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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The prose works of Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Weir, Elizabeth 1932

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T H E P R O S E W O R K S 0 P C O N R A D F E R D I N A N D M E Y E R BY ELIZABETH WEIR A Thesis submitted for the Degree of MASTER OP ARTS i n the Department of MODERN LANGUAGES. THE UNIVERSITY OP BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l - 1932 T A B L E OP C O N T E N T S THE PROSEWORKS OF CONRAD FERDINAND MEYER Page PART I MEYER THE MAN 1 PART I I THE PROSEWORKS BRIEFLY SKETCHED 14 (1) Das Amulett 15 (2) Jttrg Jenatsch 20 (3) Der Schusz don der Kanzel 35 (4) Der Heilige 43 (5) Plautus im Nonnenkloster 58 (6) Gustav Adolf's Page 62 (7) Die Leiden eines Knaben 71 (8) Die Hochzeit des MBnches 80 (9) Die Richterin 91 (10) Die Versuchnung des Pescara 101 (11) Angela Borgia 122 PART I I I A DISCUSSION OF MEYER THE ARTIST (1) His Technique and Style 143 (2) Meyer's Use of H i s t o r i c a l Material 159 (3) The Ethical Content^ of Meyer's Prose Works 181 (4) Conclusion 195 BIBLIOGRAPHY 198 1. PART I. MEYER, THE MAN. Conrad Ferdinand Meyer i s perhaps the greatest known master in that limited f i e l d of literature known as the h i s t o r i c a l "Novelle". It is interesting, in studying different biographies of his l i f e , to see how the great crises in his l i f e history are intimately related with the great crises of German p o l i t i c a l history, for though a Swiss, and born on Swiss s o i l , i t is as a German author that he won his fame. For many years of his l i f e he was a typical neurasthenic, suffering acutely from that we moderns c a l l *an infer i o r i t y complex*» His biography i s interesting to pathologists and neurologists generally, as well as to lovers of literature, for he is a striking example of late development, and i t was only i n 1870, when he was forty-five years old, that i t suddenly dawned on his sceptical fellowtownsmen that *der ver-ruckte KonrHdli', as they called him, was a famous author. He was born in Zurich, the capital of German Switzerland, on the 11th of October, 1825. The ancestors of both his father and mother had lived in Zurich for generations, and through them he inherited an aristocratic tradition which,'for better or for worse, clung to him a l l his l i f e , and which, imposed upon a nature already too sensitive and reti r i n g , kept him from mingling with the common people, and from sharing in their joys and sorrows, as did his great countryman, Gottfried Keller. 2. These experiences no great author can afford to miss, and this probably accounts for the fact that Meyer had to turn to the past for his i n -spiration, instead of finding i t in the l i v i n g present around him* The boy*s early years were quite normal, both at school and at home, and i t was only as he approached puberty that pathological symptoms began to show themselves. When he was fifteen years old, he had the misfortune to lose his father, and this "Podesstosz', as his mother called i t , proved disastrous for both of them. The father, a jurist in the service of the city, was so conscientious that he l i t e r a l l y worked himself to death. An aristocrat to the core, he had received an excellent classical education, and his fondness for historical studies he passed on to the son. If his father's kindly guidance could have been continued at this decisive period of his l i f e , the son might have been saved later years of suffering, for the mother was entirely too nervous to have the care of a growing boy. His one sister, Betsy, whose influence on him was to prove so beneficent in later years, was five years younger; too young as yet to be of help. The mother was a neurotic, and i t is no doubt from her that the son inherited his neuras-thenic tendencies. She was strongly p i e t i s t i c also, and sought through the consolations of religion to compensate for her own inherent weakness of character. She tried, without result, to influence her son in this direction also, and though they loved each other, yet, as we often say, they 'got on each other's nerves' in a very real sense. It was about 3. this time that Meyer "began to f a l l "behind in his studies. He had a naturally good mind, and had passed a very creditable matriculation examination, but he gradually f e l l behind the others in his class, who either passed on to higher studies, or got good positions in the world, while 'der arme Konrad' settled down to the l i f e of a regular neuras-thenic, passing days in solitude behind drawn blinds, and imagining that the passers-by in the street outside were making derogatory remarks about him, a characteristic neurasthenic symptom* He read every book he could find, especially every history, and i t is probable that he then l a i d the foundation for that historical knowledge which was afterwards to stand him In such good stead. Like his contemporary, Keller, he gave much time to a r t i s t i c studies, and imagined at one time that he would be an a r t i s t , but soon discovered his unfitness, and this only discouraged him s t i l l more. When night came he would go out on the lake and swim or row for hours, while his mother and sister waited in breathless anxiety, not knowing i f he would ever come back. A year at Lausanne, where he went for a change of a i r , helped to restore his balance, and i t was here that he decided he would be a writer. His f i r s t attempts, however, were failures, and increased his sense of in f e r i o r i t y , the more so as the family were very short of money. No doubt he was a great t r i a l to his mother. At an age when other young men were making money and helping their families, or founding homes of their own, here was her son, buried in useless brooding, i n -capable of taking any responsibility, and an expense instead of a help. 4 Her feelings found vent in "bitter reproaches, and this only made matters worse. At last he became so i l l that in 1852 he was sent to a private asylum at Frefargier to recuperate. Ehis was the f i r s t great c r i s i s in his l i f e . Walter Linden, i n his work on Meyer, shows in an interesting manner how these crises are hound up with the literary and historic events of the period. In his second chapter, he ca l l s this period between the two revolutions, that of 1830 and that of 1848 'Die romantische tJbergangszeit'. Romanticism, which was at i t s height about 1830, was gradually dying out, and f i n a l l y received i t s death-blow in the revolutions of 1848, which were unsuccess-ful in the various countries of Europe, and particularly so in Germany. 'Das junge Deutschland' had s t i l l some years of wandering in the wilderness before i t s hopes of p o l i t i c a l freedom and unity could be realized in 1870. No doubt the young people of that era f e l t this failure very keenly, Meyer among the others, and sad brooding over that p o l i t i c a l failure was probably one of the causes of his breakdown in 1852. Another reason for this breakdown was that Meyer in the f i r s t part of his l i f e was a typical romantic, even though his l i f e so far had coincided with the period when romanticism was dying. We can see this romanticism i n his love for the historic past, in his fondness for solitude and brooding, and in his preference for the things of the imagination over the realities of everyday l i f e . But a book which ap-peared in 1844, Priedrich Theodor Vischer's KRITISCHE GXNGE, had a most deciding influence on his l i f e . As Linden says: 5. "Was Herder fur Goethe, was Kant fur Schiller, was ungefahr gleich-zeitig (1846-1849) Feuerbach fur Keller, das wurde Vischer fur CP. Meyer." The book strongly attacked romanticism, as being sel f i s h , and advised a return to the realm of antiquity, from which would arise a new form of art, in which form and substance would be moulded together. It also attacked pietism in such a convincing manner that upon Meyer his mother's teachings had no more effect, which naturally helped to increase the estrangement between them. In literature also, where he had hoped to make a name for himself, he now saw how immeasurably far he would have to go to realize the ideals held out by Vischer. A l l these things "resulted in a profound sense of discouragement, from which unaided he could not seem to recover. His stay of seven months in Prefargier, however, proved a complete success. Under the kindly influence of Dr. Borrell, the super-intendent, and his sister, the nurse Cecile, he got a new outlook on l i f e . After this terrible experience, for a nervous breakdown is a terrible experience for anyone, he was content, like a l i t t l e child, to start at the bottom and work up. His head was no longer in an imaginary world above the clouds. Like the rest of the German people, he used this as a time of preparation for his 'Bltttezeit', which was to begin in 1870. Linden calls this his r e a l i s t i c period. After leaving the asylum, he f i r s t went to Lausanne, for he would not risk a relapse into the old l i f e at Zurich. Here he met an old family friend, Louis vulliemin, the Swiss historian, whose influence 1. Linden 15. 6. did him a world of good, and whom he afterwards immortalized as 'der gute Herzog' in J0RG JENATSCH. Under this man's influence and that of Pascal, whose works he read at this time, Meyer's mind assumed a decidedly Protestant trend, and to the delight of his mother he became a professing Christian* Here also he gave himself up to that fatalism which the Calvinists c a l l predestination, and which was later to show so strongly in his works. When Jie returned home, instead of relapsing into the old brooding solitude, he showed that his cure was real by taking up the f i r s t work that came to hand. This was a translation into German of Thierry's TtlCITS EES TEMPS MEROVINGIENS. This is a series of historical tales of the times of the Merovingian kings, and their translation must have been a wonderfully congenial task for the future writer of historical Wovellen. He did his work well, and showed a childish delight when he received the money for i t , - the f i r s t he had ever earned. However, in spite of the iron discipline of work and exercise to which he subjected himself, the l i f e in Zurich was very de-pressing, and this was increased by the tragic death by drowning of his mother, which took place in 1856, while temporarily insane. She had insisted upon nursing a relative, who died shortly after, and had brought upon herself a nervous breakdown, so that she had to go to the same asylum at Prefargier where Meyer had been. Her death was quite possibly s e l f - i n f l i c t e d , and the blow came as a great shock to both Conrad and Betty. Their circumstances were, however, lightened by the fact that 7 the relative whom the mother had nursed had l e f t them a l l his money. It was a considerable sum, so they were now placed beyond a l l danger of monetary worries* The f i r s t use Conrad made of his new independence was to take a t r i p to Paris in 1857, where he stayed for three months. The v i s i t did him a wonderful amount of good. It brightened his outlook on l i f e and gave him new points of view. The art galleries and historic buildings impressed him deeply, but he was greatly pained by the f r i -volity of the people, and by the moral depravity of the f a i r Parisiennes whom he happened to meet. It is rather amusing to hear this serious-minded young Swiss passing judgement on the morals of a great nation after a tourist's experience of only three months. However, this often happens, even in our own day. It is probable, though, that from this v i s i t dates Meyer's decision to become a German rather than a French author. Before this time he had been rather undecided, as he was equally at home in both languages, but now he becomes a German, out and out. After a short v i s i t to Munich, which proved rather a dis-appointment to him after the delights of Paris, he and Betty set out together to v i s i t Rome. Prom now on, the two are inseparable. She becomes his inspirer and helper, his confidante and amanuensis. In German literary history, we can think of a similar relationship between Kleist and his sister, but in English l i t e r a r y history there i s only one 8. companionship of brother and sister that can be compared to i t , that of William Wordsworth, the poet, and his sister, Dorothy. And lik e Dorothy Wordsworth, too, when later on in l i f e he decided to marry, she en-couraged him in every way possible, finding her happiness in his, and unselfishly effacing herself when her work was done. The l i f e in Home proved for Meyer, as i t had for Goethe and other great Germans, an a r t i s t i c and cultural regeneration. The 'edle Einfachkeit und s t i l l e GrOsze' of the monuments of classical antiquity had their way with him, as they had had with Winckelman before him, and any lingering remnants of romanticism in his soul were swept away before these concrete r e a l i t i e s . Beauty of form, expressing beauty of thought, now became his passion. In particular, he was influenced by that great master of form, Michael Angelo, and the formlessness of his romantic period dropped from him like a garment. Even as Michael Angelo, with a few mighty strokes of his chisel, had given form and body to the •Bibelwort , t so w i l l Meyer now seek, with few but deliberately chosen and powerful words, to give form to his ideas. His poetry, which begins to date from about this time, is f u l l of allusions to this Italian journey, and his best-known poem, to English-speaking people at least, *Der rflmische Brunnen' is only one of many, with a Roman subject. After his return from Rome, he again worked at trans-lations, this time from German to French, and i t was only in 1860, while on a v i s i t to Lausanne, and under the influence of Tulliemen, that he took courage and published anonymously his f i r s t volume of poems, BILDER 9 UND BALLADEN YON ULBICH MEISTER. It had no great success, hut from that time on the author had definitely chosen his career, and had begun to work towards i t most diligently, realizing that, after a l l , 'genius is only an inf i n i t e capacity for taking pains', or, as the Germans put i t , •Genie i s t Fleisz'. In 1864, four years later, appeared the f i r s t volume to which he had the courage to put his own name, ZWANZIG BALLADEN VON EINEM SCHWEIZEB, s t i l l only moderately successful. This was followed, in 1870, six years later, by the ROMAN ZEN UND BILDER which is s t i l l , as Faesi puts i t , the work of a good apprentice but no master* As we can see, his talent had been developing very slowly, but now,in 1870, begins i t s 'Bltitezeit'. Inspired by glorious deeds on the battle-fields of the Franco-Prussian war, and by the blood-and-iron policy of Bismark, Germany had at last achieved her p o l i t i c a l unity, and a place in the sun. In spite of the questionable ethics of his p o l i t i c s , Bismark was Meyer's great hero, whose character he incorporated later on in the chief character of his great historical novel, JURG JENATSCH. Inspired by the idea of German p o l i t i c a l unity, he wrote HUTTENS LETZTE TAGE, also in 1870. He himself t e l l s us:-MDer grosze Krieg, der bei uns in der Schweiz die Gemttter zwei-spSltig aufgeregt, entschied auch einen Krieg in meiner Seele. Von einem unmerklich gerelften Stammesgefflhl jetzt mllchtig er-griffen, tat ich bei diesem weltgeschichtlichen Anlasze das franzdsische Wesen ab, und innerlich genfltigt, dieser Sinnes-Snderung Ausdruck zu geben, dichtete ich HUTTENS LETZTE TAGE." 1 1. Linden (47) 10. This poem, really a series of l y r i c s , t e l l s the story of the death of Hutten, a German hero of the Renaissance, who had fought for the unity of Germany, and who had died, an exile from his country, on the island of Ufenau i n Lake Zurich. By i t Meyer f i r s t became known to his sceptical fellow-townsmen as a successful author. Inspired by his success he wrote ENGELBURG, another poetical romance, which was partly a failure, as he had been in too much of a hurry, but this failure probably induced him to turn his hand to his true 'metier*, the his t o r i c a l novelle, and in 1873 appeared DAS AMDLETT, the f i r s t of a series of inspired historical romances, which only ended with the publication of ANGELA BORGIA in 1892. These w i l l be reviewed in detail i n part two, so they w i l l not be mentioned here. During their l i f e together, Meyer and his s i 3 t e r took many trips, making an excursion almost every summer, usually to some part of Switzerland. During several summers they explored very thoroughly the country of the Upper Engadine, and he afterwards used in his JENATSCH the local color thus obtained. They also visited Venice, and i t was to his t r i p there, and to the inspiration of the art works of Tizian i n the Venetian galleries that we owe ENGELBURG, In 1869, he settled in Rttsnacht, a beautiful place on Lake Zurich. No matter how many lovely places he saw on his travels, he always seemed to come back as i f drawn by a magnet to the pale beauty of this wonderful sheet of water. About this time, too, he made the acquaintance of the man who was to become his o f f i c i a l biographer, Adolf 11. Frey. If i t is an advantage to an author to have someone to play a Boswell to;his Johnson, Meyer certainly reaps this advantage to the f u l l , for Frey has done his work most thoroughly, even to giving us a minute account of a l l the family pets, among them the poet's dog Bozzo. In spite of so much detail, however, or perhaps because of i t , the work is most interesting, and is well worth reading by any lover of the author's works. Meyer's 'Blttfcezeit* lasted a l i t t l e over two decades, during which, as a successful author, he realized most of his former ambitions. He had a beautiful home at Kilchberg, not far from Zttrich, and was a welcome member of the best society of the place* At the head of this stood Francois Wille, the retired journalist, the friend of Bismark and Heine, who had entertained under his roof such great men as Wagner and Liszt and the historian Mommsen. Here the Meyers were very much at home, and Konrad used to read to this friendly group many of his stories before they were published, and receive their criticism and advice. In 1875, Meyer was married to an aristocratic Zurich lady, Louise Ziegler, the daughter of an old family friend, and the marriage, while not romantic, was very happy. We are told that her talents lay rather in the direction of good housekeeping than of literary inspiration, in which his sister had shone, but we are further told that this marriage, more than a l l his successful literary works, tended to con-vince his matter-of-fact fellow-townsmen that Konrad had actually 12. amounted to something after a l l . Before this time, (and this i s one of the disadvantages of having an o f f i c i a l biographer, that such things should become public) we are told that Meyer had proposed twice and been rejected. One of these ladies was the beautiful C l e l i a Weidman, and for her he cherished what was probably the great romantic passion of his l i f e , which was only increased by her early death. Her rejection of him was the immediate cause of his t r i p to Rome. Both of these rejections were owing to the fact that the author had no settled station in l i f e , and had the effect of increasing his infer i o r i t y complex, so perhaps his success-ful marriage to Louise Ziegler contributed more thanfs/e know to that serenity of mind so necessary to an author like Meyer. His wife was an excellent manager who took from his shoulders the burden of a l l household worries, and this l e f t him free to devote his days to work. It was work, too, of the very hardest kind, for he f e l t that he had much lost time to make up. After his former terrible experience, he was always oppressed by a foreboding of the coming of *that night when no man can work*, and truly enough, for him i t came a l l too soon. After the publication of ANGELA BORGIA in 1892, he was seized with a severe i l l n e s s , which caused a return of his old neuras-thenia, and he had to spend another season in an asylum. After a few months he recovered enough to be sent home, but from now on his creative faculty was eclipsed. He was no longer capable of sustained work, and published nothing further except l y r i c s , which could be dashed off at a 13. s i t t i n g , and which he continued to compose almost t i l l his death. The p o l i t i c a l situation i n Germany, too, no doubt had i t s effect on him. This was the time when the young Kaiser, Wilhelm II, took the power into his own hands and 'dropped the p i l o t * Bismark. This was the time, too, in the l i t e r a r y world, when realism was dying out and naturalism was taking i t s place, and Meyer was no lover of naturalism. The f a l l of his i d o l , Bismark, coincides most strangely with Meyer's relapse into his old nervous impotence. However, this last period of i l l - h e a l t h was happier than the f i r s t had been. Though con-stantly busy with new projects, which he had not the power to realize, yet he was always able to look back on what he had accomplished, and that was considerable, for i t is not given to every author to be so great in two fields of literature as Meyer had been. After Goethe, he i s perhaps the greatest of German Lyri c i s t s , and his work in the f i e l d of the historical romance we shall study in Part II. His family l i f e was ideal; he had no monetary worries; and the consolations of religion were also very real to him, so i t was not as a totally unhappy man that he passed peacefully away in the arms of his wife and daughter on the 28th of November 1896. 14 PART II. THE PROSEWORKS -BRIEFLY SKETCHED. In this section only those proseworks w i l l he considered which were published by the author during his lifetime. A few years ago, Adolf Frey published several proseworks of Meyer, which included Petrus Vinea, Komtur, The Dynasts, and others. Some of these are almost complete; others are mere sketches, and are important chiefly as showing the author's manner of working. Though many of these stories are ex-tremely interesting, no attempt w i l l be made here to consider anything but the works that Meyer published himself. In these the chronological order w i l l be s t r i c t l y followed. I shall attempt, as brie f l y as possible, to give a synopsis of each story, giving only those facts which are necessary to show i t s setting in history, and the teaching the author intended to convey. For, though no propagandist, Meyer i s a great moral teacher, and each of his stories has as i t s essence some great moral truth. There w i l l also; be an attempt to sketch the main characters, for Meyer is outstanding as a psychologist. Occasionally he almost equals Shakespeare, and in every one of his works there is at least one character, and sometimes more than one, which seems almost real enough to step out of the page and talk to us. 15 (1) DAS AM0LETT,,18'73. This story i s the f i r s t i n order of time, and i t was here that the author f i r s t found himself. Although i t "bears many marks of a f i r s t attempt, as, for example, i n the love-story, which i s rather weak, nevertheless i t exemplified many of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of h i s l a t e r and greater works. It i s short, yet nothing i s l e f t out which i s necessary to the p l o t , and the scenes move forward, one a f t e r the other, and each evolving out of the other, l i k e a piece of complicated and w e l l - o i l e d machinery. At the beginning i t seems almost too overloaded with h i s t o r i c a l d e t a i l s to be i n t e r e s t i n g , but the author soon remedies t h i s defect. It has an excellent ending, which seems to come just at the r i g h t place, and to be quite necessary and i n e v i t a b l e . It i s the t a l e of two German-speaking Swiss youths i n P a r i s i n 1572, during the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and i t may be described as a study i n r e l i g i o u s t o l e r a t i o n . The r e a l hero of the story, Schadau, i s a Protestant, while h i s f r i e n d Boccard i s a C a t h o l i c . Schadau, who i s an old man when he t e l l s the story, has some business dealings with the father of Boccard, h i s dead f r i e n d , and while at the home of the l a t t e r , he a c c i d e n t a l l y sees his f r i e n d ' s amulet i n a drawer. This reminds him of h i s young manhood, and of the strange scenes i n which t h i s amulet bore a part. Though i t had saved the l i f e of the Protestant Schadau, the b e l i e v e r i n predestination, i t had f a i l e d to protect i t s owner, who believed f i r m l y i n i t s v i r t u e . 16. We are taken to Switzerland to the boyhood home o f the hero, where he l i v e d with h i s maternal uncle, for h i s father had died, f i g h t i n g as a Huguenot i n Coligny*s army, and the shock of h i s death had k i l l e d the hoy's mother. We see the young hero's worship of Coligny, the great Protestant leader, who i s preparing an army to he sent into the Netherlands against the Catholic general, Alba, and h i s one great ambition i s to j o i n Coligny*s army. Circumstances a r i s e which make i t necessary f o r Schadau to leave home, and he decides to go to P a r i s to t r y to r e a l i z e t h i s ambition. He takes farewell of h i s uncle, a k i n d l y o l d visionary, whose c h i e f function i n the story seems to have been to imbue the boy with h i s own C a l v i n i s t i c b e l i e f i n predestination. On the way, he i s delayed by a storm just before entering P a r i s , and has to take refuge i n an inn. Here he meets f or the f i r s t time h i s countryman, Boccard, and al s o Gasparde, the g i r l who i s to become h i s wife, along with her guardian, C h a t i l l o n . The conversation around the inn table i s very amusing. Boccard acquaints the company with the v i r t u e s of h i s amulet, which has saved h i s l i f e as a c h i l d , and we have an i n t e r e s t i n g debate on pre-d e s t i n a t i o n , i n which the young Schadau f i r m l y believes© Arrived i n P a r i s , he seeks out Coligny, and finds the way smoothed out f o r him, probably through the intervention of C h a t i l l o n , so that he becomes at once Coligny*s secretary. Here he meets the king, Charles IX, who i s also a great f r i e n d of Coligny, and he r e a l i z e s , i n the v a c i l l a t i n g character of that miserable boy, on what a slender thread of 17. safety the lives of thej Protestants in Paris are hanging. Just now i t is Coligny who has the influence over him, but tomorrow i t may be someone else. We realize, too, that the queen-mother, Catherine di Medici, hates Coligny, and is jealous of his influence over the king her son. Then Schadau goes to v i s i t Chatillon and Gasparde. He i s struck by the resemblance of Gasparde to Coligny, and learns that she is the daughter of Dandelot, Coligny's dead brother. The character of Gasparde i s rather colorless and unconvincing, and here Meyer shows his apprentice hand. She seems almost to throw herself into the hero's arms. From Chatillon*s window, which looks into the church next door, they l i s t e n to the fiery preaching of Father Panigarola, a historic character, by the way. He is inciting the minds of the Catholics against the Protestants, another device by which Meyer shows us the burning volcano over which the Huguenots in Paris were l i v i n g . As the people are leaving the church, Gasparde i s insulted by a man in the street below, and she ca l l s upon the hero for protection. On his way home with Bpccard, whom he has met by chance, he encounters this same man and is insulted by him. A duel i s fought, in which Boccard acts as his second, and the opponent, although an expert swordsman, is k i l l e d . It i s here that his l i f e is saved by the amulet, which Boccard has, un-known to him, slipped into his breast-pocket. Though he says nothing of the duel, Gasparde recognizes him as her rescuer. They become engaged, and later on we learn that this engagement meets with Coligny's approval. Then comes the eve of St. Bartholomew. Schadau has 18. returned from a business t r i p outside of P a r i s , only to f i n d that Coligny has been attacked and nearly k i l l e d a couple of days before. He goes to see him and finds the queen-mother there v i s i t i n g him. He i s doubt-f u l of her innocence i n the matter, though he can hardly believe that a g u i l t y person would go to pay a f r i e n d l y v i s i t to the vi c t i m , whom she has t r i e d to k i l l . There i s no doubt as to the king's g r i e f , but how long w i l l i t l a s t ? He goes to see Gasparde, and finds there the author, Montaigne, who i s t r y i n g to persuade C h a t i l l o n and Gasparde to f l y with him to h i s country-home i n the south of France. Then a messenger comes to bring Schadau and Gasparde once more to Coligny, whom they f i n d at the point of death... He wishes them to be married at once and has a cl e r g y -man i n waiting to perform the ceremony. In the meantime C h a t i l l o n r e -fuses to escape with Montaigne, and the l a t t e r goes o f f r e g r e t f u l l y , r e -proaching him for h i s l a z i n e s s . Meyer's c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of Montaigne i s e x c e l l e n t , and h i s t o r i c a l l y true to l i f e . When Schadau i s leaving, Gasparde takes h i s loaded p i s t o l from him. Through a ruse of Boccard's, he i s imprisoned for the night i n the Louvre. At f i r s t he thinks h i s countryman has betrayed him, but l a t e r on he finds i t i s to protect him from the massacre of the Huguenots which i s to s t a r t that very night at midnight. Though confined to Boccard's room he i s able to look out of h i s window over the s w i f t l y -moving Seine, and we have an unforgettable p i c t u r e of the queen-mother and her two sons standing on a balcony overlooking the Seine, awaiting the si g n a l f o r the massacre to begin. Then a gtimshot i s heard and the t r i o 19. disappear. The tableau is most dramatic. Thus early in his career do we find Meyer adopting a device which he was to use freely in his later works. Soon sounds of agony are heard everywhere, and corpses begin to float down the Seine. We have no general description of the massacre except through i t s effect on this one person, who is a prisoner in his room, but our imagination supplies the rest. i t is a favorite and most effective device of Meyer's to show a complex historic event through the medium of i t s effect on some particular individual, which, of course, makes for simplification and economy. In the morning, through Boccard's agency, Schadau i s allowed to go to the aid of his wife, after changing clothes with one of the guard. They hurry to the house just in time to see Chatillon thrown from an upstairs window on to the pavement, and to see Gasparde desperately defending herself with the aid of Schadau's loaded p i s t o l . She is rescued and is carried fainting from the room in her husband's arms, while his friend clears the way through the mob. But in the street, a shot from the same pistol that Gasparde had just dropped k i l l s the gallant Boccard, in spite of his amulet. Such are the strange workings of fate. Schadau and Gasparde have to leave his body to the care of his faithful servant, and hurry on to the gate. There, through the good offices of Schadau*s old fencing master, they are allowed to escape, and they f i n a l l y reach Switzerland and safety, only to find that the good uncle has died leaving to Schadau a l l his property. 20 The whole story i s a powerful plea for religious toleration. One of the most attractive characters i s the Catholic, Boccard, who is almost a second hero, and we are made to feel the f u t i l i t y of two such people hating each other on account of a difference in religion. The horrible massacre shows how monstrous may he the results of religious fanaticism. This i s symbolized in a striking dialogue between the river-gods of the Seine, imagined by Schadau during his dreadful im-prisonment. Such symbolism i s another device frequently used by Meyer to make his teaching more clear. It occurs again and again in his works. Walter Linden calls this Novelle a 'Lehrlingsarbeit', or an unripe attempt, but nonetheless i t is a powerful story, and shows us that the author has his tools prepared for the greater works soon to follow. (2) JUBG JENATSCH, 1876. The next story i s a master-piece of historical writing and is his one great novel; the others are a l l 'Novellen' or 'Short Stories'. It may be called a study in patriotism, for that is the key-note to the character of the hero. The scene of the story is lai d in "Die Lande der drei BHnde" which form today the Swiss canton of Grau-bunden. ?t is a watershed for three rivers, the Shine, flowing north into Lake Constance, the Inn, flowing northeast through the valley of the Engadine, and eventually into the Danube, and the Adda, flowing south to 21. Lake Como in Italy. The country i s extremely mountainous, and the control of the passes made by these rivers through the high Alpine valleys was eagerly sought by both France and Spain, during the time of the Thirty Years war. The l i t t l e republic, moreover, stood in the way of a complete t e r r i t o r i a l union between the two a l l i e s , Spain and Austria. These things alone were enough to cause s t r i f e , and to them was added the religious question, the struggle between Catholic and Protestant which raged everywhere a l l through this war, and nowhere more fiercely than here. The Catholic party in the l i t t l e republic, under the leadership of Pompeius Planta, favored the Austro-Spanish alliance, while the Protestant party under Jtirg Jenatsch, Blasius Alexander, Casper Alexius and others, sided with France, which offered them better terra3, for the Catholic Richelieu, though sternly suppressing Protestantism in his own country, for p o l i t i c a l reasons aided i t outside of France. Such was the st i r r i n g historical background which Meyer used for this great epic of patriotism. Meyer had, as we have seen, made several excursions to Graubunden, so the local coloring i s quite exact. The story i s divided into three rather unequal parts. In part one we are introduced to the hero indirectly, through the medium of a school friend of his, Herr laser from Zurich, who is on his way to Graubunden on a holiday t r i p to v i s i t his old friend, Jenatsch, now the Protestant pastor in the secluded village of Verbenn. At the summit of the Julian Pass, he meets unex-22 pectedly Pompeius Planta, the moat powerful aristocrat of the canton. Pompeius, hated hy the Protestants for his activity i n the Spanish cause, has been outlawed by the Protestant ministers, who are now all-powerful in the Government, He has been driven from his castle at Eiedberg, and a price set on his head, yet that has not prevented him from coming back to the country to conduct his only daughter, Lucretia, a dark-eyed^half-grown g i r l , to a convent i n Italy, The conversation of the two men soon turns to their mutual acquaintance, Jenatsch, who is most vehemently cursed by Planta, before he and his party ride away. Left alone after this strange encounter, the thoughts of Herr Waser go back to his school days in Zurich, where he and Jenatsch had been boys together. He remembers the unusual bond which had existed between the l i t t l e aristocrat, Lucretia, and the poor pastor's son, Jttrg, the great passionate overgrown boy. On picking up his portfolio, Waser finds scrawled on i t in a childish hand, evidently that of Lucretia, *Giarg&o guardati" (George take care). She obviously has known of some danger threatening her friend, and has taken this way to warn him. Waser decides to push on with a l l haste. However, he has to spend the night in the pass, and the one inn there cannot give him accommodation. Through a ruse, however, and unknown to the landlord, he makes friends with the old woman in the kitchen, and gets her bed for the night. He is awakened from his sleep by the sound of conversation in a room near by, and, finding a crack in the door, he overhears a conversation which is partly unintelligible to him, S3. but which seems to concern some massacre about to take place. Too soon he learns that i t is the massacre of the Protestants in Jenatsch'a' valley, which the two men are planning. They turn their heads, and to his horror he finds that i t is Planta and his nephew, Bobustelli. Realizing that this mischief which is brewing w i l l involve his friend, he hurries on next morning, accompanied by the half-witted Augustino,as guide. This boy he learns to be the brother of Jenatsch's he wife, and/toears a fanatical grudge against her for turning Protestant. Arriving at Verbenn, Waser is welcomed with open arms by Jenatsch, whom he finds engaged in the very unpastoral occupation of sharpening his sword, and by Lucia, his extremely beautiful wife who, though gently ef f i c i e n t , never utters a single word. Jenatsch seems extremely proud of her. The next day the two men make an excursion to Buentes on the Italian border. Here a large fort has been built by the Spaniards and garrisoned strongly, a thing that every good Protestant in Graubttnden looks upon as a threat against their freedom. They are not admitted to view the fort, as they had hoped, so they go on to a l i t t l e inn on the shores of Lake Como, and have lunch in the hotel-garden. Here we are f i r s t introduced to Duke Hohan, who is afterwards to play a prominent part in the story. Like a true dramatist, Meyer brings on a l l his im-portant characters early. Bohan recognizes from his dress that Jenatsch is a Protestant pastor, and the two are courteously entertained by him t i l l his departure. We get the impression of a most engaging personality. 24. He appears very much interested i n the conversation of Jenatsch, who betrays a surprising local knowledge of the country, and thus the way is prepared for their acquaintance later on. Here we have the sort of paradoxical contrast in which Meyer delights, the peace-loving soldier, Rohan, and the war-like man of peace, Jenatsch. As the two friends wend their way homeward, the talk turns on Lucretia, and we learn why Jenatsch has turned from his early love to marry Lucia. Marriage with Lucretia would have been impossible under the existing conditions. His face darkened as he answered shortly: **Zu Anf ang... Das Kind hat gelitten. Es i s t ein treues f estes Herz... Aber s o i l ich die Fesseln eines Kindes tragen? und dazu einer Planta ... Torheit... Du siehst, ich habe ein Ende gemacht." A On their way they are met by a Catholic priest hurriedly riding towards them on his mule. It is Father Pankrazi, a most humane and lovable man. It is quite noticeable how Meyer, in spite of his strong Protestantism, often introduces an attractive Catholic character, such as Boccard in the Amulet, and others whom we shall meet later. As Jenatsch says of him: wW8ren unsere Kapuziner alle so gute Bttndner wie er, und so witzige Gesellen, man hfitte sie unbehelligt gelassen." 2 The priest in great excitement warns them of the massacre about to take place, and urges them to f l y for their li v e s . But Jenatsch w i l l not leave his wife behind, and they hurry homeward, the priest accompanying' them.. When they reach home Jenatsch finds there two of his 1. Jenatsch 59. 2. Ibid 69. 25. colleagues, Pastor Fausch and Pastor Blasius Alexander, both hi s t o r i c a l characters. The former i s ruefully fingering a hole i n his hat, made by a gun-shot. This incident i s decisive for him; he has had enough of danger, and w i l l renounce his pastor's office. Jenatsch decides, but for very different reasons, to do likewise. "Warte Freund", he says., "das verrichten wir zusammen. Auch mein Masz i s t heute vo l l geworden. Nicht eine feindliche Kugel verjagt mich von der Kanzel, sondern eine freundliche Eede. Der Herzog Heinrich hat Recht, n wandte er sich an den erstaunten Waser, nSchwert und Bibel taugen nicht zusammen. Bttnden bedarf des Schwertes, und ich lege die geistliche Waffe zur Seite, um getrost die Weltliche zu ergrelfen." 1 In the meantime, at the urgent entreaty of Father Pankrazi, and much to Lucia's r e l i e f , they make hasty preparations for f l i g h t , but before they can leave, the beautiful creature is shot dead, as she stands before a lighted window. Alexander rushes out and shoots the murderer, whom he finds to be none other than her crazy brother, Augustino. But the mob of murdering fanatics i s already beginning to beat down the front door of the house, as they escape by the back way, after f i r s t setting f i r e to the place. The picture of Jenatsch fleeing through the glow of the flames of his burning dwelling, the dead Lucia in his arms, is most vivid, another example of Meyer's fondness for drama-t i c pictures. It reminds one of V i r g i l ' s picture of Eneas fleeing through the flames of burning Troy, with his father Anchises on his back. One feels that something dreadful must inevitably happen after that. " Waser konnte trotz der Gefahr der Stunde den Blick nicht verwenden von diesem Nachtbilde sprachlosen Grimms und unversdhnlicher Trauer. Er mu3zte an einen Engel des 1. Jenatsch 73. 26. "Gerichts denken, der eine unschuldige Seele durch die Flammen trfigt. Aber es war kein Bote des Lichts, es war ein Engel des Schreckens.** 1 When Waser parted from Jenatsch after Lucia's funeral, his only words were, "You w i l l yet hear from me." Shortly after this, the Spaniards, led by ths two Plantas, Pompeius and his nephew Rudolph, poured over the land from Fuentes. Pompeius, the outlawed, went back again to his castle at Riedberg, but was not Ihere long when a murdering band, led by Jenatsch and Alexander, broke in and k i l l e d him in cold blood, beating him to death with an axe. Then they rode defiantly through the country ca l l i n g upon the people to arm against their country's foes. They met with a ready response, and wonderful deeds of bravery were done, with Jenatsch always to the fore. But the enemy was too strong. Thousands of them were captured and executed; others fled. Waser, safe i n his home at Zurich, heard the news of the martyrdom of Blasius Alexander at Innsbruck. He had been faithful "even unto death". Later, he was visited by Jenatsch himself, who had come to ask asylum for the night* He had given up hope of freeing his country for the present, and was on his way to take service with Count Mansfield, one of the Protestant leaders in the Thirty Years war. The hearts of the people seemed dead, for the coming Thirty Years war was already casting i t s shadow. And so ends part one, with Jenatsch an exile, and the Catholic party everywhere victorious. Part two opens after a lapse of some ten years, and the scene now changes to Venice. Pastor Fausch i 3 at present a pastrycook 1. Jenatsch 80. 27. with a l i t t l e shop facing on the Grand Ganal and quite near the Cathedral, In this l i t t l e wine-shop, which is a l l prepared for the reception of guests, we learn from the conversation of Wertmuller, Duke Rohan's secretary, that his master and party are at present v i s i t i n g the cathedral, and w i l l come in later. Then Jtlrg Jenatsch bursts in, and we learn that he has been fighting i n distant Dalmatia, but,hearing that Richelieu has decided to send a French army under Rohan into Grau-bttnden to free i t from i t s Spanish oppressors, is determined to take service under the Duke. Without orders from his superior officer, Grimani, he has returned to Venice. He has also been so unfortunate as to k i l l his own colonel in a duel, in self-defence, i t is true, but he has thereby rendered himself liable to imprisonment or death, should Grimani seize him before he puts himself under Duke Rohan's protection, as So/soon as the Duke leaves the cathedral, Jenatsch manages to secure an appointment for that evening. And now Lucretia Planta appears on the scene again. She has also come to Venice to seek the aid of the Duke. Since her father's murder, she has been an unhappy exile in the house of her uncle in Milan, but now she has come to beg for re-instatement in her own castle at Riedberg and for justice to be done upon the murderer of her father. She has gained the ear of the Duchess, who pleads her cause before the Duke in an eloquent speech, strongly reminiscent of the Corneille manner, then in vogue. In a most natural way, the author causes this speech to be overheard by Jenatsch, who has just come to keep his appointment with the Duke. Rohan promises her his aid in restoring her to her home, 28. but he advises her to leave her vengeance to God, for the tender hand of a woman should not he stained with deeds of blood. Just then Jenatsch most dramatically steps forth, ac-knowledges himself to be the murderer of her father, and offers his bosom to her avenging knife. Placed in such a position, Lucretia can only hesitate. She cannot bring herself to k i l l the man whom she s t i l l loves, even though her father's blood flows between them, and yet i t is her duty to avenge her father. One would almost think that Meyer had borrowed the motive from the CJJD. By a l l the customs of the time Lucretia is in duty bound to avenge her father, and here is her chance, but she cannot strike the fatal blow. It is a most affecting scene, and the women leave the room in tears. Then the Duke talks business with Jenatsch, and agrees to take him into his service. Owing to his experience as a soldier, and his intimate knowledge of Graubunden, the Duke expects to find him a valuable a l l y , and he i s ordered to come to the palace at once, after-f i r s t going back for his baggage and his servants. But he has not gone out of sight of the Duke's palace, when he is waylaid and kidnapped by the spies of Grimani, within sight and hearing of the Duke, who is standing on the balcony. The next day the Duke sends for Grimani and deanands Jenatsch's release. The astute Venetian puts in a most eloquent plea to be allowed to keep Jenatsch in prison, or to get r i d of him quietly. "The man is a dangerous adventurer", he says, "absolutely without conscience or scruple. He w i l l make use of you 29 "as long as you serve his purpose, and then ruthlessly betray you when you have served his turn. You w i l l live to thank me i f I get r i d of him for you now, and live to rue the day i f I grant your request, and let him go free." However, the Duke insisted, and Grimani released him from prison. In the warning of Grimani here, we have a parallel to ths warning of Lucretia in Part One, and there is another similar warning scene in Part Three. This i s an early example of that symmetry which was so characteristic of Meyer's style, and which we shall meet often in his later works. After events prove that Grimani wa3 right, and no doubt the author uses this incident to show the mysterious workings of fate, which led the Duke, in spite of himself, to take the very man into his service, who was afterwards to prove his undoing. When Part Three opens, we find Lucretia back i n a convent near her old home, though her castle at Riedberg is not yet open to her. The nuns, under sister Perpetua, wish to make lier their Abbess, but she cannot bring herself to take the v e i l as yet. We learn from her meditations that the Duke has sent her home from Venice under the escort of his faithful Wertrauller, and her own servant, Lucas. On the way, they have succeeded in rescuing Jenatsch from a party of Spaniards, who had taken him prisoner. A second time, Lucretia has had the chance to avenge her father, but she does not take i t . Her love for Jenatsch i s not the only reason. Perhaps some instinct of patriotism advises her that here is the only man who can save her country. They travel together for several days, t i l l at last they reach the shores of a l i t t l e 30. mountain lake, which f i r s t reminds them that they have at last reached home. In their eagerness the two hurry forward alone, and s i t on the shore of the lake to await Wertrattller and the servant. They stoop to drink, and Lucretia produces a sliver cup which Jenatsch had given her as a child, and which she has always kept. Then there is a very affecting love-scene. Jtirg's old love for Lucretia has flamed up again into an intense passion and he bitterly regrets his murder of her father as a ghastly mistake, an error of his hot-headed youth. How-ever, Lucretia cannot consent to marry her father's murderer, no matter how much she loves him. Just then the others come up and the scene i s over. Soon thereafter she is reinstated in her old castle at Biedberg. In the meantime the armies of Duke Bohan have been ad-vancing into Graubttnden, driving out the Spaniards as they went. Every-where Jenatsch has proved his efficiency, both as soldier and as coun-c i l l o r , t i l l at last he is almost indispensable to the Duke, and has become his right-hand man and trusted confidant. At last the time comes for the Duke to f u l f i l his promise to Jenatsch and withdraw his French armies from Switzerland, for the Spaniards have everywhere been driven out. But Cardinal Bichelieu has no intention of keeping fa i t h with the Huguenot Bohan. He has only used him as a tool, and now casts him aside. He refuses to let the French army withdraw and thus free Graubtihden, which, according to his plan, must become a Catholic country and a dependency of France. The poor Duke is broken-hearted. When the news comes to him, he is an honored guest at the home of the Swiss historian, 31 Fortunatus Sprecher, at Chur, and i t brings upon him a serious i l l n e s s . He sees his own future endangered through the machinations of the wily Cardinal, and his honor threatened, for the people have trusted his word, and both he and Jenatsch have pledged their personal fortune to make up the pay of the soldiers, which Bichelieu has allowed to get in arrears. Jenatsch apparently takes the news of Bichelieu*s treachery very quietly, but here comes the turning-point of his l i f e , the point to which a l l the rest of the story has led up. Nothing -no other loyalty - can be allowed to stand in the way of his over-whelming passion - patriotism. While seeming to remain the friend and confidant of the Duke, he goes over to the Spanish side and starts negotiations with them. He sends Lucretia Planta as ambassador to the Spanish commander at Fuentes, and her embassy is successful. The Spaniards w i l l agree to every condition that Jenatsch demands, i f only they can be revenged on the French, and drive them out of the country. The only one who suspects treachery i s Wertmflller. Un-usually intelligent, and the soul of loyalty to his general, he has been spying upon Jenatsch, and comes upon a piece of evidence which would have convinced any ordinary man. He seeks to warn the Duke not to trust Jenatsch, (the third scene of warning i n the story), but the eyes of the Duke seem blinded by fate; Jenatsch explains everything away; and Wertmtiller can only grind his teeth with rage. Meanwhile Jenatsch has been using his tremendous influence with his countrymen, and with the armies of Rohan, and they are a l l ready to go over to the Spanish side. Only when the Duke i s surrounded 32. and taken prisoner does he find that Jenatsch ha3 betrayed him. Jenatsch demands that he sign a paper pledging himself to lead his French armies out of Graubitnden at once, or he w i l l be responsible for the c i v i l war and the loss of l i f e that w i l l follow. At f i r s t the Duke refuses to sign, but at last consents, in order to avoid bloodshed. After he has signed comes the news that Richelieu has again changed his mind, and w i l l take the French armies out of Switzerland, but i t is now too late. Jenatsch is too deeply involved with Spain, and besides he wi l l not trust Richelieu any more. The Duke also has given his pledged word, and like the man of honour that he i s , he w i l l keep i t , even to his own hurt. There is an affecting scene when the people bid farewell to their good Duke. They appreciate his beautiful character even though they have betrayed him and gone over to Spain, and when he leads his armies out of Chur, their leader for the last time, there is hardly a dry eye. He takes service as a private soldier i n the Protestant armies i n Germany, and shortly afterwards comes the news of his death. Jenatsch has apparently f u l f i l l e d his heart's ambition, the independence of his country - but the hour of his Nemesis i3 near. To help secure Spanish aid, and to render himself more eligible in the eyes of Lucretia Planta, he has renounced his religion and become a Catholic. But in spite of this we see that the Spanish commander is afraid of him and is already plotting his death, and Rudolph Planta, Lucretia's worthless cousin, suspecting that she is too partial to Jenatsch, determines to take her father's vengeance into his own hands. 33. Jenatsch feels himself, however, at the height of his powers. He has freed his country, though at a fearful price, - his own good conscience, - and he does hot propose to step aside now. After gaining so much, to what can he not attain? He w i l l even win Lucretia in the end, though she has told him, "There w i l l never he a wedding at Riedburg". But he is playing for his own hand now and not for his country, and fate is against him. As long as he could plead patriotism, he was allowed by fate to do his work. But now his work was done, and instead of being a saviour to his country, he has become i t s menace. In honor of Jenatsch, and to celebrate the freedom of their country, the citizens of Chur have decided to give a masquerade ball in the town-hall. But Rudolph Planta and Lucretia's old servant, Lucas, who has kept the axe that k i l l e d Pompeius Planta hidden in a trunk a l l this while, are on the road to k i l l him. Lucretia, at Riedberg, sees the empty trunk and suspects treachery. She follows them to Chur, It is a stormy night, with the same high wind blowing as on the night when her father was k i l l e d . Note here how Meyer makes nature sympathize with the passions of men. The news has just come of the death of the good Duke, and Fortunatus Sprecher reads the news to the people assembled in the Hall of Justice. The best people of the town decide to go home, feeling that a celebration is out of place after such news. Jenatsch,however, insists on having his fete, and this proves his undoing. The rabble f i l e into the h a l l , and Jenatsch, standing before the statue of Justice, with Lucretia by his side, is attacked and mortally wounded. Lucretia, 34 rather than allow him to he k i l l e d by these treacherous foes, takes up the faithful axe dropped by old Lucas, and he smiles at her as she gives the fi n a l stroke that puts him out of pain. This story had to be narrated at some length, both because i t i s the longest that Meyer wrote, and because i t is perhaps one of the best historical novels ever written. The conception and execution are alike masterly. From the immense mass of material at his disposal, the author has chosen only what was necessary, and has welded and unified i t into a l i v i n g whole, just as his favorite a r t i s t , Michael Angelo, out of a mass of dead stone, could, with a few bold strokes, carve an almost l i v i n g statue. In his well-known l y r i c on the great sculptor, he has him say:-"Umfaszt, umgrenzt,hab' ich dich, ewig Sein Mit meinen groszen Linien fttnfmal dort: Ich htlllte dich in lichte Mantel ein Und gab dir Leib, wie diese3 Bibelwort." * When drawing the character of Jenatsch, Meyer undoubtedly had his great contemporary, Bismark, in mind, for not only were both men gigantic figures as i f carved from iron, but there was, i n 1870, the same lawless patriotism in the founding of the German Empire, that went to the founding of the Bflnden Confederacy in the seventeenth century. The characterization i s masterly. Everything lead3 up step by step to the betrayal of the Duke and the Apostasy of Jenatsch. In striking contrast to the latter,/the courteous and Christ-like character of 'Der gute Herzog'. We are meant to deplore the hero's lack of loyalty, and yet, in spite of that, he is an attractive personality. His patriotism 1. Meyer's Gedichte - 330. 35 almost atones for everything, and the ordinary moral standards do not seem to apply i n his case. In fact, for him, the author seems to give credence to the Jesuit maxim that 'the end j u s t i f i e s the means', when he makes his friend, Waser, say: "Ein schwer zu beurteilender Charakter. In einem Stflcke wenigstens ttberragt Jttrg Jenatsch unsere grSszten Zeitgenossen ... in seiner ubermfichtigen Vaterlandsliebe. Wie ich ihn kenne, so strOmt sie durch ihn, wie da3 Blut durch die Adern. Sie i s t der einzige tlberall passende Schiuszel zu seinem v i e l ^ staltigen Wesen. Ich musz zugeben, er hat ihr mehr geopfert, als ein aufrechtes Gewis3en verantworten kann. Aber, "fuhr er zSgernd, und mit gedSmpfter Stimme fort, "Ist es nicht ein Glflck fur uns ehrenhafte Staatsleute, wenn, zum Heile des Vaterlands, notwendige Taten, die von reinen HSnden nicht vollbracht werden ktfnnen, von solchen gesetzlosen Krafts-menschen ubernommen werden — die dann der allwissende Gott in seiner Gerechtigkeit richten mag." 1 i s This last/a delicately ironic thrust at the smug Philistinism represented by Waser, willing to profit by the results won by a man like Jenatsch, though unwilling to accept any responsibility therefor. (3) DER SCHUSZ VON DER KANZEL,1878. This story, Meyer's one and only comedy, was written during the happiest period of his l i f e , just after his marriage, when at the height of his powers and his fame. A few years sooner or a few years later, he could not have written i t . It is evidently more or less of a "tour de force", an attempt, and quite a successful one, to show thai; he was capable of r i v a l l i n g his great contemporary, Gottfried Keller, in his own f i e l d . In this novelle, he has succeeded in a most unique way in picturing the inhabitants and the scenery of his native 1. Jenatsch - 315. 36. Zurich Lake. Here he has truly held 'a mirror up to nature' for we can almost see before our eyes the people he describes, their beautiful surroundings, and their peculiar point of view. It is a sort of sequel ±'o JUEG JENATSCH, and i t is necessary to read them together in order to get a complete understanding of the comedy involved in the character of Wertmttller, the hero of DER SCHUSZ VON DER KANSEL. We have here a wonderful piece of character-drawing, consistent a l l the way through, from the time the hero is introduced- to us as a child, travelling with his tutor on Lake Zurich, to where we find him in this tale, a man of sixty, on the eve of departing for the military campaign, which is to be his la s t . First we have a description of the imperious l i t t l e fellow signalling the boat to stop. Then we realize the precocious cleverness of the young scamp, when he shows by a pert interruption that he has caught the meaning of his tutor's long Latin speech in which plans for his future are mentioned. "Ja, der Berbi divini musz mit," r i e f hier plfltzlich der kleine Kobbold, der den Gegenstand der Unterhaltung erraten hatte. "Aber vorher musz er mich alle Sprachen lehren, dasz ich in alien kommandieren kann." - "Was w i l l s t du denn eigentlich werden, Rudolf?" fragte Herr Waser, urn die Blflsze, die der Magister^sich gegeben, zu decken. - "Ein General," r i e f das Bfibchen und sprang von der Bank, denn eben war man durch das Wassertor des Grendels gefahren, und legte jetzt vor der Schifflande an. H 1 This is our introduction to a most extraordinary character. We have seen him already as Duke Rohan's secretary, fundamentally brave, kind-hearted and loyal, but with a tongue that continually gets him into trouble. 1. Jenatsch 87. 37, That is one reason why the Duke would not believe hira when he tried to convince him of Jenatsch's treachery. "Man hat euch das aufgebunden, Wertmttller", pflegte er zu scherzen, "urn eure Argwohne gleich das stfirkste Gewurz vorzusetzen. Und, gesteht nun, Ihr verdient etwas ftir eure bOse Zunge." * In appearance he is not bad-looking, though rather undersized, but what he lacks in size, he makes up in bravery. Towards the end of the Jenatsch-story, we have hints of a romance between him and Amantia Sprecher, the beautiful daughter of Portunatus Sprecher, at whose house the Duke was staying in Chur when the betrayal took place. She is a great admirer of the Duke and likes Wertmtiller because of his loyalty to his master. He is a confirmed freethinker, and his tendency to make sport of sacred things and to 'hocus-pocus', as Waser cal l s i t , has got him into bad odor i n Zurich. But Amantia says of him: "Was mir den Lokotenenten wert machte, war seine Treue an dem edeln Herzog Heinrich. Da hat er sich als echten Kavalier gezeigt, neben dem VerrHter, Georg Jenatsch, der mir trotz seines gewinnenden Wesens, immer wie ein bOser Geist vorhana, wenn er liber unsere Treppen zum Herzog hinaufsprang." ^  We are not told that the marriage actually took place, but can infer i t through a few words from Rahel in the new story, where we are told that Wertrattller*s wife longed for some Spanish buns, such as were baked in Baden. Wertrattller promised her gallantly to get the buns and rode off. The next day she received the buns and a note stating that he had gone to the Swedish camp. They did not meet again for many a long day. Wertmuller's wife i s now dead, and he has realized his boyish ambition to become a general. He i s back again at Mythikon, the 1. Jenatsch 246. 2. Ibid 315. 38. home of his childhood, after many campaigns in which he has evidently gained wealth and honor. He must have been in the Orient too, for he has brought back with him a Moorish servant, Hassan, whose performances with a speaking-trumpet are setting the natives by the ears. Wertrauller has also the reputation of keeping a Turkish lady in the corner-room of his house, where she looks out over the Lake, and ogles the passers-by. Though he has only been home a week, the place is in an uproar with his practical jokes, and many of the people think he is in league with the devil himself. We make Wertmuller's acquaintance through Pastor Pfannen-s t i e l , an attractive young fellow, and a typical parson, who shies from a loaded gun. He has, however, written a treatise on the Odyssey and dedicated i t to the General. This pleases the old gentleman who is also quite a scholar, possessing an excellent library, and Pfannenstiel is invited to stay with him for the night. Then he explains to the General why he has come. He wishes to accompany him to the wars as army ^ chaplain. The General, however, f l a t l y refuses, t e l l i n g him he is quite unfitted for such an office, and advises him to stay near his native Zflrich Lake, where a l l the church-spires show that this must be a perfect Canaan for pastors. By questioning he learns that the young man has been curate for his cousin, the pastor of Mythikon during the last summer, and he has fallen in love with Eahel, the pastor's daughter, and the General's own god-child. At f i r s t Wertmuller thinks that Pfannenstiel has been refused by Hahel, but when the g i r l comes herself, a l i t t l e later, he sees that the two young people love each other, so he determines to do a 39 . l i t t l e match-making, and make two people happy before he goes. Rahel takes the General aside and reproaches him for leading her father to forget his duties, and thus get into trouble with the elders of his congregation. Her father is a good old soul whose favorite occupation, however, i s hunting, not preaching, and whose fond-ness for dogs and guns has many times got him into trouble. This makes Rahel very unhappy, and she says to the General: "Why you'll even have him shooting off guns in the pulpit next." This gives the General an idea for a practical joke, which, i f i t goes off as he plans, w i l l make the two young people happy, for Rahel confesses that she loves Pfannen-s t i e l , chiefly because he is so different from her father, and would never worry her by forgetting his pastoral duties, as her father does every day. The general then begins to lay his plans, dismissing Rahel by t e l l i n g her that he intends to go to church himself the next morning. She suspects a joke, but says nothing, knowing that the old General loves her and really wishes her well. He has promised her that she and Pfannenstiel shall be betrothed the very next day. That evening the General and Pfannenstiel have a most interesting conversation, in which he is shown an edition of the Odyssey that had once belonged to Jttrg Jenatsch. Pfannenstiel drops i t , as i f i t smelled of blood. He has been brought up to look on Jenatsch as in league with Satan himself. No doubt Meyer introduces the incident to show us the reputation which the apostate had among his countrymen, some thirty-five years after his death. 40. After a restless night, i t i s late when Pfannenstiel wakes. The air is f u l l of the sound of church-hells and the sun is shining over the heavenly-blue lake. The General has gone to church. The description of the community wending i t s way to church is most masterly. One feels that Meyer i s describing his own 'Gemeinde*. The General is constantly greeted by the people as he goes along the road. They know he is an old free-thinker, who hasn't the slightest intention of being converted, so they take his church-going as a compliment to themselves. He has timed his arrival to within a minute or so of church-time, and goes in to see his cousin in the parsonage next door. Here he pulls out a small gun of beautiful workmanship: "Yours", he says, handing i t over. The old pastor i s interested at once, and they both go out to the garden to shoot at his private target, but he finds the trigger too s t i f f to p u l l . The General takes i t again, shoves i t in his pocket, and promises to have i t repaired. The old pastor, though, w i l l have his gun at once. He i s afraid that i f the General takes i t away he w i l l never see i t again, so he gets i t back. This time i t is not the same gun, however, but i t s mate, loaded with powder, and with the trigger in perfect order. By now, the bells have stopped ringing, and i t is time to go in to church, so he slips i t into his pocket and goes up to his pulpit. The General gets the only vacant seat in the church, where he has a good view of the pulpit. Then follows a vivid description of the church service and the singing of the hymn, together with a most l i f e - l i k e sketch of old Krachhalder, the elder. The General notices, however, that his cousin 41. keeps his hand in his pocket, and smiles once or twice when he hears a click. After the singing of a particularly noisy hymn, the pastor starts his sermon, and has just said, "Praise God with a loud noise", when the gun in his pocket goes off with a hang. That the congregation is shocked is putting i t mildly. However, the brave old pastor recovers himself, and goes on with his service right to the end. The two cousins meet in the vestry after the service. The poor pastor, with tears in his eyes, upbraids the General for his share in the trick, for he knows that his time as pastor of this church is now up. The elders w i l l never countenance such sacrilege. And soon the grave-faced elders f i l e in, headed by Krachhalder. There is evidently going to be some plain talking. The General, however, takes matters in his own hands. He takes out his w i l l , and offers to read them some extracts from i t . As Krachhalder had been talking to the General the day before about leaving a certain piece of property to the church, he is of course quite interested, and they a l l list e n eagerly. The General then reads: ITEM ONE: my estate with hunting-lodges, hounds, armories, weapons, etc, to be l e f t to my cousin, the pastor, provided he gives up his office of pastor in favor of Pfannenstiel, who is to marry Rahel, the pastor's daughter. ITEM TWO: Pfannenstiel is to become pastor of the church in Pastor Wertmttller's place. ITEM THREE: The land which the church has been wanting is to be l e f t to them unconditionally, provided that, as a community, they agree never to mention again the shot from the pulpit. The whole occurrence is to be as i f i t had never happened. Of course a l l are more than willing to agree to the 42. conditions. "We would be nit-wits i f we didn't", says Krachhalder grimly. The only d i f f i c u l t y i s to keep complete silence about the shot, for the General says he wi l l withdraw his bequests,if anyone ever mentions i t again, and, i f anyone talks about i t after he is dead, he threatens to come back and haunt them. But Krachhalder agrees to see that no one talks. "And what about the women?" asks the General. "We men wi l l answer for them", they a l l reply meaningly. Then Rahel and Pfannenstiel are found sittin g together outside in the garden, and they are called in and betrothed, just as the General had promised the day before. He has had his l i t t l e joke, and has made his dear ones happy before going away the next day on the campaign from which he was never to come back, for not long afterward they hear that he i s dead. Some c r i t i c s say that this story is a failure, and possibly i t does not stand comparison with Keller's robuster comedies. The character-drawing, however, i s excellent and the whole thing is a l i t t l e work of art. It i s a pity the author has not l e f t us more like i t . We have here the true small-town atmosphere, which i s the same in a Canadian village as on Lake Zurich, and in the twentieth century as in the seventeenth. We feel that we ourselves have known just such characters as the author depicts. Meyer must have himself gone to a church like the one he describes, and been acquainted with characters like Krachhalder. 43. (4) DER HEUilGE, 1879. This story, though called a "Novelle", has almost the proportions of a novel, and shows that Meyer now has complete mastery of his tools. Any traces of an apprentice-hand, such as one finds some-times in the AMULET or JENATSCH have here vanished, and only the finished artist appears. Most English readers consider this his greatest work, probably because i t s theme is the one with which they are most familiar, as i t treats of a subject in English history known to every school-boy. The author here takes two well-known historical characters, Henry II of England, and his Chancellor, Thomas a Becket, and, using history merely as a background, he gives us a great psychological character-study, un-surpassed in literature. What does the author intend to do here? Does he merely give us the story of a conversion, of a l i f e 'made perfect by suffering', or does he give us a study of revenge in i t s most refined form? Each one who reads the story w i l l have to decide this matter for himself, for Meyer has purposely made the character of the hero 'mehrdeutig' to use a German word for which i t is d i f f i c u l t to find an exact equivalent in English. i t is interesting to read what the author himself has said about the matter. In a letter to Lingg he said: "RHcht sich Thomas Becket und wie? Er i s t zu vorsichtig, und viell e i c h t zu edel, urn seinen KJJnig auf gewflhnliche Weise zu verraten. Er verhfilt sich passiv 1) aus PrBmmigkeit, die aus dem Geftthl seines Elends entspringt, 2) aus Klugheit und Fatalismus zugleich, 3) aus der ungestimmten- Ahnung, die Stunde der Hache werde kommen. Aber er schwebt liber dem KOnig wie ein Geier. Da gibt ihm dieser eine furchtbafd Waffe in 44. n der Hand, 'den Primat', Becket erschrickt, er braucht nur 'ein wahrer Bischof zu werden, so i d e n t i f i z i e r t er seine Sache mit der gflttlichen Gerechtigkeit (die damals gleich Kirche war). In dem Akt seiner Bekehrung durchdringen sich Bach-sucht und FrBmmigkeit auf eine unheimliche Weise." Again, i n a letter to Friedrichs on the same subject (Becket's revenge) he says: " Inwiefern diese eine beabsichtigte Oder eine durch die Verkettung der Umstfinde herbeigefflhrte i s t , dartlber kann das Gefiihl des Lesers schwanken.n % In a letter to Luise von Francois he says: g " Der Heilige i s t abs.ichtlich mehrdeutig." To represent this ambiguity of character was Meyer's problem, just as i t was Shakespeare's problem in HAMLET, and who shall say he has not succeeded as Shakespeare did* As in the AMULETT1, i t i s a story within a story, or a •Rahmenerzahlung', the tale being put into the mouth of Hans the Bowman, who, as an old man, gives his reminiscehces, not merely as an onlooker, but as one who actually took part in the events he describes. This method of t e l l i n g the story gives an air of probability obtainable in no other way, and allows the author to ascribe to the f a i l i n g memory of an old man any discrepancies in time or place that may occur. So i n -timately bound together are the two stories that neither is complete without the other; and the old Canon Burkhardt, whose eager curiosity leads Hans to t e l l the story, seems as real and l i f e l i k e as any other character in the piece. 1. Maync, 180. 3. Ibid. 181 2. Ibid. 180. 45. Very rarely does Hans f a i l to keep to his role of simple eye-witness, who t e l l s in his own direct way what actually happened to himself. He is a Swiss, one of Meyer's own countrymen, and of nohie birth, though his family has fall e n on e v i l days. Driven hy desperation he commits a murder, and has to f l y for sanctuary into the arms of the church. Here they attempt to make a monk of him. He learns to read and write, and knows V i r g i l by heart. But the monkish l i f e is not for him. He runs away, and having failed both as a knight and as a monk, he turns to a common calling for a livelihood, and yet one that has much to do with knights and nobles; he becomes a bowman. To perfect himself in his chosen calling he goes to Granada in Spain, where he learns the secrets of the bowmaker's art, as taught by the Arabs. He also becomes familiar with the Arabic language and with the Koran, and learns the story of Prince Moonshine, whom we soon guess to be none other than Becket himself. Then, having learned his trade, Hans goes to England to find work, and finds i t with a Saxon smith who makes armor for the knights of the court, the Normans. Hans f a l l s in love with Hilda, the flaxen-haired daughter of the smith. It is through Hilda's story of the Saracen woman who found her English lover by the aid of only two words 'London' and 'Gilbert' that we learn the romantic story of Becket's Saracen mother and Saxon father, and this strain of foreign blood is intended by the author to have an important bearing on the character of the hero. But poor Hilda i s suddenly kidnapped one day by one of the Norman knights in Becket's entourage, and the despairing father pleads on 46 his knees before the all-powerful Chancellor for justice. Here for the f i r s t time we meet this Chancellor, the hero of the story, with his pale dark beauty and gorgeous trappings. In spite of his being a Saxon with foreign blood in his veins he has become 'the glass of fashion and the mould of form* to the young Normans about the court. His words, his dress, his mannerisms are imitated, and his influence there is un-paralleled. But he either cannot or w i l l not help the poor smith, and the latter'8 words as he turns away give a warning of the coming tragedy, a sort of Wagnerian 'Leitmotiv' that w i l l recur soon . "Schade, Pfaffe, dasz du kein Kind hast, das dir ein Normanne verderben kann." Becket's horse gives a sudden start, as i f he had unwittingly pricked i t with his spur, and the procession moves on. A few days later, the humiliated Hilda is returned to her father, who plans th marry her to one of his kinsmen. There is no longer a place here for Hans, and he must seek a new situation, A clever invention of his in the art of bow-making leads him to seek his fortune at the court. He i s favorably received by the king, and becomes a member of his household, and eventually his own particular body-servant. So, in the most natural manner in the world, the frame-work is bound up with the main story, and Hans is now in a most favorable position to see and hear what he is years later to relate. We have now an extraordinarily clever contrast in character -study between the king and his chancellor. One might perhaps object that i t is too clever by far to be the work of a simple bowman like Hans, but he gives i t so naturally, that i t lends an air of even greater 47. probability to what he says. We feel that he must have actually seen what he is relating, for apparently he isn't clever enough to have invented such a story himself. First there is the king, the personification of physical v i t a l i t y , with his gigantic frame, his blazing blue eyes, and his bluff hearty manner. He is subject to sudden rages, and is terrible in his angdr, though at other times very approachable, and a born leader of men* As Hans t e l l s his story, we cannot help admiring and sympathizing with him to some extent. His opposite in every respect is the inscrutable Chancellor, strong in intellect though slight in body, refined and s p i r i t u a l , upon whom the king is entirely dependent in his business a f f a i r s . Though Henry admires him tremendously, yet he considers him as his tool, for has he not made him, a Saxon, the chief man in the kingdom, and given him a l l his wealth; The other characters are more li g h t l y sketched, but none the less sharply individualized. There are the king's four sons, very unattractive a l l of them, with the exception of the third son, Richard, the favorite of his father, and of the Chancellor. There is also Bertrand de Born, whose manner of hating is compared and contrasted with that of Becket. Lastly there is Queen Eleanor, formerly the divorced wife of the king of France, and 'worse than any witch in the kingdom.' As she is described, one can almost forgive the king for being unfaith-ful to. her, though she has brought him as dowry many broad lands in France. She herself i s unfaithful to the king, yet she follows his amours with jealous hatred and vengeance, so we have a presentiment of 48. what is going to happen later on, when the king finds and f a l l s in love with Grace, the daughter of the Chancellor. This is the chief episode in the story, the shovel which, as Hans says, digs the grave of both king and chancellor, and is as follows: On a hunting t r i p one day the king gets separated from his party, and* followed only by Hans, he comes suddenly upon a romantic Moorish c a 3 t l e in a remote p&rt of the forest. He announces himself and enters to find a beautiful young g i r l , scarcely more than a child, with whom he becomes infatuated. For several months he and Hans make secret v i s i t s to this castle, though Hans has never entered or seen the lady. He imagines she is some l i g h t o' love that Becket has concealed there, and thinks i t rather a good joke that the king should supplant him. Only at the end, when an emissary of Eleanor is on her track, and the king tries to take Grace with him out of the country for safety, does he learn that i t is the only child of the Chancellor, whom the King has ruthlessly despoiled. In the meantime, Becket has also learned of his child's danger, and he places a guard over the castle t i l l he can have her removed to safety. In his last conversation with her, which Hans overhears, we get a glimpse of the contempt he has for the King and his impure court. Hans, acting for the King, attempts that night to kidnap Grace and her nurse, but she dies, struck by an arrow from one of her own father's bowmen. Hans escapes with d i f f i c u l t y and t e l l s the King what has happened. Henry is terribly shocked and grief-stricken, but does not 49. see that he is in any way to blame. Accustomed to the satisfaction of every lust, he has only done, as he sees i t , what he as king had a perfect right to do, and he has hopes even yet of being reconciled again with Becket, and a l l going on as before. To this end he sends Hans with a letter to Becket, whom he finds bowed in grief before Grace's body, which l i e s in state in their private chapel. The description of this chapel, and the mourning father, is very striking, and, through Hans, we get an insight into Becket's real feelings toward the king, which helps to explain his actions later on. This is the climax of the piece, from which, as in a drama the action begins to descend. We feel that things can only go from bad to worse between the King and his Chancellor, after such a happening as this. Yet, strange to say, the Chancellor does not take his revenge at once, as any ordinary man would do. Hans expects i t , and despises him as a supine coward for not taking i t . But Hans does not understand Becket's oriental ideas of kingship. Just as Grace f e l l a victim because her oriental training made i t wrong in her eyes to resist a king, so Becket cannot do anything against the King while he is s t i l l his Chancello However, he withdraws from his duties step by step. He refuses to teach the King's sons any longer, and they at once f a l l to fighting among themselves. He s t i l l busies himself with state a f f a i r s , but his face, to quote Hans, is as i f 'a dead man sat at the table'. On one occasion the two men were talking together under an oak-tree. Becket has warned the King never to give him over to a greater master than himself, for he must perforce serve the greatest. The 50 King jokingly threatens to make him Archbishop of Canterbury, as a diplomatic stroke against the Pope, and Becket flinches, as i f suddenly struck by a new thought. Perhaps i t is then that his idea of revenge is born. When the news of the death of the old Archbishop of Canterbury comes, Becket's conversation with the King is a masterpiece of clever dialogue. Here is what Meyer himself says of i t : "Orientalise!* nachtragend, ich w i l l night sagen rachstlchtig, aber doch (gegen Laster und Gewaltat ) fein-grausam. Er spielt rait dem KBnig von Anfang bis Ende, wie die Katze mit der Maus." 1 Henry at length forces on him the appointment as Archbishop, which he accepts with apparent reluctance, and the conflict begins. Henry has given him over to a greater king than himself, the King of Kings, and now Becket's supreme allegiance is to his new Lord. The different steps in his conversion are portrayed for us with masterly s k i l l . He f i r s t gives up his chancellorship, on which occasion there is a strikingly symbolic episode - the cracking of the great seal of England. Then the beauty-loving pagan, who before did not scorn to accept gifts and honors from a king whom he dispised, now obecomes the self-denying ascetic. It i s not that he was irreligious before, for he had an almost Christian horror of bloodshed and suffering, which was centuries ahead of his dark and bloody age. But in many ways he was more pagan than Christian. He was pleased to hear a text from the Koran quoted over his child's dead body. And that child during her lifetime received no Christian teaching, and no Christian symbols decorated her tomb. 1. Faesi 86. 51. But his suffering changes Becket, not a l l at once hut gradually, t i l l at last he is a truly converted man. He becomes content to let Henry's punishment await the vengeance of God. His own dealings with a treacherous knight, Palconbridge, are meant to symbolize God's dealings with Henry. When the King asks him why he did not unmask the traitor sooner , he says: "0 Herr, wozu? Alles Ding kommt zur Eeife, und jeden e r e i l t zuletzt seine Stunde." He cannot bring himself to love the King, and the sharp-sighted princes know i t . But his hate, i f hate i t can be called, i s not like that of Bertrand de Born. It gradually becomes the hatred of the Christian for the sin rather than for the sinner. But before this state of mind can come, many changes have to take place in the former Chancellor. He gives up a l l his old pomp, and becomes a real bishop, the champion of a l l the poor and oppressed i n his diocese. Formerly the sight of suffering was hateful to him, but now he becomes familiar with i t . His conversation with the crucifix, overheard by Hans, symbolizes this. The image of the suffering Christ had formerly sickened him, but now he can sympathize with Christ's sufferings, for he too has suffered. The grossly materialistic king cannot understand this conversion at a l l , and at f i r s t he thinks i t a l l a joke. Por him "Das hochheilige Evangelienbuch gehflrt auf eine perlengestickte Altardecke und hat nichts zu tun mit dem Weltwesen und der Wirklichkeit der Dinge." 2 But when the Archbishop refuses to become his tool, or to give up any of 1. Der Heilige, 136. 2. Ibid. 166. 52. the rights claimed hy the Church, the King feels himself betrayed and his anger knows no hounds. Becket i 3 banished from England and goes to Prance, where he wanders in poverty from abbey to abbey, while his poor Saxon proteges at home are in despair. Then Henry, prompted by revenge, does a very foolish thing. He has his eldest son crowned by the Archbishop of York, - a direct attack on the prerogative of Becket, who at once retaliates by excommunicating the Archbishop of York. Henry's two eldest sons go to Prance and head a rising against their, father. When Henry hears of i t he becomes so abject in his rage that he disgraces himself before the servants, and his son Eichard and Hans attempt to take matters in their own hands. They both go disguised to Prance to meet Becket and persuade him to a reconciliation with the King. Their meeting and the parting under a p i l l a r of the cloister surmounted by a hideously grinning gargoyle, is most ^skilfully told, and we have here another instance of Meyer's symbolism. Becket agrees to give Henry the kiss of peace, and Henry , when he hears the news, goes with a l l haste to Prance. When Becket is face to face with the King, however, he cannot bring himself to kiss the lip s of the man who has ruined his child. But he conquers his feeling of disgust and says that, i f Henry wi l l grant justice to his oppressed Saxons, and inaugurate the rule of Christ in his kingdom, not only w i l l he give him the kiss of peace, but he w i l l become his chancellor again, and help him to carry out his task. He knows his own powers, for he says: "I am s t i l l the cleverest of mortals'.' But the King's Norman followers are becoming impatient, 53. and he feels that Becket is pressing him too hard. He hursts into a rage and they part as foes, Henry forbidding Becket on pain of death ever to set foot again in England. The ride hack over the gray snowy plain, in which nature seems to harmonize with the misery of humanity, shows Meyer, in one of his most characteristic moods. Here Richard leaves his father, never to see him again, and Henry goes on to Rouen to hear mass and spend Christmas. While at the Christmas f e s t i v i t i e s , word is brought to him that Becket, in spite of his bann, has crossed the Channel, and is once more back in Canterbury. Again the King bursts into a rage, and once more does a very foolish thing. He taunts his knights, who are at the table with him, with eating his bread and letting his enemies triumph over him. Pour of them accept the challenge and at once set off for Canterbury. Hans, when the King has recovered from his rage, insists that for his own reputation he cannot afford to make a martyr out of Becket. The King see3 the force of this and commissions him to go with a l l speed to England, to put the Archbishop under royal protection. Hans gets to Canterbury as soon as the murderers and finds Becket at table in his palace, surrounded by his priests. He offers the Archbishop the King's protection, which he refuses to accept. He seems to welcome the approach of death, Hans thinks, and he taunts Becket openly with the fact that he.wants to become a martyr, so that the King's soul might be lost. The way in which he turns against Hans seems to justify the reproach in part at least, and Hans says: "Ich war betrtlbt und mehr noch ergrimmt, dasz Herr Thomas, der 54. "bis heute sfiuberlich mit mir gefahren war, im Augenblieke da sein Innerstes offenbar wurde, mir so bOse und ehrruhrige Namen gab." ^ Then the bell rings for service in the Cathedral, and they a l l go in, stopping before the high altar. They trust to the sanctity of the place for their defence, but the murderers are restrained by no law of sanctuary, and Becket is foully murdered and his band scattered, in spite of the fact that Hans tries in vain to defend him. After the murder of the Archbishop, the story is virtually ended. The King scourges himself before Becket's tomb, but even this does not appease his wounded s p i r i t , for just then the news comes of the defection of the King's favorite, Hichard, and we are told that "Herr Thomas auf seinem Grabsteine lHchelte." Soon Becket becomes venerated as a saint, and his r e l i c s perform miraculous cures. Finally Hans decides that i t w i l l be better o both for the King and himself, for him to leave the King's service. In London, he v i s i t s Hilda again, and finding her very i l l he tries to cure her with his handkerchief dipped in Becket's blood, but the touch only causes her to die suddenly. According to Hans, the 2 Archbishop is revengeful even in death. Then Hans goes back to his old home on the Rhine, marries and settles down and becomes a respected citizen, carrying on his old trade as a bowman. He has almost forgotten his old l i f e , t i l l a chance 1. Der Heilige, 224. 2. It is interesting in this connection to read in the papers recently that the soul of Becket is reported to have visited h i 3 old room in the Tower of London, and to have destroyed a radio-set which was installed there. It seems as i f Hans estimate of him might be right, after a l l . 55 meeting with Rollo, the Zing's former armorer, brings him news of the King's death. His heart was broken by his sons*, successful rebellion, and he died without the rites of the Church. According to Catholic teaching his soul was lo s t . The sudden barking of Tapp, Hans' poodle, heralds the arrival of company, and Hans starts up to go, but the old Canon insists on his staying overnight. The story has so excited him that he is afraid of bad dreams, so to quiet him, Hans stays. Thus the framework rounds the story out. The whole is so s k i l f u l l y told that i t is hard to believe i t a mere work of the imagination. It i s pleasant to learn that the tale was received with approbation by Meyer's countrymen, and for i t he received in 1880 the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy, conferred on him by the University of Zurich, his native City. (5) PLAUTUS m U0NNENKL0STER, 1881. Like DER SCHUSZ VON DER KANZEL this story is in a comic vein. As, after the completion of a heavy work like the Jenatsch, the author seemed to relax by publishing a comedy, so now, after the almost equally heavy HElLlGE f he gives us this work in a lighter, vein. Like DER SCHUSZ VON DER KANZEL, i t , too, has a paradoxical t i t l e . Who would expect to hear a shot fired from a pulpit, or find a copy of an author like Plautus in a nunnery. The comic in this story has, though, a strain of bitterness in i t which is absent from the other. It is also a 'Rahmenerzahlung'. 56. Poggio, a cultured gentleman of the time of the Italian Renaissance, t e l l s the story to a group of his friends, gathered round the table of the celebrated Cosimo di Medici i n Florence. As he relates in a half-comical, half-bitter vein, -, his story of the finding of an old manuscript of the Roman poet Plautus, in a nunnery many years before, he paints his own character at the same time, and, when contrasted with the character of Gertrude, the novice, the peasant heroine of the story, he does not stand the comparison well. He is now the .Secretary of the Florentine Republic, but was formerly secretary to five popes. As a high o f f i c i a l of the Catholic church, he has been appointed as delegate to the Council of Constance in Switzerland, where he takes a leading part in the election of a new pope. Yet in spite of that he is a real MRenaissanzmenschM, an out and out free-thinker, who makes sport of religion. We feel that i t is probably his own fault, i f his sons have caused him trouble. With such a father how could they be anything but selfish? Poggio, however, hides his pain under a smiling mask and is the l i f e of the company. Someone mentions jokingly his 'Fazetia'.a comic work which he has written, and suggests that he must have even better stories untold, than are found in that book, so he agrees to give the company one of these 'Fazetia inedita* as he c a l l s i t . There are really two stories bound up together, the tale of the finding of the manuscript, and the story of Gertrude, the novice, a fine example of German loyalty. The subject of conscience in a l l i t s different manifestations was always a favorite one with Meyer, and this story is one of a number in which 57. the subject is treated. Like other cultured gentlemen of the Renaissance, Poggio was always on the look out for copies of ancient manuscripts, and i n Constance he has got wind of a very ancient and valuable copy of the Latin comic author, Plautus, which is to be found in a nunnery near by. He has talked too much, though, and someone has given the abbess a hint as to the value of her treasure, so he knows that without a ruse of some kind i t w i l l be d i f f i c u l t to get her to part with i t . However, in spite of the impending papal election in Constance, he hires a mule and sets out to v i s i t the convent, in the hope of getting even a look at the manuscript. On the way he notices the sad face of his Swiss mule-driver, Hans, and being really rather kind-hearted when i t does not inter-fere too much with his pleasures, he soon learns that Gertrude, the man's fiancee, is to take the v e i l the very next day. Hans is at a loss to understand why she should take such a step, for he is sure that Gertrude loves him, and would rather marry him than, become a nun. He is planning to be present when she takes her vows, and bid her farewell. Soon they reach the convent and find a crowd gathered in front of i t , around a huge cross, which the strongest of them can l i f t only with d i f f i c u l t y , and, after carrying i t a few steps, they a l l f a l l under i t s weight. Yet, the next day Gertrude is to carry that same cross, alone and unaided, for the Holy Virgin w i l l help her. For cen-turies this has been part of the ceremony when a nun took the v e i l , and never once has the Holy Virgin failed to do her part. Poggio, the free-thinker, suspects a hoax, especially after he has seen the old abbess. 58. Meyer has made of her the chief comic figure of the piece. She dances around like a witch, and acts as i f she had taken too much of the wine which is flowing rather freely. She dares Poggio to come and l i f t the cross, hut he excuses himself, and goes into the church. There his attention is attracted hy a wonderful l i f e - s i z e picture of a woman bending under the weight of the same heavy cross, and the Virgin helping her to carry i t . Before the picture a weeping young g i r l i s kneeling, whom Poggio at once takes to be Gertrude. He engages her in conversation and finds that he is right. Poggio mentions that he has met Hans, her lover, and she admits that she s t i l l loves him, and would rather marry him than become a nun, but when she wa3 a child her mother had taken i l l , and she had then made a vow that i f the Holy Virgin would let her mother recover, she would take the v e i l when she had reached the age of twenty years. Her mother recovered and had lived t i l l only a few months before. Then she had met Hans, and she wanted nothing better in l i f e than to become his wife. But this was her twentieth year, and she must keep her vow, though she could not help hoping that the Holy Virgin would not insist on her keeping to the letter a vow made when she was a child, and before she knew 'what man and wife meant.' Her only hope was that she would be too weak to carry the cross on the morrow. She would look on that as a sign that the Virgin had released her from her vow, but i t was/rather vain hope , for never yet had the Virgin failed to do her part. Poggio suggested that she should stumble purposely under the cross, but she became indignant. 59. "Handel i s t Handel. Ohne Treue und Glauben kann die Welt nicht bestehen." Then she turned her back on him and went away. In spite of her rather barbarous dialect and peasant costume, her beauty and personality made such an impression on Poggio, that he determined to play the role of match-maker, just as the General had done, in PER SCHUSZ VON DER KANZEL. He suspected a dummy cross, made of cork, or some~.light wood, and he looked around to see where such a thing might be hidden. Near the mark on the church wall which showed where the heavy cross habitually stood there was a door, but i t was locked. Probably the dummy was in there. On the other side of the chancel was a door which led to the library. He went in and began to r rummage around among the books and manuscripts, trying to find the PLAUTUS. He did not find i t , but found another that looked interesting and put i t in his pocket. Just then the abbess came in like a whirlwind and took the book from his pocket, scolding him roundly for a thief. She said she knew what he was after, but ever since she had heard he was in her neighborhood, she had slept with the- 'Podex*,as she called i t , under her pillow, so there would be no chance of his stealing i t . He found he would have to try a ruse, so he pretended to have been sent by the Council of Constance to reform abuses in the Church and to investigate miracles and wonder-working r e l i c s . He was going to investigate her cross, and i f i t was a hoax, then she would burn at the stake. She turned pale, but defied him t i l l he demanded the key of 60. the locked door on the other side of the Chancel. She pretended i t was lost, hut produced i t when he threatened to have the door broken open. When the door was opened, there, sure enough, was the dummy cross, exactly like the other hut ten times as li g h t . The abbess then offered to let him have the Plautus, i f , only for this once, he would say nothing, and let the performance tomorrow go on as usual, and he, in his eagerness to get the manuscript, consented. When he got i t , he brought i t with him to his room, near by, where he at once became so happily engrossed that he completely forgot poor Gertrude. Finally he f e l l asleep, but towards morning he awoke with a sudden start, for he seemed to hear some one groaning. It was Gertrude who, according to custom before taking the v e i l , had spent the night in the Church praying before the High Altar. Poggio got up, went into the church, and found her in great distress before the picture, begging the Virgin not to insist on her vow. She cried: "Was mir taugt i s t Sonne und Wolke, Sichel und Senze, Mann und Kind." At the sight of such distress Poggio*s conscience would not let him remain id l e . He had promised the abbess not to reveal the secret to Gertrude, so, muttering a prayer: "An jene freundliche GBttin, welche die Alten als Pallas Athene, und wir Maria nennen," the old pagan strode up to the cross, and gave i t a good plain mark with his dagger. Then he told the story of a porter, who had l i f t e d an empty trunk with the same gestures as i f i t weighed a ton. He concluded with a cryptic remark, which sounded like "The truth inside, the l i e 61. outside". Turning to Gertrude, he saw hy the scorn on her face that she understood what he meant. Whereupon he went off to bed again. In the morning the church is crowded to the doors, and Gertrude, pale as death, appears, dressed for the ceremony, and wearing a real crown of thorns, which in her zeal she has pulled down over her face t i l l the blood flows. The dummy cross is brought to her, borne by six nuns who apparently stagger under i t s weight. She takes i t , looks for the mark of Poggio's dagger, and not finding i t , she casts the cross from her t i l l i t breaks in pieces. Then she marches into the l i t t l e side room, takes the real cross on her shoulders, and staggers out with i t again before the great crowd of people. It is too heavy for her, though she tries bravely to carry i t , and 'Tceine GDttin erleichterte es ihr." Her arm cracks, and she stumbles and f a l l s unconscious to the floor, with the heavy cross on top of her. But i t i s with a face beaming with joy that Gertrude awakens from her swoon, for now she knows that the Virgin does not desire her sacrifice. She calls out to her lover, Hans, who is s i t t i n g i n the audience. He comes forward joyfully to greet her, and they go away to-gether to be married. But now that she has gone back into ordinary l i f e , she has lost a l l interest for Poggio. Just then a post from Constance brings him the news of the election of his favorite candidate as pope, and, to s t i l l the rage of the people which has been gathering against the abbess, he orders them to sing a Te Deum in honor of the new pope. They a l l leave the church, and he hurries back to his room to get his Plautus. On the way he meets the 62. abbess, who shakes her f i s t at him in a rage. On the way back to Italy, Poggio later v i s i t s Hans and Gertrude, and finds her now, a happy wife with a baby at her breast. The story ends with Poggio presenting the Plautus to his friend and patron, Cosimo di Medici, and thus ends this, the shortest of a l l Meyer'3 novellen. While not among his great works, yet i t is pleasingly written, andl the character of Poggio i n particular is very well done. He paints for us his own picture as he talks, and at length stands out be-fore us, a true man of the Renaissance period, with i t s love of art and beauty, and at the same time i t s lack of morality or conscience. He i s a great contrast to the simple peasant, Gertrude, with her fortitude and her keen sense of loyalty and honour. Maync says i t illustrates that " ehrlichen Pond in der deutschen Volknatur, ohne welche die Reformation eine UnmOglichkeit gewesen we're." ^ Some of Meyer's Puritan friends reproached him for treating religion in a frivolous manner, thereby identifying the author with ths character of Poggio. They did not catch i t s note of bitterness, for the whole tale was meant to be a scathing indictment of the Catholic church of that time. (6) GUSTAV ADOLPS PAGE. 1882. Like JURG JENATSCH, this story has the thirty years' war 1. Maync, 191. 63 as i t s historical background. It is by no means one of Meyer's greatest works, as i t has several inconsistencies which we shall point out later. These are probably due to the fact that the author wrote the story rather hurriedly. It was his habit to take years of thought and planning before putting pen to paper, and this i s one reason why his stories are usually so a r t i s t i c a l l y and hist o r i c a l l y correct, and so completely satisfying. The author himself was not quite content with this production, although, as we shall see, i t contains many of his most marked characteristics. The motive, - that of a g i r l disguising herself as a boy, in order, unknown to him, to be near to, and to serve the man she loves,-is by no means new. Shakespeare has used i t in AS YOU LIKE IT, and jlfeinrich Laube wrote, in 1843, a tragedy entitled GUSTAV ADOLF, in which he made his page.a g i r l . However, i t is probable that Meyer never read the latter, as he prides himself on this idea being an invention of his own. He claimed to have got the idea from Goethe's EGMONT, where KlHrchen says: "Wfire ich nur ein Bube, und kflnnte immer mit ihm gehen." He speaks as follows: "Ich las Goethes Egmont und vertiefte mich in den Gedanken: Es lohne wohl, ein Weib zu zeichnen, das, ohne Hingabe, -ja ohne dasz der Held nur eine Ahnung von ihrem Geschlecht hat, einem hohen Helden in verschwiegener Liebe folgt, und fur ihn in den Tod geht. Der Held muszte f r e i l i c h sehr kurzsichtig sein, urn night zu erkennen, dasz sein Freund ein Weib i s t . Gustav Adolf war hochgradig kurzsichtig. Ich machte seinen Pagen, Leubelfing, zu einem MHdchen." 1 The setting of the story i s Nftrnberg, and the time just before the battle of Ltltzen, during which Gustavus Adolphus lost his l i f e . 1. Maync, 202. 64. The story opens in a magnificent room in a large, newly-built house near the city wall, with the merchant price Leuhelfing and his son sitting balancing their hooks for the year, and waiting with breathless interest to see what their profits are going to be. Just then a cornet of horse is introduced, bearing a letter from no other than King Gustavus himself. Leubelfing, as an important citizen of Kflrnberg, has entertained the king at a banquet a short time before, and he now feels himself highly honored at receiving such a personal letter, u n t i l he opens i t . His consternation shows on his face, and the son asks what is wrong. It seems that, at the banquet, in drinking to the health of their guest, some one in the audience had called out, "Long live Gustavus Adolphus, the future king of Germany". The father, who had drunk too much wine, thought to flat t e r his guest by saying that i t was his son who had said these words, and that the son's highest ambition was to serve the king as page. At the time there seemed not the remotest possibility of such a thing happening, but here is a letter from the king, stating that his two former pages have been k i l l e d in battle, and offering the position to Leubelfing's son. The son groans and the sweat stands out on his forehead as he looks up at the magnificent ceiling of their room, on which Meyer, with characteristic symbolism, has described a painting of Abraham offering up his son Isaac. He feels as i f his father is sacrificing him too. He realizes that he must go, or the family w i l l be disgraced forever and he wi l l be branded as a coward, but he is willing to snatch at any straw to escape. Just then the heroine, Gustel, enters to- c a l l them to supper. 65. The author has made the story probable by making her as much like a boy as possible. She has short hair, a deep alto voice, and rather hoydenish manners. As a child she had grown up with her father in the army, and she is more at home in the saddle, and wearing a man's clothes than in her own. Now her parents are both dead and she has come to live here in Mrnberg with her uncle. Her favorite uniform is that worn by her father when he was k i l l e d in battle. A l l her l i f e Gustavus Adolphus has been her hero, whom she has openly worshipped. Coming into the room, she sees their depression, and when told about the letter and i t s cause, she admits having hailed Adolphus as king of Germany, for she had been at the banquet disguised in her father's clothes. Her cowardly cousin says she ought to go in his place for having got him into such trouble, and the idea pleases her at once. It seems like the hand of fate, which is bringing her to her hero. She hasn't much time to think, for. just then the cornet of horse is announced who is to take the page back with him. Urged by her uncle and cousin, she hurries off to get into her father's uniform, and the two go away together. In spite of her boyish appearance, which the author takes pains to emphasize, she is s t i l l a modest g i r l , and w i l l not allow the cornet to take any l i b e r t i e s , though he has not the slightest idea that she is not a boy. Once with the king her troubles begin; for while near him she tastes the highest joy, yet one thing after another happens to disturb her peace. The f i r s t day she sees a g i r l who has been disguised as a boy whipped out of the camp in disgrace. Though she 66 cannot help l i k i n g the queen, who is very kind to her, yet she is intensely jealous of her. Then, too, she cannot he with Gustavus Adolphus long before learning his attitude toward deceit, and trickery. This is shown by an incident of a Jesuit tutor who had attempted to proselytize the young daughter of the king, and here Ifeyer's protestantism and his hatred of the Jesuits is again revealed. The only time Gustel is really happy is when she is riding to battle beside her hero and facing death with him. Por 'courte et bonne' i s her motto. Por her the highest happiness - one supreme moment of ecstasy - and then death, swift and sudden. She knows that her days with the king are numbered. Her unmasking may come at any moment. The incident of Corinne shows her this. Corinne is the mistress of Count Launbergj who, a short time before, had married a friend of the queen, and then l e f t her on their wedding-day for the beautiful Corinne. The queen has made a complaint to the king, on her friend's behalf, and the king orders Corinne to be brought before him. The king is out when she arrives and the page receives her. She soon realizes that the page is a g i r l , and accuses Gustel of being even more shameless than herself, for, she says,"I have never stooped to the disgrace of wearing men's clothes." Gustel, in an agony of fear, confesses that the king knows nothing about her sex, and that she is there because she loves him. Corinne appreciates this motive, for she, too, loves Launberg, and declares that the king cannot force her to give him up. Just then the king comes in. He tries to show Corinne what a sinful l i f e she is leading, and threatens to send her home to her 67 father. She says her father would k i l l her i f she went home, so the king says he w i l l send her to Sweden to a Protestant Reformatory, where she w i l l he properly taught. Corinne realizes that this means she w i l l have to hecome a heretic, a dreadful thing to one who has always heen so str i c t in following the rites of the church. Here Meyer's Protestantism is again in evidence, in making Corinne, in spite of her way of l i v i n g , a good orthodox Catholic. In the meantime the page is in agony, for she fears that Corinne w i l l take her revenge on the king by t e l l i n g him a l l . Instead, however, the poor creature cuts her throat,and is carried out of the room dead. The whole episode shows Gu3tel how easy and horrible an unmasking would be for her, and she thinks of running away, but, - one more evening with the king, who runs his hand through her curly hair, and laughingly rebukes her sharp replies, - and she has to stay. The king has not the slightest idea that his pleasure in the page's company is due to her sex. It is interesting to see how the author has avoided the eroticism which seems almost inevitable in a story with such a motive, but there is hardly a trace of i t . It is interesting, also, to note how cleverly Meyer has described the l i f e in Adolphus' camp, and to compare i t with Schiller's description of Wallenstein's camp, as shown in the LAGER. Among the common soldiers there is a strong religious enthusiam;., and an ardent Protestantism, also a great admiration for their hero, Adolphus. They are no ordinary soldiers of fortune, like Wallenstein's men. Instead of the drinking songs of Schiller's play, these soldiers go around chanting 68. hymns, such as the famous swan-song of Gustavus Adolphus, "Verzage nicht, du HSuflein klein" . This song can he found in most English and American hymn-hooks, in Miss Winkworth's translation, as "Pear not, 0 ye l i t t l e flock". Thus does the author succeed in giving us local color. In strong contrast i s the conduct of the German nobles. They are disloyal and rebellious, and ready to rob even their own people. The king's speech, in which he scolds them roundly for a band of thievish marauders, is taken almost word, for word from Meyer's source. And i t makes an impression upon them, too, that i s , upon a l l except Count Launberg. The king has made an enemy of him, and is to suffer through him later on. Meyer has been c r i t i c i s e d for making a great man like Adolphus merely a subordinate character in the story, but I think the criticism i s hardly jus t i f i e d , for he is an entirely sympathetic character, fu l l y worthy of the page's admiration and love, and the fact that he is subordinate does not strike us as a fault. Por Meyer, he is the great Protestant hero, almost as completely without flaw as Duke Bohan. And as such, he is intended to contrast with ?/allenstein, in the episode where the two are brought together. After reading Schiller'3 play i t must be admitted that Meyer's Wallenstein is a l i t t l e disappointing, but of course we only see him on this one occasion, and no doubt the atmosphere of superstition with which he is surrounded is quite historic. It i s ftut also brought in^/Schiller's play. He advances the plot by warning Adolphus of treachery, and the poor page gets the blame, because Launberg's voice sounds like hers, and because the same glove f i t s both. 69. The story of Launberg's talking in his sleep and revealing a l l his treachery to Wallenstein seems just a l i t t l e incredible, though Wallenstein mentions the same thing as having happened to Coligny. Then the poor page, when she sees herself suspected of treachery, runs away, just at the moment when she knows that the king is in the greatest danger, which does not seem exactly like Gustel. She does not leave the army, however, for she meets her father's old Colonel, Ake Tott. He is her godfather, and has known her from a child. He recognizes her and takes her to his tent, where, much to her disgust, she meets his batman, Jacob .Erichson, who is really a woman. The good soul, to keep her family from starving, has taken her dead husband's place, and his clothes. This is" just another example of Meyer's fondness for repeating the 'Leitmotiv' of his story again and again with variations. The incident in which the Naumberg citizens meet the king and f a l l down before him as i f he were a god, is quite historic, and i t reminds one of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. And, like Christ, the king accepts i t as an omen of the near approach of death, and so does Gustel, who has seen i t from a distance. She can stand i t no longer, and breaking her word to her godfather, she hurries back to her old place with the king, who accepts her presence without surprise or comment. In truth, his mind is occupied with other things, for i t is the evening before Ltttzen, and he has the affairs of the battle to arrange. The scene in which he addresses his soldiers before the battle i s most touching. Then Launberg comes in and, like the prodigal son, kneels 70. before the king, begging his forgiveness, which he grants, and they both ride together into the battle, followed by the page. The battle i t s e l f is not described. The last scene is in the parsonage of a nearby village. The parson's conversation with his housekeeper, Ida, seems hardly necessary to the development of the story, though i t may have been i n -tended to give us an idea of the Protestantism of the time. The door is suddenly opened by the page, bearing the dead body of the king, and herself covered with blood. She lay3 the body on a couch and attempts to wash off the wounds, but f a l l s in a faint. She is borne to a couch and they discover a mortal wound in the chest. It is only when examining the wound that they find out the page is a g i r l . For some un-explained reason, we find the same cornet of horse there as at the beginning of the story, also Gustel's cowardly cousin, and her godfather, Ake Tott. It is almost a mannerism of Meyer's to have the same characters appear at the end, as at the beginning of a story, and thus give symmetry to i t . In this case, however, i t seems rather improbable to have these people a l l turn up just here. The page, with her last gasp, attempts to stammer out something about 'Launberg' and 'treachery', but dies in the midst of i t , her last glance being directed to her beloved king's face. Her cousin thinks that, now she is dead, he w i l l be able to resume his own name again, but they a l l agree that this must not be. For the sake of the dead king's reputation, the page must be buried as a boy, and they must a l l keep silent about her sex, a silence as deep and profound as that in 71. DER SCHUSZ VON DER KANZEL. The bodies are removed to the church, where the page l i e s in state at her beloved king's feet, and the sun which has succeeded the fog of the day of battle, shine3 on the king and spares a glance for the page's happy face. 'Courte et bonne' has been her l i f e , and she has got her wish, to die beside her hero. The story has several weak spots, as we have seen, but in spite of them there is something gripping about i t . Gustel is almost as attractive a character as Georg, the page in Goethe's GOETZ VON BERLICHINGEN, and, as a psychological study, the character of Gustavus himself is extremely well done. The story f i r s t appeared as PAGE LEUBELFING in DIE DEUTSCHE RUNDSCHAU of 1882, and shortly after i t appeared in book-form, under i t s present t i t l e . (7) DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEN,1883. From the stir r i n g times of the thirty years' war, we come now to the period of the sun-king, Louis XIV. This comes nearest to the modern age of any of Meyer's stories, the time being the latter part of Louis' reign, when Madame de Maintenon was his favorite, and when he had begun to come under the influence of the Jesuits. As in the previous story, the Protestant Meyer's hatred of the Society of Jesus i s very much in evidence. The story is based on a few lines from the 'M^moires' of Saint-Simon, which Meyer had read with peculiar interest. 72 The story of the unhappy youth, Julian Boufflers, who was done to death by the Jesuits, i s the most autobiographical of a l l Meyer's works, and for that reason i t is one of the most touching, for in i t he puts a l l the sufferings of his own frustrated and unhappy youth. He, too, was an 'ungifted' scholar, and suffered a l l the humiliations from his teachers and fellow-pupils,which he describes so sympathetically in DIB LEIDEN EINES KNABEN. In the story, too, we have many other things which were characteristics of the boy, Meyer, such as his love for dogs, his s k i l l in fencing, and his talent for drawing. It i s another 'RahmenerzHhlung*, the story being put into the mouth of Pagon, the king's physician, an eccentric but kind-hearted old man. Like Hans the Bowman, and Poggio, he paints his own character as he t e l l s the tale, and story and framework are so intimately bound up together that at times i t becomes almost a dialogue between him and the king, with Madame de Maintenon occasionally joining in. He takes a great deal of liberty in addressing the king, more than seems quite allowable, from what we know of the historic Louis XIV. For example, he occasionally addresses the king with 'du'. The whole story forms a sort of treatise on the proper education of children, and the ideas are so modern, that i t seems almost an anachronism to put them in the mouth of a character of the seventeenth century. It is one of the author's most l i f e - l i k e and charming creations, and contains on almost every page, l i t t l e touches which make the characters and the period stand out before our eyes. When the story opens, i t is late in the afternoon, and the 73. king has just come to pay his accustomed daily v i s i t to his favorite, Mme de Maintenon . She is really his wife, and Meyer calls her so, though their union, owing to the jealousy of the Jesuits, has been sanctified by no marriage ceremony. The description of this clever tactful woman and of the sun-king himself is hist o r i c a l l y accurate, even to such a characteristic touch as his opening of the window and Mme de Maintenon's shivering as the cold air blows into the room. During their conversation, we learn that the king's con-fessor has just died, and that he has appointed Father T e l l i e r , the head of a famous Jesuit boys' school in Paris, to be his successor. The king is quite vexed at Fagon, his physician, who was standing in the room when the Jesuit was explaining his peasant origin. Fagon, under his breath, but overheard by the king, had called the Jesuit a name, which the king would not repeat, 'for he never allowed a coarse expression to so i l his l i p s . ' He t e l l s .,Mme de Maintenon, however, that Fagon is counting too much on being indispensable, and i s taking too great l i b e r t i e s , but, just then Fagon, who has heard the latter part of this speech, limps into the room on his crutch, and attempts to justify his conduct. Fagon explained his remark as having been prompted by disgust because the king had appointed Father Te l l i e r to be his confessor, and called the man a murderer,who had done to death one of his own pupils, Julian Boufflers. The king remembered this youth, a handsome well set-up young fellow, who had been presented to him by his father some time ago, but the boy was shy and stuttered, so the king had dismissed him rather summarily. Mme de Maintenon, who had been a friend of his mother, 74. noticing his humiliation, had befriended him, and found him, while not exactly clever, yet with most pleasing manners. But her friendship had caused the jealousy of Saint-Simon, "das lauschende Ohr, das spMhende Auge, das uns a l l e beobachtet, und die getibte Hand, die niachtlicherweile hinter verriegelten Turen von uns alien leidenschaftlichen Zerrbilder aus das Papier wirft." This is an exact characterization of Saint-Simon, though i t is doubtful i f Mme de Maintenon or anyone else knew so much about him at that time. Saint-Simon had then given to young Julian Boufflers the nickname of 'le bei id i o t ' , which had stuck to him, to his infinite humiliation. This is an invention of Meyer's and is not found in Saint-Simon. The king, however, refused to believe that young Boufflers had been murdered. His own father had told him that the boy had died from brain fever, brought on by too much study, in the effort to keep up with his classes. Fagon, however, insists that he is right, and goes on to explain. He begins by describing a performance of Moliere's MALAJDE IMAGIHAIBE at which he had been present. Those who have read the play w i l l remember the passage where Diaforus, with the p a r t i a l i t y of a fond parent, praises his stupid son, who could never learn anything. Under Moliere's s k i l f u l sarcasm, the passage i s most comical, but Fagon saw a beautiful lady there wiping away a tear, and he knew that she, too, was the parent of an 'ungifted' son. The lady was Julian's mother, the f i r s t wife of Marshall Boufflers. Both the king and Mme de Maintenon remembered her beauty, and Fagon had loved her, as he had loved no other women, though she, too, had not been clever. 75. Soon afterwards she became i l l , and Fagon attended her as physician. Before she died she made him promise to befriend her poor young son, and to guard him from the humiliations that were bound to come to him when he mingled at school with cleverer boys. For his father was so occupied with his work in the king's armies, that he had no time to look after his son. And besides the father simply could not believe that a son of his could not be clever enough to cut a good figure in the world. The poor boy was bound to suffer, for the great danger was that he would over-exert himself trying to please his father, whom he blindly loved. A year after her death, her husband had married again, and a school must now be found for Julian. At that time, in Paris, the best schools were conducted by the Jesuits, and to the one under Father T e l l i e r Julian was 3ent. At f i r s t a l l \?ent well. The fathers, knowing that Julian's father stood high in the king's service, exerted themselves to make things pleasant for him. His studies were made as easy as possible and he seemed quite happy. Suddenly, however, a l l had changed. Marshall Boufflers had found Father T e l l i e r engaged in some villany, and he refused to hand over to them his evidence. With the threat of exposure hanging over their heads, they could do nothing with the Marshall himself, so took their revenge on the innocent Julian. His l i f e was made miserable for him with d i f f i c u l t lessons which he could not learn, and with being placed in classes with small boys, much younger than himself. His health began to suffer, and the Jansenist, Fagon, who knew the Jesuits, and who hated them, even as Pascal did, wanted Julian removed from the school. It is easy to see 76. how Meyer's reading of the LETTRES PROVINCIALES has influenced this work. The father, however, would not hear of having Julian removed, and the poor hoy continued to suffer. And yet he had occasional days of sunshine, too. Fagon's description of his day spent with Mouton, the great animal painter of the time, is touching and interesting. Mouton is a dissipated, unconventional figure, a sort of half-man, as Meyer calls him, hut he can paint animals, and he loves his poodle, Mouton II, as does also Julian, and the death of the poodle soon "brings on the death of his master. But on this one day, they are a l l perfectly happy. Mouton is teaching Julian to draw, and the poor hoy's delight in finding something he can do well is most touching. His drawing's of animals show real talent, and a s p i r i t that is absent even from Mouton's. Through this talent for drawing the author prepares the way very s k i l f u l l y for the catastrophe soon to come. One day on going through the park, they come upon a caged wolf, which Julian cannot bear to look upon, because the expression on i t s face reminds him of Father T e l l i e r , who among his pupils went by the name of "The Wolf, - a good example of the symbolic touches frequently intro-duced by the author. Then Mouton talks of taking Julian away to the south of France with him to the castle of the Grignan3, for he has been commissioned by Madame de Sevigne to paint some pictures for the governor there, her son-in-law. Thus in numerous ways does the author give us the interesting background of the time. Julian's l i t t l e blue sweetheart, Mirabella, is another example of a child who suffers from a wrong system of education, and their 77. common suffering from the ridicule of their mates brings them together. She has been brought up in the Provinces, where preciosity is s t i l l in vogue, and she cannot break herself of their manner of speaking, even though i t brings her ridicule in Paris, where i t is no longer the fashion. Such a point is a typical Meyer touch. Moliere's LES PRECIEUSES RIDICULES has had i t s effect on the latter years of Louis XIVs reign. Julian in spite of his backwardness has eventually become rather a favorite with his school-mates, and an object of envy to some of them, for at shooting, fencing and riding, he wins the respect even of his masters. The story of his chum, Guntram, whose highest ambition was to follow the king's armies to battle, but who was too near-sighted to shoot straight, i s very touching. "Ein htlbscher Gott," hohnlachte er, und zeigte dem Himmel die Faust", der mir Eriegslust und Blindheit, und dir einen K6*rper ohne Geist gegeben hat," Julian's highest ambition, too, is to follow his father into battle, and he envies one of his chums, who has died fighting for his king. If he has any grievance against his father, i t is that his father has let this other boy go with him to fight, while he leaves Julian at school, s i t t i n g at his desk among the smaller boys. And then, rather suddenly comes the fi n a l catastrophe. At school one day, when the masters are out of the room, the boys who know his s k i l l , coax Julian to draw a picture on the blackboard. Julian, busy with his lessons , at f i r s t refuses, but is at length per-suaded to draw a bee, which.he labels, 'abeille', but is persuaded to change i t to 'bete a. miel', or 'stupid Amiel'. He does not realize that 78 this i s intended as a rather poor pun on the name of one of his teachers. Father Amiel, a kind-hearted old fellow, whose enormously large nose, like that of Cyrano de Bergerac, has made him a marked man. In spite of his vanity, he is a pleasing old fellow, and the hoys like him, though they tease him unmercifully about his long nose. Like Boccard in the Amulet, and Father Pankrazi i n the Jenatsch, this i s another example of a Catholic character whom Meyer has made most attractive. When Father Amiel comes in and sees the picture, the noise made by the boys attracts the attention of Father T e l l i e r , who has been listening at the door. He rushes in and in a rage calls for the boy who made the drawing. Of course Julian has to confess that he did i t , and though his chum, young Argenson, tries to take a l l the blame, yet Julian i s called up and brutally whipped by T e l l i e r , i n front of the class. This humiliation is too much for the boy. His body, a l -ready weakened by overstudy, cannot stand the strain of the public dis-grace, for though a boy in years he has the soul of a man, and of a nobleman at that. He becomes seriously i l l , and Fagon is sent for to v take him home. But even when at home, he cannot rest, for his father insists on his appearance at dinner, where he has to li s t e n to a long conversation on corporal punishment in the army. The subject is argued pro and con, and even Mirabelle gives i t as her opinion that a soldier who has been so disgraced can no longer continue to l i v e , Julian takes that decision as his death-warrant. He i s put to bed by Fagon, and in a short time is delirious. Young Argenson enlists the aid of his father, and the two 79. go to T e l l i e r , in an effort to get him to apologize to Julian for the i n -justice done him, and thus save his l i f e . That, they t e l l him, is what their great example, the Nazarene, would have done. But T e l l i e r refuses to apologize to a school-hoy, least of a l l to a son of the hated Marshall Boufflers. He screams in his rage: "What have I to do with the Nazarene?" Even Father Amiel stands up to him and t e l l s him he is wrong, a hold thing for the trembling old man to do, for 'The Wolf has his subordinates thoroughly cowed. Then Fagon in despair t e l l s the whole truth to the father, and blames him for his boy's il l n e s s . The father sees his error, and, wiping away a tear, he says, "At least I w i l l see that he dies happy." He goes to the boy's room and speaks to him. "Julian", he says , "you are to leave that school at once, and join the army with me." The boy, though he has been unconscious for days, seems to hear and understand. His eyes shine. In imagination he is already at the head of the l i n e , leading his troops to victory. But death comes, and with a 'Vive le r o i ' on his l i p s , he f a l l s back as i f a bullet had struck him. In imagination, at least, he has met the glorious death i n battle, which the Page Leubelfing had met in reality. But i f Fagon had hoped to influence the king against T e l l i e r , he soon saw his mistake. The king's prejudices were too strong. "Armes Kind" was a l l he said, and got up to go. The sorrows of the poor Julian Boufflers had only served to entertain,for an idle hour, a king and his mistress. 80. (8) DIE HOCHZEIT DES M0NCHES,1884. Yea, thou shalt learn how salt his food who fares Upon another's "bread, - how steep his path Who treadeth up and down another's stairs. Dante's Div. Com. Para. XVII. In this story, the last in which Meyer employs the Rahmenerza*hlung, we have the technique of this art of story-telling carried to i t s highest point. It is doubtful i f , in a l l literature, we can find a better example of this particular genre than here. As in the PLAUTUS IM NONNENKLOSTER, the author chooses a period with which he was to occupy himself very much from now on, the Italian Renaissance. The narrator is the great poet Dante himself. It is a bold thing for any author to do, to bring another author back to earth again, as i t were, and put words in his mouth. Especially is this the case with such a great poet as Dante, but none the less, Meyer has here succeeded admirably. The story which Dante t e l l s , or rather improvises, is quite worthy of such an author, though he him-self, rather than the monk, Astorre, is the real hero. Dante has been banished by his fellow-countrymen from Florence, his native city, and has accepted the hospitality of Can Grande della Scala at Verona. Like most poets, he is temperamental, and we can see that he must have been a rather d i f f i c u l t guest sometimes, but he could scarcely have helped realizing that he was not being generously treated. He was housed in an attic reached by steep stairs, and often neglected by the servants. Can Grande himself, a typical pleasure-loving 81. gentleman of the Renaissance, i f history t e l l s us truly, does not always seem to have heen as hospitable to his guest as he might have been, and perhaps Dante's words from the Paradiso, quoted above, may have been inspired by him. When the story opens, i t is a dark cold evening in November, and Can Grande, his wife, Diana, his lady friend, Antiope, and several other guests are gathered around the great open fire-place, t e l l i n g stories. The door opens, and the dark and rather forbidding face of Dante appears. He has come there really to warm himself, for the servants have neglected to put a f i r e in his room. Place is made for him beside the f i r e , and he is asked to take his part in the story-telling, the subject being sudden change of occupation, with results good, bad or laughable, as the case may be. Dante is quite willing, and says his story w i l l be about a monk, who was quite happy in his calling, but who has been forced by circumstances, by motives of the highest piety, indeed, to put off his monk's garb, and become a worldling. He got the idea of his story from an inscription on a tomb in Padua, he says. Translated from the Latin, this inscription reads: "Here l i e s the monk Astorre,with his wife, Antiope, Ezzolino gave them sepulchre." This monk, Astorre, is the hero of his story. Turning to Can Grande he asks how such a story is l i k e l y to turn out and Can Grande says: "Notwendig schlimm, denn wer aus freiem Anlaufe springt, springt gut; wer gestoszen wird, springt schlecht." This is really the motto of the story. As Dante looks over the b r i l l i a n t and clever company, he 82. sees himself surrounded hy friendl y faces in the main, with the exception of Can Grande's f o o l , Gocciola, whom he despises, and who returns the fee l i n g with interest. He also sees the r i v a l r y of the two women for the favor of Can Grande, and a l l t h i s he weaves into his story,for " he improvises, giving his characters the names and actions of the people i n the room, and thus adding to the intere s t . The whole thing i s so cleverly done, that the two stories f i t into one another l i k e the wheels of a watch, or l i k e a song and i t s accompaniment. The tyrant Ezzolino of Padua, the only h i s t o r i c character i n Dante's t a l e , while t r a v e l l i n g on horseback along the banks of the ri v e r Brenta near Padua, meets a wedding-party i n a boat. This party consists of the elder son of the Vicedomini, his newly betrothed wife, Diana, and his three sons by his f i r s t wife. We are to l d that he has married t h i s t a l l and stately woman without love, i n order to please h is dying father, who wishes him to carry on the family l i n e , - an absolute obsession on the old man's part. As the party turns to greet Ezzolino, the overladen boat capsizes, and they are soon a l l struggling i n the water. Just then the monk, Astorre, the younger brother of the bridegroom, comes up, and he and Ezzolino try to rescue the drowning, but they only succeed i n saving Diana. The others have been pulled down by the current and are drowned. This leaves Astorre as the only son of his house, for his two elder brothers have been k i l l e d a short time before i n one of Ezzolino's wars. While the others are searching for the bodies, Astorre brings the half-drowned Diana home to his father's house, but finds that 83. Ezzolino has reached there before him, and has told the old man the news. In a towering rage, the latter blames Ezzolino for the death of a l l his sons, though Ezzolino t e l l s him to blame fate and not him for bringing him to the river-bank at that particular moment. Then the old father insists that Astorre shall break his monk's vows,and marry Diana in his brother's place. He shows a dispensation from the pope, with which he has provided himself for just such an emergency. But Astorre shrinks from such a step. As a monk he is beloved by the people, who w i l l be disillusioned i f he goes into the world again, and besides, his monkish l i f e based on i t s three vows of poverty, obedience and chastity i s congenial to him. But the father would rather lose his hope of heaven than see his line discontinued here on earth. He refuses to take the sacraments for the dying unless Astorre consents, and sooner than see his father lose his soul,by refusing the last rites of the Church, he lets himself be persuaded, and he and Diana are betrothed, just before the old man, with a triumphant smile on his face, dies, Astorre has done a foolish thing, and Meyer indicates this symbolically, by letting the family fool, whom he names Gocciolo, get possession of his old monk's frock. Diana goes home to her father,for nine day3 of mourning must elapse before the wedding. This time Astorre spends in his father's house, which is now his, though he cannot get used to his new possessions, or to his secular clothes, and he is ashamed to show himself in the streets. As he sits on the grass one day, he is joined by two of his old school-friends, Germano, the brother of Diana, and Ascanio, the nephew 84. of Ezzolino", They .are,both ardent followers of the tyrant, Ezzolino, -Ascanio, because hs is a real 'Renaissanzmensch' who wishes to enjoy to the f u l l a l l that l i f e has to offer, and Germano, on account of 'loyalty'. It i s interesting to note how the author makes that virtue again depend on race. He gives Diana and Germano a German mother and an Italian father, and both are large-hearted, direct and straight-forward. On account of her German blood Diana is the soul of loyalty, but she w i l l also insist that others shall be loyal to her. This 'deutsche Treue' is a favorite subject with Meyer, as we have already seen,-for example -in the character of Gertrude, in the Plautus story. These young friends advise Astorre to travel, and see other places and other women, before coming home to marry, for his fifteen years in the cloister have quite unfitted him for a secular l i f e . Ezzolino, however, who has overheard this advice, appears suddenly and gives orders that the wedding must take place that same evening. He commands Astorre's major-domo to deliver invitations to a l l the f i r s t families in the cit y . It i s interesting to note how everyone obeys without ques-tion the orders of Ezzolino. The author t e l l s us that he had not yet begun to practise the cruelty for which historians t e l l s us he was after-wards so notorious, but we have a hint of i t every now and then, for example, in his fondness for closing the eyes of a corpse who has just died. Here Dante gives a veiled warning to Can Grande, who exemplifies the qualities of the younger Ezzolino. Let him beware of developing into such another ruthles3 tyrant, he seems to infer. 85. Here, too, occurs a digression which i s perhaps the only blemish on ah otherwise perfect story. Ezzolino reads a letter from the; Pope, addressed to the Emperor, Priedrich Hohenstaufen, whose son-in-law he i s . The Emperor has a Chancellor, Petrus del Vinea, who is afterwards executed as a traitor, and the whole thing i s forecast in this letter, and in Ezzolino's conversation over i t . The episode has absolutely nothing to do with the progress of the story, either now or later on, and this is very unusual for Meyer, who practically hever introduces the slightest episode that is not necessary for the development of his plot. He usually had more than one subject in hand at once, and was engaged at this time in writing another Novelle, with Petrus del Vinea as the hero, and the only explanation is that he was so f u l l of the other subject that he had to inject this reference to i t here. Just then there is an interruption from Can Grande's pedantic major-domo, Burcardo, and Dante brings a major-domo into his story, also called Burcardo, much to the real Burcardo's disgust. The friends consult him as to who shall receive invitations to the wedding, and they are about to refuse to invite Antiope Canossa and her mentally unbalanced mother. But just then Astorre remembers something that had happened three years before, which has remained in his memory ever since. In his mind's eye he sees an old man with his head on the block, about to be executed, and beside him a young g i r l also bares her beautiful white neck to the executioner. It was Antiope's father, condemned to death by Ezzolino, and she had wanted to die with him. The shock of his death 86. has been too much for the mother, and ever since her mind has been affected. Astorre has not seen the g i r l since, but now he remembers her, and insists that both she and her mother shall receive invitations to the wedding, in spite of the objections of his friends that the mother w i l l be sure to do something embarrassing. Then the tvo friends persuade Astorre to go to buy his wedding-ring. He goes to a Florentine jeweller, who has a shop in ths middle of the town's only bridge, just because, in Florence, the jewellers a l l have their shops on bridges. Dante's opinion of his fellow-country-man, and of Florentines in general, is not very complimentary, and he is rather sharply taken to task for i t by Can Grande. Without replying, Dante looks toward the window, against which the snow is driving in gusts outside. And a l l at once Can Grande remembers that he is speaking to a homeless man, who has no roof of his own to shelter him from the storm, and Dante is asked to draw his seat up closer to the f i r e . The l i t t l e episode i s quite touching. There is a great crowd on the bridge, when Astorre arrives, and the Florentine is doing a brisk business. At length Astorre's turn comes, but he does not know the size of the ring he wants to get. The sly Florentine shows him two rings, a large and a small one, and says: "For your two sweethearts", as he presses them into his hand. Just then a troop of soldiers go by, crowding the people off the bridge, and the smaller ring r o l l s away. It is picked up by Antiope's maid, Isotti, who puts i t on her mistress' finger. When the crowd has lessened a l i t t l e , Astorre comes looking for his ring, and sees i t on Antiope's finger. He 87 recognizes her as the g i r l whose head he had seen on the block, three years before, and is about to ask for his ring back, when he is carried away forcibly by Gerraano. Thus again does fate play her part in his undoing. The maid then t e l l s the mother a highly colored story about Astorre's purposely giving Antiope the ring, and she at once jumps to the conclusion that her daughter is about to win a rich husband. That evening a l l the families invited by the major-domo are assembled at Astorre's house for the ceremony of exchanging rings, which is a con-tinuation of the betrothal ceremony. Astorre exchanges rings with Diana, and acknowledges her as his future wife. But Antiope's insane mother, 3eeing a l l her dreams fading, gets into a rage, so she stands before Diana, and calls her and her parents some very uncomplimentary names. Diana cannot stand this and strikes out angrily at her, only to hit Antiope instead. The poor g i r l is ready to die with shame and embarrass-ment, and she now bursts out weeping. The mother rushes off, and the party breaks up in disorder. Astorre, like the gentleman he i s , takes Antiope home. It is during this short journey to Antiope's house that they find out they love each other, though Astorre does not speak. Here occurs another delightful l i t t l e digression. The two women, Diana and Antiope, burst out in protest at Astorre's remaining silent, and Dante smiles for the f i r s t time that evening; "da er die beiden Frauen so heftig auf der Schaukel seines Mrchens sich wiegen sah." Ylhen Astorre comes home, he finds the fool in the empty room f i l l i n g himself with the wine the guests have l e f t . As Astorre 88. marches up and down talking to himself about Antiope, and the half-drunken fool imitates him, we realize that the author i s again symbolically emphasizing how l i t t l e reasoning control i s l e f t to Astorre. Finally, Gocciola aska him what is to become of the other woman, and he says: "What other? Is there another woman that i s not Antiope?" Astorre is overheard by Ascanio, who endeavors to bring him to his senses, and he soon partly realizes himself the danger of the course he i s pursuing. Germano enters and offers to solve the d i f f i c u l t problem by marrying Antiope himself. He wants Astorre to go with him while he makes the proposal. Astorre suspects that Germano has already begun to love the beautiful but unhappy g i r l , and he feels intensely jealous. They find Antiope's house deserted, and pass unannounced through several empty rooms, before they find her sit t i n g alone by a window, and gazing out into the night. She makes a beautiful picture s i t t i n g there , and Meyer's description does i t justice. This i s another example of his fondness for tableaux. Germano makes his proposal, which Antiope of course rejects. When he goes away, Astorre does not follow him. What then passes between him and Antiope ihe author leaves to the reader's imagination. Some time afterwards, the mother finds the lovers s i t t i n g together in the window-seat. It is her hour of triumph. It is the anniversary of her husband's execution three years before, and even now the priest is waiting in the chapel near by, to conduct the memorial service. But the same priest w i l l do for a marriage ceremony, and she hurries the 89. two into the chapel, where they are made man and wife. Then, a l l at once, realizing what a dangerous thing she has done, she orders her horses and rides away. As the two come out of the chapel, they meet Ascanio, who has come to see what has become of Astorre. He delivers them over to the keeping of Abu Mohammed, the body-watch of Ezzolino, and they are both lodged as prisoners in Astorre's house, Antiope refusing to leave he husband. Their case w i l l have to be judged by Ezzolino, for after such an affront to Diana and Germano, Astorre's l i f e i s no longer safe. On the way to Astorre's house, they meet the funeral procession of a dead bride, and the coffin i s overturned, exposing the corpse. Thus sym-bolically does Meyer prepare us for the coming tragedy. In the meantime, the people have become aware of the monk' marriage,and his treachery to Diana almost causes a r i o t . But Ezzolino is above the crowd. He i s no respecter of persons, and w i l l judge the case on i t s merits, in spite of the anger of the people. The culprits and their accusers are called before him. He knows that Diana's father is a miser, so he arranges that Astorre shall pay him a large sum of money to soothe his wounded feelings. Germano refuses to be bound by this vile agreement, but this does not worry Ezzolino. Let him and Astorre fight i t out between them. As for Diana who has twice been cheated of a husband, what remains for her but the cloister? The father being satisfied, Ezzolino decrees that Astorre's and Antiope's wedding shall be celebrated that night with a masked ball in Astorre's house, and while there, Antiope must humiliate herself 90 before Diana, and obtain from her the ring which Astorre has given her* Then he goes off on a trip to the country, from which he does not return t i l l late. As in JENATSCH, the f i n a l tragedy takes place during a fes t i v a l . With song and dance and rough jesting, Astorre*s people cele-brate the wedding of the chief of their house. Antiope, who fears Diana's vengeance, tries to get her maid to impersonate her, but Astorre w i l l not allow i t , and so unwittingly he sends the poor g i r l to her doom. Pale a3 death, she seeks out Diana, and tries to get the ring from her finger. But she is pierced to the heart by the dagger of the enraged amazon, and f a l l s dead at her feet. Astorre finds her dead and f a l l s in a faint by her side. Then Germano rushes in. Astorre recovers consciousness and the two fight to the death, in spite of the orders of Ezzolino, who comes in only in time to close the eyes of the dead, while through the open window comes discordant laughter, and the words: "Jetzt schlummert der MJnch Astorre neben seiner Gattin Antiope." No words were spoken as Dante finished and turned to go, for none were needed. We are given a glimpse of the steep torch-lighted stairs up which he climbed. Even Can Grande was silent, that Can Grande whose only claim to greatness today is that he harbored Dante. D.G. Rossetti, in the last verse of his poem, DANTE AT VERONA, expresses i t well when he aays: "Eat and wash hands Can Grande, - scarce We know their deeds now: hands which fed Our Dante with that bitter bread; And thou the watch-dog of those stairs Which of a l l paths his feet knew well Were steeper found than heaven or h e l l . " 91. (9) DIE RICHTERIN, 1885. If DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEH had the most modern setting of any of Meyer's s t o r i e s , DIE RICHTERIN has the most ancient, f o r i t goes hack to the shadowy days of Charlemagne, when Ch r i s t i a n i t y was s t i l l struggling with heathenism, when the people believed i n elves and f a i r i e s , and when the barbarian Lombards were s t i l l wandering over Europe. The author places the scene again i n RhStia, the country of JURG JENATSCH. The place i s Malmort, a picturesque castle on the Upper Rhine, with high precipitous walls, against which the Rhine washes far below, with a sound l i k e thunder. The very name of the place, Mal-mort, i s symbolic. This i s one of the most dramatic of Meyer's 'Novellen'. It i s divided into f i v e chapters, corresponding to the f i v e acts of a drama, and one can point out the exposition, ascending action, climax, descending action, and catastrophe, as i n a drama. In the f i r s t chapter we have the exposition. The story opens at Rome, where Charlemagne has gone to be crowned Emperor. He i s at present attending mass in the church, 'Ari C o l i ' , and the singing of the monks i s heard by the young men of his palace-school, who ure grouped around an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius i n the square before the church. While they are c r i t i c i s i n g the statue, a stranger appears among them, who announces himself as Gnadenreich, the nephew, though r e a l l y the son of the Bishop of Chur, i n Rhfltia. He has been sent by the Bishop to obtain a copy of a book,written by Alcuin, the secretary of Charlemagne. Here he meets Wulfrin, the 92. son of Wulf, who, however, hears no love for his dead father, who had i l l -treated his mother, and shut her away in a convent. Then, after her death, he had married a young wife. Wulfrin had run away from home when he was seven years old, so he has never seen his step-mother, and does not know that he has a beautiful young sister t i l l Gnadenreich t e l l s him about her. Her name is Palma Novella, and she is lovely and straight like the young palm-tree by the fountain where they are standing. He also shyly confesses that he is in love with her and wishes to marry her. Gnadenreich admits, however, that his real purpose here is to bear a message from Wulfrin*s step-mother, Stemma. She wants him to come home, and acknowledge openly before a l l the people, that he does not hold her responsible for the death of his father. For the father had dropped dead just after draining a beaker of wine, which his wife had offered to him as he returned from a journey. The young Stemma, when only sixteen, had had another lover, the clerk Peregrin, and was secretly married to him. Her grim father had caught them together, and had strangled Peregrin and thrown his body over a c l i f f . Not knowing that Stemma was to have a child, he had be-trothed her to Wulf, as his third wife, though Wulf was an elderly gray-haired man, and Stemma did not love him. However, she had to submit, but before she went to her husband's house, her father was k i l l e d , and Wulf had to go and avenge him. It was when returning from this expedition , that his sudden death took place. According to a family tradition, the husband blew his hunting-horn when returning from a journey, and the wife had to f i l l a beaker with wine, and take three draughts from i t , repeating 93 forward and back the lines written on the beaker, before giving i t to the husband, to drain at a draught. Prom the way she did this, the husband could t e l l i f she had been faithful to him or not, when he was away. Since Stemma had been the f i r s t to drink from the beaker, no one had at the time suspected her of poisoning her husband. Wulfrin, however, would not consent to come home, even though Gnadenreich told him how much his sister longed for him. But just then he was told that the king was coming out of the church, so, with a mighty blast of his horn,(the one his father had owned), he called a l l the young men together before Charlemagne, who stood on the steps before the church. Then Gnadenreich saw one of his own countrymen approach the king with a petition, which he handed to Alcuin to read, for Charlemagne himself was i l l i t e r a t e . It i s through l i t t l e touches like this, that the author gives us the correct historical setting. This petition is from Stemma, who has asked Charlemagne to come himself to EfeStia, and drive away the Lombards who are overrunning the land and robbing her people. The king promises to go, and plans to send Wulfrin on i n advance, especially when he learns from Gnadenreich that Wulfrin's step-mother desires his presence. So fate seems to be. leading Wulfrin, against his w i l l , back to his native land. This completes the exposition. In chapter two v/e are at Stemma's castle at Malmort. Stemma is away attending to business af f a i r s , for, since the death of her father and husband, she has inherited her father's office of judge, and is known far and wide over the country-side for her s k i l l in ferreting out crime. Her daughter, Palma Novella, a beautiful brown-eyed young 94. g i r l , i s alone in the courtyard of the castle. She is in great excite-ment, for she has heard that Charlemagne is coming to Eh&tia, and she expects soon to see her "brother, that brother whom she has longed for and dreamed of a l l these years. Suddenly she sees a dirty figure, with a long black beard, standing before her. It is a Lombard, who has corns to t e l l her that his master, Witigis, is holding her brother for ransom, and unless she sends a l l her jewels to the mistress of Witigis, Wulfrin w i l l be k i l l e d . Palma runs at once and brings a l l her treasures, for the l i f e of Wulfrin i s more precious to her than any jewels. They are interrupted by Stemma, who has returned unex-pectedly, and we have a glimpse of a t a l l figure in helmet and armor, a regular Brunnhilde of the German forests. She threatens the Lombard, who says jeeringly to her that she evidently wants Wulfrin k i l l e d . This so distresses Palma that Stemma lets him take the jewels, and, as i t i s now evening, she sends Palma to bed. But before she retires to rest herself, she is called to the prison to see a poor vassal of her own, Paustine, who has persisted in shutting herself up there, because she wants Stemma to judge and punish her for the murder of her husband,long years before. She has been a l -lowed to live to bring up her daughter, but now this daughter is married, so Paustine's work is done, and her conscience is troubling her. She insists that Stemma shall have her executed for this murder, and t e l l s how i t happened. Like Stemma, she had had another lover who was k i l l e d while hunting, and her father had betrothed her to one Lupulus against her w i l l . It is interesting to note the similarity of this 'Neben-geschichte' to Stemma's own story, even to the names of the men, Lupulus 95. and Wulf. Faustine, to protect her tinhorn child, poisons her husband with a plant, the properties of which she has learned from Peregrin, though Peregrin knew nothing of the murder. Stemma refuses to judge Faustine, and sends her to confess to the Bishop of Chur. Then she goes in to bed, but not to sleep. It is not worry about her office that keeps her awake. She had had a few stormy years after her husband's death, but now a l l i s quiet and peaceful. However, "Die uberhetzte Natur rSchte sich, und Stemma verlor den Schlummer". As she sat and watched her sleeping child she played with a flask at her throat, and we are told how there had formerly been two, one labelled 'antidote', so we can guess what has happened to Wulf, and why Stemma cannot sleep. However, there i s only the poison-flask l e f t now. . Once, years ago, she had attempted to destroy i t , when i t f e l l into the hands of the tiny child, Palma, but she had unwittingly destroyed the antidote instead. Believing that fate willed i t so, she had kept the other flask. Now, in a sort of waking dream, she sees and talks with the spectre of Peregrin, who has come to see his child, and to remind her of her former love for him. But Stemma refuses to admit any gui l t . "Siehe mich an", she says, "gleiche ich einer Sttnderin? Stemma i s t makellos." Finally she drives Peregrin away, and w i l l not let him have any part in Palma.' She even defies the s p i r i t of Wulf, "denn Stemma kannte die Hilflosigkeit der Abgeschiedenen.n The whole thing forms a sort of subordinate 'RahmenerzShlung', which enables us to get a glimpse into the strong soul of Stemma. She had 96. acted for the heat at the time, and w i l l not let her present l i f e he spoiled by the pangs of an outraged conscience. Since her husband's death she has lived a useful l i f e , and wi l l continue to liv e i t , looking not to the dead past, but to her daughter's future. She thinks herself stronger than Nemesis i t s e l f . The next morning they are awakened by the sound of a hunting-horn, and Palma tries to welcome her brother with the f u l l beaker in accordance with the tradition of her family, but Stemma takes i t from her and sends her to c a l l the vassals to the courtyard. And there before the grave of his father she gets Wulfrin, much against his w i l l , to acknowledge that she is blameless for the death of Wulf. Wulfrin thinks i t a useless proceeding, for he has never suspected her of gui l t . Poor Stemma! i t is the beginning of her unmasking. Then, as Wulfrin stands beside her, she takes his hunting-horn from him and throws i t over the precipice into the Rhine. Nevermore w i l l she hear i t s hated sound again, for i t reminds her of the day her husband died, - i t is a symbol of that buried past. In the next chapter, or act three, the suspense increases. Stemma wants Wulfrin to settle down here, and be a protection to his sister, who w i l l inherit Stemma's office and her lands. But Wulfrin feels himself suffocated on this narrow rock. He must get back to the Emperor again. However, he promises to remain for that day only, and make arrangements for his sister's betrothal to Gnadenreich. Stemma offers as guide the boy Gabriel. Palma. begs to be allowed to go too, so the three 3et out for Gnadenreich's home at PrStum. On the way, Gabriel and 97 Palma l i s t e n eagerly to Wulfrin's tales of the Emperor and his court. But Gabriel is called away, and the brother and sister remain alone to-gether, beside Palma's favorite lake. Clasped in each other's arms, they are perfectly happy, and, as they see themselves reflected in the calm water, they can almost believe the tales of elves and f a i r i e s , with which the place is haunted. Here is the f i r s t hint of the love which is to follow. But they must hurry on to Pr§tum, and they meet Gnaden-reich on the boundary of his estate, guarding i t from a band of marauding Lombards. He is delighted to see them, for he guesses the purpose of their v i s i t . They arrive soon at his round-towered castle, where they have dinner up on the parapeted roof, and the subject of a betrothal with Gnadenreich is broached to Palma. Knowing nothing of love she consents merely^to please her brother, and he, feeling that he is beginning to love her too much, is in a hurry to get the matter settled. Por he knows now that she is the dearest thing on earth to him. Here we reach the climax of the drama, when Wulfrin realizes that he loves h i 3 sister, A storm is coming up, and they must hurry home. Wulfrin, to hide his real feelings, treats Palma so roughly that the tears come into her eyes, and she withdraws her consent to marry Gnadenreich, There are two ways home, one over the h i l l s , and the other through "a valley. He w i l l not let Palma go with him, so sends her along the high road, while he takes the low one through the valley. Here we have one of Meyer's most wonderful and characteristic descriptions of natural scenery, the storm breaking in this valley, symbolic of the storm which is raging 98. in Wulfrin*s soul. But, when the tempest is at i t s height, Palma crosses the dangerous precipice separating the two roads, on an overhanging log, and throws herself into Wulfrin's arms. " K i l l me, i f you w i l l " , she says, "hut I cannot live i f you are angry with me." Poor child. She has the same feeling for him, that he has for her, hut does not realize as he does what i t i s . Again he thrusts her roughly from him, and she hurts her head on a stone, and f a l l s bleeding and unconscious. He picks her up and carries her, t i l l they meet Stemma with torches searching for them. He hands the unconscious Palma over to her, and rushes away into the darkness. In chapter four, i t is morning and Wulfrin has become calm again, the storm in his soul having passed with the storm of the evening before. Then Stemma comes out to seek him and soon worms his secret out of him. He confesses quite frankly that he loves Palma . Stemma tries to make him realize what an awful thing he is doing, but his only impulse is to confess i t before the Emperor. Stemma reproaches him for lacking strength to keep his sin secret. "Das ist Weibes Art und Weibes L i s t " , sagte er verSchtlich." He w i l l bring the Emperor back with him, and confess a l l , and Stemma her-self shall pass sentence on him. Stemma goes in, and he turns away to find a short cut over the mountains. But just then he sees the boy Gabriel, who has fished his hunting-horn out of the Rhine. They try i t , and find i t unharmed, and. he takes this as a good omen. Perhaps his father i s watching over him. 99. He will take the horn to his grave and blow i t , and perhaps his father wi l l answer. So he goes to the grave and blows again and again. Receiving no reply, he wends his way over the h i l l s . In the meantime Stemma has gone to her room, but not to sleep. She sees now that by calling Wulfrin to her, she has set in motion forces that she cannot control. She has a vision of the Goddess of Justice gazing scornfully at her. The figure seems to threaten her, but she defies i t . "What can you do? You have no witnesses," she says. Then suddenly she hears the hunting-horn, which she had believed silenced forever, and the sound is dreadful to her. It seems to come from Wulf's grave. Perhaps the figure on the grave-stone has come to l i f e and is blowing his horn to frighten her. But, nothing daunted, she w i l l go out and defy i t too. In her overwrought state, she is ready to brave anything. The figure on the grave-stone is peaceful enough, but she calls to her dead husband and t e l l s him everything, that Palma is not his child but Peregrin's, and that she had poisoned his beaker and saved herself with the antidote. She s t i l l has the poison-flask here in her bosom, but as she turns to go i n , she sees Palma standing behind her. The g i r l has heard a l l . The Goddess of Justice now has a witness against her - her own child. Now comes the last act of the drama. After that awful night, Palma's health begins to f a i l . Her mother in despair attempts to reason with her and explain av/ay her own damning words, but in vain. Palma had heard too much, and even the flask at Stemma's breast bears •a-100. witness against, her, Had she been fated to preserve t h i s flask only for her own undoing? When Palma"thought of Wulfrin, she longed to t e l l him a l l , hut she could not without betraying her mother, and as she believed her mother would never confess, the poor g i r l saw no way out but to die. Stemma, i n despair, saw her c h i l d dying before her eyes; that she could not endure, and suddenly she made a great resolve. She would t e l l a l l to: the Emperor upon his a r r i v a l and l e t him sentence her. She announced t h i s resolve to Palma, who at once began to recover. As the Emperor soon afterwards climbs the h i l l to Malmort, his horse stumbles over the dead body of poor Faustine. He takes t h i s as an omen that there i s some e v i l hanging over Malmort. Stemma and Palma meet him, and a l l t h e i r underlings are sent f o r . Then, over the dead body of Faustine, Stemma confesses her s i n . But when she finishes she swallows the contents of the poison flask and f a l l s dead beside Faustine. God and not the Emperor s h a l l judge her. Wulfrin and Palma, no longer brother and s i s t e r , are/^ree to marry. The whole story, with i t s setting i n a shadowy past, and among primitive people, produces a most powerful ef f e c t . The author himself ca l l e d i t a "Gewissensgeschichte", but i t seems that mother-love i s the most powerful motive, more powerful here than the power of conscience, for i f Stemma had not hoped to save her daughter from death, i t i s doubtful i f she would ever have confessed v o l u n t a r i l y . Yet the s k i l f u l way i n which the author shows her unbroken s e l f - c o n t r o l and defiance of detection through so many years, only to f a l l at the l a s t a 101. victim to her overwrought nerves, i s beyond a l l praise. There is just one flaw in i t . Palma has too l i t t l e sympathy for her mother. She does not realise how awful such a confession must be for her. The bethothal to Wulfrin over her mother's dead body, with no great show of feeling on her part seems very hard. Could her love for Wulfrin have rendered her so callous toward that mother who had done everything for her? Such a thing hardly seems good psychology, though, of course, there may be room for difference of o p i n i o n . Perhaps Meyer ascribed this to the roughness and hardness of that barbarous age, also to the fact that Palma could not endure deceit. He obviously wants us to see in her the very soul of truthfulness. The story pleased most of Meyer's friends immensely, many preferring i t to DIE HOCHZEIT DES MUNCHES. Both are stories of a passion that bursts a l l restraining bonds. To-day most people prefer the Hochzeit, but s t i l l this latter will always be looked upon as a powerful story. (10) DIE VERSUCHUNG DES PESCARA, 1887. Prom the time of Charlemagne, in the previous story, the author now takes a jump of seven hundred years or so, to the time of another Charles the Great, this time the Emperor, Charles V. It is another story of the Italian renaissance, and here we see the author at the very height of his powers, for this story possesses a peculiar a r t i s t i c ex-cellence rarely to be found i n the works of any other author. Gottfried Keller, Meyer's great countryman, said that Meyer's works reminded him 102. of '"brocade', and i f that i s true of any of the Novellen, i t is particularly true of this, for i t possesses a balanced symmetry, and a perfection of construction, which reminds one of an exquisite pattern on old brocade. It i s , however, a d i f f i c u l t story to read, unless one is familiar with the European history of the time. Like Browning, Meyer supposes that his readers are a l l as well read in history as he is himself, and this i s very rarely the case. Hence a few words on the historical background of the story w i l l not come amiss here. The time is just after the battle of Pavia, in 1525, in which King Francis I of France was defeated and taken as prisoner to Madrid. The victorious general in that battle, and the leader of the armies of Charles V, was Pescara, the hero of our tale. Emperor Charles i s now the most powerful monarch in Europe, ruler of Spain, Austria, and the Netherlands, and supreme in the new world. Apparently no one can stand against him, and Italy, too, is about to f a l l under his army. However, this i s not to happen without a struggle. The Medici Pope, Clement VI1, who holds the f i e f of Naples, and delegates from the two City States, Venice and Florence, meet at Milan, and, under the leader-ship of Miprone, the Chancellor of Duke Sforza of Milan , they form a Holy League, as they c a l l i t , whose object is the freedom of Italy, and i t s independence of Spain. This League is to drive the Spaniards out of Italy, just as in JBHG ffENATSCH, the league of the Dreibuhden was formed to drive them out of BhHtia. They thought they had good hopes of success, too, for a l l was not complete unity in Charles' dominions. The heresy of Luther 103. was spreading in Germany and in the Netherlands, and the Emperor was pre-paring to stamp i t out with the fires of the inquisition. The prospects of the League seemed good, i f they could only get an efficient leader. Por this great task there seemed none better than Charles' own general, the great Pescara, i f he could only he tempted from his allegiance to the Emperor. He was only half a Spaniard after a l l , horn in Italy of an Italian mother, and married to an Italian wife, the magnificent Victoria Colonna, the Italian poetess. Besides, for his Italian possessions he owed fealty to the pope, who would absolve him from his allegiance to the Emperor. The persuasive Morone was sent to win him over, but history t e l l s us that Pescara resisted the temptation, and remained faithful to the Emperor, and that Morone was imprisoned. Shortly afterwards Pescara died. Meyer, without historical foundation, ascribes his death to a spear-wound received in the battle of Pavia. In this story the author attempts to give the psycholo-gical reasons for Pescara's f i d e l i t y , just as in DER HEILAGE he gave the psychological reasons for Becket's sudden change of front, after becoming des archbishop. As Maync says: "Nicht das Was/Geschehens kummert ihn, sondern das warum."^ Like DIE RICHTERIN, the story has almost a. dramatic form, being divided into five chapters corresponding to five acts, and a f i n a l chapter, or epilogue. In the f i r s t three chapters we have the presentation of the temptation to Pescara. In the last three, we have 1. May-nc 263. 104. his reaction to i t . The whole is absolutely symmetrical. The f i r s t scene opens in the palace of Duke Sforza in Milan. He is talking with his Chancellor, Mirone, over the terrible state of affairs in his Duchy. As he talks we learn his character. He is a weak, spineless sOr;t of individual, ehMreiy" , dependent on his Chancellor. Morone is a very clever man, but absolutely without dignity of appearance, almost a mountebank, in fact. Sforza i s in a panic of fear that he is going to lose his Duchy, for he i s on bad terms with the Emperor, who w i l l l i k e l y hand i t over to his particular enemy, the Bourbon, and he beseeches Morone to save i t for him. The Chancellor t e l l s him his only hope is to join the Holy League, and informs him that Guiccardin, the representative from Florence, and Lalius Nasi, the one from Venice, are to dine with him that very evening, and arrange for the organization of this League. But just then who should be announced but the hated Bourbon himself, Pescara's particular friend. This officer i s a Frenchman who has betrayed his own king and gone over to the Emperor, Charles V, and ever since, even in that renaissance-age, "wo jede Art von Verrat und Wortbruch zu den alltSglichen Dingen gehBrte," he was known everywhere as the 'traitor*, an object of contempt to every man, and even to himself. The author says of him: "Karl Bourbon lebte mit seinem Verrate in einer sengenden und verzehrenden AtmosphSre ses Selbsthasses." Here again we have one of Meyer's most characteristic devices. The subject of the story is to be 'treachery versus f i d e l i t y ' , and right at the start he brings us face to face with 105. a man who has already betrayed his country. The same man is also mentioned in Schiller's WALLENSTEIN, f i t t i n g l y enough, since the 'Leitmotiv' in that drama is also 'treachery'. He has come as the Emperor's ambassador to warn Sforza not to join the League on pain of losing his Duchy. He listens with an air of cynical contempt, as Sforza denies categorically that he has ever heard of such a League, and f i n a l l y he delivers the Emperor's ultimatum. Sforza must at once cease building a l l forts, disband his armies and dismiss Morone, his Chancellor. Then, as he i s leaving he puts Morone in a rage by saying ironically: "Adieu, Pantalon, mon ami." Morone knows that his enemies c a l l hira a clown behind his back, but to be taunted with i t openly is too much for his pride. Sforza, too, is in a panic, for he is sure that the Bourbon intends to get his Duchy, so as they go in to greet their guests, they are both ready to join this new league against Spain. On their way to the dining-room, they pass a beautiful l i f e - s i z e painting of Pescara and his wife playing chess together, and in this manner Meyer makes us acquainted with the hero of the story before we actually see him, and with Victoria Colonna, his beautiful Italian wife. It is Victoria's turn to play, and as she touches the queen, she seems to be saying to herself, "What w i l l he do next?" In this symbolic manner the author gives us a hint of the inscrutable character of Pescara, for, as we shall see, that is the question the conspirators keep asking themselves a l l through the story. We have seen in previous stories, many examples of the 106. author's use of symbolic pictures or statues to emphasize his "leitmotiv', but in this story he makes a particularly lavish use of this device, which not only serves to il l u s t r a t e the luxury and beauty in the homes of these art-loving "Renaissanzmenschen', but also to repeat again and again the main theme of his story. This picture also gives us a glimpse into the character of the hero and heroine and shows an atmosphere of purity and truth surrounding these two married lovers, which rendered them almost unique i n that immoral age. The b r i l l i a n t conversation of the four men around the dinner-table is given almost word for word, and thus the author leads us right into the s p i r i t of the century. They discuss the reformation, the worldliness of the different popes, and the anomalous p o l i t i c a l situation in which Charles V, a Catholic Emperor, is almost forced to support the Reformation to hold in check the Pope, who i s the -leader in forming the league against him. Then, after the meal, they a l l gather in the l i t t l e room, which is dominated by Pescara's picture, to discuss the formation of the League and the choice of i t s leader. After some discussion Morone suggests Pescara, who, he thinks, could be induced to desert the Emperor. At f i r s t the others are aghast at the idea of trying to seduce the Emperor's own general, but the very boldness of the idea at length wins favor; Morone is commissioned to put the matter before him. But f i r s t they arrange that a famous but venal Italian poet of the time, Pietro Aretino, shall conduct a campaign of propaganda through Italy, and thus force Pescara's hand by declaring that he is preparing to betray the 107. Emperor. So ends the f i r s t chapter, and the exposition. In the next chapter the scene changes to the audience-chamber of Pope Clement V l l in the Vatican. And the beautiful woman kneeling before him is none other than the lady of the painting, Victoria Colonna. Linden says that Meyer has intentionally given us in this pope Clement V l l his own portrait. "Und wie alte Maler oft in irgendeiner Bcke, unter gleichgttltigen Zuschauern, ihr eigenes Bildnis einbringen, so hat auch Meyer einmal ein PortrSt von sich entworfen. Clemens V l l in sein Pescara i s t sein Gleichnis, von dem Burckhardt berichtet, er vereinige sanguinisches und melancho-lisches Temperament, und den Meyer als entschiboszen schildert, von greisehhafter uberklugheit, Uberdachtsamkeit, Misztrauen gegen sich selbst, und Schicksalsfurcht; innerlich aber i s t er 'ein leidenschaftlicher, ein zorniger Menschi"! Whether we agree with this idea or not, i t is interest-ing, in this the only scene where we meet him, to note his s k i l l f u l l y he brings his influence to bear on Victoria Colonna, and how complete is his success. He wants to win over Victoria to the side of the League, so that her influence with her husband may be used to induce him to desert his feudal lord. He appeals f i r s t to her patriotism, as a true daughter of Italy, struggling for freedom from the Spaniard, then to her ambition, by saluting her as the future queen of a united Italy, united under Pescara as king. Victoria i s completely won over. She is preparing to leave aext day to join her husband at his army headquarters near Novara, for Pescara cannot spare the time to come to Eome, and now the Pope i s sure of her aid. As she is leaving the Vatican she meets and is introduced 1. Linden 232. 108. to Morone and the Venetian, who have come to see the Pope, and Morone decides then and there to have an interview with her before she goes. The Pope cannot receive them, and as they go away talking together,' their conversation i s worth noting. The Venetian says that, in spite of the Pope's authority and his wife's influence, there i s something unfathomable about Pescara which gives him sleepless nights. He says : "Er (Pescara) glaubt nur an die einzige Pflicht der groszen Menschen, ihren vollen Wuchs zu erreichen, mit den Mitteln und an den Aufgaben der Zeit. (What a succinct statement of the Renaissance ideal !) So i s t er, und so passt er uns, Unfehlbar er wird unsere Beute und wir die seinige. Bennoch ... lache mich aus, Morone, ... etwas urahaucht mich. Ich v/ittere Verborgenes Oder Geheimgehaltenes, etwas Wesentliches oder auch etwas ZufSlliges, etwas Korperliches, oder ein Zug seiner Seele, kurz, ein unbekanntes Hindernis, das uns den Weg ve r t r i t t und unsere genaue Rechnung fSlscht und vereitelt."! And i f the future actions of Pescara were a riddle to these men, they were none the less so to his wife, for Victoria Colonna had to admit that, in spite of the long and beautiful intimacy of their married l i f e , she did not know the innermost soul of her husband, nor how he would react to this temptation. Through a misunderstanding, her ser-vants with her sedan chair had gone home without her, and she had to walk home from the Vatican alone. As she hurried to reach shelter before an oncoming storm, the turmoil in her soul was i n keeping with the turmoil in the heavens, another instance, as in DIE RICHTERIN, where the author makes nature sympathize with the struggle in the soul of his characters. She knows that treachery to one's feudal lord is a disgraceful thing, but just then a party of Spaniards rode past 1. Pescara 59. 109. "und sie sah und fuhlte in der Grandezza der Eeiter und Rosse, den in die RELfte gesetzten Armen, den veraeh'ili'chhalb tlber die Schulter auf die RoraulussHhne niedergleitenden Blicken und "bis in die steifen Bartspitzen den Holm und die Beleidi-gung der "beginnenden spanischen ?/eltherrschaf t, sie empfand Grauel und Ekel, und ein tSdlicher Hasz regte sich in ihrem rflmischen Busen gegen diesen fremden Rttuber, und hochfah-renden Ahenteurer, welche die neue und die alte Erde zusammen erheuteten."i If only the Emperor had not been a Spaniard, she thought. She reached home to find her husband's young lieutenant, Del Quasto, who was also her nephew, waiting to conduct her on the morrow to her husband's camp. This Del Quasto was the godson of Victoria and Pescara, who had brought him up, but he was no credit to them. He was guilty of many deeds of horrible cruelty, and had recently betrayed Julia, the granddaughter of Pescara's physician, refusing to marry her. The g i r l in her distress had disappeared from her home and gone into a convent. Victoria burned with anger against Del Quasto, but he was quite brazen, even offering to go with her before Pescara and justify himself. Here again, in the betrayal of this young g i r l , we have a repetition of the 'Leitmotiv' of the story in another form. Victoria turned away from him in disgust, and taking her Bible she wandered into the garden and sat down to read. The book opened at the temptation of Christ, and soon the form of Christ changed to that of Pescara,. and the devil wore the long lawyer's robes of Morone, (another striking use of symbolism). But a l l at once there in the garden before her stood Morone himself. In a most eloquent speech, he appealed to Victoria's patriotism and ambition, even as the Pope had done. It is wonderful how eloquently 1. Pescara 63. 110. Meyer makes this man talk. Though ugly of face, and f u l l of clownish gestures, and with no very high regard for the truth, yet his patriotism lends him an eloquence which i s almost i r r e s i s t i b l e , and which creates a deep impression upon Victoria. The scene of chapter three i s l a i d in Pescara's camp in Novara. Pescara himself is lodged in an old castle with a beautiful inner court and garden. Busily working over his campaign plans, he i s scarcely aware of the entrance of his servant Battista with his lemonade. But calling the man toHi'mhe dismisses him from his service, in spite of tears and protests, for he has caught him spying the night before, and now knows him to be a secret agent of his enemies. This incident not only shows us the d i f f i c u l t y of Pescara's position, but also gives another variation of Meyer's 'Leitmotiv,'-another form of treachery. As Battista goes out, the Bourbon rushes in with the news that he has seen Morone in disguise on his way to Novara, so Pescara expects a v i s i t from him shortly. He imagines that i t is an embassy from Milan to try to save Sforza's Duchy, but the Bourdon forecasts the truth, when he says jestingly: "Maybe he has come to offer the two of us Italian crowns i f we w i l l f a l l away from the Kaiser." Prom their conversation we can see the strong friendship these two men have for"each other. We also see what Pescara has to contend with in his own ranks in the enmity between the Bourbon and his other general, Leyva, who despises the former and w i l l not work with him; so Pescara has to give them separate commands. They are interrupted by the arrival of the travel-stained 111. Del Quasto, who announces the safe arrival of Victoria, and also that of the Spaniard Moncada, as ambassador from the Vice-king of Spain. Del Quasto has also seen the disguised Chancellor, Morone, and reports that a l l Italy-is f u l l of rumours that Pescara is about to f a l l away from the Emperor and head the Holy League. We can see that Pietro Aretino has got in his work. Then the page announces Morone himself, and, in order that he may have witnesses to the interview, the theme of which he clearly foresees, Pescara places the Bourbon and Del Quasto behind a curtain, where they can overhear a l l . The following conversation, in which Morone seeks to per-suade Pescara to leave the Emperor and head the League, to be rewarded fi n a l l y by the Crown of Italy, i s a masterpiece. It ranks with the para-ble scene in NATHAN or the Marquis Posa scene in the third act of DON KARLOS. In spite of his duplicity and sophistry, Morone's speech is ennobled through and through by a lofty s p i r i t of patriotism, for he really loves his Italy. But he is no match for Pescara, who, with un-shaken poise remains master of the situation. With fine irony he turns Morone's arguments against him-self by threatening to sacrifice Sforza and give his Duchy to the Bourbon. "Will you give your master up to me?" he says. "By a l l the gods, no," yelled Morone, "Shall I betray my master, and for the Bourbon above a l l ? Why do you so i l your cause with suclx a man? "Sehet diesen Menschen, verhiJhnte ihn Pescara, Gibt es etwas Precheres? Dem armseligsten Pttrsten wi l l er Treue halten, und mutet mir zu, die, meinera erhabenen Kaiser zu brechen. Sehet diesen unzusammenhangenden Geist. Er verlockt mir zum 112. Verrat und w i l l rein bleiben von Verrat."^ Nowhere can we see just what Pescara i s going to do. He wi l l wait, he says, t i l l the morrow to decide, and in the meantime Morone is conducted by the page to some rooms overlooking the inner court of the castle, where he is virtually a prisoner. The most ironic touch is that the Bourbon and Del Quasto, who have overheard a l l , are so impressed by Morone's arguments, that they, too, try to tempt Pescara. There could be no more convincing testimony to Morone's eloquence. Here we reach the climax of the story. The forces of temptation have presented their case. In chapter four, the feelings of the excited Chancellor are described, as he walks to and fro through the beautiful rooms of his prison. He must rely solely on Victoria's influence now, and at any moment she may appear, for a house in the castle-garden opposite his window seems to have been prepared for her coming. As he wanders through the rooms, he comes to a wonderful ceiling frescoed with serpents, said to have been painted by Leonardo da Vinci. This is another case of Meyer's fondness for symbolic pictures, for the serpent is the emblem of treachery. Then he wanders into the palace garden, and comes suddenly upon Pescara, asleep in a seat near the fountain. Morone is startled by his paUffir, but his sleeping face gives no hint of any other thought save calmness and resignation. Suddenly Pescara's aged physician, Numa Dati, lays a hand on his shoulder and advises him to f l y while there is yet time, for he says Pescara could not betray his master even i f he would. 1. Pescara 120. 113. This i s a l l a riddle to Morone, hut we can begin to guess, from Pescara's paleness and Dati's words, the real reason why he is invulnerable to temptation. His wound received at Pavia has not healed, and he is fated to die soon. Even Victoria does not know i t yet, and as she hastens with eager joy to meet her husband, Morone withdraws into the background. After their f i r s t greeting, Pescara presents Dati to her. He is Julia's grandfather, and from him we learn that the poor betrayed g i r l has just died in the convent; Pescara learns now for the f i r s t time of his kinsman, Del Quasto's treachery to Julia. Vftien Victoria goes to her room to wash off the marks of travel, we learn definitely from the conversation between Pescara and Dati that Pescara's days are numbered, and we realize that> standing thus under the shadow of death,he regards himself as quite outside of; the p o l i t i c a l struggle and rivalry. Then he goes in to attend a council of war, at which the Spaniard, Moncada is present. Moncada announces that he has been delegated by the Vice-king of Spain to accompany Pescara's army and keep an eye on operations. He demands that Pescara's forces shall move at once against Milan, and when the place f a l l s , he is to treat Sforza and the people with great severity. This Pescara refuses abso-lutely; he w i l l not be inhuman. Moncada further demands the particulars of Pescara's interview with Morone, but when Pescara t e l l s him the truth he will scarcely believe him, t i l l he has the evidence of the two men who have heard i t a l l . They then go out, leasing Moncada alone, and we expect trouble from him later on, when we hear him say "Du entrinnst mir nicht. 114. Ich umschwehe dich, Pescara." This gray figure, with the face of a grand inquisitor, represents the power and might of Spain. Poor Pescara! Again we see the trouble he i s having through dissension in his ranks, when Leyva leaves the Council, raging against the Bourbon. Pescara also has to rebuke Del Quasto severely for what he has done to Julia, and he advises both him and the Bourbon that f i d e l i t y to their Emperor is a l l that is l e f t to them now. These troubles in his own ranks, show us another reason why Pescara could not be tempted.- As he says, Italy i s unworthy of being rescued. Her downfall is inevitable, regardless of what he or anyone else can do to save her. For Italy has dealt falsely even with him, whom she sought to honor. She has spread lying reports about him, and attempted to force his hand. Nov/ this has brought the Spaniard Moncada, who will henceforth hover over him like a vulture. We learn also that many years before Moncada has assass-inated Pescara's father, seeking thereby to win the favor of the king. Since then this dark and sinister figure had been a l l over the world, in the interests of his church. He had even followed Cortez to Mexico, to spy on him, no doubt, as he was spying on Pescara now. The Bourbon offers to fight a duel with him, and thus rid Pescara of this incubus, but the latter refuses, saying i t is too late. Once he had wanted to take vengeance upon him, but now he w i l l leave him to the justice of God. They go in to dinner with Victoria, and the Bourbon is presented to her. He is very polite, aut after he i s gone, Victoria 115. asks her husband why she must dislike him so, and he, her husband's best friend. He answers that i t is because the Bourbon has never been able to live down his treachery to his king. Did not her own poet, Dante, picture treachery as the worst of crimes? Victoria turns pale, for she remembers her mission from the Pope. Then follows one of Meyer's characteristic discussions between the husband and wife on poetry and art in general. Gradually i t works around to^ his mission, and she reproaches him for not letting her read his heart. He says he has seen this temptation coming, and blames the Pope for thinking he can absolve one's conscience. Savonarola, and the monk, Luther, have done that much for him. They go out to the garden, and si t t i n g in the stillness they overhear a conspiracy between Leyva and Moncada to take Pescara prisoner the minute he attempts to go over to the Italians. Unhappy Pescara J he sees himself surrounded by treachery on every side, both from Italy and Spain. But just then a horn sounds, and a post comes direct from the Emperor himself. In his own handwriting he expresses his faith in Pescara's unalterable f i d e l i t y . How could his general betray him after that? Poor Victoria soon learns her husband's dread secret, for in the garden he is seized with a featful convulsion, which nearly k i l l s him. But after terrible suffering he recovers, and they both sleep the sleep of exhaustion. This ends chapter four. The next morning Victoria finds Pescara refreshed by his sleep, and she can hardly believe that the frightful scene of the night 116. before i s not a "bad dream. Bat Pescara makes i t a l l too clear. He says he has known of his fate ever since the battle of Pavia, but, not wishing to worry her, he has kept i t to himself. Besides, his enemies must not know of i t t i l l he has finished his campaign against Milan, which is to start this very day. T i l l he can summon her to Milan, after his victory, she decides to go to a convent she had passed the day before, the convent of the Holy Wound, (note the significance of the name). So after break-fast they have their horses brought and ride away together. Pe3cara has determined that, after this parting he w i l l not see her again; she must not see him suffer any more. Aa they ride through the fields, the dark and dreary day is a f i t setting for the sadness of their hearts. As they near the convent they hear the nuns singing a requiem, which they afterwards learn is for the poor betrayed Julia, who had formerly been their pupil. The abbess is only too pleased to find a room for Victoria, whose sadness they believe i s due to the fact that her husband is going into battle. While Victoria and the abbess are arranging matters, Pescara walks into the l i t t l e church. Here he sees a wonderful altar picture of Christ on the cross, receiving the sword-thrust of the soldier. But the soldier in this picture i s no Roman but a Swiss, and Pescara is struck by his resemblance to the man who had wounded him at Pavia. He learns from the nuns that the picture i s quite recent, and that this man had posed for the a r t i s t . Here we have another example of Meyer's symbolic pictures. Standing near the end of the story, as i t does, i t counterbalances the picture of the chess-players at the beginning, so 117. symmetrically has this story been constructed. As Pescara looks at the picture, he is secretly watched by the nuns, who admire his t a l l figure, and envy the happiness of Victoria in being the wife of such a man, l i t t l e knowing that i n an adjoining c e l l the poor soul is wringing her hands in despairing grief. Then he and Victoria take an affecting farewell. He t e l l s her not to grieve too much, for death comes to him as a deliverer. His words here are worth quoting, for they give the kernel of the story: "Ich sage dir Weib, mein Pfad versinkt vor mir. Ich gehe unter an meinen Siegen und an meinen Ruhm. Wttre ich ohne meine Wunde, dennoch konnte ich nicht leben. Druben in Spanien Neid, schleich-ende Verleumdung, hinfMllige und endlich untergrabene Hoigunst, Ungnade und Sturz; hier in Italien Hasz und Gift fur den, der es verschmSht hat. ware ich aber von meinem Kaiser abgefallen, so wurde ich an mir selbst zu Grande gehen, und sterben an meiner gebrochenen Treue, denn ich habe zwei Seelen in meiner Brust, eine italienische und eine spanische, und sie hBtten sich geto*tet. Auch glaube ich nicht, dasz ich ein lebendiges Italien hatte schaffen ktfnnen. Zwar es trBgt die strahlende Ampel des Geistes, doch es hat sich aufgelehnt in der unbandigen Lust eines s^trotzenden Daseins gegen ewige Gesetze. Es btisze, du hast es gesagt, Victoria, in Fesseln leidend lerne es die Freiheit. Dieses spanische Weltreich aber das in blufcroten Wolken aufsteigt diesseits und jenseits des Meeres, e r f u l l t mich mit Grauen; Sklaven und Henker. Ich sptire die grausame Ader in mir selbst. Und das Entsetzlichste, ich weisz nicht welcher mflnchische Wahnsinn: Dein verderbtes Italien aber i s t wenigstans menschlich."1 Then he rides away to join his army and comes to where a Swiss is struggling with a party of Spaniards, who are about to hang him as a spy. Pescara finds i t i s the same Swiss, who wounded him at Pavia. Drawing him aside, he has a conversation with him, and finds him a rough but honest fellow. He has seen his own picture in the church, and his disgust, when he saw himself thrusting a spear into his Lord's side was quite genuine. Pescara could take vengeance on him by letting him be hanged, but instead he gives him quite a large purse of gold and lets 1 Pescara 190 118. him go. The Spaniards are surprised to see their usually rather parsi-monious general so generous, hut like his Lord, Pescara not only pardons hut rewards his enemy, who turns out to he no enemy after a l l . As he stands at the head of his army, the monk, Moncada, comes up again demanding a private interview. But before Pescara.can * give i t to him, Morone comes and throws himself at his feet demanding a definite decision. Pescara t e l l s Morone he has not found Italy worthy of his aid. But Moncada, who has been standing- near, has heard a l l , and when Morone turns anfi sees him, he thinks Pescara has betrayed him. Then, thinking to save his own skin, he basely lays a l l the blame of the con-spiracy on Pescara, who has again to c a l l his two witnesses before Moncada w i l l believe him innocent. Pescara refuses to acknowledge Moncada's right to judge him, however, and then Moncada, in a private interview, tries to tempt him to go over whole-heartedly to Spain, even as Morone had tempted him with the Crown of Italy. He tempts in vain, however, and Moncada leaves him with a dark threat as to what w i l l happen, i f , when he takes Milan, he f a i l s to obey the Spanish order to be ruth-less. That night Pescara burns a l l his papers, even the Emperor's letter. No dangerous papers of his shall leave his friends a prey to Spanish spies after his death. The next morning he is visited by another heart attack, and to conceal i t he rides to the battle in a closed carriage, his charger being led saddled behind. But Morone, surrounded by Spanish soldiers, is seated backward upon an ass, and rides through the gates, amid the jeers of the 119. people, and so out of the picture. In the last chapter, or epilogue, the story is brought quickly to a close. We see the trembling Duke Sforza of Milan, lost without his Chancellor, vainly trying - to protect his Duchy against Pescara's oncoming soldiery. But nothing can withstand Pescara's hosts, or Pescara himself. Clad in a flaming garment, and swinging his sword, he strides along, "als schritte der Wttrger Tod in Person gegen die Schanze." Sforza takes to base f l i g h t . The last scene is played in the same throne-room of Duke Sforza'g palace at Milan, in which the story opened, another indica-tion of Meyer's love for balance. Sforza has fled thither, only to find that the canopy over his throne has broken down. Taking this as an e v i l omen, he awaits the victor. Pescara soon comes, and much to Sforza's surprise, he treats him with unlooked for mildness. Moncada attempts to interfere, but i s sternly set aside by Pescara, who shows him the Emperor's power of attorney, giving him f u l l authority. The description of the judging in which he and his two generals, Leyva and the Bourdon, take part is quite characteristic. Leyva votes on the Spanish side for severity and ruthlessness, but the other two outvote him, so Sforza keeps Milan, and even Morone's l i f e i s spared. Thus ends the Holy League, even the Pope submitting, and renewing his fealty to the Emperor. And just as Morone and the Venetian had talked together over the riddle of Pescara's conduct in chapter one, here, in the last chapter, is a parallel conversation: 120. "Erinnerst du dich, Girolamo, was ich dir in dentvatikanischen GSrten sagte, von einem m6*glichen letzten Hindernis in der Brust Pescaras? Wenn ich wtfrtlich wahr geredet? Wenn der Peldherr hei Pavia den Tod empfing, und ihn verheimlicht hat? Wenn wir einen nicht mehr Versuchharen in Versuchung fuh'rten? Also die lahrheit, "schlosz der Florentiner," nicht Pescara trog. Wir selhst haben uns hetrogen. 0 Weisheit der Menschen. Then, seated on the canopy of Sforza's broken throne, Pescara writes his last commands. Just as Moncada and Leyva are about to arrest him as a traitor, he has another heart attack, and he is delivered out of their hands. He seems to be slumbering when Victoria enters and rushes toward him, but he l i e s dead on his couch: "Gleich einem jungen magern von der Ernte erschBpften und auf seinem Garben schlafenden Schnitter."^ At the very beginning of the story, the author has described a picture on the roof of that same throne-room, of Christ feeding the five thousand "einer Mittag haltenden lombardischen Schnitterbande gleich," and so to the very end. the exquisite symmetry of the story i s maintained. One cannot but be stru ck with the similarity between Pescara and Becket. Both are 'mehrdeutig,' a riddle to the people around them. Both are advanced in their thinking beyond their age. They each have suffered, and both are conscious of the near presence of death. We can trace the steps in the conversion of each, and see how the character of each grows more Christlike, the nearer he comes to 1. Pescara 225 2. Ibid 229 3. Ibid 6 121. death, for both like Christ, "have learned obedience through the things which they suffered." If we have given more time and space to this story than to any of the others, i t is because i t is so d i f f i c u l t , and at the same time so important. It i s doubtful i f a more spphisticated story has ever been written. It i s impossible to see a l l i t s beauty and exquisite symbolism in one reading, or even in two. It is like a puzzle, containing concealed faces, which at f i r s t sight are not visible, but the more we look, the more we can see. It i s f u l l of Meyer's characteristic devices and mannerisms, and i t s symmetry is so perfect that i t seems like some exquisite geometric pattern on an oriental rug. In te l l i n g the story, i t i s almost impossible to leave anything out without spoiling the connec-tion of the whole, and there i s not a single episode or description but has i t s bearing on the plot. Maync says of i t : "Die Vergeistigung eines politischen Stoffes, deren Schwierig-keit der Dichter wohl bewuszt war, i s t seiner Kflnstlerschaft 'nach strenger Arbeit' wohl gelungen. Seine kunstlerischen Mittel sind die gleichen, wie in seinen frttheren Erzahlungen, aber es i s t der Meister auf der Htfhe seines Kflnnens, der hier sich ihrer bedient."! 1. Maync 275 122. (11) ANGELA BORGIA1, 1891 After the publication of Pescara, Meyer became seriously i l l , and for almost four years nothing came from his hand, t i l l in 1891 appeared ANGELA BORGIA, his last Novelle. He made many subsequent attempts, but except for some l y r i c s , which could be written in a flash of inspiration, he never completed anything which he considered worthy of publication. Even this piece shows many signs of age and f a i l i n g powers. There are really two heroines, for the story could, with equal propriety, be called LUCREZIA BORGIA. Her character i s even better drawn than that of Angela. However, this is only another example of the author's fondness for paradoxical t i t l e s , for the; fact that there could be a Borgia called Angela, and one, moreover, for whom the name was not a misfit, i s enough in i t s e l f to cause comment. One could, with almost equal propriety have called the story GIULIO D'ESTE, for the past is played by this character/also very important. "For these reasons i t lacks that unity which is so character-i s t i c of the rest of Meyer's work. The fact that i t covers a period of several years' time may also help to explain this defect ,for most of the other Novellen occupy short periods of time. This lack of unity makes the story rather d i f f i c u l t to read, as i t i s hard to keep the various threads disentangled. There are also a few instances of false chrono-logy, caused, no doubt, by an old man's f a i l i n g memory. Yet, in spite of these weaknesses, the story i s a power-ful one, and the character-drawing- i s worthy of Meyer at his best. The portrait of Lucrezia Borgia, ranks with the very best of his male 123. characters, for, i t must he admitted, his male characters are, on the whole, much more l i f e - l i k e than his female ones. For historical "background he goes hack to his favorite period, the time of the Italian Renaissance, and he gives an interesting and historically accurate picture of those s t i r r i n g times of a r t i s t i c excellence, hut of moral decay. The story opens with a wedding- pro-cession. Duke Alfonso von Este of Ferrara, the grandfather of that Duke of Ferrara, made famous by Goethe in TASSO, has been wedded by proxy to Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander Borgia, and the sister of the dreadful Caesar Borgia. The latter has murdered Lucrezia's second husband, for she has already been married twice, and she herself has a rather e v i l reputation as a poisoner. Victor Hugo's drama, LUCREZIA BORGIA and Donizetti's opera of the same name have made her name familiar to us as a monster of wickedness and cruelty. Meyer, however, calls her a 'tender plant growing in a forcing-house of sin', and lays the e v i l of her character on circumstances rather than on her own nature. She has decided, however, to reform, and looks upon this marriage with Don Alfonso as a chance to rehabilitate herself in the eyes of the world. She w i l l live a blameless l i f e from henceforth and w i l l give her husband not the slightest chance for regret, unless, perchance, her brother escapes from the prison in which he now languishes and calls upon her for aid. In that case, so great is his influence over her, that he knows she w i l l have to give i t . As the wedding procession moves along, she sits under a canopy which i s held over her by certain professors of the University 124. of Ferrara, among them one Strozzi, the Dean of Law. They cast admir-ing looks at her wonderful blonde beauty, and Strozzi wonders i f . t such a beautiful creature can possibly be so wicked as reported. As judge he condemns her, but as man he has fallen in love with her already. Behind her rides her kinswoman, Angela Borgia, a t a l l dark-eyed g i r l , with curly hair. Lucrezia, who is fond of this g i r l , has taken her out of her convent school to bring her to Ferrara as companion. She also expects to find a rich husband for her at the court here. Beside Angela rides the youngest brother of Duke AlfonstP, Don Ferrante, who has accompanied them as escort from Rome, and, as they ride, he gives her a rather uncomplimentary account of his family. We learn that there are two other brothers. The second eldest, and the cleverest of them a l l is Ippolyto, the cardinal, the diplomat of the family. The third, Don Giulio, is a drunkard and a wastrel, who for some nameless crime is now in prison. He is noted for his extremely beautiful eyes, according to Don Ferrante, the only good thing about him. Don Ferrante says she will shortly see him, for one of the customs; of Ferrara i s that,after such a wedding procession, a l l the prisons are opened and the inmates allowed to go free. Angela, though a Borgia, has, like Iphigenia, had no share in the iniquity of her house. A3 both her parents were dead, she had been brought up in a convent, and when she had seen the nuns shuddering over some particular^horrible deed, done by some member of her family, she had tried to atone for i t by imposing 3ome grievous penance on herself. Her innate purity of character instinctively re-125. coiled from Don Giulio, as he approached her, when the prisons were opened, even though his beautiful eyes, as he looked up, were f u l l of a strange charm. But she was severity personified. She drew herself up and said!: "God have mercy on you, Don Giulio, May God pity you." Lucre-feia drew her hastily away, and even the bold Don Giulio lost his composure for the moment. Thus is described the f i r s t meeting of the hero and heroine. The next chapter opens after a period of two years,in a park in the same Belriguardo, where Goethe's Tasso opens. Lucrezia and the Venetian ambassabor, Bembo, are talking together. We learn that he i s leaving Ferrara because he has fallen in love with her, and he knows that, i f he stays, he wi l l only expose both of them to danger time from her husband's jealousy. Thus a second/Meyer illustrates the historic fact of Lucrezia's power to bewitch almost every man she met. Bembo is an extraordinarily clever man and an acute observer, and now he gives her some good advice. She has won her husband's love, he says, and must do nothing to lose i t . Therefore, i f her brother, Caesafc, escapes from his prison - and there are rumors that he has escaped - she should throw herself on her husband's protection. He knows, however, that she wi l l not take his advice, for her brother has such power over her that she w i l l obey his c a l l , even at the risk of his husband's dis-pleasure. Lucrezia turned his words lightly aside, and drawing forward Angela, who was by her side, she said: "Give me some advice for one who is in greater danger than I." We soon learn what that danger i s . The Cardinal has fallen in love with Angela, and knowing the character of 126. the man, they fear that he will go to any lengths to win her. A screaming vulture rises and circles over their meadow, and with this symbolic omen Meyer introduces the Cardinal, the e v i l genius of the piece. Lucrezia, to see how he wi l l react to the news, t e l l s him of her matrimonial plans for Angela. She proposes to wed her to the rich Count Contrario, who is engaged in a law-suit with the family over some disputed lands. She will settle the lawsuit and Angela's future at the same time, by marrying the two of them, and giving Angela the disputed lands for dowry. The Cardinal, however, is openly scornful. He con-fesses publicly his love for Angela, who, he says, w i l l never consent to be a mere figure in the reckoning of Contrario's account. There is one thing, however, that he dreads more, and that i s her unconscious love for the beautiful eyes of his scoundrel brother, Don Giulio. She may deny i t and suppress i t as she w i l l , but i t is there, and that is one thing he passionately asserts he w i l l never allow. He may not be able to have her, but he w i l l see to i t that Don Giulio does not. The very thought of him should be degrading to her. His jealous anger is interrupted by a summons from the Duke, and they a l l walk through the sweltering July heat to the castle. Meanwhile from another direction two young men, Herkules Strozzi and Giulio d'Bste are approaching the Duke's party. The two friends are both extremely handsome young men, for whom l i f e seems open-ing up, f u l l of enjoyment. From their conversation we learn that Don Giulio, for another particularly foolish escapade, has been banished 127. by his brother, the Duke, to Venict, and must leave Ferrara that very night. We learn also of Strozzi'e infatuation for Lucrezia, against which he struggles but which he cannot overcome. Angela is also mentioned, and we get an idea of Giulio's feelings towards her. He professes i n d i f f e r -ence, but since that day she had judged him, he has never been able to get her out of his mind. He says: "Seit jenem Tage, bin ich nicht mehr derselbe. Meine Sinne taumeln, und wie ein Easender, suche, wechsle ich Mund und Becher, und habe nur einen Wunsch, dasz jene, die sich feindselig und kalt von mir abwendet, mir noch einmal ihr hellflammandes Antlitz zukehre, und mich noch einmal bedrohe ... noch starker als daserstemal ... Doch ich rede Unsinn. Sendet mich nach Venedig. We can guess that the Cardinal was right, and that he and Angela are beginning to love each other. The two men part and Strozzi goes on alone. Giulio throws himself down beside the cool waters of the fountain of Neptune to make up his arrears of sleep after a riotous night. He i s watched by a fellow called Kratzkralle, whom he recognizes as one of the hangers-on of the Cardinal, and from him we learn that the Cardinal keeps in his pay a band of seven cut-throats, who for money are prepared to co'nnnit any villany, and whom the villagers c a l l the Cardinal's seven deadly sins. The Duke has ordered them to be disbanded, but the Cardinal takes his time about i t . The tired Giulio, however, undeterred by the neighbour-hood of Kratzkralle, f a l l s asleep, and has a symbolic dream in which he suffers blindness so real and profound that he wakes up, streaming with fear, to the great dismay of Kratzkralle, who advises him to seek a 128. cloister at once, for he thinks such dreams can come only from a~bad conscience. Giulio then hurries to the castle and meets his friends Strozzi and Bembo coming out, after an interview with the Duke. Strozzi is extremely angry, for the Duke has talked very plainly to him, t e l l i n g him what w i l l happen i f he persists in his sinful infatuation for Lucrezia. He forecasts that, i f ever her "brother Caesar escapes, she w i l l use Strozzi as a tool, and then he;, the Duke, w i l l have to take Strozzi's l i f e for treachery. A l l this actually happens in the future, hut Strozzi w i l l take no warnings now. He attempts to warn Don Giulio, however, to leave the palace at once, for he feels that great danger l i e s in wait for him. But Giulio w i l l not he warned, either, and goes on in to the Palace to talk to his brothers, the Duke and the Cardinal. Here he is again solemnly warned by the Cardinal to have nothing whatever to do with Angela. Don Giulio swears that Angela des-pises him, and that he does not love her, so the Cardinal has no cause for jealousy, but the Cardinal's rage grows to such a point that he almost screams at his brother to get out of his sight at once, or some-thing dreadful will happen to him. The Duke, however, intervenes and just then Don Ferrante enters, and mockingly calls his three brothers to the Park, where the ladies are. But Ferrante entices Don Giulio into the woods, so only the Duke and the Cardinal reach the ladies. They find them being enter-tained by a Persian, Ben Eaim, who is- t e l l i n g stories. One of these i s an eastern legend about the Christ, who finds some good in every one, 129. and had a good word for even a dead dog, the lowest of the low, in Oriental countries. Finding nothing else to praise, he praised i t s white teeth. The story seems to affect Lucrezia very strongly, for the tears come to her eyes, and the rest of the party think she is affected hy the oppressive weather, for the sultriness has become almost unbear-able. A storm i s rapidly coming up, another example of Meyer's favorite devices of showing nature in harmony with the coming tragedy. Then Eon Ferrante comes and says Don Giulio w i l l be along soon, when he has finished f l i r t i n g with the gardener's daughter, whom he has met on the way. The Cardinal suggests that even the C h r i 3 t could find nothing good in Don Giulio, looking towards Angela as he jeeringly makes his halteful remarks. But she detests the Cardinal and is stung to reply "Yes, he has beautiful eyes. You would surely leave him that." "Would I?" he asks. Then he slinks into the woods, and calls his cut-throats and when he comes back a fearful deed has been planned. Suddenly a dreadful despairing cry is heard, and the poet Ariosto goes to seek his friend. He leads him back, a l l covered with blood, reeling and stumbling in his blindness, for his eyes have been put out. He f a l l s at the Cardinal's feet, and buries his bloody head in the purple cloak . "0 warum rafubst du mir d<as Licht?" he says, "Was ninmst du mijs das a l l und einzige weg, das ich war ... ein in der Sonne Atmender ... Du, der du Alles bist und hast: dem ich Wichts nahm und Kichts neidete ... Ich winde mich vor dir wie ein blinder Wurm. Bruder ze r t r i t t mich. Tflte mich ganz."^ 1. Angela Borgia 92 130. The Cardinal gave the ancient excuse, which only Angela heard. "Wichj; ich, ... Das Weib verfuhrte raich ... Sie lobte deine Augen." Then the fainting Giulio i s taken away, and the company scatters before the oncoming storm. Meyer's description of i t is magni-ficent. "Jetzt rfltete ein B l i t z den gefesselten Amor. WindstJJsze sausten durch den Wald und beugten die Wipfel der Baflme. Bald war der Himmel lauter Lohe und die Luft voiler Donnergetb*sze. . Dann stitrzten die finsteren Wolken auf die Brde, und schwere Regen wuschen und tiberschwemmten die, mit Blut und Sunde befleckten Garten." This is the climax of the piece, and occurs at the end of the sixth chapter, at the very middle of the story, which has twelve chapters. Meyer has not forgotten his love for symmetrical construction. Chapter seven is taken up with a description of the l i f e of Don Giulio after his blinding. He is taken to his estate at 'Pratello, and l e f t very much to himself, as the time-serving courtiers, thinking he is in disgrace, do not v i s i t him. For beyond banishing the Cardinal from his presence for a time, the Duke does not punish him for his awful crime. The Cardinal, however, has retired to his palace, and i t is reported soon after that he is very i l l . The steps in Don Giulio's recovery are very skilfully, drawn. After the f i r s t fearful days of darkness and despair, he began to seek his garden, where he sa.t. in the sun, trying to feel the rays, which he could no longer see, or stretching himself in the grass, and burying his face in the cooling leaves. He had only two visitors, the poet JAraosto and his 131. younger brother, Ferrante. The helpful ministrations of Ariosto, for whom Meyer had the warmest admiration, are most beautifully described, and we must remember, too, that this i s a l l historic. First they had long talks together about a f f l i c t i o n and suffering, and how brave men ought to bear them. Then Ariosto read to him some chapters from his own heroic poem the ORLANDO FURIOSO, and from other poets, t i l l "sich nach und nach das Donkel heller farbte, und in der entzuckten Seele des Blinden eine Sonne aufging." Then he tried to read him a poem of joy, but Don Giulio l a i d his hand on the page. "Das i s t nichts fttr einen Blinden" he said. "Da weinte der Poet innerlich uber diese Abwendung von der Freude." But gradually Don Giulio awakened to the fact that there were others on his estate, simple souls who longed to serve him, for his misfortune had awakened the sympathy of his vassels, and they forgot a l l his former wildness. Gradually he became aware of their existence, t i l l at last he could distinguish their voices and talk to them, and their artless sympathy soothed him. Ariosto soon observed that he began to enroll himself in another c i r c l e , "unter einer andern Menschenklasse, als die war, welcher er bisher angehflrt hatte, in derjenigen der UnglUcklichen und Leidenden, der Benachteiligten und Enterbten, in einem Lebenskreise, der offenbar unter andern Bedingungen stand, und andern Gesetzen folgte, als die Vollsinnigen und zum Genusse Berechtigten."^ And gradually he came to blame not fate, nor the hatred of men, but himself, for his dreadful punishment. As the author says: 1. Angela Borgia 101 132. "Wenn in des Dichters sonst so hellen Bildern mitunter die Nemesis waltete ... wie„bisweilen ja auch in der wirklichen Welt, laut dem Sprichwort, die Strafe der Missetat auf dem Ftisze folgt-dann versank Don Guilio in Nachdenken." Don Ferrante's influence, however, was not so beneficent as that of the poet. He continually tried to s t i r up trouble between Giulio and his two elder brothers, and kept reminding him of his horrible wrong, which had never been punished. He sought to enlist his aid in fomenting an uprising of the people against the Duke. For the unpunished outrage on Don Giulio has 3 t i i r r e d the people's feelings to such an extent against the Dpke and the Cardinal that a rebellion could easily have been fanned into flame. Don Giulio was averse to bloodshed, and at f i r s t did not l i s t e n to his brother's arguments, but gradually he was being won over. One occurence decided him. This was Angela's v i s i t . Ever since that dreadful day, she had f e l t herself partly responsible for Don Giulio's misfortune, for had she not praised his eyes to the Cardinal? She determined to v i s i t him secretly, so rode over one day to Pratello, and sat down on a stone bench in the beautiful park. Soon she saw Don Giulio approaching, carefully tended by his servants. He did not walk like a blind man, and stumbled only once, as he approached her bench, where, not knowing of her presence, he sat down. Then he began to compose a l i t t l e poem, after the manner of Dante's INFERNO in which he put the blind in the lowest circ l e of misery. Angela could stand i t no longer, but threw herself at 1. Angela Borgia 102 133. his feet, and wet his hand with her tears. She asked his pardon for having caused his blindness by praising the beauty of his eyes. He tried to comfort her, but rushed away overcome with grief, and the ser-vants had to help him home. The more he thought over Angela's misery and his own, the angrier he became, t i l l at last he sent a note to Don Perrante, stating that he was ready to join the conspiracy against his two brothers at any time. The note f e l l into the hands of the Duke and soon the two brothers were lodged in prison. In chapter eight we have an account of their l i f e in prison. After a form of t r i a l they were judged guilty and sentenced to death on the scaffold. But no fixed time was set, and this waiting for death was harder to bear than the reality. At f i r s t Don Giulio had wept like a child. Then when he could weep no more, he begged for a c e l l to himself, for he could not bear his brother's cynical bitterness. His request was granted, and he was also allowed the ministrations of his old priest from Pratello, Father Mamette, another of Meyer's portrayals of an attractive Catholic character. Don Giulio, who had never listened to him before, listened now. As Meyer says: "Nun lasse et sich von dem Franziskaner, der seit Jahren aber frtther vergeblich an seinem Gewissen gerttttelt, auf ein christliches Ende vorbereiten, das er eher ersehne als ffirchte, da, wie er sage, das einzige Licht, das ihm in seine Nacht heruntergestrecht werden ktfnne, das ewige sei."^" He also asked for some work to do in his prison, and was taught how to weave straw rugs. Soon he became quite skilful at 1. Angela Borgia 124 134. this task, and long hours of his prison time were passed at this mono-tonous occupation. We are also told how his vassals at Pratello held him in loving remembrance, for "auf dem dunlceln Hintergrund seines Unglucks, das Grundbild seines warmen und ehrlichen Gemutes fesselnd und blendend hervortrat." Meanwhile the chief sinner, the Cardinal, was struggling with a deadly illness, alone in his palace. In his delirium he had horrible feverish dreams, in which a l l the persons he had murdered passed before him, but the worst vision was one with bloody, empty eyeballs. The tortures of a wicked conscience could not be better described. After days of delirium, he f i n a l l y came to himself, to find his brother, the Duke, beside his bed. The Duke was overjoyed at his recovery, for the Cardinal's clever advice had made him almost indis-pensable in the government. He himself knew, however, that he must leave Ferrara, for his last crime had made further residence there impossible, so he decided to accept an invitation from Duke Sforza of Milan, to go to his court for a time. However, he promised to stay long enough to help the Duke out of one d i f f i c u l t y . That was the escape of Caesar Borgia from his prison, about which a l l Italy was talking. Gradually the Cardinal recovers enough to take short walks through his rooms every day, and one day his glance rests on a particularly well-made straw mat on which he i s walking. When he enquires about i t , and finds i t was made by his brother, Giulio, he f a l l s fainting to the floor. 135. In the ninth chapter, we have a description of the room in which the death warrant of the two brothers is about to be signed, and on the walls are two symbolic pictures, after Meyer's most characteristic style. One is that of the Roman Empress, T u l l i a , who rides with her chariot over the dead body of her murdered father. The other is that of Romulus, who has just k i l l e d Remus, his brother, and, underneath the pictures were the seats for Lucrezia and the Duke. Just outside, in the courtyard, workmen are hammering upon a scaffold as Angela enters dressed in mourning. She shudders as she looks out on the black scaffold, now lightly covered with f a l l i n g snow. Then the door opens and Herkules Strozzi comes in with the death warrants. Angela protests to him that a grave injustice is being done, but Strozzi excuses the Duke, who must in his sacred person protect the rights of a l l governments and prevent the spread of rebellion and conspiracy. Then the Duke and Lucrezia enter and take their chairs beneath the pictures. But before the Duke can sign the warrants, Angela throws herself at his feet, taking a l l the blame upon herself, since i t was she who had given the Cardinal his devilish idea. They are interr-upted by the entrance of the Cardinal himself, thin and worn almost to a skeleton. Angela reproaches him for causing so much bloodshed upon the earth, instead of the peace of the Nazarene, his Master. The Cardinal's reply i s characteristic of the "Renaissanzmensch' and again shows Meyer's Protestantism. It i s almost like that of Father T e l l i e r , in DIE LEIDEN EINES ENABEN : 136. "Was weisz man von dem Nazarener? Was man von seinen Heden und Taten erzShlt i s t unglaublich und unwichtig. Ich kenne ihn nicht. Wird ein Gott gekreuzigt? ... Ich weisz nur von dem durch die Kirche in den Himmel erhBhten K6*nig, von dem durch die Theologie geschaffenen zweiten Gotte der Dreifaltigkeit. Sein der Himmel, Unser die Erde. Unser is t hier die Gewalt, und das Reich. Und es i s t Herrscherpflicht, das SchHdliche und Unntitze, das uns widersteht, zu vernichten. And yet this man is a Cardinal in the Catholic church. However, he, too, begs for no more bloodshed, and to please him, the Duke changes the sentence to life-imprisonment, and they a l l step out on the balcony to announce the sentence to the prisoners. But Don Ferrante-will not accept his l i f e from the Duke, and takes poison on the scaffold. As his body is carried away they turn to Don Giulio. He accepts the g i f t of l i f e with a better grace. His speech is well worth quoting, and shows how far his conversion has progressed. He says: "Herzog, ich bin dankbarer fur das Leben. Nicht wie Don Ferrante vergelt' ich deine Gabe. Ich habe den Reichtum meines Daseins wie ein Unsinniger verschwendet. Nun ich blind bin, und unter die Srmsten der Armen gehtJre, schtttze ich das JAlmosen, und halte es teuer. Ich bin von den Reichen zu den Armen gegangen. Ich bin gesttirzt und an der andern Seite der Kluft emporgeklomraen, welche die Genussenden und Satten der Erde von den Hungrigen und den Durstenden trennt; Die Freude und ihre Genossen habe ich verlassen, Ich gehe zu den Leidensbrttdern. Ja, redlich leiden und dulden w i l l ich, und darum dank ich fur das neue Leben."2 Then he is led back to his prison, accompanied toy Father Mamette, and Angela hastens to drop a rose in his path as he passes under 1. Angela Borgia 143 2. Ibid 148 137. her window, a blessing of God, as Father Mamette says, which accompanies him to his prison. He holds i t up and calls to Angela: "Ich grttsze dich, geliebtes Ungluck." But Lucrezia has learned of the escape of her brother Caesar from prison, and at once plans how she can make a tool of her infatuated admirer, Strozzi, and send him with aid to Caesar, though she knows i t means his almost certain death. A l l happens just as the Duke had forecast. Both he and the Cardinal know that she is plotting, and take means to circumvent her. The wily Cardinal reads a l l her letters and 3pys on her actions, and she knows nothing of i t . The Duke goes off to battle and leaves her as his regent. She makes an excellent regent, though a l l the time she is plotting how to aid her brother. Al l along the Duke knows of her machinations through the Cardinal, but he loves her, and knows she cannot help herself. It is interesting to see how Meyer explains her actions. "Der Herzog," he says," wuszte dasz die kluge und reizende Lucrezia, bei der Annaherung Caesars ihrer selbst nicht mehr machtig war, und wieder in den Bann ihres altes Wesens, ihrer ficBhern Natur gezogen, schuldvoll und schuldlos siindigte."! Here i s Meyer's idea of predestination carried to i t s greatest extreme. The scene where, in the presence of Angela, she sends Strozzi to her brother, and to his own death, is extremely dramatic. Strozzi wants a reward, but gets nothing but a Medusa-like stare when he suggests i t , yet he goes blindly to his doom. Angela cannot under-1. Angela Borgia 160 138. stand i t and says: "Kit einem unttberlegten Worte hate ich einen Menschen gehlendet, und kann es nie verwinden. Diese aher lSchelt indem sie einen Menschen flberlegterweise i n den sichern Tod sendet." 1 There could he no stronger contrast. Fortunately, Caesar Borgia i s k i l l e d while storming a fort, and so Lucrezia is freed from her incubus. The Duke is present when she receives the newsof his death, and now she throws herself on his mercy, confesses her sin, and is freely forgiven. He even offers to forgive Strozzi, i f he will remain away from Ferrara, but the poor infatuated moth must f l y towards the flame. He cannot stay away from Lucrezia, and so the Duke gives him a violent death. Angela, who by chance has overheard their last interview, and his death-cry a few minutes afterwards, can no longer contain herself, and hurries to the near-by convent of Klarissa, where Lucrezia has gone to pray for the soul of her brother. On her way she sees a procession in the midst of which is Don Giulio, who is being led to a forsaken ivy-covered tower in the convent grounds, which is henceforth to be his prison. When she enters the convent she finds Lucrezia sleeping peacefully, with the smile of an innocent child on her l i p s , and yet she had just sent a man who had loved her to his death, while poor Angela could not sleep because she had unwittingly caused a man to be blinded. As she looked at Lucrezia she was forced to say: "Wie bin ich eine andere J" The last chapter opens after five years have passed away. 1. Angela Borgia 166 139. We learn that the murder of Strozzi has gone unavenged, the Duke even attending the funeral, as one of the chief mourners. And then, for the f i r s t time, we learn that Strozzi has been married a l l the time, a rather strange oversight on Meyer's part, and one which would not have occurred in one of his earlier Novellen. V/e learn, too, how Ariosto consoled Barbara T o r e l l i , the beautiful and at f i r s t inconsolable widow of his dead friend, and how he eventually married her. A l l this is quite historic, Don Giulio was s t i l l incarcerated in the 'forgotten tower' where Angela had by chance seen him imprisoned, and hi3 existence there, too, was almost forgotten. Even the clever Lucrezia knew nothing of i t , though she was accustomed, for the good of her soul, to spend a few days now and then in the convent of the nuns at Klarissa, and Angela always accompanied her, for she liked the ministrations of the good Father Mamette, who was also Don Giulio's 'Beichtvater.' Though Don Giulio was apparently forgotten, yet there were many people interested i n him. First there was his friend, Ariosto, who devoted one of the Cantos of his ORLANDO FURIOSO to his blind friend. And one day appeared the ancient Mirabili, an old teacher of the Duke and Don Giulio, who was f i l l e d with admiration for the ancient stoic philo-sophy, which taught men how to bear suffering with dignity and fortitude. With the Duke's permission he endeavoured to impart this love to Don Giulio, with, however, scant success. The ministrations of the good Father Mamette brought him much greater comfort. This man showed him that only when one had reached 140. the lowest depths of human misery could one completely renounce earthly happiness, and let the heavenly happiness enter his soul. Even the selfish indulgence in his own grief must he renounced if? possible. We are told that "das Geheimnis des heiligen Franziskaners drang in eine Tiefe seiner Lebensdtlrstigen Seele, die weder Ariost noch Mirab i l i , weder der Dichter noch der Philosoph hatten erreichen kSnnen." Owing to the too close confinement, however, the health of poor Giulio has begun to f a i l , but when Mirabili tried to c a l l the Duke's attention to this the results were disastrous for Giulio, for his confinement was only made a l l the closer. We learn that the pedantic Count Contrario has s t i l l continued to woo Angela. He would have preferred her lands without her, but wanted them at any price, even with her included. Angela despised him, and would have nothing to do with his wooing, but he has never lost hope. We also get a glimpse into the soul of Lucrezia, and i t is interesting to note the difference between her conversion,•••. i f such i t might be called, and that of Don Giulio. She thought she had rehabilitated herself with the world, and now tried to make her peace with heaven. Every few weeks, she spent some time with the nuns at Klarissa, doing penance. Remembering her former crimes, she sought reconciliation with heaven by a l l the rites and formulas of the church, though, as Meyer says: 1. Angela Borgia 20E 141. "Nur der Verdamnis zu entgehen hoffte sie, und mit Hilfe der kirchlichen Bettungsmittel einen untersten Eaum des Pege-feuers au gewinnen. Einmal dort, so uberredete sich die Kluge in liebenswtirdiger Torheit, wurde es ihr durch die Verraittelung der Heiligen gelingen, eine hflhere Stufe zu erreichen." 1 The chapter ends with a touching l i t t l e love story, in which we learn that Don Giulio and Angela have been united in marriage by the good Father Mamette. Only by chance does Lucrezia learn that Angela so loves IGiulio that she i s ready to follow him to prison and to death. At f i r s t she i s angry, for she sees that her plans for Angela's marriage with Count Contrario are a l l upset. But when she hears how Don Giulio's 'liebes Ungluck' has become his chief happiness and that Father Mamette , in the service of a higher power, and to save poor Don Giulio's l i f e , has married them, she promises to use her good offices with the Duke on their behalf. Then comes a letter from the Cardinal, who is dying, and his remorse is so great that he wishes Don Giulio freed from his prison before he-dies. The last scene, i n which the Duke is reconciled to Don Giulio and the latter sentenced to perpetual banishment on his estate at Pratello with his wife Angela as guardian, brings the tale to a happy ending. When..the disappointed Count Contrario reproaches Don Giulio with selfishness, in tying himself in his blindness to a beautiful young g i r l , he says "Graf, sie nahm mir die Augen, und gibt mir dafttr die ihrigen. Sie gibt gern, und ich nehme gern. Sie i s t selig im Geben und ich imNehmen." 1. Angela Borgie 210 2. Ibid 232 142. And thus a beautiful love-story comes to a close, with one of the few happy endings to be found in Meyer's works. It i s not without significance that he ends his work in a happy vein, when his own s p i r i t i s so soon to be plunged in darkness, for shortly after this: he was seized with a return of the old malady, and this time he never completely recovered. As the story of a conversion, i t has scarcely a peer in a l l literature, for a l l the steps are clearly shown in Don Giulio's progress 'from darkness to light', for only when his eyes were closed to the earthly light did for him'the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his Wings.' 143. A DISCUSSION OF MEYER, THE ARTIST. (1) HIS TECHNIQUE AND STYLE Meyer's prose works are almost entirely confined to one particular genre, the Novelle, or short-story, and to a restricted part of that genre, the Novelle which treats of history. The short story i s a form of proserwriting which has developed within the last hundred years, and has now become the form of story-telling most characteristic of our century. Many great authors, such as Edgar Allan Poe in America, De Maupassant in France, and Kipling in England, have given to the world short stories of outstanding merit, but i t remains for Meyer alone to be preeminent in the unique f i e l d of the short story in which the scenes are l a i d in a bygone age. To do this sort of thing well is a matter of extreme d i f f i c u l t y , which perhaps gives the reason why so few authors have attempted i t . "Die Novelle," says Meyer's contemporary, Theodor Storm, " i s t die strengste und geschlossenste Form der Prosadichtung, die Schwester des Dramas, und es kommt nur auf den Autor an, darin das HOchste der Poesie zu leisten." But these very d i f f i c u l t i e s , - i t s conciseness of form and omission of a l l irrevelant details - i t s single outstanding incident or character to which everything i n the story points, -and, added to these the problem of dealing with historic personnages and events, where the story i s compelled to follow to a greater or less e xtent the known facts of history, - a l l these were the very things suited to Meyer's peculiar habit of mind. He had a sensitive and r e t i r -ing disposition, disinclined to come to grips directly with l i f e ' s problems, and feared a harsh judgment as one fears a blow, so to avoid 144. direct c r i t i c i s m , his characters, though e n t i r e l y modern i n the i r reactions to l i f e , are viewed by him through .the medium of history, and the setting i s that of a bygone age. Only i n JENATSCH does the author depart from the Novelle-form. In t h i s novel he deals with a whole period of Swiss history, and i t may be called the Swiss epic of the reformation and the thirty-years' war. It i s without doubt a wonderful h i s t o r i c a l novel, but i t repre-sented years and years of e f f o r t , and the fact that Meyer did not repeat i t successfully shows us that only i n the shorter Novelle-form did he find his true metier. In his l a s t story, ANGELA BORGIA, he goes back again to the methods used i n JENATSCH and makes his story cover a period of years, but, as we have seen, this story shows many signs of advanc-ing age. It i s the least perfect of them a l l . One reason for the perfection of Meyer's Novellen was the frequent use which he made of the "Rahmenezlihlung" or story within a story. It was just another device of the shy, r e t i r i n g author, who must speak to the public, not through his own, but through another man's voice. Of his ten Novellen f i v e make use of t h i s form of narrative, and these are among the very best of his works. Even i n the stories d i r e c t l y narrated there i s a tendency to employ, i n part, t h i s device. Herr Waser's narrative i n the f i r s t part of JTJRG JENATSCH i s nothing but a Rahmenerzahlung, and Stemma's dream i n DIE RICHTERIN i s another example of the same thing. The tendency to use the Rahmenerzahlung was becoming so strong that i t was getting to be almost a mannerism with Meyer, so, to avoid t h i s reproach, he wrote PESCARA, just to show that 145. he could write a great story in direct narrative also. As a rule, though his stories i n direct narrative are not his best work. His nature re-quired, before he could work at a l l , a'go-between' between himself and his readers, which i s supplied by placing a long period of years and another personality between himself and his public. In an interesting letter to Betty Paoli of April 19th 1880, he himself gives some of his reasons for using the ""Rahmenerahlung". Speaking of DER HEILIGE he says: "Ein idyllischer Rahmen fur eine harte und grausame Geschichte. 2. Energische Angabe des Kostums durch ein lebendiges Stuck Mittelalter, ich meine den Armbruster mit s e i -.-n'e'mVorleben und seinen Raisonnements. 3.Scheibung der von mir an der Geschichte verttbten Frevel auf das schwache GedSchtnis eines alten Marines. 4.Die Haupt-sache, Beglaubigung durch einen Augenzeugen des rein aus meinem Gemute gehobenen in der Wirklichkeit schwer ein Analogen findenden Charakters des Heiligen."^-There is no doubt that this form of narrative gives a stronger air of probability to the story. As Maync says of i t : "Die Geschichte wird von einem der ganz Sohn seiner Zeit i s t , unmittelbar aus dieser herauserzHhlt, wShend Hauff, Laube, Dahn und andere Verfasser historischer Romane auf eine feme Vergangenheit von ihrer Gegenwart aus zuruckblicken. Mr sie i s t das ErzShlte ein Damals, fttr Meyer eine Heute oder Gestern. Durch das Mittel des vorgeschobenen ErzShlers wird die Geschichte also gerade viel unraittelbarer. Perner ermiJglicht die Einftlhrung der Augen und Ohrenzeugen es dem Dichter die Ereignisse, wie is tiberall sein ktinstlerisches Bestreben, in das Gebiet der Sicht-und-Hb*rbarkeit zu ttbertragen. " 2 His use of the RohmenerzShlung was, therefore, conscious and deliberate. 1. Maync 183 2. Ibid 184 146. Another Striking fact i s the marked improvement in the author's technique between the f i r s t of these 'Rahmenerzahlungen' and the last. In the f i r s t story of this sort, DAS AMULETT, a simple old man t e l l s a narrative of what has happened to him in his youth, and no attempt i s made to draw his character or make of him a l i v i n g person-a l i t y . Any character-drawing there i s is found in the inner story. This is the very simplest form of the Rahmenerzaliung. In DER HEILIGE the honest peasant-like character of Hans, the bowman, is drawn very clearly and artistically:/! and no.t only that of Hans, but that of Canon Burkhardt as well. We seem to be sit t i n g with both of them beside the fire on the dark winter afternoon in December, listening to Hans t e l l his tale. Here, also, we have the f i r s t example of the interweaving of the two tales, for every once in a while the old Canon interrupts to ask a question or make some remark. The PLAUTUS gives us in Poggio an excellent portrait of the clever, a r t i s t i c , and rather sceptical.man of the renaissance, and, along with him, we seem to s i t at. Cosimo di Medici's table, and share in the witty and cynical conversa-tion. In DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEN there is not only an excellent por-trayal of FagQn, the narrator, but also of the great Sun-king himself, and of his favorite, Madame de Maintenon. 3oth of them interrupt Fagon as he t e l l s the story, and sometimes the conversation forms a most interesting dialogue. But the last and greatest of a l l these delineations i s that of Dante in DIE HOCHZEIT DES MONCHES, which is one of the best examples of the RahmenerzHhlung to be found in a l l literature. Here the two 147. stories are so s k i l f u l l y interwoven, that the characters in both have the same names and characteristics, and frequently Dante is interrupted in his narrative by some pertinent remark, or some significant dialogue. Here is artistry at i t s very highest point. Perhaps the f i e l d i n which Meyer reveals himself most clearly as a great artist i s in his power of characterization. In his pages we see a l l ranks of society represented, from the throne to the dungeon, a l l types of men and women, great historic figures and characters purely imaginary, and a l l drawn with a few s k i l f u l strokes, and yet with a clearness and accuracy of detail which sloHoartc make them stand out before almost our eyes/as vividly as i f they had been carved by a sculptor. It i s this power of characterization which, as has been said once before, challenges comparison with Shakespeare. Shakespeare, too, used ancient and English history as a background for his plays, and drew many a great character, historic and non-historic, just as Meyer did. To be sure Shakespeare covered a very much wider f i e l d , and made much greater use of comic characters than Meyer ever could, but, in his own limited f i e l d , Meyer's characterizations are quite the equal of Shakespeare's. . One must make one' - reservation here, however. With a few great exceptions, Meyer's women characters are by no means equal to his men. The exceptions are Stemma, Gustel Leubelfing, and Lucrezia Borgia. The latter is a particularly clever piece of character-drawing, true both as to facts of history and to l i f e . None of his men are better drawn. Stemma is perhaps less well done, but she is a great heroic figure none the less, - a strong- soul who would not yield to weakness, 148. even though assailed hy the pangs of a guilty conscience. Gustel, the page, is a delightful creation, such as Meyer must have loved to depict, for she represents his favorite type of womanhood, having a l l the quali-ties which he himself lacked. His other women characters have nothing about them to make them especially outstanding, even-'.in the case of historic figures like Lucretia Planta, Victoria Colonna, or Angela Borgia. Rahel, Gertrude and Diana are types of good honest German g i r l s i l l u s -trating the German virtues of efficiency and loyalty, while Antiope is the more sensational romantic heroine. Gasparde is the most colorless of a l l . Coming next to the great historic characters, we find that almost without exception Meyer uses one particular method to make them stand out, and that is the method of contrast, the graphic portrayal of one striking character set over against another and quite different one. For example, there is in DAS AMULETT the great Protestant hero Coligny opposed to the wily Catholic, Catherine de Medici. A Jenatsch is opposed to a Rohan, a Becket to a Henry II, a Pescara to a Moncada, a Gustavus Adolphus to a Wallenstein. In these character delineations, Meyer does not think historical accuracy of detail too important when he wants a particular effect. He adds to or subtracts a few years from a man's l i f e , without regard to the truth of history, and makes events take place in rapid succession which are really years apart. He idealizes such characters as Jenatsch, Gustavus Adolphus, Pescara and Don Giulio and i s rather too severe with others, but in the end he secures the effect which he desires, and we seem to be l i v i n g in the age which he is describing. 149. Among the most interesting of his historic characters are the three authors, Montaigne, Ariosto and Dante. His Montaigne i s quite like what we know of the historic Montaigne, the clever, l i v e l y l i t t l e Frenchman from Perigord, whose motto was neither to k i l l nor to let himself he k i l l e d i f he could help i t . That he should have come to Paris before the massacre to help his friend, Chatillon, is not historic but quite probable, for he often made trips to Paris. The author makes of Ariosto, the friend of Don Giulio, in ANGELA BORGIA a most sympathetic and truly admirable figure, such as we have no reason to doubt the real Ariosto was, while we have already mentioned more than once how out-standing was his characterization of the great poet, Dante. There i s also another Italian poet, whom Meyer mentions, but whom we do not meet. This is the venal Pietro Aretino in Pescara, to whom Meyer, characteriz-ing him with historic ascuracy, gave the task of spreading propaganda in Italy. Of his non-historic characters there are several extremely interesting, but none supreemely outstanding, the most important, perhaps, being the monk, Astorre, though Schadau and Boccard are also interesting types. Before leaving the subject of Meyer's characterization, however, there is one more point to bring out, and that is the s k i l l with which he seizes on some salient characteristic of a well-known historic hero and makes i t stand out in his story. Those who have read closely the l i f e of Louis XIV wi l l remember his fondness for open windows and fresh air, s^ Meyer makes him go at onoe and open the window, when he 150. enters the room, while Madame de Maintenon shivers. The great Charlemagne has to hand his letter to Alcuin to he read for him, for i t i s a matter of historic fact that he never learned to read. Meyer makes the tyrant Ezzolin, on more than one occasion, close the eyes of the dead, thus forecasting his future cruelty. The historic Pescara had a reputation for parsimony, and Meyer, on at least two occasions, brings that point out, only to contrast i t , no doubt, with the generosity of his g i f t to the Swiss soldier who had given him his wound at Pavia. In the same story the historic eloquence of the Chancellor Morone is brought out by Meyer with t e l l i n g effect. Closely a l l i e d to this use of contrast is Meyer's fondness for using antithesis in his plots. In the PLAUTUS, for example, the loyalty and simple religious f a i t h of the novice, Sertrude, i s opposed to the deceit and jugglery of the abbess, and even to the sophisticated atheism of Poggio himself. In DIE HOCHZEIT DES MUNCHES the rivalry of the two women, Diana and Antiope, i s one of the main forces leading to the tragedy, while in the PESCARA the representatives of the two oppos-ing powers, Spain and Italy, are brought into strong contrast, as they sue for the soul of the hero. ANGELA BORGIA is the very antithesis of Lucrezia in the matter of 'too much and too l i t t l e conscience', and the love of Don Giulio which brings him peace and happiness i s very different from the passion of Strozzi, which brings about his destruction. These antithesis are never crude and never too obvious, but subtly a r t i s t i c , and emphasize Meyer's love for proportion and balance. It was this love for proportion and balance which led Meyer, 151. at the la s t , to write stories that were so symmetrical in form as to he almost lik e a pattern on tapestry. For example, a character which has appeared at a certain distance from the beginning of a story appears again at almost the same distance from the end. Certain words and even speeches appear in almost the same relative distances from the beginning and the end of the story, and the climax appears exactly in the middle. This use of symmetrical construction was a habit which grew upon Meyer, as most of his earlier works show very l i t t l e trace of i t , though we have the three scenes of 'warning1 in Jenatsch, one of these scenes occurring in each of the three parts. To use this sort of construction properly requires an almost absolute perfection of a r t i s t i c s k i l l on the part of an author, and Meyer was not always perfectly successful. In GUSTAV ADOLF'S PAGE, for example, this endeavour to obtain symmetrical con-struction makes one of the weak points of the story, since he endeavours to bring the same persons together at the end as appeared at the beginn-ing, without sufficiently motivating their appearance. However, when he gets to the Pescara, we have one of the most unique examples in a l l literature of perfect symmetrical construction, but, as most of these examples have been mentioned in detail, when treating the Pescara story in part II, i t i s unnecessary to mention them here. This love of symmetry and proportion i s a characteristic phase of Meyer's a r t i s t i c nature. A closely related aspect was his urge to translate everything into the realms of sight and hearing. One cannot but be struck by the great use of dialogue he makes in his stories, and also by his fondness for striking tableaus. One who did 152. not know i t already could easily infer from his stories that he had stud-ied art in his youth. And these exquisite word-pictures usually come at some dramatic moment, at some climax in the story, and forever f i x i t in the memory. For example, in DAS AMULET' we have an unforgettable picture of Catherine di Medicii and her two sons standing on the balcony overlook-ing the Seine, waiting for the signal which is to start the massacre of St. Bartholomew. Or we have the picture of Becket prostrated with grief before the tomb of his murdered child, or the sun shining through the church window on the dead Gustavus Adolphus, and sparing a ray for the page lying at his feet, or Jenatsch in the light of his burning home striding forward with a face stony with grief, and bearing in his arms the body of his murdered wife. Eaample after example could be given, for the Novellen are f u l l of them. In Part 11 our attention has been called a great msny times to Meyer's use of symbolism, so i t w i l l only be necessary to give one or two examples of this expedient here. Jurg Jenatsch is k i l l e d before the statue of Jus'titia, symbolizing that he has died justly for the murder of Planta. In DER HEILIGE we have the very important symbol of the cracking of the great seal of England when Becket gives i t into Henry's hands, symbolic of the coming division of his kingdom. Meyer is particularly fond of symbolic pictures, such as the 'Sacrifice of Isaac' in Gustav Adolph's Page, or Pescara and Victoria playing chess, or the Roman murdress, T u l l i a , under whose picture is the chair i n which Lucrezia Borgia s i t s . With the numerous examples already given, enough has been said to show just what is meant by Meyer's "symbolism." 153. One of the characteristics which must strike a l l readers of Meyer's stories is his extreme conciseness, and this alone contributes not a l i t t l e to the artistry of his work, as wi l l be seen when we compare the length of his historical Novellen to the appalling length of many contemporary German writers of historical romances, - some of those of Laube or Gutzkow, for example, running to as many as nine volumes for one story. It was precisely this necessity of his for conciseness which led Meyer to choose the Novelle for his medium, for the Novelle i s a form of romance writing which presents the same d i f f i c u l t i e s and has the same advantages as has the sonnet in the realm of poetry. It demands of necessity that i t be built around some main incident toward which every-thing else must point and very rarely can any irrelevant matter be introduced which i s not calculated to strengthen and deepen this impression. The greatest danger, however, which an author who uses such an extremely concise style has to face i s that of becoming obscure, and Meyer has been reproached, even as was the English poet Browning, with being obscure and hard to read. We know that the chief reason for Brown-ing's obscurity was that he presumed his readers to have read as widely as himself on a l l sorts of out-of-the-way subjects, and to possess know-ledge which even the very best educated persons do not always possess. Meyer makes the same error, i f error i t can be called. He often expects his readers to be familiar with various obscure points i n early Swiss history, or in the history of the Italian renaissance, for example,-a familiarity which, as a matter of fact, even professional historians 154. do not always posses, unless they have read widely in that particular f i e l d . So in reading Meyer's works a good glossary or commentary on the text i s almost a necessity, otherwise the ordinary reader is hound to miss, through lack of knowledge, some of the author's very best points. This i s no doubt the chief reason why Meyer's works can never become popular among the common people, like those of Gottfried Keller, but must depend for their clientele upon only the best educated people. However, to some minds the very d i f f i c u l t y of the approach to his works constitutes one of their chief charms, for, after the hard outer shell of the nut has been eitacked, the inside kernel is so very worth while. His works are like a gold mine where the gold i s so buried in the rock that i t is a d i f f i c u l t and expensive job to smelt i t , but after the hard work is a l l done, the residue of pure gold l e f t behind i s very valuable. One of the d i f f i c u l t i e s which an English reader has in read-ing Meyer is a peculiarity of style which he shares with many other German writers, but which is used by him so frequently as to be almost a manner-ism. This is his habit of using long p a r t i c i p i a l phrases to modify his nouns, instead of using an adjective, or a qualifying phrase or clause as an English author would do. One can pick up any one of his prose-works at random and find examples of this on almost every page; for example: "Der Herzog hatte seine Blicke voller Gttte auf die schweigend und bescheiden vor ihm stehende Biindnerin gerichtet." (Jenatsch). "Die auf der Ebene gellende Peldmusik und die ttberall marchierenden Truppen verrieten ihm den Beginn des Feldzuges." (Pescara). "der finstern Stadtmauern zugewendeten 6'ffnung.' (Der Heilige). Apart from this 155. almost excessive condensation, Meyer's style is usually quite clear and direct. We nave already called attention in Part 11 to the author's fondness for emphasizing the 'Leitmotiv* of his story i n every conceiv-able way. His tales are almost like Wagnerian dramas in this respect. Numerous examples have already been given, but we w i l l add a few for il l u s t r a t i o n . The tragic fate of Hilda in DER HEIL1GE is a forecast of the tragedy which is later to happen to Grace. The hatred of Bertram de Born for Henry is another variation of the same feeling in the soul of Becket. In DIE RICHTERIN we have Paustine's remorse, and that of Wulfrin when he finds out his sinful love for one whom he supposes to be his sister. Both of these are impelled to open confession, as contrasted with Stemma, whose remorse leads her to conceal her crime. In GUSTAV ADOLF'S PAGE, where the chief theme is the danger run by a g i r l disguised as a man, we have the incident of the courtesan being whipped out of the camp, the incident of Corinne, and the incident of Jacob Heinrichs, a l l variations of the same theme. In PESCARA, where this device is particu-l a r l y noticeable, i t is interesting to note how many various forms of treachery are touched upon: the treachery of Del Quasto to Julia, the treachery of the Bourbon to France, the treachery of Moncada to Pescara, a l l emphasising the main theme of Pescara's possible treachery to his emperor. This desire to emphasize the main theme of his stories in so many pointed ways is one of Meyer's very unique characteristics. It i s interesting to note the part which descriptions of natural scenery play in his works. Por him they are never an end in them-156. selves, but are only used as a harmonising background for some human situation. They are never merely decorative, and do not occur too often, but when they do occur they are always vividly given, and serve to empha-size or to harmonize with some deep human emotion. His l i t t l e touches in describing nature in her more cheerful moods are usually wonderfully happy, particularly when he i s describing his native Swiss scenery. Por example, note how he appeals both to ear and eye in this description of Zurich Lake on a lovely sunny Sunday morning. The quotation is from DER SCHUSZ VON DSR KANZEL:" Es war ein himmlischer, innig blauer Tag, und das nun halb verwehte und vollhallende Gelfiute aller Seeglocken drang in die Traumkammer." His best descriptions though are found where he makes nature harmonize with the more sombre moods of his characters. For example, as Henry rides sadly away after his f u t i l e meeting with Becket in France, a cold autumn wind drives snow flakes towards him across the grey heath. In DIE RICHTERIN which is particularly f u l l of this natural symbolism, we find Wulfrin, after he finds that he i s sinfully in love with Palma, struggling with a fearful storm of wind and rain as he makes his way homeward, the storm in nature harmonizing with the storm in his heart. In ANGELA BORGIA the blinding of Don Giulio takes place just before a dreadful thunder storm. Even i n his l y r i c a l poetry Meyer usually makes no attempt to describe nature as an end in i t s e l f , but always gives i t some connection with man and his feelings. The connection i s sometimes rather subtle, but i t is usually there. Take, for example, the well-known l y r i c : 157. Ewig jung iat nur die Sonne Heute fanden meine Schritte mein vergessnes Jugendtal, Seine Sohle lag vertfdet, seine Berge standen kahl. Meine BSume, meine Traume, meine buchendunkeln HOhn Ewig jung i s t nur die Sonne, sie a l l e i n i s t ewig schBn . DrSben dort in schilf'gem Grunde, wo die mude Lache lte.gt, Hat zu meiner Jugendstunde sich lehend 'ge Flut gewiegt, Durch die Heiden, durch die Weiden ging ein wandernd'HerdgetSn-Ewig jung i s t nur die Sonne, sie a l l e i n i s t ewig schfln.l Here a l l the natural descriptions only serve to add force and poignancy to the grief of a human soul, who has returned to the scenes of child -hood only to find that everything hut the sun has changed. The essential artistry of Meyer's nature is shown again in his choice of words. His language i s always chaste and restrained, the words carefully chosen, hut without affectation. He i s never rhetori-cal and never seeks for high-sounding expressions as an end i n themselves. His well-known love of harmony and proportion always leads him to the choice of exactly the right word or phrase, and in the end his work has the polish and fini s h of a beautiful piece of sculpture. The last thing we wi l l mention in connection with Meyer's style i s his passion for dramatic effects. We hava already noted how some of his stories have a l l the characteristics of the stage drama, being divided by chapters into acts, and having an exposition, ascending action, climax, descending action and final catastrophe, just as in a drama. In fact he actually wrote dramas, but soon found that what was not his f i e l d . The question i s often asked why Meyer did not succeed as a dramatist when his Novellen were so nearly lik e dramas. Linden 1. Meyer's Gedichte 83 158. has attempted to answer this question, and his answer is worth quoting in f u l l : "Drama i s t Miterleben, laute Gegenwart, stSrkster Affekt, der ungehemmt aushricht, - es i s t Mimik der Erregung, Kampf, Gegensatz, Leiden, Untergang. Es war nach dem innersten Gesetze der Meyerschen Natur unm8glich, den dramatischen Gehalt seines Werkes, der alle diese Merkmale zeigt, in dramatischer F o r m zu gestalten. Er, der nach Gestalt und Allseitigkeit verlangte, muszte den hewegten Gehalt mit einer ruhigen OberflSche verhullen: er muszte e p i s c h e Form wMhlen. Epos i s t nacher-lehen, Vergangenheit, ruhige Darstellung, es i s t Plastik, Anschaulichkeit, Objektivitat, es i s t Verso*hnung und Klarheit. Goethe hat den Unterschied gegenuber Schiller dahin formuliert, 'dasz der Epiker die Begehenheit als vollkommen vergangen vortrflgt und der Dramatiker sie als volkommen gegenwSrtig darstellt. 'Fur Meyer g i l t weder eines noch das andere ausschlieszlich, er giht die Gegenwart im Kleide der Vergangenheit, dramatischen Gestalt in epischer Form. Auch hier zeigt sich seine Doppelnatur: wie er in der Geschichte die Ubergangzeiten hehandelt, so wShlt er die episch-dramatische Mischform der dramatischen N O V E L L E und der B A L L A D E . Im Anfang des BeschSftigung mit einem Stoffe ffthlt er sich fast immer geneigt, ein Drama zu schreihen; mehr und mehr sieht er sich gezwungen,seinem V/esen folgend, den Gegenstand abzurttcken, ihn plastisch zu gestalten und episch einzukleiden."1 In short the author's own remarks about his work are quite just i f i e d "Ich habe den S t i l der groszen Trago*die in die historische Novelle eingefuhrt." 2 1. Linden 152 2. List 102 159. (11) MEYER'S USE OF HISTORY One of the things that s t r i k e s us after a reading of Meyer's h i s t o r i c a l tales i s their difference to any other type of h i s t o r i c a l tale with which we are f a m i l i a r . What constitutes this difference? Why are they so unlike the great flood of h i s t o r i c a l writing's of the XIX. century 7 whether of English, French, or German o r i g i n . It i s not e n t i r e l y due to the fact that these are, for the most part long epical romances, covering great periods of time, and con-taining many h i s t o r i c a l incidents, while Meyer uses the short-story form, which elaborates one main incident. There i s his JURG JENATSCH and his ANGELA BORGIA, both treating of periods of time extending over many years. D»;R HEILIGE and the PESCARA are also quite long for Novell en, and have been c l a s s i f i e d as novels by some commentators, L i s t among the number. This difference has, i n my opinion, quite another explanation, which I w i l l endeavour to give here. F i r s t , what do we mean by a h i s t o r i c a l novel, a3 such? We know that history i s a chronicle of events that have taken place i n the past. It i s 'mankind remembering.' A novel, as we know, i s a story about people, and a h i s t o r i c a l novel, therefore, would be a story about people who l i v e d i n the past. It i s a new form of a r t , a welding of history and psychology, just as a piece of poetry and a piece of music can be welded together to form a song, which i s quite different from either of them taken separately. And the more s k i l l f u l l y the two forms are blended,'the more a r t i s t i c w i l l the resu l t i n g product be. And because the h i s t o r i c a l novel i s a blending of two forms 160. of art, i t follows that there may he two kinds of historical novels, thoae in which the historical element receives the most attention, and those in which the psychology is emphasized, the historical serving merely as a background. The chief characteristic of Meyer's stories i s that i t i s the psychological part that receives the emphasis, while the other novels mentioned above, tend rather to emphasize the historical side„ In the last few years there have been a great many so-called historical novels written, but in very many of these the author has obviously 'worked up' a period, merely trying to avoid glaring anachronisms. Kis characters are nothing but lay-figures, draped with the trappings of their age. Such works are not true historical novels. To write these the author must steep himself in the s p i r i t of the age. Butterfield says.: "In the true historical novel the writer has learned to feel at home i n the age with which he is dealing. Such a novel comes out of the world of the past that exists in the writer's mind. The history that i t embodies w i l l be true or inaccurate according as the man has, throughout his l i f e , built up that world in his mind on true founda-tions, but, in any case, that history will come spontane-ously; and here the historical novelist is not a novelist working under limitations, but one who has captures new fields of experience and of circumstance, and has con-quered a new world for art."^-And speaking of that intangible thing called 'atmosphere' he says: "The historical novelist does not merely acquire information about the past, but absorbs i t into his mind. Atmosphere comes out in his books as the overflow of a personality that has made a peculiar appropriation of history. It comes as part of the man himself. This explains why Hewlett i s at home i n a peculiarly romantic and colored world lik e that of Renaissance Italy, and Dumas is really himself when 1. Butterfield 31 161. his books are in an atmosphere of court intrigue and racy adventure, and Scott is a king in his kingdom, when he is in the peasant world of Scotland, or ?/hen he is concerned with those covenanting days of which he wrote 'I am com-plete master of the whole history of those strange times.' These writers breathe in their novels a l i f e that they have made their own, and that has become part of themselves." We know that Meyer also was steeped in the atmosphere of the times of which he wrote, having studied his subject for years before ever attempting to put pen to paper, so i t is not this that differentiates him from Scott, for example. It is that Scott emphasizes the history rather than the struggle in the soul of his characters, which alwajs forms so important a part of Meyer's work. With the exception of a few peasants, such as Dandie Dinmont or Meg Merriles, whom he really drew very well, his characters are mostly conventional types. His upper class characters, such as Waverley, for instance, are really the conventional gentlemen of his own time. Nowhere does he depict a great psychological struggle, such as goes on i n the soul of a Becket or a Pescara. His work, too, i s f u l l of long historic digressions, which we now find rather tiresome, and which are nowhere found in Meyer, except perhaps to a small degree in his f i r s t Novelle, DAS AMULETT. His women characters;- with the exception of Jeannie Deans, are mostly conventional figureheads. But he gives with great wealth of detail wonderful descriptions of folk and land with a rich panaramic background. Coming to other novels of the sort, we find the same thing is true to a greater or less extent. THE CLOISTER AND THE HEARTH, for example, is merely a series of adventures whose only claim to unity is 1. Butterfield 107 162. that they happened to the same person. Prom the t i t l e one could see that i t might he a story of divided loyalties, and that i t might centre around a great psychological conflict, hut no attempt is made at anything of the kind. The hero wanders through the landscape of the middle ages, which gives i t s own peculiar tone to his wanderings - that i s a l l . The same thing is true of Dickens' two historical novels, though the TALE OP TV/0 CITIES is much better written than BABNABY BUDGE. One might argue that George Eliot's ROMOLA was a psychological novel, since i t represents the degeneration of the soul of Tito Melema, but as a historical novel i t is a failure. The period is too obviously •worked up' and Tito could just as well have been a conventional middle-class gentleman of George Eliot's own acquaintance. Dumas is a wonderful storyteller, and in his own peculiar f i e l d of court intrigue has few equals, for history and f i c t i o n are so welded together that only a s k i l f u l historian can separate them, and there is something happening a l l the time. But there is absolutely no attempt at psychological analysis. Even Hugo, the great French master of the historical novel, f a l l s far behind Meyer in this respect. He has created some great characters, but he is f u l l of long digressions, which are so obviously f u l l of propaganda that they are ra_ther uninteresting to us now. The works of Hewlett come nearest to those of Meyer, both in the historic period, which he has chosen, and in dramatic interest, but they have not the psychological appeal that we find in the greatest of Meyer's novels. Coming to the German writers of historical tales, W i l l i -bald Alexis, who wrote stories about the early days of Brandenburg and 163. Prussia so thoroughly modelled his work on that of Sir Walter Scott that his works are open to the same criticism. One of the most celetrated of German historical romances is von Scheffel's Ekkehardt. The hero is the historic monk who, in the monastery of St. Gall in the early years of the thirteenth century wrote the Waltharilied. In a rather long story the author gives a bright and vivid picture of the time, but of character-drawing, such as we find in Meyer, there is not a trace. Two other German i h istorical writers, Ebers and Dahn, the one a writer of romances of ancient Egypt and the other of the times of the Ostragoths in Italy, were rather famous some years ago, even outside of Germany. But their usually highly sentimentalized stories were long and prosy, the characters serving largely as lay figures about which was draped semi-scientific archeologi-cal material, and now that modern research has proved much of the history and archeology wrong, they are for the most part discredited. Therefore, as psychological character studies with a historic background, we must admit that the works of Meyer are outstand-ing. The only one who can r i v a l him i n this respect is Shakespeare in his historic tragedies. But Meyer did not win this unique place in literature without working hard for i t . We have seen that he had been a reader of history a l l his l i f e , as had been his father before him. He was steeped in historical atmosphere, and some of his best friends, Vulliemin, for example, were historians. His translations, too, from French to German, and from German to French, had been chiefly in the f i e l d of history which treated principally of that renaissance-period, which he was to make so 164. peculiarly his own. He spared no pains, moreover, to get local coloring, and most of his geographical descriptions he got at f i r s t hand. We have seen how, when preparing to write JURG JENATSCH he had during his holiday trips made repeated v i s i t s to a l l the scenes of his story i n the Swiss Canton of Dreihunden. Many of his stories have the Swiss landscape, with which he was so familiar -for example, DER SCHUSZ VON DER KANZEL, DIE RICHTERIN, and -PLAUTUS IM NONNENKLOSTER. The scenes of DAS AMULETT and DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEN are lai d i n Paris, where the author had spent seveiaL months of his l i f e , and the scene of GUSTAV ADOLPHS PAGE was la i d in Germany, which was also familiar to him. The places in Italy, mentioned in his stories of the Italian Renaissance, had also been visited hy him more than once during his sojourns in Italy. The only exception is DER HEILIGE, the scene of which is l a i d in England, and we know that Meyer had never visited England. However, the framework part i s located in his own native Zurich, and as for the other, with the exception of Becket's Moorish palace, which might have been located anywhere, there i s almost no description of natural scenery which i s not common to every country in Europe. In studying Meyer's proseworks, i t is interesting to find out just what were his sources, and what use he made of them. In no case does he slavishly follow the facts of history. As we have pointed out, his interests were psychological rather than historical and he took f u l l advantage of his privilege as a novelist to invent characters and change dates and mould the facts of history to suit his own purposes, without 165. however losing that intangible thing called 'atmosphere' which makes his work historic in the truest sense. To quote Butterfield again with reference to 'atmosphere' as applied to a historical novel, "For the novelist therefore i t is more important to depict the past as a world different from our own, and to show something of i t s character and colouring, than to map out a particular path in that world, and to track down a particular course of public events. It is more important for him to breathe the s p i r i t of a bygone age, and make his book the stuff of i t s mind, and recapture i t s turns of thought, i t s fund of feeling, and a l l i t s waywardness, than to chronicle events with precision, and keep tight to big p o l i t i c a l happenings.. The supreme thing for him is to catch the age as a synthesis, to reproduce i t s way of looking at the world, i t s acceptance of l i f e and the peculiar unity of i t s experience, rather than to relate things that actually happened. Looking to some distant time, he does not, so to speak, see 'notes' and relations of notes, but catches a 'tune'; he figures i t , not as a heap of facts and happenings, but as the world-l i f e in one of i t s moods. He enumerates, describes, comments, -perhaps; but the real secret of his art is that in doing a l l these things he disengages a subtle influence - does i t as i f by stealth - he breathes a thing that quickens and is as s p i r i t to the body; so that while he is describing or reflecting or narrating, the age i t s e l f seems to conspire with him, and presents i t s e l f in i t s 'atmosphere'.^ This describes exactly what Meyer has done. He was, as has been said, more concerned with the individ-ual and his personal problems than with the events of history. His own nature was subjective rather than objective, and he was supremely inter-ested in psychological problems. The extreme sensitiveness of his nature, however, led him to place a screen between his characters and the public, and he chose the screen of history. He had to live withdrawn from public gaze before he could do any. work at a l l . This historic background, though so necessary for him, had only a secondary importance, in spite 1. Butterfield 96 166. of the fact that, in every finished story i t seems to suit the characters exactly. This i s proved hy what he t e l l s us himself. In DIE HOCHZEIT DES MONGHES and DIE RICHTERIN he actually changed the setting in each case, and finally decided on the present settings because they seemed more suited to the characters he had in mind; against them he could most clearly project his problems. He uses the historic setting merely as a suitable stage on.which his characters perform. Let us take his tales one by one, and consider them in their historical setting. The f i r s t one DAS AMULETT, is the only one of Meyer's stories in which the happenings of history may be said to have more value than the character-study, and in this he betrays his apprentice hand, for the tale,especially at the beginning.,, is overladen with historic details. A good part of the work i s taken from Prosper Merimee's CH30NIQUE DU REGNE DE CHARLES IX. Some of i t seems almost like a trans-lation. We have the same chief characters, Coligny, the king, the queen mother, playing almost the same parts, except that the Coligny of Meyer's story i 3 an ardent Protestant instead of the disillusioned sceptic of Merimee's story. There i s a similar love story in both, though Meyer's handling of i t i s rather weak, and in both the amulet-motif appears, the hero in each fighting a duel, and each one having his l i f e saved by the interposition of an amulet. Meyer introduces some other details, though, which show that his story is not merely a blind imitation of his French model. He makes his hero, or rather his two heroes, Germans from Switzerland. Schadau has many of Meyer's own characteristics, and Boccard, his Catholic friend, 167. has many traits in common with his own boyhood friend, Nuscheler, who also tried, unsuccessfully, to convert him to Catholicism. The fencing master of the story has his counter part in a fencing master who had taught Meyer in his youth. According to Maync, even Gasparde had her counterpart in Clelia Weidman, a young g i r l who had refused the offer of Meyer's hand just before he went to Paris. We have already given in part II the historic, setting of the JTJRG JENATSCH story, as that was necessary to understand the narra-tive. His main sources were the works of the Swiss historian Balthaser Reber. Laube wrote a novel on the same subject, which Meyer prized very highly, as did also Ricarda Huch, and the subject has also been dramatized by Richard Boss, though i t i s doubtful i f Meyer had read either of the last two. He deviates from the main factw of history only in some minor points, though he glorifies the character of Jenatsch, just ad Schiller did that of Wallenstein. As he said himself, his chief problem here was to make a hero out of a rascal. Jttrg's wife's name was Anna, and not Lucia, as given in the story, and she was not murdered, but escaped with her husband when the Protestants were massacred. The love-story between Jenatsch and Lucretia Planta i s entirely an invention of the author's, which adds immeasureably to the psychological interest of the story. That she actually k i l l e d Jenatsch with her own hands is legendary, though the s k i l l f u l way in which the author turns this, not to an act of vengeance, but to an act of love, is very cleverly done. 168. The character of Lucas, Lucrezia's servant, of Augostino, Lucia's, half-witted brother, of the good priest, Father Pankrazl, of the Venetian Grimani, and some others are entirely f i c t i t i o u s , while Rudolf Planta was the uncle and not the cousin of Lucrezia. These, however, are only minor characters, and in none of his works has the author followed history more closely than in this. It is no doubt because of i t s f i d e l i t y both to historical and psychological truth that this i s one of the greatest historical novels ever written. DSR SCHUSZ VON DER KANZEL cannot be ranked among the historical Novellen . The only historic character i s that of General Wertmfiller, the hero, who had appeared as Duke Rohan's secretary in Jenatsch, to which book this i s then a sort of sequel. It carries on Wertmtiller's adventures after the death of Jenatsch. He actually fought in the thirty years' war, f i r s t on one side, and then on the other, and rose to the rank of general. The incident of the story is supposed to happen just before he set out on the campaign again3t the Turks, which was to be his last. In this story the chief interest centres in the charac-ters, and Meyer has merely given them a colorful seventeenth-century background. It is an excellent example of a true Novelle, depending for its main interest on a single extraordinary happening, and shows Meyer now master of his craft. It is probable also that the author has put some of himself into i t as well. Linden says that he has given a picture of himself in the Pope Clement of the Pescara, but i t seems to me that the hesitating, retiring, and rather passive but thoroughly upright 169. character of the young theological student, Pfannenstiel, is in many respects like his own, and the beautiful, efficient and housewifely Eahel could have been drawn from no other model than his own wife. The story was written shortly after his happy marriage, when he had begun to realize his ambitions, and hence i t s purely happy and humorous vein. His next piece DER HEILIGE goes back to tragedy again, for here Meyer was always more at home. His source was Thierry's HISTOIRE DE LA CONQUETE D'ANBLETERRE, one of the books which he had translated into German earlier in his l i f e . He accepts the story from Thierry of the Saracen origin of Becket, though we know now that he was really a Norman. Meyer also takes liberties with history in several other ways. The real Becket was fifteen years older than Henry, who was only thirty years old when the quarrel began, and thirty^seven when i t closed. Meyer, for a r t i s t i c reasons, makes i t occupy a much shorter space of time. He also makes the king's sons much older than they really were, the youngest, John, not being born when the quarrel began, and he and not Richard was the favorite of his father. In his preference for Richard, Meyer may have been influenced by the reading of IVANHOE. The episode of the Chancellor's daughter, Grace!,-, i s , of course, entirely imaginary, though the author makes i t the pivot upon which the whole story turns. Through her - wronging and death he attempts to motivate the otherwise inexplicable change of front of Becket, when he became archbishop. It is possible here that Meyer had in mind the legend of the f a i r Rosamond, the king's paramour, whom he kept in hiding at Woodstock to protect her from the vengeance of Queen Eleanor. 170 Apart from these and a few other minor deviations from history, Meyer has caught the atmosphere of the times remarkably well. The feamework i s , of coarse, a l l imaginary, although the picture given in i t of the canonization of fhe Holy St. Thomas in the Zurich cathedral gives a delightful hit of the atmosphere of the middle ages in Meyer's own home town and is historically accurate, for Becket was canonized hy the church on the date given. A l l the historic characters are quite true to l i f e . Henry was really an able king, who had the welfare of his people at heart, and he was' perfectly in the right in his quarrel with the church. Meyer, therefore, had no d i f f i c u l t y in making him a rather sympathetic character, in spite of his many faults. The limelight of the story, thoughts really thrown upon Becket, and i t is the struggle which takes place i n his soul which is the real subject of the story. As in Meyer's other Novellen the history merely forms a background. The story of PIlAUTUS IM NOMEEKLOSTER is dated definitely by the meeting of the historic Council of Constance, (1414-1418). The Poggio who t e l l s the story was a real personage, there being a celebrated Florentine humanist called Poggio Bracciolini, who wrote a b r i l l i a n t book called the FACETIAE, and who was also celebrated as an ardent collector of old manuscripts. In fact, i t was a copy of Quintilian that the real Poggio discovered in a nunnery, but Meyer slightly changes history here, because the stories of the comic Latin writer, Plautus, were somewhat similar to the episode in which Poggio figures. Casimo di Medici, at whose table the story is told, i s also a well-known historic character, being one of 171. the rulers of Florence at that time and noted for his patronage of art. The story gives the true renaissance atmosphere of levity and clever cynicism. The story told by Poggio i s entirely imaginary, there being no such persons as the novice, Gertrude, or the abbess, Brigita. They are merely used by the Protestant Meyer as examples to show the fundamental honesty at the heart of the German people, which was after-wards to make the reformation so successful in Germany, and, in the case of Brigita, to show the necessity' for a reform in the church of that day. Here again the interest i s psychological rather than his t o r i c a l . In GUSTAV ADOLFS' PAGE we have a shining example of how the author has changed history to suit his own purposes. He makes his page a g i r l , though the real page was a boy, August Leubelfing, who voluntarily became page to Gustavus Adolphus. After being severely wounded at Lutzen, the battle in which Gustavus Adolphus was k i l l e d , he died- at Haumberg several days later, and l i e s buried in the "Wenzelkirche" there. Tradition has i t that he carried the dead king off the battle-f i e l d on his horse, though severely wounded himself, and Meyer makes use of this in his story. It i s rather amusing to note that a descendant of the Leubelfings objected to Meyer's use of history, stating that u n t i l the author could bring some proofs, he would consider the female sex of his great-great uncle a fantastic supposition,^" His main source of information about Gustavus Adolphus came from iugust Friedrich Gfporer's GUSTAV ADOLF K5NIG VON SCHWEDEN 1. Deutsche Rundschau, Vol. XXXIV, January 1883. 172. TWD SEINE ZEIT, (1837) and the author says himself that he kept this hook open on the desk before him as he wrote the story. Gfrorer, however, gives no credence to the rumor that Gustavus Adolphus was assassinated by the Duke of Launberg, as Meyer has i t in his story. The character of Gustavus Adolphus himself has also been idealized. There is no historical foundation for the meeting of Gustavus Adolphus and Wallenstein, and i t is highly improbable that they ever actually met. The author took this liberty with history in order to bring these two great leaders together and contrast them, as Schiller did with the queens in MARIA STUART. The whole interest again is psycholo-gical rather than hi s t o r i c a l , and turns on the fact that the page is a g i r l i n disguise. It i s the struggle in the soul of the g i r l which makes the story. DIE LEIDEN EINES ENABEN is based on the following few lines from Saint-Simon: "Peu de jours apres, i l arriva un cruel malheur au marechal de Boufflers. Son f i l s aine avait quatorze ans, j o l i , bien f a i t , que promettait toutes choses, et qui reussit a merveille a la cour, lorsque Son pere l'y presenta au roi pour le remercier de l a survivance du gouvernement general de Plandre, et particulier de L i l l e , qu'il l u i avait donnee. II retourna ensuite au college des Jesuites, ou. i l etait pensionnaire. Je ne sais quelle jeunesse i l y f i t avec les deux f i l s d'Argenson. Les jesuites voulurent montrer qu'ils ne craignaient et ne consideraient personne, et fouetterent le petit garqon, parce qu'en effet i l s n'avaient rien a. craindre du marechal de Boufflers; mais i l s se garderent bien d'en faire autant auxdeux autres, quoique egalement coupables, s i cela peut appeler ainsi, parce qu'ils avaient & compter tous les jpurs avec argenson, lieutenant de police t£es accredite, sur les li v r e s , les jansenistes, et toutes sortes de choses et d'affaires qui leur ftmportaient beaucoup. Le petit Boufflers, plein de courage, et qui n'avait pas plus f a i t que les deux 173. Argenson, et avec eux, fut saisi avec un t e l desespoir qu'il en tomba malade le jour merae. On le porta chez le marechal, ou i l fut impossible de le sauver. Le coeur etait s a i s i , le sang gate, le pourpre parut, en quatre jours cela fut f i n i . On peut juger de l'etat du pere et de la mere. Le r o i , qui en fut touche. ne les laissa ni demander ni attendre. II leur envoya temoigner l a part qu'il prenait a leur perte, par un gentilhomme ordinaire, et leur manda qu'il donnait la meme sur-vivance au cadet, qui leur restait. Pour les jesuites, le c r i universel fut prodigieux, mais i l n'en fut autre chose. On such a slender thread has the author built his immortal story. One w i l l notice that certain incidents and characters have been invented, as, for example, Marshall Bouffler's trouble with the Jesuits, invented by the author to eajplain their spite against him. Also the author makes Julian perfectly innocent of the action for which he is punished. Saint-Simon also says nothing about Julian being an ungifted boy. On the contrary, he is described as quite promising, and as having created a good impression at court, when he was presented to the king, while, according to Meyer, his shyness was so painful that the king turned away from him, and Mme de Maintenon had to come to his rescue. We are also told by Meyer, that Julian's own mother was dead, while accord-ing to Saint-Simon she i s s t i l l l i v i n g . Mouton, a well-known animal painter of the time, and his dog, have been brought in by Meyer, also Mirabelle and Julian's chum Guntram, neither of whom are historic. Meyer mentions only one d'Argenson. We could have no better example of the author's way of treating history. He manipulates unimportant facts to suit himself, but when he has finished, there are l i v i n g , breathing creatures standing before 1 Maync 214 174. us and seeming almost ready to step out of the hook. The psychology in this story is particularly good, because, as we have seen, Meyer went back to his own childhood experiences in his creation of Julian. There is no exciting action, and no particular plot, but i t makes the tragedy of one unhappy boy and with i t the age of Louis XIV stand out vividly before us, and i t ranks as one of Meyer's best works. In DIE HOCHZEIT DES MONCHES the chief historical charac-ter i s , of course, the great Dante himself. We know from the story of his l i f e that he spent some part of his exile from Florence at the court of Can G-rande della Scala at Verona, and the author used this place as the setting of his story. Can Grande is the only historical character in the "frame", outside of Dante, while the tyrant, Ezzolin, i s the only historical character in the story told by Dante. As Storm does in AQUIS SUBMERSIS, he takes a Latin epitaph, "Hie iacet monachus Astorre cum uxorre .Antiope. Sepeliebat Azzolinus" and from i t he has Dante build up one of the best short stories ever written. The interest l i e s entirely in the struggle i n the souls, of the characters, and the history forms a mere background, yet, when we have finished reading i t , we have a picture of the people of the Italian Renaissance, and the l i f e lived by them such as is found in few histories of the period. The be-auty and luxury of the grandees of this age is mirrored in the surroundings of Can Grande. Their keen well-informed minds are shown in their sprightly conversation, clever repartee, and fondness for story-telling. Their religion seems to be a mixture of superstitution and paganism, the f i r s t shown in the foolish yielding of Astorre to save, as he thought!,'! his father's soul, and the latter shown 175. in the satisfaction of the dying father at having.outwitted them a l l . The rather loose moral code in marital affairs i s seen in the relations between Can Grande and the two women of the story, and last l y the rough-ness and creulty of the time is pictured in the forecast of Ezzolin 's character and i n the wild orgy with which the scene breaks up. However,, in Meyer we have none of that cyinicism, indelicacy, or coarseness which we so often find in the tales of Boccacio, the great story-teller of the Italiam renaissance. In DIE BrCHTERIN the only historical characters are the great Charlemagne and his secretary, Alcuin. Here again the interest i s subjective and psychological and not primarily historic, yet, when we have finished reading i t we have a pretty good picture of those wild times, when the barbarian Lombards were pouring over the country, and where no one was safe except behind the strong walls of his castle. Though Christianity was already the state religion, yet the beliefs of paganism s t i l l persisted among the common people, and every stream and wood was haunted by i t s water-nixies and f a i r i e s . Meyer has succeeded in catching the atmosphere of this misty, far-away past age, where deeds of vidence were part of the day's v/ork. Stemma's motto, "Was ich tue, tue ich Grosz", might well have served for the motto of the whole age, which was a decid-ing one in world-history. However, as in the other tales, not the world events but the struggle in the soul of the characters makes the story, and the history again is only, a background'. We have already given in Part II a short resume of the historical background of DIE VERSUCHUNG DES PESCARA, as that was necessary for a proper understanding of the story. Meyer's chief sources were 176. Ranke's DEUTSCHE GESCHICHTE IM ZEIT ALTER DER REFORMATION and the GESCHICHTE DER STADT ROM IM MITTELALTER hy Gregorovius; also the VITA PESCARII of Jovius. We have seen how he sought to give as the reason for Pescara's refusal to he tempted the fact of his approaching death. Pro-bably Pescara's reason was that on the side of loyalty to the Emperor lay • his own advantage. Meyer gives him an unhealed spear-wound, received in the battle of Pavia, as the immediate cause of his death. But this is entirely the author's own invention and has no foundation in history. To be sure Pescara died some months after that battle, but we have no reason to believe that he foresaw his death. Pescara's ideas on the degeneration of Italy, (his second great reason for rejecting the temptation) Meyer got from the historian, Ranke, who says: "Das grflszte Gut einer Nation, ihre UnabhHngigkeit, kann nur durch eine allgemeine Anstrengung a l l e r KrSfte des innern und Muszern Lebens wieder errungen werden. Hier war ein Bedttrfnis dafur nur erst in den literarischen Kreisen erwacht." Ranke's ideas the author gave to Pescara, who judged Italy incapable of being free, because the people as a whole were unworthy of freedom. Meyer has also greatly idealized the character of Pescara. Historians of his time picture him as a rather boastful military man, not exempt from cruelty and falsehood, but Meyer shows him with'a character ennobled by the near approach of death, and in the same class with Duke Rohan and Becket, or Gustavus Adolphus. His relations with his wife and her character have also been considerably idealized. Meyer makes her one of the chief instruments in the temptation of Pescara, while, 1. Maync 265 177. / according to history, she tried to dissuade him from f a l l i n g away from the Emperor. Here, too, we have the same colorful renaissance hack-ground in the beautiful pictures and statuary, the clever s c i n t i l l a t i n g repartee, as well as the atmosphere of dark intrigue and treachery always seeming' to surround Pescara. Meyer always succeeds somehow in giving us this, even though he manipulates the facts of history to suit himself. For him, mere historical detail i s unimportant, so long as he makes clear the character, and here he has succeeded to a remarkable degree in laying bare the soul of a great man. The historical background of ANGELA BORGIA, too, has already been given, i t being necessary for an understanding of the story. In this tale the author has accomplished for the terrible Lucrezia Borgia of history a 'Rettung' similar to that by Schiller of Wallenstein. The materials he found in the work of the Roman historian, Gregorovius. Another book on which he drew heavily, not only for this but for a l l his renaissance stories was Burkhardt's KXJLTUR DER RENAISSANZ.- Angela in Gregorovius receives only cursory mention, but Meyer has given her the t i t l e - r o l e in his story, though the role of heroine she shares with Lucrezia, whose character is really much better drawn. We wi l l here quote from Maync, who gives the citation from Gregorovius in f u l l : "Am Hofe Lucrezias, so erzShlt Gregorovius i m ^ K a p i t e l seines 2. Buches, lebte eine junge Dame, deren Reize/Herzen bezauber-ten, bis sie zu einer Hoftragfldie Veranlassung gab. Es war .;jene Sngela Borgia, welche Lucrezia aus Rom nach Ferrara mit sich gebracht hatte... Zu den Anbetern Angelas gehOrten die beiden gleich lasterhaften Brtider des Herzogs Alfonso, der Kardinal Hippolyt und Giulio, ein nattlrlicher Sohn 178. Erkoles. Angela ruhmte eines Tages, da ihr Hippolyt seine Huldigung darbrachte, die SchBnheit der Augen Giulios, was den eiferstichtigen M s t l i n g so sehr er"bitterte, dasz er einen wahrhaft teuflischen Racheplan aussann. Der ehrwttrdige Kardinal dang Meuchelm8rder, und gab ihnen Befehl, seinem Bruder bei der Rttckkehr von der Jagd aufzulauern und seine Augen auszureiszen, welche Donna Angela schOn gefunden hatte. Das Attentat wurde ausgefiihrt im Beisein des Kardinals, doch nicht so vollkomraen, als es dieser gewttnscht hatte. Man trug den Verwundeten in seinen.:Palast, wo es den lirzten glttckte, ihm das eine Auge zu erhalten. Dieser Frevel geschah am 3.November, 1505. Er brachte den ganzen Hof in Aufregung: der Herzog strafte zwar den Kardinal mit vorubergehender Verbannung, aber der ungluckliche Giulio konnte ihm den Vorwurf machen, dasz er dieses Verbrechen nur mit Gleichgtiltigkeit behandelte. Er brutete Rache, und dieser Exsesz sollte bald die schrecklichsten Folgen nach sich zieheh... Ein Jahr darauf, am 6.Dezember, 1506, vermShlte Lucrezia Donna Angela.mit dem Grafen Pio von Saffuolo. Die Polge des ungeahnd eten Attentats, so fuhrt Gregorovius des weitern aus, war eine JerschwSrung Giulios und seines Bruders, Ferrante, gegen das Leben des Herzogs und des Kardinals. Arioste gedenkt ihrer im 3.Gesange des ORLANDO FURIOSO, und auch bei Burkhardt findet sie kurze Erw9hnung. Sie ward verraten; die schuldigen Bruder, auf der Flucht ergriffen, wurden zum Tode verurteilt, jedoch auf dem Schaffott zu ewigem Kerker begnSdigt. Ferrante starb nach 34 Jahren in den Gefangenschaft Giulio erhielt zwei Jahre, bevor er als 83-jShriger Greis dahinging, die Freiheit wieder."^ We can see how Meyer has changed a l l this in the interests of his story. Here, to heighten the tragedy, Don Giulio loses both his eyes, and, after a few years in prison i s freed, after winning the love of Angela, who marries him because she feels that she is par t i a l l y responsible for his blindness, - out of her pity and remorse has develop-ed a deep love. Here Meyer takes the opportunity to t e l l the story of a wonderful conversion, for through Giulio's suffering and blindness the eyes of his soul are opened. 1. Maync 282 179. We have now seen how, in every one of his stories, Meyer has taken the cold facts of history, and changed them to suit himself, only to produce for us a series of great psychological character-studies, which have never been surpassed in literature, except by Shakespeare. To do this he has not chosen his historical background at random, but has chosen in each case some stirring time in the history of the world, some 'TJbergangzeit', just as Hebbel did. His favorite time was the Italian Renaissance, which was a time of individualism, a time of strong characters who lived lives of action and f u l l enjoyment. And here he found some compensation for the weakness of his own character, in imagining these strong souls so different from his own. His story-writing was for him a form of day-dreaming, a means of escape from the limitations of his own timid, nature into a romantic world of the imagination, where he could be a man among men and not a weakling. He was like his own Julian Boufflers, who died dreaming of great things which he was never actually able to accomplish in his own l i f e . Meyer's manner of working follows as a natural corollary to his outlook on history. As a rule he does not go directly to sources, but relies upon his almost inexhaustible memory, based on a wide reading of history in his youth. He has so steeped himself in the atmosphere of the renaissance that i t reproduces i t s e l f almost automatically when he writes. We are told of the painter BJJcklin, that someone asked him to paint the picture of a mutual friend long dead, and sent him a photo-graph to aid his memory. He sent the picture back, saying i t was not necessary. His memory alone was sufficient to enable him to paint a 180. wonderful speaking likeness of his dead friend. And that is the way Meyer worked with history. For his best Novellen he needed no chronicles or documents; these were already in his mind, and he had only to assemble them in his story to produce the picture he wanted. His own poem, IL PEFSIEROSO, in which he describes the manner of working of the great Michael Angelo, describes exactly his own manner of depicting historical characters. The poem t e l l s us that Giuliano di Medici one day entered Michael Angelo's studio, and, thinking him absent, sat down in a chair to wait for him. He began to think aloud, trying to solve some problems which were weighing on his mind. Unknown to him, the great sculptor was watching him closely. Shortly afterwards Giuliano died. The rest of the story we will give in the words of the poem. "Er ging und aus dem Leben schwand er dann Fast unbemerkt. Nach einem Zeitverlauf Bestellten sie bei Michelangelo Das Grabbild ihm, und brachten emsig her Was noch in Schilderei'n verhanden war, Von schwachen Spuren seines Angesichts. So waren seine Zuge, sagten sie. Der Meister schob es mit der Hand zuruck; "Nehmt weg: ich sehe, wie er s i t z t und sinnt, Und kenne seine Seele, das genugt."^ And there we have exactly Meyer's method of dealing with history. 1. Gedichte 314 181. III. THE ETHICAL CONTENT OF MEYER'S PROSE WORKS. Another and most important aspect of Meyer's writing must now he considered, - his work as a moral and religious teacher, for, that he had an exalted idea of his function as poet and author no one can doubt who has taken the trouble to read through the books treated in this thesis. He was too good an artist to be a mere propagandist for any particular cause, and no one of his works can be called a 'novel with a purpose' in the ordinary meaning of the term, yet in every one of them, with the possible exception of his one comedy, he meant to inculcate some particular moral lesson, some definite religious teaching. That ethical teaching should bear so very important a part in Meyer's scheme of things is not surprising to one familiar with the deeply moral and religious bent of his nature. He had grown up in an intensely religious atmosphere. We have seen how his mother tried to influence him, and her delight when he openly professed C h r i s t i a n i t y at Prefargier, a profession which he considered seriously and tried po follow out a l l the rest of his l i f e . We are told that for years he never missed the daily reading of a chapter from the Bible. A l l his- letters and writing make the same profession, and that he had an essentially religious nature is shown by the fact that a l l his greatest characters were deeply religious men. To prove that we have only to think of Coligny, Duke Rohan, Becket, Pescara, Ariosto, and Don Giulio. In a letter written to his friend, Bovet, almost at the end of his l i f e he says: "Malgre tous mes efforts d'echapper au Christianisme, au moins a ses dernieres consequences, je m'y^alnene par un 182. plus fort que moi^ chaque annee d'avantage et meme quelque fois avec un extreme violence, et au mepris de toute ' science critique et philosophique."^ Note also his remarks after completing his Pescara. He says: "Ich ffthle immer mehr was fur eine ungeheure Macht das Ethische„ist, es s o l i in meinem neuen Buch mit Posannen und Tubenstoszen verkundeifc werden." Meyer's particular phase . of religion took the form of Protestantism, - not merely an ordinary form of Protestantism - hut Protestantism at i t s extreme, the Protestantism of John Calvin. We are ' told hy Frey that he had an intimate friend, Nttscheler, who became a con-vert to Catholicism, and who tried to convert him, but in vain. Though they were good friends t i l l Mscheler's death, yet Meyer remained what he had always been, a st r i c t Protestant. No doubt this friendship taught him tolerance. He did not consider a man unworthy to be his friend because he happened to be a Catholic, but of Catholicism as a religion he was always the uncompromising c r i t i c . This extreme Protestantism shows in almost a l l his prose-works. The f i r s t story gives the line which the others are to follow. In DAS AMULETT we are ushered into the times of the counter-reformation, and are shown, in the passions which gave rise to the massacre of St. Bartholomew, what a hideous thing was that religious discord which could prompt fellow-citizens, who ought to be like brothers, to massacre each other in the name of religion, as the Catholics massacred the Protestants then. The friendship of the two heroes for one another shows how Catholics and Protestants ought to li v e together. We can read 1. Frey 304 2. Faesi 134 183. between the lines the author's contempt for such firebrands as Father Panigarola, who preached religious intolerance, and we can see his admira-tion for the great Protestant hero, Coligny. There i s , moreover, a cer-tain amount of humorous irony in Boccard's belief in the virtues of his amulet, which saves the Protestant who does not believe in i t , and f a i l s to save the Catholic who does. In JTJRG JENATSCH i t is impossible to mistake his intense admira-tion for the great Protestant Duke Rohan, and his contempt for the double-dealing of the Catholic Richelieu, who suppressed Protestantism in France, while, for p o l i t i c a l reasons, he supported i t in Switzerland. We have a great deal of sympathy with Jenatsch in his treachery, for he was only fighting Richelieu with his own weapons. In PLAUTUS IM NONNENKLOSTER there is a bitter attack on the Catholic belief in r e l i c s , and the deception and jugglery which usually goes with such a belief. Here, the abbess i s intended to be a comic figure, but there is something rather disgusting about her too. The whole story shows the necessity for the Protestant reformation which was soon to come. In GUSTAV ADOLPH'S PAGE Meyer's Protestantism i s shown in his veneration for the great Protestant hero, Gustavus Adolphus, depicted as an almost Christ-like figure, whose faith in an over-ruling providence contrasts strongly with the superstition of Wallenstein. It i s further exemplified in the incident of Corinne, whose scandalous mode of l i f e did not hinder her from becoming a good Catholic, and his hatred of the Jesuits and their machinations i s shown in the incident of the tutor. DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEN reveals even more clearly his hatred 184. for the Society of Jesus. This is shown in his portrayal of the character of Father T e l l i e r , that inhuman monster who did to death an innocent child, merely to satisfy his lust for vengeance against that child's father. To Pescara, the hero whom he evidently most admires, he gives ideas that are really Protestant. For example, he makes him say to Victoria: "Ich tadle den heiligen Vater, mein edles weib zur Dienerin miszbraucht, und dir, der Wahraften eine Botschaft aufgelistet zu haben, eine Botschaft seiner und deiner unwurdig, voller Luge und Spphismen, welche ich, in den nSchsten Tagen schon, ihn nHtigen werde, zu widerrufen und zu verleugnen. Die Heiligkeit gibt mir Neapel, wenn ich es erobere, und absolviert mein Gewissen, wenn ich es abstutmpfe. Ich aber glaube nicht an ein solches Binden und Ltfsen, nicht in weltlichen Dingeh, weder ich noch irgend ein anderer mehr, und, sagte er hOhnisch "auch in geistlichen nicht. Das i s t vorbei seit Savonarola und dem germanischen Mtfnche. Again the author makes Pescara speak of two men whom we had seen dying in the hospital after one of his battles, one a Spaniard, the other a German: "diesen unter seinen Eeliquiem und in den Armen zweier Priester zitternd und bebend, jenen a l l e i n doch voller Zuversicht und Freude." 2 Could anything be more Protestant than that? Yet in spite of his strong Protestant leanings we have already seen that Meyer has no antagonism to Catholics personally; he is much too tolerant for that. This is also shown in the fact that some of his most attractive characters are Catholics, and, in the stories in which he attacks Catholicism most sharply, there is usually some attrac-1. Pescara 169 2. Ibid 117 185. tive Catholic character to take away the sting. Por example we have Boccard i n DAS AMULETT; Father Pankrazi in JENATSCH; Gertrude in the PLAUTUS; Father Amiel in DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEN; and Father Mamette in ANGELA BORGIA. Along with Meyer's Protestantism goes also his strong Calvin-i s t i c belief in predestination, which he calls by several names, fate, providence, or the hand of God; but i t a l l means the same thing in the end, namely, that a l l our lives are mapped out for us by a higher power against which we may struggle in vain. We see this idea occurring again and again in his stories. Aside from the rather amusing talk on pre-destination in the f i r s t part of DAS AMULETT, i t i s fate which causes the amulet to save Schadau's l i f e . It i s fate which causes Boccard to be k i l l e d by a shot from Schadau's pistol in spite of the amulet he i s wearing. It is fate which causes Jenatsch to f a l l before the statue of justice, k i l l e d by a blow from the same axe with whic:h he had k i l l e d Pompeius Planta. It is fate which leads Henry along the path to Becket's Moorish castle, and to his meeting with Grace, a meeting which was to have such dire consequences for them a l l . It was fate which led Stemma to c a l l her step-son Wulfrin,to Malmort, and fate also led to the finding, of the hunting-horn, which she thought she had destroyed, and which again led to her confession before the tomb of her murdered husband. It was fate which led Palma to overhear this confession. It was fate which led Ezzolin along the banks of the Brenta, to be the indirect cause of the upsetting of the overladen boat. It was fate which caused Astorre's ring to r o l l along the bridge and f a l l into the hands of Antiope. In fact, 186. this story could almost he regarded as a 'Schichsalstrag0die', except that the tragic happenings are so closely interwoven with the characters. Many other examples could he given, hut these will suffice to show how strongly Meyer "believed in the workings of this higher power which has i t s dealings with men, in accordance with their characters hut regard-less of their wills. A letter written hy the author to his sister, Betsy, best gives expression to his ideas on the subject: "Man musz glauben unser Charakter, gestalte unser Schick-sal, oder richtiger: unser Schicksal sei auf unser Charakter berechnet. Weisheit wBre dann; ein f r e i -williges Eingehen und, wo mJJglich, ein selbststSndiges Ergreifen unseres notwendigen Loses, und ein Ruhenlassen streitiger Punkte, bis wir wissen, ob oder ob nicht sie in der Linie unseres Lebens liegen. Bolange die Vorsehung zerstilrt, was wir wollen, sind wir offenbar irregegangen oder voreilig, wenn etwa sie nicht unsere Standhaftigkeit nicht prufen w i l l . LSszt sie es gelingen, so sind wir recht, wenn etwa sie nicht unseren Irrweg nur zu Bltite gelangen lassen, und dann erst jSh abschneiden w i l l . Wie kurz oder lang? Wer weisz es, und es wfire noch wesentlich es zu wissen. Wie i s t nun unser Weg annShernd zu erraten? Durch stete scharfe "VergegenwMrtigung alles Verflossenen, ohne das Spiel der Phantasie, und Hinhorchen unsere Hersenswunsche, wo dann in gewissen hellen Stunden, mehr durch ein Verschwinden alles UnmOglichen, als ein positives Erraten, aus den gegebenen Linien unseres Lebens das Weitere sich zu bilden und als Figur sich zu schlieszen scheint."^ Yet in seeming opposition to this belief in predestination or fate, i s the fact that a l l the greatest of Meyer's stories present a spiritual conflict of some kind. In JENATSCH i t is the conflict of p o l i t i c a l astuteness versus morality, and her© Meyer seems to show himself almost a pessimist, for what chance has the good Duke Rohan when con-1. Maync 77 187. fronted with the double-dealing of a Richelieu, or the treachery of a Jenatsch? He is like a lamb among wolves, and his l i f e ends in seeming failure, even as Christ's did. The unscrupulous Jenatsch is successful for a time, yet, in the end, f a l l s a prey to his own overweening ambition. In DER HEILIGE we have the conflict of church and state, in which the church is for the minute successful, yet we have the feeling a l l the time at the bottom of our hearts that Henry as a king had right on his side after a l l , though as a man he had so earned Eecket's hatred. The PLAUTUS presents a conflict between the aesthetic culture of the renaissance, as represented in Poggio, and true religion, as represented by Gertrude. The forces of worldly and spiritual ambition are in con-f l i c t for the soul of Pescara. It is true that when we meet him in the story the near approach of death has set him above a l l temptation and conflict. He seems to be assailed by a temptation which i s no temptation at a l l for him. Yet, before we meet him he has already considered and passed judgment on the projects of worldly ambition which are shortly to be placed before him. He was unsusceptible to temptation, even as Christ was, because he foresaw clearly the consequences to himself and others of his yielding to temptation. It i s interesting to note Meyer's attitude towards the pro-blems arising from these various conflicts. He raises the problems but does not attempt to find any final solution for them. That he leaves to the reader to find for himself. His attitude is expressed in these words of Schadau in DAS AMULETT: "Das ist ein dunkler schwerer Satz, der sich nicht leichthin erSrtern lHszt."^-1. Das Amulett 29 188. and leaves i t at that. In line with the author's attitude toward questions of r e l i -gion i s his attitude toward certain great moral problems, such as the problem of conscience. He attaches immense importance to this. In almost every one of his greater works remorse of conscience plays a leading part in the development of the plot. We know how Jenatsch saved his country, but at what a fearful price, the defiling of his conscience with treach-ery and murder. Remorse of a certain kind has i t s part in the feelings of Henry, though he was not sorry for the deed, only for i t s effects. It is Gertrude's tender conscience and her regard for the sanctity of an oath which is the key to the whole story of PLAUTUS IM NONNENKLOSTER. Poggio philosophizes upon the subject: "Was i s t das Gewissen? Ist es ein allgemeines? Keinesweg" and then he t e l l s us of Pope John XX111 who could sleep like a child after the most horrible crimes. He continues: "Nein, das Gewissen i s t kein allgemeines, und auch unter uns, die wir ein solches besitzen, t r i t t es, ein Proteus, xin wechselriden Formen auf."^ We have seen how Lucrezia Borgia in spite of her crimes could sleep like a child. Her problem was 'too l i t t l e conscience' while Angela had too much. The gnawings of conscience, the fear of being unmasked and appear-ing in a disgraceful role has a great part to play in the story of Gustel Leubelfing. Evem Gustavus Adolphus has a stain on his conscience which he must confess before he dies. He has wished to be King of Germany. In DIE LEIDEN EINES KNAHEN the utter lack of conscience in the Jesuit, 1. Plautus im Nonnenkloster 201 189. Te l l i e r , and the indifference of the father make the tragedy. DIE RICHTERIN, as we have seen, was intended by the author to be a story i l l u s t r a t i v e of the workings of conscience, and Pescara's conscience w i l l not allow him to be a traitor to his emperor. Another great moral problem which also has an immense impor-tance in Meyer's works was that of the necessity of conversion. The great Protestant doctrine of justification by faith had a very real mean-ing for him and he had himself experienced conversion in his early man-hood. So we find that i t bears a very important role in his stories. We have three great examples of conversion in his prose-works, that of Becket, Pescara, and Don Giulio, and in each case the different steps in the conversion are set put with psychological accuracy. As they have been commented on in Part II, when dealing with these particular charac-ters, i t i s not necessary to repeat them here. Suffice i t to say, how-ever, that this conversion always takes place as the result of suffering. In Becket's case i t is through the loss of his child, for Pescara through the near approach of death , and for Don Giulio through the loss of his sight. Speaking further of great moral problems in Meyer's works we can always see that his sympathies l i e on the side of truth and justice. Though he was too much of an ar t i s t to take sides too openly with or against his characters, as do Dickens or Thackery sometimes, yet we can always see that his sympathies l i e 'on the side of the angels.' As Paesi says of him: 190. "Meyer hS.lt mit einer Parteinahme und Beurteilung nach alter Epikerweisheit zurtlck in Sinne des Frahsozenwortes: 'Ich finde ein Romanschreiher hat nicht das Recht, seine Meinung tiber irgend etwas suszusprechen. Hat der liehe Gott sie je gesagt, seine Meinnung?* Der Dichter tut es auf dessen Art: er lSszt Gesetze walten, und redet durch den Lauf der Begebenheit.. Sie aber redet fur die Partei derer, zu denen er gehflrt, der Lebenschwachen und Vergeistigten, der Christlichen und Todgeweihten. Er entscheidet sich also umgekehrt als sein Zeitgenosse, Nietzsche, der den individuellen Willen, die vitalen Kraftnaturen, die Macht, das Leben bejaht."^ And in connection with Meyer's sympathy for justice i t is interesting to note how often he makes some great character in his stories perform the office of a judge. The great Charlemagne does i t in DIE RICHTERIN, Pescara acts as judge between the two forces of e v i l which are warring for his soul, and Ezzolin also has to act as judge in the last part of DIE HOCHZEIT. Perhaps that is why Meyer takes such pains to explain that he has not yet begun to perpetrate the cruelties for which he afterwards became so notorious. Meyer i s , of course, concerned not only with such great moral problems as conscience or conversion--, but is v i t a l l y interested, like every great a r t i s t , in the supreme facts of human l i f e , such as death and love. In portraying death he shows himself a great a r t i s t . It is almost the central theme in four of his Novellen. Most of his stories have a tragic ending and two of them, JENATSCH and DIE HOCHZEIT end in fearful valence and bloodshed. There is an inevitableness about these catastrophes such as we find in the endings of some of Shakespeare's great tragedies like MacBeth or Othello. Some of his noblest characters liv e with the consciousness of death ever before their eyes, as do Becket 1. Faesi 135 191. and Pescara. Gustel Leubelfing says: "Ich wunsch mir alle Strahlen meines Lebens in e 1 n Plammenbundel, und in den Haum e i n e r Stunde vereinigt, dasz, statt einer blHden Dammerung, ein kurzes oder blendend heiszes Licht von Glfick entstttnde, um denn zu loschen wie ein zftckendes M i t z . " x and also Gustavus Adolphus "lebte mit dem Tode auf. einem vertrautea Pusze."^" This idea of the imminence of death was inherent in Heyer's own charac-ter, and had i t s root in his own personal experiences. He had suffered through the tragic death of his mother, and a l l his l i f e he f e l t himself, as i t were, outside the active interests of l i f e , and under the shadow of some impending doom. His nervous breakdown had l e f t with him a constant dread of the recurrence of a similar experience and he worked desperately as one who must make haste to get as much as possible done before the blow f e l l . Another of the great facts of l i f e of which Meyer treats in great detail is the passion of love. A l l his eleven prose-works have a love-story of some kind. DER HEILIGE and DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEN have, to be sure , a rather elementary one, and we have seen that his drawing of Gasparde in DAS AMULETT was rather weak. In his other eight stories the love element is very important, and they are about equally divided as to.tragic and happy endings. In DIE HOCHZEIT DES MONCHES the sudden flam-ing' passion of Astorre and Antiope for each other, a passion which over-leaps a l l obstacles, moral, or religious, gives us one of the best love-stories of the time. In this story Meyer gives us Dante's opinion of 1. Gustav Adolph's Page 234. 192. love. He says: "Liebe i s t selten, und nimmt raeistens ein schlimmes Ende."l Some people have thought that here Meyer was giving has own opinion, too, hut that hardly seems justified hy the facts, for his very next story, DIE RICHTERIN, t e l l s a tale of overwhelming passion in the almost instinc-tive attraction of Wulfrin for his supposed sister, Palma Novella. We must remember that this story is intended to end happily for they event-ually marry each other, that i s , i f a marriage founded on her mother's tragic death could ever make Palma truly happy. The other three love-stories which have a happy ending are those of Pfannenstiel and Rahel, united through the beneficent match-making of Wefctmuller, of Gertrude and Hans in PLAUTUS, and of Don Giulio and Angela Borgia. Of the love-stories with a tragic ending one cannot imagine anything more exquisite than the adoration of Gustel for her hero Gustavus Adolphus, a love which was quite unknown to i t s object, and which could end happily only in death. The love of Lucretia Planta and Jurg Jenatsch for each other was no sudden passion, but had i t s beginn-ings back in their childhood, and the sad fate which made Jenatsch the murderer of her father, and which almost compelled Lucretia to take ven-geance on him, like Chimene in Corneille's Cid, was surely tragie enough. Lastly we have the ideal relationship of a husband and wife who truly love each other pictured in PESCARA, but that has a tragic ending when Pescara dies. So in eight stories out of eleven we have some aspect of true love portrayed and of the eight, four have a happy ending, which seems to prove 1. Die Hochzeit der MSnches 86 193. that, according to Meyer's own ideas, love was neither 's'elten' as Dante says nor did i t always end unhappily. It must he admitted, however, that the stories with the happy endings are not among Meyer's best. His out-look on l i f e was rather gloomy, and his tragedies are, therefore, always his best works. It i s interesting, judging from the majority of his women-characters, to note the qualities Meyer seems to prefer in a woman. The 'Clinging Vine' type i s almost entirely absent. Most of them are strong, capable, and self-reliant - almost Amazons, some of them - and a l l of them capable of acting bravely in an emergency, and of doing a man's work when necessary. Even to his women he gave some of the qualities he most keenly admired, probably because he knew that he lacked them him-self. On this subject we will again quote Maync, who is speaking of Gustel Leubelfing, - one of the shining examples of the exhibition of qualities Meyer so much admired. He says: "Der Tod auf der Gipfelhtfhe und im Vollgenusz des Lebens war auch C.F.Meyers Traum, des Pagen Losung 'courte et bonne' auch die seinige. Wie stets barg er auch in diesem Falle seine persBnlichen Gefuhle in einer geschichtlichen Gestalt und ubertrug dabei seinen eigenen Hang zur Heldenverehrung auf das GeschSpf seiner Phantasie. Und wie er seine Lucretia Planta, seine Rahel Wertmuller, seine Viktoria Colonna, seine Richterin, seine Angela Borgia mit einer ihm selbst versagten und gerade von ihm doppelt bewunderten mannlichen AktivitHt ausstattet, wie uberhaupt seine Frauen, darin denen Gotthelfs und Kellers verwandt, an Ungebrochenheit und '"Kraftgefuhl oft seinen MSnnern tlberlegen sind, so ha"lfc er es auch mit seinern weiblichen Pagen."^ He was a real hero-worshipper, and loved those qualities in man or woman which he well knew he did not himself possess, - unbroken 1. Maync 204 194. strength and foree of character. Again and again in his works we see some strong character who i s visibly a favorite of the author. He is usually morally much ahead of his age, and the purity and strength of his character seem to stand in judgment upon the worthlessness and crimin-a l i t y of his time. Such are Coligny, Duke Rohan, Becket, Gustavus Adolphus, Charlemagne, and Pescara,. They seem to set standards for their contemporaries to follow, and to show up the shortcomings and delinquen-cies of the others in the story. This he does very often, by bringing in a contrasting character. Por example, we have the philistinism of Herr Waser as contrasted with the heroism of Jenatsch. He is quite w i l l -ing to profit by the wrong-doing of Jenatsch, though he w i l l not stoop to s o i l his own hands. Again we have the very unheroic conduct of the younger Leubelfing, which serves to bring out in sharp contrast the noble character of Gustel. l i f e was intensely serious. Very few great authors have possessed to a flights, degree than he that "high"seriousness" of which Matthew Arnold speaks as being the preeminent quality in a l l great works of art. We find very l i t t l e humor in his writings - occasionally a cynical touch or a rather s a t i r i c a l reflexion, but never more than that. Thers> is very l i t t l e jesting, even in the works which he intended for comedies. He was so possessed with the idea of the tremendous importance of this l i f e as an opportunity for self development and as a preparation for the next that jesting and humor seemed to him rather out of place. Yet there is almost no attempt at any subtlety of theological argument. For him free-will and necessity were not two mutually exclusive things, and his P: 'rom a l l this i t is very evident that Meyer's attitude towards 195. view of God led him to believe in an intimate personal contact between man and his Creator. For him God was not an inaccessible Deity, too exalted to be interested in human affairs , but rather somewhat like Wordsworth's immanent Presence, almost an intimate personal friend. This idea, which is the background of a l l his moral and religious teach-ing, he has expressed most beautifully in his poem "In HarmesnSchten." -as he perhaps always reveals his own personality most intimately in his l y r i c s : "Die Rechte streckt ich schmerzlich oft in Harmesnfiehten Und fuhlt' gedruckt sie unverhofft von einer techten-Was Gott i s t , wird in Ewigkeit kein Mensch ergruOdan, Doch will er treu sich allezeit mit uns verbiinden. "^ IV CONCLUSION One of the f i r s t questions asked in connection with any author of merit is "What standing does he hold in the world of letters?" As only a l i t t l e more than a generation has passed away since Meyer's death, i t is almost too woon as yet to state definitely just what his place in literature will be, and the d i f f i c u l t y of giving him an exact rating i s increased, moreover, by the fact that he is so different from every one else. It is also complicated by the fact that he is great in two fields of literature, while most other writers with whom we can compare him are great only in one. As a writer of l y r i c s he w i l l pro-1. Gedichte 64 196. bably rank next to Goethe in German literature. S.s to his proseworks, the subject is s t i l l open to question. His output was not great, hut what he wrote i s of such uniform excellence that, for sheeT artistry there are very few who can hear comparison with him. He wi l l probably never rank among- the very greatest of the German class i c i s t s , such as Goethe, Schiller, or Lessing, but among the 'minor prophets' he is already entitled to a very high place. That he does not rank among the very highest w i l l probably be due to the fact that, owing undoubtedly to the weakness of his own nature, he has allowed fate, chance, predestination, or whatever one may. c a l l i t , to play such a deciding part in the solving of his plots. The catastrophe many times happens to his characters, not because their own course of action has rendered i t inevitable, but too often through the arbitrary working of some outside force, some freakish turn of fate, which has not necessarily any connection with the development of the characters, and which no fore-Sjsight could avoid. His very best works are open to this reproach. Probably, also, he wi l l never rank so high as a great popu-lar author as Gottfried Keller does, chiefly because he has not chosen popular subjects as Keller did. This does not mean that Keller deliber-ately set out to become popular, but only that an author who chooses his characters from contemporary l i f e and depicts the modern world, as Keller did, has a much greater chance of remaining a popular favorite. However, to educated and discriminating readers Meyer's works wi l l always make a strong appeal, and anyone who has studied and really lived with them for several months, as I have done, cannot help feeling that he has 197. had a distinct spiritual experience, and reached a higher place of thinking. For Meyer history was a record of the workings of God's Provi-dence among men, and he sought, through the medium of world-stirring historical events^o interpret for us the meaning of l i f e . But to do this adequately he f e l t , as did Schiller, that the poet must he a man of consecration, dedicated like a priest to his high office. To him, rather than to the savant, has been entrusted the task of explaining the great mysteries of the workings of providence and of the human heart. Again in a l y r i c he most clearly reveals his thought; we find his idea of the poet's function most adequately eerpressed in these beautiful lines: Der Dichter nur rait seinen klugen Fingern, Mit seinen Augen, die den Schein durchdringen, Der Dichter nur kann euch die Faden zeigen Des wundersam verworrenen Gewebes, Ursprung und Wachstum dieser dunklen Dinge Und Herrschaft lehren tlber euer Herz. 1. Maync 86 198. B I B L I O G R A P H Y Butterfield, H Everth, Erich Faesi, Robert Frey, Adolf Linden, Walther Li s t , Fritz Maync, Harry Merimee, Prosper Meyer, Conrad Ferdinand The Historical Novel Cambridge Univ. Press, 1924. Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Dresden, 1924. Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Leipzig, 1925. Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Berlin, 1925 Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Manschen, 1922. Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Leipzig, 1925. Conrad Ferdinand Meyer und sein Werk Leipzig, 1925. Chronique de Regne de Charles IX Paris, 1829. Gedichte H.Haessel Verlag, Leipzig, 1920. Angela Borgia Der Heilige Jurg Jenatsch Die Versuchung des Pescara Novellen, Band I Novellen, Band II H.Haessel Verlag, Leipzig, 1921. 

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