CHAPTER III. - Bräsig arrived in good time next morning to go to Pümpelhagen with Hawermann.

Bräsig arrived in good time next morning to go to Pümpelhagen with Hawermann. Mrs. Nüssler was sitting in the porch paying the farm-servants, and Joseph was sitting beside her smoking while she worked. — Neither of the old people had come down yet, for the grandmother had said to her daughter-in-law, she, at least, could not join them in the parlour, for she had nothing to put on her head; and the grandfather had said, they could all be quite happy without him. — "That's really kind of them," said Bräsig. "There's no fear of our dinner being spoilt now by their bad temper, for, Mrs. Nüssler, I'm going to spend the day with Charles. — Come, Charles, we must be off. — Goodbye little round-heads."

When they were out in the yard Bräsig stood still, and said: "Look, Charles, did you ever see anything more like the desert of S'ara? One heap of manure here and another there! And look, that's the drain old Joseph cut from the farm-yard to the village horsepond. And as for the roofs," he continued, "they have enough straw to make new ones, but the old people think money expended on thatching sheer waste. I come here often, and for two reasons; firstly because of my stomach, and secondly because of my heart. I've always found that well cooked food is not only pleasant to the taste, but also produces a wholesome exhilaration when followed by one of the little rages I generally get Into here. And I come here for the sake of your sister and the little round-heads. I know that I am of use to her, for young Joseph just rolls on smoothly like the wheel of the coach that runs every winter from here to Rostock. How I should like to have him as leader in a three horse team, harnessed into a farm cart, and then drive him with my whip!" — "Ah!" said Hawermann as they came to a field, "they've got very good wheat here." — "Yes, it's pretty fair, but what do you think they were going to have had there instead? — Rye! — And for what reason? Simply because old Joseph had sown rye in that field every year for twenty one years!" — "Does their farm extend to the other side of the hill?" — "No, Charles, it isn't quite such a fat morsel as all that, like bacon fried in butter and eaten with a spoon ! No, no, the wheat on the top of the hill is mine." — "Ah, well, it's odd how soon one forgets. — Then your land comes down as far as this?" — "Yes, Charles; Warnitz is a long narrow estate, it extends from here on the one side as far as Haunerwiem on the other. Now stand still for a moment, I can show you the whole lie of the country from this point. Where we are standing belongs to your brother-in-law, his land reaches from my wheat-field up there to the right, as far as that small clump of fir-trees to the left. You see, Rexow is quite a small farm, there are only a few more acres belonging to it on the other side of the village. To the right up there is Warnitz; and in front of us, where the fallow ground begins, is Pümpelhagen; and down there to the left, behind the little clump of firs, is Gürlitz."— "Then Warnitz is the largest?" — "No, Charles, you've mistaken me there. Pümpelhagen is the best estate in the neighbourhood, the wheat-land there produces forty-two loads, and that is eight more than Warnitz can show. It would be a blessing if all the other places were like it. The Counsellor is a good man, and understands farming, but you see his profession obliges him to live in Schwerin, so he can't attend to Pümpelhagen. He has had a good many bailiffs of one kind or another. He came into the estate when everything was very dear, and there are a considerable number of apothecaries*) on it, so that he must often feel in want of money, and all the more so that his wife is extravagant, and likes to live in a constant whirl of gaiety. He is a worthy man and kind to his people, and although the von Rambows are of very old family — my master, the Count, often asks him to dinner, and he will not admit any but members of the nobility to the honour of his acquaintance — he goes about quite doucimang, and makes no fuss about his position."

*) A mortgage or lien.

Hawermann listened attentively to all that was said, for if he succeeded in getting the place of bailiff, these things would all be of importance to him, but his thoughts soon returned to the subject of his greatest present anxiety. — "Bräsig," he said, "who is the best person to take charge of my little girl?" — "I can't think of anyone. I'm afraid that we must take her to the town to Kurz. Mrs. Kurz is an excellent woman, and he, well he is a good hand at a bargain like all tradesmen. — Only think, he sold me a pair of trousers last year. — I wanted them for Sundays — they were a sort of chocolate colour: well listen: the first morning I put them on, I went through the clover-field, and when I came out of it, my trousers were as red as lobsters, as high as the knee — bright scarlet I assure you. And then he sent me some kummel, it was Prussian made, wretched sweet stuff, and very bad. I returned it, and told him a bit of my mind. But he won't take the trousers back, and tells me he never wore them. Does the fellow imagine that I will wear red trousers? — Look, Charles, that's Gürlitz down there to the left." — "And that, I suppose, is Gürlitz churchsteeple?" asked Hawermann. — "Yes!" said Bräsig, raising his eye-brows till they were hidden by the brim of his hat — he always wore a hat on Sunday — and opening his mouth as wide as he could, he stared at Hawermann as if he wanted to look him through and through. "Charles," he exclaimed, "you spoke of Gürlitz church-steeple, and as sure as your nose is in the middle of your face the parson at Gürlitz must take your child." — "Parson Behrens?" asked Hawermann. — "Yes, the same Parson Behrens who taught you and me at old Knirkstadt." — "Ah, Bräsig, I was just wishing last night that such a thing were possible." — "Possible? He must do it. It would be the best thing in the world for him to have a little child toddling about his knees, and growing up under his care, for he has no children of his own, has let all the glebe land, and has nothing whatever to do but to read his books and study, till any other man would see green and yellow specks dancing before his eyes even with looking at him from a distance. It would be a capital thing for him, and Mrs. Behrens is so fond of children that the little ones in the village cling to her skirts whenever she goes there. She is also a most excellent worthy woman, and so cheerful that she and your sister get on capitally together." —

"If it could only be," cried Hawermann. "What do we not both owe that man Zachariah, don't you remember that when he was assistant to the clergyman at Knirkstädt, he held an evening class during the winter, and taught reading and writing, and how kind he always was to us stupid boys?" — "Yes, Charles, and how Samuel Pomuchelskopp used to get behind the stove and snore till he nearly took the roof off, while we were learning the three R's. Don't you remember when we got to the rule of three in our sums, and tried to get the fourth unknown quantity? Ah yes, in quickness I had the best of it, but in correctness, you had. You got on better than I did in o'thography, but in style, in writing letters, and in High German, I was before you. And in these points I'm much improved since then, for I've made them my study, and of course every one has his own speshialitee. Whenever I see the parson I feel bound to thank him for having educated me so well, but he always laughs and says he owes me far more for letting his glebe at such a good rent for him. He is on very friendly terms with me, and if you settle down here, I'll take you to call and then you'll see it for yourself."

Meanwhile they had reached Pümpelhagen, and Bräsig took Hawermann quite under his protection as they crossed the court-yard, and addressing the old butler, asked if his master was at home and able to see them. — He would announce the gentlemen, was the servant's reply, and say that Mr. Farm-bailiff Bräsig was there. — "Yes," said Bräsig. — "You see, Charles, that he knows me, and the Counsellor knows me also — and — did you notice? — announce! That's what the nobility always have done when any one calls on them, My lord the Count has three servants to announce his visitors; that is to say, one servant announces to another who it is that has called, and the valet tells his lordship. Sometimes queer mistakes are made, as with the huntsman the other day. The first footman announced to the second: 'The chief huntsman,' and the second added the word 'master,' and the third announced the arrival of a 'grandmaster of the huntsmen.' So the Count came forward very cordially to receive the strange gentleman who had come to see him, and — he found no one but old Tibäul the rat-catcher."

The butler now returned and showed the two friends into a good-sized room, tastefully, but not luxuriously furnished, and in the centre of the room was a large table covered with papers and accounts. A tall thin man was standing beside the table when they entered; he was a thoughtful-looking, gentlemannered man, and the same simplicity was observable in his dress as in the furniture of his room. He appeared to be about fifty-two or three, and his hair was of an iron grey colour; he was perhaps short-sighted, for, as he went forward to receive his visitors, he picked up an eye-glass that was lying on the table, but without using it: "Ah, Mr. Bräsig," he said quietly, "what can I do for you?" — Uncle Bräsig now involved himself in such a labyrinth of words in his desire to speak grandly as befitted his company, that he would never have extricated himself if the squire had not come tot the rescue. Looking more attentively at Hawermann he said: "You want . . . . . ? but," he interrupted himself, I ought to know you. — Wait a moment. Were you not serving your apprenticeship twelve years ago on my brother's estate?" — "Yes, Sir, and my name is Hawermann." — "Of course it is. And to what do I owe the pleasure of seeing you here?" — "I heard that you were looking out for a farm-bailiff, and as I was in want of just such a place " — "But I thought you had a farm in Pomerania?" interrupted the squire. — Now was the time for Bräsig to speak if he was going to say anything of importance, so he exclaimed: "It's quite true, Mr. Counsellor von Rambow that he had one, had it, but has it no longer, and it's no use crying over spilt milk. Like many other farmers he met with inverses, and the hardness and wickedness of his landlord ruined him. — What do you think of that, Sir?"

At this moment there was a loud shout of laughter behind Bräsig's back, and when he turned round to see who it was he found himself face to face with a boy of ten or twelve years old. Mr. von Rambow also smiled, but fortunately it never occurred to Bräsig that their amusement could mean anything but satisfaction with a well delivered speech, so he went on seriously: "And then he came a regular cropper." — "I'm very sorry to hear it," said Mr. von Rambow. "Yes," he continued with a sigh, "these are very hard times for farmers, I only hope they'll change soon. But now to business — Alick, just run upstairs and see if breakfast is ready. It is quite true that I am looking out for a new bailiff, as I have been obliged to part with the last man, because of — well, his carelessness in keeping accounts — but," said he, as his son opened the door and announced that breakfast was ready, "you hav'n't had breakfast yet, we can finish our talk while we eat it." He went to the door, and standing there signed to his guests to precede him. — "Charles," whispered Bräsig, "didn't I tell you? Quite like one of ourselves?" But when Hawermann quietly obeyed the squire's sign and went out first, he raised his eyebrows up to his hair, and stretched out his hand as though to pull his friend back by his coat-tails. Then sticking out one of his short legs and making a low bow, he said, "Pardon me — I couldn't think of it — The Counsellor always has the paw." — His way of bowing was no mere form, for as he had a long body and short legs it was both deep and reverential.

Mr. von Rambow went on first to escape his guest's civilities, and Bräsig brought up the rear. The whole business was talked over in all its bearings during breakfast; Hawermann got the place of bailiff with a good salary to be raised in five or six years, and only one condition was made, and that was that he should enter on his duties at once. The new bailiff promised to do so, and the following day was fixed for taking stock of everything in and about the farm, so that both he and his employer might know how matters stood before the squire had to leave Pümpelhagen. Then Bräsig told the "sad life-story" of the old thorough-bred, which had come down to being odd horse about the farm, and which he "had had the honour of knowing from its birth," and told how it "had spavin, grease and a variety of other ailments, and so had been reduced to dragging a cart for its sins." — After that he and Hawermann took leave of Mr. von Rambow.

"Bräsig," said Hawermann, "a great load has been taken off my heart. Thank God, I shall soon be at work again, and that will help me to bear my sorrow. — Now for Gürlitz — Ah, if we are only as fortunate there." — "Yes, Charles, you may well say you are fortunate, for you are certainly wanting in the knowledge of life and fine tact that are necessary for any one to possess who has to deal with: the nobility. How could you, how could you go out of the room before the Counsellor?" — "I only did as he desired me, Bräsig, and I was his guest, not his servant then. I wouldn't do so now, and believe me, he'll never ask me to do it again." — "Well, Charles, let me manage the whole business for you at the parsonage. I'll do it with the greatest finesse." — "Certainly Bräsig, it will be very kind of you to do it for me; if it were not for my dear little girl, I should never have the courage to ask such a favour. If you will take the task off my shoulders, I shall look upon it as the act of a true friend."

When they passed Gürlitz church they heard from the singing that service was still going on, so they determined to wait in the parsonage till it was over, but on entering the sitting-room, a round active little woman of about forty years old came forward to receive them. Everything about her was round, arms and fingers, head, cheeks and lips; and her round eyes twinkled so merrily in her round smiling face that one would at once jump to the conclusion that she had never known sorrow, and her every action was so cheery and full of life that one could easily see that she had a warm heart in her breast. "How d'ye do, Mr. Bräsig, sit down, sit down. My pastor is still in church, but he would scold me if I allowed you to go away. — Sit down. Sir — who are you? — I should have liked to have gone to church to-day, but only think, the clergyman's seat broke down last Sunday; lots of people go to it, you see, and one can't say ‘no,’ and old Prüsshawer, the carpenter, who was to have mended it this week, is down with a fever." — Her words poured out smoothly like polished billiard-balls rolled by a happy child over the green cloth.

Bräsig now introduced Hawermann as Mrs. Nüssler's brother. "And so you are her brother Charles. Do sit down, my pastor will be delighted to see you. — Whenever Mrs. Nüssler comes here she tells us something about you, and always in your praise — Mr. Bräsig can vouch for that. Good gracious, Bräsig, what have you got to do with my hymn-book? Just put it down, will you. You never read such things, you are nothing but an old heathen. These are hymns for the dying, and what are hymns for the dying to you? You are going to live for ever. You're not a whit better than the wandering Jew! — One has to think of death sometimes, and as our seat is broken, and the old carpenter has a fever, I have been reading some meditations for the dying." — While saying this she quickly picked up her books and put them away, carefully going through the unnecessary ceremony of dusting a spotless shelf before laying them down on it. — Suddenly she went to the door leading to the kitchen, and stood there listening; then exclaiming: "I was sure I heard it. The soup's boiling over," hastened from the room. — "Well, Charles — wasn't I right? Isn't she a cheery, wholesome — natured woman? — I'll go and arrange it all for you," and he followed Mrs. Behrens to the kitchen.

Hawermann looked round the room, and admired the cleanly, comfortable, home-like, and peaceful look of everything around him. Over the sofa was a picture of our Saviour, and encircling it, above and below, were portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Behrens' relations, some coloured, some black, some large, and some small. In the picture of our Lord, His hands were raised in blessing, so Mrs. Behrens had hung the portraits of her relatives beneath it that they might have the best of the blessing, for she always regarded herself as the "nearest." She had hung her own portrait, taken when she was a girl, and that of her husband in the least prominent place over against the window, but God's sun, which shone through the white window-curtains, and gilded the other pictures, lighted up these two first of all. There was a small book-case containing volumes of sacred and profane literature all mixed up together, but they looked very well indeed, for they were arranged more in accordance with the similarity of their bindings, than with that of their contents. Let no one imagine that Mrs. Behrens did not care for reading really good standard works, because she spoke the Provincial German of her neighbourhood. Whoever took the trouble to open one of the books, which had a mark in it, would see that she was quite able to appreciate good writing, and her cookery-book showed that she studied her own subjects as thoroughly as her husband did his, for the book was quite full of the notes and emendations she had written at the sides of the pages in the same way as Mr. Behrens made notes in his books. As for her husband's favourite dishes she "knew them," she said, "by heart, and had not to put in a mark to show where they were to be found."

And it was in this quiet home that Hawermann's little daughter was to spend her childhood, if God let him have his wish. The raised hands in the Saviour's picture would seem to bless his little girl, and the sunlight would shine upon her through these windows, and in those books she would read what great and good men had written, and by their help would gradually waken from childish dreams into the life and thoughts of womanhood. —

As he was sitting there full of alternating hopes and fears, Mrs. Behrens came back, her eyes red with weeping: "Don't say another word, Mr. Hawermann, don't say another word. Bräsig has told me all, and though Bräsig is a heathen, he is a good man, and a true friend to you and yours. And my pastor thinks the same as I do, I know that, for we have always been of one mind about everything. My goodness, what hard-hearted creatures the old Nüsslers are," she added, tapping her foot impatiently on the floor. — "The old woman," said Bräsig, "is a perfect harpy." — "You're right, Bräsig, that's just what she is. My pastor must try to touch the conscience of the two old people; I don't mean about the little girl, she will come here and live with us, or I know nothing of my pastor." —

Whilst Hawermann was expressing his deep gratitude to Mrs. Behrens her husband came in sight. She always talked of him as "her" pastor, because he belonged to her soul and body, and ''pastor'' because of his personal and official dignity. He had nothing on his head, for those high soft caps that our good protestant clergy now wear in common with the Russian popes were not the fashion at that time, in the country at least, and instead of wide bands, resembling the white porcelain plate on which the daughter of Herodias received the head of John the Baptist from her stepfather, he wore little narrow bands, which his dear wife Regina had sewed, starched and ironed for him in all Christian humility, and these little bits of lawn she rightly held to be the true insignia of his office, and not the gown, which was fastened to his collar with a small square piece of board. "For, my dear Mrs, Nüssler," she said, "the clerk has a gown exactly the same as that, but he dar'n't wear bands, and when I see my pastor in the pulpit with these signs of his office on, and watch them rising and falling as he speaks, I sometimes think that they look like angels’ wings upon which one might go straight away up to heaven, except that the angels wear their wings behind, and my pastor's are in front."

The parson was not an angel by any means, and was the last man in the world to think himself one, but still his conduct was so upright, and his face so expressive of love and good-will, that anyone could see in a moment that he was a good man, and that his was a serious, thoughtful mode of life, and yet — when his wife had taken off his gown and bands — there was a bright sparkle in his eye that showed he did not at all disdain innocent mirth. He was a man who could give good counsel in worldly matters as well as in spiritual, and he was always ready to stretch out a helping hand to those in need of it.

He recognised Hawermann the moment he saw him, and welcomed him heartily: "How d'ye do, dear old friend, what an age it is since I saw you last. How are you getting on? — Good morning, Mr. Bräsig." — Just as Bräsig was about to explain the reason of his and Hawermann's visit, Mrs. Behrens, who had begun to take off her husband's clerical garments, called out: "Don't speak, Mr. Hawermann, — Bräsig be quiet, leave it all to me. — I'll tell you all about it," she continued, turning to her husband, "for the story is a sad one — yes, Mr. Hawermann, terribly sad — and so it will be better for me to speak. Come," and she carried her pastor off to his study, saying in apology for doing, so as she left the room: "I am the nearest to him, you know.”

When Mr. Behrens returned to the parlour with his wife, he went straight up to Hawermann, and taking his hand, said: "Yes, dear Hawermann, yes, we'll do it. We'll do all that lies in our power with very great pleasure. We have had no experience in the management of children, but we will learn. — Won't we, Regina?" He spoke lightly, for he saw how deeply Hawermann felt his kindness, and therefore wished to set him at ease. — "Reverend Sir," he exclaimed at last, "you did much for me in the old days, but this " — Little Mrs. Behrens seized her duster, her unfailing recourse in great joy or sorrow, and rubbed now this, and now that article of furniture vigorously, indeed there is no saying whether she might not have dried Hawermann's tears with it, had he not turned away. — She then went to the door and called to Frederika: "Here, Rika, just run down to the weaver's wife, and ask her to send me her cradle, for," she added, addressing Bräsig, "she doesn't require it." — And Bräsig answered gravely: "But Mrs. Behrens, the child isn't quite a baby." — So the clergyman's wife went to the door again, and called to the servant: "Rika, Rika, not the cradle. Ask her to lend me a crib instead, and then go to the parishclerk's daughter, and see if she can come this afternoon — Good gracious! I forgot it was Sunday! — But if thine ass falls into a pit, and so on — yes, ask her if she will come and help me to stuff a couple of little matrasses. — It isn't a bit heathenish of me to do this, Bräsig, for it's a work of necessity, as much so as when you have to save the Count's wheat on a Sunday afternoon. — And, my dear Mr. Hawermann, the little girl must come to us this very day, for Frank," turning to her husband, "the old Nüsslers will grudge the child her food, and Bräsig, bread that is grudged " she stopped for breath, and Bräsig put in: "Yes, Mrs. Behrens, bread that is grudged maketh fat, but the devil take that kind of fatness!" — "You old heathen! How dare you swear so in a Christian parsonage," cried Mrs. Behrens. "But the short and the long of it is that the child must come here to-day." — "Yes, Mrs. Behrens," said Hawermann, "I'll bring her to you this afternoon. My poor sister will be sorry; but it's better for her and her household peace that it should be so, and for my little girl . . . . . . . . ." He then thanked the clergyman and his wife gratefully and heartily, and when he had said good-bye, and he and Bräsig were out of doors, he drew a long breath of relief, and said: "Everything looked dark to me this morning, but now the sun has begun to shine again, and though I have a disagreeable bit of business before me, it is a happy day." — "What is it that you have to do?" asked Bräsig. — "I must go to Rahnstädt to see old Moses. He has held a bill of mine for seventy-five pounds for the last eighteen months. He took no part in my bankruptcy, and I want to arrange matters with him." — "Yes, Charles, you ought to make everything straight with him as soon as you can, for old Moses is by no means the worst of his kind. — Now then, let's lay out our plan of operations for to-day. We must return to Rexow at once, dine there, and after dinner young Joseph must get the carriage ready for you to take your little girl to Gürlitz; from Gürlitz you should drive on to Rahnstädt, and then in the evening come over to Warnitz and spend the night with me, and early next morning you can be at Pümpelhagen with the Counsellor, who expects to see you in good time." — "That will do very well," said Hawermann.

After dinner Bräsig asked young Joseph, if he would allow the carriage to be got ready. — "Of course," cried Mrs. Nüssler. — "Yes, of course," said young Joseph, who immediately went out and ordered it himself. — "Charles," said his sister, "my dear brother, how willingly, how very willingly . . . . But you know why I can't. Bräsig will have told you, — Oh me! to have peace in the house. Don't imagine for one moment that Joseph and I are not of one mind, that he wouldn't do as much as I; but you see he doesn't understand how to manage it, and his words don't come easily to him. I'll always keep an eye on your child as if she were my own, although that won't be necessary at the parsonage."

The carriage drove up to the door. — "Why, hang it, young Joseph," cried Bräsig, "you've got out your state eq'ipage, the old yellow coach!" — "Yes, Sir," said Christian, who was seated on the box, "and I only hope we'll get safe home with the old thing, for it's rather shaky, and the wheels are so loose that they rattle as much as if one was riddling gravel through a sieve." — "Christian," said Bräsig, "you must first of all drive through the village pond, and then through the brook at Gürlitz, and lastly, into the pig's pond at Rahmstädt, that the wheels may draw properly." — "And then I'll be a real sailor," said Christian.

When Hawermann had taken leave of his friends, and had put his little girl in the carriage, young Joseph hastily forced his way through the group standing about the door; his wife exclaimed: "What's the matter?" — "There," he said, thrusting a pound of twist into little Louisa's hand — that was the only kind of tobacco he ever smoked — but on looking closer, Hawermann saw that it was a great lump of sausage which young Joseph had wrapped in tobacco-paper, having nothing else at hand in which to put it.

Christian drove through the pond and brook as he had been desired. The child was left at Gürlitz, and there is no need to tell how she was kissed and petted and made to feel at home with the kind people who had taken charge of her. — Hawermann drove on to Rahnstädt to see Moses.

Moses was a man of upwards of fifty. He had large expressive eyes, and thick black eye-brows, but his hair was very white. His drooping eye-lids and long dark lashes gave him a look of gentleness; he was of the average height, and his figure was comfortably rounded; his left shoulder was a little higher than his right, but that was caused by his way of standing. Whenever he stood up he used to put his left hand in his coat-pocket, and catch firm hold of the top of his trousers lest they should slip down, for he only wore them braced up at the right side. When his wife begged him to wear a strap at the left side also, he said: "Why should I? When I was young and poor and had no money I had only one strap to fasten my trousers, and yet I did my work and married my Flora, and now that I am old and rich and have my Flora why should I wear a second strap?" Then he patted Flora on the shoulder gently, thrust his hand deeper into his pocket, and went back to his work.

When Hawermann entered, he jumped up from his chair, and exclaimed: "There now, it t's Hawermann! — Didn't I always tell you," he went on, turning to his son, "that Hawermann was a good man and an honest man?" — "Yes, Moses," said Hawermann, I'm honest, but . . . ." — "Get up, David, let Mr. Hawermann sit down here beside me. Mr. Hawermann has something to say to me, and I have something to say to him. — Now, David, you told me I ought to go to law. — And what did I say? — That I wouldn't go to law, for Mr. Hawermann was an honest man. I only went to law once, and that was when I had done business with a candidate for the ministry. When I sent the fellow a letter asking him for my money, he wrote and told me to read a verse in the Christian hymn-book. — What was it again, David?" — "It was an infamous verse," replied David:

      " 'Mein Gewissen beusst mich nicht,
      Moses kann mich nicht verklagen,
      Der mich frei und ledig spricht
      Würd auch meine Schulden tragen.

      " 'Conscience doth not sting me
      Moses cannot touch me.
      He, who has set me free
      Bears all my debts for me.' "

"Yes," cried Moses, "that was it. And when I showed the letter in court every one laughed, and when I showed my bill, they shrugged their shoulders, and laughed again. — Aha, I said, you mean the paper is good, but the fellow Is worth nothing. — They answered that I was right, that I might have him put in prison, but must pay for his keep while there — so that in gaining my cause I'd not only have to pay all the costs of the suit, but I'd also have to provide for the fellow who had swindled me as long as his term of imprisonment lasted. — If that's the way of it, I said, let him go free. — Mr. Hawermann, you will treat me better than the Prussian law-courts." — "That's all very well, Moses," said Hawermann, "but I can't pay you, at least not yet." — "But," said Moses, looking at him enquiringly, "you've got something left?" — "Not a farthing," answered Hawermann sadly. — "Good God! Not a farthing!" cried Moses starting to his feet; then addressing his son: "David, what are you about? What are you staring at? What did you hear? Go and fetch the book." — Then he began to walk up and down the room impatiently. — "Moses," entreated Hawermann, "only give me time, and you shall have every penny that I owe you, both principal and interest." — Moses stood still and listened attentively to what he said. "Hawermann," he cried at last, breaking into the patois of the district, for the Jews of the old time were just like the Christians, when they felt deeply they always used the dialect of the province in which they lived, "you're an honest man."— And when David returned with the book, his father said: "Why have you brought the book, David, take it away again." Then to Hawermann: "Well, well, I began with nothing, and you began with nothing. I have worked hard, you have also worked hard; I have been lucky, you have been unlucky; I understand my business, and you understand yours. What isn't to-day may be to-morrow, and to-morrow you may get a place, and if you do you will save up your wages and pay me, for you are an honest man." — "I've got a place already," said Hawermann much relieved, "and it's a good place too." — "Where?" asked Moses. — "With Mr. von Rambow of Pümpelhagen." — "I congratulate you, Hawermann. He is an excellent man. Though he finds the times hard, he's an excellent man, and though he doesn't do business with me, he's an excellent man. — Flora," he shouted, putting his head out at the door, "Mr. Hawermann is here, bring us two cups of coffee." — And when Hawermann wished to decline the coffee, he said: "You must have it. When I was a lad and used to travel about the country with a pack on my back, your mother often gave me a cup of hot coffee in the cold weather, and afterwards when you were farm-bailiff I never went to you in vain. We are both men. Drink it, Mr. Hawermann, drink it up." —

And so this business was settled too, and that night when Hawermann went to bed in Bräsig's house, his heart was much lighter and was full of courage, and as he lay awake thinking over the events of the past day, he could not help wondering whether his dear wife had been praying for him in her heavenly home, and whether she would be a guardian angel, ever at his side during the remainder of his life on earth.

Next morning he went up to Pümpelhagen, and when Mr. von Rambow and his little son left two days later, he had quite settled down to his new duties, and had got into the full swing of his work. There he remained for many years in peace and contentment, for in course of time he lived down his grief, and found his happiness in that of others.
Reuter, Fritz (1810-1874) Mecklenburger, Dichter und Schriftsteller der niederdeutschen Sprache

Reuter, Fritz (1810-1874) Mecklenburger, Dichter und Schriftsteller der niederdeutschen Sprache

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