Germany is currently the only country in Western countries that has no speed limit on highways. However, German TV 2 reported on the 24th that the “highway speed limit” proposal recently submitted by the German Green Party has won the support of major parties including Merkel’s CDU and the Social Democratic Party. Germany may implement a new policy of 130 kilometers per hour on highways as early as this year.
The German Green Party believes that the transportation industry is the third leading cause of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions in Germany. The faster you drive, the greater the gasoline consumption and the more carbon dioxide emitted into the air. According to data from the German Federal Environment Agency, the speed limit measures on German highways will greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which can reduce 1.9 million to 5.4 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. Secondly, too fast speed is not conducive to personal safety. According to data from the German Federal Statistical Office, 424 people were killed in highway accidents in Germany in 2018.
In recent years, the popular support rate for speed limit has also increased. Polls show that nearly two-thirds of people are in favor of expressway speed limits. Even car companies such as Volkswagen and BMW, which resolutely opposed speed limits in the past, have begun to accept this change because of their electric vehicle strategy. The chairman of the Green Party, Haberke, bluntly stated that under the global environmental protection trend, “Germans have no right to drag racing.”
Veraguth went violently in the music room of his mother up and down. At first glance he looked like his father, because he had his eyes, but was much more like his mother, who stood leaning against the piano and followed him with tender, attentive eyes. When he passed her again, she held his shoulders and turned his face to her. A tuft of blond hair hung over his broad, pale forehead, his eyes glowed with boyish excitement, and his handsome, full mouth was wrinkled angrily.
“No, mom,” he cried violently, pulling himself free from her hands, “you know I can’t go over to him. That would be a completely pointless comedy. He knows that I hate him, and he hates me too, you can say what you want. ”
“Hate!” She exclaimed with low severity. “Leave those words that distort everything! He is your father and there was a time when he loved you very much. I must forbid you to speak like that. ”
Albert stopped and looked at her sparkling.
“You can forbid me to use the words, of course, but what does it make different? Should I be grateful to him? He has ruined your life for you and my home for me, he has made our beautiful, happy, magnificent Roßhalde a place full of discomfort and repugnance. I grew up here, mother, and there are times when I dream every night of the old rooms and corridors here, of the garden and the stable and the dovecote. I have no other home that I love and dream of and be homesick for. And now I have to live in strange places and can’t even bring a friend here on vacation so that he doesn’t see what kind of life we lead here! And everyone who gets to know me and hears my name immediately starts singing praises to my famous father. Oh mother
The mother followed him and urged him into an armchair, sat on his knees and straightened his dislocated hair.
“So,” she said in her calm, deep voice, whose tone meant home and refuge to him, “so, now you’ve told me everything. It is sometimes very good to speak up. You have to know the things that you have to endure. But you don’t have to stir up what hurts, child. You’re as tall as me now and soon you’ll be a man, and I’m looking forward to that. You are my child and you should stay that way, but look, I’m alone a lot and have all sorts of worries, I also need a real, male friend, and that’s what you should be. You’re supposed to play four-handed with me and walk with me in the garden and check on Pierre, we want to have a nice vacation together. But you shouldn’t make noise and make it even more difficult for me, otherwise I have to think that you are still half a boy and that it will take a long time,
“Yes, mother, yes. But do you have to keep silent about everything that makes you unhappy? ”
“It’s the best, Albert. It is not easy, and it should not be asked of children. But it’s the best. – Do we want to play something now? ”
“Yes gladly. Beethoven, the second symphony – do you like it? ”
They had hardly started to play, so the door opened gently and Pierre slipped in, sat down on a stool and listened. Thoughtfully he looked at his brother, his neck with the silk sports collar, his head of hair moving to the rhythm of the music and his hands. Now that he couldn’t see his eyes, he noticed Albert’s great resemblance to his mother.
“Do you like it?” Asked Albert during a pause. Pierre just nodded, but immediately walked out of the room again. In Albert’s question he had sensed something of the tone in which, in his experience, most adults approach children talked and whose mendacious friendliness and awkward arrogance he didn’t like. Big brother was welcome to him, he had even awaited him eagerly and greeted him down at the station with great joy. But he did not intend to go into this tone.
Meanwhile, Veraguth and Burkhardt were waiting for Albert in the studio, Burkhardt with undisguised curiosity, the painter in nervous embarrassment. He had suddenly lost his fleeting happiness and chat when he heard Albert’s arrival.
“Does it come unexpectedly?” Asked Otto.
“No I do not think so. I knew that he should come these days. ”
Veraguth pulled older photographs out of a junk box. He found a portrait of a boy and held it next to a photograph of Pierre for comparison.
“That was Albert, exactly the same age as the little one is now. Do you remember him? ”
“Oh, very good. The picture is very similar. He’s got a lot from your wife. ”
“More than Pierre?”
“Yes, a lot more. Pierre is neither your type nor his mother’s. By the way, there he comes. Or should that be Albert? No, impossible. ”
You could hear small little steps in front of the door over the tiles and over the crowd, the doorknob was touched and, after a little hesitation, pressed down, and Pierre stepped in, with his inquiring, friendly look quickly peeking whether he was welcome.
“Where’s Albert?” Asked the father.
“With mom. They play the piano together. ”
“Oh, he plays the piano.”
“Are you angry, papa?”
“No, Pierre, it’s nice that you came. Tell us something! ”
The boy saw the photographs lying there and picked them up.
“Oh, that’s me! And this one? Should that be Albert? ”
“Yes, this is Albert. This is what he looked like when he was just your age. ”
“I wasn’t born then. And now he has grown up and Robert already says Mr. Albert to him. ”
“Do you want to grow up one day?”
“Yes, I want to. When you grow up you can have horses and travel, that’s what I want too. And then nobody can call me ‘little boy’ and pinch my cheeks. But actually I don’t want to grow up. The old people are often so uncomfortable. Albert has also become completely different. And when the old people get older, they die last. I’d rather stay the way I am, and sometimes I want to be able to fly and fly with the birds high up around the trees and into the clouds. I would laugh at everyone. ”
“Me too, Pierre?”
“Sometimes, papa. The old people are all so weird sometimes. Mom not so much. Mama lies here and there in a long chair in the garden and does nothing but look into the grass, and then her hands hang down and she is very calm and a little sad. It’s nice not to have to do something all the time. ”
“Don’t you want to become anything? Builder, or gardener, or maybe a painter? ”
“No, I don’t like. A gardener is already there, and I already have a house. I want to be able to do completely different things. I want to understand what the robins say to each other. And I would also like to see how the trees manage to drink water with their roots and grow so big. I don’t think anyone really knows. The teacher knows a lot, but all boring things. ”
He had sat down on Otto Burkhardt’s knee and was playing with his belt buckle.
“You can’t know a lot of things,” said Burkhardt in a friendly manner. “A lot can only be seen and you have to be satisfied with the fact that it is so pretty. If you come to me in India one day, you will always ride a big one for many days Ship, and in front of the ship there appear a lot of small fish, they have small glass wings and can fly. And sometimes birds come too, they have flown terribly far from foreign islands and are very tired and sit on the ship and are amazed that so many strange people are sailing around on the sea. They would also like to understand us and ask us where we come from and what our name is, but it doesn’t work, and you look each other in the eyes and nod your head, and when the bird has rested, it shakes and flies away over the sea again. ”
“Don’t you even know what these birds are called?”
“Oh yes, you already know that. But there are names that people have given them, and how they say to one another, you cannot know. ”
“Uncle Burkhardt can tell fine stories, papa. I also want to have a friend. Albert is already too big. Most people even understand not quite what you say and want, but Uncle Burkhardt understands me right away. ”
A housemaid came to fetch the little one. Soon afterwards it was dinner time and the gentlemen went into the house. Veraguth was silent and disgruntled. In the dining room his son came up to him and shook his hand.
“Good afternoon, papa.”
“Good afternoon, Albert. Did you travel well? ”
“Yes thank you. Good evening, Mr. Burkhardt. ”
The young man was very cool and correct. He led his mother to the table. One ate, and the conversation was almost exclusively between Burkhardt and the housewife. The talk came about music.
“May I ask,” said Burkhardt to Albert, “what kind of music do you particularly love? However, I am no longer up to date and I hardly know the modern musicians by name. ”
The youth looked up politely and gave information.
“I only know the very latest from Hearsay. I don’t belong to any direction and I love all music when it’s good. Mostly Bach, Gluck and Beethoven. ”
“Oh, the classics. Of those, we actually only knew Beethoven better at our time. We didn’t know anything about Gluck. We all held on to Wagner, you know. Do you remember, Johann, when we first heard Tristan? That was a frenzy! ”
Veraguth smiled unhappily.
“Old school!” He called a little harshly. “Wagner is done with. Or not, Albert? ”
“Oh, on the contrary, it is played in all theaters. But I have no judgment about it. ”
“Don’t you like Wagner?”
“I don’t know him enough, Mr. Burkhardt. I very rarely go to the theater. I’m only interested in pure music, not opera. ”
“Well, but the master singer prelude! I am sure you know that. Is that no good either? ”
Albert bit his lip and thought for a moment before answering.
“I really can’t judge that. It is – how should I say? – romantic music, and I am not interested in it. ”
Veraguth made a face.
“Do you have country wine?” He asked distractingly.
“Yes thank you.”
“And you, Albert? A glass of red? ”
“Thank you, papa, I’d rather not.”
“Have you become abstinent?”
“No, not at all. But wine doesn’t suit me, I’d rather do without it. ”
“Well, good. But we want to toast, Otto, cheers! ”
He drank half the glass in a quick swig.
Albert continued to play the role of the well-bred boy who, although he has very specific views, keeps them to himself modestly, and who lets older people speak, not to study but to have his peace of mind. The role did not suit him well, so that he too soon felt extremely uncomfortable. He wanted his father, whom he could if possible was used to ignoring, giving absolutely no cause for argument.
Burkhardt was silent, observing, and so there was no one left who, with good will, would have resumed the frostily dried up conversation at the table. They hurried to eat, served each other with polite circumspection, played self-consciously with dessert spoons and waited miserably sobriety for the moment of getting up and parting. It was only at this hour that Otto Burkhardt felt the loneliness and hopeless coldness in which his friend’s marriage and life had frozen and stunted. He glanced over at him, saw him staring sullenly at the barely touched food and saw in his look, which he met for a second, a pleading shame at the revelation of his condition.
It was a sad sight, and suddenly the loveless silence, the embarrassed coldness and humorless forcedness of this dinner hour seemed to proclaim Veraguth’s shame. In this For a moment Otto felt that every further day he stayed here would only become a disgusting prolongation of this shameful audience and agony for the friend who only maintained appearances with disgust and no longer had the strength and mood to gloss over his misery in front of the audience . The task here was to put an end to it.
No sooner had Frau Veraguth got up than her husband pushed back his chair.
“I’m so tired that I apologize. Do not feel disturbed!”
He went out and forgot to close the door behind him, and Otto heard him slowly walk away with heavy steps through the corridor and down the creaky stairs.
Burkhardt closed the door and accompanied the housewife into the drawing room, where the grand piano was still open and the evening wind was leafing through the notes on the table.
“I wanted to ask you to play something,” he said self-consciously. “But it seems to me your husband is not very well, he has been working in the sun all midday. If you allow me, I’ll keep him company for an hour. ”
Frau Veraguth nodded seriously and did not try to hold him. He recommended himself and went with Albert to the stairs.