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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 58 / 106

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The Sorrows ofYoung Werther

observing Miss B—, and did not notice that the women were whispering at the end of the room, that the murmur extended by degrees to the men, that Madame S— addressed the count with much warmth (this was all related to me subsequently by Miss B—); till at length the count came up to me, and

took me to the window. “You know our ridiculous customs,” he said. “I perceive the company is rather displeased at your being here. I would not on any account—” “I beg your excellency’s pardon!” I exclaimed. “I ought to have thought of this before, but I know you will forgive this little inatten- tion. I was going,” I added, “some time ago, but my evil ge- nius detained me.” And I smiled and bowed, to take my leave. He shook me by the hand, in a manner which expressed ev- erything. I hastened at once from the illustrious assembly, sprang into a carriage, and drove to M—. I contemplated the setting sun from the top of the hill, and read that beautiful passage in Homer, where Ulysses is entertained by the hospi- table herdsmen. This was indeed delightful.

I returned home to supper in the evening. But few persons were assembled in the room. They had turned up a corner of

A— came in. He laid down his hat when he saw me, ap- proached me, and said in a low tone, “You have met with a disagreeable adventure.” “I!” I exclaimed. “The count obliged you to withdraw from the assembly!” “Deuce take the assem- bly!” said I. “I was very glad to be gone.” “I am delighted,” he added, “that you take it so lightly. I am only sorry that it is already so much spoken of.” The circumstance then began to pain me. I fancied that every one who sat down, and even

looked at me, was thinking of this incident; and my heart became embittered.

And now I could plunge a dagger into my bosom, when I hear myself everywhere pitied, and observe the triumph of my enemies, who say that this is always the case with vain persons, whose heads are turned with conceit, who affect to despise forms and such petty, idle nonsense.

Say what you will of fortitude, but show me the man who can patiently endure the laughter of fools, when they have obtained an advantage over him. ’Tis only when their non- sense is without foundation that one can suffer it without complaint.

the table-cloth, and were playing at dice. The good-natured

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