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THE BUYER EXAMINES WHAT IS OFFERED.
"GrE me your hand, Roland," said Eric. The boy gave it, looking up trustingly and joyfully.
"My young friend," Eric added, "I thank you for that testimony of respect waving yonder; but now leave us, for your father wishes to speak with me."
Father and son looked in amazement at the man who was giving his orders in such a free and easy manner. The boy departed, Eric nodding to him again.
After the two men were left by themselves, for a while no word was spoken. Herr Sonnenkamp, who always carried his cigars loose in his pocket, offered Eric a large, black, broken one, which he accepted and lighted from the match Sonnenkamp held out to him, without taking it into his own hand.
After drawing a few whiffs, he said, "You will certainly agree with me, that it is an impolite politeness for any one to insist on taking the lighted match into his own hand; between this giving and taking, one generally burns his fingers."
However insignificant this remark, it served for a beginning. Herr Sonnenkamp leaned back in his chair, held the cigarsmoke for a long time in his mouth, and then blew it out in perfect rings, which, as they floated in the air, grew larger and larger until they vanished.
"You have great influence over the boy," he said, after a while.
"Philologist by profession; but I have devoted myself, by preference, to practical education."
"I know that, I know that," Sonnenkamp said, still looking down as he spoke. "I should like to know something about your personal history."
He did not look up, and Eric was deeply pained at the thought of being obliged again to become his own biographer. He felt like a man who speaks to a sober and cool listener after drinking with a set of boon companions. He had unfolded himself freely and spontaneously to Clodwig, the day before; and to-day he must do it in order to recommend himself to a purchaser. And so it is! The seller must always say more, and expatiate more upon his goods, than the buyer. Wealth was a tyrannical power exhibiting itself under an entirely new form.
Eric, looking at the back of the man's head, and at his broad neck,- for not a glance was vouchsafed him, lost all sensitiveness as to his position of being a seeker after employment. He was not the receiver, but the giver. A tone of self-respect breathed in the words which he now uttered:
"I offer you my free labor."
On hearing this, Sonnenkamp threw up his head quickly without changing his position, cast a rapid glance upon the speaker, and let his head immediately drop again.
"I mean," continued Eric, "that I offer to you and to your son all that I am, and all the knowledge and science that I have made my own hitherto. I look for no other "I think that the attraction is mutual, reward than the free unfolding of my own and this makes me hope that I might suc- activity; and I have the feeling of freedom ceed as the boy's tutor. Only love can ed-in doing this, since whatever I may accomucate, as love only can create and form. plish I accomplish also for myself, in bringAn artist who does not love his calling caning that actually to pass which I have striven never truly create. There are, indeed, after, and which I have laid down as a theomany who love a child because they give retical demand." him instruction; but I can instruct only one whom I love."
"Fine, very fine,-noble. But Roland needs a strict hand."
"Love does not exclude but rather includes strictness; he who loves requires perfection in himself, as well as in the object of his love, and makes the highest demands." Sonnenkamp nodded in a very friendly, even kindly manner; but there was a sort of sneer upon his countenance, as looking down to the ground and placing both hands upon his knees, he said:
"I know what free labor is," Sonnenkamp said, looking towards the ground. Then sitting upright, he added with a smiling countenance:
"You are not dealing with a man of learning. I think we shall come sooner to terms, if you will regard me as a commonsense man who only wants to know the plain matter-of-fact."
"I had hoped," Eric replied, "that the introduction of Count von Wolfsgarten —" "I esteem highly the Count von Wolfsgarten, more highly than I do any one else;
“We will speak now about personal mat-butters; for things of that sort we will find time by and by. You are a
"You are right; I will give you a personal explanation," Eric interrupted.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Mass. LIVING AGE.
VOL. XI. 470
Was it the cigar, or was it the painful | both in the old and new world, to teach me position in which he felt himself placed, that the most capable people are just those that caused the sweat to start out upon who determine for themselves upon their Eric's forehead? At any rate, he laid the employment. Whoever changes his calling cigar down, and perceiving with a sort of must do so either from some external nesurprise that he was wearing his uniform, cessity, or from real fitness for something began to explain again that he had put it else. Allow me to ask one question. Do on, for that day, because Count Wolfsgar- you believe it possible for a man who unten had advised him to do so. dertakes, compelled by want or because he can find nothing better to do, some employment, I do not like to call it a service, but a dependent position you know what I mean, but I am not familiar with the German- - is it possible for him to devote himself heartily to that occupation? Will he not always feel himself bound, under obligation to serve, and often ill at ease?"
Sonnenkamp again sat up wholly erect, feeling himself completely fortified against this man, who, an entire stranger, had taken possession of his house, his wife, his son, and thought even to domineer over him, and make him a stranger in his own home. He would let the applicant talk till he was tired.
"Go on, captain," he exclaimed, laying his right hand with the fingers crooked up-" on the table, and then drawing it back again, as if he had deposited a stake at play.
Eric had now become master of all his powers, and in a tone of cheerful good humor, began in a wholly different style:
"Excuse a scholar for not throwing off his scholastic method. In the old poems, before the hero enters upon his career, the parents are described; and although I am no hero, and what I have to unfold is no record of personal prowess, yet allow me to give a preliminary account of my father and mother."
Eric once more gave a brief and concise sketch of his life. Mindful of Clodwig's advice not to say anything about his fancied mission to educate convicts, an incident occurred to him, which he had, in an incomprehensible way, wholly passed over before. He gave an account of his once having had charge of a powder-mill. "I was driven away by a revolting expression of my employer. From some cause never yet explained, the mill blew up, and four men were killed. But what said my employer when he reached the spot? Not one word of pity for the lost men, but that it was a shame for so much good powder to be lost.' "What was the man's name?" asked Sonnenkamp.
Eric gave one of the most distinguished names of the principality, and was not a little surprised to hear Sonnenkamp say, "A wonderful man, - influential and powerful."
Eric found it difficult to continue his narrative with composure after this incident, and ended by saying,
"I beg that you will not regard me as a weak, restless person, for having so often changed my calling."
"On the contrary," Sonnenkamp de
"Your, frank objection," Eric replied, does me great honor. I know well that the calling of an educator requires to be made supreme, from morning until night. Nothing can be more desirable to me than to perceive that you are as deeply interested in the matter as I could wish."
Again a peculiar expression darted across Sonnenkamp's countenance; but Eric, without appearing to perceive it, continued, in a voice full of emotion, "It is not because I can find nothing better to do that I apply · for the position of tutor in your family. I agree with you, that he who takes such a place merely from necessity can never fulfil its duties, although I do not mean to assert, and unconditionally, that inclination may not be developed, or as we say, that one may not make a virtue out of necessity. My knowledge is not great, but I have learned what one must do in order to learn, and therefore I think that I am able also to instruct. As far as earnest sincerity of purpose is concerned, I will yield to no one; and so far as I can judge, I venture to say, that were I placed in the most favorable circumstances, I would enter upon the calling of an educator in a spirit of freedom, with joyful zeal.”
"Right honorable, right honorable! go on!" Sonnenkamp interposed in such a tone that Eric was somewhat confounded, hearing as he yet did, in a measure, the echo of his own earnest utterance, now so strangely interrupted. In a sort of triumphant tone, Sonnenkamp continued:
An amateur is all very well; but I prefer a man with a profession."
"I am entirely of the same opinion," Eric answered; “and I am amazed at the good results practically secured in the new world, by adopting a different course."
With constrained calmness he continued,In regard to this matter, I have only clared, "I have had experience enough one desire, and only one request to make."
"And that is ? " Sonnenkamp again placed his hand upon the table as if he were laying down a stake at play.
"I should like that you would not find it disagreeable to consider me at first, for some days, a guest in your house."
Eric said nothing more, hoping that Sonnenkamp would answer at once in the affirmative; but he cracked in two, abruptly, a cigar which he had just lighted, and which did not seem to draw freely, and threw it away into the shrubbery. His face became red again, and a mocking smile played upon his lips, as he thought: "Very confident indeed! This young man imagines that if he can only get a lodgment for a few days, he can so bewitch every one that he will be deemed indispensable. We shall see!" As he maintained a persistent silence, Eric said:
in actual instruction, I myself do not as yet know."
"What! you yourself not even know that?"
"I must take my method from Roland himself, for it must be adapted to the pupil's natural characteristics. Let me take an illustration from your own surroundings. You see here the river. The boatmen have sounded the bottom, and knowing where the shoal-banks are, keep well clear of them. So must I, first of all, fathom, in the peculiar sense of that word, the depths of Roland's nature."
Eric looking up continued:
"Or let me take a yet more pertinent illustration. If you see that your servants, in going from the house to the servants' quarters, take by preference a short cut over a grass-plot artistically measured and laid out, you will, if it is possible, give in to this beaten track, and not obstinately adhere to your artificial plan, however correct it may be, and however much in conformity with the principles of landscape-gardening. You will adopt this natural foot-path as a part of your plan. This is the method adapted to circumstances. Such thoroughfares are found also in human beings."
"It would be desirable as well for you as for me, before making a permanent agreement, to know more of each other; and I especially desire this on Roland's account." Sonnenkamp smiled, and watched two butterflies chasing each other, hardly giving any attention to Eric as he went on to state, that the boy seemed to him in one respect too mature, and in another not ma- Sonnenkamp smiled; he had, in fact, ture enough to be made acquainted with tried very hard, by means of stringent prothe selection of a tutor, and perhaps to hibitions, to keep a bed of shrubbery in have a voice in it; therefore he must first the middle of the court-yard free from footknow him as a guest in the house, and after-passengers, and finally had laid out a pathwards as his tutor; also it was his own de- way through it. sire that Roland should not know that his tutor received pay in money, or at least, should not know the amount.
At the word money, Sonnenkamp seemed to come out of his butterfly-gazing.
What sum would you demand?" asked he, putting into his mouth a fresh cigar that he had held for some time in his hand. Eric replied that it was not for him, but for the father, to determine that.
Sonnenkamp brought his cigar to a glow with a few violent whiffs, and with great unction declared how well he knew that no sum was large enough to compensate adequately the painstaking duties of education and instruction.
Then leaning back in his chair, crossing his legs, and holding on to his left leg with the right hand, manifestly well satisfied with this declaration of his noble sentiments, he said,
Agreed as to the method, but how about the principles?" He smiled with selfsatisfaction, for he perceived how nice a distinction he had drawn. The man had made him conscious that, in an intellectual struggle, he had here no mean antagonist.
"Here I must take a wider range," resumed Eric. "The great contest, which runs through the history of humanity and the whole of human life, shows itself in the most direct way in the training of one human being by another; for here the two elementary forces confront each other as living personalities. I may briefly designate them as individuality and authority, or historic civilization and nature."
"I understand - I understand, go on!" was thrown in encouragingly by Sonnenkamp, when Eric paused for a moment, anxious not to get lost in generalities.
"The educator is necessarily the repre"Would you be willing to give me an sentative of authority, and the pupil is a exposition in a few words of the principles personality by the very endowment of naand method you must employ in the train-ture," resumed Eric. There is continually ing of my son ? “ then a balance to be adjusted between the two, a treaty of peace to be made between the contending forces, which shall at last
The method to be marked out in any particular case, the course I should adopt
become a real reconciliation. To train one merely as an individual is to place a child of humanity outside of actual existence, and for the sake of freedom to isolate him from the common life, and make it burdensome to him; to subject him merely to prescribed laws is to rob him of his inborn rights. The human being is a law to himself, but he is also born into a system of laws. It was the great mistake of Jean Jacques Rousseau, and the French Revolution, that in their indignation at the traditions contradictory to reason, they thought that an individual and an age could develop everything from themselves. A child of humanity neither contains all within himself, nor can he receive all from without. I think then that there is a mingling of the two elements, and there must be an hourly and an imperceptible influence exerted both from within and from without equally, inasmuch as man is a product of nature and a product of history. It is through the last, only, that man is distinguished from the beasts, and becomes an heir of all the labors and all the strength of the past generations." Sonnenkamp nodded acquiescingly. His whole mien said, This man lays down very aptly what he heard yesterday from the lecturer's desk; and Eric continued,
"Man alone comes into an inheritance, and an inheritance is the heaviest human responsibility."
That is something new to me. I should like to ask for a fuller explanation."
versal principles, as everything must be developed from its own basis. While one is loading, aiming, and firing off a musket, he does not define to himself, the various physical laws that come into play, but he must know them in order to proceed in the right way."
Sonnenkamp was rather tired of this discussion; it was somewhat out of his line, and he had the unpleasant consciousness, that while trying to make an impression upon the stranger, he had himself been made to appear infinitely small.
Pardon, gracious sir," a groom interposed, as Eric was beginning to expatiate anew. Sonnenkamp stood up hastily, and remarking that it was time for his ride, with affable condescension he waived off with his hand the discussion to some other time.
A NEW PATRON AND A NEW TUTOR.
"Permit me to illustrate: the beast receives from nature, from birth, nothing except its By Roland's direction his own pony had individual strength and its stationary in- been saddled, and also a horse for Eric. stinctive capacity, while the human being They mounted, and rode slowly through a receives from his progenitors and from hu- part of the village which joined the estate. manity a superadded strength which he has At the very end of it stood a small vine-covnot in himself, but of which he becomes pos-ered house, with all the window-shutters sessor, and so he is the only inheritor. And closed. Eric asked who owned it, and why it let me say further, that it is difficult to decide whether it is harder to turn to good advantage that which a man is in himself, or that which he may receive, as for example your son will, as an inheritance. Most persons are of account only through what they possess. I consider this last of no trifling importance, but
"Wealth is no sin, and poverty is no virtue," Sonnenkamp interrupted. "I admit the depth and fineness of your perception in all this. I confess it is new to me, and I think that you have taken the right view. But whether, in the education of one individual boy, you shall find occasion for such great fundamental principles.
"While engaged in the work of instruction," Eric quietly replied, "I shall not be likely to have directly before my eyes uni
was shut up. Roland told him that it belonged to his father, and that the architect, who built the villa, had lived there, and sometimes his father also, when he came from Switzerland or Italy during the building of the house, or the laying out of the park and garden.
"Now for a good trot," said Eric; "take your bridle more firmly in your left hand. Now!"
They started briskly, keeping side by side, but suddenly Eric's horse shied and began to rear. Roland uttered a cry, but Eric reassured him, saying, “I'll conquer him; " he drew his feet from the stirrups, and rode off at such a pace that the horse was soon covered with foam and quite submissive; then he rode back to Roland, who was waiting for him in anxiety.
"Have you any recollection of America ?" "No, but Manna has. I can only remember a song which a negro used to hum, but I can't quite recall it, and nobody can they say I sing it to me.'
I want to get away from home and go to a military school! Why should Manna go to the convent? They always say that my mother can't eat unless I am with her, but she'll have to eat when I'm an officer." "Then you want to be an officer?"
As they rode up the mountain, the little man, whom they had seen at work in the garden, stood aside to let them pass, and greeted them respectfully. They drew up, and Roland asked Nicholas, as the dwarf was called, why he was going home so early.
The little man replied that he was going home now at noon, and then into the wood to get some of the new earth which Herr Sonnenkamp had found. Up in the wood was a spring which contained iron, and Herr Sonnenkamp had dug down and found
Are you a nobleman ?" asked the boy, the earth also impregnated with iron. In after a pause.
66 Shouldn't you like to become one ?" "We cannot make ourselves noblemen." The boy played with his horse's long mane; glancing back, he saw that the flag had been lowered from the tower. He pointed it out to Eric, saying haughtily that he should hoist it again. His fine, delicately cut, but pale face gained strength and color as it lost its weary look, and assumed a daring expression.
Without noticing his domineering manner, Eric said how much he liked Roland's pride in being an American.
"You are the first person in Germany who has commended it," cried the boy joyfully. "Herr von Pranken and Fräulein Perini are always ridiculing America; you are the only man, - but I beg your pardon, I ought not to be talking so familiarly to you."
"Put away that notion; we want to be good friends."
The boy held out his hand, and Eric pressed it warmly.
See, our horses are good friends too," said Roland. "Have you many horses at home?"
"No, not many; I am poor."
Wouldn't you like to be rich ?"
this earth he had planted hydrangeas, and the flesh-colored flowers had changed to sky-blue.
The little man could not express all his wonder at Herr Sonnenkamp, who knew everything, and how to turn everything to account; it was no wonder that he had grown so rich, while stupid men might go all over the world, where millions were to be had, without ever knowing it.
But the little man took especial delight in telling them of a simple device of his master, who always mixed juniper leaves with the earth where he planted seeds of fruit-trees, and in that way kept away worms and mice.
As they rode on, Eric expressed his admiration for a man, who, like a second Columbus, was still making new discoveries in a world which seemed already explored and parcelled out. His readiness to appreciate, from a single example, Herr Sonnenkamp's greatness in this direction made Roland draw himself up in his stirrups, struck with surprise as he thought of the subject. He had never before heard his father so praised.
"Is there no one in the neighborhood whom you would like to call upon? "No - yes, the major but he is now at the castle. But up there in the village the