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THE STRANGER'S NEPHEW;
HUMORS OF GRÜNWIESEL.*
BY THE TRANSLATOR OF “UNDINE.'
1. In the southern part of Germany lies the town of Grünwiesel. This is a small market town, as are most of the towns in that region. In the centre of it you see a square with a fountain, on the north side of which stands a little old court
* These Humors of Grünwiesel are a translation of W. Hauff's amusing extravaganza, “ Der Affe als Mensch." Though occasionally touching upon the borders of improbability, they are a good-humored satire, cutting and comic, - the palpable hits of Hamlet; and, welcome as they may be to lovers of laughter and glee, they are but too applicable, we fear, to many a large as well as small town, beside the German Grunwiesel. - Trans.
house; and around it rise the dwellings of the justice of the peace and the more respectable shopkeepers, while the rest of the inhabitants live in a few narrow streets. Nothing under heaven here remains unknown; the most private events are viewed as public property. So well does every one know what is every where going forward, that, when the principal clergyman, the burgomaster, or the physician, has a rare dish on his table, the whole town never fail to get scent of the news at dinner. When, in the afternoon, the females meet to pay visits, as they are called, and while drinking strong coffee and eating sweet cake, they share with one another the important gossip they have been able to pick up or make; and the conclusion of the whole matter is, that no doubt the chief minister has been most unchristianly dabbling in the lottery, and drawing one of the highest prizes; or that the burgomaster has been shrewd enough to butter his bread on both sides; or that the doctor has pocketed many a piece of gold from the apothecary, as a bribe for his letting him make his prescriptions dear. You may easily imagine, kind reader, how vexatious it must be for such a wellordered town as Grünwiesel, to have a man come there of whom no one knows whence he comes, what his business is, and how he is to
Now, as fate and mischief would have it, just such a man one day arrived there. The burgomaster, it is true, had examined his pass, and remarked at one of the doctor's coffee-parties, that it was all perfectly correct, so far as directed from Berlin to Grünwiesel, but that not a word was said of his journey before, or of his former place of abode — circumstances that looked not a little mysterious. As the burgomaster was a man of the greatest consideration in town, there was nothing wonderful in the stranger's being regarded as a suspicious person from the very day of his arrival. Besides, his conduct afterward was far from removing this early prejudice. With a few pieces of gold, the stranger hired him a whole house, which had for some time stood unoccupied; ordered quite a wagonload of strange furniture, such as stoves, shovels, tongs, pots, kettles, and other utensils for kitchen use, to be brought; and from that hour lived all alone, and for himself alone. Yes, he even cooked his own food; and not a soul entered his house but an old man of Grünwiesel, whom he employed to buy bread, meat, and vegetables; still more, this man was permitted to
come no farther than the ground floor, where the stranger received his purchases himself.
The commotion thus raised in this small town was excessive. The man never amused himself, like others, in playing nine-pins in the afternoon; never went to the tavern in the evening to smoke his pipe and talk over the news. In vain did the burgomaster, the justice of the peace, the doctor, and the principal minister, one after another, invite him to dine or take coffee; he invariably excused himself. In consequence of this unsocial spirit, some considered him as mad, others suspected him to be a Jew, while a third party stoutly maintained that he was a conjurer or wizard. Thus passed eight or ten years, and still the town called him “ THE STRANGER GENTLEMAN.”
II. One afternoon, about this time, some people happened to come into town with a show of animals from foreign parts. It was one of those strolling caravans, which have a camel that kneels, a bear that dances, with dogs and monkeys that look so comical in boys' clothes, and play all sorts of diverting tricks. These wanderers commonly march through a town, stop in