The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Heinerle: The Peasant Artist, Part 1
by Emil Frommel.
Translated from the German by K. W. Bent. (With permission.)
Book 1. Boyhood
In the "Dictionary of Artists" the name of Heinerle, or, to give it in full, Johann Heinrich Tobias Huber, is not to be found, any more than Lindelbronn of a map of the world. But for all that did he not live, and become one of the famous men of his time? Just as surely as Lindelbronn is in the world, and boasts as pointed a church spire as any other in the German Dominion.
If all renown has its limits, why not his? Besides, every one is not famous who finds a place in the Encyclopaedia.
Should the courteous reader happen to travel up the Albthal, and in doing so keeps the spur of the Black Forest ridge always on his right from Herrenalb to the edge of the mountain, following his nose, he cannot fail to come to a pair of lonely farmhouses, where any child can say in which direction the church-spire of Lindelbronn lies. And where the spire is, there will the church be, together with the little village round it. It is an old place where the people have gathered round the church and built their houses, as to this day chickens gather under the wings of the hen. For it has only recently been discovered that the church should stand outside the town, and the churchyard half a mile further, because of the sanitary commissioner, and the horrible danger caused by the blessed dead. Once upon a time, Lindelbronn must have been a very defiant little place, for ever since the Swedish war it has an old town wall intersected with embrasures, in which at the present time a colony of sparrows has made a lodgment, rent free, which nowadays is a consideration; and, more than that, they are secure from the village boys of Lindelbronn, who are as bad as those of Langenschwan, which is saying a great deal, as is well known. But near the sparrows, old Florian Huber had also built upon the town wall, and from the outside his house looked little better than a sparrow's nest. But is exactly suited the man, and so it should always be that the man and the house should suit each other, as was the case with our ancestors, who built their houses around themselves from within, as the swallows of to-day know how to do, and they never change lodgings. So it came to pass that because old Huber was so closely associated with them, the gospel about the sparrows under heaven, which was preached every year on the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, interested him more than any other. For that our Lord cares for such a pitiful little creature as a sparrow, which can neither do nor understand anything, feeds it, and provides it with winter and summer clothing without measuring it, appeared to him to be one wonder upon another, and he thought it extremely ungrateful of mankind to care for and grieve themselves for a mere nothing, whilst a sparrow does not make one of his grey feathers to grow against the morrow.
Old Florian Huber was, like most of the people in the place, a woodcutter by trade, who fetched the wood from the recesses of the forest and prepared it, when the landed proprietors put it up for auction in the public room of the inn. You would not have found him very highly cultivated; his only book besides the Bible was the broad, deep forest, that noble primer out of God's library in its green binding, with its many leaves and branches, on which sat its doctors and private instructors, the birds. He knew all the trees in the wood; some were his school comrades, just as old as he was, others again were the young generation, and between them stood the old oak and beeches, like venerable ancestors. They furnished him with all sorts of thoughts, and gave rise in him to "occasional prayers," although he knew nothing of the worthy Gotthold Scriverus. So when a tree must be cut down, because the head forester had pronounced sentence of death upon it, it always made him miserable, especially if is was one of his school comrades. Yes, so had they also disappeared one after another, who had studied under the old wachtmeister, who was also the schoolmaster, and kept hardly any school in the winter, because it was too cold, and very little in the summer, because it was so warm. And how soon also might not death come to him, that great woodcutter who thins the human forest, and does not ask how old the tree is, nor whether the head forester has given his consent. That always suggested an "occasional prayer"; and when a tree had been dug round and the roots loosened, before the last tug with the rope was given, when the tree would give a great sigh and shiver once more through all its branches ere the crown lay on the ground, it always came into his mind that so men through many a trial have the roots of their life loosened and dug round before the last wrench comes, and they, too, do not take their departure without shuddering and giving a long sigh before their head lies still in the coffin.
He also studied social questions in the forest, going down to first principles. For close to each other stood the loft oak trees, like exalted potentates, and the aspens like the daughters of the nobility; and close by the thick beech trees like respectable burghers' wives, and the birches like cheerful village maidens, down to the shrubs and dwarf fir trees, the proletarians, and to the fungus and lichens, the parasites and sluggards. Yet here all was peace, and none looked jealously on the others, and from the falling leaf of the tall trees the lesser ones drew nourishment, and they again fertilized the tall tree; and when the lightning struck a loft oak, the little tree at its foot congratulated itself it was but a sapling. Such reflections made Florian contented, and he wished to be nothing more nor less in the world than a woodcutter.
After all this, it will not be wonderful to the gentle reader, when I say, that Florian Huber was not a loquacious man, but in the words of St. James he was "quick to hear, and slow to speak," and did not, like a fool, carry his heart in his mouth, but like a wise man had his mouth in his heart. For he who has such quiet communion with his God, and with his green wood, and is led to Him through many a trial in his private training, who in the cool of the morning and evening walks with his God and opens his heart to Him there, can easily leave talking, to others. Therefore Florian resigned conversation to the Chief Forester, who had besides, a mouth for six, and a hunting knife at his side as big as Goliath's of Gath. So he did not look anxiously into the matter, nor talk much about it, when an eighth boarder was bestowed upon him while he was in the wood, in the shape of a vigorous little boy. For he thought according to the old wachtmeister's way of reckoning with even numbers, and according to all godly people at all times, that "where seven are satisfied, the eighth shares their food for nothing;" and he believed firmly also that the blessing which children bring enriches and does not impoverish their parents.
This child, known as "No. I," born to Florian Huber on October 17, in his house on the town wall, under the Sparrows' Nest (looking at first for all the world like a young sparrow, and baptized three days afterwards), was the subsequently celebrated artist, Herr Heinrich Johann Tobias Huber, native of Lindelbronn, in the Black Forest. Where there is a father and small children in a house, there is wont to be a mother also. And there she was; for a house needs not only a head, but also a heart; and if one is wanting, much is lacking.
But whoever knew Creszentia Huber, knew that she supplied the heart in the house. She was one of those women whose adorning was not that "outward adorning of plaiting the hair and wearing of gold." For ornament she wore a large silver crucifix, which only appeared on great festivals, and was an inheritance from her parents; for the tresses of her hair she used no curling irons, fresh spring water was her only hair wash, and her plaits had been the fashion in Lindelbronn ever since man could remember. But her "adornment was the hidden man of the heart, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit," besides divers other virtues which well become a woman. Towards "her" Huber she was an obedient wife, and called him, as Sarah did Abraham, her "lord." And such an obedient wife who can keep silence, is better than one decked out, who can chatter a great deal. Whoever looked into her clear blue eyes could not fail to observe that she knew many things which she did not talk about. And so it should be. For there should always be a reserve in the little chamber of the heart where the springs are, lest all should be exhausted in the little water channels that flow out at the mouth. When her Huber was silent, then she could talk, and when he talked, then she held her peace; for two cannot be talking at once, otherwise it generally ends in a dispute, and that she would not have.
When on her wedding-day she came over in the little cart on which her dowry was placed, which consisted of some old boxes and one new chest, and her old mother, and when Huber met her half way to the edge of the forest and got up beside her, she showed him the large chest in which her wedding portion lay. Upon it a large heart was painted, in which stood the two initial letters of their names, and underneath "Huber" and the date. Then she mentioned that she had had hard work to get it done, for the carpenter had demurred and wished to paint two hearts separately, or one with her name as was generally done. But she had told him that she and Huber wished to have but one heart between them, not two, and in the heart, her name should not be alone, but his also. She kept to this honourably, and when occasionally, as will happen, there was a rainy day in the house, it was always clear again at eventide, and by the time the sun had set, the fiery sun of wrath had also disappeared, and the full moon shone in peacefully through the chamber window on the two who were inside. That I called her mother a portion of her dowry should surprise no one who knows what a good mother-in-law is to a man. To be sure sometimes he makes a bad bargain, and experiences the truth of the proverb, "I would rather live with a dragon than with a quarrelsome woman."
But that did not happen to Huber, he had carefully considered beforehand what the mother and the rest of the family were like, "for," he thought, "one marries them also," Many do not take this into consideration, and bring themselves much misery and bitterness of heart by their marriages, but he brought a real treasure into his house with his wife. For the old "sick nurse," as she was called, had much experience in many things and was a pious woman, and a prudent to boot, two virtues which unfortunately do not always go together. She had a complete repertoire of songs, and was like an organ on which by only touching the right stops one can play at will either the trumpet or the tender flute. Had she no song ready, yet she always had a saying drawn from the wisdom of the people, and she had moreover a fresh, cheerful mind, for all her age and wrinkles.
At first the newly-formed household consisted of this trioa trefoil leaf as it were, until it gradually filled with the little inhabitants. And there was always joy in the house when the stork had flown that way and had dropped a little child down the chimney. At such times Frau Huber always sent her husband to the old cousin in Unterdorf, to announce the birth of a little child, and when he returned she was seated in the arm-chair in her Sunday dress, and laid the child, prettily dressed, and washed from the soot of the chimney, in Huber's arms. So had her mother done before her. The last child was always the dearest to her, and Huber consoled himself again with his sparrows on the old town wall, who never complained, when yet another came into the world. Under such circumstances as these was the above-mentioned Heinrich born, or as he was commonly called, Heinerle. Like all men, he brought nothing with him into the world; but two very clear eyes, a large mouth, a good appetite, and a little trumpet in his throat loud enough for a barrel-organ graced the little man.
The nurse did not fail to make the gossips observe that there was something remarkable about him, because he had such big eyes and so large a mouth. That at all events meant something. His mother laughed, for so the old nurse always said of each village child (just as the barber says to each customer that he has the finest beard in the place); and yet none of her prophecies had hitherto been fulfilled. The nurse must have noticed the smile, for she was on her mettle, and spoke in a manner that showed she was annoyed; she must know better, and she a score of years older, and had studied in Freiburg and Breisgau, and had never been reckoned amongst the stupid ones there. In short, Frau Huber must believe her this time, and allow she was right.
But for all the attention she gave, her Heinerle did nothing more remarkable than her other children; she only noticed in him that he was very self-contained, liking best to be alone or with his mother, and he would sit for hours on the house door-step gazing into the blue sky. However, he asked his mother a number of wonderful questions, which she often could not answer; amongst others: "If it also struck eleven o'clock in heaven, and what they had for dinner up there?" This, as well as similar questions, she put down to his big mouth, and thought no more about them. The other brothers and sisters were a good deal older than he was, for he was quite a late straggler, for which reason he slept longer in his mother's bed, and was allowed to accompany her when she went to the yearly fair, or to her native village.
Then the grandmother died, and he saw death for the first time; or rather, he did not see it. For he had always rejoiced in the prospect that some day the schoolmaster and children would sing before their house as they did before others. He did not know that they only did so before the house of death; and that grandmother had a bunch of rosemary in her folded hands, and that his father brushed his hat with his hand the wrong way so as to give the look of a band of crape; that the people had cakes and wine; all this caused him no sorrow at all, only he could not quite understand that his mother silently wept, as grandmother had such a lovely wreath, and looked so solemn, and the school children sung so beautifully, and they all wore their Sunday clothes. But a couple of days later (he was about six years old), the mother found Heinerle seated at the table. She took no more notice of him, and was list in thought. He however had a pencil in his hand and drew a face surmounted with a large wreath, then came joyfully to his mother and said: "There, you have grandmother again; now you must not cry any more." His mother smiled as she looked at the likeness, which was by no means striking; but it occurred to her for the first time, that the old nurse might have been right, and that the boy would some day be somebody. But neither understood the deep meaning contained in the child's remark, namely, that it is the most perfect function of art to comfort us by restoring the features of our dear ones to us, so that we may retain those whom death has snatched away.
School time came, and the mother found it a hard trial to give up her Heinerle, for that meant sharing her child with the schoolmaster. Yet he went, for children were not the "martyrs" that they are now-a days, where even in the village school now "the instructor" lectures over the heads of his scholars. But if the mother had not given a new kreuzer secretly to the master, who at the end of the lesson was to give it as a reward to Heinerle, and if she had not promised him his favourite dish, eh would not have gone again. There he learnt what there was to learn, the only remarkable thing discovered about him being that he was no arithmetician. But the master's forte was arithmetic, and every day he studied further in it, for he calculated all day long how far he could make his little salary go, adding and multiplying, and so he thought that every one must learn to calculate, otherwise there would be nothing but misery; the consequence of which was his firm conviction that nothing would ever be made of Heinerle. But Heinerle acquired better knowledge in the wood, where he often went with his father, and there began his studies. When he had finished helping to dig up roots, he would sit quietly under a tree, and unravel the fibres of the oak-leaves, till only the skeleton remained, which he would trace on paper with a pencil, so that at last he was able to draw all kinds of foliage, not of course of every tree in the world, but of all that grew in the wood of Lindelbronn. If his father had to cut down a tree that was still in its prime, the boy would put in a good word for it beforehand. But the chief forester was the first and last judge, and never repealed a sentence of death, but sent irrevocably, like the Sultan in Constantinople, not a silken cord, but a strong hempen rope, to his "dear subjects."
His father had secretly panned that Heinerle should also become a wood-cutter, and remain with him when the other children went out into the world, so that the stock and handicraft should not die out of the family; but now doubts began to arise in him, whether it would really be so, since the youngster was so pitiful. That a deep nature lay under Heinerle's pinafore showed itself once when the father and son were leaving the wood in the moonlight, singing the song, "Now all the woods are sleeping." The chief forester met them "in the wilderness that was all his own," as the father said; and asked them, "What stupid sort of song that was? Now all the woods are sleeping; they had no sleep!" The father was surprised, and said out of respect to the forester, that so it was in the song, and one could hardly alter the song-book. But when the forester struck off into another woodland path and wished them "Goodnight," Heinerle maintained that it was true, that the wood rested, and that it was quite different in the night and in the day-time; it was so mysterious in there when men, especially such as the head forester, were outside. And the father thought that his Heinerle might be more right than the forester, for he was a rough man. By the time they were at the verse "Wide-spread both little wings," they had reached home, and in the night the father related to the mother what the Forester and Heinerle had said, and now they each bethought them that the old nurse was not entirely wrong, that out of Heinerle some good might come, although he was no arithmetician. And for a long time they pondered that in their hearts.
(To be continued.)
The Parents Review Volume III 1892/3 pages 141-151 Heinerle part 2
ADVERTISEMENT Vol. 3 P. 141-151
Heinerle: The Peasant Artist.
By Emil Frommel.
Translated from the German by K. W. Bent. (With permission.)
Once it happened that when the parents went to the yearly fair in the little town, they took Heinerle with them. That was as great a holiday for him as it is for town children to go into the country. His mother had some crockery to buy, and his father a pair of new boots and an axe, and these required a great deal of bargaining and deliberation; and old Huber took up the boots, and tried them again, at least ten times, to see if they were water-tight; and his wife always saw some pot that pleased her better than another. In the meanwhile, Heinerle, who found this operation tedious, wandered away from his parents, if not, like the twelve-year-old Saviour, into the Temple, at least into the Temple of Art which a picture-seller had set up. Like linen on a clothes-line, the pictures were pinned up close together, and flapped about vigorously in the wind. There one could have all that could be wished for: Bible stories and scenes of slaughter, picture stories and proverbs, painted or unpainted, in gold and silver. In fine, Heinerle could not see enough. The picture-dealer explained them all, and named a whole heap of names of the artists, who painted them all, till Heinerle's eyes swam; and he only held fast one ideanamely, that he would one day become a famous man like them. All hunger was forgotten by him, and whilst other people went away, he remained still standing. "Now, then, buy something," said the picture-dealer to the youngster. But he made a face, as if he would say, "That's all very well; but it costs money."
In the meanwhile, the parents had struck the lowest bargain they could, the sun had already set, and Heinerle was not there. The crowd of people passed backwards and forwards, and the mother was terribly anxious, because there were circus-men and rope-dancers in the market-place, who, as you know, steal children. So both his parents sought for him in the market-place up and down, and asked for their Heinerle amongst the country people, but they had none of them seen him. Meanwhile, he was sitting quietly in the picture-dealer's booth, behind the pictures hanging up, with a great heap before him, the leaves of which he was turning over, thinking it more wonderful with each turn, that any one could do such things. His parents had started on their homeward way, and consoled themselves, as the parents of Jesus of old, with the hope that he might be amongst their neighbours. Yet no one at home had seen him. That gave them a sad night. At first, old Huber had determined to give the boy a good thrashing when he came home; but by degrees he changed his mind, and he would have been heartily glad if he had only been safely at home. But at last he left the matter in the hands of Him who cares for the sparrows who had their nests above his house, and went to sleep, as men can. But to the mother sleep did not come so quickly She could think of nothing but that the circus-men, the foreigners, had stolen the pretty boy, and had broken his limbs, and she should never see him again. "Ah, Heinerle," said she, "you are truly my son of sorrow;" and at last, with much weeping, she fell asleep.
Heinerle had not noticed that the sun had set, and it was not until the dealer slowly took his pictures from the cord and packed them up that it became clear to him that it was evening. And now his misery began. He called his parents, and wept so copiously that the dealer set out, when his shop was shut up, to help him find his parents. But they were already a long way off, and only a few lighted-up refreshment booths and brandy shops were surrounded by people, and in the midst of the market-place the tin trumpets of the circus resounded. His misery increased, for he could not find his way home through the wood at night. At last the picture-dealer said he should spend the night with him in his shop, and in the morning he would himself take him home. When a good supper appeared upon the table Heinerle put aside some of his grief, and remembered that the night is soon slept away. The dealer, however, wished to drive the boy's sadness away completely, and told him and his customers about the painters, what a separate class they were, not at all like other men. In his time he had been a good deal with them, and had drawn "The Transfiguration" of Raphael, and would have rather belonged to the Italian school; then spoke of the "shading stroke," and the "broad brush" of this painter, and the fine one of that, and how fell of effect this or that one was. I was only because money was wanting to him so that he was unable to buy brush, canvas, and oil; he had also had shaky nerves, otherwise he might have become something too. He had the stuff; it was only the tools that were wanting.
So Heinerle heard that there were colours and brushes with which one could paint quite well all that God had created; and how a painter could live grandly and happily every day, and not be obliged to chop wood. "It is a life for the gods, " said the dealer, "as in Olympus." Heinerle did not understand that, for he had learnt differently from the catechism, and said, "Are there more gods than the good God?" "Ah," said the dealer, whose theology was not very exact, "that is only a figure of speech." When Heinerle asked what a figure of speech was, the dealer took a deep pull at his short pipe, blew some clouds out, and said at last: "Well, a figure of speech is justa figure of speech." In order to be plagued with no more "ideas," he asked Heinerle "whether he had drawn anything yet, that he had such a liking for picture?" "Oh yes," said Heinerle confidently, "a whole drawer full!" Then he told him naively how he hated school because of the arithmetic, and how he often went into the wood with his father and drew flowers; in short, the dealer said at length, with pleasant dignity and raised voice, "Whether you have genius, or whether you have talent (and, mark you, there is a difference), you will be somebody, and I will help towards the making of you. But now go to bed. I shall remain down here a while longer." Heinerle went to the bed assigned to him, with he shared with the dealer, and it was a great event to him that he was not to sleep with his mother, but with such a famous man; and in the night his head was full of these things, and he dreamt of Raphael, of broad and thin brushes, of the life of the gods, and of the trembling nerves.
Early in the morning the picture-dealer went with his protégé, before the fair re-opened, to the wood, and enjoyed bringing the child back to his parents, and telling them what a treasure they had. The father had already taken a short cut back to the little town, and they had missed him. But the mother was at home. Her heart beat loud when she saw the little fellow coming, but she immediately thought that the man with him was a tight-rope dancer, who had brought the child just to say good-bye, and that she would never see him again. But when Heinerle sprang so joyfully towards her, and told her about the good man from whose plate he had eaten, and in whose bed he had slept, and what a celebrated man he was, then she was light-hearted, and brought the best that was in her house, and the dealer found the butter and honey, together with the little jar of wine, excellent.
In the meanwhile Heinerle had pulled out his drawer, and now emptied out his works of art in a row. "Not bad; not at all bad; a good deal of feeling; rather imperfect; not quite carried out; a good effect," and so on; whilst Frau Huber held her hands under her apron, and anxiously looked at Heinerle. "Talent, if no geniusa great difference between them!may become something, if properly trained." The upshot of the interview was that, on the last day of the fair, his parents were to come again with Heinerle in order to look a little more into the matter. In the meanwhile he packed up together some of Heinerle's drawings to send to some of his "connexion"a word Frau Huber did not quite trust, "for one did not know what sort of a town that might be."
Book II. Student Years.
The Visit to the Godfather.
Even into the best-guarded house a little breath of chill air can find its way, if it only penetrates through the keyhole; and so into the most peaceful household a blast of wind penetrates many a time, gradually chilling the folks inside, and changing their countenances like Laban, whose face to-day was not the same as it was yesterday or the day before that. With some the hour speedily arrives, only a few weeks after the wedding, when they are just settled in the new house, and the spoons and knives are still bright, and the table-linen still so glossy that it slips off the table. Thus it is midnight with one and noon with the other, like two weathercocks on two church towers, whose feathers are gone, so that they fail to indicate the direction of the wind, and each one thinks he is right. Then eyes are opened wide, and say wonderingly, "I should not have thought that of you"; for the little packet which one has been taught with one's alphabet to call "sin" has slipped in unobserved amongst the household goods. With some it begins later, when they have eaten some bushels of salt together; but whenever it comes, it is always a test to show on what foundation the house stands. For it was not in the bright clear sunshine, but when the rain fell, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat upon the house, that it showed whether it was built upon the sand or upon the rock.
To this rule the house of Florian Huber was no exception. Since the picture-dealer had been in the house and had tasted their hospitality, peace had retired. Yet it did not lie in the fact that he had eaten there, nor that he had done so with a relish. But his pictures remained as firmly in Heninerle's head as if they had been fixed there with a clinch, as they were in the dealer's shop, and the mother dreamed of nothing else but that her Heinerle would some day become a celebrated painter. Only old Huber regarded it differently. He had already heard of painters, and had also seen some of them, and those he had seen had great flappy hats, it is true, but thin, unsubstantial coats withal, and boots which at every step gaped like the jaw of a dog-fish. And therefore he could not put any confidence in Art, and thought wood-cutting was a much more solid handicraft, and at any rate a wood-cutter can wear a Sunday coat. Besides, those sort of people talked too much, and that was no recommendation to him. Those he had seen were quite masters of the brush, but the brush which they carried had either a long staff like the sacristan with his alms-bag, or it was a foot long, with great broad bristles, and was described in the painters' handbook as "house-painter," which word people had translated into high German as "painter."
So, for the first time, a misunderstanding sprang up between Huber and his Crecenz about the Art question, and for the first time since they were married the sun set without their yielding to each other, or wishing each other good-night. And yet it's such a fitting thing to say "Good-night." One does not know what may happen in the night, or what may be whispered in one's ear in the darkness, especially when one takes anger to bed with one. It is no wonder, therefore, that people so often get out of bed the wrong side in the morning, and do not know why everything is wrong, and why the coffee is not to their taste, although the cook maintains that it came direct from Java, and had been slowly heaped up, and not a drachm more chicory than usual put in it. So it was with Huber and his wife this night. Neither of them could sleep, and neither knew what ailed them, and yet it would have been no witchery to find the little chink at which the draught of wind entered. But next day, when Frau Huber turned her face towards the east, and would have prayed as she did every morning, it was not right with her, and she did not feel the confidence that a dear child does in praying to its good Father, and so for the first time she was thoroughly sad at heart. It was a good sign that it should trouble her. For prayer is always the test how one stands towards God and manwhen it is a prayer, mark you, and no babble. By it one can soon tell if all is not quite in order within. Frau Huber noticed this, and soon divined that the matter originated with her, and not with Huber, nor with the picture-dealer, nor with the annual fair. So when Huber woke up she wished him good-morning in a friendly way, gave him her hand, and said: "Huber, I have been angry long enough, and if you have also had enough, it will be doubly pleasing to me. I should have given in to you, for you are the man and I am the woman, and the man came into the world before the woman, as my blessed mother has often said." Huber was more than contented, and it was evident that a weight had been lifted from his heart. "Yes," he said, we will consider again about Heinerle. If you approve, we will go together to his godfather, who shall give us his opinion. He has seen more than you or I, and has had more experience in such matters."
On the following Sunday afternoon both dressed themselves to go across the mountain to the godfather. Heinerle was in his Sunday best: the fur-trimmed green velvet cap with the gold tassel, the stiff shirt-collar of solid linen sticking up all round the black jacket with the tucked-up sleeves, the turned-up trousers, both thoughtfully made with a view to growing, and the great red waistcoat, with the bright buttons, which came below his hips, to which must be added that his hair was cropped all round; this served to give Heinerle, in spite of his youth, a grandfatherly appearance. This was according to his own views, for since he had been to the picture-dealer's, and had slept in his bed, he had begun to look upon himself as one of the elders. Yet it is wonderful that even in the present day there comes a time when young people wish to be old, and the boy's collar will not set properly, nor the girl's laced boots; when they talk as if they were old and had lived as long as Methuselah, the son of Enoch, and have arrived at the wisdom of Solomon, saying: "There is nothing new under the sun." And, again, when they have grown old they must not hear a word of it, and are ashamed of their age as they were once of their youth, and dress themselves like young people out of doors, who ask after the latest fashion, and not after the newest price, and talk in such a green and youthful way that the grey hair on their heads nearly turns red.
Behind Heinerle walked Huber and his wife, who to-day was wearing her garnet chain of six rows, which descended to her from her mother, and her heirloom silver cross. The road lay through the wood in which Huber worked, and he pointed out to his wife the finest trunks and the young saplings which he had helped to plant; and she listened to him, but her thoughts were not with him: in spirit she was yonder at the godfather's, and she was wondering how things would turn out there. At last they arrived at the open, where the view stretched far and wide into the clearer part of the wood towards the mountain peaks.
Heinerle had gone on ahead and sat under the crucifix, but he thought less of the Saviour who was hanging there than how beautiful it would be up there to look out upon the mountain peaks, and that the crucifix was standing exactly in the right place, in the midst of the red heath and the waving reeds, and the some day he would paint it allhow father and mother and he sat under the crucifix and looked up at the mountains, while down below in the valley the bells were ringing. Frau Huber looked for a long time at her Heinerle; old Huber, too, had his thoughts about him, which he would not speak aloud; he only said they had better continue their journey. Once more their way lay through the wood, descending until they came to a well-cultivated garden, full of tall rose-trees and mallow; while against the house stood bee-hives, ranged one above another in two stories, overhung by the low-spreading thatched roof. That was the godfather's house.
It stood all by itself where the wood sloped down to the valley. The garden, which rose in terraces, was reclaimed from the wood; here one noticed a copper beech-tree, there a tree-stump which the owner had left sticking up in the earth. Before the house itself there was a large pond, as smooth as a mirror in the middle, bordered by tall reeds and broad-leaved flowers, and surrounded by the wood; this pond served the owner for the feeding of his little waterworks. The house, with its carved balcony, was reflected in the pond. On the second store, on the balcony, stood flower-pots containing carnations in all colours, rosemary and great marigolds. All these flowers stood out in cheerful contrast to the dark brown, smoke-blackened wooden front of the house. Above the thatch appeared a belfry with a little bell in it, so that one might fancy this was some little church or chapel. The Hubers had but just reached the house when the great watch-dog barked, whose vocation it was to turn the wheel in dry seasons, and whose limbs were equal to the task. The white curtain was drawn back, the little round window enclosed in a leaden frame-work was opened, and the Herr Godfather looked out and called his kindred to come up to him. Heinerle's heart beat when he heard his godfather's voice, which sounded so deep and full; and this voice was to pronounce sentence whether he was to be a woodcutter or an artist. That is why he was so anxious.
The godfather was not a man like other men. He was, it is true, the youngest brother of Frau Huber's mother, and his birthplace and family were known; and yet he was a stranger in the district and an enigma to almost every one. There are people whose baptismal and birth registers have been duly entered with all other such documents, and yet, for all that, are not known. He was a tall man, thin and lean in figure, and might have been about sixty years old. Long white hair, parted in the middle and smoothed back from his face, fell down on his shoulders, and gave to his deeply-furrowed weather-beaten countenance an almost ghostly appearance. His large clear blue eyes had a peculiar glance, and a power that compelled one always to look into them again, as into the blue heaven. And yet in his eyes there lay something of joy and sorrow together, and withal he could give such a keen glance as if he would read the very ground of your heart, like the eye of the Sphynx, which people in heathen days used to say could penetrate to the very bottom of the sea. A long black coat lined with red, which was fastened with clasps, the buff leather breeches, white stockings which reached to his knee, and shoes with buckles, completed his attire. If he was at work he would tie his hair together with a broad silk band, and then the godfather looked yet more remarkable. Over his life there lay a thick veil. As a boy he had been apprenticed to a watchmaker, but after that he had gone off with some foreign soldiers, and not till he was a grey-haired man had he returned home. The house in which he lived he had bought at a low price, for it had stood empty and forsaken for many years, since the inhabitants had all died in an epidemic.
The people in the village below, which was about half a league farther on, only saw him come there on Saturday evenings when he came to the shop and made his purchases, and on Sundays in church, which he never failed to attend, even in the worst weather. To those who watched him sitting in church so devoutly, and heard him singing so heartily out of the silver-mounted hymn-book with the massive clasps, and repeating the text in an undertone when he had looked it out, the appearance of the man was edifying. He was friendly to every one, and especially fond of children, for whom he brought hand wind-mills and all kinds of toys, when they collected together under the vines on Sunday afternoons, and could repeat to him a text by rote. And yet they were shy with him, and feared him more than they confided in him. That came from their parents, though. These had discussed the old man before their children, and had whispered all kinds of things about him, to which the children had listened with open mouths, as they always do when their elders are talking about something that does not concern them; as busy in snapping up things as little dogs when crumbs fall from their masters' tables.
There were, indeed, divers charges laid to the Godfather's account. To begin with, his long tight coat and his long hair tied together. That was not the custom in the whole district, and from the dress people commonly first take offence, and yet that is only the binding and not the book itself. Secondly, because he went so regularly to church. That also was not customary in the village, for the former parson had often said that going to church would not make one blessed, and this, the people had noticed themselves and stayed away, and for the most part only appeared there on the great festivals, like many officials in the present day on the kind's birthday, who, one can see, do not know whether one goes into church backwards or forwards, and whose singing is as feeble as a nine hours light. For the third reason, because now and then quiet strangers wandered over from beyond the mountain, put up at his house, and then had singing and praying. That also was not the custom there, but the respectable villager went behind his shed on Sundays, and away to the skittle-ground. Fourthly, he knew all sorts of remedies, procured from plants and minerals, for every ailment which the doctor could not cure, and gave them gratis to the people, and concocted poultices and plaisters at his own hearth. And that also the people did not do there, for each thought only of himself, and gave nothing to others. Fifthly, he allowed no one to look at his machinery, or to enter his upper room, and yet the shavings burnt there for a long time, even up to midnight. Sixthly, he told no one where he had been all those years of absence, and only gave the short answer, "Abroad." And that also they did not do there, but they talked about everything that they knew, and if one of them went abroad, he said, a great deal more about it than he knew.
But neither Huber nor his wife, who were well aware of such talk, troubled themselves about it, but loved him because they knew him, and they knew him because they loved him; for the gentle reader will often have had the experience that if one does not love a person, neither does one know that person, and so it comes to pass that people do not understand each other. He was godfather to all their children, and had undertaken it seriously. After the baptism he had not said to the mother of the little child something like: "How quiet it has kept!" or "How good it has been!" as townsfolk say nowadays when they have nothing else to say, or are ashamed to say what is better; nor had he finished off with a silver spoon or a few pence at every fair or new year; but he had especially blessed each little child, and written a godfather's letter to it with all the promises and warnings which God's Word gives to a little child. On it was laid the christening gift, not of copper nor silver, but of good old gold, as a remembrance of the godfather, which might be a help some day if hard times came. In his Bible, next to his family pedigree, the names of his godchildren were entered, with the date of their birth and baptism and every year he visited his distant godchildren in order to see whether they were thriving in soul and body, and to inquire into their school reports. Then he took them on his lap and embraced them, and would talk with them as if he himself were also a child; and yet he spoke of high and noble things, which made the eyes sparkle and the little heart beat. And when he laid both his hands on the little head, looked towards heaven and uttered a blessing, then the godfather looked so bright and happy that the children were always glad when the blessing came.
(To be continued.)
The Parents Review Volume III 1892/3 pages
Vol. 3 P. 223-232
Heinerle: The Peasant Artist.
By Emil Frommel.
Translated from the German by K. W. Bent.
Book II.Student Years.
The Godfather's Home.
Such was the godfather before whose house Huber, his wife and Heinerle were now standing. He came out to the entrance towards them, and shook hands with them. "God be with you, kinsfolk," said he, "I have seen nothing of you since Midsummer Day, or is it Candlemas, that I was with you? and when you were last with me I cannot remember, it must be quite Michaelmas five years. But it's pleasant to see you now. Take your coat off, father, for you have on your heavy Sunday one, and make yourself comfortable; and you, Crescenz, take off your shoes, for the way is stony over the mountain, and that makes women footsore." Then he went down into the cellar and filled the little blue crockery jug, and arranged the table as daintily as if he had lernt it under a head waiter in a hotel. In the meanwhile Heinerle had looked round the room, and had seen wonder upon wonder. It was the first time that he had ventured into his godfather's house. His brothers and sisters had told him much, but what was that to seeing? The great clothes press attracted him above all things, which looked as venerable as a grandfather amongst his grandchildren. It was in truth solid and built of durable wood, not of consumptive deal with a mahogany binding, like the wardrobes of the present dayfeeble things which sigh in the first months of their existence, and then suddenly crack in the night with the sound of an exploding gun, and one of a timid disposition draws the cover-lid over his head, and does not notice until the bright morning that the cracked wardrobe was the miscreant.
This one was all of good oak, and outside it was inlaid with stars and all kinds of figures, the posts beautifully twisted like the old knotty thorn stick of the journeyman of former days; and the lock upon it was as bright as if it were only three years old, made of the best iron, and the key not moulded as the present ones, which, with a little rough handling, leave half in the lock and the other half in the owner's figures, but so well wrought that one saw that the workman had had pleasure in his work. The whole press testified from top to bottom in its firmness, solidity, and its ingenious art withal, to the saying which applies chiefly to the craftsman, but in the end to every one: "Everything that you do, do it from your heart." Unfortunately there are few modern masters who put their heart into their work.
Therefore Heinerle stood gazing at the great press; his brothers and sisters had only told him that there was a chest in the godfather's room as big as Noah's ark, and that godfather had preserved a vast number of things in it, but the carved work interested him, and the beautiful designs upon its surface. And from the press his attention was drawn to the bird-cages in the window. These were all carved alike, large and wide, and the godfather had made them so comfortable within that the little birds had their dwelling and sleeping rooms and even their drawing-room; yes, one cage he had carved with a Gothic roof like a church, and had hung up a little bell in it, and placed a little musical snuff-box there which played a melody to the birds, and more than one learned gentleman sat within who had studied his subject from the beginning. On the shelf, almost up to the ceiling, stood portly old jugs with narrow necks, as one like to have them, and the greater number inscribed with old mottoes. Then there were weather-glasses, some possessed of green-coated weather prophets who pursued their business on ladders; others with long and twisted reeds and quicksilver in them, or a blood red fluid, all the degrees from "storm," "steady," "find," to "very dry," being marked upon them; and Heinerle wondered afresh beyond measure that the little men and the fluid in the glasses should know what sort of weather it would be, since his father always knew it without any glass. For he had something on the little toe of his left foot; and when that smarted and stung him he always said: "Crescenz, look out, there will be a change of weather, it is shooting badly!" But what puzzled Heinerle most was why godfather needed all these things; why he did not let the birds fly away; what the weather-glasses and the great press might be for.
He would certainly have continued to investigate everything and to reflect upon all he saw in his godfather's room, not to say upon his godfather himself, had not the meal now begun. For he really studied his godfather without knowing it by means of is room, as at the present time one can study little boys and girls even when they are not at home. One need only go to the bookcase, or examine the school satchel, as the captain does the recruit's knapsack, to find out something of the owner's nature; or at night, when the young sleeper lies down in bed, one can tell by the clothes on the chair what notion of order he or she has. So to Heinerle, his godfather grew more and more wonderful the more he studied his room.
But the meal was on the table, and the godfather had brought out his best, and when the coffee steams and the honey looks such a golden yellow, most people would forego philosophy. The Hubers set to work, and Heinerle was not behindhand. Afterwards the men filled their pipes, and Heinerle was told to take himself off into the garden to enjoy the fresh air, that his parents might talk with the godfather. The departure did not exactly take place with rapidity, for children are often attacked with a kind of paralysis and deafness, and sit as firmly on their chairs as if they had grown to them. At last he dragged himself off slowly, for he would willingly have been present while his future was decided for him. He was allowed to wander about everywhere, except to the little gate that led to the clockwork machinery.
"Now then, kinsfolk," said the godfather, when they were alone, "what has brought you here? You have something on your minds, that I can see without your telling me."
"Huber, you speak of it," replied the Frau.
"Crescenz, you understand it betteryou tell it to the godfather; words come easier to you than me."
"No, Huber," said she, "you are the man, and the man comes first."
The godfather smiled, and thought that if they went on like that he would hear nothing in the end. So he asked Frau Huber to speak. She then related everything from the birth of the child through the whole course of is life, with many parentheses and digressions, and often found it difficult to get back to the main line of her story. And then the godfather would help her sympathetically out of the thicket, or the tangles maze of her tale, in which she occasionally lost herself. At last came the story of the picture-dealer, at which the godfather drew in the corners of his mouth, and one could see that he had to control himself not to laugh, because he considered it unkind to laugh when any one in their ardour said a little too much. Finally, she came to her pointnamely, how now for the first time there had been two opinions between her and her Huber about Heinerle's future, and how in consequence they wished to choose him for an umpire, and to abide by his decision, let it be what it might. She would willingly allow her head to be guided, for she had already experienced that if one rushed on head foremost, and went through the wall, one's body could not follow, and it generally got some harm.
The godfather sent out two or three puffs from his pipe, looked at both of them with his deep blue eyes, and then said: "What you say is good, Crescenz; for what is the use of advice when one has determined beforehand not to allow one's head to be guided. Friend Huber," continued he, "I see that the affair does not commend itself to you, and that you have not a high opinion of painters. And you, Crescenz, have ambitious thought in your mind; and the child has them also in his head; that I have noticed in him. But take care lest you have kindled a spark which may grow into a fire, if the hay and stubble in the heart are caught, and which would cause you the greatest suffering, and your Heinerle also. I have seen more of such people, and have learnt to know many painters in my travels. Believe me, they are a suffering people, though their faces are cheerful, and they sit together as merrily as if it was always Sunday."
"Then you mean that it must not be?" said Frau Huber, raising her eyes sadly.
"Crescenz, have you not said that you would be guided and give in to my counsel? But you are not quite ready to do so yet, and down deep in your heart there is something which contradicts it and troubles it."
Frau Huber lowered her eyes and was silent. The godfather had hit the truth, and had read her heart as if it were an open book. Now she felt for the first time how she and the child had grown to one another, and how they two in their walks through the quiet wood had lived in each other's lives and shared their future in idea. And now the question was one of uprooting; and it is thus that one first becomes aware how much more closely one clings to some object than one had thought beforehand. There may be many loose teeth in the mouth which it would seem easy to draw out with the fingers, and not until the dentist sets a man on the ground and applies the forceps does he know how firmly they are set. Yonder, under the crucifix at the foot of the Cross was written:
"What though the world to pieces go,
And under the crucifix had Frau Huber just been sitting, looking up thence to the mountains. But it is one thing to sit under the Cross, and another to hang thereon and allow one's will to be crucified; then one looks down on the world from above in quite another way.
All these thoughts passed through Frau Huber's mind, and she could only keep silence, and that was best. The godfather looked kindly at her, for he saw that she fought bravely, and such people are worthy of succour.
"Now, Crescenz," said he, "you have not heard me to the end. I would not make a woodcutter of your boy, since he has no turn for it, and is fit for something better in the world. Our Heavenly Father has assigned us different gifts; and you know yourself, kinsman, that in the forest there are not only blackbirds, but all sorts of pensioners, who fly about therein, each one begging his bread, not in vain, and yet no two have nests alike, and the note of one is like no other of his comrades. Therefore you must consider: one mother has to bring up seven children, all different, and you have one more, so here the proverb applies; therefore let him be dealt with individually. I will hear how your bird sings, and what sort of a nest he builds for himself what sort of feathers he has on his body, and how big his wings are. Perhaps it will be necessary to let them grow, or perhaps they will have to be clipped and made shorter. That will soon be seen. Let me tell you something: I am old, and have surmounted the chief part of my journey here below, thank God, and I am alone. Give the boy over to me for a time, and apprentice him to me; it shall cost you nothing, but all shall go down to the godfather's account. Old and young fit in together if they only take each other rightly. For the young have not travelled far from Heaven, and the old have not far to get there; so there they are, near each other."
Huber and his wife looked at each other and did not know at first what to say. They would willingly have slept upon the matter again.
"Are you doubtful about it?" said the godfather; "then consider it again. My word remains, and before I know the boy I can say nothing more. but Heinerle is still young, and you will lose nothing by waiting."
Then they were both contented, and promised to give their answer when they had decided.
Meanwhile Heinerle had gone all round the godfather's garden, and had thoroughly looked at the pond and beehives, and had reached the wicket that let to the clockwork machinery. But that was fastened, and the window was so thick with smoke and soot that he could discover nothing but a forge and various anvils. He sat himself upon a bench in front of the door, and the tired child soon fell asleep, overcome by all the fine sights he had seen. As before, when he spent the might at the picture-dealer's, so now in this summer afternoon, he was haunted by visions of the godfather's clothes-press and weather-glasses, and all would have been well had not the godfather himself looked so grave, and had not his white hair fluttered about so oddly. So he was found by his parents, and it was well that his brothers were not there, for they would certainly have said, like Joseph's brethren when they met him at Dothan, "See, here comes this dreamer!" For something of Joseph's gay-coloured little coat and the jealousy of the brothers was here also.
The sun had nearly set and the way home was rather long, and the godfather urged them to start on their homeward way. So the four went together up the hill as far as the crucifix. The sun had just set, leaving a glow behind which still lit up the hills, and of which the figure of the Saviour on the crucifix partook.
The godfather folded his hands and took off his cap, Huber did the same, and Heinerle, looking at his father, copied him; Frau Huber gazed for a long time at the crucifix and no longer at the mountain, and her heart was at rest, and when she saw the godfather praying so reverently, she thought to herself:
"With him your Heinerle will be well brought up, and better than with the picture-dealer."
There they took leave, pressing each other's hands; the godfather went down the stony path, and the Hubers through the wood. And they both spoke little, giving Heinerle hardly any answers to his questions, but putting him off until they were at home.
At the Godfather's in Grindbachthal.
"I know, O Lord, that the way of a man stands not in his power, and it is in no one's might how he walks or directs his path." So said the prophet Jeremiah, and he is nearer the truth with his decisive "I know," than other people are now with their "I think." For it is the opinion of all the world that a man can do what he likes, and although every one may not learn a smith's trade, yet each one can be the forger of his own happiness; and this only depends on whether a man hammers well or ill, crookedly or straight. There is naturally no talk of the One who furnishes both fire and iron, who gives the arm its strength, or, if needs be, deals it such a blow that the smith's work is at an end. He is out of the reckoning, and beyond the smithy. But man thinks he is free, and yet he is not. He has to do with One stronger than himself in the course of his life, and liberty in life and action seem to the writer to be reproduced in a game of chess, where two play against each other, of whom one is the superior, invincible combatant. Each has his free move, and each follows upon the other; and at last the one compels the other to make such and such a move, until he has checkmated him. So is it in life as in chess, although it does not follow that life is a game. Man makes his move and God makes His, and God's move is in reference to that made by the man--that is, a piece of his gentleness and condescension; and yet He ever presses man more and more, and takes from him the castle, then the bishop, and leaves the knights cripples; and His aim is to checkmate the kingthe heart, that isto get it into His power. And happy is he who so loses the game and says, "Thou hast subdued me, and I have let myself be overcome; Thou has been too strong for me."
And then there is freedom on the side of the man, and yet it stood not in his own might how he walked and directed his course. But many thousands lose the game, and have laid down their arms in despair, and are checkmated by Him of Whom it is said, "It is dreadful to fall into the hands of the living God." For no one has checkmated Him, and no one has grown old enough to survive the everlasting God.
So it did not lie in the power of the Hubers nor in their might, when they decided, after long deliberation, to give up their Heinerle to his godfather, and to tell the picture-dealer he might let the matter rest for the present; Heinerle was not to come to him, but would go for a time to his godfather's in Grindbachthal. For they thought at first that they ought not to refuse the picture-dealer, because he might consider his honour involved. But the Heavenly Father had made a powerful move forwards, and the Hubers had followed His lead.
The wood had already become autumnal when Heinerle stood ready for his departure. His new clothes and boots, his songbook, and his confirmation certificate were packed in a great ticking-sack.
Frau Huber had taken all sorts of things from the cellar and the chimney-place in order to please the godfather, and not to appear with empty hands.
Now came the parting. From his brothers and sisters it was not particularly hard, for his brothers and sisters know least in youth what they possess in each other, and only find out in old age how true the Dutch proverb is, "That blood is thicker than water," and are delighted to have any one to whom they can say everything without reserve. it was harder with his father.
Heinerle had gone so often with him into the wood, and although old Huber was as silent as the wood, yet the boy was pleased to be with him, and when he took his hand on the homeward way, and was allowed to carry his axe, he was happy. For in those days it did not take much to make Heinerle happy, as it should be with all good children. And therefore it was very hard to him to kiss his father and say good-by.
Heinerle would willingly have said something, but his brothers and sisters were standing by, and that oppressed him, and the father also would willingly have said something, but it would not come easily, so it happened that the two only took a long look at each other, and then separated.
Frau Huber took the bag, Heinerle the basket with the messages, and they soon disappeared into the forest. Clouds lay thick upon the mountain, and they both walked in silence beside each other. At last Frau Huber broke the silence and said: "Listen, Heinerle!"
"What is it?" he asked.
"You must bring no disgrace upon me at the godfather's, and follow him as if he were your father."
"Yes, indeed, mother you may depend on that. But I am afraid of him."
"Why, Heinerle? He has never done you any harm."
"His eyes are so big, and he looks at one so, as if he would look through you."
"No man makes his own eyes, Heinerle; God makes them. But a man can certainly put something into them, and much lies in the godfather's eyes."
"What lies in them, mother?" asked the little fellow again.
"I can't tell you that all at once; but only believe that what shines out of his eyes is love to God and man."
"Then can one see that in a person?"
"Yes, indeed, one can see it; one can see it in our pastor."
"But the godfather is no pastor."
"No, he is not; but one need not be a pastor for that. It behooves all men to love God and man, and when there is a little flame in the heart it shines out at the eyes, just as one sees the firelight in a room through the window panes."
Heinerle said nothing for awhile, then he began again.
"Mother, listen! Is godfather a painter, that I am going to him?"
Here Frau Huber was brought to a standstill. For it was just this about which she did not wish to speak to her boy, but to let it become revealed to him when he was with his godfather. But she had not taken into consideration that Heinerle would immediately ask about it.
"Heinerle," she said, "you must not ask questions; you will soon hear all about that at the godfather's."
"Sha'n't I become a painter, then?" he rejoined, and the tears filled his eyes.
Now, for the first time, Frau Huber was quite at a loss, and was like nothing else than a fortress, so closely beleagured that a mouse could not even get out. For what the godfather intended to make of him she had quite forgotten to ask.
"Listen, Heinerle, godfather will try you at first, just to see what you can do, and after that we will see what next is to be done."
"Then shall I never come back to you again, and must I always stay with godfather?" he asked further.
"Heinerle, you make my heart heavy when you ask so many questions. Try to be contented, child, otherwise it will make me sad when I see you."
"Why should it make you sad, mother," asked Heinerle sorrowfully.
They had reached the end of the wood, and were again at the crucifix when Heinerle questioned. And that was a boon to Frau Huber and her escape from the fortress. For he looked up again at the mountains, and let the matter drop, and she could rest for awhile under the crucifix, and consider.
"Come along now, Heinerle, it is not much further down to the godfather's, but we will say good-by up here, that he may not notice us. Stay as long as you can at godfather's, and when you can stand it no longer, then come over to me and pour out your heart, and I will help you further, if you can't get on at all. But for the present it must be as it is, and we must make up our minds to it, you and I. And godfather is a good, pious man, who will keep you faithfully."
Heinerle sobbed a good deal at these words, but he understood them better than his mother, for she hardly knew what she said, and therefore he was not so troubles as she thought him. After they had embraced each other, they went down the stony path to the godfather's.
(To be continued.)
The Parents Review Volume III 1892/3 pgs 299-308
Heinerle: The Peasant Artist.
Book II.--Student Years.
Chapter V. His Welcome.
The godfather stood at his forge in the workshop, and had bolted himself in, and his great dog growled at the door, so that Heinerle was frightened. When the godfather heard them he told them to sit in the balcony for a minute, he would be with them directly. He took the pot from the fire and covered the charcoal with ashes that it might remain alight, wiped the soot from his face, and came to his guests.
"Now, God bless they going out and coming in, Heiner," said the godfather in his deep voice. "Look what is put over my door, and over the other one there:
"If God gives not the house His grace,
They found everything ready for their reception. Next to the godfather's sleeping room, in which the great four-post bedstead stood, into which any other but the tall godfather would have had to climb by a ladder, was the room prepared for Heinerle. His bed was a straw pallet as hard as the patriarch's pillow at Bethel, and made of stiff fustian; close by it was a polished pinewood table, on which stood a large Bible, together with the Catechism. A Black Forest clock, with alarum weights, and a loud, clear stroke, hung on the wall, and at the foot of the bed there stood a large oaken chest with roses and Heinerle's initials painted on it.
Pretty curtains hung before one window, whilst the other was screened by the boughs of a large nut-tree. In the room hung a cage, and Heinerle was soon to know who lived in it. In short, it was a little room in which one might feel at home. Outside the window were all kinds of autumnal flowers placed on the carved sill, and on one side a little weather-man in the shape of a brown Capuchin, who in fine weather took his cowl off himself, and when it was likely to be bad, put it on slowly. Frau Huber regarded the room with silent pleasure, and for Heinerle all the home-sickness had gone, and the godfather feasted on the quiet pleasure of the boy. Thus had he known how to meet a boy's tastes, and without a word the little room said plainly to Heinerle: "See how godfather loves you."
Ah, yes, that which is valuable in a room is what another prepares for us out of which love shines everywhere; not what is put into it to prevent its being empty, but that which has been thought over, and considered as likely to be dear to the other, and according to his taste. The godfather talked for a long time with Frau Huber alone in the garden, sitting on the bench under the copper-beech. What they discussed together has never been told to any one, but it must have been something which had a lasting effect. There are words and conversations, both good and bad, whose influence lasts for years, and one short hour is not like another, nor one talk like another. The parting was short; Heinerle had unpacked his trifles from the ticking-sack, had observed everything in the room, and, absorbed in his new affairs, had hardly any more tears at his disposal, so that the mother had an easy task in leaving her Benjamin. Through the evening he was allowed to ramble about outside in the garden, but when the hour for bed-time struck, he was called in by the godfather. He did not find him at once, for he was neither in the first nor second room, but in the third he heard the soft tone of an organ. when he entered the room was lighted, and godfather was sitting at a good-sized organ with bright pipes; at his feet the big dog moved about, and the godfather played a soft chord, and yet so peculiarly thrilling that Heinerle quite shuddered. Then he passed into a chorale, and sang with his deep voice:
"Lord Jesus Christ with us abide,
"To our last and troubled hour,
The godfather sang for a long time, and Heinerle listened without joining; for he did not know the hymn. Then the godfather rose and fell on his knees, and prayed so devoutly for all men under Heaven, for light and comfort for the sorrowful, also for Heinerle's parents, and brothers and sisters, and commended his house and his soul into God's care for the night, all so earnestly and without a book, that it seemed wonderful to Heinerle that a man could pray so and yet not be a pastor.
And now for the first time he saw the godfather in his true light, for his face was so friendly that he looked as if something very delightful had happened. Then they had potatoes and milk upon which they supped; after which Heinerle was dismissed to bed with a blessing. No light was given him, for godfather had told him the men could accustom themselves to see in the dark, which was not quite obvious to Heinerle. The godfather, however, stayed up for a long time, and fetched out of the big chest a book bound in hogskin, yellow with age, and pen and ink with it; tied back his hair with the silk band, and began to write. Only through the chink of the door did Heinerle see him as he sat, then he got frightened again, so he sprang into his hard bed, which seemed very different from his mother's soft one, and he was soon asleep. But the godfather wrote late into the night. So whilst Heinerle is asleep we will look over the godfather's shoulder, turn back a few pages, and read what is in the book.
Chapter VI. From the Godfather's Hogskin Book.
"I have often thought to myself in constructing a small organ that in the true community no spirit exists for itself, but one spirit needs another, as one little organ pipe needs another. The same amount of wind comes out of the bellows, but does not go through all the pipes with the same power, but through each with as much as the pipe requires. But without the wind, which here denotes the spirit, they are all dead and give no sound. And it is not only the trumpet and trombone stops which give delight, but also the Salicionale and Flauto d'amour. And the organ is just a symbol of the community in the Church here below, where great and small, weak and strong, sit side by side, just as my pipes are next each other in the octave, some of metal and some of woodwork, yet all sounding well. But I always have much to contend with when it is damp weather, for that puts it out of tune; and, moreover, the valves are not always clear, however well the bellows work. So also there is an east wind which affects the harmony of the community here below.
"On Wednesday I went to see the farmer at Hasel; in ploughing he had found a very old Spanish gold piece, such as the soldiers had lost. Thereupon he with all his people had gone to that same field, and had dug round it carefully and thoroughly with spades in case he should find more. Whereupon I wished for him that he would explore his Bible wherein he might find a gold piece, and begged him diligently to search over the field of which St. Mathew speaks in the 13th chapter, also not to forget to take his workmen with him.
"Early to-day the bullfinch in the cage piped his lessons right, and then he relapsed into his old woodland note, which made me think how many people there are who have received education and yet many a time fall back into their old note; from which one concludes that all such people are only instructed on the surface and not manifesting an improvement which has taken place within. Lord, let not my Christianity nor my speech be like that of the bullfinch, and close my lips when the wild natural note will come, and make me shame my teacher.
"Then I received a letter with a seal, which showed a ship lying at anchor, and underneath was inscribed: As God will.' I also am a mariner, and lie at anchor; but I do not venture to weigh anchor or trim the sails, for I am in a sacred place. Before me is the tabernacle, hidden from me by pillars of cloud and fire. I wait upon the Lord, and lie still until the clouds are lifted by Jehovah's breath. If they travel away to Thee, then I will follow and put in where Thou are; if they descend elsewhere, then I will rest there.
"What in German we call Geist is called Spiritus in Latin, so much I have heard. But it is the same with the spirit in man as with that which we fetch from the apothecary or the distiller; when I concentrate all the power of the spirit and keep in its essence by means of a stopper, then it is strong and works powerfully as often as I need it. But if I omit to do this, and leave the stopper out of the bottle, and through carelessness neglect to stop it, then it loses its essence and its power is dissipated. So it is with the spirit of man. O Lord, keep my spirit pure that I lose it not by scattering it to the winds, but may, like St. Stephen, commit it into Thy hands.
"Everything on which man fixes his heart apart from God, will in the end become his peace destroyer and a gnawing canker, even if it be his dearest. I have often wondered that people so frequently say that God's ways are dark; yet the same people when they are in church sing the hymn of the blessed Gerard with expression:
"His action is pure blessing,
Therefore they might the more reasonably conclude that their eyes, and not the ways of God, are dim. To-day I studied the bees, and learnt wisdom. How the little creatures fly towards the flowers and suck them so diligently! And when they have sucked them they go into cells, and work for the use of others, for they enjoy the honey least of all themselves. Whereupon I reflected that it may be the same in the kingdom of God. For there are some people like spiders, who draw the threads of wisdom which they spin out of themselves to entangle the foolish flies, and pouncing upon them compass their death and ruin by getting all they can out of them; while there are others who, like the industrious ants, seek nourishment by storing up the grain of the word, and gather together a good store; but often with all their riches suffer want, because all such possessions remain in the chamber where memories are stored; and there are a few bees who such the honey out of the word, work it up in their hearts, and use it, not for themselves alone, but for the refreshment of others.
"To-day a wanderer from Poland begged of me, and I talked to him in his mother tongue, which I had learnt as a soldier; whereupon he wept, and his heart was deeply moved at hearing his own language, in which he had so often talked with his father and mother, spoken in a foreign land. This aroused thoughts in me, and I reflected that it is the same with the Word of God. For the soul is a stranger who no longer hears in the world her own language in which she once conversed with her Heavenly Father; but when once she hears the Word of the Lord aright, it awakes remembrances in her, and she recognizes in the sweet sound, and in the vibration of the heart, that this is the language of her home, and that in which God spoke to us when we were at home and not in a strange land.
"Have been to the joiner Fritz and fetched some shavings. He had a cradle and a coffin close to each other in his workshop. Upon which I thought they preached a silent sermon from I Tim. vi. of which the cradle speaks the first part: We brought nothing into the world,' and the coffin the second: We shall take nothing out;' and yet men toil so much between these two little habitations. "O Lord, let me be satisfied with Thee.' the heathen had a story, as I have seen in an old book, which related that a certain Milo of Kroton daily carried a little calf on his shoulders. From this his shoulders gradually became so strong that when the calf grew into an ox, he was able to carry it just as easily. Whereupon I thought of the word in Lamentations: It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.' He who bears the cross and yoke which God in His foresight lays upon him just in proportion to his strength, will be able hereafter, if he shrink not from the daily burden, to carry it when it has become heavy and is the way of salvation to him."
Enough has now been shared with the reader out of the godfather's hogskin book. And if anything is not entirely clear to him, he may reflect that the godfather had never been at a high school, nor acquired his wisdom from the learned Bench. Perhaps also it may be that if the gentle reader come across the little book again in the course of another year, he may understand it better. Meanwhile let him pass over what he finds too hard to understand, so that no breach may ensue. We lay the book then very carefully, as the godfather did, in the big press.
Midnight was already long past; Heinerle breathed deeply in his sleep, when the godfather mounted into his lofty bed.
In the meanwhile Frau Huber had taken her lonely way over the mountain, and the watchman in the place had already sounded eleven o'clock, and sang:
"Hear, ye people, and hear me tell
The watchman looked at her, and turned his lantern upon her face, and knew her directly, in spite of her great wrapper. "Oh! it's you mother," said he. "Where are you going so late at night? It's no weather for a walk."
"I have been over in Grindbachthal to see the godfather. The road has seemed long to me through the thick wood."
"With your leave, what have you been doing yonder?"
"I have taken my Heinerle over there for his learning," replied Frau Huber.
"You've taken him to a good teacher then, mother; he has done me many a service, and when I take the staff and horn in the evening I think of him."
"I can't understand what you mean, friend," said Frau Huber.
"Crescenz, that would take me a long time to tell you, and the horn-blowing would be forgotten by the end, if I once began, and morning would be here. When he is underground, and if you and I are both still living, then you shall hear it. But now. God be with you to-night."
Frau Huber went still more thoughtfully homewards than she had started. She knocked at the shutter, and Huber got up to let her in; but Heinerle slept better and more soundly than his mother, who before she fell asleep had much to think about.
Chapter VII. Daily Duty.
Morning dawned in Grindbachthal, and Heinerle was aroused by the alarum, and directly after he heard a cheerful twittering of birds; but the bullfinch in his room shook himself, plumed himself, and behaved as if he would rub the sleep out of his eyes and clear his throat, and then began with great clearness to pipe the chorale:
"Awake my heart and sing
And all at once the whole chorus of the other feathered musicians filled the godfather's room, and Heinerle jumped out of bed, for he had never heard anything like it in his life, nor had he ever been awaked in that way before. As he was dressing, godfather, who was already dressed, called to him, "God bless you, Heiner, has the bullfinch waked you? Is not he a master? Have you slept soundly? and are you strong for prayer and work?"
Heinerle only looked at his godfather, bewildered by so many questions, and nodded his head. "Then come," said the godfather, and took him by the hand; the great quadruped also rose from his seat of honour by the oven, and the three went again into the little room where they had been the evening before. Now it was light there, and Heiner saw the organ with its bright metal pipes, and understood why the dog had come with them; for he was the organ-blower, and worked a wheel which pumped up the air. The godfather played a prelude again quite out of his own head, and then passed into the chorale, which he sang heartily, and in which as before Heinerle could not join. After that came the prayer, in which again all mankind were included; then breakfast, which consisted of hot porridge, of which Heinerle might eat as much as he could.
The godfather lighted his pipe, a beautifully grained piece of wood with a silver mounting; and Heiner thought they would now go straight to the painting. But instead of pencils and brushes a broom was given to him, and he received orders to sweep the room, and godfather showed him how to do it so that no dust rose in the air. A large brass funnel, which was filled with water, performed the service, and godfather drew with the stream of water all kinds of circles and figures on the ground, and then it was the turn for the broom. Next Heinerle had to make his bed, which he learnt from the godfather at his own four-poster; to clean his boots, to feed the bullfinch, to water his flowers; all which appeared to him beside the mark, for he kept on expecting to hear the godfather say: "So, now let us get to the painting." However, he did not say it, but always knew of something else to be done when he had finished one thing. Then he took him out into the shed, where he had to feed the cow and the goat, and had to do it exactly as godfather wished.
"So," said he, "every morning that will be your work, Heiner. He who rides early soon reaches his journey's end. First let the man be clean, and then the house in which he is placed; then the work will be clean. What one can do for oneself one must never burden another with. If you ever are a great painter, and have servants about you, then you can show them how the bed is made, and the room swept, the birds fed and the flowers watered, and the cow given her fodder. And if you are no painter, then you can al least be your own servant, and know that the work is well done, and demands no wages. And now come to your learning, for I noticed yesterday the you had need of it."
The godfather fetched an old song-book from the shelf, and read him the song which he should learn with feeling voice, and explained to him what was necessary, and sang the first verse to him. "Now you can learn that till I come to you again," he said, took a large bunch of keys out of his press, which he carefully locked up again, and went upstairs. Heiner sat down before his book, and propped up his head with both hands, and looked away, over the book, as small boys do. And the thoughts went all round in his head; he did not know how it was, and home-sickness attacked him, and his eyes were as full of water as the fir-tree bough outside was heavy with dewdrops. Then he took courage again, and began to study his verses and say them to himself, and it was not long before one of the birds in the cage sang, and helped Heinerle to learn it. And the second time it went better, and proved the truth of the words, "It is not good for man to be alone."
When the godfather came back the verses were learnt, and Heinerle was eager to know what would happen next. A big basket was given him, with instructions to go into the village to the butcher and baker. "That was Leo's business formerly," said godfather, "but he is rather old, and your legs are better than his; but, he will show you the way this time." When the dog saw the basket he placed himself in position like a soldier, and waited for the note which should be laid in it. For many years he had gone backwards and forwards to the baker's and butcher's, and had punctually executed his commissions without having lost any of the goods, or even a kreuzer of money; and had stood his test better than many a maid at the settling of accounts in the evening. So the two went off together down the road, while the old man returned to his work. All kinds of thoughts about his godfather were repeated in Heinerle's mind, and he greeted the people whom he passed absently. The baker would willingly have had a chat with the boy; and his cousin the butcher also asked him all kinds of questions about the godfather and himself; but Leo had seized his trousers and dragged him forcibly to the door, when the bread and meat were in the basket, as if to say, "We are in a hurry, Mr. Baker. We are sorry that we cannot give you any news." So they were quickly back again, and the godfather took the basket, and the meat was put into the pot, which was warm in readiness for it.
While at dinner the godfather inquired what had happened to him in the village, and if the baker and butcher had asked him any questions.
"Yes, indeed, Herr Godfather," said Heinerle, "the would have liked to have known a great deal, but Leo was in a great hurry, and pulled me away, so that there was no chance for talking."
"Then you can learn something, Heiner, from the unreasoning animal. He does not tattle out of the house about what he sees or hears there. Those who carry things out of the house are commonly called thieves, and it is the same with those who talk about home matters. They steal its quiet and its secrets from the house. Therefore you behave like Leo when people question you. You may say of much, without being ashamed of it, I don't know.'"
After their meal the godfather brought out the big Bible and pushed it over to Heinerle, so that he might read aloud to him. And Heinerle read the whole chapter aloud. The only thing that puzzled him was, that the Bible was covered over with fine writing in the margin; beside some verses was set the date of certain days, and he did not know whether to read that as well nor what it meant. For there was nothing written in his father's Bible, except the names of his parents on the first page and the date of their birth, and then the eight children in order, and he had thought that one ought on no account to write anything between the leaves of the Bible. The godfather understood Heinerle's thought quite well, but he said nothing; only thought "That will come out by itself." For one must not always try to make people explain everything, but leave them something to think over. whereupon the old man leant back in his great armchair, folded his hands on his breast, and went to sleep. Heinerle cleared the table, fed the dog, and betook himself into the garden till his godfather's voice called him.
(To be continued.)
Heinerle: The Peasant Artist.
Book II.--The Student Years.
Chapter VIII. In the Workshop.
"Now come and work, Heiner, the days are short and Art is long." So spake the godfather, coming towards Heinerle with the keys in his hand, and the scholar's heart beat, for he thought, "Now it's coming." And it came sure enough. Namely, a great wide workshop, with hundred and hundreds of things which struck Heinerle dumb with astonishment. Godfather left him no time, but showed him on the door a piece of paper, yellow with age, and called him to read it, and Heiner read:
He who knows anything let him be silent,
He who thinks slightingly of small things,
Everything in it place
"Have you understood it, Heiner?" said the godfather.
"Yes, indeed," replied Heiner.
"Well, then, you are lucky. I was obliged to spend a great deal of my education before I had learnt and marked it. You can spare yourself much, boy, if you rule yourself by it."
Now Heiner looked all about him. On the wall hung clocks, large and small, and ticking in all sorts of time. Some went as slowly as an old man's pulse, others as quickly as a fever-patient's; and near them on the walls hung wheels of all sizes, with and without teeth. In the corner stood organ-pipes of tin and wood, and carillons above on the shelf, and near by many old books. On the wall were drawings in charcoal, plans of watches and models of houses; here and there, in between, the head of a man, and arithmetical calculations. At the window stood the turning-lathe, carefully arranged, and along the wall on a shelf all needful tools, like the organ-pipes, from the greatest to the least. For though everything appeared thrown together in motley fashion, yet there was wonderful order in all.
"So, Heiner, this will be your second home, and the things which are in it will become your friends, with whom you will be on good terms. And now sit here, and pay attention."
Thereupon the godfather took a great Black Forest clock, opened the little case, drew out the screws at the back, loosened the hinge, and began to take the clock to pieces, bit by bit, and screw by screw, and laid every part aside in order. then he gave Heinerle the pincers and screw-driver, and said, "Now set about it attentively, and notice in what order the pieces come and how they are fitted together."
Heinerle paid great attention, and was delighted that he might look into the works of a clock, and take them to pieces, for at home he had often wished to examine the great clock and to hasten on its slow striking; but old Huber had instilled into all his boys a great respect for the clock, and they never laid a finger on it. He was soon ready with the interior, and laid all the little wheels and screws out prettily.
"Now, Heiner," said godfather, laughing, "come and put them together again."
Upon which Heinerle looked at his godfather in some surprise, for it now dawned upon him that it was easier to pull it to pieces than to put it together again. The old man smiled when he saw his perplexity, and said, "See, Heiner, now you can understand the proverb that it is easier to unloose than to bind up. Let me help you for once."
He took a stick of charcoal, and drew the clock for Heiner upon the wall as large as life, and showed him all the parts, and wrote the names over them, so that he could find them rightly in the clock for himself, as one who, on being sent into a strange town, might have the plan of the town explained to him. He paid great attention, and it pleased him beyond measure when he had a wheel and what belonged to it side by side, and could fit the works that showed the time, and the striking works to each other. The godfather put on the last hand, and the clock went again. But directly after he pulled it all to pieces and told Heinerle to go on with the work, for practice makes the master. The old man stood some distance off at the lathe and worked, but he had a mirror before him in which he could observe Heinerle closely, and see whether he had his five senses about him or was scatter-brained, and how his fingers worked; and he was glad when he saw that the boy was deft and skilful. So passed the first morning and evening at the godfather's house, and the succeeding days were as like the first as drops of water are to each other. The only change that occurred was that Heinerle acquired more understanding in the matter with each day, and could take all the clocks in the collection to pieces and put them together again alone. More and more he understood the treatment which the godfather applied to them. For he had a hospital for all the timepieces of the neighbourhood, where house clocks and Dutch clocks, and watches for the pocket, were taken in for their ailments, and kept till convalescent. And he had sorted them according to the nature of their sickness, with the name of the owner and their pedigree, and faithfully noted down the medicine therewith. And Heinerle rejoiced over every new timepiece which was brought to them, at the chance it gave him of learning to know its machinery; and during their work the two entertained each other excellently, and one topic set off another, for the words of Schiller, in "The Song of the Bell, " applied to them also: "When good talk accompanies it, Work goes gaily on."
It was not at the godfather's like it is nowadays at the watchmaker's, where the journeymen sit before a show window, and have a magnifying-glass in the hand and speak not a word, and at most look out once upon the street, or at the great regulator to see if it is not near twelve o'clock, and where in the meanwhile the "master" has the timepiece in his stomach wound up by means of a couple of partridges, which he washes down with a flask of Affenthal wine. The godfather understood inspiring the work with spirit; and when he spoke of a time-piece, he became as lively as if the watch were a man with whom one could speak and associate. For that man, although he is a living being, has a resemblance often fatal to a watch, the godfather firmly maintained.
"Joiner Fritz's clock," said he once, "suffers from the same complaint as his master; it warns and strikes before the time. You must take care, Heiner, and not strike with the tongue before the hand points to the hour. Otherwise misfortune comes. Think; man learns speech in a year and a half, or two years; but silence often not in his whole life."
Another time he received a fine watch from a stranger, who was staying the night in the village, and whom the people had sent to the godfather. "For if he could not set it right, no one could," they said.
"Look, Heiner," said he, "this is a distinguished town lady, who wants something every moment. The finer the wheels and the whole work are, the quicker it gets hampered and fails. In a Lindelbronn town clock a pair of bats can find a lodging, and yet it goes; but here when a speck of dust falls in upon it, the thing gets put out of order. See, so it is with man and his conscience. If it is coarse work like the town clock, it can bear much; but if it is a fine piece of work, on which the Spirit of God has operated, then it can bear no speck of wrong. Therefore one with a tender conscience should be tenderly surrounded."
Chapter IX. Progress.
All these and similar speeches Heinerle wrote out later, for he noticed that there was more wisdom in godfather's little finger than in the heads and bodies of many bigger men. Every other week the godfather went out into the country and brought in the patients, and took the healthy ones out of hospital; but most of them were brought to his house between morning and evening. For poor people he repaired them gratuitously. If he found a new watch, he bought it in order to study its improvement on the old ones. But he was best pleased when a musical clock came under his care. That was still a secret which every one did not understand. For them the godfather had his locked room and his machinery, where only cylinders and pins were made. Once when he showed Heinerle such a piece of work he was full of wonder, and exclaimed, "It plays in there as if the bullfinch and the blackbird and the thrush were shut up inside!"
"See, those are my instructors outside in the cage. From them I have learnt their different notes, and in return for that they may hear something beautiful in their turn. So Art learns from Nature when she needs to learn at all, and Art helps Nature again. That you much know, if you ever wish to become a painter."
Heinerle looked at him and said nothing. For two years had passed by since he had been with the godfather, and not a single word more had been said about painting; and he had progressed from one mystery to another, and it had been a fete day to him when he was admitted to the clock-work, and had seen the godfather at his cylinders and wheels. And the old man delighted in Heinerle as he developed under his eyes and hands, like a rose in the sun's rays, and like a hyacinth root which stands in a pot at the window and slowly pushes itself up out of the dark earth. He knew nearly all the godfather's songs, and often sat playing himself at the organ, and the old man listened to him, frequently unseen, and delighted in his full clear voice. When strange people full of mystery came to the godfather from over the mountain, and sang and read with him, then one could see that Heiner was drinking everything in. And he had great respect for these people, which increased for his godfather when he saw how willingly they all listened to him. But he never asked the old man who they were, for he knew that if it was agreeable to him, he would begin about it himself. For Heinerle had learnt to know his godfather through his actions and his way of life, his omissions and his silence, and in this way he had grown to honour him more and more. For he had never seen the old man vexed or unwilling when people came late and asked his advice about all kinds of illnesses, and he felt their pulse, and late into the night prepared potions at his own hearth, for which the prescriptions were written in an old book; nor when they fetched him to see a sick man over the mountain. He had often been over there and heard how the godfather could speak comforting words, so that even a child might understand; and he lightened the heart of the people, and prayed with them, so that it was almost as if the godfather no longer belonged to earth, but was already in heaven.
But all the time the old man had not lost sight of the boy's talent for drawing, for he could himself draw very fairly, as the heads on the wall and many beautiful designs for clocks testified which were carefully painted in oils. He had often taken him with him into the wood and field, and talked with him, and sat near him for hours, when he drew out paper and pencil at his bidding, and began to draw. The old man carefully collected all the leaves which Heinerle had already drawn, flowers and trees, and the faces of the people in the village. He made him observe each flower, and pointed out its special beauty, and each tree he made him follow from its roots to its branches, that he might show it as God created it; and more than once he had said to him that it was the glory of art to follow the works of God, and to reproduce on paper God's honour and majesty. For every true artist must say with his works, "I seek not mine own, but my Father's honour, who is in Heaven." And so no artist must produce bad work, or he disgraces his Master, whom, in any case, he cannot excel.
Thus one light after another dawned upon Heinerle, who would so gladly have set to and become an artist in real good earnest, though he saw no prospect of that as yet. For how he could fit it in with watch-making, organ-building and playing, sign-painting, or with the singing, praying, and concocting little potions, in which last he was also educated, was about as clear to him as his schoolmaster's art of reckoning, of which, as mention has been made, he understood nothing. And yet it was coming to him quicker than he thought.
(To be continued.)
The Parents Review Volume III 1892/3 pgs 541-547
Heinerle: The Peasant Artist.
Book II.--The Student Years.
Chapter X. Discontent.
Over in Lindelbronn everything was going on just the same as formerly with the old people. Huber's house, and the sparrow's nest on the Town Wall, were in the same position. Only the house, as well as its occupants, was getting more shaky. For old Huber had a deep cough, and was obliged to sit upright in bed at night to draw his breath. And Frau Huber had much to bear and overcome, for old age itself is mild illness, which only patience can cure. And since Heinerle had been away they were alone together at home, for the other children dwelt elsewhere. It seemed strange to the Hubers to see their table, at which eight children, with sixteen restless feet, had sat, so quiet and empty, and they would think how like it was to the first days of their married life, while they were yet alone. For life on many sides is like a circle, where the beginning and the end meet. Heinerle, indeed, came over every quarter on the first of the month, and brought his washing in the ticking-sack to his mother, and some stockings with holes in them as a present, and there were many questions and answers. And each time Frau Huber sat up the night in which Heinerle was expected, for she wished to greet him first, and could not sleep if she had not greeted him. When she had seen him go up to his room on the opposite side of the house and light his candle, she would open her shutter and call across to him "Good-night, Heinerle!" and Heinerle slept peacefully and happily each time after this greeting. And in the morning he would tell her how things were going on at his godfather's, and did not conceal that he loved him like his father. And although Frau Huber was glad when Heinerle spoke so of the godfather, yet she felt a slight stab of pain at her heart, for a mother's heart remains a mother's heart always, even when covered by a peasant's dress. She soon saw that she must share Heinerle's heart with the godfather, and that was difficult to her. And yet the godfather was innocent, for he would not steal the child's heart from the mother.
But over there in his new home Heinerle had so much to interest him, and it was so quiet at his parents', and his father was more silent than ever. And though his mother made him his favourite dish each time, and packed up something new with his clean linen in his bag, like Joseph for his brother Benjamin, yet she was disappointed that he would not be detained, and after a couple of days wanted to go back again. And something came of these visits to his home. Now and then Heinerle brought with him some of his drawings, and his mother could not stare enough at them; to think that her Heinerle should have made all that; and had also drawn her once with charcoal, so that all who saw it immediately exclaimed: "That is Huber's Crescenz, as she isher very self!"
It happened that a new Pastor came into the place because the old one had died, who, on his parish rounds, visited the Hubers on the Wall, and they told him about their children, and also about their Heiner, who lived with his godfather and could paint so beautifully. And at the Pastor's request that they would show him some, Frau Huber fetched from her wedding chest some of Heinerle's drawings, and the Pastor admired them also, and thought that it was a pity that he should be nothing better than a watchmaker. For he might get known as a painter. But his Reverence had not considered how far his words reached, for if he had known, perhaps he would not have spoken so quickly. For it makes a great difference in a word as to who has said it. From this time it was all up with Frau Huber's peace of mind, and all her old thoughts about her Heiner rose up again. The next time Heinerle came for his visit she told him eagerly what the Pastor had said, and what all the people in the village thought, and there were still some sparks left alive in the heap of ashes to which his hopes of being an artist had been reduced--moreover, praise is just what folks can least bear, especially when they are seventeen years old. Now as he heard people talkingsome declaring they had never seen the like of what Heiner achieved, some relating how this one and that had gone away poor and come back rich, and that watchmaking was a tiresome tradethen the little fire began to burn, and for the first time he would willingly have remained there, and it would have been all right with him if it had rained buckets, so that his linen could not be ready.
When he returned to his godfather again, he did not feel so much at home as formerly. Many times he forgot to feed his bullfinch and to give the dog his meals; and he was often ill-humoured when an old watch was given him to clean. And the godfather noticed there was something, and looked at Heinerle in the mirror and found him altered; he no longer sang so cheerfully, and only when he went to his drawing did he become lively, and often begged the godfather to let him stay up late into the night to draw, which the old man never granted, for he would not depart from the rules of his house. Yet he said nothing, but waited and thought of his watches, which often had their caprices too, and of his pipes in the organ which so easily went out of tune. So he would not immediately lay hold of it, but leave it to time to bring things again into the track. Therefore he was quite friendly, but a little constrained towards him, and that also Heinerle laid hold of on the wrong side, and he thought the godfather was different towards him. And yet it was he himself who was changed. But folks are not aware of the truth under these circumstances, and always think when they are really changed themselves that it is others who are. There was still half a year more of his apprenticeship, and, whilst formerly the days ran by like a weaver's spool, now they passes as heavily with him as if he could hardly endure his life, and one could see him gradually languishing and growing thinner. Still the old man said nothing, only he chose special songs at the morning and evening singing, which should touch the heart; and often in the evening, when they sat together in the dusk, it seemed as if he must then tell the godfather everything which he had heard, and the words rose to his lips and sank back again into his heart. Oh, it often goes on for a long time before a man can bring himself to do his heart the good service once for all of pouring it out to the very last drop.
That is the reason why so many go about in an impoverished condition, who confess neither to God nor man, and, knowing not what is the matter with them, are a burden to themselves and others. The godfather did not wish to press the matter, for he thought: If singing and praying and the word of God does not do it, nothing else will as yet be of use.
Chapter XI. Change.
But when the next quarter came round, which would be the last of his apprenticeship, then the old man said: "Heiner, this time you remain here, and I will go yonder and look after the linen."
Heinerle looked anxiously at his godfather, and was surprised, but he knew that it would not avail anything to remonstrate, for godfather had a way with him of speaking which no one could gainsay. He soon made his appearance, took the bag on his shoulders, packed all sorts of things into it, fetched also all the drawings which Heinerle had prepared, and went across the mountain. Frau Huber was terrified when she saw the godfather come quite early in the afternoon, and could think of nothing but that Heinerle was ill or dead, of which fear the godfather soon relieved her. Then he sat by the bed of old Huber, who could no longer get up, felt his pulse, looked into his eyes, and said: "Kinsman, you have not much further to go; you will soon be home. I think you will be glad enough and rejoice, when you can rest your tired bones."
Huber nodded his head. "You are right, kinsman," said he slowly. "The breath is short, and the grave is there; I only pray our Lord God that He will make the way short."
"You won't remain a minute longer in the fire, friend, than is necessary. That would be a bad goldsmith who left the silver and gold one moment even too long in the crucible. Our Lord softens us with affliction, but He will not let His children burn."
"Yes," said Huber, "if only it was not breathlessness, I would rather have another illness."
"Kinsman be content. You know the doctor always lays on the plaster where it draws, and does not prescribe for the patients what they like, but what is good for them. therefore only think; want of breath is exactly what is right for me. Each one's cross is as rightly measured as the shoe for the foot; and each shoe presses when it is still new, and if it does not press a little, then it does not fit firmly."
Huber smiled and said: "Kinsman, you are a good comforter. Would God I had you always sitting by my bed, then I might bear it with more patience."
The two talked for a long time together, and the godfather helped Huber to bind up his pack and to make himself ready for his journey. But after that he went into the kitchen to Frau Huber, and begged her to come out into the arbour in the garden with him, for he had something to discuss with her. When they were outside and alone, the godfather began: "Crescenz, since your Heiner was with you last time he has not been like he was before, and that grieves me. Do you know what is the matter with him?"
Frau Huber lowered her eyes and said nothing. But the godfather would not be turned aside, and said:
"Crescenz, you are my sister's daughter, and she bound you to my heart; I think that I am worth an answer. So make short work of it."
And here no opposition availed; that Frau Huber felt as well as Heiner. First she spoke round about it, then of the people's and the Pastor's opinion, and al last she said it all out. For her eagerness helped her, and many a pleading word accompanied her tale, which she thought must touch her kinsman's heart. He heard her in silence, and let her have her say out, for he had none of that want of tact which makes many people put in a word without waiting the instant an idea comes into their mind.
But, when she had finished, a trace of bitter sadness played about his lips. He remained quiet for a time, then he said; "That is where the shoes pinches Heinerle then. You should have mentioned it, and you and I would have been spared much heartache. I have nothing to say against his becoming a painter, Crescenz, if only he makes a true one. And that you may see that I will not stand in his way, I will myself inquire for a master, and take counsel with the Pastor. Crescenz, I will say nothing of myself; I have experienced too much of the thoughts and ways of men, and kept my heart free from the children of men, so that I wonder at nothing in them. Therefore I don't take what you have told me amiss, and that you will take Heinerle away from my heart. For I have loved him, God knows, and you have a treasure in him, if you take care of it, that is also true. I shall feel it very much, when I never hear him sing, for his voice is as high and pure as a bell. I have said nothing to him about it, and he may not have noticed it, for it is not good for young blood to be much praised. But I will say it to you, for you are the daughter of my dear sister. See, Heiner now has his daily bread, and can earn it with any watchmaker, and he can also write and do accounts. For, with nothing but art to fall back upon, one may starve on occasion. Few artists prosper, and most are likely to go begging. Therefore I have made as competent a workman of him as I am myself a competent master, and he shall have his workman's certificate with letter and seal. But you have ambitious ideas for your boy. While you are about rising to a high position, do not stop short of Heavenhigher than this you cannot aim for your Heiner. An alien spirit has entered you, and your mother-spirit is not longer in you, Crescenz, and you are far from your simplicity; and that is a woman's finest ornament; your mother's heart has played you a bad trick, and would have your Heinerle great in the world. It may be that he will, his wings are grownbut take care that he does not fly far away form you. I would not alter it, nor over-persuade you, neither would I put any pressure upon you, I know it does not good; but I would say what I have, that you may know how you should act. But consider: First the parents bring up the children; then it gets reversed, the children influence the parents; and you know the proverb: When the children are little they rest upon the mother's lap, and when they grow big on her heart.' And that is well. Continue fervent in prayer for your Heiner, and so a rampart will be built all round about him, over which others, and even he himself, cannot easily climb, and then he may become both a good and pious painter."
The godfather got up, stretched out his hand to her and looked at her, but Frau Huber had gained no courage to look at him. Then he spoke a few comforting words to Huber, took leave with "May we meet again, here or above," and set out on his way.
In the meanwhile Heinerle waited eagerly for the godfather, and ran to the courtyard door a hundred times to see if he was in sight; and when the evening came he felt lonely, and he sat by himself at the organ and sang godfathers' songs; but as he thought about it, it made him sad, compunction seized him, and he determined when he came back to tell him everything that he had heard, and to beg his forgiveness. Late that might the old man returned, and he was very loving and friendly, and told him how near his end his father was, and many things moreand then Heiner could say nothing. For the godfather was too kind and friendly for it then, and he feared to grieve him. But the next day the old man said to him: "Heinerle, I have to go away for some days, and I must have a talk with you beforehand." And the talk was a long one, as long as the one once before with his mother under the copper beech tree. But after it both came happily and peacefully out of the chamber, though Heinerle's cheeks looked as if it had been raining hard.
A few days afterwards the godfather returned again, and had a brand-new suit of clothes and an apprentice's indenture in his hand, according to which Heinerle was to enter into residence within the month with the then famous artist H-----.
(To be continued.)
Heinerle: The Peasant Artist.
Book III. In the Town.
Who does not know the wonderful town which is built fan-shaped, in which all the chief streets converge towards the central point, the Castle, so that every stranger can find the right way at once? Where, in the middle of the town a pyramid stands, not quite so high as the one near Cairo in the wilderness, but whose point none of the boys have attained, who play there daily in defiance of the police?
People abuse the town, because instead of being on the banks of the Rhine it is situated beside a dry ditch; and they may say anything else they like about it, the author can allow none of these detractions; and the reason is that it is dear to him, and he can never forget it. And if any one wishes to know why, he is at his service, and he will not grudge the postage stamp which the information would cost. There in a side street, which in former days was not so finished as now, stood Heinerle's new home. I have helped the courteous reader over the parting, for if one has to stand by while two take leave of each other (often prolonging it immoderately), one may be excused for feeling impatient, and that the reader should not become, much less Herr Publisher, or the printer. With the godfather it was very short, for we know him from his own pen, and as he wrote so he was; and one could say of him in the fullest sense: "The bird is known by its feathers."
All that belonged to Heinerle in his room was packed up to go with him. His bed, his chest, his pictures, the big watch, even the bullfinch. He must take everything with him, and not a thread should remain there of what the godfather had appropriated to Heinerle. In the town he would also have his room, which he should feel home-like; for the godfather knew what it is to sing in a strange town:
"There is nothing dearer in the world to me
And so he had arranged it for him himself, and Heiner was astonished beyond measure at the way in which he found his own former room repeated.
Whilst he was with his parents it had happened. There the parting was harder, not merely because his father was near his end, but because Frau Huber was full of anxieties after her talk with the godfather. Old Huber gave Heiner a parting word: "Heiner, you are taking a different way to the one I thought of and wished. It has been said, a man's will makes his heaven;' but it may be also his hell, according to the use each one makes of it. But I will give you my blessing on your way. Don't forget your mother, she is the only inheritance I can leave you."
All these words cost Heinerle much heartache. His mother went a couple of miles with him, and on the way took heart to admonish Heinerle not to forget his morning and evening prayers, and bade him consider that to become holy is also an art, and indeed a great one, and begged him not to forget what he had learnt at the godfather's. Heinerle promised all these things without reserve, also that he would come over every quarter as formerly, to see his mother. Then they parted, and Heinerle waved his handkerchief to his mother for a long time.
The godfather had taken lodgings for him at an old widow's near his master's house, high up in a garret, from whence he could look out upon the open country far away above the roofs. It was arranged with his master that Heinerle should be engaged to work with a watchmaker in the evenings, in order to improve his knowledge and to help to maintain himself; the remaining part of the day he should devote to Art.
The master sat in his room beside his palette, and went on working without looking up as Heinerle entered. A violet-coloured cap was set on his grey locks, his whole face testified to work and thought, and had something noble and fine about it. And yet it looked different to the godfather's for all its similarity. For between spirit and spirit there is a difference. All round the walls were the finest engravings of celebrated painters, and on a table covered with a white cloth stood, over an oil-lamp, a cup of tea. Heinerle cleared his throat in order to attract attention, and the master looked up and glanced at Heinerle, looking so fresh and already well grown, with his ruddy cheeks and blue eyes.
"Aha," said he, "here is the artist from the Black Forest. Sit down here for the time. You have had a noble godfather and master, who has won my heart. You will give me no trouble here, I hope. Behave well and keep from bad company, and bethink you that Art is a high vocation, and if you can make nothing good out of it, leave it alone and remain a watchmaker. But if you are steady you can learn something here. For here you will have to work, and without toil man has nothing in this world. And now I will tell you your day's work. In the summer at four o'clock, and in the winter at five, you come here and sweep the room and light the fire; and every Saturday you wash the floor clean. And then you sharpen the graving tool and whatever else is necessary; then you put the etching-room in order, and take care of the passages. At twelve o'clock you have dinner, and at one o'clock come here again; and at five you go to the watchmaker. So now you know what you have to do, and keep to it."
Heinerle gazed at the master, took the offered hand, shook it duly, and said: "Yes, sir."
Then his work was shown to him, and he went into the studio, which to artists is the same as the "shop" to the tailor, or the workshop to any other honest artisan.
there working behind great screens of tissue-paper were the pupils, six of them in two rooms. Some were standing, others sitting, at their work. By their coats one could see their handiwork, or rather their art, for their industry peeped out at their elbows; and one had a great stain of oil, which was of various colours, and a third had lost one of the tails of his coat; while the once white coat of the fourth was painted all over the back with all kinds of little figures of men and beasts. But they were all quiet, and none spoke a word to the other, for the master's door stood open, so that all the rooms could be seen. And he, the master himself, was the most industrious of all. Behind the house there was a smithy, and the workmen were early at their work, but the master and Heinerle were always earlier in their places than the blacksmiths. It stood Heiner in good stead (it may be said, by the way) that he had learnt among other things to rise early at his godfather's; for the godfather was a relentless enemy to all slothfulness, and "the one doze more" of young people. Heinerle looked with wonder at the bucks of these industrious men, who never looked up once as the master went through the rooms with him. The whetstone was shown to him in the closet, and the different oils and colours which are used in copper etching. The youngest of the pupils showed Heiner how to use it, but he said, smiling: "That I know already." For the godfather had also had graving tools, polishers, and all kinds of needles, which he used in his work, and Heinerle had learnt to sharpen them in a masterly manner; and in a short time he was ready with all the little sheaf, brought them to the master, and said: "Sir, I am ready."
And the old master, who never let himself be disturbed, laughed at Heinerle, tested his work, and said: "You have been in a good school; do it always so. Now you can go to your drawing-board."
His table was arranged for him like the others, and he felt thoroughly happy when the copy was put before him, and he could begin to draw. but soon the little man was in difficulties; for he had never yet had so hard a task. At the godfather's he could always say: "Godfather, it is not going right;" and then he had helped him, but now he knew not whence to expect help, and if he cleared his throat, no one came to him from his work. At last, when it was ten o'clock in the morning, and the quarter of an hour's rest came, and the "Herr Painters" placed themselves together round the stove, with their hands behind their backs, one of the gentlemen looked over Heinerle's shoulder, took the pencil out of his hand, and helped him. Then a basket was given him, and he had to go to the baker's to fetch rolls to satisfy the gentlemen's appetites. When he had brought them, and each one had his own, and was eating it up carefully to the very last carraway seed, Heiner could look in their faces, and they regarded him also. The master came and introduced Heinerle as the youngest pupil, whereupon they all shook hands with him, and he felt himself highly honoured. he was put under the special oversight of one of the senior pupils, who was to help him. At noon he dined at the widow's, and shared his midday meal with her and a great yellow cat; of this meal Heiner would most gladly (hungry as he was) have proposed an immediate repetition. For he was growing fast, and it was lucky for him that his mother had put up all kinds of smoked provisions in his chest. In the evening he lighted the lamps, and knew how to make them very bright and clear, as the godfather used to like to have them, so that all were pleased with the quick, neat boy. Then he wished them all "good-night," shook hands again heartily, even with the master, took the house-key with him for the morning, and went to his watchmaker's.
He immediately gave him a sufficiently complicated watch, and looked sharply at his fingers, but his hands made quick work of it, for the godfather had often drawn this kind of watch for him in charcoal on the wall, and he soon saw what was wrong with it, and arranged his hospital at the watchmaker's just like the one at the godfather's, with which idea the watchmaker was highly delighted. "But it's a pity that you don't remain a watchmaker," said he to him, "for you have a great turn for it, and it would be a thousand times better for you than being an engraver in copper. For a man can't live without a watch, unless he is a very extraordinary fellow, but every one can live without copper etchings."
Heiner was tired when he reached home that evening, and dipped his roll in a bowl of cold milk, and then went up into his cold room, set his alarum, and read a chapter in his Bible at the same place as his godfather would be. In the morning the bullfinch began to sing his song, whose vocal efforts the town air had not repressed, and Heinerle jumped out of bed, for he thought he had overslept himself. It was quite early, but he was at the master's house-door before five o'clock, and swept the room out clean, and lighted the stove and the candles, and forgot himself so far that he began to sing in an undertone to himself during his work. Then the door was opened, and the master came in, in his dressing-gown, and was pleased to see him so early, and to find him ready.
"Who woke you, Huber?" asked he.
"Sir, the bullfinch did that," said Heinerle, and told him about the little creature which his godfather had given him, and how it performed like that every morning, and how they san in emulation.
"So you can sing, also?" asked the master.
"Certainly," replied Heiner; "whatever the master would like."
"You have been singing already?"
"Yes, I beg pardon," stammered Heinerle.
"No, no; I meant no reproach. Go on singing cheerfully: that will drive away all bad thought."
"Yes," said Heinerle, "as King David drove away Saul's bad spirit."
"What do you mean?" asked the master.
"Don't you know that, sir? It is in the Bible; and my godfather has often said: "Heiner, Heiner, sing something for King Saul;' and it was always successful."
And then Heinerle related with fervour the story of Saul and David to his master, and wondered to himself in silence that such a famous man as the master did not know it. The master listened attentively and enjoyed the vividness with which Heiner related it. Still more might he have envied him his childlike spirit and faith.
"I shall be surprised," said he to himself softly, "if he remains like that." For the master was old enough to see and to experience that a man does not remain as he is, wherever he comes from; and that some trees when they are transplanted perish.
But Heinerle went on with his work cheerfully and with ardour, and competed with the blacksmith to see which should be first at work. His meals, indeed, were small at the widow's especially after the provisions from home were finished; the bed coverlet in his attic was often full of snow, which was blown in; and the bullfinch had been driven by the severe winter weather down to the warmer room where they took their meals. But all that was no trouble to Heinerle, any more than the morose watchmaker, who could not leave off grumbling because Heinerle would not remain at his trade.
Chapter II. His Father's Death.
The first three months had passed, and on the Saturday appointed Heinerle made himself ready in the afternoon, and carried his linen across the mountains to his mother. It was a long way off, and he did not get there till far into the night. But scarcely was his candle lighted, when the shutter above was opened, and the old voice called out again: "Good-night, Heinerle, good-night!" and he nodded back again; but this time it had a different sound in his ears to that of former days.
In the morning his mother came up to his bed and leant over him, as he was still fast asleep, and looked at him. It seemed to here as if he had grown thinner and paler than he had been formerly, and she immediately thought, "he does not get enough to eat;" and turned over in her mind what she could five him to take on the way. At breakfast she had cooked all his favourite things for him. When he came down and sat on the bench, she told him what she had noticed in him, and that he was not so cherry-cheeked as formerly.
"Ah, mother," said he, "be contented. All artists are pale, that comes from their art and sitting so long."
But even the thick cakes with a lard crust, and the fried onions, which he used to eat with such relish, no longer tasted to him as they did formerly, which distressed Frau Huber. Then he told her all about his life and doings, and how the gentlemen joked with him, and were always merry; and on week-days wore very shabby clothes, but on Sundays they came out so beautifully dressed that one scarcely knew them. Frau Huber listened attentively; but only old Huber, who sat up in bed all the time, coughed more at that and grew restless. But he said nothing.
It was the last time that Heinerle saw him. For he was scarcely back at his new home again, when he got a letter from his godfather to tell him that his father was already dead and buried. Then Heiner wept bitterly, as it rushed over him how good his father had always been to him, when he used to go into the wood with him, and how he always had something to say about the trees, especially how each one had a life of its own, and this gave him a twofold realisation in his heart of the legacy of which his godfather wrote to him: "Thy father has bequeathed to thee a capital of which the interest will run through time and eternity. You know already, Heiner, whom I mean. Do all that is good and loving for your mother; for you have no one else (I will not count myself) in whom you can confide as you can in her. And though she is a countrywoman, and you will become a town gentleman, she will still remain your mother, who has brought you up with care. A strange nest suits every bird ill except the cuckoo, who alone can make itself comfortable in one. But you know a cuckoo is a cuckoo, and remains one just because he throws his foster parents out of the nest when he has grown big, therefore he is still a cuckoo, marked amongst birds." So far the godfather. But in proportion to the vehemence of his first grief was the swiftness with which it was over, as is the way with young people, who have as yet had small experience of loss which grows bitterer the longer it is borne.
The gentlemen had grown more friendly towards him; one had given him this, another that, of his old clothes, and he came out quite smart when he strutted about on Sunday in their clothes, and thought everybody must think when they saw him, "What a fine fellow Huber's Heinerle has become."
At first, at ten o'clock he had only approached the stove timidly to eat hi roll, but now he stepped up with much more confidence. He had made himself useful in the house, for he could do anything; and once, when the master's maid was ill, he cooked to the satisfaction of his master after one of the godfather's receipts. He repaired the watches of the students gratis, and his watchmaker master praised him above measure. He also made progress in drawing, and had begun to engrave his first plate; in short, Heiner came forward in his world.
Only one thing troubled him, which was that he often did not understand what the talk was about, for they spoke of things of which he had not learnt and seen nothing at the godfather's, and things which were Greek to him. It is true he laughed with them when there was anything to laugh at, even if he did not understand it; but yet it teased him not to understand. So he once asked one of the gentlemen shyly, "if there was a gook in which such things were to be found as they talked about?"
The student laughed and said: "I will take care of your education," and gave him a volume of poetry. Heiner hid his treasure, and could scarcely wait till his time with the watchmaker was over to read it; and read till he was nearly frozen late into the night. Until so far he had only known hymns and songs which can be sung, and had no suspicion that there were any other songs; but now he had a great many to read all at once. Soon he brought the book back to the student and asked him, "if those were all that there were?" Whereupon he laughed heartily, and said: "Why, Huber, how stupid you are!" on which Heiner replied quite coolly: "There must be some such people." So he read on and looked forward with delight to Sunday, when he would have nothing to do but read. Although he did not understand all in the poems, yet he noticed a great deal which was quite different to that which his godfather had taught him.
When the quarter came round again, he packed up his book and took it with his linen, and arrived much later than usual as he often stopped to read. And yet the shutter was thrown back as usual, and the old greeting sounded: "Good-night, Heinerle; Heinerle, good-night." And it often mingled strangely with poetry, yet was pleasant to hear. To his mother, who was still in mourning, he related everything he had heard and read since his last visit. When she heard him talk so, her face was clouded as with a dark shadow, and she began to weep. And Heinerle thought she was weeping on account of the beautiful poetry, some of which he had learnt by heart and repeated; and yet she was weeping from quite another cause.
"Heiner," said she, "do you still love me as much as ever?"
"Yes, mother," replied he; "that you can believe of me. How should I not love you?"
"Heiner, do you go to church on Sunday, and do you still pray?"
Then Heiner flushed up, and was silent for a short time.
But then he said: "Mother, the gentlemen told me that it is not fitting for an artist to go to church; they have a religion of their own, and need no parson. But I do pray still."
(To be continued.)
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