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From Hell to Heaven
Chapter 74 - Surprises for the man of drama. He finds old acquaintances. Olaf’s good advice.
1. Says for a change Max Olaf: “My esteemed friend, your marriage-life story begins to greatly distend! Hence let us abandon it, the more because it is as familiar to me as to yourself, since I, as a true friend by your side, going by the name of Max Olaf, am the very colonel and general who in the world made you into something from nothing. And this friend here, who regards all these manifestations together with the female creature’s transformation as a mere dream, is the baron whose daughter became your wife against his wishes. Do you desire to also get to know your wife over here, with whom you fought on Earth for almost twenty years? Then look at the most piteous, half-naked and emaciated creature sitting, looking at you from behind the baron, - that consolidates your entire life-story with a finishing touch! Are you happy with the outcome of your greatly dilated life-story?”
2. Says the dramatist: “Oh, shocking weather! Well, this thing is turning out nicely! I think the continuation of my life-story shall here move to the drama’s second act! What do you say, my upright friend?!”
3. Says Max Olaf: “Dear friend, I am mightily persuaded that we shall have to turn to yonder man, if we want to see a better continuation of our life drama! Because, as a mute bystander during your account, certain portentous changes in this room did not escape me which deeply impressed me. The Larkfield woman’s attire was renewed, giving her a truly angelic appearance. And the more lovingly attached she becomes to yonder peculiar man, the more beautiful and wise she becomes! But she is not alone in her happiness. I see a great many of those who previously stood there as miserably as us. But on approaching yonder man their appearance improved and their clothing changed with their feelings!
4. “Friend, these surely are miracles upon miracles in the real sense of the word!
5. “Over at that spacious stage you see about twenty-four female creatures in ballet costumes, - these already look truly celestial! And over there at the bread and wine table stands the democrat Blum, the familiar Messenhauser, Doctor Becher and the editor Jellinek! What holy dignity streams from their faces, and how profound their speech! How congenial and yet earnestly lofty is their conduct!
6. “And yet, yonder good-natured, plain man who is now virtually courting the beautiful Larkfield woman, discussing only love with her, seems to be all in all to them. For they are asking him about everything. He arranges everything and it is as he wills it, notwithstanding that his conduct is completely unpretentious and celestially congenial, so that just watching him, I have become as fond of him as one loves a favourite friend!
7. “I would like to rush over and caress him like a besieged commander does with a conquered enemy flag, upon whose conquest victory fully depends! – Tell me, friend, have you no similar desire? And what about you, dream-interpreter baron with your daughter Kunigunde-Emma?”
8. Says the dramatist: “I for my part begin to feel likewise, but whether my lord father-in-law and my Emma feel so is another matter. Maybe Emma, in whom I had in the latter days detected traces of religiosity. But concerning the Lord Baron, there I know too little about his thinking and feeling! One thing is certain, that over here he may not be able to bound great distances with his terrestrial superiority descendancy notions!”
9. Says the baron: “My dear daughter-thief, just sweep before your own door! For were I to debate with you over here, it would build up to a whale of a case! But I forgave you everything on Earth, and so we are square in our questionable dispute. Should you have some advantage over here in this dream-like world then make good through your friendship, which you withheld from me with a hostility that took away my life. For over there Emma was my life, of which you robbed me! But I have forgiven you this robbery; hence do not ask how I feel over here but help me and poor Emma, if you are able to help us!”
10. Says Max Olaf: “Quite correct, dear friend, and spoken from my own heart, so-to-say. The son-in-law is certain to do so, for he was never lacking in good will. The only thing we all still lack over here is capacity. But I hope to God that at least one of us will soon be helped, who will then not let his friends down!”
11. Says the baron: “I heartily thank you for that! I and Emma have desperate need of help. Because for twenty years, which here has become two thousand years, I have languished in uttermost desolation! No help, no comfort, no light has come to me yet. You are the first who began to help me out of my long dream. Oh friend, let you accomplish what you started, and my heart and life shall be dedicated to you as a reward!”
12. Says Max Olaf: “Dear friends, and you too, my poor Emma! Follow me cheerfully over to that splendid man who is now conversing with Doctor Jellinek. There I shall bend my knees on your and perhaps on my own behalf! If that one lends us his helpful hands, then we shall be helped! But it requires taking uttermost hold of ourselves before him, that much I have observed. Because no matter how unspeakably good he is, he possesses immense wisdom besides, before which our deepest thoughts melt like butter before the sun. We must act before him the way we think and feel, because no ulterior motives will escape his sharp eyes! Come with me therefore, perhaps we shall find grace with him!”
13. Says the dramatist: “Brother, what if you went over to him as our spokesman without us? Because verily, I secretly fear him in a peculiar way!”
14. The baron and Emma also appeal to General Max Olaf, and he says: “Dear friends, I will do whatever I can do for you, but brace yourselves, for I sense that I shall return with a good answer!”
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