Page images
PDF
EPUB

quainting her with all the contents; only that he wanted my consent to come down, and hoped that she used me kindly, and the like. And I said, “Now, Mrs. Jewkes, let me have your advice as to this."

“ Why, then," said she, “I will give it you freely : e'en send for him to come down. It will highly oblige him, and I daresay you will fare the better for it.”

“Well,” said I,“ I will write him a letter, because he expects an answer, or maybe he will make a pretence to come down. How can it go ?“I'll take care of that,” said she : “it is in my instructions.” “ Aye,” thought I,“ so I doubt, by the hint Mr. Williams gave me about the post-house."

I wrote to my master as follows:

HONORED SIR, — When I consider how easily you might have made me happy, since all I desire is to be permitted to go to my poor father and mother; when I reflect upon your former proposal to me in relation to a certain person, not one word of which is now mentioned ; and upon my being in that strange manner run away with, and still kept here a miserable prisoner, do you think, sir (pardon your poor servant's freedom : my fears make me bold), – do you think, I say, that your general assurances of honor to me can have the effect they ought to have? O good sir! I too much apprehend that your notions of honor and mine are very different from one another; I have no other hope but in your continual absence. If you have any proposals to make me that are consistent with your honorable professions, in my humble sense of the word, a few lines will communicate them to me, and I will return such an answer as befits me.

Whatever rashness you may impute to me, I cannot help it; but I wish I may not be forced upon any that otherwise would not enter my thoughts. Forgive, sir, my plainness; I should be loath to behave to my master unbecomingly: but I must say, sir, my innocence is so dear to me that all other considerations must be dispensed with. If you mean honorably, why should you not let me know it plainly? Why, sir, I bumbly ask, why all this if you mean honorably? It is not for me to expostulate too freely with you, sir, so greatly my superior. Pardon me, I hope you will; but as to seeing you, I cannot bear the dreadful apprehension. Whatever you have to propose to me, whatever you intend, let my assent be that of a free person, and not of a sordid slave, who is to be threatened and frightened into a compliance with measures which your conduct seems to imply. My restraint is hard upon me; I am very uneasy under it. Shorten it, I beseech you, or – But I will dare to say no more than that I am your greatly oppressed, unhappy servant.

After I had taken a copy of this, I folded it up: and Mrs. Jewkes coming just as I had done, sat down by me; and said, when she saw me directing it, “ I wish you would tell me if you have taken my advice, and consented to my master's coming down.”

“ If it will oblige you,” said I,“ I will read it to you."
“ That's good,” said she ; " then I 'll love you dearly."
Said I, “ Then you must not offer to alter one word.”
“I won't,” replied she.

So I read it to her. She praised me much for my wording of it; but said she thought I pushed the matter very close, and it would better bear talking than writing about. She wanted an explanation or two about a certain person ; but I said she must take it as she heard it.”

“Well, well,” said she, “I make no doubt you understand one another, and will do so more and more.”

I sealed up the letter, and she undertook to convey it.

9464

JEAN PAUL RICHTER.

RICHTER, JEAN PAUL FRIEDRICH, commonly called simply “ Jean Paul," a celebrated German humorist and essayist; born at Wunsiedel, near Baireuth, in Bavaria, March 21, 1763; died at Baireuth, November 14, 1825. After a fair training at the Hof Gymnasium he went at eighteen to the University of Leipsic, where he studied diligently after his own fashion, and commenced the career of authorship. His first publication was the “Greenland Lawsuits," a collection of satirical sketches (1783). During the next seven years he worked on, in straightened circumstances, which, however, gradually improved. His“ Invisible Lodge” (1793) gained him reputation as a humorist, and before he was thirty-five he was recognized by the best authors in Germany as one of themselves. In 1802 a moderate pension was granted him, and not long afterward he took up his residence at Baireuth, where the remainder of his life was passed. The complete works of Richter contain sixtyfive volumes of tales, romances, fantasies, didactic essays, visions, and homilies. Among the principal tales are “Hesperus(1794); “ Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces" (1796); “ The Life of Quintus Fexlein" (1796); “Titan” (1801-3); of a different character are “ Introduction to Æsthetics" (1804); “Kampanerthal,” an essay on Immortality (1797); “ Levana,” an essay on Education, (1807); and “ Selina," an unfinished essay on Immortality, which was placed on his coffin when he was borne to his grave.

THE DYING YEAR.

(From “ Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces.") The winter was lying on the ground all bare and naked, not even the bed sheet and chrisom cloth of snow thrown over it; there it lay beside the dry, withered mummy of the bygone summer. Firmian looked with an unsatisfied gaze athwart unclothed fields (over which the cradle quilt of the snow, and the white crape of the frost, had not yet been laid), and down at the streams, not yet struck palsied and speechless. Bright, warm days at the end of December soften us with a sadness

[graphic][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »