camp? Was it envy and dread of the little bird, whom evil tongues called a bird of prey; and has he not the right to live according to his might?

Eric's thoughts were wafted toward the boy, longing to mingle in his dreams, and whisper to him, I am coming to thee. He endeavored for a long time to get sight of the glass dome, but it was nowhere visible. He went away from the river to an elevated plain, from which there was again a view of valleys, heights, and mountains.

He stood in the midst of an extensive field, and for the first time saw a vineyard which was just being planted. The laborers held implements, like augurs, in their hands, and making with them holes in the loose earth, they set out the young shoots

in rows.

He saluted the laborers, and they answered him cheerfully, feeling from the sound of his voice that he greeted every stranger as a brother. He inquired how long it would be before the first vintage, and when an old man answered clearly all his questions, he felt a new refreshment.

of violence. "My son," he said, "my heart
thrills with joy, when I contemplate how in
this century a beauty, a freedom, and a
brotherly love unfold themselves which
existed to us only in the germ.
As one
example, my son, see how the State now
educates its children, and does it in a way
that no Solon, no Socrates, ever could im-
agine. Thou wilt live in a time when it
will hardly be conceived that there were
slaves, serfs, bondmen, monopolies, and
the whole trumpery of a false world."


Eric added how happy it made him, that his father had departed in such a cheerful mood, and that he, as a son, could so fully enter into his hopes, and carry them out into life. He spoke in such an excitable manner, that Clodwig placed his hand on his shoulder and said, We will not, in the morning, take such a distant flight." He expressed also his satisfaction that he could enter so fully into the life of the coming generation, for he had always been troubled lest he might lose all hold upon the new time.


“We have had our morning devotions, now let us go to breakfast,” he said, turning round easily as he got up from his seat. Yet one more question: did your father never explain to you what occurred at his sudden-you know what I mean -- loss of favor at court?"

This conversation brought him back from his state of excitement, back from his wandering into the infinite, again to the earth. He went away expressing his thanks, and realising that he must bring this strain of lofty feeling into subjection to actual life. He met laborers who were going to a Certainly; my father told me the whole, limestone quarry. He joined them, and circumstantially."

learned that this also belonged to the count, who had leased all his lands, not re-it taining for himself even the management.

Receiving a friendly greeting from the overseer, he was shown a manufactory of cement near by, and saw paving-tiles from excellent patterns of the time of the Renaissance, which Clodwig had recommended, and which found a ready sale.

Eric returned to the Castle, refreshed by the breath of nature as well as by this glance into actual human life. A servant told him that the count was expecting him. Clodwig, already fully dressed for the day, took his guest by the hand, saying, "I shall ask you by and by many questions, but only one now: did your father despair at the last, or how shall I express it? did he die in the belief of an orderly and progressive unfolding of the social and moral world?"

[ocr errors]


"And did he not forbid you to speak of
to any one?"

"To others, but not to you."
"Did he mention me by name ? "

"No, but he expressly enjoined it upon me to inform those whom I honored with my whole soul, and so I can tell you."


Speak rather low," Clodwig enjoined, and Eric went on.

"My father, in that last interview which no one knew anything about, was to have received from the hand of the sovereign a title of nobility, in order that he might be appointed to an office at court. He said to the sovereign, Your highness, you make null the blessing of the long years in which I have spent my best strength in the education of my youthful prince, if you think I accept this on my own account, or that I regard it as something belonging to the age in which we live.' 'I do not make a jest of such things,' the prince replied. 'Neither do I,' said my father.

Eric then depicted in vivid language derived from his own recollections, and under the inspiring influence of his morning's ex- "Years after, his lips trembled as he relahilaration, how his father, on the last night ted this to me, and he said, that that moof his life, congratulated his son that he was ment, when he stood face to face with his born into the new age, which need no long-pupil speechless, was the bitterest moment er exhaust itself against opposing forms of his life."

[blocks in formation]

A silent pause now ensued between Eric and Clodwig, until the latter said finally, "I understand, I understand; let us go.'

They went into the breakfast-room on the ground floor, the doors of which were wide open. Bella soon appeared; she thought that Eric looked at her scrutinisingly, and quickly turning away, she went to a side table to prepare the coffee.

"My wife," said Clodwig," has already sent a messenger, this morning, to Fraulein Perini, and I have added a message to Herr Sonnencamp, that you, dear Dournay, would present yourself this evening, or, what would be better, early to-morrow morning."

"And I am to ask you to excuse my brother, who has set out, early this morning, in company with a young man whom they call here the wine-chevalier, to the horse-market at Mannheim. Will you have coffee or tea?"



If you please, coffee."


That is fine, and on the strength of that we are good friends," said Bella, in a lively way. It is an abominable excess of politeness, when people reply to such a question, It makes no difference to me.' If it makes no difference to you, dear polite soul, then give some decided answer, and don't put off the choice upon me."

A merry key was thus struck, and they seated themselves at table. Bella noticed that Eric observed her, and knew that she looked better in her pretty morning-dress, than in full evening costume. Her movements were very elastic and graceful. She was a tall, noble, well-made person; her soft, dark-auburn hair, now partly loose, was confined by a fine point-lace kerchief, put on with apparent carelessness, as if one had not taken a second look in the mirror, and tied under the chin. Her complexion was fresh, as if she had just bathed her face in milk; and in fact she did wash her face in milk every morning and evening. The expression of her countenance was keen and bright. All was nobly formed, except that she had a thin, compressed upper-lip, which a malicious gentleman at court had once called the lip of a poisoner. It was very vexatious to Bella that her voice was so masculine.

Her personal charms, her cordial and at the same time arch manners, showed to great advantage in the light talk at the breakfast table; and when at intervals she keenly watched Eric, she was surprised at his appearance. Yesterday she had seen him first only in the evening twilight, and afterwards by candle-light. He was manifestly a person to be seen in full daylight;

and in fact, there was now a brilliant lighting up of his countenance, for the happy excitement of his whole inner being showed itself in his mien, and he looked at Bella, as if he would say, 'I have become almost the son of thy husband; let the same noble union be formed between us.'

Bella was unusually friendly, perhaps because she had already used a little artifice. A note, written in Italian to Fraulein Perini, cautioned her in terms as decided in meaning, as they were carefully worded in expression, of the necessity of subjecting the new-comer to a sharp examination.

When Clodwig told the messenger that Eric would make his appearance in the evening, or the next morning, she felt herself justified and at rest in regard to her previous artifice; for Clodwig had never before detained a guest with such determination of his own, and no one could even boast of having made it appear that he was not sufficient for himself.

Clodwig and Bella had promised each other to live only to themselves, and until now they had faithfully kept the promise. "I am a weary soul," Clodwig had said to Bella when he offered her his hand, and she had answered, that she would refresh the weary one. She had cut off every relation with the world, for she knew that friendly visits last only for a few hours or days, and make the solitude afterwards more keenly felt.

Bella was very amiable always, and to everybody, provided everybody always did according to her will, and lived to please her. She really had no love for people and no desire for their society; she wanted nothing from others, and wished only to be left alone. The manifold relations which Clodwig had formerly had with men and women were repugnant to her, and he accommodated himself to the wish of his wife, who lived wholly for him, so far as to reduce his extensive correspondence and his personal intercourse to the smallest possible limit. They kept up a periodical connection with only two social circles in the neighborhood: one of these was the so-called middle-class circle who were invited to collation, as it was named, which we made acquaintance with yesterday; the other was a select circle, of the noble families scattered around, who were invited twice a year. Was this renegade captain now to change all this?

In the triumphant thought that she had banished him, Bella became more and more talkative. Eric could not refrain from highly extolling that mirthful excitement, that exuberant humor which pervades the

Rhineland, and takes possession of every She took the parrot out of his cage, one who comes within the sphere of its in-placed him on her shoulder, fondled and cahabitants. At last he led the conversation ressed him, so that one almost grudged again to Sonnencamp, by remarking that such wasteful prodigality; and her movethe manner in which the man was spoken ments were all beautiful, especially the curvabout yesterday was very puzzling to him. ing of the throat and shoulders. Bella in an off-hand manner declared, that she found the man very interesting, although this was going counter to the universal Philistinism; that she regarded him as a conqueror, a bold Berserkir, who had nothing to win for himself in this stock-jobbing age but gold.

There appeared to be a sympathetic attraction between Bella and Sonnencamp's speculative and daring spirit. Clodwig considerately added,

"I have often noticed, that so long as a man is accumulating wealth, his prosperity seems to give universal satisfaction; men feel pleased, as if they were accumulating too. But when he has attained his end, they turn round and find fault, where before they had commended. Do you understand anything of horticulture?"




CLODWIG looked down for some time after Bella had gone. He nodded to Eric as if he would greet him anew. But Bella soon returned, bearing the parrot on her hand, and stroking it. She walked up and down the room, lingering when Eric related how he had to-day, tearing himself by force away from the view of the river, goue back into the country, and had conversed with many persons.

Clodwig dwelt at length upon his pet theory, that traces of the Roman Colonists were still preserved in the physiognomy and character of the people.

Bella, apparently unwilling to be obliged to hear this again, interrupted, with goodhumored impertinence,-"When one turns himself away from the Rhine, he has the feeling, or at least I have, that some one, it may be Father Rhine himself, looks after me and calls out, 'Do turn round!'"

"Herr Sonnencamp is a very considerable horticulturist. Is it not strange that in the laying out of parks we have wholly supplanted the formal methods of French gardening, which now turn to the culture of fruit, and find encouragement in the pecu"We men do not always feel that we are niary profit that governs all such operations? looked at," replied Clodwig, and requested The English excel in swino-raising, their Eric to give his opinion about the earthen swine being fat sides of bacon with four vase, a present the day before from the feet attached; the French, on the other justice, which was standing on a side-table hand, having taken to fruit culture, have in the breakfast-room. Eric readily comsucceeded in producing fabulous crops. plied, and they went into the adjoining "Yes!" he concluded, smiling, "Herr room, filled with a great variety of articles Sonnencamp is a tree-tutor, and, moreover, found buried in the ground. Eric, fresh from a tyrannical tree-trimmer. To-day I can the study of antiquities, showed himself so speak out more freely. Sonnencamp has familiar with all the related topics, that Belalways been, and will always be, a stranger la could not refrain from expressing her astonishment.

to me.

"Through all his external polish, and an increasing attention to the cultivation of good manners, a sort of brutishness appears in him, I mean brutishness in its original meaning of an uncultivated state of nature." "Yes," Bella remarked, "you will have a difficult position, and especially with Ro


"With Roland?" asked Eric. "Yes, that is the boy's name. He would like to know much, and learn nothing."

Bella looked round pleased with her clever saying. The parrot in his great cage upon the veranda uttered shrill cries as if scolding. As she rose, Bella said, "There you see my tyrant; a scholar who tyrannises over his teacher in a most shocking manner."


"You are a good teacher, and it must be a pleasure to be instructed by you." Eric thanked her, and Bella continued with friendly affability, - Yes, indeed! many people give instruction in order to make a brilliant appearance, and many deal forth their knowledge reluctantly; but you, Doctor, teach like a beneficent friend who delights in being able to impart, but takes a yet greater pleasure in bestowing a benefit upon the recipient; and you impart in such a way that one is not only convinced you understand the matter, but believes that he himself does."

Clodwig looked up in amazement, for he had said precisely the same thing of Eric's father, while making mention of the fact that the only little treatise ever published

by him had received the disinterested help of Professor Dournay.

Bella withdrew after having thus shown her friendliness and her admiring surprise. The two men sat together for a long time after this, and then went to Eric's room, where Eric handed to the count a copy of his Doctor's thesis; and it then first occurred to him how strangely it had happened that he had there discussed the apocryphal treatise of Plato, "Concerning Riches," and now he was to be called upon to educate one under conditions of wealth. Eric and Clodwig were greatly struck by this coincidence.

Clodwig requested Eric to translate the manuscript from Latin into German. He did so, and it was to them a time of real enjoyment.

by himself. It is a joy to meet with such originality and depth."

Is he not too well aware of his own worth?" asked Bella, a flash of displeasure gleaming in her eyes.

"Not at all. He does not wish to shine, and yet he is genuine light. I feel as if I stood in the clear sunshine of the spirit; he is a man of pure character, and I am at home with him in the inmost realities, as I am with myself." Bella said nothing, and Clodwig continued: "I like especially in him, that he lets one who is talking with him complete his sentence; he does not interrupt by any movement or any change of feature; and in such an active and richly endowed mind this is doubly valuable, and something more than mere civility."

Bella still kept silence, bent over her embroidery, on which she was diligently intent. At last she looked up, and with a beaming countenance, said, "I rejoice in your joy."

"And I should like to perpetuate this joy," Clodwig replied.

When they arose, Clodwig observed to Eric how strange it must appear to him to find the Medusa and Victoria opposite each other; but he confessed to a heresy which met with approval, though not in accordance with the received scientific explanation. The Medusa was to him the "He is a handsome man," added Bella. expression of all-consuming passion, which Clodwig answered, smiling, "Now, since stiffens with horror the sinning beholder you have called my atention to it, I am rewho sees therein the image of himself; and minded how handsome he is. But he does it was very significant that the ancients not plume himself upon his good looks, and represented this entire abandonment of all I think that to be genuine beauty which the higher spiritual nature through a womanly when present has nothing strikingly promiform, the unrestrained indulgence of passionnent, all being in harmonious combination, being opposite to the truly feminine, and but which when thought of afterwards reveals so the more effective. The Victoria of new and beautiful attributes and forms. Rauch, on the other hand, appeared to him Most handsome men are forever looking to be the embodiment of an eminently mod-into a mirror visible only to themselves. ern spiritual conception.

"This countenance is wonderfully like " — he did not finish the sentence, but, stammeringly beginning another, continued: "This is not that Goddess of Victory who wears proudly and loftily the crown upon her gleaming forehead; this is the representation of victory which is inwardly sad that there is a foe to be conquered. Yes, still further, this Victoria is to me the goddess of victory over self, which is always the grandest victory."

After Clodiwg had made this remark, he said, "Now I leave you to yourself; you have already talked too much to-day and yesterday." Eric remained alone, and while he was writing to his mother, Clodwig sat with Bella and said to her :

"This young man is a genius, and ought not to live in a dependent situation, bound to routine service; he ought to be free like a bird, singing, flying, as he will, without any fixed and unalterable limits of time and occupation, and especially he ought to be

But why should I give up this man to somebody else, and above all to this Sonnencamp? I am situated so that I can offer him a home with me for years! Why not do it?


Why not?" said Bella, putting away her embroidery. "I need not assure you that I have no other joy in life than yours. So it is now with this brief happiness of yours, this childlike confidence you place in this noble-looking man. I see also that he has something elevated in his nature; he imparts much and gladly, is stimulating and quickening."


Why not then?"

"Because we want to be alone! Clod

wig, let us be by ourselves! It is my desire that even my brother should soon leave us; every third person, whether related by blood or by the most intimate spiritual ties, causes a separation, so that we do not have exclusive possession of each other.”

While she was speaking, she had placed her hand on Clodwig's arm, and now she

grasped his hand and stroked it. As Clodwig went away, Bella looked after him, shaking her head.

Bella came to the dinner-table handsomely dressed, and with a single rose in her hair. The men appeared weary, but she was extremely animated. She spoke a great deal of the happiness she had always had in being at the house of Eric's parents, where no ignoble word was ever uttered, for the mother cherished every high thought, like a priestess tending and feeding the smallest flame of the ideal on the household altar. Eric, who thought that he was proof against any further excitement, experienced a new and elevated emotion.

They drove out at noon, and Bella was silent during the ride. They visited a former Roman encampment. Bella sat alone under a tree, upon a covering spread upon the ground, and the men walked about.

When they came together around the evening lamp, Bella seemed like an entirely different person, having for the third time, that day, changed her dress. She was now very lively.

Bella had never been, during her whole life, dissatisfied with herself; she had never repented anything she had done, always saying, You were fully justified, at the moment when you acted. She did not wish at this time to appear in a false light to her husband's favorite, or as a mere trifling appendage; Eric should know who she was, that she was not only Clodwig's wife, but over and above all, Bella von Pranken.

She was ready to play as soon as Clodwig expressed the wish to hear her. The quick and eager haste with which she took off her ringing and rattling bracelets, which Eric at once with marked attentiveness received from her hand and placed upon the marble table under the mirror, the manner in which she poised her hands like two fluttering pinions, and then brought them down upon the keys, like a swimmer who is in his element, all served to show how resolved she was to occupy no second place. And never, since she had been Clodwig's wife, had Bella played as she now did in the presence of a third person, reserving hitherto her masterly performance on the piano for Clodwig alone. To-day her execution displayed such zest and skill that Clodwig himself, who knew every peculiar excellence in her method of playing, received a new surprise and delight.

During a pause, Eric seemed to strike the right key by remarking, that after such elevated enjoyment in the intercourse with noble persons and in the wide survey of unbounded nature, there is nothing for the

soul but to let the feelings dissolve and die away in the unlimited and shoreless ethereal atmosphere of music. A realm of waking dreams is then opened to us, a feeling of the infinite is awakened, that creates a something beyond what any word or look can express, and which is never unfolded by any sight or sound of nature from the unfathomed and mysterious depths of the human soul. As in answer to the inquiry, what influence predominated in him before composing, Mozart said, 'nothing but music which would come out,' the pure musical impulse without any definite conception, without any limiting idea, only a rhythmic, billowy undulation of tones, so it is that we, after the tension of thought and observation, through music are admitted into that pure, undefined, yet all-encompassing realm, which is a chaos, but a chaos that is no longer formless and void.

Bella, who sat reclining far back in a large arm-chair, gazed at Eric in such rapt wonder, that he dropt his eyes, unconsciously fixed upon her. To the surprise of both the men she suddenly rose, and bade them good night. She first gave her hand to Clodwig, then to Eric, and then to Clodwig again, and quickly went out.

Clodwig remained only a short time with his guest, and then he also took his leave. Eric went, in a sort of ecstacy, to his chamber. How rich was the world! what a day this had been from the dawn in the dewy wood even until this moment! and human happiness was a reality! Here were two who had attained rest and blessedness, such as could hardly be believed to exist in the actual world.

While he was standing still upon the carpeted stairs, from unconscious thoughts of the rich house he was about to enter, and conscious thoughts of the full and rounded existence of his host and hostess, the question suddenly occurred to him, Is this beautiful life, this perfecting of the soul in an extended view of nature, and its saturation in all that is beautiful in science and art, possible to wealth only, to freedom from care and want, to emancipation from all labor and from common needs?

As, holding the light in his hand, he entered the balcony chamber, he remained standing terrified, as if a ghost had appeared to him, before the bust of the Medusa, which with open mouth fixed upon him its overpowering and paralyzing gaze.

How is this? how has this image so suddenly assumed this likeness? Did Clodwig have any suspicion of it? It was indeed terrible.

« VorigeDoorgaan »