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Iolanthe's Wedding   By: (1857-1928)

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Transcriber's Notes: 1. Page source:

2. This volume include four short stories: Iolanthe's Wedding; The Woman Who Was His Friend; The New Year's Eve Confession; and The Gooseherd.






Copyright, 1918, By BONI & LIVERIGHT, Inc.


Iolanthe's Wedding

The Woman Who Was His Friend

The New Year's Eve Confession

The Gooseherd




I tell you , gentlemen, it's a rotten piece of business to be standing beside an old friend's open grave simply disgusting.

You stand with your feet planted in the upturned earth, and twirl your moustache and look stupid, while you feel like crying the soul out of your body.

He was dead there was no use wishing he weren't.

In him was lost the greatest genius for concocting and mixing punches, cocktails, grogs, cobblers every sort of drink. I tell you, gentlemen, when you went walking in the country with him and he began to draw the air in through his nose in his peculiar fashion, you might be sure he had just conceived a new idea for a punch. From the mere smell of a weed he knew the sorts of wine that had to be poured over it to bring into being a something extra fine, a something that had never before existed.

All in all he was a good fellow, and in the many years we sat opposite each other, evening after evening, when he came to me at Ilgenstein, or I rode over to him at Döbeln, the time never dragged.

If only it hadn't been for his eternal marriage schemes. That was his weak side. I mean as far as I was concerned. As for himself "Good Lord," he'd say, "I'm just waiting for that vile water to creep up to my heart, then I'll slide off into the next world."

And now it had come to that. He had slid off. He lay there in his black coffin, and I felt like tapping on the lid and saying:

"Pütz, don't play this dirty trick on me. Come out. Why, what's going to become of our piquet to day?"

Nothing to laugh at, gentlemen. Habit is the most violent of all passions, and the number of persons that are ruined every year by having their habits interfered with are never sung in song or epic, to quote my old friend Uhland.

Such weather! I wouldn't send a dog out in such weather. It rained and hailed and blew all at the same time. Some of the gentlemen wore mackintoshes, and the water ran down the folds in rivulets. And it ran down their cheeks and into their beards perhaps a few tears, too because he left no enemies behind. Not he.

There was only one chief mourner what the world calls chief mourner his son, a dragoon of the Guards in Berlin. Lothar was his name. He had come from Berlin on the day of his father's death, and he behaved like a good son, kissed his father's hands, cried a good deal, thanked me gratefully, and did a dreadful lot of ordering around a lieutenant, you know when all of a sudden well, I was there and we had arranged everything.

As I looked out of the corner of my eyes at the handsome fellow standing there manfully choking down his tears, I thought of what my old friend had said to me the day before he died.

"Hanckel," he had said, "take pity on me in my grave. Don't forsake my boy."

As I said, that is what occurred to me, and when the pastor beckoned to me to come throw the three handfuls of earth in the grave, I silently sent a vow along with them, "I will not forsake him, old fellow, Amen."

Everything comes to an end. The gravediggers had made a sort of mound of the mud, and laid the wreaths on top, since there were no women at the funeral... Continue reading book >>

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