Bertha Garlan

Arthur Schnitzler
Bertha Garlan

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Title: Bertha Garlan
Author: Arthur Schnitzler
Release Date: February, 2006 [EBook #9955] [This file was first
posted on November 4, 2003]
Edition: 10

Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

E-text prepared by Charles Aldarondo, Mary Meehan, and the Project
Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team


She was walking slowly down the hill; not by the broad high road
which wound its way towards the town, but by the narrow footpath
between the trellises of the vines. Her little boy was with her, hanging
on to her hand and walking all the time a pace in front of her, because
there was not room on the footpath for them to walk side by side.
The afternoon was well advanced, but the sun still poured down upon
her with sufficient power to cause her to pull her dark straw hat a little
further down over her forehead and to keep her eyes lowered. The
slopes, at the foot of which the little town lay nestling, glimmered as
though seen through a golden mist; the roofs of the houses below
glistened, and the river, emerging yonder amongst the meadows outside
the town, stretched, shimmering, into the distance. Not a quiver stirred
the air, and it seemed as if the cool of the evening was yet far remote.
Bertha stooped for a moment and glanced about her. Save for her boy,
she was all alone on the hillside, and around her brooded a curious
stillness. At the cemetery, too, on the hilltop, she had not met anybody

that day, not even the old woman who usually watered the flowers and
kept the graves tidy, and with whom Bertha used often to have a chat.
Bertha felt that somehow a considerable time had elapsed since she had
started on her walk, and that it was long since she had spoken to
The church clock struck--six. So, then, scarcely an hour had passed
since she had left the house, and an even shorter time since she had
stopped in the street to chat with the beautiful Frau Rupius. Yet even
the few minutes which had slipped away since she had stood by her
husband's grave now seemed to be long past.
Suddenly she heard her boy call. He had slipped his hand out of hers
and had run on ahead.
"I can walk quicker than you, mamma!"
"Wait, though! Wait, Fritz!" exclaimed Bertha. "You're not going to
leave your mother alone, are you?"
She followed him and again took him by the hand.
"Are we going home already?" asked Fritz.
"Yes; we will sit by the open window until it grows quite dark."
Before long they had reached the foot of the hill and they began to walk
towards the town in the shade of the chestnut trees which bordered the
high-road, now white with dust. Here again they met but few people.
Along the road a couple of wagons came towards them, the drivers,
whip in hand, trudging along beside the horses. Then two cyclists rode
by from the town towards the country, leaving clouds of dust behind
them. Bertha stopped mechanically and gazed after them until they had
almost disappeared from view.
In the meantime Fritz had clambered up onto the bench beside the road.

"Look, mamma! See what I can do!"
He made ready to jump, but his mother took hold of him by the arms
and lifted him carefully to the ground. Then she sat down on the bench.
"Are you tired?" asked Fritz.
"Yes," she answered, surprised to find that she was indeed feeling
It was only then that she realized that the sultry air had wearied her to
the point of sleepiness. She could not, moreover, remember having
experienced such warm weather in the middle of
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