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Main Page From Hell to Heaven RBLUM-70 Chapter

From Hell to Heaven

Chapter 70 - The dramatist’s marital affairs. The helpful general.

1. Says the dramatist: “Brother Max, you have spoken well, truthfully and true to life! I too was only a country-squire from birth, as you know. My parents never belonged to the well-to-do, and therefore could not give me a better education than their own. I got into the military by chance. I was a good lad and lucky to gain my colonel’s sympathy. He placed me in military college, where I quickly learnt to read, write and calculate. In other tasks I soon became one of the most adept in the regiment, the natural consequences of which was that I became lance-corporal, corporal, sergeant and finally, after seven years, officer. Note that with such attributes, I was not left behind in matters of the beautiful sex either.

2. “Unfortunately I made the acquaintance of an arch-aristocrat’s daughter, and that at a corps’ officers ball he gave. She was born a baroness, with an immensely rich father on top of that. The girl pleased me, and I probably pleased her even more. In short, she caught fire and made no secret of her feelings! I, a farmer from birth, and as poor as a church-mouse by comparison with the baron, and an officer only by physical advantage rather than merit, did not go down well with him. But does true love ask about birth and wealth?!

3. “We two therefore were head over heels in love with one another, and our main desire was early marriage, but how? How to obtain the arch-aristocrat’s consent and move him towards a prescribed dowry? I threw myself into everything to obtain the father’s favour. The result was that I was politely forbidden to enter the house. What next?

4. “My colonel, who loved me like a son, advised me to quit service, travel to England and there purchase a significant military position, and that he, a gentleman of wealth himself, would advance me the necessary money without reservations. I followed his fatherly advice to the letter. In short, in the course of half a year, having turned to the navy, I was first captain of a warship which soon received a command to sail to East India. I was not lacking in courage, and soon made nautical science my own.

5. “Only too soon a thousand opportunities presented themselves to distinguish myself as a commander. Every operation assigned to me I carried out brilliantly, and therefore there was no shortage of distinctions. After about four years I returned to England knighted, and also very rich. There I obtained a half year’s leave, which I used of course to arrange the matter of my marriage.

6. “On arriving in my fatherland and there, thank God, finding my parents and siblings still alive, my first trip was to the city where my good father colonel, and now major-general, lived. It was a great reunion. My first concern was to square off my debt, but he would have none of it when I placed polished gold on the table, saying: ‘My most beloved friend, you know that I was never married and have no children. You are my only son, with whom I am well pleased, and hence also the heir of my collective fortune. This trivia however regard as an advance gift, and do not mention it again.!’

7. “It speaks for itself that such declaration had to move me to tears. Who could remain untouched by such a noble man of honour? After we had a thorough discussion he asked me whether the said baroness never wrote to me, or I to her. I replied that I wrote three times without receiving a reply, but that I planned to tie this visit, which I owed him as my best friend, in with a call on the baron to ask for the hand of his daughter.

8. “The major-general was very pleased with that, although he did not keep secret the fact that the baron was still more demanding about his daughter than previously. Wealth was no bait to him, nor the merit of one not born noble, but with this bigoted aristocrat only birth and high nobility counted. He therefore also rejected the imperial title of Earl, as he would have become the latest earl, whereas he now was the oldest baron.

9. “It will be obvious that this statement did not make the most favourable impression on me. I was indeed a nobleman myself now, but where would you have started looking for my required minimum of sixteen ancestors? – But the major-general believed that I should still call upon the old man, telling him many adventure stories on sea-storms, sea-snakes and sea-battles, which were popular with the baron, perhaps winning the old codger’s heart therewith!

10. “I followed my friend’s advice, and was received by the old man with distinction, which I regarded as a good omen.

11. “The best of the whole affair was that my Emma still glowed with the same love for me as from the start. She had indeed received my letters, but had to nevertheless answer them silently in her heart and with many a tear. I tried everything of course to win the old man’s favour on the subject of his daughter, but to no avail! In short, after three months I stood where I was at my first visit.

12. “What is to be done, I asked my friend. After a while he said: ‘I don’t want to give you bad advice, but here you shall have to resort to strong-arm tactics! The girl is now nearly twenty-six years old and hence of age, therefore she is able to take charge of her heart and life. If she has the courage to marry without her father’s consent, then take her away! Since the girl herself recently suggested an elopement to you, she might be even more open to my suggestion, as it is lawfully based. Should such a plan fall through and marriage not be achieved, then of course you have to risk a quick elopement and get married in England. If there is no other way of achieving your aim, then you have no other option. You are certain to be pursued of course, but leave that to me. I shall so direct the pursuit as to prevent their catching up with you. You will know how to handle the rest.”

13. “I liked this advice of course, and soon carried out the elopement, there being too many obstacles to a marriage. As my friend later informed me, I was indeed pursued. But as he knew how to misdirect the pursuit, and there is no barrier across the sea, we easily got away. Entering my frigate, I at once let our ship’s chaplain marry us, sealing it with documents. Therewith, everything pertaining to the wedding only, so-to-say, was in order.”

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