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Angela by Conrad von Bolanden

 

                     A N G E L A.

                     TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN OF

                     CONRAD VON BOLANDEN.

                     * * * * *

                    

CHAPTER I. CRINOLINE.

An express train was just on the eve of leaving the railway station in Munich. Two fashionably dressed gentlemen stood at the open door of a railway carriage, in conversation with a third, who sat within. These two young men bore on their features the marks of youthful dissipation, indicating that they had not been sparing of pleasures. The one in the carriage had a handsome, florid countenance, two clear, expressive eyes, and thick locks of hair, which he now and then stroked back from his fine forehead. He scarcely observed the conversation of the two friends, who spoke of balls, dogs, horses, theatres, and ballet-girls.

In the same carriage sat another traveller, evidently the father of the young man. He was reading the newspaper—that is the report of the money market—while his fleshy left hand dallied with the heavy gold rings of his watch-chain. He had paid no attention to the conversation till an observation of his son brought him to serious reflection.

“By the bye,” said one of the young men quickly, “I was nearly forgetting to tell you the news, Richard! Do you know that Baron Linden is engaged?”

“Engaged? To whom?” said Richard carelessly.

“To Bertha von Harburg. I received a card this morning, and immediately wrote a famous letter of congratulation.”

Richard looked down earnestly, and shook his head.

“I commiserate the genial baron,” said he. “What could he be thinking of, to rush headlong into this misfortune?”

The father looked in surprise at his son; the hand holding the paper sank on his knee.

“Permit me, gentlemen,” said the conductor; the doors were closed, the friends nodded good-by, and the train moved off.

“Your observation about Linden's marriage astonishes me, Richard. But perhaps you were only jesting.”

“By no means,” said Richard. “Never more earnest in my life. I expressed my conviction, and my conviction is the result of careful observation and mature reflection.”

The father's astonishment increased.

“Observation—reflection—fudge!” said the father impatiently, as he folded the paper and shoved it into his pocket. “How can a young man of twenty-two talk of experience and observation! Enthusiastic nonsense! Marriage is a necessity of human life. And you will yet submit to this necessity.”

“True, if marriage be a necessity, then I suppose I must bow to the yoke of destiny. But, father, this necessity does not exist. There are intelligent men enough who do not bind themselves to woman's caprices.”

“Oh! certainly, there are some strange screech-owls in the world—-some enthusiasts. But certainly you do not wish to be one of them. You, who have such great expectations. You, the only son of a wealthy house. You, who have a yearly income of thousands to spend.”

“The income can be enjoyed more pleasantly, free and single, father.”

“Free and single—and enjoyed! Zounds! you almost tempt me to think ill of you. Happily, I know you well. I know your strict morality, your solidity, your moderate pretensions. All these amiable qualities please me. But this view of marriage I did not expect; you must put away this sickly notion.”

The young man made no answer, but leaned back in his seat with a disdainful smile.

Herr Frank gazed thoughtfully through the window. He reflected on the determined character of his son, whose disposition, even when a child, shut him out from the world, and who led an interior, meditative life. Strict regularity and exact employment of time were natural to him. At school, he held the first place in all branches. His ambition and effort were to excel all others in knowledge. His singular questions, which indicated a keen observation and capacity, had often excited the surprise of his father. And while the companions of the youth hailed with delight the time which released them from the benches of the school and from their studies, Richard cheerfully bound himself to his accustomed task, to appease his longing for knowledge. Approaching manhood had not changed him in this regard. He was punctual to the hours of business, and labored with zeal and interest, to the great joy of his father. He recreated himself with music and, painting, or by a walk in the open country, for whose beauties he had a keen appreciation. The few shades of his character were, a proud haughtiness, an unyielding perseverance in his determinations, and a strength of conviction difficult to overcome. But perhaps these shades were, after all, great qualities, which were to brighten up and polish his maturity. This obstinacy the father was now considering, and, in reference to his singular view of marriage, it filled him with great anxiety.

“But, Richard,” began Herr Frank again, “how did you come to this singular conclusion?”

“By observation, and reflection—and also by experience, although you deny my years this right.”

“What have you experienced and observed?”

“I have observed woman as she is, and found that such a creature would only make me miserable. What occupies their minds? Fineries, pleasures; and trifles. The pivot of their existence turns on dress, ornaments, balls, and the like. We live in an age of crinoline, and you know how I abominate that dress; I admit my aversion is abnormal, perhaps exaggerated, but I cannot overcome it. When I see a woman going through the streets with swelling hoops, the most whimsical fancies come into my mind. It reminds me of an inflated balloon, whose clumsy swell disfigures the most beautiful form. It reminds me of a drunken gawk, who swaggers along and carries the foolish gewgaw for a show. The costume is indeed expressive. It reveals the interior disposition. Crinoline is to me the type of the woman of our day—an empty, vain, inflated something. And this type repels me.”

“Then you believe our women to be vain, pleasure-seeking, and destitute of true womanhood, because they wear crinoline?”

“No, the reverse. An overweening propensity to show and frivolity characterizes our women, and therefore they wear crinoline in spite of the protestations of the men.”

“Bah! Nonsense; you lay too much stress on fashion. I know many women myself who complain of this fashion.”

“And afterward follow it. This precisely confirms my opinion. Women have no longer sufficient moral force to disregard a disagreeable restraint. Their vanity is still stronger than their inclinations to a natural enjoyment of life.”

“Do you want a wife who would be sparing and saving; who, by her frugality, would increase your wealth; who, by her social seclusion, would not molest your cash-box?”

“No; I want no wife,” answered the young man, somewhat pettishly. “And I am not alone in this. The young men are beginning to awaken. A sound, natural feeling revolts against the vitiated taste of the women. Alliances are forming everywhere. The last paper announced that, at Marseilles, six thousand young men have, with joined hands, vowed never to marry until the women renounce their ruinous costumes and costly idleness, and return to a plain style of dress and frugal habits. I object to this propensity to ease and pleasure—this desire of our women for finery and the gratification of vanity. Not because this inclination is expensive, but because it is objectionable. Every creature has an object. But, if we consider the women of our day, we might well ask, for what are they here?

“For what are women here, foolish man?” interrupted Herr Frank. “Are they to go about without any costume, like Eve before the fall? Are they to know the trials of life, and not its joys? Are they to exist like the women of the sultan, shut up in a harem? For what are they here? I will tell you. They are here to make life cheerful. Does not Schiller say,

          “'Honor to woman! she scatters rife
            Heavenly roses, 'mid earthly life;
              Love she weaves in gladdening bands;
            Chastity's veil her charm attires;
            Beautiful thoughts' eternal fires,
              Watchful, she feeds with holy hands.'”

Richard smiled.

“Poetical fancy!” said he. “My unhappy friend Emil Schlagbein often declaimed and sang with passion that same poem of Schiller's. Love had even made a poet of him. He wrote verses to his Ida. And now, scarcely three years married, he is the most miserable man in the world—miserable through his wife. Ida has still the same finely carved head as formerly; but that head, to the grief of Emil, is full of stubbornness—full of whimsical nonsense. Her eyes have still the same deep blue; but the charming expression has changed, and the blue not unfrequently indicates a storm. How often has Emil poured out his sorrows to me! How often complained of the coldness of his wife! A ball missed—missed from necessity—makes her stupid and sulky for days. In vain he seeks a cheerful look. When he returns home worried by the cares of business, he finds no consolation in Ida's sympathy, but is vexed by her stubbornness and offended by her coldness. Emil sprang headlong into misery. I will beware of such a step.”

“You are unjust and prejudiced. Must all women, then, be Ida Schlagbeins?”

“Perhaps my Ida might be still worse,” retorted Richard sharply.

Herr Frank drummed on his knees, always a sign of displeasure.

“I tell you, Richard,” said he emphatically. “Your time will come yet. You will follow the universal law, and this law will give the lie to your one-sided view—to your contempt of woman.”

“That impulse, father, can be overcome, and habit becomes a second nature. Besides—”

“Besides—well, what besides?”

“I would say that the time of which you speak is, in my case, happily passed,” answered Richard, still gazing through the window. “For me the time of sentimental delusion has been short and decisive,” he concluded with a bitter smile.

“Can I, your father, ask a clearer explanation?”

The young man leaned back in his seat and looked at the opposite side while he spoke.

“Last summer I visited Baden-Baden. On old Mount Eberstein, which is so picturesquely enthroned above the village, I fell in with a party. Among the number was a young lady of rare beauty and great modesty. An acquaintance gave me an opportunity of being introduced to her. We sat in pleasant conversation under the black oaks until the approaching twilight compelled us to return to the town. Isabella—such was the name of the beauty—had made a deep impression on me. So deep that even the detested crinoline that encircled her person in large hoops found favor in my sight. Her manner was in no wise coquettish. She spoke with deliberation and spirit. Her countenance had always the same expression. Only when the young people, into whose heads the fiery wine had risen, gave expression to sharp words, did Isabella look up and a displeased expression, as of injured delicacy, passed over her countenance. My presence seemed agreeable to her. My conversation may have pleased her. As we descended the mountain, we came to a difficult pass. I offered her my arm, which she took in the same unchanging, quiet manner which made her so charming in my sight. I soon discovered my affection for the stranger, and wondered how it could arise so suddenly and become so impetuous. I was ashamed at abandoning so quickly my opinion of women. But this feeling was not strong enough to stifle the incipient passion. My mind lay captive in the fetters of infatuation.”

He paused for a moment. The proud young man seemed to reproach himself for his conduct, which he considered wanting in manly independence and clear penetration.

“On the following day,” he continued, “there was to be a horse-race in the neighborhood. Before we parted, it was arranged that we would be present at it. I returned to my room in the hotel, and dreamed waking dreams of Isabella. My friend had told me that she was the daughter of a wealthy merchant, and that she had accompanied her invalid mother here. This mark of love and filial affection was not calculated to cool my ardor. Isabella appeared more beautiful and more charming still. We went to the race. I had the unspeakable happiness of being in the same car and sitting opposite her. After a short journey—to me, at least, it seemed short—we arrived at the grounds where the race was to take place. We ascended the platform. I sat at Isabella's side. She did not for a moment lose her quiet equanimity. The race began. I saw little of it, for Isabella was constantly before my eyes, look where I would. Suddenly a noise—a loud cry—roused me from my dream. Not twenty paces from where we sat, a horse had fallen. The rider was under him. The floundering animal had crushed both legs of the unfortunate man. Even now I can see his frightfully distorted features before me. I feared that Isabella's delicate sensibility might be wounded by the horrible sight. And when I looked at her, what did I see? A smiling face! She had lost her quiet, weary manner, and a hard, unfeeling soul lighted up her features!

“'Do you not think this change in the monotony of the race quite magnificent?' said she.

“I made no answer. With an apology, I left the party and returned alone to Baden.”

“Very well,” said the father, “your Isabella was an unfeeling creature—granted. But now for your application of this experience.”

“We will let another make the application, father. Listen a moment. In Baden a bottle of Rhine wine, whose spirit is so congenial to sad and melancholy feelings, served to obliterate the desolate remembrance. I sat in the almost deserted dining-room. The guests were at the theatre, on excursions in the neighborhood, or dining about the park. An old man sat opposite me. I remarked that his eyes, when he thought himself unobserved, were turned inquiringly on me. The sudden cooling of my passion had perhaps left some marks upon me. The stranger believed, perhaps, that I was an unlucky and desperate player. A player I had indeed been. I had been about to stake my happiness on a beautiful form. But I had won the game.

“The wine soon cheered me up and I entered into conversation with the stranger. We spoke of various things, and finally of the race. As there was a friendly, confiding expression in the old man's countenance, I related to him the unhappy fall of the rider, and dwelt sharply on the impression the hideous spectacle made on Isabella. I told him that such a degree of callousness and insensibility was new to me, and that this sad experience had shocked me greatly.

“'This comes,' said he, 'from permitting yourself to be deceived by appearances, and because you do not know certain classes of society. If you consider the beautiful Isabella with sensual eyes, you will run great danger of taking appearances for truth—the false for the real. Even the plainest exterior is often only sham. Painted cheeks, colored eyebrows, false hair, false teeth; and even if these forms were not false, but true—if you penetrate these forms, if, under the constraint of graceful repose, we see modesty, purity, and even humility—there is then still greater danger of deception. A wearied, enervated nature, nerves blunted by the enjoyment of all kinds of pleasures, are frequently all that remains of womanly nature.

“'Do you wish to see striking examples of this? Go into the gaming saloons—into, those horrible places where fearful and consuming passions seethe; where desperation and suicide lurk. Go into the corrupt, poisonous atmosphere of those gambling hells, and there you will find women every day and every hour. Whence this disgusting sight? The violent excitement of gambling alone can afford sufficient attraction for those who have been sated with all kinds of pleasures. Is a criminal to be executed? I give you my word of honor that women give thousands of francs to obtain the best place, where they can contemplate more conveniently the shocking spectacle and read every expression in the distorted features of the struggling malefactor.

“'Isabella was one of these exhausted, enervated creatures, and hence her pleasure at the sight of the mangled rider.'

“Thus spoke the stranger, and I admitted that he was right. At the same time I tried to penetrate deeper into this want of sensibility. Like a venturesome miner, I descended into the psychological depth. I shuddered at what I there discovered, and at the inferences which Isabella's conduct forced upon my mind. No, father, no,” said he impetuously, “I will have no such nuptials—I will never rush into the miseries of matrimony!”

“Thunder and lightning! are you a man?” cried Herr Frank. “Because Emil's wife and Isabella are good-for-nothings, must the whole sex be repudiated? Both cases are exceptions. These exceptions give you no right to judge unfavorably of all women. This prejudice does no honor to your good sense, Richard. It is only eccentricity can judge thus.”

The train stopped. The travellers went out, where a carriage awaited them.

“Is everything right?” said Herr Frank to the driver.

“All is fixed, sir, as you required,”

“Is the box of books taken out?”

“Yes, sir.”

The coach moved up the street. The dark mountain-side rose into view, and narrow, deep valleys yawned beneath the travellers. Fresh currents of air rushed down the mountain and Herr Frank inhaled refreshing draughts.

Richard gazed thoughtfully over the magnificent vineyards and luxuriant orchards.

The road grew steeper and the wooded summit of the mountain approached. A light which Frank beheld with satisfaction glared out from it. Its rays shot out upon the town that, amid rich vineyards, topped the neighboring hill.

“Our residence is beautifully located,” said Herr Frank. “How cheerful it looks up there! It is a home fit for princes.”

“You have indeed chosen a magnificent spot, father. Everything unites to make Frankenhöhe a delightful place. The vineyards on the slopes of the hills, the smiling hamlet of Salingen to the right. In the background the stern mountain with its proud ruins on the summit of Salburg, the deep valleys and the dark ravines, all unite in the landscape: to the east that beautiful plain.”

These words pleased the father. His eyes rested long on the beautiful property.

“You have forgotten a reason for my happy choice,” said he, while a smile played on his features. “I mean the habit of my friend and deliverer, who, for the last eight years, spends the month of May at Frankenhöhe. You know the singular character of the doctor. Nothing in the world can tear him from his books. He has renounced all pleasure and enjoyment, to devote his whole time to his books. When Frankenhöhe entices and captivates the man of science, so strict, so dead to the world, it is, as I think, the highest compliment to our place.”

Richard did not question his father's opinion. He knew his unbounded esteem for the learned doctor.

The road grew steeper and steeper. The horses labored slowly along. The pleasant hamlet of Salingen lay a short distance to the left. A single house, separated from the village, and standing near the road in the midst of vineyards, came into view. The features of Herr Frank darkened as he turned his gaze from Frankenhöhe to this house. It was as though some unpleasant recollection was associated with it. Richard looked at the stately mansion, the large out-houses, the walled courts, and saw that everything about it was neat and clean.

“This must be a wealthy proprietor or influential landlord who lives here,” said Richard. “I have indeed seen this place in former years, but it did not interest me. How inviting and pleasant it looks. The property must have undergone considerable change; at least, I remember nothing that indicated the place to be other than an ordinary farmhouse.”

Herr Frank did not hear these observations. He muttered some bitter imprecation. The coach gained the summit, left the road, and passed through vineyards and chestnut groves to the house.

Frankenhöhe was a handsome two-story house whose arrangements corresponded to Frank's taste and means. Near it stood another, occupied by the steward. A short distance from it were stables and out-houses for purposes of agriculture.

Herr Frank went directly to the house, and passed from room to room to see if his instructions had been carried out.

Richard went into the garden and walked on paths covered with yellow sand. He strolled about among flower-beds that loaded the air with agreeable odors. He examined the blooming dwarf fruit-trees and ornamental plants. He observed the neatness and exact order of everything. Lastly, he stood near the vineyard whence he could behold an extensive view. He admired the beautiful, fragrant landscape. He stood thoughtfully reflecting. His conversation made it evident to him that his feelings and will did not agree with his father's wishes. He saw that between his inclinations and his love for his father he must undergo a severe struggle—a struggle that must decide his happiness for life. The strangeness of his opinion of women did not escape him. He tested his experience. He tried to justify his convictions, and yet his father's claims and filial duty prevailed.

                    

CHAPTER II. THE WEATHER-CROSS.

The next morning Richard was out with the early larks, and returned after a few hours in a peculiar frame of mind. As he was entering his room, he saw through the open door his father standing in the saloon. Herr Frank was carefully examining the arrangements, as the servants were carrying books into the adjoining room and placing them in a bookcase. Richard, as he passed, greeted his father briefly, contrary to his usual custom. At other times he used to exchange a few words with his father when he bid him good-morning, and he let no occasion pass of giving his opinion on any matter in which he knew his father took an interest.

The young man walked to the open window of his room, and gazed into the distance. He remained motionless for a time. He ran his fingers through his hair, and with a jerk of the head threw the brown locks back from his forehead. He walked restlessly back and forth, and acted like a man who tries in vain to escape from thoughts that force themselves upon him. At length he went to the piano, and beat an impetuous impromptu on the keys.

“Ei, Richard!” cried Herr Frank, whom the wild music had brought to his side. “Why, you rave! How possessed! One would think you had discovered a roaring cataract in the mountains, and wished to imitate its violence.”

Richard glanced quickly at his father, and finished with a tender, plaintive melody.

“Come over here and look at the rooms.”

Richard followed his father and examined carelessly the elegant rooms, and spoke a few cold words of commendation.

“And what do you say to this flora?” said Herr Frank pointing to a stepped framework on which bloomed the most beautiful and rare flowers.

“All very beautiful, father. The doctor will be much pleased, as he always is here.”

“I wish and hope so. I have had the peacocks and turkeys sent away, because Klingenberg cannot endure their noise. The library here will always be his favorite object, and care has been taken with it. Here are the best books on all subjects, even theology and astronomy.”

“Frankenhöhe is indeed cheerful as the heart of youth and quiet as a cloister,” said Richard “Your friend would indeed be ungrateful if this attention did not gratify him.”

“I have also provided that excellent wine which he loves and enjoys as a healthful medicine. But, Richard, you know Klingenberg's peculiarities. You must not play as you did just now; you would drive the doctor from the house.”

“Make yourself easy about that, father; I will play while he is on the mountain.”

Richard took a book from the shelf, and glanced over it. Herr Frank left him, and he immediately replaced the book and returned to his own room. There he wrote in his diary:

“12th of May.—Man is too apt to be led by his inclination. And what is inclination? A feeling caused by external impressions, or superinduced by a disposition of the body. Inclination, therefore, is something inimical to intellectual life. A vine that threatens to overgrow and smother clear conviction. Never act from inclination, if you do not wish to be unfaithful to conviction and guilty o a weakness.”

He went into the garden, where he talked to the gardener about trees and flowers.

“Are you acquainted in Salingen, John?”

“Certainly, sir. I was born there.”

“Do strangers sometimes come there to stop and enjoy the beautiful neighborhood?”

“Oh! no, sir; there is no suitable hotel there—only plain taverns; and people of quality would not stop at them.”

“Are there people of rank in Salingen?”

“Only farmers, sir. But—stay. The rich Siegwart appears to be such, and his children are brought up in that manner.”

“Has Siegwart many children?”

“Four—two boys and two girls. One son is at college. The other takes care of the estate, and is at home. The oldest daughter has been at the convent for three years. She is now nineteen years old. The second is still a child.”

Richard went further into the garden; he looked over at Salingen, and then at the mountains. His eye followed a path that went winding up the mountain like a golden thread and led to the top. Then his eye rested for a time on a particular spot in that yellow path. Richard remained taciturn and reserved the rest of the day. He sat in his room and tried to read, but the subject did not interest him. He often looked dreamily from the book. He finally arose, took his hat and cane, and was soon lost in the mountain. The next morning Richard went to the borders of the forest, and looked frequently over at Salingen as it lay in rural serenity before him. The pleasant hamlet excited his interest. He then turned to the right and pursued the yellow path which he had examined the day before, up the mountain. The birds sang in the bushes, and on the branches of the tallest oak perched the black-bird whose morning hymn echoed far and wide. The sweet notes of the nightingale joined in the general concert, and the shrill piping of the hawk struck in discordantly with the varied and beautiful song. Even unconscious nature displayed her beauties. The dew hung in great drops on the grass-blades and glittered like so many brilliants, and wild flowers loaded the air with sweet perfumes. Richard saw little of these beauties of spring. He ascended still higher. His mind seemed agitated and burdened. He had just turned a bend in the road when he saw a female figure approaching. His cheeks grew darker as his eyes rested on the approaching figure. He gazed in the distance, and a disdainful flush overspread his face. He approached her as he would approach an enemy whose power he had felt, and whom he wished to conciliate.

She was within fifty paces of him. Her blue dress fell in heavy folds about her person. The ribbons of her straw bonnet, that hung on her arm, fluttered in the breeze. In her left hand she held a bunch of flowers. On her right arm hung a silk mantle, which the mild air had rendered unnecessary. Her full, glossy hair was partly in a silk net and partly plaited over the forehead and around the head, as is sometimes seen with children. Her countenance was exquisitely beautiful, and her light eyes now rested full and clear on the stranger who approached her. She looked at him with the easy, natural inquisitiveness of a child, surprised to meet such an elegant gentleman in this place.

Frank looked furtively at her, as though he feared the fascinating power of the vision that so lightly and gracefully passed him. He raised his hat stiffly and formally. This was necessary to meet the requirement of etiquette. Were it not, he would perhaps have passed her by without a salutation. She did not return his greeting with a stiff bow, but with a friendly “good-morning;” and this too in a voice whose sweetness, purity, and melody harmonized with the beautiful echoes of the morning.

Frank moved on hastily for some distance. He was about to look back, but did not do so; and continued on his way, with contracted brows, till a turn in the road hid her from his view. Here he stopped and wiped the sweat from his forehead. His heart beat quickly, and he was agitated by strong, emotions. He stood leaning on his cane and gazing into the shadows of the forest. He then continued thoughtfully, and ascended some hundred feet higher till he gained the top of the mountain. The tall trees ceased; a variegated copsewood crowned the summit, which formed a kind of platform. Human hands had levelled the ground, and on the moss that covered it grew modest little violets. Near the border of the platform stood a stone cross of rough material. Near this cross lay the fragments of another large rock, that might have been shattered by lightning years before. A few steps back of this, on two square blocks of stone, stood a statue of the Virgin and Child, of white stone very carefully wrought, but without much art. The Virgin had a crown of roses on her head. The Child held a little bunch of forget-me-nots in its hand, and as it held them out seemed to say, “Forget me not.” Two heavy vases that could not be easily overturned by the wind, standing on the upper block, also contained flowers. All these flowers were quite fresh, as if they had just been placed there.

Richard examined these things, and wondered what they, meant in this solitude of the mountain. The fresh flowers and the cleanliness of the statue, on which no dust or moss could be seen, indicated a careful keeper. He thought of the young woman whom he met. He had seen the same kind of flowers in her hand, and doubtless she was the devotee of the place.

Scarcely had his thoughts taken this direction when he turned away and walked to the border of the plot; and gazed at the country before him. He looked down toward Frankenhöhe, whose white chimneys appeared above the chestnut grove. He contemplated the plains with their luxuriant fields reflecting every shade of green—the strips of forests that lay like shadows in the sunny plain—numberless hamlets with church towers whose gilded crosses gleamed in the sun. He gazed in the distance where the mountain ranges vanished in the mist, and long he enjoyed the magnificence of the view. He was aroused from his dreamy contemplation by the sound of footsteps behind him.

An old man with a load of wood on his shoulders came up to the place. Breathing heavily, he threw down the wood and wiped the sweat from his face. He saw the stranger, and respectfully touched his cap as he sat down on the wood.

Frank went to him.

“You are from Salingen, I suppose,” he began.

“Yes, sir.”

“It is very hard for an old man like you to carry such a load so far.”

“It is indeed, but I am poor and must do it.”

Frank looked at the patched clothes of the old man, his coarse shoes, his stockingless feet, and meagre body, and felt compassion for him.

“For us poor people the earth bears but thistles and thorns.” After a pause, the old man continued, “We have to undergo many tribulations and difficulties, and sometimes we even suffer from hunger. But thus it is in the world. The good God will reward us in the next world for our sufferings in this.”

These words sounded strangely to Richard. Raised as he was in the midst of wealth, and without contact with poverty, he had never found occasion to consider the lot of the poor; and now the resignation of the old man, and his hope in the future, seemed strange to him. He was astonished that religion could have such power—so great and strong—to comfort the poor in the miseries of a hopeless, comfortless life.

“But what if your hope in another world deceive you?”

The old man looked at him with astonishment.

“How can I be deceived? God is faithful. He keeps his promises.”

“And what has he promised you?”

“Eternal happiness if I persevere, patient and just, to the end.”

“I wonder at your strong faith!”

“It is my sole possession on earth. What would support us poor people, what would keep us from despair, if religion did not?”

Frank put his hand into his pocket,

“Here,” said he, “perhaps this money will relieve your wants.”

The old man looked at the bright thalers in his hand, and the tears trickled down his cheeks.

“This is too much, sir; I cannot receive six thalers from you.”

“That is but a trifle for me; put it in your pocket, and say no more about it.”

“May God reward and bless you a thousand times for it!”

“What does that cross indicate?”

“That is a weather cross, sir. We have a great deal of bad weather to fear. We have frequent storms here, in summer; they hang over the mountain and rage terribly. Every ravine becomes a torrent that dashes over the fields, hurling rocks and sand from the mountain. Our fields are desolated and destroyed. The people of Salingen placed that cross there against the weather. In spring the whole community come here in procession and pray God to protect them from the storms.”

Richard reflected on this phenomenon; the confidence of these simple people in the protection of God, whose omnipotence must intervene between the remorseless elements and their victims, appeared to him as the highest degree of simplicity. But he kept his thoughts to himself, for he respected the religious sentiments of the old man, and would not hurt his feelings.

“And the Virgin, why is she there?”

“Ah! that is a wonderful story, sir,” he answered, apparently wishing to evade an explanation.

“Which every one ought not to know?”

“Well—but perhaps the gentleman would laugh, and I would not like that!”

“Why do you think I would laugh at the story?”

“Because you are a gentleman of quality, and from the city, and such people do not believe any more in miracles.”

This observation of rustic sincerity was not pleasing to Frank. It expressed the opinion that the higher classes ignore faith in the supernatural.

“If I promise you not to laugh, will you tell me the story?”

“I will; you were kind to me, and you can ask the story of me. About thirty years ago,” began the old man after a pause, “there lived a wealthy farmer at Salingen whose name was Schenck. Schenck was young. He married a rich maiden and thereby increased his property. But Schenck had many great faults. He did not like to work and look after his fields. He let his servants do as they pleased, and his fields were, of course, badly worked and yielded no more than half a crop. Schenck sat always in the tavern, where he drank and played cards and dice. Almost every night he came home drunk. Then he would quarrel with his wife, who reproached him. He abused her, swore wickedly, and knocked everything about the room, and behaved very badly altogether. Schenck sank lower and lower, and became at last a great sot. His property was soon squandered. He sold one piece after another, and when he had no more property to sell, he took it into his head to sell himself to the devil for money. He went one night to a cross-road, and called the devil, but the devil would not come; perhaps because Schenck belonged to him already, for the Scripture says, 'A drunkard cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.' At last a suit was brought against him, and the last of his property was sold, and he was driven from his home. This hurt Schenck very much, for he always had a certain kind of pride. He thought of the past times when he was rich and respected, and now he had lost all respect with his neighbors. He thought of his wife and his four children, whom he had made poor and miserable. All this drove him to despair. He determined to put an end to himself. He bought a rope and came up here one morning to hang himself. He tied the rope to an arm of the cross, and had his head in the noose, when all at once he remembered that he had not yet said his three 'Hail! Marys.' His mother who was dead had accustomed him, when a child, to say every day three 'Hail! Marys.' Schenck had never neglected this practice for a single day. Then he took his head out of the noose and said, 'Well, as I have said the “Hail! Marys” every day, I will say them also to-day, for the last time.' He knelt down before the cross and prayed. When he was done, he stood up to hang himself. But he had scarcely stood on his feet when he was snatched up by a whirlwind and carried through the air till he was over a vineyard, where he fell without hurting himself. As he stood up, an ugly man stood before him and said, 'This time you have escaped me, but the next time I will get you.' The ugly man had horses' hoofs in place of feet, and wore green clothes. He disappeared before Schenck's eyes. Schenck swears that this ugly man was the devil. He declares also that he has to thank the Mother of God, through whose intercession he escaped the claws of the devil. Schenck had that statue placed there in memory of his wonderful escape—that is why the Mother of God is there.”

“A wonderful story indeed!” said Richard. “Although I do not laugh as you see, yet I must assure that I do not believe the story.”

“I thought so,” answered the old man. “But you can ask Schenck himself. He is still living, and is now seventy. Since that day he has changed entirely. He drinks nothing but water. He never enters a tavern, but goes every day to church. From that time to this Schenck has very industrious, and has saved a nice property.”

“That the drunkard reformed is most remarkable and best part of the story,” said Frank. “Drunkards very seldom reform. But,” continued he smiling, “the devil acted very stupidly in the affair. He should have known that his appearance would have made a deep impression on the man, and that he would not let himself be caught a second time.”

“That is true,” said the old man. “I believe the devil was forced to appear and speak so.”

“Forced? By whom?”

“By Him before whom the devils believe and tremble. Schenck was to understand that God delivered on account of his pious custom, and the devil had to tell him his would not happen a second time.”

“How prudent you are in your superstition!” said Frank.

“As the gentleman has been kind, it hurts me to hear him speak so.”

“Now,” said Richard quickly, “I would not hurt your feelings. One may be a good Christian without believing fables. And the flowers near the statue. Has Schenck placed them there too?”

“Oh! no—the Angel did that.”

“The Angel. Who is that?” said Frank, surprised.

“The Angel of Salingen—Siegwart's angel.”

“Ah! angel is Angela, is it not?”

“So she may be called. In Salingen they call her only Angel. And she is indeed as lovely, good, and beautiful as an angel. She has a heart for the poor, and she gives with an open hand and a smiling face that does one good. She is like her father, who gives me as many potatoes as I want, and seed for my little patch of ground.”

“Why does Angela decorate this statue?”

“I do not know; perhaps she does it through devotion.”

“The flowers are quite fresh; does she come here every day?”

“Every day during the month of May, and no longer.”

“Why no longer?”

“I do not know the reason; she has done so for the last two years, since she came home from the convent, and she will do so this year.”

“As Siegwart is so good to the poor, he must be rich.”

“Very rich—you can see from his house. Do you see that fine building there next to the road? That is the residence of Herr Siegwart.”

It was the same building that had arrested Richard's attention as he passed it some days before, and the sight of which had excited the ill-humor of his father. Richard returned by a shorter way to Frankenhöhe. He was serious and meditative. Arrived at home, he wrote in his diary:

“May 13th.—Well, I have seen her. She exhibits herself as the 'Angel of Salingen.' She is extremely beautiful. She is full of amiability and purity of character. And to-day she did not wear that detestable crinoline. But she will have other foibles in place of it. She will, in some things at least, yield to the superficial tendencies of her sex. Isabella was an ideal, until she descended from the height where my imagination, deceived by her charms, had placed her. The impression which Angela's appearance produced has rests on the same foundation—deception. A better acquaintance will soon discover this. Curious! I long to become better acquainted!

“Religion is not a disease or hallucination, as many think. It is a power. Religion teaches the poor to bear their hard lot with patience. It comforts and keeps them from despair. It directs their attention to an eternal reward, and this hope compensates them for all the afflictions and miseries of this life. Without religion, human society would fall to pieces.”

A servant entered, and announced dinner.

“Ah Richard!” said Herr Frank good-humoredly. “Half an hour late for dinner, and had to be called! That is strange; I do not remember such a thing to have happened before. You are always as punctual as a repeater.”

“I was in the mountain and had just returned.”

“No excuse, my son. I am glad the neighborhood diverts you, and that you depart a little from your regularity. Now everything is in good order, as I desired, for my friend and deliverer. I have just received a letter from him. He will be here in two days. I shall be glad to see the good man again. If Frankenhöhe will only please him for a long time!”

“I have no doubt of that,” said Richard. “The doctor will be received like a friend, treated like a king, and will live here like Adam and Eve in paradise.”

“Everything will go on as formerly. I will be coming and going on account of business. You will, of course, remain uninterruptedly at Frankenhöhe. You are high in the doctor's esteem. You interest him very much. It is true you annoy him sometimes with your unlearned objections and bold assertions. But I have observed that even vexation, when it comes from you, is not disagreeable to him.”

“But the poor should not annoy him with their sick,” said Richard. “He never denies his services to the poor, as he never grants them to the rich. Indeed, I have sometimes observed that he tears himself from his books with the greatest reluctance, and it is not without an effort that he does it.”

“But we cannot change it,” said Herr Frank; “we cannot send the poor away without deeply offending Klingenberg. But I esteem him the more for his generosity.”

After dinner the father and son went into the garden and talked of various matters; suddenly Richard stopped and pointing over to Salingen, said,

“I passed to-day that neat building that stands near the road. Who lives there?”

“There lives the noble and lordly Herr Siegwart,” said Herr Frank derisively.

His tone surprised Richard. He was not accustomed to hear his father speak thus.

“Is Siegwart a noble?”

“Not in the strict sense. But he is the ruler of Salingen. He rules in that town, as absolutely as princes formerly did in their kingdoms.”

“What is the cause of his influence?”

“His wealth, in the first place; secondly, his charity; and lastly, his cunning.”

“You are not favorable to him?”

“No, indeed! The Siegwart family is excessively ultramontane and clerical. You know I cannot endure these narrow prejudices and this obstinate adherence to any form of religion. Besides, I have a particular reason for disagreement with Siegwart, of which I need not now speak.”

“Excessively ultramontane and clerical!” thought Richard, as he went to his room. “Angela is undoubtedly educated in this spirit. Stultifying confessionalism and religious narrow-mindedness have no doubt cast a deep shadow over the 'angel.' Now—patience; the deception will soon banish.”

He took up Schlosser's History, and read a long time. But his eyes wandered from the page, and his thoughts soon followed.

The next morning at the same hour Richard went to the weather cross. He took the same road and again he met Angela; she had the same blue dress, the same straw hat on her arm, and flowers in her hand. She beheld him with the same clear eyes, with the same unconstrained manner—only, as he thought, more charming—as on the first day. He greeted her coolly and formally, as before. She thanked him with the same affability. Again the temptation came over him to look back at her; again he overcame it. When he came to the statue, he found fresh flowers in the vases. The child Jesus had fresh forget-me-nots in his hand, and the Mother had a crown of fresh roses on her head. On the upper stone lay a book, bound in blue satin and clasped with a silver clasp. When he took it up, he found beneath it a rosary made of an unknown material, and having a gold cross fastened at the end. He opened the book. The passage that had been last read was marked with a silk ribbon. It was as follows:

“My son, trust not thy present affection; it will be quickly changed into another. As long as thou livest thou art subject to change, even against thy will; so as to be sometimes joyful, at other times sad; now easy, now troubled; at one time devout, at another dry; sometimes fervent, at other times sluggish; one day heavy, another day lighter. But he that is wise and well instructed in spirit stands above all these changes, not minding what he feels in himself, nor on what side the wind of instability blows; but that the whole bent of his soul may advance toward its due and wished-for end; for thus he may continue one and the self-same without being shaken, by directing without ceasing, through all this variety of events, the single eye of his intention toward me. And by how much more pure the eye of the intention is, with so much greater constancy mayest thou pass through these divers storms.

“But in many the eye of pure intention is dark; for men quickly look toward something delightful that comes in their way. And it is rare to find one who is wholly free from all blemish of self-seeking.”

Frank remembered having written about the same thoughts in his diary. But here they were conceived in another and deeper sense.

He read the title of the book. It was The Following of Christ.

He copied the title in his pocketbook. He then with a smile examined the rosary, for he was not without prejudice against this kind of prayer.

He had no doubt Angela had left these things here, and he thought it would be proper to return them to the owner. He came slowly down the mountain reading the book. It was clear to him that The Following of Christ was a book full of very earnest and profound reflections. And he wondered how so young a woman could take any interest in such serious reading. He was convinced that all the ladies he knew would throw such a book aside with a sneer, because its contents condemned their lives and habits. Angela, then, must be of a different character from all the ladies he knew, and he was very desirous of knowing better this character of Angela.

In a short time he entered the gate and passed through the yard to the stately building where Herr Siegwart dwelt. He glanced hastily at the long out-buildings—the large barns; at the polished cleanliness of the paved court, the perfect order of every thing, and finally at the ornamented mansion. Then he looked at the old lindens that stood near the house, whose trunks were protected from injury by iron railings. In the tops of these trees lodged a lively family of sparrows, who were at present in hot contention, for they quarrelled and cried as loud and as long as did formerly the lords in the parliament of Frankfort. The beautiful garden, separated from the yard by a low wall covered with white boards, did not escape him. Frank entered, upon a broad and very clean path; as his feet touched the stone slabs, he heard, through the open door, a low growl, and then a man's voice saying, “Quiet, Hector.”

Frank walked through the open door into a large room handsomely furnished, and odoriferous with a multitude of flowers in vases. A man in the prime of life sat on the sofa reading and smoking. He wore a light-brown overcoat, brown trousers, and low, thick boots. He had a fresh, florid complexion, red beard, blue eyes, and an expressive, agreeable countenance. When Frank entered he arose, laid aside the paper and cigar, and approached the visitor.

“I found these things on the mountain near the weather-cross.” said Frank, after a more formal than affable bow. “As your daughter met me, I presume they belong to her. I thought it my duty to return them.”

“These things certainly belong to my daughter,” answered Herr Siegwart. “You are very kind, sir. You have placed us under obligations to you.”

“I was passing this way,” said Frank briefly.

“And whom have we the honor to thank?”

“I am Richard Frank.”

Herr Siegwart bowed. Frank noticed a slight embarrassment in his countenance. He remembered the expressions his father had used in reference to the Siegwart family, and it was clear to him that a reciprocal ill feeling existed here. Siegwart soon resumed his friendly manner, and invited him with much formality to the sofa. Richard felt that he must accept the invitation at least for a few moments. Siegwart sat on a chair in front of him, and they talked of various unimportant matters. Frank admired the skill which enabled him to conduct, without interruption, so pleasant a conversation with a stranger.

While they were speaking, some house-swallows flew into the room. They fluttered about without fear, sat on the open door, and joined their cheerful twittering with the conversation of the men. Richard expressed his admiration, and said he had never seen anything like it.

“Our constant guests in summer,” answered Siegwart. “They build their nests in the hall, and as they rise earlier than we do, an opening is left for them above the hall door, where they can go in and out undisturbed when the doors are closed. Angela is in their confidence, and on the best of terms with them. When rainy or cold days come during breeding time they suffer from want of food. Angela is then their procurator. I have often admired Angela's friendly intercourse with the swallows, who perch upon her shoulders and hands.”

Richard looked indeed at the twittering swallows, but their friend Angela passed before his eyes, so beautiful indeed that he no longer heard what Siegwart was saying.

He arose; Siegwart accompanied him. As they passed through the yard, Frank observed the long row of stalls, and said,

“You must have considerable stock?”

“Yes, somewhat. If you would like to see the property, I will show you around with pleasure.”

“I regret that I cannot now avail myself of your kindness; I shall do so in a few days,” answered Frank.

“Herr Frank,” said Siegwart, “may the accident which has given us the pleasure of your agreeable visit, be the occasion of many visits in future. I know that as usual you will spend the month of May at Frankenhöhe. We are neighbors—this title, in my opinion, should indicate a friendly intercourse.”

“Let it be understood, Herr Siegwart; I accept with pleasure your invitation.”

On the way to Frankenhöhe Richard walked very slowly, and gazed into the distance before him. He thought of the swallows that perched on Angela's shoulders and hands. Their sweet notes still echoed in his soul.

The country-like quiet of Siegwart's house and the sweet peace that pervaded it were something new to him. He thought of the simple character of Siegwart, who, as his father said, was “ultramontane and clerical,” and whom he had represented to himself as a dark, reserved man. He found nothing in the open, natural manner of the man to correspond with his preconceived opinion of him. Richard concluded that either Herr Siegwart was not an ultramontane, or the characteristics of the ultramontanes, as portrayed in the free-thinking newspapers of the day, were erroneous and false.

Buried in such thoughts, he reached Frankenhöhe. As he passed through the yard, he did not observe the carriage that stood there. But as he passed under the window, he heard a loud voice, and some books were thrown from the window and fell at his feet. He looked down in surprise at the books, whose beautiful binding was covered with sand. He now observed the coach, and smiled.

“Ah! the doctor is here,” said he. “He has thrown these unwelcome guests out of the window. Just like him.”

He took up the books and read the titles, Vogt's Pictures from Animal Life, Vogt's Physiological Letters, Czolbe's Sensualism.

He took the books to his room and began to read them. Herr Frank, with his joyful countenance, soon appeared.

“Klingenberg is here!” said he.

“I suspected as much already,” said Richard. “I passed by just as he threw the books out of the window with his usual impetuosity.”

“Do not let him see the books; the sight of them sets him wild.”

“Klingenberg walks only in his own room. I wish to read these books; what enrages him with innocent paper?”

“I scarcely know, myself. He examined the library and was much pleased with some of the works. But suddenly he tore these books from their place and hurled them through the window.”

“'I tolerate no bad company among these noble geniuses,' said he, pointing to the learned works.

“'Pardon me, honored friend,' said I, 'if, without my knowledge, some bad books were included. What kind of writings are these, doctor?”

“'Stupid materialistic trash,' said he. 'If I had Vogt, Moleschott, Colbe, and Büchner here, I would throw them body and bones out of the window.'

“I was very much surprised at this declaration, so contrary to the doctor's kind disposition. 'What kind of people are those you have named?' said I.

“'No people, my dear Frank,' said he. 'They are animals. This Vogt and his fellows have excluded themselves from the pale of humanity, inasmuch as they have declared apes, oxen, and asses to be their equals.'”

“I am now very desirous to know these books,” said Richard.

“Well, do not let our friend know your intention,” urged Frank.

Richard dressed and went to greet the singular guest. He was sitting before a large folio. He arose at Richard's entrance and paternally reached him both hands.

Doctor Klingenberg was of a compact, strong build. He had unusually long arms, which he swung back and forth in walking. His features were sharp, but indicated a modest character. From beneath his bushy eyebrows there glistened two small eyes that did not give an agreeable expression to his countenance. This unfavorable expression was, however, only the shell of a warm heart.

The doctor was good-natured—hard on himself, but mild in his judgments of others. He had an insatiable desire for knowledge, and it impelled him to severe studies that robbed him of his hair and made him prematurely bald.

“How healthy you look, Richard!” said he, contemplating the young man. “I am glad to see you have not been spoiled by the seething atmosphere of modern city life.”

“You know, doctor, I have a natural antipathy to all swamps and morasses.

“That is right, Richard; preserve a healthy naturalness.”

“We expected you this morning.”

“And would go to the station to bring me. Why this ceremony? I am here, and I will enjoy for a few weeks the pure, bracing mountain air. Our arrangements will be as formerly—not so, my dear friend?”

“I am at your service.”

“You have, of course, discovered some new points that afford fine views?”

“If not many, at least one—the weather cross,” answered Frank. “A beautiful position. The hill stands out somewhat from the range. The whole plain lies before the ravished eyes. At the same time, there are things connected with that place that are not without their influence on me. They refer to a custom of the ultramontanists that clashes with modern ideas; I will have an opportunity of seeing whether your opinion coincides with mine.”

“Very well; since we have already an object for our next walk—and this is according to our old plan—tomorrow after dinner at three o'clock,” and saying this he glanced wistfully at the old folio. Frank, smiling, observed the delicate hint and retired.

                    

CHAPTER III. QUOD ERAT DEMONSTRANDUM.

On the following day, Richard went to the weather-cross. He did not meet Angela. She must have been unusually early; for the flowers had evidently just been placed before the statue.

He returned, gloomy, to the house, and wrote in his diary:

                     “May 14th.

“She did not meet me to-day, and probably will not meet me again. I should have left the book where it was; it might have awakened her gratitude; for I think she left it purposely, to give me an opportunity to make her acquaintance.

“How many young women would give more than a book to get acquainted with a wealthy party! The 'Angel' is very sensitive; but this sensibility pleases me, because it is true womanly delicacy.

“She will now avoid meeting me in this lonely road. But I will study her character in her father's house. I will see if she does not confirm my opinion of the women of our times. It was for this purpose alone that I accepted Siegwart's invitation. Angela must not play Isabella; no woman ever shall. Single, and free from woman's yoke, I will go through the world.”

He put aside the diary, and began reading Vogt's Physiological Letters.

At three o'clock precisely, Richard with the punctual doctor left Frankenhöhe. They passed through the chestnut grove and through the vineyard toward Salingen. The doctor pushed on with long steps, his arms swinging back and forth. He was evidently pleased with the subject he had been reading. He had, on leaving the house, shaken Richard by the hand, and spoken a few friendly words, but not a syllable since. Richard knew his ways; and knew that it would take some time for him to thaw.

They were passing between Siegwart's house and Salingen, when they beheld Angela, at a distance, coming toward them. She carried a little basket on her arm, and on her head she wore a straw hat with broad fluttering ribbons. Richard fixed his eyes attentively on her. This time, also, she did not wear hoops, but a dress of modest colors. He admired her light, graceful movement and charming figure. The blustering doctor moderated his steps and went slower the nearer he came to Angela, and considered her with surprise. Frank greeted her, touching his hat. She did not thank him, as before, with a friendly greeting, but by a scarcely perceptible inclination of the head; nor did she smile as before, but on this account seemed to him more charming and ethereal than ever. She only glanced at him, and he thought he observed a slight blush on her cheeks.

These particulars were engrossing the young man's attention when he heard the doctor say,

“Evidently the Angel of Salingen.”

“Who?” said Richard in surprise.

“The Angel of Salingen,” returned Klingenberg. “You are surprised at this appellation; is it not well-merited?”

“My surprise increases, doctor; for exaggeration is not your fashion.”

“But she deserves acknowledgment. Let me explain. The maiden is the daughter of the proprietor Siegwart, and her name is Angela. She is a model of every virtue. She is, in the female world, what an image of the Virgin, by one of the old masters, would be among the hooped gentry of the present. As you are aware, I have been often called to the cabins of the sick poor, and there the quiet, unostentatious labors of this maiden have become known to me. Angela prepares suitable food for the sick, and generally takes it to them herself. The basket on her arm does service in this way. There are many poor persons who would not recover unless they had proper, nourishing food. To these Angela is a great benefactor. For this reason, she has a great influence over the minds of the sick, and the state of the mind greatly facilitates or impedes their recovery.

“I have often entered just after she had departed, and the beneficial influence of her presence could be still seen in the countenances of the poor. Her presence diffused resignation, peace, contentment, and a peculiar cheerfulness in the meanest and most wretched hovels of poverty, where she enters without hesitation. This is certainly a rare quality in so young a creature. She rejoices the hearts of the children by giving them clothes, sometimes made by herself, or pictures and the like. Her whole object appears to be to reconcile and make all happy. I have just seen her for the first time; her beauty is remarkable, and might well adorn an angel. The common people wish only to Germanize 'Angela' when they call her 'Angel.' But she is indeed an angel of heaven to the poor and needy.”

Frank said nothing. He moved on in silence toward the weather-cross.

“I have accidentally discovered a singular custom of your 'angel,' doctor. There is at the weather-cross a Madonna of stone. Angela has imposed upon herself the singular task of adorning this Madonna, daily, with fresh flowers.”

“You are a profane fellow, Richard. You should not speak in such a derisive tone of actions which are the out-flowings of pious sentiment.”

“Every one has his hobby. What will not people do through ambition? I know ladies who torture a piano for half the night, in order to catch the tone of the prima-donna at the opera. I know women who undergo all possible privations to be able to wear as fine clothes, as costly furs, as others with whom they are in rivalry. This exhaustive night-singing, these deprivations, are submitted to through foolish vanity. Perhaps Angela is not less ambitious and vain than others of her sex. As she cannot dazzle these country folk with furs or toilette, she dazzles their religious sentiment by ostentatious piety.”

“Radically false!” said the doctor. “Charity and virtue are recognized and honored not only in the country, but also in the cities. Why do not your coquettes strive for this approval? Because they want Angela's nobility of soul. And again, why should Angela wish to gain the admiration of the peasants? She is the daughter of the wealthiest man in the neighborhood. If such was her object, she could gratify her ambition in a very different way.”

“Then Angela is a riddle to me,” returned Richard. “I cannot conceive the motives of her actions.”

“Which are so natural! The maiden follows the impulses of her own noble nature, and these impulses are developed and directed by Christian culture, and convent education. Angela was a long time with the nuns, and only returned home two years ago. Here you have the very natural solution of the riddle.”

“Are you acquainted with the Siegwart family?”

“No; what I know of Angela I learned from the people of Salingen.”

They arrived at the platform. Klingenberg stood silent for some time admiring the landscape. The view did not seem to interest Richard. His eyes rested on Angela's home, whose white walls, surrounded by vineyards and corn-fields, glistened in the sun.

“It is worth while to come up here oftener,” said Klingenberg.

“Angela's work,” said Richard as he drew near the statue. The doctor paused a moment and examined the flowers.

“Do you observe Angela's fine taste in the arrangement of the colors?” said he. “And the forget-me-nots! What a deep religious meaning they have.”

They returned by another way to Frankenhöhe.

“Angela's pious work,” began Richard after a long pause, “reminds me of a religious custom against which modern civilization has thus far warred in vain. I mean the veneration of saints. You, as a Protestant, will smile at this custom, and I, as a Catholic, must deplore the tenacity with which my church clings to this obsolete remnant of heathen idolatry.”

“Ah! this is the subject you alluded to yesterday,” said the doctor. “I must, in fact, smile, my dear Richard! But I by no means smile at 'the tenacity with which your church clings to the obsolete remnants of heathen idolatry.' I smile at your queer idea of the veneration of the saints. I, as a reasonable man, esteem this veneration, and recognize its admirable and beneficial influence on human society.”

This declaration increased Frank's surprise to the highest degree. He knew the clear mind of the doctor, and could not understand how it happened that he wished to defend a custom so antagonistic to modern thought.

“You find fault,” continued Klingenberg, “with the custom of erecting statues to these holy men in the churches, the forest, the fields, the houses, and in the market?”

“Yes, I do object to that.”

“If you had objected to the lazy Schiller at Mayence, or the robber's poet Schiller, as he raves at the theatre in Mannheim, or to the conqueror and destroyer of Germany, Gustavus Adolphus, whose statue is erected as an insult in a German city, then you would be right.”

“Schiller-worship has its justification,” retorted Frank. “They erect public monuments to the genial spirit of that man, to remind us of his services to poetry, his aspirations, and his German patriotism.”

“It is praiseworthy to erect monuments to the poet. But do not talk of Schiller's patriotism, for he had none. But let that pass; it is not to the point. The question is, whether you consider it praiseworthy to erect monuments to deserving and exalted genius?”

“Without the least hesitation, I say yes. But I see what you are driving at, doctor. I know the remorseless logic of your inferences. But you will not catch me in your vise this time. You wish to infer that the saints far surpassed Schiller in nobility and greatness of soul, and that honoring them, therefore, is more reasonable, and more justifiable, than honoring Schiller. I dispute the greatness of the so-called saints. They were men full of narrowness and rigorism. They despised the world and their friends. They carried this contempt to a wonderful extent—to a renunciation of all the enjoyments of life, to voluntary poverty and unconditional obedience. But all these are fruits that have grown on a stunted, morbid tree, and are in opposition to progress, to industry, and to the enlightened civilization of modern times. The dark ages might well honor such men, but our times cannot. Schiller, on the contrary, that genial man, taught us to love the pleasures of life. By his fine genius and his odes to pleasure, he frightened away all the spectres of these enthusiastic views of life. He preached a sound taste and a free, unconstrained enjoyment of the things of this beautiful earth. And for this reason precisely, because he inaugurated this new doctrine, does he deserve monuments in his honor.”

“How does it happen then, my friend,” said the doctor, in a cutting tone that was sometimes peculiar to him, “that you do not take advantage of the modern doctrine of unconstrained enjoyment? Why have you preserved fresh your youthful vigor, and not dissipated it at the market of sensual pleasures? Why is your mode of life so often a reproach to your dissolute friends? Why do you avoid the resorts of refined pleasures? Why are the coquettish, vitiated, hollow inclinations of a great part of the female sex so distasteful to you? Answer me!”

“These are peculiarities of my nature; individual opinions that have no claim to any weight.”

“Peculiarities of your nature—very right; your noble nature, your pure feelings rebel against these moral acquisitions of progress. I begin with your noble nature. If I did not find this good, true self in you, I would waste no more words. But because you are what you are, I must convince you of the error of your views. Schiller, you say, and, with him, the modern spirit, raised the banner of unrestrained enjoyment, and this enjoyment rests on sensual pleasures, does it not?”

“Well—yes.”

“I knew and know many who followed this banner—and you also know many. Of those whom I knew professionally, some ended their days in the hospital, of the most loathsome diseases. Some, unsatiated with the whole round of pleasures, drag on a miserable life, dead to all energy, and spiritless. They drank the full cup of pleasure, and with it unspeakable bitterness and disgust. Some ended in ignominy and shame—bankruptcy, despair, suicide. Such are the consequences of this modern dogma of unrestrained enjoyments.”

“All these overstepped the proper bounds of pleasure,” said Richard.

“The proper bounds? Stop!” cried the doctor, “No leaps, Richard! Think clearly and logically. Christianity also allows enjoyment, but—and here is the point—in certain limits. Your progress, on the contrary, proclaims freedom in moral principles, a disregard of all moral obligations, unrestricted enjoyment—and herein consists the danger and delusion. I ask, Are you in favor of restricted or unrestricted enjoyment?”

Frank hesitated. He felt already the thumbscrew of the irrepressible doctor, and feared the inferences he would draw from his admissions.

“Come!” urged Klingenberg, “decide.”

“Sound reason declares for restricted enjoyment,” said Frank decidedly.

“Good; there you leave the unlimited sphere which godless progress has given to the thoughts and inclinations of men. You admit the obligation of self-control, and the restraint of the grosser emotions. But let us proceed; you speak of industry. The modern spirit of industry has invoked a demon—or, rather, the demoniac spirit of the times has taken possession of industry. The great capitalists have built thrones on their money-bags and tyrannize over those who have no money. They crush out the work-shop of the industrious and well-to-do tradesman, and compel him to be their slave. Go into the factories of Elfeld, or England; you can there see the slaves of this demon industry—miserable creatures, mentally and morally stunted, socially perishing; not only slaves, but mere wheels of the machines. This is what modern industry has made of those poor wretches, for whom, according to modern enlightenment, there is no higher destiny than to drag through life in slavery, to increase the money-bags of their tyrants. But the capitalists have perfect right, according to modern ideas; they only use the means at their command. The table of the ten commandments has been broken; the yoke of Christianity broken. Man is morally and religiously free; and from this false liberalism the tyranny of plutocracy and the slavery of the poor has been developed. Are you satisfied with the development, and the principles that made it possible?”

“No,” said Frank decidedly. “I despise that miserable industrialism that values the product more than the man. My admissions are, however, far from justifying the exaggerated notions of the saints.”

“Wait a bit!” cried Klingenberg hastily. “I have just indicated the cause of this wretched egotism, and also a consequence—namely, the power of great capitalists and manufacturers over an army of white slaves. But this is by no means all. This demon of industry has consequences that will ruin a great portion of mankind. Now mark what I say, Richard! The richness of the subject allows me only to indicate. The progressive development of industry brings forth products of which past ages were ignorant, because they were not necessary for life. The existence of these products creates a demand. The increased wants increase the outlay, which in most cases does not square with the income, and therefore the accounts of many close with a deficit The consequences of this deficit for the happiness, and even for the morals of the family, I leave untouched. The increased products beget luxury and the desire for enjoyment; the ultimate consequences of which enervate the individual and society. Hence the phenomenon, in England, that the greater portion of the people in the manufacturing towns die before the age of fifteen, and that many are old men at thirty. Enervated and demoralized peoples make their existence impossible. They go to the wall. This is a historical fact. Ergo, modern industry separated from Christian civilization hastens the downfall of nations.”

“I cannot dispute the truth of your observations. But you have touched only the dark side of modern industry, without mentioning its benefits. If industry is a source of fictitious wants, it affords, on the other hand, cheap prices to the poor for the most necessary wants of life; for example, cheap materials for clothing.”

“Very cheap, but also very poor material,” answered Klingenberg. “In former times, clothing was dearer, but also better. They knew nothing of the rags of the present fabrication. And it may be asked whether that dearer material was not cheaper in the end for the poor. When this is taken into consideration, the new material has no advantage over the old. I will freely admit that the inventions of modern times do honor to human genius. I acknowledge the achievements of industry, as such. I admire the improvements of machinery, the great revolution caused by the use of steam, and thousands of other wonders of art. No sensible man will question the relative worth of all these. But all these are driven and commanded by a bad influence, and herein lies the injury. We must consider industrialism from this higher standpoint. What advantage is it to a people to be clothed in costly stuffs when they are enervated, demoralized, and perishing? Clothe a corpse as you will, a corpse it will be still. And besides, the greatest material good does not compensate the white factory-slaves for the loss of their liberty. The Lucullan age fell into decay, although they feasted on young nightingales, drank liquified pearls, and squandered millions for delicacies and luxuries. The life of nations does not consist in the external splendor of wealth, in easy comfort, or in unrestrained passions. Morality is the life of nations, and virtue their internal strength. But virtue, morality, and Christian sentiment are under the ban of modern civilization. If Christianity does not succeed in overcoming this demon spirit of the times, or at least confining it within narrow limits, it will and must drive the people to certain destruction. We find decayed peoples in the Christian era, but the church has always rescued and regenerated them. While the acquisitions of modern times—industrialism, enlightenment, humanitarianism, and whatever they may be called—are, on the one hand, of little advantage or of doubtful worth, they are, on the other hand, the graves of true prosperity, liberty, and morality. They are the cause of shameful terrorism and of degrading slavery, in the bonds of the passions and in the claws of plutocracy.”

Frank made no reply.

For a while they walked on in silence.

“Let us,” continued Klingenberg, “consider personally those men whose molten images stand before us. Schiller's was a noble nature, but Schiller wrote:

          “'No more this fight of duty, hence no longer
              This giant strife will I!
            Canst quench these passions evermore the stronger?
              Then ask not virtue, what I must deny.

          “'Albeit I have sworn, yea, sworn that never
              Shall yield my master will;
            Yet take thy wreath; to me 'tis lost for ever!
              Take back thy wreath, and let me sin my fill.'

“Is this a noble and exalted way of thinking? Certainly not. Schiller would be virtuous if he could clothe himself in the lustre of virtue without sacrifice. The passionate impulses of the heart are stronger in him than the sense of duty. He gives way to his passions. He renounces virtue because he is too weak, too languid, too listless to encounter this giant strife bravely like a strong man. Such is the noble Schiller. In later years, when the fiery impulses of his heart had subsided, he roused himself to better efforts and nobler aims.

“Consider the prince of poets, Goethe. How morally naked and poor he stands before us! Goethe's coarse insults to morality are well known. His better friend, Schiller, wrote of him to Koerner, 'His mind is not calm enough, because his domestic relations, which he is too weak to change, cause him great vexation.' Koerner answered, 'Men cannot violate morality with impunity.' Six years later, the 'noble' Goethe was married to his 'mistress' at Weimar. Goethe's detestable political principles are well known. He did not possess a spark of patriotism. He composed hymns of victory to Napoleon, the tyrant, the destroyer and desolator of Germany. These are the heroes of modern sentiment, the advance guard of liberty, morality, and true manhood! And these heroes so far succeeded that the noble Arndt wrote of his time, 'We are base, cowardly, and stupid; too poor for love, too listless for anger, too imbecile for hate. Undertaking everything, accomplishing nothing; willing every thing, without the power of doing any thing.' So far has this boasted freethinking created disrespect for revealed truth. So far this modern civilization, which idealizes the passions, leads to mockery of religion and lets loose the baser passions of man. If they cast these representatives of the times in bronze, they should stamp on the foreheads of their statues the words of Arndt:

“'We are base, cowardly, and stupid; too poor for love, too listless for anger, too imbecile for hate. Undertaking every thing, accomplishing nothing; willing every thing, without the power of doing any thing.'”

“You are severe, doctor.”

“I am not severe. It is the truth.”

“How does it happen that a people so weak, feeble, and base could overthrow the power of the French in the world?”

“That was because the German people were not yet corrupted by that shallow, unreal, hollow twaddle of the educated classes about humanity. It was not the princes, not the nobility, who overthrew Napoleon. It was the German people who did it. When, in 1813, the Germans rose, in hamlet and city, they staked their property and lives for fatherland. But it was not the enlightened poets and professors, not modern sentimentality, that raised their hearts to this great sacrifice; not these who enkindled this enthusiasm for fatherland. It was the religious element that did it. The German warriors did not sing Goethe's hymns to Napoleon, nor the insipid model song of 'Luetzows wilder Jagd,' as they rushed into battle. They sang religious hymns, they prayed before the altars. They recognized, in the terrible judgment on Russia's ice-fields, the avenging hand of God. Trusting in God, and nerved by religious exaltation, they took up the sword that had been sharpened by the previous calamities of war. So the feeble philanthropists could effect nothing. It was only a religious, healthy, strong people could do that.”

“But the saints, doctor! We have wandered from them.”

“Not at all! We have thrown some light on inimical shadows; the light can now shine. The lives of the saints exhibit something wonderful and remarkable. I have studied them carefully. I have sought to know their aims and efforts. I discovered that they imitated the example of Christ, that they realized the exalted teachings of the Redeemer. You find fault with their contempt for the things of this world. But it is precisely in this that these men are great. Their object was not the ephemeral, but the enduring. They considered life but as the entrance to the eternal destiny of man—in direct opposition to the spirit of the times, that dances about the golden calf. The saints did not value earthly goods for more than they were worth. They placed them after self-control and victory over our baser nature. Exact and punctual in all their duties, they were animated by an admirable spirit of charity for their fellow-men. And in this spirit they have frequently revived society. Consider the great founders of orders—St. Benedict, St. Dominic, St. Vincent de Paul! Party spirit, malice, and stupidity have done their worst to blacken, defame, and calumniate them. And yet, in a spirit of self-sacrifice, the sons of St. Benedict came among the German barbarians, to bring to them the ennobling doctrines of Christianity. It was the Benedictines who cleared the primeval forests, educated their wild denizens, and founded schools; who taught the barbarians handiwork and agriculture. Science and knowledge flourished in the cloisters. And to the monks alone we are indebted for the preservation of classic literature. What the monks did then they are doing now. They forsake home, break all ties, and enter the wilderness, there to be miserably cut off in the service of their exalted mission, or to die of poisonous fevers. Name me one of your modern heroes, whose mouths are full of civilization, humanity, enlightenment—name me one who is capable of such sacrifice. These prudent gentlemen remain at home with their gold-bags and their pleasures, and leave the stupid monk to die in the service of exalted charity. It is the hypocrisy and the falsehood of the modern spirit to exalt itself, and belittle true worth. And what did St. Vincent de Paul do? More than all the gold-bags together. St. Vincent, alone, solved the social problem of his time. He was, in his time, the preserver of society, or rather, Christianity through him. And to-day our gold-bags tremble before the apparition of the same social problem. Here high-sounding phrases and empty declamation do not avail. Deeds only are of value. But the inflated spirit of the times is not capable of noble action. It is not the modern state—not enlightened society, sunk in egotism and gold—that can save us. Christianity alone can do it. Social development will prove this.”

“I do not dispute the services of the saints to humanity,” said Frank. “But the question is, Whether society would be benefited if the fanatical, dark spirit of the middle ages prevailed, instead of the spirit of modern times?”

“The fanatical, dark spirit of the middle ages!” cried the doctor indignantly. “This is one of those fallacious phrases. The saints were not fanatical or dark. They were open, cheerful, natural, humble men. They did not go about with bowed necks and downcast eyes; but affable, free from hypocrisy, and dark, sullen demeanor, they passed through life. Many saints were poets. St. Francis sang his spiritual hymns to the accompaniment of the harp. St. Charles played billiards. The holy apostle, St. John, resting from his labors, amused himself in childish play with a bird. Such were these men; severe toward themselves, mild to others, uncompromising with the base and mean. They were all abstinent and simple, allowing themselves only the necessary enjoyments. They concealed from observation their severe mode of life, and smiled while their shoulders bled from the discipline. Pride, avarice, envy, voluptuousness, and all the bad passions, were strangers to them; not because they had not the inclinations to these passions, but because they restrained and overcame their lower nature.

“I ask you, now, which men deserve our admiration—those who are governed by unbounded selfishness, who are slaves to their passions, who deny themselves no enjoyment, and who boast of their degrading licentiousness; or those who, by reason of a pure life, are strong in the government of their passions, and self-sacrificing in their charity for their fellowmen?”

“The preference cannot be doubtful,” said Frank. “For the saints have accomplished the greatest, they have obtained the highest thing, self-control. But, doctor, I must condemn that saint-worship as it is practised now. Human greatness always remains human, and can make no claims to divine honor.”

The doctor swung his arms violently. “What does this reproach amount to? Where are men deified? In the Catholic Church? I am a Protestant, but I know that your church condemns the deification of men.”

“Doctor,” said Frank, “my religious ignorance deserves this rebuke.”

“I meant no rebuke. I would only give conclusions. Catholicism is precisely that power that combats with success against the deifying of men. You have in the course of your studies read the Roman classics. You know that divine worship was offered to the Roman emperors. So far did heathen flattery go, that the emperors were honored as the sons of the highest divinity—Jupiter. Apotheosis is a fruit of heathen growth; of old heathenism and of new heathenism. When Voltaire, that idol of modern heathen worship, was returning to Paris in 1778, he was in all earnestness promoted to the position of a deity. This remarkable play took place in the theatre. Voltaire himself went there. Modern fanaticism so far lost all shame that the people kissed the horse on which the philosopher rode to the theatre. Voltaire was scarcely able to press through the crowd of his worshippers. They touched his clothes—touched handkerchiefs to them—plucked hairs from his fur coat to preserve as relics. In the theatre they fell on their knees before him and kissed his feet. Thus that tendency that calls itself free and enlightened deified a man—Voltaire, the most trifling scoffer, the most unprincipled, basest man of Christendom.

“Let us consider an example of our times. Look at Garibaldi in London. That man permitted himself to be set up and worshipped. The saints would have turned away from this stupidity with loathing indignation. But this boundless, veneration flattered the old pirate Garibaldi. He received 267,000 requests for locks of his hair, to be cased in gold and preserved as relics. Happily he had not much hair. He should have graciously given them his moustaches and whiskers.”

Frank smiled. Klingenberg's pace increased, and his arms swung more briskly.

“Such is the man-worship of modern heathenism. This humanitarianism is ashamed of no absurdity, when it sinks to the worship of licentiousness and baseness personified.”

“The senseless aberrations of modern culture do not excuse saint-worship. And you certainly do not wish to excuse it in that way. There is, however, a reasonable veneration of human greatness. Monuments are erected to great men. We behold them and are reminded of their genius, their services; and there it stops. It occurs to no reasonable man to venerate these men on his knees, as is done with the saints.”

“The bending of the knee, according to the teaching of your church, does not signify adoration, but only veneration,” replied Klingenberg. “Before no Protestant in the world would I bend the knee; before St. Benedict and St. Vincent de Paul I would willingly, out of mere admiration and esteem for their greatness of soul and their purity of morals. If a Catholic kneels before a saint to ask his prayers, what is there offensive in that? It is an act of religious conviction. But I will not enter into the religious question. This you can learn better from your Catholic brethren—say from the Angel of Salingen, for example, who appears to have such veneration for the saints.”

“You will not enter into the religious question; yet you defend saint-worship, which is something religious.”

“I do not defend it on religious grounds, but from history, reason, and justice. History teaches that this veneration had, and still has, the greatest moral influence on human society. The spirit of veneration consists in imitating the example of the person venerated. Without this spirit, saint-worship is an idle ceremony. But that true veneration of the saints elevates and ennobles, you cannot deny. Let us take the queen of saints, Mary. What makes her worthy of veneration? Her obedience to the Most High, her humility, her strength of soul, her chastity. All these virtues shine out before the spiritual eyes of her worshippers as models and patterns of life. I know a lady, very beautiful, very wealthy; but she is also very humble, very pure, for she is a true worshipper of Mary. Would that our women would venerate Mary and choose her for a model! There would then be no coquettes, no immodest women, no enlightened viragoes. Now, as saint-worship is but taking the virtues of the saints as models for imitation, you must admit that veneration in this sense has the happiest consequences to human society.”

“I admit it—to my great astonishment, I must admit it,” said Richard.

“Let us take a near example,” continued Klingenberg. “I told you of the singular qualities of Angela. As she passed, I beheld her with wonder. I must confess her beauty astonished me. But this astonishing beauty, it appears to me, is less in her charming features than in the purity, the maidenly dignity of her character. Perhaps she has to thank, for her excellence, that same correct taste which leads her to venerate Mary. Would not Angela make an amiable, modest, dutiful wife and devoted mother? Can you expect to find this wife, this mother among those given to fashions—among women filled with modern notions?”

While Klingenberg said this, a deep emotion passed over Richard's face. He did not answer the question, but let his head sink on his breast.

“Here is Frankenhöhe,” said the doctor. “As you make no more objections, I suppose you agree with me. The saints are great, admirable men; therefore they deserve monuments. They are models of virtue and the greatest benefactors of mankind; therefore they deserve honor. 'Quod erat demonstrandum.'”

“I only wonder, doctor, that you, a Protestant, can defend such views.”

“You will allow Protestants to judge reasonably,” replied Klingenberg. “My views are the result of careful study and impartial reflection.”

“I am also astonished—pardon my candor—that with such views you can remain a Protestant.”

“There is a great difference between knowing and willing, my young friend. I consider conversion an act of great heroism, and also as a gift of the highest grace.”

Richard wrote in his diary:

“If Angela should be what the doctor considers her! According to my notions, such a being exists only in the realm of the ideal. But if Angela yet realizes this ideal? I must be certain. I will visit Siegwart to-morrow.”

                    

CHAPTER IV. THE BUREAUCRAT AND THE SWALLOWS.

Herr Frank returned to the city. Before he went he took advantage of the absence of Richard, who had gone out about nine o'clock, to converse with Klingenberg about matters of importance. They sat in the doctor's studio, the window of which was open. Frank closed it before he began the conversation.

“Dear friend, I must speak to you about a very distressing peculiarity of my son. I do so because I know your influence over him, and I hope much from it.”

Klingenberg listened with surprise, for Herr Frank had begun in great earnestness and seemed greatly depressed.

“On our journey from the city, I discovered in Richard, to my great surprise, a deep-seated antipathy, almost an abhorrence of women. He is determined never to marry. He considers marriage a misfortune, inasmuch as it binds a man to the whims and caprices of a wife. If I had many sons, Richard's idiosyncrasy would be of little consequence; but as he is my only son and very stubborn in his preconceived opinions, you will see how very distressing it must be to me.”

“What is the cause of this antipathy of your son to women?”

Herr Frank related Richard's account of his meeting with Isabella and his knowledge of the unhappy marriage of his friend Emil.

“Do you not think that experiences of this kind must repel a noble-minded young man?” said the doctor.

“Admitted! But Isabella and Laura are exceptions, and exceptions by no means justify my son's perverted judgment of women. I told him this. But he still declared that Isabella and Laura were the rule and not the exception; that the women of the present day follow a perverted taste; and that the wearing of crinoline, a costume he detests, proves this.”

“I know,” said the doctor, “that Richard abominates crinoline. Last year he expressed his opinion about it, and I had to agree with him.”

“My God!” said the father, astonished, “you certainly would not encourage my son in his perverted opinion?”

“No,” returned the doctor quietly; “but you must not expect me to condemn sound opinions. His judgment of woman is prejudiced—granted. But observe well, my dear Frank. This judgment is at the same time a protest of a noble nature against the age of crinoline. Your son expects much of women. Superficiality, vanity, passion for dress, fickleness, and so forth, do not satisfy his sense of propriety. Marriage, to him, is an earnest, holy union. He would unite himself to a well-disposed woman, to a noble soul who would love her husband and her duties, but not to a degenerate specimen of womankind. Such I conceive to have been the reasons which have produced in your son this antipathy.”

“I believe you judge rightly,” answered Frank. “But it must appear clear to Richard that his views are unjust, and that there are always women who would realize his expectations.”

The doctor thought for a moment, and a significant smile played over his features.

“This must become clear to him—yes, and it will become clear to him sooner, perhaps, than you expect,” said the doctor.

“I do not understand you, doctor.”

“Yesterday we met Angela,” said Klingenberg. “This Angela is an extraordinary being of dazzling beauty; almost the incarnation of Richard's ideal. I told him of her fine qualities, which he was inclined to question. But happily! was able to establish these qualities by facts. Now, as Angela lives but a mile from here and as the simple customs of the country render access to the family easy, I have not understood the character of your son if he does not take advantage of this opportunity to become more intimately acquainted with Angela, even if his object were only to confirm his former opinions of women. If he knew Angela more intimately, it is my firm conviction that his aversion would soon change into the most ardent affection.”

“Who is this Angela?”

“The daughter of your neighbor, Siegwart.”

Frank looked at the doctor with open mouth and staring eyes.

“Siegwart's daughter!” he gasped. “No, I will never consent to such a connection.”

“Why not?”

“Well—because the Siegwart family are not agreeable to me.”

“That is no reason. Siegwart is an excellent man, rich, upright, and respected by the whole neighborhood. Why does he happen to appear so unfavorably in your eyes?”

Frank was perplexed. He might have reasons and yet be ashamed to give them.

“Ah!” said the doctor, smiling, “it is now for you to lay aside prejudice.”

“An explanation is not possible,” said Frank. “But my son will rather die a bachelor than marry Siegwart's daughter.”

Klingenberg shrugged his shoulders. There was a long pause.

“I renew my request, my friend,” urged Frank. “Convince my son of his errors.”

“I will try to meet your wishes,” returned Klingenberg. “Perhaps this daughter of Siegwart will afford efficient aid.”

“My son's liberty will not be restricted. He may visit the Siegwart family when he wishes. But in matters where the mature mind of the father has to decide, I shall always act according to my better judgment.”

The doctor again shrugged his shoulders. They shook hands, and in ten minutes after Herr Frank was off for the train. Richard had left Frankenhöhe two hours before. He passed quickly through the vineyard. A secret power seemed to impel the young man. He glanced often at Siegwart's handsome dwelling, and hopeful suspense agitated his countenance. When he reached the lawn, he slackened his pace. He would reflect, and understand clearly the object of his visit. He came to observe Angela, whose character had made such a strong impression on him and who threatened to compel him to throw his present opinions of women to the winds. He would at the same time reflect on the consequences of this possible change to his peace and liberty.

“Angela is beautiful, very beautiful, far more so than a hundred others who are beautiful but wear crinoline.” He had written in his diary:

“Of what value is corporal beauty that fades when it is disfigured by bad customs and caprices? I admit that I have never yet met any woman so graceful and charming as Angela; but this very circumstance warns me to be careful that my judgment may not be dazzled. If it turns out that Angela sets herself up as a religious coquette or a Pharisee, her fine figure is only a deceitful mask of falsehood, and my opinion would again be verified. I must make observations with great care.”

Frank reviewed these resolutions as he passed slowly over the lawn, where some servants were employed, who greeted him respectfully as he passed. In the hall he heard a man's voice that came from the same room he had entered on his first visit. The door was open, and the voice spoke briskly and warmly.

Frank stopped for a moment and heard the voice say,

“Miss Angela is as lovely as ever.”

These words vibrated disagreeably in Richard's soul, and urged him to know the man from whom they came.

Herr Siegwart went to meet the visitor and offered him his hand. The other gentleman remained sitting, and looked at Frank with stately indifference.

“Herr Frank, my esteemed neighbor of Frankenhöhe,” said Siegwart, introducing Frank.

The gentleman rose and made a stiff bow.

“The Assessor von Hamm,” continued the proprietor.

Frank made an equally stiff and somewhat colder bow.

The three sat down.

While Siegwart rang the bell, Richard cast a searching glance at the assessor who had said, “Angela is as lovely as ever.”

The assessor had a pale, studious color, regular features in which there was an expression of official importance. Frank, who was a fine observer, thought he had never seen such a perfect and sharply defined specimen of the bureaucratic type. Every wrinkle in the assessor's forehead told of arrogance and absolutism. The red ribbon in the buttonhole of Herr von Hamm excited Frank's astonishment. He thought it remarkable that a young man of four or five and twenty could have merited the ribbon of an order. He might infer from this that decorations and merit do not necessarily go together.

“How glad I am that you have kept your word!” said Siegwart to Frank complacently. “How is your father?”

“Very well; he goes this morning to the city, where business calls him.”

“I have often admired your father's attentions to Dr. Klingenberg,” said Siegwart after a short pause. “He has for years had Frankenhöhe prepared for the accommodation of the doctor. You are Klingenberg's constant companion, and I do not doubt but such is the wish of your father. And your father tears himself from his business and comes frequently from the city to see that the doctor's least wish is realized. I have observed this these last eight years, and I have often thought that the doctor is to be envied, on account of this noble friendship.”

“You know, I suppose, that the doctor saved my father when his life was despaired of?”

“I know; but there are many physicians who have saved lives and who do not find such a noble return.”

These words of acknowledgment had something in them very offensive to the assessor. He opened and shut his eyes and mouth, and cast a grudging, envious look at Richard.

The servant brought a glass.

“Try this wine,” said Siegwart; “my own growth,” he added with some pride.

They touched glasses. Hamm put his glass to his lips, without drinking; Frank tasted the noble liquor with the air of a connoisseur; while Siegwart's smiling gaze rested on him.

“Excellent! I do not remember to have drank better Burgundy.”

“Real Burgundy, neighbor—real Burgundy. I brought the vines from France.”

“Do you not think the vines degenerate with us?” said Frank.

“They have not degenerated yet. Besides, proper care and attention make up for the unsuitableness of our soil and climate.

“You would oblige me, Herr Siegwart, if you would preserve me some shoots when you next trim them.”

“With pleasure. I had them set last year; they shot forth fine roots, and I can let you have any number of shoots.”

“Is it not too late to plant them?”

“Just the right time. Our vine-growers generally set them too early. It should be done in May, and not in April. Shall I send them over?”

“You are too kind, Herr Siegwart. My request must certainly destroy your plan in regard to those shoots.”

“Not at all; I have all I can use. It gives me great pleasure to be able to accommodate a neighbor. It's settled; I'll send over the Burgundies this evening.”

It was clear to Hamm that Siegwart desired to be agreeable to the wealthy Frank. The assessor opened and shut his eyes and mouth, and fidgeted about in his chair. While he inwardly boiled and fretted, he very properly concluded that he must consider himself offended. From the moment of Frank's arrival, the proprietor had entirely forgotten him. He was about to leave, in order not to expose his nerves to further excitement, when chance afforded him an opportunity to give vent to his ill-humor.

Two boys came running into the room. They directed their bright eyes to Siegwart, and their childish, joyful faces, seemed to say,

“Here we are again; you know very well what we want.”

One of them carried a tin box in his hand; there was a lock on the box, and a small opening in the top—evidently a money-box.

“Gelobt sei Jesus Christus,” said the children, and remained standing near the door.

“In Ewigkeit,” returned Siegwart. “Are you there again, my little ones? That's right; come here, Edward.” And Siegwart took out his purse and dropped a few pennies into the box.

“A savings-box? Who gave the permission?” said the assessor in a tone that frightened the children, astonished Richard, and caused Siegwart to look with embarrassment at the questioner.

“For the pope, Herr von Hamm,” said Siegwart.

The official air of the assessor became more severe.

“The ordinances make no exceptions,” retorted Hamm. “The ordinances forbid all collections that are not officially permitted.” And he eyed the box as if he had a notion to confiscate it.

Perhaps the lads noticed this, for they moved backward to the door and suddenly disappeared from the room.

“I beg pardon, Herr Assessor,” said Siegwart. “The Peter-pence is collected in the whole Catholic world, and the Catholics of Salingen thought they ought to assist the head of their church, who is so sorely pressed, and who has been robbed of his possessions.”

“I answer—the ordinances make no exceptions; the Peter-pence comes under the ordinances. I find myself compelled to interpose against this trespass.”

“But the Peter-pence is collected in the whole country, Herr von Hamm! Why, even in the public journals we read the results of this collection, and I have never heard that the government forbade the Peter-pence.”

“Leave the government out of the question. I stand on my instructions. The government forbids all collections unless permission is granted. You must not expect an official to connive at an open breach of the ordinances. I will do my duty and remind the burgomaster of Salingen that he has not done his.”

The occurrence was very annoying to Siegwart; this could be seen in his troubled countenance. He thought of the reproof of the timid burgomaster, and feared that the collection might in future be stopped.

“You have the authority, Herr Assessor, to permit it; I beg you will do so.”

“The request must be made in written official form,” said Hamm. “You know, Herr Siegwart, that I am disposed to comply with your wishes, but I regret I cannot do so in the present case; and I must openly confess I oppose the Peter-pence on principle. The temporal power of the pope has become unnecessary. Why support an untenable dominion?”

“I consider the temporal power of the pope to be a necessity,” said Siegwart emphatically. “If the pope were not an independent prince, but the subject of another ruler, he would in many things have to govern the church according to the mind and at the command of his superior. Sound common sense tells us that the pope must be free.”

“Certainly, as far as I am concerned,” returned Hamm. “But why drain the money out of the country for an object that cannot be accomplished? I tell you that the political standing of the bankrupt papal government will not be saved by the Peter-pence.”

“Permit me to observe, Herr Assessor, that I differ with you entirely. The papal government is by no means bankrupt—quite the contrary. Until the breaking out of the Franco-Sardinian revolution, its finances were as well managed and flourishing as those of any state in Europe. I will convince you of this in a moment.” He went to the bookcase and handed the assessor a newspaper. “These statistics will convince you of the correctness of my assertion.”

“As the documents to prove these statements are wanting, I have great reason to doubt their correctness,” said Hamm. “Paper will not refuse ink, and in the present case the pen was evidently driven by a friendly hand.”

“Why do you draw this conclusion?”

“From the contradictions between this account of the papal finances and that given by all independent editors.”

“Permit me to call that editor not 'an independent,' but a 'friend of the church.' The enemies of the church will not praise a church which they hate. The papal government is the most calumniated government on earth; and calumny and falsehood perform wonders in our times. The Italian situation furnishes at present a most striking illustration. The king of Piedmont has been raised to the rulership of Italy by the unanimous voice of the people—so say the papers. But the revolution in the greater part of Italy at the present time proves that the unanimous voice of the people was a sham, and that the Piedmontese government is hated and despised by the majority of the Italians. It is the same in many other things. If falsehood and calumny were not the order of the day, falsehood and calumny would not sit crowned on the throne.”

“Right!” said Richard. “It is indisputable. It is nothing but the depravity of the times that enables the emperor to domineer over the world.”

Siegwart heard Frank's observation with pleasure. Hamm read this in the open countenance of the proprietor, and he made a movement as though he would like to tramp on Frank's toes.

“I admit the flourishing condition of the former Papal States,” said Hamm, with a mock smile. “I will also admit that the former subjects of the pope, who have been impoverished by the hungry Piedmontese, desire the milder papal government. 'There is good living under the crozier,' says an old proverb. But what does all this amount to? Does the beautiful past overthrow the accomplished facts of the present? The powers have determined to put an end to papal dominion. The powers have partly accomplished this. Can the Peter-pence change the programme of the powers? Certainly not. The papal government must go the way of all flesh, and if the Catholics are taxed for an unattainable object, it is, in my opinion, unjust, to say the least.”

The proprietor shook his head thoughtfully. “We consider the question from very different stand-points,” said he. “Pius IX. is the head of the church—the spiritual father of all Catholics. The revolution has robbed him of his revenues. Why should not Catholics give their father assistance?”

“And I ask,” said Hamm, “why give the pope alms when the powers are ready to give him millions?”

“On what conditions, Herr Assessor?”

“Well—on the very natural condition that he will acknowledge accomplished facts.”

“You find this condition so natural!” said Siegwart, somewhat excited. “Do you forget the position of the pope? Remember that on those very principles of which the pope is the highest representative, was built the civilization of the present. The pope condemns robbery, injustice, violence, and all the principles of modern revolution. How can the pope acknowledge as accomplished facts, results which have sprung from injustice, robbery, and violence? The moment the pope does that, he ceases to be the first teacher of the people and the vicar of Christ on earth.”

“You take a strong religious position, my dear friend,” said Hamm, smiling compassionately.

“I do, most assuredly,” said the proprietor with emphasis. “And I am convinced that my position is the right one.”

Hamm smiled more complacently still. Frank observed this smile; and the contemptuous manner of the official toward the open, kind-hearted proprietor annoyed him.

“Pius IX. is at any rate a noble man,” said he, looking sharply at the assessor, “There exists a critical state of uncertainty in all governments. All the courts and principalities look to Paris, and the greatest want of principle seems to be in the state taxation. The pope alone does not shrink; he fears neither the anger nor the threats of the powers. While thrones are tumbling, and Pius IX. is not master in his own house, that remarkable man does not make the least concession to the man in power. The powers have broken treaties, trampled on justice, and there is no longer any right but the right of revolution—of force. There is nothing any longer certain; all is confusion. The pope alone holds aloft the banner of right and justice. In his manifestoes to the world, he condemns error, falsehood, and injustice. The pope alone is the shield of those moral forces which have for centuries given stability and safety to governments. This firmness, this confidence in the genius of Christianity, this unsurpassed struggle of Pius, deserves the highest admiration even of those who look upon the contest with indifference.”

Siegwart listened and nodded assent. Hamm ate sardines, without paying the least attention to the speaker.

“The Roman love of power is well known, and Rome has at all times made the greatest sacrifices for it,” said he.

The proprietor drummed with his fingers on the table. Frank thought he observed him suppressing his anger, before he answered,

“Rome does not contend for love of dominion. She contends for the authority of religion, for the maintenance of those eternal principles without which there is no civilization. This even Herder, who is far from being a friend of Rome, admits when he says, 'Without the church, Europe would, perhaps, be a prey to despots, a scene of eternal discord, and a Mogul wilderness.' Rome's battle is, therefore, very important, and honorable. Had it not been for her, you would not have escaped the bloody terrorisms of the power-seeking revolution. Think of French liberty at present, think of the large population of Cayenne, of the Neapolitan prisons, where thousands of innocent men hopelessly languish.”

“You have not understood me, my dear Siegwart. Take an example for illustration. The press informs us almost daily of difficulties between the government and the clergy. The cause of this trouble is that the latter are separated from and wish to oppose the former. To speak plainly, the Catholic clergy are non-conforming. They will not give up that abnormal position which the moral force of past times conceded to them. But in organized states, the clergy, the bishops, and the pastors should be nothing more than state officials, whose rule of conduct is the command of the sovereign.”

“That is to make the church the servant of the state,” said Siegwart. “Religion, stripped of her divine title, would be nothing more than the tool of the minister to restrain the people.”

“Well, yes,” said the official very coolly. “Religion is always a strong curb on the rough, uneducated masses; and if religion restrains the ignorant, supports the moral order and the government, she has fulfilled her mission.”

The proprietor opened wide his eyes.

“Religion, according to my belief, educates men not for the state but for their eternal destiny.”

“Perfectly right, Herr Siegwart, according to your view of the question. I admire the elevation of your religious convictions, which all men cannot rise up to.”

A mock smile played on the assessor's pale countenance as he said this. Siegwart did not observe it; but Frank did.

“If I understand you rightly, Herr Assessor, the clergy are only state officials in clerical dress.”

The assessor nodded his head condescendingly, and continued to soak a sardine in olive-oil and take it between his knife and fork as Frank began to speak. The fine-feeling Frank felt nettled at this contempt, and immediately chastised Hamm for his want of politeness.

“I take your nod for an affirmative answer to my question,” said he. “You will allow me to observe that your view of the position and purpose of the clergy must lead to the most absurd consequences.”

The assessor turned an ashy color. He threw himself back on the sofa and looked at the speaker with scornful severity.

“My view is that of every enlightened statesman of the nineteenth century,” said he proudly. “How can you, a mere novice in state matters, come to such a conclusion.”

“I come to it by sound thinking,” said Frank haughtily. “If the clergy are only the servants of the state, they are bound in the exercise of their functions to follow the instructions of the state.”

“Very natural,” said the official.

“If the government think a change in the church necessary, say the separation of the school from the church, the abolition of festivals, the appointing of infidel professors to theological chairs, the compiling of an enlightened catechism—and all these relate to the spirit of the times or the supposed welfare of the state—then the clergy must obey.”

“That is self-evident,” said the assessor.

“You see I comprehend your idea of the supreme power of the state,” continued Frank. “The state is supreme. The church must be deprived of all independence. She must not constitute a state within a state. If it seems good to a minister to abolish marriage as a sacrament, or the confessional, or to subject the teaching of the clergy to a revision by the civil authority, because a majority of the chambers wish it, or because the spirit of the age demands it, then the opposition of the clergy would be illegal and their resistance disobedience.”

“Naturally—naturally,” said the official impatiently. “Come, now, let us have the proof of your assertion.”

“Draw the conclusions from what I have said, Herr Assessor, and you have the most striking proof of the absurdity and ridiculousness of your gagged state church,” said Frank haughtily.

“How so, how so?” cried Hamm inquiringly.

“Simply thus: If the priest must preach according to the august instructions of the state and not according to the principles of religious dogma, he would then preach Badish in Baden, Hessish in Hesse, Bavarian in Bavaria, Mecklenburgish in Mecklenburg; in short, there would be as many sects as there are states and principalities. And these sects would be constantly changing, as the chambers or ministerial instructions would command or allow. All religion would cease; for it would be no longer the expression of the divine will and revelation, but the work of the chambers and the princes. Such a religion would be contemptible in the eyes of every thinking man. I would not give a brass button for such a religion.”

“You go too far, Herr Frank,” said Hamm. “Religion has a divine title, and this glory must be retained.”

“Then the clergy must be free.”

“Certainly, that is clear,” said the assessor as he arose, and, with a smiling face, bowed lowly. Angela had entered the hall, and in consequence of Hamm's greeting was obliged to come into the room. She might have returned from a walk, for she wore a straw hat and a light shawl was thrown over her shoulders. She led by the hand her little sister Eliza, a charming child of four years.

The sisters remained standing near the door. Eliza looked with wondering eyes at the stranger, whose movements were very wonderful to the mind of the little one, and whose pale face excited her interest.

Angela's glance seemed to have blown away all the official dust that remained in the soul of Hamm. The assessor was unusually agreeable. His face lost its obstinate expression, and became light and animated. Even its color changed to one of life and nature.

To Richard, who liked to take notes, and whose visit to Siegwart's had no other object, the change that could be produced in a bureaucrat by such rare womanly beauty was very amusing. He had arisen and stepped back a little. He observed the assessor carefully till a smile between astonishment and pity lit up his countenance. He then looked at Angela, who stood motionless on the same spot. It seemed to require great resignation on her part to notice the flattering speech and obsequious attentions of the assessor. Richard observed that her countenance was tranquil, but her manner more grave than usual. She still held the little one by the hand, who pressed yet closer to her the nearer the wonderful man came. Hamm's voice rose to a tone of enthusiasm, and he took a step or two toward the object of his reverence, when a strange enemy confronted him. Some swallows had come in with Angela. Till now they were quiet and seemed to be observing the assessor; but when he approached Angela, briskly gesticulating, the swallows raised their well-known shrill cry of anxiety, left their perches and fluttered around the official. Interrupted in the full flow of his eloquence, he struck about with his hands to frighten them. The swallows only became the noisier, and their fluttering about Hamm assumed a decidedly warlike character. They seemed to consider him as a dangerous enemy of Angela whom they wished to keep off. Richard looked on in wonder, Siegwart shook his head and stroked his beard, and Angela smiled at the swallows.

“These are abominable creatures,” cried Hamm warding them off. “Why, such a thing never happened to me before. Off with you! you troublesome wretches.”

The birds flew out of the room, still screaming; and their shrill cries could be heard high up in the air.

“The swallows have a grudge against you,” said Siegwart. “They generally treat only the cats and hawks in this way.”

“Perhaps they have been frightened at this red ribbon,” returned Hamm. “I regret, my dear young lady, to have frightened your little pets. When I come again, I will leave the object of their terror at home.”

“You should not deprive yourself of an ornament which has an honorable significance on account of the swallows, particularly as we do not know whether it was really the red color that displeased them,” said she.

“You think, then, Miss Angela, that there is something else about me they dislike?”

“I do not know, Herr Assessor.”

“Oh! if I only knew the cause of their displeasure,” said Hamm enthusiastically. “You have an affection for the swallows, and I would not displease any thing that you love.”

She answered by an inclination, and was about to leave the room.

“Angela,” said her father, “here is Herr Frank, to whom you are under obligations.”

She moved a step or two toward Richard.

“Sir,” said she gently, “you returned some things that were valuable to me; were it not for your kindness, they would probably have been lost. I thank you.”

A formal bow was Frank's answer. Hamm stood smiling, his searching glance alternating between the stately young man and Angela. But in the manner of both he observed nothing more than reserve and cold formality.

Angela left the room. The assessor sat down on the sofa and poured out a glass of wine.

Eliza sat on her father's knee. Richard observed the beautiful child with her fine features and golden silken locks that hung about her tender face. The winning expression of innocence and gentleness in her mild, childish eyes particularly struck him.

“A beautiful, lovely child,” said he involuntarily, and as he looked in Siegwart's face he read there a deep love and a quiet, fatherly fondness for the child.

“Eliza is not always as lovely and good as she is now,” he returned. “She has still some little faults which she must get rid of.”

“Yes, that's what Angela said,” chattered the little one. “Angela said I must be very good; I must love to pray; I must obey my father and mother; then the angels who are in heaven will love me.”

“Can you pray yet, my child,” said Richard.

“Yes, I can say the 'Our Father' and the 'Hail Mary.' Angela is teaching me many nice prayers.”

She looked at the stranger a moment and said with childish simplicity,

“Can you pray too?”

“Certainly, my child,” answered Frank, smiling; “but I doubt whether my prayers are as pleasing to God as yours.”

“Angela also said we should not lie,” continued Eliza. “The good God does not love children who lie.”

“That is true,” said Frank. “Obey your sister Angela.”

Here the young man was affected by a peculiar emotion. He thought of Angela as the first instructor of the child; placed near this little innocent, she appeared like its guardian angel. He saw clearly at this moment the great importance of first impressions on the young, and thought that in after life they would not be obliterated. He expressed his thoughts, and Siegwart confirmed them.

“I am of your opinion, Herr Frank. The most enduring impressions are made in early childhood. The germ of good must be implanted in the tender and susceptible heart of the child and there developed. Many, indeed most parents overlook this important principle of education. This is a great and pernicious error. Man is born with bad propensities; they grow with his growth and increase with his strength. In early childhood, they manifest themselves in obstinacy, wilfulness, excessive love of play, disobedience, and a disposition to lie. If these outgrowths are plucked up and removed in childhood by careful, religious training, it will be much easier to form the heart to habits of virtue than in after years. Many parents begin to instruct their children after they have spoiled them. Is this not your opinion, Herr Assessor?”

Hamm was aroused by this sudden question. He had not paid any attention to the conversation, but had been uninterruptedly stroking his moustache and gazing abstractedly into vacancy.

“What did you ask, my dear Siegwart? Whether I am of your opinion? Certainly, certainly, entirely of your opinion. Your views are always sound, practical, and matured by great experience, as in this case.”

“Well, I can't say you were always of my opinion,” said Siegwart smiling; “have we not just been sharply disputing about the Peter-pence?”

“O my dear friend! as a private I agree with you entirely on these questions; but an official must frequently defend in a system of government that which he privately condemns.”

Frank perceived Hamm's object. We wished to do away with the unfavorable impressions his former expressions might have made on the proprietor. The reason of this was clear to him since he had discovered the assessor's passion for Angela.

“I am rejoiced,” said Siegwart, “that we agree at least in that most important matter, religion.”

Frank remembered his father's remark, “The Siegwart family is intensely clerical and ultramontane.” It was new and striking to him to see the question of religion considered the most important. He concluded from this, and was confirmed in his conclusions by the leading spirit of the Siegwart family, that, in direct contradiction to modern ideas, religion is the highest good.

“Nevertheless,” said Siegwart, “I object to a system of government that is inimical to the church.”

“And so do I,” sighed the assessor.

Richard took his departure. At home, he wrote a few hasty lines in his diary and then went into the most retired part of the garden. Here he sat in deep thought till the servant called him to dinner.

“Has Klingenberg not gone out yet to-day?”

“No, but he has been walking up and down his room for the last two hours.”

Frank smiled. He guessed the meaning of this walk, and as they both entered the dining-room together his conjecture was confirmed.

The doctor entered somewhat abruptly and did not seem to observe Richard's presence. His eyes had a penetrating, almost fierce expression and his brows were knit. He sat down to the table mechanically, and ate what was placed before him. It is questionable whether he knew what he was eating, or even that he was eating. He did not speak a word, and Frank, who knew his peculiarities, did not disturb him by a single syllable. This was not difficult, as he was busily occupied with his own thoughts.

After the meal was over, Klingenberg came to himself. “My dear Richard, I beg your pardon,” said he in a tone of voice which was almost tender. “Excuse my weakness. I have read this morning a scientific article that upsets all my previous theories on the subject treated of. In the whole field of human investigation there is nothing whatever certain, nothing firmly established. What one to-day proves by strict logic to be true, to-morrow another by still stronger logic proves to be false. From the time of Aristotle to the present, philosophers have disagreed, and the infallible philosopher will certainly never be born. It is the same in all branches. I would not be the least astonished if Galileo's system would be proved to be false. If the instruments, the means of acquiring astronomical knowledge, continue to improve, we may live to learn that the earth stands still and that the sun goes waltzing around our little planet. This uncertainty is very discouraging to the human mind. We might say with Faust,

                “'It will my heart consume
                  That we can nothing know.'”

“In my humble opinion,” said Frank, “every investigator moves in a limited circle. The most profound thinker does not go beyond these set limits; and if he would boldly overstep them, he would be thrown back by evident contradiction into that circle which Omnipotence has drawn around the human intellect.”

“Very reasonable, Richard; very reasonable. But the desire of knowledge must sometimes be satiated,” continued the doctor after a short pause. “If the human mind were free from the narrow limits of the deceptive world of sense, and could see and know with pure spiritual eyes, the barriers of which you speak would fall. Even the Bible assures us of this. St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says, 'We see now through a glass in an obscure manner, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know as I am known.' I would admire St. Paul on account of this passage alone if he never had written another. How awful is the moral quality of the human soul taken in connection with its future capacity for knowledge. And how natural, how evident, is the connection. The human mind will receive knowledge from the source of all knowledge—God, in proportion as it has been just and good. For this reason our Redeemer calls the world of the damned 'outer darkness,' and the world of the blessed, the 'kingdom of light.'”

“We sometimes see in that way even now,” said Frank after a pause. “The wicked have ideas very different from those of the good. A frivolous spirit mocks at and derides that which fills the good with happiness and contentment. We might, then, say that even in this life man knows as he is known.”

The doctor cast an admiring glance at the young man. “We entirely agree, my young friend; wickedness is to the sciences what a poisonous miasma and the burning rays of the sun are to the young plants. Yes, vice begets atheism, materialism, and every other abortion of thought.”

Klingenberg arose.

“We will meet again at three,” said he with a friendly nod.

Richard took from his room Vogt's Physiological Letters, went into the garden, and buried himself in its contents.

                    

CHAPTER V. THE PROGRESSIVE PROFESSOR.

When Frank returned from the walk, he found a visitor at Frankenhöhe.

The visitor was an elegantly dressed young man, with a free, self-important air about him.

He spoke fluently, and his words sounded as decisive as though they came from the lips of infallibility. At times this self-importance was of such a boastful and arrogant character as to affect the observer disagreeably.

“It is now vacation, and I do not know how to enjoy it better than by a visit to you,” said he.

“Very flattering to me,” answered Frank. “I hope you will be pleased with Frankenhöhe.”

“Pleased?” returned the visitor, as he looked through the open window at the beautiful landscape. “I would like to dream away here the whole of May and June. How charming it is! An empire of flowers and vernal delights.”

“I am surprised, Carl, that you have preserved such a love for nature. I thought you considered the professor's chair the culminating point of attraction.”

Carl bowed his head proudly, and stood with folded arms before the smiling Frank.

“That is evidently intended for flattery,” said he. “The professor's chair is my vocation. He who does not hold his vocation as the acme of all attraction is indeed a perfect man. Besides, it will appear to you, who consider everything in the world, not excepting even the fair sex, with blank stoicism—it will appear even to you that the rostrum is destined to accomplish great things. Ripe knowledge in mighty pulsations goes forth from the rostrum, and permeates society. The rostrum governs and educates the rising young men who are destined to assume leading positions in the state. The rostrum overthrows antiquated forms of religious delusion, ennobles rational thought, exact science, and deep investigation. The rostrum governs even the throne; for we have princes in Germany who esteem liberty of thought and progress of knowledge more than the art of governing their people in a spirit of stupidity.”

Frank smiled.

“The glory of the rostrum I leave undisputed,” said he. “But I beg of you to conceal from the doctor your scientific rule of faith. You may get into trouble with the doctor.”

“I am very desirous of becoming acquainted with this paragon of learning—you have told me so much about him; and I confess it was partly to see him that I made this visit. Get into trouble? I do not fear the old syllogism-chopper in the least. A good disputation with him is even desirable.”

“Well, you are forewarned. If you go home with a lacerated back, it will not be my fault.”

“A lacerated back?” said the professor quietly. “Does the doctor like to use striking arguments?”

“Oh! no; but his sarcasm is as cutting as the slash of a sword, and his logical vehemence is like the stroke of a club.”

“We will fight him with the same weapons,” answered Carl, throwing back his head. “Shall I pay him my respects immediately?”

“The doctor admits no one. In his studio he is as inaccessible as a Turkish sultan in his harem. I will introduce you in the dining-room, as it is now just dinner-time.”

They betook themselves to the dining-room, and soon after they heard the sound of a bell.

“He is just now called to table,” said Richard. “He does not allow the servant to enter his room, and for that reason a bell has been hung there.”

“How particular he is!” said the professor.

A door of the ante-room was opened, quick steps were heard, and Klingenberg hastily entered and placed himself at the table, as at a work that must be done quickly, and then observed the stranger.

“Doctor Lutz, professor of history in our university,” said Frank, introducing him.

“Doctor Lutz—professor of history,” said Klingenberg musingly. “Your name is familiar to me, if I am not mistaken; are you not a collaborator on Sybel's historical publication?”

“I have that honor,” answered the professor, with much dignity.

They began to eat.

“You read Sybel's periodical?” asked the professor.

“We must not remain entirely ignorant of literary productions, particularly the more excellent.”

Lutz felt much flattered by this declaration.

“Sybel's periodical is an unavoidable necessity at present,” said the professor. “Historical research was in a bad way; it threatened to succumb entirely to the ultramontane cause and the clerical party.”

“Now Sybel and his co-laborers will avert that danger,” said the doctor. “These men will do honor to historical research. The ultramontanists have a great respect for Sybel. When he taught in Munich, they did not rest till he turned his back on Isar-Athen. In my opinion, Sybel should not have gone to Munich. The stupid Bavarians will not allow themselves to be enlightened. So let them sit in darkness, the stupid barbarians who have no appreciation for the progress of science.”

The professor looked astonished. He could not understand how an admirer of Sybel's could be so prejudiced. Frank was alarmed lest the professor might perceive the doctor's keen sarcasm—which he delivered with a serious countenance—and feel offended. He changed the conversation to another subject, in which Klingenberg did not take part.

“You have represented the doctor incorrectly,” said the professor, after the meal. “He understands Sybel and praises his efforts—the best sign of a clear mind.”

“Klingenberg is always just,” returned Frank.

On the following afternoon, Lutz joined in the accustomed walk. As they were passing through the chestnut grove, a servant of Siegwart's came up breathless, with a letter in his hand, which he gave to Frank.

“Gentlemen,” said Frank after reading the letter, “I am urgently requested to visit Herr Siegwart immediately. With your permission I will go.”

“Of course, go,” said Klingenberg. “I know,” he added with a roguish expression, “that you would as lief visit that excellent man as walk with us.”

Richard went off in such haste that the question occurred to him why he fulfilled with such zeal the wishes of a man with whom he had been so short a time acquainted; but with the question Angela came before his mind as an answer. He rejected this answer, even against his feelings, and declared to himself that Siegwart's honorable character and neighborly feeling made his haste natural and even obligatory. The proprietor may have been waiting his arrival, for he came out to meet him. Frank observed a dark cloud over the countenance of the man and great anxiety in his features.

“I beg your forgiveness a thousand times, Herr Frank. I know you go walking with Herr Klingenberg at this hour, and I have deprived you of that pleasure.”

“No excuse, neighbor. It is a question which would give me greater pleasure, to serve you or to walk with Klingenberg.”

Richard smiled while saying these words; but the smile died away, for he saw how pale and suddenly anxious Siegwart had become. They had entered a room, and he desired to know the cause of Siegwart's changed manner.

“A great and afflicting misfortune threatens us,” began the proprietor. “My Eliza has been suddenly taken ill, and I have great fears for her young life. Oh! if you knew how that child has grown into my heart.” He paused for a moment and suppressed his grief, but he could not hide from Frank the tears that filled his eyes. Richard saw these tears, and this paternal grief increased his respect for Siegwart.

“The delicate life of a young child does not allow of protracted medical treatment, of consultation or investigation into the disease or the best remedies. The disease must be known immediately and efficient remedies applied. There are physicians at my command, but I do not dare to trust Eliza to them.”

“I presume, Herr Siegwart, that you wish for Klingenberg.”

“Yes—and through your mediation. You know that he only treats the sick poor; but resolutely refuses his services to the wealthy.”

“Do not be uneasy about that. I hope to be able to induce Klingenberg to correspond with your wishes. But is Eliza really so sick, or does your apprehension increase your anxiety?”

“I will show you the child, and then you can judge for yourself.” They went up-stairs and quietly entered the sick-room. Angela sat on the little bed of the child, reading. The child was asleep, but the noise of their entrance awoke her. She reached out her little round arms to her father, and said in a scarcely audible whisper,

“Papa—papa!”

This whispered “papa” seemed to pierce the soul of Siegwart like a knife. He drew near and leant over the child.

“You will be well to-morrow, my sweet pet. Do you see, Herr Frank has come to see you?”

“Mamma!” whispered the child.

“Your mother will come to-morrow, my Eliza. She will bring you something pretty. My wife has been for the last two weeks at her sister's, who lives a few miles from here,” said Siegwart, turning to Frank. “I sent a messenger for her early this morning.”

While the father sat on the bed and held Eliza's hand in his, Frank observed Angela, who scarcely turned her eyes from the sick child. Her whole soul seemed taken up with her suffering sister. Only once had she looked inquiringly at Frank, to read in his face his opinion of the condition of Eliza. She stood immovable at the foot of the bed, as mild, as pure, and as beautiful as the guardian angel of the child.

Both men left the room.

“I will immediately seek the doctor, who is now on his walk,” said Frank.

“Shall I send my servant for him?”

“That is unnecessary,” returned Frank. “And even if your servant should find the doctor, he would probably not be inclined to shorten his walk. Our gardener, who works in the chestnut grove, will show me the way the doctor took. In an hour and a half at furthest I will be back.”

The young man pressed the outstretched hand of Siegwart, and hastened away.

In the mean time the doctor and the professor had reached a narrow, wooded ravine, on both sides of which the rocks rose almost perpendicularly. The path on which they talked passed near a little brook, that flowed rippling over the pebbles in its bed. The branches of the young beeches formed a green roof over the path, and only here and there were a few openings through which the sun shot its sloping beams across the cool, dusky way, and in the sunbeams floated and danced dust-colored insects and buzzing flies.

The learned saunterers continued their amusement without altercation until the professor's presumption offended the doctor and led to a vehement dispute.

Klingenberg did not appear on the stage of publicity. He left boasting and self-praise to others, far inferior to him in knowledge. He despised that tendency which pursues knowledge only to command, which cries down any inquiry that clashes with their theories. The doctor published no learned work, nor did he write for the periodicals, to defend his views. But if he happened to meet a scientific opponent, he fought him with sharp, cutting weapons.

“I do not doubt of the final victory of true science over the falsifying party spirit of the ultramontanes,” said the professor. “Sybel's periodical destroys, year by year, more and more the crumbling edifice which the clerical zealots build on the untenable foundation of falsified facts.”

Klingenberg tore his cap from his head and swung it about vehemently, and made such long strides that the other with difficulty kept up with him. Suddenly he stopped, turned about, and looked the professor sharply in the eyes.

“You praise Sybel's publication unjustly,” said he excitedly. “It is true Sybel has founded a historical school, and has won many imitators; but his is a school destructive of morality and of history—a school of scientific radicalism, a school of falsehood and deceitfulness. Sybel and his followers undertake to mould and distort history to their purposes. They slur over every thing that contradicts their theories. To them the ultramontanes are partial, prejudiced men—or perhaps asses and dunces; you are unfortunately right when you say Sybel's school wins ground; for Sybel and his fellows have brought lying and falsification to perfection. They have in Germany perplexed minds, and have brought their historical falsifications to market as true ware.”

The professor could scarcely believe his own ears.

“I have given you freely and openly my judgment, which need not offend you, as it refers to principles, not persons.”

“Not in the least,” answered Lutz derisively. “I admit with pleasure that Sybel's school is anti-church, and even anti-Christian, if you will. There is no honor in denying this. The denial would be of no use; for this spirit speaks too loudly and clearly in that school. Sybel and his associates keep up with the enlightenment and liberalism of our times. But I must contradict you when you say this free tendency is injurious to society; the seed of free inquiry and human enlightenment can bring forth only good fruits.”

“Oh! we know this fruit of the new heathenism,” cried the doctor. “There is no deed so dark, no crime so great, that it may not be defended according to the anti-Christian principles of vicious enlightenment and corrupt civilization. Sybel's school proves this with striking clearness. Tyrants are praised and honored. Noble men are defamed and covered with dirt.”

“This you assert, doctor; it is impossible to prove such a declaration.”

“Impossible! Not at all. Sybel's periodical exalts to the seventh heaven the tyrant Henry VIII. of England. You extol him as a conscientious man who was compelled by scruples of conscience to separate from his wife. You commend him for having but one mistress. You say that the sensualities of princes are only of 'anecdotal interest.' Naturally,” added the doctor contemptuously, “a school that cuts loose from Christian principles cannot consistently condemn adultery. Fie! fie! Debauchees and men of gross sensuality might sit in Sybel's enlightened school. Progress overthrows the cross, and erects the crescent. We may yet live to see every wealthy man of the new enlightenment have his harem. Whether society can withstand the detestable consequences of this teaching of licentiousness and contempt for Christian morality, is a consideration on which these progressive gentlemen do not reflect.”

“I admit, doctor,” said Lutz, “that the clear light of free, impartial science must needs hurt the eyes of a pious believer. According to the opinions of the ultramontanes, Henry VIII. was a terrible tyrant and bloodhound. Sybel's periodical deserves the credit of having done justice to that great king.”

“Do you say so?” cried the doctor, with flaming eyes. “You, a professor of history in the university! You, who are appointed to teach our young men the truth! Shame on you! What you say is nothing but stark hypocrisy. I appeal to the heathen. You may consider religion from the stand-point of an ape, for what I care; your cynicism, which is not ashamed to equalize itself with the brute, may also pass. But this hypocrisy, this fallacious representation of historical facts and persons, this hypocrisy before my eyes—this I cannot stand; this must be corrected.”

The doctor actually doubled up his fists. Lutz saw it and saw also the wild fire in the eyes of his opponent, and was filled with apprehension and anxiety.

Erect and silent, fiery indignation in his flushed countenance, stood Klingenberg before the frightened professor. As Lutz still held his tongue, the doctor continued,

“You call Henry VIII. a 'great king,' you extol and defend this 'great king' in Sybel's periodical. I say Henry VIII. was a great scoundrel, a blackguard without a conscience, and a bloodthirsty tyrant. I prove my assertion. Henry VIII. caused to be executed two queens who were his wives—two cardinals, twelve dukes and marquises, eighteen barons and knights, seventy-seven abbots and priors, and over sixty thousand Catholics. Why did he have them executed? Because they were criminals? No; because they remained true to their consciences and to the religion of their fathers. All these fell victims to the cruelty of Henry VIII., whom you style a 'great king.' You glorify a man who for blood-thirstiness and cruelty can be placed by the side of Nero and Diocletian. That is my retort to your hypocrisy and historical mendacity.”

The stern doctor having emptied his vials of wrath, now walked on quietly; Lutz with drooping head followed in silence.

“Sybel does not even stop with Henry VIII.,” again began the doctor. “These enlightened gentlemen undertake to glorify even Tiberius, that inhuman monster. They might as well have the impudence to glorify cruelty itself. On the other hand, truly great men, such as Tilly, are abandoned to the hatred of the ignorant.”

“This is unjust,” said the professor hastily. “Sybel's periodical in the second volume says that Tilly was often calumniated by party spirit; that the destruction of Magdeburg belongs to the class of unproved and improbable events. The periodical proves that Tilly's conduct in North Germany was mild and humane, that he signalized himself by his simplicity, unselfishness, and conscientiousness.

“Does Sybel's periodical say all this?”

“Word for word, and much more in praise of that magnanimous man,” said Lutz. “From this you may know that science is just even to pious heroes.”

Klingenberg smiled characteristically, and in his smile was an expression of ineffable contempt.

He stopped before the professor.

“You have just quoted what impartial historical research informs us of Tilly, in the second and third volumes. It is so. I remember perfectly having read that favorable account. Now let me quote what the same periodical says of the same Tilly in the seventeenth volume. There we read that Tilly was a hypocrite and a blood-hound, whose name cannot be mentioned without a shudder; furthermore, we are told that Tilly burned Magdeburg, that he waged a ravaging war against men, women, children, and property. You see, then, in the second and third volumes that Tilly was a conscientious, mild man and pious hero; in the seventeenth volume, that he was a tyrant and blood-hound. It appears from this with striking clearness that the enlightened progressionists do not stick at contradiction, mendacity, and defamation.”

The professor lowered his eyes and stood embarrassed.

“I leave you, 'Herr Professor,' to give a name to such a procedure. Besides, I must also observe that the strictly scientific method, as it labels itself at present, does not stop at personal defamation. As every holy delusion and religious superstition must be destroyed in the hearts of the students, this lying and defamation extends to the historical truths of faith. It is taught from the professors' chairs, and confirmed by the journals, that confession is an invention of the middle ages; while you must know from thorough research that confession has existed up to the time of the apostles. You teach and write that Innocent III. introduced the doctrine of transubstantiation in the thirteenth century; while every one having the least knowledge of history knows that at the council of 1215 it was only made a duty to receive the holy communion at Easter, that the fathers of the first ages speak of transubstantiation—that it has its foundation in Scripture. You know as well as I do that indulgences were imparted even in the first century; but this does not prevent you from teaching that the popes of the middle ages invented indulgences from love of money, and sold them from avarice. Thus the progressive science lies and defames, yet is not ashamed to raise high the banner of enlightenment; thus you lead people into error, and destroy youth! Fie! fie!”

The doctor turned and was about to proceed when he heard his name called. Frank hastened to him, the perspiration running from his forehead, and his breast heaving from rapid breathing. In a few words he made known Eliza's illness, and Siegwart's request.

“You know,” said Klingenberg, “that I treat only the poor, who cannot easily get a physician.”

“Make an exception in this case, doctor, I beg of you most earnestly! You respect Siegwart yourself for his integrity, and I also of late have learned to esteem the excellent man, whose heart at present is rent with anxiety and distress. Save this child, doctor; I beg of you save it.”

Klingenberg saw the young man's anxiety and goodness, and benevolence beamed on his still angry face.

“I see,” said he, “that no refusal is to be thought of. Well, we will go.” And he immediately set off with long strides on his way back. Richard cast a glance at the professor, who followed, gloomy and spiteful. He saw the angry look he now and then turned on the hastening doctor, and knew that a sharp contest must have taken place. But his solicitude for Siegwart's child excluded all other sympathy. On the way he exchanged only a few words with Lutz, who moved on morosely, and was glad when Klingenberg and Richard separated from him in the vicinity of Frankenhöhe.

Ten minutes later they entered the house of Siegwart. The doctor stood for a moment observing the child without touching it. The little one opened her eyes, and appeared to be frightened at the strange man with the sharp features. Siegwart and Angela read anxiously in the doctor's immovable countenance. As Eliza said “Papa,” in a peculiar, feverish tone, Klingenberg moved away from the bed. He cast a quick glance at the father, went to the window and drummed with his fingers on the glass. Frank read in that quick glance that Eliza must die. Angela must also have guessed the doctor's opinion, for she was very much affected; her head sank on her breast and tears burst from her eyes.

Klingenberg took out his notebook, wrote something on a small slip of paper, and ordered the recipe to be taken immediately to the apothecary. He then took his departure.

“What do you think of the child?” said Siegwart, as they passed over the yard.

“The child is very sick; send for me in the morning if it be necessary.”

Frank and the doctor went some distance in silence. The young man thought of the misery the death of Eliza would bring on that happy family, and the pale, suffering Angela in particular stood before him.

“Is recovery not possible?”

“No. The child will surely die to-night. I prescribed only a soothing remedy. I am sorry for Siegwart; he is one of the few fathers who hang with boundless love on their children—particularly when they are young. The man must call forth all his strength to bear up against it.”

When Frank entered his room, he found Lutz in a very bad humor.

“You have judged that old bear much too leniently,” began the professor. “The man is a model of coarseness and intolerable bigotry.”

“I thought so,” said Frank. “I know you and I know the doctor; and I knew two such rugged antitheses must affect each other unpleasantly. What occasioned your dispute?”

“What! A thousand things,” answered his friend ill-humoredly. “The old rhinoceros has not the least appreciation of true knowledge. He carries haughtily the long wig of antiquated stupidity, and does not see the shallowness of the swamp in which he wallows. The genius of Christianity is to him the sublime. Where this stops, pernicious enlightenment—which corrupts the people, turns churches into ball-rooms, and the Bible into a book of fables—begins.”

“The doctor is not wrong there,” said Frank earnestly. “Are they not endeavoring with all their strength to deprive the Bible of its divine character? Does not one Schenkel in Heidelberg deny the divinity of Christ? Is not this Schenkel the director of a theological faculty? Do not some Catholic professors even begin to dogmatize and dispute the authority of the holy see?”

“We rejoice at the consoling fact that Catholic savants themselves break the fetters with which Rome's infallibility has bound in adamantine chains the human mind!” cried Lutz with enthusiasm.

“It appears strange to me when young men—scarcely escaped from the school, and boasting of all modern knowledge—cast aside as old, worthless rubbish what great minds of past ages have deeply pondered. The see of Rome and its dogmas have ruled the world for eighteen hundred years. Rome's dogmas overthrew the old world and created a new one. They have withstood and survived storms that have engulfed all else besides. Such strength excites wonder and admiration, but not contempt.”

“I let your eulogy on Rome pass,” said the professor. “But as Rome and her dogmas have overthrown heathenism, so will the irresistible progress of science overthrow Christianity. Coming generations will smile as complacently at the God of Christendom as we consider with astonishment the great and small gods of the heathen.”

“I do not desire the realization of your prophecy,” said Frank gloomily; “for it must be accompanied by convulsions that will transform the whole world, and therefore I do not like to see an anti-Christian tendency pervading science.”

“Tendency, tendency!” said Lutz, hesitating. “In science there is no tendency; there is but truth.”

“Easy, friend, easy! Be candid and just. You will not deny that the tendency of Sybel's school is to war against the church?”

“Certainly, in so far as the church contends against truth and thorough investigation.”

“Good; and the friends of the church will contend against you in so far as you are inimical to the spirit of the church. And so, tendency on one side, tendency on the other. But it is you who make the more noise. As soon as a book opposed to you appears,—'Partial!' you say with contemptuous mien; 'Odious!' 'Ecclesiastical!' 'Unreadable!' and it is forthwith condemned. But it appears to me natural that a man should labor and write in a cause which is to him the noblest cause.”

“I am astonished, Richard! You did not think formerly as you now do. But I should not be surprised if your intercourse with the doctor is not without its effects.” This the professor said in a cutting tone. Frank turned about and walked the room. The observation of his friend annoyed him, and he reflected whether his views had actually undergone any change.

“You deceive yourself. I am still the same,” said he. “You cannot mistrust me because I do not take part with you against the doctor.”

Carl sat for a time thinking.

“Is my presence at the table necessary?” said he. “I do not wish to meet the doctor again.”

“That would be little in you. You must not avoid the doctor. You must convince yourself that he does not bear any ill-will on account of that scientific dispute. With all his rough bluntness, Klingenberg is a noble man. Your non-appearance at table must offend him, and at the same time betray your annoyance.”

“I obey,” answered Lutz. “Tomorrow I will go for a few days to the mountains. On my return I will remain another day with you.”

Frank's assurance was confirmed. The doctor met the guest as if nothing unpleasant had happened. In the cool of the evening he went with the young men into the garden, and spoke with such familiarity of Tacitus, Livy, and other historians of antiquity that the professor admired his erudition.

Frank wrote in his diary:

“May 20th.—After mature reflection, I find that the views which I believed to be strongly founded begin to totter. What would the professor say if he knew that not the doctor, but a country family, and that, too, ultramontane, begin to shake the foundation of my views? Would he not call me weak?”

He laid down the pen and sat sullenly reflecting.

“All my impressions of the ultramontane family be herewith effaced,” he wrote further. “The only fact I admit is, that even ultramontanes also can be good people. But this fact shall in no wise destroy my former convictions.”

                    

CHAPTER VI. THE ULTRAMONTANE WAY OF THINKING.

On the following morning, no message was sent for the doctor. The child had died, as Klingenberg foretold. Frank thought of the great affliction of the Siegwart family—Angela in tears, and the father broken down with grief. It drove him from Frankenhöhe. In a quarter of an hour he was at the house of the proprietor.

A servant came weeping to meet him.

“You cannot speak to my master,” said she. “We had a bad night. My master is almost out of his mind; he has only just now lain down. Poor Eliza! the dear, good child.” And the tears burst forth again.

“When did the child die?”

“At four o'clock this morning; and how beautiful she still looks in death! You would think she is only sleeping. If you wish to see her, just go up to the same room in which you were yesterday.”

After some hesitation, Frank ascended the stairs and entered the room. As he passed the threshold, he paused, greatly surprised at the sight that met his view. The room was darkened, the shutters closed, and across the room streamed the broken rays of the morning sun. On a white-covered table burned wax candles, in the midst of which stood a large crucifix; there was also a holy-water vase, and in it a green branch. On the white cushions of the bed reposed Eliza, a crown of evergreens about her forehead, and a little crucifix in her folded hands. Her countenance was not the least disfigured; only about her softly closed eyes there was a dark shade, and the lifelike freshness of the lips had vanished. Angela sat near the bed on a low stool; she had laid her head near that of her sister, and in consequence of a wakeful night was fast asleep. Eliza's little head lay in her arms, and in her hand she held the same rosary that he had found near the statue. Frank stood immovable before the interesting group.

The most beautiful form he had ever beheld he now saw in close contact with the dead. Earnest thoughts passed through his mind. The fleetingness of all earthly things vividly occurred to him. Eliza's corpse reminded him impressively that her sister, the charming Angela, must meet the same inevitable fate. His eyes rested on the beautiful features of the sufferer, which were not in the least disfigured by bitter or gloomy dreams, and which expressed in sleep the sweetest peace. She slept as gently and confidingly near Eliza as if she did not know the abyss which death had placed between them. The only disorder in Angela's external appearance was the glistening curls of hair that hung loose over her shoulders on her breast.

At length Frank departed, with the determination of returning to make his visit of condolence. After the accustomed walk with Klingenberg, he went immediately back to Siegwart's.

When he returned home, he wrote in his diary:

“May 21st.—Surprising and wonderful!

“When my uncle's little Agnes died, my aunt took ill, and my uncle's condition bordered on insanity; tortured by excruciating anguish, he murmured against Providence. He accused God of cruelty and injustice, because he took from him a child he loved so much, he lost all self-control, and had not strength to bear the misfortune with resignation. And now the Siegwart family are in the same circumstances; the father is much broken down, much afflicted, but very resigned; his trembling lips betray the affliction that presses on his heart, but they make no complaints against Providence.

“'I thank you for your sympathy,' said he to me. 'The trial is painful; but God knows what he does. The Lord gave me the dear child; the Lord has taken her away. His holy will be done.' So spoke Siegwart. While he said this, a perceptible pain changed his manly countenance, and he lay like a quivering victim on the altar of the Lord. Siegwart's wife, a beautiful woman, with calm, mild eyes, wept inwardly. Her mother's heart bled from a thousand wounds; but she showed the same self-control and resignation as Siegwart did to the will of the Most High.

“And Angela? I do not understand her at all. She speaks of Eliza as of one sleeping, or of one who has gone to a place where she is happy. But sometimes a spasm twitches her features; then her eyes rest on the crucifix that stands amid the lighted candles. The contemplation of the crucifix seems to afford her strength and vigor. This is a mystery to me. I cannot conceive the mysterious power of that carved figure.

“Misery does not depress these people: it ennobles them. I have never seen the like. When I compare their conduct with that of those I have known, I confess that the Siegwart family puts my acquaintance as well as myself to shame.

“What gives these people this strength, this calm, this resignation? Religion, perhaps. Then religion is infinitely more than a mere conception, a mere external rule of faith.

“I am beginning to suspect that between heaven and earth there exists, for those who live for heaven, a warm, living union. It appears to me that Providence does not, indeed, exempt the faithful from the common lot of earthly affliction; but he gives them strength which transcends the power of human nature.

“I have undertaken the task of putting Angela to the test, and what do I find? Admiration for her—shame for myself; and also the certainty that my views of women must be restricted.”

He had scarcely written down these thoughts, when he bit impatiently the pen between his teeth.

“We must not be hasty in our judgments,” he wrote further. “Perhaps it is my ignorance of the depth of the human heart that causes me to consider in so favorable a light the occurrences in the Siegwart family.

“Perhaps it is a kind of stupidity of mind, an unrefined feeling, a frivolous perception of fatality, that gives these people this quiet and resignation. My judgment shall not be made up. Angela may conceal beneath the loveliness of her nature characteristics and failings which may justify my opinion of the sex, notwithstanding.”

With a peculiar stubbornness which struggles to maintain a favorite conviction, he closed the diary.

On the second day after Eliza's death, the body was consigned to the earth. Frank followed the diminutive coffin, which was carried by four little girls dressed in white. The youthful bearers had wreaths of flowers on their heads and blue silk ribbons about their waists, the ends of which hung down.

After these followed a band of girls, also dressed in white and blue. They had flowers fixed in their hair, and in their hands they carried a large wreath of evergreens and roses. The whole community followed the procession—a proof of the great respect the proprietor enjoyed among his neighbors. Siegwart's manner was quiet, but his eyes were inflamed. As the coffin was lowered into the ground, the larks sang in the air, and the birds in the bushes around joined their sweet cadences with the not plaintive but joyful melodies which were sung by a choir of little girls. The church ceremonies, like nature, breathed joy and triumph, much to Richard's astonishment. He did not understand how these songs of gladness and festive costumes could be reconciled with the open grave. He believed that the feelings of the mourners must be hurt by all this. He remained with the family at the grave till the little mound was smoothed and finished above it. The people scattered over the graveyard, and knelt praying before the different graves. The cross was planted on Eliza's resting-place, and the girls placed the large wreath on the little mound. Siegwart spoke words of consolation to his wife as he conducted her to the carriage. Angela, sunk in sadness, still remained weeping at the grave. Richard approached and offered her his arm. The carriage proceeded toward Salingen and stopped before the church, whose bells were tolling. The service began. Again was Richard surprised at the joyful melody of the church hymns. The organ pealed forth joyfully as on a festival. Even the priest at the altar did not wear black, but white vestments. Frank, unfamiliar with the deep spirit of the Catholic liturgy, could not understand this singular funeral service.

After service the family returned. Frank sat opposite to Angela, who was very sad, but in no way depressed. He even thought he saw now and then the light of a peculiar joy in her countenance. Madame Siegwart could not succeed in overcoming her maternal sorrow. Her tears burst forth anew, and her husband consoled her with tender words.

Frank strove to divert Angela from her sad thoughts. As he thought it would not be in good taste to speak of ordinary matters, he expressed his surprise at the manner of the burial.

“Your sister,” said he, “was interred with a solemnity which excited my surprise, and, I confess, my disapprobation. Not a single hymn of sorrow was sung, either at the grave or in the church. One would not believe that those white-clad girls with wreaths of flowers on their heads were carrying the soulless body of a beloved being to the grave. The whole character of the funeral was that of rejoicing. How is this, Fräulein Angela; is that the custom here?”

She looked at him somewhat astonished.

“That is the custom in the whole Catholic Church,” she replied. “At the burial of children she excludes all sadness; and for that reason masses of requiem in black vestments are never said for them; but masses of the angels in white.”

“Do you not think the custom is in contradiction to the sentiments of nature—to the sorrowful feelings of those who remain?”

“Yes, I believe so,” she answered tranquilly. “Human nature grieves about many things over which the spirit should rejoice.”

These words sounded enigmatically to Richard.

“I do not comprehend the meaning of your words, Fräulein Angela.”

“Grief at the death of a relative is proper for us, because a beloved person has been taken from our midst. But the church, on the contrary, rejoices because an innocent, pure soul has reached the goal after which we all strive—eternal happiness. You see, Herr Frank, that the church considers the departure of a child from this world from a more exalted point of view, and comprehends it in a more spiritual sense, than the natural affection. While the heart grows weak from sadness, the church teaches us that Eliza is happy; that she has gone before us, and that we will be separated from her but for a short time; that between us there is a spiritual union which is based on the communion of saints. Faith teaches me that Eliza, rescued from all afflictions and disappointments, is happy in the kingdom of the blessed. If I could call her back, I would not do it; for this desire springs from egotism, which can make no sacrifices to love.”

Her eyes were full of tears as she said these last words. But that peculiar joy which Richard had before observed, and the meaning of which he now understood, again lighted up her countenance. He leaned back in the carriage, and was forced to admit that the religious conception of death was very consoling, even grand, when compared with that conception which modern enlightenment has of it.

The carriage moved slowly through the silent court-yard, which lay as gloomy under the clouds as though it had put on mourning for the dead. The chickens sat huddled together in a corner, their heads sadly drooping. Even the garrulous sparrows were silent, and through the linden tops came a low, rustling sound like greetings from another world.

Assisted by Richard's hand, Angela descended from the carriage. Her father thanked him for his sympathy, and expressed a wish to see him soon again in the family circle. As Richard glanced at Angela, he thought he read in her look a confirmation of all her father said. Siegwart's invitation was unnecessary. The young man was attracted more strongly to the proprietor's house as Angela's qualities revealed themselves to his astonished view more clearly. But Frank would not believe in the spotlessness and sublime dignity of a Christian maiden. He did not change his former judgment against the sex. His stubbornness still persisted in the opinion that Angela had her failings, which, if manifested, would obscure the external brilliancy of her appearance, but which remained hidden from view. Continued observation alone would, in Frank's opinion, succeed in disclosing the repulsive shadows.

Perhaps a proud determination to justify his former opinions lay less at the bottom of this obstinate tenacity than an unconscious stratagem. The young man anticipated that his respect for Angela would end in passionate affection as soon as she stood before him in the full, serene power of her beauty. He feared this power, and therefore combated her claims.

The professor had returned from his excursion into the mountains, and related what he had seen and heard. “Such excursions on historic grounds,” said he, “are interesting and instructive to the historical inquirer. What historical sources hint at darkly become distinct, and many incredible things become clear and intelligible. Thus, I once read in an old chronicle that the monks during choral service sung with such enchanting sweetness that the empress and her ladies and knights who were present burst into tears. I smiled at this passage from the garrulous old chronicler, and thought that the fabulous spirit of the middle ages had descended into the pen of the good man. How often have I heard Mozart's divine music, how often have I been entranced by the stormy, thrilling fantasies of Beethoven! But I was never moved to tears, and I never saw even delicate ladies weep. Two days ago, I wandered alone among the ruins of the abbey of Hagenroth. I stood in the ruined church; above was the unclouded sky, and high round about me the naked walls. Here and there upon the walls hung patches of plaster, and these were painted. I examined the paintings and found them of remarkable purity and depth of sentiment. I examined the painted columns in the nave and choir, and found a beautiful harmony. I admired the excellence of the colors, on which it has snowed, rained, and frozen for three hundred and twenty years. I then examined the fallen columns, the heavy capitals, the beauty of the ornaments, and from these significant remnants my imagination built up the whole structure, and the church loomed up before me in all its simple grandeur and charming finish. I was forced to recognize and admire those artists who knew how to produce such wonderful and charming effects by such simple combinations. I thought on that passage of the chronicle, and I believe if, at that moment, the simple, pure chant of the monks had echoed through the basilica, I also would have been moved to tears. If the monks knew, thought I, how to captivate and charm by their architecture, why could they not do the same with music?”

“The stupid monks!” said Richard.

“If you had spoken those words at my side in that tone as I stood amid those ruins, they would have sounded like malicious envy from the mouth of the spirit of darkness.”

“Your admiration for the monks is indeed a great curiosity,” said Frank, smiling. “Sybel's congenial friend a eulogist of the monks! That indeed is as strange as a square circle.”

“If I admire the splendor of heathenism, must I not also admire the fascinating, still depth of Christian childhood? In heathenism as well as in Christianity human genius accomplishes great and sublime things.”

“That, in its whole extent, I must dispute,” said Frank. “Where is the splendor and greatness of heathenism? The heathen built palaces of great magnificence, but crime stalked naked about in them. When the lord of the palace killed his slaves for his amusement, there was no law to condemn him. When lords and ladies at their epicurean feasts would step aside into small apartments, there by artificial means to empty their gorged stomachs, they did not offend either against heathen decency or its law of moderation. The marble columns proudly supported gilded arches; but when beneath those arches a human victim bled under the knife of the priests, this was in harmony with the genius of heathenism. The amphitheatres were immense halls, full of art and magnificence, in which a hundred thousand spectators could sit and behold with delight the lions and tigers devour slaves, or the gladiators slaughtering each other for their amusement. No. True greatness and real splendor I do not find in heathenism. Where heathen greatness is, there terrible darkness, profound error, and horrible customs abound. Christianity had to contend for three hundred years to destroy the abominations of heathenism.”

“I will not dispute about it now,” said Lutz. “You shall not destroy by your criticism the beautiful impressions of my excursion. I also met the Swedes on my tour. About thirty miles from here there is, among the hills, a valley. The peasants call the place the 'murder-chamber.' I suspected that the name might be associated with some historical event, and, on inquiry, I found such to be the case. In the Thirty Years' War, when Gustavus Adolphus, the pious hero, passed through the German provinces murdering and robbing, the inhabitants of the neighborhood fled with their wives, children, and property to this remote valley. They imagined themselves hid in these woods and defiles from the wandering Swedes, but they deceived themselves. Their hiding-place was discovered, and every living thing—Cows, calves, and oxen excepted—was put to the sword. 'The blood of the massacred,' said my informer, 'flowed down the valley like a brook; and for fifty years the neighborhood was desolate, because the Swedes had destroyed every thing.' Such masterpieces of Swedish blood-thirstiness are found in many places in Germany; and as the people celebrate them in song and story, it is certain that the pious hero has won for himself imperishable fame in the art of slaughter.”

“Do you not wish to have the 'murder-chamber' appear in Sybel's periodical?”

“No; fable must be carefully separated from history; and in this case I want the inclination for the subject.”

“Fabulous! I find in the 'murder-chamber' nothing but the true Swedish nature of that time.”

The professor shrugged his shoulders.

“Gustavus Adolphus may wander for ever about Germany as the 'pious hero,' if for no other purpose than to annoy the ultramontanes.”

Frank thought of the Siegwart family.

“I believe we are unjust in our judgments of the ultramontanes,” said he. “I visit every day a family which my father declares not only to be ultramontane, but even clerical, and on account of it will not associate with them. But I saw there only the noble, good, and beautiful.” And he reported circumstantially what he knew of the Siegwart family.

“You have observed carefully; and in particular no feature of Angela has escaped you. This Angela,” he continued jocosely, “must be an incarnate ideal of the other world, since she has excited the interest of my friend, even though she wears crinoline.”

“But she does not wear crinoline,” said Frank.

“Not!” returned the professor, smiling. “Then it is just right. The Angel of Salingen belongs to the nine choirs of angels, and was sent to the earth in woman's form to win my proud, woman-hating friend to the fair sex.”

“My conversion to the highest admiration of women is by no means impossible; at least in one case,” answered Richard, in the same earnest tone.

“I am astonished!” said the professor. “My interest is boundless. Could I not see this wonderful lady?”

“Why not? It is eight o'clock. At this hour I am accustomed to make my visit.”

“Let us go, by all means,” urged Lutz.

On the way Frank spoke of Angela's charitable practices, of her love for the poor, her pious customs, and of her deep religious sentiment, which manifested itself in every thing; of her activity in household matters, of her modesty and humility. All this he said in a tone of enthusiasm. The professor listened with attention and smiled.

As they went through the gate into the large court-yard, they saw Angela standing under the lindens. She held a large dish in her hand. About her pressed and crowded the representatives of all races and nations of that multitude which material progress has raised from slavish degradation. From Angela's hand rained golden corn among the chattering brood, who, pressed by a ravenous appetite, hungrily shoved, pushed, and upset each other. Even the chivalrous cocks had forgotten their propriety, and greedily snatched up the yellow fruit without gallantly cooing and offering the treasure to the females. Nimble ducks glided between the legs of the turkeys and snatched up, quick as lightning, the grains from their open bills. This did not please the turkeys, who gobbled and struck their sharp bills into the bobbing heads of the ducks. A solitary turkey cock alone scorned to participate in the hungry pleasures of the common herd. He spread his wings stiffly like a crinoline around his body, strutted about the yard, uttered a gallant guttural gobble, and played the fine lady in style.

Near the gate stood the stalls. They all had double doors, so that the upper part could be opened while the lower half remained closed. As the two friends passed, they saw a massive head protruding through the open half of one of those doors. The head was red, and was set upon the powerful shoulders of a steer who had broken loose from his fastening to take a walk about the yard. When he saw the strangers, he began to snort, cock his ears, and shake his head, while his fiery eyes rolled wildly in his head.

“A handsome beast,” said Frank, as he stopped. “How wide his forehead, how strong his horns, how powerful his chest!”

“His head,” said Lutz, “would be an expressive symbol for the evangelist Luke.”

The steer was not pleased with these compliments. Bellowing angrily he rushed against the door, which gave way. Slowly and powerfully came forth from the darkness of the stall the colossal limbs of the dangerous beast. The friends, unexpectedly placed in the power of this terrible enemy, stood paralyzed. They beheld the colossus lashing his sides with his tail, lowering his head threateningly, and maliciously stealing toward them like a cat stealing to a mouse till she gets within a sure spring of it. The steer had evidently the same design on strangers. He thought to crush them with his iron forehead and amuse himself with tossing up their lifeless bodies. They saw this, clearly enough, but there was no time for flight. The red steer in his mad onset would certainly overtake and run them down. Luckily, the professor remembered from the Spanish bull-fights how they must meet these beasts, and he quickly warned his friend.

“If he charges, slip quickly to one side.”

Scarcely had the words escaped his trembling lips, when the steer gave a short bellow, lowered his head, and, quick as an arrow, rushed upon Frank. He jumped to one side, but slipped and fell to the ground. The steer dashed against a wagon that was standing near, and broke several of the spokes. Maddened at the failure of his charge, he turned quickly about and saw Frank lying on the ground, and rejoiced over his helpless victim. Richard commended his soul to God, but had enough presence of mind not to move a limb; he even kept his eyes closed. The steer snuffed about, and Frank felt his warm breath. The steer evidently did not know how to begin with the lifeless thing, until he took it into his head to stick his horns into the yielding mass. The young man was lost—now the steer lowered his horns—now came the rescue.

Angela had only observed the visitor as the bellowing steer rushed at him. All this took but a minute. The servants were not then in the yard; and before they could be called, Richard would be gored a dozen times by the sharp weapons of the steer. The professor trembled in every limb; he neither dared to cry for help, lest he might remind the steer of his presence, nor to move from the place. He seemed destined to be compelled to see his friend breathe out his life under the torturing stabs.

Before this happened, however, Angela's voice rang imperatively through the yard. The astonished steer raised his head, and when he saw the frail form coming toward him with the dish in her hand, he gave forth a friendly low, and had even the good grace to go a few steps to meet her.

“Falk, what are you about?” said she reproachfully. “You are a terrible beast to treat visitors so.”

Falk lowed his apology, and, as he perceived the contents of the dish, he awkwardly sank his mouth into it. Angela scratched his jaws, at which he was so delighted that he even forgot the dish and held still like a child. The professor looked on this scene with amazement—the airy form before the murderous head of the steer. As Master Falk began even to lick Angela's hand, the professor was very near believing in miracles.

“So now, be right good, Falk!” said she coaxingly; “now go back where you belong. Keep perfectly quiet, Herr Frank; do not move, and it will be soon over.”

She patted the steer on the broad neck, and holding the dish before him, led him to the stall, into which he quickly disappeared.

Frank arose.

“You are not hurt?” asked Lutz with concern.

“Not in the least,” answered Frank, taking out his pocket handkerchief and brushing the dust from his clothes. The professor brought him his hat, which had bounced away when he fell, and placed it on the head of his trembling friend.

Angela returned after housing the steer. Frank went some steps toward her, as if to thank her on his knees for his life; but he concluded to stand, and a sad smile passed over his countenance.

“Fräulein Angela,” said he, “I have the honor of introducing to you my friend, Herr Lutz, professor at our university.”

“It gives me pleasure to know the gentleman,” said she. “But I regret that, through the negligence of Louis, you have been in great danger. Great God! if I had not been in the yard.” And her beautiful face became as pale as marble.

Richard observed this expression of fright, and it shot through his melancholy smile like rays of the highest delight; but for his preserver he had not a single word of thanks. Lutz, not understanding this conduct, was displeased at his friend, and undertook himself to return her thanks.

“You have placed yourself in the greatest danger, Fräulein Angela,” said he. “Had I been able when you went to meet the steer, I would have held you back with both hands; but I must acknowledge that I was palsied by fear.”

“I placed myself in no danger,” she replied. “Falk knows me well, and has to thank me for many dainties. When father is away, I have to go into the stalls to see if the servants have done their work. So all the animals know me, and I can call them all by name.”

They went into the house.

“It is well that my parents are absent to-day, and that the accident was observed by no one; for my father would discharge the Swiss who has charge of the animals, for his negligence. I would be sorry for the poor man. I beg of you, therefore, to say nothing of it to my father. I will correct him for it, and I am sure he will be more careful in future.”

While she spoke, the eyes of the professor rested upon her, and it is scarcely doubtful that in his present judgment the splendor of the rostrum was eclipsed. Frank sat silent, observing. He scarcely joined in the conversation, which his friend conducted with great warmth.

“This occurrence,” said Lutz, on his way home, “appears to me like an episode from the land of fables and wonders. First, the steer fight; then the overcoming of the beast by a maiden; lastly, a maid of such beauty that all the fair ones of romance are thrown in the shade. By heaven, I must call all my learning to my aid in order to be able to forget her and not fall in love up to the ears!”

Frank said nothing.

“And you did not even thank her!” said Lutz vehemently. “Your conduct was more than ungallant. I do not understand you.”

“Nothing without reason,” said Frank.

“No matter! Your conduct cannot be justified,” growled the professor. “I would like to know the reason that prevented you from thanking your preserver for your life?”

Richard stopped, looked quietly into the glowing countenance of his friend, and proceeded doubtingly,

“You shall know all, and then judge if my offensive conduct is not pardonable.”

He began to relate how he met Angela for the first time on the lonely road in the forest, how she then made a deep impression on him, what he learned of her from the poor man and from Klingenberg, and how his opinion of womankind had been shaken by Angela; then he spoke of his object in visiting the Siegwart family, of his observations and experience.

“I had about come to the conclusion, and the occurrence of to-day realizes that conclusion, that Angela possesses that admirable virtue which, until now, I believed only to exist in the ideal world. If there is a spark of vanity in her, I must have offended her. She must have looked resentfully at me, the ungrateful man, and treated me sulkily. But such was not the case; her eyes rested on me with the same clearness and kindness as ever. My coarse unthankfulness did not offend her, because she does not think much of herself, because she makes no pretensions, because she does not know her great excellence, but considers her little human weaknesses in the light of religious perfection—in short, because she is truly humble. She will bury this dauntless deed in forgetfulness. She does not wish the little and great journals to bring her courage into publicity. Tell me a woman, or even a man, who could be capable of such modesty? Who would risk life to rescue a stranger from the horns of a ferocious steer without hesitation, and not desire an acknowledgment of the heroic deed? How great is Angela, how admirable in every act! I was unthankful; yes, in the highest degree unthankful. But I placed myself willingly in this odious light, in order to see Angela in full splendor. As I said,” he concluded quietly, “I must soon confess myself besieged—vanquished on the whole line of observation.”

“And what then?” said the professor.

“Then I am convinced,” said Richard, “that female worth exists, shining and brilliant, and that in the camp of the ultramontanes.”

“A shaming experience for us,” replied the professor. “You make your studies practical, you destroy all the results of learned investigation by living facts. To be just, it must be admitted that a woman like what you have described Angela to be only grows and ripens on the ground of religious influences and convictions.”

“And did you observe,” said Richard, “how modestly she veiled the splendor of her brave action? She denied that there was any danger in the presence of the steer, although it is well known that those beasts in moments of rage forget all friendship. Angela must certainly have felt this as she went to meet the horns of the infuriated animal to rescue me.”

Frank visited daily, and sometimes twice a day, the Siegwart family; he was always received with welcome, and might be considered an intimate friend. The family spirit unfolded itself clearer and clearer to his view. He found that every thing in that house was pervaded by a religious influence, and this without any design or haughty piety. The assessor was destined to receive a striking proof of this.

One afternoon a coach rolled into the court-yard. The family were at tea. The Assessor von Hamm entered, dressed entirely in black; even the red ribbon was wanting in the button-hole.

“I have learned with grief of the misfortune that has overtaken you,” said he after a very formal reception. “I obey the impulse of my heart when I express my sincere sympathy in the great affliction you have suffered in the death of the dear little Eliza.”

The tears came into the eyes of Madame Siegwart. Angela looked straight before her, as if to avoid the glance of the assessor.

“We thank you, Herr von Hamm,” returned the proprietor. “We were severely tried, but we are reasonable enough to know that our family cannot be exempted from the afflictions of human life.”

Hamm sat down, a cup was set before him, and Angela poured him out a cup of fragrant tea. The assessor acknowledged this service with his sweetest smile, and the most obliged expression of thanks.

“You are right,” he then said. “No one is exempt from the stroke of fate. Man must submit to the unavoidable. To the ancients, blind fate was terrific and frightful. The present enlightenment submits with resignation.”

If a bomb had plunged into the room and exploded upon the table, it could not have produced greater confusion than these words of the assessor. Madame Siegwart looked at him with astonishment and shook her head. The proprietor, embarrassed, sipped his tea. Angela's blooming cheeks lost their color. Hamm did not even perceive the effect of his fatal words, and Frank was scarcely able to hide his secret pleasure at Hamm's sad mishap.

“We know no fate, no blind, unavoidable destiny,” said Siegwart, who could not forgive the assessor his unchristian sentiment. “But we know a divine providence, an all-powerful will, without whose consent the sparrow does not fall from the house-top. We believe in a Father in heaven who, counts the hairs of our heads, and whose counsels rule our destiny.”

Hamm smiled.

“You believe then, Herr Siegwart, that divine providence, or rather God, has aimed that blow at you?”

“Yes; so I believe.”

“Pardon me. I think you judge too hard of God. It is inconsistent with his paternal goodness to afflict your beloved child with such misfortune.”

“Misfortune? It is to be doubted whether Eliza's death is a misfortune. Perhaps her early departure from this world is precisely her happiness; and then we must reflect that God is master of life and death. It is not for us to call the Almighty to account, even if his divine ordinances should be counter to our wishes.”

“I respect your religious convictions, Herr Siegwart. Permit me, however, to observe that God is much too exalted to have an eye to all human trifles. He simply created the natural law; this he leaves to its course. All the elements must obey these laws. Every creature is subject to them; and when Eliza died, she died in consequence of the course of these laws, but not through God's express will. Do you not think that this view of our misfortunes reconciles us with the conceptions we have of God's goodness?”

“No; I do not believe it, because such a view contradicts the Christian faith,” replied Siegwart earnestly. “What kind of a God, what kind of a Father would he be who would let every thing go as it might? He would be less a father than the poorest laborer who supports his family in the sweat of his brow.”

“And the whole army of misfortunes that daily overtake the human family? Does this army await the command of God?”

“Do not forget, Herr Assessor, that the most of these misfortunes are deserved; brought on by our sins and passions. If excesses would cease, how many sources of nameless calamities would disappear! For the rest, it is my firm conviction that nothing happens or can happen in the whole universe without the express will of God, or at least by his permission.”

The official shook his head.

“This question is evidently of great importance to every man,” said Frank. “Man is often not master of the course of his life; for it is developed by a chain of circumstances, accidents, and providential interferences that are not in man's power. I understand very well that to be subject to blind chance, to an irrevocable fate, is something disquieting and discouraging to man. Equally consoling, on the other hand, is the Christian faith in the loving care of an all-powerful Father, without whose permission a hair of our head cannot be touched. But things of such great injustice, of such irresistible power, and of such painful consequences happen on earth, that I cannot reconcile them with divine love.”

While Frank spoke, Angela's eyes rested on him with the greatest attention; and when he concluded, she lowered her glance, and an earnest, thoughtful expression passed over her countenance.

“There are accidents that apparently are not the result of man's fault,” said Siegwart. “Torrents sweep over the land and destroy all the fruit of man's industry. Perhaps these torrents are only the scourges which the justice of God waves over a lawless land. But I admit that among the victims there are many good men. Storms wreck ships at sea, and many human lives are lost. Avalanches plunge from the Alps and bury whole towns in their resistless fall. It is such accidents as these you have in view.”

“Precisely—exactly so. How will you reconcile all these with the fatherly goodness of God?” cried Hamm triumphantly.

The proprietor smiled.

“Permit me to ask a question, Herr Assessor. Why does the state make laws?”

“To preserve order.”

“I anticipated this natural reply,” continued the proprietor. “If malefactors were not punished, thieves and desperadoes, their bad practices being permitted, would have full play. Then all order would vanish; human society would dissolve into a chaos of disorder. God also created laws which are necessary for the preservation of the natural order. Storms destroy ships. If there were no storms, all growth in the vegetable kingdom would cease. Poisonous vapors would fill the air, and every living thing must miserably die. Avalanches destroy villages. But if it did not snow, the torrents would no longer run, the streams would dry up and the wells would disappear, and man and beast would die of thirst. You see, gentlemen, God cannot abolish that law of nature without endangering the whole creation.”

“That explains some, but not all,” replied Hamm. “God is all-powerful; it would be but a trifle for him to protect us by his almighty power from the destructive forces of the elements. Why does he not do so?”

“The reason is clear,” answered Angela's father: “God would have constantly to work miracles. Miracles are exceptions to the workings of the laws of nature. Now, if God would constantly suppress the power, and unceasingly interrupt the laws of nature, then there would be no longer a law of nature. The supernatural would have devoured the natural. The Almighty would have destroyed the present creation.”

“No matter,” said the official. “God might destroy the natural forces that are inimical to man; for all that exists is only of value because of its use to man.”

“Then nothing whatever would remain. All would be lost,” said Siegwart. “We speak and write much about earthly happiness that soon passes away. We glorify the beauty of creation; but we forget that God's curse rests on this earth, and it does not require great penetration to see this curse in all things.”

“You believe, then, in the future destruction of the earth?” asked Hamm.

“Divine revelation teaches it,” said Siegwart. “The Holy Scriptures expressly say there will be a new earth and a new heaven; and the Lord himself assures us that the foundations of the earth will be overturned and the stars shall fall from the heavens.”

“The stars fall from the heavens!” cried Hamm, laughing. “If you could only hear what the astronomers say about that.”

“What the astronomers say is of no consequence. They did not create the heavenly bodies, and cannot give them boundaries; besides, we need not take the falling of the stars literally. This expression may signify their disappearance from the earth, perhaps the abolition of the laws by which they have heretofore been moved, and the reconstruction of those relations which existed between heaven and earth prior to the fall. God will then do what you now demand of him, Herr von Hamm,” concluded Siegwart, smiling. “He will destroy the inimical power of nature, so that the new earth will be free from thorns, tears, and lamentations.”

Thus they continued to dispute, and the debate became so animated that even Angela entered the list in favor of providence.

“I believe,” said she with charming blushes, “that the miseries of this earthly life can only be explained and understood in view of man's eternal destiny. God spares the sinner through forbearance and mercy; he sends trials and misfortunes to the good for their purification. God demanded of Abraham the sacrifice of his only son; but when Abraham showed obedience to the command, and consented to make that boundless sacrifice, he was provided with another victim to offer sacrifice to God.”

“Fräulein Angela,” exclaimed Hamm enthusiastically, “you have solved the problem. Your comprehensive remark reconciles even the innocent sufferers with repulsive decrees. O Fräulein!”—and the assessor fell into a tone of reverie—“were it permitted me to go through life by the side of a partner who possesses your spirit and your conciliatory mildness!”

Angela looked down blushing. She was embarrassed, and dared not raise her eyes. Her first glance, after a few moments, was at Richard.

Frank wrote in his diary:

“Even the preaching tone becomes her admirably. Morality and religion flow from her lips as from a pure fountain that vivifies her soul.”

As yet he had not surrendered to Angela.

Frank sprang from an obstinate Westphalian stock; and that the Westphalians have not exchanged their stiff necks for those of shepherds, is sufficiently proved by their stubborn fight with the powers who menaced their liberties. Had Frank been a good-natured South-German or even Municher, he would long since have bowed head and knees to the “Angel of Salingen.” But he now maintained the last position of his antipathy to women against Angela's superior powers.

He visited the Siegwart family not twice, but thrice, even four times a day. He appeared suddenly and unexpectedly before Angela like a spy who wished to detect faults.

Just as he was going over the court, on one occasion, a tall lad came up to him. The boy came from the same fatal door through which Master Falk had rushed out upon Richard with such bad intentions. The servant held his hat in his right hand, and with his left fumbled the bright buttons on his red vest.

“Herr Frank, excuse me; I have something to say to you. I have wanted to speak to you for the last three days, but could not because my master was always in the way. But now, as my master is in the fields, I can state my trouble, if you will allow me.”

“What trouble have you?”

“I am the Swiss through whose fault the steer came near doing you a great injury. It is inexplicable to me, even now, how the animal got loose. But Falk is very cunning. I cannot be too watchful of him. His head is full of schemes; and before you can turn around, he has played one of his tricks. The chain has a clasp with a latch, and how he broke it, he only knows.”

“It is all right,” replied Frank. “I believe you are not to blame.”

“I am not to blame about the chain. But I am for the door being open, Miss Angela said; and she is perfectly right. Therefore, I beg your pardon and promise you that nothing of the kind shall happen in future.”

“The pardon is granted, on condition that you guard the steer better.”

“Miss Angela said that too; and she required me to ask your pardon, which I have done.”

Angela stood in the garden, hidden behind the rose-bushes, and heard, smiling, the conversation.

As Frank passed over the yard, she came from the garden carrying a basketful of vegetables. At the same time a harvest-wagon, loaded with rapes and drawn by four horses, came into the yard.

“Your industry extends to the garden also, Miss Angela,” said Frank, “Now I know no branch of housekeeping that you cannot take a part in.”

“My work is, however, insignificant,” she returned. “In a large house there is always a great deal to do, and every one must try to be useful.”

“Your garden deserves all praise,” continued Richard, eyeing the contents of the baskets. “What magnificent peas and beans!”

For the first time Frank observed in her face something like flattered vanity, and he almost rejoiced at this small shadow on the celestial form before him. But the supposed shadow was quickly changed into light before his eyes. “Father brought these early beans into the neighborhood; they are very tender and palatable. Father likes them, and I am glad to be able to make him a salad this evening. He will be astonished to see his young favorites of this year, eight days earlier than formerly. There he comes; he must not see them now.” She covered them with some lettuce.

And this was the shadow of flattered vanity! Childish joy, to be able to astonish her father with an agreeable dish.

The loaded wagon stopped in the yard; the horses snorted and pawed the ground impatiently. The servants opened the barn-doors, and Frank saw on all sides activity and haste to house the valuable crop.

Siegwart shook hands with the visitor.

“The first blessing of the year,” said the proprietor. “The rapes have turned out well. We had a fine blooming season, and the flies could not do much damage.”

“I have often observed those little flies in the rape-fields,” said Frank. “You can count millions of them; but I did not know that they injured the crop.”

They both went into the house, where a bottle of Munich beer awaited them. Soon after, the servants went through the hall, and Frank heard Angela's voice from the kitchen, where she was busily occupied. The servants brought bread, plates, cheese, and jugs of light wine to the servants' room.

“Neighbor,” said Siegwart, “I invite you to-morrow afternoon at four o'clock to a family entertainment—providing it will be agreeable to you.”

The invitation was accepted.

“You must not expect much from the entertainment. It will, at least, be new to you.”

Frank was much interested in the character of this ultramontane entertainment. He thought of a May party, a coronation party; but rejected this idea, for Siegwart promised a family entertainment, and this could not be a May party. He thought of all kinds of plays, and what part Angela would take in them. But the play also seemed improbable, and at last the subject of the invitation remained an interesting mystery to him, the solution of which he awaited with impatience.

An hour before the appointed time Richard left Frankenhöhe, after Klingenberg had excused him from the daily walk. He took a roundabout way along the edge of the forest; for he knew that the Siegwart family would be at divine service, and he did not wish to arrive at the house a moment before the time. Sunday stillness rested on all. The mountains rose up a deep blue; the vari-colored fields were partly yellow; the vineyards alone were of a deep green, and when the wind blew through them it wafted with it the pleasant odors of the vine-blossoms.

Madame Siegwart was just returning home from Salingen between her two children. Henry, a youth of seventeen and the future proprietor of the property, had the same manners as his father. He walked leisurely on the road-side, examining the blooming wheat and ripening corn. When he discovered nests of vine weevils, he plucked them off and crushed the eggs of the hated enemies of all wine-growers. Angela remained constantly at her mother's side, and as she accidentally raised her eyes to where Richard stood, he made a movement as though he was caught disadvantageously.

A short distance behind them came Siegwart, surrounded by some men. They often stopped and talked in a lively manner. Frank thought that these men were also invited, and hoped to become acquainted with the élite of Salingen. He was, however, disappointed; for a short distance from Siegwart's house the men turned back to Salingen. They had only accompanied the proprietor part of the way. The servants of Siegwart also came hastening along the road, first the men-servants, and some distance behind them the maid-servants. Frank had observed this separation before, and thought it must be in consequence of the strict orders of the master. Frank considered this narrow-minded, and thought of finding fault with it, in true modern spirit. But then he considered the results of his observations, which had extended to the servants. He often admired the industry and regular conduct of these people. He never heard any oath or rough expressions of passion; every one knew his work, and performed it with care and attention. He observed this regular order with admiration, particularly when he thought of the disobedience, dissatisfaction, and untrustworthiness of the generality of servants. Siegwart must possess a great secret to keep these people in agreement and order; therefore he rejected his former opinion of narrow-mindedness, and believed the proprietor must have good reason for this separation of the sexes.

Frank remained for a time under the shadow of an oak, looked at his watch, and finally descended the shortest way. He was expected by Siegwart, and immediately conducted to the large room. The arrangement of the room showed at a glance its use. There was a small altar at one side, and religious pictures hung on the walls. There was also a harmonium, and on the windows hung curtains on which were painted scenes from sacred history. In the middle of the room there was a desk, on which lay a book. To the right of the desk sat the men-servants, to the left the maids, the Siegwart family in the centre. A smile passed over Frank's countenance at the present religious entertainment—for him, at least, a new sort of recreation. At his entrance the whole assembly rose. He greeted Angela and her mother, pressed warmly the hand of Henry, and took the seat allotted to him.

Angela ascended the pulpit, sat down and opened the book. She read the life of the servant St. Zitta, whom the church numbers among the saints. Angela read in a masterly manner. The narrative tone of her soft, melodious voice ran like a quickening stream through the soul. Some passages she pronounced with plastic force, and into the delivery of others she breathed warm life. All listened with great attention. Zitta's childhood passed in quick review, then her hard lot with a master difficult to please. The servants listened with astonishment. They heard with pious attention of Zitta's pure conduct, of her fidelity and humility, of her industry and self-denial. They all felt personally their own deficiency in comparison with this shining model. When Angela closed the book, Frank saw that the servants were deeply impressed. Meditatively they left the room, as though they had heard a striking sermon.

“Ah!” thought Frank. “Now I know one of the means by which Siegwart influences his people.”

“Now comes the second part of the entertainment,” said the proprietor, taking Richard's arm. “We will now go into the garden.”

On the way thither Frank saw under the lindens a long table set with food and wine, and at it sat the servants. Richard heard their conversation in passing. They talked of St. Zitta and recounted the striking facts of her life.

Near the garden wall grew a vine-arbor, which caught the cool air as it passed and loaded it with pleasant odors. Thousands of the flowers of the blooming vine appeared between the indented leaves. Each of these diminutive flowers breathed forth a fragrance which for sweetness of odor could not be surpassed.

A young brood of goldfinches, who had taken possession of the arbor, now cleared off. They flew up on the dwarf trees, or hid among the roses, which of all colors and kinds grew in the garden. The hungry young ones cried incessantly, and tested severely the parental duty of support. But the old ones were not ashamed of this duty. Here and there they caught flies and other insects, and carried them to the young ones, who stood with outstretched wings and flabby bills wide open. Then the old ones would fly away again, light on the branches—mostly on bean-stalks—make quick dodges, wave their tails, smack their tongues, and seize as quick as lightning a harmless passing fly. The sparrows did not behave so harmlessly. They pecked at the bright shining cherries that hung in full clusters on the swaying branches. Others of this sharp-billed gentry hopped about on the strawberry-beds, and disfigured the large berries as they tore off great pieces of the soft meat. One of them had even the boldness to hop about on the decorated table that stood at the upper end of the arbor, to strike his sharp bill into the buttered bread, make an examination of the preserves, ogle the slices of ham, and admire the black bottles that stood on the ground. He also took to flight as the company arrived. The vine-blossoms seemed to send forth a sweeter fragrance as Angela, bright and beaming, approached, leaning on the arm of her mother.

“Do you have this edifying reading every Sunday?” asked Richard.

“Regularly,” answered the proprietor. “It is an old custom of our family, and I find it has such good results that I will not have it abolished. The servants are not obliged to be present. They are free after vespers, each one to employ himself as best suits him. But it seldom happens that a servant or a maid is absent. They like to hear the legends, and you may have remarked that they listen with great attention to the reading.”

“I have observed it,” said Frank. “Miss Angela is also such an excellent reader that only deaf people would not attend.”

She smiled and blushed a little at this praise.

“I consider it a strict obligation of employers to have a supervision over the conduct of the servants,” said Madame Siegwart. “Many, perhaps most, servants are treated like the slaves in old heathen times. They work for their masters, are paid for it, and there the relation between master and servant ends. This is why they neglect divine service on Sundays and feast-days; their moral wants are not satisfied, their natural inclinations are not purified by restraints of a higher order. The servants sit in the taverns, where they squander their wages, and the maids rove about and gossip. This is a great injustice to the servants, and full of bad consequences. It cannot be questioned that masters should shield their servants from error and keep them under moral discipline.”

“Precisely my opinion,” returned Frank. “If servants are frequently spoiled and general complaint is made of it, the masters are greatly in fault. I have long since admired the conduct of your servants. I looked upon Herr Siegwart as a kind of sorcerer, who conjured every thing under his charge according to his will. Now a part of the sorcery is clear to me.”

“Well, you were favorable in your judgment,” said the proprietor, laughing. “So you considered me a magician; others consider me an ultramontanist, and that is something still worse.”

Richard smiled and blushed slightly.

“You no doubt have heard this honorable title applied to me, Herr Frank?”

“Yes, I have heard of it.”

“And I scarcely deceive myself in supposing,” continued Siegwart good-humoredly, “that your father has spoken to you of his neighbor, the ultramontane.”

“You do not deceive yourself at all,” answered Frank. “I consider it a great honor to have become better acquainted with the ultramontane.”

“I have often wished to speak to you,” continued the proprietor, “of the reason which called forth your father's displeasure with me. I suppose, however, that you have heard it.”

“My father never spoke of it, and I am eager to know the unfortunate cause.”

“It is as follows. About ten years ago your father, with some other gentlemen, wished to establish a great factory in this neighborhood. The land on which it was to stand is a marsh lying near a pond, the water of which was to be made of use to the factory. I tried with all my power to prevent this design, and even for social and religious reasons. Our neighborhood needed no factory. There are but few very poor people, and these support themselves sufficiently well among the farmers. Experience proves that factories have a bad effect on the people in their neighborhood. Our people are firm believers. The peasants keep conscientiously the Sundays and festivals. In all their cares for the earthly they do not forget the eternal life. This religious sentiment spreads happiness and peace over our quiet neighborhood. The factory, which knows no Sunday, and the operatives, who are sometimes very bad men, would have brought a harsh discordance into the quiet harmony of the neighborhood. I considered these and other injurious influences, and offered a higher price for the swamp than your father and his friends. As there was no other convenient place about, the enterprise had to be given up. Since that time your father is offended with me because I made his favorite project impossible. This is the way it stands. That it is painful to me, I need not assure you. But according to my principles and views I could not do otherwise. Now judge how far I am to be condemned.”

“I speak freely,” said Frank. “You have acted from principles that one must respect, and which my father would have respected if he had known them.”

The proprietor could have observed that he had, in a long letter, justified himself to Herr Frank. But he suppressed the observation, as he felt it would be painful to his son.

“Father,” said Henry, “hunger and thirst are appeased. Can I ride out for an hour?”

“Yes, my son; but not longer. Be back by supper-time.”

The young man promised, and, after a friendly bow to Frank, hastened from the garden. The little circle continued some time in friendly chat. The servants under the lindens became noisy and sang merry songs. The maids sat around the tea-table in the kitchen and praised St. Zitta.

The cook appeared in the arbor and announced that Herr von Hamm was in the house, and wished to speak on important business to Herr and Madame Siegwart.

“What can he want?” said the proprietor in surprise. “Excuse me, Herr Frank; the business will soon be over. I beg you to remain till we return. Angela, prevent him from going.”

Angela, smiling, looked after her retiring parents and then at Richard.

“I must keep you, Herr Frank. How shall I begin?”

“That is very easy, Fräulein. Your presence is sufficient to realize your father's wish. A weak child of human nature cannot resist one who can conquer steers.”

“Now you make a steer-catcher of me. Such a thing never happened in Spain; for there the steers are not so cultivated and docile as they are with us.”

She took out her knitting.

“This is Sunday, Miss Angela!”

“Do you consider knitting unlawful after one has fulfilled one's religious duties?”

“The case is not clear to me,” said Frank, smiling secretly at the earnestness of the questioner. “My casuistic knowledge is not sufficient to solve such a question reasonably.”

“The church only forbids servile work,” said she. “I consider knitting and sewing as something better than doing nothing.”

“I am rejoiced that you are not narrow-minded, Fräulein. But this little stocking does not fit your feet?”

“It is for little bare feet in Salingen,” she replied, laying the finished stocking on the table and stroking it with both hands as a work of love.

“I have heard of your beneficence,” said Frank. “You knit, sew, and cook for the poor people. You are a refuge for all the needy and distressed. How good in you!”

“You exaggerate, Herr Frank. I do a little sometimes, but not more than I can do with the house-work, which is scarcely worth mentioning. I make no sacrifice in doing it; on the contrary, the poor give me more than I give them; for giving is to every one more pleasant than receiving.”

“To every one, Fräulein?”

“To every one who can give without denying herself.”

“But you are accustomed also to visit the sick, and the hovels of poverty are certainly not attractive.”

“Indeed, Herr Frank, very attractive,” she answered quickly. “The thanks of the poor sick are so affecting and elevating that one is paid a thousand times for a little trouble.”

Frank let the subject drop. Angela did not give charities from pride or the gratification of vanity, as he had been prepared to assume, but from natural goodness and inclination of the heart. He looked at the beautiful girl who sat before him industriously sewing, and was almost angry at his failure to detect a fault in her pure nature.

“Do you always adorn the statue of the Virgin on the mountain?” said he after a pause.

“No; not now. The month of our dear Lady is over. I always think with pleasure of the happy hours when in the convent we adorned her altar with beautiful flowers.”

“You must have a great reverence for Mary, or you would not ascend the mountain daily.”

“I admire the exalted virtues of Mary, and think with sorrow of her painful life on earth; and then, a weak creature needs much her powerful protection.”

“Do you expect, Miss Angela, by such attention as you show the statue to obtain protection of the saint?”

“No, I do not believe that. The adorning of the pictures of saints would be idle trifling if the heart wandered far from the spirit of the saints. Our church teaches, as you know, that the real, true veneration of the saints consists in imitating their virtues.”

Frank sat reflecting. The examination and probation were thoroughly disgusting to him. Siegwart appeared in the garden, and came with quick steps to the arbor. His countenance was agitated and his eyes glowed with indignation. Without speaking a word, he drank off a glass of wine. Frank saw how he endeavored not to exhibit his anger.

“Has Herr von Hamm departed?” asked Richard.

“Yes, he is off again,” said the proprietor. “Angela, your mother has something to say to you.”

“Now guess what the assessor wanted?” said Siegwart, after his daughter had left the arbor.

“Perhaps he wanted the Peter-pence collection,” said Frank, smiling.

“No. Herr von Hamm wanted nothing more or less than to marry my daughter!”

Frank was astonished. Although he long since saw through Hamm's designs, he did not expect so sudden and hasty a step.

“And in what manner did he demand her?”

“It is revolting,” said the proprietor, much offended. “Herr von Hamm graciously condescends to us peasants. He showed that it would be a great good fortune for us to give our daughter to the noble, the official with brilliant prospects.”

“Herr von Hamm does not think little of himself,” said Richard drily.

“How did the man ever come to ask my daughter? He and Angela! What opposites!”

“Which, of course, you made clear to him.”

“I reminded the gentleman that identity of moral and religious principles alone could render matrimonial happiness possible. I reminded him that Angela was an ultramontane, whose opinions would daily annoy him, while his modern opinions must deeply offend Angela. This I set before him briefly. Then I told him frankly and freely that I did not wish to make either him or Angela unhappy, and at this he went away angrily.”

“You have done your duty,” said Frank. “I am also of opinion that similar convictions in the great principles of life alone insure the happiness of married life.”

When Richard came home, he wrote in his diary:

“June 4.—Unconditional surrender. What I supposed only to exist in the ideal world is realized in the daughter of an ultramontane. Angela, compared to our crinolines, our flirts, our insipid coquettes—how brilliant the light, how deep the shadow!

“My visits to that family have no longer a purpose. I feel they must be discontinued for the sake of my peace. I dare not dream of a happiness of which I am unworthy. But my future life will feel painfully the want of a happiness the possibility of which I did not dream. This is a punishment for presuming to penetrate the pure, glorious character of the Angel of Salingen.”

He buried his face in his hands, and leaned on the table. He remained thus a long time; when he raised his head, his face was pale, and his eyes were moist with tears.

                    

CHAPTER VII. POISONOUS FOOD.

“Herr Frank has not been here for four days,” said Siegwart as he returned one day from the field. “He will not come to-day, for it is already nine o'clock, I hope the young man is not ill.”

Angela started.

“Ill? May God forbid!”

“At least, I know no other reason that could prevent him from coming. He has become a necessity to me; I seem to miss something.”

Angela concealed her uneasiness in true womanly fashion. She busied herself about the room, dusted the furniture, arranged the vases, and trimmed the flowers; but one could see that her mind was not in the work.

“Would it not be well, father, to send and inquire after his health?”

“It would if we were certain that he was ill. I only made a conjecture. However, if he does not come to-morrow, I will send Henry over.

“We owe him this attention; he is sensible, modest, and very intelligent. We find at present in the cities and first families few young men of so little assumption and so much goodness and manliness.”

Angela pricked her finger. She had incautiously wandered into the thicket, as if she did not know that roses have thorns.

“Many things tell of his kind-heartedness,” she replied, with averted face. “He sends five dollars every week to the old blind woman in Salingen; he often takes the money himself, and comforts the unfortunate creature. The blind woman is full of enthusiasm about him. He bought the cooper a full set of tools, that he might be able to support his mother and seven little sisters.”

“Very praiseworthy,” said the father.

As Siegwart came home in the evening, Angela met him in the yard. She carried a basket and was about to go into the garden.

“Herr Frank is not unwell,” said he; “I saw him in the field and went through the vineyard to meet him; but when he discovered my intention, he turned about and hastened toward the house. That surprises me.”

Angela went into the garden. She stood on the bed and gazed at the lettuce. The empty basket awaited its contents, and in it lay the knife whose bright blade glistened before the idle dreamer. She stood thus meditating, lost in thought for a long time, which was certainly not her custom.

Herr Frank had returned from the city, and was roughly received by the doctor.

“Have you spoken to your son?” said he sharply.

“No! I have just alighted from the carriage,” answered Frank in astonishment.

The doctor walked up and down the room, and Frank saw his face growing darker.

“You disturb me, good friend. How is Richard?”

“Bad, very bad! And it is all your fault. You gave Richard those materialistic books which I threw out of the window. He has read the trash—not read, but studied it; and now we have the consequences.”

“Pardon me, doctor. I did not give my son those books. He was passing the window when you threw them out, and took them to his room.”

“You knew that! Why did you leave him the miserable trash?”

“I had no idea of the danger of these writings. Explain yourself further, I entreat.”

“You must first see your son. But I bind it on your conscience to use the greatest precaution. Do not show the least surprise. We have to deal with a dangerous disorder. Do not say a word about his changed appearance. Then come back to me again.”

Greatly disturbed, the father passed to the room of his son. Richard sat on the sofa gazing at the floor. His cheeks had lost their bloom, his face was emaciated, and his eyes deeply sunken. Vogt's Physiological Letters lay open near him. He did not rise quickly and joyfully to kiss his father, as was his custom. He remained sitting, and smiled languidly at him. Herr Frank, grieved and perplexed, sat down near him, and took occasion to pick up the book:

“How are you, Richard?”

“Very well, as you see.”

“You are industrious. What book is this?”

“A rare book, father—a remarkable book. One learns there to know what man is and what he is not. Until now, I did not know that cats, dogs, monkeys, and all animals were of our race. Now I know; for it is clearly demonstrated in that book.”

“You certainly do not believe such absurdities?”

“Believe? I believe nothing at all. Faith ends where proof begins.”

Herr Frank read the open page.

“All this sounds very silly,” said he. “Vogt asserts that man has no soul, and proves it from the fact that men become idiotic. If the functions of the brain are disturbed, the soul ceases, says Vogt. He therefore concludes that the spirit consists in the brain. The man must have been crazy when he wrote that. I am no scholar; but I see at the first glance how false and groundless are Vogt's inferences. Every reasonable man knows that the brain is the instrument of the mind, which enables it to participate in the world of sense; now, when the instrument is destroyed, the participation of the mind with the outward world must cease. Although a man may be an expert on the violin, he cannot play if the strings are broken or out of tune. But the player, his ideas, the art, still remain. In like manner the spirit remains, although it can no longer play on the injured or discordant fibres of the brain.”

“You must read the whole book, father, and then those others there.”

“But, Richard, you must not read books that rob man of all dignity.”

“Of course not. I should do as the ostrich. When he is in danger, he sticks his head into the bushes not to see the danger. A prudent plan. But I cannot close my eyes to the light, even if that light should destroy my human respect.”

Greatly afflicted, Herr Frank returned to the doctor.

“Great God! in what a condition is my poor Richard!” said the oppressed father.

“He will, I hope, be rescued. My stay at Frankenhöhe was to end with the month of May; but I cannot forsake a young man whom I love, in this helpless state of mental delirium.”

“I do not understand the condition of my son; and your words give me great anxiety. Have the goodness to tell me what is the matter with Richard, and how it came about.”

“It would be very difficult to make your son's condition clear to you. In you there is only business, lucrative undertakings, speculative combinations. The bustle of the money market is your world. You have no idea of the power of an intellectual struggle. You know the thoughtful, intellectual nature of your son; and here I begin. In the first place, I will remind you that Richard wishes to be governed by the power of deduction. With him fantasies and passions retreat before this force, although usually in men of his years, and even in men with gray hair, clearness of mind and keen penetration are often swept away by the current of stormy passions. Richard's aversion to women is the result of cool reflection and inevitable inference, and therefore on this question I do not dispute his views. I know it would be useless, and I know that the study of a pure feminine nature would overcome this prejudice. The same force of logical inferences places Richard in this unhappy condition. He read the writings of the materialist. There he found the physiological proofs that man is a beast. From these proofs Richard drew all the terrible consequences contained in those destructive doctrines. As the intellectual life predominates in him, and as he has a strong repugnance to materialistic madness, his nature must be stirred in its profoundest depths. If Richard succumbs, he will act in his habitual consistent manner. All moral basis lost, morality would be foolishness to him, since it is useless for beasts to curb the passions by moral laws. As with immortality disappears man's eternal destiny, it would be foolish to 'fight the giant fight of duty.' If he is convinced that man is a beast, he will live like a beast—although he might cloak his conduct with the varnish of decency—and thus suddenly would the sensible Richard stand before his astonished father a ruined man. This is one view; there is still another,” said the doctor hesitatingly. “I remember in the course of my practice a suicide who wrote on a slip of paper, 'What do I here? Eat, drink, sleep, worry, and fret; much suffering, little joy; therefore—' and the man sent a bullet through his head. This suicide thought logically. This earthly life is insupportable; it is foolishness to a man who thinks and is at the same time a materialist.”

“What prospects—horrible!” cried Herr Frank, wringing his hands. “Accursed be those books; and I am the cause of this misfortune!”

“The involuntary cause,” said Klingenberg consolingly. “You now have a firm conviction of the devastating effects of those bad books. But how many are there who consider every warning in this connection an exhibition of prejudice or narrow-mindedness! How few readers are so modest as to admit that they want the scientific culture to refute a bad book, to separate the poison from the honey of sweet phrases and winning style! How few can see that they cannot read those bad books without detriment! No one would sit on a cask of powder and touch it off for amusement; and yet those hellish books are more dangerous than a cask full of powder. To me this is incomprehensible. Poisonous food is always injurious; yet thousands and millions drink greedily from this poisonous stream of bad reading which deluges all grades of society.”

“I will do immediately what must be done,” said Herr Frank as he hastily rose.

“What will you do?”

“Take from my son those execrable books.”

“By no means,” said Klingenberg. “This would be a psychological mistake. Richard would buy the same books again at the book-shop, and read them secretly. A man who has the resolution of your son must be won by honorable combat. Authority would here be badly applied. Therefore I forbid you to interfere. You know nothing of the matter. Treat him kindly, and have forbearance with his sensitiveness. That is what I must require of you.”

Greatly afflicted, Herr Frank left the doctor. Overwhelming himself with reproaches, he wandered restlessly about the house and garden. He saw Richard standing at the open window with folded arms, dreamy and pale, his hair in disorder like a storm-beaten wheat-field—truly a painful sight for the father. He went up to his room, where the small library stood in its beautiful binding. A servant stood near him with a basket. The works of Eugene Sue, Gutzkow, and like spirits fell into the basket.

“All to the fire!” commanded Herr Frank.

The doctor had compared bad literature to poisonous food. The comparison was not inapt; at least, it gave Richard the appearance of a man in whose body destructive poison was working. He was listless and exhausted; in walking, his hands hung heavily by his side. His eyes were directed to the ground, as if he were seeking something. If he saw a snail, he stopped to examine the crawling creature. He sought to know why the snail crawls about, and, to his astonishment, found that the snail always followed an object; which is not always the case with man, animal of the moment, who goes about without an object. If a caterpillar accidentally got under his foot, he pushed it carefully aside and examined if it had been hurt. It seemed to him logical that creeping and flying things had the same claims to forbearance and proper treatment as man, since according to Vogt and Büchner's striking proofs, all creeping and flying things are not essentially different from man.

He paid particular attention to the spiders. If he came to a place where their web was stretched, he examined attentively the artistic texture; he saw the firmly fastened knot on the twig which held the web apart, the circular meshes, the cunning arrangement to catch the wandering fly. He was convinced that such a spider would be a thousand times more intelligent than Herr Vogt and Herr Büchner, with half as big a head as those wise naturalists. The enterprising spirit of the ants excited not less his admiration. He always found them busy and in a bustle, to which a market-day could not be compared. Even London and Paris were solitary in comparison to the throng in an ant-hill. They dragged about large pieces of wood, as also leaves and fibres, to construct their house, which was laid out with design and finished with much care. If he pushed his cane into the hill, there forthwith arose a great revolution. The inhabitants rushed out upon him, nipped him with their pincers, and showed the greatest rage against the invader of their kingdom, while others with great celerity placed the eggs in safety. He observed that the ants gave no quarter, and considered every one a mortal enemy who disturbed their state.

The young man sat on a stone and examined a snail that crawled slowly from the wet grass. It carried a gray house on its back, and beslimed the way as it went, and stretched out its horns to discover the best direction. Its delicate touch astonished Frank. When obstacles came in its way which it did not see nor touch, it would perceive them by means of a wonderful sensibility.

How stupid did Richard appear to himself, beside a horned, blind snail. How many men only discover obstacles in their way when they have run their heads against them, and how many wish to run their heads through walls without any reason! He arose and looked toward Angela's home. He was dejected, and heaved a sigh.

“All is of no avail. The activity of the animal world affords no diversion, the benumbing strokes of materialism lose their effect. The rare becomes common, and does not attract attention. There walks an angel in the splendor of superior excellence, and I endeavor in vain to distract my mind from her by studying the animals. I follow willingly the professors' exact investigations, into the labyrinth of their studied arguments to make it appear that I am only an animal, that all our sentiment is only imagination and fallacy. It is all in vain. Can these gentlemen teach me how we can cease to have admiration for the noble and exalted? Here man forcibly breaks through. Here self, irresistible and disgusted with error, brings the nobility of human nature to consciousness, and all the wisdom of boasted materialism becomes idle nonsense.”

“Thank God! I see you again, my dear neighbor,” said Siegwart cordially. “Where have you kept yourself this last week? Why do you no longer visit us? My whole house is excited about you. Henry is angry because he cannot show you the horses he bought lately. My wife bothers her head with all kinds of forebodings, and Angela urged me to send and see if you were ill.”

A new life permeated Frank's whole being at these last words; his cheeks flushed and his languid eyes brightened up.

“I know no good reason as an apology, dear friend. Be assured, however, that the apparent neglect does not arise from any coolness toward you and your esteemed family.” And he drew marks in the sand with his cane.

“Perhaps your father took offence at your visits to us?”

“Oh! no. No; I alone am to blame.”

Siegwart gave a searching glance at the pale face of the young man who, broken-spirited, stood before him, and whose mental condition he did not understand, although he had a vague idea of it.

“I will not press you further,” said he cheerfully. “But, as a punishment, you must now come with me. I received yesterday a fresh supply of genuine Havanas, and you must try them.”

He took Richard by the arm, and the latter yielded to the friendly compulsion. They went through the vineyard. Frank broke from a twig a folded leaf.

“Do you know the cause of this?”

“Oh! yes; it is the work of the vine-weevil,” answered Siegwart. “These mischief-makers sometimes cause great damage to the vineyards. Some years I have their nests gathered and the eggs destroyed to prevent their doing damage.”

“You consider every thing with the eyes of an economist. But I admire the art, the foresight, and the intelligence of these insects.”

“Intelligence—foresight of an insect!” repeated Siegwart, astonished. “I see in the whole affair neither intelligence nor foresight.”

“But just look here,” said Richard, carefully unfolding the leaf. “What a degree of considerate management is necessary to fix the leaf in such order. The ribs of this leaf are stronger than the force of the beetle. Yet he wished to fold the eggs in it. What does he do? He first pierces the stem with his pincers; in consequence of this, the leaf curls up and becomes soft and pliable to the frail feet of the insect. This is the first act of reflection. The piercing of the stem had evidently as its object to cause the leaf to roll up. Then he begins to work with a perfection that would do honor to human skill. The leaf is rolled up in order to put the eggs in the folds. Here is the first egg; he rolls further—here is the second egg, some distance from the first, in order to have sufficient food for the young worm—again an act of reflection; lastly, he finishes the roll with a carefully worked point, to prevent the leaf from unfolding—again an act of reflection.”

Siegwart heard all this with indifference. What Richard told him he had known for years. His employment in the fields revealed to his observing mind wonderful facts in nature and in the animal world. The wisdom of the vine-weevil gave him ho difficulty. He looked again in Frank's deep-sunken eyes and noticed a peculiar expression, and in his countenance great anxiety.

He concluded that the work of the vine-weevil must have some connection with the young man's condition.

“You see actions of reflection and design where I see only unconscious instinct.”

Frank became nervous.

“The common evasion of superficial examination!” cried he. “Man must be just even to the animals. Their works are artistic, intelligent, and considerate. Why then deny to animals those powers which operate with intelligence and reflection?”

“I do not for a moment dispute this power of the animals,” replied the proprietor quickly. “You find mind in the animals?” interrupted Frank hastily. “This conviction once reached, have you considered the consequences that follow?”—and he became more excited. “Have you considered that with this admission the whole world becomes a fabulous structure, without any higher object? If the spider is equal to man, then its torn web that flutters in the wind is worth as much as the crumbling fragments of art which remain from classic antiquity. Virtue, the careful restraining of the passions, is stark madness. The disgusting ape, lustful and brutish, is as good as the purest virgin who performs severe penances for her idle dreams. It is with justice that the criminal scoffs at the good as bedlamites who, with fanatical delusion, strive for castles in the air. Every outcast from society, sunk and saturated in the basest vices, is precisely as good as the purest soul and the noblest heart; for all distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is destroyed.”

Angela's father gazed with solicitude into the perplexed look and distorted countenance of the young man.

“You deduce consequences, Herr Frank, that could not be drawn from my admissions,” said he mildly. “There is no conscious power in animals—no reflecting soul. The animal works with the power that is in it, as light and heat in the fire, as in the lightning the destructive force, as the exciting and purifying effects in the storm. The animal does not act freely, like man; but from necessity—according to instinct and laws which the Almighty has imposed, upon it.”

“A gratuitous assumption! A shallow artifice,” exclaimed Frank. “The animal shows understanding, design, and will; we must not deny him these faculties.”

“If the lightning strikes my house and discovers with infallible certainty all the metal in the walls, even where the sharpest eye could not detect it, must you recognize mental faculties in the lightning in discovering the metal?”

Frank hemmed and was silent.

“What a botcher is the most learned chemist compared with the root-fibres of the smallest plant,” continued Siegwart. “Every plant has its own peculiar life; this I observe every day. All plants do not flourish alike in the same soil. They only flourish where they find the necessary conditions for their peculiar life; where they find in the air and earth the conditions necessary for their existence. Set ten different kinds of plants together in a small plat of ground. The different fibres will always seek and absorb only that material in the earth which is proper to their kind; they will pass by the useless and injurious substances. Now, where is the chemist who with such certainty, such power of discrimination, and knowledge of substances, can select from the inert clod the proper material? A chemist with such knowledge does not exist. Now, must you admit that the fibres possess as keen an understanding and as deep a knowledge of chemistry as the man who is versed in chemistry?”

“That would be manifest folly.”

“Well,” concluded Siegwart quietly, “if the vine-weevil weaves its wrapper, the spider its web, the bird builds its nest, and the beaver his house, they all do it in their way, as the root-fibres in theirs.”

Richard remained silent, and they passed into the house.

Angela and her mother looked with astonishment and sympathy on their friend.

Soon in the mild countenance of Madam Siegwart there appeared nearly the same expression as in the first days after the death of Eliza—so much did the painful appearance of the young man afflict her. Angela turned pale, her eyes filled, and she strove to hide her emotion. Frank only looked at her furtively. Whatever he had to say to her, he said with averted eyes. Siegwart expended all his powers of amusement; but he did not succeed in cheering the young man. He continued depressed, embarrassed, and sad, and constantly avoided looking at Angela. When she spoke he listened to the sound of her voice, but avoided her look. Presently a low barking was heard in the room and Hector, who had growlingly received Frank at his first visit, but who in time had become an acquaintance of his, lay stretched at full length dreaming. Scarcely did Richard notice the dreaming animal when he exclaimed,

“The dog dreams! See how his feet move in the chase, how he opens his nostrils, how he barks, how his limbs reach for the game! The dog dreams he is in the chase.”

“I have often observed Hector's dreams,” said Siegwart coolly.

Frank continued,

“Have you considered the consequences that follow from the dreams of the dog? Dreams show a thinking faculty,” said he hastily. “Animals, then, think like men; thoughts are the children of the mind; therefore, animals have minds. Animals and men are alike.”

Angela started at these words. Her mother shook her head.

“You conclude too hastily, my dear friend,” said Siegwart coolly. “You must first know that animals dream like men. Men think, reflect, and speak in dreams. The dreams of animals are very different from those mental acts.”

“How will you explain it?” said Richard excitedly.

“Very easily. Hector is now in the chase. The dog's sense of smell is remarkable. By means of the fragrant wind Hector smells the partridges miles away. He acts then just as in the dream; feet, nose, and limbs come into activity. Suppose that in the surrounding fields there is a covey of partridges. The air would indicate them to Hector's smelling organs; these organs act, as in the waking state, on the brain of the animal; the brain acts on the other organs. Where is there thought? Have we not a purely material effect? The cough, the appetite, the sneezing, the aversion—what have all these to do with mind or thought? Nothing at all. The dream of the dog is an entirely muscular process, the mere co-working of the muscular organs; as with us, digestion, the flowing of the blood, the twitching of the muscles—facts with which the mind has nothing to do.”

“Your assertion is based on the assumption that partridges are near,” said Richard; “and I will be obliged to you if, with Hector's assistance, you convince me of this fact.”

“That is unnecessary, my dear friend. Suppose there are no partridges in the neighborhood. The same affection of the brain which would be produced by the smell of the partridges could be produced by accident. If it is accidental, it will have the same effect in the sleeping condition of the dog.[2] Affections accidentally arise in man the causes of which are not known. We are uneasy, we know not why; we are discouraged without any knowledge of the cause. We are joyful without being able to give any reason for it. The mind can rise above all these dispositions, affections, and humors; can govern, cast out, and disperse them. Proof enough that a king lives in man—the breath of God, which is not taken from the earth, and to which all matter must yield if that power so wills.”

The dog stretched his strong legs without any idea of the important question to which he had given occasion.

“Herr Frank,” began Madam Siegwart earnestly, “I have learned to respect you, and have often wished that my son, at your years, would be like you. I see now with painful astonishment that you defend opinions which contradict your former expressions, and the sentiments we must expect from a Christian. Will you not be so good as to tell me how you have so suddenly changed your views?”

“Esteemed madam,” answered Frank, with emotion, “I thank you for this undeserved motherly sympathy; but I beg of you not to believe that the opinions I expressed are my firm convictions. No, I have not yet fallen so deep that for me there is no difference between man and beast. I can yet continue to believe that materialism is a crime against mankind. On the other hand, I freely acknowledge that my mind is in great trouble; that every firm position beneath my feet totters; that I have been tempted to hold doctrines degrading to the individual and destructive to society. I have been brought into this difficulty by reading books whose seductive proofs I am not able to refute. Oh! I am miserable, very miserable; my appearance must have shown you that already.”

He looked involuntarily at Angela; he saw tears in her eyes; he bowed his head and was silent.

“I see your difficulties,” said the proprietor. “They enter early or late into the mind of every man. It is good, in such uncertainties and doubts, to lean on the authority of truth. This authority can only be God, who is truth itself, who came down from heaven and brought light into the darkness. We can prove, inquire, and speculate; but the keenest human intellect is not always free from delusion. As there is in man a spiritual tendency which raises him far above the visible and material, God has been pleased to lead and direct that tendency by revelation, that man may not err. I consider divine revelation a necessity which God willed when he created the mind. As the mind has an instinctive thirst after truth, God must, by the revelation of truth, satisfy this thirst Therefore is revelation as old as the human race. It reached its completion and perfection by the coming of the Lord, who said, 'I am the truth;' and this knowledge of the truth remains in the church through the guidance of the Spirit of truth, till the latest generation. This is only my ultramontane conviction,” said Siegwart, smiling; “but it affords peace and certainty.”

Angela had gone out, and now returned with a basket, in which lay a little dog, of a few days old, asleep. She set the basket carefully down before Frank, so as not to awaken the sleeper.

“As you appreciate the full worth of striking proofs, I am glad to be able to place one before you, in the shape of this little dog,” said she, appearing desirous of cheering her dejected friend. But Frank did not receive from her cheerful countenance either strength or encouragement, for he did not look up.

“This little dog is only eight days old,” she continued; “its eyes are not yet open; it can neither walk nor bark; it can only growl a little; and it does nothing but sleep and dream. I have noticed its dreams since the first day of its birth. You can convince yourself of its dreaming.” She stooped over the basket and her soft hair disturbed the sleeper.

For a moment Frank saw and heard nothing.

“See,” she continued, “how its little feet move, and how its body jerks. Hear the low growl, and see the hairs round the mouth how they twitch, how the nose shrinks and expands—all the same as in Hector. The little thing knows nothing at all of the world—no more than a child eight days old. We certainly, therefore, will not deceive ourselves in assuming that all these movements are only muscular twitchings; that neither the pup nor Hector dreams like a man.”

Frank first looked at the dog in great surprise, and then gazed admiringly on Angela.

“O fraulein! how I thank you.”

She appeared most lovely in his eyes. He suddenly turned toward her father.

“Your house is a great blessing to me. It appears that the pure atmosphere of religious conviction which you breathe victoriously combats all dark doubts, as light dissipates darkness.”

Angela stood in her room. She knew that the spirit of unbelief pervaded the world, taking possession of thousands and destroying all life and effort. She saw Richard threatened by this spirit, and feared for his soul. She became very anxious, and sank on her knees before the crucifix and cried to heaven for succor.

Night was upon all things. The black clouds, lowering deep and heavy, shut out all light from heaven. The wind swept the mountains, the forest moaned, and thunder muttered in the distance. Klingenberg sat before his folios. A fitful light glimmered from the room of Richard's father. Richard himself came home late, took his supper, and retired to his chamber; there he walked back and forth, thinking, contending with himself, and speaking aloud. Before his door stood a dark figure—immovable and listening.

It knocked at the door of the elder Frank. Jacob, a servant who had grown gray in the service of the house, entered. Frank received him with surprise, and awaited expectantly what he had to say.

“We are all wrong,” said Jacob. “My poor young master has now spoken out clearly. He is not sick because of the foolish trash in the books. He is in love, terribly in love.”

“Ah! in love?” said Herr Frank.

“You should just have heard how he complains and laments that he is not worthy of her. 'O Angela, Angela!' he cried at least a hundred times, 'could I only raise myself to your level, and make myself worthy! But your soul, so pure, your character, so immaculate and good, thrusts me away. I look up to you with admiration and longing, as the troubled pilgrim on earth looks up to the peace and grandeur of heaven.' This is the way he talked. He is to be pitied, sir.”

“So—so—in love, and with Siegwart's daughter,” said Frank sadly. “The tragedy will change into comedy. Even if they were not so unapproachably high, but like other people on earth, my son should never take an ultramontane wife.”

“But if he loves her so deeply, sir?”

“Be still; you know nothing about it. Has he lain down?”

“Yes; or, at least, he is quiet.”

“Continue to watch him. I must immediately make known to the doctor this love affair. He will be surprised to find the philosopher changed into a love-sick visionary.”

                    

CHAPTER VIII. AVOWALS.

In the same deep valley where the brook rippled over the pebbles in its bed, where the mountain sides rose up abruptly, where the moss hung from the old oaks, where Klingenberg plucked the tender beard of the young professor of history, took place the meditated attack of the doctor on the poison of materialism which was destroying the body and soul of Richard.

Slowly and carefully the doctor advanced, as against an enemy who will defend his position to the last. But how was he astonished, when, being attacked, Frank showed no disposition to defend that most highly vaunted doctrine of modern science—materialism! This was almost as puzzling to the doctor as the eternity of matter. Tired of skirmishing, the doctor set to work to close with the enemy, and strike him down.

“I have looked only cursorily at the writings of the materialists: you have studied them carefully; and you will oblige me much if you would give me the foundation on which the whole structure of materialism rests.”

“The materialistic system is very simple,” answered Frank. “Materialists reject all existence that is not sensibly perceptible. They deny the existence of invisible and supersensible things. There is no spirit in man or anywhere else. Matter alone exists, because matter alone manifests its existence.”

“I understand. The materialist will only be convinced by seeing and feeling. As a spirit is neither spiritual nor tangible, then there is none. Is it not so, friend Richard?”

“You have included in one sentence the whole of materialism,” said Frank coolly.

“I cannot understand,” said Klingenberg hesitatingly, “how the materialists can make assertions which are untenable to the commonest understandings. Why, thought can neither be seen nor felt; yet it is an existence.”

“Thought is a function of the brain.”

“Then, it is incomprehensible how the sensible can beget the supersensible. How matter—the brain—can produce the immaterial, the spiritual.”

Richard was silent.

“At every step in materialism I meet insurmountable difficulties,” continued the doctor. “I know perfectly the organization of the human body, as well as the function and purpose of each part. The physician knows the purpose of the lungs, heart, kidneys, and stomach, and all the noble and ignoble parts of the body. But no physician knows the origin of the activity of the organism. The blood stops, the pulse no longer beats, the lungs, kidneys, nerves, and all the rest cease their functions. The man is dead. Why? Because the activity, the movement, the force is gone. What, then, is this vivifying force? In what does it consist? What color, what taste, what form has it? No physician knows. The vivifying principle is invisible, intangible perfectly immaterial. Yet it exists. Therefore the fundamental dogma of materialism is false. There are existences which can neither be felt, tasted, nor seen.”

“The vivifying principle is also in animals,” said Richard.

“Certainly; and in them also intangible and mysterious. Materialism cannot even stand before animal life; for even there the vivifying principle is an immaterial existence.”

“The materialist stumbles at the existence of human spirit, because he cannot get a conception of it.”

“How could this be possible?” cried the doctor. “The conception is a picture in the mind, an apprehension of the senses. Spiritual being is as unapproachable by the senses as the vivifying principle, of which also man can form no conception. To deny existence because you cannot have a conception of it, is foolish. The blind would have the same right to deny the existence of colors, or the deaf that of music. And who can have a conception of good, of eternity, of justice, of virtue? No one. These are existences that do not fall under the senses. To be logical, the materialist must conclude that there is nothing good, nothing noble, no justice; for we have not yet seen nor felt nor smelt these things. Virtuous actions we can, of course, see; but these actions are not the cause but the consequence, not the thing working but the thing wrought. As these actions will convince every thinking man of the existence of virtue and justice, so must the workings of the spirit prove its existence.”

“Precisely,” replied Frank. “Materialism only surprises and captivates one like a dream of the night. It vanishes the moment it is seen. I read the works of Vogt and Büchner only for diversion; my object was perfectly gained.”

“You read for diversion! What did you wish to forget?”

“Dark clouds that lowered over my mind.”

“Have you secrets that I, your old friend and well-meaning adviser, should not know?”

Frank was confused; but his great respect for the doctor forced him to be candid.

“You know my views of women. When I tell you that Angela, the well-known Angel of Salingen, has torn these opinions up by the roots, you will not need further explanation.”

“You found Angela what I told you? I am glad,” said Klingenberg. And his disputative countenance changed to a pleasant expression. “I suspected that the Angel of Salingen made a deep impression on you. I did not guess; I read it in large characters on your cheeks. Have you made an avowal?”

“No; it will never come to that.”

“Why not? Are you ashamed to confess that you love a beautiful young lady? That is childish and simple. There is no place here for shame. You want a noble, virtuous wife. You have Angela in view. Woo her; do not be a bashful boy.”

“Bashfulness might be overcome, but not the conviction that I am unworthy of her.”

“Unworthy! Why, then? Shall I praise you? Shall I exhibit your noble qualities, and convince, you why you are worth more than any young man that I know? You have not Angela's religious tone; but the strong influence of the wife on the husband is well known. In two or three years I shall not recognize in the ultramontane Richard Frank the former materialist.” And the doctor laughed heartily.

“It is questionable,” said the young man, “whether Angela's inclination corresponds to mine.”

“The talk of every true lover,” said the doctor pleasantly. “Pluck the stars of Bethlehem, like Faust's Grethe, with the refrain, 'She loves, she loves not—she loves.' But you are no bashful maiden; you are a man. Propose to her. Angela's answer will show you clearly how she feels.”

The doctor was scarcely in his room when Richard's father entered.

“All as you foretold,” said Klingenberg. “Your son is cured of his hatred of women by Angela. The materialistic studies were not in earnest; they were only a shield held up against the coming passion. The love question is so absorbing, and the sentiment so strong, that Richard left me near Frankenhöhe to hasten over there. I expect from your sound sense that you will place no obstacles in the way of your son's happiness.”

“I regret,” said Frank coldly, “that I cannot be of the same opinion with you and Richard in this affair.”

“Make your son unhappy?” said Klingenberg. “Do you consider the possible consequences of your opposition?”

“What do you understand by possible consequences?”

“Melancholy, madness, suicide, frequently come from this. I leave tomorrow, and I hope to take with me the assurance that you will sacrifice your prejudice to the happiness of Richard.”

Among the numerous inhabitants of Siegwart's yard was a hen with a hopeful progeny. The little chicks were very lively. They ran about after insects till the call of the happy mother brought them to her. Escaped from the shell some few days before, they had instead of feathers delicate white down, so that the pretty little creatures looked as though they had been rolled in cotton. They had black, quick eyes, and yellow feet and bills. If a hawk flew in the air and the mother gave a cry, the little ones knew exactly what it meant, and ran under the protecting wings of the mother from the hawk, although they had never seen one—had never studied in natural history the danger of the enemy. If danger were near, she called, and immediately they were under her wings. The whole brood now stopped under the lindens. The little ones rested comfortably near the warm body of the mother. Now here, now there, their little heads would pop out between the feathers. One smart little chirper, whose ambition indicated that he would be the future cock of the walk, undertook to stand on the back of the hen and pick the heads of the others as they appeared through the feathers.

Angela came under the lindens, carrying a vessel of water and some crumbs in her apron for the little ones. She strewed the crumbs on the ground, and the old hen announced dinner. The little ones set to work very awkwardly. The old hen had to break the crumbs smaller between her bill. Angela took one of the chickens in her hand and fondled it, and carried it into the house. The hen went to the vessel to drink and the whole brood followed. It happened that the one that stood on her back fell into the water, and cried loudly; for it found that it had got into a strange element of which it had no more idea than Vogt and Büchner of the form of a spirit. At this critical moment Frank came through the yard. He saw it fluttering about in the water, and stopped. The old hen went clucking anxiously about the vessel. And although she could without difficulty have taken the chicken out with her bill, yet she did not do it. Richard observed this with great interest; but showed no desire to save the little creature, which at the last gasp floated like a bunch of cotton on the water.

Angela may have heard the noise of the hen, for she appeared at the door. She saw Frank standing near the lindens looking into the vessel. At the same time she noticed the danger of one of her little darlings, and hastened out. She took the body from the water and held it sadly in her hands.

“It is dead, the little dear,” said she sadly. “You could have saved it, Herr Frank, and you did not do it.” She looked at Frank, and forgot immediately, on seeing him, the object of her regrets. The young man stood before her so dejected, so depressed and sad, that it touched her heart. She knew what darkened his soul. She knew his painful struggle, his great danger, and she could have given her life to save him. She was moved, tears came into her eyes, and she hastened into the house.

Siegwart was reading the paper when his daughter hastened in such an unusual way through the room and disappeared.

This astonished him.

“What is the matter, Angela?” he exclaimed.

There was no answer. He was about to go after her when Frank entered.

“I can give you some curious news of the assessor,” said the proprietor after some careless conversation. “The man is terribly enraged against me and full of bad designs. The reason of this anger is known to you.” And he added, “Angela is in the next room, and she must know nothing of his proposal.”

Frank nodded assent.

“About ten paces from the last house in Salingen,” continued Siegwart, “I have had a pile of dirt thrown up. It was now and then sprinkled with slops, to make manure of it. Herr Hamm has made the discovery that the slops smell bad; that it annoys the inhabitants of the next house; and he has ordered it to be removed.”

Richard shook his head disapprovingly.

“Perhaps Herr Hamm will come to the conclusion that, in the interest of the noses, all like piles must be removed from Salingen.”

“But that is not all,” said Siegwart. “It has been discovered that the common good forbids my keeping fowls, because my residence is surrounded by fields and vineyards, where the fowls do great damage. The Herr Assessor has had the goodness, accompanied by the guards, to examine personally the amount of destruction. So I have got instructions either to keep my fowls confined or to make away with them.”

“Mean and contemptible!” said Frank.

Angela came into the room. Her countenance was smiling and clear as ever; but her swollen eyes did not escape Richard's observation. She greeted the guest, and sat down in her accustomed place near the window. Scarcely had she done this, when Frank stood up, went toward her, and knelt down before the astonished girl.

“Miss, I have greatly offended you, and beg your pardon.”

Siegwart looked on in surprise—now at his daughter, who was perplexed; now at the kneeling young man.

“For God's sake! Herr Frank, arise,” said the confused Angela. She was about to leave the seat, but he caught her hand and gently replaced her.

“If I may approach so near to you, my present position is the proper one. Hear me! I have deeply offended you. I could with ease have saved a creature that was dear to you, and I did not do it. My conduct has brought tears to your eyes—hurt your feelings. When you went away to regain your composure, and to show your offender a serene, reconciled countenance, it made my fault more distressing. Forgive me; do not consider me hard and heartless, but see in me an unfortunate who forgets himself in musing.”

She looked into Frank's handsome face as he knelt before her, in such sadness, lowering his eyes like a guilty boy, and smiled sweetly.

“I will forgive yon, Herr Frank, on one condition.”

“Only speak. I am prepared for any penance.”

“The condition is, that you burn those godless books that make you doubt about the noblest things in man, and that you buy no more.”

“I vow fulfilment, and assure you that the design of those books, which you rightly call godless, is recognized by me as a crime against the dignity of man—and condemned.”

“This rejoices no one more than me,” said she with a tremulous voice.

He stood up, bowed, and returned to his former place.

“But, my dear neighbor, how did this singular affair happen?” said the proprietor.

Frank told him about the death of the chicken.

“The love of the hen for her chickens is remarkable. She protects them with her wings and warns them of danger, which she knows by instinct. How easy would it have been for the hen to have taken the young one from the water with her bill—the same bill with which she broke their food and gave it to them. But she did not do it, because it is strange to her nature. This case is another striking proof that animals act neither with understanding nor reflection. Acts beyond their instinct are impossible to them. This would not be the case, if they had souls.”

The old servant stood with an empty basket before the library of the son, as he had stood before that of the father. Büchner, Vogt, and Czolbe fell into the fire. Jacob shook his head and regretted the beautiful binding; but the evil spirits between the covers he willingly consigned to the flames.

Again the cars stopped at the station; again the two gentlemen stood at the open window of the car to receive their returning friends. The travellers took a carriage and drove through the street.

“Baron Linden has indeed gone headlong into misery,” said Lutz humorously. “Eight days ago the young pair swore eternal fidelity. It was signed and sealed. Until to-day no could one know that they were on the brink of misery.”

Richard remembered his remark on the former occasion, and wondered at his sudden change of opinion.

“I wish them all happiness,” said he.

“Amen!” answered Lutz. “Richard, however, considers happiness in matrimony possible. So we may hope that he will not always remain a bachelor. How is the Angel of Salingen? Have you seen her since that encounter with the steer?”

“The angel is well,” said Richard, avoiding the glance of his friend.

“What do you mean by the 'Angel of Salingen'?” said the father.

“Thereby I understand the unmarried daughter of Herr Siegwart, of Salingen, named Angela, who richly deserves to be called the 'Angel of Salingen.'”

Frank knit his brows darkly and drummed on his knees.

“And the encounter with the steer?” continued he.

The professor related the occurrence.

“Ah! you did not tell me any thing of that,” said the father, turning to Frank. “An act of such great courage deserves to be mentioned.”

The carriage passed into the court of a stately mansion. The servant sprang from his seat and opened the carriage-door. The professor looked at his watch.

“Herr Frank, will you allow your coachman to drive me to the university? I must be at my post in ten minutes. I cannot go on foot in that time.”

“With pleasure, Herr Professor.”

“Richard,” said the other friend, “shall we meet at the opera tonight?”

“Scarcely. I must to-day enter upon my usual business.”

“Come, if possible. The evening promises great amusement, for the celebrated Santinilli dances.”

The accustomed routine of business began for Richard. He sat in the counting-room and worked with his habitual punctuality. Nevertheless invidious spirits lured him toward Salingen, so that the figures danced before his eyes, words had no meaning, and he was often lost in day-dreams. The watchful father had observed this, and was perplexed.

Richard's plan of studies also underwent a change. He left the house regularly at half-past five and returned at half-past six. The father, desiring to know what this meant, set the faithful Jacob on the watch.

“Herr Richard,” reported the spy, “hears mass at the Capuchins.”

Frank drummed a march on his knees.

“So, so!” he hummed. “The ultramontanes understand proselytizing. They have turned the head of my son. If I live long enough, I may yet see him turn Capuchin, build a cloister, and go about begging.”

When Herr Frank entered the counting-room, he found his son busy at work. He stood up and greeted his father.

“I have observed, Richard,” he began after a time, “that you go out early every morning. What does it mean?”

“I have imposed upon myself the obligation of hearing mass every morning.”

“How did you come to take that singular obligation upon yourself?”

“From the conviction that religion is no empty idea, but a power that can give peace and consolation in all conditions of life.”

“It is evident that you have breathed ultramontane air. This churchgoing is not forbidden—but no trifling or fanatical nonsense.”

“It is my constant care, father, to give you no cause of uneasiness.”

“I am rejoiced at this, my son; but I must observe that a certain gloomy, reserved manner of yours disturbs me. Your conduct is exemplary, your industry praiseworthy, your habits regular; but you keep yourself too much shut up; you do not give evening parties any more. You do not visit the concert-hall or theatre. This is wrong; we should enjoy life, and not move about like dreamers.”

“I have no taste for amusements,” answered Richard. “However, if you think a change would be good, I beg you to permit me to take a run out to Frankenhöhe for a couple of days.”

“And why to Frankenhöhe? I do not know any amusement there for you.”

“I have planted a small vineyard, as you know, and I would like to see how the Burgundies thrive.”

Herr Frank was not in a hurry to give the permission. He thought and drummed.

“You can go,” he said resignedly. “I hope the mountain air will cheer you up.”

Herr Siegwart had remarked the same symptoms in his daughter that Herr Frank had in his son; but Angela did not give way to discontent. She was always the same obedient daughter. The poor and sick of Salingen could not complain of neglect. But she was frequently absent-minded, gave wrong answers to questions, and sought solitude. If Frank was mentioned, she revived; the least circumstance connected with him was interesting to her. Her sharp-sighted father soon discovered the inmost thoughts and feelings of his daughter. He thought of Herr Frank's ill-humor toward him, and was disposed to regret the hour that Richard entered his house.

The Burgundies at Frankenhöhe were scarcely looked at. The young man hastened to Salingen. He found the landscape changed in a few weeks. The fields had clothed themselves in yellow. The wheat-stalks bent gracefully under their load. Everywhere industrious crowds were in the fields. The stalks fell beneath the reapers. Men bound the sheaves. Wagons stood here and there. The sheaves were raised into picturesque stacks. The sun beamed down hot, and the sweltering weather wrote on the foreheads of the men, “Adam, in the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat thy bread.”

In the proprietor's house all was still, the old cook sat beneath the lindens, and with spectacles on her nose tried to mend a stocking which she held in her hand. She arose and smiled on Richard's approach.

“They are all in the fields. We have much work, Herr Frank. The grain is ripe, and we have already gathered fifty wagon-loads. I am glad to see you looking so much better. The family will also be glad. They think a great deal of you—particularly Herr Siegwart.”

“Give them many kind greetings from me. I will come back in the evening.”

“Off so soon? Will you not say good-day to Miss Angela? She is in the garden. Shall I call her?”

“No,” said he after a moment's reflection; “I will go into the garden myself.”

After unlatching the gate, he would have turned back, for he became nervous and embarrassed.

Angela sat in the arbor; her embroidery-frame leaned against the table, and she was busily working. As she heard the creaking of footsteps on the walk, she looked up and blushed. Frank raised his hat, and when the young woman stood up before him in beauty and loveliness, his nervousness increased, and he would gladly have escaped; but his spirit was in the fetters of a strange power, and necessity supplied him with a few appropriate remarks.

“I heard that the family were absent; but I did not wish to go away without saluting you. Miss Angela.”

She observed the bashful manner of the young man, and said kindly, “I am glad to see you again, Herr Frank,” and invited him to sit down. He looked about for a seat; but as there was none, he had to sit on the same bench with her.

“Do you remain long at Frankenhöhe?”

“Only to-day and to-morrow. Work requires dispatch, and old custom has so bound me to my occupation that the knowledge of work to be done makes me feel uneasy.”

“Do you work every day regularly in the counting-room?”

“I am punctual to the hours, for the work demands regularity and order. There are every day some hours for recreation.”

“And what is the most pleasant recreation for you?”

“Music and painting. I like them the best. But of late,” he added hesitatingly, “unavoidable thoughts press on me, and many hours of recreation pass in useless dreaming.”

Angela thought of his former mental troubles and looked anxiously in his eyes.

“Now, you have promised me,” she said softly, “to forget all those things in those bad books that disturbed your mind.”

“The fulfilment of no duty was lighter or more pleasant to me than to keep my promise to you, Angela.”

His voice trembled. She leaned over her work and her cheeks glowed. The delicate fingers went astray; but Frank did not notice that the colors in the embroidery were getting into confusion. There was a long pause. Then Frank remembered the doctor's final admonition, “Be not like a bashful boy; put aside all false shame and speak your mind;” and he took courage.

“I have no right to ask what disturbs and depresses you,” said she, in a scarcely audible voice and without moving her head.

“It is you who have the best right, Angela! You have not only saved my life, but also my better convictions. You have purified my views, and influenced my course of life. I was deeply in error, and you have shown me the only way that leads to peace. This I see more clearly every day. The church is no longer a strange, but an attractive place to me. All this you have done without design. I tell you this because I think you sympathize with me.”

He paused; but the declaration of his love hovered on his lips.

“You have not deceived yourself as to my sympathy,” she answered. “The discovery that one so insignificant as myself has any influence with you makes me glad.”

“O Angela! you are not insignificant in my eyes. You are more than all else on earth to me!” he cried. “You are the object of my love, of my waking dreams. If you could give me your hand before the altar in fidelity and love, my dearest wishes would be realized.”

She slowly raised her head, her modest countenance glowed in a virginal blush, and her eyes, which met Richard's anxious look, were filled with tears. She lowered her head, and laid her hand in that of the young man. He folded her in his arms, pressed her to his heart, and kissed her forehead. The swallows flew about the arbor, twittered noisily, and threatened the robber who was trying to take away their friend. The sparrows, through the leaves of the vines, looked with wonder at the table where Angela's head rested on the breast of her affianced.

They arose.

“We cannot keep this from our parents, Richard. My parents esteem you. Their blessing will not be wanting to our union.”

Suddenly she paused, and stood silent and pale, as though filled with a sudden fear. Richard anxiously inquired the cause.

“You know your father's opinion of us,” she said, disturbed.

“Do not be troubled about that. Father will not object to my arrangements. But even if he does, I am of age, and no power shall separate me from you.”

“No, Richard; no! I love you as my life; but without your father's consent, our union wants a great blessing. Speak to him in love; beg him, beseech him, but do not annoy him on account of your selfishness.”

“So it shall be. Your advice is good and noble. As long as this difficulty exists, I am uneasy. I will therefore go back. Speak to your parents; give them my kind greeting, and tell them how proud I shall feel to be acknowledged as their son.” He again folded her in his arms and hastened away.

The old cook still sat under the lindens, and the stocking lost many a stitch as Frank, with a joyous countenance, passed her without speaking, without having noticed her. She shook wonderingly her old gray head.

Angela sat in the arbor. Her work lay idly on the table. With a countenance full of sweetness she went to her room, and knelt and prayed.

Herr Frank looked up astonished, as Richard, late in the evening, entered his chamber.

“Excuse me, father,” said he joyfully and earnestly; “something has happened of great importance to me, and of great interest to you. I could not delay an explanation, even at the risk of depriving you of an hour's sleep.”

“Well, well! I am really interested,” said Herr Frank, as he threw himself back on the sofa. “Your explanation must be something extraordinary, for I have never seen you thus before. What is it, then?”

“For a right understanding of my position, it is necessary to go back to that May-day on which we went to Frankenhöhe. Your displeasure at my well-grounded aversion to women you will remember.”

With childish simplicity he related the whole course of his inner life and trials at Frankenhöhe. He described the deep impression Angela had made upon him. He took out his diary and read his observations, his stubborn adherence to his prejudices, and the victory of a virtuous maiden over them. The father listened with the greatest attention. He admired the depth of his son's mind and the noble struggle of conviction against the powerful influence of error. But when Richard made known what had passed between himself and Angela, Herr Frank's countenance changed.

“I have told you all,” said Richard, “with that openness which a son owes to his father. From the disposition and character of Angela, as you have heard them, you must have learned to respect her, and have been convinced that she and I will be happy. Therefore, father, I beg your consent and blessing on our union.”

He arose and was about to kneel, when Herr Frank stopped him.

“Slowly, my son. With the exception of what happened to-day, I am pleased with your conduct. You have convinced yourself of the injustice of your opinion of women. You have found a noble woman. I am willing to believe that Angela is a magnificent and faultless creature, although she have an ultramontane father. But my consent to your union with Siegwart's daughter you will never receive. Now, Richard, you can without trouble find a woman that will suit you, and who is as beautiful and as noble-minded as the Angel of Salingen.”

“May I ask the reason of your refusal, father?”

“There are many reasons. First, I do not like the ultramontane spirit of the Siegwart family. Angela it educated in this spirit. You would be bound to a wife whose narrow views would be an intolerable burden.”

“Pardon, father! The extracts from my diary informed you that I have examined this ultramontane spirit very carefully, and that I was forced at last to correct my opinions of the ultramontanes—to reject an unjust prejudice.”

“The stained glass of passion has beguiled you into ultramontane sentiments; and further, remember that Siegwart is personally objectionable to me.” And he spoke of the failure of the factory through Angela's father.

“Herr Siegwart has told me of that enterprise, and, at the same time, gave me the reasons that induced him to prevent its realization. He showed the demoralizing effects of factories. He showed that the inhabitants of that neighborhood support themselves by farming; that the religious sentiment of the country people is endangered by Sunday labor and other evil influences that accompany manufacturing.”

“And you approved of this narrow-mindedness of the ultramontane?” cried Frank.

“Siegwart's conduct is free from narrow-mindedness. You yourself have often said that faith and religion had much to fear from modern manufactories. If Siegwart has made great sacrifices, if he has interfered against his own interest in favor of faith and morality, he deserves great respect for it.”

“Has it gone so far? Do you openly take part with the ultramontane against your father?”

“I take no part; I express frankly my views,” answered Richard tranquilly.

“The views of father and son are very different, and we may thank your intercourse with the ultramontanes for it.”

“Your acquaintance, father, with that excellent family is very desirable. You would soon be convinced that you ought to respect them.”

“I do not desire their acquaintance. It is near midnight; go to rest, and forget the hasty step of to-day.”

“I will never regret what has taken place with forethought and reflection,” answered Richard firmly. “I again ask your consent to the happiness of your son.”

“No, no! Once for all—never!” cried Frank hastily.

The son became excited. He was about to fly into a passion, and to show his father that he was not going to follow blind authority like an inexperienced child, when he thought of what Angela said, “Speak to your father in love;” and his rising anger subsided.

“You know, father,” he said hesitatingly, “that my age permits me to choose a wife without reference to your will. As the consent is withheld without valid reasons, I might do without it. But Angela has urgently requested me not to act against your will, and I have promised to comply with her wishes.”

“Angela appears to have more sense than you. So she requested this promise from you? I esteem the young lady for this sentiment, although she be a child of Siegwart, who shall never have my son for a son-in-law.”

The young man arose.

“It only remains for me to declare,” said he calmly, “that to Angela, and to her alone, shall I ever belong in love and fidelity. If you persevere in your refusal, I here tell you, on my honor, I shall never choose another wife.”

He made a bow and left the room. It was long past midnight, and Herr Frank was still sitting on the sofa, drumming on his knees and shaking his head.

“An accursed piece of business!” said he. “I know he will not break his word of honor under any circumstances. I know his stubborn head. But this Siegwart, this clerical ultramontane fellow—it is incompatible; mental progress and middle-age darkness, spiritual enlightenment and stark confessionalism—it won't do. Angela certainly is not her father. She is an innocent country creature; does not wear crinoline, dresses in blue like a bluebell, has not a dainty stomach, and has no toilette nonsense. The nuns, together with perverted views of the world, may, perhaps, have taught her many principles that adorn an honorable woman; but—but—” And Herr Frank threw himself back grumbling on the sofa.

On the following day Richard wrote Angela a warm, impassioned letter. The vow of eternal love and fidelity was repeated. In conclusion, he spoke of his father's refusal, but assured her that his consent would yet be given.

Many weeks passed. The letters of the lovers came and went regularly and without interruption. She wrote that her parents had not hesitated a moment to give their consent. In her letters Richard admired her tender feeling, her dove-like innocence and pure love. He was firm in his conviction that she would make him happy, would be his loadstar through life. He read her letters hundreds of times, and these readings were his only recreation. He spoke not another word about the matter to his father. He kept away from all society. He devoted himself to his calling, and endeavored to purify his heart in the spirit of religion, that he might approach nearer to an equality with Angela. The father observed him carefully, and was daily more and more convinced that a spiritual change was coming over his son. Murmuringly he endured the church-going, and vexedly he shook his head at Richard's composure and perseverance, which he knew time would not change. The more quietly the son endured, the more disquieted Herr Frank became. “Sacrifice your prejudices to your son's happiness,” he heard the doctor saying; and he felt ashamed when he thought of this advice.

“What cannot be cured must be endured,” he was accustomed to say for some days, as often as he went into his room. “The queer fellow makes it uncomfortable for me; this cannot continue; days and years pass away. I am growing old, and the house of Frank must not die out.”

One morning he gave Richard charge of the establishment. “I have important business,” said he. “I will be back to-morrow.”

The father smiled significantly as he said this. Richard heard from the coachman that Herr Frank took a ticket for the station near Frankenhöhe. He knew the great importance to him of this visit, and prayed God earnestly to move his father's heart favorably. His uneasiness increased hourly, and rendered all work impossible. He walked up and down the counting-room like a man who feared bankruptcy, and expected every moment the decision on which depended his happiness for life. He went into the hall where the desks of the clerks stood in long rows. He went to the desks, looked at the writing of the clerks, and knew not what he did, where he went, or where he stood.

The next day Herr Frank returned. Richard was called to the library, where his father received him with a face never more happy or contented.

“I have visited your bride,” he began, “because I had a curiosity to know personally the one who has converted my son to sound views of womankind. I am perfectly satisfied with your taste, and also with myself; for I have become reconciled with Siegwart, and find that he is as willing to live with his neighbors in harmony as in discord. You now have my blessing on your union. The marriage can take place when you please; only it would please me if it came off as soon as possible.”

Richard stood speechless with emotion, which so overcame him that tears burst from his eyes. He embraced his father, kissed him tenderly, and murmured his thanks.

“That will do, Richard,” said Herr Frank, much affected. “Your happiness moves me. May it last long. And I do not doubt it will; for Angela is truly a woman the like of whom I have never met. Her character is as clear and transparent as crystal; and her eyes possess such power, and her smile such loveliness, that I fear for my freedom when she is once in the house.”

Crisp, cold weather. The December winds sweep gustily through the streets of the city, driving the well-clad wanderer before them and sporting with the weather-vanes. A carriage stops before the door of the Director Schlagbein. Professor Lutz steps out and directs the driver to await him.

Emil Schlagbein, Richard's unhappy married friend, had moved his easy-chair near the stove and leaned his head against its back. He looked as though despair had seized him and thrown him into it. Hasty steps were heard in the ante-room, and Lutz stood before him.

“Still in your working-clothes, Emil? Up! the tea-table of the Angel of Salingen awaits us.”

“Pardon me; my head is confused, my heart is sad; grief wastes my life away.”

“War—always war; never peace!” said Lutz. “I fear, Emil, that all the fault is not with your wife. You are too sensitive, too particular about principles. Man must tolerate, and not be niggardly in compliance. Take old Frank as a model. With Angela entered ultramontanism into his house. Frank lives in peace with this spirit—even on friendly terms. Angela reads him pious stories from the legends of the saints. He goes with her to church, where he listens with attention to the word of God. He hears mass as devoutly as a Capuchin; not to say any thing of Richard, who runs a race with Angela for the prize of piety. Could you not also make some sacrifice to the whims of your wife?”

“Angela and Ida—day and night!” said the director bitterly. “The two Franks make no sacrifice to female whims. They appreciate her exalted views, they admire her purity, her unspeakable modesty, her shining virtues. The two Franks acted reasonably when they adopted the principles that produced such a woman. Angela never speaks to her husband in defiance and bad temper. If clouds gather in the matrimonial heaven, she dissipates them with the breath of love. Is the sacrifice of a wish wanted? Angela makes it. Is her pure feeling offended by Richard's faults? She kisses them away and raises him to her level. My wife—is she not just the opposite in every thing? Is she not quick-tempered, bitter, loveless, extravagant, and stiff-necked? Has she a look—I will not say of love—but even of respect for me? Do not all her thoughts and acts look to the pleasures of the toilette, the opera, balls, and concerts? O my poor children! who grow up without a mother, in the hands of domestics. How is any concession possible here? Must not my position, my self-respect, the last remnant of manly dignity go to the wall?”

“Your case is lamentable, friend! Your principles and those of your wife do not agree. Concession to the utmost point of duty, joined with prudent reform in many things, may, perhaps, bring back, harmony and a good understanding between you. You praise Angela: follow her example. She abominates the air of the theatre. The opera-glasses of the young men levelled at her offend her deeply, and bring to her angelic countenance the blush of shame. Her fine religious feeling is offended at many words, gestures, and dances which a pious Christian woman should not hear and see. Yet she goes to the opera because Richard wishes it. Her husband will at last observe this heroism of love, and sacrifice the opera to it. What Angela cannot obtain by prayers and representations, she gains by the all-conquering weapons of love. In like manner and for a like object yield to your wife. She is, at least, not a firebrand. Love must overcome her stubbornness.”

Schlagbein shook his head sadly.

“A father cannot do what is inconsistent with paternal duty,” said he. “Shall I join in the course of my wife? Whither does this course lead? To the destruction of all family ties, to financial bankruptcy—to dishonor. For home my wife has no mind, no understanding. My means she throws carelessly into the bottomless pit of pleasure-seeking and love of dress. She does not think of the future of her children. Every day brings to her new desires for prodigality. If her wishes are fulfilled, ruin is unavoidable. If they are not fulfilled, she sits ill-humored and obstinate in her room, and leaves the care of the house to her domestics, and the children to the nurses. How often have I consented to her vain desire for show, only to see her extravagant wishes thereby increased. She is without reason.”

The unfortunate man's head sunk upon his breast. Lutz stood still without uttering a word.

“Yes, Angela is a noble woman,” continued Emil, “she is the spirit of order, the angel of peace and love. Just hear Richard's father. He revels in enthusiasm about her. 'My Richard is the happiest man in the world,' said he to me lately. 'I myself must be thankful to him for his prudent choice. Abounding in every thing, my house was empty and desolate before Angela came; but now every thing shines in the sun of her orderly housekeeping, of her tender care. Although served with fidelity, I have been until the present almost neglected. But now that the angel hovers over me, observes my every want, and with her smile lights my old age, I am perfectly happy.' Has my wife a single characteristic of this noble woman?”

“Angela is unapproachable in the little arts that win the heart and drive away melancholy,” said Lutz. “A few weeks ago, Herr Frank came home one day from the counting-room all out of sorts. He sat silently in his easy-chair drumming on his knee. Angela noticed his ill-humor. She sought to dissipate it—to cheer him; but she did not succeed. She then arose, and, going to him, said with unspeakable affection, 'Father, may I play and sing for you the “Lied der Kapelle?”' Herr Frank looked in her face, and smiled as he replied, 'Yes, my angel' When her sweet voice resounded in the next room in beautiful accord with the accompaniment, which she played most feelingly, the old man revived and joined in her song with his trembling bass.”

“How often we have twitted Richard with his views of modern women,” said Emil. “It was his cool judgment, perhaps, that saved him from a misfortune like mine.”

Just then a carriage stopped before the house. Emil went uneasily to the window, and Lutz followed him. Bandboxes and trunks were taken from the house. The professor looked inquiringly at his friend, whose hand appeared to tremble as it rested on the window-glass.

“What does this mean, Emil?”

“My wife is going to her aunt's for an indefinite time. She leaves me to enjoy the pleasures of Christmas alone. The children also remain here; they might be in her way.”

The professor pitied his unhappy friend.

“Emil,” said he, almost angrily, “it is for you to determine how a man should act in regard to the freaks and caprices of his wife. But you should not steep yourself in gall, even though your wife turn into a river of bitterness. Drive away sadness and be happy. Do not let your present humor rob you of every thing. Forget what you cannot change.”

A beautiful woman approached the carriage. Schlagbein turned away from the sight. Lutz observed the departing wife and mother. She did not look up at the window where her husband was. She got into the carriage without even saying farewell. She sat in the midst of bandboxes, surrounded by finery and tinsel; and as the wheels rolled over the pavement, the director groaned in his chair.

“A happy journey to you, Xantippe!” cried the angry professor. “Emil, be a man. Dress yourself; forget at the Angel of Salingen's your domestic devil.”

Schlagbein moved his head disconsolately.

“What have the wretched to do in the home of the happy? There I shall only see more clearly that I suffer and am miserable.”

Lutz, out of humor, threw himself into the carriage. With knitted brows he buried himself in one of its corners. That professional head was perplexed with a question which ordinary men would have quickly seen through and settled. Frank's happiness and Schlagbein's misery stood as two irrefutable facts before the mind of the professor. Now came the question. Why this happiness, why this misery? The dashing Ida he had known for years; also her enlightened views of life, and her flexible principles, perfectly conformable to the spirit of progress. Whence, then, the dissoluteness of her desires, the bitterness of her humor, the heartlessness of the wife, the callousness of the mother?

The professor continued his musing. He gave a scrutinizing glance at the marriages of all his acquaintances. Everywhere he found a clouded sky, and, in the semi-darkness, lightning and thunder. Only one marriage stood before him bright and clear in the sunlight of happiness, in the raiment of peace, and that was ultramontane. That ultramontane principles had produced this happiness and peace, the professor's industrious mind saw with clearness. He raised his head and said solemnly, “Marriage is an image of religion. It proceeds from the lips of God, and is perfected at the altar. The marriage duties are children of the religious sentiment, fetters of the divine law. Ida was faithful and true so long as it agreed with the longings of her heart. But with the cooling of affection died love and fidelity. She recognizes no religious duty, because she has progressed to liberty and independence. From this follows with striking clearness the incompatibility of Christian marriage with the spirit of the age. Marriage will be a thing of the past as soon as intellectual maturity conquers in the contest with religion. Sound sense, liberty of emotion and inclination will supplant the terrible marriage yoke.”

The professor paused and examined his conclusion. It smiled upon him like a true child of nature. It clothed itself in motley flesh, and passed through green meadows and shady forests. It pointed encouragingly to the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, long in possession of intellectual maturity. Sensual marriages, intended to last only for weeks or months, danced around the professor. Cannibal hordes, who extended to him their brotherly paws and claws, pressed about him. In astonishment, he contemplated his conclusion; it made beastly grimaces, knavish and jeering, and he dashed into fragments the provoking mockery.

In strong contrast to the animal kingdom, stood before him again the Christian marriage. He cunningly tried to give his new conclusion human shape; but here the carriage stopped, and the speculation vanished before the clear light in the house of the “Angel of Salingen.”

FOOTNOTE TO ANGELA.

[Footnote 2: This argument is not conclusive, nor is it at all necessary. Animals have memory; and there is no more reason why their waking sensations, emotions, and acts should not repeat themselves in dreams than there is in the case of men. The difference between the soul of man and the soul of the brute is constituted by the presence of the gift of reason, or the faculty of knowing necessary and universal truths in the former, and its absence in the latter.—Ed. Catholic World.]