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“Keep your seat,” she said to the girl.
And Lisbeth sat down. This polite address was the last straw. She sat on the same chair as before, but not the same, not the honored guest, the joyfully received daughter, but
the strange servant girl, to whom one could not refuse to offer a chair, because she was in the reception room as a visitor.
“That is right," said Hubert, "I knew well how you would see it, mamma, What else do you desire than my happiness? And I tell you it comes from her. If she does not become my wife, if this be but an illusion, then indeed, I should die. But I do not deceive myself. For she also loves me."
"Is your family here in town?"
"No," said Lisbeth, "they live in Halstein.” And she knew that the lady breathed more easily—“But my little sister will come here, as soon as she is confirmed. And then she will also bunt a place here."
“Ah, a place!-Hubert,” asked the mother quickly, “Hubert, there are now other occupations for girls, SO many others. If the sister, the sister of your future wife, must do something, she might be a companion or a bookseller, but—"
“Ah," said Lisbeth, "she knows little of these things as I do.”
"Do not make yourself out worse than you are.
Mamma, she has the learning of the heart, and also capacity for education. What charming letters she writes me, so drolly stiff! And what she will know from me and experience and grasp from life!-I will only need to be careful that she does not learn too much, and like the daughters of higher rank talk about everything and become like all the rest of the world."
“Then you do not wish your bride to bave any part in you, your work and your thoughts; you would have her
live in a different atmosphere, a feast for your eyes, and nothing more?"
“No! She shall be my rest and my joy. She shall-do not make such great eyes, Lisbeth!-she shall be a comfort to my mind as well as to my heart. As to whether she can chatter in French, rave over Botticelli or Wagner, express her opinions of Zola and Sudermann, is of no importance to me, for that I can do myself. That she loves me, is one with me, feels my deepest inner emotions—although she is not at all fin de siècle as I am, but quite old. fashioned and very simple-anticipates my wishes, lives for me and thinks for
If ever the slightest doubt should come to me as to her unconditional love, her absolute surrender of self to me, 1-but no, I would rather not de. pict the doubt. It would destroy, annihilate me. For then I should have deceived myself in my opinion of her, not have been deceived by her. And I should then lose all belief in myself"
Thus the two spoke of her and named names, and used expressions of which Lisbeth understood nothing. She had never before seemed so stupid to her. self. He appeared quite contented. The mother looked at the girl from time to time, but knew not how to say anything more to her. And Lisbeth sat in her place, as long as they stayed, dumb and still. When Hubert signified that they must go, as it was his mother's usual meal time and he and his bride would go to a restaurant and from there to the theatre, she rose from her chair obediently and made a parting curtsey. She knew while she was doing it, as she had formerly bowed to him, that a lady would not do this. But she could not help herself, she curt. seyed nevertheless.
And Hubert smiled. “Sweet Lisbeth! Is it not so, mamma, you must certainly see that one could not help loving this child."
The Frau Geheimrath made no reply,
at least none that Lisbeth exactly heard. She kissed her son. To the girl she extended only a couple of fingers; and Grethe stood in the vestibule and in a most studied servant-like manner helped the Herr Doctor on with his coat and appeared not to see his bride, as she opened the door wide for him. Lisbeth should have gone out first, but she hesitated, involuntarily wanting the gentleman to go first. He took her by the arm and drew her outside.
“Ah!" he said, as if a weight bad fallen from him. “That is endured and at an end. Mamma is so good, but she does not entirely understand me. Don't give yourself any uneasiness on her account. It is not necessary to our happiness for us to live in her circle and in her neighborhood."
"She is still your mother,” said Lisbeth half aloud.
“Yes, but I am no longer a child. I love you! Can you not feel, do you not see how much? I will and I must and I am going to have you!" he cried, passionately. “See, this journey to Paris, as I have already said to you, is to be the proof to me that I can no longer exist without you. A couple of friends, to whom I told my intention to marry you, warned me that I had loved and forgotten many others, and I would also overcome this. But they were mistaken. Do you know why? • Because I saw that you only could heal megive me back my faith in myself and women and all mankind. If you only knew how I have passed these four weeks! How I worked there, in the library, in the Museum, until late in the night. And how I hunted every distraction. But in the midst of the heaviest work and in the midst of the greatest feasts, among women of intellect and in assemblies of the best society, as among others of the worst, then do you know, how the longing toward home, toward peace, toward all
that is good and pure in me, drew me back to you?"
"And,” he continued more quietly, as silently and with bowed head she walked beside him—they were now going through a lively street; the rain had ceased, but it was misty and was already becoming dark—and what do others understand of that which we find within us, that which we need! How could you for a moment believe that my mother's doubt could change, influence me? I delayed the visit as long as I could. But it had to be made at last. Wherefore should we wait longer? And if her manner has impressed you, as I well see, then must we be married all the sooner, immediately. My very good friends of course have advised me figuratively and unfiguratively not to marry you. The good people. They are the Philistines, not I, who desire you for my honorable wife. Sweethearts I could have by the dozen, more beautiful, more prudent, more magnificent! But I will have you, for my whole life, for every minute and every second, 'for better, for worse,' as is so beautifully said in the English marriage ceremony, for glad days and for sorry ones, for healthy and for sick days. You shall be my home, in which I can strike root. I have proved myself. And you, my love, happily I do not need to prove you, I am certain of you. It is just this which makes me so happy, so confident, as I never before felt myself in any love. Look at me, Lisbeth, do not look so troubled. I am happy. Can you not be so too?"
He compelled her to look at him. “I don't know,” said she softly, "I don't know, I am only anxious."
But he smiled. “That is already passed. Forget it. You will soon get over it."
They had now reached the restaurant, in which they were to dine together. Twice before, after the Sun
day matinee, to which he was accus- beautiful bride, and Lisbeth on her distomed to take her, he had brought her tinguished groom. here for a meal, but always to a cer- The good wishes of the lady sounded tain room in the first story. But to-day noticeably cooler. She was little and he led her directly into the rooms on delicate and beautifully dressed. She the ground floor, where various com- looked at Lisbeth through her lorgnette panies were already seated at little with the long handle. “Heavens!" She tables.
said slowly, "where have I seen her? “We are now an officially betrothed Her face-Hubert, help me, where have pair, and we do not need to hide our- I seen this lady?" selves," he whispered softly to her as “That is impossible for me to say. It they entered.
is possible that so great a collector as The waiter led the way to a little you are may have seen one of Helleu's table in the last room but one on which etchings very like her" stood a little electric lamp with a red “Helleu! No. She is much more in silk shade. Two covers were already the English style, more like an old laid.
Gainsborough, or something by Sir “Ah, how pretty that is!" she said Thomas Lawrence-But it was not a and for the first time looked happy, picture, it was-no, impossible! But “what nice things!"
Hubert, I have not talked with you He only bowed. She admired the enough about your last book. These fine white flowered table-cloth, the lines entirely without color=" dishes and glasses, the glittering silver, “Are exactly what a poem is without the flowers in the vases and the good illustration," he said, "therefore the soup. Then she commenced to look
purest, the quintessence." around. The ladies at the other little
"Color is poetry," she cried. tables were so beautifully dressed, the "As a general thing color coarsens, gentlemen in uniforms and dress coats, color gives body, hinders our imaginaeverything was so festive. And still
tion, when it would, of itself, form the more guests were coming. They were
picture, and even when color is there, passing close by their table.
A lady it can translate its aims, form its substopped.
stance. True value is only given by “Hubert Ehren! already back from
strong lines." Paris? and” but she stammered in
“Do you understand much of this?" the middle of a word, saw Lisbeth, asked Mr. Weber, turning toward blushed, and turned away. The gentle- Lisbeth. man who followed her, greeted him "No," she said, distinctly, "not a smilingly.
word.” But Hubert had sprung up: “Come,” "Permit me!" cried the waiter, who he said quickly, and drew her from her tried to pass with a great plate of roast chair. “They think I will not have meat. For they were standing between that!”
the tables. Before she knew what he was doing, “A practically chosen place for an she stood with him before that couple: esthetic dispute about art, which may “My betrothed bride!” he said, “we last a long time,". murmured Mr. have just come from my mother's," Weber. and then introduced to her Mr. Rein- Hubert heard him. He laughed. "I hold Weber and wife. The gentleman notice. You are hungry. We will go. grasped a hand of each and congratu- Lydia and I will another time engage lated them effusively, Hubert on his in a fruitless combat, hours long-Come
now, Lisbeth. Au revoir." They all shook hands.
The lady took her long lorgnette and looked after them.
“Now," asked Hubert, as they again took their places, as Lisbeth left the soup, which she had found so good, untouched, "what is the matter with you? What has the beautiful Lydia done to you?”
“She recognized me,” she said with tear-choked voice.
“Who, Lydia Weber? Where could she have known you?"
"She comes so often now to visit Frau Doctor. She was there yesterday, and I opened the door for her. And to morrow she is invited to breakfast. She knew me immediately. I saw it in her.”
He threw his head up so that his thick locks fell back from his forehead. "That makes no difference. Or rather it is so much the better.
She may know it all, all, that I do not need her any longer; that her advances and her flatteries do not move my heart, because it is in firm hands. How can you let that vex you, Lisbeth ? wonder for a little while that I have not chosen for a bride some refined phenomenon, some esthetic creature, like herself. If she only knew how little I grudge her to the good Weber!"
"Did you want to marry her?”
“Want? I? She wanted it enough. And my mother and the acquaintances. But I, never. She is too little. And too over-cultured. She wants to do too much. I need rest. She would never be able to answer my needs. It makes me shudder to imagine her sweeping through my work room with her swishing silk trailing robes—but you, Lisbeth"-he leaned over the table to her and tried to look into her eyes, which she kept fixed on her plate. “You, in your young slenderness, so earnest and full of style, you will suit the rooms. You must know that the chairs and
table and every cupboard are made according to my designs; I collected the materials in my journeys, matching colors, so that every tint and every shade harmonize with that which I have carried in my mind, my thoughts, reflecting my most inward being. It is a real home such as it should be, the image and fulfilment of the human being who created it. And in this home of my thought, among the pictures, the hangings, the furniture, which I discovered, will you be, Lisbeth, a part of my Ego, also discovered by me, thought out and loved.-Now, will you not smile? Do you not also find this outlook beautiful?"
“Ah," she said hesitating, “if then people look at me as these others have done just now. And when I must tell my name and do not even do that well, then you also will not like that. And when I don't know anything,"
“Then I will teach you."
“Yes, but I cannot learn so much. You always speak of strange people and in strange language. As long as you were alone with me, all went well. But now, to-day-first your mother and then Mrs. Weber-she understands you. But to me you will have to explain everything. I am not fit for you."
“Child," he said, "you child, as you are, only wait a little. You learn so easily and I will guide you."
"No," she cried, "that is just it. I cannot count on that. I also am no longer a child. You said that of yourself and I am no more a child than you. When I was fourteen I left home. And now suddenly I must watch every step I take and feel all the time that everything I do is wrong and I should do it some other way, and you will be ashamed of me"
He looked straight in her face with his shining eyes: "I love you, Lisbeth. Do you not also love me?"
“Yes, I do, but," “No but. There is none. Honest
love is understanding, honest love other. Be patient. In two weeks you knows how to renounce its own Ego will be my wife.” for a wife in order to give up to the
Adalbert Meinhardt. Rundschau.
(To be concluded.)
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF BIBLE PORTRAITURE.
There are no subjects so difficult to study as those nearest to us. “It is expedient for you that I go away” are words that might be printed on every familiar object in the world. It is the things which are in contact with us that are the things most hid from us. We know more about the stars than we do of our own life. Why? Just because life is our own, and the stars are not. I do not think familiarity breeds contempt; my adage would rather be that familiarity breeds blindness. The constant and unvaried vicinity of an object incapacitates us from mentally seeing it.
I think the literature of the Bible has suffered peculiarly in this respect. There is no book in Europe whose phrases are so familiar; there is, perhaps, no book in Europe of which the masses have so little artistic knowledge. I say "artistic knowledge." Men have looked upon it so long as a thing of divine grace that they have ceased to view it as a thing of human nature. There is even an impression that, from the natural side, a knowledge of the Bible is no mark of culture, Tell an average man that he has thoroughly appreciated the literary spirit of Homer; he will feel proud. Tell an average man that he is thoroughly deficient in a knowledge of English literature; he will be either incensed or ashamed. But I have heard young men of great ambition and of high pretensions actually boast of their ignorance
of the Bible! It is the artistic aspect of such a boast that alone I have here to do with. The idea evidently is that, however much the Bible makes a demand upon the conscience, it makes no demand upon the culture. And I attribute this impression largely to the fact that the words of the book are so familiar to the conscience. The conscience is the innermost part of our nature; and what gets in there, is not easily brought further out.
A song whose words are familiar by the tune is not likely to be appreciated at its poetic value; and a book whose first appeal is to the conscience is not readily overheard by the literary instinct.
None the less, the impression of the average man on this subject is the reverse of the truth. In order to see this, the first thing to do is to stand back. What we want is a more distant prospect of the Bible: It is too near us. Its literature is eclipsed by its message of salvation. Its awful proximity to the soul prevents it from being seen by the eye. I intend to escape from this proximity. I am going to make an effort to obtain a more distant view. I will try to forget that his ok brings a message of salvation. I will try to forget that it is making an appeal to my conscience. I will endeavor to be a neutral spectator, to look at the book as if I had seen it for the first timeseen it as a purely secular thing, and as a purely literary phenomenon. To facile