Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

ness.

In many

out, and along with them rages a mul. angry Deity by fearful howls and titude of criminals before concealed, shrieks. Meanwhile my father, who or set at large by this occurrence. alone was self-possessed, took down

The unhappy survivors are exposed and removed the window-frames, by to robbery, murder, and every kind of which, indeed, he saved much glass, violence. And thus Nature asserts, in all but also cleared a broader way for the directions, her boundless capricious rain that followed after the hail, so

that, when at last we were tranquilized, Intimations of this event had spread we found ourselves in the rooms and through wide regions faster than the on the stairs surrounded by flowing accounts of it. In many places slight and streaming water. tremblings were noticed.

Such events, however troublesome, springs, particularly the mineral ones, yet interrupted but a little the proan uncommon subsidence took place; gress and course of the instruction and so much the greater was the effect which my father had himself underof the accounts themselves, which dif- taken to give to us children. He had fused themselves at first generally, and passed his youth at the Coburg Gymafterwards with terrible details. Here- nasium, which held one of the first upon the devout abounded in reflec- places among the German educational tions, the philosophic in consolations, establishments. He had there laid a the clergy in warnings. So much solid ground in the languages, and coming together, turned for a long whatever else is considered part of a time the attention of the world on this learned education, had afterwards stupoint. And the minds excited by the died jurisprudence at Leipzig, and misery of others, were more and more lastly taken his degree at Giessen. disturbed by anxiety for themselves His careful and laborious dissertation, and their friends, as further and more Electa de Additione Hæreditatis, is still minute accounts arrived from every cited with praise by jurists. corner, of the far-spread influence of It is a natural wish of all fathers to this explosion. Nay, perhaps the de- see whatever has failed with them realmon of alarm has never so swiftly and ized in their sons, much as if they powerfully spread his terrors over the thus could live a second time, and so earth.

at last use rightly the experiences of The boy, who had frequently to hear their earlier existence. With the sense all this repeated, was not a little struck. of his acquirements, and with distrust God, the Creator and Preserver of of the teachers of the day, my father heaven and earth, whom the explanation proposed to teach his children himself, of the first article of belief presented to and only so far as necessary to have him as so wise and gracious, in abandon- particular lessons given by special ing the righteous and unrighteous to masters. Already a certain dilettanthe same destruction had manifested tism in instruction had begun to show no fatherly love. The young heart itself generally. The pedantry and tried in vain to restore itself against heaviness of the masters at the public these impressions. This, indeed, was schools, was probably the first occasion the less possible, as the wise and biblic of this. People sought for somecally-learned themselves could not thing better, and forgot how defecagree as to the way in which such a tive all teaching must be, except that phenomenon was to be regarded. of persons making it their profesThe following summer gave a nearer

sion. opportunity of directly knowing that My father's own career had hitherto wrathful God, of whom the Old Tes- succeeded fairly according to his wish. tament declares so much. A hail- I was to pursue the same road, but storm came unexpectedly, and in the more easily, and to a greater length. midst of thunder and lightning vio. He valued my natural gifts the more, lently broke the new panes of glass in as himself wanting them ; for he had the back of the house, looking to the gained every thing only by indescribwest. It injured the new furniture, able labour, perseverance, and repetispoiled some valuable books and other tion. He often assured me, early and. costly things, and was the more fright- late, in jest and earnest, that, with my ful for the children, as all the bewil. powers, he would have acted very dered household hurried them into a differently, and would not have been dark passage, and there, on their so careless in his employment of them. knees, endeavoured to appease the By quick apprehension, by practice,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

re

me.

This com

[ocr errors]

and by retention, I very soon outgrew enjoying Italy, nothing else could give
the knowledge which my father and one pleasure.
my other teachers could give me, and This vision of the future wanderings
yet I was not grounded in any thing. of my youth I liked to hear repeated
Grammar displeased me, because I to me, particularly as it used to end in
garded it only as an arbitrary law. an account of Italy, and lastly in å
The rules appeared to me ridiculous, description of Naples. His general
because they were nullified by so many seriousness and dryness seemed always
examples, all of which again I was in this way to dissolve and grow ani-
obliged to learn singly. And, had there mated ; and thus the passionate wish
not been a rhymed book of Latin for arose in us children that we also might
beginners, it would have gone ill with share in the paradise he spoke of.

But I liked to drone this over, Lessons of private teachers, which
and chant it to myself. We had, in gradually multiplied, were shared with
the same way, a geography in such neighbouring children.
verses for the memory; and the most mon instruction did not advance me.
absurd rhymes best tixed the recollec- The teachers followed their routine;
tion of that which was to be retained, and the rudenesses, nay, often ill.
e. g.:

humours of my companions, brought

disquiet, vexation, and disturbance “ Ober-Yssel's watery fen,

into the scanty hours of lesson. ChresIs a bad abode for men.

tomathics, by which the teaching beI easily learned the inflections and comes pleasant and varied, had not yet constructions, and soon got to under reached us. Cornelius Nepos, who for stand what is the conception of a thing young people is so stiff—the New TesIn rhetorical exercises, themes, and so tament, which was much too easy, and forth, no one surpassed me, although which, by preaching and religious inI was often turned back for faults of struction, had even become trivial grammar. It was such compositions, Cellarius and Pasor, could excite no however, which particularly pleased interest in us. On the other hand, my father, and on account of which he through the reading the German poets rewarded me with many a gift of of that day, a certain fury of rhyme money, not inconsiderable for a boy. and verse had taken possession of us.

My father taught my sister Italian It had seized me even earlier, as I in the same room in which I had to found it pleasant to pass over from the learn Cellarius by heart. Now, as I rhetorical treatment of subjects to the was soon ready with my task, and was poetic. still obliged to sit quiet, I turned my We boys had a meeting on Sunday, attention away from my book, and very at which every one was to produce readily learned Italian, which struck me verses of his own making. And here as a pleasant variety of Latin.

I was struck by something strange, Other precocities, as to memory and which long disquieted me. My poems, combination, were common to me with such as they were, I could not but those children who have thus obtained hold for the best. But I soon made an early renown. On this account, out that my competitors, who produmy father would hardly wait for the ced very lame things, were alike in proper time of my going to the college. this, and thought no less of themselves.

He very early intimated that I was But what seems still more suspicious, to study law in Leipzig, a place for one boy, good, though quite unfitted which he had a great preference, and for such labours, to whom indeed I then visit some other university and was kindly disposed, but who had his take my degrees. As to this second, rhymes made by his tutor, not only it was indifferent to him which I might considered them the best of all, but select ; only, against Gottingen he was fully persuaded that he had made had, I know not why, some dislike-to them himself. And in the familiar my sorrow, for it was precisely in it relation in which I stood towards him, that I had much confidence and high this he always frankly asserted. Now, hopes.

as I saw this error and delusion plain Further, he told me that I was to go before me, it one day occurred to me to Wetzlar and Ratisbon, and also to to ask whether I might not myself be Vienna, and thence to Italy, though he in the same case ; whether those poems requently maintained that it was ne- were not really better than mine ; and cessary to see Paris first, because, after whether I might not justly appear to

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

those boys as mad as they to me? innocently bring nearer to us many a This disturbed me much, and for a merit of former times. These books, long time ; for it was quite impossible which wereafterwards known and even for me to find an outward sign of renowned under the name of Books truth. At last, I even stopped in my for the People, had their place of pub. productions, until at length I was lication, or rather their manufactory, quieted by levity and self-reliance, and in Frankfort itself; and, on account at last by a trial which our teachers and of the great sale, they were kept in parents, who had noticed our amuse- standing types, and printed almost ment, set us on the spur of the mo- illegibly on the most frightful blotment, and in which I came off well, ting-paper. We children, therefore, and obtained general applause. had the luck to find every day these

At that time people had not as yet precious remains of the middle ages established any libraries for chil- on a little table before the door of a dren. In earlier times, men had them- dealer in cheap books, and to obtain selves childish ways of thinking, and them for a penny a-piece. The Eufound it easy to impart their own lenspiegel, the Four Sons of Huimon, knowledge to posterity. Except the the Fair Melusina, the Emperor OctaOrbis Pictus of Amos Comenius, no vian, the Fair Magelona, Fortunatus, book of this kind came into our hands; with the whole race down to the but we often turned over the great Wandering Jew, all were at our comfolio Bible, with plates, by Merian. mand, whenever we had a fancy for Goltfried's Chronicle, with engravings these works, rather than for any

kind of the same master, instructed us in of dainty sweet thing. In this the the most remarkable events of gener- greatest advantage was, that when we al history. The Acerra Philologica þad worn out such a pamphlet by added all kinds of fables, mythologies, reading, or otherwise damaged it, we and singularities ; and, as I very soon could buy another copy again, and became acquainted with Ovid's Meta- consume it anew. morphoses, and studied laboriously the As a family party into the country earlier books in particular, my young in summer is disturbed in the most brain was quickly enough filled with vexatious way by a sudden storm, and a mass of images and events, significant a cheerful state of things thus chanand wondrous forms and occurren- ged into the most unpleasant, so the ces; and I could never feel the want illnesses of children happen without of employment, as I constantly occu. warning in the fairest season of early pied myself in working up, repeating, life. With me also this was the case. and reproducing these acquisitions. I had just bought myself Fortunatus,

A better moral effect than that of with his Purse and Wishing-Hat, those somewhat rude and dangerous when I was seized with an uneasiness antiquities, was produced by Féné- and fever that announced the smalllon's Telemachus, which I first read pox. Inoculation was still considered only in Neukirch's translation, and among us as very problematical, and which, however, even thus imperfectly although it had already been clearly transmitted, had a delightful and be- and zealously recommended by popuneficial influence on my feelings. That lar writers, yet the German physin Robinson Crusoe was soon added, is a cians hesitated about an operation matter of course ; and it may easily which seemed to forestall nature. Spebe supposed that the Isle of Felsen- culating Englishmen came therefore burg was not wanting. Lord Anson's on the Continent, and inoculated for Voyage Round the World combined a large fee the children of the opulent the dignity of truth with the fanciful- and unprejudiced. The majority, howness of legend ; and while in thought ever, were still exposed to the old miswe accompanied this excellent sea- chief. The disease raged in families, man, we were led far away over the killed and disfigured many children; world, and tried to follow him with and few parents dared to seize an our fingers on the globe.

expedient, of which the probable sucBut now a still richer harvest was cess had nevertheless been already to lie before me, when I lighted on a established by many trials. This mismass of writings, which certainly in fortune now befell our house, and attheir present form cannot be called tacked me with extraordinary vioadmirable, but the contents of which lence. My whole body was sprinkled

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

with spots, and my face covered with one very pretty and pleasing little girl, them; and I lay for many days blind who also, however, soon passed away; and in great pain. They tried the only so that, after the lapse of some years, I possible alleviation, and promised me and my sister found ourselves the only golden mountains if I would keep my- 'survivors, and therefore the more inself quiet, and not increase the mis- wardly and affectionately united. chief by rubbing and scratching.. I Those maladies and other unpleasant prevailed so far over myself, while, vexations were in their consequences according to the ruling prejudice, I doubly burdensome. For my father, was kept as warm as possible, and the who seemed to have laid down for evil was thus only increased. At last, himself a certain calendar of education after a sorrowful time, there fell as it and instruction, was resolved to make were a mask from my face. The spots good again immediately every loss, had left no visible mark upon the skin, and imposed double lessons upon the but the features were observably al- young convalescents. It was not diftered. I was myself contented with ficult to me to accomplish these; but merely seeing again the light of day, was in so far annoying, as it hindered, and gradually losing my spotted skin. and in some degree repressed, my inBut others were inhuman enough to ward development, which had taken a remind me often of my former state; decided bent. especially a very vivacious aunt, who From these didactic and pedagogic had before made me her idol, could afflictions we commonly took refuge even in after years seldom look at me with my grandfather and grandmother. without exclaiming—" O, the devil! Their house stood in the Friedberg coz-how ugly he is grown ! ” Street, and appeared to have been for

Then she would relate to me cir. merly a castle ; for on approaching it cumstantially how I had formerly nothing was seen but a large gate with been her delight, and what attention battlements, which joined on each side she excited when she took me about the two neighbouring houses. On enwith her ; and thus I early learned tering, one reached at last, through a that people very often make us do narrow passage, a tolerably wide court, severe penance for the pleasure which surrounded by dissimilar structures, we have afforded them. I neither which were now all united into one escaped measles, nor small-pox, nor dwelling. We usually hastened at other the like torments of youth. And once into the garden, which stretched always I was assured that it was a with considerable length and breadth happiness to have now suffered each away behind the buildings, and was successive misfortune, once for all. very well kept.

The walks were But, alas ! there was still another in mostly bounded by vine-trellises; a the background, and moving forward. part of the space was used for vegeAll these things increased my ten- tables, and another for flowers, which dency to reflection; and as, in order to from spring till autumn adorned in escape the pain of impatience, I had rich succession the borders and the already often exercised myself in en- beds. The long wall looking to the durance, the virtues which I had south was employed for well-grown heard praised in the Stoics appeared peach-trees, of which the forbidden to me highly deserving of imitation, fruit ripened temptingly before us and the more, as the like was recom- through the summer. Yet we rather mended by the Christian doctrine of avoided this side, because here we patience.

could not satisfy our longings; and On occasion of this family affliction, we turned to the opposite, where an I will also make mention of a brother endless row of currant and gooseberry about three years younger than I, bushes furnished our greediness with who was similarly seized by that in- a series of harvests on till the autumn. fection, and suffered not a little from it. Not less interesting to us was an old, He was of a tender nature, quiet, and high, wide-spreading mulberry-tree, capricious, and we never had a real both on account of its fruits, as also intimaey with each other. Moreover, because we were told that the silk he scarcely survived the years of worms fed upon its leaves. In this childhood. Among several other chil. peaceful region my grandfather was dren born afterwards, who similarly found every evening pleasantly busy did not live long, I only remember in forwarding with his own hands the

[ocr errors]

growth of the finer fruits and flowers,

was still
among the

younger members while a gardener did the ruder work.

of the Court, that, at the next opporHe never let himself be vexed with the tunity, he would obtain the vacant manifold pains required in order to pre- place on the bench of the councillors ; serve and propagate a beautiful pink. and as, in fact, one of the councillors He himself carefully tied the branches died soon after of apoplexy, he comof the peach-trees in a fan shape to manded, on the day of the choice and the espaliers, in order to promote an decision by lot, that all should be abundant and proper growth of fruit. quietly prepared in the house for the He trusted to no one else the sorting reception of the guests and congratuof the bulbs of tulips, hyacinths, and lating visiters. And the decisive similar plants, and the care for the pre- golden ball was actually drawn in his servation of them. And I still like favour. The simple dream which to remember the diligence with which gave him this knowledge, he confided he employed himself in budding the to his wife as follows:-He had seen different kinds of roses. In this work himself in the full ordinary assemhe put on, to escape the thorns, those blage of the court, where all went on antique leathern gloves, of which three according to custom. Suddenly, the pairs were annually given him at the now deceased councillor had risen from pipers' sitting, so that he never was his seat, stepped down, begged of him without them. He wore, also, a robe- in an obliging way to take the vacant like dressing-gown, and on his head a place, and so had gone out through folded black velvet cap, so that he the door. might have passed for an interme- Something similar occurred on the diate person between Alcinous and decease of the chief magistrate. On Laertes.

such an occasion there is little delay He pursued all these garden labours in filling up this office, because there as regularly and accurately as those is always a fear that the Emperor will of his office ; for, before he came take some opportunity of reviving his down, he had always arranged the list old right to the appointment of the of causes for the following day, and chief magistrate. This time an exread the legal papers.

In the same traordinary sitting for the following way he went in the morning to the day was notified about midnight by Council-house, dined on his return, the court messenger. Now the light then nodded in his great chair; and in his lantern was going out, and he went through every day as he had therefore asked for a candle's end, gone through the day before. He which would enable him to proceed spoke little, showed no sign of passion, upon his way. 66 Give him a whole and I do not remember that I ever saw one,” said my grandfather to the him angry. Every thing about him women; “ for, after all, his trouble is was old-fashioned. I never saw any

on my account."

The result also innovation in his wainscoted room. corresponded to this expression. He His library contained, besides juridi, actually became chief magistrate; in cal works, only the first travels, voy- which event this circumstance also ages, and discoveries of countries. On was particularly remai kable, that althe whole, I remember no state of life though his representative in drawing which could so well as this have pro- the balls, which served for lots, was duced the feeling of an inviolable the third and last to draw, the two peace, and an eternal duration. silver balls came out first, and there.

But that which raised to the highest fore the golden one remained for him point the reverence we felt for this at the bottom of the bag, excellent old man, was the persuasion The other dreams that we heard of that he possessed the gift of prophecy, were also quite prosaic, simple, and especially in things concerning him without a trace of the fantastic or self and his own destiny. He ex- wonderful. Further, I remember hapressed himself, indeed, decidedly and ving rummaged as a boy among his circumstantially to no one, except my books and notes, and found there, grandmother. But we all knew, how- among other remarks on gardeningever, that he was instructed by signi- This night came N. N. to me, and ficant dreams in that which was to said

-the name and happen. Thus, for example, he as- revelation being written in cipher. sured his wife, at the time when he or in the same way--This night I

[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »