The Magic Mountain A Soldier, and Brave

HANS CASTORP had had frequent word from his cousin, short messages, at first full of good news and high spirits, then less so, then at length communications that sought to hide something truly sad to hear. The succession of postcards began with the joyous announcement that Joachim was with the colours, and a description of the fanatical ceremony in which, as Hans Castorp ironically couched it in his reply, he had taken the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. One after another Joachim passed easily through the stages of his chosen vocation, whose difficulties were smoothed away by the interest of his superiors and his own passionate love for the service. All this he described to his cousin in his brief messages. He was dispensed from the duty of going to the military academy, as he had already studied some semesters, and from the cornetcy. By the New Year he would be promoted to a subalternship—and sent a photograph of himself in the uniform of an officer. His utter devotion to the spirit of the hierarchy he served, that straitly honourable hierarchy, the bonds of whose organization were like iron, and which yet in its crabbedly humorous way knew how to yield something to the weakness of the flesh, was plain in every hasty line. He related anecdotes illustrating the quaintly complex attitude of his cranky, fanatical sergeant-major toward him, the blundering young subordinate, in whom he yet envisaged the ordained superior of to-morrow, who already had the right to enter the officers’ casino. It was all very fantastic and droll. Then he told of being admitted to prepare for the officers’ examination. By the beginning of April he was a lieutenant. Manifestly there was no happier man, none with more single-minded devotion of his whole being to the chosen career. With a sort of shamefaced beatitude he told of going past the Rathaus for the first time, in full uniform, how the sentry had saluted, and he nodded to him from a distance. He spoke of the small vexations and rewards of the service, of the wonderfully satisfying comradeship, of the sheepish loyalty of his Bursch, of funny occurrences on the parade-ground and in instruction; of inspection, of love-feasts. Also he occasionally mentioned social affairs, visits, dinners, balls. Not a word of his health.

Until toward summer. Then he wrote that he was in bed, on sick-leave, a catarrh, a matter of a few days. By the beginning of June he was back. But at the middle of the month he had crocked up again, and complained bitterly of his luck. He could not conceal his worry lest he should miss the August general manœuvres, toward which he was already eagerly looking. Rubbish! in July he was as sound as a berry, weeks long. But then an examination, made advisable by his accursed fluctuations of temperature, suddenly appeared on the horizon. As to the result of this examination, Hans Castorp for long weeks heard nothing; and when he heard, perhaps out of mortification, perhaps because of his physical state, it was not Joachim who wrote. His mother, Louisa Ziemssen, telegraphed. She said the physicians thought it necessary for Joachim to go on sick-leave for some weeks: high mountains indicated immediate departure advised reserve two rooms reply prepaid signed Aunt Louisa. It was at the end of July when Hans Castorp, lying in his balcony, ran through this dispatch, then read it, and read it again. He nodded as he did so, not with his head but with his whole torso, and said between his teeth: “Si, si, si,” like Herr Settembrini.

“Joachim is coming back!” ran through him like tidings of great joy. But he grew subdued at once, on the thought “H’m, this is bad news! One might almost call it a mess. The deuce! That went fast. Ripe for ‘home’ again. The mother coming with him”—Hans Castorp said the mother, not Aunt Louisa, his family feeling having grown unconsciously very faded. “That is serious. And directly before the manœuvres he has been so on fire to go to. H’m, it’s certainly a skin game, it’s playing it low down on poor Joachim, it’s the very opposite of the ideal. By which I mean that the body triumphs, it wants something different from the soul, and puts it through—a slap in the face of all those lofty-minded people who teach that the body is subordinate to the soul. Seems to me they don’t know what they are talking about, because if they were right, a case like this would put the soul in a pretty equivocal light. Verbum sap.— I know what I mean. The question I raise is how far they are right when they set the two over against each other; and whether they aren’t rather in collusion, playing the same game. That’s something that never occurs to the lofty-minded gentry. Not that I am for a moment saying anything against Joachim and his ‘doggedness.’ He is the soul of honour—but what is honour, is what I want to know, when body and soul act together? Is it possible you have not been able to forget a certain refreshing perfume, a tendency to giggle, a swelling bosom, all waiting for you at Frau Stöhr’s table?—He is coming back!” he returned to the thought with the same joyous

sensation. “He comes in bad shape, it is true, but we shall be together again, I shan’t live up here all by myself. And that’s a good thing. It won’t be quite as it was before, his room is taken. That Mrs. Macdonald sits there and coughs, a voiceless sort of cough, and keeps looking at the picture of her little son, on her table or in her hand. But she is at the last stage. If nobody else has engaged it, why—but for the present it must be another one. Twenty-eight is free, so far as I know. I’ll go down to the office—and to Behrens too. This is news. On the one hand it is bad news, on the other grand news—and in any case a change. I’d like to wait for the ‘Comrade’ though, he’ll be coming along presently, and just ask him if he is still of the opinion, in a case like this, that the physical is to be regarded as secondary.”

He went to the office before tea. The room he had in mind, on the same corridor as his own, was free, and there would be a place for Frau Ziemssen. He hastened to Behrens, and found him in the “lab,” a cigar in one hand, and in the other a test-tube of dull-coloured fluid.

“Herr Hofrat, what do you think?” he began.

“That there’s always the devil to pay,” responded the pneumotomist. “Here we have Rosenheim, from Utrecht,” said he, and waved his cigar at the test-tube. “Gaffky ten. And Schmitz the manufacturer comes along and tells me he’s been spitting on the pavement—with Gaffky ten, if you please. I’m supposed to blow him up. Well, if I blow him up, it will be the deuce and all, because he’s as touchy as a bear with a sore head, and he and his family occupy three rooms in the establishment. If I give him what for, the management gives me the same—pressed down and running over. You see what kind of trouble I get into every minute—and me so anxious to go my own simple way, unspotted from the world.”

“Silly business,” Hans Castorp said, with the ready understanding of the old inhabitant. “I know them both. Schmitz is immensely proper and pushful, and Rosenheim is plenty smeary. But there may be other sore spots, besides the hygienic. They are both friendly with Doña Perez from Barcelona, at the Kleefeld’s table—

that’s the basic trouble, I should think. If I were you I’d just call attention to the rule in general, and then shut my eye to the rest.”

“Don’t I just? I’ve got functional blepharospasm already from doing nothing else. But what are you about down here?”

Hans Castorp came out with the sad yet thrilling news.

Not that the Hofrat was surprised, nor would have been in any case. But he had also been kept informed of Joachim’s progress; Hans Castorp told him, whether asked or unasked, and he knew that Joachim had been in bed in May.

“Aha,” said he. “And what did I tell you? What did I tell both of you, not once but a hundred times, in so many words? So now you have it. Nine months he’s had his heart’s desire, and been living in a fool’s paradise. Well, it wasn’t a snakeless paradise—it was infected, more’s the pity. But he wouldn’t believe what his little ole Behrens told him, and so he’s had bad luck, like the rest of them, when they don’t believe what their little ole Behrens says, and come too late to their senses. He’s got as far as lieutenant, anyhow, there’s that to say. But what’s the use of it? The good Lord sees your heart, not the braid on your jacket, before Him we are all in our birthday suits, generals and common men alike. . .” He rambled on, rubbed his eyes with his huge hands, still holding the cigar between his fingers; then he said Hans Castorp must excuse him for this time. A berth for Joachim would of course be found, when he came his cousin should stick him into bed, without delay. So far as he, Behrens, was concerned he bore nobody any grudge, he would be ready to welcome home the prodigal and like a fond parent kill the fatted calf.

Hans Castorp telegraphed. He spread the news of his cousin’s return, and all those who had been the young man’s friends were glad and sorry and both quite sincerely; for his clean and chivalrous personality had been universally approved, and there was a sort of unspoken feeling that Joachim had been the best of the lot up here. We mention no one in particular; but incline to think that in some quarters a certain satisfaction was felt in the knowledge that Joachim must give up the soldier’s career and return to the horizontal, and in all his immaculateness become one of them up here again. Frau Stöhr, of course, had had her ideas all along; time had now justified the rather unfeeling hints she threw out when Joachim went down, and she was not above saying I told you so. “Pretty rotten,” she called it. She had known it for that from the first, and only hoped that Ziemssen by his pigheadedness had not made it putrid. Her choice of words was conditioned by sheer innate vulgarity. How much better it was to stop at one’s post, as she did; she too had her life down below, in Cannstadt, a husband and two children, but she could contain herself. . . No reply came to the telegram. Hans Castorp remained in ignorance of the hour or day of his cousin’s coming, and thus could not receive him at the station when, three days later, he and his mother simply arrived. Lieutenant Joachim, laughing and excited, burst upon his cousin in the evening rest-cure.

It had just begun. The same train brought them as had Hans Castorp, when years ago, years that had been neither long nor short, but timeless, very eventful yet ‘the sum of nothing,’ he had first come to this place. The time of year was the same too—

one of the very first days of August. Joachim, as we said, went gaily into Hans Castorp’s room, or rather out of it into the loggia, with a rapid tread, and laughing, breathless, incoherent, greeted his cousin. He had put all that long way behind him, those miles of territory and that lake that was like a sea, and then wound high up the narrow passes—and there he stood, as though he had never been away. His cousin started up from the horizontal and greeted him with a shout and “Well, well, well!”

His colour was fresh, thanks to his open-air life, or perhaps to the flush of travel. He had hurried directly to his cousin’s room without going first to his own, in order to greet his old-time companion, while his mother was putting herself to rights in the chamber assigned her. They were to eat in ten minutes, of course in the restaurant. Hans Castorp could surely have a little something more with them, or at least take a glass of wine. And Joachim pulled him over to number twenty-eight, where the scene was reminiscent of that long-ago evening when Hans Castorp arrived. Now it was Joachim, who, feverishly talking, washed up at the shining wash-hand-basin, while Hans Castorp looked on, surprised and in a way disappointed to see his cousin in mufti. He had always pictured him as an officer; but here he was in grey “uni,”

looking like everybody else. Joachim laughed, and said he was naïve. He had left his uniform at home, of course. It was not such a simple matter with a uniform—you couldn’t wear it just any place. “Oh, thanks awfully,” said Hans Castorp. But Joachim seemed unaware of any offence in his own remark and went on, asking about matters and things in the Berghof, not only without the least touch of condescension, but even rather moved by the home-coming. Then Frau Ziemssen appeared through the door connecting their two rooms, and greeted her nephew in a way some people have on these occasions; namely, as though pleasurably surprised to find him here. She spoke with subdued melancholy, in part caused by fatigue, in part with reference to Joachim’s state—and they went down to dinner.

Louisa Ziemssen had the same gentle and beautiful dark eyes as Joachim. Her hair, that was quite as black, but mingled now with many threads of grey, was confined by a nearly invisible net; an arrangement characteristic of the mild and measured composure of her personality, which was simple, and at the same time dignified and pleasing. Hans Castorp felt no surprise to see that she was puzzled, even a little put out, by Joachim’s liveliness, his rapid breathing and headlong talk, which were probably foreign to his manner either at home or on the journey, besides giving the lie to his actual condition. For herself she was impressed with the sadness of this return, and would have found a subdued bearing more suitable. How could she enter into Joachim’s turbulent emotions, due in part to the sensation that he was come home, which for the moment outweighed all else, and in part to the stimulus of the incomparably light, empty, yet kindling air he was once breathing? All that was totally dark to her. “My poor lad,” she thought, as she watched him and his cousin abandoned to mirth, telling each other a hundred anecdotes, asking each other a hundred questions, throwing themselves back in their chairs with peals of laughter.

“Children, children!” she protested more than once; and finally levelled a mild reproof at behaviour which might rather have gladdened her heart: “Why, Joachim, I have not seen you like this for many a long day. It seems as though you needed to come back here to be as you were on the day of your promotion.” No more was needed to quench Joachim’s lively mood. He turned completely round, fell silent and ate none of the sweet, though it was most toothsome, a chocolate soufflé with whipped cream. Hans Castorp did what he could in his cousin’s stead, though his own hearty dinner was only an hour behind him. Joachim looked up no more—obviously because his eyes were full of tears.

Such a result was as far as possible from Frau Ziemssen’s intention. It was really more for decorum’s sake that she had tried to introduce a little sobriety into the mood of her son, not realizing that precisely the middle course, the golden mean, was impossible up here, and only a choice of extremes offered. When she saw him break down, she seemed not far from tears herself, and most grateful to her nephew for his gallant efforts to redress the balance of the situation. Yes, he said, Joachim would find there had been changes in the population of the Berghof, there were new people, but on the other hand, some that had gone away were come back again. For instance, the great-aunt and her charges sat once more at Frau Stöhr’s table, and Marusja laughed as much as ever.

Joachim said nothing. But Frau Ziemssen was thereby reminded that they had chanced to meet someone who sent greetings, which she must deliver while she thought of it. It was in a restaurant in Munich, where they had spent a day between two night journeys. A lady—a not unsympathetic person, though unaccompanied, and with rather too level brows—had come up to their table to greet Joachim. She had been a patient up here, Joachim would know—

“Frau Chauchat,“ Joachim said, in a low voice. She was spending some time in a cure in the Allgäu, and intended to go to Spain in the winter. She sent greetings. Hans Castorp was no raw youth, he had control over the nerves that might have made the blood rush to or leave his face. He said: “Oh, so she has emerged from behind the Caucasus again, has she? And she is going to Spain?”

The lady had mentioned a place in the Pyrenees. A pretty, or at least a charming woman. Pleasant voice, pretty gestures. But free manners, slack, Frau Ziemssen thought. “She spoke to us as though we were old friends, told about herself, asked questions, though it seems Joachim had never actually known her. I thought it rather odd.”

“That is the East—and the illness,” replied Hans Castorp. “One mustn’t try to measure her by humanistic standards.” He thought he remembered that she had intended to make a journey into Spain. H’m, Spain. That country too lay remote from the humanistic mean, though on the side of austerity rather than of softness. There it was not lack but excess of form that obtained; death itself was in the guise of form, not dissolution—black, refined, sanguinary, Inquisition, stiff ruff, Loyola, the Escurial, et cetera— h’m, yes, it was interesting; he wondered what Frau Chauchat would say to Spain. She’d probably get over banging doors—and perhaps a combination of the two extremes would bring her closer to the humane mean. Yet something pretty awful, terroristic, might come to pass if the East went to Spain. . . No, he neither paled nor flushed; but the impression the news had made upon him betrayed itself none the less; on such talk as this nothing but perplexed silence could supervene. Joachim, of course, was less taken aback than his mother, being

acquainted from aforetime with his cousin’s mental volatility up here. But a great perturbation showed in Frau Ziemssen’s eyes, as though her nephew had uttered some gross impropriety; and after a painful pause she broke up the gathering by rising from table, with a phrase or so intended to gloze over the situation. Before they separated, Hans Castorp told them that Behrens’s order was for Joachim to remain in bed at least on the morrow, or until he had come to examine him. The rest would be decided later. Soon the three relatives lay each in his room, with the door open to the freshness of the summer night in this altitude, and each with his thoughts: Hans Castorp’s were chiefly concerned with Frau Chauchat’s return, to be expected within six months’ time.

So this was young Joachim’s home-coming—for a little after-cure. That way of putting it had obviously been the one given out down below, and it passed current here too, even Hofrat Behrens taking it up, though the first thing he did was to sentence Joachim to four weeks in the “caboose” by way of repairing the most obvious damage, acclimatizing him anew, and putting his house in order as far as temperature was concerned. He was careful to avoid setting any limit for the “aftercure.” Frau Ziemssen, sensible, discerning, never very sanguine save at Joachim’s bedside, mentioned the autumn, perhaps October, as the terminus, and Behrens acquiesced, at least to the extent of saying that anyhow they would be further on then than they were now. Frau Ziemssen liked him immensely. His bearing toward her was courtly; he called her “my dearest lady,” looking deferentially down upon her with his bloodshot eyes; and he talked such extravagant corps-student jargon that despite her depression she always had to laugh. “I know he is in the best of hands,” she said; and after a week’s stay went back to Hamburg, as Joachim had no need of care, and his cousin was always with him.

“Set your heart at rest,” Hans Castorp said to Joachim, sitting by his bed in number twenty-eight. “You’ll get off by the autumn, the old ‘un has more or less committed himself to that. You can look forward to it as a terminus—October. In that month some people go to Spain, and you can go back to your bandera, to distinguish yourself ex supererogatione. . .”

It became his daily task to console his cousin for the disappointment of missing the manœuvres, which were beginning in these August days. Joachim could think of nothing else, and expressed the greatest self-contempt at this cursed slackness that had come over him in the last minute.

“Rebellio carnis,” Hans Castorp said. “What can you do about it? The bravest officer can do nothing—even St. Anthony had his little experiences. Good Lord, don’t the manœuvres come every year—and surely you know how time flies up here. You haven’t been gone long enough not to get back into step quite easily, and before you can turn round your little after-cure will be over.”

But the refreshment of his sense of time, caused by Joachim’s stay in the valley, had been so considerable that he could not help looking forward with dread to the next four weeks. Everybody, it is true, did his best to make time light for him; the sympathy felt on all hands for the clean personality of the young officer expressed itself in many visits. Settembrini came, was very affectionate and charming, and called Joachim Capitana, instead of Lieutenant as before. Naphta too visited him, and all the old acquaintances in the house availed themselves of a free quarter-hour to sit by his bed, repeat the phrase about the little after-cure, and hear his news. The ladies were Stöhr, Levi, Iltis and Kleefeld, the gentlemen Ferge, Wehsal, and others. They even brought him flowers. When the four weeks were up he left his bed, the fever being so far brought under control that it would not harm him to move about. He began taking his meals in the dining-room, at his cousin’s table, sitting between him and the brewer’s wife, Frau Magnus, opposite Herr Magnus, the place that had once been Uncle James’s, and for a few days Frau Ziemssen’s as well.

Thus the young people began to live once more side by side. Yes, to make it all even more as it had been, Mrs. Macdonald breathed her last, with the picture of her little son in her hand, and her room, next his cousin’s, reverted to Joachim, after it had been thoroughly freed of bacteria by means of H2CO. More exact, indeed, it was to say that Joachim now lived next door to Hans Castorp, instead of the reverse: the latter was now the old inhabitant, and his cousin shared his existence only provisionally and temporarily. Joachim stuck stiffly by the October terminus—though his nervous system refused to some extent to lend itself to the humanistic norm, and prevented a compensatory radiation of heat.

The cousins resumed their visits to Settembrini and Naphta and their walks with those two devoted opponents. When they were joined by A. K. Ferge and Wehsal, which often happened, they formed a group of six, and before this considerable audience the two opposed spirits carried on an endless duel, which we could not reproduce in any fullness without losing ourselves, as it did daily, in an infinitude of despair. Hans Castorp chose to regard his own poor soul as the object of their dialectic rivalry. He had learned from Naphta that Settembrini was a Freemason, which fact impressed him as much as Settembrini’s earlier statement that Naphta was a Jesuit. He was quite absurdly surprised to hear that there still existed such things as Freemasons; and diligently plied the terrorist with questions about the origin and significance of this curious body, which in a few years would celebrate its two-hundredth birthday. When Settembrini spoke behind his back of Naphta and his intellectual tendencies, it was always on an appealing note of warning, with a hint that the subject had more than a little of the diabolic about it. But when Naphta did the same, he made unaffectedly merry over the sphere which the other represented, and gave Hans Castorp to understand that the things for which Settembrini fought were all of them dead issues; free-thought and bourgeois enlightenment were the pathetic delusions of yesterday, though prone to the self-deception which made them a laughing-stock: namely, that they were still full of revolutionary life. Said Naphta: “Dear me, his grandfather was a carbonaro— in other words a charcoal-burner. From him he gets the charcoal-burner’s faith in reason, freedom, human progress, the whole box of tricks belonging to the classicistic-humanistic virtue-ideology. You see, what perplexes the world is the disparity between the swiftness of the spirit, and the immense unwieldiness, sluggishness, inertia, permanence of matter. We must admit that this disparity would be enough to excuse the spirit’s lack of interest in reality, for the rule is that it has sickened long before of the ferments that bring revolution in their train. In very truth, dead spirit is more repulsive to the living than dead matter, than granite for example, which makes no claim to be alive. Such granite, the relic of an ancient reality left so far behind by the spirit that it refuses any longer to associate with it the conception of reality, continues a sluggish existence, and by its bald and dull continuance prevents futility from becoming aware that it is futile. I am speaking in general terms, but you will know how to apply my words to that humanistic freethought which imagines itself to be still in a heroic attitude of resistance to authority and domination. Ah, and the catastrophes, by virtue of which it thinks to manifest its vitality, the ever-delayed spectacular triumphs at which it is preparing to assist, and thinks one day to celebrate! The living spirit would die of ennui at the bare thought of these, were it not aware that from such catastrophes it alone can emerge as the victor, welding as it does the elements of the old and the new to create the true revolution.—

How is your cousin to-day, Hans Castorp? You know what profound sympathy I feel for him.”

“Thanks, Herr Naphta. Everyone seems to feel the same, such a good lad as he is. Even Herr Settembrini admits him very much into his good graces, despite his dislike of a sort of terrorism there is in Joachim’s profession. And now I hear Herr Settembrini is a Mason! Imagine! I must say that gives me to think. It sets his personality in a new light, and clarifies certain things for me. Does he go about putting his foot at the right angle and shaking hands with a particular grip? I have never seen anything—”

“Our worthy third-degree friend has probably got beyond such childishness,”

Naphta thought. “I imagine the lodges have curtailed their rites a good deal, in response to the lamentable arid Philistinism of our time. They would probably blush for the ceremonial of former periods as an extravagant mummery, and not without reason, for it would be absurd to present their atheistic republicanism in the guise of a mystery. I don’t know with what species of horrors they may have tested Herr Settembrini’s constancy; they may have led him blindfold through dark passages, and made him wait in gloomy vaults before the hall of the conclave, full of mirrored lights, burst upon his eyes. They may have solemnly catechized him, menaced his bare breast with swords to the accompaniment of a death’s-head and three tapers. You must ask himself; but I fear you will get small satisfaction, for even if the procedure was much tamer than this, in any case he will have been sworn to silence.”

“Sworn? To silence? They do that too, then?”

“Certainly. Silence and obedience.”

“Obedience too. But listen, Professor, it seems to me then, he has no occasion to stick at the terrorism in my cousin’s profession. Silence, and obedience! I could never have believed a free-thinker like Herr Settembrini would submit to such out-and-out Spanish conditions and vows. I perceive that Freemasonry has something quite military and Jesuitical about it.”

“And your perceptions are perfectly correct,” Naphta responded. “Your diviningrod twitches, and knocks. The idea of the society is rooted in and inseparably bound up with the absolute. By consequence, it is terroristic; that is to say, anti-liberal. It lifts the burden from the individual conscience, and consecrates in the name of the Absolute every means even to bloodshed, even to crime. There is some support for the view that the vows of the brotherhood were once symbolically sealed in blood. A brotherhood can never be purely contemplative. By its very nature it must be executive, must organize. You probably do not know that the founder of the

Illuminati, a society which for a long time was nearly identified with Freemasonry, was a former member of the Society of Jesus?”

“No, that is certainly news to me.”

“Adam Weishaupt formed his secret benevolent order entirely upon the model of the Society of Jesus. He himself was a Mason, and the most reputable lodge members of the time were Illuminati. I am speaking of the second half of the eighteenth century, which Settembrini would not hesitate to characterize as the period of the degeneration of his fraternity. Actually it was the period of its highest flower, as of all secret societies in general, a time when Masonry attained to a higher life, of which it was later ‘purged’ by men of the stamp of our friend of humanity here. In that time he would certainly have belonged to those who reproached it with Jesuitry and


“Were there grounds for the reproach?”

“Yes—if you choose to call it that. The shallow free-thinking of the day was of that opinion. It was the period when the Fathers of our faith sought to animate the society by breathing into it Catholic-hierarchical ideas—at that time there was actually a Jesuit lodge of Freemasonry at Clermont, in France. And it was the time when Rosicrucianism made its entrance into the lodges, that remarkable brotherhood, which, you will note, was a peculiar union of purely rational ideas of political and social improvement and a millennial programme, with elements distinctly oriental, Indian and Arabic philosophy and magical nature-lore. The reform and revision of the lodges which then took place was in the direction of strict observance in a definitely irrational and mystical, magical-alchemical sense, to which the Scottish Rite owes its existence. These are degrees of knighthood which were added to the old military ranks of apprentice, journeyman, and master; upper ranks which issued in the hieratical, and were full of Rosicrucian mysticism. There ensued a sort of castingback to certain spiritual and knightly orders which existed in the Middle Ages, for instance the Templars, you know, who took the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience before the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Even to-day there is an upper degree in Freemasonry which bears the title ‘Grand Duke of Jerusalem.’ ”

“It’s all news to me, Herr Naphta. But I’m getting to know Herr Settembrini’s tricks. ‘Grand Duke of Jerusalem’—that’s not bad, not bad at all. You ought to call him that some time, by way of a joke. The other day he called you ‘ doctor angelicus.’

Why not take your revenge?”

“Oh, there are a host more such titles in the upper reaches of the Knights Templars. There are a Past Grand Master, a Knight of the East, a Grand High-priest—the thirtyfirst degree is called Noble Prince of the Royal Mysteries. You observe that all these names have reference to oriental mysticism. The reappearance of the Templars, indeed, means nothing else than the entrance of such conceptions, the presence of irrational ferments in a world given over to rational-utilitarian ideas of social improvement. This it was which lent Freemasonry a new brilliance and charm, and explains the great number of recruits to it at that period of its history. It drew to itself all the elements which were weary of the rationalistic twaddle of the century, and thirsting for a stronger draught of life. The success of the order was such that the Philistine complained of it for estranging men from domestic happiness and destroying their reverence for women.”

“Then it is not surprising that Herr Settembrini does not love to be reminded of the golden age of his order.”

“No, he does not love to be reminded that there was a time when it drew upon its head all the hatred felt by free-thinkers, atheists, and encyclopædists for the whole complex of Church, Catholicism, monk, Middle Ages—you heard that the Masons were accused of obscurantism—”

“Why? I should be glad to hear why, more precisely.”

“I will tell you. The Strict Observance meant the broadening and deepening of the traditions of the order, it meant referring its historical origin back to the cabalistic world, the so-called darkness of the Middle Ages. The higher degrees of Freemasonry were initiates of the ‘ physica et mystica,’ the representatives of a magic natural science, they were in the main great alchemists.”

“I shall have to put on my thinking-cap and try to recall what alchemy is—generally speaking, I mean. Alchemy: transmuting into gold, the philosopher’s stone, aurum potabile.”

“In the popular mind, yes. More informedly put, it was purification, refinement, metamorphosis, transubstantiation, into a higher state, of course; the lapis philosophorum, the male-female product of suiphur and mercury, the res bina, the double-sexed prima materia, was no more, and no less, than the principle of levitation, of the upward impulse due to the working of influences from without. Instruction in magic, if you like.”

Hans Castorp was silent. He glanced slantwise upward, and blinked.

“The primary symbol of alchemic transmutation,” Naphta said, “was par excellence the sepulchre.”

“The grave?”

“Yes, the place of corruption. It comprehends all hermetics, all alchemy, it is nothing else than the receptacle, the well-guarded crystal retort wherein the material is compressed to its final transformation and purification.”

“Hermetics—what a lovely word, Herr Naphta! I’ve always liked the word hermetic. It sounds like magicking, and has all sorts of vague and extended associations. You must excuse my speaking of such a thing, but it reminds me of the conserve jars that our housekeeper in Hamburg—Schalleen, we call her, without any Miss or Mrs.—keeps in her larder. She has rows of them on her shelves, air-tight glasses full of fruit and meat and all sorts of things. They stand there maybe a whole year—you open them as you need them and the contents are as fresh as on the day they were put up, you can eat them just as they are. To be sure, that isn’t alchemy or purification, it is simple conserving, hence the word conserve. The magic part of it lies in the fact that the stuff that is conserved is withdrawn from the effects of time, it is hermetically sealed from time, time passes it by, it stands there on its shelf shut away from time. Well, that’s enough about the conserve jars. It hasn’t much to do with the subject. Pardon me, you were going to enlighten me further.”

“Only if you wish me to do so. The learner must be of dauntless courage and athirst for knowledge, to speak in the style of our theme. The grave, the sepulchre, has always been the emblem of initiation into the society. The neophyte coveting admission to the mysteries must always preserve undaunted courage in the face of their terrors; it is the purpose of the Order that he should be tested in them, led down into and made to linger among them, and later fetched up from them by the hand of an unknown Brother. Hence the winding passages, the dark vaults, through which the novice is made to wander; the black cloth with which the Hall of the Strict Observance was hung, the cult of the sarcophagus, which played so important a rôle in the ceremonial of meetings and initiations. The path of mysteries and purification was encompassed by dangers, it led through the pangs of death, through the kingdom of dissolution; and the learner, the neophyte, is youth itself, thirsting after the miracles of life, clamouring to be quickened to a demonic capacity of experience, and led by shrouded forms which are the shadowing-forth of the mystery.”

“Thank you so much, Professor Naphta. That is splendid. That is what the teaching of hermetics is like, then; it can’t hurt me to have heard something about it too.”

“The less so that it is a guide to the ultimate; to the absolute recognition of the transcendental, and therewith to our end and aim. The alchemistic ritual of the lodges, in later centuries, led many a noble and inquiring spirit to that end—to which I need give no name, for it cannot have escaped you that the successive degrees of the Scottish Rite were only a surrogate, a substitute of the Hierarchy, that the alchemistic learning of the Master-Mason fulfilled itself in the mystery of transubstantiation, and that the hidden guidance which the lodge vouchsafed to its pupils has its prototype just as plainly in the means of grace, as the symbolic mummeries of lodge ceremonial have theirs in the liturgical and architectural symbolism of our Holy Catholic Church.”

“Ah, indeed!”

“But even that is not all. I have already suggested that the derivation of the lodge from that craftsmanly and honourable masonic guild is only a historical extension. The Strict Observance invested it with a much deeper human basis. The secrets of the lodge have, in common with certain mysteries of our Church, the clearest connexion with the ceremonial mysteries and ritual excesses of primitive man. I refer, so far as the Church is concerned, to the love-feast, the sacramental enjoyment of body and blood; as for the lodge—”

“One moment. One moment for a marginal note. Even in the strict communion to which my cousin belongs, they have so-called love-feasts. He has often written to me about them. I suppose they are very respectable affairs—except possibly they get a little drunk, but nothing like what it is at the corps-students’—”

“As for the lodge, however, I am thinking of the cult of the sepulchre, to whom I referred you before. In both cases it has to do with a symbolism of the ultimate, with elements of orgiastic primitive religion, with wild sacrificial rites by night, to the honour of dying and transforming, death, metamorphosis, resurrection. You will recall that the mysteries of Isis, and the Eleusinian mysteries too, were served by night, and in caverns. In Freemasonry there are present a host of Egyptian survivals, and there were, among the secret societies, some that called themselves Eleusinian. There were lodges that held feasts of Eleusinian mysteries and aphrodistic rites which finally did introduce the female element; feasts of roses, to which reference is made in the three blue roses on the Masonic apron, and which often passed over into the bacchantic.”

“What’s this, what’s this I hear, Professor Naphta? All this Freemasonry? And I must reconcile with it all my ideas of our enlightened Herr Settembrini?”

“You would do him very great injustice if you imagined he knew anything about it. I told you that he, or his like, purified the lodge of all the elements of higher life. They humanized it, they modernized it. God save the mark! They rescued it from false gods and restored it to usefulness, reason and progress, for making war upon princes and priests, in short for social amelioration. In it they once more discuss nature, virtue, moderation, the fatherland. In a word, it is a god-forsaken bourgeoisiedom, in the form of a club.”

“What a pity! Too bad about the feasts of roses! I mean to ask Settembrini if he hears anything about them nowadays.”

“The noble knight of the T-square!” scoffed Naphta. “You must remember that it has been no easy matter for him to get admitted inside the gates of the temple of humanity. He is as poor as a church-mouse, and they not only demand the higher, the humanistic culture—save the mark—but also one must belong to the possessing classes, to be able to stand the dues and entrance fees. Culture and possessions—there is the bourgeoisie for you! There you have the pillars of the liberal world-republic.”

“In any case,” laughed Hans Castorp, “we have it all right before our eyes.”

“And yet,” Naphta added, after a pause, “I would counsel you not to take this man and what he stands for as altogether a laughing matter; since we are on the subject, let me warn you to be on your guard. The insipid is not synonymous with the harmless. Stupidity is not necessarily free from suspicion. These people have watered their wine, that was once such a fiery draught, but the idea of the brotherhood itself remains strong enough to stand a good deal of water. It preserves the remnant of a fruitful mystery, and there is as little doubt that the lodge mixes in politics, as that there is more to see in our amiable Herr Settembrini than just his simple self, and that powers stand behind him, whose representative and emissary he is.”

“An emissary?”

“That is, a proselyter, a seeker of souls.”

“And what kind of emissary are you, may I ask?” Hans Castorp thought. Aloud he said: “Thank you, Professor Naphta. I am genuinely grateful for your advice and warning. What do you think? Suppose I go a storey higher—in so far as one can speak of a storey—and touch up our disguised lodge-brother a bit? The learner must be of dauntless courage, athirst for knowledge. But cautious too, of course. It’s well to take precautions when one deals with emissaries.”

He might with impunity seek further information from Herr Settembrini, for that gentleman could not reproach Naphta with any lack of discretion; indeed, he had never made any secret of his membership in the harmonious band of brothers. The Rivista della Massoneria lay open upon his table; Hans Castorp had simply never noticed it. Enlightened by Naphta, he led the conversation round to the subject of the

“kingly art,” as though Settembrini’s connexion with it had never been a matter of doubt, and he met with very little reticence. True, there were points upon which the literary man was silent. When they were touched upon he closed his lips with ostentation, being obviously bound by those terroristic vows of which Naphta had spoken; this when Hans Castorp encroached on trade secrets, as it were, outward forms of the organization, and his own position within it. But otherwise he was almost too expansive; and held forth at length, giving the seeker after information a considerable picture of the extent of the society, which spread almost all over the world, with twenty thousand lodges and a hundred and fifty grand lodges, in round numbers, and had penetrated civilizations like Haiti and the Negro republic of Liberia. Also he had much to tell of the great names whose bearers had been Masons: Voltaire, Lafayette and Napoleon, Franklin and Washington, Mazzini and Garibaldi; among the living, the King of England, and besides him, a large group of people in whose hands lay the conduct of the nations of Europe, members of governments and parliaments. Hans Castorp expressed respect, but no surprise. It was the same with the student corps, he said. The members of these held together in after life, and they looked after their people well, so that it was hard to get into any important official hierarchy if you had not been a corps-student. For that reason it was perhaps not so logical of Herr Settembrini to argue that the membership of those important personages in the society was flattering to it; since on the other hand it might be assumed that the occupation of so many important posts by Freemasons gave evidence of the power of the society, which certainly mixed in politics, perhaps more than Herr Settembrini was willing to admit.

Settembrini smiled, fanning himself with the magazine, which he still held in his hand. Did Hans Castorp intend to put him a case? Had he in mind to betray him into incautious utterances upon the political character, the essentially political spirit of the lodge? “Useless furberia, Engineer. We admit that we are political, admit it openly, unreservedly. We care nothing for the odium that is bound up with the word in the eyes of certain fools—they are at home in your own country, Engineer, and almost nowhere else. The friend of humanity cannot recognize a distinction between what is political and what is not. There is nothing that is not political. Everything is politics.”

“That’s flat.”

“I know there are people who think well to refer to the originally unpolitical nature of Masonic thought. But these people play with words, and set limits which have long since become imaginary and without significance. In the first place, the Spanish lodges, at least, have had a political coloration from the very first.”

“I should imagine so.”

“You can imagine very little, Engineer. Do not fancy that you are inclined to profound thought; the best you can do is to be receptive and to take to heart—I say this in your own interest, as well as in the interest of your country and of Europe— what I am about to impress upon you: namely, that in the second place, Masonic thought was never unpolitical, at any time—could not be. If it believed itself to be so, it was in error as to its own essential characteristics. What are we? Master-builders and builders on a building. The purpose of all is one, the good of the whole the fundamental tenet of the brotherhood. What is this good, what is this building? It is the true social structure, the perfecting of humanity, the new Jerusalem. But tell me which that is, political or non-political? The social problem, the problem of our common existence, is in itself politics, politics through and through, and nothing else than politics. Whoever devotes himself to the cause—and he does not deserve the name of man that would withhold himself from that devotion—belongs to politics, foreign and domestic; he understands that the art of the Freemason is the art of government—”

“Art of—”

“That Illuminist Freemasonry had the regent degree—”

“That is fine, Herr Settembrini: art of government, degree of regent—I like all that very much. But tell me something: are you Christians, you Masons?”


“I beg your pardon, I will ask another question; I’ll put it more simply and generally. Do you believe in God?”

“I will reply to you. But why do you ask?”

“I was not trying to draw you, just now. But there is a story in the Bible of the Pharisees testing our Lord with a Roman coin, and he tells them to render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. It seemed to me this distinction is the distinction between the political and the non-political. If there is a God, then there is also this distinction. Do Freemasons believe in God?”

“I bound myself to answer. You are speaking of a unity which we seek to bring about, but which to-day, alas, does not exist. If it comes to exist—and I repeat that we labour with silent assiduity upon this great task—then indeed the religious creed of the Freemason will be unanimous, and it will be ‘ Écrasez l’infame!’ ”

“Will that be obligatory? It would hardly be tolerant.”

“The problem of tolerance, my dear Engineer, is rather too large for you to tackle. Do not forget that tolerance becomes crime, if extended to evil.”

“God would be the evil?”

“Metaphysics is the evil. It is for no purpose but to put to sleep the energy which we should apply to the building of the temple of society. An example is afforded by the action of the Grand Orient of France a generation ago. He struck the name of God out of his writings. We Italians followed him.”

“How Catholic!”

“In what sense do you—”

“I mean I find it enormously Catholic, to strike out God.”

“What you wish to express is—”

“Nothing worth listening to, Herr Settembrini. Don’t pay too much attention to my prattle. It just struck me that atheism may be enormously Catholic, and as though one might strike out God merely the better to be Catholic.”

Herr Settembrini allowed a pause to ensue; but it was clear that he only did so out of pedagogic deliberation. He answered, after a measured silence: “Engineer, I am far from wishing to wound or mortify you in your adhesion to Protestantism. We were speaking of tolerance; it is surely superfluous for me to emphasize that far from mere toleration, I feel for Protestantism, as the historical opponent of the enslavement of knowledge, the most profound admiration. The invention of printing and the

Reformation are and remain the two outstanding services of central Europe to the cause of humanity. Without question. But after what you have just said I do not doubt you will understand me when I reply that after all it is only one side of the question, and there is another. Protestantism conceals elements—the very personality of your reformer concealed elements.—I am thinking of elements of quiescent beatitude, hypnotic abstraction, which are not European, but foreign to the laws of life that govern our busy continent. Look at him, this Luther! Observe the portraits we have, in early and later life. What sort of cranial formation is that, what cheek-bones, what a singular emplacement of the eye! My friend, that is Asia! I should be surprised, I should be greatly surprised, if there were not Wendish, Slavic, Sarmatic elements in play there. And if the mighty apparition of this man—for who would deny that it was mighty?—had not flung a fatal preponderance into one of the two scales which in your country hang so dangerously even, into the scale of the East, so that the other even to-day is still outweighed and flies up in the air—”

Herr Settembrini walked from the humanistic folding-desk in the little window, where he had been standing, up to the table, nearer his pupil, who was sitting on the cot against the wall, his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands.

“Caro!” Herr Settembrini said. “Caro amico! There will be decisions to make, decisions of unspeakable importance for the happiness and the future of Europe; it will fall to your country to decide, in her soul the decision will be consummated. Placed as she is between East and West, she will have to choose, she will have to decide finally and consciously between the two spheres. You are young, you will have a share in this decision, it is your duty to influence it. And therefore let us thank the fates that brought you up here to this horrible region, thus giving me opportunity to work upon your plastic youth with my not unpractised, not wholly flagging

eloquence, and make you feel the responsibility which—which your country has in the face of civilization—”

Hans Castorp sat, his chin in his hand. He looked out of the mansard window, and in his simple blue eyes there was a certain obstinacy. He was silent.

“You are silent,” Herr Settembrini said, moved. “You and your native land, you preserve a silence which seems to cover a reservation—and which gives one no hint of what goes on in your depths. You do not love the Word, or you have it not, or you are chary with it to unfriendliness. The articulate world does not know where it is with you. My friend, that is perilous. Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictious word, preserves contact—it is silence which isolates. The suspicion lies to hand that you will seek to break your silence with deeds. You will ask Cousin Giacomo” (Settembrini had taken to calling Joachim Giacomo, for convenience sake)

“to step out in front of your silence,

‘And thrice he smites, and thrice his blows

Deal death, before him fly his foes. . .’ ”

Hans Castorp began to laugh, and Herr Settembrini smiled too, satisfied for the moment with the effect of his plastic words.

“Good,” he said. “Very good, let us laugh, you will always find me ready to do that. Laughter, says the classic, is a sunbeam of the soul. We have wandered from the point, we have taken up questions which, I admit, have much to do with the

difficulties encountered by us in our preparatory efforts to establish a Masonic worldfederation.” Herr Settembrini went on to speak of the idea of this world-federation, which had originated in Hungary, the hoped-for realization of which was destined to consummate the world-power of Freemasonry. Casually he displayed letters from foreign potentates of the society: one from the very hand of the Swiss Grand Master, Brother Quartier la Tente, of the thirty-third degree; and discussed the proposal to make Esperanto the official language of the body. His zeal elevated him to the sphere of policy; he directed his gaze hither and yon, estimated the prospects of revolutionary thought in his own country, in Spain, in Portugal. He was in contact by letter, it appeared, with persons who were at the head of the Portuguese lodge, and there, without much doubt, things were ripening to a decisive event. Hans Castorp would think of him when, before very long, it came to an upset in that country. Hans Castorp promised to do so.

It should be remarked that these Masonic conferences between the pupil and the two mentors took place separated in time, before Joachim’s return. The following conversation, however, occurred during his second stay up here, and in his presence, nine weeks after he arrived, at the beginning of October. Hans Castorp retained a clear memory of this gathering in the autumn sunshine, before the Kurhaus in the Platz, where they sat sipping cooling drinks; for it was just at that time he began to feel a secret concern about Joachim—though its ground was not one usually thought very important, being merely a sore throat and hoarseness, quite harmless afflictions, which yet appeared to Hans Castorp in a somewhat peculiar light—the same light, one might say, that he saw in the depths of Joachim’s eyes. Those eyes had always, we know, been large and mild, but to-day, precisely on this very day, had seemed to grow larger and deeper, with a musing, yes, we must even say an ominous expression, together with the above-mentioned light. It would have been false to say that Hans Castorp did not like the look of them; he did, only that it disquieted him. And, in short, one cannot, by their very nature, speak of these impressions otherwise than vaguely and confusedly. As for the talk—a controversy, of course, between

Settembrini and Naphta—it was an affair of itself, only slightly connected with those earlier and private utterances on the subject of Freemasonry. Ferge and Wehsal were there, and the interest was general, although not all the parties were equal to the situation. Herr Ferge, for instance, was quite definitely not. But a dispute carried on as though it were a matter of life and death, yet with all the polished elegance of a fulldress debate—as were, indeed, all engagements between Settembrini and Naphta—

such a dispute is in itself highly diverting to hear, even for those who understand but little of it or its bearing. Strangers sitting near them listened in amaze to the exchange of words and were chained to the spot by the passion and brilliance displayed. All this took place, as we said, in front of the Kurhaus, after tea. The four guests from the Berghof had met Settembrini there, and by chance Naphta also. They sat together about a little metal table, with various drinks and soda, or anise and vermouth. Naphta, who regularly took his tea here, had ordered wine and cake, obviously a reminiscence from his student days. Joachim moistened his aching throat with a lemonade made of fresh lemons, very strong and sour; it had an astringent effect which soothed the ache. Settembrini was drinking sugar-and-water through a straw, with a gusto that made it the rarest of beverages.

He jested: “What do I hear, Engineer? What are these rumours that fly about? Your Beatrice is returning? Your guide through all the nine circles of Paradise? I must hope that you will not entirely scorn the friendly hand of your Virgil. Our ecclesiastic here will tell you that the world of the medio evo is not complete when Franciscan mysticism is not counterbalanced by the opposite pole of Thomistic cognition.” They laughed over these erudite jests, and looked at Hans Castorp, who laughed back, raising his glass to his “Virgil.” But it is unbelievable what endless academic strife arose in the next hour out of Herr Settembrini’s high-sounding but harmless remark. Naphta, having been in a manner challenged, straightway girded up his loins, and fell foul of the Latin poet, whom Settembrini was known to admire to the point of idolatry, even placing him higher than Homer, while Naphta had more than once expressed contempt for him and for the whole of Latin poetry, and did not fail to seize this opportunity to do so again. It was a complaisant limitation of the great Dante, due to his period, that he took so seriously this mediocre versifier and in his poem assigned him so high a rôle—even though Herr Ludovico did ascribe rather too freemasonly a meaning to it. But what was there to this courtly laureate and lickspittle of the Julian house, this urban litterateur and eulogist, who was without a spark of creative genius, whose soul, if he had one, was second-hand, and who was certainly no poet, but a Frenchman in an Augustan full-bottomed wig!

Herr Settembrini had no doubt that the speaker would find ways and means of reconciling his scorn of the golden age of Rome with his office as teacher of Latin. Yet he, Settembrini, could not avoid calling attention to the serious conflict in which such judgments involved Herr Naphta with his own favourite centuries, when Virgil was not only not despised, but his greatness was recognized in the most naïve way; namely, by making a seer and magician of him.

It was vain, Naphta responded, for Herr Settembrini to invoke the simplicity of those primitive times, the victorious element which preserved its creative vitality even while endowing that which it conquered with a demonic quality. But in truth, the Fathers of the early Church were never weary of warning the faithful against the lies of the old philosophers and poets, in particular of cautioning them not to be corrupted by the voluptuous eloquence of Virgil; and to-day, at a time when again an age is declining to its fall, and we see the approaching dawn of another proletarian morn, the time is ripe to feel with them. Finally, in order to leave nothing unanswered, Herr Ludovico might be assured that he, the speaker, did his duty by the small civilian task which Herr Settembrini had been so kind as to mention, with all due reservatio mentalis; though there was indeed a certain irony in his conforming to the standards of a classic and rhetorical educational system, whose survival the most optimistic observer could not predicate for more than a few decades.

“You studied them,” Settembrini cried out, “you studied them till you sweated, those old poets and philosophers; you have sought to make their priceless heritage your own, as you used the building-stones of their monuments to erect your churches. For well you knew that your proletarian soul could of its own strength bring no art form to birth; and you hoped to defeat antiquity with its own weapons. So it will ever be, history will repeat itself. Your crude immaturity must go to school to the power which you would like to persuade yourself and others to despise; for without discipline you could not endure in the sight of man, and there is but one kind, that which you call the bourgeois, but which is in reality the human.” Herr Settembrini went on. A matter of decades? The end of the humanistic principles of education?

Only politeness prevented him from a burst of laughter both unaffected and mocking. A Europe that knew how to preserve its immortal treasures would serenely pass over any proletarian apocalypse of which it here and there pleased people to dream and resume its ordered programme of the reign of classic reason.

It was, Naphta rejoined bitingly, just this ordered programme about which Herr Settembrini seemed not to be very well informed. That which he took for granted was precisely that which was being called in question: namely, whether the Mediterranean, classic, humanistic tradition was bound up with humanity and so coexistent with it, or whether it was but the intellectual garb and appurtenance of a bourgeois liberal age, with which it would perish. History would decide this; he would recommend Hen Settembrini not to lull himself in the secure triumph of his Latin conservatism. All his hearers, but with especial bitterness Herr Settembrini himself, listened to this brazen characterization on the part of little Naphta. He, Herr Settembrini, the avowed servant of progress, a conservative! He twisted violently his flowing moustaches, and seeking for a return blow left the enemy time for a further onslaught upon the classical ideal in education, the rhetorical and literary spirit which characterized the whole of the European educational system, and its splenetic partisanship of the formal and grammatical, which was nothing else than an accessory to the interests of bourgeois class supremacy, and had long been an object of ridicule to the people. They had no idea what an utter joke our doctors’ degrees and the whole system fostered by our educational mandarins had become in the minds of the proletariat; as also the public school system, which was the instrument of the domination of the middle classes, maintained in the delusion that popular education is merely watered scholarship. The sort of training and education required by the people in their struggle against the crumbling bourgeois kingdom they had long known how to find elsewhere than in these governmental establishments for compulsory training; one day all the world would realize that our system, which had developed out of the cloister school of the Middle Ages, was a ridiculous bureaucracy and anachronism, that nobody in the world any longer owes his education to his schooling, and that a free and public instruction through lectures, exhibitions, cinematographs, and so forth was vastly to be preferred to any school course.

Herr Settembrini said that Naphta had served up to their audience a mixture of revolution and obscurantism, in which, however, the obscurantist element outweighed the other, to an unsavoury extent. Herr Settembrini was pleased to see his concern for the enlightenment of the people, but his pleasure was marred by the fear that what really actuated Herr Naphta was an instinctive tendency to involve both people and world in analphabetic darkness.

Naphta smiled. “That bogy!” he said. Herr Settembrini believed himself to have uttered a word of terror, to have displayed the head of the gorgon, quite convinced that everybody would promptly pale at the sight. He, Naphta, regretted to disappoint his partner in the dialogue, but the fact was, the sight of the humanistic horror of illiteracy simply made him laugh. Verily, one must be a classical literary man, a précieux, a seicentist, a Marinist, a Jack-of-all-trades of the estilo culto, to attach such exaggerated educational value to knowing how to write, as to imagine that where that knowledge was lacking a night of the spirit must reign. Did Herr Settembrini remember that the greatest poet of the Middle Ages, Wolfram von Eschenbach, could neither read nor write? It had been thought blameworthy, in the Germany of that time, to send a boy to school unless he was to be a priest; and this popular-aristocratic scorn of the literary arts was always the sign of fundamental nobility of soul; the literary person, true son of humanism and bourgeoisiedom, could always, certainly, read and write—whereas the noble, the soldier, and the people never could, or barely—but he could do and understand nothing else in all the wide world, being nothing but a Latinistic windbag, who had power over language, but left life to people who were fit for it. Which was the reason why the literary person always conceived of politics as an empty bag of wind; that is, of rhetoric and “literature,” which in political jargon were called radicalism and democracy—and so on, and so on.

But now Herr Settembrini sprang into the breach. His opponent, he cried, was rash to expose his preference for the intense barbarism of certain epochs, and to pour scorn upon a love of literary form—without which no human nature was possible or thinkable, never had been and never would be! Fundamental nobility? Only misanthropy could so characterize the absence of letters, a rude and tongue-tied materialism. Rather you could only rightly so characterize a certain lordly luxuriance, the generosità which displayed itself in ascribing to form a human value independent of its content—the cult of speech as an art for art’s sake, the inheritance bequeathed by the Græco-Roman culture, which the humanists, the uomini letterati, had restored, restored at least to the Romance nations, and which was the source of every later significant idealism, even political. “Yes, my dear sir! That which you would disparage as a divorce between literature and life is nothing but a higher unity in the diadem of the beautiful; I am under no apprehension as to the side on which highhearted youth will choose to fight, in a struggle where the opposing camps are literature and barbarism.”

Hans Castorp had been only half listening to the dialogue, being preoccupied by the fundamental nobility of the soldierly representative then present—or rather by the strange new expression in his eyes. He started slightly as he felt himself challenged by Herr Settembrini’s last words, and made such a face as he had the time the humanist would have solemnly constrained him to a choice between East and West: a face full of reserve and obstinacy. He said nothing. They forced everything to an issue, these two—as perhaps one must when one differed—and wrangled bitterly over extremes, whereas it seemed to him, Hans Castorp, as though somewhere between two intolerable positions, between bombastic humanism and analphabetic barbarism, must be something which one might personally call the human. He did not express his thought, for fear of irritating one or other of them; but, wrapped in his reserve, listened to one goading the other on, each leading the other from hundredthly to thousandthly, and all because of Herr Settembrini’s original little joke about Virgil. The Italian would not give over; he brandished the word, he made it prevail. He threw himself into the fray as the defender of literary genius, celebrated the history of the written word, from the moment when man, yearning to give permanency to his knowledge or emotions, engraved word-symbols upon stone. He spoke of the

Egyptian god Thoth, identical with the thrice-renowned Hermes of Hellenism; who was honoured as the inventor of writing, protector of libraries, and inciter to all literary efforts. He bent the knee metaphorically before that Trismegistus, the humanistic Hermes, master of the palæstra, to whom humanity owed the great gift of the literary word and agonistic rhetoric—which incited Hans Castorp to the remark that this Egyptian person had apparently been a politician, playing in the grand style the same rôle as that Herr Brunetto Latini who had sharpened the wits of the Florentines, taught them the art of language and how to guide their State according to the rules of politics. Naphta put in that Herr Settembrini was slightly disingenuous: his picture of Thoth-Trismegistus had a good deal of the reality smoothed away. He had been, in fact, an ape, moon and soul deity, a peacock with a crescent moon on his head, and in his Hermes aspect, a god of death and of the dead, a soul-compeller and tutelary soul-guide, of whom late antiquity made an arch-enchanter, and the cabalistic Middle Ages the Father of hermetic alchemy.

Hans Castorp’s brain reeled. Here was blue-mantled death masquerading as a humanistic orator; and when one sought to gaze at closer range upon this pedagogic and literary god, benevolent to man, one discovered a squatting ape-faced figure, with the sign of night and magic on its brow. He waved it away with one hand, which he laid over his eyes. But upon that darkness wherein he sought refuge from complete bewilderment, there broke the voice of Herr Settembrini, continuing to chant the praises of literature. All greatness, both contemplative and active, he said, had been bound up with it from all time; and mentioned Alexander, Cæsar, Napoleon, named the Prussian Frederick and other heroes, even Lasalle and Moltke. It disturbed him not a whit that Naphta referred him to China, where such a witless idolatry of the alphabet obtained as had never been the case in any other land, and where one might become a field-marshal if one could draw the forty thousand word-symbols of the language—a standard, one would think, directly after a humanistic heart!—Ah, Naphta well knew—pitiable scoffer though he was!—that it was a matter not of drawing symbols but of literature as a human impulse, of its spirit, which was Spirit itself, the miraculous conjunction of analysis and form. This it was that awakened the understanding of all things human, that operated to weaken and dissolve silly prejudices and convictions, that brought about the civilizing, elevating, and betterment of the human race. While it developed extreme ethical sensitiveness and refinement, far from being fanatical, it preached honest doubt, fairness, tolerance. The purifying, healing influence of literature, the dissipating of passions by knowledge and the written word, literature as the path to understanding, forgiveness and love, the redeeming might of the word, the literary spirit as the noblest manifestation of the spirit of man, the writer as perfected type, as saint—in this high key was Herr Settembnni’s apologetic pitched. But alas, his antagonist was not struck dumb—on the contrary, he straightway set about with malicious, brilliant criticism to undermine the humanist’s panegyric. He declared himself to the party of conservation and of life, and struck out against the decadent spirit which hid itself behind all that seraphic cant. The marvellous conjunction to which Herr Settembrini referred, in a voice all quavering with emotion, was nothing but a deception and juggling, for the form which the literary spirit prided itself on uniting with the principle of examination and division was only an apparent, a lying form, no true, adequate, natural, living form. These so-called reformers of humanity did indeed take the words purification and sanctification in their mouths, but what they really meant and intended was the emasculation, the phlebotomy of life. Yes, their theory and moving spirit were in violation of life; and he who would destroy passion, that man desired nothing less than pure nothingness—pure, at least, in the sense that pure was the only adjective which could be applied to nothingness. It was just here that Herr Settembrini showed himself for that which he was: namely, the man of progress, liberalism, and middleclass revolution. For the progress was pure nihilism, the liberal citizen was quite precisely the advocate of nothingness and the Devil; yes, he denied God, the conservatively and positively Absolute, by swearing to the devilish anti-Absolute. And yet with his deadly pacificism thought himself monstrously pious. But he was anything else than pious, he was a traitor to life, before whose stern inquisition and Vehmgericht he deserved to be put to the question—and so forth.

Thus did Naphta astutely go about to turn Herr Settembrini’s pæan the wrong way and represent himself as the incarnation of the cherishing severity of love—so that it was again impossible to distinguish which side was in the right, where God stood and where the Devil, where death and where life. Our readers will believe us that his antagonist insisted on giving him tit for tat, paying in the newest-minted coin, receiving in his turn another just as good; thus the conversation proceeded, on the lines laid down. But Hans Castorp attended no longer. Joachim had remarked that he believed he had a feverish cold, and did not quite know what to do about it, as colds were not “reçus” up here. The duellists had paid him no heed, but Hans Castorp kept, as we have said, an eye on his cousin, and so got up, in the midst of a speech, relying on Ferge and Wehsal to display adequate thirst for further pedagogic disputation. On the way home he and Joachim agreed that it was best to invoke the official channels in matters like colds and sore throats. In other words, they would ask the bathing-master to see the Oberin, in order that something might be done to relieve the sufferer. It was well done. That very evening, directly after dinner, Adriatica knocked at Joachim’s door, Hans Castorp being present, and asked what were the wishes of the young officer.

“Sore throat? Hoarseness?” she repeated; “what sort of antics are these, young ‘un?” and undertook to pierce him with her eye. It was not Joachim’s fault that their glances failed to meet, hers swerved aside. Yet she would continue to try, though experience must have taught her it was not given her to succeed in the undertaking. With the help of a sort of metal shoehorn from her pocket, she looked at the patient’s tonsils, Hans Castorp standing by with the lamp. Rising on tiptoes to peer into Joachim’s throat, she asked: “Tell me, young ‘un, do you ever swallow the wrong way?”

What could he answer? For the moment, while she peered into his throat, nothing; but even after she was done, he was at a loss. Naturally, in the course of his life, when eating or drinking he had swallowed the wrong way; but everybody did the same, and surely that could not be what she meant. He asked why: he could not remember the last time.

It was no matter, she said. It had merely occurred to her. He had taken a cold, she added, to the astonishment of the cousins, for colds were in the ordinary way taboo. In any case, it would be necessary to have the Hofrat’s laryngeal mirror for further examination of the throat. She left some formamint, and a bandage with a guttapercha sheath, to be used for a moist compress during the night. Joachim availed himself of both, finding they gave relief. He continued to use them; but his hoarseness persisted, it even grew worse in the next few days, though the sore throat largely disappeared.

His fever proved imaginary—at least the thermometer gave no more than the usual result, that, namely, which together with the results of the Hofrat’s examinations kept our ambitious Joachim here for his little after-cure, instead of letting him return to the colours. The October terminus had slipped by and no man named it, neither the Hofrat nor the cousins between themselves. They let it pass, in silence, with downcast eyes. From the diagnosis which Behrens dictated at the monthly examinations to the psychically expert assistant sitting at his table, and from the results shown by the photographic plate, it was all too clear that though there had once been a departure, of which the best that could be said was that it had been decidedly risky, this time there was nothing for it but iron self-discipline, until such a day as entire immunity might be won, for the fulfilment of the oath and the service of the flat-land.

Such was the decree with which, one and all, they silently pretended to be in agreement. But the truth was, neither of the cousins was sure the other believed it; if they did not meet each other’s eyes, it was because of the doubt both pairs of eyes sought to hide, and because the eyes had met before. That, of course, often happened, after the colloquy on the subject of literature, during which Hans Castorp had first remarked the strange new light and ominous expression in the depths of his cousin’s eyes. And happened once at table. Joachim suddenly choked violently, and could scarcely get his breath. While he gasped behind his serviette, and his neighbour, Frau Magnus, performed the time-honoured service of slapping him on the back, the cousins’ eyes met, in a way more alarming to Hans Castorp than the incident itself, that being something that might happen to anyone. Then Joachim closed his eyes and left the table, his face covered with his serviette, to cough himself out in the garden. Ten minutes later he came back, smiling, if rather pale, and with excuses on his lips for the disturbance. He went on again with his hearty meal, and no one thought afterwards even of wasting a word on so trifling an episode. But some days later, at second breakfast, the thing occurred again; this time there was no meeting of eyes, at least on the part of the cousins, for Hans Castorp bent over his plate and went on eating without seeming to notice. But after the meal they spoke of it, and Joachim freed his mind on the subject of that damned female who had put the thing in his head with her silly question and somehow or other set a spell on him. Yes, it was obviously a case of suggestion, Hans Castorp agreed, and as such rather amusing, despite its annoying side. And Joachim, having named it, seemed able to counteract the spell; he was careful at table, and did not choke any more frequently than persons not bewitched. Not until nine or ten days later did it occur again—where there was simply nothing to be said.

But he was summoned out of his order to Rhadamanthus. The Oberin had so arranged it, probably with good sense; since there was a laryngeal mirror at hand, it was well to make use of that clever little device for the relief of the obstinate hoarseness or even total lack of voice from which he suffered for hours at a time, and the sore throat, which recurred whenever he omitted to keep his throat passages soft by various salivating medicaments. Not to mention, indeed, that though he choked as other people do, and no more frequently, this was only by dint of the very greatest care, which hindered him at his meals, and made him late in finishing.

The Hofrat, then, mirrored, reflected, peered deep into Joachim’s throat, and when he had done, Joachim went straight to his cousin’s balcony to give him the result. He said, half whispering, as it was the hour for the afternoon cure, that it had been bothersome, and tickled a good deal. Behrens had rambled on about an inflamed condition, and said the throat must be painted every day; they were to begin tomorrow, as the medicament had to be put up. An inflamed condition, then, and it was to be painted. Hans Castorp, his head full of far-reaching associations, having to do for instance with the lame concierge, and that lady who had gone about for a week holding her ear, and need not have troubled herself, would have liked to put more questions. But he refrained, inwardly resolving to see the Hofrat privately, and said to Joachim he was glad the trouble was being treated, and that the Hofrat had taken it personally in hand. He was top-hole in his line, he would soon put it right. Joachim nodded without looking at him, turned and went into his balcony.

What troubled our honour-loving Joachim? In these last days his eyes had grown so shy, so uncertain in their glance. Fräulein von Mylendonk’s efforts had suffered shipwreck only the other day against his mild dark gaze; but now had she tried, she might even have succeeded. For Joachim avoided meeting people’s eyes; and even when he met them, as he sometimes must notwithstanding, for his cousin looked at him a good deal, Hans Castorp was not greatly the wiser. He sat now in his balcony much cast down, and tempted to see the chief upon the spot, but refrained, for Joachim must have heard him get up; it was better to wait, and see Behrens later in the afternoon.

That proved impossible. It seemed he simply could not lay eyes on the Hofrat; either that evening, or in the course of the two following days. It was difficult to prevent Joachim from noticing; but that could not fully account for the fact that Rhadamanthus was not to be brought to bay. Hans Castorp sought and asked for him through the house; was sent here or there where he would be certain to find him, and found only that he had gone. Behrens was present at a meal, indeed, but sat far off Hans Castorp, at the “bad” Russian table, and disappeared before the sweet. Once or twice, seeing him stand in talk with Krokowski, with the Oberin, with a patient, on the stairs or in the passage, Hans Castorp thought he had him, and only needed to wait. But chancing to turn away his eyes a minute, he looked back to find him vanished. On the fourth day he succeeded. From his balcony he saw his prey below, giving directions to the gardener; slipped forth of his covers and ran down. He saw the Hofrat’s back, as he was paddling in the direction of his own house, set off at a smart pace after him, even took the liberty of calling, but the Hofrat paid no heed. At last, breathless, he caught up his quarry and brought him to a stand.

“What are you doing here?” demanded the Hofrat, and goggled his eyes. “Shall I get an extra-special copy of the house rules printed for you? Seems to me this is the rest period. Your curve and your x-ray don’t justify you in playing the independent gentleman, so far as I know. I ought to set up a scarecrow to gobble up people who have the cheek to come down and walk about in the garden at this hour.”

“Herr Hofrat, I absolutely must speak to you for a moment.”

“I’ve been observing for some days that you thought you had. You’ve been laying traps for me, as though I were a female and the object of your passion. What do you want?”

“It is on account of my cousin, Herr Hofrat. Pardon me—he is coming to you to have his throat painted.—I feel sure the thing is all right—it is quite harmless, isn’t it, if you will pardon my asking?”

“You are always for having everything harmless, Castorp—that is the nature of you. You rather like mixing in matters that are not harmless, but you treat them as though they were and think to find favour in the eyes of God and man. You’re a bit of a hypocrite, Castorp, and a bit of a coward; your cousin puts it very euphemistically when he calls you a civilian.”

“That may all be, Herr Hofrat. The weaknesses of my character are beyond question. But that is just the point—at the moment they are not in question: what I’ve been trying for three days to ask you is—”

“That I’ll wrap up the dose in jelly for you—isn’t that it? You want to badger me into abetting your damned hypocrisy, so that you can sleep in comfort, while other people have to wake and watch and grin and bear it.”

“But, Herr Hofrat, why are you so hard on me? I actually want to—”

“Yes, yes, hardness isn’t your line, I know. Your cousin’s a different sort, quite another pair of shoes. He knows. He knows— and keeps quiet. Understand? He doesn’t go about hanging on to people’s coat-tails and asking them to help him pull the wool over his eyes! He knows what he did, and what he risked, and he is the kind to bite his teeth together on it. That’s the kind of thing a man, that is a man, can do: unfortunately it isn’t in the line of a fascinating biped like yourself. But I warn you, Castorp, if you are going to give way to your civilian feelings and set up a howl, I’ll simply show you the door. What we need now is a man. You understand?”

Hans Castorp was silent. Nowadays he too turned mottled when he changed colour, being too copper-tinted to grow really pale. At last, with twitching lips, he said:

“Thank you, Herr Hofrat. I understand now—at least, I feel sure you would not speak to me so—so solemnly if it weren’t serious with Joachim. But I dislike scenes very much—you do me injustice there. If the thing requires judgment and discretion, I think I can promise you I shall not be wanting.”

“You set great store by your cousin, Hans Castorp?” asked the Hofrat, as suddenly he gripped the young man’s hand, and looked at him with his blue, blood-veined, protruding eyes, under their white eyelashes.

“What is there to say, Herr Hofrat? A near relation, and—and my good friend and only companion up here”—Hans Castorp gulped and turned one foot about on its toes as he stood.

The Hofrat hastened to let go his hand.

“Well, then be as good to him as you can, these next six or eight weeks,” he said.

“Just turn yourself loose and give free rein to your native harmlessness. That will help him the most. I’ll be here too, to help make things comfortable, and befitting the officer and gentleman he is.”

“It’s the larynx, isn’t it?” Hans Castorp asked, inclining his head in answer.

“Laryngea,” Behrens assented. “Breaking down fast. The mucous membrane of the trachea looks bad too. Maybe yelling commands in the service set up a locus minoris resistentiæ there. But we must always be ready for such little diversions. Not much hope, my lad; really none at all, I suppose. Of course, we’ll try everything that’s good and costs money.”

“The mother,” began Hans Castorp.

“Later on, later on. No hurry. Use your discretion, and see that she comes into the picture at the right time. And now get back where you belong. He will miss you—it can’t be pleasant for him to feel himself discussed behind his back.”

Daily Joachim went to be painted, in the fine autumn weather. In white flannel trousers and blue blazer, he would come back late from his treatment, neat and military; would enter the dining-room, make his little bow, courteous and composed, in excuse of his tardiness, and sit down to his meal, which was specially prepared, for he no longer ate the regular food, on account of the danger of choking; he received minces and broths. His table-mates grasped quickly the state of affairs. They returned his greetings with unusual warmth, and addressed him as Lieutenant. When he was not there they asked after him of Hans Castorp; and even people from the other tables came up to inquire. Frau Stöhr wrung her hands, and exhausted herself in vulgar lamentations. But Hans Castorp replied only in monosyllables, admitted the

seriousness of the affair, yet to a certain extent made light of it, in the honourable design not to betray his cousin untimely.

Daily they took their walks together, thrice covering the prescribed distance, to which the Hofrat had now strictly limited Joachim, in order to husband his strength. Hans Castorp walked at his cousin’s left. They had been used to walk as chance had it, but now he held consistently to the left. They did not talk much; uttered the phrases proper to the daily routine, and little else. On the subject that lay between them there is nothing to say, especially between people of traditional reserve, who could scarcely bring themselves to utter each other’s first names. Sometimes it did well up insistently in Hans Castorp’s civilian breast, as though it must out. But it could not: the painful, rebellious feeling sank away again, and he was still.

With bowed head Joachim walked beside him. He gazed earthwards—as though looking at the earth. How strange! He walked so comme il faut, so much as he had always been; he greeted people with his wonted courtliness, he set store, as always, by his outward appearance and bienséance— and he belonged to the earth. Well, thither we all belong, soon or late. But so young; with such joyous goodwill to his chosen service—to belong to the earth so young, is bitter. Bitterer, harder to understand, for him who knew and walked beside him than for the devoted one himself, whose

knowledge, even though he knew and kept silent, was academic in its nature, was in a way less his own concern than his companion’s. It is a fact that a man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own. Whether he realizes it or not, he illustrates the pertinence of the adage: So long as we are, death is not; and when death is present, we are not. In other words, between death and us there is no rapport; it is something with which we have nothing to do—and only incidentally the world and nature. And that is why all living creatures can contemplate it with composure, with indifference, unconcern, with egoistic irresponsibility. Of this state of mind Hans Castorp observed much in his cousin, in these weeks; and comprehended that Joachim, knowing, yet did not know; that it was not hard for him to preserve a decorous silence on the subject, for the reason that his inward relation to it was, so to speak, merely theoretic. So far as it came into practical consideration with him, it was regulated by a healthy sense of the fitness of things, which made him as little likely to discuss it as he was to talk about other functional indecencies of which we are all aware, by which our life is conditioned, but on the subject of which we yet preserve bienséance.

So they walked and kept silence between them upon all such unseemly natural concerns. Even the complaints which at first Joachim had so frequently and loudly voiced at missing the manœuvres, and neglecting the service in general, he voiced no more. Yet why, despite all his unconscious bearing, did that sad, shrinking look creep back into his gentle eyes? And that flickering glance—over which the Frau Directress, had she tried, might now have triumphed? Was it because he saw how big-eyed and hollow-cheeked he was grown?—for so he was, in these few weeks, much more than during his whole stay down below, and his bronze skin turned from day to day more brown and leathery. As though circumstances which to Herr Albin were but an opportunity to enjoy the boundless advantages of shame, were to the young officer a source of chagrin and self-contempt. Before what, before whom, did his once frank and open glance seek to swerve aside? How strange is this shame of the living creature that slips away into a corner to die, convinced that he may not expect from outward nature any reverence or regard for his suffering and death! Convinced, and rightly: a troop of swallows on exultant wing will give no heed to a maimed comrade, nay, they will even peck him with their beaks. But the example is from the lower reaches of nature. Hans Castorp’s heart indeed, his humanly pitying and loving heart, swelled in his breast to see this dark, instinctive shame rise in Joachim’s eyes. He walked on his left side expressly; and when there came a little rise to surmount, would help his cousin, who had grown by now unsteady on his feet; would put his arm across his shoulder; overcoming his shyness, would even leave it there a while, until Joachim shook it off pettishly and said: “Don’t, it looks silly—as if we were drunk, coming along like that.”

But there came a moment when Hans Castorp saw in a different light the sadness in Joachim’s eyes. It was when the latter received the order to keep his bed, at the beginning of November. The snow lay deep. By then he found it too difficult to eat even the minces and porridge they prepared for him, as every second mouthful went the wrong way. The change to liquid nourishment was indicated, and Behrens sent him to bed, in order to conserve his strength. The evening before, the last evening he was about, Hans Castorp saw him talking to Marusja, Marusja of the ready laugh, the orange-scented handkerchief, the bosom fair to outward eye. After dinner, during the social half-hour, Hans Castorp came out of the music-room to look for his cousin, and saw him by the tiled stove, near Marusja’s rocking-chair, which Joachim held tipped back with his left arm, so that she looked up in his face from a half-lying posture, with her round brown eyes, and he bent over her, talking softly and disjointedly. She smiled every now and then, and shrugged her shoulders, nervously, deprecatingly. The onlooker hastened to withdraw; though he saw that he was not the only one to watch the little scene, unobserved or at least unheeded by Joachim. The sight shook Hans Castorp more than any sign of failing strength he had seen all these weeks in his cousin: Joachim in conversation, sunk in conversation, with Marusja, at whose table he had sat so long without exchanging a syllable with her, but in reason and honour kept his eyes cast down, and sternly refused to be aware of her person or existence, though he went all mottled whenever she was mentioned in his presence—“Ah, yes, he is a lost man,” thought Hans Castorp, and sat down on a chair in the music-room, to give Joachim time for this one farewell indulgence.

From now on, Joachim took up the horizontal. Hans Castorp sitting in his excellent chair wrote to Louisa Ziemssen. To his earlier reports he added that Joachim had now taken to his bed; that he had said nothing, but the wish to have his mother by him could be read in his eyes, and Hofrat Behrens agreed that it would be well. He put it all with great delicacy. And Louisa Ziemssen, as was not surprising, took the earliest possible train and came to her son. Three days after the humanely worded letter went off she arrived, and Hans Castorp engaged a sleigh and fetched her from the station in a snow-storm. As the train drew in, he took care to compose his features, that the mother might not receive a shock, nor on the other hand be lulled by false hopes. How often had such meetings taken place on this platform, how often this arrival in haste, this anguished searching of features as the traveller descended from the train!

Frau Ziemssen gave the impression that she had run all the way from Hamburg on foot. Flushed of face, she drew Hans Castorp’s hand between hers to her breast, and looking at him as though she feared to hear, put her hurried, almost shamefaced queries. He parried them by thanking her for having come so quickly, saying it was splendid to have her, and how delighted Joachim would be. Yes, he was in bed now; it was too bad, but had to be, on account of the liquid diet, which must naturally weaken him to some extent. If necessary, of course, there were other expedients—for instance, artificial nourishment. But she would see for herself.

She saw; and beside her, Hans Castorp saw too. Up to that moment he had not been fully aware of the changes the last weeks had made in Joachim—the young have not much eye for such things. But now he looked with the eyes of the newly arrived mother, as though he had not seen Joachim for weeks; and realized clearly and distinctly, as doubtless she did too, and beyond a doubt Joachim himself clearest of all, that he was a moribundus. He took Frau Ziemssen’s hand and held it—his own was as yellow and wasted as his face. And his ears, because of the emaciation, stood out almost disfiguringly. Yet despite this blemish, the one affliction of his young days, and despite the austere expression illness set upon his features, their manly beauty seemed intensified—the lips, perhaps, beneath the small black moustache, looked a shade too full by contrast with the hollow cheek. Two lengthwise folds had graven themselves in the yellow surface of his brow; his eyes, deep in their bony sockets, were larger and more beautiful than ever, Hans Castorp never tired of looking at them. For all the distressed and wavering look was gone, now Joachim lay in bed; there was only that earlier light in their dark, quiet depths—yes, there was the

“ominous” look as well. He did not smile, he took his mother’s hand and whispered her a welcome. He had not even smiled on her entrance; and this immobility of his mien said all.

Louisa Ziemssen was a brave soul. She did not dissolve in grief at sight of her dear son. The almost invisible net that confined and kept in order her hair was symbolic of her composed and self-controlled bearing. Phlegmatic, energetic, as they all were on her native heath, she took in hand the care of Joachim, spurred on by his appearance to engage all her maternal powers in the struggle, and persuaded that if anything could save him, it must be her watchful and devoted care. Not to spare herself, but only from a sense of style, did she consent to call in a nurse. It was Sister Berta, Alfreda Schildknecht, who came with her little black bag. Frau Ziemssen’s zeal left her little to do, by day or night, and she had plenty of time to stand in the corridor, with her eye-glass ribbon behind her ear, and keep an eye to all that went on. She was a prosaic soul, this Protestant sister. Once, when she was alone in the room with Hans Castorp and the patient, who was not asleep but lay on his back with open eyes, she actually made the remark: “Who would have dreamed I should ever come to tend the last illness of either of you?”

Hans Castorp, horrified, shook his fist at her, but she scarcely grasped his meaning; she was far from any thought of sparing Joachim’s feelings, and too matter-of-fact to dream that anyone, least of all the next of kin, could be in any doubt as to the character and issue of this illness. “There,” she said, and held a handkerchief wet with cologne to Joachim’s nose, “take a little comfort, Herr Leutnant, do!” And after all, she was right: there could be little sense, at this hour, in keeping up the pretence. It was more for the sake of the tonic effect that Frau Ziemssen still spoke to her son, in a brisk, encouraging voice, of his recovery. For two things were unmistakable: first, that Joachim was approaching death in full consciousness, and second, that he consented to his state, and was in harmony with himself. Only in the last week—the end of November—did cardiac weakness show itself. There were hours when he grew

confused, no longer realized his condition, and spoke of an early return to the colours, spoke even of the autumn manœuvres, which he imagined were still going on. Then it was Hofrat Behrens ceased to hold out any hope, and told the relatives the end was a matter of hours. The condition is as regular as it is pathetic, this forgetful, credulous self-deception, that attacks even masculine spirits at the hour when the lethal process nears its culmination. As impersonal, as true to type, as independent of the individual consciousness as the temptation to slumber that overpowers the man benumbed by cold, or the walking in circles of one who has lost his way. Hans Castorp’s grief and concern did not prevent him from objective observation of these phenonema, nor from making shrewd if baldly expressed remarks upon them in conversation with Naphta and Settembrini, when he reported to them on his cousin’s condition. He even drew upon himself a rebuke from Settembrini, for saying he thought the current conception in error which would have it that a philosophical credulity and belief that all is for the best is the mark of a sound nature, as pessimism and cynicism are of morbidity. For if this were true, it would not be precisely the hopeless final stage that displayed an optimism so abnormally rosy as to make the preceding depression seem by

comparison a crassly healthy manifestation of life. He was glad at the same time to be able to tell his friends that though Rhadamanthus gave them no hope, yet the hopelessness was not of the most painful character, for he prophesied a gentle, painless end, despite Joachim’s blooming youth.

“Idyllic—affair of the heart, my dear lady,” Behrens said, and held Louisa Ziemssen’s hand in his own two, the size of shovels, looking down at her with his goggling, watery, blood-shot eyes. “I’m tremendously glad it is taking such a gratifying course, and he doesn’t need to go through with œdema of the glottis or any indignity of that sort, he will be spared a lot of messing about. The heart is giving out rapidly, lucky for him and for us; we can do our duty with camphor injections and the like, without much chance of drawing things out. He will sleep a good deal at the end, and his dreams will be pleasant, I think I can promise you that; even if he shouldn’t go off in his sleep, still it will be a short crossing, he’ll scarcely notice, you may rely upon it. It’s so in the majority of cases, at bottom—I know what death is, I am an old retainer of his; and believe me, he’s overrated. Almost nothing to him. Of course, all kinds of beastliness can happen beforehand—but it isn’t fair to count those in, they are as living as life itself, and can just as well lead up to a cure. But about death—no one who came back from it could tell you anything, because we don’t realize it. We come out of the dark and go into the dark again, and in between lie the experiences of our life. But the beginning and the end, birth and death, we do not experience; they have no subjective character, they fall entirely in the category of objective events, and that’s that.”

Which was the Hofrat’s way of administering consolation. We may hope that the reasonable Frau Ziemssen drew comfort therefrom; his assurances, at least, were in a very large degree justified by the event. Joachim, in these days, slept many hours, out of weakness, and probably dreamed of the flat-land and the service and whatever else was pleasant to him to dream. When he roused, and they asked how he felt, he would answer a little incoherently, yet always that he felt well and happy. This though he had scarcely any pulse, and at the end could no longer feel the hypodermic needle. His body was insensitive, you might have burned or pinched the flesh, he was past feeling. Great physical changes had taken place since the mother’s coming. Shaving had grown burdensome to him, for some eight or ten days it had not been done, and he had now a strong growth of beard, setting off with a black frame his waxen face and gentle eyes. It was the warrior’s beard, the beard of the soldier in the field; they all found it manly and becoming. But because of this beard Joachim had suddenly grown from a stripling to a ripe man—though perhaps not because of it alone. He was living fast, his life whirred away like the mechanism of a watch; he passed at a gallop through stages not granted him in time to reach; and in the last four-and-twenty hours became a grey old man. The cardiac weakness caused a facial swelling that gave the effect of strain, and made upon Hans Castorp the impression that dying must at the very least be a great effort, though of course Joachim, thanks to various sensory adjustments and a merciful narcosis of the system, was not aware of it. The puffing of the features was mostly about the lips; the inside of the mouth also seemed dry or semi-paralysed, making Joachim mumble like an old man—which annoyed him

excessively. If he could only, he said thickly, get rid of it he would be quite all right, but it was a cursed nuisance.

In what sense he meant the “quite all right” was not clear—in fact, he showed the typical tendency to ambiguousness, made more than one remark of doubtful or double sense, seemed to know and yet not to; once, when it was very evident that a wave of the oncoming dissolution broke over him, he shook his head and said self-pityingly that he felt very bad, he had never felt so bad before.

After that he became austere, forbidding, even gruff; would not listen to any soothing fictions or pretence, but stared before him and made no reply. Louisa Ziemssen had sent for a young clergyman, who, to Hans Castorp’s regret, did not appear in a starched ruff, but wore bands instead. After he had prayed with Joachim, the patient assumed an official tone and air, and uttered his wishes in the form of short commands.

At six o’clock in the afternoon he began making a strange continuous movement with his right hand, with the chain bangle on the wrist: passing it across the bed-cover, at about the hips, lifting it as he drew it back and toward him, with a raking motion, as though he were gathering something in.

At seven o’clock he died; Alfreda Schildknecht was in the corridor, the mother and cousin were alone with him. He had sunk down in the bed, and curtly ordered them to prop him up. While Frau Ziemssen, with her arm about his shoulders, tried to do so, he said hurriedly that he must write out an application for an extension of his leave and hand it in at once; and even while he said this, the “short crossing” came to pass, as Hans Castorp, reverently watching in the light of the red-shaded table-lamp, quickly perceived. His gaze grew dim, the unconscious tension of the features relaxed, the strained and swollen look about the lips notably diminished; the beauty of early manhood visited once more our Joachim’s quiet brow, and all was over.

Louisa Ziemssen turned sobbing away; it was Hans Castorp who bent over the

moveless, breathless form, closed the eyes with the tip of his ring-finger, and laid the hands together on the coverlet. Then he too stood and wept, tears ran down his cheeks, like those that had smarted the skin of the English officer of marines: those clear drops flowing in such bitter abundance every hour of our day all over our world, till in sheer poetic justice we have named the earth we live in after them; that alkaline, salty gland-secretion, which is pressed from our system by the nervous stress of acute pain, whether physical or mental. It contained, as Hans Castorp knew, a certain amount of mucin and albumen as well.

The Hofrat came, summoned by Sister Berta. He had been there a half-hour earlier, and given a camphor injection; had scarcely been absent for more than the moment of the “short crossing.” “Ay,” said he simply, “he has it behind him now,” and lifted the stethoscope from Joachim’s breast. And he pressed both their hands, nodding his head; standing with them awhile by the bed, and looking into Joachim’s moveless visage, with the warrior beard. “Crazy young one,” he said: jerking his head towards the recumbent form. “Crazy chap. Would force it, you know—of course, that’s the way of the service down there, all force, all compulsion—he joined the service while he was febrile, he took a life-and-death chance. Field of honour, you know—slipped away from us, and now he’s dead on the field. Honour was the death of him, and death—well, you might put it the other way round too. At any rate, he’s gone—‘had the honour to take his leave.’ A madman, a crazy chap.” And he left, tall and stooped, his neck-bone very prominent.

It had been decided to take Joachim home; and House Berghof assumed the

arrangements, doing all that was necessary or that could add to the dignity or stateliness of the occasion. Mother and cousin needed not to lift a finger. By next day Joachim lay in his silk dress-shirt, with flowers about him on the coverlet, looking, in the midst of all this white, more beautiful than immediately after death. Every trace of strain was gone from the features, they had composed themselves, growing cold, into a silent purity of form. Curling dark locks fell upon the yellowish brow, that seemed to be of some fine brittle stuff between wax and marble; through the crisp hair of the beard, the lips showed full and curling. An antique helmet would have become this head—as many of the guests remarked, who came to take last leave of Joachim. Frau Stöhr, as she looked, wept with abandon. “A hero, he was a hero,” cried she, and demanded that the Erotica be played at his grave.

“Be quiet,” hissed Settembrini, at her side. He and Naphta were with her in the room. Greatly moved, with both hands he waved the onlookers toward the bed and summoned them to mourn with him. “Un giovanotto tanto simpatico, tanto stimabile,” said he repeatedly.

And Naphta, without looking at him, or relaxing his contained manner, apparently could not refrain from saying, low and bitingly: “I am glad to see that despite your enthusiasm for freedom and progress, you have some feeling for serious things.”

Settembrini pocketed the affront. Perhaps he felt conscious, under the circumstances of the moment, of the superiority of Naphta’s position over his own; may even have sought to balance this by the lively expression of his grief, especially when Leo Naphta further presumed on his advantage, while he had it, and

sententiously added: “The mistake you literary men make is in thinking that only the spirit makes for virtue. It is nearer the truth to say that only where there is no spirit is there true virtue.”

“Goodness,” thought Hans Castorp, “but that was a Pythian remark! Made like that with the lips snapped together afterwards, it quite staggers one—for the moment, that is.” In the afternoon the metallic coffin arrived. The removal of Joachim to this stately receptacle, decorated with lions’ heads and rings, was the sole affair of the man who came along with it, a black-clad functionary of the undertaking establishment which had the arrangements in hand. He wore a sort of short dress-coat, and the weddingring on his plebian hand had almost grown into the flesh. One inclined to feel that he exhaled an odour of death from his garments—pure prejudice, of course, and

groundless. This specialist let it be known that all his spiriting had to be done behind the scenes, and a proper and dress-parade appearance presented to the surviving relatives. Hans Castorp felt fairly suspicious of the fellow and all his works. He assented to Frau Ziemssen’s withdrawal, but was not minded to be bowed from the scene himself. He stood by and lent a hand, grasping the figure under the shoulders and helping carry it over to the coffin, upon whose coverlet and tasselled cushions Joachim presently lay ensconced high and solemnly, among candelabra provided by the house.

On the next day but one appeared a phenomenon which determined Hans Castorp to take inward leave of that quiet form, to void the field and leave it to the professional guardian of the amenities: Joachim, whose expression had been so noble and serious, began now to smile in his warrior beard. Hans Castorp did not conceal from himself that this smile had in it the seeds of corruption; he knew in his heart that time was pressing. It was good that the coffin was now to be closed, the lid screwed on; that the hour for removal was at hand. Hans Castorp, laying aside traditional reserve, lightly touched with his lips the icy forehead of that which once was Joachim; and though conscious still of mistrustful sentiments toward the man behind the scenes, yet submissively followed Louisa Ziemssen from the room.

We let the curtain fall, for the last time but one. While it rustles down, let us take our stand in spirit with Hans Castorp on his lonely height, and gaze down with him upon a damp burial-ground in the flat-land; see the flash of a sword as it rises and falls, hear the word of command rapped out, and three salvoes, three fanatical salutes reverberating over Joachim Ziemssen’s root-pierced grave.