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ried himself to an ordinary woman, a gypsy, in spite of his family. very dress became that of a madman, so that the boys in the street ran after him. They grieved very much in the city, for he was generally liked before that, and must have been, while he had his right mind, an excellent man." "And where is he now?" "I cannot say. He has quitted the town-we hear and see nothing of him. His family have probably got him a place somewhere where he may be healed."
The waiter could give no further information. I had already heard too much. I threw myself shuddering into a seat. I thought to myself of the heroic form of the intellectual youth, of whose future I had indulged such fond anticipations;—he who, by his standing as well as through his large family connexions, might have so easily claimed the first place in the army or the state; he who, by his knowledge and rare endowments, seemed to have been called to all that is great, and who was now one of the unfortunate, before whom men shrunk back in dread! Oh that the Angel of Life had rather withdrawn him from the world, than left him a miserable and mournful spectacle to his friends.
As willingly as I would have seen the good Olivier, it was no longer pleasant to me to inquire for him in the city. Alas, he was no more Olivier-no more the manly Achilles, but a pitiable unknown Torso. I would not have wished to see him, even if it had been easy for me to find him. I must then have changed the memory of my Gottingen Achilles to the image of a madman, which would have robbed me of one of my loveliest and most pleasing recollections. I did not wish to see him, for the same reason, that I avoid looking at a friend in his coffin, that I may retain in my thoughts the image of the living only; or, as I forbear to enter again into rooms which I formerly occupied, but are now in the possession of another, and which are arranged in quite another manner. The Past and the Present become confused in my imagination in an intolerably painful
becomes through the depression and injury of the nervous system, like a jarring and discordant instrument,—to itself and to the rest of the world an unintelligible enigma-when the waiter entered and called me to supper.
The table of the brilliant diningroom was crowded with guests. It happened that a place was assigned me in the neighborhood of some officers of the occupying army. I naturally, as soon as the ice was broken between us, turned the conversation to my friend Olivier. I gave the minutest description of him, that there might be no mistake as to his person; for it was probable, as I believed then, that the mad Baron of Flyeln might be some other than my Achilles of Gottingen. But all that I said and all that I heard, convinced me too surely that there was no room for mistake.
I was yet lost in speculations on the nature of human existence,-how the same spirit which spans the space of the universe and aspires to the highest,
"It is indeed a sad affair, that of the Baron," sighed one of the officers. "Everybody liked him; We was one of the bravest of the regiment,-in fact a dare-devil. We saw that, during the last campaign in France. What none of us dared to do, he did as if in sport. He triumphed in everything. Just think of the affair at the battery of BelleAlliance! We had lost;-the General tore the very hair from his head. Flyeln cried out, We must try again, or all is gone!' We had then made three assaults in vain. Flyeln went out with his company once more, took with him a whole battalion of guards, and, by God, pressing on with the most horrible butchery, stormed the battery."
But it cost half of the company," interrupted an old Captain near me; "I was an eye-witness. He came out, however, as usual without a scratch. The most monstrous luck always attended the man. The common soldiers even are indebted to him for instruction in that which pertains strictly to their own duties."
I heard with real transport the eulogies passed upon the good Olivier. I knew him again with all his virtues. Th particularly praised his beneficence. He was the founder and improver of a school for soldier's children, and had gone to great expense on account of it. He had done much good in secret; always led a simple and retired life; never gave way to the extravagance or dissoluteness to which
youth, beauty, vigor and health invited him. Yes, the officers assured me, he had had a signal influence in ennobling the tone of the corps,-in improving their manners as well as in enlarging their knowledge. He himself had read lectures upon various subjects, useful to the warriors, until he was silenced."
"And why silenced ?" asked I with some astonishment.
Why, even in these lectures," answered one of my neighbors, "he discovered some symptoms of his mental disorder. No Jacobin in the French National Convention, ever raged so vehemently against our monarchical arrangements, and against the various European Courts, and their politics, as he did at times. He said, right out, that the people would sooner or later help themselves-themselves and the king-against ministerial domination, priestcraft, and pecuniary exactions. He thought that the revolution would spread inevitably from nation to nation, and that, in less than half a century, the whole political aspect of Europe would be changed. But enough: the lectures were forbidden, and very properly and justly. Even so madly did he declaim at times, that he assailed the nobility and their prerogatives. If any one reminded him, that he himself was a baron, he would answer, You are silly to say so, I am a plain man of sense, and have been from the cradle no better than our sutler there!""
you, if I should really tear you open with my sword, what good would it do you?' And as the Colonel, no longer able to contain his wrath, drew his sword, the Major calmly bared his breast, held it up to him, and said, 'Are you anxious to become an assassin?-strike then! We here joined in the conversation, and wished him to fight with the Lieutenant-Colonel as duty and honor commanded. Then he called us all fools together, whose maxims of honor, he said, belonged rather to the Mad-house or to the House of Correction. We soon perceived that he was not altogether right in his upper story. One of us insulted him, but he took no notice of it, and only laughed. We repaired to the General, and frankly related to him our whole case. The General was grieved, and the more so, because that very day he had received an Order for the Major from the Court. He enjoined us to say nothing-he would settle all-the Major must give satisfaction. The next morning at parade, the General, according to command, handed over the Order, with a suitable speech to the Major. He did not take it, but answered in respectful words, that "he had fought against Napoleon for the sake of his country, and not for a little bit of ribbon. If he deserved any praise, he did not wish to wear it on his breast, as a show to the eyes of everybody." The General was almost frightened out of his senses. But no prayers nor menaces could move the Major to take the royal distinction. Next, the officers stepped forth, and declared that they could no longer serve with the Major, unless he rendered some satisfaction. The affair came to trial; the Major was imprisoned; and was only released by the Court. Then his malady broke out in its fulness. He suffered his beard to grow like a Jew's-wore ludicrous dresses-married, to spite his relations, a quite ordinary, yet pretty girl-a foundling, for whom he had already had the affair with the LieutenantColonel-thought himself, for a long while, miserably poor-and finally, did so many foolish things, that he was sent by royal command, under strict guardianship, to his own estate."
"Where is he now ?" I asked. "Still at his own estate, in Flyeln, in the castle of his deceased uncle-dis
tant, it may be, ten hours from this. For a long year no one went to him without permission-even the management of his business was taken away from him. It is now restored to him, though he must still render a yearly account. He does not venture to stir a step beyond his domains. He has solemnly excommunicated the whole world, and does not permit relatives, acquaintances, or friends, to come to him. They have now, for a year and more, heard nothing of him."
After I had casually surveyed the lions of the place, I flung myself into a waggon, and drove all night and the following day, towards Flyeln, to the neighborhood of a seaport. The village of Flyeln lay yet two miles distant from this town. The post-master, when he heard where I wanted to go, laughed, and reminded me that I was going on a useless journey. The Baron did not permit himself to be seen by strangers. I also learned that he had not improved in the condition of his mind, but that the good man had become firmly persuaded, that the whole world during the last century had turned crazy, and that the remedy was to go forth from Flyeln. In this belief-all the world holding him, and he holding all the world, to be senseless-he separated himself altogether from other men. His peasants find themselves none the less well off on ccount of it, for he did much for
them. But in return they must obey his whims in the smallest matters, wear trousers, with long jackets and round hats, suffer their beards to grow long, and thou all people, espe cially upon the grounds of Flyeln— even the most important personages. Aside from these crack-brained notions, he was one of the most sensible men in the world.
Notwithstanding the warning of the post-master, I continued the attempt, and went forth towards Flyeln. Why should it trouble me, to go two miles for nothing, when, for the sake of Olivier, I had already ventured so far out of my way? Nor found I reason to fear that I should be driven away, since he had not suffered in his memory. It was, in truth, a miserable untravelled route, sometimes through deep sand, sometimes through newly dug brooks and miry ground, sometimes through rough defiles; several times my waggon was like to upset. But, about one hour's ride from Flyeln, the land began to rise. The fields stood in excellent order upon a wide plain; on the right, an oak forest stretched in the distance, with its dark green leaves, like an immense bower; on the left, the endless sea, a broad heaving mirror, with its shining clouds, completed the panorama. The village of Flyeln peered out of the fruit trees, willows, and poplars before me; on one side, rose a large old structure, the castle, encompassed by a wood of wild chestnuts; behind, nearer the water, lay the village of Lower Flyeln, also attached to the domain of Olivier, picturesquely relieved by rugged ranges of rocks, which, in woody cliffs, projected like little peninsulas far into the sea. Fishermen's boats with sails swarmed upon the shores, and a ship was sailing upon the ridge of the sea, with its white sails flickering in the air.
The nearer I came to the village and castle, the more picturesque and cheerful grew the scenery. It possessed the peculiar charms of a country bordering the sea-those which spring from the mingling of the beauties of landscape with the majesty of the ocean, retired and peaceful cottages contrasting with the stormy life of the elements. At any rate, the place of exile selected by my friend had attractions enough to induce any one to prefer it to the privilege of living in bustling cities.
In the fields, as well as in the gardens, I soon discovered the famous Flyeln beards. Even the hotel-keeper, before whose inn I reined up and alighted, was profusely covered with hair about his chin and mouth. He returned my greeting in a friendly manner, and seemed to be rather astonished at my arrival. "Dost thou seek the proprietor?" he asked me courteously. I permitted the somewhat unusual thou to pass with a smile, answering simply yes. "Then, I must inquire concerning thy name, rank, and dwelling-place. These must be announced to Mr. Olivier. He does not willingly receive travellers."
"But me he will certainly receive. Let him be told that one of his oldest and best friends, in passing by, wishes to speak with him for a little while. Let nothing further be said to him."
"As thou willst," replied the host; "but I can anticipate the answer."
While the hotel-keeper was looking for a messenger, I went slowly through the village, direct towards the castle, to which a foot-path that ran between the houses and a fruit garden, seemed to invite me. But it led me astray to a building which I took for a washhouse. Sidewise, beyond a meadow, flowed a pretty broad brook, over which the high and dark wild chestnuts of the ancient homestead of the Baron flung their shadows. I determined upon the hazard of introducing myself to Olivier unannounced. I had purposely concealed my name from the hotel-keeper, in order to see, when Olivier should come to me, whether he would recognize me. I crossed over the meadow-found after long seeking a bridge over the brook, and a path that led through the underbrush towards the wild chestnuts. These overshadowed a spacious round plot near the castle, ornamented with green turf. On both sides stood fine easychairs under the broad branches of the trees, and upon one of the benches sat -I was not overcome-Olivier. He was reading a book. At his feet a child about three years old played in the grass. Near him sat a beautiful young woman with an infant at the breast. The group was not a common I stood still, half hidden by the shrubs. None of them looked towards My eyes hung only on the good Olivier. Even the black beard which
twined about his chin, and by means of the whiskers, connected with the dark locks of his head, became himand as to his dress, though it was peculiar, it was not odd. On his head, he carried a neat cap, with the shade turned against the sun; his breast was open, with wide overlapping shirt collars; he had a green jacket, buttoned tight before, with lappets reaching down to his knees, loose sailor trowsers, and half-boots. He was dressed much in the same way as the peasants, only more tastefully, and with finer stuffs. His mien was quiet and thoughtful, and he looked like a man just entering his fortieth year. His beard gave him an heroic aspect and bearing. He stood before me, as I would imagine one of the noble forms of the middle ages.
In the meantime, the messenger of the tavern-keeper came from the castle to the circle of trees. The young fellow took off his beaver, and said, "Sir, there is a stranger on his journey who wishes to speak with thee. He says that he is one of thy oldest and best friends."
Olivier looked up and inquired, "Journey? Is he on foot?" "No, he came with the post!" "What is his name? Who is he?" "That I can't say."
"He must let me alone. I will not see him," cried Olivier, and made a sign to the youth with his hand that he must depart.
But you must see me, Olivier," cried I, stepping forth, and bowing courteously to the young woman. He, without moving, even without returning my salutation, stretched his neck towards me, surveyed me for some time with a sharp glance, looked grave, threw his book down, then approached me, saying, "With whom am I speaking ?""
"What, Achilles no longer knows his Patroclus," replied I.
“'Ω ποποι "he exclaimed, greatly amazed, while he spread out his arms, "welcome, noble Patroclus, in a French frock, and with powdered hair." Then he fell upon my bosom. In spite of his sarcastic speech both he and I were moved, and gave way to tears. An interval of twenty years melted away in the embrace. We breathed again, as we did upon the shores of the Seine, or at Borenden.
Thereupon, with eyes sparkling with joy, he led me to the charining young mother, who modestly reddened, and said to her, "See, this is Norbert, thou knowest him already from many of my stories!" and to me, "That is my beloved wife."
She smiled with the veritable smile of an angel, and said with an air and voice, more kind even than her words, "Thou noble friend of Olivier, thrice welcome! I have long since desired the pleasure of thy personal acquaintance."
I would have said something obliging in return, but I confess that the familiar Thou which greeted me, unaccustomed to hear it spoken from such lovely lips, and in so unrestrained a manner, quite deprived me of self-possession.*
My gracious lady," I stammered finally, "I have-by a roundabout way of more than twenty miles-purchased cheaply, - the happiness, you and your husband,--my oldest friend
Hallo, Norbert," interrupted Olivier laughing, "only one word in the beginning, a request,--call my wife as thou callest thy God, simply thou. Do not disturb the plain customs of Flyeln with the fooleries of a German master of ceremonies and dealer in compliments: it makes a disagreeable discord in our ears. Imagine to thyself, that thou art two hundred years, or two hundred miles, away from Germany and Europe, and living again in a natural world,-somewhere, if you please, in the good old times of the Odyssey."
"Well, Olivier, you have managed to be Thou and Thou, with so worthy a woman, that no one need be requested twice; and as to thee, Baroness, then- 99
"Once more hold!" cried Olivier, laughing loudly between each word, "thy Baroness agrees with thou, about as well as thy French frock and shorn beard agrees with the name of Patroclus. My peasants are no more bondservants but freemen; I and my wife are no more nor less barons than they Call my Amelia, as everybody names her here, Mother-the noblest title of a wife-or Madam."
"Pardon me, but thou art somewhat Jacobinically inclined," responded I; "who told thee that nobility of birth among us was sinking in public opinion?"
"Oh, popoi!" he exclaimed, "must I teach thee, then? I knew, some years ago, a poor ragged Jew, that you pious Christians would rather have had not born than born. He chaffered so much money together, that he soon took his letters from the post-office with the address of a nobleman. After some years he was a rich man, and the courtly Germans readily conceived that the fellow must have sprung from some high birth. All wrote to him from that time forth, as a nobly-descended Banker. But the secret of it was, that the Banker with his ducats, helped the finance minister and the prosperitybringing war minister in their straits for money. On the spot, then, the useful Banker was addressed and designated as the most nobly born Baron. This illumination of the Germans - this mockery of nobility, has spread in a few years much further than thou believest. But I hope as the nobility of birth comes to be regarded among you as void, the nobility of mind will be much more legitimate and sufficient."
The Baroness, in order to put her infant to rest, and to prepare a chamber for me, left us with the children. Olivier led me through his garden, whose beds were filled with the choicest flowers. About a fountain, there stood on high pedestals of black stone, white marble busts with inscriptions. I read there: Socrates, Cincinnatus, Columbus, Luther, Bartholomew Las Casas, Rousseau, Franklin, and Peter the Great.
“I see thou still livest in good com
* The Germans only use thou to persons with whom they are on intimate terms.