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A Hero of the Pen by E. Werner

And to my great surprise I find them festally adorned


The old city of Bonn did not remain behind in the joy of victory, in the festal-splendors that lighted up every town and hamlet. Here, too, banners waved from roofs and towers; windows and doors were garlanded, and a gay, triumphant life ruled over all. The house of Doctor Stephen, which had usually been the first to celebrate a victory, belonged this time to the number of those which, bare and garlandless, with closed doors and drawn blinds, gave token that its inmates were called to lament the fallen. The death of his nephew, and respect for the surviving sister, had this restraint upon the doctor and his wife; but all proper sorrow for Frederic and all fitting respect for Jane, could not hinder the doctor from preparing a private festal reception for his Professor on the morning of his return; and although the house showed no outward adorning, he and his wife had secretly intruded into the professor's apartments, and passed a whole afternoon in decorating them.

At this moment the doctor stood at the top of a huge ladder, in a hard tussle with the obstinate end of a festoon which would not yield to the windings required to form the initials which were to be displayed over the door of the professor's study. The Frau Doctorin stood at the foot of the ladder and indulged in some rather merciless criticisms as to the artistic capabilities of her wedded lord; now the spray was too high for her, now too low, now she would shove it to the right, now to the left; at last she declared that the initials were crooked. The doctor rearranged, perspired and growled alternately; but at last he lost all patience.

"You cannot judge rightly down below there, child!" he said angrily "Just go back to the door and look at it from there. The general impression is the great thing to be considered, not strict accordance with mathematical lines!"

The Frau Doctorin, obediently stepped back, but just at that moment when she stood leaning against the door, the better to enjoy that all-important general impression, the door was opened from the outside, and the unexpected visitor, with an outcry of terror and compassion, grasped the old lady who had almost fallen into his arms.

"Herr Behrend," sounded the doctor's voice, in its deepest bass, down from the ladder, "be pleased to remain standing there! That is right! Now tell me if the garland is too high, and if the initials are really crooked."

With a polite apology Doctor Behrend released the old lady from his arms, and stood there immovable to take a look at the decorations in question.

"It is very beautiful, very finely designed, but--"

"I told you so, the general effect is all right!" cried the doctor triumphantly, while with a last stroke of the hammer he fastened a festoon to the door; then he laid aside the hammer, and clambered down the ladder to extend his hand to the younger colleague from whom he had long been separated.

"I came to see if Walter's apartments were in any sort of order," said Doctor Behrend, "and to my great surprise I find them festally adorned. You have attended to this in person--"

"Yes, I am the very man!" said the doctor with great self-satisfaction. "We are not quite through here, but come with me into the professor's sanctum; there you can better admire our work."


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