Buddenbrooks Chapter Two

The alarm-clock went off with cruel alacrity. It was a hoarse rattling and clattering that it made, rather than a ringing, for it was old and worn out; but it kept on for a painfully long time, for it had been thoroughly wound up.

Hanno Buddenbrook was startled to his inmost depths. It was like this every morning. His very entrails rebelled, in rage, protest, and despair, at the onslaught of this at once cruel and faithful monitor standing on the bedside table close to his ear. However, he did not get up, or even change his position in the bed; he only wrenched himself away from some blurred dream of the early morning and opened his eyes.

It was perfectly dark in the wintry room. He could distinguish nothing, not even the hands on the clock. But he knew it was six o’clock, because last night he had set his alarm for six. Last night—And as he lay on his back, with his nerves rasped by the shock of waking, struggling for sufficient resolution to make a light and jump out of bed, everything that had filled his mind yesterday came gradually back into his consciousness.

It was Sunday evening; and after having been maltreated by Herr Brecht for several days on end, he had been taken as a reward to a performance of Lohengrin. He had looked forward for a whole week to this evening with a joy which absorbed his entire existence. Only, it was a pity that on such occasions the full pleasure of the anticipation had to be marred by disagreeable commonplaces that went on up to the very last minute. But at length Saturday came, school was over for the week, and Herr Brecht’s little drill had bored and buzzed away in the mouth for the last time. Now everything was out of the way and done with—for he had obstinately put off his preparation for Monday until after the opera. What was Monday to him? Was it likely it would ever dawn? Who believes in Monday, when he is to hear Lohengrin on Sunday evening? He would get up early on Monday and get the wretched stuff done—and that was all there was to it. Thus he went about free from care, fondled the coming joy in his heart, dreamed at his piano, and forgot all unpleasantness to come.

And then the dream became reality. It came over him with all its enchantment and consecration, all its secret revelations and tremors, its sudden inner emotion, its extravagant, unquenchable intoxication. It was true that the music of the overture was rather too much for the cheap violins in the orchestra; and the fat conceited-looking Lohengrin with straw-coloured hair came in rather hind side foremost in his little boat. And his guardian, Herr Stephan Kistenmaker, had sat in the next box and grumbled about the boy’s being taken away from his lessons and having his mind distracted like that. But the sweet, exalted splendour of the music had borne him away upon its wings.

The end had come at length. The singing, shimmering joy was quenched and silent. He had found himself back home in his room, with a burning head and the consciousness that only a few hours of sleep, there in his bed, separated him from dull everyday existence. And he had been overpowered by an attack of the complete despondency which was all too familiar an experience. Again he had learned that beauty can pierce one like a pain, and that it can sing profoundly into shame and a longing despair that utterly consume the courage and energy necessary to the life of every day. His despondency weighed him down like mountains, and once more he told himself, as he had done before, that this was more than his own individual burden of weaknesses that rested upon him: that his burden was one which he had borne upon his soul from the beginning of time, and must one day sink under at last.

He had wound the alarm-clock and gone to sleep—and slept that dead and heavy sleep that comes when one wishes never to awake again. And now Monday was here, and he had not prepared a single lesson.

He sat up and lighted the bedside candle. But his arms and shoulders felt so cold that he lay down again and pulled up the covers.

The hand pointed to ten minutes after six. Oh, it was absurd to get up now! He should hardly have time to make a beginning, for there was preparation in nearly every lesson. And the time he had fixed was already past. Was it as certain, then, as it had seemed to him yesterday that he would be called up in Latin and Chemistry? It was certainly to be expected—in all human probability it would happen. The names at the end of the alphabet had lately been called in the Ovid class, and presumably they would begin again at the beginning. But, after all, it wasn’t so absolutely certain, beyond a peradventure—there were exceptions to every rule. Chance sometimes worked wonders, he knew. He sank deeper and deeper into these false and plausible speculations; his thoughts began to run in together—he was asleep.

The little schoolboy bedchamber, cold and bare, with the copper-plate of the Sistine Madonna over the bed, the extension-table in the middle, the untidy book-shelf, a stiff-legged mahogany desk, the harmonium, and the small wash-hand stand, lay silent in the flickering light of the candle. The window was covered with icy-crystals, and the blind was up in order that the light might come earlier. And Hanno slept, his cheek pressed into the pillow, his lips closed, the eyelashes lying close upon his cheek; he slept with an expression of the most utter abandonment to slumber, the soft, light-brown hair clustering about his temples. And slowly the candle-flame lost its reddish-yellow glow, as the pale, dun-coloured dawn stole into the room through the icy coating on the window-pane.

At seven he woke once more, with a start of fear. He must get up and take upon himself the burden of the day. There was no way out of it. Only a short hour now remained before school would begin. Time pressed; there was no thought of preparation now. And yet he continued to lie, full of exasperation and rebellion against this brutal compulsion that was upon him to forsake his warm bed in the frosty dawning and go out into the world, into contact with harsh and unfriendly people. “Oh, only two little tiny minutes more,” he begged of his pillow, in overwhelming tenderness. And then he gave himself a full five minutes more, out of sheer bravado, and closed his eyes, opening one from time to time to stare despairingly at the clock, which went stupidly on in its insensate, accurate way.

Ten minutes after seven o’clock, he tore himself out of bed and began to move about the room with frantic haste. He let the candle burn, for the daylight was not enough by itself. He breathed upon a crystal and, looking out, saw a thick mist abroad.

He was unutterably cold, and a shiver sometimes shook his entire body. The ends of his fingers burned; they were so swollen that he could do nothing with the nail-brush. As he washed the upper parts of his body, his almost lifeless hand let fall the sponge, and he stood a moment stiff and helpless, steaming like a sweating horse.

At last he was dressed. Dull-eyed and breathless, he stood at the table, collected his despairing senses with a jerk, and began to put together the books he was likely to need to-day, murmuring in an anguished voice: “Religion, Latin, chemistry,” and shuffling together the wretched ink-spotted paper volumes.

Yes, he was already quite tall, was little Johann. He was more than fifteen years old, and no longer wore a sailor costume, but a light-brown jacket suit with a blue-and-white spotted cravat. Over his waistcoat he wore a long, thin gold chain that had belonged to his grandfather, and on the fourth finger of his broad but delicately articulated right hand was the old seal ring with the green stone. It was his now. He pulled on his heavy winter jacket, put on his hat, snatched his school-bag, extinguished the candle, and dashed down the stair to the ground floor, past the stuffed bear, and into the dining-room on the right.

Fräulein Clementine, his mother’s new factotum, a thin girl with curls on her forehead, a pointed nose, and short-sighted eyes, already sat at the breakfast-table.

“How late is it, really?” he asked between his teeth, though he already knew with great precision.

“A quarter before eight,” she answered, pointing with a thin, red, rheumatic-looking hand at the clock on the wall. “You must get along, Hanno.” She set a steaming cup of cocoa before him, and pushed the bread and butter, salt, and an egg-cup toward his place.

He said no more, clutched a roll, and began, standing, with his hat on and his bag under his arm, to swallow his cocoa. The hot drink hurt the back tooth which Herr Brecht had just been working at. He let half of it stand, pushed away the egg, and with a sound intended for an adieu ran out of the house.

It was ten minutes to eight when he left the garden and the little brick villa behind him and dashed along the wintry avenue. Ten, nine, eight minutes more. And it was a long way. He could scarcely see for the fog. He drew it in with his breath and breathed it out again, this thick, icy cold fog, with all the power of his narrow chest; he stopped his still throbbing tooth with his tongue, and did fearful violence to his leg muscles. He was bathed in perspiration; yet he felt frozen in every limb. He began to have a stitch in his side. The morsel of breakfast revolted in his stomach against this morning jaunt which it was taking; he felt nauseated, and his heart fluttered and trembled so that it took away his breath.

The Castle Gate—only the Castle Gate—and it was four minutes to eight! As he panted on through the streets, in an extremity of mingled pain, perspiration, and nausea, he looked on all sides for his fellow pupils. No, there was no one else; they were all on the spot—and now it was beginning to strike eight. Bells were ringing all over the town, and the chimes of St. Mary’s were playing, in celebration of this moment, “now let us all thank God.” They played half the notes falsely; they had no idea of rhythm, and they were badly in want of tuning. Thus Hanno, in the madness of despair. But what was that to him? He was late; there was no longer any room for doubt. The school clock was usually a little behind, but not enough to help him this time. He stared hopelessly into people’s faces as they passed him. They were going to their offices or about their business; they were in no particular hurry; nothing was threatening them. Some of them looked at him and smiled at his distracted appearance and sulky looks. He was beside himself at these smiles. What were they smiling at, these comfortable, unhurried people? He wanted to shout after them and tell them their smiling was very uncivil. Perhaps they would just enjoy falling down dead in front of the closed entrance gate of the school!

The prolonged shrill ringing which was the signal for morning prayers struck on his ear while he was still twenty paces from the long red wall with the two cast-iron gates, which separated the court of the school-building from the street. He felt that his legs had no more power to advance: he simply let his body fall forward, the legs moved willy-nilly to prevent his stumbling, and thus he staggered on and arrived at the gate just as the bell had ceased ringing.

Herr Schlemiel, the porter, a heavy man with the face and rough beard of a labourer, was just about to close the gate. “Well!” he said, and let Buddenbrook slip through. Perhaps, perhaps, he might still be saved! What he had to do now was to slip unobserved into his classroom and wait there until the end of prayers, which were held in the drill-hall, and to act as if everything were in order. Panting, exhausted, in a cold perspiration, he slunk across the courtyard and through the folding doors with glass panes that divided it from the interior.

Everything in the establishment was now new, clean, and adequate. The time had been ripe; and the grey, crumbling walls of the ancient monastic school had been levelled to the ground to make room for the spacious, airy, and imposing new building. The style of the whole had been preserved, and corridors and cloisters were still spanned by the fine old Gothic vaulting. But the lighting and heating arrangements, the ventilation of the classrooms, the comfort of the masters’ rooms, the equipment of the halls for the teaching of chemistry, physics and design, all this had been carried out on the most modern lines with respect to comfort and sanitation.

The exhausted Hanno stuck close to the wall and kept his eyes open as he stole along. Heaven be praised, the corridors were empty. He heard distantly the hubbub made by the hosts of masters and pupils going into the drill-hall, to receive there a little spiritual strengthening for the labours of the week. But here everything was empty and still, and his road up the broad linoleum-covered stairs lay free. He stole up cautiously on his tiptoes, holding his breath, straining his ears for sounds from above. His classroom, the lower second of the Realschule, was in the first storey, opposite the stairs, and the door was open. Crouched on the top step, he peered down the long corridor, on both sides of which were the entrances to the various classrooms, with porcelain signs above them. Three rapid, noiseless steps forward—and he was in his own room.

It was empty. The curtains of the three large windows were still drawn, and the gas was burning in the chandelier with a soft hissing noise. Green shades diffused the light over the three rows of desks. These desks each had room for two pupils; they were made of light-coloured wood, and opposite them, in remote and edifying austerity, stood the master’s platform with a blackboard behind it. A yellow wainscoting ran round the lower part of the wall, and above it the bare white-washed surface was decorated with a few maps. A second blackboard stood on an easel by the master’s chair.

Hanno went to his place, which was nearly in the centre of the room. He stuffed his bag into the desk, sank upon the hard seat, laid his arms on the sloping lid, and rested his head upon them. He had a sensation of unspeakable relief. The room was bare, hard, hateful, and ugly; and the burden of the whole threatening forenoon, with its numerous perils, lay before him. But for the moment he was safe; he had saved his skin, and could take things as they came. The first lesson, Herr Ballerstedt’s class in religious instruction, was comparatively harmless. He could see, by the vibration of the little strips of paper over the ventilator next the ceiling, that warm air was streaming in, and the gas, too, did its share to heat the room. He could actually stretch out here and feel his stiffened limbs slowly thawing. The heat mounted to his head: it was very pleasant, but not quite healthful; it made his ears buzz and his eyes heavy.

A sudden noise behind him made him start and turn around. And behold, from behind the last bench rose the head and shoulders of Kai, Count Mölln. He crawled out, did this young man, got up, shook himself, slapped his hands together to get the dust off, and came up to Hanno with a beaming face.

“Oh, it’s you, Hanno,” he said. “And I crawled back there because I took you for a piece of the faculty when you came in.”

His voice cracked as he spoke, because it was changing, which Hanno’s had not yet begun to do. He had kept pace with Hanno in his growth, but his looks had not altered, and he still wore a dingy suit of no particular colour, with a button or so missing and a big patch in the seat. His hands, too, were not quite clean; narrow and aristocratic-looking though they were, with long, slender fingers and tapering nails. But his brow was still pure as alabaster beneath the carelessly parted reddish-yellow hair that fell over it, and the glance of the sparkling blue eyes was as keen and as profound as ever. In fact, the contrast was even more striking between his neglected toilette and the racial purity of his face, with its delicate bony structure, slightly aquiline nose, and short upper lip, upon which the down was beginning to show.

“Oh, Kai,” said Hanno, with a wry face, putting his hand to his heart. “How can you frighten me like that? What are you doing up here? Why are you hiding? Did you come late too?”

“Dear me, no,” Kai said. “I’ve been here a long time. Though one doesn’t much look forward to getting back to the old place, when Monday morning comes around. You must know that yourself, old fellow. No, I only stopped up here to have a little game. The deep one seems to be able to reconcile it with his religion to hunt people down to prayers. Well, I get behind him, and I manage to keep close behind his back whichever way he turns, the old mystic! So in the end he goes off, and I can stop up here. But what about you?” he said sympathetically, sitting down beside Hanno on the bench. “You had to run, didn’t you? Poor old chap! You look perfectly worn out. Your hair is sticking to your forehead.” He took a ruler from the table and carefully combed little Johann’s hair with it. “You overslept, didn’t you? Look,” he interrupted himself, “here I am sitting in the sacred seat of number one—Adolf Todtenhaupt’s place! Well, it won’t hurt me for once, I suppose. You overslept, didn’t you?”

Hanno had put his head down on his arms again. “I was at the opera last night,” he said, heaving a long sigh.

“Right—I’d forgot that. Well, was it beautiful?”

He got no answer.

“You are a lucky fellow, after all,” went on Kai perseveringly. “I’ve never been in the theatre, not a single time in my whole life, and there isn’t the smallest prospect of my going—at least, not for years.”

“If only one did not have to pay for it afterwards,” said Hanno gloomily.

“The headache next morning—well, I know how that feels, anyhow.” Kai stooped and picked up his friend’s coat and hat, which lay on the floor beside the bench, and carried them quietly out into the corridor.

“Then I take for granted you haven’t done the verses from the Metamorphoses?” he asked as he came back.

“No,” said Hanno.

“Have you prepared for the geography test?”

“I haven’t done anything, and I don’t know anything,” said Hanno.

“Not the chemistry nor the English, either? Benissimo! Then there’s a pair of us—brothers-in-arms,” said Kai, with obvious gratification. “I’m in exactly the same boat,” he announced jauntily. “I did no work Saturday, because the next day was Sunday; and I did no work on Sunday, because it was Sunday! No, nonsense, it was mostly because I’d something better to do.” He spoke with sudden earnestness, and a slight flush spread over his face. “Yes, perhaps it may be rather lively to-day, Hanno.”

“If I get only one more bad mark, I shan’t go up,” said Johann; “and I’m sure to get it when I’m called up for Latin. The letter B comes next, Kai, so there’s not much help for it.”

“We shall see: What does Caesar say? ‘Dangers may threaten me in the rear; but when they see the front of Caesar—’” But Kai did not finish. He was feeling rather out of sorts himself; he went to the platform and sat down in the master’s chair, where he began to rock back and forth, scowling. Hanno still sat with his forehead resting on his arms. So they remained for a while in silence.

Then, somewhere in the distance, a dull humming was heard, which quickly swelled to a tumult of voices, approaching, imminent.

“The mob,” said Kai, in an exasperated tone. “Goodness, how fast they got through. They haven’t taken up ten minutes of the period!”

He got down from the platform and went to the door to mingle with the incoming stream. Hanno, for his part, lifted up his head for a minute, screwed up his mouth, and remained seated.

Stamping, shuffling, with a confusion of masculine voices, treble and falsetto, they flooded up the steps and over the corridor. The classroom suddenly became full of noise and movement. This was the lower second form of the Realschule, some twenty-five strong, comrades of Hanno and Kai. They loitered to their places with their hands in their pockets or dangling their arms, sat down, and opened their Bibles. Some of the faces were pleasant, strong, and healthy; others were doubtful or suspicious-looking. Here were tall, stout, lusty rascals who would soon go to sea or else begin a mercantile career, and who had no further interest in their school life; and small, ambitious lads, far ahead of their age, who were brilliant in subjects that could be got by heart. Adolf Todtenhaupt was the head boy. He knew everything. In all his school career he had never failed to answer a question. Part of his reputation was due to his silent, impassioned industry; but part was also due to the fact that the masters were careful not to ask him anything he might not know. It would have pained and mortified them and shaken their faith in human perfectibility to have Adolf Todtenhaupt fail to answer. He had a head full of remarkable bumps, to which his blond hair clung as smooth as glass; grey eyes with black rings beneath them, and long brown hands that stuck out beneath the too short sleeves of his neatly brushed jacket. He sat down next Hanno Buddenbrook with a mild, rather sly smile, and bade his neighbour good morning in the customary jargon, which reduced the greeting to a single careless monosyllable. Then he began to employ himself silently with the class register, holding his pen in a way that was incomparably correct, with the slender fingers outstretched; while about him people yawned, laughed, conned their lessons, and chattered half aloud.

After two minutes there were steps outside. The front rows of pupils rose, and some of those seated farther back followed their example. The rest scarcely interrupted what they were doing as Herr Ballerstedt came into the room, hung his hat on the door, and betook himself to the platform.

He was a man in the forties, with a pleasant embonpoint, a large bald spot, a short beard, a rosy complexion, and a mingled expression of unctuousness and sensuality on his humid lips. He took out his notebook and turned over the leaves in silence; but as the order in the classroom left much to be desired, he lifted his head, stretched out his arm over the desk, and waved his flabby white fist a few times powerlessly in the air. His face grew slowly red—such a dark red that his beard looked pale-yellow by contrast. He moved his lips and struggled spasmodically and fruitlessly for half a minute to speak, and finally brought out a single syllable, a short, suppressed grunt that sounded like “Well!” He still struggled after further expression, but in the end gave it up, returned to his notebook, calmed down, and became quite composed once more. This was Herr Ballerstedt’s way.

He had intended to be a priest; but on account of his tendency to stutter and his leaning toward the good things of life he had become a pedagogue instead. He was a bachelor of some means, wore a small diamond on his finger, and was much given to eating and drinking. He was the head master who associated with his fellow masters only in working hours; and outside them he spent his time chiefly with the bachelor society of the town—yes, even with the officers of the garrison. He ate twice a day in the best hotel and was a member of the club. If he met any of his elder pupils in the streets, late at night or at two or three o’clock in the morning, he would puff up the way he did in the classroom, fetch out a “Good morning,” and let the matter rest there, on both sides. From this master Hanno Buddenbrook had nothing to fear and was almost never called up by him. Herr Ballerstedt had been too often associated with Hanno’s Uncle Christian in all too purely human affairs, to make him inclined to conflict with Johann in an official capacity.

“Well,” he said, looked about him once more, waved his flabby fist with the diamond upon it, and glanced into his notebook. “Perlemann, the synopsis.”

Somewhere in the class, up rose Perlemann. One could hardly see that he had risen; he was one of the small and forward ones. “The synopsis,” he said, softly and politely, craning his neck forward with a nervous smile. “The Book of Job falls into three sections. First, the condition of Job before he fell under the chastening of the Lord: Chapter One, Verses one to six: second, the chastening itself, and its consequences, Chapter—”

“Right, Perlemann,” interrupted Herr Ballerstedt, touched by so much modesty and obligingness. He put down a good mark in his book. “Continue, Heinricy.”

Heinricy was one of the tall rascals who gave themselves no trouble over anything. He shoved the knife he had been playing with into his pocket, and got up noisily, with his lower lip hanging, and coughing in a gruff voice. Nobody was pleased to have him called up after the gentle Perlemann. The pupils sat drowsing in the warm room, some of them half asleep, soothed by the purring sound of the gas. They were all tired after the holiday; they had all crawled out of warm beds that morning with their teeth chattering, groaning in spirit. And they would have preferred to have the gentle Perlemann drone on for the remainder of the period. Heinricy was almost sure to make trouble.

“I wasn’t here when we had this,” he said, none too respectfully.

Herr Ballerstedt puffed himself up, waved his fist, struggled to speak, and stared young Heinricy in the face with his eyebrows raised. His head shook with the effort he made; but he finally managed to bring out a “Well!” and the spell was broken. He went on with perfect fluency. “There is never any work to be got out of you, and you always have an excuse ready, Heinricy. If you were ill the last time, you could have had help in that part; besides, if the first part dealt with the condition before the tribulation, and the second part with the tribulation itself, you could have told by counting on your fingers that the third part must deal with the condition after the tribulation! But you have no application or interest whatever; you are not only a poor creature, but you are always ready to excuse and defend your mistakes. But so long as this is me case, Heinricy, you cannot expect to make any improvement, and so I warn you. Sit down, Heinricy. Go on, Wasservogel.”

Heinricy, thick-skinned and defiant, sat down with much shuffling and scraping, whispered some sort of saucy comment in his neighbour’s ear, and took out his jack-knife again. Wasservogel stood up: a boy with inflamed eyes, a snub nose, prominent ears, and bitten finger-nails. He finished the summary in a rather whining voice, and began to relate the story of Job, the man from the land of Uz, and what happened to him. He had simply opened his Bible, behind the back of the pupil ahead of him; and he read from it with an air of utter innocence and concentration, staring then at a point on the wall and translated what he read, coughing the while, into awkward and hesitating modern German. There was something positively repulsive about Wasservogel; but Herr Ballerstedt gave him a large meed of praise. Wasservogel had the knack of making the masters like him; and they praised him in order to show that they were incapable of being led away by his ugliness to blame him unjustly.

The lesson continued. Various pupils were called up to display their knowledge touching Job, the man from the land of Uz. Gottlob Kassbaum, son of the unfortunate merchant P. Phillipp Kassbaum, got an excellent mark, despite the late distressing circumstances of his family, because he knew that Job had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred asses, and a large number of servants.

Then the Bibles, which were already open, were permitted to be opened, and they went on reading. Wherever Herr Ballerstedt thought explanation necessary, he puffed himself up, said “Well!” and after these customary preliminaries made a little speech upon the point in question, interspersed with abstract moral observations. Not a soul listened. A slumberous peace reigned in the room. The heat, with the continuous influx of warm air and the still lighted gas burners, had become oppressive, and the air was well-nigh exhausted by these twenty-five breathing and steaming organisms. The warmth, the purring of the gas, and the drone of the reader’s voice lulled them all to a point where they were more asleep than awake. Kai, Count Mölln, however, had a volume of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales inside his Bible, and read in it, supporting his head on his hand. Hanno Buddenbrook leaned back, sank down in his seat, and looked with relaxed mouth and hot, swimming eyes at the Book of Job, in which all the lines ran together into a black haze. Now and then, as the Grail motif or the Wedding March came into his mind, his lids drooped and he felt an inward soothing; and then he would wish that this safe and peaceful morning hour might go on for ever.

Yet it ended, as all things must end. The shrill sound of the bell, clanging and echoing through the corridor, shook the twenty-five brains out of their slumberous calm.

“That is all,” said Herr Ballerstedt. The register was handed up to him and he signed his name in it, as evidence that he had performed his office.

Hanno Buddenbrook closed his Bible and stretched himself, yawning. It was a nervous yawn; and as he dropped his arms and relaxed his limbs he had to take a long, deep breath to bring his heart back to a steady pulsation, for it weakly refused its office for a second. Latin came next. He cast a beseeching glance at Kai, who still sat there reading and seemed not to have remarked the end of the lesson. Then he drew out his Ovid, in stitched covers of marbled paper, and opened it at the lines that were to have been learned by heart for to-day. No, it was no use now trying to memorize any of it: the regular lines, full of pencil marks, numbered by fives all the way down the page, looked hopelessly unfamiliar. He barely understood the sense of them, let alone trying to say a single one of them by heart. And of those in to-day’s preparation he had not puzzled out even the first sentence.

“What does that mean—‘deciderant, patula Jovis arbore glandes’?” he asked in a despairing voice, turning to Adolf Todtenhaupt, who sat beside him working on the register.

“What?” asked Todtenhaupt, continuing to write. “The acorns from the tree of Jupiter—that is the oak; no, I don’t quite know myself—”

“Tell me a bit, Todtenhaupt, when it comes my turn, will you?” begged Hanno, and pushed the book away. He scowled at the cool and careless nod Todtenhaupt gave by way of reply; then he slid sidewise off the bench and stood up.

The scene had changed. Herr Ballerstedt had left the room, and his place was taken by a weak enervated little man who stood straight and severe on the platform. He had a sparse white beard and a thin red neck that rose out of a narrow turned-down collar. He held his top hat upside down in front of him, clasped in two small hands covered with white hair. His real name was Professor Hückopp, but he was called “Spider” by the pupils. He was in charge of classrooms and corridors during the recess. “Out with the gas! Up with the blinds! Up with the windows!” he said, and gave his voice as commanding a tone as possible, moving his little arm in the air with an awkward, energetic gesture, as if he were turning a crank. “Everybody downstairs, into the fresh air, as quick as possible!”

The gas went out, the blinds flew up, the sallow daylight filled the room. The cold mist rushed in through the wide-open windows, and the lower second crowded past Professor Hückopp to the exit. Only the head boy might remain upstairs.

Hanno and Kai met at the door and went down the stairs together, and across the architecturally correct vestibule. They were silent. Hanno looked pathetically unwell, and Kai was deep in thought. They reached the courtyard and began to stroll up and down across the wet red tiles, among school companions of all ages and sizes.

A youthful looking man with a blond pointed beard kept order down here: Dr. Goldener, the “dressy one.” He kept a pensionnat for the sons of the rich landowners from Mecklenburg and Holstein, and dressed, on account of these aristocratic youths, with an elegance not apparent in the other masters. He wore silk cravats, a dandified coat, and pale-coloured trousers fastened down with straps under the soles of his boots, and used perfumed handkerchiefs with coloured borders. He came of rather simple people, and all this elegance was not very becoming—his huge feet, for example, looked absurd in the pointed buttoned boots he wore. He was vain of his plump red hands, too, and kept rubbing them together, clasping them before him, and regarding them with every mark or admiration. He carried his head laid far back on one side, and constantly made faces by blinking, screwing up his nose, and half-opening his mouth, as though he were about to say: “What’s the matter now?” But his refinement led him to overlook all sorts of small infractions of the rules. He overlooked this or that pupil who had brought a book with him into the courtyard to prepare a little at the eleventh hour; he overlooked the fact that one of his boarding-pupils handed money to the porter, Herr Schlemiel, and asked him to get some pastry; he overlooked a small trial of strength between two third-form pupils, which resulted in a beating of one by the other, and around which a ring of connoisseurs was quickly formed; and he overlooked certain sounds behind him which indicated that a pupil who had made himself unpopular by cheating, cowardice, or other weakness was being forcibly escorted to the pump.

It was a lusty, not too gentle race, that of these comrades of Hanno and Kai among whom they walked up and down. The ideals of the victorious, united fatherland were those of a somewhat rude masculinity; its youth talked in a jargon at once brisk and slovenly; the most despised vices were softness and dandyism, the most admired virtues those displayed by prowess in drinking and smoking, bodily strength and skill in athletics. Whoever went out with his coat-collar turned up incurred a visit to the pump; while he who let himself be seen in the streets with a walking-stick must expect a public and ignominious correction administered in the drill-hall.

Hanno’s and Kai’s conversation was in striking contrast to that which went on around them among their fellows. This friendship had been recognized in the school for a long time. The masters suffered it grudgingly, suspecting that it meant disaffection and future trouble. The pupils could not understand it, but had settled down to regarding it with a sort of embarrassed dislike, and to thinking of the two friends as outlaws and eccentrics who must be left to their own devices. They recognized, it is true, the wildness and insubordination of Kai, Count Mölln, and respected him accordingly. As for Hanno Buddenbrook, big Heinricy, who thrashed everybody, could not make up his mind to lay a finger on him by way of chastisement for dandyism or cowardice. He refrained out of an indefinite respect and awe for the softness of Hanno’s hair, the delicacy of his limbs, and his sad, shy, cold glance.

“I’m scared,” Hanno said to Kai. He leaned against the wall of the school, drawing his jacket closer about him, yawning and shivering, “I’m so scared, Kai, that it hurts me all over my body. Now just tell me this: is Herr Mantelsack the sort of person one ought to be afraid of? Tell me yourself! If this beastly Ovid lesson were only over! If I just had my bad mark, in peace, and stopped where I am, and everything was in order! I’m not afraid of that. It is the row that goes beforehand that I hate!”

Kai was still deep in thought. “This Roderick Usher is the most remarkable character ever conceived,” he said suddenly and abruptly. “I have read the whole lesson-hour. If ever I could write a tale like that!”

Kai was absorbed in his writing. It was to this he had referred when he said that he had something better to do than his preparation, and Hanno had understood him. Attempts at composition had developed out of his old propensity for inventing tales; and he had lately completed a composition in the form of a fantastic fairy tale, a narrative of symbolic adventure, which went forward in the depths of the earth among glowing metals and mysterious fires, and at the same time in the souls of men: a tale in which the primeval forces of nature and of the soul were interchanged and mingled, transformed and refined—the whole conceived and written in a vein of extravagant and even sentimental symbolism, fervid with passion and longing.

Hanno knew the tale well, and loved it; but he was not now in a frame of mind to think of Kai’s work or of Edgar Allan Poe. He yawned again, and then sighed, humming to himself a motif he had lately composed on the piano. This was a habit with him. He would often give a long sigh, a deep indrawn breath, from the instinct to calm the fluctuating and irregular action of his heart; and he had accustomed himself to set the deep breathing to a musical theme of his own or some one else’s invention.

“Look, there comes the Lord God,” said Kai. “He is walking in his garden.”

“Fine garden,” said Hanno. He began to laugh nervously, and could not stop; putting his handkerchief to his mouth the while and looking across the courtyard at him whom Kai called the Lord God.

This was Director Wulicke, the head of the school, who had appeared in the courtyard: an extremely tall man with a slouch hat, a short heavy beard, a prominent abdomen, trousers that were far too short, and very dirty funnel-shaped cuffs. He strode across the flagstones with a face so angry in its expression that he seemed to be actually suffering, and pointed at the pump with outstretched arm. The water was running! A train or pupils ran before him and stumbled in their zeal to repair the damage. Then they stood about, looking first at the pump and then at the Director, their faces pictures of distress; and the Director, meanwhile, had turned to Dr. Goldener, who hurried up with a very red face and spoke to him in a deep hollow voice, fairly babbling with excitement between the words.

This Director Wulicke was a most formidable man. He had succeeded to the headship of the school after the death, soon after 1871, of the genial and benevolent old gentleman under whose guidance Hanno’s father and uncle had pursued their studies. Dr. Wulicke was summoned from a professorship in a Prussian high school; and with his advent an entirely new spirit entered the school. In the old days the classical course had been thought of as an end in itself, to be pursued at one’s ease, with a sense of joyous idealism. But now the leading conceptions were authority, duty, power, service, the career; “the categorical imperative of our philosopher Kant” was inscribed upon the banner which Dr. Wulicke in every official speech unfurled to the breeze. The school became a state within a state, in which not only the masters but the pupils regarded themselves as officials, whose main concern was the advancement they could make, and who must therefore take care to stand well with the authorities. Soon after the new Director was installed in his office the tearing down of the old school began, and the new one was built up on the most approved hygienic and aesthetic principles, and everything went swimmingly. But it remained an open question whether the old school, as an institution, with its smaller endowment of modern comfort and its larger share of gay good nature, courage, charm, and good feeling, had not been more blest and blessing than the new.

As for Dr. Wulicke himself personally, he had all the awful mystery, duplicity, obstinacy, and jealousy of the Old Testament God. He was as frightful in his smiles as in his anger. The result of the enormous authority that lay in his hands was that he grew more and more arbitrary and moody—he was even capable of making a joke and then visiting with his wrath anybody who dared to laugh. Not one of his trembling creatures knew how to act before him. They found it safest to honour him in the dust, and to protect themselves by a frantic abasement from the fate of being whirled up in the cloud of his wrath and crushed for ever under the weight of his righteous displeasure.

The name Kai had given Dr. Wulicke was known only to himself and Hanno, and they took the greatest pains not to let any of the others overhear it, for they could not possibly understand. No, there was not one single point on which those two stood on common ground with their schoolfellows. Even the methods of revenge, of “getting even,” which obtained in the school were foreign to Hanno and Kai; and they utterly distained the current nicknames, which did not in the least appeal to their more subtle sense of humour. It was so poor, it showed such a paucity of invention, to call thin Professor Hückopp “Spider” and Herr Ballerstedt “Cocky.” It was such scant compensation for their compulsory service to the state! No, Kai, Count Mölln, flattered himself that he was not so feeble as that! He invented, for his own and Hanno’s use, a method of alluding to all their masters by their actual names, with the simple prefix, thus: Herr Ballerstedt, Herr Hückopp. The irony of this, its chilly remoteness and mockery, pleased him very much. He liked to speak of the “teaching body”; and would amuse himself for whole recesses with imagining it as an actual creature, a sort of monster, with a repulsively fantastic form. And they spoke in general of the “Institution” as if it were similar to that which harboured Hanno’s Uncle Christian.

Kai’s mood improved at sight of the Lord God, who still pervaded the playground and put everybody in a pallid fright by pointing, with fearful rumblings, to the wrapping papers from the luncheons which strewed the courtyard. The two lads went off to one of the gates, through which the masters in charge of the second period were now entering. Kai began to make bows of exaggerated respect before the red-eyed, pale, shabby-looking seminarists, who crossed over to go to their sixth and seventh form pupils in the back court. And when the grey-haired mathematics master, Herr Tietge, appeared, holding a bundle of books on his back with a shaking hand, bent, yellow, cross-eyed, spitting as he walked along, Kai said, “Good-morning, old dead man.” He said this, in a loud voice and gazed straight up into the air with his bright, sharp gaze.

Then the bell clanged loudly, and the pupils began to stream through the entrances into the building. Hanno could not stop laughing. He was still laughing so hard on the stairs that his classmates looked at him and Kai with wonder and cold hostility, and even with a slight disgust at such frivolity.

There was a sudden hush in the classroom, and everybody stood up, as Herr Professor Mantelsack entered. He was the Professor ordinarius, for whom it was usual to show respect. He pulled the door to after him, bowed, craned his neck to see if all the class were standing up, hung his hat on its nail, and went quickly to the platform, moving his head rapidly up and down as he went. He took his place and stood for a while looking out the window and running his forefinger, with a large seal ring on it, around inside his collar. He was a man of medium size, with thin grey hair, a curled Olympian beard, and short-sighted prominent sapphire-blue eyes gleaming behind his spectacles. He was dressed in an open frock-coat of soft grey material, which he habitually settled at the waist with his short-fingered, wrinkled hand. His trousers were, like all the other masters’, even the elegant Dr. Goldener’s, far too short, and showed the legs of a pair of very broad and shiny boots.

He turned sharply away from the window and gave vent to a little good-natured sigh, smiling familiarly at several pupils. His mood was obviously good, and a wave of relief ran through the classroom. So much—everything, in fact—depended on whether Dr. Mantelsack was in a good mood! For the whole form was aware that he gave way to the feeling of the moment, whatever that might happen to be, without the slightest restraint. He was most extraordinarily, boundlessly, naïvely unjust, and his favour was as inconstant as that of fortune herself. He had always a few favourites—two or three—whom he called by their given names, and these lived in paradise. They might say almost anything they liked; and after the lesson Dr. Mantelsack would talk with them just like a human being. But a day would come—perhaps after the holidays—when for no apparent reason they were dethroned, cast out, rejected, and others elevated to their place. The mistakes of these favourites would be passed over with neat, careful corrections, so that their work retained a respectable appearance, no matter how bad it was; whereas he would attack the other copybooks with heavy, ruthless pen, and fairly flood them with red ink, so that their appearance was shocking indeed. And as he never troubled to count the mistakes, but distributed bad marks in proportion to the red ink he had expended, his favourites always emerged with great credit from these exercises. He was not even aware of the rank injustice of this conduct. And if anybody had ever had the temerity to call his attention to it, that person would have been for ever deprived of even the chance of becoming a favourite and being called by his first name. There was nobody who was willing to let slip the chance.

Now Dr. Mantelsack crossed his legs, still standing, and began to turn over the leaves of his notebook. Hanno Buddenbrook wrung his hands under the desk. B, the letter B, came next. Now he would hear his name, he would get up, he would not know a line, and there would be a row, a loud, frightful catastrophe—no matter how good a mood Dr. Mantelsack might be in. The seconds dragged out, each a martyrdom. “Buddenbrook”—Now he would say “Buddenbrook.” “Edgar,” said Dr. Mantelsack, closing his notebook with his finger in it. He sat down, as if all were in the best of order.

What? Who? Edgar? That was Lüders, the fat Lüders boy over there by the window. Letter L, which was not next at all! No! Was it possible? Dr. Mantelsack’s mood was so good that he simply selected one of his favourites, without troubling in the least about whose turn it was.

Lüders stood up. He had a face like a pug dog, and dull brown eyes. He had an advantageous seat, and could easily have read it off, but he was too lazy. He felt too secure in his paradise, and answered simply, “I had a headache yesterday, and couldn’t study.”

“Oh, so you are leaving me in the lurch, Edgar,” said Dr. Mantelsack with tender reproach. “You cannot say the lines on the Golden Age? What a shocking pity, my friend! You had a headache? It seems to me you should have told me before the lesson began, instead of waiting till I called you up. Didn’t you have a headache just lately, Edgar? You should do something for them, for otherwise there is danger of your not passing. Timm, will you take his place?”

Lüders sat down. At this moment he was the object of universal hatred. It was plain that the master’s mood had altered for the worse, and that Lüders, perhaps in the very next lesson, would be called by his last name. Timm stood up in one of the back seats. He was a blond country-looking lad with a light-brown jacket and short, broad fingers. He held his mouth open in a funnel shape, and hastily found the place, looking straight ahead the while with the most idiotic expression. Then he put down his head and began to read, in long-drawn-out, monotonous, hesitating accents, like a child with a first lesson-book: “Aurea prima sata est ætas!”

It was plain that Dr. Mantelsack was calling up quite at random, without reference to the alphabet. And thus it was no longer so imminently likely that Hanno would be called on, though this might happen through unlucky chance. He exchanged a joyful glance with Kai and began to relax somewhat.

But now Timm’s reading was interrupted. Whether Dr. Mantelsack could not hear him, or whether he stood in need of exercise, is not to be known. But he left his platform and walked slowly down through the room. He paused near Timm, with his book in his hand; Timm meanwhile had succeeded in getting his own book out of sight, but was now entirely helpless. His funnel-shaped mouth emitted a gasp, he looked at the Ordinarius with honest, troubled blue eyes, and could not fetch out another syllable.

“Well, Timm,” said Dr. Mantelsack. “Can’t you get on?”

Timm clutched his brow, rolled up his eyes, sighed windily, and said with a dazed smile: “I get all mixed up, Herr Doctor, when you stand so close to me.”

Dr. Mantelsack smiled too. He smiled in a very flattered way and said “Well, pull yourself together and get on.” And he strolled back to his place.

And Timm pulled himself together. He drew out and opened his book again, all the time apparently wrestling to recover his self-control and staring about the room. Then he dropped his head and was himself again.

“Very good,” said the master, when he had finished. “It is clear that you have studied to some purpose. But you sacrifice the rhythm too much, Timm. You seem to understand the elisions; yet you have not been really reading hexameters at all. I have an impression as if you had learned the whole thing by heart, like prose. But, as I say, you have been diligent, you have done your best—and whoever does his best—; you may sit down.”

Timm sat down, proud and beaming, and Dr. Mantelsack gave him a good mark in his book. And the extraordinary thing was that at this moment not only the master, but also Timm himself and all his classmates, sincerely felt that Timm was a good industrious pupil who had fully deserved the mark he got. Hanno Buddenbrook, even, thought the same, though something within him revolted against the thought. He listened with strained attention to the next name.

“Mumme,” said Dr. Mantelsack. “Again: aurea prima—”

Mumme! Well! Thank Heaven! Hanno was now in probable safety. The lines would hardly be asked for a third time, and in the sight-reading the letter B had just been called up.

Mumme got up. He was tall and pale, with trembling hands and extraordinary large round glasses. He had trouble with his eyes, and was so short-sighted that he could not possibly read standing up from a book on the desk before him. He had to learn, and he had learned. But to-day he had not expected to be called up; he was, besides, painfully ungifted; and he stuck after the first few words. Dr. Mantelsack helped him, he helped him again in a sharper tone, and for the third time with intense irritation. But when Mumme came to a final stop, the Ordinarius was mastered by indignation.

“This is entirely insufficient, Mumme. Sit down. You cut a disgraceful figure, let me tell you, sir. A cretin! Stupid and lazy both—it is really too much.”

Mumme was overwhelmed. He looked the child of calamity, and at this moment everybody in the room despised him. A sort of disgust, almost like nausea, mounted again in Hanno Buddenbrook’s throat; but at the same time he observed with horrid clarity all that was going forward. Dr. Mantelsack made a mark of sinister meaning after Mumme’s name, and then looked through his notebook with frowning brows. He went over, in his disgust, to the order of the day, and looked to see whose turn it really was. There was no doubt that this was the case: and just as Hanno was overpowered by this knowledge, he heard his name—as if in a bad dream.

“Buddenbrook!” Dr. Mantelsack had said “Buddenbrook.” The scale was in the air again. Hanno could not believe his senses. There was a buzzing in his ears. He sat still.

“Herr Buddenbrook!” said Dr. Mantelsack, and stared at him sharply through his glasses with his prominent sapphire-blue eyes. “Will you have the goodness?”

Very well, then. It was to be. It had to come. It had come differently from his expectations, but still, here it was, and he was none the less lost. But he was calm. Would it be a very big row? He rose in his place and was about to utter some forlorn and absurd excuse to the effect that he had “forgotten” to study the lines, when he became aware that the boy ahead of him was offering him his open book.

This boy, Hans Hermann Kilian, was a small brown lad with oily hair and broad shoulders. He had set his heart on becoming an officer, and was so possessed by an ideal of comradeship that he would not leave in the lurch even little Buddenbrook, whom he did not like. He pointed with his finger to the place.

Hanno gazed down upon it and began to read. With trembling voice, his face working, he read of the Golden Age, when truth and justice flourished of their own free will, without laws or compulsions. “Punishment and fear did not exist,” he said, in Latin. “No threats were graven upon the bronze tablets, nor did those who came to petition fear the countenance of the judges. …” He read in fear and trembling, read with design badly and disjointedly, purposely omitted some of the elisions that were marked with pencil in Kilian’s book, made mistakes in the lines, progressed with apparent difficulty, and constantly expected the master to discover the fraud and pounce upon him. The guilty satisfaction of seeing the open book in front of him gave him a pricking sensation in his skin; but at the same time he had such a feeling of disgust that he intentionally deceived as badly as possible, simply to make the deceit seem less vulgar to himself. He came to the end, and a pause ensued, during which he did not dare look up. He felt convinced that Dr. Mantelsack had seen all, and his lips were perfectly white. But at length the master sighed and said:

“Oh, Buddenbrook! Si tacuisses! You will permit me the classical thou, for this once. Do you know what you have done? You have conducted yourself like a vandal, a barbarian. You are a humourist, Buddenbrook; I can see that by your face. If I ask myself whether you have been coughing or whether you have been reciting this noble verse, I should incline to the former. Timm showed small feeling for rhythm, but compared to you he is a genius, a rhapsodist! Sit down, unhappy wretch! You have studied the lines, I cannot deny it, and I am constrained to give you a good mark. You have probably done your best. But tell me—have I not been told that you are musical, that you play the piano? How is it possible? Well, very well, sit down. You have worked hard—that must suffice.”

He put a good mark down in his book, and Hanno Buddenbrook took his seat. He felt as Timm, the rhapsodist had felt before him—that he really deserved the praise which Dr. Mantelsack gave him. Yes, at the moment he was of the opinion that he was, if rather a dull, yet an industrious pupil, who had come off with honour, comparatively speaking. He was conscious that all his schoolmates, not excepting Hans Hermann Kilian, had the same view. Yet he felt at the same time somewhat nauseated. Pale, trembling, too exhausted to think about what had happened, he closed his eyes and sank back in lethargy.

Dr. Mantelsack, however, went on with the lesson. He came to the verses that were to have been prepared for to-day, and called up Petersen. Petersen rose, fresh, lively, sanguine, in a stout attitude, ready for the fray. Yet to-day, even to-day, was destined to see his fall. Yes, the lesson hour was not to pass without a catastrophe far worse than that which had befallen the hapless, short-sighted Mumme.

Petersen translated, glancing now and then at the other page of his book, which should have had nothing on it. He did it quite cleverly: he acted as though something there distracted him—a speck of dust, perhaps, which he brushed with his hand or tried to blow away. And yet—there followed the catastrophe.

Dr. Mantelsack made a sudden violent movement, which was responded to on Petersen’s part by a similar movement, And in the same moment the master left his seat, dashed headlong down from his platform, and approached Petersen with long, impetuous strides.

“You have a crib in your book,” he said as he came up.

“A crib—I—no,” stammered Petersen. He was a charming lad, with a great wave of blond hair on his forehead and lovely blue eyes which now flickered in a frightened way.

“You have no crib in your book?”

“A crib, Herr Doctor? No, really, I haven’t. You are mistaken. You are accusing me falsely.” Petersen betrayed himself by the unnatural correctness of his language, which he used in order to intimidate the master. “I am not deceiving you,” he repeated, in the greatness of his need. “I have always been honourable, my whole life long.”

But Dr. Mantelsack was all too certain of the painful fact.

“Give me your book,” he said coldly.

Petersen clung to his book; he raised it up in both hands and went on protesting. He stammered, his tongue grew thick. “Believe me, Herr Doctor. There is nothing in the book—I have no crib—I have not deceived you—I have always been honourable—”

“Give me your book,” repeated the master, stamping his foot.

Then Petersen collapsed, and his face grew grey.

“Very well,” said he, and delivered up his book. “Here it is. Yes, there is a crib in it. You can see for yourself; there it is. But I haven’t used it” he suddenly shrieked, quite at random.

Dr. Mantelsack ignored this idiotic lie, which was rooted in despair. He drew out the crib, looked at it with an expression of extreme disgust, as if it were a piece of decaying offal, thrust it into his pocket, and threw the volume of Ovid contemptuously back on Petersen’s desk.

“Give me the class register,” he said in a hollow voice.

Adolf Todtenhaupt dutifully fetched it, and Petersen received a mark for dishonesty which effectually demolished his chances of being sent up at Easter. “You are the shame of the class,” said Dr. Mantelsack.

Petersen sat down. He was condemned. His neighbour avoided contact with him. Every one looked at him with a mixture of pity, aversion, and disgust. He had fallen, utterly and completely, because he had been found out. There was but one opinion as to Petersen, and that was that he was, in very truth, the shame of the class. They recognized and accepted his fall, as they had the rise of Timm and Buddenbrook and the unhappy Mumme’s mischance. And Petersen did too.

Thus most of this class of twenty-five young folk, being of sound and strong constitution, armed and prepared to wage the battle of life as it is, took things just as they found them, and did not at this moment feel any offence or uneasiness. Everything seemed to them to be quite in order. But one pair of eyes, little Johann’s, which stared gloomily at a point on Hans Hermann Kilian’s broad back, were filled, in their blue-shadowed depths, with abhorrence, fear, and revulsion. The lesson went on. Dr. Mantelsack called on somebody, anybody—he had lost all desire to test any one. And after Adolf Todtenhaupt, another pupil, who was but moderately prepared, and did not even know what “patula Jovis arbore” meant, had been called on, Buddenbrook had to say it. He said it in a low voice, without looking up, because Dr. Mantelsack asked him, and he received a nod of the head for the answer.

And now that the performance of the pupils was over, the lesson had lost all interest. Dr. Mantelsack had one of the best scholars read at his own sweet will, and listened just as little as the twenty-four others, who began to get ready for the next class. This one was finished, in effect. No one could be marked on it, nor his interest or industry judged. And the bell would soon ring. It did ring. It rang for Hanno, and he had received a nod of approbation. Thus it was.

“Well!” said Kai to Hanno, as they walked down the Gothic corridor with their classmates, to go to the chemistry class, “what do you say now about the brow of Caesar? You had wonderful luck!”

“I feel sick, Kai,” said little Johann, “I don’t like that kind of luck. It makes me sick.” Kai knew he would have felt the same in Hanno’s place.

The chemistry hall was a vaulted chamber like an amphitheatre with benches rising in tiers, a long table for the experiments, and two glass cases of phials. The air in the classroom had grown very hot and heavy again; but here it was saturated with an odour of sulphuretted hydrogen from a just-completed experiment, and smelled abominable. Kai flung up the window and then stole Adolf Todtenhaupt’s copy-book and began in great haste to copy down the lesson for the day. Hanno and several others did the same. This occupied the entire pause till the bell rang, and Dr. Marotzke came in.

This was the “deep one,” as Kai and Hanno called him. He was a medium-sized dark man with a very yellow skin, two large lumps on his brow, a stiff smeary beard, and hair of the same kind. He always looked unwashed and unkempt, but his appearance probably belied him. He taught the natural sciences, but his own field was mathematics, in which subject he had the reputation of being an original thinker. He liked to hold forth on the subject of metaphysical passages from the Bible; and when in a good-natured or discursive mood, he would entertain the boys of the first and second forms with marvellous interpretations of mysterious passages. He was, besides all this, a reserve officer, and very enthusiastic over the service. As an official who was also in the army, he stood very well with Director Wulicke. He set more store by discipline than any of the other masters: he would review the ranks of sturdy youngsters with a professional eye, and he insisted on short, brisk answers to questions. This mixture of mysticism and severity was not, on the whole, attractive.

The copy-books were shown, and Dr. Marotzke went around and touched each one with his finger. Some of the pupils who had not done theirs at all, put down other books or turned this one back to an old lesson; but he never noticed.

Then the lesson began, and the twenty-five boys had to display their industry and interest with respect to boric acid, and chlorine, and strontium, as in the previous period they had displayed it with respect to Ovid. Hans Hermann Kilian was commended because he Knew that BaSO4, or barytes, was the metal most commonly used in counterfeiting. He was the best in the class, anyhow, because of his desire to be an officer. Kai and Hanno knew nothing at all, and fared very badly in Dr. Marotzke’s notebook.

And when the tests, recitation, and marking were over, the interest in chemistry was about exhausted too. Dr. Marotzke began to make a few experiments; there were a few pops, a few coloured gases; but that was only to fill out the hour. He dictated the next lesson; and then the third period, too, was a thing of the past.

Everybody was in good spirits now—even Petersen, despite the blow he had received. For the next hour was likely to be a jolly one. Not a soul felt any qualms before it, and it even promised occasion for entertainment and mischief. This was English, with Candidate Modersohn, a young philologian who had been for a few weeks on trial in the faculty—or, as Kai, Count Mölln, put it, he was filling a limited engagement with the company. There was little prospect, however, of his being re-engaged. His classes were much too entertaining.

Some of the form remained in the chemistry hall, others went up to the classroom; nobody needed to go down and freeze in the courtyard, because Herr Modersohn was in charge up in the corridors, and he never dared send any one down. Moreover, there were preparations to be made for his reception.

The room did not become in the least quieter when it rang for the fourth hour. Everybody chattered and laughed and prepared to see some fun. Count Mölln, his head in his hands, went on reading Roderick Usher. Hanno was audience. Some of the boys imitated the voices of animals; there was the shrill crowing of a cock; and Wasservogel, in the back row, grunted like a pig without anybody’s being able to see that the noise came from his inside. On the blackboard was a huge chalk drawing, a caricature, with squinting eyes, drawn by Timm the rhapsodist. And when Herr Modersohn entered he could not shut the door, even with the most violent efforts, because there was a thick fir-cone in the crack; Adolf Todtenhaupt had to take it away.

Candidate Modersohn was an undersized, insignificant looking man. His face was always contorted with a sour, peevish expression, and he walked with one shoulder thrust forward. He was frightfully self-conscious, blinked, drew in his breath, and kept opening his mouth as if he wanted to say something if he could only think of it. Three steps from the door he trod on a cracker of such exceptional quality that it made a noise like dynamite. He jumped violently; then, in these straits, he smiled exactly as though nothing had happened and took his place before the middle row of benches, stooping sideways, in his customary attitude, and resting one palm on the desk in front of him. But this posture of his was familiar to everybody; somebody had put some ink on the right spot, and Herr Modersohn’s small clumsy hand got all inky. He acted as though he had not noticed, laid his wet black hand on his back, blinked, and said in a soft, weak voice: “The order in the classroom leaves something to be desired.”

Hanno Buddenbrook loved him in that moment, sat quite still, and looked up into his worried, helpless face. But Wasservogel grunted louder than ever, and a handful of peas went rattling against the window and bounced back into the room.

“It’s hailing,” somebody said, quite loudly. Herr Modersohn appeared to believe this, for he went without more ado to the platform and asked for the register. He needed it to call the names from, for, though he had been teaching the class for five or six weeks, he hardly knew any of them by name.

“Feddermann,” he said, “will you please recite the poem?”

“Absent,” shouted a chorus of voices. And there sat Feddermann, large as life, in his place, shooting peas with great skill and accuracy.

Herr Modersohn blinked again and selected a new name. “Wasservogel,” he said.

“Dead,” shouted Petersen, attacked by a grim humour. And the chorus, grunting, crowing, and with shouts of derision, asseverated that Wasservogel was dead.

Herr Modersohn blinked afresh. He looked about him, drew down his mouth, and put his finger on another name in the register. “Perlemann,” he said, without much confidence.

“Unfortunately, gone mad,” uttered Kai, Count Mölln, with great clarity and precision. And this also was confirmed by the chorus amid an ever-increasing tumult.

Then Herr Modersohn stood up and shouted in to the hubbub: “Buddenbrook, you will do me a hundred lines imposition. If you laugh again, I shall be obliged to mark you.”

Then he sat down again. It was true that Hanno had laughed. He had been seized by a quiet but violent spasm of laughter, and went on because he could not stop. He had found Kai’s joke so good—the “unfortunately” had especially appealed to him. But he became quiet when Herr Modersohn attacked him, and sat looking solemnly into the Candidate’s face. He observed at that moment every detail of the man’s appearance: saw every pathetic little hair in his scanty beard, which showed the skin through it; saw his brown, empty, disconsolate eyes; saw that he had on what appeared to be two pairs of cuffs, because the sleeves of his shirt came down so long; saw the whole pathetic, inadequate figure he made. He saw more: he saw into the man’s inner self. Hanno Buddenbrook was almost the only pupil whom Herr Modersohn knew by name, and he availed himself of the knowledge to call him constantly to order, give him impositions, and tyrannize over him. He had distinguished Buddenbrook from the others simply because of his quieter behaviour—and of this he took advantage to make him feel his authority, an authority he did not dare exert upon the real offenders. Hanno looked at him and reflected that Herr Modersohn’s lack of fine feeling made it almost impossible even to pity him! “I don’t bully you,” he addressed the Candidate, in his thoughts: “I don’t share in the general tormenting like the others—and how do you repay me? But so it is, and so will it be, always and everywhere,” he thought; and fear, and that sensation almost amounting to physical nausea, rose again in him. “And the most dreadful thing is that I can’t help seeing through you with such disgusting clearness!”

At last Herr Modersohn found some one who was neither dead nor crazy, and who would take it upon himself to repeat the English verse. This was a poem called “The Monkey,” a poor childish composition, required to be committed to memory by these growing lads whose thoughts were already mostly bent on business, on the sea, on the coming conflicts of actual life.

“Monkey, little, merry fellow,

Thou art nature’s punchinello …”

There were endless verses—Kassbaum read them, quite simply, out of his book. Nobody needed to trouble himself about what Herr Modersohn thought. The noise grew worse and worse, the feet shuffled and scraped on the dusty floor, the cock crowed, the pig grunted, peas filled the air. The five-and-twenty were drunk with disorder. And the unregulated instincts of their years awoke. They drew obscene pictures on pieces of paper, passed them about, and laughed at them greedily.

All at once everything was still. The pupil who was then reciting interrupted himself; even Herr Modersohn got up and listened. They heard something charming: a pure, bell-like sound, coming from the bottom of the room and flowing sweetly, sensuously, with indescribably tender effect, on the sudden silence. It was a music-box which somebody had brought, playing “Du, du, liegst mir am Herzen” in the middle of the English lesson. But precisely at that moment when the little melody died away, something frightful ensued. It broke like a sudden storm over the heads of the class, unexpected, cruel, overwhelming, paralyzing.

Without anybody’s having knocked, the door opened wide with a great shove, and a presence came in, high and huge, growled, and stood with a single stride in front of the benches. It was the Lord God.

Herr Modersohn grew ashy pale and dragged down the chair from the platform, dusting it with his handkerchief. The pupils had sprung up like one man. They pressed their arms to their sides, stood on their tip-toes, bent their heads, and bit their tongues in the fervour of their devotion. The deepest silence reigned. Somebody gasped with the effort he made—then all was still again.

Director Wulicke measured the saluting columns for a while with his eye. He lifted his arm with its dirty funnel-shaped cuff, and let it fall with the fingers spread out, as if he were attacking a keyboard. “Sit down,” he said in his double-bass voice.

The pupils sank back into their seats. Herr Modersohn pulled up the chair with trembling hands, and the Director sat down beside the dais. “Please proceed,” he said. That was all, but it sounded as frightful as if the words he uttered had been “Now we shall see, and woe to him who—”

The reason for his coming was clear. Herr Modersohn was to give evidence of his ability to teach, to show what the lower second had learned in the six or seven hours he had been with them. It was a question of Herr Modersohn’s existence and future. The Candidate was a sorry figure as he stood on the platform and called again on somebody to recite “The Monkey.” Up to now it had been only the pupils who were examined, but now it was the master as well. Alas, it went badly on both sides! Herr Director Wulicke’s appearance was entirely unexpected, and only two or three of the pupils were prepared. It was impossible for Herr Modersohn to call up Adolf Todtenhaupt for the whole hour on end; after “The Monkey” had been recited once, it could not be asked for again, and so things were in a bad way. When the reading from Ivanhoe began, young Count Mölln was the only person who could translate it at all, he having a personal interest in the novel. The others hemmed and hawed, stuttered, and got hopelessly stuck. Hanno Buddenbrook was called up and could not do a line. Director Wulicke gave utterance to a sound that was as though the lowest string of his double-bass had been violently plucked, and Herr Modersohn wrung his small, clumsy, inky hands repeating plaintively over and over. “And it went so well—it always went so well!”

He was still saying it, half to the pupils and half to the Director, when the bell rang. But the Lord God stood erect with folded arms before his chair and stared in front of him over the heads of the class. Then he commanded that the register be brought, and slowly marked down for laziness all those pupils whose performances of the morning had been deficient—or entirely lacking—six or seven marks at one fell swoop. He could not put down a mark for Herr Modersohn, but he was much worse than the others. He stood there with a face like chalk, broken, done for. Hanno Buddenbrook was among those marked down. And Director Wulicke said besides, “I will spoil all your careers for you.” Then he went.

The bell rang; class was over. It was always like that. When you expected trouble it did not come. When you thought all was well—then, the catastrophe. It was now impossible for Hanno to go up at Easter. He rose from his seat and went drearily out of the room, seeking the aching back tooth with his tongue.

Kai came up to him and put his arm across his shoulders. Together they walked down to the courtyard, among the crowd of excited comrades, all of whom were discussing the extraordinary event. He looked with loving anxiety into Hanno’s face and said, “Please forgive, Hanno, for translating. It would have been better to keep still and get a mark. It’s so cheap—”

“Didn’t I say what ‘patula Jovis arbore’ meant?” answered Hanno. “Don’t mind, Kai. That doesn’t matter. One just mustn’t mind.”

“I suppose that’s true. Well, the Lord God is going to ruin your career. You may as well resign yourself, Hanno, because if it is His inscrutable will—. Career—what a lovely word ‘career’ is! Herr Modersohn’s career is spoilt too. He will never get to be a master, poor chap! There are assistant masters, you may know, and there are head masters; but never by any chance a plain master. This is a mystery not to be revealed to youthful minds; it is only intended for grown-ups and persons of mature experience. An ordinary intelligence might say that either one is a master or one is not. I might go up to the Lord God or Herr Marotzke and explain this to him. But what would be the result? They would consider it an insult, and I should be punished for insubordination—all for having discovered for them a much higher significance in their calling than they themselves were aware of! No, let’s not talk about them—they’re all thick-skinned brutes!”

They walked about the court; Kai made jokes to help Hanno forget his bad mark, and Hanno listened and enjoyed.

“Look, here is a door, an outer door. It is open, and outside there is the street. How would it be if we were to go out and take a little walk? It is recess, and we have still six minutes. We could easily be back in time. But it is perfectly impossible. You see what I mean? Here is the door. It is open, there is no grating, there is nothing, nothing whatever to prevent us. And yet it is impossible for us to step outside for even a second—it is even impossible for us to think of doing so. Well, let’s not think of it, then. Let’s take another example: we don’t say, for instance, that it is nearly half-past twelve. No, we say, ‘It’s nearly time for the geography period’! You see? Now, I ask, is this any sort of a life to lead? Everything is wrong. Oh, Lord, if the institution would just once let us out of her loving embrace!”

“Well, and what then? No, Kai, we should just have to do something then; here, at least we are taken care of. Since my Father died Herr Stephan Kistenmaker and Pastor Pringsheim have taken over the business of asking me every day what I want to be. I don’t know. I can’t answer. I can’t be anything. I’m afraid of everything—”

“How can anybody talk so dismally? What about your music?”

“What about my music, Kai? There is nothing to it. Shall I travel round and give concerts? In the first place, they wouldn’t let me; and in the second place, I should never really know enough. I can play very little. I can only improvise a little when I am alone. And then, the traveling about must be dreadful, I imagine. It is different with you. You have more courage. You go about laughing at it all—you have something to set against it. You want to write, to tell wonderful stories. Well, that is something. You will surely become famous, you are so clever. The thing is, you are so much livelier. Sometimes in class we look at each other, the way we did when Petersen got marked because he read out of a crib, when all the rest of us did the same. The same thought is in both our minds—but you know how to make a face and let it pass. I can’t. I get so tired of things. I’d like to sleep and never wake up. I’d like to die, Kai! No, I am no good. I can’t want anything. I don’t even want to be famous. I’m afraid of it, just as much as if it were a wrong thing to do. Nothing can come of me, that is perfectly sure. One day, after confirmation-class, I heard Pastor Pringsheim tell somebody that one must just give me up, because I come of a decayed family.”

“Did he say that?” Kai asked with deep interest.

“Yes; he meant my Uncle Christian, in the institution in Hamburg. One must just give me up—oh, I’d be so happy if they would! I have so many worries; everything is so hard for me. If I give myself a little cut or bruise anywhere, and make a wound that would heal in a week with anybody else, it takes a month with me. It gets inflamed and infected and makes me all sorts of trouble. Herr Brecht told me lately that all my teeth are in a dreadful condition—not to mention the ones that have been pulled already. If they are like that now, what will they be when I am thirty or forty years old? I am completely discouraged.”

“Oh, come,” Kai said, and struck into a livelier gait. “Now you must tell me something about your playing. I want to write something marvellous—perhaps I’ll begin it to-day, in drawing period. Will you play this afternoon?”

Hanno was silent a moment. A flush came upon his face, and a painful, confused look.

“Yes, I’ll play—I suppose—though I ought not. I ought to practise my sonatas and etudes and then stop. But I suppose I’ll play; I cannot help it, though it only makes everything worse.”


Hanno was silent.

“I know what you mean,” said Kai after a bit, and then neither of the lads spoke again.

They were both at the same difficult age. Kai’s face burned, and he cast down his eyes. Hanno looked pale and serious; his eyes had clouded over, and he kept giving sideways glances.

Then the bell rang, and they went up.

The geography period came next, and an important test on the kingdom of Hesse-Nassau. A man with a red beard and brown tail-coat came in. His face was pale, and his hands were very full of pores, but without a single hair. This was “the clever one,” Dr. Mühsam. He suffered from occasional hemorrhages, and always spoke in an ironic tone, because it was his pose to be considered as witty as he was ailing. He possessed a Heine collection, a quantity of papers and objects connected with that cynical and sickly poet. He proceeded to mark the boundaries of Hesse-Nassau on the map that hung on the wall, and then asked, with a melancholy, mocking smile, if the gentlemen would indicate in their books the important features of the country. It was as though he meant to make game of the class and of Hesse-Nassau as well; yet this was an important test, and much dreaded by the entire form.

Hanno Buddenbrook knew next to nothing about Hesse-Nassau. He tried to look on Adolf Todtenhaupt’s book; but Heinrich Heine, who had a penetrating observation despite his suffering, melancholy air, pounced on him at once and said: “Herr Buddenbrook, I am tempted to ask you to close your book, but that I suspect you would be glad to have me do so. Go on with your work.”

The remark contained two witticisms. First, that Dr. Mühsam addressed Hanno as Herr Buddenbrook, and, second, that about the copy-book. Hanno continued to brood over his book, and handed it in almost empty when he went out with Kai.

The difficulties were now over with for the day. The fortunate ones who had come through without marks, had light and easy consciences, and life seemed like play to them as they betook themselves to the large well-lighted room where they might sit and draw under the supervision of Herr Drägemüller. Plaster casts from the antique stood about the room, and there was a great cupboard containing divers pieces of wood and doll-furniture which served as models. Herr Drägemüller was a thick-set man with a full round beard and a smooth, cheap brown wig which stood out in the back of the neck and betrayed itself. He possessed two wigs, one with longer hair, the other with shorter; if he had had his beard cut he would don the shorter wig as well. He was a man with some droll peculiarities of speech. For instance, he called a lead pencil a “lead.” He gave out an oily-alcoholic odour; and it was said of him that he drank petroleum. It always delighted him to have an opportunity to take a class in something besides drawing. On such occasions he would lecture on the policy of Bismarck, accompanying himself with impressive spiral gestures from his nose to his shoulder. Social democracy was his bugbear—he spoke of it with fear and loathing. “We must keep together,” he used to say to refractory pupils, pinching them on the arm. “Social democracy is at the door!” He was possessed by a sort of spasmodic activity: would sit down next a pupil, exhaling a strong spirituous odour, tap him on the forehead with his seal ring, shoot out certain isolated words and phrases like “Perspective! Light and shade! The lead! Social democracy! Stick together!”—and then dash off again.

Kai worked at his new literary project during this period, and Hanno occupied himself with conducting, in fancy, an overture with full orchestra. Then school was over, they fetched down their things, the gate was opened, they were free to pass, and they went home.

Hanno and Kai went the same road together as far as the little red villa, their books under their arms. Young Count Mölln had a good distance farther to go alone before he reached the paternal dwelling. He never wore an overcoat.

The morning’s fog had turned to snow, which came down in great white flocks and rapidly became slush. They parted at the Buddenbrook gate; but when Hanno was half-way up the garden Kai came back to put his arm about his neck. “Don’t give up—better not play!” he said gently. Then his slender, jaunty figure disappeared in the whirling snow.

Hanno put down his books on the bear’s tray in the corridor and went into the living room to see his mother. She sat on the sofa reading a book with a yellow paper cover, and looked up as he crossed the room. She gazed at him with her brown, close-set, blue-shadowed eyes; as he stood before her, she took his head in both her hands and kissed him on the brow.

He went upstairs, where Fräulein Clementine had some luncheon ready for him, washed, and ate. When he was done he took out of his desk a packet of little biting Russian cigarettes and began to smoke. He was no stranger to their use by now. Then he sat down at the harmonium and played something from Bach: something very severe and difficult, in fugue form. At length he clasped his hands behind his head and looked out the window at the snow noiselessly tumbling down. Nothing else was to be seen; for there was no longer a charming little garden with a plashing fountain beneath his window. The view was cut off by the grey side-wall of the neighbouring villa.

Dinner was at four o’clock, and Hanno, his mother, and Fräulein Clementine sat down to it. Afterward Hanno saw that there were preparations for music in the salon, and awaited his mother at the piano. They played the Sonata Opus 24 of Beethoven. In the adagio the violin sang like an angel; but Gerda took the instrument from her chin with a dissatisfied air, looked at it in irritation, and said it was not in tune. She played no more, but went up to rest.

Hanno remained in the salon. He went to the glass door that led out on the small verandah and looked into the drenched garden. But suddenly he took a step back and jerked the cream-coloured curtains across the door, so that the room lay in a soft yellow twilight. Then he went to the piano. He stood for a while, and his gaze, directed fixed and unseeing upon a distant point, altered slowly, grew blurred and vague and shadowy. He sat down at the instrument and began to improvise.

It was a simple motif which he employed—a mere trifle, an unfinished fragment of melody in one bar and a half. He brought it out first, with unsuspected power, in the bass, as a single voice: indicating it as the source and fount of all that was to come, and announcing it, with a commanding entry, by a burst of trumpets. It was not quite easy to grasp his intention; but when he repeated and harmonized it in the treble, with a timbre like dull silver, it proved to consist essentially of a single resolution, a yearning and painful melting of one tone into another—a short-winded, pitiful invention, which nevertheless gained a strange, mysterious, and significant value precisely by means of the meticulous and solemn precision with which it was defined and produced. And now there began more lively passages, a restless coming and going of syncopated sound, seeking, wandering, torn by shrieks like a soul in unrest and tormented by some knowledge it possesses and cannot conceal, but must repeat in ever different harmonies, questioning, complaining, protesting, demanding, dying away. The syncopation increased, grew more pronounced, driven hither and thither by scampering triplets; the shrieks of fear recurred, they took form and became melody. There was a moment when they dominated, in a mounting, imploring chorus of wind-instruments that conquered the endlessly thronging, welling, wandering, vanishing harmonies, and swelled out in unmistakable simple rhythms—a crushed, childlike, imposing, imploring chorale. This concluded with a sort of ecclesiastical cadence. A fermate followed, a silence. And then, quite softly, in a timbre of dull silver, there came the first motif again, the paltry invention, a figure either tiresome or obscure, a sweet, sentimental dying-away of one tone into another. This was followed by a tremendous uproar, a wild activity, punctuated by notes like fanfares, expressive of violent resolve. What was coming? Then came horns again, sounding the march; there was an assembling, a concentrating, firm, consolidated rhythms; and a new figure began, a bold improvisation, a sort of lively, stormy hunting song. There was no joy in this hunting song; its note was one of defiant despair. Signals sounded through it; yet they were not only signals but cries of fear; while throughout, winding through it all, through all the writhen, bizarre harmonies, came again that mysterious first motif, wandering in despair, torturingly sweet. And now began a ceaseless hurry of events whose sense and meaning could not be guessed, a restless flood of sound-adventures, rhythms, harmonies, welling up uncontrolled from the keyboard, as they shaped themselves under Hanno’s labouring fingers. He experienced them, as it were; he did not know them beforehand. He sat a little bent over the keys, with parted lips and deep, far gaze, his brown hair covering his forehead with its soft curls. What was the meaning of what he played? Were these images of fearful difficulties surmounted, flames passed through and torrents swum, castles stormed and dragons slain? But always—now like a yelling laugh, now like an ineffably sweet promise—the original motif wound through it all, the pitiful phrase with its notes melting into one another! Now the music seemed to rouse itself to new and gigantic efforts: wild runs in octaves followed, sounding like shrieks; an irresistible mounting, a chromatic upward struggle, a wild relentless longing, abruptly broken by startling, arresting pianissimi which gave a sensation as if the ground were disappearing from beneath one’s feet, or like a sudden abandonment and sinking into a gulf of desire. Once, far off and softly warning, sounded the first chords of the imploring prayer; but the flood of rising cacophonies overwhelmed them with their rolling, streaming, clinging, sinking, and struggling up again, as they fought on toward the end that must come, must come this very moment, at the height of this fearful climax—for the pressure of longing had become intolerable. And it came; it could no longer be kept back—those spasms of yearning could not be prolonged. And it came as though curtains were rent apart, doors sprang open, thorn-hedges parted of themselves, walls of flame sank down. The resolution, the redemption, the complete fulfilment—a chorus of jubilation burst forth, and everything resolved itself in a harmony—and the harmony, in sweet ritardando, at once sank into another. It was the motif, the first motif! And now began a festival, a triumph, an unbounded orgy of this very figure, which now displayed a wealth of dynamic colour which passed through every octave, wept and shivered in tremolo, sang, rejoiced, and sobbed in exultation, triumphantly adorned with all the bursting, tinkling, foaming, purling resources of orchestral pomp. The fanatical worship of this worthless trifle, this scrap of melody, this brief, childish harmonic invention only a bar and a half in length, had about it something stupid and gross, and at the same time something ascetic and religious—something that contained the essence of faith and renunciation. There was a quality of the perverse in the insatiability with which it was produced and revelled in: there was a sort of cynical despair; there was a longing for joy, a yielding to desire, in the way the last drop of sweetness was, as it were, extracted from the melody, till exhaustion, disgust, and satiety supervened. Then, at last at last, in the weariness after excess, a long, soft arpeggio in the minor trickled through, mounted a tone, resolved itself in the major, and died in mournful lingering away.

Hanno sat still a moment, his chin on his breast, his hands in his lap. Then he got up and closed the instrument. He was very pale, there was no strength in his knees, and his eyes were burning. He went into the next room, stretched himself on the chaise-lounge, and remained for a long time motionless.

Later there was supper, and he played a game of chess with his mother, at which neither side won. But until after midnight he still sat in his room, before his harmonium, and played—played in thought only, for he must make no noise. He did this despite his firm intention to get up the next morning at half-past five, to do some most necessary preparation.

This was one day in the life of little Johann.