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FOURTI RECOLLECTION.

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Every life has its years, during which we go forward as on a dusty, uniform alley of poplars, without knowing where we are, and of which nothing remains in our memory but the melancholy thoughts that we have been going on, and have grown older. As long as the river of life flows on tranquilly, it remains the same river, and only the landscape on both shores seems to change. Then come the waterfalls of life. These remain fixed in the memory, and even when we have got far beyond them, and are approaching nearer and nearer to the silent sea of eternity, it is as if we still heard from afar their rushing and raging; indeed, we even feel that the strength of life which remains and urges us forwards, still derives from those waterfalls its strength and nourishment.

The time of going to school had passed, and the first years of life at the University were over, – and many beautiful life-dreams were passed too, — but one thing had remained: Faith in God and in man. Life had indeed become very different from what had been thought of it in the childish brain ; but everything had gained a higher consecration, and exactly the painful and mysterious circumstances of life had become proofs to me of the omnipresence of the Divine in the earthly. “The least thing does not disturb thee, unless God wills it,” — this was the short maxim of life-wisdom which I had adopted.

Now came the summer holidays, and I returned with them to my native place. What a joy is that of reunion! No one has ever explained it, but the seeing again, the finding again, the memory of one's self, is the chief secret of all pleasures and of all enjoyment. What one sees, hears, or tastes for the first time, may be beautiful and good and agreeable; but it is too new, it surprises us, we have not yet enjoyed it tranquilly, and the excitement of the enjoyment is greater than the enjoyment itself. But

from year

to

to hear a familiar piece of music again after a long interval, when we thought we had forgotten every note of it, and yet, as fast as they came, to greet each one as an old acquaintance, - or to stand again after many years before the Madonna de Son Sisto in Dresden, and then to recall all the feelings which the infinitely spiritual eye of the child have kindled in you

year,

- or even to smell a flower, or taste something pleasant, of which we have never thought since our school-days, — all this gives

one so deep a joy, that we know not whether we rejoice more at the present impression or the old recollection. And so when one returns after long years to his native place, the soul unconsciously swims in a sea of memories, and the dancing waves break mysteriously on the shores of long past times. The church-clock strikes, and we feel as if we should be too late for school, and then recover from the fright, and rejoice that this trouble is past. A dog runs across the street; it is the same dog which years ago we went so far out of the way to avoid. There sits the old apple-woman, whose apples once led us into temptation, and which now, in spite of all the dust with which they are covered, we fancy must taste better than any other apples in the world. There they have torn down a

. house and built a new one, that was the house where our old music-teacher lived: be is dead; but how pleasant it used to be to stand here under the window on a summer day and listen to the good soul, when the hours of daylight had passed, pleasing himself with his fantasiren, and like a steam-pipe letting off all the superfluous steam which had been collecting during the day, with rushing and impetuous sound. . And here in this narrow path in the grove, - but it seemed then much wider, — here it was

that, as I was coming home late one evening, I met our neighbor's pretty daughter. I had never ventured before to look at or speak to her; but we boys in the school often talked about her, and called her the handsome girl; and

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when I saw her at a distance coming down the road, I was so delighted I could scarcely believe that I should ever be so near to her. Yes, and here in this wood-walk, which leads to the church-yard, I met her one evening, and she took me by the arm, although we had never before spoken to each other, and said she would go home with me.

I believe we neither of us spoke a word the whole way; but I was so happy, that even now, after many years, when I think of it, I could wish the time would come again, and that I could walk home again so silent and so happy with “ the handsome girl."

And thus one recollection follows another, until the waves meet over our heads, and a long sigh escapes from our breast, which warns us that by mere thinking we have even forgotten to take breath. Then the whole dreamworld vanishes, as risen shadows at the crowing of the cock.

Now when I passed by the old castle and the lindentrees, and saw the body-guards on their horses, and the high steps, what memories rushed into my soul, and how was everything here altered! It was many years since my visits to the castle had ceased. The Princess was dead, the Prince had resigned his place and gone to Italy; the eldest Prince, whose companion I had been, having assumed the government. His train consisted of young noblemen and officers, whose company was agreeable to him, and whose society had wholly estranged him from his for. mer playmates. Other circumstances contributed to dissolve our youthful friendship. Like every young man when he first learns the needs of the German people, and the crimes of the German government, I had acquired readily some phrases of the liberal party, and these would sound, at the least, somewhat as indecent expressions might in a respectable clergyman's family. In short, for many years I had not once gone up the steps. And yet, there lived in the castle one being whose name I pronounced almost daily, and whose memory was almost constantly present with me. I had long accustomed myself to the thought that I should never see her again in this world; indeed, she had attained in my mind a form such as I knew did not and could not exist in reality. She had become my good angel, my other self, to whom I spoke instead of speaking with myself. How this had happened I could not explain even to myself, for I really scarcely knew her, and only as the eye at times transforms the clouds into living figures, so, I felt, had my imagination enchanted before me this shadowy apparition in the sky of my childhood, and from the delicately drawn lines of reality my fancy had constructed a complete picture. My whole course of thought had involuntarily become a dialogue with her, and everything which was good in me, everything for which I strove, everything in which I believed, my better self, — all this belonged to her, I gave it to her, it came from her lips, from the lips of my good angel.

I had been but a few days in my paternal home, when I received one morning a letter. It was written in English, and came from the Countess Maria.

“ DEAR FRIEND: “I hear you are with us for short time. We have not met for many years, and if it is agreeable to you, I should like to see an old friend again. You will find me alone this afternoon in the Swiss cottage.

“ Yours sincerely,

" MARIA."

I wrote back immediately, also in English, that I would wait upon her in the afternoon.

The Swiss house formed a wing of the castle, which was towards the garden, and which could be entered without going through the court-yard. It was five o'clock when I went through the garden and approached the house. I struggled to repress all emotion, and prepared myself for

a formal interview. I endeavored to quiet my good angel within me, and to prove to her that this lady had absolutely nothing to do with her. And yet I felt myself very uneasy, and my good angel herself would not inspire me with any courage. At last I took heart, murmured something to myself about the masquerade of life, and knocked at the door which stood half open.

There was no one in the room but a lady whom I did not know, and who immediately addressed me in English, and told me the Countess would be here directly. Then she went away, and I was left alone, and had time to look about me.

The walls of the room were of oak-wood, and there was a twisted lattice-work all around, on which a full, broadleaved ivy was entwined, which went round the whole apartment. The tables and chairs were all of carved oak. The floor was of tessellated wood-work. It made a sin. gular impression to find in this room so much that was familiar to me. Many objects were known to me, being from our old play-room at the castle; but others, namely, the pictures, were new, and yet they were the same pictures which I myself had in my room at the University. On the walls were hanging the portraits of Beethoven, of Handel, and of Mendelssohn, — the very same which I had

myself chosen. In one corner I saw the Venus of Milo, which I had always regarded as the finest statue from antiquity. There on the table lay volumes of Dante, of Shakespeare, Tauler's Sermons, the “Germania Theologia,” Rückert's Poems, Tennyson and Burns, Carlyle's “ Past and Present,” — the very books which lay in my study, and which I had just before had in my hands. I began to be perplexed in mind, but I shook off my strange thoughts, and was just standing before the picture of the deceased Princess, when the doors opened, and two bearers, the same whom I had so often seen when a child, brought the Countess into the room reclining on her couch. VOL. XXIII.

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