The Sorrows ofYoung Werther
succeed to a very considerable inheritance.” This information possessed no interest for me. When we arrived at the gate, the sun was setting behind the tops of the mountains. The atmo- sphere was heavy; and the ladies expressed their fears of an approaching storm, as masses of low black clouds were gath- ering in the horizon. I relieved their anxieties by pretending to be weather-wise, although I myself had some apprehen- sions lest our pleasure should be interrupted.
I alighted; and a maid came to the door, and requested us to wait a moment for her mistress. I walked across the court to a well-built house, and, ascending the flight of steps in front, opened the door, and saw before me the most charming spec- tacle I had ever witnessed. Six children, from eleven to two years old, were running about the hall, and surrounding a lady of middle height, with a lovely figure, dressed in a robe of simple white, trimmed with pink ribbons. She was hold- ing a rye loaf in her hand, and was cutting slices for the little ones all around, in proportion to their age and appetite. She performed her task in a graceful and affectionate manner; each claimant awaiting his turn with outstretched hands, and bois- terously shouting his thanks. Some of them ran away at once,
to enjoy their evening meal; whilst others, of a gentler dispo- sition, retired to the courtyard to see the strangers, and to survey the carriage in which their Charlotte was to drive away. “Pray forgive me for giving you the trouble to come for me, and for keeping the ladies waiting: but dressing, and arrang- ing some household duties before I leave, had made me for- get my children’s supper; and they do not like to take it from any one but me.” I uttered some indifferent compliment: but my whole soul was absorbed by her air, her voice, her man- ner; and I had scarcely recovered myself when she ran into her room to fetch her gloves and fan. The young ones threw in- quiring glances at me from a distance; whilst I approached the youngest, a most delicious little creature. He drew back; and Charlotte, entering at the very moment, said, “Louis, shake hands with your cousin.” The little fellow obeyed will- ingly; and I could not resist giving him a hearty kiss, notwith- standing his rather dirty face. “Cousin,” said I to Charlotte, as I handed her down, “do you think I deserve the happiness of being related to you?” She replied, with a ready smile, “Oh! I have such a number of cousins, that I should be sorry if you were the most undeserving of them.” In taking leave, she de-