The Sorrows ofYoung Werther
churchyard wall were withered; and the gravestones, half cov- ered with snow, were visible through the openings.
As he approached the inn, in front of which the whole vil- lage was assembled, screams were suddenly heard. A troop of armed peasants was seen approaching, and every one exclaimed that the criminal had been apprehended. Werther looked, and was not long in doubt. The prisoner was no other than the servant, who had been formerly so attached to the widow, and whom he had met prowling about, with that suppressed anger and ill-concealed despair, which we have before described.
“What have you done, unfortunate man?” inquired Werther, as he advanced toward the prisoner. The latter turned his eyes upon him in silence, and then replied with perfect compo-
sure; “No one will now marry her, and she will marry no one.” The prisoner was taken into the inn, and Werther left the place. The mind of Werther was fearfully 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 entertained a strong degree of pity for the prisoner, and was seized with an inde- scribable anxiety to save him from his impending fate. He
considered him so unfortunate, he deemed his crime so ex- cusable, and thought his own condition so nearly similar, that he felt convinced he could make every one else view the mat- ter in the light in which he saw it himself. He now became anxious to undertake his defence, and commenced compos- ing an eloquent speech for the occasion; and, on his way to the hunting-lodge, he could not refrain from speaking aloud the statement which he resolved to make to the judge.
Upon his arrival, he found Albert had been before him: and he was a little perplexed by this meeting; but he soon recovered himself, and expressed his opinion with much warmth to the judge. The latter shook, his head doubtingly; and although Werther urged his case with the utmost zeal, feeling, and deter- mination in defence of his client, yet, as we may easily suppose, the judge was not much influenced by his appeal. On the con- trary, he interrupted him in his address, reasoned with him se- riously, and even administered a rebuke to him for becoming the advocate of a murderer. He demonstrated, that, according to this precedent, every law might be violated, and the public security utterly destroyed. He added, moreover, that in such a case he could himself do nothing, without incurring the great-