Beware of Pity (New York Review Books Classics) by Zweig Stefan

Beware of Pity (New York Review Books Classics) by Zweig Stefan

Author:Zweig, Stefan [Zweig, Stefan]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781590176047
Publisher: New York Review Books
Published: 2012-02-29T00:00:00+00:00

chapter 15

It was already late in the evening when we once more drove through the gate of the Schloss. They all pressed me to stay to dinner. But I did not want to; I felt that I had had enough, too much, for one day. I had been perfectly happy the whole of this long golden summer day; anything more could only diminish my happiness. Better to walk home now down the familiar avenue, my spirit tranquillized like the warm, summer air after the burning day. Better not to hanker for more, better merely to look back on it all and remember it gratefully. And so I took my leave earlier than usual. It was a bright, starry night, and I felt as though the stars were shining down affectionately upon me. The wind, full of sweet breath, soughed softly over the darkling fields, and seemed to be singing to me. There stole over me that mood of serene exaltation in which everything seems good and rapturous, the world and its human beings; that mood in which one has an urge to embrace every tree and stroke its bark as though it were the flesh of a loved one; in which one longs to enter every house, to sit down by the side of its unknown occupants and unburden oneself to them; in which one’s own breast is filled to bursting point, and one’s emotions are too much for one, in which one would like to open one’s heart, to give lavishly of oneself — to spend and squander some of the superabundance of one’s happiness.

When I at length reached the barracks, my batman was standing waiting at the door of my room. For the first time I noticed (I noticed everything today as though for the first time) what a guileless, round, apple-cheeked face this Ruthenian peasant boy had. I must do something to make him happy too, I thought. I’ll give him something to buy himself and his girl a few glasses of beer. He shall have this evening off, and tomorrow evening, and every evening this week. I put my hand in my pocket to feel for a silver coin, but at this point he stood smartly to attention and announced: ‘A telegram for the Herr Leutnant.’

A telegram? I immediately felt uneasy. Who in the world could want anything of me? It could only be evil tidings that had to be told in such a hurry. I strode across to the table. There lay the ominous missive. With reluctant fingers I tore it open. The message, incisively clear, consisted only of a dozen words: ‘Am asked visit Kekesfalva tomorrow stop meet me Weinstube five o’clock Condor.’


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