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On the other hand, discussions about war and peace were always going on, and it was Uncle Jacob who began them. Every morning he came down to convert Madame
THE next day Madame Thérèse began to busy herself with household cares; she went to the wardrobes, unfolded the table-Thérese, saying that peace ought to reign cloths, the napkins, the shirts, and even the old, yellow linen which had been heaped up there ever since the time of grandmamma Lehnel. She put on one side what could still be mended, while Lisbeth prepared the great hogshead full of ashes in the laundry. It was necessary to boil the water till midnight for the great lye washing. And the following days it was no small affair, when the business was to whiten, to dry, and to mend all this.
Madame Thérèse had not her equal in needlework. This woman who had been thought only fit to pour out glasses of brandy, and to wander round upon a cart behind a parcel of sans culottes, knew more about domestic affairs than any gossip of Anstatt. She even brought among us the art of embroidering girdles and of marking fine linen with red letters, a thing completely unknown till then in the mountains, and which proves how greatly revolutions advance intelligence.
More than this, Madame Thérèse assisted Lisbeth in the kitchen without troubling her, knowing that old domestics cannot bear to be interfered with.
The old servant sometimes said to her,
Just see, Madame Thérèse, how ideas change; in the early times I could not endure you on account of your Republic, and now if you were to go I think the whole house would go to ruin, and that we could not live without you."
"Ah!" she replied to her, smiling; "that is quite simple; every one holds to his own habits; you did not know me. I inspired you with distrust; any one in your place would have felt the same."
Then she added softly,
"I must however go away, Lisbeth. My place is not here; other cares call me elsewhere."
She was always thinking of her battalion, and Lisbeth exclaimed,
"Bah! you will remain with us; you cannot leave us now. You know you are very much thought of in the village, and that all the good people respect you. Give up your sans culottes; it is not fit for a respectable person to expose herself to balls or to other ill strokes in following after soldiers. We cannot let you go!"
Then she shook her head, and it might be plainly seen that some day she would say, To-day I am going," and that nothing could hold her back.
upor. the earth, that in the early times peace had been established by God himself, not only among men but also among animals; that all religions recommended peace, that all sufferings were from war, -pestilence, murder, pillage, burnings; that a chief at the head of a state was necessary to maintain order, and consequently that there must be nobles to support this chief; that these things had existed in all times, among the Hebrews, the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Greeks, and the Romans; that the Republic of Rome had understood this, that the consuls and dictators were a kind of kings, supported by noble senators, these being supported by noble knights who also were raised above the people; that such was the natural order, and that it could not be changed but to the detriment of the poorest themselves, for, said he, in the confusion the poor would no longer find means to earn their living, and would perish like the leaves in autumn when they are detached from the branches which carried the sap to them.
He said many things not less strong, beside; but Madame Thérèse always found good answers, maintaining that men have equal rights by the will of God; that rank should depend on merit and not on birth; that wise laws equal for all should alone establish equitable distinctions among the citi zens, by approving the actions of some and condemning those of others; that it is shameful and miserable to bestow honours and authority on those who do not deserve them; that it is to debase both authority and honour itself to cause them to be represented by unworthy persons; and that it is to destroy in all hearts the sentiment of justice by showing that this justice does not exist, since everything depends on the accident of birth; that to establish such a state of things men must be brutalised, for intelligent beings would not endure it; that such brutalising is contrary to the laws of the Eternal; that those who wish to produce it for their own profit must be combatted by every means, even by war, - the most terrible of all, it is true, but the guilt of which falls on the heads of those who provoke it by wishing to establish eternal iniquity!
Every time that my uncle heard these answers he became grave. If he had to make a jaunt upon the mountain be mounted his horse seriously, and all day he was seeking for new and stronger arguments to convince Madame Thérèse. In
the evening he returned home more cheerful, with arguments that he believed irresistible, but his belief did not last long; for this simple woman, instead of speaking of the Greeks and the Egyptians, looked straight at the reality of things, and overthrew my uncle's historical arguments by her good sense.
Notwithstanding all this, Uncle Jacob was not displeased; on the contrary, he exclaimed, with a look of admiration,
"What a woman you are, Madame Thérèse! Without having studied logic you reply to everything. I really wish I could see the look which the editor of the Zeitblatt would have in a discussion with you; I am sure you would embarrass him, notwithstanding his great learning and even his good cause; for the good cause is on our side, only I defend it poorly."
Then they both laughed, and Madame Thérèse said,
"You defend peace very well; I am of your opinion; only, in the first place, let us endeavour to disembarrass ourselves of those who prefer war, and in order to disembarrass ourselves of them let us make it better than they. You and I should very soon agree, for we are sincere, and we desire justice; but as for the others, they must be converted by cannon-balls, for that is the only voice they hear, and the only argument they understand."
My uncle said nothing more at that time, and what surprised me very much, he even seemed pleased at having been beaten.
my attention relax, she would immediately relate little stories to me, which roused me; above all, she had a certain Republican catechism, full of noble and touching stories, incidents of heroic actions and of fine sentiments, the remembrance of which will never be effaced from my memory.
Things went on thus for several days. The mole-catcher and Koffel came every evening as was their custom; Madame Therèse was completely restored to health; and it seemed as if this should last until the end of the world, when an extraordinary event occurred to disturb our quiet and to impel Uncle Jacob to the boldest enterprises.
ONE morning Uncle Jacob was intently reading the Republican catechism behind the stove, Madame Thérèse was sewing near the window, and I was waiting for a fortunate moment to escape with Scipio.
Outside the house our neighbour Spick was cutting wood; no other sound was heard from the village.
What my uncle was reading seemed to interest him very much; every now and then he looked up at us, saying,
"These Republicans have some good things about them; they look at men broadly, their principles elevate the soul. This is truly fine! I understand why the young should adopt their opinions, for all young persons of sound body and mind love virtue; only those beings who are decrepid before their Next to these great political discussions, time through selfishness and bad passions what pleased my uncle best was to find me can accept opposite principles. What a on his return from his rides engaged in tak-pity that such people continually have reing my French lesson, Madame Thérèse sit-course to violence!" ting with her arm round me, and I standing Then Madame Thérèse smiled, and my bent over the book. Then he would come in very softly, so as not to disturb us, and seat himself in silence behind the stove, stretching out his legs and listening with a sort of delight; sometimes he waited for half an hour before he took off his boots and put on his dressing-gown, he was so afraid of distracting my attention; and when the lesson was finished, he would say,
Very well, Fritzel, very well! you are getting a taste for that beautiful language now that Madame Thérèse explains it to you so well! What a happiness for you to have such a teacher! You will know that by-and-by."
He embraced me, much moved; what Madame Thérèse did for me he valued much more than what she did for himself.
I ought also to acknowledge that this excellent woman never wearied me one instant during the lessons; if she observed VOL. XI. 454
uncle began to read again. This lasted for about half an hour; and Lisbeth, having swept the entrance to the house, had gone to do her part of the gossiping with the old woman Roesel, as usual, when a man on horseback suddenly stopped before our door. He wore a large cloak of blue cloth and a lambskin cap; his nose was flat, and his beard grey.
My uncle had just put his book down; we all looked at this unknown person through the window.
"He has come to call you to some one who is ill, monsieur doctor," said Madame Thérèse.
My uncle did not reply.
The man, after having fastened his horse to a post of the shed, came into the alley. "Monsieur Doctor Jacob?" said he, as he opened the door.
"I am Doctor Jacob, monsieur."
"Here is a letter from Doctor Feuerbach | gerous woman, regretted by the Republicans of Kaiserslautern."
"Be pleased to sit down, sir." The man remained standing.
My uncle upon reading the letter became quite pale, and for a minute he appeared troubled, looking at Madame Thérèse with an expression of uncertainty.
"I am to take back the answer, if there is any," said the man.
66 You may say to Feuerbach that I thank him. That is all the answer."
Then without adding anything, he went out bareheaded, with the messenger, whom we saw go off down the street, leading his horse by the bridle, toward the inn of the Crock of Gold. He was going, no doubt, to take some refreshment before setting out again. We also saw my uncle pass before the window and go into the shed. Madame Thérèse appeared uneasy at this.
"Fritzel," said she, go take his cap to your uncle."
I went out immediately, and I saw him walking to and fro in front of the barn; he was still holding the letter, not having thought of putting it in his pocket. Spick was looking at him from his door with an odd expression, his hands crossed upon his axe; two or three other neighbours were also looking from their windows.
Out of doors it was very cold, and I went in again. Madame Thérèse had put down her work and was sitting sunk in thought, with her elbow on the sill of the window, and I seated myself behind the stove without any desire to go out again.
These things I always recollected during my childhood, but what followed produced upon me for a long time the effect of a dream, for I could not understand it; and it was only as I grew up and thought it over that I got at its true meaning. I
I distinctly recall that my uncle came in some moments afterward, saying that men were scoundrels, creatures who only sought to injure each other; that he sat down inside the little window not far from the door and began to read aloud the letter from his friend Feuerbach, while Madame Thérèse, listening, stood on the left upright and calm, in her little jacket with the double row of buttons, her hair coiled above her neck.
All this I see, and I also see Scipio in the middle of the room, with his nose in the air, and his trumpet-like tail. The letter being written in Saxon German, all I could understand of it was that Uncle Jacob had been denounced as a Jacobin, at whose house the ragamuffins of the country assembled to celebrate the Revolution; that Madame Thérèse was also denounced as a dan
on account of her extraordinary boldness, and that a Prussian officer, accompanied by a good escort, was to come to arrest her the next day and conduct her to Mayence with other prisoners.
I recollect also that Feuerbach advised my uncle to conduct himself with great prudence, because the Prussians since their victory at Kaiserslautern were masters of the country and were conveying away all the dangerous characters, sending some of them even into Poland, two hundred leagues distant, into the depths of the marshes, in order to set a good example to the rest.
But what appeared unaccountable to me was the degree to which the indignation of Uncle Jacob, a man generally so calm, so great a lover of peace, was roused by the advice and counsels of his old comrade. That day our little peaceful room was the theatre of a terrible storm, and I doubt whether since the day of its foundation, it had seen anything similar. My uncle accused Feuerbach of being a selfish person, ready to bow his head beneath the arrogance of the Prussians, who dealt with the Palatinate and Hündsdruck as conquered countries; he declared that laws existed in Mayence, in Trèves, and in Spires as well as in France, that Madame Thérèse had been left for dead by the Austrians, that they had no right to reclaim persons and things once abandoned; that she was free, that he would.not suffer them to put a hand upon her; that he would protest; that the lawyer Pfeffel of Heidelberg was friend; that he would write, that he would defend himself, that he would move heaven and earth, that it should be seen whether Jacob Wagner would allow himself to be dealt with after that fashion; that men should be astonished at what a peaceable man was capable of doing for the sake of justice and right. While talking in this manner he went striding up and down the room. His hair was all in disorder; he mixed up all the old laws which came into his head and recited them in Latin. He also repeated certain sentences which he had just been reading about the rights of man, and from time to time he stopped, stamping his foot to the ground with force, and exclaiming,
"I rest upon fundamental right, upon the solid basis of our ancient charters. Let the Prussians come! Let them come! This woman is mine. I picked her up and saved her. Anything abandoned, res derelicta, est res publica, res vulgata."
I do not know where he had learned all this; perhaps at the university of Heidel
berg, by hearing the discussions of his comrades. But now all these old maxims ran through his head, and he seemed to be answering ten people who were attacking him.
Madame Thérèse, meanwhile, was calm; her long, thin face was thoughtful; the citations of my uncle, no doubt, astonished her; but seeing things clearly, as usual, she understood her true position. It was only at the end of a long half hour, when my uncle opened his secretary and seated himself to write to the lawyer Pfeffel, that she put her hand gently upon his shoulder, and said to him with emotion,
"Do not write, monsieur Jacob; it is useless. Before your letter could arrive I shall already be far off."
My uncle looked up at her quite pale. "Do you then wish to go?" said he, his lips trembling.
"I am a prisoner," she said; "I knew that; my only hope was that the Republicans would return to the charge, and that they would deliver me by marching upon Landau; but since it has turned out otherwise, I must go."
"You wish to go?" repeated my uncle in a despairing tone.
"Yes, monsieur doctor, I wish to go that you may be spared great vexations; you are too good, too generous, to comprehend the hard laws of war; you see only justice. But in time of war, justice is nothing; force is everything. The Prussians are the conquerors; they come, they take me away, because such are their orders. Soldiers know only their orders. Law, life, honour, the rights of man, are nothing; their orders are everything."
My uncle, leaning back in the arm-chair, his large eyes full of tears, knew not what to answer; he only took Madame Thérèse's hand and pressed it with extraordinary emotion; then rising, his face much agitated, he began again to walk, devoting the oppressors of the human race to the execration of future ages, cursing Richter and all scoundrels of his species, and declaring in a voice of thunder that the Republicans were right to defend themselves; that their cause was just, that he now saw it plainly, that all the the old laws, the old rubbish of prescripts and regulations and charters of all kinds, had only profited the nobles and the monks against the poor and the weak; that all these things ought to be abolished from top to bottom; that the reign of courage and of virtue alone should triumph. At length, calming himself a little, he proposed to Madame Thérèse to take her in his sleigh and to carry her to the upper part
of the mountain to the house of a woodcutter, one of his friends, where she would be in safety; he stretched out his hands to her and said,
"Let us set out, let us go there; you will be very well off with old Gangloff. He is utterly devoted to me. I saved his life, his and his son's. They will conceal you. The Prussians will not go to seek you in the gorges of the Lauterfelz."
But Madame Thérèse refused, saying that if the Prussians did not find her at Anstatt, they would arrest my uncle in her place, and that she would rather run the risk of perishing from fatigue and cold upon the high road than expose to such a misfortune the man who had saved her from among
"You are weak; you are still far from well. These Prussians respect nothing; they are full of boasting and of brutality. You do not know how they treat their prisoners. I have seen it myself, - it is a disgrace to my country. I should have been glad to conceal it, but now I am forced to acknowledge it; it is frightful."
That is true, monsieur Jacob," replied she. "I learned of it from some old prisoners of my battalion; we shall march two and two, four and four, sad, sometimes without bread, often treated brutally, and hurried along by the escort. But your country-people are kind, they are good people, they have compassion, and the French are cheerful. Monsieur doctor, it is only the march which will be painful, and then I shall find ten, twenty of my comrades to carry. my little bundle. Frenchmen have consideration for women. I see beforehand," said she, with a melancholy smile,
that one of us will march in front, singing an old air of Auvergne to mark the step, or perhaps a gayer air of Provence to brighten your grey sky; we shall not be so unhappy as you think, monsieur Jacob."
She spoke thus, gently, her voice trembling a little, and as she was speaking, I saw her, with her little bundle, in the ranks of the prisoners, and my heart was rent. Oh! then I felt how much we loved her, and what pain it gave us to be obliged to part with her, for all at once, I caught myself bursting into tears, while my uncle, sitting before his secretary, both his hands over his face, remained silent; but with big
tears flowing slowly down along his wrist. | learning this bad news; and the longer we Madame Thérèse, seeing these things, could thought, the more causes we found for sornot prevent herself from sobbing; she gent-row. ly took me in her arms, and gave me many kisses, saying to me,
Do not cry, Fritzel, do not cry so. You will think of me sometimes, will you not? I shall never forget you."
Scipio only remained calm, walking round the stove, and looking at us without comprehending anything about our trouble.
It was only toward ten o'clock, when we heard Lisbeth light the fire in the kitchen, that we regained a little calmness.
Then my uncle, blowing his nose violently, said,
Madame Thérèse, you shall go, since you positively desire to go; but it is impossible for me to consent that these Prussians should come here to seize you like a thief and take you off through the midst of the whole village. If one of those brutes were to address a hard or an insolent word to you, I should forget myself, for now my patience is at an end. feel it, I should be capable of going to some great extremity. Permit me, then, to take you myself to Kaiserslautern before these people come. We will set out in the early morning, at four or five o'clock, in my sleigh; we will take the cross roads and by noon, at the latest, we will be down there. Will you consent to this?"
"Oh! monsieur Jacob, how can I refuse this last mark of your affection?" said she, greatly moved. "I accept it with gratitude."
It shall be done in this way, then," said my uncle, gravely. "And now let us dry our tears and banish these bitter thoughts as much as possible, that we may not sadden too much the last moments we are to spend together."
He came to embrace me, brushed the hair from my forehead, and said,
"Fritzel, you are a good child; you have an excellent heart! Remember that your Uncle Jacob has been pleased with you today; it is a happiness to say to one's self that we have given satisfaction to those who love us!"
FROM that moment tranquillity was established among us. Each of us was thinking of the departure of Madame Thérèse; of the great blank it would make in our house; of the sadness for weeks and months which would succeed the pleasant evenings we had passed together, of the regret of the molecatcher, of Koffel, and of old Schmidt, on
But what seemed to me the bitterest thing of all was to lose my friend Scipio. I did not dare say so, but as I thought of his going away, and that I could no longer walk with him in the village in the midst of universal admiration, that I should no more have the delight of seeing him go through the drill, and that I should have to walk alone as of old, with my hands in my pockets and my cotton cap drawn over my cars, without honour and without glory, such a catastrophe seemed to me the height of desolation. And what completed the bitter draught was that Scipio, grave and pensive, had come to seat himself before me, looking at me through his thick frizzled eyebrows, with as troubled an expression as if he had understood that we must be parted forever and ever. Oh! when I think of these things, even at this day, I wonder that my thick light curls did not turn quite grey from the effect of these distressing thoughts. I could not even cry, my grief was so bitter. I sat looking up to the ceiling, my thick lips pouting, and my hands clasped around one knee. My uncle was walking back and forth; now and then he gave a low cough and quickened his steps.
Madame Thérèse, always active, had, in spite of her sadness and her red eyes, opened the wardrobe of old linen and was cutting out from some thick cloth a kind of bag with two straps to put her things in for the journey. We heard the scissors click upon the table; she fitted the pieces with her usual adroitness. At last, when all was ready, she drew from her pocket a needle and thread, sat down, put on her thimble, and from that moment nothing was to be seen but her hand going and coming like a flash.
All this was done in the most perfect silence; we heard only the heavy tread of my uncle on the floor, and the measured ticking of our old clock, which neither our joys or our distresses could advance or delay for one second.
Lisbeth having come toward noon to lay the cloth, my uncle stopped and said to her,
"You must cook a small ham for to-mor row morning; Madame Thérèse is going away."
And as the old servant looked at him, quite shocked, "The Prussians claim her," he said in a hoarse voice; "they have strength on their side; it is necessary to obey."
Then Lisbeth put down the plates on the