Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship,by Johann Wolfgang Goethe

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship,by Johann Wolfgang Goet

Postby admin » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:41 pm

Part 5 of 6

Chapter 9

THE MARCHESE avoided speaking of the matter; but had long secret conversations with the Abbé. When the Company was met, he often asked for music; a request to which they willingly assented, as each was glad to be delivered from the charge of talking. Thus they lived for some time, till it was observed that he was making preparations for departure. One day he said to Wilhelm: “I wish not to disturb the remains of this beloved child; let her rest in the place where she loved and suffered: but her friends must promise to visit me in her native country; in the scene where she was born and bred; they must see the pillars and statues, of which a dim idea remained with her. I will lead you to the bays, where she liked so well to roam and gather pebbles. You, at least, young friend, shall not escape the gratitude of a family that stands so deeply indebted to you. Tomorrow I set out on my journey. The Abbé is acquainted with the whole history of this matter: he will tell it you again. He could pardon me when grief interrupted my recital; as a third party he will be enabled to narrate the incidents with more connexion. If, as the Abbé had proposed, you like to follow me in travelling over Germany, you shall be heartily welcome. Leave not your boy behind: at every little inconvenience which he causes us, we will again remember your attentive care of my poor niece.”

The same evening, our party was surprised by the arrival of the Countess. Wilhelm trembled in every joint as she entered: she herself, though forewarned, kept close by her sister, who speedily reached her a chair. How singularly simple was her attire, how altered was her form; Wilhelm scarcely dared to look at her: she saluted him with a kindly air; a few general words addressed to him did not conceal her sentiments and feelings. The Marchese had retired betimes; and as the company were not disposed to part so early, the Abbé now produced a manuscript. “The singular narrative which was intrusted to me,” said he, “I forthwith put on paper. The case where pen and ink should least of all be spared, is in recording the particular circumstances of remarkable events.” They informed the Countess of the matter; and the Abbé read as follows, in the name of the Marchese:

“Many men as I have seen, I still regard my father as a very extraordinary person. His character was noble and upright; his ideas were enlarged, I may even say great; to himself he was severe; in all his plans there was a rigid order, in all his operations an unbroken perseverance. In one sense, therefore, it was easy to transact and live with him: yet owing to the very qualities which made it so, he never could accommodate himself to life; for he required from the state, from his neighbours, from his children and his servants, the observance of all the laws which he had laid upon himself. His most moderate demands became exorbitant by his rigour: and he never could attain to enjoyment, for nothing ever was completed as he had forecast it. At the moment when he was erecting a palace, laying out a garden, or acquiring a large estate in the highest cultivations, I have seen him inwardly convinced, with the sternest ire, that Fate had doomed him to do nothing but abstain and suffer. In his exterior, he maintained the greatest dignity; if he jested, it was but displaying the preponderancy of his understanding. Censure was intolerable to him; the only time I ever saw him quite transported with rage, was once when he heard that one of his establishments was spoken of as something ludicrous. In the same spirit, he had settled the disposal of his children and his fortune. My eldest brother was educated as a person that had large estates to look for. I was to embrace the clerical profession; the youngest was to be a soldier. I was of a lively temper; fiery, active, quick, apt for corporeal exercises: the youngest rather seemed inclined to an enthusiastic quietism; devoted to the sciences, to music and poetry. It was not till after the hardest struggle, the maturest conviction of the impossibility of his project, that our father, still reluctantly, agreed to let us change vocations; and although he saw us both contented, he could never suit himself to this arrangement, but declared that nothing good would come of it. The older he grew, the more isolated did he feel himself from all society. At last he came to live almost entirely alone. One old friend, who had served in the German armies, who had lost his wife in the campaign, and brought a daughter of about ten years of age along with him, remained his only visitor. This person bought a fine little property beside us: he used to come and see my father on stated days of the week, and at stated hours; his little daughter often came along with him. He was never heard to contradict my father; who at length grew perfectly habituated to him, and endured him as the only tolerable company he had. After our father’s death, we easily observed that this old gentleman had not been visiting for naught, that his compliances had been rewarded by an ample settlement. He enlarged his estates; his daughter might expect a handsome portion. The girl grew up, and was extremely beautiful: my elder brother often joked with me about her, saying I should go and court her.

“Meanwhile brother Augustin, in the seclusion of his cloister, had been spending his years in the strangest state of mind. He abandoned himself wholly to the feeling of a holy enthusiasm, to those half-spiritual, half-physical, emotions, which, as they for a time exalted him to the third heaven, ere long sank him down to an abyss of powerlessness and vacant misery. While my father lived, no change could be contemplated: what indeed could we have asked for or proposed? After the old man’s death, our brother visited us frequently: his situation, which at first afflicted us, in time became much more tolerable: for his reason had at length prevailed. But the more confidently reason promised him complete recovery and contentment on the pure part of nature, the more vehemently did he require of us to free him from his vows. His thoughts, he let us know, were turned upon Sperata, our fair neighbour.

“My elder brother had experienced too much suffering from the harshness of our father, to look on the condition of the youngest without sympathy. We spoke with the family confessor, a worthy old man; we signified to him the double purpose of our brother, and requested him to introduce and expedite the business. Contrary to custom, he delayed: and at last, when Augustin pressed us, and we recommended the affair more keenly to the clergyman, he had nothing left but to impart the strange secret to us.

“Sperata was our sister, and that by both her parents. Our mother had declared herself with child at a time when both she and our father were advanced in years; a similar occurrence had shortly before been made the subject of some merriment in our neighbourhood; and our father, to avoid such ridicule, determined to conceal this late lawful fruit of love as carefully as people use to conceal its earlier accidental fruits. Our mother was delivered secretly; the child was carried to the country; and the old friend of the family, who, with the confessor, had alone been trusted with the secret, easily engaged to give her out for his daughter. The confessor had reserved the right of disclosing the secret in case of extremity. The supposed father was now dead; Sperata was living with an old lady; we were aware that a love of song and music had already led our brother to her; and on his again requiring us to undo his former bond, that he might engage himself by a new one, it was necessary that we should, as soon as possible, apprise him of the danger he stood in.

“He viewed us with a wild contemptuous look. ‘Spare your idle tales,’ cried he, ‘for children and credulous fools; from me, from my heart, they shall not tear Sperata; she is mine. Recall, I pray you, instantly, your frightful spectre, which would but harass me in vain. Sperata is not my sister; she is my wife!’ He described to us, in rapturous terms, how this heavenly girl had drawn him out of his unnatural state of separation from his fellow-creatures into true life; how their spirits accorded like their voices; how he blessed his sufferings and errors, since they had kept clear of women, till the moment when he wholly and forever gave himself to this most amiable being. We were shocked at the discovery, we deplored his situation, but we knew not how to help ourselves, for he declared with violence, that Sperata had a child by him within her bosom. Our confessor did whatever duty could suggest to him, but by this means he only made the evil worse. The relations of nature and religion, moral rights and civil laws, were vehemently attacked and spurned at by our brother. He considered nothing holy but his relation Sperata; nothing dignified but the names of father and wife. ‘These alone,’ cried he, ‘are suitable to nature; all else is caprice and opinion. Were there not noble nations which admitted marriage with a sister? Name not your gods! You never name them but when you wish to befool us, to lead us from the paths of nature, and, by scandalous constraint, to transform the noblest inclinations into crimes. Unspeakable are the perplexities, abominable the abuses, into which you force the victims whom you bury alive.

“‘I may speak, for I have suffered like no other; from the highest, sweetest feeling of enthusiasm, to the frightful deserts of utter powerlessness, vacancy, annihilation and despair; from the loftiest aspirations of preternatural existence, to the most entire unbelief, unbelief in myself. All these horrid grounds of the cup, so flattering at the brim, I have drained; and my whole being was poisoned to its core. And now, when kind Nature, by her greatest gift, by love, has healed me; now, when in the arms of a heavenly creature, I again feel that I am, that she is, that out of this living union a third shall arise and smile in our faces; now ye open up the flames of your Hell, of your Purgatory, which can only singe a sick imagination; ye oppose them to the vivid, true, indestructible enjoyment of pure love! Meet us under these cypresses, which turn their solemn tops to heaven; visit us among those espaliers where the citrons and pomegranates bloom beside us, where the graceful myrtle stretches out its tender flowers to us; and then venture to disturb us with your dreary, paltry nets which men have spun!’

“Thus for a long time he persisted in a stubborn disbelief of our story; and when we assured him of its truth, when the confessor himself asseverated it, he did not let it drive him from his point. ‘Ask not the echoes of your cloisters, not your mouldering parchments, not your narrow whims and ordinances! Ask Nature and your heart; she will teach you what you should recoil from; she will point out to you with the strictest finger, over what she has pronounced her everlasting curse. Look at the lilies: do not husband and wife shoot forth on the same stalk. Does not the flower, which bore them, hold them both? And is not the lily the type of innocence; is not their sisterly union fruitful? When Nature abhors, she speaks it aloud; the creature that shall not be is not produced; the creature that lives with a false life is soon destroyed. Unfruitfulness, painful existence, early destruction, these are her curses, the marks of her displeasure. It is only by immediate consequences that she punishes. Look around you; and what is prohibited, what is accursed, will force itself upon your notice. In the silence of the convent, in the tumult of the world, a thousand practices are consecrated and revered, while her curse rests on them. On stagnant idleness as on overstrained toil, on caprice and superfluity as on constraint and want, she looks down with mournful eyes: her call is to moderation; true are all her commandments, peaceful all her influences. The man who has suffered as I have done has a right to be free. Sperata is mine; death alone shall take her from me. How I shall retain her, how I may be happy, these are your cares! This instant I go to her, and part from her no more.’

“He was for proceeding to the boat, and crossing over to her: we restrained him entreating that he would not take a step, which might produce the most tremendous consequences. He should recollect, we told him, that he was not living in the free world of his own thoughts and ideas; but in a constitution of affairs, whose ordinances and relations had become inflexible as laws of nature. The confessor made us promise not to let him leave our sight, still less our house: after this he went away, engaging to return ere long. What we had foreseen took place: reason had made our brother strong, but his heart was weak; the earlier impressions of religion rose on him, and dreadful doubts along with them. He passed two fearful nights and days: the confessor came again to his assistance, but in vain! His enfranchised understanding acquitted him: his feelings, religion, all his usual ideas declared him guilty.

“One morning we found his chamber empty: on the table lay a note, in which he signified that, as we kept him prisoner by force, he felt himself entitled to provide for his freedom; that he meant to go directly to Sperata; he expected to escape with her, and was prepared for the most terrible extremities, should any separation by attempted.

“The news of course affrighted us exceedingly; but the confessor bade us be at rest. Our poor brother had been narrowly enough observed: the boatman, in place of taking him across, proceeded with him to his cloister. Fatigued with watching for the space of four-and-twenty hours, he fell asleep, as the skiff began to rock him in the moonshine; and he did not awake, till he saw himself in the hands of his spiritual brethren; he did not recover from his amazement, till he heard the doors of the convent bolting behind him.

“Sharply touched at the fate of our brother, we reproached the confessor for his cruelty; but he soon silenced or convinced us by the surgeon’s reason, that our pity was destructive to the patient. He let us know that he was not acting on his own authority, but by order of the bishop and his chapter; that by this proceeding, they intended to avoid all public scandal, and to shroud the sad occurrence under the veil of a secret course of discipline prescribed by the Church. Our sister they would spare; she was not to be told that her lover was her brother. The charge of her was given to a priest, to whom she had before disclosed her situation. They contrived to hide her pregnancy and her delivery. As a mother she felt altogether happy in her little one. Like most of our women, she could neither write, nor read writing: she gave the priest many verbal messages to carry to her lover. The latter, thinking that he owed this pious fraud to a suckling mother, often brought pretended tidings from our brother, whom he never saw; recommending her, in his name, to be at peace; begging of her to be careful of herself and of her child; and for the rest to trust in God.

“Sperata was inclined by nature to religious feelings. Her situation, her solitude increased this tendency; the clergyman encouraged it, in order to prepare her by degrees for an eternal separation. Scarcely was her child weaned, scarcely did he think her body strong enough for suffering agony of mind, when he began to paint her fault to her in most terrific colours, to treat the crime of being connected with a priest as a sort of sin against nature, as a sort of incest. For he had taken up the strange thought of making her repentance equal in intensity to what it would have been, had she known the true circumstances of her error. He thereby produced so much anxiety and sorrow in her mind; he so exalted the idea of the Church and of its head before her; showed her the awful consequences, for the weal of all men’s souls, should indulgence in a case like this be granted, and the guilty pair rewarded by a lawful union; signifying too how wholesome it was to expiate such sins in time, and thereby gain the crown of immortality—that at last, like a poor criminal, she willingly held out her neck to the axe, and earnestly entreated that she might forever be divided from our brother. Having gained so much, the clergy left her the liberty (reserving to themselves a certain distant oversight) to live at one time in a convent, at another in her house, according as she afterwards thought good.

“Her little girl meanwhile was growing: from her earliest years, she had displayed an extraordinary disposition. When still very young, she could run, and move with wonderful dexterity: she sang beautifully, and learned to play upon the cithern almost of herself. With words, however, she could not express herself; and the impediment seemed rather to proceed from her mode of thought, than from her organs of speech. The feelings of the poor mother to her, in the mean time, were of the most painful kind: the expostulations of the priest had so perplexed her mind, that though she was not quite deranged, her state was far from being sane. She daily thought her crime more terrible and punishable; the clergyman’s comparison of incest, frequently repeated, had impressed itself so deeply, that her horror was not less than if the actual circumstances had been known to her. The priest took no small credit for his ingenuity, with which he had contrived to tear asunder a luckless creature’s heart. It was miserable to behold maternal love, ready to expand itself in joy at the existence of her child, contending with the horrid feeling, that this child should not be there. The two emotions strove together in her soul; love was often weaker than aversion.

“The child had long ago been taken from her, and committed to a worthy family residing on the sea-shore. In the greater freedom, which the little creature enjoyed here, she soon displayed her singular delight in climbing. To mount the highest peaks, to run long the edges of the ships, to imitate in all their strangest feats the rope-dancers, whom she often saw in the place, seemed a natural tendency in her.

“To practise these things with the greater ease, she liked to change clothes with boys: and though her foster parents thought this highly blameable and unbecoming, we bade them indulge her as much as possible. Her wild walks and leapings often led her to a distance; she would lose her way, and be long from home, but she always came back. In general, as she returned, she used to set herself beneath the columns in the portal of a country house in the neighbourhood: her people now had ceased to look for her; they waited for her. She would there lie resting on the steps: then run up and down the large hall, looking at the statues; after which, if nothing specially detained her, she used to hasten home.

“But at last our confidence was balked, and our indulgence punished. The child went out, and did not come again: her little hat was found swimming on the water, near the spot where a torrent rushed down into the sea. It was conjectured that, in clambering among the rocks, her foot had slipped; all our searching could not find the body.

“The thoughtless tattle of her house-mates soon communicated the occurrence to Sperata; she seemed calm and cheerful when she heard it; hinting not obscurely at her satisfaction that God had pleased to take her poor little child to himself, and thus preserved it from suffering or causing some more dreadful misery.

“On this occasion, all the fables which are told about our waters came to be the common talk. The sea, it was said, required every year an innocent child: yet it would endure no corpse, but sooner or later throw it to the shore; nay the last joint, though sunk to the lowest bottom, must again come forth. They told the story of a mother, inconsolable because her child had perished in the sea, who prayed to God and his saints to grant her at least the bones for burial. The first storm threw ashore the skull, the next the spine; and after all was gathered, she wrapped the bones in a cloth, and took them to the church: but O! miraculous to tell! as she crossed the threshold of the temple, the packet grew heavier and heavier, and at last, when she laid it on the steps of the altar, the child began to cry and issued living from the cloth. One joint of the right-hand little finger was alone wanting: this too the mother anxiously sought and found; and in memory of the event it was preserved among the other relics of the church.

“On poor Sperata these recitals made a deep impression: her imagination took a new flight, and favoured the emotion of her heart. She supposed that now the child had expiated, by its death, both its own sins, and the sins of its parents: that the curse and penalty, which hitherto had overhung them all, was at length wholly removed; that nothing more was necessary, could she only find the child’s bones, that she might carry them to Rome, where upon the steps of the great altar in St. Peter’s, her little girl, again covered with its fair fresh skin, would stand up alive before the people. With its own eyes it would once more look on father and mother; and the Pope, convinced that God and his saints commanded it, would, amid the acclamations of the people, remit the parents their sins, acquit them of their oaths, and join their hands in wedlock.

“Her looks and her anxiety were henceforth constantly directed to the sea and the beach. When, at night in the moonshine, the waves were tossing to and fro, she thought every glittering sheet of foam was bringing out her child; and some one about her had to run off, as if to take it up when it should reach the shore.

“By day she walked unweariedly along the places where the pebbly beach shelved slowly to the water: she gathered, in a little basket, all the bones which she could find. None durst tell her that they were the bones of animals: the larger ones she buried, the little ones she took along with her. In this employment she incessantly persisted. The clergyman, who, by so unremittingly discharging what he thought his duty, had reduced her to this condition, now stood up for her with all his might. By his influence, the people in the neighbourhood were made to look upon her not as a distracted person, but as one entranced: they stood in reverent attitudes as she walked by, and the children ran to kiss her hand.

“To the old woman, her attendant and faithful friend, the secret of Sperata’s guilt was at length imparted by the priest, on her solemnly engaging to watch over the unhappy creature with untiring care, through all her life. And she kept this engagement to the last, with admirable conscientiousness and patience.

“Meanwhile we had always had an eye upon our brother. Neither the physicians nor the clergy of his convent would allow us to be seen by him: but, in order to convince us of his being well in some sort, we had leave to look at him as often as we liked, in the garden, the passages, or even through a window in the roof of his apartment.

“After many terrible and singular changes, which I shall omit, he had passed into a strange state of mental rest and bodily unrest. He never sat but when he took his harp and played upon it, and then he usually accompanied it with singing. At other times, he kept continually in motion; and in all things he was grown extremely guidable and pliant, for all his passions seemed to have resolved themselves into the single fear of death. You could persuade him to do anything, by threatening him with dangerous sickness or with death.

“Besides this singularity of walking constantly about the cloister, a practice which he hinted it were better to exchange for wandering over hill and dale, he talked about an Apparition which perpetually tormented him. He declared, that on awakening, at whatever hour of the night, he saw a beautiful boy standing at the foot of his bed, with a bare knife, and threatening to destroy him. They shifted him to various other chambers of the convent; but he still asserted that the boy pursued him. His wandering to and from became more unrestful: the people afterwards remembered too, that at this time they had often seen him standing at the window looking out upon the sea.

“Our poor sister, on the other hand, seemed gradually wasting under the consuming influence of her single thought, of her narrow occupation. It was at last proposed by the physician, that among the bones which she had gathered, the fragments of a child’s skeleton should by degrees be introduced; and so the hapless mother’s hopes kept up. The experiment was dubious; but this at least seemed likely to be gained by it, that when all the parts were got together, she would cease her weary search, and might be entertained with hopes of going to Rome.

“It was accordingly resolved on: her attendant changed, by imperceptible degrees, the small remains committed to her with the bones Sperata found. An inconceivable delight arose in the poor sick woman’s heart, when the parts began to fit each other, and the shape of those still wanting could be marked. She had fastened every fragment in its proper place with threads and ribbons; filling up the vacant spaces with embroidery and silk, as is usually done with the relics of saints.

“In this way nearly all the bones had been collected; none but a few of the extremities were wanting. One morning, while she was asleep, the physician having come to ask for her, the old attendant, with a view to show him how his patient occupied herself, took away these dear remains from the little chest where they lay in poor Sperata’s bedroom. A few minutes afterwards, they heard her spring upon the floor; she lifted up the cloth and found the chest empty. She threw herself upon her knees; they came and listened to her joyful ardent prayer. ‘Yes!’ exclaimed she, ‘it is true; it was no dream, it is real! Rejoice with me, my friends! I have seen my own beautiful good little girl again alive. She arose and threw the veil from off her; her splendour enlightened all the room; her beauty was transfigured to celestial loveliness; she could not tread the ground, although she wished it. Lightly was she born aloft; she had not even time to stretch her hand to me. There! cried she to me, and pointed to the road where I am soon to go. Yes, I will follow her, soon follow her; my heart is light to think of it. My sorrows are already vanished; the sight of my risen little one has given me a foretaste of the heavenly joys.’

“From that time her soul was wholly occupied with prospects of the brightest kind: she gave no farther heed to any earthly object; she took but little food; her spirit by degrees cast off the fetters of the body. At last this imperceptible gradation reached its head unexpectedly: her attendants found her pale and motionless; she opened not her eyes; she was what we call dead.

“The report of her vision quickly spread abroad among the people; and the reverential feeling, which she had excited in her lifetime, soon changed, at her death, to the thought that she should be regarded as in bliss, nay as in sanctity.

“When we were bearing her to be interred, a crowd of persons pressed with boundless violence about the bier; they would touch her hand; they would touch her garment. In this impassioned elevation, various sick persons ceased to feel the pains by which at other times they were tormented: they looked upon themselves as healed; they declared it, they praised God and his new saint. The clergy were obliged to lay the body in a neighbouring chapel; the people called for opportunity to offer their devotion. The concourse was incredible; the mountaineers, at all times prone to lively and religious feelings, crowded forward from their valleys; the reverence, the wonder, the adoration daily spread and gathered strength. The ordinances of the bishop, which were meant to limit, and in time abolish this new worship, could not be put in execution: every show of opposition raised the people into tumults; every unbeliever they were ready to assail with personal violence. ‘Did not Saint Borromæus,’ cried they, ‘dwell among our forefathers? Did not his mother live to taste the joy of his canonisation? Was not that great figure on the rocks at Arona meant to represent to us, by a sensible symbol, his spiritual greatness? Do not the descendants of his kindred live among us to this hour? And has not God promised ever to renew his miracles among a people that believe?’

“As the body, after several days, exhibited no marks of putrefaction, but grew whiter, and as it were translucent, the general faith rose higher and higher. Among the multitude were several cures, which even the sceptical observer was unable to account for, or ascribe entirely to fraud. The whole country was in motion; those who did not go to see it, heard at least no other topic talked of.

“The convent, where my brother lived, resounded, like the land at large, with the noise of these wonders; and the people felt the less restraint in speaking of them in his presence, as in general he seemed to pay no heed to anything, and his connexion with the circumstance was known to none of them. But on this occasion, it appeared, he had listened with attention. He conducted his escape with such dexterity and cunning, that the manner of it still remains a mystery. We learned afterwards, that he had crossed the water with a number of travellers; and charged the boatmen, who observed no other singularity about him, above all to have a care lest their vessel overset. Late in the night, he reached the chapel, where his hapless loved one was resting from her woes. Only a few devotees were kneeling in the corners of the place; her old friend was sitting at the head of the corpse; he walked up to her, saluted her, and asked how her mistress was. ‘You see it,’ answered she with some embarrassment. He looked at the corpse with a sidelong glance. After some delay he took its hand. Frightened by its coldness, he in the instant let go: he looked unrestfully around him; then turning to the old attendant: ‘I cannot stay with her at present,’ said he; ‘I have a long, long way to travel; but at the proper time I shall be back: tell her so when she awakens.’

“With this he went away. It was a while before we got intelligence of these occurrences: we searched: but all our efforts to discover him were vain. How he worked his way across the mountains, none can say. A long time after he was gone, we came upon a trace of him among the Grisons; but we were too late; it quickly vanished. We supposed that he was gone to Germany; but his weak foot-prints had been speedily obliterated by the war.”
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Re: Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship,by Johann Wolfgang Goet

Postby admin » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:42 pm

Part 6 of 6

Chapter 10

THE ABBÉ ceased to read: no one had listened without tears. The Countess scarcely ever took her handkerchief from her eyes; at last she rose, and, with Natalia, left the room. The rest were silent, till the Abbé thus began: "The question now arises, whether we shall let the good Marchese leave us without telling him our secret. For who can doubt a moment, that our Harper and his brother Augustin are one? Let us consider what is to be done; both for the sake of that unhappy man himself, and of his family. My advice is, not to hurry, but to wait till we have heard what news the Doctor, who is gone to see him, brings us back."

All were of the same opinion; and the Abbé thus proceeded: "Another question, which perhaps may be disposed of sooner, still remains. The Marchese is affected to the bottom of his heart, at the kindness which his poor niece experienced here, particularly from our young friend. He made me tell him, and repeat to him every circumstance connected with her; and he showed the liveliest gratitude on hearing it. ‘Her young benefactor,’ he said, ‘refused to travel with me, while he knew not the connexion that subsists between us. I am not now a stranger, of whose manner of existence, of whose humours he might be uncertain. I am his associate, his relation; and as his unwillingness to leave his boy behind was the impediment which kept him from accompanying me, let this child now become a fairer bond to join us still more closely. Besides the services which I already owe him, let him be of service to me on my present journey: let him then return along with me; my elder brother will receive him as he ought. And let him not despise the heritage of his unhappy foster-child: for by a secret stipulation of our father with his military friend, the fortune which he gave Sperata has returned to us: and certainly we will not cheat our niece’s benefactor of the recompense which he has merited so well.’"

Theresa, taking Wilhelm by the hand, now said to him: "we have here another beautiful example that disinterested well-doing yields the highest and best return. Follow the call, which so strangely comes to you: and while you lay a double load of gratitude on the Marchese, hasten to a fair land, which has already often drawn your heart and your imagination towards it."

"I leave myself entirely to the guidance of my friends and you," said Wilhelm: "it is vain to think, in this world, of adhering to our individual will. What I purposed to hold fast, I must let go; and benefits which I have not deserved, descend upon me of their own accord."

With a gentle pressure of Theresa’s hand, Wilhelm took his own away. "I give you full permission," said he to the Abbé "to decide about me as you please. Since I shall not need to leave my Felix, I am ready to go anywhither, and to undertake whatever you think good."

Thus authorised, the Abbé forthwith sketched out his plan. The Marchese, he proposed, should be allowed to depart; Wilhelm was to wait for tidings from the Doctor; he might then, when they had settled what was to be done, set off with Felix. Accordingly, under the pretence that Wilhelm’s preparations for his journey would detain him, he advised the stranger to employ the mean while in examining the curiosities of the city, which he meant to visit. The Marchese did in consequence depart; and not without renewed and strong expressions of his gratitude; of which indeed the presents left by him, including jewels, precious stones, embroidered stuffs, afforded a sufficient proof.

Wilhelm too was at length in readiness for travelling; and his friends began to be distressed that the Doctor sent them no news. They feared some mischief had befallen the poor old Harper, at the very moment when they were in hopes of radically improving his condition. They sent the courier off; but he was scarcely gone, when the Doctor in the evening entered with a stranger, whose form and aspect were expressive, earnest, striking, and whom no one knew. Both stood silent for a space; the stranger at length went up to Wilhelm, and holding out his hand said: “Do you not know your old friend, then?” It was the Harper’s voice; but of his form there seemed to remain no vestige. He was in the common garb of a traveller, cleanly and genteely equipt; his beard had vanished; his hair was dressed with some attention to the mode; and what particularly made him quite irrecognisable was, that in his countenance the look of age was no longer visible. Wilhelm embraced him with the liveliest joy; he was presented to the rest; and behaved himself with great propriety, not knowing that the party had a little while before become so well acquainted with him. “You will have patience with a man,” continued he with great composure, “who, grown up as he appears, is entering on the world, after long sorrows, inexperienced as a child. To this skilful gentleman I stand indebted for the privilege of again appearing in the company of my fellow-men.”

They bade him welcome: the Doctor motioned for a walk, to interrupt the conversation, and lead it to indifferent topics.

In private, the Doctor gave the following explanation: “It was by the strangest chance that we succeeded in the cure of this man. We had long treated him, morally and physically, as our best consideration dictated: in some degree the plan was efficacious; but the fear of death continued powerful in him, and he would not lay aside his beard and cloak. For the rest, however, he appeared to take more interest in external things than formerly; and both his songs and his conceptions seemed to be approaching nearer life. A strange letter from the clergyman, as you already know, called me from you. I arrived: I found our patient altogether changed; he had voluntarily given up his beard; he had let his locks be cut into a customary form; he asked for common clothes; he seemed to have at once become another man. Though curious to penetrate the reason of this sudden alteration, we did not risk inquiring of himself: at last we accidentally discovered it. A glass of laudanum was missing from the Parson’s private laboratory: we thought it right to institute a strict inquiry on the subject; every one endeavoured to ward off suspicion; and the sharpest quarrels rose among he inmates of the house. At last, this man appeared before us, and admitted that he had the laudanum: we asked if he had swallowed any of it. ‘No!’ said he: but it is to this that I owe the recovery of my reason. It is at your choice to take the vial from me; and to drive me back inevitably to my former state. The feeling that it was desirable to see the pains of life terminated by death, first put me on the way of cure; before long the thought of terminating them by voluntary death arose in me; and with this intention, I took the glass of poison. The possibility of casting off my load of griefs forever gave me strength to bear them: and thus have I, ever since this talisman came into my possession, pressed myself back into life, by a contiguity with death. Be not anxious lest I use the drug; but resolve, as men acquainted with the human heart, by granting me an independence of life, to make me properly and wholesomely dependent on it.’ After mature consideration of the matter, we determined not to meddle farther with him: and he now carries with him, in a firm little ground-glass vial, this poison, of which he has so strangely made an antidote.”

The Doctor was informed of all that had transpired since his departure; towards Augustin, it was determined that they should observe the deepest silence in regard to it. The Abbé undertook to keep beside him, and to lead him forward on the healthful path he had entered.

Meanwhile Wilhelm was to set about his journey over Germany with the Marchese. If it should appear that Augustin could be again excited to affection for his native country, the circumstances were to be communicated to his friends, and Wilhelm might conduct him thither.

Wilhelm had at last made every preparation for his journey. At first the Abbé thought it strange that Augustin rejoiced in hearing of his friend and benefactor’s purpose to depart; but he soon discovered the foundation of this curious movement. Augustin could not subdue his fear of Felix; and he longed as soon as possible to see the boy removed.

By degrees so many people had assembled, that the Castle and adjoining buildings could scarcely accommodate them all; and the less, as such a multitude of guests had not originally been anticipated. They breakfasted, they dined together; each endeavoured to persuade himself that they were living in a comfortable harmony, but each in secret longed in some degree to be away. Theresa frequently rode out attended by Lothario, and oftener alone; she had already got acquainted with all the landladies and landlords in the district; for she held it as a principle of her economy, in which perhaps she was not far mistaken, that it is essential to be in good acceptance with one’s neighbours male and female, and to maintain with them a constant interchange of civilities. Of an intended marriage with Lothario she appeared to have no thought. Natalia and the Countess often talked with one another; the Abbé seemed to covet the society of Augustin; Jarno had frequent conversations with the Doctor; Friedrich held by Wilhelm; Felix ran about, wherever he could meet with most amusement. It was thus too that in general they paired themselves in walking, when the company broke up: when it was obliged to be together, recourse was quickly had to music, to unite them all by giving each back to himself.

Unexpectedly the Count increased the party; intending to remove his lady, and, as it appeared, to take a solemn farewell of his worldly friends. Jarno hastened to the coach to meet him: the Count inquired what guests they had; to which the other answered, in a fit of wild humour that would often seize him: “We have all the nobility in Nature; Marcheses, Marquises, Milords and Barons: we wanted nothing but a Count.” They came upstairs. Wilhelm was the first who met them in the ante-chamber. “Milord,” said the Count to him in French, after looking at him for a moment, “I rejoice very much in the unexpected pleasure of renewing my acquaintance with your Lordship: I am very much mistaken if I did not see you at my Castle in the Prince’s suite.” “I had the happiness of waiting on your Excellency at that time,” answered Wilhelm; “but you do me too much honour when you take me for an Englishman, and that of the first quality. I am a German, and ”——“A very brave young fellow,” interrupted Jarno. The Count looked at Wilhelm with a smile, and was about to make some reply, when the rest of the party entered, and saluted him with many a friendly welcome. They excused themselves for being unable at the moment to show him to a proper chamber; promising without delay to make the necessary room for him.

“Ay, ay!” said he, smiling: “we have left Chance, I see, to act as our purveyor. Yet with prudence and arrangement, how much is possible! For the present, I entreat you not to stir a slipper from its place; the disorder, I perceive, would otherwise be great. Every one would be uncomfortably lodged; and this no one shall be on my account, if possible, not even for an hour. You can testify,” said he to Jarno, “and you too, Meister,” turning to Wilhelm, “how many people I commodiously stowed, that time, in my Castle. Let me have the list of persons and servants; let me see how they are lodged at present: I will make a plan of dislocation, such that, with the very smallest inconvenience, every one shall find a suitable apartment, and there shall be room enough to hold another guest if one should accidentally arrive.”

Jarno volunteered to be the Count’s assistant; procured him all the necessary information; taking great delight, as usual, if he could now and then contrive to lead him astray, and leave him in awkward difficulties. The old gentleman at last, however, gained a signal triumph. The arrangement was completed; he caused the names to be written on their several doors, himself attending; and it could not be denied that, by a very few changes and substitutions, the object had been fully gained. Jarno, among other things, had also managed that the persons, who at present took an interest in each other, should be lodged together.

“Will you help me,” said the Count to Jarno, after everything was settled, “to clear up my recollections of the young man there, whom you call Meister, and who, you tell me, is a German?” Jarno was silent; for he knew very well that the Count was one of those people who, in asking questions, merely wish to show their knowledge. The Count accordingly continued, without waiting for an answer: “You, I recollect, presented him to me; and warmly recommended him in the Prince’s name. If his mother was a German woman, I’ll be bound for it his father is an Englishman, and one of rank too: who can calculate the English blood that has been flowing, these last thirty years, in German veins! I do not wish to pump you: I know you have always family secrets of that kind; but in such cases it is in vain to think of cheating me.” He then proceeded to detail a great variety of things as having taken place with Wilhelm at the Castle; to the whole of which Jarno, as before, kept silence; though the Count was altogether in the wrong, confounding Wilhelm more than once with a young Englishman of the Prince’s suite. The truth was, the good old gentleman had in former years possessed a very excellent memory; and was still proud of being able to remember the minutest circumstances of his youth: but in regard to late occurrences, he used to settle in his mind as true, and utter with the greatest certainty, whatever fables and fantastic combinations in the growing weakness of his powers, imagination might present to him. For the rest, he was become extremely mild and courteous; his presence had a very favourable influence upon the company. He would call on them to read some useful book together; nay he often gave them little games, which, without participating in them, he directed with the greatest care. If they wondered at his condescension, he would reply, that it became a man, who differed from the world in weighty matters, to conform to it the more anxiously in matters of indifference.

In these games, our friend had, more than once, an angry and unquiet feeling to endure. Friedrich, with his usual levity, took frequent opportunity of giving hints that Wilhelm entertained a secret passion for Natalia. How could he have found it out? What entitled him to say so? And would not his friends think that, as they two were often together, Wilhelm must have made a disclosure to him, so thoughtless and unlucky a disclosure?

One day, while they were merrier than common at some such joke, Augustin, dashing up the door, rushed in with a frightful look; his countenance was pale, his eyes were wild; he seemed about to speak, but his tongue refused its office. The party were astounded; Lothario and Jarno, supposing that his madness had returned, sprang up and seized him. With a choked and faltering voice, then loudly and violently, he spoke and cried: “Not me! Haste! Help! Save the child! Felix is poisoned!”

They let him go; he hastened through the door: all followed him in consternation. They called the Doctor; Augustin made for the Abbés chamber; they found the child; who seemed amazed and frightened, when they called to him from a distance: “What hast thou been doing?”

“Dear papa!” cried Felix, “I did not drink from the bottle, I drank from the glass: I was very thirsty.”

Augustin struck his hands together: “He is lost!” cried he; then pressed through the bystanders, and hastened away.

They found a glass of almond-milk upon the table, with a bottle near it more than half empty. The Doctor came; was told what they had seen and heard: with horror he observed the well-known laudanum-vial lying empty on the table. He called for vinegar, he summoned all his art to his assistance.

Natalia had the little patient taken to a room, she busied herself with painful care about him. The Abbé had run out to seek Augustin, and draw some explanation from him. The unhappy father had been out upon the same endeavour, but in vain: he returned, to find anxiety and fear on every face. The Doctor, in the mean time, had been examining the almond-milk in the glass; he found it to contain a powerful mixture of opium: the child was lying on the sofa, seeming very sick; he begged his father “not to let them pour more stuff into him, not to let them plague him any more.” Lothario had sent his people, and had ridden off himself, endeavouring to find some trace of Augustin. Natalia sat beside the child; he took refuge in her bosom, and entreated earnestly for her protection; earnestly for a little piece of sugar: the vinegar, he said, was biting sour. The Doctor granted his request; the child was in a frightful agitation; they were obliged to let him have a moment’s rest. The Doctor said that every means had been adopted; he would continue to do his utmost. The Count came near, with an air of displeasure: his look was earnest, even solemn: he laid his hands upon the child; turned his eyes to Heaven, and remained some moments in that attitude. Wilhelm, who was lying inconsolable on a seat, sprang up, and casting a despairing look at Natalia, left the room. Shortly afterwards the Count too left it.

“I cannot understand,” said the Doctor, having paused a little, “how it comes that there is not the smallest trace of danger visible about the child. At a single gulp, he must have swallowed an immense dose of opium; yet I find no movement in his pulse but what may be ascribed to our remedies, and to the terror we have put him into.”

In a few minutes Jarno entered, with intelligence that Augustin had been discovered in the upper story, lying in his blood; a razor had been found beside him; to all appearance he had cut his throat. The Doctor hastened out: he met the people carrying down the body. The unhappy man was laid upon a bed, and accurately examined: the cut had gone across the windpipe; copious loss of blood had been succeeded by a swoon; yet it was easy to observe that life, that hope was still there. The Doctor put the body in a proper posture; joined the edges of the wound, and bandaged it. The night passed sleepless and full of care to all. Felix would not quit Natalia: Wilhelm sat before her on a stool; he had the boy’s feet upon his lap; the head and breast were lying upon hers. Thus did they divide the pleasing burden and the painful anxiety; and continue, till the day broke, in their uncomfortable sad position. Natalia had given her hand to Wilhelm; they did not speak a word; they looked at the child and then at one another. Lothario and Jarno were sitting at the other end of the room, and carrying on a most important conversation; which, did not the pressure of events forbid us, we would gladly lay before our readers. The boy slept softly; he awoke quite cheerful, early in the morning, and demanded a piece of bread and butter.

So soon as Augustin had in some degree recovered, they endeavoured to obtain some explanation from him. They learned with difficulty, and by slow degrees, that having, by the Count’s unlucky shifting, been appointed to the same chamber with the Abbé, he had found the manuscript in which his story was recorded. Struck with horror on perusing it, he felt that it was now impossible for him to live; on which he had recourse as usual to the laudanum: this he poured into a glass of almond-milk, and raised it to his mouth; but he shuddered when it reached his lips; he set it down untasted; went out to walk once more across the garden, and behold the face of nature; and on his return, he found the child employed in filling up the glass out of which it had been drinking.

They entreated the unhappy creature to be calm; he seized Wilhelm by the hand with a spasmodic grasp, and cried: “Ah! why did I not leave thee long ago? I knew well that I should kill the boy, and he me.” “The boy lives!” said Wilhelm. The Doctor, who had listened with attention, now inquired of Augustin if all that drink was poisoned. “No,” replied he, “nothing but the glass.” “By the luckiest chance, then,”’ cried the Doctor, “the boy has drunk from the bottle! A benignant Genius has guided his hand, that he did not catch at death, which stood so near and ready for him.” “No! no!” cried Wilhelm with a groan, and clapping both his hands upon his eyes: “How dreadful are the words! Felix said expressly that he drank not from the bottle but the glass. His health is but a show; he will die among our hands,” Wilhelm hastened out; the Doctor went below, and taking Felix up, with much caressing, asked: “Now did not you, my pretty boy? You drank from the bottle, not the glass?” The child began to cry. The Doctor secretly informed Natalia how the matter stood: she also strove in vain to get the truth from Felix, who but cried the more; cried till he fell asleep.

Wilhelm watched by him; the night went peacefully away. Next morning Augustin was found lying dead in bed; he had cheated his attendants by a seeming rest; had silently loosened the bandages, and bled to death. Natalia went to walk with Felix; he was sportful as in his happiest days. “You are always good to me,” said Felix; “you never scold, you never beat me; I will tell you the truth, I did drink from the bottle. Mamma Aurelia used to rap me over the fingers every time I touched the bottle: father looked so sour, I thought he would beat me.”

With winged steps Natalia hastened to the Castle; Wilhelm came, still overwhelmed with care, to meet her. “Happy father!” cried she, lifting up the child, and throwing it into his arms: “there is thy son again! He drank from the bottle: his naughtiness has saved him.”

They told the Count the happy issue; but he listened with a smiling, silent, modest air of knowingness, like one tolerating the error of worthy men. Jarno, attentive to all, could not explain this lofty self-complacency; till after many windings, he at last discovered it to be his Lordship’s firm belief that the child had really taken poison, and that he himself, by prayer and the laying-on of hands, had miraculously counteracted the effects of it. After such a feat, his Lordship now determined on departing. Everything, as usual with him, was made ready in a moment; the fair Countess, when about to go, took Wilhelm’s hand before parting with her sister’s; she then pressed both their hands between her own, turned quickly round, and stept into the carriage.

So many terrible and strange events, crowding one upon the back of another, inducing an unusual mode of life, and putting everything into disorder and perplexity, had brought a sort of feverish movement into all departments of the house. The hours of sleep and waking, of eating, drinking and social conversation were inverted. Except Theresa, none of them had kept in their accustomed course. The men endeavoured, by increased potations, to recover their good humour; and thus communicating to themselves an artificial vivacity, they drove away that natural vivacity, which alone imparts to us true cheerfulness and strength for action.

Wilhelm, in particular, was moved and agitated by the keenest feelings. Those unexpected, frightful incidents had thrown him out of all condition to resist a passion which had so forcibly seized his heart. Felix was restored to him; yet still it seemed that he had nothing: Werner’s letters, the directions for his journey were in readiness; there was nothing wanting but the resolution to remove. Everything conspired to hasten him. He could not but conjecture that Lothario and Theresa were awaiting his departure, that they might be wedded. Jarno was unusually silent; you would have said that he had lost a portion of his customary cheerfulness. Happily the Doctor helped our friend in some degree, from this embarrassment: he declared him sick, and set about administering medicine to him.

The company assembled always in the evening: Friedrich, the wild madcap, who had often drunk more wine than suited him, in general took possession of the talk; and by a thousand frolicsome citations, fantasies and waggish allusions, often kept the party laughing; often also threw them into awkward difficulties, by the liberty he took to think aloud.

In the sickness of his friend he seemed to have little faith. Once when they were all together, “Pray, Doctor,” cried he, “how is it you call the malady our friend is labouring under? Will none of the three thousand names, with which you decorate your ignorance, apply to it? The disease at least is not without examples. There is one such case,” continued he with an emphatic tone, “in the Egyptian or Babylonian history.”

The company looked at one another, and smiled.

“What call you the king—?” cried he, and stopped short a moment. “Well, if you will not help me, I must help myself.” He threw the door-leaves up, and pointed to the large picture in the antechamber. “What call you the goat-beard there, with the crown on, who is standing at the foot of the bed, making such a rueful face about his sick son? How call you the beauty, who enters, and in her modest roguish eyes at once brings poison and antidote? How call you the quack of a doctor, who at this moment catches a glimpse of the reality, and for the first time in his life takes occasion to prescribe a reasonable recipe, to give a drug which cures to the very heart, and is at once salutiferous and savoury?”

In this manner he continued babbling. The company took it with as good a face as might be; hiding their embarrassment behind a forced laugh. A slight blush overspread Natalia’s cheeks, and betrayed the movements of her heart. By good fortune, she was walking up and down with Jarno: on coming to the door, with a cunning motion she slipped out, walked once or twice across the antechamber, and retired to her room.

The company were silent: Friedrich began to dance and sing:

“O ye shall wonders see!
What has been is not to be;
What is said is not to say,
Before the break of day
Ye shall wonders see!”

Theresa had gone out to find Natalia; Friedrich pulled the Doctor forward to the picture; pronounced a ridiculous eulogium on medicine, and glided from the room.

Lothario had been standing all the while in the recess of a window; he was looking, without motion, down into the garden. Wilhelm was in the most dreadful state. Left alone with his friends, he still kept silence for a time: he ran with a hurried glance over all his history, and at last, with shuddering, surveyed his present situation; he started up and cried: “If I am to blame for what is happening, for what you and I are suffering, punish me. In addition to my other miseries, deprive me of your friendship, and let me wander, without comfort, forth into the wide world, in which I should have mingled, and withdrawn myself from notice long ago. But if you see in me the victim of a cruel entanglement of chance, out of which I could not thread my way, then give me the assurance of your love, of your friendship, on a journey which I dare not now postpone. A time will come, when I may tell you what has passed of late within me. Perhaps this is but a punishment, which I am suffering, because I did not soon enough disclose myself to you, because I hesitated to display myself entirely as I was: you would have assisted me, you would have helped me out in proper season. Again and again have my eyes been opened to my conduct; but it was ever too late, it was ever in vain! How richly do I merit Jarno’s censure! I imagined I had seized it; how firmly did I purpose to employ it, to commence another life! Could I, might I have done so? It avails not for mortals to complain of Fate or of themselves! We are wretched, and appointed for wretchedness; and what does it matter whether blame of ours, higher influence or chance, virtue or vice, wisdom or folly plunge us into ruin? Farewell! I will not stay another moment in a house, where I have so fearfully violated the rights of hospitality. Your brother’s indiscretion is unpardonable; it aggravates my suffering to the highest pitch, it drives me to despair.”

“And what,” replied Lothario, taking Wilhelm by the hand, “what if your alliance with my sister were the secret article on which depended my alliance with Theresa? This amends that noble maiden has appointed for you; she has vowed that these two pairs should appear together at the altar. ‘His reason has made choice of me,’ said she; ‘his heart demands Natalia: my reason shall assist his heart.’ We agreed to keep our eyes upon Natalia and yourself; we told the Abbé of our plan, who made us promise not to intermeddle with this union, or attempt to forward it, but to suffer everything to take its course. We have done so, Nature has performed her part; our mad brother only shook the ripe fruit from the branch. And now, since we have come together so unusually, let us lead no common life; let us work together in a noble manner, and for noble purposes! It is inconceivable how much a man of true culture can accomplish for himself and others, if, without attempting to rule, he can be the guardian over many; can induce them to do that in season, which they are at any rate disposed enough to do; can guide them to their objects, which in general they see with due distinctness, though they miss the road to them. Let us make a league for this: it is no enthusiasm; but an idea which may be fully executed, which indeed is often executed, only with imperfect consciousness, by people of benevolence and worth. Natalia is a living instance of it. No other need attempt to rival the plan of conduct which has been prescribed by nature for that pure and noble soul.”

He had more to say, but Friedrich with a shout came jumping in. “What a garland have I earned!” cried he: “how will you reward me? Myrtle, laurel, ivy, leaves of oak, the freshest you can find, come twist them: I have merits far beyond them all. Natalia is thine! I am the conjuror who raised this treasure for thee.”

“He raves,” said Wilhelm; “I must go.”

“Art thou empowered to speak?” inquired Lothario, holding Wilhelm from retiring.

“By my own authority,” said Friedrich, “and the grace of God. It was thus I was the wooer; thus I am the messenger: I listened at the door; she told the Abbé everything.”

“Barefaced rogue! who bade thee listen?” said Lothario.

“Who bade her bolt the door?” cried Friedrich. “I heard it all: she was in a wondrous pucker. In the night when Felix seemed so ill, and was lying half upon her knees, and thou wert sitting comfortless before her, sharing the beloved load, she made a vow, that if the child died, she would confess her love to thee, and offer thee her hand. And now when the child lives, why should she change her mind? What we promise under such conditions, we keep under any. Nothing wanting but the parson! He will come, and marvel what strange news he brings.”

The Abbé entered. “We know it all,” cried Friedrich: “be as brief as possible; it is mere formality you come for; they never send for you or me on any other score.”

“He has listened,” said the Baron.—“Scandalous!” exclaimed the Abbé.

“Now, quick!” said Friedrich. “How stands it with the ceremonies? These we can reckon on our fingers. You must travel; the Marchese’s invitation answers to a hairsbreadth. If we had you once beyond the Alps, it will all be right: the people are obliged to you for undertaking anything surprising; you procure them an amusement which they are not called to pay for. It is as if you gave a free ball; all ranks partake in it.”

“In such popular festivities,” replied the Abbé, “you have done the public much service in your time; but today, it seems, you will not let me speak at all.”

“If it is not just as I have told it,” answered Friedrich, “let us have it better. Come round, come round; we must see them both together.”

Lothario embraced his friend, and led him to Natalia, who with Theresa came to meet them. All were silent.

“No loitering!” cried Friedrich. “In two days you may be ready for your travels. Now, think you, friend,” continued he, addressing Wilhelm, “when we first scraped acquaintance, and I asked you for the pretty nosegay, who could have supposed you were ever to receive a flower like this from me?”

“Do not at the moment of my highest happiness, remind me of those times!”

“Of which you need not be ashamed, any more than one need be ashamed of his descent. The times were very good times: only I cannot but laugh to look at thee; to my mind, thou resemblest Saul the son of Kish, who went out to seek his father’s asses, and found a kingdom.”

“I know not the worth of a kingdom,” answered Wilhelm; “but I know I have attained a happiness which I have not deserved, and which I would not change with anything in life.”
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