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Title: The Golden Flower Pot
Author: E. T. A. Hoffman
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0605801.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: August 2006
Date most recently updated: August 2006

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The Golden Flower Pot
E. T. A. Hoffman




FIRST VIGIL

On Ascension Day, about three o'clock in the afternoon in Dresden, a
young man dashed through the Schwarzthor, or Black Gate, and ran right
into a basket of apples and cookies which an old and very ugly woman
had set out for sale. The crash was prodigious; what wasn't squashed
or broken was scattered, and hordes of street urchins delightedly
divided the booty which this quick gentleman had provided for them. At
the fearful shrieking which the old hag began, her fellow vendors,
leaving their cake and brandy tables, surrounded the young man, and
with plebian violence scolded and stormed at him. For shame and
vexation he uttered no word, but merely held out his small and by no
means particularly well-filled purse, which the old woman eagerly
seized and stuck into her pocket.

The hostile ring of bystanders now broke; but as the young man started
off, the hag called after him, "Ay, run, run your way, Devil's Bird!
You'll end up in the crystal! The crystal!" The screeching harsh voice
of the woman had something unearthly in it: so that the promenaders
paused in amazement, and the laughter, which at first had been
universal, instantly died away.

The Student Anselmus, for the young man was no other, even though he
did not in the least understand these singular phrases, felt himself
seized with a certain involuntary horror; and he quickened his steps
still more, until he was almost running, to escape the curious looks
of the multitude, all of whom were staring at him. As he made his way
through the crowd of well-dressed people, he heard them muttering on
all sides: "Poor young fellow! Ha! What a vicious old witch!" The
mysterious words of the old woman, oddly enough, had given this
ludicrous adventure a sort of sinister turn; and the youth, previously
unobserved, was now regarded with a certain sympathy. The ladies,
because of his fine figure and handsome face, which the glow of inward
anger rendered still more expressive, forgave him his awkwardness, as
well as the dress he wore, though it was at variance with all fashion.
His pike-gray frock was shaped as if the tailor had known the modern
style only by hearsay; and his well-kept black satin trousers gave him
a certain pedagogic air, to which his gait and manner did not at all
correspond.

The Student had almost reached the end of the alley which leads out to
the Linkische Bath; but his breath could no longer stand such a pace.
From running, he took to walking; but he still hardly dared to lift an
eye from the ground, for he still saw apples and cookies dancing
around him, and every kind look from this or that pretty girl seemed
to him to be only a continuation of the mocking laughter at the
Schwarzthor.

In this mood he reached the entrance of the Bath: groups of holiday
people, one after the other, were moving in. Music of wind instruments
resounded from the place, and the din of merry guests was growing
louder and louder. The poor Student Anselmus was almost ready to weep;
since Ascension Day had always been a family festival for him, he had
hoped to participate in the felicities of the Linkische paradise;
indeed, he had intended even to go to the length of a half portion of
coffee with rum and a whole bottle of double beer, and he had put more
money in his purse than was entirety convenient or advisable. And now,
by accidentally kicking the apple-and--cookie basket, he had lost all
the money he had with him. Of coffee, of double or single beer, of
music, of looking at the pretty girls-in a word, of all his fancied
enjoyments there was now nothing more to be said. He glided slowly
past; and at last turned down the Elbe road, which at that time
happened to be quite empty.

Beneath an elder-tree, which had grown out through the wall, he found
a kind green resting place: here he sat down, and filled a pipe from
the Sanittsknaster, or health-tobacco-box, of which his friend the
Conrector Paulmann had lately made him a present. Close before him
rolled and chafed the gold-dyed waves of the fair Elbe: on the other
side rose lordly Dresden, stretching, bold and proud, its light towers
into the airy sky; farther off, the Elbe bent itself down towards
flowery meads and fresh springing woods; and in the dim distance, a
range of azure peaks gave notice of remote Bohemia. But, heedless of
this, the Student Anselmus, looking gloomily before him, flew forth
smoky clouds into the air. His chagrin at length became audible, and
he said, "In truth, I am born to losses and crosses for all my life!
That, as a boy, I could never guess the right way at Odds and Evens;
that my bread and butter always fell on the buttered side-but I won't
even mention these sorrows. But now that I've become a student, in
spite of Satan, isn't it a frightful fate that I'm still as bumbling
as ever? Can I put on a new coat without getting grease on it the
first day, or without tearing a cursed hole in it on some nail or
other? Can I ever bow to a Councillor or a lady without pitching the
hat out of my hands, or even slipping on the smooth pavement, and
taking an embarrassing fall? When I was in Halle, didn't I have to pay
three or four groschen every market day for broken crockery-the Devil
putting it into my head to dash straight forward like a lemming? Have
I ever got to my coflege, or any other place that I had an appointment
to, at the right time? Did it ever matter if I set out a half hour
early, and planted myself at the door, with the knocker in my hand?
Just as the clock is going to strike, souse! Some devil empties a wash
basin down on me, or I run into some fellow coming out, and get myself
engaged in endless quarrels until the time is clean gone.

"Ah, well. Where are you fled now, you blissful dreams of coming
fortune, when I proudly thought that I might even reach the height of
Geheimrat? And hasn't my evil star estranged me from my best patrons?
I had heard, for instance, that the Councillor, to whom I have a
letter of introduction, cannot stand hair cut close; with an immensity
of trouble the barber managed to fasten a little queue to the back of
my head; but at my first bow his unblessed knot comes loose, and a
little dog which had been snuffing around me frisks off to the
Geheimrat with the queue in its mouth. I spring after it in terror,
and stumble against the table, where he has been working while at
breakfast; and cups, plates, ink-glass, sandbox crash to the floor and
a flood of chocolate and ink covers the report he has just been
writing. 'Is the Devil in this man?' bellows the furious Privy
Councillor, and he shoves me out of the room.

"What did it matter when Conrector Paulmann gave me hopes of copywork:
will the malignant fate, which pursues me everywhere, permit it? Today
even! Think of it! I intended to celebrate Ascension Day with
cheerfulness of soul. I was going to stretch a point for once. I might
have gone, as well as anyone else, into the Linkische Bath, and called
out proudly, 'Marqueur, a botde of double beer; best sort, if you
please.' I might have sat till far in the evening; and moreover close
by this or that fine party of well-dressed ladies. I know it, I feel
it! Heart would have come into me, I should have been quite another
man; nay, I might have carried it so far, that when one of them asked,
'What time is it?' or 'What is it they are playing?' I would have
started up with light grace, and without overturning my glass, or
stumbling over the bench, but with a graceful bow, moving a step and a
half forward, I would have answered, 'Give me leave, mademoiselle! it
is the overture of the Donauweibchen'; or, 'It is just going to strike
six.' Could any mortal in the world have taken it ill of me? No! I
say; the girls would have looked over, smiling so roguishly; as they
always do when I pluck up heart to show them that I too understand the
light tone of society, and know how ladies should be spoken to. And
now the Devil himself leads me into that cursed apple-basket, and now
I must sit moping in solitude, with nothing but a poor pipe of-"

Here the Student Anselmus was interrupted in his soliloquy by a
strange rustling and whisking, which rose close by him in the grass,
but soon glided up into the twigs and leaves of the elder-tree that
stretched out over his head. It was as if the evening wind were
shaking the leaves, as if little birds were twittering among the
branches, moving their little wings in capricious flutter to and fro.
Then he heard a whispering and lisping, and it seemed as if the
blossoms were sounding like little crystal bells. Anselmus listened
and listened. Ere long, the whispering, and lisping, and tinkling, he
himself knew not how, grew to faint and half-scattered words:

"'Twixt this way, 'twixt that; 'twixt branches, 'twixt blossoms, come
shoot, come twist and twirl we! Sisterkin, sisterkin! up to the shine;
up, down, through and through, quick! Sunrays yellow; evening wind
whispering; dewdrops pattering; blossoms all singing: sing we with
branches and blossoms! Stars soon glitter; must down: 'twixt this way,
'twixt that, come shoot, come twist, come twirl we, sisterkin!"

And so it went along, in confused and confusing speech. The Student
Anselmus thought:

"Well, it is only the evening wind, which tonight truly is whispering
distinctly enough." But at that moment there sounded over his head, as
it were, a triple harmony of clear crystal bells: he looked up, and
perceived three little snakes, glittering with green and gold, twisted
around the branches, and stretching out their heads to the evening
sun. Then, again, began a whispering and twittering in the same words
as before, and the little snakes went gliding and caressing up and
down through the twigs; and while they moved so rapidly, it was as if
the elder-bush were scattering a thousand glittering emeralds through
the dark leaves.

"It is the evening sun sporting in the elder-bush," thought the
Student Anselmus; but the bells sounded again; and Anselmus observed
that one snake held out its little head to him. Through all his limbs
there went a shock like electricity; he quivered in his inmost heart:
he kept gazing up, and a pair of glorious dark-blue eyes were looking
at him with unspeakable longing; and an unknown feeling of highest
blessedness and deepest sorrow nearly rent his heart asunder. And as
he looked, and still looked, full of warm desire, into those kind
eyes, the crystal bells sounded louder in harmonious accord, and the
glittering emeralds fell down and encircled him, flickering round him
in a thousand sparkles and sporting in resplendent threads of gold.
The elder-bush moved and spoke: "You lay in my shadow; my perfume
flowed around you, but you understood it not. The perfume is my
speech, when love kindles it." The evening wind came gliding past, and
said: "I played round your temples, but you understood me not. That
breath is my speech, when love kindles it." The sunbeam broke through
the clouds, and the sheen of it burned, as in words: "I overflowed
you, with glowing gold, but you understood me not. That glow is my
speech, when love kindles it."

And, still deeper and deeper sank in the view of those glorious eyes,
his longing grew keener, his desire more warm. And all rose and moved
around him, as if awakening to glad life. Flowers and blossoms shed
their odours round him, and their odour was like the lordly singing of
a thousand softest voices, and what they sang was borne, like an echo,
on the golden evening clouds, as they flitted away, into far-off
lands. But as the last sunbeam abruptly sank behind the hills, and the
twilight threw its veil over the scene, there came a hoarse deep
voice, as from a great distance:

"Hey! hey! what chattering and jingling is that up there? Hey! hey!
who catches me the ray behind the hills? Sunned enough, sung enough.
Hey! hey! through bush and grass, through grass and stream. Hey! hey!
Come dow-w-n, dow-w-w-n!". So the voice faded away, as in murmurs of a
distant thunder; but the crystal bells broke off in sharp discords.
All became mute; and the Student Anselmus observed how the three
snakes, glittering and sparkling, glided through the grass towards the
river; rustling and hustling, they rushed into the Elbe; and over the
waves where they vanished, there crackled up a green flame, which,
gleaming forward obliquely, vanished in the direction of the city.




SECOND VIGIL

"The gentleman is ill?" said a decent burgher's wife, who returning
from a walk with her family, had paused here, and, with crossed arms,
was looking at the mad pranks of the Student Anselmus. Anselmus had
clasped the trunk of the elder-tree, and was calling incessantly up to
the branches and leaves: "O glitter and shine once more, dear gold
snakes: let me hear your little bell-voices once more! Look on me once
more, kind eyes; O once, or I must die in pain and warm longing!" And
with this, he was sighing and sobbing from the bottom of his heart
most pitiftilly; and in his eagerness and impatience, shaking the
elder-tree to and fro; which, however, instead of any reply, rustled
quite stupidly and unintelligibly with its leaves; and so rather
seemed, as it were, to make sport of the Student Anselmus and his
sorrows.

"The gentleman is ill!" said the burgher's wife; and Anselmus felt as
if someone had shaken him out of a deep dream, or poured ice-cold
water on him, to awaken him without loss of time.

He now first saw clearly where he was, and recollected what a strange
apparition had assaulted him, nay, so beguiled his senses, as to make
him break forth into loud talk with himself. In astonishment, he gazed
at the woman, and at last snatching up his hat, which had fallen to
the ground in his transport, was about to make off in all speed. The
burgher himself had come toward in the meanwhile, and, setting down
the child from his arm on the grass, had been leaning on his staff,
and with amazement listening and looking at the Student. He now picked
up the pipe and tobacco-box which the Student had let fall, and,
holding them out to him, said: "Don't take on so dreadfully, my worthy
sir, or alarm people in the dark, when nothing is the matter, after
all, but a drop or two of christian liquor: go home, like a good
fellow, and sleep it off."

The Student Anselmus felt exceedingly ashamed; he uttered nothing but
a most lamentable Ah!

"Pooh! Pooh!" said the burgher, "never mind it a jot; such a thing
will happen to the best; on good old Ascension Day a man may readily
enough forget himself in his joy, and gulp down a thought too much. A
clergyman himself is no worse for it: I presume, my worthy sir, you
are a Candidatus. But, with your leave, sir, I shall fill my pipe with
your tobacco; mine was used up a little while ago."

This last sentence the burgher uttered while the Student Anselmus was
about to put away his pipe and box; and now the burgher slowly and
deliberately cleaned his pipe, and began as slowly to fill it. Several
burgher girls had come up: these were speaking secretly with the woman
and each other, and tittering as they looked at Anselmus. The Student
felt as if he were standing on prickly thorns, and burning needles. No
sooner had he got back his pipe and tobacco-box, than he darted off as
fast as he could.

All the strange things he had seen were clean gone from his memory; he
simply recollected having babbled all sorts of foolish stuff beneath
the elder-tree. This was the more frightful to him, as he entertained
an inward horror against all soliloquists. It is Satan that chatters
out of them, said his Rector; and Anselmus had honestly believed him.
But to be regarded as a Candidatus Theologiee, overtaken with drink on
Ascension Day! The thought was intolerable..Running on with these mad
vexations, he was just about turning up Poplar Alley, by the Kosel
garden, when a voice behind him called out: "Herr Anselmus! Herr
Anselmus! for the love of Heaven, where are you running in such a
hurry?" The Student paused, as if rooted to the ground; for he was
convinced that now some new accident would befall him. The voice rose
again: "Herr Anselmus, come back: we are waiting for you here at the
water!" And now the Student perceived that it was his friend Conrector
Paulmann's voice: he went back to the Elbe, and found the Conrector,
with his two daughters, as well as Registrator Heerbrand, all about to
step into their gondola. Conrector Paulmann invited the Student to go
with them across the Elbe, and then to pass the evening at his house
in the suburb of Pirna. The Student Anselmus very gladly accepted this
proposal, thinking thereby to escape the malignant destiny which had
ruled over him all day.

Now, as they were crossing the river, it chanced that on the farther
bank in Anton's Garden, some fireworks were just going off. Sputtering
and hissing, the rockets went aloft, and their blazing stars flew to
pieces in the air, scattering a thousand vague shoots and flashes
around them. The Student Anselmus was sitting by the steersman, sunk
in deep thought, but when he noticed in the water the reflection of
these darting and wavering sparks and flames, he felt as if it were
the little golden snakes that were sporting in the flood. All the
wonders that he had seen at the elder-tree again started forth into
his heart and thoughts; and again that unspeakable longing, that
glowing desire, laid hold of him here, which had agitated his bosom
before in painful spasms of rapture.

"Ah! is it you again, my little golden snakes? Sing now, O sing! In
your song let the kind, dear, dark-blue eyes again appear to me-Ah!
are you under the waves, then?"

So cried the Student Anselmus, and at the same time made a violent
movement, as if he was about to plunge into the river.

"Is the Devil in you, sir?" exclaimed the steersman, and clutched him
by the lapels. The girls, who were sitting by him, shrieked in terror,
and fled to the other side of the gondola. Registrator Heerbrand
whispered something in Conrector Paulmann's ear, to which the latter
answered at considerable length, but in so low a tone that Anselmus
could distinguish nothing but the words:

"Such attacks more than once?-Never heard of it." Directly after this,
Conrector Paulmann also rose, and then sat down, with a certain
earnest, grave, official mien beside the Student Anselmus, taking his
hand and saying: "How are you, Herr Anselmus?"

The Student Anselmus was almost losing his wits, for in his mind there
was a mad contradiction, which he strove in vain to reconcile. He now
saw plainly that what he had taken for the gleaming of the golden
snakes was nothing but the reflection of the fireworks in Anton's
Garden: but a feeling unexperienced till now, he himself did not know
whether it was rapture or pain, cramped his breast together; and when
the steersman struck through the water with his helm, so that the
waves, curling as in anger, gurgled and chafed, he heard in their din
a soft whispering: "Anselmus! Anselmus! do you see how we still skim
along before you? Sisterkin looks at you again: believe, believe,
believe in us!" And he thought he saw in the reflected light three
green-glowing streaks: but then, when he gazed, full of fond sadness,
into the water, to see whether those gentle eyes would not look up to
him again, he perceived too well that the shine proceeded only from
the windows in the neighbouring houses. He was sitting mute in his
place, and inwardly battling with himself, when Conrector Paulmann
repeated, with still greater emphasis: "How are you, Herr Anselmus?"

With the most rueful tone, Anselmus replied: "Ah! Herr Conrector, if
you knew what strange things I have been dreaming, quite awake, with
open eyes, just now, under an elder-tree at the wall of Linke's
Garden, you would not take it amiss of me that I am a little absent,
or so." "Ey, ey, Herr Anselmus!" interrupted Conrector Paulmann, "I
have always taken you for a solid young man: but to dream, to dream
with your eyes wide open, and then, all at once, to start up and try
to jump into the water! This, begging your pardon, is what only fools
or madmen would do."

The Student Anselmus was deeply affected by his friend's hard saying;
then Veronica, Paulniann's eldest daughter, a most pretty blooming
girl of sixteen, addressed her father: "But, dear father, something
singular must have befallen Herr Anselmus; and perhaps he only thinks
he was awake, while he may have really been asleep, and so all manner
of wild stuff has come into his head, and is still lying in his
thoughts."

"And, dearest Mademoiselle! Worthy Conrector!" cried Registrator
Heerbrand, "may one not, even when awake, sometimes sink into a sort
of dream state? I myself have had such fits. One afternoon, for
instance, during coffee, in a sort of brown study like this, in the
special season of corporeal and spiritual digestion, the place where a
lost Act was lying occurred to me, as if by inspiration; and last
night, no farther gone, there came a glorious large Latin paper
tripping out before my open eyes, in the very same way."

"Ah! most honoured Registrator," answered Conrector Paulmann, "you
have always had a tendency to the Poetica; and thus one falls into
fantasies and romantic humours."

The Student Anselmus, however, was particularly gratified that in this
most troublous situation, while in danger of being considered drunk or
crazy, anyone should take his part; and though it was already pretty
dark, he thought he noticed, for the first time, that Veronica had
really very fine dark blue eyes, and this too without remembering the
strange pair which he had looked at in the elder-bush. Actually, the
adventure under the elder-bush had once more entirely vanished from
the thoughts of the Student Anselmus; he felt himself at ease and
light of heart; nay, in the capriciousness of joy, he carried it so
far, that he offered a helping hand to his fair advocate Veronica, as
she was stepping from the gondola; and without more ado, as she put
her arm in his, escorted her home with so much dexterity and good luck
that he only missed his footing once, and this being the only wet spot
in the whole road, only spattered Veronica's white gown a very little
by the incident.

Conrector Paulmann did not fail to observe this happy change in the
Student Anselmus; he resumed his liking for him and begged forgiveness
for the hard words which he had let fall before. "Yes," added he, "we
have many examples to show that certain phantasms may rise before a
man, and pester and plague him not a little; but this is bodily
disease, and leeches are good for it, if applied to the right part, as
a certain learned physician, now deceased, has directed." The Student
Anselmus did not know whether he had been drunk, crazy, or sick; but
in any case the leeches seemed entirely superfluous, as these supposed
phantasms had utterly vanished, and the Student himself was growing
happier and happier the more he prospered in serving the pretty
Veronica with all sorts of dainty attentions.

As usual, after the frugal meal, there came music; the Student
Anselmus had to take his seat before the harpsichord, and Veronica
accompanied his playing with her pure clear voice: "Dear
Mademoiselle," said Registrator Heerbrand, "you have a voice like a
crystal bell!"

"That she has not!" ejaculated the Student Anselmus, he scarcely knew
how. "Crystal bells in elder-trees sound strangely! strangely!"
continued the Student Anselmus, murmuring half aloud.

Veronica laid her hand on his shoulder, and asked: "What are you
saying now, Herr Anselmus?"

Instantly Anselmus recovered his cheerfulness, and began playing.
Conrector Paulmann gave him a grim look; but Registrator Heerbrand
laid a music leaf on the rack, and sang with ravishing grace one of
Bandmaster Graun's bravura airs. The Student Anselmus accompanied
this, and much more; and a fantasy duet, which Veronica and he now
fingered, and Conrector Paulmann had himself composed, again brought
everyone into the gayest humour.

It was now pretty late, and Registrator Heerbrand was taking up his
hat and stick, when Conrector Paulmann went up to him with a
mysterious air, and said: "Hem! Would not you, honoured Registrator,
mention to the good Herr Anselmus himself-Hem! what we were speaking
of before?"

"With all the pleasure in the world," said Registrator Heerbrand, and
having placed himself in the circle, began, without farther preamble,
as follows:

"In this city is a strange remarkable man; people say he follows all
manner of secret sciences."

But as there are no such sciences, I take him rather for an antiquary,
and along with this for an experimental chemist. I mean no other than
our Privy Archivarius Lindhorst. He lives, as you know, by himself, in
his old isolated house; and when he is away from his office, he is to
be found in his library or in his chemical laboratory, to which,
however, he admits no stranger.

Besides many curious books, he possesses a number of manuscripts,
partly Arabic, Coptic, and some of them in strange characters, which
do not belong to any known tongue. These he wishes to have copied
properly, and for this purpose he requires a man who can draw with the
pen, and so transfer these marks to parchment, in Indian ink, with the
highest exactness and fidelity. The work is to be carried on in a
separate chamber of his house, under his own supervision; and besides
free board during the time of business, he will pay his copyist a
speziesthaler, or specie-dollar, daily, and promises a handsome
present when the copying is rightly finished. The hours of work are
from twelve to six. From three to four, you take rest and dinner.

"Herr Archivarius Lindhorst having in vain tried one or two young
people for copying these manuscripts, has at last applied to me to
find him an expert calligrapher, and so I have been thinking of you,
my dear Anselmus, for I know that you both write very neatly and draw
with the pen to great perfection. Now, if in these bad times, and till
your future establishment, you would like to earn a speziesthaler
every day, and a present over and above your salary, you can go
tomorrow precisely at noon, and call upon the Archivarius, whose house
no doubt you know. But be on your guard against blots! If such a thing
falls on your copy, you must begin it again; if it falls on the
original, the Archivarius will think nothing of throwing you out the
window, for he is a hot-tempered man."

The Student Anselmus was filled with joy at Registrator Heerbrand's
proposal; for not only could the Student write well and draw well with
the pen, but this copying with laborious calligraphic pains was a
thing he delighted in more than anything else. So he thanked his
patron in the most grateful terms, and promised not to fail at noon
tomorrow.

All night the Student Anselmus saw nothing but clear speziesthalers,
and heard nothing but their lovely clink. Who could blame the poor
youth, cheated of so many hopes by capricious destiny, obliged to take
counsel about every farthing, and to forego so many joys which a young
heart requires! Early in the morning he brought out his black-lead
pencils, his crowquills, his Indian ink; for better materials, thought
he, the Archivarius can find nowhere. Above all, he gathered together
and arranged his calligraphic masterpieces and his drawings, to show
them to the Archivarius, as proof of his ability to do what was
desired. Everything went well with the Student; a peculiar happy star
seemed to be presiding over him; his neckcloth sat right at the very
first trial; no stitches burst; no loop gave way in his black silk
stockings; his hat did not once fall to the dust after he had trimmed
it. In a word, precisely at half-past eleven, the Student Anselmus, in
his pike-gray frock and black satin lower habiliments, with a roll of
calligraphic specimens and pendrawings in his pocket, was standing in
the Schlossgasse, or Castle Alley, in Conradi's shop, and drinking
one-two glasses of the best stomachic liqueur; for here, thought he,
slapping his pocket, which was still empty, for here speziesthalers
will soon be chinking.

Notwithstanding the distance of the solitary street where the
Archivarius Lindhorst's ancient residence lay, the Student Anselmus
was at the front door before the stroke of twelve. He stood there, and
was looking at the large fine bronze knocker; but now when, as the
last stroke tingled through the air with a loud clang from the steeple
clock of the Kreuzkirche, or Church of the Cross, he lifted his hand
to grasp this same knocker, the metal visage twisted itself with a
horrid rolling of its blue-gleaming eyes, into a grinning smile. Alas,
it was the Applewoman of the Schwarzthor! The pointed teeth gnashed
together in the loose jaws, and in their chattering through the skinny
lips, there was a growl as of "You fool, fool, fool!-Wait, wait!-Why
did you run!-Fool!" Horror-struck, the Student Anselmus flew back; he
clutched at the door-post, but his hand caught the bell-rope, and
pulled it, and in piercing discords it rang stronger and stronger, and
through the whole empty house the echo repeated, as in mockery: "To
the crystal, fall!" An unearthly terror seized the Student Anselmus,
and quivered through all his limbs. The bell-rope lengthened
downwards, and became a gigantic, transparent, white serpent, which
encircled and crushed him, and girded him straiter and straiter in its
coils, till his brittle paralyzed limbs went crashing in pieces and
the blood spouted from his veins, penetrating into the transparent
body of the serpent and dyeing it red. "Kill me! Kill me!" he wanted
to cry, in his horrible agony; but the cry was only a stifled gurgle
in his throat. The serpent lifted its head, and laid its long peaked
tongue of glowing brass on the breast of Anselmus; then a fierce pang
suddenly cut asunder the artery of life, and thought fled away from
him. On returning to his senses, he was lying on his own poor truckle-
bed; Conrector Paulmann was standing before him, and saying: "For
Heaven's sake, what mad stuff is this, dear Herr Anselmus?"




THIRD VIGIL

"The Spirit looked upon the water, and the water moved itself and
chafed in foaming billows, and plunged thundering down into the
abysses, which opened their black throats and greedily swallowed it.
Like triumphant conquerors, the granite rocks lifted their cleft peaky
crowns, protecting the valley, till the sun took it into his paternal
bosom, and clasping it with his beams as with glowing arms, cherished
it and warmed it. Then a thousand germs, which had been sleeping under
the desert sand, awoke from their deep slumber, and stretched out
their little leaves and stalks towards the sun their father's face;
and like smiling infants in green cradles, the flowrets rested in
their buds and blossoms, till they too, awakened by their father,
decked themselves in lights, which their father, to please them,
tinted in a thousand varied hues.

"But in the midst of the valley was a black hill, which heaved up and
down like the breast of man when warm longing swells it. From the
abysses mounted steaming vapours, which rolled themselves together
into huge masses, striving malignantly to hide the father's face: but
he called the storm to him, which rushed there, and scattered them
away; and when the pure sunbeam rested again on the bleak hill, there
started from it, in the excess of its rapture, a glorious Fire-lily,
opening its fair leaves like gentle lips to receive the kiss of its
father.

"And now came a gleaming splendour into the valley; it was the youth
Phosphorus; the Lily saw him, and begged, being seized with warm
longing love: 'Be mine for ever, fair youth! For I love you, and must
die if you forsake me!' Then spoke the youth Phosphorus: 'I will be
yours, fair flower; but then, like a naughty child, you will leave
father and mother; you will know your playmates no longer, will strive
to be greater and stronger than all that now rejoices with you as your
equal. The longing which now beneficently warms your whole being will
be scattered into a thousand rays and torture and vex you, for sense
will bring forth senses; and the highest rapture, which the spark I
cast into you kindles, will be the hopeless pain wherein you shall
perish, to spring up anew in foreign shape. This spark is thought!'

"'Ah!' mourned the Lily, 'can I not be yours in this glow, as it now
burns in me; not still be yours? Can I love you more than now; could I
look on you as now, if you were to annihilate me?' Then the youth
Phosphorus kissed the Lily; and as if penetrated with light, it
mounted up in flame, out of which issued a foreign being, that hastily
flying from the valley, roved forth into endless space, no longer
heeding its old playmates, or the youth it had loved. This youth
mourned for his lost beloved; for he too loved her, it was love to the
fair Lily that had brought him to the lone valley; and the granite
rocks bent down their heads in participation of his grief.

"But one of these opened its bosom, and there came a black-winged
dragon flying out of it, who said: 'My brethren, the Metals are
sleeping in there; but I am always brisk and waking, and will help
you.' Dashing forth on its black pinions, the dragon at last caught
the being which had sprung from the Lily; bore it to the hill, and
encircled it with his wing; then was it the Lily again; but thought,
which continued with it, tore asunder its heart; and its love for the
youth Phosphorus was a cutting pain, before which, as if breathed on
by poisonous vapours, the flowrets which had once rejoiced in the fair
Lily's presence, faded and died.

"The youth Phosphorus put on a glittering coat of mail, sporting with
the light in a thousand hues, and did battle with the dragon, who
struck the cuirass with his black wing, till it rung and sounded; and
at this loud clang the flowrets again came to life, and like
variegated birds fluttered round the dragon, whose force departed; and
who, thus being vanquished, hid himself in the depths of the earth.
The Lily was freed; the youth Phosphorus clasped her, full of warm
longing, of heavenly love; and in triumphant chorus, the flowers, the
birds, nay, even the high granite rocks, did reverence to her as the
Queen of the Valley."

"By your leave, worthy Herr Archivarius, this is Oriental bombast,"
said Registrator Heerbrand: "and we beg very much you would rather, as
you often do, give us something of your own most remarkable life, of
your travelling adventures, for instance; above all, something true."

"What the deuce, then?" answered Archivarius Lindhorst. "True? This
very thing I have been telling is the truest I could dish out for you,
my friends, and belongs to my life too, in a certain sense. For I come
from that very valley; and the Fire-lily, which at last ruled as queen
there, was my great-great-great-great-grandmother; and so, properly
speaking, I am a prince myself." All burst into a peal of laughter.
"Ay, laugh your fill," continued Archivarius Lindhorst. "To you this
matter, which I have related, certainly in the most brief and meagre
way, may seem senseless and mad; yet, notwithstanding this, it is
meant for anything but incoherent, or even allegorical, and it is, in
one word, literally true. Had I known, however, that the glorious love
story, to which I owe my existence, would have pleased you so little,
I might have given you a little of the news my brother brought me on
his visit yesterday."

"What, what is this? Have you a brother, then, Herr Archivarius? Where
is he? Where does he live? In his Majesty's service too? Or perhaps a
private scholar?" cried the company from all quarters.

"No!" replied the Archivarius, quite cool, composedly taking a pinch
of snuff, "he has joined the bad side; he has gone over to the
Dragons." "What do you mean, dear Herr Archivarius?" cried Registrator
Heerbrand: "Over to the Dragons?"-"Over to the Dragons?" resounded
like an echo from all hands.

"Yes, over to the Dragons," continued Archivarius Lindhorst: "it was
sheer desperation, I believe. You know, gentlemen, my father died a
short while ago; it is but three hundred and eighty-five years ago at
most, and I am still in mourning for it. He had left me, his favourite
son, a fine onyx; this onyx, rightly or wrongly, my brother would
have: we quarrelled about it, over my father's corpse; in such
unseemly manner that the good man started up, out of all patience, and
threw my wicked brother downstairs. This stuck in our brother's
stomach, and so without loss of time he went over to the Dragons. At
present, he lives in a cypress wood, not far from Tunis: he has a
famous magical carbuncle to watch there, which a dog of necromancer,
who has set up a summerhouse in Lapland, has an eye to; so my poor
brother only gets away for a quarter of an hour or so, when the
necromancer happens to be out looking after the salamander bed in his
garden, and then he tells me in all haste what good news there is
about the Springs of the Nile."

For the second time, the company burst out into a peal of laughter:
but the Student Anselmus began to feel quite dreary in heart; and he
could scarcely look in Archivarius Lindhorst's parched countenance,
and fixed earnest eyes, without shuddering internally in a way which
he could not himself understand. Moreover, in the harsh and strangely
metallic sound of Archivarius Lindhorst's voice there was something
mysteriously piercing for the Student Anselmus, and he felt his very
bones and marrow tingling as the Archivarius spoke.

The special object for which Registrator Heerbrand had taken him into
the coffee house, seemed at present not attainable. After that
accident at Archivarius Lindhorst's door, the Student Anselmus had
withstood all inducements to risk a second visit: for, according to
his own heart-felt conviction, it was only chance that had saved him,
if not from death, at least from the danger of insanity. Conrector
Paulmann had happened to be passing through the street at the time
when Anselmus was lying quite senseless at the door, and an old woman,
who had laid her cookie-and-apple basket aside, was busied about him.
Conrector Paulmann had forthwith called a chair, and so had him
carried home. "Think what you will of me," said the Student Anselmus,
"consider me a fool or not: I say, the cursed visage of that witch at
the Schwarzthor grinned on me from the doorknocker. What happened
after I would rather not speak of: but if I had recovered from my
faint and seen that infernal Apple-wife beside me (for the old woman
whom you talk of was no other), I should that instant have been struck
by apoplexy, or have run stark mad."

All persuasions, all sensible arguments on the part of Conrector
Paulmann and Registrator Heerbrand, profited nothing; and even the
blue-eyed Veronica herself could not raise him from a certain moody
humour, in which he had ever since been sunk. In fact, these friends
regarded him as troubled in mind, and considered ways for diverting
his thoughts; to which end, Registrator Heerbrand thought, there could
nothing be so serviceable as copying Archivarius Lindhorst's
manuscripts. The business, therefore, was to introduce the Student in
some proper way to Archivarius Lindhorst; and so Registrator
Heerbrand, knowing that the Archivarius used to visit a certain coffee
house almost nightly, had invited the Student Anselmus to come every
evening to that same coffee house, and drink a glass of beer and smoke
a pipe, at his, the Registrator's charge, till such time as
Archivarius Lindhorst should in one way or another see him, and the
bargain for this copying work be settled; which offer the Student
Anselmus had most gratefully accepted. "God will reward you, worthy
Registrator, if you bring the young man to reason!" said Conrector
Paulmann. "God will reward you!" repeated Veronica, piously raising
her eyes to heaven, and vividly thinking that the Student Anselmus was
already a most pretty young man, even without any reason..Now
accordingly, as Archivarius Lindhorst, with hat and staff, was making
for the door, Registrator Heerbrand seized the Student Anselmus
briskly by the hand, and stepping to meet the Herr Archivarius, he
said: "Most esteemed Herr Archivarius, here is the Student Anselmus,
who has an uncommon talent in calligraphy and drawing, and will
undertake the copying of your rare manuscripts."

"I am most particularly glad to hear it," answered Archivarius
Lindhorst sharply, then threw his three-cocked military hat on his
head, and shoving Registrator Heerbrand and the Student Anselmus
aside, rushed downstairs with great tumult, so that both of them were
left standing in great confusion, gaping at the door, which he had
slammed in their faces till the bolts and hinges of it rung again.

"He is a very strange old gentleman," said Registrator Heerbrand.
"Strange old gentleman.
"
stammered the Student Anselmus, with a feeling as if an ice-stream
were creeping over all his veins, and he were stiffening into a
statue. All the guests, however, laughed, and said: "Our Archivarius
is on his high horse today: tomorrow, you shall see, he will be mild
as a lamb again, and won't speak a word, but will look into the smoke-
vortexes of his pipe, or read the newspapers; you must not mind these
freaks."

"That is true too," thought the Student Anselmus: "who would mind such
a thing, after all? Did not the Archivarius tell me he was most
particularly glad to hear that I would undertake the copying of his
manuscripts; and why did Registrator Heerbrand step directly in his
way, when he was going home? No, no, he is a good man at bottom this
Privy Archivarius Lindhorst, and sur-prisingly liberal. A little
curious in his figures of speech; but what is that to me? Tomorrow at
the stroke of twelve I will go to him, though fifty bronze Apple-wives
should try to hinder me!"




FOURTH VIGIL

Gracious reader, may I venture to ask you a question? Have you ever
had hours, perhaps even days or weeks, in which all your customary
activities did nothing but cause you vexation and dis-satisfaction;
when everything that you usually consider worthy and important seemed
trivial and worthless? At such a time you did not know what to do or
where to turn. A dim feeling pervaded your breast that you had higher
desires that must be fulfilled, desires that transcended the pleasures
of this world, yet desires which your spirit, like a cowed child, did
not even dare to utter. In this longing for an unknown Something,
which longing hovered above you no matter where you were, like an airy
dream with thin transparent forms that melted away each time you tried
to examine them, you had no voice for the world about you. You passed
to and fro with troubled look, like a hopeless lover, and no matter
what you saw being attempted or attained in the bustle of varied
existence, it awakened no sorrow or joy in you. It was as if you had
no share in this sublunary world.

If, favourable reader, you have ever been in this mood, you know the
state into which the Student Anselmus had fallen. I wish most
heartily, courteous reader, that it were in my power to bring the
Student Anselmus before your eyes with true vividness. For in these
vigils in which I record his singular history, there is still so much
more of the marvellous-which is likely to make the everyday life of
ordinary mortals seem pallid-that I fear in the end you will believe
in neither the Student Anselmus nor Archivarius Lindhorst; indeed,
that you will even entertain doubts as to Registrator Heerbrand and
Conrector Paulmann, though these two estimable persons, at least, are
still walking the pavements of Dresden. Favourable reader, while you
are in the faery region of glorious wonders, where both rapture and
horror may be evoked; where the goddess of earnestness herself will
waft her veil aside and show her countenance (though a smile often
glimmers in her glance, a sportive teasing before perplexing
enchantments, comparable to mothers nursing and dandling their
children)-while you are in this region which the spirit lays open to
us in dreams, make an effort to recognize the well-known forms which
hover around you in fitful brightness even in ordinary life. You will
then find that this glorious kingdom lies much closer at hand than you
ever supposed; it is this kingdom which I now very heartily desire,
and am striving to show you in the singular story of the Student
Anselmus.

So, as was hinted, the Student Anselmus, ever since that evening when
he met with Archivarius Lindhorst, had been sunk in a dreamy musing,
which rendered him insensible to every outward touch from common life.
He felt that an unknown Something was awakening his inmost soul, and
calling forth that rapturous pain, which is even the mood of longing
that announces a loftier existence to man. He delighted most when he
could rove alone through meads and woods; and as if released from all
that fettered him to his necessary life, could, so to speak, again
find himself in the manifold images which mounted from his soul.

It happened once that in returning from a long ramble, he passed by
that notable elder-tree, under which, as if taken with faery, he had
formerly beheld so many marvels. He felt himself strangely attracted
by the green kindly sward; but no sooner had he seated himself on it
than the whole vision which he had previously seen as in a heavenly
trance, and which had since as if by foreign influence been driven
from his mind, again came floating before him in the liveliest
colours, as if he had been looking on it a second time. Nay, it was
clearer to him now than ever, that the gentle blue eyes belonged to
the gold-green snake, which had wound itself through the middle of the
elder-tree; and that from the turnings of its tapering body all those
glorious crystal tones, which had filled him with rapture, must have
broken forth. As on Ascension Day, he again clasped the elder-tree to
his bosom, and cried into the twigs and leaves: "Ah, once more shoot
forth, and turn and wind yourself among the twigs, little fair green
snake, that I may see you!"

"Once more look at me with your gentle eyes! Ab, I love you, and must
die in pain and grief, if you do not return!" All, however, remained
quite dumb and still; and as before, the elder-tree rustled quite
unintelligibly with its twigs and leaves. But the Student Anselmus now
felt as if he knew what it was that so moved and worked within him,
nay, that so tore his bosom in the pain of an infinite longing. "What
else is it," said he, "but that I love you with my whole heart and
soul, and even to the death, glorious little golden snake; nay, that
without you I cannot live, and must perish in hopeless woe, unless I
find you again, unless I have you as the beloved of my heart. But I
know it, you shall be mine; and then all that glorious dreams have
promised me of another higher world shall be fulfilled."

Henceforth the Student Anselmus, every evening, when the sun was
scattering its bright gold over the peaks of the trees, was to be seen
under the elder-bush, calling from the depths of his heart in most
lamentable tones into the branches and leaves for a sight of his
beloved, of his little gold-green snake. Once as he was going on with
this, there suddenly stood before him a tall lean man, wrapped up in a
wide light-gray surtout, who, looking at him with large fiery eyes,
exclaimed: "Hey, hey, what whining and whimpering is this? Hey, hey,
this is Herr Anselmus that was to copy my manuscripts." The Student
Anselmus felt not a little terrified at hearing this voice, for it was
the very same which on Ascension Day had called: "Hey, hey, what
chattering and jingling is this," and so forth. For fright and
astonishment, he could not utter a word. "What ails you, Herr
Anselmus," continued Archivarius Lindhorst, for the stranger was no
one else; "what do you want with the elder-tree, and why did you not
come to me and set about your work?"

In fact, the Student Anselmus had never yet prevailed upon himself to
visit Archivarius Lindhorst's house a second time, though, that
evening, he had firmly resolved on doing it. But now at this moment,
when he saw his fair dreams torn asunder, and that too by the same
hostile voice which had once before snatched away his beloved, a sort
of desperation came over him, and he broke out fiercely into these
words: "You may think me mad or not, Herr Archivarius; it is all the
same to me: but here in this bush, on Ascension Day, I saw the gold-
green snake-ah! the beloved of my soul; and she spoke to me in
glorious crystal tones; and you, you, Herr Archivarius, cried and
shouted horribly over the water."

"How is this, my dear sir?" interrupted Archivarius Lindhorst, smiling
quite inexpressibly, and taking snuff.

The Student Anselmus felt his breast becoming easy, now that he had
succeeded in beginning this strange story; and it seemed to him as if
he were quite right in laying the whole blame upon the Archivarius,
and that it was he, and no one else, who had thundered so from the
distance. He courageously proceeded: "Well, then, I will tell you the
whole mystery that happened to me on Ascension evening; and then you
may say and do, and think of me whatever you please." He accordingly
disclosed the whole miraculous adventure, from his luckless upsetting
of the apple basket, till the departure of the three gold-green snakes
over the river; and how the people after that had thought him drunk or
crazy. "All this," ended the Student Anselmus, "I actually saw with my
eyes; and deep in my bosom those dear voices, which spoke to me, are
still sounding in clear echo: it was in no way a dream; and if I am
not to die of longing and desire, I must believe in these gold-green
snakes, though I see by your smile, Herr Archivarius, that you hold
these same snakes as nothing more than creatures of my heated and
overstrained imagination."

"Not at all," replied the Archivarius, with the greatest calmness and
composure; "the gold-green snakes, which you saw in the elder-bush,
Herr Anselmus, were simply my three daughters; and that you have
fallen over head and ears in love with the blue eyes of Serpentina the
youngest, is now clear enough. Indeed, I knew it on Ascension Day
myself: and as (on that occasion, sitting busied with my writing at
home) I began to get annoyed with so much chattering and jingling, I
called to the idle minxes that it was time to get home, for the sun
was setting, and they had sung and basked enough."

The Student Anselmus felt as if he now merely heard in plain words
something he had long dreamed of, and though he fancied he observed
that elder-bush, wall and sward, and all objects about him were
beginning slowly to whirl around, he took heart, and was ready to
speak; but the Archivarius prevented him; for sharply pulling the
glove from his left hand, and holding the stone of a ring, glittering
in strange sparkles and flames before the Student's eyes, he said:
"Look here, Herr Anselmus; what you see may do you good."

The Student Anselmus looked in, and O wonder! the stone emitted a
cluster of rays; and the rays wove themselves together into a clear
gleaming crystal mirror; in which, with many windings, now flying
asunder, now twisted together, the three gold-green snakes were
dancing and bounding. And when their tapering forms, glittering with a
thousand sparkles, touched each other, there issued from them glorious
tones, as of crystal bells; and the midmost of the three stretched
forth her little head from the mirror, as if full of longing and
desire, and her dark-blue eyes said: "Do you know me, then? Do you
believe in me, Anselmus? In belief alone is love: can you love?" "O
Serpentina! Serpentina!" cried the Student Anselmus in mad rapture;
but Archivarius Lindhorst suddenly breathed on the mirror, and with an
electric sputter the rays sank back into their focus; and on his hand
there was now nothing but a little emerald, over which the Archivarius
drew his glove.

"Did you see the golden snakes, Herr Anselmus?" said the Archivarius.

"Ah, good heaven, yes!" replied the Student, "and the fair dear
Serpentina."

"Hush!" continued Archivarius Lindhorst, "enough for now: for the
rest, if you decide to work with me, you may see my daughter often
enough; or rather I will grant you this real satisfaction: if you
stick tightly and truly to your task, that is to say, copy every mark
with the greatest clearness and correctness. But you have not come to
me at all, Herr Anselmus, although Registrator Heerbrand promised I
should see you immediately, and I have waited several days in vain."

Not until the mention of Registrator Heerbrand's name did the Student
Anselmus again feel as if he was really standing with his two legs on
the ground, and he was really the Student Anselmus, and the man
talking to him really Archivarius Lindhorst. The tone of indifference,
with which the latter spoke, in such rude contrast with the strange
sights which like a genuine necromancer he had called forth, awakened
a certain horror in the Student, which the piercing look of those
fiery eyes, glowing from their bony sockets in the lean puckered
visage, as from a leathern case, still farther aggravated: and the
Student was again forcibly seized with the same unearthly feeling,
which had before gained possession of him in the coffee house, when
Archivarius Lindhorst had talked so wildly. With a great effort he
retained his self-command, and as the Archivarius again asked, "Well,
why did you not come?" the Student exerted his whole energies, and
related to him what had happened at the street door.

"My dear Herr Anselmus," said the Archivarius, when the Student was
finished; "dear Herr Anselmus, I know this Apple-wife of whom you
speak; she is a vicious slut that plays all sorts of vile tricks on
me; but that she has turned herself to bronze and taken the shape of a
doorknocker, to deter pleasant visitors from calling, is indeed very
bad, and truly not to be endured. Would you please, worthy Herr
Anselmus, if you come tomorrow at noon and notice any more of this
grinning and growling, just be so good as to let a drop or two of this
liquor fall on her nose; it will put everything to rights immediately.
And now, adieu, my dear Herr Anselmus! I must make haste, therefore I
would not advise you to think of returning with me. Adieu, till we
meet!--Tomorrow at noon!"

The Archivarius had given the Student Anselmus a little vial, with a
gold-coloured fluid in it; and he walked rapidly off; so rapidly, that
in the dusk, which had now come on, he seemed to be floating down to
the valley rather than walking down to it. Already he was near the
Kosel garden; the wind got within his wide greatcoat, and drove its
breasts asunder; so that they fluttered in the air like a pair of
large wings; and to the Student Anselmus, who was looking full of
amazement at the course of the Archivarius, it seemed as if a large
bird were spreading out its pinions for rapid flight. And now, while
the Student kept gazing into the dusk, a white-gray kite wit h
creaking cry soared up into the air; and he now saw clearly that the
white flutter which he had thought to be the retiring Archivarius must
have been this very kite, though he still could not understand where
the Archivarius had vanished so abruptly.

"Perhaps he may have flown away in person, this Herr Archivarius
Lindhorst," said the Student Anselmus to himself; "for I now see and
feel clearly, that all these foreign shapes of a distant wondrous
world, which I never saw before except in peculiarly remarkable
dreams, have now come into my waking life, and are making their sport
of me. But be this as it will! You live and glow in my breast, lovely,
gentle Serpentina; you alone can still the infinite longing which
rends my soul to pieces. Ah, when shall I see your kind eyes, dear,
dear Serpentina!" cried the Student Anselmus aloud.

"That is a vile unchristian name!" murmured a bass voice beside him,
which belonged to some promenader returning home. The Student
Anselmus, reminded where he was, hastened off at a quick pace,
thinking to himself: "Wouldn't it be a real misfortune now if
Conrector Paulmann or Registrator Heerbrand were to meet me?"-But
neither of these gentlemen met him.




FIFTH VIGIL

"There is nothing in the world that can be done with this Anselmus,"
said Conrector Paulmann; "all my good advice, all my admonitions, are
fruitless; he will apply himself to nothing; though he is a fine
classical scholar too, and that is the foundation of everything."

But Registrator Heerbrand, with a sly, mysterious smile, replied: "Let
Anselmus take his time, my dear Conrector! he is a strange subject,
this Anselmus, but there is much in him: and when I say much, I mean a
Privy Secretary, or even a Court Councillor, a Hofrath."

"Hof-" began Conrector Paulmann, in the deepest amazement; the word
stuck in his throat.

"Hush! hush!" continued Registrator Heerbrand, "I know what I know.
These two days he has been with Archivarius Lindhorst, copying
manuscripts; and last night the Archivarius meets me at the coffee
house, and says: 'You have sent me a proper man, good neighbour! There
is stuff in him!' And now think of Archivarius Lindhorst's influence-
Hush! hush! we will talk of it this time a year from now." And with
these words the Registrator, his face still wrinkled into the same sly
smile, went out of the room, leaving the Conrector speechless with
astonishment and curiosity, and fixed, as if by enchantment, in his
chair.

But on Veronica this dialogue had made a still deeper impression. "Did
I not know all along," she thought, "that Herr Anselmus was a most
clever and pretty young man, to whom something great would come? Were
I but certain that he really liked me! But that night when we crossed
the Elbe, did he not press my hand twice? Did he not look at me, in
our duet, with such glances that pierced into my very heart? Yes, yes!
he really likes me; and I-" Veronica gave herself up, as young maidens
are wont, to sweet dreams of a gay future. She was Mrs. Hofrath, Frau
Hofrthinn; she occupied a fine house in the Schlossgasse, or in the
Neumarkt, or in the Moritzstrasse; her fashionable hat, her new
Turkish shawl, became her admirably; she was breakfasting on the
balcony in an elegant negligee, giving orders to her cook for the day:
"And see, if you please, not to spoil that dish; it is the Hofrath's
favourite." Then passing beaux glanced up, and she heard distinctly:
"Well, she is a heavenly woman, that Hofrthinn; how prettily the lace
cap suits her!" Mrs. Privy Councillor Ypsilon sends her servant to ask
if it would please the Frau Hofrthinn to drive as far as the Linke
Bath today? "Many compliments; extremely sorry, I am engaged to tea
already with the Presidentinn Tz." Then comes the Hofrath Anselmus
back from his office; he is dressed in the top of the mode: "Ten, I
declare," cries he, making his gold watch repeat, and giving his young
lady a kiss. "How are things, little wife?"

"Guess what I have here for you?" he continues in a teasing manner,
and draws from his waistcoat pocket a pair of beautiful earrings,
fashioned in the newest style, and puts them on in place of the old
ones. "Ah! What pretty, dainty earrings!" cried Veronica aloud; and
started up from her chair, throwing aside her work, to see those fair
earrings with her own eyes in the glass..."What is this?" said
Conrector Paulmann, roused by the noise from his deep study of Cicero
de Officiis, and almost dropping the book from his hand; "are we
taking fits, like Anselmus?" But at this moment, the Student Anselmus,
who, contrary to his custom, had not been seen for several days,
entered the room, to Veronica's astonishment and terror; for, in
truth, he seemed altered in his whole bearing. With a certain
precision, which was far from usual in him, he spoke of new tendencies
of life which had become clear to his mind, of glorious prospects
which were opening for him, but which many did not have the skill to
discern. Conrector Paulmann, remembering Registrator Heerhrand's
mysterious speech, was still more struck, and could scarcely utter a
syllable, till the Student Anselmus, after letting fall some hints of
urgent business at Archivarius Lindhorst's, and with elegant
adroitness kissing Veronica's hand, was already down the stairs, off
and away.

"This was the Hofrath," murmured Veronica to herself: "and he kissed
my hand, without sliding on the floor, or treading on my foot, as he
used to! He threw me the softest look too; yes, he really loves me!"

Veronica again gave way to her dreaming; yet now, it was as if a
hostile shape were still coming forward among these lovely visions of
her future household life as Frau Hofrthinn, and the shape were
laughing in spiteful mockery, and saying: "This is all very stupid and
trashy stuff, and lies to boot; for Anselmus will never, never, be
Hofrath or your husband; he does not love you in the least, though you
have blue eyes, and a fine figure, and a pretty hand." Then an ice-
stream poured over Veronica's soul; and a deep sorrow swept away the
delight with which, a little while ago, she had seen herself in the
lace cap and fashionable earrings. Tears almost rushed into her eyes,
and she said aloud: "Ah! it is too true; he does not love me in the
least; and I shall never, never, be Frau Hofrthinn!"

"Romantic idiocy, romantic idiocy!" cried Conrector Paulmann; then
snatched his hat and stick, and hastened indignantly from the house.
"This was still wanting," sighed Veronica; and felt vexed at her
little sister, a girl of twelve years, because she sat so unconcerned,
and kept sewing at her frame, as if nothing had happened.

Meanwhile it was almost three o'clock; and now time to tidy up the
apartment, and arrange the coffee table: for the Mademoiselles Oster
had announced that they were coming. But from behind every workbox
which Veronica lifted aside, behind the notebooks which she took away
from the harpsichord, behind every cup, behind the coffeepot which she
took from the cupboard, that shape peeped forth, like a little
mandrake, and laughed in spiteful mockery, and snapped its little
spider fingers, and cried: "He will not be your husband! he will not
be your husband!" And then, when she threw everything away, and fled
to the middle of the room, it peered out again, with long nose, in
gigantic bulk, from behind the stove, and snarled and growled: "He
will not be your husband!"

"Don't you hear anything, don't you see anything?" cried Veronica,
shivering with fright, and not daring to touch anything in the room.
Frnzchen rose, quite grave and quiet, from her embroidering frame,
and said, "What ails you today, sister? You are just making a mess. I
must help you, I see."

But at this time the visitors came tripping in in a lively manner,
with brisk laughter; and the same moment, Veronica perceived that it
was the stove handle which she had taken for a shape, and the creaking
of the ill-shut stove door for those spiteful words. Yet, overcome
with horror, she did not immediately recover her composure, and her
excitement, which her paleness and agitated looks betrayed, was
noticed by the Mademoiselles Oster. As they at once cut short their
merry talk, and pressed her to tell them what, in Heaven's name, had
happened, Veronica was obliged to admit that certain strange thoughts
had come into her mind; and suddenly, in open day a dread of spectres,
which she did not normally feel, had got the better of her. She
described in such lively colours how a little gray mannikin, peeping
out of all the corners of the room, had mocked and plagued her, that
the Mademoiselles Oster began to look around with timid glances, and
began to have all sorts of unearthly notions. But Frnzchen entered at
this moment with the steaming coffeepot; and the three, taking thought
again, laughed outright at their folly.

Angelica, the elder of the Osters, was engaged to an officer; the
young man had joined the army; but his friends had been so long
without news of him that there was too little doubt of his being dead,
or at least grievously wounded. This had plunged Angelica into the
deepest sorrow; but today she was merry, even to extravagance, a state
of things which so much surprised Veronica that she could not but
speak of it, and inquire the reason.

"Darling," said Angelica, "do you fancy that my Victor is out of heart
and thoughts? It is because of him I am so happy. O Heaven! so happy,
so blessed in my whole soul! For my Victor is well; in a little while
he will be home, advanced to Rittmeister, and decorated with the
honours which he has won. A deep but not dangerous wound, in his right
arm, which he got from a sword cut by a French hussar, prevents him
from writing; and rapid change of quarters, for he will not consent to
leave his regiment, makes it impossible for him to send me tidings.
But tonight he will be ordered home, until his wound is cured.
Tomorrow he will set out for home; and just as he is stepping into the
coach, he will learn of his promotion to Rittmeister."

"But, my dear Angelica," interrupted Veronica. "How do you know all
this?"

"Do not laugh at me, my friend," continued Angelica; "and surely you
will not laugh, for the little gray mannikin, to punish you, might
peep out from behind the mirror there. I cannot lay aside my belief in
certain mysterious things, since often enough in life they have come
before my eyes, I might say, into my very hands. For example, I cannot
consider it so strange and incredible as many others do, that there
should be people gifted with a certain faculty of prophecy. In the
city, here, is an old woman, who possesses this gift to a high degree.
She does not use cards, nor molten lead, nor coffee grounds, like
ordinary fortune tellers, but after certain preparations, in which you
yourself take a part, she takes a polished metallic mirror, and the
strangest mixture of figures and forms, all intermingled rise up in
it. She interprets these and answers your question. I was with her
last night, and got those tidings of my Victor, which I have not
doubted for a moment."

Angelica's narrative threw a spark into Veronica's soul, which
instantly kindled with the thought of consulting this same old
prophetess about Anselmus and her hopes. She learned that the crone
was called Frau Rauerin, and lived in a remote street near the
Seethor; that she was not to be seen except on Tuesdays, Thursdays,
and Fridays, from seven o'clock in the evening, but then, indeed,
through the whole night till sunrise; and that she preferred her
customers to come alone. It was now Thursday, and Veronica determined,
under pretext of accompanying the Osters home, to visit this old
woman, and lay the case before her.

Accordingly, no sooner had her friends, who lived in the Neustadt,
parted from her at the Elbe Bridge, than she hastened towards the
Seethor; and before long, she had reached the remote narrow street
described to her, and at the end of it saw the little red house in
which Frau Rauerin was said to live. She could not rid herself of a
certain dread, nay, of a certain horror, as she approached the door.
At last she summoned resolution, in spite of inward terror, and made
bold to pull the bell: the door opened, and she groped through the
dark passage for the stair which led to the upper story, as Angelica
had directed. "Does Frau Rauerin live here?" cried she into the empty
lobby as no one appeared; but instead of an answer, there rose a long
clear "Mew!" and a large black cat, with its back curved up, and
whisking its tail to and fro in wavy coils, stepped on before her,
with much gravity, to the door of the apartment, which, on a second
mew, was opened.

"Ah, see! Are you here already, daughter? Come in, love; come in!"
exclaimed an advancing figure, whose appearance rooted Veronica to the
floor. A long lean woman, wrapped in black rags!-while she spoke, her
peaked projecting chin wagged this way and that; her toothless mouth,
overshadowed by a bony hawk-nose, twisted itself into a ghastly smile,
and gleaming cat's-eyes flickered in sparkles through the large
spectacles. From a party-coloured clout wrapped round her head, black
wiry hair was sticking out; but what deformed her haggard visage to
absolute horror, were two large burn marks which ran from the left
cheek, over the nose.

Veronica's breathing stopped; and the scream, which was about to
lighten her choked breast, became a deep sigh, as the witch's skeleton
hand took hold of her, and led her into the chamber.

Here everything was awake and astir; nothing but din and tumult, and
squeaking, and mewing, and croaking, and piping all at once, on every
hand. The crone struck the table with her fist, and screamed: "Peace,
ye vermin!" And the meer-cats, whimpering, clambered to the top of the
high bed; and the little meer-swine all ran beneath the stove, and the
raven fluttered up to the round mirror; and the black cat, as if the
rebuke did not apply to him, kept sitting at his ease on the cushioned
chair, to which he had leapt directly after entering.

So soon as the room became quiet, Veronica took heart; she felt less
frightened than she had outside in the hall; nay, the crone herself
did not seem so hideous. For the first time, she now looked round the
room. All sorts of odious stuffed beasts hung down from the ceiling:
strange unknown household implements were lying in confusion on the
floor; and in the grate was a scanty blue fire, which only now and
then sputtered up in yellow sparkles; and at every sputter, there came
a rustling from above and monstrous bats, as if with human
countenances in distorted laughter, went flitting to and fro; at
times, too, the flame shot up, licking the sooty wall, and then there
sounded cutting howling tones of woe, which shook Veronica with fear
and horror. "With your leave, Mamsell!" said the crone, knitting her
brows, and seizing a brush; with which, having dipped it in a copper
skillet, she then besprinkled the grate. The fire went out; and as if
filled with thick smoke, the room grew pitch-dark: but the crone, who
had gone aside into a closet, soon returned with a lighted lamp; and
now Veronica could see no beasts or implements in the apartment; it
was a common meanly furnished room. The crone came up to her, and said
with a creaking voice: "I know what you wish, little daughter: tush,
you would have me tell you whether you shall wed Anselmus, when he is
Hofrath."

Veronica stiffened with amazement and terror, but the crone continued:
"You told me the whole of it at home, at your father's, when the
coffeepot was standing before you: I was the coffeepot; didn't you
know me? Daughterkin, hear me! Give up, give up this Anselmus; he is a
nasty creature; he trod my little sons to pieces, my dear little sons,
the Apples with the red cheeks, that glide away, when people have
bought them, whisk! out of their pockets, and roll back into my
basket. He trades with the Old One: it was but the day before
yesterday, he poured that cursed Auripigment on my face, and I nearly
went blind with it. You can see the burn marks yet. Daughterkin, give
him up, give him up! He does not love you, for he loves the gold-green
snake; he will never be Hofrath, for he has joined the salamanders,
and he means to wed the green snake: give him up, give him up!"

Veronica, who had a firm, steadfast spirit of her own, and could
conquer girlish terror, now drew back a step, and said, with a serious
resolute tone: "Old woman! I heard of your gift of looking into the
future; and wished, perhaps too curiously and thoughtlessly, to learn
from you whether Anselmus, whom I love and value, could ever be mine.
But if, instead of fulfilling my desire, you keep vexing me with your
foolish unreasonable babble, you are doing wrong; for I have asked of
you nothing but what you grant to others, as I well know. Since you
are acquainted with my inmost thoughts apparently, it might perhaps
have been an easy matter for you to unfold to me much that now pains
and grieves my mind; but after your silly slander of the good
Anselmus, I do not care to talk further with you. Goodnight!"

Veronica started to leave hastily, but the crone, with tears and
lamentation, fell upon her knees; and, holding the young lady by the
gown, exclaimed: "Veronica! Veronica! have you forgotten old Liese?
Your nurse who has so often carried you in her arms, and dandled you?"

Veronica could scarcely believe her eyes; for here, in truth, was her
old nurse, defaced only by great age and by the two burns; old Liese,
who had vanished from Conrector Paulmann's house some years ago, no
one knew where. The crone, too, had quite another look now: instead of
the ugly many-pieced clout, she had on a decent cap; instead of the
black rags, a gay printed bedgown; she was neatly dressed, as of old.
She rose from the floor, and taking Veronica in her arms, proceeded:
"What I have just told you may seem very mad; but, unluckily, it is
too true. Anselmus has done me much mischief, though it is not his own
fault: he has fallen into Archivarius Lindhorst's hands, and the Old
One means to marry him to his daughter. Archivarius Lindhorst is my
deadliest enemy: I could tell you thousands of things about him,
which, however, you would not understand, or at best be too much
frightened at. He is the Wise Man, it seems; but I am the Wise Woman:
let this stand for that! I see now that you love this Anselmus; and I
will help you with all my strength, that so you may be happy, and wed
him like a pretty bride, as you wish."

"But tell me, for Heaven's sake, Liese-" interrupted Veronica.

"Hush! child, hush!" cried the old woman, interrupting in her turn: "I
know what you would say; I have become what I am, because it was to be
so: I could do no other. Well, then! I know the means which will cure
Anselmus of his frantic love for the green snake, and lead him, the
prettiest Hofrath, into your arms; but you yourself must help."

"Tell me, Liese; I will do anything and everything, for I love
Anselmus very much!" whispered Veronica, scarcely audibly.

"I know you," continued the crone, "for a courageous child: I could
never frighten you to sleep with the Wauwau; for that instant, your
eyes were open to what the Wauwau was like. You would go without a
light into the darkest room; and many a time, with papa's powder-
mantle, you terrified the neighbours' children. Well, then, if you are
in earnest about conquering Archivarius Lindhorst and the green snake
by my art; if you are in earnest about calling Anselmus Hofrath and
husband; then, at the next Equinox, about eleven at night, glide from
your father's house, and come here: I will go with you to the
crossroads, which cut the fields hard by here: we shall take what is
needed, and whatever wonders you may see shall do you no whit of harm.
And now, love, goodnight: Papa is waiting for you at supper."

Veronica hastened away: she had the firmest purpose not to neglect the
night of the Equinox; "for," thought she, "old Liese is right;
Anselmus has become entangled in strange fetters; but I will free him
from them, and call him mine forever; mine he is, and shall be, the
Hofrath Anselmus."




SIXTH VIGIL

"It may be, after all," said the Student Anselmus to himself, "that
the superfine strong stomachic liqueur, which I took somewhat freely
in Monsieur Conradi's, might really be the cause of all these shocking
phantasms, which tortured me so at Archivarius Lindhorst's door.
Therefore, I will go quite sober today, and so bid defiance to
whatever farther mischief may assail me." On this occasion, as before
when equipping himself for his first call on Archivarius Lindhorst,
the Student Anselmus put his pen-drawings, and calligraphic
masterpieces, his bars of Indian ink, and his well-pointed crow-pens,
into his pockets; and was just turning to go out, when his eye lighted
on the vial with the yellow liquor, which he had received from
Archivarius Lindhorst. All the strange adventures he had met again
rose on his mind in glowing colours; and a nameless emotion of rapture
and pain thrilled through his breast. Involuntarily he exclaimed, with
a most piteous voice: "Ah, am not I going to the Archivarius solely
for a sight of you, gentle lovely Serpentina!" At that moment, he felt
as if Serpentina's love might be the prize of some laborious perilous
task which he had to undertake; and as if this task were nothing else
but the copying of the Lindhorst manuscripts. That at his very
entrance into the house, or more properly, before his entrance, all
sorts of mysterious things might happen, as before, was no more than
he anticipated.

He thought no more of Conradi's strong drink, but hastily put the vial
of liquor in his waistcoat pocket, that he might act strictly by the
Archivarius' directions, should the bronze Apple-woman again take it
upon her to make faces at him.

And the hawk-nose actually did peak itself, the cat-eyes actually did
glare from the knocker, as he raised his hand to it, at the stroke of
twelve. But now, without farther ceremony, he dribbled his liquor into
the pestilent visage; and it folded and moulded itself, that instant,
down to a glittering bowl-round knocker. The door opened, the bells
sounded beautifully over all the house:

"Klingling, youngling, in, in, spring, spring, klingling." In good
heart he mounted the fine broad stair; and feasted on the odours of
some strange perfume that was floating through the house. In doubt, he
paused in the hall; for he did not know at which of these many fine
doors he was to knock. But Archivarius Lindhorst, in a white damask
nightgown, emerged and said: "Well, it is a real pleasure to me, Herr
Anselmus, that you have kept your word at last. Come this way, if you
please; I must take you straight into the laboratory." And with this
he stepped rapidly through the hall, and opened a little side door,
which led into a long passage. Anselmus walked on in high spirits,
behind the Archivarius; they passed from this corridor into a hall, or
rather into a lordly greenhouse: for on both sides, up to the ceiling,
grew all sorts of rare wondrous flowers, indeed, great trees with
strangely formed leaves and blossoms. A magic dazzling light shone
over the whole, though you could not discover where it came from, for
no window whatever was to be seen. As the Student Anselmus looked in
through the bushes and trees, long avenues appeared to open into
remote distance. In the deep shade of thick cypress groves lay
glittering marble fountains, out of which rose wondrous figures,
spouting crystal jets that fell with pattering spray into the gleaming
lily-cups. Strange voices cooed and rustled through the wood of
curious trees; and sweetest perfumes streamed up and down.

The Archivarius had vanished: and Anselmus saw nothing but a huge bush
of glowing fire-lilies before him. Intoxicated with the sight and the
fine odours of this fairy-garden, Anselmus stood fixed to the spot.
Then began on all sides of him a giggling and laughing; and light
little voices railed at him and mocked him: "Herr Studiosus! Herr
Studiosus! how did you get in here?"

"Why have you dressed so bravely, Herr Anselmus? Will you chat with us
for a minute and tell us how grandmamma sat down upon the egg, and
young master got a stain on his Sunday waistcoat?-Can you play the new
tune, now, which you learned from Daddy Cockadoodle, Herr Anselmus?-
You look very fine in your glass periwig, and brown-paper boots." So
cried and chattered and sniggered the little voices, out of every
corner, indeed, close by the Student himself, who now observed that
all sorts of multicoloured birds were fluttering above him, and
jeering at him. At that moment, the bush of fire-lilies advanced
towards him; and he perceived that it was Archivarius Lindhorst, whose
flowered nightgown, glittering in red and yellow, had deceived his
eyes.

"I beg your pardon, worthy Herr Anselmus," said the Archivarius, "for
leaving you alone: I wished, in passing, to take a peep at my fine
cactus, which is to blossom tonight. But how do you like my little
house-garden?"

"Ah, Heaven! It is inconceivably beautiful, Herr Archivarius," replied
the Student; "but these multicoloured birds have been bantering me a
little."

"What chattering is this?" cried the Archivarius angrily into the
bushes. Then a huge gray Parrot came fluttering out, and perched
itself beside the Archivarius on a myrtle bough, and looking at him
with an uncommon earnestness and gravity through a pair of spectacles
that stuck on its hooked bill, it creaked out: "Don't take it amiss,
Herr Archivarius; my wild boys have been a little free or so; but the
Herr Studiosus has himself to blame in the matter, for-"

"Hush! hush!" interrupted Archivarius Lindhorst; "I know the varlets;
but you must keep them in better discipline, my friend!--Now, come
along, Herr Anselmus."

And the Archivarius again stepped forth through many a strangely
decorated chamber, so that the Student Anselmus, in following him,
could scarcely give a glance at all the glittering wondrous furniture
and other unknown things with which all the rooms were filled. At last
they entered a large apartment, where the Archivarius, casting his
eyes aloft, stood still; and Anselmus got time to feast himself on the
glorious sight, which the simple decoration of this hall afforded.
Jutting from the azure-coloured walls rose gold-bronze trunks of high
palm-trees, which wove their colossal leaves, glittering like bright
emeralds, into a ceiling far up: in the middle of the chamber, and
resting on three Egyptian lions, cast out of dark bronze, lay a
porphyry plate; and on this stood a simple flower pot made of gold,
from which, as soon as he beheld it, Anselmus could not turn away his
eyes. It was as if, in a thousand gleaming reflections, all sorts of
shapes were sporting on the bright polished gold: often he perceived
his own form, with arms stretched out in longing-ah! beneath the
elder-bush-and Serpentina was winding and shooting up and down, and
again looking at him with her kind eyes. Anselmus was beside himself
with frantic rapture.

"Serpentina! Serpentina!" he cried aloud; and Archivarius Lindhorst
whirled round abruptly, and said: "What, Herr Anselmus? If I am not
wrong, you were pleased to call for my daughter; she is in the other
side of the house at present, and indeed taking her lesson on the
harpsichord. Let us go along."

Anselmus, scarcely knowing what he did, followed his conductor; he saw
or heard nothing more till Archivarius Lindhorst suddenly grasped his
hand and said: "Here is the place!"

Anselmus awoke as from a dream and now perceived that he was in a high
room lined on all sides with bookshelves, and nowise differing from a
common library and study. In the middle stood a large writing table,
with a stuffed armchair before it. "This," said Archivarius Lindhorst,
"is your workroom for the present: whether you may work, some other
time, in the blue library, where you so suddenly called out my
daughter's name, I do not know yet. But now I would like to convince
myself of your ability to execute this task appointed you, in the way
I wish it and need it." The Student here gathered full courage; and
not without internal self-complacence in the certainty of highly
gratifying Archivarius Lindhorst, pulled out his drawings and
specimens of penmanship from his pocket. But no sooner had the
Archivarius cast his eye on the first leaf, a piece of writing in the
finest English style, than he smiled very oddly and shook his head.
These motions he repeated at every succeeding leaf, so that the
Student Anselmus felt the blood mounting to his face, and at last,
when the smile became quite sarcastic and contemptuous, he broke out
in downright vexation: "The Herr Archivarius does not seem contented
with my poor talents."

"My dear Herr Anselmus," said Archivarius Lindhorst, "you have indeed
fine capacities for the art of calligraphy; but, in the meanwhile, it
is clear enough, I must reckon more on your diligence and good-will,
than on your attainments."

The Student Anselmus spoke at length of his often-acknowledged
perfection in this art, of his fine Chinese ink, and most select crow-
quills. But Archivarius Lindhorst handed him the English sheet, and
said: "Be the judge yourself!" Anselmus felt as if struck by a
thunderbolt, to see the way his handwriting looked: it was miserable,
beyond measure. There was no rounding in the turns, no hair-stroke
where it should be; no proportion between the capital and single
letters; indeed, villainous schoolboy pot-hooks often spoiled the best
lines. "And then," continued Archivarius Lindhorst, "your ink will not
last." He dipped his finger in a glass of water, and as he just
skimmed it over the lines, they vanished without a trace. The Student
Anselmus felt as if some monster were throttling him: he could not
utter a word. There stood he, with the unfortunate sheet in his hand;
but Archivarius Lindhorst laughed aloud, and said: "Never mind, Herr
Anselmus; what you could not do well before you will perhaps do better
here. At any rate, you shall have better materials than you have been
accustomed to. Begin, in Heaven's name!"

From a locked press, Archivarius Lindhorst now brought out a black
fluid substance, which diffused a most peculiar odour; also pens,
sharply pointed and of strange colour, together with a sheet of
special whiteness and smoothness; then at last an Arabic manuscript:
and as Anselmus sat down to work, the Archivarius left the room. The
Student Anselmus had often copied Arabic manuscripts before; the first
problem, therefore, seemed to him not so very difficult to solve.

"How those pot-hooks came into my fine English script, heaven and
Archivarius Lindhorst know best," said he; "but that they are not from
my hand, I will testify to the death!" At every new word that stood
fair and perfect on the parchment, his courage increased, and with it
his adroitness. In truth, these pens wrote exquisitely well; and the
mysterious ink flowed pliantly, and black as jet, on the bright white
parchment. And as he worked along so diligently, and with such
strained attention, he began to feel more and more at home in the
solitary room; and already he had quite fitted himself into his task,
which he now hoped to finish well, when at the stroke of three the
Archivarius called him into the side room to a savoury dinner. At
table, Archivarius Lindhorst was in an especially good humour. He
inquired about the Student Anselmus' friends, Conrector Paulmann and
Registrator Heerbrand, and of the latter he had a store of merry
anecdotes to tell. The good old Rhenish was particularly pleasing to
the Student Anselmus, and made him more talkative than he usually was.
At the stroke of four, he rose to resume his labour; and this
punctuality appeared to please the Archivarius.

If the copying of these Arabic manuscripts had prospered in his hands
before dinner, the task now went forward much better; indeed, he could
not himself comprehend the rapidity and ease with which he succeeded
in transcribing the twisted strokes of this foreign character. But it
was as if, in his inmost soul, a voice were whispering in audible
words: "Ah! could you accomplish it, if you were not thinking of her,
if you did not believe in her and in her love?" Then there floated
whispers, as in low, low, waving crystal tones, through the room: "I
am near, near, near! I help you: be bold, be steadfast, dear Anselmus!
I toil with you so that you may be mine!" And as, in the fullness of
secret rapture, he caught these sounds, the unknown characters grew
clearer and clearer to him; he scarcely needed to look at the original
at all; nay, it was as if the letters were already standing in pale
ink on the parchment, and he had nothing more to do but mark them
black. So did he labour on, encompassed with dear inspiring tones as
with soft sweet breath, till the clock struck six and Archivarius
Lindhorst entered the apartment. He came forward to the table, with a
singular smile; Anselmus rose in silence: the Archivarius still looked
at him, with that mocking smile: but no sooner had he glanced over the
copy, than the smile passed into deep solemn earnestness, which every
feature of his face adapted itself to express. He seemed no longer the
same. His eyes which usually gleamed with sparkling fire, now looked
with unutterable mildness at Anselmus; a soft red tinted the pale
cheeks; and instead of the irony which at other times compressed the
mouth, the softly curved graceful lips now seemed to be opening for
wise and soul-persuading speech. His whole form was higher, statelier;
the wide nightgown spread itself like a royal mantle in broad folds
over his breast and shoulders; and through the white locks, which lay
on his high open brow, there wound a thin band of gold.

"Young man," began the Archivarius in solemn tone, "before you were
aware of it, I knew you, and all the secret relations which bind you
to the dearest and holiest of my interests!"

Serpentina loves you; a singular destiny, whose fateful threads were
spun by enemies, is fulfilled, should she become yours and if you
obtain, as an essential dowry, the Golden Flower Pot, which of right
belongs to her. But only from effort and contest can your happiness in
the higher life arise; hostile Principles assail you; and only the
interior force with which you withstand these contradictions can save
you from disgrace and ruin. While labouring here, you are undergoing a
season of instruction: belief and full knowledge will lead you to the
near goal, if you but hold fast, what you have begun well. Bear her
always and truly in your thoughts, her who loves you; then you will
see the marvels of the Golden Pot, and be happy forevermore.

"Farewell! Archivarius Lindhorst expects you tomorrow at noon in his
cabinet. Farewell!" With these words Archivarius Lindhorst softly
pushed the Student Anselmus out of the door, which he then locked; and
Anselmus found himself in the chamber where he had dined, the single
door of which led out to the hallway.

Completely stupefied by these strange phenomena, the Student Anselmus
stood lingering at the street door; he heard a window open above him,
and looked up: it was Archivarius Lindhorst, quite the old man again,
in his light-gray gown, as he usually appeared. The Archivarius called
to him: "Hey, worthy Herr Anselmus, what are you studying over there?
Tush, the Arabic is still in your head. My compliments to Herr
Conrector Paulmann, if you see him; and come tomorrow precisely at
noon. The fee for this day is lying in your right waistcoat pocket."
The Student Anselmus actually found the speziesthaler in the pocket
indicated; but he derived no pleasure from it. "What is to come of all
this," said he to himself, "I do not know: but if it is some mad
delusion and conjuring work that has laid hold of me, my dear
Serpentina still lives and moves in my inward heart; and before I
leave her, I will die; for I know that the thought in me is eternal,
and no hostile Principle can take it from me: and what else is this
thought but Serpentina's love?"




SEVENTH VIGIL

At last Conrector Paulmann knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and
said: "Now, then, it is time to go to bed." "Yes, indeed," replied
Veronica, frightened at her father's sitting so late: for ten had
struck long ago. No sooner, accordingly, had the Conrector withdrawn
to his study and bedroom, and Franzchen's heavy breathing signified
that she was asleep, than Veronica, who to save appearances had also
gone to bed, rose softly, softly, out of it again, put on her clothes,
threw her mantle round her, and glided out of doors.

Ever since the moment when Veronica had left old Liese, Anselmus had
continually stood before her eyes; and it seemed as if a voice that
was strange to her kept repeating in her soul that he was reluctant
because he was held prisoner by an enemy and that Veronica, by secret
means of the magic art, could break these bonds. Her confidence in old
Liese grew stronger every day; and even the impression of
unearthliness and horror by degrees became less, so that all the
mystery and strangeness of her relation to the crone appeared before
her only in the colour of something singular, romantic, and so not a
little attractive. Accordingly, she had a firm purpose, even at the
risk of being missed from home, and encountering a thousand
inconveniences, to undertake the adventure of the Equinox. And now, at
last, the fateful night, in which old Liese had promised to afford
comfort and help, had come; and Veronica, long used to thoughts of
nightly wandering, was full of heart and hope. She sped through the
solitary streets; heedless of the storm which was howling in the air
and dashing thick raindrops in her face.

With a stifled droning clang, the Kreuzthurm clock struck eleven, as
Veronica, quite wet, reached old Liese's house. "Are you here, dear!
wait, love; wait, love-" cried a voice from above; and in a moment the
crone, laden with a basket, and attended by her cat, was also standing
at the door. "We will go, then, and do what is proper, and can prosper
in the night, which favours the work." So speaking, the crone with her
cold hand seized the shivering Veronica, to whom she gave the heavy
basket to carry, while she herself produced a little cauldron, a
trivet, and a spade. By the time they reached the open fields, the
rain had ceased, but the storm had become louder; howlings in a
thousand tones were flitting through the air. A horrible heart-
piercing lamentation sounded down from the black clouds, which rolled
themselves together in rapid flight and veiled all things in thickest
darkness. But the crone stepped briskly forward, crying in a shrill
harsh voice: "Light, light, my lad!" Then blue forky gleams went
quivering and sputtering before them; and Veronica perceived that it
was the cat emitting sparks, and bounding forward to light the way;
while his doleful ghastly screams were heard in the momentary pauses
of the storm. Her heart almost failed; it was as if ice-cold talons
were clutching into her soul; but, with a strong effort, she collected
herself, pressed closer to the crone, and said: "It must all be
accomplished now, come of it what may!"

"Right, right, little daughter!" replied the crone; "be steady, like a
good girl; you shall have something pretty, and Anselmus to boot."

At last the crone paused, and said: "Here is the place!" She dug a
hole in the ground, then shook coals into it, put the trivet over
them, and placed the cauldron on top of it. All this she accompanied
with strange gestures, while the cat kept circling round her. From his
tail there sputtered sparkles, which united into a ring of fire. The
coals began to burn; and at last blue flames rose up around the
cauldron. Veronica was ordered to lay off her mantle and veil, and to
cower down beside the crone, who seized her hands, and pressed them
hard, glaring with her fiery eyes at the maiden. Before long the
strange materials (whether flowers, metals, herbs, or beasts, you
could not determine), which the crone had taken from her basket and
thrown into the cauldron, began to seethe and foam. The crone let go
Veronica, then clutched an iron ladle, and plunged it into the glowing
mass, which she began to stir, while Veronica, as she directed, was
told to look steadfastly into the cauldron and fix her thoughts on
Anselmus. Now the crone threw fresh ingredients, glittering pieces of
metal, a lock of hair which Veronica had cut from her head, and a
little ring which she had long worn, into the pot, while the old woman
howled in dread, yelling tones through the gloom, and the cat, in
quick, incessant motion, whimpered and whined--I wish very much,
favorable reader, that on this twenty-third of September, you had been
on the road to Dresden. In vain, when night sank down upon you, the
people at the last stage-post tried to keep you there; the friendly
host represented to you that the storm and the rain were too bitter,
and moreover, for unearthly reasons, it was not safe to rush out into
the dark on the night of the Equinox; but you paid no heed to him,
thinking to yourself "I will give the postillion a whole thaler as a
tip, and so, at latest, by one o'clock I shall reach Dresden. There in
the Golden Angel or the Helmet or the City of Naumburg a good supper
and a soft bed await me."

And now as you ride toward Dresden through the dark, you suddenly
observe in the distance a very strange, flickering light. As you come
nearer, you can distinguish a ring of fire, and in its center, beside
a pot out of which a thick vapour is mounting with quivering red
flashes and sparkles, there sit two very different forms. Right
through the fire your road leads, but the horses snort, and stamp, and
rear; the postillion curses and prays, and does not spare his whip;
the horses will not stir from the spot. Without thinking, you leap out
of the stagecoach and hasten forward toward the fire.

And now you clearly see a pretty girl, obviously of gentle birth, who
is kneeling by the cauldron in a thin white nightdress. The storm has
loosened her braids, and her long chestnut-brown hair is floating
freely in the wind. Full in the dazzling light from the flame
flickering from beneath the trivet hovers her sweet face; but in the
horror which has poured over it like an icy stream, it is stiff and
pale as death; and by her updrawn eyebrows, by her mouth, which is
vainly opened for the shriek of anguish which cannot find its way from
her bosom compressed with unnamable torment-you perceive her terror,
her horror. She holds her small soft hands aloft, spasmodically
pressed together, as if she were calling with prayers her guardian
angel to deliver her from the monsters of the Pit, which, in obedience
to this potent spell are to appear at any moment! There she kneels,
motionless as a figure of marble. Opposite her a long, shrivelled,
copper-yellow crone with a peaked hawk-nose and glistering cat-eyes
sits cowering. From the black cloak which is huddled around her
protrude her skinny naked arms; as she stirs the Hell-broth, she
laughs and cries with creaking voice through the raging, bellowing
storm.

I can well believe that unearthly feelings might have arisen in you,
too-unacquainted though you are otherwise with fear and dread--at the
aspect of this picture by Rembrandt or Hell-Breughel, taking place in
actual life. Indeed, in horror, the hairs of your head might have
stood on end. But your eye could not turn away from the gentle girl
entangled in these infernal doings; and the electric stroke that
quivered through all your nerves and fibres, kindled in you with the
speed of lightning the courageous thought of defying the mysterious
powers of the ring of fire; and at this thought your horror
disappeared; nay, the thought itself came into being from your
feelings of horror, as their product. Your heart felt as if you
yourself were one of those guardian angels to whom the maiden,
frightened almost to death, was praying; nay, as if you must instantly
whip out your pocket pistol and without further ceremony blow the
hag's brains out.

But while you were thinking of all of this most vividly, you cried
aloud, "Holla!" or "What the matter here?" or "What's going on there?"
The postillion blew a clanging blast on his horn; the witch ladled
about in her brewage, and in a trice everything vanished in thick
smoke. Whether you would have found the girl, for whom you were
groping in the darkness with the most heart-felt longing, I cannot
say: but you surely would have destroyed the witch's spell and undone
the magic circle into which Veronica had thoughtlessly entered..Alas!
Neither you, favourable reader, nor any other man either drove or
walked this way, on the twenty-third of September, in the tempestuous
witch-favouring night; and Veronica had to abide by the cauldron, in
deadly terror, till the work was near its close. She heard, indeed,
the howling and raging around her; all sorts of hateful voices
bellowed and bleated, and yelled and hummed; but she did not open her
eyes, for she felt that the sight of the abominations and the horrors
with which she was encircled might drive her into incurable destroying
madness. The hag had ceased to stir the pot: its smoke grew fainter
and fainter; and at last, nothing but a light spirit-flame was burning
in the bottom. Then she cried:

"Veronica, my child! my darling! look into the grounds there! What do
you see? What do you see?"

Veronica could not answer, yet it seemed as if all sorts of perplexing
shapes were dancing and whirling in the cauldron; and suddenly, with
friendly look, reaching her his hand, the Student Anselmus rose from
the cavity of the vessel. She cried aloud: "It is Anselmus! It is
Anselmus!"

Instantly the crone turned the cock fixed at the bottom of the
cauldron, and glowing metal rushed forth, hissing and bubbling, into a
little mould which she had placed beside it. The hag now sprang aloft,
and shrieked, capering about with wild horrific gestures: "It is done!
It is done!"

"Thanks, my pretty lad; did you watch?-Pooh, pooh, he is coming! Bite
him to death! Bite him to death!" But then there sounded a strong
rushing through the air: it was as if a huge eagle were pouncing down,
striking round him with his pinions; and there shouted a tremendous
voice:

"Hey, hey, vermin!-It is over! It is over!-Home with you!" The crone
sank down with bitter howling, and Veronica's sense and recollection
forsook her.

On her returning to herself, it was broad daylight, she was lying in
her bed, and Frnzchen was standing before her with a cup of steaming
tea and saying to her: "Tell me, sister, what in all the world ails
you? I have been standing here this hour, and you have been lying
senseless, as if in a fever, and moaning and whimpering so that we
were frightened to death. Father has not gone to his class this
morning because of you; he will be here directly with the doctor."

Veronica took the tea in silence: and while she was drinking it, the
horrid images of the night rose vividly before her eyes. "So it was
all nothing but a wild dream that tortured me? Yet last night, I
surely went to that old woman; it was the twenty-third of September
too? Well, I must have been very sick last night, and so fancied all
this; and nothing has sickened me but my perpetual thinking of
Anselmus and the strange old woman who gave herself out for Liese, but
was no such thing, and only made a fool of me with that story."

Frnzchen, who had left the room, again came in with Veronica's
mantle, all wet, in her hand.

"Look, sister," said she, "what a sight your mantle is! The storm last
night blew open the shutters and upset the chair where your mantle was
hanging; and the rain has come in, and wet it for you."

This speech sank heavy on Veronica's heart, for she now saw that it
was no dream which had tormented her, but that she had really been
with the witch. Anguish and horror took hold of her at the thought,
and a fever-frost quivered through all her frame. In spasmodic
shuddering, she drew the bedclothes close over her; but with this, she
felt something hard pressing on her breast, and on grasping it with
her hand, it seemed like a medallion: she drew it out, as soon as
Frnzchen went away with the mantle; it was a little, round, bright-
polished metallic mirror. "This is a present from the woman," cried
she eagerly; and it was as if fiery beams were shooting from the
mirror, and penetrating into her inmost soul with benignant warmth.
The fever-frost was gone, and there streamed through her whole being
an unutterable feeling of contentment and cheerful delight. She could
not but remember Anselmus; and as she turned her thoughts more and
more intensely on him, behold, he smiled on her in friendly fashion
out of the mirror, like a living miniature portrait. But before long
she felt as if it were no longer the image which she saw; no! but the
Student Anselmus himself alive and in person. He was sitting in a
stately chamber, with the strangest furniture, and diligently writing.
Veronica was about to step forward, to pat his shoulder, and say to
him: "Herr Anselmus, look round; it is I!" But she could not; for it
was as if a fire-stream encircled him; and yet when she looked more
narrowly, this fire-stream was nothing but large books with gilt
leaves. At last Veronica so far succeeded that she caught Anselmus's
eye: it seemed as if he needed, in gazing at her, to bethink himself
who she was; but at last he smiled and said: "Ah! Is it you, dear
Mademoiselle Paulmann! But why do you like now and then to take the
form of a little snake?"

At these strange words, Veronica could not help laughing aloud; and
with this she awoke as from a deep dream; and hastily concealed the
little mirror, for the door opened, and Conrector Paulmann with Doctor
Eckstein entered the room. Dr. Eckstein stepped forward to the
bedside; felt Veronica's pulse with long profound study, and then
said: "Ey! Ey!" Thereupon he wrote out a prescription; again felt the
pulse; a second time said: "Ey! Ey!" and then left his patient. But
from these disclosures of Dr. Eckstein's, Conrector Paulmann could not
clearly make out what it was that ailed Veronica.




EIGHTH VIGIL

The Student Anselmus had now worked several days with Archivarius
Lindhorst; these working hours were for him the happiest of his life;
still encircled with lovely tones, with Serpentina's encouraging
voice, he was filled and overflowed with a pure delight, which often
rose to highest rapture. Every difficulty, every little care of his
needy existence, had vanished from his thoughts; and in the new life,
which had risen on him as in serene sunny splendour, he comprehended
all the wonders of a higher world, which before had filled him with
astonishment, nay, with dread.

His copying proceeded rapidly and lightly; for he felt more and more
as if he were writing characters long known to him; and he scarcely
needed to cast his eye upon the manuscript, while copying it all with
the greatest exactness.

Except at the hour of dinner, Archivarius Lindhorst seldom made his
appearance; and this always precisely at the moment when Anselmus had
finished the last letter of some manuscript: then the Archivarius
would hand him another, and immediately leave him, without uttering a
word; having first stirred the ink with a little black rod, and
changed the old pens for new sharp-pointed ones. One day, when
Anselmus, at the stroke of twelve, had as usual mounted the stair, he
found the door through which he commonly entered, standing locked and
Archivarius Lindhorst came forward from the other side, dressed in his
strange flower-figured dressing gown.

He called aloud: "Today come this way, good Herr Anselmus; for we must
go to the chamber where the masters of Bhagavadgita are waiting for
us."

He stepped along the corridor, and led Anselmus through the same
chambers and halls as at the first visit. The Student Anselmus again
felt astonished at the marvellous beauty of the garden: but he now
perceived that many of the strange flowers, hanging on the dark
bushes, were in truth insects gleaming with lordly colours, hovering
up and down with their little wings, as they danced and whirled in
clusters, caressing one another with their antennae. On the other hand
again, the rose and azure-coloured birds were odoriferous flowers; and
the perfume which they scattered, mounted from their cups in low
lovely tones, which, with the gurgling of distant fountains, and the
sighing of the high groves and trees, mingled themselves into
mysterious accords of a deep unutterable longing. The mock-birds,
which had so jeered and flouted him before, were again fluttering to
and fro over his head, and crying incessantly with their sharp small
voices: "Herr Studiosus, Herr Studiosus, don't be in such a hurry!
Don't peep into the clouds so! They may fall about your ears-He! He!
Herr Studiosus, put your powdermantle on; cousin Screech-Owl will
frizzle your toupee." And so it went along, in all manner of stupid
chatter, till Anselmus left the garden.

Archivarius Lindhorst at last stepped into the azure chamber: the
porphyry, with the Golden Flower Pot, was gone; instead of it, in the
middle of the room, stood a table overhung with violet-coloured satin,
upon which lay the writing gear already known to Anselmus; and a
stuffed armchair, covered with the same sort of cloth, was placed
beside it.

"Dear Herr Anselmus," said Archivarius Lindhorst, "you have now copied
for me a number of manuscripts, rapidly and correctly, to my no small
contentment: you have gained my confidence; but the hardest is still
ahead; and that is the transcribing or rather painting of certain
works, written in a peculiar character; I keep them in this room, and
they can only be copied on the spot."

"You will, therefore, in future, work here; but I must recommend to
you the greatest foresight and attention; a false stroke, or, which
may Heaven forfend, a blot let fall on the original, will plunge you
into misfortune."

Anselmus observed that from the golden trunks of the palm-tree, little
emerald leaves projected: one of these leaves the Archivarius took
hold of; and Anselmus saw that the leaf was in truth a roll of
parchment, which the Archivarius unfolded, and spread out before the
Student on the table. Anselmus wondered not a little at these
strangely intertwisted characters; and as he looked over the many
points, strokes, dashes, and twirls in the manuscript, he almost lost
hope of ever copying it. He fell into deep thought on the subject.

"Be of courage, young man!" cried the Archivarius; "if you have
continuing belief and true love, Serpentina will help you."

His voice sounded like ringing metal; and as Anselmus looked up in
utter terror, Archivarius Lindhorst was standing before him in the
kingly form, which, during the first visit, he had assumed in the
library. Anselmus felt as if in his deep reverence he could not but
sink on his knee; but the Archivarius stepped up the trunk of a palm-
tree, and vanished aloft among the emerald leaves. The Student
Anselmus perceived that the Prince of the Spirits had been speaking
with him, and was now gone up to his study; perhaps intending, by the
beams which some of the Planets had despatched to him as envoys, to
send back word what was to become of Anselmus and Serpentina.

"It may be too," he further thought, "that he is expecting news from
the springs of the Nile; or that some magician from Lapland is paying
him a visit: it behooves me to set diligently about my task." And with
this, he began studying the foreign characters on the roll of
parchment.

The strange music of the garden sounded over him, and encircled him
with sweet lovely odours; the mock-birds, too, he still heard giggling
and twittering, but could not distinguish their words, a thing which
greatly pleased him. At times also it was as if the leaves of the
palm-trees were rustling, and as if the clear crystal tones, which
Anselmus on that fateful Ascension Day had heard under the elder-bush,
were beaming and flitting through the room. Wonderfully strengthened
by this shining and tinkling, the Student Anselmus directed his eyes
and thoughts more and more intensely on the superscription of the
parchment roll; and before long he felt, as it were from his inmost
soul, that the characters could denote nothing else than these words:
Of the marriage of the Salamander with the green snake. Then resounded
a louder triphony of clear crystal bells: "Anselmus! dear Anselmus!"
floated to him from the leaves; and, O wonder! on the trunk of the
palm-tree the green snake came winding down.

"Serpentina! Serpentina!" cried Anselmus, in the madness of highest
rapture; for as he gazed more earnestly, it was in truth a lovely
glorious maiden that, looking at him with those dark blue eyes, lull
of inexpressible longing, as they lived in his heart, was slowly
gliding down to meet him. The leaves seemed to jut out and expand; on
every hand were prickles sprouting from the trunk; but Serpentina
twisted and wound herself deftly through them; and so drew her
fluttering robe, glancing as if in changeful colours, along with her,
that, plying round the dainty form, it nowhere caught on the
projecting points and prickles of the palm-tree. She sat down by
Anselmus on the same chair, clasping him with her arm, and pressing
him towards her, so that he felt the breath which came from her lips,
and the electric warmth of her frame.

"Dear Anselmus," began Serpentina, "you shall now be wholly mine; by
your belief, by your love, you shall obtain me, and I will bring you
the Golden Flower Pot, which shall make us both happy forevermore."

"O, kind, lovely Serpentina!" said Anselmus. "If I have you, what do I
care for anything else! If you are but mine, I will joyfully give in
to all the wonderful mysteries that have beset me since the moment
when I first saw you."

"I know," continued Serpentina, "that the strange and mysterious
things with which my father, often merely in the sport of his humour,
has surrounded you have raised distrust and dread in your mind; but
now, I hope, it shall be so no more; for I came at this moment to tell
you, dear Anselmus, from the bottom of my heart and soul, everything,
to the smallest detail, that you need to know fox understanding my
father, and so for seeing clearly what your relation to him and to me
really is."

Anselmus felt as if he were so wholly clasped and encircled by this
gentle lovely form, that only with her could he move and live, and as
if it were but the beating of her pulse that throbbed through his
nerves and fibres; he listened to each one of her words till it
sounded in his inmost heart, and, like a burning ray, kindled in him
the rapture of Heaven. He had put his arm round that daintier than
dainty waist; but the changeful glistering cloth of her robe was so
smooth and slippery, that it seemed to him as if she could at any
moment wind herself from his arms, and glide away. He trembled at the
thought.

"Ah, do not leave me, gentlest Serpentina!" cried he; "you are my
life."

"Not now," said Serpentina, "till I have told you everything that in
your love of me you can comprehend:

"Know then, dearest, that my father is sprung from the wondrous race
of the Salamanders; and that I owe my existence to his love for the
green snake. In primeval times, in the Fairyland Atlantis, the potent
Spirit-prince Phosphorus bore rule; and to him the Salamanders, and
other spirits of the elements, were pledged by oath. Once upon a time,
a Salamander, whom he loved before all others (it was my father),
chanced to be walking in the stately garden, which Phosphorus' mother
had decked in the lordliest fashion with her best gifts; and the
Salamander heard a tall lily singing in low tones: 'Press down thy
little eyelids, till my lover, the Morning-wind, awake thee.' He
walked towards it: touched by his glowing breath, the lily opened her
leaves: and he saw the lily's daughter, the green snake, lying asleep
in the hollow of the flower."

Then was Salamander inflamed with warm love for the fair snake; and he
carried her away from the lily, whose perfumes in nameless lamentation
vainly called for her beloved daughter throughout all the garden. For
the Salamander had borne her into the palace of Phosphorus and was
there beseeching him: 'Wed me with my beloved, and she shall be mine
forevermore.'-.'Madman, what do you ask?' said the Prince of the
Spirits. 'Know that once the Lily was my mistress and bore rule with
me; but the Spark, which I cast into her, threatened to annihilate the
fair Lily; and only my victory over the black Dragon, whom now the
Spirits of the Earth hold in fetters, maintains her, that her leaves
continue strong enough to enclose this Spark and preserve it within
them. But when you clasp the green snake, your fire will consume her
frame; and a new being rapidly arising from her dust, will soar away
and leave you.'

"The Salamander heeded not the warning of the Spirit-prince: full of
longing ardour he folded the green snake in his arms; she crumbled
into ashes; a winged being, born from her dust, soared away through
the sky. Then the madness of desperation caught the Salamander; and he
ran through the garden, dashing forth fire and flames; and wasted it
in his wild fury, till its fairest flowers and blossoms hung down,
blackened and scathed; and their lamentation filled the air."

The indignant Prince of the Spirits, in his wrath, laid hold of the
Salamander, and said: 'Your fire has burnt out, your flames are
extinguished, your rays darkened: sink down to the Spirits of the
Earth; let them mock and jeer you, and keep you captive, till the
Fire-elements shall again kindle, and beam up with you as with a new
being from the Earth.' The poor Salamander sank down extinguished: but
now the testy old earth-spirit, who was Phosphorus' gardener, came
forth and said: 'Master! who has greater cause to complain of the
Salamander than I? Had not all the fair flowers, which he has burnt,
been decorated with my gayest metals; had I not stoutly nursed and
tended them, and spent many a fair hue on their leaves? And yet I must
pity the poor Salamander; for it was but love, in which you, O Master,
have full often been entangled, that drove him to despair, and made
him desolate the garden. Remit his too harsh punishment!'-'His fire is
for the present extinguished,' said the Prince of the Spirits; 'but in
the hapless time, when the speech of nature shall no longer be
intelligible to degenerate man; when the spirits of the elements,
banished into their own regions, shall speak to him only from afar, in
faint, spent echoes; when, displaced from the harmonious circle, an
infinite longing alone shall give him tidings of the land of marvels,
which he once might inhabit while belief and love still dwelt in his
soul: in this hapless time, the fire of the Salamander shall again
kindle; but only to manhood shall he be permitted to rise, and
entering wholly into many necessitous existence, he shall learn to
endure its wants and oppressions. Yet not only shall the remembrance
of his first state continue with him, but he shall again rise into the
sacred harmony of all Nature; he shall understand its wonders, and the
power of his fellow-spirits shall stand at his behest. Then, too, in a
lily-bush, shall he find the green snake again: and the fruit of his
marriage with her shall be three daughters, which, to men, shall
appear in the form of their mother. In the spring season these shall
disport themselves in the dark elder-bush, and sound with their lovely
crystal voices.

And then if, in that needy and mean age of inward stuntedness, there
shall be found a youth who understands their song; nay, if one of the
little snakes look at him with her kind eyes; if the look awaken in
him forecastings of the distant wondrous land, to which, having cast
away the burden of the Common, he can courageously soar; if, with love
to the snake, there rise in him belief in the wonders of nature, nay,
in his own existence amid these wonders, then the snake shall be his.

But not till three youths of this sort have been found and wedded to
the three daughters, may the Salamander cast away his heavy burden,
and return to his brothers.'-'Permit me, Master,' said the earth-
spirit, to make these three daughters a present, which may glorify
their life with the husbands they shall find. Let each of them receive
from me a flower pot, of the fairest metal which I have; I will polish
it with beams borrowed from the diamond; in its glitter shall our
kingdom of wonders, as it now exists in the harmony of universal
nature be imaged back in glorious dazzling reflection; and from its
interior, on the day of marriage, shall spring forth a fire-lily,
whose eternal blossoms shall encircle the youth that is found worthy,
with sweet wafting odours. Soon too shall he learn its speech, and
understand the wonders of our kingdom, and dwell with his beloved in
Atlantis itself.'

"Thou perceivest well, dear Anselmus, that the Salamander of whom I
speak is no other than my father. In spite of his higher nature, he
was forced to subject himself to the paltriest contradictions of
common life; and hence, indeed, often comes the wayward humour with
which he vexes many. He has told me now and then, that, for the inward
make of mind, which the Spirit-prince Phosphorus required as a
condition of marriage with me and my sisters, men have a name at
present, which, in truth, they frequently enough misapply: they call
it a childlike poetic character. This character, he says, is often
found in youths, who, by reason of their high sim-plicity of manners,
and their total want of what is called knowledge of the world, are
mocked by the common mob. Ah, dear Anselmus! beneath the elder-bush,
you understood my song, my look: you love the green snake, you believe
in me, and will be mine for evermore! The fair lily will bloom forth
from the Golden Flower Pot; and we shall dwell, happy, and united, and
blessed, in Atlantis together!

"Yet I must not hide from you that in its deadly battle with the
Salamanders and spirits of the earth, the black Dragon burst from
their grasp, and hurried off through the air. Phosphorus, indeed,
again holds him in fetters; but from the black quills, which, in the
struggle, rained down on the ground, there sprang up hostile spirits,
which on all hands set themselves against the Salamanders and spirits
of the earth. That woman who hates you so, dear Anselmus, and who, as
my father knows full well, is striving for possession of the Golden
Flower Pot; that woman owes her existence to the love of such a quill
(plucked in battle from the Dragon's wing) for a certain beet beside
which it dropped. She knows her origin and her power; for, in the
moans and convulsions of the captive Dragon, the secrets of many a
mysterious constellation are revealed to her; and she uses every means
and effort to work from the outward into the inward and unseen; while
my father, with the beams which shoot forth from the spirit of the
Salamander, withstands and subdues her. All the baneful principles
which lurk in deadly herbs and poisonous beasts, she collects; and,
mixing them under favourable constellations, raises therewith many a
wicked spell, which overwhelms the soul of man with fear and
trembling, and subjects him to the power of those demons, produced
from the Dragon when it yielded in battle. Beware of that old woman,
dear Anselmus! She hates you, because your childlike pious character
has annihilated many of her wicked charms. Keep true, true to me; soon
you will be at the goal!"

"O my Serpentina! my own Serpentina!" cried the Student Anselmus, "how
could I leave you, how should I not love you forever!" A kiss was
burning on his lips; he awoke as from a deep dream: Serpentina had
vanished; six o'clock was striking, and it fell heavy on his heart
that today he had not copied a single stroke. Full of anxiety, and
dreading reproaches from the Archivarius, he looked into the sheet;
and, O wonder! the copy of the mysterious manuscript was fairly
concluded; and he thought, on viewing the characters more narrowly,
that the writing was nothing else but Serpentina's story of her
father, the favourite of the Spirit-prince Phosphorus, in Atlantis,
the land of marvels. And now entered Archivarius Lindhorst, in his
light-gray surtout, with hat and staff: he looked into the parchment
on which Anselmus had been writing; took a large pinch of snuff, and
said with a smile: "Just as I thought!-Well, Herr Anselmus, here is
your speziesthaler; we will now go to the Linkische Bath: please
follow me!" The Archivarius walked rapidly through the garden, in
which there was such a din of singing, whistling, talking, that the
Student Anselmus was quite deafened with it, and thanked Heaven when
he found himself on the street..Scarcely had they walked twenty paces,
when they met Registrator Heerbrand, who companionably joined them. At
the Gate, they filled their pipes, which they had upon them:

Registrator Heerbrand complained that he had left his tinder-box
behind, and could not strike fire. "Fire!" cried Archivarius
Lindhorst, scornfully; "here is fire enough, and to spare!" And with
this he snapped his fingers, out of which came streams of sparks, and
directly kindled the pipes.-"Observe the chemical knack of some men!"
said Registrator Heerbrand; but the Student Anselmus thought, not
without internal awe, of the Salamander and his history.

In the Linkische Bath, Registrator Heerbrand drank so much strong
double beer, that at last, though usually a good-natured quiet man, he
began singing student songs in squeaking tenor; he asked everyone
sharply, whether he was his friend or not? and at last had to be taken
home by the Student Anselmus, long after the Archivarius Lindhorst had
gone his ways.




NINTH VIGIL

The strange and mysterious things which day by day befell the Student
Anselmus, had entirely withdrawn him from his customary life. He no
longer visited any of his friends, and waited every morning with
impatience for the hour of noon, which was to unlock his paradise. And
yet while his whole soul was turned to the gentle Serpentina, and the
wonders of Archivarius Lindhorst's fairy kingdom, he could not help
now and then thinking of Veronica; nay, often it seemed as if she came
before him and confessed with blushes how heartily she loved him; how
much she longed to rescue him from the phantoms, which were mocking
and befooling him. At times he felt as if a foreign power, suddenly
breaking in on his mind, were drawing him with resistless force to the
forgotten Veronica; as if he must needs follow her whither she pleased
to lead him, nay, as if he were bound to her by ties that would not
break. That very night after Serpentina had first appeared to him in
the form of a lovely maiden; after the wondrous secret of the
Salamander's nuptials with the green snake had been disclosed,
Veronica came before him more vividly than ever. Nay, not till he
awoke, was he clearly aware that he had only been dreaming; for he had
felt persuaded that Veronica was actually beside him, complaining with
an expression of keen sorrow, which pierced through his inmost soul,
that he should sacrifice her deep true love to fantastic visions,
which only the distemper of his mind called into being, and which,
moreover, would at last prove his ruin. Veronica was lovelier than he
had ever seen her; he could not drive her from his thoughts: and in
this perplexed and contradictory mood he hastened out, hoping to get
rid of it by a morning walk.

A secret magic influence led him on the Pirna gate: he was just
turning into a cross street, when Conrector Paulmann, coming after
him, cried out: "Ey! Ey!-Dear Herr Anselmus!--Amice! Amice! Where, in
Heaven's name, have you been buried so long? We never see you at all.
Do you know, Veronica is longing very much to have another song with
you. So come along; you were just on the road to me, at any rate."

The Student Anselmus, constrained by this friendly violence, went
along with the Conrector.

On entering the house, they were met by Veronica, attired with such
neatness and attention, that Conrector Paulmann, full of amazement,
asked her: "Why so decked, Mamsell? Were you expecting visitors? Well,
here I bring you Herr Anselmus."

The Student Anselmus, in daintily and elegantly kissing Veronica's
hand, felt a small soft pressure from it, which shot like a stream of
fire over all his frame. Veronica was cheerfulness, was grace itself;
and when Paulmann left them for his study, she contrived, by all
manner of rogueries and waggeries, to uplift the Student Anselmus so
much that he at last quite forgot his bashfulness, and jigged round
the room with the playful girl. But here again the demon of
awkwardness got hold of him: he jolted on a table, and Veronica's
pretty little workbox fell to the floor. Anselmus lifted it; the lid
had flown up; and a little round metallic mirror was glittering on
him, into which he looked with peculiar delight. Veronica glided
softly up to him; laid her hand on his arm, and pressing close to him,
looked over his shoulder into the mirror also. And now Anselmus felt
as if a battle were beginning in his soul: thoughts, images flashed
out--Archivarius Lindhorst-Serpentina-the green snake-at last the
tumult abated, and all this chaos arranged and shaped itself into
distinct consciousness. It was now clear to him that he had always
thought of Veronica alone; nay, that the form which had yesterday
appeared to him in the blue chamber, had been no other than Veronica;
and that the wild legend of the Salamander's marriage with the green
snake had merely been written down by him from the manuscript, but
nowise related in his hearing. He wondered greatly at all these
dreams; and ascribed them solely to the heated state of mind into
which Veronica's love had brought him, as well as to his working with
Archivarius Lindhorst, in whose rooms there were, besides, so many
strangely intoxicating odours. He could not help laughing heartily at
the mad whim of falling in love with a little green snake; and taking
a well-fed Privy Archivarius for a Salamander: "Yes, yes! It is
Veronica!" cried he aloud; but on turning round his head, he looked
right into Veronica's blue eyes, from which warmest love was beaming.
A faint soft Ah! escaped her lips, which at that moment were burning
on his.

"O happy I!" sighed the enraptured Student: "What I yesternight but
dreamed, is in very deed mine today."

"But will you really marry me, then, when you are a Hofrath?" said
Veronica.

"That I will," replied the Student Anselmus; and just then the door
creaked, and Conrector Paulmann entered with the words:

"Now, dear Herr Anselmus, I will not let you go today. You will put up
with a bad dinner; then Veronica will make us delightful coffee, which
we shall drink with Registrator Heerbrand, for he promised to come
here."

"Ah, Herr Conrector!" answered the Student Anselmus, "are you not
aware that I must go to Archivarius Lindhorst's and copy?"

"Look, Amice!" said Conrector Paulmann, holding up his watch, which
pointed to half-past twelve.

The Student Anselmus saw clearly that he was much too late for
Archivarius Lindhorst; and he complied with the Conrector's wishes the
more readily, as he might now hope to look at Veronica the whole day
long, to obtain many a stolen glance, and little squeeze of the hand,
nay, even to succeed in conquering a kiss. So high had the Student
Anselmus's desires now mounted; he felt more and more contented in
soul, the more fully he convinced himself that he should soon be
delivered from all these fantasies, which really might have made a
sheer idiot of him.

Registrator Heerbrand came, as he had promised, after dinner; and
coffee being over, and the dusk come on, the Registrator, puckering
his face together, and gaily rubbing his hands, signified that he had
something about him, which, if mingled and reduced to form, as it
were, paged and titled, by Veronica's fair hands, might be pleasant to
them all, on this October evening.

"Come out, then, with this mysterious substance which you carry with
you, most valued Registrator," cried Conrector Paulmann. Then
Registrator Heerbrand shoved his hand into his deep pocket, and at
three journeys, brought out a bottle of arrack, two lemons, and a
quantity of sugar. Before half an hour had passed, a savoury bowl of
punch was smoking on Paulmann's table. Veronica drank their health in
a sip of the liquor; and before long there was plenty of gay, good-
natured chat among the friends. But the Student Anselmus, as the
spirit of the drink mounted into his head, felt all the images of
those wondrous things, which for some time he had experienced, again
coming through his mind. He saw the Archivarius in his damask dressing
gown, which glittered like phosphorus; he saw the azure room, the
golden palm-trees; nay, it now seemed to him as if he must still
believe in Serpentina: there was a fermentation, a conflicting tumult
in his soul. Veronica handed him a glass of punch; and in taking it,
he gently touched her hand. "Serpentina! Veronica!" sighed he to
himself. He sank into deep dreams; but Registrator Heerbrand cried
quite aloud: "A strange old gentleman, whom nobody can fathom, he is
and will be, this Archivarius Lindhorst. Well, long life to him! Your
glass, Herr Anselmus!"

Then the Student Anselmus awoke from his dreams, and said, as he
touched glasses with Registrator Heerbrand: "That proceeds, respected
Herr Registrator, from the circumstance, that Archivarius Lindhorst is
in reality a Salamander, who in his fury laid waste the Spirit-prince
Phosphorus' garden, because the green snake had flown away from him."

"What?" inquired Conrector Paulmann.

"Yes," continued the Student Anselmus; "and for this reason he is now
forced to be a Royal Archivarius; and to keep house here in Dresden
with his three daughters, who, after all, are nothing more than little
gold-green snakes, that bask in elder-bushes, and traitorously sing,
and seduce away young people, like so many sirens."

"Herr Anselmus! Herr Anselmus!" cried Conrector Paulmann, "is there a
crack in your brain? In Heaven's name, what monstrous stuff is this
you are babbling?"

"He is right," interrupted Registrator Heerbrand: "that fellow, that
Archivarius, is a cursed Salamander, and strikes you fiery snips from
his fingers, which burn holes in your surtout like red-hot tinder. Ay,
ay, you are in the right, brotherkin Anselmus; and whoever says No, is
saying No to me!" And at these words Registrator Heerbrand struck the
table with his fist, till the glasses rung again.

"Registrator! Are you raving mad?" cried the enraged Conrector. "Herr
Studiosus, Herr Studiosus! what is this you are about again?"

"Ah!" said the Student, "you too are nothing but a bird, a screech-
owl, that frizzles toupees, Herr Conrector!"

"What?-I a bird?-A screech-owl, a frizzier?" cried the Conrector, full
of indignation: "Sir, you are mad, born mad!"

"But the crone will get a clutch of him," cried Registrator Heerbrand.

"Yes, the crone is potent," interrupted the Student Anselmus, "though
she is but of mean descent; for her father was nothing but a ragged
wing-feather, and her mother a dirty beet: but the most of her power
she owes to all sorts of baneful creatures, poisonous vermin which she
keeps about her."

"That is a horrid calumny," cried Veronica, with eyes all glowing in
anger: "old Liese is a wise woman; and the black cat is no baneful
creature, but a polished young gentleman of elegant manners, and her
cousin-german."

"Can he eat Salamanders without singeing his whiskers, and dying like
a snuffed candle?" cried Registrator Heerbrand.

"No! no!" shouted the Student Anselmus, "that he never can in this
world; and the green snake loves me, and I have looked into
Serpentina's eyes."

"The cat will scratch them out," cried Veronica..."Salamander,
Salamander beats them all, all," hallooed Conrector Paulmann, in the
highest fury: "But am I in a madhouse? Am I mad myself? What foolish
nonsense am I chattering? Yes, I am mad too! mad too!" And with this,
Conrector Paulmann started up; tore the peruke from his head, and
dashed it against the ceiling of the room; till the battered locks
whizzed, and, tangled into utter disorder, it rained down powder far
and wide. Then the Student Anselmus and Registrator Heerbrand seized
the punch-bowl and the glasses; and, hallooing and huzzaing, pitched
them against the ceiling also, and the sherds fell jingling and
tingling about their ears.

"Vivat the Salamander!-Pereat, pereat the crone!-Break the metal
mirror!-Dig the cat's eyes out!-Bird, little bird, from the air-Eheu-
Eheu-Evoe-Evoe, Salamander!" So shrieked, and shouted, and bellowed
the three, like utter maniacs. With loud weeping, Franzchen ran out;
but Veronica lay whimpering for pain and sorrow on the sofa.

At this moment the door opened: all was instantly still; and a little
man, in a small gray cloak, came stepping in. His countenance had a
singular air of gravity; and especially the round hooked nose, on
which was a huge pair of spectacles, distinguished itself from all
noses ever seen. He wore a strange peruke too; more like a feather-cap
than a wig.

"Ey, many good-evenings!" grated and cackled the little comical
mannikin. "Is the Student Herr Anselmus among you, gentlemen?-Best
compliments from Archivarius Lindhorst; he has waited today in vain
for Herr Anselmus; but tomorrow he begs most respectfully to request
that Herr Anselmus does not miss the hour."

And with this, he went out again; and all of them now saw clearly that
the grave little mannikin was in fact a gray parrot. Conrector
Paulmann and Registrator Heerbrand raised a horselaugh, which
reverberated through the room; and in the intervals, Veronica was
moaning and whimpering, as if torn by nameless sorrow; but, as to the
Student Anselmus, the madness of inward horror was darting through
him; and unconsciously he ran through the door, along the streets.
Instinctively he reached his house, his garret. Ere long Veronica came
in to him, with a peaceful and friendly look, and asked him why, in
the festivity, he had so vexed her; and desired him to be upon his
guard against figments of the imagination while working at Archivarius
Lindhorst's. "Goodnight, goodnight, my beloved friend!" whispered
Veronica scarcely audibly, and breathed a kiss on his lips. He
stretched out his arms to clasp her, but the dreamy shape had
vanished, and he awoke cheerful and refreshed. He could not but laugh
heartily at the effects of the punch; but in thinking of Veronica, he
felt pervaded by a most delightful feeling. "To her alone," said he
within himself, "do I owe this return from my insane whims. Indeed, I
was little better than the man who believed himself to be of glass; or
the one who did not dare leave his room for fear the hens should eat
him, since he was a barleycorn. But so soon as I am Hofrath, I shall
marry Mademoiselle Paulmann, and be happy, and there's an end to it."

At noon, as he walked through Archivarius Lindhorst's garden, he could
not help wondering how all this had once appeared so strange and
marvellous. He now saw nothing that was not common; earthen
flowerpots, quantities of geraniums, myrtles, and the like. Instead of
the glittering multi-coloured birds which used to flout him, there
were nothing but a few sparrows, fluttering hither and thither, which
raised an unpleasant unintelligible cry at sight of Anselmus.

The azure room also had quite a different look; and he could not
understand how that glaring blue, and those unnatural golden trunks of
palm-trees, with their shapeless glistening leaves, should ever have
pleased him for a moment. The Archivarius looked at him with a most
peculiar ironic smile, and asked: "Well, how did you like the punch
last night, good Anselmus?" "Ah, doubtless you have heard from the
gray parrot how-" answered the Student Anselmus, quite ashamed; but he
stopped short, thinking that this appearance of the parrot was all a
piece of jugglery.

"I was there myself," said Archivarius Lindhorst; "didn't you see me?
But, among the mad pranks you were playing, I almost got lamed: for I
was sitting in the punch bowl, at the very moment when Registrator
Heerbrand laid hands on it, to dash it against the ceiling; and I had
to make a quick retreat into the Conrector's pipehead. Now, adieu,
Herr Anselmus! Be diligent at your task; for the lost day you shall
also have a speziesthaler, because you worked so well before."

"How can the Archivarius babble such mad stuff?" thought the Student
Anselmus, sitting down at the table to begin the copying of the
manuscript, which Archivarius Lindhorst had as usual spread out before
him. But on the parchment roll, he perceived so many strange crabbed
strokes and twirls all twisted together in inexplicable confusion,
offering no resting point for the eye, that it seemed to him well nigh
impossible to copy all this exactly. Nay, in glancing over the whole,
you might have thought the parchment was nothing but a piece of
thickly veined marble, or a stone sprinkled over with lichens.
Nevertheless he determined to do his utmost; and boldly dipped in his
pen: but the ink would not run, do what he liked; impatiently he
flicked the point of his pen against his fingernail, and-Heaven and
Earth!-a huge blot fell on the outspread orig-inal!

Hissing and foaming, a blue flash rose from the blot; and crackling
and wavering, shot through the room to the ceiling. Then a thick
vapour rolled from the walls; the leaves began to rustle, as if shaken
by a tempest; and down out of them darted glaring basilisks in
sparkling fire; these kindled the vapour, and the bickering masses of
flame rolled round Anselmus. The golden trunks of the palm-trees
became gigantic snakes, which knocked their frightful heads together
with piercing metallic clang; and wound their scaly bodies round
Anselmus.

"Madman! suffer now the punishment of what, in capricious irreverence,
thou hast done!" cried the frightful voice of the crowned Salamander,
who appeared above the snakes like a glittering beam in the midst of
the flame: and now the yawning jaws of the snakes poured forth
cataracts of fire on Anselmus; and it was as if the fire-streams were
congealing about his body, and changing into a firm ice-cold mass. But
while Anselmus's limbs, more and more pressed together, and
contracted, stiffened into powerlessness, his senses passed away. On
returning to himselg he could not stir a joint: he was as if
surrounded with a glistening brightness, on which he struck if he but
tried to lift his hand.-Alas! He was sitting in a well-corked crystal
bottle, on a shelf in the library of Archivarius Lindhorst.




TENTH VIGIL

I am probably right in doubting, gracious reader, that you were ever
sealed up in a glass bottle, or even that you have ever been oppressed
with such sorcery in your most vivid dreams. If you have had such
dreams, you will understand the Student Anselmus's woe and will feel
it keenly enough; but if you have not, then your flying imagination,
for the sake of Anselmus and me, will have to be obliging enough to
enclose itself for a few moments in the crystal. You are drowned in
dazzling splendour; everything around you appears illuminated and
begirt with beaming rainbow hues: in the sheen everything seems to
quiver and waver and clang and drone. You are swimming, but you are
powerless and cannot move, as if you were imbedded in a firmly
congealed ether which squeezes you so tightly that it is in vain that
your spirit commands your dead and stiffened body. Heavier and heavier
the mountainous burden lies on you; more and more every breath
exhausts the tiny bit of air that still plays up and down in the tight
space around you; your pulse throbs madly; and cut through with horrid
anguish, every nerve is quivering and bleeding in your dead agony.

Favourable reader, have pity on the Student Anselmus! This
inexpressible torture seized him in his glass prison: but he felt too
well that even death could not release him, for when he had fainted
with pain, he awoke again to new wretchedness when the morning sun
shone into the room. He could move no limb, and his thoughts struck
against the glass, stunning him with discordant clang; and instead of
the words which the spirit used to speak from within him he now heard
only the stifled din of madness. Then he exclaimed in his despair: "O
Serpentina! Serpentina! Save me from this agony of Hell!" And it was
as if faint sighs breathed around him, which spread like transparent
green elder-leaves over the glass; the clanging ceased; the dazzling,
perplexing glitter was gone, and he breathed more freely.

"Haven't I myself solely to blame for my misery? Ah! Haven't I sinned
against you, kind, beloved Serpentina? Haven't I raised vile doubts of
you? Haven't I lost my belief, and with it, all, all that was to make
me so blessed? Ah! You will now never, never be mine; for me the
Golden Pot is lost, and I shall not behold its wonders any more. Ah,
could I but see you but once more; but once more hear your kind, sweet
voice, lovely Serpentina!"

So wailed the Student Anselmus, caught with deep piercing sorrow: then
a voice spoke close by him: "What the devil ails you, Herr Studiosus?
What makes you lament so, out of all compass and measure?"

The Student Anselmus now perceived that on the same shelf with him
were five other bottles, in which he perceived three Kreuzkirche
Scholars, and two Law Clerks.

"Ah, gentlemen, my fellows in misery," cried he, "how is it possible
for you to be so calm, nay, so happy, as I read in your cheerful
looks? You are sitting here corked up in glass bottles, as well as I,
and cannot move a finger, nay, not think a reasonable thought, but
there rises such a murder-tumult of clanging and droning, and in your
head itself a tumbling and rumbling enough to drive one mad. But of
course you do not believe in the Salamander, or the green snake."

"You are pleased to jest, Mein Herr Studiosus," replied a Kreuzkirche
Scholar; "we have never been better off than at present: for the
speziesthalers which the mad Archivarius gave us for all kinds of pot-
book copies, are chinking in our pockets; we have now no Italian
choruses to learn by heart; we go every day to Joseph's or other beer
gardens, where the double-beer is sufficient, and we can look a pretty
girl in the face; so we sing like real Students, Gaudeamus igitur, and
are contented!"

"They of the Cross are quite right," added a Law Clerk; "I too am well
furnished with speziesthalers, like my dearest colleague beside me
here; and we now diligently walk about on the Weinberg, instead of
scurvy law-copying within four walls."

"But, my best, worthiest masters!" said the Student Anselmus, "do you
not observe, then, that you are all and sundry corked up in glass
bottles, and cannot for your hearts walk a hairsbreadth?"

Here the Kreuzkirche Scholars and the Law Clerks set up a loud laugh,
and cried: "The Student is mad; he fancies himself to be sitting in a
glass bottle, and is standing on the Elbe Bridge and looking right
down into the water. Let us go on our way!"

"Ah!" sighed the Student, "they have never seen the kind Serpentina;
they do not know what Freedom, and life in Love, and Belief, signify;
and so by reason of their folly and low-mindedness, they do not feel
the oppression of the imprisonment into which the Salamander has cast
them. But I, unhappy I, must perish in want and woe, if she whom I so
inexpressibly love does not rescue me!"

Then, waving in faint tinkles, Serpentina's voice flitted through the
room: "Anselmus! Believe, love, hope!" And every tone beamed into
Anselmus's prison; and the crystal yielded to his pressure and
expanded, till the breast of the captive could move and heave.

The torment of his situation became less and less, and he saw clearly
that Serpentina still loved him; and that it was she alone, who had
rendered his confinement tolerable. He disturbed himself no more about
his inane companions in misfortune; but directed all his thoughts and
meditations on the gentle Serpentina. Suddenly, however, there arose
on the other side a dull, croaking repulsive murmur. Before long he
could observe that it came from an old coffeepot, with half-broken
lid, standing opposite him on a little shelf. As he looked at it more
narrowly, the ugly features of a wrinkled old woman unfolded
themselves gradually; and in a few moments the Apple-wife of the
Schwarzthor stood before him. She grinned and laughed at him, and
cried with screeching voice:

"Ey, ey, my pretty boy, must you lie in limbo now? In the crystal you
ended! Didn't I tell you so long ago?"

"Mock and jeer me, you cursed witch!" said Anselmus, "you are to blame
for it all; but the Salamander will catch you, you vile beet!"

"Ho, ho!" replied the crone, "not so proud, my fine copyist. You have
squashed my little sons and you have scarred my nose; but I still love
you, you knave, for once you were a pretty fellow, and my little
daughter likes you, too. Out of the crystal you will never get unless
I help you: I cannot climb up there, but my friend the rat, that lives
close behind you, will eat the shelf in two; you will jingle down, and
I shall catch you in my apron so that your nose doesn't get broken or
your fine sleek face get injured at all. Then I will carry you to
Mamsell Veronica, and you shall marry her when you become Hofrath."

"Get away, you devil's brood!" shouted the Student Anselmus in fury.
"It was you alone and your hellish arts that made me commit the sin
which I must now expiate. But I will bear it all patiently: for only
here can I be encircled with Serpentina's love and consolation. Listen
to me, you hag, and despair! I defy your power: I love Serpentina and
none but her forever. I will not become Hofrath, I will not look at
Veronica; by your means she is enticing me to evil. If the green snake
cannot be mine, I will die in sorrow and longing. Away, filthy
buzzard!"

The crone laughed, till the chamber rang: "Sit and die then," cried
she: "but now it is time to set to work; for I have other trade to
follow here." She threw off her black cloak, and so stood in hideous
nakedness; then she ran round in circles, and large folios came
tumbling down to her; out of these she tore parchment leaves, and
rapidly patching them together in artful combination, and fixing them
on her body, in a few instants she was dressed as if in strange multi-
colored armor. Spitting fire, the black cat darted out of the ink-
glass, which was standing on the table, and ran mewing towards the
crone, who shrieked in loud triumph, and along with him vanished
through the door.

Anselmus observed that she went towards the azure chamber; and
directly he heard a hissing and storming in the distance; the birds in
the garden were crying; the Parrot creaked out: "Help! help! Thieves!
thieves!" That moment the crone returned with a bound into the room,
carrying the Golden Flower Pot on her arm, and with hideous gestures,
shrieking wildly through the air; "Joy! joy, little son!-Kill the
green snake! To her, son! To her!"

Anselmus thought he heard a deep moaning, heard Serpentina's voice.
Then horror and despair took hold of him: he gathered all his force,
he dashed violently, as if every nerve and artery were bursting,
against the crystal; a piercing clang went through the room, and the
Archivarius in his bright damask dressing gown was standing in the
door.

"Hey, hey! vermin!-Mad spell!-Witchwor!-Here, holla!" So shouted he:
then the black hair of the crone started up in tufts; her red eyes
glanced with infernal fire, and clenching together the peaked fangs of
her abominable jaws, she hissed: "Hiss, at him! Hiss, at him! Hiss!"
and laughed and neighed in scorn and mockery, and pressed the Golden
Flower Pot firmly to her, and threw out of it handfuls of glittering
earth on the Archivarius; but as it touched the dressing gown, the
earth changed into flowers, which rained down on the ground. Then the
lilies of the dressing gown flickered and flamed up; and the
Archivarius caught these lilies blazing in sparky fire and dashed them
on the witch; she howled with agony, but as she leaped aloft and shook
her armor of parchment the lilies went out, and fell away into ashes.

"To her, my lad!" creaked the crone: then the black cat darted through
the air, and bounded over the Archivarius's head towards the door; but
the gray parrot fluttered out against him; caught him by the nape with
his crooked bill, till red fiery blood burst down over his neck; and
Serpentina's voice cried: "Saved! Saved!" Then the crone, foaming with
rage and desperation, darted at the Archivarius: she threw the Golden
Flower Pot behind her, and holding up the long talons of her skinny
fists, tried to clutch the Archivarius by the throat: but he instantly
doffed his dressing gown, and hurled it against her. Then, hissing,
and sputtering, and bursting, blue flames shot from the parchment
leaves, and the crone rolled around howling in agony, and strove to
get fresh earth from the Flower Pot, fresh parchment leaves from the
books, that she might stifle the blazing flames; and whenever any
earth or leaves came down on her, the flames went out. But now, from
the interior of the Archivarius issued fiery crackling beams, which
darted on the crone.

"Hey, hey! To it again! Salamander! Victory!" clanged the
Archivarius's voice through the chamber; and a hundred bolts whirled
forth in fiery circles round the shrieking crone. Whizzing and buzzing
flew cat and parrot in their furious battle; but at last the parrot,
with his strong wing, dashed the cat to the ground; and with his
talons transfixing and holding fast his adversary, which, in deadly
agony, uttered horrid mews and howls, he, with his sharp bill, picked
out his glowing eyes, and the burning froth spouted from them. Then
thick vapour streamed up from the spot where the crone, hurled to the
ground, was lying under the dressing gown: her howling, her terrific,
piercing cry of lamentation, died away in the remote distance. The
smoke, which had spread abroad with penetrating stench, cleared away;
the Archivarius picked up his dressing gown; and under it lay an ugly
beet.

"Honoured Herr Archivarius, here let me offer you the vanquished foe,"
said the parrot, holding out a black hair in his beak to Archivarius
Lindhorst.

"Very right, my worthy friend," replied the Archivarius: "here lies my
vanquished foe too: be so good now as manage what remains. This very
day, as a small douceur, you shall have six coconuts, and a new pair
of spectacles also, for I see the cat has villainously broken the
glasses of these old ones."

"Yours forever, most honoured friend and patron!" answered the parrot,
much delighted; then took the withered beet in his bill, and fluttered
out with it by the window, which Archivarius Lindhorst had opened for
him.

The Archivarius now lifted the Golden Flower Pot, and cried, with a
strong voice, "Serpentina! Serpentina!" But as the Student Anselmus,
rejoicing in the destruction of the vile witch who had hurried him
into misfortune, cast his eyes on the Archivarius, behold, here stood
once more the high majestic form of the Spirit-prince, looking up to
him with indescribable dignity and grace..."Anselmus," said the
Spirit-prince, "not you, but a hostile principle, which strove
destructively to penetrate into your nature, and divide you against
yourself, was to blame for your unbelief."

"You have kept your faithfulness: be free and happy." A bright flash
quivered through the spirit of Anselmus: the royal triphony of the
crystal bells sounded stronger and louder than he had ever heard it:
his nerves and fibres thrilled; but, swelling higher and higher, the
melodious tones rang through the room; the glass which enclosed
Anselmus broke; and he rushed into the arms of his dear and gentle
Serpentina.




ELEVENTH VIGIL

"But tell me, best Registrator! how could the cursed punch last night
mount into our heads, and drive us to all kinds of allotria?" So said
Conrector Paulmann, as he next morning entered his room, which still
lay full of broken sherds; with his hapless peruke, dissolved into its
original elements, soaked in punch among the ruin. For after the
Student Anselmus ran out, Conrector Paulmann and Registrator Heerbrand
had kept trotting and hobbling up and down the room, shouting like
maniacs, and butting their heads together; till Franzchen, with much
labour, carried her dizzy papa to bed; and Registrator Heerbrand, in
the deepest exhaustion, sank on the sofa, which Veronica had left,
taking refuge in her bedroom. Registrator Heerbrand had his blue
handkerchief tied about his head; he looked quite pale and
melancholic, and moaned out: "Ah, worthy Conrector, it was not the
punch which Mamsell Veronica most admirably brewed, no! but it was
simply that cursed Student who was to blame for all the mischief. Do
you not observe that he has long been mente captus? And are you not
aware that madness is infectious? One fool makes twenty; pardon me, it
is an old proverb: especially when you have drunk a glass or two, you
fall into madness quite readily, and then involuntarily you manoeuvre,
and go through your exercise, just as the crack-brained fugleman makes
the motion. Would you believe it Conrector? I am still giddy when I
think of that gray parrot!"

"Gray fiddlestick!" interrupted the Conrector: "it was nothing but
Archivarius Lindhorst's little old Famulus, who had thrown a gray
cloak over himself, and was looking for the Student Anselmus."

"It may be," answered Registrator Heerbrand; "but, I must confess, I
am quite downcast in spirit; the whole night through there was such a
piping and organing."

"That was I," said the Conrector, "for I snore loud."

"Well, may be," answered the Registrator: "but, Conrector, Conrector!
I had reason to raise some cheerfulness among us last night-And that
Anselmus spoiled it all! You do not know-O Conrector, Conrector!" And
with this, Registrator Heerbrand started up; plucked the cloth from
his head, embraced the Conrector, warmly pressed his hand, and again
cried, in quite heart-breaking tone: "O Conrector, Conrector!" and
snatching his hat and staff, rushed out of doors.

"This Anselmus will not cross my threshold again," said Conrector
Paulmann; "for I see very well, that, with this moping madness of his,
he robs the best gentlemen of their senses. The Registrator has now
gone overboard, too: I have hitherto kept safe; but the Devil, who
knocked hard last night in our carousal, may get in at last, and play
his tricks with me. So Apage, Satanas! Off with thee, Anselmus!"
Veronica had grown quite pensive; she spoke no word; only smiled now
and then very oddly, and seemed to wish to be left alone. "She, too,
has Anselmus in her head," said the Conrector, full of spleen: "but it
is well that he does not show himself here; I know he fears me, this
Anselmus, and so he will never come.".These concluding words Conrector
Paulmann spoke aloud; then the tears rushed into Veronica's eyes, and
she said, sobbing: "Ah! how can Anselmus come? He has been corked up
in the glass bottle for a long time."

"What? What?" cried Conrector Paulmann. "Ah Heaven! Ah Heaven! she is
doting too, like the Registrator: the loud fit will soon come! Ah, you
cursed, abominable, thrice-cursed Anselmus!" He ran forth directly to
Dr. Eckstein; who smiled, and again said: "Ey! Ey!" This time,
however, he prescribed nothing; but added, to the little he had
uttered, the following words, as he walked away: "Nerves! Come round
of itself. Take the air; walks; amusements; theatre; playing
Sonntagskind, Schwestern von Prag. Come around of itself."

"I have seldom seen the Doctor so eloquent," thought Conrector
Paulmann; "really talkative, I declare!"

Several days and weeks and months passed. Anselmus had vanished; but
Registrator Heerbrand did not make his appearance either: not till the
fourth of February, when, in a fashionable new coat of the finest
cloth, in shoes and silk stockings, notwithstanding the keen frost,
and with a large nosegay of fresh flowers in his hand, the Registrator
entered precisely at noon the parlour of Conrector Paulmann, who
wondered not a little to see his friend so well dressed. With a solemn
air, Registrator Heerbrand came forward to Conrector Paulmann;
embraced him with the finest elegance, and then said: "Now at last, on
the Saint's-day of your beloved and most honoured Mamsell Veronica, I
will tell you out, straightforward, what I have long had lying at my
heart. That evening, that unfortunate evening, when I put the
ingredients of our noxious punch in my pocket, I intended to tell to
you a piece of good news, and to celebrate the happy day in convivial
joys. I had learned that I was to be made Hofrath; for which promotion
I have now the patent, cum nomine et sigillo Principis, in my pocket."

"Ah! Herr Registr-Herr Hofrath Heerbrand, I meant to say," stammered
the Conrector.

"But it is you, most honoured Conrector," continued the new Hofrath;
"it is you alone that can complete my happiness. For a long time, I
have in secret loved your daughter, Mamsell Veronica; and I can boast
of many a kind look which she has given me, evidently showing that she
would not reject me. In one word, honoured Conrector! I, Hofrath
Heerbrand, do now entreat of you the hand of your most amiable Mamsell
Veronica, whom I, if you have nothing against it, purpose shortly to
take home as my wife."

Conrector Paulmann, full of astonishment, clapped his hands
repeatedly, and cried: "Ey, Ey, Ey! Herr Registr-Herr Hofrath, I meant
to say-who would have thought it? Well, if Veronica does really love
you, I for my share cannot object: nay, perhaps, her present
melancholy is nothing but concealed love for you, most honoured
Hofrath! You know what freaks women have!"

At this moment Veronica entered, pale and agitated, as she now
commonly was. Then Hofrath Heerbrand approached her; mentioned in a
neat speech her Saint's-day, and handed her the odorous nosegay, along
with a little packet; out of which, when she opened it, a pair of
glittering earrings gleamed up at her. A rapid flying blush tinted her
cheeks; her eyes sparkled in joy, and she cried: "O Heaven! These are
the very earrings which I wore some weeks ago, and thought so much
of."

"How can this be, dearest Mamsell," interrupted Hofrath Heerbrand,
somewhat alarmed and hurt, "when I bought them not an hour ago, in the
Schlossgasse, for cash?"

But Veronica paid no attention to him; she was standing before the
mirror to witness the effect of the trinkets, which she had already
suspended in her pretty little ears. Conrector Paulmann disclosed to
her, with grave countenance and solemn tone, his friend Heerbrand's
preferment and present proposal. Veronica looked at the Hofrath with a
searching look, and said: "I have long known that you wished to marry
me. Well, be it so! I promise you my heart and hand; but I must now
unfold to you, to both of you, I mean, my father and my bridegroom,
much that is lying heavy on my heart; yes, even now, though the soup
should get cold, which I see Franzchen is just putting on the table."

Without waiting for the Conrector's or the Hofrath's reply, though the
words were visibly hovering on the lips of both, Veronica continued:
"You may believe me, father, I loved Anselmus from my heart, and when
Registrator Heerbrand, who is now become Hofrath himself, assured us
that Anselmus might possibly rise that high, I resolved that he arid
no other should be my husband. But then it seemed as if alien hostile
beings tried snatching him away from me: I had recourse to old Liese,
who was once my nurse, but is now a wise woman, and a great
enchantress. She promised to help me, and give Anselmus wholly into my
hands. We went at midnight on the Equinox to the crossing of the
roads: she conjured certain hellish spirits, and by aid of the black
cat, we manufactured a little metallic mirror, in which I, directing
my thoughts on Anselmus, had but to look, in order to rule him wholly
in heart and mind. But now I heartily repent having done all this; and
here abjure all Satanic arts. The Salamander has conquered old Liese;
I heard her shrieks; but there was no help to be given: so soon as the
parrot had eaten the beet, my metallic mirror broke in two with a
piercing clang." Veronica took out both the pieces of the mirror, and
a lock of hair from her workbox, and handing them to Hofrath
Heerbrand, she proceeded: "Here, take the fragments of the mirror,
dear Hofrath; throw them down, tonight, at twelve o'clock, over the
Elbe Bridge, from the place where the Cross stands; the stream is not
frozen there: the lock, however, wear on your faithful breast. I here
abjure all magic: and heartily wish Anselmus joy of his good fortune,
seeing he is wedded with the green snake, who is much prettier and
richer than I. You dear Hofrath, I will love and reverence as becomes
a true honest wife."

"Alack! Alack!" cried Conrector Paulmann, full of sorrow; "she is
cracked, she is cracked; she can never be Frau Hofrthinn; she is
cracked!"

"Not in the smallest," interrupted Hofrath Heerbrand; "I know well
that Mamsell Veronica has had some kindness for the loutish Anselmus;
and it may be that in some fit of passion, she has had recourse to the
wise woman, who, as I perceive, can be no other than the card-caster
and coffee-pourer of the Seethor; in a word, old Rauerin. Nor can it
be denied that there are secret arts, which exert their influence on
men but too banefully; we read of such in the ancients, and doubtless
there are still such; but as to what Mamsell Veronica is pleased to
say about the victory of the Salamander, and the marriage of Anselmus
with the green snake, this, in reality, I take for nothing but a
poetic allegory; a sort of song, wherein she sings her entire farewell
to the Student."

"Take it for what you will, my dear Hofrath!" cried Veronica; "perhaps
for a very stupid dream."

"That I will not do," replied Hofrath Heerbrand; "for I know well that
Anselmus himself is possessed by secret powers, which vex him and
drive him on to all imaginable mad escapades."

Conrector Paulmann could stand it no longer; he burst out: "Hold! For
the love of Heaven, hold! Are we overtaken with that cursed punch
again, or has Anselmus's madness come over us too? Herr Hofrath, what
stuff is this you are talking? I will suppose, however, that it is
love which haunts your brain: this soon comes to rights in marriage;
otherwise, I should be apprehensive that you too had fallen into some
shade of madness, most honoured Herr Hofrath; then what would become
of the future branches of the family, inheriting the malum of their
parents? But now I give my paternal blessing to this happy union; and
permit you as bride and bridegroom to take a kiss."

This immediately took place; and thus before the soup had grown cold,
a formal betrothment was concluded. In a few weeks, Frau Hofrthinn
Heerbrand was actually, as she had been in vision, sitting in the
balcony of a fine house in the Neumarkt, and looking down with a smile
at the beaux, who passing by turned their glasses up to her, and said:
"She is a heavenly woman, the Hofrthinn Heerbrand."




TWELFTH VIGIL

 How deeply did I feel, in the centre of my spirit, the blessedness of
the Student Anselmus, who now, indissolubly united with his gentle
Serpentina, has withdrawn to the mysterious land of wonders,
recognized by him as the home towards which his bosom, filled with
strange forecastings, had always longed. But in vain was all my
striving to set before you, favourable reader, those glories with
which Anselmus is encompassed, or even in the faintest degree to
shadow them to you in words. Reluctantly I could not but acknowledge
the feebleness of my every expression. I felt myself enthralled amid
the paltrinesses of everyday life; I sickened in tormenting
dissatisfaction; I glided about like a dreamer; in brief, I fell into
that condition of the Student Anselmus, which, in the Fourth Vigil, I
endeavoured to set before you. It grieved me to the heart, when I
glanced over the Eleven Vigils, now happily accomplished, and thought
that to insert the Twelfth, the keystone of the whole, would never be
permitted me. For whenever, in the night I set myself to complete the
work, it was as if mischievous spirits (they might be relations,
perhaps cousins-german, of the slain witch) held a polished glittering
piece of metal before me, in which I beheld my own mean self, pale,
drawn, and melancholic, like Registrator Heerbrand after his bout of
punch. Then I threw down my pen, and hastened to bed, that I might
behold the happy Anselmus and the fair Serpentina at least in my
dreams. This had lasted for several days and nights, when at length
quite unexpectedly I received a note from Archivarius Lindhorst, in
which he wrote to me as follows:

Respected Sir,-It is well known to me that you have written down, in
Eleven Vigils, the singular fortunes of my good son-in-law Anselmus,
whilom student, now poet; and are at present cudgelling your brains
very sore, that in the Twelfth and Last Vigil you may tell somewhat of
his happy life in Atlantis, where he now lives with my daughter, on
the pleasant freehold, which I possess in that country. Now,
notwithstanding I much regret that hereby my own peculiar nature is
unfolded to the reading world; seeing it may, in my office as Privy
Archivarius, expose me to a thousand inconveniences; nay, in the
Collegium even give rise to the question: How far a Salamander can
justly, and with binding consequences, plight himself by oath, as a
Servant of the State? and how far, on the whole, important affairs may
be intrusted to him, since, according to Gabalis and Swedenborg, the
spirits of the elements are not to be trusted at all?--
notwithstanding, my best friends must now avoid my embrace; fearing
lest, in some sudden anger, I dart out a flash or two, and singe their
hair-curls, and Sunday frocks; notwithstanding all this, I say, it is
still my purpose to assist you in the completion of the work, since
much good of me and of my dear married daughter (would the other two
were off my hands also!) has therein been said.

If you would write your Twelfth Vigil, descend your cursed five
flights of stairs, leave your garret, and come over to me. In the blue
palmtree-room, which you already know, you will find fit writing
materials; and you can then, in few words, specify to your readers,
what you have seen; a better plan for you than any long-winded
description of a life which you know only by hearsay. With esteem.

Your obedient servant.

The Salamander Lindlzorst.

P. T. Royal Archivarius..This somewhat rough, yet on the whole
friendly note from Archivarius Lindhorst, gave me high pleasure. It
seemed clear enough, indeed, that the singular manner in which the
fortunes of his son-in-law had been revealed to me, and which I, bound
to silence, must conceal even from you, gracious reader, was well
known to this peculiar old gentleman; yet he had not taken it so ill
as I might have apprehended. Nay, here was he offering me a helping
hand in the completion of my work; and from this I might justly
conclude, that at bottom he was not averse to having his marvellous
existence in the world of spirits thus divulged through the press.

"It may be," thought I, "that he himself expects from this measure,
perhaps, to get his two other daughters married sooner: for who knows
but a spark may fall in this or that young man's breast, and kindle a
longing for the green snake; whom, on Ascension Day, under the elder-
bush, he will forthwith seek and find? From the misery which befell
Anselmus, when he was enclosed in the glass bottle, he will take
warning to be doubly and trebly on his guard against all doubt and
unbelief."

Precisely at eleven o'clock, I extinguished my study lamp; and glided
forth to Archivarius Lindhorst, who was already waiting for me in the
lobby.

"Are you there, my worthy friend? Well, this is what I like, that you
have not mistaken my good intentions: follow me!"

And with this he led the way through the garden, now filled with
dazzling brightness, into the azure chamber, where I observed the same
violet table, at which Anselmus had been writing.

Archivarius Lindhorst disappeared: but soon came back, carrying in his
hand a fair golden goblet, out of which a high blue flame was
sparkling up. "Here," said he, "I bring you the favourite drink of
your friend the Bandmaster, Johannes Kreisler. It is burning arrack,
into which I have thrown a little sugar. Sip a little of it: I will
doff my dressing gown, and to amuse myself and enjoy your worthy
company while you sit looking and writing, I shall just bob up and
down a little in the goblet."

"As you please, honoured Herr Archivarius," answered I: "but if I am
to ply the liquor, you will get none."

"Don't fear that, my good fellow," cried the Archivarius; then hastily
throwing off his dressing gown, he mounted, to my no small amazement,
into the goblet, and vanished in the blaze.

Without fear, softly blowing back the flame, I partook of the drink:
it was truly precious!

Stir not the emerald leaves of the palm-trees in soft sighing and
rustling, as if kissed by the breath of the morning wind? Awakened
from their sleep, they move, and mysteriously whisper of the wonders,
which from the far distance approach like tones of melodious harps!
The azure rolls from the walls, and floats like airy vapour to and
fro; but dazzling beams shoot through it; and whirling and dancing, as
in jubilee of childlike sport, it mounts and mounts to immeasurable
height, and vaults over the palm-trees. But brighter and brighter
shoots beam upon beam, till in boundless expanse the grove opens where
I behold Anselmus. Here glowing hyacinths, and tulips, and roses, lift
their fair heads; and their perfumes, in loveliest sound, call to the
happy youth: "Wander, wander among us, our beloved; for you understand
us! Our perfume is the longing of love: we love you, and are yours for
evermore!" The golden rays burn in glowing tones: "We are fire,
kindled by love. Perfume is longing; but fire is desire: and do we not
dwell in your bosom? We are yours!" The dark bushes, the high trees
rustle and sound: "Come to us, beloved, happy one! Fire is desire; but
hope is our cool shadow. Lovingly we rustle round your head: for you
understand us, because love dwells in your breast!" The brooks and
fountains murmur and patter: "Loved one, do not walk so quickly by:
look into our crystal! Your image dwells in us, which we preserve with
love, for you have understood us." In the triumphal choir, bright
birds are singing: "Hear us! Hear us! We are joy, we are delight, the
rapture of love!" But anxiously Anselmus turns his eyes to the
glorious temple, which rises behind him in the distance.

The fair pillars seem trees; and the capitals and friezes acanthus
leaves, which in wondrous wreaths and figures form splendid
decorations. Anselmus walks to the Temple: he views with inward
delight the variegated marble, the steps with their strange veins of
moss. "Ah, no!" cries he, as if in the excess of rapture, "she is not
far from me now; she is near!" Then Serpentina advances, in the
fullness of beauty and grace, from the Temple; she bears the Golden
Flower Pot, from which a bright lily has sprung. The nameless rapture
of infinite longing glows in her meek eyes; she looks at Anselmus, and
says: "Ah! Dearest, the Lily has opened her blossom: what we longed
for is fulfilled; is there a happiness to equal ours?" Anselmus clasps
her with the tenderness of warmest ardour: the lily burns in flaming
beams over his head. And louder move the trees and bushes; clearer and
gladder play the brooks; the birds, the shining insects dance in the
waves of perfume: a gay, bright rejoicing tumult, in the air, in the
water, in the earth, is holding the festival of love! Now sparkling
streaks rush, gleaming over all the bushes; diamonds look from the
ground like shining eyes: strange vapours are wafted hither on
sounding wings: they are the spirits of the elements, who do homage to
the lily, and proclaim the happiness of Anselmus. Then Anselmus raises
his head, as if encircled with a beamy glory. Is it looks? Is it
words? Is it song? You hear the sound: "Serpentina! Belief in you,
love of you has unfolded to my soul the inmost spirit of nature! You
have brought me the lily, which sprang from gold, from the primeval
force of the world, before Phosphorus had kindled the spark of
thought; this lily is knowledge of the sacred harmony of all beings;
and in this I live in highest blessedness for evermore. Yes, I, thrice
happy, have perceived what was highest: I must indeed love thee
forever, O Serpentina! Never shall the golden blossoms of the lily
grow pale; for, like belief and love, this knowledge is eternal."

For the vision, in which I had now beheld Anselmus bodily, in his
freehold of Atlantis, I stand indebted to the arts of the Salamander;
and it was fortunate that when everything had melted into air, I found
a paper lying on the violet-table, with the foregoing statement of the
matter, written fairly and distinctly by my own hand. But now I felt
myself as if transpierced and torn in pieces by sharp sorrow. "Ah,
happy Anselmus, who has cast away the burden of everyday life, who in
the love of kind Serpentina flies with bold pinion, and now lives in
rapture and joy on your freehold in Atlantis! while I-poor I!-must
soon, nay, in few moments, leave even this fair hall, which itself is
far from a Freehold in Atlantis; and again be transplanted to my
garret, where, enthralled among the pettinesses of existence, my heart
and my sight are so bedimmed with thousand mischiefs, as with thick
fog, that the fair lily will never, never be beheld by me."

Then Archivarius Lindhorst patted me gently on the shoulder, and said:
"Softly, softly, my honoured friend! Do not lament so! Were you not
even now in Atlantis; and have you not at least a pretty little
copyhold farm there, as the poetical possession of your inward sense?
And is the blessedness of Anselmus anything else but a living in
poesy? Can anything else but poesy reveal itself as the sacred harmony
of all beings, as the deepest secret of nature?"



THE END



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