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1 




PSEUDONrM LIBRARY 






THE 

PSEUDONYM LIBRARY. 

1, MADEMOISELLE IXB. 



LAMBERT. 


ELEANOR 


3. MYSTERY OF 


THECAM- 


4. THE aCHOOl 


- OF ART. 


S. AMARYLLIS. 




6, THE h6tEL 

TERRE. 


D'ANGLE- 


7. A RUSSIAN PRIEST. 


'■ ^°a"mora i?"^ 


lONS AND 


9. EUROPEAN 


RELA 


10. JOHN SHERI 


«AN. 


■ 1. THROUGH THE RED- 


ii.CREEN TE 


A: A Love 



|. HEAVY LADEN. 

i. makAR'S dream. 

1. A NEW ENGLAND CAC- 
TUS. 
i. THE HERB OF LOVE. 



VICT. 

|. GENTLEMAN UPCOTT'S 
DAUGHTER. 

1. COLETTE. 
OTTILIE. 



031S0 

VERNON LEE 



i OTTILIE: 



AN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 
, IDYL 



^i-' 



SECOND EDITION 



LONDON 
r. FISHER UNWIN 



1 




CONTENTS. 




« 




iNTROnUCTOKV 


■ '5 


1 CHAPTER I, ■ • ■ ■ 


■ ^^ 


k CHAPTER II. . - - ■ 


■ 63 


1 =::::: 


. io6 
. 148 


j aSK 81 55 





By THE SAME AUTHOR. 

\ BALDWIN : Vlawa and AapinHons. 

JUVENILIA: iSstheticsl Questions, 
EUPHORION : Studies in the Rfnsis 



MISS BROWM. ^H 

\ VANITAS: Polite StoriM. ^ 

HAUNTINGS : Fantastic Stories. 
THE PRINCE OP THE HUNDRED 

SOUPS. 




Il 



PREFACE. 



^ HE trade of an Es- 
sayist has its draw- 
backs. The Essayist 
is an amphibious crea- 
ture, neither fish, flesh, 
nor fowl : something of the nature 
of a centaur, possessing some of 
the instincts of a human creature 
and perhaps some of its good 
points, but obliged, on account 
of hoofs and tail, to wear saddle 
and blinkers, and be kept tied 
up in a stable ; above all, warned 
off from every agreeable path or 
garden alley by the inscription. 



" Only foot passengers allowed," 
For an Essajist possesses, inas- 
much as he is an Essayist, some 
of the instincts of the superior 
creature called a novelist : a 
certain half imaginative percep- 
tion of the past, a certain love 
of character and incident and 
description, a certain tendency 
to weave fancies about realities ; 
but as the centaur has hoofs, so 
the Essayist has peculiarities 
which exclude him from the 
pleasant places of iiction, which 
render it proper that he should 
run along on the beaten 
of history, and be tied up in t] 
narrow little stable of fact. 

Those who have not ex] 
rienced it cannot guess ho¥? 
narrow, how very narrow, that 
stable of fact is; how straight 
and arid are often those roads of 
history. The Essayist is study- 
ing an old town, a historii 



laas 

1 




I 



character, an epoch of intellec- 
tual life. In so doing it is next 
to impossible that there should 
not come into his mind all man- 
ner of things which the cruel 
distinction, separating him from 
the novelist, forbids his even 
having the satisfaction of work- 
ing out, of explaining. When 
an Essayist tells you about this 
or that Italian or Flemish or 
German city, about the old 
houses and belfries and porti- 
coes, about the history of the 
past, do you think that he has 
told you all that he might ? 
Why, he would have told you 
about certain men and women 
of former days whom he saw in 
those houses and under those 
porticoes ; he might have con- 
fided to you curious scraps of 
stories told him by the chimes 
in those towers. But all that 
would not have been true ; it 






I would have been partly romance, 
I bosh, balderdash, anj-thing you 
I like, but not fact. Hence it 
I must not be said. Again, with 
regard to the historical person ; 
I how many readers guess at the 
I terrible temptation of the po< 
\ Essayist to tell you some adved 
tures and thoughts and feelingj 
which he feels perfectly per- 
suaded happened in the life and 
passed through the mind of the 
historical character ? But who 
dares, without any facts in sup- 

»port, merely from his own strong 
conviction, to take away the 
reputation of some long dead 
man or woman, much less to 
reinstate him or her in it ? Such 
things are permissible only to 
respectable historians : Essay- 
^^ ists must not encroach on the^^ 
^K-novelist's ground. ^^^ 

^^B But there is a worse tera^^H 
^Ktation than these. In studyii^^f 



any historical epoch, in trying 
to understand its temper and 
ways, there rise up before the 
unluciiy Essayist vague forms 
of men and women whose names 
he does not know, whose parent- 
age is obscure ; in short, who 
have never existed, and who yet 
present him with a more com- 
plete notion of the reality of the 
men and women of those times 
than any real, contradictory, 
imperfectly seen creatures for 
whose existevice history will 
vouch. 

Of such ligures, all the more 
true for being imaginary, some 
must have come to each of us 
Essayists, great and small : im- 
portant, tragic creatures to those 
who deal with the solemn, tragic 
realities of the middle ages and 
of the Renaissance; slight, tri- 
I fli[?g, trumpery, to such as have, 
h like myself, dealt with more 




INTRODUCTORY. 

^ BOUT forty years ago 
every one who stayed 

any time in the little 
Franconian town of 
W must have no- 
ticed an old couple who seemed 
to form part and parcel of the 
place. Every summer morning 
they would issue out of their 
wide-roofed, one-storeyed house 
on the outskirts of the town, 
walk slowly through one of the 
avenues of lime trees, the old 
lady leaning lightly on the old 



gish and the bank 
with sedge and osiers 
was tall, thin, but ^ 
always neatly dressei 
with a black silk sh 
large, round cap c 
muslin, from beneath 
peared only a few s 
curls; she carried a 
cule and a long-can< 
The gentleman was 
more worn-looking thi 
panion; he walked s 
she would stop ever] 
then to let him repose 
an old-fashioned dre 
time of Napoleon, w 



INTRODUCTORY. 1 7 

for them on their walks; some 
few, standing at their shop doors, 
would bow, but very few ever 
addressed them. One or two 
old people, an old lawyer, and 
an old clerk, would occasionally 
be seen entering their house. 
They often spoke with the pea- 
sants who were working in the 
fields, and would sometimes stop 
some of the school children and 
talk with them as they sat on the 
bench by the riverside. No one 
seemed well acquainted with 
them, but every one respected 
them immensely. 

The old couple, who were not 
man and wife, but brother and 

sister, had lived at W from 

time immemorial, and no one 
had ever seen them separate. 
The old man was called "the 
Poet" by the townsfolk. He 
had enjoyed some literary repu- 
tation at the end of the last 



^ 



century and the beginning of 
this one. His works, with the 
exception of a little volume of 
verse and some collections of 
popular legends which he had 
taken down from the mouth of 
the peasantry, were mostly tales 
of the fantastic, humorous, and 
pathetic style, slightly monoto- 
nous, and to our mind childish, 
which had been so popular in 
the time of Jean Paul and Hoff- 
mann, and which are now well- 
nigh forgotten. People at W 

maintained that in all these pro- 
ductions the sister had done at 
least half the work; and indeed 
the general opinion seems to 
have been that she was the 
master mind of the two. And 
truly, although she must have 
been several years older than 
her brother, she seemed, with 
her bright serenity, to give life 
and strength to the weakly, 




melancholy, and wistful-looking 
old man. She was always the 
more cordial and talkative of 
the two, beckoning to the pea- 
sants and school children to 
come and talk with them. 

So the old couple went day 
after day, month after month, 
year after year, to sit on their 
accustomed bench beneath the 
lime trees by the riverside. But 
one spring they failed to appear 
as usual with the first sunshine 
and flowers, and at length there 
came only the old gentleman, in 
black, all by himaelf, leaning on 
his cane. He came and sat on 
the accustomed seat, and re- 
mained hy the riverside, looking 
vaguely at the stream flowing 
slowly among the tangled reeds 
and willows and water-lilies. 
Besides this accustomed walk, 
he would daily go to the little 
cemetery on the ramparts, where 




I 



earliest personal re- 
collections are of mjrj 
sister ; all previous 
ones are indistinct and 
indirect — remem- 
brances of remembrances — which 
aeem to have no connexion with 
my present ideality. 

I was born at Halberstadt on 
the 22nd of March, 1759, and 
was christened Christoph Rein- 
hart, after my paternal grand- 
father, Baron von Craussen, of 
Glogau. My father had been an 
l«fhcer in the Electoral service. 



but having fallen into ill-health, 
was living at that time on a 
small pension, and on the re- 
mains of the fortune of my 
mother, who died at my birth. 
It was a great piece of good luck, 
in our circumstances, that my 
half-sister should be educated at 
the expense of the court, in a 
school for the daughters of poor 
officers which had Just been 
founded by one of the Electoral 
princesses. 

This Princess was an elderly 
spinster, who devoted all her 
e«ergies to meddling in other 
people's concerns ; and as the 
school was placed under her 
immediate supervision, she had 
frequent opportunities of re- 
marking my sister. Thus it 
came about that Ottilie entered 
into Her Highness's service as 
reader, before she had attained 
the age prescribed for quitting 



K 



the school. The old Princei 
took a violent fancy for my sisti 
as people perfectly idle and ex- 
cessively self- important always 
do take violent fancies. She 
rmade a sort of museum of clever 
ipeople, and the passion of her 
life was to enlarge her collei 
tion. 

My sister was pretty and quiti 
young, very active and patient, 
always ready to help Her 
Highness in her ever-changing 
^schemes, and always bearing 
[■with perfect serenity the ups 
and downs in the old Princess' 
temper. Her Highness used to 
speak of her as " the golden 
Ottiiie," and she determined to 
do something great for her at 
some indefinite period ; mean- 
while, nothing in the world 
lid have induced her to part 
with so invaluable a creature. 
lonsequently when, on the death 



er 

it,~ 



OTTILIE. 35 

of my father, Ottilie begged to 

resign her situation on my ac- 
count, Her Highness became 
perfectly frantic. She threa- 
tened and entreated, accused 
my sister of the blackest ingra- 
titude, and heaped golden pro- 
mises before her. All to no 
purpose. As Ottilie could not 
part on good terms with Her 
Highness, there was nothing for 
it but to resign herself to leave 
her on bad ones. She packed 
her trunks, dismissed her maid, 
and early one morning slipped 
out of the palace and of the 
capital. She afterwards wrote 
to the Princess begging her to 
forgive her seeming ingratitude, 
and explaining that it had be- 
come her duty to take care of 
her little orphan brother. She 
wrote a second time, but Her 
Highness would neither forgive 
nor answer, and no more was 




3ieard at court of " the golden 
^Ottilie." 

On escaping from the palace, 
Ottilie got into the coach for \ 
Aspern, where my father had | 
died. There she found m 
miserable, half-shaven urchin, 
entirely left to my own devices, i 
and spending my time playingj 
Ewith the ragamufBns in the J 
■gutters. 

These are no recollections itjj 
ie proper sense of the wordj 
I they are rather traditions whiclyl 
have been handed down froml 
^ear to year by a series of perJ 
tons bearing my name. 
I do not remember our sett*] 
' ling at Questenburg— indeed, ll 
cannot imagine the time whenfl 
the old place was not familiar to* 
us. Questenburg is situated in 
the Hartz region, but in a part 
jyliich contradicts all the 
tnd weird notions which 



are usually awakened by that 
name. It lies in a fertile valley, 
surrounded by hif^h fir-clad hills, 
and the fields and meadows and 
orchards are broken here and 
there by steep rocks, covered 
with luxuriant verdure. 

We lived in the principal 
thoroughfare of the old town, 
in a corner house, so placed that 
from our bow window one could 
look up the narrow and tortuous 
street as far as the Geist Kirche, 
with its fountain surmounted by 
a quaint armed saint ; while on 
other side one could see the trees 
of the bastions overtopping the 
gable roofs. This bow window 
of ours was a splendid thing— a 
kind of truncated tower, ending 
below in a squashed imp with 
a curly tail, and above in a 
conical cap covered with leaden 
tiles. The window panes were 
formed of convex plates of glass 



b 



set in lead ; on the sills were 
red cushions, and from large 
green boxes dangled carnations 
and convolvulus. 

We were highly considered 
Questenburg. We kept an olt 
woman servant ; my sister had 
a spinet in the bow window, and 
I wore brown and plum-coloured 
velveteen on Sundays — all signs 
of prosperity in the eyes of the 
Questenburgers. When Ottilid 
met the Burgomaster or tiM 
Pfarrer (parson) or the school— 
master, these dignitaries saluted 
her deferentially, and coming out 
of church she was greeted re- 
spectfully by every one. People 
in Questenburg knew that she 
had been educated as a lady in 
■the capital ; some few had even 
a faint tradition of her residence 
at court, which last, however, 
was generally treated as a myth. 
What was, however, evident an^ 



ns 

i 



omuE. 29 



undeniable was that my sister 
did not resemble in any respects 
the fair inhabitants of Questen- 
burg; that she neither dressed, 
nor walked, nor talked like 
any of them; that, in short, 
Ottilie von Craussen was no 
more like the provincial ladies 
than a meteor is like street 
lamps. Could she not speak 
French ? Could she not work 
silk tulips in tambour work? 
Did she not play the harpsichord 
and sing Italian canzonets ? 
Did she not live most genteelly 
in one of the best houses of the 
town ? Was there not always 
abundance of coffee and sugar in 
her household ? And such being 
the case, how could she be re- 
garded otherwise than as a 
superior kind of being by the 
townspeople? Such were my 
notions when I was a little boy ; 
later I learnt that whosoever 



I 

K riei 



I 30 OTTILIE. 

dares to be superior to his or 

her neighbours, very soon be- 
comes the victim of avenging 
gossip. 

Ottilie taught me to read and 
to write — a most ungrateful 
piece of work, as I was uncom- 
monly slow and dull for my age. 
My sister had, during her resi- 
dence at court, been infected by 
the educational theories of those 
days, which, holding the mind 
to he a blank sheet of paper, or 
a piece of shapeless, malleable 
wax, attempted to lead man 
back to pristine virtue by eschew- 
ing everything which seemed 
artificial or pedantic. Besides 
these fashionable views, she had 
a natural fear of disgusting me 
entirely with every kind of study. 
This education, undertaken by 
a girl absolutely without expe- 
rience, pulled on one side by the 
theories in vogue, and on the 



^1 



other by her natural good sense, 
was strange indeed : the drollest 
mixture of pedantry and sim- 
plicity, of pedagogical experi- 
ments and natural inspirations. 
My sister would not attempt 
teaching me to read before 
having awakened in me some 
love of literature ; but she found 
at the same time that, as this 
disposition delayed making its 
appearance, I was running a 
great risk of remaining illiterate 
all my life. In the fine spring 
and summer mornings we used 
to go together to the fields in 
the vicinity of the town, or else 
we descended into the moat, 
once full of water, often polluted 
by the blood of Swedes and 
Imperialists, but now converted 
into a pleasant meadow, over- 
hung by the vast elms and lime 
trees of the ramparts. When I 
was tired of picking flowers and 



3" 



I 



running after butterflies, Ottif 
made me sit on the grass, pulled 
a bobbin of thread from her reti- 
cule, and taught me to make 
chains of violets or of daisies. 
When this occupation began to 
bore me, she would replace the 
bobbin in the reticule, and begin 
telling me one of the many 
stories she was constantly col- 
lecting for my benefit. They 
were for the most part our popu- 
lar fairy tales ; but when, many 
years later, I chanced to hear 
or to read them in their original 
form, I was astonished to find 
how greatly they differed from 
my sister's version. It would 
seem as if her imagination refined 
and beautified all that passed 
through it : her knights were 
more gallant and courteous, her 
ladies more lovely and graceful, 
her fairies more ethereal and 
charming than the original ones, 




and the palaces and castles of 
our Mdrchen looked like so many 
hovels compared with the re- 
splendent structures of her fancy. 
Then she sent me to school, 
but less, I think, for the sake of 
instruction than for that of meet- 
ing children of my own age. 
The schoolmaster was the son 
of the old clergyman of the 
parish, and was himself the 
father of a numerous family. 
This worthy had aspirations and 
pretensions somewhat above 
those of his fellow citizens. He 
had been once or twice at the 
capital, whence he had brought 
an affectation of science and 
novelty, which produced the fun- 
niest effect conceivable. Every 
year he received the most recent 
scientific encyclopaedia, and a 
band-box containing a white 
horse-bair wig of the latest 
fashion. He liked coming to 



i 



34 OTTILIE, 

see my sister, whom he amused, 
and at the same time bored, 
with his interminable pompous 
speeches. The poor pedantic 
creature persuaded himself that 
he had made an impression not 
only on Ottilie's mind but like- 
wise on her heart ; and, his wife 
having died, he one day offered 
her his heart, his science, and 
his wig — inestimable gifts which 
my sister declined with the 
greatest solemnity, waiting till 
he had left to give vent to her 
merriment with me, who had 
been listening at the keyhole. 

But I am losing the thread of 
my narrative. 

Soon after our arrival at 
Questenburg — at least my very 
indistinct recollections make me 
suppose that it must have been 
in that remote period — my sister 
became intimate with two elderly 
young ladies of our town nobility. 



OTTILIE. 3S 

They were of most ancient 
lineage, but poor ; and, having 
been unable to ensnare, as others 
of their rank had done, some 
convenient burgher, they pro- 
fessed the most splendid disdain 
for the plebeian society of Quest- 
enburg. They lived alone with 
their father, a half-pay officer, 
and they considered as a god- 
send the arrival of a young lady 
of their own rank — a lady who 
had even been at court without 
bringing back the insufferable 
arrogance of the governor's wife 
and her set. My sister, who was 
too good and sincere not to be- 
lieve that all others resembled 
her in this respect, thought her- 
self honoured by the friendship 
of these ladies, whose age she 
obstinately believed to be not 
more than twenty-four years, 
and whose merits she defended 
valiantly against whomsoever 



3<i 



J 



^ 



dared to question it. These 
young ladies, like Tassn's So- 
fronia, " vergini di gi^ matura 
verginiti," literally besieged my 
sister. They were perpetually 
coining to see her, or sending 
her notes, books, pieces of needle- 
work or messages by their old 
servant, the decrepit factotum of 
their noble house. They were 
tall, spare, and sandy-haired ; 
they dressed strictly in the 
fashion, that is to say, in the 
fashion of twenty years before, 
with a vast hoop and an andrienne 
embroidered with flowers as dis- 
coloured as themselves. They 
came to my sister at all hours 
of the day ; they called her 
"dearest Ottilie ; " they copied 
her tambour-work patterns; they 
carried off her books and strum- 
med on her harpsichord ; but 
although they disturbed and 
bored her not a little, they 



OTTILIE. 37 

adroitly managed to get her 

affection, by pretending to have 
a great deal for me. This was 
Ottilia's weak point : she was 
ready to believe in those who 
pretended to sympathise with 
her tastes, and especially who 
made a show of loving me. 

But this friendship was not of 
long duration. There arrived 
one day at Questenburg a cousin 
of the young ladies, a little 
cavalry officer, whom each of 
them regarded as her own espe- 
cial prey ; and truly this white- 
faced, fair-haired, meek, weak 
creature ran considerable risk 
from two such determined Ama- 
zons. Unfortunately, as they 
were taking a walk with their 
cousin, they stumbled upon my 
sister, who was taking me out 
to the bastions. It was impos- 
sible not to present him to their 
dearest Ottilie,who received him, 



rad aad beud; i 
i tbu,fadnibb 

to fDO, I c 
sow rcsd the foortii '< 
JEaeii! irithout havi 
of two doUs dressed 
mi Hat, one Gf wl 
dardj' somtiQg sod 

Beb to coasole him ■ 




OITILIE. 41 

on the porcelain stove, and to 
seek the crumbs on the table. 
These signs of a compassionate 
nature pleased my sister above 
all things. 

Sometimes when I was in bed 
1 heard her playing the harp- 
sichord or singing, and one night 
1 actually rose and went in my 
night-shirt to listen at the door. 
This very nearly put a stop to 
her performances ; but, finding 
that I took pleasure in music, 
she merely changed the hour of 
her playing. She had a clear, 
feeble voice, like so many of our 
women, but she sang in a style 
_ very different from theirs. She 
^■^^ studied at court under th& 
^^Bellent Italians at( 
^^^fctoral ct)»BI 



38 OTTILIE. 

as she received every one, with 
extreme grace. From that 
moment the young ladies ceased 
to be secure of their prey; the 
oBicer gradually diminished his 
attentions, frequented my sister's 
walks, and being violently abused 
therefore by his cousins, he ceded 
to his timid character and fled 
from Questenburg. Of course 
there could be no more thought 
of friendship between the two 
young ladies and Ottilie, whom 
they treated as a coquette and 
a designing little upstart. They 
never came to return her books 
nor to strum on her harpsichord, 
and a cold nod on meeting at 
the church door was the only 
sign of their acquaintance. 

During the long winter even- 
ings, when the snow beat against 
the lattice, my sister used to 
read to me some hook of history 
or travel, seated on the black 



m 



horse-hair sofa, while I 
perched on one of its a 
These stories made a vivid im- 
pression on my mind, and having 
been presented with a box 
colours and two brushes, 
amused myself drawing the moai 
emotional scenes of Ottilie's nar- 
ratives. A ball with a straighf 
line and three dots served as a 
head, a kind of braided bag as a 
body, and four sticks as legs and 
arms. If in these paintings of 
mine the human body was not 
represented with much nobility, 
there was, on the other hand, an 
excessive display of cabbage 
trees, of camels, of winged 
horses, and of purple and gold 
clothes ; not to mention the 
sugar-plums, ginger- bread, and 
other sweets, which I drew of 
colossal proportions. In this 
fashion I succeeded in obtaining 
sufBciently vivid ideas of all I 



40 OITILIE. 

read and heard ; and I must 
confess that, horrible as it may 
appear to you, I cannot even 
now read the fourth book of the 
^neid without having a vision 
of two dolls dressed in purple 
and blue, one of whom is evi- 
dently narrating some pathetic 
circumstance to the other, who 
seeks to console him by the offer 
of numerous gigantic sugar- 
plums. 

I was of a soft disposition, 
and when the sparrows and 
robins flew against our window- 
panes, shaking their frozen 
wings, the sight of the poor 
little sufferers gave me pain — an 
almost physical pain— so I would 
open the window, and throw out 
on to the sill crumbs of my own 
bread. At first they would not 
come to fetch it in my presence, 
later they grew accustomed to 
enter the room boldly, to perch 




on the porcelain stove, and to 
seek the crumbs on the table. 
These signs of a compassionate 
nature pleased my sister above 
all things. 

Sometimes when I was in bed 
I heard her playing the harp- 
sichord or singing, and one night 
I actually rose and went in my 
night-shirt to listen at the door. 
This very nearly put a stop to 
her performances ; but, finding 
that I took pleasure in music, 
she merely changed the hour of 
her playing. She had a clear, 
feeble voice, like so many of our 
women, but she sang in a style 
very different from thtirs. She 
had studied at court under the 
excellent Italians attached to the 
Electoral chapel. She likewise 
played the harpsichord very well; 
but I preferred to hear her sing, 
for what child does not care 
ten times more for a tune indiffe- 



I 



rently hummed than for the moat 
perfect keyboard gymnastics ? 
To say the truth, 1 never really 
loved music, despite all the fine 
phrases I have written about it. 
I would ask my sister to sing for 
me, and then, after a few minutes, 
I felt bored, and interrupted her 
with some irrelevant question 
Nevertheless Ottilie taught m^ 
some little songs, of which I dielj 
not comprehend the words 
the least, and, as I sang them t<^ 
my own satisfaction, I foui 
music less tiresome. 

There is one thing which cat 
be perfectly appreciated only a 
a child, and only in a littl^ 
German town, and that is sprinj 
Ottilie took me out into 
fields still covered with dew am 
frost, and we came home ladoj 
with sprigs of elm and lia 
covered with tiny leaflets, 
with twigs of willow, coveit 



OTTILIE, 43 

with fresh rind and greyish silky 
buds. How we did steal the 
pear and cherry blossoms 1 and 
then the delight of the first 
strawberries, which the peasants 
brought yet unripe, little, stunted, 
hard, greenish things, tied into 
bunches with their white blos- 
soms. 

At school I became acquainted 
with the childien of the neigh- 
bourhood, and after lessons I 
amused myself with them — in 
winter throwing snowballs, mak- 
ing snow men, and sliding in the 
frozen gutters ; in summer be- 
neath the flowering sweet-smell- 
ing lime trees round the Gcisi 
Kirche. Sometimes they invited 
me to their houses, where I 
had an opportunity of studying 
Questenburg society. A half- 
dozen women, dressed with a vast 
lot of flashy ribbons, sat round a 
work-table knitting grey woollen 



44 



I 



stockings, sipping coffee-dregs, 
and chattering without intermis- 
sion : the technical name for 
such an assenibly is Kaffee 
Klatsch Geselhchaft — coffee and 
scandal company. 

In the same room sat the mj 
reading and smoking their loi 
pipes, but taking no apparent 
notice of the female part of the 
society. I, on the contrary, 
was wonderfully attracted by 
the mysterious talk of the 
women, and I could not con- 
ceive how my sister could resist 
the temptation of joining in 
it. One day, however, I dis- 
covered with surprise and horror 
what was being discussed in 
these circles. The party was in 
the house of our old Pfarrer. 
He was seated near the large 
porcelain stove, writing his 
sermon and smoking piously ; 
the women were assembled u 



I 



OTTILIE. 45 

the opposite end of the room, 

round a work-table, on which 
stood their coffee-cups. Curio- 
sity was stronger than prudence: 
I slipped behind a light wooden 
cupboard, at the risk of knock- 
ing down the gilt cups and 
inevitable cardboard pumpkin 
which surmounted it. And this 
is what I could make out of their 
talk. The daughter of the 
Pfarrer spoke : 

"They say, however, tliat she 
is of good family " 

"Good family, indeed! Good 
fiddlesticks 1 " answered the 
Burgermeister's lady. " The 
daughter of a starving lieu- 
tenant." 

Here they lowered their voices ; 
then, after a moment — 

"Fraulein von Craussen,"said 
the soapmaker's maiden sister, 
" has lived in too good society 
to be able to put up with ours," 



46 OTTILIE. 

" Too good ? Too good, d| 
you say ? " put in another, 
"Who can tell whether it was 
too good ? Generally peoplt 
remain in good society wher 
they are a credit to it," 

" Fraulein von Craussen," eX' 
plained the charitable school' 
master's wife, "is a very respect- 
able person. Poor thing ! I feai 
— hem — that she is a little- 
hem — " And she touched , hei 
crimped cap mysteriously with 
her knitting-needle. 

" That's a confounded lie,' 
politely shouted Kasper, nephew 
of the Pfarrer, from his stovi 
corner ; " a confounded lie ; anc 
you would do much better, I car 
tell you, to mind your own affair: 
and not meddle with othei 
people's." And he puffed angnl) 
at his pipe. 

The matrons were hushed 
awestricken, for Kasper was i 




buriy giant of eighteen, the Esau 
of his family, and Questenburger 
ladies had no great faith in the 
chivalry of their male relatives. 

This disagreeable adventure of 
social revelation drew my atten- 
tion to Kasper; and I noticed 
that we met him often in our 
walks, and in places where 
neither his gun nor his dog 
could be of any use At first 
he avoided coming up with us, 
taking some path through the 
bushes, and when this was im- 
possible, he brushed quickly past 
us, saluting awkwardly. When, 
as was frequently the case, the 
Pfarrer's children made fun of 
me, and attempted to pull me 
about, Kasper came to the 
rescue on my behalf. Amongst 
these children there was one who 
especially delighted in mocking 
and tormenting me; this was the 
notary's little girl, Wilhelraine, 



the prettiest little demon imagin- 



^ 



able, and already well aware of 
her charms. She pulled me 
about much worse than the 
others did ; she beat me and 
pulled my nose and ears most 
mercilessly. One aftemo< 
Kasper saw her thus busied. 

"Let that boy go," he sal) 
removing his long pipe from 
mouth. 

Wilhelmine laughed, made a 
face at him, and pulled my 
yet more violcntly^they had tied., 
me safely, arms and legs, 
chair. 

" Let that boy alone," repeat) 
Kasper, threateningly. 

Again she pulled my earai 
and again she made a face at 
him. 

The giant jumped up, threw 
his pipe aside, and seizing Wil- 
helmine by the waist, carried her 
shrieking and kicking to the winw. 



und 

iOSt^_ 

: a 
irs 

1 



dow. With one strong arm he 
held her fast against his shoulder, 
while with the other he opened 
the window. 

" Ah, little good-for-nothing ? " 
he cried in a terrible voice, vary- 
ing from a shrill treble to a 
cavernous bass, " promise never 
again to touch that boy, or 1 
pitch thee out of the win- 
dow." 

" Let me go," shrieked Wilhel- 
mine, kicking frantically. "I will 
never touch him again — never, 
never; only let me loose, dear, 
good Herr Kasper — do let me 
loose." 

Kasper set her down. 

" Kleiner Benger — little devil," 
he said, and proceeded to liberate 
me. 

While he was bending over 
the chair to which I had been 
bound, Kasper whispered to me, 
not without a certain timidity. 



" Salute thy sister, Fraulein \ 
Craussen ; I mean for me. Th 
wilt not forget, Christoph ? " 

"Don't fear," I answered, a 
scampered off as fast as I coo 
To tell the truth, the very fi 
thing I did was to forget 
about Rasper's message. On 
turning home I found that i 
sister had made me a beauti 
waistcoat, olive -coloured, w 
silk flowers, out of an old g 
dress of hers, and this was qt 
enough to take all other thoug 
out of my head. Neverthelt 
Kasper did not diminish in 
siduity towards me. He wai 
wild, adventurous fellow, alw: 
scouring the country and rar 
ling into the hills. He invaria 
brought something for me fr 
these expeditions— a branch 
apple blossom, a bunch of strj 
berries, or some queer sto; 
and one day he fastened in 




hat the beautiful wing of a jay 
which he had recently shot, 

" Where did you get that ? " 
asked my sister on remarking 
it ; and, taking my hat, she 
stroked the delicate grey and 
sea-blue feathers. " Where did 
you get that?" 

" Kasper gave it me — Kas- 
per the Pfarrer's nephew," I 
answered, adding with some hesi- 
tation, " You can't think how 
nice he is. He makes me a 
present of all sorts of flowers 
and queer stones — he is very 
good to me." My conscience 
was stung by the recollection 
of the way I had neglected to 
give the poor fellow's message. 

"Why did you not mention 
him before ? " said my sister. 
*' I should like to give him some 
pleasure in return. Is he younger 
than you ? " 

" What ! " I exclaimed, " don't 



I 

I 

J 

I 



— and he pointed to me — "Chris- 
toph is quite a doctor compared 
with me." 

These confidences were uttered 
with an air of pathetic goosish- 
ness that surpassed everything. 
I was disgusted with Kasper ; I 
had hoped that he might make a 
favourable impression on my sis- 
ter, for her opinion was my touch- 
stone, and I felt humiliated by 
being under obligations to such 
a booby. Kasper was not worthy 
of being my protector, that much 
was evident to my precocious 
conceit. I now saw that Kasper 
was stupid, babyish, and awk- 
ward; and from this moment ! 
began to treat him in a high and 
mighty way; to think his atten- 
tions rather impertinent, and his 
little presents, his strawberry 
bunches and feathers, a nuisance. 
I was a graceless, ungrateful little 

cal, eaten up by vanity. Po< 



'oqc^l 



OTTILIE. 5S 

Kasper, already sufficiently de- 
pressed by his sense of stupidity 
and gawkiness, only redoubled 
in his efforts at pleasing me. He 
would sometimes come to see us, 
and my sister always received 
him well. She was grateful for 
me, and did her best to overcome 
the poor fellow's shyness, and to 
make him feel comfortable, try- 
ing to talk on the subjects on 
which he might be supposed to 
know something, although they 
bored her to death. As to me, 
with my head full of romance 
heroes, of Achilleses, and Rinal- 
dos, and Rogers, I regarded Ot- 
tilie and myself as totallydifferent 
from the rest of humanity, like 
some sort of mysterious king's 
children, and I had a vague ex- 
pectation that some vei'y grand 
fate, far above anything Questen- 
burg could afford, was lying in 
store for us. I knew Ottilie had 



been at court, although she rarely 
alluded to it ; and I had some 
confused notion of eventually re- 
turning there in state. Perhaps 
Ottilie might marry a king's son. 
I used to lie on the grass beneath 
the lime trees, my chin in my 
hands, thinking over all the fine 
doings when the marriage would J 
take place ; the king's son in" 
[ armour, riding a magnificent 
kToan charger, and followed by 
'splendidly mounted and dressed 
knights and pages, would com 
to fetch us — or rather, he woulj 
send his mother in a gold coacl 
that was it, and Ottilie would get3 
in and sit by her side, and I op-J^ 
posite — or they would bring me a 
splendid horse with a gilt bridleJ 
and we should ride through thftj 
town, all the people lookingfl 
out of the windows. That illJ" 
natured burgomaster's wife, howI 
I astonisheu and humbled sh^ 




OTTILIE. 57 

would be ! And that old donkey 
the schoolmaster, who had had 
the impudence to propose to 
Ottilie, what would he look 
like? And I would give a little 
nod to Kasper. I might get 
him appointed head forester, or 
something of that sort. And 
so, without mentioning it to 
my sister {what instinct always 
made me keep these visions of 
glory to myself?) I continued 
to expect the arrival of the 
king's son, who was to wed 
her. The king's son did finally 
make his appearance. He 
came, however, without either 
the magnificently caparisoned 
horses or the gilt coach, and he 
wore neither armour nor brocade 
nor a full-bottomed wig ; he came 
on foot, wearing the little cap of 
a student and a large pair of top- 
boots, and proved iiimself to be 
no other than Kasper, who was 



setting forth for the universn 



The poor youth 



in del 



affliction. He sought me as a con- 
fidant of his woes and of his love. 

"Aha," I thought shrewdly, 
" it's the grocer's daughter." 
The thought never entered my 
brain that Kasper could be so 
hopelessly mad as to view him- 
self in the light of a king's son. 
However, with many flourishes 
and sighs, he revealed the whole 
myster>'. He begged and sup- 
plicated me, conjuring me in the 
name of all the bunches of cher- 
ries, all the apples, and all the 
leaden soldiers he had given 
me, to ask my sister whether 
she would accept him as her 
aftianced, and to bring him the 
answer before the diligence star- 
ted ; he would wait for it beneath 
our windows. 

I could scarcely restrain my 
indignation and scorn at such a 



OTTILIE. 59 

l1; still, Kasper had cer- 
tainly put me under obligations, 
so I refrained, and let him go 
off without a word. 

What should I do? It was 
midday ; the diligence started at 
seven in the evening. I could 
never summon up the courage to 
carry so preposterous a message 
to my sister, to mention to her a 
proposal so ludicrous and so de- 
rogatory to our station. How- 
ever, I had tacitly promised an 
answer, I must try and get one. 
I avoided my sister's presence; 
I sat biting my pen-tip, and re- 
solving how best to break the 
news to her. I would tell her 
at dinner. Dinner came, I sat 
opposite to her, shifted my knife 
and fork, knocked the salt out of 
the salt-cellar, and spilled some 
stewed cherries over the table- 
cloth, without being able to 
Bumnaon up my courage. We 



6a 



I 



finished dinner without 
having said a word about the^ 
matter. How could I ever ex- 
plain to her tlie boldness of that 
madman? Six o'clock struck; 
my sister went out to visit the 
burgomaster's wife. "She will 
be back in ten minutes," I 
thought, and went to the window 
and looked out, waiting for her 
return. The half-hour struck, 
and she was not back ; a quarter 
to seven struck slowly, and still 
no sign of her. At that momeq^ 
Kasper made bis appearance 
beneath the lime trees in front] 
of the Geist Ktrche, his knapsacfc 
on his back, his stick in hiatf 
hand. He advanced slowly a 
stationed himself beneath ourJ 
window. I retreated precipW 
tately into the room. I couljil 
see him looking up anxiouslyvl 
I returned to the window ; 
ieyes met his. I had not fuhille^| 



OTTILIE. 6 1 

his errand, I had not kept my 
word ; what could be done ? 
" Good-bye, Kaspcr ! " I cried 
cheerily; "good-bye, and may 
you have a good journey ! " And 
I shut the window quickly. He 
turned and walked away rapidly. 
That evening I felt very un- 
comfortable ; my conscience re- 
proached me. Poor Kasper, he 
had been very friendly towards 
me after all ; I was sorry for 
him. I determined to tell Ottilie, 
and I did. But somehow or 
other, and almost independently 
of my volition, the story took 
a ludicrous turn. My nervous 
dread of being involved in Ras- 
per's absurd predicament led me 
to show him in the most ridicu- 
lous light ; instead of an advo- 
cate I was almost a prosecutor ; 
and although I kept my word, I 
certainly did not do so to his 
advantage. 




^ 



My sister was very much 
amused at the story. I, with 
the superficiaHty and ready con- 
tempt of a child, let her see only 
the ludicrous side of the picture; 
but it had also its pathetic one, 
and I have since thought with 
repentance of the bitter dis- 
appointment of the poor, silly 
boy, making his first entrance 
into the world with only failu; 
and scorn as his companion»^ 
his first, absurd vision of 1 
and poetry made the playthin 
of a conceited little rascal lili 
myself. 



CHAPTER 11. 



^EARS went by; those 
years which, seen 
through the haze and 
distance of time, look 
hke the hill-tops gilded 
by the rising sun, all purple and 
rosy, even if at the moment they 
were bleak and joyless. I no 
longer lived in my world of 
childish dreams; I thought no 
more about knights' and kings' 
sons ; the world was beginning 
to disclose itself to me, and I 
was beginning to feel the power 
to see it in its full reality. I 
ceased also to view Ottilie in the 
same light as before ; she was 



1 



64 OTTILIE. 

no longer the fairy, the 

chanted princess of former yeai 
She seemed to have undergont 
, a sudden change, to have become 
quite a new creature; my 01 
level had risen, and only m 
as it were, could I begin to 
fully into her character. 

I was possessed by a sudi 
and intense curiosity. Duri) 
our walks I was constantly re- 
marking new things : the magni- 
ficent curve of the oak branches, 
the grand tints of the rocks, 
struck me as if I had never 
before seen an oak tree or a rock 
in my life. The curling lines of 
the bluebells and the waxen 
blossoms of the lime tree arrested 
my attention ; yet how many 
bluebells had I not plucked 
before, how many lime blossoms 
had not dropped at my feet, 
unnoticed, or noticed at least in 
so different a fashion I Those 



OTTILIE. 65 

very books which I had formerly 

devoured merely for the sake of 
the strange and fantastic adven- 
tures they narrated, were now 
dear to me only for the sake of 
the reflection they contained of 
all this beautiful surrounding 
nature, and of the echo I heard 
in them of the passionate energy 
which filled me. This is the 
moment when, as a rule, boys, 
ceasing to be children, seek 
among those of their own years 
for a chosen companion, with 
whom to enjoy this new life and 
its dreams ; dreams neither of 
love nor of ambition, but of un- 
bounded knowledge, of unlimited 
activity ; when their parents' 
house begins to appear a prison 
to their eyes, seeking for distant 
and unattainable horizons; when 
they instinctively avoid those 
older than themselves, from a 
consciousness, as it were, that 
5 



66 



from them they would hear that 
knowledge is finite, activity 
limited, and that in this poor 
world everything is smaller than 
they think. But this was not 
the case with me. Bj' my side 
was a companion sympathising 
with all my feelings; willing like 
myself to view the world like 
some vast park, made for activity 
and joy. Ottilie was still a 
young, a very young woman, 
and instead of growing older she 
seemed to grow younger- It 
was simple enough: hitherto she 
had to act as my mother, now 
she could become once more my 
sister ; instead of a child who 
merely loved and venerated her, 
she had now by her side a youth 
who could sympathise with J 
and appreciate. 

With Ottilie no longer i 
teacher, but as a fellow j 
I made rapid progress in allj 



67 

studies. She had taught me 
French and Italian ; we learned 

English together, English which 
was then the rage ; and, luckily, 
chance sent me a first-rate 
classical teacher. It was a rare 
piece of good luck to find so 
learned and so unpedantic a 
scholar in uncultured, pedantic 
Questenburg, which, for litera- 
ture and philosophy, had never 
got beyond Gellert's hymns and 
Gottsched's lucubrations. 

Dr. Willibald was a bright 
little shrivelled-up old man, who 
had been for many years tutor in 
one of the noble families of our 
neighbourhood; and had, since 
the completion of his pupils' 
education, established himself at 
Questenburg, where he lived on 
a miserable pittance. He in- 
habited two little rooms in the 
gabled attic of a joiner's house ; 
during the winter he was wont 



in order to save fire\ 
put up with the cc 
the joiner's table. > 
Willibald was some 
Epicurean and an 
had a few straw-boti 
and scarcely a bit o 
attic ; but he alwa 
vast green leather 
and wrapped his leg 
fortable fur-lined clo 
some of the finest 
hyacinths I have e\ 
I truly think that "v 
he made in the wint 
on their account thai 
He had also a fe 



rt 



OTTILIE. 69 



least the sight of the pears and 
melons and peaches in the 
baskets, but he never bought 
more than a kreutzer worth of 
hard cherries or sour currants, 
with which he returned home in 
great contentment. The poor 
fellow's favourite theory was that 
to a superior mind the mere 
sight of fruit or poultry or cakes 
is quite enough — " it sets the 
imagination to work, and the 
pleasures of the imagination are 
worth more than those of the 
senses." 

My sister was much amused 
by his philosophy, and often sent 
him fruit and cakes of her own 
baking, in order, she said, to 
convert him from such heresy. 
Despite his rather humble cir- 
cumstances. Dr. Willibald con- 
sidered that to be his pupil was 
a high privilege ; and he was not 
so far wrong. He was a very 



70 OTTIUE. 

cultivated man, cultivated ac- 
cording to the notions of the old 
school ; his culture smacking a 
little of the dancing-school and 
drawing-room — very Frenchified, 
very dandified, very full of little 
graceful affectations, and with 
the gallantry of a Dresden-china 
shepherd. The ancient writers 
he was well acquainted with, but 
did not really enjoy much, except 
indeed Horace, who he said was 
a modern and an homme d'esprit. 
He would make apologetic com- 
ments on Homer and ^schylus, 
trying to give their expressions 
a tittle more grace and elegance 
when translating them for my 
sister. He regretted their bar- 
barism and want of wit, and in 
his heart of hearts would have 
given all Homer, with all Ariosto 
and Tasso into the bargain, for 
a canto of the Henriade. The 
English he esteemed as an 



original people, but they too 
were sad barbarians, with their 
contempt for the three unities, 
their stage-ghosts, and their 
sending away of ladies after 
dinner, whitjh he had witnessed 
on his travels. The Germans 
he considered as utterly hopeless 
boors, pendants, and clowns, and 
he viewed with horror their at- 
tempt to emancipate their litera- 
ture from imitation of the French. 
Klopstock, Ottilie's favourite, 
had to be hidden away on his 
appearance ; and as to Lessing, 
Willibald had written a whole 
volume in refutation of his pesti- 
lent Drammaturgie. 

These opinions of Willibald's 
were the cause of frequent 
squabbles between us, for, as I 
grew up, some of the works of 
our new literary school fell into 
my hands and excited my en- 
thusiasm. Gotz von Berlichtngen 



n 



especially delighted me ; for 
months I thought of nothing 
but knights and ladies and secret 
tribunals, and eagerly poked into 
every ruined castle of the neigh- 
bourhood. The consequence was 
that Willibald got into a violent 
rage, threw his heautiful Elzevir 
Lucretius at my head, and was 
induced to resume the lessons 
only by OLtilie's entreaties. The 
old fellow was moreover horribly 
impatient, and had a look which 
set all declensions and conjuga- 
tions whizzing wildly through 
my brain, so that no power of 
will could settle them in their 
places. I had little facility in 
learning any sort of lesson, and 
had my sister not worked at the 
Latin and Greek grammars and 
privately examined me in them, 
Willibald would soon have 
given up teaching me. On Sua* 
days and holidays Willibald i 



ald^H 



OTTILII'- 73 

variably came to take coffee with 
us, dressed in his best, and with 
his most graceful little airs and 
affectations. My sister, who knew 
his foibles, used herself to bake 
delicious cinnamon cakes for 
him ; and these, united to her 
good coffee, rejuvenated him 
marveliousiy, and inspired him 
with the most poetical flights 
of enthusiasm. He sometimes 
brought Ottilie a present of 
flowers and fruit, which he pre- 
tended to have got by accident, 
but which we well knew had 
been bought out of his miser- 
able little savings. These gifts 
pained Ottilie dreadfully, but she 
hid her feelings, and received 
them with apparent perfect 
pleasure and unsuspiciousness, 
knowing that poor people some- 
times indulge in presents as a 
luxury, and that you can afford 
tbem as much pleasure by re- 



ceiving with gratitude as by 
giving with grace, Willibald 
was sometimes rather a bore, 
quoting Latin, talking French, 
putting on all sorts of absurd 
little airs of gallantry, and boast- 
ing of his great acquaintances ; 
but he was so simple and 
childish withal, that it was im- 
possible not to like him. When 
he had taken his coffee and 
cakes (he was always given some 
to take home, on the supposition 
that he had shown no appetite), 
and when he had made his 
compliments and told his anec- 
dotes, the little old gentleman 
would draw from a case an old 
battered instrument called a viola 
da gamba ("the favourite instru- 
ment of my dear friend the late 
Prince Nicholas Esterhazy, 
heigho I " he would always in- 
form us), on which he performed 
very tolerably. He was 



I 



vnvm 



OTTIUE. 75 

sionately fond of music, used to 
boast of having been the intimate 
friend of the famous chapel- 
master Hasse, and his wife 'the 
Faustina,' and his great delight 
was to play to Ottilie's accom- 
paniment. Once or twice I took 
up the German flute and tried to 
join in the performance, but 
Willibald speedily began to 
scream at my mistakes and call 
me a Hun and a Vandal, and 
drove me away from the spinet. 
So I settled myself in the large 
armchair by the stove, and read, 
or tried to read, raising my head 
every now and then to enjoy the 
absurd gestures and grimaces of 
Willibald, who, his fiddle on his 
knee, wielded his bow with fury, 
hummed snatches of melody, 
and twisted and jerked on his 
chair till the powder flew from 
his horsehair wig. Willibald 
professed the highest respect 



J 6 01TILIE. 

and admiration for Ottilie, 
spect and admiration almost 
equal to that which he felt for 
himself. "A beautiful soul I 
quelle belle dme!" he would ex- 
claim, raising his eyes and 
smacking his lips. " What a 
divine woman ! Noj nowhere 
will you lind a woman with such 
a soul for poetry, such a nymph- 
like bearing, who is such a 
splendid accompanist and such 
an unrivalled maker of cinnamon 
cakes ! " 

One spring morning, when I 
was between fourteen and fifteen 
I met for the first time a visitor 
in Dr. Willibald's attic. He 
was a man of uncertain age, but 
still youngish, tall, well-made, 
dark, with strongly marked 
handsome features. He was 
elegantly dressed, with travelling 
boots, and his hair tied behind in 

siik bag. I saw at a glan< 



anc«tfl 



that he was no Questenburger. 
On my appearance he rose and 
took ieave of my master. 

" Who is that ? " I asked, 
much astonished, as Willibald 
returned from escorting the 
stranger to the head of the 
stairs. 

" That ? " answered the old 
gentleman, with a look of in- 
effable scorn. " That ? " 

And he proceeded to explain, 
with many contemptuous shrugs 
and grimaces, that his visitor 
was a certain Moritz, a youngster 
with a smattering of learning 
and a great deal of conceit, who 
had wheedled himself into the 
favour of the Elector, who had 
made him a court councillor, and 
had sent him to Italy to buy 
pictures and statues for him ; 
" a fellow full of new-fangled 
notions, but without a grain of 
sense in his head," said Willi- 



78 OTTILIE. 

bald. This Moritz had, it ap- 
peared, inherited some property 
near Questenburg, and was en- 
gaged in a lawsuit concerning 
it. He had brought Wiliibald a 
letter from a friend of his in the 
capital — with whom the little 
old man was, or pretended to be, 
in great wrath for sending him 
such a fellow. Further Wiliibald 
could not inform me. During 
this first visit there must have 
been some literary or phil 
phical rub between himself 
the stranger, for he seemed 
much out of humour. 

Returning home from 
lesson I met the worthy school- 
master, who was in a flurry of 
excitement about this very Coun- 
cillor Moritz, for Moritz was, he 
informed me with deep awe, a 
famous man in the capital ; and 
all famous men of the capital 



^ 



were so many gods of Olympm^B 



OTTILIE. 79 

for our schoolmaster. Moritz 
had been sent to Italy by the 
Elector, and had stayed there 
five years. He had written books 
and edited prints of antiquities ; 
but what the books were about 
no one at Questenburg could tell. 
Five years in Italy ! I exclaimed 
within myself; and my interest in 
Councillor Moritz increased all 
of a sudden amazingly. How 
much I would give to know a 
person who had been in Italy — 
who had seen with his own eyes 
the Forum, the Capitol, Vesu- 
vius, the woods of orange, the 
vine-wreathed elms, the sea ! 
The sea ! — that wonderful thing 
which I was never destined to 
behold. All that strange fasci- 
nation of the unknown South, 
which we Germans have inheri- 
ted from our barbarian ancestors 
which sent down Alaric an d 
Alboin as destroyers, and Wine- 



80 OTTILEE. 

kelmann and Gothe as rebuilders 
of antiquity- — all this awakened 
in my mind. Moritz had been 
in Italy ; I must know him. As 
I turned a street comer I met 
the Councillor. He seemed to 
recognise me, but continued his 
walk. Instinctively I looked 
after him ; I did not venture to 
address him, yet how many 
questions rose up to my lips. 
It never entered my mind that 
Willibald might be misinformed 
prejudiced, and that the 
stranger might be anything but 
a lucky upstart ; but he had been 
Italy, and that was merit 
enough in my eyes. 

Next morning, passing across 
the little square which surrounds 
the Geist Kirche, I saw Coun- 
cillor Moritz seated under one 
the large flowering Hme tri 
I approached, hung about 
an air of indifference, pretent 



;;oun- 

] 




to be waiting for some one, walked 
up and down in hopes of his re- 
marking me, for in my conceit I 
thought I was a very striking 
youtii, Moritz was reading some 
letters, and did not once look up 
from them. I grew desperate ; 
the wooden bench was long, so I 
summoned up courage and sat 
down on the extreme edge of it, 
as far as possible from the Coun- 
cillor. At length he folded his 
papers, put them in his pocket, 
and looked in my direction. His 
dark, handsome face bore a slight 
expression of amusement. I do 
believe that he had remarked all 
my dodges and guessed at their 
motive. I reddened, and lifted 
my hat. He slightly touched 
his in return, and, always with 
the same peiturbing look of sup- 
pressed amusement, asked me 
whether I was not the pupil of 
Dr. Willibald. I could have 



sworn that he had heard all the 
old gentleman's sarcastic re- 
marks about himself, for his 
face bore the queerest look of 
dry humour, I felt more and 
more uncomfortable, and an- 
swered his questions concerning 
my studies in anything but a 
striking manner. At length I 
lost all patience and prudence, 
and remarked : 

" You have been in Italy 
lately ? " 

Moritz understood ; perhaps 
he may have remembered his 
own feelings as a youth, before 
Italy had become more than a 
mere delightful dream for him. 

" Yes," he answered, " I 
have come almost straight from 
Rome;" and sparing me the 
embarrassment of questioning 
him on his stay there, he began 
to talk about Italy and its 
■wonders; and ended by telling 



OTTILIE. 83 

me that if I cared to see some 
prints and drawings he had 
brought back with him, I might 
come to his inn the next morn- 
ing. 

I related my adventure exult- 
ingly to my sister, and the next 
morning, dressed in my holiday 
suit, went to seek my new ac- 
quaintance at the Inn of the 
Three Kings. Councillor Moritz 
occupied the best suite (if suite 
it might be called) in the old, 
brown, rickety inn ; the sign 
swung beneath his windows, 
and the lime trees pushed their 
flowers against his panes, I 
was received by a demure, dark 
lad, the Councillor's valet. He 
could not understand a word of 
German, so I very gladly ad- 
dressed him in my home-learnt 
Italian, which must have 
sounded strange indeed to his 
Roman ears. Moritz was busy 



with his lawyer, but he bade me 
enter, and produced a portfolio of 
beautiful prints and drawings of 
Italian scenery and antiquities. 
These were the first reproduc- 
tions of antique works of art 
that had fallen into my hands. 
At first I felt puzzled, and did 
not well know what to feel or 
think about them. I was glad 
the Councillor was busy with his 
lawyer, for I knew I should find 
nothing to say about them. 
Mechanically I turned over 
page after page, and looked 
at statue after statue ; those 
large, round-limbed, motionless 
white figures, with their pupil- 
less eyes, were so different from 
all I had ever seen before, 
or been accustomed to think 
beautiful — so different from 
Willibald's smooth and finikin_ 
French engravings after Migi 
and Watteau, whose del 



OTTILIE. 85 

execution had hitherto been 
my delight. I felt stupid and 
strange. The lawyer left ; 
Moritz came up to me, pre- 
vented my rising, and, looking 
over my shoulder at the engra- 
vings, said simply — " Well ? " 

I raised my eyes, not knowing 
what to answer. He looked at 
me with the same air of amuse- 
ment — " You don't like them ? " 

I reddened and stammered. 

" You don't like them ? " he 
repeated. I felt that he was 
laughing at me. He had seen 
my enthusiasm for Italian things, 
and now that I had them before 
me I looked like a fool. I sum- 
moned up courage. 

" I have never seen such 
things before," I answered 
boldly. " I don't know whether 
I like them or not." 

" Do you know Latin and 
Greek 7 " he asked me. 



S6 



" Yes," I answered. 

" Have you ever read Homer?" 

I nodded. H 

" Do you know whether yo<jfl 
like him or not ? " 

The question seemed like an 
insult. I raised my head, and 
my face said more than my 
words. 

" Homer is not like these," I 
answered quickly. "These are 
dead. His heroes live, and act, 
and suffer; I care for them. 
These are doing nothing; they 
have no eyes, they are asleep or 
dead." 

Moritz looked at me, for t 
first time with interest, 
went to a shelf and took down j 
book. 

" Have you read this ? " 
asked, handing it to me. 

" No," I answered. It 
Lessing's Laocoon. 

" Take it home and read it^ 



«7 



he said ; " and then if 3'ou care to 
see the prints again, come to 
me." 

I was bewildered- I took the 
book, thanked him, and went 
home. 

Well, I read the Laocoon ; it 
did not at first convert me, but 
it opened my eyes to the exist- 
ence of an antique world of 
which Willibald, with all his 
knowledge of Greek and Latin, 
knew nothing, I returned to 
Councillor Moritz, saw his prints 
again, talked over them with 
him, was lent one volume after 
another of Winckelmann's great 
books, and little by little became 
a fervent admirer of antiquity 
and of the man who was its 
expounder to me. The Coun- 
cillor might well afford to smile 
at what he knew to be Willi- 
bald's opinions concerning him ; 
he was a man of quite another 



character, of quite anothi 
school; one of those who wei 
destined to demolish the fals 
classic ideal of the French, b 
means of what was far moi 
potent than all the romanti 
dramas and secret tribunals an 
armed knights of the who; 
romantic school — by the con 
prehension of real, genuin 
antiquity. 

Moritz was an ardent proselyi 
of Winckelmann ; he was hin 
self a writer on art, possessii 
much learning and acumei 
This I discovered only aft 
some time, when he lent me 
delightful journey in Italy, whi( 
turned out to be by himself, 'h/. 
sister, who had followed n 
mental adventures with dei 
interest, read the book and Wi 
delighted with it, and she becan 
very curious to see the gre 
man in person. I too was e 



OTTILIE, Sg 

tremely desirous to bring my 
hero to Ottilie, and at the same 
time to show her off to him, for 
I felt sure he must admire her. 
But it seemed next to impossible 
to bring about a meeting between 
them. We occasionally saw him 
at a distance, but, somehow or 
other, there was no meeting him. 
The fact was — and I understood 
it as soon as I began to mention 
my sister to Moritz — that the 
Councillor dreaded nothing so 
much as being bored, and held 
no creature in greater horror 
than the female inhabitant of a 
provincial town. At length, 
finding him impervious to all 
insinuations, I proposed taking 
him to our house with so much 
directness that he could not pos- 
sibly refuse. My sister would 
have been horribly mortified and 
angry at my want of delicacy, 
but I .did not care. So, one 



I 



90 OTTILIE. 

morning, I had the triumph of 
preceding the Councillor on our 
wooden staircase, and of rushing 
into the kitchen, where my sister 
was making tarts, with the 
exulting exclamation, " Here he 
is ! " I returned to our little 
parlour, where I had left the 
Councillor. What might be his 
impressions of our abode ? I 
asked myself with anxiety ; and 
for the first time a sense of our 
poverty came over me. The 
dear little room seemed rusty 
and mean, for the furniture was 
faded, and whatever ornaments 
it could boast were worn and 
old-fashioned ; I felt ashamed. 
The Councillor's impression was 
less harsh than mine. He told 
me, long afterwards, that in this 
modest, homely little room he 
had at once perceived a some- 
thing — an indefinable something 
-in the arrangement of chairs 



and tables and flower-pots, in 
the look of books and prints, that 
revealed refinement and a habit 
of elegance, quite unknown in 
our good town of Questenburg. 
My sister, instead of keeping 
Moritz waiting while she made a 
hurried and ostentatious toilette, 
as most women would have done, 
thought it more civil not to 
delay ; she unrolled her sleeves, 
removed her kitchen apron, and 
in less than a minute made her 
appearance. Yet she looked 
elegant and dignified, and 
Moritz was evidently surprised 
at such an unexpected apparition 
as that of a refined, handsome, 
and intelligent woman, still 
young, and in some respects 
almost girlish, when he had ex- 
pected a coarse, stupid Questen- 
burger dame. Ottilie began con- 
versation with perfect ease ; and 
for the first time I became aware 



g2 OTTILIB, 

how complete a woman of the 
world she was, she who for eight 
years had seen only school- 
masters' and burgomasters' 
wives. 

Moritx stayed a good time. 
When he had left I impatiently 
asked my sister what she thought 
of him; and here again I was 
surprised, for, although she djd 
ample justice to his intelligence 
and manners, the Councillor was 
by no means so unique a ph( 
in her eyes as in mine. 

Moritz eagerly snatched 
this unexpected alleviation of 
what to him was exile in a bar- 
barous country, and not only 
returned to our house, but came 
often, very often, until he could 
come nooftenerfor fearof setting 
all the tongues of Questenburg 
chattering. He seemed to take 
more and more pleasure in my 
sister's conversation, and per- 







OTTIUC. 93 

haps he discovered even in me 
something that awakened his 
interest. Dr. Willibald was at 
first furious at "the upstart's 
insolence," but when he had 
met the Councillor once or twice 
at our house, even he had to 
admit that after all the Elector 
might have been justified in dis- 
tinguishing Moritz—" although 
he knows nothing whatever about 
antiquities," the old gentleman 
always put in as a saving clause. 
These summer months of the 
year 1776 were a delightful 
period in our lives, and I believe 
no less so in that of Councillor 
Moritz. His conversation was 
fascinating, so full of ideas and 
images, always bright with new 
theories and new views, rich in 
description and anecdote — alto- 
gether far superior to any of his 
writings, excellent as some of 
them are. He had travelled 



speaking he coul( 
a masterly fashi 
pictures of Roms 
of the Papal cour 
and lifelike as h 
statues and picti 
quent. After hav 
fused all pooi 
aesthetical and 
notions, he wouh 
fellow into a state 
describing his Ro 
climate, the sunst 
gardens, the grai 
and, above all, 
musical performan 
Italy was then (m 



OTTILIE. 95 



he enjoyed hearing her perform, 
for music was one of the many 
luxuries which had become 
necessary to him, and my sister 
sang and played really well. In 
this intellectual atmosphere, my 
studies, with Moritz*s additional 
assistance, progressed rapidly, 
and thus added to our general 
happiness. 

Well, we were all four of us 
very happy, too conscious of 
happiness to remain so long. 
Little by little I began to be 
aware of a change; was it in 
myself or in my surroundings? 
I cannot tell, but I felt it never- 
theless painfully. It was like 
the first gentle motion of a boat; 
the traveller can scarcely say 
whether it is he or the shore that 
is moving, and if he abandon 
himself to the impression he 
becomes filled with an inde- 
finable discomfort. Gradually 



the feeling became stronger; it 
was as if I were being pushed by 
imperceptible degrees out of the 
circle occupied by Ottilie and 
the Councillor. They were 
getting nearer each other, and I 
proportionately further and fur- 
ther from both. Yet there was 
not the slightest coldness or 
diminution of affection on the 
part of my sister. I was still 
what I had always been for her, 
but — but another was becoming, 
not indeed what I had been, but 
something quite different and 
superior in her affection. I felt 
all this long before I could 
explain it to myself; but when 
I did explain it, the feelii^fl 
became insupportable to tfjH 
excessively sensitive and egd^ 
tistic nature, rendered morbidly 
jealous of having been my sister's 
e thought, her life, he 
iiat was I now ? Merely h 



brother. I was at once effemi- 
nate and passionate in temper, 
requiring constant caresses and 
flatteries, and capable of furious 
outbursts if denied them. A 
strange mixture of the child and 
of the man — I, who ought to 
have been simpiy a boy. Feeling 
as a child, I felt overcome by 
heart - breaking loneliness ; I 
would have cried and sobbed 
and forced my sister to soothe 
me. Feeling as a man, I de- 
spised my morbid affection, and 
would have looked at everything 
with almost brutal indifference. 
I had moments of the bitterest 
weakness, and others of the most 
stubborn stolidity. At one mo- 
ment I could scarcely refrain 
from throwing myself into my 
sister's arms and entreating her 
to send awayMoritz. At another 
I was ready to tell the Coun- 
cillor that he was free to taJ 




Ottilie, that I did not care what 

she did, that I wished only for 
liberty. At times jealousy would 
drive me out of the house, and I 
would throw myself sobbing on 
the grass of the ramparts. At 
others I sat buried in my books, 
answering rudelyand insultingly 
whatever remark was made to 
me. And I was for a long time 
the only one who suspected the 
real state of matters. Neither 
Ottilie nor Moritz realised their 
feelings towards each other, and 
old Willibald was blinder than 
either of them. But the extra- 
ordinary change which had come 
over me was unmistakable ; there 
was no possibility of being blind 
to my melancholy, my sulkiness, 
and my outbursts of violence. 

Ottilie, incapable of solving 
the riddle, asked the Councillor's 
advice on the subject. The cold, 
resolute, unsentimental 



OTTILIE. 99 

laughed at it all, and told her to 
send me to school if she would 
cure me, " He has been spoilt," 
I heard him say ; and from that 
moment I hated him implacably. 
Thus the summer advanced; 
the lawsuit which kept Moritz at 
Questenburg drew to a close, and 
every day his feelings and those 
of my sister became stronger, 
and my jealousy more violent. 
And now, as the moment of 
parting approached, both the 
Councillor and Ottilie discovered 
that that parting must never take 
place ; that they could no longer 
be easily separated, but must be 
violently wrenched from each 
other. I looked on fiercely and 
prepared for a final struggle. A 
struggle, a battle it must be ; 
there could be no compromise 
between me and Moritz; he was 
determined to make Ottilie his 
wife, but, as he declared before 



me, after one of my tits of jealous 
ra{;e, his wife must be his and 
solely his. Me he considered as 
a spoilt and morbid child, whose 
jealous susceptibility he despised 
all the more as he himself, a 
self-made man, had never 
received any kind treatment in 
his own lonely childhood. 
" Christoph," he said, " can be 
only one of two things to me — 
my son, or a stranger. As my 
son I shall insist on his being 
sent abroad and cured of this 
ridiculous morbidness, that he 
go into the world and there 
harden his absurd over-sensitive 
character ; in this case I shall 
be acting for his own good. 
If, on the contrary, you refuse to 
let me deal with him as a son, I 
can regard him only as an in- 
truder, and his sentimental folly 
as a nuisance, and I shall be 
forced to keep him at a distance^ 




I will permit of no middle course, 
I will endure no division of 
authority in my house." 

Moritx spoke calmly, decidedly, 
but without any harshness ; he 
had good sense on his side, and 
knew that while thus acting for 
his own dignity and peace, he 
would also be acting for my 
eventual good. I had been 
seated gloomily during his 
speech : when he had done, I 
rose, and, striking the table, I 
cried hoarsely : 

" Councillor Moritz, I would 
rather die than be your son ! In 
your house I never will stay one 
hour. Nor need you fear any 
intrusion. If my sister becomes 
your wife, I renounce her, and 
never wish to see her again. Let 
her choose between us." 

Moritz did not look at all 
angry, but merely burst out 
laughing. 



" My poor child," he said, 
"you shall be sent to school," 

" We shall see that ! " I cried 
fiercely, and involuntarily raised 
my arm against him. The 
Councillor merely switched 
across my knuckles, with his 
cane ; I cried out with rage. 

" Moritz," cried Ottilie, white 
with pain and fear, " please go ; 
I cannot speak to you now, 

"You must decide sooner 
later," he insisted. " By 
laying you merely expose your- 
self to repetitions of this disgust- 
ing childish nonsense." 

" Decide ! " I exclaimed, my 
eyes flashing; "I am ready to 
leave this house to-n 
day, this very hour, the motni 
it becomes his house." 

My sister was in 
agony, 

" Councillor Moritz,' 
peated, " I entreat you to 



4 




away, I cannot speak further 
on the subject at this moment." 

The Councillor took his hat 
and cane. 

" I go since you desire it," he 
said, bowing slightly, and fixing 
his eyes on her discomposed 
face, " I will not urge that my 
own happiness is at stake ; but 
let me add, that in throwing aside 
a man who loves you and is 
worthy of you, in sacrificing 
your own future, you will also 
be compromising the future of 
this foolish headstrong child; 
and that your yielding to his 
momentary madness will cost 
both you and him dear in future 
years. It is only in healthy in- 
dependence that he can be really 
happy, and you will discover the 
truth of it when your happiness 
be broken, together with his." 

And the Councillor left the 
room. 



N 
¥ 



My sister had to choose, and 
she made her choice. Moritz, 
without once losing his calm . 
self-possession, appealed to hetfl 
reason, to her affection for him^ 
self; I went on like one mad, 
entreating and threatening, and 
thus for one miserable, most 
miserable, week. At the end 
of it, one dreary October morn- 
ing, a travelling carriage drove 
up to the "Three Kings;" the 
Councillor's luggage was packed 
on to it, and he left Questenburg 
for Munich, whence he was to 
proceed back to Rome. And 
that whole summer, which had 
seemed to us so short and yet 
formed so deep a chasm in our.— 
lives, was never mentioned ; 
our conversation. We resume! 
our former solitary life as if i 
had never been interrupted; 
Ottilie was graver and a littl 
.melancholy, and I felt sometimcR^ 



OTTILIE. 105 

as if I had committed some great 
crime. A vague wish to leave 
Questenburg came over me, but 
I suppressed it and never let 
Ottilie suspect its existence. 
Once or twice, in this state of 
vague discontent, a fear entered 
my mind : could the Councillor's 
prediction prove a true one ? 




I 



CHAPTER III. 



^m ?jgg|)HEN I had comply 
^^P W^yff niy nineteenth i 
■^^ M\uMS '^^^ Questenburg 
J(Ai/SyJy[ the first time. 

1^^*^—^ sister had for ye( 
been saving up money to s^ 
me to the University — moi 
which had cost her manyJ 
privation, and every thalerJ 
which had been put by with 1 
bitter thought it brought 
nearer to the day when for j 
first time we should be a(4 
rated ; when for the iirst ( 
she would be left quite aid 
But she never let a wonj 




regret escape her lips; and when 
she was stooping over my trunk, 
the day before my departure, 
and I thought I saw tears on 
her face, and raised her up and 
kissed her, unable to speak, she 
tried to smile and assume an air 
of perfect cheerfulness. 

I had longed to see the world, 
and when I had got over the 
pang of separation, enjoyed my 
journey, my entry into a new 
life, amazingly. But when fairly 
settled at the university, I began 
to see things less cheerfully. I 
was poor, timid, inexperienced, 
and horribly sensitive ; I had 
been educated by a woman and 
had almost acquired a woman's 
delicacy and susceptibility, and 
all a woman's habits of order, of 
quiet, of subdued intellectual 
life ; and such I found myself 
thrown among a lot of vigorous 
and manly, but excessively wild 



I 



land undisciplined, youths. I 
Ifelt at once dislike, contempt, 
and fear of these young men, 
and they in return regarded me 
witii no friendly eyes, calling me 
a sneak and a Frenchman, for 
our national feeling was then at 
the highest, at least in literary 
L matters. So I kept out of theii 
I way as much as possible, 
became engrossed in my studii 
What was particularly rael; 
choly was that my means 
not permit of my spending my 
holidays at Questenburg, on 
account of the very long and 
expensive journey, so that these 
years seemed like an unbroken 
period of exiie. I cared for my 
studies, for the approval of the 
professors ; but what I cared 
most for were Ottilie's lelti 
and the post days were 
happiest. Thus I continued 
La couple of years, till at lengt] 



ired 




physical and mental weariness 

forced me out of my habits of 
solitude and study, and made 
me seek, despite myself, the once 
despised company of my feliow- 
scholars. It was the year 178S, 
in that time of morbid, feverish, 
and almost delirious intellectual 
life, which took its name from 
Klinger's famous play of " Sturm 
unci Drang." Wild and stormy 
that generation truly was; the 
most absolute contempt and 
loathing for everything long 
established and formal, an in- 
tense admiration for individual 
freedom as opposed to social 
institutions, a frantic desire to 
return to brute nature, an un- 
bridled striving after originality, 
allied to wholesale and uncriti- 
cising imitation; a boiling and 
seething of all things good and 
bad, which filled our literature 
with paradoxes of all kinds, the 



Ifitrangest of all being the 
I existence of absurd whimpering 
sentimentalism by the side of a 
disgusting love of horrors : such 
was our literary atmosphere, out 
of which only a very few men were 
of sufficient mental stature to rail 
their heads. The university 
which I was happened to be 
perfect hotbed of the self-styled 
[ geniuses of whom those years 
' were so prolific ; and I found 
myself thrown on to the society 
of a number of crazy youths 
given up to what they were 
Lpleased to call " the life 
■genius." There was little stud] 
and the lessons of the appointi 
professors were a mere fan 
At the same time there 
tremendous ferment of litera: 
philosophiciiijand social theoriesj 
of which s 3nie of the openinj 
^scenes of 5ichiller's " Robbers 
hve the bcsit notion. Here Wl 



ch 

1 




a wholesale manufactory of 
Ossianesque poems, in which 
every species of platitude was 
whimpered or bawled out in the 
name of the supposed bards, at 
that time closely connected with 
ancient Teuton warriors ; there 
(I mean in some other corner of 
the university) were established 
so many workshops for the pro- 
duction of romantic tragedies, 
in which paradoxes, hyperboles, 
murders, seductions, and abomi- 
nations of all sorts were heaped 
together, till it seemed as if a 
poet was to be valued according 
to the number of people whom 
he slaughtered on the stage. 
These plays very naturally pro- 
voked the censure of the pro- 
fessors, who looked upon all 
this genius-life as a dangerous 
nuisance, and thence arose per- 
petual feuds between them and 
the students, whose common 



OTTILIE. 



I 



episodes were riots in the lecture- 
rooms, cat serenades under the 
professors' windows, and incar- 
cerations. When I arrived at 
the university an absurd story 
was afloat about a sister in- 
stitution at a neighbouring town, 
where it was said that some 
of the most intrepid among the 
stormy students had resolved 
to assassinate a peculiarly ob- 
noxious old doctor of philosophy ; 
that they had cast lots as to 
who was to execute this heroic 
deed, and that, the plot having 
been discovered, the conspirators 
had fled from the uDiversity, 
formed a gang in a neighbouring 
forest, and had become the 
terror of the district, after the 
fashion of Karl Moor and his 



comrades. ^^H 

Besides these dramatic auth(a^^| 

^L who went about in rags alj^l 

^^L swaggered over the atroctttdj^H 




they daily invented, there was 
a class of milder and better- 
conducted students, well-born 
and delicately nurtured youths 
who were suffering from the 
fever of sentimentalism, lyric 
poets, imitators of Ossian and 
of Klopstock, They were always 
weeping in verse, and ended by 
weeping in prose. After trying 
to make others believe that they 
were the victims of some myste- 
rious fate, and consumed by some 
unknown ill, they got to believe 
it themselves. Suicide was com- 
mon among them, at least theo- 
retically, and some of the poor 
creatures really ended in mad- 
houses. For a long time I tried 
to steer clear of both categories, 
and to fortify myself against the 
prevalent malady by serious 
study and constant correspond- 
ence with my sister; but at 
length I too was carried along 




i 
I 

I 



by the current. 1 never, indeed, 
had any sympathy for the hlood- 
thirsty tragedians, but the 
melancholy lyrists gradually 
attracted me. The soft, moon- 
light-tinted, suicidal melancholy 
of these young men was not 
without something pleasing and 
poetical, at least to my mind as 
it was then situated ; they praised 
some very doleful elegies of mine, 
showed deep sympathy for the 
general depression produced by 
overwork, and altogether made 
me ten times move dismal, 
home-sick, and forlorn than I 
had been before. The senti- 
mental epidemic soon declared 
itself in me. I felt the neces- 
sity of solitude, and was soon 
tbe prey of a mysterious grief, 
of despair, without the very 
faintest ground or reason. No 
Charlotte happening to cross 
my path, nor indeed any ot^^H 



lady who might account for this 
condition unto myself (the citi- 
zens' dauf^hteis were hopelessly 
vulgar in my eyes), I permitted 
an intense desire to see my sister 
again to lay hold of me ; nay, I 
did all I could to foster this 
foolish and artificial home-sick- 
ness. Soon it became impossible 
for me to think of Ottilie without 
being oppressed by grief; and 
the remembrance of every trifling 
detail of my Questenburg life 
made the tears come into my 
eyes. To assuage my grief, I 
wrote some elegies on the 
subject, which elegies, according 
to the habit of heart-broken 
poets, I took good care to 
print. 

My melancholy was not, how- 
ever, a pretence; far from it. 
It is impossible to conceive the 
effect on a nervous person of a 
long residence in a mental at- 



I mosphere heavy with sick^^ 

I sentiment. More than once, 

[ I walked on the banks of the 

I river, tearing the grass and 

. flowers with my stick as I went 

I along, 1 have stopped suddenly, 

remained gazing at the water, 

until I was seized by an almost 

irresistible impulse to throw 

myself into the eddying stream. 

My friends viewed me with 

interest and admiration ; for 

these morbid creatures I had 

the double attraction of being 

a hero and a psychological 

study. They whispered that I , 

always carried a bottle 

laudanum on me — others coil^ 

tended that it was a. pistol, an^ 

that they had actually seen it3| 

muzzle protuding out of 

pocket — and there was a general] 

expectation that some fine day { 

should be found lying lifelesl 

■ among the sedge on the riva 




side, or weltering in a pool of 
blood in my study. Many of 

them were ready prepared to 
weep my untimely end in tender 
elegies, or to develop my story 
in a whimpenn,^ novel. Unfor- 
tunately for these literary projects 
my tale was destined to have a 
different catastrophe, and one 
which would have intensely 
disgusted these romanticists. 
The longing to return to Ottilie 
became irresistible. I felt that 
my only means of cure lay in 
sacrificing all — university edu- 
cation, literary career, fame, 
everything, in order to return to 
Questenburg ; and in this mad 
condition, all these sacriBces 
seemed to add to the efficacy of 
the cure. Without saying a word 
to any one, I paid what small 
debts I had, made a bundle of 
my books and clothes (the greater 
number being too bulky, I simply 



I ]l8 OTTILIE. 



a 



O 

I 



and heroically left behind), and 
set out on foot for Questenburg. 
It was an essential feature of 
this crazy plan that the immense 
journey should be made on foot, 
at the risk of being robbed or 
failing ill on the wayside, eating 
little and avoiding human habi- 
tations as far as possible. My 
sentimental fever had reached 
the stage of delirium; but this 
stage was its last, and preluded 
recovery. 

After a journey of many days 
in broiling August weather, ex- 
hausted by an effort so entirely 
beyond my forces — for I was not 
a good walker — and in a state of 
violent excitement, I at length 
reached Questenburg. Instead 
of entering the town at once, I 
stopped some hours at a little 
lie outskirts, waiting for 
dusk before finishing my journey. 
Imagine the amazement, 




horror of my sister, who thought 
I was studying comfortably at 

B , when I suddenly walked 

into the kitchen, covered with 
dust, unshaven, my clothes and 
shoes in tatters, and looking 

altogether as if- Really I 

don't know what possible cir- 
cumstances could explain my ap- 
pearance. Ottilie's first thought, 
rapid as lightning, was that I 
had been expelled, or obliged for 
some unknown reason to run 
away from the university ; and 
she received me with every 
expression of affection and 
anxious sympathy. I wanted 
to explain all at once, but she 
would not listen ; she insisted 
on my putting on clean clothes, 
resting and eating first, for I was 
evidently sinking from exhaus- 
tion. When I had got on fresli 
things, and had rested awhile, 
and put my sore and bruised 



feet into soft slippers, she spreat 
a napkin, and placed knife and 
fork and glass on the table, in 
front of the sofa on which I lay, 
and brought me some dinner. 
Then only, and seeing that I could 
not eat a morsel, did she permit 
me to explain the cause of my 
sudden return. I shall never 
forget her look of dismay when 
she heard that I had sacrificed 
everything and ruined my career 
for no rational object whatever. 
Somehow or other, once in her 
presence, I found it wholly im- 
possible to explain why I had 
done all this. I felt dazed and 
ashamed. I could not tell her, 
who seemed serenity and good 
sense personified, all about ray 
melancholy state, my irresistible 
desire to return home, and the 
I relentless fate which was op- 
l pressing me. She, knowing 
nothing of the sentimental 



ea^^^ 



i 



demic, took these words for a 
sort of delirious raving ; and 
what with my strange looks and 
stranger adventures, she strongly 
suspected that I must be insane 
—and perhaps she was not very 
far from the truth. The follow- 
ing day my old master, Dr. 
Willibald, was sent for in great 
haste. As soon as he had re- 
covered from his first shock of 
astonishment at the news, he 
pretended to consider the whole 
matter as quite natural, said that 
he had predicted it all along, 
and that that was what came 
of not listening to his admoni- 
tions. However, he was wholly 
unable to give Ottilie any advice 
on the subject, and pondered 
vainly over a means of recover- 
ing a dozen excellent linen shirts, 
a score of well-bound books and 
other valuables, which I had left 
behind at the university. Mean- 



while, I was in bed, and, as soon 
appeared, ill — ill of exhaustion 
and excitement. 

My malady lasted a good time ; 
it left me weak in body, but at 
least mentally healthy. One 
morning during my conva- 
lescence, as the sunbeams played 
amid the folds of my white bed- 
curtains, and outside the swallows 
flew to and fro with that rushing, 
cutting sound which has always 
been so dear to me, it seemed as 
if a horrible weight had been 
removed from my heart and a 
mist cleared away from my eyes, 
I got up, dressed, and went to 
the open window. I leaned both 
arms on the scarlet cushion and 
peeped over the tops of geraniums 
and carnations. On one side was 
the tortuous, rough-paved street, 
in which the sunshine was alter- 
nated by the deep shadows of the 
old bow windows, from which 



hung flowers, forming bright 
spots on the deep-hued old 
wood. The servant- maids were 
sweeping the house steps and 
drawing water at the fountain 
surmounted by the stone knight. 
Turning in the other direction, I 
could see tlie Geht Kirche, in 
whose niches only one poor little 
saint had been left by our over- 
zealous Lutheran fathers. The 
church was surrounded by a 
double row of old lime trees, 
forming a little square, closed in 
by chains, on which some school- 
boys were swinging, with their 
heeis up and their heads down, 
in a state of high enjoyment. 
And meanwhile the swallows 
were crossing and re-crossing 
before the window, with their 
dear, cheerful, breezy noise. A 
new life seemed to dawn for me. 
I was released from all routine 
of study, free from every sickly 



fancy; I had nothing to do but 
to live. And the life I led during 
the first months after my return, 
and after my mental and bodily 
cure, was indeed sweet. I walked 
about in all the dear well-known 
places with my sister. I read 
only such books as amused me. 
I began several pieces of literary 
work, which I was too happy, 
too free and buoyant, to care to 
finish. I enjoyed all the pleasures 
of convalescence; but as my re- 
covery became complete, a certain 
lassitude came over me. I wished 
to do something, but could not 
find the courage to begin, and 
with habitual yawns came regret 
and almost remorse. Why had 
I left the university ? Fool that 
I had been ! But what was the 
use of regretting; it was now too 
late to repair. In short, the 
peace and idleness which '. 
seemed so delightful after 



OTTILIE. 125 

feverish excitement which had 
preceded them, were beginning 
to be distasteful to me. 

At the same time I could 
foresee no termination to this 
state of matters, for there was 
no possibility of returning to the 
university after my disgraceful 
flight, and I saw nothing else 
that could occupy my energies. 
But interest, the most unex- 
pected, suddenly came to me. 

One day, being bored to death, 
I took it into my head to pay a 
round of visits to some of my 
old playmates. 

The first I found on my path 
was the good, stupid Kasper, who, 
having been cured of his absurd 
passion for my sister, had studied 
theology, given up shooting, and 
was now settled in life as a most 
exemplary husband, father, and 
pastor of souls. He received 
me with open arms, and intro- 



duced me to his wife, a lai 
the purest Qiiestenburg 
very white, very fat, and he 
merry, by whom Kasper wa 
about as by a married Ami 
Despite their cordiality, ne 
of the worthy couple possi 
much attraction for me ; ; 
found myself frequenting 
house, scarcely knowing wl 
wherefore. Yet the reason 
very simple. One of the inr 
of the Pfarrer's house was 
wife's cousin, an extremely p 
little blonde, full of grace ai 
vacity. The first time I 
saw her, she was seated se 
by a window, the creeping p 
of whose flower-pots forn 
beautiful framework of s 
and leaves for her delicate 
curly head. She was se 
at a new dress, and hum 
a popular song ; and at 
moment she struck me a 



pretty that some time later I 
tried to reproduce tiiat scene in 
some lines. I reminded her in 
them how, as children, we had 
played together, and how she 
had one day tied me hand and 
foot to a chair. I added that I 
feared she might now be tying 
me down once more, but with 
how much harder bonds. 

Of course I kept these lines 
to myself. Wilhelmine — for it 
was that same Wilhelmine whom 
Kasper had once called " little 
devil," and threatened to throw 
out of the window — Wilhelmine 
would either not have under- 
stood a word of them, or been 
grievously offended. She was 
an, adorable little creature, with 
a mixture of modesty and arch- 
ness, and a constant, birdlike 
cheei-f Illness. Henceforth I no 
longer suffered from variety of 
thought and depression, and Ot- 



tilie remarked with surprise 
pleasure the improvement ir 
spirits. 

One day I found Wilheli 
as usual at the window, bu' 
work lay on her knees and 
was absorbed in a book, wl 
blushing at being caught, 
laid down at my approach. 

" What has the power c 
interesting you ? " I asked, f 
cing jealously at the book w 
lay on her work-table. I tho' 
I knew that thin, shabby 1 
volume in the gray binding 
took it up, opened it, and re; 
line — I durst not raise my 
for shame and confusion. 
book was a collection of 1 
rymose poems which I 
published anonymously at 
university, and which — hes 
only can tell how — had go 
Questenburg, and into her 
session. 



Wilhelmine blushed at being 
caught reading poetry; I too 
blushed, but it was from shame. 
I felt ashamed that these miser- 
able, false, artificial pieces of 
morbid vapidness should be read 
by that sweet, gay creature, 
so lovely in her cheerfulness 
and simplicity. 

Wilhelmine looked up in my 
face ; she thought I despised 
her for reading them. 

" They are so beautiful," she 
said, hesitatingly. 

" Do you think so ? " And I 
shrugged my shoulders con- 
temptuously. 

" Don't you think them beau- 
tiful, really?" she asked, eagerly. 
" Have you seen that lovely piece 
beginning, ' The unhappy Morna 
wept over her harp in the pale 
moonlight ? ' " 

She repeated one or two lines 

of that most insipid piece of im- 

9 



becility, and her voice anc 
almost made them seem 
to me. 

" Do you know who 
them ?" she asked. 

My vanity was too grea 

" Would you like to kno' 
author, Jungfer Wilhelmim 

" Do yon know him ? ' 
exclaimed in excitement. 

" He has the honour of f 
ing before you." And I m 
graceful bow, clashing my 
together. 

" You ! Is it possible ? " 

Thus passed the winter 
the spring I went with the 
tor's family and a large ni 
of friends (Ottilie never 
for these riotous meetings^ 
the woods, to pick that \ 
sweet-scented little herb era 
with a tiny white star, \ 
they called " May-herb." 
at home, Wilhelmine and 




pastor's wife washed the earth 
off the fragrant plants, and 
placed immense bundles of them 
in soup-tureens, together with 
lemon-rind, sugar, cloves, and 
cinnamon ; white wine was 
poured into the vessels, and the 
whole put by to ferment in the 
cellar. 

Some days later I received an 
invitation to drink the " May 
wine " at the pastor's house. 
Ottilie was of course invited, 
but, as usual, she preferred stay- 
ing at home and playing duets 
with Dr. WiJlibald. I must 
confess to my shame that I was 
relieved by this decision ; I felt 
shy of meeting Wilhelmine in 
Ottilie's presence. What could 
she have thought of my caring 
for a girl so — so— in short, so 
different from herself? 

I put on my new apple-green 
coat, with brass buttons, and an 



i 



embroidered yellow waistcoat, I 
stuck a scarlet geranium in my 
hat, and betook myself to 
the pastor's house. Wilhelmine 
seemed more charming than 
ever with her white pinafore 
on, filling our glasses with the 
fragrant cool mixture ; and as 
she methodically put her empty 
ladle into the jar, and carefully 
brought it out filled to the brim, 
I composed a little May wine 
song, which we all sang in 
chorus over the supper-table. 

Then there were long walks 
and excursions all through the 
summer. On Sundays, after the 
second sermon, the Pfarrer, his 
family, and a few friends, would 
walk to some mill by the river- 
side, where the miller served 
coffee and cinnamon cake ; or 
else to some ruined castle in the 
woods, where Wilhelmine spread 
a table-cloth and unpacked her 



OTTILIK. 133 

hampers of provisions on the 
mossy ground ; and after laugh- 
ing, dancing, games, and ghost 
story-telling, we all returned 
home in the early moonlight. 

This idyllic life awakened my 
muse ; not indeed that whim- 
pering lady of university days, 
but a cheerful and simple one — 
not unlike, as I thought, my 
dear little Wilhelmine. 

A short time before Voss's 
Louise had created a great sen- 
sation ; it was a pleasant and 
original poem, in which the 
metre and style of Homer were 
used to describe, rather over- 
minutely and pompously, the life 
of a rustic clergyman. It pro- 
duced a number of imitations 
which, together with itself, were 
swept away into oblivion by 
Goethe's Hermann and Dorothea. 
I too was fired by this example, 
and set to work upon a poem in 



hexameters, describing my ac- 
quaintance with Wilhelnaine, 
our walks, the May-wine brew- 
ing, and all the little incidents 
which interrupted the sweet 
monotony of our life. I read 
a few passages {not those about 
herself, of cours^) to Wii- 
helmine ; I think she took it 
for prose, but it pleased her 
nevertheless, and pleased me 
because it pleased her. I felt 
bound to submit it to my sister, 
but 1 was ashamed. I gave her 
the first two cantos, and bolted 
out of the house. I did not 
venture to ait near her while 
she was reading those 
which contained the first i 
lation of my love for Wilhelrt 
I returned for supper. We" 
opposite each other. She scarcely 
made a remark, but 1 felt soi 
thing was coming. I coul4j 
eat, I tied my napkin into- k 



while 

carcely 
t 50 IM<M 

] 



OTTILIK. 13s 



and made little houses of bread 
crust without venturing to look 
Ottilie ill the face. When we 
had finished supper, she opened 
a drawer, took my manuscript 
from it, and handed it gravely 
to me. 

" Here is your poem," she 
said ; but a second later her 
assumed indifference gave way. 
She threw her arms round my 
neck, and asked why I had 
waited so long to tell her a 
piece of news that must make 
her so happy as that of my 
attachment for Wilhelmine. I 
felt ashamed before so much 
goodnt;ss, ashamed of having 
been unable to conceive its ex- 
istence. Then 1 told her how 
much I loved Wilhelmine, how 
sweet a girt she was ; and talked 
a deal of rubbish about the 
noble and delightful task of cul- 
tivating so charming a fiowe 



I 



136 

of raising her by the pow 
love to my own level. 

Ottilie smiled incredulout 
all this ; she knew it to be 
self-delusion, but she knew 
that such delusions are \ 
keeping. I firmly believe' 
this : I was in love with 
helmine, and I therefore fa: 
she must be worthy of my 
well, perhaps she was, fo 
love was not worth much, 
head was full of golden j 
for the future, but someho 
other my sister was alwayi 
out in them ; at least, she fo 
no necessary part of them, 
sometimes struck me. I 
wicked, and kissed Ottilie, 
felt as if I could cry. 
merely smiled, for she 
dreamed what was passtn, 
my mind. 

Ottilie of conrse expecte( 
to conform to our good old 




man custom of long engage- 
ments, and so did Wilhelmine's 
parents. They would not hear 
of giving their daughter to a 
young fellow without any busi- 
ness in life. They wished me 
to go forth, and return to marry 
Wilhelmine only when I should 
have gained the means of sup- 
porting her, Ottilie, on the 
other hand, while strongly im- 
pressed with the reasonableness 
of these views, was mainly 
swayed by a fear that I might 
repent of so rash a step as that 
of marrying the very iirst girl I 
fancied. Wilhelmine she thought 
well of, but she earnestly wished 
to give me time to know her, 
myself, and the world better, 
before irrevocably fixing my des- 
tiny. This opposition enraged 
me ; it seemed to me as if time 
were merely being lost. I hated 
the idea of once more entering 



the world all alone. I almost 
dreaded that my dreams might 
be realised too late — that I might 
attain the prize when I had 
grown weary of waiting for it. 
I was impatient to realise my 
ideal, and no exhortations could 
stop me. Once, as Ottilie had 
been entreating me to take time 
to consider the matter, im- 
patience got the better of me, 
and I let drop ungrateful and 
cruel words : 

" You are wasting my lifeS 
have been taken care of tooU 
Let me take care 
henceforward." 

" Do so," answered Ottil 
The words had wounded her 
deeply : it was as if I reproached 
her with wishing to cheat me of 
my happiness. The ingratitude 
struck her down. After that s he 
made no further resistani 
tried to be indifferent 



m]n^H 
>ttili^ 




whole business, yet even at that 
very moment she made a sacri- 
fice, one of the greatest a woman 
of her pride could possibly make. 
Dr. Willibald got to know, 
through some correspondent of 

his, that Prince L , one of 

the greatest people at court, was 
in search of a librarian for his 
magnificent library, which had 
got into hopeless confusion, as 
his Excellency cared not a jot 
about books. The salary was 
liberal, considering that the 
place was a sinecure, or very 
nearly so, and the Prince lodged 
the librarian in the villa contain- 
ing the library. 

"There is a chance for us!" 
exclaimed Wilhelmine. " We 
can marry at once ! Nothing to 
do, a good salary, lodging ! 
Think, how lucky ! " 

The fact of the place being : 
sinecure, and the post one not 



very far removed from that 
sen'ant, riither displeased 
yet if only 1 could get the 
for the moment, I said tc 
self, and mitil I could find i 
thing better, I could many 
helmine at once, and so be 
new Ufe without fuilher i 
There was a chance of ol 
ing this place. I knew it, 
must do myself the justice t 
that I never mentioned 
Ottilie ; that I never askei 
to sacrifice her pride so £ 
to write to the aunt of F 

L , to that very Ele< 

Princess whose service she 
so abruptly left, who had 
so rudely deaf to her exp 
tions and her apologies, 
apply to the Princess won 
to subject Ottilie either 1 
insulting rebuff, or to a hi 
ating forgiveness. The Pri 
had been in the wrong, and 




persisted in the wrong spirit to- 
wards her, and she was the last 
person of whom Ottihe could 
beg a favour — and such a 
favour ! 

In his unsuspecting meanness. 
Dr. Willibald mentioned the 
course to Ottilie as one about 
which there could not be a 
moment's hesitation. " Only 
write a line," he pleaded, "to 
your former mistress ; she is 
sure to forgive all. I will help 
you to concoct the letter, and 
you are sure to get the post for 
your brother ; he will be inde- 
pendent, able to marry — you will 
have secured his happiness." 

" I cannot do it ; I have done 
enough for him," answered 
Ottilie, in a tone which com- 
pletely silenced Willibald. He 
reported the conversation to me 
the following day. I was never 
more enraged with him than on 



that occasion. " My sister shall 
never beg for me, nor will I ever 
be a pensioner!" I exclaimed; 
and ran off to assure my sister 
that I was wholly ignorant of 
Willibald's proposal, and that I 
would rather die than submit 
her to such an humiliation. 

" I never thought the proposal 
came from you," she answered 
coldly. 

But it was then too late ; 
those words of Willihald's, "You 
will secure his happiness," had 
revived the memory of mine. 
"You are wasting my life!" 
No, Ottilie would not waste my 
life; she would not neglect to 
secure my happiness. Rather 
than expose herself to such a 
reproach, she would sacrifice 
every particle of pride, and ex- 
tend her hand as a beggar. She 
had written to her former pa- 
troness. I did not know it till 



OTTILIE. 143 

the answer came : civil, as that 
of a well-bred aristocrat should 
be to a former poor dependant, 
and this cold civility was just 
the greatest insult that could be 
offered to us. The office of 

librarian to Prince L was 

promised, and the Princess was 
even so munificent as to bid her 
secretary enclose money to pay 
my journey to the capital, 
whither I was begged to go as 
soon as convenient. In my first 
bitter humiliation I could have 
trampled the letter and the 
money under foot. This was 
what I had brought on my sister 
—to be answered like a beggar, 
and see me treated like a valet ! 
And she had been a court lady, 
our father had been an officer, 
our grandfather a baron ! And 
all this what for ? To enable 
me to marry a little shopkeeper's 
daughter, the niece of a soap- 



144 OTTILIK, 

maker! My sister tried to 
soothe me ; she had felt the 
sacrifice more bitterly than I 
could have done, but she had 
made up her mind to it ; it was 
her duty ; there could be no 
further complaint. Wilhelmine, 
on the contrary, was overjoj'ed ; 
and for a moment her joy made 
me almost hate her. She was 
quite happy to live in the posi- 
tion of a servant ; why not ? 
She was not well-born like our- 
selves. And I could be in love 
with her ? Well, I was, and 
very much in love — so much in 
love that the near prospect of 
my happiness soon made 
forget all humiliations. 

There remained yet anofl 
sacrifice for my sister — that ol 
parting. We could not find any 
one desirous of buying our house 
at Questenburg, and short of 
selling it, there was no means 






OTTILIE. 1 45 

of raising funds to enable her to 
live in the capital, where Prince 

L allowed me and my wife 

food and lodging, but no spare 
premises which could be occu- 
pied by Ottilie. 

However, it was agreed that 
no effort should be spared to sell 
the house, and that at the worst 
I, on my part {considering I 
should be free of board and 
lodging), and she on hers, might 
save up sufficient money for her 
to join us, according to my cal- 
culations, at the end of two 
years. This was a great conso- 
lation ; I felt quite gay ; besides, 
who knows I might not make 
money by some literary work? 
But Ottilie seemed sad — so sad 
that it quite vexed me. 

" Why are you not happy 
when I am ? " I asked Ottilie 
on the morning of my wedding. 

"I am happy," she answered. 




^HE first year of ray 
married life and of my 
residence in the capital 
was most happy. How 
fortunate I had been in 
obtaining the post of hbrarian to 

Prince L ! The prince was 

away on a diplomatic mission in 
Russia ; and the magnificent 
viila on the outskirts of the town 
all shut up, and left in charge to 
only a steward and a few old 
servants ; and, besides them, 
Wilhelmine and myself were its 
only occupants. We had 



OTTILIE, 149 

Hghtful set of rooms overlooking 
the gardens and opening on to 
the library ; in them we were 
served our meals as if we be- 
longed to the Prince's own family. 
I felt almost as if I were the 
owner of all this magnificence, 
and enjoyed my wife's delight at 
the beautifully laid-out gardens, 
the magnificently gilded rooms, 
the pictures and statues and 
furniture, as if it had all be- 
longed to me. 

There was no one else present 
to claim it all, and the sense of 
grandeur was quite delightful. 
Could I not take advantage of 
the ample space allotted me, and 
entreat my sister to live with 
us ? I often meditated over the 
question, but always came to the 
conclusion that Prince 
having bargained only for my 
wife and myself, I had no right 
to take advantage of his libera- 



i 



should hav< 

have obtainc 

sent to anot 

troduced; bi 

^y mind. 1 

enjoyed vast 

pendence, mj; 

ofa family, n^ 

house— or at 

which, being 

considered as j 

^ was noi 
Prince L 

^o get his lib 
^^der, in ^h 
thoroughly ag 
She was alwa 



f^A i:l 



OTTILIE. 151 

When there was nothing to copy 
out she insisted on employing 
her time cutting out and pasting 
labels, or dusting the books. It 
was delightful to see the dear, 
bright girl seated on the floor 
among a chaos of quartos and 
folios, scissors and gluepot by 
her side, pretending to be very 
actively and seriously employed. 
Or else she would climb on to a 
ladder, and with her feather 
broom bring the dust out of the 
innumerable old volumes, until 
she appeared as if in a cloud. I 
would look up from my work ; 
she would immediately chide me 
for my indolence ; I, in return, 
would lift her off the ladder, 
whether she liked it or no. A 
battle ensued, she pursuing me 
with her feather brush, sending 
clouds of dust into my face ; I 
trying to hide behind the tables 
and reading - desks, until she 




hunted me out, and we rushed 
through the whole length of the 
library, jumping over the books 
on the ground, laughing and 
shouting in a way which must 
have considerably surprised all 
the philosophers whose busts 
looked gravely down upon us. 
These " literary occupations," as 
they were officially called, sug- 
gested Sonne poems, in which I 
described our studies and our 
battles among the books. But 
the catalogue did not progress 
much, and it was lucky for me 

that Prince L never troubled 

his head about the state of his 
library. In the feeling of mv 
new dignity I took the 1 
occasionally to invite some 1 
rary men to partake of our i 
The servants said nothing ; I 
served as much as I des 
on the finest plate, They^ 
afraid of my complaining^ 



orriLiE. 153 

Prince L in case of a re- 
fusal, and I quieted my con- 
science by giving a few thalers 
to the cook ; not enough cer- 
tainly to pay for the game and 
fruit and wines, but enough to 
make him anxious to please me. 
After all, was it not better that 
the venison should be eaten and 
the ripe peaches plucked? Prince 

L was none the poorer for 

it : such at least was Wilhel- 
mine's argument — the argument, 
I have no doubt, of Eve about 
the apple. It was too funny to 
see my merry little wife pre- 
siding over one of these literary 
dinners ; to see her assumed 
gravity and hidden roguisbness 
towards those heavy, learned 
clodhoppers, and their attempts 
to please the frolicsome, impish 
creature, whose ways must have 
put a sad disorder into the dustv 
contents of their venerab' 




I 



1 54 OTTILJE. 

I did not neglect my wife's 
education : I used to read her 
fragments of classic poetry and 
expound philosophical theories 
to her with as much gravity as 
I could muster. She, mean- 
while, would sit at the table, 
cutting little rows of puppets 
out of paper, and making them 
dance across the books. This 
inattention being perceived by 
me put an end to the lesson, 
which invariably wound up with 
loud laughter. I also took Wil- 
helmine to the play, which was 

excellent at D in those days. 

She took a child's interest Jrt 
the representation, squeezing my 
hand with delight whenever the 
hero made a fine speech or got a 
legacy, frowning at the villain, 
weeping copiously at the partingK 
of lovers, and barely restraining 
cries of horror at the vigorous 
suicides and assassinations in 



OTTIME. 1 55 

which the dramas of those days 
abounded. 

Ah! days of joy, of childish 
joy! Why did they last so 
short a time ! The beginning 
of all the evil was when, one 
fine day, Prince L returned 

with an immense train of ser- 
vants. We shrank as it were 
into a corner ; our grand time 
was over. Our delightful apart- 
ments had to be surrendered to 
the master, and we were given 
instead two rooms that looked 
uncommonly like attics. Com- 
plain we could not; better rooms 
had to be reserved for the guests, 
the secretaries, the valets, the 
lackeys, the cooks — for any one 
who stood in higher estimation 
with the Prince than did his 
librarian. This was not all : 
the pompous major-domo sent 
me word through his secretary 
that the servants of His 



I 



cellency could no longer be em- 
ployed in waiting on me and my 
wife, and that henceforward Herr 
Bibliothekar and his lady must 
be pleased to dine with the rest 
of the household. And what did 
that mean ? Perhaps with the 
Prince's secretaries or chapel- 
master ? Oh, no ; they were 
either admitted to his own board 
or served by special servants. 
The librarian must take his seat 
at the upper servants' tables, 
below His Excellency's valet, and 
between His Excellency's head 
cooks. 

I could have torn every book 
in the library into rags in the 
first rage of that announcement. 
I, the son of an honourable 
oEBcer, the grandson of a baron, 
the brother of Ottilie von Craus- 
sen, a writer, a poet, to be seated 
among the Prince's flunkeys 1 
led my wife to the table, He» 




knows with what suppressed 
rage ! Wilhelmine was by no 
means so sensitive ; she was 
vexed at our having lost our 
nice rooms, but as to dining 
with ail these smart and pom- 
pous people in livery, that seemed 
no great hardship to her. She 
had never seen any one half as 
grand, and almost conceived it 
to be an honour. They were 
servants, it is true ; but Wilhel- 
mine had never clearly made out 
in what the position of a librarian 
differed from that of a butler : to 
her mind the dignity was pretty 
well equal. The flunkeys saw 
by my face that I did not relish 
their company ; they looked at 
me with cold contempt, scarcely 
saying a word, and began, in 
their most pompous way, to 
discuss fashionable news. To 
my horror Wilhelmine listened 
quite awestricken to the anec- 



1S3 OTTILIE. 

dotes and remarks retailed by 
the valets and cooks. I saw her 
eyes open as they familiarly men- 
tioned Princes, Dukes, Electors, 
Kings, and discussed their family 
affairs. Electors ! Kings ! they 
had seen them, approached them, 
heard their words. Wilhelmine 
could not have listened to the 
chat of a party of ambassadors, 
mitred abbots and knights of the 
Golden Fleece, with more re- 
spect than she did to these 
glorious lackeys, who showed off 
their stock of court news as for 
the purpose of displaying their 
superiority over a shabby, con- 
ceited bookworm of a libra;; 

So much for the first til 
rigorously maintained my 
serve towards my table 
panions. His Excellency mig 
indeed force me to dine witb(| 
servants, but not to talk n 




them. This obstinate silence 
irritated the whole flunkeydom 
against rae; they soon behaved 
with studied rudeness towards 
us, exchanging sneers and words 
such as they knew I could not 
like my wife to hear ; and I had 
to swallow my humiliation — 
bitter, fierce humiliation. 

One day, however, His Ex- 
cellency's valet permitted him- 
self to use language such as 
would, perhaps, have pleased 
the Prince, but did not please 
me. I requested him to change 
his subject and expressions, and 
remember the presence of my 
wife. He merely laughed. I 
gave my arm to Wilhelmine, all 
terrified at this scene, and led 
her to our room; then I returned, 
and in uncontrollable fury caught 
the fellow by the collar and caned 
him then and there. The other 
servants looked on in amazement 



I 



and admiration at the boldl 
of the librarian. 



"You shall get it! 



how 



xcellen cy 
giv«t i^^ 



the fellow, as I left th 
And I did. The next 

Prince L 's secretary brought 

me word that His Excellenc] 
no longer required my ser 
and required my rooms. 

What would I have giv«t 1 
be back at Questenburg ! But 
here I must stay, for in the 
capital at least I might obtain 
work. A friend got me a place 
as clerk at a banker's ; the pay 
and the work were both small, 
and I determined to strain every 
nerve in order to gain money by 
some literary work, and possibly 
obtain a professor's or tutor's 
post. 

Wilhelmine, utterly ignorant 
of money matters, was qtii te 
delighted at th' 
I took, delighted at havioe-^ 



own servant woman, her own 
kitchen, her own storeroom, and 
prepared to play at house- 
keeping as she had before played 
at catalogue - making. But I 
was no longer in the mood for 
play; for such play was not 
natural to my character, at least 
not for any length of time. All 
the long - suppressed animal 
spirits and light - heartedness 
of my nature had burst out 
under Wilhelmine's first in- 
fluence; I was like a child, who 
long kept to its books, suddenly 
finds itself in the company of 
other children ; but the books 
have had an influence on the 
child, and it will not play as 
long as its companions. So it 
was with me: all this frivolous 
gaiety had found its vent, but it 
had exhausted itself. I had been 
brought up alone with a serious 
and thoughtful woman ; my cha- 





I 



racter had been cast in a serious 
mould, and I was now tired 
of the life of almost childish 
thoughtlessness and mirth which 
I was leading. I had now 
enough of laughing and romping, 
and longed for some mind, strong 
and serene, with which I could 
repose in intellectual quiet ; just 
as, when a child, I used to re- 
turn, wearied of the schoolboys' 
games, to ask my sister for a 
story or a song. What would 
I not then have given for Ottilie ! 
But Ottilie could not come. The 
two years were drawing to a 
close, and, instead of savings, I 
found only debts ; I was sepa- 
rated from her by the deep gulf 
of poverty. Yet howimperiously 
I felt the want of society like 
hers 1 My wife was by ray side 
ready to laugh and be merry ; 
but how could I say to her, " I 
am tired of laughing; I long for 




serious talk"? She would not 
have understood me. When I 
attempted to discuss my plans 
and ideas with Wilhelmine I in- 
variably perceived that she did 
not understand them ; she under- 
stood my words, but not my 
mind. More than once, with 
Wilhelmine seated opposite me, 
I have felt alone — terribly, irre- 
mediably solitary. 

Yet I had not the courage to 
own to myself that I had com- 
mitted a fatal error in imagining 
that a childish character like 
Wilhelmine could suffice for the 
happiness of a man like myself, 
older in temper than in years. 
I buried myself in my hooks ; I 
tried to fill up the blank in my 
life by working for money and for 
fame; I tried to persuade myself 
that a little money and a little 
reputation would make me happy. 
And little by little Wilhelmine's 




I 



164 

spirits began to sink : 
poverty, the necessity for 
constantly working, the con- 
tinual preoccupation in which 
she found me — all this began to 
chill her warm nature ; in- 
difference and dissatisfaction 
are terribly contagious. At 
first she could not well under- 
stand what had changed in our 
relations ; she thought it was 
merely the want of money which 
made me gloomy, but later she 
became conscious that there was 
a deeper evil ; she thought me 
cold and ungrateful ; she became 
unhappy also at our not having 
a child, and attributed my cold- 
ness to this cause. Would we 
had had a child 1 not that I care4r 



ich about ( 



I had hadjj 



^ere, but too much child] 
i for the last three yei 
but it would have been a bonT 
.union, a common interest (aJ 



orrjLiK. 165 

there could be no other) between 
us ; above all, it would have 
been something to take my place 
in poor Wilhelmine's affections. 

Have you read Jean Paul's 
Fruit, Flovjer, and Thorn Pieces ? 
If you have, you doubtless 
smiled at the description of 
Siebeniias's married life; but 
when I first read the book I 
could have sobbed over it, for 
I knew such a life — the double 
isolation of an intellectual man 
and an unintellectual woman, 
childless and without any interest 
in common — such a miserable 
life as that of Siebenkas and 
Lenette. And Siebenkas had 
had a friend ; I had none : and 
after all he had pretended to be 
dead and let his wife marry 
Pelzstiefel; there was no such 
remedy possible for me. 

Thus we live on, most of our 
acquaintances deeming us a very 




j66 



happy couple, we who were so 
unhappy ! I felt the weight of 
the chain I bore, but I knew 
that I had riveted it T,vith my 
own hand, and that in justice 
I must bear it without complaint. 
Besides, I, a man, could bear it. 
True, I was severed from all I 
really loved ; true, there was a 
terrible void in my heart ; but 
I could find work to distract and 
absorb my thoughts, I could find 
men capable of understanding 
me. But Wilhelmine, poor little 
childish soul, living only for love, 
and with whom love meant only 
play, who could sympathize with 
her ? who could fill up the void 
in her life ? I felt that the fault 
was on my side ; I knew that my 
blunder had faded this sweet, 
simple little flovver. I saw her 
droop and wither ; I felt remorse 
and rage at myself; I tried to 
return to our former life ; I threw 




my manuscripts into the fire, 
locked up my books. I took her 
to the play, to halls, and on ex- 
cursions ; I would have given 
my last penny to see once more 
that bright look of former days 
in her face. I tried to revive 
that happy, foolish life of five 
years ago. All in vain ; both of 
us were too much altered. 
Wilhelmine let herself be led 
about passively ; nothing could 
cheer her, nothing could amuse 
her. Her bright, confiding 
temper had altered into a sullen, 
brooding apathy. She took a 
kind of pleasure in rebuffing my 
advances. I did my best, only 
to make matters worse. For- 
merly I had sat down to my 
desk and wished to be serious 
when Wilhelmine had wanted to 
romp and laugh ; now that I 
tried to amuse her she wished to 
be serious. When I asked her J 



1 63 



to take a walk she chose to stay 
at borne and read her whimpering 
novels; when I proposed going 
to the play, she had a headache 
and preferred keeping her rooi 
I perceived that my efforts wi 
being intentionally frustrati 
that she took a pleasure io 
widening the gulf I was trying 
to bridge over. Her sullen re^^ 
serve, her cold, prudish 
began to irritate me ; I beci 
peevish and rough. 

One day I lost all control 
myself : I had proposed, asj 
last attempt, to take her a lit 
journey (she had once delight 
in the notion) in the great foi 
near the capital. She declii 
coldly, and was for resuming 
eternal novel, but I snatched 
book, and, with an explanatioi 
impatience, threw it into the 
stove. I was very soriy 
moment afterwards. I hu; 



1 




implored her forgiveness ; she 
smiled coldly. 

" There is nothing to forgive," 
she said, prudishly ; " only a 
trumpery book burnt ; " and so 
saying she drew a second volume 
from the drawer of her work- 
table. 

That was the beginning of the 
end. During this miserable time 
my thoughts had constantly re- 
verted to my sister, whom, in 
the ingratitude of happiness, I 
had left all alone. All alone ! 
I now knew all that these words 
mean ; I had learned it from my 
own craving for sympathy. I 
thought of Ottilie sitting down 
day after day to her lonely 
meals, going day after day on 
her solitary walks ; the bitterness 
of a sort of remorse was added to 
the misery of my own isolation- 
One day I could bear it no 
longer. I told my wife I 



sur^ 

jmed 
d we 



1 70 OTTILIE 

determined to return to Questen- 
burg, and asked her to prepa 
for departure. 

"To Questenburg ! " she 1 
claimed, unable to hide her siJi 
prise beneath her usual assumed 
indifference, " Why should we 
reforn to Questenburg ? " 

She should have known ! 
she no recoilection of Ottilieil 
all Ottilie had been for me ? 

" Because I want to see my 
sister," I answered, impatiently. 

" You have done very well 
without her these five years; I 
don't see why there shouldJ 
any such hurrj^" answered ' 
helmine, peevishly. 

"/do." 

" Oh I " exclaimed Wilheln 
"that alters the question 
not know that your sister wa 
necessary to your happiness.! 

Her cold, sneering tonef 
asperated me. 




"She is necessary to my hap- 
piness ! " I exclaimed. " Would 
to Heaven I had known it 
earlier ! " 

At these hasty words my wife 
forgot all her sullen patience ; 
this seemed insult added to in- 
jury — injury long rankling in her 
heart. What ! I was so weary 
of her that I needed Ottilie ! 
What ! she had grown so old 
and dull that Ottilie was required 
to amuse me ; she was to be the 
servant, the pupil of my sister! 
No ; to Questenburg she would 
never return ! And in that out- 
burst of long pent-up anger 
Wilhelmine dared to insult 
Ottilie's age and looks ; to in- 
sult the life which had been 
faded in my service. At that 
moment Wilhelmine seemed 
transformed, a coarse and 
narrow mind was revealed to 
me such as I had guessed 



I 



17s OTTiLlE. 

beneath her sweet exterior ;] 
difference on ray part 

changed into positive aversion. 
There was a terrible scene — a 
series of terrible scenes— pro- 
voked daily, hourly, by a word or 
a look. Then, as if exhausted, 
my wife locked herself up in her 
room. Her meals were carried 
in by the servant; she would not 
permit me to approach. Nor did 
I wish to ; I was dazed and 
bewildered by this new phase 
in our relations. I knew not 
how it might all end, but this 
much I determined — to return to 
Questenburg at any price to 
seek advice and aid from OttJlie. 
So a fortnight passed, and my 
wife would not leave her room. 
One day a visitor was announced ; 
it was her father. Me he did 
not deign to notice, bu 
I her room as if he 
own house and I 



stranger. I understood all : 
Wilhelmine had sent for him. 
Did she hope to frighten me 
back into love ? or was it mere 
violence of anger ? I waited 
calmly for the old man to leave 
her room. He did so, and then 
began violently to upbraid me. 
He was a coarse, passionate man, 
and had never much approved of 
his daughter's marriage with me. 
There was no stemming his 
abuse, no possibiiity of making 
him listen to reason. He ac- 
cused me of neglecting, of insult- 
ing my wife, of letting her starve, 
of every possible wrong towards 
her. I let bim go on, for he 
seemed more mad than sane. 
At length I could stand it no 
longer. Forgetting who he was, 
as he had forgotten who I was, 
I told bim to leave my bouse 
without a word more. He did 
so, but leading his daughter with 



him. I saw him again, but her 
never : to my house she would 
never return, despite all my 
efforts at a reconciliation. The 
old man wanted to fight me 
(perhaps that his daughter might 
be left a widow), but instead of 
a second 1 sent him a lawyer, 
who drew out a formal separa- 
tion between Wilhelmine and 



Thus ended ray brief married 
life. Had I been wholly or par- 
tially in the wrong ? I cannot 
tell ; all seemed to have hap- 
pened without any volition oa 
my part, by the irresistible 
weight of circumstances. 

When my sister and I had 
met and embraced, we stood for 
a moment looking silently at 
each other. Six years ago I had 
left Questenburg scarcely more 
than a lad, now I returned older 
by twenty years. Ottilie was 




still slender and erect, but deep 
lines had formed round her mouth 
and eyes, and her serenity was 
that of a mind which has been 
victorious after long struggles. 
I felt that there now no longer 
existed any disparity of age be- 
tween us ; I had suffered as she 
had ; but alas ! while she had 
suffered from a generous sacri- 
fice, I had suffered from niy own 
selfish wilfulness. 

Dr. Willibald came. He was 
ready to burst out into reproaches 
against me, to triumph over the 
dismal ending of my egotistic 
obstinacy ; but when he saw me, 
and the change in my appearance, 
he remained silent and merely 
shook hands. Otttlie bade us 
sit down at the little supper- 
table arranged as of old ; but 
none of us could eat. We talked 
but little, and no allusion was 
made to my recent troubles ; 



I 



I 



1 76 OTTIL 

was all as if nothing had chi 
since I last sat there. Al 
supper Ottilie opened the spinet, 
Willibald took his viola da gainba 
from its case, and they began 
of those old, familiar duets. 
Poor old Willibald ! He 
his fiddle had been my sister's 
only friends during that weary 
time of solitude. They alone 
had soothed her disappointment 
when post after post passed with- 
out bringing a letter from me. 
I felt as in a dream ; I looked 
round the room — nothing was 
changed, all in its accustomed 
place. The duet came to an 
end. Willibald put up his 
and returned home. I rem; 
alone with Ottilie. She pit 
both her hands on "my should 
and looked into my face as she 
had done when I had fii-st told 
her of my love for Wilheli 
Wc were standing i 



to an 
lis n^^j 




she noticed that I was looking 
at the white hairs among her 
brown ones. She smiled, but 
without any sadness. 

" I have grown old," she said. 

" So have I," I answered ; 
" but we should not complain of 
Time and his doings, since he 
has taught us that we were made 
only for each other." 

And I kissed those few white 
hairs. 




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