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The Romance of the Canoness A Life-History   By: (1830-1914)

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Transcriber's Note: 1. Page scan source: http://books.google.com/books?id=E1ETAAAAYAAJ&dq 2. The diphthong oe is represented by [oe].

THE ROMANCE

OF THE CANONESS.

A LIFE HISTORY

BY PAUL HEYSE AUTHOR OF "IN PARADISE," ETC.

TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY J. M. PERCIVAL

NEW YORK D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 1887

Copyright, 1887, By D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.

NOTE BY THE TRANSLATOR.

The title of this book, in the German, is "Der Roman der Stiftsdame," stiftsdame being rendered in this version canoness . It is desirable to explain that stiftsdame is the name given to a female member of certain religious communities or orders, originally Roman Catholic, the members of which lived in common but without taking monastic vows. After the Reformation, Protestant houses of a similar kind were organized. The privileges of these communities are often secured by noblemen for their daughters, who may at any subsequent period enter the stift or chapter of the order, but who forfeit this right in case of marriage.

THE ROMANCE OF THE CANONESS.

In June, 1864, a visit I had promised to pay one of the friends of my youth led me into the heart of the province of Brandenburg. I could travel by the railway as far as the little city of St. , but from this place was compelled to hire a carriage for two or three miles, as the estate, which my friend had owned several years, did not even possess the advantage of a daily stage. So, on reaching St. , I applied to the landlord of the "Crown Prince" who was also postmaster for a carriage, and, as it was past three o'clock in the afternoon, and the drive over shadeless roads in the early heat of summer would not be particularly agreeable, I begged him not to hurry, but give me time to have a glimpse of the little city and its environs.

The landlord replied that the poor little place had no sights worth looking at. As a native of a great capital who had removed to the province, he displayed a compassionate contempt for his present residence. The situation was not bad, and the "lake" the most abundantly stocked with fish in the whole Mark. If I kept straight on in that direction he pointed across the square marketplace on which his hostelry stood I should get a view of the water just beyond the city wall.

To a traveler who is less thoroughly familiar with the local history of the Mart than my friend, Theodor Fontane, and who suddenly finds himself transferred from the capital to the province, one of these little cities looks very much like another. The first feeling amid the neat little houses most of them only a story high, while walking over the rough pavement kept as clean as the floor of an old maid's room, or passing through the quiet squares planted with acacias or ancient lindens, where nothing is stirring save flocks of noisy sparrows is a secret doubt whether real people actually dwell here, people who take an active interest in the life of the present day, or whether we have not strayed into a pretty, gigantic toy village, which has merely been set up here for a time and will soon be taken down and packed into boxes like Nuremberg carvings.

This impression of fairy illusion and enchantment, which would speedily vanish, was enhanced by the sultry calm, portending an approaching thunder storm, that brooded over the streets and squares and kept the inhabitants indoors. Here and there I saw behind the glittering window panes the face of an old woman or a fair haired young girl, not peering out between the pots of geranium and cactus to look after the stranger with provincial curiosity, but gazing into vacancy with a strange expression of gentle melancholy... Continue reading book >>




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