The Broken Cup by Johann Heinrich Daniel Zschokke
Translated by P. G.
Author's Note.There is extant under this name a short piece by the
author of Little Kate of Heilbronn. That and the tale which here
follows originated in an incident which took place at Bern in the year
1802. Henry von Kleist and Ludwig Wieland, the son of the poet, were
both friends of the writer, in whose chamber hung an engraving called
La Cruche Cassée, the persons and contents of which resembled the
scene set forth below, under the head of The Tribunal. The drawing,
which was full of expression, gave great delight to those who saw it,
and led to many conjectures as to its meaning. The three friends
agreed, in sport, that they would each one day commit to writing his
peculiar interpretation of its design. Wieland promised a satire; Von
Kleist threw off a comedy; and the author of the following tale what is
Transcriber's Note.Two pages in the middle of this work are
THAT Napoule is only a very little place on the bay of Cannes is
true; yet it is pretty well known through all Provence. It lies in the
shade of lofty evergreen palms, and darker orange trees; but that alone
would not make it renowned. Still they say that there are grown the
most luscious grapes, the sweetest roses, and the handsomest girls. I
don't know but it is so; in the mean time I believe it most readily.
Pity that Napoule is so small, and can not produce more luscious
grapes, fragrant roses, and handsome maidens; especially, as we might
then have some of them transplanted to our own country.
As, ever since the foundation of Napoule, all the Napoulese women
have been beauties, so the little Marietta was a wonder of wonders, as
the chronicles of the place declare. She was called the little
Marietta; yet she was not smaller than a girl of seventeen or
thereabout ought to be, seeing that her forehead just reached up to the
lips of a grown man.
The chronicles aforesaid had very good ground for speaking of
Marietta. I, had I stood in the shoes of the chronicler, would have
done the same. For Marietta, who until lately had lived with her mother
Manon at Avignon, when she came back to her birthplace, quite upset the
whole village. Verily, not the houses, but the people and their heads;
and not the heads of all the people, but of those particularly whose
heads and hearts are always in danger when in the neighborhood of two
bright eyes. I know very well that such a position is no joke.
Mother Manon would have done much better if she had remained at
Avignon. But she had been left a small inheritance, by which she
received at Napoule an estate consisting of some vine-hills, and a
house that lay in the shadow of a rock, between certain olive trees and
African acacias. This is a kind of thing which no unprovided widow ever
rejects; and, accordingly, in her own estimation, she was as rich and
happy as though she were the Countess of Provence or something like it.
So much the worse was it for the good people of Napoule. They never
suspected their misfortune, not having read in Homer how a single
pretty woman had filled all Greece and Lesser Asia with discord and
Marietta had scarcely been fourteen days in the house, between the
olive trees and the African acacias, before every young man of Napoule
knew that she lived there, and that there lived not, in all Provence, a
more charming girl than the one in that house.
Went she through the village, sweeping lightly along like a
dressed-up angel, her frock, with its pale-green bodice, and orange
leaves and rosebuds upon the bosom of it, fluttering in the breeze, and
flowers and ribbons waving about the straw bonnet, which shaded her
beautiful featuresyes, then the grave old men spake out, and the
young ones were struck dumb. And everywhere, to the right and left,
little windows and doors were opened with a Good morning, or a Good
evening, Marietta, as it might be, while she nodded to the right and
left with a pleasant smile.
If Marietta walked into church, all hearts (that is, of the young
people) forgot Heaven; all eyes turned from the saints, and the
worshiping finger wandered idly among the pearls of the rosary. This
must certainly have provoked much sorrow, at least, among the more
The maidens of Napoule particularly became very pious about this
time, for they, most of all, took the matter to heart. And they were
not to be blamed for it; for since the advent of Marietta more than one
prospective groom had become cold, and more than one worshipper of some
beloved one quite inconstant. There were bickerings and reproaches on
all sides, many tears, pertinent lectures, and even rejections. The
talk was no longer of marriages, but of separations. They began to
return their pledges of troth, rings, ribbons, etc. The old persons
took part with their children; criminations and strife spread from
house to house; it was most deplorable.
Marietta is the cause of all, said the pious maidens first; then the
mothers said it; next the fathers took it up; and finally alleven the
young men. But Marietta, shielded by her modesty and innocence, like
the petals of the rosebud in its dark-green calix, did not suspect the
mischief of which she was the occasion, and continued courteous to
everybody. This touched the young men, who said, Why condemn the pure
and harmless childshe is not guilty! Then the fathers said the same
thing; then the mothers took it up, and finally alleven the pious
maidens. For, let who would talk with Marietta, she was sure to gain
their esteem. So before half a year had passed, everybody had spoken to
her, and everybody loved her. But she did not suspect that she was the
object of such general regard, as she had not before suspected that she
was the object of dislike. Does the violet, hidden in the downtrodden
grass, think how sweet it is?
Now every one wished to make amends for the injustice they had done
Marietta. Sympathy deepened the tenderness of their attachment.
Marietta found herself greeted everywhere in a more friendly way than
ever; she was more cordially welcomed; more heartily invited to the
rural sports and dances.
All men, however, are not endowed with tender sympathy; some have
hearts hardened like Pharaoh's. This arises, no doubt, from that
natural depravity which has come upon men in consequence of the fall of
Adam, or because, at their baptism, the devil is not brought
sufficiently under subjection.
A remarkable example of this hardness of heart was given by one
Colin, the richest farmer and proprietor in Napoule, whose vineyards
and olive gardens, whose lemon and orange trees could hardly be counted
in a day. One thing particularly demonstrates the perverseness of his
disposition; he was twenty-seven years old, and had never yet asked for
what purpose girls had been created!
True, all the people, especially damsels of a certain age, willingly
forgave him this sin, and looked upon him as one of the best young men
under the sun. His fine figure, his fresh, unembarrassed manner, his
look, his laugh, enabled him to gain the favorable opinion of the
aforesaid people, who would have forgiven him, had there been occasion,
any one of the deadly sins. But the decision of such judges is not
always to be trusted. While both old and young at Napoule had become
reconciled to the innocent Marietta, and proffered their sympathies to
her, Colin was the only one who had no pity upon the poor child. If
Marietta was talked of he became as dumb as a fish. If he met her in
the street he would turn red and white with anger, and cast sidelong
glances at her of the most malicious kind.
If at evening the young people met upon the seashore near the old
castle ruins for sprightly pastimes, or rural dances, or to sing
catches, Colin was the merriest among them. But as soon as Marietta
arrived the rascally fellow was silent, and all the gold in the world
couldn't make him sing. What a pity, when he had such a fine voice I
Everybody listened to it so willingly, and its store of songs was
All the maidens looked kindly upon Colin, and he was friendly with
all of them. He had, as we have said, a roguish glance, which the
lasses feared and loved; and it was so sweet they would like to have
had it painted. But, as might naturally be expected, the offended
Marietta did not look graciously upon him. And in that he was perfectly
right. Whether he smiled or not, it was all the same to her. As to his
roguish glance, why she would never hear it mentioned; and therein too
she was perfectly right. When he told a tale (and he knew thousands)
and everybody listened, she nudged her neighbor, or perhaps threw tufts
of grass at Peter or Paul, and laughed and chattered, and did not
listen to Colin at all. This behavior quite provoked the proud fellow,
so that he would break off in the middle of his story and stalk
Revenge is sweet. The daughter of Mother Manon well knew how to
triumph. Yet Marietta was a right good child and quite too
tenderhearted. If Colin was silent, it gave her pain. If he was
downcast, she laughed no more. If he went away, she did not stay long
behind: but hurried to her home, and wept tears of repentance, more
beautiful than those of the Magdalen, although she had not sinned like
Father Jerome, the pastor of Napoule, was an old man of seventy, who
possessed all the virtues of a saint, and only one failing; which was,
that by reason of his advanced years, he was hard of hearing. But, on
that very account, his homilies were more acceptable to the children of
his baptism and blessing. True, he preached only of two subjects, as if
they comprehended the whole of religion. It was either Little
children, love one another, or it was Mysterious are the ways of
Providence. And truly there is so much Faith, Love, and Hope in these
that one might at a pinch be saved by them. The little children loved
one another most obediently, and trusted in the ways of Providence.
Only Colin, with his flinty heart, would know nothing of either: for
even when he professed to be friendly, he entertained the deepest
The Napoulese went to the annual market or fair of the city of
Vence. It was truly a joyful time, and though they had but little gold
to buy with, there were many goods to look at. Now Marietta and Mother
Manon went to the fair with the rest, and Colin was also there. He
bought a great many curiosities and trifles for his friendsbut he
would not spend a farthing for Marietta. And yet he was always at her
elbow, though he did not speak to her, nor she to him. It was easy to
see that he was brooding over some scheme of wickedness.
Mother Manon stood gazing before a shop, when she suddenly
Oh! Marietta, see that beautiful cup! A queen would not be ashamed
to raise it to her lips. Only see: the edge is of dazzling gold, and
the flowers upon it could not bloom more beautifully in the garden,
although they are only painted. And in the midst of this Paradise! pray
see, Marietta, how the apples are smiling on the trees. They are verily
tempting. And Adam cannot withstand it, as the enchanting Eve offers
him one for food! And do see how prettily the little frisking lamb
skips around the old tiger, and the snow-white dove with her golden
throat stands there before the vulture, as if she would caress him.
Marietta could not satisfy herself with looking. Had I such a cup,
mother! said she, it is far too beautiful to drink out of: I would
place my flowers in it and constantly peep into Paradise. We are at the
fair in Vence, but when I look on the picture I feel as if I were in
So spoke Marietta, and called her companions to the spot, to share
her admiration of the cup: but the young men soon joined the maidens,
until at length almost half the inhabitants of Napoule were assembled
before the wonderfully beautiful cup. But miraculously beautiful was it
mainly from its inestimable, translucent porcelain, with gilded handles
and glowing colors. They asked the merchant timidly: Sir, what is the
price of it? And he answered: Among friends, it is worth a hundred
livres. Then they all became silent, and went away in despair. When
the Napoulese were all gone from the front of the shop, Colin came
there by stealth, threw the merchant a hundred livres upon the counter,
had the cup put in a box well packed with cotton, and then carried it
off. What evil plans he had in view no one would have surmised.
Near Napoule, on his way home, it being already dusk, he met old
Jacques, the Justice's servant, returning from the fields. Jacques was
a very good man, but excessively stupid.
I will give thee money enough to get something to drink, Jacques,
said Colin, if thou wilt bear this box to Manon's house, and leave it
there; and if any one should see thee, and inquire from whom the box
came, say 'A stranger gave it to me.' But never disclose my name, or I
will always detest thee.
Jacques promised this, took the drink-money and the box, and went
with it toward the little dwelling between the olive trees and the
Before he arrived there he encountered his master, Justice
Hautmartin, who asked; Jacques, what art thou carrying?
A box for Mother Manon. But, sir, I cannot say from whom it comes.
Because Colin would always detest me.
It is well that thou canst keep a secret. But it is already late;
give me the box, for I am going to-morrow to see Mother Manon; I will
deliver it to her and not betray that it came from Colin. It will save
thee a walk, and furnish me a good excuse for calling on the old lady.
Jacques gave the box to his master, whom he was accustomed to obey
implicitly in all things. The justice bore it into his chamber, and
examined it by the light with some curiosity. On the lid was neatly
written with red chalk: For the lovely and dear Marietta. But
Monsieur Hautmartin well knew that this was some of Colin's mischief,
and that some knavish trick lurked under the whole. He therefore opened
the box carefully for fear that a mouse or rat should be concealed
within. When he beheld the wondrous cup, which he had seen at Vence, he
was dreadfully shocked, for Monsieur Hautmartin was a skilful casuist,
and knew that the inventions and devices of the human heart are evil
from our youth upward. He saw at once that Colin designed this cup as a
means of bringing misfortune upon Marietta: perhaps to give out, when
it should be in her possession, that it was the present of some
successful lover in the town, or the like, so that all decent people
would thereafter keep aloof from Marietta. Therefore Monsieur
Hautmartin resolved, in order to prevent any evil reports, to profess
himself the giver. Moreover, he loved Marietta, and would gladly have
seen her observe more strictly toward himself the sayings of the
gray-headed priest Jerome, Little children, love one another. In
truth, Monsieur Hautmartin was a little child of fifty years old, and
Marietta did not think the saying applied particularly to him. Mother
Manon, on the contrary, thought that the justice was a clever little
child, he had gold and a high reputation from one end of Napoule to the
other. And when the justice spoke of marriage, and Marietta ran away in
affright, Mother Manon remained sitting, and had no fear for the tall,
staid gentleman. It must also be confessed there were no faults in his
person. And although Colin might be the handsomest man in the village,
yet the justice far surpassed him in two things, namely, in the number
of years, and in a very, very big nose. Yes, this nose, which always
went before the justice like a herald to proclaim his approach, was a
real elephant among human noses.
With this proboscis, his good purpose, and the cup, the justice went
the following morning to the house between the olive trees and the
For the beautiful Marietta, said he, I hold nothing too costly.
Yesterday you admired the cup at Vence; to-day allow me, lovely
Marietta, to lay it and my devoted heart at your feet.
Manon and Marietta were transported beyond measure when they beheld
the cup. Manon's eyes glistened with delight, but Marietta turned and
said: I can neither take your heart nor your cup.
Then Mother Marion was angry, and cried out: But I accept both
heart and cup. Oh, thou little fool, how long wilt thou despise thy
good fortune! For whom dost thou tarry? Will a count of Provence make
thee his bride, that thou scornest the Justice of Napoule? I know
better how to look after my interests. Monsieur Hautmartin, I deem it
an honor to call thee my son-in-law.
Then Marietta went out and wept bitterly, and hated the beautiful
cup with all her heart.
But the justice, drawing the palm of his flabby hand over his nose,
spoke thus judiciously:
Mother Manon, hurry nothing. The dove will at length, when it
learns to know me better, give way. I am not impetuous. I have some
skill among women, and before a quarter of a year passes by I will
insinuate myself into Marietta's good graces.
Thy nose is too large for that, whispered Marietta, who listened
outside the door and laughed to herself. In fact, the quarter of a year
passed by and Monsieur Hautmartin had not yet pierced the heart even
with the tip of his nose.
During this quarter of a year Marietta had other affairs to attend
to. The cup gave her much vexation and trouble, and something else
For a fortnight nothing else was talked of in Napoule, and every one
said it is a present from the justice, and the marriage is already
agreed upon. Marietta solemnly declared to all her companions that she
would rather plunge to the bottom of the sea than marry the justice,
but the maidens continued to banter her all the more, saying: Oh, how
blissful it must be to repose in the shadow of his nose! This was her
Then Mother Manon had the cruelty to force Marietta to rinse out the
cup every morning at the spring under the rock and to fill it with
fresh flowers. She hoped by this to accustom Marietta to the cup and
heart of the giver. But Marietta continued to hate both the gift and
giver, and her work at the spring became an actual punishment.
Then, when in the morning, she came to the spring, twice every week
she found on the rock, immediately over it, some most beautiful
flowers, handsomely arranged, all ready for the decoration of the cup.
And on the flower-stalks a strip of paper was always tied, on which was
written, Dear Marietta. Now no one need expect to impose upon little
Marietta as if magicians and fairies were still in the world.
Consequently she knew that both the flowers and papers must have come
from Monsieur Hautmartin. Marietta, indeed, would not smell them
because the living breath from out of the justice's nose had perfumed
them. Nevertheless she took the flowers, because they were finer than
wild flowers, and tore the slip of paper into a thousand pieces, which
she strewed upon the spot where the flowers usually lay. But this did
not vex Justice Hautmartin, whose love was unparalleled in its kind as
his nose was in its kind. Third vexation.
At length it came out in conversation with Monsieur Hautmartin that
he was not the giver of the beautiful flowers. Then who could it be?
Marietta was utterly astounded at the unexpected discovery. Thenceforth
she took the flowers from the rock more kindly; but, further, Marietta
waswhat maidens are not wont to bevery inquisitive. She conjectured
first this and then that young man in Napoule. Yet her conjectures were
in vain. She looked and listened far into the night; she rose earlier
than usual But she looked and listened in vain. And still twice a week
in the morning the miraculous flowers lay upon the rock, and upon the
strip of paper wound round them she always read the silent sigh, Dear
Marietta! Such an incident would have made even the most indifferent
inquisitive. But curiosity at length became a burning pain. Fourth
Now Father Jerome, on Sunday, had again preached from the text:
Mysterious are the dispensations of Providence. And little Marietta
thought, if Providence would only dispense that I might at length find
out who is the flower dispenser. Father Jerome was never wrong.
On a summer night, when it was far too warm to rest, Marietta awoke
very early, and could not resume her sleep. Therefore she sprang
joyously from her couch as the first streaks of dawn flashed against
the window of her little chamber, over the waves of the sea and the
Lerinian Isles, dressed herself, and went out to wash her forehead,
breast, and arms in the cool spring. She took her hat with her,
intending to take a walk by the sea-shore, as she knew of a retired
place for bathing.
In order to reach this retired spot, it was necessary to pass over
the rocks behind the house, and thence down through the orange and palm
trees. On this occasion Marietta could not pass through them; for,
under the youngest and most slender of the palms lay a tall young man
in profound sleepnear him a nosegay of most splendid flowers. A white
paper lay thereon, from which probably a sigh was again breathing. How
could Marietta get by there?
She stood still, trembling with fright. She would go home again.
Hardly had she retreated a couple of steps, ere she looked again at the
sleeper and remained motionless. Yet the distance prevented her from
recognizing his face. Now the mystery was to be solved, or never. She
tripped lightly nearer to the palms; but he seemed to stirthen she
ran again toward the cottage. His movements were but the fearful
imaginings of Marietta. Now she returned again on her way toward the
palms; but his sleep might perhaps be only dissembledswiftly she ran
toward the cottagebut who would flee for a mere probability? She trod
more boldly the path toward the palms.
With these fluctuations of her timid and joyous spirit, between
fright and curiosity, with these to-and-fro trippings between the house
and the palm-trees, she at length nearly approached the sleeper; at the
same time curiosity became more powerful than fear.
What is he to me? My way leads me directly past him. Whether he
sleeps or wakes, I will go straight on. So thought Manon's daughter.
But she passed not by, but stood looking directly in the face of the
flower-giver, in order to be certain who it was. Besides, he slept as
if it were the first time in a month. And who was it? Now, who else
should it be but the archwicked Colin.
So it was he who had annoyed the gentle maiden, and given her
so much trouble with Monsieur Hautmartin, because he bore a grudge
against her; he had been the one who had teased her with flowers, in
order to torture her curiosity. Wherefore? He hated Marietta. He
behaved himself always most shamefully toward the poor child. He
avoided her when he could; and when he could not, he grieved the
good-natured little one. With all the other maidens of Napoule he was
more chatty, friendly, courteous, than toward Marietta. Considerhe
had never once asked her to dance, and yet she danced bewitchingly.
Now there he lay, surprised, taken in the act. Revenge swelled in
Marietta's bosom. What disgrace could she subject him to? She took the
nosegay, unloosened it, strewed his present over the sleeper in scorn.
But the paper, on which appeared again the sigh, Dear Marietta! she
retained, and thrust quickly into her bosom. She wished to preserve
this proof of his handwriting. Marietta was sly. Now she would go away.
But her revenge was not yet satisfied. She could not leave the place
without returning Colin's ill-will.
She took the violet-colored silken ribbon from her hat, and threw it
lightly around the sleeper's arm and around the tree, and with three
knots tied Colin fast. Now when he awoke, how astonished he would be!
How his curiosity would torment him to ascertain who had played him
this trick! He could not possibly know. So much the better; it served
him right. She seemed to regret her work when she had finished it. Her
bosom throbbed impetuously. Indeed, I believe that a little tear filled
her eye, as she compassionately gassed upon the guilty one. Slowly she
retreated to the orange grove by the rocksshe looked around
oftenslowly ascended the rocks, looking down among the palm trees as
she ascended. Then she hastened to Mother Manon, who was calling her.
That very day Colin practised new mischief. What did he? He wished
to shame the poor Marietta publicly. Ah! she never thought that every
one in Napoule knew her violet-colored ribbon! Colin remembered it but
too well. Proudly he bound it around his hat, and exhibited it to the
gaze of all the world as a conquest. And male and female cried out: He
has received it from Marietta.And all the maidens said angrily: The
reprobate! And all the young men who liked to see Marietta cried out:
How! Mother Manon? shrieked the Justice Hautmartin when he came to
her house, and he shrieked so loudly that it reechoed wonderfully
through his nose. How! do you suffer this? my betrothed presents the
young proprietor Colin with her hat-band! It is high time that we
celebrate our nuptials. When that is over, then I shall have a right to
You have a right! answered Mother Manon, if things are so, the
marriage must take place forthwith. When that is done, all will go
But, Mother Manon, Marietta always refuses to give me her consent.
Prepare the marriage feast.
But she will not even look kindly at me; and when I seat myself at
her side, the little savage jumps up and runs away.
Justice, only prepare the marriage feast.
But if Marietta resists
We will take her by surprise. We will go to Father Jerome on Monday
morning early, and he shall quietly celebrate the marriage. This we can
easily accomplished with him. I am her mother, you the first judicial
person in Napoule. He must obey. Marietta need know nothing about it.
Early on Monday morning I will send her to Father Jerome all alone,
with a message so that she will suspect nothing. Then the priest shall
speak earnestly to her. Half an hour afterward we two will come. Then
swiftly to the altar. And even if Marietta should then say No, what
does it matter? The old priest can hear....
Two pages missing: 200, 201
....he shall replace both cup and window-sash with his gold. It will
give a rich dowry to Marietta But when Marietta brought in the
fragments of the shattered cup, when Manon saw the Paradise lost, the
good man Adam without a head, and of Eve not a solitary limb remaining,
the serpent unhurt, triumphing, the tiger safe, but the little lamb
gone even to the very tail, as if the tiger had swallowed it, then
Mother Manon screamed forth curses against Colin, and said: One can
easily see that this fall came from the hand of the devil.
She took the cup in one hand, Marietta in the other, and went, about
nine o'clock, to when Monsieur Hautmartin was wont to sit in judgment.
She there made a great outcry, and showed the broken cup and the
Paradise lost. Marietta wept bitterly.
The justice, when he saw the broken cup and his beautiful bride in
tears, flew into so violent a rage toward Colin that his nose was as
violet-colored as Marietta's well-known hat-band, He immediately
despatched his bailiffs to bring the criminal before him.
Colin came, overwhelmed with grief. Mother Manon now repeated her
complaint with great eloquence before justice, bailiffs, and
saribes.But Colin listened not. He stepped to Marietta and whispered
to hen Forgive me, dear Marietta, as I forgive thee. I broke thy cup
unintentionally; but thou, thou hast broken my heart!
What whispering is that? cried Justice Hautmartin, with
magisterial authority. Harken to this accusation, and defend
I have naught to defend. I broke the cup against my will, said
That I verily believe, said Marietta, sobbing. I am as guilty as
he; for I offended himthen he threw the ribbon and flowers to me. He
could not help it.
Well! cried Mother Manon. Do you intend to defend him? Mr.
Justice, pronounce his sentence. He has broken the cup, and he does not
Since you cannot deny it, Mr. Colin, said the Justice, you must
pay three hundred livres for the cup, for it is worth that; and then
No, interrupted Colin, it is not worth that. I bought it at Vence
for Marietta for a hundred livres.
You bought it, sir brazen face? shrieked the Justice, and his
whole face became like Marietta's hat-hand. He could not and would not
say more, for he dreaded a disagreeable investigation of the matter.
But Colin was vexed at the imputation, and said: I sent this cup on
the evening of the fair, by your own servant, to Marietta. There stands
Jacques in the door. Speak, Jacques, did I not give thee the box to
carry to Mother Manon?
Monsieur Hautmartin wished to interrupt this conversation by
speaking loudly. But the simple Jacques said: Only recollect, Justice,
you took away Colin's box from me, and carried what was in it to Mother
Manon. The box lies there under the papers.
Then the bailiffs were ordered to remove the simpleton; and Colin
was also directed to retire, until he should be sent for again.
Very well, Mr. Justice, interposed Colin, but this business shall
be your last in Napoule. I know this, that you would ingratiate
yourself with Mother Manon and Marietta by means of my property. When
you want me, you will have to ride to Grasse to the Governor's. With
that, Colin departed.
Monsieur Hautmartin was quite puzzled with this affair, and in his
confusion knew not what he was about. Manon shook her head. The affair
was dark and mysterious to her. Who will now pay me for the broken
cup? she asked.
To me, said Marietta, with glowing, brightened countenance, to
me it is already paid for.
Colin rode that same day to the Governor at Grasse, and came back
early the next morning. But Justice Hautmartin only laughed at him, and
removed all of Mother Manon's suspicions by swearing he would let his
nose be cut off if Colin did not pay three hundred livres for the
broken cup. He also went with Mother Manon to talk with Father Jerome
about the marriage, and impressed upon him the necessity of earnestly
setting before Marietta her duty as an obedient daughter in not
opposing the will of her mother. This the pious old man promised,
although he understood not the half of what they shouted in his ear.
When Monday morning came Mother Manon said to her daughter: Dress
yourself handsomely, and carry this myrtle wreath to Father Jerome; he
wants it for a bride. Marietta dressed herself in her Sunday clothes,
took the myrtle wreath unsuspiciously, and carried it to Father Jerome.
On the way Colin met her, and greeted her joyfully, though timidly;
and when she told him where she was taking the wreath, Colin said: I
am going the same way, for I am carrying the money for the church's
tenths to the priest. And as they went on he took her hand silently,
and both trembled as if they designed some crime against each other.
Hast thou forgiven me? whispered Colin, anxiously. Ah! Marietta,
what have I done to thee, that thou art so cruel toward me?
She could only say: Be quiet, Colin, you shall have the ribbon
again; and I will preserve the cup since it came from you! Did it
really come from you?
Ah! Marietta, canst thou doubt it? All I have I would gladly give
thee. Wilt thou, hereafter, be as kind to me as thou art to others?
She replied not. But as she entered the parsonage she looked aside
at him, and when she saw his fine eyes filled with tears, she whispered
softly: Dear Colin! Then he bent down and kissed her hand. With this
the door of a chamber opened and Father Jerome, with venerable aspect,
stood before them. The young couple held fast to each other. I know not
whether this was the effect of the hand-kissing, or the awe they felt
for the sage.
Marietta handed him the myrtle wreath. He laid it upon her head and
said: Little children, love one another; and then urged the good
maiden, in the most touching and pathetic manner, to love Colin. For
the old gentleman, from his hardness of hearing, had either mistaken
the name of the bridegroom, or forgotten it, and thought Colin must be
Then Marietta's heart softened under the exhortation, and with tears
and sobs she exclaimed: Ah! I have loved him for a long time, but he
I hate thee, Marietta? cried Colin. My soul has lived only in
thee since thou earnest to Napoule. Oh! Marietta, how could I hope and
believe that thou didst love me? Does not all Napoule worship thee?
Why, then, dost thou avoid me, Colin, and prefer all my companions
Oh! Marietta, I feared and trembled with love and anxiety when I
beheld thee; I had not the courage to approach thee; and when I was
away from thee I was most miserable.
As they talked thus with each other the good father thought they
were quarreling; and he threw his arms around them, brought them
together, and said imploringly: Little children, love one another.
Then Marietta sank on Colin's breast, and Colin threw his arms
around her, and both faces beamed with rapture. They forgot the priest,
the whole world. Each was sunk into the other, Both had so completely
lost their recollection that, unwittingly, they followed the delightful
Father Jerome into the church and before the altar.
Marietta! sighed he.
Colin! sighed she.
In the church there were many devout worshipers; but they witnessed
Colin's and Marietta's marriage with amazement. Many ran out before the
close of the ceremony, to spread the news throughout Napoule: Colin
and Marietta are married.
When the solemnization was over, Father Jerome rejoiced that he had
succeeded so well, and that such little opposition had been made by the
parties. He led them into the parsonage.
Then Mother Manon arrived, breathless; she had waited at home a long
time for the bride-groom. He had not arrived. At the last stroke of the
clock she grew anxious and went to Monsieur Hautmartin's. There anew
surprise awaited her. She learned that the Governor, together with the
officers of the Viguerie, had appeared and taken possession of the
accounts, chests, and papers of the justice and at the same time
arrested Monsieur Hautmartin.
This, surely, is the work of that wicked Colin, thought she, and
hurried to the parsonage in order to apologize to Father Jerome for
delaying the marriage. The good gray-headed old man advanced toward
her, proud of his work, and leading by the hand the newly married pair.
Now Mother Manon lost her wits and her speech in good earnest when
she learned what had happened. But Colin had more thoughts and power of
speech than in his whole previous life. He told of his love and the
broken cup, the falsehood of the justice, and how he had unmasked this
unjust magistrate in the Viguerie at Grasse. Then he besought Mother
Manon's blessing, since all this had happened without any fault on the
part of Marietta or himself.
Father Jerome, who for a long while could not make out what had
happened, when he received a full explanation of the marriage through
mistake, piously folded his hands and exclaimed, with uplifted eyes:
Wonderful are the dispensations of Providence! Colin and Marietta
kissed his hands; Mother Manon, through sheer veneration of heaven,
gave the young couple her blessing, but remarked incidentally that her
head seemed turned round.
Mother Manon herself was pleased with her son-in-law when she came
to know the full extent of his property, and especially when she found
that Monsieur Hautmartin and his nose had been arrested.
But am I then really a wife? asked Marietta; and really Colin's
Mother Manon nodded her head, and Marietta hung upon Colin's arm.
Thus they went to Colin's farm, to his dwelling-house, through the
Look at the flowers, Marietta, said Colin; how carefully I
cultivated them for your cup!
Colin, who had not expected so pleasant an event, now prepared a
wedding feast on the spur of the occasion. Two days was it continued.
All Napoule was feasted. Who shall describe Colin's extravagance?
The broken cup is preserved in the family to the present day as a
memorial and sacred relic.