Jean. [from old catalog] Paul.

The Invisible Lodge online

. (page 1 of 35)
Online LibraryJean. [from old catalog] PaulThe Invisible Lodge → online text (page 1 of 35)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Produced by Charles Bowen, from page scans provided by the Web Archive

Transcriber's Notes:
1. Page scan source:

2. The diphthong oe is represented by [oe].








Copyright, 1883
Henry Holt & Co.




This work was the forerunner (and, according to its Author's nephew and
biographer, the _cradle_), of some of his principal subsequent
Romances, especially Hesperus and Titan. "The _Invisible Lodge_," says
Spazier, "is, in more than one sense, the Genesis of Jean Paul's poetic
world and its inhabitants - the birth history of his first Romances." It
is peculiarly interesting as containing, both in spirit and in
incident, a good deal of Richter's own biography. It was written in
1792, when the Author was 29 years old, and is the work which decided,
if not his reputation, at least his determination to make his
countrymen appreciate his work and his worth. It was the first of his
productions which, he felt, was somewhat munificently paid for, as it
gave him the joy of bursting in upon his poor old mother and pouring
some 250 dollars into her lap.

The date of this work is the transition period in the Author's life,
when (in his own words) he came out of the "vinegar manufactory," where
he had concocted his "Greenland Law-suits," and "Papers of the Devil,"
and passed through the "honey-sour" interval which gave birth to the
Idyl of the "Contented Little Schoolmaster, Wutz," into the happier and
more harmonious period which began with the "Invisible Lodge."

In this Romance, says Mrs. Lee, "the different epochs in the history of
his soul are embodied." "To Ottomar he has given his dreams and
aspirations; to Fenk his satire and comic humor; and in Gustavus the
events of his autobiography are clothed in a poetic garment."

A few weeks before his death, which took place in November 1825, (and
of which he seems to have had a singular presentiment not long before
this book was written), referring to its abrupt ending he says: "What
life in the world do we see that is not interrupted and incomplete? And
if we complain that a Romance is left unfinished - that it does not even
inform us what came of Kunz's second courtship and Elsie's despair on
the occasion - how Hans escaped the claws of the sheriff, and Faust
those of Mephistopheles - still let us console ourselves with the
reflection that man, in his present existence, sees nothing on any side
but knots, that only beyond his grave lie the solutions, and that all
History is to him an unfinished Romance.

"Baireuth, Oct. 1825."

On the 14th of the month following, the hand that penned these lines
was cold in death. C. T. B.

Newport, Oct. 1882.


Courting by Chess. - Graduated Recruit. - Copulative Cat.

In my opinion, what made the Head-forester Von Knör so incredibly
sharp-set upon chess was, that from one year's end to the other, he had
nothing to do but to be, once during that time, the guest, the _Santa
Hermandad_ or Holy Brotherhood and the Dispenser of Bulls to the

The reader can surely never have heard of an amateur with so
extravagant a passion as his. The least he could do was to send for all
his servants to the village of Strehpcnik, (where one gains as much
immunity from taxation by chess as a nobleman does by a Saxon Diet,) in
order that he might (though in a different sense from that of Cato)
have as many opponents as servants. For another instance, he and a
nobleman of Upper Yssel in Zwoll spent more postal money in writing
than in riding, inasmuch as they played chess at a distance of 250
miles, not with fingers, but with pens. Still another fact may satisfy
the reader, viz., that he and Kempele's Automaton Chess-player
corresponded with each other, and that the fellow-lodger and adjutant
of the wooden Moslem, Herr von Kempele, once in my presence wrote back
to him from Hay street in Leipsic, in the name of the Mussulman, that
the latter castled. The reader will have his own reflections on the
subject, when told that the man, within two years, traveled away to
Paris, to go to the Palais Royal and to the _Société du Salon des
Echecs_, and to sit down there as chess-combatant, and jump up again as
chess-conqueror, although he was afterward cudgeled much too severely
in a democratic street, for having cried out in sleep: _Gardez la
Reine!_ It may simply seem striking to one and another that his
daughter never could win a new hat from him or a new dressing-maid
(soubrette) to put it on for her, except by winning at the same time a
game of chess. But one thing will astonish and vex all who read me, of
either sex and of every age, namely, that the Head-forester had sworn
he would give his daughter to no other beast in the whole knightly
circle but the one who should win not only her heart but at the same
time the victory over her in a game of chess - and that in seven weeks.

The ground he took, and his chain of reasoning, was this: "A good
mathematician is a good chess-player; therefore, _vice-versâ_ - a good
mathematician knows the Differential Calculus ten times better than a
poor one, - and a good master of Differentiation understands himself as
well as any one in the matter of wheeling and deploying,[2] and
consequently can command his company (and his wife, in fact,) at any
hour - and why then should not one give so accomplished, so experienced
an officer, his only daughter?" My reader would certainly have seated
himself forthwith at the chess-board and thought to himself: the
drawing of such a quaternion[3] from the board as the daughter of a
Head-forester, is an extraordinarily easy matter; but it is
confoundedly hard when the father himself watches behind her chair, and
prompts the daughter in every move whereby she is to guard her king and
the maiden-queen (herself) from my reader.

No one who had heard of it could comprehend why the Forester's Lady,
who had long been the Maid of Honor to a Countess von Ebersdorf, with
her fine feelings and her piety, could tolerate such a hunter's-whim;
but the truth is, she had a Moravian fancy of her own to carry out,
namely, that the first child of her daughter Ernestina should
be trained for Heaven; that is to say eight years _under the
earth_ - "eighty years for all me!" said the old man.

Now, although in any case one has a plaguey hard time with a daughter,
whether one would draw subscribers (_i. e_. suitors) to her or drive
them away, nevertheless Knör found in this case his true heaven upon
earth - among so many Knights of Chess, all fighting for his Ernestina
and losing her and the game. For she, with a head into which her father
had poured light, and a heart into which her mother had infused virtue,
could conquer more easily than be conquered; hence a whole brigade of
youthful suitors vexed and played themselves almost to death. And yet
there were some among them who in all castles round about claimed the
name of _sweet gentlemen_ because they had not _sailors' manners_, as,
in comparison with briny and bitter _sea-water_, we call our flat,
fresh water _sweet_.

But the reader and I will jump over the whole company of players, and
place ourselves beside the Cavalry Captain, von Falkenberg, who is
standing by the father and who is also bent upon marriage. This
officer - a man of courage and good nature, without any principles,
except that of honor; who, in order not to "write any thing behind his
ears" as the phrase is, _i. e_., not to lay up any grudge against
another (the ears, especially when of some length, being generally the
black-board and tally-stick of received offences), would rather _box_
those of other Christians; who acted more finely than he spoke, and
whose full-length portrait[4] I have not room enough to spread out
between these two dashes - had continued enlisting recruits in this part
of the country so long that at last his affections were enlisted by
Ernestina. There was nothing he hated so much as chess and Moravianism;
meanwhile Knör said to him: At twelve o'clock tonight the seven
tournament-weeks of the game were to begin, and if at twelve o'clock,
seven weeks hence, he had not sent his antagonist from the battle-field
to the bridal chamber he should be heartily sorry, and all the _eight
years' education_ would then go for nothing.

For the first fourteen days the playing and - loving went on in fact too
negligently. But at that time neither I nor other clever people had
written those ardent romances, wherewith - a serious thing for us to
answer for - we transform young people into crackling, roaring, rotatory
stoves of love, which burst with the heat and become calcined, and
after marriage can no more be heated. Ernestina was one of those
daughters who are on hand when one gives the order: "Next Sunday, God
willing, at four o'clock, when Herr A. or Z. comes, you are to fall in
love with him." The Captain, in the article of love, bit neither into
the fermenting pumpernickel or rye-bread of the physical sensation, nor
into the white, weak flour-bread of the Parisian sentiment, nor into
the quiddany (the quince marmalade) and heaven's bread of the Platonic,
but into a fine slice of the home-made brown-bread of conjugal
affection; he was thirty-seven years old. Sixteen years before he had
cut off a bit of the aforesaid pumpernickel: his mistress and his and
her son were afterward married by the respectable commercial agent,

We Belletrists, on the contrary, can make it of great practical use in
our romances, that it agrees right well with our maw and the coat of
our stomach, when in the same afternoon we cut for ourselves from those
four sorts of bread at once; for we must ourselves be _old Harrys_ to
depict old Harrys; how could we manage it otherwise, when, in
the self-same month, out of the self-same heart, as well as the
self-same bookstore (I shall be vexing Herr Adelung[5] here by
the word "self-same" - _nämlich_), we have to issue satires and
eulogies - night-thoughts - night-scenes - war-songs - idyls - bawdy ditties
and solemn dirges, so that behind and before us people stand astonished
to see Pantheon and Pandemonium under one roof - more than they were
over the _postmortem_ stomach of the galley-slave Bazile, in which was
found a household property of thirty-five effects, such as pipe-heads,
leather, and bits of glass.

When the two young people sat down at the chessboard, which was to be
either their partition-wall or their bridge, the father stood by all
the time as marker; it was, however, quite unnecessary - not merely
because the Captain played so miserably and his antagonist so
Philidorically; but for the additional reason, that the female laws of
etiquette forbade her to be mated or to fall in love (for women and
oarsmen always turn their backs to the shore toward which they are
seeking to propel themselves) - but for a still more remarkable reason
the auxiliary forester might have been dispensed with, namely, that
Ernestina wanted above all things to be checkmated, and _for that very
reason_ she played so well. For out of spite against dilatory fate, one
sets himself on purpose to work against the very things that depend
upon him, and desires them nevertheless. The two warring powers grew,
indeed, more and more fond of each other, even in proportion as they
were afraid of forfeiting each other; nevertheless it was not in the
power of the female party to omit a single move which contravened her
two-fold desire: in five weeks the recruiting officer could not once
say: Check to the queen! Besides, women play this king's game admirably
well (as they do other games of kings).... But as this seems to be a
digression of nature, though it is none; still an authorial one can be
made out of it, only not until the Twentieth Sector; because I must
first have written two or three months, till I have so spun up the
reader into my web, that I can pluck or pull him just as I please.

Had the Captain's love been of the modern gigantic sort, which, not
like a gently unfolding zephyr, but like a shaking tempest, grasps the
green, thin flowrets, that cannot at all adapt themselves to the
belletrical hurricane, then the least he could have done would have
been to be at once a very devil; but as it was he was merely angry, not
with the father, but with the daughter; and that not because she did
not make the chess-board a presentation-dish of her hand and heart, or
because she played well against him, but because she played so _very_
well. Such is man! and I beseech fellow-men not to laugh at my Captain.
To be sure, if I had had the female charms of Ernestina, and had looked
into his puzzled face, as he meditated his counter-approaches, and seen
how on its rounded mouth stood that pain at undeserved affliction which
wears such a touching aspect in men of spirit, where it is not
distorted by the arthritic knots and cutaneous eruptions of revenge, I
should have grown red and should verily have plunged with my queen,
(and myself too), into check: for what could I have loved in that case
but a stern self-sacrifice?

By the 16th of June, Ernestina could herself almost have delighted in
such sacrifice, as will presently be seen from a letter of hers. For a
woman is certainly capable of maintaining for twice 24 hours one and
the same sentiment towards a man (though not towards any other object),
provided she has nothing of this man before her but his image in her
fair little head; but, let the man himself, uncopied, stand, five feet
high, before her, she can no longer achieve it; her feelings, playing
like a column of gnats in a sunbeam, the merest trifle about the
aforesaid man will chase them away from each other, and against each
other, in among each other, _e. g_., a thimble-full too much or too
little of powder upon him, a stoop of the upper part of his body, a
finger-nail cut to the quick, a scurfy, self-peeling under-lip, the
powder-margin and play-ground of the queue on the back of his coat,
long side-whiskers - in fact anything. I have a hundred reasons for
breaking open here before the eyes of the indiscreet reader Ernestina's
letter to a retired court-lady in the residence-city of Scheerau; she
had to write to her every week, because there was an expectation of
inheriting in that quarter, and because Ernestina herself had once been
with her and in the city long enough to be well able to bring away with
her eleven thousand city notions - that is, three weeks.

"Last week I had really nothing to write you but the old song. Our
playing is infinitely tedious to me and I only pity the Captain; but no
talking avails anything with my father, so long as he can have any one
to see play. Were it not better, the good Captain should wake up his
coachman, who sits snoring all day long in the servants' room, and
harness up and drive off? Ever since Sunday we have been in one round
of torment over a single game, and I have already leaned one elbow
sore - to night must end it.

"_Twelve o'clock at night_. - He loses his knights every time and by my
queen. When he has once married, I will show him his mistakes and my
strokes of art, I am bored to death, gracious Aunt.

"_June 16th_. - In four days I am free from my player and chess-board,
and I will not seal this, till I can write you how he behaved towards
his tired and innocent _basket-maker_. To-day we played up in the
little Chinese pavilion. As the ruddy evening-twilight, which fell
directly into his face, threw confused shadows among the pieces, and as
I looked with pity at his right fore-finger, which had a red line left
by a sabre-stroke and which lay on the rim of the chess-board; in my
absence of mind I actually lost my queen, and the abominable baptismal
tolling of the Chinese chime almost deprived me of the power of forming
a plan - fortunately my father came back and helped me a little.
Afterward I took him round through the improvements in our grove and he
told me, I fancy, the history of his marked finger; he is very wild
towards his equals, but withal uncommonly obliging to ladies.

"_June 18th_. - Since yesterday we have all been somewhat merrier. In
the evening two under-officers brought five recruits, and as we were
told that there was a man among them who could set a whole defeated
army to laughing, we all went down in a body. Down below there the man
was just whispering half aloud into another recruit's ear that he had a
row of false teeth set in his jaw and they all fell out except a corner
tooth when he bit off a cartridge; but all he wanted was to secure the
bounty money. At our request he screwed the hat off of his head, but a
white cap, which reached down so as to cover the eyebrows, he pulled
down still lower. If he should take that off, he said, he should never
in his life get to the command of a regiment. One of the subalterns
began to laugh, and said, he does it merely because he has, underneath,
three abominable birthmarks, nothing more - and a comrade stepped up
behind him and slyly whisked off the cap from his head. Hardly had
there sprung forth, to our astonishment, a head which showed on both
temples two flaming birthmarks, a silhouette with a natural queue, and,
opposite, two pole-cats' tails, when to our still greater astonishment
the Captain clasped the figured head and kissed it as passionately as
if it were his own bodily brother, and seemed as if he would laugh
himself to death for joy. 'Thou art forever Dr. Fenk and nobody else!'
said he. He must be very intimate with the Captain and comes direct
from Upper-Scheerau. Don't you know him? The Prince has him travel to
Switzerland and Italy as botanist and companion to his natural son,
Captain Von Ottomar, as you will have already known. He perpetrates
crazy jokes, if it is true, as he swears, that this is his 21st
disguise and that he is just so many years old. He looks badly; he says
himself, his broad chin turns up like a beaver's tail and that the
barber really shaves the half wilderness for him gratis, equal to two
beards - his lips are slit away to the wisdom teeth and his little eyes
sparkle all day long. For people, too, who are not his equals, his
jokes are much too free."

Ernestina here cuts a silhouette of the Doctor's outer man, which, like
many Indian trees, under external spines and thorny foliage concealed
the soft and precious fruit of the most humane heart. I, however, shall
be able to draw him quite as well as our correspondent can. As
humorists like him are seldom handsome - female humorists still less
so - and as the spirit travesties itself and the face, of course (he
said) the finest dress could be of no service to any man - to himself
and the handsome ones least of all - but only to the drapers. Hence his
pieces of uniform were divided into two departments, - the splendid ones
(that people might see he did not wear the poor ones from poverty) and
these same poor ones, which he generally had on at the same time with
the others. Were not the sail-flaps of the handsomest embroidered
waistcoat all the time sticking out from under a fox-brown overcoat,
which was almost lost at the top in his hair-bag? Had he not, under a
1½ Louis d'or hat, hung on a disgraceful queue, for which he had given
no more than six farthings of our present money? To be sure, it was
half out of exasperation against this so tasteless crab's-tail of the
head, against this telescope-like shortening and elongating spinal
pendent to the fourth, thought-full cerebral chamber. His writing-set
had to be much more elegant than his dinner-set and his paper
whiter than his linen; he could never tolerate poor little pens or
pen-feathers anywhere except on his hat, which his bed - and the
disorder, natural to him as a bachelor - improved, so to speak, into a
nobleman's plumed hat; meanwhile, to keep the bed feathers in his hair
company he placed behind his ears good sea-quills - the chief commissary
might have worn them behind his at the Diet with honor.

But not to make himself a mere oddity in dress, a separatist in his
attire, he had a counterfeit presentment of himself taken from year to
year after the best styles of the Journal of Follies, and pretended
that he must, after all, show the people that he or his knee-piece knew
how to keep up side by side perhaps with the latest exquisites. The
lower rim of his overcoat, like man himself, was often made out of
earth; but he insisted upon it, that one should tell him what harm it
would do if he should, in his own person, carry things to the extent
that a stocking maker did - whose history I will at once relate, in
order not to write without any moral. The man referred to had the good
and droll habit when he brought his stockings to town on his back to
deliver them, of never brushing or rubbing off the border of dirt with
which his surtout fringed itself. He simpler took a large pair of
shears and carefully cut off each time the newly formed miry margin and
filthy horizon. Now, the longer it rained the shorter the dimensions to
which his frock shrunk up, and on the shortest day the epitomizer, by
reason of the unprecedented weather, went round in the shortest
surtout - in a neat 16mo edition of the former folio edition. The moral
I would draw from this is the following question: Should not a wise
State, which is certainly seventy times shrewder than all stocking
weavers put together, who are themselves, indeed, only members of it,
take the best course to imitate the fringed stocking weaver; namely,
instead of wasting the time rubbing and scrubbing its filthy members
(thieves, adulterers, etc.), to cut them off with the sword, or
otherwise make short work with them?

Doctor Fenk diverted and dissipated by whimsical consolation the
solitary curses which his friend the Captain vented instead of sighs.
He said he had remarked in Ernestina more than once, at some specially
good move of his making, no other start than one of pleasure. He would
stake his traveling money upon it that she, as she loved him, was
nursing some trick in her head which would pave his way or frame his
staircase to the bridal chamber. He advised him to appear distrait and
inattentive, so as not to detect and disturb her in the hatching of her
secret plan. He asked him: "Do you understand perfectly the _minor
offices_ of love?" No German comprehended metaphors less than the
Captain. "I mean," he continued, "can you not, then, be out and out the
most crafty _vocativus_? Can you not retain hold for a long time of the
piece you mean to move, so as to keep your hand a long time over your
chess-militia, and with your hand make the Generalissima fall into
agitation and love? Can you not change every minute your attitudes
towards this fair foe, and especially contrive to lift yourself up,
because a man standing seems better looking to a woman who is sitting
than to one who stands? I and she should see you now leaning back in
your chair, now stretching forward, now to the left, now to the right,
now in the shade, now with your eyes fixed on her hand, now on her
lips, during the game. Nay, you should knock three or four pawns over
on to the floor merely that you may have to stoop over to pick them up,
so that your swelling facial veins might make an impression on her
heart, and that you might drive the blood up into your own head and
hers at the same time. Let your queue be buckled an eighth of an ell
nearer the occiput or farther from it, in case such buckling and such
distance has hitherto counteracted your marriage prospects." The poor
Captain neither understood nor performed a single iota of the whole
service-regulation, and the Doctor was quite as well satisfied, for it

Online LibraryJean. [from old catalog] PaulThe Invisible Lodge → online text (page 1 of 35)