Max Havelaar (Wikisource)/03
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Prologue - Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19 - Chapter 20 - Chapter 21 - Chapter 22 - Chapter 23 - Chapter 24 - Chapter 25 - Chapter 26 - Chapter 27 - Chapter 28 - Chapter 29 - Chapter 30 - Chapter 31 - Chapter 32 - Chapter 33 - Chapter 34 - Chapter 35 - Chapter 36 - Chapter 37 - Chapter 38 - Chapter 39
When I came home from the exchange market, Frits said that there had been someone to see me. The description was Shawlman's. How he had found me… well, the business card! I considered to take my children out of school, since it is painful to be followed twenty, thirty years afterwards by a school friend who wears a shawl instead of a coat and who doesn't know what time it is. I also forbade Frits to go to Westermarkt when there are stalls. The next day I received a letter with a big packet. I'll show you the letter:
- Dear Drystubble!
I think he could have said Esteemed Mr Drystubble, since I am a broker.
- Yesterday I visited you with the intention of asking for a favour. It appears that you are in good circumstances...
That's true: there are thirteen in the office.
- ...and I wished to use your credit to complete an affair which is of great importance to me.
Wouldn't you expect it is about an order for the spring auction?
- Due to several circumstances I am currently a bit shy of money.
A bit? He wore no shirt. He calls that a bit!
- I cannot give my dear consort everything that's needed to make life more pleasant, and the education of my children is, from a financial standpoint, not as I wish.
Making life more pleasant? Education of the children? Do you think that he wants to hire a box in the Opera, and send his children to a boarding school in Geneva? It was autumn, and rather cold … well he lived in an attic, without fire. I didn't know that yet when I received this letter, but I visited him afterwards, and I am still a bit angry about the stupid tone of his writing. What devil, whoso is poor, can say that he is poor! There must be poor people, they are needed in society, and God wants it. As long as he does not beg for alms and doesn't bother anyone, I have nothing against the fact that he is poor, but it does not fit him to adorn the situation like that. Listen further:
- Since I have the obligation to take care of the needs of my family, I have decided to use a talent which, I believe, has been given to me. I am a poet…
Phew! You know, reader, what I and all sensible people think about that.
- ... and a writer. Since my childhood I have expressed my feelings in verses, and later I still wrote down every day what happened in my soul. I believe that there are some essays which are valuable, and I am looking for a publisher. But that's the problem. The audience doesn't know me, and the publishers judge a manuscript by the settled name of the author, not by its contents.
Likewise we judge coffee by the brand. For sure! How else?
- So if I may assume that my work is not completely without merit, this would not show until after the publication, and the bookshopkeepers want payment of printing etc. in advance
And they are right.
- ... and this is currently inconvenient to me. However, I am convinced that my labour will cover the cost, I dare to pawn my word, and therefore, encouraged by our meeting the day before yesterday...
He calls it encouraging!
- ... I have decided to ask you to vouch for the cost of a first publication, even if it is only a small book. I leave the choice completely to you. In the attached packet you will find many manuscripts, and you will see that I thought, worked and observed a lot...
I never heard he was in business.
- ... and if the gift of expression is not completely missing, it will certainly not be because of want of impressions that I would not succeed.
- Waiting for a kind reply, I call myself sincerely your old school friend...
Followed by his name, which I will not mention, since I dislike to get someone talked about.
Dear reader, you understand what crazy thoughts I had when someone wanted to promote me to a poetry broker. I am sure that this Shawlman – that's how I'll call him – if he had seen me by day, would not have asked such a thing of me. For dignity and decency cannot be hidden. But it was in the evening, so I don't bother.
Of course I wanted to have no business with this folly. I would have told Frits to take the packet back, but I did not know his address, and I did not see him again. I thought that he was sick, or dead, or something else.
Last week we had a circle meeting at the Rosemeijers, who are sugar merchants. Frits had joined us for the first time. He is sixteen, and it is good if a young man goes out into the world. Otherwise he'd only go to Westermarkt or similar things. The girls had played the piano and sung, and at dessert they teased each other with something that seemed to have happened in the parlour, while we were playing whist, something in which Frits was involved. "Yes, yes, Louise," said Bethsy Rosemeijer, "you wept! Papa, Frits made Louise cry."
My wife said that Frits would not join us any more to the circle. She thought that he had pinched Louise, or some other misbehaviour, and I also prepared to have a word to him, when Louise said:
"No, no, Frits has been very nice. I wish he'd do it again!"
What then? He had not pinched her, he had recited, that's it.
Of course the lady of the house likes to see that something nice happens during dessert. It fills. Mrs Rosemeijer – the Rosemeijers are called Mrs because they are sugar merchants and have shares in a ship – Mrs Rosemeijer understood that the thing that made Louise cry, would also please us, and she asked Frits to repeat it. He became as red as a turkey. For the entire world I could not guess what he had said, for I knew his entire repertoire. That was: the wedding of the gods, the rhymed books of the Old Testament, and an episode from the wedding of Kamacho, which the boys enjoy so much, because there is something like ain it. Which of these could cause tears, was a mystery to me. But it's true that a girl cries easily.
"Come on! Oh yes! Come on, Frits!" That's how it went, and Frits began. I do not like to test the reader's curiosity, so I'll say immediately that they had opened Shawlman's packet at home, and Frits and Marie had obtained an amount of cheekiness and sentimentality from it, which later caused me a lot of trouble. And yet I must admit, reader, that this book is from the packet as well, and I'll certainly account for this afterwards, because I appreciate that people know me as someone who loves the truth, and who cares well for his matters. The firm is Last & Co, Coffee brokers, 37 Laurier Canal.
And then Frits recited something that was nothing but nonsense. A young man wrote to his mother that he had been in love and that his girl had married someone else – she was quite right, I think – but that, in spite of that, he still loved his mother. Are those last three lines clear or not? Do you think that a lot of words are needed to say all that? Well, I ate a sandwich with cheese, pealed two pears, and I had almost finished the third before Frits had completed his story. But Louise cried again, and the ladies said that it was wonderful. And then Frits said, I believe he thought that he had recited a masterpiece, that he had found the thing in the packet from the man who wore a shawl, and I explained to the gentlemen how it came to be in my house. But I said nothing about the Greek girl, because Frits was among us, and I also said nothing about Kapelsteeg. Everyone agreed that I had done well to get rid of that man. Soon you will see that there were other things in that packet which were more solid, and some parts of that will be included in my book, because it is related to the Coffee auctions of the Trade company. For I live for my profession.
Later the publisher suggested that I include what Frits had recited. I'll do it, but know that I have no business with these things. It's all lies and madness! I shall not give any comments, lest the book become too thick. I only want to say that the story was written in the neighbourhood of Padang, in 1843, and that this is an inferior brand. The coffee, I mean.
- Mother, far from my native land
- Where I a stripling youth did grow
- Where first my childish tears did flow
- Where caressed was I by your dear hand
- Where a mother's virtue most of all
- Gave to me her growing boy
- Abundant stores of love and joy
- And guidance at times when I did fall
- But cruel Fate - apart it tore
- The bond we two had known
- And here I stand on foreign shores
- With my God ... alone. 
- And yet, mother, what grieved me, (iefde)
- What gave me joy or sorrow, (iet)
- Mother, do not doubt the love, (iefde)
- On the heart of thy son! (iet)
- It is hardly two pairs of years (aren)
- When I stood on yonder ground (ond)
- Silently on the shore (ond)
- To stare into the future (aren).
- When I called the fair one to me (iep)
- That I expected from the future, (achtte)
- Boldly despising the present (achtte)
- And created paradises for me (iep)
- When, through all disturbances (een)
- Which occurred before my steps (een)
- The heart courageously found a way out (aande)
- And imagined itself dreaming in happiness (aande)
- But that time, since the last farewell (el)
- How quickly removed from us (ogen)
- Ununderstandable, fast as lightning, (el)
- Flown by like a spirit (ogen).
- Oh, when it went forward (aan)
- It left deep, deep traces! (aan)
- I tasted joy and sorrow at once (een)
- I thought, and I fought (eden)
- I rejoiced, and I prayed: (eden)
- It appears that centuries went past! (een)
- I fought for hail in life (eefd)
- I found and I lost (oren)
- A child, only a moment ago (oren)
- Lived years within an hour! (eefd)
- And yet, mother, do believe (oven)
- By heaven, which sees me (ziet)
- Mother do please believe (oven)
- No, thy child did not forget thee! (iet)
- I loved a girl. All my life (even)
- Appeared fair through that love. (oon)
- I saw her in a crown of honour (oon)
- As the final reward of my striving (even)
- Given to me by God as a purpose (even)
- Happy by the fair treasure (at)
- Which His care weighed to me (ogen)
- Which his favour had given (ad)
- I thanked with tears in the eyes (ogen)
- Love was one with religion. (een)
- And the feelings that with joy (ogen)
- With thanks rose up high (ogen)
- Thanked and prayed for her alone! (een)
- That love gave me much trouble (iefde)
- Restless my heart was tortured, (art)
- And unbearable was the pain (art)
- Which cut through my weak feelings. (iefde)
- I only gathered fear and sorrow (aard)
- Where I expected the highest pleasure (achtte)
- And in spite of the joy I attempted, (achtte)
- There was poison and pain for me (aard)
- I found joy in the suffering silence! (ijgen)
- I stood there, perseverent, hoping (aar)
- Bad luck made the price rise (ijgen)
- I carried and suffered dearly for her! (aar)
- I counted neither disasters nor bad luck (agen)
- I created joy from sorrow (iet)
- Everything, everything I wanted to carry (agen).
- If fate would not rob her from me! (iet)
- And that image, fairest on the earth to me (aarde)
- That I carried in my feelings (oed)
- As a priceless possession, (oed)
- And stored in my heart. (aarde)
- Strange it was to my senses! (innen)
- And even if love perseveres (and)
- Until the last breath of my life (even)
- Me in a better home country (and)
- Eventually will return her. (even)
- I had only started to love her! (innen)
- What is love which once begun (on),
- Near love with life (leven)
- The child, driven by God in the heart (even)
- Before it was able to talk? (kon)
- When it on the mother's breast (orst)
- Hardly free from the mother's womb (ogen)
- Found the first drink for its thirst (orst)
- the first light in mother's eyes? (ogen)
- No, no link binds better (indt)
- holds hearts together (oten)
- Than the link, created by God (oten)
- Between mother's heart and child! (ind)
- And a heart that was so affected (echtte)
- To the beauty that was shining (onk)
- That gave me noting but thorns (onk)
- And did not weave a single flower. (echtte)
- Would that same heart forget (ouw)
- A motherheart's faith? (eten)
- And the love of the woman (ouw)
- Who heard my first children's cries (eten)
- In a careful mind? (oed)
- Who comforted me, when I wept (uste)
- Kissed the tears from my cheeks, (uste)
- Who fed me with her blood? (oed)
- Mother! Do not believe it, (oven)
- By heaven who sees me, (iet)
- Mother! Do not believe it, (oven)
- No, your child did not forget thee! (iet)
- I am here, far from what life (even)
- Can give us of sweetness and fairness (even)
- And the enjoyment of the first time (ijd),
- Often praised and honoured (ezen)
- Cannot be my art here (ezen)
- In my sad loneliness. (eid – rhymes with ijd)
- Steep and thony are my paths (aden)
- Bad luck presses me doen (eer)
- And the burden I carry (aden)
- Swueezes me, and makes my hart hurt (eer)
- Let it only be my tears (uigen)
- When so many sad hour (uur)
- Makes me in nature's bosom, (uur)
- Bend my head so sadly (uigen).
- Often, when I lost courage, (onk)
- The willingness almost fled from me (oden)
- "Father give me with the dead (oden)
- What life did not give me! (onk)
- Father give me on yonder side (ijde)
- When the mouth of dead kisses me (ust)
- Father give me on yonder side (ijde)
- What I could not obtain here... Rest!" (ust)
- But, dying away on my lips (ippen)
- My prayer did not rise up to the Lord. (eer)
- I did bend both my knees down (eer)
- I felt that a sigh escaped from me (ippen)
- But it was: "not yet, o Lord! (eer)
- 'First give me my mother back!" (eer)
- The rest of the translation is imperfect yet. The syllables in brackets indicate the rhyme in Dutch. A rhyming translation would be great.