Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XI. - Goethe's Works, vol. 5 (W. Meister's Travels; Elective Affinities)
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CHAPTER XI. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Goethe’s Works, vol. 5 (W. Meister’s Travels; Elective Affinities) 
Goethe’s Works, illustrated by the best German artists, 5 vols. (Philadelphia: G. Barrie, 1885). Vol. 5: W. Meister’s Travels; Elective Affinities.
Part of: Goethe’s Works, 5 vols.
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When Wilhelm had circumstantially and correctly discharged his commission, Lenardo replied, with a smile: “Much obliged as I am to you for what I hear from you, still I must add a question. Has not my aunt, in conclusion, further commissioned you to inform me of a seemingly trifling matter?”
The other reflected a moment. “Yes,” he then said, “I now recollect. She mentioned a young lady whom she called Valerina. Of her I had to tell you that she is happily married, and finds herself in a very desirable position.”
“You roll a stone from my heart,” replied Lenardo. “Now I willingly return home, because I need not fear that the recollection of this girl will make the place and spot a reproach to me.”
“It beseems me not to ask what relation you have had with her;” said Wilhelm; “enough, you may be at ease, if you should in any way sympathize with the fate of this girl.”
“It is the strangest relation in the world,” said Lenardo; “by no means a love affair, as one might easily fancy. I may well confide in and tell you what, in point of fact, is no story; but what will you think when I tell you that my hesitation to return, the fear of coming back to our home, those strange arrangements and questions as to how matters looked, really had the object only of finding out precisely how matters stood with this child.
“For, believe me,” he continued, “I otherwise know well enough that we can leave people whom we know, for a length of time, without finding them again materially altered, and so too I expect soon to feel myself again quite at home with my relatives. It was only the question of this single person, whose situation must have been altered, and has, thank Heaven! altered itself for the better.”
“You make me curious,” said Wilhelm. “You make me anticipate something quite strange.”
“I at least think it so,” replied Lenardo, and began his story as follows:
“I had from youth up cherished the firm resolve of making the usual tour through civilized Europe in my young days, but, as will happen, I deferred its execution from time to time. The present attracted me, held me, and the distant more and more lost its charm to me, the more I read or heard told about it. Yet at last, urged by my uncle, enticed by friends, who had gone into the world before me, the resolve was made, and in fact sooner than we were all well aware of.
“My uncle, who in point of fact had to contribute the most in order to make the journey possible, had at once no other object. You know him and his peculiarity, how he always drives only at one thing, and first sets that going whilst in the meantime everything else has to abide and be quiet, whereby he has really effected a great deal that might seem to be beyond the power of a single individual. This journey came upon him in some degree unexpectedly; but still he was able to collect himself at once. Certain buildings, that he had undertaken, nay, actually begun, were discontinued, and as he never likes to infringe on his savings, like a clever financier he looked about for some other expedients. The most convenient was to collect outstanding debts, especially rents in arrear, for this too was part of his method, that he was indulgent towards debtors, as long as he, to a certain point, was in no necessity himself. His steward received the list, and on him devolved the execution. About the details we heard nothing; only accidentally I heard that the tenant of one of our farms, with whom my uncle had long been patient, had at last been actually evicted, his caution money retained in scanty satisfaction for the deficiency, and that the land was to be leased to some one else. This man was one of the sect of the Quiet-in-the-land,”* but not, like his fellows, also prudent and active; beloved indeed for his piety and benevolence, but reproached for his weakness as a manager. On the death of his wife, a daughter, who was called simply the Nutbrown Maid, though she already promised to grow up active and determined, was far too young to take any decided measures. Enough, the man went down-hill, without my uncle’s indulgence having been able to prevent his fate.
“I had my journey in mind, and must needs approve of the means for that end. All was ready; the packing and untying went on, the moments sped on. One evening I once more strolled through the park, to take leave of the familiar trees and bushes, when all of a sudden Valerina crossed my path;—for so the girl was called; the other was but a nickname occasioned by her brown complexion. She stepped towards me.”
Lenardo stopped an instant, and mused. “Yet, what is the matter with me?” he said; “was she called Valerina? Yes, indeed,” he continued; “still, the nickname was the more usual one. Enough, the brown girl stepped towards me, and begged me warmly to interpose a kind word with my uncle for her father and for herself. As I knew how the matter stood, and saw well enough that it would be difficult, nay, impossible, at that moment to do anything for them, I spoke frankly to her, and put her father’s own delinquency in an unfavorable light.
“She answered me with so much clearness, and at the same time with so much daughterly indulgence and love, that she quite won my heart, and if the money had been my own, I should at once have made her happy by granting her request. But it was now a question of my uncle’s income; the arrangements were his, the orders his; according to his way of thinking, there was nothing to hope for from what had already happened. Hitherto I had always kept a promise sacred. Any one who asked anything of me put me in a difficulty. I had so accustomed myself to refuse, that I did not even promise what I intended to perform. This time, too, this habit stood me in good stead. Her motives rested on an individual case and on affection; mine on those of duty and reason, and I do not deny that in the end they seemed too severe even to myself. We had already repeated the same thing several times, without convincing one another, when distress made her more eloquent, and the inevitable ruin, that she saw before herself, forced tears from her eyes. Her composed demeanor did not entirely forsake her, but she spoke with animation, with emotion, and, whilst I still continued to feign coldness and indifference, her whole soul was revealed. I wished to end the scene, but all of a sudden she lay at my feet, had seized my hand, kissed it, and looked up at me so innocently and amiably imploring, that for the moment I forgot myself. Raising her from the ground I hurriedly said to her: ‘I will do what I possibly can: be quiet, my child!’ And then I turned into a side path.
“ ‘Do what is impossible!’ she called after me. I do not remember what I wanted to say, but I said, ‘I will,’ and stopped.
“ ‘Do!’ she cried suddenly, cheered with an expression of heavenly hope. I nodded to her and hurried away.
“I would not in the first instance apply to my uncle, for I knew him only too well: one must not venture to remind him of details when he was occupied with the whole. I sought the steward; he had ridden out. In the evening came guests—friends who wished to take leave. Playing and eating went on until deep into the night. They remained the following day, and the distraction blotted out the picture of the urgent petitioner. The steward returned; he was more busy and overworked than ever. Everyone was asking for him. He had no time to listen to me; still, I made an attempt to get hold of him; but scarcely had I mentioned the pious tenant to him, than he waved me off with some impatience. ‘Do not, for Heaven’s sake, say anything to your uncle about it, unless you want in the end to get into trouble yourself.’
“The day of my departure had been fixed; I had to write letters, to receive guests, to pay visits in the neighborhood. My people had up to this time sufficed for my service, but were by no means sufficiently dexterous in lightening the business of departure. Everything devolved upon myself; and yet, when the steward at last gave me an hour at night to settle our financial affairs, I once more ventured to intercede for Valerina’s father.
“ ‘Dear baron,’ said this active personage, ‘how can such a thing recur to you? I have to-day had a difficult business with your uncle; for what you require to get away from here amounts to much more than we thought. This is indeed quite natural, but yet awkward. In particular, the old gentleman has no pleasure, if a thing seems to be done, while a good deal still lags behind; yet it often happens, and the rest of us have to pay penalty for it. As regards the rigor with which outstanding debts have to be exacted, he has made a law for himself: he makes up his mind about it, and it would be difficult to induce him to give in. Don’t do it, I beg you! It would be altogether in vain.’
“I allowed myself to be deterred from my request, but not entirely. I besought him, since the execution depended upon him, to go kindly and indulgently to work. He promised everything, after the fashion of such persons, in order to have peace for the moment. He got rid of me; the hurry, the distraction increased. I sat in the carriage, and turned my back on every sympathy that I might have at home.
“A lively impression is like any other wound; one does not feel it as one receives it. Only later it begins to pain and to fester. So it was in my case in regard to the scene in the grounds. Every time that I was alone or unoccupied the image of the imploring girl arose like a vivid picture before my soul, with all its surroundings, with every tree and bush, the place where she knelt, and the path down which I turned to get away from her. It was an indelible impression, that indeed could be overshaded and veiled by other images and sympathies, but never be eradicated. It always arose new at every quiet hour, and the longer it lasted the more painfully I felt the guilt with which I had loaded myself against my principles, against my habit—although not expressly, but only blunderingly, for the first time involved in such a case.
“I did not fail, in my first letters, to ask our agent how the affair had turned out. He was some time in answering. Then he evaded replying on this point, then his words were equivocal; at last he was altogether silent. The distance between us increased; more objects intervened between me and my home; my attention was claimed for many observations and many sympathies; the image disappeared, and the girl, almost to her very name. The remembrance of her occurred more seldom, and my fancy not to communicate with my people through letters, but only by means of tokens, contributed much to make my former state of mind, with all its accompanying conditions, almost disappear. Now, only as I approach nearer home, when I am thinking of reimbursing my family, with interest, what they have hitherto been content to dispense with, now I am again assailed by this wonderful remorse (I must even call it wonderful), in all its force. The image of the girl is renewed with the images of my friends, and I dread nothing more than to hear that she has succumbed in the misfortune into which I plunged her; for my neglect appeared to me a help towards her ruin, a hastening of her sad fate. I have already said to myself a thousand times, that this feeling was in reality only a weakness, that, long ago, I had been impelled to make the rule never to give a promise solely from fear of repentance, and not from any more noble feeling. And now even the repentance, which I shunned, seems to take its revenge on me, laying hold of this instance instead of a thousand others to torture me. At the same time the image, the picture, that tortures me, is so pleasant, so sweet, that I willingly linger over it. And when I think about it, then the kiss, which she impressed upon my hand, seems still to burn me.”
Lenardo was silent, and Wilhelm replied quickly and cheerfully: “Then I could not have shown you any greater service than by the supplement to my message, just as the most interesting part of a letter may often be contained in the postscript. Indeed, I know but little about Valerina, for I heard her only casually mentioned; but she is certainly the wife of a well-to-do landowner, and lives happy, as your aunt assured me at parting.”
“Capital!” said Lenardo; “now, nothing holds me back: you have absolved me, and we will at once set off to my family, who, moreover, have been waiting for me longer than is right.”
Wilhelm replied to this: “Unfortunately I am not able to accompany you; for a special obligation devolves on me, never to rest longer than three days, and not to revisit the places that I leave within one year. Pardon me, if I dare not explain to you the reason of this singularity.”
“I am very sorry,” said Lenardo, “that we should lose you so soon, and that I am unable to assist you in anything. Still, since you have once set yourself in the way to do me good, you would make me very happy if you would go and see Valerina, inform yourself precisely about her affairs, and then, either by letter or word of mouth—for a third place of meeting can easily be found—would give me, for the sake of my peace of mind, a circumstantial report.”
This scheme was further discussed; Wilhelm had been told Valerina’s place of abode. He undertook to go and see her; another place was appointed, whither the baron was to come, and also bring with him Felix, who in the meantime had remained behind with the ladies.
Lenardo and Wilhelm, riding side by side, had pursued their way for some time, with varied conversation, through pleasant meadows, when they once more approached the carriage road, and overtook the baron’s carriage, which was to wend its way homewards in company with its master. Here the friends decided to part, and Wilhelm in a few friendly words took leave, and once more promised the baron to write him speedy news from Valerina.
“When I consider,” replied Lenardo, “that it would only be a little way round, if I accompanied you, why should I not go and see Valerina myself. Why not personally convince myself of her happy condition? You were so kind as to offer your services as a messenger; why should you not be my companion? For a companion I must have, a moral support, just as one obtains legal assistance when one does not consider one’s self quite equal to the matter of law.”
Wilhelm’s objections, that as the long-absent one was being waited for at home it might make a singular impression if the carriage returned empty, and aught else of the same kind, could not prevail with Lenardo, and Wilhelm had at last to accept the part of a companion, with no pleasant thoughts as to the consequences that were to be feared. The servants, therefore, were instructed as to what they would have to say on arrival, and the friends presently struck the road that led to Valerina’s dwelling. The neighborhood seemed rich and fruitful, and the true home of agriculture. Thus, in the ground belonging to Valerina’s husband, the soil was thoroughly good, and tilled with great care.
Wilhelm had time to inspect the landscape closely, while Lenardo rode in silence by his side.
At last the latter began: “Another in my place would perhaps try to approach Valerina unknown; for it is always a painful sensation to present one’s self to those whom one has offended; but I will rather endure that, and bear the reproach that I fear from her first glances, than screen myself from it by disguise and falsehood. Falsehood may put us in as great an embarrassment as truth; and when we strike a balance of how often one or the other avails us, it will always prove worth our while once for all to resign ourselves to truth. Let us therefore go forward confidently; I shall give my name, and introduce you as my friend and companion.”
They had now reached the farmhouse, and dismounted in the yard. A fine-looking man, simply clad, whom they could have known for a farmer, came towards them and announced himself as the master of the house. Lenardo gave his name, and the farmer seemed highly delighted to see him and to make his acquaintance. “What will my wife say,” he exclaimed, “when she sees again the nephew of her benefactor! She cannot imagine or describe all that she and her father owe your uncle!”
What strange ideas forthwith crossed each other in Lenardo’s mind! “Does this man, who seems so honest, conceal his bitterness behind a friendly face and smooth words? Is he able to utter his reproaches with such a pleasant outward aspect? For has not my uncle made this family unhappy? And can it have remained unknown to him? Or—as it occurred to him with quick hopefulness—did the affair turn out less badly than you think? For, after all, you have never received any precise information.” Such suppositions alternated to and fro, whilst the master of the house caused the horses to be harnessed, in order to fetch his wife, who was paying a visit in the neighborhood.
“If, in the meantime, until my wife returns, I may entertain you after my fashion, and at the same time continue my work, take a few steps into the field with me, and see how I manage my business; for surely to you, as a great landowner, nothing can be more attractive than the noble science, the noble art, of tilling the soil.”
Lenardo did not object; Wilhelm was glad to instruct himself; and the farmer kept his land and soil, which he occupied and owned without let or hindrance, in perfectly good order. Whatever he undertook was calculated for the end in view; what he sowed and planted was thoroughly in the right place; he knew how to explain so clearly all the treatment and the reasons, that anybody could understand it, and would have thought it possible to do and achieve the same—an illusion into which we easily fall when we look at a master who does everything with ease.
The strangers showed themselves highly satisfied, and could bestow nothing but praise and approval. This he took thankfully and kindly, but still added, “But now I must also show you my weak side, which indeed is always observable in anyone who devotes himself exclusively to one object.”
He took them into his yard, showed them his implements, his stock of these, as well as the stock of all imaginable appliances, and what appertained to them. “I am often blamed,” he said, “for going too far in these things; but indeed I cannot reproach myself on that account. Happy is he to whom his business also becomes his toy, who at last actually plays and enjoys himself in what his situation has made a duty.”
The two friends were not wanting in questions and inquiries. Wilhelm particularly enjoyed the general remarks, to which this man seemed addicted, and did not fail to reply to them; whilst Lenardo, more absorbed in himself, was quietly sympathizing with Valerina’s happiness—which in this state of things he took for granted—yet with a feeling of uneasiness, of which he could give no account to himself.
They had already returned to the house, when the hostess’s carriage drove up. They hurried towards it; but how astonished, how shocked was Lenardo, when he beheld her dismount. It was not she; it was not the Nutbrown Maid: nay, just the reverse—a fine slim figure enough, it is true, but fair, with all the advantages peculiar to fair women.
This beauty, this grace, shocked Lenardo. His eyes had sought the brown maiden; now there beamed on him quite a different one. He remembered these features, too; her address, her manner relieved him soon of every uncertainty—it was the daughter of the lawyer, who was held by the uncle in great esteem, on which account he had also done a good deal towards setting up and helping the young couple.
All this, and more too, was joyfully recounted by the young woman as an introductory greeting, and with a delight such as the surprise of recognition calls forth without restraint. They inquired whether they remembered each other; they discussed the alterations in appearance, that are perceptible enough in persons of this age. Valerina had always been charming, but was in the highest degree amiable when joy drew her out of her ordinary indifferent mood. The party became talkative, and the conversation so lively, that Lenardo could recover himself and hide his astonishment. Wilhelm, to whom his friend had soon given a hint about this strange occurrence, did his best to help him; and Valerina’s little vanity, that the baron had remembered her, even before he had seen his own people, did not allow her to entertain the least suspicion, that any other intention or a misunderstanding was involved.
They remained together until late at night, although the two friends were longing for a confidential conversation, which began then and there, as soon as they were alone together in the guest-chamber.
“It seems,” said Lenardo, “that I am not to be relieved of my anxiety. An unfortunate confusion of names, as I perceive, increases it. This fair beauty I have often seen playing with the brown one, who could not be called a beauty; aye, even I myself, although much older, used to run about with them in the fields and gardens. Neither of them made the slightest impression upon me; I have only remembered the name of one of them, and bestowed it on the other. Now I find the one who does not interest me, after her own fashion happy beyond measure, whilst the other has been cast upon the wide world, who knows whither!”
On the following morning the friends were up almost earlier than the active farm-people. The pleasure of seeing her guests had also awakened Valerina betimes. She did not apprehend in what frame of mind they came to breakfast.
Wilhelm, who saw well that Lenardo remained in a most painful state, without any information about the Nutbrown Maid, turned the conversation to pastimes, to games, to the locality, which he himself knew, to other recollections—so that Valerina at last quite naturally came to mention the Nutbrown Maid, and pronounced her name.
Scarcely had Lenardo heard the name of Nachodina, than he remembered it perfectly; but also, with the name, the image of the supplicant returned to him with such an overwhelming power, that everything else became quite unendurable as Valerina with warm sympathy related the eviction of the pious tenant, his resignation, and his departure, and how he had leaned upon his daughter, who carried a little bundle. Lenardo thought that he should faint. Unfortunately, and at the same time fortunately, Valerina expatiated upon certain circumstances, which although they wounded Lenardo’s heart, still made it possible for him, with the assistance of his companion, to show some presence of mind.
They took leave amidst many and sincere requests on the part of husband and wife that they would return soon, and half-feigned assent on the part of the two guests. And as with a man who has a good opinion of himself everything turns to his advantage, so Valerina finally interpreted Lenardo’s silence, his visible distraction at parting, his hurried departure, in her own favor; and although the faithful and loving wife of an excellent farmer, she still could not help feeling a certain complacency in the reawakened or newly-born inclination, as she took it to be—of her former landlord.
After this strange occurrence, Lenardo said: “With such fine hopes, to have been shipwrecked so close to the harbor! The only thing that can now in any degree cheer me up, tranquillize me for the moment, and let me present myself to my people, is the consideration that Heaven has sent you to me—you, to whom from the nature of your own peculiar mission, it is indifferent whither or to what purpose it directs your path. Do you then undertake to find Nachodina, and give me news of her. If she is happy, then I am content; if she is unhappy, then help her at my expense. Act without misgiving; spare, omit nothing.”
“But towards what quarter of the earth,” said Wilhelm, laughing, “must I direct my steps? If you yourself have no idea, how shall I be endowed therewith?”
“Look here!” answered Lenardo, “last night, when you saw me pacing restlessly to and fro, passionately upsetting both my heart and head about the matter, there came to my mind an old friend, a worthy man, who without exactly tutoring me, has had a great influence upon my youth. I should like to have had him, at least for some time, as a travelling companion, if he had not been extraordinarily bound to his home by the most beautiful rarities of art and antiquity, which he only leaves for a few moments at a time. He, I know, enjoys an extensive acquaintance with everything that in this world is bound by any worthy clue; you hasten to him, tell him all that I have said, and it remains to be hoped, that his kindly feeling will suggest to him some place, some region, where she may be found. In my trouble it occurred to me, that the father of the child belonged to the denomination of Pietists; and, at the moment, I became sufficiently pious to apply myself to the moral ordering of this world, and to pray that in the present case, it may, with miraculous grace, reveal itself for once in my own favor.”
“But there is still a difficulty,” replied Wilhelm, “that remains to be solved. What must I do with my Felix? For I should not like to take him about with me upon a so utterly uncertain mission, and yet I should not like to part with him, for it seems to me that the son nowhere develops himself better than in the presence of the father.”
“By no means!” replied Lenardo; “this is a kindly paternal error. The father always retains a kind of despotic relation towards the son, whose virtues he does not recognize, and in whose faults he takes pleasure; on which account even the ancients used to say, that the sons of heroes turned out good-for-nothings, and I have seen enough of the world to make up my mind as to that matter. Happily our old friend, to whom I will at once give you a hurried letter, will also be able to suggest the best solution of this matter. When years ago I saw him last, he told me a great deal about a certain pedagogic association which I could only consider a kind of Utopia; it seemed to me as if, under the image of reality, a series of ideas, thoughts, proposals and intentions, were meant, which were really connected, but which in the ordinary course of things would be rather difficult to meet with. But because I know him, and because he likes to realize by means of images what is possible and impossible, I approved of it, and now it will serve our purpose; he is certainly able to indicate to you the place and surroundings to which you can confidently intrust your boy, and hope the best from a wise training.”
Conversing together in this manner as they rode, they came in view of a noble villa; its construction in a pleasantly sombre style, with an open space in front, and somewhat farther, a dignified surrounding of well-grown trees. Doors and shutters, however, were everywhere closed; all was deserted, yet at the same time looked in good condition. From an elderly man, who seemed to be employed at the entrance, they learned that this was the inheritance of a young man, to whom it had been left by his father, who had died quite recently at a very advanced age.
On further inquiry, they were informed that to the heir it unfortunately seemed all too complete: nothing was left for him to do, and that to enjoy things ready at hand was by no means his fashion; that therefore he had sought out for himself a locality nearer to the mountains, where he had built log huts for himself and his companions, and intended to found a kind of hunters’ hermitage. As far as concerned their informant they gathered that he was the hereditary steward, and took the most punctilious care for the preservation and cleanliness of the premises, in order that a grandson, succeeding to the tastes and the possession of the grandfather, might find everything just as the latter had left it.
Having for some time pursued their road in silence, Lenardo commenced with the observation, that it was a peculiarity inherent in man to want to begin at the beginning; upon which his friend replied, that this was an easy thing to explain, and allow for, because in a strict sense everyone really did begin from the beginning.
“And yet,” he exclaimed, “if to none are the sufferings remitted with which his ancestors were tortured, can you blame him for not wanting to have anything to do with their pleasures?”
Lenardo thereupon replied, “You encourage me to confess that in reality I do not like to work at anything but what I have myself created. I never liked a servant whom I had not educated from a child, or a horse that I had not myself broken in. In consequence of this mode of thinking, I will also willingly confess that I am irresistibly drawn towards primitive conditions; that my travels through all highly civilized lands and people have not availed to blunt these feelings; that my imagination seeks a pleasure beyond the sea, and that a hitherto neglected family possession in those young countries allows me to hope that a plan of mine, conceived in solitude and gradually maturing in accordance with my wishes, will at last be executed.”
“I have nothing to object to this,” Wilhelm replied; “an idea of this kind, turned towards what is new and unsettled, has something peculiar and great about it. I only beg you to reflect, that such an enterprise can only succeed for a community. You cross the sea, and there find family possessions ready, I know; my friends entertain similar plans, and have already settled there. Associate yourself with these prudent, wise, and strong people; for both sides the matter will thereby be lightened and enlarged.”
With conversation of this kind the friends reached the spot where they must now really separate. They both sat down to write; Lenardo recommended his friend to the singular man above-mentioned, and Wilhelm described to his colleagues the position of his new associate, out of which naturally enough arose a letter of recommendation, in which, in conclusion, he also urged the matter that he had discussed with Jarno, and further set forth the reasons for which he wished to be freed as soon as possible from the inconvenient condition that stamped him as a wandering Jew. In reading these letters to each other, Wilhelm could not refrain from again bringing home to his friend certain other doubts.
“I consider it,” he said, “in my position the most enviable duty to free you, noble-hearted man, from a state of mental anxiety, and at the same time to rescue a human creature from misery, if she happen to be therein. Such an aim one might regard as a star, by which we sail, even whilst ignorant of what may happen to us, or what we may meet on the road. Still, I cannot hide from myself the danger to which in any case you are always exposed. If you were not a man who absolutely declines to pledge his word, I would require of you the promise never again to see this female, who will cost you so dear; to content yourself, if I inform you that she is well, in case I should be fortunate enough to ascertain that she is really happy, or am able to contribute to her happiness. But, since I neither can nor will induce you to make any promise, I implore you, by all that is dear to you and holy, for the sake of yourself and your people, and of myself, your newly-acquired friend, never to allow yourself any approach to that lost maiden on any pretext whatever; nor to ask me to indicate circumstantially, or even name the place, where I may find her, or the neighborhood where I leave her. You must only believe my word that she is well, and therewith be relieved and set at rest.”
Lenardo laughed and replied: “Only do me this service, and I shall be grateful. You shall have the credit for what you can and will do, and leave me to time, to common sense, and if possible to reason.”
“Pardon me,” Wilhelm replied; “he who knows under what strange forms inclination insinuates itself into us, must feel concerned when he foresees that a friend may wish for that which, in his condition and in his circumstances, must necessarily bring about misfortune and confusion.”
“I hope,” said Lenardo, “that if I know that the girl is happy, I shall be done with her.” The friends then separated, each in his own direction.
[* ] A religious sect so called. See Goethe’s Autobiography (trans. vol. i. p. 30).