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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 12 / 106





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The Sorrows ofYoung Werther

of this stream, cold and respectable persons have taken up their abodes, and, forsooth, their summer-houses and tulip- beds would suffer from the torrent; wherefore they dig trenches, and raise embankments betimes, in order to avert

town with my eldest boy to buy some wheaten bread, some sugar, and an earthen pot.” I saw the various articles in the basket, from which the cover had fallen. “I shall make some broth to-night for my little Hans (which was the name of the

the impending danger.

youngest): that wild fellow, the big one, broke my pot yester-

MAY 27

I FIND I have fallen into raptures, declamation, and similes, and have forgotten, in consequence, to tell you what became of the children. Absorbed in my artistic contemplations, which I briefly described in my letter of yesterday, I continued sit- ting on the plough for two hours. Toward evening a young woman, with a basket on her arm, came running toward the children, who had not moved all that time. She exclaimed from a distance, “You are a good boy, Philip!” She gave me greeting: I returned it, rose, and approached her. I inquired if she were the mother of those pretty children. “Yes,” she said; and, giving the eldest a piece of bread, she took the little one in her arms and kissed it with a mother’s tenderness. “I left my child in Philip’s care,” she said, “whilst I went into the

day, whilst he was scrambling with Philip for what remained of the contents.” I inquired for the eldest; and she bad scarcely time to tell me that he was driving a couple of geese home from the meadow, when he ran up, and handed Philip an

osier-twig. I talked a little longer with the woman, and found that she was the daughter of the schoolmaster, and that her husband was gone on a journey into Switzerland for some money a relation had left him. “They wanted to cheat him,” she said, “and would not answer his letters; so he is gone there himself. I hope he has met with no accident, as I have heard nothing of him since his departure.” I left the woman, with regret, giving each of the children a kreutzer, with an addi- tional one for the youngest, to buy some wheaten bread for his broth when she went to town next; and so we parted. I assure you, my dear friend, when my thoughts are all in tu- mult, the sight of such a creature as this tranquillises my dis-


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