[Transcriber's note: [oe] = oe-ligature]
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EDUARD VON KEYSERLING
RUDOLF HANS BARTSCH
THE GERMAN CLASSICS
The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Masterpieces of German Literature TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH
KUNO FRANCKE, Ph.D., LL.D., Litt.D. Professor of the History of German Culture and Curator of the Germanic Museum, Harvard University
WILLIAM GUILD HOWARD, A.M. Assistant Professor of German, Harvard University
In Twenty Volumes Illustrated
THE GERMAN PUBLICATION SOCIETY NEW YORK
Copyright 1914. by THE GERMAN PUBLICATION SOCIETY
CONTRIBUTORS AND TRANSLATORS VOLUME XIX
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JULIUS PETERSEN, Ph.D., Professor of German Literature, University of Basel: The Contemporary Short Story.
BAYARD QUINCY MORGAN, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of German, University of Wisconsin: Gay Hearts; Tonio Kroeger; Matt the Holy; The Styrian Wine-Carter.
WILLIAM GUILD HOWARD, A.M., Assistant Professor of German, Harvard University: Burning Love; Mara.
KATHARINE ROYCE: Stephen the Smith.
A. I. DU P. COLEMAN, A.M., Professor of English Literature, College of the City of New York: The Ball of Crystal; In the Old "Sun."
MRS. AMELIA VON ENDE: The Iron Idol.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME XIX
The Contemporary Short Story. By Julius Petersen xi
The Ball of Crystal. Translated by A. I. du P. Coleman 1
Burning Love. Translated by William Guild Howard 77
EDUARD VON KEYSERLING
Gay Hearts. Translated by Bayard Quincy Morgan 101
Tonio Kroeger. Translated by Bayard Quincy Morgan 184
Matt the Holy. Translated by Bayard Quincy Morgan 251
RUDOLF HANS BARTSCH
The Styrian Wine-Carter. Translated by Bayard Quincy Morgan 268
Mara. Translated by William Guild Howard 285
In the Old "Sun." Translated by A. I. du P. Coleman 325
Stephen the Smith. Translated by Katharine Royce 373
The Iron Idol. Translated by Mrs. Amelia von Ende 456
Autumn. By Karl Haider Frontispiece
Helene Boehlau 2
Wife of a Clamdigger. By Hans von Bartels 32
Folksong. By K. Reutlingen 52
Clara Viebig 78
A Portrait. By Adolf Muenzer 102
The Gossips. By Friedrich Wahle 142
Little Curiosity. By Julius Exter 172
Thomas Mann 186
Arco. By Benno Becker 226
Ludwig Thoma 252
Rudolf Hans Bartsch 270
Back from the Fair. By Franz Wilhelm Voigt 286
Hermann Hesse 326
A Human Load. By Franz Wilhelm Voigt 336
Flower Market at Leyden. By Hans Herrmann 356
Ernst Zahn 374
Evening. By Ludwig Dill 400
Moonrise in the Moor. By Otto Modersohn 420
Forest Meadows. By Oscar Frenzel 450
Moorland. By Otto Modersohn 480
THE CONTEMPORARY SHORT STORY
By Julius Petersen, Ph.D. Professor of German Literature, University of Basel
TRANSLATED BY WILLIAM GUILD HOWARD
The last two volumes of this comprehensive publication are devoted to the living, the writers of the present who sow the seed from which shall grow the future of German letters. But who can speak of prophecy or prevision, at a moment when all who call themselves German are compelled to fight for their existence, and the future of German nationality as well as of German culture is hidden by the smoke of battle? To the four quarters of the globe the wild alarm Germania est delenda is trumpeted as a so-called duty of human civilization; isolated Germany can respond only with her resolute Victory or Death. What shall be the end? Shall this war of the nations, unparalleled in history, mean for Germany the destruction of all her material and spiritual possessions, as they were destroyed during the thirty years of horror in the seventeenth century? Or has Germany, thrown upon her own resources, attained to full consciousness of her strength, and now at last repaired the damage of that national calamity, which devastated her territory, subjected her to foreign domination, and continued to retard her progress for two full centuries?
Who can foretell whether the heroism of a mighty time, whose dawn we see, is to give new inspiration to patriotic poetry for centuries to come, and beget a new generation of bards worthy to sing of arms and men? The spirit of self-sacrificing devotion which waged the Seven Years' War and the Wars of Liberation has returned to animate the Germany of today. Who knows, however, but that many a precious life will be sacrificed from which we hoped for great things even in our literature, and which now sheds its blood in a struggle for the warrior's laurel wreath? For German poets have also heard the call to arms; and those who have not, like Ganghofer, despite his sixty years, and Dehmel with his fifty-one, joined the ranks of the volunteers, tune their lyres to Tyrtaean measures and enlist their pens in the service of their native land. Thus Gerhart Hauptmann, who only a year ago concluded his dramatic celebration of the centennial of German liberation with an apotheosis of peace, now comes forward with stirring war songs.
Is this still the people to which Goethe belonged? At a time when a common cause with Austria conjures up again the shade of the dear old Holy Roman Empire no other verse in Faust seems so inept as that concerning the ugly political song. Today we should rather say "An unpolitical song, an ugly song;" for to the people that but a few weeks ago was mindful of naught but works of peace everything has become a matter of indifference except the burning question of the hour. Even though the longed-for peace should soon return, the year 1914 must leave a deep mark in the development of German literature. As yet we can only look back, not forward, from this milestone; and even in so doing we cannot escape from the present.
One thing the very first days of the war have made manifest: the physical and moral strength and the healthy marrow of the German people. Our literature, as the most faithful mirror of national life, has reflected in the past ten years this incorruptible healthfulness, and if we look somewhat farther back, we even see something resembling a process of convalescence. It was possible in 1903 for a novel Jena or Sedan by Franz Adam Beyerlein to create a sensation. Written in the manner of Zola, the book, which, because of an alleged dry rot in the German army, prophesied mischance in the future, produced its effect not so much through an apparently objective but gloomy depiction of life in the garrisons, as through the nourishment that it gave to the torturing doubts which during the last decades of the nineteenth century grew rank as a fatalistic pessimism. The very principle of naturalism as a form of art, with its one-sided preference for disease, crime, and weakness, flourished on the offal of a materialistic philosophy of life, which viewed the vanity of existence with weary resignation. But this disease of the times was as little a specifically German malady as the naturalism imported from France and Russia was a genuine form of German art. Liberation from paralyzing lethargy was possible only through a realization of the fact that the real sources of national power were to be sought elsewhere. The soul of the German people, which in former centuries gave birth to mysticism and romanticism, is filled with a yearning for the infinite that cannot in the long run be contented with a materialistic philosophy; and the home of the German people, broad and fertile Germany, presents other pictures than a view of coal mines and swarming streets seen through the narrow space between factory chimneys. As a reaction against naturalism there arose therefore a neo-romanticism, and as its national modification, an art of the native heath (Heimatkunst).
There is no contradiction between romanticism and Heimatkunst; for it was romanticism that in its time aroused the Germans to a real sense of what their native heath meant for them; neither is Heimatkunst opposed to naturalism. In both Heimatkunst and naturalism nature is the watchword, but with the difference that what for the one is the principle is for the other the subject of poetic representation. Naturalism aimed to give the impression of inexorable fidelity to nature in the reproduction of the unhealthful and of that which strictly speaking was contrary to nature; Heimatkunst, on the other hand, had recourse to free and open nature as the unfailing fountain of health. When naturalism came to the fore it was customary to designate the opposing tendencies as idealism and realism; the contrast is better expressed by the terms optimism and pessimism. In the last ten years clear prevision of the tasks of the future and a sense of the duty of national training for these tasks, such as we admire in the Americans, has developed in Germany. A hopeful outlook fosters the joy of living; as this joy increases, a new love of nature and a new comprehension of her revelations develop; the old German passion for roving revives; and delight in song and sport, in fresh air and sunshine, rejuvenates the whole people. Literature follows this national bent and its rallying cry becomes "Out of the atmosphere of the hospital and oppressive wretchedness, back to the life-giving sod which yields sustenance to every worker, out into the country, where there is a sufficiency for simple wants, where there is no strife between capital and labor, where the harshness of social distinctions vanishes and the feeling prevails of a common bond between man and his native heath as well as between man and man."
The optimistic faith in the future of the German people furnishes the foundation also for the consciousness of a great unity to which all branches of the German stock have now awakened, and which is the second important element in the* present state of things. German history testifies to more than a thousand years of inner and outer disunion. The present war is almost the first in which Germans have not to array themselves against Germans; this time there is left only the common pain and the common bitterness that a people of kindred blood takes the field against Germany. But all the German tribes and nations feel themselves to be one people—indeed, the sense of membership proclaims itself in the form of sympathy beyond political boundaries "as far as the German tongue is heard." However little political influence may be attached to this fact, its cultural significance is not to be underestimated; for a common language forms today a stronger bond than the sense of racial consanguinity, and this bond is most of all strengthened by the common possession of a literature.
It has been hardly more than a hundred years that the Germans could be said to possess a national literature. Even the literature of the eighteenth century was ill-starred by the partisan strife between the Saxons and the Swiss, a strife which had its origin more particularly in irreconcilable differences of language. Permanent peace was concluded at Weimar without any feeling that the supremacy of this spiritual centre was tyranny. Even in his old age Goethe showed the keenest interest in all local and dialectical literature, and romanticism reinforced the sense for every ancient trait of national individuality. United Germany has no need of an academy to fix the canons of usage; on the contrary, it recognizes in the variety of local and dialectical peculiarities a source of wealth which would be impaired by any normalization, and the drying up of which would threaten literature with sterility. Cultivated Germany is not an anarchy, but a federation of many small states, with a much more democratic constitution than such a unified state as France, of which state Paris is the monarch. The influence of Prussia, mostly misunderstood abroad, is confined to military and civil administration; in questions of art and culture, but above all in literature, every attempt to enforce uniformity meets with the most stubborn resistance.
The turn of the century witnessed, it is true, an ominous assumption of authority on the part of the imperial capital in the domain of literature, and especially the drama; but it was not so much Berlin as the great city as such. The diseases of superculture, impotent estheticism, the restless spirit of commercialism, and social conflicts are of the same kind in Berlin and Vienna as in Paris, London, and New York. Naturalism, which seized upon these themes, was international, as was socialism, which hailed this movement as its own. With the opposition against naturalism and with the new gospel of Heimatkunst the revolt against the international, against the literature of city life in general, and particularly against the snobbish literary clique in Berlin was complete. As early as 1901 the gospel of "Away from Berlin!" was thus fervently preached by a champion of Heimatkunst, the Alsatian Fritz Lienhard:
You writers are all of you entirely out of touch with the German family, with the spirit of the German people throughout the length and breadth of the empire. You no longer survey with comprehensive vision and open-mindedness the manifold regions of our country and the multifarious callings of our people; you no longer feel yourselves to be addressing the millions of good people whose mother tongue you speak, indeed, the best people of your day and generation; you do not dream of disciplining yourselves to be men and heroes, or of striving to be at one with the widely ramified nation and the still more widespread spirit of humanity. Aimlessly yielding to your artistic whims, crotchets, and triflings, you make "interesting works of art" out of your own immaturity, you are satisfied with an audience composed of an infinitesimal fraction of our people, a fraction, moreover, which, things being as they are, consists chiefly of the parvenus residing in Berlin W. This is the public which—more is the pity—dominates the picture galleries, the concert halls, and the theatres of Berlin, and from Berlin affects to set the standard of taste for the empire so far, it must be added, as the empire at large concerns itself at all with this meticulous literature. Religion is a private matter, declares Social Democracy. We might plaintively add that literature is a parlor matter, the special affair of Berlin.... Our literature does not throb with the heart-beats of the national soul. And he who seriously, patriotically, out of the abundance of his heart and the richness of his mind, and out of a lively sense of community with the myriads of German-speaking men and women seeks entrance into the world of letters, he faces in painful amazement the dilemma: People or literature? Human being or artist? Personality or artifice?
These utterances might be taken as a reckless abandonment of artistry in favor of the national, but commonplace; and in fact, Heimatkunst, when assimilated to folklore, as it was in this gospel, did run the risk of an uninspired monotony. Such writers as Sohnrey and Frenssen have not altogether escaped the danger. Only the synthesis of form and content, only creation conscious of racial peculiarity but obedient to severe esthetic discipline, can keep in the path of fruitful progress. The intimate connection of man with his native soil presents a modern artistic problem which can be solved neither by the experimental method, according to which naturalism investigated the milieu as a causal factor, nor by the amateurishly descriptive processes of idyllic poetasters and local favorites, but must be intuitively grasped by the penetrating eye of a real seer.
Not merely the subject, but also the seer is native to the spot. The true poet will always be found to know most intimately the land of his birth and the men of his race. If he confined himself to these, he would be a narrow specialist. If, on the other hand, he represents other characters in less familiar setting, he will still envisage them in the manner to which he is born, and in language, style, and all the forms of apperception he will reveal the temperament and the nature of his stock. As the specifically German novel, taken by and large, is distinguished by national traits from the Russian, French, or American, even when it has been modified by influences from many sides, so the novel of each separate German tribe and nation has kept its peculiarity within the range of the general membership, one with another. The whole constitutes an orchestra of manifold instruments, each with its own timbre, and yet all in tune and harmony, and no one superfluous. The detection of the individual instruments is possible, if we attentively analyze. The present centrifugal tendency of German literature has strongly developed such a sense for the detection of differences. Recently the attempt has been made to group the entire history of German literature from the most ancient times according to racial stocks and regions, an experiment that would scarcely have been made if the literary circumstances of the present had not especially invited it.
Literature in Low German has had from time immemorial its sharply defined character, which harmonizes with the North German landscape. Broad expanses of dead-level heath, great gray-brown moorlands, meadows intersected by glittering canals, a boundless horizon which gives the eye a sense of freedom and independence, the blue atmosphere of the sea which contributes something metaphysical to the humdrum of existence—on this soil a grave race flourishes, of quick conscience and serious life. The old saying Frisia non cantat marks the lack of exuberance and of the spirit of revelry. But shy reticence finds compensation in good-natured humor. Unenthusiastic but substantial realism, speculative meditation, and a certain didactic tone make the Low German country the home of the fable and the great epic. That such a great dramatist as Hebbel was also a scion of this stock seems almost exceptional. The stubborn peasant family-stocks, the urban culture of the Hanseatic cities, and the scattered seats of the nobility, even as far east as the Russian Baltic provinces, bear witness to the development of a uniform temperament in spite of all the differences of social environment. We can, then, on the basis of common Low German characteristics form a great group of writers: writers from the Baltic provinces, the upper-class life of which has been treated by Eduard von Keyserling, while need and struggle have been described by Frances Kuelpe and Karl Worms; the West Prussians, represented by Max Halbe; the Pomeranians (Georg Engel), the Mecklenburgers (Max Dreyer), the Hanseatics (Gustav Falke, Thomas Mann, Otto Ernst), the Schleswig-Holsteiners (Timm Kroeger, Charlotte Niese, Gustav Frenssen, Othmar Enking, Helene Voigt-Diederichs), the Hanoverians (Diedrich Speckmann, Heinrich Sohnrey, Karl Soehle), the Westphalians (Hermann Wette, Walther Schulte vom Bruehl).
Along the banks of the Rhine, on the other hand, there dwells in the same latitude a more vivacious people, whose mischievous cheerfulness and easy-going philosophy of life are manifestations of their Frankish blood. It is striking that hardly one of the most prominent Rhenish writers of the present (Clara Viebig, Joseph Lauff, Rudolf Herzog, Wilhelm Schaefer, Wilhelm Schmidtbonn, Herbert Eulenberg) has failed to try his hand at the drama. In Middle Germany emotions are more deep-seated and more responsive; people are more sentimental, more soft-hearted, more talkative, more visionary, have a finer sense of form, but a more conventional manner of speech. In this charming region of forests and mountains, to which the population is warmly attached and in which it finds protection, there is abundant occupation for a tender heart and a lively imagination. Middle Germany is the home of mysticism and romanticism, and this fact is apparent in the authors of the present day: the Silesians (Karl and Gerhart Hauptmann, Hermann Stehr, Paul Keller), the Misnians (Max Geissler, Kurt Martens), the Thuringians (Helene Boehlau, Marthe Renate Fischer, Wilhelm Arminius), the Hessians (Wilhelm Speck), the Franconians (Wilhelm Weigand, Bernhard Kellerman), and the inhabitants of the Palatinate (Anna Croissant-Rust).
Fondness for music is especially prominent in the stocks in which there has been an infusion of Slavic elements. In Upper Germany, accordingly, a sharp line is to be drawn between the Bavaro-Austrian and the Alemannic group. In Austria the capacity for sensuous enjoyment and a certain indolence are combined with a tendency toward sanguine but short-lived enthusiasms. A soft, southern air blows about the heights of Styria as well as over Vienna and its environs, and in the works of the writers of these regions (Wilhelm Fischer-Graz, Rudolf Hans Bartsch) everything is resolved into a lyrical mood and a melody of words. Similarly in the case of writers of southern Tirol (Hans von Hoffensthal, Richard Huldschiner), whereas on the northern slope of the Alps a race of men made of sterner stuff is reared (Rudolf Greinz, Karl Schoenherr). In Bavaria, finally, people are even more rough and ready and lyrical sentimentality yields to a pugnacious propensity to ridicule, which gives satirical seasoning to the works of the genuinely Bavarian writers Ludwig Thoma and Joseph Ruederer.
The sluggish Alemannians, on the contrary, lack the vivacity of the Bavaro-Austrian stock. On the monotonous heights of the Swabian plateau are developed such brusque individualism, tenacious self-will, peculiar humor inclined to self-depreciation, soaring fantasy, and (withal there is no lack of comprehension for the ideas of domesticity) such a predilection for adventures abroad as we find in the Swabian narrators Emil Strauss, Hermann Hesse, Ludwig Finckh, and Heinrich Lilienfein. Didacticism, present in all Alemannic prose and poetry, finds more popular forms among the story-writers of the Black Forest of Baden (Heinrich Hansjakob, Hermine Villinger, Emil Goett, Hermann Burte), while in the local character of the Alsatians, the source of Hermann Stegemann's novels, good-natured practical joking is more at home. As the rough Alpine country demands the utmost of human industry, so in the realm of art it has developed a sympathy with practical, efficient life, which, disinclined to all speculation (for Spitteler stands well-nigh alone in this matter), is rather under the sway of pedagogical interests. In Switzerland literature is most indissolubly bound up with the life of the whole people, and a gay art for art's sake cannot thrive. Here are to be found true farmer-authors, such as Alfred Huggenberger, who still guides the plow across his fields, or poets who have risen from the ranks of handicraftsmen, such as Jakob Schaffner, or those who prosecute their literary avocation side by side with the business of a restaurateur, like Ernst Zahn. And no other of the compatriots of Pestalozzi (J. C. Heer, Heinrich Federer, Meinrad Lienert, Felix Moeschlin) disdains either, to be in the truest sense a popular poet and an educator of the people.
By virtue of the inexhaustible riches which the Heimatkunst brought to light, the defiant rejection of the literature of the great cities has been rightly recognized as no mere theoretical programme. The novel of urban life, such as flourished in Berlin, Vienna, and Munich at the close of the last century, is today antiquated and has lost its savor. And it is significant that the Berlin novel of the last few years, for example Georg Hermann's Jettchen Gebert (1906) or the two most recent works of Clara Viebig, prefers for its scene of action the Berlin of the seventies, which, as yet free from the modern German "South Sea Bubble," preserved for the inordinately growing city its old established local character.
An account of German narrative writing of the present time is a kind of ethnography of the German stocks and regions. The names above-mentioned, selected without prejudice and also without arbitrariness, ought to be represented here each with a specimen. In part, these authors have been represented in the preceding volumes. The necessary limits of this volume permit consideration of only a dozen. The varieties of language and style which distinguish them one from another cannot fail to be somewhat obscured in a translation; nevertheless, the six pairs which we have arrayed according to racial affiliation and age are well adapted to give an impression of the manifoldness of German narrative prose at the beginning of the twentieth century.
In the first place we mention two women, Helene Boehlau and Clara Viebig. Both have passed through the naturalistic school—for the former, indeed, naturalism marked only a period of transition; for the latter it meant conversion to a creed to which she has remained faithful.
The cradle of Helene Boehlau stood on classic ground. Exactly one hundred years after Schiller, in November, 1859, she was born in Weimar, the daughter of a publisher whose name has become known chiefly in connection with the great Weimar edition of Goethe's complete works. Her grandmother, "Grammie" as the children called the old lady, took to her heart the shy and timid girl and revealed to her from the recollections of her own youth the glory that once was and that still gleamed as a memory within the dim and narrow confines of the Thuringian capital city. Out of the anecdotes that the grandmother told, the book grew which first made the name of the authoress famous, Tales of the Councillor's Girls (Ratsmaedelgeschichten, 1888). "In the midst of the great German Empire," the book begins, "lies a little city famed far and wide, Weimar in Thuringia. When my grandmother was a child there ruled over this country a very wise and good prince who because of his goodness and wisdom had prevailed upon great poets then living to come and dwell in his city. And because he was so exceedingly wise and was so beloved and honored by all, poets and scholars came from all sides, lived in the prince's city, and wrote there such splendid works that the whole world marveled. Even today what these men thought and wrote is the most beautiful thing that we know, and it will remain so for a long, long time to come. About these men everything conceivable has been often told and accurately described, and people will talk of them centuries hence. But by their side there dwelt in the city in those days many men of whom nowadays no more mention is made. They too experienced joys and sorrows; they too had their day, felt deeply, were glad and sad, and had hearts like the others."
Among these mute, inglorious personages of the great time belong the daughters of Councillor Kirst in Wuensch Street, Rose and Mary, two wide-awake, mischievous lassies who are the heroines of the book. Young Ernst von Schiller, the second son of the prematurely deceased poet, is their playmate; they make fun of August von Goethe as he goes a-wooing; they quarrel with the sour-visaged boor, Arthur Schopenhauer, as they go in and out of his mother's house, the novelist's; old Madam Kummerfeld, a former actress who in her youth had as Juliet inspired the Leipsic student Goethe, is their teacher in the art of sewing as well as making a courtly bow—which latter accomplishment they have occasion to practise when one day in the park they almost knock down the corpulent Grand Duke by running against him, and are then treated by him to good things to eat. With his knowledge they slip into the theatre without tickets, and when they have witnessed a performance of Tasso at which Goethe is present, they are so impressed that they follow the poet as, wrapped in his cloak, he strides home in the darkness, and for a while they continue to stare up admiringly at his lighted windows. Nevertheless, at the next moment they scramble over the wall of the neighboring house and help themselves to the beautiful lilies which bloom in old Wieland's garden. In these stories the historical personages, which with artistic discretion are kept in the background, constitute after all only a decorative element; in the foreground happy youthfulness disports itself in its irresponsibility. "O you poor young folks of today," exclaims the young Weimar authoress, "if you had any idea what riches, what abundance of life the young folks had at their command at the beginning of our century, you would bitterly complain, you would seem to yourselves deceived and defrauded, old from the cradle, forced into the straight-jackets of duty!"
A certain disgust with the colorless life of the philistine borough into which Weimar more and more degenerated after Goethe's death may be read between the lines of this apostrophe. Repelled by the gloomy humdrum and filled with dreams of past greatness as well as with longing for a more abundant life in the future, the young writer felt the close confinement of her home town. In this state of mind she met the man who proved to be her fate. Since his first, unhappy marriage had been annulled according to Turkish, but not according to German law, she followed him to Constantinople, and Helene Boehlau became Madame Al Raschid Bey. The Orient furnished the German authoress with strikingly few motifs; but Munich, whither she later returned with her husband, became her second home. On the bank of the Isar lies the scene of her best novel, The Switching Station (1895). In this book she is a disciple of naturalism, not merely in respect to the fidelity with which life in the art centre and the restless haste and nervous disorderliness in an artist's family are depicted, but also in the use of symbolism after the manner of Zola: for the switching station, with its purposeless turmoil, its disquietude, its pulling and hauling, is a symbol for the noisy life in general, and in particular for the comfortless, hapless marriage in which a delicately organized artistic soul is worried to death. The fate of the woman who becomes the victim of a man is the theme of the succeeding novels, A Mother's Rights (1897) and Half Beast (1899), in which Helene Boehlau enters the lists side by side with Gabriele Reuter and Marie Janitschek and other women as a passionate champion of the rights of her ever oppressed sex. From the point of view of literary art the immoderate formlessness of these partisan novels was an aberration; but meanwhile the writer has once more emancipated herself from such servitude to the cause. The finest understanding for feminine characters, all of which are children of her heart, cannot indeed compensate for imperfect comprehension of the masculine way of thinking. Strictly speaking, Helene Boehlau knows of only two sorts of feeling for men: hatred of the brutal beast and admiration for an ideal, which is born of longing to embrace a lofty, victorious personality. In real life she has found the fulfilment of her longing in her husband, the strange prophet who as half a Turk gathered about himself in Munich a queer circle of auditors for his mystical Oriental philosophy. To his memory she erected a dutiful monument in her last work Isebies (1911), an apology for her own life, her longing, her seeking, and her salvation. But even in this work the finest and the clearest portion is the narrative of her childhood in Weimar. To the unique charm of her native town, which like Bethlehem in Judaea was small and also great, Helene Boehlau returned in other stories of Old Weimar written before her latest work appeared. To this series belongs The Ball of Crystal (1903) with which our selections begin. Style and narrative art have matured; we have to do no longer with mere anecdote, as in the Tales of the Councillor's Girls, but with a more concentrated plot; the character of the heroine, which is symbolized by the title, is subjected to a more profound psychological diagnosis; but we are still taken with the same purity of heart as in the earlier narratives, and the quintessence of this book, as indeed of the entire literary personality of the authoress, may be found in the final words of the Tales of the Councillor's Girls: "The kind, the imperturbable, who with gentle readiness take good or evil as it comes—they are the real heroes, not those who face life bristling like a porcupine. The only thing which can give our hearts peace and happiness on earth is good will toward men."
Clara Viebig is a less gentle nature. She is a poetess not so much of the heart and soul as of the impulsive temperament and the strong will. She has not passed through any vacillating development, nor has naturalism been for her as for Helene Boehlau a mere preparatory school or transition stage; on the contrary, in all her work she has consistently remained a disciple of Zola and has not shrunk from any of the brutalities of his method. There is not much to tell about the personal life of this authoress. Born at Treves on the Moselle in 1860 as the daughter of an official in the civil service, she was taken when quite young to Duesseldorf on the Rhine, but passed a part of her youth in eastern Germany, in Posen, the birthplace of her parents. After her father's death she came to Berlin to study music; here she became a writer, and now she is living as the wife of her publisher in the suburb of Zehlendorf. Her spiritual experiences are perhaps most clearly set forth in the novel Long Live Art (1899). The passionate struggles of a young authoress for literary success lead after many disappointed hopes and many disillusionments to the attainment of genuine good fortune in art and in domestic life as well. On her native heath the despairing woman is cured of her despair—this typifies all the work of Clara Viebig, which reveals itself as pure Heimatkunst in advance of the time when this label gained currency. To be sure, it is a triple home that Clara Viebig can call her own, the Rhine country, eastern Germany, and Berlin. As might be expected, the memories of childhood left the most lasting effect upon her. The Eifel, that bleak plateau between the Moselle and the Rhine, with its broad melancholy heaths and bald craters of extinct volcanoes, with its dark lakes and lonely forests, is the district with which she is most familiar. The hard-headed, moody, quick-tempered peasants, whose stubbornness befits the volcanic origin of their mountains, appear in her first collection of short stories, Children of the Eifel (1897). In the Eifel is situated the Women's Village (1900), all the men of which seek their livelihood overseas, so that all the women swarm about the only man left at home, a cripple. The novel John Miller (1903) treats the tragedy of a rich man of the Eifel who goes to ruin in pride and blind presumption; The Cross in the Venn (1908) deals with the religious life of this district. The scene of the novel The Watch on the Rhine (1902) is Duesseldorf, where the difficult process of amalgamation between Prussians and Rhinelanders, first accomplished in 1870, is illustrated in the wedded life of a Prussian sergeant and the daughter of a Duesseldorf innkeeper. The struggle of racial incompatibilities which is here depicted with the most matter-of-fact objectivity, and which in a series of merry genre pictures is brought to a happy conclusion, is carried in another work to a frightfully serious tragic ending. The Sleeping Host (1904) takes us to the Prussian province of Posen and shows the effect of strife between German and Slavic elements, in the fate of Rhenish immigrants whose efforts to found a new home for themselves are brought to naught. A second novel of the eastern frontier, Absolvo Te (1907), is inferior to the first, not in power of characterization, but in range of subject. Still a third work treats the problem of a difference between blood and rearing, A Mother's Son (1906). The novel traces the development of the son of a peasant woman of the Eifel who has been adopted by a Berlin family and in whom, in spite of careful education, the evil disposition of his father comes to the surface. In this artificial treatment of the theory of heredity Clara Viebig's art does not appear to the best advantage; her forte is rather unbiased objectivity and penetrating observation of every-day life. The other novels having their scene in Berlin are distinguished for a keen sense for realities, as, for example, The Daily Bread (1900), a treatment of the servant question which in the technique of Zola gives a panorama of the metropolis and of life in the lower strata. A rise above the level of naturalism may be noted in the fact that the last two novels of this author do not deal with the present but, like The Watch on the Rhine, revert to themes in the history of social development. Those without the Gates (1910) depicts the fate of the suburbanites who are submerged in the gigantic organism of the growing city; the latest novel, Iron in the Fire (1913), has for its subject the time from 1848 to 1866, the time of expectation; an old-fashioned Berlin smithy is the scene, the fire in the forge and the power behind the hammer are symbols of the growth of the nation. Only in the dim background does the figure of Bismarck appear, the smith who welded the parts of the empire into one; it is characteristic of Clara Viebig's art that she allows great historical events to be mirrored only in the little world of the actors in her little drama, whereas Helene Boehlau grants to the historical figures of Old Weimar participation at least in episodes. Clara Viebig can compass no great characters or persons of superior intelligence; even men she hardly shows otherwise than in their sensual brutality. She succeeds best with simple, vegetative natures of elemental instincts and eruptive passions, like the women of the Eifel, whose life of hardship, unhappiness in love, and maternal sorrows she knows how to represent with telling power. From the collection entitled Forces of Nature (1905) we have taken the story of a mother who for blind love of her son becomes an incendiary—a story which reveals in high degree the peculiar quality of this authoress. The scenes of Clara Viebig's life and work are on a line running from west to east; the corresponding line for the following writers runs from north to south. Count Eduard Keyserling and Thomas Mann are both of North German extraction and have both settled in Munich; both are moreover very similar in their high esthetic culture and in a certain languid aristocracy of feeling and ironical reticence; and their literary models (Dickens, Thackeray, Balzac, Fontane) were the same.
Count Keyserling (born in 1858 at Pelsz-Paddernin in Curland) had the same experience as Fontane, in that he was late in developing his particular style in narrative composition. When in the eighties he made his first appearance in literary circles in Munich, he essayed very naturalistic novels; his first, Rosa Herz (1885) deals with the fate of a poor victim of seduction. Thereupon followed a series of dramas (Spring Sacrifice, 1899, Stupid Jack, 1901, Peter Hawel, 1903) which in their delicate atmosphere, their finished technique, and the interest of their dialogue deserved more attention than they received. Not until after the dawn of the new century did the author find his true vocation in the telling of tales of his home country. Beata and Mamie (1903) and Dumala (1908) are the great novels; Muggy Days (1906) and Gay Hearts (1909) are collections of short stories. All revolve in the sphere of the East German country gentry, in their white castles reflected in lakes, in their garden pavilions, and on the broad tracts of their hunting preserves. It is always the same people with whom we have to do: imperious counts who wish to be admired and to enjoy themselves, and whose life consists of hunting, gaming, adultery, duelling, and ultimate return to impeccable correctness in their peaceful homes. In this world, "hung with fine white curtains," there are women with the fine pallor of the old families, they also full of longing for freshly pulsating life. When, however, the yearned-for great experience finally knocks at their door, they draw back disappointed. Thus it was with young Countess Billy when she eloped with her Polish cousin.
It is not this writer's business to preach new, revolutionary ideas and views. He narrates typical cases with the dignified reserve of the skeptical man of the world, who knows how to weave in everywhere the comments of a shrewd philosophy of life, who bridles passion with strict self-control, and in the representation of the most tempestuous crises maintains sure mastery over expression and form. The writer himself may share with his creations their longing for fresh elemental power; but he is endowed with far too much of the traditional culture of his caste ever to allow himself any obstreperous accents. The words of one of his dramatic figures characterize his own art: "We no longer know how to underscore. Underscoring is in bad taste. Those people out there live on underscoring."
Longing for abundant pulsating life, and autumnal renunciation on the part of a decaying family, are also among the principal motifs in the work of Thomas Mann. "Life, revealing itself in eternal contrariness to the spirit and to art—not as a vision of bloody greatness and untamed beauty, not as something uncommon does it present itself to us uncommon people. On the contrary, the normal, proper, and lovely is the realm of our longing, is life in its seductive banality! He is far from being an artist, whose last and deepest yearning is for the superrefined, the eccentric and satanical, who knows no longing for the innocent, the simple and living, for a little friendship, devotion, confidential familiarity, and human happiness—the furtive and consuming longing for the raptures of the common place!"
These sentiments of Mann's Tonio Kroeger might animate one of Keyserling's characters, but Keyserling would never express them in such impulsive fashion. Mann is much more subjective than Keyserling. In all the experiences of his characters he is mirrored himself, and all of his writings make and repeat one and the same confession as the foundation of his art, the solitude of the artist.
The cleft which separates two worlds is recognizable in his very parentage. Thomas Mann was born in Luebeck in 1875, the son of a merchant and senator of the ancient Hanseatic city; his mother is a Creole from South America. In his elder brother Heinrich Mann, perhaps a more ingenious, but a less finished writer, of the nervous, ardently passionate, impressionistic sort, the exotic heritage has tended to predominate; in Thomas Mann the correctness of the austere Hanseatic city and her old traditions seems to be the strongest element. Because he cannot escape the exasperating incompatibility between citizen and artist, between the instinct for conformity and the will to be different, he fights this battle again and again, and bitter meditation upon it has given him the themes of his principal works.
Mann's chief work, indubitably one of the best German novels of the last decades, is entitled The Buddenbrooks, the Degeneration of a Family (1901). The book would perhaps never have been written without the example of Zola in Les Rougon-Macquart, but it is far from being a mere copy; for a much more personal conception of the subject and a tone of narration in which the finest irony is mingled raise it far above the arid level of the roman experimental. In four generations, whose representatives are placed before us with uncommon plasticity and lifelikeness, the decaying family slowly passes across the stage. From generation to generation the robust, sober business sense is poisoned with a greater and greater infection of morbid feelings and hypersensitive nerves, until finally the vitality of the family goes out like a burnt-up candle.
The great novel was followed by a collection of short stories, Tristan (1903), from which we have selected Tonio Kroeger. A tragedy of the Renaissance, Fiorenza (1905), develops the dualism between real life and artistic existence, between the proud joy of living and ascetic hostility to life, in two brothers of the house of Medici, Lorenzo and Girolamo, who are suitors for the hand of one and the same woman. The following novel, His Royal Highness (1909), shows how a prince, educated in aloofness from life, is saved from a living death through love for an American heiress. Finally, there appeared only last year a masterpiece in the most exquisite style, the narrative Death in Venice (1913). It is a heart-felt confession, taking as its theme the chilling apprehension of approaching old age and death. In the late-awakening impulse of love for a young boy there is here a generally misunderstood symbol of longing for life. The figure of the hero, Gustav Aschenbach, evidently furnishes a key to unlock many mysteries in the artistic work of the author:
He never knew the leisure, never the careless unconcern of youth. When in his thirty-fifth year he fell ill in Vienna, a keen observer once remarked about him in company, "You see, Aschenbach has always lived like this"—and he clenched his left fist—"never this way"—and he let his open hand dangle from the arm of his chair. That was indeed the case; and the moral valor about Aschenbach was that his constitution was in no sense robust, and that though called to unremitting exertion, he was not really born to it.... With a strong will and tenacity comparable to that which had subdued his native province, he worked for years under the stress of one and the same task, and devoted to its proper accomplishment all of his strongest and best hours. He almost loved the enervating, daily-renewed combat between his tenacious, proud, and often tried willpower, and this ever-growing fatigue, which was his secret and which the product should in no wise betray by signs of exhaustion or indifference.
Thomas Mann resembles his hero in being comparatively unproductive; but it should be added at once that no one of his works fails to exhibit the utmost of artistic finish. Unrelaxing attention and indefatigable effort to attain artistic form are the heritage of his North German descent, of which he perhaps became fully conscious in South Germany, in the city of more easy-going habits of life. In Buddenbrooks itself the difference between North and South plays an important part; Tonie, the youngest daughter of the house of Buddenbrook, is twice married, first to an unscrupulous speculator in Luebeck, the second time to a Munich dealer in hops, Aloysius Permaneder, who rescues her from the disgraceful position of a divorced woman. This deliriously portrayed beer-reeking philistine, whose informality and whose wild oaths horrify the prim Luebeckers no less than his good-hearted naivete amuses them, marries Tonie Buddenbrook, retires from business on the strength of her dowry, and as an owner of real estate and a gentleman of leisure passes the rest of his life in drinking beer morning and night, cutting coupons, and annually raising the rent of his tenants. Such a successful caricature splendidly embodies the stagnating spirit of the blissfully idyllic town which the metropolis of Bavaria has remained in spite of all its growth.
And yet, in no other German city is there so high a degree of artistic culture, and the odor of Munich beer seems to furnish a more favorable atmosphere for the creative artist than the prestissimo of life in Berlin, which steels the nerves of the energetic, rushing man of business. There are two sides to everything: the motto of the indolent man of Munich, "Let me alone" (Mei Rua will i ham) gives to art that which it needs above all else, time, contemplativeness, freedom. Nowhere can one so unrestrainedly cultivate one's own style of life as there. And withal, artistic freedom of life accommodates itself remarkably well with the political narrowness of the country under Clerical rule. The Bavarian phlegmatic temperament craves constant stimulation; the political strife, in which there is no embittered fanaticism, but which in all good nature sways backward and forward, is an indispensable condition of the national life. Combativeness and the lust of vituperation are in the blood of the Bavarian people; it is all one, whether we look for them in a riotous kirmess or in blunt ridicule, in the poetic improvisations of which the quick-witted peasants, being especially gifted in mimicry, are unsurpassed.
Bavaria is accordingly the particular home of German satire. The best German comic papers are published in Munich, and the most effective satirist of the present day is a Bavarian of the Bavarians, Ludwig Thoma. He is the son of a Head Forester and was born in 1867 at that Oberammergau where all the inhabitants every ten years dismiss the barber and let their long locks curl about their necks, in order to perform before the assembled multitude their Passion Play, which is pleasing in the sight of God and profitable to them. Thoma not only grew up among peasants; later, as a lawyer in Dachau, he had abundant opportunity to become acquainted with their fondness for litigation, their avarice, and their cunning. Now he is merely an author. In winter he may be seen at Munich in company garb at first performances in the theatres; in summer, at Tegernsee he appears in the midst of his beloved peasants dressed in their costume, homespun jacket and leather breeches. In the same way his writings have two aspects, satire on society and tales of rustic life. In the comic paper Simplicissimus he has often published political verses over the pseudonym Peter Schlemihl; some of his dramas also (The Medal, 1901, The Branch Road, 1902, The First-class Compartment, 1910, The Baby Farm, 1913) assail with never-failing pungency the present governmental system in Bavaria; others (Morality, 1909, Lottie's Birthday, 1911) are directed with more general and less delicate ridicule against all sorts of common place morality and the excrescences of moral reform. Delicious are his stories of the little town, especially about the pranks that give expression to boyish impulses to incommode teachers, stern neighbors, and maiden aunts. These are told in the naively impudent language of the school-boy in Tales of Bad Boys (1904) and the continuation of this book, Aunt Frieda (1906). The philistine population of the little town, Bavarian administration of justice, scenes in the Munich street cars, and many another subject of that kind, Thoma humorously treats in Judge Charlie (1900) and Tales of the Little Town (1908), in the broad anecdotal style which he has made his own.
His other subject is peasant life. In this too he begins as a satirist, with his collection Agricola (1897); and the manner in which he at first indulges in grotesque exaggeration of popular traits appears best perhaps in the introduction to the book, "adapted from Tacitus":
The German plain from the river Danube to the Alps is inhabited by the Baiovarii. I regard them as the original inhabitants of this land, self-raised, as they call themselves in their own tongue. It is difficult for immigrants to mingle with them. It is certain that foreigners could never be confounded with the autochthonous folk.
Since this Germanic stock has remained free from contamination through intermarriage with alien nations, it constitutes a separate, uniform race. Hence the same figure in all the representatives of this numerous nation, the same uncommonly developed hands and feet, the same hard, impenetrable formation of the head. Like their ancestors, they are fit for violent assault, and fond of it. They show great capacity for the endurance of fatigue and tribulation; the only thing they cannot endure is thirst.
This people is equipped with manifold weapons; but even in these they have more regard for usefulness than for beauty. Widespread is the short dagger which every mature man carries in the fold of his garment; but the use of it is not permitted—on the contrary, the powers that be seek to get possession of all such; whereupon the common man replaces the lost weapon by another. As missiles they have earthen mugs, with handles which make them likewise adaptable for delivering blows. At their gathering places every man, when strife arises, seeks to possess himself of as many of these as possible, and hurls them then uncommonly far. Most of the Baiovarii carry a sort of spear, or in their language, "chaser", made of the hazel of their forests, with blunt end, supple, and very handy. In the lack of these weapons, each man assumes any that chance may offer. Indeed, for this purpose even articles of household furniture, such as tables and chairs, are robbed of their supports. In high favor are also the constituent parts of garden inclosures. Before the beginning of the conflict the battle song resounds. It is not as though human throats, but rather as though the spirit of war were singing. They essay chiefly the formation of wild sounds, and close their eyes as though thereby to reinforce their utterance. They fight without a preconsidered plan of battle, each at the place that he occupies. Of shields they make no employment. The head is deemed a natural protection, which meets the shock of the attacking enemy and guards the rest of the body. Many even use the head for the purposes of attack, when other weapons fail.
In this ridicule of savage pugnacity one cannot fail to see the secret love of the writer for the uncouth power of his sound-hearted and sound-limbed compatriots. This same love explains the contempt in which Thoma holds the sentimental depiction of parlor peasants which is so often met with in family magazines. He knows no glossing-over, and what is boorish in his peasants, he leaves boorish. But more and more he has developed from a satirist to a serious moralist of his native land. In his stories Wedding (1901) and Matt the Holy (1904) the satirical purpose predominates. But then, in his great novels, Thoma proceeds to more serious matters. One, Andreas Voest (1905), which develops to a magnificent climax the uncompromising rebellion of a stubborn peasant against the superior resources of a malicious priest, with the consequent destruction of the poor victim of his own sense of justice, might be compared with Kleist's masterly narrative Michael Kohlhaas, if in the treatment of the antagonist Kleist's incorruptible objectivity were not lacking and the whole did not, therefore, ultimately turn into pleading for a cause. But when satire fails to amuse for bitterness, and humor fails to conciliate, the pictures become almost too gloomy and the moral purpose too obtrusive. Thus it is in the novel The Widower (1911). The folly of a lustful old peasant who in the toils of a scheming hussy supinely looks on while his property goes to wrack and ruin and his son becomes a murderer, is here treated with too harsh a naturalism. The same may be said of the drama Magdalena (1912), in which a rustic Virginius makes of himself the judge of his daughter who has fallen into a life of public shame.
The life of the closely related peasant stock of Austria has found hardly at any other hands than those of the Tirolese Karl Schoenherr an equally unadorned depiction. Rosegger's Styrian peasants are, in spite of the pessimistic Sylvan Schoolmaster, drawn after all with much more extenuating gentleness. More recent literary products of Styrian writers are, however, no whit inferior in local patriotism to the works of the still living first master. The warmest praise of his home land has been sung by Rudolf Hans Bartsch who, born in 1873 at Graz, lived for many years as an officer in Vienna, until in 1911 he returned as a retired captain to his native city. After an historical novel When Austria Disintegrated (1905), which dealt with the epoch of Forty-eight, and was reissued under the title The Last Student, Bartsch celebrated his greatest triumph with the novel Twelve Men of Styria (1908), a book of inexhaustible, exuberant youthfulness and contagious optimism. The careers of the twelve youths who meet on the common ground of love for the beautiful Frau von Karminell, and who set out together on the stormy path of life, are only loosely connected; and yet the book achieves a unified effect, thanks to the wonderful musical atmosphere which is its element, and to the pivotal position in it of province and city: "Graz, city lost in the expanse of nature, so still, so receptive and yet fulfilled as no other is with soft impressiveness; the green-dreaming, tree-rustling, gentle-singing city of Graz, animate beyond all great cities with the soul of nature." The next novel, The Sons of Haindl (1908), a collection of similar types of character in Viennese surroundings, is too much of a repetition not to have proved a disappointment; as was also The German Sorrow (1911). In the later Viennese novels Elisabeth Koett (1909) and The Story of Hannah and her Four Lovers (1914) Bartsch lost much of his original vivacity and purity of style, and the novel Schwammerl (1912), which revolves about the figure of the composer Schubert, falls in with the vogue of that novel of the artistic life which has of late been cultivated in somewhat routine fashion and to which—to mention only a few names—Goethe, Schiller, Grillparzer, Lenau, Wagner, and Heine in his last years, succumbed. Bartsch was indeed led to this theme by an elective affinity; for he is inspired in equal measure by love of music and love for Old Vienna, and he is capable of entering with entire sympathy into the spirit of former times. To this capacity his short stories entitled The Last Days of Rococo (1909) bear eloquent testimony, conjuring up as they do with charming winsomeness the spirit of the epoch that preceded the French Revolution. The second collection of narratives, Bitter-Sweet Love Stories (1910), brings us back to Austrian territory. To this collection belongs The Styrian Wine Carrier, in which the ancient carefree joyfulness of the highway falls a victim to the modern rush of business. Is not the fate of the amiable, easy-going, reveling Styrian symbolical of the fate of the whole country of Austria, which is organized on the outgrown plan of a former generation, and is now placed in opposition to the iron necessity of modern progress? Bartsch has deeply felt the incompatibilities rooted in the Austrian character: there are two souls, one desperately clinging to the Austria of the good old times, to the long-lost lovely Vienna of the coach and post-horn, the other the soul of turbulent young Austria, with its eye on the knotty problems of the future. But the enervating atmosphere of literary Vienna, which Grillparzer once characterized as a "Capua in the world of spirits," is the natural element of Old Austria, and we suspect that Bartsch, whose rapid productivity defies stern artistic self-discipline, has not altogether escaped its dangers.
The Alemannic races on the Upper German territories reveal a greater toughness of fibre and more power of resistance. They are blunt individualists, whose love of country utters itself with less enthusiasm and attains to perfect certainty perhaps only after a longing for adventures abroad has been stilled.
Emil Strauss, the older of the two Swabian writers here represented (he was born at Pforzheim in 1866), lived for a while in Brazil; from his experiences there he derived material for some of his stories in The Ways of Men (1898), for his drama, unsuccessful from the point of view of technique, Don Pedro (1899), and for his first novel Mine Host of the Angel (1900), the tragi-comical history of a man who learns by experience, who deserts his wife and after a long series of disappointments returns humbled to his home. The later narrative Mara, in the collection entitled Hans and Grete (1909), is also the fruit of exotic experiences. This account of a love in imagination has the same motif as one of the most original narratives of the Swiss Spitteler, Imago, with the only difference that in Mara over-excitation of the brain is motivated by tropical heat. Strauss is in all of his narratives an extremely acute psychologist, who everywhere concentrates his attention upon the development of character, and whose work, as appears in Mine Host of the Angel, is inclined toward a mild didacticism. This is especially noticeable in the work that first made his name famous, the novel Death the Comforter (Freund Hein, 1902), the story of a boy of musical disposition who is worried to death in school. Compared with English and American literature, German literature has been said to be poor in stories of childhood. This criticism hardly applies to the new century, which has been called the century of the child. The fate of little Henry Lindner who is to be transformed by hook or by crook from a dreamy musician into a circumspect efficient man, and who suffers shipwreck on the reefs of mathematics, reminds us in many ways of the tragedy of the last Buddenbrook, Hanno, whose delicate sensibility is crushed out by the discipline of the school. A few years later there, appeared in Hermann Hesse's On the Rack (1906) another story of schoolboy martyrdom, and between these two pessimistic works lay two sunshiny novels of childhood, Asmus Semper's Childhood Land (1904), by Otto Ernst, and Gottfried Kaempfer (1904), by Hermann Anders Krueger. These were the most successful novels of those years; Strauss' Death the Comforter is, next to the conclusion of Buddenbrooks, the poetically most significant of these stories of childhood. The writer, rich in comprehension of the vitality of the problems and in the delicacy of his treatment of them, has not had to repeat himself: his novel Friction (1904) is a fine psychological study in the form of a love story, in which life undertakes the education of two recalcitrant lovers; and his latest work, The Naked Man (1912), is a powerful historical novel.
Hermann Hesse, who is often grouped with Strauss, is, in spite of his belonging to the same stock, a different nature; he is more of a lyricist, and his lyrical poems, though less well known, take perhaps a higher rank than his novels. Even in these the lyrical mood outweighs the human action; he ponders the riddles of nature more earnestly than the riddles of humanity. Among human beings, however, his favorite is the gentle St. Francis of Assisi, to whom he has devoted a splendid little book.
Hesse was born in 1877 at Calw in Wuerttemberg; it is his own youth that he describes in the novel On the Rack. After fleeing from the Theological Seminary at Moulbronn he became a machinist; then he worked in a bookstore at Basel, where he found opportunity to study at the University. He spent a few years at Munich, and finally made Switzerland his home by establishing himself in the neighborhood of Bern. In respect to literary relations he had even before this acquired a certain right to be called a Swiss; for his work may be regarded as a continuation of the line of development that runs from Jean Paul to Gottfried Keller. There is a kind of resurrection of Jean Paul in the wonderful descriptions of nature, the dreams of universal love and natural piety, which we find in Hesse's first great novel Peter Camenzind (1904); no writer since Jean Paul has bestowed such eloquent praise upon the clouds:
Show me in all the wide world the man who knows the clouds better and loves them more than I do! Or show me the thing in the world that is more splendid than the clouds! They are playthings and balm for the eyes, they are a blessing and divine gift, they are wrath and omnipotent death. They are frail, tender, and peaceful, like the souls of the newly born; they are beautiful, opulent, and lavish, like good angels; they are dark, unescapable, and pitiless, like the messengers of death. They hover in silvery thin expanse, they sail laughingly white with a golden rim, they stand at rest in yellow, red, and bluish tints; they creep up slowly and darkly threatening like murderers, they rush with a headlong roar like mad horsemen, they hang sad and pensive at equal heights like melancholy hermits. They have the forms of blessed isles and the forms of blessing angels; they are like threatening hands, fluttering sails, a flight of cranes. They float between God's heaven and the poor earth as fair symbols of all human longings, akin to both—dreams of the earth, in which her sullied soul flies to the embrace of the pure heaven. They are the eternal symbol of all wandering, all seeking, desiring, all homesickness. And as they hang timidly and yearningly and persistently between earth and heaven, so the souls of men hang timidly and yearningly and persistently between time and eternity.
From Gottfried Keller, on the other hand, Hesse has derived the specific gravity of realism; and so the romantic life of the peasant boy Peter Camenzind concludes, after protracted roving through Italy and France, like that of Green Henry, with a weary, resigned return home. The novel On the Rack, which represents a falling off after this brilliant beginning, was followed by a new efflorescence in Hesse's artistry with the novels Gertrude (1910) and the latest work Rosshalde, a story of matrimony which combines the former merits of poetic atmosphere with the merit of a greater concentration upon action. Between the two lie the collections of short stories On this Side (1907) and Neighbors (1908). From the second is taken the story here translated, In the Old Sun, which as an idyll of the Poorhouse has something of the qualities of Gottfried Keller, while the mystic setting is quite the property of the Swabian author.
From the half-Swiss author Hermann Hesse to the full-blooded Swiss novelists is but a short step. Among these, Ernst Zahn is the most widely read and the most fruitful. A succession of voluminous novels (Erni Beheim, 1898, God's Puppets [Herrgottsfaeden], 1901, Albin Indergand, 1901, Claire Marie, 1904, Luke Hochstrasser's House, 1907, Solitude, 1909, The Women of Tanno, 1911, The Apothecary of Little Worldville, 1913) and an equal number of collections of short stories (Heart Struggles, 1893, Echo, 1895, New Tales of the Mountains, 1898, Men and Women, 1900, The Shady Side, 1903, Heroes of Every Day, 1905, Those Who Come and Go, 1908, What Life Destroys, 1912) have come thick and fast; and since they all deal with the everyday fortunes of the simple Alpine villagers, it was inevitable that in course of time a certain satiety dulled admiration of the sheer inexhaustible store of motifs—for nobody can say that Zahn ever exactly repeats himself. In particular, his fellow-countrymen are no longer quite willing to regard him as the Swiss novelist par excellence. And yet Zahn is himself the very incarnation of a fundamental trait of Swiss character; namely, the peculiar blending of practical common sense and esthetic culture. Where else than in this veritable democracy could one and the same man day in and day out serve soup to thousands of travelers, sit down at his desk after the day's work was done and gather about him the children of his imagination, and then on the morrow as president of the diet guide the deliberations of representatives of his canton of Uri? His three professions of public man, innkeeper, and author, Zahn upholds with undiscriminating pride.
Ernst Zahn was born at Zurich in 1867 in the Cafe Litteraire, of which his father was lessee, and among whose habitues Gottfried Keller was reckoned. He took up the paternal business, beginning at the bottom of the ladder as a waiter in Geneva, Genoa, and Hastings, and in 1883 joined his father, who had meanwhile taken a lease of the railroad restaurant at Goeschenen. At the last stop before entrance into the darkness of the Gotthard tunnel many a traveler to Italy has doubtless been struck by the classic features and the proud bearing of the restaurateur, without knowing that he saw before him the most widely read story-writer in the German language. As to his private life Zahn published a few years ago in the magazine The Literary Echo a few details from which we quote the following:
Little room with the writing table, the tall book-cases, the few pictures on the wall, and the immovable, grand, curious mountain always peering in at thy window—little room with the great hubbub all about thee, of thee I am to speak, and of him who sits within thy coziness! It is not difficult to speak of thee: thou art a home, peaceful and lost to the world, although the life of the world surges around thee like the sea around an island. Behind thou hast the rumble of carts going hither and thither all summer long over three mountain passes, and before, the daily rattle and roar of the great railway trains of the Gotthard. And yet thou art peaceful and hast taught me that it is better to dwell in thee than in the bustling world, and hast taught me that I do not need many men to make me happy in thee.... From the writing table there is every few minutes a call to the dining rooms on the ground floor, where the author is metamorphosed into a victualler. Many persons shake their heads at this transformation. To me the profession of my father is an object of affection; I owe it an assured livelihood. Who knows but that the author in me also owes it much of the spontaneity and joy of working?
But a fertile source of the author's joy of working is situated in a little dwelling of which I mean to speak last in this account of my houses. It stands in the valley of Goeschenen, at the edge of the village, in the midst of a meadow. Round about tower the mountains; the gleaming glacier of Damma throws its light in through the window panes. The valley is filled with a great stillness. In the house five children, my children, live their untroubled lives, and my wife guards them well, with her gentle and skilful hand to lead, and her affectionate patience to understand her husband. In this, my mountain home, my life has found its haven. I hope to dwell there until I must move into the last resting place of my career; I hope to work, and I hope to attain to high and beautiful things; for I hear the bells of poetry mightily reverberating from my mountains, marvelous, richly harmonious voices; and perhaps I shall one day succeed in catching these tones in their clearest purity. Perhaps! There is hope; and hope is life!
The strenuous effort alluded to in these words, the great all-conquering achievement, the master chime which peals from the heights, has indeed not yet attained fulfillment. One might say of the work of Zahn as of the bell of Gerhart Hauptmann's bell-founder, "In the valley it vibrates, not on the heights." We find neither great problems of humanity and civilization nor real men of the heights. On the contrary, these "heroes of every day" are dwellers in the valley, harsh and hard as the walls of granite which narrow their horizon; and if the author puts into these rude vessels something of his own delicacy of feeling, as he attributes to Stephen the Smith appreciation of the little Roman bronze figures which the trader has brought up from Italy, such ennobling ingredients can sometimes enter only at the expense of consistency of characterization.
A more primitive power is manifest in the other Swiss, Jakob Schaffner, who in still higher degree than Zahn deserves to be called a self-made man. Schaffner, who was born in 1875 at Basel, belongs with Hans Sachs and Jakob Boehme among the poetic shoemakers. His immature first novel, Wanderings (1905), has its best scenes in the workshop, and his later masterpiece, Konrad Pilater (1910), is another story of a fantastic journeyman shoemaker. As the author himself worked his way up with iron energy to culture and independence, so all of his creations are endowed with something of a vaulting ambition, which is not depreciated by being treated with a slight measure of irony. His Jack Heaven-High (1909) is a philosophizing journeyman who from every capital of Europe pours forth his lyrico-cosmic effusions, and the hero of his historical novel The Messenger of God (1911) is a Swiss dominic who at the conclusion of the Thirty Years' War collects a motley rabble about him for new works of peace and single-handed makes of himself the restorer of a devastated community. But with all the scope of the theme there is a lack of genuine historical color; and compared with the great historical novel of Ricarda Huch, this anachronistic picture of the past seems like the story of another Robinson Crusoe. Schaffner's forte is after all the ground upon which he stood at the beginning; it is seen in the little idylls from the life of the laboring classes which make up the contents of his two collections, The Lantern (1905) and The Golden Oddity (1912). In the first collection, the story of The Blacksmiths is a gem of narration; and so is the story here reproduced, The Iron Idol, which also serves to illustrate the pedagogical tendency of all of Schaffner's work. The huge machine is a symbol for cooperative activity, to which the individual may not put himself in opposition; and the restless spirit that essays opposition is transformed against his will from a disturber of the peace into the founder of a happy wedlock.
The final couple of our choice are two authors who have departed from the ways of Heimatkunst. Jakob Wassermann, born in 1873 at Fuerth, begins at least as a delineator of the things of his home; for his first product, The Jews of Zirndorf (1897) is in its first part a legendary picture taken from the history of the Fuerth ghetto, and in its second part there comes into the foreground the figure of Agathon Geyer, a Jewish messiah of the present, whose deep-seated longing to see God conquers the narrow spirit of the law, of slavery and asceticism. A pendant to this work is Wassermann's second novel, The Story of Young Renate Fuchs (1900). The development of the new woman is intended to be represented in this book, the woman who through all confusion and filthiness keeps her adamantine soul unscathed, to the moment when she attains her destiny, namely, to spend a night of love with the dying Agathon Geyer and to bear him the first child of a better time, Beatus, the fortunate. Sultry sensuality and outrageous bombast characterize the work, the action of which is not clearly set forth, but floats in a sea of nebulous somnambulistic vagueness. Visionary representation and mythical creation are indeed the program which Wassermann lays out for himself in a theoretical treatise, The Art of Narrative. Ernst von Wolzogen, the discoverer of Wassermann, and a critic who has perhaps contributed to an over-estimate of him, declares that this author, who stood, especially at first, under the influence of the most Asiatic of all the Russian novelists, Dostojewski, is the sole Oriental among the present generation of literary Jews. "A fancy which in its luxurious revelling in blood, splendor, and magnificence seems to us as Oriental as his meditative dreaminess and the subtle satisfaction with which he traces the subterranean, labyrinthine paths of the life of the soul"—these are the salient features which Wolzogen finds in the work of Wassermann.
One side of this characterization is confirmed by the next two works, the novels Moloch (1903) and Alexander in Babylon (1904). In the former, a rustic of uncorrupted feeling and fanatical sense of justice loses his honesty and goes to ruin in the mendacity of urban ways of doing business; and in the latter, the Grecian hero and man of action is dragged into the intoxication of Oriental luxury, voluptous cruelty, and dazzling magnificence.
The other side expresses itself in the attempted psychological solution of the riddles of criminality. It is characteristic of Wassermann's predilection for these matters that in his novel Kasper Hauser or Sluggishness of Heart (1909) he seeks to interpret anew and on the basis of scrupulous attention to all the documents in the case the oft-treated story of the mysterious foundling who came to light in Nuremberg in 1828 and who was supposed to be a cast-off prince of Baden. Moreover, of the three narratives in the volume entitled The Sisters (1906), two are fantastically constructed criminal cases which endeavor suggestively to explain the unusual and the baffling by reference to mysterious undercurrents in the soul. One of these two stories is the Clarissa Mirabel here translated, and no word need be said of the technical virtuosity with which the most exquisite climax is attained through the utmost economy of means.
Many critics regard Wassermann as the pioneer of a new epic style. Even those who do not share this opinion cannot deny him tenacity of purpose and a clear conception of what it is that he aims to accomplish. Wassermann has selected the Oriental softness of the air of Vienna for his place of abode; it is possible that his quasi elective affinity with it will save him from the danger of falling a victim to the Moloch of the metropolis. In the year 1911 he wrote in an autobiographical sketch.
For ten years I have lived in the neighborhood of Vienna. There are German critics who cannot forgive me this choice of a domicile. But I still ask them to approve it. On my part I promise them never to give in to the Capuan lassitude which, I might add, is nothing but a legend among the superficial. True, the productive man is here more isolated, the man resolved to reach a goal is here left more to his own resources, than elsewhere; but many stormy winds blow, and if the post which one has taken is rendered dangerous, one's vigilance is enhanced. I am thirty-eight years old and have a feeling that I am standing at the beginning of my career. But to reach the end one would need to be—immortal.
The virtuosity of the narrator Wassermann may have served as a model for his younger fellow-townsman Bernhard Kellermann (born at Fuerth in 1879). He too is a seeker after new forms of expression for psychical reactions; but he presents himself to us from the very first as a purer nature of greater delicacy and lucidity. He introduces himself as a troubadour of narrative art in his first two novels Yester and Li, a Story of Longing (1904) and Ingeborg (1905). With unutterable tenderness and richness of tone he depicts in each of these two novels the love-longing of a solitary nature, the substance of which is trembling yearning, and the fulfilment of which is a fading dream. A solitary figure is the hero of the third novel, The Fool (1909), as well. It is a young clergyman who settles in a small Franconian town with the sole purpose of doing good. He visits those who are weary and heavy-laden; with pathetic faith in the goodness of humanity he sees in every man a brother, and finally he suffers the Saviour's fate of pining away and dying unrecognized for what he was. This is Kellermann's profoundest and best work, and it would deservedly be reproduced here if considerations of space did not compel the selection of a shorter narrative. As such a narrative God's Beloved (1911) suggested itself, the work of a later period. For about the year 1910 a clearly recognizable change takes place in Kellermann's work; he goes forth into the world, and sojourn abroad causes the gentle dreamer to awaken into an energetically aggressive, almost brutal man of action. The sentimental stories of the heart are followed by works of keen intuition, in which with compelling suggestiveness strange human communities are comprehended and presented in the characteristic atmosphere of their milieu. What we find in the insane asylum of God's Beloved we find also in the lives of Breton fisherfolk in the novel The Sea (1910); it is unadulterated primitive nature, which blends the roar of billows and the instinctive ingenuousness of the islanders into a mighty harmony.
If Kellermann's development should be taken as pointing the way for the German novel of the future, we should have to conclude that Heimatkunst has been supplanted by exotic art. Specialties are being cultivated, like that of the promising Willy Seidel (The Garden of Shuhan, Sakije's Song) in Oriental themes. Interest is growing in the literature of travel, and the great publishers are already paying the traveling expenses of their authors, in order that they may see something of the world and write about it. This is the manner in which Hermann Hesse's Trip to India came into existence, and Kellermann has similarly published two books on Japan (A Promenade in Japan, 1911, Sassayo Yassal, 1913). The danger of this tendency lies in the confusion of poetic invention and journalistic report. Kellermann's most recent novel The Tunnel (1913), which sold inside of a few months to the number of a hundred thousand copies, cannot be regarded as a genuine work of art. It is not "the epic of iron and electricity, the Odyssey of modern engineering and capitalism" which it was perhaps intended to be, but a fantastic special article spun out into a moving-picture series of impressions of America and the possibilities of technical accomplishment. As such it is a great proof of talent. This we perhaps see most clearly if we compare it with Hauptmann's Atlantis; for we then perceive how much sharper are Kellermann's eyes and how much more takingly he knows how to reproduce the bustling confusion of the modern mart. But it is rather a caricature of the present than a Utopia of the future, and the idea of the novel is lost in the abundance of individual motifs. It is to be hoped that this alienation is not symptomatic in the development either of the gifted author or of German literature as a whole. National questions will in the coming years summon Germany from fantastic world problems back to consciousness of herself.
The technical possibility of the Atlantic tunnel, upon which Kellermann has founded his novel, is questioned by engineering experts. Nevertheless, the idea of the tunnel remains a symbol of the need which the continents of the earth feel, of overcoming the distances that separate them and of approaching and comprehending one another in ever closer commerce and mutually profitable exchange. Where technical means fail, the problem remains unrestricted for the human mind. The more each individual people gives full expression to its national character, the better will that world literature for which we strive succeed in contributing to a mutual understanding on the part of the several peoples. And when, as at present, the sea is lashed by frightful storms, a safe conduit must lead from one national spirit to the other—a conduit in the deep, which remains undisturbed by the waves of passion that agitate the surface.
HELEN E BOeHLAU
* * * * * *
THE BALL OF CRYSTAL (1903)
TRANSLATED BY A. I. DU P. COLEMAN, A. M. Professor of English Literature, College of the City of New York
On the long, bare slope of the Ettersberg lay the buildings that marked the centre of an estate, not far from the Sperber property, but not, like it, embedded in swelling fields on the side of the steep road where the land lay broader and less precipitous. It lay nearer to the wooded mountainside, so that the farm-buildings could look down a little haughtily on those of the Sperber place—although there was really no reason for it, since the latter was not at all inferior either in extent or in great straw-thatched barns and stables or the stately dwelling-house.
The estate that lay nearer the woods belonged to an old soldier, Captain Rauchfuss, who, after a busy life in war and peace, had retired and come back to his native town a little stiff in the legs, to find a corner where he could live on his little pension in quietness.
But after a few years of rest the querulous veteran had blossomed out into the likeness of a lively fellow in the prime of life, who enjoyed a special reputation among the Weimar townspeople as a jolly companion. And so it came to pass that he finally installed as his wife up at the Ettersberg the daughter of his housekeeper, a young widow, and thus became not only a landed proprietor but the husband of a nice little woman to boot. He sat perched like a falcon above the cramped little town, where so many strange and remarkable things were going on, things that seemed quite unnecessary to the old soldier.
Celebrities were going in and out down there in the narrow streets, who were neither princes, nor generals, nor even captains, and yet the people looked after them with respectful curiosity—mere quill-drivers! It was too absurd.
As for the widow and the estate, they were not too well off in the hands of the old soldier. He drove away from the Ettersberg oftener than was really necessary, down to the "Elephant," where he stopped and addressed forcible language to the hostler. He spent more there than was quite wise, in order to impress his importance upon the "Elephant."
The pleasant little widow had abandoned her comfortable widowhood without sufficient reflection: and now she had to put up as best she might with the difficulties of Herr Rauchfuss's disposition—sighing or complaining would do no good.
"You ought to have taken more time to think about it," was all the answer she got from her light-hearted husband. "What made you marry an old soldier? You know that isn't the same thing as a grandmother!" So she could only try and content herself, and go on looking after the considerable estate alone.
Frau Rauchfuss became the mother of a little daughter, a regular ruddy-golden fox's cub. That it was not a boy his wife had borne him annoyed Captain Rauchfuss.
"Thunder! This won't do—it's ridiculous! Me bringing women-creatures into the world! Really, my dear ... and such a little vixen as that!"
Yet he had himself a red brush of hair on top of his head and a thick, fair moustache.
"Oh, it's too absurd," he said. "To think that I've risked my skin all these years to come down to sitting at home within four walls and trotting about after a little brat of a girl! Don't come near me with it—I won't touch the creature!"
Captain Rauchfuss was angry and out of humor. To be a country gentleman and husband of the pretty widow was well enough; but father of a family—that didn't suit him at all; it was not in his line.
And oftener than before he had his trap hitched up and drove down into Weimar; or else he went shooting over his own ground, or to Sperber's to play bulldog with the old man and any one who happened in, or bezique with the pastor.
He was on specially good terms with old Sperber, because he too had a strong objection to the way things were going down in the town. "That's all silly impudence down there," he would say. "Well, we'll see how far they'll go with it—we'll see. Those fellows in the town might give over scribbling; no cock would crow the louder, nor would loaves of bread get any smaller. But we ...! Suppose we up there, and people like us up and down the country were to stop working, what do you think would happen then, my friend? Simply the end of the world—all up, done!
"And so I don't set foot down there, if I can help it. I don't let it irritate me any more—God forbid. I'm very well off up here, I'm bound to say—and I wouldn't change places with any of those frogs that have swelled to such unnatural proportions down there in the marsh."
Indeed, the old fellows up on the Ettersberg often held discourses over their bezique which were almost blasphemous, if you consider that they were talking about the greatest man of Germany; without whom Germany would not be Germany; the man to produce whom nature labored for thousands of years, tossed up millions and millions of stupid or average heads, more or less lacking in sense and reason.
That down there in Weimar at last the barren tree of humanity had borne a fruit seemed to the card-players of the Ettersberg a matter of no importance; but the tree went on producing its green leaves quite joyously. To them this fruit, indeed, seemed to be not a fruit at all but a blister, a perfectly unnecessary excrescence.
And they had nothing to complain of, heaven knew, up on their Ettersberg; their fine properties were prospering.
Herr and Frau Sperber worked together, getting through the day's business honestly and good-humoredly. Very early in the morning you might see brisk Frau Sperber in her pink print apron, with her keys jingling at her waist, cross the courtyard to hold a general inspection of the stables and stock-rooms; and Herr Sperber's huge rubber boots carried their fat little master through hedge and ditch, over ploughed field and meadow and woodland.
On the Rauchfuss place a brave woman was working beyond her strength; but she made it go—the two properties showed but little difference. To be sure, it would have been much easier for Frau Rauchfuss if her jewel of a husband had been of a less jovial disposition and had not considered it his principal duty to show the people down in Weimar that persons of importance lived up on the Ettersberg, and to prove to them that no one could tell, even when he had his heaviest load on, just how much he was carrying. He could rise from his accustomed table and march to the door just as straight as when he came in; and the exhibition of this faculty called for constant repetition.
If Frau Rauchfuss had not had her little daughter Beate, she might have looked a long time for the joys of life.
The time came, however, when the child was big enough to dance about in farm-yard and garden, looking like a flower with long golden stamina. She was simply brimming over with merriment and delight in being alive; and now Captain Rauchfuss condescended to take notice of his daughter. He brought her home all sorts of toys and trifles, and took great pleasure in seeing how quick and clever the little creature was, in watching her scramble about and in listening to the soft lips repeat in sweet tones the old soldier's expletives that she heard him use.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
When Frau Rauchfuss's treasure grew to be a pretty little schoolgirl, it befell one day that the mother went down to the town with a heavy heart, to ask advice of her doctor about a trouble which for some time she had been silently carrying about with her, and which had made her work a heavy and oppressive burden. After long and anxious consideration she had finally made up her mind to the step, and gone off with a fervent prayer and a passionate kiss to her little girl.
And now, as she drove home again in her light carriage, it seemed to her as if, since she came down, the beautiful world had been transformed into a dark and unfamiliar place. She had set out with an anxious heart, and had had no one to speak an encouraging word to her; but still it was only down at the very bottom of her heart that there crouched, half hidden, the fear of what was so hard to realize—that her life might be wiped out.
Now she knew it was true. She was nearing the end of her days. The easy-going every-day life, that went about its business as if there were never to be an end, had been suddenly rent asunder; and through the gap the laboring soul stared out into empty darkness.
It was so that Frau Rauchfuss came home; the well-known road looked terrifying and strange to her, the golden grain in the fields by which she passed, as the wind went over it, bowed sadly to her because she must die ... she ... she alone of all the world. What was the death of others? An empty word. To her alone death meant something. Now for the first time it was a serious matter—the very first time on earth.
And no one had compassion on her. Her old coachman sat on the box with bent back and urged the horses to a trot. He was not going to die—no, only she. To herself, the poor unlearned woman that shrank back in her terror against the hard leather cushions was the world, the big splendid world; with her all its splendor would perish.
And this death-struggle of the world went on beneath her dotted blue Sunday dress, which she had put on for the difficult journey to the town. Was the seat of this bitter struggle in her breast? Was it in her flesh and bone—in her beating heart—in her poor aching head? Yes, where was the conflict going on? Could she point with her finger and say "Here?" O mystery of mysteries—where is the poor Ego with its cosmic suffering? Is it leaning against the hard cushions of the carriage? Is it flesh and bone—is it a living point, in which all this pain is now alive?
The woman's passive nature woke up, became sharply penetrating, was alive for the first time. Struck through by the certainty of death, she became conscious that she was alive—almost as it was when she had her first consciousness of her child's life, in the same mysterious and yet certain way.
Then she shut her troubled eyes; and before her mind rose up her little golden-haired child, her only treasure, her darling. Burning tears flowed from her eyes, and her own life, the sacred centre of life, was again shaken, this time by pure love and anxiety about her dearest. Who would care for the child—who in all the world? "Only a few more years," she sobbed, "so that they shan't spoil her!"
And as this torture grew overpowering, a ray of comfort stole into her darkened soul. Who knew whether it was as bad as they thought? And though she had seen her own mother die of the same disease, why might it not be different with her?
So she went on from one stage of suffering to another, broke down under her cross only to raise herself again, and again to fall, as once our Lord and Saviour did.
When she drove into the courtyard, her face was calm, her tears wiped away. This she had done automatically, of long habit. It was time now for her to be silent as to her suffering, and to live what must be wholly within herself.
"Where is Beate?" she asked the maid.
"With the master, in the garden."
The mother set out to find her, for she needed to fold her child in her arms, and went through the house into the garden.
When she drew near the great lime-tree, which was now in full bloom and looked like a fine golden net shot through with glimmering golden pearls, she heard the powerful laugh of her lord and master, and the sweet voice of her child like the twitter of birds answering it.
"Tubby," he cried in his mighty bass, "you're a little rogue!" The child laughed aloud.
With disquiet and emotion the mother drew nearer. On the wide bench under the tree sat the captain, a bottle of wine by his side. He was making the child drink from his glass.
"The youngster has a good capacity," he muttered with a grin. "Now dance some more, Tubby!" The child skipped and danced, her red-gold hair tumbling about her flushed face. "Confounded little witch! A regular soldier's girl!" the merry old fellow growled in his red beard. And the evening glow shone upon the red beard of the father and the red wealth of hair of the dancing child.
"They are of one blood," she said to herself; and she stood as if everything were over already, and she only a departed spirit watching.
Then anger, a deadly anger, rose up in her. She rushed at her husband. "What are you doing to her?" she cried in anguish. "Look—only look! You've let her drink too much! Oh ...!"
"Well, what of it?" said the captain with a thick tongue, taken aback by the sudden onslaught.
Little Beate stopped dancing, frightened, and looked at them with strange, doubtful eyes.
"Oh, you finicky creatures! What wishy-washy stuff! Women are fools! I should think a fellow might be allowed ..." growled Herr Rauchfuss.
The child made an odd movement, stretched out her arms to her mother, staggered and fell, her face hidden by her arms, sobbing. The mother bent anxiously over her.
"There, Tubby—don't be a baby!" stammered the old man. "You ought to be ashamed of yourself—a good stomach isn't upset by a couple of mouthfuls! You a soldier's daughter!"
The mother took the little girl in her arms and carried her to the house, paying no more attention to Herr Rauchfuss, who looked after her with a forced laugh.
In the room where she and the child slept, she laid Beate, still dressed, on the bed. The child kept on sobbing; her face was burning, and her eyes glowed as with fever. Frau Rauchfuss knelt by the bed in grief and fear. What was she to do? She simply did not know. To whom could she commend her poor little girl? Now that she had acquired certainty about herself, she felt for the first time her weakness and helplessness. At the physician's words a heavy burden had fallen upon her which she could not shake off.
As the darkness slowly crept into the room, she still knelt there, holding her child's hand and sadly racking her brains. Finally she undressed the child, who was now fast asleep, and herself lay down to rest.
She had the feeling that she was only a guest in her own house. Anguish came over her, and fear; the weight on her heart was as though she were buried for all eternity under a huge gloomy mountain. Plans of all sorts chased each other feverishly through her mind. What could she do? She thought of going to all the people she knew, whom she felt to be kind-hearted and begging them to watch over her child; to the Sperbers, her neighbors, to old Frau Kummerfelden who had a sewing-school in Weimar, to her pastor. She found few, as she passed them in review for qualities of heart and head, of whom she could be sure that they would not soon forget her prayer.