know her?'' 

"Yes, I had already seen her. She was the first 
person who seemed especially congenial to me-" 

"So? Where did you see her?" 

"This morning, in the House of the Faim, 
There the couple were doing something very 



79 



112 GRADIVA 

"What were they doing?" 

"They did not see me and they kissed each 
other." 

"That was really very reasonable, you know. 
Why else are they in Pompeii on their wedding 
trip?" 

At one blow with the last word the former pic- 
ture changed before Norbert Hanold's eyes, for 
the old wall-ruin lay there empty, because the 
girl, who had chosen it as a seat, teacher's diair 
and pulpit, had come down, or really flown, and 
with the same supple buoyancy as that of a wag- 
tail swinging through the air, so that she already 
stood again on Gradiva-f eet, before his glance had 
consciously caught up with her descent ; and con- 
tinuing her speech directly, she said, "Well, the 
rain has stopped; too severe rulers do not reign 
long. That is reasonable, too, you know, and 
thus everything has again become reasonable. I, 
not least of all, and you can look up Gisa Hartle- 
ben, or whatever new name she has, to be of scien- 
tific assistance to her about the purpose of her stay 
in Pompeii. I must now go to the Albergo del 
Sole, for my father is probably waiting for me 
already at lunch. Perhaps we shall meet again 
sometime at a party in Germany or on the moon. 
Addio!" 

Zoe Bertgang said this in the absolutely polite, 
but also equally indifferent tone of a most well- 



/■ 



GRADn?4 113 

bred young lady, and, as was Ler custom, placing 
her left foot forward, raised the sole of the right 
almost perpendicularly to pass out. As she 
lifted her dress slightly with her left hand, be- 
cause of the thoroughly wet ground outside, the 
resemblance to Gradiva was perfect and the man, 
standing hardly more than two arm-lengths away, 
noticed for the first time a quite insignificant devi- 
ation in the living picture from the stone one. 
The latter lacked something possessed by the for- 
mer, which appeared at the moment quite clear, a 
little dimple in her cheek, which produced a slight, 
indefinable effect. It puckered and wrinkled a 
little and could therefore express annoyance or a 
suppressed impulse to laugh, possibly both to- 
gether. Norbert Hanold looked at it and 
although from the evidence just presented to him 
he had completely regained his reason, his eyes 
had to again submit to an optical illusion. For, 
in a tone triiunphing peculiarly over his discovery, 
he cried out, "There is the fly again 1" 

It soimded so strange that from the incompre- 
hending listener, who could not see herself, es- 
caped the question, "The fly — ^where?" 

"There on your cheek!" and immediately the 
man, as he answered, suddenly twined an arm 
about her neck and snapped, this time with his 
lips, at the insect so deeply abhorrent to him, 
which vision juggled before his eyes deceptively 



114 GFJVDIVA 

in the little dimple,: Apparently, however, with- 
out success, for right afterwards he cried again, 
"No, now it's on your lips 1" and thereupon, quick 
as a flash, he directed thither his attempt to cap- 
ture, now remaining so long that no doubt could 
survive that he succeeded in completely accom- 
pUshmg his purpose, and strange to relate the 
living Gradiva did not hinder him at all, and when 
her mouth, after about a minute, was forced to 
struggle for breath, restored to powers of speech, 
she did not say, "You are really crazy, Norbert 
Hanold," but rather allowed a most charming 
smile to play more visibly than before about her 
red lips ; she had been convinced more than ever 
of the complete recovery of his reason. 

The Villa of Diomede had two thousand years 
ago seen and heard horrible things in an evil hour, 
yet at the present it heard and saw, for about an 
hour, only things not at all suited to inspire hor- 
ror. Then, however, a sensible idea became up- 
permost in Miss Zoe Bertgang's mind and as a 
result, she said, against her wishes, "Now, I must 
really go, or my poor father will starve. It seems 
to me you can to-day forego Gisa Hartleben's 
company at noon, for you have nothing more to 
learn from her and ought to be content with us 
in the Sun Hotel.'* 

From this it was to be concluded that during 
that hour something must have been discussed. 



GRADIVA 115 

for it indicated a helpful desire to instruct, which 
the young lady vented on Norbert. Yet, from 
the remindmg words, he did not gather this, but 
something which, for the first time, he was becom- 
ing terribly conscious of; this was apparent in the 
repetition, "Your father— what wiU he— f' 

Miss Zoe, however, interrupted, without any 
sign of awakened anxiety, "Probably he will do 
nothing; I am not an indispensable piece in his 
zoological collection; if I were, my heart would 
probably not have clung to you so unwisely. Be- 
sides, from my early years, I have been siu'e that a 
woman is of use in the world only when she re- 
lieves a man of the trouble of deciding household 
matters; I generally do this for my father and 
therefore you can also be rather at ease about 
your future. Should he, however, by chance, in 
this case, have an opinion diflferent from mine, 
we will make it as simple as possible. You go 
over to Capri for a couple of days ; there, with a 
grass snare— you can practise making them on 
my little finger — catch a lizard Faraglionensis. 
Let it go here again, and catch it before his eyes. 
Then give him free choice between it and me, 
and you will have me so surely that I am, sorry for 
you. Toward his colleague, Eimer, however, I 
feel to-day that I have formerly been ungrateful, 
for without his genial invention of lizard-catch- 
ing I should probably not have come into Me- 



116 GRADIVA 

leager's house, and that would have heen a shame, 
not only for you, but for me too. 

This last view she expressed outside of the Villa 
of Diomede and, alas, tiiere was no person present 
on earth who could make any statements about 
the voice and manner of talking of Gradiva. Yet 
even if they had resembled those of Zoe Bertgang, 
as everything else about her did, they must have 
possessed a quite unusually beautiful and roguish 
charm. 

By this, at least, Norbert Hanold was so 
strongly overwhelmed that, exalted to poetic 
flights, he cried out, "Zoe, you dear life and lovely 
present — we shall take our wedding-trip to Italy 
and Pompeii." 

That was a decided proof of how different cir- 
cumstances can also produce a transformation in 
a human being and at the same time unite with 
it a weakening of the memory. For it did not 
occur to him at all that he would thereby expose 
himself and his companion on the journey to the 
danger of receiving, from misanthropic, ill-hu- 
mored railway-companions, the names Augustus 
and Gretchen, but at the moment he was thinking 
so little about it that they walked along hand in 
hand through the old Street of Tombs in Pompeii. 
Of course this, too, did not stamp itself into their 
minds at present as such, for a cloudless sky 



GRADIVA 117 

shone and laughed again above it; the sun 
stretched out a golden carpet on the old lava- 
blocks; Vesuvius spread its misty pine-cone; and 
the whole excavated city seemed overwhelmed, 
not with pumice and ashes, but with pearls and 
diamonds, by the beneficent rain-storm. 

The brilhance in the eyes of the young daugh- 
ter of the zoologist rivaled these, but to the an- 
nounced desire about the destination of their 
journey by her childhood friend who had, in a 
way, also been excavated from the ashes, her wise 
lips responded : "I think we won't worry about 
that to-day; that is a thing which may better be 
left by both of us to more and maturer considera- 
tion and future promptings. I, at least, do not 
yet feel quite alive enough liow for such geograph- 
ical decisions." 

That showed that the speaker possessed great 
modesty about the quality of her insight into 
things about which she had never thought until 
to-day. They had arrived again at the Hercules 
gate where, at the beginning of the Strada Con- 
solare, old stepping-stones crossed the street. 
Norbert Hanold stopped before them and said 
with a peculiar tone, "Please go ahead here." 
A merry, comprehending, laughing expression 
lurked aroimd his companion's mouth, and, rais- 
ing her dress slightly with her left hand, Gra- 



118 GRADIVA 

diva rediviva Zoe Bertgang, viewed by him with 
dreamily observing eyes, crossed with her cahnly 
buoyant walk, through the sunlight, over the step- 
ping-stonesy to the other side of the street. 






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