« AnteriorContinuar »
much - vaunted scenery of the Harz, which is fuller of surprise and beauty to a dweller on the North German plain than it is to a Scotchman used to loftier peaks and more impetuous torrents.
He reached Leipsic at the time of its great autumnal book-fair, and having an introduction to Messrs Barth & Co., effected there a commission with which his old teacher, Mr Peter Merson, had intrusted him.
This was to purchase a number of Latin works, whose profundity made them scarce in the book-markets at home, and whose titles alone are enough to scare a modern student. The visit
The visit gave him an opportunity of seeing the motley gathering at the fair, and of staring for the first time at Greeks and Armenians, as well as at Jews from every corner of Europe. From Leipsic he went to Dresden, where he got his first glimpse of a great picture gallery, and which he quitted for a tramp through Saxon Switzerland, avoiding Bohemia, and turning by Freiberg, Chemnitz, and Jena to the Thuringian Forest, which he traversed on his way to Eisenach. a night in Weimar; but although he had caught the contagion of enthusiasm for Goethe which then fevered young Germany, he held back with natural Scottish modesty from intruding upon the “old man eloquent," contenting himself with
LUTHER AND GOETHE.
gazing on the house in which he lived. Perhaps the fever was not at its height, for although the three friends studied German classics for hours daily, they had begun with Schiller, and his works had absorbed a considerable portion of the four months' session. But he knew enough of Goethe to feel his strong Hellenic nature and to yield himself to its influence, one of the factors in that converging force which moulded the future Professor out of the fervid Scottish student. It was not till later that he made an exhaustive study of Goethe's poetry and philosophy, although already the spell was upon him which led to that undertaking.
Thuringia yielded both mines for his instruction and memories of Luther for his inspiration. Luther sat higher in his heart than Goethe, and the Wartburg, where the one hero vanquished the devil, was a more sacred fane than Weimar, where the other received ovations from the world.
From Eisenach he journeyed straight to Göttingen, and rejoined his friends in their pleasant quarters. He was refreshed in mind and recruited in body, and the “stuffed head” had yielded to constant fresh air and walking, so that he looked forward to a winter of vigorous grappling with the different subjects at which he proposed to work. All difficulties with the language were over, and he was now in case to storm the citadel of German erudition.
But, alas ! much consultation had been in progress at home, where anxious imaginations, engaged on the state of his health and the Göttingen weather, had exaggerated both to their • utmost, and on the day of his return came the domestic ultimatum, which required immediate packing up and transference to Berlin. This was a blow, as John had meditated much upon his winter's work, and had dreamt of distinction in spite of every difficulty. But there was no alternative; and so, after many farewells and much natural regret, he started in the mailcoach which left Göttingen on the 30th of October, four days after his return from Saxony.
STUDENT LIFE IN BERLIN.
PROFESSOR SAALFELD gave him a letter of introduction to Professor Raumer at Berlin, and he carried with him other introductions both to Professors and to residents in the capital. His journey was uneventful.
The coach passed along the southern side of the Harz during the night, so that he caught not so much as a glimpse of the Brocken, and an excellent Schnapps at Nordhausen formed the sole record of this midnight return to the scene of his recent adventures. But Eisleben and Mittenberg, as he passed through them, provoked glowing apostrophes to “undaunted Martin Luther," although it was eight o'clock on Monday evening when they stopped to change horses and to sup at the latter town. The wide plain which stretches towards Berlin was veiled by night, and he was glad when, at six o'clock on Tuesday morning, the coach passed through Potsdam, and an hour and a half later drove along the Leipziger Strasse and landed him in Berlin.
Two hundred miles were covered in the thirtysix hours. He stayed three days at an inn, spending most of the time in a hunt for lodgings.
a His father wished him to live if possible in the house of one of the Professors, and so to obtain all the advantages of intercourse with an educated German family ; but Professor Raumer, whom he consulted on the subject, assured him that such a practice was unknown amongst the Professors. The intention had to be abandoned, and a search for rooms to be substituted.
It was not till Friday, November 4, that the search was successful; but by the evening of that day he found himself installed in most comfortable rooms in a house in the Luisen Strasse, for which he paid no more than thirty shillings a - month. During intervals snatched from house-hunting, he had managed to matriculate at the University and to take tickets for four courses of lectures. These were chosen partly for the sake of his prospective profession and partly in furtherance of his own inclinations.
His knowledge of German was now sufficient