Adelbert von Chamisso.

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Ue
MHRVELLOUS HISTORY

TheShhdowles

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and

The Cold Hehrt

fy WILHELM HflUFF

MitA an /ntroducfion fy
D^a.S.RflPPOPORT

Illustrated by
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CONTENTS

THE SHADOWLESS MAN

PAGE

INTRODUCTION - - - - vii

author's introduction - - - - -'- - 3

CHAPTER I - - - - - 5

„ 2 - - - - - 23

„ 3 - - - - - 44

» 4 - - - - - 63

» 5 - - - - n

THE COLD HEART

introduction - - - - i

PART I - - - - -2

» 2 - 43



Ul






481 1H8



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



THE SHADOWLESS MAN

"THE WHOLE SWARM PROCEEDED IMMEDIATELY TO RECON-
NOITRE ME AND TO PELT ME WITH MUD " - Frontispiece

To face page

"AN EXTRAORDINARY LOOKING OLD MAN LEFT ME THESE

PAPERS SAYING HE CAME FROM BERLIN " - - 2

FANNY - - - - 6

" I DREW THE ILL-FATED PURSE FROM MY BOSOM ; AND IN A
SORT OF FEtENZY THAT RAGED LIKE A SELF-FED FIRE
WITHIN ME, I TOOK OUT GOLD — GOLD — GOLD " - - i6

" AND TREMBLING LIKE A CRIMINAL STOLE OUT OF THE HOUSE " 1 8

" I SUFFERED HER TO FALL FROM MY ARM IN A FAINTING FIT " - 28
" SHE ADVANCED FROM THE MIDST OF HER COMPANIONS, AND

BLUSHINGLY KNELT BEFORE ME PRESENTING A WREATH " 30

" NEXT EVENING I WENT AGAIN TO THE FORESTER'S GARDEN " - 42

" SO SAYING HE DREW MY SHADOW OUT OF HIS POCKET AND

STRETCHED IT OUT AT HIS FEET IN THE SUN " - - 50

" ALONE ON THE WILD HEATH I DISBURDENED MY HEART " - 52

THE FOREST OF ANCIENT FIRS .... 62

" WITH SOME HESITATION HE PUT HIS HAND INTO HIS POCKET
AND DREW OUT THE ALTERED AND PALLID FORM OF MR.
JOHN" - - -.. 76

THE DREAM - - - - 78

" AND SO WAS OBLIGED TO CONTENT MYSELF WITH A SECOND-
HAND PAIR" - - - 80

THE FROZEN SEA - - - 82

"AT LAST I SAT DOWN AT THE EXTREME POINT OF LOMBOCK

LAMENTING - - - - 86

PETER AT HOME - - - - 92



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

THE COLD HEART

To face page

DUTCH MICHAEL FELLING THE TREES - - - - 1 4

PETER'S DREAM - - - - - - 22

" HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH, THEY ASKED HIM " - - - 24

" PETER MUNK ! WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THE PINE GROVE " - 26

"THEN IN A FLASH A MONSTROUS WOODCOCK SWEPT DOWN

FROM ABOVE AND SEIZED THE SNAKE IN ITS BEAK " - 28

" YOU HAVEN'T QUITE HIT IT, CHARCOAL PETER " - - 30

PETER GAMBLING AT THE INN - - - 36

" SO HERE WE ARE AT THE END OF IT ALL " - - - 40

" THEN THE MONSTER STRETCHED FORTH AN ARM AS LONG AS A
WEAVER'S BEAM AND A HAND AS BROAD AS A LARGE
TABLE" - - - - 46

"AH, HAVE MERCY, GOOD LADY AND GIVE ME A DRINK OF

WATER" - - - 58

"BUT SCARCELY HAD HE UTTERED THESE WORDS THAN THE
GLASS MANIKIN SUDDENLY BEGAN TO INCREASE IN SIZE
AND STATURE " - - - - - - " 62

" AND AS HE PRAYED MICHAEL DECREASED MORE AND MOJIE IN

SIZE, FALLING TO THE GROUND " - - - 68

" LOOK ONCE MORE AROUND, PETER MUNK !" - - - 72



VI



INTRODUCTION



LOUIS ADELBERT VON CHAMISSO

In 1813 Europe was busy watching the career of the Corsican Giant —
which was nearing its end. Having reached the summit of power,
and put his foot on the neck of Europe, Napoleon was suddenly
hurled down from his dizzy height. And yet in the midst of
stirring events and the din of arms, people found time to pay attention
to important literary productions. A curious book, " The Strange Narra-
tive of Peter Schlemihl," by Louis Adelbert von Chamisso, which made
its first appearance in Germany in 1813, aroused an ever increasing
interest, in spite of the distraction of the public mind, until the name
of the author became world-famous.

Chamisso was by birth a Frenchman, having been born at the castle
of Bon-Court in Champagne, on January 27, 1781.* On the outbreak
of the French Revolution our author left France with his parents ;
and in 1795 we find them in Bayreuth, which then belonged to the
King of Prussia, the Margrave of Anspach having sold the town to
his Prussian Majesty in 1791. Chamisso's parents at last came to
BerHn, and young Adelbert was appointed page to Queen Louise.
This famous queen, wife of Frederic William IL and mother of Frederic
WilHam IIL, took a lively interest in the young page and decided to
complete his somewhat neglected education. A commission in the
army was secured for him, he was made ensign and soon afterwards
lieutenant. Napoleon having in the meantime become First Consul,
he recalled the French emigrants, and Chamisso's parents availed
themselves of the permission and returned to their home, but they
nevertheless advised their son to remain in Prussian service. Adelbert
obeyed them, although he felt far from happy in Berlin. The service
of page did not please him, and his correspondence is full of passages
revealing the melancholy state of his mind. The court atmosphere
was stifling him, and his poverty caused him a great deal of humiliation.

* From certain passages in Chamisso's works it appears, however, that he was
born on January 31st. — Cf. Brun X., A. de Chamisso's de Boncourt, Lyon, 189";. p. 4.



INTRODUCTION

We see him, at that time, as a young man of a serious and independent
disposition, a dreamer and a sceptic, timid and naive, dissatisfied
with his position as page and as soldier, unhappy in his exile, his
misery and his solitude !

But at last Chamisso found consolation in work. With great ardour
he applied himself to the study of the German language and literature,
and particularly to poetry and philosophy. He learned Greek, and
the Iliad became his constant companion. Klopstock and Schiller
attracted him greatly ; but he also read J. J. Rousseau, Voltaire and
Diderot. He published several poems in the language of his adopted
country, compositions distinguished by an originality of style and a
peculiar vigour. Chamisso's first work is supposed to have been
" The Count de Comminges," written in 1801 or 1802. It is not an
original work, but rather an imitation or translation of a drama from
the pen of Baculard d'Arnaud, produced in 1790. Later on he read
Wieland and Goethe, and in 1803 appeared his Faust, in which the
influence of the philosophy of Fichte made itself felt. It was also in
this year that love, by the side of poetry and metaphysics, occupied
the mind and heart of the young lieutenant. Chamisso fell in love
with Madame Ceres Duvemay, a young French coquette widow, of
whom — unlike Sam Weller — he did not learn to beware. He had
made her acquaintance in the salon of the banker Ephraim, and asked
her to marry him. Madame Duvemay, however, was a practical
Frenchwoman and refused the legitimate love of the poor lieutenant !
This love affair and its sad ending increased Chamisso's melancholy
and his inclination for solitude. The war with France then broke out,
and Chamisso tasted the bitterness which is so often the lot of that
unhappy product of modern civilization and political circumstances :
the naturalized alien ! He found himself in an anomalous position
which caused him great distress, for it isolated him among many
millions. Although a naturalized German, nay, at heart attached
to Germany and animated — like so many of his confreres — by the spirit
of liberty — he was nevertheless of French parentage. It was not only
a question whether he should take up arms on behalf of Germany,
but also, whether he should fight against France and the people with
whom he was connected by ties of blood and family relationship.
Hence arose a struggle in his breast. " I, and I alone," he exclaimed
in his despair, " am forbidden at this juncture to wield a sword ! "
Very few people understand the tragedy of those exiles who are com-
pelled to seek a new home and adopt a new country which they love

viii



INTRODUCTION

as much, if not more, than the people among whom they have come
to dwell. Instead of meeting with sympathy on account of his peculiar
situation, Chamisso was frequently doomed to hear, in the Capital of
Prussia, the headquarters of the confederation against France and
Napoleon, expressions of hatred and scorn directed against his country-
men. He was himself too fair-minded to mistake the cause of such
expressions, which were, after all, only natural in the circumstances,
but they nevertheless deeply hurt the sensitive poet when they reached
his ears.

After the treaty of Tilsit had been signed by Napoleon and the
King of Prussia, Chamisso visited France, where his family regained
possession of part of their estates, and our author secured, for a short
time, the post of professor at the school at NapoMonville in the Vendue.
It was during his stay in France that Chamisso was drawn into the
circle of Madame de Stael, and he followed her to Coppet, where she
had been exiled by Napoleon in 1811. In the house of this " magnifi-
cent and wonderful woman," as he calls her in his letters, he passed
incomparable days in the company of August Wilhelm von Schlegel,
Madame Recamier and other celebrities. It was also then that he

.began to study botany on the advice of an English friend. Soon,
however, Chamisso returned to Berhn, which was to him what Delphi
once was to the ancient Athenians. He continued his botanical
studies and at the age of 31 entered the University as a student of
medicine. Again the war broke out, and the uprising of the Germans
against Napoleon involved Chamisso once more in the popular hatred
against the French. Anyone who lays claim to some historical know-
ledge and a dash of culture is acquainted with the events of 1813. A
wave of patriotic enthusiasm swept over Germany, and Germans rose
like one man, in answer to the appeal of Frederic William, King of
Prussia. Houses, streets and universities resounded with the clash
of arms and the shouts of war-like patriots. In the midst of this
effervescence Chamisso suffered greatly. He loved Germany and

( liberty, but he also cherished France, his nati^'e land ; moreover,
he could not help admiring Napoleon, in spite of the latter's tyranny.
While the German poets Koemer and Eichendorff took up arms, whUe
Amdt, Riickert and Uhland fired the courage of their compatriots
by their warlike songs, Chamisso not only stood alone, but was even
exposed to danger. His friends therefore decided to remove him from
Berlin. Lichtenstein, his professor at the University, found him a
position as teacher in the family of Count Itzenplitz, where he taught



INTRODUCTION

French and botany. He was sufficiently near to the capital to be kept
acquainted with the gradual development of the all-important crisis,
and yet remained free from any unpleasant personal contact with it !
Here, at Kunnersdorf, the family seat of Count Itzenplitz, scarcely
a day's journey from Berlin, while occupied with the study of botany
and other sciences, Chamisso conceived the idea of " The Shadowless
Man," and with rapid pen completed the story.

One day, to divert himself and to amuse the wife and children of
his friend Hitzig, whom Heine calls Der Dekan der Schlemihle, he wrote
Peter Schlemihl.

In 1814, this wonderful narrative was brought to the notice of Baron
de la Motte Fouque, the celebrated author of Undine, under whose
auspices the book was published with the following letter from de la
Motte Fouque to Julius Edward Hitzig, by way of introduction : —

FROM THE BARON DE LA MOTTE FOUQUE TO JULIUS EDWARD

HITZIG.

We should take care, my dear Edward, not to expose the history
of poor Schlemihl to eyes unfit to look upon it. That would be a bad
experiment. Of such eyes there are plenty ; and who is able to predict
what may befall a manuscript, which is almost more difficult to guard
than spoken language ? Like a person seized with vertigo, therefore,
who, in the paroxysm of his feelings, leaps into the abyss, I commit
the story to the press.

And yet there are better and more serious reasons for the step I
have taken. If I am not wholly deceived, there are in our dear Germany
many hearts both capable and worthy of comprehending poor Schle-
mihl, although a smile will arise on the countenance of many among
our honest countr3maen at the bitter sport which was death to him
and to the innocent being whom he drew along with him. And you,
Edward, when you have seen the estimable work and reflected on
the number of unknown and sympathising bosoms who, with ourselves,
will learn to love it, — you will then, perhaps, feel that some drops of
consolation have been instilled into those wounds inflicted on you, and
on all who love you, by death.

To conclude : I have become convinced, by repeated experience,
that a guardian angel watches over books, places them in proper hands,
and if not always, yet often, prevents them from falling into improper.



INTRODUCTION

In any case, he exercises an invisible guardianship over every work
of true genius and genuine feeling, and with unfailing tact and skill
opens or shuts its pages as he sees fit.

To this guardian angel I commit our Schlemihl. And so, adieu !
Neunhausen, May 1814. Fouque.

Some of the incidents of the wonderful story of " The Shadowless
■ Man " were suggested by actual experiences of its author ; and it is
remarkable that in the latter part of the narrative Chamisso should
f have anticipated his own voyage roimd the world.

Chamisso was often pestered with questions respecting what he
really meant by the story of Schlemihl. These questions amused as
well as annoyed him. The truth is, that his intention in writing it
was perhaps scarcely of so precise a nature as to admit of his giving
a formal account of it. The story sprang into being of itself, hke
every work of genius, prompted by a self-creating power. In a letter
which he wrote to Trinius, CoimciUor at St. Petersburg in 1829, Chamisso
says : " WTien I write I rarely have anything in view ; I am, if you
like, a nightingale, a singing bird, and not a reasoning man." And
when he had just commenced the book he wrote to Hitzig as follows :
" A book was the last thing you would have expected from me ! Place
it before your wife this evening, if you have time ; should she be
desirous to know Schlemihl's further adventures, and particularly
who the man in the grey cloak is — send me back the MS. immediately,
that I may continue the story ; but if you do not return it, I shall
know the meaning of the signal perfectly." " One day," Chamisso
further relates, " I had lost my hat, portmanteau, gloves and all my
luggage, and Fouqu6 asked me jestingly whether I had also lost my
shadow. We then amused ourselves imagining such a calamity. I
conceived the idea of Peter Schlemihl, and as I had leisure in the
country I wrote the story."

In the preface to a French translation (which appeared in 1838) of
this story, Chamisso amuses himself over the prying curiosity of those
who want to know what was his real object in writing this tale : —
" The present story," he says, " has fallen into the hands of thoughtful
people, who, being accustomed to read only for instruction's sake, have
been at a loss to know what the shadow signifies. On this point several
have formed curious hypotheses ; others, who do me the honour to

si



INTRODUCTION

believe that I am more learned than I really am, have addressed
themselves to me for the solution of their doubts. The questions with
which they have besieged me have made me blush on account of my
ignorance. I have therefore been induced to devote myself to the
investigation of a matter not hitherto the subject of my studies ; and
I now beg to submit to the world the result of my learned researches :

" ' Concerning Shadows. — A dark body can only be partially illu-
minated by a bright one. The dark space which lies in the direction
of the un-illuminated part is what we call a shadow. Properly speaking,
shadow signifies a bodily space, the form of which depends upon the
form of the illuminating body, and upon their opposite position with
regard to each other. The shadow thrown on a surface situated before
the shadow-projecting body is therefore nothing else than the inter-
section of this surface by the bodily space [in French, le solide, on which
word solid the whole force of the humour turns], which we before
designated by the word shadow.'

" The question in this wonderful history of Peter Schlemihl relates
entirely to the last-mentioned quality, solidity. The science of finance
instructs us sufficiently as to the value of money : the value of a
shadow is less generally acknowledged. My thoughtless friend was
covetous of money, of which he knew the value, and forgot to think
of solid substance. It was his wish that the lesson which he had paid
for so dearly should be turned to our profit ; and his bitter experience
calls to us with a loud voice. Think of the sohd — the substantial ! "

In Peter Schlemihl, it is practically admitted by all literary critics,
Chamisso drew his own portrait, not only with regard to external
appearance but also in a moral sense. He is supposed to have described
his own sufferings, the sufferings of a man who has lost his fatherland
and nationality, and is an exile. Peter Schlemihl, the shadowless
man, at last finds consolation and reconciliation in wandering over
the face of earth. Here again the author mirrors his own yearning
in a moment when — in the tumult of war — he, a German Frenchman
or a French German, finds no proper place in countries limited by
political boundaries. He strove therefore to rise above the quarrels
of the human race and to wander forth into the vast space of nature,
or plunge into the depths of science ! His dream soon became realised,
when he found himself on board the Rurik. It was in the early part
of 1815 when Chamisso gladly accepted the invitation of Count
Roumyanzov to accompany the latter on a voyage round the world.
The ships left Kronstadt in 1815, and returned in 1818, and although

xii



INTRODUCTION

the discovery of a north-west passage — the object of the expedition —
was not accomplished, yet extensive acquisitions were made in every
department of scientific research.

Chamisso's share in the voyage is recorded in the third volume of
the account of it published at Weimar in i82i,and does honour to his
spirit of careful observation and his accuracy. Like Darwin after
him, Chamisso has related his experiences interspersed with scientific
observations. He now again fixed his residence at Berlin, from which
University he received the degree of Doctor in Philosophy. An appoint-
ment at the Botanic Gardens allowed him full liberty to follow up his
favourite pursuit of Natural History, and bound him by still stronger
ties to his second fatherland. He soon married Antonie Piaste, a
relation of Hitzig. Chamisso then wrote an account of the principal
plants of the north of Germany, with views respecting the vegetable
kingdom, and science of Botany ; this work appeared at Berlin in
1827. Poetry, however, had stiU some share of his attention ; and
he continued, during the latter years of his hfe, to maintain his claims
to an honourable place among the poets of Germany. In 1829 he
published his famous work " Salas y Gomez." Several of his ballads and
romances rank with the most distinguished of modem times in this
branch of composition. With regard to the story before us, the
narrative of Peter Schlemihl, it is in any case very original. At once
comic and tragic, grotesque and terrible, it is full of gaiety and emotion,
and the supernatural, phantastic and absurd are skilfiilly mixed
with natural and real elements. From the world which we inhabit
the author leads us into the realm of mystery — and yet, while we
experience sensations of the marvellous, we do not seem to leave
the world of reality. And herein lies the difference between Peter
Schlemihl and other tales of the period. In Tieck and Amim the
fairy and real worlds are opposed and hostile to each other, in Fouqu^'s
Undine these elements are reconciled, but the events are laid in the
middle-ages, when people believed in fairies. Chamisso, however,
wields into one the supernatural and the real and writes a fable in
accordance with modern civilization ! Of course, Chamisso cannot be
compared with Ariosto and The Thousand and One Nights, — where we
find logic even in the domain of the impossible. Chamisso, it must
further be pointed out, while possessing all the qualities of the Roman-
ticists, is free from their obscurities. His nationally dual nature and
his peculiar poetic gifts enabled him to give expression in poetry to
the variegated manifestations of science and of art. He contributed

xiii



INTRODUCTION

greatly to the unification of the national German and foreign elements,
and was one of the most useful and productive workers in the lovely
garden of fairy tales. Surrounded by a circle of admiring friends,
Chamisso continued his literary work until his death in 1839.

A. S. RAPPOPORT.

Berck-Plage,

September, 1913.



XIV



THE MARVELLOUS HISTORY OF
THE SHADOWLESS MAN




■ki^






An cxlmordinciiA- looking oV\ nwn lr[t inc- these papers
scninsj lie edine (rom beiliii.



•,'i..'



AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION



A LETTER FROM CHAMISSO TO JULIUS EDWARD HITZIG.

You, who forget nobody, must surely remember one Peter Schlemihl,
whom you used to meet occasionally at my house, — a long-legged
youth, who was considered stupid and lazy, on account of his awkward
and careless air. I was sincerely attached to him. You cannot have
forgotten him, Edward. He was, on one occasion, the hero of our
rhymes, in the hey-day of our youthful spirits ; and I recollect taking
him one evening to a poetical tea-party, where he fell asleep while
I was writing, without even waiting to hear my effusion : and this
reminds me of a witticism of yours respecting him. You had already
seen him, I know not where or when, in an old black frock-coat, which
indeed, he constantly wore ; and you said, " He would be a lucky
fellow if his soul were half as immortal as his coat," — so little opinion
had you of him. / loved him, however : and to this very Schlemihl,
of whom for many years I had wholly lost sight, I am indebted for
the little volume which I communicate to you, Edward, my most
intimate friend, my second self, from whom I have no secrets ; — to
you, and of course our Fouque, I commit them, who, like you, is
intimately entwined about my dearest affections, — to him I com-
municate them only as a friend, but not as a poet ; for you can easily
imagine how unpleasant it would be if a secret confided to me by an
honest man, relying implicitly on my friendship' and honour, were to
be exposed to the public in a poem.

One word more as to the manner in which I obtained these sheets ;
yesterday morning early, as soon as I was up, they were brought to me.
An extraordinary-looking man, with a long grey beard, and wearing
an old black frock-coat, with a botanical case hanging at his side
and slippers over his boots, in the damp, rainy weather, had just been
inquiring for me, and left me these papers, saying he came from Berlin.

ADELBERT VON CHAMISSO.



TjE^e JVTarVelloiis


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