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Regina or the Sins of the Fathers   By: (1857-1928)

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Transcriber's Note: 1. Page scan source: http://books.google.com/books?id=PWUTAAAAYAAJ&dq

Regina or The Sins of the Fathers

REGINA OR THE SINS OF THE FATHERS

BY HERMANN SUDERMANN

TRANSLATED BY BEATRICE MARSHALL

LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY. MCMVII

COPYRIGHT, 1898, BY John Lane.

COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY John Lane Company.

REGINA OR THE SINS OF THE FATHERS

CHAPTER I

Peace was signed, and the world, which for so long had been the great Corsican's plaything, came to itself again. It came to itself, bruised and mangled, bleeding from a thousand wounds, and studded with battle fields like a body with festering sores. Yet, in the rebound from bondage to freedom, men did not realise that there was anything very pitiable in their condition. The ground from which their wheat sprang, they reflected, would bear all the richer fruit from being soaked in blood, and if bullets and bayonets had thinned their ranks, there was now more elbow room for those who were left.

The yawning vacuums in the seething human caldron gave a man space to breathe in. One great chorus of rejoicing from the Rock of Gibraltar to the North Cape ascended heavenwards. Bells in every steeple were set in motion, and from every altar and from every humble hearth arose prayers of thanksgiving. Mourners hid their diminished heads, for the burst of victorious song drowned their lamentations, and the earth absorbed their tears as indifferently as it had sucked in the blood of their fallen.

In glorious May weather the Peace of Paris was concluded. Lilies bloomed once more out of lakes of blood, and from the obscurity of lumber rooms the blood saturated banner of the fleur de lys was dragged forth into the light of day. The Bourbons crept from their hiding places, whither they had been driven by fear of Robespierre's knife. They rubbed their eyes and forthwith began to reign. They had forgotten nothing and learnt nothing, except a new catchword from Talleyrand's en tout cas vocabulary, i.e . Legitimacy. The rest of the world was too busily engaged in wreathing laurels to crown the conquerors, and filling up bumpers to drink their health in, to pay any attention to this farce of Bourbon government. All eyes were turned in a fever of expectancy towards the West, whence were to come the conquering heroes, the laurel crowned warriors who had been willing to sacrifice their lives for the honour of wife and child, for justice, and for the sacred soil of their fatherland. They had been under the fire of the Corsican Demon, the oppressor whom they in their turn had hunted and run to earth, till at last he lay in shackles at their feet.

When the victors began the homeward march, the German oaks were bursting into leaf, soon to be laughingly plundered of their young green foliage. On they came in swarms, first, joyous and lighthearted, the pride and flower of the Fatherland, the sons of the wealthy, who, as Volunteer Jägers, with their own horses and their own arms, had gone forth to the war of Liberation. Their progress through Germany was one magnificent ovation. Wherever they came, their path was strewn with roses, the most beautiful of maidens longed for the honour of winning their love, and the most costly wines flowed like water. Behind them followed a stream of Kossacks, riding over the German fields with a loose rein. A year before, when they had galloped like a troop of furies in the rear of the hunted remnant of the Grande Armée, the whole country had greeted them as saviours of Germany... Continue reading book >>




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