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Justice; not, as Chancery reformers will think, entirely uncalled for, as, besides much personal corruption among the judges, there were fifty thousand cases of appeal awaiting the opportunity of trial, and twenty thousand ordinary arrears, which were being cleared off by deciding sixty cases a year, while double that number of new cases were commenced. Kestner was attached to the Hanoverian Embassy. There was nothing attractive in the society of the town itself; the subordinates and attachés of the commission relieved the tedium of their protracted duties by an elaborate system of social trifling and wit, remotely analogous to the mysteries of the Northern Circuit mess. But these amusements had little charm for Kestner. He complains bitterly of the mechanical conditions of his employment, and the atmosphere of distrust and suspicion with which he is surrounded. Yet the whole town's want of taste and feeling, he says, shall be held guiltless for the sake of one single instance. This is the family of his Charlotte, the “Lotte" of Goethe's “Werther," whose charms have won so many hearts; but who, we cannot help thinking, is infinitely more attractive and more worthy as she really was, and as she stands in the simple description of her real lover and future husband, than in the fancy portrait of her poetical idolater. Her mother also seems to have been a remarkable woman. We quote Kestner's own account of them, contained in the draft of a letter to his old private tutor.

“I have become intimate in a house here,” he says, certainly the best in the town, and so all allow it to be, men of distinction and all, whose own self-conceit does not prevent it; and those who attain to a closer intimacy there, are, so to say, enchanted with it. A worthy father, whose temperance and good constitution preserve him in the enjoyment of a cheerful old age, obliging to every one, and fair in all his dealings, and though a little rough (compared to the person I am next coming to), still kindly. The mother-here I scarce know where to begin-in a word, the best woman, the best mother, and the best friend; without being conscious of it, or, at least, without the least appearance of being so, she has no lack of charms, though near upon her fortieth year; the fairest, softest, kindest, most obliging, tenderest heart; penetration, sense and true wisdom, and with it a pleasant wit; all discretion, all virtue, devout, &c., &c., honoured by every one, tenderly beloved by her children. These are her most important occupation and object, and she in her turn is to them the best and dearest thing they have. When she goes from home, little and great are troubled and downcast, and when she returns, nothing but welcomes, rejoicings, pressings of her hand, kisses and embraces, and happy looks, questions where she has been so long, stories of what has happened in her absence ; her reproofs are more painful to them than blows to other children.

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I break off with an effort and come to the children. Two daughters are grown up, eighteen and sixteen years old. These, like all of them, are worthy of their mother. All fair hair and blue eyes; each handsomer than the other; a painter might draw his Cupids from the little ones.

The eldest is pretty regularly handsome, still, quiet, of a gentle disposition, &c., &c. The second must yield to her in regular attractions, but is nevertheless more charming and taking. She has a feeling, tender heart. As her bodily frame, like that of all of them, is soft and delicate, so is her soul too. Compassionate towards all unfortunates, complaisant and obliging, placable, touched when she thinks she has injured any one, beneficent, friendly and polite, rejoicing in any one's good fortune, without a touch of envy in her disposition (so common a failing in young women, and old ones too). With this, a sprightly, lively spirit, quick conceptions, presence of mind, joyous and always pleased, and this not herself alone, no, she makes all about her pleased by her talk, her merry fancies, and by a certain humorous way she has. She is the joy of her parents and brothers and sisters, and if she sees a clouded face among them, she hastens to clear it up. She is beloved of every one, and does not want admirers, among whom, strange to say, are men of all tempers, wise and foolish, merry and serious. She is virtuous, pious and diligent, skilled in all female accomplishments, particularly docile and willing to

Thus suddenly ends Kestner's draft letter. He was not long in finding in this family of the Buffs a consolation for the irksomeness of his residence in Wetzlar. The mother distinguished him by her friendship, and between him and the second daughter there was soon formed a mutual attachment, which, however, long remained without any formal bond between them, or even any express declaration on his part. He was not in a position to marry immediately, and father and mother had a just confidence in his integrity, and did not press for an explanation of his “intentions.” These were pleasant times for the steady, hard-working, conscientious Kestner. He tells his friend Von Hennings of his laborious days and happy evenings.

“I establish myself the more firmly in her heart, the more I endeavour to neglect no part of my duty. My ambassador is, of all that are here, the most laborious and indefatigable; yet, hitherto at least, I have given him satisfaction. The most delightful moments I often sacrifice to work. The thought of my beloved one makes it sweet; my desire to hasten to her doubles my powers and quickens the completion of my labours. What pleasure, then, when I fly to earn the reward of my self-denial, when I see a dear face brighten, when tender looks welcome me, and a soft pressure of the hand tells me that I have already been long expected; when a lovely mouth complains of my long delay, softly inveighs against the work,

and pities me who have to do it ; when the best of mothers and the good sister give me a like friendly reception, and the worthy father praises the thorough discharge of business. Then I hear what has happened in my absence—what has been heard and said—often mere trifles,—but which receive importance from the pleasant telling Often the narrative is directed to obviate some gentle trouble or little jealonsy; yet in the most unconstrained and natural manner. Pleasing fancies, merriment, and humorous ways, make the hours fly like minutes, and this not only for me or my beloved one, but for the mother, the sister, and the father. Her ·alas! there is the clock striking already,' brings me, along with the pain of parting, the inexpressible pleasure which gives an anticipatory charm to the next visit.

Often, too, other company comes, for the house is gladly visited on account of the quiet that reigns there, the agreeable entertainment, and the friendly pains to let no face go away sad, and even to relieve the heart of its sorrows and cares; for in such offices the kindliness of the best of mothers finds its element; her wisdom and her understanding know how to make her wishes prevail. Then, in the evening at eight o'clock, the visitors, who are received with. out announcement or ceremony, and without interruption to the ladies' occupations, are accustomed to disperse. When I cannot stay to supper, then I too go quickly hoine, despatch my meal, arrange this and the other, and go back again, when I am not prevented. In that case, I am generally there again in the evening from half-past eight or nine till eleven. These are my brightest hours, they are also my most peaceful ones. My business is done, and my ambassador goes early to bed."

The serene happiness of the household was interrupted by the death of the mother, to whom all were so deeply attached. The details of the deathbed related in Werther are taken from the life, and the real Charlotte assumed, as if by instinct, the place her mother had filled. A common feeling installed her; and at the age of eighteen she became the mistress of a household, and the virtual mother of a family of nine children. Her sunny temper, affectionate nature, and gay activity, were equal to the burden. The old life between the lovers continued as before under these new conditions, which had assumed a settled form, when, in the spring of the year 1772, a new actor appeared on the little family stage. It is the young Goethe himself. Spirited and fearless, unique in all his ways, careless of conventions and opinions, active-minded and informed, sensitive to all impressions and eager to experience them, with no scrupulous restraints as to the mode, he presses with the easy swing of conscious genius into the Wetzlar circle. He comes to study law, his father thinks, but he, to read his Homer and his Goldsmith, and to follow uncontrolled the bent of his genius

and the promptings of his nature. The outline of his face is like that of a beautiful woman, but what man can show so massive and capacious a forehead, or an eye so penetrating and brilliant ? The professed literati welcome him and crowd upon his notice; he is admitted to a high place in the mock knightly order of the mess table; sees all, shares all, enjoys all, turns all to profitable experience.

Kestner first sees him lying on his back on the grass under a tree, engaged with three philosophers at once, an epicurean, a stoic, and a third who is neither epicurean nor stoic, a “middle thing.” The young Hanoverian Legation's Sekretär prides himself on not judging hastily; he surveys the young demigod with his cool penetrating blue eye, and only commits himself to this opinion, “ He is no inconsiderable man." Afterwards he takes further note of him, and thus deliberately describes him in his journal :

"He has very great natural endowments, is a real genius, and a man of character, possesses an extraordinarily lively imagination, and expresses himself chiefly by pictures and likenesses. He is wont himself to say, that he always expresses himself imperfectly, never can express himself; but when he gets older, hopes to think and say his thoughts as they really are. He is impetuous in all his affections and passions, yet has often much power over himself. His way of thinking is noble, and he is free enough from prejudice to act as he thinks good, without troubling himself whether it pleases others, whether it is the fashion, or whether good breeding permits it. He hates all constraint.

" He loves children, and can make himself very busy with them. He is bizarre, and has in his behaviour, in his outward demeanour, something that might make him unpleasant. (One can imagine that.) Still he is a favourite with children, with women, and many others too. He esteems women highly. His principles are not yet thoroughly fixed; he is still striving after some certain system.

"If we must speak of what that is, we would say he holds greatly by Rousseau, but is no blind idolater of him. He is not what is called orthodox, yet this is not from pride, or caprice, or affectation. On certain subjects of the highest importance he expresses himself openly only to a few, and is unwilling to disturb the quiet convictions of others.

" He hates scepticism, indeed, and strives after truth and after conviction on such subjects: thinks, moreover, that on the most important he has already attained to conviction ; but as far as I have observed he has not yet done so. He does not go to church, nor to the Lord's Supper, prays, too, but seldom. “For,'says he, * I am not liar enough. Sometimes he is quiet on certain subjects, sometimes very much the reverse. For the Christian religion he has a high respect; but not in the form in which our theologians present it.

“He believes in a future life, a better condition. He strives after truth, but rather in feeling than in demonstration.

“ He has already done much, and has much knowledge and reading, but still more has he thought and reasoned. The fine arts and the sciences connected with them have been the chief objects of his attention, or rather all sciences except those by which bread is made."

And in the margin Kestner wrote:

“I intended to draw his complete likeness, but it would carry me too far, for a vast deal might be said about him. He is, in one word, a very remarkable man."

And further on still, as the complex character and varied genius of his new acquaintance opened further on him, he laid down his pen in despair. “I should come to no end if I were to attempt to make a complete description of him."

Such or something like it was the young Goethe of twentythree years. At a ball just as is described in Werther, he first met Lotte Buff, and soon after learned to know her better, and admire her more in the circle of her home. Natures like her's had a special charm for him : his feelings were soon drawn in, and he became her passionate admirer, and the intimate frequenter of the “ Teutsches Haus," as he calls her home. There all soon felt his fascinating influence. He ingratiated himself deeply with the children, as he well knew how, and was admitted to the closest friendship and confidence by the two lovers.

It was a glorious summer, and Goethe himself tells how the dewy mornings and bright days saw the three wandering in the fair environs of Wetzlar, plucking the ripening corn, and listening to the whistling of the quail. The winning, sprightly Lotte, light and active of frame, with elastic joyous gait, and an April face of happy smiles and pitiful tears; indulging a thousand artless, peculiar, humorous little ways, yet quick of apprehension and sensitive in feeling, a fit and responsive auditor to the young poet pouring forth his vehement emotions, or interpreting with his fine and subtle apprehension, and his delicate feeling, the beauty of surrounding nature; and beside them, often silent but never sullen, the sedate and affectionate Christian Kestner, enjoying a common happiness with them; contributing sound sense and just limitations to the discussions ; recognizing the vast mental superiority of the other, and conscious of his passion, yet disdaining a petty jealousy, and choosing rather to indulge a generous friendship than a hostile rivalry, nobly resolved to relinquish the heart he had thought his own, if it should prove that it could find elsewhere

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