The Magic Mountain Walpurgis-Night

WITHIN the next few days it would be seven months since Hans Castorp’s advent among those up here; while Cousin Joachim, who had already had five to his credit, would soon be able to look back upon twelve; that is to say, upon a whole round year. Round, indeed, in a cosmic sense; for since the doughty little locomotive had set him down at these heights, the earth had completed one full course round the sun, and was returned to the point whence it had then set out. The carnival season was at hand, and Hans Castorp inquired among the old inhabitants of the Berghof what it would be like.

“Magnifique,” answered Settembrini, whom the cousins had again encountered on the morning walk. “Gorgeous,” he said. “Every bit as lively as it is in the Prater. You shall see, Engineer, ‘the gayest gallants of the night, in brilliant rows advancing,’ ” he quoted, and went on in his most mocking vein, couching his gibes in sounding phrases, with a telling accompaniment of arm, shoulder, and head movements. “What do you expect? Even in maisons de santé they have their balls for the fools and idiots, I’ve read; why not up here as well? The programme includes various danses macabres, as you may imagine; but unfortunately some of last year’s guests will not be here—the party being over at half past nine, you perceive—”

“Do you mean—oh, capital!” laughed Hans Castorp. “Herr Settembrini, you are a wretch! Half past nine—I say, did you get that?” he turned to his cousin. “Herr Settembrini means it would be too early for some of last year’s guests to take part. Ha ha—spooky! He means the ones that have taken leave of the flesh and the things of the flesh in the mean time. But I am all excitement,” he said. “I think it’s quite proper to celebrate the feasts up here as they come, and mark off the time in the usual way. Just a dead level of monotony, without any breaks at all, would be too awful for words. We have had Christmas already, we took notice of the beginning of the New Year; and now comes Shrove Tuesday; after that, Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Easter; then six weeks after that, Whitsunday; then it is almost midsummer, the solstice, and we begin to go toward autumn—”

“Stop, stop, stop!” Settembrini cried, lifting his face to heaven and pressing his temples with the palms of his hands. “Be quiet, I cannot listen to you letting go the reins like that!”

“Pardon me, I mean it just the other way. Behrens will finally have to make up his mind to the injections, to get rid of my infection; my temperature sticks at 99.3° to four, five, six, and even seven. I am, and I continue to be, life’s delicate child! I don’t mean I am a long-termer, Rhadamanthus hasn’t let me in for any definite number of months; but he did say it would be nonsense to interrupt the cure, when I’ve been up here so long already, and invested so much time, so to speak. Even if he did set a term, what good would it do me? When he says, for instance, half a year, that is to be taken as the minimum, it is always more. Look at my cousin; he was to have finished the beginning of the month—finished in the sense of being healed, cured—and the last time Behrens saw him, he stuck on four more to make sure he is entirely sound—

well, then, where are we? Why, at the summer solstice, just as I said, without the faintest notion of offending you, and on the way to winter. Well, well, for the present what we have before us is Fasching, and as I say, I consider it fit and proper to celebrate it in the usual way, just as it comes in the calender. Frau Stöhr tells me the concierge sells tin horns in his lodge, did you know that?”

And so it fell out. Shrove Tuesday came on apace; before one had actually seen it on the way, it arrived. All sorts of absurd instruments were snarling and squealing in the dining-hall, even at early breakfast; at midday, paper snakes were launched from the table where Gänser, Rasmussen, and Fräulein Kleefeld sat. Paper caps were mounted; they, like the trumpets, were to be had of the concierge. The round-eyed Marusja was among the first to appear in one. But in the evening—ah, in the evening there were festivities in the hall and the reception-rooms, in the course of which—but we alone know to what, thanks to Hans Castorp’s enterprising spirit, these carnival gaieties led up in their course; and we do not mean to let our knowledge betray us into indiscretion. We shall pay time all the honour due it, and precipitate nothing. Nay, rather, we shall incline to protract the tale, out of feeling for young Hans Castorp’s moral compunctions, which have so long prevented him from crossing his Rubicon. Everybody went down to the Platz in the afternoon, to see the streets in carnival mood, with harlequins and columbines shaking their rattles, with maskers on foot and in jingling, decorated sleighs, among whom went forward lively skirmishes, and much confetti was flung. Spirits were very high at all seven tables when the guests assembled for the evening meal; there was every indication that the fun begun abroad would continue in the same key within doors. The concierge had done a thriving trade in rattles and tin trumpets; Lawyer Paravant had been the first to go further in the same line, putting on a lady’s kimono and a braid of false hair belonging to Frau Consul-General Wurmbrandt; he wore his moustaches drawn down on each side of his mouth with the tongs, and looked the very picture of a Chinaman, evoking loud applause from all quarters. The management had done its share. Each of the seven tables was decked with a paper lantern, a coloured moon with a lighted candle inside; when Settembrini entered, and passed by Hans Castorp’s, he quoted:

“See the gorgeous tongues of fire—

Club as gay as heart’s desire—”

He brought out the words with his fine, dry smile, and sauntered to his place, where he was greeted with a rain of missiles like tiny pellets, that broke and scattered a spray of perfume where they fell. Yes, from the first moment the key was high. The bursts of laughter were unintermitted; paper snakes hung down from the chandeliers, swaying to and fro; confetti swam in the sauces; very early the dwarf waitress brought in the first ice-pail, the first bottle of champagne. Inspired by Lawyer Einhuf, the guests drank it mixed with burgundy. Toward the end of the meal the ceiling light went out, and only the colourful twilight of the paper lanterns illumined the room, making of the scene an Italian night, and setting the crown upon the mood of the evening. Settembrini passed over a paper to Hans Castorp’s table, by the hand of Marusja, who sat nearest him, with a green tissue-paper jockey cap on her head; on it he had written with a pencil:

“But mind, the mountain’s magic-mad to-night,

And if you choose a will-o’-the-wisp to light

Your path, take care, ‘twill lead you all astray.”

This was received with enthusiasm, though Dr. Blumenkohl, whose state had now much altered for the worse, muttered something to himself, with the expression peculiar to him upon his face, or rather upon his lips; he seemed to be asking what sort of verses were these. But Hans Castorp considered that an answer was due, he felt it incumbent on him to cap the quotation, though it was unlikely he would have produced anything very striking. He searched his pockets for a pencil, but found none, nor could Joachim or the schoolmistress supply his need; and his bloodshot eyes looked to the east for aid, to the farther left-hand corner of the room—it was plain that his fleeting purpose was dissipated in a widening circle of associations. He paled a little, and entirely lost sight of his original intention.

Other good ground there was for paling. Frau Chauchat had made special toilet for carnival, she wore a new gown, or at least one new to our hero, of thin, dark silk, probably black, or at most shot with a golden brown. It was cut with a modest little round neck like a schoolgirl’s frock, hardly so much as to show the base of the throat, or the collar-bones, or the slightly prominent bone at the back of the neck, beneath the soft fringes or her hair. But it left free to the shoulder Clavdia’s arms, so tender and yet so full, so cool, so amazingly white, set off against the dark silk of her frock, with such ravishing effect that it made Hans Castorp close his eyes, and murmur within himself: “O my God!” He had never seen such a mode before. Ball gowns he had seen, stately and ceremonial, cut in conformity with a fashion that exposed far more of the person than this one did, without achieving a jot of its sensational effect. Poor Hans Castorp! He was reminded of a theory he had once held about these arms, on making their acquaintance for the first time, veiled in diaphanous gauze: that it was the gauze itself, the “illusion” as he called it, which had lent them their indescribable, unreasonable seductiveness. Folly! The utter, accentuated, blinding nudity of these arms, these splendid members of an infected organism, was an experience so

intoxicating, compared with that earlier one, as to leave our young man no other recourse than again, with drooping head, to whisper, soundlessly: “O my God!”

Later on, another paper was handed over, on which was written:

“Society to heart’s desire—

In faith, of brides, a party,

And jolly bachelors on fire

With forward hopes and hearty.”

“Bravo, bravo!” they shouted. They were drinking coffee by now, served in little brown earthenware jugs, and some of them liqueurs as well, for instance Frau Stöhr, who adored the sweet and spirituous. The company began to rise from table, to move about, to pay visits. Part of the guests had already moved into the reception-rooms, others remained seated, still faithful to the drink they had mingled. Settembrini, coffee-cup in hand, sporting his toothpick, crossed over and sat down between Hans Castorp and the schoolmistress.

“ ‘The Harz,’ ” he said. “ ‘Near Schierke and Elend.’ Did I exaggerate, Engineer?

Here’s a bedlam for you! But wait, the fun is not over so soon; far from leaving off, it has not even reached its height. From what I hear, there will be more masquerading; certain people have left the room, we are justified in anticipating almost anything.”

Even as he spoke, new maskers entered: women dressed as men, with beards and moustaches of burnt cork, betraying themselves by their figures and looking like characters in comic opera; men in women’s clothes, tripping over their skirts. Here was the student Rasmussen in a black jet-trimmed toilet, displaying a pimpled décolleté and fanning himself front and back with a paper fan; there was a Pierrot, costumed in white underwear, with a lady’s felt hat, a powdered face that gave his eyes an unnatural expression, and lips garish with blood-red pomade—the youth with the fingernail. A Greek from the “bad” Russian table, who rejoiced in beautiful legs, strutted in tights, with short cloak, paper ruff, and dagger, personating a fairy prince, or a Spanish grandee. All these costumes had been improvised since the end of the meal. Frau Stöhr could sit still no longer. She too disappeared, and presently returned dressed as a charwoman, with skirt looped up and sleeves rolled back; a paper cap tied under her chin, armed with pail and brush; she began scrubbing about under the tables, among the feet of those still sitting.

“ ‘See beldam Baubo riding now,’ ” quoted Settembrini, as she appeared; and gave the next line too, in his clear and “plastic” delivery. She heard it, and retorted by calling him a turkey-cock and bidding him keep his filthy jokes to himself. With the licence of the season she addressed him, Herr Settembrini, with the thou. But indeed this familiarity had become quite general during the meal. He girded himself to reply, when a fresh stir and laughter in the hall interrupted him, and those in the dining-room looked up expectantly.

Followed by a troop of guests, two singular figures entered. One was dressed like a nurse; but her black uniform was marked off from head to foot by short white strips close under each other, with a longer one at regular intervals, like degrees on a thermometer. She had one finger laid to her pallid lips, and in her other hand a fever chart. Her companion was all in blue, with blue paint on lips, brows, throat, cheeks, and chin, and a blue woollen cap wry over one ear. He was dressed in a “pull-over” of glazed blue linen, tied round the ankles, and stuffed out into a great paunch round the middle. These were Frau Iltis and Herr Albin; they wore cardboard placards, on which were written “The Silent Sister” and “The Blue Peter”; together, with sidling gait they moved through the room.

What applause there was! What ringing shouts! Frau Stöhr, her broom under her arm and her hands on her knees, laughed like the charwoman she impersonated. Only Settembrini was unmoved. He cast one glance at the successful maskers and his lips became a fine thin line beneath the waving moustaches.

Among the troop streaming in the rear of the blue and silent ones, came Clavdia Chauchat, together with the woolly-haired Tamara and the man with the hollow chest, named Buligin, who was dressed in evening clothes. Clavdia brushed Hans Castorp’s table with the folds of her new gown, and crossed the room to where young Gänser and the Kleefeld were sitting. Her companions followed the rout out of the dining-hall after the two allegorical maskers, but she stood there, her hands behind her back, laughing and chatting, her eyes like narrow slits. She too had mounted a cap—it was not a bought one, but the kind one makes for children, a simple cocked hat of white paper, set rakishily on her head, and suiting her, of course, to a marvel. Her feet showed beneath the dark golden-brown silk of her frock, whose skirt was somewhat draped. Of her arms we shall say no more in this place. They were bare to the shoulder.

“ ‘Look at her well,’ ” Hans Castorp heard Herr Settembrini say, as though from a distance, following her with his glance as she presently left the room. “ ‘The fair one, see! ’Tis Lilith!’ ”

“Who?” asked Hans Castorp.

Herr Settembrini’s literary soul was pleased. He answered: “ ‘Adam’s first wife is she.’ ”

Besides themselves there was only Dr. Blumenkohl at the table, sitting in his place at the other end. Everyone else, even Joachim, was now in the drawing-rooms. Hans Castorp said—and he too addressed his companion with the licence of the season, and said thou to him: “Dear me, you’re full of poetry to-night. What Lily do you mean?

Did Adam marry more than once? I didn’t know it.”

“According to the Hebraic mythus, Lilith became a night-tripping fairy, a ‘ belle dame sans merci’, dangerous to young men especially, on account of her beautiful tresses.”

“What the deuce! A hobgoblin with beautiful tresses! You couldn’t stand that, could you? You would come along and turn on the electric light and bring the young men back to the path of virtue—that’s what you do, isn’t it?” Hans Castorp said whimsically. He had drunk rather freely of the mixed burgundy and champagne.

“Hark ye, Engineer—and take heed what I say,” Settembrini answered frowning.

“You will kindly address me with the accepted form employed in the educated countries of the West, the third person pluralis, if I may make bold to suggest it.”

“Why? Isn’t this carnival? The other is the accepted form everywhere to-night.”

“Yes, it is—and its charm lies in its very abandon. When strangers, who would regularly use the third person, speak to each other in the second, it is an objectionable freedom, it is wantonly playing with the roots of things, and I despise and condemn it, because at the bottom the usage is audaciously and shamelessly levelled against our civilization and our enlightened humanity. Do not, for one moment, imagine I addressed you with this form just now. I was quoting from the masterpiece of your national literature—I used poetic licence.”

“So did I. I am using a sort of poetic licence now, because it seems to me to suit the occasion, and that is why I do it. I don’t say I find it perfectly natural and easy to say thou to you, on the contrary it costs me an effort, I have to poke myself up to it; but I do so freely, gladly, and with all my heart—”

“With all your—”

“Yes, quite sincerely, with all my heart. We have been up here for some time together—do you realize it is seven months? That is not much, perhaps, as they reckon time here; but in the ordinary way it is a good deal, after all. Well, we have spent it with each other, because life brought us together. We have met almost daily, and had interesting conversations, in part upon subjects of which, down below, I should not have had the faintest understanding. But up here I have, they seem to me very real and pertinent; and I was always very keen, in our discussions, or rather, when you explained things to me, as a homo humanus, for of course I was too inexperienced to contribute anything, and could only feel that all you said was highly worth listening to. It is through you I have learned to understand such a lot—that about Carducci was the least part of it—take the republic and the bello stile and how they hang together, or time with human progress, and how if there was no time there could be no human progress, and the world would be only a standing drain and stagnant puddle—what should I have known of all that if it weren’t for you? So I simply address you as though we were old and close friends, without further ceremony, and you must excuse me, because I don’t know any other way. You sit there, and I speak to you like this, and it is all that’s necessary. For you are not, to me, just any man, with a name, like another; you are a representative, Herr Settembrini, an ambassador to this place and to me. Yes, that is what you are,” Hans Castorp asserted, and struck the table with the flat of his hand. “So now I will thank you,” he went on, and shoved his champagne and burgundy along the table toward Herr Settembrini’s coffee-cup, as though to touch glasses with him. “I thank you for having taken trouble for me in these seven months, for having lent a hand to a young donkey in all the new experiences that came to him, and tried to influence him for his good— sine pecunia, of course—partly by means of anecdote and partly in abstractions. I distinctly feel the moment has come to thank you for all you have done, and to beg your pardon for being a troublesome pupil—a ‘difficult,’ no, a ‘delicate child of life’—that was what you called me. It touched me very much to have you say that; and I feel touched every time I think of it. The troublesome child—that I have been for you, in your capacity as pedagogue—you remember, you came to speak of that on the first day we met, it is one of the associations you have taught me, the relation between humanism and pedagogy; and there are many others I shall think of as time goes on. You must forgive me, then, and not think too hardly of me. I drink your health, Herr Settembrini; I drink to those literary endeavours of yours for the elimination of human suffering.” He ceased speaking, bent over and drained his glass, hiccupped twice, and stood up. “Now let us join the others.”

“Why, Engineer, what has come over you?” the Italian asked in surprise, rising in his turn. “That sounds like a parting.”

“A parting? No—why?” Hans Castorp evaded him—not only in words, but in action, for he turned as he spoke, describing a curve with the upper part of his body, and came to a stop before Fräulein Engelhart, who had just entered to fetch them. She said that a carnival punch, contributed by the management, was being dispensed by no less a person than the Hofrat himself, and bade them come if they cared for a glass. So they went together.

The little round white-covered table, with Hofrat Behrens behind it, stood the centre of a press of guests, each holding out a sherbet cup to be filled, into which the dispenser ladled the steaming drink out of a tureen. He too had made concessions to the carnival spirit: he wore his usual white surgeon’s coat, for even to-day his professional activity must go on; but he had added a genuine Turkish fez, crimson, with a black tassel dangling over one ear. His appearance, of itself sufficiently striking, needed no more than this to render it quite outlandish. The long white smock exaggerated his height; one felt that if he were to stand erect and hold up his head, he would be more than life-size; and atop was the small head, with its high colour and unique cast of feature. Never before had Hans Castorp been so impressed with its oddity as when he saw it to-day under this absurd head-gear: the flat, snub-nosed, purple-flushed physiognomy, the watery, goggling blue eyes beneath tow-coloured brows, and the blond, close-trimmed moustache mounted crookedly above the full, bow-shaped lips. Turned away from the steam that wreathed upwards from the bowl, he held the ladle high and let the sweet arrack punch run in a brown, flowing stream into the glasses they held toward him, rattling on the while with his usual flow of whimsical jargon.

“Herr Urian sits up above,” Settembrini interpreted in a low voice with a wave of the hand.

Dr. Krokowski was there too, short, stout, solid, with his black alpaca shirt fastened like a domino on his shoulders, the sleeves dangling. He was holding his punch-glass with his hand at the level of his eyes and twisting the wrist round as he talked and jested with a group of masqueraders. Music was heard; the tapir-faced lady was playing Handel’s Largo on the violin, and then a drawing-room sonata by Grieg, characteristically northern in mood. The Mannheimer accompanied her on the piano. There was good-natured applause, even from the bridge-tables, which had been set up and occupied by maskers, with bottles in coolers at their sides. The doors were all open, and some of the guests stood in the hall as well. A group about the punch-table watched the Hofrat, who was introducing a new diversion. Bent over the table with his eyes closed and his head thrown back in evidence of good faith, he was sketching with his mighty hand a figure on the back of a visiting-card, the outline of a pig. It was rather more fanciful than realistic, yet undoubtably the lineaments of a pig, which under these difficult conditions, without the help of his eyes, he had managed to trace. It was a feat, and he could perform it. The little eyes were almost in the right place, so was the pointed ear, and the tiny legs under the rounded little belly; the curving line of the back ended in a small neat ringlet of tail. There was a general “Ah!” as he finished; then everyone was fired with an ambition to emulate the master. What abortions were brought forth! They lacked all coherence. The eyes were outside the head, the legs inside the paunch, the line of the latter came nowhere near joining, the little tail curled away by itself without organic connexion with the figure, an independent arabesque. They nearly split with laughing; the group increased. The notice of the bridge party was attracted, the players were drawn by curiosity and came up holding their cards fan-shaped in their hands. The bystanders watched the performer to see that he did not wink—which his feeling of powerlessness made him sometimes do; they giggled and guffawed while he committed his frantic blunders, and burst out in extravagant mirth when he at last opened his eyes and looked down upon his ridiculous handiwork. Blatant self-confidence lured everyone on to try his hand. The card, a large one, was soon filled on both sides with overlapping failures. The Hofrat contributed a second from his case; whereon Lawyer Paravant, after taking thought, essayed to draw a pig without lifting the pencil—and lo, the measure of his unsuccess led all the rest: his creation had no faintest likeness either to a pig or to anything else on the broad earth. It was greeted with hilarity and boisterous congratulations. Menu cards were fetched from the dining-room, and now several people could draw at the same time; each performer having his own circle of onlookers and aspirants, waiting for the pencil he was using. There were three pencils, they snatched them out of each other’s hands. The Hofrat, having set the sport afoot, and seen it thriving, withdrew with his adjutants.

Hans Castorp stood in the thick of the crowd, at Joachim’s back, watching. He rested his elbow on his cousin’s shoulder and supported his chin with all five fingers of that hand, his other arm set akimbo on his hip. He was talking and laughing, anxious to try his skill; asked on all sides for a pencil, and at length received a stump of a thing, hardly to be held between thumb and forefinger. Then he shut his eyes, lifted his face to the ceiling, and drew, all the time uttering objurgations against the pencil, some horrible inanity upon the paper, in his haste spoiling even this, and running off the paper on to the tablecloth. “That doesn’t count!” he cried as his audience burst out in well-merited jeers. “What can you do with a pencil like that—deuce take it!” and he flung the offending morsel into the punch-bowl. “Has anybody a decent one? Who will lend me a pencil? I must have another try. A pencil, a pencil, who has a pencil?” he shouted, leaning with his left hand on the table, and shaking the other high in the air. There was no answer. Then he turned and, passing through the room, went straight up to Clavdia Chauchat, who, as he was well aware, was standing near the door of the little salon, watching with a smile the throng round the punchtable. Behind him he heard someone calling—euphonious words, in a foreign tongue:

“Eh, Ingegnere! Aspetti! Che cosa fa, Ingegnere! Un po’ di ragione sa! Ma è matto questo ragazzo!” But he drowned out the voice with his own, and Herr Settembrini, flinging up his hand with a swing of the arm—a gesture common in his own country, whose meaning it would be hard to put into words—and giving vent to a long-drawn

“Eh—h!” turned his back on the room and the carnival gaieties.—But Hans Castorp was standing on the tiled court of the school yard, gazing at close quarters into these blue-grey-green epicanthus eyes, above the prominent cheekbones, and saying: “Do you happen to have a pencil?”

He was deadly pale, as pale as when he had come back blood-spattered to the lecture, from that walk of his. The nerves controlling the blood-vessels that supplied his face functioned so well that the skin, robbed of all its blood, went quite cold, the nose looked peaked, and the hollows beneath the young eyes were lead-coloured as any corpse’s. And the Sympathicus caused his heart, Hans Castorp’s heart, to thump, in such a way that it was impossible to breathe except in gasps; and shivers ran over him, due to the functioning of the sebaceous glands, which, with the hair follicles, erected themselves.

She stood there, in her paper cap, and looked him up and down, with a smile that betrayed no trace of pity, nor any concern for the ravages written on his brow. The sex knows no such compassion, no mercy for the pangs that passion brings; in that element the woman is far more at home than the man, to whom, by his very nature, it is foreign. Nor does she ever encounter him in it save with mocking and malignant joy—compassion, indeed, he would have none of.

He had used the second person singular. She answered: “I? Perhaps I have, let me see.” Her voice and smile did betray an excitement, a consciousness—such as comes when the first word is uttered in a relationship long secretly sustained—a subtle consciousness, which concentrates all the past in a single moment of the present. “You are so eager—you are very ambitious”—she continued thus to mock him, in her slightly veiled, pleasantly husky voice, with her quaint pronunciation, giving a foreign sound to the r and making the vowels too open, even accenting the word ambitious on the first syllable, with exotic effect; rummaging and peering the while in her leather bag, whence she fetched out, first a handkerchief, and then a little silver pencil, slender and fragile, a pretty trinket scarcely meant for use—the other, the first one, had been something more to take hold of.

“Voilà,” she said, and held the toy by its end before his eyes, between thumb and forefinger, and lightly turned it to and fro.

Since she thus both gave and withheld it, he took it, so to speak, without receiving it: that is, he held out his hand, with the fingers ready to grasp the delicate thing, but not actually touching it. His eyes—in their leaden sockets—went from the little object to Clavdia’s Tartar physiognomy. His bloodless lips were open, and so remained, he did not use them to utter the words, as he said: “You see, I knew you would have one.”

“Prenez garde, il est un peu fragile” she said. “C’est à visser, tu sais.”

Their heads bent over it together, and she showed him the mechanism—it was quite ordinary, the little needle of hard, probably worthless lead came down as one loosened the screw.

They stood bent toward each other. The stiff collar of his evening dress served him to support his chin.

“A poor thing—but yours,” he said, brow to brow with her, speaking down upon the pencil, stiff-lipped, so that most of the labials went unsounded.

“Ah, so you are even witty,” she answered him, with a short laugh. She straightened up, and surrendered the pencil. It is a question by what means he was witty, since it was plain there was not a drop of blood in his head. “Well, away with you, go and draw, draw yourself out!” And wittily in her turn, she seemed to drive him away.

“But you have not drawn yet, you must draw too,” he said, without managing the m in must, and drew a step backwards, invitingly.

“I?” she said again, with an inflection of surprise which seemed to have reference to something else than his invitation. She stood a moment in smiling confusion, then as if magnetized followed him a few steps toward the punch-table.

But interest in the activity there seemed to have fallen away. Someone was still drawing, but without an audience. The cards were covered with futilities, they had all done their worst, and now the current had set in another direction. Directly the doctors had left the scene, the word had gone round for a dance, already the tables were being pushed back; spies were posted at the doors of the writing-and music-rooms, with orders to give the sign in case the “old man,” Krokowski, or the Oberin should show themselves. A young Slavic youth attacked con espressione the keyboard of the little nut-wood piano, and the first couple began to turn about within an irregular circle of chairs and tables, on which the spectators perched themselves.

Hans Castorp dismissed the departing punch-table with a wave of the hand, and indicated with his chin two empty seats in a sheltered corner of the small salon, near the portières. He did not speak, perhaps because the music was too loud. He drew up a seat—it was a reclining-chair with plush upholstery—for Frau Chauchat, in the corner he had indicated, and took for himself a creaking, crackling basket-chair with curling arms, in which he sat down, bent forward toward her, his own arms on the arms of the chair, her pencil in his hand and his feet drawn back under his seat. She lay buried in the plushy slope, her knees brought high; notwithstanding which, she crossed one leg over the other, and swung her foot in the air, in its black patent-leather shoe and black silk stocking spanned over the anklebone. There was a coming and going in the room, some of the guests standing up to dance, while others took their places to rest.

“You’ve a new frock on,” he said, as an excuse for looking at her; and heard her answer.

“New? So you are acquainted with my wardrobe?”

“Am I right?”

“Yes—I had it made here lately; the tailor down in the village, Lukaçek, did it. He does work for several of the ladies up here. Do you like it?”

“Very much,” he said, surveying her once more and then casting down his eyes.

“Would you like to dance?” he added.

“Would you like to?” she asked, with lifted brows, yet smiling, and he answered:

“I would, if you wished.”

“That is not so brave as I thought you were,” she said, and when he laughed deprecatingly, she went on: “Your cousin has gone up already.”

“Yes, he is my cousin,” he confirmed her, unnecessarily. “I noticed he had gone, he is probably in the rest-cure by now.”

“C’est un jeune homme très étroit, très honnête, très allemand.”

“Étroit? Honnête?” he repeated. “I understand French better than I speak it. You mean he is pedantic. You think we are pedantic, we Germans— nous autres

allemands ?”

“Nous causons de votre cousin. Mais c’est vrai, you are a little bourgeois. Vous aimez l’ordre mieux que la liberté, toute l’Europe le sait.”

“Aimer, aimer—qu’est-ce que c’est? Ça manque de définition, ce mot là. We love what we have not—that is proverbial,” Hans Castorp asserted. “Lately,” he went on,

“I’ve thought very much about liberty. That is, I’ve heard the word so often, I’ve begun to think about it. Je te le dirai en français, what I have been thinking. Ce que toute l’Europe nomme la liberté, c’est peut-être une chose assez pédante et assez bourgeoise en comparaison de notre besoin d’ordre—c’est ça!”

“Tiens! C’est amusant! C’est ton cousin à qui tu penses en disant des choses étranges comme ça?”

“ No, c’est vraiment une bonne âme, a simple nature, not exposed to intellectual dangers, tu sais. Mais il n’est pas bourgeois, il est militaire.”

“Not exposed?” she repeated his word, not without difficulty. “Tu veux dire une nature tout à fait ferme, sûr d’elle-même? Mais il est sérieusement malade, ton pauvre cousin.”

“Who told you so?”

“We all know about each other, up here.”

“Was it Hofrat Behrens?”

“Peut-être en me faisant voir ces tableaux.”

“C’est à dire: en faisant ton portrait!”

“Pourquoi pas? Tu l’as trouvé réussi, mon portrait?”

“Mais oui, extrêmement. Behrens a très exactement rendu ta peau, oh, vraiment très fidèlement. J’aimerais beaucoup être portraitiste, moi aussi, pour avoir l’occasion d’étudier ta peau comme lui.”

“Parlez allemand, s’il vous plaît!”

“ Oh, I speak German, even in French. C’est une sorte d’étude artistique et médicale—en un mot: il s’agit des lettres humaines, tu comprends.— What do you say, shall we dance?”

“Oh, no, it would be childish—behind their backs! Aussitôt que Behrens reviendra, tout le monde va se précipiter sur les chaises. Ce sera fort ridicule.”

“Have you such respect for him as that?”

“For whom?” she said, giving her query a curt, foreign intonation.

“For Behrens.”

“Mais va donc avec ton Behrens! But there really is not room to dance. Et puis sur le tapis— Let us look on.”

“Yes, let’s,” he assented, and gazed beyond her, with his blue eyes, his

grandfather’s musing eyes, in his pale young face, at the antics of the masked patients in salon and writing-room. There was the Silent Sister capering with the Blue Peter, there was Frau Salomon as master of ceremonies, dressed in evening clothes with a white waistcoat and swelling shirt-front; she wore a monocle and a tiny painted moustache, and twirled upon tiny, high-heeled patent-leather shoes, that came out oddly beneath her black trousers, as she danced with the Pierrot, whose blood-red lips stared from his ghastly white face, with the eyes of an albino rabbit. The Greek flourished his symmetrical legs in their lavender tights alongside the darkly glittering Rasmussen in his low-cut gown. Lawyer Paravant in his kimono, Frau ConsulGeneral Wurmbrandt, and young Gänser danced all three together, with their arms round each other. As for Frau Stöhr, she danced with her broom, pressing it to her heart and caressing the bristles as though they were a man’s hair.

“Yes, let’s,” Hans Castorp repeated, mechanically. They spoke in low tones, covered by the music. “Let us sit here, and look on, as though in a dream. For it is like a dream to me, that we are sitting like this— comme un rêve singulièrement profond, car il faut dormir très profondément pour rêver comme cela. Je veux dire—c’est un rêve bien connu, rêvé de tout temps, long, éternel, oui, être assis près de toi comme à

présent, voilà l’éternité.”

“Poète!” she said. “Bourgeois, humaniste, et poète—voilà l’allemand au complet, comme il faut!”

“Je crains que nous ne soyons pas du tout et nullement comme il faut,” he answered. “Sous aucun égard. Nous sommes peut-être des delicate children of life,

tout simplement.”

“Joli mot. Dis-moi donc.—Il n’aurait pas été fort difficile de rêver ce rêve-là plus tôt. C’est un peu tard, que monsieur se résout d’adresser la parole à son humble servante.”

“Pourquoi des paroles?” he said. “Pourquoi parler? Parler, discourir, c’est une chose bien républicaine, je le concède. Mais je doute, que ce soit poétique au même degré. Un de nos pensionnaires, qui est un peu devenu mon ami, M. Settembrini—”

“Il vient de te lancer quelques paroles.”

“Eh bien, c’est un grand parleur sans doute, il aime même beaucoup à réciter de beaux vers—mais est-ce un poète, cet homme-là?”

“Je regrette sincèrement de n’avoir jamais eu le plaisir de faire la connaissance de ce chevalier.”

“Je le crois bien.”

“Ah, tu le crois?”

“Comment? C’était une phrase tout-à-fait indifférente, ce que j’ai dit là. Moi, tu le remarques bien, je ne parle guère le français. Pourtant, avec toi je préfère cette langue à la mienne, car pour moi, parler français, c’est parler sans parler, en quelque manière—sans responsabilité, ou comme nous parlons en rêve. Tu comprends?”

“A peu près”

“Ça suffit.—Parler,” went on Hans Castorp, “pauvre affaire! Dans l’éternité, on ne parle point. Dans l’éternité, tu sais, on fait comme en dessinant un petit cochon: on penche la tête en arrière et on ferme les yeux.”

“Pas mal, ça! Tu es chez toi dans l’éternité, sans aucun doute, tu le connais à fond. Il faut avouer, que tu es un petit rêveur assez curieux.’”

“Et puis,” said Hans Castorp , “si je t’avais parlé plus tôt, il m’aurait fallu te dire


“Eh bien, est-ce que tu as l’intention de me tutoyer pour toujours?”

“Mais oui. Je t’ai tutoyé de tout temps et je te tutoierai éternellement.”

“C’est un peu fort, par exemple. En tout cas, tu n’auras pas trop longtemps l’occasion de me dire ‘tu’. Je vais partir.”

It took time for the words to penetrate his consciousness. Then he started up, staring about him as though roused out of a dream. The conversation had proceeded rather slowly, for Hans Castorp spoke French uneasily, feeling for the sense. The piano had been silent awhile, now it sounded again, under the hands of the man from Mannheim, who had relieved the Slavic youth. He put some music in place, and Fräulein Engelhart sat down beside him to turn the leaves. The party was thinning out; many of the guests had presumably taken up the horizontal. From where they sat they could see no one; but there were players at the card-tables in the writing-room.

“You are going to—what?” Hans Castorp asked, quite dashed.

“I am going away,” she repeated, smiling with pretended surprise at his discomfiture.

“Impossible,” he said. “You are jesting.”

“Not at all. I am perfectly serious. I am leaving.”


“To-morrow. Après dîner.”

There took place within him a feeling of general collapse. He said: “Where?”

“Far away.”

“To Daghestan?”

“Tu n’es pas mal instruit. Peut-être, pour le moment—”

“Are you cured, then?”

“Quant à ça—non. But Behrens thinks there is not greatly more to be gained here, for the present. C’est pourquoi je vais risquer un petit changement d’air.”

“Then you are coming back!”

“That is the question. Or, rather, the question is when. Quant à moi, tu sais, j’aime la liberté avant tout et notamment celle de choisir mon domicile. Tu ne comprends guère ce que c’est: d’être obsédé d’indépendance. C’est de ma race, peut-être.”

“Et ton mari au Daghestan te l’accorde—ta liberté?”

“C’est la maladie qui me la rend. Me voilà à cet endroit pour la troisième fois. J’ai passé un an ici, cette fois. Possible que je revienne. Mais alors tu seras bien loin depuis longtemps.”

“ You think so, Clavdia?”

“Mon prénom aussi! Vraiment tu les prends bien au sérieux, les coutumes du carnaval!”

“Then you know about my case too?”

“Oui—non—comme on sait ces choses ici. Tu as une petite tache humide là dedans et un peu de fièvre, n’est-ce pas?”

“Trente-sept et huit ou neuf l’après-midi” said Hans Castorp. “And you?”

“Oh, mon cas, tu sais, c’est un peu plus compliqué—pas tout-à-fait simple.”

“Il y a quelque chose dans cette branche de lettres humaines dite la médecine”

Hans Castorp said, “qu’on appelle bouchement tuberculeux des vases de lymphe.”

“Ah! Tu as mouchardé, mon cher, on le voit bien.”

“Et toi— forgive me! Let me ask you a question—ask it in all earnestness: six months ago, when I left the table for my first examination—you looked round after me—do you remember?”

“Quelle question! Il y a six mois!”

“Did you know where I was going?”

“Certes, c’était tout-à-fait par hasard—”

“ Behrens had told you?”

“Toujours ce Behrens!”

“Oh, il a représenté ta peau d’une façon tellement exacte—D’ailleurs, c’est un veuf aux joues ardentes et qui possède un service à café très remarquable. Je crois bien qu’il connaît ton corps non seulement comme médecin, mais aussi comme adepte d’une autre discipline de lettres humaines.”

“Tu as décidément raison de dire, que tu parles en rêve, mon ami.”

“Soit. Laisse-moi rêver de nouveau, après m’avoir réveillé si cruellement par cette cloche d’alarme de ton départ. Sept mois sous tes yeux—et à présent, où en réalité

j’ai fait ta connaissançe, tu me parles de départ!”

“Je te répète, que nous aurions pu causer plus tôt.”

“You would have liked it?”

“Moi? Tu ne m’échapperas pas, mon petit. Il s’agit de tes intérêts, à toi. Est-ce que tu étais trop timide pour t’approcher d’une femme à qui tu parles en rêve maintenant, ou est-ce qu’il y avait quelqu’un qui t’en a empêché?”

“Je te l’ai dit. Je ne voulais pas te dire ‘vous.’ ”

“Farceur! Réponds donc—ce monsieur beau parleur, cet italien-là qui a quitté la soirée—qu’est-ce qu’il t’a lancé tantôt?”

“Je n’en ai entendu absolument rien. Je me soucie très peu de ce monsieur, quand mes yeux te voient. Mais tu oublies—il n’aurait pas été si facile du tout de faire ta connaissance dans le monde. Il y avait encore mon cousin, avec qui j’étais lié et qui incline très peu à s’amuser ici; il ne pense à rien qu’à son retour dans les plaines, pour se faire soldat.”

“Pauvre diable! Il est, en effet, plus malade qu’il ne sait. Ton ami italien du reste ne va pas trop bien non plus.”

“Il le dit lui-même. Mais mon cousin—est-ce vrai? Tu m’effraies.”

“Fort possible qu’il va mourir, s’il essaye d’être soldat dans les plaines.”

“Qu’il va mourir. La mort. Terrible mot, n’est-ce pas? Mais c’est étrange, il ne m’impressionne pas tellement aujourd’hui, ce mot. C’était une façon de parler bien conventionnelle, lorsque je disais: ‘Tu m’effraies.’ L’idée de la mort ne m’effraie pas. Elle me laisse tranquille. Je n’ai pas pitié—ni de mon bon Joachim ni de moi-même, en entendant qu’il va peut-être mourir. Si c’est vrai, son état ressemble beaucoup au mien et je ne le trouve pas particulièrement imposant. Il est moribond, et moi, je suis amoureux, eh bien!—Tu as parlé à mon cousin à l’atelier de photographie intime, dans l’antichambre, tu te souviens.”

“Je me souviens un peu.”

“Donc ce jour-là Behrens a fait ton portrait transparent!”

“Mais oui.”

“Mon dieu! Et l’as-tu sur toi?”

“Non, je l’ai dans ma chambre.”

“Ah—dans ta chambre. Quant au mien, je l’ai toujours dans mon portefeuille. Veux-tu que je te le fasse voir?”

“Mille remerciements. Ma curiosité n’est pas invincible. Ce sera un aspect très innocent.”

“Moi, j’ai vu ton portrait extérieur. J’aimerais beaucoup mieux voir ton portrait intérieur qui est enfermé dans ta chambre. Laisse-moi demander autre chose! Parfois un monsieur russe qui loge en ville vient te voir. Qui est-ce? Dans quel but vient-il, cet homme?”

“Tu es joliment fort en espionnage, je l’avoue. Eh bien, je réponds. Oui, c’est un compatriote souffrant, un ami. J’ai fait sa connaissance à une autre station balnéaire, il y a quelques années déjà. Nos relations? Les voilà: nous prenons notre thé

ensemble, nous fumons deux ou trois papiros, et nous bavardons, nous philosophons, nous parlons de l’homme, de Dieu, de la vie, de la morale, de mille choses. Voilà mon compte rendu. Es-tu satisfait?”

“De la morale aussi! Et qu’est-ce que vous avez trouvé en fait de morale, par exemple?”

“La morale? Cela t’intéresse? Eh bien, il nous semble, qu’il faudrait chercher la morale non dans la vertu, c’est-à-dire dans la raison, la discipline, les bonnes mœurs, l’honnêteté, mais plutôt dans le contraire, je veux dire dans le péché, en s’abandonnant au danger, à ce qui est nuisible, à ce qui nous consume. Il nous semble qu’il est plus moral de se perdre et même de se laisser dépérir, que de se conserver. Les grands moralistes n’étaient point de vertueux, mais des aventuriers dans le mal, des vicieux, des grands pécheurs qui nous enseignent à nous incliner chrétiennement devant la misère. Tout ça doit te déplaire beaucoup, n’est-ce pas?”

He was silent; sitting as before, with his feet twined together, thrust back beneath the creaking wicker chair, leaning toward the figure opposite, in its cocked hat; her pencil between his fingers. With Hans Lorenz Castorp’s blue eyes he looked out into the room. It was empty, the company dispersed. The piano, in the corner diagonally opposite, was being touched softly and lightly with one hand, by the Mannheimer, by whose side sat Fräulein Engelhart, turning the leaves of a music-book she held on her knee. At this pause which had ensued in the conversation between Hans Castorp and Clavdia Chauchat, the pianist left off playing, and sat with his hand in his lap, while Fräulein Engelhart continued to turn the pages of her music-book. These four alone remained, from all the carnival merry-makers; they sat here motionless. The silence lasted several minutes. Deeper and deeper, under its weight, sank the heads of the pair at the piano: his toward his keyboard, hers toward her book; but at last the two as by common consent stood up cautiously, and carefully refraining from any glance in the direction of the opposite corner, their heads drawn down in their shoulders, their arms hanging stiffly at their sides, disappeared together, on tiptoe, through the writingroom.

“Everyone is going,” said Frau Chauchat. “C’étaient les derniers. Il se fait tard. Eh bien, la fête de carnaval est finie.” She raised her arms to remove the paper cap from her head, with its reddish braid wound round it like a wreath. “Vous connaissez les conséquences, monsieur.”

But Hans Castorp gainsaid them, closing his eyes, and not otherwise changing his position. He answered: “Jamais, Clavdia. Jamais je te dirai ‘vous,’ jamais de la vie ni de la mort, if one may say that—one should be able to. Cette forme de s’adresser à

une personne, qui est cette de l’Occident cultivé et de la civilisation humanitaire, me semble fort bourgeoise et pédante. Pourquoi, au fond, de la forme? La forme, c’est la pédanterie elle-même! Tout ce que vous avez fixé à l’égard de la morale, toi et ton compatriote souffrant—tu veux sérieusement que ça me surprenne? Pour quel sot me prends-tu? Dis donc, qu’est-ce que tu penses de moi?”

“C’est un sujet qui ne donne pas beaucoup à penser. Tu es un petit bonhomme convenable, de bonne famille, d’une tenue appétissante, disciple docile de ses précepteurs et qui retournera bientôt dans les plaines, pour oublier complètement qu’il a jamais parlé en rêve ici et pour aider à rendre son pays grand et puissant par son travail honnête sur le chantier. Voilà ta photographie intime, faite sans appareil. Tu la trouves exacte, j’espère?”

“Il y manque quelques détails que Behrens y a trouvés.”

“Ah, les médecins en trouvent toujours, ils s’y connaissent.”

“Tu parles comme M. Settembrini. Et ma fièvre? D’où vient-elle?”

“Allons donc, c’est un incident sans conséquence qui passera vite.”

“Non, Clavdia, tu sais bien que ce que tu dis là n’est pas vrai et tu le dis sans conviction, j’en suis sûr. La fièvre de mon corps et le battement de mon cœur harassé

et le frissonement de mes membres, c’est le contraire d’un incident, car ce n’est rien d’autre” —and his pale face with the twitching lips bent closer over hers— “rien d’autre que mon amour pour toi, oui, cet amour qui m’a saisi à l’instant, où mes yeux t’ont vue, ou, plutôt, que j’ai reconnu quand je t’ai reconnue toi—et c’était lui, évidemment, qui m’a mené à cet endroit—”

“Quelle folie!”

“Oh, l’amour n’est rien, s’il n’est pas de la folie, une chose insensée, défendue et une aventure dans le mal. Autrement, c’est une banalité agréable, bonne pour en faire de petites chansons paisibles dans les plaines. Mais quant à ce que je t’ai reconnue et que j’ai reconnu mon amour pour toi—oui, c’est vrai, je t’ai déjà connue, anciennement, toi et tes yeux merveilleusement obliques et ta bouche et ta voix, avec laquelle tu parles—une fois déjà, lorsque j’étais collégien, je fea demandé ton crayon, pour faire enfin ta connaissance mondaine, parceque je t’aimais irraisonablement, et c’est de là, sans doute, c’est de mon ancien amour pour toi, que ces marques me restent que Behrens a trouvées dans mon corps, et qui indiquent que jadis aussi j’étais malade—”

His teeth struck together. As he raved, he had drawn one foot from under his chair, and moved it forward, so that the other knee touched the floor, there he knelt before her, his head bent, his whole body quivering. “Je t’aime, ” he babbled, “je t’ai aimée de tout temps, car tu es le Toi de ma vie, mon rêve, mon sort, mon envie, mon éternel désir—”

“Allons, allons!” she said. “Si tes précepteurs te voyaient—”

But he shook his head, violently, bowed as it was toward the carpet, and replied:

“Je m’en ficherais, je me fiche de tous ces Carducci et de la République éloquente et du progrès humain dans le temps, car je t’aime!”

She caressed softly the close-cropped hair at the back of his head.

“Petit bourgeois!” she said. “Joli bourgeois à la petite tache humide. Est-ce vrai que tu m’aimes tant?”

And beside himself at her touch, now on both his knees, with bowed head and closed eyes, he went on: “Oh, l’amour, tu sais—Le corps, l’amour, la mort, ces trois ne font qu’un. Car le corps, c’est la maladie et la volupté, et c’est lui qui fait la mort, oui, ils sont charnels tous deux, l’amour et la mort, et voilà leur terreur et leur grande magie! Mais la mort, tu comprends, c’est d’une part une chose mal famée, impudente, qui fait rougir de honte; et d’autre part c’est une puissance très solennelle et très majestueuse—beaucoup plus haute que la vie riante gagnant de la monnaie et farcis- sant sa panse—beaucoup plus vénérable que le progrès qui bavarde par les temps—

parcequ’elle est l’histoire et la noblesse et la piété et l’éternel et le sacré qui nous fait tirer le chapeau et marcher sur la pointe des pieds.—Or, de même, le corps, lui aussi, et l’amour du corps, sont une affaire indécente et fâcheuse, et le corps rougit et pâlit à sa surface par frayeur et honte de lui-même. Mais aussi il est une grande gloire adorable, image miraculeuse de la vie organique, sainte merveille de la forme et de la beauté, et l’amour pour lui, pour le corps humain, c’est de même un intérêt extrêmement humanitaire et une puissance plus éducative que toute la pédagogie du monde! Oh, enchantante beauté organique qui ne se compose ni de teinture à l’huile ni de pierre, mais de matière vivante et corruptible, pleine du secret fébrile de la vie et de la pourriture! Regarde la symétrie merveilleuse de l’édifice humain, les épaules et les hanches et les mamelons fleurissants de part et d’autre sur la poitrine, et les côtes arrangées par paires, et le nombril au milieu dans la mollesse du ventre, et le sexe obscur entre les cuisses! Regarde les omoplates se remuer sous la peau soyeuse du dos, et l’échine qui descend vers la luxuriance double et fraîche des fesses, et les grandes branches des vases et des nerfs qui passent du tronc aux rameaux par les aisselles, et comme la structure des bras correspond à celle des jambes. Oh, les douces régions de la jointure intérieure du coude et du jarret, avec leur abondance de délicatesses organiques sous leurs coussins de chair! Quelle fête immense de les caresser, ces endroits délicieux du corps humain! Fête à mourir sans plainte après!

Oui, mon dieu, laisse-moi sentir l’odeur de la peau de ta rotule, sous laquelle l’ingénieuse capsule articulaire sécrète son huile glissante! Laisse-moi toucher dévotement de ma bouche l’Arteria femoralis qui bat au front de ta cuisse et qui se divise plus bas en les deux artères du tibia! Laisse-moi ressentir l’exhalation de tes pores et tâter ton duvet, image humaine d’eau et d’albumine, destinée pour l’anatomie du tombeau, et laisse-moi périr, mes lèvres aux tiennes!”

He did not stir, or open his eyes; on his knees with bowed head, his hands holding the silver pencil outstretched before him, he remained, swaying and quivering. She said: “Tu es en effet un galant qui sait solliciter d’une manière profonde, à

l’allemande. ” And she set the paper cap on his head.

“Adieu, mon prince Carnaval! Vous aurez une mauvaise ligne de fièvre ce soir, je vous le prédis.”

She slipped from her chair, and glided over the carpet to the door, where she paused an instant, framed in the doorway; half turned toward him, with one bare arm lifted high, her hand upon the hinge. Over her shoulder she said softly: “N’oubliez pas de me rendre mon crayon.”

And went out.