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Of the three books before us, we feel ourselves drawn first to that of Jean Paul. "With all his faults we love him still." Goethe and Schiller are great names and them too we love, but if we had to choose from all the Germans but one, we should say, give us "Jean Paul the only." There is in him an originality, a richness of metaphor, a broad humor, to which we always return with new delight. He is suggestive too in the highest degree; and rightly understood, there is in his works a depth of wisdom, a liberality and right-mindedness, such as we find almost nowhere else. Huge he is and unformed; often, it must be confessed, tedious. His similes are far-fetched, his sentiment strained, his descriptions overwrought; but yet we toil not in vain amongst his rubbish. Our pains are always repaid with some rich jewel of illustration, or we find some great truth of life unawares.

The work of which we have here a translation is certainly less fitted to impress favorably an English reader, than several others which might have been selected from Jean Paul's writings. Yet on the whole the book is pleasanter reading than we should have expected. It is in form a novel, of which we have as yet only the first volume, comprising the history of the married life" of the hero, whose "death and wedding" are still to follow. This strangeness in his titles is, as our readers no doubt know, one of Richter's peculiarities. The justification of it we are to see in the next volume. At the opening of the story, Siebenkäs, its hero, is just expecting the arrival of his bride, Lenette, from Augsburg, all things being in readiness for the marriage. The bridegroom's impatience is made to vent itself in the quite characteristic remark, that "seeking was invented by the devil, and waiting by his grandmother." She comes not, however, on that day, but the next, and the ceremony is duly performed. The reader has now to go on with the new-married couple in a course of constantly growing unhappiness, arising out of their entire unsuitableness to each other. He is a scholar, refined, sensitive, an ardent lover of nature, a philosopher; she simple, ignorant, quite uncultivated, and moreover, in the structure of her mind, wholly incapable of ever assimilating with him. Hence is made to arise, without absolute fault on either side, the most refined misery. We can hardly point out where either of them is

in the wrong, yet they go on, mutually estranging each other. The effect upon our mind is somewhat like that of one of Godwin's novels. It is painful, because it seems almost as if we might, in spite of ourselves, do just the same thing.

The details of their increasing poverty and unhappiness are very minute. Some of their difficulties are not unamusing. Take as an instance the following account of a morning's scene. As the only resource in their impoverished condition, Siebenkäs had conceived the idea of writing a book, and was on every account therefore exceedingly anxious to be undisturbed.

"O! I will soon manage matters,' said he cheerfully; and he set himself to work to-day more diligently than usual at his writing-desk, in order that by his 'Selection from the Devil's papers,' he might the sooner direct a considerable stream of wealth into his house. But now another sort of purgatory-fire, which I have been unwilling to speak of before, was kindled and blown into a flame around him, and he had sat roasting in it since the day before yesterday. Lenette is the cook, and his writing-table the gridiron. During the mute quarrel of the preceding days, he had unfortunately become accustomed to listen attentively to Lenette whilst he was writing. This confused his thoughts, and the slightest step, every little shock, affected him as though he were suffering from gout or hydrophobia, and continually stifled one or two young thoughts in their birth,—just as a louder noise causes the death of a brood of canary-birds and of silk-worms.

"At first he kept his feelings under tolerable control; he reflected that his wife was obliged to move about, and so long as she had not an abstract body and abstract furniture to handle, it would be impossible for her to glide through the room as noiselessly as a sunbeam, or as her invisible good and bad angels behind her but whilst he was thus listening internally to this cours de morale and collegium pietatis, he quite lost both his satirical conceptions and the context, and wrote worse and worse.

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"However, on this morning after the profile-evening, on which their souls had shaken hands with each other and renewed the royal alliance of love, he felt he could go to work more openly, and said to his wife: If possible, Lenette, don't make much noise to-day; it disturbs me in my labors for the press.'

"I thought you could scarcely hear me,' answered she, 'I glide about so gently.'

"Long after a man is past the years in which he sows his wild oats, he has still single weeks and days of folly to go through.

Verily, Siebenkäs made the above-mentioned request in a foolish moment; for he had now burdened himself with the task of watching, during the whole time he was thinking, what Lenette would do after receiving the petition.

"She tripped over the boards of the room and the web of her household work with light spider's feet, for, like other women, she had not contradicted with the intention of resisting, but simply for the sake of contradiction. Siebenkäs was forced to be very much on the alert to hear her hands or feet; but he succeeded nevertheless, and little of what passed escaped his attention. When we are not asleep, we pay more attention to slight noises than to loud ones: the author now listened to her every movement, his ear and soul were linked to her, counted her steps, followed her wherever she went, in short, he was obliged to break off suddenly, jump up in the midst of the satire entitled 'The nobleman with the ague,' and call out to his creeping partner, 'I have been listening for hours to this tiresome tripping. I had rather you would trot about with two loud sandals shod with iron for beating time, than walk so; pray go on as usual, best one."" pp. 160-163.

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This passage, and the whole account, of which it forms a part, of the annoyance experienced by the author from household noises, is somewhat remarkable, when we recollect the description of Jean Paul's own study, as given by Carlyle in an extract from Döring:

"Richter's studying or sitting apartment offered, about this time, a true and beautiful emblem of his simple and noble way of thought, which comprehended at once the high and the low. Whilst his mother, who then lived with him, busily pursued her household work, occupying herself about stove and dresser, Jean Paul was sitting in a corner of the same room, at a simple writing-desk, with few or no books about him, but merely with one or two drawers containing excerpts and manuscripts. The jingle of the household operations seemed not at all to disturb him, any more than did the cooing of the pigeons, which fluttered to and fro in the chamber, - a place, indeed, of considerable size."

Miscell. i. 9.

We must confess to having never been able to recal this scene without a feeling of admiration not unmixed with wonder. But what shall we say now, to find that this apparently abstracted student was, at times at least, sensitively alive to every sound!

In the passage above given we have an instance of Jean Paul's habit of generalizing upon the peculiarities of women.

From any of his novels we might select pages of such remarks. In this one, for instance, besides a whole extra leaf on women's gossip, we have:

"Lenette had the womanly foible, that is habit, of disguising her reconciliation even after her anger was past- at least of deferring it, and proposing a re-examination of the processes after pardon was passed.” — p. 153.

"He justified himself sufficiently, as he thought, [for employing a style of speech which his wife could not comprehend] by maintaining that she always had some remote conception of his meaning, even when he selected the most learned technical terms and the most choice allusions, in order to practise his ear to them. Women, he said, always catch a distant and indistinct glimmering of everything, and do not therefore waste the time. which may be more profitably employed, in tediously investigating and weighing the words that are incomprehensible to them." -p. 176.

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A woman is the most inconsistent compound of obstinacy and self-sacrifice that I am acquainted with. She would permit her head to be cut off for the sake of her husband, by the Parisian executioners, but not the hair upon it: she can also deny herself much for the sake of others, but nothing for her own sake for a sick person she is capable of depriving herself of three nights' sleep, but for the sake of her own rest she cannot break off one minute sooner her nap out of bed. Though neither spirits nor butterflies have a stomach, they cannot possibly eat less than a woman who is going to a ball or the altar, or who is looking for guests; but should the doctor and her own body be the only just cause and impediment why she should not eat an Esau's mess, she devours it directly. Men, in their sacrifices, exactly reverse all this." — p. 178.

"At first the conversation of the two men fell, like that of women, upon persons, not upon things; with this difference only, that they called their chronicle of scandal biography of scholars and historical literature."

-p. 197.

"Lenette had two feminine bad habits. The one was, that of delivering every commission to the errand-girl in the room, and then going out with her and repeating the same order over three or four times; the other was that, shout as loud as he might, she 197.

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always asked first' How?' or What do you say "Women like to put off; men to act. With the former we best gain our ends by patience; with the latter, as, for example, with ministers of state, by urgency.”.

p. 311.

We stop in our extracts, not by any means because we have exhausted the store, but because these are enough to

show what we mean. How much truth there is in these characteristics of women, and others which abound in Jean Paul's works, it would be presumption in us to pretend to say. Amongst his countrywomen we have heard him quoted as an oracle on this subject, but it seems to us, we confess, not unlikely that his sphere of observation was too limited, for us to take him as the expounder of this mysterious text. There are several other passages which we had marked for extract, but too much space has already been taken up in this way. One more, however, we give, as containing that remarkable allusion to the pearl-oyster, which in a modified form is found more than once in Jean Paul's writings, and which some of our readers may recognize as having seen elsewhere.

66

'Nothing tends more to excite our humor and render us indifferent to the honor of rank alone, than the circumstance of our being obliged to substitute for the respect due to our rank the honor to ourselves personally, or to our intrinsic worth, and to protect the inner man with philosophy against external injuries; when, like the pearl-oysters, we must stop up the holes that are bored by worms in our mother-of-pearl with the pearls of maxims and pearls are better than uninjured mother-of-pearl - a thought I should write in letters of gold."-p. 256.

The sequel of the story is to follow in another volume. It is in amount this. The unhappiness of the married pair is aggravated by the discovery on his part of an unconscious affection growing up in his wife for a friend of theirs, and constant visiter, a stiff, formal pedagogue, between whom and her it is evidently the intention of the author to show an affinity. To secure her happiness, and for his own relief, Siebenkäs adopts the strange expedient, favored by an extraordinary resemblance between himself and a friend of his, of feigning death, and assuming his friend's name and place in the world; the friend, in the meantime, departing on distant journeys. Lenette is married to the man of her choice, but does not long survive, and finally Siebenkäs himself, having found a congenial spirit, is made happy.

In all this, there is, as is observed in the preface to the American edition of the work, an evident resemblance to the "Elective Affinities" of Goethe, "a story," the preface says, "on which all the phials of their moral indignation have been somewhat hastily poured by our English critics."

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