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From The Gentleman's Magazine.

ON June 22 last died Marlitt, one of the most popular of modern German novelists. She had the rare good fortune to make a hit at once with her first novel, "Gold-Else," and to receive for it within a hundred pounds of the sum Thackeray got for his "Esmond." And yet it was by a chance that "Gold-Else" found a publisher.

her way, when the depressed condition of the family made it necessary for each to do something towards gaining a livelihood.

In 1841, when Eugenie was sixteen, the princely family were at Arnstadt in the summer, not Günther I., whose trumpeters had proclaimed the nativity of Eugenie whilst honoring the birthday of their sovereign, but Günther II., his son, in whose favor he had resigned a few years previously, 1835, on his marriage with the princess Mathild of Hohenlohe-Oehringen. The young princess was a kindly and generous patroness of art, and old Ernst John took courage to entreat her Serene Highness to help in the cultivation of the talent of his daughter Eugenie, whom he destined for the stage.

The real name of Marlitt was Eugenie John, and she was the youngest daughter of a mercantile family in Arnstadt, a little Thuringian town in the principality of Sondershausen. Her father, Ernst John, preferred sketching and painting to standing behind the counter and keeping his ledgers. He excelled in crayon drawings, The same afternoon, the princess sent copies of antiques. Her mother had been the bass singer, Krieg, of the court opera a beauty, had a romantic turn, and always company, which had come with the princeremained a devourer of fiction. Ernst ly suite to Arnstadt, to test the girl's pow. had married her for her face, not for her ers. There was no other instrument in domestic qualities, and she made him a the house but an old spinet, and Krieg good-looking but certainly not a managing threw it open and struck the keys con housewife. The father's crayon drawings temptuously. He felt very sure that drew away his attention from the business, and the mother's novel-reading diverted her mind from the housekeeping, and it is not to be wondered at that the business declined and the domestic arrangements got into disorder. The children inherited their parents' tastes and aversion to business. One of the daughters who died early was skilful in the manufacture of artificial flowers, and a son, Hermann, modelled, and carved in alabaster.

Eugenie John was born on December 5, 1825, on the very day on which the birthday celebration of the prince took place, and at the moment when the trumpeters blew a blast in honor of the reigning prince from the balcony of the town hall on the opposite side of the marketplace to the shop of the John family. Günther I., of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, was born in 1760, and Arnstadt was the summer residence of the family.

Eugenie was a bright child, with dark, curly hair, intelligent eyes, and pretty dimples in her cheeks, graceful in her movements, and in after years accounted, when at Vienna, one of the best dancers in that dancing capital. But she never can have been pretty; whatever charm there may have been in her face was due to expression. Her photographs and engraved portraits are devoid of hint that there was beauty in her features.

She possessed a talent for music and a good voice, and it was in this direction that she turned in the hopes of making

where no pianoforte was found, there musical ability would be raw and undeveloped. But when Eugenie raised her voice and sang, he changed his opinion. She had a powerful and clear organ, and, though uncultivated, it possessed remarkable natural flexibility. As he reported favorably to the princess, she sent for the girl, heard her herself, was pleased, and promised to provide for her technical education. Eugenie followed her patroness to Sondershausen, where she was placed in the upper girls' school, and was given special instruction in singing and pianoplaying. The girl had so much natural brilliancy, such enthusiasm and eagerness to make her way, that not only the family but the masters anticipated that she would make her mark when she appeared on the stage.

From Sondershausen, at the expense of the princess, Eugenie went to Vienna, where she continued her studies, and then came to Leipzig to go through a finishing course at the Conservatory. But, unfortunately, at this time a slight deafness manifested itself, which, however, she could not believe to be other than a transitory infirmity, due to a cold. She ventured to make her début on the Leipzig stage, and sang out of tune. The audience listened at first with forbearance, attributing her bad singing to nervousness; but when, in a second air, she became discordantly flat, they lost patience, and by unmistakable signs gave the poor

girl to understand that she was unac-distinguished himself later in Italy; but ceptable. Eugenie could not claim relationship with him. The little etiquettes, the formalities, the order of precedence, all proved irksome to the morbid mind of the girl, who could not forgive that she was thrust into the background by little nobles and gentlefolk whose intellectual powers were far short of her own. It was probably in the court of Sondershausen that she was brought into contact with pietists, strict puritans of narrow sympathies. Those who have read "Gold-Else" will recall the bitterness with which she describes the hangers-on in a small court; her dis gust at pietism crops up in other novels, notably in "The Old Maid's Secret" and in "The Princess of the Heath."

Disappointment, humiliation, mortified pride, cast her into the deepest discourage nent. The ambition of her life was blighted, and no other career offered. Meanwhile the family circumstances had become desperate. Her brother, who was at the university, studying for a learned profession, was obliged to leave because his father was unable to maintain him there. His career also seemed blasted. He was a man of some talent, and of literary tastes, but was either deficient in imagination or in energy. He became, finally, teacher of modern languages in the Gymnasium at Arnstadt. He never did anything in literature deserving of


Eugenie had made her first and last appearance on the stage. She withdrew, covered with mortification, to hide her head, and eat out her heart in the privacy of her own uncomfortable home. In after life, she had the satisfaction of seeing her favorite niece gifted with a voice like her own, and qualifying to distinguish herself in an art which had been sealed to her.

As a distinguished German authoress said to the writer of this notice, " Marlitt was a kranke Seele, had a morbid mind, and an unforgiving spirit. She attacked those who had offended her with remorseless animosity, painting them— caricatured-in her tales under the thinnest disguise, so that every one who knew the court could recognize whom she drew."

The pietists whom she attacks she considers to be hypocrites. It was inconceivable to her that there could be religious earnestness; she regarded the profession of religion as evidence of hypocrisy.

The princess of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen pitied the poor girl, and, to soften to her the sharpness of her disappointment, offered her a situation about her Sondershausen is a very small capital, person as companion and reader. Eu- numbering under six hundred inhabitants, genie thankfully accepted the offer, and lying at the foot of the great Schloss that was at once translated from her impov- occupies a height above the town, a palace erished home and the little commonplace that was begun in 1538, a vast edifice of society of the trading class in a petty irregular shape, and with towers. On one Saxon town to the pomp, culture, and side of the castle is the extensive park, etiquette of a German court. German very generously thrown open to the pubprinces are either Durchlaucht-trans- lic, and the court band performed in it on parencies, or Erlaucht illuminated. Sunday and festival evenings. The princess was a transparency, or, as we render it, Serene Highness. The courts of the petty princes have much punctilio about them, and only such persons as are hoffähig, who by their birth and position are qualified, are admitted into these exclusive circles. Now the line in Germany between the noble or gentleman and the citizen is very sharp, and there is no passing from the lower to the higher without a patent from the sov ereign, and the adoption of the von before the patronymic.

Eugenie John had recovered somewhat of her wounded self-esteem, and she chafed at the slights, or imaginary slights, to which she was subjected at court. She was only a John, not a Von John, and a salaried servant. There was, indeed, a Baron von John in the Austrian army, who VOL. LXI. 3143


The late Prince Günther I., who had been deposed or had resigned in 1835, had shaken himself free from all the restraints of decorum. He had filled the palace with officials, and published his court calendar with the list of them all, and their order of precedence. The prin cipal offices were filled with his natural children, of whom there were plenty. He used to ramble about his park in the evenings, pipe in mouth, flirting with the prettiest girls, and wrestling with any man who would stand up to him. But with the elevation of his son to the little sovereignty decorum returned, and perhaps a little extra stiffness to make amends for the great laxity under the old Günther.

The town and castle are prettily situ ated in the valley of the Wipper, among well-wooded hills.

The princes of Schwarzburg-Sonders- This second humiliation, and the reduc hausen are descended from the Counts of tion of her means, happened inoppor, Schwarzburg, a very ancient Thuringian tunely. Her father was without means race. The Sondershausen branch became princely in 1697.

Whilst in attendance on the princess, Marlitt, or Eugenie John, as we must call her, for she had not as yet assumed the name by which she became known in literature, accompanied her patroness to the principality of Hohenlohe, and stayed at Oehringen, the residence of the parents of the princess. Hohenlohe is a high, bald, and thinly peopled tract of land in Franconia; the princes are also Counts of Gleichen, and, since 1861, Dukes of Ujest in Upper Silesia, with a seat in the Prussian upper house. The little town of Oehringen, where is the palace, lies on the Ohrn, between Stuttgart and Hall. Eugenie likewise accompanied her mistress on an excursion into the Bavarian Alps, and to the Schleier See and Munich.


her brothers were in no better circumstances, and they had an uncle dependent on them. Eugenie's small pension served to keep them all in the necessaries of life. Perhaps at this period of her life she shines in the noblest light, for she was most unselfish in her devotion to her impoverished family. She lived with her married brother, Alfred John. A year or two later a fresh disaster fell on her. The princess lost her fortune through some unlucky investment, and was no longer in a position to pay Eugenie the pension, as promised.

Now ensued a period of the severest privation, and anxiety for the future. But it was the destitute condition in which the family was that spurred Eugenie to at tempt literary work. Something must be done to relieve their distress, and in a cold room in winter, in which she was unable to afford a fire, she wrote two stories, "The Twelve Apostles and "The Schoolmaster's Daughter."

As a safety-valve to her annoyance and irritation, Eugenie John began to keep a volume of verses, which she called her "Herbarium," in which she poured forth her troubles in lines of tolerable poetry. It is to this period of privation that is atThe "Herbarium" certainly contained tributed the commencement of that infirmmany poetic flowers of the genus worm-ity rheumatism or gout with which she was ever after afflicted, but it probably only developed what lurked already in the system. Her previous deafness was doubtless attributable to the same origin. This deafness now increased, and she became at length, not exactly stone deaf, but so deaf as only to be able to hear when shouted to close to her ear.

Towards her patroness Eugenie was always respectful, and bore her real affection. In 1855, whilst staying at Friedrichsruhe with the princess, she entered into correspondence with School-Director Kern, of Ulm, and he perceived the genius in the girl, and encouraged her to write, though he was unable to obtain a publisher for her verses. It was not, however, till ten years later that she made her first appearance in print.

It is pretty evident from her writings, which transparently veil her own trials, troubles, experiences, and undisguisedly reveal her prejudices, that about this time she formed a hopeless attachment towards a man, probably her superior in rank. The hopelessness of her passion, instead of softening and sweetening her heart, made it more impatient, angry, and bitter. Her irritability became vexatious, and her marked sensitiveness rendered her im practicable, so that the princess was reluctantly obliged, in 1863, to request her to retire from her position on a small pen


She obeyed, she could not do other, without resentment against her patroness, but nursing bitter anger against those to whose influence she attributed her disgrace.

When her two stories were written out neatly, with her final corrections, she entrusted them to her brother to post for her. As he passed the window with the packet, he held them up to her, as she looked anxiously forth. "Oh, my poor, poor children!" said she. "What will befall them in this wide, rude world?" The packet was addressed to Keil, editor of the Gartenlaube, at Leipzig.

The first was accepted; not so the second, it was returned with the remark that Auerbach had worked that vein out, and her story of the schoolmaster's Marie was too close an imitation of his style to be accepted. This was in 1865. Encouraged by having one of her compositions taken, Eugenie now set zealously to work on a novel, "Gold-Else," in which she described her own experiences at the court of Sondershausen. When it was finished she sent it to the Gartenlaube. Keil, the editor, bade the sub-editor look through it, and a few days later the latter returned

him the MS. sealed and ready to post, | telegrams by financiers, no search among "not suited," to the authoress. advertisements by men out of employ, it was simply men and women of the people devouring with feverish avidity the last chapters of Gold-Else.'"

"What is it like?" asked Keil. The sub-editor shrugged his shoulders. "Nothing remarkable," he answered; "not above the ordinary level of female composition. It is all about Thuringia."

"I am a Thuringian," said Keil; "let me see; " and he broke the seals, and began to read, not with the expectation of having to reverse the decision of his subordinate, but in order to refresh old recollections of his native forest land. He had not, however, read many pages before he discovered that the sub-editor had either been remiss in examining the MS., or had grievously lacked judgment. He read on the whole afternoon, and read till midnight. Next day he wrote to the authoress, accepting the novel, and proposing, besides the usual honorarium for the publication in the magazine, that she should share profits with him when it was published in book form.

A very few years later Keil paid her £1,200 as half profits. She was then a cripple, in constant pain. When she received the cheque, she burst into a flood of tears, partly of joy in seeing that there was no more cause for pecuniary solici tude in the future, partly of sorrow as she reviewed the heartaches and humiliations out of which "Gold-Else "had sprung.

Marlitt's future was assured. She closed with an offer of Keil that whatever she wrote should go to his magazine, and that she should write for no other publisher. He had behaved honorably to her, not taking advantage of her inexperience at the first, and she repaid his honorable` dealing by holding fast to her engagement, and refusing more advantageous offers made to her by other publishers.

Her next production was "Blue Beard," in 1866; but her second novel, "The Old Maid's Secret" (Das Geheimniss der alten Mamsel), is, in the opinion of the writer, by far her best work. It represents the struggles of a young girl brought up amid the straitest puritanical bonds, striving for more light and air and breadth of sympathy. Into it are woven some of her childish frolics in the old house in the market-place at Arnstadt; her scrambles among the attics, and exploration of hidden cupboards and nailed-up coffers, after old papers.

Then came "Reichsgräfin Gisela," in 1869, and "Heideprinzesschen" (The Princess of the Heath), in the ensuing year. This opens with a charming de The pseudo-name of E. Marlitt, which scription of the north-German sandy, she had assumed on first entering the heather-covered plain, dotted with tumuli, walks of literature, she retained to the end." Huns's graves." But an English reader "Gold-Else" took with the people at once. cannot see much that is pleasant in the It was interesting, somewhat sensational, love-making of an uncle and his niece. passionate, and romantic. But it is not a Here is a scene from it to us repulsive. great novel, it contains not a single char-"At the foot of the mound he remained acter which will live, and no situations so striking as indelibly to stamp themselves on the memory. It reveals no power to sound the depths of the human heart. In a notice of Marlitt, in a number of the Gartenlaube, after her death, the editor says, "Whoever on a Friday in March, 1866, happened to pass down the König Strasse in Leipzig, would have been arrested by a striking scene. At a street corner where stood the office of our magazine, only erected two years previously, stood a number of people essentially of the people, leaning against the railings, sitting on the steps, reading the just issued number of the Gartenlaube. That was at a time when heavy storm-clouds lowered over Germany, and when the news of the day was awaited with breathless anxiety. And yet, the scene was unlike that which took place outside the offices of the daily journals. There was no eager scanning of

stationary: What! will you not advance a step towards me, Leonore?' he exclaimed. Uncle !' escaped my lips. With a few strides he reached me on the mound, a smile played about his lips. Strange maiden, what wild imagination has carried you away? Do you suppose that a mere uncle would be so eager to pursue his little runaway niece?' He softly clasped my two hands, and drew me down the hillock. 'Now the storm drives over us harmlessly. I am no longer your uncle. I have seen your father, and have asked for other rights, and they have been granted. He has bidden me fetch you home -- but one way lies before both of us, Leonore, betwixt us only your will interposes. Have you no other name to give me than Uncle?' 'Eric!' I shouted, and threw my arms around his neck." And so onwith mutual hugs and kisses. “The Second Wife" is extravagant. Marlitt's later

novels show a steady decline in power. Her last work is unfinished, but will be completed from her notes, and published next year.

Marlitt's stories are sensational, like Mrs. Henry Wood, she carries on the reader's interest from beginning to end, and she has considerable descriptive skill; but they do not instruct, do not provoke thought, and show no deep insight into character. She can show hate changed into love, but not a moral transformation. Her success with the pen enabled her to build a house, which she called Marlittheim, on elevated ground above Arnstadt; a pleasant abode, erected in the common, prevailing style of German villa, with a belvedere at the side, from which a fine view is commanded. The building was carried out under the supervision of her brother Alfred, who was master in the Middle School at Arnstadt. Her delight in taking possession of her house was qualified by suffering, as at the same time her malady took sharp hold of her, and gradually deprived her of the power of locomotion. Her brother and his wife lived with her, so also did her aged father, and the greatest care and affection surrounded her. Her workroom was on the ground floor, but she liked to roll her wheeled chair into the garden, and sit musing by the hour under a favorite chestnut, or she would be carried up to the room at the top of the belvedere, whence she could see the distant prospect of the lovely Thuringian woods and hilis. On one occasion, as she was being brought down from her lookout chamber, in a new carrying-chair, it gave way, and she was precipitated down the steps and severely injured. This accident confined her for long to her bed, and prevented her from continuing the story of "The Lady with the Carbuncles," on which she was engaged at the time. When she resumed her pen, it was by an effort of will in the midst of sharp suffering. She never thoroughly got over this fall, and it doubt less hastened her end. In October, 1886, she was laid up with inflammation of the ribs, followed by other internal complications. She received transient relief from the use of massage, but she gradually failed, and died at the end of June last, uttering with her last breath the name of her beloved brother Alfred.

Marlitt's workshop was, as already said, a room on the ground floor. Before the window stood her table, on which was a handsome inkstand, the gift of the princess, a thermometer, and a telescope, with


which she could amuse herself by looking at the distant mountains and woods in the intervals of composition. The chief or nament of the room was a rich, inlaid, antique secrétaire or cabinet, with handsome brass work about it. In this she kept her treasures, memorials pleasant and painful of the past, her diary, her Herbarium," old letters, and sundries consecrated by recollections. The walls were adorned with some family portraits and crayon drawings by her father. The old man often came into his daughter's room and occupied an armchair by the stove provided for him. There he sat in silence, watching her write, and glad to catch an occasional smile and nod from her.

Marlitt kept her MS. in a locked leather portfolio, and allowed no one to see any of it till the work on which she was engaged was complete. So particular was she on this point, that on one occasion when a sheet of her MS. fell on the floor, and was picked up by her sister-in-law, Marlitt, thinking she had skimmed its contents, tore it to pieces and threw it into the waste-paper basket. When, however, a novel was done, then, at eight o'clock punctually in the evening, she rolled her wheeled chair into the room where sat her brother and sister-in-law, her MS. on her lap, and began to read it to them. Till this moment, although living with her in the closest communion of thought and interest, they had been told nothing of its contents, and sometimes did not even know the title of the work on which she was engaged.

Her relations, knowing how sensitive she was, never allowed her to see unfavorable criticisms of her work, and no notice of herself which was not complimentary. Possibly the vexation and pain which a severe review would cause might have paralyzed her imagination, and taken the heart out of her work. Her brother and sister desired to spare her vexation, but we may well doubt whether it would not have been better for her to have seen that her writings did not meet with universal admiration, and were not regarded as likely to live as classical works.

Not only was adverse criticism withheld from her, but she was kept in the most rigid seclusion from the world. She saw no one but her own family circle. The inevitable result was, that she exhausted her past experiences and made no fresh observations of character, her creations became more puppets than men and women, and her incidents were drawn with

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