Turn spooky autumn days, with the most unfriendly month of November, the November, the hallways eclipsed, alternated with eerie nights. Between violent storms which shook the palaces and shook them to their foundations, as at Kniphausen, the thundering thunder of the North Sea was heard from far away, and they and the flood in the year-end caused high waves. It was raining and snowing at the same time almost incessantly. In her room sat the old countess, rigid, with very dilapidated features, but still strong and even less abandoned by the forces of her rare spirit. She was all alone; the beautiful cypercat, which had once clung so snugly to her, had long since died. In a quiet soliloquy the old woman moved the lips of the toothless mouth,
Everything is vain under the sun, everything, she spoke in the words of Solomon, whose harrowing truth man learns to recognize more and more, the closer he comes to the ultimate goal of this earthly life. Here I stand now, a ruin that collapses in itself, and what have I not experienced, done, created for all how many struggled for me, and what have I achieved with all this? If I do not stand there, like that great sage of antiquity, I can not speak like him: “I made gardens and gardens of pleasure, and planted all sorts of fertile trees in them?” – My Marienthal continues to grow green here, and posterity succumbs to its coolness Shadow. “I made dykes for watering the forest of green trees.” I created other dikes to protect the land from the threatening waves of the ocean. I sacrificed myself for this land. “I had servants and maids and servants,” I still have them, feed and nourish many in vain, whom I no longer need, but which I need. “I also collected silver and gold, and was a treasure to kings and lands,” says the wise preacher. So did I; I collected a rich treasure in gold and silver and in ore, which adorns the noble rust of millennia, my coins. And what will be the lot of this collection? Those who possess them after me will need more gold and silver, will sell my treasure, and he will gradually come back into the hands of the traders, will be scattered, as he was scattered before me, for it is all vain, yes, “when I looked on all my works, which had done my hand, and treasure the effort that I had had, behold, it was all vain, and woe, and nothing more under the sun. “Pity, yes, sorry! Oh, you high prophet, you sage in the purple robe! I saw the family and worthy relatives banished and moved into misery and misery, I saw the worthy possessions I lost and robbed of what I wanted to make others happy, my dearest grandson went far, far from me, I do not see squeezing, lovingly following a young beautiful star, and over in Kniphausen a pure, noble heart breaks at a woe that is inexpressible. Jammer! Jammer! And so I will have to say with full authority to the preacher: “I was annoyed by all my work, which I had under the sun, that I had to leave it to a person who should be after me. For who knows whether he will be wise or great, and yet shall reign in all my work? ”
Fort with the foolish thoughts! exclaimed the widow of the empire from her dull senses; To torture oneself with such thoughts is vain, and “the Lord,” sings the Psalmist, “the Lord knows the thoughts of men that they are vain.”
The matron rang, the servant entered: I have the gentlemen ask!
There was a big green table in the room, five upholstered chairs surrounding it. The imperial countess sat down in the armchair at the top of the table and leafed through a few folders in front of her. The door opened, the gentlemen entered with a bow; it was the Privy Councilor Brunings, the Counselor Melchers, the secretary Wippermann, and the steward Windt, who still had the old title, but who did not suit to what he had actually done and rendered.
Greetings, gentlemen! Do you want to take a seat? With a slight bowing of her head she spoke the proud old mistress, and when she had been obeyed, she spoke firmly and like a man to those present. After a long, very long break, we see each other united again today, for negotiations and treaties whose complete conclusion was always postponed and delayed by unexpected adversities, the most important of which was the protracted detention of my beloved oldest grandson, the reigning Lord. After the untold efforts we have made, through usages of God and the world, I have finally succeeded in liberating the Lords and returning them to their own, which would never have happened had I not invoked Heaven and Hell, because it always has to be me who acts in my family. My second grandson has moved to England and has made separate contracts with his cousin William, the Vice Admiral. The presence of my eldest grandson, who is close enough to us, would be most welcome for us, but the grave sickness of his wife prevents him from appearing here; and since the utmost is to be feared over there, it would be pointless to postpone our consultation to the next time. You all know how the liveliest wish of my eldest grandson was and is to see yourself in possession of the glory of Doorwerth, as my faithful Mr. Windt has summoned up everything to act in mutual advantage and to help fulfill both desires. It was all in the best way my grandson willingly again offered his hand for a friendly settlement, he made a down payment himself, and his unfortunate imprisonment restrains everything, comparison, contracts, and further payments. And yet, gentlemen, if Now no comparison in the form of right thing comes to pass, then such between me and my grandchildren never come to a standstill, because I feel it, I am here for the last time in Varel and my life is rapidly ending – it’s a miracle that the age-old building has been so long. Do you hear the terrible storm outside, gentlemen? So violent storms in the interior, in the mind have often shaken me through, finally the dam breaks, finally the last dune floods in the wild surging vortex wave of life! Tell my best, Herr Rath Melchers, the representative of my oldest grandson, Herr Hofrath Brüning, of the new terms of reference which have been put on paper, and you, Herr Secretary Wippermann, take everything exactly to protocol. You, my dear Windt, then inform the gentlemen of the rest,
The Countess rose, and strode out of the room into the adjoining room.
Melchers did as he was told; He read out from a book the conditions of comparison which had undergone manifold alteration, and which were now in the brevity of the following content: All processes should be abrogated forever, all previous unpleasant ones forgiven and forgotten, all mutual claims should fall, mutual trust, friendship and perfect concord will prevail in the future in the high family. Doorwerth should be ceded to the hereditary lord even during the lifetime of the Frau Reichsgräfin Excellenz, whereas the latter would pay the sum which had been named, namely 150,000 Dutch guilders to be determined at a later date, 14 After so many sad quarrels, everything will be treated honorably and befittingly.
These are the words, Hofrath Brünings took the floor: the same articles, my dear Herr College Melchers, to which my gracious Count Excellency has committed himself in my presence.
And for the establishment of which I have done mine, said Windt, in order to convince your High-Grand-Prussian Excellency the wife’s grandmother that there is no longer a long delay from the side of the reigning ruler.
It would therefore, Brüning took the floor, to intervene in the comparison articles, the conditions that, subject to the fulfillment of all that had been said, the Countess Excellenz transferred to her grandson the magnificence Doorwerth, with all the accessories, to the peculiar possession, and entirely cedire I must beg, with the expressly expressed words, that we have ceded and given over to our grandson, the Highborn Lord, and so forth, and to his heirs to full and perfect property, by virtue of this instrument, our high and free Glory Doorwerth; and, moreover, literally the passage, that in the midst of His Highborne the ruling Lord Count could, in regard to all so feudal, act as allodial goods at his pleasure.
I do not know, most revered Mr. College, then the advice of Melchers said: is it well to speed things up this way? Why rush in legal cases? is an old saying. The plan and mode which I have now presented, but which you have sketched out, do not seem to me to elucidate, and I would not be able to advise my gracious mistress to include literally the passages quoted by you, Herr Hofrath, in the settlement agreement. before the first payment of fifty thousand guilders has not really been paid in full and in cash, instead of the twenty-one million Mark Hamburger Banco, which has only been paid at first; because the main question in this business always remains: Can the Gracious Count Pay Excellency or can not pay Highdersel?
If he could not pay, my dear College, said Councilor Brünings by taking with some rapidity a dash: so high The same would not undertake to pay!
Your word of honor, my dear Mr. College, left Rath Melchers very calm. For the sake of heaven, do not take what I say, and in the name, as in the interest of my high mistress, even if Hoch the same did not tell me these remarks, do not take this personally; I hold the greatest possible worship against the gracious lord of the land. But tell yourself, do you want to and can you hide the fact that he is the same poor? Had not he lost all credit before he was imprisoned? Did not his friend, as friend Windt confirms me, cancel his help, as well as his best friend, Count Grovestein? Likewise the high relative, the Duke of Portland? And it was only a merchant from Amsterdam who provided the young gentleman with the sum of fifty thousand guilders, with whom he believed to be just as magnanimous as carelessly to help the lord, but that only water was poured into the Zuider-See! Never will this sum, which, instead of being invested and paid on Doorwerth, be shattered for political jests, will never be paid back, for it will not even pay interest.
Sir! said Hofrath Brünings: “Do you call the noblest patriotism, the holy patriotism in the breast of a true noble and honorable man, a political jugglery?
Do not fret, dear sir! replied Melchers, a man, already rather old, with a full, comfortable face, which formed a very agreeable contrast to the fine, pointed, and hollow-cheeked face of Hofrath Briining: we are not here to argue about political views. I do not fight yours and do not want to fight my own. I call every business and act in the political field, which is useless to the world, and to which he, without foreknowledge, begins without consideration, only harm, and not the least use.
For people such shock, Bruning threw full of moral indignation and profound contempt: there is no man’s virtue, no patriotism, not self-sacrifice; They never beat their hearts in the chest more restless in the misfortune of their people, at the cries of the humiliated humanity, they shut their ears to the lament for the murdered freedom and the call of the storm bells at the emergency of the fatherland!
On purpose, I never close my ear, esteemed Mr. College, Melchers with serene calm; but I ask you, was our native country in Noth, when the subjects in the local glories no longer wanted to give any taxes? Was the people unhappy that France, in the great mimicry of France, wanted to renounce its rule and perhaps drive it away? Was it the way of Greece, or were they monkeys of France, who at one time kept their hats on the heads of Varel’s casino and gave each other the title of citizen ? But enough, dear Mr. College, about this indeed affreuse chapter.
Please, gentlemen, after this interesting digression, come back and come to our main theme, Windt admonished the contingent with an ironic smile. We will never fight back here on the peaceful year-old bosoms, which is what is going on in the world of history and fighting. We Germans are never apolitical at all, as if we went into politisiren. So Herr Kammerrath Melchers think that the reigning Herr Graf Excellency will not find the means to pay at the right time or at all?
The matter is so, replied Melchers: the sum to be paid to your Excellency by the Countess is fifty thousand guilders, of which fifty thousand guilders are to be paid in the first appointment eight weeks after the signing and exchange of the contracts, with the intervention of the already paid twenty thousand Mark Hamburger Banco , Eight weeks later, and after the surrender of the glory of Doorwerth, the second appointment is not to be made with the same sum, but with a hundred thousand gulden, and, moreover, within the first eight days in which he is in possession of the glory, the Hereditary Lord shall be the Highly Gracious Grandmother wife a flush bond to twenty-five thousand Reichsthaler gold-handled.
A bond, Briining hastily took the floor, which the honorable gentleman can issue very well, since it is expressly stipulated that this sum does not pay interest, nor can it be claimed by the countess herself or by any other owner should, until more favorable financial or special fortune circumstances occur.
Alas, Mr. College! Melchers exclaimed. Do you build the palace of your hopes on such a ground? Are you hoping for financial improvements? I see in the future only exacerbations! Or on luck circumstances? I’m sorry for you, these are the dull hopes of a player! Consider yourself as a seasoned financier, because in your field you are not as impractical as in your political ideas, what is the bond worth of a man who is insolvent? Who vouches for him? Which possessions can he give first mortgage? Where do you find extraordinary sources of income? And all at a time when no one can say that his fortune is covered and secured, and his temporal circumstances do not succumb to rapid conversion? Everything is possible, and it is all worked enough for the overthrow. Then we have been gentlemen in the glories for the longest time. Denmark attacks and unites this country with Holstein.
Well, then, said Briining: if it is so, that in the place of the expected trust, the apparent mistrust occurs, if, instead of prudent wisdom the Klügelei prevails, then I advise and I must advise to wait with the comparison and the sales-business still and give everything to a quieter shaping future for further development.
Concedo , my dear Mr. College! exclaimed Melchers: thought it right now that we would agree; In the meantime, it will probably be best for my most gracious mistress to keep the goods, as in order, and, as it is also cheap, to themselves, rather than to give them up to a good fortune; that’s why I think, gentlemen, we’re doing shift work!
And are as far as before! exclaimed the voice of the quietly reappearing imperial countess. Truly, if Russia, France, England, Austria, Prussia, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Turkey lead with another war and were previously fight the issue diplomatically, so little dull and undecided could be exchanged, as is the case here to a single chamber property. I want to sell Doorwerth, I want to sell it to my oldest grandson. Why are the gentlemen disagreeing, why is not voted and concluded short and round as I want it?
The timid and dubious Bureaucrats, to whom it does not matter whether the world goes down, if only their bills are correct, and no deficit in their money-trusts, hesitant and treacherous negotiation, were suddenly interrupted by the entrance of the old servant Whitbrod, who turned with the message to the Reichsgräfin: Your Excellency pardon me the disturbance graciously, but the matter is urgent. Just now a riding messenger, dripping over and over, and half frozen, came up from Kniphausen.
O God! What is there? cried the old lady, seized by a dark foreboding:
The messenger comes from the gracious Lord! reported Weissbrod: he has no letter, the gentleman have told him to verbally order and align that –
What? Out with it, cried the Countess firmly and resolutely, as he faltered in his speech.
The hereditary spouse would be very ill and desperately wanted to speak to your Excellency once more.
Ottoline! The poor heart, I have known it, said the Countess quietly to herself: well then, her will be done.
But Excellency cried Whitbrod dismayed; the terrible weather!
There is no weather against the will of a dying man, dude! Let the big glass car pull on, say the Windt, that she should accompany me, also you, Mr. Windt, may I ask you to do me the favor and ride along. Take the receipts from the acts-the rest whispered them so softly that only the steward heard it, then turned again to the others. Thank you, gentlemen, for your repeated fruitless effort, as you deserve. I realize that you On all sides it means honest and faithful to me, but boring is the thing, very boring. Even the high court of justice in Wetzlar is not boring and prolix. And now nothing should become of the whole trade, nothing at all, now I do not want any more! Nobody should start talking about it again with me, I seriously forbid and forbid this. Adieu, gentlemen!
Bitter-mad, the imperial countess rushed out of the room and threw his door behind him with unkind fierceness.
A bad weather today, gentlemen! Hofrath Brünings spoke and pulled the can. Let’s take another pinch on the way home! And you, Herr Steward, you do not catch cold. I do not envy you for the upcoming drive, you will have to endure a lot of storm.
By storm, six stately black horses hunted through storm and rain over sea gravel and marshland on the best way from Varel to Kniphausen. But Herr Brünings had been wrong; The aged woman, who did not shy away from the uproar of the elements to fulfill the wish of a granddaughter close to death, had veiled her face and sat motionless in the carriage during the whole journey. Before her Windt and his sister had taken the backseat. Since the mistress did not speak, her companions dared not speak. The maggot was terribly swollen, almost the bridge was threatened, now shapeless in misty mists, the stately castle, gray as a ghost house.
For a few moments the storm subsided, when a hotter cry came over from the lonely Marienthurme; a hawk who had his nest in the walls screamed so loud and anxious. Another anxious quarter of an hour and Kniphausen Castle had been reached. The day was the 24th of November of the year 1799.
The landlord came to the countess disturbed, it was a sad reunion. Grandmother and grandson exchanged only a few words, the servants stood pale and worried in the galleries, many had tear-stained eyes. The lord had long changed the long imprisonment and some care: now deep sorrow bent him down, for he had truly loved his wife when his often quick and hurtful nature was not at all in keeping with Ottoline’s gentle character and her ideal intuition of life-though, what her keen eye had not escaped, the presence of her chamberlain, who had only come to the castle during his absence, and although the daughter of a peasant, though of immense beauty, also possessed an immense capacity for education, made him visibly interested and uneasy. It was the virgin Sara Margaretha Gerdes.
The landlord paced quietly in the same room, in which the Falk von Kniphausen was still standing in its old place; Windt was with him, their conversations were Doorwerth.
In the room of Sarah, Ottoline’s children were staying; the eldest daughter Maria Antoinette Charlotte, and Ottoline Friederike Luise, lovely girls of six and seven years, who until now had been the only one lucky mother to lose her tender tender heart.
At the camp of the seriously ill mistress sat the old imperial countess. Ottoline held her gaunt hand in hers, and gazed painfully from the sunken, deep blue eyes to the faithful matron.
Where is Ludwig now? asked the patient with a soft breath.
He left Germany, answered the Countess; he followed his luck – I almost fear he will never find it.
Oh, – the cruel friend! sighed Ottoline. Why did he save my life for so much agony and pain? Why did I get to know him too late – oh – love him! For five years I carried seven swords in my heart, a sword of love, a sword of repentance, a sword of penance, a sword of longing, a sword of hopelessness, a sword of disease, a sword of pain – and now – they are all taken from me – I feel no more pain – I feel light – but cold. My feet have no sensation anymore.
Do not talk too much, my best! she admonished the imperial countess.
Oh, I begged you, worthy grandmother, whispered Ottoline: because I wanted to speak to you – with you – from him. Now, when all the bands are falling away from the liberated soul, now I say it, and tell you, and ask you to tell it again, that I loved it infinitely – infinitely – infinitely! You tell him that, dearest grandmother – and he should never forget mine – oh, I would so much like – give him a souvenir – if only the falcon was mine – the falcon from which we drank – whom I served him – he should have it – that’s what I wanted to tell you, grandmother – that’s my last wish on earth.
I assure its fulfillment, answered the old mistress, and a mute but brilliant, half-glaring glance thanked her; then Ottoline raised both hands and shouted: My children! Where are my children? I want to see her again and bless her!
The imperial countess ordered the girls to be brought, she received them herself and led them to the camp of her dying mother. Ottoline cried her last tears, the landlord entered in the mute masculine pain, the castle chaplain, the chamberwomen, Windt, the servants, all still, quietly sobbing.
Already on the morning of that day, Ottoline had received the holy supper. Now the chaplain began to pray aloud while the whole servants sank to their knees.
On the wings of prayer escaped Ottoline’s pure soul, she passed away without struggle, without pain, scarcely with a soft rattle – and over the quiet pale countenance, over the softly closed eyes of death herself with her long silk eyelashes the peace of God was encamped.
Once more the priest raised his voice, stepping near to the camp of the deceased, raising his hands, and striking the cross over them. –
The imperial countess later stayed with the hereditary lord in the guest room, both in silent silence. Such hours of sacred consecration of pain do not make talkative.
The old lady rang a servant, Jacob, the hunter, entered.
Let him call janitor Mack once, Jacob, also Mr. Windt!
What do you want to order, ma’am? asked the Erbherr, surprised by this word.
 You shall know immediately, answered the countess, and both were silent again.
The two called stewards entered almost at the same time. Bring us, Mr. Mack, the leather case lined with velvet to the falcon! commanded the mistress.
Well, gracious grandmother? the Erbherr asked. What do you have?
I want to take my falcon with me!
How, Excellency, your hawk? I do not know other than that the gems are Fideicommiss?
My diamond jewelery, yes, the diamonds of your dear deceased, likewise the jewelery used by Frau von Varel, your brother’s wife, born Countess Lynden, besides her own. But the Falk of Kniphausen is mine – I left him here, because he stood here in a worthy place, and because Ottoline had his joy in him. But so that at this serious hour your thoughts will not hurt me and not yourself, my dear grandson, so please, dear Windt – the paper that I requested you to take. Here, my good Wilhelm!
The landlord took the paper and looked into it, it was the account of the hawk, “manufactured on the orders of the Countess Sophie Charlotte, mistress of Varel and Kniphausen, with notable indication of the gold used for the work of art, as well as all the gems, and the high Much to the pleasure of the customer, the buyer acknowledges receipt from the brothers Dinglinger, royal court jewelers at Dresden. ”
Intendant Mack brought the sheath; The Countess pushed the hawk in with her own hand, and Windt carried him down to the carriage.