towering fellow who had laughed most heartily at my misfortunes.
On my return, I found the doctor at my rooms. He was wearing grey riding-breeches, a jacket and a Circassian cap. I burst out laughing when I saw that little figure under the enormous shaggy cap. Werner has a by no means warlike counte- nance, and on that occasion it was even longer than usual.
"Why so sad, doctor?" I said to him. "Have you not a hundred times, with the greatest indifference, escorted people to the other world? Imagine that I have a bilious fever: I may get well; also, I may die; both are in the usual course of things. Try to look on me as a patient, afflicted with an illness with which you are still unfamiliar -- and then your curiosity will be aroused in the highest degree. You can now make a few important physiological observations upon me. . . Is not the expectation of a violent death itself a real illness?"
The doctor was struck by that idea, and he brightened up.
We mounted our horses. Werner clung on to his bridle with both hands, and we set off. In a trice we had galloped past the fortress, through the village, and had ridden into the gorge. Our winding road was half-overgrown with tall grass and was intersected every moment by a noisy brook, which we had to ford, to the great despair of the doctor, because each time his horse would stop in the water.
A morning more fresh and blue I cannot remember! The sun had scarce shown his face from behind the green summits, and the blending of the first warmth of his rays with the dying coolness of the night produced on all my feelings a sort of sweet languor. The joyous beam of the young day had not yet penetrated the gorge; it gilded only the tops of the cliffs which overhung us on both sides. The tufted shrubs, growing in the deep crevices of the cliffs, besprinkled us with a silver shower at the least breath of wind. I remember that on that occasion I loved Nature more than ever before. With what curiosity did I examine every dewdrop trembling upon the broad vine leaf and reflecting millions of rainbow- hued rays! How eagerly did my glance en- deavour to penetrate the smoky distance! There the road grew narrower and narrower, the cliffs bluer and more dreadful, and at last they met, it seemed, in an impenetrable wall.
"Have you made your will?" Werner suddenly inquired.
"My heirs will be found of themselves."
"Is it possible that you have no friends, to whom you would like to send a last farewell?" . . .