Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (German II).djvu/23

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21
CHRISTIAN GELLERT'S LAST CHRISTMAS.

relies upon itself; he did not hurl his opponents down and go his way; he would convince them, and so they were always ready to encounter him. And as the applause of his friends rejoiced him, so the opposition of his enemies could sink him in deep dejection. Besides, he had always been weakly; he had, as he himself complained, in addition to frequent coughs and a pain in his loins, a continual gnawing and pressure in the centre of his chest, which accompanied him from his first rising in the morning until he slept at night.

Thus he sat for a while, in deep dejection: and, as often before, his only wish was, that God would give him grace whereby when his hour was come, he might die piously and tranquilly.

It was past midnight when he sought his bed and extinguished his light.


And the buckets at the well go up and go down.

About the same hour, in Duben Forest, the rustic Christopher was rising from his bed. As with steel and flint he scattered sparks upon the tinder, in kindling himself a light, his wife, awaking, cried:

"Why that heavy sigh?"

"Ah! life is a burden: I'm the most harassed mortal in the world. The pettiest office-clerk may now be abed in peace, and need n't break off