Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership




Title: The Sand-Man and other stories
Author: E. T. A. Hoffman
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0605791.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: August 2006
Date most recently updated: August 2006

This eBook was produced by: Richard Scott

Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition.

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this
file.

This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at
http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html


To contact Project Gutenberg of Australia go to http://gutenberg.net.au


The Sand-Man and other stories
E. T. A. Hoffman



Table of Contents

The Sand-Man
The Story of the Hard Nut
The History of Krakatuk
Councillor Krespel
The Deserted House
The Cremona Violion
A New Year's Eve Adventure
Automata




THE SAND-MAN

NATHANAEL TO LOTHAIR

I KNOW you are all very uneasy because I have not written for such a
long, long time. Mother, to be sure, is angry, and Clara, I dare say,
believes I am living here in riot and revelry, and quite forgetting my
sweet angel, whose image is so deeply engraved upon my heart and mind.
But that is not so; daily and hourly do I think of you all, and my
lovely Clara's form comes to gladden me in my dreams, and smiles upon
me with her bright eyes, as graciously as she used to do in the days
when I went in and out amongst you. Oh! how could I write to you in
the distracted state of mind in which I have been, and which, until
now, has quite bewildered me! A terrible thing has happened to me.
Dark forebodings of some awful fate threatening me are spreading
themselves out over my head like black clouds, impenetrable to every
friendly ray of sunlight. I must now tell you what has taken place; I
must, that I see well enough, but only to think upon it makes the wild
laughter burst from my lips. Oh! my dear, dear Lothair, what shall I
say to make you feel, if only in an inadequate way, that that which
happened to me a few days ago could thus really exercise such a
hostile and disturbing influence upon my life? Oh that you were here
to see for yourself! but now you will, I suppose, take me for a
superstitious ghost-seer. In a word, the terrible thing which I have
experienced, the fatal effect of which I in vain exert every effort to
shake off, is simply that some days ago, namely, on the 30th October,
at twelve o'clock at noon, a dealer in weather-glasses came into my
room and wanted to sell me one of his wares. I bought nothing, and
threatened to kick him downstairs, whereupon he went away of his own
accord.

You will conclude that it can only be very peculiar relations--
relations intimately intertwined with my life--that can give
significance to this event, and that it must be the person of this
unfortunate hawker which has had such a very inimical effect upon me.
And so it really is. I will summon up all my faculties in order to
narrate to you calmly and patiently as much of the early days of my
youth as will suffice to put matters before you in such a way that
your keen sharp intellect may grasp everything clearly and distinctly,
in bright and living pictures. Just as I am beginning, I hear you
laugh and Clara say, "What's all this childish nonsense about!" Well,
laugh at me, laugh heartily at me, pray do. But, good God! my hair is
standing on end, and I seem to be entreating you to laugh at me in the
same sort of frantic despair in which Franz Moor entreated Daniel to
laugh him to scorn.(2) But to my story.

(2) See Schiller's Ruber, Act V., Scene I. Franz Moor, seeing that
the failure of all his villainous schemes is inevitable, and that his
own ruin is close upon him, is at length overwhelmed with the madness
of despair, and unburdens the terrors of his conscience to the old
servant Daniel, bidding him laugh him to scorn.

Except at dinner we, i.e., I and my brothers and sisters, saw but
little of our father all day long. His business no doubt took up most
of his time. After our evening meal, which, in accordance with an old
custom, was served at seven o'clock, we all went, mother with us, into
father's room, and took our places around a round table. My father
smoked his pipe, drinking a large glass of beer to it. Often he told
us many wonderful stories, and got so excited over them that his pipe
always went out; I used then to light it for him with a spill, and
this formed my chief amusement. Often, again, he would give us
picture-books to look at, whilst he sat silent and motionless in his
easy-chair, puffing out such dense clouds of smoke that we were all as
it were enveloped in mist. On such evenings mother was very sad; and
directly it struck nine she said, "Come, children! off to bed! Come!
The 'Sand-man' is come I see." And I always did seem to hear something
trampling upstairs with slow heavy steps; that must be the Sand-man.
Once in particular I was very much frightened at this dull trampling
and knocking; as mother was leading us out of the room I asked her, "O
mamma! but who is this nasty Sand-man who always sends us away from
papa? What does he look like?" Except at dinner we, i.c., I and my
brothers and "There is no Sand-man, my dear child," mother answered;
"when I say the Sand-man is come, I only mean that you are sleepy and
can't keep your eyes open, as if somebody had put sand in them." This
answer of mother's did not satisfy me; nay, in my childish mind the
thought clearly unfolded itself that mother denied there was a Sand-
man only to prevent us being afraid,--why, I always heard him come
upstairs. Full of curiosity to learn something more about this Sand-
man and what he had to do with us children, I at length asked the old
woman who acted as my youngest sister's attendant, what sort of a man
he was--the Sand-man? "Why, 'thanael, darling, don't you know?" she
replied. "Oh! he's a wicked man, who comes to little children when
they won't go to bed and throws handfuls of sand in their eyes, so
that they jump out of their heads all bloody; and he puts them into a
bag and takes them to the half-moon as food for his little ones; and
they sit there in the nest and have hooked beaks like owls, and they
pick naughty little boys' and girls' eyes out with them." After this I
formed in my own mind a horrible picture of the cruel Sand-man. When
anything came blundering upstairs at night I trembled with fear and
dismay; and all that my mother could get out of me were the stammered
words "The Sandman! the Sand-man!" whilst the tears coursed down my
cheeks. Then I ran into my bedroom, and the whole night through
tormented myself with the terrible apparition of the Sand-man. I was
quite old enough to perceive that the old woman's tale about the Sand-
man and his little ones' nest in the half-moon couldn't be altogether
true; nevertheless the Sand-man continued to be for me a fearful
incubus, and I was always seized with terror--my blood always ran
cold, not only when I heard anybody come up the stairs, but when I
heard anybody noisily open my father's room door and go in. Often he
stayed away for a long season altogether; then he would come several
times in close succession.

This went on for years, without my being able to accustom myself to
this fearful apparition, without the image of the horrible Sand-man
growing any fainter in my imagination. His intercourse with my father
began to occupy my fancy ever more and more; I was restrained from
asking my father about him by an unconquerable shyness; but as the
years went on the desire waxed stronger and stronger within me to
fathom the mystery myself and to see the fabulous Sand-man. He had
been the means of disclosing to me the path of the wonderful and the
adventurous, which so easily find lodgment in the mind of the child. I
liked nothing better than to hear or read horrible stories of goblins,
witches, Tom Thumbs, and so on; but always at the head of them all
stood the Sand-man, whose picture I scribbled in the most
extraordinary and repulsive forms with both chalk and coal everywhere,
on the tables, and cupboard doors, and walls. When I was ten years old
my mother removed me from the nursery into a little chamber off the
corridor not far from my father's room. We still had to withdraw
hastily whenever, on the stroke of nine, the mysterious unknown was
heard in the house. As I lay in my little chamber I could hear him go
into father's room, and soon afterwards I fancied there was a fine and
peculiar smelling steam spreading itself through the house. As my
curiosity waxed stronger, my resolve to make somehow or other the
Sand-man's acquaintance took deeper root. Often when my mother had
gone past, I slipped quickly out of my room into the corridor, but I
could never see anything, for always before I could reach the place
where I could get sight of him, the Sand-man was well inside the door.
At last, unable to resist the impulse any longer, I determined to
conceal myself in father's room and there wait for the Sand-man.

One evening I perceived from my father's silence and mother's sadness
that the Sand-man would come; accordingly, pleading that I was
excessively tired, I left the room before nine o'clock and concealed
myself in a hiding-place close beside the door. The street door
creaked, and slow, heavy, echoing steps crossed the passage towards
the stairs. Mother hurried past me with my brothers and sisters.
Softly--softly--I opened father's room door. He sat as usual, silent
and motionless, with his back towards it; he did not hear me; and in a
moment I was in and behind a curtain drawn before my father's open
wardrobe, which stood just inside the room. Nearer and nearer and
nearer came the echoing footsteps. There was a strange coughing and
shuffling and mumbling outside. My heart beat with expectation and
fear. A quick step now close, close beside the door, a noisy rattle of
the handle, and the door flies open with a bang. Recovering my courage
with an effort, I take a cautious peep out. In the middle of the room
in front of my father stands the Sand-man, the bright light of the
lamp falling full upon his face. The Sand-man, the terrible Sand-man,
is the old advocate Coppelius who often comes to dine with us.

But the most hideous figure could not have awakened greater
trepidation in my heart than this Coppelius did. Picture to yourself a
large broad-shouldered man, with an immensely big head, a face the
colour of yellow-ochre, grey bushy eyebrows, from beneath which two
piercing, greenish, cat-like eyes glittered, and a prominent Roman
nose hanging over his upper lip. His distorted mouth was often screwed
up into a malicious smile; then two dark-red spots appeared on his
cheeks, and a strange hissing noise proceeded from between his tightly
clenched teeth. He always wore an ash-grey coat of an old-fashioned
cut, a waistcoat of the same, and nether extremities to match, but
black stockings and buckles set with stones on his shoes. His little
wig scarcely extended beyond the crown of his head, his hair was
curled round high up above his big red ears, and plastered to his
temples with cosmetic, and a broad closed hair-bag stood out
prominently from his neck, so that you could see the silver buckle
that fastened his folded neck-cloth. Altogether he was a most
disagreeable and horribly ugly figure; but what we children detested
most of all was his big coarse hairy hands; we could never fancy
anything that he had once touched. This he had noticed; and so,
whenever our good mother quietly placed a piece of cake or sweet fruit
on our plates, he delighted to touch it under some pretext or other,
until the bright tears stood in our eyes, and from disgust and
loathing we lost the enjoyment of the tit-bit that was intended to
please us. And he did just the same thing when father gave us a glass
of sweet wine on holidays. Then he would quickly pass his hand over
it, or even sometimes raise the glass to his blue lips, and he laughed
quite sardonically when all we dared do was to express our vexation in
stifled sobs. He habitually called us the "little brutes;" and when he
was present we might not utter a sound; and we cursed the ugly
spiteful man who deliberately and intentionally spoilt all our little
pleasures. Mother seemed to dislike this hateful Coppelius as much as
we did for as soon as he appeared her cheerfulness and bright and
natural manner were transformed into sad, gloomy seriousness. Father
treated him as if he were a being of some higher race, whose ill-
manners were to be tolerated, whilst no efforts ought to be spared to
keep him in good-humour. He had only to give a slight hint, and his
favourite dishes were cooked for him and rare wine uncorked.

As soon as I saw this Coppelius, therefore, the fearful and hideous
thought arose in my mind that he, and he alone, must be the Sand-man;
but I no longer conceived of the Sand-man as the bugbear in the old
nurse's fable, who fetched children's eyes and took them to the half-
moon as food for his little ones--no I but as an ugly spectre-like
fiend bringing trouble and misery and ruin, both temporal and
everlasting, everywhere wherever he appeared.

I was spell-bound on the spot. At the risk of being discovered, and,
as I well enough knew, of being severely punished, I remained as I
was, with my head thrust through the curtains listening. My father
received Coppelius in a ceremonious manner. "Come, to work!" cried the
latter, in a hoarse snarling voice, throwing off his coat. Gloomily
and silently my father took off his dressing-gown, and both put on
long black smock-frocks. Where they took them from I forgot to notice.
Father opened the folding-doors of a cupboard in the wall; but I saw
that what I had so long taken to be a cupboard was really a dark
recess, in which was a little hearth. Coppelius approached it, and a
blue flame crackled upwards from it. Round about were all kinds of
strange utensils. Good God! as my old father bent down over the fire
how different he looked! His gentle and venerable features seemed to
be drawn up by some dreadful convulsive pain into an ugly, repulsive
Satanic mask. He looked like Coppelius. Coppelius plied the red-hot
tongs and drew bright glowing masses out of the thick smoke and began
assiduously to hammer them. I fancied that there were men's faces
visible round about, but without eyes, having ghastly deep black holes
where the eyes should have been. "Eyes here! Eyes here!" cried
Coppelius, in a hollow sepulchral voice. My blood ran cold with
horror; I screamed and tumbled out of my hiding-place into the floor.
Coppelius immediately seized upon me. "You little brute! You little
brute!" he bleated, grinding his teeth. Then, snatching me up, he
threw me on the hearth, so that the flames began to singe my hair.
"Now we've got eyes--eyes--a beautiful pair of children's eyes," he
whispered, and, thrusting his hands into the flames he took out some
red-hot grains and was about to strew t-em into my eyes. Then my
father clasped his hands and entreated him, saying, "Master, master,
let my Nathanael keep his eyes--oh! do let him keep them." Coppelius
laughed shrilly and replied, "Well then, the boy may keep his eyes and
whine and pule his way through the world; but we will now at any rate
observe the mechanism of the hand and the foot." And therewith he
roughly laid hold upon me, so that my joints cracked, and twisted my
hands and my feet, pulling them now this way, and now that, "That's
not quite right altogether! It's better as it was!--the old fellow
knew what he was about." Thus lisped and hissed Coppelius; but all
around me grew black and dark; a sudden convulsive pain shot through
all my nerves and bones I knew nothing more.

I felt a soft warm breath fanning my cheek; I awakened as if out of
the sleep of death; my mother was bending over me. "Is the Sand-man
still there?" I stammered. "No, my dear child; he's been gone a long,
long time; he'll not hurt you." Thus spoke my mother, as she kissed
her recovered darling and pressed him to her heart. But why should I
tire you, my dear Lothair? why do I dwell at such length on these
details, when there's so much remains to be said? Enough--I was
detected in my eavesdropping, and roughly handled by Coppelius. Fear
and terror had brought on a violent fever, of which I lay ill several
weeks. "Is the Sand-man still there?" these were the first words I
uttered on coming to myself again, the first sign of my recovery, of
my safety. Thus, you see, I have only to relate to you the most
terrible moment of my youth for you to thoroughly understand that it
must not be ascribed to the weakness of my eyesight if all that I see
is colourless, but to the fact that a mysterious destiny has hung a
dark veil of clouds about my life, which I shall perhaps only break
through when I die.

Coppelius did not show himself again; it was reported he had left the
town.

It was about a year later when, in pursuance of the old unchanged
custom, we sat around the round table in the evening. Father was in
very good spirits, and was telling us amusing tales about his youthful
travels. As it was striking nine we all at once heard the street door
creak on its hinges, and slow ponderous steps echoed across the
passage and up the stairs. "That is Coppelius," said my mother,
turning pale. "Yes, it is Coppelius," replied my father in a faint
broken voice. The tears started from my mother's eyes. "But, father,
father," she cried, "must it be so?" "This is the last time," he
replied; "this is the last time he will come to me, I promise you. Go
now, go and take the children. Go, go to bed--good-night."

As for me, I felt as if I were converted into cold, heavy stone; I
could not get my breath. As I stood there immovable my mother seized
me by the arm. "Come, Nathanael! do come along!" I suffered myself to
be led away; I went into my room. "Be a good boy and keep quiet,"
mother called after me; "get into bed and go to sleep." But, tortured
by indescribable fear and uneasiness, I could not close my eyes. That
hateful, hideous Coppelius stood before me with his glittering eyes,
smiling maliciously down upon me; in vain did I strive to banish the
image. Somewhere about midnight there was a terrific crack, as if a
cannon were being fired off. The whole house shook; something went
rustling and clattering past my door; the house door was pulled to
with a bang. "That is Coppelius," I cried, terror-struck, and leapt
out of bed. Then I heard a wild heartrending scream; I rushed into my
father's room; the door stood open, and clouds of suffocating smoke
came rolling towards me. The servant-maid shouted, "Oh! my master! my
master! On the floor in front of the smoking hearth lay my father,
dead, his face burned black and fearfully distorted, my sisters
weeping and moaning around him, and my mother lying near them in a
swoon. "Coppelius, you atrocious fiend, you've killed my father," I
shouted. My senses left me. Two days later, when my father was placed
in his coffin; his features were mild and gentle again as they had
been when he was alive. I found great consolation in the thought that
his association with the diabolical Coppelius could not have ended in
his everlasting ruin.

Our neighbours had been awakened by the explosion; the affair got
talked about, and came before the magisterial authorities, who wished
to cite Coppelius to clear himself. But he had disappeared from the
place, leaving no traces behind him.

Now when I tell you, my dear friend, that the weather-glass hawker I
spoke of was the villain Coppelius, you will not blame me for seeing
impending mischief in his inauspicious reappearance. He was
differently dressed; but Coppelius's figure and features are too
deeply impressed upon my mind for me to be capable of making a mistake
in the matter. Moreover, he has not even changed his name. He
proclaims himself here, I learn, to be a Piedmontese mechanician, and
styles himself Giuseppe Coppola.

I am resolved to enter the lists against him and revenge my father's
death, let the consequences be what they may.

Don't say a word to mother about the reappearance of this odious
monster. Give my love to my darling Clara; I will write to her when I
am in a somewhat calmer frame of mind. Adieu.

CLARA TO NATHANAEL

You are right, you have not written to me for a very long time, but
nevertheless I believe that I still retain a place in your mind and
thoughts. It is a proof that you were thinking a good deal about me
when you were sending off your last letter to brother Lothair, for
instead of directing it to him you directed it to me. With joy I tore
open the envelope, and did not perceive the mistake until I read the
words, "Oh! my dear, dear Lothair." Now I know I ought not to have
read any more of the letter, but ought to have given it to my brother.
But as you have so often in innocent raillery made it a sort of
reproach against me that I possessed such a calm, and, for a woman,
cool-headed temperament that I should be like the woman we read of--if
the house was threatening to tumble down, I should, before hastily
fleeing, stop to smooth down a crumple in the window-curtains--I need
hardly tell you that the beginning of your letter quite upset me. I
could scarcely breathe; there was a bright mist before my eyes. Oh! my
darling Nathanael! what could this terrible thing be that had
happened? Separation from you--never to see you again, the thought was
like a sharp knife in my heart. I read on and on. Your description of
that horrid Coppelius made my flesh creep. I now learnt for the first
time what a terrible and violent death your good old father died.
Brother Lothair, to whom I handed over his property, sought to comfort
me, but with little success. That horrid weather-glass hawker Giuseppe
Coppola followed me everywhere; and I am almost ashamed to confess it,
but he was able to disturb my sound and in general calm sleep with all
sorts of wonderful dream-shapes. But soon--the next day--I saw
everything in a different light. Oh! do not be angry with me, my best-
beloved, if, despite your strange presentiment that Coppelius will do
you some mischief, Lothair tells you I am in quite as good spirits,
and just the same as ever.

I will frankly confess, it seems to me that all that was fearsome and
terrible of which you speak, existed only in your own self, and that
the real true outer world had but little to do with it. I can quite
admit that old Coppelius may have been highly obnoxious to you
children, but your real detestation of him arose from the fact that he
hated children.

Naturally enough the gruesome Sand-man of the old nurse's story was
associated in your childish mind with old Coppelius, who, even though
you had not believed in the Sand-man, would have been to you a ghostly
bugbear, especially dangerous to children. His mysterious labours
along with your father at night-time were, I daresay, nothing more
than secret experiments in alchemy, with which your mother could not
be over well pleased, owing to the large sums of money that most
likely were thrown away upon them; and besides, your father, his mind
full of the deceptive striving after higher knowledge, may probably
have become rather indifferent to his family, as so often happens in
the case of such experimentalists. So also it is equally probable that
your father brought about his death by his own imprudence, and that
Coppelius is not to blame for it. I must tell you that yesterday I
asked our experienced neighbour, the chemist, whether in experiments
of this kind an explosion could take place which would have a
momentarily fatal effect. He said, "Oh, certainly!" and described to
me in his prolix and circumstantial way how it could be occasioned,
mentioning at the same time so many strange and funny words that I
could not remember them at all. Now I know you will be angry at your
Clara, and will say, "Of the Mysterious which often clasps man in its
invisible arms there's not a ray can find its way into this cold
heart. She sees only the varied surface of the things of the world,
and, like the little child, is pleased with the golden glittering
fruit, at the kernel of which lies the fatal poison."

Oh! my beloved Nathanael, do you believe then that the intuitive
prescience of a dark power working within us to our own ruin cannot
exist also in minds which are cheerful, natural, free from care? But
please forgive me that I, a simple girl, presume in my way to indicate
to you what I really think of such an inward strife. After all, I
should not find the proper words, and you would only laugh at me, not
because my thoughts were stupid, but because I was so foolish as to
attempt to tell them to you.

If there is a dark and hostile power which traitorously fixes a thread
in our hearts in order that, laying hold of it and drawing us by means
of it along a dangerous road to ruin, which otherwise we should not
have trod--if, I say, there is such a power, it must assume within us
a form like ourselves, nay, it must be ourselves; for only in that way
can we believe in it, and only so understood do we yield to it so far
that it is able to accomplish its secret purpose. So long as we have
sufficient firmness, fortified by cheerfulness, to always acknowledge
foreign hostile influences for what they really are, whilst we quietly
pursue the path pointed out to us by both inclination and calling,
then this mysterious power perishes in its futile struggles to attain
the form which is to be the reflected image of ourselves. It is also
certain, Lothair adds, that if we have once voluntarily given
ourselves up to this dark physical power, it often reproduces within
us the strange forms which the outer world throws in our way, so that
thus it is we ourselves who engender within ourselves the spirit which
by some remarkable delusion we imagine to speak in that outer form. It
is the phantom of our own self whose intimate relationship with, and
whose powerful influence upon our soul either plunges us into hell or
elevates us to heaven. Thus you will see, my beloved Nathanael, that I
and brother Lothair have well talked over the subject of dark powers
and forces; and now, after I have with some difficulty written down
the principal results of our discussion, they seem to me to contain
many really profound thoughts. Lothair's last words, however, I don't
quite understand altogether; I only dimly guess what he means; and yet
I cannot help thinking it is all very true. I beg you, dear, strive to
forget the ugly advocate Coppelius as well as the weather-glass hawker
Giuseppe Coppola. Try and convince yourself that these foreign
influences can have no power over you, that it is only the belief in
their hostile power which can in reality make them dangerous to you.
If every line of your letter did not betray the violent excitement of
your mind, and if I did not sympathise with your condition from the
bottom of my heart, I could in truth jest about the advocate Sand-man
and weather-glass hawker Coppelius. Pluck up your spirits! Be
cheerful! I have resolved to appear to you as your guardian-angel if
that ugly man Coppola should dare take it into his head to bother you
in your dreams, and drive him away with a good hearty laugh. I'm not
afraid of him and his nasty hands, not the least little bit; I won't
let him either as advocate spoil any dainty tit-bit I've taken, or as
Sand-man rob me of my eyes.

My darling, darling Nathanael.

Eternally your, c. c.

NATHANAEL TO LOTHAIR.

I am very sorry that Clara opened and read my last letter to you; of
course the mistake is to be attributed to my own absence of mind. She
has written me a very deep philosophical letter, proving conclusively
that Coppelius and Coppola only exist in my own mind and are phantoms
of my own self, which will at once be dissipated, as soon as I look
upon them in that light. In very truth one can hardly believe that the
mind which so often sparkles in those bright, beautifully smiling,
childlike eyes of hers like a sweet lovely dream could draw such
subtle and scholastic distinctions. She also mentions your name. You
have been talking about me. I suppose you have been giving her
lectures, since she sifts and refines everything so acutely. But
enough of this! I must now tell you it is most certain that the
weather-glass hawker Giuseppe Coppola is not the advocate Coppelius. I
am attending the lectures of our recently appointed Professor of
Physics, who, like the distinguished naturalist,(3) is called
Spalanzani, and is of Italian origin. He has known Coppola for many
years; and it is also easy to tell from his accent that he really is a
Piedmontese. Coppelius was a German, though no honest German, I fancy.
Nevertheless I am not quite satisfied. You and Clara will perhaps take
me for a gloomy dreamer, but nohow can I get rid of the impression
which Coppelius's cursed face made upon me. I am glad to learn from
Spalanzani that he has left the town. This Professor Spalanzani is a
very queer fish. He is a little fat man, with prominent cheek-bones,
thin nose, projecting lips, and small piercing eyes. You cannot get a
better picture of him than by turning over one of the Berlin pocket-
almanacs(4) and looking at Cagliostro's(5) portrait engraved by
Chodowiecki;(6) Spalanzani looks just like him.

(3) Lazaro Spallanzani, a celebrated anatomist and naturalist (1729-
1799), filled for several years the chair of Natural History at Pavia,
and travelled extensively for scientific purposes in Italy, Turkey,
Sicily, Switzerland, c.

(4) Or Almanacs of the Muses, as they were also sometimes called, were
periodical, mostly yearly publications, containing all kinds of
literary effusions; mostly, however, lyrical. They originated in the
eighteenth century. Schiller, A. W. and F. Schlegel, Tieck, and
Chamisso, amongst others, conducted undertakings of this nature.

(5) Joseph Balsamo, a Sicilian by birth, calling himself count
Cagliostro, one of the greatest impostors of modern times, lived
during the latter part of the eighteenth century. See Carlyle's
"Miscellanies" for an account of his life and character.

(6) Daniel Nikolas Chodowiecki, painter and engraver, of Polish
descent, was born at Dantzic in 1726. For some years he was so popular
an artist that few books were published in Prussia without plates or
vignettes by him. The catalogue of his works is said to include 3000
items.

Once lately, as I went up the steps to his house, I perceived that
beside the curtain which generally covered a glass door there was a
small chink. What it was that excited my curiosity I cannot explain;
but I looked through. In the room I saw a female, tall, very slender,
but of perfect proportions, and splendidly dressed, sitting at a
little table, on which she had placed both her arms, her hands being
folded together. She sat opposite the door, so that I could easily see
her angelically beautiful face. She did not appear to notice me, and
there was moreover a strangely fixed look about her eyes, I might
almost say they appeared as if they had no power of vision; I thought
she was sleeping with her eyes open. I felt quite uncomfortable, and
so I slipped away quietly into the Professor's lecture-room, which was
close at hand. Afterwards I learnt that the figure which I had seen
was Spalanzani's daughter, Olimpia, whom he keeps locked in a most
wicked and unaccountable way, and no man is ever allowed to come near
her. Perhaps, however, there is after all something peculiar about
her; perhaps she's an idiot or something of that sort. But why am I
telling you all this? I could have told you it all better and more in
detail when I see you. For in a fortnight I shall be amongst you. I
must see my dear sweet angel, my Clara, again. Then the little bit of
ill-temper, which, I must confess, took possession of me after her
fearfully sensible letter, will be blown away. And that is the reason
why I am not writing to her as well to-day. With all best wishes, c.

Nothing more strange and extraordinary can be imagined, gracious
reader, than what happened to my poor friend, the young student
Nathanael, and which I have undertaken to relate to you. Have you ever
lived to experience anything that completely took possession of your
heart and mind and thoughts to the utter exclusion of everything else?
All was seething and boiling within you; your blood, heated to fever
pitch, leapt through your veins and inflamed your cheeks. Your gaze
was so peculiar, as if seeking to grasp in empty space forms not seen
of any other eye, and all your words ended in sighs betokening some
mystery. Then your friends asked you, "What is the matter with you, my
dear friend? What do you see?" And, wishing to describe the inner
pictures in all their vivid colours, with their lights and their
shades, you in vain struggled to find words with which to express
yourself. But you felt as if you must gather up all the events that
had happened, wonderful, splendid, terrible, jocose, and awful, in the
very first word, so that the whole might be revealed by a single
electric discharge, so to speak. Yet every word and all that partook
of the nature of communication by intelligible sounds seemed to be
colourless, cold, and dead. Then you try and try again, and stutter
and stammer, whilst your friends' prosy questions strike like icy
winds upon your heart's hot fire until they extinguish it. But if,
like a bold painter, you had first sketched in a few audacious strokes
the outline of the picture you had in your soul, you would then easily
have been able to deepen and intensify the colours one after the
other, until the varied throng of living figures carried your friends
away, and they, like you, saw themselves in the midst of the scene
that had proceeded out of your own soul.

Strictly speaking, indulgent reader, I must indeed confess to you,
nobody has asked me for the history of young Nathanael; but you are
very well aware that I belong to that remarkable class of authors who,
when they are bearing anything about in their minds in the manner I
have just described, feel as if everybody who comes near them, and
also the whole world to boot, were asking, "Oh! what is it? Oh! do
tell us, my good sir?" Hence I was most powerfully impelled to narrate
to you Nathanael's ominous life. My soul was full of the elements of
wonder and extraordinary peculiarity in it; but, for this very reason,
and because it was necessary in the very beginning to dispose you,
indulgent reader, to bear with what is fantastic--and that is not a
little thing I racked my brain to find a way of commencing the story
in a significant and original manner, calculated to arrest your
attention. To begin with "Once upon a time," the best beginning for a
story, seemed to me too tame; with "In the small country town S--
lived," rather better, at any rate allowing plenty of room to work up
to the climax; or to plunge at once in medias res, "'Go to the devil!'
cried the student Nathanael, his eyes blazing wildly with rage and
fear, when the weather-glass hawker Giuseppe Coppola"--well, that is
what I really had written, when I thought I detected something of the
ridiculous in Nathanael's wild glance; and the history is anything but
laughable. I could not find any words which seemed fitted to reflect
in even the feeblest degree the brightness of the colours of my mental
vision. I determined not to begin at all. So I pray you, gracious
reader, accept the three letters which my friend Lothair has been so
kind as to communicate to me as the outline of the picture, into which
I will endeavour to introduce more and more colour as I proceed with
my narrative. Perhaps, like a good portrait-painter, I may succeed in
depicting more than one figure in such wise that you will recognise it
as a good likeness without being acquainted with the original, and
feel as if you had very often seen the original with your own bodily
eyes. Perhaps, too, you will then believe that nothing is more
wonderful, nothing more fantastic than real life, and that all that a
writer can do is to present it as a dark reflection from a dim cut
mirror.

In order to make the very commencement more intelligible, it is
necessary to add to the letters that, soon after the death of
Nathanael's father, Clara and Lothair, the children of a distant
relative, who had likewise died, leaving them orphans, were taken by
Nathanael's mother into her own house. Clara and Nathanael conceived a
warm affection for each other, against which not the slightest
objection in the world could be urged. When therefore Nathanael left
home to prosecute his studies in G--, they were betrothed. It is from
G---that his last letter is written, where he is attending the
lectures of Spalanzani, the distinguished Professor of Physics.

I might now proceed comfortably with my narration, did not at this
moment Clara's image rise up so vividly before my eyes that I cannot
turn them away from it, just as I never could when she looked upon me
and smiled so sweetly. Nowhere would she have passed for beautiful
that was the unanimous opinion of all who professed to have any
technical knowledge of beauty. But whilst architects praised the pure
proportions of her figure and form, painters averred that her neck,
shoulders, and bosom were almost too chastely modelled, and yet, on
the other hand, one and all were in love with her glorious Magdalene
hair, and talked a good deal of nonsense about Battoni-like(7)
colouring. One of them, a veritable romanticist, strangely enough
likened her eyes to a lake by Ruisdael,(8) in which is reflected the
pure azure of the cloudless sky, the beauty of woods and flowers, and
all the bright and varied life of a living landscape. Poets and
musicians went still further and said, "What's all this talk about
seas and reflections? How can we look upon the girl without feeling
that wonderful heavenly songs and melodies beam upon us from her eyes,
penetrating deep down into our hearts, till all becomes awake and
throbbing with emotion? And if we cannot sing anything at all passable
then, why, we are not worth much; and this we can also plainly read in
the rare smile which flits around her lips when we have the hardihood
to squeak out something in her presence which we pretend to call
singing, in spite of the fact that it is nothing more than a few
single notes confusedly linked together." And it really was so. Clara
had the powerful fancy of a bright, innocent, unaffected child, a
woman's deep and sympathetic heart, and an understanding clear, sharp,
and discriminating. Dreamers and visionaries had but a bad time of it
with her; for without saying very much--she was not by nature of a
talkative disposition--she plainly asked, by her calm steady look, and
rare ironical smile, "How can you imagine, my dear friends, that I can
take these fleeting shadowy images for true living and breathing
forms?" For this reason many found fault with her as being cold,
prosaic, and devoid of feeling; others, however, who had reached a
clearer and deeper conception of life, were extremely fond of the
intelligent, childlike, large-hearted girl. But none had such an
affection for her as Nathanael, who was a zealous and cheerful
cultivator of the fields of science and art. Clara clung to her lover
with all her heart; the first clouds she encountered in life were when
he had to separate from her. With what delight did she fly into his
arms when, as he had promised in his last letter to Lothair, he really
came back to his native town and entered his mother's room! And as
Nathanael had foreseen, the moment he saw Clara again he no longer
thought about either the advocate Coppelius or her sensible letter;
his ill-humour had quite disappeared.

(7) Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, an Italian painter of the eighteenth
century, whose works were at one time greatly over-estimated.

(8) Jakob Ruysdael (c. 1625-1682), a painter of Haarlem, in Holland.
His favourite subjects were remote farms, lonely stagnant water, deep-
haded woods with marshy paths, the sea-coast--subjects of a dark
melancholy kind. His sea-pieces are greatly admired.

Nevertheless Nathanael was right when he told his friend Lothair that
the repulsive vendor of weather-glasses, Coppola, had exercised a
fatal and disturbing influence upon his life. It was quite patent to
all; for even during the first Few days he showed that he was
completely and entirely changed. He gave himself up to gloomy
reveries, and moreover acted so strangely; they had never observed
anything at all like it in him before. Everything, even his own life,
was to him but dreams and presentiments. His constant theme was that
every man who delusively imagined himself to be free was merely the
plaything of the cruel sport of mysterious powers, and it was vain for
man to resist them; he must humbly submit to whatever destiny had
decreed for him. He went so far as to maintain that it was foolish to
believe that a man could do anything in art or science of his own
accord; for the inspiration in which alone any true artistic work
could be done did not proceed from the spirit within outwards, but was
the result of the operation directed inwards of some Higher Principle
existing without and beyond ourselves.

This mystic extravagance was in the highest degree repugnant to
Clara's clear intelligent mind, but it seemed vain to enter upon any
attempt at refutation. Yet when Nathanael went on to prove that
Coppelius was the Evil Principle which had entered into him and taken
possession of him at the time he was listening behind the curtain, and
that this hateful demon would in some terrible way ruin their
happiness, then Clara grew grave and said, "Yes, Nathanael. You are
right; Coppelius is an Evil Principle; he can do dreadful things, as
bad as could a Satanic power which should assume a living physical
form, but only--only if you do not banish him from your mind and
thoughts. So long as you believe in him he exists and is at work; your
belief in him is his only power." Whereupon Nathanael, quite angry
because Clara would only grant the existence of the demon in his own
mind, began to dilate at large upon the whole mystic doctrine of
devils and awful powers, but Clara abruptly broke off the theme by
making, to Nathanael's very great disgust, some quite commonplace
remark. Such deep mysteries are sealed books to cold, unsusceptible
characters, he thought, without being clearly conscious to himself
that he counted Clara amongst these inferior natures, and accordingly
he did not remit his efforts to initiate her into these mysteries. In
the morning, when she was helping to prepare breakfast, he would take
his stand beside her, and read all sorts of mystic books to her, until
she begged him--"But, my dear Nathanael, I shall have to scold you as
the Evil Principle which exercises a fatal influence upon my coffee.
For if I do as you wish, and let things go their own way, and look
into your eyes whilst you read, the coffee will all boil over into the
fire, and you will none of you get any breakfast." Then Nathanael
hastily banged the book to and ran away in great displeasure to his
own room.

Formerly he had possessed a peculiar talent for writing pleasing,
sparkling tales, which Clara took the greatest delight in listening
to; but now his productions were gloomy, unintelligible, and wanting
in form, so that, although Clara out of forbearance towards him did
not say so, he nevertheless felt how very little interest she took in
them. There was nothing that Clara disliked so much as what was
tedious; at such times her intellectual sleepiness was not to be
overcome; it was betrayed both in her glances and in her words.
Nathanael's effusions were, in truth, exceedingly tedious. His ill-
humour at Clara's cold prosaic temperament continued to increase;
Clara could not conceal her distaste of his dark, gloomy, wearying
mysticism; and thus both began to be more and more estranged from each
other without exactly being aware of it themselves. The image of the
ugly Coppelius had, as Nathanael was obliged to confess to himself,
faded considerably in his fancy, and it often cost him great pains to
present him in vivid colours in his literary efforts, in which he
played the part of the ghoul of Destiny. At length it entered into his
head to make his dismal presentiment that Coppelius would ruin his
happiness the subject of a poem. He made himself and Clara, united by
true love, the central figures, but represented a black hand as being
from time to time thrust into their life and plucking out a joy that
had blossomed for them. At length, as they were standing at the altar,
the terrible Coppelius appeared and touched Clara's lovely eyes, which
leapt into Nathanael's own bosom, burning and hissing like bloody
sparks. Then Coppelius laid hold upon him, and hurled him into a
blazing circle of fire, which spun round with the speed of a
whirlwind, and, storming and blustering, dashed away with him. The
fearful noise it made was like a furious hurricane lashing the foaming
sea-waves until they rise up like black, white-headed giants in the
midst of the raging struggle. But through the midst of the savage fury
of the tempest he heard Clara's voice calling, "Can you not see me,
dear? Coppelius has deceived you; they were not my eyes which burned
so in your bosom; they were fiery drops of your own heart's blood.
Look at me, I have got my own eyes still." Nathanael thought, "Yes,
that is Clara, and I am hers for ever." Then this thought laid a
powerful grasp upon the fiery circle so that it stood still, and the
riotous turmoil died away rumbling down a dark abyss. Nathanael looked
into Clara's eyes; but it was death whose gaze rested so kindly upon
him.

Whilst Nathanael was writing this work he was very quiet and sober-
minded; he filed and polished every line, and as he had chosen to
submit himself to the limitations of metre, he did not rest until all
was pure and musical. When, however, he had at length finished it and
read it aloud to himself he was seized with horror and awful dread,
and he screamed, "Whose hideous voice is this?" But he soon came to
see in it again nothing beyond a very successful poem, and he
confidently believed it would enkindle Clara's cold temperament,
though to what end she should be thus aroused was not quite clear to
his own mind, nor yet what would be the real purpose served by
tormenting her with these dreadful pictures, which prophesied a
terrible and ruinous end to her affection.

Nathanael and Clara sat in his mother's little garden. Clara was
bright and cheerful, since for three entire days her lover, who had
been busy writing his poem, had not teased her with his dreams or
forebodings Nathanael, too, spoke in a gay and vivacious way of things
of merry import, as he formerly used to do, so that Clara said, "Ah!
now I have you again. We have driven away that ugly Coppelius, you
see." Then it suddenly occurred to him that he had got the poem in his
pocket which he wished to read to her. He at once took out the
manuscript and began to read. Clara, anticipating something tedious as
usual, prepared to submit to the infliction, and calmly resumed her
knitting. But as the sombre clouds rose up darker and darker she let
her knitting fall on her lap and sat with her eyes fixed in a set
stare upon Nathanael's face.

He was quite carried away by his own work, the fire of enthusiasm
coloured his cheeks a deep red, and tears started from his eyes. At
length he concluded, groaning and showing great lassitude; grasping
Clara's hand, he sighed as if he were being utterly melted in
inconsolable grief, "Oh! Clara! Clara!" She drew him softly to her
heart and said in a low but very grave and impressive tone,
"Nathanael, my darling Nathanael, throw that foolish, senseless,
stupid thing into the fire." Then Nathanael leapt indignantly to his
feet, crying, as he pushed Clara from him, "You damned lifeless
automaton!" and rushed away. Clara was cut to the heart, and wept
bitterly. "Oh! he has never loved me, for he does not understand me,"
she sobbed.

Lothair entered the arbour. Clara was obliged to tell him all that had
taken place. He was passionately fond of his sister; and every word of
her complaint fell like a spark upon his heart, so that the
displeasure which he had long entertained against his dreamy friend
Nathanael was kindled into furious anger. He hastened to find
Nathanael, and upbraided him in harsh words for his irrational
behaviour towards his beloved sister. The fiery Nathanael answered him
in the same style. "A fantastic, crack-brained fool," was retaliated
with, "A miserable, common, everyday sort of fellow." A meeting was
the inevitable consequence. They agreed to meet on the following
morning behind the garden-wall, and fight, according to the custom of
the students of the place, with sharp rapiers. They went about silent
and gloomy; Clara had both heard and seen the violent quarrel, and
also observed the fencing master bring the rapiers in the dusk of the
evening. She had a presentiment of what was to happen. They both
appeared at the appointed place wrapped up in the same gloomy silence,
and threw off their coats. Their eyes flaming with the bloodthirsty
light of pugnacity, they were about to begin their contest when Clara
burst through the garden door. Sobbing, she screamed, "You savage,
terrible men! Cut me down before you attack each other; for how can I
live when my lover has slain my brother, or my brother slain my
lover?" Lothair let his weapon fall and gazed silently upon the
ground, whilst Nathanael's heart was rent with sorrow, and all the
affection which he had felt for his lovely Clara in the happiest days
of her golden youth was awakened within him. His murderous weapon,
too, fell from his hand; he threw himself at Clara's feet. "Oh! can
you ever forgive me, my only, my dearly loved Clara? Can you, my dear
brother Lothair, also forgive me?" Lothair was touched by his friend's
great distress; the three young people embraced each other amidst
endless tears, and swore never again to break their bond of love and
fidelity.

Nathanael felt as if a heavy burden that had been weighing him down to
the earth was now rolled from off him, nay, as if by offering
resistance to the dark power which had possessed him, he had rescued
his own self from the ruin which had threatened him. Three happy days
he now spent amidst the loved ones, and then returned to G--, where he
had still a year to stay before settling down in his native town for
life.

Everything having reference to Coppelius had been concealed from the
mother, for they knew she could not think of him without horror, since
she as well as Nathanael believed him to be guilty of causing her
husband's death.

.....When Nathanael came to the house where he lived he was greatly
astonished to find it burnt down to the ground, so that nothing but
the bare outer walls were left standing amidst a heap of ruins.
Although the fire had broken out in the laboratory of the chemist who
lived on the ground-floor, and had therefore spread upwards, some of
Nathanael's bold, active friends had succeeded in time in forcing a
way into his room in the upper storey and saving his books and
manuscripts and instruments. They had carried them all uninjured into
another house, where they engaged a room for him; this he now at once
took possession of. That he lived opposite Professor Spalanzani did
not strike him particularly, nor did it occur to him as anything more
singular that he could, as he observed, by looking out of his window,
see straight into the room where Olimpia often sat alone. Her figure
he could plainly distinguish, although her features were uncertain and
confused. It did at length occur to him, however, that she remained
for hours together in the same position in which he had first
discovered her through the glass door, sitting at a little table
without any occupation whatever, and it was evident that she was
constantly gazing across in his direction. He could not but confess to
himself that he had never seen a finer figure. However, with Clara
mistress of his heart, he remained perfectly unaffected by Olimpia's
stiffness and apathy; and it was only occasionally that he sent a
fugitive glance over his compendium across to her--that was all.

He was writing to Clara; a light tap came at the door. At his summons
to "Come in," Coppola's repulsive face appeared peeping in. Nathanael
felt his heart beat with trepidation; but, recollecting what
Spalanzani had told him about his fellow-countryman Coppola, and what
he had himself so faithfully promised his beloved in respect to the
Sand-man Coppelius, he was ashamed at himself for this childish fear
of spectres. Accordingly, he controlled himself with an effort, and
said, as quietly and as calmly as he possibly could, "I don't want to
buy any weather-glasses, my good friend; you had better go elsewhere."
Then Coppola came right into the room, and said in a hoarse voice,
screwing up his wide mouth into a hideous smile, whilst his little
eyes flashed keenly from beneath his long grey eyelashes, "What! Nee
weather-gless? Nee weather-gless? 've got foine oyes as well--foine
oyes!" Affrighted, Nathanael cried, "You stupid man, how can you have
eyes?--eyes--eyes?" But Coppola, laying aside his weather-glasses,
thrust his hands into his big coat-pockets and brought out several
spy-glasses and spectacles, and put them on the table. "Theer! Theer!
Spect'cles! Spect'cles to put 'n nose! Them's my oyes--foine oyes."
And he continued to produce more and more spectacles from his pockets
until the table began to gleam and flash all over. Thousands of eyes
were looking and blinking convulsively, and staring up at Nathanael;
he could not avert his gaze from the table. Coppola went on heaping up
his spectacles, whilst wilder and ever wilder burning flashes crossed
through and through each other and darted their blood-red rays into
Nathanael's breast. Quite overcome, and frantic with terror, he
shouted, "Stop! stop! you terrible man!" and he seized Coppola by the
arm, which he had again thrust into his pocket in order to bring out
still more spectacles, although the whole table was covered all over
with them. With a harsh disagreeable laugh Coppola gently freed
himself; and with the words "So! went none! Well, here foine gless!"
he swept all his spectacles together, and put them back into his coat-
pockets, whilst from a breastpocket he produced a great number of
larger and smaller perspectives. As soon as the spectacles were gone
Nathanael recovered his equanimity again; and, bending his thoughts
upon Clara, he clearly discerned that the gruesome incubus had
proceeded only from himself, as also that Coppola was a right honest
mechanician and optician, and far from being Coppelius's dreaded
double and ghost. And then, besides, none of the glasses which Coppola
now placed on the table had anything at all singular about them, at
least nothing so weird as the spectacles; so, in order to square
accounts with himself, Nathanael now really determined to buy
something of the man. He took up a small, very beautifully cut pocket
perspective, and by way of proving it looked through the window. Never
before in his life had he had a glass in his hands that brought out
things so clearly and sharply and distinctly. Involuntarily he
directed the glass upon Spalanzani's room; Olimpia sat at the little
table as usual, her arms laid upon it and her hands folded. Now he saw
for the first time the regular and exquisite beauty of her features.
The eyes, however, seemed to him to have a singular look of fixity and
lifelessness. But as he continued to look closer and more carefully
through the glass he fancied a light like humid moonbeams came into
them. It seemed as if their power of vision was now being enkindled;
their glances shone with ever-increasing vivacity. Nathanael remained
standing at the window as if glued to the spot by a wizard's spell,
his gaze rivetted unchangeably upon the divinely beautiful Olimpia A
coughing and shuffling of the feet awakened him out of his enchaining
dream, as it were. Coppola stood behind him, "Tre zechini" (three
ducats). Nathanael had completely forgotten the optician; he hastily
paid the sum demanded. "Ain't 't? Foine gless? foine gless?" asked
Coppola in his harsh unpleasant voice, smiling sardonically. "Yes,
yes, yes," rejoined Nathanael impatiently; "adieu, my good friend."
But Coppola did not leave the room without casting many peculiar side-
glances upon Nathanael; and the young student heard him laughing
loudly on the stairs. "Ah well!" thought he, "he's laughing at me
because I've paid him too much for this little perspective--because
I've given him too much money--that's it." As he softly murmured these
words he fancied he detected a gasping sigh as of a dying man stealing
awfully through the room; his heart stopped beating with fear. But to
be sure he had heaved a deep sigh himself; it was quite plain. "Clara
is quite right," said he to himself, "in holding me to be an incurable
ghost-seer; and yet it's very ridiculous--ay, more than ridiculous,
that the stupid thought of having paid Coppola too much for his glass
should cause me this strange anxiety; I can't see any reason for it."

Now he sat down to finish his letter to Clara; but a glance through
the window showed him Olimpia still in her former posture. Urged by an
irresistible impulse he jumped up and seized Coppola's perspective;
nor could he tear himself away from the fascinating Olimpia until his
friend and brother Siegmund called for him to go to Professor
Spalanzani's lecture. The curtains before the door of the all-
important room were closely drawn, so that he could not see Olimpia
Nor could he even see her from his own room during the two following
days, notwithstanding that he scarcely ever left his window, and
maintained a scarce interrupted watch through Coppola's perspective
upon her room. On the third day curtains even were drawn across the
window. Plunged into the depths of despair,--goaded by longing and
ardent desire, he hurried outside the walls of the town. Olimpia's
image hovered about his path in the air and stepped forth out of the
bushes, and peeped up at him with large and lustrous eyes from the
bright surface of the brook. Clara's image was completely faded from
his mind; he had no thoughts except for Olimpia He uttered his love-
plaints aloud and in a lachrymose tone, "Oh! my glorious, noble star
of love, have you only risen to vanish again, and leave me in the
darkness and hopelessness of night?"

Returning home, he became aware that there was a good deal of noisy
bustle going on in Spalanzani's house. All the doors stood wide open;
men were taking in all kinds of gear and furniture; the windows of the
first floor were all lifted off their hinges; busy maid-servants with
immense hair-brooms were driving backwards and forwards dusting and
sweeping, whilst within could be heard the knocking and hammering of
carpenters and upholsterers. Utterly astonished, Nathanael stood still
in the street; then Siegmund joined him, laughing, and said, "Well,
what do you say to our old Spalanzani?" Nathanael assured him that he
could not say anything, since he knew not what it all meant; to his
great astonishment, he could hear, however, that they were turning the
quiet gloomy house almost inside out with their dusting and cleaning
and making of alterations. Then he learned from Siegmund that
Spalanzani intended giving a great concert and ball on the following
day, and that half the university was invited. It was generally
reported that Spalanzani was going to let his daughter Olimpia, whom
he had so long so jealously guarded from every eye, make her first
appearance.

Nathanael received an invitation. At the appointed hour, when the
carriages were rolling up and the lights were gleaming brightly in the
decorated halls, he went across to the Professor's, his heart beating
high with expectation. The company was both numerous and brilliant.
Olimpia was richly and tastefully dressed. One could not but admire
her figure and the regular beauty of her features. The striking inward
curve of her back, as well as the wasp-like smallness of her waist,
appeared to be the result of too-tight lacing. There was something
stiff and measured in her gait and bearing that made an unfavourable
impression upon many; it was ascribed to the constraint imposed upon
her by the company. The concert began. Olimpia played on the piano
with great skill; and sang as skilfully an aria di bravura, in a voice
which was, if anything, almost too sharp, but clear as glass bells.
Nathanael was transported with delight; he stood in the background
farthest from her, and owing to the blinding lights could not quite
distinguish her features. So, without being observed, he took
Coppola's glass out of his pocket, and directed it upon the beautiful
Olimpia. Oh! then he perceived how her yearning eyes sought him, how
every note only reached its full purity in the loving glance which
penetrated to and inflamed his heart. Her artificial roulades seemed
to him to be the exultant cry towards heaven of the soul refined by
love; and when at last, after the cadenza, the long trill rang shrilly
and loudly through the hall, he felt as if he were suddenly grasped by
burning arms and could no longer control himself,--he could not help
shouting aloud in his mingled pain and delight, "Olimpia!" All eyes
were turned upon him; many people laughed. The face of the cathedral
organist wore a still more gloomy look than it had done before, but
all he said was, "Very well!"

The concert came to an end, and the ball began. Oh! to dance with
her--with her--that was now the aim of all Nathanael's wishes, of all
his desires. But how should he have courage to request her, the queen
of the ball, to grant him the honour of a dance? And yet he couldn't
tell how it came about, just as the dance began, he found himself
standing close beside her, nobody having as yet asked her to be his
partner; so, with some difficulty stammering out a few words, he
grasped her hand. It was cold as ice; he shook with an awful, frosty
shiver. But, fixing his eyes upon her face, he saw that her glance was
beaming upon him with love and longing, and at the same moment he
thought that the pulse began to beat in her cold hand, and the warm
life-blood to course through her veins. And passion burned more
intensely in his own heart also, he threw his arm round her beautiful
waist and whirled her round the hall. He had always thought that he
kept good and accurate time in dancing, but from the perfectly
rhythmical evenness with which Olimpia danced, and which frequently
put him quite out, he perceived how very faulty his own time really
was. Notwithstanding, he would not dance with any other lady; and
everybody else who approached Olimpia to call upon her for a dance, he
would have liked to kill on the spot. This, however, only happened
twice; to his astonishment Olimpia remained after this without a
partner, and he failed not on each occasion to take her out again. If
Nathanael had been able to see anything else except the beautiful
Olimpia, there would inevitably have been a good deal of unpleasant
quarrelling and strife; for it was evident that Olimpia was the object
of the smothered laughter only with difficulty suppressed, which was
heard in various corners amongst the young people; and they followed
her with very curious looks, but nobody knew for what reason.
Nathanael, excited by dancing and the plentiful supply of wine he had
consumed, had laid aside the shyness which at other times
characterised him. He sat beside Olimpia, her hand in his own, and
declared his love enthusiastically and passionately in words which
neither of them understood, neither he nor Olimpia. And yet she
perhaps did, for she sat with her eyes fixed unchangeably upon his,
sighing repeatedly, "Ach! Ach! Ach!" Upon this Nathanael would answer,
"Oh, you glorious heavenly lady! You ray from the promised paradise of
love! Oh! what a profound soul you have! my whole being is mirrored in
it!" and a good deal more in the same strain. But Olimpia only
continued to sigh "Ach! Ach!" again and again.

Professor Spalanzani passed by the two happy lovers once or twice, and
smiled with a look of peculiar satisfaction. All at once it seemed to
Nathanael, albeit he was far away in a different world, as if it were
growing perceptibly darker down below at Professor Spalanzani's. He
looked about him, and to his very great alarm became aware that there
were only two lights left burning in the hall, and they were on the
point of going out. The music and dancing had long ago ceased. "We
must part--part!" he cried, wildly and despairingly; he kissed
Olimpia's hand; he bent down to her mouth, but ice-cold lips met his
burning ones. As he touched her cold hand, he felt his heart thrilled
with awe; the legend of "The Dead Bride"(9) shot suddenly through his
mind. But Olimpia had drawn him closer to her, and the kiss appeared
to warm her lips into vitality. Professor Spalanzani strode slowly
through the empty apartment, his footsteps giving a hollow echo; and
his figure had, as the flickering shadows played about him, a ghostly,
awful appearance. "Do you love me? Do you love me, Olimpia? Only one
little word--Do you love me?" whispered Nathanael, but she only
sighed, "Ach! Ach!" as she rose to her feet. "Yes, you are my lovely,
glorious star of love," said Nathanael, "and will shine for ever,
purifying and ennobling my heart." "Ach! Ach!" replied Olimpia, as she
moved along. Nathanael followed her; they stood before the Professor.
"You have had an extraordinarily animated conversation with my
daughter," said he, smiling; "well, well, my dear Mr. Nathanael, if
you find pleasure in talking to the stupid girl, I am sure I shall be
glad for you to come and do so." Nathanael took his leave, his heart
singing and leaping in a perfect delirium of happiness.

(9) Phlegon, the freedman of Hadrian, relates that a young maiden,
Philemium, the daughter of Philostratus and Charitas, became deeply
enamoured of a young man, named Machates, a guest in the house of her
father. This did not meet with the approbation of her parents, and
they turned Machates away. The young maiden took this so much to heart
that she pined away and died. Some time afterwards Machates returned
to his old lodgings, when he was visited at night by his beloved, who
came from the grave to see him again. The story may be read in
Heywood's (Thos.) "Hierarchie of Blessed Angels," Book vii, p. 479
(London, 1637). Goethe has made this story the foundation of his
beautiful poem Die Braut von Korinth, with which form of it Hoffmann
was most likely familiar.

During the next few days Spalanzani's ball was the general topic of
conversation. Although the Professor had done everything to make the
thing a splendid success, yet certain gay spirits related more than
one thing that had occurred which was quite irregular and out of
order. They were especially keen in pulling Olimpia to pieces for her
taciturnity and rigid stiffness; in spite of her beautiful form they
alleged that she was hopelessly stupid, and in this fact they
discerned the reason why Spalanzani had so long kept her concealed
from publicity. Nathanael heard all this with inward wrath, but
nevertheless he held his tongue; for, thought he, would it indeed be
worth while to prove to these fellows that it is their own stupidity
which prevents them from appreciating Olimpia's profound and brilliant
parts? One day Siegmund said to him, "Pray, brother, have the kindness
to tell me how you, a sensible fellow, came to lose your head over
that Miss Wax-face--that wooden doll across there?" Nathanael was
about to fly into a rage, but he recollected himself and replied,
"Tell me, Siegmund, how came it that Olimpia's divine charms could
escape your eye, so keenly alive as it always is to beauty, and your
acute perception as well? But Heaven be thanked for it, otherwise I
should have had you for a rival, and then the blood of one of us would
have had to be spilled." Siegmund, perceiving how matters stood with
his friend, skilfully interposed and said, after remarking that all
argument with one in love about the object of his affections was out
of place, "Yet it's very strange that several of us have formed pretty
much the same opinion about Olimpia We think she is--you won't take it
ill, brother?--that she is singularly statuesque and soulless. Her
figure is regular, and so are her features, that can't be gainsaid;
and if her eyes were not so utterly devoid of life, I may say, of the
power of vision, she might pass for a beauty. She is strangely
measured in her movements, they all seem as if they were dependent
upon some wound-up clock-work. Her playing and singing has the
disagreeably perfect, but insensitive time of a singing machine, and
her dancing is the same. We felt quite afraid of this Olimpia, and did
not like to have anything to do with her; she seemed to us to be only
acting like a living creature, and as if there was some secret at the
bottom of it all." Nathanael did not give way to the bitter feelings
which threatened to master him at these words of Siegmund's; he fought
down and got the better of his displeasure, and merely said, very
earnestly, "You cold prosaic fellows may very well be afraid of her.
It is only to its like that the poetically organised spirit unfolds
itself. Upon me alone did her loving glances fall, and through my mind
and thoughts alone did they radiate; and only in her love can I find
my own self again. Perhaps, however, she doesn't do quite right not to
jabber a lot of nonsense and stupid talk like other shallow people. It
is true, she speaks but few words; but the few words she does speak
are genuine hieroglyphs of the inner world of Love and of the higher
cognition of the intellectual life revealed in the intuition of the
Eternal beyond the grave. But you have no understanding for all these
things, and I am only wasting words." "God be with you, brother," said
Siegmund very gently, almost sadly, "but it seems to me that you are
in a very bad way. You may rely upon me, if all--No, I can't say any
more." It all at once dawned upon Nathanael that his cold prosaic
friend Siegmund really and sincerely wished him well, and so he warmly
shook his proffered hand.

Nathanael had completely forgotten that there was a Clara in the
world, whom he had once loved--and his mother and Lothair. They had
all vanished from his mind; he lived for Olimpia alone. He sat beside
her every day for hours together, rhapsodising about his love and
sympathy enkindled into life, and about psychic elective
affinity(10)--all of which Olimpia listened to with great reverence.
He fished up from the very bottom of his desk all the things that he
had ever written--poems, fancy sketches, visions, romances, tales, and
the heap was increased daily with all kinds of aimless sonnets,
stanzas, canzonets. All these he read to Olimpia hour after hour
without growing tired; but then he had never had such an exemplary
listener. She neither embroidered, nor knitted; she did not look out
of the window, or feed a bird, or play with a little pet dog or a
favourite cat, neither did she twist a piece of paper or anything of
that kind round her finger; she did not forcibly convert a yawn into a
low affected cough--in short, she sat hour after hour with her eyes
bent unchangeably upon her lover's face, without moving or altering
her position, and her gaze grew more ardent and more ardent still. And
it was only when at last Nathanael rose and kissed her lips or her
hand that she said, "Ach! Ach!" and then "Good-night, dear." Arrived
in his own room, Nathanael would break out with, "Oh! what a
brilliant--what a profound mind! Only you--you alone understand me."
And his heart trembled with rapture when he reflected upon the
wondrous harmony which daily revealed itself between his own and his
Olimpia's character; for he fancied that she had expressed in respect
to his works and his poetic genius the identical sentiments which he
himself cherished deep down in his own heart in respect to the same,
and even as if it was his own heart's voice speaking to him. And it
must indeed have been so; for Olimpia never uttered any other words
than those already mentioned. And when Nathanael himself in his clear
and sober moments, as, for instance, directly after waking in a
morning, thought about her utter passivity and taciturnity, he only
said, "What are words--but words? The glance of her heavenly eyes says
more than any tongue of earth And how can, anyway, a child of heaven
accustom herself to the narrow circle which the exigencies of a
wretched mundane life demand?"

(10) This phrase (Die Wahlverwandschaft in German) has been made
celebrated as the title of one of Goethe's works.

Professor Spalanzani appeared to be greatly pleased at the intimacy
that had sprung up between his daughter Olimpia and Nathanael, and
showed the young man many unmistakable proofs of his good feeling
towards him; and when Nathanael ventured at length to hint very
delicately at an alliance with Olimpia, the Professor smiled all over
his face at once, and said he should allow his daughter to make a
perfectly free choice. Encouraged by these words, and with the fire of
desire burning in his heart, Nathanael resolved the very next day to
implore Olimpia to tell him frankly, in plain words, what he had long
read in her sweet loving glances,--that she would be his for ever. He
looked for the ring which his mother had given him at parting; he
would present it to Olimpia as a symbol of his devotion, and of the
happy life he was to lead with her from that time onwards. Whilst
looking for it he came across his letters from Clara and Lothair; he
threw them carelessly aside, found the ring, put it in his pocket, and
ran across to Olimpia Whilst still on the stairs, in the entrance-
passage, he heard an extraordinary hubbub; the noise seemed to proceed
from Spalanzani's study. There was a stamping--a rattling--pushing--
knocking against the door, with curses and oaths intermingled. "Leave
hold--leave hold--you monster--you rascal--slaked your life and honour
upon it.?--Ha! ha! ha! ha!--That was not our wager--I, I made the
eyes--I the clock-work.--Go to the devil with your clock-work--you
damned dog of a watch-maker--be off--Satan--stop--you paltry turner--
you infernal beast!--stop--begone--let me go." The voices which were
thus making all this racket and rumpus were those of Spalanzani and
the fearsome Coppelius. Nathanael rushed in, impelled by some nameless
dread. The Professor was grasping a female figure by the shoulders,
the Italian Coppola held her by the feet; and they were pulling and
dragging each other backwards and forwards, fighting furiously to get
possession of her. Nathanael recoiled with horror on recognising that
the figure was Olimpia Boiling with rage, he was about to tear his
beloved from the grasp of the madmen, when Coppola by an extraordinary
exertion of strength twisted the figure out of the Professor's hands
and gave him such a terrible blow with her, that he reeled backwards
and fell over the table all amongst the phials and retorts, the
bottles and glass cylinders, which covered it: all these things were
smashed into a thousand pieces. But Coppola threw the figure across
his shoulder, and, laughing shrilly and horribly, ran hastily down the
stairs, the figure's ugly feet hanging down and banging and rattling
like wood against the steps. Nathanael was stupefied,--he had seen
only too distinctly that in Olimpia's pallid waxed face there were no
eyes, merely black holes in their stead; she was an inanimate puppet.
Spalanzani was rolling on the floor; the pieces of glass had cut his
head and breast and arm; the blood was escaping from him in streams.
But he gathered his strength together by an effort.

"After him--after him! What do you stand staring there for?
Coppelius--Coppelius--he's stolen my best automaton--at which I've
worked for twenty years--staked my life upon it--the clock-work--
speech--movement--mine--your eyes--stolen your eyes--damn him--curse
him--after him--fetch me back Olimpia--there are the eyes." And now
Nathanael saw a pair of bloody eyes lying on the floor staring at him;
Spalanzani seized them with his uninjured hand and threw them at him,
so that they hit his breast. Then madness dug her burning talons into
him and swept down into his heart, rending his mind and thoughts to
shreds.

"Aha! aha! aha! Fire-wheel--fire-wheel! Spin round, fire-wheel!
merrily, merrily! Aha! wooden doll! spin round, pretty wooden doll!"
and he threw himself upon the Professor, clutching him fast by the
throat. He would certainly have strangled him had not several people,
attracted by the noise, rushed in and torn away the madman; and so
they saved the Professor, whose wounds were immediately dressed.
Siegmund, with all his strength, was not able to subdue the frantic
lunatic, who continued to scream in a dreadful way, "Spin round,
wooden doll!" and to strike out right and left with his doubled fists.
At length the united strength of several succeeded in overpowering him
by throwing him on the floor and binding him. His cries passed into a
brutish bellow that was awful to hear; and thus raging with the
harrowing violence of madness, he was taken away to the madhouse.

Before continuing my narration of what happened further to the
unfortunate Nathanael, I will tell you, indulgent reader, in case you
take any interest in that skilful mechanician and fabricator of
automata, Spalanzani, that he recovered completely from his wounds. He
had, however, to leave the university, for Nathanael's fate had
created a great sensation; and the opinion vas pretty generally
expressed that it was an imposture altogether unpardonable to have
smuggled a wooden puppet instead of a living person into intelligent
tea-circles,--for Olimpia had been present at several with success
Lawyers called it a cunning piece of knavery, and all the harder to
punish since it was directed against the public; and it had been so
craftily contrived that it had escaped unobserved by all except a few
preternaturally acute students, although everybody was very wise how
and remembered to have thought of several facts which occurred to them
as suspicious. But these latter could not succeed in making out any
sort of a consistent tale. For was it, for instance, a thing likely to
occur to any one as suspicious that, according to the declaration of
an elegant beau of these tea-parties, Olimpia had, contrary to all
good manners, sneezed oftener than she had yawned? The former must
have been, in the opinion of this elegant gentleman, the winding up of
the concealed clock-work; it had always been accompanied by an
observable creaking, and so on. The Professor of Poetry and Eloquence
took a pinch of snuff, and, slapping the lid to and clearing his
throat, said solemnly, "My most honourable ladies and gentlemen, don't
you see then where the rub is? The whole thing is an allegory, a
continuous metaphor. You understand me? Sapienti sat." But several
most honourable gentlemen did not rest satisfied with this
explanation; the history of this automaton had sunk deeply into their
souls, and an absurd mistrust of human figures began to prevail.
Several lovers, in order to be fully convinced that they were not
paying court to a wooden puppet, required that their mistress should
sing and dance a little out of time, should embroider or knit or play
with her little pug, c., when being read to, but above all things else
that she should do something more than merely listen--that she should
frequently speak in such a way as to really show that her words
presupposed as a condition some thinking and feeling. The bonds of
love were in many cases drawn closer in consequence, and so of course
became more engaging; in other instances they gradually relaxed and
fell away. "I cannot really be made responsible for it," was the
remark of more than one young gallant. At the tea-gatherings
everybody, in order to ward off suspicion, yawned to an incredible
extent and never sneezed. Spalanzani was obliged, as has been said, to
leave the place in order to escape a criminal charge of having
fraudulently imposed an automaton upon human society. Coppola, too,
had also disappeared.

When Nathanael awoke he felt as if he had been oppressed by a terrible
nightmare; he opened his eyes and experienced an indescribable
sensation of mental comfort, whilst a soft and most beautiful
sensation of warmth pervaded his body. He lay on his own bed in his
own room at home; Clara was bending over him, and at a little distance
stood his mother and Lothair. "At last, at last, O my darling
Nathanael; now we have you again; now you are cured of your grievous
illness, now you are mine again." And Clara's words came from the
depths of her heart; and she clasped him in her arms. The bright
scalding tears streamed from his eyes, he was so overcome with mingled
feelings of sorrow and delight; and he gasped forth, "My Clara, my
Clara!" Siegmund, who had staunchly stood by his friend in his hour of
need, now came into the room. Nathanael gave him his hand--"My
faithful brother, you have not deserted me." Every trace of insanity
had left him, and in the tender hands of his mother and his beloved,
and his friends, he quickly recovered his strength again. Good fortune
had in the meantime visited the house; a niggardly old uncle, from
whom they had never expected to get anything, had died, and left
Nathanael's mother not only a considerable fortune, but also a small
estate, pleasantly situated not far from the town. There they resolved
to go and live, Nathanael and his mother, and Clara, to whom he was
now to be married, and Lothair. Nathanael was become gentler and more
childlike than he had ever been before, and now began really to
understand Clara's supremely pure and noble character.

None of them ever reminded him, even in the remotest degree, of the
past. But when Siegmund took leave of him, he said, "By heaven,
brother! I was in a bad way, but an angel came just at the right
moment and led me back upon the path of light. Yes, it was Clara."
Siegmund would not let him speak further, fearing lest the painful
recollections of the past might arise too vividly and too intensely in
his mind.

The time came for the four happy people to move to their little
property. At noon they were going through the streets. After making
several purchases they found that the lofty tower of the town-house
was throwing its giant shadows across the market-place. "Come," said
Clara, "let us go up to the top once more and have a look at the
distant hills." No sooner said than done. Both of them, Nathanael and
Clara, went up the tower; their mother, however, went on with the
servant-girl to her new home, and Lothair, not feeling inclined to
climb up all the many steps, waited below. There the two lovers stood
arm-in-arm on the topmost gallery of the tower, and gazed out into the
sweet scented wooded landscape, beyond which the blue hills rose up
like a giant's city.

"Oh! do look at that strange little grey bush, it looks as if it were
actually walking towards us," said Clara. Mechanically he put his hand
into his sidepocket; he found Coppola's perspective and looked for the
bush; Clara stood in front of the glass. Then a convulsive thrill shot
through his pulse and veins; pale as a corpse, he fixed his staring
eyes upon her; but soon they began to roll, and a fiery current
flashed and sparkled in them, and he yelled fearfully, like a hunted
animal. Leaping up high in the air and laughing horribly at the same
time, he began to shout, in a piercing voice, "Spin round, wooden
doll! Spin round, wooden doll!" With the strength of a giant he laid
hold upon Clara and tried to hurl her over, but in an agony of despair
she clutched fast hold of the railing that went round the gallery.
Lothair heard the madman raging and Clara's scream of terror: a
fearful presentiment flashed across his mind. He ran up the steps; the
door of the second flight was locked Clara's scream for help rang out
more loudly. Mad with rage and fear, he threw himself against the
door, which at length gave way. Clara's cries were growing fainter and
fainter,--"Help! save me! save me!" and her voice died away in the
air. "She is killed--murdered by that madman," shouted Lothair. The
door to the gallery was also locked. Despair gave him the strength of
a giant; he burst the door off its hinges. Good God! there was Clara
in the grasp of the madman Nathanael, hanging over the gallery in the
air; she only held to the iron bar with one hand. Quick as lightning,
Lothair seized his sister and pulled her back, at the same time
dealing the madman a blow in the face with his doubled fist, which
sent him reeling backwards, forcing him to let go his victim.

Lothair ran down with his insensible sister in his arms. She was
saved. But Nathanael ran round and round the gallery, leaping up in
the air and shouting, "Spin round, fire-wheel! Spin round, fire-
wheel!" The people heard the wild shouting, and a crowd began to
gather. In the midst of them towered the advocate Coppelius, like a
giant; he had only just arrived in the town, and had gone straight to
the market-place. Some were going up to overpower and take charge of
the madman, but Coppelius laughed and said, "Ha! ha! wait a bit; he'll
come down of his own accord;" and he stood gazing upwards along with
the rest. All at once Nathanael stopped as if spell-bound; he bent
down over the railing, and perceived Coppelius. With a piercing
scream, "Ha! foine oyes! foine oyes!" he leapt over.

When Nathanael lay on the stone pavement with a broken head, Coppelius
had disappeared in the crush and confusion.

Several years afterwards it was reported that, outside the door of a
pretty country house in a remote district, Clara had been seen sitting
hand in hand with a pleasant gentleman, whilst two bright boys were
playing at her feet. From this it may be concluded that she eventually
found that quiet domestic happiness which her cheerful, blithesome
character required, and which Nathanael, with his tempest-tossed soul,
could never have been able to give her.




THE STORY OF THE HARD NUT

Perlipat's mother was the wife of a king--that is, a queen; and, in
consequence, Perlipat, the moment she was born, was a princess by
birth. The king was beside himself for joy as he saw his beautiful
little daughter lying in her cradle; he danced about, and hopped on
one leg, and sang out, "Was anything ever so beautiful as my
Perlipatkin?"

And all the ministers, presidents, generals, and staff-officers,
hopped likewise on one leg, and cried out, "No, never!" However, the
real fact is, that it is quite impossible, as long as the world lasts,
that a princess should be born more beautiful than Perlipat. Her
little face looked like a web of the most beautiful lilies and roses,
her eyes were the brightest blue, and her hair was like curling
threads of shining gold.

Besides all this, Perlipat came into the world with two rows of pearly
teeth, with which, two hours after her birth, she bit the lord
chancellor's thumb so hard that he cried out, "O gemini!"

Some say he cried out, "O dear!" but on this subject people's opinions
are very much divided, even to the present day. In short, Perlipat bit
the lord chancellor on the thumb, and all the kingdom immediately
declared that she was the wittiest, sharpest, cleverest little girl,
as well as the most beautiful.

Now, everybody was delighted except the queen--she was anxious and
dispirited, and nobody' knew the reason; everybody was puzzled to know
why she caused Perlipat's cradle to be so strictly guarded. Besides
having guards at the door, two nurses always sat close to the cradle,
and six other nurses sat every night round the room; and what was most
extraordinary, each of these six nurses was obliged to sit with a
great tom-cat in her lap, and keep stroking him all night, to amuse
him, and keep him awake.

Now, my dear little children, it is quite impossible that you should
know why Perlipat's mother took all these precautions; but I know and
will tell you all about it. It happened that, once on a time a great
many excellent kings and agreeable princesses were assembled at the
court of Perlipat's father, and their arrival was celebrated by all
sorts of tournaments, and plays, and balls. The king, in order to show
how rich he was, determined to treat them with a feast which should
astonish them. So he privately sent for the upper court cook-master,
and ordered him to order the upper court astronomer to fix the time
for a general pig-killing, and a universal sausage-making; then he
jumped into his carriage, and called, himself, on all the kings and
queens; but he only asked them to eat a bit of mutton with him, in
order to enjoy their surprise at the delightful entertainment he had
prepared for them.

Then he went to the queen, and said, "You already know, my love, the
partiality I entertain for sausages." Now the queen knew perfectly
well what he was going to say, which was that she herself (as indeed
she had often done before) should undertake to superintend the
sausage-making. So the first lord of the treasury was obliged to hand
out the golden sausage-pot and the silver saucepans; and a large fire
was made of sandal-wood; the queen put on her damask kitchen-pinafore;
and soon after the sausage soup was steaming and boiling in the
kettle. The delicious smell penetrated as far as the privycouncil-
chamber; the king was seized with such extreme delight, that he could
not stand it any longer.

"With your leave," said he, "my lords and gentlemen"--jumped over the
table, ran down into the kitchen, gave the queen a kiss, stirred about
the sausagebrew with his golden scepter, and then returned back to the
privy-council-chamber in an easy and contented state of mind.

The queen had now come to the point in the sausage making, when the
bacon was cut into little bits and roasted on little silver spits. The
ladies of honor retired from the kitchen, for the queen, with a proper
confidence in herself, and consideration for her royal husband,
performed alone this important operation.

But just when the bacon began to roast, a little whispering voice was
heard, "Sister, I am a queen as well as you, give me some roasted
bacon, too"; then the queen knew it was Mrs. Mouserinks who was
talking.

Mrs. Mouserinks had lived a long time in the palace; she declared she
was a relation of the king's, and a queen into the bargain, and she
had a great number of attendants and courtiers underground. The queen
was a mild, good-natured woman; and although she neither acknowledged
Mrs. Mouserinks for a queen nor for a relation, yet she could not, on
such a holiday as this, grudge her a little bit of bacon. So she said,
"Come out, Mrs. Mouserinks, and eat as much as you please of my
bacon."

Out hops Mrs. Mouserinks, as merry as you please, jumped on the table,
stretched out her pretty little paw, and ate one piece of bacon after
the other, until, at last, the queen got quite tired of her. But then
out came all Mrs. Mouserinks' relations, and her seven sons, ugly
little fellows, and nibbled all over the bacon; while the poor queen
was so frightened that she could not drive them away. Luckily,
however, when there still remained a little bacon, the first lady of
the bedchamber happened to come in; she drove all the mice away, and
sent for the court mathematician, who divided the little that was left
as equally as possible among all the sausages.

Now sounded the drums and the trumpets; the princes and potentates who
were invited rode forth in glittering garments, some under white
canopies, others in magnificent coaches, to the sausage feast. The
king received them with hearty friendship and elegant politeness;
then, as master of the land, with scepter and crown, sat down at the
head of the table. The first course was polonies. Even then it was
remarked that the king grew paler and paler; his eyes were raised to
heaven, his breast heaved with sighs; in fact, he seemed to be
agitated by some deep and inward sorrow. But when, the blood-puddings
came on, he fell back in his chair, groaning and moaning, sighing and
crying. Everybody rose from table; the physicians in ordinary in vain
endeavored to feel the king's pulse: a deep and unknown grief had
taken possession of him.

At last--at last, after several attempts had been made, several
violent remedies applied, such as burning feathers under his nose, and
the like, the king came to himself, and almost inaudibly gasped out
the words, "Too little bacon!" Then the queen threw herself in despair
at his feet: "Oh, my poor unlucky royal husband," said she, "what
sorrows have you had to endure! but see here the guilty one at your
feet; strike strike and spare not. Mrs. Mouserinks and her seven sons,
and all her relations, ate up the bacon, and---and "Here the queen
tumbled backwards in a fainting fit! But the king arose in a violent
passion, and said he, "My lady of the bedchamber, explain this
matter." The lady of the bedchamber explained as far as she knew, and
the king swore vengeance on Mrs. Mouserinks and her family for having
eaten up the bacon which was destined for the sausages.

The lord chancellor was called upon to institute a suit against Mrs.
Mouserinks and to confiscate the whole of her property; but as the
king thought that this would not prevent her from eating his bacon,
the whole affair was entrusted to the court machine and watch maker.
This man promised, by a peculiar and extraordinary operation, to expel
Mrs. Mouserinks and her family from the palace forever. He invented
curious machines, in which pieces of roasted bacon were hung on little
threads, and which he set round about the dwelling of Mrs. Mouserinks.
But Mrs. Mouserinks was far too cunning--not to see the artifices of
the court watch and machine maker; still all her warnings, all her
cautions, were vain; her seven sons, and a great number of her
relations, deluded by the sweet smell of the bacon, entered the
watchmaker's machines, where, as soon as they bit at the bacon, a trap
fell on them, and then they were quickly sent to judgment and
execution in the kitchen. Mrs. Mouserinks, with the small remnants of
her court, left the place of sorrow, doubt, and astonishment. The
court was rejoiced; but the queen alone was sorrowful; for she knew
well Mrs. Mouserinks' disposition and that she would never allow the
murder of her sons and relations to go unrevenged. It happened as she
expected.

One day, whilst she was cooking some tripe for the king, a dish to
which he was particularly partial, appeared Mrs. Mouserinks and said,
"You have murdered my sons, you have killed my cousins and relations,
take good care that the mouse, queen, does not bite your little
princess in two. Take care." After saying this, she disappeared; but
the queen was so frightened, that she dropped the tripe into the fire,
and thus for the second time Mrs. Mouserinks spoiled the dish the king
liked best; and of course he was very angry.

And now you know why the queen took such extraordinary care of
princess Perlipatkin: was not she right to fear that Mrs. Mouserinks
would fulfill her threat, come back, and bite the princess to death?
The machines of the machine-maker were not of the slightest use
against the clever and cunning Mrs. Mouserinks; but the court
astronomer, who was also upperastrologer and star-gazer, discovered
that only the tom-cat family could keep Mrs. Mouserinks from the
princess's cradle; for this reason each of the nurses carried one of
the sons of this family on her lap, and, by continually stroking him
down the back, managed to render the otherwise unpleasant court
service less intolerable.

It was once at midnight, as one of the two chief nurses, who sat close
by the cradle, awoke as it were from a deep sleep; everything around
lay in profound repose; no purring, but the stillness of death; but
how astonished was the chief nurse when she saw close before her a
great ugly mouse, who stood upon his hind legs, and already had laid
his hideous head on the face of the princess. With a shriek of
anguish, she sprung up; everybody awoke; but Mrs. Mouserinks (for she
it was who had been in Perlipat's cradle), jumped down, and ran into
the corner of the room. The tom-cats went after, but too late; she had
escaped through a hole in the floor.

Perlipat awoke with the noise, and wept aloud. "Thank heaven," said
the nurses, "she lives!" But what was their horror, when, on looking
at the before beautiful child, they saw the change which had taken
place in her! Instead of the lovely white and red cheeks which she had
had before, and the shining golden hair, there was now a great
deformed head on a little withered body; the blue eyes had changed
into a pair of great green gogglers, and the mouth had stretched from
ear to ear. The queen was almost mad with grief and vexation, and the
walls of the king's study were obliged to be wadded, because he was
always dashing his head against them for sorrow, and crying out, "O
luckless monarch!"

He might have seen how that it would have been better to have eaten
the sausage without bacon, and to have allowed Mrs. Mouserinks quietly
to stay underground. Upon this subject, however, Perlipat royal father
did not think at all, but he laid all the blame on the court
watchmaker, Christian Elias Drosselmeier, of Nuremberg. He therefore
issued this wise order, that Drosselmeier, should before four weeks
restore the princess to her former state, or at least find out a
certain and infallible means for so doing; or, in failure thereof,
should suffer a shameful death under the ax of the executioner.

Drosselmeier was terribly frightened; but, trusting to his learning
and good fortune, he immediately performed the first operation which
seemed necessary to him. He carefully took Princess Perlipat to
pieces, took off her hands and feet, and thus was able to see the
inward structure; but there, alas! he found that the princess would
grow uglier as she grew older, and he had no remedy for it. He put the
princess neatly together again, and sunk down in despair at her
cradle; which he never was permitted to leave.

The fourth week had begun,--yes, it was Wednesday! when the king, with
eyes flashing with indignation, entered the room of the princess; and,
waving his scepter, he cried out, "Christian Elias Drosselmeier, cure
the princess, or die!" Drosselmeier began to cry bitterly, but little
Princess Perlipat went on cracking her nuts. Then first was the court
watchmaker struck with the princess's extraordinary partiality for
nuts, and the circumstance of her having come into the world with
teeth. In fact, she had cried incessantly since her metamorphosis,
until some one by chance gave her a nut; she immediately cracked it,
ate the kernel, and was quiet.

From that time the nurses found nothing so effectual as to bring her
nuts. "O holy instinct of natural, eternal and unchangeable sympathy
of all beings; thou showest me the door to the secret. I will knock,
and thou wilt open it." He then asked permission to speak to the court
astronomer, and was led out to him under a strong guard. These two
gentlemen embraced with many tears, for they were great friends; they
then entered into a secret cabinet, where they looked over a great
number of books which treated of instincts, sympathies, and
antipathies, and other deep subjects. The night came; the court
astronomer looked to the stars, and made the horoscope of the
princess, with the assistance of Drosselmeier, who was also very
clever in this science. It was a troublesome business, for the lines
were always wandering this way and that; at last, however, what was
their joy to find that the princess Perlipat, in order to be freed
from the enchantment which made her so ugly, and to become beautiful
again, had only to eat the sweet kernel of the nut Krakatuk.

Now the nut Krakatuk had such a hard shell that an eight-and-forty-
pound cannon could drive over without breaking it. But this nut was
only to be cracked by a man who had never shaved, and never worn
boots; he was to break it in the princess's presence, and then to
present the kernel to her with his eyes shut; nor was he to open his
eyes until he had walked seven steps backwards without stumbling.
Drosselmeier and the astronomer worked without stopping three days and
three nights; and, as the king was at dinner on Saturday, Drosselmeier
(who was to have had his head off Sunday morning early), rushed into
the room, and declared he had found the means of restoring the
princess Perlipat to her former beauty. The king embraced him with
fervent affection, promised him a diamond sword, four orders, and two
new coats for Sundays.

"We will go to work immediately after dinner," said the king in the
most friendly manner, "and thou, dear watchmaker, must see that the
young unshaven gentleman in shoes be ready with the nut Krakatuk. Take
care, too, that he drink no wine before, that he may not stumble as he
walks his seven steps backwards like a crab; afterwards he may get as
tipsy as he pleases."

Drosselmeier was very much frightened at this speech of the king's;
and it was not without fear and trembling that he stammered out that
it was true that the means were known, but that both the nut Krakatuk,
and the young man to crack it, were yet to be sought for; so that it
was not impossible that nut and cracker would never be found at all In
tremendous fury the king swung his scepter over his crowned head, and
cried, with a lion's voice, "Then you must be beheaded, as I said
before."

It was a lucky thing for the anxious and unfortunate Drosselmeier that
the king had found his dinner very good that day, and so was in a
disposition to listen to any reasonable suggestions, which the
magnanimous queen, who deplored Drosselmeier's fate, did not fail to
bring forward. Drosselmeier took courage to plead that, as he had
found out the remedy and the means whereby the princess might be
cured, he was entitled to his life. The king said this was all stupid
nonsense; but, after he had drunk a glass of cherry-brandy, concluded
that both the watchmaker and the astronomer should immediately set off
on their journey, and never return, except with the nut Krakatuk in
their pocket. The man who was to crack the same was, at the queen's
suggestion, to be advertised for in all the newspapers, in the country
and out of it.

Drosselmeier and the court astronomer had been fifteen years on their
journey without finding any traces of the nut Krakatuk. The countries
in which they were, and the wonderful sights they saw, would take me a
month at least to tell of. This, however, I shall not do: all I shall
say is, that at last the miserable Drosselmeier felt an irresistible
longing to see his native town Nuremberg. This longing came upon him
most particularly as he and his friend were sitting together smoking a
pipe in the middle of a wood; in Asia. "O Nuremberg, delightful city!
Who's not seen thee, him I pity! All that beautiful is, in London,
Petersburg, or Paris, are nothing when compared to thee! Nuremberg, my
own city!"

As Drosselmeier deplored his fate in this melancholy manner, the
astronomer, struck with pity for his friend, began to howl so loudly
that it was heard all over Asia. But at last he stopped crying, wiped
his eyes, and said, "Why do we sit here and howl, my worthy colleague?
Why. don't we set off at once for Nuremberg? Is it not perfectly the
same where and how we seek this horrid nut Krakatuk?"

"You are right," said Drosselmeier; so they both got up, emptied their
pipes, and walked from the wood in the middle of Asia to Nuremberg at
a stretch.

As soon as they had arrived in Nuremberg, Drosselmeier hastened to the
house of a cousin of his, called Christopher Zachariah Drosselmeier,
who was a carver and gilder, and whom he had not seen for a long, long
time. To him the watchmaker related the whole history of Princess
Perlipat, of Mrs. Mouserinks, and the nut Krakatuk; so that
Christopher Zachariah clapped his hands for wonder, and said, "O,
cousin, cousin, what extraordinary stories are these!" Drosselmeier
then told his cousin of the adventures which befell him on his
travels: how he had visited the grand duke of Almonds, and the king of
Walnuts; how he had inquired of the Horticultural Society of
Acornshausen; in short, how he had sought everywhere, but in vain, to
find some traces of the nut Krakatuk.

During this recital Christopher Zachariah had been snapping his
fingers, and opening his eyes, calling out, hum! and ha! and oh! and
ah! At last, he threw his cap and wig up to the ceiling, embraced his
cousin, and said, "Cousin, I'm very much mistaken, very much mistaken,
I say, if I don't myself possess this nut Krakatuk!" He then fetched a
little box, out of which he took a gilded nut, of a middling size.
"Now," said he, as he showed his cousin the nut, "the history of this
nut is this: Several years ago, a man came here on Christmas Eve with
a sackful of nuts, which he offered to sell cheap. He put the sack
just before my booth, to guard it against the nut-sellers of the town,
who could not bear that a foreigner should sell nuts in their native
city. At that moment a heavy wagon passed over his sack, and cracked
every nut in it except one, which the man, laughing in an
extraordinary way, offered to sell me for a silver half-crown of the
year 1720 This seemed odd to me. I found just such a half-crown in my
pocket, bought the nut, and gilded it, not knowing myself why I bought
it so dear and valued it so much." Every doubt with respect to its
being the nut which they sought was removed by the astronomer, who,
after removing the gilding, found written on the shell, in Chinese
characters, the word Krakatuk.

The joy of the travelers was excessive, and Drosselmeier's cousin, the
gilder, the happiest man under the sun, on being promised a handsome
pension and the gilding of all the gold in the treasury into the
bargain. The two gentlemen, the watchmaker and the astronomer, had put
on their night caps and were going to bed, when the latter (that is,
the astronomer) said, "My worthy friend and colleague, you know one
piece of luck follows another, and I believe that we have not only
found the nut Krakatuk, but also the young man who shall crack it, and
present the kernel of beauty to the princess; this person I conceive
to be the son of your cousin!" "Yes," continued he, "I am determined
not to sleep until I have cast the youth's horoscope." With these
words he took his night cap from his head, and instantly commenced his
observations.

In fact, the gilder's son was a handsome well-grown lad, who had never
shaved, and never worn boots. At Christmas he used to wear an elegant
red coat embroidered with gold; a sword, and a hat under his arm,
besides having his hair beautifully powdered and curled. In this way
he used to stand before his father's booth, and with a gallantry which
was born with him, crack the nuts for the young ladies, who, from this
peculiar quality of his, had already called him "Nutcrackerkin."

Next morning the astronomer fell delighted on the neck of the
watchmaker, and cried, "We have him,--he is found! but there are two
things of which, my dear friend and colleague, we must take particular
care: first, we must strengthen the under-jaw of your excellent nephew
with a tough piece of wood, and then, on returning home, we must
carefully conceal having brought with us the young man who is to bite
the nut; for I read by the horoscope that the king, after several
people have broken their teeth in vainly attempting to crack the nut,
will promise to him who shall crack it, and restore the princess to
her former beauty,---will promise, I say, to this man the princess for
a wife, and his kingdom after his death."

Of course the gilder was delighted with the idea of his son marrying
the Princess Perlipat and becoming a prince and king; and delivered
him over to the two deputies. The wooden jaw which Drosselmeier had
fixed in his young and hopeful nephew answered to admiration, so that
in cracking the hardest peachstones he came off with distinguished
success.

As soon as Drosselmeier and his comrade had made known the discovery
of the nut, the requisite advertisements were immediately issued; and
as the travelers had returned with the means of restoring the
princess's beauty, many hundred young men, among whom several princes
might be found, trusting to the soundness of their teeth, attempted to
remove the enchantment of the princess. The ambassadors were not a
little frightened when they saw the princess again. The little body
with the wee hands and feet could scarcely support the immense
deformed head! The hideousness of the countenance was increased by a
woolly beard, which spread over mouth and chin. Everything happened as
the astronomer had foretold. One dandy in shoes after another broke
teeth and jaws upon the nut Krakatuk, without in the slightest degree
helping the princess, and as they were carried away half-dead to the
dentist (who was always ready), groaned out-that was a hard nut!

When now the king in the anguish of his heart had promised his
daughter and kingdom to the man who would break the enchantment, the
gentle Drosselmeier made himself known, and begged to be allowed the
trial. No one had pleased the princess so much as this young man; she
laid her little hand on her heart, and sighed inwardly, Ah! if he were
the person destined to crack Krakatuk, and be my husband! Young
Drosselmeier, approaching the queen, the king, and the princess
Perlipat in the most elegant manner, received from the hands of the
chief master of ceremonies the nut Krakatuk, which he immediately put
into his mouth,--and crack! crack!--broke the shell in a dozen pieces;
he neatly removed the bits of shell which yet remained on the kernel,
and then with a most profound bow presented it to the princess, shut
his eyes, and proceeded to step backwards. The princess swallowed the
kernel; and oh! wonderful wonder! her ugliness disappeared, and,
instead, was seen a form of angel beauty, with a countenance like
lilies and roses mixed, the eyes of glancing azure, and the full locks
curling like threads of gold. Drums and trumpets mingled with the
rejoicings of the people. The king and the whole court danced upon one
leg, as before, at Perlipat's birth, and the queen was obliged to be
sprinkled all over with eau de Cologne, since she had fainted with
excessive joy.

This great tumult did not a little disturb young Drosselmeier, who had
yet his seven steps to accomplish: however, he recollected himself,
and had just put his right foot back for the seventh step, when Mrs.
Mouserinks, squeaking in a most hideous manner, raised herself from
the floor, so that Drosselmeier, as he put his foot backwards, trod on
her, and stumbled,--nay, almost fell down. What a misfortune! The
young man became at that moment just as ugly as ever was the princess
Perlipat. The body was squeezed together, and could scarcely support
the thick deformed head, with the great goggling eyes and wide gaping
mouth. Instead of the wooden roof for his mouth, a little wooden
mantel hung out from behind his back.

The watchmaker and astronomer were beside themselves with horror and
astonishment; but they saw how Mrs. Mouserinks was creeping along the
floor all bloody. Her wickedness, however, was not unavenged, for
Drosselmeier had struck her so hard on the neck with the sharp heel of
his shoe, that she was at the point of death; but just as she was in
her last agonies, she squeaked out in the most piteous manner, "O
Krakatuk, from thee I die! but Nutcracker dies as well as I; and thou,
my son, with the seven crowns, revenge thy mother's horrid wounds!
Kill the man who did attack her, that naughty, ugly wicked
Nutcracker!" Quick with this cry died Mrs. Mouserinks, and was carried
off by the royal housemaid.

Nobody had taken the least notice of young Drosselmeier. The princess,
however, reminded the king of his promise, and he immediately ordered
the young hero to be brought before him. But when that unhappy young
man appeared in his deformed state, the princess put her hands before
her and cried out, "Away with that nasty Nutcracker!" So the court
marshal took him by his little shoulder and pushed him out of the
door.

The king was in a terrible fury that anybody should ever think of
making a nutcracker his son-in-law: he laid all the blame on the
watchmaker and astronomer, and banished them both from his court and
kingdom. This had not been seen by the astronomer in casting his
horoscope; however, he found, on reading the stars a second time, that
young Drosselmeier would so well behave himself in his new station,
that, in spite of his ugliness, he would become prince and king. In
the meantime, but with the fervent hope of soon seeing the end of
these things, Drosselmeier remains as ugly as ever; so much so, that
the nutcrackers in Nuremberg have always been made after the exact
model of his countenance and figure.




THE HISTORY OF KRAKATUK

PERLIPAT's mother was the wife of a king--that is, a queen; and, in
consequence, Perlipat, the moment she was born, was a princess by
birth. The king was beside himself for joy as he saw his beautiful
little daughter lying in her cradle; he danced about, and hopped on
one leg, and sang out, "Was anything ever so beautiful as my
Perlipatkin?" And all the ministers, presidents, generals, and staff-
officers, hopped likewise on one leg, and cried out, "No, never!"
However, the real fact is, that it is quite impossible, as long as the
world lasts, that a princess should be born more beautiful than
Perlipat. Her little face looked like a web of the most beautiful
lilies and roses, her eyes were the brightest blue, and her hair was
like curling threads of shining gold. Besides all this, Perlipat came
into the world with two rows of pearly teeth, with which, two hours
after her birth, she bit the lord chancellor's thumb so hard that he
cried out, "O gemini!" Some say he cried out, "O dear!" but on this
subject people's opinions are very much divided, even to the present
day. In short, Perlipat bit the lord chancellor on the thumb, and all
the kingdom immediately declared that she was the wittiest, sharpest,
cleverest little girl, as well as the most beautiful. Now, everybody
was delighted except the queen--she was anxious and dispirited, and
nobody knew the reason; everybody was puzzled to know why she caused
Perlipat's cradle to be so strictly guarded. Besides having guards at
the door, two nurses always sat close to the cradle, and six other
nurses sat every night round the room; and what was most
extraordinary, each of these six nurses was obliged to sit with a
great tom-cat in her lap, and keep stroking him all night, to amuse
him, and keep him awake.

Now, my dear little children, it is quite impossible that you should
know why Perlipat's mother took all these precautions; but I know, and
will tell you all about it. It happened that, once on a time, a great
many excellent kings and agreeable princesses were assembled at the
court of Perlipat's father, and their arrival was celebrated by all
sorts of tournaments, and plays, and balls. The king, in order to show
how rich he was, determined to treat them with a feast which should
astonish them. So he privately sent for the upper court cook-master,
and ordered him to order the upper court astronomer to fix the time
for a general pig-killing, and a universal sausage-making; then he
jumped into his carriage, and called, himself, on all the kings and
queens; but he only asked them to eat a bit of mutton with him, in
order to enjoy their surprise at the delightful entertainment he had
prepared for them. Then he went to the queen, and said, "You already
know, my love, the partiality I entertain for sausages." Now the queen
knew perfectly well what he was going to say, which was that she
herself (as indeed she had often done before) should undertake to
superintend the sausage-making. So the first lord of the treasury was
obliged to hand out the golden sausage-pot and the silver saucepans;
and a large fire was made of sandal-wood; the queen put on her damask
kitchen-pinafore; and soon after the sausage soup was steaming and
boiling in the kettle. The delicious smell penetrated as far as the
privy-council-chamber; the king was seized with such extreme delight,
that he could not stand it any longer. "With your leave," said he, "my
lords and gentlemen"--jumped over the table, ran down into the
kitchen, gave the queen a kiss, stirred about the sausage-brew with
his golden sceptre, and then returned back to the privy-council-
chamber in an easy and contented state of mind. The queen had now come
to the point in the sausage-making, when the bacon was cut into little
bits and roasted on little silver spits. The ladies of honour retired
from the kitchen, for the queen, with a proper confidence in herself
and consideration for her royal husband, performed alone this
important operation. But just when the bacon began to roast, a little
whispering voice was heard, "Sister, I am a queen as well as you, give
me some roasted bacon, too"; then the queen knew it was Mrs.
Mouserinks who was talking. Mrs. Mouserinks had lived a long time in
the palace; she declared she was a relation of the king's, and a queen
into the bargain, and she had a great number of attendants and
courtiers underground. The queen was a mild, good-natured woman; and
although she neither acknowledged Mrs. Mouserinks for a queen nor for
a relation yet she could not on such a holiday as this, grudge her a
little bit of bacon. So she said, "Come out, Mrs. Mouserinks, and eat
as much as you please of my bacon." Out hops Mrs. Mouserinks, as merry
as you please, jumped on the table, stretched out her pretty little
paw, and ate one piece of bacon after the other until, at last, the
queen got quite tired of her. But then out came all Mrs. Mouserinks'
relations, and her seven sons ugly little fellows, and nibbled all
over the bacon; while the poor queen was so frightened that she could
not drive them away. Luckily, however, when there still remained a
little bacon, the first lady of the bedchamber happened to come in;
she drove all the mice away, and sent for the court mathematician, who
divided the little that was left as equally as possible among all the
sausages. Now sounded the drums and the trumpets; the princes and
potentates who were invited rode forth in glittering garments, some
under white canopies, others in magnificent coaches, to the sausage
feast. The king received them with hearty friendship and elegant
politeness; then, as master of the land, with sceptre and crown, sat
down at the head of the table. The first course was polonies. Even
then it was remarked that the king grew paler and paler; his eyes were
raised to heaven, his breast heaved with sighs; in fact, he seemed to
be agitated by some deep and inward sorrow. But when the blood-
puddings came on, he fell back in his chair, groaning and moaning,
sighing and crying. Everybody rose from table; the physicians in
ordinary in vain endeavoured to feel the king's pulse: a deep and
unknown grief had taken possession of him.

At last--at last, after several attempts had been made, several
violent remedies applied, such as burning feathers under his nose, and
the like, the king came to himself, and almost inaudibly gasped out
the words, "Too little bacon!" Then the queen threw herself in despair
at his feet: "Oh, my poor unlucky royal husband," said she, "what
sorrows have you had to endure! but see here the guilty one at your
feet; strike--strike--and spare not. Mrs. Mouserinks and her seven
sons, and all her relations, ate up the bacon, and--and--" Here the
queen tumbled backwards in a fainting-fit! But the king arose in a
violent passion, and said he, "My lady of the bedchamber, explain this
matter." The lady of the bedchamber explained as far as she knew, and
the king swore vengeance on Mrs. Mouserinks and her family for having
eaten up the bacon which was destined for the sausages.

The lord chancellor was called upon to institute a suit against Mrs.
Mouserinks and to confiscate the whole of her property; but as the
king thought that this would not prevent her from eating his bacon,
the whole affair was entrusted to the court machine and watch maker.
This man promised, by a peculiar and extraordinary operation, to expel
Mrs. Mouserinks and her family from the palace forever. He invented
curious machines, in which pieces of roasted bacon were hung on little
threads, and which he set round about the dwelling of Mrs. Mouserinks.
But Mrs. Mouserinks was far too cunning not to see the artifices of
the court watch and machine maker; still all her warnings, all her
cautions, were vain; her seven sons, and a great number of her
relations, deluded by the sweet smell of the bacon, entered the
watchmaker's machines, where, as soon as they bit at the bacon, a trap
fell on them, and then they were quickly sent to judgment and
execution in the kitchen. Mrs. Mouserinks, with the small remnants of
her court, left the place of sorrow, doubt, and astonishment. The
court was rejoiced; but the queen alone was sorrowful; for she knew
well Mrs. Mouserinks' disposition, and that she would never allow the
murder of her sons and relations to go unrevenged. It happened as she
expected. One day, whilst she was cooking some tripe for the king, a
dish to which he was particularly partial, appeared Mrs. Mouserinks
and said, "You have murdered my sons, you have killed my cousins and
relations, take good care that the mouse, queen, does not bite your
little princess in two. Take care." After saying this, she
disappeared; but the queen was so frightened, that she dropped the
tripe into the fire, and thus for the second time Mrs. Mouserinks
spoiled the dish the king liked best; and of course he was very angry.
And now you know why the queen took such extraordinary care of
princess Perlipatkin: was not she right to fear that Mrs. Mouserinks
would fulfil her threat, come back, and bite the princess to death?

The machines of the machine-maker were not of the slightest use
against the clever and cunning Mrs. Mouserinks; but the court
astronomer, who was also upper-astrologer and star-gazer, discovered
that only the Tom-cat family could keep Mrs. Mouserinks from the
princess's cradle; for this reason each of the nurses carried one of
the sons of this family on her lap, and, by continually stroking him
down the back, managed to render the otherwise unpleasant court
service less intolerable.

It was once at midnight, as one of the two chief nurses, who sat close
by the cradle, awoke as it were from a deep sleep; everything around
lay in profound repose; no purring, but the stillness of death; but
how astonished was the chief nurse when she saw close before her a
great ugly mouse, who stood upon his hind legs, and already had laid
his hideous head on the face of the princess. With a shriek of
anguish, she sprung up; everybody awoke; but Mrs. Mouserinks (for she
it was who had been in Perlipat's cradle), jumped down, and ran into
the corner of the room. The tom-cats went after, but too late; she had
escaped through a hole in the floor. Perlipat awoke with the noise,
and wept aloud. "Thank heaven," said the nurses, "she lives!" But what
was their horror, when, on looking at the before beautiful child, they
saw the change which had taken place in her! Instead of the lovely
white and red cheeks which she had had before, and the shining golden
hair, there was now a great deformed head on a little withered body;
the blue eyes had changed into a pair of great green gogglers, and the
mouth had stretched from ear to ear. The queen was almost mad with
grief and vexation, and the walls of the king's study were obliged to
be wadded, because he was always dashing his head against them for
sorrow, and crying out, "O luckless monarch!" He might have seen how
that it would have been better to have eaten the sausage without
bacon, and to have allowed Mrs. Mouserinks quietly to stay
underground. Upon this subject, however, Perlipat's royal father did
not think at all, but he laid all the blame on the court watchmaker,
Christian Elias Drosselmeier, of Nuremberg. He therefore issued this
wise order, that Drosselmeier, should before four weeks restore the
princess to her former state, or at least find out a certain and
infallible means for so doing; or, in failure thereof, should suffer a
shameful death under the axe of the executioner.

Drosselmeier was terribly frightened; but, trusting to his learning
and good fortune, he immediately performed the first operation which
seemed necessary to him. He carefully took Princess Perlipat to
pieces, took off her hands and feet, and thus was able to see the
inward structure; but there, alas! he found that the princess would
grow uglier as she grew older, and he had no remedy for it. He put the
princess neatly together again, and sunk down in despair at her
cradle; which he never was permitted to leave.

The fourth week had begun,--yes, it was Wednesday! when the king, with
eyes flashing with indignation, entered the room of the princess; and,
waving his sceptre, he cried out, "Christian Elias Drosselmeier, cure
the princess, or die!" Drosselmeier began to cry bitterly, but little
Princess Perlipat went on cracking her nuts. Then first was the court
watchmaker struck with the princess's extraordinary partiality for
nuts, and the circumstance of her having come into the world with
teeth. In fact, she had cried incessantly since her metamorphosis,
until some one by chance gave her a nut; she immediately cracked it,
ate the kernel, and was quiet.

From that time the nurses found nothing so effectual as to bring her
nuts. "O holy instinct of natural, eternal and unchangeable sympathy
of all beings; thou showest me the door to the secret. I will knock,
and thou wilt open it." He then asked permission to speak to the court
astronomer, and was led out to him under a strong guard. These two
gentlemen embraced with many tears, for they were great friends; they
then entered into a secret cabinet, where they looked over a great
number of books which treated of instincts, sympathies, and
antipathies, and other deep subjects. The night came; the court
astronomer looked to the stars, and made the horoscope of the
princess, with the assistance of Drosselmeier, who was also very
clever in this science. It was a troublesome business, for the lines
were always wandering this way and that; at last, however, what was
their joy to find that the princess Perlipat, in order to be freed
from the enchantment which made her so ugly, and to become beautiful
again, had only to eat the sweet kernel of the nut Krakatuk.

Now the nut Krakatuk had such a hard shell that an eight-and-forty-
pound cannon could drive over without breaking it. But this nut was
only to be cracked by a man who had never shaved, and never worn
boots; he was to break it in the princess's presence, and then to
present the kernel to her with his eyes shut; nor was he to open his
eyes until he had walked seven steps backwards without stumbling.
Drosselmeier and the astronomer worked without stopping three days and
three nights; and, as the king was at dinner on Saturday, Drosselmeier
(who was to have had his head off Sunday morning early), rushed into
the room, and declared he had found the means of restoring the
princess Perlipat to her former beauty. The king embraced him with
fervent affection, promised him a diamond sword, four orders, and two
new coats for Sundays. "We will go to work immediately after dinner,"
said the king in the most friendly manner, "and thou, dear watchmaker,
must see that the young unshaven gentleman in shoes be ready with the
nut Krakatuk. Take care, too, that he drink no wine before, that he
may not stumble as he walks his seven steps backwards like a crab,
afterwards he may get as tipsy as he pleases." Drosselmeier was very
much frightened at this speech of the king's; and it was not without
fear and trembling that he stammered out that it was true that the
means were known, but that both the nut Krakatuk, and the young man to
crack it, were yet to be sought for; so that it was not impossible
that nut and cracker would never be found at all. In tremendous fury
the king swung his sceptre over his crowned head, and cried, with a
lion's voice, "Then you must be beheaded, as I said before."

It was a lucky thing for the anxious and unfortunate Drosselmeier that
the king had found his dinner very good that day, and so was in a
disposition to listen to any reasonable suggestions, which the
magnanimous queen, who deplored Drosselmeier's fate, did not fail to
bring forward. Drosselmeier took courage to plead that, as he had
found out the remedy and the means whereby the princess might be
cured, he was entitled to his life. The king said this was all stupid
nonsense; but, after he had drunk a glass of cherry-brandy, concluded
that both the watchmaker and the astronomer should immediately set off
on their journey, and never return, except with the nut Krakatuk in
their pocket. The man who was to crack the same was, at the queen's
suggestion, to be advertised for in all the newspapers, in the country
and out of it.

Drosselmeier and the court astronomer had been fifteen years on their
journey without finding any traces of the nut Krakatuk. The countries
in which they were, and the wonderful sights they saw, would take me a
month at least to tell of. This, however, I shall not do: all I shall
say is, that at last the miserable Drosselmeier felt an irresistible
longing to see his native town Nuremberg. This longing came upon him
most particularly as he and his friend were sitting together smoking a
pipe in the middle of a wood; in Asia. "O Nuremberg, delightful city!
Who's not seen thee, him I pity! All that beautiful is, in London,
Petersburg, or Paris are nothing when compared to thee! Nuremberg, my
own city!" As Drosselmeier deplored his fate in this melancholy
manner, the astronomer, struck with pity for his friend, began to howl
so loudly that it was heard all over Asia. But at last he stopped
crying, wiped his eyes, and said, "Why do we sit here and howl, my
worthy colleague? Why don't we set off at once for Nuremberg? Is it
not perfectly the same where and how we seek this horrid nut
Krakatuk?" "You are right," said Drosselmeier; so they both got up
emptied their pipes, and walked from the wood in the middle of Asia to
Nuremberg at a stretch.

As soon as they had arrived in Nuremberg, Drosselmeier hastened to the
house of a cousin of his, called Christopher Zachariah Drosselmeier,
who was a carver and gilder, and whom he had not seen for a long, long
time. To him the watchmaker related the whole history of Princess
Perlipat of Mrs. Mouserinks, and the nut Krakatuk; so that Christopher
Zachariah clapped his hands for wonder, and said "O, cousin, cousin,
what extraordinary stories are these!" Drosselmeier then told his
cousin of the adventures which befell him on his travels: how he had
visited the grand duke of Almonds, and the king of Walnuts; how he had
inquired of the Horticultural Society of Acornshausen; in short, how
he had sought everywhere, but in vain, to find some traces of the nut
Krakatuk. During this recital Christopher Zachariah had been snapping
his fingers, and opening his eyes, calling out, hum! and ha! and oh!
and ah! At last, he threw his cap and wig up to the ceiling, embraced
his cousin, and said, "Cousin, I'm very much mistaken, very much
mistaken, I say, if I don't myself possess this nut Krakatuk!" He then
fetched a little box, out of which he took a gilded nut, of a middling
size. "Now," said he, as he showed his cousin the nut, "the history of
this nut is this: Several years ago, a man came here on Christmas Eve
with a sackful of nuts, which he offered to sell cheap. He put the
sack just before my booth, to guard it against the nut-sellers of the
town, who could not bear that a foreigner should sell nuts in their
native city. At that moment a heavy wagon passed over his sack, and
cracked every nut in it except one, which the man, laughing in an
extraordinary way, offered to sell me for a silver half-crown of the
year 1720. This seemed odd to me. I found just such a half-crown in my
pocket, bought the nut, and gilded it, not knowing myself why I bought
it so dear and valued it so much." Every doubt with respect to its
being the nut which they sought was removed by the astronomer, who,
after removing the gilding, found written on the shell, in Chinese
characters, the word Krakatuk.

The joy of the travellers was excessive, and Drosselmeier's cousin,
the gilder, the happiest man under the sun, on being promised a
handsome pension and the gilding of all the gold in the treasury into
the bargain. The two gentlemen, the watchmaker and the astronomer, had
put on their night caps and were going to bed, when the latter (that
is, the astronomer) said, "My worthy friend and colleague, you know
one piece of luck follows another, and I believe that we have not only
found the nut Krakatuk, but also the young man who shall crack it, and
present the kernel of beauty to the princess; this person I conceive
to be the son of your cousin!" "Yes," continued he, "I am determined
not to sleep until I have cast the youth's horoscope." With these
words he took his night cap from his head, and instantly commenced his
observations. In fact, the gilder's son was a handsome well-grown lad,
who had never shaved, and never worn boots.

At Christmas he used to wear an elegant red coat embroidered with
gold; a sword, and a hat under his arm, besides having his hair
beautifully powdered and curled. In this way he used to stand before
his father's booth, and with a gallantry which was born with him,
crack the nuts for the young ladies, who, from this peculiar quality
of his had already called him "Nutcrackerkin."

Next morning the astronomer fell delighted on the neck of the
watchmaker, and cried, "We have him,--he is found! but there are two
things, of which, my dear friend and colleague, we must take
particular care: first, we must strengthen the under-jaw of your
excellent nephew with a tough piece of wood, and then, on returning
home, we must carefully conceal having brought with us the young man
who IS to bite the nut; for I read by the horoscope that the king,
after several people have broken their teeth in vainly attempting to
crack the nut, will promise to him who shall crack it, and restore the
princess to her former beauty,--will promise, I say, to this man the
princess for a wife, and his kingdom after his death." Of course the
gilder was delighted with the idea of his son marrying the Princess
Perlipat and becoming a prince and king; and delivered him over to the
two deputies. The wooden jaw which Drosselmeier had fixed in his young
and hopeful nephew answered to admiration, so that in cracking the
hardest peach-stones he came off with distinguished success.

As soon as Drosselmeier and his comrade had made known the discovery
of the nut, the requisite advertisements were immediately issued; and
as the travellers had returned with the means of restoring the
princess's beauty, many hundred young men, among whom several princes
might be found, trusting to the soundness of their teeth attempted to
remove the enchantment of the princess. The ambassadors were not a
little frightened when they saw the princess again. The little body
with the wee hands and feet could scarcely support the immense
deformed head! The hideousness of the countenance was increased by a
woolly beard, which spread over mouth and chin. Everything happened as
the astronomer had foretold. One dandy in shoes after another broke
teeth and jaws upon the nut Krakatuk, without in the slightest degree
helping the princess, and as they were carried away half-dead to the
dentist (who was always ready), groaned out--that was a hard nut!

When now the king in the anguish of his heart had promised his
daughter and kingdom to the man who would break the enchantment, the
gentle Drosselmeier made himself known, and begged to be allowed the
trial. No one had pleased the princess so much as this young man; she
laid her little hand on her heart, and sighed inwardly, Ah! if he were
the person destined to crack Krakatuk, and be my husband! Young
Drosselmeier, approaching the queen, the king, and the princess
Perlipat in the most elegant manner, received from the hands of the
chief master of ceremonies the nut Krakatuk, which he immediately put
into his mouth,--and crack! crack!--broke the shell in a dozen pieces;
he neatly removed the bits of shell which yet remained on the kernel,
and then with a most profound bow presented it to the princess, shut
his eyes, and proceeded to step backwards. The princess swallowed the
kernel; and oh! wonderful wonder! her ugliness disappeared, and,
instead, was seen a form of angel beauty, with a countenance like
lilies and roses mixed, the eyes of glancing azure, and the full locks
curling like threads of gold. Drums and trumpets mingled with the
rejoicings of the people. The king and the whole court danced upon one
leg, as before, at Perlipat's birth, and the queen was obliged to be
sprinkled all over with eau de Cologne, since she had fainted with
excessive joy. This great tumult did not a little disturb young
Drosselmeier, who had yet his seven steps to accomplish: however, he
recollected himself, and had just put his right foot back for the
seventh step, when Mrs. Mouserinks, squeaking in a most hideous
manner, raised herself from the floor, so that Drosselmeier, as he put
his foot backwards, trod on her, and stumbled,--nay, almost fell down.
What a misfortune! The young man became at that moment just as ugly as
ever was the princess Perlipat. The body was squeezed together, and
could scarcely support the thick deformed head, with the great
goggling eyes and wide gaping mouth. Instead of the wooden roof for
his mouth, a little wooden mantel hung out from behind his back. The
watchmaker and astronomer were beside themselves with horror and
astonishment, but they saw how Mrs. Mouserinks was creeping along the
floor all bloody. Her wickedness, however, was not unavenged, for
Drosselmeier had struck her so hard on the neck with the sharp heel of
his shoe, that she was at the point of death; but just as she was in
her last agonies, she squeaked out in the most piteous manner, "O
Krakatuk, from thee I die! but Nutcracker dies as well as I; and thou,
my son, with the seven crowns, revenge thy mother's horrid wounds!
Kill the man who did attack her, that naughty, ugly wicked
Nutcracker!" Quick with this cry died Mrs. Mouserinks, and was carried
off by the royal housemaid. Nobody had taken the least notice of young
Drosselmeier. The princess, however, reminded the king of his promise,
and he immediately ordered the young hero to be brought before him.
But when that unhappy young man appeared in his deformed state, the
princess put her hands before her and cried out, "Away with that nasty
Nutcracker!" So the court marshal took him by his little shoulder and
pushed him out of the door.

The king was in a terrible fury that anybody should ever think of
making a nutcracker his son-in-law: he laid all the blame on the
watchmaker and astronomer, and banished them both from his court and
kingdom. This had not been seen by the astronomer in casting his
horoscope; however, he found, on reading the stars a second time, that
young Drosselmeier would so well behave himself in his new station
that, in spite of his ugliness, he would become prince and king. In
the meantime, but with the fervent hope of soon seeing the end of
these things, Drosselmeier remains as ugly as ever; so much so, that
the nutcrackers in Nuremberg have always been made after the exact
model of his countenance and figure.




COUNCILLOR KRESPEL

The man whom I am going to tell you about was Krespel, a Member of
Council in the town of H____. This Krespel was the most extraordinary
character that I have ever come across in all my life. When I first
arrived in H____ whole town was talking of him, because one of his
most extraordinary pranks chanced to be in full swing. He was a very
clever lawyer and diplomat, and a certain German prince--not a person
of great importance--had employed him to draw up a memorial,
concerning claims of his on the Imperial Chancery, which had been
eminently successful. As Krespel had often said he never could meet
with a house quite to his mind, this prince, as recompense for his
services, undertook to pay for the building of one, to be planned by
Krespel according to the dictates of his fancy. He also offered to buy
a site for it; but Krespel determined to build it in a delightful
piece of garden ground of his own, just outside the town-gate. So he
got together all the necessary building materials, and had them laid
down in this piece of ground. After which, he was to be seen all day
long, in his usual extraordinary costume--which he always made with
his own hands, on peculiar principles of his own--slaking the lime,
sifting the gravel, arranging the stones in heaps, etc., etc. He had
not gone to any architect for a plan. But one fine day he walked in
upon the principal builder, and told him to come next morning to his
garden, with the necessary workmen--stonemasons, hodmen and so forth--
and build him a house. The builder, of course, asked to see the plan,
and was not a little astonished when Krespel said there was no plan
and no occasion for one; everything would go on all right without one.

The builder arrived next morning with his men, and found a great
rectangular trench, carefully dug in the ground. 'This is the
foundation,' Krespel said. 'So set to work, and go on building the
walls till I tell you to stop.'

'But what about the doors and windows?' asked the builder. 'Are there
to be no partition walls?'

'Just you do as I tell you, my good man' said Krespel as calmly as
possible come quite right in its own good time.'

Nothing but the prospect of liberal payment induced the man to have
anything to do with so preposterous a job--but never was there a piece
of work carried through so merrily; for it was amid the ceaseless
jokes and laughter of the workmen--who never left the ground, where
abundance of victuals and drink was always at hand--that the four
walls rose with incredible speed, till one day Krespel cried 'Stop!'

Mallets and chisels paused. The men came down from their scaffolds and
formed a circle about Krespel, each grinning countenance seeming to
say--'What's going to happen now?'

'Out of the way!' cried Krespel, who hastened to one end of the
garden, and then paced slowly towards his rectangle of stone walls. On
reaching the side of it which was nearest--the one, that is, towards
which he had been marching--he shook his head dissatisfied, went to
the other end of the garden, then paced up to the wall as before,
shaking his head, dissatisfied, once more.

This process he repeated two or three times; but at last, going
straight up to the wall till he touched it with the point of his nose,
he cried out, loud: 'Come here, you fellows, come here! Knock me in
the door! Knock me in a door here!' He gave the size it was to be,
accurately in feet and inches; and what he told them to do they did.
When the door was knocked through, he walked into the house, and
smiled pleasantly at the builder's remark that the walls were just the
proper height for a nice two-storied house. He walked meditatively up
and down inside, the masons following him with their tools, and
whenever he cried 'here a window six feet by four; a little one yonder
three feet by two,' out flew the stones as directed.

It was during these operations that I arrived in H____, and it was
entertaining in the extreme to see some hundreds of people collected
outside the garden, all hurrahing whenever the stones flew out, and a
window appeared where none had been expected. The house was all
finished in the same fashion, everything being done according to
Krespel's directions as given on the spot. The quaintness of the
proceeding, the irresistible feeling that it was all going to turn out
so marvelously better than was to have been expected; but,
particularly Krespel's liberality, which, by the way, cost him
nothing, kept everybody in the best of humor. So the difficulties
attending this remarkable style of house-building were got over, and
in a very brief time there stood a fully-finished house, which had the
maddest appearance certainly, from the outside, no two windows being
alike and so forth, but was a marvel of comfort and convenience
within. Everybody said so who entered it, and I was of the same
opinion, when Krespel admitted me to it after I made his acquaintance.

It was some time, however, ere I did so. He had been so engrossed by
his building operations that he had never gone, as he did at other
times, to lunch at Professor M's on Thursdays, saying he should not
cross his threshold till after his house-warming. His friends were
expecting a grand entertainment on that occasion. However, he invited
nobody but the workmen who built the house. Them he entertained with
the most recherch dishes. Journeymen masons feasted on venison
pasties; carpenters' apprentices and hungry hodmen for once in their
lives stayed their appetites with roast pheasant and pate de foie
ares. In the evening their wives and daughters came, and there was a
fine ball. Krespel just waltzed a little with the foremen's wives, and
then sat down with the town-band, took a fiddle, and led the dance-
music till daylight.

On the Thursday after this house-warming, which had established
Krespel in the position of a popular character--'a friend to the
working classes' at last met him at Professor M 's, to my no small
gratification. The most extravagant imagination could not invent
anything more extraordinary than Krespel's style of behavior. His
movements were awkward, abrupt, constrained, so that you expected him
to bump against the furniture and knock things over' or do some
mischief or other every moment. But he never did; and you soon noticed
that the lady of the house never changed color ever so little,
although he went floundering heavily and uncertainly about, close to
tables covered with valuable china, or maneuvering in dangerous
proximity to a great mirror reaching from floor to ceiling; even when
he took up a valuable china jar, painted with flowers, and whirled it
about near the window to admire the play of the light on its colors.
In fact, whilst we were waiting for luncheon, he inspected and
scrutinized everything in the room with the utmost minuteness, even
getting up upon a cushioned arm-chair to take a picture down from the
wall and hang it up again.

All this time he talked a great deal; often (and this was more
noticeable while we were at luncheon) darting rapidly from one subject
to another, and at other times--unable to get away from some
particular idea--he would keep beginning at it again and again, and
get into labyrinths of confusion over it, till something else came
into his head. Sometimes the tone of his voice was harsh and strident,
at other times it would be soft and melodious; but it was always
completely inappropriate to what he happened to be talking about. For
instance, as we were discussing music, and some one was praising a new
composer, Krespel smiled, and said in his gentle cantabile tone, 'I
wish to heaven the devil would hurl the wretched music-perverter ten
thousand millions of fathoms deep into the abysses of hell!' after
which he screamed out violently and wildly, 'She's an angel of heaven,
all compounded of the purest, divinest music': and the tears came to
his eyes. It was some time ere we remembered that, about an hour
before, we had been talking of a particular prima donna.

There was a hare at table, and I noticed that he carefully polished
the bones on his plate, and made particular inquiries for the feet,
which were brought to him, with many smiles, by the professor's little
daughter of fifteen. All through luncheon the children had kept their
eyes upon him as on a favorite, and now they came up to him, though
they kept a respectful distance of two or three paces. 'What's going
to happen?' thought I. The dessert came, and Krespel took a small box
from his pocket, out of which he brought a miniature turning-lathe,
made of steel, which he screwed on to the table, and proceeded to
turn, from the bones, with wonderful skill and rapidity, all sorts of
charming little boxes, balls, etc., which the children took possession
of with cries of delight.

As we rose from table, the professor's niece said: 'And how is our
dear Antonia, Mr. Krespel?'

'Our--OUR dear Antonia!' he answered, in his sustained singing tone,
most unpleasant to hear. At first he made the sort of face which a
person makes who bites into a bitter orange and wants to look as if it
were a sweet one; but soon this face changed to a perfectly terrible-
looking mask, out of which grinned a bitter, fierce--nay' as it seemed
to me, altogether diabolical, sneer of angry scorn.

The professor hastened up to him. In the look of angry reproach which
he cast at his niece I read that she had touched some string which
jarred most discordantly within Krespel.

'How are things going with the violins?' asked the professor, taking
Krespel by both hands.

The cloud cleared away from his face, and he answered in his harsh
rugged tone, 'Splendidly, Professor. You remember my telling you about
a magnificent Amati, which I got hold of by a lucky accident a shore
time ago? I cut it open this very morning, and expect that Antonia has
finished taking it to pieces by this time.'

'Antonia is a dear, good child,' said the Professor.

'Ay! that she is--that she is!' screamed Krespel and, seizing his hat
and stick, was off out of the house like a flash of lightning.

As soon as he was gone, I eagerly begged the Professor to tell me all
about those violins, and more especially about Antonia.

'Ah,' said the Professor, 'Krespel is an extraordinary man; he studies
fiddle-making in a peculiar fashion of his own.'

'Fiddle-making?' cried I in amazement.

'Yes,' said the Professor; 'connoisseurs consider that Krespel's
violin-making is unrivalled at the present day. Formerly, when he
turned out any special chef-d'oeuvre, he would allow other people to
play upon it; but now he lets no one touch them but himself. When he
has finished a fiddle, he plays upon it for an hour or two (he plays
magnificently, with a power, a feeling and expression which the
greatest professional violinists rarely equal, let alone surpass).
Then he hangs it up on the wall beside the others, and never touches
it again, nor lets anyone else lay hands upon it.'

'And Antonia?' I eagerly asked.

'Well, that,' said the Professor, 'is an affair which would give me a
very shady opinion of Krespel, if I didn't know what a thoroughly good
fellow he is; so that I feel convinced there is some mystery about it
which we don't at present fathom. When he first came here, some years
ago, he lived like a hermit, with an old housekeeper, in a gloomy
house in Street. His eccentricities soon attracted people's attention,
but when he saw this, he quickly sought and made acquaintances. Just
as was the case in my house, people got so accustomed to him that they
couldn't get on without him. In spite of his rough exterior even the
children got fond of him, though they were never troublesome to him,
but always looked upon him with a certain amount of awe which
prevented over-familiarity. You have seen how he attracts children by
all sorts of ingenious tricks. Everybody looked upon him as a regular
old bachelor and woman-hater, and he gave no sign to the contrary; but
after he had been here some time, he went off on some excursion or
other, no one knew where, and it was some months before he came back.

'The second evening after his return, his windows were lighted up in
an unusual way--and that was enough to attract the neighbors'
attention. Presently, a most extraordinarily beautiful female voice
was heard singing to a pianoforte accompaniment. Soon the tones of a
violin were heard joining in, responding to the voice in brilliant,
fiery emulation. It was easy to distinguish that it was Krespel who
was playing. I joined the little crowd assembled outside the house
myself, to listen to the wonderful concert, and I can assure you that
the greatest prima donnas I have ever heard were poor everyday
performers compared to the lady we heard that night. I had never
before had any conception of such long-sustained notes, such
nightingale roulades, such crescendoes and diminuendoes, such
swellings to an organ-like forte, such dyings down to the most
imperceptible whisper. There was not a soul in all the crowd able to
resist the magic spell of that wonderful singing; and when she
stopped, you heard nothing but sighs breaking the silence. It was
probably about midnight, when all at once we heard Krespel talking
loudly and excitedly; another male voice, to judge by the tone of it,
bitterly reproaching him about something, and a woman intervening as
best she could--tearfully, in broken phrases. Krespel screamed louder
and louder, till at last he broke into that horrible singing tone
which you know. A loud shriek from the lady interrupted him: then all
was as still as death; and suddenly steps came rapidly down the
stairs, and a young man came out, sobbing, and, jumping into a
carriage which was standing near, drove rapidly away.

'The next day Krespel appeared quite in his ordinary condition, as if
nothing had happened, and no one had the courage to allude to the
events of the previous night; but the housekeeper said Krespel had
brought home a most beautiful lady, quite young; that he called her
Antonia, that it was she who had sung so splendidly; and that a young
gentleman had also come, who seemed to be deeply attached to Antonia,
and, as she supposed, was engaged to her; but that he had had to go
away, for Krespel had insisted on it.

'What Antonia's precise position with respect to Krespel is, remains a
mystery; at all events he treats her in the most tyrannical style. He
watches her as a cat does a mouse, or as Dr. Bartolo, in Il Barbiere,
does his niece. She scarcely dares to look out of the window. On the
rare occasions when he can be prevailed upon to take her into society,
he watches her with Argus-eyes, and won't suffer a note of music to be
heard, far less that she shall sing; neither will he now allow her to
sing in his own house; so that, since that celebrated night, Antonia's
singing has become, for the people of the town, a sort of romantic
legend, as of some splendid miracle; and even those who never heard
her often say, when some celebrated prima donna comes to sing at a
concert, "Good gracious! what a wretched caterwauling all this is.
Nobody can sing but Antonia!"'

You know how anything of this sort always fascinates me, and you can
imagine how essential it became to me that I should make Antonia's
acquaintance. I had often heard popular references to the famous
Antonia's singing, but I had had no idea that this glorious creature
was there, on the spot, held in thralldom by the crack-brained
Krespel, as by some tyrant enchanter. Naturally, that night in my
dreams I heard Antonia singing in the most magnificent style; and as
she was imploring me, in the most moving manner, to set her free, in a
gloriously lovely adagio--absurdly enough, it seemed as if I had
composed it myself--I at once made up my mind that, by some means or
other, I would make my way into Krespel's house and, like another
Astolfo, set this Queen of Song free from her shameful bonds.

Things came about, however, in a way that I had not anticipated; for
after I had once or twice met Krespel and had a talk with him about
fiddle-making, he asked me to go and see him. I went, and he showed me
his violin treasures: there were some thirty of them hanging in a
cabinet; and there was one, remarkable above the rest, with all the
marks of the highest antiquity (a carved lion's head at the end of the
tail-piece, etc.), which was hung higher than the others, with a
wreath of flowers on it, and which seemed to reign over the rest as
queen.

'That violin,' said Krespel, when I questioned him about it, 'is very
remarkable and the unique creation of some ancient master, most
probably about the time of Tartini. I am quite convinced there is
something most peculiar about its interior construction, and that, if
I were to take it to pieces, I should discover a certain secret which
I have long been in search of. But--you may laugh at me if you like--
that lifeless thing, which I myself inspire with life and language,
often speaks to me, out of itself, in an extraordinary manner; and
when I first played upon it, I felt as if I were merely the
magnetiser--the mesmerist--who acts upon his subject in such sort that
she relates in words what she is seeing with her inward vision. No
doubt you think me an ass to have any faith in nonsense of this sort;
still, it is the fact that I have never been able to prevail upon
myself to take that lifeless thing there to pieces. I am glad I never
did, for since Antonia has been here, I now and then play to her on
that fiddle; she is fond of hearing it--very fond.'

He exhibited so much emotion as he said this, that I was emboldened to
say 'Ah! dear Mr. Krespel, won't you be so kind as to let me hear you
play on it?'

But he made one of his bitter-sweet faces, and answered in his
cantabile sostenuto: 'No, no, my dear young man, that would ruin
everything;' and I had to go and admire a number of curiosities,
principally childish trash, till at length he dived into a chest and
brought out a folded paper, which he put into my hand with much
solemnity, saying: 'There' you are very fond of music: accept tints as
a present from me, and always prize it beyond everything. It is a
souvenir of great value.' With which he took me by my shoulders and
gently shoves me out of the door, with an embrace on the threshold--in
short, he symbolically kicked me out of his house.

When I opened the paper which he had given me, I found a small piece
of the first string of a violin, about an eighth of an inch in length,
and on the paper was written--'Portion of the first string of
Seamitz's violin on which he played his last Concerto.'

The calmly insulting style in which I had been shown to the door the
moment I had said a word about Antonia, seemed to indicate that I
should probably never be allowed to see her; however, the second time
I went to Krespel's I found her there in his room, helping him to put
a fiddle together. Her exterior did not strike me much at first, but
after a short time one could not resist the charm of her lovely blue
Byes, rosy lips, and exquisitely expressive, tender face. She was very
pale; but when anyone said anything interesting, a bright color and a
very sweet smile appeared in her face; but the color quickly died down
to a pale-rose tint. She and I talked quite unconstrainedly and
pleasantly together, and I saw none of those Argus-glances which the
Professor had spoken about. Krespel pursued his ordinary, beaten
track, and seemed rather to approve of my being friendly with Antonia
than otherwise. Thus it came about that I went there pretty often, and
our little group of three got so accustomed to each other's society
that we much enjoyed ourselves in our quiet way. Krespel was always
entertaining with his strange eccentricities; but it was really
Antonia who drew me to the house, and made me put up with a great deal
which, impatient as I was in those days, I should never have endured
but for her. In Krespel's quirks and cranks there was often a good
deal which was tedious, and not in the best of taste. What most
annoyed me was that, whenever I led the conversation to music--
particularly to vocal music---he would burst in, in that horrible
singing voice of his, and smiling like a demon, with something wholly
irrelevant, and generally absolutely unimportant at the same time.
From Antonia's looks of annoyance on those occasions, it was clear
that he did this merely to prevent me from asking her to sing.
However, I wasn't going to give in: the more he objected, the more
determined was I to carry my point I felt that I must hear her, or die
of my dreams of it.

There came an evening when Krespel was in particularly good humor. He
had taken an old Cremona violin to pieces, and found that the sound-
post of it was about half a line more perpendicular than usual. An
important detail!--of priceless practical value! I was fortunate
enough to start him off on the true style of violin playing. The style
of the great old masters--copied by them from that of the really grand
singers--of which he spoke, led to the observation that now the direct
converse held good, and that singers copied the scale, and the
skipping 'passages' of the instrumentalists. 'What,' said I, hastening
to the piano and sitting down at it, 'can be more preposterous than
such disgusting mannerisms, more like the noise of peas rattling on
the floor of a barn than music?' I went on to sing a number of those
modern cadenza-passages, which go yooping up and down the scale, more
like a child's humming-top than anything else, and I struck a feeble
chord or two by way of accompaniment. Krespel laughed immoderately,
and cried 'Ha! ha! ha! I could fancy I was listening to some of our
German Italians, or our Italian Germans, pumping out some aria of
Pucitta or Portugallo, or some other such maestro di capella, or
rather schiavo d'un primo uomo.'

'Now,' thought I, 'is my chance at last.--I am sure Antonia,' I said,
turning to her, 'knows nothing of all that quavering stuff,' and I
commenced to roll out a glorious soulful aria of old Leonardo Leo's.

Antonia's cheeks glowed; a heavenly radiance beamed from her beautiful
eyes; she sprang to the piano; she opened her lips--but Krespel
instantly made a rush at her; shoved her out of the room and, seizing
me by the shoulders, shrieked--'My boy, my boy, my boy!'

Then taking me by the hand and bowing his head most courteously he
continued, in a soft and gentle singing voice, 'No doubt, my dear
young man, it would be an unpardonable breach of courtesy and
politeness if I were to proceed to express, in plain and unmistakable
terms, and wide all the energy at my command, my desire that the devil
of hell himself might crutch hold of that throat of yours, here on the
spot, with his red-hot talons. Leaving that on one side for the
moment, however, you will admit, my very dear young friend, that it's
getting pretty late in the evening, and will soon be dark; and as
there are no lamps lighted, even if I were not to pitch you down
stairs, you might run a certain risk of damaging your precious limbs.
So go away home, like a nice young gentleman, and don't forget your
good friend Krespel, if you should never--never, you understand--find
him at home again when you happen to call.' With which he took me in
his arms, and slowly worked his way with me to the door in such
fashion that I could not manage to set eyes on Antonia again, even for
a moment.

You will admit that, situated as I was, it was impossible for me to
give him a good hiding, as probably I ought to have done by rights.
The Professor laughed tremendously, and declared that I had seen the
last of Krespel for good and all; and Antonia was too precious, I
might say too sacred, in my sight for me to go playing the languishing
amoroso under her window. I left her, broken-hearted; but, as is the
case with matters of the kind, the bright tints of the picture in my
fancy gradually faded and toned down with the lapse of time; and
Antonia, ay, even Antonia's singing, which I had never heard, came to
shine upon my memory only like some beautiful, far-away vision, bathed
in rosy radiance.

Two years afterwards when I was settled in B, I had occasion to make a
journey into the South of Germany. One evening I saw the familiar
towers of H rising into sight against the dewy, roseate evening sky;
and as I came nearer, a strange, indescribable feeling of anxiety and
alarm took possession of me, lying on my heart like a weight of lead.
I could scarcely breathe. I got out of the carriage into the open air.
The oppression amounted to actual physical pain. Presently I thought I
could hear the notes of a solemn hymn floating on the air; it grew
more distinct, and I made out male voices singing a chorale.

'What's this, what's this?' I cried as it pierced through my heart
like a dagger stab.

'Don't you see, sir?' said the postilion, walking beside me, 'it's a
funeral going on in the churchyard.'

We were, in fact, close to the cemetery, and I saw a circle of people
in black assembled by a grave, which was being filled in. The tears
came to my eyes. I felt as if somehow all the happiness and joy of my
life were being buried in that grave. I had been descending the hill
pretty quickly so that I could not now see into the cemetery. The
chorale ceased, and I saw, near the gate, men in black coming away
from the funeral. The Professor with his niece on his arm, both in
deep mourning, passed close to me without noticing me. The niece had
her handkerchief to her eyes and was sobbing bitterly.

I felt I could not go into the town; so I sent my servant with the
carriage to the usual hotel, and walked out into the well known
country to try if I could shake off the strange condition I was in,
which I ascribed to physical causes, being overheated and tired with
my journey, etc. When I reached the alley which leads to the public
gardens, I saw a most extraordinary sight--Krespel, led along by two
men in deep mourning, whom he seemed to be trying to escape from by
all sorts of extraordinary leaps and bounds. He was dressed as usual,
in his wonderful grey coat of his own making; but from his little
three-cornered hat, which he had cocked over one ear in a martial
manner, hung a very long, narrow streamer of black crepe, which
fluttered playfully in the breeze. Round his waist he had buckled a
black sword-belt, but instead of a sword he had stuck a long fiddle
bow into it. The blood ran cold in my veins. 'He has gone quite mad,'
I said as I followed them slowly.

They took him to his own door, where he embraced them, laughing
loudly. When they left him, he noticed me, and after staring at me in
silence for a considerable time, said in a mournful, hollow voice:
'Glad to see you, young fellow. You know all about it.' He seized me
by the arm, dragged me into the house, and upstairs to the room where
the violins hung. They were all covered with crepe, but the
masterpiece by the unknown maker was not in its place; a wreath of
cypress hung in its stead.

I knew then what had happened. 'Antonia, alas! Antonia,' I cried in
uncontrollable anguish.

Krespel was standing in front of me with his arms folded, like a man
turned to stone.

'When she died,' he said, very solemnly, 'the soundpost of that fiddle
broke with a shivering crash. The faithful thing could only live with
her and in her; it is lying with her in her grave.' I sank overwhelmed
into a chair; but Krespel began singing a merry ditty, in a hoarse
voice; and it was a truly awful sight to see him dancing, as he sang
it, upon one foot, while the crepe on his hat kept flapping about the
fiddles on the wall; and I could not help giving a scream of horror
as, during one of his rapid gyrations, this crepe streamer came
wafting over my face, for I felt as if the touch of it must infallibly
infect me, and drag me, too, down into the black, terrible abyss of
madness.

At this Krespel suddenly stopped dancing, and said in his singing
voice: 'What did you shriek out like that for, my boy? Did you see the
angel of death? It's generally before the funeral that people see
him!' Then, walking into the middle of the floor, he drew the bow out
of his belt and, raising it with both hands above his head, he broke
it into splinters. Whereupon he laughed long and loud, and cried, 'The
staff's broken over me now, you think, my boy, don't you? nothing of
the kind, nothing of the kind!

I'm free now--I'm free! I'm free! And fiddles I'll make no more, boys!
And fiddles I'll make no more! Hurray! hurray! hip-hip hurray! Oh!
fiddles I'll make no more.'

This he sang to a hideously merry tune, dancing about on one foot
again as he did so.

Horrified, I was making for the door; but he held me back, saying
quite quietly and soberly this time: 'Don't go away, my dear young
fellow, and don't imagine that these outbreaks mean that I'm mad. But
my grief is so terrible that I can scarcely bear it any longer. No,
no, I am as sane as you are, and as much in my senses. The trouble is,
a little while ago I made myself a nightshirt, and thought when I had
it on I should look like Destiny, or God.'

He went on spouting the wildest incoherences for a time, till he sank
down, completely exhausted. The old housekeeper came at my summons,
and I was thankful when I found myself outside in the open air.

I never doubted for an instant that Krespel had gone completely mad;
but the Professor maintained the contrary. 'There are certain people,'
he said, 'whom Nature, or some malign destiny, has deprived of the
cover--the exterior envelope--under which we others carry on our
madnesses unseen. They are like certain insects who have transparent
integuments, which--since we see the play of their muscular
movements--give the effect of a malformation. But actually they are
perfectly normal. What never passes beyond the sphere of thought in us
becomes action in Krespel. The bitter scorn and rage which the soul,
imprisoned as it is in earthly conditions of being and action, often
vividly feels, Krespel expresses in his external life, by
extraordinary gesticulations and frantic movements. But those are his
lightning conductors. What comes out of the earth he delivers back to
the earth again; the heavenly he retains, and consequently apprehends
it quite clearly and distinctly with his inner consciousness,
notwithstanding all the crankiness which we see sparking out of him.
No doubt Antonia's unexpected loss touches him very keenly, but I bet
you that he'll be going on at his usual jog trot tomorrow, as if
nothing had happened.'

And it turned out very much as the Professor had expected: Krespel
appeared next morning very much as if nothing had happened. Only he
announced that he had given up fiddle-making, and would never play on
a fiddle again. And, it afterwards appeared, he kept his word.

All that I had heard from the Professor strengthened my conviction
that the relation in which Antonia had stood to Krespel so very
intimate, and so carefully kept unexplained--as also the fact that she
was dead, most probably involved him in a situation of some gravity,
from which it might be no easy matter for him to escape. I made up my
mind that I would not leave H until I had given him the full benefit
of my ideas on this subject. My notion was to thoroughly alarm him, to
appeal to his conscience and, if I could, constrain him to a full
confession of his crime. The more I considered the matter the clearer
it seemed that he must be a terrible villain; and all the more
eloquent and impressive grew the allocution which I mentally got ready
to deliver to him, and which gradually took the form of a regular
masterpiece of rhetoric.

Thus prepared for my attack, I betook myself to him one morning in a
condition of much virtuous indignation. I found him making children's
toys at his turning lathe, with a tranquil smile on his face.

'How,' said I, 'is it possible that your conscience can allow you to
be at peace for an instant, when the thought of the horrible crime you
have been guilty of must perpetually sting you like a serpent's
tooth?'

He laid down his tools, and stared at me in astonishment. 'What do you
mean, my good sir?' he said. 'Sit down on that chair there.'

But I continued with much warmth, and distinctly accused him of having
caused Antonia's death, threatening him with the vengeance of Heaven.
Nay more, being full of juridical zeal--as I had just been inducted
into a judicial appointment--I went on to assure him that I should
consider it my duty to leave no stone unturned to bring the affair
thoroughly to light, so as to deliver him into the hands of earthly
justice. I was a little put out, I admit, when on the conclusion of my
rather pompous harangue, Krespel merely looked at me, without a word
in reply, as if waiting for what I had to say next; and I tried to
find something further to add: but everything that occurred to me
seemed so silly and feeble that I held my peace. He seemed rather to
enjoy this breakdown in my eloquence, and a bitter smile passed over
his face.

But then he became very grave, and said in a solemn tone: 'My good
young sir! Very likely you think me a fool--or a madman. I forgive
you. We are both in the same madhouse, and you object to my thinking
myself God the Father, because you think you are God the Son. How do
you suppose you can enter into another person's life, utterly unknown
to you in all its complicated turnings and windings, and pick up and
follow all its deeply hidden threads? She is gone, and the mystery is
solved!'

He stopped, rose and walked two or three times up and down the room. I
ventured to ask for some explanation. He looked at me fixedly, took me
by the hand, and led me to the french window, opening both panes.
Then, leaning upon the sill with both his arms, and looking out into
the garden, he told me the story of his life. When he had ended I left
him, deeply affected and bitterly ashamed.

Antonia's history was roughly as follows:

Some twenty years previously, his fancy for making a collection of the
finest violins of the great old makers had taken him to Italy. At that
time he had not begun to make violins himself nor, consequently, to
take them to pieces. At Venice he heard the renowned prima donna,
Angela--at that time starring in the leading roles at the Teatro di
San Benedetto. She was as unique in her beauty as in her art: and well
became, and deserved, her name of Angela. He sought her acquaintance
and, in spite of all his rugged uncouthness, his most remarkable
violin playing, with its combination of great originality, force and
tenderness, speedily won her artist's heart.

A close intimacy led, in a few weeks, to a marriage--which was not
made public because Angela would neither leave the stage, give up her
well-known name, nor tack on to it the strangely-sounding 'Krespel.'

He described, with the bitterest irony, the quite peculiar ingenuity
with which Signora Angela began, as soon as she was his wife, to
torment and torture him. All the selfishness, caprice, and obstinacy
of all the prima donnas on earth rolled into one were, so Krespel
considered, incorporated in Angela's little body. Whenever he tried to
assert his true position in the smallest degree, she would launch a
swarm of abbates, maestros, and academicos about his ears who, not
knowing his real relations with her, would snub him, and set him down
as a wretched, unendurable ass of an amateur inamorato, incapable of
adapting himself to the Signora's charming and interesting humors.

After one of those stormy scenes, Krespel had flown off to Angela's
country house, and improvising on his Cremona, was forgetting the
sorrows of the day. He had not been playing long, however, when the
Signora, who had followed him, came into the room. She happened to be
in a tender mood: she embraced Krespel with sweet, languishing
glances; she laid her little head upon his shoulder. But Krespel, lost
in the world of his harmonies, went on fiddling, so that the walls re-
echoed; and it so chanced that he touched the Signora, a trifle
ungently, with his bow arm. Blazing up like a fury, she screamed out,
'Bestia tedesca,' snatched the violin out of his hand, and dashed it
to pieces on a marble table. Krespel stood before her for a moment, a
statue of amazement, and then, as if awaking from a dream, he grasped
the Signora with his giant's strength, pitched her out of the window
of her own palazzo, and set off---without concerning himself further
about the matter--to Venice, and thence to Germany.

It was some little time before he quite realized what he had done.
Though he knew the window was only some five feet from the ground, and
the necessity of throwing the Signora out of it under the
circumstances was quite indisputable, still he felt very anxious as to
the results, inasmuch as she had given him to understand that he was
about to be a father.

He was almost afraid to make any inquiries, and was not a little
surprised, some eight months afterwards, to receive an affectionate
letter from his beloved wife, in which she did not say a syllable
about the little circumstance which had occurred at the country
palazzo, but announced that she was the happy mother of a charming
little daughter, and prayed the 'marito amato e pane felicissimo' to
come as quickly as he could to Venice. However Krespel didn't go, but
made inquiries as to the state of affairs through a trusted friend. He
was told that the Signora had dropped down on to the grass as lightly
as a bird, and the only results of her fall were mental ones. She had
been like a new creature after Krespel's heroic achievement. All her
willfulness and charming caprices had disappeared completely; and the
maestro who wrote the music for the next Carnival considered himself
the luckiest man under the sun; inasmuch as the Signora sang all his
arias without one of the thousand alterations which, in ordinary
circumstances, she would have insisted on his making in them.
Krespel's friend added that it was most desirable to give no publicity
to what had occurred; because, otherwise, prima donnas would be
getting pitched out of windows every day.

Krespel was in great excitement. He ordered horses. He got into the
post-chaise.

'Stop a moment, though,' he said. 'Isn't it a positive certainty that,
as soon as I make my appearance, the evil spirit will take possession
of Angela again? I've thrown her out of window once already. What
should I do a second time? What is there left to do?'

So he got out of the carriage, wrote an affectionate letter to his
wife, and--remained in Germany. They carried on a warm correspondence.
Assurances of affection, fond imaginings, regrets for the absence of
the beloved, etc., etc., flew backwards and forwards between H and
Venice. Angela came to Germany, as we know, and shone as prima donna
on the boards at F____. Though she was no longer young, she carried
everything before her by the irresistible charm of her singing. Her
voice had lost nothing at that time. Meanwhile Antonia had grown up;
and her mother could scarce find words in which to describe to
Krespel, how a Cantatrice of the first rank was blossoming forth in
Antonia. Krespel's friends in F____, too, kept on telling him of this;
begging him to go there and hear these two remarkable singers. Of
course they had no idea of the relationship in which Krespel stood to
them. He would fain have gone and seen his daughter, whom he treasured
in the depths of his heart, and whom he often saw in dreams. But
whenever he thought of his wife his spirits sank: and so he stayed at
home, amongst his dismembered fiddles.

I daresay you remember a very promising young composer in F____ of the
name of B____, who suddenly ceased to be heard of---no one knew why:
perhaps you may have known him. Well, he fell deeply in love with
Antonia; she returned his affection, and he urged her mother to
consent to a union consecrated by art. Angela was quite willing, and
Krespel gave his consent all the more readily because this young
maestro's writings had found favor before his critical judgment.
Krespel was expecting to hear of the marriage every day, when there
came a letter with a black seal, addressed in a stranger's hand. A
certain Dr. M____ wrote to say that Angela had been taken seriously
ill, in consequence of a chill caught at the theatre, and had passed
away on the very night before the day fixed for Antonia's marriage. He
added that Angela had told him she was Krespel's wife, and Antonia his
daughter; so that he ought to come and take charge of her.

Deeply as he was shocked by Angela's death, he could not but feel that
a certain disturbing element was removes from his life, and that he
could breathe freely for the first time for many a long day. You
cannot imagine how affectingly he described the moment when he saw
Antonia for the first time. In the very oddness of his description of
it lay a wonderful power of expression which I am unable to give any
idea of. Antonia had all the charm and attractiveness of Angela, with
none of her nasty thorny side. There was no cloven hoof peeping out
anywhere. B____, her husband that was to have been, came. With
delicate insight, Antonia saw into the depths of her strange father's
mind, and understood him. So she sang one of those motets of Old Padre
Martini which she knew Angela used to sing to him in the heyday of
their love. He shed rivers of tears. Never had he heard even Angela
sing so splendidly. The tone of Antonia's voice was quite sui
generis---at times it was like the Aeolian harp, at others like the
trilling roulades of the nightingale. It seemed as though there could
not be space for those chords in a human breast. Glowing with love and
happiness, Antonia sang all her loveliest songs, and B____ played
between whiles as only ecstatic inspiration can play. At first Krespel
swam in ecstasy. Then he grew thoughtful and silent, and finally
sprang up, pressed Antonia to his heart, and said, gently and
imploringly, 'Don't sing any more, if you love me. It breaks my heart.
The fear of it--the fear of it! Don't sing any more.'

'No,' said Krespel next morning to Dr. M____, 'when, during her
singing, her color contracted to two dark red spots on her white
cheeks, it was no longer a mere everyday family likeness--it was what
I had been dreading.'

The doctor, whose face at the beginning of the conversation had
expressed deep anxiety, said: 'Perhaps it may be that she has exerted
herself too much in singing when over-young, or her inherited
temperament may be the cause. But Antonia has an organic disease of
the chest. It is that which gives her voice its extraordinary power,
and its most remarkable timbre, which is almost beyond the scope of
the ordinary human voice. At the same time it spells her early death.
If she goes on singing, six months is the utmost I can promise her.'

This pierced Krespel's heart with a thousand daggers. It was as if
some beautiful tree had suddenly come into his life, all covered with
peerless blossoms, and was now sawn across at the root. His decision
was made at once. He told Antonia all. He left it to her to decide
whether she would follow her lover, yield to his and the world's
claims on her, and die young; or bestow upon her father, in his
declining years, a peace and happiness such as he had never known, and
live many a year in so doing.

She fell sobbing into her father's arms. It was beyond his power to
think at such a moment. He felt too keenly all the anguish involved in
either alternative. He discussed the matter with B____; but although
her lover asseverated that Antonia should never sing a single note,
Krespel knew too well that he never would be able to resist the
temptation to hear her sing--compositions of his own at all events.
Then the world--the musical public--though it knew the true state of
the case, would never give up its claims upon her. The musical public
is a cruel race; selfish and terrible where its own enjoyment is in
question.

Krespel disappeared with Antonia from F, and came to H____. B____
heard with despair of their departure, followed on their track, and
arrived at H____ at the same time as they did.

'Only let me see him once, and then die!' Antonia implored.

'Die--die!' cried Krespel in the wildest fury.

His daughter, the only creature in the wide world who could fire him
with a bliss he had never otherwise felt, the only being who had ever
made life endurable to him, was tearing herself violently away from
him. So the worst might happen, and he would give no sign.

B____ sat down to the piano, Antonia sang, and Krespel played the
violin, till suddenly the dark red spots came to Antonia's cheeks.
Then Krespel ordered a halt, but when B____ took his farewell she fell
down insensible in a swoon.

'I thought she was dead,' Krespel said, 'for I quite expected it would
kill her; and as I had wound myself up to expect the worst, I kept
quite calm and self-possessed. I took hold of B____ by the shoulders
(in his frightful consternation he was staring before him like a
sheep), and said (here he fell into his singing voice), "My dear Mr.
Pianoforte teacher, now that you have killed the woman you were going
to marry by your own deliberate act, perhaps you will be so kind as to
take yourself off out of this with as little trouble as you can,
unless you choose to stay till I run this little hunting knife through
you, so that my daughter, who, as you see, is looking rather white,
may derive a shade or two of color from that precious blood of yours.
Even though you run pretty quick, I could throw a smart knife after
you." I must have looked quite terrifying as I said this, for B____
dashed away with a scream of horror, downstairs and out of the door.'

When, after B____'s departure, Krespel went to raise Antonia, who was
lying senseless on the floor, she opened her eyes with a profound
sigh, but seemed to close them again, as if in death. Krespel then
broke out into loud, inconsolable lamentations. The doctor, fetched by
the old housekeeper, said that Antonia was suffering from a violent
shock, but that there was no danger; and this proved to be the case as
she recovered even more speedily than was to be expected. She now
clung to her father with the most devoted filial affection, and
entered warmly into all his favorite hobbies, however absurd. She
helped him to take old fiddles to pieces, and to put new ones
together. 'I won't sing any more. I want to live for you,' she would
often say to him with a gentle smile, when people asked her to sing,
and she was obliged to refuse. Krespel endeavored to spare her those
trials, and this was why he avoided taking her into society, and tried
to taboo all music. He knew, of course, what pain it was to her to
renounce the art which she had cultivated to such perfection.

When he bought the remarkable violin already spoken of--the one which
was buried with her--and was going to take it to pieces, Antonia
looked at him very sorrowfully, and said in gentle imploring tones,
'This one, too?' Some indescribable impulse constrained him to leave
it untouched, and to play on it. Scarcely had he brought out a few
notes from it when Antonia cried, loudly and joyfully, 'Ah! that is
I--I am singing again.'

And of a verity its silver bell-like tones had something quite
extraordinarily wonderful about them. They sounded as if they came out
of a human heart. Krespel was deeply affected. He played more
gloriously than ever he had done before. And when, with his fullest
power, he would go storming over the strings, in brilliant, sparkling
scales and arpeggios, Antonia would clap her hands and cry, delighted,
'Ah! I did that well. I did that splendidly!' Often she would say to
him, 'I should like to sing something, father'; and then he would take
the fiddle from the wall, and play all her favorite songs, those which
she used to sing of old--and then she was quite happy.

A short time before I came back, Krespel one night thought he heard
someone playing on the piano in the next room, and presently he
recognized that it was B____, preluding in his accustomed rather
peculiar fashion. He tried to rise from his bed, but some strange
heavy weight seemed to lie upon him, fettering him there, so that he
could not move. Presently he heard Antonia singing to the piano, in
soft whispering tones, which gradually swelled and swelled to the most
pealing fortissimo. Then those marvelous tones took the form of a
beautiful, glorious aria which B____ had once written for Antonia, in
the religious style of the old masters. Krespel said the state in
which he found himself was indescribable, for terrible alarm was in
it, and also a bliss such as he had never before known. Suddenly he
found himself in the middle of a flood of the most brilliant and
dazzling light, and in this light he saw B____ and Antonia holding
each other closely embraced, and looking at each other in a rapture of
bliss. The tones of the singing and of the accompanying piano went on,
although Antonia was not seen to be singing, and B____ was not
touching the keys. Here Krespel fell into a species of profound
unconsciousness, in which the vision and the music faded and were
lost. When he recovered, all that remained was a sense of anxiety and
alarm.

He hastened into Antonia's room. She was lying on the couch, with her
eyes closed, and a heavenly smile on her face, as if she were dreaming
of the most exquisite happiness and bliss. But she was dead!




THE DESERTED HOUSE

THEY were all agreed in the belief that the actual facts of life are
often far more wonderful than the invention of even the liveliest
imagination can be.

"It seems to me," spoke Lelio, "that history gives proof sufficient of
this. And that is why the so-called historical romances seem so
repulsive and tasteless to us, those stories wherein the author
mingles the foolish fancies of his meager brain with the deeds of the
great powers of the universe."

Franz took the word. "It is the deep reality of the inscrutable
secrets surrounding us that oppresses us with a might wherein we
recognize the Spirit that rules, the Spirit out of which our being
springs."

"Alas," said Lelio, "it is the most terrible result of the fall of
man, that we have lost the power of recognizing the eternal verities."

"Many are called, but few are chosen," broke in Franz. "Do you not
believe that an understanding of the wonders of our existence is given
to some of us in the form of another sense? But if you would allow me
to drag the conversation up from these dark regions where we are in
danger of losing our path altogether up into the brightness of light-
hearted merriment, I would like to make the scurrilous suggestion that
those mortals to whom this gift of seeing the Unseen has been given
remind me of bats. You know the learned anatomist Spallanzani has
discovered a sixth sense in these little animals which can do not only
the entire work of the other senses, but work of its own besides."

"Oho," laughed Edward, "according to that, the bats would be the only
natural-born clairvoyants. But I know one who possesses that gift of
insight, of which you were speaking, in a remarkable degree. Because
of it he will often follow for days some unknown person who has
happened to attract his attention by an oddity in manner, appearance,
or garb; he will ponder to melancholy over some trifling incident,
some lightly told story; he will combine the antipodes and raise up
relationships in his imagination which are unknown to everyone else."

"Wait a bit," cried Lelio. "It is our Theodore of whom you are
speaking now. And it looks to me as if he were having some weird
vision at this very moment. See how strangely he gazes out into the
distance."

Theodore had been sitting in silence up to this moment. Now he spoke:
"If my glances are strange it is because they reflect the strange
things that were called up before my mental vision by your
conversation, the memories of a most remarkable adventure--"

"Oh, tell it to us," interrupted his friends.

"Gladly," continued Theodore. "But first, let me set right a slight
confusion in your ideas on the subject of the mysterious. You appear
to confound what is merely odd and unusual with what is really
mysterious or marvelous, that which surpasses comprehension or belief.
The odd and the unusual, it is true, spring often from the truly
marvelous, and the twigs and flowers hide the parent stem from our
eyes. Both the odd and the unusual and the truly marvelous are mingled
in the adventure which I am about to narrate to you, mingled in a
manner which is striking and even awesome." With these words Theodore
drew from his pocket a notebook in which, as his friends knew, he had
written down the impressions of his late journeyings. Refreshing his
memory by a look at its pages now and then, he narrated the following
story.

You know already that I spent the greater part of last summer in X--.
The many old friends and acquaintances I found there, the free, jovial
life, the manifold artistic and intellectual interests--all these
combined to keep me in that city. I was happy as never before, and
found rich nourishment for my old fondness for wandering alone through
the streets, stopping to enjoy every picture in the shop windows,
every placard on the walls, or watching the passers-by and choosing
some one or the other of them to cast his horoscope secretly to
myself.

There is one broad avenue leading to the----Gate and lined with
handsome buildings of all descriptions, which is the meeting place of
the rich and fashionable world. The shops which occupy the ground
floor of the tall palaces are devoted to the trade in articles of
luxury, and the apartments above are the dwellings of people of wealth
and position. The aristocratic hotels are to be found in this avenue,
the palaces of the foreign ambassadors are there and you can easily
imagine that such a street would be the center of the city's life and
gayety.

I had wandered through the avenue several times, when one day my
attention was caught by a house which contrasted strangely with the
others surrounding it. Picture to yourselves a low building but four
windows broad, crowded in between two tall, handsome structures. Its
one upper story was little higher than the tops of the ground-floor
windows of its neighbors, its roof was dilapidated, its windows
patched with paper, its discolored walls spoke of years of neglect.
You can imagine how strange such a house must have looked in this
street of wealth and fashion. Looking at it more attentively I
perceived that the windows of the upper story were tightly closed and
curtained, and that a wall had been built to hide the windows of the
ground floor. The entrance gate, a little to one side, served also as
a doorway for the building, but I could find no sign of latch, lock,
or even a bell on this gate. I was convinced that the house must be
unoccupied, for at whatever hour of the day I happened to be passing I
had never seen the faintest signs of life about it. An unoccupied
house in this avenue was indeed an odd sight. But I explained the
phenomenon to myself by saying that the owner was doubtless absent
upon a long journey, or living upon his country estates, and that he
perhaps did not wish to sell or rent the property, preferring to keep
it for his own use in the eventuality of a visit to the city.

You all, the good comrades of my youth, know that I have been prone to
consider myself a sort of clairvoyant, claiming to have glimpses of a
strange world of wonders, a world which you, with your hard common
sense, would attempt to deny or laugh away. I confess that I have
often lost myself in mysteries which after all turned out to be no
mysteries at all. And it looked at first as if this was to happen to
me in the matter of the deserted house, that strange house which drew
my steps and my thoughts to itself with a power that surprised me. But
the point of my story will prove to you that I am right in asserting
that I know more than you do. Listen now to what I am about to tell
you.

One day, at the hour in which the fashionable world is accustomed to
promenade up and down the avenue, I stood as usual before the deserted
house, lost in thought. Suddenly I felt, without looking up, that some
one had stopped beside me, fixing his eyes on me. It was Count P.,
whom I had found much in sympathy with many of my imaginings, and I
knew that he also must have been deeply interested in the mystery of
this house. It surprised me not a little, therefore, that he should
smile ironically when I spoke of the strange impression that this
deserted dwelling, here in the gay heart of the town, had made upon
me. But I soon discovered the reason for his irony. Count P. had gone
much farther than myself in his imaginings concerning the house. He
had constructed for himself a complete history of the old building, a
story weird enough to have been born in the fancy of a true poet. It
would give me great pleasure to relate this story to you, but the
events which happened to me in this connection are so interesting that
I feel I must proceed with the narration of them at once.

When the count had completed his story to his own satisfaction,
imagine his feelings on learning one day that the old house contained
nothing more mysterious than a cake bakery belonging to the pastry
cook whose handsome shop adjoined the old structure. The windows of
the ground floor were walled up to give protection to the ovens, and
the heavy curtains of the upper story were to keep the sunlight from
the wares laid out there. When the count informed me of this I felt as
if a bucket of cold water had been suddenly thrown over me. The demon
who is the enemy of all poets caught the dreamer by the nose and
tweaked him painfully.

And yet, in spite of this prosaic explanation, I could not resist
stopping before the deserted house whenever I passed it, and gentle
tremors rippled through my veins as vague visions arose of what might
be hidden there. I could not believe in this story of the cake and
candy factory. Through some strange freak of the imagination I felt as
a child feels when some fairy tale has been told it to conceal the
truth it suspects. I scolded myself for a silly fool; the house
remained unaltered in its appearance, and the visions faded in my
brain, until one day a chance incident woke them to life again.

I was wandering through the avenue as usual, and as I passed the
deserted house I could not resist a hasty glance at its close-
curtained upper windows. But as I looked at it, the curtain on the
last window near the pastry shop began to move. A hand, an arm, came
out from between its folds. I took my opera glass from my pocket and
saw a beautifully formed woman's hand, on the little finger of which a
large diamond sparkled in unusual brilliancy; a rich bracelet
glittered on the white, rounded arm. The hand set a tall, oddly formed
crystal bottle on the window ledge and disappeared again behind the
curtain.

I stopped as if frozen to stone; a weirdly pleasurable sensation,
mingled with awe, streamed through my being with the warmth of an
electric current. I stared up at the mysterious window and a sigh of
longing arose from the very depths of my heart. When I came to myself
again, I was angered to find that I was surrounded by a crowd which
stood gazing up at the window with curious faces. I stole away
inconspicuously, and the demon of all things prosaic whispered to me
that what I had just seen was the rich pastry cook's wife, in her
Sunday adornment, placing an empty bottle, used for rose-water or the
like, on the window sill. Nothing very weird about this.

Suddenly a most sensible thought came to me. I turned and entered the
shining, mirror-walled shop of the pastry cook. Blowing the steaming
foam from my cup of chocolate, I remarked: "You have a very useful
addition to your establishment next door." The man leaned over his
counter and looked at me with a questioning smile, as if he did not
understand me. I repeated that in my opinion he had been very clever
to set up his bakery in the neighboring house, although the deserted
appearance of the building was a strange sight in its contrasting
surroundings. "Why, sir," began the pastry cook, "who told you that
the house next door belongs to us? Unfortunately every attempt on our
part to acquire it has been in vain, and I fancy it is all the better
so, for there is something queer about the place."

You can imagine, dear friends, how interested I became upon hearing
these words, and that I begged the man to tell me more about the
house.

"I do not know anything very definite, sir," he said. "All that we
know for a certainty is that the house belongs to the Countess S., who
lives on her estates and has not been to the city for years. This
house, so they tell me, stood in its present shape before any of the
handsome buildings were raised which are now the pride of our avenue,
and in all these years there has been nothing done to it except to
keep it from actual decay. Two living creatures alone dwell there, an
aged misanthrope of a steward and his melancholy dog, which
occasionally howls at the moon from the back courtyard. According to
the general story the deserted house is haunted. In very truth my
brother, who is the owner of this shop, and myself have often, when
our business kept us awake during the silence of the night, heard
strange sounds from the other side of the wall. There was a rumbling
and a scraping that frightened us both And not very long ago we heard
one night a strange singing which I could not describe to you. It was
evidently the voice of an old woman, but the tones were so sharp and
clear, and ran up to the top of the scale in cadences and long trills,
the like of which I have never heard before, although I have heard
many singers in many lands. It seemed to be a French song, but I am
not quite sure of that, for I could not listen long to the mad,
ghostly singing, it made the hair stand erect on my head. And at
times, after the street noises are quiet, we can hear deep sighs, and
sometimes a mad laugh, which seem to come out of the earth. But if you
lay your ear to the wall in our back room, you can hear that the
noises come from the house next door." He led me into the back room
and pointed through the window. "And do you see that iron chimney
coming out of the wall there? It smokes so heavily sometimes, even in
summer when there are no fires used that my brother has often
quarreled with the old steward about it, fearing danger. But the old
man excuses himself by saying that he was cooking his food. Heaven
knows what the queer creature may eat, for often, when the pipe is
smoking heavily, a strange and queer smell can be smelled all over the
house."

The glass doors of the shop creaked in opening. The pastry cook
hurried into the front room, and when he had nodded to the figure now
entering he threw a meaning glance at me. I understood him perfectly.
Who else could this strange guest be, but the steward who had charge
of the mysterious house! Imagine a thin little man with a face the
color of a mummy, with a sharp nose tight-set lips, green cat's eyes,
and a crazy smile; his hair dressed in the old-fashioned style with a
high toupet and a bag at the back, and heavily powdered. He wore a
faded old brown coat which was carefully brushed, gray stockings, and
broad, flat-toed shoes with buckles. And imagine further, that in
spite of his meagerness this little person is robustly built, with
huge fists and long, strong fingers, and that he walks to the shop
counter with a strong, firm step, smiling his imbecile smile, and
whining out: "A couple of candied oranges--a couple of macaroons--a
couple of sugared chestnuts--" Picture all this to yourself and judge
whether I had not sufficient cause to imagine a mystery here.

The pastry cook gathered up the wares the old man had demanded. "Weigh
it out, weigh it out, honored neighbor," moaned the strange man, as he
drew out a little leathern bag and sought in it for his money. I
noticed that he paid for his purchase in worn old coins, some of which
were no longer in use. He seemed very unhappy and murmured: "Sweet--
sweet--it must all be sweet! Well, let it be! The devil has pure honey
for his bride--pure honey!"

The pastry cook smiled at me and then spoke to the old man. "You do
not seem to be quite well. Yes, yes, old age, old age! It takes the
strength from our limbs." The old man's expression did not change, but
his voice went up: "Old age?--Old age?--Lose strength?--Grow weak?--
Oho!" And with this he clapped his hands together until the joints
cracked, and sprang high up into the air until the entire shop
trembled and the glass vessels on the walls and counters rattled and
shook. But in the same moment a hideous screaming was heard; the old
man had stepped on his black dog, which, creeping in behind him, had
laid itself at his feet on the floor. "Devilish beast--dog of hell!"
groaned the old man in his former miserable tone, opening his bag and
giving the dog a large macaroon. The dog, which had burst out into a
cry of distress that was truly human, was quiet at once, sat down on
its haunches, and gnawed at the macaroon like a squirrel. When it had
finished its tidbit, the old man had also finished the packing up and
putting away of his purchases. "Good night, honored neighbor," he
spoke, taking the hand of the pastry cook and pressing it until the
latter cried aloud in pain. "The weak old man wishes you a good night,
most honorable Sir Neighbor," he repeated, and then walked from the
shop, followed closely by his black dog. The old man did not seem to
have noticed me at all. I was quite dumfoundered in my astonishment.

"There, you see," began the pastry cook. "This is the way he acts when
he comes in here, two or three times a month, it is. But I can get
nothing out of him except the fact that he was a former valet of Count
S., that he is now in charge of this house here, and that every day--
for many years now--he expects the arrival of his master's family. My
brother spoke to him one day about the strange noises at night; but he
answered calmly, 'Yes, people say the ghosts walk about in the house.'
But do not believe it, for it is not true." The hour was now come when
fashion demanded that the elegant world of the city should assemble in
this attractive shop. The doors opened incessantly, the place was
thronged, and I could ask no further questions.

This much I knew, that Count P.'s information about the ownership and
the use of the house were not correct; also that the old steward, in
spite of his denial, was not living alone there, and that some mystery
was hidden behind its discolored walls. How could I combine the story
of the strange and grewsome singing with the appearance of the
beautiful arm at the window? That arm could not be part of the
wrinkled body of an old woman; the singing, according to the pastry
cook's story, could not come from the throat of a blooming and
youthful maiden. I decided in favor of the arm, as it was easy to
explain to myself that some trick of acoustics had made the voice
sound sharp and old, or that it had appeared so only in the pastry
cook's fear-distorted imagination. Then I thought of the smoke, the
strange odors, the oddly formed crystal bottle that I had seen, and
soon the vision of a beautiful creature held enthralled by fatal magic
stood as if alive before my mental vision. The old man became a wizard
who perhaps quite independently of the family he served, had set up
his devil's kitchen in the deserted house. My imagination had begun to
work, and in my dreams that night I saw clearly the hand with the
sparkling diamond on its finger, the arm with the shining bracelet.
From out thin, gray mists there appeared a sweet face with sadly
imploring blue eyes, then the entire exquisite figure of a beautiful
girl. And I saw that what I had thought was mist was the fine steam
flowing out in circles from a crystal bottle held in the hands of the
vision.

"Oh, fairest creature of my dreams," I cried in rapture. "Reveal to me
where thou art, what it is that enthralls thee. Ah, I know it! It is
black magic that holds thee captive--thou art the unhappy slave of
that malicious devil who wanders about brown-clad and bewigged in
pastry shops, scattering their wares with his unholy springing, and
feeding his demon dog on macaroons, after they have howled out a
Satanic measure in five-eight time. Oh, I know it all, thou fair and
charming vision. The diamond is the reflection of the fire of thy
heart. But that bracelet about thine arm is a link of the chain which
the brown-clad one says is a magnetic chain. Do not believe it, O
glorious one! See how it shines in the blue fire from the retort. One
moment more and thou art free. And now, O maiden, open thy rosebud
mouth and tell me--" In this moment a gnarled fist leaped over my
shoulder and clutched at the crystal bottle, which sprang into a
thousand pieces in the air. With a faint, sad moan, the charming
vision faded into the blackness of the night.

When morning came to put an end to my dreaming I hurried to the avenue
and placed myself before the deserted house. Heavy blinds were drawn
before the upper windows. The street was still quite empty, and I
stepped close to the windows of the ground floor and listened and
listened; but I heard no sound. The house was as quiet as the grave.
The business of the day began, the passers-by became more numerous,
and I was obliged to go on. I will not weary you with the recital of
how for many days I crept about the house at that hour, but without
discovering anything of interest. None of my questionings could reveal
anything to me, and the beautiful picture of my vision began finally
to pale and fade away.

At last as I passed, late one evening, I saw that the door of the
deserted house was half open and the brown-clad old man was peeping
out. I stepped quickly to his side with a sudden idea. "Does not
Councilor Binder live in this house?" Thus I asked the old man,
pushing him before me as I entered the dimly lighted vestibule. The
guardian of the old house looked at me with his piercing eyes, and
answered in gentle, slow tones: "No, he does not live here, he never
has lived here, he never will live here, he does not live anywhere on
this avenue. But people say the ghosts walk about in this house. Yet I
can assure you that it is not true. It is a quiet, a pretty house, and
to-morrow the gracious Countess S. will move into it. Good night, dear
gentleman." With these words the old man maneuvered me out of the
house and locked the gate behind me. I heard his feet drag across the
floor, I heard his coughing and the rattling of his bunch of keys, and
I heard him descend some steps. Then all was silent. During the short
time that I had been in the house I had noticed that the corridor was
hung with old tapestries and furnished like a drawing-room with large,
heavy chairs in red damask.

And now, as if called into life by my entrance into the mysterious
house, my adventures began. The following day, as I walked through the
avenue in the noon hour, and my eyes sought the deserted house as
usual, I saw something glistening in the last window of the upper
story. Coming nearer I noticed that the outer blind had been quite
drawn up and the inner curtain slightly opened. The sparkle of a
diamond met my eye. O kind Heaven! The face of my dream looked at me,
gently imploring, from above the rounded arm on which her head was
resting. But how was it possible to stand still in the moving crowd
without attracting attention? Suddenly I caught sight of the benches
placed in the gravel walk in the center of the avenue, and I saw that
one of them was directly opposite the house. I sprang over to it, and
leaning over its back, I could stare up at the mysterious window
undisturbed. Yes, it was she, the charming maiden of my dream! But her
eye did not seem to seek me as I had at first thought; her glance was
cold and unfocused, and had it not been for an occasional motion of
the hand and arm, I might have thought that I was looking at a
cleverly painted picture.

I was so lost in my adoration of the mysterious being in the window,
so aroused and excited throughout all my nerve centers, that I did not
hear the shrill voice of an Italian street hawker, who had been
offering me his wares for some time. Finally he touched me on the arm,
I turned hastily and commanded him to let me alone. But he did not
cease his entreaties, asserting that he had earned nothing to-day, and
begging me to buy some small trifle from him. Full of impatience to
get rid of him I put my hand in my pocket. With the words: "I have
more beautiful things here," he opened the under drawer of his box and
held out to me a little, round pocket mirror. In it, as he held it up
before my face, I could see the deserted house behind me, the window,
and the sweet face of my vision there.

I bought the little mirror at once, for I saw that it would make it
possible for me to sit comfortably and inconspicuously, and yet watch
the window. The longer I looked at the reflection in the glass, the
more I fell captive to a weird and quite indescribable sensation,
which I might almost call a waking dream. It was as if a lethargy had
lamed my eyes, holding them fastened on the glass beyond my power to
loosen them. Through my mind there rushed the memory of an old nurse's
tale of my earliest childhood. When my nurse was taking me off to bed,
and I showed an inclination to stand peering into the great mirror in
my father's room, she would tell me that when children looked into
mirrors in the night time they would see a strange, hideous face
there, and their eyes would be frozen so that they could not move them
again. The thought struck awe to my soul, but I could not resist a
peep at the mirror, I was so curious to see the strange face. Once I
did believe that I saw two hideous glowing eyes shining out of the
mirror. I screamed and fell down in a swoon.

All these foolish memories of my early childhood came trooping back to
me. My blood ran cold through my veins. I would have thrown the mirror
from me, but I could not. And now at last the beautiful eyes of the
fair vision looked at me, her glance sought mine and shone deep down
into my heart. The terror I had felt left me, giving way to the
pleasurable pain of sweetest longing.

"You have a pretty little mirror there," said a voice beside me. I
awoke from my dream, and was not a little confused when I saw smiling
faces looking at me from either side. Several persons had sat down
upon my bench, and it was quite certain that my staring into the
window, and my probably strange expression, had afforded them great
cause for amusement.

"You have a pretty little mirror there," repeated the man, as I did
not answer him. His glance said more, and asked without words the
reason of my staring so oddly into the little glass. He was an elderly
man, neatly dressed, and his voice and eyes were so full of good
nature that I could not refuse him my confidence. I told him that I
had been looking in the mirror at the picture of a beautiful maiden
who was sitting at a window of the deserted house. I went even
farther; I asked the old man if he had not seen the fair face himself.
"Over there? In the old house--in the last window?" He repeated my
questions in a tone of surprise.

"Yes, yes," I exclaimed.

The old man smiled and answered: "Well, well, that was a strange
delusion. My old eyes--thank Heaven for my old eyes! Yes, yes, sir. I
saw a pretty face in the window there, with my own eyes; but it seemed
to me to be an excellently well-painted oil portrait."

I turned quickly and looked toward the window; there was no one there,
and the blind had been pulled down. "Yes," continued the old man,
"yes, sir. Now it is too late to make sure of the matter, for just now
the servant, who, as I know, lives there alone in the house of the
Countess S., took the picture away from the window after he had dusted
it, and let down the blinds."

"Was it, then, surely a picture?" I asked again, in bewilderment.

"You can trust my eyes," replied the old man. "The optical delusion
was strengthened by your seeing only the reflection in the mirror. And
when I was in your years it was easy enough for my fancy to call up
the picture of a beautiful maiden."

"But the hand and arm moved," I exclaimed. "Oh, yes, they moved,
indeed they moved," said the old man smiling, as he patted me on the
shoulder. Then he arose to go, and bowing politely, closed his remarks
with the words, "Beware of mirrors which can lie so vividly. Your
obedient servant, sir."

You can imagine how I felt when I saw that he looked upon me as a
foolish fantast. I began to be convinced that the old man was right,
and that it was only my absurd imagination which insisted on raising
up mysteries about the deserted house.

I hurried home full of anger and disgust, and promised myself that I
would not think of the mysterious house, and would not even walk
through the avenue for several days. I kept my vow, spending my days
working at my desk, and my evenings in the company of jovial friends,
leaving myself no time to think of the mysteries which so enthralled
me. And yet, it was just in these days that I would start up out of my
sleep as if awakened by a touch, only to find that all that had
aroused me was merely the thought of that mysterious being whom I had
seen in my vision and in the window of the deserted house. Even during
my work, or in the midst of a lively conversation with my friends, I
felt the same thought shoot through me like an electric current. I
condemned the little mirror in which I had seen the charming picture
to a prosaic daily use. I placed it on my dressing-table that I might
bind my cravat before it, and thus it happened one day, when I was
about to utilize it for this important business, that its glass seemed
dull, and that I took it up and breathed on it to rub it bright again.
My heart seemed to stand still, every fiber in me trembled in
delightful awe. Yes, that is all the name I can find for the feeling
that came over me, when, as my breath clouded the little mirror, I saw
the beautiful face of my dreams arise and smile at me through blue
mists. You laugh at me? You look upon me as an incorrigible dreamer?
Think what you will about it--the fair face looked at me from out of
the mirror! But as soon as the clouding vanished, the face vanished in
the brightened glass.

I will not weary you with a detailed recital of my sensations the next
few days. I will only say that I repeated again the experiments with
the mirror, sometimes with success, sometimes without. When I had not
been able to call up the vision, I would run to the deserted house and
stare up at the windows; but I saw no human being anywhere about the
building. I lived only in thoughts of my vision; everything else
seemed indifferent to me. I neglected my friends and my studies. The
tortures in my soul passed over into, or rather mingled with, physical
sensations which frightened me, and which at last made me fear for my
reason. One day, after an unusually severe attack, I put my little
mirror in my pocket and hurried to the home of Dr. K., who was noted
for his treatment of those diseases of the mind out of which physical
diseases so often grow. I told him my story; I did not conceal the
slightest incident from him, and I implored him to save me from the
terrible fate which seemed to threaten me. He listened to me quietly,
but I read astonishment in his glance. Then he said: "The danger is
not as near as you believe, and I think that I may say that it can be
easily prevented. You are undergoing an unusual psychical disturbance,
beyond a doubt. But the fact that you understand that some evil
principle seems to be trying to influence you, gives you a weapon by
which you can combat it. Leave your little mirror here with me, and
force yourself to take up with some work which will afford scope for
all your mental energy. Do not go to the avenue; work all day, from
early to late, then take a long walk, and spend your evenings in the
company of your friends. Eat heartily, and drink heavy, nourishing
wines. You see I am endeavoring to combat your fixed idea of the face
in the window of the deserted house and in the mirror, by diverting
your mind to other things, and by strengthening your body. You
yourself must help me in this."

I was very reluctant to part with my mirror. The physician, who had
already taken it, seemed to notice my hesitation. He breathed upon the
glass and holding it up to me, he asked: "Do you see anything?"

"Nothing at all," I answered, for so it was.

"Now breathe on the glass yourself," said the physician, laying the
mirror in my hands.

I did as he requested. There was the vision even more clearly than
ever before.

"There she is!" I cried aloud.

The physician looked into the glass, and then said: "I cannot see
anything. But I will confess to you that when I looked into this
glass, a queer shiver overcame me, passing away almost at once. Now do
it once more."

I breathed upon the glass again and the physician laid his hand upon
the back of my neck. The face appeared again, and the physician,
looking into the mirror over my shoulder, turned pale. Then he took
the little glass from my hands, looked at it attentively, and locked
it into his desk, returning to me after a few moments' silent thought.

"Follow my instructions strictly," he said. "I must confess to you
that I do not yet understand those moments of your vision. But I hope
to be able to tell you more about it very soon."

Difficult as it was to me, I forced myself to live absolutely
according to the doctor's orders. I soon felt the benefit of the
steady work and the nourishing diet, and yet I was not free from those
terrible attacks, which would come either at noon, or, more intensely
still, at midnight. Even in the midst of a merry company, in the
enjoyment of wine and song, glowing daggers seemed to pierce my heart,
and all the strength of my intellect was powerless to resist their
might over me. I was obliged to retire, and could not return to my
friends until I had recovered from my condition of lethargy. It was in
one of these attacks, an unusually strong one, that such an
irresistible, mad longing for the picture of my dreams came over me,
that I hurried out into the street and ran toward the mysterious
house. While still at a distance from it, I seemed to see lights
shining out through the fast-closed blinds, but when I came nearer I
saw that all was dark. Crazy with my desire I rushed to the door; it
fell back before the pressure of my hand. I stood in the dimly lighted
vestibule, enveloped in a heavy, close atmosphere. My heart beat in
strange fear and impatience. Then suddenly a long, sharp tone, as from
a woman's throat, shrilled through the house. I know not how it
happened that I found myself suddenly in a great hall brilliantly
lighted and furnished in old-fashioned magnificence of golden chairs
and strange Japanese ornaments. Strongly perfumed incense arose in
blue clouds about me. "Welcome--welcome, sweet bridegroom! the hour
has come, our bridal hour!" I heard these words in a woman's voice,
and as little as I can tell, how I came into the room, just so little
do I know how it happened that suddenly a tall, youthful figure,
richly dressed, seemed to arise from the blue mists. With the repeated
shrill cry: "Welcome, sweet bridegroom!" she came toward me with
outstretched arms--and a yellow face, distorted with age and madness,
stared into mine! I fell back in terror, but the fiery, piercing
glance of her eyes, like the eves of a snake, seemed to hold me
spellbound. I did not seem able to turn my eyes from this terrible old
woman, I could not move another step. She came still nearer, and it
seemed to me suddenly as if her hideous face were only a thin mask,
beneath which I saw the features of the beautiful maiden of my vision.
Already I felt the touch of her hands, when suddenly she fell at my
feet with a loud scream, and a voice behind me cried:

"Oho, is the devil playing his tricks with your grace again? To bed,
to bed, your grace. Else there will be blows, mighty blows!"

I turned quickly and saw the old steward in his night clothes,
swinging a whip above his head. He was about to strike the screaming
figure at my feet when I caught at his arm. But he shook me from him,
exclaiming: "The devil, sir! That old Satan would have murdered you if
I had not come to your aid. Get away from here at once!"

I rushed from the hall, and sought in vain in the darkness for the
door of the house. Behind me I heard the hissing blows of the whip and
the old woman's screams. I drew breath to call aloud for help, when
suddenly the ground gave way under my feet; I fell down a short flight
of stairs, bringing up with such force against a door at the bottom
that it sprang open, and I measured my length on the floor of a small
room. From the hastily vacated bed, and from the familiar brown coat
hanging over a chair, I saw that I was in the bedchamber of the old
steward. There was a trampling on the stair, and the old man himself
entered hastily, throwing himself at my feet. "By all the saints,
sir," he entreated with folded hands, "whoever you may be, and however
her grace, that old Satan of a witch has managed to entice you to this
house, do not speak to anyone of what has happened here. It will cost
me my position. Her crazy excellency has been punished, and is bound
fast in her bed. Sleep well, good sir, sleep softly and sweetly. It is
a warm and beautiful July night. There is no moon, but the stars shine
brightly. A quiet good night to you." While talking, the old man had
taken up a lamp, had led me out of the basement, pushed me out of the
house door, and locked it behind me. I hurried home quite bewildered,
and you can imagine that I was too much confused by the grewsome
secret to be able to form any explanation of it in my own mind for the
first few days. Only this much was certain, that I was now free from
the evil spell that had held me captive so long. All my longing for
the magic vision in the mirror had disappeared, and the memory of the
scene in the deserted house was like the recollection of an unexpected
visit to a madhouse. It was evident beyond a doubt that the steward
was the tyrannical guardian of a crazy woman of noble birth, whose
condition was to be hidden from the world. But the mirror? and all the
other magic? Listen, and I will tell you more about it.

Some few days later I came upon Count P. at an evening entertainment.
He drew me to one side and said, with a smile, "Do you know that the
secrets of our deserted house are beginning to be revealed?" I
listened with interest; but before the count could say more the doors
of the dining-room were thrown open, and the company proceeded to the
table. Quite lost in thought at the words I had just heard, I had
given a young lady my arm, and had taken my place mechanically in the
ceremonious procession. I led my companion to the seats arranged for
us, and then turned to look at her for the first time. The vision of
my mirror stood before me, feature for feature, there was no deception
possible! I trembled to my innermost heart, as you can imagine; but I
discovered that there was not the slightest echo even, in my heart, of
the mad desire which had ruled me so entirely when my breath drew out
the magic picture from the glass. My astonishment, or rather my
terror, must have been apparent in my eyes. The girl looked at me in
such surprise that I endeavored to control myself sufficiently to
remark that I must have met her somewhere before. Her short answer, to
the effect that this could hardly be possible, as she had come to the
city only yesterday for the first time in her life, bewildered me
still more and threw me into an awkward silence. The sweet glance from
her gentle eyes brought back my courage, and I began a tentative
exploring of this new companion's mind. I found that I had before me a
sweet and delicate being, suffering from some psychic trouble. At a
particularly merry turn of the conversation, when I would throw in a
daring word like a dash of pepper, she would smile, but her smile was
pained, as if a wound had been touched. "You are not very merry to-
night, countess. Was it the visit this morning?" An officer sitting
near us had spoken these words to my companion, but before he could
finish his remark his neighbor had grasped him by the arm and
whispered something in his ear, while a lady at the other side of the
table, with glowing cheeks and angry eyes, began to talk loudly of the
opera she had heard last evening Tears came to the eyes of the girl
sitting beside me. "Am I not foolish?" She turned to me. A few moments
before she had complained of headache. "Merely the usual evidences of
a nervous headache," I answered in an easy tone, "and there is nothing
better for it than the merry spirit which bubbles in the foam of this
poet's nectar." With these words I filled her champagne glass, and she
sipped at it as she threw me a look of gratitude. Her mood brightened,
and all would have been well had I not touched a glass before me with
unexpected strength, arousing from it a shrill, high tone. My
companion grew deadly pale, and I myself felt a sudden shiver, for the
sound had exactly the tone of the mad woman's voice in the deserted
house.

While we were drinking coffee I made an opportunity to get to the side
of Count P. He understood the reason for my movement. "Do you know
that your neighbor is Countess Edwina S.? And do you know also that it
is her mother's sister who lives in the deserted house, incurably mad
for many years? This morning both mother and daughter went to see the
unfortunate woman. The old steward, the only person who is able to
control the countess in her outbreaks, is seriously ill, and they say
that the sister has finally revealed the secret to Dr. K. This eminent
physician will endeavor to cure the patient, or if this is not
possible, at least to prevent her terrible outbreaks of mania. This is
all that I know yet."

Others joined us and we were obliged to change the subject. Dr. K. was
the physician to whom I had turned in my own anxiety, and you can well
imagine that I hurried to him as soon as I was free, and told him all
that had happened to me in the last days. I asked him to tell me as
much as he could about the mad woman, for my own peace of mind; and
this is what I learned from him under promise of secrecy.

"Angelica, Countess Z.," thus the doctor began," had already passed
her thirtieth year, but was still in full possession of great beauty,
when Count S., although much younger than she, became so fascinated by
her charm that he wooed her with ardent devotion and followed her to
her father's home to try his luck there. But scarcely had the count
entered the house, scarcely had he caught sight of Angelica's younger
sister, Gabrielle, when he awoke as from a dream. The elder sister
appeared faded and colorless beside Gabrielle, whose beauty and charm
so enthralled the count that he begged her hand of her father. Count
Z. gave his consent easily, as there was no doubt of Gabrielle's
feelings toward her suitor. Angelica did not show the slightest anger
at her lover's faithlessness. 'He believes that he has forsaken me,
the foolish boy! He does not perceive that he was but my toy, a toy of
which I had tired.' Thus she spoke in proud scorn, and not a look or
an action on her part belied her words. But after the ceremonious
betrothal of Gabrielle to Count S., Angelica was seldom seen by the
members of her family. She did not appear at the dinner table, and it
was said that she spent most of her time walking alone in the
neighboring wood.

"A strange occurrence disturbed the monotonous quiet of life in the
castle. The hunters of Count Z., assisted by peasants from the
village, had captured a band of gypsies who were accused of several
robberies and murders which had happened recently in the neighborhood.
The men were brought to the castle courtyard, fettered together on a
long chain, while the women and children were packed on a cart.
Noticeable among the last was a tall, haggard old woman of terrifying
aspect, wrapped from head to foot in a red shawl. She stood upright in
the cart, and in an imperious tone demanded that she should be allowed
to descend. The guards were so awed by her manner and appearance that
they obeyed her at once.

"Count Z. came down to the courtyard and commanded that the gang
should be placed in the prisons under the castle. Suddenly Countess
Angelica rushed out of the door, her hair all loose, fear and anxiety
in her pale face Throwing herself on her knees, she cried in a
piercing voice, 'Let these people go! Let these people go! They are
innocent! Father, let these people go! If you shed one drop of their
blood I will pierce my heart with this knife!' The countess swung a
shining knife in the air and then sank swooning to the ground. 'Yes,
my beautiful darling--my golden child--I knew you would not let them
hurt us,' shrilled the old woman in red. She cowered beside the
countess and pressed disgusting kisses to her face and breast,
murmuring crazy words. She took from out the recesses of her shawl a
little vial in which a tiny goldfish seemed to swim in some silver-
clear liquid. She held the vial to the countess's heart. The latter
regained consciousness immediately. When her eyes fell on the gypsy
woman, she sprang up, clasped the old creature ardently in her arms,
and hurried with her into the castle.

"Count Z., Gabrielle, and her lover, who had come out during this
scene, watched it in astonished awe. The gypsies appeared quite
indifferent. They were loosed from their chains and taken separately
to the prisons. Next morning Count Z. called the villagers together.
The gypsies were led before them and the count announced that he had
found them to be innocent of the crimes of which they were accused,
and that he would grant them free passage through his domains. To the
astonishment of all present, their fetters were struck off and they
were set at liberty. The red-shawled woman was not among them It was
whispered that the gypsy captain, recognizable from the golden chain
about his neck and the red feather in his high Spanish hat, had paid a
secret visit to the count's room the night before. But it was
discovered, a short time after the release of the gypsies, that they
were indeed guiltless of the robberies and murders that had disturbed
the district.

"The date set for Gabrielle's wedding approached. One day, to her
great astonishment, she saw several large wagons in the courtyard
being packed high with furniture, clothing, linen, with everything
necessary for a complete household outfit. The wagons were driven
away, and the following day Count Z. explained that, for many reasons,
he had thought it best to grant Angelica's odd request that she be
allowed to set up her own establishment in his house in X. He had
given the house to her, and had promised her that no member of the
family, not even he himself, should enter it without her express
permission. He added also, that, at her urgent request, he had
permitted his own valet to accompany her, to take charge of her
household.

"When the wedding festivities were over, Count S. and his bride
departed for their home, where they spent a year in cloudless
happiness. Then the count's health failed mysteriously. It was as if
some secret sorrow gnawed at his vitals, robbing him of joy and
strength. All efforts of his young wife to discover the source of his
trouble were fruitless. At last, when the constantly recurring
fainting spells threatened to endanger his very life, he yielded to
the entreaties of his physicians and left his home, ostensibly for
Pisa. His young wife was prevented from accompanying him by the
delicate condition of her own health.

"And now," said the doctor, "the information given me by Countess S.
became, from this point on, so rhapsodical that a keen observer only
could guess at the true coherence of the story. Her baby, a daughter,
born during her husband's absence, was spirited away from the house,
and all search for it was fruitless. Her grief at this loss deepened
to despair, when she received a message from her father stating that
her husband, whom all believed to be in Pisa, had been found dying of
heart trouble in Angelica's home in X., and that Angelica herself had
become a dangerous maniac. The old count added that all this horror
had so shaken his own nerves that he feared he would not long survive
it.

"As soon as Gabrielle was able to leave her bed, she hurried to her
father's castle. One night, prevented from sleeping by visions of the
loved ones she had lost, she seemed to hear a faint crying, like that
of an infant, before the door of her chamber. Lighting her candle she
opened the door. Great Heaven! there cowered the old gypsy woman,
wrapped in her red shawl, staring up at her with eyes that seemed
already glazing in death. In her arms she held a little child, whose
crying had aroused the countess. Gabrielle's heart beat high with
joy--it was her child--her lost daughter! She snatched the infant from
the gypsy's arms, just as the woman fell at her feet lifeless. The
countess's screams awoke the house, but the gypsy was quite dead and
no effort to revive her met with success.

"The old count hurried to X. to endeavor to discover something that
would throw light upon the mysterious disappearance and reappearance
of the child. Angelica's madness had frightened away all her female
servants; the valet alone remained with her. She appeared at first to
have become quite calm and sensible. But when the count told her the
story of Gabrielle's child she clapped her hands and laughed aloud,
crying: 'Did the little darling arrive? You buried her, you say? How
the feathers of the gold pheasant shine in the sun! Have you seen the
green lion with the fiery blue eyes?' Horrified the count perceived
that Angelica's mind was gone beyond a doubt, and he resolved to take
her back with him to his estates, in spite of the warnings of his old
valet. At the mere suggestion of removing her from the house
Angelica's ravings increased to such an extent as to endanger her own
life and that of the others.

"When a lucid interval came again Angelica entreated her father, with
many tears, to let her live and die in the house she had chosen.
Touched by her terrible trouble he granted her request, although he
believed the confession which slipped from her lips during this scene
to be a fantasy of her madness. She told him that Count S. had
returned to her arms, and that the child which the gypsy had taken to
her father's house was the fruit of their love. The rumor went abroad
in the city that Count Z. had taken the unfortunate woman to his home;
but the truth was that she remained hidden in the deserted house under
the care of the valet. Count Z. died a short time ago, and Countess
Gabrielle came here with her daughter Edwina to arrange some family
affairs. It was not possible for her to avoid seeing her unfortunate
sister. Strange things must have happened during this visit, but the
countess has not confided anything to me, saying merely that she had
found it necessary to take the mad woman away from the old valet. It
had been discovered that he had controlled her outbreaks by means of
force and physical cruelty; and that also, allured by Angelica's
assertions that she could make gold, he had allowed himself to assist
her in her weird operations.

"It would be quite unnecessary," thus the physician ended his story,
"to say anything more to you about the deeper inward relationship of
all these strange things. It is clear to my mind that it was you who
brought about the catastrophe, a catastrophe which will mean recovery
or speedy death for the sick woman. And now I will confess to you that
I was not a little alarmed, horrified even, to discover that--when I
had set myself in magnetic communication with you by placing my hand
on your neck--I could see the picture in the mirror with my own eyes.
We both know now that the reflection in the glass was the face of
Countess Edwina."

I repeat Dr. K.'s words in saying that, to my mind also, there is no
further comment that can be made on all these facts. I consider it
equally unnecessary to discuss at any further length with you now the
mysterious relationship between Angelica, Edwina, the old valet, and
myself--a relationship which seemed the work of a malicious demon who
was playing his tricks with us. I will add only that I left the city
soon after all these events, driven from the place by an oppression I
could not shake off. The uncanny sensation left me suddenly a month or
so later, giving way to a feeling of intense relief that flowed
through all my veins with the warmth of an electric current. I am
convinced that this change within me came about in the moment when the
mad woman died.

Thus did Theodore end his narrative. His friends had much to say about
his strange adventure, and they agreed with him that the odd and
unusual, and the truly marvelous as well, were mingled in a strange
and grewsome manner in his story. When they parted for the night,
Franz shook Theodore's hand gently, as he said with a smile: "Good
night, you Spallanzani bat, you."




THE CREMONA VIOLION

COUNCILLOR KRESPEL was one of the strangest, oddest men I ever met in
my life. When I went to live in H---for a time the whole town was full
of talk about him, as he happened to be just then in the midst of one
of the very craziest of his schemes. Krespel had the reputation of
being both a clever, learned lawyer and a skilful diplomatist. One of
the reigning princes of Germany--not, however, one of the most
powerful--had appealed to him for assistance in drawing up a brief,
which he was desirous of presenting at the Imperial Court with the
view of furthering his legitimate claims upon a certain strip of
territory. The project was crowned with the happiest success; and as
Krespel had once complained that he could never find a dwelling
sufficiently comfortable to suit him, the prince, to reward him for
his efforts, undertook to defray the cost of building a house which
Krespel might erect just as he pleased. Moreover, the prince was
willing to purchase any site that he should fancy. This offer, however
the Councillor would not accept, he insisted that the house should be
built in his garden, situated in a very beautiful neighborhood outside
the town-walls. So he bought all kinds of materials and had them
carted out. Then he might have been seen day after day, attired in his
curious garments (which he had made himself according to certain fixed
rules of his own), slacking the lime, riddling the sand, packing up
the bricks and stones in regular heaps, and so on. All this he did
without once consulting an architect or thinking about a plan. One
fine day, however, he went to an experienced builder of the town and
requested him to be in his garden at daybreak the next morning, with
all his journeymen and apprentices, and a large body of laborers,
etc., to build him his house. Naturally the builder asked for the
architect's plan, and was not a little astonished when Krespel replied
that none was needed, and that things would turn out all right in the
end, just as he wanted them. Next morning, when the builder and his
men came to the place, they found a trench drawn out in the shape of
an exact square; and Krespel said, "Here's where you must lay the
foundations; then carry up the walls until I say they are high
enough." "Without windows and doors, and without partition walls?"
broke in the builder, as if alarmed at Krespel's mad folly. "Do what I
tell you, my dear sir," replied the Councillor quite calmly; "leave
the rest to me; it will be all right." It was only the promise of high
pay that could induce the builder to proceed with the ridiculous
building; but none has ever been erected under merrier circumstances.
As there was an abundant supply of food and drink, the workmen never
left their work; and amidst their continuous laughter the four walls
were run up with incredible quickness, until one day Krespel cried,
"Stop!" Then the workmen, laying down trowel and hammer, came down
from the scaffoldings and gathered round Krespel in a circle, whilst
every laughing face was asking, "Well, and what now?" "Make way!"
cried Krespel; and then running to one end of the garden, he strode
slowly towards the square of brickwork. When he came close to the wall
he shook his head in a dissatisfied manner, ran to the other end of
the garden, again strode slowly towards the brickwork square, and
proceeded to act as before. These tactics he pursued several times,
until at length, running his sharp nose hard against the wall, he
cried, "Come here, come here, men! break me a door in here! Here's
where I want a door made!" He gave the exact dimensions in feet and
inches and they did as he bid them. Then he stepped inside the
structure, and smiled with satisfaction as the builder remarked that
the walls were just the height of a good two-storeyed house. Krespel
walked thoughtfully backwards and forwards across the space within,
the bricklayers behind him with hammers and picks, and wherever he
cried, "Make a window here, six feet high by four feet broad!" "There
a little window, three feet by two!" a hole was made in a trice.

It was at this stage of the proceedings that I came to H--; and it was
highly amusing to see how hundreds of people stood round about the
garden and raised a loud shout whenever the stones flew out and a new
window appeared where nobody had for a moment expected it. And in the
same manner Krespel proceeded with the building and fitting of the
rest of the house, and with all the work necessary to that end;
everything had to be done on the spot in accordance with the
instructions which the Councillor gave from time to time. However, the
absurdity of the whole business, the growing conviction that things
would in the end turn out better than might have been expected, but
above all, Krespel's generosity--which indeed cost him nothing--kept
them all in good humor. Thus were the difficulties overcome which
necessarily arose out of this eccentric way of building, and in a
short time there was a completely finished house, its outside, indeed,
presenting a most extraordinary appearance, no two windows, etc.,
being alike, but on the other hand the interior arrangements suggested
a peculiar feeling of comfort. All who entered the house bore witness
to the truth of this; and I too experienced it myself when I was taken
in by Krespel after I had become more intimate with him. For hitherto
I had not exchanged a word with this eccentric man; his building had
occupied him so much that he had not even once been to Professor M--'s
to dinner, as he was in the habit of doing on Tuesdays. Indeed, in
reply to a special invitation, he sent word that he should not set
foot over the threshold before the housewarming of his new building
took place. All his friends and acquaintances, therefore, confidently
looked forward to a great banquet; but Krespel invited nobody except
the masters, journeymen, apprentices, and laborers who had built the
house. He entertained them with the choicest viands; bricklayers'
apprentices devoured partridge pies regardless of consequences; young
joiners polished off roast pheasants with the greatest success; whilst
hungry laborers helped themselves for once to the choicest morsels of
truffes fricasses. In the evening their wives and daughters came, and
there was a great ball. After waltzing a short while with the wives of
the masters, Krespel sat down amongst the town musicians, took a
violin in his hand, and led the orchestra until daylight.

On the Tuesday after this festival, which exhibited Councillor Krespel
in the character of a friend of the people, I at length saw him
appear, to my joy, at Professor M--'s. Anything more strange and
fantastic than Krespel's behavior it would be impossible to find. He
was so stiff and awkward in his movements, that he looked every moment
as if he would run up against something or do some damage. But he did
not; and the lady of the house seemed to be well aware that he would
not, for she did not grow a shade paler when he rushed with heavy
steps round a table crowded with beautiful cups, or when he manoeuvred
near a large mirror that reached down to the floor, or even when he
seized a flower-pot of beautifully painted porcelain and swung it
round in the air as if desirous of making its colors play. Moreover,
before dinner he subjected everything in the Professor's room to a
most minute examination; he also took down a picture from the wall and
hung it up again, standing on one of the cushioned chairs to do so. At
the same time he tallied a good deal and vehemently; at one time his
thoughts kept leaping, as it were, from one subject to another (this
was most conspicuous during dinner); at another, he was unable to have
done with an idea; seizing upon it again and again, he gave it all
sorts of wonderful twists and turns, and couldn't get back into the
ordinary track until something else took hold of his fancy. Sometimes
his voice was rough and harsh and screeching, and sometimes it was low
and drawling and singing; but at no time did it harmonize with what he
was talking about. Music was the subject of conversation; the praises
of a new composer were being sung, when Krespel, smiling, said in his
low, singing tones, "I wish the devil with his pitchfork would hurl
that atrocious garbler of music millions of fathoms down to the
bottomless pit of hell!" Then he burst out passionately and wildly,
"She is an angel of heaven, nothing but pure God-given music!--the
paragon and queen of song!"--and tears stood in his eyes. To
understand this, we had to go back to a celebrated artiste, who had
been the subject of conversation an hour before.

Just at this time a roast hare was on the table; I noticed that
Krespel carefully removed every particle of meat from the bones on his
plate, and was most particular in his inquiries after the hare's feet;
these the Professor's little five-year-old daughter now brought to him
with a very pretty smile. Besides, the children had cast many friendly
glances towards Krespel during dinner, now they rose and drew nearer
to him, but not without signs of timorous awe. What's the meaning of
that? thought I to myself. Dessert was brought in; then the Councillor
took a little box from his pocket in which he had a miniature lathe of
steel. This he immediately screwed fast to the table, and turning the
bones with incredible skill and rapidity, he made all sorts of little
fancy boxes and balls, which the children received with cries of
delight. Just as we were rising from table, the Professor's niece
asked, "And what is our Antonia doing?" Krespel's face was like that
of one who has bitten of a sour orange and wants to look as if it were
a sweet one; but this expression soon changed into the likeness of a
hideous mask, whilst he laughed behind it with downright, bitter,
fierce, and, as it seemed to me, satanic scorn. "Our Antonia? our dear
Antonia?" he asked in his drawling, disagreeable singing way. The
Professor hastened to intervene; in the reproving glance which he gave
his niece I read that she had touched a point likely to stir up
unpleasant memories in Krespel's heart. "How are you getting on with
your violins?" interposed the Professor in a jovial manner, taking the
Councillor by both hands. Then Krespel's countenance cleared up, and
with a firm voice he replied, "Splendidly, Professor; you recollect my
telling you of the lucky chance which threw that splendid Amati(1)
into my hands. Well, I've only cut it open to-day--not before to-day.
I hope Antonia has carefully taken the rest of it to pieces." "Antonia
is a good child," remarked the Professor. "Yes, indeed, that she is,"
cried the Councillor, whisking himself round; then, seizing his hat
and stick, he hastily rushed out of the room. I saw in the mirror that
tears were standing in his eyes.

(1) The Amati were a celebrated family of violin-makers of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, belonging to Cremona in Italy.
They form the connecting-link between the Brescian school of makers
and the greatest of all makers, Stradivarius and Guarnerius.

As soon as the Councillor was gone, I at once urged the Professor to
explain to me what Krespel had to do with violins, and particularly
with Antonia. "Well," replied the Professor, "not only is the
Councillor a remarkably eccentric fellow altogether, but he practises
violin-making in his own crack-brained way." "Violin-making!" I
exclaimed, perfectly astonished. "Yes," continued the Professor,
"according to the judgment of men who understand the thing, Krespel
makes the very best violins that can be found nowadays; formerly he
would frequently let other people play on those in which he had been
especially successful, but that's been all over and done with now for
a long time. As soon as he has finished a violin he plays on it
himself for one or two hours, with very remarkable power and with the
most exquisite expression, then he hangs it up beside the rest, and
never touches it again or suffers anybody else to touch it. If a
violin by any of the eminent old masters is hunted up anywhere, the
Councillor buys it immediately, no matter what the price. But he plays
it as he does his own violins, only once; then he takes it to pieces
in order to examine closely its inner structure, and should he fancy
he hasn't found exactly what he sought for, he in a pet throws the
pieces into a big chest, which is already full of the remains of
broken violins." "But who and what is Antonia?" I inquired, hastily
and impetuously. "Well, now, that," continued the Professor,--"that is
a thing which might very well make me conceive an unconquerable
aversion to the Councillor, were I not convinced that there is some
peculiar secret behind it, for he is such a good-natured fellow at
bottom as to be sometimes guilty of weakness. When we came to H--,
several years ago, he led the life of an anchorite, along with an old
housekeeper, in----Street. Soon, by his oddities, he excited the
curiosity of his neighbors; and immediately he became aware of this,
he sought and made acquaintances. Not only in my house but everywhere
we became so accustomed to him that he grew to be indispensable. In
spite of his rude exterior, even the children liked him, without ever
proving a nuisance to him; for, notwithstanding all their friendly
passages together, they always retained a certain timorous awe of him,
which secured him against all over-familiarity. You have to-day had an
example of the way in which he w ins their hearts by his ready skill
in various things. We all took him at first for a crusty old bachelor,
and he never contradicted us. After he had been living here some time,
he went away, nobody knew where, and returned at the end of some
months. The evening following his return his windows were lit up to an
unusual extent! This alone was sufficient to arouse his neighbors'
attention, and they soon heard the surpassingly beautiful voice of a
female singing to the accompaniment of a piano. Then the music of a
violin was heard chiming in and entering upon a keen ardent contest
with the voice. They knew at once that the player was the Councillor.
I myself mixed in the large crowd which had gathered in front of his
house to listen to this extraordinary concert; and I must confess
that, besides this voice and the peculiar, deep, soul-stirring
impression which the execution made upon me, the singing of the most
celebrated artistes whom I had ever heard seemed to me feeble and void
of expression. Until then I had had no conception of such long-
sustained notes, of such nightingale trills, of such undulations of
musical sound, of such swelling up to the strength of organ-notes, of
such dying away to the faintest whisper. There was not one whom the
sweet witchery did not enthral; and when the singer ceased, nothing
but soft sighs broke the impressive silence. Somewhere about midnight
the Councillor was heard talking violently, and another male voice
seemed, to judge from the tones, to be reproaching him, whilst at
intervals the broken words of a sobbing girl could be detected. The
Councillor continued to shout with increasing violence, until he fell
into that drawling, singing way that you know. He was interrupted by a
loud scream from the girl, and then all was as still as death.
Suddenly a loud racket was heard on the stairs; a young man rushed out
sobbing, threw himself into a post-chaise which stood below, and drove
rapidly away. The next day the Councillor was very cheerful, and
nobody had the courage to question him about the events of the
previous night. But on inquiring of the housekeeper, we gathered that
the Councillor had brought home with him an extraordinarily pretty
young lady whom he called Antonia, and she it was who had sung so
beautifully. A young man also had come along with them; he had treated
Antonia very tenderly, and must evidently have been her betrothed. But
he, since the Councillor peremptorily insisted on it, had had to go
away again in a hurry. What the relations between Antonia and the
Councillor are has remained a secret, but this much is certain, that
he tyrannizes over the poor girl in the most hateful fashion. He
watches her as Doctor Bartholo watches his ward in the Barber of
Seville; she hardly dare show herself at the window; and if, yielding
now and again to her earnest entreaties, he takes her into society, he
follows her with Argus' eyes, and will on no account suffer a musical
note to be sounded, far less let Antonia sing--indeed, she is not
permitted to sing in his own house. Antonia's singing on that
memorable night has, therefore, come to be regarded by the townspeople
in the light of a tradition of some marvellous wonder that suffices to
stir the heart and the fancy; and even those who did not hear it often
exclaim, whenever any other singer attempts to display her powers in
the place, 'What sort of wretched squeaking do you call that? Nobody
but Antonia knows how to sing.'"

Having a singular weakness for such fantastic histories, I found it
necessary, as may easily be imagined, to make Antonia's acquaintance.
I had myself often enough heard the stories about her singing, but had
never imagined that that exquisite artiste was living in the place,
held a captive in the bonds of this eccentric Krespel like the victim
of a tyrannous sorcerer. On the following night I heard in my dreams
Antonia's marvellous voice, and as she besought me in the most
touching manner in a glorious adagio movement (ridiculously enough, it
seemed to me as if I had composed it myself) to save her--I soon
resolved, like a second Astolpho,(2) to penetrate into Krespel's
house, as if into another Alcina's magic castle, and deliver the queen
of song from her ignominious fetters.

(2) A reference to Ariosto's Orlando Furioso. Astolpho, an English
cousin of Orlando, was a great boaster, but generous, courteous, gay,
and remarkably handsome; he was carried to Alcina's island on the back
of a whale.

It all came about in a different way from what I had expected; I had
seen the Councillor scarcely more than two or three times, and eagerly
discussed with him the best method of constructing violins, when he
invited me to call and see him. I did so; and he showed me his
treasure of violins. There were fully thirty of them hanging up in a
closet; one amongst them bore conspicuously all the marks of great
antiquity (a carved lion's head, etc.), and, hung up higher than the
rest, and surmounted by a crown of flowers, it seemed to exercise a
queenly supremacy over them. "This violin," said Krespel, on my making
some inquiry relative to it, "this violin is a very remarkable and
curious specimen of the work of some unknown master, probably of
Tartini's(3) age. I am perfectly convinced that there is something
especially exceptional in its inner construction, and that, if I took
it to pieces, a secret would be revealed to me which have long been
seeking to discover, but--laugh at me if you like--this senseless
thing which only gives signs of life and sound as I make it, often
speaks to me in a strange way. The first time I played upon it I
somehow fancied that I was only the magnetizer who has the power of
moving his subject to reveal of his own accord in words the visions of
his inner nature. Don't go away with the belief that I am such a fool
as to attach even the slightest importance to such fantastic notions,
and yet it's certainly strange that I could never prevail upon myself
to cut open that dumb lifeless thing there. I am very pleased now that
I have not cut it open, for since Antonia has been with me I sometimes
play to her upon this violin. For Antonia is fond of it--very fond of
it." As the Councillor uttered these words with visible signs of
emotion, I felt encouraged to hazard the question, "Will you not play
it to me, Councillor?" Krespel made a wry face, and falling into his
drawling, singing way, said, "No, my good sir!" and that was an end of
the matter. Then I had to look at all sorts of rare curiosities, the
greater part of them childish trifles; at last thrusting his arm into
a chest, he brought out a folded piece of paper, which he pressed into
my hand, adding solemnly, "You are a lover of art; take this present
as a priceless memento, which you must value at all times above
everything else." Therewith he took me by the shoulders and gently
pushed me towards the door, embracing me on the threshold. That is to
say, I was, in a manner of speaking, virtually kicked out of doors.
Unfolding the paper, I found a piece of a first string of a violin
about an eighth of an inch in length, with the words, "A piece of the
treble string with which the late Mr. Stamitz(4) strung his violin for
the last concert at which he ever played."

(3) Giuseppe Tartini, born in 1692, died in 1770, was one of the most
celebratcd violinists of the eighteenth century, and the discoverer
(in 1714) of "resultant tones," or "Tartini's tones," as they are
frequently called. Most of his life was spent at Padua. He did much to
advance the art of the violinist, both by his compositions for that
instrument, as well as by his treatise on its capabilities.

(4) This was the name of a well-known musical family from Bohemia.
Karl Stamitz is the one here possibly meant, since he died about
eighteen or twenty years previous to the publication of this tale.

This summary dismissal at mention of Antonia's name led me to infer
that I should never see her; but I was mistaken, for on my second
visit to the Councillor's I found her in his room, assisting him to
put a violin together. At first sight Antonia did not make a strong
impression; but soon I found it impossible to tear my glance away from
her blue eyes, her sweet rosy lips, her uncommonly graceful, lovely
form. She was very pale; but a shrewd remark or a merry sally would
call up a winning smile on her face and suffuse her cheeks with a deep
burning flush, which, however, soon faded away to a faint rosy glow.
My conversation with her was quite unconstrained, and yet I saw
nothing whatever of the Argus-like watchings on Krespel's part which
the Professor had imputed to him; on the contrary, his behavior moved
along the customary lines, nay, he even seemed to approve of my
conversation with Antonia. So I often stepped in to see the
Councillor; and as we became accustomed to each other's society, a
singular feeling of ease, taking possession of our little circle of
three, filled our hearts with happiness. I still continued to derive
exquisite enjoyment from the Councillor's strange crotchets and
oddities; but it was of course Antonia's irresistible charms alone
which attracted me, and led me to put up with a good deal which I
should otherwise, un the frame of mind in which I then was, have
impatiently shunned. For it only too often happened that in the
Councillor's characteristic extravagance there was mingled much that
was dull and tiresome, and it was in a special degree irritating to me
that, as often as I turned the conversation upon music, and
particularly upon singing, he was sure to interrupt me, with that
sardonic smile upon his face and those repulsive singing tones of his,
by some remark of a quite opposite tendency, very often of a
commonplace character. From the great distress which at such times
Antonia's glances betrayed, I perceived that he only did it to deprive
me of a pretext for calling upon her for a song. But I didn't
relinquish my design. The hindrances which the Councillor threw in my
way only strengthened my resolution to overcome them; I must hear
Antonia sing if I was not to pine away in reveries and dim aspirations
for want of hearing her.

One evening Krespel was in an uncommonly good humor; he had been
taking an old Cremona violin to pieces, and had discovered that the
sound-post was fixed half a line more obliquely than usual--an
important discovery!--one of incalculable advantage in the practical
work of making violins! I succeeded in setting him off at full speed
on his hobby of the true art of violin-playing. Mention of the way in
which the old masters picked up their dexterity in execution from
really great singers (which was what Krespel happened just then to be
expatiating upon) naturally paved the way for the remark that now the
practice was the exact opposite of this, the vocal score erroneously
following the affected and abrupt transitions and rapid scaling of the
instrumentalists. "What is more nonsensical," I cried, leaping from my
chair, running to the piano, and opening it quickly--"what is more
nonsensical than such an execrable style as this, which, far from
being music, is much more like the noise of peas rolling across the
floor?" At the same time I sang several of the modern fermatas, which
rush up and down and hum like a well-spun peg-top, striking a few
villainous chords by way of accompaniment. Krespel laughed
outrageously and screamed: "Ha! ha! methinks I hear our German-
Italians or our Italian-Germans struggling with an aria from
Pucitta,(5) or Portogallo,(6) or some other Maestro di capella, or
rather schiavo d'un primo uomo"(7) Now, thought I, now's the time; so
turning to Antonia, I remarked, "Antonia knows nothing of such singing
as that, I believe?" At the same time I struck up one of old Leonardo
Leo's(8) beautiful soul-stirring songs. Then Antonia's cheeks glowed;
heavenly radiance sparkled in her eyes, which grew full of reawakened
inspiration; she hastened to the piano; she opened her lips; but at
that very moment Krespel pushed her away, grasped me by the shoulders,
and with a shriek that rose up to a tenor pitch, cried, "My son--my
son--my son!" And then he immediately went on, singing very softly,
and grasping my hand with a bow that was the height of politeness, "In
very truth, my esteemed and honorable student-friend, in very truth,
it would be a violation of the codes of social intercourse, as well as
of all good manners, were I to express aloud and in a stirring way my
wish that here, on this very spot, the devil from hell would softly
break your neck with his burning claws, and so in a sense make short
work of you; but, setting that aside, you must acknowledge, my dearest
friend, that it is rapidly growing dark, and there are no lamps
burning to-night, so that, even though I did not kick you downstairs
at once, your darling limbs might still run a risk of suffering
damage. Go home by all means--and cherish a kind remembrance of your
faithful friend, if it should happen that you never--pray, understand
me--if you should never see him in his own house again." Therewith he
embraced me, and, still keeping fast hold of me, turned with me slowly
towards the door, so that I could not get another single look at
Antonia. Of course it is plain enough that in my position I couldn't
thrash the Councillor, though that is what he really deserved. The
Professor enjoyed a good laugh at my expense, and assured me that I
had ruined for ever all hopes of retaining the Councillor's
friendship. Antonia was too dear to me, I might say too holy, for me
to go and play the part of the languishing lover and stand gazing up
at her window, or to fill the role of the lovesick adventurer.
Completely upset, I went away from H--; but, as is usual in such
cases, the brilliant colors of the picture of my fancy faded, and the
recollection of Antonia, as well as of Antonia's singing (which I had
never heard), often fell upon my heart like a soft faint trembling
light, comforting me.

(5) Vincenzo Puccitta (1778-1861) was an Italian opera composer, whose
music "shows great facility, but no invention." He also wrote several
songs.

(6) Il Portogallo was the Italian sobriquet of a Portuguese musician
named Marcos Antonio da Fonseca (1762-1830). He lived alternately in
Italy and Portugal, and wrote several operas.

(7) Literally, "The slave of a primo uomo," primo uomo being the
masculine form corresponding to prima donna, that is, a singer of
hero's parts in operatic music. At one time also female parts were
sung and acted by men or boys.

(8) Leonardo Leo, the chief Neapolitan representative of Italian music
in the first part of the eighteenth century, and author of more than
forty operas and nearly one hundred compositions for the Church.

Two years afterwards I received an appointment in B--, and set out on
a journey to the south of Germany. The towers of H---rose before me in
the red glow of the evening; the nearer I came the more was I
oppressed by an indescribable feeling of the most agonizing distress;
it lay upon me like a heavy burden; I could not breathe; I was obliged
to get out of my carriage into the open air. But my anguish continued
to increase until it became actual physical pain. Soon I seemed to
hear the strains of a solemn chorale floating in the air; the sounds
continued to grow more distinct; I realized the fact that they were
men's voices chanting a church chorale. "What's that? what's that?" I
cried, a burning stab darting as it were through my breast. "Don't you
see?" replied the coachman, who was driving along beside me, "why,
don't you see? they're burying somebody up there in the churchyard."
And indeed we were near the churchyard; I saw a circle of men clothed
in black standing round a grave, which was about to be closed. Tears
started to my eyes, I somehow fancied they were burying there all the
joy and all the happiness of life. Moving on rapidly down the hill, I
was no longer able to see into the churchyard; the chorale came to an
end, and I perceived not far distant from the gate some of the
mourners returning from the funeral. The Professor, with his niece on
his arm, both in deep mourning, went close past me without noticing
me. The young lady had her handkerchief pressed close to her eyes, and
was weeping bitterly. In the frame of mind in which I then was I could
not possibly go into the town, so I sent on my servant with the
carriage to the hotel where I usually put up, whilst I took a turn in
the familiar neighborhood to get rid of a mood that was possibly only
due to physical causes, such as heating on the journey, etc. On
arriving at a well-known avenue, which leads to a pleasure resort, I
came upon a most extraordinary spectacle. Councillor Krespel was being
conducted by two mourners, from whom he appeared to be endeavoring to
make his escape by all sorts of strange twists and turns. As usual, he
was dressed in his own curious home-made gray coat; but from his
little cocked-hat, which he wore perched over one ear in military
fashion, a long narrow ribbon of black crape fluttered backwards and
forwards in the wind. Around his waist he had buckled a black sword-
belt; but instead of a sword he had stuck a long fiddle-bow into it. A
creepy shudder ran through my limbs: "He's insane," I thought, as I
slowly followed them. The Councillor's companions led him as far as
his house, where he embraced them, laughing loudly. They left him; and
then his glance fell upon me, for I now stood near him. He stared at
me fixedly for some time; then he cried in a hollow voice, "Welcome,
my student friend! you also understand it!" Therewith he took me by
the arm and pulled me into the house, up the steps, into the room
where the violins hung. They were all draped in black crape; the
violin of the old master was missing; in its place was a cypress
wreath. I knew what had happened. "Antonia! Antonia!" I cried, in
inconsolable grief. The Councillor, with his arms crossed on his
breast, stood beside me, as if turned into stone. I pointed to the
cypress wreath. "When she died," said he, in a very hoarse solemn
voice, "when she died, the sound-post of that violin broke into pieces
with a ringing crack, and the sound-board was split from end to end.
The faithful instrument could only live with her and in her; it lies
beside her in the coffin, it has been buried with her." Deeply
agitated, I sank down upon a chair, whilst the Councillor began to
sing a gay song in a husky voice; it was truly horrible to see him
hopping about on one foot, and the crape ribbons (he still had his hat
on) flying about the room and up to the violins hanging on the walls.
Indeed, I could not repress a loud cry that rose to my lips when, on
the Councillor making an abrupt turn, the crape came all over me; I
fancied he wanted to envelop me in it and drag me down into the
horrible dark depths of insanity. Suddenly he stood still and
addressed me in his singing way, "My son! my son! why do you call out?
Have you espied the angel of death? That always precedes the
ceremony." Stepping into the middle of the room, he took the violin-
bow out of his sword-belt, and, holding it over his head with both
hands, broke it into a thousand pieces. Then, with a loud laugh, he
cried, "Now you imagine my sentence is pronounced, don't you, my son?
but it's nothing of the kind--not at all! not at all! Now I'm free--
free--free--hurrah! I'm free! Now I shall make no more violins--no
more violins--hurrah! no more violins!" This he sang to a horrible
mirthful tune, again spinning round on one foot. Perfectly aghast, I
was making the best of my way to the door, when he held me fast,
saying quite calmly, "Stay, my student friend, pray don't think from
this outbreak of grief, which is torturing me as if with the agonies
of death, that I am insane; I only do it because a short time ago I
had a dressing-gown made in which I wanted to look like Fate or like
God!" The Councillor then went on with a medley of silly and awful
rubbish, until he fell down utterly exhausted, I called up the old
housekeeper, and was very pleased to find myself in the open air
again.

I never doubted for a moment that Krespel had become insane; the
Professor, however, asserted the contrary. "There are men," he
remarked, "from whom nature or a special destiny has taken away the
cover behind which the mad folly of the rest of us runs its course
unobserved. They are like thin-skinned insects, which, as we watch the
restless play of their muscles, seem to be misshapen, while
nevertheless everything soon comes back into its proper form again.
All that remains thought with us passes over with Krespel into action.
That bitter scorn which is so often wrapped in the doings and dealings
of the earth, Krespel gives vent to in outrageous gestures and agile
caprioles. But these are his lightning conductor. What comes up out of
the earth he gives again to the earth, but what is divine, that he
keeps; and so I believe that his inner consciousness, in spite of the
apparent madness which springs from it to the surface, is as right as
a trivet. To be sure, Antonia's sudden death grieves him sore, but I
warrant that to-morrow will see him going along in his old jog-trot
way as usual." And the Professor's prediction was almost literally
filled. Next day the Councillor appeared to be just as he formerly
was, only he averred that he would never make another violin, nor yet
ever play on another. And, as I learned later, he kept his word.

Hints which the Professor let fall confirmed my own private conviction
that the so carefully guarded secret of the Councillor's relations to
Antonia, nay, that even her death, was a crime which must weigh
heavily upon him, a crime that could not be atoned for. I determined
that I would not leave H--without taxing him with the offence which I
conceived him to be guilty of; I determined to shake his heart down to
its very roots, and so compel him to make open confession of the
terrible deed. The more I reflected upon the matter, the clearer it
grew in my own mind that Krespel must be a villain, and in the same
proportion did my intended reproach, which assumed of itself the form
of a real rhetorical masterpiece, wax more fiery and more impressive.
Thus equipped and mightily incensed, I hurried to his house. I found
him with a calm smiling countenance making playthings. "How can
peace," I burst out--"how can peace find lodgment even for a single
moment in your breast, so long as the memory of your horrible deed
preys like a serpent upon you?" He gazed at me in amazement and laid
his chisel aside. "What do you mean, my dear sir?" he asked; "pray
take a seat." But my indignation chafing me more and more, I went on
to accuse him directly of having murdered Antonia, and to threaten him
with eternal vengeance.

Further, as a newly established lawyer, full of my profession, I went
so far as to give him to understand that I would leave no stone
unturned to get a clue to the business, and so deliver him here in
this world into the hands of an earthly judge. I must confess that I
was considerably disconcerted when, at the conclusion of my violent
and pompous harangue, the Councillor, without answering so much as a
single word, calmly fixed his eyes upon me as though expecting me to
go on again. And this I did indeed attempt to do, but it sounded so
ill-founded and so stupid as well that I soon grew silent again.
Krespel gloated over my embarrassment whilst a malicious ironical
smile flitted across his face. Then he grew very grave, and addressed
me in solemn tones "Young man, no doubt you think I am foolish,
insane, that I can pardon you, since we are both confined in the same
madhouse; and you only blame me for deluding myself with the idea that
I am God the Father because you imagine yourself to be God the Son.
But how do you dare desire to insinuate yourself into the secrets and
lay bare the hidden motives of a life that is strange to you and that
must continue so? She has gone and the mystery is solved." He ceased
speaking, rose, and traversed the room backwards and forwards several
times. I ventured to ask for an explanation; he fixed his eyes upon
me, grasped me by the hand, and led me to the window, which he threw
wide open. Propping himself upon his arms, he leaned out, and, looking
down into the garden, told me the history of his life. When he
finished I left him, touched and ashamed.

In a few words, his relations with Antonia began in the following way.
Twenty years before, the Councillor had been led into Italy by his
engrossing passion of hunting up and buying the best violins of the
old masters. At that time he had not yet begun to make them himself,
and so of course he had not begun to take to pieces those which he
bought. In Venice he heard the celebrated singer Angela--i, who at
that time was playing with splendid success as prima donna at St.
Benedict's Theatre. His enthusiasm was awakened, not only for her
art--which Signora Angela had indeed brought to a high pitch of
perfection--but for her angelic beauty as well. He sought her
acquaintance; and in spite of his rugged manners he succeeded in
winning her heart, principally through his bold and yet at the same
time masterly violin-playing. Close intimacy led in a few weeks to
marriage, which, however, was kept a secret, because Angela was
unwilling to sever her connection with the theatre, neither did she
wish to part with her professional name, that by which she was
celebrated, nor to add to it the cacophonous "Krespel." With the most
extravagant irony he described to me what a strange life of worry and
torture Angela led him as soon as she became his wife. Krespel was of
opinion that more capriciousness and waywardness were concentrated in
Angela's little person than in all the rest of the prima donnas in the
world put together. If he now and again presumed to stand up in his
own defence, she let loose a whole army of abbots, musical composers,
and students upon him, who, ignorant of his true connection with
Angela, soundly rated him as a most intolerable, ungallant lover for
not submitting to all the Signora's caprices. It was after one of
these stormy scenes that Krespel fled to Angela's country seat to try
and forget in playing fantasias on his Cremona violin the annoyances
of the day. But he had not been there long before the Signora, who had
followed hard after him, stepped into the room. She was in an
affectionate humor; she embraced her husband, overwhelmed him with
sweet and languishing glances, and rested her pretty head on his
shoulder. But Krespel, carried away into the world of music, continued
to play on until the walls echoed again; thus he chanced to touch the
Signora somewhat ungently with his arm and the fiddle-bow. She leapt
back full of fury, shrieking that he was a "German brute," snatched
the violin from his hands, and dashed it into a thousand pieces on the
marble table. Krespel stood like a statue of stone before her; but
then, as if awakening out of a dream, he seized her with the strength
of a giant and threw her out of the win dow of her own house, and,
without troubling himself about anything more, fled back to Venice--to
Germany. It was not, however, until some time had elapsed that he had
a clear recollection of what he had done; although he knew that the
window was scarcely five feet from the ground, and although he knew
that, under the circumstances, he simply had to throw the Signora out
of the window, he yet felt troubled by a painful sense of uneasiness
particularly so since she had imparted to him in no ambiguous terms an
interesting secret as to her condition. He hardly dared to make
inquiries; and he was not a little surprised about eight months
afterwards at receiving a tender letter from his beloved wife, in
which she made not the slightest allusion to what had taken place in
her country house, only adding to the intelligence that she had been
safely delivered of a sweet little daughter the heartfelt prayer that
her dear husband and now a happy father would come to Venice at once.
That, however, Krespel did not do; rather he appealed to a
confidential friend for a more circumstantial account of the details,
and learned that the Signora had alighted upon the soft grass as
lightly as a bird, and that the sole consequences of the fall or shock
had been psychic. That is to say, after Krespel's action she had
become completely altered; she never showed a trace of caprice, of her
former freaks, or of her teasing habits; and the composer who wrote
for the next carnival was the happiest fellow under the sun, since the
Signora was willing to sing his music without the scores and hundreds
of changes which she at other times had insisted upon. "To be sure,"
added his friend, "there was every reason for preserving the secret of
Angela's cure, else every day would see lady singers flying through
windows." The Councillor was not a little excited at this news; he
engaged horses; he took his seat in the carriage. "Stop!" he cried
suddenly. "Why, there's not a shadow of doubt," he murmured to
himself, "that as soon as Angela sets eyes upon me again, the evil
spirit will recover his power and once more take possession of her.
And since I have already thrown her out of the window, what could I do
if a similar case were to occur again? What would there be left for me
to do?" He got out of the carriage, and wrote an affectionate letter
to his wife, making graceful allusion to her tenderness in especially
dwelling upon the fact that his tiny daughter had, like him, a little
mole behind the ear, and--remained in Germany. Now ensued an active
correspondence between them. Assurances of unchanged affection--
invitations--laments over the absence of the beloved one--thwarted
wishes--hopes, etc.--flew back and forth between Venice and H--, from
H--to Venice. At length Angela came to Germany, and, as is well known,
sang with brilliant success as prima donna at the great theatre in F--
. Despite the fact that she was no longer young, she won all hearts by
the irresistible charm of her splendid singing. At that time she had
not lost her voice in the least degree. Meanwhile, the child Antonia
had been growing up; and her mother never tired of writing to tell her
father how she was developing into a singer of the first rank.
Krespel's friends in F---also confirmed this intelligence, and urged
him to come for once to F---to see and admire this uncommon sight of
two such glorious singers. They had not the slightest suspicion of the
close relations in which Krespel stood to the pair. Willingly would he
have seen with his own eyes the daughter who occupied so large a place
in his heart, and who moreover often appeared to him in his dreams;
but as often as he thought upon his wife he felt very uncomfortable,
and so he remained at home amongst his broken violins.

There was a certain promising young composer, B---of F--, who was
found to have suddenly disappeared, no body know where. This young man
fell so deeply in love with Antonia that, as she returned his love, he
earnestly be sought her mother to consent to an immediate union,
sanctified as it would further be by art. Angela had nothing to urge
against his suit; and the Councillor the more readily gave his consent
that the young composer's productions had found favor before his
rigorous critical judgment. Krespel was expecting to hear of the
consummation of the marriage when he received instead a black sealed
envelope addressed in a strange hand. Doctor R---conveyed to the
Councillor the sad intelligence that Angela had fallen seriously ill
in consequence of a cold caught at the theatre, and that during the
night immediately preceding what was to have been Antonia's wedding-
day, she had died. To him, the Doctor, Angela had disclosed the fact
that she was Krespel's wife, and that Antonia was his daughter; he,
Krespel, had better hasten therefore to take charge of the orphan.
Notwithstanding that the Councillor was a good deal upset by this news
of Angela's death, he soon began to feel that an antipathetic,
disturbing influence had departed out of his life, and that now for
the first time he could begin to breathe freely. The very same day he
set out for F--. You could not credit how heartrending was the
Councillor's description of the moment when he first saw Antonia. Even
in the fantastic oddities of his expression there was such a
marvellous power of description that I am unable to give even so much
as a faint indication of it. Antonia inherited all her mother's
amiability and all her mother's charms, but not the repellent reverse
of the medal. There was no chronic moral ulcer, which might break out
from time to time. Antonia's betrothed put in an appearance, whilst
Antonia herself, fathoming with happy instinct the deeper-lying
character of her wonderful father, sang one of old Padre Martini's(9)
motets, which, she knew, Krespel in the heyday of his courtship had
never grown tired of hearing her mother sing. The tears ran in streams
down Krespel's cheeks; even Angela he had never heard sing like that.
Antonia's voice was of a very remarkable and altogether peculiar
timbre: at one time it was like the singing of an Aeolian harp, at
another like the warbled gush of the nightingale. It seemed as if
there was not room for such notes in the human breast. Antonia,
blushing with joy and happiness, sang on and on--all her most
beautiful songs, B---playing between whiles as only enthusiasm that is
intoxicated with delight can play. Krespel was at first transported
with rapture, then he grew thoughtful--still--absorbed in reflection.
At length he leapt to his feet, pressed Antonia to his heart, and
begged her in a low husky voice, "Sing no more if you love me--my
heart is bursting--I fear--I fear--don't sing again."

(9) Giambattista Martini, more commonly called Padre Martini, of
Bologna formed an influential school of music there in the latter half
of the eighteenth century. He wrote vocal and instrumental pieces both
for the church and for the theatre. He was also a learned historian of
music. He has the merit of having discerned and encouraged the genius
of Mozart when, a boy of fourteen, he visited Bologna in 1770.

"No!" remarked the Councillor next day to Doctor R--, "when, as she
sang, her blushes gathered into two dark red spots on her pale cheeks,
I knew it had nothing to do with your nonsensical family likenesses, I
knew it was what I dreaded." The Doctor, whose countenance had shown
signs of deep distress from the very beginning of the conversation,
replied, "Whether it arises from a too early taxing of her powers of
song, or whether the fault is Nature's--enough, Antonia labors under
an organic failure in the chest which gives to her voice its wonderful
power and its singular timbre, a power that I might almost say
transcends the limits of human capabilities of song. But it bears the
announcement of her early death; for, if she continues to sing, I
wouldn't give her at the most more than six months longer to live"
Krespel's heart was lacerated as if by the stabs of hundreds of
knives. It was as though his life had been for the first time
overshadowed by a beautiful tree full of the most magnificent
blossoms, and now it was to be sawn to pieces at the roots, so that it
could not grow green and blossom any more. His resolution was taken.
He told Antonia all; he put the alternatives before her--whether she
would follow her betrothed and yield to his and the world's
seductions, but with the certainty of dying early, or whether she
would spread round her father in his old days that joy and peace which
had hitherto been unknown to him, and so secure a long life. She threw
herself sobbing into his arms, and he, knowing the heartrending trial
that was before her, did not press for a more explicit declaration. He
talked the matter over with her betrothed, but, notwithstanding that
the latter averred that no note should ever cross Antonia's lips, the
Councillor was only too well aware that even B---could not resist the
temptation of hearing her sing, at any rate arias of his own
composition. And the world, the musical public, even though acquainted
with the nature of the singer's affliction, would certainly not
relinquish its claims to hear her, for in cases where pleasure is
concerned people of this class are very selfish and cruel. The
Councillor disappeared from F---along with Antonia; and came to H--.
B---was in despair when he learned that they had gone. He set out on
their track, overtook them, and arrived at H---at the same time that
they did. "Let me see him only once, and then die!" entreated Antonia.
"Die! die!" cried Krespel, wild with anger, an icy shudder running
through him. His daughter, the only creature in the wide world who had
awakened in him the springs of unknown joy, who alone had reconciled
him to life, tore herself away from his heart, and he--he suffered the
terrible trial to take place. B---sat down to the piano; Antonia sang;
Krespel fiddled away merrily, until the two red spots showed
themselves on Antonia's cheeks. Then he bade her stop, and as B---was
taking leave of his betrothed, she suddenly fell to the floor with a
loud scream. "I thought," continued Krespel in his narration, "I
thought that she was, as I had anticipated, really dead; but as I had
prepared myself for the worst, my calmness did not leave me, nor my
self-command desert me. I grasped B--, who stood like a silly sheep in
his dismay, by the shoulders, and said (here the Councillor fell into
his singing tone), 'Now that you, my estimable pianoforte-player,
have, as you wished and desired, really murdered your betrothed, you
may quietly take your departure; at least have the goodness to make
yourself scarce before I run my bright dagger through your heart. My
daughter, who, as you see, is rather pale, could very well do with
some color from your precious blood. Make haste and run, for I might
also hurl a nimble knife or hvo after you.' I must, I suppose, have
looked rather formidable as I uttered these words, for, with a cry of
the greatest terror, B---tore himself loose from my grasp, rushed out
of the room, and down the steps." Directly after B--was gone, when the
Councillor tried to lift up his daughter, who lay unconscious on the
floor, she opened her eyes with a deep sigh, but soon closed them
again as if about to die. Then Krespel's grief found vent aloud, and
would not be comforted. The doctor, whom the old housekeeper had
called in, pronounced Antonia's case a somewhat serious but by no
means dangerous attack; and she did indeed recover more quickly than
her father had dared to hope. She now clung to him with the most
confiding childlike affection; she entered into his favorite hobbies--
into his mad schemes and whims. She helped him take old violins to
pieces and glue new ones together. "I won't sing again any more, but
live for you," she often said, sweetly smiling upon him, after she had
been asked to sing and had refused. Such appeals, however, the
Councillor was anxious to spare her as much as possible, therefore it
was that he was unwilling to take her into society, and solicitously
shunned all music. He well understood how painful it must be for her
to forego altogether the exercise of that art which she had brought to
such a pitch of perfection. When the Councillor bought the wonderful
violin that he had buried with Antonia, and was about to take it to
pieces, she met him with such sadness in her face and asked softly,
"What! this as well?" By a power, which he could not explain, he felt
impelled to leave this particular instrument unbroken, and to play
upon it. Scarcely had he drawn the first few notes from it than
Antonia cried aloud with joy, "Why, that's me!--now I shall sing
again." And, in truth, there was something remarkably striking about
the clear, silvery, bell-like tones of the violin they seemed to have
been engendered in the human soul. Krespel's heart was deeply moved;
he played, too, better than ever. As he ran up and down the scale,
playing bold passages with consummate power and expression, she
clapped her hands together and cried with delight, "I did that well! I
did that well."

From this time onwards her life was filled with peace and
cheerfulness. She often said to the Councillor, "I should like to sing
something, father." Then Krespel would take his violin down from the
wall and play her most beautiful songs, and her heart was glad and
happy. Shortly before my arrival in H--, the Councillor was awakened
one night and fancied that he heard somebody playing the piano in the
adjoining room; he soon made out distinctly that B---was flourishing
on the instrument in his usual style. He wished to get up, but felt
himself held down as if by a dead weight, and lying as if fettered in
iron bonds; he was utterly unable to move an inch. Then Antonia's
voice was heard singing low and soft; soon, however, it began to rise
and rise in volume until it became an ear-splitting fortissimo; and at
length she passed over into a powerfully impressive song which B---had
once composed for her in the devotional style of the old masters.
Krespel described his condition as being incomprehensible, for
terrible anguish was mingled with a delight he had never experienced
before. All at once he was surrounded by a dazzling brightness, in
which he beheld B---and Antonia locked in a close embrace, and gazing
at each other in a rapture of ecstasy. The music of the song and of
the pianoforte accompanying it went on without any visible signs that
Antonia sang or that B--touched the instrument. Then the Councillor
fell into a sort of dead faint, whilst the images vanished away. On
awakening he still felt the terrible anguish of his dream. He rushed
into Antonia's room. She lay on the sofa, her eyes closed, a sweet
angelic smile on her face, her hands devoutly folded, and looking as
if asleep and dreaming of the joys and raptures of heaven. But she
was--dead.




A NEW YEAR'S EVE ADVENTURE


FOREWORD BY THE EDITOR

The Travelling Enthusiast, from whose journals we are presenting
another "fancy-flight in the manner of Jacques Callot," has apparently
not separated the events of his inner life from those of the outside
world; in fact we cannot determine where one ends and the other
begins. But even if you cannot see this boundary very clearly, dear
reader, the Geisterseher may beckon you to his side, and before you
are even aware of it, you will be in a strange magical realm where
figures of fantasy step right into your own life, and are as cordial
with you as your oldest friends. I beg of you-take them as such, go
along with their remarkable doings, yield to the shudders and thrills
that they produce, since the more you go along with them, the better
they can operate. What more can I do for the Travelling Enthusiast who
has encountered so much strangeness and madness, everywhere and at all
times, but especially on New Year's Eve in Berlin?

MY BELOVED

I had a feeling of death in my heart-ice-cold death-and the sensation
branched out like sharp, growing icicles into nerves that were already
boiling with heat. I ran like a madman-no hat, no coat-out into the
lightless stormy winter night. The weather vanes were grinding and
creaking in the wind, as if Time's eternal gearwork were audibly
rotating and the old year were being rolled away like a heavy weight,
and ponderously pushed into a gloom-filled abyss.

You must surely know that on this season, Christmas and New Year's,
even though it's so fine and pleasant for all of you, I am always
driven out of my peaceful cell onto a raging, lashing sea.

Christmas! Holidays that have a rosy glow for me. I can hardly wait
for it, I look forward to it so much. I am a better, finer man than
the rest of the year, and there isn't a single gloomy, misanthropic
thought in my mind. Once again I am a boy, shouting with joy. The
faces of the angels laugh to me from the gilded fretwork decorations
in the shops decorated for Christmas, and the awesome tones of the
church organ penetrate the noisy bustle of the streets, as if coming
from afar, with "Unto us a child is born." But after the holidays
everything becomes colorless again, and the glow dies away and
disappears into drab darkness.

Every year more and more flowers drop away withered, their buds
eternally sealed; there is no spring sun that can bring the warmth of
new life into old dried-out branches. I know this well enough, but the
Enemy never stops maliciously rubbing it in as the year draws to an
end. I hear a mocking whisper: "Look what you have lost this year; so
many worthwhile things that you'll never see again. But all this makes
you wiser, less tied to trivial pleasures, more serious and solid-even
though you don't enjoy yourself very much."

Every New Year's Eve the Devil keeps a special treat for me. He knows
just the right moment to jam his claw into my heart, keeping up a fine
mockery while he licks the blood that wells out.

And there is always someone around to help him, just as yesterday the
Justizrat came to his aid.

He (the Justizrat) holds a big celebration every New Year's Eve, and
likes to give everyone something special as a New Year's present. Only
he is so clumsy and bumbling about it, for all his pains, that what
was meant to give pleasure usually turns into a mess that is half
slapstick and half torture.

I walked into his front hall, and the Justizrat came running to meet
me, holding me back for a moment from the Holy of Holies out of which
the odors of tea and expensive perfumes were pouring. He looked
especially pleased with himself. He smirked at me in a very strange
way and said, "My dear friend, there's something nice waiting for you
in the next room. Nothing like it for a New Year's surprise. But don't
be afraid!"

I felt that sinking feeling in my heart. Something was wrong, I knew,
and I suddenly began to feel depressed and edgy. Then the doors were
opened. I took up my courage and stepped forward, marched in, and
among the women sitting on the sofa I saw her.

Yes, it was she. She herself. I hadn't seen her for years, and yet in
one lightning flash the happiest moments of my life came bad to me,
and gone was the pain that had resulted from being separated from her.

What marvellous chance brought her here? What miracle introduced her
into the Justizrat's circle-I didn't even know that he knew her. But I
didn't think of any of these questions; all I knew was that she was
mine again.

I must have stood there as if halted magically in midmotion. The
Justizrat kept nudging me and muttering, "Mmmm? Mmmm? How about it?"

I started to walk again, mechanically, but I saw only her, and it was
all that I could do to force out, "My God, my God, it's Julia!" I was
practically at the tea table before she even noticed me, but then she
stood up and said coldly, "I'm so delighted to see you here. You are
looking well."

And with that she sat down again and asked the woman sitting next to
her on the sofa, "Is there going to be anything interesting at the
theatre the next few weeks?"

You see a miraculously beautiful flower, glowing with beauty, filling
the air with scent, hinting at even more hidden beauty. You hurry over
to it, but the moment that you bend down to look into its chalice, the
glistening petals are pushed aside and out pops a smooth, cold, slimy,
little lizard that tries to cut you down with its glare.

That's just what happened to me. Like a perfect oaf I made a bow to
the ladies, and since spite and idiocy often go together, as I stepped
back I knocked a cup of hot tea out of the Justizrat's hand-he was
standing right behind me-and all over his beautifully pleated jacket.
The company roared at the Justizrat's mishap, and even more at me. In
short, everything was going along smoothly enough for a madhouse, but
I just gave up.

Julia, however, hadn't laughed, and as I looked at her again I thought
for a moment that a gleam of our wonderful past came through to me, a
fragment of our former life of love and poetry. At this point someone
in the next room began to improvise on the piano, and the company
began to show signs of life. I heard that this was someone I did not
know, a great pianist named Berger, who played divinely, and that you
had to listen to him.

"Will you stop making that noise with the teaspoons, Minchen," bawled
the Justizrat, and with a coyly contorted hand and a languorous "Eh
bien!" he beckoned the ladies to the door, to approach the virtuoso.
Julia arose too and walked slowly into the next room.

There was something strange about her whole figure, I thought. Somehow
she seemed larger, more developed, almost lush. Her blouse was cut
low, only half covering her breasts, shoulders and neck; her sleeves
were puffed, and reached only to her elbows; and her hair was parted
at the forehead and pulled back into plaits-all of which gave her an
antique look, much like one of the young women in Mieris's paintings.
Somehow it seemed to me as if I had seen her like this before. She had
taken off her gloves, and ornate bracelets on her wrist helped carry
through the complete identity of her dress with the past and awaken
more vividly dark memories.

She turned toward me before she went into the music room, and for an
instant her angel-like, normally pleasant face seemed strained into a
sneer. An uncomfortable, unpleasant feeling arose in me, like a cramp
running through my nervous system.

"Oh, he plays divinely," lisped a girl, apparently inspired by the
sweet tea, and I don't know how it happened, but Julia's arm was in
mine, and I led her, or rather she led me, into the next room. Berger
was raising the wildest hurricanes, and like a roaring surf his mighty
chords rose and fell. It did me good.

Then Julia was standing beside me, and said more softly and more
sweetly than before, "I wish you were sitting at the piano, singing
softly about pleasures and hopes that have been lost." The Enemy had
left me, and in just the name, "Julia!" I wanted to proclaim the bliss
that filled me.

But the crowd pushed between us and we were separated. Now she was
obviously avoiding me, but I was lucky enough to touch her clothing
and close enough to breathe in her perfume, and the springtime of the
past arose in a hundred shining colors.

Berger let the hurricane blow itself out, the skies became clear, and
pretty little melodies, like the golden clouds of dawn, hovered in
pianissimo. Well-earned applause broke out when he finished, and the
guests began to move around the room. It came about that I found
myself facing Julia again. The spirit rose more mightily in me. I
wanted to seize her and embrace her, but a bustling servant crowded
between us with a platter of drinks, calling in a very offensive way,
"Help yourself, please, help yourself."

The tray was filled with cups of steaming punch, but in the very
middle was a huge cut-crystal goblet, also apparently filled with
punch. How did that get there, among all the ordinary punch cups? He
knows-the Enemy that I'm gradually coming to understand. Like Clemens
in Tieck's "Oktavian" he walks about making a pleasant squiggle with
one foot, and is very fond of red capes and feathers. Julia picked up
this sparkling, beautifully cui goblet and offered it to me, saying,
"Are you still willing to take a glass from my hand?" "Julia, Julia,"
I sighed.

As I took the glass, my fingers brushed against hers, and electric
sensations ran through me. I drank and drank, and it seemed to me that
little flickering blue flames licked around the goblet and my lip.
Then the goblet was empty, and I really don't know myself how it
happened, but I was now sitting on an ottoman in a small room lit only
by an alabaster lamp, and Julia was sitting beside me, demure and
innocent-looking as ever. Berger had started to play again, the
andante from Mozart's sublime E-flat Symphony, and on the swan's wings
of song my sunlike love soared high. Yes, it was Julia, Julia herself,
as pretty as an angel and as demure; our talk a longing lament of
love, more looks than words, her hand resting in mine.

"I will never let you go," I was saying. "Your love is the spark that
glows in me, kindling a higher life in art and poetry. Without you,
without your love, everything is dead and lifeless. Didn't you come
here so that you could be mine forever?"

At this very moment there tottered into the room a spindle-shanked
cretin, eyes a-pop like a frog's, who said, in a mixture of croak and
cackle, "Where the Devil is my wife?"

Julia stood up and said to me in a distant, cold voice, "Shall we go
back to the party? My husband is looking for me. You've been very
amusing again, darling, as overemotional as ever; but you should watch
how much you drink."

The spindle-legged monkey reached for her hand and she followed him
into the living room with a laugh.

"Lost forever," I screamed aloud..."Oh, yes; codille, darling,"
bleated an animal playing ombre.

I ran out into the stormy night.

IN THE BEER CELLAR Promenading up and down under the linden trees can
be a fine thing, but not on a New Year's Eve when it is bitter cold
and snow is falling. Bareheaded and without a coat I finally felt the
cold when icy shivers began to interrupt my feverishness. I trudged
over the Opern Bridge, past the Castle, over the Schleusen Bridge,
past the Mint. I was on Jaegerstrasse close to Thiermann's shop.
Friendly lights were burning inside. I was about to go in, since I was
freezing and I needed a good drink of something strong, when a merry
group came bursting out, babbling loudly about fine oysters and good
Eilfer wine. One of them-I could see by the lantern light that he was
a very impressive-looking officer in the uhlans-was shouting, "You
know, he was right, that fellow who cursed them out in Mainz last year
for not bringing out the Eilfer, he was right!"

They all laughed uproariously.

Without thinking, I continued a little farther, then stopped in front
of a beer cellar out of which a single light was shining. Wasn't it
Shakespeare's Henry V who once felt so tired and discouraged that he
"remembered the poor creature, small beer?" Indeed, the same thing was
happening to me. My tongue was practically cracking with thirst for a
bottle of good English beer. I hastened down into the cellar.

"Yes, sir?" said the owner of the beer cellar, touching his cap
amiably as he came toward me.

I asked for a bottle of good English beer and a pipe of good tobacco,
and soon found myself sublimely immersed in fleshly comforts which
even the Devil had to respect enough to leave me alone. Ah, Justizrat!
If you had seen me descend from your bright living room to a gloomy
beer cellar, you would have turned away from me in contempt and
muttered, "It's not surprising that a fellow like that can ruin a
first-class jacket."

I must have looked very odd to the others in the beer cellar, since I
had no hat or coat. The waiter was just about to say something about
it when there was a bang on the window, and a voice shouted down,
"Open up! Open up! It's me!"

The tavern keeper went outside and came right back carrying two
torches high; following him came a very tall, slender stranger who
forgot to lower his head as he came through the low doorway and
received a good knock. A black beretlike cap, though, kept him from
serious injury.

The stranger sidled along the wall in a very peculiar manner, and sat
down opposite me, while lights were placed upon the table. You could
characterize him briefly as pleasant but unhappy.

He called for beer and a pipe somewhat grumpily, and then with a few
puffs, created such a fog bank that we seemed to be swimming in a
cloud. His face had something so individual and attractive about it
that I liked him despite his dark moroseness. He had a full head of
black hair, parted in the middle and hanging down in small locks on
both sides of his head, so that he looked like someone out of a Rubens
picture. When he threw off his heavy cloak, I could see that he was
wearing a black tunic with lots of lacing, and it struck me as very
odd that he had slippers pulled on over his boots. I became aware of
this when he knocked out his pipe on his foot after about five minutes
of smoking.

We didn't converse right away, for the stranger was preoccupied with
some strange plants which he took out of a little botanical case and
started to examine closely. I indicated my astonishment at the plants
and asked him, since they seemed freshly gathered, whether he had been
at the botanical garden or Boucher the florist's. He smiled in a
strange way, and replied slowly, "Botany does not seem to be your
speciality, or else you would not have asked such a..." he hesitated
and I supplied in a low voice, "foolish. . ." "...question," he
finished, waving aside my assertion. "If you were a botanist, you
would have seen at a glance that these are alpine flora and that they
are from Chimborazo." He said the last part very softly, and you can
guess that I felt a little strange. This reply prevented further
questions, but I kept having the feeling more and more strongly that I
knew him-perhaps not "physically" but "mentally."

At this point there came another rapping at the window. The tavern
keeper opened the door and a voice called in, "Be so good as to cover
your mirrors.

"Aha!" said the host, "General Suvarov is late tonight," and he threw
a cloth covering over the mirror. A short, dried-up-looking fellow
came tumbling in with frantic, clumsy haste. He was engulfed in a
cloak of peculiar brownish color, which bubbled and flapped around him
as he bounced across the room toward us, so that in the dim light it
looked as if a series of forms were dissolving and emerging from one
another, as in Ensler's magic lantern show. He rubbed his hands
together inside his overlong sleeves and cried, "Cold! Cold! It's so
cold! Altogether different in Italy." Finally he took a seat between
me and the tall man and said, "Horrible smoke.., tobacco on tobacco...
I wish I had a pipeful."

In my pocket I had a small steel tobacco box, polished like a mirror;
I reached it out to the little man. He took one look at it, and thrust
out both hands, shoving it away, crying, "Take that damned mirror
away." His voice was filled with horror, and as I stared at him with
amazement I saw that he had become a different person. He had burst
into the beer cellar with a pleasant, youthful face, but now a deathly
pale, shrivelled, terrified old man's face glared at me with hollow
eyes. I turned in horror to the tall man. I was almost ready to shout,
"For God's sake, look at him!" when I saw that the tall stranger was
not paying any attention, but was completely engrossed in his plants
from Chimborazo. At that moment the little man called, "Northern
wine!" n a veriy affected manner.

After a time the conversation became more lively again. I wasn't quite
at ease with the little man, but the tall man had the ability of
offering deep and fascinating insights upon seemingly insignificant
things, although at times he seemed to struggle to express himself and
groped for words, and at times used words improperly, which often gave
his statements an air of droll originality. In this way, by appealing
to me more and more, he offset the bad impression created by the
little man.

The little man seemed to be driven by springs, for he slid back and
forth on his chair and waved his hands about in perpetual
gesticulations, and a shudder, like icewater down my back, ran through
me when I saw very clearly that he had two different faces, the
pleasant young man's and the unlovely demonic old man's. For the most
part he turned his old man's face upon the tall man, who sat
impervious and quiet, in contrast to the perpetual motion of the small
man in brown, although it was not as unpleasant as when it had looked
at me for the first time.-In the masquerade of life our true inner
essence often shines out beyond our mask when we meet a similar
person, and it so happened that we three strange beings in a beer
cellar looked at one another and knew what we were. Our conversation
ran along morbid lines, in the sardonic humor that emerges only when
you are wounded, almost to the point of death.

"There are hidden hooks and snares there, too," said the tall man.

"Oh, God," I joined in, "the Devil has set so many hooks for us
everywhere, walls, arbors, hedge roses, and so on, and as we brush
past them we leave something of our true self caught there. It seems
to me, gentlemen, that all of us lose something this way, just as
right now I have no hat or coat. They are both hanging on a hook at
the Justizrat's, as you may know."

Both the tall and the short man visibly winced, as if they had been
unexpectedly struck. The little man looked at me with hatred from his
old man's face, leaped up on his chair and fussily adjusted the cloth
that hung over the mirror, while the tall man made a point of pinching
the candle wicks. The conversation limped along, and in its course a
fine young artist named Philipp was mentioned, together with a
portrait of a princess painted with intense love and longing, which
she must have inspired in him. "More than just a likeness, a true
image," said the tall man.

"So completely true," I said, "that you could almost say it was stolen
from a mirror."

The little man leaped up in a frenzy, and transfixing me with his
flaming eyes, showing his old man's face, he screamed, "That's
idiotic, crazy-who can steal your reflection? Who? Perhaps you think
the Devil can? He would break the glass with his clumsy claws and the
girl's fine white hands would be slashed and bloody. Erkhhhh. Show me
a reflection, a stolen reflection, and I'll leap a thousand yards for
you, you stupid fool!"

The tall man got up, strode over to the little man, and said in a
contemptuous voice, "Don't make such a nuisance of yourself, my
friend, or I'll throw you out and you'll be as miserable as your own
reflection."

"Ha, ha, ha," laughed the little man with furious scorn. "You think
so? Do you think so? You miserable dog, I at least still have my
shadow, I still have my shadow!" And he leaped out of his chair and
rushed out of the cellar. I could hear his nasty neighing laughter
outside, and his shouts of "I still have my shadow!"

The tall man, as if completely crushed, sank back into his chair as
pale as death. He took his head in both his hands and sighed deeply
and groaned. "What's wrong?" I asked sympathetically. "Sir," he
replied somewhat incoherently, "that nasty little fellow-followed me
here, even in this tavern, where I used to be alone-nobody around,
except once in a while an earth-elemental would dive under the table
for bread crumbs-he's made me miserable-there's no getting it back-
I've lost ... I've lost ... my...oh, I can't go on..." and he leaped
up and dashed out into the street.

He happened to pass the lights, and I saw that-he cast no shadow! I
was delighted, for I recognized him and knew all about him. I ran out
after him. "Peter Schlemihl, Peter Schlemihl.
"
I shouted. But he had kicked off his slippers, and I saw him striding
away beyond the police tower, disappearing into the night.

I was about to return to the cellar, but the owner slammed the door in
my face, proclaiming loudly, "From guests like these the Good Lord
deliver me!"

MANIFESTATIONS Herr Mathieu is a good friend of mine and his porter
keeps his eyes open. He opened the door for me right away when I came
to the Golden Eagle and pulled at the bell. I explained matters: that
I had been to a party, had left my hat and coat behind, that my house
key was in my coat pocket, and that I had no chance of waking my deaf
landlady. He was a goodhearted fellow (the porter) and found a room
for me, set lights about in it, and wished me a good night. A
beautiful wide mirror, however, was covered, and though I don't know
why I did it, I pulled off the cloth and set both my candles on the
table in front of the mirror. When I looked in, I was so pale and
tired-looking that I could hardly recognize myself. Then it seemed to
me that from the remote background of the reflection there came
floating a dark form, which as I focused my attention upon it, took on
the features of a beautiful woman-Julia-shining with a magic radiance.
I said very softly, "Julia, Julia!"

At this I heard a groaning and moaning which seemed to come from
behind the drawn curtains of a canopy bed which stood in the farthest
corner of the room. I listened closely. The groaning grew louder,
seemingly more painful. The image of Julia had disappeared, and
resolutely I seized a candle, ripped the curtains of the bed apart,
and looked in. How can I describe my feelings to you when I saw before
me the little man whom I had met at the beer cellar, asleep on the
bed, youthful features dominant (though contorted with pain),
muttering in his sleep, "Giuletta, Giuletta!" The name enraged me. I
was no longer fearful, but seized the little man and gave him a good
shake, shouting, "Heigh, my friend! What are you doing in my room?
Wake up and get the Devil out of here!"

The little man blinked his eyes open and looked at me darkly. "That
was really a bad dream.
"
he said. "I must thank you for waking me." He spoke softly, almost
murmured. I don't know why but he looked different to me; the pain
which he obviously felt aroused my sympathy, and instead of being
angry I felt very sorry for him. It didn't take much conversation to
learn that the porter had inadvertently given me the room which had
already been assigned to the little man, and that it was I who had
intruded, disturbing his sleep.

"Sir," said the little man. "I must have seemed like an utter lunatic
to you in the beer cellar. Blame my behavior on this: every now and
then, I must confess, a mad spirit seizes control of me and makes me
lose all concept of what is right and proper. Perhaps the same thing
has happened to you at times?"

"Oh, God, yes," I replied dejectedly. "Just this evening, when I saw
Julia again."

"Julia!" crackled the little man in an unpleasant tone. His face
suddenly aged and his features twitched. "Let me alone. And please be
good enough to cover the mirror again," he said, looking sadly at his
pillow.

"Sir," I said. "The name of my eternally lost love seems to awaken
strange memories in you; so much so that your face has changed from
its usual pleasant appearance. Still, I have hopes of spending the
night here quietly with you, so I am going to cover the mirror and go
to bed."

He raised himself to a sitting position, looked at me with his
pleasant young face, and seized my hand, saying, while pressing it
gently, "Sleep well, my friend. I see that we are companions in
misery. Julia...Giuletta...Well, if it must be, it must be. I cannot
help it; I must tell you my deepest secret, and then you will hate and
despise me."

He slowly climbed out of bed, wrapped himself in a generous white
robe, and crept slowly, almost like a ghost, to the great mirror and
stood in front of it. Ah-Brightly and clearly the mirror reflected the
two lighted candles, the furniture, me-but the little man was not
there! He stood, head bowed toward it, in front of the mirror, but he
cast no reflection! Turning to me, deep despair on his face, he
pressed my hands and said, "Now you know the depths of my misery.
Schlemihl, a goodhearted fellow, is to be envied, compared to me. He
was irresponsible for a moment and sold his shadow. But-I-I gave my
reflection to her...to her!"

Sobbing deeply, hands pressed over his eyes, the little man turned to
the bed and threw himself on it. I simply stood in astonishment, with
suspicion, contempt, disgust, sympathy and pity all intermingled, for
and against the little man. But while I was standing there, he began
to snore so melodiously that it was contagious, and I couldn't resist
the narcotic power of his tones. I quickly covered the mirror again,
put out the candles, threw myself upon the bed like the little man,
and immediately fell asleep..It must have been early morning when a
light awakened me, and I opened my eyes to see the little man, still
in his white dressing gown, nightcap on his head, back turned to me,
sitting at the table busily writing by the light of the two candles.
There was a weird look about him, and I felt the chill of the
supernatural. I fell into a waking-dream then, and was back at the
Justizrat's again, sitting beside Julia on the ottoman. But the whole
party seemed to be only a comic candy display in the window of Fuchs,
Weide and Schoch (or somewhere similar) for Christmas, and the
Justizrat was a splendid gumdrop with a coat made of pleated
notepaper. Trees and rosebushes rose higher and higher about us, and
Julia stood up, handing me the crystal goblet, out of which blue
flames licked. Someone tugged at my arm and there was the little brown
man, his old man's face on, whispering loudly to me, "Don't drink it,
don't drink it. Look at her closely. Haven't you seen her and been
warned against her in Brueghel and Callot and Rembrandt?"

I looked at Julia with horror, and indeed, with her pleated dress and
ruffled sleeves and strange coiffure, she did look like one of the
alluring young women, surrounded by demonic monsters, from the work of
those masters.

"What are you afraid of?" said Julia. "I have you and your reflection,
once and for all." I seized the goblet, but the little man leaped to
my shoulder in the form of a squirrel, and waved his tail through the
blue flames, chattering, "Don't drink it, don't drink it." At this
point the sugar figures in the display came alive and moved their
hands and feet ludicrously. The Justizrat ran up to me and called out
in a thin little voice, "Why all the uproar, my friend? Why all the
commotion? All you have to do is get to your feet; for quite a while
I've been watching you stride away over tables and chairs."

The little man had completely disappeared. Julia no longer held the
goblet in her hand. "Why wouldn't you drink?" she asked. "Wasn't the
flame streaming out of the goblet simply the kisses you once got from
me?"

I wanted to take her in my arms, but Schlemihl stepped between us and
said, "This is Mina, who married my servant, Rascal." He stepped on a
couple of the candy figures, who made groaning noises. They started to
multiply enormously, hundreds and thousands of them, and they swarmed
all over me, buzzing like a hive of bees. The gumdrop Justizrat, who
had continued to climb, had swung up as far as my neckcloth, which he
kept pulling tighter and tighter. "Justizrat, you confounded gumdrop,"
I screamed out loud, and startled myself out of sleep. It was bright
day, already eleven o'clock.

I was just thinking to myself that the whole adventure with the little
brown man had only been an exceptionally vivid dream, when the waiter
who brought in my breakfast told me that the stranger who had shared
his room with me had left early, and presented his compliments. Upon
the table where I had seen the weird little man sitting and writing I
found a fresh manuscript, whose content I am sharing with you, since
it is unquestionably the remarkable story of the little man in brown.
It is as follows.

The Story of the Lost Reflection Things finally worked out so that
Erasmus Spikher was able to fulfill the wish that he had cherished all
his life. He climbed into the coach with high spirits and a well-
filled knapsack. He was leaving his home in the North and journeying
to the beautiful land of Italy. His devoted wife was weeping
copiously, and she lifted little Rasmus (after carefully wiping his
mouth and nose) into the coach to kiss his father goodbye..."Farewell,
Erasmus Spikher," said his wife, sobbing. "I will keep your house well
for you.

Think of me often, remain true to me, and do not lose your hat if you
fall asleep near the window, as you always do." Spikher promised.

In the beautiful city of Florence Spikher found some fellow Germans,
young men filled with high spirits and joie de vivre, who spent their
time revelling in the sensual delights which Italy so well affords. He
impressed them as a good fellow and he was often invited to social
occasions since he had the talent of supplying soberness to the mad
abandon about him, and gave the party a highly individual touch.

One evening in the grove of a splendid fragrant public garden, the
young men (Erasmus could be included here, since he was only twenty-
seven) gathered for an exceptionally merry feast.

Each of the men, except Spikher, brought along a girl. The men were
dressed in the picturesque old Germanic costume, and the women wore
bright dresses, each styled differently, often fantastically, so that
they seemed like wonderful mobile flowers. Every now and then one of
the girls would sing an Italian love song, accompanied by the
plaintive notes of mandolins, and the men would respond with a lusty
German chorus or round, as glasses filled with fine Syracuse wine
clinked. Yes, indeed, Italy is the land of love.

The evening breezes sighed with passion, oranges and jasmine breathed
out perfume through the grove, and it all formed a part in the banter
and play which the girls (delightfully merry as only Italian women can
be) began. Wilder and noisier grew the fun. Friedrich, the most
excited of all, leaped to his feet, one arm around his mistress,
waving high a glass of sparkling Syracuse wine with the other, and
shouted, "You wonderful women of Italy! Where can true, blissful love
be found except with you? You are love incarnate! But you, Erasmus,"
he continued, turning to Spikher, "You don't seem to understand this.
You've violated your promise, propriety and the custom. You didn't
bring a girl with you, and you have been sitting here moodily, so
quiet and self-concerned that if you hadn't been drinking and singing
with us I'd believe you were suffering an attack of melancholy."

"Friedrich," replied Erasmus, "I have to confess that I cannot enjoy
myself like that. You know that I have a wife at home, and I love her.
If I took up with a girl for even one night it would be betraying my
wife. For you young bachelors it's different, but I have a family."

The young men laughed uproariously, for when Erasmus announced his
family obligations his pleasant young face became very grave, and he
really looked very strange. Friedrich's mistress, when Spikher's words
had been translated for her (for the two men had spoken German),
turned very seriously to Erasmus, and said, half-threateningly, finger
raised, "Cold-blooded, heartless German watch out-you haven't seen
Giuletta yet."

At that very instant a rustling noise indicated that someone was
approaching, and out of the dark night into the area lighted by the
candles strode a remarkably beautiful girl. Her white dress, which
only half-hid her bosom, shoulders and neck, fell in rich broad folds;
her sleeves, puffed and full, came only to her elbows; her thick hair,
parted in the front, fell in braids at the back.

Golden chains around her throat, rich bracelets upon her wrists,
completed her antique costume.

She looked exactly if she were a woman from Miens or Rembrandt walking
about. "Giuletta.
"
shrieked the girls in astonishment and delight.

Giuletta, who was by far the most beautiful of all the women present,
asked in a sweet, pleasant voice, "Good Germans, may I join you? I'll
sit with that gentleman over there. He doesn't have a girl, and he
doesn't seem to be having a very good time, either." She turned very
graciously to Erasmus, and sat down upon the empty seat beside him-
empty because everyone thought Erasmus would bring a girl along, too.
The girls whispered to each other, "Isn't Giuletta beautiful tonight,"
and the young men said, "How about Erasmus? Was he joking with us?
He's got the best-looking girl of all!"

As for Erasmus, at the first glance he cast at Giuletta, he was so
aroused that he didn't even know what powerful passions were working
in him. As she came close to him, a strange force seized him and
crushed his breast so that he couldn't even breathe. Eyes fixed in a
rigid stare at her, mouth agape, he sat there not able to utter a
syllable, while all the others were commenting upon Giuletta's charm
and beauty.

Giuletta took a full goblet, and standing up, handed it with a
friendly smile to Erasmus. He seized the goblet, touching her soft
fingers, and as he drank, fire seemed to stream through his veins.
Then Giuletta asked him in a bantering way, "Am I to be your girl
friend?" Erasmus threw himself wildly upon the ground in front of her,
pressed her hands to his breast, and cried in maudlin tones, "Yes,
yes, yes! You goddess! I've always been in love with you. I've seen
you in my dreams, you are my fortune, my happiness, my higher life!"

The others all thought the wine had gone to Erasmus's head, since they
had never seen him like this before; he seemed to be a different man.

"You are my life! I don't care if I am destroyed, as long as it's with
you," Erasmus shouted.

"You set me on fire!" But Giuletta just took him gently in her arms.
He became quieter again, and took his seat beside her. And once again
the gaiety which had been interrupted by Erasmus and Giuletta began
with songs and laughter. Giuletta sang, and it was as if the tones of
her beautiful voice aroused in everyone sensations of pleasure never
felt before but only suspected to exist. Her full but clear voice
conveyed a secret ardor which inflamed them all. The young men clasped
their mistresses more closely, and passion leaped from eye to eye.

Dawn was breaking with a rosy shimmer when Giuletta said that she had
to leave. Erasmus got ready to accompany her home, but she refused but
gave him the address at which he could find her in the future. During
the chorus which the men sang to end the party, Giuletta disappeared
from the grove and was seen walking through a distant alle, preceded
by two linkmen. Erasmus did not dare follow her.

The young men left arm in arm with their mistresses, full of high
spirits, and Erasmus, greatly disturbed and internally shattered by
the torments of love, followed, preceded by his boy with a torch.
After leaving his friends, he was passing down the distant street
which led to his dwelling, and his servant had just knocked out the
torch against the stucco of the house, when a strange figure
mysteriously appeared in the spraying sparks in front of Erasmus. It
was a tall, thin, dried-out--looking man with a Roman nose that came
to a sharp point, glowing eyes, mouth contorted into a sneer, wrapped
in a flame-red cloak with brightly polished steel buttons. He laughed
and called out in an unpleasant yelping voice, "Ho, ho, you look as if
you came out of a picture book with that cloak, slit doublet and
plumed hat. You show a real sense of humor, Signor Erasmus Spikher,
but aren't you afraid of being laughed at on the streets? Signor,
signor, crawl quietly back into your parchment binding."

"What the Devil is my clothing to you?" said Erasmus with anger, and
shoving the red-clad stranger aside, he was about to pass by when the
stranger called after him, "Don't be in such a hurry. You won't get to
Giuletta that way."

"What are you saying about Giuletta?" cried Erasmus wildly. He tried
to seize the red-clad man by the breast, but he turned and disappeared
so rapidly that Erasmus couldn't even see where he went, and Erasmus
was left standing in astonishment, in his hand a steel button that had
been ripped from the stranger's cloak..."That's the Miracle Doctor
Dapertutto. What did he want?" asked Erasmus's servant. But Erasmus
was seized with horror, and without replying, hastened home.

When, some time later, Erasmus called on Giuletta, she received him in
a very gracious and friendly manner, yet to Erasmus's fiery passion
she opposed a mild indifference. Only once in a while did her eyes
flash, whereupon Erasmus would feel shudders pass through him, from
his innermost being, when she regarded him with an enigmatic stare.
She never told him that she loved him, but her whole attitude and
behaviour led him to think so, and he found himself more and more
deeply entangled with her. He seldom saw his old friends, however, for
Giuletta took him into other circles.

Once Erasmus met Friedrich at a time when Erasmus was depressed,
thinking about his native land and his home. Friedrich said, "Don't
you know, Spikher, that you are moving in a very dangerous circle of
acquaintances? You must realize by now that the beautiful Giuletta is
one of the craftiest courtesans on earth. There are all sorts of
strange stories going around about her, and they put her in a very
peculiar light. I can see from you that she can exercise an
irresistible power over men when she wants to. You have changed
completely and are totally under her spell. You don't think of your
wife and family any more."

Erasmus covered his face with his hands and sobbed, crying out his
wife's name. Friedrich saw that a difficult internal battle had begun
in Spikher. "Erasmus," he said, "let us get out of here immediately."

"Yes, Friedrich," said Erasmus heavily. "You are right. I don't know
why I am suddenly overcome by such dark horrible foreboding-I must
leave right away, today."

The two friends hastened along the street, but directly across from
them came Signor Dapertutto, who laughed in Erasmus's face, and cried
nasally, "Hurry, hurry; a little faster. Giuletta waiting; her heart
is full of longing, and her eyes are full of tears. Make haste. Make
haste."

Erasmus stood as if struck by lightning.

"This scoundrel," said Friedrich, "this charlatan-I cannot stand him.
He is always in and out of Giuletta's, and he sells her his magical
potions."

"What!" cried Erasmus. "That disgusting creature visits Giuletta,
Giuletta?"

"Where have you been so long? Everything is waiting for you. Didn't
you think of me at all.
"
breathed a soft voice from the balcony. It was Giuletta, in front of
whose house the two friends, without noticing it, had stopped. With a
leap Erasmus was in the house.

"He is gone, and cannot be saved," said Friedrich to himself, and
walked slowly away.

Never before had Giuletta been more amiable. She wore the same
clothing that she had worn when she first met Erasmus, and beauty,
charm and youth shone from her. Erasmus completely forgot his
conversation with Friedrich, and now more than ever his irresistible
passion seized him. This was the first time that Giuletta showed
without reservation her deepest love for him.

She seemed to see only him, and to live for him only. At a villa which
Giuletta had rented for the summer, a festival was being celebrated,
and they went there. Among the company was a young Italian with a
brutal ugly face and even worse manners, who kept paying court to
Giuletta and arousing Erasmus's jealousy. Fuming with rage, Erasmus
left the company and paced up and down in a side path of the garden.
Giuletta came looking for him. "What is wrong with you?"

"Aren't you mine alone?" she asked. She embraced him and planted a
kiss upon his lips. Sparks of passion flew through Erasmus, and in a
passion he crushed her to himself, crying, "No, I will not leave you,
no matter how low I fall." Giuletta smiled strangely at these words,
and cast at him that peculiar oblique glance which never failed to
arouse a chilly feeling in him.

They returned to the company, and the unpleasant young Italian now
took over Erasmus's role.

Obviously enraged with jealousy, he made all sorts of pointed insults
against Germans, particularly Spikher. Finally Spikher could bear it
no longer, and he strode up to the Italian and said, "That's enough of
your insults, unless you'd like to get thrown into the pond and try
your hand at swimming." In an instant a dagger gleamed in the
Italian's hand, but Erasmus dodged, seized him by the throat, threw
him to the ground, and shattered his neck with a kick. The Italian
gasped out his life on the spot.

Pandemonium broke loose around Erasmus. He lost consciousness, but
felt himself being lifted and carried away. When he awoke later, as if
from a deep enchantment, he lay at Giuletta's feet in a small room,
while she, head bowed over him, held him in both her arms.

"You bad, bad German," she finally said, softly and mildly. "If you
knew how frightened you've made me! You've come very close to
disaster, but I've managed to save you. You are no longer safe in
Florence, though, or even Italy. You must leave, and you must leave
me, and I love you so much."

The thought of leaving Giuletta threw Erasmus into pain and sorrow.
"Let me stay here," he cried. "I'm willing to die. Dying is better
than living without you."

But suddenly it seemed to him as if a soft, distant voice was calling
his name painfully. It was the voice of his wife at home. Erasmus was
stricken dumb. Strangely enough, Giuletta asked him, "Are you thinking
of your wife? Ah, Erasmus, you will forget me only too soon!"

"If I could only remain yours forever and ever," said Erasmus. They
were standing directly in front of the beautiful wide mirror, which
was set in the wall, and on the sides of it tapers were burning
brightly. More firmly, more closely, Giuletta pressed Erasmus to her,
while she murmured softly in his ear, "Leave me your reflection, my
beloved; it will be mine and will remain with me forever."

"Giuletta," cried Erasmus in amazement. "What do you mean? My
reflection?" He looked in the mirror, which showed him himself and
Giuletta in sweet, close embrace. "How can you keep my reflection? It
is part of me. It springs out to meet me from every clear body of
water or polished surface."

"Aren't you willing to give me even this dream of your ego? Even
though you say you want to be mine, body and soul? Won't you even give
me this trivial thing, so that after you leave, it can accompany me in
the loveless, pleasureless life that is left to me?"

Hot tears started from Giuletta's beautiful dark eyes.

At this point Erasmus, mad with pain and passion, cried, "Do I have to
leave? If I have to, my reflection will be yours forever and a day. No
power-not even the Devil-can take it away from you until you own me,
body and soul."

Giuletta's kisses burned like fire on his mouth as he said this, and
then she released him and stretched out her arms longingly to the
mirror. Erasmus saw his image step forward independent of his
movements, glide into Giuletta's arms, and disappear with her in a
strange vapor. Then Erasmus heard all sorts of hideous voices bleating
and laughing in demoniac scorn, and, seized with a spasm of terror, he
sank to the floor. But his horror and fear aroused him, and in thick
dense darkness he stumbled out the door and down the steps. In front
of the house he was seized and lifted into a carriage, which rolled
away with him rapidly.

"Things have changed somewhat, it seems," said a man in German, who
had taken a seat beside him. "Nevertheless, everything will be all
right if you give yourself over to me, completely. Dear Giuletta has
done her share, and has recommended you to me. You are a fine,
pleasant young man and you have a strong inclination to pleasant
pranks and jokes-which please Giuletta and me nicely. That was a real
nice German kick in the neck. Did you see how Amoroso's tongue
protruded-purple and swollen-it was a fine sight and the strangling
noises and groans-ha, ha, ha." The man's voice was so repellent in its
mockery, his chatter so gruesomely unpleasant, that his words felt
like dagger blows in Erasmus's chest.

"Whoever you are," he said, "don't say any more about it. I regret it
bitterly."

"Regret? Regret?" replied the unknown man. "I'll be bound that you
probably regret knowing Giuletta and winning her love."

"Ah, Giuletta, Giuletta!" sighed Spikher.

"Now," said the man, "you are being childish. Everything will run
smoothly. It is horrible that you have to leave her, I know, but if
you were to remain here, I could keep your enemies daggers away from
you, and even the authorities."

The thought of being able to stay with Giuletta appealed strongly to
Erasmus. "How, how can that be?"

"I know a magical way to strike your enemies with blindness, in short,
that you will always appear to them with a different face, and they
will never recognize you again. Since it is getting on toward
daylight, perhaps you will be good enough to look long and attentively
into any mirror. I shall then perform certain operations upon your
reflection, without damaging it in the least, and you will be hidden
and can live forever with Giuletta. As happy as can be; no danger at
all."

"Oh, God," screamed Erasmus.

"Why call upon God, my most worthy friend," asked the stranger with a
sneer.

"I-I have..." began Erasmus.

"Left your reflection behind-with Giuletta-" interrupted the other.
"Fine. Bravissimo, my dear sir. And now you course through floods and
forests, cities and towns, until you find your wife and little Rasmus,
and become a paterfamilias again. No reflection, of course-though this
really shouldn't bother your wife since she has you physically. Even
though Giuletta will eternally own your dream-ego."

A torch procession of singers drew near at this moment, and the light
the torches cast into the carriage revealed to Erasmus the sneering
visage of Dr. Dapertutto. Erasmus leaped out of the carriage and ran
toward the procession, for he had recognized Friedrich's resounding
bass voice among the singers. It was his friends returning from a
party in the countryside. Erasmus breathlessly told Friedrich
everything that had happened, only withholding mention of the loss of
his reflection. Friedrich hurried with him into the city, and
arrangements were made so rapidly that when dawn broke, Erasmus,
mounted on a fast horse, had already left Florence far behind.

Spikher set down in his manuscript the many adventures that befell him
upon his journey.

Among the most remarkable is the incident which first caused him to
appreciate the loss of his reflection. He had stopped over in a large
town, since his tired horse needed a rest, and he had sat down without
thinking at a well-filled inn table, not noticing that a fine clear
mirror hung before him. A devil of a waiter, who stood behind his
chair, noticed that the chair seemed to be empty in the reflection and
did not show the person who was sitting in it. He shared his
observation with Erasmus's neighbor, who in turn called it to the
attention of his. A murmuring and whispering thereupon ran all around
the table, and the guests first stared at Erasmus, then at the mirror.

Erasmus, however, was unaware that the disturbance concerned him,
until a grave gentleman stood up, took Erasmus to the mirror, looked
in, and then turning to the company, cried out loudly, "'Struth. He's
not there. He doesn't reflect."

"What? No reflection? He's not in the mirror?" everyone cried in
confusion. "He's a mauvais sujet, a homo nefas. Kick him out the
door!"

Raging and filled with shame, Erasmus fled to his room, but he had
hardly gotten there when he was informed by the police that he must
either appear with full, complete, impeccably accurate reflection
before the magistrate within one hour or leave the town. He rushed
away, followed by the idle mob, tormented by street urchins, who
called after him, "There he goes. He sold his reflection to the Devil.
There he goes!" Finally he escaped. And from then on, under the
pretext of having a phobia against mirrors, he insisted on having them
covered. For this reason he was nicknamed General Suvarov, since
Suvarov acted the same way.

When he finally reached his home city and his house, his wife and
child received him with joy, and he began to think that calm, peaceful
domesticity would heal the pain of his lost reflection.

One day, however, it happened that Spikher, who had now put Giuletta
completely out of his mind, was playing with little Rasmus. Rasmus's
little hands were covered with soot from the stove, and he dragged his
fingers across his father's face. "Daddy! I've turned you black. Look,
look!" cried the child, and before Spikher could prevent it or avoid
it, the little boy held a mirror in front of him, looking into it at
the same time. The child dropped the mirror with a scream of terror
and ran away to his room.

Spikher's wife soon came to him, astonishment and terror plainly on
her face. "What has Rasmus told me-" she began. "Perhaps that I don't
have a reflection, dear," interrupted Spikher with a forced smile, and
he feverishly tried to prove that the story was too foolish to
believe, that one could not lose a reflection, but if one did, since a
mirror image was only an illusion, it didn't matter much, that staring
into a mirror led to vanity, and pseudo-philosophical nonsense about
the reflection dividing the ego into truth and dream. While he was
declaiming, his wife removed the covering from a mirror that hung in
the room and looked into it. She fell to the floor as if struck by
lightning. Spikher lifted her up, but when she regained consciousness,
she pushed him away with horror. "Leave me, get away from me, you
demon! You are not my husband. No! You are a demon from Hell, who
wants to destroy my chance of heaven, who wants to corrupt me. Away!
Leave me alone! You have no power over me, damned spirit!"

Her voice screamed through the room, through the halls; the domestics
fled the house in terror, and in rage and despair Erasmus rushed out
of the house. Madly he ran through the empty walks of the town park.
Giuletta's form seemed to arise in front of him, angelic in beauty,
and he cried aloud, "Is this your revenge, Giuletta, because I
abandoned you and left you nothing but my reflection in a mirror?
Giuletta, I will be yours, body and soul. I sacrificed you for her,
Giuletta, and now she has rejected me. Giuletta, let me be yours-body,
life, and soul!"

"That can be done quite easily, caro signore," said Dr. Dapertutto,
who was suddenly standing beside him, clad in scarlet cloak with
polished steel buttons. These were words of comfort to Erasmus, and he
paid no heed to Dapertutto's sneering, unpleasant face. Erasmus
stopped and asked in despair, "How can I find her again? She is
eternally lost to me."

"On the contrary," answered Dapertutto, "she is not far from here, and
she longs for your true self, honored sir; you yourself have had the
insight to see that a reflection is nothing but a worthless illusion.
And as soon as she has the real you-body, life, and soul-she will
return your reflection, smooth and undamaged with the utmost
gratitude."

"Take me to her, take me to her," cried Erasmus. "Where is she?" "A
certain trivial matter must come first," replied Dapertutto, "before
you can see her and redeem your reflection. You are not entirely free
to dispose of your worthy self, since you are tied by certain bonds
which have to be dissolved first. Your worthy wife. Your promising
little son."

"What do you mean?" cried Erasmus wildly.

"This bond," continued Dapertutto, "can be dissolved incontrovertibly,
easily and humanely. You may remember from your Florentine days that I
have the knack of preparing wonder-working medications. I have a
splendid household aid here at hand. Those who stand in the way of you
and your beloved Giuletta-let them have the benefit of a couple of
drops, and they will sink down quietly, no pain, no embarrassment. It
is what they call dying, and death is said to be bitter; but don't
bitter almonds taste very nice? The death in this little bottle has
only that kind of bitterness. Immediately after the happy collapse,
your worthy family will exude a pleasant odor of almonds. Take it,
honored sir."

He handed a small phial to Erasmus.1 "I should poison my wife and
child?" shrieked Erasmus.

"Who spoke of poison?" continued the red-clad man, very calmly. "It's
just a delicious household remedy. It's true that I have other ways of
regaining your freedom for you, but for you I would like the process
to be natural, humane, if you know what I mean. I really feel strongly
about it. Take it and have courage, my friend."

Erasmus found the phial in his hand, he knew not how.

Without thinking, he ran home, to his room. His wife had spent the
whole night amid a thousand fears and torments, asserting continually
that the person who had returned was not her husband but a spirit from
Hell who had assumed her husband's form. As a result, the moment
Erasmus set foot in the house, everyone ran. Only little Rasmus had
the courage to approach him and ask in childish fashion why he had not
brought his reflection back with him, since Mother was dying of grief
because of it. Erasmus stared wildly at the little boy, Dapertutto's
phial in his hand. His son's pet dove was on his shoulder, and it so
happened that the dove pecked at the stopper of the phial, dropped its
head, and toppled over, dead. Erasmus was overcome with horror.

"Betrayer," he shouted. "You cannot make me do it!"

He threw the phial out through the open window, and it shattered upon
the concrete pavement of the court. A luscious odor of almonds rose in
the air and spread into the room, while little Rasmus ran away in
terror.

Erasmus spent the whole day in torment until midnight. More and more
vividly each moment the image of Giuletta rose in his mind. On one
occasion, in the past, her necklace of red berries (which Italian
women wear like pearls) had broken, and while Erasmus was picking up
the berries he concealed one and kept it faithfully, because it had
been on Giuletta's neck. At this point he took out the berry and fixed
his gaze upon it, focusing his thought on his lost love. It seemed to
him that a magical aroma emerged from the berry, the scent which used
to surround Giuletta.

"Ah, Giuletta, if I could only see you one more time, and then go down
in shame and disgrace..."

1 Dr. Dapertutto's phial almost certainly contained prussic
(hydrocyanic) acid, which is prepared from laurel leaves and bitter
almonds. A very small quantity of this liquid, less than an ounce,
produces the effects described. Cf.

Horns Archiv fr mediz. Erfahrung, 1813, May to December, page 510..He
had hardly spoken, when a soft rustling came along the walk outside.
He heard footsteps--there was a knock on the door. Fear and hope
stopped his breath. He opened the door, and in walked Giuletta, as
remarkably beautiful and charming as ever. Mad with desire, Erasmus
seized her in his arms.

"I am here, beloved," she whispered softly, gently. "See how well I
have preserved your reflection?"

She took the cloth down from the mirror on the wall, and Erasmus saw
his image nestled in embrace with Giuletta, independent of him, not
following his movements. He shook with terror.

"Giuletta," he cried, "must you drive me mad? Give me my reflection
and take me-body, life, soul!"

"There is still something between us, dear Erasmus," said Giuletta.
"You know what it is. Hasn't Dapertutto told you?"

"For God's sake, Giuletta," cried Erasmus. "If that is the only way I
can become yours, I would rather die."

"You don't have to do it the way Dapertutto suggested," said Giuletta.
"It is really a shame that a vow and a priest's blessing can do so
much, but you must loose the bond that ties you or else you can never
be entirely mine. There is a better way than the one that Dapertutto
proposed."

"What is it?" asked Spikher eagerly. Giuletta placed her arm around
his neck, and leaning her head upon his breast whispered up softly,
"You just write your name, Erasmus Spikher, upon a little slip of
paper, under only a few words: 'I give to my good friend Dr.
Dapertutto power over my wife and over my child, so that he can govern
and dispose of them according to his will, and dissolve the bond which
ties me, because I, from this day, with body and immortal soul, wish
to belong to Giuletta, whom I have chosen as wife, and to whom I will
bind myself eternally with a special vow."'

Erasmus shivered and twitched with pain. Fiery kisses burned upon his
lips, and he found the little piece of paper which Giuletta had given
to him in his hand. Gigantic, Dapertutto suddenly stood behind
Giuletta and handed Erasmus a steel pen. A vein on Erasmus's left hand
burst open and blood spurted out.

"Dip it, dip it, write, write," said the red-clad figure harshly.

"Write, write, my eternal, my only lover," whispered Giuletta.

He had filled the pen with his blood and started to write when the
door suddenly opened and a white figure entered. With staring eyes
fixed on Erasmus, it called painfully and leadenly, "Erasmus, Erasmus!
What are you doing? For the sake of our Saviour, don't do this
horrible deed."

Erasmus recognized his wife in the warning figure, and threw the pen
and paper far from him.

Sparks and flashes shot out of Giuletta's eyes; her face was horribly
distorted; her body seemed to glow with rage.

"Away from me, demon; you can have no part of my soul. In the name of
the Saviour, begone. Snake-Hell glows through you," cried Erasmus, and
with a violent blow he knocked back Giuletta, who was trying to
embrace him again. A screaming and howling broke loose, and a
rustling, as of raven feathers. Giuletta and Dapertutto disappeared in
a thick stinking smoke, which as it poured out of the walls put out
the lights.

Dawn finally came, and Erasmus went to his wife. He found her calm and
restrained. Little Rasmus sat very cheerfully upon her bed. She held
out her hand to her exhausted husband and said, "I now know everything
that happened to you in Italy, and I pity you with all my heart. The
power of the Enemy is great. He is given to ill-doing and he could not
resist the desire to make away with your reflection and use it to his
own purposes. Look into the mirror again, husband."

Erasmus, trembling, looked into the mirror, completely dejected. It
remained blank and clear; no other Erasmus Spikher looked back at him.

"It is just as well that the mirror does not reflect you," said his
wife, "for you look very foolish, Erasmus. But you must recognize that
if you do not have a reflection, you will be laughed at, and you
cannot be the proper father for a family; your wife and children
cannot respect you. Rasmus is already laughing at you and next will
paint a mustache on you with soot, since you cannot see it.

"Go out into the world again, and see if you can track down your
reflection, away from the Devil. When you have it back, you will be
very welcome here. Kiss me" (Erasmus did) "and now-goodbye. Send
little Rasmus new stockings every once in a while, for he keeps
sliding on his knees and needs quite a few pairs. If you get to
Nuremberg, you can also send him a painted soldier and a spice cake,
like a devoted father. Farewell, dear Erasmus."

His wife turned upon her other side and went back to sleep. Spikher
lifted up little Rasmus and hugged him to his breast. But since Rasmus
cried quite a bit, Spikher set him down again, and went into the wide
world. He struck upon a certain Peter Schlemihl, who had sold his
shadow; they planned to travel together, so that Erasmus Spikher could
provide the necessary shadow and Peter Schlemihl could reflect
properly in a mirror. But nothing came of it.

The end of the story of the lost reflection.

POSTSCRIPT BY THE TRAVELLLING ENTHUSIAST

What is it that looks out of that mirror there? Is it really I? Julia,
Giuletta-divine image, demon from Hell; delights and torments; longing
and despair. You can see, my dear Theodore Amadeus Hoffmann, that a
strange dark power manifests itself in my life all too often, steals
the best dreams away from sleep, pushing strange forms into my life. I
am completely saturated with the manifestations of this New Year's
Eve, and I more than half believe that the Justizrat is a gumdrop,
that his tea was a candy display for Christmas or New Year's, that the
good Julia was a picture of a siren by Rembrandt or Callot-who
betrayed the unfortunate Spikher to get his alter ego, his reflection
in the mirror. Forgive me...




AUTOMATA

A considerable time ago I was invited to a little evening gathering,
where our friend Vincent was, along with some other people. I was
detained by business, and did not arrive till very late. I was all the
more surprised not to hear the slightest sound as I came up to the
door of the room.

Could it be that nobody had been able to come? I gently opened the
door. There sat Vincent, opposite me, with the others, around a little
table; and they were all staring, stiff and motionless like so many
statues, in the profoundest silence up at the ceiling. The lights were
on a table at some distance, and nobody took any notice of me. I went
nearer, full of amazement, and saw a glittering gold ring suspended
from the ceiling, swinging back and forth in the air, and presently
beginning to move in circles. One after another they said,
"Wonderful!" "Most wonderful!"

"Most inexplicable!" "Curious!" and so on. I could no longer contain
myself and cried out, "For Heaven's sake, tell me what you are doing."

At this they all jumped up. But Vincent cried, in that shrill voice of
his: "Creeping Tom! You come slinking in like a sleepwalker,
interrupting the most important and interesting experiments. Let me
tell you that a phenomenon which the incredulous have classed without
a moment's hesitation as fabulous, has just been verified by this
company. We wished to see whether the pendulum swings of a suspended
ring can be controlled by the concentrated human will. I undertook to
fix my will upon it; and thought as hard as I could of circular
oscillations. The ring, which is fixed to the ceiling by a silk
thread, remained motionless for a very longtime, but at last it began
to swing, and it was just beginning to go in circles when you came in
and interrupted us."

"But what if it were not your will," I said, "so much as the draught
of air when I opened the door which set the ring in motion?"

"Materialist!" cried Vincent. Everybody laughed.

"The pendulum oscillations of rings nearly drove me crazy at one
time," said Theodore. "This is absolutely certain, and anyone can
convince himself of it: the oscillations of a plain gold ring,
suspended by a fine thread over the palm of the hand, unquestionably
take the direction which the unspoken will directs them to take. I
cannot tell you how profoundly and how eerily this phenomenon affected
me. I used to sit for hours at a time making the ring go swinging in
the most varied directions, as I willed it; and at last I went to the
length of making an oracle of it. I would say, mentally, 'If such and
such a thing is going to happen, let the ring swing between my thumb
and little finger; if it is not going to happen, let it swing at right
angles to that direction,' and so on.

"Delightful," said Lothair. "You set up within yourself a higher
spiritual principle to speak to you mystically when you conjure it up.
Here we have the true 'spiritus familiaris,' the Socratic daemon. From
here there is only a very short step to ghosts and supernatural
stories, which might easily have their raison d'tre in the influence
of some exterior spiritual principle."

"And I mean to take just this step," said Cyprian, "by telling you,
right here and now, the most terrible supernatural story I have ever
heard. The peculiarity of this story is that it is vouched for by
persons of credibility, and that the manner in which it has been
brought to my knowledge, or recollection, has to do with the excited
or (if you prefer) disorganized condition which Lothair observed me to
be in a short time ago.".Cyprian stood up; and, as was his habit when
his mind was occupied, and he needed a little time to arrange his
words, he walked several times up and down the room. Presently he sat
down, and began:--

"You may remember that some little time ago, just before the last
campaign, I was paying a visit to Colonel von P---at his country
house. The colonel was a good-tempered, jovial man, and his wife
quietness and simpleness personified. At the time I speak of, the son
was away with the army, so that the family circle consisted, besides
the colonel and his lady, of two daughters and an elderly French lady
who was trying to persuade herself that she was fulfilling the duties
of a governess--though the young ladies appeared to be beyond the
period of being 'governed.' The elder of the two daughters was a most
lively and cheerful girl, vivacious even to ungovernability; not
without plenty of brains, but so constituted that she could not go
five yards without cutting at least three entrechats. She sprang in
the same fashion in her conversation and everything that she did,
restlessly from one thing to another. I myself have seen her within
the space of five minutes work at needlework, read, draw, sing, dance,
or cry about her poor cousin who was killed in battle and then while
the tears were still in her eyes burst into a splendid infectious
burst of laughter when the Frenchwoman spilled the contents of her
snuffbox over the pug. The pug began to sneeze frightfully, and the
old lady cried, 'Ah, che fatalit! Ah carino! Poverino!" (She always
spoke to the dog in Italian because he was born in Padua.) Moreover,
this young lady was the loveliest blonde ever seen, and for all her
odd caprices, full of the utmost charm, goodness, kindliness and
attractiveness, so that whether she wanted to or not she exerted the
most irresistible charm over everyone.

"Her younger sister was the greatest possible contrast to her (her
name was Adelgunda). I try in vain to find words in which to express
to you the extraordinary impression which this girl produced upon me
when I first saw her. Picture to yourselves the most exquisite figure,
and the most marvellously beautiful face; but her cheeks and lips wear
a deathly pallor, and she moves gently, softly, slowly, with measured
steps; and then, when you hear a low-toned word from her scarcely
opened lips you feel a sort of shudder of spectral awe. Of course I
soon got over this eerie feeling, and, when I managed to get her to
emerge from her deep self-absorbed condition and converse, I was
obliged to admit that the strangeness, the eeriness, was only
external; and by no means came from within. In the little she said she
displayed a delicate womanliness, a clear head, and a kindly
disposition. She had not a trace of over-excitability, though her
melancholy smile, and her glance, heavy as if with tears, seemed to
speak of some morbid bodily condition producing a hostile influence on
her mental state. It struck me as very strange that the whole family,
not excepting the French lady, seemed to get into a state of anxiety
as soon as anyone began to talk to this girl, and tried to interrupt
the conversation, often breaking into it in a very forced manner. But
the most extraordinary thing of all was that, as soon as it was eight
o'clock in the evening, the young lady was reminded, first by the
French lady and then by her mother, sister, and father, that it was
time to go to her room, just as little children are sent to bed so
that they will not overtire themselves. The French lady went with her,
so that neither of them ever appeared at supper, which was at nine
o'clock. The lady of the house, probably noticing my surprise at those
proceedings, threw out (by way of preventing indiscreet inquiries) a
sort of sketchy statement to the effect that Adelgunda was in very
poor health, that, particularly about nine in the evening, she was
liable to feverish attacks, and that the doctors had ordered her to
have complete rest at that time. I saw there must be more in the
affair than this, though I could not imagine what it might be; and it
was only today that I ascertained the terrible truth, and discovered
what the events were which have wrecked the peace of that happy circle
in the most frightful manner.

"Adelgunda was at one time the most blooming, vigorous, cheerful
creature to be seen. Her fourteenth birthday came, and a number of her
friends and companions had been invited to spend it with her. They
were all sitting in a circle in the shrubbery, laughing and amusing
themselves, taking little heed that the evening was getting darker and
darker, for the soft July breeze was blowing refreshingly, and they
were just beginning thoroughly to enjoy themselves. In the magic
twilight they set about all sorts of dances, pretending to be elves
and woodland sprites."

Adelgunda cried, 'Listen, children! I shall go and appear to you as
the White Lady whom our gardener used to tell us about so often while
he was alive. But you must come to the bottom of the garden, where the
old ruins are. She wrapped her white shawl round her, and went lightly
dancing down the leafy path, the girls following her, in full tide of
laughter and fun. But Adelgunda had scarcely reached the old crumbling
arches, when she suddenly stopped, and stood as if paralyzed in every
limb. The castle clock struck nine.

"'Look, look!' cried she, in a hollow voice of the deepest terror.
'Don't you see it? the figure--close before me--stretching her hand
out at me. Don't you see her?

"The children saw nothing whatever; but terror came upon them, and
they all ran away, except one, more courageous than the rest, who
hastened up to Adelgunda, and was going to take her in her arms. But
Adelgunda, turning pale as death, fell to the ground. At the screams
of the other girl everybody came hastening from the castle, and
Adelgunda was carried in. At last she recovered from her faint, and,
trembling all over, told them that as soon as she reached the ruins
she saw an airy form, as if shrouded in mist, stretching its hand out
towards her. Of course everyone ascribed this vision to some
deceptiveness of the twilight; and Adelgunda recovered from her alarm
so completely that night that no further evil consequences were
anticipated, and the whole affair was supposed to be at an end.
However, it turned out altogether otherwise. The next evening, when
the clock struck nine, Adelgunda sprang up, in the midst of the people
about her, and cried, 'There she is! there she is. Don't you see her--
just before me?

"Since that unlucky evening, Adelgunda declared that as soon as the
clock struck nine, the figure stood before her, remaining visible for
several seconds, although no one but herself could see anything of it,
or trace by any psychic sensation the proximity of an unknown
spiritual principle. So that poor Adelgunda was thought to be out of
her mind; and, in a strange perversion of feeling, the family were
ashamed of this condition of hers. I have told you already how she was
dealt with in consequence. There was, of course, no lack of doctors,
or of plans of treatment for ridding the poor soul of the ide fixe,
as people were pleased to term the apparition which she said she saw.
But nothing had any effect; and she implored, with tears, to be left
in peace, inasmuch as the form which in its vague, uncertain traits
had nothing terrible or alarming about it no longer caused her any
fear; although for a time after seeing it she felt as if her inner
being and all her thoughts and ideas were turned out from her, and
were hovering, bodiless, outside of her."

At last the colonel made the acquaintance of a celebrated doctor who
had the reputation of being specially clever in the treatment of the
mentally afflicted. When this doctor heard Adelgunda's story he
laughed aloud, and said nothing could be easier than to cure a
condition of the kind, which resulted solely from an overexcited
imagination. The idea of the appearing of the spectre was so
intimately associated with the striking of nine o'clock that the mind
could not dissociate them. So that all that was necessary was to
effect this separation by external means. About this there would be no
difficulty, as it was only necessary to deceive the patient as to the
time, and let nine o'clock pass without her being aware of it. If the
apparition did not then appear, she would be convinced herself that it
was an illusion; and measures to give tone to the general system would
be all that would then be necessary to complete the cure.

"This unfortunate advice was taken. One night all the clocks at the
castle were put back an hour--the hollow, booming tower clock
included--so that, when Adelgunda awoke in the morning, although she
did not know it, she was really an hour wrong in her time. When
evening came, the family were assembled, as usual, in a cheerful
corner room; no stranger was present, and the mother constrained
herself to talk about all sorts of cheerful subjects. The colonel
began (as was his habit, when in specially good humour) to carry on an
encounter of wit with the old French lady, in which Augusta, the older
of the daughters, aided and abetted him. Everybody was laughing, and
more full of enjoyment than ever. The clock on the wall struck eight
(although it was really nine o'clock) and Adelgunda fell back in her
chair, pale as death. Her work dropped from her hands; she rose, with
a face of horror, stared before her into the empty part of the room,
and murmured, in a hollow voice, 'What! an hour early! Don't you see
it? Don't you see it?"

Right before me!

"Everyone rose up in alarm. But as none of them saw the smallest
vestige of anything, the colonel cried, 'Calm yourself, Adelgunda,
there is nothing there! It is a vision of your brain, only your
imagination. We see nothing, nothing whatever; and if there really
were a figure close to you we should see it as well as you! Calm
yourself.

"'Oh God!' cried Adelgunda, 'they think I am out of my mind. See! it
is stretching out its long arm, it is making signs to me!'

"And, as though she were acting under the influence of another,
without exercise of her own will, with eves fixed and staring, she put
her hand back behind her, took up a plate which chanced to be on the
table, held it out before her into vacancy, and let it go.

"The plate did not drop, but floated about among the persons present,
and then settled gently on the table. Augusta and her mother fainted;
and these fainting fits were succeeded by violent nervous fever. The
colonel forced himself to retain his self-control, but the profound
impression which this extraordinary occurrence made on him was evident
in his agitated and disturbed condition.

"The French lady had fallen on her knees and prayed in silence with
her face turned to the floor, and both she and Adelgunda remained free
from evil consequences. The mother very soon died. Augusta survived
the fever; but it would have been better had she died. She who, when I
first saw her, was an embodiment of vigorous, magnificent youthful
happiness, is now hopelessly insane, and that in a form which seems to
me the most terrible and gruesome of all the forms of ide fixe ever
heard of. For she thinks she is the invisible phantom which haunts
Adelgunda; and therefore she avoids everyone, or, at all events,
refrains from speaking, or moving if anybody is present. She scarce
dares to breathe, because she firmly believes that if she betrays her
presence in any way everyone will die. Doors are opened for her, and
her food is set down, she slinks in and out, eats in secret, and so
forth. Can a more painful condition be imagined?

"The colonel, in his pain and despair, followed the colours to the
next campaign, and fell in the victorious engagement at W--. It is
remarkable, most remarkable that since then Adelgunda has never seen
the phantom. She nurses her sister with the utmost care, and the
French lady helps her. Only this very day Sylvester told me that the
uncle of these poor girls is here, taking the advice of our celebrated
R--, as to the means of cure to be tried in Augusta's case. God grant
that the cure may succeed, improbable as it seems.".When Cyprian
finished, the friends all kept silence, looking meditatively before
them. At last Lothair said, "It is certainly a very terrible ghost
story. I must admit it makes me shudder, although the incident of the
hovering plate is rather trifling and childish."

"Not so fast, my dear Lothair," Ottmar interrupted. "You know my views
about ghost stories, and the manner in which I swagger towards
visionaries; maintaining, as I do, that often as I have thrown down my
glove to the spirit world challenging it to enter the lists with me,
it has never taken the trouble to punish me for my presumption and
irreverence. But Cyprian's story suggests another consideration. Ghost
stories may often be mere chimeras; but, whatever may have been at the
bottom of Adelgunda's phantom, and the hovering plate, this much is
certain: that on that evening, in the family of Colonel Von P---
something happened which produced in three of the persons present such
a shock to the system that the result was the death of one and the
insanity of another; if we do not ascribe at least indirectly the
colonel's death to it, too. For I happen to remember that I heard from
officers who were on the spot, that he suddenly dashed into the thick
of the enemy's fire as if impelled by the furies. Then the incident of
the plate differs so completely from anything in the ordinary mise en
scne of supernatural stories. The hour when it happened is so remote
from ordinary supernatural use and wont, and the event so simple that
its improbability acquires probability, and thereby becomes gruesome
to me. But if one were to assume that Adelgunda's imagination carried
along those of her father, mother and sister---that it was only within
her brain that the plate moved about--would not this vision of the
imagination striking three people dead in a moment, like a shock of
electricity, be the most terrible supernatural event imaginable?"

"Certainly," said Theodore, "and I share with you, Ottmar, your
opinion that the very horror of the incident lies in its utter
simplicity. I can imagine myself enduring fairly well the sudden alarm
produced by some fearful apparition; but the weird actions of some
invisible thing would infallibly drive me mad. The sense of the most
utter, most helpless powerlessness must grind the spirit to dust. I
remember that I could hardly resist the profound terror which made me
afraid to sleep in my room alone, like a silly child, when I once read
of an old musician who was haunted in a terrible manner for a long
time (almost driving him out of his mind) by an invisible being which
used to play on his piano in the night, compositions of the most
extraordinary kind, with the power and the technique of the most
accomplished master. He heard every note, saw the keys going up and
down, but never any form of a player."

"Really," Lothair said, "the way in which this class of subject is
flourishing among us is becoming unendurable, I have admitted that the
incident of that accursed plate produced the profoundest impression on
me. Ottmar is right; if events are to be judged by their results, this
is the most terrible supernatural story conceivable. Therefore I
pardon the disturbed condition which Cyprian displayed earlier in the
evening, and which has passed away considerably now."

But not another word on the subject of supernatural horrors. I have
seen a manuscript peeping out of Ottmar's breast-pocket for some time,
as if craving for release; let him release it.

"No, no" said Theodore, "the flood which has been rolling along in
such stormy billows must be gently led away. I have a manuscript well
adapted for that end, which some peculiar circumstances led to my
writing at one time. Although it deals pretty largely with the
mystical, and contains plenty of psychic marvels and strange
hypotheses, it is tied on pretty closely to affairs of everyday life."
He read:.AUTOMATA The Talking Turk was attracting universal attention,
and setting the town in commotion. The hall where this automaton was
exhibited was thronged by a continual stream of visitors, of all sorts
and conditions, from morning till night, all eager to listen to the
oracular utterances which were whispered to them by the motionless
lips of this wonderful quasi-human figure. The manner of the
construction and arrangement of this automaton distinguished it very
much from ordinary mechanical figures. It was, in fact, a very
remarkable automaton. In the center of a room of moderate size,
containing only a few indispensable articles of furniture, sat this
figure, about the size of a human being, handsomely formed, dressed in
a rich and tasteful Turkish costume, on a low seat shaped like a
tripod. The exhibitor would move this seat if desired, to show that
there was no means of communication between it and the ground.

The Turk's left hand was placed in an easy position on its knee, and
its right rested on a small movable table. Its appearance, as has been
said, was that of a well-proportioned, handsome man, but the most
remarkable part of it was its head. A face expressing a genuine
Oriental astuteness gave it an appearance of life rarely seen in wax
figures, even when they represent the characteristic countenances of
talented men.

A light railing surrounded the figure, to prevent the spectators from
crowding too closely about it; and only those who wished to inspect
the construction of it (so far as the exhibitor could allow this to be
seen without divulging his secret), and the person whose turn it was
to put a question to it, were allowed to go inside this railing, and
close up to the Turk. The usual procedure was to whisper the question
you wished to ask into the Turk's right ear; on which he would turn,
first his eyes, and then his whole head, towards you; and since you
were aware of a gentle stream of air, like breath coming from his
lips, you assumed that the low reply which was given to you really did
proceed from the interior of the figure.

From time to time, after a few answers had been given, the exhibitor
would apply a key to the Turk's left side, and wind up some clockwork
with a good deal of noise. Here, also, he would, if desired, open a
sort of lid, so that inside the figure you could see a complicated
mechanism consisting of a number of wheels; and although you might not
think it probable that this had anything to do with the automaton's
speech, it was still evident that it occupied so much space that no
human being could possibly be concealed inside, even if he were no
bigger than Augustus's dwarf who was served up in a pasty. Besides the
movement of the head, which always took place before an answer was
given, the Turk would sometimes also raise his right hand, and either
make a warning gesture with a finger, or, as it were, brush the
question aside with his whole hand. Whenever this happened, nothing
but repeated urging by the questioner could extract an answer, which
was then generally ambiguous or angry. It might have been that the
wheelwork was connected with, or answerable for, those motions of the
head and hands although even in this the agency of a sentient being
seemed essential. People wearied themselves with conjectures
concerning the source and agent of this marvellous intelligence. The
walls, the adjoining room, the furniture, everything connected with
the exhibition, were carefully examined and scrutinized, all
completely in vain. The figure and its exhibitor were watched and
scanned most closely by the eyes of the most expert in mechanical
science; but the more close and minute the scrutiny, the more easy and
unconstrained were the actions and proceedings of both. The exhibitor
laughed and joked in the farthest corner of the room with the
spectators, leaving the figure to make its gestures and give its
replies as a wholly independent thing, having no need of any
connection with him. Indeed he could not wholly restrain a slightly
ironical smile when the table and the figure and tripod were being
overhauled and peered at in every direction, taken as close to the
light as possible, and inspected by powerful magnifying glasses. The
upshot of it all was, that the mechanical geniuses said the devil
himself could make neither head nor tail of the confounded mechanism.
And a hypothesis that the exhibitor was a clever ventriloquist, and
gave the answers himself (the breath being conveyed to the figure's
mouth through hidden valves) fell to the ground, for the exhibitor was
to be heard talking loudly and distinctly to people among the audience
at the very time when the Turk was making his replies.

Despite the puzzling, mysterious nature of this exhibition, perhaps
the interest of the public might soon have grown fainter, if it had
not been kept alive by the nature of the answers which the Turk gave.
These were sometimes cold and severe, while occasionally they were
sparkling and witty--even broadly so at times; at others they evinced
strong sense and deep astuteness, and in some instances they were to a
high degree painful and tragic. But they were always strikingly
apposite to the character and affairs of the questioner, who would
frequently be startled by a mystical reference to the future, only
possible, as it would seem, to one cognizant of the hidden thoughts
and feelings which dictated the question. And it often happened that
the Turk, questioned in German, would reply in some other language
known to the questioner, in which case it would be found that the
answer could not have been expressed with equal point, force, and
conciseness in any other language than that selected. In short, no day
passed without some fresh instance of a striking and ingenious answer
of the wise Turk's becoming the subject of general remark.

It chanced, one evening, that Lewis and Ferdinand, two college
friends, were in a company where the Talking Turk was the subject of
conversation. People were discussing whether the strangest feature of
the matter was the mysterious and unexplained human influence which
seemed to endow the figure with life, or the wonderful insight into
the individuality of the questioner, or the remarkable talent of the
answers. Lewis and Ferdinand were both rather ashamed to confess that
they had not seen the Turk as yet, for it was de rigueur to see him,
and everyone had some tale to tell of a wonderful answer to some
skilfully devised question.

"All figures of this sort," said Lewis, "which can scarcely be said to
counterfeit humanity so much as to travesty it--mere images of living
death or inanimate life--are most distasteful to me. When I was a
little boy, I ran away crying from a waxwork exhibition I was taken
to, and even to this day I never can enter a place of the sort without
a horrible, eerie, shuddery feeling."

"When I see the staring, lifeless, glassy eyes of all the potentates,
celebrated heroes, thieves, murderers, and so on, fixed upon me, I
feel disposed to cry with Macbeth Thou hast no speculation in those
eyes Which thou dost glare with."

"And I feel certain that most people experience the same feeling,
though perhaps not to the same extent. For you may notice that
scarcely anyone talks, except in a whisper, in waxwork museums. You
hardly ever hear a loud word. But it is not reverence for the Crowned
Heads and other great people that produces this universal pianissimo;
it is the oppressive sense of being in the presence of something
unnatural and gruesome; and what I detest most of all is the
mechanical imitation of human motions. I feel sure this wonderful,
ingenious Turk will haunt me with his rolling eyes, his turning head,
and his waving arm, like some necromantic goblin, when I lie awake
nights; so, the truth is I should very much prefer not going to see
him. I should be quite satisfied with other people's accounts of his
wit and wisdom." "You know," said Ferdinand, "I fully agree with you
about the disagreeable feeling produced by the sight of such
imitations of human beings. But they are not all alike. Much depends
on their workmanship, and on what they do. Now there was Ensler's rope
dancer, one of the finest automata I have ever seen. There was a
vigour about his movements which was most effective, and when he
suddenly sat down on his rope, and bowed in an affable manner, he was
utterly delightful. I do not suppose anyone ever experienced the
gruesome feeling you speak of in looking at him. As for the Turk, I
consider his case different altogether. The figure (which everyone
says is a handsome-looking one, with nothing ludicrous or repulsive
about it)--the figure really plays a very subordinate part in the
business, and I think there can be little doubt that the turning of
the head and eyes, and so forth, are intended to divert our attention
for the very reason that it is elsewhere that the key to the mystery
is to be found. That the breath comes out of the figure's mouth is
very likely, perhaps certain; those who have been there say it does.
It by no means follows that this breath is set in motion by the words
which are spoken. There cannot be the smallest doubt that some human
being is so placed as to be able, by means of acoustical and optical
contrivances which we do not trace, to see and hear the persons who
ask questions, and whisper answers back to them. Not a soul, even
among our most ingenious mechanicians, has the slightest inkling of
the process and this shows that it is a remarkably ingenious one; and
that, of course, is one thing which renders the exhibition very
interesting. But much the most wonderful part of it, in my opinion, is
the spiritual power of this unknown human being, who seems to read the
very depths of the questioner's soul. The answers often display an
acuteness and sagacity, and, at the same time, a species of dread
half-light, half-darkness, which really entitle them to be styled
'oracular' in the highest sense of the term. Several of my friends
have told me instances of the sort which have fairly astounded me, and
I can no longer refrain from putting the wonderful seer-gift of this
unknown person to the test. I intend to go there tomorrow forenoon;
and you must lay aside your repugnance to 'living puppets,' and come
with me."

Although Lewis did his best to get off, he was obliged to yield, on
pain of being considered eccentric, so many were the entreaties to him
not to spoil a pleasant party by his absence, for a party had been
made up to go the next forenoon, and, so to speak, take the miraculous
Turk by the very beard. They went accordingly, and although there was
no denying that the Turk had an unmistakable air of Oriental
grandezza, and that his head was handsome and effective, as soon as
Lewis entered the room, he was struck with a sense of the ludicrous
about the whole affair.

When the exhibitor put the key to the figure's side, and the wheels
began their whirring, he made some rather silly joke to his friends
about "the Turkish gentleman's having a roasting-jack inside him."
Everyone laughed; and the exhibitor--who did not seem to appreciate
the joke very much--stopped winding up the machinery. Whether it was
that the hilarious mood of the company displeased the wise Turk, or
that he chanced not to be "in the vein" on that particular day, his
replies--though some were to very witty and ingenious questions--
seemed empty and poor; and Lewis, in particular, had the misfortune to
find that he was scarcely ever properly understood by the oracle, so
that he received for the most part crooked answers. The exhibitor was
clearly out of temper, and the audience were on the point of going
away, ill-pleased and disappointed, when Ferdinand said, "Gentlemen,
none of us seems to be much satisfied with the wise Turk, but perhaps
we may be partly to blame ourselves; perhaps our questions may not
have been altogether to his taste; the fact that he is turning his
head at this moment, and raising his arm" (the figure was really doing
so), "seems to indicate that I am not mistaken. A question has
occurred to me to put to him; and if he gives one of his apposite
answers to it, I think he will have quite redeemed his character."

Ferdinand went up to the Turk, and whispered a word or two in his ear.
The Turk raised his arm as if unwilling to answer. Ferdinand
persisted, and then the Turk turned his head towards him.

Lewis saw that Ferdinand instantly turned pale; but after a few
seconds he asked another question, to which he got an answer at once.
It was with a most constrained smile that Ferdinand, turning to the
audience, said, "I can assure you, gentlemen, that as far as I am
concerned the Turk has redeemed his character. I must beg you to
pardon me if I conceal the question and the answer from you; of course
the secrets of the Oracle may not be divulged."

Though Ferdinand strove hard to hide what he felt, it was evident from
his efforts to be at ease that he was very deeply moved, and the
cleverest answer could not have produced in the spectators the strange
sensation, amounting to a sort of awe, which his unmistakable emotion
gave rise to in them. The fun and the jests were at an end; hardly
another word was spoken, and the audience dispersed in uneasy silence.

"My dear Lewis," said Ferdinand, as soon as they were alone together,
"I must tell you all about this. The Turk has broken my heart; for I
believe I shall never get over the blow he has given me until I die to
fulfil his terrible prophecy."

Lewis gazed at him in amazement; and Ferdinand continued:

"I see, now, that the mysterious being who communicates with us by the
medium of the Turk, has powers at his command which compel our most
secret thoughts with magic might; it may be that this strange
intelligence clearly and distinctly beholds that germ of the future
which is being formed within us in mysterious connection with the
outer world, and knows what will happen to us in the far future, like
people with the second-sight who can predict the hour of death."

"You must have put an extraordinary question," Lewis answered; "but I
should think you are tacking some unduly important meaning onto the
oracle's ambiguous reply. Chance, I should imagine, has educed
something which by accident is appropriate to your question; and you
are attributing this to the mystic power of the person (most probably
quite an everyday sort of creature) who speaks to us through the
Turk."

"What you say," answered Ferdinand, "is quite at variance with all the
conclusions you and I have come to on the subject of what is
ordinarily termed 'chance.' However, you cannot be expected to
comprehend my condition without my telling you all about an affair
which happened to me some time ago. I have never breathed a syllable
of it to anyone till now.

"Several years ago I was on my way back to B--, from a place a long
way off in East Prussia, belonging to my father. In K--, I met with
some young Courland fellows who were going back to B---too. We
travelled together in three post carriages; and, as we had plenty of
money, and were all about the time of life when spirits are pretty
high, you may imagine the manner of our journey. We were continually
playing the maddest pranks of every kind. I remember that we got to
M---about noon, and set to work to plunder the landlady's wardrobe. A
crowd collected in front of the inn, and we marched up and down,
dressed in some of her clothes, smoking, till the postilion's horn
sounded, and off we set again. We reached D---in the highest possible
spirits, and were so delighted with the place and scenery, that we
determined to stay there several days.

We made a number of excursions in the neighbourhood, and so once, when
we had been out all day at the Karlsberg, finding a grand bowl of
punch waiting for us on our return, we dipped into it pretty freely.
Although I had not taken more of it than was good for me, still, I had
been in the grand sea-breeze all day, and I felt all my pulses
throbbing, and my blood seemed to rush through my veins in a stream of
fire. When we went to our rooms at last, I threw myself down on my
bed; but, tired as I was, my sleep was scarcely more than a kind of
dreamy, half-conscious condition, in which I was cognizant of all that
was going on about me. I fancied I could hear soft conversation in the
next room, and at last I plainly made out a male voice saying, 'Well,
good night, now; mind and be ready in good time.

"A door opened and closed again, and then came a deep silence; but
this was soon broken by one or two chords of a pianoforte.

"You know the magical effect of music sounding in that way in the
stillness of night. I felt as though some beautiful spirit voice was
speaking to me in these chords. I lay listening, expecting something
in the shape of a fantasia--or some such piece of music---to follow;
but imagine what it was like when a most gloriously, exquisitely
beautiful lady's voice sang, to a melody that went to my heart, the
words I am going to repeat to you:

Mio ben ricordati

S' avvien ch' io mora

Quanto quest' anima

Fedel t' amo;

Io se pur amino

Le fredde ceneri.

Nel urna ancora

T' adorer."

"How can I ever hope to give you the faintest idea of the effect of
those long-drawn swelling and dying notes upon me. I had never
imagined anything approaching it. The melody was marvellous--quite
unlike anything I had ever heard. It was itself the deep, tender
sorrow of the most fervent love. As it rose in simple phrases, the
clear upper notes like crystal bells, and sank till the rich low tones
died away like the sighs of a despairing plaint, a rapture which words
cannot describe took possession of me--the pain of a boundless longing
seized my heart like a spasm. I could scarcely breathe, my whole being
was merged in an inexpressible, superearthly delight. I did not dare
to move; I could only listen; soul and body were merged in ear. It was
not until the voice had been silent for some time that tears, coming
to my eyes, broke the spell, and restored me to myself. I suppose that
sleep then came upon me, for when I was roused by the shrill notes of
a posthorn, the bright morning sun was shining into my room, and I
found that it had been only in my dreams that I had been enjoying a
bliss more deep, a happiness more ineffable, than the world could
otherwise have afforded me. For a beautiful lady came to me--it was
the lady who had sung the song--and said to me, very fondly and
tenderly, 'Then you did recognize me, my own dear Ferdinand! I knew
that I had only to sing, and I should live again in you wholly, for
every note was sleeping in your heart.'"

1 Darling! remember well.

When I have passed away.

How this unchanging soul

Loves Thee for aye!

Though my poor ashes rest

Deep in my silent grave.

Ev'n in the urn of Death

Thee I adore!

"Then I recognized, with unspeakable rapture, that she was the beloved
of my soul, whose image had been enshrined in my heart since
childhood. Though an adverse fate had torn her from me for a time, I
had found her again now; but my deep and fervent love for her melted
into that wonderful melody of sorrow, and our words and our looks grew
into exquisite swelling tones of music, flowing together into a river
of fire. Now, however, that I had awakened from this beautiful dream,
I was obliged to confess to myself that I never had seen the beautiful
lady before.

"I heard someone talking loudly and angrily in front of the house, and
rising mechanically, I went to the window. An elderly gentleman, well
dressed, was scolding the postilion, who had damaged something on an
elegant travelling carriage. At last this was put to rights, and the
gentleman called upstairs to someone, 'We're all ready now; come
along, it's time to be off.' I found that there had been a young lady
looking out of the window next to mine; but as she drew back quickly,
and had on a broad travelling hat, I did not see her face. When she
went out, however, she turned round and looked up at me, and heavens!
I saw that she was the singer! she was the lady of my dream! For a
moment her beautiful eyes rested upon me, and the beam of a crystal
tone seemed to pierce my heart like the point of a burning dagger, so
that I felt an actual physical smart: all my members trembled, and I
was transfixed with an indescribable bliss. She quickly got into the
carriage, the postilion blew a cheerful tune as if in jubilant
defiance, and in a moment they had disappeared around the corner of
the street. I remained at the window like a man in a dream.

"My Courland friends came in to fetch me for an excursion which had
been arranged: I never spoke; they thought I was ill. How could I have
uttered a single word connected with what had occurred? I abstained
from making any inquiries in the hotel about the occupants of the room
next to mine. I felt that every word relating to her uttered by any
lips but mine would be a dese-cration of my secret. I resolved to keep
it faithfully from thenceforth, to bear it about with me always, and
to be forever true to her--my only love for evermore--although I might
never see her again.

"You can quite understand my feelings. I know you will not blame me
for having immediately given up everybody and everything but the most
eager search for the very slightest trace of my unknown love. My
jovial Courland friends were now perfectly unendurable to me; I
slipped away from them quietly in the night, and was off as fast as I
could travel to B--, to go on with my work there. You know I was
always pretty good at drawing. Well, in B---I took lessons in
miniature painting from good masters, and got on so well that in a
short time I was able to carry out the idea which had set me on this
tack--to paint a portrait of her, as like as it could be made."

I worked at it secretly, behind locked doors. No human eye has ever
seen it; for I had a locket made for another picture of the same size,
and I put her portrait into the frame instead of it, myself. Ever
since, I have worn it next to my heart.

"I have never mentioned this affair--much the most important event in
my life--until today; and you are the only creature in the world,
Lewis, to whom I have breathed a word of my secret."

Yet this very day a hostile influence--I know not whence or what---
came piercing into my heart and life! When I went up to the Turk, I
asked, thinking of my beloved: 'Will there ever again be a time for me
like that which was the happiest in my life?

"The Turk was most unwilling to answer me, as I daresay you observed;
but at last, as I persisted, he said, 'I am looking into your breast;
but the glitter of the gold, which is towards me, distracts me. Turn
the picture around.' Have I words for the feeling which went
shuddering through me? I am sure you must have seen how startled I
was. The picture was really placed on my breast as the Turk had said;
I turned it around, unobserved, and repeated my question. Then the
figure said, in a sorrowful tone, 'Unhappy man! At the very moment
when next you see her, you will be lost to her forever!'"

Lewis was about to try to cheer up his friend, who had fallen into a
deep reverie, but some mutual acquaintances came in, and they were
interrupted.

The story of this fresh instance of a mysterious answer by the Turk
spread in the town, and people busied themselves in conjectures as to
the unfavourable prophecy which had so upset the unprejudiced
Ferdinand. His friends were besieged with questions, and Lewis had to
invent a marvellous tale, which had all the more universal a success
in that it was remote from the truth.

The coterie with whom Ferdinand had been induced to go and see the
Turk was in the habit of meeting once a week, and at their next
meeting the Turk was necessarily the topic of conversation, as efforts
were universally being made to obtain, from Ferdinand himself, full
particulars of an adventure which had thrown him into such obvious
despondency. Lewis felt most deeply how bitter a blow it was to
Ferdinand to find the secret of his romantic love, preserved so long
and faithfully, penetrated by a fearful, unknown power; and he, like
Ferdinand, was almost convinced that the mysterious link which
attaches the present to the future must be clear to the vision of that
power to which the most hidden secrets were thus manifest. Lewis could
not help believing the oracle; but the malevolence, the relentlessness
with which the misfortune impending over his friend had been
announced, made him indignant with the undiscovered being who spoke by
the mouth of the Turk. He placed himself in persistent opposition to
the automaton's many admirers; and while they considered that there
was much impressiveness about its most natural movements, enhancing
the effect of its oracular sayings, he maintained that it was those
very turnings of the head and rollings of the eyes which he considered
so absurd, and that this was the reason why he could not help making a
joke on the subject; a joke which had put the exhibitor out of temper,
and probably the invisible agent as well. Indeed the latter had shown
that this was so by giving a number of stupid and unmeaning answers.

"I must tell you," said Lewis, "that the moment I went into the room
the figure reminded me of a most delightful nutcracker which a cousin
of mine once gave me at Christmas when I was a little boy. The little
fellow had the gravest and most comical face ever seen, and when he
had a hard nut to crack there was some arrangement inside him which
made him roll his great eyes, which projected far out of his head, and
this gave him such an absurdly lifelike effect that I could play with
him for hours. In fact, in my secret soul, I almost thought he was
real. All the marionettes I have seen since then, however perfect, I
have thought stiff and lifeless compared to my glorious nutcracker. I
had heard much of some wonderful automatons in the Arsenal at Dantzig,
and I made it a point to go and see them when I was there some years
ago. Soon after I got there, an old-fashioned German soldier came
marching up to me, and fired off his musket with such a bang that the
great vaulted hall reverberated. There were other similar tricks which
I forget now; but at length I was taken into a room where I found the
God of War--the terrible Mars himself--with all his suite. He was
seated, in a rather grotesque dress, on a throne ornamented with arms
of all sorts; heralds and warriors were standing around him. As soon
as we came before the throne, a set of drummers began to roll their
drums, and fifers blew on their fifes in the most horrible way--all
out of tune--so that one had to put one's fingers in one's ears."

My remark was that the God of War was very badly off for a band, and
everyone agreed with me. The drums and fifes stopped; the heralds
began to turn their heads about, and stamp with their halberds, and
finally the God of War, after rolling his eyes for a time, started up
from his seat, and seemed to be coming straight at us. However, he
soon sank back on his throne again, and after a little more drumming
and fifing, everything reverted to its state of wooden repose. As I
came away from seeing these automatons, I said to myself, 'Nothing
like my nutcracker!' And now that I have seen the sage Turk, I say
again, 'Give me my Nutcracker.'

People laughed at this, of course; though it was believed to be "more
jest than earnest," for, to say nothing of the remarkable cleverness
of many of the Turk's answers, the undiscoverable con-nection between
him and the hidden being who, besides speaking through him, must
produce the movements which accompanied his answers, was
unquestionably very wonderful, at all events a masterpiece of
mechanical and acoustical skill.

Lewis was himself obliged to admit this; and everyone was extolling
the inventor of the automaton, when an elderly gentleman who, as a
general rule, spoke very little, and had been taking no part in the
conversation on the present occasion, rose from his chair (as he was
in the habit of doing when he finally did say a few words, always
greatly to the point) and began, in his usual polite manner, as
follows:

"Will you be good enough to allow me, gentlemen,--I beg you to pardon
me. You have reason to admire the curious work of art which has
interested us all for so long; but you are wrong in supposing the
commonplace person who exhibits it to be its inventor. The truth is
that he really has no hand at all in what are the truly remarkable
features of it. The originator of them is a gentleman highly skilled
in matters of the kind--one who lives among us, and has done so for
many years--whom we all know very well, and greatly respect and
esteem."

Universal surprise was created by this, and the elderly gentleman was
besieged with questions, on which he continued, "The gentleman to whom
I allude is none other than Professor X--. The Turk had been here a
couple of days, and nobody had taken any particular notice of him,
though Professor X---took care to go and see him at once, because
everything in the shape of an automaton interests him in the highest
degree. When he had heard one or two of the Turk's answers, he took
the exhibitor aside and whispered a word or two in his ear. The man
turned pale, and shut up his exhibition as soon as the two or three
people who were in the room had gone away. The bills disappeared from
the walls, and nothing more was heard of the Talking Turk for a
fortnight. Then new bills came out, and the Turk was found with the
fine new head, and all the other arrangements as they are at present--
an unsolvable riddle. It is since that time that his answers have been
so clever and so interesting. That all this is the work of Professor X
admits of no question. The exhibitor, in the interval when the figure
was not being exhibited, spent all his time with him. Also it is well
known that the Professor passed several days in succession in the room
where the figure is. Besides, gentlemen, you are no doubt aware that
the Professor himself possesses a number of most extraordinary
automats, chiefly musical, which he has long vied with Hofrath B---in
producing, keeping up with him a correspondence concerning all sorts
of mechanical, and, people say, even magical acts and pursuits. If he
chose, he could astonish the world with them. But he works in complete
privacy, although he is always ready to show his extraordinary
inventions to anyone who takes a real interest in such matters."

It was, in fact, a matter of notoriety that this Professor X---whose
principal pursuits were natural philosophy and chemistry, delighted,
next to them, in occupying himself with mechanical research; but no
one in the assemblage had had the slightest idea that he had had any
connection with the Talking Turk, and it was from the merest hearsay
that people knew anything concerning the curiosities which the old
gentleman had referred to. Ferdinand and Lewis felt strangely and
vividly impressed by the old gentleman's account of Professor X---,
and the influence which he had brought to bear on that strange
automaton.

"I cannot hide from you," said Ferdinand, "that hope is dawning upon
me. If I get nearer to this Professor X--, I may perhaps come upon a
clue to the mystery which is weighing so terribly upon me at present.
And it is possible that the true significance and import of the
relations which exist between the Turk (or rather the hidden entity
which employs him as the organ of its oracular utterances) and myself,
if I could comprehend it, might perhaps comfort me, and weaken the
impression of those words, for me so terrible. I have made up my mind
to make the acquaintance of this mysterious man on the pretext of
seeing his automata; and as they are musical ones, it will not be
devoid of interest for you to come with me."

"As if it were not sufficient for me," said Lewis, "to be able to aid
you, when you need it, with advice and help! But I cannot deny that
even today, when the old gentleman was mentioning Professor X--'s
connection with the Turk, strange ideas came into my mind; although
perhaps I am going a long way about in search of what lies close at
hand, could one but see it. For instance, to look as close at hand as
possible for the solution of the mystery: is it not possible that the
invisible being knew that you wore the picture next your heart, so
that a mere lucky guess might account for the rest? Perhaps it was
taking its revenge upon you for the rather discourteous style in which
we were joking about the Turk's wisdom?"

"Not one soul," Ferdinand answered, "has ever set eyes on the picture;
I told you this before. And I have never told anyone but yourself of
the adventure which has had such an immensely important influence on
my whole life. It is an utter impossibility that the Turk can have got
to know of this in any ordinary manner. Much more probably, 'the long
roundabout way' may be much nearer the truth."

"Well then," said Lewis, "what I mean is this: that this automaton,
strongly as I appeared today to assert the contrary, is really one of
the most extraordinary phenomena ever beheld, and that everything goes
to prove that whoever controls and directs it has at his command
higher powers than is supposed by those who go there simply to gape at
things, and do no more than wonder at what is wonderful. The figure is
nothing more than the outward form of the communication; but that form
has been cleverly selected. Its shape, appearance, and movements are
well adapted to occupy our attention in such a manner that its secrets
are preserved and to give us a favourable opinion of the intelligence
which gives the answers. There cannot be any human being concealed
inside the figure; that is as good as proved, so it is clearly the
result of some acoustic deception that we think the answers come from
the Turk's mouth. But how this is accomplished--how the being who
gives the answers is placed in a position to hear the questions and
see the questioners, and at the same time to be audible to them--
certainly remains a complete mystery to me. Of course all this merely
implies great acoustic and mechanical skill on the part of the
inventor, and remarkable acuteness--or, I might say, systematic
craftiness--in overlooking nothing in the process of deceiving us.

"Still, this part of the riddle does not interest me too much, since
it is completely overshadowed by the circumstance that the Turk often
reads the very soul of the questioner. This is what I find remarkable.
Does this being which answers our questions acquire, by some process
unknown to us, a psychic influence over us, and does it place itself
in spiritual rapport with us?"

"How can it comprehend and read our minds and thoughts, and more than
that, know our whole inner being? Even if it does not clearly speak
out secrets dormant within us, it evokes, in a sort of ecstasy induced
by its rapport with us, the suggestions, the outlines, the shadowings
of everything in our minds, all of which are seen by the eye of our
spirit, brightly illuminated. On this assumption the Turk strikes
strings within us and makes them give forth a clear chord, audible and
intelligible to us, instead of being a mere murmur as they usually
are. As a result it is we who answer our own question; the voice which
we hear is produced from within ourselves by the operation of this
unknown spiritual power, and our vague presentiments and anticipations
of the future are heightened into spoken prophecy. It is much the same
thing in dreams when a strange voice tells us things we did not know,
or about which we are in doubt; it is in really a voice proceeding
from ourselves, although it seems to convey to us knowledge which we
did not previously possess. No doubt the Turk (that is to say, the
hidden power which is connected with him) seldom finds it necessary to
place himself in rapport with people in this way. Hundreds of
spectators can be dealt with in the cursory, superficial manner
adapted to their questions and their characters, and it is seldom that
a question is put which calls for the exercise of anything besides
ready wit. But if the questioner is in a strained or exalted state the
Turk would be affected in quite a different way, and he would then
employ those means which render possible the production of a psychic
rapport, giving him the power to answer from the inner depths of the
questioner. His hesitation in replying to deep questions of this kind
may be due to the delay which he grants himself to gain a few moments
to bring into play the power in question. This is my true and genuine
opinion; and you see that I have not that contemptuous notion of this
work of art (or whatever may be the proper term to apply to it) that I
would have had you believe I had. But I do not wish to conceal
anything from you; though I see that if you adopt my idea, I shall not
have given you any real comfort at all."

"You are wrong there, my dear friend," said Ferdinand. "The very fact
that your opinion does agree with a vague notion which I felt dimly in
my own mind comforts me very much. It is only myself that I have to
take into account; my precious secret is not discovered, for I know
that you will guard it as a sacred treasure. And, by-the-bye, I must
tell you of a most extraordinary feature of the matter, which I had
forgotten till now. Just as the Turk was speaking his last words, I
fancied that I heard one or two broken phrases of the sorrowful
melody, 'mio ben ricordati,' and then it seemed to me that one single,
long-drawn note of the glorious voice which I heard on that eventful
night went floating by."

"Well," said Lewis, "and I remember, too, that, just as your answer
was being given to you, I happened to place my hand on the railing
which surrounds the figure. I felt it thrill and vibrate in my hand,
and I fancied also that I could hear a kind of musical sound, for I
cannot say it was a vocal note, passing across the room. I paid no
attention to it, because, as you know, my head is always full of
music, and I have several times been wonderfully deceived in a similar
way; but I was very much astonished in my own mind when I traced the
mysterious connection between that sound and your adventure in D--."

The fact that Lewis, too, had heard the sound was to Ferdinand a proof
of the psychic rapport which existed between them; and as they further
discussed the marvels of the affair, he began to feel the heavy burden
lifted away which had weighed upon him since he heard the fatal
answer, and was ready to go forward bravely to meet whatever the
future might have in store.

"It is impossible that I can lose her," he said. "She is my heart's
queen, and will always be there, as long as my own life endures."

They called on Professor X--, in high hope that he would be able to
throw light on many questions relating to occult sympathies and the
like, in which they were deeply interested. They found him to be an
old man, dressed in an old-fashioned French style, exceedingly keen
and lively, with small gray eyes which had an unpleasant way of fixing
themselves on one, and a sarcastic smile, not very attractive, playing
about his mouth..When they had expressed their wish to see some of his
automata, he said, "Ah! and you really take an interest in mechanical
matters, do you? Perhaps you have done something in that direction
yourselves? Well, I can show you in this house here what you will look
for in vain in the rest of Europe: I may say, in the known world."

There was something most unpleasant about the Professor's voice; it
was a high-pitched, screaming sort of discordant tenor, exactly suited
to the mountebank manner in which he proclaimed his treasures. He
fetched his keys with a great clatter, and opened the door of a
tastefully and elegantly furnished hall, where the automata were.
There was a piano in the middle of the room on a raised platform;
beside it, on the right, a life-sized figure of a man, with a flute in
his hand; on the left, a female figure, seated at an instrument
somewhat resembling a piano; behind her were two boys with a drum and
a triangle. In the background our two friends noticed an orchestrion
(which was an instrument already known to them), and all around the
walls were a number of musical clocks. The Professor passed in an
offhand way close by the orchestrion and the clocks, and just touched
the automata, almost imperceptibly; then he sat down at the piano, and
began to play, pianissimo, an andante in the style of a march. He
played it once through by himself; and as he commenced it for the
second time the flute player put his instrument to his lips, and took
up the melody; then one of the boys drummed softly on his drum in the
most accurate time, and the other just touched his triangle, so that
you could hear it and no more.

Presently the lady came in with full chords sounding something like
those of a harmonica, which she produced by pressing down the keys of
her instrument; and then the whole room kept growing more and more
alive; the musical clocks came in one by one, with the utmost
rhythmical precision; the boy drummed louder; the triangle rang
through the room, and lastly the orchestrion set to work, and drummed
and trumpeted fortissimo, so that the whole place shook.

This went on till the Professor wound up the whole business with one
final chord, all the machines finishing also, with the utmost
precision. Our friends bestowed the applause which the Professor's
complacent smile (with its undercurrent of sarcasm) seemed to demand
of them. He went up to the figures to set about exhibiting some
further similar musical feats; but Lewis and Ferdinand, as if by a
preconcerted arrangement, declared that they had pressing business
which prevented their making a longer stay, and took their leave of
the inventor and his machines.

"Most interesting and ingenious, wasn't it?" said Ferdinand; but
Lewis's anger, long restrained, broke out.

"Oh! Damn that wretched Professor!" he cried. "What a terrible,
terrible disappointment! Where are all the revelations we expected?
What became of the learned, instructive discourse which we thought he
would deliver to us, as to disciples at Sais?"

"At the same time," said Ferdinand, "we have seen some very ingenious
mechanical inventions, curious and interesting from a musical point of
view. Clearly, the flute player is the same as Vaucanson's well-known
machine; and a similar mechanism applied to the fingers of the female
figure is, I suppose, what enables her to bring out those beautiful
tones from her instrument. The way in which all the machines work
together is really astonishing."

"It is exactly that which drives me so wild," said Lewis. "All that
machine music (in which I include the Professor's own playing) makes
every bone in my body ache. I am sure I do not know when I shall get
over it! The fact of any human being's doing anything in association
with those lifeless figures which counterfeit the appearance and
movements of humanity has always, to me, something fearful, unnatural,
I may say terrible, about it. I suppose it would be possible, by means
of certain mechanical arrangements inside them, to construct automata
which would dance, and then to set them to dance with human beings,
and twist and turn about in all sorts of figures; so that we should
have a living man putting his arms about a lifeless partner of wood,
and whirling round and round with her, or rather it. Could you look at
such a sight, for an instant, without horror? At all events, all
mechanical music seems monstrous and abominable to me; and a good
stocking-loom is, in my opinion, worth all the most perfect and
ingenious musical clocks in the universe put together. For is it the
breath, merely, of the performer on a wind-instrument, or the
skillful, supple fingers of the performer on a stringed instrument
which evoke those tones which lax' upon us a spell of such power, and
awaken that inexpressible feeling, akin to nothing else on earth--the
sense of a distant spirit world, and of our own higher life in it? Is
it not, rather, the mind, the soul, the heart, which merely employ
those bodily organs to give forth into our external life what we feel
in our inner depths? so that it can be communicated to others, and
awaken kindred chords in them, opening, in harmonious echoes, that
marvellous kingdom, from which those tones come darting, like beams of
light? To set to work to make music by means of valves, springs,
levers, cylinders, or whatever other apparatus you choose to employ,
is a senseless attempt to make the means to an end accomplish what can
result only when those means are animated and, in their minutest
movements, controlled by the mind, the soul, and the heart. The
gravest reproach you can make to a musician is that he plays without
expression; because, by so doing, he is marring the whole essence of
the matter. Yet the coldest and most unfeeling executant will always
be far in advance of the most perfect machines. For it is impossible
that any impulse whatever from the inner man shall not, even for a
moment, animate his rendering; whereas, in the case of a machine, no
such impulse can ever do so. The attempts of mechanicians to imitate,
with more or less approximation to accuracy, the human organs in the
production of musical sounds, or to substitute mechanical appliances
for those organs, I consider tantamount to a declaration of war
against the spiritual element in music; but the greater the forces
they array against it, the more victorious it is. For this very
reason, the more perfect that this sort of machinery is, the more I
disapprove of it; and I infinitely prefer the commonest barrel-organ,
in which the mechanism attempts nothing but to be mechanical, to
Vaucanson's flute player, or the harmonica girl."

"I entirely agree with you," said Ferdinand, "and indeed you have
merely put into words what I have always thought; and I was much
struck with it today at the Professor's. Although I do not live and
move and have my being in music so wholly as you do, and consequently
am not so sensitively alive to imperfections in it, I, too, have
always felt a repugnance to the stiffness and lifelessness of machine
music; and, I can remember, when I was a child at home, how I detested
a large, ordinary musical clock, which played its little tune every
hour. It is a pity that those skillful mechanicians do not try to
apply their knowledge to the improvement of musical instruments,
rather than to puerilities of this sort."

"Exactly," said Lewis. "Now, in the case of instruments of the
keyboard class a great deal might be done. There is a wide field open
in that direction to clever mechanical people, much as has been
accomplished already; particularly in instruments of the pianoforte
genus. But it would be the task of a really advanced system of the
'mechanics of music' to observe closely, study minutely, and discover
carefully that class of sounds which belong, most purely and strictly,
to Nature herself, to obtain a knowledge of the tones which dwell in
substances of every description, and then to take this mysterious
music and enclose it in some sort of instrument, where it should be
subject to man's will, and give itself forth at his touch. All the
attempts to evoke music from metal or glass cylinders, glass threads,
slips of glass, or pieces of marble; or to cause strings to vibrate or
sound in ways unlike the ordinary ways, are to me interesting in the
highest degree. The obstacle in the way of real progress in the
discovery of the marvellous acoustical secrets which lie hidden all
around us in nature is that every imperfect attempt at an experiment
is at once lauded as a new and perfect invention. This is why so many
new instruments have started into existence--most of them with grand
or ridiculous names--and have disappeared and been forgotten just as
quickly."

"Your 'higher mechanics of music' seems to be a most interesting
subject," said Ferdinand, "although, for my part, I do not as yet
quite perceive the object at which it aims.

"The object at which it aims," said Lewis, "is the discovery of the
most absolutely perfect kind of musical sound; and according to my
theory, musical sound would be the nearer to perfection the more
closely it approximated such of the mysterious tones of nature as are
not wholly dissociated from this earth."

"I presume," said Ferdinand, "that it is because I have not penetrated
so deeply into this subject as you have, but you must allow me to say
that I do not quite understand you."

"Then," said Lewis, "let me give you some sort of an idea how this
question looks to me.

"In the primeval condition of the human race (to make use of almost
the very words of a talented writer--Schubert--in his Glimpses of the
Night Side of Natural Science) mankind still lived in pristine holy
harmony with nature, richly endowed with a heavenly instinct of
prophecy and poetry. Mother Nature continued to nourish from the fount
of her own life the wondrous being to whom she had given birth, and
she encompassed him with a holy music, like the affiatus of a
continual inspiration. Wondrous tones spoke of the mysteries of her
unceasing activity. There has come down to us an echo from the
mysterious depths of those primeval days---that beautiful notion of
the music of the spheres, which filled me with the deepest and most
devout reverence when I first read of it in The Dream of Scipio. I
often used to listen, on quiet moonlight nights, to hear if those
wondrous tones would come to me, borne on the wings of the whispering
airs."

However, as I said to you, those nature tones have not yet all
departed from this world, for we have an instance of their survival,
and occurrence in that 'music of the air or voice of the demon,'
mentioned by a writer on Ceylon--a sound which so powerfully affects
the human system that even the least impressionable persons, when they
hear those tones of nature imitating, in such a terrible manner, the
expression of human sorrow and suffering, are struck with painful
compassion and profound terror! Indeed, I once met with an instance of
a pheno-menon of a similar kind myself at a place in East Prussia. I
had been living there for some time; it was about the end of autumn,
when, on quiet nights, with a moderate breeze blowing, I used
distinctly to hear tones, sometimes resembling the deep, stopped,
pedal pipe of an organ, and sometimes like the vibrations from a deep,
soft-toned bell. I often distinguished, quite clearly, the low F, and
the fifth above it (the C), and often the minor third above, E flat,
was perceptible as well; and then this tremendous chord of the
seventh, so woeful and so solemn, produced on one the effect of the
most intense sorrow, and even of terror!

"There is, about the imperceptible commencement, the swelling and the
gradual dying of those nature tones--a something which has a most
powerful and indescribable effect upon us; and any instrument which
should be capable of producing this would, no doubt, affect us in a
similar way. So that I think the glass harmonica comes the nearest, as
regards its tone, to that perfection, which is to be measured by its
influence on our minds. And it is fortunate that this instrument
(which chances to be the very one which imitates those nature tones
with such exactitude) happens to be just the very one which is
incapable of lending itself to frivolity or ostentation, but exhibits
its characteristic qualities in the purest of simplicity. The recently
invented 'harmonichord' will doubtless accomplish much in this
direction. This instrument, as you no doubt know, sets strings
vibrating and sounding (not bells, as in the harmonica) by means of a
mechanism, which is set in motion by the pressing down of keys, and
the rotation of a cylinder."

"The performer has under his control the commencement, the swelling
out and the diminishing of the tones much more than is the case with
the harmonica, though as yet the harmonichord has not the tone of the
harmonica, which sounds as if it came straight from another world."

"I have heard that instrument," said Ferdinand, "and certainly the
tone of it went to the very depths of my being, although I thought the
performer was doing it scant justice. As regards the rest, I think I
quite understand you, although I do not, as yet, quite see into the
closeness of the connection between those 'nature tones' and music."

Lewis answered, "Can the music which dwells within us be any other
than that which lies buried in nature as a profound mystery,
comprehensible only by the inner, higher sense, uttered by
instruments, as the organs of it, merely in obedience to a mighty
spell, of which we are the masters? But, in the purely psychical
action and operation of the spirit--that is to say, in dreams--this
spell is broken; and then, in the tones of familiar instruments, we
are enabled to recognize those nature tones as wondrously engendered
in the air, they come floating down to us, and swell and die away."

"I am thinking of the olian harp," said Ferdinand. "What is your
opinion about that ingenious invention?"

"Every attempt," said Lewis, "to tempt Nature to give forth her tones
is glorious, and highly worthy of attention. Only, it seems to me that
as yet we have only offered her trifling toys, which she has often
shattered to pieces in her indignation. A much grander idea than all
those playthings (like olian harps) was the 'storm harp' which I have
read of. It was made of thick cords of wire, which were stretched out
at considerable distances apart, in the open country, and gave forth
great, powerful chords when the wind smote them.

"Altogether, there is still a wide field open to thoughtful inventors
in this direction, and I quite believe that the impulse recently given
to natural science in general will be perceptible in this branch of
it, and bring into practical existence much which is, as yet, nothing
but speculation."

Just at this moment there suddenly came floating through the air an
extraordinary sound, which, as it swelled and became more
distinguishable, seemed to resemble the tone of a glass harmonica.
Lewis and Ferdinand stood rooted to the spot in amazement, not unmixed
with awe; the tones took the form of a profoundly sorrowful melody
sung by a female voice. Ferdinand grasped Lewis by the hand, whilst
the latter whispered the words, Mio ben, ricordati, s' avvien ch' io
mora.

At the time when this occurred they were outside the town, and before
the entrance to a garden which was surrounded by lofty trees and tall
hedges. There was a pretty little girl--whom they had not observed
before--sitting playing in the grass near them, and she sprang up
crying, "Oh, how beautifully my sister is singing again! I must take
her some flowers, for she always sings sweeter and longer when she
sees a beautiful carnation." And with that she gathered a bunch of
flowers, and went skipping into the garden with it, leaving the gate
ajar, so that our friends could see through it. What was their
astonishment to see Professor X standing in the middle of the garden,
beneath a lofty ash-tree! Instead of the repellent ironic grin with
which he had received them at his house, his face wore an expression
of deep melancholy earnestness, and his gaze was fixed upon the
heavens, as if he were contemplating that world beyond the skies, of
which those marvellous tones, floating in the air like the breath of a
zephyr, were telling. He walked up and down the central path, with
slow and measured steps; and, as he passed along, everything around
him seemed to waken into life and movement. In every direction crystal
tones came scintillating out of the dark bushes and trees, and,
streaming through the air like flame, united in a wondrous concert,
penetrating the inmost heart, and waking in the soul the most
rapturous emotions of a higher world. Twilight was falling fast; the
Professor disappeared among the hedges, and the tones died away in
pianissimo. At length our friends went back to the town in profound
silence; but, as Lewis was about to leave Ferdinand, the latter
clasped him firmly, saying:

"Be true to me! Do not abandon me! I feel, too clearly, some hostile
foreign influence at work upon my whole existence, smiting upon all
its hidden strings, and making them resound at its pleasure. I am
helpless to resist it, though it should drive me to my destruction!
Can that diabolical, sneering irony, with which the Professor received
us at his house, have been anything other than the expression of this
hostile principle? Was it with any other intention than of getting his
hands washed of me forever, that he fobbed us off with those automata
of his?"

"You are very probably right," said Lewis, "for I have a strong
suspicion myself that, in some manner which is as yet an utter riddle
to me, the Professor does exercise some sort of power or influence
over your fate, or, I should rather say, over that mysterious
psychical relationship, or affinity, which exists between you and this
lady. It may be that, being mixed up in some way with this affinity,
in his character of an element hostile to it, he strengthens it by the
very fact that he opposes it: and it may also be that the quality
which renders you so extremely unacceptable to him is that your
presence awakens and sets into lively movement all the strings and
chords of this mutually sympathetic condition. This may be contrary to
his desire, and, very probably, in opposition to some conventional
family arrangement."

Our friends determined to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to
make a closer approach to the Professor, with the hope that they might
succeed, sooner or later, in clearing up this mystery which so
affected Ferdinand's destiny and fate, and they were to have paid him
a visit on the following morning as a preliminary step. However, a
letter, which Ferdinand unexpectedly received from his father,
summoned him to B--; it was impossible for him to permit himself the
smallest delay, and in a few hours he was off, as fast as post-horses
could convey him, assuring Lewis, as he started, that nothing should
prevent his return in a fortnight, at the very latest.

It struck Lewis as a singular circumstance that soon after Ferdinand's
departure, the same old gentleman who had at first spoken of the
Professor's connection with the Talking Turk took an opportunity of
enlarging to him on the fact that X--'s mechanical inventions were
simply the result of an extreme enthusiasm for mechanical pursuits,
and of deep and searching investigations in natural science. He also
praised the Professor's wonderful discoveries in music, which, he
said, he had not as yet communicated to anyone, adding that his
mysterious laboratory was a pretty garden outside the town, and that
passers-by had often heard wondrous tones and melodies there, just as
if the whole place were peopled by fays and spirits.

The fortnight elapsed, but Ferdinand did not come back. At length,
when two months had gone by, a letter came from him to the following
effect:

Read and marvel; though you will learn only what, perhaps, you
strongly suspected would be the case, when you got to know more of the
Professor. As the horses were being changed in the village of P--, I
was standing, gazing into the distance, not thinking specially of
anything in particular. A carriage drove by, and stopped at the
church, which was open. A young lady, simply dressed, stepped out of
the carriage, followed by a young gentleman in a Russian Jaeger
uniform, wearing several decorations. Two gentlemen got down from a
second carriage. The innkeeper said, "Oh, this is the stranger couple
our clergyman is marrying today." Mechanically I went into the church,
just as the clergyman was concluding the service with the blessing. I
looked at the couple--the bride was my sweet singer. She looked at me,
turned pale, and fainted.

The gentleman who was behind her caught her in his arms. It was
Professor X---What happened further I do not know, nor have I any
recollection as to how I got here; probably Professor X---can tell you
all about it. But a peace and a happiness, such as I have never known
before, have now taken posssession of my soul.

The mysterious prophecy of the Turk was a cursed falsehood, a mere
result of blind groping with unskillful antennae. Have I lost her? Is
she not mine forever in the glowing inner life?

It will be long before you hear from me, for I am going on to K and
perhaps to the extreme north, as far as P--.

Lewis gathered the distracted condition of his friend's mind only too
plainly from his language, and the whole affair became the greater a
riddle to him when he ascertained that it was a matter of certainty
that Professor X---had not left town.

"Could all this," he thought, "be only a result of the conflict of
mysterious psychical relations (existing, perhaps, between several
people) making their way out into everyday life, and involving in
their circle even outward events independent of them, so that the
deluded inner sense looks upon them as phenomena proceeding
unconditionally from itself and believes in them accordingly? It may
be that the hopeful anticipation which I feel within me will be
realized--for my friend's consolation. For the Turk's mysterious
prophecy is fulfilled, and perhaps, through that very fulfilment, the
mortal blow which menaced my friend is averted.

"Well," said Ottmar, as Theodore came to a sudden stop, "is that all?
Where is the explanation? What became of Ferdinand, the beautiful
singer, Professor X--, and the Russian officer?"

"You know," said Theodore, "that I told you at the beginning that I
was only going to read you a fragment, and I consider that the story
of the Talking Turk is only a fragment. I mean that the imagination of
the reader, or listener, should merely receive one or two more or less
powerful impulses, and then go on swinging, pendulum-like, of its own
accord. But if you, Ottmar, are really anxious to have your mind set
at rest over Ferdinand's future, remember the dialogue on opera which
I read to you some time since. This is the same Ferdinand who appears
there, sound of mind and body; in the Talking Turk he is at an earlier
stage of his career. So probably his somnambulistic love affair ended
satisfactorily enough."

"To which," said Ottmar, "has to be added that Theodore used to take a
delight in exciting people's imaginations by means of the most
extraordinary--nay, wild and insane--stories, and then suddenly break
them off. Not only this, but everything he did at that time was a
fragment. He read second volumes only, not troubling himself about the
firsts or thirds; saw only the second and third acts of plays; and so
on."

"And," said Theodore, "I still have that inclination; to this hour
nothing is so distasteful to me as when, in a story or a novel, the
stage on which the imaginary world has been in action is swept so
clean by the historic broom that not the smallest grain or particle of
dust is left on it; when you go home so completely sated and satisfied
that you have not the faintest desire left to have another peep behind
the curtain. On the other hand, many a fragment of a clever story
sinks deep into my soul, and the continuance of the play of my
imagination, as it goes along on its own swing, gives me an enduring
pleasure. Who has not felt this over Goethe's 'Nut-brown Maid'!"

And, above all, his fragment of that most delightful tale of the
little lady whom the traveller always carried about with him in a
little box always exercises an indescribable charm upon me.

"Enough," interrupted Lothair. "We are not to hear any more about the
Talking Turk, and the story was really all told, after all."



THE END



This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia