The Love of Ulrich Nebendahl HTML version

The Love of Ulrich Nebendahl
Perhaps of all, it troubled most the Herr Pfarrer. Was he not the father of the village? And
as such did it not fall to him to see his children marry well and suitably? marry in any
case. It was the duty of every worthy citizen to keep alive throughout the ages the sacred
hearth fire, to rear up sturdy lads and honest lassies that would serve God, and the
Fatherland. A true son of Saxon soil was the Herr Pastor Winckelmann--kindly, simple,
"Why, at your age, Ulrich--at your age," repeated the Herr Pastor, setting down his beer
and wiping with the back of his hand his large uneven lips, "I was the father of a family--
two boys and a girl. You never saw her, Ulrich; so sweet, so good. We called her Maria."
The Herr Pfarrer sighed and hid his broad red face behind the raised cover of his pewter
"They must be good fun in a house, the little ones," commented Ulrich, gazing upward
with his dreamy eyes at the wreath of smoke ascending from his long-stemmed pipe.
"The little ones, always my heart goes out to them."
"Take to yourself a wife," urged the Herr Pfarrer. "It is your duty. The good God has
given to you ample means. It is not right that you should lead this lonely life. Bachelors
make old maids; things of no use."
"That is so," Ulrich agreed. "I have often said the same unto myself. It would be pleasant
to feel one was not working merely for oneself."
"Elsa, now," went on the Herr Pfarrer, "she is a good child, pious and economical. The
price of such is above rubies."
Ulrich"s face lightened with a pleasant smile. "Aye, Elsa is a good girl," he answered.
"Her little hands--have you ever noticed them, Herr Pastor--so soft and dimpled."
The Pfarrer pushed aside his empty pot and leaned his elbows on the table.
"I think--I do not think--she would say no. Her mother, I have reason to believe-- Let me
sound them--discreetly." The old pastor's red face glowed redder, yet with pleasurable
anticipation; he was a born matchmaker.
But Ulrich the wheelwright shuffled in his chair uneasily.
"A little longer," he pleaded. "Let me think it over. A man should not marry without first
being sure he loves. Things might happen. It would not be fair to the maiden."
The Herr Pfarrer stretched his hand across the table and laid it upon Ulrich's arm.