“I had not seen my Mamma for nine year, ant I know not whether she lived or whether her bones had long since lain in ze dark grave. Ven I come to my own country and go to ze town I ask, ‘Where live Kustaf Mayer who was farmer to ze Count von Zomerblat? ‘ ant zey answer me, ‘Graf Zomerblat is deat, ant Kustaf Mayer live now in ze pig street, ant keep a public-house.’ So I tress in my new waistcoat and one noble coat which ze manufacturist presented me, arranged my hairs nice, ant go to ze public-house of my Papa. Sister Mariechen vas sitting on a pench, and she ask me what I want. I says, ‘Might I trink one glass of pranty?’ ant she says, ‘Vater, here is a yong man who wish to trink one glass of pranty.’ Ant Papa says, ‘Give him ze glass.’ I set to ze table, trink my glass of pranty, smoke my pipe, ant look at Papa, Mariechen, ant Johann (who also come into ze shop). In ze conversation Papa says, ‘You know, perhaps, yong man, where stants our army?’ and I say, ‘I myself am come from ze army, ant it stants now at Wien.’ ‘Our son,’ says Papa, ‘is a Soldat, ant now is it nine years since he wrote never one wort, and we know not whether he is alive or dead. My voman cry continually for him.’ I still fumigate the pipe, ant say, ‘What was your son’s name, and where servet he? Perhaps I may know him.’ ‘His name was Karl Mayer, ant he servet in ze Austrian Jagers.’ ‘He were of pig stature, ant a handsome man like yourself,’ puts in Mariechen. I say, ‘I know your Karl.’ ‘Amalia,’ exclaimet my Vater. ‘Come here! Here is yong man which knows our Karl!’— ant my dear Mutter comes out from a back door. I knew her directly. ‘You know our Karl?’ says she, ant looks at me, ant, white all over, trembles. ‘Yes, I haf seen him,’ I says, without ze corage to look at her, for my heart did almost burst. ‘My Karl is alive?’ she cry. ‘Zen tank Got! Vere is he, my Karl? I woult die in peace if I coult see him once more — my darling son! Bot Got will not haf it so.’ Then she cried, and I coult no longer stant it. ‘Darling Mamma!’ I say, ‘I am your son, I am your Karl!’— and she fell into my arms.
Karl Ivanitch covered his eyes, and his lips were quivering.
“‘Mutter,’ sagte ich, ‘ich bin ihr Sohn, ich bin ihr Karl!’— und sie sturtzte mir in die Arme!’” he repeated, recovering a little and wiping the tears from his eyes.
“Bot Got did not wish me to finish my tays in my own town. I were pursuet by fate. I livet in my own town only sree mons. One Suntay I sit in a coffee-house, ant trinket one pint of Pier, ant fumigated my pipe, ant speaket wis some frients of Politik, of ze Emperor Franz, of Napoleon, of ze war — ant anypoty might say his opinion. But next to us sits a strange chentleman in a grey Uberrock, who trink coffee, fumigate the pipe, ant says nosing. Ven the night watchman shoutet ten o’clock I taket my hat, paid ze money, and go home. At ze middle of ze night some one knock at ze door. I rise ant says, ‘Who is zere?’ ‘Open!’ says someone. I shout again, ‘First say who is zere, ant I will open.’ ‘Open in the name of the law!’ say the someone behint the door. I now do so. Two Soldaten wis gons stant at ze door, ant into ze room steps ze man in ze grey Uberrock, who had sat with us in ze coffeehouse. He were Spion! ‘Come wis me,’ says ze Spion, ‘Very goot!’ say I. I dresset myself in boots, trousers, ant coat, ant go srough ze room. Ven I come to ze wall where my gon hangs I take it, ant says, ‘You are a Spion, so defent you!’ I give one stroke left, one right, ant one on ze head. Ze Spion lay precipitated on ze floor! Zen I taket my cloak-bag ant money, ant jompet out of ze vintow. I vent to Ems, where I was acquainted wis one General Sasin, who loaft me, givet me a passport from ze Embassy, ant taket me to Russland to learn his chiltren. Ven General Sasin tiet, your Mamma callet for me, ant says, ‘Karl Ivanitch, I gif you my children. Loaf them, ant I will never leave you, ant will take care for your olt age.’ Now is she teat, ant all is forgotten! For my twenty year full of service I most now go into ze street ant seek for a try crust of preat for my olt age! Got sees all sis, ant knows all sis. His holy will be done! Only-only, I yearn for you, my children!”— and Karl drew me to him, and kissed me on the forehead.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00