What is a sweet BYU love story
Of women, character drawings
1 Brigham Young University BYU ScholarsArchive Prose Fiction Sophie 1896 Vom Weibe, Character Drawings Maria Janitschek Description This work is part of the Sophie Digital Library, an open-access, full-text-searchable source of literature written by German-speaking women from medieval times through the early 20th century. The collection, covers a broad spectrum of genres and is designed to showcase literary works that have been neglected for too long. These works are made available both in facsimiles of their original format, wherever possible, as well as in a PDF transcription that promotes ease of reading and is amenable to keyword searching. Follow this and additional works at: Part of the German Literature Commons BYU ScholarsArchive Citation Janitschek, Maria, "Vom Weibe, Zeichenzeichen" (1896). Prose Fiction This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the Sophie at BYU ScholarsArchive. It has been accepted for inclusion in Prose Fiction by an authorized administrator of BYU ScholarsArchive. For more information, please contact
2 Of women, character drawings
3 VOM WEIBE Character Drawings by MARIA JANITSCHEK Berlin S. Fischer, Verlag 1896 This Text was Prepared and Edited by Nicholas Larsen, Bryce Cundick, and Kurt Buhanen Brigham Young University Contents Page In the Bud Frau Bertha The Teacher In White Scham Swamp Green Mili In The Bud In the bud, "I will clothe you in soft garments, and put silk shoes on your feet, I will put jewelry around your young neck, and provide fresh flowers in your hair. Your room should be completely covered with furs and carpets, and..." sweet dishes should last your taste buds. You should have it royal until the miracle finds you. Then I will gratefully sink at your feet ... "He brought her dolls, big and small, dolls that walk, dolls that could speak, dolls in silky and in peasant clothes. And she smiled a little, half condescendingly, half flattered, just like a princess, and said: "But I'm already sixteen." - "It doesn't matter," said
4 he, for he wanted her not to get out of the puppet show until she had her own little doll. He wanted to marry her. Before that, however, she should spend another summer in the country to strengthen herself and to become stronger. Her mother said yes to all things, for she was a poor woman who considered it very fortunate that the rich man wanted to set her little daughter in gold. He was beginning to go bald, but his cheeks were fresh and red and his eyes had a laughing sheen. He had enjoyed life to the end and met many women. One day, at the same time as the discovery of his record, he had felt the ardent desire to have a child in a rejuvenated form. But now he had become very suspicious as a result of his experiences, and no woman seemed pure enough to him to give birth to his child. In order to find beautiful women to joke about, he would not have been at a loss for a moment, but discovering a mother of his son seemed very difficult to him. For who could guarantee that he would be the first to see a woman? Otherwise he cared nothing, but in this case .... And he walked around and examined the daughters of the most respected families with critical eyes. People wondered how he was able to vote for so long and said: Veit Kolmann doesn't like any, watch out, he'll just fall into it. Then he met the young Sidonie Baumgartner on a May excursion that some families made together. She seemed to have only two words in her vocabulary: yes and 3 no. She wore a dress made of fine fabric, but it was already a bit worn. On the other hand, her face was so fresh and pale, her frequent blushes so young and delightful that Kolmann, the suspicious, said to himself: Here is the real unspoiled nature, one or none. Until a few moons ago she had worn short dresses and played with the doll, he had to wait a little longer with his marriage plan. But for God's sake she shouldn't change in this short waiting time, go a lot in societies, and become a lady of the world. Because then he wasn't sure again what happened one day imperceptibly behind his back. So he gave her dolls and watched them suspiciously. But one day it did. In broad daylight it came in proud and ostentatious, and not at all hidden, through her door. She was sitting in an armchair by the window and working on a little embroidery. Sometimes the needle would slip from her fingers and she would sit back for a few minutes and dream. Her sky-blue, large, somewhat hard eyes then looked thoughtfully down the street. Mama had gone shopping for lunch. Sidonie eagerly licked her red mouth. Today there was smoked eel and potato salad, her favorite dish. Suddenly her little ears flushed hot. She leaned back from the window, looked helplessly into her lap for a moment, and, putting the embroidery aside, stepped into the background of the room, then in front of the mirror. 4 Lord my God! The hair didn't want to sit down again today. She pulled the needles out to remove it
5 to plug in again. Since Mili Koch had said that only stupid people have a lot of hair Mili was considered really very clever, Sidonie was annoyed by her luscious blond hair. Should the brain really have to harness this abundance? Just as she has pinned the thick yellow strand up a bit rough, there is a knock. She rushes to the door, but there he is already in her frame. Startled, she folds her hands over her chest. She can't say anything. He brushes the black curls off his forehead. (You still smell of the hairdresser's iron.) "Miss Sidonie, my sister sends her regards." "O thank you." They look at each other. "Miss Sidonie, how is your mom?" "Oh thank you, she's coming soon, she just went shopping." He nods. He knows that, otherwise he wouldn't be here now. "You were sitting by the window earlier." "Yes, I was sitting by the window." "Please sit down again." She slowly goes back to her previous place. Opposite her chair, at the sewing table, is another one. That is where he settles. 5 "You allow" while he is already seated. "Please keep embroidering." "I can not right now." She is all red and her voice is low. Suddenly he jumps up, grabs her shoulder with two fingers, grabs something and slips it into his quickly torn out wallet. "What was it? Oh, I'm so scared." "A ladybug, I collect bugs." "So," she says innocently. She didn't notice anything, he thinks, pressing the wallet with the long golden hair stormily to his chest. "Miss Sidonie!" "Yes?"
6 "How are you actually?" "Oh, very good. We'll go to the country the day after tomorrow." "Are you engaged yet?" "No, not quite yet. He doesn't want to have the cards printed until autumn." "And then, do you know what happens next?" "Yes, then we'll get married at the beginning of the winter." If she had said we'd go buy embroidery silk, or: I'll have a new hat made for me, it couldn't have been more indifferent. "But I do not suffer that you marry this person, I do not suffer." 6 He is with her in one step, kneels before her, and takes her hands. "Sidonie!" "My God, Mama Kolmann .... if they saw you, no, that's horrible." He has thrown an arm around her and is glowing with her. His lips are buried in hers. She fidgets, but he's stronger than her. He's finally catching his breath. "And that you only know, I'm not sorry that he'll get you. I'll take my high school diploma in the spring, then you don't need to be ashamed of me. I can get a job straight away." "Let me," she wants to push him away , but he rests like a log in front of her. "You know that I have to get married, he wants it, and Mama wants it too." In the midst of his excitement he has to laugh. "You are the cutest sheep, you have to marry because he wants it. Hahaha. All right, marry him - later, but love me. Look, like me, he can't love you. He's already so old and cold" and the student presses his hot cheeks against hers. A door creaks outside. He doesn't move. "I want the whole city to know. Sidonie, I love you, I have to own you, I'm a poor fellow, but you should see you get richer out of my arms than out of his splendid house. You'll have to steal quietly to me in my high room, the pastor will condemn you, and the girls will avoid you on the street, but I tell you, bare-footed you will come to me and ask for me. " And again he wraps around her, and covers her face with mad kisses. "Your first flowers to me, the rest to him, if it has to be .... On the first of September in the evening I'll be standing in front of your house and pick you up. You just say you have made an appointment with Lina. Don't forget that I am going to meet you get ... "He rushes out.
7 Then the mother comes in with astonished eyes. "Was Hans there?" "Just it." "I went to the kitchen with the shopping, and suddenly I felt as if I heard someone talking here. What did he want?" "Oh, I don't know. He asked how you went." "So, so. Well, I bought a fat eel, that makes a nice meal." She goes back to the kitchen, Sidonie to her previous place at the window. Your face is hot. She picks up the embroidery but cannot work. Hans Röhrer, Hans Röhrer. No such thing! And before her eyes she sees steadfastly his young, powerful figure with the pretty face and the 8 flashing eyes. He is nicer than Veit. But Veit is smarter. Veit doesn't bite her when he kisses. Also, he doesn't mess her hair like that. She muses. Veit will probably be better too, because he wants to marry her, the other only kiss, not marry. Or does he want it too? And she just misunderstood him? Does Lina know about her brother? Should one tell Kolmann? Or maybe just the mother? Yeah, probably. She sits there quietly with her big, blue doll eyes, and thinks about it. Which one would she prefer to marry? Veit is so good to her, but Hans is good too, only that he is poor and the other is rich. But she really can't take two. No, how he kissed her and what kind of talk he made! About his little room, and that the pastor would despise her afterwards. What for? What would they do up with him? No! Without knowing anything, she puts her face in her hands and giggles. Something warm rises up her back. This is how she finds the mother who comes in and gives the order to cover. "What is wrong with you?" "Oh nothing." "You are so red." "So?" "Hurry up, make the table tidy." She gets up lazily. 9 "You mother! .." "What then?"
8 "O nothing." Then they ate, but she was silent and said nothing ... * * * When they were in the country, she said nothing either. She kept it a secret. But it was nice to have that view. She would get to the point where they were in town on the first of September. Kolmann visited her as often as his time allowed. He made her drink good old wines and eat lots of meat. She bloomed visibly, and her slender girl form developed more fully from day to day. When he wasn't there, mother didn't like walking much, she hung around outside alone. Sometimes they begged village children, but she never gave anything. She bade them go indifferently. Everything was quiet and hard in her chest. She didn't love birds, nor could music make her cry. On the other hand, she liked to pick flowers, which she then carelessly threw away. She walked past the old village church a hundred times without it occurred to her to enter. She liked to read fairy tales, but none of them memorized her. She had no sense at all for nature. She liked it everywhere. Its only pronounced quality was that it was unusually clean. There was never a stain on her clothes, her shoes were never worn, or her gloves were torn. She held onto her body carefully. She bathed daily, and kept brushing and soaping herself. Once, when she had already undressed to get into the water, it occurred to her to put her hair higher; she stepped back into the bathing cabin and saw her image in the mirror. There was one of the rare times that she wept. She didn't know why. She got into the water quickly and tried to forget the sight. And the days passed. Kolmann came and brought beautiful candies with silk bows, kissed her young, hot lips fervently with relish devotion, and talked about the future. And she talked to him like a child to something he was not familiar with. She looked forward to the trips he promised her, to the beautiful clothes, to all the splendors that she would call her own. Only now and then did a boisterous, wildly curled head appear in front of her, and it whispered to her: On the first of September in the evening I will be standing in front of your house to fetch you to my place. The pastor will condemn you, but you will come anyway. And then, as if with large, curious eyes, she saw in front of her ... He had previously studied at another grammar school and had only come here since his father's death, 11 to save money and live with his mother and sister. But it soon turned out that he did not fit into the modest, quiet household of the two women. His mother saved a few pennies to rent him a little room near her. There he could obey his wild moods undisturbed, and every now and then, if something did not suit him, throw the books on the floor, or vent his resentment against his teachers on innocent furniture.
9 This wild, irrepressible fellow had fallen in love with the blond, silent virgin beauty of Sidonia. Especially the doll-like, closed-off, he hadn't quite figured it out yet, emptiness or profoundness, stimulated his capricious imagination. He wanted to make the little oil goddess mad, so that she would come down to him in her youthful vitality and embrace him with her white arms. She must have noticed long ago that he was following her on the street, that he was staring at her when he sometimes met her at the nurse's. But she only had a cool, half embarrassed, half stupid smile for his silent pleading. It didn't make her heart quicken. Only since that last scene had something new awakened in her: a burning curiosity. She was not at all curious about Veit, she never brooded about him. He seemed to her nothing more than a father who pampered her. The closer the first September drew nearer, the more listening, quieter it became within her, the more she played hide-and-seek with herself inside. She didn't want to think about it, but kept thinking about the evening. She imagined what kind of dress she would wear and that she wanted to pin her hair very tight so that he wouldn't confuse her as it did last time. She imagined hearing his kicks downstairs and already giggled at it. What an excuse she wanted to use to justify the outcome in front of her mother. In any case, it was very nice to have a secret with you that nobody knew about. Eight days before the planned trip home, the mother fell ill. Sidonie sat quietly by her bed. If she didn't recover by that date, what then? Or even if she dies. She observed the mother's condition with critical eyes. Fortunately, things soon improved, thanks to the skill of the able doctor whom Kolmann had sent. Outside, however, it began to be bitter. Sidonie shivered when she looked at the yellowed leaves, and yet something inside of her was happy again. She saw a person on his knees in front of her, in front of her! and she saw herself throwing her head back and looking down at him pityingly, hiding her curiosity .... And finally he was there, the longed-for, dreaded first September. They left early in the morning, they were already home by lunchtime, and Sidonie pulled the covers off the furniture. But what if he had forgotten the appointment? "Why do you put the furniture covers under your duvet?" asked the mother, astonished. "O ... yes, I don't know." She was really very distracted, really .... They cleaned, dusted, aired, and towards evening they finally got their little apartment in order. Sidonie washed herself clean, dressed fresh, and sat in her armchair by the window. The mother paced busily to and fro, claiming that she still had much to do. Sidonie looked out into the street. It was getting dark. The mother brought in the lamp and placed it on the table in front of the sofa. Then she got out her expense book and started doing the math. Suddenly Sidonie said from the window: "Mama, I have to go over to Luisen for a strand of sewing silk.
10 "Go ahead." Frau Baumgartner did not look up from the pages of her book. Sidonie gave a trembling sigh. It had been easier than she'd thought. She wanted to get up, but suddenly felt weak. Her blue doll eyes looked perplexed into her lap. Then she looked down at the street. Over at the front door, barely recognizable in the dark, he leaned. She thought she saw his eyes fixed overhead full of impetus. She giggled and it was as if a thousand ants were walking over her body. Then she got up and went mechanically to the cupboard. What should she wear? The summer or winter hat? She brooded. Meanwhile he paced excitedly up and down below, angry at her default, fearing that she had forgotten him and his parting words, and yet again full of amorous fervor that he believed in her appearance. He imagined the scenes if he only had them upstairs with him. You you you. His heart was beating up to his neck. He was a ruthless fellow, and starved to the extreme because of the eternal humility that his thirsty circumstances demanded of him. Unsuspecting, she stalked around upstairs, not dreaming that she might be adorned herself for her downfall, that her young, pure life might be dragged into disgrace and disgrace by a boy's impetus in a few hours. She stands for a moment and thinks about it, slips into her jacket (she has decided on the winter hat), looks at the old woman, breathes softly: goodbye, and goes. It is dark on the stairs, she feels slowly down, the distance between her and him is getting smaller, she thinks she is gripped by a thousand hands and pushed forward, finally she is down, opens the front door, and a hand rests on her shoulder. "Wherever so late, Sidi, alone, without mother, what are you thinking of?" 15 Vitus's face bends over hers. "March up, little runaway, I invite myself to be your guests tonight. I haven't seen you for three days." She crooked her mouth, stretched her head, and saw Hans standing in the middle of the street, as if aghast. Sighing, she returns up the stairs, half carried by Vit's arms. She is saved and he has given his son an immaculate mother. Above he says in the course of the evening: "And I've thought about it, we still want to hold the vintage wedding. The summer sun has matured my little girl. Now there is no more hesitation." Sidonie blushes and looks at her mother. -
11 Frau Bertha Frau Bertha "What do you have against this pink foulard? I love this soft, pliable silk" "I'm not against silk either, madam" "Against what else?" "I just mean ... the pink doesn't dress madam. The color is more suitable for young girls." "Do you think I am an old lady?" "But madam" "I find that very ridiculous of you, by the way, I am used to finding my dressmakers without my own opinion, and entirely according to my will" "Of course, madam, I only meant" 20 "Well, that The pink foulard dress is made the way I said earlier: the neckline is heart-shaped, a little deeper at the front. " The seamstress bowed. "You should be satisfied, madam." Frau von Stallen rushed out. She was a beautiful woman. Seen from behind, it could apply to thirty, en face to a little more. She was one of those ladies who wear lots of rings and from time to time receive bills for things they fearfully hide from their husbands. Frau Bertha did not need that, because her husband, the judge of the chamber judge, was a model of all discretion. In the summer vacations they visited, he was known for his timid, modest demeanor. At the tavern he barely lifted his eyes from his plate, and on the promenade he talked only in whispers. She used to speak very loudly, persistently appear late at table, and keep several waiters in a breathless mood. She was one of those women whom the servants treat with impudent confidentiality when nobody sees it. She wasn't annoyed about it, because she felt like a woman of genius. It was said that in her youth, in her first youth, in her very first youth, she had been on some kind of fishing rod. But even older people did not remember seeing Ms. Bertha in any other way than her dignity as the wife of the Chamber Court Councilor. So the story had to be fictional, or a long time ago. Mrs. Bertha had given birth to two children. One died at the age of three, the other, a pretty little girl, married at sixteen. Daughter and son-in-law never crossed their path. She didn't like to be reminded that she had a grown, even married, daughter. There is a word that women are very fond of using: You are as old as you look. The lady judge tried one thing
12 quite youthful boisterous behavior. She took part in all sports and was noisier than the youngest girls. Only one thing betrayed in a fatal way that she had passed twenty: her courtiers were under the sign of the first beard. She fled older gentlemen, or grimaced like a baby in their naive conversations, in which she puckered her lips. She and her husband had already visited the most elegant bathing and health resorts in Europe. The silent, serious man with the forever lowered eyes and the low voice patiently led her wherever she wanted. Biarritz << Biarritz: a city in southwest France on the Bay of Biscay >> was planned for this summer. The pink foulard dress was just the beginning of a long series of summer toilets. Various boxes came from Atkinson in London, a suitcase with hats from Paris, and a selection of corsets from Vienna. Long negotiations began with cleaning women, footwear artists, and those interesting people who don't belong to any particular profession but would be mortally offended if you told them so in their faces. There was Miss Massense, who liked to figure as a medic and tossed around Latin chunks, there was the corn cutter who was allowed to hold the sink for the famous Professor O. in the clinic and who called himself an "assistant". Frau Bertha dealt with these people with condescending confidentiality; she made them feel that they were nothing more than servants who were well rewarded and occasionally encouraged by a friendly word, such as a horse, a dog, a parrot. She had a way of saying kindness to such people. Blinking eyes, smiling lips, while the voice is cold and indifferent. They were like stroking with an icy hand. You could finally travel. The lady was in a very good mood. One traveled comfortably, with various interruptions, in order to rest. The way was a long one. Her husband fell ill on one of the stations that they made. It was a violent fever, about the nature of which it was not yet possible to say anything precisely. In her desperate tenderness she talked so madly that the doctor, in order not to delay the patient's recovery, asked to travel ahead of the worried wife. After a loud noisy refusal, 23 she finally obeyed his instructions, flowing in tears, and left with her maid. (As soon as he was just a little better, her husband was to follow suit.) She understood the art of being able to cry real tears when she wanted to. The high season had just begun in Biarritz. The long table of the feudal Hotel Angleterre was set with shiny female figures. There were many notables among the gentlemen, including the youngest son of a small German princely house. Frau Bertha came to sit across from him. Her rigged up, supposed to appear youthful through a hundredfold arts
13 figure amused the prince. He flirted with her a little. She played the young, misunderstood woman. Your half-hints, badly suppressing sighs said more than an open confession. O these husbands! Cold and callous, brutally insisting on her rights, never remembering that woman also has a soul, a soul that makes "higher" demands, that dreams of ideal love, and slowly in its noblest emotions under the rule of crude desire is suffocated. The prince was amused by these effusions from the "misunderstood" woman. In the evening he used to make all sorts of glosses about society to his adjutant, with whom he was very familiar. "Have you," said he laughing, "admired my latest conquest? A splendid woman! And clever, I tell you. She had gold seals made in her false teeth so that one would believe they were real teeth." "Take care of your arms," joked the adjutant, "women of this age are not to be trifled with, they cling convulsively to every word and take it seriously." "She truly believes what I am saying," confirmed Prince Georg. "The other day I assured her that she looked like twenty-four years old and that she was blushing with happiness." "How is your husband?" he asked her one day on the promenade. "He's coming soon," she replied with a resigned sigh. The prince stared at the red curls over her rose-colored ears. "How could you endure a marriage for so long that doesn't seem to please you?" Her lips twisted in a faint smile. "What should I do? Conscious of my duty" "Have you never had children?" "Yes, a little girl." "Why don't you have it here?" 25 She falters. Then she says, raising her blue eyes, which are made shining by his lines under the lashes, to him: "Shall I also make the child a witness to my misfortune?" "Would you have the strength to break this marriage today in order to follow a man who fervently adores you into an uncertain lot?" Mrs. Bertha trembles from head to toe. Then you can see through the fine glaze of the make-up a bluish red, burning, pouring over her full face.
14 "I think yes," she whispers, lowering her head on her chest. The prince is silent, bends over her hand, breathes a kiss on it, and has suddenly disappeared from her side. "How old do you think she might be?" he asked his adjutant that evening. "That is difficult to answer, Your Highness. Let's say between thirty and sixty." "Should I run away with her?" The officer gives the prince a startled look. This breaks out into a hearty laugh. 26 "What do you think, up to what age can a woman be made believable that she is being worshiped?" "From the first year of his life until his death, Your Highness." "Did you find out more about Ms. von Stallen's family relationships?" "She is said to have a very honorable, good, but unhappy husband because of her, a married daughter." "Sapristi, and she said to me, but no -." Prince Georg looked thoughtfully to himself. "If I am to get married, I make it a condition of my wife that she must understand the art of gracefully saying good-bye to her departing youth." "I believe, Your Highness, that is the most difficult art one can ask of a woman." "How so?" says the prince, "it only requires taste. It is incredibly clumsy of women to think that they can deceive us about the loss of their youth by artificial means." "Your Highness are absolutely right, especially since we have other more relentless senses besides the eyes that cannot be deceived by any amount of paint, however thickly applied." The next morning the prince left with his adjutant. He left Frau von Stallen a few lines of farewell and a bouquet of evergreens. The Teacher The Teacher Old Peppi puts the ten-pfennig bouquet next to the letters the postman gave her, takes another look at the little room that has been made up, and leaves. After half an hour Elise will come out and be happy about the bouquet and the birthday letters. She is on time, as befits a teacher. School starts at eight o'clock, and at seven thirty she takes care of her bedroom
15 to prepare their breakfast. Today on her birthday, expectation drives her out of bed earlier. Immediately after the attendant leaves, she steps out and examines the mail that has arrived. She flies through the congratulation cards of several of her students, lights the spirit lamp under her tea maker and sighs. Half an hour later she walks out of the house in her hat and coat, a shiny leather folder under her arm. There is a feeling of exhaustion and tiredness on her face. She used to look forward to her birthday for weeks beforehand. She didn't really know what to expect from that day, and yet that's how it went all these years. The eagerly awaited day came, and it brought her nothing but the depressing consciousness of having grown a year older again. In the school yard, she meets a few of her students and greets her. She nods to them, it is difficult for her to speak, something like a gag is holding her throat. She gives her lesson absent-mindedly. The derivation of the doctrinal phrases repeated hundreds of times fills them with disgust today. As she lets a little girl decline the word "build", she thinks of the untruth of the assertion that people get used to everything. No, in all these long years she has still not got used to this joyless, miserable existence. She'll never get used to it either, never. The child has long played down all the tenses of the abandoned word, and Elise is still sitting there in silence, her eyes absent-minded. "Fraulein Ganter overslept," whisper the little ones to each other. Finally the bell gives the longed-for sign of the end of school. The children hurry for the clothes racks. A noise and a hustle. An old, gray-haired girl awaits Elise under the gate. They eat in the same dining room. 33 Fraulein Haug is the best soul in the world, satisfied, cheerful, agreeable, popular with her colleagues and students. Elise is very good to her, only today, today she would rather be alone. The friendly features of the colleague fill her with impatience. She leaves the school building through another door. She has absolutely no air to eat. Today there are lentils with salted meat in your restaurant. The lentils are tasty, only now and then there are small stones under them. It's just pub food. They prepare indifferent hands. And Elish's mother always maintained that you can taste every dish, whether it is cooked with or without love. If the old woman was still alive! Elise bring tears to her eyes as she walks through remote alleys. She presses her lips together. My God! Actually, she shouldn't complain. She was already twenty when her mother died. Parents always die before their children. She lost her father when she was seven. He was a minor civil servant and died of pulmonary consumption. It cannot be denied that a bad luck star hovers over the Santer family. None of her was lucky in life. But she, she doesn't feel like lying in her grave patiently like her parents. She wants to experience something before she goes out of the world. Any luck, anything light. As she thinks this, her figure rises taller and her cheeks turn red. Some workers meet her and 34 stare at her. She is frightened and smiles at the same time. Something is stretching hot in her chest. she is ashamed
16 in front of yourself, and begins to run. Soon she will have reached her apartment. She hurries up the three flights of stairs, unlocks the door, hurls the school folder on the table, and sinks onto the sofa. Her face is buried in her hands. To be so unhappy! So left! So unnoticed by the whole world! And is she worse than all the others who are successful in society? The mirror tells her that her imposing tall figure with the fine features and the rich abundance of light blond hair almost deserves to be called beautiful. And her reputation is impeccable, her past free from any blemish. This last consciousness straightens her up again for a moment. Her mother always said: as long as a girl has received her honor, she can never feel completely unhappy. That is true, but why did she, especially she, could not find a man in the whole wide world who grew dear to her and led her into his house. What might that be? To be sure, she had never socialized with men of lower class, they did not exist for her, and those who were above her had always been kind but cold to meet her. Probably because she was poor. Someone had once told her that she was a beautiful, impeccable girl, but had no temperament. What did he mean by that? Temperament! 35 How do you get it? How do you use it? What does it actually mean? He had laughed at her questions at the time and had not answered them. And she had gone further in her cool blonde chastity. Today she was almost an old maid. In several years she can no longer hope to tie a man to herself. Then it's over.Then all hope is over. Your life will stay what it is: a lonely barren desert. My God, if not a garden full of roses, then a little flower of happiness! Just not so joyless, so terribly empty, even of memory. She gets up, goes to the chest of drawers, and presses a picture in a faded frame to her lips. "Forgive me, mother, but - I can no longer ..." She puts the picture back and paces up and down several times excitedly. There is no school this afternoon. She forgets that she has not had lunch yet, that it is already getting dark, that she still has seventy exercise books to correct ... Later she stepped out of the house. At that time she has never left the house. And in their best clothes. There was a strange trait around her lips, a defiant, challenging, completely new one ..... She took her way down the busiest street in town. "So this is where you live? A little far away. A very solid alley, eh?" "I think: yes. I think I'll be here right after my mother's death." "Has that been a long time?" "Yes - for a long time," - she wanted to say: fifteen years, but thought about it. Why did he need to know how old she was. She had mentioned earlier that she lost her mother when she was twenty. "Do you live with a family?"
17 "No, all alone." "So?" His eyes went searchingly into hers. She blushed and dropped her eyelashes. He stood for a moment, apparently undecided, then took off his hat. "Forgive me, madam, the boldness of having spoken to you, people are sometimes mistaken. Farewell." She pushed back the welling tears. "I'm not angry with you. You had to think something romantic about me. When you stroll so lonely in the evening! But I assure you, I sometimes stop - no, it was the first time today," she added with bursting honesty , "I just couldn't stand it because of the abandonment." The young man shook his head with a smile. 37 "I don't understand you, but - I don't want to compromise you. It's hard to make conversation here in front of the house." She winced slightly. Should she ask him up. Right after the first meeting - at this hour! No, it didn't work. "Tomorrow, at the same time as today, I'm going through the street where you spoke to me, maybe ... I'll meet you, then ..." She wanted to add something, but stopped. He measured her figure, her face with curious, questioning looks. She looked almost young at that moment, all over the place with shame. And the hard, determined pull around her mouth irritated him most. "I'll see you tomorrow," he said, bowed, and disappeared into the darkness. "You find me a riddle." "But I don't want to be you." It hung on his arm. They strolled through the dark suburban streets. "You are so concerned about my reputation," she scoffed. "I don't want to endanger your position." She pressed closer to him. What did she care about her position at that moment? She was in a frenzy.
18 She looked into the face of those she met with a triumphant smile. 38 If only she had met a lot of people, especially acquaintances! She seemed like a lucky child, like a favorite. Her wretched, humiliating abandonment was sunk, a man was leading her by the arm, a handsome young man. He had called himself Friedrich Bindter and indicated to her that he was employed in a large bank. But she cared little what his name was, who he was. He led her by the arm, he talked to her, he was interested in her. Little by little the hard trait disappeared from her face, and the whole haggard longing for love of her years broke out of her features. With blissful humility, a motherly soft tenderness, she answered all his questions, and let him look deeply into her life. She did not notice that her grateful manner, her softness, touched him unpopularly, that the more devotedly she talked to him, the cooler he became. The pull around her mouth that attracted him disappeared entirely. They stopped in front of their house. The pretty, brunette face of her companion leaned politely down to her. "A thousand thanks, my lady, maybe -" "You are probably going to another party," she said quickly. "No, I'm going straight home." "You know - then - we could ... if you really have nothing else in mind, we could spend an hour talking to me upstairs. If that's okay with you, that is," she added, embarrassed. He frowned. From everything she told him he had gained the conviction that he was looking at an innocent, naive, clumsy girl groping for happiness. And it happened to him as it had happened to other men with her. Out of a certain feeling of generosity, of compassion for their poverty and innocence, he wanted to withdraw. He hadn't felt a desire for her since he got to know her better. In general, her accommodating manner diminished the value of her personality in his eyes. One feels obligations to such girls, at least those of gratitude; Nor do you know what she is capable of in her simplicity and naivety if one day one continues down the street ... That was not what the pretty clerk from the well-known bank behind her had suspected. "It might have bad consequences for you, miss, if I visit you now," said he. "Leave the consequences to me." He looked puzzled. Her eyes shone, the veins on her neck bounced restlessly up and down. "So let us go."
19 He felt up the dark stairs. Upstairs she cleverly opened the door, lit the small, green-shielded lamp, and bade him sit down. 40 She sat down on a chair across from him. He let his eyes wander around the room. Everywhere there were delicate, white, crocheted protective doilies, fans with faded photographs, unmotivated bows and tufts of dried-up meadow flowers that she must have picked herself. The real old maid, he thought. And then he looked at her again, with her smooth, pure, blond face from which two soft, humble eyes looked at him. "Dear Miss," he said, and held out his hand across the table. She squeezed it hard. If she had begged him on her knees to be tender to her, he would have done it in these surroundings and not brought it to her. "Would you like a glass of water," she said after an embarrassed pause. She remembered that one should politely tell something to one's guest. Good-naturedly, he accepted a glass of water from her. He didn't know why himself, but the smell of lavender, the white doilies or the green lampshade took him back to his childhood, to his family. And as well-behaved and well-behaved as a well-bred boy, he sat on the sofa opposite the tall, blond girl, who in a low voice told him things that did not interest him at all. How did he get up there? 41 After half an hour he politely made his recommendation and stumbled down the three flights of stairs with a sigh of relief. After a week he had almost forgotten the experience. For them, on the other hand, it became more important every day. She recalled his every word, his good-natured voice. She enjoyed his handshake over and over again, and again and again the pleasant feeling it had crept into her. She saw his pretty face, how curious and at that time a little in love, it had inclined towards her on the first evening. With tender fingers she stroked Sophas's doilies, on which she thought she discovered dark hair. A week had passed without a sign of life from him. They never met because their agenda was very different. He didn't write, he didn't care about her any more. She suffered from pain. Also the! And against this she really had no pride to blame. But maybe she was still too proud after all. She addressed a few lines to him and asked him to come and visit. He knows how she has no boyfriend at all, and she would like to seek his advice on a matter. It was difficult for someone of some kindness not to answer. 42 Bindter wrote back a few lines. She asked him to come and see her the next afternoon. A servant brought his answer. He would come.
20 She became very excited and behaved completely headless during school hours. The next day she hurried home from the dining-house with the last bite in her mouth. Her cheeks were hot and little purple spots covered her face and neck. Her hands nervously fidgeted with her hair, trying to smooth it out even more. Finally she heard footsteps on the stairs. In his light summer suit, a wired rose in his buttonhole, the mirror-like cylinder in his hand, Bindter entered. "Good day Miss." "Good afternoon! It's very good of you -" "Oh please -" "Would you like to sit down, wouldn't you, the high stairs make you breathless." He sat down. "Oh no, not the stairs, I walked very quickly in general, I have a lot to do -." "I believe you, in such a big business. Do you have holidays in the year?" "Probably not, but I can still get a few days vacation if I ask for it." You do well. "" Sometimes; meanwhile, given my tight time: may I ask you what I can actually serve you with? "43 He moved impatiently on his chair. She played with the strings of the apron she had been wearing, embarrassed." Can serve? My God! I thought - but let's talk about you, not about me. "Her heated face with the swimming eyes annoyed him. She did not seem the slightest bit pretty. Add to that this motherly touched tone!" There is nothing to be said about me, "said he brags, "I thought you wanted something from me, otherwise I would not have come up." She winced, but quickly composed herself. "You know that I am very lonely -" He nodded. "Well, I want to the only friend I have - you - "" Me? "he cried in astonishment," but you don't know me in the least. "
21 "You spoke to me on the street, so I must be of interest to you." He blushed slightly. "Excuse me, I already confessed my error to you; for a few moments I took you for one of those creatures, excuse me, who -" "I didn’t hold that against you, as I said, I just mean , "she added with tenacious perseverance," that you should be pleasantly surprised at your error. " He forced a smile. She was getting more and more embarrassing to him every minute, and yet he was compelled to look good, for in fact, he, himself, had got himself into this situation by his stupidity. "So with what, dear Fraulein - -" he began again. She leaned back in the chair and showed him her impeccable, clean profile. "I'm fed up with this life, I want to start something new, something that fills me up, satisfies me. What do you think, what do you advise? Should I turn to the stage, I have a good alto voice, or should I be a writer? Man." says that nowadays anyone can become a writer if he only has style. I don't believe in this. What do you advise, what do you think? " Mr Bindter chewed on his mustache. It was on the tip of his tongue to say: But what the hell! my Miss, what is my business, what career you choose? Who and what are you to me? I wanted to talk to you for an hour, I realized at the first boring word you said that I was wrong about you, and I would now like to be left alone by you. You have no attraction for me. Neither to joke, nor less so to arouse an inclination in me. But Bindter wasn't a raw person. He even wondered for a second whether he had any friend to recommend her to. The fate of a lonely aging girl fills everyone with a certain compassion. "My dear Fraulein," said the good-naturedly, "you are embarrassing me. How should I know which profession is the best for a young lady, whom I must say I hardly know? Wouldn't it be more advisable, you?" turned to an older, more experienced woman? " "That is also a piece of advice," replied the teacher somewhat meekly, "you see, I - thought you might have siblings or other female acquaintances. I know colleagues, but they don't bless their profession either and prefer other things, but they do don't know what to do. So you have no siblings? " "No, I am the only son." "The only son! How that sounds! Your mother must be very attached to you." "Oh yes, we get on very well." "Do you live with her?"
22 "No." "Don't you? Ah, then she lives in another city?" "Not far from here, see you from time to time." 46 "So are you alone?" "Like most men my age," he threw off easily, "Chambregarnist." "Well, that will change soon." He looked at her. "How so?" "If you get married." "Ah so. Yes, that's true." "You already have a bride, don't you?" "At the moment - not." He smoothed his arm over his top hat. "My bride preferred someone else to me." "Is that possible?" Elise brought her hot face closer to his. "Is that possible? What unscrupulous person?" "She was seventeen years old and very beautiful. Her parents always wanted her to go high. During a trip I had to make, someone else won her heart." "You poor, poor!" The teacher held out her hand to him. He pretended not to see and got up. "Yes, you go through all sorts of things. So -" "You want to go? You know, ever since you told me that, you've been even closer to me. You too are as lonely as I am!" A smile slipped over his pretty dark face. 47 "Oh, I'm not that lonely, and I don't feel in the least unhappy either." "Truly not?" She looked at him carefully. "You will replace the unfaithful with a more loyal one ...." "Farewell, Miss." He took her hand and shook it. Their eyes fixed on him fearfully. "Farewell. Will I not see you again?"
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