Kuno Francke.

The German classics : masterpieces of German literature translated into English (Volume 20) online

. (page 1 of 34)
Online LibraryKuno FranckeThe German classics : masterpieces of German literature translated into English (Volume 20) → online text (page 1 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook




:i,v - ,\,-.- .














From the Painting by Franz von Stuck


tXs'WjJ'Si ito^i* •s.Jti>t'^ y;t5 ^mtjvVj)^'


Masterpieces of German Literature


patvom' cBDttton



Copyright 1914


The Gekman Publication Society



Special Writers

Mbs. Amhuj:a von Ende:

The Contemporary German Drama.


Paul H. Gbummann, A.M., Professor of Modern German Literature, Univer-
sity of Xebraska:
Mother Earth.

Batard Quincy Morgan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of German, University
of Wisconsin:

The Marriage of Sobeide.

John Heard, Jr. :

Tristram the Jester.

Katharine Royce:
God's Beloved.

Albert Wilhelm Boesche, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of German, Cornell
University :

The Court Singer.

A. I. DU P. Coleman, A.M., Professor of English Literature, College of the
City of Xew York:

Julia Franklin:

Clarissa Mirabel.

Horace Samuel:

The Green Cockatoo.




Clarissa Mirabel. Translated by Julia Franklin 1


God's Beloved. Translated by Katharine Royce 59

The Contemporary German Drama. By Amelia von Ende 94


Mother Earth. Translated by Paul H. Grummann Ill


The Marriage of Sobeide. Translated by Bayard Quincy Morgan 234


The Green Cockatoo. Translated by Horace Samuel 289

Literature. Translated by A. I. du P. Coleman 332


The Court Singer. Translated by Albert Wilhelm Boesche 360


Tristram the Jester. Translated by John Heard, Jr 398



The Warden of Paradise. By Franz von Stuck Frontispiece

Jakob Wassermann 20

Bathing Woman. By Rudolf Riemerschmid 40

Hera. By Hans Unger 70

In the Shade. By Leo Putz 100

Max Halbe 130

Mother Earth. By Robert Weise 160

Fording the Water. By Heinrich von Ziigel 190

Sheep. By Heinrich von Ziigel 220

Lake in the Grunewald. By Walter Leistikow 240

Lake in the Grunewald. By Walter Leistikow 260

A Brandenburg Lake. By Walter Leistikow 280

Arthur Schnitzler 290

Henrik Ibsen. (From Olaf Gulbransson's "Famous Contemporaries") 310
Georg Brandes. (From Olaf Gulbransson's "Famous Contemporaries") 330
G«rhart Hauptmann. ( From Olaf Gulbransson's " Famous Contem-
poraries " ) 340

Paul Heyse. ( From Olaf Gulbransson's " Famous Contemporaries " ) . . . 350

Frank Wedekind 360

Siegfried Wagner. (From Olaf Gulbransson's "Famous Contemporaries") 370

Leo Tolstoy. (From Olaf Gulbransson's " Famous Contemporaries ") .... 380

D. Mommsen. (From Olaf Gulbransson's " Famous Contemporaries ").... 390

Ernst Hardt 420

A Daughter of the People. By Karl Haider 440

Approaching Thunderstorm. By Karl Haider 480


This, the last volume of The German Classics, was in-
tended to be devoted to the contemporary drama exclu-
sively. But the harvest of the contemporary German
Short Story is so rich that an overflow from Volume XIX
had to be accommodated in Volume XX. It is hoped that
this has not seriously crippled the representative char-
acter of the dramatic selections, although the editors are
fully aware of the importance of such dramatists as
Herbert Eulenberg, Wilhelm Schmidtbonn, or Fritz von
Unruh. The principal tendencies, at any rate, of the hope-
ful and eager activity which distinguishes the German
stage of today are brought out in this volume with sufficient
clearness, especially in combination with the selections
from Schonherr and Hofmannsthal in Volumes XVI and

The European war, unfortunately, has prevented us from
making the selections from contemporary German painting
in Volumes XIX and XX as varied and representative as
we had hoped.

KuNO Feanckb.




C^grman^ N the little town of Rodez, situated on the
western side of the Cevennes and washed
by the waters of the river Aveyron, there
lived a lawyer by the name of Fualdes, a
commonplace man, neither good nor bad.
Notwithstanding his advanced age, he had
only recently retired from affairs, and
his finances were in such a bad shape that he was obliged,
in the beginning of the year 1817, to dispose of his estate
of La Morne. With the proceeds he meant to retire to
some quiet spot and live on the interest of his money.
One evening — it was the nineteenth of March — he re-
ceived from the purchaser of the estate, President Seguret,
the residue of the purchase-money in bills and securities,
and, after locking the papers in his desk, he left the house,
having told the housekeeper that he had to go to La Morne
once more in order to make some necessary arrangements
with the tenant.

He neither reached La Morne nor returned to his home.
The following morning a tailor's wife from the village of
Aveyron saw his body lying in a shallow of the river, ran
to Rodez and fetched some people back with her. The rocky
slope was precipitously steep at that point, rising to a
height of about forty feet. A great piece of the narrow
footpath which led from Rodez to the vineyards had
crumbled away, and it was doubtless owing to that circum-

VoL. XX— 1


stance that the unfortunate man had been precipitated to
the bottom. It had rained very heavily the day before,
and the soil on top had, according to the testimony of a
number of people who worked in the vineyards, been loose
for a long time. It seemed a singular fact that there was
a deep gash in the throat of the dead man; but as jagged
stones projected all over the rocky surface of the slope,
such an injury explained itself. On examination of the
steep wall, no traces of blood were found on stone or earth.
The rain had washed away everything.

The news of the occurrence spread rapidly, and all
through the day two or three hundred people from Rodez
— men, women, and children — were standing on both
shores staring with a look of fascination and self -induced
horror into the depths of the ravine. The question was
raised whether it was not a will-o '-the-wisp that had misled
the old man. A woman alleged that she had spoken with
a shepherd who declared he had heard a cry for help ; this,
it is true, occurred about midnight, and Fualdes had left
his house at eight o'clock. A stout tinker contended that
the darkness had not been as dense as all believed ; he him-
self had crossed the fields, on his way from La Valette, at
nine o'clock, and the moon was then shining. The inspec-
tor of customs took him severely to task, and informed him
that a new moon had made its appearance the day before,
as one could easily find out by looking in the calendar. The
tinker shrugged his shoulders, as if to say that in such con-
junctures even the calendar was not to be trusted.

When it grew dusk the people wandered homeward, in
pairs and groups, now chatting, no-w silent, now whisper-
ing with an air of mystery. Like dogs that have become
suspicious and keep circling about the same spot, they
strained with hungry eagerness for a new excitement.
They looked searchingly in front of them, heard with
sharpened ears every word that was uttered. Some cast
suspicious side-glances at each other ; those who had money


closed their doors and counted their money over. At night
in the taverns the guests told of the great riches that the
miserly Fualdes had accumulated ; he had, it was said, sold
La Morne only because he shrank from compelling the
lessee, Grammont, who was his nephew, by legal means to
pay two years ' arrears of rent.

The spoken word hung halting on the lips, carrying a
half-framed thought in its train. It was an accepted fact
among the citizens that Fualdes, the liberal Protestant, a
former official of the Empire, had been annoyed by threats
against his life. The dark fancies spun busily at the web
of fear. Those who still believed it was an accident re-
frained from expressing their reasons; they had to guard
against suspicion falling upon themselves. Already a band
of confederates was designated, drawn from the Legiti-
mist party, now become inimical, threatening, arrogant.
Dark hatred pointed to the Jesuits and their missions as
instigators of the mysterious deed. How often had justice
halted when the power of the mighty shielded the criminal !

The spring sun of the ensuing day shone upon tense,
agitated, eager faces gradually inflamed to fierceness. The
Royalists began to fear for their belongings; in order to
protect themselves, infected as they, too, were by the gen-
eral horror which emanated from the unknown, they
admitted that a crime had been perpetrated. But how?
and where? and through whom?

A cobbler has a better memory, as a rule, and a more
active brain, than other people. The shoemaker, Escar-
boeuf, used to gather his neighbors and trusty comrades
about him now and then at the hour of vespers. He remem-
bered exactly what the doctor had said on the discovery
of the corpse ; he was standing close by and had heard every
syllable. '' It almost looks as if the man had been mur-
dered;" those were the astonished words of the doctor
when he was examining the wound in the throat. " Mur-
dered? what are you saying, man? " interposed one of the


company. *' Yes, murdered! " cried the cobbler triumph-
antly. — ' ' But it is said that there was sand sticking to the
wound," remarked a young man shyly. — '' pshaw! sand,
sand! " retorted the shoemaker, " What does sand prove
anyway?" — ''No, sand proves nothing," all of them
admitted. And by midday the report in all the houses of
the quarter ran : Fualdes had been murdered, he had been
butchered. The word gave the inflamed minds a picture,
the whispering tongues a hint.

Now, by a strange chance it happened that on that fate-
ful evening the night watchman had deposited in the guard-
room a cane with an ivory knob and a gilt ring, which he had
found in front of the Bancal dwelling, separated from
lawyer Fualdes' house by the Rue de 1' Ambrague, a dark
cross street. Fualdes' housekeeper, an old deaf w^oman,
asserted positively that the cane was the property of her
master; her assertion seemed incontestable. A long time
after, it came to light that the cane belonged to a traveling
tradesman who had spent the night carousing in the com-
pany of some wenches; but at the time, attention was at
once turned to the Bancal house, a dilapidated, gloomy
building with musty, dirty corners. It had formerly been
owned by a butcher, and pigs were still kept in the yard.
It was a house of assignation and was visited nightly by
soldiers, smugglers, and questionable-looking girls; now
and then, too, heavily veiled ladies and aristocratic-looking
men slipped in and out. On the ground floor there lived,
beside the Bancal couple, a former soldier, Colard, and his
sweetheart, the wench Bedos, and the humpbacked Misso-
nier; above them, there dwelt an old Spaniard, by the
name of Saavedra, and his wife ; he was a political refugee
who had sought protection in France.

On the afternoon of the twenty-first of March, the
soldier, Colard, was standing at the corner of the Rue de
1' Ambrague, playing a monotonous air on his flute, one
that he had learned from the shepherds of the Pyrenees.


The shopkeeper, Galtier, came up the road, stood still,
made a pretense of listening, but finally interrupted the
musician, addressing him severely: "Why do you gad
about and pretend to be ignorant, Colard? Don't you know,
then, that the murder is said to have been committed in
your house? "

Colard, brushing his scrubby moustache from his lips,
replied that he and Missonier had been in Rose Feral 's
tavern, alongside the Bancal house, that night. '^ Had I
heard a noise, sir," he said boastfully, " I should have
gone to the rescue, for I have two guns. ' '

'' Who else was at Rose Feral 's? " pursued the shop-
keeper. Colard meditated and mentioned Bach and Bous-
quier, two notorious smugglers. '^ The rascals, they had
better be on their guard," said the shopkeeper, '' and you,
Colard, come along with me; poor Fualdes is going to be
buried, and it is not fitting to be playing the flute."

Scarcely had they reached the main street, where a great
number of people had collected, when they were suddenly
joined by Bousquier, who exhibited a strange demeanor,
now laughing, now shaking his head, now gazing vacantly
before him. Colard cast a shy, sidelong glance at him, and
the shopkeeper, who thought of nothing but the murder and
saw in all this the manifestations of a bad conscience,
observed the man keenly. Those around them, too, became
watchful, and it at once struck everybody that if any one
had a knowledge of the crime committed in the Bancal
house, it was Bousquier. The excited Galtier questioned
him bluntly. Bousquier was the worse for liquor, the
unusual hubbub intoxicated him still more ; he seemed con-
fused, but felt himself, at the same time, a person of im-
portance. At first he assumed an air of unwillingness to
speak out, then he related with solemn circumstantiality
that he was summoned on the night of the murder by a
tobacco-dealer clad in a blue coat; three times had the
stranger sent for him, finally he went, was told to carry
a heavy bundle, and was paid with a gold piece.


Even while he was speaking, an expression of horror
ran across the face of the loquacious fellow ; he grew gradu-
ally conscious of the significance of his w^ords. The listen-
ers had formed a compact circle around him, and a shrill
voice rang out from the crowd : "It was surely the corpse
that was wrapped up in that bundle ! ' '

Bousquier looked uneasy. He had to start at the begin-
ning again and again, and the strained glances turned upon
him forced him to invent new minor details, such as that
the tobacco-dealer suddenly disappeared in an unaccount-
able manner, and that his face was concealed by a black
mask, " Where did you have to carry the body? " asked
Galtier, with clenched teeth. Bousquier, horrified, re-
mained silent; then, intimidated by the many threatening
glances, he replied in a low tone : ' ' Toward the river. ' '

Two hours later he was arrested and put behind bolts
and bars. That same evening he was brought before the
police magistrate, Monsieur Jausion, and when the un-
fortunate man became aware that the matter was growing
grave, that his chatter was to be turned into evidence, that
every word he spoke was being noted down, and that he
would have to answer for them with his freedom, nay, per-
haps with his life, he was seized with terror. He denied
the story of the tobacco-dealer and the heavy bundle, and
when the magistrate grew angry, relapsed into complete
silence. On being remanded to his cell he fell into a dull
brooding. '' Come, wake up, Bousquier," the jailer ex-
horted him, " you mustn't keep the gentlemen w^aiting; if
you are stubborn, you will have to pass some bad nights."

Bousquier shook his head. The jailer fetched a heavy
folio, and as he himself could not read, he called another
prisoner, who was made to read aloud a passage of the law,
according to which a person who was present by com-
pulsion at the commission of a crime, and voluntarily con-
fessed it, would get off with a year's imprisonment. The
jailer held the lantern close to the tanned face of the reader
and nodded encouragingly to Bousquier. The latter was


mumbling the Lord 's Prayer. Greatly agitated, and grop-
ing about for a way out of his plight, he said finally that
everything was as he had first related, only the tobacco-
dealer had paid him not with a gold-piece but a couple of
silver coins. He repeated his confession before the magis-
trate, who had been summoned despite the lateness of the

The next morning all Rodez knew that Bousquier had
confessed that Fualdes had been murdered in the Bancal
house, and the body carried at night to the river. Lips
that had up to that time been sealed with fear were sud-
denly opened. 'Some one, whose name could not be ascer-
tained, declared that he had seen some figures stealing
past the house of Constans the merchant; he had also
noticed that they halted some steps further on and drew
together for consultation, whereupon, divining the horrible
deed, he fled. The search for this witness, whose voice died
aw^ay so quickly amid the other voices, and yet who was
the first to trace, as with an invisible hand, a sketch of the
nocturnal funeral train, proved vain. Each one's fancy
silently carried out the picture further ; they saw the body
itself on the stretcher ; the bier was depicted with distinct-
ness as if it were a concrete token of the mysterious deed ;
a carpenter even drew it in chalk in bold strokes on the
wall of the court-house. A woman who suffered from in-
somnia stated that she was sitting at the window that night
and in spite of the darkness, recognized Bancal as well as
the soldier, Colard, who were bearing the two front handles
of the bier. Furthermore, she had heard the laborer,
Missonier, who closed the procession, cursing. Summoned
before the magistrate, she fell into a contradictory mood,
which was excused on the score of her readily-compre-
hended excitement. But the words had been said; what
weight should be attached to them depended on the force
and peculiarity of the circumstances; the lightly spoken
word weighed as heavily in the ears of the chance auditor
as if it had been his own guilt, so that he sought to free


himself of the burden and passed it on as if it would burn
his tongue should he delay but a moment. Perhaps it was
this sleepless woman, perhaps the lips of nameless Rumor
herself, that enriched the picture of this murder-caravan
with the figure of a tall, broad-shouldered man, armed with
a double-barreled gun, who headed the procession. Now
the gray web had a central point, and received a sort of
illumination and vividness through the probable and pene-
trable criminality of a single individual. Twelve hours
more, and every child knew the exact order of the nocturnal
procession: first, the tall, powerful man with the double-
barreled gun, then Bancal, Bach and Bousquier, bearing
the bier, then the humpbacked Missonier, as rear-guard.
At the last houses of the town the road to the river grew
narrow and steep; as there was not room enough for two
people to walk abreast, Bousquier and Colard had to carry
the body alone, and it w^as Bousquier, not Missonier, who
cursed, on that account, cursed so loud that the licentiate,
Coulon, was startled from his sleep and called for his
servant. On the steep place in front of the vineyards the
body of the dead man was unwrapped and thrown into the
water, and when that had been done, the tall, powerful
man, pointing his gun at his confederates, imposed eternal
silence upon them.

By this action the stranger with the double-barreled gun
emerged completely from the mist of legend and the posi-
tion of a merely picturesque accessory; his threatening
attitude shed a flood of light upon the past. What had
taken place after the murder, then, had outline and life.
But had no eye accompanied poor Fualdes on his last walk?
Had no one seen him leave his house, without any fore-
boding, and, whistling merrily perhaps, pass through the
dark Rue de I'Ambrague, where the accomplices of the
murder doubtless lay in waiting? Yes. The same licen-
tiate whom Bousquier 's cursing had roused from his sleep
had seen the old man at eight in the evening turn into the
narrow street, and shortly after some one follow hastily


behind him ; whether a man or a woman, Monsieur Coulon
could not remember. Besides, a locksmith's apprentice
came forward who had observed, from the mayor's resi-
dence, some persons signaling to each other. The mayor's
dwelling was situated, it is true, in a different quarter of
the town, but that circumstance was considered of little
account in so widespun a conspiracy — had they not the
testimony of a coachman who had seen two men standing
motionless in the Rue des Hebdomadiers? Many of the
inhabitants of that street now recalled that they had heard
a constant whispering, hemming and hawing, and calling,
to which, being in an unsuspicious mood at the time, they
naturally paid no special heed. It was an accepted fact
that watchers were posted at every corner, nay, even a
female sentinel had been observed in the gateway of the
Guildhall. The tailor, Brost, asserted that he had heard
the whispering or sighing more distinctly than any one else ;
he had, thereupon, opened his window and seen five or six
people enter the Bancal house, among them the tall, power-
ful man. Some time after, a neighbor had observed a
person being dragged over the pavement; believing it was
a girl who had drunk too much, he attached no further sig-
nificance to it. Far more important than such confused
rumors did it seem that as late as between nine and ten
o'clock, an organ-grinder was still playing in the Rue des
Hebdomadiers. The purpose was clear: it was to drown
the death-cry of the victim. It soon turned out that there
must have been two organ-grinders, one of whom, a cripple,
had squatted on the curbstone in front of the Rue de I'Am-
brague. To be sure, it had been the annual fair-day in
Rodez, and the presence of organ-grinders would, there-
fore, not have signified anything mysterious, if the lateness
of the hour had not exposed them to suspicion. Several
persons even mentioned midnight as the time of the play-
ing. A search was instituted for the musicians, and the
villages in the vicinity were scoured for them, but they had
disappeared as completely as the suspicious tobacco-dealer.


On the same morning when the Bancal house was searched
and a policeman found a white cloth with dark spots in the
yard, the Bancals, Bach, and the laborer Missonier, were
taken into custody and, loaded with chains, were thrown into
prison. Staring vacantly before them, the five men sat in
the police wagon, which, followed by a crowd of people,
chattering, cursing, and clenching their fists, carried them
through the streets. The report of the cloth discovered in
the yard spread in an instant; that the spots were blood-
spots admitted no doubt; that it had been used to gag
Fualdes was a matter of course.

Meanwhile Bousquier, all unstrung by his miserable
plight, dragged from one hearing to another, alarmed by
threats, racked by hunger, enticed by hopes of freedom and
illusory promises, had confessed more and more daily. He
was driven by the jailer, he was driven by the magistrate ;
for the latter felt the impatience and fury of the people,
and the fables of the press, like the lash of a Avhip. Bous-
quier had seemed to be stubborn; but the presentation of
his former stories, which now, like creditors, extorted
an ever-increasing usurious interest of lies, sufficed to ren-
der him tractable. He appeared to be worn out, to be
incapable of expressing what he had seen, of describing
what he had heard, — Monsieur Jausion assisted him by
questions wdiich contained the required answers.

Thus he admitted that he had gone into the Bancal house,
and found the Bancals, the soldier Colard, the smuggler
Bach, two young women, and a veiled lady in the room.
The more persons he mentioned, the more conciliatory grew
the countenance- of the magistrate, and, as though into the
jaws of a hungry beast, he continued unconcernedly throw^-
ing him bit after bit. He probably recalled other nights
spent in the motley company, and it struck him that the
person of the veiled lady would be an addition which might
enhance his credit. Monsieur Jausion found, however, that
an important figure was lacking, and he asked in a stern
tone whether Bousquier had not forgotten somebody.


Bousquier was startled and pondered. '' Try your best
to remember," urged the magistrate; '' what you conceal
may turn into a rope for your neck. Speak out, then : was
there not a tall, robust man present also? " Bousquier
realized that this new person must be included. One

Online LibraryKuno FranckeThe German classics : masterpieces of German literature translated into English (Volume 20) → online text (page 1 of 34)