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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 76 / 106





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The Sorrows ofYoung Werther

he was looking for flowers, and could find none. “But it is not the season,” I observed, with a smile. “Oh, there are so many flowers!” he answered, as he came nearer to me. “In my

garden there are roses and honeysuckles of two sorts: one sort was given to me by my father! they grow as plentifully as weeds; I have been looking for them these two days, and can- not find them. There are flowers out there, yellow, blue, and red; and that centaury has a very pretty blossom: but I can find none of them.” I observed his peculiarity, and therefore asked him, with an air of indifference, what he intended to do with his flowers. A strange smile overspread his counte- nance. Holding his finger to his mouth, he expressed a hope that I would not betray him; and he then informed me that he had promised to gather a nosegay for his mistress. “That is right,” said I. “Oh!” he replied, “she possesses many other things as well: she is very rich.” “And yet,” I continued, “she likes your nosegays.” “Oh, she has jewels and crowns!” he exclaimed. I asked who she was. “If the states-general would but pay me,” he added, “I should be quite another man. Alas! there was a time when I was so happy; but that is past, and I am now—” He raised his swimming eyes to heaven. “And you

were happy once?” I observed. “Ah, would I were so still!” was his reply. “I was then as gay and contented as a man can be.” An old woman, who was coming toward us, now called out, “Henry, Henry! where are you? We have been looking

for you everywhere: come to dinner.” “Is he your son?” I in- quired, as I went toward her. “Yes,” she said: “he is my poor, unfortunate son. The Lord has sent me a heavy affliction.” I asked whether he had been long in this state. She answered, “He has been as calm as he is at present for about six months. I thank Heaven that he has so far recovered: he was for one whole year quite raving, and chained down in a madhouse. Now he injures no one, but talks of nothing else than kings and queens. He used to be a very good, quiet youth, and helped to maintain me; he wrote a very fine hand; but all at once he became melancholy, was seized with a violent fever, grew distracted, and is now as you see. If I were only to tell you, sir—” I interrupted her by asking what period it was in which he boasted of having been so happy. “Poor boy!” she exclaimed, with a smile of compassion, “he means the time when he was completely deranged, a time he never ceases to regret, when he was in the madhouse, and unconscious of


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