Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (German II).djvu/19

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17
CHRISTIAN GELLERT'S LAST CHRISTMAS.

had ever done anything, and thus he was, in the best sense of the word, modest; he began with each fresh day his course of action afresh, as if he now for the first time had anything to accomplish. And yet he might have been happy, in the reflection how brightly beamed his teaching for ever, though his own life was often clouded. For as the sun which glows on summer days still lives as concentrated warmth in wine, and somewhere on some winter night warms up a human heart, so is the sunshine in that man's life whose vocation it is to impart to others the conceptions of his own mind. Nay, there is here far more; for the refreshing draught here offered is not diminished, though thousands drink thereof.

Twilight had set in when Gellert returned home to his dwelling, which had for its sign a "Schwarz Brett" or "black board." His old servant, Sauer by name, took off his overcoat; and his amanuensis, Gödike, asked whether the Professor had any commands; being answered in the negative, Gödike retired, and Sauer lighted the lamp upon the study-table. "Some letters have arrived," said he, as he pointed to several upon the table: Gellert inclined his head, and Sauer retired also. Outside, however, he stood awhile with Gödike, and both spoke sorrowfully of the fact that the Professor was evidently again suffering severely. "There is a melancholy," said Gödike, "and it is the most usual, in which