« AnteriorContinua »
In my own, so often changeable and erring heart, a hundred testimonies arose for Bruno's sad doctrine. I felt my courage sink, but Serena had not lost her selfpossession. She fixed her bright look on Bruno's countenance, as he stood opposite to her, and when he was silent, she said with heartfelt consoling mildness :“Surely we do find contradictions and inconsistencies in all men, but may we not presume that these decrease according to the degree that we try to overcome them?”
“So it ought to be," said Bruno, slowly, and refreshed his sight with a glance on her heavenly coun
“And do we not see innumerable examples of the actual success of such endeavours ? Do we not know that fallen creatures have raised themselves again, that the heavy-tried have gone forth victorious from the conflict? Does not every man carry about in his breast a divine image, which in secret is able to reflect light into his soul, and which strives continually to bear him upward ?”
“Yes, so it is, I believe," said Bruno, softly but sadly, whilst he seated himself next to Serena.
“Then let us have hope for all men," continued Serena, ardently and agitated.
“ For certain natures, the way may indeed be more difficult, and He who is good and merciful, and eternally the same, will one day also cause His voice to be heard, and raise them up to light and harmony."
“ Amen! Amen! may it be so !” said Bruno,whilst laying his forehead in his hand. May peace descend upon all unhappy souls ! ”
“ And, above all, good-will,” thought I to myself, but I did not wish to raise my voice, after Serena's angelic voice, even in utterance of a blessed thought. We sat for some considerable time plunged in silence, each deeply occupied with his own thoughts. At length they separated themselves into Mozart's Don Juan, as proposed by Stellan, and Bruno, as our leader, inspired each of us with a portion of his genius. He really enchanted me this evening, and I believe that all were equally enraptured, with me; we scarcely took time to eat a morsel, but continued, without interruption, till eleven o'clock. Divine art! Glorious Mozart! Through him we had all become such good friends, that on Bruno's departure we accompanied him a good part of the way. The air was mild, and the starry firmament shone brightly in the dark midnight of August. Involuntarily we looked upward with silent admiration, and Stellan, who since the last few days appeared to feel every thing more deeply, said: " Beneath such a sky, man must have had the first forebodings of immortality!”. “Or rather, perhaps, his mortality, his independence of external powers,” replied Bruno, “ for what does the crowd of stars tell him, the eternal wanderers upon eternal paths, which are silent as the Trappists in their heavenly course; strangers to our feelings, our torments, our joys, they revolve in eternal succession, and appear to answer to our questions only, Poor dust and ashes! measure thyself with eternity and be silent !Immortal life? No! These lofty ideas are not derived from the feelingless firmament; the starry heaven rather oppresses than elevates us. But the world of sound !--Can we plunge into this, and not antici
pate the grandeur of eternity, its harmony, its infinity, not conceive it (at least for a few moments)? Oh!” and Bruno's voice here assumed its profound melodious tone, “Oh! if there are high aspirations in this our life, are they not expressed by music ? Hear the fugue! Hark! how sphere sings to sphere, how thought answers to thought, how manifold is every thing, and yet how one idea sustains these endless parts in power and beauty. The fugue is the Creator's “let there be !" Thus innumerable worlds repeated the first command. Listen to a Symphony of Beethoven, if you would have life explained. Hearken to the sounds, how they live, suffer, love, embrace each other, and at the same time form all the inexpressible melodies of existence. Hear lastly, how the dissonances melt into harmonies, how storms, anguish, joy, hatred, and love run along like the streams of earth, and rush into the ocean, in which every thing dissolves, every thing melts into one full accord of harmony, and ends in peace!”
I was strongly affected and carried away by Bruno's expressions, although not fully satisfied with his meaning. We now walked slowly towards the avenue; Cousin Stellan conversed with me, and I believe that I suddenly received two pairs of eyes and ears, for I listened and replied to him, whilst I directed my attention to what passed between Bruno and Serena, who walked a few steps before us. Bruno plucked a flower, offered it to Serena, and said, with a suppressed voice, of infinite tenderness, yes, even of tenderness : “ Flowers and wishes generally go together. Will you accept these from me ? May you always be as peaceful as at present. May your bitterest torments be always like
this night, be brightly illuminated! by lights in heaven. May you ever be as happy as you are innocent and good. But—" (and here he suppressed his voice still more) “when you yourself are borne in the arms of angels, still pray for those who enjoy not peace, who are not so pure as you, pray for all, and-pray for me!” These last words I more anticipated than heard. Bruno at this moment bowed his head on Serena's hand, and Cousin Stellan, apparently now like me, received two pairs of eyes and ears. Serena had turned her face towards Bruno, but I could not hear whether she made any reply to him. Bruno's horse was brought, he took hasty leave of us, and soon vanished out of our sight.
Bruno! such a singular mind one cannot fully understand, nor can one calmly enjoy peace with him. And these very contradictions in him, this sudden change, these alternate snow and thaw, storm and calm, this night and this flashing day, this plenitude of life and warmth, all invest him with an uneasy overwhelming interest. He repels and attracts, but meets the latter, because he is so perfectly natural. However I am extremely uneasy that Serena should have attached herself to him. What can the lily do upon the boisterous waves ? Can Bruno make a wife happy? Does he deserve such a wife ? Only think, if he should be one of those malefactors, whose cause he espouses. What is he? What does he seek ? Such are my inquiries to myself, such my inquiries to Björn. The latter always believes the best, and loves Bruno sincerely. Nevertheless he does not fully console me, I have fearful forebodings; with a heart full of these, I bid you farewell for the present, my sweet Maria !
FRANCISKA WERNER TO MARIA M.
Rosenvik, August 14. Again eight days have passed, since I have written last to you, dear Maria. Absorbed by the romance, which is now performed around me, I forget that I ought to have written to you. But the necessity I feel of living in your presence, Maria, leads me again to the pen, and to my narative. Cousin Stellan has taken his departure. He must have gradually become more and more convinced, that Serena had “the fault which he found most unpardonable in a female." He was often seized when Bruno came to Rosenvik, with violent gaping-fits, received business-letters from Stockholm, which required his presence there, anddeparted accompanied by my wishes for his welfare. Notwithstanding, I was sorry that his conversion was arrested just at its very commencement.
Serena and Bruno, however, have occupied me so much, that I have had few thoughts for anyone else, but for them. Bruno had made our house his