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Title: Metropolis
Author: Thea Von Harbou
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0601891.txt
Edition: 1
Language: English
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Date first posted: June 2006
Date most recently updated: June 2006

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This book is not of today or of the future.
It tells of no place.
It serves no cause, party or class.
It has a moral which grows on the pillar of understanding:
"The mediator between brain and muscle must be the Heart."
--T. vH.


Now the rumbling of the great organ swelled to a roar, pressing, like
a rising giant, against the vaulted ceiling, to burst through it.

Freder bent his head backwards, his wide-open, burning eyes stared
unseeingly upward. His hands formed music from the chaos of the notes;
struggling with the vibration of the sound and stirring him to his
innermost depths.

He was never so near tears in his life and, blissfully helpless, he
yielded himself up to the glowing moisture which dazzled him.

Above him, the vault of heaven in lapis lazuli; hovering therein, the
twelve-fold mystery, the Signs of the Zodiac in gold. Set higher above
them, the seven crowned ones: the planets. High above all a silver-
shining bevy of stars: the universe.

Before the bedewed eyes of the organ-player, to his music, the stars
of heavens began the solemn mighty dance.

The breakers of the notes dissolved the room into nothing. The organ,
which Freder played, stood in the middle of the sea.

It was a reef upon which the waves foamed. Carrying crests of froth,
they dashed violently onward, and the seventh was always the

But high above the sea, which bellowed in the uproar of the waves, the
stars of heaven danced the solemn, mighty dance.

Shaken to her core, the old earth started from her sleep. Her torrents
dried up; her mountains fell to ruin. From the ripped open depths the
fire welled up; The earth burnt with all she bore. The waves of the
sea became waves of fire. The organ flared up, a roaring torch of
music. The earth, the sea and the hymn-blazing organ crashed in and
became ashes.

But high above the deserts and the spaces, to which creation was
burnt, the stars of heaven danced the solemn mighty dance.

Then, from the grey, scattered ashes, on trembling wings unspeakably
beautiful and solitary, rose a bird with jewelled feathers. It uttered
a mournful cry. No bird which ever lived could have mourned so

It hovered above the ashes of the completely ruined earth. It hovered
hither and thither, not knowing where to settle. It hovered above the
grave of the sea and above the corpse of the earth. Never, since the
sinning angel fell from heaven to hell, had the air heard such a cry
of despair.

Then, from the solemn mighty dance of the stars, one freed itself and
neared the dead earth. Its light was gentler than moonlight and more
imperious than the fight of the sun. Among the music of the spheres it
was the most heavenly note. It enveloped the mourning bird in its dear
light; it was as strong as a deity, crying: "To me!"

Then the jewelled bird left the grave of the sea and earth and gave
its sinking wings up to the powerful voice which bore it. Moving in a
cradle of light, it swept upwards and sang, becoming a note of the
spheres, vanishing into Eternity...

Freder let his fingers slip from the keys. He bent forward and buried
his face in his hands. He pressed his eyes until he saw the fiery
dance of the stars behind his eyelids. Nothing could help him--
nothing. Everywhere, everywhere, in an agonising, blissful
omnipresence, stood, in his vision, the one one countenance.

The austere countenance of the virgin, the sweet countenance of the
mother--the agony and the desire with which he called and called for
the one single vision for which his racked heart had not even a name,
except the one, eternal,!

He let his hands sink and raised his eyes to the heights of the
beautifully vaulted room, in which his organ stood. From the sea-deep
blue of the heavens, from the flawless gold of the heavenly bodies,
from the mysterious twilight around him, the girl looked at him with
the deadly severity of purity, quite maid and mistress, inviolability,
graciousness itself, her beautiful brow in the diadem of goodness, her
voice, pity, every word a song. Then to turn, and to go, and to
vanish--no more to be found. Nowhere, nowhere.

"You--!" cried the man. The captive note struck against the walls,
finding no way out.

Now the loneliness was no longer bearable. Freder stood up and opened
the windows. The works lay, in quivering brightness, before him. He
pressed his eyes closed, standing still, hardly breathing. He felt the
proximity of the servants, standing silently, waiting for the command
which would permit them to come to life.

There was one among them--Slim, with his courteous face, the
expression of which never changed--Freder knew of him: one word to
him, and, if the girl still walked on earth with her silent step, then
Slim would find her. But one does not set a blood-hound on the track
of a sacred, white hind, if one does not want to be cursed, and to be,
all' his life long, a miserable, miserable man.

Freder saw, without looking at him, how Slim's eyes were taking stock
of him. He knew that the silent creature, ordained, by his father, to
be his all-powerful protector, was, at the same time, his keeper.
During the fever of nights, bereft of sleep, during the fever of his
work, in his work-shop, during the fever when playing his organ,
calling upon God, there would be Slim measuring the pulse of the son
of his great master. He gave no reports; they were not required of
him. But, if the hour should come in which they were demanded of him,
he would certainly have a diary of faultless perfection to produce,
from the number of steps with which one in torment treads out his
loneliness with heavy foot, from minute to minute, to the dropping of
a brow into propped up hands, tired with longing.

Could it be possible that this man, who knew everything, knew nothing
of her?

Nothing about him betrayed that he was aware of the upheavel in the
well-being and disposition of his young master, since that day in the
"Club of the Sons." But it was one of the slim, silent one's greatest
secrets never to give himself away, and, although he had no entrance
to the "Club of the Sons" Freder was by no means sure that the money-
backed agent of his father would be turned back by the rules of the

He felt himself exposed, unclothed. A cruel brightness, which left
nothing concealed, bathed him and everything in his workshop which was
almost the most highly situated room in Metropolis.

"I wish to be quite alone," he said softly.

Silently the servants vanished, Slim went...But all these doors, which
closed without the least sound, could also, without the least sound,
be opened again to the narrowest chink.

His eyes aching, Freder fingered all the doors of his work-room.

A smile, a rather bitter smile, drew down the corners of his mouth. He
was a treasure which must be guarded as crown jewels are guarded. The
son of a great father, and the only son.

Really the only one--?

Really the only one--?

His thoughts stopped again at the exit of the circuit and the vision
was there again and the scene and the event...

The "Club of the Sons" was, perhaps, one of the most beautiful
buildings of Metropolis, and that was not so very remarkable. For
fathers, for whom every revolution of a machine-wheel spelt gold, had
presented this house to their sons. It was more a district than a
house. It embraced theatres, picture-palaces, lecture-rooms and a
library--In which, every book, printed in all the five continents, was
to be found-race tracks and stadium and the famous "Eternal Gardens."

It contained very extensive dwellings for the young sons of indulgent
fathers and it contained the dwellings of faultless male servants and
handsome, well-trained female servants for whose training more time
was requisite than for the development of new species of orchids.

Their chief task consisted in nothing but, at all times, to appear
delightful and to be incapriciously cheerful; and, with their
bewildering costume, their painted faces, and their eye-masks,
surmounted by snow-white wigs and fragrant as flowers, they resembled
delicate dolls of porcelain and brocade, devised by a master-hand, not
purchaseable but rather delightful presents.

Freder was but a rare visitant to the "Club of the Sons." He preferred
his work-shop and the starry chapel in which this organ stood. But
when once the desire took him to fling himself into the radiant
joyousness of the stadium competitions he was the most radiant and
joyous of all, playing on from victory to victory with the laugh of a
young god.

On that day too...on that day too.

Still tingling from the icy coolness of falling water, every muscle
still quivering in the intoxication of victory he had lain, stretched
out, slender, panting, smiling, drunken, beside himself, almost insane
with joy. The milk-coloured glass ceiling above the Eternal Gardens
was an opal in the light which bathed it. Loving little women attended
him, waiting roguishly and jealously, from whose white hands, from
whose fine finger-tips he would eat the fruits he desired.

One was standing aside, mixing him a drink. From hip to knee billowed
sparkling brocade. Slender, bare legs held proudly together, she
stood, like ivory, in purple, peaked shoes. Her gleaming body rose,
delicately, from her hips and--she was not aware of it--quivered in
the same rhythm as did the man's chest in exhaling his sweet-rising
breath. Carefully did the little painted face under the eye-mask watch
the work of her careful hands.

Her mouth was not rouged, but yet was pomegranate red. And she smiled
so unselfconsciously down at the beverage that it caused the other
girls to laugh aloud.

Infected, Freder also began to laugh. But the glee of the maidens
swelled to a storm as she who was mixing the drink, not knowing why
they were laughing, became suffused with a blush of confusion, from
her pomegranate-hued mouth to her lustrous hips. The laughter induced
the friends, for no reason, only because they were young and care-
free, to join in the cheerful sound. Like a joyously ringing rainbow,
peal upon peal of laughter arched itself gaily above the young people.

Then suddenly--suddenly--Freder turned his head. His hands, which were
resting on the hips of the drink-mixer, lost hold of her, dropping
down by his sides as if dead. The laughter ceased, not one of the
friends moved. Not one of the little, brocaded, bare--limbed women
moved hand or foot. They stood and looked.

The door of the Eternal Gardens had opened and through the door came a
procession of children. They were all holding hands. They had dwarves'
faces, grey and ancient. They were little ghost--like skeletons,
covered with faded rags and smocks. They had colourless hair and
colourless eyes. They walked on emaciated bare feet. Noiselessly they
followed their leader.

Their leader was a girl. The austere countenance of the Virgin. The
sweet countenance of the mother. She held a skinny child by each hand.
Now she stood still, regarding the young men and women one after
another, with the deadly severity of purity. She was quite maid and
mistress, inviolability--and was, too, graciousness itself, her
beautiful brow in the diadem of goodness; her voice, pity; every word
a song.

She released the children and stretched forward her hand, motioning
towards the friends and saying to the children:

"Look, these are your brothers!"

And, motioning towards the children, she said to the friends:

"Look, these are your brothers!"

She waited. She stood still and her gaze rested upon Freder.

Then the servants came, the door-keepers came. Between these walls of
marble and glass, under the opal dome of the Eternal Gardens, there
reigned, for a short time, an unprecedented confusion of noise,
indignation and embarrassment. The girl appeared still to be waiting.
Nobody dared to touch her, though she stood so defenceless, among the
grey infant-phantoms, Her eyes rested perpetually on Freder.

Then she took her eyes from his and, stooping a little, took the
children's hands again, turned and led the procession out. The door
swung to behind her; the servants disappeared with many apologies for
not having been able to prevent the occurrence. All was emptiness and
silence. Had not each of those before whom the girl had appeared, with
her grey procession of children, so large a number of witnesses to the
event they would have been inclined to put it down to hallucination.

Near Freder, upon the illuminated mosaic floor, cowered the little
drink-mixer, sobbing uncontrolledly.

With a leisurely movement, Freder bent towards her and suddenly
twitched the mask, the narrow black mask, from her eyes.

The drink-mixer shrieked out as though overtaken in stark nudity. Her
hands flew up, clutching, and remained hanging stiffly in the air.

A little painted face stared, horror-stricken at the man. The eyes,
thus exposed, were senseless, quite empty. The little face from which
the charm of the mask had been taken away, was quite weird.

Freder dropped the black piece of stuff. The drink-mixer pounced
quickly upon it, hiding her face. Freder looked around him.

The Eternal Gardens scintillated. The beautiful beings in it, even if,
temporarily, thrown out of balance, shone in their well-cared-for-
ness, their cleanly abundance. The odour of freshness, which pervaded
everywhere, was like the breath of a dewy garden.

Freder looked down at himself. He wore, as all the youths in the
"House of the Sons," the white silk, which they wore but once--the
soft, supple shoes, with the noiseless soles.

He looked at his friends. He saw these beings who never wearied,
unless from sport--who never sweated, unless from sport--who were
never out of breath, unless from sport. Beings requiring their joyous
games in order that their food and drink might agree with them, in
order to be able, to sleep well and digest easily.

The tables, at which they had all eaten, were laid, as before-hand,
with untouched dishes. Wine, golden and purple, embedded in ice or
warmth, was there, proffering itself, like the loving little women.
Now the music was playing again. It had been silenced when the girlish
voice spoke the five soft words:

"Look, these are your brothers!"

And once more, with her eyes resting on Freder:

"Look, these are your brothers!"

As one suffocating, Freder sprang up. The masked women stared at him.
He dashed to the door. He ran along passages and down steps. He came
to the entrance.

"Who was that girl?"

Perplexed shrugs. Apologies. The occurrence was inexcusable, the
servants knew it. Dismissals, in plenty, would be distributed.

The Major Domo was pale with anger.

"I do not wish," said Freder, gazing into space, "that anyone should
suffer for what has happened. Nobody is to be dismissed...I do not
wish it..."

The Major Domo bowed in silence. He was accustomed to whims in the
"Club of the Sons."

"Who is the girl...can nobody tell me?"

"No. Nobody. But if an inquiry is to be made?"

Freder remained silent. He thought of Slim. He shook his head. First
slowly, then violently. "No--One does not set a bloodhound on the
track of a sacred, white hind."

"Nobody is to inquire about her," he said, tonelessly.

He felt the soulless glance of the strange, hired person upon his
face. He felt himself poor and besmirched. In an ill-temper which
rendered him as wretched as though he had poison in his veins, he left
the club. He walked home as though going into exile. He shut himself
up in his workroom and worked. At nights he clung to his instrument
and forced the monstrous solitude of Jupiter and Saturn down to him.

Nothing could help him--nothing! In an agonising blissful omnipresence
stood, before his vision the one, one countenance; the austere
countenance of the virgin, the sweet countenance of the mother.

A voice spoke:

"Look, these are your brothers."

And the glory of the heavens was nothing, and the intoxication of work
was nothing. And the conflagration which wiped out the sea could not
wipe out the soft voice of the girl:

"Look, these are your brothers!"

My God, my God--

With a painful, violent jerk, Freder turned around and walked up to
his machine. Something like deliverance passed across his face as he
considered this shining creation, waiting only for him, of which there
was not a steel link, not a rivet, not a spring which he had not
calculated and created.

The creature was not large, appearing still more fragile by reason of
the huge room and flood of sunlight in which it stood. But the soft
lustre of its metal and the proud swing with which the foremost body
seemed to raise itself to leap, even when not in motion, gave it
something of the fair godliness of a faultlessly beautiful animal,
which is quite fearless, because it knows itself to be invincible.

Freder caressed his creation. He pressed his head gently against the
machine. With ineffable affection he felt its cool, flexible members.

"To-night," he said, "I shall be with you. I shall be entirely
enwrapped by you. I shall pour out my life into you and shall fathom
whether or not I can bring you to life. I shall, perhaps, feel your
throb and the commencement of movement in your controlled body. I
shall, perhaps, feel the giddiness with which you throw yourself out
into your boundless element, carrying me--me, the man who made--
through the huge sea of midnight. The seven stars will be above us and
the sad beauty of the moon. Mount Everest will remain, a hill, below
us. You shall carry me and I shall know: You carry me as high as I

He stopped, closing his eyes. The shudder which ran through him was
imparted, a thrill, to the silent machine.

"But perhaps," he continued, without raising his voice, "perhaps you
notice, you, my beloved creation, that you are no longer my only love.
Nothing on earth is more vengeful than the jealousy of a machine which
believes itself to be neglected. Yes, I know that...You are imperious
mistresses...Thou shalt have none other Gods but me. Am I right? A
thought apart from you--you feel it at once and become perverse. How
could I keep it hidden from you that all my thoughts are not with you.
I can't help it, my creation. I was bewitched, machine. I press my
forehead upon you and my forehead longs for the knees of the girl of
whom I do not even know the name..."

He ceased and held his breath. He raised his head and listened.

Hundreds and thousands of times had he heard that same sound in the
city. But hundreds and thousands of time, it seemed to him, he had not
comprehended it.

It was an immeasurably glorious and transporting sound. As deep and
rumbling as, and more powerful than, any sound on earth. The voice of
the ocean when it is angry, the voice of falling torrents, the voice
of very close thunderstorms would be miserably drowned in this
Behemoth-din. Without being shrill it penetrated all walls, and, as
long as it lasted, all things seemed to swing in it. It was
omnipresent, coming from the heights and from the depths, being
beautiful and horrible, being an irresistible command.

It was high above the town. It was the voice of the town.

Metropolis raised her voice. The machines of Metropolis roared; they
wanted to be fed.

Freder pushed open the glass doors. He felt them tremble like strings
under strokes of the bow. He stepped out on to the narrow gallery
which ran around this, almost the highest house of Metropolis. The
roaring sound received him, enveloped him, never coming to an end.

Great as Metropolis was: at all four corners of the city, this roared
command was equally perceptible:

Freder looked across the city at the building known to the world as
the "New Tower of Babel."

In the brain-pan of this New Tower of Babel lived the man who was
himself the Brain of Metropolis.

As long as the man over there, who was nothing but work, despising
sleep, eating and drinking mechanically, pressed his fingers on the
blue metal plate, which apart from himself, no man had ever touched,
so long would the voice of the machine-city of Metropolis roar for
food, for food, for food...

She wanted living men for food.

Then the living food came pushing along in masses. Along the street it
came, along its own street which never crossed with other people's
streets. It rolled on, a broad, an endless stream. The stream was
twelve files deep. They walked in even step. Men, men, men--all in the
same uniform, from throat to ankle in dark blue linen, bare feet in
the same hard shoes, hair tightly pressed down by the same black caps.

And they all had the same faces. And they all appeared to be of the
same age. They held themselves straightened up, but not straight. They
did not raise their heads, they pushed them forward. They planted
their feet forward, but they did not walk. The open gates of the New
Tower of Babel, the machine center of Metropolis, gulped the masses

Towards them, but past them, another procession dragged itself along,
the shift just used. It rolled on, a broad, an endless stream. The
stream was twelve files deep. They walked in even step. Men, men,
men--all in the same uniform, from throat to ankle in dark blue linen,
bare feet in the same hard shoes, hair tightly pressed down by the
same black caps. And they all had the same faces. And they all seemed
one thousand years old. They walked with hanging fists, they walked
with hanging heads. No, they planted their feet forward but they did
not walk. The open gates of the New Tower of Babel, the machine centre
of Metropolis, threw the masses up as it gulped them down.

When the fresh living food had disappeared through the gates the
roaring voice was silent at last. And the never ceasing, throbbing hum
of the great Metropolis became perceptible again, producing the effect
of silence, a deep relief. The man who was the great brain in the
brain-pan of Metropolis had ceased to press his fingers on the blue
metal plate.

In ten hours he would let the machine brute roar anew. And in another
ten hours, again. And always the same, and always the same, without
ever loosening the ten-hour clamp.

Metropolis did not know what Sunday was. Metropolis knew neither high
days nor holidays. Metropolis had the most saintly cathedral in the
world, richly adorned with Gothic decoration. In times of which only
the chronicles could tell, the star-crowned Virgin on its tower used
to smile, as a mother, from out her golden mantle, deep, deep down
upon the pious red rooves and the only companions of her graciousness
were the doves which used to nest in the gargoyles of the water-spouts
and the bells which were called after the four archangels and of which
Saint Michael was the most magnificent.

It was said that the Master who cast it turned villain for its sake,
for he stole consecrated and unconsecrated silver, like a raven,
casting it into the metal body of the bell. As a reward for his deed
he suffered, on the place of execution, the dreadful death on the
wheel. But, it was said, he died exceedingly happy, for the Archangel
Michael rang him on his way to death so wonderfully, touchingly, that
all agreed the saints must have forgiven the sinner already, to ring
the heavenly bells, thus, to receive him.

The bells still rang with their old, ore voices but when Metropolis
roared, then Saint Michael itself was hoarse. The New Tower of Babel
and its fellow houses stretched their sombre heights high above the
cathedral spire, that the young girls in the work-rooms and wireless
stations gazed down just as deep from the thirtieth story windows on
the star-crowned virgin as she, in earlier days, had looked down on
the pious red rooves. In place of doves, flying machines swarmed over
the cathedral roof and over the city, resting on the rooves, from
which, at night glaring pillars and circles indicated the course of
flight and landing points.

The Master of Metropolis had already considered, more than once,
having the cathedral pulled down, as being pointless and an
obstruction to the traffic in the town of fifty million inhabitants.

But the small, eager sect of Gothics, whose leader was Desertus, half
monk, half one enraptured, had sworn the solemn oath: If one hand from
the wicked city of Metropolis were to dare to touch just one stone of
the cathedral, then they would neither repose nor rest until the
wicked city of Metropolis should lie, a heap of ruins, at the foot of
her cathedral.

The Master of Metropolis used to avenge the threats which constituted
one sixth of his daily mail. But he did not care to fight with
opponents to whom he rendered a service by destroying them for their
belief. The great brain of Metropolis, a stranger to the sacrifice of
a desire, estimated the incalculable power which the sacrificed ones
and martyrs showered upon their followers too high rather than too
low. Too, the demolition of the cathedral was not yet so burning a
question as to have been the object of an estimate of expenses. But
when the moment should come, the cost of its pulling down would exceed
that of the construction of Metropolis. The Gothics were ascetics; the
Master of Metropolis knew by experience that a multi-millionaire was
more cheaply bought over than an ascetic.

Freder wondered, not without a foreign feeling of bitterness, how many
more times the great Master of Metropolis would permit him to look on
at the scene which the cathedral would present to him on every
rainless day: When the sun sank at the back of Metropolis, the houses
turning to mountains and the streets to valleys; when the stream of
light, which seemed to crackle with coldness, broke forth from all
windows, from the walls of the houses, from the rooves and from the
heart of the town; when the silent quiver of electric advertisments
began; when the searchlights, in all colours of the rainbow, began to
play around the New Tower of Babel; when the omnibuses turned to
chains of light-spitting monsters, the little motor cars to scurrying,
luminous fishes in a waterless deep-sea, while from the invisible
harbour of the underground railway, an ever equal, magical shimmer
pressed on to be swallowed by the hurrying shadows--then the cathedral
would stand there, in this boundless ocean of light, which dissolved
all forms by outshining them, the only dark object, black and
persistant, seeming, in its lightlessness, to free itself from the
earth, to rise higher and ever higher, and appearing in this maelstrom
of tumultous light, the only reposeful and masterful object.

But the Virgin on the top of the tower seemed to have her own gentle
starlight, and hovered, set free from the blackness of the stone, on
the sickle of the silver moon, above the cathedral.

Freder had never seen the countenance of the Virgin and yet he knew it
so well he could have drawn it: the austere countenance of the Virgin,
the sweet countenance of the mother.

He stooped, clasping the burning palms of his hands around the iron

"Look at me, Virgin," he begged, "Mother, look at me!" The spear of a
searchlight flew into his eyes causing him to close them angrily. A
whistling rocket hissed through the air, dropping down into the pale
twilight of the afternoon, the word: Yoshiwara...

Remarkably white, and with penetrating beams, there hovered, towering
up, over a house which was not to be seen, the word: Cinema.

All the seven colours of the rainbow flared, cold and ghostlike in
silently swinging circles. The enormous face of the clock on the New
Tower of Babel was bathed in the glaring cross-fire of the
searchlights. And over and over again from the pale, unreal--looking
sky, dripped the word: Yoshiwara. Freder's eyes hung on the clock of
the New Tower of Babel, where the seconds flashed off as sparks of
breathing lightning, continuous in their coming as in their going. He
calculated the time which had passed since the voice of Metropolis had
roared for food, for food, for food. He knew that behind the throbbing
second flashes on the New Tower of Babel there was a Wide, bare room
with narrow windows, the height of the walls, switch-boards on all
sides, right in the centre, the table, the most ingenious instrument
which the Master of Metropolis had created, on which to play, alone,
as solitary master.

On the plain chair before it, the embodiment of the great brain: the
Master of Metropolis. Near his right hand the sensitive blue metal
plate, to which he would stretch out his right hand, with the
infallible certainty of a healthy machine, when seconds enough had
flicked off into eternity, to let Metropolis roar once more--for food,
for food, for food--

In this moment Freder was seized with the persistent idea that he
would lose his reason if he had, once more, to hear the voice of
Metropolis thus roaring to be fed. And, already convinced of the
pointlessness of his quest, he turned from the spectacle of the light
crazy city and went to seek the Master of Metropolis, whose name was
Joh Fredersen and who was his father.


THE BRAIN-PAN of the New Tower of Babel was peopled with numbers.

From an invisible source the numbers dropped rhythmically down through
the cooled air of the room, being collected, as in a water-basin, at
the table at which the great brain of Metropolis worked, becoming
objective under the pencils of his secretaries. These eight young men
resembled each other as brothers, which they were not. Although
sitting as immovable as statues, of which only the writing fingers of
the right hand stirred, yet each single one, with sweat-bedewed brow
and parted lips, seemed the personification of Breathlessness.

No head was raised on Freder's entering, Not even his father's.

The lamp under the third loud-speaker glowed white-red.

New York spoke.

Joh Fredersen was comparing the figures of the evening exchange report
with the lists which lay before him. Once his voice sounded,

"Mistake. Further inquiry."

The first secretary quivered, stooped lower, rose and retired on
soundless soles. Joh Fredersen's left eyebrow rose a trifle as he
watched the retreating figure--only as long as was possible without
turning his head.

A thin, concise penal-line crossed out a name.

The white-red light glowed. The voice spoke. The numbers dropped down
through the great room. In the brain-pan of Metropolis.

Freder remained standing, motionless, by the door. He was not sure as
to whether or not his father had noticed him. Whenever he entered this
room he was once more a boy of ten years old, his chief characteristic
uncertainty, before the great concentrated, almighty certainty, which
was called Joh Fredersen, and was his father.

The first secretary walked past him, greeting him silently,
respectfully. He resembled a competitor leaving the course, beaten.
The chalky face of the young man hovered for one moment before
Freder's eyes like a big, white, lacquer mask. Then it was blotted

Numbers dropped down through the room.

One chair was empty. On seven others sat seven men, pursuing the
numbers which sprang unceasingly from the invisible.

A lamp glowed white-red.

New York spoke.

A lamp sparkled up: white-green.

London began to speak.

Freder looked up at the clock opposite the door, commanding the whole
wall like a gigantic wheel. It was the same clock, which, from the
heights of the New Tower of Babel, flooded by searchlights, flicked
off its second-sparks over the great Metropolis.

Joh Fredersen's head stood out against it. It was a crushing yet
accepted halo above the brain of Metropolis.

The searchlights raved in a delirium of colour upon the narrow windows
which ran from floor to ceiling. Cascades of light frothed against the
panes. Outside, deep down, at the foot of the New Tower of Babel
boiled the Metropolis. But in this room not a sound was to be heard
but the incessantly dripping numbers.

The Rotwang-process had rendered the walls and windows sound-proof.

In this room, which was at the same time crowned and subjugated by the
mighty time-piece, the clock, indicating numbers, nothing had any
significance but numbers. The son of the great Master of Metropolis
realised that, as long as numbers came dripping out of the invisible
no word, which was not a number, and coming from a visible mouth,
could lay claim to the least attention.

Therefore he stood, gazing unceasingly at his father's head, watching
the monstrous hand of the clock sweep onward, inevitably, like a
sickle, a reaping scythe pass through the skull of his father, without
harming him, climb upwards, up the number-beset ring, creep around the
heights and sink again, to repeat the vain blow of the scythe At last
the white-red light went out. A voice ceased.

Then the white-green light went out, too.


The hands of those writing stopped and, for the space of a moment,
they sat as though paralysed, relaxed, exhausted. Then Joh Fredersen's
voice said with a dry gentleness:

"Thank you, to-morrow."

And without looking round:

"What do you want, my boy?"

The seven strangers quitted the now silent room. Freder crossed to his
father, whose glance was sweeping the lists of captured number-drops.
Freder's eyes clung to the blue metal plate near his father's right

"How did you know it was I?" he asked, softly.

Joh Fredersen did not look up at him. Although his face had gained an
expression of patience and pride at the first question which his son
put to him he had lost none of his alertness. He glanced at the clock.
His fingers glided over the flexible keyboard. Soundlessly were orders
flashed out to waiting men.

"The door opened. Nobody was announced. Nobody comes to me
unannounced. Only my son."

A light below glass--a question. Joh Fredersen extinguished the light.
The first secretary entered and crossed over to the great Master of

"You were right. It was a mistake. It has been rectified," he
reported, expressionlessly.

"Thank you." Not a look. Not a gesture. "The G--bank has been notified
to pay you your salary. Good evening."

The young man stood motionless. Three, four, five, six seconds flicked
off the gigantic time-piece. Two empty eyes burnt in the chalky face
of the young man, impressing their brand of fear upon Freder's vision.

One of Joh Fredersen's shoulders made a leisurely movement.

"Good evening," said the young man, in a strangled tone.

He went.

"Why did you dismiss him, father?" the son asked.

"I have no use for him," said Joh Fredersen, still not having looked
at his son.

"Why not, father?"

"I have no use for people who start when one speaks to them," said the
Master over Metropolis.

"Perhaps he felt ill...perhaps he is worrying about somebody who is
dear to him."

"Possibly. Perhaps too, he was still under the effects of the too long
night in Yoshiwara. Freder, avoid assuming people to be good, innocent
and victimized just because they suffer. He who suffers has sinned,
against himself and against others."

"You do not suffer, father?"


"You are quite free from sin?"

"The time of sin and suffering lies behind me, Freder."

"And if this man, now...I have never seen such a thing...but I believe
that men resolved to end their lives go out of a room as he did..."


"And suppose you were to hear, to-morrow, that he were dead...that
would leave you untouched...?" "Yes."

Freder was silent.

His father's hand slipped over a lever, and pressed it down. The white
lamps in all the rooms surrounding the brain-pan of the New Tower of
Babel went out. The Master over Metropolis had informed the circular
world around him that he did not wish to be disturbed without urgent

"I cannot tolerate it," he continued, "when a man, working upon
Metropolis, at my right hand, in common with me, denies the only great
advantage he possesses above the machine."

"And what is that, father?"

"To take delight in work," said the Master over Metropolis. Freder's
hand glided over his hair, then rested on its glorious fairness. He
opened his lips, as though he wanted to say something; but he remained

"Do you suppose," Joh Fredersen went on, "that I need my secretaries'
pencils to check American stock-exchange reports? The index tables of
Rotwang's trans-ocean trumpets are a hundred times more reliable and
swift than clerk's brains and hands. But, by the accuracy of the
machine I can measure the accuracy of the men, by the breath of the
machine, the lungs of the men who compete with her."

"And the man you just dismissed, and who is doomed (for to be
dismissed by you, father, means going down!...Down!...Down!...) he
lost his breath, didn't he?" "Yes."

"Because he was a man and not a machine..." "Because he denied his
humanity before the machine." Freder raised his head and his deeply
troubled eyes. "I cannot follow you now, father," he said, as if in
pain. The expression of patience on Joh Fredersen's face deepened.

"The man," he said quietly, "was my first secretary! The salary he
drew was eight times as large as that of the last."

"That was synonymous with the obligation to perform eight times as
much. To me. Not to himself. To-morrow the fifth secretary will be in
his place. In a week he will have rendered four of the others
superfluous. I have use for that man."

"Because he saves four others."

"No, Freder. Because he takes delight in the work of four others.
Because he throws himself entirely into his work--throws himself as
desiringly as if it were a woman."

Freder was silent. Joh Fredersen looked at his son. He looked at him

"You have had some experience?" he asked.

The eyes of the boy, beautiful and sad, slipped past him, out into
space. Wild, white light frothed against the windows, and, in going
out, left the sky behind, as a black velvet cloth over Metropolis.

"I have had no experience," said Freder, tentatively, "except that I
believe for the first time in my life to have comprehended the being
of a machine..."

"That should mean a great deal," replied the Master over Metropolis.
"But you are probably wrong, Freder. If you had really comprehended
the being of a machine you would not be so perturbed."

Slowly the son turned his eyes and the helplessness of his
incomprehension to his father.

"How can one but be perturbed," he said, "if one comes to you, as I
did, through the machine-rooms. Through the glorious rooms of your
glorious machines...and sees the creatures who are fettered to them by
laws of eternal watchfulness...lidless eyes..."

He paused. His lips were dry as dust.

Joh Fredersen leant back. He had not taken his gaze from his son, and
still held it fast.

"Why did you come to me through the machine-rooms," he asked quietly.
"It is neither the best, nor the most convenient way."

"I wished," said the son, picking his words carefully, "Just once to
look the men in the face--whose little children are my brothers--my

"H'm," said the other with very tight lips. The pencil which he held
between his fingers tapped gently, dryly, once, twice, upon the
table's edge. Joh Fredersen's eyes wandered from his son to the
twitching flash of the seconds on the clock, then sinking back again
to him.

"And what did you find?" he asked.

Seconds, seconds, seconds of silence. Then it was as though the son,
up-rooting and tearing loose his whole ego, threw himself, with a
gesture of utter self-exposure, upon his father, yet he stood still,
head a little bent, speaking softly, as though every word were
smothering between his lips.

"Father! Help the men who live at your machines!"

"I cannot help them," said the brain of Metropolis. "Nobody can help
them. They are where they must be. They are what they must be. They
are not fitted for anything more or anything different."

"I do not know for what they are fitted," said Freder,
expressionlessly: his head fell upon his breast as though almost
severed from his neck. "I only know what I saw--and that it was
dreadful to look upon...I went through the machine-rooms--they were
like temples. All the great gods were living in white temples. I saw
Baal and Moloch, Huitziopochtli and Durgha; some frightfully
companionable, some terribly solitary. I saw Juggernaut's divine car
and the Towers of Silence, Mahomet's curved sword, and the crosses of
Golgotha. And all machines, machines, machines, which, confined to
their pedestals, like deities to their temple thrones, from the
resting places which bore them, lived their god--Like lives: Eyeless
but seeing all, earless but hearing all, without speech, yet, in
themselves, a proclaiming mouth--not man, not woman, and yet
engendering, receptive, and productive--lifeless, yet shaking the air
of their temples with the never-expiring breath of their vitality.
And, near the god-machines, the slaves of the god-machines: the men
who were as though crushed between machine companionability and ma
chine solitude. They have no loads to carry: the machine carries the
loads. They have not to lift and push: the machine lifts and pushes.
They have nothing else to do but eternally one and the same thing,
each in this place, each at his machine. Divided into periods of brief
seconds, always the same clutch at the same second, at the same
second. They have eyes, but they are blind but for one thing, the
scale of the manometer. They have ears, but they are deaf but for one
thing, the hiss of their machine. They watch and watch, having no
thought but for one thing: should their watchfulness waver, then the
machine awakens from its feigned sleep and begins to race, racing
itself to pieces. And the machine, having neither head nor brain, with
the tension of its watchfulness, sucks and sucks out the brain from
the paralysed skull of its watchman, and does not stay, and sucks, and
does not stay until a being is hanging to the sucked-out skull, no
longer a man and not yet a machine, pumped dry, hollowed out, used up.
And the machine which has sucked out and gulped down the spinal marrow
and brain of the man and has wiped out the hollows in his skull with
the soft, long tongue of its soft, long hissing, the maching gleams in
its silver-velvet radiance, anointed with oil, beautiful, infallible--
Baal and Moloch, Huitzilopochtli and Durgha. And you, father, you
press your fingers upon the little blue metal plate near your right
hand, and your great glorious, dreadful city of Metropolis roars out,
proclaiming that she is hungry for fresh human marrow and human brain
and then the living food rolls on, like a stream, into the machine-
rooms, which are like temples, and that, just used, is thrown up..."

His voice failed him. He struck his fists violently together, and
looked at his father.

"And they are all human beings!"

"Unfortunately. Yes."

The father's voice sounded to the son's ear as though he were speaking
from behind seven closed doors.

"That men are used up so rapidly at the machines, Freder, is no proof
of the greed of the machine, but of the deficiency of the human
material. Man is the product of change, Freder. A once-and-for-all
being. If he is miscast he cannot be sent back to the melting-furnace.
One is obliged to use him as he is. Whereby it has been statistically
proved that the powers of performance of the non-intellectual worker
lessen from month to month."

Freder laughed. The laugh came so dry, so parched, from his lips that
Joh Fredersen jerked up his head, looking: at his son from out
narrowed eyelids. Slowly his eyebrows! rose.

"Are you not afraid, father (supposing that the statistics are correct
and the consumption of man is progressing increasingly, rapidly) that
one fine day there will be no more food there for the man-eating god-
machines, and that the Moloch of glass, rubber and steel, the Durgha
of aluminium with platinum veins, will have to starve miserably?"

"The case is conceivable," said the brain of Metropolis.

"And then?"

"Then," said the brain of Metropolis, "by then a substitute for man
will have to have been found."

"The improved man, you mean--? The machine-man--?"

"Perhaps," said the brain of Metropolis.

Freder brushed the damp hair from his brow. He bent forward, his
breath touching his father.

"Then just listen to one thing, father," he breathed, the veins on his
temples standing out, blue, "see to it that the machine-man has no
head, or, at any rate, no face, or give him a face which always
smiles. Or a Harlequin's face, or a closed visor. That it does not
horrify one to look at him! For, as I walked through the machine-rooms
to-day, I saw the men who watch your machines. And they know me, and I
greeted them, one after the other. But not one returned my greeting.
The machines were all too eagerly tautening their nerve-strings. And
when I looked at them, father, quite closely, as closely as I am now
looking at you--! was looking myself in the face...Every single man,
father, who slaves at your machines, has my face--has the face of your

"Then mine too, Freder, for we are very like each other," said the
Master over the great Metropolis. He looked at the clock and stretched
out his hand. In all the rooms surrounding the brain-pan of the New
Tower of Babel the white lamps flared up.

"And doesn't it fill you with horror," asked the son, "to know so many
shadows, so many phantoms, to be working at your work?"

"The time of horror lies behind me, Freder."

Then Freder turned and went, like a blind man--first missing the door
with groping hand, then finding it. It opened before him. It closed
behind him, and he stood still, in a room that seemed to him to be
strange and icy.

Forms rose up from the chairs upon which they had sat, waiting, bowing
low to the son of Joh Fredersen, the Master of Metropolis.

Freder only recognized one; that was Slim.

He thanked those who greeted him, still standing near the door,
seeming not to know his way. Behind him slipped Slim, going to Joh
Fredersen, who had sent for him.

The master of Metropolis was standing by the window, his back to the

"Wait!" said the dark square back.

Slim did not stir. He breathed inaudibly. His eyelids lowered, he
seemed to sleep while standing. But his mouth, with the remarkable
tension of its muscles, made him the personification of concentration.

Joh Fredersen's eyes wandered over Metropolis, a restless roaring sea
with a surf of light. In the flashes and waves, the Niagara falls of
light, in the colour-play of revolving towers of light and brilliance,
Metropolis seemed to have become transparent. The houses, dissected
into cones and cubes by the moving scythes of the search-lights
gleamed, towering up, hoveringly, light flowing down their flanks like
rain. The streets licked up the shining radiance, themselves shining,
and the things gliding upon them, an incessant stream, threw cones of
light before them. Only the cathedral, with the star-crowned Virgin on
the top of its tower, lay stretched out, massively, down in the city,
like a black giant lying in an enchanted sleep.

Joh Fredersen turned around slowly. He saw Slim standing by the door.
Slim greeted him. Joh Fredersen came towards him. He crossed the whole
width of the room in silence; he walked slowly on until he came up to
the man. Standing there before him, he looked at him, as though
peeling everything corporal from him, even to his innermost self.

Slim held his ground during this peeling scrutiny.

Joh Fredersen said, speaking rather softly:

"From now on I wish to be informed of my son's every action."

Slim bowed, waited, saluted and went. But he did not find the son of
his great master again where he had left him. Nor was he destined to
find him.


THE MAN WHO had been Joh Fredersen's first secretary stood in a cell
of the Pater-noster, the never-stop passenger lift which, like a
series of never ceasing well-buckets, trans-sected the New Tower of
Babel.--With his back against the wooden wall, he was making the
journey through the white, humming house, from the heights of the
roof, to the depths of the cellars and up again to the heights of the
roof, for the thirtieth-time, never moving from the one spot.

Persons, greedy to gain a few seconds, stumbled in with him, and
stories higher, or lower, out again. Nobody paid the least attention
to him. One or two certainly recognised him. But, as yet, nobody
interpreted the drops on his temples as being anything but a similar
greed for the gain of a few seconds. All right--he would wait until
they knew better, until they took him and threw him out of the cell:
What are you taking up space for, you fool, if you've got so much
time? Crawl down the stairs, or the first escape...

With gasping mouth he leant there and waited...

Now emerging from the depths again, he looked with stupified eyes
towards the room which guarded Joh Fredersen's door, and saw Joh
Fredersen's son standing before that door. For the fraction of a
second they stared into each other's over-shadowed faces, and the
glances of both broke out as signals of distress, of very different
but of equally deep distress. Then the totally indifferent pumpworks
carried the man in the cell upwards into the darkness of the roof of
the tower, and, when he dipped down again, becoming visible once more
on his way downwards, the son of Joh Fredersen was standing before the
opening of the cell and was, in a step, standing beside the man whose
back seemed to be nailed to the wooden wall.

"What is your name?" he asked gently.

A hesitation in drawing breath, then the answer, which sounded as
though he were listening for something: "Josaphat..."

"What will you do now, Josaphat?"

They sank. They sank. As they passed through the great hall the
enormous windows of which overlooked the street of bridges, broadly
and ostentatiously, Freder saw, on turning his head, outlined against
the blackness of the sky, already half extinguished, the dripping
word: Yoshiwara...

He spoke as if stretching out both hands, as just if closing his eyes
in speaking:

"Will you come to me, Josaphat?"

A hand fluttered up like a scared bird.

"I--?" gasped the stranger.

"Yes, Josaphat."

The young voice so full of kindness...

They sank. They sank. Light--darkness--light--darkness again.

"Will you come to me, Josaphat?"

"Yes!" said the strange man with incomparable fervour. "Yes!"

They dropped into light. Freder seized him by the arm and dragged him
out with him, out of the great pump-works of the New Tower of Babel,
holding him fast as he reeled.

"Where do you live, Josaphat?"

"Ninetieth Block. House seven. Seventh floor."

"Then go home, Josaphat. Perhaps I shall come to you myself; perhaps I
shall send a messenger who will bring you to me. I do not know what
the next few hours will bring forth...But I do not want any man I
know, if I can prevent it, to lie a whole night long, staring up at
the ceiling until it seems to come crashing down on him..."

"What can I do for you?" asked the man.

Freder felt the vice--Like pressure of his hand. He smiled. He shook
his head. "Nothing. Go home. Wait. Be calm. Tomorrow will bring
another day and I hope a fair one..."

The man loosened the grip of his hand and went. Freder watched him go.
The man stopped and looked back at Freder, and dropped his head with
an expression which was so earnest, so unconditional, that the smile
died on Freder's lips--

"Yes, man," he said. "I take you at your word!"

The Pater-noster hummed at Freder's back. The cells, like scoop-
buckets, gathered men up and poured them out again. But the son of Joh
Fredersen did not see them. Among all those tearing along to gain a
few seconds, he alone stood still listening how the New Tower of Babel
roared in its revolutions. The roaring seemed to him like the ringing
of one of the cathedral bells--like the ore voice of the archangel
Michael. But a song hovered above it, high and sweet. His whole young
heart exulted in this song.

"Have I done your will for the first time, you great media-tress of
pity?" he asked in the roar of the bell's voice.

But no answer came.

Then he went the way he wanted to go, to find the answer.

As Slim entered Freder's home to question the servants concerning
their master, Joh Fredersen's son was walking down the steps which led
to the lower structure of the New Tower of Babel. As the servants
shook their heads at Slim saying that their master had not come home,
Joh Fredersen's son was walking towards the luminous pillars which
indicated his way. As Slim, with a glance at his watch, decided to
wait, to wait, at any rate for a while--already alarmed, already
conjecturing possibilities and how to meet them--Joh Fredersen's son
was entering the room from which the New Tower of Babel drew the
energies for its own requirements.

He had hesitated a long time before opening the door. For a weird
existence went on behind that door. There was howling. There was
panting. There was whistling. The whole building groaned. An incessant
trembling ran through the walls and the floor. And amidst it all there
was not one human sound. Only the things and the empty air roared. Men
in the room on the other side of this door had powerless sealed lips.
But for these men's sakes Freder had come.

He pushed the door open and then fell back, suffocated. Boiling air
smote him, groping at his eyes that he saw nothing. Gradually he
regained his sight.

The room was dimly lighted and the ceiling, which looked as though it
could carry the weight of the entire earth, seemed perpetually to be
falling down.

A faint howling made breathing almost unbearable. It was as though the
breath drank in the howling too.

Air, rammed down to the depths, coming already used from the lungs of
the great Metropolis, gushed out of the mouths of pipes. Hurled across
the room, it was greedily sucked back by the mouths of pipes on the
other side. And its howling light spread a coldness about it which
fell into fierce conflict with the sweat-heat of the room.

In the middle of the room crouched the Pater-noster machine. It was
like Ganesha, the god with the elephant's head. It shone with oil. It
had gleaming limbs. Under the crouching body and the head which was
sunken on the chest, crooked legs rested, gnome--Like, upon the
platform. The trunk and legs were motionless. But the short arms
pushed and pushed alternately forwards, backwards, forwards. A little
pointed light sparkled upon the play of the delicate joints. The
floor, which was stone, and seamless, trembled under the pushing of
the little machine, which was smaller than a five-year-old chief.

Heat spat from the walls in which the furnaces were roaring. The odour
of oil, which whistled with heat, hung in thick layers in the room.
Even the wild chase of the wandering masses of air did not tear out
the suffocating fumes of oil. Even the water which was sprayed through
the room fought a hopeless battle against the fury of the heat-
spitting walls, evaporating, already saturated with oil-fumes, before
it could protect the skins of the men in this hell from being roasted.

Men glided by like swimming shadows. Their movements, the
soundlessness of their inaudible slipping past, had something of the
black ghostliness of deep-sea divers. Their eyes stood open as though
they never closed them.

Near the little machine in the centre of the room stood a man, wearing
the uniform of all the workmen of Metropolis: from throat to ankle,
the dark blue linen, bare feet in the hard shoes, hair tightly pressed
down by the black cap. The hunted stream of wandering air washed
around his form, making the folds of the canvas flutter. The man held
his hand on the lever and his gaze was fixed on the clock, the hands
of which vibrated like magnetic needles.

Freder groped his way across to the man. He stared at him. He could
not see his face. How old was the man? A thousand years? Or not yet
twenty? He was talking to himself with babbling lips. What was the man
muttering about? And had this man, too, the face of Joh Fredersen's

"Look at me!" said Freder bending forward.

But the man's gaze did not leave the clock. His hand, also, was
unceasingly, feverishly, clutching the lever. His lips babbled and
babbled, excitedly.

Freder listened. He caught the words. Shreds of words, tattered by the
current of air.

"Pater-noster...that means, Our Father!...Our Father, which are in
heaven! We are in hell. Our Father!...What is thy name? Art thou
called Pater-noster, Our Father? Or Joh Fredersen? Or machine?...Be
hallowed by us, machine. Pater-noster!...Thy kingdom come...Thy
kingdom come, machine...Thy will be done on earth as it is in
heaven...What is thy will of us, machine, Pater-noster? Art thou the
same in heaven as thou art on earth?...Our Father, which art in
heaven, when thou callest us into heaven, shall we keep the machines
in thy world--the great wheels which break the limbs of thy
creatures--the great merry-go-round called the earth?...Thy will be
done, Pater-noster!...Give us this day our daily bread...Grind,
machine, grind flour for our bread. The bread is baked from the flour
of our bones...And forgive us our trespasses...what trespasses, Pater-
noster? The trespass of haying a brain and a heart, that thou hast
not, machine?. And lead us not into temptation...Lead us not into
temptation to rise against thee, machine, for thou art stronger than
we, thou art a thousand times stronger than we, and thou art always in
the right and we are always in the wrong, because we are weaker than
thou art, machine...But deliver us from evil, machine...Deliver us
from thee, machine...For thine is the kingdom, the power and the
glory, for ever and ever, Amen...Pater-noster, that means: Our
Father...Our Father, which are in heaven..."

Freder touched the man's arm. The man started, struck dumb.

His hand lost its hold of the lever and leaped into the air like a
shot bird. The man's jaws stood gaping open as if locked. For one
second the white of the eyes in the stiffened face was terribly
visible. Then the man collapsed like a rag and Freder caught him as he

Freder held him fast. He looked around. Nobody was paying any
attention, either to him or to the other man. Clouds of steam and
fumes surrounded them like a fog. There was a door near by. Freder
carried the man to the door and pushed it open. It led to the tool-
house. A packing case offered a hard resting place. Freder let the man
slip down into it.

Dull eyes looked up at him. The face to which they belonged was little
more than that of a boy.

"What is your name?" said Freder.


"I want to know what your mother called you...."


"Georgi, do you know me?"

Consciousness returned to the dull eyes together with recognition.

"Yes, I know you...You are the son of Joh Fredersen...of Joh
Fredersen, who is the father of us all..."

"Yes. Therefore I am your brother, Georgi, do you see? I heard your
Pater-noster..."--The body flung itself up with a heave.

"The machine--" He sprang to his feet. "My machine--"

"Leave it alone, Georgi, and listen to me..."

"Somebody must be at the machine!"

"Somebody will be at the machine; but not you..."

"Who will, then?"


Staring eyes were the answer.

"I," repeated Freder. "Are you fit to listen to me, and will you be
able to take good note of what I say? It is very important, Georgi!"

"Yes," said Georgi, paralysed.

"We shall now exchange lives, Georgi. You take mine, I yours. I shall
take your place at the machine. You go quietly out in my clothes.
Nobody noticed me when I came here. Nobody will notice you when you
go. You must only not lose your nerve and keep calm. Keep under cover
of where the air is brewing like a mist. When you reach the street
take a car. You will find more than enough money in my pockets. Three
streets further on change the car. And again after another three
streets. Then drive to the Ninetieth Block. At the corner pay off the
taxi and wait until the driver is out of sight. Then find your way to
the seventh floor of the seventh house. A man called Josaphat lives
there. You are to go to him. Tell him I sent you. Wait for me or for a
message from me. Do you understand, Georgi?"


But the "Yes" was empty and seemed to reply to something other than
Freder's question.

A little while later the son of Joh Fredersen, the Master of the great
Metropolis, was standing before the machine which was like Ganesha,
the god with the elephant's head.

He wore the uniform of all the workmen of Metropolis: from throat to
ankle the dark blue linen, bare feet in the hard shoes, hair firmly
pressed down by the black cap.

He held his hand on the lever and his gaze was set on the clock, the
hands of which vibrated like magnetic needles.

The hunted stream of air washed around him making the folds of the
canvas flutter.

Then he felt how, slowly, chokingly, from the incessant trembling of
the floor, from the walls in which the furnaces whistled, from the
ceiling which seemed eternally to be in the act of falling down, from
the pushing of the short arms of the machine, from the steady
resistance of the gleaming body, terror welled up in him--terror, even
to the certainty of Death.

He felt--and saw, too--how, from out the swathes of vapour, the long
soft elephant's trunk of the god Ganesha loosened itself from the
head, sunken on the chest, and gently, with unerring finger, felt for
his, Freder's forehead. He felt the touch of this sucker, almost cool,
not in the least painful, but horrible. Just in the centre, over the
bridge of the nose, the ghostly trunk sucked itself fast; it was
hardly a pain, yet it bored a fine, dead-sure gimlet, towards the
centre of the brain. As though fastened to the clock of an infernal
machine the heart began to thump. Pater-noster...Pater-noster...Pater-

"I will not," said Freder, throwing back his head to break the cursed
contact: "I will not...I will...I will not..."

He groped for he felt the sweat dropping from his temples like drops
of blood in all pockets of the strange uniform which he wore. He felt
a rag in one of them and drew it out. He mopped his forehead and, in
doing so, felt the sharp edge of a stiff piece of paper, of which he
had taken hold together with the cloth.

He pocketed the cloth and examined the paper.

It was no larger than a man's hand, bearing neither print nor script,
being covered over and over with the tracing of a strange symbol and
an apparently half-destroyed plan.

Freder tried hard to make something of it but he did not succeed. Of
all the signs marked on the plan he did not know one. Ways seemed to
be indicated, seeming to be false ways, but they all led to one
destination; to a place which was filled with crosses.

A symbol of life? Sense in nonsense?

As Joh Fredersen's son, Freder was accustomed swiftly and correctly to
grasp anything called a plan. He pocketed the plan though it remained
before his eyes.

The sucker of the elephant's trunk of the god Ganesha glided down to
the occupied unsubdued brain which reflected, analysed and sought. The
head, not tamed, sank back into the chest. Obediently, eagerly, worked
the little machine which drove the Pater-noster of the New Tower of

A little glimmering light played upon the more delicate joints almost
on the top of the machine, like a small malicious eye.

The machine had plenty of time. Many hours would pass before the
Master of Metropolis, before Joh Fredersen would tear the food which
his machines were chewing up from the teeth of his mighty machines.

Quite softly, almost smilingly, the gleaming eye, the malicious eye,
of the delicate machine looked down upon Joh Fredersen's son, who was
standing before it...

Georgi had left the New Tower of Babel unchallenged, through various
doors and the city received him, the great Metropolis which swayed in
the dance of light and which was a dancer.

He stood in the street, drinking in the drunken air. He felt white
silk on his body. On his feet he felt shoes which were soft and
supple. He breathed deeply and the fullness of his own breath filled
him with the most high intoxicating intoxication.

He saw a city which he had never seen. He saw it as a man he had never
been. He did not walk in a stream of others: a stream twelve flies
deep...He wore no blue linen, no hard shoes, no cap. He was not going
to work. Work was put away, another man was doing his work for him.

A man had come to him and had said: "We shall now exchange lives,
Georgi; you take mine and I yours..."

"When you reach the street, take a car."

"You will find more than enough money in my pockets..."

"You will find more than enough money in my pockets..."

"You will find more than enough money in my pockets..."

Georgi looked at the city which he had never seen...

Ah! The intoxication of the lights. Ecstasy of Brightness!--Ah!
Thousand-limbed city, built up of blocks of light. Towers of
brilliance! Steep mountains of splendour! From the velvety sky above
you showers golden rain, inexhaustibly, as into the open lap of the

Ah--Metropolis! Metropolis!

A drunken man, he took his first steps, saw a flame which hissed up
into the heavens. A rocket wrote in drops of light on the velvety sky
the word: Yoshiwara...

George ran across the street, reached the steps, and, taking three
steps at a time, reached the roadway. Soft, flexible, a black willing
beast, a car approached, stopped at his feet.

Georgi sprang into the car, fell back upon the cushions, the engine of
the powerful automobile vibrating soundlessly. A recollection
stiffened the man's body.

Was there not, somewhere in the world--and not so very far away, under
the sole of the New Tower of Babel, a room which was run through by
incessant trembling? Did not a delicate little machine stand in the
middle of this room, shining with oil and having strong, gleaming
limbs? Under the crouching body and the head, which was sunken on the
chest, crooked legs rested, gnome--Like upon the platform. The trunk
and legs were motionless. But the short arms pushed and pushed and
pushed, alternately forwards, backwards, and forwards. The floor which
was of stone and seamless, trembled under the pushing of the little
machine which was smaller than a five-year-old child.

The voice of the driver asked: "Where to, sir?"

Straight on, motioned Georgi with his hand. Anywhere...

The man had said to him: Change the car after the third street.

But the rhythm of the motor-car embraced him too delightfully. Third
street...sixth street...It was still very far to the ninetieth block.

He was filled with the wonder of being thus couched, the bewilderment
of the lights, the shudder of entrancement at the motion.

The further that, with the soundless gliding of the wheels, he drew
away from the New Tower of Babel, the further did he seem to draw away
from the consciousnes of his own self.

Who was he--? Had he not just stood in a greasy patched, blue linen
uniform, in a seething hell, his brain mangled by eternal
watchfulness, with bones, the marrow of which was being sucked out by
eternally making the same turn of the lever to eternally the same
rhythm, with face scorched by unbearable heat, and in the skin of
which the salty sweat tore its devouring furrows?

Did he not live in a town which lay deeper under the earth than the
underground stations of Metropolis, with their thousand shafts--In a
town the houses of which storied just as high above squares and
streets as, above in the night, did the houses of Metropolis, which
towered so high, one above the other?

Had he ever known anything else than the horrible sobriety of these
houses, in which there lived not men, but numbers, recognisable only
by the enormous placards by the house-doors?

Had his life ever had any purpose other than to go out from these
doors, framed with numbers, out to work, when the sirens of Metropolis
howled for him--and ten hours later, crushed and tired to death, to
stumble into the house by the door of which his number stood?

Was he, himself, anything but a number--number 11811--crammed into his
linen, his clothes, his cap? Had not the number also become imprinted
into his soul, into his brain, into his blood, that he must even stop
and think of his own name?

And now--?

And now--?

His body refreshed by pure cold water which had washed the sweat of
labour from him, felt, with wonderful sweetness, the yielding
relaxation of all his muscles. With a quiver which rendered all his
muscles weak he felt the caressing touch of white silk on the bare
skin of his body, and, while giving himself up to the gentle, even
rhythm of the motion, the consciousness of the first and complete
deliverance from all that which had put so agonising a pressure on his
existence overcame him with so overpowering a force that he burst out
into the laughter of a madman, his tears falling uncontrollably.

Violently, aye, with a glorious violence, the great city whirled
towards him, like a sea which roars around mountains.

The workman No. 11811, the man who lived in a prison--Like house,
under the underground railway of Metropolis, who knew no other way
than that from the hole in which he slept to the machine and from the
machine back to the hole--this man saw, for the first time in his
life, the wonder of the world, which was Metropolis: the city, by
night shining under millions and millions of lights.

He saw the ocean of light which filled the endless trails of streets
with a silver, flashing lustre. He saw the will-o'-the-wisp sparkle of
the electric advertisements, lavishing themselves inexhaustibly in an
ecstasy of brightness. He saw towers projecting, built up of blocks of
light, feeling himself seized, over-powered to a state of complete
impotence by this intoxication of light, feeling this sparkling ocean
with its hundreds and thousands of spraying waves, to reach out for
him, to take the breath from his mouth, to pierce him, suffocate

And then he grasped that this city of machines, this city of sobriety,
this fanatic for work, sought, at night, the mighty counterpoise to
the frenzy of the day's work--that this city, at night, lost itself,
as one insane, as one entirely witless, in the intoxication of a
pleasure, which, flinging up to all heights, hurtling down to all
depths, was boundlessly blissful and boundlessly destructive.

Georgi trembled from head to foot. And yet it was not really trembling
which seized his resistless body. It was as though all his members
were fastened to the soundless evenness of the engine which bore them
forwards. No, not to the single engine which was the heart of the
motor-car in which he sat--to all these hundreds and thousands of
engines which were driving an endlessly gliding, double stream of
gleaming illuminated automobiles, on through the streets of the city
in its nocturnal fever. And, at the same time, his body was set in
vibration by the fire-works of spark-streaming wheels, ten-coloured
lettering snow-white fountains of overcharged lamps, rockets, hissing
upwards, towers of flame, blazing ice-cold.

There was a word which always recurred. From an invisible source there
shot up a sheaf of light, which bursting apart at the highest point,
dropped down letters in all colours of the rainbow from the velvet-
black sky of Metropolis.

The letters formed themselves into the word: Yoshiwara.

What did that mean: Yoshiwara--?

From the iron-work of the elevated railway-track a yellow-skinned
fellow hung, head downwards, suspended by the crocks of his knees, who
let a snow-storm of white sheets of paper shower down upon the double
row of motor-cars.

The pages fluttered and fell. Georgi's glance caught one of them. Upon
it stood, in large, distorted letters: Yoshiwara.

The car stopped at a crossing. Yellow-skinned fellows, in many-
coloured embroidered silk jackets, wound themselves, supple as eels,
through the twelve-fold strings of waiting cars. One of them swung
himself onto the foot-board of the black motor-car in which Georgi
sat. For one second the grinning hideousness stared into the young,
white, helpless face.

A sheaf of hand-bills were hurled through the window, falling upon
Georgi's knee and before his feet. He bent down mechanically and
picked up that for which his fingers were groping.

On these slips, which gave out a penetrating, bitter-sweet, seductive
perfume, there stood, in large, bewitched-looking letters, the word:

Georgi's throat was as dry as dust. He moistened his cracked lips with
his tongue, which lay heavy and as though parched in his mouth.

A voice had said to him: "You will find more than enough money in my

Enough money...what for? To clutch and drag near this city-this
mighty, heavenly, hellish city; to embrace her with both arms, both
legs, in the irnpotence of mastering her; to despair, to throw one-
self into her--take me!--take me!--To feel the filled bowl at one's
lips--gulping, gulping--not drawing breath, the brim of the bowl set
fast between the teeth--eternal, eternal insatiability, competing with
the eternal, eternal overflow, overpouring of the bowl of


"More than enough money..."

A strange sound came from Georgi's throat, and there was something in
it of the throat-rattle of a man who knows he is dreaming and wants to
awake, and something of the gutteral sound of the beast of prey when
it scents blood. His hand did not let go of the wad of bank-notes for
the second time. It screwed it up in burning convulsive fingers.

He turned his head this way and that, as though seeking a way out,
which, nevertheless, he feared to find...

Another car slipped silently along beside his, a great, black-gleaming
shadow, the couch of a woman, set on four wheels, decorated with
flowers, lighted by dim lamps. Georgi saw the woman very clearly, and
the woman looked at him. She cowered rather than sat, among the
cushions of the car, having entirely wrapped herself in her gleaming
cloak, from which one shoulder projected with the dull whiteness of a
swan's feather.

She was bewilderingly made-up--as though she did not wish to be human,
to be a woman, but rather a peculiar animal, disposed, perhaps to
play, perhaps to murder.

Calmly holding the man's gaze, she gently slipped her right hand,
sparkling with stones, and the slender arm, which was quite bare and
dull white, even as the shoulder, from the wrappings of her cloak, and
began to fan herself in a leisurely manner with one of the sheets of
paper on which the word Yoshiwara stood...

"No!" said the man. He panted, wiping the perspiration from his
forehead. Coolness welled out from the fine, strange stuff with which
he dried the perspiration from his brow.

Eyes stared at him. Eyes which were fading away. The all-knowing smile
of a painted mouth.

With a panting sound Georgi made to open the door of the taxi and to
jump out into the road. However, the movement of the car threw him
back on to the cushions. He clenched his fists, pressing them before
both eyes. A vision shot through his head, quite misty and lacking in
outline, a strong little machine, no larger than a five-year-old
child. It's short arms pushed and pushed and pushed, alternately
forwards, backwards, forwards...The head, sunken on the chest, rose,

"No!" shrieked the man, clapping his hands and laughing. He had been
set free from the machine. He had exchanged lives.

Exchanged--with whom?

With a man who had said: "You will find more than enough money in my

The man bent back his head into the nape of his neck and stared at the
roof suspended above him.

On the roof there flamed the word:


The word Yoshiwara became rockets of light which showered around him,
paralysing his limbs. He sat motionless, covered in a cold sweat. He
clawed his fingers into the leather of the cushions. His back was
stiff, as though his spine were made of cold iron. His jaws chattered.

"No--!" said Georgi, tearing his fists down. But before his eyes which
stared into space, the word flamed up:


Music was in the air, hurled into the nocturnal streets by enormous
loud-speakers. Wanton was the music, most heated of rhythm, of a
shrieking, lashing gaiety...

"No--!" panted the man. Blood trickled in drops from his bitten lips.

But a hundred multi-coloured rockets wrote in the velvet-black sky of
Metropolis, the word:


Georgi pushed the window open. The glorious town of Metropolis,
dancing in the drunkenness of light, threw itself impetuously towards
him, as though he were the only-beloved, the only-awaited. He leant
out of the window, crying:


He fell back upon the cushions. The car turned in a gentle curve,
round in another direction.

A rocket shot up and wrote in the sky above Metropolis: Yoshiwara.


THERE WAS A HOUSE in the great Metropolis which was older than the
town. Many said that it was older, even, than the cathedral, and,
before the Archangel Michael raised his voice as advocate in the
conflict for God, the house stood there in its evil gloom, defying the
cathedral from out its dull eyes.

It had lived through the time of smoke and soot. Every year which
passed over the city seemed to creep, when dying, into this house, so
that, at last it was a cemetery--a coffin, filled with dead tens of

Set into the black wood of the door stood, copper-red, mysterious, the
seal of Solomon, the pentagram.

It was said that a magician, who came from the East (and in the track
of whom the plague wandered) had built the house in seven nights. But
the masons and carpenters of the town did not know who had mortared
the bricks, nor who had erected the roof. No foreman's speech and no
ribboned nosegay had hallowed the Builder's Feast after the pious
custom. The chronicles of the town held no record of when the magician
died nor of how he died. One day it occurred to the citizens as odd
that the red shoes of the magician had so long shunned the abominable
plaster of the town. Entrance was forced into the house and not a
living soul was found inside. But the rooms, which received, neither
by day nor by night, a ray from the great lights of the sky, seemed to
be waiting for their master, sunken in sleep. Parchments and folios
lay about, open, under a covering of dust, like silver-grey velvet.

Set in all the doors stood, copper-red, mysterious, the seal of
Solomon, the pentagram.

Then came a time which pulled down antiquities. Then the words were
spoken: The house must die. But the house was stronger than the words,
as it was stronger than the centuries. With suddenly falling stones it
slew those who laid hands on its walls. It opened the floor under
their feet, dragging them down into a shaft, of which no man had
previously had any knowledge. It was as though the plague, which had
formerly wandered in the wake of the red shoes of the magician, still
crouched in the corners of the narrow house, springing out at men from
behind, to seize them by the neck. They died, and no doctor knew the
illness. The house resisted its destruction with so great a force that
word of its malignity went out over the borders of the city, spreading
far over the land, that, at last, there was no honest man to be found
who would have ventured to make war against it. Yes, even the thieves
and the rogues, who were promised remission of their sentence provided
that they declared themselves ready to pull down the magician's house,
preferred to go to the pillory, or even to the scaffold, rather than
to enter within these spiteful walls, these latchless doors, which
were sealed with Solomon's seal.

The little town around the cathedral became a large town and grew into
Metropolis, and into the centre of the world.

One day there came to the town a man from far away, who saw the house
and said: "I want to have that."

He was initiated into the story of the house. He did not smile. He
stood by his resolution. He bought the house at a very low price,
moved in at once and kept it unaltered.

This man was called Rotwang. Few knew him. Only Joh Fredersen knew him
very well. It would have been easier for him to have decided to fight
out the quarrel about the cathedral with the sect of Gothics than the
quarrel with Rotwang about the magician's house.

There were in Metropolis, in this city of reasoned, methodical hurry,
very many who would rather have gone far out of their way than have
passed by Rotwang's house. It hardly reached knee-high to the house-
giants which stood near it. It stood at an angle to the street. To the
cleanly town, which knew neither smoke nor soot, it was a blot and an
annoyance. But it remained. When Rotwang left the house and crossed
the street, which occurred but seldom, there were many who covertly
looked at his feet, to see if, perhaps, he walked in red shoes.

Before the door of this house, on which the seal of Solomon glowed,
stood Joh Fredersen.

He had sent the car away and had knocked.

He waited, then knocked again.

A voice asked, as if the house were speaking in its sleep:

"Who is there?"

"Joh Fredersen," said the man.

The door opened.

He entered. The door closed. He stood in darkness. But Joh Fredersen
knew the house well. He walked straight on, and as he walked, the
shimmering tracks of two stepping feet glistened before him, along the
passage, and the edge of the stair began to glow. Like a dog showing
the track, the glow ran on before him, up the steps, to die out behind

He reached the top of the stairs and looked about him. He knew that
many doors opened out here. But on the one opposite him the copper
seal glowed like a distorted eye, which looked at him.

He stepped up to it. The door opened before him.

Many doors as Rotwang's house possessed, this was the only one which
opened itself to Joh Fredersen, although, and even, perhaps, because,
the owner of this house knew full well that it always meant no mean
effort for Joh Fredersen to cross this threshold.

He drew in the air of the room, lingeringly, but deeply, as though
seeking in it the trace of another breath...

His nonchalant hand threw his hat on a chair. Slowly, in sudden and
mournful weariness, he let his eyes wander through the room.

It was almost empty. A large, time-blackened chair, such as are to be
found in old churches, stood before drawn curtains. These curtains
covered a recess the width of the wall.

Joh Fredersen remained standing by the door for a long time, without
moving. He had closed his eyes. With incomparable impotence he
breathed in the odour of hyacinths, which teemed to fill the
motionless air of this room.

Without opening his eyes, swaying a little, but aim-sure, he walked up
to the heavy, black curtains and drew them apart.

Then he opened his eyes and stood quite still...

On a pedestal, the breadth of the wall, rested the head of a woman in

It was not the work of an artist, it was the work of a man, who, in
agonies for which the human tongue lacks words, had wrestled with the
white stone throughout immeasurable days and nights until at last it
seemed to realise and form the woman's head by itself. It was as if no
tool had been at work here--no, it was as if a man, lying before this
stone, had called on the name of the woman, unceasingly, with-all the
strength, with all the longing, with all the despair, of his brain,
blood and heart, until the shapeless stone took pity on him letting
itself turn into the image of the woman, who had meant to two men all
heaven and all hell.

Joh Fredersen's eyes sank to the words which were hewn into the
pedestal, roughly, as though chiselled with curses.



To be my happiness, a blessing to all men.

Lost to Joh Fredersen

Dying in giving life to his son, Freder

Yes, she died then. But Joh Fredersen knew only too well that she did
not die from giving birth to her child. She died then because she had
done what she had to do. She really died on the day upon which she
went from Rotwang to Joh Fredersen, wondering that her feet left no
bloody traces behind on the way. She had died because she was unable
to withstand the great love of Joh Fredersen and because she had been
forced by him to tear asunder the life of another.

Never was the expression of deliverance at last more strong upon a
human face than upon Hel's face when she knew that she would die.

But in the same hour the mightiest man in Metropolis had lain on the
floor, screaming like a wild beast, the bones of which are being
broken in its living body.

And, on his meeting Rotwang, four weeks later, he found that the
dense, disordered hair over the wonderful brow of the inventor was
snow-white, and in the eyes under this brow the smouldering of a
hatred which was very closely related to madness.

In this great love, in this great hatred, the poor, dead Hel had
remained alive to both men...

"You must wait a little while," said the voice which sounded as though
the house were talking in its sleep.

"Listen, Rotwang," said Joh Fredersen. "You know that I treat your
little juggling tricks with patience, and that I come to you when I
want anything of you, and that you are the only man who can say that
of himself. But you will never get me to join in with you when you
play the fool. You know, too, that I have no time to waste. Don't make
us both ridiculous, but come!"

"I told you that you would have to wait a little while," explained the
voice, seeming to grow more distant.

"I shall not wait. I shall go."

"Do so, Joh Fredersen!"

He wanted to do so. But the door through which he had entered had no
key, no latch. The seal of Solomon, glowing copper-red, blinked at

A soft, far-off voice laughed.

Joh Fredersen had stopped still, his back to the room. A quiver ran
down his back, running along the hanging arms to the clenched fists.

"You should have your skull smashed in," said Joh Fredersen, very
softly. "You should have your skull smashed in...that is, if it did
not contain so valuable a brain..."

"You can do no more to me than you have done," said the far-off voice.

Joh Fredersen was silent.

"Which do you think," continued the voice, "to be more painful: to
smash in the skull, or to tear the heart out of the body?"

Joh Fredersen was silent.

"Are your wits frozen, that you don't answer, Joh Fredersen?"

"A brain like yours should be able to forget," said the man standing
at the door, staring at Solomon's seal.

The soft, far-off voice laughed.

"Forget? I have twice in my life forgotten something...Once that
Aetro-oil and quick-silver have an idiosyncracy as regards each other;
that cost me my arm. Secondly that Hel was a woman and you a man; that
cost me my heart. The third time, I am afraid, it will cost me my
head. I shall never again forget anything, Joh Fredersen."

Joh Fredersen was silent.

The far-off voice was silent, too.

Joh Fredersen turned round and walked to the table. He piled books and
parchments on top of each other, sat down and took a piece of paper
from his pocket. He laid it before him and looked at it.

It was no larger than a man's hand, bearing neither print nor script,
being covered over and over with the tracing of a strange symbol and
an apparently half-destroyed plan. Ways seemed to be indicated,
seeming to be false ways, but they all led one way; to a place that
was filled with crosses.

Suddenly he felt, from the back, a certain coldness approaching him.
Involuntarily he held his breath.

A hand grasped along, by his head, a graceful, skeleton hand.
Transparent skin was stretched over the slender joints, which gleamed
beneath it like dull silver. Fingers, snow-white and fleshless, closed
over the plan which lay on the table, and, lifting it up, took it away
with it.

Joh Fredersen swung around. He stared at the being which stood before
him with eyes which grew glassy.

The being was, indubitably, a woman. In the soft garment which it wore
stood a body, like the body of a young birch tree, swaying on feet set
fast together. But, although it was a woman, it was not human. The
body seemed as though made of crystal, through which the bones shone
silver. Cold streamed from the glazen skin which did not contain a
drop of blood. The being held its beautiful hands pressed against its
breast, which was motionless, with a gesture of determination, almost
of defiance.

But the being had no face. The beautiful curve of the neck bore a lump
of carelessly shaped mass. The skull was bald, nose, lips, temples
merely traced. Eyes, as though painted on closed lids, stared
unseeingly, with an expression of calm madness, at the man--who did
not breathe

"Be courteous, my parody," said the far-off voice, which sounded as
though the house were talking in its sleep. "Greet Joh Fredersen, the
Master over the great Metropolis."

The being bowed slowly to the man. The mad eyes neared him like two
darting flames. The mass began to speak; it said in a voice full of a
horrible tenderness:

"Good evening, Joh Fredersen."

And these words were more alluring than a half-open mouth.

"Good, my Pearl! Good, my Crown-jewel!" said the far-off voice, full
of praise and pride.

But at the same moment the being lost its balance. It fell, tipping
forward, towards Joh Fredersen. He stretched out his hands to catch
it, feeling them, in the moment of contact, to be burnt by an
unbearable coldness, the brutality of which brought up in him a
feeling of anger and disgust.

He pushed the being away from him and towards Rotwang, who was
standing near him as though fallen from the air. Rotwang took the
being by the arm.

He shook his head. "Too violent," he said. "Too violent. My beautiful
parody, I fear your temperament will get you into much more trouble."

"What is that?" asked Joh Fredersen, leaning his hands against the
edge of the table-top, which he felt behind him.

Rotwang turned his face towards him, his glorious eyes glowing as
watch fires glow when the wind lashes them with its cold lash.

"Who is it?" he replied. "Futura...Parody...whatever you like to call
it. Also: delusion...In short: it is a woman...Every man-creator makes
himself a woman. I do not believe that humbug about the first human
being a man. If a male-god created the world (which is to be hoped,
Joh Fredersen) then he certainly created woman first, lovingly and
revelling in creative sport. You can test it, Joh Fredersen: it is
faultless. A little cool--! admit, that comes of the material, which
is my secret. But she is not yet completely finished. She is not yet
discharged from the workshop of her creator. I cannot make up my mind
to do it. You understand that? Completion means setting free. I do not
want to set her free from me. That is why I have not yet given her a
face. You must give her that, Joh Fredersen. For you were the one to
order the new beings."

"I ordered machine men from you, Rotwang, which I can use at my
machines. No plaything."

"No plaything, Joh Fredersen, and I, we no longer play. Not
for any stakes...We did it once. Once and never again. No plaything,
Joh Fredersen but a tool. Do you know what it means to have a woman as
a tool? A woman like this, faultless and cool? And obedient--
Implicitly obedient...Why do you fight with the Gothics and the monk
Desertus about the cathedral? Send the woman to them Joh Fredersen!
Send the woman to them when they are kneeling, scourging themselves.
Let this faultless, cool woman walk through the rows of them, on her
silver feet, fragrance from the garden of life in the folds of her
garment...Who in the world knows how the blossoms of the tree smell,
on which the apple of knowledge ripened. The woman is both: Fragrance
of the blossom and the fruit...

"Shall I explain to you the newest creation of Rotwang, the genius,
Joh Fredersen? It will be sacrilege. But I owe it to you. For you
kindled the idea of creating within me, too...Shall I show you how
obedient my creatures is? Give me what you have in your hand, Parody!"

"Stop..." said Joh Fredersen rather hoarsely. But the infallible
obedience of the creature which stood before the two men brooked no
delay in obeying. It opened its hands in which the delicate bones
shimmered silver, and handed to its creator the piece of paper which
it had taken from the table, before Joh Fredersen's eyes.

"That's trickery, Rotwang," said Joh Fredersen.

The great inventor looked at him. He laughed. The noiseless laughter
drew back his mouth to his ears.

"No trickery, Joh Fredersen--the work of a genius! Shall Futura dance
to you? Shall my beautiful Parody play the affectionate? Or the sulky?
Cleopatra of Damayanti? Shall she have the gestures of the Gothic
Madonnas? Or the gestures of love of an Asiatic dancer? What hair
shall I plant upon the skull of your tool? Shall she be modest or
impudent? Excuse me my many words, you man of few! I am drunk, d'you
see, drunk with being a creator. I intoxicate myself, I inebriate
myself, on your astonished face! I have surpassed your expectations,
Joh Fredersen, haven't I? And you do not know everything yet: my
beautiful Parody can sing, too! She can also read! The mechanism of
her brain is as infallible as that of your own, Joh Fredersen!"

"If that is so," said the Master over the great Metropolis, with a
certain dryness in his voice, which had become quite hoarse, "then
command her to unriddle the plan which you have in your hand,

Rotwang burst out into laughter which was like the laughter of a
drunken man. He threw a glance at the piece of paper which he held
spread out in his fingers, and was about to pass it, anticipatingly
triumphant, to the being which stood beside him.

But he stopped in the middle of the movement. With open mouth, he
stared at the piece of paper, raising it nearer and nearer to his

Joh Fredersen, who was watching him, bent forward. He wanted to say
something, to ask a question. But before he could open his lips
Rotwang threw up his head and met Joh Fredersen's glance with so green
a fire in his eyes that the Master of the great Metropolis remained

Twice, three times did this green glow flash between the piece of
paper and Joh Fredersen's face. And during the whole time not a sound
was perceptible in the room but the breath that gushed in heaves from
Rotwang's breast as though from a boiling, poisoned source.

"Where did you get the plan?" the great inventor asked at last. Though
it was less a question than an expression of astonished anger.

"That is not the point," answered Joh Fredersen. "It is about this
that I have come to you. There does not seem to be a soul in
Metropolis who can make anything of it."

Rotwang's laughter interrupted him.

"Your poor scholars!" cried the laughter. "What a task you have set
them, Joh Fredersen. How many hundredweights of printed paper have you
forced them to heave over. I am sure there is no town on the globe,
from the construction of the old Tower of Babel onward, which they
have not snuffled through from North to South. Oh--If you could only
smile, Parody! If only you already had eyes to wink at me. But laugh,
at least, Parody! Laugh, rippingly, at the great scholars to whom the
ground under their feet is foreign!"

The being obeyed. It laughed, ripplingly.

"Then you know the plan, or what it represents?" asked Joh Fredersen,
through the laughter.

"Yes, by my poor soul, I know it," answered Rotwang. "But, by my poor
soul, I am not going to tell you what it is until you tell me where
you got the plan."

Joh Fredersen reflected. Rotwang did not take his gaze from him. "Do
not try to lie to me, Joh Fredersen," he said softly, and with a
whimsical melancholy.

"Somebody found the paper," began Joh Fredersen.


"One of my foremen."


"Yes, Grot."

"Where did he find the plan?"

"In the pocket of a workman who was killed in the accident to the
Geyser machine."

"Grot brought you the paper?"


"And the meaning of the plan seemed to be unknown to him?"

Joh Fredersen hesitated a moment with the answer.

"The meaning--yes; but not the plan. He told me he has often seen this
paper in the workmen's hands, and that they anxiously keep it a
secret, and that the men will crowd closely around him who holds it."

"So the meaning of the plan has been kept secret from your foreman."

"So it seems, for he could not explain it to me."


Rotwang turned to the being which was standing near him, with the
appearance of listening intently.

"What do you say about it, my beautiful Parody?"

The being stood motionless.

"Well--?" said Joh Fredersen, with a sharp expression of impatience.

Rotwang looked at him, jerkily turning his great skull towards him.
The glorious eyes crept behind their lids as though wishing to have
nothing in common with the strong white teeth and the jaws of the
beast of prey. But from beneath the almost closed lids they gazed at
Joh Fredersen, as though they sought in his face the door to the great

"How can one bind you, Joh Fredersen," he murmured, "what is a word to
you--or an oath...Oh with your own laws. What promise would
you keep if the breaking of it seemed expedient to you?"

"Don't talk rubbish, Rotwang," said Joh Fredersen. "I shall hold my
tongue because I still need you. I know quite well that the people
whom we need are our solitary tyrants. So, if you know, speak."

Rotwang still hesitated; but gradually a smile took possession of his
features--a good natured and mysterious smile, which was amusing
itself at itself.

"You are standing on the entrance," he said.

"What does that mean?"

"To be taken literally, Joh Fredersen! You are standing on the

"What entrance, Rotwang? You are wasting time that does not belong to

The smile on Rotwang's face deepened to serenity.

"Do you recollect, Joh Fredersen, how obstinately I refused, that
time, to let the underground railway be run under my house?"

"Indeed I do! I still know the sum the detour cost me, also!"

"The secret was expensive, I admit, but it was worth it. Just take a
look at the plan, Joh Fredersen, what is that?"

"Perhaps a flight of stairs..."

"Quite certainly a flight of stairs. It is a very slovenly execution
in the drawing as in reality..."

"So you know them?"

"I have the honour, Joh Fredersen--yes. Now come two paces sideways.
What is that?"

He had taken Joh Fredersen by the arm. He felt the fingers of the
artificial hand pressing into his muscles like the claws of a bird of
prey. With the right one Rotwang indicated the spot upon which Joh
Fredersen had stood.

"What is that?" he asked, shaking the hand which he held in his grip.

Joh Fredersen bent down. He straightened himself up again.

"A door?"

"Right, Joh Fredersen! A door! A perfectly fitting and well shutting
door. The man who built this house was an orderly and careful person.
Only once did he omit to give heed, and then he had to pay for it. He
went down the stairs which are under the door, followed the careless
steps and passages which are connected with them, and never found his
way back. It is not easy to find, for those who lodged there did not
care to have strangers penetrate into their domain...I found my
inquisitive predecessor, Joh Fredersen, and recognised him at once--by
his pointed red shoes, which have preserved themselves wonderfully. As
a corpse he looked peaceful and Christian--Like, both of which he
certainly was not in his life. The companions of his last hours
probably contributed considerably to the conversion of the erstwhile
devil's disciple..."

He tapped with his right forefinger upon a maze of crosses in the
centre of the plan.

"Here he lies. Just on this spot. His skull must have enclosed a brain
which was worthy of your own, Joh Fredersen, and he had to perish
because he once lost his way...What a pity for him..."

"Where did he lose his way?" asked Joh Fredersen.

Rotwang looked long at him before speaking.

"In the city of graves, over which Metropolis stands," he answered at
last. "Deep below the moles' tunnels of your underground railway, Joh
Fredersen, lies the thousand-year-old Metropolis of the thousand-year-
old dead..."

Joh Fredersen was silent. His left eyebrow rose, while his eyes
narrowed. He fixed his gaze upon Rotwang, who had not taken his eyes
from him.

"What is the plan of this city of graves doing in the hands and
pockets of my workmen?"

"That is yet to be discovered," answered Rotwang.

"Will you help me?"



"Very well."

"I shall come back after the changing of the shift."

"Do so, Joh Fredersen. And if you take some good advice..."


"Come in the uniform of your workmen, when you come back!"

Joh Fredersen raised his head but the great inventor did not let him
speak. He raised his hand as one calling for and admonishing to

"The skull of the man in the red shoes also enclosed a powerful brain,
Joh Fredersen, but nevertheless, he could not find his way homewards
from those who dwell down there..."

Joh Fredersen reflected. He nodded and turned to go.

"Be courteous, my beautiful Parody," said Rotwang. "Open the doors for
the Master over the great Metropolis."

The being glided past Joh Fredersen. He felt the breath of coldness
which came forth from it. He saw the silent laughter between the half-
open lips of Rotwang, the great inventor. He turned pale with rage,
but he remained silent.

The being stretched out the transparent hand in which the bones shone
silver, and, touching it with its finger-tips, moved the seal of
Solomon, which glowed copperish.

The door yielded back. Joh Fredersen went out after the being, which
stepped downstairs before him.

There was no light on the stairs, nor in the narrow passage. But a
shimmer came from the being no stronger than that of a green-burning
candle, yet strong enough to lighten up the stairs and the black

At the house-door the being stopped still and waited for Joh
Fredersen, who was walking slowly along behind it. The house-door
opened before him, but not far enough for him to pass out through the

The eyes stared at him from the mass-head of the being, eyes as though
painted on closed lids, with the expression of calm madness.

"Be courteous, my beautiful Parody," said a soft, far-off voice, which
sounded as though the house were talking in its sleep.

The being bowed. It stretched out a hand--a graceful skeleton hand.
Transparent skin was stretched over the slender joints, which gleamed
beneath it like dull silver. Fingers, snow-white and fleshless, opened
like the petals of a crystal lily.

Joh Fredersen laid his hand in it, feeling it, in the moment of
contact, to be burnt by an unbearable coldness. He wanted to push the
being away from him but the silver-crystal fingers held him fast.

"Good-bye," Joh Fredersen, said the mass head, in a voice full of a
horrible tenderness. "Give me a face soon, Joh Fredersen!"

A soft far-off voice laughed, as if the house were laughing in its

The hand left go, the door opened, Joh Fredersen reeled into the

The door closed behind him. In the gloomy wood of the door glowed,
copper-red, the seal of Solomon, the pentagram.

When Joh Fredersen was about to enter the brain-pan of the New Tower
of Babel Slim stood before him, seeming to be slimmer than ever.

"What is it?" asked Joh Fredersen.

Slim made to speak but at the sight of his master the words died on
his lips.

"Well--?" said Joh Fredersen, between his teeth.

Slim breathed deeply.

"I must inform you, Mr. Fredersen," he said, "that, since your son
left this room, he has disappeared!"

"What does that mean?...disappeared!"

"He has not gone home, and none of our men has seen him..."

Joh Fredersen screwed up his mouth.

"Look for him!" he said hoarsely. "What are you all here for? Look for

He entered the brain-pan of the New Tower of Babel. His first glance
fell upon the clock. He stepped to the table and stretched out his
hand to the little blue metal plate.


THE MAN BEFORE THE MACHINE which was like Ganesha, the god with the
elephant's head, was no longer a human being. Merely a dripping piece
of exhaustion, from the pores of which the last powers of volition
were oozing out in large drops of sweat. Running eyes no longer saw
the manometer. The hand did not hold the lever--It clawed it fast in
the last hold which saved the mangled man-creature before it from
falling into the crushing arms of the machine.

The Pater-noster works of the New Tower of Babel turned their buckets
with an easy smoothness. The eye of the little machine smiled softly
and maliciously at the man who stood before it and who was now no more
than a babel.

"Father!" babbled the son of Joh Fredersen, "to-day, for the first
time, since Metropolis stood, you have forgotten to let your city and
your great machines roar punctually for fresh food...Has Metropolis
gone dumb, father? Look at us! Look at your machines! Your god-
machines turn sick at the chewed-up cuds in their mouths--at the
mangled food that we are...Why do you strangle its voice to death?
Will ten hours never, never come to an end? Our Father, which art in

But in this moment Joh Fredersen's fingers were pressing the little
blue metal plate and the voice of the great Metropolis.

"Thank you, father!" said the mangled soul before the machine, which
was like Ganesha. He smiled. He tasted a salty taste on his lips and
did not know if it was from blood, sweat or tears. From out a red mist
of long-flamed, drawn-out clouds, fresh men shuffled on towards him.
His hand slipped from the lever and he collapsed. Arms pulled him up
and led him away. He turned his head aside to hide his face.

The eye of the little machine, the soft, malicious eye, twinkled at
him from behind.

"Good-bye, friend," said the little machine.

Freder's head fell upon his breast. He felt himself dragged further,
heard the dull evenness of feet tramping onwards, felt himself
tramping, a member of twelve members. The ground under his feet began
to roll; it was drawn upwards, pulling him up with it.

Doors stood open, double doors. Towards him came a stream of men.

The great Metropolis was still roaring.

Suddenly she fell dumb and in the silence Freder became aware of the
breath of a man at his ear, and of a voice-merely a breath--which

"She has called...Are you coming?"

He did not know what the question meant, but he nodded. He wanted to
get to know the ways of those who walked, as he, in blue linen, in the
black cap, in the hard shoes.

With tightly closed eyelids he groped on, shoulder to shoulder with an
unknown man.

She has called, he thought, half asleep. Who is that...she...?

He walked and walked in' smouldering weariness. The way would never,
never come to an end. He did not know where he was walking. He heard
the tramp of those who were walking with him like the sound of
perpetually falling water.

She has called! he thought. Who is that: she, whose voice is so
powerful that these men, exhausted to death by utter weariness,
voluntarily throw off sleep, which is the sweetest thing of all to the
weary--to follow her when her voice calls?

It can't be very much further to the centre of the earth...

Still deeper--still deeper down?

No longer any light round about, only, here and there, twinkling
pocket torches, in men's hands.

At last, in the far distance, a dull shimmer.

Have we wandered so far to walk towards the sun, thought Freder, and
does the sun dwell in the bowels of the earth?

The procession came to a standstill. Freder stopped too. He staggered
against the dry, cool stones.

Where are we, he thought--In a cave? If the sun dwells here, then she
can't be at home now...I am afraid we have come in vain...Let us turn
back, brother...Let us sleep...

He slid along the wall, fell on his knees, leant his head against the smooth it was.

The murmur of human voices was around him, like the rustling of trees,
moved by the wind...

He smiled peacefully. It's wonderful to be tired...

Then a voice--a voice began to speak...

Oh--sweet voice, thought Freder dreamily. Tender beloved voice, your
voice, Virgin-mother! I have fallen asleep...Yes, I am dreaming! I am
dreaming of your voice, beloved!

But a slight pain at his temple made him think: I am leaning my head
on stone...I am conscious of the coldness which comes out of the
stone...I feel coldness under my I am not sleeping--! am
only dreaming...suppose it is not a dream....? Suppose it is

With an exertion of will which brought a groan from him he forced open
his eyes and looked about him.

A vault, like the vault of a sepulchre, human heads so closely crowded
together as to produce the effect of clods on a freshly ploughed
field. All heads turned towards one point: to the source of a light,
as mild as God.

Candles burnt with sword--Like flames. Slender, lustrous swords of
light stood in a circle around the head of a girl, whose voice was as
the Amen of God.

The voice spoke, but Freder did not hear the words. He heard nothing
but a sound, the blessed melody of which was saturated with sweetness
as is the air of a garden of blossoms with fragrance. And suddenly
there sprang up above this melody the wild throb of a heart-beat. The
air stormed with bells. The walls shook under the surf of an invisible
organ. Weariness--exhaustion--faded out! He felt his body from head to
foot to be one single instrument of blissfulness--all strings
stretched to bursting point, yet tuned together into the purest,
hottest, most radiant accord, in which his whole being hung,

He longed to stroke with his hands the stones on which he knelt. He
longed to kiss with unbounded tenderness the stones on which he rested
his head. God--God--God-beat the heart in his breast, and every throb
was a thank-offering. He looked at the girl, and yet he did not see
her. He saw only a shimmer; he knelt before it.

Gracious one, formed his mouth. Mine! Mine! My beloved! How could the
world have existed before you were? How must God have smiled when he
created you! You are speaking?--What are you saying?--My heart is
shouting within me--! cannot catch your words...Be patient with me,
gracious one, beloved!

Without his being aware of it, drawn by an invisible unbreakable cord,
he pushed himself forward on his knees, nearer and nearer to the
shimmer which the girl's face, was to him. At last he was so near that
he could have touched the hem of her dress with his outstretched hand.

"Look at me, Virgin!" implored his eyes. "Mother, look at me!"

But her gentle eyes looked out over him. Her lips said:

"My brothers..."

And stopped dumb, as though alarmed.

Freder raised his head. Nothing had happened--nothing to speak of,
only that the air which passed through the room had suddenly become
audible, like a raised breath, and that it was cool, as though coming
in through open doors.

With a faint crackling sound the swords of flame bowed themselves.
Then they stood still again.

"Speak, my beloved!" said Freder's heart.

Yes, now she spoke. This is what she said:

"Do you want to know how the building of the Tower of Babel began, and
do you want to know how it ended? I see a man who comes from the Dawn
of the World. He is as beautiful as the world, and has a burning
heart. He loves to walk upon the mountains and to offer his breast
unto the wind and to speak with the stars. He is strong and rules all
creatures. He dreams of God and feels himself closely tied to him. His
nights are filled with faces.

"One hallowed hour bursts his heart. The firmament is above him and
his friends. 'Oh friends! Friends!' he cries, pointing to the stars.
'Great is the world and its Creator! Great is man! Come, let us build
a tower, the top of which reaches the sky! And when we stand on its
top, and hear the stars ringing above us, then let us write our creed
in golden symbols on the top of the tower! Great is the world and its
creator! And great is man!"

"And they set to, a handful of men, full of confidence, and they made
bricks and dug up to the earth. Never have men worked more rapidly,
for they all had one thought, one aim and one dream. When they rested
from work in the evening each knew of what the other was thinking.
They did not need speech to make themselves understood. But after some
time they knew: The work was greater than their working hands. Then
they enlisted new friends to their work. Then their work grew. It grew
overwhelming. Then the builders sent their messengers to all four
winds of the world and enlisted Hands, working Hands for their mighty

"The Hands came. The Hands worked for wages. The Hands did not even
know what they were making. None of those building Southwards knew one
of those digging toward the North. The Brain which conceived the
construction of the Tower of Babel was unknown to those who built it.
Brain and Hands were far apart and strangers. Brain and Hands became
enemies. The pleasure of one became the other's burden. The hymn of
praise of one became the other's curse.

"'Babel!' shouted one, 'meaning: Divinity, Coronation, Eternal,

"'Babel' shouted the other, meaning: Hell, Slavery, Eternal,

"The same word was prayer and blasphemy. Speaking the same words, the
men did not understand each other.

"That men no longer understood each other, that Brain and Hands no
longer understood each other, was to blame that the Tower of Babel was
given up to destruction, that never were the words of those who had
conceived it written on its top in golden symbols: Great is the world
and its Creator! And great is man!

"That Brain and Hands no longer understand each other will one day
destroy the New Tower of Babel.

"Brain and Hands need a mediator. The Mediator between Brain and Hands
must be the Heart..."

She was silent. A breath like a sigh came up from the silent lips of
the listeners.

Then one stood up slowly, resting his fists upon the shoulders of the
man who crouched before him, and asked, raising his thin face with its
fanatical eyes to the girl: "And where is our mediator, Maria?" The
girl looked at him, and over her sweet face passed the gleam of a
boundless confidence.

"Wait for him," she said. "He is sure to come." A murmur ran through
the rows of men. Freder bowed his head to the girl's feet, His whole
soul said: "It shall be I."

But she did not see him and she did not hear him. "Be patient, my
brothers!" she said. "The way which your mediator must take is
long...There are many among you who cry, Fight! Destroy!-Do not fight,
my brothers, for that makes you to sin. Believe me: One will come, who
will speak for you--who will be the mediator between you, the Hands,
and the man whose Brain and Will are over you all. He will give you
something which is more precious than anything which anybody could
give you: To be free, without sinning."

She stood up from the stone upon which she had been sitting. A
movement ran through the heads turned towards her. A voice was raised.
The speaker was not to be seen. It was as if they all spoke:

"We shall wait, Maria. But not much longer--!"

The girl was silent. With her sad eyes she seemed to be seeking the
speaker among the crowd.

A man who stood before her spoke up to her:

"And if we fight--where will you be then?"

"With you!" said the girl, opening her hands with the gesture of one
sacrificing. "Have you ever found me faithless?"

"Never!" said the men. "You are like gold to us. We shall do what you
expect of us."

"Thank you," said the girl, closing her eyes. With bowed head she
stood there, listening to the sound of retiring feet-feet which walked
in hard shoes.

Only when all about her had become silent and when the last footfall
had died away she sighed and opened her eyes.

Then she saw a man, wearing the blue linen and the black cap and the
hard shoes, kneeling at her feet.

She bent down. He raised his head. She looked at him.

And then she recognised him.

(Behind them, in a vault that was shaped like a pointed devil's-ear,
one man's hand seized another man's arm. "Hush! Keep quiet!" whispered
the voice, which was soundless and yet which had the effect of
laughter--like the laughter of spiteful mockery.)

The girl's face was as a crystal, filled with snow. She made a
movement as if for flight. But her knees would not obey her. Reeds
which stand in troubled water do not tremble more than her shoulders

"If you have come to betray us, son of Joh Fredersen, then you will
have but little blessing from it," she said softly, but in a clear

He stood up and remained standing before her.

"Is that all the faith you have in me?" he asked gravely.

She said nothing, but looked at him. Her eyes filled with tears.

"You..." said the man. "What shall I call you? I do not know your
name. I have always called you just 'you' all the bad days and worse
nights, for I did not know if I should find you again, I always called
you only, 'you.'...Will you tell me, at last, what your name is?"

"Maria," answered the girl.

"Maria...That should be your did not make it easy for me to
find my way to you, Maria."

"And why did you seek your way to me? And why do you wear the blue
linen uniform? Those condemned to wear it all their life long, live in
an underground city, which is accounted a wonder of the world in all
the five continents. It is an architectural wonder--that is true. It
is light and shining bright and a model of tidiness. It lacks nothing
but the sun--and the rain--and the moon by night--nothing but the sky.
That is why the children which are born there have their gnome--Like
faces...Do you want go down into this city under the earth in order
the more to enjoy your dwelling which lies so high above the great
Metropolis, in the light of the sky? Are you wearing the uniform,
which you have on to-day, for fun?"

"No, Maria. I shall always wear it now."

"As Joh Fredersen's son?"

"He no longer has a son...unless--you, yourself, give him back his

(Behind them, in a vault that was shaped like a pointed devil's-ear,
one man's hand was laid upon another man's mouth. "It is written,"
whispered a laugh: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his
mother and cleave unto his wife...")

"Won't you understand me?" asked Freder. "Why do you look at me with
such stern eyes? You wish me to be a mediator between Joh Fredersen
and those whom you call your brothers...There can be no mediator
between heaven and hell who never was in heaven and hell...I never
knew hell until yesterday. That is why I failed so deplorably,
yesterday, when I spoke to my father for your brothers. Until you
stood before me for the first time, Maria, I lived the life of a
dearly loved son. I did not know what an unrealisable wish was. I knew
no longing, for everything was mine...Young as I am, I have exhausted
the pleasures of the earth, down to the very bottom. I had an aim--a
gamble with Death: A flight to the stars...And then you came and
showed me my brothers...From that day on I have sought you. I have so
longed for you that I should gladly and unhesitatingly have died, had
somebody told me that that was the way to you. But as it was, I had to
live and seek another way..."

"To me, or to your brothers...?"

"To you, Maria...I will not make myself out to you to be better than I
am. I want to come to you, Maria--and I want you...I love mankind, not
for its own sake, but for your sake--because you love it. I do not
want to help mankind for its own sake, but for your sake--because you
wish it. Yesterday I did good to two men; I helped one whom my father
had dismissed. And I did the work of the man, whose uniform I have
on...That was my way to you...God bless you..."

His voice failed him. The girl stepped up to him. She took his hands
in both her hands. She gently turned the palms upward, and considered
them, looked at them with her Madonna-eyes, and folded her hands
tenderly around his, which she carefully laid together.

"Maria," he said, without a sound.

She let his hands fall and raised her's to his head. She laid her
finger-tips on his cheeks. With her fingertips she stroked his
eyebrows, his temples, twice, three times.

Then he snatched her to his heart and they kissed each other...

He no longer felt the stones under his feet. A wave carried him, him
and the girl whom he held clasped to him as though he wished to die of
it--and the wave came from the bottom of the ocean, roaring as though
the whole sea were an organ; and the wave was of fire and flung right
up to the heavens.

Then sinking...sinking...endlessly gliding down--right down to the
womb of the world, the source of the beginning...Thirst and quenching
drink...hunger and satiation...pain and deliverance from it...death
and rebirth...

"You..." said the man to the girl's lips. "You are really the great
mediatress...You are all that is most sacred on earth...You are all
goodness...You are all grace...To doubt you is to doubt God...Maria--
Maria--you called me--here I am!"

(Behind them, in a vault that was shaped like a pointed devil's-ear,
one man leant towards another man's ear. "You wanted to have the
Futura's face from me...There you have your model..." "Is that a
commission?" "Yes.")

"Now you must go, Freder," said the girl. Her Madonna eyes looked at

"Go--and leave you here?"

She turned grave and shook her head.

"Nothing will happen to me," she said. "There is not one, among those
who know this place, whom I cannot trust as though he were my blood
brother. But what is between us is nobody's affair; it would vex me to
have to explain--" (and now she was smiling again)--"what is
inexplicable...: Do you see that?"

"Yes," he said. "Forgive me..." I

(Behind them, in a vault that was shaped like a pointed devil's-ear, a
man took himself away from the wall.)

"You know what you have to do," he said in a low voice.

"Yes," came the voice of the other, idly, sleepily, out of the
darkness. "But wait a bit, friend...I must ask you something..."


"Have you forgotten your own creed?"

For one second a lamp twinkled through the room, that was shaped like
a pointed devil's ear, impaling the face of the man, who had already
turned to go, on the pointed needle of its brilliance.

"That sin and suffering are will be sinning against
two people, friend..."

"What has that to do with you?"

"Nothing...Or--little. Freder is Hel's son..."

"And mine..."


"It is he whom I do not wish to lose."

"Better to sin once more?"



"To suffer. Yes."

"Very well, friend," and in the voice was an inaudible laugh of
mockery: "May it happen to you according to your creed...!"

The girl walked through the passages that were so familiar to her. The
bright little lamp in her hand roved over the roof of stone and over
the stone walls, where, in niches, the thousand-year-old dead slept.

The girl had never known fear of the dead; only reverence and gravity
in face of their gravity. To-day she saw neither wall nor dead. She
walked on, smiling and not knowing she did it. She felt like singing.
With an expression of happiness, which was still incredulous and yet
complete, she said the name of her beloved over to herself.

Quite softly: "Freder..." And once more: "Freder..."

Then she raised her head, listening attentively, standing quite

It came back as a whisper: An echo?--No.

Almost inaudibly a word was breathed:


She turned around, blissfully startled. Was it possible that he had
come back.

"Freder--!" she called. She listened.

No answer.



But suddenly there came a cool draught of air which made the hair at
her neck quiver, and a hand of snow ran down her back.

There came an agonized sigh--a sigh which would not come to an end...

The girl stood still. The bright little lamp which she held in her
hand let its gleam play tremblingly about her feet.


Now her voice, too, was only a whisper.

No answer. But, behind her, in the depths of the passage she would
have to pass through, a gentle, gliding slink became perceptible: feet
in soft shoes on rough stones...

That was...yes, that was strange. Nobody, apart from her, ever came
this way. Nobody could be here. And, if somebody were here, then it
was no friend...

Certainly nobody whom she wanted to meet.

Should she let him by--yes.

A second passage opened to her left. She did not know it well. But she
would not follow it up. She would only wait in it until the man
outside--the man behind her--had gone by.

She pressed herself against the wall of the strange passage, keeping
still and waiting quite silently. She did not breath. She had
extinguished the lamp. She stood in utter darkness, immovable.

She listened: the gliding feet were approaching. They walked in
darkness as she stood in darkness. Now they were here. Now they
must..they must go past...But they did not go. They stood quite still.
Before the opening to the passage in which she stood, the feet stopped
still and seemed to wait.

For what...? For her...?

In the complete silence the girl suddenly heard her own heart...She
heard her own heart, like pump-works, beating more and more quickly,
throbbing more and more loudly. These loud throbbing heartbeats must
also be heard by the man who kept the opening to the passage. And
suppose he did not stay there any longer...suppose he came
inside...she could not hear his coming, her heart throbbed so.

She groped, with fumbling hand, along the stone wall. Without
breathing, she set her feet, one before the other...Only to get away
from the entrance...Away from the place where the other was

Was she wrong? Or were the feet really coming after her? Soft,
slinking shoes on rough stones? Now the agonised, heavy breathing,
heavier still, and nearer...cold breath on her neck....Then--Nothing
more. Silence. And waiting. And watching--keeping on the look-out...

Was it not as if a creature, such as the world had never seen:
trunkless, nothing but arms, legs and head...but what a head! God--God
in heaven!...was crouching on the floor before her, knees drawn up to
chin, the damp arms supported right and left, against the walls, near
her hips, so that she stood defenceless, caught? Did she not see die
passage lighted by a pale shimmer--and did not the shimmer come from
the being's jelly-fish head?

"Freder!" she thought. She bit the name tightly between her jaws, yet
heard the scream with which her heart screamed it.

She threw herself forwards and felt--she was free--she was still
free--and ran and stumbled, and pulled herself up again and staggered
from wall to wall, knocking herself bloody, suddenly clutched into
space, stumbled, fell to the ground, felt...Something lay
there...what? No--No--No--!

The lamp had long since fallen from her hand. She raised herself to
her knees and clapped her fists to her ears, in order not to hear the
feet, the slinking feet coming nearer. She knew herself to be
imprisoned in darkness and yet opened her eyes because she could no
longer bear the circles of fire, the wheels of flame behind her closed

And saw her own shadow thrown, gigantic, on the wall before her, and
behind her was light, and before her lay a man--

A man?--That was not a man...That was the remains of a man, with his
back half leaning against the wall, half slipped down, and on his
skeleton feet, which almost touched the girl's knees, were the slender
shoes, pointed and purple-red...

With a shriek which tore her throat, the girl threw herself up,
backwards--and then on and on, without looking round, pursued by the
light which lashed her own shadow in springs before her feet--pursued
by long, soft, feathery feet--by feet which walked in red shoes, by
the icy breath which blew at her back.

She ran, screamed and ran--

"Freder...! Freder...!"

Her throat rattled, she fell.

There were some stairs...Crumbling stairs...She pressed her bleeding
hands, right and left, against the stone wall, by the stone steps. She
dragged herself up. She staggered up, step by step...There was the

The stairs ended in a stone trap-door.

The girl groaned: "Freder...!"

She stretched both fists above her. She pushed head and shoulders
against the trap-door.

And one more groan: "Freder..."

The door rose and fell back with a crash.

Below--deep down--laughter...

The girl swung herself over the edge of the trapdoor. She ran hither
and thither, with out-stretched hands. She ran along walls, finding no
door. She saw the lustre which welled up from the depths. By this
light she saw a door, which was latchless. It had neither bolt nor

In the gloomy wood glowed, copper-red, the seal of Solomon, the

The girl turned around.

She saw a man sitting on the edge of the trap-door and saw his smile.

Then it was as though she were extinguished, and she plunged into


THE PROPRIETOR OF YOSHIWARA used to earn money in--a variety of ways.
One of them, and quite positively the most harmless, was to make bets
that no man--be he never so widely travelled--was capable of guessing
to what weird mixture of races he owed his face. So far he had won all
such bets, and used to sweep in the money which they brought him with
hands, the cruel beauty of which would not have shamed an ancestor of
the Spanish Borgias, the nails of which, however, showed an
inobliterable shimmer of blue; on the other hand, the politeness of
his smile on such profitable occasions originated unmistakably in that
graceful insular world, which, from the eastern border of Asia, smiles
gently and watchfully across at mighty America.

There were prominent properties combined within him which made him
appear to be a general representative of Great Britain and Ireland,
for he was as red-haired, chaff-loving and with as good a head for
drink as if his name had been McFosh, avaricious and superstitious as
a Scotsman and--In certain circumstances, which made it requisite, of
that highly bred obliviousness, which is a matter of will and a
foundation stone of the British Empire. He spoke practicality all
living languages as though his mother had taught him to pray in them
and his father to curse. His greed appeared to hail from the Levant,
his contentment from China. And, above all this, two quiet, observant
eyes watched with German patience and perseverance.

As to the rest, he was called, for reasons unknown, September.

The visitants to Yoshiwara had met September in a variety of emotions-
from the block-headed dozing away of the well-contented bushman to the
dance-ecstatic of the Ukrainer.

But to come upon his features in an expression of absolute
bewilderment was reserved for Slim, when, on the morning after his
having lost sight of his young master, he set throbbing the massive
gong which demanded entrance to Yoshiwara.

It was most unusual that the generally very obliging door of Yoshiwara
was not opened before the fourth gong-signal; and that this was
performed by September himself and with this expression of countenance
deepened the impression of an only tolerably overcome catastrophe.
Slim bowed. September looked at him. A mask of brass seemed to fall
over his face. But a chance glance at the driver of the taxi, in which
Slim had come tore it off again.

"Would to God your tin-kettle had gone up in the air before you could
have brought that lunatic here yesterday evening," he said. "He drove
away my guests before they even thought of paying. The girls are
huddling down in the corners like lumps of wet floor-cloth--that is,
those who are not in hysterics. Unless I call in the police I might
just as well close the house; for it doesn't look as though that chap
will have recovered his five senses by this evening."

"Of whom are you speaking, September?" asked Slim.

September looked at him. At this moment the tiniest hamlet in North
Siberia would have flatly refused to have been proclaimed the birth-
place of so idiotic looking an individual.

"If it is the man for whom I have come here to look," continued Slim,
"then I shall rid you of him in a more agreeable and swifter manner
than the police."

"And for what man are you looking, sir?"

Slim hesitated. He cleared his throat slightly. "You know the white
silk which is woven for' comparatively few in Metropolis..."

In the long line of ancestors, the mainfold sediment of whom had been
crystalised into September, a fur-trader from Tarnopolis must also
have been represented and he now smiled out from the corners of his
great-grandson's wily eyes.

"Come in, sir!" the proprietor of Yoshiwara invited Slim, with true
Singalese gentleness.

Slim entered. September closed the door behind him.

In the moment when the matutinal roar of the great Metropolis no
longer bellowed up from the streets, another roar from inside the
building became perceptible--the roar of a human voice, hotter-than
the voice of a beast of prey, mad-drunk with triumph.

"Who is that?" asked Sum, involuntarily dropping his own voice.

"He--!" answered September, and how he could stow the smooth and
pointed vengefulness of whole Corsica into the monosyllable remained
his own secret.

Slim's glance became uncertain, but he said nothing. He followed
September over soft and glossy straw mats, along walls of oiled paper,
narrowly framed in bamboo.

Behind one of these walls the weeping of a woman was to be heard--
monotonous, hopeless, heartbreaking, like a long spell of rainy days
which envelope the summit of Fuji Yama.

"That's Yuki," murmured September, with a fierce glance at the paper
prison of this pitiful weeping. "She's been crying since midnight, as
if she wanted to be the source of a new salt sea...This evening she
will have a swollen potato on her face instead of a nose...Who pays
for it?--I do!"

"Why is the little snowflake crying?" asked Slim, half thoughtlessly,
for the roaring of the human voice, coming from the depths of the
house occupied all the ears and attention he possessed.

"Oh, she isn't the only one," answered September, with the tolerant
mien of one who owns a prosperous harbour tavern in Shanghai. "But she
is at least tame. Plum Blossom has been snapping about her like a
young Puma, and Miss Rainbow has thrown the Saki bowl at the mirror
and is trying to cut her artery with the chips--and all on account of
this white silk youngster."

The agitated expression on Slim's face deepened. He shook his head.

"How did he manage to get such a hold over them..." he said, and it
was not meant to be a question. September shrugged his shoulders.

"Maohee..." he said in a sing-song tone, as though beginning one of
those Greenland fairy tales, which, the quicker they sent one to sleep
are the more highly appreciated.

"What is that: Maohee?" asked Slim, irritably. September drew his head
down between his shoulders. The Irish and the British blood-corpuscles
in his veins seemed to be falling out, violently: but the impenetrable
Japanese smile covered this up with its mantle before it could grow

"You don't know what Maohee is...Not a soul in the great Metropolis
knows...No...Nobody. But here in Yoshiwara they all know."

"I wish to know, too, September," said Slim. Generations of Roman
lackeys bowed within September as he said, "Certainly, sir!" But they
did not get the better of the wink of the heavy-drinking lying
grandfathers in Copenhagen. "Maohee, that is...Isn't it odd, that, of
all the ten thousand who have been guests here in Yoshiwara and who
had experienced in detail what Maohee stands for, outside they know
nothing more about it? Don't walk so fast, sir. The yelling gentleman
down there won't run away from us--and if I am to explain to you what
Maohee means..."

"Drugs, I expect, September--?"

"My dear sir, the lion is also a cat. Maohee is a drug: but what is a
cat beside a lion? Maohee is from the other side of the earth. It is
the divine, the only thing--because it is the only thing which makes
us feel the intoxication of the others."

"The intoxication--of the others...?" repeated Slim, stopping still.

September smiled the smile of Hotei the god of Happiness, who likes
little children. He laid the hand of the Borgia, with the suspiciously
blue shimmering nails on Slim's arm.

"The intoxication of the others--Sir, do you know what that means? Not
of one other--no, of the multitude which rolls itself into a lump, the
rolled up intoxication of the multitude gives Maohee its friends..."

"Has Maohee many friends, September?"

The proprietor of Yoshiwara grinned, apocalyptically.

"Sir, in this house there is a round room. You shall see it. It has
not its like. It is built like a winding seashell, like a mammoth
shell, in the windings of which thunders the surf of seven oceans; in
these windings people crouch, so densely crowded that their faces
appear as one face. No one knows the other, yet they are all friends.
They all fever. They are all pale with expectation. They have all
clasped hands. The trembling of those who sit right down at the bottom
of the shell runs right through the windings of the mammoth shell,
right up to those, who, from the gleaming top of the spiral, send out
their own trembling towards it..."

September gulped for breath. Sweat stood like a fine chain of beads on
his brow. An international smile of insanity parted his prating mouth.

"Go on, September!" said Slim.

"On?--On?-Suddenly the rim of the shell begins to turn...gently...ah
how gently, to music--such as would bring a tenfold murderer-bandit to
sobs and his judges to pardon him on the scaffold--to music on hearing
which deadly enemies kiss, beggars believe themselves to be kings, the
hungry forget their hunger--to such music the shell revolves around
its stationary heart, until it seems to free itself from the ground
and, hovering, to revolve about itself. The people scream--not loudly,
no, no!--they scream like the birds that bathe in the sea. The twisted
hands are clenched to fists. The bodies rock in one rhythm. Then comes
the first stammer of: Maohee...The stammer swells, becomes waves of
spray, becomes a spring tide. The revolving shell roars:
Maohee...Maohee...! It is as though a little flame must rest on
everyone's hair parting, like St. Elm's fire...Maohee...Maohee! They
call on their god. They call on him whom the finger of the god touches
today...No one knows from where he will come today...He is
there...They know he is amongst them...He must break out from the rows
of them...He must...He must, for they call him: Maohee...Maohee! And

The hand of the Borgia flew up and hung in the air like a brown claw.

"And suddenly a man is standing in the middle of the shell, in the
gleaming circle, on the milk-white disc. But it is no man. It is the
embodied conception of the intoxication of them all. He is not
conscious of himself...A slight froth stands on his mouth, His eyes
are stark and bursting and are yet like rushing meteors which leave
waving tracks of fire behind them on the route from heaven to
earth...He stands and lives his intoxication. He is what his
intoxication is. From the thousands of eyes which have cast anchor
into his soul the power of intoxication streams into him. There is no
delight in God's creation which does not reveal itself, surmounted by
the medium of these intoxicated souls. What he says becomes visible,
what he hears becomes audible to all. What he feels: Power, desire,
madness, is felt by them all. On the shimmering area, around which the
shell revolves, to music beyond all description, one in ecstasy lives
the thousandfold ecstasy which embodies itself in him, for thousands
of others..."

September stopped and smiled at Slim.

"That, sir, is Maohee..."

"It must indeed be a powerful drug," said Slim with a feeling of
dryness in his throat, "which inspires the proprietor of Yoshiwara to
such a hymn. Do you think that that yelling individual down there
would join in this song of praise?"

"Ask him yourself, sir," said September.

He opened the door and let Slim enter. Just over the threshold Slim
stopped, because at first he saw nothing. A gloom, more melancholy
that the deepest darkness, spread over a room, the dimensions of which
he could not estimate. The floor under his feet inclined in a barely
perceptible slope. Where it stopped there appeared to be gloomy
emptiness. Right and left, spiral walls, billowing outwards, swept
away to each side.

That was all Slim saw. But from the empty depths before him came a
white shimmer, no stronger than if coming from a field of snow. On
this shimmer there floated a voice, that of a murderer and of one
being murdered.

"Light, September!" said Slim with a gulp. An unbearable feeling of
thirst gnawed at his throat.

The room slowly grew brighter, as though the light were coming
unwillingly. Slim saw, he was standing in one of the windings of the
round room, which was shaped like a shell. He was standing between the
heights and the depths, separated by a low banister from the emptiness
from which came the snow--Like light and the murderer's voice and the
voice of his victim. He stepped to the banister, and leaned far over
it. A milk-white disc, lighted from beneath and luminous. At the edge
of the disc, like a dark, rambling pattern on a plate-rim, women,
crouching, kneeling there, in their gorgeous attire, as though
drunken. Some had dropped their foreheads to the ground, their hands
clutched above their ebony hair. Some crouched, huddled together in
clumps, head pressed to head, symbols of fear. Some were swaying
rhythmically from side to side as if calling on gods. Some were
weeping. Some were as if dead.

But they all seemed to be the hand-maids of the man on the snow-light
illuminated disk.

The man wore the white silk woven for comparatively few in Metropolis.
He wore the soft shoes in which the beloved sons of mighty fathers
seemed to caress the earth. But the silk hung in tatters about the
body of the man and the shoes looked as though the feet within them

"Is that the man for whom you are looking, sir?" asked a Levantine
cousin from out September, leaning confidently towards Slim's ear.

Slim did not answer. He was looking at the man.

"At least," continued September, "it is the youngster who came here
yesterday by the same car as you to-day. And the devil take him for
it! He has turned my revolving shell into the fore-court of hell! He
has been roasting souls! I have known Maohee-drugged beings to have
fancied themselves Kings, Gods, Fire, and Storm--and to have forced
others to feel themselves Kings, Gods, Fire, and Storm. I have known
those in the ecstasy of desire to have forced women down to them from
the highest part of the shell's wall, that they, diving, like
seagulls, with out-spread hands, have swooped to his feet, without
injuring a limb, while others have fallen to their death. That man
there was no God, no Storm, no Fire, and his drunkenness most
certainly inspired him with no desire. It seems to me that he had come
up from hell and is roaring in the intoxication of damnation. He did
not know that the ecstasy for men who are damned is also
damnation...The fool! The prayer he is praying will not redeem him. He
believes himself to be a machine and is praying to himself. He has
forced the others to pray to him. He has ground them down. He has
pounded them to a powder. There are many dragging themselves around
Metropolis to-day who cannot comprehend why their limbs are as if

"Be quiet, September!" said Slim hoarsely. His hand flew to his throat
which felt like a glowing cork, like smouldering charcoal.

September fell silent, shrugging his shoulders. Words seethed up from
the depths like lava.

"I am the Three-in-one--Lucifer--Belial--Satan--! I am the everlasting
Death! I am the everlasting Noway! Come unto me--! In my hell there
are many mansions! I shall assign them to you! I am the great king of
all the damned--! I am a machine! I am the tower above you all! I am a
hammer, a fly-wheel, a fiery oven! I am a murderer and of what I
murder I make no use. I want victims and victims do not appease me!
Pray to me and know: I do not hear you! Shout at me: Pater-noster!
Know: I am deaf!"

Slim turned around; he saw September's face as a chalky mask at his
shoulder. Maybe that, among September's ancestresses there was one who
hailed from an isle in the South sea, where gods mean little--spirits

"That's no more a man," he whispered with ashen lips. "A man would
have died of it long ago...Do you see his arms, sir? Do you think a
man can imitate the pushing of a machine for hours and hours at a time
without its killing him? He is as dead as stone. If you were to call
to him he'd collapse and break to pieces like a plaster statue."

It did not seem as though September's words had penetrated into Slim's
consciousness. His face wore an expression of loathing and suffering
and he spoke as one who speaks with pain.

"I hope, September, that to-night you have had your last opportunity
of watching the effects of Maohee on your guests..."

September smiled his Japanese smile.

He did not answer.

Slim stepped up to the banister at the edge of the curve of the shell
in which he stood. He bent down towards the milky disc. He cried a
high sharp tone which had the effect of a whistle:

"Eleven thousand eight hundred and eleven--!"

The man on the shimmering disc swung around as though he had received
a blow in the side. The hellish rhythm of his arms ceased, running
itself out in vibration. The man fell to earth like a log and did not
move again.

Slim ran down the passage, reached the end and pushed asunder the
circle of women, who, stiffened with shock, seemed to be thrown into
deeper horror more by the end of that which they had brought to pass
than by the beginning. He knelt down beside the man, looked him in the
face and pushed the tattered silk away from his heart. He did not give
his hand time to test his pulse. He lifted the man up and carried him
out in his arms. The sighing of the women soughed behind him like a
dense, mist-coloured curtain.

September stepped across his path. He swept aside as he caught Slim's
glance at him. He ran along by him, like an active dog, breathing
rapidly; but he said nothing.

Slim reached the door of Yoshiwara. September, himself, opened it for
him. Slim stepped into the street. The driver pulled open the door of
the taxi; he looked in amazement at the man who hung in Slim's arms,
in tatters of white silk with which the wind was playing, and who was
more awful to look on than a corpse.

The proprietor of Yoshiwara bowed repeatedly while Slim was climbing
into the car. But Shin did not give him another glance. September's
face, which was as grey as steel, was reminiscent of the blades of
those ancient swords, forged of Indian steel, in Shiras or Ispahan and
on which, hidden by ornamentation, stand mocking and deadly words.

The car glided away: September looked after it. He smiled the
peaceable smile of Eastern Asia.

For he knew perfectly well what Shin did not know, and what, apart
from him, nobody in Metropolis knew, that with the first drop of water
or wine which moistened the lips of a human being, there disappeared
even the very faintest memory of all which appertained to the wonders
of the drug, Maohee.

The car stopped before the next medical depot. Male nurses came and
carried away the bundle of humanity, shivering in tatters of white
silk, to the doctor on duty. Slim looked about him. He beckoned to a
policeman who was stationed near the door.

"Take down a report," he said. His tongue would hardly obey him, so
parched was it with thirst.

The policeman entered the house after him.

"Wait!" said Slim, more with the movement of his head than in words.
He saw a glass jug of water standing on the table and the coolness of
the water had studded the jug with a thousand pearls.

Sum drank like an animal which finds drink on coming from the desert.
He put down the jug and shivered. A short shudder passed through him.

He turned around and saw the man he had brought with him lying on a
bed over which a young doctor was bending.

The lips of the sick man were moistened with wine. His eyes stood wide
open, staring up at the ceiling, tears upon tears running gently and
incessantly from the corners of his eyes, down over his temples. It
was as though they had nothing to do with the man--as though they were
trickling from a broken vessel and could not stop trickling until the
vessel had run quite empty.

Slim looked the doctor in the face; the latter shrugged his shoulders.
Slim bent over the prostrate man.

"Georgi," he said in a low voice, "can you hear me?" The sick man
nodded; it was the shadow of a nod. "Do you know who I am?" A second

"Are you in a condition to answer two or three questions?" Another

"How did you get the white silk clothes?" For a long time he received
no answer apart from the gentle falling of the tear drops. Then came
the voice, softer than a whisper.

"...He changed with me..." "Who did?"

"Freder...Joh Fredersen's son..." "And then, Georgi?" "He told me I
was to wait for him..." "Wait where, Georgi?" A long silence. And
then, barely audible: "Ninetieth Street. House seven. Seventh
floor..." Slim did not question him further. He knew who lived there.
He looked at the doctor; the latter's face wore a completely
impenetrable expression.

Slim drew a breath as though he were sighing. He said, more
deploringly than inquiringly:

"Why did you not rather go there, Georgi..." He turned to go but
stopped still as Georgi's voice came wavering after him; "...The
city...all the lights...more than enough money...It is
written...Forgive us our trespasses...lead us not into temptation..."

His voice died away. His head fell to one side. He breathed as though
his soul wept, for his eyes could do so no longer. The doctor cleared
his throat cautiously. Slim raised his head as though somebody had
called him, then dropped it again.

"I shall come back again," he said softly. "He is to remain under your

Georgi was asleep.

Slim left the room, followed by the policeman.

"What do you want?" Slim asked with an absent-minded look at him.

"The report, sir."

"What report?"

"I was to take down a report, sir."

Slim looked at the policeman very attentively, almost meditatively. He
raised his hand and rubbed it across his forehead.

"A mistake," he said. "That was a mistake..."

The policeman saluted and retired, a little puzzled, for he knew Slim.

He remained standing on the same spot. Again and again he rubbed his
forehead with the same helpless gesture.

Then he shook his head, stepped into the car and said:

"Ninetieth block...."


"WHERE IS GEORGI?" asked Freder, his eyes wandering through Josaphat's
three rooms, which stretched out before him--beautiful, with a rather
bewildering super-abundance of armchairs, divans and silk cushions,
with curtains which goldenly obscured the light.

"Who?" asked Josaphat, listlessly. He had waited, had not slept and
his eyes stood excessively large in his thin, almost white face. His
gaze, which he did not take from Freder, was like hands which are
raised adoringly.

"Georgi," repeated Freder. He smiled happily with his tired mouth.

"Who is that?" asked Josaphat.

"I sent him to you."

"Nobody has come."

Freder looked at him without answering.

"I sat all night in this chair," continued Josaphat, misinterpreting
Freder's silence. "I did not sleep a wink. I expected you to come at
any second, or a messenger to come from you, or that you would ring me
up. I also informed the watchman. Nobody has come, Mr. Freder."

Freder still remained silent. Slowly, almost stumblingly he stepped
over the threshold, into the room raising his right hand to his head,
as though to take off his hat, then noticing that he was wearing the
cap, the black cap, which pressed the hair tightly down, he swept it
from his head; it fell to the ground. His hand sank from his brow,
over his eyes, resting there a little while. Then the other joined it,
as though wishing to console its sister. His form was like that of a
young birch tree pressed sideways by a strong wind.

Josaphat's eyes hung on the uniform which Freder wore.

"Mr. Freder," he began cautiously, "how comes it that you are wearing
these clothes?"

Freder remained turned away from him. He took his hands from his eyes
and pressed them to his face as though he felt some pain there.

"Georgi wore them..." He answered. "I gave him mine..."

"Then Georgi is a workman?"

"Yes...I found him before the Pater-noster machine. I took his place
and sent him to you..."

"Perhaps he'll come yet," answered Josaphat.

Freder shook his head.

"He should have been here hours ago. If he had been caught when
leaving the New Tower of Babel, then someone would have come to me
when I was standing before the machine. It is strange, but there it
is; he has not come."

"Was there much money in the suit which you exchanged with Georgi?"
asked Josaphat tentatively, as one who-bares a wounded spot.

Freder nodded.

"Then you must not be surprised that Georgi has not come," said
Josaphat. But the expression of shame and pain on Freder's face
prevented him from continuing.

"Won't you sit down, Mr. Freder," he begged. "Or lie down? You look so
tired that it is painful to look at you."

"I have no time to sit down and not time to lie down, either,"
answered Freder. He walked through the rooms, aimlessly, senselessly,
stopping wherever a chair, a table, offered him a hold. "The fact, is
this, Josaphat: I told Georgi to come here and to wait here for me--or
for a message from me...It is a thousand to one that Slim, in
searching for me, is already on Georgi's track, and it's a thousand to
one he gets out of him where I sent him..."

"And you do not want Slim to find you?"

"He must not find me, Josaphat--not for anything on earth..."

The other stood silent, rather helpless. Freder looked at him with a
trembling smile.

"How shall we obtain money, now, Josaphat?"

"That should offer no difficulty to Joh Fredersen's son."

"More than you think, Josaphat, for I am no longer Joh Fredersen's

Josaphat raised his head.

"I do not understand you," he said, after a pause.

"There is nothing to misunderstand, Josaphat. I have set myself free
from my father, and am going my own way..."

The man who had been the first secretary to the Master over the great
Metropolis held his breath back in his lungs, then released it in

"Will you let me tell you something, Mr. Freder?"


"One does not set oneself free from your father. It is he who decides
whether one remains with him or must leave him.

"There is nobody who is stronger than Joh Fredersen. He is like the
earth. As regards the earth we have no will either. Her laws keep us
eternally perpendicular to the centre of the earth, even if we stand
on our head...When Joh Fredersen sets a man free it means just as much
as if the earth were to shut off from a man her powers of attraction.
It means falling into nothing...Joh Fredersen can set free whom he
may; he will never set free his son..."

"But what," answered Freder, speaking feverishly, "if a man overcomes
the laws of nature?"

"Utopia, Mr. Freder."

"For the inventive spirit of man there is no Utopia: there is only a
Not-yet. I have made up my mind to venture the path. I must take it--
yes, I must take it! I do not know the way yet, but I shall find it
because I must find it..."

"Wherever you wish, Mr. Freder--! shall go with you..."

"Thank you," said Freder, reaching out his hand. He felt it seized and
clasped in a vice--Like grip.

"You know, Mr. Freder, don't you--" said the strangled voice of
Josaphat, "that everything belongs to you--everything that I am and
have...It is not much, for I have lived like a madman...But for to-
day, and to-morrow and the day after to-morrow..."

Freder shook his head without losing hold of Josaphat's hand.

"No, no!" he said, a torrent of red flowing over his face. "One does
not begin new ways like that...We must try to find other ways...It
will not be easy. Slim knows his business."

"Perhaps Slim could be won over to you...." said Josaphat,
hesitatingly. "For--strange though it may sound, he loves you..."

"Slim loves all his victims. Which does not prevent him, as the most
considerate and kindly of executioners, from laying them before my
father's feet. He is the born tool, but the tool of the strongest. He
would never make himself the tool of the weaker one, for he would thus
humiliate himself. And you have jus t told me, Josaphat, how much
stronger my father is than I..."

"If you were to confide yourself to one of your friends..."

"I have no friends, Josaphat."

Josaphat wanted to contradict, but he stopped himself. Freder turned
his eyes towards him. He straightened himself up and smiled--the
other's hand still in his.

"I have no friends, Josaphat, and, what weighs still more, I have no
friend. I had play-fellows-sport-fellows--but friends? A friend? No,
Josaphat! Can one confide oneself to somebody of whom one knows
nothing but how his laughter sounds?"

He saw the eyes of the other fixed upon him, discerned the ardour in
them and the pain and the truth.

"Yes," he said with a worried smile. "I should like to confide myself
to you...I must confide myself to you, Josaphat...I must call you
'Friend' and 'Brother'...for I need a man who will go with me in trust
and confidence to the world's end. Will you be that man?"


"Yes--?" He came to him and laid his hands upon his shoulders. He
looked closely into his face. He shook him. "You say: 'Yes--!' Do you
know what that means--for you and for me? What a last plummet-drop
that is--what a last anchorage? I hardly know you--! wanted to help
you-I cannot even help you now, because I am poorer now than you are-
but, perhaps, that is all to the good...Joh Fredersen's son can,
perhaps, be betrayed--but I, Josaphat? A man who has nothing but a
will and an object? It cannot be worth while to betray him--eh,

"May God kill me as one kills a mangy dog..."

"That's all right, that's all right..." Freder's smile came back again
and stood, clear and beautiful in his tired face. "I am going now,
Josaphat. I want to go to my father's mother, to take her something
which is very sacred to me...I shall be here again before evening.
Shall I find you here then?"

"Yes, Mr. Freder, most certainly!"

They stretched out their hands towards each other. Hand held hand,
gripped. They looked at each other. Glance held glance, gripped. Then
they loosened their grip in silence and Freder went.

A little while later (Josaphat was still standing on the same spot on
which Freder had left him) there came a knock at the door.

Though the knocking was as gentle, as modest, as the knocking of one
who has come to beg, there was something in it which chased a shiver
down Josaphat's spine. He stood still, gazing at the door, incapable
of calling out "Come in," or of opening it himself.

The knocking was repeated, becoming not in the least louder. It came
for the third time and was still as gentle. But just that deepened the
impression that it was inescapable, that it would be quite pointless
to play deaf permanently.

"Who is there?" asked Josaphat hoarsely. He knew very well who was
standing outside. He only asked to gain time-to draw breath, which he
badly needed. He expected no answer; neither did he receive one.

The door opened. In the doorway stood Slim.

They did not greet each other; neither greeted the other. Josaphat:
because his gullet was too dry: Slim: because his all-observing eye
had darted through the room in the second in which he put his foot on
the threshold, and had found something: a black cap, lying on the

Josaphat followed Slim's gaze with his eyes. He did not stir. With
silent step Slim went up to the cap, stooped and picked it up. He
twisted it gently this way and that, he twisted it inside out.

In the sweat-sodden lining of the cap stood the number, 11811.

Slim weighed the cap in almost affectionate hands, He fixed his eyes,
which were as though veiled with weariness on Josaphat and asked,
speaking in a low voice:

"Where is Freder, Josaphat?"

"I do not know..."

Slim smiled sleepily. He fondled the black cap. Josaphat's hoarse
voice continued:

"...But if I did know you would not get it out of me, anyway..."

Slim looked at Josaphat, still smiling, still fondling the black cap.

"You are quite right," said he courteously. "I beg your pardon! It was
an idle question. Of course you will not tell me where Mr. Freder is.
Neither is it at all necessary...It is quite another matter..."

He pocketed the cap, having carefully rolled it up, and looked around
the room. He went up to an armchair, standing near a low, black,
polished table.

"You permit me?" he asked courteously, seating himself.

Josaphat made a movement of the head, but the "Please do so," dried up
in his throat. He did not stir from the one spot.

"You live very well here," said Slim, leaning back and surveying the
room with a sweeping movement of his head. "Everything of a soft,
half-dark tone. The atmosphere about these cushions is a tepid
perfume. I can well understand how difficult it will be for you to
leave this flat."

"I have no such intention, however," said Josaphat. He swallowed.

Slim pressed his eyelids together, as though he wished to sleep.

"No...Not yet...But very soon..."

"I should not think of it," answered Josaphat. His eyes grew red, and
he looked at Slim, hatred smouldering in his gaze.

"No...Not yet...But very soon..."

Josaphat stood quite still: but suddenly he smote the air with his
fist, as though beating against an invisible door.

"What do you want exactly?" he asked pantingly. "What is that supposed
to imply? What do you want from me--?"

It appeared at first as though Slim had not heard the question.
Sleepily, with closed eyelids, he sat there, breathing inaudibly. But,
as the leather of the chairback squeaked under Josaphat's grasp, Slim
said, very slowly, but very clearly:

"I want you to tell me for what sum you will give up this flat,



"...What is that supposed to mean...Immediately?..."

Slim opened his eyes, and they were as cold and bright as a pebble in
a brook.

"Immediately means within an hour...Immediately means long before this

A shiver ran down Josaphat's back. The hands on his hanging arms
slowly clenched themselves into fists.

"Get out, sir..." he said quietly. "Get out of here--! Now--! At
once--! Immediately!--"

"The flat is very pretty," said Slim. "You are unwilling to give it
up. It is of value to one who knows how to appreciate such things. You
will not have time to pack any large trunks, either. You can only take
what you need for twenty-four hours. The journey--new outfit--a year's
expenses--all this is to be added to the sum: what is the price of
your flat, Josaphat?"

"I shall chuck you into the street," stammered Josaphat with feverish
mouth. "I shall chuck you seven stories down into the street--through
the window, my good sir!--through the closed window--If you don't get
out this very second!"

"You love a woman. The woman does not love you. Women who are not in
love are very expensive. You want to buy this woman. Very well. The
threefold cost of the flat...Life on the Adriatic coast--In Rome--on
Teneriffe--on a splendid steamer around the world with a woman who
wants to be bought anew every day--comprehensible, Josaphat, that the
flat will be expensive...but to tell you the truth, I must have it, so
I must pay for it."

He plunged his hands into his pocket and drew out a wad of banknotes.
He pushed it across to Josaphat over the black, polished mirror--Like
table. Josaphat clutched at it, leaving his nail marks behind on the
table-top and threw it into Shin's face. He caught it with a nimble,
thought-swift movement, and gently laid it back on the table. He laid
a second one beside it.

"Is that enough?" he asked sleepily.

"No--!" shouted Josaphat's laughter.

"Sensible!" said Slim. "Very sensible. Why should you not make full
use of your advantages. An opportunity like this, to raise your whole
life by one hundred rungs, to become in-dependant, happy, free, the
fulfilment of every wish, the satisfaction of every whim--to have your
own, and a beautiful woman before you, will come only once in your
life and never again. Seize it, Josaphat, if you are not a fool! In
strict confidence: The beautiful woman of whom we spoke just now has
already been informed and is awaiting you near the aeroplane which is
standing ready for the journey...Three times the price, Josaphat, if
you do not keep the beautiful woman waiting!"

He laid the third bundle of banknotes on the table. He looked at
Josaphat. Josaphat's reddened eyes devoured his. Josaphat's hands
fumbled across blindly and seized the three brown wads. His teeth
showed white under his lips; while his fingers tore the notes to
shreds, they seemed to be biting them to death.

Slim shook his head. "That's of no account," he said undisturbedly. "I
have a cheque-book here, some of the blank leaves of which bear the
signature, Joh Fredersen. Let us write a sum on the first leaf--a sum
the double of the amount agreed upon up to now...Well, Josaphat?"

"I will not--!" said the other, shaken from head to foot.

Slim smiled.

"No," he said. "Not yet...But very soon..."

Josaphat did not answer. He was staring at the piece of paper, white,
printed and written on, which lay before him on the blue-black table.
He did not see the figure upon it. He only saw the name upon it:

Joh Fredersen.

The signature, as though written with the blade of an axe:

Joh Fredersen.

Josaphat turned his head this way and that as though he felt the blade
of the axe at his neck.

"No," he croaked. "No, no, no...!"

"Not enough yet?" asked Slim.

"Yes!" said he in a mutter. "Yes! It is enough."

Slim got up. Something which he had drawn from his pocket with the
bundles of banknotes, without his having noticed it, slid down from
his knees.

It was a black cap, such as the workmen in Joh Fredersen's works used
to wear...

A howl escaped Josaphat's lips. He threw himself down on both knees.
He seized the black cap in both hands. He snatched it to his mouth. He
stared at Slim. He jerked himself up. He sprang, like a stag before
the pack, to gain the door.

But Slim got there before him. With a mighty leap he sprang across
table and divan, rebounded against the door and stood before Josaphat.
For the fraction of a second they stared each other in the face. Then
Josaphat's hands flew to Slim's throat. Slim lowered his head. He
threw forward his arms, like the grabbing arms of the octopus. They
held each other, tightly clasped, and wrestled together, burning and
ice-cold, raving and reflecting, teeth-grinding and silent, breast to

They tore themselves apart and dashed at each other. They fell, and,
wrestling, rolled along the floor. Josaphat forced his opponent
beneath him. Fighting, they pushed each other up. They stumbled and
rolled over armchairs and divans. The beautiful room, turned into a
wilderness, seemed to be too small for the two twisted bodies, which
jerked like fishes, stamped like steers, struck at each other like
fighting bears.

But against Slim's unshakeable, dreadful coldness the white-hot fury
of his opponent could not stand its ground. Suddenly, as though his
knee joints had been hacked through, Josaphat collapsed in Slim's
hands, fell on his knees and remained there, his back resting against
an over-turned armchair, staring up with glassy eyes.

Slim loosened his hold. He looked down at him.

"Had enough yet?" he asked, and smiled sleepily.

Josaphat did not answer. He moved his right hand. In all the fury of
the fight he had not lost hold of the black cap which Freder had worn
when he came to him.

He raised the cap painfully on to his knees, as though it weighed a
hundredweight. He twisted it between his fingers. He fondled it...

"Come, Josaphat, get up!" said Slim. He spoke very gravely and gently
and a little sadly. "May I help you? Give me your hands! No, no. I
shall not take the cap away from you...I am afraid I was obliged to
hurt you very much. It was no pleasure. But you forced me into it."

He left go of the man, who was now standing upright, and he looked
around him with a gloomy smile.

"A good thing we settled the price beforehand," he said. "Now the flat
would be considerably cheaper."

He sighed a little and looked at Josaphat.

"When will you be ready to go?"

"Now," said Josaphat.

"You will not take anything with you?"


"You will go just as you are--with all the marks of the struggle, all
tattered and torn?"


"Is that courteous to the lady who is waiting for you?"

Sight returned to Josaphat's eyes. He turned a reddened gaze towards

"If you do not want me to commit the murder on the woman which did not
succeed on you--then send her away before I come..."

Slim was silent. He turned to go. He took the cheque, folded it
together and put it into Josaphat's pocket.

Josaphat offered no resistance.

He walked before Slim towards the door. Then he stopped again and
looked around.

He waved the cap which Freder had worn, in farewell to the room, and
burst out into ceaseless laughter. He struck his shoulder against the
door post...

Then he went out. Slim followed him.


FREDER WALKED UP the steps of the cathedral hesitatingly; he was
walking up them for the first time. Hel, his mother, used often to go
to the cathedral. But her son had never yet done so. Now he longed to
see it with his mother's eyes and to hear with the ears of Hel, his
mother, the stony prayer of the pillars, each of which had its own
particular voice.

He entered the cathedral as a child, not pious, yet not entirely free
from shyness--prepared for reverence, but fearless. He heard, as Hel,
his mother the Kyrie Eleison of the stones and the Te Deum Laudamus-
the De Profundis and the Jubilate. And he heard, as his mother, how
the powerfully ringing stone chair was crowned by the Amen of the
cross vault...

He looked for Maria, who was to have waited for him on the belfry
steps; but he could not find her. He wandered through the cathedral,
which seemed to be quite empty of people. Once he stopped. He was
standing opposite Death.

The ghostly minstrel stood in a side-niche, carved in wood, in hat and
wide cloak, scythe on shoulder, the hour-glass dangling from his
girdle; and the minstrel was playing on a bone as though on a flute.
The Seven Deadly Sins were his following.

Freder looked Death in the face. Then he said:

"If you had come earlier you would not have frightened me...Now I pray
you: Keep away from me and my beloved!"

But the awful flute-player seemed to be listening to nothing but the
song he was playing upon a bone.

Freder walked on. He came to the central nave. Before the high altar,
over which hovered God Incarnate, a dark form lay stretched out upon
the stones, hands clutching out to each side, face pressed into the
coldness of the stone, as though the blocks must burst asunder under
the pressure of the brow. The form wore the garment of a monk, the
head was shaven. An incessant trembling shook the lean body from
shoulder to heel, and it seemed to be stiffened as though in a cramp.

But suddenly the body reared up. A white flame sprang up: a face;
black flames within it: two blazing eyes. A hand rose up, clutching
high in the air towards the crucifix which hovered above the altar.

A voice spoke, like the voice of fire:

"I will not let thee go, God, God, except thou bless me!"

The echo of the pillars yelled the words after him. \

The son of Joh Fredersen had never seen the man before. He knew,
however, as soon as the flame-white face unveiled the black flames of
its eyes to him: it was Desertus the monk, his father's enemy...

Perhaps his breath had become too loud. Suddenly the black flame
struck across at him. The monk arose slowly. He did not say a word. He
stretched out his hand. The hand indicated the door.

"Why do you sent me away, Desertus?" asked Freder. "Is not the house
of your God open to all?"

"Hast thou come here to seek God?" asked the rough, hoarse voice of
the monk.

Freder hesitated. He dropped his head.

"No." He answered. But his heart knew better.

"If thou hast not come to seek God, then thou hast nothing to seek
here," said the monk.

Then Joh Fredersen's son went.

He went out of the cathedral as one walking in his sleep. The daylight
smote his eyes cruelly. Racked with weariness, worn out with grief, he
walked down the steps, and aimlessly onwards.

The roar of the streets wrapped itself, as a diver's helmet, about his
ears. He walked on in his stupefaction, as though between thick glass
walls. He had no thought apart from the name of his beloved, no
consciousness apart from his longing for her. Shivering with
weariness, he thought of the girl's eyes and lips, with a feeling very
like homesickness.

Ah!--brow to brow with her--then mouth to mouth-eyes closed--


"Come," said his heart. "Why do you leave me alone?"

He walked along in a stream of people, fighting down the mad desire to
stop amid this stream and to ask every single wave, which was a human
being, if it knew of Maria's whereabouts, and why she had let him wait
in vain.

He came to the magician's house. There he stopped.

He stared at a window.

Was he mad?

There was Maria, standing behind the dull panes. Those were her
blessed hands, stretched out towards him...a dumb cry: "Help me--!"

Then the entire vision was drawn away, swallowed up by the blackness
of the room behind it, vanishing, not leaving a trace, as though it
had never been. Dumb, dead and evil stood the house of the magician

Freder stood motionless. He drew a deep, deep breath. Then he made a
leap. He stood before the door of the house. Copper-red, in the black
wood of the door, glowed the seal of Solomon, the pentagram.

Freder knocked.

Nothing in the house stirred.

He knocked for the second time.

The house remained dull and obstinate.

He stepped back and looked up at the windows.

They looked out in their evil gloom, over and beyond him.

He went to the door again. He beat against it with his fists. He heard
the echo of his drumming blows shake the house, as in dull laughter.

But the copper Solomon's seal grinned at him from the unshaken door.

He stood still for a moment. His temples throbbed. He felt absolutely
helpless and was as near crying as swearing.

Then he heard a voice--the voice of his beloved.

"Freder--!" and once more: "Freder--!"

He saw blood before his eyes. He made to throw himself with the full
weight of his shoulders against the door...

But in that same moment the door opened noiselessly. It swung back in
ghostly silence, leaving the way into the house absolutely free.

That was so unexpected and alarming that, in the midst of the swing
which was to have thrown him against the door, Freder caught both his
hands against the door-posts, and stood fixed there. He buried his
teeth in his lips. The heart of the house was as black as midnight...

But the voice of Maria called to him from the heart of the house:
"Freder--! Freder--!"

He ran into the house as though he had gone blind. The door fell to
behind him. He stood in blackness. He called. He received no answer.
He saw nothing. He groped. He felt walls-endless walls...Steps...He
climbed up the steps...

A pale redness swam about him like the reflection of a distant gloomy

Suddenly-he stopped still, clawing his hand into the stonework behind
him--a sound was coming out of the nothingness: The weeping of a woman
sorrowing, sorrowing unto death.

It was not very loud, but yet it was as if the source of all
lamentation were streaming out of it. It was as though the house were
weeping--as though every stone in the wall were a sobbing mouth, set
free from eternal dumbness, once and once only, to mourn an
everlasting agony.

Freder shouted--he was fully aware that he was only shouting in order
not to hear the weeping any more.


His voice was clear and wild as an oath: "I am coming!"

He ran up the stairs. He reached the top of the stairs. A passage,
scarcely lighted. Twelve doors opened out here.

In the wood of each of these doors glowed, copper-red, the seal of
Solomon, the pentagram.

He sprang to the first one. Before he had touched it it swung
noiselessly open before him. Emptiness lay behind it. The room was
quite bare.

The second door. The same.

The third. The fourth. They swung open before him as though his breath
had blown them off the latch.

Freder stood still. He screwed his head down between his shoulders. He
raised his arm and wiped it across his forehead. He looked around him.
The open doors stood agape. The mournful weeping ceased. All was quite

But out of the silence there came a voice, soft and sweet, and more
tender than a kiss...

"Come...I Do come...! I am here, dearest...!"

Freder did not stir. He knew the voice quite well. It was Maria's
voice, which he so loved. And yet it was a strange voice. Nothing in
the world could be sweeter than the tone of this soft allurement--and
nothing in the world has ever been so filled to overflowing with a
dark, deadly wickedness.

Freder felt the drops upon his forehead.

"Who are you?" he asked expressionlessly.

"Don't you know me?"

"Who are you?"


"You are not Maria..."

"Freder--I," mourned the voice--Maria's voice.

"Do you want me to lose my reason?" said Freder, between his teeth.
"Why don't you come to me?"

"I can't come, beloved..."

"Where are you?"

"Look for me!" said the sweetly alluring, the deadly wicked voice,
laughing softly.

But through the laughter there sounded another voice-being also
Maria's voice, sick with fear and horror.

" me, Freder...I do not know what is being done to
me...But what is being done is worse than murder...My eyes are on..."

Suddenly, as though cut off, her voice choked. But the other voice--
which was also Maria's voice, laughed, sweetly, alluringly, on:

"Look for me, beloved!"

Freder began to run. Senselessly and unreasoningly, he began to run.
Along walls, by open doors, upstairs, downstairs, from twilight into
darkness, drawn on by the cones of light, which would suddenly flame
up before him, then dazzled and plunged again into a hellish darkness.

He ran like a blind animal, groaning aloud. He found that he was
running in a circle, always upon his own tracks, but he could not get
free of it, could not get out of the cursed circle. He ran in the
purple mist of his own blood, which filled his eyes and ears, heard
the breaker of his blood dash against his brain, heard high above,
like the singing of birds, the sweetly, deadly wicked laugh of

"Look for me, beloved!...I am here!...I am here!..."

At last he fell. His knees collided against something which was in the
way of their blindness; he stumbled and fell. He felt stones under his
hands, cool, hard stones, cut in even squares. His whole body, beaten
and racked, rested upon the cool hardness of these blocks. He rolled
over on his back. He pushed himself up, collapsed again violently, and
lay upon the floor. A suffocating blanket sank downwards. His
consciousness yielded up, as though drowned...

Rotwang had seen him fall. He waited attentively and vigilantly to see
if this young wildling, the son of Joh Fredersen and Hel, had had
enough at last, or if he would pull himself together once more for the
fight against nothing.

But it appeared that he had had enough. He lay remarkably still. He
was not even breathing now. He was like a corpse.

The great inventor left his listening post. He passed through the dark
house on soundless soles. He opened a door and entered a room. He
closed the door and remained standing on the threshold. With an
expectation that was fully aware of its pointlessness, he looked at
the girl who was the occupant of the room.

He found her as he always found her. In the farthest corner of the
room, on a high, narrow chair, hands laid, right and left, upon the
arms of the chair, sitting stiffly upright, with eyes which appeared
to be lidless. Nothing about her was living apart from these eyes. The
glorious mouth, still glorious in its pallor, seemed to enclose within
it the unpronounceable. She did not look at the man--she looked over
and beyond him.

Rotwang stooped forward. He came nearer to her. Only his hands, his
lonely hands groped through the air, as though they wanted to close
around Maria's countenance. His eyes, his lonely eyes, enveloped
Maria's countenance.

"Won't you smile just once?" he asked. "Won't you cry just once? I
need them both--your smile and your tears...Your image, Maria, just as
you are now, is burnt into my retina, never to be lost...I could take
a diploma in your horror and in your rigidity. The bitter expression
of contempt about your mouth is every bit as familiar to me as the
haughtiness of your eyebrows and your temples. But I need your smile
and your tears, Maria. Or you will make me bungle my work..."

He seemed to have spoken to the deaf air. The girl sat dumb, looking
over and beyond him.

Rotwang took a chair; he sat down astride it, crossed his arms over
the back and looked at the girl. He laughed gloomily.

"You two poor children!" he said, "to have dared to pit yourselves
against Joh Fredersen! Nobody can reproach you for it; you do not know
him and do not know what you are doing. But the son should know the
father. I do not believe that there is one man who can boast ever
having got the better of Joh Fredersen: You could more easily bend to
your I will the inscrutable God, who is said to rule the world, than
Joh Fredersen..."

The girl sat like a statue, immovable.

"What will you do, Maria, if Joh Fredersen takes you and, your love so
seriously that he comes to you and says: Give me back my son!"

The girl sat like a statue, immovable.

"He will ask you: 'Of what value is my son to you?' and if you are
wise you will answer him: 'Of no more and of no less value than he is
to you!...' He will pay the price, and it will be a high price, for
Joh Fredersen has only one son..."

The girl sat like a statue, immovable.

"What do you know of Freder's heart?" continued the man. "He is as
young as the morning at sunrise. This heart of the young morning is
yours. Where will it be at midday? And where at evening? Far away from
you, Maria--far, far, away. The world is very large and the earth is
very fair...His father will send him around the world. Out over the
beautiful earth he will forget you, Maria, before the clock of his
heart is at midday."

The girl sat like a statue, immovable. But around her pale mouth,
which was like the bud of a snowrose, a smile began to bloom--a smile
of such sweetness, of such depths, that it seemed as though the air
about the girl must begin to beam.

The man looked at the girl. His lonely eyes were starved and parched
as the desert which does not know the dew. In a hoarse voice he went

"Where do you get your sainted confidence from? Do you believe that
you are Freder's first love? Have you forgotten the 'Club of the
Sons,' Maria? There are a hundred women there--and all are his! These
loving little women could all tell you about Freder's love, for they
know more about it than you do, and you have only one advantage over
them: You can weep when he leaves you; for they are not allowed to
weep...When Joh Fredersen's son celebrates his marriage it will be as
though all Metropolis celebrated its marriage. When?--Joh Fredersen
will decide that...With whom?-Joh Fredersen will decide that...But you
will not be the bride, Maria! The son of Joh Fredersen will have
forgotten you by the day of his wedding."

"Never!" said the girl. "Never--never!"

And the painless tears of a great, true love fell upon the beauty of
her smile.

The man got up. He stood still before the girl. He looked at her. He
turned away. As he was crossing the threshold of the next room his
shoulder fell against the door-post.

He slammed the door to. He stared straight ahead. He looked on the
being--his creature of glass and metal--which bore the almost
completed head of Maria.

His hands moved towards the head, and, the nearer they came to it, the
more did it appear as if these hands, these lonely hands, wished not
to create but to destroy.

"We are bunglers, Futura!" he said. "Bunglers!--Bunglers! Can I give
you the smile which you make angels fall gladly down to hell? Can I
give you the tears which would redeem the chiefest Satan, and make him
beatify?--Parody is your name! And Bungler is mine!"

Shining cool and lustrous, the being stood there and looked at its
creator with its bafflng eyes. And, as he laid his hands on its
shoulders, its fine structure tinkled in mysterious laughter...

Freder, on recovering, found himself surrounded by a dull brightness.
It came from a window, in the frame of which stood a pale, grey sky.
The window was small and gave the impression that it had not been
opened for centuries.

Freder's eyes wandered through the room. Nothing that he saw
penetrated into his consciousness. He remembered nothing. He lay, his
back resting on stones which were cold and smooth. All his limbs and
joints were wracked by a dull pain.

He turned his head to one side. He looked at his hands which lay
beside him as though not belonging to him, thrown away, bled white.

Knuckles knocked raw...shreds of skin...brownish crusts...were these
his hands?

He stared at the ceiling. It was black, as if charred. He stared at
the walls; grey, cold walls...

Where was he--? He was tortured by thirst and a ravenous hunger. But
worse than the hunger and thirst was the weariness which longed for
sleep and which could not find it.

Maria occurred to him...


He jerked himself up and stood on sawn-through ankles. His eyes sought
for doors: There was one door. He stumbled up to it. The door was
closed, was latchless, would not open.

His brain commanded him: Don't be surprised at anything...Don't let
anything startle you...Think...

Over there, there was a window. It had no frame. It was a pane of
glass set into stone. The street lay before it--one of the great
streets of the great Metropolis, seething with human beings.

The glass window-pane must be very thick. Not the least sound entered
the room in which Freder was captive, though the street was so near.

Freder's hands fumbled across the pane. A penetrating coldness
streamed out of the glass, the smoothness of which was reminiscent of
the sucking sharpness of a steel blade. Freder's finger tips glided
towards the setting of the pane...and remained, crooked, hanging in
the air, as though bewitched. He saw: Down there, below, Maria was
crossing the street...

Leaving the house which held him captive, she turned her back on him
and walked with light, hurried step towards the Maelstrom, which the
street was...

Freder's fists smote against the pane. He cried the girl's name. He
yelled: "Maria...!" She must hear him. It was impossible that she did
not hear him. Regardless of his raw knuckles he banged with his fists
against the pane.

But Maria did not hear him. She did not turn her head around. With her
gentle but hurried step she submerged herself in the surf of people as
though into her very familiar element.

Freder leaped for the door. He heaved with his whole body, with his
shoulders, his knees, against the door. He no longer shouted. His
mouth was gaping open. His breath burnt his lips grey. He sprang back
to the window. There, outside, hardly ten paces from the window, stood
a policeman, his face turned towards Rotwang's house. The man's face
registered absolute nonchalance. Nothing seemed to be farther from his
mind than to watch the magician's house. But the man who was striving,
with bleeding fists, to shatter a window pane in his house could not
have escaped even his most casual glance.

Freder paused. He stared at the policeman's face with an unreasoning
hatred, born of fear of losing time where there was no time to be
lost. He turned around and snatched up the rude foot-stool, which
stood near the table. He dashed the foot-stool with full force at the
window pane. The rebound jerked him backwards. The pane was undamaged.

Sobbing fury welled up in Freder's throat. He swung the foot-stool and
hurled it at the door. The foot-stool crashed to earth. Freder dashed
to it, snatched it up and struck and struck, again and again, at the
booming door, in a ruddy, blind desire to destroy.

Wood splintered, white. The door shrieked like a living thing. Freder
did not pause. To the rhythm of his own boiling blood, he beat against
the door until it broke, quivering.

Freder dragged himself through the hole. He ran through the house. His
wild eyes sought an enemy and fresh obstacles in each corner. But he
found neither one nor the other. Unchallenged, he reached the door,
found it open and reeled out into the street.

He ran in the direction which Maria had taken. But the surf of the
people had washed her away. She had vanished.

For some minutes Freder stood among the hurrying mob, as though
paralysed. One senseless hope befogged his brain: Perhaps--perhaps she
would come back again...if he were patient and waited long enough...

But he remembered the cathedral--waiting in vain--her voice in the
magician's house--words of fear--her sweet, wicked laugh...

No--no waiting--! He wanted to know.

With clenched teeth he ran...

There was a house in the city where Maria lived. An interminably long
way. What should he ask about? With bare head, with raw hands, with
eyes which seemed insane with weariness, he ran towards his
destination: Maria's abode.

He did not know by how many precious hours Slim had come before him...

He stood before the people with whom Maria was supposed to live: a
man--a woman--the faces of whipped curs. The woman undertook the
reply. Her eyes twitched. She held her hands clutched under her apron.

No--no girl called Maria lived here--never had lived here....

Freder stared at the woman. He did not believe her. She must know the
girl. She must live here.

Half stunned with fear that this last hope of finding Maria could
prove fallacious too, he described the girl, as memory came to the aid
of this poor madman.

She had such fair hair...She had such gentle eyes...She had the voice
of a loving mother...She wore a severe but lovely gown...

The man left his position, near the woman, and stooped down sideways,
hunching his head down between his shoulders as though he could not
bear to hear how that strange young man there, at the door, spoke of
the girl, for whom he was seeking. Shaking her head in angry
impatience for him to be finished, the woman repeated the same
unvarnished words: The girl did not live here, once and for
all...Hadn't he nearly finished with his catechism?

Freder went. He went without a word. He heard how the door was slammed
to, with a bang. Voices were retiring, bickering. Interminable steps
brought him to the street again.

Yes...what next?

He stood helpless. He did not know which way to turn.

Exhausted to death, drunken with weariness, he heard, with a sudden
wince, that the air around him was becoming filled with an
overpowering sound.

It was an immeasurably glorious and transporting sound, as deep and
rumbling as and more powerful than any sound on earth. The voice of
the sea when it is angry, the voice of falling torrents, the voice of
very close thunder-storms would be miserably drowned in this Behemoth-
din. Without being shrill it penetrated all walls and, as long as it
lasted, all things seemed to swing in it. It was omnipresent, coming
from the heights and from the depths, being beautiful and horrible,
being an irresistible command.

It was high above the town. It was the voice of the town.

Metropolis raised her voice. The machines of Metropolis roared; they
wanted to be fed.

"My father," thought Freder, half unconsciously, "has pressed his
fingers upon the blue metal plate. The brain of Metropolis controls
the town. Nothing happens in Metropolis which does not come to my
father's ears. I shall go to my father and ask him if the inventor,
Rotwang, has played with Maria and with me in the name of Joh

He turned around to wend his way to the New Tower of Babel. He set off
with the obstinacy of one possessed, with screwed up lips, sharp lines
between the eyebrows, clenched fists on his weak, dangling arms. He
set off as though he wanted to pound the stone beneath his feet. It
seemed as though every drop of blood in his face had collected in his
eyes alone. He ran, and, on the interminable way, at every step, he
had the feeling: I am not he who is running...I am running, a spirit,
by the side of my own self...I, the spirit, am forcing my body to run
onwards, although it is tired to death...

Those who stared at him when he arrived at the New Tower of Babel
seemed to be seeing, not him, but a spirit...

He was about to enter the Pater-noster, which was pumping its way, a
scoop-wheel for human beings, through the New Tower of Babel. But a
sudden shudder pushed him away from it. Did there not crouch below,
deep, deep, down, under the sole of the New Tower of Babel, a little,
gleaming machine, which was like Ganesha, the god with the elephant's
head? Under the crouching body, and the head, which was sunken on the
chest, crooked legs rested, gnome--Like, upon the platform. The trunk
and legs were motionless. But the short arms-pushed and pushed and
pushed, alternately, forwards, backwards, forwards.

Who was standing before the machine now, cursing the Lord's Prayer--
the Lord's Prayer of the Pater-noster machine?

Shivering with horror, he ran up the stairs.

Stairs and stairs and stairs...They would never come to an end...The
brow of the New Tower of Babel lifted itself very near to the sky. The
tower roared like the sea. It howled as deep as the storm. The
hurtling of a water-fall boomed in its veins.

"Where is my father?" Freder asked the servants.

They indicated a door. They wanted to announce him. He shook his head.
He wondered: Why were these people looking so strangely at him?

He opened a door. The room was empty. On the other side, a second
door, ajar. Voices behind it. The voice of his father and that of

Freder suddenly stood still. His feet seemed to be nailed to the
floor. The upper part of his body was bent stiffly forwards. His fists
dangled on helpless arms, seeming no longer capable of freeing
themselves from their own clench. He listened; the eyes in his white
face were filled with blood, the lips were open as though forming a

Then he tore his deadened feet from the floor, stumbled to the door
and pushed it open...

In the middle of the room, which was filled with a cutting brightness,
stood Joh Fredersen, holding a woman in his arms. And the woman was
Maria. She was not struggling. Leaning far back in the man's arms, she
was offering him her mouth, he alluring mouth, that deadly laugh...

"You...!" shouted Freder.

He dashed to the girl. He did not see his father. He saw only the
girl--no, neither did he see the girl, only her mouth and her sweet,
wicked laugh.

Joh Fredersen turned around, broad and menacing. He let the girl go.
He covered her with the might of his shoulders, with the great
cranium, flamed with blood, and in which the strong teeth and the
invincible eyes were very visible.

But Freder did not see his father. He only saw an obstacle between him
and the girl.

He rushed at the obstacle. It pushed him back. Scarlet hatred for the
obstacle choked him. His eyes flew around. They sought an implement--
an implement which could be used as a battering ram. He found none.
Then he threw himself toward as a battering ram. His fingers clutched
into stuff. He bit into the stuff. He heard his own breath like a
whistle, very high and shrill. Yet within him there was only one
sound, only one cry: "Maria--!" Groaningly, beseechingly: "Maria--!!"

A man dreaming of hell shrieks out no more, in his torment, than did

And still, between him and the girl, the man, the lump of rock, the
living wall...

He threw his hands forward. Ah...look!..there was a throat! He seized
the throat. His fingers snapped fast like iron fangs.

"Why don't you defend yourself?" he yelled, staring at the man.

"I'll kill you--! I'll take your life--! I'll murder you--!"

But the man before him held his ground while he throttled him. Thrown
this way and that by Freder's fury, the body bent, now to the right,
now to the left. And as often as this happened Freder saw, as through
a transparent mist, the smiling countenance of Maria, who, leaning
against the table, was looking on with her sea water eyes at the fight
between father and son.

His father's voice said: "Freder..."

He looked the man in the face. He saw his father. He saw the hands
which were clawing around his father's throat They were his, were the
hands of his son.

His hands fell loose, as though cut off...he stared at his hands,
stammering something which sounded half like an oath, half like the
weeping of a child that believes itself to be alone in the world.

The voice of his father said: "Freder..."

He fell on his knees. He stretched out his arms. His head fell forward
into his father's hands. He burst into tears, into despairing sobs...

A door slid to.

He flung his head around. He sprang to his feet. His eyes swept the

"Where is she?" he asked.




"She...who was here..."

"Nobody was here, Freder..."

The boy's eyes glazed.

"What did you say--?" he stammered.

"There has not been a soul here, Freder, but you and I."

Freder twisted his head around stiffly. He tugged the shirt from his
throat. He looked into his father's eyes as though looking into well-

"You say there was not a soul here...I did not see you...when you were
holding Maria in your arms...I have been dreaming...I am mad, aren't

"I give you my word," said Joh Fredersen, "when you came to me there
was neither a woman nor any other living soul here..."

Freder remained silent. His bewildered eyes were still searching along
the walls.

"You are ill, Freder," said his father's voice.

Freder smiled. Then he began to laugh. He threw himself into a chair
and laughed and laughed. He bent down, resting both elbows upon his
knees, burrowing his head between his hands and arms. He rocked
himself to and fro, shrieking with laughter.

Joh Fredersen's eyes were upon him.


THE AEROPLANE WHICH had carried Josaphat away from Metropolis swam in
the golden air of the setting sun, rushing towards it at a tearing
speed, as though fastened to the westward sinking ball by metal cords.

Josaphat sat behind the pilot. From the moment when the aerodrome had
sunk below them and the stone mosaic of the great Metropolis had paled
away into the inscrutable depths, he had not given the least token
that he was a human being with the faculty for breathing and moving.
The pilot seemed to be taking a pale grey stone, which had the form of
a man, with him as freight and, when he once turned around, he looked
full into the wide open eyes of this petrified being without meeting a
glance or the least sign of consciousness.

Nevertheless Josaphat had intercepted the movement of the pilot's head
with his brain. Not immediately. Not soon. Yet the vision of this
cautious, yet certain and vigilant movement remained in his memory
until he at last comprehended it.

Then the petrified image seemed to become a human being again, whose
breast rose in a long neglected breath, who raised his eyes upwards,
looking into the empty greenish blue sky and down again to the earth
which formed a flat, round carpet, deep down in infinity--and at the
sun which was rolling westwards like a glowing ball.

Last of all, however, at the head of the pilot who sat before him, at
the airman's cap which turned, neckless, into shoulders filled with a
bull--Like strength and a forceful calm.

The powerful engine of the aeroplane worked in perfect silence. But
the air through which the aeroplane tore was filled with a mysterious
thunder, as though the dome of heaven were catching up the roaring in
the globe and throwing it angrily back again.

The aeroplane hovered homelessly above a strange earth, like a bird
not able to find its nest.

Suddenly, amid the thunder of the air, the pilot heard a voice at his
left ear saying, almost softly: "Turn back..."

The head in the airman's cap was about to bend backwards. But at the
first attempt to do so it came in contact with an object of
resistance, which rested exactly on the top of his skull. This object
of resistance was small, apparently angular and extraordinarily hard.

"Don't move!" said the voice at his left ear, which was so soft, yet
making itself understood through the thunder of the air. "Don't look
round, either! I have no revolver with me. Had I had one handy I
should probably not be here. What I have in my hand is an implement
the name and purpose of which are unknown to me. But it is made of
solid steel and quite sufficient to smash in your skull with should
you not obey me immediately...Turn back!"

The bull--Like shoulders under the airman's cap raised themselves in a
short, impatient shrug. The glowing ball of the sun touched the
horizon with an inexpressibly light hovering movement. For a few
seconds it seemed to dance along it in soft, blazing rhythm. The nose
of the aeroplane was turned towards it and did not alter its course by
a hand's breadth.

"You do not seem to have understood me," said the voice behind the
pilot. "Turn back! I wish to return to Metropolis, do you hear? I must
be there before nightfall...well?" "Shut your mouth," said the pilot.
"For the last time, will you obey or will you not--?" "Sit down and
keep quiet, back there...damn it all, what do you mean by it--?" "You
won't obey--?" "What the hell..."

A young girl, turning the hay in a wide, undulating field, by the last
light of the setting sun, had sighted the rushing bird above her, in
the evening sky and was watching it with eyes heated by work and tired
by the summer.

How strangely the aeroplane was rising and falling! It was making
jumps like a horse that wants to shake off its rider.

Now it was racing towards the sun, now it was turning its back upon
it. The young girl had never seen so wild and unruly a creature in the
air before. Now it had swung westwards and was dashing in long,
spurting bounds along the sky. Something freed itself from it; a
broad, silver-grey cloth, which swelled itself out.

Drifted hither and thither by the wind, the silver-grey cloth
fluttered down to earth--In the webs of which a gigantic, black spider
seemed to be hanging.

Screaming, the young girl began to run. The great, black spider spun
itself lower and lower on the thin cords. Now it was already like a
human being. A white, death--Like face bent earthwards. The earth
curved itself gently towards the sinking creature. The man left go of
the cord and leaped. And fell. Picked himself up again. And fell once

Like a snow-cloud, gentle and shimmering, the silver-grey cloth sank
over him, quite covering him.

The young girl came running up.

She was still screaming, wordlessly, breathlessly, as though these
primitive shrieks were her actual language. She bundled the silver
silken cloth up before her young breast with both arms in order to
bring the man who lay beneath it into the light again.

Yes, he lay there now, stretched out at his length on his back, and
the silk which was so strong as to have borne him tore under the grip
of his fingers. And where his fingers lost hold of the silk, to find
another patch which they could tear, there remained moist, red marks
upon the stuff, such as are left behind by an animal that had dipped
its paws into the blood of its enemy.

The girl was silenced by the sight of these marks.

An expression of horror came into her face, but, at the same time, an
expression such as mother-beasts have when they scent an enemy and do
not want to betray themselves nor their offspring in any way.

She clenched her teeth together so forcibly that her young mouth
became quite pale and thin. She knelt down beside the young man and
lifted his head into her lap.

The eyes opened in the white face which she was holding. They stared
into the eyes which were bending over them. They glanced sideways and
searched across the sky.

A rushing black point in the scarlet of the westerly sky, from which
the sun had sunk...

The aeroplane...

Now it had indeed carried out its will and was flying towards the sun,
further and further westward. At its wheel sat the man who would not
turn back, as dead as could be. The airman's cap hung down in shreds
from the gaping skull, on to the bull--Like shoulders. But the fists
had not lost hold of the wheel. They still held it fast...

Farewell, pilot...

The face which lay in the young girl's lap began to smile, began to

Where was the nearest town?

There was no town, far and wide.

Where was the nearest railway?

There was no railway, far and wide.

Josaphat pushed himself up. He looked about him.

Stretching out far and wide were fields and meadows, hemmed in by
forests, standing there in their evening stillness. The scarlet of the
sky had faded away. The crickets chirped. The mist about the distant,
solitary willows brewed milky white. From the hallowed purity of the
great sky the first star appeared with still glimmer.

"I must go," said the man with the white, deathlike face.

"You must rest, first," said the young girl.

The man's eyes looked up at her in astonishment. Her clear face, with
its low, unintelligent brow and its beautiful, foolish mouth stood
out, as if under a dome of sapphire, against the sky which curved
above her.

"Aren't you afraid of me?" asked the man.

"No," said the young girl.

The head of the man fell into her lap. She bent forward and covered up
the shivering body with the billowing, silver silk.

"Rest..." said the man with a sigh.

She made no reply. She sat quite motionless.

"Will you awaken me," asked the man--and his voice quavered with
weariness--"as soon as the sun comes?"

"Yes," said the young girl. "Keep quiet..."

He sighed deeply. Then he lay still.

It grew darker and darker.

In the far distance a voice was to be heard, calling a name, long
drawn out, again and again...

The stars stood glorious above the world. The distant voice was
silent. The young girl looked down upon the man whose head lay in her
lap. In her eyes was the never sleeping watchfulness which one sees in
the eyes of animals and of mothers.


WHENEVER JOSAPHAT TRIED, during the days which followed, to break
through the barrier which was drawn around Freder, there was always a
strange person there, and always a different one, who said, with
expressionless mien:

"Mr. Freder cannot receive anybody. Mr. Freder is ill." But Freder was
not ill--at least not as illness generally manifests itself among
mankind. From morning until evening, from evening until morning,
Josaphat watched the house, the crown of the tower of which was
Freder's flat. He never saw Freder leave the house. But for hours at a
time he saw, during the night, behind the white-veiled windows, which
ran the breadth of the wall, a shadow wandering up and down--and saw
at the hour of twilight, when the rooves of Metropolis still shone,
bathed in the sun, and the darkness of the ravines of its streets was
flooded out by streams of cold light, the same shadow, a motionless
form, standing on the narrow balcony which ran around this, almost the
highest house in Metropolis.

Yet what was expressed by the shadow's wandering up and down, by the
motionless standing still of the shadow form, was not illness. It was
uttermost helplessness. Lying on the roof of the house which was
opposite Freder's flat, Josaphat watched the man who had chosen him as
friend and brother, whom he had betrayed and to whom he had returned.
He could not discern his face but he read from the pale patch which
this face was in the setting sun, in the shower-bath of the
searchlight, that the man over there, whose eyes were staring across
Metropolis, did not see Metropolis.

Sometimes people would emerge beside him, would speak to him,
expecting an answer. But the answer never came. Then the people would
go, crushed.

Once Joh Fredersen came--came to his son, who stood on the narrow
balcony, seeming not to know that his father was near. Joh Fredersen
spoke to him for a long time. He laid his hand on his son's hand,
which was resting on the railing. The mouth received no answer. The
hand received no answer. Only once did Freder turn his head, then with
difficulty, as though the joints of his neck were rusted. He looked at
Joh Fredersen.

Joh Fredersen went.

And when his father had gone Freder turned his head back again on idle
joints and stared out once more across Metropolis, which was dancing
in a whirl of light, staring with blind eyes.

The railing of the narrow balcony on which he stood appeared as an
insuperable wall of loneliness, of deep, inward consciousness of
having been deserted. No calling, no signalling, not even the loudest
of sounds penetrated this wall which was washed about by the strong,
lustrous surf of the great Metropolis.

But Josaphat did not want to have ventured the leap from heaven to
earth, to have sent a man, who was but performing his duty, into
infinity, impotently to make a halt before this wall of loneliness.

There came a night which hung, glowing and vapourous over Metropolis.
A thunder storm, which was still distant, burnt its warning fires in
deep clouds. All the lights of the great Metropolis seemed more
violently, seemed more wildly to lavish themselves on the darkness.

Freder stood by the railing of the narrow balcony his hot hands laid
on the railing. A sultry, uneasy puff of wind tugged at him, making
the white silk which covered his now much emaciated body to flutter.

Around the ridge of the roof of the house right opposite him there
ran, in a shining border, a shining word, running in an everlasting
circuit around, behind itself...


Freder did not see this row of words. The retina received it--not the

Eternal hammering similarity of the wandering word...


Suddenly the word picture was extinguished and in its place numbers
sparkled out of the darkness, disappearing again, again emerging, and
this coming and disappearing, coming again and again disappearing, and
coming anew had the effect in its unmistakability, of a penetrating,
persistent call.




Freder's eyes caught the numbers.


They turned around, they came back again.


Thoughts stumbled through his brain.

90- ---? and 7- ---? a second 7--?

What did that mean?...How obtrusive these numbers were.




Freder closed his eyes. But now the numbers were within him. He saw
them flame up, sparkle, go out...flame up, sparkle, go out.

Was that--no...or yes?

Did not these numbers, some time ago, what seemed to him an
immeasurably long period ago, also convey something to him?

90-----90--- -

Suddenly a voice in his head said:

Ninetieth Block...Ninetieth Block...House seven...seventh floor...

Freder opened his eyes. Over there, on the house just opposite, the
numbers jerked up, asked and called...


Freder bent forward over the railing so that it seemed he must hurtle
into space. The numbers dazzled him. He made a movement with his arm
as though he wanted to cover them up or put them out.

They went out. The shining border went out. The house stood in gloom,
only half its height washed around by the shimmer from the white
street. The stormy sky, becoming suddenly visible, lay above its roof
and--lightning seemed to be crackling.

In the faded light, over there, stood a man.

Freder stepped back from the railing. He raised both hands before his
mouth. He looked to the right, to the left; he raised both arms. Then
he turned away, as if removed by a natural power from the spot on
which he stood, ran into the house, ran through the room, stopped
still again...

Carefully...carefully now...

He reflected. He pressed his head between his fists. Was there among
his servants, one single soul who could be trusted not to betray him
to Slim?

What a miserable state--what a miserable state--!

But what alternative had he to the leap in the dark, the blind trust--
the ultimate test of confidence?

He would have liked to extinguish the lights in his room, but he did
not dare to, for up to this day he had not been able to bear darkness
about him. He paced up and down. He felt the perspiration on his
forehead and the trembling of his joints. He could not calculate the
time which elapsed. The blood roared in his veins like a cataract. The
first flash of lightning flickered over Metropolis, and, in the tardy
responding rumble of thunder the rushing of the rain at last, mixed
itself soothingly. It swallowed up the sound of the opening of the
door. When Freder turned around Josaphat was standing in the middle of
the room. He was dressed in workman's uniform.

They walked up to each other as though driven by an outward power.
But, halfway, they both stopped and looked at each other, and each had
for the other the same horrified question on his face. Where have you
been since I saw you last? To what hell have you descended?

Freder with his feverish haste, was the first to collect himself. He
seized his friend by the arm.

"Sit down!" he said in his toneless voice, which occasionally held the
morbid dryness of things burnt. He sat down beside him, not taking his
hand from the arm. "You waited for me--In vain and in vain...I could
not send you a message, forgive me!"

"I have nothing to forgive you, Mr. Freder," said Josaphat, quietly.
"I did not wait for you...On the evening on which I was to have waited
for you, I was far, far away from Metropolis and from you..."

Freder's waiting eyes looked at him.

"I betrayed you, Mr. Freder," said Josaphat.

Freder smiled, but Josaphat's eyes extinguished his smile.

"I betrayed you, Mr. Freder," repeated the man. "Slim came to me...He
offered me much money...But I only laughed...I threw it at his head.
But then be laid on the tables slip with your father's signature...You
must believe me, Mr. Freder; He would never have caught me with the
money. There is no sum of money for which I would have sold you...But
when I saw your father's hand-writing...I still put up a fight. I
would gladly have throttled him. But I had no more strength...JOH
FREDERSEN was written on the slip...I had no more strength then..."

"I can understand that," said Joh Fredersen's son.

"Thank you...I was to go away from Metropolis--right far away...I
flew...The pilot was a strange man. We kept flying straight towards
the sun. The sun was setting. Then it occurred to my empty brain that
now the hour would come in which I was to wait for you. And I should
not be there when you came...I wanted to turn back. I asked the pilot.
He wouldn't. He wanted to carry me away by force, farther and farther
from Metropolis. He was as obstinate as only a man can be when he
knows Slim's will to be behind him. I begged and I threatened. But
nothing was of any use. So then, with one of his own tools, I smashed
in his skull."

Freder's fingers, which were still resting on Josaphat's arm,
tightened their hold a little; but they lay still again immediately.

"Then I jumped out, and I was so far away from Metropolis that a young
girl who picked me up in the field did not know the great Metropolis
even by name...I came here and found no message from you, and all that
I found out was that you were ill..."

He hesitated and was silent, looking at Freder.

"I am not ill," said Freder, looking straight ahead. He loosened his
fingers from Josaphat's arm and bent forward, laying the palms of both
hands flat on his head. He spoke into space..."But do you believe,
Josaphat, that I am mad?"


"But I must be," said Freder, and he shrank together, so narrow that
it seemed as if a little boy, filled with a mighty fear, were sitting
in his place. His voice sounded suddenly quite high and thin and
something in it brought the water to Josaphat's eyes.

Josaphat stretched out his hand, fumbled, and found Freder's shoulder.
His hand closed around his neck and drew him gently towards him,
holding him still and fast.

"Just tell me about it, Mr. Freder!" he said. "I do not think there
are many things which seem insuperable to me since I sprang, as though
from heaven to earth, from the aeroplane which was steered by a dead
man. Also," he continued in a soft voice, "I learnt in one single
night that one can bear very much when one has some one near one who
keeps watch, asks nothing and is simply there."

"I am mad, Josaphat," said Freder. "But-I don't know if it is any
consolation--! am not the only one..."

Josaphat was silent. His patient hand lay motionless on Freder's

And suddenly, as though his soul were an over-filled vessel, which had
lost its balance, toppled over and poured out in streams, Freder began
to speak. He told his friend the story of Maria, from the moment of
their first meeting in the "Club of Sons," to when they saw each other
again right down under the earth in the City of the Dead--his waiting
for her in the cathedral, his experiences in Rotwang's house, his vain
search, the curt "no" at Maria's home, up to the moment when, for her
sake, he wanted to be the murderer of his own father--no, not for her
sake: for that of a being who was not there, whom he only believed
himself to see...

"Was that not madness--?"

"Hallucination, Mr. Freder..."

"Hallucination--? I will tell you some more about hallucination,
Josaphat, and you mustn't believe that I am speaking in delirium or
that I am not fully master of my thoughts. I wanted to kill my
father...It was not my fault that the attempt at parricide was
unsuccessful...But ever since that moment I have not been human...I am
a creature that has no feet, no hands and hardly a head. And this head
is only there eternally to think that I wanted to kill my own father.
Do you believe that I shall ever get free from this hell--? Never,
Josaphat. Never--never in all eternity. I lay during the night hearing
my father walking up and down in the next room. I lay in the depths of
a black pit; but my thoughts ran along behind my father's steps, as
though chained to his soles. What horror has come upon the world that
this could happen? Is there a comet in the heavens which drives
mankind to madness? Is a fresh plague coming, or Anti-Christ? Or the
end of the world? A woman, who does not exist, forces herself between
father and son and incites the son to murder against the father...It
may be that my thoughts were running themselves a little hot at the
time...Then my father came in to me..."

He stopped and his wasted hands twisted themselves together upon his
damp hair.

"You know my father. There are many in the great Metropolis who do not
believe Joh. Fredersen to be human, because he seems not to need to
eat and drink and he sleeps when he wishes to; and usually he does not
wish to...They call him The Brain of Metropolis, and if it is true
that fear is the source of all religion then the brain of Metropolis
is not very far off from becoming a deity...This man, who is my father
came up to my bed...He walked on tiptoe, Josaphat. He bent over me and
held his breath...My eyes were shut. I lay quite still and it seemed
to me as though my father must hear my soul crying within me. Then I
loved him more than anything on earth. But if my life had been
dependent on it, I should still not have been able to open my eyes. I
felt my father's hand smoothing my pillow. Then he went again as he
had come, on tip-toe, closing the door quiet soundlessly behind him.
Do you know what he had done?"


"No...I don't see how you could. I only realised it myself some hours
later...For the first time since the great Metropolis had stood, Joh
Fredersen had omitted to press on the little blue metal plate and to
let the Behemoth-voice of Metropolis roar out, because he did not wish
to disturb his son's sleep..."

Josaphat lowered his head; he said nothing. Freder let his intertwined
hands sink.

"Then I realised," he continued, "that my father had quite forgiven
me...And when I realised that, I really fell asleep..."

He stood up and remained standing, seeming to be listening to the
rushing of the rain. The lightning was still flashing out over
Metropolis, the angry thunder bounding after. But the rushing of the
rain drowned it.

"I slept..." Freder went on--so softly that the other could scarcely
follow his words--"then I began to dream...I saw this city--this great
Metropolis--In the light of a ghostly unreality. A weird moon stood in
the sky; as though along a broad street this ghostly, unreal light
flowed down upon the city, which was deserted to the last soul. All
the houses were distorted and had faces. They squinted evilly and
spitefully down at me, for I was walking deep down between them, along
the glimmering street.

"Quite narrow was this street, as though crushed between the houses;
it was as though made of a greenish glass--like a solidified, glazen
river. I glided along it and looked down; through it into the cold
bubbling of a subterranean fire.

"I did not know my destination, but I knew I had one, and went very
fast in order to reach it the sooner. I quietened my step as well as I
could, but its sound was excessively loud and awakened a rustling
whisper over the crooked house-walls as though the houses were
murmuring against me. I quickened my pace and ran, and, at last, raced
along, and the more swiftly I raced the more hoarsely did the echo of
the steps sound after me, as though there were an army at my heels. I
was dripping with sweat...

"The town was alive. The houses were alive. Their open mouths snarled
after me. The window-caverns, open eyes, winked blindly, horribly,

"Graspingly, I reached the square before the cathedral....

"The cathedral was lighted up. The doors stood open-no, they did not
stand open. They reeled to and fro like swing doors through which an
invisible stream of guests was passing. The organ rolled, but not with
music. Croaking, bawling, screeching and whimpering sounded from the
organ and intermingled were wanton dance tunes, wailing whore-songs."

"The swing-doors, the light, the organ's witches sabbath, everything
appeared to be mysteriously excited, hurried, as though there were no
time to be lost, and full of a deep evil satisfaction."

"I walked over to the cathedral and up the steps. A door laid hold of
me, like an arm, and wafted me gustily in the cathedral.

"But that was as little the cathedral as the town was Metropolis. A
pack of lunatics seemed to have taken possession of it, and not even
human beings, at that. Dwarf--Like creatures, resembling half monkey,
half devil. In place of the saints, goat--Like figures, petrified in
the most ridiculous of leaps, reigned in the pillar niches. And around
every pillar danced a ring, raving to the bawling of the music.

"Empty, ungodded, splintered, hung the crucifix above the high altar,
from which the holy vessels had vanished."

"A fellow, dressed in black, the caricature of a monk, stood in the
pulpit, howling out in a pulpit-voice:"

"Repent! The kingdom of heaven is at hand!'

"A loud neigh answered him."

"The organ-player--! saw him, he was like a demon-stood with his hands
and feet on the keys and his head beat time to the ring-dance of the

"The fellow in the pulpit pulled out a book, an enormous, black book
with seven locks. Whenever his fingers touched a lock it sprang up in
flame and shot open."

"Murmuring incantations, he opened the cover. He bent over the book. A
ring of flames suddenly stood around his head."

"From the heights of the cathedral it struck midnight. But it was as
though it was not enough for the clock to proclaim the hour of demons
just once. Over and over again did it strike the ghastly twelve, in
dreadful, baited haste."

"The light in the cathedral changed colour. Were it possible to speak
of a blackish light this would be the expression best applied to the
light. Only in one place did it shine, white, gleaming, cutting, a
sharply whetted sword: there where death is figured as a minstrel."

"Suddenly the organ stopped, and suddenly the dance. The voice of the
preacher-fellow in the pulpit stopped. And through the silence which
did not dare to breathe rang the sound of a flute. Death was playing.
The minstrel was playing the song which nobody plays after him, on his
flute which was a human bone.

"The ghostly minstrel stepped from out his side-niche, carved in wood,
in hat and wide cloak, scythe on shoulder, the hour-glass dangling
from his girdle. Playing his flute, he stepped out of his niche and
made his way through the cathedral. And behind him came the seven
Deadly Sins as the following of Death."

"Death performed a circle around every pillar. Louder and ever louder
rang the sound of his flute. The seven Deadly Sins seized hands. As a
widely swung chain they paced behind Death; and gradually their paces
became a light dance."

"The seven Deadly Sins danced along behind Death, who was playing the

"Then the cathedral was filled with a light which seemed to be made
from rose-leaves. An inexpressibly sweet, overpowering perfume hovered
up', like incense, between the pillars. The light grew stronger and it
seemed to ring. Pale red lightning flashed from the heights collecting
itself in the central nave, to the magnificent radiance of a crown."

"The crown rested on the head of a woman. And the woman was sitting
upon a scarlet-coloured beast, having seven heads and ten horns. And
the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet and decked with gold,
precious stones and pearls. She had in her hand a golden cup. On the
crowned brow of the woman there stood, mysteriously written: Babylon."

"Like a deity, she grew up and radiated. Death and the seven Deadly
Sins bowed low before her."

"And the woman who bore the name Babylon had the features of Maria,
whom I loved..."

"The woman arose. She touched the cross-arched vault of the lofty
cathedral with her crown. She seized the hem of her cloak and opened
it. And spread out her cloak with both hands...Then one saw that the
golden cloak was embroidered with the images of manifold demons.
Beings with women's bodies and snakes' heads--beings half bull, half
angel--devils adorned with crowns, human faced lions."

"The flute song of Death was silenced. But the fellow in the pulpit
raised his yelling voice:"

"Repent! The kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

"The church-clock was still hammering the wild twelve-time of

"The woman looked Death in the face. She opened her mouth. She said to
Death: 'Go!'"

"Then Death hung the flute on his girdle, by the hourglass, took the
scythe down from his shoulder and went. He went through the cathedral
and went out of the cathedral."

And from the cloak of the great Babylon, the demons freed themselves,
come to life, and flew after Death.

"Death went down the steps of the cathedral, into the town; black
birds with human faces rustling around him. He raised the scythe as if
indicating the way. Then they divided themselves and swooped apart.
The broad wings darkened the moon."

"Death flung back his wide cloak. He stretched himself up and grew. He
grew much taller even than the houses of Metropolis. The highest
hardly reached to his knee."

"Death swung his scythe and made a whistling cut. The earth and all
the stars quivered. But the scythe did not seem to be sharp enough for
him. He looked about him as though seeking a seat. The New Tower of
Babel seemed to suit Death. He sat down on the New Tower of Babel,
propped up the scythe took the whet-stone from his girdle, spat on it
and began to whet the scythe Blue sparks flew out of the steel. Then
Death arose and made a second blow. A rain of stars poured down from
the sky."

"Death nodded with satisfaction, turned around and set off, on his way
through the great Metropolis."


"YES," SAID JOSAPHAT hoarsely, "but that was a dream..."

"Of course it was a dream...And they say dreams are bubbles, don't
they? But just listen to this, Josaphat...I emerged from this dream
back into reality with a feeling of sadness, which seemed to hack me,
as with a knife, from head to foot. I saw Maria's brow, that white
temple of goodness and virginity, besmirched with the name of the
great harlot of Babylon. I saw her send Death out over the city. I saw
how abominations upon abominations loosened themselves from about her
and fluttered away, swarming through the city--plague spirits,
messengers of evil before the path of Death. I stood out there and
looked over at the cathedral, which seemed to me to be desecrated and
soiled. Its doors stood open. Dark, human snakes were creeping into
the cathedral, and collecting themselves upon the steps. I thought:
Perhaps, among all those pious people, is my Maria too...I said to my
father: 'I wish to go to the cathedral...' He let me go. I was no
captive. As I reached the cathedral the organ was thundering like the
Trump of Doom. Singing from a thousand throats. Dies Irae...The
incense clouded above the head of the multitude, which was kneeling
before the eternal God. The crucifix hovered above the high altar,
and, in the light of the restless candles, the drops of blood on the
thorn-crowned brow of the son of Mary seemed to come to hie, to run.
The saints in the pillar-niches looked at me sadly, as though they
knew of my evil dream.

"I sought Maria. Oh, I knew quite well that all the thousands could
not hide her from me. If she were here I should find her out, as a
bird finds its way to its nest. But my heart lay as if dead in my
breast. Yet I could not help looking for her. I wandered about the
place where I had already waited for her once before...Yes--so may a
bird wander about the place where was its nest which it cannot find
again, because the lightning or the storm has destroyed it.

"And, when I came to the side-niche, in which Death stands, as a
minstrel, playing upon a human bone, the niche was empty, Death had

"It was as though the Death of my dream had not returned home to his

"Do not speak, Josaphat! It is really of no importance...a
coincidence...The carving was, perhaps, damaged--I do not know!
Believe me: it is of no importance.

"But now a voice yelled out:

"'Repent! The kingdom of heaven is at hand!'

"It was the voice of Desertus, the monk. His voice was like a knife.
The voice peeled bare my spine. Deathly stillness reigned in the
church. Among all the thousands round about, not one seemed to breathe
They were kneeling and their faces, pale masks of horror, were turned
towards the preacher.

"His voice flew through the air like a spear."

"'Repent! The kingdom of heaven is at hand!' Before me, by a pillar,
stood a young man, once a fellow member of mine, of the 'Club of the
Sons.' If I had not personally experienced how vastly human faces can
change, in a short time, I should not have recognised him."

"He was older than I, and was, it is true, not the happiest of us all,
but the gayest. And the women loved him and feared him equally, for he
was in no way to be captivated, either by laughter or by tears. Now he
had the thousand-year-old face of men, who, yet living, are dead. It
was as if a cruel executioner had removed his eyelids, that he was
condemned never to sleep, so that he was perishing of weariness."

"But it surprised me more than all to find him here, in the cathedral,
for he had been, all his life long, the greatest of scoffers."

"I laid my hand on his shoulder. He did not start. He only just turned
his eyes--those parched eyes."

"I wanted to ask him: 'What are you doing here, Jan?' But the voice of
the monk, that awful, spear-hurling voice, threw its sharpness between
him and me...The monk Desertus began to preach..."

Freder turned around and came to Josaphat with violent haste, as
though a sudden fear had taken him. He sat down by his friend,
speaking very rapidly, with words which tumbled over each other in
streaming out.

At first he had hardly listened to the monk. He had watched his
friend, and the congregation which was still kneeling, head pressed to
head. And, as he looked at them, it seemed to him as though the monk
were harpooning the congregation with his words, as though he were
throwing spears, with deadly, barbed hooks, right down into the most
secret soul of the listeners, as though he were tugging groaning souls
out of bodies, quivering with fear.

"Who is she, who has laid fire to this city? She is herself a flame--
an impure flame. You were given of a brand, might. She is a fiery
blaze over man. She is Lilith, Astarte, Rose of Hell. She is Gomorrha,
Babylon--Metropolis! Your own city--this fruitful, sinful City!--has
born this woman from out the womb of its hell. Behold her! I say unto
you: Behold her! She is the woman who is to appear before the judgment
of the world."

"He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

"Seven angels shall stand before God, and there shall be given unto
them seven trumpets. And the seven angels, which have the seven
trumpets, shall prepare themselves to sound. A star shall fall from
heaven to earth and there shall be given up the key to the pit of the
abyss. And it shall open the pit of the abyss and there shall go up a
smoke out of the pit as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and
the air shall be darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And an
angel shall fly in mid heaven, saying with a great voice: 'Woe, woe,
woe, for them that dwell on the earth!' And another angel shall follow
after him and shall say: 'Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great!'"

"Seven angels come out from the heavens, and they hear in their hands
the bowls of the wrath of God. And Babylon the great will be
remembered in the sight of God, to give unto her the cup of the wine
of the fierceness of His wrath--she who is sitting there upon a
scarlet-coloured beast full of the names of blasphemy, having seven
heads and ten horns. And the woman is arrayed in purple and scarlet,
decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a
golden cup, full of abominations and unclean things. And upon her
forehead a name is written: Mystery...Babylon the Great...The Mother
of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth."

"He who has ears to hear, let him hear! For the woman whom ye see is
the great city, which reignest over the kings of the earth. Come
forth, my people, out of her, that he have no fellowship with her
sins! For her sins have reached even unto heaven, and God has
remembered her iniquities!

"Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour
is thy judgment come! In one hour shalt thou be made desolate. Rejoice
over her, thou heaven, and ye saints, and ye apostles; for God will
judge your judgment on her. And a strong angel takes up a stone and
casts it into the sea, saying: Thus with a mighty fall, shall Babylon
the great city be cast down, and shall be found no more at all!"

"He who has ears to hear, let him hear! The woman who is called
Babylon, the Mother of the Abominations of the Earth, wanders as a
blazing brand through Metropolis. No wall and no gate bids her halt.
No tie is sacred. An oath turns to mockery before her. Her smile is
the last seduction. Blasphemy is her dance. She is the flame which
says: 'God is very wrath.' Woe unto the city in which she shall
appear!" Freder bent across to Jan.

"Of whom is he speaking?" he asked, with strangely cold lips. "Is he
speaking of a person?...of a woman?..." He saw that the brow of his
friend was covered with sweat. "He is speaking of her," said Jan, as
though he were speaking with paralysed tongue. "Of whom?"

"Of her...don't you know her?" "I don't know," said Freder, "whom you
mean..." And his tongue, too, was heavy, and as though made of clay.

Jan gave no answer. He had hunched up his shoulders as though he were
bitterly cold. Bewildered and undecided, he listened to the
intermediate rolling of the organ.

"Let us go!" he said tonelessly, turning around. Freder followed him.
They left the cathedral. They walked along together in silence for a
long time. Jan seemed to have a destination of which Freder did not
know. He did not ask. He waited. He was thinking of his dream and of
the monk's words.

At last Jan opened his mouth; but he did not look at Freder, he spoke
into space:

"You do not know who she is...But nobody knows...She was suddenly
there...As a fire breaks out...No one can say who fanned the
flame...But there it is, and now everything is ablaze..." "A

"Yes. A woman. Perhaps a maid, too. I don't know. It is inconceivable
that this being would give herself to a man...(Can you imagine the
marriage of ice?)...Or if she were to do so, then she would raise
herself up from the man's arms, bright and cool, in the awful, eternal
virginity of the soulless..."

He raised his hand and seized his throat. He tugged something away
from him which was not there. He was looking at a house which lay
opposite him, on the other side of the street, with a gaze of
superstitious hostility, which made his hands run cold.

"What is the matter with you?" asked Freder. There was nothing
remarkable about this house, except that it lay next to Rotwang's

"Hush!" answered Jan, clasping his fingers around Freder's wrist.

"Are you mad?" Freder stared at his friend. "Do you think that the
house can hear us across this infernal street?"

"It hears us!" said Jan, with an obstinate expression. "It hears us!
You think it is a house just like any other? You're wrong...It began
in this house..."

"What began?"

"The spirit..."

Freder felt that his throat was very dry. He cleared it vigorously. He
wanted to draw his friend along with him. But he resisted him. He
stood at the parapet of the street, which sheered down, steep as a
gorge, and he was staring at the house opposite.

"One day," he said, "this house sent out invitations to all its
neighbours. It was the craziest invitation on earth. There was nothing
on the card but: 'Come this evening at ten o'clock! House 12, 113th
Street!' One took the whole thing to be a joke. But one went. One did
not wish to miss the fun. Strangely enough no one knew the house.
Nobody could remember ever having entered it, or having known anything
of its occupants. One turned up at ten. One was well dressed. One
entered the house and found a big party. One was received by an old
man, who was exceedingly polite, but who shook hands with nobody. It
was an odd thing that all the people collected here seemed to be
waiting for something, of which they did not know. One was well waited
upon by servants, who seemed to be born mutes, and who never raised
their eyes. Although the room in which we were all gathered was as
large as the nave of a church, an unbearable heat prevailed, as though
the floor were glowing hot, as though the walls, were glowing hot, and
all this in spite of the fact that, as one could see, the wide door
leading to the street stood open.

"Suddenly one of the servants came up from the door to our host, with
soundless step, and seemed wordlessly, with his silent presence, to
give him some information. Our host inquired: 'Are we all met?' The
servant inclined his head. "Then close the door." It was done. The
servants swept aside and lined themselves up. Our host stepped into
the middle of the great room. At the same moment so perfect a silence
prevailed that one heard the noise of the street roaring like breakers
against the walls of the house.

"Ladies and gentlemen," said the old man courteously, "may I have the
honour of presenting my daughter to you!"

He bowed to all sides, and then he turned his back. Everyone waited.
No one moved.

"Well, my daughter," said the old man, with a gentle, but somehow
horrible voice, softly clapping his hands.

"Then she appeared on the stairs and came slowly down the room..."

Jan gulped. His fingers, which still held Freder's wrist in their
clutch, gripped tighter, as though they wished to crush the bones.

"Why am I telling you this?" he stammered. "Can one describe
lightning? Or music? Or the fragrance of a flower? All the women in
the hall suddenly blushed violently and feverishly and all the men
turned pale. Nobody seemed capable of making the least movement or of
saying a single word...You know Rainer? You know his young wife? You
know how they loved each other? He was standing behind her. She was
sitting, and he had laid his hands on her shoulders with a gesture of
passionate and protective affection. As the girl walked by them--she
walked, led by the hand of the old man, with gentle ringing step,
slowly through the hall--Rainer's hands slipped from his wife's
shoulders. She looked up at him, he down at her; and in the faces of
those two were burnt, like a torch, a sudden, deadly hatred...

"It was as though the air was burning. We breathed fire. At the same
time there radiated from the girl a coldness-an unbearable, cutting
coldness. The smile which hovered between her half-open lips seemed to
be the unspoken closing verse of a shameless song.

"Is there some substance through the power of which emotions are
destroyed, as colours are by acids? The presence of this girl was
enough to annul everything which spells fidelity in the human heart,
even to a point of absurdity. I had accepted the invitation of this
house because Tora had told me she would go too. Now I no longer saw
Tora, and I have not seen her since. And the strange thing was that,
among all these motionless beings who were standing there as though
benumbed, there was not one who could have hidden his feelings. Each
knew how it was with the other. Each felt that he was naked and saw
the nakedness of the others. Hatred, born of shame, smouldered among
us. Tora was crying. I could have struck her...Then the girl danced.
No, it was no dance...She stood, freed from the hand of the old man,
on the lowest step, facing us, and she raised her arms about the width
of her garment with a gentle, a seemingly never-ending movement. The
slender hands touched above her hair-parting. Over her shoulders, her
breasts, her hips, her knees, there ran an incessant, a barely
perceptible trembling. It was no frightened trembling. It was like the
trembling of the final spinal fins of a luminous, deep sea fish. It
was as though the girl were carried higher and higher by this
trembling, though she did not move her feet. No dance, no scream, no
cry of an animal in heat, could have so lashing an effect as the
trembling of this shimmering body, which seemed, in its calm, in its
solitude, to impart the waves of its incitement to every single soul
in the room.

"Then she went up the steps, stepping backwards, with tentative feet,
without lowering her hands, and she disappeared into a velvet-deep
darkness. The servants opened the door to the street. They lined up
with backs bent.

"The people still sat motionless.

"'Good night, ladies and gentlemen!' said the old man..."

Jan was silent. He took his hat from his head. He wiped his forehead.

"A dancer," said Freder, with cold lips, "but a spirit...?"

"Not a spirit! I will tell you another story...A man and a woman, of
fifty and forty, rich and very happy, have a son. You know him, but I
will not mention any names...

"The son sees the girl. He is as though mad. He storms the house. He
storms the girl's father: 'Let me have her! I am dying for her!' The
old man smiles, shrugs his shoulders, is silent, is exceedingly sorry,
the girl is not to be attained.

"The young man wants to lay hands on the old man, but he is whirled
out of the house and thrown into the street, by he does not know whom.
He is taken home. He falls ill and is at Death's door. The doctors
shrug their shoulders.

"The father, who is a proud but kindly man, and who loves his son
above anything on earth, makes up his mind to visit the old man,
himself. He gains entrance to the house without difficulty. He finds
the old man, and with him, the girl. He says to the girl: 'Save my

"The girl looks at him and says, with the most graciously inhuman of
smiles: 'You have no son...'

"He does not understand the meaning of these words. He wants to know
more. He urges the girl. She always gives the same answer. He urges
the old man--he lifts his shoulders. There is a perfidious smile about
his mouth..."

"Suddenly the man comprehends...He goes home. He repeats the girl's
words to his wife. She breaks down and confesses her sin--a sin which,
after twenty years, has not yet died down. But she is not concerned
with her own fate. She has no thought apart from her son. Shame,
desertion, loneliness--all are nothing; but the son is everything."

"She goes to the girl and falls on her knees before her: 'I beg you,
in the name of God's mercy, save my son...!' The girl looks at her,
smiles and says: 'You have no son...' The woman believes that she has
a lunatic before her. But the girl was right. The son, who had been a
secret witness to the conversation between the husband and the mother,
had ended his life..."



"...A terrible coincidence, Jan, but still, not a spirit."

"Coincidence?--Not a spirit?--And what do you call it, Freder,"
continued Jan, speaking quite close to Freder's ear, "when this girl
can appear in two places at once?"

"That's absolute rubbish..."

"Rubbish--? It's the truth, Freder! The girl was seen standing at the
window in Rotwang's house--and, at the same time, she was dancing her
sinful dance in Yoshiwara...."

"That is not true--!" said Freder.

"It is true!"

"You have seen the girl...In Yoshiwara--?"

"You can see her yourself, if you like...."

"What's the girl's name?"


Freder laid his forehead in his hands. He bent double, as in the
throes of an agony, which otherwise God does not permit to visit

"You know the girl?" asked Jan, bending forward.


"But you love her," said Jan, and behind these words lurked hatred,
crouched to spring.

Freder took his hand and said: "Come!"

"But," continued Freder, fixing his eyes upon Josaphat, who was
sitting there quite sunken together, while the rain was growing
gentler, like hushed weeping, "Slim was suddenly standing there,
beside me, and he said: 'Will you not return home, Mr. Freder?' "

Josaphat was silent for a long time: Freder, too, was silent. In the
frame of the open door, which led out to the balcony, stood, hovering,
the picture of the monster clock, on the New Tower of Babel, bathed in
a white light. The large hand jerked to twelve.

Then a sound arose throughout Metropolis.

It was an immeasurably glorious and transporting sound, as deep and
rumbling as, and more powerful than any sound on earth. The voice of
the ocean when it is angry, the voice of falling torrents, the voice
of very close thunder storms, would be miserably drowned in this
Behemoth din. Without being shrill, it penetrated all walls, and, as
long as it lasted, all things seemed to swing in it. It was
omnipresent, coming from the heights and from the depths, being
beautiful and horrible, being an irresistible command.

It was high above the town. It was the voice of the town.

Metropolis raised her voice. The machines of Metropolis roared: They
wanted to be fed.

The eyes of Josaphat and Freder met.

"Now," said Josaphat, "many are going down into a city of the dead,
and are waiting for one who is called Maria, and whom they have found
as true as gold..."

"Yes!" said Freder, "you are a friend, and you are quite right...I
shall go with them..."

And, for the first time this night, there was something like hope in
the ring of his voice.


IT WAS ONE HOUR after midnight.

Joh Fredersen came to his mother's house.

It was a farmhouse, one-storied, thatch-roofed, overshadowed by a
walnut tree and it stood upon the flat back of one of the stone
giants, not far from the cathedral. A garden full of lilies and
hollyhocks, full of sweet peas and poppies and nasturtiums, wound
itself about the house.

Joh Fredersen's mother had only one son and him she had very dearly
loved. But the Master over the great Metropolis, the Master of the
machine-city, the Brain of the New Tower of Babel had become a
stranger to her and she hostile to him. She had had to look on once
and see how one of Joh Fredersen's machine-Titans crushed men as
though they were dried up wood. She had screamed to God. He had not
heard her. She fell to the ground and never got up again. Only head
and hands retained their vitality in the paralysed body. But the
strength of a legion blazed in her eyes.

She opposed her son and the work of her son. But he did not let her
alone; he forced her to him. When she angrily vowed she wished to live
in her house--under the thatched roof, with its vault, the walnut
tree--until her dying day, he transplanted house and tree and gaily
blossoming garden to the flat roof of the stone house-giant which lay
between the cathedral and the New Tower of Babel. The walnut tree
ailed one year long; and then it became green again. The garden
blossomed, a wonder of beauty, about the house.

When Joh Fredersen entered this house he came from sleepless nights
and evil days.

He found his mother as he always found her: sitting in the wide, soft
chair by the open window, the dark rug over the now paralysed knees,
the great Bible on the sloping table before her, in the beautiful old
hands the delicate figured lace at which she was sewing; and, as ever,
when he came to her, she silently laid aside the fine work and folded
her hands firmly in her lap as though she must collect all her will
and every thought for the few minutes which the great son spent with
his mother.

They did not shake hands; they did not do that, any more.

"How are you, mother?" asked Joh Fredersen.

She looked at him with eyes in which gleamed the strength of a
heavenly legion. She asked:

"What is it you want, Joh?"

He sat down opposite her and laid his forehead in his hands.

There was nobody in the great Metropolis, not anywhere else on earth
who could have boasted ever having seen Joh Fredersen with sunken

"I need your advice, mother," he said, looking at the floor.

The mother's eyes rested on his hair.

"How shall I advise you, Joh? You have taken a path along which I
cannot follow you--not with my head, and certainly not with my heart.
Now you are so far away from me that my voice can no longer reach you.
And if it were able to reach you, Joh, would you listen to me were I
to say to you: Turn back--? You did not do it then and would not do it
to-day. Besides, all too much has been done which cannot be undone,
you have done all too much wrong, Joh, and do not repent, but believe
yourself to be in the right. How can I advise you then...

"It is about Freder, mother...?"

"...about Freder?"


"What about Freder..."

Joh Fredersen did not answer immediately.

His mother's hands trembled greatly, and, if Joh Fredersen had looked
up, the fact could not have remained hidden from him. But Joh
Fredersen's forehead remained sunken upon his hands.

"I had to come to you, mother, because Hel is no longer alive...."

"And of what did she die?"

"I know: of me...You have made it clear to me, mother, often and
cruelly, and you have said I had poured boiling wine into a crystal.
Then the most beautiful of glass must crack. But I do not repent it,
mother. No, I do not repent it...For Hel was mine..."

"And died for it..."

"Yes. Had she never been mine perhaps she would still be alive. Better
that she should be dead."

"She is, Joh. And Freder is her son."

"What do you mean by that, mother?"

"If you did not know just as well as I, Joh, you would not have come
to me to-day."

Joh Fredersen was silent. Through the open window, the rustling of the
walnut tree was to be heard, a dreamy, touching sound.

"Freder often comes to you, mother, doesn't he?" asked Joh Fredersen.


"He comes to you for aid against me..."

"He is in great need of it, Joh..."

Silence. Then Joh Fredersen raised his head. His eyes looked as though
sprinkled with purple.

"I have lost, Hel, mother," he said. "I can't lose Freder too..."

"Have you reason to fear that you will lose him?"


"Then I am surprised," said the old lady, "that Freda: has not yet
come to me..."

"He is very ill, mother..."

The old lady made a movement as though wishing to rise, and into her
archangel eyes there came an angry glitter.

"When he came here recently," she said, "he was as healthy as a tree
in bloom. What ails him?"

Joh Fredersen got up and began to walk up and down the room. He smelt
the perfume of flowers streaming up from the garden through the open
window as something inflicting pain which ripped his forehead into

"I do not know," he said suddenly, quite disjointedly, "how this girl
could have stepped into his life. I do not know how she won this
monstrous hold over him. But I heard from his own lips how he said to
her: My father no longer has a son, Maria..."

"Freder does not lie, Joh. So you have lost him already."

Joh Fredersen did not answer. He thought of Rotwang. He had said the
same words to him.

"Is it about this that you have come to me, Joh?" asked his mother.
"Then you could have spared yourself the trouble. Freder is Hel's son.
Yes...That means he has a soft heart But he is yours too, Joh. That
means he has a skull of steel. You know best, Joh, how much obstinacy
a man can summon up to attain to the woman he wants."

"You cannot make that comparison, mother. Freder is almost a boy,
still. When I took Hel to me I was a man, and knew what I was doing.
Hel was more needful to me than the air to breathe I could not do
without Hel, Mother. I would have stolen her from the arms of God

"From God, Joh, you can steal nothing, but something can be stolen
from man. You have done that. You have sinned, Joh. You have sinned
towards your friend. For Hel loved Rotwang and it was you who
compelled her."

"When she was dying, mother, she loved me...."

"Yes. When she saw that you, too, were a man, when your head was
beating against the floor and you were crying out. But do you believe,
Joh, that this one smile in her dying hour outweighs all that which
brought about her death?"

"Leave me my belief, Mother..."


Joh Fredersen looked at his mother.

"I should very much like to know," he said with darkened voice, "on
what you feed your cruelty towards, me, mother."

"On my fears for you, Joh--on my fears!"

"You need have no fears for me, mother..."

"Oh yes, Joh--oh yes! Your sin walks behind you like a good dog on the
trail. It does not lose your scent, Joh--it remains always and always
at your back. A friend is unarmed against his friend. He has no shield
before his breast, nor armour before his heart. A friend who believes
in his friend is a defenceless man. A defenceless man was it whom you
betrayed, Joh."

"I have paid for my sin, mother...Hel is dead. Now I have only Freder
left. That is her legacy. I will not give up Hel's legacy. I have come
to you to beg of you, mother: help me to win Freder back."

The old lady's eyes were fixed on him, sparkingly.

"What did you answer me, Joh, when I wanted to stop you on your way to

"I don't remember."

"But I do, Joh! I still remember every syllable. You said: 'I don't
hear a word you say--! only hear Hel! If I were to be blinded--!
should still see Hel! If I were to be paralysed--with paralysed feet,
I should still find my way to Hel!--' Freder is your son. What do you
think, Joh, he would answer me were I to say to him: give up the girl
you love...?"

Joh Fredersen was silent.

"Take care, Joh," said the old mother. "I know what it means when your
eyes grow cold, as now, and when you grow as pale as one of the stones
of the wall. You have forgotten that lovers are sacred. Even if they
are mistaken, Joh, their mistake itself is sacred. Even if they are
fools, Joh, their folly itself is sacred. For where lovers are, there
is God's garden, and no one has the right to drive them out Not even
God. Only their own sin."

"I must have my son back," said Joh Fredersen. "I had hoped you would
help me, and you would certainly have been the gentlest means I could
have chosen. But you will not, and now I must seek another means..."

"Freder is ill, you say..."

"He will get well again..."

"So you will continue in your way?"


"I believe, Joh, that Hel would weep were she to hear you!"

"Perhaps. But Hel is dead."

"Well, come here to me, Joh! I will give you a word to take with you
on your way, which you cannot forget. It is easy to retain."

Joh Fredersen hesitated. Then he walked up to his mother. She laid her
hand on the bible which lay before her. Joh Fredersen
read:...Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap...

Joh Fredersen turned around. He walked through the room. His mother's
eyes followed him. As he turned toward her, suddenly, violently, with
a violent word on his lips he found the gaze of her eyes set upon him.
They could hide themselves no longer, and neither did they wish to--
such an almighty love--such an almighty love, in their tear-washed
depths that Joh Fredersen believed himself to see his mother to-day
for the first time.

They looked at each other for a long time, in silence.

Then the man stepped up to his mother.

"I am going, now, mother," he said, "and I don't believe I shall ever
come to you again...."

She did not answer.

It seemed as though he wanted to stretch out his hand to her, but,
half-way he let it drop again.

"For whom are you crying, mother," he asked, "for Freder or for me?"

"For you both," said the mother, "for you both, Joh..." He stood in
silence and the struggle of his heart was in his face. Then, without
giving his mother another look, he turned around and went out of the
house, over which the walnut tree rustled.


IT WAS MIDNIGHT AND NO LIGHT was burning. Only through the window
there fell the radiance of the city, lying like a pale gleam upon the
face of the girl who sat, leaning back against the wall, without
moving, with closed eyelids, her hands in her lap.

"Will you never answer me?" asked the great inventor.

Stillness. Silence. Immobility.

"You are colder than stone, harder than any stone. The tip of your
finger must cut through the diamond as though it were water...I do not
implore your love. What does a girl know of love? Her unstormed
fortresses--her unopened Paradises--her sealed-up books, whom no one
knows but the god who wrote them--what do you know of love? Women know
nothing of love either. What does light know of light? Flame of
burning? What do the stars know of the laws, by which they wander? You
must ask chaos--coldness, darkness, the eternal unredeemed which
wrestles for the redemption of itself. You must ask the man what love
is. The hymn of Heaven is only composed in Hell...! do not implore
your love, Maria. But your pity, you motherly one, with the virgin

Stillness. Silence. Immobility.

"I hold you captive...Is that my fault? I do not hold you captive for
myself, Maria. Above you and me there is a Will which forces me into
being evil. Have pity on him who must be evil, Maria! All the springs
of good within me are choked up. I thought them to be dead; but they
are only buried alive. My being is a rock of darkness. But deep within
the sad stone I hear the springs rushing...If I defy the Will which is
above you and me...If I destroy the work I created after your
image...It would only be what Joh Fredersen deserves and it would be
better for me!...He has ruined me, Maria--he has ruined me! He stole
the woman from me, who was mine, and whom I loved. I do not know if
her soul was ever with me. But her pity was with me and made me good.
Joh Fredersen took the woman from me. He made me evil. He, who grudged
the stone the imprint of her shoe, made me evil to take her pity from
me. Hel is dead. But she loved him. What a fearful law it is by which
the beings of Light turn themselves to those of Darkness, but pass \
by those in the shade. Be more merciful than Hel was, Maria! I will
defy the Will which is above you and me. I will open the doors for
you. You will be able to go where you list and nobody shall stop you.
But would you remain with me of your own free will, Maria? I long to
be good...will you help me?"

Stillness. Silence. Immobility.

"Neither do I implore your pity, Maria. There is nothing on earth more
incompassionate than a woman who only loves one single being...You
cool murderesses in the name of Love...You goddesses of Death, with
your smile!...The hands of your Beloved are cold. You ask: 'Shall I
warm your hands for you, Beloved?' You do not wait for his 'Yes.' You
set fire to a city. You burn down a kingdom, so that you can warm the
hands of your Beloved at its blaze...You rise up and pluck from the
heaven of the world its most radiant stars, without caring that you
destroy the Universe and put the dance of the Eternal out of balance.
'Do you want the stars-Beloved?' And if he says 'No' then you let the
stars fall...Oh! you blessed harmdoers! You may step, fearfully
inviolable, before the throne of God and say: 'Get up, Creator of the
World! I need the throne of the World for my beloved!...' You do not
see who dies by your side if only the one is living. A drop of blood
on the finger of your Beloved frightens you more than the destruction
of a continent...All this I know, and have never possessed it. I...I--
No, I do not call upon your pity, Maria. But I call upon your

Still. Silence. Immobility.

"Do you know the subterranean City of the Dead? There, I used a girl
called Maria, nightly to call her brothers together. I Her brothers
wear the blue linen uniform, the black caps, I the hard shoes. Maria
spoke to her brothers of a mediator, who would come to deliver them.
'The Mediator between Brain and Hands must be the Heart...' Wasn't it
so?--The brothers of the girl believed in the girl. They waited. They
waited long. But the mediator did not come. And the girl did not come.
She sent no message. She was not to be found. But the brothers
believed in the girl, for they had found her as true as gold. 'She
will come!' they said. 'She will come again! She is faithful. She will
not leave us alone! She said: 'The mediator will come!'...Now he must
come...Let us be patient and let us wait'...! But the mediator did not
come. And--the girl did not come. The misery of the brothers has grown
from day to day. Where once a thousand murmured--now murmur ten
thousand. They will no more be fed with hope. They languish for fight,
for destruction, for ruin, for downfall. And even the believers, even
the patient ones ask: 'Where is Maria? Can it be that gold is
faithless?' Will you leave them without an answer, Maria?"

Stillness. Silence. Immobility.

"You are silent...You are very obstinate...But now I shall tell you
something which will surely break your obstinacy...Do you think I am
holding you captive here for fun? Do you think Joh Fredersen knew no
other way of getting you out of his son's sight than shutting you up
behind the Solomon's seal on my doors? On no, Maria--oh no, my
beautiful Maria! We have not been idle all these days. We have stolen
your beautiful soul from you--your sweetsoul, that tender smile of
God. I have listened to you as the air has listened to you. I have
seen you angry and in the depths of despair. I have seen you burning
and dull as the earth. I have listened to you praying to God, and have
cursed God because he did not hear you. I have intoxicated myself with
your helplessness. Your pitiful weeping has made me drunken. When you
sobbed the name of your Beloved, I thought I must die, and
reeled...And thus, as one intoxicated, as one drunken, as one reeling,
I became a thief of you, Maria, I created you anew--! became your
second God! I have stolen you absolutely! In the name of Joh
Fredersen, the Master over the great Metropolis, have I stolen your
ego from you, Maria. And this stolen ego-your other self--sent a
message to your brothers, calling them by night into the City of the
Dead--and they all came. When you spoke to them before,' you spoke for
Peace...but Joh Fredersen does not want Peace any more--do you see?--
He wants the decision! The hour has come! Your stolen ego; may not
speak for Peace any more. The mouth of Joh Fredersen speaks from out
it...And among your brothers there will be one who loves you and who
will not realize--who will not doubt you, Maria...Only just give me
your hands, Maria--only your hands, no more...I do not ask for
more...your hands must be wondrous. Pardon is the name of the right,
Redemption of the left...If you give me your hands I will go with you
into the City of the Dead, so that you can warn your brothers, so that
you can unmask your stolen ego--so that the one who loves you finds
you again and does not have to doubt you...Did you say anything,

He heard the soft, soft weeping of the girl. He fell, where he stood,
upon his knees. He wanted to drag himself along on his knees to the
girl. And suddenly stopped still. He listened. He stared. He said in a
voice which was almost like a shriek, in its wide-awake attention:

"Maria...? Maria--don't you hear...? There's a strange man in the

"Yes," said the quiet voice of Joh Fredersen.

And then the hands of Joh Fredersen seized the throat of Rotwang, the
great inventor...


A VAULT, LIKE THE VAULT of a sepulchre--human heads so closely crowded
as to produce the effect of clods of a freshly ploughed field. All
faces turned to one point: to the source of a light, as mild as God.
Candles burnt with sword--Like flames. Slender, lustrous swords of
light stood in a circle around the head of a girl.

Freder stood pressed into the background of the arch-so far from the
girl that he perceived of her face nothing but the shimmer of its
pallor, the wonder of the eyes and the blood-red mouth. His eyes hung
upon this blood-red mouth as though it were the middle point of the
earth, to which, by eternal law, his blood must pour down. Tantalising
was this mouth...All the seven Deadly Sins had such a mouth...The
woman on the scarlet-coloured beast, who bore the name Babylon on her
forehead, had such a mouth...

He pressed both hands to his eyes in order no longer to see this mouth
of deadly sin.

Now he heard more clearly...Yes, that was her voice, the voice which
sounded as though God could refuse it nothing...Was that really it?
The voice came from out the blood-red mouth. It was like a flame, hot
and pointed. It was full of a wicked sweetness...

The voice said: "My brothers..."

But no peace proceeded from out these words. Little red snakes hissed
through the air. The air was hot--an agony to breathe..

Groaning heavily, Freder opened his eyes.

Dark, angry waves were the heads before him. These waves frothed,
raged and roared. Here and there a hand shot up into the air. Words
sprang up, foam flecks of the surf. But the voice of the girl was like
a tongue of fire, drawing, enticing, burning above the heads.

"Which is more pleasant: water or wine?"

"...Wine is more pleasant!"

"Who drinks the water?"


"Who drinks the wine?"

"...The masters! The masters of the machines!"

"Which is more pleasant: meat or dry bread?"

"...Meat is more pleasant!"

"Who eats the dry bread?"


"Who eats the meat?"

"...The masters! The masters of the machines!"

"Which is more pleasant to wear: blue linen or white silk?"

"...White silk is more pleasant to wear!"

"Who wears the blue linen?"


"Who wears the white silk?"

"...The masters! The sons of the masters!"

"Where is it more pleasant to live: upon or under the earth?"

"...It is more pleasant to live upon the earth!"

"Who lives under the earth?"


"Who lives upon the earth?"

"...The masters! The masters of the machines!"

"Where are your wives?"

"...In misery!"

"Where are your children?"

"...In misery!"

"What do your wives do?"

"...They starve!"

"What do your children do?"

"...They cry!"

"What do the wives of the masters of the machines do?"

"...They feast!"

"What do the children of-the masters of the machines do?"

"...They play!"

"Who are the providers?"


"Who are the squanderers?"

"...The masters! The masters of the machines!"

"What are you?"


"No!--what are you?"


"No!--what are you?"

"...Tell us!--tell us!"

"You are fools! Blockheads! Blockheads! Throughout your morning, your
midday, your evening, your night, the machine howls for food, for
food, for food--! You are the food! You are the living food!--The
machine devours you like fodder and then spews you up again! Why do
you batten the machines with your bodies?--Why do you oil the joints
of the machines with your brains?--Why do you not let the machines
starve, you fools?--Why do you not let them perish, blockheads--? Why
do you feed them--! The more you feed them the more they greed for
your flesh, for your bones, for your brains. You are ten thousand! You
are a hundred thousand! Why do you not throw yourselves--a hundred
thousand murdering fists--upon the machines and strike them dead--?
Yaw are the masters of the machines--you! Not the others who walk in
their white silk--! Turn the world about--! Stand the world on its
head--! Murder the living and the dead--! Take the inheritance from
living and dead-I You have waited long enough--! The hour has come!"

A voice shouted from among the multitude:

"Lead us on, Maria--!"

A mighty wave--all the heads broke forward. The blood-red mouth of the
girl laughed and flamed. The eyes above it flamed, huge and greenish
black. She raised her arms with an unspeakably difficult, burden-
raising, sweet, mad gesture. The slim body grew and stretched itself
up. The girl's hands touched above her hair-parting. Over her
shoulders, her breasts, her hips, her knees, there ran an incessant, a
barely perceptible trembling. It was as though the girl were carried
higher and higher by this trembling, though she did not move her feet.

She said: "Come...I Come...! I will lead you...! I will dance the
dance of Death before you...! I will dance the dance of the Murderers
before you...!"

The multitude moaned. The multitude gasped. The multitude stretched
out its hands. The multitude bowed head and neck low, as though its
shoulders, its backs, should be a carpet for the girl. The multitude
fell on its knees with a groan, one single beast felled with the
hatchet. The girl raised her foot and stepped upon the neck of the
outstretched beast...

A voice shouted out, sobbing with rage and pain:

"You are not Maria--!"

The multitude turned around. The multitude saw a man standing in the
background of the arch, a man, from whose shoulders the coat had
fallen. Under the coat he wore the white silk. The man was more
ghastly to see than one who has bled to death. He stretched out his
hand and pointed to the girl. He yelled out:

"You are not Maria!! No--!! You are not Maria--!!"

The heads of the multitude stared at the man who was a stranger among
them, who wore the white silk...

"You are not Maria--!" he yelled. "Maria preaches peace--and not

The eyes of the multitude began to glare dangerously.

The girl stood bolt upright in the neck of the multitude. She began to
totter. It seemed as though she would fall--fall over on to her white
face in which the blood-red mouth-the mouth of deadly sin, flamed like

But she did not fall. She held herself upright. She swayed slightly,
but she held herself upright. She stretched out her arm and pointed at
Freder, calling in a voice which sounded like glass:

"Look--! Look--! The son of Joh Fredersen--! The son of Joh Fredersen
is among you--!"

The multitude shouted. The multitude hurled itself around. The
multitude made to lay hold of the son of Joh Fredersen.

He did not resist. He stood pressed against the wall. He stared at the
girl with a gaze in which belief in eternal damnation was to be read.
It seemed as if he were already dead, and as though his lifeless body
were falling, ghostlike upon the fists of those who wished to murder

A voice roared:

"Dog in white silken skin--!!"

An arm shot up, a knife flashed out...

Upon the billowing neck of the multitude stood the girl. It was as if
the knife came flying from out her eyes...

But, before the knife could plunge into the white silk which covered
the heart of the son of Joh Fredersen, a man threw himself as a shield
before his breast, and the knife ripped open blue linen. Blue linen
was dyed purple-red...

"Brothers...!" said the man. Dying, yet standing upright, he was
covering the son of Joh Fredersen with his whole body. He turned his
head a little to catch Freder's glance. He said with a smile which was
transfigured in pain:


Freder recognised him. It was Georgi. It was number eleven thousand
eight hundred and eleven which was now going out, and which, going
out, was protecting him.

He wanted to push past Georgi. But the dying man stood like one
crucified, with out-stretched arms and hands clawing into the edge of
the niches which were behind him. He held his eyes, which were like
jewels, fixedly set on the multitude which was storming towards him.

"Brothers..." he said.

"He said: 'Murderers...Brother murderers...'" said the dying mouth.

The multitude left him alone and raced on. On the shoulders of the
multitude the girl was dancing and singing. She sang with her blood-
red mouth of deadly sin!

"We've passed sentence upon the machines! We have condemned the
machines to death! The machines must die--to hell with them! Death!--
Death!--Death to the machines--!"

Like the rush of a thousand wings the step of the multitude thundered
through the narrow passages of the City of the Dead. The girl's voice
died away. The steps died away. Georgi loosened his hands and pitched

Freder caught him. He sank upon his knee. Georgi's head fell upon his

"Warn...warn..the town..." said Georgi.

"And are you dying--?" gave Freder as answer. His bewildered eyes ran
along the walls in the niches of which slept the thousand-year-old
dead. "There is no justice in this world!"

"Uttermost justice..." said eleven thousand eight hundred and eleven.
"From weakness--sin...From sin-atonement...Warn..the town!--Warn...!"

"I'm going to leave you alone--!"

"I beg you to...beg you--!"

Freder got up, despair in his eyes. He ran to the passage, in which
the multitude had died away.

"Not that way--!" said Georgi. "You won't get through that way any

"I know no other way...."

"I'll take you..."

"You are dying, Georgi! The first step is your death--!"

"Won't you warn the town? Do you want to be an accessory?"

"Come!" said Freder.

He raised Georgi up. With his hand pressed to his wound, the man began
to run.

"Pick up your lamp and come!" said Georgi. He ran so that Freder could
hardly follow him. Into the ten-thousand-year-old dust dripped the
blood which welled up from the freshly inflicted wound. He held
Freder's arm clasped, pulling him forwards.

"Hurry!" he murmured. "Hurry--there's not time to lose!"

Passages--crossings--passages--steps--passages--a flight of stairs
which led steeply upward...Georgi fell at the first step. Freder
wanted to hold him. He pushed him away.

"Hurry!" he said. He indicated the stairs with his head. "Up--! You
can't go wrong now...hurry up--!"

"And you, Georgi?--and you--?"

"I--" said Georgi, turning his head to the wall--"I am not going to
answer any more questions..."

Freder let go of Georgi's hand. He began to run up the stairs. Night
embraced him-the night of Metropolis-this light-mad, drunken night.

Everything was still the same as usual. Nothing indicated the storm
which was to break out from inside the earth, under Metropolis, to
murder the machine-city.

But it seemed to Joh Fredersen's son as if the stones were giving way
under his feet--as though he heard in the air the rushing of wings--
the rushing of the wings of strange monsters: beings with women's
bodies and snakes' heads--beings, half bull, half angel--devils
adorned with crowns--human faced lions....

It seemed to him as if he saw death sitting on the New Tower of Babel,
in hat and wide cloak, whetting his propped up scythe..

He reached the New Tower of Babel. Everything was as usual. The Dawn
was fighting the first fight with the Early Morning. He looked for his
father. He did not find him. Nobody could say where Joh Fredersen had
gone at midnight.

The Brain-pan of the New Tower of Babel was empty.

Freder wiped from his brow the sweat which was running in drops over
his temples.

"I must find my father--!" he said. "I must call him--cost what it

Men, with servants eyes looked at him. Men who knew nothing apart from
blind obedience--who could not advise, still less help...

Joh Fredersen's son stepped into his father's place, at the table
where his great father used to sit. He was as white as the silk which
he wore as he stretched out his hand and pressed his fingers on the
little blue metal place, which no man ever touched apart from Joh

...Then the great Metropolis began to roar. Then she raised her
voice--her Behemoth-voice. But she was not screaming for food--no, she
was roaring: Danger...

Above the gigantic city, above the slumbering city, the monster-voice
roared: Danger--! Danger--!

A barely perceptible trembling ran through the New Tower of Babel, as
if the earth which bore it were shuddering, frightened by a dream,
betwixt sleeping and waking....


MARIA DID NOT DARE to stir. She did not even dare to breathe She did
not close her eyes for quaking fear that, between the lowering and
raising of her eyelids, a fresh horror could come upon her and seize

She did not know how much time had elapsed since the hands of Joh
Fredersen had closed around the throat of Rotwang, the great inventor.
The two men had been standing in the shadow; and yet it seemed to the
girl as if the outline of both of their forms had remained behind in
the darkness, in fiery lines: The bulk of Joh Fredersen, standing
there, his hands thrown forward, like two claws;--Rotwang's body,
which hung in these claws, and which was dragged away--pulled forth--
through the frame of the door, which closed behind them both.

What was happening behind this door?...

She heard nothing. She listened with all her senses--but she heard
nothing, not the least sound....

Minutes passed--endless minutes...There was nothing to be heard,
neither step nor cry...

Was she breathing, wall to wall, with murder?

Ah--that clutch at Rotwang's neck...That form, being dragged away,
pulled from darkness into deeper darkness....

Was he dead?...Was he lying behind that door, in a corner, face
twisted around to his back, with broken neck and glazed eyes? Was the
murderer still standing behind that door?

The room, in which she was seemed suddenly to become filled with the
sound of a dull thumping. It grew louder and louder, more and more
violent. It deafened the ears and yet remained dull...Gradually she
realised: It was her own heart-beat...If somebody had come into the
room, she would not have heard him, her heart was beating so.

Stammered words of a childish prayer passed through her brain,
confusedly and senselessly..."Dear God, I pray Thee, bide with me,
take care of me, Amen."...She thought of Freder...No--don't cry, don't

"Dear God, I pray Thee...."

This silence was no longer bearable! She must see--must be certain.

But she did not dare to take a step. She had got up and could not find
courage to return to her old seat. She was as though sewn into a black
sack. She held her arms pressed close to her body. Horrors stood at
her neck and blew at her.

Now she heard--yes, she heard something. Yet the sound did not come
from inside the house; it came from far away. This sound even
penetrated the walls of Rotwang's house, which were otherwise
penetrated by no sound, wherever it came from.

It was the voice of Metropolis. But she was screaming what she had
never screamed before.

She was not screaming for food. She was screaming: Danger--! Danger--!
The screaming did not stop. It howled on, incessantly. Who had dared
to unchain the voice of the great Metropolis, which otherwise obeyed
no one but Joh Fredersen? Was Joh. Fredersen-no longer in this house?
Or was this voice to call him?--this wild roar of: Danger--! Danger--!
What danger was threatening Metropolis? Fire could not be alarming the
city, to make her roar so, as though she had gone mad. No high tide
was threatening Metropolis. These elements were subdued and quiet.

Danger--of man?...Revolt--?

Was that it--?

Rotwang's words fluttered through her brain...In the City of the
Dead--what was going on in the City of the Dead? Did the uproar come
from the City of the Dead? Was destruction welling up from the depths?

Danger--! Danger--! screamed the voice of the great city.

As though by power of a thrust within, Maria ran, all at once, to the
door and tore it open. The room which lay before her, just as that
which she had left, received its solitary light--and sparely enough--
through the window. At the first glance round, the room seemed to be
empty. A strong current of air, coming from an invisible source,
streamed, hot and even, through the room, bringing in the roaring of
the town with renewed force.

Maria stooped forward. She recognised the room. She had run along
these walls in her despairing search for a door. There was a door,
which had neither bolt nor lock. Copper-red, in the gloomy wood of the
door, glowed the seal of Solomon, the pentagram. There, in the middle,
was a square, the trap-door, through which, some time ago, a period
which she could not measure, she had entered the house of the great
inventor. The bright square of the window fell upon the square of the

A trap, thought the girl. She turned her head around....

Would the great Metropolis never stop roaring--?

Danger--! Danger--! Danger--! roared the town.

Maria took a step, then stopped again.

There was something lying over there. There was something lying there
on the floor. Between her and the trap-door, something was lying on
the floor. It was an unrecognisable heap. It was something dark and
motionless. It might be human, and was, perhaps, only a sack. But it
lay there and must be passed around if one wanted to reach the trap-

With a greater display of courage than had ever before in her life
been necessary, Maria silently set one foot before the other. The heap
on the floor did not move...She stood, bending far forward, making her
eyes reconnoitre, deafened by her own heart-beat and the roar of the
uproar-proclaiming city.

Now she saw clearly; What was lying there was a man. The man lay on
his face, legs drawn tightly to his body, as though he had gathered
them to him to push himself up and had then not found any more
strength to do it. One hand lay thrown over his neck, and its crooked
fingers spoke more eloquently than the most eloquent of mouths of a
wild self-defence.

But the other hand of the heap of humanity lay stretched far away from
it, on the square of the trapdoor, as though wishing, in itself, to be
a bolt to the door. The hand was not of flesh and bone. The hand was
of metal, the hand was the master-piece of Rotwang, the great

Maria threw a glance at the door, on which the seal of Solomon glowed.
She ran up to it, although she knew it to be pointless to implore this
inexorable door for liberty. She felt, under her feet, distant, quite
dull, strong and impelling, a shake, as of distant thunder.

The voice of the great Metropolis roared: Danger--! Maria clasped her
hands and raised them to her mouth. She ran up to the trap-door. She
knelt down. She looked at the heap of humanity which lay at the edge
of the trapdoor. She knelt down. She looked at the heap of humanity
which lay at the edge of the trap-door, the metal hand of which seemed
obstinately to be defending the trap-door. The fingers of the other
hand, thrown over the man's neck, were turned towards her, poised
high, like a beast before the spring.

And the trembling shake again--and now much mightier-Maria seized the
iron ring of the trap-door. She pushed it up. She wanted to pull up
the door. But the hand--the hand which lay upon it--held the door
clutched fast.

Maria heard the chattering of her teeth. She pushed herself across on
her knees towards the motionless heap of humanity. With infinite care,
she grasped the hand which lay, as a steel bolt, across the trap-door.
She felt the coldness of death proceeding from this hand. She pressed
her teeth into her white lips. As she pushed back the hand with all
her strength, the heap of humanity rolled over on its side, and the
grey face appeared, staring upwards...

Maria tore open the trap-door. She swung herself down, into the black
square. She did not leave herself time to close the door. Perhaps it
was that she had not the courage, once more to emerge from the depths
she had gained, to see what lay up there, at the edge of the trap-
door. She felt the steps under her feet, and felt, right and left, the
damp walls. She ran through the darkness, thinking only half-
consciously: If you lose your way in the City of the Dead....

The red shoes of the magician occurred to her...

She forced herself to stand still, forced herself to listen....

What was that strange sound which seemed to be coming, from the
passages round about?...It sounded like yawning--It sounded as though
the stone were yawning. There was a trickling...above her head a light
grating sound grew audible, as though joint upon joint were loosening
itself...Then all was still for a while. But not for long. Then the
grating sound began again...

The stone was living. Yes--the stone was living...The stones of the
City of the Dead were coming to life.

The shock of extreme violence shook the earth on which Maria was
standing. Rumbling of falling stones, trickling, silence.

Maria was pitched against the stone wall. But the wall moved behind
her. Maria shrieked. She threw up her arms and raced onwards. She
stumbled over stones which lay across her way, but she did not fall.
She did not know what was happening but the rustle of mystery which
the storm drives along before it--the proclamation of a great evil,
hung in the air above her, driving her forward.

There--a light in front of her! She ran towards it. An arched
vault...Great burning candles...Yes, she knew the place. She had often
stood here and spoken to those whom she called "brothers."...Who, but
she, had the right to light these candles? For whom had they burnt
today? The flames blew sideways in a violent draught of air; the wax

Maria seized a candle and ran on with it. She came to the background
of the arched vault. A coat lay on the floor. None of her brothers
wore such a coat over his blue linen uniform. She bent down. She saw,
in the thousand-year-old dust of the arched vault, a trail of dark
drops. She stretched out her hand and touched one of the drops. The
tip of her finger was dyed red. She straightened herself up and closed
her eyes. She staggered a little and a smile passed over her face as
though she hoped she were dreaming.

"Dear God, I pray Thee, bide with me, take care of me...Amen..."

She leant her head against the stone wall. The wall quaked. Maria
looked right up. In the dark, black vaulting of the stone roof above
her, there gaped a winding cleft.

What did that mean...?

What was there--above her?

Up there were the mole-tunnels of the underground railway. What was
happening up there--? It sounded as though three thousand giants were
playing nine-pins with iron mountains, throwing them, one against the
other, amid yells...

The cleft gaped wider. The air was filled with dust. But it was not
dust. It was ground stone.

The structure of the City of the Dead quaked right down to the centre
of the earth. It was as if a mighty fist had suddenly opened a
sluice--but, instead of water, a maelstrom of stones hurtled from the
dammed-up bed--blocks, mortar, crumbles, stone-splinters, ruins poured
down from the arch--a curtain of stones--a hail of stones. And above
the falling and the smashing was the power of a thunder which was
roaring, and roaring long and resonantly, through the destruction.

A current of air, an irresistible whirl, swept the girl aside like a
blade of straw. The skeletons rose up from the niches: bones rose up
erect and skulls rolled! Doomsday seemed to be breaking over the
thousand-year-old City of the Dead.

But above the great Metropolis the monster-voice was still howling and

Red lay the morning above the stone ocean of the city. The red morning
saw, amidst the stone ocean of the city, rolling along, a broad, an
endless stream.

The stream was twelve files deep. They walked in even step. Men, men,
men, all in the same uniform; from throat to ankle in the dark blue
linen, bare feet in the same hard shoes, hair tightly pressed down by
the same black caps.

And they all had the same faces. Wild faces, with eyes like fire-
brands. And they all sang the same song--song without melody, but an
oath--a storm vow:

"We've passed sentence upon the machines!"

"We have condemned the machines to death."

"The machines must die, to hell with them!"

"Death!--Death!--Death to the machines--!"

The girl danced along before the streaming, bawling multitude.

She led the multitude on. She led the tramping multitude forward
against the heart of the Machine city of Metropolis.

She said: "Come...! Come...! Come...! I will lead you...II will dance
the dance of Death before you...I will dance the dance of the
murderers before you...!"

"Destroy--destroy--destroy--!" yelled the crowd.

They acted without plan, and yet following a law. Destruction was the
name of the law; they obeyed it.

The multitude divided. A broad stream poured itself, frothing, down
into the tunnel of the underground railway.

The trains were standing ready on all the tracks. Searchlights wedged
themselves into the darkness which crouched in the shafts, above the

The multitude yelled. Here was a plaything for giants! Were they not
as strong as three thousand giants? They dragged the drivers from the
drivers' places. They released the trains and let them run--one after

The rails rumbled. The thundering carriage snakes, glitteringly
lighted, hurled along by their emptiness, dashed into the brownish
darkness. Two, three, four of the drivers fought like men possessed.
But the mob sucked them up. "Will you shut your mouths, you dogs--? We
are the masters! We want to play! We want to play like giants!"

They howled the song--the song of their deadly hatred:

"We've passed sentence upon the machines!"

"We have condemned the machines to death!"

They counted the seconds:

"Fifty-nine--sixty--sixty-one--sixty-two----now--!------Somewhere in
the depths of the tunnel, a crash, as if the globe were
splitting...Once--and once again...The mob howled:"

"The machines must die--to hell with them!"

"Death!--Death!--Death to the machines!"

Then--! What happened then?-Then!!-From one of the tunnels there broke
forth a train, like a steed of fire, with sparkling lights,
driverless, at a tearing speed--galloping death.

From whence did this hell-horse come?--Where were the giants, who were
thus giving answer to the giants' game of the mob? The train vanished,
amid shrieks--and, some seconds later, came the tearing crash from the
depths of the pit. And the second train was crashing onwards, sent off
by unknown hands.

The stones shook loose under the feet of the mob. Smoke gushed up from
the pit. Suddenly the lights went out. Only the clocks, the whitish-
shimmering clocks, hung, as patches of light, in a darkness which was
filled with long, dim, drifting clouds.

The mob pressed towards the stairs and up them. Behind them, unchained
demons, pulling their reeling carriages along behind them, the
engines, now released, hurled themselves on, to fall upon each other
and break into flames...

Metropolis had a brain.

Metropolis had a heart.

The heart of the machine city of Metropolis dwelt in a white,
cathedral--Like building. The heart of the machine city of Metropolis
was guarded by one single man.

The man's name was Grot, and he loved his machine.

The machine was a universe to itself. Above the deep mysteries of its
delicate joints, like the sun's disc, like the halo of a divine being,
stood the silver spinning wheel, the spokes of which appeared, in the
whirl of revolution, as a single gleaming disc. This disc filled out
the back wall of the building, with its entire breadth and height.

No machine in all Metropolis which did not receive its power from this

One single lever controlled this marvel of steel. All the treasures of
the world heaped up before him would not, for Grot, have outweighed
this, his machine.

When, at the grey hour of dawn, Grot heard the voice of the great
Metropolis roaring, he glanced at the clock on the brow of the wall
where was the door, and thought: "That's against all nature and

When, at the red hour of sunrise, Grot saw the stream of the multitude
rolling along, twelve files deep, led by a girl-dancing to the rhythm
of the yelling mob, Grot set the lever of the machine to "Safety,"
carefully closed the door of the building and waited.

The mob thundered against his door.

"Oh--knock away!" thought Grot. "That door can stand a good bit..."

He looked at the machine. The wheel was spinning slowly. The beautiful
spokes were playing, plainly to be seen. Grot nodded to his beautiful

"They will not trouble us long," thought he. He waited for a signal
from the New Tower of Babel. For a word from Joh Fredersen. The word
did not come.

"He knows," thought Grot, "that he can rely on me..."

The door quaked like a giant drum. The mob hurled itself, a living
battering ram, against it.

"There are rather a lot of them, it seems to me," thought Grot. He
looked at the door, it trembled, but it held. And it looked as though
it would still hold for a long time.

Grot nodded to himself in deep contentment. He would; have loved to
light his pipe, if only smoking had not been forbidden here. He heard
the yelling of the mob, and rebound upon rebound against the singing
door with a feeling of smug fierceness. He loved the door. It was his
ally. He turned around and looked at his machine. He nodded at it
affectionately: "We two--eh?...What do you say to that boozy lot of
fatheads, machine?"

The storm before the door wound itself up into a typhoon. It was the
hackling fury born of long resistance.

"Open the door,--!!" hackled the fury. "Open the door, you damned

"Wouldn't that just suit you!" thought Grot. How well the door was
holding! His gallant door!

What were those drunken apes out there singing about? "We've passed
sentence upon the machines! We have condemned the machines to death!"
Ho ho ho--! He could sing too--could Grot! He could sing drunken
songs, just fine! He kicked with both heels against the pedestal of
the machine, upon which he was sitting. He pushed the black cap down
lower in his neck. With his red fists resting upon his knees, opening
wide his mouth, he sang with his whole throat, while his little, wild
eyes were fixed on the door:

"Come on, you boozy lot, if you dare!"

"Come if you want a good hiding, you lousy apes!"

"Your mother forgot"

"To pull your pants tight"

"When you were little, you guttersnipes"

"You're not even fit for pigs' swill!"

"You fell from the rubbish cart.
"When it took the big curve!"

"And now you stand before the door.
"Before my gallant door, and bawl: Open the door! Open the door!"

"Let the devil open it for you, You hen's bugs."

The pedestal of the machine boomed under the drumming rhythm of his

But suddenly they both stopped: drumming and singing. An exceedingly
powerful, exceedingly white light flared up three times, under the
dome of the building. A sound-signal, as gentle and as penetrating as
the gong-beat of a temple bell, became audible, overpowering every

"Yes!" said Grot, the guard of the Heart-machine.

He sprang to his feet. He raised his broad face, which shone with the
joyful eagerness of obedience. "Yes, here I am!"

A voice said, slowly and clearly:

"Open the door, and give up the machine!"

Grot stood motionless. Fists like hammers hung down from his arms. He
gulped. But he said nothing.

"Repeat instructions," said the quiet voice.

The guard of the heart machine swung his head violently this way and
that, like a weighty bundle.

"I...I didn't understand," he said, gaspingly.

The quiet voice spoke in a more forceful tone:

"Open the door and give up the machine!"

The man still said nothing, gazing stupidly upward.

"Repeat instructions," said the quiet voice.

The guard of the Heart-machine drew in a great draught of air.

"Who is speaking there--?" he asked. "What lousy swine is speaking

"Open the door, Grot..."

"The devil I will--!"

"...and give up the machine!"

"The machine--?" said Grot, "the--my machine?"

"Yes," said the quiet voice.

The guard of the Heart-machine began to shake. His was a quite blue
face, in which the eyes stood like whitish balls, The mob, which was
throwing itself, as a buffer, against the ringing door yelled, hoarse
with yelling:

"The machines must die--to Hell with them!"

"Death! Death! Death to the machines!"

"Who is speaking there?" asked the man, so loudly that his words were
a scream.

"Joh Fredersen is speaking."

"I want the pass-word."

"The pass-word is one thousand and three. The machine is running on
half power. You have set the lever to 'Safety...'"

The guard of the Heart-machine stood like a log. Then the log turned
itself clumsily around, staggered to the door, and tore at the bolts.

The mob heard it. It yelled triumph. The door flew open. The mob swept
aside the man who was standing on its threshold. The mob hurled itself
towards the machine. The mob made to lay hands upon the machine. A
dancing girl was leading the mob on.

"Look--!" she shouted. "Look--! The beating heart of Metropolis! What
shall be done to the heart of Metropolis? We've passed sentence upon
the machines! We have condemned the machines to death! The machines
must die--to hell with them!"

But the mob did not catch up the girl's song. The mob stared over, at
the machine--at the beating heart of the great machine city, which was
called Metropolis, and which they had fed. They pressed up slowly, as
a single body, before the machine, which gleamed like silver. In the
face of the mob stood hatred. In the face of the mob stood
superstitious fear. Desire for the last destruction stood in the face
of the mob.

But before it could take expression Grot, the guard, threw himself
before his machine. There was no filthy word which he did not raise to
chuck into the face of the mob. The dirtiest term of revilement was
not dirty enough for him to apply to the mob. The mob turned red eyes
upon him. The mob glared at him. The mob saw: The man there, in front
of them, was abusing them in the name of the machine. For them, the
man and the machine melted into one. Man and machine deserved the same
hatred. They pushed forward against man and machine. They seized the
man and meant the machine. They roared him down. They stamped him
underfoot. They dragged him hither and thither and out of the door.
They forgot the machine, for they had the man-had the guard of the
heart-beat of all the machines thinking that, in tearing the man away
from the Heart-machine, they were tearing the heart from the breast of
the great machine city.

What should be done to the heart of Metropolis?

It should be trodden underfoot by the mob.

"Death!" yelled the victorious mob. "Death to the machines!" yelled
the victorious mob.

They did not see that they no longer had a leader. They did not see
that the girl was missing from the procession.

The girl was standing before the Heart-machine of the city. Her smile
was cool and silver. She stretched out her hand, which was more
delicate than glass, she seized the weighty lever, which was set to
"Safety." She pressed the lever round, still smiling, then walked out,
with light, mad, step.

Behind her the machine began to race. Above the deep mysteries of its
delicate joints, like the sun's disc--like the halo of a divine
being--stood the silver racing wheel, the spokes of which appeared, in
the whirl of revolution, as a single circling disc.

The heart of Metropolis, Joh Fredersen's city, began to run up a
temperature, seized by a deadly illness...



Joh Fredersen's son knew quite well that his father could not hear
him, for he, the son, was standing in the lowest part: of the pedestal
of the New Tower of Babel, whither the twitching pulse of the street
had thrown him, and his father was high, high, above the boiling of
the city, the untouched brain, in the cool brain-pan. But yet he
shouted for him and had to shout, and his shout, itself, was a cry for
help and an accusation.

The round structure of the New Tower of Babel was throwing up people
who pushed out into the street, laughing as if insane. They were
sucked up by the pulp of those in the street. The New Tower of Babel
was deserted. Those who had occupied its rooms and passages--those who
had been poured by the buckets of the Pater-noster works down to the
depths, up to the heights--who had taken up their positions on the
stairs--who had received instructions and passed them on--who had
suffocated amidst figures--who had listened in to the whispers of the
world--all, all streamed out from the New Tower of Babel as blood
streams out from a cut vein, until it stood there, horribly empty--
bled white.

But the machines went on living.

Yes, they seemed to be coming to life for the first time.

Freder, who stood--a crumb of humanity--alone, in the hugeness of the
round structure, heard the soft, deep, rushing howl, like the breath
of the New Tower of Babel, growing louder and louder, clearer and
clearer, and he saw, on turning round, that the empty cells of the
Pater-noster were speeding more and more rapidly, more and more
hurriedly, upwards and downwards. Yes, now it was as if these cells,
these empty cells, were dancing upwards and downwards and the howling
which trans-sected the New Tower of Babel seemed to proceed from out
their empty jaws.

"Father--!!" shouted Freder. And the whole round structure roared with
him, with all its lungs.

Freder ran, but not to the heights of the Tower. He ran to the depths,
driven by horror and curiosity--down into the hell--guided by luminous
pillars--to the abode of the Pater-noster machine, which was like
Ganesha, the god with the elephant's head.

The luminous pillars by which he ran did not shine as usual with their
white, icy light. They blinked, they flashed lightning, they
flickered. They burnt with an evil, green light. The stones, over
which he ran, swayed like water. The nearer he came to the machine-
room, the more bellowing did the voice of the tower become. The walls
were baking. The air was colourless fire. If the door had not burst
open by itself--no human hand could have opened it, for it was like a
glowing curtain of liquid steel.

Freder held his arm flung before his forehead, as if wishing to
protect his brain from bursting. His eyes sought the machine--the
machine in front of which he had once stood. It was crouching in the
centre of the howling room. It shone with oil. It had gleaming limbs.
Under the crouching body and the head which was sunken on its chest,
crooked legs rested, gnome-like, upon the platform. The trunk and legs
were motionless. But the short arms pushed and pushed and pushed,
alternately forwards, backwards, forwards.

And the machine was quite abandoned. Nobody was watching it. Nobody's
hand held the lever. Nobody's gaze was fixed on the clock, the hands
of which chased through the grades as though gone mad.

"Father--!!" shouted Freder, about to hurl himself forward. But at the
same moment it was as if the hunched up body of the wild machine,
which was like Ganesha, raised itself up to a furious height, as
though its legs stretched themselves upon stumpy feet, to make a
murderous leap, as though its arms no longer stretched themselves to
push--no, to seize, to seize to crush--as though the howling voice of
the New Tower of Babel broke from the lungs of the Pater-noster
machine alone, howling:


And howling unceasingly:


The flame curtain of the door flew sideways, whistling. The monster-
machine rolled itself down from the platform with pushing arms. The
whole structure of the New Tower of Babel quivered. The walls shook.
The ceiling groaned.

Freder turned around. He threw his arms about his neck and ran. He saw
the luminous pillars stabbing at him. He heard a rattling gasp at his
back and felt the marrow dry up, and ran and ran. He ran towards
doors, pushed them open, slammed them to behind him and raced onwards.

"Father--!!" he shouted--and with a feeling as if his brain were
overturning: "Our Father, Which art in heaven--"

Upstairs. Where did these stairs lead to--? Doors thundered open,
rebounding against walls.

Aaah--! The temples of the machine-rooms? Deities, the machines--the
shining Lords--the god-machines of Metropolis! All the great gods were
living in white temples! Baal and Moloch and Huitzilopochtli and
Durgha! Some frightfully companionable, some terribly solitary.
There--Juggernaut's divine car! There-the Towers of Silence! There--
Mahomet's curved sword! There--the crosses of Golgotha!

And not a soul, not a soul in the white rooms. The machines, these
god-machines, left terribly alone. And they were all living--yes they
were really living--an enhanced, an enflamed life.

For Metropolis had a brain.

Metropolis had a heart.

The heart of the machine-city of Metropolis dwelt in a white,
cathedral--Like building. The heart of the machine-city of Metropolis
was, until this day and this hour, guarded by one single man. The
heart of the machine-city of Metropolis was a machine and a universe
to itself. Above the deep mysteries of its delicate joints, like the
sun's disc--like the halo of a divine being--stood the silver-spinning
wheel, the spokes of which appeared in the whirl of revolution, as a
single, gleaming, disc.

No machine in all Metropolis which did not receive its power from this

One, single lever controlled this marvel of steel.

With the lever set to "Safety" all the machines would play with their
curbed power, like tame animals. The shimmering spokes of the sun-
wheel would circle, clearly to be distinguished, above the Heart-

With the lever set to "6"--and it was generally set there--then work
would spell slavery. The machines would roar. The powerful wheel of
the Heart-machine would hang, an apparently motionless mirror of
brightest silver, above it. And the mighty thunder of the machines,
produced by the heart-beat of this one, would arch itself, a second
heaven, above Metropolis, Joh Fredersen's city.

But never, as yet, since the construction of Metropolis, had the lever
been set to "12."

Now it was set to "12." Now the lever was set to "12." A girl's hand,
more delicate than glass, had pressed around the weighty lever, which
was set to "Safety," until it touched "12." The heart of Metropolis,
Joh Fredersen's great city had begun to run up a temperature, seized
by a deadly illness, chasing the red waves of its fever along to all
the machines which were fed by its pulse.

No machine in all Metropolis which did not receive its power from this

Then all the god-machines were taken with the fever...

From the Towers of Silence there broke forth the vapour of
decomposition. Blue flames hovered in the space above them. And the
towers, the huge towers, which used otherwise to turn about but once
in the course of the day, tottered; around on their pedestals in a
drunken, spinning dance, full to bursting point.

Mahomet's curved sword was as circular lightning in the air. It met
with no resistance, it cut and cut. It grew angry because it had
nothing to cut. The power which, squandered too uselessly, was still
increasing, now gathered itself together and, hissing, sent out
snakes, green, hissing snakes, in all directions.

From the projecting arms of the crosses of Golgotha there swept long,
white, crackling springs of sparks.

Swaying under impacts which had shaken the earth itself, the unslain,
the man-crushing car of Juggernaut began to glide, began to roll--
checked itself, hanging crookedly on the platform--trembled like a
ship, perishing on the rocks, lashed by the breakers--and shook itself
free, amidst groans.

Then, from their glittering thrones, Baal and Moloch, Huitzilopochtli
and Durgha arose. All the god-machines got up, stretching their limbs
in a fearful liberty. Huitzilopochtli shrieked for the jewel-
sacrifice. Durgha moved eight murderous arms, crackling the while.
Hungry fires smouldered up from the bellies of Baal and Moloch,
licking out of their jaws. And, roaring like a herd of a thousand
buffaloes, at being cheated of a purpose, Asa Thor swung the
infallible hammer.

A lost grain of dust among the soles of the gods, Freder reeled his
way through the white rooms, the roaring temples.

"Father--!!" he shouted.

And he heard the voice of his father:

"Yes!-Here I am!--What do you want?--Come here to me!"

"Where are you?"


"But I can't see you--!"

"You must look higher!"

Freder's gaze flitted through the room. He saw his father standing on
a platform, between the out-stretched arms of the crosses of Golgotha
from the ends of which long, white, crackling sprigs of sparks blazed.
In the hellish fires his father's face was as a mask of unmistakable
coldness. His eyes were blue-gleaming steel. Amidst the great, raving
machine-gods, he was a greater god, and lord of all.

Freder ran over to him, but he could not get up to him. He clung to
the foot of the flaming cross. Wild impacts crashed through the New
Tower of Babel.

"Father--!" shrieked Freder. "Your city is going to ruin--!"

Joh Fredersen did not answer. The sweeping sprigs of flame seemed to
be breaking from his temples.

"Father--! Don't you understand--? Your city is going to ruin!--Your
machines have come to life!--They are dashing the town to pieces--They
are tearing Metropolis to tatters!--Do you hear--? Explosion after
explosion--! I have seen a street in which the houses were dancing
upon their shattered foundations--just like Little children dancing
upon the stomach of a laughing giant...A lava-stream of glowing copper
poured itself out from the split-open tower of your boiler-factory,
and a naked man was running before it, a man whose hair was charred
and who was roaring: 'The end of the world has come--!' But then he
stumbled and the copper stream overtook him...Where the Jethro works
stood, there is a hole in the earth which is filling up with water.
Iron bridges are hanging in shreds between towers which have lost
their entrails, cranes are dangling on gallows like men hanged. And
the people, incapable of flight as of resistance, are wandering about
among houses and streets, both of which seemed doomed..."

He clasped his hands about the stem of the cross and threw his head
back into his neck, to see his father quite clearly, quite openly in
the face.

"I cannot believe, father, that there is anything mightier than you! I
have cursed your overwhelming might--your overwhelming might which has
filled me with horror, from the bottom of my heart. Now I run to you
and ask you on my knees: Why do you allow Death to lay hands on the
city which is your's--?"

"Because Death has come upon the city by my will."

"By your will--?"


"The city is to perish--?"

"Don't you know why, Freder?"

There was no answer.

"The city is to go to ruin that you may build it up again..."



"Then you are laying the murder of the city on my shoulders?"

"The murder of the city reposes on the shoulders of those alone who
trampled Grot, the guard of the heart-machine, to death."

"Did that also take place by your will, father?"


"Then you forced them to commit the crime--?"

"For your sake, Freder; that you could redeem them..."

"And what about those, father, who must die with your dying city,
before I can redeem them!"

"Concern yourself about the living, Freder--not about the dead."

"And if the living come to kill you--?"

"That will not happen, Freder. That will not happen. The way to me,
among the raving god-machines, as you called them, could only be found
by one. And he found it. That was my son."

Freder dropped his head into his hands. He rocked it to and from as if
in pain. He moaned softly. He was about to speak; but before he could
speak a sound ripped the air, which sounded as though the earth were
bursting to pieces. For a moment, everything in the white room seemed
to hover in space, a foot above the ground--even Moloch and Baal and
Huitzilopochtli and Durgha, even the hammer of Asa Thor and the Towers
of Silence. The crosses of Golgotha, from the ends of the beams of
which long, white crackling sprigs of sparks were blazing, fell
together and then straightened up again. Then everything crashed back
into its place with furious emphasis. Then all the lights went out.
And from the depths and distance the city howled.

"Father--!" shouted Freder.

"Yes.--Here I am.--What do you want?"

"...I want you to put an end to this nightmare--!"


"But I don't want any more people to suffer--! You must help them--you
must save them, father--!"

"You must save them. Now--Immediately!"

"Now? no!"

"Then," said Freder, pushing his fists out far before him, as if
pushing something away from him, "then I must seek out the man who can
help me--even if he is your enemy and mine."

"Do you mean Rotwang?"

No answer. Joh Fredersen continued:

"Rotwang cannot help you."

"Why not--"

"He is dead."

Silence. Then, tentatively, a strangled voice which asked:



"How did he die?"

"He died, chiefly, Freder, because he dared to stretch out his hands
toward the girl whom you love."

Trembling fingers fumbled up the stem of the cross.

"Maria, father--Maria...?"

"So he called her."

"Maria--was with him?--In his house--?"

"Yes, Freder."

"Ah--! see.--! see--!...And now--!"

"I do not know."



No answer came.


But a shadow ran past the windows of the white machine-cathedral. It
ran, ducked down, hands thrown behind its neck, as if it feared that
Durgha's arms could snatch at it, or that Asa Thor could hurl his
hammer, which never failed, at it from behind, in order, at Joh
Fredersen's command, to prevent its flight.

It did not penetrate into the consciousness of the fugitive that all
the machines were standing still because the heart, the unguarded
heart of Metropolis, under the fiery lash of the "12," had raced
itself to Death.


MARIA FELT SOMETHING licking at her feet, like the tongue of a great,
gentle dog. She bent down to fumble for the animal's head, and felt
that it was water into which she was groping.

From where did the water come? It came silently. It did not splash.
Neither did it throw up waves. It just rose-unhurriedly, yet
persistently. It was not colder than the air round about. It lapped
about Maria's ankles.

She snatched her feet back. She sat, crouched down, trembling,
listening for the water which could not be heard. From where did it

It was said that a river wound its way deep under the city. Joh
Fredersen had walled up its course when he built the subterranean
city, the wonder of the world, for the workmen of Metropolis. It was
also said that the stream fed a mighty water-basin and that there were
pump-works there, which were powerful enough, inside of less than ten
hours either completely to empty or to fill the water basin--in which
there was room for a medium-sized city. One thing was certain--that,
in the subterranean, workmen's city, the throbbing of these pumps was
constantly to be heard, as a soft, incessant pulse-beat, if one laid
one's head against a wall--and that, if this pulse-beat should ever
become silent, no other interpretation would be conceivable than that
the pumps had stopped, and that then the river was rising.

But they had never--never stopped.

And now--? From where was the silent water coming?--Was it still

She bent forward. She did not have to stretch her hand down very low
to touch the cool brow of the water.

Now she felt, too, that it was flowing. It was making its way with
great certainty of aim in one direction. It was making its way towards
the subterranean city-Old books tell of saintly women, whose smile at
the moment of preparing themselves to gain the martyr's crown, was of
such sweetness that the torturers fell at their feet and hardened
heathens praised the name of God.

But Maria's smile was, perhaps, of a still sweeter kind. For, when
setting about her race with the silent water, she thought, not of the
crown of eternal bliss, but only of death and of the man she loved--

Yes, now the water seemed horribly cool, as her slender feet dipped
down into it, and it murmured as she ran along through it. It soaked
itself into the hem of her dress, clinging tight and making progress
more and more difficult. But that was not the worst. The worst was
that the water also began to have a voice.

The water quoth: "Do you know, beautiful Maria, that I am fleeter than
the fleetest foot? I am stroking your sweet ankles. I shall soon
clutch at your knees. No one has ever embraced your tender hips. But I
shall do so, and before your steps number a thousand more. And I do
not know, beautiful Maria, if you will reach your destination before
you can refuse me your breast...

"Beautiful Maria, Doomsday has come! It is bringing the thousand-year-
old dead to life. Know, that I have flooded them out of their niches
and that the dead are floating along behind you! Do not look round,
Maria, do not look round! For two skeletons are quarrelling about the
skull which floats between them--swirling around and grinning. And a
third, to whom the skull really belongs, is rearing up within me and
falling upon them both...

"Beautiful Maria, how Sweet are your hips...Is the man whom you love
never to find that out? Beautiful Maria, listen to what I say to you:
only a little to one side of this way, a flight of stairs leads
steeply upward, leading to freedom...Your knees are
sweet that is! Do you think to overcome your weakness by clasping your
hands? You call upon God, but believe me: God does not hear you! Since
I came upon the earth as the great flood, to destroy all in existence
but Noah's ark, God has been deaf to the scream of His creatures. Or
did you think I had forgotten how the mothers screamed then? Have you
more responsibility on your conscience than God on His? Turn back,
beautiful Maria, turn back!

"Now you are making me angry, Maria--now I shall kill you! Why are you
letting those hot, salty drops fall down into me? I am clasping you
around your breast, but it no longer stirs me. I want your throat and
your gasping mouth! I want your hair and your weeping eyes!

"Do you believe you have escaped me? No, beautiful Maria! No--now I
shall fetch you with a thousand others--with all the thousand which
you wanted to save..."

She dragged her dripping body up from the water. She crawled upwards,
over stone slabs; she found the door. She pushed it open and slammed
it behind her, peering to see if the water were already lapping over
the threshold.

Not yet...not yet. But how much longer?

She could not see a soul as far as her eye could reach. The streets,
the squares, lay as if dead--bathed in the whiteness of the moonlight.
But she was mistaken--or was the light growing weaker and yellower
from second to second?

An impact, which threw her against the nearest wall, ran through the
earth. The iron door through which she had, come flew from its bolts
and gaped open. Black and silent, the water slipped over the

Maria collected herself. She screamed with her whole lungs:

"The water's coming in--!"

She ran across the square. She called for the guard, which, being on
constant duty, had to give the alarm signal in danger of any kind.

The guard was not there.

A wild upheaval of the earth dragged the girl's feet from under her
body and hurled her to the ground. She raised herself to her knees and
stretched up her hands in order, herself, to set the siren howling.
But the sound which broke from the metal throat was only a whimper,
like the whimpering of a dog, and the light grew more and more pale
and yellow.

Like a dark, crawling beast, in no hurry, the water wound its way
across the smooth street.

But the water did not stand alone in the street. Suddenly, in the
midst of a puzzling and very frightening solitude, a little half-naked
child was standing there: her eyes, which were still being protected,
by some dream, from the all too real, were staring at the beast, at
the dark, crawling beast, which was licking at its bare little feet.

With a scream, in which distress and deliverance were equally mingled,
Maria flew to the child and picked it up in her arms.

"Is there nobody here but you, child?" she asked, with a sudden sob.
"Where is your father?"


"Where is your mother?" "Gone..."

Maria could understand nothing. Since her flight from Rotwang's house,
she had been hurled from horror to horror, without grasping a single
thing. She still took the grating of the earth, the jerking impacts,
the roar of the awful, tearing thunder the water which gushed up from
the shattered depths, to be the effects of the unchained elements. Yet
she could not believe that there existed mothers who would not throw
themselves as a barrier before their children when the earth opened
her womb to bring forth horror into the world.

Only--the water which crawled up nearer and nearer, the impacts which
racked the earth, the light which became paler and paler, gave her no
time to think. With the child in her arms, she ran from house to
house, calling to the others, which had hidden themselves.

Then they came, stumbling and crying, coming in troops, ghastly
spectres, like children of stone, passionlessly begotten and
grudgingly born. They were like little corpses in mean little shrouds,
aroused to wakefulness on Doomsday by the voice of the angel, rising
from out rent-open graves. They clustered themselves around Maria,
screaming because the water, the cool water, was licking at their

Maria shouted--hardly able to shout any more. There was in her voice
the sharp cry of the mother-bird which sees winged Death above its
brood. She waded about among the child-bodies, ten at her hands, at
her dress, the others following closely, pushed along, torn along,
with the stream. Soon the street was a wave of children's heads above
which the pale, raised-up hands flitted like sea-gulls. And Maria's
cry was drowned by the wailing of the children and by the laughter of
the pursuing water.

The light in the Neon-lamps became reddish, flickering rhythmically
and throwing ghostly shadows. The street sloped. There was the
mustering-ground. But the huge elevators hung dead on their cables.
Ropes, twisted from ropes--metal, ropes, thick as a man's thigh, hung
in the air, torn asunder. Blackish oil was welling in a leisurely
channel from an exploded pipe. And over everything lay a dry vapour as
if from heated iron and glowing stones.

Deep in the darkness of distant alleys the gloom took on a brownish
hue. A fire was smouldering there...

"Go up--!" whispered Maria's dry lips. But she was notable to say the
words. Winding stairs led upwards. The staircase was narrow--nobody
used the stair-case which ran by the certain, infallible elevators.
Maria crowded the children up the steps. But, up there, there reigned
a darkness of impenetrable gloom and density. None of the children
ventured to ascend alone.

Maria scrambled up. She counted the steps. Like the rushing of a
thousand wings came the sound of the children's feet behind her, in
the narrow spiral. She did not know how long she had been climbing up.
Innumerable hands were clutching her damp dress. She dragged her
burdens upward, praying, moaning the while--praying only for strength
for another hour.

"Don't cry, little brothers!" she stammered. "My little sisters,
please don't cry."

Children were screaming, down in the depths--and the hundred windings
of the stair-way gave echo's trumpet to each cry:

"Mother--! Mother--!"

And once more:

"The water's coming--!"

Stop and lie down, halfway up the stairs--? No!

"Little sisters! Little brothers--do come along!"

Higher--winding ever and always higher upward; then, at last, a wide
landing. Greyish light from above. A walled-in room; not yet the upper
world, but its forecourt. A short, straight flight of stairs upon
which lay a shaft of light. The opening, a trap-door, which seemed to
be pressed inwards. Between the door and the square of the wall, a
cleft, as narrow as a cat's body.

Maria saw that. She did not know what it meant. She had the uncertain
feeling of something not being as it ought to be. But she did not want
to think about it. With an almost violent movement she tore her hands,
her gown, free from the children's tugging fingers, and dashed, hurled
forward far more by her desperate will than by her benumbed feet,
through the empty room and up the steep stairway.

She stretched out her hands and tried to raise the pressed-in door. It
did not budge. Once more. No result. Head, arms, shoulders pushing,
hips and knees pressing, as if to burst their sinews. No result. The
door did not yield by a hair's breadth. If a child had tried to push
the cathedral from its place it could not have acted more foolishly
nor ineffectually.

For, upon the door, which alone led the way out of the depths, there
towered, as high as houses, the corpses of the dead engines, which,
when madness first broke out over Metropolis, had been the terrible
playthings of the mob.

Train upon train, with carriages thundering along, all lights burning
and on full power, had rushed along the rails, lashed by the bawling
of the mob, had fallen upon each other, had become mixed and piled up
together, had burnt down and were now lying, half-melted, still
smouldering, a mass of ruins. And one, single lamp, remaining
undamaged, threw the shaft of its sharp, corrosive light over the
chaos, from the steel breast of the hindmost engine.

But Maria knew nothing of all this. She did not need to know.
Sufficient for her that the door, which was the only means of
deliverance for her and the children she wanted to save, remained
inexorable, immovable, and finally, with bleeding hands and shoulders,
with battered head, and feet crippled with numbness, she was obliged
to resign herself to the incomprehensible, to the murderous.

She raised her face to the ray of light which fell upon her. The words
of a little, childish prayer, now no longer intelligible, ran through
her head. She dropped her head and sat down on the stairs.

The children stood in silence, crowded closely together, under the
curse of something which, though they could not understand it, was
very close above them.

"Little brothers, little sisters," said Maria's voice, very
affectionately, "can you all understand what I am saying?"

"Yes," floated up from the children.

"The door is closed...We must wait a little...Someone is sure to come
and open it for us. Will you be patient and not be frightened?"

"Yes," came an answer, as a sigh.

"Sit down as well as you can..."

The children obeyed.

"I am going to tell you a story," said Maria.




"I am so hungry, sister...!"

"Hungry...!" echoed out of the depths.

"Don't you want to hear the end of my story?"

"Yes...But sister, when you've finished, can't we go out and have

"Of soon as my story's finished...Just think: Foxy Fox
went for a walk--went for a walk through the beautiful flowery
meadows; he had his Sunday coat on, and he held his bushy red tail
bolt upright, and he was smoking his little pipe and singing all the
while...Do you know what Foxy Fox sang?--"

"I am the cheerful Fox--Hurray!"

"I am the cheerful fox--Hurray!"

"And then he hopped for joy! And little Mr. Hedgehog was sitting on
his hillock and he was so glad that his radishes were coming on so
nicely, and his wife was standing by the hedge, gossipping with Mrs.
Mole, who had just got a new fur for the Autumn..."



"Can the water from down there be coming up after us?"

"Why, little brother?"

"I can hear it gurgling..."

"Don't listen to the water, little brother...just listen to what Mrs.
Hedgehog has to chatter about!"

"Yes, sister, but the water is chattering so loud...I think it
chatters much louder than Mrs. Mole..."

"Come away from the stupid water, little brother...Come here to me!
You can't hear the water here!"

"I can't come to you sister! I can't move, sister...Can't you come and
fetch me?"

"Me too, sister--yes, me too!--me too!"

"I can't do that, little brothers, little sisters! Your youngest
brothers and sisters are on my lap. They have gone to sleep and I
mustn't wake them!"

"Oh sister, are we sure to get out?"

"Why do you ask as if you were frightened, little brother?"

"The floor is shaking so and stones are tumbling down from the

"Have those silly stones hurt you?"

"No, but my little sister's lying down and she's not moving any more."

"Don't disturb her, little brother. Your sister's asleep!"

"Yes, but she was crying just now...!"

"Don't be sorry little brother that she had gone where she need not
cry any more..."

"Where has she gone to, then, sister?"

"To heaven, I think."

"Is heaven so near, then?"

"Oh yes, quite near. I can even see the door from here! And if I'm not
wrong, Saint Peter is standing there, in front of it, with a large
golden key, waiting until he can let us in..."

"Oh, sister...sister!! Now the water's coming up--! Now it's got hold
of my feet! Now it's lifting me up--!"

"Sister!! Help me, sister.--The water has come--!!"

"God can help you--Almighty God!"

"Sister, I'm frightened!"

"Are you frightened of going into the lovely heaven?"

"Is it lovely in heaven?"


"Is Foxy Fox in heaven, too--and little Mr. Hedgehog?"

"I don't know! Shall I ask Saint Peter about it?"

"Yes, sister...Are you crying?"

"No, why should I be crying?--Saint Peter--! Saint Peter--!"

"Did he hear?"

"Dear God, how cold the water is..."

"Saint Peter--! Saint Peter--!!"

"Sister...I think he answered, just now..."

"Really, little brother?"

"Yes...somebody was calling..."

"Yes, I heard it, too!" "...So did I..."

"...So did I..."

"Hush, children, hush..."

"Oh, sister, sister--!" "Hush, please--please--!" "...........Maria!"


"Maria--are you there--?"

"Freder--Freder--here I am! Here I am, Freder--!!"

"On the stairs?"


"Why don't you come up?"

"I can't raise the door!"

"Ten trains have run together...I can't come to you! I must go and get

"Oh, Freder, the water's already close behind us!"

"The water--?"

"Yes!--And the walls are falling in!"

"Are you hurt--?"

"No, no...Oh, Freder, if you could only force open the door wide
enough for me to push the little children's bodies through..."

The man above her did not give her an answer.

When steeling his muscles and sinews in the "Club of the Sons,"
playfully wrestling with his friends, he surely never guessed that he
would need them one day to force a path through ruined cables, upright
pistons and out-spread wheels of fallen machines to the woman he
loved. He thrust the pistons aside like human arms, clutched into
steel as into soft, yielding flesh. He worked his way nearer the door
and threw himself on the ground.



"Where are you? Why does your voice sound so far away?" "I want to be
the last whom you save, Freder! I am carrying the tiniest ones on my
shoulders and arms...," "Is the water still rising?"


"Is it rising fast or slowly?"


"My God, my God...I can't get the door loose! The machines are piled
up on top of it like mountains! I must explode the ruins, Maria!"

"Very well." Maria's voice sounded as though she were smiling.
"Meanwhile I can finish telling my story..."

Freder dashed away. He did not know where his feet should carry him.
He thought vaguely of God..."Thy will be done...Deliver us from
evil...For Thine is the..power..."

From the sooty black sky a frightful gleam, of the colour of spilt
blood, fell upon the city, which appeared as a silhouette of tattered
velvet in the painful scarcity of light. There was not a soul to be
seen and yet the air throbbed under the unbearable knife-edge of
shrieks of women from the vicinity of Yoshiwara, and, while the organ
of the cathedral was shrilling and whistling, as though its mighty
body were wounded unto death, the windows of the cathedral, lighted
from within, began, phantomlike to glow.

Freder staggered along to the tower-house in which the heart of the
great machine-city of Metropolis had lived, and which it had torn open
from top to bottom, when racing itself to death, in the fever of the
"12," so that the house now looked like a ripped open, gaping gate.

A lump of humanity was crawling about the ruins, seeming, from the
sounds it emitted, to be nothing but a single curse, on two legs. The
horror which lay over Metropolis was Paradise compared with the last,
cruel destruction which the lump of humanity was invoking from the
lowest and hottest of hells upon the city and its inhabitants.

He found something among the ruins, raised it to his face, recognised
it and broke out into howls, similar to the howls of a kicked dog. He
rubbed his sobbing mouth upon the little piece of steel.

"May the stinking plague gnaw you, you lice--! May you sit in muck up
to your eyes--! May you swill gas instead of water and burst every
day--for ten thousand years-over and over again--!"



"Grot!--Thank God...Grot, come here!"

"Who's that--"

"I am Joh Fredersen's son--"

"Aaah--Hell and the devil--I wanted you--! Come here, you toad--! I
must have you between my fists. I'd much rather have had your father,
but you're a bit of him and better than nothing! Come along here, if
you've got the guts. Ah--my lad, wouldn't I like to get hold of you!
I'd like to smear you from top toe in mustard and eat you! D'you know
what your father's done--?"


"Let me finish--! tell you! Do you know what he did--? He made me give
up...he made me give up my machine..."

And once more the miserable howling of a kicked dog.

"My machine--! That devil up there! That God-damned

"Grot, listen to me--"

"I won't listen to anything!--"

"Grot, in the underground city, the water has broken in..."

Seconds of silence. Then--roars of laughter, and, on the heap of
ruins, the dance of a four-legged lump, which kicked its stumps amid
wild yells, clapping its hands the while.

"That's right--! Hallelujah Amen--!"

"Grot--!" Freder laid fast hold of the dancing lump and shook it so
that its teeth rattled. "The water has flooded the city! The lights
lie in ruins! The water has risen up the steps! And upon the door--
upon the only door, there lie tons upon tons of trains which collided
with each other there!"

"Let the rats drown--!"

"The children, Grot--!!"

Grot stood as if paralysed.

"A girl," continued Freder, clutching his hand into the man's
shoulder, "a girl," he said sobbingly, bending his head as if to bury
it in the man's breast, "a girl has tried to save the children and is
now shut in with them and can't get out--"

Grot began to run. "We must explode the ruins, Grot!"

Grot stumbled, turned about and went on running, Freder behind him,
closer than his shadow...

"...But Foxy Fox knew very well that Mr. Hedgehog would come to help
him out of the trap, and he wasn't a bit frightened and waited quite
cheerfully, although it was a good long time before Mr. Hedgehog--
gallant Mr. Hedgehog came back..."


"Oh Christ...Freder?"

"Don't be startled, do you hear?"

"Freder, you're not in danger?"

No answer. Silence. A crackling sound. Then a childish voice:

"And did Mr. Hedgehog come, sister?"


But the "yes" was drowned by the tearing of thousands of steel cables,
the roar of tens of thousands of rocks which were hurled up to the
dome of heaven, to burst the dome and to sink, to hurtle downwards,
causing the earth to sway under their fall.

Supplementary crackling. Grey, leisurely clouds. Distant rumbling. And
steps. Childish crying. And, up above, the door which was hauled


A blackened face bent downwards; filthy hands stretched out,

"Maria--!" "Here I am, Freder!"

"I can hardly hear you..."

"Get the children out first, Freder...The wall's sinking..."

Grot came lumbering along and threw himself on the ground by Freder's
side, clutching down into the pit from which the children were
scrambling out, screaming. He grabbed the children by the hair, by the
neck, by the head, and hauled them up, as one pulls up radishes. His
eyes were popping out of his head with fear. He hurled the children
over his body, so that they tumbled over, shrieking miserably. He
cursed like a hundred devils. "Isn't that nearly all of them--?" He
bawled down two names...

"Father, father--!" sobbed two little voices in the depths. "The devil
take you, you couple of Jackanapes!", roared the man. He rummaged the
children aside with his fists, as if he were shovelling rubbish on the
dustheap. Then he gulped, snorted, clutched out, and had two children
hanging around his neck, wet and shivering piteously, but alive--and
their limbs stood more in danger of his fumbling fists than previously
of the water and the tumbling stones.

With the children in both arms, Grot rolled over on his side. He sat
up and planted the couple before him.

"You God-damned pair of ragamuffins!" he said, amidst sobs. He wiped
the tears from his eyes. And sprang up, hurling the children aside,
like two little hay-stooks. With the furious roar of a lion, he ran to
the door, from the depths of which Maria was emerging, with closed
eyes, supported by Freder's arm.

"You bloody--!" he howled out. He dragged Freder aside, shoved the
girl back into the depths, slammed the trap-door to, and slung his
entire weight upon it, drumming the rhythm of his laughter upon it
with clenched fists.

A grim effort had kept Freder on his feet. Beside himself, he fell
upon the maniac to tug him from the trap-door, fell over him and
rolled with him, in furious embrace, among the ruins of the machines.

"Let me go, you dog, you mangy dog!" howled Gort, trying to bite at
the angry fist which held him. "That woman murdered my machine--That
damn woman led the rabble--!! That woman alone turned the lever to
12--! I saw it when they were trampling on me--! The woman can drown
down there--! I'm going to kill that woman--!"

With marvellous tension of all his muscles Grot drew himself up and
heaved himself, with a jerk, away from the raving man--with such
infuriated strength that he, Grot, shot, describing a curve, amidst
the children.

Cursing ardently, he gathered himself up again; but, though he was
uninjured, he could not move a limb. He stuck, an impotent spoon, in a
porridge of children, which adhered to his arms, legs and fists. No
steel fetters could have condemned him so effectually to helplessness,
as did the little cold, wet hands, which were defending her who had
rescued them all. Yes, his own children were standing before him,
pommelling angrily upon his clenched fists, unscared by the blot-shot
eyes with which the giant glared at the dwarves, cudgelling him.

"That woman murdered my machine--!" he howled out at last, more
complainingly than angrily, looking at the girl, who was resting upon
Freder's arm, as though expecting her to bear him out.

"What does he mean?" asked Maria. "And what has happened?"

And she looked with eyes, the horror in which was only modified by the
deepest of exhaustion, at the destruction round about, and at the
snorting Grot.

Freder did not answer.

"Come," he said. And he raised her up in his arms and carried her out.
The children followed them like a flock of little lambs, and Grot had
no alternative than to run along in the tracks of the tiny feet,
whither the little, tugging hands drew him.


THEY HAD TAKEN the children into the house and Freder's eyes sought
Maria, who was kneeling in the street, among the last remaining
children, consoling them, and bestowing her loving smile upon weeping
and bewildered eyes.

Freder ran across to them and carried Maria into the house.

"Don't forget," he said, letting her down upon a couch before the
blazing fire in the entrance hall, and holding captive in his longing
arms her half-lying, half-sitting, gently resisting form, "that Death
and madness and something very like destruction' of the world have
passed very close by us--and that, after all that has happened, I do
not even know the colour of your eyes--and that you have not yet
kissed me once by your own free will..."

"Dearest," said Maria, leaning towards him, so that her pure eyes,
bathed in painless tears, were quite near to him,, while, at the same
time, a great, concentrated gravity kept her lips away from his, "are
you sure that Death and madness have already passed by?"

"By us, beloved--yes!"

"And all the others--?"

"Are you sending me away, Maria?" he asked, lovingly. She did not
answer, at least not in words. But, with a gesture which was at once
frank and touching, she put her arms about his neck and kissed him on
the mouth.

"Go along," she said, stroking his bewildered face with her virginal,
motherly hands. "Go to your father. That is the most hallowed way...I
shall go to the children as soon as my clothes are a little dryer. For
I'm afraid," she added with a smile which made Freder blush to his
eyes, "numerous as the women are who live in the 'House of the Sons,'
and willing and eager as they may be, not one of them has a dress she
could lend me...!"

Freder stood bending over her with lowered eyes. The flames of the
huge fire glowed upon his handsome, open face, which wore an
expression of shame and sadness. But when he raised his glance to meet
Maria's eyes, which were silently fixed upon him, without saying a
word he took her hands and pressed them against his eyelids, remaining
thus for a long time.

And all this while they both forgot that, on the other side of the
wall which was protecting them, a city was throbbing in grisly
conflict, and that among the ruins thousands of beings, themselves but
ruins, hurled hither and thither, were losing their reason, and
perishing, tortured by deadly fear.

The voice of the Archangel Michael, coming from the cathedral,
recalled them to consciousness of the hour, and they parted hurriedly,
as if caught neglecting their duty.

Maria listened to the man's retreating step...

Then she turned and looked about her.

What a strange sound the Michael bell had...The bell was calling so
furiously--so agitatedly, as though to tumble over at every peal...

Maria's heart became an echo of the bell. It fluttered in its piteous
fear, which had no source other than the general vibration of terror
above the town. Even the warming flames of the fire frightened her, as
if they had some knowledge of secrets of Horror.

She sat up and put her feet to the ground. She felt the hem of her
dress. It was still rather wet but she would go now. She took a few
steps through the dimly-lighted room. How brown the air was outside
the windows...She hesitatingly opened the nearest door and listened...

She was standing in the room in which she had stood on the day when
she saw Freder for the first time, when she had led the train of
little, grey child-spectres to those who were care-free and joyous--
when she had called to Freder's heart with her gentle:

"Look, these are your brothers!"

But of all the dearly beloved sons of boundlessly wealthy fathers, to
whom this house belonged, not one was to be seen. They must have left
the tottering town long ago.

Sparsely distributed candles were burning, giving the room an inward
cosiness and a warm air of comfort. The room was filled with the
tender twittering of sleepy child-voices, chattering like swallows
before they fly to their nests. Answering them in tones which were but
little darker, came the voices of the beautiful, brocaded, painted
women, who had once been the playthings of the sons. Equally
frightened at the thought of flight as of remaining where they were,
they eventually stayed in the "House of the Sons," being still
undecided; and Maria had brought the children to them, because they
could have found no better refuge; for, by the beautiful and dreadful
chance of all that had taken place, the troup of loving little harlots
became a troup of loving little mothers, burning with a new fire in
the execution of their new duties.

Not far from Maria the little drink-mixer was kneeling, washing the
skinny slender-limbed body of Grot's daughter, who was standing in
front of her. But the child had taken the sponge from her hand, and,
without saying a word, proceeding with intense gravity, was
thoughtfully and untiringly washing the beautiful, painted face of the

The girl knelt quite still, her eyes closed, neither did she move when
the child's hands began to dry her face with the rough towel. But
Grot's daughter was not quite successful in this undertaking; for,
whenever she dried the girl's cheeks, again and again did the swift,
bright drops run over them. Until Grot's daughter dropped the towel to
look at the girl who was kneeling before her inquiringly, and not
without reproach. Upon which the girl caught the child in her arms,
pressing her forehead to the heart of the silent creature, uttering to
this heart words of love which she had never found before.

Maria passed by with soundless step.

But when the door to the hall, into which no noise from the noisy
Metropolis could penetrate, closed behind her, the ore-voice of the
angel of the cathedral struck at her breast like a fist of steel, that
she stood still, stunned, raising her hands to her head.

Why was Saint Michael crying out so angrily and wildly? Why was the
roar of Azrael, the angel of Death joining in so alarmingly?

She stepped into the street. Darkness, like a thick layer of soot, lay
over the town, and only the cathedral shimmered, ghost--Like, a wonder
of light, but not of grace.

The air was filled with a spectral battle of discordant voices.
Howling, laughing, whistling, were to be heard. It was as though a
gang of murderers and robbers were passing by--In the unrecognisable
depths of the street. Mingled with them, shrieks of women, wild with

Maria's eyes sought the New Tower of Babel. She had only one way in
her mind: to Joh Fredersen. She would go there. But she never went.

For suddenly the air was a blood-red stream, which poured itself
forth, flickering, formed by a thousand torches. And the torches were
dancing in the hands of beings who were crowding out of Yoshiwara. The
faces of the beings shone with insanity, every mouth parted in a gasp,
yet the eyes which blazed above them were the bursting eyes of men
choking. Each was dancing the dance of Death with his own torch,
whirling madly about, and the whirl of the dancers formed a train,
revolving in itself.

"Maohee--!" flew the shrill cries above it. "Dance-dance--dance--

But the flaming procession was led by a girl. The girl was Maria. And
the girl was screaming with Maria's voice:


She crossed the torches like swords above her head. She swung them
right and left, brandishing them so that showers of sparks fell about
the Way. Sometimes it seemed as if she were riding on the torches. She
raised her knees to her breast, with laughter which brought a moan
from the dancers of the procession.

But one of the dancers ran along at the girl's feet, like a dog,
crying incessantly:

"I am Jan! I am Jan! I am the faithful Jan! Hear me, at last, Maria!"

But the girl struck him in the face with her sparkling torch.

His clothes caught fire. He ran for some time, a living torch, along
by the girl. His voice sounded as if from the blaze:

"Maria--! Maria--!"

Then he swung himself up on to the parapet of the street and hurled, a
streak of fire, into the blackness of the depths.

"Maohee--! Maohee--!" called the girl, shaking her torch.

The procession was endless. The procession was endless. The street was
already covered, as far as the eye could see, with circling torches.
The shrieks of the dancers mixed themselves sharply and shrilly with
the angry voices of the archangels of the cathedral. And behind the
train, as though tugged along by invisible, unbreakable cords, there
reeled a girl, the damp hem of the hose dress lashed about her ankles,
whose hair was falling loose under the clawing fingers which she
pressed to her head, whose lips babbled a name in ineffectual
entreaty: "Freder...Freder..."

The smoke-swathes from the torches hovered like the grey wings of
phantom birds above the dancing train.

Then the door of the cathedral was opened wide. From the depths of the
cathedral came the rushing of the organ. There mixed itself in the
fourfold tone of the archangel bells, in the rushing of the organ, in
the shrieks of the dancers, an iron-tramping, mighty choir.

The hour of the monk Desertus had come.

The monk Desertus was leading on his own.

Two by two walked those who were his disciples. They walked on bare
feet, in black cowls. They had thrown their cowls back from their
shoulders. They carried the heavy scourges in both hands. They swung
the heavy scourges in both hands, right and left, right and left, upon
the bare shoulders. Blood trickled down from the scourged backs. The
Gothics sang. They sang to the time of their feet. To the time of
their scourge strokes did they sing.

The monk Desertus was leading the Gothics on.

The Gothics bore a black cross before them. It was so heavy that
twelve men had to carry it, pantingly. It swayed, held up by dark

And on the cross hung the monk Desertus.

The black flames of the eyes in the flame-white face were fixed upon
the procession of dancers. The head was raised. The pale mouth was

"See!" shouted the monk Desertus in a voice which ail-powerfully out-
rang, the fourfold tone of the archangel bells, the rushing of the
organ, the choir of scourge-swingers and the shrieks of the dancers:
"See--! Babylon, the great--! The Mother of Abominations--! Doomsday
is breaking--! The destruction of the world--!"

"Doomsday is breaking--! The destruction of the world--!" chanted the
choir of his followers after him.

"Dance--dance--dance--Maohee--!" shrieked the voice of the girl
leading the dancers. And she swung her torches over her shoulders, and
hurled them far from her. She tore her gown from shoulders and
breasts, standing, a white torch, stretching up her arms and laughing,
shaking her hair; "Dance with me, Desertus--dance with me--!"

Then the girl, dragging herself along at the end of the train, felt
that the cord, the invisible cord upon which she was hanging, snapped.
She turned around and began, not knowing, whither, to run--only to get
away--only to get away--no matter where to--only to get away--!

The streets flashed by in a whirl. She ran and ran, down, and down,
and at last she saw, running along the bottom of the street and
towards her, a wild mob of people, saw, too, that the men wore the
blue linen uniform and sobbed in relief:


And stretched out her hands.

But a furious roar answered her. Like a collapsing wall, the mass
hurled itself forward, shook itself loose and began to tear along,
roaring loudly.

"There she is--! There she is--! The bitch, who is to blame for it
all--! Take her--! Take her--!"

The women's voices shrieked:

"The witch--! Kill the witch--! Burn her before we all drown!"

And the trampling of running feet filled the dead street, through
which the girl fled, with the din of hell broken loose.

The houses flashed by in a whirl. She did not know the way in the
dark. She sped on, running aimlessly, in a blind horror, which was the
deeper for her not knowing its origin.

Stones, cudgels, fragments of steel, flew at her from behind. The mob
roared in a voice which was no longer human:

"After her--! After her--! She'll escape us--! Quicker--!! Quicker--

Maria could no longer feel her feet. She did not know if she was
running on stones or water. Her panting breath came through lips which
stood apart as those of one drowning. Up streets, down streets...A
twirling dance of lights was staggering across the way, far ahead of
her...Far away, at the end of the enormous square, in which Rotwang's
house also lay, the mass of the cathedral rested upon the earth,
weighty and dark, yet showing a tender, reassuring shimmer, which fell
through cheerful stained-glass windows and through open portal, out
into the darkness.

Suddenly breaking out into sobs, Maria threw herself forward with her
last, entirely despairing strength. She stumbled up the cathedral
steps, stumbled through the portal, perceived the odour of incense,
saw little, pious candles of intercession before the image of a gentle
saint who was: suffering smilingly, and collapsed on to the flags.

She no longer saw how, at the double opening of the street which led
to the cathedral, the stream of dancers from 'Yoshiwara coincided with
the roaring stream of workmen and women, did not hear the bestial
shriek of the women at the sight of the girl who was riding along on
the shoulders of a dancer--who was torn down, overtaken, captured, and
stamped to earth--did not see the short, ghastly hopeless conflict of
the men in evening dress with the men in blue silinen--nor the
ridiculous fight of the half naked women before the claws and fists of
the workmen's wives.

She lay in deep oblivion, in the great, mild solemnity of death, and
from the depths of her unconsciousness she was not awakened even by
the roaring voice of the mob which was erecting a bonfire for the
witch, before the cathedral.


"FREDER--!!! GROT--!!! FREDER--!!!"

Josaphat shouted so that his voice cracked, and raced with the bounds
of a harried wolf, through passages, across steps of the great pump-
works. His shouts were not heard. In the machine rooms were wounded
machines in agony, wanting to obey and not being able. The door was
closed. Josaphat hammered against it with his fists, with his feet. It
was Grot who opened it to him, revolver in hand.

"What in the name of seething hell..."

"Get out of the way--! Where's Freder--?"

"Here! What's the matter?"

"Freder, they've taken Maria captive--"


"They've taken Maria captive and they're killing her--!"

Freder reeled. Josaphat dragged him towards the door. Like a log, Grot
stood in his way, his lips mumbling, his eyes glaring.

"The woman who killed my machine--!"

"Shut up, you fool--get out of the way--!"

"Grot!" A sound born half of madness....

"Yes, Mr. Freder!"

"You stop with the machines!"

"Yes, Mr. Freder!"

"Come on, Josaphat--!"

The sound of running, running, retreating, ghostlike.

Grot turned round. He saw the paralysed machines, He lifted his arm
and struck the machine with the full of his fist, as one strikes a
stubborn horse between the eyes.

"The woman," he shouted with a howl, "who saved my little children--!"

And he flung himself upon the machine with grinding teeth...

"Tell me--!" said Freder, almost softly. It was as if he did not want
to waste an atom of strength. His face was a white stone in which his
two eyes flamed like jewels. He jumped to the wheel of the little car
in which Josaphat had come. For the pump works lay at the extreme end
of the great Metropolis.

It was still night.

The car started.

"We must go terribly out of our way," said Josaphat, fixing the
flashlight. "Many bridges between the houseblocks are blown up..."

"Tell me," said Freder. His teeth met, chattering, as if he were cold.

"I don't know who found it out...Probably the women, who were thinking
of their children and wanted to get home. You can't get anything out
of the raving multitude. But anyway: When they saw the black water
running towards them from the shafts of the underground railway, and
when they realised that the pump-works, the safe-guard of their city,
had been destroyed by the stopping of the machines, then they went mad
with despair. They say that some mothers, blind and deaf to all
remonstrance, tried, as if possessed, to dive down through the flooded
shafts, and just the terrible absoluteness of the futility of any
attempt at rescue has turned them into beasts and they lust for

"Revenge...on whom?"

"On the girl who seduced them..."

"On the girl...?"

"Go on..."

"Freder, the engine can't keep up that speed..."

"Go on..."

"I do not know how it happened that the girl ran into their hands. I
was on my way to you when I saw a woman running across the cathedral
square, with her hair flying, the roaring rabble behind her. There has
been the very hell of a night anyway. The Gothics are parading through
the town scourging themselves, and they have put the monk Desertus on
the cross. They are preaching: Doomsday had come, and it seems that
they have converted a good many already, for September is crouching
before the smoking ruins of Yoshiwara. A troop of torch dancers joined
itself to the flagellants and, with frothing curses upon the Mother of
Abominations, the great whore of Babylon, they burned Yoshiwara down
to the ground..."

"The girl, Josaphat--"

"She did not reach the cathedral, Freder, where she wanted to take
refuge. They overtook her on the steps because she fell on the steps--
her gown hung down in ribbons from her body. A woman, whose white eyes
were glowing with insanity shrieked out, as one inspired with the gift
of prophecy:"

"Look--! Look--! The saints have climbed down from their pedestals and
will not let the witch into the cathedral."


"Before the cathedral they are erecting a bonfire on which to burn the

Freder said nothing. He bent down lower. The car groaned and leapt.

Josaphat buried his hand in Freder's arm.

"Stop--for God's sake!!!"

The car stopped.

"We must go to the left--don't you see? The bridge has gone!"

"The next bridged'

"Is impassable!"


"What is there to hear--"

"Don't you hear anything?"


"You must hear it--!"

"But what, Freder--?"

"Shrieks...distant shrieks...."

"I can't hear anything..."

"But you must be able to hear it--!!" "Won't you drive on, Freder?"

"And don't you see that the air over there is getting bright red?"

"From the torches, Freder..."

"They don't burn so brightly..."

"Freder, we're losing time here--!"

Freder did not answer. He was staring at the tatters of the iron
bridge which were dangling down into the ravine of the street. He must
cross over, yes, he must cross over, to get to the cathedral by a
short cut...

The frame-support of a ripped-open tower had fallen over from this
side of the street to the other, gleaming metallically in the
uncertain light of the fading night "Get out," said Freder. "Why?"

"Get out, I tell you!

"I want to know why?"

"Because I'm going across there..."

"Across where?"

"Across the frame-support."

"Going to drive across--?"


"It's suicide, Freder!"

"I didn't ask you to accompany me. Get out!"

"I won't permit it--It's blazing lunacy!" "The fire over there is
blazing, man--!" The words seemed not to come from Freder's mouth.
Every wound of the dying city seemed to be roaring out of him.

"Drive on!" said Josaphat through clenched teeth. The car gave a jump.
It climbed. The narrow irons received the sucking, skidding wheels,
with an evil, maliciously hypocritical sound.

Blood was trickling from Freder's lips.

"Don't--don't put the brake on--for God's sake don't put the brake
on!" shouted the man beside him making a clutch of madness at Freder's
hand. The car, already half-slipping, shot forward again. A split in
the frame-work--over, onwards. Behind them the dead frame-work crashed
into space amid shrieks!

They reached the other side with an impetus which was no longer to be
checked. The wheels rushed into blackness and nothing. The car
overturned, Freder fell and got up again. The other remained lying.


"Run! It's nothing!--II swear to God it's nothing," a distorted smile
upon the white face. "Think of Maria--and run!"

And Freder raced off.

Josaphat turned his head. He saw the blackness of the street flashing
bright red. He heard the screams of the thousands. He thought dully,
with a thrust of his fist in the air: "Shouldn't I like to be Grot
now, to be able to swear properly..."

Then his head fell back into the filth of the street, and every
consciousness faded but that of pain...

But Freder ran as he had never run. It was not his feet which carried
him. It was his wild heart--It was his thoughts.

Streets and stairs and streets and at last the cathedral square. Black
in the background, the cathedral, ungodded, unlighted, the place
before the broad steps swarming with human beings--and amid them,
surrounded by gasps of madly despairing laughter, the howling of songs
of fury, the smouldering of torches and brands, high up on the pyre...


Freder fell on his knees as though his sinews were sawn through.


The girl whom he took to be Maria raised her head. She sought him. Her
glance found him. She smiled--laughed.

"Dance with me, my dearest--!" flew her voice, sharp as a flashing
knife, through uproar.

Freder got up. The mob recognised him. The mob lurched towards him,
shrieking and yelling.

"Jooooo--oh! Joh Fredersen's son--! Joh Fredersen's son--"

They made to seize him. He dodged them wildly. He threw himself with
his back against the parapet of the street.

"Why do you want to kill her, you devils--? She has saved your

Roars of laughter answered him. Women sobbed with laughter, biting
into their own hands.

"Yes--yes--she has saved our children--! She saved our children with
the song of the dead machines! She saved our children with the ice
cold water--! High let her live-high and three time high!"

"Go to the 'House of the Sons'--! Your children are there!"

"Our children are not in the 'House of the Sons!' There lives the
brood, hatched out by money. Sons of your kind, you dog in white-
silken skin!"

"Listen, for God's sake--do listen to me--!!!"

"We don't want to hear anything--!"

"Maria--beloved!!!--Beloved! I!"

"Don't bawl so, son of Joh Fredersen! Or we'll stop your mouth!"

"Kill me, if you must kill--but let her live--!"

"Each in his turn, son of Joh Fredersen! First you shall see how your
beloved dies a beautiful, hot magnificent death!"

A woman--Grot's woman--tore a strip off her skirt and bound Freder's
hands. He was bound fast to the parapet with cords. He struggled like
a wild beast, shouting that the veins of this throat were in danger of
bursting. Bound, impotent, he threw back his head and saw the sky over
Metropolis, pure, tender, greenish-blue, for morning would soon follow
after this night.

"God--!" he shouted, trying to throw himself on his knees, in his
bonds. "God--! Where art thou--?"

A wild, red gleam caught his eyes. The pyre flamed up in long flames.
The men, the women, seized hands and tore around the bonfire, faster,
faster and faster, in rings growing ever wider and wider, laughing,
screaming with stamping feet, "Witch--! Witch!"

Freder's bonds broke. He fell over on his face among the feet of the

And the last he saw of the girl, while her gown and hair stood blazing
around her as a mantle of fire, was the loving smile and the wonder of
her eyes--and her mouth of deadly sin, which lured among the flames:
"Dance with me, my dearest! Dance with me--!"


ROTWANG AWOKE; BUT he knew quite well he was dead. And this
consciousness filled him with the deepest satisfaction. His aching
body no longer had anything to do with him. That was perhaps the last
remains of life. But something worried him deeply, as he raised
himself up and looked around in all directions: Hel was not there.

Hel must be found...

Ah existence without Hel was over at last. A second one?--No! Better
than to stay dead.

He got up on his feet. That was very difficult. He must have been
lying as a corpse for a good long time. It was night, too. A fire was
raging out there, and it was all very noise...Shrieking of human


He had hoped to have been rid of them. But, apparently the Almighty
Creator could not get along without them. Now--but one purpose. He
just wanted his Hel. When he had found Hel, he would--he promised
himself this!--never again quarrel with the father of all things,
about anything at all...

So now he went...The door leading to the street was open and hanging
crookedly on its hinges. Strange. He stepped in front of the house and
looked deliberatingly around. What he saw seemed to be a kind of
Metropolis; but a rather insane kind of Metropolis. The houses seemed
as though struck still in St. Vitus' dance. And an uncommonly rough
and impolite sort of people was ramping around a flaming bonfire, upon
which a creature of rare beauty was standing, seeming, to Rotwang, to
be wondrously at ease.

Ah--It was that, ah yes--that, in the existence which, thank the Lord,
lay far behind him, he had tried to create, to replace his lost Hel--
just to make the handiwork of the Creator of the world look rather
silly...Not bad for a, good God, compared with
Hel; what an object; what a bungle...

The shrieking individuals down there were quite right to burn the
thing. Though it appeared to him to be rather a show of idiocy to
destroy his test-work. But perhaps that was the custom of the people
in this existence, and he certainly did not want to argue with them.
He wanted to find Hel--his Hel--and nothing else...

He knew exactly where to look for her. She loved the cathedral so
dearly, did his pious Hel. And, if the flickering light of the bonfire
did not deceive him,--for the greenish sky gave no glimmer--Hel was
standing, like a frightened child in the blackness of the cathedral
door, her slender hands clasped firmly upon her breast, looking more
saint--Like than ever.

Past those who were raving around the bonfire--always politely
avoiding getting in their way--Rotwang quietly groped his way to the

Yes, it was his Hel...She receded into the cathedral. He groped his
way up the steps. How high the door looked...Coolness and hovering
incense received him...All the saints in the pillar niches had pious
and lovely faces, smiling gently, as though they rejoiced with him
that he was now, at last, to find Hel, his Hel, again.

She was standing at the foot of the belfry steps. She seemed to him to
be very pale and indescribably pathetic. Through a narrow window the
first pale light of the morning fell upon her hair and brow.

"Hel," said Rotwang, his heart streaming over; he stretched out his
hands. "Come to me, my Hel...How long, how long I had to live without

But she did not come. She started back from him. Her face full of
horror, she started back from him.

"Hel," begged the man, "why are you afraid of me? I am no ghost,
although I am dead. I had to die, to come to you. I have always,
always longed for you. You have no right to leave me alone now! I want
your hands! Give them to me!"

But his groping fingers snatched into space. Footsteps were hurrying
up the steps of the stone-staircase which led to the belfry.

Something like anger came over Rotwang's heart. Deep in his dulled and
tortured soul reposed the memory of a day upon which Hel had likewise
fled from him--to another...No, don't think, don't think of it...That
was a part of his first existence, and it would be quite senseless to
go through the same again--In the other, and, as humanity in general
hoped, better world.

Why was Hel fleeing from him? He groped along after her. Climbed up
stairs upon stairs. The hastening, frightened footsteps remained
constantly before him. And the higher the woman before him fled, the
more wildly did his heart beat in this mighty ascent, the redder did
Rotwang's eyes become filled with blood, the more furiously did his
anger boil up within him. She should not run away from him--she should
not! If only he could catch her by the hand he would never, never let
her go again! He would forge a ring about her wrist with his metal
hand--and then she should never try to escape him another!

They had both reached the belfry. They raced along under the bells. He
blocked the way to the stairs. He laughed, sadly and evilly.

"Hel, my Hel, you can no longer escape me!" She made a swift,
despairing leap, and hung on the rope of the bell which was called
Saint Michael. Saint Michael raised his ore voice, but it sounded as
though broken, complaining wildly. Rotwang's laughter mingled with the
sound of the bell. His metal arm, the marvellous achievement of a
genius, stretched, like the phantom arm of a skeleton, far out on the
sleeve of his coat, and snatched at the bell-rope. "Hel, my Hel, you
can no longer escape me!" The girl staggered back against the
breastwork. She looked around. She was trembling like a bird. She
could not go down the stairs. Neither could she go any higher. She was
trapped. She saw Rotwang's eyes and saw his hands. And, without
hesitation, without reflection, with a ferocity which swept a blaze of
scarlet across the pallor of her face, she swung herself out of the
belfry window, to hang upon the steel cord of the lightning conductor.

"Freder--!!" she screamed. "Help me--!!"

Below--far below, near the flaming pyre, lay a trampled creature, his
forehead in the dust. But the scream from above smote him so
unexpectedly that he shot up, as if under the lash, he sought and he

And all those who had been dancing in wild rings around the bonfire of
the witch saw, as he--stiffened--petrified: The girl who hung,
swallowlike, clinging to the tower of the cathedral, with Rotwang's
hands stretching out towards her.

And they all heard how, in the shouted answer: "I am coming, Maria, I
am coming--!" there cried out all the relief and all the despair which
can fill the heart of a man to whom Heaven and Hell are equally near.


JOH FREDERSEN STOOD in the dome-room of the New Tower of Babel,
waiting for Slim. He was to bring him news of his son.

A ghostly darkness lay upon the New Tower of Babel. The light had gone
completely out, gone out as though it had been killed--at the moment
when the gigantic wheel of the Heart-machine of Metropolis came free
from its structure with a roar as from the throats of a thousand
wounded beasts, and, still whirling around, was hurled straight up at
the ceiling, to strike it with a shattering crash, to bound back,
booming the while like a gong as large as the heavens and to crash
down upon the splintered ruins of the erstwhile masterpiece of steel,
to remain lying there.

Joh Fredersen stood long on the same spot, not daring to move. It
seemed to him that an eternity had passed since he sent Slim out for
news of his son. And Slim wouldn't and wouldn't come back.

Joh Fredersen felt that his whole body was frozen to an icy coldness.
His hands, hanging helplessly downwards, were clasped around the

He waited...waited...

Joh Fredersen threw a glance at the clock. But the hands of the
giantess stood at an impossible time. The New Tower of Babel had
indeed lost itself. Whereas, every day, the throbbing of the streets
which tunnelled their course below it, the roar of the traffic of
fifty million, the magic madness of speed, had raged its way up to
him, there now crouched a calm of penetrating terror.

Stumbling steps were hastening towards the door of the outer room.

Joh Fredersen turned the beam of his pocket-torch, upon this door. It
flew wide open. Slim stood upon the threshold. He staggered. He closed
his eyes dazzled. In the excessively glaring light of the powerful
torch his face, right down to his neck, shone a greenish white.

Joh Fredersen wanted to ask a question. But not the least sound passed
his lips. A terrible dryness burnt his throat. The lamp in his hand
began to tremble and to dance. Up to the ceiling, down to the floor,
along the walls, reeled the beam of light...

Slim ran up to Joh Fredersen. Slim's wide, staring eyes bore an
inextinguishable horror.

"Your son," he stammered, almost babbling, "your son, Mr. Fredersen--"

Joh Fredersen remained silent. He made no movement, but that he
stooped a little--just a very little, forward.

"I have not found your son..." said Slim. He did not wait for Joh
Fredersen to answer him. His tall body, with the impression it gave of
asceticism and cruelty, the movements of which had, in Joh Fredersen's
service, gradually gained the disinterested accuracy of a machine,
seemed quite out of joint, shaken out of control. His voice inquired
shrilly, in the grip of a deep innermost frenzy: "Do you know, Mr.
Fredersen, what is going on around you, in Metropolis--?"

"What I will," answered Joh Fredersen. The words sounded mechanical,
and as though they had been read before they were spoken: "What does
that mean: You have not found my son--?"

"It means what it means," answered Slim in his shrill voice. His eyes
bore an awful hatred. He stood, leaning far forward, as if ready to
pounce upon Joh Fredersen, and his hands became claws. "It means that
Freder, your son is not to be found--it means that he, perhaps, wanted
to look on with his own eyes at what becomes of Metropolis by his
father's will and the hands of a few lunatics--it means, as the now
half-witted servants told me, that your son left the safety of his
home, setting out in company with a man who was wearing the uniform of
a workman of Metropolis, and that it might well be difficult to seek
your son in this city, in which, by your will, madness has broken
out--the madness to' destroy, Mr. Fredersen, the madness to ruin!--and
which has not even light to lighten its madness--!" Slim wanted to
continue, but he did not do so. Joh Fredersen's right hand made a
senseless, fumbling gesture through the air. The torch fell from his
hand, continuing to burn on the floor. The mightiest man of Metropolis
swung half around, as though he had been shot, and collapsed empty-
eyed, back into the chair by the writing-table.

Slim stooped forward, to look Joh Fredersen in the face. Before these
eyes he was struck silent.

Ten--twenty--thirty seconds long he did not dare to draw a breath. His
horrified gaze followed the aimless movements of Joh Fredersen's
fingers, which were fumbling about as though seeking for some lever of
rescue, which they could not find. Then, suddenly, the hand rose a
little from the table-top. The forefinger straightened as though
admonishing to attention. Joh Fredersen murmured something. Then he
laughed. It was a tired, sad little laugh, at the sound of which Slim
thought he felt the hair of his head begin to bristle.

Joh Fredersen was talking to himself. What was he saying? Slim bent
over him. He saw the forefinger of Joh Fredersen's right hand gliding
slowly across the shiny table-top, as though he were following and
spelling out the lines of a book.

Joh Fredersen's soft voice said:

"Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap..."

Then Joh Fredersen's forehead fell on to the smooth wood, and,
unceasingly, in a tone which, except for a dead woman, no one had ever
heard from Joh Fredersen, his soft voice cried the name of his son...

But the cries remained unanswered...

Up the steps of the New Tower of Babel there crept a man. It seldom
happened in the great Metropolis, Joh Fredersen's time-saving city,
that anyone used the stairs. They were reserved in case of all the
lifts and the Pater-noster being overcrowded, of the cessation of all
means of transit, of the outbreak of fire and similar accidents--
Improbable occurrences in this perfect settlement of human beings. But
the improbable had happened. Piled up, one above the other, the lifts,
which came hurtling down, blocked up their shafts, and the cells of
the Pater-noster seemed to have been bent and charred by a hellish
heat, smouldering up from the depths.

Up the stairs of the New Tower of Babel did Josaphat drag himself. He
had learnt to swear in that quarter of an hour, even as Grot used to
swear, and he made full use of his newly acquired art. He roared at
the pain which racked his limbs. He spat out an excess of hatred and
contempt at the agony in his knees. Wild and ingenious were the
execrations which he hurled at every landing, every new bend in the
staircase. But he conquered them all--one hundred and six flights of
stairs, each consisting of thirty steps. He reached the semicircle
where the lifts had their opening. In the corners before the door to
Joh Fredersen's rooms there crouched knots of human beings, pressed
together by the common pressure of a terrible fear.

They turned their heads to stare at the man who was crawling up the
stairs, dragging himself up by aid of the walls.

His wild eyes swept over them.

"What is it?" he asked breathlessly. "What are you all doing here?"

Agitated voices whispered. Nobody knew who was speaking. Words tumbled
over each other.

"He drove us out into the town, where death is running as though
amok...He sent us out to look for his son, Freder. We couldn't find
him...None of us...We daren't go in to Joh Fredersen...Nobody dares
take him the news that we haven't been able to find his son..."

A voice swung out, high and sharp from out the knot: "Who can find one
single damned soul in this hell--?" "Hush...hush...!" "Listen--!"

"He is talking to Slim."

And in the tension of listening, which smothered every sound, the
heads bent towards the door.

Behind the door a voice spoke, as were the wood rattling: "Where is my

Josaphat made for the door, staggering. The panting cry of many men
tried to stop him. Hands were stretched out towards him.


But he had already pushed open the door. He looked about him. Through
the enormous windows the first glow of the youthful day was flowing,
lying on the shining floor like pools of blood. By the wall, near the
door, stood Slim. And just before him stood Joh Fredersen. His fists
were pressed against the wall, right and left of the man, holding him
fast, as though they had been drilled through him, crucifying him.

"Where is my son--?" said Joh Fredersen. He asked--and his voice
cracked as if in suffocation: "Where is my child?"

Slim's head flung back against the wall. From his ashen lips came the
toneless words:

"To-morrow there will be many in Metropolis who will ask:

"'Joh Fredersen, where is my child?'" Joh Fredersen's fists relaxed.
His whole body twisted around. Then the man who had been the Master
over Metropolis saw that another man was standing in the room. He
stared at him. The sweat trickled down his face in cold, slow,
burdensome drops. The face twitched in a terrible impotence.

"Where is my son--?" asked Joh Fredersen, babblingly. He stretched out
his hand. The hand shot through the air, groping aimlessly. "Do you
know, where my son is--?"

Josaphat did not answer. Yes, the answer shouted in his throat. But he
could not form the words. There was a fist at his throat, strangling
him...God--Almighty God in highest heaven, was it Joh Fredersen who
was standing before him?

Joh Fredersen made an uncertain step towards him. He bent his head low
to look at him the more closely. He nodded again.

"I know you," he said tonelessly. "You are Josaphat and you were my
first secretary. I sent you away. I treated you cruelly. I did you
wrong and I ruined you...I beg your forgiveness...I am sorry that I
was ever cruel to you or to anyone else...Forgive me...Forgive me,
Josaphat, for ten hours I have not known where my son is...For ten
hours, Josaphat, I have been sending all the men I could get hold of,
down into that damned city to look for my son, and I know it is
senseless, and I know it is quite pointless, the day is breaking, and
I am talking and talking and I know that I am a fool but perhaps,
perhaps you know where my son is...?"

"Captured," said Josaphat, and it was as though he ripped the word
from his gullet, and feared to bleed to death therefrom. "Captured..."

A stupid smile hovered over Joh Fredersen's face.

"What does that mean...captured...?"

"The mob has captured him, Joh Fredersen!"



"My son--?"

"Yes!--Freder, your son--!"

A senseless, pitiable, animal sound broke from Joh Fredersen's mouth.
His mouth stood open, distorted--his hands rose as in childish
defence, to ward off a blow which had already fallen. His voice said,
quite high and piteously: "My son...?"

"They took him prisoner,"--Josaphat tore the words out--"because they
sought a victim for their despair, and for the fury of their
immeasurable, inconceivable agony. When they saw the black water
running towards them from the shafts of the underground railway, and
when they realised that, as the result of the stopping of the pumps,
the whole workmen's town had been flooded out, then they went mad with
despair. They say that some mothers, blind and deaf to all
remonstrance, tried, as if possessed, to dive down through the flooded
shafts, and just the terrible absoluteness of the futility of any
attempt at rescue has turned them into beasts and they lust for

"Revenge...on whom?"

"On the girl who seduced them...."

"On the girl..."


"Go on..."

"They have taken captive the girl, on whom they put the blame of all
this horror...Freder wanted to save her, for he loves the girl...They
have taken him captive and are forcing him to look on and see how his
beloved dies...They have built the bonfire before the cathedral...They
are dancing round the bonfire...They are yelling: 'We have captured
the son of Joh Fredersen and his beloved'...and I know--I know: He'll
never get away from them alive...!"

For the space of some seconds there was so deep and perfect a silence
that the golden glow of the morning, breaking forth, strong and
radiant had the effect of a powerful roar. Then Joh Fredersen turned
around, breaking into a run. He flung himself at the door. So forceful
and irresistible was this movement that it seemed as if the closed
door itself were not able to withstand it.

Past the knots of human being ran Joh Fredersen--across to the stair-
case and down the steps. His course was as a pauseless series of
leaps. He did not notice the height. With hands stretched forward he
ran, in bounds, his hair rearing up like a flame above his brow. His
mouth was wide open and between his parted lips there hovered-a
soundless scream--the unscreamed name: "Freder!"

An infinity of stairs...clefts...rents in walls...smashed Stone
blocks...twisted iron...destruction...ruin....

The street.

The day was streaming down, red, upon the street...

Howls in the air. And the gleam of flame. And smoke...

Voices...shouts--and no exultant shouting...shouts of fear, of horror,
of terribly strained tension...

At last the cathedral square...

The bonfire. The, woman, immeasurable masses...but they were
not gazing at the bonfire, on the smoking fireiness of which
smouldered a creature of metal and glass, with the head and body of a

All eyes were turned upwards, towards the heights of the cathedral,
the roof of which sparkled in the morning sunshine.

Joh Fredersen stopped, as though a blow had been struck at his knees.

"What..." he stammered. He raised his eyes, he raised his hands quite
slowly to the level of his head...his hands rested upon his hair.

Soundlessly, as though mown down, he fell upon his knees.

Upon the heights of the cathedral roof, entwined about each other,
clawed to each other, wrestled Freder and Rotwang, gleaming in the

They fought, breast pressed to breast, knee to knee. One did not need
very sharp eyes to see that Rotwang was by far the stronger. The
slender form of the boy, in white silken tatters, bent under the
throttling grip of the great inventor, farther and farther backwards.
In a fearfully wonderful arch the slender, white form was extended,
head back, knees bent forward. And the blackness which was Rotwang
stood out, massy, mountain-like, above the silken whiteness, forcing
it downwards. In the narrow gallery of the spire Freder crumpled up
like a sack and lay in the corner, stirring no more. Above him,
straightened up, yet bent forward--Rotwang, staring at him, then

Along the narrow roof ridge, towards him--no, towards the dullish
bundle of white silk, staggered Maria. In the light of the morning,
risen glorious and imperious, her voice fluttered out like the
mourning of a poor bird: "Freder-Freder--!"

Whispers broke out in the cathedral square. Heads turned and hands

"Look--Joh Fredersen! Look over there--Joh Fredersen!"

A woman's voice yelled out:

"Now you see for yourself, don't you, Joh Fredersen, what it's like
when someone's only child is murdered--?"

Josaphat leaped before the man who was on his knees, hearing nothing
of what was going on around him.

"What's the matter--?" he shouted. "What's the matter with you all--?
Your children have been saved! In the 'House of the Sons!' Maria and
Joh Fredersen's son--they saved your children--!"

Joh Fredersen heard nothing. He did not hear the scream, which, like a
bellowed prayer to God, suddenly leaped from the one mouth of the

He did not hear the shuffling with which the multitude near him, far
around him, threw itself on its knees. He did not hear the weeping of
the women, the panting of the men, nor prayer, nor thanks, nor groans,
nor praises.

Only his eyes remained alive. His eyes which seemed to be lidless,
clung to the roof of the cathedral.

Maria had reached the white bundle, which lay, crumpled up in the
corner, between the spire and the roof. She slid along to it on her
knees, stretching her hands out towards it, blinded with misery:


With a savage snarl, like the snarl of a beast of pray, Rotwang
clutched at her. She struggled amid screams. He held her lips closed.
With an expression of despairing incomprehension he stared into the
girl's tear-wet face.

" Hel...why do you struggle against me?" He held her in his
ironlike arms, as prey which, now, nothing and no one could tear away
from him. Close to the spire a ladder led upwards to the cathedral
coping. With the bestial snarl of one unjustly pursued he climbed up
the ladder, dragging the girl with him, in his arms.

This was the sight which met Freder's eyes when he opened them and
tore himself free from the half-unconscious state he was in. He pushed
himself up and flung himself across to the ladder. He climbed up the
ladder almost at a run, with the blindly certain speed born of fear
for his beloved. He reached Rotwang, who let Maria fall. She fell. She
fell, but in falling she saved herself, pulling herself up and
reaching the golden sickle of the moon on which rested the star-
crowned Virgin. She stretched out her hand to clutch at Freder. But at
the same moment Rotwang threw himself down upon the man who was
standing below him, and clasped tightly together, they rolled along,
down the roof of the cathedral, rebounding violently against the
narrow railing of the gallery.

The yell of fear from the multitude came shrieking up from the depths.
Neither Rotwang nor Freder heard it. With a terrible oath Rotwang
gathered himself up. He saw above him, sharp against the blue of the
sky, the gargoyle of a waterspout. It grinned in his face. The long
tongue leered mockingly at him. He drew himself up and struck, with
clenched fist, at the grinning gargoyle...

The gargoyle broke...

In the weight of the blow he lost his balance--and fell--and saved
himself, hanging with one hand to the Gothic ornamentation of the

And, looking upwards, into the infinite blue of the morning sky, he
saw Hel's countenance, which he had loved, and it was like the
countenance of the beautiful angel of Death, smiling at him, its lips
inclining towards his brow.

Great black wings spread themselves out, strong enough to carry a lost
world up to heaven.

"Hel..." said the man. "My last..."

And his fingers lost their hold, voluntarily...

Joh Fredersen did not see the fall, neither did he hear the cry of the
multitude as it stared back. He saw but one thing: the white-gleaming
figure of the man, who, upright and uninjured, was walking along the
roof of the cathedral with the even step of one fearing nothing,
carrying the girl in his arms.

Then Joh Fredersen bent down, so low that his forehead touched the
stones of the cathedral square. And those near enough to him heard the
weeping which welled up from his heart, as water from a rock.

As his hands loosened from his head, all who stood around him saw that
Joh Fredersen's hair had turned snow-white.


"BELOVED--!" SAID FREDER, Joh Fredersen's son.

It was the softest, the most cautious call of which a human voice is
capable. But Maria answered it just as little as she had answered the
shouts of despair with which the man who loved her had wished to re-
awaken her to consciousness of herself.

She lay couched upon the steps of the high altar, stretched out in her
slenderness, her head in Freder's arm, her hands in Freder's hand, and
the gentle fire of the lofty church-windows burnt upon her quite white
face and upon her quite white hands. Her heart beat, slowly, barely,
perceptibly. She did not breathe She lay sunken in the depths of an
exhaustion from which no shout, no entreaty, no cry of despair could
have dragged her. She was as though dead.

A hand was laid upon Freder's shoulder.

He turned his head. He looked into the face of his father.

Was that his father? Was that Joh Fredersen, the master over the great
Metropolis? Had his father such white hair? And so tormented a brow?
And such tortured eyes?

Was there, in this world, after this night of madness, nothing but
horror and death and destruction and agony--without end--?

"What do you want here?" asked Freder, Joh Fredersen's son. "Do you
want to take her away from me? Have you made plans to part her and me?
Is there some mighty undertaking in danger, to which she and I are to
be sacrificed?"

"To whom are you speaking, Freder?" his father asked, very gently.

Freder did not answer. His eyes opened inquiringly, for he had heard a
voice never heard before. He was silent.

"If you are speaking of Joh Fredersen," continued the very gentle
voice, "then be informed that, this night, Joh Fredersen died a
sevenfold death..."

Freder's eyes, burnt with suffering, were raised to the eyes which
were above him. A piteously sobbing sound came from out his lips.

"Oh my God--Father--!!"

Joh Fredersen stooped down above him and above the girl who lay in
Freder's lap.

"She is dying, father...Can't you see she is dying--?"

Joh Fredersen shook his head.

"No, no!" said his gentle voice. "No, Freder. There was an hour in my
life in which I knelt, as you, holding in my arms the woman I loved.
But she died, indeed. I have studied the face of the dying to the
full. I know it perfectly and shall never again forget it...The girl
is but sleeping. Do not awaken her by force."

And, with a gesture of inexpressible tenderness, his hand slipped from
Freder's shoulder to the hair of the sleeping girl.

"Dearest child!" he said. "Dearest child..."

And from out of the depth of her dream the sweetness of a smile
responded to him, before which Joh Fredersen bowed himself, as before
a revelation, not of this world.

Then he left his son and the girl and passed through the cathedral,
made glorious and pleasant by the gay-coloured ribbons of sunshine.

Freder watched him go until his gaze grew misty. And all at once, with
a sudden, violent, groaning fervour, he raised the girl's mouth to his
mouth and kissed her, as though he wished to die of it. For, from out
the marvel of light, spun into ribbons, the knowledge had come upon
him that it was day, that the invulnerable transformation of darkness
into light was becoming consummate, in its greatness, in its
kindliness, over the world.

"Come to yourself, Maria, beloved!" he said, entreating her with his
caresses, with his love. "Come to me, beloved! Come to me!"

The soft response of her heart-beat, of her breathing, caused a laugh
to well up from his throat and the fervour of his whispered words died
on her lips.

Joh Fredersen caught the sound of his son's laugh. He was already near
the door of the cathedral. He stopped and looked at the stack of
pillars, in the delicate, canopied niches of which stood the saintly
men and women, smiling gently.

"You have suffered," thought his dream-filled brain. "You have been
redeemed by suffering. You have attained to bliss...Is it worth while
to suffer?-Yes."

And he walked out of the cathedral on feet which were still as though
dead, tentatively, he stepped through the mighty door-way, stood
dazzled in the light and swayed as though drunken.

For the wine of suffering which he had drunk, was very heavy, and
intoxicating, and white-hot.

His soul spoke within him as he reeled along:

"I will go home and look for my mother."


"FREDER...?" SAID THE SOFT Madonna-voice. "Yes, you beloved! Speak to
me! Speak to me!" "Where are we?" "In the cathedral." "Is it day or
night?" "It is day."

"Wasn't your father here, with us, just now?"

"Yes, you beloved."

"His hand was on my hair?"

"You felt it?"

"Oh Freder, while your father was standing here it seemed to me as
though I heard a spring rushing within a rock. A spring, weighted with
salt, and red with blood. But I knew too: when the spring is strong
enough to break out through the rock, then if will be sweeter than the
dew and whiter than the light."

"Bless you for your belief, Maria..."

She smiled. She fell silent.

"Why don't you open your eyes, you beloved?" asked Freder's longing

"I see," she answered. "I see, Freder...I see a city, standing in the

"Shall I build it?"

"No, Freder. Not you. Your father."

"My father?"


"Maria when you spoke of my father, before, this tone of' love was not
in your voice..."

"Since then much has taken place, Freder. Since then, within a rock, a
spring has come to life, heavy with salt and red with blood. Since
then Joh Fredersen's hair has turned snow-white with deadly fear for
his son. Since then have those whom I called my brothers sinned from
excessive suffering. Since then has Joh Fredersen suffered from
excessive sin. Will you not allow them both, Freder--your father as
well as my brothers--to pay for their sin, to atone, to become

"Yes, Maria."

"Will you help them, you mediator?"

"Yes, Maria."

She opened her eyes and turned the gentle wonder of their blue towards
him. Bending low above her, he saw, in pious astonishment, how the
gay-coloured heavenly kingdom of saintly legends, which looked down
upon her from out the lofty, narrow church-windows, was reflected in
her Madonna-eyes.

Involuntarily he raised his eyes to become aware, for the first time,
of whither he had borne the girl whom he loved.

"God is looking at us!" he whispered, gathering her up to his heart,
with longing arms. "God is smiling to us, Maria."

"Amen," said the girl at his heart.


JOH FREDERSEN CAME to his mother's house.

Death had passed over Metropolis. Destruction of the world and the Day
of Judgment had shouted from out the roars of explosion, the clanging
of the bells of the cathedral. But Joh Fredersen found his mother as
he always found her: in the wide, soft chair, by the open window, the
dark rug over the paralysed knees, the great Bible on the sloping
table before her, in the beautiful old hands, the figured lace at
which she was sewing.

She turned her eyes towards the door and perceived her son.

The expression of stern severity on her face became sterner and more

She said nothing. But about her closed mouth was something which said:
"You are in a bad way, Joh Fredersen..."

And as a judge did she regard him.

Joh Fredersen took his hat from his head. Then she saw the white hair
above his brow...

"Child--!" she said quietly, stretching her hands out towards him.

Joh Fredersen fell on his knees by his mother's side. He threw his
arms about her, pressing his head into the lap, which had borne him.
He felt her hands on his hair--felt how she touched it, as though
fearful of hurting him, as though this white hair was the mark of an
unhealed wound, very near the heart, and heard her dear voice saying:

"Child...My child...My poor child."

The rustling of the walnut tree before the window filled a long
silence with longing and affection. Then Joh Fredersen began to speak.
He spoke with the eagerness of one bathing himself in Holy water, with
the fervour of a conquered one, confessing, with the redemption of one
ready to do any penance, and who was pardoned. His voice was soft and
sounded as though coming from far away, from the farther bank of a
wide river.

He spoke of Freder; then his voice failed him entirely. He raised
himself from his knees and walked through the room. When he turned
around there stood in his eyes a smiling loneliness and the
realisation of a necessary giving-up--of the tree's giving up of the
ripe fruit.

"It seemed to me," he said, gazing into space, "as though I saw his
face for the first time...when he spoke to me this morning...It is a
strange face, mother. It is quite my face--and yet quite his own. It
is the face of his beautiful, dead mother and yet it is, at the same
time, fashioned after Maria's features, as though he were born for the
second time of that young, virginal creature. But it is, at the same
time, the face of the masses--confident in her, related to her, as
near to her as brothers..."

"How do you come to know the face of the masses, Joh?" asked his
mother gently.

For a long time Joh Fredersen gave no answer.

"You are quite right to ask, mother," he said then. "From the heights
of the New Tower of Babel I could not distinguish it. And in the night
of lunacy, in which I perceived it for the first time it was so
distorted in its own horror that it no more resembled itself...

"When I came out of the cathedral door in the morning the masses were
standing as one man, looking towards me. Then the face of the masses
was turned towards me. Then I saw, it was not old, was not young, was
sorrowless and joyless.

"What do you want?" I asked. And one answered:

"We are waiting, Mr. Fredersen...."

"For what?" I asked him.

"We are waiting," continued the spokesman, "for someone to come, who
will tell us what way we should go...."

"And you want to be this one, Joh?"

"Yes, mother."

"And will they trust in you?"

"I do not know, mother. If we had been living a thousand years
earlier, I should, perhaps, set out on the high road, with pilgrim's
staff and cockle hat, and seek the way to the Holy Land of my belief,
not returning home until I had cooled my feet, hot from wandering, in
the Jordan, and, in the places of redemption, had prayed to the
Redeemer. And, if I were not the man I am, it might come to pass that
I should set out on a journey along the roads of those who walk in the
shadow. I should, perhaps, sit with them in the corners of misery and
learn to comprehend their groans and their curses into which a life of
hell has transformed their prayers...For, from comprehension comes
love, and I am longing to love mankind, mother...But I believe that
acting is better than making pilgrimages, and that a good deed is
worth more than the best of words. I believe, too, that I shall find
the way to do so, for there are two standing by me, who wish to help

"Three, Joh..."

The eyes of the son sought the gaze of the mother.

"Who is the third?"



"Yes, child."

Joh Fredersen remained silent.

She turned over the pages of her Bible, until she found what she
sought. It was a letter. She took it and said, still holding it

"I received this letter from Hel before she died. She asked me to give
it you, when, as she said, you had found your way home to me and to

Soundlessly moving his; lips, Joh Fredersen stretched out his hand for
the letter.

The yellowish envelope contained but a thin sheet of paper. Upon it
stood, in the handwriting of a girlish woman:

"I am going to God, and do not know when you will read these lines,
Joh. But I know you will read them one day, and, until you come, I
shall exhaust the eternal blissfulness in praying God to forgive me
for making use of two Sayings from His Holy Book, in order to give you
my heart, Joh."

"One is: I have loved thee with an everlasting love. The other:"

"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world!"


It took Joh Fredersen a long time before he succeeded in replacing the
thin sheet of note-paper in the envelope. His eyes gazed through the
open window by which his mother sat. He saw, drawing across the soft,
blue sky, great, white clouds, which were like ships, laden with
treasures from a far-off world.

"Of what are you thinking, child?" asked his mother's voice, with

But Joh Fredersen gave her no answer. His heart, utterly redeemed,
spoke stilly within him:

"Unto the end of the world...Unto the end of the world."


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