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From Hell to Heaven
Chapter 236 - The unbelieving officer’s response. Helena gets involved
1. Says the officer: “Being a good man, you nevertheless are a crazy loon. You say we had died a long time since and now move about here as spirits, but look: over there is the grand Stephansdom with the lofty gothic tower, just as it always appeared, not missing even its swallow’s nests among its many leagues and decorations, surrounded by its familiar, ancient dwellings. All this would also need to have soul and spirit and to have died and be no longer present in the world for it to continue here in your spirit world! Do you see why you can’t take us for that stupid, wanting us to believe stuff like that.
2. You were likewise boasting that God Himself is here among you, freeing the spirits, banned here from antiquity, out of their night, to lead them to the heavens; but such silly assertions surely belong in the nuthouse.
3. God, a Being not comprehensible to a limited creature, and a holy primordial power suffusing all of infinity, is supposed to be present here in a limited human form enclosed by mortal cover? To believe such, my friend, is going beyond a Mariazeller pilgrimage. Surely you were not an adherent to the typically Roman Catholic superstition, but a German Catholic if you are in fact the famous Blum. How did you become such a fanatic, probably in America or England? Ha ha, this would drive you nuts indeed! To believe that?!
4. Look Friend, I could easily arrest you, together with your dear Lord God, but I desist, because with such ideas you are no danger to anyone. Your Lord God also seems to be quite an innocent lamb, just as the rest of your pilgrimage bound company. The best thing about you still is your dearest little women. For her sake I would indeed undertake another Mariazell pilgrimage; tell me her nationality; is she perhaps an Irishwoman?”
5. Says Helena: “I am Helena, born a genuine Lerchenfelder! That’s the usual Ireland for poor Viennese sinners: understand?” Says the officer.” Oh cross. . . Bombs. . . Grenades! Upon my soul and every element! So you are a Lerchenfelder Zircassian! What tales! Buthow come you are supposed to be his wife, since he has to my knowledge a wife and several children in Saxony?”
6. Says Helena, in true (untranslatable) Viennese: Well, don’t you ‘cross and lightning’ know that on Earth one has only one valid wife, and should not rightfully have another. When however a person has died, and with God’s grace and mercy entered upon heaven, then one gets another little woman, but one from Earth; because no girlies grow in heaven if not first born upon Earth. Mind that you enter heaven soon, and perhaps still chase down some real little woman for yourself! But first you have to love our Lord God above everything, or there is nothing doing!”
7. Says the officer: “What a shame - such a beautiful child and such crude talk! Isn’t this a dreadful dialect, derived from the noble German language! You typical Lerchenfelderin, say unto me - do all broads in heaven speak like you? Should this be the case then I would rather remain in literate circles upon Earth. No, what doggerel!”
8. Says Helena: “Well, what polished German do you deem yourself to speak? Every language is beautiful and good if emanating from an honest heart and mouth! But what is a tongue ever so polished if proceeding from a real villain? Would you rather have me deceive you in high German or be honest in Lerchenfelderic? Here in Vienne an erudite Germanis usually posing to make people believe he is cultured, whilst some other would conquer the beautiful sex with the dirtiest thoughts, as I discovered often enough. It’s the same in the officers and chancelleries. The crudest, most arrogant and stupid clerks usually speak the lofty language to cover up their character shortcomings: is this not real roguery? And you call it well-spoken when pulling wool over another’s eyes?! You shall make me sick yet!”
9. Says the officer: “Not so my dear child I did not mean it that way; I am making the point that in a literate world one should at least speak the written language and not in an uncouth manner. Look, beauty like yours I have not seen yet, and more learned elocution would make you a goddess. Speaking however you scrape off all celestial beauty, flying one from high poetry to mundane prose. Look here, you had heretofore made yourself out to be an dweller of heaven, what I shall not dispute on account of your shape; but if you insist on being a celestial creature, then you must speak accordingly, or no cuckoo shall believe you are an inhabitant of the ether.”
10. Says Helens: “I ask you to cut down your pomp and spare me your compliments. Do you think I am one baited therewith? There our Lord God would look out the window, saying: ’nothing doing‘, see I am washed with many waters, understand? In Upper Lerchenfeld one has to talk differently to catch a leftover little goose! Am I not familiar with your lusts? You like just my face, but my heart can be a cat! It of course irritates you that my speech is not that of a made-up city Freulein, yet it gives me happy riddance of you. Go and speak to my husband he knows high German better than I. But believe what he tells you, or you shall see no heaven for a long while yet!”
11. Says the officer, hands capped over ears: “Praise God she is done with speaking. This doggerel would drive a man of letters crazy; oh you most typical Lerchenfelder roast with garlic and Bohemian Rapunzel salad! God oh God! Man! Robert, friend, are you deaf? What do your ears say to such aesthetic? You refined Saxon man of court can be happy next to this roast? Such married half would cause me despair in a few hours! No, - talk like that, getting more canine every moment! Verily, if this supra terrestrial beauty confined herself to giving signs and making faces, she would be endlessly more engaging than without this barking! Listen, this one is endlessly safe with me, and you need not fear her being flirted into unfaithfulness, for she is too endlessly stupid!”
12. Says Robert: “Oh, there you are greatly mistaken! This one is craftily clever, and her courage exceeds ten Husarregiments! Nor does she always speak like that but only when it suits her, Oh, she can speak beautifully when she sees fit to do so. She reverts to Lerchenfelder when upset. Just comply with what I told you, go and speak to God the Lord Jesus Himself and convince yourself before taking further steps.”
13. Says the officer: “This all sounds silly, but escort me there! Should things turn out that way then you shall find me the most ardent participant, and in the alternative one who can put up with fools!”
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