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which he bought in 1851, afforded him an agreeable and comfortable residence.

One day, in Leipsic, he received from Berlin a secret communi. cation in reference to Prussia's surrender, to Russia, of Poles who had crossed the frontier, an act contrary to international law, and one which aroused intense indignation. Freytag, whose notions of national honour were of the strictest and most severe, felt an obligation laid upon him by his conscience not to suppress this communication, but to lay its contents before the public. The Prussian Government, however, felt itself aggrieved by this course, and meanwhile secretly issued a warrant for the arrest of Freytag, who, becoming aware of it in time, was enabled to leave Leipeic and take refuge in Gotha.

Here the Duke interested himself in the author in a very noble manner, made him one of his own subjects, and, investing him with the title of Court Councillor, appointed him, in a measure as a matter of form, to a post as reader in his immediate service; an office the duties of which, however, he never once performed. From this time forward Freytag cherished a reverent and grateful attachment to this prince, who not only by rank, but in every other respect, was one of the foremost men in Germany, and at whose Court he spent many delightful hours.

Meanwhile he had completed his most celebrated play, the comedy of The Journalists, and already it had entered upon the round of the German stage. In a sense, it was a battle-piece painted in the thick of the fire. During violent political excitement in regard to the elections, and in spite of his arduous journalistic labours, the author found time to sketch the plan of this unrivalled comedy, and to carry out its construction in the neatest and most finished style. With a remarkable rapidity had he discovered a form of representation for the impressions he had received from without. This piece is life itself, with all its amiable charms, its bright sunshine, and the joyous laughter of happy human beings. The delineation of character and the dialogue are natural and animated; the language, as is always the case with Freytag, flows with a smooth and polished ease, while at the same time the author has succeeded in introducing tones and chords which, by their unaffected faithfulness to nature, awake a powerful echo in every breast. With The Journalists Freytag said farewell to modern drama. Taken altogether Freytag is, in his working, the most puzzling writer with whom our home literature is acquainted. Unwilling to feel himself circumscribed, he exercised his powers in every field of literary activity, and, thanks

, to the versatility of his talents, which quickly make him at home in the most unfamiliar regions, as well as to his wonderful ability to give form and colour to his conceptions, and his unfailing humour, he reaped fresh successes in all of them. Freytag is inclined to a psychological treatment of his characters, to a minute and delicate painting of details, to an exhaustive description of the larger segments of human life. The trading classes, the decay

, of the gentry, the conflict between the Powers of Germany and Poland, the professions and court circles, he describes with rare plastic art and circumstantial minuteness. As it is only the troubles of life which teach us to value its blessings, so it is only he can rightly estimate the value of activity and a respected position in the world who, by his own energy, has had to win them for himself; and only he can lay any just claim to the world's. esteem who in his secret soul does not need to blush before him. self. No patrimony, however rich, can compensate for the lack of self-acquired possessions. But the only means by which to become acquainted with life oneself, and one's own proper place in the world, is, for man, work; for woman, love. In accordance with these views the author determined to represent the best and fairest that life has to offer, i.e., to exhibit to us the people “from whom alone can be derived that which warms the heart and refreshes the intellect"; and he exhibits it “where," as Julian Schmidt once said, “it is to be found in its fullest vigour-at its work.” He accordingly wrote Debit and Credit.

The author introduces us to three different circles of society, represented by three different families. The first represents the healthy, substantial middle

class, as in the course of centuries, by dint of its own energy and industry, it had advanced from small beginnings to great and dominant importance. Slowly and cautiously one stone after another has been added, until the stones have grown into stories, and the stories into a palace, whose ramifications are wide-spread, but solid and secure. To the dwellers in that circle represented to us by the family of Baron von Rothsattel, life presents a very different aspect. There it is looked upon as a matter of course, as a divine ordination of nature, that the human race should be divided into two classes, one which rules and enjoys, and another which is ruled and works. And yet only too soon comes the day when it is evident that innovations are inevitable. Greater and still greater become the demands made by the mode of life, and the luxury necessary to keep up a "position," which the man who stands still, instead of marching forward, is no longer able to satisfy. But, too proud to take the spade into his own hand, and persuaded that small and gradual gains would avail him nothing, and that only a great stroke can be of service, by listening to the words of the smooth-tongued tempter he allows himself to be once led from the right path. Gradually, very gradually, he

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turns aside; then it is too late to return. He must go forward into the desert, there to perish ; and finally, instead of denouncing his own weakness, he curses the mirage which danced before his ey(s. The advance of destruction is no longer to be delayed by help from a stranger's band, but upon the ruins of the old race there grows up a new one, that gathers strength and completion from those remnants of the old which have remained healthy. When the nobleman looks down contemptuously upon the usurer who, with smooth words, is endearouring to persuade him to accept the mortgage, the likeness between them is greater than the difference; both are anxious to improve their condition without work, to be rich without effort; only that the one believes in the possibility of making money honestly out of nothing, the other knows to what dangers he is exposed. Both are walking on the slates; one as a somnambulist, the other as a smuggler. What impels the former is vanity, love of applause, the litter avarice. And thus, forced into crime by a stranger, in accordance with the law of inclines, which holds good in the moral world as well as in the physical, he becomes a criminal from habit.

Of the three houses, therefore, with which the novelist makes us acquainted, two, the house of Rothsattel and that of Ehrenthal, go to ruin, and it is only the middle-class house which thrives and puts forth new shoots. The reader who for the first time takes up Freytag's Debit and Credit is immediately spell-bound by the charm of the situations into which the author introduces him. The secret of the magic which produces this effect is to be found here, as also in The Journalists, in its prevailing and pervading humour. Five and-twenty editions of this work have been published, and there is not a German man or woman who lays any claim to the epithet educated who has not read it once, twicenay, thrice. It is not a book that one reads to-day, recommends to others to-morrow, and forgets the next day. No; its intellectual contents become a settled possession of the reader, of the nation. They live in us, having a determining influence on our feelings, thoughts, and judgments. When, perhaps, in the pressure and business of our daily life, we have forgotten both title and name of the author, the teachings contained in it will be imparted by the father to the son, by the son again to the grandson, without knowing, possibly, whence they came; and thus this work will form an enduring component part of that great mass of material which a never-resting, all-ruling Providence has designed for the elevation and culture of a whole peuple. This is the purest aim and highest triumph of the writer of fictitious narrative.

As might naturally be expected after this period of rapid production, during which, in a short time, he offered to the public

two important and masterly works, at the same time discharging the duties of his editorial office with painful conscientiousness, Freytag allowed a pause of several years to intervene in his literary labours. These following years, however, were by no means a season of leisure or retirement. During this time he was industriously laying the foundations for new and valuable works. He directed his attention principally to re-awakening interest in matters relating to art and the history of civilization. His intellectual and poetical individuality had by this time become a definite one. True, with every new work he was preparing some new surprise for the public of Germany, revealing himself from a side hitherto unknown ; but it was only the short-sighted, or those gifted with but little penetration, who were really deceived. Neither have his views of men and things changed any more; from this time, he has always remained the same. At the first moment, therefore, everyone was amazed when, in 1859, the man from whose pen a second “Debit and Credit” was expected, came forward with a tragedy, which, while disclosing material taken from the remote, almost legendary ages of antiquity, conformed to all the rules laid down by the technique of tragedy. This work was The Fabians.

To exhibit, from its tragical side, the conflict between the two orders, the nobility and the middle class, to show how the hard and fast line which separates one from the other, the prohibition of intermarriages, is, in troublous times and under certain circumstances, fraught with the most terrible danger to the entire State, and, indeed, that it must, in all cases, result in the destruction of that which can allege nothing in justification of its existence but tradition and prejudice : to such an end this historical subject appeared to him to be peculiarly adapted. Freytag has given to the bare historical event an artistic basis and a change of costume, devised good motives, and placed it in large perspective. Artistically compact as it is in its composition, we have ample glimpses into a dark past and a bright future ; and marked as is the action by the principle of unity, it nevertheless presents points of varied and intense interest. When the aspect of things is one of inextricable confusion, the author always contrives, by a clever trick, to dispose the threads to new and artistic complications. The alternation of mood is accomplished with rare dexterity. Wild scenes of conflict and murder, glowing with passion, are followed by love discourses full of heavenly beauty and sorrowful denunciation; but the climax is reached in the powerful judgment scene of the fourth act, in which the fierce onslaught of the excited multitude upon the mighty Consul, with his impenetrable calmness, affects one like a passage from one of those symphonies of Beethoven, where the Titans are supposed to be attacking Ossa.

Upon the stage The Fabians has not been able to maintain its ground. Not many of the theatres have attempted to represent it, and to the few it was but of slight service, perhaps for the simple reason that they were too few. No practical man, however, in theatrical matters, can affirm that The Fabians does not respond to the requirements of the stage. But, on the one hand, the present day appears no longer to favour antique subjects; on the other, it will be known to most that theatrical success resembles a lottery prize, which depends entirely on chance; and that a conjuncture of a hundred fortunate chances is necessary to secure the success of a piece, while a single unfortunate one is sufficient to ruin it.


Freytag conceived the task of the historian of Civilization to consist in giving to the century in which he lived a copy and reflection, as faithful as possible, of preceding centuries. To him the liistorian's aim was not only a scientific, it was equally an ethical one. He not only wished to instruct; he desired to please ; and herein, more than in anything else, consists Freytag's excellence in this department. In hours of sadness, he would have his Pictures from Germany's Past be a source of encouragement to the German people, telling them that they have already passed through greater troubles, and that still more terrible storms have been followed by briglit sunshine. In joyous moments they should contribute to enhance the joyousness of the mood, and fill them with a consciousness of a just national pride. In order to awake a sense of freshness and immediateness, Freytag, with great modesty and delicate tact, has allowed individual representatives of each epoch to come forward and tell their stories in person, but around every account he has thrown, like a garment, his own illustration of the times and circumstances in which the narrator lived. Thus, he makes the reader, in a measure, a co-seeker, and in this way compels an interest considerably greater than if lie had merely offered him bare descriptions of life and customs from his own pen.

Three centuries lie here, clear and distinct before the eyes of the rcader ; no touch is wanting. In motley procession, monks and warriors, princes and travelling scholars, savants and citizens, Jews and Jesnits, vagrants and demoniacs, pass before him. But the crown and centre of the entire work is the character-sketch of the man whom Freytag, more than any other German, has loved and honoured, because in him he saw the ideal and original German;

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