Hermann uneasily moved about, and signed to the pastorTo interpose without delay, and clear up the error.Quickly the wise man advanced to the spot, and witness'd the maiden'sSilent vexation and tearful eyes and scarce-restrain'd sorrow.Then his spirit advised him to solve not at once the confusion,But, on the contrary, prove the excited mind of the maiden.So, in words framed to try her, the pastor address'd her as follows:--"Surely, my foreign maiden, you did not fully consider,When you made up your mind to serve a stranger so quickly,What it really is to enter the house of a master;For a shake of the hand decides your fate for a twelvemonth,And a single word Yes to much endurance will bind you.But the worst part of the service is not the wearisome habits,Nor the bitter toil of the work, which seems never-ending;For the active freeman works hard as well as the servant.But to suffer the whims of the master, who blames you unjustly,Or who calls for this and for that, not knowing his own mind,And the mistress's violence, always so easily kindled,With the children's rough and supercilious bad manners,--This is indeed hard to bear, whilst still fulfilling your dutiesPromptly and actively, never becoming morose or ill-natured;Yet for such work you appear little fit, for already the father'sJokes have offended you deeply; yet nothing more commonly happensThan to tease a maiden about her liking a youngster."Thus he spoke, and the maiden felt the weight of his language,And no more restrain'd herself; mightily all her emotionsShow'd themselves, her bosom heaved, and a deep sigh escaped her,And whilst shedding burning tears, she answer'd as follows:--"Ne'er does the clever man, who seeks to advise us in sorrow,Think how little his chilling words our hearts can deliverFrom the pangs which an unseen destiny fastens upon us.You are happy and merry. How then should a jest ever wound you?But the slightest touch gives torture to those who are suff'ring.Even dissimulation would nothing avail me at present.Let me at once disclose what later would deepen my sorrow,And consign me perchance to agony mute and consuming.Let me depart forthwith! No more in this house dare I linger;I must hence and away, and look once more for my poor friendsWhom I left in distress, when seeking to better my fortunes.This is my firm resolve; and now I may properly tell youThat which had else been buried for many a year in my bosom.Yes, the father's jest has wounded me deeply, I own it,Not that I'm proud and touchy, as ill becometh a servant,But because in truth in my heart a feeling has risenFor the youth, who to-day has fill'd the part of my Saviour.For when first in the road he left me, his image remain'd stillFirmly fix'd in my mind; and I thought of the fortunate maidenWhom, as his betroth'd one, he cherish'd perchance in his bosom.And when I found him again at the well, the sight of him charm'd meJust as if I had-seen an angel descending from heaven.And I follow'd him willingly, when as a servant he sought me,But by my heart in truth I was flatter'd (I need must confess it),As I hitherward came, that I might possibly win him,If I became in the house an indispensable pillar.But, alas, I now see the dangers I well nigh fell into,When I bethought me of living so near a silently-loved one.Now for the first time I feel how far removed a poor maidenIs from a richer youth, however clever she may be.I have told you all this, that you my heart may mistake not,Which an event that in thought I foreshadow has wounded already.For I must have expected, my secret wishes concealing,That, ere much time had elapsed, I should see him bringing his bride home.And how then could I have endured my hidden affliction!Happily I am warn'd in time, and out of my bosomHas my secret escaped, whilst curable still is the evil.But no more of the subject! I now must tarry no longerIn this house, where I now am standing in pain and confusion,All my foolish hopes and my feelings freely confessing.Not the night which, with sinking clouds, is spreading around us,Not the rolling thunder (I hear it already) shall stop me,Not the falling rain, which outside is descending in torrents,Not the blustering storm. All this I had to encounterIn that sorrowful flight, while the enemy follow'd behind Us.And once more I go on my way, as I long have been wont to,Seized by the whirlpool of time, and parted from all that I care for.So farewell! I'll tarry no longer. My fate is accomplish'd!"
And at her very feet!"