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How women love

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TheProjectGutenbergeBook,HowWomenLove,byMaxSimonNordau
ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwithalmostno
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Title:HowWomenLove(SoulAnalysis)
Author:MaxSimonNordau

ReleaseDate:August4,2006[eBook#18989]
Language:English
***STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKHOWWOMEN
LOVE***
E-textpreparedbyAlHaines

HOWWOMENLOVE
(SoulAnalysis.)
TranslatedfromtheGermanof
MAXNORDAU,


Authorof"Degeneration,""TheMaladyoftheCentury,"
"TheComedyofSentiment,"Etc.,Etc

Copyright,1898,byF.T.Neely.
Copyright,1901,byHurst&Co.
NewYork
Hurst&Company
Publishers



CONTENTS
JusticeorRevenge
PrinceandPeasant
TheArtofGrowingOld
HowWomenLove
AMidsummerNight'sDream


JUSTICEORREVENGE.
CHAPTERI.
AmoreunequallymatchedcouplethanthecartwrightMolnárandhiswifecan
seldombeseen.When,onSunday,thepairwenttochurchthroughthemain
streetofKisfalu,aninsignificantvillageinthePesthcounty,everyonelooked
afterthem,thougheverychild,nay,everycurinthehamlet,knewthemand,
duringthefiveyearssincetheirmarriage,mighthavebecomeaccustomedtothe
spectacle.Butitseemedasthoughitproducedanevernewandsurprisingeffect
uponthebynomeanssensitiveinhabitantsofKisfalu,whoimposedno
constraintuponthemselvestoconcealtheemotionsawakenedbythesightofthe
Molnárpair.Theynevercalledthehusbandbyanyothernamethan"Csunya
Pista,"uglyStephen.Andhewellmeritedtheepithet.Hewasone-eyed,hada
broken,shapelessnose,andanuglyscar,onwhichnohairgrew,uponhisupper
lip,sothathismoustachelookedasifithadbeenshavenoffthere;tocomplete
thepicture,oneofhisuppereye-teethandincisorsweremissing,andhehadthe
unpleasanthabitofputtinghistongueintothesegapsinhisupperrowofteeth,
whichrenderedhiscountenancestillmorerepulsive.
Thewife,onthecontrary,wasaverybeautifulwoman,amagnificenttypeofthe
Magyarrace.Shewastall,powerful,onlyperhapsatrifletoobroad-shouldered.
Herintenselydarkhairandsparklingblackeyessuitedthewarmbronzehueof
herplumpface,which,withitslittlemouthfilledwithmagnificentteeth,its

freshfulllips,thetransparent,enamellikecrimsonofthefirm,roundcheeks,
andthesomewhatlow,butbeautifullyformedbrow,suggestedanewly-ripe
peach.Thisunusuallyhealthycountenance,overspreadwithalightdown,
involuntarilyproducedinthespectatortheimpressionthatitmustexhalea
warm,intoxicating,spicyfragrance;itlookedsotemptingthatonewouldfain
havebittenit.


ThishadbeenmuchthefeelingoftheUhlanofficerswho,withpartofa
companyofmen,werestationedinKisfalu.Fromthefirstdaythatthethree
gentlemenhadenteredtheirvillagegarrisonthebeautifulwomanhadattracted
theirattention,andtheyhadseeninthehusband'suglinessapleasant
encouragementtomakegallantadvances.Thecaptain,aBohemiangentleman,
wasthefirsttointroducehimselftothefairwife.Themorningofthesecondday
afterhisarrivalinthehamlet,takingadvantageoftheabsenceofthemasterof
thehouse,hestoleintothemiserableclayhuttenantedbytheill-assortedpair,
butremainedinsideonlyafewminutes,afterwhichhecameoutwithadeeplyflushedfaceandsomewhathastysteps,caststealthyglancesaroundhimtothe
rightandleft,andthenhurriedaway.Intheafternoonofthesameday,theyoung
lieutenanttriedhisluck,buthetooleftthecartwright'shutmorequicklythanhe
hadentered,andnotexactlywiththeairofaconqueror.Intheeveningthethree
gentlemenmetinthespareroomofthetavernwheretheytooktheirmeals,and
wereremarkablytaciturnandill-tempered.Onthethirddaytheslender,
handsomefirstlieutenantcalledonthecartwright'swife.Hewasafar-famed
conquerorofwomen'shearts,whichhewasaccustomedtowinwithaslittle
troubleasachildgathersstrawberriesinthewoods,andwasenviedbythe
wholeregimentforhisnumberlesssuccesses,whichhedidnottreatwithtoo
muchreticence.Thistimetheadventurelastedsomewhatlonger;thosewho
werepassingheardloudoutcriesanduproarforashorttime,asifawrestling
matchweregoingoninthehut,andtheletter-carrier,anoldwoman,whowas
justgoingby,evenstoodstillinsurpriseandcuriosity.Thecuriositywas

satisfied,forshesoonsawthehandsomeUhlanofficerrushout,pressinghis
handtohischeekasifhehadaviolenttoothache.Helookedverymuch
dishevelledandmadeoffwithnoticeablehaste.Hedidnotappearinthetavern
atnoon,sointheafternoonhistwocomradessenttheirorderliestohimto
enquireabouthishealth;intheeveninghejoinedthemattableandshowedhis
astonishedfriendsabroadstripofblackcourt-plasteronhisrightcheek.
"Whatdoesthatmean?"askedthecaptain.
"Itseemstobeabadcut,"observedthelieutenant.
"Razor?sword-stroke?cat'sclaw?"continuedthecaptain,pursuinghis
enquiries.
"Woman'snails!"burstforththeDonJuanoftheregiment,andnowthegameof
hide-and-seekbetweenthetrioended,andtheybewailedtooneanother,with


comicdespair,theill-lucktheyhadallencountered.
Shehadcourteouslyaskedthecaptaintowhatsheowedthehonourofhisvisit,
andwhen,insteadofanswering,hepinchedherplumpcheekandputhisarm
aroundherwaist,sheflewintoapassionandpointedtothedoorwiththevoice
andgestureofaninsultedqueen.Thelieutenanthadfoundherfarmore
ungracious;shedidnotaskwhathedesired,butangrilythundered,almostbefore
hecrossedthethreshold,anordertomarchwhichpermittedneither
remonstrancenorrefusal;finally,attheappearanceofthefirstlieutenant,she
hadpassedfromthepositionofdefencetothatofassault,shriekedathimwitha
crimsonfaceandflashingeyestobeoffatonce,ifhevaluedthesmoothskinof
hischeeks;andwhen,somewhatbewildered,yetnotwhollyintimidated,hehad
ventured,notwithstandingthisbynomeansencouragingreception,toattemptto
seizeandembraceher,ashewasaccustomedtodowiththecolonel'swife's
maid,when,makingeyesathimintheante-room,shewhisperedunderher
breath:"Letmego,orI'llscream!"sherusheduponhimliterallylikeawild-cat,
and,inaninstant,somauledhimthathecouldneitherhearnorsee,and

consideredhimselffortunatetofindhiswayoutquickly.Andwhenallthree
heroeshadfinishedtheirtragi-comicgeneralconfession,theyunanimously
exclaimed:"Thewomanhastheverydevilinher!"
Theywouldhavelearnedthistruthwithoutbeingobligedtopassthroughall
sortsofexperiences,if,insteadofindulginginself-complacentspeculations
concerningthepossiblecombinationofcircumstanceswhichhadunitedthe
beautifulwomantosouglyaman,theyhadenquiredaboutthecauseofthis
remarkablephenomenon.Theywouldthenhaveheardastrangetalewhich
mighthavedeterredthemfromfindinginMolnár'shideousnessencouragement
topursuehiswifewithgallantries.


CHAPTERII.
Yes,Molnár'swifehadthedevilinher,anditwasherfamilyheritage.Her
father,apoorcottageranddaylabourer,hadbeeninhisyouthoneofthemost
notoriousandboldestbrawlersintheneighborhood;evennow,when
prematurelyagedandhalf-brokendownbywantandhardwork,people
willinglyavoidedhimanddidnotsitatthesametableinthetavernifitcouldbe
helped.Informeryearshehadbeenafrequentinmateofthecountyprison,
wherethebruisesandcutsreceivedinthebrawlonwhoseaccounthewas
incarceratedhadtimetoheal;twoyearsbeforehehadbeeninjailthreemonths
becausehehadusedamanure-forktopreventatax-collectorfromseizinghis
bed,andthebeautifulPannahadthengonetothecapitalonceortwiceaweekto
carryhimcheese,wine,bread,andunderclothing,andotherwisemakehis
situationeasier,sofarasshecould.
Thefamilyviceofsuddenfitsofpassionhadincreasedtoatragedyinthe
destinyoftheonlyson.Hewasahandsomefellow,slenderasapine-tree,the
imageofhissister,whomhelovedwithatendernessveryunusualamong
peasants;heearlybecamethesupporterandcompanionofhisfatherinhis
Sundaybrawls,andthevillagewasnotatalldispleasedwhenhewasdrafted

intothearmy.Itwouldhavebeenaneasymatter,ashewasanonlyson,to
releasehimfrommilitaryservice,buthewasobligedtogobecausetwofathers
ofsoldierscouldnotbefoundinthevillagetogivethetestimonynecessaryfor
hisliberation.Hebecameaconscriptin1865,and,ayearafter,thedoublewar
betweenPrussiaandItalybrokeout.Theyoungfellow'sregimentwasstationed
intheVenetianprovinces.Onenighthewasassignedtooutpostdutyinthefield;
theenemywasnotnear,itwasmid-summer,asultrynight,andthepoorwretch
fellasleep.Unfortunately,thecommanderoftheguard,ayounglieutenantfullof
over-zealfortheservice,wasinspectingtheoutpostsanddiscoveredthesleeper,
towhomheangrilygaveakicktorecallhimtoconsciousnessofhisduty.The
ladstartedup,andwithouthesitationorreflection,dealthisassailantafurious
blowintheface.Therewasagreatuproar,soldiersrushedforward,andhadthe


utmostdifficultyinmasteringtheenragedyoungfellow;hewastakento
headquartersinirons,and,afterashorttrialbycourt-martial,shotonthesame
day.Thefamilydidnotlearntheterriblenewsuntilweekslater,fromadry
officialletteroftheregimentalcommander.Howterriblewasthegriefofthe
fatherandsister!Themanagedtenyearsinaweek,andthegirl,atthattimea
childtwelveyearsold,becamesopaleandthinfromsorrowthattheneighbors
thoughtshewouldnotsurviveit.Notsurviveit?Whatdowenotoutlive!She
conqueredtheanguishanddevelopedintothemostbeautifulmaideninthe
village.
Therewasanausterecharm,anunintentional,unconsciousattractioninher,
whichwoneveryone.Hernotoriousoriginwasnotvisiteduponher,andeven
therichgirlsinthevillagegladlymadehertheirfriend.Whileatworkinthe
fieldsshesanginaringingvoice;inthespinning-room,inwinter,shewasfullof
jestsandmerrytales,asgayandgraciousasbeseemedherage.Probablyon
accountofhervivacioustemperamentandthefeelingofvigourwhichrobust
healthbestows,shewasextremelyfondofdancing,andneverfailedonSundays

toappearinthelargecourtyardofthetavernwhen,intheafternoon,thewhirling
andstampingbegan.Herbeautywoulddoubtlesshavemadeherthemost
popularpartneramongthegirls,hadnottheladsfeltacertainfearofher.A
purringkittenamonghergirlcompanions,readytogiveandtakepracticaljokes,
shewasallclawsandteethagainstmen,andmanyaboldyouthwho,afterthe
dance,attemptedtotaketheusualliberties,metwithsoseverearebuffthathe
boreforaweekamementointheshapeofascratchacrosshiswholeface.
Thereforeshedidnothaveasuperabundanceofpartners,andthusescapedthe
jealousywhich,otherwise,hercharmswouldcertainlyhaverousedintheother
girls.
AdispensationofProvidencerenderedherirritabilitythemeansofdecidingthe
wholecourseofherlife.
OneSunday,lateinthesummer,soonafterthereapingandthreshingwereover
—shewasthentwenty—sheagainstoodinthebrightwarmafternoonsunshine
inthespaciouscourtyardofthevillagetavern,amongagaygroupofgiggling
lasses,waitingwithjoyfulimpatienceforthedancingtobegin.Thetwovillage
gipsieswhomadebricksduringtheweekandplayedonSundays,werealready
there,leaningagainstoneofthewoodenpillarsoftheporchinfrontofthe
house,andtuningtheirfiddles.Theladscrowdedtogether,shoutingjesting
remarkstothegroupofgirls,whoansweredthempromptlyandtothepoint.One


afteranothertheyoungmenlefttheircompanionsandtookfromthelaughing
bevyofmaidensapartner,who,asvillagecustomrequired,atfirstresisted,but
finallyyieldedtothegentleforce—notwithoutsomepleasantlyexciting
strugglingandpulling—andwassoonwhirlingaroundwithhercavalieramid
shoutingandstamping,tillthedustroseinclouds.
ThebeautifulPanna,forreasonsalreadyknowntous,wasnotthefirstperson
invitedtodance.Butatlastherturncamealso,andshecouldjumpwitha
neighbour'sson,tillshewasoutofbreath,toherheart'scontent.Afterspending

morethanfifteenminutesinvigourous,rapidmotion,shefinallysank,inhappy
exhaustion,uponapileofbricksnearacoach-housewhichwasbeingbuilt,and
withflamingcheeksandpantingbosomstruggledforbreath.Pista,the
cartwright,profitedbythemomenttoapproach,andwithgaycriesandgestures
invitehertodanceagain.Pistawasahandsomefellow,buthadtheunfortunate
propensityofdrinkingonSundays,andthistimewasevidentlyintoxicated.The
vinoussuitorwasnottoPanna'staste,besides,shewasalreadytired,andshedid
notanswerhisfirstspeech.Butashedidnotdesist,butseizedherarmtodrag
herupandawaybyforce,shetartlyansweredthatshewouldnotdancenow.
Thisonlymadehimstillmorepersistent.
"Why,why,youfiercelittledarling,doyousupposeyoucan'tbemastered?"he
cried,tryingwithbothhandstoseizeherbeautifulblackheadtopressasmack
uponherlips.Shethrusthimbackonce,twice,withamoreandmoreviolent
shove,buthereturnedtotheattack,becomingruderandmorevehement.Then
shelostherself-control,andthecholericfamilybloodsuddenlyseethedinher
veins.Bendingdowntotheheapofbricksonwhichshehadjustsat,shegrasped
afragmentand,withthespeedoflightning,dealtherpersecutorafuriousblow.
Misfortuneguidedherhand,andshestruckhimfullintheface.Pistashrieked
andstaggeredtotheneighbouringwall,againstwhichheleanedhalf-fainting,
whilebetweenthefingersofthehandswhichhehadraisedtothewoundedspot,
theredbloodgushedinahorriblyabundantstream.
Allthishadbeentheworkofamoment,andtheyoungpeoplewhofilledthe
courtyarddidnotnoticetheoutrageousactuntilthemischiefwasdone.Shrieks,
runninghitherandthither,andconfusionfollowed.Thefiddlersstoppedand
stretchedtheirnecks,butprudentlykeptaloof,astheyhadlearnedtododuring
frequentbrawls;thegirlsscreamedandwrungtheirhands,theyouthsshouted
hastyquestions,crowdingaroundtheirbleedingcompanion.Waterwasquickly
procured,coldbandageswereappliedtotheswollen,shapelessface,andother



effortsweremadetorelievehim,whileatthesametimehewasbesiegedwith
questionsabouttheevent.
AfterdealingthefatalblowPannahadstoodforamomentdeadlypale,asif
paralyzed,andthendartedoffasthoughpursuedbyfiends.Perhapsthiswas
fortunate,forshewouldhavefaredbadlyiftheenragedladshadhadherintheir
power,whenall,amidtheconfusedmedleyofoutcries,hadlearnedthetruth.
Therewasnotimetopursueher,forPistaseemedtobeconstantlygrowing
worse;thecoldwaterandfomentationsdidnotstopthebleeding;hesoonlost
consciousnessandlayonthegroundamidtheterrified,helplessgroup,aninert
mass,untilsomeonemadethesensibleproposaltocarryhimhometohis
mother,apoorwidow,which,withtheirunitedstrength,wasinstantlydone.
Meanwhile,Pannahadrushedtoherownhome,lockedherselfin,andsatonthe
benchbythestove,animageofgriefanddespair.Shewasincapableofcoherent
thought,nothingbutthespectacleofthebleedingPistastaggeringagainstthe
wall,stooddistinctlybeforehermind.Butshecouldnotgiveherselfuptoher
desolatebroodinglong:attheendoffifteenminutesthebolteddoorshook
violently.Shestartedupandlistened;itwasherfather,andshereluctantlywent
tothedoorandopenedit.Theoldmanentered,shottheboltbehindhim,and
askedinatremblingvoice:
"ForGod'ssake,child,whathaveyoudone?'"
Pannaburstintoafloodoftears;theywerethefirstshehadshedsincethe
incidentdescribed.
"Hepresseduponmetooboldly.AndIdidn'tmeantodoit.Ionlywantedto
keephimoff."
"Youwerepossessed.Thedevilisinus.Tokillamanbyablow!"
Thegirlshriekedaloud."Kill,doyousay?"
"Solwasjusttold.Theysayheisdead."
"Thatisimpossible,it'salie,"Pannamurmuredinahollowtone,whileherface
lookedcorpse-like.Sheseemedtocowerintoherselfandtogrowsmaller,asif
theearthwasswallowingherbyinches.Butthisconditionlastedonlyafew

minutes,thensherousedherselfandhurriedout,ereherfathercoulddetainher.


Sheenteredanarrowpathwhichranbehindthehousesandwasusually
deserted,andracedasfastasherfeetwouldcarryhertothehutoccupiedby
FrauMolnár,whichwascloseathand.Springingacrossthenarrowditchwhich
borderedthebackoftheyard,shehurriedthroughthekitchen-gardenbehindthe
houseandinaninstantwasintheonlyroomitcontainedexceptthekitchen.On
thebedlayahumanformfromwhichcameagroan,andbesideitsatoldFrau
Molnár,whowrungherhandswithoutturninghereyesfromhersufferingson.
ThankGod,hewasnotdead,thefirstglanceatthepiteoussceneshowedthat.
Pannainvoluntarilyclaspedherhandsandutteredadeepsighofrelief.Frau
MolnárnowfirstnoticedPanna'sentrance;atfirstsheseemedunabletobelieve
hereyes,andgazedfixedlyatthegirl,withhermouthwideopen,thenstarting
upsherushedatherandbegantobelabourherwithbothfists,whileheaping,in
avoicechokedbyfury,themosthorribleinvectivesuponherhead.Pannafeebly
wardedofftheblowswithoutstretchedarms,hungherhead,andstammered
softly:
"FrauMolnár,FrauMolnár,sparethesickman,itwillhurthimifyoumakesuch
anoise.Havepityonmeandtellmewhattheinjuryis."
"Youinsolentwench,youGod-forsaken,"—afreshtorrentofvileinvectives
followed—"doyoustillventuretocrossmythreshold?Begone,orI'llserveyou
asyoudidmypoorPista."
Themotheragaingainedtheascendancyoverthevengefulwoman.
SheturnedfromPanna,andhastenedtoherson,onwhomsheflungherself,
wailingaloudandweeping.Thegirltookadvantageofthediversiontoleavethe
roomslowly,unnoticed.Shehadseenenough;Pistawasalive;buthemustbe
badlyinjured,forhiswholeheadwaswrappedinbandages,andhehad
evidentlyneitherseennorheardanythingofthelastscenewhich,moreover,had
lastedonlyabrieftime.

Pannadidnotgofar.Awoodenbenchstoodbythewallofthehouseunderthe
littlewindowofthekitchen,whichlookedoutintotheyard.Hereshesatdown
andremainedmotionlessuntilitgrewdark.Shehadseenbythebandagesthat
thedoctormusthavebeenthere,andhopedthathewouldreturnintheevening.
Ifthishopewasnotfulfilled,shecouldgotohimwithoutdangerafternightfall,
forshewasdeterminedtospeaktohimthatverydayandobtaintheinformation
whichPista'smotherhadrefused.Beforedarknesshadentirelyclosedinthe


physicianreallydidappear,andenteredthehutwithoutheedingthegirlsitting
onabenchnearthedoor,perhapswithoutnoticingher.Pannawaitedpatiently
till,attheendofalongquarterofanhour,hecameout,then,withswiftdecision
shewentuptohimandtouchedhisarm.Heturnedandwhenherecognizedher,
exclaimedinsurprise:"Panna!"
"Softly,Doctor,"shepleadedwithglanceandvoice,thenadded:"Tellme
franklyhowheis,frankly,Ientreatyou."
"Youhavedonesomethingvery,verybadthere,"repliedthephysician
hesitatingly,thenpaused.
"Hislifeisnotindanger?"
"Perhapsnot,buthewillbeacrippleallhisdays.Oneeyeiscompletely
destroyed,thenoseentirelycrushed,theupperlipgashedentirelythrough,and
twoteetharegone."
"Horrible,horrible!"groanedPanna,wringingherhandsinspeechlessgrief.
"Hewillnotlosehislife,asIsaid,thoughhehaslostagreatdealofbloodfrom
thewoundinthelips,andthelosteyemayyetcauseustrouble,butthepoor
fellowwillremainamonsterallhisdays.Nogirlwilleverlookathimagain."
"There'snoneedofit,"sheansweredhastily,andwhenthephysicianlookedat
herquestioningly,shewentonmorequietlyasiftalkingtoherself:"Ifonlyhe
getswell,ifheisonlyabletobeupagain."Then,thankingthedoctor,shebade
himgood-night,andreturnedslowlyandabsentlytoherfather'shut.

AllnightlongPannatossedsleeplesslyonherbed,andwiththeearliestdawn
sherose,wenttoherfather,whowasalsoawake,andbeggedhimtogotoold
FrauMolnárandentreatherforgivenessandpermissionforher,Panna,tonurse
thewoundedman.
Atthesametimeshetookfromherneckaprettysilvercrucifix,suchaspeasant
womenwear,aheritagefromhermother,whodiedyoung,andgaveittoher
fathertooffertotheoldwomanasanatonement.Shehadnothingmore
valuable,orshewouldhavebestowedittoo.
"Thatiswelldone,"saidherfather,andwentouttodischargehisdutyas


messenger.
Itwasahardnutwhichhehadtocrack.Theoldmotherwasagainfierceand
wrathfulandreceivedhimwithafaceasblackasnight;butheaccostedher
gently,remindedherofherChristianfaith,andfinallyhandedherthesilver
atonement.Thistouchedtheolddame'sheart.Sheburstintoatorrentoftears,
upbraidedhimwiththemagnitudeofhermisery,saidthatshewouldneverbe
abletoforgive,butshesawthatthegirlhadactedwithoutanyevildesign,that
shewassorry——
Pista,whohadbeendeliriousduringthenight,butwasnowbetter,hadhitherto
listenedquietlyandintently.Nowheinterruptedthefloodofwordshismother
pouredforthamidhersobs,andsaidsoftly,yetfirmly:
"Pannaisnotentirelytoblame;Iwaspersistent,Iwastipsy,shewasrightto
defendherself.True,sheneednothavebeensosavage,buthowcanshehelpher
blood?Ioughttohavetakencareofmyself;IoughttohaveknownwhomIwas
chaffing."Then,turningtothevisitor,headded:"IfitwillsoothePannatoknow
thatIamnotangrywithher,sendyourdaughterhere,andIwilltellherso
myself."
FifteenminuteslaterPannawasintheMolnárs'hut.Sheentreatedtheold
mothertoattendtoherhouseholdaffairsandnottroubleherselfaboutthesick

man;thatshouldbehercare.Shearrangedthewretchedbed,clearedupthe
room,broughtPistawatertodrinkwhenhefeltthirsty,andwheneverythingwas
done,satsilentlybesidethebed.Pistaquietlysubmittedtoeverything,andonly
gazedstrangelywithhisoneeyeatthebeautifulgirl.
Inthecourseofthemorningthephysiciancameandrenewedthebandages.
Pannastoodbyhissideandkeptallsortsofthingsready,butshedidnothave
couragetolookatthewounds.Thedoctorthoughtitwouldbebeneficialtohave
ice.Butwherewasicetobeobtainedinavillageatthisseasonoftheyear!The
breweryprobablyhadsome,butwouldnotbelikelytogiveanyaway.Panna
saidnothing,butwhenthebandageshadbeenrenewedandthephysicianhad
gone,shehurrieddirectlytothebrewery,wenttothemanager,agood-natured,
beeryoldfellow,andentreatedhim,intouchingwords,forsomeiceforasick
person.Themanagerblinkedatherwithhislittlehalf-shuteyes,andanswered:
"Youcanhaveit,mychild,butnotgratis."


Pannaloweredhereyesandmurmuredmournfully:"Iwillpaywhatyouask,
onlynotnow,Ihaven'tanymoney,surelyyouwillwaitalittlewhile."
"Itneedn'tbecash,onelittlekisswilldo."
Pannaflushedcrimson,andaflashofangerlikethelightningofasuddenstorm
blazedoverherface;butshecontrolledherselfandhelduphercompressedlips
tothevoluptuary,whorudelysmackedthemandthentookfromherhandthe
pipkinshehadbrought,returningitinafewminutesfilledwithice.
Thesupplydidnotlastlong,but,whenitwasexhausted,Pannadidnotgo
herself,sendinginherplaceoldFrauMolnárwithapleasantgreetingtothe
managerofthebrewery.True,thelatterfrownedandsneeringlyaskedwhyHer
Highnessdidnotappearinperson,buthehadwisdomenoughtogivetheicefor
whichsheasked.
AttheendofaweekPistahadimprovedsomuchthattheice-bandageswereno
longerneeded,andhedidnotrequireconstantnursing.Pannawho,hitherto,had

comeearlyinthemorningandreturnedlateintheevening,nowappearedonly
twiceadaytoenquireforthesickmanandbringhimsomerefreshment,ifit
wereonlyahandfulofblackberries.Ofcourse,duringallthistime,therewasno
endofputtingheadstogetherandwhispering,butPannadidnottroubleherself
aboutit,andquietlyobeyedthedictatesofherconscience.
Thusthreeweekshadpassedsincethefatefulday.When,onthethirdSunday,
PannaenteredtheMolnár'shutattheusualhour,thistimewithasmallbottleof
wineunderherapron,shefoundPista,forthefirsttime,up,anddressed.Hewas
justturninghisbacktothedoorasthegirlcamein.Sheutteredalittle
exclamationofsurprise,Pistaturnedquicklyand—Pannastartedbackwitha
suddenshriek,theflaskfellshatteredonthefloor,andshecoveredherfacewith
bothhands.Itwasherfirstsightoftheyoungman'shorriblydisfigured
countenancewithoutabandage.
Pistawentuptothetremblinggirlandsaidmournfully:"Ifrightenedyou,butit
musthavehappenedsomeday.Ifeltjustasyoudonowwhen,aweekago,I
mademymotherhandmealooking-glassforthefirsttime.Iseethatitwillbe
bestformetobecomeaCapuchinmonk,henceforthImustgiveupappearing
beforetheeyesofgirls."
Pannahastilyletherhandsfall,gazedfullathimwithhersparklingblackeyes,


andsaidgently:
"Youalwayshavegirlsinyourhead.Mustyoupleasethemall?
Wouldn'tonesatisfyyou?"
"Why,ofcourse,buttheonemustbehadfirst,"repliedPista,withforced
cheerfulness.
Pannaflushedcrimsonandmadenoreply;Pistalookedatherinsurpriseand
doubt,butalsoremainedsilent,andinafewminutesthegirlwentawaywith
droopinghead.
Pistanowwenttoworkagainandendureddaysofbittersuffering.Hewas

ridiculedbecauseagirlhadthrashedhim,thecruelnicknameof"theHideous
One"wasgivenhim,peoplegazedathimwithhorrorwheneverheappearedin
thestreet.PannacontinuedtovisithimeverySunday,buthereceivedher
distantly,taciturnly,evensullenly.
SoChristmascame.OnChristmasEvePannahadalongtalkwithherfather,and
thenextmorning,afterchurch,heagainwenttooldFrauMolnárandwithout
anypreamble,saidbluntlyandplainly:
"Whywon'tPistamarrymyPanna?"
Thewidowclaspedherhandsandanswered:
"Wouldshetakehim?"
"Youareallblindmicetogether,"scoldedthepeasant,"ofcourseshewould,or
surelyshewouldn'tdowhatshehasdoneformonthspast.Isn'titenoughthat
sherunsaftertheobstinateblockhead?Shecan'taskhimtohaveher."
JustthenPistahimselfcamein.Hismotherhesitatinglytoldhimwhatshehad
justheard,andtheoldwomanlookedathimenquiringlyandexpectantly.When
theyoungmanheardwhattheywerediscussinghebecameverypaleand
agitated,butatfirstsaidnothing.Notuntilhismotherandtheguestassailedhim
impatientlywith"Well?"and"Isitallright?"didhesummonuphiscomposure
andreply:
"Pannaisagoodgirl,andmayGodblessher.ButI,too,amnoscoundrel.


Honestfolkwouldspitinmyface,ifIshouldacceptPanna'ssacrifice.I'drather
liveabachelorforeverthanletherdomeafavourandpoisonherownlife."
Hismotherandwould-befather-in-lawtalkedinvain,hestillpersisted:
"IcannotbelievethatPannalovesme,andIwon'ttakefavours."
Thesimple,narrow-mindedfellowdidnotknowthatthesenseofjusticeand
absolutenecessitycanmoveahumansoulasdeeply,urgeitasstronglyto
resolves,asloveitself,sofromhisstandpointhereallywasperfectlyright.
Tocutthemattershort:PistaremainedobduratefromChristmasuntilNewYear,

notwithstandingthathismotherandPanna'sfatherbesethimearlyandlate.The
girlsufferedverykeenlyduringthisperiod,andhereyeswerealwaysreddened
bytears.ButwhenNewYearcame,andstillPistadidnotbestirhimself,the
strong,noblegirl,afterviolentconflictsinherartlessmind,formedagreat
resolution,wenttoPistaherself,andsaidwithoutcircumlocution,excitement,or
hesitation:
"Iunderstandyourprideand,ifIwereaman,wouldbehaveasyoudo.ButIbeg
youtohavepityonme.Ifyoudon'thaveanaversiontome,orloveanother,
marryme.Ishallnotdoyouafavour,youwilldomeone.UnlessIbecomeyour
wife,IshallneverbehappyandcontentedsolongasIlive,butalwaysmiserable
wheneverIthinkofyou.Asyourwife,Ishallbeatpeace,andsatisfiedwith
myself.Thatyouarenowuglyisofnoconsequence.Ishallseeyouasyouwere,
before—"Here,forthefirsttime,shehesitated,thenwithasuddentransition,
notwithoutafaintsmile,said:
"Anditwillhaveitsgoodside,too,Ishallnotbeobligedtobejealous."
"ButIshall!"exclaimedPista,whohadhithertolistenedinsilence.
"Noryoueither,Pista,"shesaidquickly,"forwheneverIseeyourfaceIshall
saytomyselfhowmuchImustmakeamendstoyouand,believeme,itwillbind
mefarmorefirmlythanthehandsomestfeaturescould."
Pistawasnotamanofgreatintellectorloquaciousspeech.Henowthrewhis
armsaroundPanna'sneck,pattedher,caressedher,coveredherheadandher
facewithkisses,andburstintoweepingthatwouldsoftenastone.Pannawepta
little,too,thentheyremainedtogetheruntillongafternoonand,intheevening,


wenttothespinning-roomandpresentedthemselvesasbetrothedlovers.Three
weeksaftertheyweremarriedamidagreatcrowdofthevillagers,someof
whompitiedPista,othersPanna,andfromthattimeuntilthemomentwhenthe
incidentsabouttobedescribedoccurred,theylivedtogetherfiveyearsina
loyal,modelmarriage.



CHAPTERIII.
Besidesthechurchandthetile-roofedtownhallbuiltofstone,themainstreetof
Kisfalucontainedonlyoneedificeofanypretension,themanoror,asitiscalled
inHungary,"thecastle"ofHerrvonAbonyi.Itwasreallyaveryordinary
structure,onlyithadasecondstory,stoodonanartificialmound,towhichon
bothsidestherewasaverygentleascent,andabovetheeveropendoorwasa
moss-grownescutcheon,greywithage,onwhichahorseman,withbrandished
sword,couldbediscernedinvagueoutlines,wornbytimeandweather.
Theownerofthismansion,HerrvonAbonyi,wasabacheloraboutfiftyyears
old.
Hisfamilyhadlivedmorethanthreehundredyearsontheirancestralestates,
which,itistrue,werenowconsiderablydiminished,andhewasconnectedby
tiesofbloodormarriagewithallthenobilityinthecountyofPesth.Uptothe
year1848thewholevillageofKisfalu,withallitspeasants,fields,andfeudal
prerogatives(suchasmill,fish,tavernandotherprivileges)belongedtothe
Abonyis,andthepresentlord,CarlvonAbonyi,camefromthatgloomytime,
termed—Iknownotwhy—"patriarchal,"whenthepeasanthadnorights,andthe
noblemandweltinhiscastlelikealittlegod,omnipotent,unapproachable,only
notall-wiseandall-good,walkedthroughhisvillagewhipinhand,likean
American"Massa,"anddealtthepeasantablowacrossthefaceifhedidnot
bowhumblyandquicklyenough,orderedthevillageJewtobebroughttothe
manor,stretchedonabenchbytwostronglackeys(calledinHungaryheiducks)
andsoundlythrashedwheneverhefeltadesireforcheapamusement;regarded
thewomenofthevillage,withoutexception,ashisnaturalharem,spenthisdays
andnightsinimmoderatefeastingandwilddrinking,derivedallhiseducation
fromtheBiblewith32leaves(thenumberofcardscontainedinthepack
commonlyusedinthecountry),andonlydisplayedtoladiesofhisownstationa
certainromanticchivalry,whichwasmanifestedinrudebrawlingwithrealor

imaginaryrivals,unrestrictedduellingonthemosttrivialpretext,exaggerated


gallantryandardenthomage,serenadeswhichlastedallnightlongunderthe
windowsofthefavouredfair,andsimilarimpassioned,buttasteless
eccentricities.Atthepresenttimeallthishascertainlygreatlychanged,but
manyofthenobleswho,intheyear1848,theperiodofthevasttransformation,
hadpartlyorwhollyattainedmaturity,couldnotorwouldnotadaptthemselves
whollytothenewera;intheirinmostheartstheystillconsiderthemselvesthe
sovereignlordsofthesoilanditsinhabitants,anditiswithrageandgnashingof
teeththattheyforcethemselvesnottodisplaythisfeelinginwordsanddeedsat
everyopportunity.
Abonyi,anonlyson,wasalieutenantinthePalatineHussars,whenthe
revolutionof1848brokeout.Heatoncejoinedthehonvedswithhistroopand,
intheirranks,performed,untilthecloseofthewarforfreedom,prodigiesof
daringoneverybattlefield,rising,inspiteofhisyouth,withinlessthaneleven
months,totherankoflieutenant-colonel.AfterthedisasterofVilagos,hefled
fromthecountryandspentseveralyearsinTurkeyasacavalryofficer.In1860,
heagainreturnedhomeandtookpossessionofhisestates,whichsincehis
father'sdeath,occurringmeanwhile,hadbeenmanagedbyalegallyappointed
trustee.Whatwrathandragingtherewas!Theregulationofproperty-ownership
hadbeenexecutedduringthetrusteeship,andasAbonyibelieved,with
outrageouscurtailmentandrobberyofthelordsoftheestate.Thebest,most
fertilefields—soheasserted—hadbeenallottedtotheparish,themostsandy,
barrentractsofthelandtohim;theparishhadthebeautifuloakforest,which
hadalreadybeenshamefullyravaged,he,ontheotherhand,receivedthereedgrown,marshyborderofthestream;inthedivisionofthepasturagethepeasants
hadtheeasilycultivatedplain,whichwasthereforeatonceploughedbythenew
owners,he,onthecontrary,thegravelly,steephillside;inshort,hewasalmost
insanewithragewhenhefirstsawwhatthecommissionhadmadeofhisland,
andthetrusteewhohadunresistinglyagreedtoalltheseunjustactswouldhave

faredbadly,ifhecouldhavelaidhandsuponhimthefirsttimehewentto
inspecttheboundsoftheparish.Therewasnothingforhimtodo,however,
excepttoadapthimselftothenewstateofaffairsaswellashecould;fornothing
couldbeaccomplishedbyindictments,becausethetrusteehadpossessedfull
legalauthoritytoact,andeverythinghadbeendoneinstrictaccordancewiththe
law.Farlesscouldhehopetoeffectanythingbyviolence,sincepeasants
understandnojestingiftheirbelovedacresaretouched,and,atthefirstsignof
anyintentiononhisparttodisturbtheirpossessions,wouldquicklyhavesetfire
tohishouseand,moreover,tattooedonhisbody,withthetinesofapitchfork,a
protesttowhichacounter-pleawouldscarcelyhavebeenpossible.Onlyhe


couldnevercarryself-controlandcomposuresofarthat,afternearlytwenty
years'habitude,hedidnotbecomefuriouslyexcitedatthesightofcertainpieces
ofland,andexperiencesomethingakintoaparoxysmoflongingtoshoot,likea
maddog,thefirstpeasantwhocameinhisway.
Thedispositiontocommand,whichhehadindulgedfromchildhood,hewas
unwillingevennowtorenounce.Underexistingcircumstanceshisnameand
propertyalonewouldcertainlynolongerpermithimtoindulgethishabit,sohe
soughtanoffice.WhentheAustrianmagistrateswereremovedinHungaryand
theancientcountygovernmentrestored,Abonyihadonlyneededtoexpressthe
wish,andthe"congregation"ofthecounty,whichconsistedalmostexclusively
ofhisrelativesandfriends,electedhimpresidentofthetribune[1]ofhisdistrict.
Nowhecouldimaginehimselftransportedbacktothefineoldfeudaltimes
beforetheMarchrevolution.Thepeasantswereagainobligedtoraisetheirhats
humblytohim,hishanddispensedjusticeandmercy,theancestralrodwas
brandishedathissign,andthewhippingbench,apleasingsymbolofhispower,
alwaysstoodreadybelowthewindowsofhiscastle.Whenhedrovethroughthe
countryonofficialbusinessorpleasure,hiscarriagewasdrawnbyfourhorses
withaharnesshungwithbells;ifapeasant'scartwasinthewayanddidnot

hastenatthesoundofthefamiliarlittlebellstomoveout,theheiduckin
colouredlivery,withaswordathisside,sittingbythedriver,shoutedanorder
andanoathtothelaggard,andthecoachman,whiledashingby,dealtthe
disrespectfulloitererawell-aimedblow.Hemightevenfarestillworseifthe
humorhappenedtoseizethegrandeeinthespringcarriage.
ItwouldnolongerdotogetthevillageJewandhavehimfloggedforpastimeon
longafternoons;buttherewerestillgipsieswhoweresummonedtothecastleto
makesportforthenoblelord.Theyplayedtheirbewitchingmelodies,andifhe
wasfilledwithgenuinedelight,hegavethefiddlers,rightandleft,an
enthusiasticslapinthefacewhichechoednoisily,thentookabanknotefromhis
pocket-book,spituponitandclappeditontheswollencheeksofthehowling
gipsies,whereupontheyagaingrinnedjoyfullyandplayedonwithtwo-fold
energy.
AlthoughAbonyiwasapatternmagistrate,atthesecondelection,which
accordingtotheoldcountysystem,occurredeverythreeyears,hesuffered
defeat.Politicalpartyconsiderationsandgovernmentinfluencesustained
anothercandidate.SoAbonyiwasagainrelegatedtoprivatelife,buthisbirth


andtheofficehehadfilledgavehimsufficientpersonaldistinctiontoinducehis
village,immediatelyafter,tocompensatehiminsomedegreeforhisoverthrow
byaunanimouselectiontothepositionofparishmagistrate.
Thisgentleman,withwhosecourseoflifeandprominentpersonalcharacteristics
wearenowfamiliar,wentonehotAugustafternoontothestables,whichformed
thebackofthecourtyard,toinspectthehorsesandcarriages,aswashiscustom.
Abonyiwasinaverybadhumourthatday,fortherehadbeenaviolentdispute
withtheharvesters,whocutandthreshedonshares,andwhohadclaimedmore
grainfortheirportionthanseemedjusttotheowneroftheestate.Itdidnot
improvehismoodtofindthathisfavouritesaddle-horsehaditsrighthind
fetlockbadlyswollenandcouldnotbeusedforaweek.Soheenteredthecoachhouse,halfofwhich,separatedbyaboard-partition,servedforahay-loft.

Thefirstthingonwhichhiseyefellherewasamanlyingstretchedcomfortably
onthestraw,snoring.Herecognizedinthesluggard"hideousPista,"whohad
beensummonedtothecastlethatmorningtoputnewspokesintosomebroken
carriage-wheels.Theworkhehadcommenced,achaosofnaves,spokes,fellies,
tires,andavarietyoftools,layinaheapbesidehim,buthewassleepingthe
sleepofthejust.
ItneedednothingmoretofanAbonyi'ssecretrageintoablazeoffury,andhe
shoutedfiercely:
"Deviltakeyou,youidler,willyougetoffofmyhay?"
Pista,evidentlynotfullyrousedbythecall,merelygruntedalittleinhisdream
andturnedovertocontinuehisnap.Buttheothercouldnowcontrolhimselfno
longer,anddealttherecumbentfigureaviolentkick,roaring:
"Up,Isay,up,yougallows-bird,you'repaidforworking,notforsnoring!"
Pista,withasuddenspring,stoodonhisfeet,andwasinstantlywideawake.
Lookingangrilyatthebrutalintruderwithhisoneeye,hesaidinavoice
quiveringwithsuppressedanger:"I'mnotworkingforyoubytheday,butbythe
job,andifIsleep,Idoitatmyownloss,notyours.Besides,Idon'tremember
thatIeverdrankthepledgeofbrotherhoodwithyou."
Abonyithrewuphishead,hisfacegrowingcrimsonasifhehadreceivedablow


onthecheek.
"What,"heshrieked,"doestherascaldaretoinsultmeundermyownroof?I'll
teachyouatoncewhoIam,andwhoyouare."Andheraisedtheriding-whip
whichheusuallycarried,todealPistaablow.
Thelatter'skindly,freepeasantbloodbegantoboil.Takingastepbackward,he
graspedapitchforklyingwithinreachofhishand,andhissedthroughthegaps
inhisteeth,ashebrandishedtheweaponofdefence:
"Woebetideyouifyoutouchme!I'llruntheforkintoyou,astrueasGodlives!"
Abonyiutteredafierceimprecationandhastilyretreatedthreepacestothedoor,

wherehecalledbacktothecartwright,whostillmaintainedhisthreatening
attitude:"Thiswillcostyoudear,youscoundrel!"andbeforePistacouldsuspect
whathisenemymeanttodo,thelatterhadshutthedoorandbolteditonthe
outside.
Pista'sfirstmovementwastothrowhimselfagainstthedoortoburstitopenwith
hisshoulder,buthepausedinstinctivelyasheheardAbonyi'svoice,shouting
loudlyoutside.
"János,"calledthelattertothecoachman,whostoodwashingthehorses'
harnessesbesidethecoach-housedoor,"gouptomychamberandbringme
downtherevolver,theoneonthetablebythebed,nottheotherwhichhangson
thewall!"
Jánoswent,andstillnessreignedinthecourtyard.Nowtheprisoner'srageburst
forth."Open!open!"heroared,drummingfuriouslyontheoak-door.Abonyi,
whowaskeepingguard,atfirstsaidnothing,butasthemaninsideshoutedand
shookmoreviolently,hecalledtohim:"Bequiet,myson,you'llbeletout
presently,nottoyourbeautifulwife,buttotheparishjail."
"Open!"yelledthevoiceinsideagain,"orI'llsetfiretothehayandburndown
yourflayer'shut."
Thiswasanabsurd,ridiculousthreat,forinthefirstplacePista,ifhehadreally
attemptedtoexecuteit,wouldhavestifledandroastedhimselfbeforethe
mansionreceivedtheslightestinjury,andbesides,asexaminationafterwards
proved,hehadneithermatchesnortinderwithhim;butAbonyipretendedto


taketheboastseriouslyandcriedscornfully:
"Betterandbetter!Youareaslyfellow!Firstyouthreatenmewithmurder,now
witharson;keepon,runupabigreckoning,whenthetimeforsettlementcomes,
wewillbothbepresent."
Jánosnowappearedand,withaverygraveface,handedhismastertherevolver.
"Now,mylad,"Abonyiordered,"runovertothetown-hall,bringapairof

stronghand-cuffsandthelittlejudge,[2]therascalwillbeputinirons."
Pistahadagainheardandremainedsilentbecausehehadperceivedthat
blusteringandragingwereuseless.SohestoodinsideandAbonyioutsideofthe
door,bothgazingsullenlyintovacancyinexcitedanticipation.Thegardener,
whowaslayingoutaflower-bedwhichsurroundedthreesidesofthefountainin
thecentreofthecourtyard,hadwitnessedthewholescenefromthebeginning,
butremainedathiswork,apparentlywithoutinterest.
Thetown-hallwasonlyahundredpacesdistant.InlessthanfiveminutesJános
returnedwiththebeadle.Abonyinowretreatedafewsteps,aimedtherevolver,
andorderedthebeadletoopenthedoor.Theboltflewback,thesidesofthe
foldingdoorrattledapart,andPistawasseenonthethresholdwithhishideous,
stillhorriblydistortedface,thepitchforkyetinhisrighthand.
"Forward,march!"Abonyiordered,andthecartwrightsteppedhesitatinglyout
intothecourtyard.
"Putdownthepitchfork,vagabond,itbelongstome,"thenoblemanagain
commanded.
Pistacastaflashingglanceathimandsawthemuzzleoftherevolverturned
towardhimself.Hesilentlyputdowntheforkandpreparedtogo.
"Nowtheirons,"Abonyiturnedtohismen,atthesametimeshoutingtothe
gardener,"Youfellowthere,can'tyoucomeandhelp?"
Thegardenerpretendednottohearandcontinuedtobeabsorbedinhis
blossomingplants.But,atAbonyi'slastwords,Pistaswiftlyseizedthepitchfork
again,shrieking:


"Back,whoevervalueshislife!I'llgovoluntarily,Ineednotbechained,I'mno
sharperorthief."
Thecoachmanandthebeadlewiththehandcuffshesitatedatthesightofthe
threateningpitchfork.
"AmIparish-magistrateornot?"ragedAbonyi,"doIcommandhereornot?The

vagabondpresumestoberefractory,theirons,Isay,or——"
BoththeservantsmadeahastymovementtowardPista,thelatterretreatedtothe
doorofthecoach-house,swingingthepitchfork,thebeadlewasjustseizinghis
arm,whenashotwassuddenlyfired.Ashrillshriekfollowed,andPistafell
backwardintothebarn.
"Nowhehasgotit,"saidAbonyi,inalowtone,buthehadgrownverypale.The
coachmanandthebeadlestoodbesidethedoorasthoughturnedtostone,and
thegardenercameforwardslowlyandgloomily.
"Seewhat'swrongwithhim,"thenoblemanorderedafterapause,duringwhich
adeath-likesilencereignedinthegroup.
Jánostimidlyapproachedthemotionlessformlyingintheshadeofthebarn,
bentoverit,listened,andtouchedit.Afterashorttimehestoodupagain,and,
withaterriblyfrightenedface,saidinavoicebarelyaudible:
"Theholeisintheforehead,yourhonour,hedoesn'tmove,hedoesn'tbreathe,I
fear"—thenafteraslighthesitation,verygently—"heisdead."
Abonyistaredathim,andfinallysaid:
"Somuchtheworse,carryhimawayfromthere—home—"andwentslowlyinto
thecastle.
Theservantslookedafterhimafewmomentsinbewilderment,thenlaidthe
corpseupontwowheels,whichtheyplacedonpoles,andborehimoffonthis
improvisedbier.Thistimethegardenerlenthisaid.

[1]AHungarianoffice.


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