The young

papers. And now the work proceeded dom any one present who understood zealously. Seekaz undertook country it better than 1. Thus I had often scenes, in which the old people and persuaded the artists to represent this children, copied directly from nature, or that object, and I now most gladly succeeded admirably.

made use of my actual opportunities. men did not answer so well, being I still remember that I composed a generally too thin ; and the women detailed essay, in which I described failed from the opposite fault. For as twelve pictures, which were to exhi. he had a little, fat, good, but disagree- bit the story of Joseph. Some of able-looking wife, who would let bim them were executed. have no model but herself, he could After these proceedings, that for a produce nothing attractive in this way. boy were certainly praisewortby, I Moreover, he had been compelled to shåll also mention a little disgrace exceed the usual size of his figures. which happened to me within this His trees had truth, but an over-minute circle of artists. I was familiar with kind of foliage. He was a pupil of all the pictures which had been gra. Brintmann, whose pencil in easel. dually brought into that room. My pictures is not contemptible.

youthful curiosity left nothing unseen Schütz, the landscape painter, was or unexamined. Once I found, beperhaps most at home in the under- hind the stove, a black little box. I taking. He was thoroughly master did not fail to pry into its contents, of the Rhine country, and of the sun- and, without much deliberation, I ny tone which animates it in the drew back the bolt. The picture fine season of the year. He was not within was indeed of a kind not comaltogether unpractised in working on monly displayed to the eyes, and, ala larger scale, in which he showed though I began to bolt it up again no defect of execution or harmony. immediately, I could not do this fast He produced very pleasing pictures. enough. The Count entered and

Trautmann Rembrandtized some re- caught me. “ Who gave you leave suscitation miracles of the New Testa- to open this box?" said he, with his air ment, and, along with them, set fire to of King's lieutenant.

I had no very villages and mills on canvass. Не, аз

ready answer, and he instantly decreed I found from the sketches of the rooms, my punishment with much severity: had a cabinet entirely allotted to him. For eight days you shall not enter Hirt painted some good oak and beech this room.” I made a bow, and went foresis. His cattle were praiseworthy. out: and most accurately did I obey Junker, being accustomed to imitate the command, so as much to vex the the most laboured of the Dutch, could good Seekaz, who used to work in the least of all manage this furniture style. very room - for he liked me to be Yet he prevailed on himself to orna- with him; and, out of a little spite, I

many compartments with flowers carried my obedience so far, that I left and fruits, in return for ample pay- on the threshold Seekaz's coffee, wbich ment.

I usually took to him. Thus he was As I had known all these men from obliged to leave his work and fetch my earliest youth up, and bad often it, which he took so ill that he grew visited them in their painting-rooms- almost to dislike me. and as the Count also willingly bad me It must now seem necessary to state with bim-I was present at the sug- more clearly, and make intelligible, how gestions, consultations, orderings, as in such cases I made my way through, well as at the deliveries of the pic- more or less easily, with French, which, tures, and safely ventured, especially however, I had not learned. In this, when sketches and designs were pre- also, I found the use of my natural gift

, sented, to offer my opinion. I had by which I could readily catch the already obtained among amateurs- sound of a language, the rhythm, the but particularly at auctions, which I accent, the tone, and all its outward diligently attended — the renown of peculiarities. I knew many Latin knowing immediately what any histo- words; Italian suggested still more, and rical picture represented, whether so in a short time I picked up so much taken from Biblical or profane his- by listening to servants and soldiers, tory, or from mythology; and even sentries and visiters, that, if unable to if I did not always hit the meaning of mix in conversation, I could yet manage allegorical pictures, yet there was sel. some questions and answers. All this,




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

however, was little compared with the own age, with many pranks in the corprofit which I derived from the theatrè. ridors, and even, in the mild season, I had received from my grandfather a before the door, a handsome lively free ticket, which, in spite of my boy joined us, who belonged to the father's reluctance, and by dint of my theaire, and whom I had seen in many mother's support, I made use of daily. little parts, though only casually. He Thus I sat now in the pit, before a could come best to an understanding foreign stage, and kept the sharper with me, as I could use with him watch on the movement, and the ex- what I knew of French ; and he sought pressiveness of gesture and speech, me the more, because there was no because I understood little or nothing boy of his age and nation in the of what was said, and could derive my theatre, or any where in the neigh. entertainment only from the action and bourhood. We kept each other

tone of voice. I understood least of company at other times as well as " the comedy, because it was spoken during the play; and even while the

quickly, and related to matters of com- representation went on, he seldom left

mon life, of the phrases of which I me alone. He was a most delightful Litt knew nothing. Tragedy was not so young braggart, prated charmingly and

often played, and the measured step, without ceasing, and had so much to

the mechanical rhythm of the Alex. tell of his adventures, quarrels, and na andrines, the generality of the ex- other wonders, that he gave me exa pression, made it every way more in-' traordinary amusement. In four weeks lika telligible to me.

So it was not long I gained from him more of the language, -:6 before I touk up Racine, which I found and the art of communicating in it,

in my father's library, and declaimed than could have been imagined; so that the pieces to myself in the stage man- no one knew how at once, and as if ner, as the organ of my ear, and my by inspiration, I had learned the foreign

organ of speech, so closely allied to tongue. Hi that

, had caught it ; and this I did In the very earliest days of our ac. w with great animation, before I could quaintance he drew me with him to

speech from the theatre, and took me specially to beginning to end. Nay, I learned the green-room, where the actors and ei whiole passages by rote, and recited actresses remained in the intervals # them like a trained speaking.bird ; of their performance, and dressed and it which was the easier to me, because I undressed themselves. The place was

had previously learned by rote passages neither pleasant nor convenient; for I of the Bible; which are mostly unintel. the theatre had been crammed into a is: ligible to a child, and had accustomed concert-room, so that there were no 70 myself to recite them in the tone of the separate rooms behind the stage for

Protestant preachers. The versified the actors. A moderately-sized side| French comedy was, therefore, a great room, which had formerly served for s favourite. The pieces of Destouches, card parties, was now mostly occupied ps Marivaux, La Chaupée, were often in common by both sexes, who appeare

produced, and I still remember distinct. ed little bashful before each other fly many characteristic figures. Of as before us children, when in putting

those of Molière I recollect less. That on, or changing any part of the dress, which made the greatest impression on there was some little infringement of me. was the Hypermenstra of Lemière, decency. I had never seen any thing which, as a new piece, was performed of the kind; yet from habit, on repeatwith care, and often repeated. The ed visits, I soon learned to regard it as impression which the Devin du Vil- quite natural. lage, Rose and Colas, Annette and Before long, however, a private and Lubin made on me, was very agreeable. peculiar interest of my own sprang up.

I can even now recall the youths and The young Derones- - for so I will name f girls, the ribands they were cover- the boy with whom I continued to

ed with, and the gestures they used. keep up my connexion-was, except as Before long, the wish arose in me to to his boasting, a boy of good morals examine the theatre itself, for doing and very agreeable demeanour.

He which abundant occasion offered; introduced me to his sister, who was a for, as I had not always patience tó couple of years older than me, and a hear out the whole piece, and often most pleasing girl, well grown, of reamused myself among children of my gular shape, brown complexion, and

he understand any


black hair and eyes. Her whole de- with seats, which, being surrounded meanour had something quiet, even by a low rail, ascended in several rows sad. I tried in every way to please bebind each other, so that the lowest her ; but I could not win her notice. were raised but a little above the stage. Young girls think themselves very far The whole was regarded as a place of advanced beyond younger boys; and, special honour, and in general only offixing their attention on grown-up ficers made use of it; although the young men, behave like aunts towards nearness of the actors destroyed, I will a boy whose first inclination is direct- not say all illusion, but even in a mea. ed to them. There was a younger sure all enjoyment. Thus I had mybrother with whom I had no inter self experienced, and seen with my own course.

eyes, that usage or abuse which vols Often, when the mother was at re- taire so much complains of. When in hearsals, or in society, we came toge- a very full bouse, for instance if troops ther in her house, in order to play or were passing through, distinguished amuse ourselves. I never went there officers strove for those privileged without giving the fair one a flower, a seats, which were nevertheless generfruit, or something else, which, indeed, ally occupied before; then some rows she always received with much court- of benches and chairs were added in esy, and thanked me most graciously. the proscenium on the stage itself, and But I never

saw her melancholy nothing remained for the heroes and look brighten, and found no sign that heroines but to disclose their secrets in she ever gave me any further thought. the very limited space which was left At last I fancied that I had discovered between the uniforms and orders. I her secret. The boy showed me behind have seen even the Hypermnestra itself his mother's bed, which was orna- played in this way. mented with elegant silk curtains, a The curtain did not fall between the crayon drawing, the portrait of a hand. acts; and I still remember an odd cus. some man; and he remarked at the tom, which I could not but think very same time, with a sly look, he is not extraordinary, as its inconsistency with exactly papa, but all the same thing. art seemed to an honest German While he praised this man, and related boy like me altogether insupportable. many things in his circumstantial and For the theatre was considered as a boastful manner, I thought I made out high sanctuary, and any disturbance that the daughter probably belonged to occurring there, would have required to the father, and the two other children be immediately punished as the worst to the friend. Thus I now explained of offences against the majesty of the to myself her melancholy look, and public. Two grenadiers, with their only loved her for it the more. muskets grounded, stood therefore,

My liking for this girl helped me to in all comedies, quite in view at each put up with the extravagances of her side of the flat scene, and were witbrother, who did not always keep nesses of all that went on in the bosom within bounds. I had often to en- of the family. Because, as I said be. dure the prolix narration of his ex- fore, the curtain was not dropped ploits, the many duels he had fought, between the acts, therefore, when the yet without choosing to hurt the other music struck up, two others relieved -all for the mere sake of honour. guard by coming from the side scenes He had always been able to disarin right before those others, who then in his antagonist, and had then forgiven the same orderly way retired. Now, him. Nay, he was such a master if such a practice was exactly fitted to of fencing, that he had been once destroy whatever in a theatre is called himself in great difficulty from strik- illusion--this is the more striking, be. ing the sword of his opponent up into cause it was done at a time when, a high tree, so that it was hard to according to Diderot's principles and fetch it down again.

example, the most natural of naturalIt much facilitated my visits to the ness was required on the stage, and a theatre, that my free ticket, being from perfect deception was proposed as the the hands of the chief magistrate, gave proper aim of scenic art. Tragedy, me admission to any of the seats, and however, was freed from this regulatherefore, also, to those in the prosce- tion of military police, and the heroes nium. This, in the French fashion, was of antiquity had the right of guarding very deep, and enclosed on each side themselves. The same grenadiers,


[ocr errors]

however, stood near enough behind a runner's apron, which floated above the side-scenes.

the knees. Together with the whole Thus I may also mention, that I saw public we had given our applause to Diderot's Père de Famille, and the this young artist, when it occurred to Philosophers of Palipot, and still per- me, I know not how, to make a moral fectly remember the figure of the philo- reflection. I said to my companion sopher, in the latter play, going on all- handsomely as this boy is adorned, fuurs and eating a raw lettuce; yet and fineas is his appearance,who knows all this dramatic variety could not in how tattered a jerkin he may always keep us children in the theatre. sleep to-night? All had risen to go, We played in fine weather in front of only the crowd prevented us moving. it, and in the neighbourhood, and prac- A woman who sat near me, and now tised all manner of absurdities, which, stood close to me, happened to be the especially on Sundays and festivals, by mother of the young performer, and felt no means agreed with our exterior. herself much injured by my reflection. For I and my equals then appeared For my misfortune, she knew enough dressed, as was described in that tale, of German to understand me, and with the hat under the arm, and a little spoke it just well enough to scold. sword, of which the hilt was adorned She abused me violently : Who, then, with a large silken knot. Once when was I, she should like to know, who we had long proceeded in this way, and presumed to suspect the family and Derones had mixed among us, he took condition of this young man? At all it into his head to assert to me that I events, she would warrant him as had offended him, and must give him good as me, and his talents might satisfaction. I had in truth no notion very likely procure him advantages of the cause for this, but accepted his of which I should not dare to dream challenge, and was going to draw. But for myself. She inflicted this rebuke he assured me that it was usual in such on me in the midst of the crush, and cases to go to a solitary place, in order made those about me wonder what to settle the matter conveniently. We possible excess of rudeness I could repaired, therefore, behind some barns, have committed. As I could neither and placed ourselves in the proper at- excuse myself, nor escape from her, I titude. The combat took place in a was really perplexed; and when she somewhat theatric style ; the blades paused for a moment I said, without clinked, and the thrusts followed close any special meaning, “ Why so much upon each other. But in the heat of noise about it? To day he's red—to. the contest, the point of his sword re- morrow dead !"* These words seemmained fixed in the knot of my hilt. ed to strike the woman dumb. She This appendage was pierced through, looked at me, and moved away as and he assured me that he had now re. soon as it was at all possible. I ceived the most perfect satisfaction; thought no more of my expressions : then embraced me, also very theatri- only some time after they occurred cally, and we went to the next coffee- to me, when the boy, instead of con. house to refresh ourselves after our tinuing to perform, became ill, and excitement with a glass of almond- that very dangerously. I cannot say milk, and to knit our old friendship whether he died. Such íntimations, all the closer.

conveyed in a word unseasonably, or I will relate on this occasion another even improperly spoken, were held of adventure, which also befell me in the weight among the ancients; and it is theatre, though at a later time. I highly remarkable that the forms of sat with one of my companions very belief and superstition among all peoquietly in the pit, and we looked with ples, and in all times, have always repleasure at a pas-seul, executed with

mained the same. much skill and grace by a handsome From the first day of the occupation boy, about our age, the son of a of our town there was no want of perFrench dancing-master who was pass- petual diversion, especially for chiling through the town. He was dressed, dren and young people. Plays and in dancer fashion, in a close waistcoat balls, parades and marches, drew our of red silk ending in a short frock, like attention this way and that. The last

Doubtless a German proverb.Tr.

particularly, were always on the in- city, and it was known that they halted crease, and the soldier's life seemed to at Berg. The coming and going, the us most joyous and delightful.

riding and running, increased conThe residence of the King's lieu. stantly, and our house was in uproar tenant in our house procured us the day and night. At this time I oftea advantage of seeing, one after an. saw Marshal Broglie, always cheerful, other, all the important persons of just the same in look and demeanour the French army, and especially of one time as another; and I was afterbeholding, close at hand, ihe leaders wards glad to find a man celebrated in whose names had already been brought history, whose appearance bad made to us by report. Thus, from stairs so good and lasting an impression on and landing-places, as if from galle- me. ries, we looked on very conveniently Thus at last, after a restless Easterwhile the generals went by. Above Week, came on the Good. Friday of all of them, I remember the Prince of 1759. A great stilluess announced the Soubise as a handsome and affable approaching storm. We children were man; but recall most distinctly the forbidden to leave the house ; but my Maréchal de Broglie, as younger, not father could not be quiet, and went tall, but well-made, lively, and look- out. The battle began; I went to ing about him with keen-witted glan. the highest loft, whence, indeed, I was ces, and active in his movements. prevented seeing the country round,

He came often to the King's lieu. but could hear perfectly the thunder tenant, and it was easy to observe that of the cannons, and the continuous fire the conversation was on important of the small arms. After some hours matters. The first quarter of a year we saw the first tokens of the battle in had hardly accustomed us to the in a line of waggons, on which the trusion of our guest, when the rumour wounded, with their various woeful began to spread obscurely that the mutilations and aspects, were slowly Allies were marching forward, and drawn past us, and taken to the mo. Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick was nastery of St Mary, which had been coming to drive the French from the turned into an hospital. The compasMaine. Of these, who could boast sion of the citizens was immediately no great success in the war, there was excited. Beer, wine, bread, money no high opinion; and, since the battle were handed to those who could still of Rossbach, they were thought con- receive any thing. But when, some temptible. There was the utmost re- time after, wounded and captured liance on Duke Ferdinand, and those Germans were seen in the procession, inclined towards Prussia expected the pity passed all bounds, and it eagerly their deliverance from their seemed that every one would strip actual burden. My father was some- himself of all his moveable property what more cheerful-my mother in in order to assist his afflicted country. anxiety. She had sense enough to see that a present small evil might easily The prisoners, however, were signs be exchanged for a great vexation; of a batile unfavourable to the Allies. for it was only too plain that they My father being quite certain, from would not retire before the Duke, but his party feeling, that they would congive battle in the neighbourhood of quer, had the passionate daring to go the city. A defeat of the French, a to meet the hoped for victors, without flight, a defence of the city_were it considering that the beaten forces but in order to cover the rear and would necessarily beforehand pass hold the bridge a bombardment, a over him in their flight. He went sack--all rose before the excited ima, first to his garden in front of the gination, and gave anxiety to both Friedberg gate, where he found every parties. My mother, who could bear thing in loneliness and quiet. Then he every thing but anxiety, made the ventured to the Bornheim heath, where, interpreter inform the Count of her however, he descried several scatterapprehensions. She received the an- ed camp-followers, who amused themswer usual in such cases- She might selves with shooting at the boundary be quite at ease, as there was no dan- stones, so that the rebounding balls ger; and also must keep herself quiet, whizzed about the head of the inquisiand speak to no one of the matter. tive wanderer. He therefore thought

Many troops passed through the it more prudent to retire, and learned



« ElőzőTovább »