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The prose works of Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Weir, Elizabeth 1932

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THE  PROSE 0  CONRAD  WORKS  P  F E R D I N A N D  MEYER  BY ELIZABETH WEIR  A Thesis submitted f o r 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  CONTENTS  THE PROSEWORKS OF CONRAD FERDINAND MEYER Page PART I  MEYER THE MAN  PART I I  THE PROSEWORKS BRIEFLY SKETCHED (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11)  PART I I I  Das Amulett Jttrg Jenatsch Der Schusz don der Kanzel Der H e i l i g e Plautus im Nonnenkloster Gustav Adolf's Page Die Leiden eines Knaben Die Hochzeit des MBnches Die R i c h t e r i n Die Versuchnung des Pescara Angela Borgia  1  14 15 20 35 43 58 62 71 80 91 101 122  A DISCUSSION OF MEYER THE ARTIST (1) (2) (3) (4)  BIBLIOGRAPHY  His Technique and S t y l e Meyer's Use of H i s t o r i c a l M a t e r i a l The E t h i c a l Content^ of Meyer's Prose Works Conclusion  143 159 181 195  198  1. PART  I.  MEYER, THE  MAN.  Conrad Ferdinand Meyer i s perhaps the greatest known master i n that limited f i e l d of l i t e r a t u r e known as the h i s t o r i c a l "Novelle".  It i s i n t e r e s t i n g , i n studying different biographies of h i s  l i f e , to see how  the great c r i s e s i n h i s l i f e history are intimately  related with the great c r i s e s of German p o l i t i c a l h i s t o r y , f o r though a Swiss, and born on Swiss s o i l , i t i s as a German author that he won h i s fame.  For many years of h i s l i f e he was a t y p i c a l neurasthenic,  suffering acutely from that we moderns c a l l *an i n f e r i o r i t y complex*» His biography  i s interesting to pathologists and neurologists generally,  as well as to lovers of l i t e r a t u r e , for he i s a s t r i k i n g example of late development, and i t was  only i n 1870, when he was  f o r t y - f i v e years o l d ,  that i t suddenly dawned on h i s s c e p t i c a l fellowtownsmen that *der verruckte KonrHdli', as they c a l l e d him, was a famous author. He was  born i n Zurich, the c a p i t a l of German Switzerland,  on the 11th of October, 1825.  The ancestors of both h i s father and  mother had l i v e d i n Zurich for generations, and through them he inherited an a r i s t o c r a t i c t r a d i t i o n which,'for better or f o r worse, clung to him a l l h i s l i f e , and which, imposed upon a nature already too sensitive and r e t i r i n g , kept him from mingling with the common people, and from sharing i n t h e i r joys and sorrows, as d i d h i s great countryman, Gottfried K e l l e r .  2.  These experiences no great author can afford to miss, and t h i s probably accounts for the fact that Meyer had to turn to the past f o r h i s i n s p i r a t i o n , instead of f i n d i n g i t i n 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 f i f t e e n years o l d , he  had the misfortune to lose his father, and t h i s "Podesstosz', as h i s mother c a l l e d i t , proved disastrous for both of them.  The father, a  j u r i s t i n the service of the c i t y , was so conscientious that he l i t e r a l l y worked himself to death.  An a r i s t o c r a t to the core, he had received an  excellent c l a s s i c a l education, and his fondness for h i s t o r i c a l studies he passed on to the son. been continued  I f h i s father's kindly guidance could have  at t h i s decisive period of his l i f e , the son might have  been saved l a t e r years of s u f f e r i n g , f o r the mother was e n t i r e l y too nervous to have the care of a growing boy.  His one s i s t e r , Betsy, whose  influence on him was to prove so beneficent i n l a t e r years, was f i v e years younger;  too young as yet to be of help.  The mother was a  neurotic, and i t i s no doubt from her that the son inherited h i s neurasthenic  tendencies. She was strongly p i e t i s t i c also, and sought through the  consolations of r e l i g i o n to compensate for her own inherent weakness of character.  She t r i e d , without r e s u l t , to influence her son i n t h i s  d i r e c t i o n also, and though they loved each other, yet, as we often say, they 'got on each other's nerves' i n a very r e a l sense.  I t was about  3.  t h i s time that Meyer "began to f a l l "behind i n h i s 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 i n h i s c l a s s ,  who  either passed on to higher studies, or got good positions i n the world, while 'der arme Konrad' s e t t l e d down to the l i f e of a regular neurasthenic, passing days i n solitude behind drawn b l i n d s , and imagining that the passers-by i n the street outside were making derogatory remarks about him, a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c neurasthenic symptom*  He read every book he  could f i n d , especially every history, and i t i s probable that he then l a i d the foundation for that h i s t o r i c a l knowledge which was to  stand him In such good stead.  afterwards  Like h i s contemporary, K e l l e r , 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 h i s 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 f o r hours, while h i s mother and s i s t e r waited i n 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 h i s balance, and i t was here that he decided he would be a writer. His f i r s t attempts, however, were f a i l u r e s , and increased his  sense of i n 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 h i s mother.  At an age when  other young men were making money and helping t h e i r f a m i l i e s , or founding homes of t h e i r own, here was her son, buried i n useless brooding, i n capable of taking any r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , and an expense instead of a help.  4  Her feelings found vent i n "bitter reproaches, and t h i s only made matters worse.  At l a s t he became so i l l that i n 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 i n h i s l i f e .  Walter  Linden, i n h i s work on Meyer, shows i n an interesting manner how these crises are hound up with the l i t e r a r y and h i s t o r i c events of the period. In h i s second chapter, he c a l l s t h i s 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  i n the revolutions of 1848, which were unsuccess-  f u l i n the various countries of Europe, and p a r t i c u l a r l y so i n Germany. 'Das junge Deutschland' had s t i l l some years of wandering i n the wilderness before i t s hopes of p o l i t i c a l freedom and unity could be r e a l i z e d i n 1870.  No doubt the young people of that era f e l t t h i s  f a i l u r e very keenly, Meyer among the others, and sad brooding over that p o l i t i c a l f a i l u r e was probably one of the causes of h i s breakdown i n 1852. Another reason for t h i s breakdown was that Meyer i n the f i r s t part of h i s l i f e was a t y p i c a l romantic, even though h i s l i f e so far had coincided with the period when romanticism was dying.  We can  see t h i s romanticism i n h i s love f o r the h i s t o r i c past, i n h i s fondness for solitude and brooding, and i n his preference f o r the things of the imagination over the r e a l i t i e s of everyday l i f e .  But a book which ap-  peared i n 1844, Priedrich Theodor Vischer's KRITISCHE GXNGE, had a most deciding influence on h i s l i f e .  As Linden says:  5.  "Was Herder fur Goethe, was Kant fur S c h i l l e r , was ungefahr g l e i c h z e i t i g (1846-1849) Feuerbach f u r K e l l e r , das wurde Vischer f u r C P . Meyer." The book strongly attacked romanticism, as being s e l f i s h , and advised a return to the realm of antiquity, from which would a r i s e a new form of a r t , i n which form and substance would be moulded together.  I t also attacked  pietism i n such a convincing manner that upon Meyer h i s mother's teachings had no more e f f e c t , which naturally helped to increase the estrangement between them.  In l i t e r a t u r e also, where he had hoped to make a name f o r  himself, he now saw how immeasurably f a r he would have to go to r e a l i z e the  ideals held out by Vischer.  A l l these things "resulted i n a profound  sense of discouragement, from which unaided he could not seem to recover. His complete success.  stay of seven months i n P r e f a r g i e r , however, proved a Under the kindly influence of Dr. B o r r e l l , the super-  intendent, and h i s s i s t e r , the nurse C e c i l e , he got a new outlook on l i f e . After this t e r r i b l e experience, f o r a nervous breakdown i s a t e r r i b l e experience f o r anyone, he was content, l i k e a l i t t l e c h i l d , to start at the  bottom and work up.  above the clouds.  His head was no longer i n an imaginary world  Like the rest of the German people, he used t h i s as  a time of preparation f o r h i s 'Bltttezeit', which was to begin i n 1870. Linden c a l l s t h i s h i s r e a l i s t i c period. After leaving the asylum, he f i r s t  went to Lausanne, f o r  he would not r i s k a relapse into the o l d l i f e at Zurich.  Here he met  an o l d family f r i e n d , Louis vulliemin, the Swiss h i s t o r i a n , whose influence 1.  Linden 15.  6. did  him a world of good, and whom he afterwards immortalized  gute Herzog' i n J0RG JENATSCH.  as  'der  Under this man's influence and that of  Pascal, whose works he read at t h i s time, Meyer's mind assumed a decidedly Protestant trend, and to the delight of h i s mother he became a professing Christian*  Here also he gave himself up to that f a t a l i s m  which the C a l v i n i s t s c a l l predestination, and which was  l a t e r to show so  strongly i n his works. When Jie returned home, instead of relapsing into the o l d brooding s o l i t u d e , he showed that his cure was f i r s t work that came to hand.  This was  Thierry's TtlCITS EES TEMPS MEROVINGIENS.  r e a l by taking up  the  a t r a n s l a t i o n into German of This i s a series of h i s t o r i c a l  t a l e s of the times of the Merovingian kings, and t h e i r t r a n s l a t i o n must have been a wonderfully Wovellen.  congenial task f o r the future writer of h i s t o r i c a l  He did h i s work well, and showed a c h i l d i s h delight when he  received the money for i t , - the f i r s t he had ever earned. However, i n spite of the i r o n d i s c i p l i n e of work and exercise to which he subjected himself, the l i f e i n Zurich was pressing, and t h i s was  very  de-  increased by the tragic death by drowning of his  mother, which took place i n 1856,  while temporarily  i n s i s t e d upon nursing a r e l a t i v e , who  insane.  She  had  died shortly a f t e r , and had brought  upon h e r s e l f 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 r e l a t i v e 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 o f monetary worries* The f i r s t use Conrad made o f h i s new independence was to take a t r i p to Paris i n 1857, where he stayed for three months. v i s i t d i d him a wonderful amount of good. on l i f e and gave him new points o f view.  The  I t brightened h i s outlook The art g a l l e r i e s and h i s t o r i c  buildings impressed him deeply, but he was greatly pained by the f r i v o l i t y of the people, and by the moral depravity of the f a i r Parisiennes whom he happened to meet.  I t i s rather amusing to hear t h i s serious-  minded young Swiss passing judgement on the morals of a great nation after a t o u r i s t ' s experience of only three months. happens, even i n our own day.  However, t h i s often  It i s probable, though, that from t h i s  v i s i t dates Meyer's decision to become a German rather than a French author.  Before t h i s time he had been rather undecided, as he was  equally at home i n 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 d i s appointment to him a f t e r the delights of P a r i s , he and Betty set out together to v i s i t Rome.  Prom now on, the two are inseparable.  She  becomes h i s i n s p i r e r and helper, h i s confidante and amanuensis. In German l i t e r a r y history, we can think of a similar relationship between K l e i s t and h i s s i s t e r , but i n English l i t e r a r y h i s t o r y there i s only one  8.  companionship of brother and s i s t e r that can be compared to i t , that of William Wordsworth, the poet, and h i s s i s t e r , Dorothy.  And l i k e Dorothy  Wordsworth, too, when l a t e r on i n l i f e he decided to marry, she encouraged him i n every way possible, f i n d i n g her happiness i n h i s , and u n s e l f i s h l y effacing h e r s e l f when her work was done. The l i f e i n Home proved f o r Meyer, as i t had f o r Goethe and other great Germans, an  a r t i s t i c and c u l t u r a l regeneration.  The 'edle  Einfachkeit und s t i l l e GrOsze' of the monuments of c l a s s i c a l antiquity had their way with him, as they had had with Winckelman before him, and any l i n g e r i n g remnants of romanticism i n his soul were swept away before these concrete r e a l i t i e s . now became h i s passion.  Beauty of form, expressing beauty of thought, In p a r t i c u l a r , he was  influenced by that great  master of form, Michael Angelo, and the formlessness of h i s romantic period dropped from him l i k e a garment.  Even as Michael Angelo, with  a few mighty strokes of h i s c h i s e l , 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 h i s ideas.  His poetry, which begins to  date from about this time, i s f u l l of a l l u s i o n s to t h i s I t a l i a n journey, and h i s best-known poem, to English-speaking people at l e a s t , *Der rflmische Brunnen' i s only one of many, with a Roman subject. After h i s return from Rome, he again worked at transl a t i o n s , this time from German to French, and i t was only i n 1860, while on a v i s i t to Lausanne, and under the influence of Tulliemen, that he took courage and published anonymously h i s 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 d e f i n i t e l y chosen h i s career, and had begun to work towards i t most d i l i g e n t l y , r e a l i z i n g that, after a l l , 'genius i s only an i n f i n i t e capacity f o r taking pains', or, as the Germans put i t , •Genie i s t F l e i s z ' .  In 1864, four years l a t e r , appeared the f i r s t  volume to which he had the courage to put h i s own name, ZWANZIG BALLADEN VON EINEM SCHWEIZEB, s t i l l  only moderately successful.  This was followed,  in 1870, s i x years l a t e r , by the ROMAN ZEN UND BILDER which i s s t i l l , as Faesi puts i t , the work of a good apprentice but no master* As we can see, h i s t a l e n t had been developing very slowly, but now,in 1870, begins i t s 'Bltitezeit'.  Inspired by glorious deeds on  the b a t t l e - f i e l d s of the Franco-Prussian war, and by the blood-and-iron p o l i c y of Bismark, Germany had at l a s t achieved her p o l i t i c a l unity, and a place i n the sun.  In spite of the questionable ethics of h i s p o l i t i c s ,  Bismark was Meyer's great hero, whose character he incorporated l a t e r on in the c h i e f character of h i s great h i s t o r i c a l 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 i n 1870. M  1.  He himself t e l l s us:-  Der grosze Krieg, der bei uns i n der Schweiz die Gemttter zweis p S l t i g aufgeregt, entschied auch einen Krieg i n meiner Seele. Von einem unmerklich g e r e l f t e n Stammesgefflhl j e t z t mllchtig e r g r i f f e n , t a t i c h bei diesem weltgeschichtlichen Anlasze das franzdsische Wesen ab, und i n n e r l i c h genfltigt, dieser SinnesSnderung Ausdruck zu geben, dichtete i c h HUTTENS LETZTE TAGE."  Linden (47)  1  10.  This poem, r e a l l y a series o f 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 f o r the unity o f Germany, and who had died, an e x i l e from h i s country, on the island of Ufenau i n Lake Zurich.  By i t Meyer f i r s t became known to h i s sceptical  fellow-townsmen as a successful author. Inspired by h i s success he wrote ENGELBURG, another p o e t i c a l romance, which was p a r t l y a f a i l u r e , as he had been i n too much of a hurry, but t h i s f a i l u r e probably induced him to turn h i s hand to h i s true 'metier*, the h i s t o r i c a l novelle, and i n 1873 appeared DAS AMDLETT, the f i r s t of a series of inspired h i s t o r i c a l romances, which only ended with the publication of ANGELA BORGIA i n 1892.  These w i l l  be reviewed i n d e t a i l i n part two, so they w i l l not be mentioned here. During their l i f e together, Meyer and h i s s i 3 t e r took many t r i p s , 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 i n h i s JENATSCH the l o c a l color thus obtained.  They also v i s i t e d Venice, and i t was  to h i s t r i p there, and to the i n s p i r a t i o n o f the art works of T i z i a n i n the Venetian g a l l e r i e s that we owe ENGELBURG, In 1869, he s e t t l e d i n Rttsnacht, a beautiful place on Lake Zurich.  No matter how many lovely places he saw on h i s t r a v e l s , he  always seemed to come back as i f drawn by a magnet to the pale beauty of t h i s wonderful sheet of water.  About t h i s time, too, he made the  acquaintance of the man who was to become h i s o f f i c i a l biographer, Adolf  11. Frey.  I f i t i s an advantage to an author to have someone to play a  Boswell to;his Johnson, Meyer c e r t a i n l y reaps this advantage to the f u l l , for  Frey has done h i s 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 d e t a i l , however, or perhaps because of i t , the work i s most i n t e r e s t i n g , and i s 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 r e a l i z e d most of h i s former ambitions.  He had a beautiful home at Kilchberg, not f a r from Zttrich,  and was a welcome member of the best society of the place*  At the  head of t h i s stood Francois Wille, the r e t i r e d j o u r n a l i s t , the f r i e n d of Bismark and Heine, who had entertained under h i s roof such great men as  Wagner and L i s z t and the h i s t o r i a n Mommsen.  Here the Meyers were  very much at home, and Konrad used to read to t h i s f r i e n d l y group many of h i s stories before they were published, and receive their c r i t i c i s m and advice. In 1875, Meyer was married to an a r i s t o c r a t i c Zurich lady, Louise Ziegler, the daughter of an old family f r i e n d , and the marriage, while not romantic, was very happy.  We are t o l d that her talents l a y  rather i n the d i r e c t i o n of good housekeeping than of l i t e r a r y i n s p i r a t i o n , i n which h i s s i s t e r had shone, but we are further t o l d that this marriage, more than a l l h i s successful l i t e r a r y works, tended to convince h i s matter-of-fact fellow-townsmen that Konrad had a c t u a l l y  12.  amounted to something a f t e r a l l .  Before t h i s 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 t o l d 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 h i s l i f e , which was only increased by her early death. the immediate cause of his t r i p to Rome.  Her r e j e c t i o n of him  was  Both of these rejections were  owing to the fact that the author had no settled s t a t i o n i n l i f e , and had the e f f e c t of increasing h i s i n f e r i o r i t y complex, so perhaps h i s successf u l marriage to Louise Ziegler contributed more thanfs/e know to that serenity of mind so necessary to an author l i k e Meyer. His  wife was an excellent manager who took from h i s  shoulders the burden of a l l household worries, and t h i s l e f t him free to devote h i s days to work.  It was work, too, of the very hardest kind,  for he f e l t that he had much l o s t time to make up.  After h i s former  t e r r i b l e experience, he was always oppressed by a foreboding of the coming of  *that night when no man can work*, and t r u l y enough, f o r him i t came  a l l too soon. After the p u b l i c a t i o n of ANGELA BORGIA i n 1892, he was seized with a severe i l l n e s s , which caused a return of his old neurasthenia, and he had to spend another season i n an asylum.  After a few  months he recovered enough to be sent home, but from now on h i s 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 o f f 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 s i t u a t i o n i n Germany, too, no doubt had i t s e f f e c t on him.  This was the time when the young Kaiser, Wilhelm I I ,  took the power into h i s own hands and 'dropped the p i l o t * Bismark.  This  was  and  the time, too, i n the l i t e r a r y world, when realism was  naturalism was  dying out  taking i t s place, and Meyer was no lover of naturalism. The f a l l of h i s i d o l , Bismark, coincides most strangely  with Meyer's relapse into h i s o l d nervous impotence.  However, t h i s l a s t  period of i l l - h e a l t h was happier than the f i r s t had been. stantly busy with new  Though con-  projects, which he had not the power to r e a l i z e ,  yet he was always able to look back on what he had accomplished, and that was considerable, f o r i t i s not given to every author to be so great i n two f i e l d s of l i t e r a t u r e as Meyer had been.  After Goethe, he i s  perhaps the greatest of German L y r i c i s t s , and his work i n the f i e l d of the h i s t o r i c a l romance we s h a l l study i n Part I I .  His family l i f e  was  i d e a l ; he had no monetary worries; and the consolations of r e l i g i o n were also very real to him, so i t was not as a t o t a l l y unhappy man  that he  passed peacefully away i n the arms of h i s wife and daughter on the 28th of November  1896.  14  PART I I .  THE PROSEWORKS BRIEFLY SKETCHED.  In t h i s section only those proseworks w i l l he considered which were published by the author during h i s l i f e t i m e .  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 c h i e f l y as showing the author's manner of working.  Though many of these s t o r i e s are ex-  tremely i n t e r e s t i n g , 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 s h a l l attempt, as b r i e f l y as possible, to give a synopsis of each story, g i v i n g only those facts which are necessary to show i t s s e t t i n g i n h i s t o r y , and the teaching the author intended to convey. For, though no propagandist, Meyer i s a great moral teacher, and each of h i s 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, f o r Meyer i s outstanding as a psychologist.  Occasionally he almost equals Shakespeare, and i n every  one of h i s works there i s at least one character, and sometimes more than one, which seems almost real enough to step out of the page and t a l k to us.  15  (1)  DAS  AM0LETT,,18'73.  T h i s s t o r y i s the f i r s t t h a t the a u t h o r f i r s t a first  found h i m s e l f .  o f time, and  i t was  here  Although i t "bears many marks of  attempt, a s , f o r example, i n the l o v e - s t o r y , which i s r a t h e r  weak, n e v e r t h e l e s s  i t exemplified  and g r e a t e r works.  each e v o l v i n g out  this defect.  I t has  It  described  other,  a f t e r the  l i k e a p i e c e of c o m p l i c a t e d  i n t e r e s t i n g , but  later  out which i s  scenes move f o r w a r d , one  other,  and  overloaded  the author soon remedies  an e x c e l l e n t ending, which seems to come j u s t at t o be q u i t e n e c e s s a r y and i n e v i t a b l e .  i s the t a l e of two  during  is left  At the b e g i n n i n g i t seems almost too  d e t a i l s t o be  the r i g h t p l a c e , and  P a r i s i n 1572,  the  o f the  w e l l - o i l e d machinery. with h i s t o r i c a l  many of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f h i s  I t i s short, yet nothing  n e c e s s a r y to the p l o t , and and  i n order  German-speaking Swiss youths i n  the massacre o f S t . Bartholomew, and  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  i t may  be  r e a l hero of the  story,  Schadau, i s a P r o t e s t a n t , w h i l e 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 o l d man  d e a l i n g s w i t h the  when he  tells  the  s t o r y , has  some b u s i n e s s  f a t h e r o f B o c c a r d , h i s dead f r i e n d , and w h i l e a t  the  home o f the l a t t e r , he a c c i d e n t a l l y sees h i s f r i e n d ' s amulet i n a drawer. T h i s reminds him  of h i s young manhood, and o f the s t r a n g e scenes i n which  t h i s amulet bore a p a r t .  Though i t had  saved t h e l i f e o f the  Schadau, the b e l i e v e r i n p r e d e s t i n a t i o n , i t had owner, who  believed firmly i n i t s virtue.  Protestant  f a i l e d to p r o t e c t i t s  16.  We a r e taken t o S w i t z e r l a n d t o the boyhood home o f t h e h e r o , where he l i v e d w i t h h i s maternal  u n c l e , f o r h i s f a t h e r had d i e d ,  f i g h t i n g as a Huguenot i n C o l i g n y * s army, and t h e shock o f h i s death had k i l l e d t h e hoy's mother.  We see t h e young hero's worship o f C o l i g n y ,  the g r e a t P r o t e s t a n t l e a d e r , who i s p r e p a r i n g a n army t o he sent the N e t h e r l a n d s ambition  into  a g a i n s t t h e C a t h o l i c g e n e r a l , A l b a , and h i s one g r e a t  i s t o j o i n C o l i g n y * s army. Circumstances a r i s e which make i t n e c e s s a r y f o r Schadau  to  l e a v e home, and he d e c i d e s  ambition.  t o go to P a r i s to t r y t o r e a l i z e  this  He takes f a r e w e l l o f h i s u n c l e , a k i n d l y o l d v i s i o n a r y ,  whose c h i e f f u n c t i o n i n t h e s t o r y seems t o have been t o imbue t h e boy w i t h his  own C a l v i n i s t i c b e l i e f i n p r e d e s t i n a t i o n .  On t h e way, he i s delayed  by a storm j u s t b e f o r e e n t e r i n g P a r i s , and has t o t a k e refuge Here he meets f o r the f i r s t  time h i s countryman, Boccard,  i n an i n n .  and a l s o  Gasparde, the g i r l who i s t o become h i s w i f e , a l o n g w i t h h e r g u a r d i a n , Chatillon. Boccard  The c o n v e r s a t i o n around t h e i n n t a b l e i s very amusing.  a c q u a i n t s the company w i t h t h e v i r t u e s o f h i s amulet, which has  saved h i s l i f e as a c h i l d , and we have a n i n t e r e s t i n g debate on p r e d e s t i n a t i o n , i n which the young Schadau f i r m l y believes© A r r i v e d i n P a r i s , he seeks out C o l i g n y , and f i n d s the way smoothed out f o r him, p r o b a b l y  through t h e i n t e r v e n t i o n o f C h a t i l l o n , so  t h a t he becomes a t once C o l i g n y * s s e c r e t a r y . Charles  Here he meets t h e k i n g ,  IX, who i s a l s o a g r e a t f r i e n d o f C o l i g n y , and he r e a l i z e s , i n t h e  v a c i l l a t i n g character of that miserable  boy, on what a s l e n d e r t h r e a d o f  17. safety the l i v e s of thej Protestants i n Paris are hanging. Coligny who else.  Just now  i t is  has the influence over him, but tomorrow i t may be someone  We r e a l i z e , too, that the queen-mother, Catherine d i Medici,  hates Coligny, and i s jealous of h i s influence over the king her son. Then Schadau goes to v i s i t C h a t i l l o n 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 c o l o r l e s s and unconvincing, and here Meyer shows h i s apprentice hand.  She seems almost to throw herself into the hero's arms.  From C h a t i l l o n * s window, which looks into the church next door, they l i s t e n to the f i e r y preaching of Father Panigarola, a h i s t o r i c character, by the way.  He i s i n c i t i n g the minds of the Catholics  against the Protestants, another device by which Meyer shows us the burning volcano over which the Huguenots i n Paris were l i v i n g . people are leaving the church, Gasparde i s insulted by a man below, and she c a l l s upon the hero f o r protection.  i n the street  On h i s way home  with Bpccard, whom he has met by chance, he encounters i s insulted by him.  As the  t h i s same man  and  A duel i s fought, i n which Boccard acts as h i s  second, and the opponent, although an expert swordsman, i s k i l l e d . It i s here that h i s l i f e i s saved by the amulet, which Boccard has, known to him, slipped into h i s breast-pocket.  un-  Though he says nothing of  the duel, Gasparde recognizes him as her rescuer.  They become engaged,  and l a t e r on we learn that t h i s engagement meets with Coligny's approval. Then comes the eve of St. Bartholomew.  Schadau has  18.  r e t u r n e d from a b u s i n e s s t r i p o u t s i d e o f P a r i s , o n l y t o f i n d t h a t C o l i g n y has to ful  been a t t a c k e d and n e a r l y k i l l e d a couple o f days b e f o r e . see h i m and f i n d s t h e queen-mother t h e r e v i s i t i n g him.  He i s doubt-  o f h e r innocence i n the m a t t e r , though he c a n h a r d l y b e l i e v e t h a t a  g u i l t y p e r s o n would go t o pay a f r i e n d l y v i s i t has  He goes  tried  long w i l l  to k i l l .  t o t h e v i c t i m , whom she  There i s no doubt as t o t h e k i n g ' s g r i e f , but how  i t last? He goes to see Gasparde, and f i n d s t h e r e the a u t h o r ,  Montaigne, who i s t r y i n g t o persuade C h a t i l l o n and Gasparde t o f l y w i t h him to  t o h i s country-home i n the s o u t h o f F r a n c e .  b r i n g Schadau and Gasparde once more t o C o l i g n y , whom they f i n d a t t h e  p o i n t o f death... man  Then a messenger comes  He wishes them t o be m a r r i e d a t once and has a c l e r g y -  i n w a i t i n g t o perform  the ceremony.  I n the meantime C h a t i l l o n r e -  f u s e s t o escape w i t h 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 f o r 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 o f 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 t r u e t o l i f e . When Schadau i s l e a v i n g , Gasparde t a k e s h i s l o a d e d from him.  Through a r u s e o f Boccard's,  i n t h e Louvre.  he i s imprisoned  pistol  f o r the n i g h t  At f i r s t he t h i n k s h i s countryman has b e t r a y e d him, b u t  l a t e r on he f i n d s i t i s t o p r o t e c t him from the massacre o f t h e Huguenots which i s t o s t a r t t h a t very n i g h t a t m i d n i g h t .  Though c o n f i n e d t o  Boccard's room he i s a b l e t o l o o k out o f h i s window over t h e s w i f t l y moving  S e i n e , and we have a n u n f o r g e t t a b l e p i c t u r e o f the queen-mother  and her two sons s t a n d i n g on a b a l c o n y o v e r l o o k i n g the S e i n e , a w a i t i n g t h e s i g n a l f o r the massacre t o b e g i n .  Then a gtimshot  i s h e a r d and t h e t r i o  19. disappear.  The tableau i s most dramatic.  Thus early i n h i s career do  we f i n d Meyer adopting a device which he was to use f r e e l y i n h i s l a t e r works. Soon sounds of agony are heard everywhere, and corpses begin to f l o a t down the Seine.  We have no general description  massacre except through i t s e f f e c t on t h i s one person, who i n h i s room, but our imagination supplies the r e s t .  of the  i s a prisoner  i t i s a favorite  most e f f e c t i v e device of Meyer's to show a complex h i s t o r i c event  and  through  the medium of i t s effect on some p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l , which, of course, makes f o r s i m p l i f i c a t i o n and economy. In the morning, through Boccard's agency, Schadau i s allowed to go to the aid of h i s wife, a f t e r changing clothes with one of the guard.  They hurry to the house just i n 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 i s rescued and i s carried f a i n t i n g from the room i n her husband's arms, while h i s friend clears the way through the mob.  But i n the  street, a shot from the same p i s t o l that Gasparde had just dropped k i l l s the gallant Boccard, i n spite of h i s amulet.  Such are the strange  workings of f a t e . Schadau and Gasparde have to leave h i s body to the care of his f a i t h f u l servant, and hurry on to the gate.  There, through the good  o f f i c e s 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 f i n d that the good uncle has died leaving to Schadau a l l h i s property.  20 The whole story i s a powerful plea for r e l i g i o u s t o l e r a t i o n . One o f the most a t t r a c t i v e characters i s the Catholic, Boccard, who i s almost a second hero, and we are made to f e e l the f u t i l i t y of two such people hating each other on account of a difference i n r e l i g i o n .  The  horrible massacre shows how monstrous may he the r e s u l t s of r e l i g i o u s fanaticism.  This i s symbolized i n a s t r i k i n g dialogue between the  river-gods of the Seine, imagined by Schadau during h i s dreadful imprisonment.  Such symbolism i s another device frequently used by Meyer  to make h i s teaching more c l e a r .  It occurs again and again i n h i s works.  Walter Linden c a l l s this Novelle a 'Lehrlingsarbeit', or an unripe attempt, but nonetheless i t i s a powerful story, and shows us that the author has h i s tools prepared for the greater works soon to follow. (2)  JUBG  JENATSCH, 1876.  The next story i s a master-piece of h i s t o r i c a l writing and i s h i s one great novel; the others are a l l 'Novellen' or 'Short Stories'.  It may be c a l l e d a study i n patriotism, f o r that i s the key-  note to the character of the hero.  The scene of the story i s l a i d i n  "Die Lande der drei BHnde" which form today the Swiss canton of Graubunden.  ?t i s a watershed f o r three r i v e r s , 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 i n I t a l y .  The country i s extremely mountainous, and the  control of the passes made by these r i v e r s through the high Alpine valleys was eagerly sought by both France and Spain, during the time of the T h i r t y Years war.  The l i t t l e r e p u b l i c , moreover, stood i n 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 A u s t r i a . These things alone were enough to cause s t r i f e , and to them was added the r e l i g i o u s question,  the struggle between Catholic and Protestant which  raged everywhere a l l through this war, and nowhere more f i e r c e l y than here. The Catholic party i n the l i t t l e r e p u b l i c , under the leadership of Pompeius Planta, favored the Austro-Spanish a l l i a n c e , 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 i n  his  own country, for p o l i t i c a l reasons aided i t outside of France.  was  the s t i r r i n g h i s t o r i c a l background which Meyer used for t h i s great  Such  epic of patriotism. Meyer had, as we have seen, made several excursions to Graubunden, so the l o c a l coloring i s quite exact. into three rather unequal parts.  The story i s divided  In part one we are introduced to the  hero i n d i r e c t l y , through the medium of a school friend of h i s , Herr l a s e r from Zurich, who i s on his way to Graubunden on a holiday t r i p to v i s i t his  old f r i e n d , Jenatsch, now the Protestant pastor i n the secluded  v i l l a g e of Verbenn.  At the summit of the J u l i a n Pass, he meets unex-  22 pectedly Pompeius Planta, the moat powerful a r i s t o c r a t of the canton. Pompeius, hated hy the Protestants for h i s a c t i v i t y i n the Spanish cause, has been outlawed by the Protestant ministers, who the Government,  are now all-powerful i n  He has been driven from h i s c a s t l e at Eiedberg, and a  price set on h i s head, yet that has not prevented him from coming back to the country to conduct h i s only daughter, Lucretia, a g i r l , to a convent i n I t a l y ,  dark-eyed^half-grown  The conversation of the two men soon turns  to t h e i r mutual acquaintance, Jenatsch, who  i s most vehemently cursed by  Planta, before he and his party ride away. Left alone a f t e r t h i s strange encounter, the thoughts of Herr Waser go back to his school days i n 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 a r i s t o c r a t , Lucretia, and the poor pastor's son, Jttrg, the great passionate overgrown boy. On picking up his p o r t f o l i o , Waser finds scrawled on i t i n a c h i l d i s h hand, evidently that of Lucretia, *Giarg&o guardati" (George take care).  She obviously has known of some danger threatening her  f r i e n d , and has taken this way to warn him. a l l haste. inn  Waser decides to push on with  However, he has to spend the night i n the pass, and the one  there cannot give him accommodation.  Through a ruse, however, and  unknown to the landlord, he makes friends with the o l d woman i n the kitchen, and gets her bed f o r the night.  He i s awakened from h i s sleep by  the sound of conversation i n a room near by, and, finding a crack i n the door, he overhears a conversation which i s p a r t l y u n i n t e l l i g i b l e to him,  S3. but which seems to concern some massacre about to take place.  Too soon  he learns that i t i s the massacre of the Protestants i n Jenatsch'a' valley, which the two men  are planning.  They turn t h e i r heads, and to  his horror he finds that i t i s Planta and h i s nephew, B o b u s t e l l i . Realizing that t h i s mischief which i s brewing w i l l involve his f r i e n d , 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 f a n a t i c a l grudge against her for turning Protestant. A r r i v i n g at Verbenn, Waser i s welcomed with open arms by Jenatsch, whom he finds engaged i n the very unpastoral occupation of sharpening h i s sword, and by Lucia, h i s extremely b e a u t i f u l wife who, e f f i c i e n t , never utters a single word.  though gently  Jenatsch seems extremely proud  of her. The next day the two men make an excursion to Buentes on the I t a l i a n border.  Here a large fort has been b u i l t by the  Spaniards  and garrisoned strongly, a thing that every good Protestant i n Graubttnden looks upon as a threat against t h e i r freedom.  They are not admitted  to  view the f o r t , 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 i n the hotel-garden. f i r s t introduced to Duke Hohan, who part i n the story.  i s afterwards  Here we are  to play a prominent  Like a true dramatist, Meyer brings on a l l h i s im-  portant characters e a r l y .  Bohan recognizes from h i s dress that  Jenatsch  i s a Protestant pastor, and the two are courteously entertained by t i l l his departure.  him  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 l o c a l knowledge of the country, and thus the way i s prepared f o r t h e i r acquaintance l a t e r on.  Here we have the sort of  paradoxical contrast i n which Meyer delights, the peace-loving s o l d i e r , Rohan, and the war-like man of peace, Jenatsch. As the two friends wend t h e i r way homeward, the talk turns on L u c r e t i a , and we learn why marry Lucia.  Jenatsch has turned from h i s early love to  Marriage with Lucretia would have been impossible under the  e x i s t i n g conditions.  His face darkened as he answered shortly:  **Zu Anf ang... Das Kind hat g e l i t t e n . Es i s t e i n treues f estes Herz... Aber s o i l i c h die Fesseln eines Kindes tragen? und dazu einer Planta ... Torheit... Du siehst, i c h habe ein Ende gemacht." A  On t h e i r way  they are met by a Catholic p r i e s t hurriedly  r i d i n g towards them on h i s mule. and lovable man.  It i s Father Pankrazi, a most humane  It i s quite noticeable how Meyer, i n spite of h i s  strong Protestantism, often introduces an a t t r a c t i v e Catholic character, such as Boccard i n the Amulet, and others whom we s h a l l meet l a t e r .  As  Jenatsch says of him: w  W8ren unsere Kapuziner a l l e so gute Bttndner wie er, und so witzige Gesellen, man hfitte s i e unbehelligt gelassen." 2  The p r i e s t i n great excitement warns them of the massacre about to take place, and urges them to f l y for t h e i r l i v e s .  But Jenatsch  w i l l not leave h i s wife behind, and they hurry homeward, the p r i e s t accompanying' them..  1.  Jenatsch  59.  When they reach home Jenatsch finds there two of h i s 2.  Ibid  69.  25.  colleagues, Pastor Fausch and Pastor Blasius Alexander, both h i s t o r i c a l characters.  The former i s r u e f u l l y 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 h i s pastor's o f f i c e .  Jenatsch decides, but  for very d i f f e r e n t reasons, to do likewise. "Warte Freund", he says., "das verrichten wir zusammen. Auch mein Masz i s t heute v o l l geworden. Nicht eine f e i n d l i c h e Kugel verjagt mich von der Kanzel, sondern eine freundliche Eede. Der Herzog Heinrich hat Recht, wandte er sich an den erstaunten Waser, Schwert und Bibel taugen nicht zusammen. Bttnden bedarf des Schwertes, und i c h lege die g e i s t l i c h e Waffe zur Seite, um getrost die Weltliche zu e r g r e l f e n . " n  n  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 f o r f l i g h t , but before they can leave, the beautiful creature i s shot dead, as she stands before a l i g h t e d 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 f l e e i n g  through the glow of the flames of his burning dwelling, the dead L u c i a i n h i s arms, i s most v i v i d , another example o f Meyer's fondness f o r dramat i c pictures.  It reminds one of V i r g i l ' s picture of  Eneas f l e e i n g  through the flames of burning Troy, with h i s father Anchises on h i s back. One f e e l s that something dreadful must inevitably happen a f t e r that. " Waser konnte trotz der Gefahr der Stunde den B l i c k 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 L i c h t s , es war e i n Engel des Schreckens.** 1 When Waser parted from Jenatsch a f t e r Lucia's funeral, h i s only words were, "You w i l l yet hear from  me."  Shortly after t h i s , the Spaniards, l e d by ths two Plantas, Pompeius and h i s nephew Rudolph, poured over the land from Fuentes. Pompeius, the outlawed, went back again to h i s castle at Riedberg, but was not Ihere long when a murdering band, l e d by Jenatsch and Alexander, broke i n and k i l l e d him i n cold blood, beating him to death with an axe. Then they rode d e f i a n t l y through the country c a l l i n g upon the people to arm against t h e i r 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. executed;  others f l e d .  Thousands of them were captured and  Waser, safe i n h i s home at Zurich, heard the  news of the martyrdom of Blasius Alexander at Innsbruck. f a i t h f u l "even unto death".  He had been  Later, he was v i s i t e d by Jenatsch himself,  who had come to ask asylum f o r the night*  He had given up hope of  freeing h i s country f o r the present, and was on h i s way to take service with Count Mansfield, one of the Protestant leaders i n 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 e x i l e , and the Catholic party everywhere v i c t o r i o u s . Part two opens after a lapse of some ten years, and the scene now changes to Venice. 1.  Jenatsch 80.  Pastor Fausch i 3 at present a pastrycook  27. with a l i t t l e shop facing on the Grand Ganal and quite near the Cathedral, In t h i s l i t t l e wine-shop, which i s a l l prepared f o r the reception of guests, we learn from the conversation of Wertmuller, Duke Rohan's secretary, that h i s master and party are at present v i s i t i n g the cathedral, and w i l l come i n l a t e r .  Then Jtlrg Jenatsch bursts i n , and  we learn that he has been f i g h t i n g i n distant Dalmatia, but,hearing that R i c h e l i e u has decided to send a French army under Rohan into Graubttnden to free i t from i t s Spanish oppressors, i s determined service under the Duke.  to take  Without orders from his superior o f f i c e r ,  Grimani, he has returned to Venice.  He has also been so unfortunate  as to k i l l h i s own colonel i n a duel, i n self-defence, i t i s true, but he has thereby rendered himself l i a b l e 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. has also come to Venice to seek the aid of the Duke.  She  Since her father's  murder, she has been an unhappy e x i l e i n the house of her uncle i n Milan, but now  she has come to beg for re-instatement i n her own castle at  Riedberg and f o r j u s t i c e to be done upon the murderer of her father. She has gained the ear of the Duchess, who pleads her cause before the Duke i n an eloquent speech, strongly reminiscent of the Corneille manner, then i n vogue.  In a most natural way,  the author causes t h i s  speech  to be overheard by Jenatsch, who has just come to keep h i s appointment with the Duke.  Rohan promises her h i s a i d i n restoring her to her home,  28.  but he advises her to leave her vengeance to God, f o r the tender hand of  a woman should not he stained with deeds of blood. Just then Jenatsch most dramatically steps f o r t h , ac-  knowledges himself to be the murderer of her father, and offers h i s bosom to  her avenging k n i f e .  hesitate.  Placed i n such a p o s i t i o n , Lucretia can only  She cannot bring h e r s e l f 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 i s 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  i s i n duty bound to avenge her father, and here i s her chance, but she cannot strike the f a t a l blow.  I t i s a most a f f e c t i n g scene, and the  women leave the room i n tears. Then the Duke talks business with Jenatsch, and agrees to take him into h i s service. his  Owing to h i s experience as a s o l d i e r , and  intimate knowledge o f Graubunden, the Duke expects to f i n d him a  valuable a l l y , and he i s ordered to come to the palace at once, afterf i r s t going back for his baggage and h i s servants.  But he has not gone  out of sight of the Duke's palace, when he i s waylaid and kidnapped by the spies of Grimani, within sight and hearing of the Duke, who i s standing on the balcony. The next day the Duke sends for Grimani and deanands Jenatsch's release. to  The astute Venetian puts i n a most eloquent  be allowed to keep Jenatsch i n prison,  plea  or to get r i d of him quietly.  "The man i s 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 h i s purpose, and then r u t h l e s s l y betray you when you have served h i s turn. You w i l l l i v e to thank me i f I get r i d of him for you now, and l i v e to rue the day i f I grant your request, and l e t him go f r e e . " However, the Duke i n s i s t e d , and Grimani released him from prison. In the warning of Grimani here, we have a p a r a l l e l to ths warning of Lucretia i n Part One, and there i s another similar warning scene i n Part Three.  This i s an early example of that symmetry which  was so c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Meyer's s t y l e , and which we shall meet often i n h i s l a t e r works. After events prove that Grimani wa3 r i g h t , and no doubt the author uses this incident to show the mysterious workings of fate, which led the Duke, i n spite of himself, to take the very man into h i s service, who was afterwards to prove h i s undoing. When Part Three opens, we f i n d Lucretia back  i n a convent  near her old home, though her castle at Riedberg i s not yet open to her. The nuns, under s i s t e r Perpetua, wish to make lier their Abbess, but she cannot bring h e r s e l f 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 f a i t h f u l Wertrauller, and her own servant, Lucas. way,  On the  they have succeeded i n 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 . i s not the only reason.  Her love f o r Jenatsch  Perhaps some i n s t i n c t of patriotism advises  her that here i s the only man who can save her country.  They t r a v e l  together for several days, t i l l at l a s t 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 l a s t 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 s l i v e r cup which Jenatsch had given her as a c h i l d , and which she has always kept. a f f e c t i n g love-scene.  Then there i s a very  Jtirg's o l d love for L u c r e t i a has flamed up  again into an intense passion and he b i t t e r l y regrets h i s murder of her father as a ghastly mistake, an error of h i s hot-headed youth.  How-  ever, L u c r e t i a cannot consent to marry her father's murderer, no matter how much she loves him. over.  Just then the others come up and the scene i s  Soon thereafter she i s reinstated i n her o l d castle at Biedberg. In the meantime the armies of Duke Bohan have been ad-  vancing into Graubttnden, d r i v i n g out the Spaniards as they went.  Every-  where Jenatsch has proved h i s e f f i c i e n c y , both as soldier and as counc i l l o r , t i l l at l a s t he i s almost indispensable to the Duke, and has become h i s right-hand man and trusted confidant.  At l a s t the time  comes f o r the Duke to f u l f i l h i s promise to Jenatsch and withdraw h i s French armies from Switzerland, f o r the Spaniards have everywhere been driven out.  But Cardinal B i c h e l i e u has no intention of keeping f a i t h  with the Huguenot Bohan. him aside.  He has only used him as a t o o l , and now  casts  He refuses to l e t the French army withdraw and thus free  Graubtihden, which, according to h i s plan, must become a Catholic country and  a dependency of France. The poor Duke i s broken-hearted.  When the news comes to  him, he i s an honored guest at the home of the Swiss h i s t o r i a n ,  31  Fortunatus Sprecher, at Chur, and i t brings upon him a serious i l l n e s s . He sees h i s own future endangered through the machinations of the wily Cardinal, and his honor threatened, for the people have trusted h i s word, and both he and Jenatsch have pledged t h e i r personal fortune to make up the pay of the soldiers, which Bichelieu has allowed to get i n arrears. Jenatsch apparently takes the news of Bichelieu*s treachery very q u i e t l y , but here comes the turning-point of h i s l i f e , the point to which a l l the rest of the story has l e d up.  Nothing -  no other l o y a l t y - can be allowed to stand i n the way of h i s overwhelming passion - patriotism.  While seeming to remain the friend and  confidant of the Duke, he goes over to the Spanish side and s t a r t s negotiations with them.  He sends L u c r e t i a Planta as ambassador to the  Spanish commander at Fuentes, and her embassy i s 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 i n t e l l i g e n t , and the soul of l o y a l t y to h i s 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 t h i r d scene of warning i n the s t o r y ) , but the eyes of the Duke seem blinded by fate; Jenatsch explains everything away; and Wertmtiller can only grind h i s teeth with rage. Meanwhile Jenatsch has been using h i s tremendous influence with h i s 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 f i n d that Jenatsch ha3 betrayed him. Jenatsch demands that he sign a paper pledging himself to lead h i s 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 s i g n , but at l a s t consents, i n order to avoid bloodshed. After he has signed comes the news that Richelieu has again changed h i s mind, and w i l l take the French armies out of Switzerland, but i t i s now too l a t e .  Jenatsch i s too deeply involved with Spain, and besides he  w i l l not trust Richelieu any more.  The Duke also has given h i s pledged  word, and l i k e the man of honour that he i s , he w i l l keep i t , even to his  own hurt. There i s an a f f e c t i n g scene when the people b i d farewell  to  their good Duke.  They appreciate h i s beautiful character even  though they have betrayed him and gone over to Spain, and when he leads his  armies out of Chur, t h e i r leader f o r the l a s t time, there i s 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 h i s death. Jenatsch has apparently f u l f i l l e d h i s heart's ambition, the independence of h i s country - but the hour of h i s Nemesis i 3 near. To help secure Spanish a i d , and to render himself more e l i g i b l e i n the eyes of Lucretia Planta, he has renounced h i s r e l i g i o n and become a Catholic.  But i n spite of t h i s we see that the Spanish commander i s  a f r a i d of him and i s already p l o t t i n g h i s death, and Rudolph Planta, Lucretia's worthless cousin, suspecting that she i s too p a r t i a l to Jenatsch, determines to take her father's vengeance into h i s own hands.  33. Jenatsch f e e l s himself, however, at the height of h i s powers.  He has freed his country, though at a f e a r f u l p r i c e , - h i s own  good conscience, - and he does hot propose to step aside now. gaining so much, to what can he not attain?  After  He w i l l even win Lucretia  i n the end, though she has t o l d him, "There w i l l never he a wedding at Riedburg".  But he i s playing f o r h i s own hand now and not f o r his  country, and fate i s against him.  As long as he could plead patriotism,  he was allowed by fate to do h i s work.  But now h i s work was done, and  instead of being a saviour to h i s country, he has become i t s menace. In honor of Jenatsch, and to celebrate the freedom of t h e i r country, the c i t i z e n s of Chur have decided to give a masquerade b a l l i n 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 i n a trunk a l l this while, are on the road to k i l l him. sees the empty trunk and suspects treachery.  Lucretia, at Riedberg,  She follows them to Chur,  It i s a stormy night, with the same high wind blowing as on the night when her father was k i l l e d . with the passions of  Note here how Meyer makes nature  sympathize  men.  The news has just come of the death of the good Duke, and Fortunatus Sprecher reads the news to the people assembled i n the H a l l of J u s t i c e .  The best people of the town decide to go home, f e e l i n g  that a celebration i s out of place a f t e r such news.  Jenatsch,however,  i n s i s t s on having h i s f e t e , and this proves h i s undoing.  The rabble  f i l e into the h a l l , and Jenatsch, standing before the statue of J u s t i c e , with L u c r e t i a by his side, i s 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 f a i t h f u l axe dropped by old Lucas, and he smiles at her as she gives the f i 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 i s perhaps one of the best h i s t o r i c a l novels ever written. a l i k e masterly.  The conception and execution are  From the immense mass of material at h i s disposal,  the author has chosen only what was necessary, and has welded and u n i f i e d 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. sculptor, he has him  In h i s well-known l y r i c on the great  say:-  "Umfaszt, umgrenzt,hab' i c h dich, ewig Sein Mit meinen groszen L i n i e n fttnfmal dort: Ich htlllte dich i n l i c h t e Mantel ein Und gab d i r Leib, wie d i e s e 3 Bibelwort." * When drawing the character of Jenatsch, Meyer undoubtedly had his great contemporary, Bismark, i n mind, f o r not only were both gigantic figures as i f carved from i r o n , but there was,  i n 1870,  men  the same  lawless patriotism i n the founding of the German Empire, that went to the founding of the Bflnden Confederacy i n the seventeenth century. characterization i s masterly.  The  Everything lead3 up step by step to the  betrayal of the Duke and the Apostasy of Jenatsch.  In s t r i k i n g contrast  to the l a t t e r , / t h e courteous and C h r i s t - l i k e character of 'Der gute Herzog'.  We are meant to deplore the hero's lack of l o y a l t y , and yet,  i n spite of that, he i s an a t t r a c t i v e personality. 1.  Meyer's Gedichte -  330.  His patriotism  35  almost atones f o r everything, and the ordinary moral standards do not seem to apply i n his case.  In f a c t , f o r 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 h i s f r i e n d , Waser, say: "Ein schwer zu beurteilender Charakter. In einem Stflcke wenigstens ttberragt Jttrg Jenatsch unsere grSszten Zeitgenossen ... i n seiner ubermfichtigen Vaterlandsliebe. Wie i c h 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 ^ s t a l t i g e n Wesen. Ich musz zugeben, er hat i h r mehr geopfert, als ein aufrechtes Gewis3en verantworten kann. Aber, "fuhr er zSgernd, und mit gedSmpfter Stimme f o r t , " I s t es nicht e i n Glflck fur uns ehrenhafte Staatsleute, wenn, zum Heile des Vaterlands, notwendige Taten, die von reinen HSnden nicht vollbracht werden ktfnnen, von solchen gesetzlosen K r a f t s menschen ubernommen werden — die dann der allwissende Gott i n seiner Gerechtigkeit r i c h t e n mag." 1  is  This l a s t / a d e l i c a t e l y i r o n i c thrust at the smug P h i l i s t i n i s m by Waser, w i l l i n g to p r o f i t by the r e s u l t s won  by a man  though unwilling to accept any r e s p o n s i b i l i t y  therefor.  (3)  DER SCHUSZ VON  like  represented Jenatsch,  DER KANZEL,1878.  This story, Meyer's one and only comedy, was  written  during the happiest period of h i s l i f e , just a f t e r his marriage, when at the height of his powers and his fame. years l a t e r , he could not have written i t .  A few years sooner or a few It i s 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 h i s great contemporary, Gottfried  K e l l e r , i n h i s own f i e l d . unique way  1.  In t h i s novelle, he has succeeded i n a most  i n p i c t u r i n g the inhabitants and the scenery of h i s native  Jenatsch -  315.  36.  Zurich Lake.  Here he has t r u l y held 'a mirror up to nature' f o r we  can almost see before our eyes the people he describes, t h e i r beautiful surroundings, and their peculiar point of view. It i s a sort of sequel ±'o JUEG JENATSCH, and i t i s necessary to read them together i n order to get a complete understanding of the comedy involved i n 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 i s introduced- to us as a c h i l d , t r a v e l l i n g with h i s tutor on Lake Zurich, to where we f i n d him i n this t a l e , a man of s i x t y , on the eve of departing for the m i l i t a r y campaign, which i s to be h i s l a s t . F i r s t we have a description of the imperious l i t t l e fellow s i g n a l l i n g the boat to stop.  Then we r e a l i z e the precocious cleverness  of the young scamp, when he shows by a pert interruption that he has caught the meaning of h i s tutor's long L a t i n speech i n which plans for h i s future are mentioned. "Ja, der Berbi d i v i n i musz mit," r i e f h i e r p l f l t z l i c h der kleine Kobbold, der den Gegenstand der Unterhaltung erraten hatte. "Aber vorher musz er mich a l l e Sprachen lehren, dasz i c h i n a l i e n kommandieren kann." - "Was w i l l s t du denn e i g e n t l i c h werden, Rudolf?" fragte Herr Waser, urn die Blflsze, die der Magister^sich gegeben, zu decken. - " E i n General," r i e f das Bfibchen und sprang von der Bank, denn eben war man durch das Wassertor des Grendels gefahren, und legte j e t z t vor der Schifflande a n . 1 H  This i s our introduction to a most extraordinary character.  We have seen  him already as Duke Rohan's secretary, fundamentally brave, kind-hearted and l o y a l , but with a tongue that continually gets him into trouble. 1.  Jenatsch  87.  37, That i s one reason why the Duke would not believe hira when he t r i e d to convince him of Jenatsch's treachery. "Man hat euch das aufgebunden, Wertmttller", pflegte er zu scherzen, "urn eure Argwohne g l e i c h das stfirkste Gewurz vorzusetzen. Und, gesteht nun, Ihr verdient etwas ftir eure bOse Zunge." * In appearance he i s not bad-looking, though rather undersized, but what he lacks i n s i z e , he makes up i n 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 i n Chur when the betrayal took place.  She i s a  great admirer of the Duke and l i k e s Wertmtiller because of h i s l o y a l t y to his master.  He i s a confirmed freethinker, and h i s tendency to make  sport of sacred things and to 'hocus-pocus', as Waser c a l 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 s i c h a l s echten Kavalier gezeigt, neben dem VerrHter, Georg Jenatsch, der mir trotz seines gewinnenden Wesens, immer wie e i n bOser Geist vorhana, wenn er liber unsere Treppen zum Herzog hinaufsprang." ^ We are not t o l d that the marriage actually took place, but can i n f e r i t through a few words from Rahel  i n the new story, where we are t o l d that  Wertrattller*s wife longed f o r some Spanish buns, such as were baked i n Baden.  Wertrattller promised her g a l l a n t l y to get the buns and rode o f f .  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 r e a l i z e d his boyish ambition to become a general.  He i s back again at Mythikon, the  1.  2.  Jenatsch  246.  Ibid  315.  38. home of his childhood, a f t e r many campaigns i n which he has evidently gained wealth and honor.  He must have been i n 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 i n 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 i s i n an uproar with his p r a c t i c a l jokes, and many of the people think he i s i n league with the d e v i l himself. We make Wertmuller's acquaintance through Pastor Pfannens t i e l , an a t t r a c t i v e young fellow, and a t y p i c a l parson, who a loaded gun.  shies from  He has, however, written a t r e a t i s e on the Odyssey and  dedicated i t to the General.  This pleases the old gentleman who  i s also  quite a scholar, possessing an excellent l i b r a r y , and Pfannenstiel i s i n v i t e d to stay with him f o r the night. why  he has come.  Then he explains to the General  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 i s quite u n f i t t e d for  such an o f f i c e , and advises him to stay near his native Zflrich Lake,  where a l l the church-spires pastors.  show that t h i s must be a perfect Canaan for  By questioning he learns that the young man has been curate  for his cousin, the pastor of Mythikon during the l a s t summer, and he has f a l l e n i n 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 h e r s e l f , a l i t t l e l a t e r , 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 f o r leading her father to forget h i s duties, and thus get into trouble with the elders of h i s congregation.  Her father i s a good o l d soul whose  f a v o r i t e occupation, however, i s hunting, not preaching, and whose fondness f o r dogs and guns has many times got him into trouble.  This makes  Rahel very unhappy, and she says to the General: "Why y o u ' l l even have him shooting o f f guns i n the pulpit next."  This gives the General an  idea for a p r a c t i c a l joke, which, i f i t goes o f f as he plans, w i l l make the two young people happy, f o r Rahel confesses that she loves Pfannens t i e l , c h i e f l y because he i s so d i f f e r e n t from her father, and would never worry her by forgetting h i s pastoral duties, as her father does every day. The general then begins to l a y 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 o l d  General loves her and r e a l l y wishes her w e l l .  He has promised her that  she and Pfannenstiel s h a l l be betrothed the very next day. That evening the General and Pfannenstiel have a most i n t e r e s t i n g conversation, i n which he i s shown an e d i t i o n of the Odyssey that had once belonged to Jttrg Jenatsch. i t smelled of blood.  Pfannenstiel drops i t , as i f  He has been brought up to look on Jenatsch as i n  league with Satan himself.  No doubt Meyer introduces the incident to  show us the reputation which the apostate had among h i s countrymen, some t h i r t y - f i v e years a f t e r h i s death.  40. After a r e s t l e s s night, i t i s late when Pfannenstiel wakes. The a i r i s f u l l of the sound of church-hells and the sun i s shining over the heavenly-blue lake.  The General has gone to church.  The  description o f the community wending i t s way to church i s most masterly. One f e e l s that Meyer i s describing h i s own 'Gemeinde*.  The General i s  constantly greeted by the people as he goes along the road.  They know  he i s an o l d free-thinker, who hasn't the s l i g h t e s t intention of being converted, so they take his church-going as a compliment to  themselves.  He has timed h i s a r r i v a l to within a minute or so of church-time, and goes i n to see his cousin i n the parsonage next door. out a small gun of beautiful workmanship: i t over.  Here he p u l l s  "Yours", he says, handing  The o l d pastor i s interested at once, and they both go out to  the garden to shoot at h i s 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 i n his pocket, and  promises to have i t repaired. at once.  The o l d pastor, though, w i l l have h i s gun  He i s a f r a i d 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 i s not the same gun,  however, but i t s mate, loaded with powder, and with the trigger i n perfect order.  By now, the b e l l s have stopped ringing, and i t i s time to go i n  to church, so he s l i p s i t into his pocket and goes up to h i s p u l p i t . The General gets the only vacant seat i n the church, where he has a good view of the p u l p i t . Then follows a v i v i d 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 o l d Krachhalder, the elder.  The General notices, however, that h i s cousin  41. keeps h i s hand i n h i s pocket, and smiles once or twice when he hears a click.  After the singing of a p a r t i c u l a r l y noisy hymn, the pastor starts  his sermon, and has just s a i d , "Praise God with a loud noise", when the gun i n h i s pocket goes o f f with a hang. i s putting i t mildly.  That the congregation i s shocked  However, the brave o l d pastor recovers himself,  and goes on with h i s service right to the end. The two cousins meet i n the vestry a f t e r the service. The poor pastor, with tears i n h i s eyes, upbraids the General for h i s share i n the t r i c k , for he knows that h i s time as pastor of this church i s now up.  The elders w i l l never countenance such sacrilege.  the grave-faced elders f i l e i n , headed by Krachhalder. going to be some p l a i n t a l k i n g . h i s own hands.  And soon  There i s evidently  The General, however, takes matters i n  He takes out h i s w i l l , and offers to read them some  extracts from i t .  As Krachhalder had been t a l k i n g to the General the  day before about leaving a c e r t a i n piece of property to the church, he i s of course quite interested, and they a l l l i s t e n eagerly. then reads:  ITEM ONE:  The General  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 o f f i c e of pastor i n favor of Pfannenstiel, who pastor's daughter.  ITEM TWO:  i s to marry Rahel, the  Pfannenstiel i s to become pastor of the  church i n Pastor Wertmttller's place.  ITEM THREE: The land which the  church has been wanting i s 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 i s to be as i f i t had never happened. Of course a l l are more than w i l l i n g 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 w i l l withdraw h i s bequests,if anyone ever mentions i t again, and, i f anyone talks about i t a f t e r he i s dead, he threatens to come back and haunt them. talks.  But Krachhalder agrees to see that no one  "And what about the women?"  asks the General.  "We men w i l l  answer for them", they a l l reply meaningly. Then Rahel and Pfannenstiel are found s i t t i n g together outside i n the garden, and they are c a l l e d i n and betrothed, just as the General had promised the day before.  He has had h i s l i t t l e joke, and  has made h i s dear ones happy before going away the next day on the campaign from which he was never to come back, f o r not long afterward they hear that he i s dead. Some c r i t i c s say that t h i s story i s a f a i l u r e , and possibly i t does not stand comparison with K e l l e r ' s robuster comedies.  The  character-drawing, however, i s excellent and the whole thing i s a l i t t l e work of a r t .  I t i s a p i t y the author has not l e f t us more l i k e i t .  We have here the true small-town atmosphere, which i s the same i n a Canadian v i l l a g e as on Lake Zurich, and i n the twentieth century as i n the seventeenth.  We f e e l that we ourselves have known just such  characters as the author depicts.  Meyer must have himself gone to a  church l i k e the one he describes, and been acquainted with characters l i k e Krachhalder.  43.  (4)  DER  HEUilGE,  1879.  This story, though c a l l e d 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 i n the AMULET or JENATSCH have here vanished, and only the finished a r t i s t appears.  Most English readers consider this h i s greatest work,  probably because i t s theme i s the one with which they are most f a m i l i a r , as i t treats of a subject i n E n g l i s h h i s t o r y known to every  school-boy.  The author here takes two well-known h i s t o r i c a l characters, Henry II of England, and h i s Chancellor, Thomas a Becket, and, using h i s t o r y merely as a background, he gives us a great psychological character-study,  un-  surpassed  Does  in literature.  What does the author intend to do here?  he merely give us the story of a conversion, of a l i f e 'made perfect by s u f f e r i n g ' , or does he give us a study of revenge i n i t s most refined form?  Each one who  reads the story w i l l have to decide t h i s matter f o r  himself, f o r Meyer has purposely made the character of the hero 'mehrdeutig' to use a German word for which i t i s d i f f i c u l t to f i n d an exact equivalent in English. i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to read what the author himself has about the matter.  In a l e t t e r to Lingg he s a i d :  "RHcht sich Thomas Becket und wie? Er i s t zu v o r s i c h t i g , und v i e l l 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 i n  said  44.  n  der Hand, 'den Primat', Becket e r s c h r i c k t , er braucht nur 'ein wahrer B i s c h o f 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 g l e i c h Kirche war). In dem Akt seiner Bekehrung durchdringen s i c h Bachsucht und FrBmmigkeit auf eine unheimliche Weise."  Again, i n a l e t t e r 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 l e t t e r to Luise von Francois he says: g " Der Heilige i s t abs.ichtlich mehrdeutig." To represent t h i s ambiguity of character was Meyer's problem, just as i t was Shakespeare's problem i n HAMLET, and who  s h a l l say he has not  succeeded as Shakespeare did* As i n the AMULETT , i t i s a story within a story, or a 1  •Rahmenerzahlung', the tale being put into the mouth of Hans the Bowman, who,  as an old man, gives h i s reminiscehces, not merely as an  but as one who  onlooker,  a c t u a l l y took part i n the events he describes.  This  method of t e l l i n g the story gives an a i r of p r o b a b i l i t y obtainable i n no other way, old man  and allows the author to ascribe to the f a i l i n g memory of an  any discrepancies i n time or place that may  occur.  So i n -  timately bound together are the two stories that neither i s complete without  the other; and the old Canon Burkhardt, whose eager c u r i o s i t y  leads Hans to t e l l the story, seems as real and l i f e l i k e as any character i n the piece. 1.  Maync,  180.  3.  Ibid.  181  2.  Ibid.  180.  other  45.  Very r a r e l y does Hans f a i l to keep to h i s role of simple eye-witness, who t e l l s i n h i s own d i r e c t way what actually happened to himself.  He i s a Swiss, one of Meyer's own countrymen, and of nohie  b i r t h , though h i s family has f a l l 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.  and write, and knows V i r g i l by heart. him.  He learns to read  But the monkish l i f e i s not f o r  He runs away, and having f a i l e d both as a knight and as a monk, he  turns to a common c a l l i n g f o r a l i v e l i h o o d , and yet one that has much to do with knights and nobles; he becomes a bowman. To perfect himself i n h i s chosen c a l l i n g he goes to Granada i n Spain, where he learns the secrets of the bowmaker's a r t , as taught by the Arabs.  He also becomes f a m i l i a r 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 h i s trade, Hans goes to England to f i n d work, and finds i t with a Saxon smith who makes armor for the knights of the court, the Normans. daughter of the smith.  Hans f a l l s i n love with Hilda, the flaxen-haired It i s 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 t h i s s t r a i n of foreign blood i s 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 i n Becket's entourage, and the despairing father pleads on  46  h i s knees before the all-powerful Chancellor for j u s t i c e .  Here for the  f i r s t time we meet t h i s Chancellor, the hero of the story, with h i s pale dark beauty and gorgeous trappings.  In spite of h i s being a Saxon with  foreign blood i n h i s veins he has become 'the glass of fashion and the mould of form* to the young Normans about the court.  His words, h i s  dress, his mannerisms are imitated, and h i s influence there i s unparalleled.  But he either cannot or w i l l not help the poor smith, and  the l a t t e r ' 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, P f a f f e , dasz du kein Kind hast, das d i r e i n Normanne verderben kann." Becket's horse gives a sudden s t a r t , as i f he had unwittingly pricked i t with his spur, and the procession moves on.  A few days l a t e r , the  humiliated Hilda i s returned to her father, who plans th marry her to one of his kinsmen.  There i s no longer a place here f o r Hans, and he must  seek a new s i t u a t i o n , A clever invention of h i s i n the art of bow-making leads him to seek h i s fortune at the court.  He i s favorably received by the king,  and becomes a member of h i s household, and eventually h i s own p a r t i c u l a r body-servant.  So, i n the most natural manner i n the world, the frame-  work i s bound up with the main story, and Hans i s now i n a most favorable p o s i t i o n to see and hear what he i s years l a t e r to r e l a t e . We have now an e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y clever contrast i n character -study between the king and his chancellor.  One might perhaps object  that i t i s too clever by far to be the work of a simple bowman l i k e Hans, but he gives i t so n a t u r a l l y , that i t lends an a i r of even greater  47.  p r o b a b i l i t y to what he says.  We f e e l that he must have actually seen what  he i s r e l a t i n g , f o r apparently he isn't clever enough to have invented such a story himself. F i r s t there i s the king, the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of physical v i t a l i t y , with h i s gigantic frame, his blazing blue eyes, and h i s b l u f f hearty manner.  He i s subject to sudden rages, and i s t e r r i b l e i n h i s  angdr, though at other times very approachable, and a born leader of men* As Hans t e l l s h i s story, we cannot help admiring and sympathizing with him to some extent.  His opposite i n every respect i s the inscrutable  Chancellor, strong i n i n t e l l e c t though s l i g h t i n body, refined and s p i r i t u a l , upon whom the king i s e n t i r e l y dependent i n h i s business a f f a i r s . Though Henry admires him tremendously, yet he considers him as h i s t o o l , for has he not made him, a Saxon, the chief man  i n the kingdom, and  given him a l l h i s wealth; The other characters are more l i 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 t h i r d son, Richard, the f a v o r i t e of h i s father, and of the Chancellor.  There i s also  Bertrand de Born, whose manner of hating i s compared and contrasted with that of Becket.  Lastly there i s Queen Eleanor, formerly the divorced  wife of the king of France, and 'worse than any witch i n the kingdom.' As she i s described, one can almost forgive the king f o r being u n f a i t h f u l to. her, though she has brought him as dowry many broad lands i n France.  She h e r s e l f i s u n f a i t h f u l to the king, yet she follows his  amours with jealous hatred and vengeance, so we have a presentiment  of  48.  what i s going to happen l a t e r on, when the king finds and f a l l s i n love with Grace, the daughter of the Chancellor. This i s the chief episode i n the story, the shovel which, as Hans says, digs the grave of both king and chancellor, and i s as follows:  On a hunting t r i p one day the king gets separated from h i s  party, and* followed only by Hans, he comes suddenly upon a romantic Moorish c a 3 t l e i n a remote p&rt of the forest.  He announces himself and  enters to f i n d a beautiful young g i r l , scarcely more than a c h i l d , with whom he becomes infatuated.  For several months he and Hans make secret  v i s i t s to this c a s t l e , though Hans has never entered or seen the lady. He imagines she i s 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 i s on her track, and the king t r i e s to take Grace with him out of the country for safety, does he learn that i t i s the only c h i l d o f the Chancellor, whom the King has r u t h l e s s l y despoiled. In the meantime, Becket has also learned of his c h i l d ' s danger, and he places a guard over the c a s t l e t i l l he can have her removed to safety.  In his l a s t conversation with her, which Hans overhears,  we get a glimpse of the contempt he has for the King and h i s 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 i s t e r r i b l y shocked and g r i e f - s t r i c k e n , but does not  49.  see that he i s i n any way  to blame.  Accustomed to the s a t i s f a c t i o n of  every l u s t , 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 t h i s end he sends Hans with  a l e t t e r to Becket, whom he finds bowed i n g r i e f before Grace's body, which l i e s i n state i n t h e i r private chapel.  The description of t h i s  chapel, and the mourning father, i s very s t r i k i n g , and, through Hans, we get an insight into Becket's r e a l feelings toward the king, which helps to  explain h i s actions l a t e r on. This i s the climax of the piece, from which, as i n a drama  the action begins to descend.  We f e e l that things can only go from bad  to worse between the King and h i s Chancellor, after such a happening as t h i s . at  Yet, strange to say, the Chancellor does not take his revenge  once, as any ordinary man  would do.  Hans expects i t , and despises  him as a supine coward for not taking i t . Becket's o r i e n t a l ideas of kingship.  But Hans does not understand  Just as Grace f e l l a v i c t i m because  her o r i e n t a l t r a i n i n g made i t wrong i n her eyes to r e s i s t a king, so Becket cannot do anything against the King while he i s s t i l l h i s Chancello However, he withdraws from h i s duties step by step.  He  refuses to teach the King's sons any longer, and they at once f a l l to f i g h t i n g 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, i s as i f 'a dead man  sat at the table'.  On one occasion the two men were t a l k i n g 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 f l i n c h e s , as i f suddenly struck by a new thought. i s born.  Perhaps i t i s then that h i s idea of revenge  When the news of the death of the o l d Archbishop of Canterbury  comes, Becket's conversation with the King i s a masterpiece of clever dialogue.  Here i s what Meyer himself says of i t :  "Orientalise!* nachtragend, i c h w i l l night sagen rachstlchtig, aber doch (gegen Laster und Gewaltat ) fein-grausam. Er s p i e l t rait dem KBnig von Anfang b i s 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 c o n f l i c t begins.  Henry has  given him over to a greater king than himself, the King of Kings, and now Becket's supreme allegiance i s to h i s new Lord. The d i f f e r e n t steps i n h i s conversion are portrayed for us with masterly s k i l l .  He f i r s t gives up h i s chancellorship, on  which occasion there i s a s t r i k i n g l y symbolic episode - the cracking of the great seal of England.  Then the beauty-loving pagan, who before did  not scorn to accept g i f t s and honors from a king whom he dispised, now o  becomes the self-denying a s c e t i c .  It i s not that he was  irreligious  before, for he had an almost C h r i s t i a n horror of bloodshed and s u f f e r i n g , which was centuries ahead of his dark and bloody age. he was more pagan than C h r i s t i a n .  But i n many ways  He was pleased to hear a text from the  Koran quoted over his c h i l d ' s dead body.  And that c h i l d during her  l i f e t i m e received no Christian teaching, and no Christian symbols decorated her tomb. 1.  Faesi  86.  51.  But h i s suffering changes Becket, not a l l at once hut gradually, t i l l at l a s t he i s a t r u l y converted man.  He becomes content  to l e t Henry's punishment await the vengeance of God.  His own  with a treacherous knight, Palconbridge, are meant to symbolize dealings with Henry.  dealings God's  When the King asks him why he did not unmask the  t r a i t o r sooner , he says: "0 Herr, wozu? A l l e s Ding kommt zur E e i f e , 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 h i s hate, i f hate i t can be c a l l e d , i s not l i k e that of  Bertrand de Born.  It gradually becomes the hatred of the Christian for  the s i n rather than f o r the sinner.  But before t h i s state of mind can  come, many changes have to take place i n 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 h i s diocese.  Formerly the sight of  suffering was hateful to him, but now he becomes f a m i l i a r with i t . conversation with the c r u c i f i x , overheard by Hans, symbolizes t h i s .  His The  image of the suffering Christ had formerly sickened him, but now he can sympathize with Christ's sufferings, f o r he too has suffered. The grossly m a t e r i a l i s t i c king cannot understand conversion at a l l , and at f i r s t he thinks i t a l l a joke.  Por  this 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  1.  Der Heilige,  refuses to become h i s t o o l , or to give up any of  136.  2.  Ibid.  166.  52.  the rights claimed hy the Church, the King f e e l s himself betrayed and his anger knows no hounds.  Becket i 3 banished from England and goes to  Prance, where he wanders i n poverty from abbey to abbey, while h i s poor Saxon proteges at home are i n despair. Then Henry, prompted by revenge, does a very f o o l i s h thing. He has h i s eldest son crowned by the Archbishop of York, - a d i r e c t attack on the prerogative of Becket, who at once r e t a l i a t e s by excommunicating the Archbishop of York.  Henry's two eldest sons go to Prance and head  a r i s i n g against their, father.  When Henry hears of i t he becomes so  abject i n h i s rage that he disgraces himself before the servants, and h i s son Eichard and Hans attempt to take matters i n their own hands. They both go disguised to Prance to meet Becket and persuade him to a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n with the King.  Their meeting and the parting under  a p i l l a r of the c l o i s t e r surmounted by a hideously grinning gargoyle, i s most ^ s k i l f u l l y t o l d , and we have here another instance of Meyer's symbolism.  Becket agrees to give Henry the k i s s of peace, and Henry ,  when he hears the news, goes with a l l haste to Prance. When Becket i s face to face with the King, however, he cannot bring himself to k i s s the l i p s of the man who has ruined h i s child.  But he conquers his f e e l i n g of disgust and says that, i f Henry  w i l l grant j u s t i c e to his oppressed Saxons, and inaugurate the r u l e of Christ i n h i s kingdom, not only w i l l he give him the k i s s of peace, but he w i l l become h i s chancellor again, and help him to carry out h i s 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 f e e l s that Becket i s pressing him too hard. a rage and they part as foes,  He hursts into  Henry forbidding Becket on pain  of  death ever to set foot again i n England. The ride hack over the gray snowy p l a i n , i n which nature seems to harmonize with the misery of humanity, shows Meyer, i n one of h i s most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c moods.  Here Richard leaves h i s 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 i s brought to him  that Becket, i n spite of h i s bann, has crossed the Channel, and i s once more back i n Canterbury.  Again the King bursts into a rage, and once  more does a very f o o l i s h thing.  He taunts h i s knights, who are at the  table with him, with eating h i s bread and l e t t i n g h i s enemies triumph over him.  Pour of them accept the challenge and at once set o f f f o r  Canterbury.  Hans, when the King has recovered from his rage, i n s i s t s  that for h i s own reputation he cannot afford to make a martyr out of Becket.  The King see3 the force of t h i s 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 i n h i s palace, surrounded by h i s p r i e s t s .  He o f f e r s  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 l o s t .  The way i n which he turns against Hans seems to  j u s t i f y the reproach i n part at l e a s t , 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 b e l l rings f o r service i n the Cathedral, and they a l l go i n , stopping before the high a l t a r .  They trust to the sanctity  of the place f o r t h e i r defence, but the murderers are restrained by no law of sanctuary, and Becket i s f o u l l y murdered and h i s band scattered, in spite of the fact that Hans t r i e s i n vain to defend  him.  After the murder of the Archbishop, the story i s v i r t u a l l y ended.  The King scourges himself before Becket's tomb, but even t h i s  does not appease h i s wounded s p i r i t , for just then the news comes of the defection of the King's f a v o r i t e , Hichard, and we are t o l d 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.  F i n a l l y Hans decides that i t w i l l be better  o both f o r the King and himself, f o r him to leave the King's service. In London, he v i s i t s Hilda again, and finding her very  ill  he t r i e s to cure her with h i s handkerchief dipped i n Becket's blood, but the touch only causes her to die suddenly.  According to Hans, the  2 Archbishop i s revengeful even i n death. Then Hans goes back to h i s o l d home on the Rhine, marries and s e t t l e s down and becomes a respected c i t i z e n , carrying on h i s old trade as a bowman.  He has almost forgotten h i s old l i f e , t i l l a chance  1.  Der H e i l i g e ,  224.  2.  It i s i n t e r e s t i n g i n this connection to read i n the papers recently that the soul of Becket i s reported to have v i s i t e d h i 3 o l d room i n the Tower of London, and to have destroyed a radio-set which was i n s t a l l e d there. It seems as i f Hans estimate of him might be r i g h t , 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 r e b e l l i o n ,  and he died without the r i t e s of the Church. teaching his soul was  According to Catholic  lost.  The sudden barking of Tapp, Hans' poodle, heralds  the  a r r i v a l of company, and Hans starts up to go, but the o l d Canon i n s i s t s on h i s staying overnight.  The story has so excited him that he i s  a f r a i d of bad dreams, so to quiet him, rounds the story out.  Hans stays.  Thus the framework  The whole i s so s k i l f u l l y t o l d that i t i s hard to  believe i t a mere work of the  imagination.  It i s pleasant to learn that the t a l e was  received with  approbation by Meyer's countrymen, and f o r i t he received i n 1880 honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy, conferred on him by  the  the  University of Zurich, his native C i t y .  (5)  Like DER vein.  PLAUTUS m  U0NNENKL0STER, 1881.  SCHUSZ VON  DER KANZEL t h i s story i s i n a comic  As, a f t e r the completion of a heavy work l i k e the Jenatsch, the  author seemed to relax by publishing a comedy, so now, equally heavy HElLlGE  f  DER  SCHUSZ VON  a f t e r the almost  he gives us this work i n a lighter, vein.  DER KANZEL, i t , too, has a paradoxical t i t l e .  Like Who  would  expect to hear a shot f i r e d from a p u l p i t , or f i n d a copy of an author l i k e Plautus i n a nunnery. The comic i n this story has, though, a s t r a i n of bitterness i n i t which i s absent from the other.  It i s also a 'Rahmenerzahlung'.  56. Poggio, a cultured gentleman of the time of the I t a l i a n Renaissance, t e l l s the story to a group of his f r i e n d s , gathered round the table of the celebrated Cosimo d i Medici i n Florence.  As he relates i n a h a l f -  comical, h a l f - b i t t e r vein, -, his story of the f i n d i n g of an o l d manuscript of the Roman poet Plautus, i n a nunnery many years before, he paints h i s 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 w e l l . Republic, but was  He i s now  the .Secretary of the Florentine  formerly secretary to f i v e popes.  o f f i c i a l of the Catholic church, he has been appointed  As a high as delegate to  the Council of Constance i n Switzerland, where he takes a leading part i n the e l e c t i o n of a new pope. M  Yet i n spite of that he i s a real  Renaissanzmensch , an out and out free-thinker, who M  religion.  makes sport of  We f e e l that i t i s probably h i s own f a u l t , 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 i s 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 s t o r i e s untold, than are found i n that book, so he agrees to give the company one of these 'Fazetia inedita* as he c a l l s i t . two  There are r e a l l y  s t o r i e s bound up together, the tale of the f i n d i n g of the manuscript,  and the story of Gertrude, the novice, a fine example of German l o y a l t y . The subject of conscience  i n a l l i t s d i f f e r e n t manifestations was  always  a f a v o r i t e one with Meyer, and t h i s story i s one of a number i n which  57. the subject i s 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 L a t i n comic author, Plautus, which i s to be found i n 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, i n spite  of the impending papal e l e c t i o n i n Constance, he hires a mule and sets out to v i s i t the convent, i n the hope of getting even a look at the manuscript. On the way he notices the sad face of h i s Swiss muledriver, Hans, and being r e a l l y rather kind-hearted when i t does not i n t e r fere too much with h i s pleasures, he soon learns that Gertrude, the man's fiancee, i s to take the v e i l the very next day. understand why  Hans i s at a loss to  she should take such a step, for he i s sure that  Gertrude loves him, and would rather marry him than, become a nun.  He  i s planning to be present when she takes her vows, and bid her farewell. Soon they reach the convent and find a crowd gathered i n 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 i s to carry that same  cross, alone and unaided, for the Holy V i r g i n w i l l help her.  For cen-  turies t h i s has been part of the ceremony when a nun took the v e i l , and never once has the Holy V i r g i n f a i l e d to do her part.  Poggio, the f r e e -  thinker, suspects a hoax, especially a f t e r he has seen the o l d abbess.  58.  Meyer has made of her the chief comic figure of the piece.  She dances  around l i k e a witch, and acts as i f she had taken too much of the wine which i s flowing rather f r e e l y .  She dares Poggio to come and l i f t  the  cross, hut he excuses himself, and goes into the church. There h i s attention i s 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 V i r g i n 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 i n conversation and finds that he i s r i g h t . Poggio mentions that he has met admits that she s t i l l  loves him,  Hans, her lover, and  and would rather marry him than become  a nun, but when she wa3 a c h i l d her mother had taken i l l , and she then made a vow  she  had  that i f the Holy V i r g i n would l e t 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 l i v e d t i l l only a few months before.  Then  she had met Hans, and she wanted nothing better i n l i f e than to become his  wife.  But t h i s was her twentieth year, and she must keep her  vow,  though she could not help hoping that the Holy V i r g i n would not i n s i s t her keeping to the l e t t e r a vow made when she was she knew 'what man  a c h i l d , and  before  and wife meant.'  Her only hope was the cross on the morrow.  that she would be too weak to carry  She would look on that as a sign that the  V i r g i n had released her from her vow,  but i t was/rather vain hope , f o r  never yet had the V i r g i n f a i l e d to do her part.  Poggio suggested that  she should stumble purposely under the cross, but she became indignant.  on  59.  "Handel i s t Handel. nicht bestehen."  Ohne Treue und Glauben kann die Welt  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, i n 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 i n there.  chancel was a door which l e d to the l i b r a r y .  On the other side of the He went i n and began to  r  rummage around among the books and manuscripts, t r y i n g to f i n d the PLAUTUS.  He did not f i n d i t , but found another that looked i n t e r e s t i n g  and put i t i n h i s pocket. Just then the abbess came i n l i k e a whirlwind and took the book from h i s pocket, scolding him roundly f o r a t h i e f .  She said she  knew what he was a f t e r , but ever since she had heard he was i n her neighborhood, she had slept with the- 'Podex*,as she c a l l e d i t , under her pillow, so there would be no chance of his s t e a l i n g 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 i n 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. l o s t , hut produced  She pretended i t was  i t when he threatened to have the door broken open.  When the door was opened, there, sure enough, was the dummy cross, exactly l i k e the other hut ten times as l i g h t . The abbess then offered to l e t him have the Plautus, i f , only f o r t h i s once, he would say nothing, and l e t the performance tomorrow go on as usual, and he, i n h i s eagerness to get the manuscript,  consented.  When he got i t , he brought i t with him to h i s room, near by, where he at once became so happily engrossed that he completely forgot poor Gertrude.  F i n a l l y he f e l l asleep, but towards morning he awoke with  a sudden s t a r t , 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 i n the Church praying before the High A l t a r .  Poggio got up, went into the  church, and found her i n great distress before the picture, begging the V i r g i n not to i n s i s t on her vow.  She c r i e d :  "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 l e t him remain i d 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 a l s Pallas Athene, und wir Maria nennen," the old pagan strode up to the cross, and gave i t a good p l a i n mark with his  dagger.  Then he t o l d 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 l i k e "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 o f f to bed again.  In the morning the church i s crowded to the doors, and Gertrude, pale as death, appears, dressed f o r the ceremony, and wearing a real crown of thorns, which i n her zeal she has pulled down over her face t i l l  the blood flows.  by s i x nuns who for  The dummy cross i s brought to her, borne  apparently stagger under i t s weight.  She takes i t , looks  the mark of Poggio's dagger, and not finding i t , she casts the cross  from her t i l l  i t breaks i n pieces.  Then she marches into the  little  side room, takes the r e a l c r o s s on her shoulders, and staggers out with i t again before the great crowd of people. though she t r i e s bravely to carry i t , and es i h r . "  It i s too heavy f o r her, 'Tceine GDttin e r l e i c h t e r t e  Her arm cracks, and she stumbles and f a l l s unconscious  to the  f l o o r , 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, f o r now sacrifice. audience.  she knows that the V i r g i n does not desire her  She c a l l s out to her lover, Hans, who  i s s i t t i n g i n the  He comes forward j o y f u l l y to greet her, and they go away t o -  gether to be married.  But now  that she has gone back into ordinary l i f e ,  she has l o s t a l l interest f o r Poggio. Just then a post from Constance brings him the news of the election of h i s 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 i n honor of the new pope.  They a l l leave the church, and  he hurries back to h i s room to get h i s Plautus.  On the way he meets the  62.  abbess, who  shakes her f i s t at him i n a rage. On the way back to I t a l y , Poggio l a t e r 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 h i s f r i e n d and patron, Cosimo d i Medici, and thus ends t h i s , the shortest of a l l Meyer'3 novellen. While not among h i s great works, yet i t i s pleasingly written, andl the character of Poggio i n p a r t i c u l a r i s very well done.  He  paints for us h i s own picture as he t a l k s , and at length stands out before 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 l o y a l t y and honour.  Maync says i t i l l u s t r a t e s  that " ehrlichen Pond i n der deutschen Volknatur, ohne welche die Reformation eine UnmOglichkeit gewesen we're." ^ Some of Meyer's Puritan friends reproached him f o r t r e a t i n g r e l i g i o n i n a frivolous manner, thereby i d e n t i f y i n g the author with ths character of Poggio.  They did not catch i t s note of b i t t e r n e s s , f o r  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, t h i s story has the t h i r t y years' war 1.  Maync,  191.  63 as i t s h i s t o r i c a l background.  It i s by no means one of Meyer's greatest  works, as i t has several inconsistencies which we s h a l l point out l a t e r . 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 h i s t o r i c a l l y correct, and so completely s a t i s f y i n g . The author himself was not quite content with this production, although, as we s h a l l see, i t contains many of h i s most marked c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . The motive, - that of a g i r l disguising herself as a boy, i n order, unknown to him, to be near t o , and to serve the man i s by no means new.  she loves,-  Shakespeare has used i t i n AS YOU LIKE IT, and  jlfeinrich Laube wrote, i n 1843, a tragedy e n t i t l e d GUSTAV ADOLF, i n which he made h i s page.a g i r l .  However, i t i s probable that Meyer never read  the l a t t e r , as he prides himself on this idea being an invention of h i s own.  He claimed to have got the idea from Goethe's EGMONT, where  KlHrchen says: "Wfire i c h nur e i n Bube, und kflnnte immer mit ihm gehen." He speaks as follows: "Ich l a s Goethes Egmont und v e r t i e f t e mich i n den Gedanken: Es lohne wohl, e i n Weib zu zeichnen, das, ohne Hingabe, ja ohne dasz der Held nur eine Ahnung von ihrem Geschlecht hat, einem hohen Helden i n verschwiegener Liebe f o l g t , und fur ihn i n den Tod geht. Der Held muszte f r e i l i c h sehr k u r z s i c h t i g sein, urn night zu erkennen, dasz sein Freund e i n Weib i s t . Gustav Adolf war hochgradig k u r z s i c h t i g . Ich machte seinen Pagen, Leubelfing, zu einem MHdchen." 1 The s e t t i n g of the story i s Nftrnberg, and the time just before the battle of Ltltzen, during which Gustavus Adolphus l o s t h i s l i f e . 1.  Maync,  202.  64.  The story opens i n a magnificent room i n a large, newly-built house near the c i t y wall, with the merchant p r i c e Leuhelfing and his son s i t t i n g balancing t h e i r hooks f o r the year, and waiting with breathless interest to see what t h e i r p r o f i t s are going to be.  Just then a cornet of horse  i s introduced, bearing a l e t t e r from no other than King Gustavus himself. Leubelfing, as an important  c i t i z e n of Kflrnberg, has entertained the king  at a banquet a short time before, and he now feels himself highly honored at r e c e i v i n g such a personal l e t t e r , u n t i l he opens i t . shows on h i s face, and the son asks what i s wrong.  His consternation  It seems that, at the  banquet, i n drinking to the health of t h e i r guest, some one i n the audience had c a l l e d out, "Long l i v e Gustavus Adolphus, the future king of Germany".  The father, who had drunk too much wine, thought to f l a t 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 p o s s i b i l i t y of such a thing happening, but here i s a l e t t e r from the king, s t a t i n g that h i s two former pages have been k i l l e d i n b a t t l e , and o f f e r i n g the p o s i t i o n to Leubelfing's son. The son groans and the sweat stands out on his forehead as he looks up at the magnificent c e i l i n g of t h e i r room, on which Meyer, with c h a r a c t e r i s t i c symbolism, has described a painting of Abraham o f f e r i n g up his son Isaac.  He f e e l s as i f his father i s s a c r i f i c i n g him too.  He  r e a l i z e s that he must go, or the family w i l l be disgraced forever and he w i l l be branded as a coward, but he i s w i l l i n g 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 l i k e a boy as possible. manners.  She has short h a i r , a deep a l t o voice, and rather hoydenish  As a c h i l d she had grown up with her father i n the army, and  she i s more at home i n the saddle, and wearing a man's clothes than i n her own.  Now her parents are both dead and she has come to l i v e here  in Mrnberg with her uncle.  Her favorite uniform i s that worn by her  father when he was k i l l e d i n b a t t l e .  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 t h e i r depression, and when t o l d about the l e t t e r and i t s cause, she admits having h a i l e d Adolphus as king of Germany, f o r she had been at the banquet disguised i n her father's clothes.  Her cowardly cousin says she ought to go i n h i s  place for having got him into such trouble, and the idea pleases her at once.  It seems l i k e the hand of fate, which i s bringing her to her hero.  She hasn't much time to think, for. just then the cornet of horse i s announced who  i s to take the page back with him.  Urged by her uncle and  cousin, she hurries o f f 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 i s 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 s l i g h t e s t idea that she i s not a boy.  Once with the king her troubles begin;  for while  near him she tastes the highest joy, yet one thing a f t e r 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 i n disgrace.  Though she  66  cannot help l i k i n g the queen, who i s very kind to her, yet she i s intensely jealous of her.  Then, too, she cannot he with Gustavus  Adolphus long before learning his attitude toward deceit, and t r i c k e r y . This i s 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 h i s hatred of the Jesuits i s again revealed.  The only time Gustel  i s r e a l l y happy i s when she i s r i d i n g 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. this.  The incident of Corinne shows her  Corinne i s the mistress of Count Launbergj who, a short time  before, had married a f r i e n d of the queen, and then l e f t her on t h e i r wedding-day for the b e a u t i f u l Corinne. to  The queen has made a complaint  the king, on her friend's behalf, and the king orders Corinne to be  brought before him. receives her.  The king i s out when she a r r i v e s and the page  She soon r e a l i z e s that the page i s a g i r l , and accuses  Gustel of being even more shameless than h e r s e l f , f o r , she says,"I have never stooped to the disgrace of wearing men's clothes."  Gustel, i n  an agony of fear, confesses that the king knows nothing about her sex, and that she i s there because she loves him.  Corinne appreciates t h i s  motive, f o r she, too, loves Launberg, and declares that the king cannot force her to give him up. Just then the king comes i n .  He t r i e s to show Corinne  what a s i n f u l l i f e she i s 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 r e a l i z e s that t h i s means she w i l l  have to hecome a heretic, a dreadful thing to one who has always heen so s t r i c t i n following the r i t e s of the church.  Here Meyer's  Protestantism  i s again i n evidence, i n making Corinne, i n spite of her way of l i v i n g , a good orthodox Catholic.  In the meantime the page i s i n agony, f o r  she fears that Corinne w i l l take her revenge on the king by t e l l i n g him all.  Instead, however, the poor creature cuts her throat,and i s c a r r i e d  out of the room dead. The whole episode shows Gu3tel how easy and horrible an unmasking would be f o r her, and she thinks of running away, but, - one more evening with the king, who  runs h i s hand through her curly h a i r ,  and laughingly rebukes her sharp r e p l i e s , - and she has to stay.  The  king has not the s l i g h t e s t idea that h i s pleasure i n the page's company i s due to her sex.  It i s i n t e r e s t i n g to see how the author has avoided  the eroticism which seems almost inevitable i n a story with such a motive, but there i s hardly a trace of i t . It i s i n t e r e s t i n g , also, to note how c l e v e r l y Meyer has described the l i f e i n Adolphus' camp, and to compare i t with S c h i l l e r ' s description of Wallenstein's camp, as shown i n the LAGER.  Among the  common soldiers there i s a strong r e l i g i o u s enthusiam;., and an ardent Protestantism, also a great admiration for t h e i r hero, Adolphus. are no ordinary soldiers of fortune, l i k e Wallenstein's men.  They  Instead  of the drinking songs of S c h i l l e r ' s play, these soldiers go around chanting  68.  hymns, such as the famous swan-song of Gustavus Adolphus, nicht, du HSuflein k l e i n " .  "Verzage  This song can he found i n most English and  American hymn-hooks, i n Miss Winkworth's t r a n s l a t i o n , as "Pear not, 0 ye l i t t l e f l o c k " . In  Thus does the author succeed i n giving us l o c a l color. strong contrast i s the conduct of the German nobles.  They are d i s l o y a l and r e b e l l i o u s , and ready to rob even t h e i r own people. The king's speech, i n which he scolds them roundly f o r a band of t h i e v i s h marauders, i s 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 i s to suffer through  him l a t e r on. Meyer has been c r i t i c i s e d f o r making a great man  like  Adolphus merely a subordinate character i n the story, but I think the c r i t i c i s m i s hardly j u s t i f i e d , f o r he i s an e n t i r e l y sympathetic character, f u l l y worthy of the page's admiration and love, and the fact that he i s subordinate does not s t r i k e us as a f a u l t .  Por Meyer, he i s the great  Protestant hero, almost as completely without flaw as Duke Bohan.  And  as such, he i s intended to contrast with ?/allenstein, i n the episode where the two are brought together.  After reading S c h i l l e r ' 3 play i t  must be admitted that Meyer's Wallenstein i s a l i t t l e disappointing, but of course we only see him on t h i s one occasion, and no doubt the atmosphere of  s u p e r s t i t i o n with which he i s surrounded i s quite h i s t o r i c . ftut  also brought in^/Schiller's play.  It i s  He advances the plot by warning  Adolphus of treachery, and the poor page gets the blame, because voice sounds l i k e hers, and because the same glove f i t s both.  Launberg's  69.  The story of Launberg's t a l k i n g i n h i s sleep and revealing a l l his treachery to Wallenstein seems just a l i t t l e i n c r e d i b l e , though Wallenstein mentions the same thing as having happened to Coligny. the poor page, when she sees h e r s e l f suspected  Then  of treachery, runs away,  just at the moment when she knows that the king i s i n the greatest danger, which does not seem exactly l i k e Gustel.  She does not leave the army,  however, for she meets her father's old Colonel, Ake Tott. godfather, and has known her from a c h i l d .  He i s her  He recognizes her and takes  her to h i s tent, where, much to her disgust, she meets his batman, Jacob .Erichson, who  i s r e a l l y a woman.  The good soul, to keep her  family from starving, has taken her dead husband's place, and h i s clothes. This is" just another example of Meyer's fondness for repeating the 'Leitmotiv' of his story again and again with v a r i a t i o n s . The incident i n which the Naumberg c i t i z e n s meet the king and f a l l down before him as i f he were a god,  i s quite h i s t o r i c , 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.  longer, and breaking her word to her godfather, old  place with the king, who  comment.  She can stand i t no she hurries back to her  accepts her presence without surprise or  In t r u t h , his mind i s occupied with other things, for i t i s the  evening before Ltttzen, and he has the a f f a i r s of the b a t t l e to arrange. The scene i n which he addresses his s o l d i e r s before the b a t t l e i s most touching. Then Launberg comes i n and, l i k e the prodigal son,  kneels  70.  before the king, begging his forgiveness, which he grants, and they both ride together into the b a t t l e , followed by the page.  The battle  itself  i s not described. The l a s t scene i s i n the parsonage of a nearby v i l l a g e . The parson's conversation with h i s 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  i s suddenly opened by the page, bearing the dead body of the king, and herself covered with blood.  She l a y 3 the body on a couch and attempts  to wash o f f the wounds, but f a l l s i n a f a i n t . and they discover a mortal wound i n the chest.  She i s borne to a couch It i s only when  examining the wound that they f i n d out the page i s a g i r l .  For some un-  explained reason, we f i n d the same cornet of horse there as at the beginning of the story, also Gustel's cowardly cousin, and her godfather, Ake Tott.  It i s almost a mannerism of Meyer's to have the same  characters appear at the end, as at the beginning of a story, and give symmetry to i t .  thus  In t h i s case, however, i t seems rather improbable  to have these people a l l turn up just here. The page, with her l a s t gasp, attempts to stammer out something about 'Launberg' and 'treachery', but dies i n the midst of i t , her l a s t glance being directed to her beloved king's face. thinks that, now  Her cousin  she i s dead, he w i l l be able to resume h i s 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 s i l e n t about her sex, a silence as deep and profound as that i n  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 f e e t , and the sun which has succeeded the fog  of the day of b a t t l e , 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 i s something gripping about i t .  Gustel i s almost  as a t t r a c t i v e a character as Georg, the page i n Goethe's GOETZ VON BERLICHINGEN, and, as a psychological study, the character of Gustavus himself i s extremely well done. The story f i r s t appeared as PAGE LEUBELFING i n DIE DEUTSCHE RUNDSCHAU of 1882, and shortly a f t e r i t appeared i n book-form, under i t s present  title.  (7)  DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEN,1883.  From the s t i r r i n g times of the t h i r t y 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 s t o r i e s , the time being the l a t t e r part of Louis' reign, when Madame de Maintenon was h i s f a v o r i t e , and when he had begun to come under the influence of the Jesuits.  As i n the previous  story, the Protestant Meyer's hatred of the Society of Jesus i s very much i n evidence.  The story i s based on a few l i n e s from the 'M^moires' of  Saint-Simon, which Meyer had read with peculiar i n t e r e s t .  72  The story of the unhappy youth, J u l i a n Boufflers, who was done to death by the J e s u i t s , i s the most autobiographical of a l l Meyer's works, and f o r that reason i t i s one of the most touching, f o r i n i t he puts a l l the sufferings of h i s 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 i n DIB LEIDEN EINES KNABEN.  In the story, too, we have many other things which  were c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the boy, Meyer, such as h i s love f o r dogs, h i s s k i l l i n fencing, and h i s talent f o r 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 h i s own character  as he t e l l s the t a l e , 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 j o i n i n g i n .  He takes a  great deal of l i b e r t y i n addressing the king, more than seems quite allowable, from what we know of the h i s t o r i c Louis XIV. occasionally addresses the king with 'du'.  For example, he  The whole story forms a sort  of t r e a t i s e on the proper education of c h i l d r e n , and the ideas are so modern, that i t seems almost an anachronism to put them i n the mouth of a character of the seventeenth century.  It i s 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 i s late i n the afternoon, and the  73.  king has just come to pay his accustomed d a i l y v i s i t to h i s f a v o r i t e , Mme de Maintenon .  She i s r e a l l y h i s wife, and Meyer c a l l s her so, though  t h e i r union, owing to the jealousy of the J e s u i t s , has been s a n c t i f i e d by no marriage ceremony.  The description of t h i s clever t a c t f u l woman and  of the sun-king himself i s h i s t o r i c a l l y accurate, even to such a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c touch as his opening of the window and Mme de Maintenon's shivering as the cold a i r blows into the room. During t h e i r conversation, we learn that the king's confessor has just died, and that he has appointed  Father T e l l i e r , the head  of a famous Jesuit boys' school i n P a r i s , to be his successor.  The king  i s quite vexed at Fagon, h i s physician, who was standing i n the room when the Jesuit was explaining h i s peasant o r i g i n .  Fagon, under his breath,  but overheard by the king, had c a l l e d the Jesuit a name, which the king would not repeat, 'for he never allowed a coarse expression to s o i l h i s lips.'  He t e l l s .,Mme de Maintenon, however, that Fagon i s 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 l a t t e r part of this speech, limps into the room on h i s crutch, and attempts to j u s t i f y h i s conduct. Fagon explained h i s remark as having been prompted by disgust because the king had appointed  Father T e l l i e r to be h i s confessor, and  c a l l e d the man a murderer,who had done to death one of his own p u p i l s , J u l i a n Boufflers.  The king remembered this youth, a handsome well set-up  young fellow, who had been presented to him by h i s 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 f r i e n d 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 a l i e n leidenschaftlichen Zerrbilder aus das Papier w i r f t . " This i s an exact characterization of Saint-Simon, though i t i s doubtful i f Mme  de Maintenon or anyone else knew so much about him at that time.  Saint-Simon had then given to young J u l i a n Boufflers the nickname of 'le bei i d i o t ' , which had stuck to him,  to his i n f i n i t e humiliation.  This i s an invention of Meyer's and i s not found i n Saint-Simon.  The  king, however, refused to believe that young Boufflers had been murdered. His own  father had t o l d him that the boy had died from brain fever,  brought on by too much study, i n the e f f o r t to keep up with his classes. Fagon, however, i n s i s t s that he i s r i g h t , 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 parent of an 'ungifted' son. wife of Marshall Boufflers.  The lady was  Julian's mother, the  Both the king and Mme  first  de Maintenon remembered  her beauty, and Fagon had loved her, as he had loved no other women, though she, too, had not been c l e v e r .  the  75. Soon afterwards she became i l l , physician.  and Fagon attended her as  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 h i s father was  so occupied with h i s work i n the king's armies, that he had no time to look a f t e r his son.  And besides the father simply could not believe that  a son of h i s could not be clever enough to cut a good figure i n the world. The poor boy was bound to s u f f e r , f o r the great danger was that he would over-exert himself trying to please his father, whom he b l i n d l y loved. A year after her death, her husband had married again, and a school must now be found for J u l i a n .  At that time, i n P a r i s , the best  schools were conducted by the Jesuits, and to the one under Father T e l l i e r J u l i a n was 3ent.  At f i r s t a l l \?ent w e l l .  The fathers, knowing that  Julian's father stood high i n 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 i n some v i l l a n y , 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 t h e i r revenge on the innocent J u l i a n .  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 i n classes with small boys, much younger than himself.  His health began to s u f f e r ,  and the Jansenist, Fagon, who knew the J e s u i t s , and who hated them, even as Pascal did, wanted J u l i a n removed from the school.  It i s easy to see  76. how Meyer's reading of the LETTRES PROVINCIALES has influenced t h i s work. The father, however, would not hear of having J u l i a n removed, and the poor hoy continued to suffer. days of sunshine, too.  And yet he had occasional  Fagon's description of h i s day spent with Mouton,  the great animal painter of the time, i s touching and i n t e r e s t i n g .  Mouton  i s a dissipated, unconventional figure, a sort of half-man, as Meyer c a l l s him, hut he can paint animals, and he loves h i s poodle, Mouton I I , as does also J u l i a n , and the death of the poodle soon "brings on the death of his master.  But on t h i s one day, they are a l l p e r f e c t l y happy.  Mouton i s  teaching Julian to draw, and the poor hoy's delight i n finding something he can do well i s most touching.  His drawing's of animals show r e a l  t a l e n t , and a s p i r i t that i s absent even from Mouton's.  Through t h i s  talent for drawing the author prepares the way very s k i l f u l l y f o r the catastrophe soon to come. One day on going through the park, they come upon a caged wolf, which J u l i a n 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 h i s pupils went by the name of "The W o l f , - a good example of the symbolic touches frequently i n t r o duced by the author.  Then Mouton talks of taking Julian away to the  south of France with him to the castle of the Grignan3, f o r he has been commissioned by Madame de Sevigne to paint some pictures for the governor there, her son-in-law.  Thus i n numerous ways does the author give us the  i n t e r e s t i n g background of the time. Julian's l i t t l e blue sweetheart, Mirabella, i s another example of a c h i l d who  suffers from a wrong system of education, and their  77.  common suffering from the r i d i c u l e of t h e i r mates brings them together. She has been brought up i n the Provinces, where p r e c i o s i t y i s s t i l l i n vogue, and she cannot break h e r s e l f of their manner of speaking, even though i t brings her r i d i c u l e i n P a r i s , where i t i s no longer the fashion. Such a point i s a t y p i c a l Meyer touch.  Moliere's LES PRECIEUSES RIDICULES  has had i t s effect on the l a t t e r years of Louis X I V s reign. J u l i a n i n spite of h i s 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 r i d i n g , he wins the respect even of h i s masters. was  The story of h i s chum, Guntram, whose highest  to follow the king's armies to b a t t l e , but who  ambition  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 d i r einen K6*rper ohne Geist gegeben hat," Julian's highest ambition, too, i s to follow h i s father into b a t t l e , and he envies one of his chums, who has died f i g h t i n g for h i s king.  I f he  has any grievance against h i s father, i t i s that his father has l e t t h i s other boy go with him to f i g h t , while he leaves J u l i a n at school, s i t t i n g at his desk among the smaller boys. And then, rather suddenly comes the f i n a l catastrophe. At school one day, when the masters are out of the room, the boys who know h i s s k i l l , coax Julian to draw a picture on the blackboard. J u l i a n , busy with his lessons , at f i r s t refuses, but i s at length persuaded to draw a bee, which.he l a b e l s , ' a b e i l l e ' , but i s persuaded to change i t to 'bete a. miel', or 'stupid Amiel'.  He does not r e a l i z e 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, l i k e that o f Cyrano de Bergerac, has made him a marked man.  In spite of  his vanity, he i s a pleasing old fellow, and the hoys l i k e him, though they tease him unmercifully about his long nose.  Like Boccard i n the  Amulet, and Father Pankrazi i n the Jenatsch, t h i s i s another example of a Catholic character whom Meyer has made most a t t r a c t i v e . When Father Amiel comes i n 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 l i s t e n i n g at the door. who made the drawing.  He rushes i n and i n a rage c a l l s for the boy Of course J u l i a n has to confess that he did i t ,  and though his chum, young Argenson, t r i e s to take a l l the blame, yet Julian i s c a l l e d up and b r u t a l l y whipped by T e l l i e r , i n front of the c l a s s . This humiliation i s too much f o r the boy.  His body, a l -  ready weakened by overstudy, cannot stand the s t r a i n o f the public d i s grace, f o r though a boy i n years he has the soul of a man, and of a nobleman at that. v take him home.  He becomes seriously i l l , and Fagon i s sent for to  But even when at home, he cannot rest, for his father  i n s i s t s on h i s appearance at dinner, where he has to l i s t e n to a long conversation on corporal punishment i n the army.  The subject i s 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 , that decision as his death-warrant.  J u l i a n takes  He i s put to bed by Fagon, and i n a  short time i s d e l i r i o u s . Young Argenson e n l i s t s the a i d of his father, and the two  79.  go to T e l l i e r , i n an e f f o r t to get him to apologize to J u l i a n for the i n justice done him, and thus save h i s l i f e .  That, they t e l l him, i s what  t h e i r 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 i n 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 i s wrong, a hold thing for the trembling old man  to do, for 'The W o l f has h i s subordinates  thoroughly cowed. Then Fagon i n despair t e l l s the whole truth to the father, and blames him for his boy's i l l n e s s .  The father sees h i s e r r o r , 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.  " J u l i a n " , he says , "you  are to leave that school at once, and j o i n the army with me." though he has been unconscious His eyes shine.  boy,  f o r days, seems to hear and understand.  In imagination he i s already at the head of the l i n e ,  leading his troops to victory.  But death comes, and with a 'Vive l e r o i '  on h i s l i p s , he f a l l s back as i f a bullet had struck him. at  The  l e a s t , he has met  Leubelfing had met  In imagination,  the glorious death i n b a t t l e , which the Page  in reality.  But i f Fagon had hoped to influence the king against T e l l i e r , he soon saw h i s 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 i d l e hour, a king and h i s mistress.  80.  (8) DIE HOCHZEIT DES M0NCHES,1884.  Yea, thou shalt learn how salt his food who fares Upon another's "bread, - how steep h i s path Who treadeth up and down another's s t a i r s . Dante's Div. Com. Para. XVII. In this story, the l a s t i n which Meyer employs the Rahmenerza*hlung, we have the technique of this art of s t o r y - t e l l i n g to i t s highest point.  carried  It i s doubtful i f , i n a l l l i t e r a t u r e , we can f i n d  a better example of this p a r t i c u l a r genre than here.  As i n the PLAUTUS  IM NONNENKLOSTER, the author chooses a period with which he was to occupy himself very much from now on, the I t a l i a n Renaissance.  The narrator  i s the great poet Dante himself. It i s a bold thing for any author to do, to bring another author back to earth again, as i t were, and put words i n h i s mouth. Especially  i s this the case with such a great poet as Dante, but none the  l e s s , Meyer has here succeeded admirably.  The story which Dante t e l l s ,  or rather improvises, i s quite worthy of such an author, though he hims e l f , rather than the monk, Astorre, i s the r e a l hero. Dante has been banished by his fellow-countrymen from Florence, h i s native c i t y , and has accepted the h o s p i t a l i t y of Can Grande d e l l a Scala at Verona.  Like most poets, he i s 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 r e a l i z i n g that he was not being generously treated.  He was housed i n an a t t i c reached by steep s t a i r s , and often  neglected by the servants.  Can Grande himself, a t y p i c a l pleasure-loving  81.  gentleman of the Renaissance,  i f history t e l l s us t r u l y , does not always  seem to have heen as hospitable to h i s 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 i s a dark cold evening i n November, and Can Grande, his wife, Diana, h i s lady f r i e n d , Antiope, and several other guests are gathered around the great open f i r e - p l a c e ,  telling  stories.  The door opens, and the dark and rather forbidding face of Dante  appears.  He has come there r e a l l y to warm himself, f o r the servants  have neglected to put a f i r e i n h i s room. the  Place i s made f o r him beside  f i r e , and he i s asked to take h i s part i n the s t o r y - t e l l i n g , the  subject being sudden change of occupation, with results good, bad or laughable, as the case may be.  Dante i s quite w i l l i n g , and says h i s  story w i l l be about a monk, who was quite happy i n h i s c a l l i n g , but who has been forced by circumstances, by motives of the highest p i e t y , indeed, to put o f f his monk's garb, and become a worldling.  He got the idea  of h i s story from an i n s c r i p t i o n on a tomb i n Padua, he says.  Translated  from the L a t i n , t h i s i n s c r i p t i o n reads: "Here l i e s the monk Astorre,with his wife, Antiope,  Ezzolino gave them sepulchre."  This monk, Astorre,  i s the hero of h i s story. Turning to Can Grande he asks how such a story i s 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 i s r e a l l y 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 f r i e n d l y faces i n the main, w i t h the exception of Can Grande's f o o l , Gocciola, whom he despises, and who returns the f e e l i n g with i n t e r e s t .  He also sees the r i v a l r y of the two women f o r  the favor of Can Grande, and a l l t h i s he weaves i n t o h i s s t o r y , f o r " he improvises, g i v i n g h i s characters the names and a c t i o n s of the people i n the room, and thus adding to the i n t e r e s t .  The whole t h i n g i s so  c l e v e r l y done, that the two s t o r i e s 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 E z z o l i n o 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 r i v e r Brenta near Padua, meets a wedding-party i n a boat.  This party  consists of the elder son of the Vicedomini, h i s newly betrothed w i f e , Diana, and h i s three sons by h i s f i r s t w i f e .  We are t o l d that he has  married t h i s t a l l and s t a t e l y woman without l o v e , i n order to please h i s dying f a t h e r , who wishes  him to carry on the family l i n e , - an absolute  obsession on the o l d man's p a r t .  As the party turns to greet E z z o l i n o ,  the overladen boat capsizes, and they are soon a l l s t r u g g l i n g i n the water. Just then the monk, A s t o r r e , the younger brother of the bridegroom, comes up, and he and E z z o l i n o t r y to rescue the drowning, but they only succeed i n saving Diana. are drowned.  The others have been p u l l e d down by the current and  This leaves Astorre as the only son of h i s house, f o r h i s  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 f o r the bodies, Astorre brings the half-drowned Diana home to h i s father's house, but f i n d s that  83. Ezzolino has reached there before him, and has t o l d the old man  the news.  In a towering rage, the l a t t e r blames Ezzolino f o r the death of a l l h i s sons, though Ezzolino t e l l s him to blame fate and not him for bringing him to the river-bank at that p a r t i c u l a r moment.  Then the old father i n s i s t s  that Astorre s h a l l break h i s monk's vows,and marry Diana i n 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 i s  beloved by the people, who w i l l be d i s i l l u s i o n e d i f he goes into the world again, and besides, h i s 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 h i s l i n e discontinued here on earth. He refuses to take the sacraments for the dying unless Astorre consents, and sooner than see h i s father lose his soul,by refusing the l a s t r i t e s of the Church, he l e t s himself be persuaded, and he and Diana are betrothed, just before the old man,  with a triumphant smile on h i s face, dies,  Astorre has done a f o o l i s h thing, and Meyer indicates this symbolically, by l e t t i n g the family f o o l , whom he names Gocciolo, get possession of h i s old monk's frock. nine day3 of mourning must elapse  Diana goes home to her f a t h e r , f o r  before the wedding.  This time Astorre  spends i n his father's house, which i s now h i s , though he cannot get used to h i s new possessions, or to h i s secular clothes, and he i s ashamed to show himself i n the streets. As he s i t s on the grass one day, he i s 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 i s a r e a l 'Renaissanzmensch' who wishes to enjoy to the f u l l a l l that l i f e has to o f f e r , and Germano, on account of 'loyalty'. It i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note how the author makes that v i r t u e again depend on race.  He gives Diana and Germano a German mother and an I t a l i a n  father, and both are large-hearted, direct and straight-forward. account of her German blood Diana i s the soul  On  of l o y a l t y , but she w i l l  also i n s i s t that others s h a l l be l o y a l to her.  This 'deutsche Treue' i s  a f a v o r i t e subject with Meyer, as we have already seen,-for example i n the character of Gertrude, i n the Plautus story. These young friends advise Astorre to t r a v e l , and see other places and other women, before coming home to marry, for h i s f i f t e e n years i n the c l o i s t e r have quite u n f i t t e d him for a secular l i f e . Ezzolino, however, who has overheard  t h i s advice, appears suddenly and  gives orders that the wedding must take place that same evening.  He  commands Astorre's major-domo to d e l i v e r i n v i t a t i o n s to a l l the f i r s t families i n the c i t y . It i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note how everyone obeys without t i o n the orders of Ezzolino.  ques-  The author t e l l s us that he had not yet  begun to p r a c t i s e the c r u e l t y f o r which h i s t o r i a n s t e l l s us he was a f t e r wards so notorious, but we have a hint of i t every now and then, f o r example, i n h i s fondness for c l o s i n g the eyes of a corpse who has just died.  Here Dante gives a veiled warning to Can Grande, who exemplifies  the q u a l i t i e s of the younger Ezzolino.  Let him beware of developing  such another r u t h l e s 3 tyrant, he seems to i n f e r .  into  85. Here, too, occurs a digression which i s perhaps the only blemish on ah otherwise perfect story.  Ezzolino reads a l e t t e r from the;  Pope, addressed to the Emperor, P r i e d r i c h Hohenstaufen, whose son-in-law he i s .  The Emperor has a Chancellor, Petrus del Vinea, who  i s afterwards  executed as a t r a i t o r , and the whole thing i s forecast i n this l e t t e r , and i n Ezzolino's conversation over i t .  The episode has absolutely  nothing to do with the progress of the story, either now or l a t e r on, and t h i s i s very unusual for Meyer, who p r a c t i c a l l y hever introduces the s l i g h t e s t episode that i s not necessary for the development of h i s p l o t . He usually had more than one subject i n hand at once, and was engaged at t h i s time i n writing another Novelle, with Petrus del Vinea as the hero, and the only explanation i s that he was  so f u l l of the other subject  that he had to i n j e c t this reference to i t here. Just then there i s an interruption from Can Grande's pedantic major-domo, Burcardo, and Dante brings a major-domo into h i s story, also c a l l e d Burcardo, much to the real Burcardo's disgust. consult him as to who  The friends  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 i n h i s memory ever since.  In h i s  mind's eye he sees an old man with h i s 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 i n s i s t s that both she and her mother s h a l l receive i n v i t a t i o n s to the wedding, i n spite of the objections of h i s friends that the mother w i l l be sure to do something embarrassing. Then the tvo wedding-ring.  friends persuade Astorre to go to buy his  He goes to a Florentine jeweller, who  has a shop i n ths  middle of the town's only bridge, just because, i n Florence, the jewellers a l l have their shops on bridges. man,  Dante's opinion of his fellow-country-  and of Florentines i n general, i s not very complimentary, and he i s  rather sharply taken to task f o r i t by Can Grande.  Without r e p l y i n g ,  Dante looks toward the window, against which the snow i s driving i n gusts outside.  And a l l at once Can Grande remembers that he i s speaking to a  homeless man,  who  has no roof of h i s own  to shelter him from the storm,  and Dante i s asked to draw his seat up closer to the f i r e .  The  little  episode i s quite touching. There i s a great crowd on the bridge, when Astorre a r r i v e s , and the Florentine i s doing a b r i s k business.  At length Astorre's turn  comes, but he does not know the size of the r i n g he wants to get. sly  Florentine shows him two rings, a large and a small one, and  "For your two  sweethearts", as he presses them into h i s hand.  The says:  Just then  a troop of soldiers go by, crowding the people off the bridge, and the smaller r i n g r o l l s away. puts i t on her mistress'  It i s picked up by Antiope's maid, I s o t t i , finger.  who  When the crowd has lessened a l i t t l e ,  Astorre comes looking for h i s r i n g , 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 i s about to ask f o r h i s ring back, when he i s carried away f o r c i b l y by Gerraano.  Thus again does fate play her part i n his undoing.  The maid then t e l l s the mother a highly colored story about Astorre's purposely giving Antiope the r i n g , and she at once jumps to the conclusion that her daughter i s about to win a r i c h 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 i s a continuation 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 c a l l s her and her parents some very uncomplimentary names. Diana cannot stand this and strikes out angrily at her, only to h i t Antiope instead.  The poor g i r l i s ready to die with shame and  ment, and she now bursts out weeping. party breaks up i n disorder. Antiope home.  embarrass-  The mother rushes o f f , and the  Astorre, l i k e the gentleman he i s , takes  It i s during t h i s short journey to Antiope's house that  they f i n d out they love each other, though Astorre does not speak. Here occurs another d e l i g h t f u l l i t t l e digression.  The  two women, Diana and Antiope, burst out i n protest at Astorre's remaining s i l e n t , and Dante smiles for the f i r s t time that evening; "da er die beiden Frauen so h e f t i g auf der Schaukel seines Mrchens sich wiegen sah." Ylhen Astorre comes home, he finds the fool i n 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 t a l k i n g to himself about Antiope, and the h a l f drunken f o o l imitates him, we r e a l i z e 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 i s to become of the other woman, and he says: "What other?  Is there another woman that i s not Antiope?"  Astorre i s overheard by Ascanio, who endeavors to bring him to h i s senses, and he soon p a r t l y r e a l i z e s 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. while he makes the proposal.  He wants Astorre to go with him  Astorre suspects that Germano has already  begun to love the beautiful but unhappy g i r l , and he f e e l s intensely jealous. They f i n d Antiope's house deserted, and pass unannounced through several empty rooms, before they f i n d her s i t 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 j u s t i c e . example of h i s fondness f o r tableaux. which Antiope of course r e j e c t s . follow him. to  This i s another  Germano makes h i s proposal,  When he goes away, Astorre does not  What then passes between him and Antiope ihe author leaves  the reader's imagination. Some time afterwards, the mother finds the lovers s i t t i n g  together i n the window-seat.  It i s her hour of triumph.  It i s the  anniversary of her husband's execution three years before, and even now the p r i e s t i s waiting i n the chapel near by, to conduct the memorial service. But the same p r i e s t w i l l do f o r 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, r e a l i z i n g 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 o f Astorre.  He delivers them over to  the keeping of Abu Mohammed, the body-watch of Ezzolino, and they are both lodged as prisoners i n Astorre's house, Antiope refusing to leave he husband.  Their case w i l l have to be judged by Ezzolino, f o r a f t e r 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 c o f f i n i s overturned, exposing the corpse.  Thus sym-  b o l i c a l l y does Meyer prepare us f o r 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 . i s above the crowd.  But Ezzolino  He i s no respecter of persons, and w i l l judge the  case on i t s merits, i n spite of the anger of the people. The c u l p r i t s and t h e i r accusers are c a l l e d before him.  He  knows that Diana's father i s a miser, so he arranges that Astorre s h a l l pay him a large sum of money to soothe h i s wounded f e e l i n g s .  Germano  refuses to be bound by this v i l e 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 f o r her but the cloister?  The father being s a t i s f i e d , Ezzolino decrees that Astorre's  and Antiope's wedding s h a l l be celebrated that night with a masked b a l l i n Astorre's house, and while there, Antiope must humiliate h e r s e l f  90  before Diana, and obtain from her the r i n g which Astorre has given her* Then he goes o f f on a t r i p to the country, from which he does not return till  late. As i n JENATSCH, the f i n a l tragedy takes place during a  festival.  With song and dance and rough j e s t i n g , Astorre*s people c e l e -  brate the wedding of the chief of t h e i r house.  Antiope, who fears Diana's  vengeance, t r i e s 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 t r i e s to get the r i n g from her finger. But she i s pierced to the heart by the dagger of the enraged amazon, and f a l l s dead at her feet. her side.  Astorre finds her  Then Germano rushes i n .  dead and f a l l s i n a f a i n t by  Astorre recovers consciousness and  the two f i g h t to the death, i n spite of the orders of Ezzolino, who comes in only i n 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  s t a i r s up which he climbed.  Even Can Grande was s i l e n t , that Can Grande  whose only claim to greatness today i s that he harbored Dante.  D.G.  Rossetti, i n the l a s t verse of h i s poem, DANTE AT VERONA, expresses i t well when he aays: "Eat and wash hands Can Grande, - scarce We know t h e i r deeds now: hands which fed Our Dante with that b i t t e r bread; And thou the watch-dog of those s t a i r s Which of a l l paths h i s 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 s e t t i n g 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 C h r i s t i a n i t y was  still  s t r u g g l i n g w i t h heathenism, when the people believed i n elves and and when the barbarian Lombards were s t i l l wandering over Europe.  fairies, The  author places the scene again i n RhStia, the country of JURG JENATSCH. The place i s Malmort, a picturesque c a s t l e on the Upper Rhine, with high p r e c i p i t o u s w a l l s , against which the Rhine washes f a r 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'.  I t i s d i v i d e d i n t o f i v e chapters, corresponding to the f i v e acts of a drama, and one can point out the e x p o s i t i o n , ascending a c t i o n , climax, descending a c t i o n , and catastrophe, as i n a drama.  In the f i r s t chapter we have  the e x p o s i t i o n . The story opens at Rome, where Charlemagne has gone to be crowned Emperor.  He i s at present attending mass i n the church, ' A r i  C o l i ' , and the singing of the monks i s heard by the young men of h i s 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 A l c u i n , the secretary of Charlemagne.  Here he meets W u l f r i n , the  92.  son of Wulf, who, however, hears no love f o r h i s dead father, who had i l l treated h i s mother, and shut her away i n a convent. death, he had married a young wife.  Then, a f t e r her  Wulfrin had run away from home when  he was seven years o l d , so he has never seen his step-mother, and does not  know that he has a beautiful young s i s t e r t i l l  about her.  Gnadenreich t e l l s him  Her name i s Palma Novella, and she i s lovely and straight  l i k e the young palm-tree by the fountain where they are standing. He also shyly confesses that he i s i n love with her and wishes to marry her. Gnadenreich admits, however, that h i s real purpose here i s 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 a f t e r draining a beaker of wine, which h i s 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 c h i l d , he had be-  trothed her to Wulf, as his t h i r d wife, though Wulf was an e l d e r l y grayhaired man, and Stemma did not love him. but  However, she had to submit,  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 t h i s expedition ,  that his sudden death took place.  According to a family t r a d i t i o n , the  husband blew h i s 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 l i n e s written on the beaker, before g i v i n g i t to the  husband, to drain at a draught.  Prom the way she d i d t h i s , the  husband could t e l l i f she had been f a i t h f u l 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 t o l d him how much h i s s i s t e r longed for him.  But  just then he was t o l d that the king was coming out of the church, so, with a mighty blast of his horn,(the one h i s father had owned), he c a l l e d a l l the young men together before Charlemagne, who stood on the steps before the church.  Then Gnadenreich saw one of h i s own countrymen  approach the king with a p e t i t i o n , which he handed to Alcuin to read, f o r Charlemagne himself was i l l i t e r a t e .  It i s through l i t t l e touches l i k e  t h i s , that the author gives us the correct h i s t o r i c a l setting.  This  p e t i t i o n i s 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 h i s presence.  So fate seems to be. leading Wulfrin,  against his w i l l , back to h i s native land.  This completes the exposition.  In chapter two v/e are at Stemma's castle at Malmort. Stemma i s away attending to business a f f a i r s , f o r , since the death of her father and husband, she has inherited her father's o f f i c e of judge, and i s known f a r and wide over the country-side for her s k i l l i n f e r r e t i n g out  crime.  Her daughter, Palma Novella, a beautiful brown-eyed young  94. g i r l , i s alone i n the courtyard of the c a s t l e .  She i s i n great e x c i t e -  ment, f o r she has heard that Charlemagne i s 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 d i r t y f i g u r e , with  a long black beard, standing before her.  It i s a Lombard, who  has corns  to t e l l her that h i s master, Witigis, i s holding her brother for ransom, and unless she sends a l l her jewels to the mistress of W i t i g i s , Wulfrin w i l l be k i l l e d .  Palma runs at once and brings a l l her treasures, f o r  the l i f e of Wulfrin i s more precious to her than any jewels. They are interrupted by Stemma, who has returned unexpectedly, and we have a glimpse of a t a l l figure i n helmet and armor, a regular Brunnhilde of the German forests. who  She threatens the Lombard,  says jeeringly to her that she evidently wants Wulfrin k i l l e d .  This  so distresses Palma that Stemma l e t s him take the jewels, and, as i t i s now  evening, she sends Palma to bed. But before she r e t i r e s to rest herself, she i s c a l l e d to  the prison to see a poor vassal of her own,  Paustine, who has persisted  i n shutting h e r s e l f 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 l i v e to bring up her daughter, but now this daughter i s married, so Paustine's work i s done, and her conscience i s troubling her.  She  i n s i s t s that Stemma s h a l l have her executed for t h i s murder, and t e l l s how  i t happened.  Like Stemma, she had had another lover who was  killed  while hunting, and her father had betrothed her to one Lupulus against her w i l l .  It i s interesting to note the s i m i l a r i t y of t h i s 'Neben-  geschichte' to Stemma's own story, even to the names of the men,  Lupulus  95.  and Wulf.  Faustine, to protect her tinhorn c h i l d , 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 i n to bed, but not to sleep. about her o f f i c e that keeps her awake.  It i s not worry  She had had a few stormy years  a f t e r her husband's death, but now a l l i s quiet and peaceful.  However,  "Die uberhetzte Natur rSchte s i c h , und Stemma verlor den Schlummer". As she sat and watched her sleeping c h i l d she played with a flask at her throat, and we are t o l d how there had formerly been two, one l a b e l l e d '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 t i n y c h i l d , Palma, but she had unwittingly destroyed instead.  the antidote  Believing that fate w i l l e d i t so, she had kept the other  flask.  Now, i n a sort of waking dream, she sees and talks with the spectre of Peregrin, who has come to see his c h i l d , and to remind her of her former love f o r him.  But Stemma refuses to admit any g u i l t .  "Siehe mich an", she says, "gleiche ich einer Sttnderin? Stemma i s t makellos." F i n a l l y she drives Peregrin away, and w i l l not l e t him have any part i n Palma.'  She even defies the s p i r i t of Wulf,  "denn Stemma kannte die H i l f l o s i g k e i t 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 f o r the heat at the time, and w i l l not l e t her present l i f e he spoiled by the pangs of an outraged conscience.  Since her husband's  death she has l i v e d a useful l i f e , and w i l l continue to l i v 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 t r i e s to welcome her brother with the f u l l  beaker  in accordance with the t r a d i t i o n 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 i s blameless for the death of Wulf.  Wulfrin  thinks i t a useless proceeding, f o r he has never suspected her of g u i l t . Poor Stemma!  i t i s 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 i s a symbol of that buried past. In the next chapter, or act three, the suspense  increases.  Stemma wants Wulfrin to s e t t l e down here, and be a protection to h i s s i s t e r , who w i l l inherit Stemma's o f f i c e and her lands. himself suffocated on t h i s narrow rock. again.  But Wulfrin feels  He must get back to the Emperor  However, he promises to remain f o r that day only, and make  arrangements for h i s s i s t e r ' s betrothal to Gnadenreich. as guide the boy Gabriel.  Stemma offers  Palma. begs to be allowed to go too, so the  three 3et out f o r Gnadenreich's home at PrStum.  On the way, Gabriel and  97  Palma l i s t e n eagerly to Wulfrin's t a l e s of the Emperor and his court. But Gabriel i s c a l l e d away, and the brother and s i s t e r remain alone t o gether, beside Palma's favorite lake.  Clasped i n each other's arms,  they are p e r f e c t l y happy, and, as they see themselves reflected i n the calm water, they can almost believe the t a l e s of elves and f a i r i e s , with which the place i s haunted.  Here i s the f i r s t hint of the love which  i s to follow. But they must hurry on to Pr§tum, and they meet Gnadenr e i c h on the boundary of his estate, guarding i t from a band of marauding Lombards. their v i s i t .  He i s delighted to see them, for he guesses the purpose of They arrive soon at his round-towered c a s t l e , where they  have dinner up on the parapeted roof, and the subject of a betrothal with Gnadenreich i s broached to Palma.  Knowing nothing of love she consents  merely^to please her brother, and he, f e e l i n g that he i s beginning to love her too much, i s i n a hurry to get the matter s e t t l e d . now  that she i s the dearest thing on earth to him.  Por he knows  Here we reach the  climax of the drama, when Wulfrin r e a l i z e s that he loves h i 3 s i s t e r , A storm i s 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 v a l l e y . He w i l l not l e t Palma go with him, so sends her along the high road, while he takes the low one through the v a l l e y .  Here we have one of  Meyer's most wonderful and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c descriptions of natural scenery, the storm breaking i n t h i s valley, symbolic of the storm which i s raging  98. i n Wulfrin*s soul. But, when the tempest  i s at i t s height, Palma crosses the  dangerous precipice separating the two roads, on an overhanging l o g , and throws h e r s e l f into Wulfrin's arms.  " K i l l me, i f you w i l l " , she says,  "hut I cannot l i v e i f you are angry with me."  Poor c h i l d .  She has the  same f e e l i n g for him, that he has f o r her, hut does not r e a l i z e 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. up and c a r r i e s her, t i l l  He picks her  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 i s morning and Wulfrin has become calm again, the storm i n 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 t r i e s  to make him r e a l i z e what an awful thing he i s doing, but h i s only impulse i s to confess i t before the Emperor.  Stemma reproaches him f o r lacking  strength to keep his s i n secret. "Das i s t 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 hers e l f s h a l l pass sentence on him.  Stemma goes i n , and he turns away to find  a short cut over the mountains. But just then he sees the boy Gabriel, who has fished h i s hunting-horn out of the Rhine.  They t r y i t , and f i n d i t unharmed, and.  he takes this as a good omen.  Perhaps h i s father i s watching over him.  99.  He w i l l take the horn to his grave and blow i t , and perhaps h i s father w i 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 c a l l i n g Wulfrin to her, she has set i n  motion forces that she cannot control.  She has a v i s i o n of the Goddess  of Justice gazing scornfully at her.  The figure seems to threaten her,  but she defies i t .  You have no witnesses," she says.  "What can you do?  Then suddenly she hears the hunting-horn, which she had believed silenced forever, and the sound i s dreadful to her. come from Wulf's grave.  It seems to  Perhaps the figure on the grave-stone has come  to l i f e and i s 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 i s ready to brave anything.  The figure on the grave-stone i s peaceful enough, but she c a l l s to her dead husband and t e l l s him everything, that Palma i s not h i s c h i l d but Peregrin's, and that she had poisoned h i s beaker and saved h e r s e l f with the  antidote.  She s t i l l has the poison-flask here i n her bosom, but  as she turns to go i n , she sees Palma standing behind her. heard a l l . own  The g i r l has  The Goddess of Justice now has a witness against her - her  child. Now comes the l a s t act of the drama.  night, Palma's health begins to f a i l .  After that awful  Her mother i n despair attempts  to reason with her and explain av/ay her own damning words, but i n vain. Palma had heard too much, and even the flask at Stemma's breast bears  •a-  100.  witness against, her, her own undoing?  Had she been fated to preserve t h i s f l a s k only f o r  When Palma"thought of W u l f r i n , she longed to t e l l him  a l l , hut she could not without b e t r a y i n g her mother, and as she believed her mother would never confess, the poor g i r l saw no way out but to d i e . 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 h i s 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, h i s 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 f i n i s h e s she swallows the contents of the poison f l a s k 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 s t o r y , with i t s s e t t i n g i n a shadowy past, and among p r i m i t i v e people, produces a most powerful e f f e c t .  The author  himself c a 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, f o r 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 i s just one flaw i n i t . sympathy f o r her mother. must be f o r her.  Palma has too l i t t l e  She does not r e a l i s e how awful such a confession  The bethothal to Wulfrin over her mother's dead body,  with no great show of f e e l i n g on her part seems very hard.  Could her  love f o r Wulfrin have rendered her so callous toward that mother who done everything for her?  had  Such a thing hardly seems good psychology,  though, of course, there may be room f o r difference of o p i n i o n .  Perhaps  Meyer ascribed t h i s 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 i n her the very soul of truthfulness. The story pleased most of Meyer's friends immensely, many preferring i t to DIE HOCHZEIT DES MUNCHES. passion that bursts a l l r e s t r a i n i n g bonds.  Both are stories of a  To-day most people prefer  the Hochzeit, but s t i l l this l a t t e r w i l l always be looked upon as a powerful story.  (10) DIE VERSUCHUNG DES PESCARA, 1887. Prom the time of Charlemagne, i n the previous story, the author now takes a jump of seven hundred years or so, to the time of another Charles the Great, t h i s time the Emperor, Charles V.  It i s another  story of the I t a l i a n renaissance, and here we see the author at the very height of h i s powers, f o r t h i s story possesses a peculiar a r t i s t i c excellence rarely to be found i n the works of any other author.  Gottfried  K e l l e r , 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 i s p a r t i c u l a r l y  true of t h i s , f o r i t possesses a balanced symmetry, and a perfection of construction, which reminds one of an exquisite pattern on o l d brocade. It i s , however, a d i f f i c u l t  story to read, unless one i s  f a m i l i a r with the European history of the time.  Like Browning, Meyer  supposes that h i s readers are a l l as well read i n history as he i s himself, and t h i s i s very rarely the case.  Hence a few words on the h i s t o r i c a l  background of the story w i l l not come amiss here. The time i s just after the b a t t l e of Pavia, i n 1525, i n which King Francis I of France was defeated and taken as prisoner to Madrid.  The victorious general i n that b a t t l e , and the leader of the  armies of Charles V, was Pescara, the hero of our t a l e .  Emperor Charles  i s now the most powerful monarch i n Europe, ruler of Spain, Austria, and the Netherlands, and supreme i n the new world.  Apparently no one can  stand against him, and Italy, too, i s 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 leadership of Miprone, the Chancellor of Duke Sforza of Milan , they form a Holy League, as they c a l l i t , whose object i s the freedom of I t a l y , and i t s independence  of Spain.  This League i s to drive the Spaniards out of  I t a l y , just as i n JBHG ffENATSCH, the league of the Dreibuhden was  formed  to drive them out of BhHtia. They thought they had good hopes of success, too, f o r a l l was not complete unity i n Charles' dominions.  The heresy of Luther  103. was spreading i n Germany and i n the Netherlands, and the Emperor was preparing to stamp i t out with the f i r e s of the i n q u i s i t i o n .  The prospects  of the League seemed good, i f they could only get an e f f i c i e n t leader. Por t h i s great task there seemed none better than Charles' own general, the great Pescara, i f he could only he tempted from h i s allegiance to the Emperor.  He was only half a Spaniard a f t e r a l l , horn i n Italy of an  I t a l i a n mother, and married to an I t a l i a n wife, the magnificent V i c t o r i a Colonna, the I t a l i a n poetess.  Besides, f o r h i s I t a l i a n possessions he  owed f e a l t y to the pope, who would absolve him from h i s 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 f a i t h f u l to the Emperor, and that Morone was imprisoned. Pescara died.  Shortly afterwards  Meyer, without h i s t o r i c a l foundation, ascribes h i s death  to a spear-wound received i n the battle of Pavia. In this story the author attempts to give the psycholog i c a l reasons f o r Pescara's f i d e l i t y , just as i n DER HEILAGE he gave the psychological reasons f o r Becket's sudden change of front, a f t e r 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 f i v e chapters corresponding to f i v e 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.  1.  May-nc  263.  In the l a s t three, we have  104.  his reaction to i t .  The whole i s absolutely  symmetrical.  The f i r s t scene opens i n the palace of Duke Sforza i n Milan.  He i s t a l k i n g with h i s Chancellor, Mirone, over the t e r r i b l e state  of a f f a i r s i n h i s Duchy.  As he t a l k s we learn h i s character.  He i s a  weak, spineless sOr;t of i n d i v i d u a l , ehMreiy" , dependent on his Chancellor. Morone i s a very clever man, almost a mountebank, i n f a c t .  but absolutely without dignity of appearance, Sforza i s i n a panic of fear that he i s  going to lose h i s Duchy, f o r 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 h i s p a r t i c u l a r enemy, the Bourbon, and he beseeches Morone to save i t for him. The Chancellor t e l l s him h i s only hope i s to j o i n the Holy League, and informs him that Guiccardin, the representative from Florence, and L a l i u s Nasi, the one from Venice, are to dine with him that very evening, and arrange for the organization of t h i s League. just then who  But  should be announced but the hated Bourbon himself, Pescara's  particular friend. This o f f i c e r i s a Frenchman who  has betrayed h i s own  king  and gone over to the Emperor, Charles V, and ever since, even i n that renaissance-age,  "wo  jede Art von Verrat und Wortbruch zu den a l l t S g l i c h e n  Dingen gehBrte," he was known everywhere as the ' t r a i t o r * , an object of contempt to every man,  and even to himself.  The author says of him:  "Karl Bourbon lebte mit seinem Verrate i n einer sengenden und verzehrenden AtmosphSre ses Selbsthasses." c h a r a c t e r i s t i c devices.  Here again we have one of Meyer's most  The subject of the story i s to be  'treachery  versus f i d e l i t y ' , and r i g h t at the start he brings us face to face with  105. a man who has already betrayed h i s country.  The same man  i s also mentioned  in S c h i l l e r ' s WALLENSTEIN, f i t t i n g l y enough, since the 'Leitmotiv' i n that drama i s also 'treachery'. He has come as the Emperor's ambassador to warn Sforza not to j o i n the League on pain of l o s i n g h i s Duchy.  He l i s t e n s with an  a i r of cynical contempt, as Sforza denies c a t e g o r i c a l l y 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 f o r t s , disband h i s armies and dismiss Morone, h i s Chancellor.  Then, as he i s leaving he puts Morone  i n a rage by saying i r o n i c a l l y : "Adieu, Pantalon, mon  ami."  Morone knows that h i s enemies c a l l hira a clown behind his back, but to be taunted with i t openly i s too much for h i s pride. Sforza, too, i s i n a panic, for he i s sure that the Bourbon intends to get  h i s Duchy, so as they go i n to greet their guests, they are both ready  to join t h i s new league against Spain. On t h e i r way to the dining-room, they pass a beautiful l i f e - s i z e painting of Pescara and h i s wife playing chess together, and i n this manner Meyer makes us acquainted with the hero of the story before we actually see him, and with V i c t o r i a Colonna, h i s beautiful I t a l i a n wife.  It i s V i c t o r i a ' 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, f o r , as we s h a l l see, that i s the question the conspirators keep asking themselves a l l through the story. We have seen i n previous s t o r i e s , many examples of the  106. author's use of symbolic pictures or statues to emphasize h i s "leitmotiv', but i n t h i s story he makes a p a r t i c u l a r l y l a v i s h use of this device, which not only serves to i l l u s t r a t e the luxury and beauty i n the homes of these a r t - l o v i n g "Renaissanzmenschen', but also to repeat again and again the main theme of h i s 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 i s given almost word f o r 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 d i f f e r e n t popes, and the anomalous p o l i t i c a l  situation  in which Charles V, a Catholic Emperor, i s almost forced to support the Reformation to hold i n check the Pope, who  i s the -leader i n forming the  league against him. Then, after the meal, they a l l gather i n the l i t t l e room, which i s dominated by Pescara's picture, to discuss the formation of the League and the choice of i t s leader. suggests Pescara, who,  After some discussion Morone  he thinks, could be induced to desert the Emperor.  At f i r s t the others are aghast at the idea of t r y i n g to seduce the Emperor's own general, but the very boldness of the idea at length wins favor; Morone i s commissioned  to put the matter before him.  But f i r s t  they arrange that a famous but venal I t a l i a n poet of the time, Pietro Aretino, s h a l l conduct a campaign of propaganda through Italy, and thus force Pescara's hand by declaring that he i s 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 i n the Vatican.  And the beautiful woman  kneeling before him i s none other than the lady of the painting, V i c t o r i a Colonna.  Linden says that Meyer has i n t e n t i o n a l l y given us i n this pope  Clement V l l his own p o r t r a i t . "Und wie a l t e Maler o f t i n irgendeiner Bcke, unter gleichgttltigen Zuschauern, i h r eigenes B i l d n i s einbringen, so hat auch Meyer einmal ein PortrSt von sich entworfen. Clemens V l l i n sein Pescara i s t sein Gleichnis, von dem Burckhardt berichtet, er vereinige sanguinisches und melanchol i s c h e s Temperament, und den Meyer a l s entschiboszen s c h i l d e r t , von greisehhafter uberklugheit, Uberdachtsamkeit, Misztrauen gegen sich selbst, und Schicksalsfurcht; i n n e r l i c h aber i s t er 'ein l e i d e n s c h a f t l i c h e r , e i n zorniger Menschi"! Whether we agree with this idea or not, i t i s i n t e r e s t ing,  i n this the only scene where we meet him, to note h i s s k i l l f u l l y he  brings h i s influence to bear on V i c t o r i a Colonna, and how complete i s h i s success.  He wants to win over V i c t o r i a to the side of the League, so  that her influence with her husband may be used to induce him to desert his of  feudal l o r d .  He appeals f i r s t to her patriotism, as a true daughter  I t a l y , struggling for freedom from the Spaniard, then to her ambition,  by saluting her as the future queen of a united I t a l y , united under Pescara as king.  V i c t o r i a i s completely won over.  She i s preparing to leave aext  day to j o i n her husband at h i s army headquarters near Novara, f o r Pescara cannot spare the time to come to Eome, and now the Pope i s sure of her aid. As she i s leaving the Vatican she meets and i s 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 t a l k i n g together,' their conversation i s worth noting.  The Venetian says that, i n spite of the  Pope's authority and h i s wife's influence, there i s something unfathomable about Pescara which gives him sleepless nights.  He says :  "Er (Pescara) glaubt nur an die einzige P f l i c h t der groszen Menschen, ihren v o l l e n Wuchs zu erreichen, mit den Mitteln und an den Aufgaben der Z e i t . (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 Z u f S l l i g e s , etwas Korperliches, oder e i n Zug seiner Seele, kurz, e i n unbekanntes Hindernis, das uns den Weg v e r t r i t t und unsere genaue Rechnung fSlscht und v e r e i t e l t . " ! And i f the future actions of Pescara were a riddle to these men, they were none the less so to h i s wife, f o r V i c t o r i a  Colonna  had to admit that, i n spite of the long and beautiful intimacy of t h e i r married l i f e , she d i d not know the innermost soul of her husband, nor how he would react to t h i s 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 i n her soul was i n keeping with the turmoil i n the heavens, another instance, as i n DIE RICHTERIN, where the author makes nature sympathize with the struggle i n the soul of h i s characters. She knows that treachery to one's feudal lord i s a disgraceful thing, but just then a party of Spaniards rode past  1.  Pescara  59.  109.  "und sie sah und fuhlte i n der Grandezza der Eeiter und Rosse, den i n die RELfte gesetzten Armen, den veraeh'ili'chhalb tlber die Schulter auf die RoraulussHhne niedergleitenden Blicken und "bis i n die s t e i f e n Bartspitzen den Holm und die B e l e i d i gung der "beginnenden spanischen ?/eltherrschaf t, s i e empfand Grauel und Ekel, und ein tSdlicher Hasz regte sich i n ihrem rflmischen Busen gegen diesen fremden Rttuber, und hochfahrenden Ahenteurer, welche die neue und die a l t e Erde zusammen erheuteten."i If only the Emperor had not been a Spaniard, she thought. She reached home to f i n d 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 V i c t o r i a and  Pescara, who had brought him up, but he was no credit to them.  He  was  g u i l t y of many deeds of h o r r i b l e cruelty, and had recently betrayed J u l i a , the granddaughter The g i r l convent.  of Pescara's physician, refusing to marry her.  i n her distress had disappeared from her home and gone into a V i c t o r i a burned with anger against Del Quasto, but he was quite  brazen, even o f f e r i n g to go with her before Pescara and j u s t i f y himself. Here again, i n the betrayal of this young g i r l , we have a r e p e t i t i o n of the 'Leitmotiv' of the story i n another form.  V i c t o r i a turned away from  him i n 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 d e v i l wore the long lawyer's robes of Morone, (another s t r i k i n g use of  symbolism).  But a l l at once there i n the garden before her stood Morone himself.  In a most eloquent speech, he appealed to V i c t o r i a ' s patriotism  and ambition, even as the Pope had done.  1.  Pescara  63.  It i s wonderful how eloquently  110.  Meyer makes this man t a l k .  Though ugly of face, and f u l l of clownish  gestures, and with no very high regard for the truth, yet h i s 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 V i c t o r i a . The scene of chapter three i s l a i d i n Pescara's camp i n Novara.  Pescara himself i s lodged i n an old castle with a beautiful inner  court and garden.  Busily working over h i s campaign plans, he i s scarcely  aware of the entrance of his servant B a t t i s t a with h i s lemonade. But calling  the man toHi'mhe dismisses him from h i s service, i n spite of tears  and protests, f o r he has caught him spying the night before, and now knows him to be a secret agent of h i s enemies.  This incident not only shows us  the d i f f i c u l t y of Pescara's p o s i t i o n , but also gives another v a r i a t i o n of Meyer's 'Leitmotiv,'-another  form of treachery.  As B a t t i s t a goes out, the Bourbon rushes i n with the news that he has seen Morone i n disguise on h i s way to Novara, so Pescara expects a v i s i t from him shortly.  He imagines that i t i s an embassy from  Milan to t r y to save Sforza's Duchy, but the Bourdon forecasts the truth, when he says j e s t i n g l y : "Maybe he has come to o f f e r the two of us I t a l i a n crowns i f we w i l l f a l l away from the Kaiser."  Prom t h e i r conversation  we can see the strong friendship these two men have for"each other.  We  also see what Pescara has to contend with i n h i s own ranks i n 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 a r r i v a l  of the travel-stained  111. Del Quasto, who announces the safe a r r i v a l of V i c t o r i a , 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 Italyi s f u l l of rumours that Pescara i s about to f a l l away from the Emperor and head the Holy League.  We can see that Pietro Aretino has got i n h i s work.  Then the page announces Morone himself, and, i n order that he may have witnesses  to the interview, the theme of which he c l e a r l y  foresees, Pescara places the Bourbon and Del Quasto behind a c u r t a i n , where they can overhear a l l . The following conversation, i n which Morone seeks to persuade Pescara to leave the Emperor and head the League, to be rewarded f i n a l l y by the Crown of I t a l y , i s a masterpiece. ble  It ranks with the para-  scene i n NATHAN or the Marquis Posa scene i n the t h i r d act of DON  KARLOS.  In spite of his d u p l i c i t y and sophistry, Morone's speech i s  ennobled through and through by a l o f t y s p i r i t of patriotism, for he r e a l l y loves his I t a l y .  But he i s no match for Pescara, who, with un-  shaken poise remains master of the situation. With fine irony he turns Morone's arguments against hims e l f by threatening to s a c r i f i c e Sforza and give h i s Duchy to the Bourbon. " W i l l you give your master up to me?" he says.  "By a l l the gods, no,"  y e l l e d Morone, "Shall I betray my master, and for the Bourbon above a l l ? Why do you s o i l your cause with suclx a man?  "Sehet diesen Menschen,  verhiJhnte ihn Pescara, Gibt es etwas Precheres?  Dem armseligsten Pttrsten  w i 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  w i l l wait, he says, t i l l the morrow to decide, and i n the meantime Morone i s conducted by the page to some rooms overlooking the inner court of the c a s t l e , where he i s v i r t u a l l y a prisoner. The most i r o n i c touch i s that the Bourbon and Del Quasto, who have overheard a l l , are so impressed by Morone's arguments, that they, too, t r y to tempt Pescara. be no more convincing testimony to Morone's eloquence. the climax of the story.  There could  Here we reach  The forces of temptation have presented t h e i r  case. In chapter four, the feelings of the excited Chancellor are described, as he walks to and fro his prison.  through the beautiful rooms of  He must rely solely on V i c t o r i a ' s influence now,  moment she may  and at any  appear, for a house i n the castle-garden opposite h i s  window seems to have been prepared f o r her coming.  As he wanders through  the rooms, he comes to a wonderful c e i l i n g frescoed with serpents, said to have been painted by Leonardo da V i n c i .  This i s another case of Meyer's  fondness for symbolic pictures, for the serpent i s the emblem of treachery. Then he wanders into the palace garden, and comes suddenly upon Pescara, asleep i n a seat near the fountain. Morone i s s t a r t l e d by his paUffir, but h i s sleeping face gives no hint of any other thought calmness and resignation.  save  Suddenly Pescara's aged physician, Numa Dati,  lays a hand on h i s shoulder and advises him to f l y while there i s yet time, f o r he says Pescara could not betray h i s 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 r e a l reason why he i s invulnerable to temptation. to die soon.  His wound received at Pavia has not healed, and he i s fated Even V i c t o r i a does not know i t yet, and as she hastens with  eager joy to meet her husband, Morone withdraws into the background. After t h e i r f i r s t greeting, Pescara presents Dati to her.  He i s J u l i a ' s  grandfather, and from him we learn that the poor betrayed g i r l has just died i n the convent;  Pescara learns now  for the f i r s t time of h i s  kinsman, Del Quasto's treachery to J u l i a . Vftien V i c t o r i a goes to her room to wash o f f the marks of t r a v e l , we learn d e f i n i t e l y from the conversation between Pescara and Dati that Pescara's days are numbered, and we r e a l i z e 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 r i v a l r y .  Then he goes i n to attend a council of war, at  which the Spaniard, Moncada i s 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 s h a l l  move at once against Milan, and when the place f a l l s , he i s to treat Sforza and the people with great severity. lutely;  he w i l l not be inhuman.  This Pescara refuses abso-  Moncada further demands the particulars  of Pescara's interview with Morone, but when Pescara t e l l s him the t r u t h he w i l l 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 l a t e r on, when we hear him say "Du entrinnst mir nicht.  114.  Ich umschwehe dich, Pescara."  This gray figure, with the face of a  grand i n q u i s i t o r , 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 J u l i a , and he advises both him and the Bourbon that f i d e l i t y to their Emperor i s a l l that i s l e f t to them now.  These troubles i n his own  ranks, show us another reason why Pescara could not be tempted.says, Italy i s unworthy of being rescued.  As he  Her downfall i s inevitable,  regardless of what he or anyone else can do to save her. dealt f a l s e l y even with him, whom she sought to honor.  For I t a l y has She has spread  l y i n g reports about him, and attempted to force h i s hand.  Nov/ this has  brought the Spaniard Moncada, who w i l l henceforth hover over him l i k e a vulture. We learn also that many years before Moncada has assassinated Pescara's father, seeking thereby to win the favor of the king. Since then this dark and s i n i s t e r figure had been a l l over the world, i n the interests of h i s 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 r i d Pescara of t h i s incubus, but the l a t t e r refuses, saying i t i s too late.  Once he had wanted to take vengeance upon him, but now he w i l l  leave him to the j u s t i c e of God. They go i n to dinner with V i c t o r i a , and the Bourbon i s presented to her.  He i s very p o l i t e , aut after he i s gone, V i c t o r i a  115.  asks her husband why she must d i s l i k e him so, and he, her husband's best friend.  He answers that i t i s because the Bourbon has never been able  to l i v e down h i s treachery to h i s king. picture treachery as the worst of crimes?  Did not her own poet, Dante, V i c t o r i a turns pale, for she  remembers her mission from the Pope. Then follows one of Meyer's c h a r a c t e r i s t i c discussions between the husband and wife on poetry and a r t i n general.  Gradually i t  works around to^ his mission, and she reproaches him for not l e t t i n g her read h i s heart.  He says he has seen t h i s temptation coming, and blames  the Pope for thinking he can absolve one's conscience.  Savonarola, and  the monk, Luther, have done that much f o r him. They go out to the garden, and s i t t i n g i n the s t i l l n e s s they overhear a conspiracy between Leyva and Moncada to take Pescara prisoner the minute he attempts to go over to the I t a l i a n s .  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 d i r e c t from the Emperor himself.  In h i s own handwriting he expresses h i s f a i t h i n  Pescara's unalterable f i d e l i t y . that?  How could h i s general betray him after  Poor V i c t o r i a soon learns her husband's dread secret, for i n the  garden he i s seized with a f e a t f u l convulsion, which nearly k i l l s him. But after t e r r i b l e suffering he recovers, and they both sleep the sleep of exhaustion.  This ends chapter four. The next morning V i c t o r i a finds Pescara refreshed by h i s  sleep, and she can hardly believe that the f r i g h t f u l 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, h i s enemies must not  know of i t t i l l he has finished h i s campaign against Milan, which i s to start this very day.  T i l l he can summon her to Milan, a f t e r h i s 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 f i e l d s , the dark and dreary day i s a f i t setting f o r the sadness of their hearts.  As they near the convent they hear the nuns  singing a requiem, which they afterwards learn i s for the poor betrayed J u l i a , who had formerly been their p u p i l .  The abbess i s only too pleased  to f i n d a room f o r V i c t o r i a , whose sadness they believe i s due to the fact that her husband i s going into b a t t l e . While V i c t o r i a and the abbess are arranging matters, Pescara walks into the l i t t l e church.  Here he sees a wonderful a l t a r  picture of Christ on the cross, receiving the sword-thrust of the soldier. But the soldier i n t h i s picture i s no Roman but a Swiss, and Pescara i s 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 t h i s man had posed for the a r t i s t . symbolic pictures.  Here we have another example of Meyer's  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 t h i s story been constructed. As Pescara looks at the picture, he i s secretly watched by the nuns, who admire h i s t a l l  figure, and envy the happiness of  V i c t o r i a i n 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 i s wringing her hands i n despairing g r i e f . Then he and V i c t o r i a take an a f f e c t i n g farewell.  He  tells  her not to grieve too much, for death comes to him as a d e l i v e r e r .  His  words here are worth quoting, for they give the kernel of the story: "Ich sage d i r Weib, mein Pfad versinkt vor mir. Ich gehe unter an meinen Siegen und an meinen Ruhm. Wttre i c h ohne meine Wunde, dennoch konnte i c h nicht leben. Druben i n Spanien Neid, schleichende Verleumdung, hinfMllige und endlich untergrabene Hoigunst, Ungnade und Sturz; hier i n I t a l i e n Hasz und Gift fur den, der es verschmSht hat. ware i c h aber von meinem Kaiser abgefallen, so wurde i c h an mir selbst zu Grande gehen, und sterben an meiner gebrochenen Treue, denn i c h habe zwei Seelen i n meiner Brust, eine i t a l i e n i s c h e und eine spanische, und sie hBtten s i c h geto*tet. Auch glaube i c h nicht, dasz i c h ein lebendiges I t a l i e n hatte schaffen ktfnnen. Zwar es trBgt die strahlende Ampel des Geistes, doch es hat sich aufgelehnt i n der unbandigen Lust eines s^trotzenden Daseins gegen ewige Gesetze. Es btisze, du hast es gesagt, V i c t o r i a , i n Fesseln leidend lerne es die F r e i h e i t . Dieses spanische Weltreich aber das i n blufcroten Wolken aufsteigt d i e s s e i t s und jenseits des Meeres, e r f u l l t mich mit Grauen; Sklaven und Henker. Ich sptire die grausame Ader i n mir selbst. Und das E n t s e t z l i c h s t e , i c h weisz nicht welcher mflnchische Wahnsinn: Dein verderbtes I t a l i e n aber i s t wenigstans menschlich."1 Then he rides away to join h i s army and comes to where a Swiss i s 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 i n the church, and h i s  disgust, when he saw himself thrusting a spear into his Lord's side was quite genuine.  Pescara could take vengeance on him by l e t t i n g him be  hanged, but instead he gives him quite a large purse of gold and l e t s 1  Pescara  190  118. him go.  The Spaniards are surprised to see t h e i r usually rather p a r s i -  monious general so generous, hut l i k e h i s Lord, Pescara not only pardons hut rewards h i s enemy, who  turns out to he no enemy after a l l .  As he stands at the head of h i s 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 h i s feet demanding a d e f i n i t e decision. his aid.  Pescara t e l l s Morone he has not found Italy worthy of  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 h i s own skin, he basely lays a l l the blame of the conspiracy on Pescara, who has again to c a l l h i s 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, i n a private interview, t r i e s to tempt him to go over whole-heartedly to Spain, even as Morone had tempted him with the Crown of I t a l y .  He tempts i n 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 ruthless. That night Pescara burns a l l h i s papers, even the Emperor's letter.  No dangerous papers of h i s s h a l l leave h i s friends a prey to  Spanish spies a f t e r h i s death.  The next morning he i s v i s i t e d by another  heart attack, and to conceal i t he rides to the battle i n a closed carriage, h i s charger being led saddled behind. But Morone, surrounded by Spanish s o l d i e r s , i s 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 l a s t chapter, or epilogue, the story i s brought quickly to a close.  We see the trembling Duke Sforza of Milan, lost  without h i s Chancellor, vainly trying to protect his Duchy against Pescara's -  oncoming soldiery. himself.  But nothing can withstand Pescara's hosts, or Pescara  Clad i n a flaming garment, and swinging h i s sword, he strides  along, " a l s schritte der Wttrger Tod i n Person gegen die Schanze." Sforza takes to base f l i g h t . The l a s t scene i s played i n the same throne-room of Duke Sforza'g palace at Milan, i n which the story opened, another i n d i c a tion of Meyer's love for balance.  Sforza has f l e d t h i t h e r , only to find  that the canopy over h i s throne has broken down. omen, he awaits the v i c t o r .  Taking this as an e v i l  Pescara soon comes, and much to Sforza's  surprise, he treats him with unlooked f o r mildness. i n t e r f e r e , but i s sternly set aside by Pescara, who  Moncada attempts to shows him the  Emperor's power of attorney, g i v i n g him f u l l authority.  The description  of the judging i n which he and h i s two generals, Leyva and the Bourdon, take part i s quite c h a r a c t e r i s t i c .  Leyva votes on the Spanish side f o r  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 h i s f e a l t y to the Emperor. And just as Morone and the Venetian had talked together over the riddle of Pescara's conduct i n chapter one, here, i n the l a s t chapter, i s a p a r a l l e l conversation:  120. "Erinnerst du dich, Girolamo, was i c h d i r i n dentvatikanischen GSrten sagte, von einem m6*glichen l e t z t e n Hindernis i n der Brust Pescaras? Wenn i c h wtfrtlich wahr geredet? Wenn der Peldherr hei Pavia den Tod empfing, und ihn verheimlicht hat? Wenn wir einen nicht mehr Versuchharen i n Versuchung fuh'rten? Also die l a h r h e i t , "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 h i s l a s t commands.  Just as Moncada and Leyva are about  to arrest him as a t r a i t o r , he has another heart attack, and he i s delivered out of t h e i r hands.  He seems to be slumbering when V i c t o r i a  enters and rushes toward him, but he l i e s dead on h i s 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 f i v e thousand  "einer Mittag haltenden lombardischen Schnitterbande g l e i c h , "  and so  to the very end. the exquisite symmetry of the story i s maintained. One cannot but be s t r u ck with the s i m i l a r i t y between Pescara and Becket. around them.  Both are 'mehrdeutig,' a riddle to the people  Both are advanced  i n t h e i r thinking beyond their age.  They each have suffered, and both are conscious of the near presence of death.  We can trace the steps i n the conversion of each, and see how  the character of each grows more C h r i s t l i k e , the nearer he comes to  1. 2. 3.  Pescara Ibid Ibid  225 229 6  121. death, f o r both l i k e 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 i s because i t i s so d i f f i c u l t , and at the same time so important. written.  It i s doubtful i f a more spphisticated story has ever been  It i s impossible to see a l l i t s beauty and exquisite symbolism  in one reading, or even i n two.  It i s l i k e a puzzle, containing concealed  faces, which at f i r s t sight are not v i s i b l e , but the more we look, the more we can see.  It i s f u l l of Meyer's c h a r a c t e r i s t i c devices and  mannerisms, and i t s symmetry i s so perfect that i t seems l i k e some exquisite geometric  pattern on an o r i e n t a l rug.  In t e l l i n g the story,  i t i s almost impossible to leave anything out without  s p o i l i n g the connec-  t i o n of the whole, and there i s not a single episode or d e s c r i p t i o n but has i t s bearing on the p l o t . Maync says of i t : "Die Vergeistigung eines p o l i t i s c h e n Stoffes, deren Schwierigk e i t der Dichter wohl bewuszt war, i s t seiner Kflnstlerschaft 'nach strenger Arbeit' wohl gelungen. Seine kunstlerischen M i t t e l sind die gleichen, wie i n 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 BORGIA, 1891 1  After the p u b l i c a t i o n of Pescara, Meyer became seriously ill,  and for almost four years nothing came from his hand, t i l l  appeared ANGELA BORGIA, h i s last Novelle. attempts,  i n 1891  He made many subsequent  but except for some l y r i c s , which could be written i n a flash  of i n s p i r a t i o n , he never completed anything which he considered worthy of publication. powers.  Even t h i s piece shows many signs of age and f a i l i n g  There are r e a l l y two heroines, for the story could, with equal  propriety, be c a l l e d LUCREZIA BORGIA. drawn than that of Angela.  Her character i s even better  However, t h i s i s 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 c a l l e d Angela, and one, moreover, f o r whom the name was not a m i s f i t , i s enough i n i t s e l f to cause comment.  One could, with  almost equal propriety have c a l l e d the story GIULIO D'ESTE, f o r the past is played by this character/also very  important.  "For these reasons i t lacks that unity which i s so characteri 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 t h i s 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 f a l s e chrono-  logy, caused, no doubt, by an old man's f a i l i n g memory. Yet, i n spite of these weaknesses, the story i s a powerf u l one, and the character-drawing- i s worthy of Meyer at h i s best. p o r t r a i t of Lucrezia Borgia, ranks with the very best of h i s male  The  123. characters, f o r , i t must he admitted, h i s male characters are, on the whole, much more l i f e - l i k e than h i s female ones. For h i s t o r i c a l "background he goes hack to h i s favorite period, the time of the I t a l i a n Renaissance,  and he gives an i n t e r e s t i n g  and h i s t o r i c a l l y 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. cession.  The story opens with a wedding- pro-  Duke Alfonso von Este of Ferrara, the grandfather of that  Duke of Ferrara, made famous by Goethe i n TASSO, has been wedded by proxy to Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander Borgia, and the s i s t e r of the dreadful Caesar Borgia.  The l a t t e r 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 f a m i l i a r to us as a monster of wickedness and cruelty.  Meyer,  however, c a l l s her a 'tender plant growing i n a forcing-house of s i n ' , and lays the e v i l of her character on circumstances own nature.  rather than on her  She has decided, however, to reform, and looks upon t h i s  marriage with Don Alfonso as a chance to r e h a b i l i t a t e h e r s e l f i n the eyes of the world.  She w i l l l i v e a blameless l i f e from henceforth and  w i l l give her husband not the s l i g h t e s t chance for regret, unless, perchance, her brother escapes from the prison i n which he now and c a l l s upon her for a i d . over her,  languishes  In that case, so great i s h i s influence  that he knows she w i l l have to give i t . As the wedding procession moves along, she s i t s under  a canopy which i s held over her by c e r t a i n professors of the University  124.  of Ferrara, among them one S t r o z z i , the Dean of Law. ing  They cast admir-  looks at her wonderful blonde beauty, and Strozzi wonders i f . t  such a b e a u t i f u l creature can possibly be so wicked as reported. As judge he condemns her, but as man he has f a l l e n i n love with her already. Behind her rides her kinswoman, Angela Borgia, a t a l l dark-eyed g i r l , with curly h a i r .  Lucrezia, who i s fond of t h i s g i r l ,  has taken her out of her convent school to bring her to Ferrara as companion. court here.  She also expects to find a r i c h husband f o r her at the Beside Angela rides the youngest brother of Duke AlfonstP,  Don Ferrante, who has accompanied  them as escort from Rome, and, as they  r i d e , he gives her a rather uncomplimentary learn that there are two other brothers.  account of h i s family.  We  The second eldest, and the  cleverest of them a l l i s Ippolyto, the c a r d i n a l , the diplomat of the family.  The t h i r d , Don G i u l i o , i s a drunkard and a wastrel, who for  some nameless crime i s now i n prison.  He i s noted for his extremely  beautiful eyes, according to Don Ferrante, the only good thing about him. of  Don Ferrante says she w i l l shortly see him, f o r one of the customs;  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, l i k e Iphigenia, had no share i n the i n i q u i t y of her house.  A3 both her parents were dead, she  had been brought up i n a convent, and when she had seen the nuns shuddering over some p a r t i c u l a r ^ h o r r i b l e deed, done by some member of her family, she had t r i e d to atone f o r i t by imposing penance on h e r s e l f .  3ome grievous  Her innate p u r i t y of character i n s t i n c t i v e l y r e -  125. c o i l e d from Don G i u l i o , 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 h e r s e l f up and said!:  "God have mercy on you, Don G i u l i o , May God p i t y you."  Lucre-feia drew  her h a s t i l y away, and even the bold Don Giulio l o s t h i s composure for the moment.  Thus i s described the f i r s t meeting of the hero and heroine. The next chapter opens a f t e r a period of two years,in  a park i n the same Belriguardo, where Goethe's Tasso opens. and the Venetian ambassabor, Bembo, are t a l k i n g together.  Lucrezia We l e a r n  that he i s leaving Ferrara because he has f a l l e n i n love with her, and he knows that, i f he stays, he w i l l only expose both of them to danger time from her husband's jealousy.  Thus a second/Meyer i l l u s t r a t e s the  h i s t o r i c fact of Lucrezia's power to bewitch almost every man she met. Bembo i s an e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y 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 h i s prison - and there are rumors that he has escaped - she should throw h e r s e l f on her husband's protection.  He knows, however,  that she w i l l not take h i s advice, for her brother has such power over her that she w i l l obey his c a l l , even at the r i s k of his husband's d i s pleasure.  Lucrezia turned h i s words l i g h t l y aside, and drawing forward  Angela, who was by her side, she s a i d : i s i n greater danger than I."  "Give me some advice for one who  We soon learn what that danger i s . The  Cardinal has f a l l e n i n love with Angela, and knowing the character of  126. the man,  they fear that he w i l l go to any lengths to win her. A screaming vulture r i s e s and c i r c l e s 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 w i l l react to the news, t e l l s him  of her matrimonial plans f o r Angela. Count Contrario, who disputed lands.  She proposes to wed her to the r i c h  i s engaged i n a law-suit with the family over some  She w i l l s e t t l e 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, i s openly scornful.  fesses p u b l i c l y h i s love f o r Angela, who,  He con-  he says, w i l l never consent  to be a mere figure i n the reckoning of Contrario's account.  There i s  one thing, however, that he dreads more, and that i s her unconscious love for the beautiful eyes of h i s scoundrel brother, Don G i u l i o .  She  may deny i t and suppress i t as she w i l l , but i t i s there, and that i s 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. very thought of him should be degrading to her.  The  His jealous anger i s  interrupted by a summons from the Duke, and they a l l walk through the sweltering July heat to the castle. Meanwhile from another d i r e c t i o n two young men, Strozzi and Giulio d'Bste are approaching the Duke's party. friends are both extremely handsome young men, ing up, f u l l of enjoyment.  Herkules  The  two  f o r whom l i f e seems open-  From t h e i r conversation we learn that  Don G i u l i o , f o r another p a r t i c u l a r l y f o o l i s h escapade, has been banished  127. by h i s 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 i s 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 h i s mind.  He says:  "Seit jenem Tage, bin i c h nicht mehr derselbe. Meine Sinne taumeln, und wie e i n Easender, suche, wechsle i c h Mund und Becher, und habe nur einen Wunsch, dasz jene, die s i c h f e i n d s e l i g und kalt von mir abwendet, mir noch einmal ihr hellflammandes A n t l i t z zukehre, und mich noch einmal bedrohe ... noch starker a l s daserstemal ... Doch i c h rede Unsinn. Sendet mich nach Venedig. We can guess that the Cardinal was r i g h t , 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 h i s arrears of sleep a f t e r a riotous night.  He i s watched  by a fellow c a l l e d Kratzkralle, whom he recognizes as one of the hangerson of the Cardinal, and from him we learn that the Cardinal keeps i n his  pay a band of seven cut-throats, who f o r money are prepared to  co'nnnit any v i l l a n y , and whom the v i l l a g e r s c a l l the Cardinal's seven deadly sins.  The Duke has ordered them to be disbanded, but the Cardinal  takes h i s time about i t . The t i r e d G i u l i o , however, undeterred by the neighbourhood of K r a t z k r a l l e , f a l l s asleep, and has a symbolic dream i n which he suffers blindness so real and profound that he wakes up, streaming with fear, to the great dismay of K r a t z k r a l l e , who advises him to seek a  128.  c l o i s t e r at once, for he thinks such dreams can come only from a~bad conscience. Giulio then hurries to the c a s t l e and meets h i s friends Strozzi and Bembo coming out, after an interview with the Duke.  Strozzi  i s extremely angry, for the Duke has talked very p l a i n l y to him,  telling  him what w i l l happen i f he p e r s i s t s i n h i s s i n f u l infatuation for Lucrezia.  He forecasts that, i f ever her "brother Caesar escapes, she  w i l l use S t r o z z i as a t o o l , and then he;, the Duke, w i l l have to take Strozzi's l i f e f o r treachery.  A l l t h i s a c t u a l l y happens i n 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 f e e l s that great danger l i e s i n wait f o r him.  But Giulio w i l l not he warned, e i t h e r , and goes  on i n to the Palace to talk to h i s brothers, the Duke and the Cardinal. Here he i s 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 h i s brother to get out of h i s sight at once, or something dreadful w i l l happen to him.  The Duke, however, intervenes and  just then Don Ferrante enters, and mockingly c a l l s h i s three brothers to the Park, where the l a d i e s are. But Ferrante entices Don Giulio into the woods, so only the Duke and the Cardinal reach the l a d i e s . tained by a Persian, Ben Eaim, who  They f i n d them being enter-  is- t e l l i n g s t o r i e s .  an eastern legend about the C h r i s t , who  One of these i s  finds some good i n every  one,  129. and had a good word for even a dead dog, the lowest of the low, i n 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 i s affected hy the oppressive weather, f o r the sultriness has become almost unbearable.  A storm i s rapidly coming up, another example of Meyer's f a v o r i t e  devices of showing nature i n harmony with the coming tragedy.  Then  Eon Ferrante comes and says Don G i u l i o 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 f i n d nothing good i n Don Giulio, looking towards Angela as he jeeringly makes his halteful remarks.  But she detests the Cardinal and i s stung to reply  "Yes, he has beautiful eyes.  You would surely leave him that."  "Would I?" he asks. Then he s l i n k s into the woods, and c a l l s h i s cut-throats and when he comes back a f e a r f u l deed has been planned. Suddenly a dreadful despairing cry i s heard, and the poet Ariosto goes to seek his f r i e n d .  He leads him back, a l l covered with  blood, r e e l i n g and stumbling i n h i s blindness, for h i s eyes have been put out.  He f a l l s at the Cardinal's feet, and buries his bloody head i n  the purple cloak .  1.  "0 warum rafubst du mir d<as L i c h t ? " he says, "Was ninmst du mijs das a l l und einzige weg, das i c h war ... ein i n der Sonne Atmender ... Du, der du A l l e s bist und hast: dem ich Wichts nahm und Kichts neidete ... Ich winde mich vor d i r wie ein blinder Wurm. Bruder z e r t r i t t mich. Tflte mich ganz."^ Angela Borgia 92  130.  The Cardinal gave the ancient excuse, which only Angela heard.  "Wichj;  i c h , ... Das Weib verfuhrte raich ... Sie lobte deine Augen." Then the f a i n t i n g Giulio i s taken away, and the company scatters before the oncoming storm. ficent.  Meyer's description of i t i s magni-  "Jetzt rfltete e i n 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 v o i l e r Donnergetb*sze. . Dann stitrzten die finsteren Wolken auf die Brde, und schwere Regen wuschen und tiberschwemmten die, mit Blut und Sunde befleckten Garten." This i s 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 i s taken up with a description of the l i f e of Don Giulio after h i s blinding.  He i s taken to h i s estate at 'Pratello,  and l e f t very much to himself, as the time-serving c o u r t i e r s , thinking he i s i n disgrace, do not v i s i t him.  For beyond banishing the Cardinal  from h i s presence for a time, the Duke does not punish him for h i s awful crime.  The Cardinal, however, has r e t i r e d to h i s palace, and i t i s  reported soon after that he i s very  ill.  The steps i n Don G i u l i o ' s recovery are very s k i l f u l l y , drawn.  After the f i r s t f e a r f u l days of darkness and despair, he began  to seek h i s garden, where he sa.t. i n the sun, trying to f e e l the rays, which he could no longer see, or stretching himself i n the grass, and burying h i s face i n the cooling leaves. He had only two v i s i t o r s , the poet  JAraosto and h i s  131. younger brother, Ferrante.  The helpful ministrations of Ariosto, f o r  whom Meyer had the warmest admiration, are most b e a u t i f u l l y described, and we must remember, too, that t h i s i s a l l h i s t o r i c .  F i r s t they had  long talks together about a f f l i c t i o n and suffering, and how brave ought to bear them.  men  Then Ariosto read to him some chapters from h i s own  heroic poem the ORLANDO FURIOSO, and from other poets, t i l l  "sich nach  und nach das Donkel h e l l e r farbte, und i n der entzuckten Seele des Blinden eine Sonne aufging."  Then he t r i e d to read him a poem of joy,  but Don Giulio l a i d h i s hand on the page. Blinden" he said.  "Das i s t nichts fttr einen  "Da weinte der Poet i n n e r l i c h uber diese Abwendung  von der Freude." But gradually Don Giulio awakened to the fact that there were others on h i s estate, simple souls who  longed to serve him, f o r  his  misfortune had awakened the sympathy of his vassels, and they forgot  all  h i s former wildness.  Gradually he became aware of t h e i r existence,  t i l l at l a s t he could d i s t i n g u i s h t h e i r voices and talk to them, and t h e i r a r t l e s s sympathy soothed him. to  e n r o l l himself i n another  Ariosto soon observed that he began  circle,  "unter einer andern Menschenklasse, a l s die war, welcher er bisher angehflrt hatte, i n derjenigen der UnglUcklichen und Leidenden, der Benachteiligten und Enterbten, i n einem Lebenskreise, der offenbar unter andern Bedingungen stand, und andern Gesetzen f o l g t e , a l s die Vollsinnigen und zum Genusse Berechtigten."^ And gradually he came to blame not fate, nor the hatred of  1.  men,  but himself, for his dreadful punishment.  Angela Borgia  101  As the author says:  132. "Wenn i n des Dichters sonst so hellen Bildern mitunter die Nemesis waltete ... wie„bisweilen j a auch i n der wirklichen Welt, laut dem Sprichwort, die Strafe der Missetat auf dem Ftisze folgt-dann versank Don Guilio i n Nachdenken." Don Ferrante's influence, however, was not so beneficent as that of the poet.  He continually t r i e d to s t i r up trouble between  Giulio and his two elder brothers, and kept reminding him of h i s horrible wrong, which had never been punished.  He sought to e n l i s t h i s a i d i n  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 r e b e l l i o n could e a s i l y 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 h i s 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 p a r t l y responsible for Don Giulio's misfortune, f o r had she not praised h i s eyes to the Cardinal?  She  determined to v i s i t him secretly, so rode over one day to P r a t e l l o , and sat down on a stone bench i n the beautiful park.  Soon she saw  Giulio approaching, c a r e f u l l y tended by h i s servants.  Don  He d i d not walk  l i k e a b l i n d 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 i n which he put the blind i n the lowest c i r c l e of misery. Angela could stand i t no longer, but threw herself at  1.  Angela Borgia  102  133. his feet, and wet h i s hand with her tears.  She asked h i s pardon for  having caused h i s blindness by p r a i s i n g the beauty of h i s eyes.  He  t r i e d to comfort her, but rushed away overcome with g r i e f , and the servants 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 l a s t he sent a note to Don Perrante, s t a t i n g that he was ready to j o i n 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 i n prison. In chapter eight we have an account of t h e i r l i f e i n prison.  After a form of t r i a l they were judged g u i l t y and sentenced  to death on the s c a f f o l d .  But no fixed time was set, and t h i s waiting  for death was harder to bear than the r e a l i t y . At f i r s t Don Giulio had wept l i k e a c h i l d .  Then when  he could weep no more, he begged f o r a c e l l to himself, f o r he could not bear h i s brother's cynical bitterness.  His request was granted, and  he was also allowed the ministrations of h i s o l d priest from P r a t e l l o , Father Mamette, another of Meyer's portrayals of an a t t r a c t i v e Catholic character. now.  Don G i u l i o , who had never listened to him before, listened  As Meyer says: "Nun lasse et sich von dem Franziskaner, der seit Jahren aber frtther vergeblich an seinem Gewissen gerttttelt, auf ein c h r i s t l i c h e s Ende vorbereiten, das er eher ersehne a l s ffirchte, da, wie er sage, das einzige L i c h t , das ihm i n seine Nacht heruntergestrecht werden ktfnne, das ewige sei."^" He also asked f o r some work to do i n h i s prison, and  was taught how to weave straw rugs.  1.  Angela Borgia  124  Soon he became quite s k i l f u l  at  134.  t h i s task, and long hours of h i s prison time were passed at t h i s monotonous occupation.  We are also t o l d how his vassals at P r a t e l l o held  him i n l o v i n g 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 i l l n e s s , alone i n h i s palace.  In his delirium he had  horrible feverish dreams, i n which a l l the persons he had murdered passed before him, but the worst v i s i o n 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 f i n d  h i s brother, the Duke, beside h i s bed.  The Duke was overjoyed at h i s  recovery, for the Cardinal's clever advice had made him almost i n d i s pensable  i n the government.  He himself knew, however, that he must  leave Ferrara, for h i s l a s t crime had made further residence there impossible, so he decided to accept an i n v i t a t i o n 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  h i s prison, about which a l l Italy was t a l k i n g .  Gradually the Cardinal  recovers enough to take short walks through his rooms every day, and one day his glance rests on a p a r t i c u l a r l y 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, G i u l i o , he f a l l s f a i n t i n g to the f l o o r .  135. In the ninth chapter, we have a description of the room in which the death warrant of the two brothers i s about to be signed, and on the walls are two symbolic pictures, after Meyer's most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c style.  One i s that of the Roman Empress, T u l l i a , who  chariot over the dead body of her murdered father.  rides with her  The other i s that of  Romulus, who has just k i l l e d Remus, h i s brother, and, underneath the pictures were the seats for Lucrezia and the Duke. Just outside, i n the courtyard, workmen are hammering upon a s c a f f o l d as Angela enters dressed i n mourning. she looks out on the black s c a f f o l d , now snow.  She shudders as  l i g h t l y covered with f a l l i n g  Then the door opens and Herkules Strozzi comes i n with the death  warrants.  Angela protests to him that a grave i n j u s t i c e i s being done,  but Strozzi excuses the Duke, who must i n his sacred person protect the r i g h t s of a l l governments and prevent the spread of r e b e l l i o n 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 h i s feet, taking a l l the blame upon herself, since i t was she who  had given the Cardinal h i s d e v i l i s h idea.  They are i n t e r r -  upted by the entrance of the Cardinal himself, t h i n and worn almost to a skeleton.  Angela reproaches him for causing so much bloodshed upon  the earth, instead of the peace of the Nazarene, h i s Master. The Cardinal's reply i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the "Renaissanzmensch' and again shows Meyer's Protestantism. l i k e that of Father T e l l i e r , i n  DIE LEIDEN EINES ENABEN :  It i s almost  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 i n den Himmel erhBhten K6*nig, von dem durch die Theologie geschaffenen zweiten Gotte der D r e i f a l t i g k e i t . Sein der Himmel, Unser die Erde. Unser i s t hier die Gewalt, und das Reich. Und es i s t Herrscherpflicht, das SchHdliche und Unntitze, das uns widersteht, zu vernichten. And yet t h i s man  i s a Cardinal i n the Catholic church. However, he, too, begs f o r 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 s c a f f o l d . turn to Don G i u l i o .  As h i s body i s carried away they  He accepts the g i f t of l i f e with a better grace.  His speech i s well worth quoting, and shows how progressed.  far h i s conversion has  He says:  "Herzog, i c h bin dankbarer fur das Leben. Nicht wie Don Ferrante vergelt' i c h deine Gabe. Ich habe den Reichtum meines Daseins wie ein Unsinniger verschwendet. Nun i c h b l i n d bin, und unter die Srmsten der Armen gehtJre, schtttze i c h das JAlmosen, und halte es teuer. Ich b i n von den Reichen zu den Armen gegangen. Ich bin gesttirzt und an der andern Seite der K l u f t 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, r e d l i c h leiden und dulden w i l l i c h , und darum dank i c h fur das neue Leben."2 Then he i s l e d back to h i s prison, accompanied toy Father Mamette, and Angela hastens to drop a rose i n h i s path as he passes under 1. 2.  Angela Borgia Ibid  143 148  137. her window, a blessing of God, as Father Mamette says, which him to h i s prison.  accompanies  He holds i t up and c a l l s 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, S t r o z z i , and send him with a i d to Caesar, though she knows i t means h i s almost c e r t a i n death.  A l l happens just as the Duke  had forecast. Both he and the Cardinal know that she i s p l o t t i n g , and take means to circumvent her.  The wily Cardinal reads a l l her l e t t e r s  and 3pys on her actions, and she knows nothing of i t . to battle and leaves her as h i s regent.  The Duke goes o f f  She makes an excellent regent,  though a l l the time she i s p l o t t i n g how to a i d her brother. A l l along the Duke knows of her machinations through the Cardinal, but he loves her, and knows she cannot help h e r s e l f .  It i s  i n t e r e s t i n g 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 i n den Bann ihres a l t e s 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, i n the presence of Angela, she sends S t r o z z i to her brother, and to h i s own death, i s extremely dramatic. Strozzi wants a reward, but gets nothing but a Medusa-like stare when he suggests i t , yet he goes blindly to h i s doom.  1.  Angela Borgia  160  Angela cannot under-  138. stand i t and says: "Kit einem unttberlegten Worte hate i c h 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 f o r t , and so Lucrezia i s freed from her incubus. she receives the newsof h i s death, and now  The Duke i s present when  she throws h e r s e l f on h i s  mercy, confesses her s i n , and i s freely forgiven.  He even offers to  forgive S t r o z z i , i f he w i l l 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 t h e i r l a s t interview, and h i s death-cry a few minutes afterwards, can no longer contain herself, and hurries to the near-by convent of K l a r i s s a , where Lucrezia has gone to pray for the soul of her brother.  On her way  Don G i u l i o , who  she sees a procession i n the midst of which i s  i s being led to a forsaken ivy-covered tower i n the  convent grounds, which i s henceforth to be h i s prison. When she enters the convent she finds Lucrezia sleeping peacefully, with the smile of an innocent c h i l d on her l i p s , and yet she had just sent a man who had loved her to h i s 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 i c h eine andere J" The l a s t chapter opens a f t e r f i v e 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. first  And then, f o r the  time, we learn that S t r o z z i has been married a l l the time, a rather  strange oversight on Meyer's part, and one which would not have occurred i n one of his e a r l i e r 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 h i s dead f r i e n d , and how  he eventually married her.  A l l t h i s i s quite  historic, Don  Giulio was  s t i l l incarcerated i n the  'forgotten  tower' where Angela had by chance seen him imprisoned, and hi3 there, too, was  almost forgotten.  of i t , though she was few days now  existence  Even the clever Lucrezia knew nothing  accustomed, for the good of her soul, to spend a  and then i n the convent of the nuns at K l a r i s s a , and  Angela always accompanied her, for she l i k e d the ministrations of the good Father Mamette, who  was also Don  Giulio's 'Beichtvater.'  Though Don Giulio was apparently were many people interested i n him. who  forgotten, yet  there  F i r s t there was his f r i e n d , Ariosto,  devoted one of the Cantos of h i s ORLANDO FURIOSO to his b l i n d f r i e n d .  And one day appeared the ancient M i r a b i l i , an o l d teacher of the Duke and Don G i u l i o , who  was  f i l l e d with admiration  sophy, which taught men how  for the ancient stoic p h i l o -  to bear suffering with dignity and f o r t i t u d e .  With the Duke's permission he endeavoured to impart this love to Don  G i u l i o , 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 l e t the heavenly happiness enter h i s soul.  Even the  s e l f i s h indulgence i n h i s own g r i e f must he renounced if? possible.  We  are t o l d that "das Geheimnis des h e i l i g e n Franziskaners drang i n eine Tiefe seiner Lebensdtlrstigen Seele, die weder Ariost noch M i r a b 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 M i r a b i l i t r i e d to c a l l the Duke's attention to this the r e s u l t s were disastrous for G i u l i o , f o r h i s confinement was only made a l l the c l o s e r . 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 p r i c e , even with her included.  Angela despised  him, and would have nothing to do with h i s wooing, but he has never l o s t hope. We also get a glimpse into the soul of Lucrezia, and i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note the difference between her conversion,•••. i f such i t might be c a l l e d , and that of Don G i u l i o .  She thought she had  r e h a b i l i t a t e d herself with the world, and now t r i e d to make her peace with heaven.  Every few weeks, she spent some time with the nuns at  K l a r i s s a , doing penance.  Remembering her former crimes, she sought  r e c o n c i l i a t i o n with heaven by a l l the r i t e s and formulas of the church, though, as Meyer says:  1.  Angela Borgia  20E  141. "Nur der Verdamnis zu entgehen hoffte s i e , und mit H i l f e der k i r c h l i c h e n Bettungsmittel einen untersten Eaum des Pegefeuers au gewinnen. Einmal dort, so uberredete sich die Kluge i n liebenswtirdiger Torheit, wurde es i h r durch die Verraittelung der Heiligen gelingen, eine hflhere Stufe zu e r r e i c h e n . " 1  The chapter ends with a touching l i t t l e love story, i n which we learn that Don Giulio and Angela have been united i n 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 h i s chief happiness and that Father Mamette , i n 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 o f f i c e s with the Duke on t h e i r behalf. Cardinal, who  Then comes a l e t t e r from the  i s dying, and h i s remorse i s so great that he wishes  Don Giulio freed from h i s prison before he-dies. The l a s t scene, i n which the Duke i s reconciled to Don Giulio and the l a t t e r sentenced to perpetual banishment on h i s estate at P r a t e l l o with h i s wife Angela as guardian, brings the t a l e to a happy ending. When..the disappointed Count Contrario reproaches Don Giulio with selfishness, i n tying himself i n h i s 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 s e l i g im Geben und i c h imNehmen." 1. 2.  Angela Borgie Ibid  210 232  142. And thus a beautiful love-story comes to a close, with one of the few happy endings to be found i n Meyer's works.  It i s not  without significance that he ends h i s work i n a happy vein, when h i s own s p i r i t i s so soon to be plunged i n darkness, for shortly a f t e r this: he was seized with a return of the o l d malady, and t h i s time he never completely recovered. As the story of a conversion, i t has scarcely a peer i n a l l l i t e r a t u r e , for a l l the steps are c l e a r l y shown i n Don G i u l i o ' s progress 'from darkness to l i g h t ' , for only when h i s eyes were closed to the earthly l i g h t did f o r him'the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing i n h i s Wings.'  143. A DISCUSSION OF MEYER, THE ARTIST. (1) HIS TECHNIQUE AND STYLE Meyer's prose works are almost e n t i r e l y confined to one p a r t i c u l a r genre, the Novelle, or short-story, and to a r e s t r i c t e d part of that genre, the Novelle which treats of h i s t o r y .  The short story i s  a form of proserwriting which has developed within the l a s t hundred years, and has now become the form of s t o r y - t e l l i n g most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of our century.  Many great authors, such as Edgar Allan Poe i n America,  De Maupassant i n France, and K i p l i n g i n England, have given to the world short s t o r i e s of outstanding merit, but i t remains f o r Meyer alone to be preeminent i n the unique f i e l d of the short story i n which the scenes are l a i d i n a bygone age.  To do this sort of thing well i s a matter of  extreme d i f f i c u l t y , which perhaps gives the reason why have attempted  it.  so few authors  "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 l e i s t e n . "  But these very d i f f i c u l t i e s ,  - its  conciseness of form and omission of a l l irrevelant d e t a i l s - 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 h i s t o r i c 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  retir-  ing d i s p o s i t i o n , d i s i n c l i n e d to come to grips d i r e c t l y with l i f e ' s problems, and feared a harsh judgment as one fears a blow, so to avoid  144.  d i r e c t c r i t i c i s m , h i s characters, though e n t i r e l y modern i n t h e i r reactions to l i f e , are viewed by him through .the medium of h i s t o r y , and the s e t t i n g i s that of a bygone age. Only i n JENATSCH does the author depart from the Novelleform.  In t h i s novel he deals with a whole period of Swiss h i s t o r y , and  i t may be c a l l e d the Swiss epic of the reformation and the t h i r t y - y e a r s ' war.  I t 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 f a c t that Meyer did not repeat i t s u c c e s s f u l l y shows us that only i n the shorter Novelle-form d i d he f i n d h i s true metier.  In h i s l a s t s t o r y , ANGELA BORGIA, he goes back  again to the methods used i n JENATSCH and makes h i s story cover a period of years, but, as we have seen, t h i s story shows many signs of advanci n g age.  I t i s the l e a s t perfect of them a l l . One reason f o r the p e r f e c t i o n of Meyer's Novellen was  frequent use which he made of the "Rahmenezlihlung" story.  the  or story w i t h i n a  I t was just another device of the shy, r e t i r i n g author, who must  speak to the p u b l i c , not through h i s own, but through another man's voice.  Of h i s ten Novellen f i v e make use of t h i s form of n a r r a t i v e ,  and these are among the very best of h i s works.  Even i n the s t o r i e s  d i r e c t l y narrated there i s a tendency to employ, i n p a r t , t h i s device. Herr Waser's n a r r a t i v e 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 t h i n g .  The tendency to use the Rahmenerzahlung was  becoming so strong that i t was g e t t i n g 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 i n direct narrative also.  As a rule, though  his stories i n direct narrative are not h i s best work.  His nature r e -  quired, before he could work at a l l , a'go-between' between himself and his readers, which i s supplied by p l a c i n g a long period of years and another personality between himself and his public. In an interesting l e t t e r to Betty P a o l i of A p r i l 19th 1880, he himself gives some of h i s reasons f o r using the ""Rahmenerahlung".  Speaking of DER HEILIGE  he says: "Ein i d y l l i s c h e r Rahmen fur eine harte und grausame Geschichte. 2. Energische Angabe des Kostums durch ein lebendiges Stuck M i t t e l a l t e r , i c h 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 Hauptsache, Beglaubigung durch einen Augenzeugen des r e i n aus meinem Gemute gehobenen i n der Wirklichkeit schwer ein Analogen findenden Charakters des Heiligen."^There i s no doubt that t h i s form of narrative gives a stronger a i r 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. M r sie i s t das ErzShlte e i n Damals, fttr Meyer eine Heute oder Gestern. Durch das M i t t e l des vorgeschobenen ErzShlers wird die Geschichte also gerade v i e l unraittelbarer. Perner ermiJglicht die Einftlhrung der Augen und Ohrenzeugen es dem Dichter die Ereignisse, wie i s tiberall sein ktinstlerisches Bestreben, i n das Gebiet der Sicht-und-Hb*rbarkeit zu ttbertragen. " 2  His use of the RohmenerzShlung was,  1. 2.  Maync Ibid  183 184  therefore, conscious and deliberate.  146. Another S t r i k i n g fact i s the marked improvement i n the author's technique between the f i r s t of these 'Rahmenerzahlungen' and the l a s t .  In the f i r s t story of t h i s sort, DAS AMULETT, a simple o l d  man t e l l s a narrative of what has happened to him i n h i s youth, and no attempt i s made to draw h i s character or make of him a l i v i n g personality.  Any character-drawing there i s i s found i n the inner story.  This i s the very simplest form of the Rahmenerzaliung. In DER HEILIGE the honest peasant-like character of Hans, the bowman, i s drawn very c l e a r l y and artistically:/! and no.t only that of Hans, but that of Canon Burkhardt as well.  We seem to be s i t t i n g with both of them  beside the f i r e on the dark winter afternoon i n December, l i s t e n i n g to Hans t e l l h i s t a l e .  Here, also, we have the f i r s t example of the  interweaving of the two t a l e s , f o r every once i n a while the old Canon interrupts to ask a question or make some remark.  The PLAUTUS gives us  i n Poggio an excellent p o r t r a i t 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 d i Medici's table, and share i n the witty and cynical tion.  conversa-  In DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEN there i s not only an excellent por-  trayal of FagQn, the narrator, but also of the great Sun-king himself, and of h i s f a v o r i t e , Madame de Maintenon.  3oth of them interrupt Fagon  as he t e l l s the story, and sometimes the conversation forms a most i n t e r e s t i n g dialogue. But the l a s t and greatest o f a l l these delineations i s that of  Dante i n DIE HOCHZEIT DES MONCHES, which i s one of the best examples  of the RahmenerzHhlung to be found i n a l l l i t e r a t u r e .  Here the two  147. stories are so s k i l f u l l y interwoven, that the characters i n both have the same names and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and frequently Dante i s interrupted i n his narrative by some pertinent remark, or some s i g n i f i c a n t dialogue.  Here  i s a r t i s t r y at i t s very highest point. Perhaps the f i e l d i n which Meyer reveals himself most c l e a r l y as a great a r t i s t i s i n h i s power of characterization.  In h i s 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 h i s t o r i c 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 d e t a i l which sloHoartc make them stand out before almost our eyes/as v i v i d l y  as i f they had been carved by a sculptor.  It i s  t h i s 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 h i s plays, and drew many a great character, h i s t o r i c 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, i n h i s own limited  field,  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 h i s men.  The exceptions are Stemma, Gustel Leubelfing, and Lucrezia Borgia.  The l a t t e r i s a p a r t i c u l a r l y clever piece of character-drawing, both as to facts of h i s t o r y and to l i f e . drawn.  true  None of h i s men are better  Stemma i s perhaps less well done, but she i s a great heroic  figure none the l e s s , - a strong- soul who would not y i e l d to weakness,  148. even though a s s a i l e d hy the pangs of a g u i l t y conscience.  Gustel, the  page, i s a d e l i g h t f u l creation, such as Meyer must have loved to depict, for she represents h i s favorite type of womanhood, having a l l the q u a l i t i e s which he himself lacked.  His other women characters have nothing  about them to make them especially outstanding, even-'.in the case of h i s t o r i c figures l i k e Lucretia Planta, V i c t o r i a Colonna, or Angela Borgia. Rahel, Gertrude and Diana are types of good honest German g i r l s  illus-  t r a t i n g the German virtues of e f f i c i e n c y and l o y a l t y , while Antiope i s the more sensational romantic heroine.  Gasparde i s the most c o l o r l e s s  of a l l . Coming next to the great h i s t o r i c characters, we find that almost without exception Meyer uses one p a r t i c u l a r method to make them stand out, and that i s the method of contrast, the graphic portrayal of one s t r i k i n g character set over against another and quite d i f f e r e n t For example, there i s i n DAS opposed to the wily  one.  AMULETT the great Protestant hero Coligny  Catholic, Catherine de Medici.  A Jenatsch i s opposed  to a Rohan, a Becket to a Henry I I , a Pescara to a Moncada, a Gustavus Adolphus to a Wallenstein.  In these character delineations, Meyer does  not think h i s t o r i c a l accuracy of d e t a i l too important when he wants a particular effect. l i f e , without  He adds to or subtracts a few years from a man's  regard to the t r u t h of h i s t o r y , and makes events take  place i n rapid succession which are r e a l l y years apart.  He i d e a l i z e s  such characters as Jenatsch, Gustavus Adolphus, Pescara and Don  Giulio  and i s rather too severe with others, but i n the end he secures the effect which he desires, and we seem to be l i v i n g i n the age which he i s describing.  149.  Among the most i n t e r e s t i n g of h i s h i s t o r i c characters are the three authors, Montaigne, Ariosto and Dante.  His Montaigne i s  quite l i k e what we know of the h i s t o r i c 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 l e t 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 f r i e n d , C h a t i l l o n , i s not h i s t o r i c but quite probable, for he often made t r i p s to Paris.  The author makes  of Ariosto, the friend o f Don G i u l i o , i n ANGELA BORGIA a most  sympathetic  and t r u l y admirable figure, such as we have no reason to doubt the real Ariosto was, while we have already mentioned more than once how outstanding was his characterization of the great poet, Dante.  There i s  also another I t a l i a n poet, whom Meyer mentions, but whom we do not meet. This i s the venal Pietro Aretino i n Pescara, to whom Meyer, characterizing in  him with h i s t o r i c ascuracy, gave the task of spreading propaganda Italy. Of h i s non-historic characters there are several extremely  i n t e r e s t i n g , 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 i s one more point to bring out, and that i s the s k i l l with which he seizes on some salient c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f a well-known h i s t o r i c hero and makes i t stand out i n h i s story.  Those who have read c l o s e l y  the l i f e of Louis XIV w i l l remember his fondness f o r open windows and fresh a i r , 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 h i s l e t t e r to Alcuin to he read for him, f o r i t i s a matter of h i s t o r i c fact that he never learned to read.  Meyer makes the tyrant  E z z o l i n , on more than one occasion, close the eyes of the dead, thus forecasting h i s future c r u e l t y .  The h i s t o r i c 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 h i s g i f t to the Swiss soldier who had given him h i s wound at Pavia.  In the same  story the h i s t o r i c eloquence of the Chancellor Morone i s brought out by Meyer with t e l l i n g e f f e c t . Closely a l l i e d to this use of contrast i s Meyer's fondness for using antithesis i n h i s p l o t s .  In the PLAUTUS, f o r example, the  l o y a l t y and simple r e l i g i o u s 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 r i v a l r y of  the two women, Diana and Antiope, i s one of the main forces leading to the tragedy, while i n the PESCARA the representatives of the two opposing powers, Spain and I t a l y , are brought into strong contrast, as they sue f o r the soul of the hero.  ANGELA BORGIA i s the very a n t i t h e s i s of  Lucrezia i n 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 d i f f e r e n t from the passion of S t r o z z i , which brings about h i s 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 l a s t , to write stories that were so symmetrical i n form as to he  almost l i k 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 i n almost the same r e l a t i v e distances from the beginning and the end of the story, and the climax appears exactly i n the middle. This use of symmetrical construction was a habit which grew upon Meyer, as most of h i s e a r l i e r works show very l i t t l e trace of i t , though we have the  three scenes of 'warning  in each of the three parts.  1  i n Jenatsch, one of these scenes occurring To use t h i s 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 construction 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 beginning,  without s u f f i c i e n t l y motivating t h e i r appearance.  However, when he  gets to the Pescara, we have one of the most unique examples i n a l l l i t e r a t u r e of perfect symmetrical construction, but, as most of these examples have been mentioned i n d e t a i l , 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 c h a r a c t e r i s t i c phase of Meyer's a r t i s t i c nature.  A closely related aspect was h i s  urge to translate everything into the realms of sight and hearing. One cannot but be struck by the great use of dialogue he makes i n h i s s t o r i e s , and also by his fondness for s t r i k i n g tableaus.  One who did  152. not know i t already could e a s i l y i n f e r from his stories that he had studied art i n his youth.  And these exquisite word-pictures usually come at  some dramatic moment, at some climax i n the story, and forever f i x i t i n the memory.  For example, i n DAS  AMULET' we have an unforgettable picture  of Catherine d i Medicii and her two sons standing on the balcony  overlook-  ing the Seine, waiting for the signal which i s to start the massacre of St. Bartholomew.  Or we have the picture of Becket prostrated with g r i e f  before the tomb of h i s murdered c h i l d , or the sun shining through the church window on the dead Gustavus Adolphus, and sparing a ray f o r the page l y i n g at h i s feet, or Jenatsch i n the l i g h t of h i s burning home s t r i d i n g forward with a face stony with g r i e f , and bearing i n h i s arms the body of h i s murdered wife.  Eaample a f t e r example could be given,  for the Novellen are f u l l of them. In Part 11 our attention has been c a l l e d 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 i s k i l l e d before  the statue of Jus'titia, symbolizing that he has died j u s t l y 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 d i v i s i o n of h i s kingdom.  Meyer  i s p a r t i c u l a r l y fond of symbolic pictures, such as the ' S a c r i f i c e of Isaac' i n Gustav Adolph's Page, or Pescara and V i c t o r i a playing chess, or the Roman murdress, T u l l i a , under whose picture i s 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 i s meant by Meyer's "symbolism."  153. One of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which must strike a l l readers of Meyer's stories i s h i s extreme conciseness, and t h i s alone contributes not a l i t t l e to the a r t i s t r y of h i s work, as w i l l be seen when we compare the length of h i s h i s t o r i c a l Novellen to the appalling length of many contemporary German writers of h i s t o r i c a l romances, - some of those of Laube or Gutzkow, f o r example, running to as many as nine volumes f o r one story.  It was p r e c i s e l y this necessity of his for conciseness which  led Meyer to choose the Novelle f o r h i s 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 i n the realm of poetry.  It demands of  necessity that i t be b u i l t around some main incident toward which everything 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 knowledge which even the very best educated persons do not always possess. Meyer makes the same error, i f error i t can be c a l l e d .  He often expects  h i s readers to be f a m i l i a r with various obscure points i n early Swiss history, or i n the history of the I t a l i a n renaissance, f o r example,-a f a m i l i a r i t y which, as a matter of f a c t , even professional historians  154. do not always posses, unless they have read widely i n that p a r t i c u l a r field.  So i n reading Meyer's works a good glossary or commentary on the  text i s almost a necessity, otherwise the ordinary reader i s 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, l i k e those of Gottfried K e l l e r , but must depend for their c l i e n t e l e 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 t h e i r chief charms, f o r , after the hard outer s h e l l of the nut has been eitacked, the inside kernel i s so very worth while. His works are l i k e a gold mine where the gold i s so buried i n the rock that i t i s a d i f f i c u l t and expensive job to smelt i t , but a f t e r the hard work i s 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 i n reading Meyer i s a p e c u l i a r i t y of style which he shares with many other German writers, but which i s used by him so frequently as to be almost a mannerism.  This i s his habit of using long p a r t i c i p i a l phrases to modify h i s  nouns, instead of using an adjective, or a q u a l i f y i n g phrase or clause as an English author would do.  One can pick up any one of h i s prose-works  at random and find examples of t h i s on almost every page;  f o r example:  "Der Herzog hatte seine Blicke v o l l e r Gttte auf die schweigend und bescheiden vor ihm stehende Biindnerin gerichtet." (Jenatsch). der Ebene gellende Peldmusik und die ttberall marchierenden verrieten ihm den Beginn des Feldzuges." (Pescara). Stadtmauern zugewendeten 6'ffnung.' (Der H e i l i g e ) .  "Die auf  Truppen  "der f i n s t e r n  Apart from t h i s  155. almost excessive condensation,  Meyer's style i s usually quite c l e a r and  direct. We nave already called attention i n Part 11 to the fondness for emphasizing the 'Leitmotiv* of his story i n every able way.  author's conceiv-  His tales are almost l i k e Wagnerian dramas i n t h i s respect.  Numerous examples have already been given, but we w i l l add a few for illustration.  The tragic fate of Hilda i n DER  HEIL1GE i s a forecast  of the tragedy which i s l a t e r to happen to Grace.  The hatred of Bertram  de Born for Henry i s another v a r i a t i o n of the same f e e l i n g i n the soul of Becket.  In DIE RICHTERIN we have Paustine's remorse, and that of  Wulfrin when he finds out h i s s i n f u l love for one whom he supposes to be his s i s t e r .  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 i s 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 t h i s device i s p a r t i c u -  l a r l y noticeable, i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note how treachery are touched upon:  many various forms of  the treachery of Del Quasto to J u l i a , 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 h i s emperor.  This desire to emphasize the main theme of h i s s t o r i e s i n so  many pointed ways i s one of Meyer's very unique c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . It i s interesting to note the part which descriptions of natural scenery play i n h i s works.  Por him they are never an end i n them-  156. selves, but are only used as a harmonising background f o r some human situation.  They are never merely decorative, and do not occur too often,  but when they do occur they are always v i v i d l y given, and serve to emphasize or to harmonize with some deep human emotion.  His l i t t l e touches i n  describing nature i n her more cheerful moods are usually wonderfully happy, p a r t i c u l a r l y when he i s describing h i s native Swiss scenery.  Por  example, note how he appeals both to ear and eye i n this description of Zurich Lake on a lovely sunny Sunday morning.  The quotation i s from  DER SCHUSZ VON DSR KANZEL:" Es war e i n himmlischer, innig blauer Tag, und das nun halb verwehte und vollhallende Gelfiute a l l e r  Seeglocken  drang i n 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 h i s f u t i l e meeting with Becket i n France, a cold autumn wind drives snow flakes towards him across the grey heath. In DIE RICHTERIN which i s p a r t i c u l a r l y f u l l of t h i s natural symbolism, we f i n d Wulfrin, a f t e r he finds that he i s s i n f u l l y i n love with Palma, struggling with a f e a r f u l storm of wind and r a i n as he makes h i s way homeward, the storm i n nature harmonizing with the storm i n h i s heart. In ANGELA BORGIA the blinding of Don Giulio takes place just before a dreadful thunder storm.  Even i n h i s l y r i c a l poetry Meyer usually makes  no attempt to describe nature as an end i n i t s e l f , but always gives i t some connection with man and his f e e l i n g s . rather subtle, but i t i s usually there. lyric:  The connection i s sometimes  Take, for example, the well-known  157. Ewig jung i a t 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 i n 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'HerdgetSnEwig 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 g r i e f of a human soul, who has returned to the scenes  of c h i l d -  hood only to f i n d that everything hut the sun has changed. The essential a r t i s t r y of Meyer's nature i s shown again i n his choice of words.  His language i s always chaste and restrained, the  words c a r e f u l l y chosen, hut without a f f e c t a t i o n .  He i s never r h e t o r i -  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 i n the end h i s work has the p o l i s h and f i n i s h of a beautiful piece of sculpture. The l a s t thing we w i l l mention i n connection with Meyer's style i s his passion for dramatic e f f e c t s .  We hava already noted how  some of his stories have a l l the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the stage drama, being divided by chapters into acts, and having an exposition, ascending action, climax, descending action and f i n a l catastrophe, just as i n a drama.  In fact he actually wrote dramas, but soon found that what was  not h i s f i e l d .  The question i s often asked why Meyer did not succeed  as a dramatist when h i s Novellen were so nearly l i k e dramas.  1.  Meyer's Gedichte  83  Linden  158.  has attempted to answer this question, and h i s answer i s 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 a l l e diese Merkmale zeigt, i n dramatischer F o r m zu gestalten. Er, der nach Gestalt und A l l s e i t i g k e i t 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 nacherlehen, Vergangenheit, ruhige Darstellung, es i s t P l a s t i k , Anschaulichkeit, Objektivitat, es i s t Verso*hnung und K l a r h e i t . Goethe hat den Unterschied gegenuber S c h i l l e r dahin formuliert, 'dasz der Epiker die Begehenheit a l s vollkommen vergangen vortrflgt und der Dramatiker sie als volkommen gegenwSrtig d a r s t e l l t . 'Fur Meyer g i l t weder eines noch das andere a u s s c h l i e s z l i c h , er giht die Gegenwart im Kleide der Vergangenheit, dramatischen Gestalt i n epischer Form. Auch hier zeigt sich seine Doppelnatur: wie er i n 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 p l a s t i s c h zu gestalten und episch einzukleiden."1 In short the author's own remarks about h i s work are quite j u s t i f i e d "Ich habe den S t i l der groszen Trago*die i n die h i s t o r i s c h e Novelle eingefuhrt." 2  1. 2.  Linden List  152 102  159. (11)  MEYER'S USE OF HISTORY  One of the things that s t r i k e s us a f t e r a reading of Meyer's h i s t o r i c a l t a l e s i s t h e i r d i f f e r e n c e to any other type of h i s t o r i c a l t a l e with which we are f a m i l i a r .  What c o n s t i t u t e s t h i s d i f f e r e n c e ?  Why are  they so u n l i k e the great f l o o d of h i s t o r i c a l writing's of the XIX. century  7 whether of E n g l i s h , French, or German o r i g i n . It i s not e n t i r e l y due to the f a c t that these are, f o r the most part long e p i c a l romances, covering great periods of time, and cont a i n i n g many h i s t o r i c a l i n c i d e n t s , while Meyer uses the short-story form, which elaborates one main i n c i d e n t . There i s h i s JURG JENATSCH and h i s ANGELA BORGIA, both t r e a t i n g of periods of time extending over many years. D»;R HEILIGE and the PESCARA are also quite long f o r 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 d i f f e r e n c e 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 h i s t o r y i s a c h r o n i c l e of events that have taken place i n the past.  I t 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, t h e r e f o r e , would be a s t o r y about people who l i v e d i n the past. h i s t o r y and psychology,  I t i s a new form of a r t , a welding of  just as a piece of poetry and a piece of music  can be welded together to form a song, which i s quite d i f f e r e n t from e i t h e r 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 r e s u 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 a r t , i t follows that there may he two kinds of h i s t o r i c a l novels, thoae i n which the h i s t o r i c a l element receives the most attention, and those i n which the psychology i s emphasized, the h i s t o r i c a l serving merely as a background.  The chief c h a r a c t e r i s t i c 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 h i s t o r i c a l side„ In the l a s t few years there have been a great many so-called h i s t o r i c a l novels written, but i n very many of these the author has obviously 'worked up' a period, merely t r y i n g to avoid g l a r i n g anachronisms. Kis characters are nothing but l a y - f i g u r e s , draped with the trappings of t h e i r age.  Such works are not true h i s t o r i c a l novels.  author must steep himself i n the s p i r i t of the age.  To write these the  B u t t e r f i e l d says.:  "In the true h i s t o r i c a l novel the writer has learned to f e e l at home i n the age with which he i s dealing. Such a novel comes out of the world of the past that exists i n the writer's mind. The h i s t o r y that i t embodies w i l l be true or inaccurate according as the man has, throughout h i s l i f e , b u i l t up that world i n his mind on true foundations, but, i n any case, that h i s t o r y w i l l come spontaneously; and here the h i s t o r i c a l novelist i s not a novelist working under l i m i t a t i o n s , but one who has captures new f i e l d s of experience and of circumstance, and has conquered a new world for art."^And he  speaking of that intangible thing c a l l e d 'atmosphere'  says: "The h i s t o r i c a l n o v e l i s t does not merely acquire information about the past, but absorbs i t into h i s mind. Atmosphere comes out i n h i s 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 p e c u l i a r l y romantic and colored world l i k e that of Renaissance I t a l y , and Dumas i s r e a l l y himself when  1.  Butterfield  31  161. his books are i n an atmosphere of court intrigue and racy adventure, and Scott i s a king i n his kingdom, when he i s i n the peasant world of Scotland, or ?/hen he i s concerned with those covenanting days of which he wrote 'I am complete master of the whole history of those strange times.' These writers breathe i n 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 i n 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 i s not t h i s that d i f f e r e n t i a t e s him from Scott, for example.  It i s that Scott emphasizes the history  rather than the struggle i n 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 r e a l l y drew very well, his characters are mostly conventional  types.  His upper c l a s s characters,  such as Waverley, for instance, are r e a l l y 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 h i s t o r i c digressions, which we now find rather tiresome, and which are nowhere found i n Meyer, except perhaps to a small degree i n 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 d e t a i l wonderful descriptions of f o l k and land with a r i c h panaramic background. Coming to other novels of the sort, we f i n d the same thing is true to a greater or less extent.  THE CLOISTER AND THE HEARTH, for  example, i s merely a series of adventures whose only claim to unity i s  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 l o y a l t i e s , and that i t might centre around a great psychological c o n f l i c t , hut no attempt i s made at of the kind.  anything  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 i s true of Dickens' two h i s t o r i c a l  novels,  though the TALE OP TV/0 CITIES i s much better written than BABNABY BUDGE. One might argue that George E l i o t ' s ROMOLA was  a psychological novel,  since i t represents the degeneration of the soul of Tito Melema, but as a h i s t o r i c a l novel i t i s a f a i l u r e .  The period i s too  obviously  •worked up' and Tito could just as well have been a conventional class gentleman of George E l i o t ' s own  middle-  acquaintance.  Dumas i s a wonderful s t o r y t e l l e r , and i n 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 h i s t o r i a n can separate them, and  there i s something happening a l l the time. attempt at psychological analysis.  But there i s absolutely no  Even Hugo, the great French master  of the h i s t o r i c a l novel, f a l l s far behind Meyer i n t h i s respect.  He  has  created some great characters, but he i s 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 i n  the h i s t o r i c period, which he has chosen, and i n dramatic i n t e r e s t , but they have not the psychological appeal that we f i n d i n the greatest of Meyer's novels. Coming to the German writers of h i s t o r i c a l t a l e s , bald Alexis, who  Willi-  wrote stories about the early days of Brandenburg and  163.  Prussia so thoroughly modelled h i s work on that of S i r Walter Scott that his works are open to the same c r i t i c i s m .  One  of the most celetrated of  German h i s t o r i c a l romances i s von Scheffel's Ekkehardt. h i s t o r i c monk who,  The hero i s the  i n the monastery of St. Gall i n the early years of the  thirteenth century wrote the Waltharilied.  In a rather long story the  author gives a bright and v i v i d picture of the time, but of characterdrawing, such as we f i n d i n Meyer, there i s not a trace.  Two  other German  i h i s t o r i c a l writers, Ebers and Dahn, the one a writer of romances of ancient Egypt and the other of the times of the Ostragoths i n I t a l y , were rather famous some years ago, even outside of Germany. highly sentimentalized  stories were long and prosy, the characters  largely as lay figures about which was cal material, and now  But t h e i r usually serving  draped s e m i - s c i e n t i f i c archeologi-  that modern research has proved much of the history  and archeology wrong, they are f o r the most part d i s c r e d i t e d . Therefore, as psychological character studies with a h i s t o r i c background, we must admit that the works of Meyer are outstanding.  The only one who  can r i v a l him i n t h i s respect i s Shakespeare i n his  h i s t o r i c tragedies. But Meyer did not win this unique place i n l i t e r a t u r e 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 h i s father before him.  He was  steeped  i n h i s t o r i c a l atmosphere, and some of h i s best f r i e n d s , Vulliemin, for example, were h i s t o r i a n s .  His translations, too, from French to German,  and from German to French, had been c h i e f l y i n the f i e l d of h i s t o r y which treated p r i n c i p a l l y of that renaissance-period,  which he was  to make so  164. p e c u l i a r l y h i s own. He spared no pains, moreover, to get l o c a l coloring, and most of h i s geographical descriptions he got at f i r s t hand.  We have seen  how, when preparing to write JURG JENATSCH he had during h i s holiday t r i p s made repeated v i s i t s to a l l the scenes of h i s story i n the Swiss Canton of Dreihunden.  Many of h i s stories have the Swiss landscape, with which  he was so f a m i l i a r -for example, DER SCHUSZ VON DER KANZEL, DIE RICHTERIN, and -PLAUTUS IM NONNENKLOSTER.  The scenes of DAS AMULETT and DIE LEIDEN  EINES KNABEN are l a i d i n Paris, where the author had spent seveiaL of h i s l i f e , and the scene of GUSTAV ADOLPHS which was also f a m i l i a r to him.  months  PAGE was l a i d i n Germany,  The places i n I t a l y , mentioned i n h i s  stories of the I t a l i a n Renaissance, had also been v i s i t e d hy him more than once during his sojourns i n Italy. the  The only exception i s DER HEILIGE,  scene of which i s l a i d i n England, and we know that Meyer had never  v i s i t e d England.  However, the framework part i s located i n h i s own  native Zurich, and as f o r 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 i n Europe. In studying Meyer's proseworks, i t i s interesting to f i n d out  just what were his sources, and what use he made of them.  does he s l a v i s h l y follow the facts of history. his  In no case  As we have pointed out,  interests were psychological rather than h i s t o r i c a l and he took f u l l  advantage of h i s p r i v i l e g e as a novelist to invent characters and change dates and mould the facts of history to suit his own purposes, without  165. however l o s i n g that intangible thing c a l l e d 'atmosphere' which makes h i s work h i s t o r i c i n the truest sense. To quote B u t t e r f i e l d again with reference to 'atmosphere' as applied to a h i s t o r i c a l novel, "For the novelist therefore i t i s 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 p a r t i c u l a r path i n that world, and to track down a p a r t i c u l a r course of public events. It i s more important for him to breathe the s p i r i t of a bygone age, and make his book the s t u f f of i t s mind, and recapture i t s turns of thought, i t s fund of f e e l i n g , and a l l i t s waywardness, than to chronicle events with precision, and keep t i g h t to big p o l i t i c a l happenings.. The supreme thing for him i s 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 a c t u a l l y 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 worldl i f e i n one of i t s moods. He enumerates, describes, comments, -perhaps; but the r e a l secret of h i s art i s that i n 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 i s as s p i r i t to the body; so that while he i s describing or r e f l e c t i n g or narrating, the age i t s e l f seems to conspire with him, and presents i t s e l f i n i t s 'atmosphere'.^ This describes exactly what Meyer has done. He was, as has been said, more concerned with the i n d i v i d ual  and his personal problems than with the events of h i s t o r y .  nature was  His own  subjective rather than objective, and he was supremely  ested i n psychological problems.  inter-  The extreme sensitiveness of h i s nature,  however, l e d him to place a screen between h i s characters and the public, and he chose the screen of history.  He had to l i v e withdrawn from public  gaze before he could do any. work at a l l .  This h i s t o r i c background,  though so necessary for him, had only a secondary importance, i n spite 1.  Butterfield  96  166. of the fact that, i n 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 i n each case, and f i n a l l y decided on the present settings because they seemed more suited to the characters he had i n mind; c l e a r l y project his problems.  against them he could most  He uses the h i s t o r i c s e t t i n g merely as a  suitable stage on.which his characters perform. Let  us take his tales one by one, and consider them i n  their h i s t o r i c a l setting.  The f i r s t one DAS AMULETT, i s the only one of  Meyer's stories i n which the happenings of history may be said to have more value than the character-study, and i n t h i s he betrays h i s apprentice hand, f o r the t a l e , e s p e c i a l l y at the beginning.,, i s overladen with h i s t o r i c details.  A good part of the work i s taken from Prosper Merimee's  CH30NIQUE DU REGNE DE CHARLES IX. lation.  Some of i t seems almost l i k e a trans-  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 d i s i l l u s i o n e d sceptic of Merimee's story.  There i s a similar love story i n both, though Meyer's  handling of i t i s rather weak, and i n both the amulet-motif appears, the hero i n each f i g h t i n g a duel, and each one having his l i f e saved by the interposition of an amulet. Meyer introduces some other d e t a i l s , though, which show that his story i s not merely a b l i n d imitation of h i s French model.  He  makes his hero, or rather h i s two heroes, Germans from Switzerland. Schadau has many of Meyer's own c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and Boccard, h i s Catholic f r i e n d ,  167. has many t r a i t s i n common with h i s own boyhood f r i e n d , Nuscheler, who also t r i e d , unsuccessfully, to convert him to Catholicism.  The fencing  master of the story has h i s counter part i n a fencing master who had taught Meyer i n h i s youth.  According to Maync, even Gasparde had her  counterpart i n C l e l i a Weidman, a young g i r l who had refused the offer of Meyer's hand just before he went to P a r i s . We have already given i n part II the h i s t o r i c ,  setting of  the JTJRG JENATSCH story, as that was necessary to understand the narrative. His main sources were the works of the Swiss h i s t o r i a n 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 l a s t two. He deviates from the main factw of h i s t o r y only i n some minor points, though he g l o r i f i e s the character of Jenatsch, just ad S c h i l l e r d i d that of Wallenstein.  As he said himself, h i s chief problem  here was to make a hero out of a r a s c a l .  Jttrg's wife's name was Anna,  and not Lucia, as given i n the story, and she was not murdered, but escaped with her husband when the Protestants were massacred.  The l o v e -  story between Jenatsch and L u c r e t i a Planta i s e n t i r e l y 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 i s  legendary, though the s k i l l f u l way i n which the author turns t h i s , not to an act of vengeance, but to an act of love, i s very c l e v e r l y done.  168. The character of Lucas, Lucrezia's servant, of Augostino, Lucia's, half-witted brother, of the good p r i e s t , Father Pankrazl, of the Venetian Grimani, and some others are e n t i r e l y 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 i n none of h i s works has the author followed history more c l o s e l y than i n t h i s .  It i s no doubt because of i t s f i d e l i t y  both  to h i s t o r i c a l and psychological truth that t h i s i s one of the greatest h i s t o r i c a l novels ever written. DSR SCHUSZ VON DER KANZEL cannot be ranked among the h i s t o r i c a l Novellen .  The only h i s t o r i c character i s that of General  Wertmfiller, the hero, who  had appeared as Duke Rohan's secretary i n  Jenatsch, to which book this i s then a sort of sequel. Wertmtiller's adventures after the death of Jenatsch. i n the t h i r t y years' war,  It c a r r i e s on He actually fought  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 i s supposed to  happen just before he set out on the campaign again3t the Turks, which was  to be h i s l a s t . In t h i s story the chief interest centres i n the charac-  ters, and Meyer has merely given them a c o l o r f u l background.  seventeenth-century  It i s an excellent example of a true Novelle, depending for  i t s main interest on a single extraordinary happening, and shows Meyer now  master of h i s c r a f t .  It i s 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 i n the Pope Clement of the Pescara, but i t seems to me that the h e s i t a t i n g , r e t i r i n g , and rather passive but thoroughly upright  169. character of the young theological student, Pfannenstiel, i s i n many respects l i k e h i s own,  and the b e a u t i f u l , e f f i c i e n t and housewifely  Eahel could have been drawn from no other model than h i s own wife.  The  story was written shortly a f t e r his happy marriage, when he had begun to r e a l i z e 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 e a r l i e r i n h i s l i f e .  He accepts the story from Thierry of  the Saracen o r i g i n of Becket, though we know now Norman.  that he was r e a l l y a  Meyer also takes l i b e r t i e s with history i n several other ways.  The r e a l Becket was f i f t e e n years older than Henry, who  was only t h i r t y  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. also makes the king's sons much older than they r e a l l y were, the  He  youngest,  John, not being born when the quarrel began, and he and not Richard was favorite of h i s father.  the  In h i s 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, e n t i r e l y 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 i s possible here that Meyer had i n mind the legend  of the f a i r Rosamond, the king's paramour, whom he kept i n 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 i n i t of the canonization of fhe Holy St. Thomas i n the Zurich cathedral gives a d e l i g h t f u l h i t of the atmosphere of the middle ages i n Meyer's own home town and i s h i s t o r i c a l l y accurate, for Becket was  canonized hy  the church on the date given. A l l the h i s t o r i c characters are quite true to l i f e . Henry was  r e a l l y an able king, who  had the welfare of his people at  heart, and he was' perfectly i n the right i n h i s quarrel with the church. Meyer, therefore, had no d i f f i c u l t y i n making him a rather sympathetic character, i n spite of his many f a u l t s .  The limelight of the story,  thoughts r e a l l y thrown upon Becket, and i t i s the struggle which takes place i n his soul which i s the r e a l subject of the story.  As i n Meyer's  other Novellen the history merely forms a background. The  story of PIlAUTUS IM NOMEEKLOSTER i s dated d e f i n i t e l y  by the meeting of the h i s t o r i c Council of Constance, (1414-1418). Poggio who  t e l l s the story was  a real personage, there being a celebrated  Florentine humanist c a l l e d Poggio B r a c c i o l i n i , who c a l l e d the FACETIAE, and who old manuscripts.  The  wrote a b r i l l i a n t book  was also celebrated as an ardent c o l l e c t o r of  In fact, i t was a copy of Q u i n t i l i a n that the r e a l Poggio  discovered i n a nunnery, but Meyer s l i g h t l y changes h i s t o r y here, because the stories of the comic L a t i n writer, Plautus, were somewhat similar to the episode i n which Poggio f i g u r e s .  Casimo d i Medici, at whose table  the story i s t o l d , i s also a well-known h i s t o r i c character, being one  of  171. the r u l e r s of Florence at that time and noted for h i s patronage of a r t . The  story gives the true renaissance  atmosphere of l e v i t y and clever  cynicism. The story told by Poggio i s e n t i r e l y imaginary, there being no such persons as the novice, Gertrude, or the abbess, B r i g i t a . They are merely used by the Protestant Meyer as examples to show the fundamental honesty at the heart of the German people, which was a f t e r wards to make the reformation  so successful i n Germany, and, i n the case  of B r i g i t a , to show the necessity' for a reform i n the church of that day. Here again the interest i s psychological rather than h i s 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 h i s own purposes.  He makes h i s  page a g i r l , though the r e a l page was a boy, August Leubelfing, who v o l u n t a r i l y became page to Gustavus Adolphus.  After being  severely  wounded at Lutzen, the battle i n which Gustavus Adolphus was k i l l e d , he died- at Haumberg several days l a t e r , and l i e s buried i n the "Wenzelkirche" there.  T r a d i t i o n has i t that he carried the dead king o f f the b a t t l e -  f i e l d on h i s horse, though severely wounded himself, and Meyer makes use of this i n his story.  It i s rather amusing to note that a descendant of  the Leubelfings objected to Meyer's use of h i s t o r y , stating that u n t i l the author could bring some proofs, he would consider the female sex of h i s great-great uncle a fantastic supposition,^" His main source of information about Gustavus Adolphus came from iugust F r i e d r i c h Gfporer's GUSTAV ADOLF K 5 N I G VON SCHWEDEN  1.  Deutsche Rundschau, Vol. XXXIV, January 1883.  172. TWD  SEINE ZEIT, (1837) and the author says himself that he kept t h i s 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 i n h i s story.  The character of  Gustavus Adolphus himself has also been i d e a l i z e d . There i s no h i s t o r i c a l foundation for the meeting of Gustavus Adolphus and Wallenstein, and i t i s highly improbable that they ever actually met.  The author took t h i s l i b e r t y with history i n order to  bring these two great leaders together and contrast them, as S c h i l l e r did with the queens i n MARIA STUART.  The whole interest again i s psycholo-  g i c a l rather than h i s t o r i c a l , and turns on the fact that the page i s a g i r l i n disguise.  It i s the struggle i n the soul of the g i r l which makes  the story. DIE LEIDEN EINES ENABEN i s based on the following few lines from Saint-Simon: "Peu de jours apres, i l a r r i v a 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 l a cour, lorsque Son pere l ' y presenta au r o i pour l e remercier de l a survivance du gouvernement general de Plandre, et p a r t i c u l i e r de L i l l e , q u ' i l l u i avait donnee. II retourna ensuite au college des Jesuites, ou. i l e t a i t 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 q u ' i l s ne craignaient et ne consideraient personne, et fouetterent l e p e t i t garqon, parce qu'en effet i l s n'avaient r i e n a. craindre du marechal de Boufflers; mais i l s se garderent bien d'en f a i r e autant auxdeux autres, quoique egalement coupables, s i cela peut appeler a i n s i , parce q u ' i l s avaient & compter tous l e s jpurs avec argenson, lieutenant de police t£es accredite, sur l e s l i v r e s , l e s jansenistes, et toutes sortes de choses et d'affaires qui leur ftmportaient beaucoup. Le p e t i t Boufflers, p l e i n de courage, et qui n'avait pas plus f a i t que l e s deux  173.  Argenson, et avec eux, fut s a i s i avec un t e l desespoir q u ' i l en tomba malade l e jour merae. On l e porta chez l e marechal, ou i l fut impossible de l e sauver. Le coeur e t a i t s a i s i , l e sang gate, l e pourpre parut, en quatre jours cela fut f i n i . On peut juger de l ' e t a t du pere et de l a mere. Le r o i , qui en fut touche. ne les l a i s s a n i demander n i attendre. II leur envoya temoigner l a part q u ' i l prenait a leur perte, par un gentilhomme ordinaire, et l e u r manda q u ' i l donnait l a meme sur-vivance au cadet, qui leur r e s t a i t . Pour l e s j e s u i t e s , l e c r i universel fut prodigieux, mais i l n'en fut autre chose. On such a slender thread has the author b u i l t h i s immortal story.  One w i l l notice that c e r t a i n incidents and characters have been  invented, as, for example, Marshall Bouffler's trouble with the J e s u i t s , invented by the author to eajplain their spite against him.  Also the  author makes Julian p e r f e c t l y innocent of the action for which he i s punished. boy.  Saint-Simon also says nothing about Julian being an ungifted  On the contrary, he i s described as quite promising, and as having  created a good impression at court, when he was presented while, according to Meyer, h i s shyness was turned away from him, and Mme  to the king,  so painful that the king  de Maintenon had to come to h i s rescue.  We are also told by Meyer, that Julian's own mother was ing to Saint-Simon she i s s t i l l l i v i n g .  dead, while  accord-  Mouton, a well-known animal painter  of the time, and h i s dog, have been brought i n by Meyer, also Mirabelle and Julian's chum Guntram, neither of whom are h i s t o r i c .  Meyer mentions  only one d'Argenson. We could have no better example of the author's way treating history.  of  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 i s p a r t i c u l a r l y good, because, as we have seen, Meyer went back to his own childhood experiences i n his creation of J u l i a n .  There  i s no e x c i t i n g action, and no p a r t i c u l a r p l o t , but i t makes the tragedy of one unhappy boy and with i t the age of Louis XIV stand out v i v i d l y before us, and i t ranks as one of Meyer's best works. In DIE HOCHZEIT DES MONCHES the chief h i s t o r i c a l  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 h i s exile from Florence at the court  of Can G-rande d e l l a Scala at Verona, and the author used this place as the setting of h i s story.  Can Grande i s the only h i s t o r i c a l character  i n the "frame", outside of Dante, while the tyrant, E z z o l i n , i s the only h i s t o r i c a l character i n the story told by Dante.  As Storm does i n  AQUIS SUBMERSIS, he takes a L a t i n 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  lies  e n t i r e l y i n 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 I t a l i a n Renaissance,  lived  and the l i f e  by them such as i s found i n few h i s t o r i e s of the period. The be-auty and luxury of the grandees of t h i s age i s mirrored i n the surroundings of Can Grande.  Their keen well-informed  minds are shown i n t h e i r sprightly conversation, clever repartee, and fondness for s t o r y - t e l l i n g .  Their r e l i g i o n seems to be a mixture of  superstitution and paganism, the f i r s t shown i n the f o o l i s h y i e l d i n g of Astorre to save, as he thought!,'! his father's soul, and the l a t t e r shown  175. i n the s a t i s f a c t i o n of the dying father at having.outwitted  them a l l .  The rather loose moral code i n marital a f f a i r s i s seen i n the r e l a t i o n s between Can Grande and the two women of the story, and l a s t l y the roughness and creulty of the time i s pictured i n the forecast of E z z o l i n 's character and i n the w i l d orgy with which the scene breaks up.  However,,  i n Meyer we have none of that cyinicism, indelicacy, or coarseness which we so often find i n the tales of Boccacio, the great s t o r y - t e l l e r of the Italiam renaissance. In DIE BrCHTERIN the only  h i s t o r i c a l characters are the  great Charlemagne and h i s secretary, Alcuin.  Here again the interest i s  subjective and psychological and not primarily h i s t o r i c , 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 h i s c a s t l e .  C h r i s t i a n i t y was  Though  already the state r e l i g i o n , yet the b e l i e f s 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 i n 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  i c h tue, tue i c h Grosz",  might well have served for the motto of the whole age, which was ing one i n world-history.  a decid-  However, as i n the other t a l e s , not the world  events but the struggle i n the soul of the characters makes the story, and the h i s t o r y again i s only, a background'. We have already given i n Part II a short resume of the h i s t o r i c a l background of DIE VERSUCHUNG DES PESCARA, as that was for a proper understanding  of the story.  necessary  Meyer's chief sources were  176. Ranke's DEUTSCHE GESCHICHTE IM ZEIT ALTER DER REFORMATION and the GESCHICHTE DER STADT ROM PESCARII of Jovius.  IM MITTELALTER hy Gregorovius;  also the VITA  We have seen how he sought to give as the reason for  Pescara's refusal to he tempted the fact of h i s approaching death.  Pro-  bably Pescara's reason was that on the side of l o y a l t y to the Emperor lay • his own advantage.  Meyer gives him an unhealed spear-wound, received i n  the battle of Pavia, as the immediate cause of his death.  But this i s  e n t i r e l y the author's own invention and has no foundation i n history. To be sure Pescara died some months a f t e r that b a t t l e , but we have no reason to believe that he foresaw h i s death.  Pescara's ideas on the  degeneration of I t a l y , (his second great reason f o r rejecting the temptation) Meyer got from the h i s t o r i a n , 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 i n den l i t e r a r i s c h e n 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 h i s time picture him as a rather boastful m i l i t a r y  man,  not exempt from cruelty and falsehood, but Meyer shows him with'a character ennobled by the near approach of death, and i n the same class with Duke Rohan and Becket, or Gustavus Adolphus.  His r e l a t i o n s with his wife  and her character have also been considerably i d e a l i z e d .  Meyer makes  her one of the chief instruments i n the temptation of Pescara, while,  1.  Maync  265  177.  /  according to history, she t r i e d to dissuade him from f a l l i n g away from the Emperor. Here, too, we have the same c o l o r f u l renaissance hackground i n the beautiful pictures and s t a t u a r y , 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 i n giving us  t h i s , even though he manipulates the facts of history to suit himself. For him, mere h i s t o r i c a l d e t a i l i s unimportant, so long as he makes clear the character, and here he has succeeded to a remarkable degree i n l a y i n g bare the soul of a great  man.  The h i s t o r i c a l background of ANGELA BORGIA, too, has already been given, i t being necessary f o r an understanding of the story. In t h i s tale the author has accomplished f o r the t e r r i b l e Lucrezia Borgia of history a 'Rettung' similar to that by S c h i l l e r of Wallenstein.  The  materials he found i n the work of the Roman h i s t o r i a n , Gregorovius. Another book on which he drew heavily, not only f o r 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 i n h i s story, though the role of heroine she shares with Lucrezia, whose character i s r e a l l y much better drawn.  We w i l l here quote  from Maync, who gives the c i t a t i o n from Gregorovius i n 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 bezauberten, b i s 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 g l e i c h lasterhaften Brtider des Herzogs Alfonso, der Kardinal Hippolyt und Giulio, ein nattlrlicher Sohn  178. Erkoles. Angela ruhmte eines Tages, da i h r Hippolyt seine Huldigung darbrachte, die SchBnheit der Augen G i u l i o s , 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, a l s es dieser gewttnscht hatte. Man trug den Verwundeten i n 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 i n 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 s o l l t e bald die schrecklichsten Folgen nach sich zieheh... E i n 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 e r g r i f f e n , wurden zum Tode v e r u r t e i l t , jedoch auf dem Schaffott zu ewigem Kerker begnSdigt. Ferrante starb nach 34 Jahren i n den Gefangenschaft Giulio e r h i e l t zwei Jahre, bevor er a l s 83-jShriger Greis dahinging, die Freiheit wieder."^ We can see how Meyer has changed a l l t h i s i n the interests of h i s story.  Here, to heighten the tragedy, Don Giulio loses both h i s  eyes, and, a f t e r a few years i n prison i s freed, after winning the love of Angela, who marries him because she feels that she i s p a r t i a l l y responsible f o r his blindness, - out of her p i t y and remorse has developed 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 h i s soul are opened.  1.  Maync  282  179. We have now seen how, i n every one of h i s s t o r i e s , 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 i n l i t e r a t u r e , except by Shakespeare. To do t h i s he has not chosen his h i s t o r i c a l background at random, but has chosen i n each case some s t i r r i n g time i n the history of the world, some 'TJbergangzeit', just as Hebbel d i d .  His favorite time was the I t a l i a n  Renaissance, which was a time of individualism, a time of strong characters who l i v e d l i v e s of action and f u l l enjoyment.  And here he found some  compensation for the weakness of h i s own character, i n imagining these strong souls so different from h i s own. a form of day-dreaming,  His story-writing was for him  a means of escape from the l i m i t a t i o n s of h i s  own timid, nature into a romantic world of the imagination, where he could be a man among men and not a weakling.  He was l i k e his own J u l i a n  Boufflers, who died dreaming of great things which he was never actually able to accomplish i n 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 d i r e c t l y to sources,  but r e l i e s upon h i s almost inexhaustible memory, based on a wide reading of history i n his youth. the  He has so steeped himself i n the atmosphere of  renaissance that i t reproduces i t s e l f almost automatically when he  writes. We are t o l d of the painter BJJcklin, that someone asked him to paint the picture of a mutual f r i e n d long dead, and sent him a photograph to a i d h i s memory. necessary.  He sent the picture back, saying i t was not  His memory alone was s u f f i c i e n t to enable him to paint a  180.  wonderful speaking likeness of h i s dead friend. And that i s the way Meyer worked with h i s t o r y . Novellen he needed no chronicles or documents;  For his best  these were already i n h i s  mind, and he had only to assemble them i n his story to produce the picture he wanted.  His own poem, IL PEFSIEROSO, i n which he describes the manner  of working of the great Michael Angelo, describes exactly h i s own manner of depicting h i s t o r i c a l  characters.  The poem t e l l s us that Giuliano d i  Medici one day entered Michael Angelo's studio, and, thinking him absent, sat  down i n a chair to wait for him.  He began to think aloud, t r y i n g to  solve some problems which were weighing on his mind. the great sculptor was watching him c l o s e l y . died.  Unknown to him,  Shortly afterwards  Giuliano  The rest of the story we w i l l give i n the words of the poem. "Er ging und aus dem Leben schwand er dann Fast unbemerkt. Nach einem Zeitverlauf B e s t e l l t e n sie bei Michelangelo Das Grabbild ihm, und brachten emsig her Was noch i n Schilderei'n verhanden war, Von schwachen Spuren seines Angesichts. So waren seine Zuge, sagten s i e . Der Meister schob es mit der Hand zuruck; "Nehmt weg: i c h 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 r e l i g i o u s teacher, f o r , 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 i n this  thesis.  He was too good an a r t i s t to be a mere propagandist for any  p a r t i c u l a r cause, and no one of h i s works can be c a l l e d a 'novel with a purpose' i n the ordinary meaning of the term, yet i n every one of them, with the possible exception of h i s one comedy, he meant to inculcate some p a r t i c u l a r moral lesson, some d e f i n i t e r e l i g i o u s teaching. That e t h i c a l teaching should bear so very important a part in Meyer's scheme of things i s not surprising to one f a m i l i a r with the deeply moral and r e l i g i o u s bent of h i s nature. intensely religious atmosphere.  He had grown up i n an  We have seen how h i s mother t r i e d 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 t r i e d po follow out a l l the rest of h i s l i f e .  We are told that for years he never  missed the daily reading of a chapter from the B i b l e .  A l l his- l e t t e r s  and writing make the same profession, and that he had an e s s e n t i a l l y r e l i g i o u s nature i s shown by the fact that a l l h i s greatest characters were deeply r e l i g i o u s men.  To prove that we have only to think of  Coligny, Duke Rohan, Becket, Pescara, Ariosto, and Don G i u l i o .  In a  l e t t e r written to his friend, Bovet, almost at the end of h i s l i f e he says: "Malgre tous mes e f f o r t s 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 f o i s avec un extreme violence, et au mepris de toute ' science c r i t i q u e et philosophique."^ Note also his remarks after completing h i s Pescara.  He says:  "Ich ffthle immer mehr was fur eine ungeheure Macht das Ethische„ist, es s o l i i n meinem neuen Buch mit Posannen und Tubenstoszen verkundeifc werden." Meyer's p a r t i c u l a r phase . of r e l i g i o n took the form of Protestantism, - not merely an ordinary form of Protestantism - hut Protestantism at i t s extreme, the Protestantism of John Calvin. ' t o l d hy Frey that he had an intimate f r i e n d , Nttscheler, who vert to Catholicism, and who  had always been, a s t r i c t Protestant. him tolerance.  became a con-  t r i e d to convert him, but i n vain.  they were good friends t i l l Mscheler's  We are  Though  death, yet Meyer remained what he No doubt t h i s friendship taught  He did not consider a man unworthy to be h i s f r i e n d  because he happened to be a Catholic, but of Catholicism as a r e l i g i o n he was always the uncompromising c r i t i c . This extreme Protestantism shows i n almost a l l his proseworks.  The f i r s t story gives the l i n e which the others are to follow.  In DAS AMULETT we are ushered into the times of the  counter-reformation,  and are shown, i n the passions which gave r i s e to the massacre of St. Bartholomew, what a hideous thing was that r e l i g i o u s discord which could prompt f e l l o w - c i t i z e n s , who  ought to be l i k e brothers, to massacre  each other i n the name of r e l i g i o n , as the Catholics massacred the Protestants then. shows how  1. 2.  The friendship of the two heroes for one  Catholics and Protestants ought to l i v e together.  Frey 304 Faesi 134  another We can read  183. between the l i n e s the author's contempt f o r such firebrands as Father Panigarola, who preached r e l i g i o u s intolerance, and we can see h i s admirat i o n for the great Protestant hero, Coligny.  There i s , moreover, a cer-  t a i n amount of humorous irony i n Boccard's b e l i e f i n the v i r t u e s of h i s amulet, which saves the Protestant who does not believe i n i t , and f a i l s to save the Catholic who does. In JTJRG JENATSCH i t i s impossible to mistake h i s intense admiration for the great Protestant Duke Rohan, and h i s contempt for the doubledealing of the Catholic Richelieu, who suppressed Protestantism i n France, while, f o r p o l i t i c a l reasons, he supported  i t i n Switzerland.  We have a  great deal of sympathy with Jenatsch i n his treachery, f o r he was only f i g h t i n g Richelieu with h i s own weapons. In PLAUTUS IM NONNENKLOSTER there i s a b i t t e r attack on the Catholic b e l i e f i n r e l i c s , and the deception and jugglery which usually goes with such a b e l i e f .  Here, the abbess i s intended to be a comic  figure, but there i s something rather disgusting about her too.  The  whole story shows the necessity f o r the Protestant reformation which was soon to come.  In GUSTAV ADOLPH'S PAGE Meyer's Protestantism i s shown i n  his veneration for the great Protestant hero, Gustavus Adolphus, depicted as an almost C h r i s t - l i k e figure, whose f a i t h i n an over-ruling providence contrasts strongly with the superstition of Wallenstein. exemplified i n the incident of Corinne, whose scandalous  It i s further mode of l i f e  did not hinder her from becoming a good Catholic, and h i s hatred of the Jesuits and their machinations  i s shown i n the incident of the tutor.  DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEN reveals even more c l e a r l y h i s hatred  184. for the Society of Jesus.  This i s shown i n h i s portrayal of the character  of Father T e l l i e r , that inhuman monster who did to death an innocent c h i l d , merely to s a t i s f y h i s lust for vengeance against that child's father.  To Pescara, the hero whom he evidently most admires, he gives  ideas that are r e a l l y Protestant.  For example, he makes him say to  Victoria: "Ich tadle den h e i l i g e n Vater, mein edles weib zur Dienerin miszbraucht, und d i r , der Wahraften eine Botschaft aufgelistet zu haben, eine Botschaft seiner und deiner unwurdig, v o l l e r Luge und Spphismen, welche i c h , i n den nSchsten Tagen schon, ihn nHtigen werde, zu widerrufen und zu verleugnen. Die H e i l i g k e i t gibt mir Neapel, wenn i c h es erobere, und absolviert mein Gewissen, wenn i c h es abstutmpfe. Ich aber glaube nicht an ein solches Binden und Ltfsen, nicht i n weltlichen Dingeh, weder i c h noch irgend e i n anderer mehr, und, sagte er hOhnisch "auch i n g e i s t l i c h e n 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 h o s p i t a l after one of his b a t t l e s , one a Spaniard, the other a German: "diesen unter seinen Eeliquiem und i n den Armen zweier Priester zitternd und bebend, jenen a l l e i n doch v o l l e r Zuversicht und Freude." 2  Could anything be more Protestant than that? Yet i n spite of h i s strong Protestant leanings we have already seen that Meyer has no antagonism to Catholics personally; he i s much too tolerant f o r that.  This i s also shown i n the fact that some  of h i s most attractive characters are Catholics, and, i n the s t o r i e s i n which he attacks Catholicism most sharply, there i s usually some a t t r a c 1. 2.  Pescara Ibid  169 117  185. t i v e Catholic character to take away the sting. Boccard i n DAS AMULETT; PLAUTUS;  Por example we have  Father Pankrazi i n JENATSCH;  Father Amiel i n DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEN;  Gertrude i n the  and Father Mamette  in ANGELA BORGIA. Along with Meyer's Protestantism goes also his strong Calvinistic  b e l i e f i n predestination, which he c a l l s by several names, fate,  providence, or the hand of God;  but i t a l l means the same thing i n the  end, namely, that a l l our l i v e s are mapped out for us by a higher power against which we may  struggle i n vain.  and again i n h i s s t o r i e s . destination i n the f i r s t  We see this idea occurring again  Aside from the rather amusing talk on prepart 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 p i s t o l i n spite of the amulet he i s wearing.  It i s fate which causes Jenatsch to f a l l before the statue of  j u s t i c e , 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 i s fate which leads Henry along the path to Becket's  Moorish c a s t l e , and to h i s meeting with Grace, a meeting which was to have such dire consequences for them a l l .  It was fate which l e d Stemma to  c a l l her step-son Wulfrin,to Malmort, and fate also l e d 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.  fate which led Palma to overhear this confession.  It was  It was fate which led  E z z o l i n along the banks of the Brenta, to be the i n d i r e c t cause of the upsetting of the overladen boat. to  It was fate which caused Astorre's ring  r o l l along the bridge and f a l l into the hands of Antiope.  In f a c t ,  186. t h i s 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 w i l l s u f f i c e to show how strongly Meyer "believed i n the workings of this higher power which has i t s dealings with men,  i n accordance with their characters hut regard-  less of t h e i r w i l l s . A l e t t e r written hy the author to his s i s t e r , Betsy, best gives expression to h i s ideas on the subject: "Man musz glauben unser Charakter, gestalte unser Schicks a l , oder r i c h t i g e r : unser Schicksal sei auf unser Charakter berechnet. Weisheit wBre dann; e i n f r e i w i l l i g e s Eingehen und, wo mJJglich, ein selbststSndiges Ergreifen unseres notwendigen Loses, und ein Ruhenlassen s t r e i t i g e r Punkte, b i s wir wissen, ob oder ob nicht sie i n der Linie unseres Lebens liegen. Bolange die Vorsehung zerstilrt, was wir wollen, sind wir offenbar irregegangen oder v o r e i l i g , 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 a l l e s Verflossenen, ohne das Spiel der Phantasie, und Hinhorchen unsere Hersenswunsche, wo dann i n gewissen h e l l e n Stunden, mehr durch e i n Verschwinden a l l e s UnmOglichen, a l s e i n positives Erraten, aus den gegebenen Linien unseres Lebens das Weitere s i c h zu bilden und a l s Figur sich zu schlieszen scheint."^ Yet i n seeming opposition to t h i s b e l i e f i n predestination or fate, i s the fact that a l l the greatest of Meyer's stories present a s p i r i t u a l c o n f l i c t of some kind.  In JENATSCH i t i s the c o n f l i c t 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 con1.  Maync  77  187. fronted with the double-dealing of a Richelieu, or the treachery of a Jenatsch?  He i s l i k e a lamb among wolves, and his l i f e ends i n seeming  f a i l u r e , even as Christ's did.  The unscrupulous Jenatsch i s successful  for a time, yet, i n the end, f a l l s a prey to his own overweening ambition. In DER HEILIGE we have the c o n f l i c t of church and state, i n which the church i s for the minute successful, yet we have the f e e l i n g a l l the time at the bottom of our hearts that Henry as a king had right on h i s side after a l l , though as a man he had so earned Eecket's hatred.  The  PLAUTUS presents a c o n f l i c t between the aesthetic culture of the renaissance, as represented i n Poggio, and true r e l i g i o n , as represented by Gertrude.  The forces of worldly and s p i r i t u a l ambition are i n con-  f l i c t f o r the soul of Pescara.  It i s true that when we meet him i n 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 c l e a r l y the consequences to himself and others of his y i e l d i n g to temptation. It i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note Meyer's attitude towards the problems a r i s i n g from these various c o n f l i c t s . does not attempt  He raises the problems but  to find any f i n a l solution for them.  the reader to find for himself.  That he leaves to  His attitude i s expressed i n these words  of Schadau i n DAS AMULETT: "Das i s t ein dunkler schwerer Satz, der sich nicht l e i c h t h i n erSrtern lHszt."^1.  Das Amulett  29  188. and leaves i t at that. In l i n e with the author's attitude toward questions of r e l i gion i s his attitude toward c e r t a i n great moral problems, such as the problem of conscience.  He attaches immense importance  to t h i s . In almost  every one of h i s greater works remorse of conscience plays a leading part in the development of the p l o t .  We know how Jenatsch saved his country,  but at what a f e a r f u l p r i c e , the d e f i l i n g of his conscience with treachery of  and murder.  Remorse of a certain kind has i t s part i n the feelings  Henry, though he was not sorry for the deed, only for i t s e f f e c t s .  It i s Gertrude's tender conscience and her regard for the sanctity of an oath which i s 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?  and then he t e l l s us of Pope John XX111 the most horrible crimes.  who  Keinesweg"  could sleep l i k e a c h i l d after  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, x i n wechselriden Formen auf."^ We have seen how Lucrezia Borgia i n spite of her crimes could sleep l i k e a child. much. ing  Her problem was  'too l i t t l e conscience' while Angela had too  The gnawings of conscience, the fear of being unmasked and appear-  i n a disgraceful role has a great part to play i n 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 i n the Jesuit,  1.  Plautus im Nonnenkloster  201  189. T e 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 t r a i t o r to h i s emperor. Another great moral problem which also has an immense importance i n Meyer's works was that of the necessity of conversion.  The  great Protestant doctrine of j u s t i f i c a t i o n by f a i t h had a very r e a l meaning for him and he had himself experienced conversion i n h i s early manhood.  So we f i n d that i t bears a very important role i n his s t o r i e s .  We have three great examples of conversion i n his prose-works,  that of  Becket, Pescara, and Don Giulio, and i n each case the d i f f e r e n t steps i n the conversion are set put with psychological accuracy.  As they have  been commented on i n Part I I , when dealing with these p a r t i c u l a r characters, 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 i s through the loss of h i s c h i l d , f o r Pescara through the near approach of death , and for Don Giulio through the loss of h i s sight. Speaking further of great moral problems i n Meyer's works we can always see that h i s sympathies  l i e on the side of t r u t h and j u s t i c e .  Though he was too much of an a r t i s t to take sides too openly with or against h i s characters, as do Dickens or Thackery sometimes, yet we can always see that his sympathies l i e 'on the side of the angels.' says of him:  As Paesi  190. "Meyer hS.lt mit einer Parteinahme und Beurteilung nach a l t e r Epikerweisheit zurtlck i n 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 P a r t e i derer, zu denen er gehflrt, der Lebenschwachen und Vergeistigten, der C h r i s t l i c h e n und Todgeweihten. Er entscheidet sich also umgekehrt a l s sein Zeitgenosse, Nietzsche, der den i n d i v i d u e l l e n Willen, die v i t a l e n Kraftnaturen, die Macht, das Leben bejaht."^ And i n connection with Meyer's sympathy for justice i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note how  often he makes some great character i n h i s  stories perform the o f f i c e of a judge.  The great Charlemagne does i t i n  DIE RICHTERIN, Pescara acts as judge between the two forces of e v i l which are warring for his soul, and E z z o l i n also has to act as judge i n the l a s t part of DIE HOCHZEIT.  Perhaps that i s why Meyer takes such pains  to explain that he has not yet begun to perpetrate the c r u e l t i e s 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 i s v i t a l l y interested, l i k e every great a r t i s t , i n 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 .  almost the central theme i n four of h i s Novellen.  It i s  Most of h i s stories  have a tragic ending and two of them, JENATSCH and DIE HOCHZEIT end i n f e a r f u l valence and bloodshed. catastrophes  There i s an inevitableness about these  such as we find i n the endings of some of Shakespeare's  great tragedies l i k e MacBeth or Othello. l i v e with the consciousness 1.  Faesi  135  Some of h i s noblest characters  of death ever before t h e i r eyes, as do Becket  191. and Pescara.  Gustel Leubelfing says:  "Ich wunsch mir a l l e Strahlen meines Lebens i n e 1 n Plammenbundel, und i n den Haum e i n e r Stunde v e r e i n i g t , 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 i n Heyer's own character,  and had i t s root i n 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 i n t e r e s t s 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 i n great d e t a i l i s the passion of love. love-story of some kind.  A l l his eleven prose-works have a  DER HEILIGE and DIE LEIDEN EINES KNABEN have,  to be sure , a rather elementary one, and we have seen that h i s drawing of Gasparde i n DAS AMULETT was rather weak.  In h i s other eight stories  the love element i s 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 overleaps a l l obstacles, moral, or r e l i g i o u s , gives us one of the best lovestories of the time. 1.  In this story Meyer gives us Dante's opinion of  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 j u s t i f i e d hy the f a c t s , for h i s very next story, DIE RICHTERIN, t e l l s a tale of overwhelming passion i n the almost i n s t i n c tive attraction of Wulfrin f o r h i s supposed s i s t e r , Palma Novella.  We  must remember that this story i s intended to end happily for they eventu a l l y marry each other, that i s , i f a marriage founded on her mother's tragic death could ever make Palma t r u l y happy.  The other three l o v e -  stories which have a happy ending are those of Pfannenstiel and  Rahel,  united through the beneficent match-making of Wefctmuller, of Gertrude and Hans i n PLAUTUS, and of Don Giulio and Angela Borgia. Of the l o v e - s t o r i e s 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 i n death.  The love of Lucretia Planta  and Jurg Jenatsch for each other was no sudden passion, but had i t s beginnings back i n t h e i r childhood, and the sad fate which made Jenatsch the murderer of her father, and which almost compelled Lucretia to take vengeance on him, l i k e Chimene i n C o r n e i l l e ' s Cid, was  surely tragie enough.  L a s t l y we have the ideal r e l a t i o n s h i p of a husband and wife who  truly love  each other pictured i n PESCARA, but that has a tragic ending when Pescara dies.  So i n 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 h i s tragedies are, therefore, always his best works. It i s i n t e r e s t i n g , judging from the majority of h i s womencharacters, to note the q u a l i t i e s Meyer seems to prefer i n a woman. The 'Clinging Vine' type i s almost e n t i r e l y absent.  Most of them are strong,  capable, and s e l f - r e l i a n t - almost Amazons, some of them - and a l l of them capable of acting bravely i n an emergency, and of doing a man's work when necessary.  Even to h i s women he gave some of the q u a l i t i e s  he most keenly admired, probably because he knew that he lacked them himself.  On this subject we w i l l again quote Maync, who i s speaking of  Gustel Leubelfing, - one of the shining examples of the exhibition of q u a l i t i e s 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 i n diesem F a l l e seine persBnlichen Gefuhle i n 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 V i k t o r i a 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 K e l l e r s verwandt, an Ungebrochenheit und '"Kraftgefuhl o f t seinen MSnnern tlberlegen sind, so ha"lfc er es auch mit seinern weiblichen Pagen."^ He was a real hero-worshipper, and loved those q u a l i t i e s i n man or woman which he well knew he d i d not himself possess, - unbroken 1.  Maync  204  194. strength and foree of character. some strong character who  Again and again i n h i s works we  i s v i s i b l y a favorite of the author.  see  He i s  usually morally much ahead of his age, and the p u r i t y and strength of his  character seem to stand i n judgment upon the worthlessness  a l i t y of h i s time.  and crimin-  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 cies of the others i n the story. in a contrasting character.  This he does very often, by bringing  Por example, we have the p h i l i s t i n i s m of  Herr Waser as contrasted with the heroism of Jenatsch. ing to  delinquen-  He i s quite w i l l -  to p r o f i t by the wrong-doing of Jenatsch, though he w i l l not s o i l h i s own hands.  stoop  Again we have the very unheroic conduct of the  younger Leubelfing, which serves to bring out i n sharp contrast the noble character of Gustel. P:'rom a l l this i t i s very evident that Meyer's attitude towards 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 i n a l l great works of a r t .  We  find very l i t t l e humor i n h i s writings - occasionally a cynical touch or a rather s a t i r i c a l r e f l e x i o n , but never more than that. little was  Thers> i s very  j e s t i n g , even i n the works which he intended for comedies.  so possessed with the idea of the tremendous importance of t h i s  He life  as an opportunity for s e l f development and as a preparation for the next that j e s t i n g and humor seemed to him rather out of place. almost no attempt at any subtlety of theological argument.  Yet there i s For him  f r e e - w i l l and necessity were not two mutually exclusive things, and his  195.  view of God l e d him to believe i n an intimate personal contact between man and h i s Creator.  For him God was not an inaccessible Deity, too  exalted to be interested i n human a f f a i r s , but rather somewhat l i k e Wordsworth's immanent Presence, almost an intimate personal friend. This idea, which i s the background of a l l his moral and r e l i g i o u s teaching, he has expressed most b e a u t i f u l l y i n h i s poem "In HarmesnSchten." as he perhaps always reveals h i s own personality most intimately i n h i s lyrics: "Die Rechte streckt i c h schmerzlich oft i n Harmesnfiehten Und f u h l t ' gedruckt sie unverhofft von einer techtenWas Gott i s t , wird i n Ewigkeit kein Mensch ergruOdan, Doch w i l l er treu sich a l l e z e i t mit uns verbiinden. "^  IV  CONCLUSION  One of the f i r s t questions asked i n connection with any author of merit i s "What standing does he hold i n the world of l e t t e r s ? " As only a l i t t l e more than a generation has passed away since Meyer's death, i t i s almost too woon as yet to state d e f i n i t e l y just what his place i n l i t e r a t u r e w i l l 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 i s so different from every one else.  It i s also complicated by the fact that he i s great i n  two f i e l d s of l i t e r a t u r e , while most other writers with whom we can compare him are great only i n one.  1.  Gedichte  64  As a writer of l y r i c s he w i l l pro-  196. bably rank next to Goethe i n German l i t e r a t u r e . the subject i s s t i l l open to question.  S.s to h i s proseworks,  His output was not great, hut  what he wrote i s of such uniform excellence that, f o r sheeT a r t i s t r y there are very few who can hear comparison with him. He w i l l probably never rank among the very greatest of the -  German c l a s s i c i s t s , such as Goethe, S c h i l l e r , or Lessing, but among the 'minor prophets' he i s already e n t i t l e d 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 h i s own nature, he has allowed fate, chance, predestination, or whatever one may. c a l l i t , to play such a deciding part i n the solving of his p l o t s .  The catastrophe many times  happens to h i s characters, not because t h e i r own course of action has rendered  i t inevitable, but too often through the a r b i t r a r y 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 foreSjsight could avoid.  His very best works are open to t h i s  reproach.  Probably, also, he w i l l never rank so high as a great popul a r author as Gottfried K e l l e r does, c h i e f l y because he has not chosen popular subjects as K e l l e r did.  This does not mean that K e l l e r d e l i b e r -  ately set out to become popular, but only that an author who chooses h i s characters from contemporary l i f e and depicts the modern world, as K e l l e r d i d , has a much greater chance of remaining a popular  favorite.  However, to educated and discriminating readers Meyer's works w i l l always make a strong appeal, and anyone who has studied and r e a l l y l i v e d with them for several months, as I have done, cannot help f e e l i n g that he has  197.  had a d i s t i n c t s p i r i t u a l experience, and reached a higher place of thinking. For Meyer history was a record of the workings of God's P r o v i dence among men,  and he sought, through the medium of w o r l d - s t i r r i n g  h i s t o r i c a l events^o interpret for us the meaning of l i f e .  But to do  this adequately he f e l t , as did S c h i l l e r , that the poet must he a man of consecration, dedicated l i k e a p r i e s t to h i s high o f f i c e .  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 i n a l y r i c he most c l e a r l y reveals his thought;  we find his  idea of the poet's function most adequately eerpressed i n 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  The H i s t o r i c a l Novel Cambridge Univ. Press, 1924.  Everth, E r i c h  Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Dresden, 1924.  Faesi, Robert  Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Leipzig, 1925.  Frey, Adolf  Conrad Ferdinand Meyer B e r l i n , 1925  Linden, Walther  Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Manschen, 1922.  List, Fritz  Conrad Ferdinand Meyer Leipzig, 1925.  Maync, Harry  Conrad Ferdinand Meyer und sein Werk Leipzig, 1925.  Merimee, Prosper  Chronique de Regne de Charles IX P a r i s , 1829.  Meyer, Conrad Ferdinand  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, L e i p z i g , 1921.  

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