Who said Beyonce's breath stinks

The subject / Chapter I.

[ 11 ]

Diederich Heßling was a soft child who loved to dream, above all was afraid and suffered a lot from his ears. He was reluctant to leave the warm room in winter and the narrow garden in summer, which smelled of the rags of the paper mill and the wooden framework of the old houses stood above its laburnum and lilac trees. When Diederich looked up from the book of fairy tales, the beloved book of fairy tales, he was sometimes very frightened. Next to him on the bench there was clearly a toad, half his size! Or by the wall over there a gnome was stuck up to his stomach in the earth and peered at!

The father was more terrible than the gnome and the toad, and one should love him on top of that. Diederich loved him. If he had nibbled or lied, he would huddle around the desk, smacking his lips and waving shyly, until Herr Hessling noticed something and took the stick from the wall. Every crime that did not come out mixed a doubt in Diederich's devotion and trust. When the father fell down the stairs with his invalid leg, the son clapped his hands like mad - and ran away.

If, after being punished, he passed the workshop with a bloated face and howling, the workers laughed. Immediately, however, Diederich stuck out his tongue towards them and stamped. He was aware: “I got a beating, but from my papa. You would be happy if you could get a beating from him too. But you are far too little for that. "[12]

He moved between them like a capricious pasha; soon threatened to tell their father that they were getting beer, and soon he coquettishly let out the hour to which Herr Hessling was to return. They were wary of the principal: he knew them, he had worked himself. He had been the baker in the old mills, where every bow was made by hand; had been through all the wars in between and after the last, when everyone found money, was able to buy a paper machine. A dutchman and a cutting machine completed the facility. He counted the sheets himself. He couldn't miss the buttons that had been torn from the rags. His little son often let the women slip them for him for not telling who some were taking with him. One day he had gathered so many that it occurred to him to exchange them for sweets at the grocer's. It succeeded - but in the evening, while he was sucking the last of the malt sugar, Diederich knelt in bed and, shaken by fear, prayed to the dreadful God that he might leave the crime undiscovered. Nevertheless, he brought it to light. This time his hand twitched his father, who had always carried the stick methodically, steadfastly and dutifully on the weathered sergeant's face, and a tear ran into which a brush of his silvery emperor's beard ran, hopping over the wrinkles. "My son stole," he said, out of breath, in a dull voice, looking at the child like a suspicious intruder. “You cheat and steal. You only need to kill one person. "

Frau Hessling wanted to force Diederich to fall down in front of his father [13] and ask his forgiveness because the father had cried because of him! But Diederich's instinct told him that this would only have angered his father even more. Hessling did not agree at all with the emotional manner of his wife. She spoiled the child for life. Incidentally, he caught her lying just as much as Diedel. No wonder since she read novels! On Saturday evenings, the weekly work that was assigned to her was not always done. Instead of moving, she clapped the maid ... And Hessling didn't even know that his wife was snacking too, just like the child. At the table she dared not have enough to eat and later crept to the cupboard. Had she dared to go into the workshop, she would have stolen buttons too.

She prayed with the child "from the heart", not according to formulas, and she got reddened cheekbones. She hit it too, but head over heels and contorted with vindictiveness. Often she was wrong. Then Diederich threatened to sue her from her father; pretended to go into the office and was happy somewhere behind a wall that she was now afraid. He took advantage of her tender hours; but he felt no respect for his mother at all. Her resemblance to himself forbade him. Because he did not respect himself, he went through his life with too bad a conscience, which could not have existed before the eyes of the Lord.

Nevertheless, both of them had twilight hours overflowing with emotions. Together they squeezed the last drop of atmosphere out of the festivities by singing, playing the piano and telling fairy tales. When Diederich began to have doubts about the Christ Child, he let his mother persuade him to believe for a while longer, and it made him feel relieved, loyal and good. He also stubbornly believed in a ghost up in the castle, and his father, who didn't want to hear about it, seemed too proud, almost worthy of punishment. The mother fed him with fairy tales. She shared her fear of the new, lively streets and the horse-drawn tram that passed through him, and led him over the wall to the castle. There they enjoyed the comforting horror.

At the corner of Meisestrasse you had to pass a policeman who could take whoever he wanted to prison! Diederich's heart pounded flexibly; how gladly he would have made a wide bend! But then the policeman would have realized his guilty conscience and picked him up. Rather, it was necessary to prove that one felt pure and without guilt - and in a trembling voice Diederich asked the policeman about the clock.

After so many terrible violence to which one was subjected, after the fairytale toads, the father, the good Lord, the castle ghost and the police, after the chimney sweep who could drag you through the whole chimney until you were also a black man, and the doctor, who was allowed to paint your throat and shake it when you screamed - after all these violence Diederich found himself under an even more terrible one that suddenly devoured people: the school. Diederich entered it howling, and he couldn't give the answers he knew either, because he had to howl. Gradually he learned to take advantage of the urge to cry just when he hadn't learned - for all [15] fear did not make him more industrious or less dreamy - and thus avoided some nasty consequences until the teachers had understood his system. He paid all his respect to the first one who saw through it; he was suddenly silent and looked at him, over his bent arm held in front of his face, full of shy devotion. He always remained devoted and obedient to the keen teachers. On the good-natured, he played small, hard-to-prove tricks, of which he did not boast. With far greater satisfaction he spoke of a devastation in the testimonies, of a huge criminal court. At the table he reported: “Today Mr. Behnke cut three more.” And when asked who?

"I was one."

For Diederich was made up in such a way that belonging to his impersonal whole, to this inexorable, inhuman, mechanical organism that was the grammar school, made him happy, that the power, the cold power, in which he himself shared, even if only suffering , was his pride. On the Ordinary's birthday, wreaths were placed on the catheter and blackboard. Diederich even wrapped the cane around.

In the course of the years two catastrophes that have befallen those in power have touched him with holy and sweet shudders. An assistant teacher was put down and dismissed by the headmaster in front of the class. A senior teacher went mad. Even higher powers, the director and the madhouse, had left here horribly with those who had previously had such high power. From below, small but intact, one could look at the corpses and learn from them a lesson to mitigate one's own situation. [16]

Diederich represented the power that had him in their machinery in front of his younger sisters. They had to write according to his dictation and artificially make more mistakes than they could manage on their own so that he could rage in red ink and hand out punishments. They were cruel. The little ones screamed - and then it was Diederich's turn to humble himself so as not to be betrayed.

He did not need any people to imitate the rulers; animals, even things, were enough for him. He stood on the edge of the Dutchman and saw the drum knocking out the rags. “You have gone! Dare you again! Infamous gang! ”Murmured Diederich, and there was a glow in his pale eyes. Suddenly he ducked; he almost fell into the chlorine bath. The step of a workman had disturbed him from his blasphemous enjoyment.

Because he only felt really at ease and certain of his cause when he got the beating himself. He hardly ever resisted the evil. At most he asked his comrade: "Don't put it on your back, that's unhealthy."

Not that he lacked a sense of justice and love for his own benefit. But Diederich believed that the beatings he received did not result in any practical gain for the person who hit him, or any real loss for himself. More seriously than these merely ideal values, he took the foam roll that the head waiter from the "Netziger Hof" had promised him long ago and with which he never came out. Countless times, Diederich took serious steps up the Meisestrasse to the market to warn his friend in clothes. But when one day he didn't want to know anything about his obligation, Diederich explained and honestly stamped [17] indignantly: "Now it's getting too colorful for me! If you don't come out now, I'll tell your master! "Then Schorsch laughed and brought the foam roller.

It was a tangible success. Unfortunately, Diederich could only enjoy it hastily and in worry, because it was to be feared that Wolfgang Buck, who was waiting outside, would get over it and demand the share that was promised him. In the meantime he found time to wipe his mouth clean, and in front of the door he broke out in violent curses at Schorsch, who was a swindler and had no foam roller. Diederich's sense of justice, which had just as vigorously expressed itself in his favor, was silent in relation to the claims of the other - which, of course, could not simply be ignored, but Wolfgang's father was a person worthy of respect. Old Mr. Buck did not wear a stiff collar, but a white silk necktie and over it a large white goatee. How slowly and majestically he put his golden stick on the pavement! And he was wearing a top hat, and tails often peeked out from under his overcoat, in the middle of the day! Because he went to meetings, he worried about the whole city. Of the bathing establishment, of the prison, of everything that was public, Diederich thought: "That belongs to Mr. Buck." He must be incredibly rich and powerful. Everyone, including Herr Hessling, bared their heads in front of him for a long time. To take something from his son by force would have been an act full of unpredictable dangers. In order not to be completely crushed by the great powers whom he admired so much, Diederich had to go to work quietly and cunningly.

Only once, in the lower period, it happened that Diederich [18] forgot all consideration, acted blindly and became an oppressor who was drunk with victory. As was customary and necessary, he had teased the only Jew in his class, but now he went to an unusual rally. From blocks that were used for drawing, he built a cross on the catheter and pressed the Jew on his knees in front of it. He held on to him, despite all resistance; he was strong! What made Diederich strong was the applause all around, the crowd from which arms helped him, the overwhelming majority inside and outside. Because through him the Christendom of Netzig acted. How comfortable one felt with shared responsibility and a sense of guilt that was collective!

After the intoxication had faded away, there was probably a slight fear, but the first face of the teacher that Diederich met gave him all courage; it was full of embarrassed benevolence. Others openly agreed with him. Diederich smiled at them with humble approval. It's gotten easier since then. The class could not refuse the honor to those who had the favor of the new full professor. Under him Diederich made it to the primus and the secret overseer. He later maintained at least the second of these honorary posts. He was good friends with everyone, laughed when they were talking about their pranks, an unclouded but heartfelt laugh, as a serious young person who tolerates carelessness - and then during the break when he presented the class register to the professor, he reported . He also disclosed the nicknames of the teachers and the seditious speeches that had been made against them. In his voice, now he repeated it, there was still something of the voluptuous horror with which he had heard it behind lowered lids. For he felt, was somehow shaken to the ruling class, a certain vicious satisfaction, something moving completely under one another, almost like a hatred that quickly and surreptitiously took a few bites to satisfy itself. By reporting others, he atoned for his own sinful emotion.

On the other hand, he mostly felt no personal aversion to his classmates, whose advancement called his occupation into question. He behaved as the dutiful executor of a hard necessity. Afterwards he could step up to the victim and complain, almost sincerely. Once someone was caught with his help who had long since been suspected of copying everything. Diederich left him, with the knowledge of the teacher, a mathematical task that was deliberately falsified in the middle and the end result was nevertheless correct. On the evening after the deceiver's collapse, some of the primary school students sat in front of the gate in a garden tavern, which was allowed at the end of the gymnastics games, and sang. Diederich had looked for the place next to his victim. Once, when he had finished drinking, he let his right hand slide down from the mug onto the other's, looked faithfully into his eyes and, all alone, intoned in bass tones that dragged with heart:

"I had a comrade,
You won't find a better one ... "

Incidentally, with increasing school practice, it was sufficient in all subjects, without exceeding what was required in any one, or knowing anything in the world that was not included in the workload. The German essay was the most alien to him, and whoever distinguished himself in it gave him an unexplained suspicion.

Since his transfer to Prima, his high school career had been considered secure, and the thought penetrated his teachers and father that he should go to university. Old Hessling, who entered through the Brandenburg Gate in 66 and 71, sent Diederich to Berlin.

Because he did not dare to leave near Friedrichstrasse, he rented his room up on Tieckstrasse. Now all he had to do was go down in a straight line and he couldn't miss the university. Since he had nothing else to do, he visited her twice a day, and in the meantime he often wept with homesickness. He wrote a letter to his father and mother thanking them for his happy childhood. He rarely went out without necessity. Hardly that he dared to eat; he was afraid to spend his money before the end of the month. And he had to keep reaching for the bag to see if it was still there.

As lonely as his heart was, he still did not take his father's letter to Herr Göppel, the cellulose manufacturer who was from Netzig and also delivered to Hessling, in Blücherstrasse. On the fourth Sunday he overcame his shyness - and no sooner was the squat, reddened man, whom he had seen so often at his father's office in the office, waddling towards him when Diederich was amazed that he had not come earlier. Herr Göppel immediately asked about Netzig and especially about old Buck. For although his goatee was now also gray, he had, like Diederich, only, it seemed, for other reasons, already as a boy adored old Buck. That was a man: hats off! One of [21] those whom the German people should uphold, higher than certain people who always wanted to cure everything with blood and iron and wrote huge bills for the nation. Old Buck had been there in forty-eight, even sentenced to death."Yes, that we can sit here as free men," said Herr Göppel, "we owe that to people like old Buck." And he opened another bottle of beer. "Today we should be kicked with cuirassier boots ..."

Mr. Göppel confessed to being a free-spirited opponent of Bismarck. Diederich confirmed everything that Göppel wanted; he had no opinion whatsoever about the chancellor, freedom, or the young emperor. But then he was embarrassed, for a young girl had entered who at first glance appeared to him to be terrible because of her beauty and elegance.

"My daughter Agnes," said Mr. Göppel.

Diederich stood there, in his pleated frock coat, as a skinny cadet, and was covered in pink. The young girl shook hands with him. She wanted to be nice, but what to do with her? Diederich answered yes when she asked whether he liked Berlin; and when she asked if he had already been to the theater, he answered no. He felt damp with discomfort and was firmly convinced that his departure was the only thing that could interest the young girl. But how did you get away from here? Fortunately, someone else turned in, a broad person named Mahlmann, who spoke Mecklenburgisch with a tremendous voice, who seemed to be and was supposed to be the carpenter at Goeppel's. He reminded Miss Agnes of a walk they [22] had arranged to meet. Diederich was asked to come along. Horrified, he pleaded a friend who was waiting for him outside and immediately left. "Thank God," he thought, while it gave him a pang, "she already has one."

Herr Göppel opened the hall door for him in the dark and asked if his friend also knew Berlin. Diederich lied that the friend was from Berlin. "Because if you both don't know it, you will end up in the wrong bus. You have certainly got lost in Berlin before. ”And when Diederich admitted it, Mr. Göppel was satisfied. “It's not like in Netzig. Here you run for half a day. What do you think if you walk from your Tieckstrasse to the Hallesches Tor, then you've already climbed three times through the whole of Netzig ... Well, you'll come to lunch next Sunday! "

Diederich promised. When the time came, he would have preferred to cancel; he went only out of fear of his father. This time it was even necessary to be alone with the young lady. Diederich acted busily and as if he didn't feel like dealing with her. She wanted to start again from the theater, but he cut it off with a hoarse voice: he didn't have time for something like that. Oh yes, her papa told her that Herr Hessling was studying chemistry?

"Yes. This is the only science that is justified, ”claimed Diederich, without knowing how he came up with it.

Miss Göppel dropped her pouch; he bent down so negligently that she had him back before he got there. Nevertheless she said thank you, very softly, almost ashamed - which annoyed Diederich. “Coquettish women are something hideous,” he thought. She looked in her pouch. [23]

"Now I've lost it. Namely my English plaster. It's bleeding again. "

She wrapped her finger out of the handkerchief. It had so much the whiteness of the snow that it occurred to Diederich that the blood on it must seep into it.

"I have some," he said with a jerk.

He took her finger, and before she could wipe the blood away, he had licked it off.

"What are you doing?"

He was scared himself. He said with strictly furrowed eyebrows: "Oh, as a chemist I also try completely different things."

She smiled. "Oh yeah, you're kind of a doctor ... How well you can do that," she remarked, watching him apply the patch.

"So," he said negatively, and stepped back. It had become sultry for him, he thought: “If only you didn't have to keep touching her skin! It's disgustingly soft. ”Agnes looked past him. After a pause, she tried: “Don't we actually have common relatives in Netzig?” And she urged him to go through a few families with her. It turned out cousin.

“You still have your mother, don't you? Then you can be happy. Mine is long dead. I probably won't live long either. You have notions ”- and she smiled wistfully and apologetically.

Diederich decided in silence to find this sentimentality silly. Another pause - and as they both rushed to speak, the Mecklenburg man intervened. He squeezed Diederich's hand so forcefully that Diederich's face was contorted, and at the same time he smiled victoriously into his eyes. Without further ado, he pulled a [24] chair up to Agnes ’knee and asked cheerfully and with authority about anything that was unique to both of them. Diederich was left to his own devices and discovered that Agnes, viewed calmly, lost much of her horror. Actually, she wasn't pretty. Her nose was too small and curved inwards, with freckles on the very narrow back. Her tawny eyes were too close together and twitched when she looked at you. The lips were too narrow, the whole face was too narrow. "If she didn't have so much brown-red hair over her forehead and the white complexion ..." He was also pleased that the nail of the finger he had licked was not completely clean.

Herr Göppel came with his three sisters. One of them had a husband and children with her. The father and aunts hugged and kissed Agnes. They did it with urgent intimacy and with gentle expressions. The young girl was slimmer and taller than all of them, and looked a little absent-mindedly down at her who was just hanging from her slender shoulders. Only slowly and seriously did she return his kiss to her father. Diederich watched it and saw the light blue veins, covered with red hair, crossing her temples in the sun.

He had to lead one of the aunts into the dining room. The man from Mecklenburg had hung Agnes' arm in his. The silk Sunday dresses rustled around the long family table. The frock coats were folded over the knees. You cleared your throat, the gentlemen rubbed their hands. Then came the soup.

Diederich sat far away from Agnes and could not see her unless he leaned forward - which he carefully avoided [25]. Since his neighbor left him alone, he ate large quantities of roast veal and cauliflower. He heard the food being discussed at length and had to confirm that it tasted nice. Agnes was warned about the salad, she was advised to have red wine, and she was supposed to provide information as to whether she had been wearing rubber shoes this morning. Turning to Diederich, Herr Göppel said that he and his sisters, God knows, had separated earlier on Friedrichstrasse and had only found each other again in the omnibus. “Something like that can't happen to you in Netzig either,” he called proudly across the table. Mahlmann and Agnes spoke of a concert. She definitely wanted to go, her papa would allow it. Herr Göppel made tender objections, and the aunts' choir accompanied them. Agnes must go to bed early and soon get some good air; she overworked herself in winter. She denied it. “You never let me out of the house. You are terrible. "

Inwardly, Diederich took her side. He had a surge of heroism: he would have wanted her to do everything, that she was happy and thanked him ... Then Herr Göppel asked him if he wanted to go to the concert. "I don't know," he said contemptuously and looked Agnes, who leaned forward. “What kind of one is that? I only go to concerts where I can drink beer. "

“Very sensible,” said Mr. Göppel's brother-in-law.

Agnes had withdrawn and, Diederich regretted what he said.

But the cream that everyone was looking forward to did not materialize. Herr Göppel advised his daughter to take a look. Before she had put down her compote plate, Diederich [26] jumped up - his chair flew against the wall - and hurried steadily to the door. “Marie! He called out. Red and without looking at anyone, he went back to his place. But he noticed quite well that they blinked at each other. Mahlmann even let out his breath scornfully. The brother-in-law expressed with artificial harmlessness: “Always gallant! That's how it should be. ”Mr. Göppel smiled tenderly at Agnes, who did not look up from her compote. Diederich put his knee against the table top so that it began to rise. He thought: "God, oh God, if only I hadn't done that!"

He shook hands with everyone when he was saying the meal, only to avoid Agnes. In the Berlin room over coffee, he carefully chose his seat where Mahlmann's broad back covered it. One of the aunts wanted to take care of him.

"What are you studying, young man?" She asked.


"Oh, physics?"

"No, chemistry."

"I see."

And as imposing as it began, she couldn't get over it. Diederich silently called her a stupid goose. He didn't like the whole company. Filled with hostile melancholy, he looked at it until the last relatives had left. Agnes and her father had escorted them out. Herr Göppel returned, astonished to find the young man alone in the room. He was silent searchingly, once he reached into his pocket. When Diederich suddenly said goodbye without asking for money, Göppel expressed great cordiality. "I will say hello to my daughter from you [27]", he even said, and at the door after thinking a little: "Come back next Sunday!"

Diederich was determined not to enter the house anymore. Nevertheless, the next day he left everything standing and lying in order to find his way through town to a shop where he could buy the concert ticket for Agnes. Before doing this, he had to find out the name of the virtuoso Agnes had mentioned on the slips of paper that hung there. Was it that? Did it sound like that? Diederich made up his mind. When he found out that it cost four marks fifty, he opened his eyes wide in shock. So much money to see one making music! If only you had just been able to get away again! When he paid and was out, he was initially indignant about the dizziness. Then he considered that it had happened for Agnes and was shaken by himself. He walked through the crowd softer and happier. It was the first money he'd spent on someone else.

He put the ticket in an envelope in which he didn't put anything else and, so as not to give himself away, wrote the address in handwriting. When he was standing at the mailbox, Mahlmann came along and laughed scornfully. Diederich felt seen through; he looked at the hand he had withdrawn from the box. But Mahlmann only announced his intention to look at Diederich's booth. He thought it looked like an elderly lady inside. Diederich had even brought the coffee pot with him from home! Diederich was very ashamed. When Mahlmann opened and closed the chemistry books contemptuously, Diederich was ashamed of his subject. The Mecklenburg man rolled [28] on the sofa and asked: “How do you like the Göppel? Nice beetle, huh? Now he's going to be red again! Puss over! I will resign if you value it. I have a prospect of fifteen different ones. "

Since Diederich defended negligently:

“You, there is something to be done. I shouldn't have to understand anything about women. The red hair! - and didn't you notice how she looks at you when she thinks you don't know? "

"Not me," said Diederich even more disparagingly. "I don't give a damn either."

"It's a shame!" Mahlmann laughed wildly - whereupon he suggested going for a stroll. This turned into a beer trip. They both saw the first gas lights drunk. A little later, on Leipziger Strasse, Diederich received a powerful slap in the face from Mahlmann for no reason. He said: “Ouch! But that's a - ”He shrank away from the word“ insolence ”. The man from Mecklenburg patted him on the shoulder. “Really friendly, little one! It's all just friendship! ”- and moreover he took the last ten marks from Diederich ... Four days later he found him weak with hunger and generously informed him three marks of what he had meanwhile pumped elsewhere. On Sunday at Goeppels' - Diederich might not have gone on a less empty stomach - Mahlmann said that Hessling had wasted all his money and had to eat his fill today. Herr Göppel and his brother-in-law laughed understandingly, but Diederich would have preferred never to have been born than to be looked at so sadly by Agnes. She despised him! Desperately he consoled himself. "It's all [29] one thing, she has always done it!" Then she asked whether the concert ticket might have been from him. Everyone turned to him.

"Nonsense! How should I get there? ”He replied so unlovable that they believed him. Agnes hesitated a little before looking away. Mahlmann offered the ladies pralinees and placed the others in front of Agnes. Diederich did not care about her. He ate even more than the previous time. Since everyone said he was only there for that! When it was said that the coffee should be drunk in the Grunewald, Diederich immediately made up an appointment. He even added: “With someone I can't possibly keep waiting.” Mr. Göppel put his squat hand on his shoulder, blinked at him with his head bowed and said in a low voice: “Don't worry, you are of course invited.” But Diederich protested indignantly that it wasn't because of that. "Well, at least come back as soon as you feel like it," concluded Göppel, and Agnes nodded. She even seemed to want to say something, but Diederich did not wait. He walked about the rest of the day in self-satisfied grief, like after making a great sacrifice. In the evening in a crowded pub he sat with his head propped up and nodded from time to time down to his lonely glass, as if he now understood fate.

What could be done about the violent way in which Mahlmann borrowed? On Sunday the Mecklenburg man had a bouquet of flowers for Agnes, and Diederich, who came empty-handed, could have said: “It's actually from me, Fraulein.” In the meantime he was silent, with even more resentment against Agnes than against Mahlmann. Because Mahlmann challenged admiration [30] when he ran after a stranger at night to break the cylinder - although Diederich by no means misunderstood the warning that such an event contained for himself.

At the end of the month, for his birthday, he received an unforeseen sum that his mother had saved him and appeared at Göppels' house with a bouquet that was not too large, not to be embarrassed, and also not to challenge Mahlmann. The young girl had a touched face, as she took it, and Diederich smiled condescendingly and embarrassed at the same time. This Sunday seemed incredibly festive to him; he was not surprised when someone wanted to go to the zoological garden.

The company moved out after Mahlmann had counted them: eleven people. Like Goeppel's sisters, all women on the road were dressed completely differently than during the week: as if they were of a higher class today or had inherited. The men wore frock coats: only a few in combination with black trousers, like Diederich, but many with straw hats. If you came down a side street, it was wide, uniform and empty, without a person, without a horse apple. Once, after all, a circle of little girls in white dresses, black stockings and draped with bows danced in a row of rings, singing shrilly. Immediately afterwards, in the traffic artery, sweating matrons stormed an omnibus; and the faces of the clerks who fought relentlessly for seats looked pale next to their violently red ones. Everything was pushing forward, everything was rushing towards a goal where the pleasure should finally begin. All faces said harshly: "Come on, we have worked enough!" [31]

Diederich returned the Berliner before the ladies. In the light rail, he won them several seats. He prevented a gentleman who was about to take one away by kicking him violently on the foot. The gentleman shouted: “Flail!” Diederich answered him in the same way. Then it became apparent that Herr Göppel knew him, and hardly introduced to one another did Diederich and the other manifest the most chivalrous customs. Nobody wanted to sit in order not to leave the other standing.

At the table in the zoological garden, Diederich came across Agnes - why did everything go well today? - and when she wanted to go to the animals right after coffee, he gave her a stormy support. He was full of enterprise.The ladies turned back in front of the narrow passage between the predator cages. Diederich asked Agnes to accompany him. "You'd better take me inside," said Mahlmann. "If something really should go off -"

"Then don't tie them up again," said Agnes and entered while Mahlmann started laughing. Diederich stayed behind her. He was afraid: of the beasts that rushed at him from right and left, with no sound other than that of the breath they breathed over him - and of the young girl, whose scent of flowers preceded him. At the very back she turned and said:

"I don't like being famous!"

"Really?" Asked Diederich, touched with joy.

"Today you are nice," said Agnes; and he:

"I actually always want to be."

"Really?" - And now it was her voice to sway a little. They looked at each other, each with an expression as if he didn't deserve any of this. The young girl said plaintively:

"But the animals smell terrible."

And they went back.

Mahlmann received them. "I just wanted to see if you wouldn't run away." Then he took Diederich aside. "N / A? What is the little girl doing? Is it okay with you too? I said right away that it wasn't art. "

Since Diederich remained silent:

“You went really hard? You know what? I'm only in Berlin for one semester: then you can inherit me. But wait as long as you please - “On his enormous torso, his little head suddenly looked treacherous. "- friend!"

And Diederich was dismissed. He was terrified and didn't even dare to go near Agnes. She didn't listen very carefully to Mahlmann, she called backwards: “Papa! It's nice today, but I'm really fine today. "

Herr Göppel took her arm between his two hands and pretended to squeeze hard, but he hardly touched her. His bright eyes laughed and were wet. When the family had said goodbye, he gathered his daughter and the two young people around him and told them that the day must be celebrated; they wanted to walk along the linden trees and eat somewhere afterwards.

"Papa is getting reckless!" Cried Agnes and looked around at Diederich. But he kept his eyes lowered. He was so clumsy on the tram that he was separated from the others; and in the crush of Friedrichsstadt he was left alone with Herr Göppel. [33] Suddenly Göppel stopped, felt disturbed about his stomach and asked:

"Where is my watch?"

She was gone with the chain. Mahlmann said:

"How long have you been in Berlin, Mr. Göppel?"

“Yes!” - and Göppel turned to Diederich. "I've been here for thirty years, but that hasn't happened to me yet." And proud in spite of everything: "You see, that doesn't exist in Netzig at all!"

Now instead of eating one had to insist on the police station and an interrogation. And Agnes coughed. Göppel winced. "We'd be too tired now," he muttered. With artificial joviality, he said goodbye to Diederich, who overlooked Agnes ’hand and awkwardly took off his hat. Suddenly, with surprising dexterity, and before Mahlmann understood what was going on, he jumped onto a passing omnibus. He escaped! And now the holidays began! He was all going! At home, of course, he threw the heaviest of his chemistry volumes with a crash on the floor. He even had the coffee pot in his hand. But at the sound of a door he immediately began to pick everything up again. Then he sat quietly on the corner of the sofa, propped his head and cried. If it hadn't been so nice before! He was on her mind. That's how the girls did it: that sometimes they would act like that to you and all they wanted to do was laugh at you with one guy. Diederich was deeply aware that he couldn't take on a guy like that. He saw himself next to Mahlmann and would not have understood it if one had chosen him. "What was I imagining?" He thought. "Someone who falls in love with me must be really stupid." He suffered great fear [34] that the Mecklenburg man might come and threaten him even worse. “I don't want her anymore. If only I had left! ”For the next few days he sat in deadly tension with the door locked. As soon as his money was there, he left.

His mother asked, alienated and jealous, what he had. After such a short time he was no longer a boy. "Yes, the Berlin pavement!"

Diederich took it when she asked him to go to a small university, not to Berlin again. The father thought there were pros and cons. Diederich had a lot to tell him about Göppels. Had he seen the factory? And had he been to the other business friends? Herr Hessling wanted Diederich to use the holidays to get to know the paper-making process in his father's workshop. "I'm not the youngest anymore, and my shrapnel hasn't tickled me like that in a long time."

Diederich escaped as soon as he could to go for a walk in the forest of Gäbbelchen or along the Ruggebach near Gohse and to feel at one with nature. Because now he could. For the first time it struck him that the hills over there looked sad or like a great longing, and what fell from the sky as sun or rain were Diederich's ardent love and his tears. Because he cried a lot. He even tried to write poetry.

When he entered the Löwenapotheke once, his schoolmate Gottlieb Hornung was standing behind the counter. "Yes, I play a little pharmacist here for the summer," he explained. He had even accidentally poisoned himself and curled up backwards like an eel. The whole city had talked about it! But [35] in the autumn he went to Berlin to take up the matter scientifically. Was there anything going on in Berlin? Delighted to have his superiority, Diederich began to brag about his Berlin experiences. The pharmacist promised: "Together we will turn Berlin upside down."

And Diederich was weak enough to accept. The little university was rejected. At the end of summer - Hornung still had a few days to practice - Diederich returned to Berlin. He avoided the room on Tieckstrasse. He fled from Mahlmann and the Göppels to Gesundbrunnen. There he waited for Hornung. But Hornung, who had announced his departure, stayed away; and when he finally came he was wearing a green-yellow-red cap. He was immediately wedged for a bond by a colleague. Diederich was also to join her; it was the neutrons, a very fine corporation, said Hornung; six pharmacists were there. Diederich hid his horror under a mask of contempt, but it didn't help. He shouldn't embarrass Hornung for speaking of him; he must at least pay a visit.

"But only one," he said firmly.

One of them lasted until Diederich lay under the table and they took him away. When he had slept in, they fetched him a morning pint; Diederich had become a connoisseur.

And he felt destined for this post. He saw himself placed in a large circle of people, none of whom did anything to him or asked him to do anything other than drink. Full of gratitude and benevolence, he raised his glass to anyone who suggested it. Drinking and not drinking, sitting, standing, speaking or singing mostly did not depend on himself. Everything was commanded aloud, and if you followed it correctly, you lived in peace with yourself and the world. When Diederich didn't answer the salamander for the first time, he smiled at everyone, almost ashamed of his own perfection!

And that was nothing against his security in singing! Diederich had been one of the best singers at school and had already known the page numbers by heart in his first song book, where each song was to be found. Now all he had to do was slide his finger into the Kommers book, which lay on big nails in the puddle of beer, and before anyone else he hit the number that was to be sung. Often the whole evening he hung on the President's lips with reverence: whether his favorite piece might come from it. Then he boomed bravely: "You know the devil what freedom means", heard the fat Delitzsch growl next to him and felt comfortably secure in the semi-darkness of the low old German restaurant, with the hats on the wall, in view of the wreath of open mouths everyone drank and sang the same thing, with the smell of the beer and the bodies sweating it out again in the warmth. When it got late he felt as if he were sweating from the same body with all of them. He had perished in the corporation that thought and wanted for him. And he was a man, he was allowed to respect himself and was honored because he was one of them! Tear him out, harm him individually, nobody could do that! Mahlmann should have dared to try it: instead of [37] Diederichs, twenty men would have stood up against him! Diederich almost wanted him to come, he was so fearless. Perhaps he should come with Göppel, then they might see what had become of Diederich, then he would be avenged!

Nevertheless, he was most sympathetic to the most harmless of them all, his neighbor, fat Delitzsch. Something deeply calming and trusting lived in this smooth, white and humorous mass of bacon, which oozed broadly over the edges of the chair, reached the height of the table in several bulges and remained propped up there, as if the utmost had now been done, without any movement other than lifting and Put down the beer glass. Like no one else, Delitzsch was in his place; whoever saw him sitting there forgot that he had ever seen him on his feet. It was set up exclusively for sitting at the beer table. The bottom of his pants, which hung low and melancholy in every other state, now found its true shape and inflated powerfully. It wasn't until Delitzsch's back face that his front bloomed. Joy of life shone through it, and it was funny.

A drama ensued when a young fox made a joke of taking his beer glass away from him. Delitzsch didn't move a limb, but his expression, which followed the stolen glass everywhere, suddenly contained the whole, stormy and emotional seriousness of existence, and he shouted in a Saxon step-gate: "Boy, don't you spill anything! What are you depriving me of my livelihood at all? This is a very mean, malicious damage to existence, and I can laugh at you! "

If the fun lasted too long, Delitzsch's white fat cheeks sagged and he asked to make himself small. But as soon as he had the beer back: what an all-embracing [38] in his smile, what a transfiguration! He said: “You're a good bitch, you should lam, cheers!” - drank up and knocked the lid at the corps servant: “Mister upper body!

After a few hours it happened that his chair turned with him and Delitzsch held his head over the basin of the water pipe. The water splashed, Delitzsch gurgled choked, and a few others rushed into the toilet, stimulated by his noises. Delitzsch moved back to the table, still a little bit pissed off, but with fresh rascality.

"Well, it's all right again," he said; and: "What did you talk about while I was otherwise busy? Don't you know nothing like women’s stories? What do I get for the women? "Louder and louder:" I can't even cook a sour bottle for it. You, upper body! "

Diederich agreed with him. He had met women, he was done with them. The beer contained incomparably more ideal values.

The beer! The alcohol! There you sat and could always have more of it, the beer was not like flirtatious women, but loyal and cozy. With beer you didn't have to act, want or achieve anything, as with women. Everything came by itself. You swallowed: and by then you had already achieved something, felt yourself transported to the heights of life and were a free man, free inside. The bar should have been surrounded by police officers: the beer you swallowed turned into inner freedom. And you had as good as passed your exam. You were "done", you were a doctor! You filled a position in bourgeois life, you were rich and important: head of a powerful factory of postcards or toilet paper. What you created with your life's work was in a thousand hands. One spread out over the world from the beer table, sensed great connections, became one with the world spirit. Yes, the beer raised you so much above yourself that you found God!

He would have loved to keep doing it for years. But the neutrons wouldn't let him. Almost from the very first day they had told him the moral and material value of belonging fully to the fraternity; but gradually they went out more and more bluntly to wedge him. In vain did Diederich refer to his recognized position as a connoisseur, into which he had settled and which satisfied him. They replied that the purpose of the student union, namely the education for manliness and idealism, was not quite fulfilled by the pub alone, however much it contributed. Diederich trembled; he recognized all too well what this was all about. He should be cramming! It had always pissed him off when they had shown him the blows they wanted each other to inflict with their sticks in the air; or if one of them had a black cap around his head and smelled of iodoform. Now he thought tightly: “Why did I stick with it and become a connoisseur! Now I have to go. "

He had to. But the first experiences calmed him down. He had been so carefully wrapped, helmeted, and bespectacled that it was impossible for much to happen to him. Since he had no reason not to obey orders as willingly and docilely as in the pub, [40] he learned to fence faster than others. The first time he pulled it through, he felt weak: he felt it run down his cheek. When it was sewn, he wanted to dance with happiness. He reproached himself for having trusted these good-natured people with dangerous intentions. The very one he had feared most took him under his protection and became a benevolent tutor to him.

Wiebel was a lawyer, which alone would have secured Diederich's subordination. It was not without self-contrition that he looked at the English fabrics Wiebel dressed in and the colored shirts, several of which he wore alternately until they all had to be washed. But the most oppressive thing was Wiebel's manners. When he drank Diederich with a slight, elegant bow, Diederich - and his expression was suffering from the exertion - collapsed deeply, spilled one half and choked on the other. Wiebel spoke in a low, arrogant feudal voice.

"You can say what you want," he liked to remark, "Shapes are not an empty delusion."

For the F in "shapes" he made his mouth a small black mouse hole and slowly pushed it out, swelling. Each time Diederich succumbed to the shudder of so much refinement. Everything about Wiebel struck him as exquisite: that the reddish whiskers grew right at the top of the lip and his long, curved nails curved downwards, not upwards, as with Diederich; the strong masculine scent emanating from Wiebel, also his protruding ears, which heightened the effect of the drawn parting, and the hangover-like eyes embedded in temporal bulges. Diederich had only ever seen all of this with an unconditional feeling of his own unworthiness. But since Wiebel spoke to him and even made himself his patron, it was Diederich as if his right to exist had only now been confirmed. He felt like waving his hand gratefully. His heart expanded with happy admiration. If his desires had ventured so high, he too would have liked to have such a red throat and always sweat. What a dream to be able to whisper like Wiebel!

And now Diederich was allowed to serve him, he was his body fox! He always attended Wiebel's awakening, gathered his things for him - and since Wiebel was doing badly with the landlady due to irregular payments, Diederich got him the coffee and cleaned his shoes. For this he was allowed to go along on all routes. Whenever Wiebel fulfilled a need, Diederich kept watch outside, and he only wished he had his bat there to shoulder.

Wiebel deserved it. The honor of the corporation, in which Diederich's honor and his whole sense of guilt were also rooted, Wiebel represented it most brilliantly.He fought with whoever you wanted for Neuteutonia. He had raised the reputation of the association, because he should have once coramated a Vindoborussian! He also had a relative in the Second Guards Grenadier Regiment, Emperor Franz Joseph; and whenever Wiebel mentioned his cousin von Klappke, the whole of Neuteutonia made a flattered bow. Diederich tried to imagine a bulb in the uniform of a guard officer; but so much refinement was inconceivable. Then one day, when he and Gottlieb Hornung came back from his daily hairdressing, fragrant from afar, Wiebel was standing on a street corner with a purser. No mistake: it was a purser - and when Wiebel noticed they were coming, he turned his back on them. They too turned and ran silently and at attention without looking at each other and without making a comment. Each suspected that the other had also noticed the paymaster's resemblance to Wiebel. And maybe the others already knew the truth? But the honor of Neuteutonia was high enough for all to be silent, yes, to forget what they saw. The next time Wiebel said “my cousin von Klappke”, Diederich and Hornung bowed with the others, flattered as ever.

Diederich had already learned self-control, observation of forms, corps spirit, zeal for the higher. It was only with pity and reluctance that he thought of the wretched existence of the roaming savage that had previously been his. Order and duty were now brought into his life. He appeared at Wiebel's booth, in the fencing room, at the hairdresser's and for a morning pint at precisely observed hours. The afternoon stroll led over to the pub; and every step was taken in corporation, under supervision and with the preservation of embarrassing forms and mutual respect, which did not exclude cozy coarseness. A fellow student with whom Diederich had only had official intercourse until now collided with him in front of the toilet, and although they both could hardly stand upright, neither of them wanted to take precedence. They complimented each other for a long time - until suddenly, at the same moment overwhelmed by the urge, they broke through the door like two clashing boars, cracking their shoulder bones. That was the beginning [43] of a friendship. Having come closer to each other in a human situation, they later moved together at the official pub table, drank Schmollis and called each other “bastard” and “hippopotamus”.

The connected life did not always show its cheerful side. It took victims; it practiced male enduring pain. Delitzsch himself, the source of so many cheerfulnesses, spread sadness in Neuteutonia. One morning when Wiebel and Diederich came to pick him up: he was standing at the washstand and said: “Well there. Are you so uh-thirsty? "- suddenly, before they could grab it, he fell over, along with the washing dishes. Wiebel touched it: Delitzsch no longer moved.

"Heart slap," said Wiebel shortly. He walked briskly to the doorbell. Diederich picked up the broken pieces and dried the floor. Then they carried Delitzsch onto the bed. In the face of the landlady's informal wailing, both remained in strict commentary posture. On the way to do the rest - they marched alongside one another in time - Wiebel said with stern contempt for death:

“Such a thing can happen to any of us. Pubs ain't fun. Everyone can be told. "

And with everyone else, Diederich felt lifted by Delitzsch ’faithful fulfillment of his duties, by his death in the field of honor. They followed the coffin with pride; "Neuteutonia is the flag", was in every expression. In the cemetery, the fluffed thugs lowered, everyone had the deepened face of the warrior, whom the next battle can destroy, like the previous ones the comrades; and what the first soldier praised about the divorced: he had won the highest price in the school of manliness [44] and idealism, that shook everyone as if it meant himself.

With this Diederich's apprenticeship came to an end, because Wiebel resigned to prepare for the trainee lawyer; and from then on Diederich had to independently represent the principles he had taken over and plant them in the younger generation. He did it with a feeling of great responsibility and severity. Woe to the fox who deserved to get into the jug. Less than five minutes passed and he had to feel his way around the walls. The terrible thing happened that someone went out the door before Diederich. His penance was eight days of beer wasted. Diederich was not guided by pride or self-love: only his high concept of the honor of the corporation. He himself was only human, so nothing; every right, all his prestige and weight came from her. He owed her everything physically: the breadth of his white face, his belly, which made him venerable to the foxes, and the privilege of appearing in high boots with a ribbon and cap on festive occasions, the enjoyment of the uniform! He still had to make way for a lieutenant, for the body to which the lieutenant belonged was evidently the higher one; but at least he could deal with a tram conductor without fear, without the risk of being snapped at by him. His manhood stood out on his face with throws that split his chin, cracked through his cheeks and hacked into his close-clipped skull, threateningly written on his face - and what a satisfaction to be able to prove it to everyone every day and at will! Once there was an unexpectedly brilliant opportunity. The three of them, Gottlieb Hornung and the maid of their landlady, were at the dance in Halensee. For a few months the friends had shared an apartment with a pretty pretty maid, both gave her little presents, and went out with her on Sundays. Whether Hornung had made it as far with her as he did, Diederich had his own private guesses. Officially and because of connections, it was unknown to him.

Rosa wasn't badly dressed; she found applicants at the ball. In order for Diederich to have another polka, he had to remind her that he had bought her the gloves. He was already making his correct bow at the beginning of the dance, when someone else suddenly pushed in and rushed off with Rosa. Diederich looked after them, embarrassed, with a dark feeling that he would have to intervene here. Before he stirred, however, a girl had rushed through the dancing couples, slapped Rosa and separated her from her partner in an imperturbable manner. Seeing this and marching on Rosa's robbers was one thing for Diederich.

"Sir," he said and looked him straight in the eyes, "your behavior is unqualifiable."

The other replied:

"So what."

Surprised by this unusual turn of an official conversation, Diederich stammered:


The other promptly replied:

"Schote" - and laughed. Completely upset by so much formlessness, Diederich was about to bow and resign; but the other [46] suddenly thrust him in the stomach - and immediately afterwards they rolled over on the floor. Surrounded by screams and cheering shouts, they fought until they were separated. Gottlieb Hornung, who helped Diederichs Klemmer look for, shouted: “He's going to run away” - and was already behind. Diederich followed. They just saw the other with a companion getting into a cab and took the next one. Hornung claimed that the connection shouldn't let that sit on it. "Something like that pinches and doesn't even care about the lady anymore." Diederich explained:

"As for Rosa, she's done for me."

"For me too."

The ride was exciting. “Will we follow? We have a lame horse. ”“ If the proletariat is not capable of satisfactory? ”It was decided:“ Then the matter officially did not take place. ”

The first car stopped in front of a decent house in the west. Diederich and Hornung arrived as the gate was slammed shut. They resolutely positioned themselves in front of it. It grew cool, they marched back and forth in front of the house, twenty paces to the left and twenty paces to the right, always keeping an eye on the door and repeating the same serious and far-reaching speeches over and over again. Only pistols came into question here! This time the honor of Neuteutonia was to be paid dearly! If only it wasn't a proletarian!

The doorman finally came out and they interrogated him. They tried to describe the gentlemen for him, but found that the two had no special marks. Hornung, even more passionate than Diederich, insisted that one had to wait, and they marched back and forth for two [47] hours, then two officers turned out of the house. Diederich and Hornung opened their eyes, uncertain whether there was a mistake here. The officers stopped short. One even appeared to be pale. Then Diederich made up his mind. He stepped before the pale ones.

"Sir -"

The voice failed him. The lieutenant said, embarrassed: "You are probably wrong."

Diederich produced:

"Not at all. I have to ask for satisfaction. They have themselves -"

"I don't know you at all," stammered the lieutenant. But his comrade whispered something to him: “It doesn't work like that” - he asked the other person to give him the card, added his own and handed it to Diederich. Diederich gave his own; then he read: "Albrecht Graf Tauern-Bärenheim". Then he no longer took the time to read the other one, but began to make small, eager bows. Meanwhile the second officer turned to Gottlieb Hornung.

“Of course, my friend meant the joke to be quite harmless. He would of course be ready for any satisfaction; I just want to state that there is no insulting intention. "

The other one he was looking at shrugged. Diederich stammered: "O thank you very much."

"That is the end of the matter," said the friend; and the two gentlemen retired.

Diederich was still there, his forehead damp and his senses awkward. Suddenly he sighed deeply and slowly smiled. [48]

Afterwards in the pub there was only talk of this incident. Diederich praised his fellow students for the Count's truly chivalrous behavior.

"A real nobleman never denies himself."

He made his mouth as small as a mouse hole and slowly swelled out the words:

"F - shapes are not an empty delusion."

Again and again he called on Gottlieb Hornung as a witness of his great moment.

“Nothing stiff at all, eh? Oh! Such a gentleman is not interested in a daring joke. One attitude here: t — hadellos, I can tell you. The explanations of his exaltation were so thoroughly satisfactory that I on my part impossible -: You understand, one is not a rough heap. "

Everyone understood and confirmed to Diederich that Neuteutonia had done well in this matter. The cards of the two noblemen were passed around the foxes and attached to the emperor's image between the crossed clubs. Not a new neutron who didn't get drunk today.

That ended the semester; but Diederich and Hornung had no money to travel home. They had long since lacked the money for almost everything. In view of the obligations of fraternity, Diederich's bill had been increased to two hundred and fifty marks; and yet the debt overwhelmed him. All the sources seemed exhausted, only arid land could be seen, dwindling, stretching - and finally, as little as this would have been due to knights, one had to deliberate about the reclaiming of what they themselves had given fellow students in the course of time. Certainly many an old gentleman had in the meantime made large amounts of money. Hornung found none; Diederich fell for Mahlmann.

"It works with that," he explained. “He was with no connection at all: a very mean pickup bag. I'll get on with him someday. "

But when Mahlmann saw him, he broke into his gigantic laugh without further ado that Diederich had almost forgotten and that immediately irresistibly put him down. Mahlmann was tactless! He should have felt that the whole of Neuteutonia was morally present here with Diederich in his patent office, and should have shown Diederich respect for their sake. Diederich had the impression that he had suddenly been torn out of the energizing whole and stood here as a single person in front of another. An unforeseen, unpleasant situation! So he presented his case all the more freely. Oh! He doesn't want any money back, he would never have expected a comrade to do that! Mahlmann may only be so kind as to vouch for a change. Mahlmann leaned back in his writing chair and said broadly and naturally:


Diederich, concerned:

"Why no?"

"Guaranteeing is against my principles," explained Mahlmann.

Diederich blushed with indignation. "But I vouched for you too, and then the bill came to me and I had to pay for you a hundred marks. You have been careful! "

“Do you see? And if I wanted to vouch for you now, you wouldn't pay either. "[50]

Diederich only opened his eyes.

"No, my friend," concluded Mahlmann; "If I want to commit suicide, I don't need you."

Diederich composed himself, he said challengingly:

"You probably have no comment, sir."

"No," repeated Mahlmann and laughed outrageously.

Diederich stated with the utmost emphasis: “Then you seem to be a fraud at all. There are supposed to be certain patent swindlers. "

Mahlmann no longer laughed; the eyes in his little head had grown treacherous, and he stood up. "Now you have to go out," he said, without excitement. "Between us it would be sausage, but my employees are sitting next door, they are not allowed to hear something like that."

He grabbed Diederich by the shoulders, turned him around and pushed him in front of him. For every attempt to break free, Diederich got a mighty poke.

"I want satisfaction," he shouted, "you have to fight me!"

"I'm already doing it. Don't you notice? Then I want to call someone. ”He opened the door. "Friedrich!" And Diederich was handed over to a packer who carried him down the stairs. Mahlmann called after him:

“No offense, my friend. If you have something on your mind another time, come back! "

Diederich put himself in order and left the house in good manners. So much the worse for Mahlmann if he behaved like that! Diederich had nothing to reproach himself for; before a court of honor he would have stood brilliantly. It remained something extremely offensive that an individual [51] could afford so much; Diederich was offended on behalf of all corporations. On the other hand, it could not be denied that Mahlmann had considerably renewed Diederich's old respect. “A very mean dog,” thought Diederich. "But that's how you have to be ..."

There was a registered letter at home.

"Now we can go on," said Hornung.

"Why us? I need my money myself. "

“You must be having fun. I can't just sit here alone. "

"Then find yourself company!"

Diederich laughed so much that Hornung thought he was mad. He really traveled on that.

On the way he saw that the letter had been addressed by his mother. That was unusual ... Since her last card, she said, his father had gotten a lot worse. Why Diederich did not come.

“We have to be prepared for the most horrific thing. If you want to see our dearly beloved papa again, don't wait any longer, my son! "

With this expression, Diederich found it uncomfortable. He made up his mind not to believe his mother. "I don't believe women at all, and it's not right with mom."

Nevertheless, when Diederich arrived, Herr Heßling was just taking his last breaths.

Overwhelmed by the sight, Diederich broke out into a very shapeless howl on the threshold. He stumbled over to the bed, his face momentarily wet as if it were washing; and with his arms he flapped his wings briefly and let them clap powerlessly against his hips [52]. Suddenly he recognized his father's right hand on the blanket, knelt down and kissed it. Frau Hessling, very quiet and small even with her master's last breaths, did the same over there with the left one. Diederich thought of how that stunted black fingernail had flown towards his cheek when his father slapped him; and he cried aloud.Even the beating when he stole the buttons from the rags! That hand had been terrible; Diederich's heart tightened now that he was about to lose her. He felt that his mother had the same thing in mind, and she sensed his thoughts. Suddenly they sank into each other's arms across the bed.

During the condolence visits, Diederich was back. Before all of Netzig, firmly and firmly in form, he represented Neuteutonia, saw himself amazed and almost forgot that he was mourning. He went to meet old Mr. Buck as far as the outer door. The corpulence of the great man von Netzig was majestic in his shiny frock coat. He wore the top hat upside down with dignity; and the other hand, bared by the black glove, which he held out to Diederich, felt surprisingly tender-fleshed. His blue eyes penetrated Diederich warmly, and he said:

“Your father was a good citizen. Young man, become one too! Always respect the rights of your fellow human beings! Your own human dignity dictates that. I hope we will still work together for the common good here in our city. You will probably finish your studies now? "

Diederich could hardly say yes, the awe disturbed him so much. Old Buck asked in a lighter tone: [53]

“Has my youngest already visited you in Berlin? No? Oh, he should do that. He's also studying there now. But will soon serve his year. Have you already done that? "

"No" - and Diederich turned very red. He stammered excuses. So far it has been quite impossible for him to interrupt his studies. But old Buck shrugged his shoulders as if the matter was irrelevant.

Through his father's will, Diederich was designated as the guardian of his two sisters alongside the old accountant Sötbier. Sötbier informed him that there was a capital of seventy thousand marks that was to serve as the girls' dowry. Not even interest rates could be attacked. The net profit from the factory had averaged nine thousand marks in recent years. “Nothing more?” Asked Diederich. Sötbier looked at him, first horrified, then reproachful. If the young gentleman could imagine how his blessed father and Sötbier would have worked the business up! Certainly it was still expandable ...

"Well, it's fine," said Diederich. He saw that a lot had to be changed here. Was he supposed to live on a quarter of nine thousand marks? This imposition of the deceased outraged him. When his mother asserted that the blessed man had expressed confidence on his deathbed that he would live on in his son Diederich, and that Diederich would never marry in order to always look after his own family, Diederich broke out. "Father wasn't as sickly sentimental as you," he shouted, "and he wasn't lying either." Frau Hessling thought she heard the blessed and ducked. Diederich used this to increase his monthly bill by fifty marks. [54]

“First of all,” he said roughly, “I have my year to serve. It costs what it costs. You can come to me later with your petty money stories. "

He even insisted on entering Berlin. The death of his father had given him wild feelings of freedom. At night, of course, he dreamed that the old gentleman was stepping out of the office with the graying face that he had had as a corpse - and Diederich woke up sweating.

He traveled with his mother's blessing. From then on he couldn't use Gottlieb Hornung and their common Rosa and moved. He indicated his changed living conditions to the neutrons in an appropriate manner. The fellowship was over. The summer farewell! Mourning salamanders were rubbed, which were intended for Diederich's old man, but which could also apply to him and his most beautiful heyday. Out of sheer devotion he got under the table, as on the evening of his admission as a connoisseur; and was now an old man.

The next day, badly hungover, he stood in front of the medical officer in the midst of other young people, all of whom, like himself, had stripped completely naked. This gentleman looked in disgust at all the male flesh which was before him; but at Diederich's belly his look was sneering. Immediately everyone around grinned, and Diederich had no choice but to lower his eyes on his belly, which was reddened ... The medical officer was completely serious. Anyone who did not hear as keenly as the regulations were, fared badly, because one knew the simulators! Another, who was also called Levysohn, received the lesson: "If you bother me here again, at least wash yourself!" Diederich said: [55]

“We want to cure the fat away from you. Four weeks of service and I guarantee you will look like a Christian. "

With that he was accepted. The retired people got into their clothes as quickly as if the barracks were on fire. Those found fit looked at each other carefully and walked away hesitantly, as if they expected a heavy hand to rest on their shoulders. One, an actor with a face as if everything were one for him, turned around, stood again in front of the medical officer and said loudly, with careful pronunciation: "I would also like to add that I am homosexual."

The medical officer backed away, he was all red. He said voicelessly: "We can't use pigs like that."

Diederich expressed his indignation to his future comrade at such a shameless procedure. Then he spoke to the sergeant who had previously measured his body length on the wall and assured him that he was happy. Nevertheless, after Netzig, he wrote to the general practitioner Heuteufel, who had painted his throat as a boy: whether the doctor would not certify that he was scrofulous and rachitic. He couldn't let himself be ruined with the drag. But the answer was that he just shouldn't pinch, that service would be excellent for him. So Diederich gave up his room again and drove into the barracks with his suitcase. If you had to live there a fortnight, you could save rent that long.

Immediately I started doing high-bar gymnastics, jumping and other breathtaking things. Companies were “trained” in the corridors called “Rayons”. [56] Lieutenant von Kullerow displayed an uninvolved arrogance; he never looked at the one-year-olds other than with a narrowed eye. Suddenly he shouted: "Handler!" And gave the NCOs an instruction, whereupon he turned away contemptuously. When exercising in the barracks yard, building limbs, scattering and changing places, nothing more was intended than to rush the "guys" around. Yes, Diederich felt that everything here, the treatment, the common expressions, the whole military activity aimed above all at reducing personal dignity to a minimum. And that impressed him; miserable as he was, and just then, it gave him a deep respect and something like suicidal enthusiasm. The principle and ideal were obviously the same as with the neutrons, only it was carried out more cruelly. The pauses in comfort, in which one could remember one's humanity, fell away. Suddenly and inexorably one sank down to the louse, to the constituent part, to the raw material, on which an immeasurable will kneaded. It would have been madness and ruin to rebel even in the most secret heart. At most you could sometimes, against your own conviction, evade yourself. Diederich had fallen while running, his foot hurt. Not that he had to limp, but he limped and was allowed to stay behind as the company marched “into the area”. To achieve this, he first approached the captain himself. "Herr Hauptmann, please -" What a disaster! In his ignorance he had cheekily addressed the word to a power from which one had to take orders in silence and on the knees of the spirit [57]! Who could only be "demonstrated"! The captain thundered so that the non-commissioned officers ran together, with expressions that looked like horror at blasphemy. The result was that Diederich limped more severely and had to be released from duty for a day longer.