A few days later there was a long letter from old Mathias to Heinrich

One place in it said:

“I’m so glad you’re becoming a doctor. You will be a good doctor because you are diligent and conscientious. It is good that you are out of farming here. It wasn’t your business. Liese is now dressed as a sister. I have visited her and I am writing to you, dear Heinrich, that I have come back very happy and happy. I’ll be content to my old age because[298] the Liese is fine. And everything will be fine when Hannes and Lene have the economy. I want to stay with them, I’m much too old to drive around like that again now. And I said: “This is our good Heinrich,” as I heard from Hannes and Lene. There is a letter from Lene. The Schaffer wanted to write one too, but he can’t do anything. He works from morning to night now and soon doesn’t want to go to sleep at all. And sometimes, when he’s all alone, he starts laughing out loud. He only lets you say: he is thankful. But there’s everything in there. The villagers are completely different to us now. They are very kind to me, and when they see Lene they take off their caps from a great distance. And they all buy the bricks from us in the village. That wasn’t before. Dear Heinrich! I consider it my duty to write to you now that Lotte Schräger has been home since the day before yesterday. The old man has dropsy. He couldn’t follow her. So she came to look after him. She went to Pomerania to see a relative of her mother’s. Nobody knows who wrote it to her from her father. We haven’t seen her yet, now I’m ashamed to go over. We have now mixed up with the weird sometimes. He started with us by himself. He always wanted to sell me the Kretscham for you. But when he got sick, he didn’t want to leave home. Lene was also over there sometimes when he was sick. And when Lotte came home now, Lene asked if she could help. Dear Heinrich! I consider it my duty to write to you now that Lotte Schräger has been home since the day before yesterday. The old man has dropsy. He couldn’t follow her. So she came to look after him. She went to Pomerania to see a relative of her mother’s. Nobody knows who wrote it to her from her father. We haven’t seen her yet, now I’m ashamed to go over. We have now mixed up with the weird sometimes. He started with us by himself. He always wanted to sell me the Kretscham for you. But when he got sick, he didn’t want to leave home. Lene was also over there sometimes when he was sick. And when Lotte came home now, Lene asked if she could help. Dear Heinrich! I consider it my duty to write to you now that Lotte Schräger has been home since the day before yesterday. The old man has dropsy. He couldn’t follow her. So she came to look after him. She went to Pomerania to see a relative of her mother’s. Nobody knows who wrote it to her from her father. We haven’t seen her yet, I’m ashamed to go over now. We have now mixed up with the weird sometimes. He started with us by himself. He always wanted to sell me the Kretscham for you. But when he got sick, he didn’t want to leave home. Lene was also over there sometimes when he was sick. And when Lotte came home now, Lene asked if she could help. To write to you now that Lotte Schräger has been home since the day before yesterday. The old man has dropsy. He couldn’t follow her. So she came to look after him. She went to Pomerania to see a relative of her mother’s. Nobody knows who wrote it to her from her father. We haven’t seen her yet, now I’m ashamed to go over. We have now mixed up with the weird sometimes. He started with us by himself. He always wanted to sell me the Kretscham for you. But when he got sick, he didn’t want to leave home. Lene was also over there sometimes when he was sick. And when Lotte came home now, Lene asked if she could help. To write to you now that Lotte Schräger has been home since the day before yesterday. The old man has dropsy. He couldn’t follow her. So she came to look after him. She went to Pomerania to see a relative of her mother’s. Nobody knows who wrote it to her from her father. We haven’t seen her yet, now I’m ashamed to go over. We have now mixed up with the weird sometimes. He started with us by himself. He always wanted to sell me the Kretscham for you. But when he got sick, he didn’t want to leave home. Lene was also over there sometimes when he was sick. And when Lotte came home now, Lene asked if she could help. The old man has dropsy. He couldn’t follow her. So she came to look after him. She went to Pomerania to see a relative of her mother’s. Nobody knows who wrote it to her from her father. We haven’t seen her yet, now I’m ashamed to go over. We have now mixed up with the weird sometimes. He started with us by himself. He always wanted to sell me the Kretscham for you. But when he got sick, he didn’t want to leave home. Lene was also over there sometimes when he was sick. And when Lotte came home now, Lene asked if she could help. The old man has dropsy. He couldn’t follow her. So she came to look after him. She went to Pomerania to see a relative of her mother’s. Nobody knows who wrote it to her from her father. We haven’t seen her yet, I’m ashamed to go over now. We have now mixed up with the weird sometimes. He started with us by himself. He always wanted to sell me the Kretscham for you. But when he got sick, he didn’t want to leave home. Lene was also over there sometimes when he was sick. And when Lotte came home now, Lene asked if she could help. Nobody knows who wrote it to her from her father. We haven’t seen her yet, now I’m ashamed to go over. We have now mixed up with the weird sometimes. He started with us by himself. He always wanted to sell me the Kretscham for you. But when he got sick, he didn’t want to leave home. Lene was also over there sometimes when he was sick. And when Lotte came home now, Lene asked if she could help. Nobody knows who wrote it to her from her father. We haven’t seen her yet, now I’m ashamed to go over. We have now mixed up with the weird sometimes. He started with us by himself. He always wanted to sell me the Kretscham for you. But when he got sick, he didn’t want to leave home. Lene was also over there sometimes when he was sick. And when Lotte came home now, Lene asked if she could help. when he was sick. And when Lotte came home now, Lene asked if she could help. when he was sick. And when Lotte came home now, Lene asked if she could help.[299] But Lotte let it be said: No, thank you for the good will. Everything may be commanded to God, and most of all you, my dear Heinrich. ”

Heinrich Raschdorf read this letter ten times, twenty times. Finally he sat down on the sofa and closed his eyes.

She was home again!

At first it was very quiet inside him. – But then the blood began to pound in his chest and temples. A whirling grabbed him, and after the dull thunderstorms of bleak, hot working days, a storm arose that suddenly penetrated his young soul. He thought of her incessantly and made no effort, as usual, to get rid of the thought. Her figure and her face stood out clearly before his soul; he heard her voice, felt her kiss again.

She was at home, was close, available! Lotte!

What had happened to him, in him? The blissful shock that the brief news brought him had broken down all defiance, all bitterness, had revealed dearly veiled images. In the glowing flash of lightning of his newly awakened passion, the old country was lit before his eyes, the country from which he had fled and for which his longing rejected him every day.

He was unable to hold on to his defiant principles as the blood revolted against it; for he was young, and all his struggle against himself was old-fashioned against the feeling that seized him again with elementary strength.

A small, brief doubt came, then he knelt in front of a box, threw out books and letters and found a small picture.

[300]

That was Lotte! Now those sweet eyes looked at him, now that mouth smiled at him, and before he had time to account to himself, he tore to his lips the picture that he had not even looked at in all these long months and kissed it, kissed it with that hunger for happiness, with that desperate greed, as he had once kissed Lotte herself in the autumn mist.

A weeping exultation went through his soul; love was hot, flaming, shining again in his heart. The room was too narrow for him, he ran out, drove outside the city, ran for hours and came back home just as excited as he had left.

The night came, he found no rest. The doubts also came back, the fighting. He wanted to be honest, honest with himself too. Again he called to his soul the breach of faith, the deep misery it brought him, but the resentment remained, the anger, the enmity never returned, the hope swept them away like dry leaves. He recalled everything Mathias and Lene had said to justify them, and only now, for the first time, thought honestly about how great it was for them to give up him and leave. For she had loved him, truly and truly loved him as a woman can only love a man.

Oh, he must have her again!

Should he go home? To her In barely three hours he could see her!

In three hours! You see, they have, don’t let go of them!

[301]

A tremor ran over him. He got dressed, said a few words to his landlady, and stormed off. The night train had to be there. Yes! He bought the ticket. His voice trembled when he called the home station. He came too early. The cool night air brushed his forehead. He paced up and down the platform excitedly and then suddenly stopped.

Was he making a fool of himself? How would it be if he came home now in the dead of night? To where he never wanted to go back? Well, she had come home again. But the terminally ill father had called her back! And what would she say? The sister hadn’t wanted to see her! And him? What if she rejected him again or even fled from him again? Wasn’t that a terrible rush? Didn’t he have to think twice about it first?

So suddenly he was in the middle of great doubts again.

“Get in, sir!”

“Thank you – thank you, I’m not going with you!”

A whistle, the train started moving and drove out into the night, towards home – without him.

Heinrich crept slowly home the lighted streets. Funny, laughing people everywhere. None of them even looked at him. A grave contempt for himself wanted to grow in him, but the feeling of perplexity remained.

Heinrich brooded for a long time in his room. It was past midnight. There was no rest[302] think. So he got the idea to write to Lotte. He wrote one letter after the other. Nobody wanted to please him. Finally around four o’clock he thought he had found the right one.

He dealt with her completely. He wrote to her of all his torments and sufferings. And he tried to allay their concerns. The brother is not responsible for his act; but she, Lotte, is quite innocent. And if something had to be atone for, it could only be done by making him happy. The attitude of his people towards her had also changed completely after she saw that Lotte was a right-loving soul. And so he wrote at the end:

“I don’t want to be impatient; I want to give you time and only see you when you want to. But I ask you one thing, Lotte: You still have my ring. Put it back on when you’ve read this letter; be my bride again! ”

The stars shone in the sky, the streets were completely empty. Heinrich Raschdorf went to the station again. Once more he read the lettering, which for him contained the most expensive name in the world, and put the letter in the box. She would have him by nine in the morning. That was in four hours. In just four hours!

An excruciating day passed, a long night. Heinrich Raschdorf sat at the window of his room early in the morning with his eyes monitored and yet with burning red cheeks, peering out at the postman. At last he came; he came towards the house. Heinrich Raschdorf went through the room[303] out into the entrance and leaned against the door. Now! – There! – “Mr. Heinrich Raschdorf!”

He looked at the letter in his room.

“Enclosed a gold ring.”

He felt for a chair. There he opened the letter. A gold ring fell out, sounded briefly, and rolled across the hall. – He read in fragments:

“You judge me wrongly, you cannot look into my soul – you do not know everything – I cannot cheat you – don’t come here -”

When the landlady stepped into the room, she found her master lying unconscious on the floor. The exhaustion and excitement had been too great, the disappointment too cruel.

Share