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The Story of my Life
by Georg Ebers
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It was necessary to enter, but the smoke and dust which filled the air seemed to preclude this, and, besides, a high wall above the cleared space in the building threatened to fall. An architect who had directed with great skill the removal of the debris was standing close beside me and gave orders to tear down the wall, whose fall would cost more lives.

Just at that moment I distinctly heard an inexpressibly mournful cry of pain. A narrow shouldered, sickly-looking man, who spite of his very plain clothing, seemed to belong to the better classes, heard it too, and the word "Horrible!" in tones of the warmest sympathy escaped his lips. Then he bent over the black smoking space, and I did the same.

The cry was repeated still louder than before, my neighbour and I looked at each other, and I heard him whisper, "Shall we?"

In an instant I had flung off my coat, put my handkerchief over my mouth, and let myself down into the smoking pit, where I pressed forward through a stifling mixture of lime and particles of sand.

The groans and cries of the wounded guided me and my companion, who had instantly followed, and at last two female figures appeared amid the smoke and dust on which the lanterns, held above, cast flickering rays of light.

One was lying prostrate, the other, kneeling, leaned against the wall. We seized the first one, and staggered towards the spot where the lanterns glimmered, and loud shouts greeted us.

Our example had induced others to leap down too.

As soon as we were released from our burden we returned for the second victim. My companion now carried a lantern. The woman was no longer kneeling, but lay face downward several paces nearer to the narrow passage choked with stones and lime dust which separated her from us. She had fainted while trying to follow. I seized her feet, and we staggered on, but ere we could leave the passage which led into the larger room I heard a loud rattling and thundering above, and the next instant something struck my head and everything reeled around me. Yet I did not drop the blue yarn stockings, but tottered on with them into the large open space, where I fell on my knees.

Still I must have retained my consciousness, for loud shouts and cries reached my ears. Then came a moment with which few in life can compare—the one when I again inhaled draughts of the pure air of heaven.

I now felt that my hair was stained with blood, which had flowed from a wound in my head, but I had no time to think of it, for people crowded around me saying all sorts of pleasant things. The architect, Winzer, was most cordial of all. His words, "I approve of such foolhardiness, Herr Ebers," echoed in my ears long afterwards.

A beam had fallen on my head, but my thick hair had broken the force of the blow, and the wound in a few days began to heal.

My companion in peril was at my side, and as my blood-stained face looked as if my injuries were serious he invited me to his house, which was close by the scene of the accident. On the way we introduced ourselves to each other. His name was Hering, and he was the prompter at the theatre. When the doctor who had been sent to me had finished his task of sewing up the wound and left us, an elderly woman entered, whose rank in life was somewhat difficult to determine. She wore gay flowers in her bonnet, and a cloak made of silk and velvet, but her yellow face was scarcely that of a "lady." She came to get a part for her daughter; it was one of the prompter's duties to copy the parts for the various actors.

But who was this daughter?

Fraulein Clara, the fair Amalie of The Robbers, the lovely leading lady of the theatre.

My daughter has an autograph of Andersen containing the words, "Life is the fairest fairy tale."

Ay, our lives are often like fairy tales.

The Scheherezade "Fate" had found the bridge to lead the student to the actress, and the means employed were of no less magnitude than a conflagration, the rescue of a life, and a wound, as well as the somewhat improbable combined action of a student and a prompter. True, more simple methods would scarcely have brought the youth with the examination in his head and a pretty girl in his heart to seek the acquaintanceship of the fair actress.

Fate urged me swiftly on; for Clara's mother was an enthusiastic woman, who in her youth had herself been an ornament of the stage, and I can still hear her exclamation, "My dear young sir, every German girl ought to kiss that wound!"

I can see her indignantly forbid the prompter to tie his gay handkerchief over the injury and draw a clean one from her own velvet bag to bind my forehead. Boltze and my school-mates greeted me very warmly. Director Tzschirner said something very similar to Herr Winzer's remark.

And so matters would have remained, and in a few weeks, after passing the examination, I should have returned to my happy mother, had not a perverse Fate willed otherwise.

This time a bit of linen was the instrument used to lead me into the path allotted, for when the wound healed and the handkerchief which Clara's mother had tied round it came back from the wash, I was uncertain whether to return it in person or send it by a messenger with a few words of thanks. I determined on the latter course; but when, that same evening, I saw Clara looking so pretty as the youthful Richelieu, I cast aside my first resolve, and the next day at dusk went to call on the mother of the charming actress. I should scarcely have ventured to do so in broad daylight, for Herr Ebeling, our zealous religious instructor, lived directly opposite.

The danger, however, merely gave the venture an added zest and, ere I was aware of it I was standing in the large and pretty sitting-room occupied by the mother and daughter.

It was a disappointment not to meet the latter, yet I felt a certain sense of relief. Fate intended to let me escape the storm uninjured, for my heart had been by no means calm since I mounted the narrow stairs leading to the apartments of the fair actress. But just as I was taking leave the pavement echoed with the noise of hoofs and the rattle of wheels. Prince Puckler's coupe stopped in front of the house and the young girl descended the steps.

She entered the room laughing merrily, but when she saw me she became graver, and looked at her mother in surprise.

A brief explanation, the cry, "Oh, you are the man who was hurt!" and then the proof that the room did not owe its neat appearance to her, for her cloak flew one way, her hat another, and her gloves a third. After this disrobing she stood before me in the costume of the youthful Richelieu, so bewitchingly charming, so gay and bright, that I could not restrain my delight.

She had come from old Prince Puckler, who, as he never visited the theatre in the city, wished to see her in the costume whose beauty had been so much praised. The vigorous, gay old gentleman had charmed her, and she declared that she liked him far better than any of the young men. But as she knew little of his former life and works, I told her of his foolish pranks and chivalrous deeds.

It seemed as if her presence increased my powers of description, and when I at last took leave she exclaimed: "You'll come again, won't you? After one has finished one's part, it's the best time to talk."

Did I wait to be asked a second time? Oh, no! Even had I not been the "foolhardy Ebers," I should have accepted her invitation. The very next evening I was in the pleasant sitting-room, and whenever I could slip away after supper I went to the girl, whom I loved more and more ardently. Sometimes I repeated poems of my own, sometimes she recited and acted passages from her best parts, amid continual jesting and laughter. My visits seemed like so many delightful festivals, and Clara's mother took care that they were not so long as to weary her treasure. She often fell asleep while we were reading and talking, but usually she sent me away before midnight with "There's another day coming to-morrow." Long before my first visit to the young actress I had arranged a way of getting into the house at any time, and Dr. Boltze had no suspicion of my expeditions, since on my return I strove the more zealously to fulfil all my school duties.

This sounds scarcely credible, yet it is strictly true, for from a child up to the present time I have always succeeded, spite of interruptions of every kind, in devoting myself to the occupation in which I was engaged. Loud noises in an adjoining room, or even tolerably severe physical pain, will not prevent my working on as soon as the subject so masters me as to throw the external world and my own body into the background. Only when the suffering becomes very intense, the whole being must of necessity yield to it.

During the hours of the night which followed these evening visits I often succeeded in working earnestly for two or three hours in preparation for the examination. During my recitations, however, weariness asserted itself, and even more strongly the new feeling which had obtained complete mastery over me. Here I could not shake off the delightful memories of these evenings because I did not strive to battle with them.

I am not without talent for drawing, and even at that time it was an easy matter to reproduce anything which had caught my eye, not only distinctly, but sometimes attractively and with a certain degree of fidelity to nature. So my note-book was filled with figures which amazed me when I saw them afterwards, for my excited imagination had filled page after page with a perfect Witch's Sabbath of compositions, in which the oddest scrolls and throngs of genii blended with flowers, buds, and all sorts of emblems of love twined around initial letters or the picture of the person who had captured my heart at a time so inopportune.

I owe the suggestion of some verses which were written at that time to the memory of a dream. I was on the back of a swan, which bore me through the air, and on another swan flying at my side sat Clara. Our hands were clasped. It was delightful until I bent to kiss her; then the swan I rode melted into mist, and I plunged headlong down, falling, falling, until I woke.

I had this dream on the Friday before the beginning of the week in which the first examination was to take place; and it is worthy of mention, for it was fulfilled.

True, I needed no prophetic vision to inform me that this time of happiness was drawing to a close. I had long known that the company was to remove from Kottbus to Guben, but I hoped that the separation would be followed by a speedy meeting.

It was certainly fortunate that she was going, yet the parting was hard to bear; for the evening hours I had spent with her in innocent mirth and the interchange of all that was best in our hearts and minds were filled with exquisite enjoyment. The fact that our intercourse was in a certain sense forbidden fruit merely doubled its charm.

How cautiously I had glided along in the shadows of the houses, how anxiously I had watched the light in the minister's study opposite, when I went home!

True, he would have seen nothing wrong or even unseemly, save perhaps the kiss which Clara gave me the last time she lighted me down stairs, yet that would have been enough to shut me out of the examination. Ah! yes, it was fortunate that she was going.

March had come, the sun shone brightly, the air was as warm as in May, and I had carried the mother and daughter some violets which I had gathered myself. Suddenly I thought how delightful it would be to drive with Clara in an open carriage through the spring beauty of the country. The next day was Sunday. If I went with them and spent the night in Guben I could reach home in time the next day. I need only tell Dr. Boltze I was going to Komptendorf, and order the carriage, to transform the dear girl's departure into a holiday.

Again Fate interfered with the course of this story; for on my way to school that sunny Saturday morning I met Clara's mother, and at sight of her the wish merged into a resolve. I followed her into the shop she entered and explained my plan. She thought it would be delightful, and promised to wait for me at a certain place outside of the city.

The plan was carried out. I found them at the appointed spot, my darling as fresh as a rose. If love and joy had any substantial weight, the horses would have found it a hard matter to drag the vehicle swiftly on.

But at the first toll-house, while the toll-keeper was changing some money, I experienced the envy of the gods which hitherto I had known only in Schiller's ballad. A pedestrian passed—the teacher whom I had offended by playing all sorts of pranks during his French lesson. Not one of the others disliked me.

He spoke to me, but I pretended not to understand, hastily took the change from the toll-keeper, and, raising my hat, shouted, "Drive on!"

This highly virtuous gentleman scorned the young actress, and as, on account of my companions, he had not returned my greeting, Clara flashed into comical wrath, which stifled in its germ my thought of leaving the carriage and going on foot to Komptendorf, where Dr. Boltze believed me to be.

Clara rewarded my courageous persistence by special gaiety, and when we had reached Guben, taken supper with some other members of the company, and spent the evening in merriment, danger and all the ills which the future might bring were forgotten.

The next morning I breakfasted with Clara and her mother, and in bidding them good-bye added "Till we meet again," for the way to Berlin was through Guben, where the railroad began.

The carriage which had brought us there took me back to Kottbus. Several members of the company entered it and went part of the way, returning on foot. When they left me twilight was gathering, but the happiness I had just enjoyed shone radiantly around me, and I lived over for the second time all the delights I had experienced.

But the nearer I approached Kottbus the more frequently arose the fear that the French teacher might make our meeting the cause of an accusation. He had already complained of me for very trivial delinquencies and would hardly let this pass. And yet he might.

Was it a crime to drive with a young girl of stainless reputation under her mother's oversight? No. I had done nothing wrong, except to say that I was going to Komptendorf—and that offence concerned only Dr. Boltze, to whom I had made the false statement.

At last I fell asleep, until the wheels rattled on the pavement of the city streets. Was my dream concerning the swan to be fulfilled?

I entered the house early. Dr. Boltze was waiting for me, and his wife's troubled face betrayed what had happened even more plainly than her husband's frown.

The French teacher had instantly informed my tutor where and with whom he had met me, and urged him to ascertain whether I had really gone to Komptendorf. Then he went to Clara's former residence, questioned the landlady and her servant, and finally interrogated the livery-stable keeper.

The mass of evidence thus gathered proved that I had paid the actress numerous visits, and always at dusk. My dream seemed fulfilled, but after I had told Dr. Boltze and his wife the whole truth a quiet talk followed. The former did not give up the cause as lost, though he did not spare reproaches, while his wife's wrath was directed against the informer rather than the offence committed by her favourite.

After a restless night I went to Professor Tzschirner and told him everything, without palliation or concealment. He censured my frivolity and lack of consideration for my position in life, but every word, every feature of his expressive face showed that he grieved for what had happened, and would have gladly punished it leniently. In after years he told me so. Promising to make every effort to save me from exclusion from the examination in the conference which he was to call at the close of the afternoon session, he dismissed me—and he kept his word.

I know this, for I succeeded in hearing the discussion. The porter of the gymnasium was the father of the boy whom my friend Lebenstein and I kept to clean our boots, etc. He was a conscientious, incorruptible man, but the peculiar circumstances of the case led him to yield to my entreaties and admit me to a room next to the one where the conference was held. I am grateful to him still, for it is due to this kindness that I can think without resentment of those whose severity robbed me of six months of my life.

This conference taught me how warm a friend I possessed in Professor Tzschirner, and showed that Professor Braune was kindly disposed. I remember how my heart overflowed with gratitude when Professor Tzschirner sketched my character, extolled my rescue of life at the Kubisch factory, and eloquently urged them to remember their own youth and judge what had happened impartially. I should have belied my nature had I not availed myself of the chain of circumstances which brought me into association with the actress to make the acquaintance of so charming a creature.

To my joyful surprise Herr Ebeling agreed with him, and spoke so pleasantly of me and of Clara, concerning whom he had inquired, that I began to hope he was on my side.

Unfortunately, the end of his speech destroyed all the prospects held out in the beginning.

Space forbids further description of the discussion. The majority, spite of the passionate hostility of the informer, voted not to expel me, but to exclude me from the examination this time, and advise me to leave the school. If, however, I preferred to remain, I should be permitted to do so.

At the close of the session I was standing in the square in front of the school when Professor Tzschirner approached, and I asked his permission to leave school that very day. A smile of satisfaction flitted over his manly, intellectual face, and he granted my request at once.

So my Kottbus school-days ended, and, unfortunately, in a way unlike what I had hoped. When I said farewell to Professor Tzschirner and his wife I could not restrain my tears. His eyes, too, were dim, and he repeated to me what I had already heard him say in the conference, and wrote the same thing to my mother in a letter explaining my departure from the school. The report which he sent with it contains not a single word to indicate a compulsory withdrawal or the advice to leave it.

When I had stopped at Guben and said goodbye to Clara my dream was literally fulfilled. Our delightful intercourse had come to a sudden end. Fortunately, I was the only sufferer, for to my great joy I heard a few months after that she had made a successful debut at the Dresden court theatre.

I was, of course, less joyfully received in Berlin than usual, but the letters from Professor Tzschirner and Frau Boltze put what had occurred in the right light to my mother—nay, when she saw how I grieved over my separation from the young girl whose charms still filled my heart and mind, her displeasure was transformed into compassion. She also saw how difficult it was for me to meet the friends and guardian who had expected me to return as a graduate, and drew her darling, whom for the first time she called her "poor boy," still closer to her heart.

Then we consulted about the future, and it was decided that I should graduate from the gymnasium of beautiful Quedlinburg. Professor Schmidt's house was warmly recommended, and was chosen for my home.

I set out for my new abode full of the best resolutions. But at Magdeburg I saw in a show window a particularly tasteful bonnet trimmed with lilies of the valley and moss-rose buds. The sight brought Clara's face framed in it vividly be fore my eyes, and drew me into the shop. It was a Paris pattern-hat and very expensive, but I spent the larger part of my pocket-money in purchasing it and ordered it to be sent to the girl whose image still filled my whole soul. Hitherto I had given her nothing except a small locket and a great many flowers.



CHAPTER XX.

AT THE QUEDLINBURG GYMNASIUM

The atmosphere of Quedlinburg was far different from that of the Mark factory town of Kottbus. How fresh, how healthful, how stimulating to industry and out-door exercise it was!

Everything in the senior class was just as it should be.

In Kottbus the pupils addressed each other formally. There were at the utmost, I think, not more than half a dozen with whom I was on terms of intimacy. In Quedlinburg a beautiful relation of comradeship united all the members of the school. During study hours we were serious, but in the intervals we were merry enough.

Its head, Professor Richter, the learned editor of the fragments of Sappho, did not equal Tzschirner in keenness of intellect and bewitching powers of description, yet we gladly followed the worthy man's interpretations.

Many a leisure day and hour we spent in the beautiful Hartz Mountains. But, best of all, was my home in Quedlinburg, the house of my tutor, Professor Adalbert Schmidt, an admirable man of forty, who seemed extremely gentle and yielding, but when necessary could be very peremptory, and allowed those under his charge to make no trespass on his authority.

His wife was a model of amiable, almost timid womanliness. Her sister-in-law, the widow of a magistrate, Frau Pauline Schmidt, shared the care of the pupils and the beautiful, large garden; while her pretty, bright young sons and daughters increased the charm of the intercourse.

How pleasant were the evenings we spent in the family circle! We read, talked, played, and Frau Pauline Schmidt was a ready listener when ever I felt disposed to communicate to any one what I had written.

Among my school friends were some who listened to my writings and showed me their own essays. My favorite was Carl Hey, grandson of Wilhelm Hey, who understood child nature so well, and wrote the pretty verses accompanying the illustrations in the Speckter Fables, named for the artist, a book still popular with little German boys and girls. I was also warmly attached to the enthusiastic Hubotter, who, under the name of "Otter," afterwards became the ornament of many of the larger German theatres. Lindenbein, Brosin, the talented Gosrau, and the no less gifted Schwalbe, were also dear friends.

At first I had felt much older than my companions, and I really had seen more of life; but I soon perceived that they were splendid, lovable fellows. My wounded heart speedily healed, and the better my physical and mental condition became the more my demon stirred within me. It was no merit of mine if I was not dubbed "the foolhardy Ebers" here also. The summer in Quedlinburg was a delightful season of mingled work and pleasure. An Easter journey through the Hartz with some gay companions, which included an ascent of the Brocken—already once climbed from Keilhau—is among my most delightful memories.

Like the Thuringian Mountains, the Hartz are also wreathed with a garland of legends and historical memories. Some of its fairest blossoms are in the immediate vicinity of Quedlinburg. These and the delight in nature with which I here renewed my old bond tempted more than one of us to write, and very different poems, deeper and with more true feeling, than those produced in Kottbus. A poetic atmosphere from the Hercynian woods and the monuments of ancient days surrounded our lives. It was delightful to dream under the rustling beeches of the neighbouring forest; and in the church with its ancient graves and the crypt of St. Wiperti Cloister, the oldest specimen of Christian art in that region, we were filled with reverence for the days of old.

The life of the great Henry, which I had celebrated in verse at Kottbus, became a reality to me here; and what a powerful influence a visit to the ancient cloister exerted on our young souls! The nearest relatives of mighty sovereigns had dwelt as abbesses within its walls. But two generations ago Anna Amalie, the hapless sister of Frederick the Great, died while holding this office.

A strange and lasting impression was wrought upon me by a corpse and a picture in this convent. Both were in a subterranean chamber which possessed the property of preserving animal bodies from corruption. In this room was the body of Countess Aurora von Konigsmark, famed as the most beautiful woman of her time. After a youth spent in splendour she had retired to the cloister as superior, and there she now lay unveiled, rigid, and yellow, although every feature had retained the form it had in death. Beside the body hung her portrait, taken at the time when a smile on her lips, a glance from her eyes, was enough to fire the heart of the coldest man.

A terrible antithesis!

Here the portrait of the blooming, beautiful husk of a soul exulting in haughty arrogance; yonder that husk itself, transformed by the hand of death into a rigid, colourless caricature, a mummy without embalming.

Art, too, had a place in Quedlinburg. I still remember with pleasure Steuerwald's beautiful winter landscapes, into which he so cleverly introduced the mediaeval ruins of the Hartz region.

Thus, Quedlinburg was well suited to arouse poetic feelings in young hearts, steep the soul with love for the beautiful, time-honoured region, and yet fill it with the desire to make distant lands its own. Every one knows that this was Klopstock's birthplace; but the greatest geographer of all ages, Karl Ritter, whose mighty mind grasped the whole universe as if it were the precincts of his home, also first saw the light of the world here.

Gutsmuths, the founder of the gymnastic system, Bosse, the present Minister of Public Worship and Instruction, and Julius Wolff, are children of Quedlinburg and pupils of its gymnasium.

The long vacation came between the written and verbal examinations, and as I had learned privately that my work had been sufficiently satisfactory, my mother gave me permission to go to the Black Forest, to which pleasant memories attracted me. But my friend Hey had seen nothing of the world, so I chose a goal more easily attained, and took him with me to the Rhine. I went home by the way of Gottingen, and what I saw there of the Saxonia corps filled me with such enthusiasm that I resolved to wear the blue, white, and blue ribbon.

The oral was also successfully examination passed, and I returned to my mother, who received me at Hosterwitz with open arms. The resolve to devote myself to the study of law and to commence in Gottingen was formed, and received her approval.

For what reason I preferred the legal profession it would be hard to say. Neither mental bias nor interest gained by any searching examination of the science to which I wished to devote myself, turned the scale. I actually gave less thought to my profession and my whole mental and external life than I should have bestowed upon the choice of a residence.

In the ideal school, as I imagine it, the pupils of the senior class should be briefly made acquainted with what each one of the principal professions offers and requires from its members. The principal of the institution should also aid by his counsel the choice of the young men with whose talents and tastes long intercourse had rendered him familiar.

[It should never contain more than seventy pupils. Barop, when I met him after I attained my maturity, named sixty as the largest number which permitted the teacher to know and treat individually the boys confided to his care. He would never receive more at Keilhau.]

Of course I imagine this man not only a teacher but an educator, familiar not alone with the school exercises, but with the mental and physical characteristics of those who are to graduate from the university.

Had not the heads of the Keilhau Institute lost their pupils so young, they would undoubtedly have succeeded in guiding the majority to the right profession.



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Coach moved by electricity Do thoroughly whatever they do at all I approve of such foolhardiness Life is the fairest fairy tale (Anderson) Loved himself too much to give his whole affection to any one Scorned the censure of the people, he never lost sight of it What father does not find something to admire in his child



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF GEORG EBERS

THE STORY OF MY LIFE FROM CHILDHOOD TO MANHOOD

Volume 6.



CHAPTER XXI.

AT THE UNIVERSITY.

The weeks following my graduation were as ill suited as possible to the decision of any serious question.

After a gay journey through Bohemia which ended in venerable Prague, I divided my time between Hosterwitz, Blasewitz, and Dresden. In the latter city I met among other persons, principally old friends, the son of my uncle Brandenstein, an Austrian lieutenant on leave of absence. I spent many a pleasant evening with him and his comrades, who were also on leave. These young gentlemen considered the Italians, against whom they fought, as rebels, while a cousin of my uncle, then Colonel von Brandenstein, but afterwards promoted in the Franco-Austrian war in 1859 and 1866 to the rank of master of ordnance, held a totally different opinion. This clever, warmhearted soldier understood the Italians and their struggle for unity and freedom, and judged them so justly and therefore favorably, that he often aroused the courteous opposition of his younger comrades. I did not neglect old friends, however, and when I did not go to the theatre in the evening I ended the day with my aunt at Blasewitz. But, on my mother's account, I was never long absent from Hosterwitz. I enjoyed being with her so much. We drove and walked together, and discussed everything the past had brought and the future promised.

Yet I longed for academic freedom, and especially to sit at the feet of an Ernst Curtius, and be initiated by Waitz into the methodical study of history.

The evening before my departure my mother drove with me to Blasewitz, where there was an elegant entertainment at which the lyric poet Julius Hammer, the author of "Look Around You and Look Within You," who was to become a dear friend of mine, extolled in enthusiastic verse the delights of student liberty and the noble sisters Learning and Poesy.

The glowing words echoed in my heart and mind after I had torn myself from the arms of my mother and of the woman who, next to her, was dearest to me on earth, my aunt, and was travelling toward my goal. If ever the feeling that I was born to good fortune took possession of me, it was during that journey.

I did not know what weariness meant, and when, on reaching Gottingen, I learned that the students' coffee-house was still closed and that no one would arrive for three or four days, I went to Cassel to visit the royal garden in Wilhelmshohe.

At the station I saw a gentleman who looked intently at me. His face, too, seemed familiar. I mentioned my name, and the next instant he had embraced and kissed me. Two Keilhau friends had met, and, with sunshine alike in our hearts and in the blue sky, we set off together to see everything of note in beautiful Cassel.

When it was time to part, Von Born told me so eagerly how many of our old school-mates were now living in Westphalia, and how delightful it would be to see them, that I yielded and went with him to the birthplace of Barop and Middendorf. The hours flew like one long revel, and my exuberant spirits made my old school-mates, who, engaged in business enterprises, were beginning to look life solemnly in the face, feel as if the carefree Keilhau days had returned. On going back to Gottingen, I still had to wait a few days for the real commencement of the term, but I was received at the station by the "Saxons," donned the blue cap, and engaged pleasant lodgings—though the least adapted to serious study in the "Schonhutte," a house in Weenderstrasse whose second story was occupied by our corps room.

My expectations of the life with young men of congenial tastes were completely fulfilled. Most of them belonged to the nobility, but the beloved "blue, white, and blue" removed all distinctions of birth.

By far the most talented of its members was Count (now Prince) Otto von Stolberg-Wernegerode, who was afterwards to hold so high a position in the service of the Prussian Government.

Among the other scions of royal families were the hereditary Prince Louis of Hesse-Darmstadt and his brother Henry. Both were vivacious, agreeable young men, who entered eagerly into all the enjoyments of student and corps life. The older brother, who died as Grand Duke, continued his friendship for me while sovereign of his country. I was afterwards indebted to him for the pleasure of making the acquaintance of his wife Alice, one of the most remarkable women whom I have ever met.—[Princess Alice of England, the daughter of Queen Victoria.-TR.]

Oh, what delightful hours we spent in the corps room, singing and revelling, in excursions through the beautiful scenes in the neighbourhood, and on the fencing ground, testing our strength and skill, man to man! Every morning we woke to fresh pleasures, and every evening closed a spring festal day, radiant with the sunlight of liberty and the magic of friendship.

Our dinner was eaten together at the "Krone" with the most jovial of hosts, old Betmann, whose card bore the pictures of a bed and a man. Then came coffee, drunk at the museum or at some restaurant outside of the city, riding, or a duel, or there was some excursion, or the entertainment of a fellow-student from some other university, and finally the tavern.

Many an evening also found me with some friends at the Schuttenhof, where the young Philistines danced with the little burgher girls and pretty dressmakers. They were all, however, of unsullied reputation, and how merrily I swung them around till the music ceased! These innocent amusements could scarcely have injured my robust frame, yet when some unusual misfortune happens it is a trait of human nature to seek its first germ in the past. I, too, scanned the period immediately preceding my illness, but reached the conclusion that it was due to acute colds, the first of which ran into a very violent fever.

Had the result been otherwise I certainly should not have permitted my sons to enjoy to the utmost the happy period which in my case was too soon interrupted.

True, the hours of the night which I devoted to study could scarcely have been beneficial to my nervous system; for when, with burning head and full of excitement, I returned from the tavern which was closed, by rule, at eleven—from the "Schuttenhof," or some ball or entertainment, I never went to rest; that was the time I gave the intellect its due. Legal studies were pursued during the hours of the night only at the commencement of my stay in Gottingen, for I rarely attended the lectures for which I had entered my name, though the brevity of the Roman definitions of law, with which Ribbentropp's lectures had made me familiar, afforded me much pleasure. Unfortunately, I could not attend the lectures of Ernst Curtius, who had just been summoned to Gottingen, on account of the hours at which they were given. My wish to join Waitz's classes was also unfulfilled, but I went to those of the philosopher Lotze, and they opened a new world to me. I was also one of the most eager of Professor Unger's hearers.

Probably his "History of Art" would have attracted me for its own sake, but I must confess that at first his charming little daughter was the sole magnet which drew me to his lectures; for on account of displaying the pictures he delivered them at his own house.

Unfortunately, I rarely met the fair Julie, but, to make amends, I found through her father the way to that province of investigation to which my after-life was to be devoted.

In several lessons he discussed subtly and vividly the art of the Egyptians, mentioning Champollion's deciphering of the hieroglyphics.

This great intellectual achievement awakened my deepest interest. I went at once to the library, and Unger selected the books which seemed best adapted to give me further instruction.

I returned with Champollion's Grammaire Hieroglyphique, Lepsius's Lettre a Rosellini, and unfortunately with some misleading writings by Seyffarth.

How often afterward, returning in the evening from some entertainment, I have buried myself in the grammar and tried to write hieroglyphics.

True, I strove still more frequently and persistently to follow the philosopher Lotze.

Obedient to a powerful instinct, my untrained intellect had sought to read the souls of men. Now I learned through Lotze to recognize the body as the instrument to which the emotions of the soul, the harmonies and discords of the mental and emotional life, owe their origin.

I intended later to devote myself earnestly to the study of physiology, for without it Lotze could be but half understood; and from physiologists emanated the conflict which at that time so deeply stirred the learned world.

In Gottingen especially the air seemed, as it were, filled with physiological and other questions of the natural sciences.

In that time of the most sorrowful reaction the political condition of Germany was so wretched that any discussion concerning it was gladly avoided. I do not remember having attended a single debate on that topic in the circles of the students with which I was nearly connected.

But the great question "Materialism or Antimaterialism" still agitated the Georgia Augusta, in whose province the conflict had assumed still sharper forms, owing to Rudolf Wagner's speech during the convention of the Guttingen naturalists three years prior to my entrance.

Carl Vogt's "Science and Bigotry" exerted a powerful influence, owing to the sarcastic tone in which the author attacked his calmer adversary. In the honest conviction of profound knowledge, the clever, vigorous champion of materialism endeavoured to brand the opponents of his dogmas with the stigma of absurdity, and those who flattered themselves with the belief that they belonged to the ranks of the "strong-minded" followed his standard.

Hegel's influence was broken, Schelling's idealism had been thrust aside. The solid, easily accessible fare of the materialists was especially relished by those educated in the natural sciences, and Vogt's maxim, that thought stands in a similar relation to the brain as the gall to the liver and the excretions of the other organs, met with the greater approval the more confidently and wittily it was promulgated. The philosopher could not help asserting that the nature of the soul could be disclosed neither by the scalpel nor the microscope; yet the discoveries of the naturalist, which had led to the perception of the relation existing between the psychical and material life seemed to give the most honest, among whom Carl Vogt held the first rank; a right to uphold their dogmas.

Materialism versus Antimaterialism was the subject under discussion in the learned circles of Germany. Nay, I remember scarcely any other powerful wave of the intellect visible during this period of stagnation.

Philosophy could not fail to be filled with pity and disapproval to see the independent existence of the soul, as it were, authoritatively reaffirmed by a purely empirical science, and also brought into the field all the defensive forces at her command. But throngs flocked to the camp of Materialism, for the trumpets of her leaders had a clearer, more confident sound than the lower and less readily understood opposing cries of the philosophers.

Vogt's wrath was directed with special keenness against my teacher, Lotze. These topics were rarely discussed at the tavern or among the members of the corps. I first heard them made the subject of an animated exchange of thought in the Dirichlet household, where Professor Baum emerged from his aristocratic composure to denounce vehemently materialism and its apostles. Of course I endeavoured to gain information about things which so strongly moved intellectual men, and read in addition to Lotze's books the polemical writings which were at that time in everybody's hands.

Vogt's caustic style charmed me, but it was not due solely to the religious convictions which I had brought from my home and from Keilhau that I perceived that here a sharp sword was swung by a strong arm to cut water. The wounds it dealt would not bleed, for they were inflicted upon a body against which it had as little power as Satan against the cross.

When, before I became acquainted with Feuerbach, I flung my books aside, wearied or angered, I often seized in the middle of the night my monster Poem of the World, my tragedy of Panthea and Abradatus, or some other poetical work, and did not retire till the wick of the lamp burned out at three in the morning.

When I think how much time and earnest labour were lavished on that poem, I regret having yielded to the hasty impulse to destroy it.

I have never since ventured to undertake anything on so grand a scale. I could repeat only a few lines of the verses it contained; but the plan of the whole work, as I rounded it in Gottingen and Hosterwitz, I remember perfectly, and I think, if only for the sake of its peculiarity and as the mirror of a portion of my intellectual life at that time, its main outlines deserve reproduction here.

I made Power and Matter, which I imagined as a formless element; the basis of all existence. These two had been cast forth by the divine Ruler of a world incomprehensible to human intelligence, in which the present is a moment, space a bubble, as out of harmony with the mighty conditions and purposes of his realm. But this supreme Ruler offered to create for them a world suited to their lower plane of existence. Power I imagined a man, Matter a woman. They were hostile to each other, for he despised his quiet, inert companion, she feared her restless, unyielding partner; yet the power of the ruler of the higher world forced them to wed.

From their loveless union sprang the earth, the stars-in short, all inorganic life.

When the latter showed its relation to the father, Power, by the impetuous rush of the stars through space, by terrible eruptions, etc., the mother, Matter, was alarmed, and as, to soothe them, she drew into her embrace the flaming spheres, which dashed each other to pieces in their mad career, and restrained the fiercest, her chill heart was warmed by her children's fire.

Thus, as it were, raised to a higher condition, she longed for less unruly children, and her husband, Power, who, though he would have gladly cast her off, was bound to her by a thousand ties, took pity upon her, because her listlessness and coldness were transformed to warmth and motion, and another child sprang from their union, love.

But she seemed to have been born to misery, and wandered mournfully about, weeping and lamenting because she lacked an object for which to labour. True, she drew from the flaming, smoking bodies which she kissed a soft, beneficent light, she induced some to give up their former impetuosity and respect the course of others, and plants and trees sprang from the earth where her lips touched it, yet her longing to receive something which would be in harmony with her own nature remained unsatisfied.

But she was a lovely child and the darling of her father, whom, by her entreaties, she persuaded to animate with his own nature the shapes which she created in sport, those of the animals.

From this time there were living creatures moved by Power and Love. But again they brought trouble to the mother; for they were stirred by fierce passions, under whose influence they attacked and rent each other. But Love did not cease to form new shapes until she attained the most beautiful, the human form.

Yet human beings were stirred by the same feelings as the animals, and Love's longing for something in which she could find comfort remained unsatisfied, till, repelled by her savage father and her listless mother, she flung herself in despair from a rock. But being immortal, she did not perish.

Her blood sprinkled the earth, and from her wounds exhaled an exquisite fragrance, which rose higher and higher till it reached the realm whence came her parents; and its supreme ruler took pity on the exile's child, and from the blood of Love grew at his sign a lily, from which arose, radiant in white garments, Intellect, which the Most High had breathed into the flower.

He came from that higher world to ours, but only a vague memory of his former home was permitted, lest he should compare his present abode with the old one and scorn it.

As soon as he met Love he was attracted towards her, and she ardently accepted his suit; yet the first embrace chilled her, and her fervour startled and repelled him. So, each fearing the other's tenderness, they shunned each other, though an invincible charm constantly drew them together.

Love continued to yearn for him even after she had sundered the bond; but he often yielded to the longing for his higher home, of whose splendours he retained a memory, and soared upward. Yet whenever he drew near he was driven back to the other.

There he directed sometimes with Love, sometimes alone, the life of everything in the universe, or in unison with her animated men with his breath.

He did this sometimes willingly, sometimes reluctantly, with greater or less strength, according to the nearness he had attained to his heavenly home; but when he had succeeded in reaching its circle of light, he returned wonderfully invigorated. Then whoever Love and he joined in animating with their breath became an artist.

There was also a thoroughly comic figure and one with many humorous touches. Intellect's page, Instinct, who had risen from the lily with him, was a comical fellow. When he tried to follow his master's flight he fell after the first few strokes of his wings, and usually among nettles. Only when some base advantage was to be gained on earth did this servant succeed better than his master. The mother, Matter, whom for the sake of the verse I called by her Greek name Hyle, was also invested with a shade of comedy as a dissatisfied wife and the mother-in-law of Intellect.

In regard to the whole Poem of the World I will observe that, up to the time I finished the last line, I had never studied the kindred systems of the Neo-Platonics or the Gnostics.

The verses which described the moment when Matter drew her fiery children to her heart and thus warmed it, another passage in which men who were destitute of intellect sought to destroy themselves and Love resolved to sacrifice her own life, and, lastly, the song where Intellect rises from the lily, besides many others, were worthy, in my opinion, of being preserved.

What first diverted my attention from the work was, as has been mentioned, the study of Feuerbach, to which I had been induced by a letter from the geographer Karl Andree. I eagerly seized his books, first choosing his "Axioms of the Philosophy of the Future," and afterwards devoured everything he had written which the library contained. And at that time I was grateful to my friend the geographer for his advice. True, Feuerbach seemed to me to shatter many things which from a child I had held sacred; yet I thought I discovered behind the falling masonry the image of eternal truth.

The veil which I afterwards saw spread over so many things in Feuerbach's writings at that time produced the same influence upon me as the mist whence rise here the towers, yonder the battlements of a castle. It might be large or small; the grey mist which forbids the eye from definitely measuring its height and width by no means prevents the traveller, who knows that a powerful lord possesses the citadel, from believing it to be as large and well guarded as the power of its ruler would imply.

True, I was not sufficiently mature for the study of this great thinker, whom I afterwards saw endanger other unripe minds. As a disciple of this master there were many things to be destroyed which from childhood had become interlaced by a thousand roots and fibres with my whole intellectual organism, and such operations are not effected without pain.

What I learned while seeking after truth during those night hours ought to have taught me the connection between mind and body; yet I was never farther from perceiving it. A sharp division had taken place in my nature. By night, in arduous conflict, I led a strange mental life, known to myself alone; by day all this was forgotten, unless—and how rarely this happened—some conversation recalled it.

From my first step out of doors I belonged to life, to the corps, to pleasure. What was individual existence, mortality, or the eternal life of the soul! Minerva's bird is an owl. Like it, these learned questions belonged to the night. They should cast no shadow on the brightness of my day. When I met the first friend in the blue cap no one need have sung our corps song, "Away with cares and crotchets!"

At no time had the exuberant joy in mere existence stirred more strongly within me. My whole nature was filled with the longing to utilize and enjoy this brief earthly life which Feuerbach had proved was to end with death.

Better an hour's mad revel, E'en a kiss from a Moenad's lip, Than a year of timid doubting, Daring only to taste and sip,

were the closing lines of a song which I composed at this time.

So my old wantonness unfolded its wings, but it was not to remain always unpunished.

My mother had gone to Holland with Paula just before Advent, and as I could not spend my next vacation at home, she promised to furnish me with means to take a trip through the great German Hanse cities.

In Bremen I was most cordially received in the family of Mohr, a member of my corps, in whose circle I spent some delightful hours, and also an evening never to be forgotten in the famous old Rathskeller.

But I wished to see the harbour of the great commercial city, and the ships which ploughed the ocean to those distant lands for which I had often longed.

Since I had shot my first hare in Komptendorf and brought down my first partridge from the air, the love of sport had never slumbered; I gratified it whenever I could, and intended to take a boat from Bremerhaven and go as near as possible to the sea, where I could shoot the cormorants and the bald-headed eagles which hunters on the seashore class among the most precious booty.

In Bremerhaven an architect whose acquaintance I had made on the way became my cicerone, and showed me all the sights of the small but very quaint port. I had expected to find the bustle on shore greater, but what a throng of ships and boats, masts and smoke-stacks I saw!

My guide showed me the last lighthouse which had been built, and took me on board of a mail steamer which was about to sail to America.

I was deeply interested in all this, but my companion promised to show me things still more remarkable if I would give up my shooting excursion.

Unfortunately, I insisted upon my plan, and the next morning sailed in a pouring rain through a dense mist to the mouth of the Weser and out to sea. But, instead of pleasure and booty, I gained on this expedition nothing but discomfort and drenching, which resulted in a violent cold.

What I witnessed and experienced in my journey back to Cuttingen is scarcely worth mentioning. The only enjoyable hours were spent at the theatre in Hanover, where I saw Niemann in Templar and Jewess, and for the first time witnessed the thoroughly studied yet perfectly natural impersonations of Marie Seebach. I also remember with much pleasure the royal riding-school in charge of General Meyer. Never have I seen the strength of noble chargers controlled and guided with so much firmness, ease, and grace as by the hand of this officer, the best horseman in Germany.



CHAPTER XXII.

THE SHIPWRECK

The state of health in which, still with a slight fever recurring every afternoon, I returned to Gottingen was by no means cheering.

Besides, I was obliged at once to undergo the five days' imprisonment to which I had been justly sentenced for reckless shooting across the street.

During the day I read, besides some very trashy novels, several by Jean Paul, with most of which I had become familiar while a school-boy in the first class.

They had given me so much pleasure that I was vexed with the indifference with which some of my friends laid the works of the great humorist aside.

There were rarely any conversations on the more serious scientific subjects among the members of the corps, though it did not lack talented young men, and some of the older ones were industrious.

Nothing, perhaps, lends the life of the corps a greater charm than the affectionate intercourse which unites individuals.

I was always sure of finding sympathizers for everything that touched my feelings.

With regard to the results of my nocturnal labour the case was very different. If any one else had "bored" me at the tavern about his views of Feuerbach and Lotze, I should undoubtedly have stopped him with Goethe's "Ergo bibamus."

There was one person in Gottingen, however, Herbert Pernice, from whom I might expect full sympathy. Though only five years my senior, he was already enrolled among the teachers of the legal faculty. The vigour and keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge were as amazing as his corpulence.

One evening I had met him at the Krone and left the table at which he presided in a very enthusiastic state of mind; for while emptying I know not how many bottles of Rhine wine he directed the conversation apparently unconsciously.

Each of his statements seemed to strike the nail on the head.

The next day, to my great delight, I met him again at Professor Baum's. He had retreated from the ladies, whom he always avoided, and as we were alone in the room I soon succeeded in turning the conversation upon Feuerbach, for I fairly longed to have another person's opinion of him. Besides, I was certain of hearing the philosopher criticised by the conservative antimaterialistic Pernice in an original manner—that is, if he knew him at all. True, I might have spared myself the doubt; for into what domain of humanistic knowledge had not this highly talented man entered!

Feuerbach was thoroughly familiar to him, but he condemned his philosophy with pitiless severity, and opposed with keen wit and sharp dialectics his reasons for denying the immortality of the soul, inveighing especially against the phrase and idea "philosophy of religion" as an absurdity which genuine philosophy ought not to permit because it dealt only with thought, while religion concerned faith, whose seat is not in the head, the sacred fount of all philosophy, but the heart, the warm abode of religion and faith. Then he advised me to read Bacon, study Kant, Plato, and the other ancient philosophers—Lotze, too, if I desired—and when I had them all by heart, take up the lesser lights, and even then be in no hurry to read Feuerbach and his wild theology.

I met and conversed with him again whenever I could, and he availed himself of the confidence he inspired to arouse my enthusiasm for the study of jurisprudence. So I am indebted to Pernice for many benefits. In one respect only my reverence for him entailed a certain peril.

He knew what I was doing, but instead of warning me of the danger which threatened me from toiling at night after such exciting days, he approved my course and described episodes of his own periods of study.

One of the three essays for which he received prizes had been written to compel his father to retract the "stupid fellow" with which he had insulted him. At that time he had sat over his books day and night for weeks, and, thank Heaven, did not suffer from it.

His colossal frame really did seem immovable, and I deemed mine, though much slighter, capable of nearly equal endurance. It required severe exertions to weary me, and my mind possessed the capacity to devote itself to strenuous labour directly after the gayest amusements, and there was no lack of such "pastimes" either in Gottingen or just beyond its limits.

Among the latter was an excursion to Cassel which was associated with an adventure whose singular course impressed it firmly on my memory.

When we arrived, chilled by the railway journey, an acquaintance of the friend who accompanied me ordered rum and water for us, and we laughed and jested with the landlord's pretty daughters, who brought it to us.

As it had been snowing heavily and the sleighing was excellent, we determined to return directly after dinner, and drive as far as Munden. Of course the merry girls would be welcome companions, and we did not find it very difficult to persuade them to go part of the way with us.

So we hired two sleighs to convey us to a village distant about an hour's ride, from which we were to send them back in one, while my friend and I pursued our journey in the other.

After a lively dinner with our friends they joined us.

The snow-storm, which had ceased for several hours, began again, growing more and more violent as we drove on. I never saw such masses of the largest flakes, and just outside the village where the girls were to turn back the horses could barely force their way through the white mass which transformed the whole landscape into a single snowy coverlet.

The clouds seemed inexhaustible, and when the time for departure came the driver declared that it would be impossible to go back to Cassel.

The girls, who, exhilarated by the swift movement through the cold, bracing air, had entered into our merriment, grew more and more anxious. Our well-meant efforts to comfort them were rejected; they were angry with us for placing them in such an unpleasant position.

The lamps were lighted when I thought of taking the landlady into our confidence and asking her to care for the poor frightened children. She was a kind, sensible woman, and though she at first exclaimed over their heedlessness, she addressed them with maternal tenderness and showed them to the room they were to occupy.

They came down again at supper reassured, and we ate the rustic meal together very merrily. One of them wrote a letter to her father, saying that they had been detained by the snow at the house of an acquaintance, and a messenger set off with it at sunrise, but we were told that the road would not be passable before noon.

Yet, gay as our companions were at breakfast, the thought of entertaining them longer seemed irksome, and as the church bells were ringing some one proposed that we should go.

A path had been shovelled, and we were soon seated in the country church. The pastor, a fine-looking man of middle age, entered, and though I no longer remember his text, I recollect perfectly that he spoke of the temptations which threaten to lure us from the right paths and the means of resisting them.

One of the most effectual, he said, was the remembrance of those to whom we owe love and respect. I thought of my mother and blind old Langethal, of Tzschirner, and of Herbert Pernice, and, dissatisfied with myself, resolved to do in the future not only what was seemly, but what the duty of entering more deeply into the science which I had chosen required.

The childish faith which Feuerbach's teachings had threatened to destroy seemed to gaze loyally at me with my mother's eyes. I felt that Pernice was right—it was the warm heart, not the cool head, which should deal with these matters, and I left the church, which I had entered merely to shorten an hour, feeling as if released from a burden.

Our return home was pleasant, and I began to attend the law lectures at Gottingen with tolerable regularity.

I was as full of life, and, when occasion offered, as reckless, as ever, though a strange symptom began to make itself unpleasantly felt. It appeared only after severe exertion in walking, fencing, or dancing, and consisted of a peculiar, tender feeling in the soles of my feet, which I attributed to some fault of the shoemaker, and troubled myself the less about it because it vanished soon after I came in.

But the family of Professor Baum, the famous surgeon, where I was very intimate, had thought ever since my return from the Christmas vacation that I did not look well.

With Marianne, the second daughter of this hospitable household, a beautiful girl of remarkably brilliant mind, I had formed so intimate, almost fraternal, a friendship, that both she and her warm-hearted mother called me "Cousin Schorge."

Frau Dirichlet, the wife of the great mathematician, the sister of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, in whose social and musical home I spent hours of pleasure which will never be forgotten, also expressed her anxiety about my loss of flesh. When a girl she had often met my mother, and at my first visit she won my affection by her eager praise of that beloved woman's charms.

As the whole family were extremely musical they could afford themselves and their friends a great deal of enjoyment. I have never heard Joachim play so entrancingly as to her accompaniment. At a performance in her own house, where the choruses from Cherubini's Water-Carrier were given, she herself had rehearsed the music with those who were to take part, and to hear her play on the piano was a treat.

This lady, a remarkable woman in every respect, who gave me many tokens of maternal affection, insisted on the right to warn me. She did this by reminding me, with delicate feminine tact, of my mother when she heard of a wager which I now remember with grave disapproval. This was to empty an immense number of bottles of the heavy Wurzburg Stein wine and yet remain perfectly sober. My opponent, who belonged to the Brunswick Corps, lost, but as soon after I was attacked by illness, though not in consequence of this folly, which had occurred about a fortnight before, he could not give the breakfast which I had won. But he fulfilled his obligation; for when, several lustra later, I visited his native city of Hamburg as a Leipsic professor, to deliver an address before the Society of Art and Science, he arranged a splendid banquet, at which I met several old Gottingen friends.

The term was nearly over when an entertainment was given to the corps by one of its aristocratic members. It was a very gay affair. A band of music played, and we students danced with one another. I was one of the last to depart, long after midnight, and on looking for my overcoat I could not find it. One of the guests had mistaken it for his, and the young gentleman's servant had carried his own home. This was unfortunate, for mine contained my door-key.

Heated by dancing, in a dress-coat, with a thin white necktie, I went out into the night air. It was cold, and, violently as I pounded on the door of the Schonhutte, no one opened it. At last I thought of pounding on the gutter-spout, which I did till I roused the landlord. But I had been at least fifteen minutes in the street, and was fairly numbed. The landlord was obliged to open the room and light my lamp, because I could not use my fingers.

If I had been intoxicated, which I do not believe, the cold would have sobered me, for what happened is as distinct as if it had occurred yesterday.

I undressed, went to bed, and when I was roused by a strange burning sensation in my throat I felt so weak that I could scarcely lift my arm. There was a peculiar taste of blood in my mouth, and as I moved I touched something moist. But my exhaustion was so great that I fell asleep again, and the dream which followed was so delightful that I did not forget it. Perhaps the distinctness of my recollection is due to my making it the subject of a poem, which I still possess. It seemed as if I were lying in an endless field of poppies, with the notes of music echoing around me. Never did I have a more blissful vision.

The awakening was all the more terrible. Only a few hours could have passed since I went to rest. Dawn was just appearing, and I rang for the old maid-servant who waited on me. An hour later Geheimrath Baum stood beside my bed.

The heavy tax made upon my physical powers by exposure to the night air had caused a severe haemorrhage. The excellent physician who took charge of my case said positively that my lungs were sound, and the attack was due to the bursting of a blood-vessel. I was to avoid sitting upright in bed, to receive no visitors, and have ice applied. I believed myself destined to an early death, but the departure from life caused me no fear; nay, I felt so weary that I desired nothing but eternal sleep. Only I wanted to see my mother again.

Then let my end come!

I was in the mood to write, and either the day after the haemorrhage or the next one I composed the following verses:

A field of poppies swaying to and fro, Their blossoms scarlet as fresh blood, I see, While o'er me, radiant in the noontide glow, The sky, blue as corn-flowers, arches free.

Low music echoes through the breezes warm; The violet lends the poppy her sweet breath; The song of nightingales is heard, a swarm Of butterflies flit hov'ring o'er the heath.

While thus I lie, wrapped in a morning dream, Half waking, half asleep, 'mid poppies red, A fresh breeze cools my burning cheeks; a gleam Of light shines in the East. Hath the night sped?

Then upward from an opening bud hath flown A poppy leaf toward the azure sky, But close beside it, from a flower full-blown, The scattered petals on the brown earth lie.

The leaflet flutters, a fair sight to view, By the fresh matin breezes heavenward borne, The faded poppy falls, the fields anew To fertilize, which grateful thanks return.

Starting from slumber round my room I gaze My hand of my own life-blood bears the stain; I am the poppy-leaf, with the first rays Of morning snatched away from earth's domain.

Not mine the fate the world's dark ways to wend, And perish, wearied, at the goal of life; Still glad and blooming, I leave every friend; The game is lost—but with what joys 'twas rife!

I cannot express how these verses relieved my heart; and when on the third day I again felt comparatively well I tried to believe that I should soon recover, enjoy the pleasures of corps life, though with some caution, and devote myself seriously to the study of jurisprudence under Pernice's direction.

The physician gave his permission for a speedy return, but his assurance that there was no immediate danger if I was careful did not afford me unmixed pleasure. For my mother's sake and my own I desired to live, but the rules he prescribed before my departure were so contradictory to my nature that they seemed unbearably cruel. They restricted every movement. He feared the haemorrhage far less than the tender feeling in the soles of my feet and other small symptoms of the commencement of a chronic disease.

Middendorf had taught us to recognize God's guidance in Nature and our own lives, and how often I succeeded in doing so! But when I examined myself and my condition closely it seemed as if what had befallen me was the result of a malicious or blind chance.

Never before or since have I felt so crushed and destitute of support as during those days, and in this mood I left the city where the spring days of life had bloomed so richly for me, and returned home to my mother. She had learned what had occurred, but the physician had assured her that with my vigorous constitution I should regain my health if I followed his directions.



CHAPTER XXIII.

THE HARDEST TIME IN THE SCHOOL OF LIFE.

The period which now followed was the most terrible of my whole life. Even the faithful love that surrounded me could do little to relieve it.

Medicines did not avail, and I had not yet found the arcanum which afterwards so greatly benefitted my suffering soul.

The props which my mother and Middendorf had bestowed upon me when a boy had fallen; and the feeling of convalescence, which gives the invalid's life a sense of bliss the healthy person rarely knows, could not aid me, for the disease increased with wonderful speed.

When autumn came I was so much worse that Geheimrath von Ammon, a learned and experienced physician, recalled his advice that my mother and I should spend the winter in the south. The journey would have been fatal. The correctness of his judgment was proved by the short trip to Berlin which I took with my mother, aided by my brother Martin, who was then a physician studying with the famous clinical doctor Schonlein. It was attended with cruel suffering and the most injurious results, but it was necessary for me to return to my comfortable winter quarters. Our old friend and family physician, who had come to Hosterwitz in September to visit me, wished to have me near him, and in those days there was probably no one who deserved more confidence; for Heinrich Moritz Romberg was considered the most distinguished pathologist in nervous diseases in Germany, and his works on his own specialty are still valued.

In what a condition I entered the home which I had left so strong and full of youthful vigour! And Berlin did not receive me kindly; for the first months I spent there brought days of suffering with fever in the afternoon, and nights whose condition was no less torturing than pain.

But our physician had been present at my birth, he was my godfather, and as kind as if I were his son. He did everything in his power to relieve me, but the remedies he used were not much easier to bear than many a torturing disease. And hardest of all, I was ordered to keep perfectly still in bed. What a prospect! But when I had once resolved to follow the doctor's advice, I controlled with the utmost care every movement of my body. I, who had so often wished to fly, lay like my own corpse. I did not move, for I did not want to die, and intended to use every means in my power to defer the end. Death, which after the haemorrhage had appeared as the beautiful winged boy who is so easily mistaken for the god of love—Death, who had incited me to write saucy, defiant verses about him, now confronted me as a hollow-eyed, hideous skeleton.

In the guise of the most appalling figure among the apocalyptic riders of Cornelius, who had used me when a child for the model of a laughing angel, he seemed to be stretching his hand toward me from his emaciated steed. The poppy leaf was not to flutter toward the sky, but to wither in the dust.

Once, several weeks after our return home, I saw the eyes of my mother, who rarely wept, reddened with tears after a conversation with Dr. Romberg. When I asked my friend and physician if he would advise me to make my will, he said that it could do no harm.

Soon after Hans Geppert, who meanwhile had become a notary, arrived with two witnesses, odd-looking fellows who belonged to the working class, and I made my will in due form. The certainty that when I was no more what I possessed would be divided as I wished was a ray of light in this gloomy time.

No one knows the solemnity of Death save the person whom his cold hand has touched, and I felt it for weeks upon my heart.

What days and nights these were!

Yet in the presence of the open grave from which I shrank something took place which deeply moved my whole nature, gave it a new direction, led me to self-examination, and thence to a knowledge of my own character which revealed many surprising and unpleasing things. But I also felt that it was not yet too late to bring the good and evil traits, partly hereditary, partly acquired, into harmony with one another and render them of use to the same higher objects.

Yes, if I were permitted time to do so!

I had learned how quickly and unexpectedly the hour strikes which puts an end to all struggle towards a goal.

Besides, I now knew what would protect me from a relapse into the old careless waste of strength, what could aid me to do my utmost, for the mother's heart had again found the son's, fully and completely.

I had been forced to become as helpless as a child in order again to lay my head upon her breast and belong to her as completely as during the first years of life. During the long nights when fever robbed me of sleep she sat beside my bed, holding my hands in hers.

At last one came which contained hours of the most intense suffering, and in its course she asked, "Can you still pray?" The answer, which came from my inmost heart, was, "When you are with me, and with you, certainly."

We remained silent a long time, and whenever impatience, suffering, and faintness threatened to overpower me, I found, like Antaeus when he touched the earth that had given him birth, new strength in my mother's heart.

My old life seemed henceforward to lie far behind me.

I did not take up Feuerbach's writings again; his way could never again have been mine. In my suffering it had become evident from what an Eden he turns away and into what a wilderness he leads. But I still value this thinker as an honest, virile, and brilliantly gifted seeker after truth.

I also laid aside the other philosophers whose works I had been studying.

I never resumed Lotze, though later, with two other students, I attended Trendelenburg's difficult course, and tried to comprehend Kant's "critiques."

I first became familiar with Schopenhauer in Jena.

On the other hand, I again devoted many leisure hours to Egyptological works.

I felt that these studies suited my powers and would satisfy me. Everything which had formerly withheld me from the pursuits of learning now seemed worthless. It was as if I stood in a new relation to all things. Even the one to my mother had undergone a transformation. I realized for the first time what I possessed in her, how wrong I had been, and what I owed to her. One day during this period I remembered my Poem of the World, and instantly had the box brought in which I kept it among German favours, little pink notes, and similar trophies.

For the first time I perceived, in examining the fruits of the labour of so many days and nights, the vast disproportion between the magnitude of the subject and my untrained powers. One passage seemed faulty, another so overstrained and inadequate, that I flung it angrily back among the rest. At the same time I thought that the verses I had addressed to various beauties and the answers which I had received ought not to be seen by other eyes. I was alone with the servant, a bright fire was blazing in the stove, and, obedient to a hasty impulse, I told him to throw the whole contents of the box into the fire.

When the last fragment was consumed to ashes I uttered a sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, the flames also destroyed the greater part of my youthful poems. Even the completed acts of my tragedy had been overtaken by destruction, like the heroes of Panthea and Abradatus.

If I had formerly obeyed the physician's order to lie motionless, I followed it after the first signs of convalescence so rigidly that even the experienced Dr. Romberg admitted that he had not given me credit for so much self-control. Toward the end of the winter my former cheerfulness returned, and with it I also learned to use the arcanum I have formerly mentioned, which makes even the most bitter things enjoyable and lends them a taste of sweetness. I might term it "the practice of gratitude." Without intending it, I acquired the art of thankfulness by training my eyes to perceive the smallest trifle which gave cause for it. And this recognition of even the least favour of Fortune filled the rude wintry days with so much sunshine, that when children of my own were given me my first effort was to train them to gratitude, and especially to an appreciation of trifles.

The motto 'Carpe diem,' which I had found in my father's Horace and had engraved upon my seal ring, unexpectedly gained a new significance by no longer translating it "enjoy," but "use the day," till the time came when the two meanings seemed identical.



CHAPTER XXIV.

THE APPRENTICESHIP.

Firmly as I had resolved to follow the counsel of Horace, and dear as earnest labour was becoming, I still lacked method, a fixed goal towards which to move with firm tread in the seclusion to which my sufferings still condemned me.

I had relinquished the study of the law. It seemed more than doubtful whether my health would ever permit me to devote myself to a practical profession or an academic career, and my interest in jurisprudence was too slight to have it allure me to make it the subject of theoretical studies.

Egyptology, on the contrary, not only attracted me but permitted me to devote my whole strength to it so far as my health would allow. True, Champollion, the founder of this science, termed it "a beautiful dowerless maiden," but I could venture to woo her, and felt grateful that, in choosing my profession, I could follow my inclination without being forced to consider pecuniary advantages.

The province of labour was found, but with each step forward the conviction of my utter lack of preparation for the new science grew clearer.

Just then the kind heart of Wilhelm Grimm's wife brought her to me with some delicious fruit syrup made by her own hands. When I told her what I was doing and expressed a wish to have a guide in my science, she promised to tell "the men" at home, and within a few days after his sister-in-law's visit Jacob was sitting with me.

He inquired with friendly interest how my attention had been called to Egyptology, what progress I had made, and what other sciences I was studying.

After my reply he shook his venerable head with its long grey locks, and said, smiling:

"You have been putting the cart before the horse. But that's the way with young specialists. They want to become masters in the workshops of their sciences as a shoemaker learns to fashion boots. Other things are of small importance to them; and yet the special discipline first gains value in connection with the rest or the wider province of the allied sciences. Your deciphering of hieroglyphics can only make you a dragoman, and you must become a scholar in the higher sense, a real and thorough one. The first step is to lay the linguistic foundation."

This was said with the engaging yet impressively earnest frankness characteristic of him. He himself had never investigated Egyptian matters closely, and therefore did not seek to direct my course minutely, but advised me, in general, never to forget that the special science was nothing save a single chord, which could only produce its full melody with those that belonged to the same lute.

Lepsius had a broader view than most of those engaged in so narrow a field of study. He would speak of me to him.

The next Thursday Lepsius called on me. I know this because that day was reserved for his subsequent visits.

After learning what progress I had made by my own industry, he told me what to do next, and lastly promised to come again.

He had inquired about my previous education, and urged me to study philology, archaeology, and at least one Semitic language. Later he voluntarily informed me how much he, who had pursued philological, archaeological, Sanscrit, and Germanistic studies, had been impeded in his youth by having neglected the Semitic languages, which are more nearly allied to the Egyptian. It would be necessary also for me to understand English and Italian, since many things which the Egyptologist ought to know were published in these languages, as well as in French. Lastly he advised me to obtain some insight into Sanscrit, which was the point of departure for all linguistic studies.

His requirements raised mountain after mountain in my path, but the thought of being compelled to scale these heights not only did not repel me, but seemed extremely attractive. I felt as if my strength increased with the magnitude and multiplicity of the tasks imposed, and, full of joyous excitement, I told Lepsius that I was ready to fulfil his requirements in every detail.

We now discussed in what sequence and manner I should go to work, and to this day I admire the composure, penetration, and lucidity with which he sketched a plan of study that covered years.

I have reason to be grateful to this great scholar for the introduction to my special science, but still more for the wisdom with which he pointed out the direction of my studies. Like Jacob Grimm, he compelled me, as an Egyptologist, to remain in connection with the kindred departments.

Later my own experience was to teach me the correctness of his assertion that it would be a mistake to commence by studying so restricted a science as Egyptology.

My pupils can bear witness that during my long period of teaching I always strove to urge students who intended to devote themselves to Egyptology first to strengthen the foundations, without which the special structure lacks support.

Lepsius's plan of instruction provided that I should follow these principles from the beginning. The task I had to perform was a great and difficult one. How infinitely easier it was for those whom I had the privilege of introducing to this science! The lecture-rooms of famous teachers stood open to them, while my physical condition kept me for weeks from the university; and how scanty were the aids to which the student could turn! Yet the zeal—nay, the enthusiasm—with which I devoted myself to the study was so great that it conquered every difficulty.

[I had no dictionary and no grammar for the hieroglyphic language save Champollion's. No Stern had treated Coptic in a really scientific manner. I was obliged to learn it according to Tuki, Peyron, Tattam, and Steinthal-Schwarze. For the hieratic there was no aid save my own industry and the lists I had myself compiled from the scanty texts then at the disposal of the student. Lepsius had never devoted much time to them. Brugsch's demotic grammar had appeared, but its use was rendered very difficult by the lack of conformity between the type and the actual signs.]

When I recall the amount of knowledge I mastered in a few terms it seems incredible; yet my labour was interrupted every summer by a sojourn at the springs—once three months, and never for a less period than six weeks. True, I was never wholly idle while using the waters, but, on the other hand, I was obliged to consider the danger that in winter constantly threatened my health. All night-work was strictly forbidden and, if I sat too long over my books by day, my mother reminded me of my promise to the doctor, and I was obliged to stop.

During the first years I worked almost exclusively at home, for I was permitted to go out only in very pleasant weather.

Dr. Romberg had wisely considered my reluctance to interrupt my studies by a residence in the south, because he deemed life in a well-ordered household more beneficial to sufferers from spinal diseases than a warmer climate, when leaving home, as in my case, threatened to disturb the patient's peace of mind.

For three winters I had been denied visiting the university, the museum, and the libraries. On the fourth I was permitted to begin, and now, with mature judgment and thorough previous preparation, I attended the academic lectures, and profited by the treasures of knowledge and rich collections of the capital.

After my return from Wildbad Lepsius continued his Thursday visits, and during the succeeding winters still remained my guide, even when I had also placed myself, in the department of the ancient Egyptian languages, under the instruction of Heinrich Brugsch.

At school, of course, I had not thought of studying Hebrew. Now I took private lessons in that language, to which I devoted several hours daily. I had learned to read Sanscrit and to translate easy passages in the chrestomathy, and devoted myself with special zeal to the study of the Latin grammar and prosody. Professor Julius Geppert, the brother of our most intimate family friend, was my teacher for four terms.

The syntax of the classic languages, which had been my weak point as a school-boy, now aroused the deepest interest, and I was grateful to Lepsius for having so earnestly insisted upon my pursuing philology. I soon felt the warmest appreciation of the Roman comedies, which served as the foundation of these studies. What sound wit, what keenness of observation, what a happy gift of invention, the old comic writers had at their disposal! I took them up again a few years ago, after reading with genuine pleasure in Otto Ribbeck's masterpiece, The History of Roman Poetry, the portions devoted to Plautus and Terence.

The types of character found in these comedies strengthened my conviction that the motives of human actions and the mental and emotional peculiarities of civilized men in every age always have been and always will be the same.

With what pleasure, when again permitted to go out in the evening, I witnessed the performances of Plautus's pieces given by Professor Geppert's pupils!

The refreshed and enlarged knowledge of school Latin was of great service in writing, and afterwards discussing, a Latin dissertation. I devoted perhaps a still larger share of my time to Greek, and, as the fruit of these studies, still possess many translations from Anacreon, Sappho, and numerous fragments from the Bergk collection of Greek lyrics, but, with the exception of those introduced into my novels, none have been printed.

During my leisure hours translating afforded me special pleasure. An exact rendering of difficult English authors soon made Shakespeare's language in both prose and poetry as intelligible as German or French.

After mastering the rules of grammar, I needed no teacher except my mother. When I had conquered the first difficulties I took up Tennyson's Idyls of the King, and at last succeeded in translating two of these beautiful poems in the metre of the original.

My success with Enid I think was very tolerable. The manuscript still lies in my desk unpublished.

As I was now engaged in studying the languages I easily learned to read Italian, Spanish, and Dutch books.

In view of this experience, which is not wholly personal, I have wondered whether the instruction of boys might not be shortened to give them more outdoor exercise. In how brief a time the pupils, as men studying for their own benefit, not the teacher's, would acquire many things! Besides the languages, I studied, at first exclusively under Lepsius's thoroughly admirable instruction, ancient history and archeology.

Later I owed most to Gerhard, Droysen, Friederichs, and August Bockh.

A kind fate afterwards brought me into personal relations with the latter, whose lectures on the Athenian financial system were the finest and the most instructive I have ever heard. What clearness, what depth of learning, what a subtle sense of humour this splendid old man possessed! I attended his lectures in 1863, and how exquisite were the allusions to the by no means satisfactory political conditions of the times with which he spiced them. I also became sincerely attached to Friederichs, and it made me happy to be able to requite him in some small degree in Egypt for the kindness and unselfishness he had shown me in Berlin.

Bopp's lectures, where I tried to increase my meagre knowledge of Sanscrit, I attended, unfortunately, only a few hours.

The lectures of the African traveller Heinrich Earth supplied rich sources of material, but whoever expected to hear bewitching narratives from him would have been disappointed. Even in more intimate intercourse he rarely warmed up sufficiently to let others share the rich treasure of his knowledge and experience. It seemed as if, during his lonely life in Africa, he had lost the necessity of exchanging thoughts with his fellow-men. During this late period Heinrich Brugsch developed in the linguistic department of Egyptology what I had gained from Lepsius and by my own industry, and I gladly term myself his pupil.

I have cause to be grateful for the fresh and helpful way in which this great and tireless investigator gave me a private lecture; but Lepsius had opened the door of our science, and though he could carry me only to a certain stage in the grammar of the ancient Egyptians, in other departments I owe him more than any other of my intellectual guides. I am most indebted to him for the direction to use historical and archaeological authorities critically, and his correction of the tasks he set me; but our conversations on archaeological subjects have also been of the greatest interest.

After his death I tried to return in some small degree what his unselfish kindness had bestowed by accepting the invitation to become his biographer. In "Richard Lepsius," I describe reverently but without deviating one step from the truth, this wonderful scholar, who was a faithful and always affectionate friend.

I can scarcely believe it possible that the dignified man, with the grave, stern, clear-cut, scholarly face and snow-white hair, was but forty-five years old when he began to direct my studies; for, spite of his erect bearing and alert, movements, he seemed to me at that time a venerable old man. There was something in the aristocratic reserve of his nature and the cool, penetrating sharpness of his criticism, which is usually found only in men of more mature years. I should have supposed him incapable of any heedless word, any warm emotion, until I afterwards met him under his own roof and enjoyed the warm-hearted cheerfulness of the father of the family and the graciousness of the host.

It certainly was not the cool, calculating reason, but the heart, which had urged him to devote so many hours of his precious time to the young follower of his science.

Heinrich Brugsch, my second teacher, was far superior to Lepsius as a decipherer and investigator of the various stages of the ancient Egyptian languages. Two natures more totally unlike can scarcely be imagined.

Brugsch was a man of impulse, who maintained his cheerfulness even when life showed him its serious side. Then, as now, he devoted himself with tireless energy to hard work. In this respect he resembled Lepsius, with whom he had other traits in common-first, a keen sense of order in the collection and arrangement of the abundant store of scientific material at his disposal; and, secondly, the circumstance that Alexander von Humboldt had smoothed the beginning of the career of investigation for both. The attention of this great scholar and influential man had been attracted by Brugsch's first Egyptological works, which he had commenced before he left school, and his keen eye recognized their value as well as the genius of their author. As soon as he began to win renown Humboldt extended his powerful protection to him, and induced his friend, the king, to afford him means for continuing his education in Paris and for a journey to Europe.

Though it was Bunsen who first induced Lepsius to devote himself to Egyptology, that he might systematize the science and prune with the knife of philological and historical criticism the shoots which grew so wildly after Champollion's death, Humboldt had opened the paths to learning which in Paris were closed to the foreigner.

Finally, it was the great naturalist who had lent the aid of his powerful influence with Frederick William IV to the enterprise supported by Bunsen of an expedition to Egypt under the direction of Lepsius. But for the help of the most influential man of his day it would have been difficult—nay, perhaps impossible—to obtain for themselves and German investigation the position which, thanks to their labour, it now occupies.

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