A Newyear’s Eve Confession part 4

“The devil!” exclaimed the old soldier in surprise; “then you were the cause of that touching farewell letter that Bianca sent me—in which she declared that she must give me up—although her heart would break? “Yes, I was the cause of it,” said his friend. “But listen, there is more to tell. I had thought to purchase peace with that money, but the peace did not come. The wild thoughts ran riot all the more madly in my brain. I buried myself in my work—it was just about that time that I was working out the plan of my book on the ‘Immortality of the Idea’—but still could not find peace.

And thus the year passed and New Year’s Eve came round again. Again we sat together here, she and I. You were at home this time, but you lay sleeping on the sofa in the next room. A merry Casino dinner had tired you. And as I sat beside her, and my eyes rested on her pale face, then memory came over me with irresistible power. Once more I would feel her head on my bre

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A Newyear’s Eve Confession part 3

The old soldier murmured something and lit his pipe.

“No, she was as pure as God’s angels,” continued the other. “It is you and I who are the guilty ones. Listen to me. It is now forty-three years ago; you had just been ordered here as captain to Berlin, and I Wits teaching at the University. You were a gay bird then, as you know.”

“Him,” remarked the host, raising his trembling old hand to his mustache.
“There was a beautiful actress with great black eyes and little white teeth—do you remember?”

“Do I? Bianca was her name,” answered the other as a faded smile flashed over his weather beaten, self indulgent face. Those little white teeth could bite, I can tell you.”

“You deceived your wife, and she suspected it. But she said nothing and suffered in silence. She was the first woman who had come into my life since my mother’s death. She came into it like a shining star, and I gazed up to her in adoration as one m

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A Newyear’s Eve Confession part 2

My two old gentlemen sat half in the shadow of the green lampshade, moldering ruins both, from long past days, bowed and trembling, gazing before them with the dull glance of the dimming eyes of age. One, the host, is evidently an old officer, as you would recognize at once from his carefully wound cravat, his pointed, sharply cut mustache, and his martial eyebrows. He sits holding the handle of his roller chair like a crutch tightly clasped in both hands. He is motionless except for his jaws, which move up and down ceaselessly with the motion of chewing.

The other, who sits near him on the sofa, a tall, spare figure, his narrow shoulders crowned by the high domed head of a thinker, draws occasional thin puffs of smoke from a long pipe which is just about to go out. Among the myriad wrinkles of his smooth shaven, dried up face, framed in a wreath of snow white curls, there lurked a quiet, gentle smile, a smile which the peace of resignation alone can bring to the face of

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A Newyear’s Eve Confession part 1

Hermann Sudermann (1857 – 1928)

Sudermann was born in East Prussia in 1857, and educated at the Universities of Konigsberg and Berlin. He was one of the foremost leaders of the dramatic movement of the nineties, though today he is regarded as definitely belonging to the past. But his stories of East Prussian and Lithuanian life, and his novels, are written with a fine imaginative power, and are still read both in Germany and abroad.

The present version, translated by Grace I. Colbron, is reprinted by permission of the publisher, from Short Story Classics, published and copyright by P. F. Collier’s Sons, New York, 1907.

A New year’s Eve Confession

Thanks be to God, dear Lady, that I may once more sit beside you for a peaceful chat. The holiday tumult is past, and you have a little leisure for me again.

Oh, this Christmas season! I believe that it was invented by some rail demon expressly to annoy us poor bachelors, to show

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