The consolation Charlotte can bring to an invalid I experiencefrom my own heart, which suffers more from her absence than manya poor creature lingering on a bed of sickness. She is gone tospend a few days in the town with a very worthy woman, who is givenover by the physicians, and wishes to have Charlotte near her inher last moments. I accompanied her last week on a visit to theVicar of S--, a small village in the mountains, about a leaguehence. We arrived about four o'clock: Charlotte had taken herlittle sister with her. When we entered the vicarage court, wefound the good old man sitting on a bench before the door, underthe shade of two large walnut-trees. At the sight of Charlottehe seemed to gain new life, rose, forgot his stick, and venturedto walk toward her. She ran to him, and made him sit down again;then, placing herself by his side, she gave him a number of messagesfrom her father, and then caught up his youngest child, a dirty,ugly little thing, the joy of his old age, and kissed it. I wishyou could have witnessed her attention to this old man, --how sheraised her voice on account of his deafness; how she told him ofhealthy young people, who had been carried off when it was leastexpected; praised the virtues of Carlsbad, and commended hisdetermination to spend the ensuing summer there; and assured himthat he looked better and stronger than he did when she saw himlast. I, in the meantime, paid attention to his good lady. Theold man seemed quite in spirits; and as I could not help admiringthe beauty of the walnut-trees, which formed such an agreeableshade over our heads, he began, though with some little difficulty,to tell us their history. "As to the oldest," said he, "we do notknow who planted it, -- some say one clergyman, and some another:but the younger one, there behind us, is exactly the age of my wife,fifty years old next October; her father planted it in the morning,and in the evening she came into the world. My wife's father wasmy predecessor here, and I cannot tell you how fond he was of thattree; and it is fully as dear to me. Under the shade of that verytree, upon a log of wood, my wife was seated knitting, when I, apoor student, came into this court for the first time, just sevenand twenty years ago." Charlotte inquired for his daughter. Hesaid she was gone with Herr Schmidt to the meadows, and was withthe haymakers. The old man then resumed his story, and told ushow his predecessor had taken a fancy to him, as had his daughterlikewise; and how he had become first his curate, and subsequentlyhis successor. He had scarcely finished his story when his daughterreturned through the garden, accompanied by the above-mentionedHerr Schmidt. She welcomed Charlotte affectionately, and I confessI was much taken with her appearance. She was a lively-looking,good-humoured brunette, quite competent to amuse one for a shorttime in the country. Her lover (for such Herr Schmidt evidentlyappeared to be) was a polite, reserved personage, and would notjoin our conversation, notwithstanding all Charlotte's endeavoursto draw him out. I was much annoyed at observing, by his countenance,that his silence did not arise from want of talent, but from capriceand ill-humour. This subsequently became very evident, when weset out to take a walk, and Frederica joining Charlotte, with whomI was talking, the worthy gentleman's face, which was naturallyrather sombre, became so dark and angry that Charlotte was obligedto touch my arm, and remind me that I was talking too much toFrederica. Nothing distresses me more than to see men tormenteach other; particularly when in the flower of their age, in thevery season of pleasure, they waste their few short days of sunshinein quarrels and disputes, and only perceive their error when itis too late to repair it. This thought dwelt upon my mind; andin the evening, when we returned to the vicar's, and were sittinground the table with our bread end milk, the conversation turnedon the joys and sorrows of the world, I could not resist thetemptation to inveigh bitterly against ill-humour. "We are apt,"said I, "to complain, but - with very little cause, that our happydays are few, and our evil days many. If our hearts were alwaysdisposed to receive the benefits Heaven sends us, we should acquirestrength to support evil when it comes." "But," observed the vicar'swife, "we cannot always command our tempers, so much depends uponthe constitution: when the body suffers, the mind is ill at ease.""I acknowledge that," I continued; "but we must consider such adisposition in the light of a disease, and inquire whether thereis no remedy for it."。，
"And when the last fatal malady seizes the being whose untimelygrave you have prepared, when she lies languid and exhausted beforeyou, her dim eyes raised to heaven, and the damp of death upon herpallid brow, there you stand at her bedside like a condemnedcriminal, with the bitter feeling that your whole fortune couldnot save her; and the agonising thought wrings you, that all yourefforts are powerless to impart even a moment's strength to thedeparting soul, or quicken her with a transitory consolation."。， You know of old my ways of settling anywhere, of selecting a littlecottage in some cosy spot, and of putting up in it with everyinconvenience. Here, too, I have discovered such a snug, comfortableplace, which possesses peculiar charms for me.
。， I could tear open my bosom with vexation to think how little weare capable of influencing the feelings of each other. No onecan communicate to me those sensations of love, joy, rapture, anddelight which I do not naturally possess; and, though my heart mayglow with the most lively affection, I cannot make the happinessof one in whom the same warmth is not inherent.
About a league from the town is a place called Walheim. (The readerneed not take the trouble to look for the place thus designated.We have found it necessary to change the names given in the original.)It is delightfully situated on the side of a hill; and, by proceedingalong one of the footpaths which lead out of the village, you canhave a view of the whole valley. A good old woman lives there,who keeps a small inn. She sells wine, beer, and coffee, and ischeerful and pleasant notwithstanding her age. The chief charmof this spot consists in two linden-trees, spreading their enormousbranches over the little green before the church, which is entirelysurrounded by peasants' cottages, barns, and homesteads. I haveseldom seen a place so retired and peaceable; and there often havemy table and chair brought out from the little inn, and drink mycoffee there, and read my Homer. Accident brought me to the spotone fine afternoon, and I found it perfectly deserted. Everybodywas in the fields except a little boy about four years of age, whowas sitting on the ground, and held between his knees a child aboutsix months old: he pressed it to his bosom with both arms, whichthus formed a sort of arm-chair; and, notwithstanding the livelinesswhich sparkled in its black eyes, it remained perfectly still.The sight charmed me. I sat down upon a plough opposite, andsketched with great delight this little picture of brotherlytenderness. I added the neighbouring hedge, the barn-door, andsome broken cart-wheels, just as they happened to lie; and I foundin about an hour that I had made a very correct and interestingdrawing, without putting in the slightest thing of my own. Thisconfirmed me in my resolution of adhering, for the future, entirelyto nature. She alone is inexhaustible, and capable of forming thegreatest masters. Much may be alleged in favour of rules, as muchmay be likewise advanced in favour of the laws of society: anartist formed upon them will never produce anything absolutely bador disgusting; as a man who observes the laws, and obeys decorum,can never be an absolutely intolerable neighbour, nor a decidedvillain: but yet, say what you will of rules, they destroy thegenuine feeling of nature, as well as its true expression. Do nottell me "that this is too hard, that they only restrain and prunesuperfluous branches, etc." My good friend, I will illustratethis by an analogy. These things resemble love. A warmheartedyouth becomes strongly attached to a maiden: he spends every hourof the day in her company, wears out his health, and lavishes hisfortune, to afford continual proof that he is wholly devoted toher. Then comes a man of the world, a man of place and respectability,and addresses him thus: "My good young friend, love is natural;but you must love within bounds. Divide your time: devote a portionto business, and give the hours of recreation to your mistress.Calculate your fortune; and out of the superfluity you may makeher a present, only not too often, -- on her birthday, and suchoccasions." Pursuing this advice, he may become a useful memberof society, and I should advise every prince to give him anappointment; but it is all up with his love, and with his geniusif he be an artist. O my friend! why is it that the torrent ofgenius so seldom bursts forth, so seldom rolls in full-flowingstream, overwhelming your astounded soul? Because, on either sideof this stream, cold and respectable persons have taken up theirabodes, and, forsooth, their summer-houses and tulip-beds wouldsuffer from the torrent; wherefore they dig trenches, and raiseembankments betimes, in order to avert the impending danger.。， I have become acquainted, also, with a very worthy person, thedistrict judge, a frank and open-hearted man. I am told it is amost delightful thing to see him in the midst of his children, ofwhom he has nine. His eldest daughter especially is highly spokenof. He has invited me to go and see him, and I intend to do soon the first opportunity. He lives at one of the royal hunting-lodges,which can be reached from here in an hour and a half by walking,and which he obtained leave to inhabit after the loss of his wife,as it is so painful to him to reside in town and at the court.
"Shame upon him who can look on calmly, and exclaim, 'The foolishgirl! she should have waited; she should have allowed time to wearoff the impression; her despair would have been softened, and shewould have found another lover to comfort her.' One might as wellsay, 'The fool, to die of a fever! why did he not wait till hisstrength was restored, till his blood became calm? all would thenhave gone well, and he would have been alive now.'"。， DECEMBER 1.
NOVEMBER 22。， I have made all sorts of acquaintances, but have as yet found nosociety. I know not what attraction I possess for the people, somany of them like me, and attach themselves to me; and then I feelsorry when the road we pursue together goes only a short distance.If you inquire what the people are like here, I must answer, "Thesame as everywhere." The human race is but a monotonous affair.Most of them labour the greater part of their time for meresubsistence; and the scanty portion of freedom which remains tothem so troubles them that they use every exertion to get rid ofit. Oh, the destiny of man!
"What have you done, unfortunate man?" inquired Werther, as headvanced toward the prisoner. The latter turned his eyes upon himin silence, and then replied with perfect composure; "No one willnow marry her, and she will marry no one." The prisoner was takeninto the inn, and Werther left the place. The mind of Werther wasfearfully excited by this shocking occurrence. He ceased, however,to be oppressed by his usual feeling of melancholy, moroseness,and indifference to everything that passed around him. He entertaineda strong degree of pity for the prisoner, and was seized with anindescribable anxiety to save him from his impending fate. Heconsidered him so unfortunate, he deemed his crime so excusable,and thought his own condition so nearly similar, that he feltconvinced he could make every one else view the matter in the lightin which he saw it himself. He now became anxious to undertakehis defence, and commenced composing an eloquent speech for theoccasion; and, on his way to the hunting-lodge, he could not refrainfrom speaking aloud the statement which he resolved to make to thejudge.。，
"Her voice came over the sea. Arindal, my son, descended from thehill, rough in the spoils of the chase. His arrows rattled by hisside; his bow was in his hand, five dark-gray dogs attended hissteps. He saw fierce Erath on the shore; he seized and bound himto an oak. Thick wind the thongs of the hide around his limbs;he loads the winds with his groans. Arindal ascends the deep inhis boat to bring Daura to land. Armar came in his wrath, andlet fly the gray-feathered shaft. It sung, it sunk in thy heart,O Arindal, my son! for Erath the traitor thou diest. The oar isstopped at once: he panted on the rock, and expired. What is thygrief, O Daura, when round thy feet is poured thy brother's blood.The boat is broken in twain. Armar plunges into the sea to rescuehis Daura, or die. Sudden a blast from a hill came over the waves;he sank, and he rose no more.。，
The same day, which was the Sunday before Christmas, after Wertherhad written the last-mentioned letter to his friend, he came inthe evening to Charlotte's house, and found her alone. She wasbusy preparing some little gifts for her brothers and sisters,which were to be distributed to them on Christmas Day. He begantalking of the delight of the children, and of that age when thesudden appearance of the Christmas-tree, decorated with fruit andsweetmeats, and lighted up with wax candles, causes such transportsof joy. "You shall have a gift too, if you behave well," saidCharlotte, hiding her embarrassment under sweet smile. "And whatdo you call behaving well? What should I do, what can I do, mydear Charlotte?" said he. "Thursday night," she answered, "isChristmas Eve. The children are all to be here, and my father too:there is a present for each; do you come likewise, but do not comebefore that time." Werther started. "I desire you will not: it mustbe so," she continued. "I ask it of you as a favour, for my ownpeace and tranquillity. We cannot go on in this manner any longer."He turned away his face walked hastily up and down the room, mutteringindistinctly, "We cannot go on in this manner any longer!" Charlotte,seeing the violent agitation into which these words had thrown him,endeavoured to divert his thoughts by different questions, but in vain."No, Charlotte!" he exclaimed; "I will never see you any more!""And why so?" she answered. "We may -- we must see each otheragain; only let it be with more discretion. Oh! why were you bornwith that excessive, that ungovernable passion for everything thatis dear to you?" Then, taking his hand, she said, "I entreat ofyou to be more calm: your talents, your understanding, your genius,will furnish you with a thousand resources. Be a man, and conqueran unhappy attachment toward a creature who can do nothing but pityyou." He bit his lips, and looked at her with a gloomy countenance.She continued to hold his hand. "Grant me but a moment's patience,Werther," she said. "Do you not see that you are deceiving yourself,that you are seeking your own destruction? Why must you love me,me only, who belong to another? I fear, I much fear, that it isonly the impossibility of possessing me which makes your desire forme so strong." He drew back his hand, whilst he surveyed her witha wild and angry look. "'Tis well!" he exclaimed, "'tis very well!Did not Albert furnish you with this reflection? It is profound,a very profound remark." "A reflection that any one might easilymake," she answered; "and is there not a woman in the whole worldwho is at liberty, and has the power to make you happy? Conqueryourself: look for such a being, and believe me when I say that youwill certainly find her. I have long felt for you, and for us all:you have confined yourself too long within the limits of too narrowa circle. Conquer yourself; make an effort: a short journey willbe of service to you. Seek and find an object worthy of your love;then return hither, and let us enjoy together all the happiness ofthe most perfect friendship."。，
。， She was a good creature, who had grown up in the narrow sphere ofhousehold industry and weekly appointed labour; one who knew nopleasure beyond indulging in a walk on Sundays, arrayed in herbest attire, accompanied by her friends, or perhaps joining in thedance now and then at some festival, and chatting away her sparehours with a neighbour, discussing the scandal or the quarrels ofthe village, trifles sufficient to occupy her heart. At lengththe warmth of her nature is influenced by certain new and unknownwishes. Inflamed by the flatteries of men, her former pleasuresbecome by degrees insipid, till at length she meets with a youthto whom she is attracted by an indescribable feeling; upon him shenow rests all her hopes; she forgets the world around her; shesees, hears, desires nothing but him, and him only. He aloneoccupies all her thoughts. Uncorrupted by the idle indulgence ofan enervating vanity, her affection moving steadily toward itsobject, she hopes to become his, and to realise, in an everlastingunion with him, all that happiness which she sought, all that blissfor which she longed. His repeated promises confirm her hopes:embraces and endearments, which increase the ardour of her desires,overmaster her soul. She floats in a dim, delusive anticipationof her happiness; and her feelings become excited to their utmosttension. She stretches out her arms finally to embrace the objectof all her wishes and her lover forsakes her. Stunned and bewildered,she stands upon a precipice. All is darkness around her. Noprospect, no hope, no consolation -- forsaken by him in whom herexistence was centred! She sees nothing of the wide world beforeher, thinks nothing of the many individuals who might supply thevoid in her heart; she feels herself deserted, forsaken by theworld; and, blinded and impelled by the agony which wrings hersoul, she plunges into the deep, to end her sufferings in the broadembrace of death. See here, Albert, the history of thousands; andtell me, is not this a case of physical infirmity? Nature has noway to escape from the labyrinth: her powers are exhausted: shecan contend no longer, and the poor soul must die.
I know very well that we are not all equal, nor can be so; but itis my opinion that he who avoids the common people, in order notto lose their respect, is as much to blame as a coward who hideshimself from his enemy because he fears defeat.。， And now I could plunge a dagger into my bosom, when I hear myselfeverywhere pitied, and observe the triumph of my enemies, who saythat this is always the case with vain persons, whose heads areturned with conceit, who affect to despise forms and such petty,idle nonsense.
， "And oh! do those departed ones know how we are employed here? dothey know when we are well and happy? do they know when we recalltheir memories with the fondest love? In the silent hour ofevening the shade of my mother hovers around me; when seatedin the midst of my children, I see them assembled near me, asthey used to assemble near her; and then I raise my anxious eyesto heaven, and wish she could look down upon us, and witness howI fulfil the promise I made to her in her last moments, to be amother to her children. With what emotion do I then exclaim,'Pardon, dearest of mothers, pardon me, if I do not adequatelysupply your place! Alas! I do my utmost. They are clothed andfed; and, still better, they are loved and educated. Could youbut see, sweet saint! the peace and harmony that dwells amongstus, you would glorify God with the warmest feelings of gratitude,to whom, in your last hour, you addressed such fervent prayers forour happiness.'" Thus did she express herself; but O Wilhelm! whocan do justice to her language? how can cold and passionless wordsconvey the heavenly expressions of the spirit? Albert interruptedher gently. "This affects you too deeply, my dear Charlotte. Iknow your soul dwells on such recollections wlth intense delight;but I implore -- " "O Albert!" she continued, "I am sure you donot forget the evenings when we three used to sit at the littleround table, when papa was absent, and the little ones had retired.You often had a good book with you, but seldom read it; theconversation of that noble being was preferable to everything, --that beautiful, bright, gentle, and yet ever-toiling woman. Godalone knows how I have supplicated with tears on my nightly couch,that I might be like her."。， FERRUARY 20.