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List Of Contents | Contents of Karl Ludwig Sand, by Dumas, Pere
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were thrown by the crowd that thronged the street, and from the
windows.  At these friendly cries and at this spectacle, Sand, who
until then had shown no moment of weakness, felt tears rising in
spite of himself, and while he returned the greetings made to him on
all sides, he murmured in a low voice, "O my God, give me courage!"

This first outburst over, the procession set out amid deep silence;
only now and again same single voice would call out, "Farewell,
Sand!" and a handkerchief waved by some hand that rose out of the
crowd would show from what paint the last call came.  On each side of
the chaise walked two of the prison officials, and behind the chaise
came a second conveyance with the municipal authorities.

The air was very cold: it had rained all night, and the dark and
cloudy sky seemed to share in the general sadness.  Sand, too weak to
remain sitting up, was half lying upon the shoulder of Mr.  G-----,
his companion; his face was gentle, calm and full of pain; his brow
free and open, his features, interesting though without regular
beauty, seemed to have aged by several years during the fourteen
months of suffering that had just elapsed.  The chaise at last
reached the place of execution, which was surrounded by a battalion
of infantry; Sand lowered his eyes from heaven to earth and saw the
scaffold.  At this sight he smiled gently, and as he left the
carriage he said, "Well, God has given me strength so far."

The governor of the prison and the chief officials lifted him that he
might go up the steps.  During that short ascent pain kept him bowed,
but when he had reached the top he stood erect again, saying, "Here
then is the place where I am to die!"

Then before he came to the chair on which he was to be seated for the
execution, he turned his eyes towards Mannheim, and his gaze
travelled over all the throng that surrounded him; at that moment a
ray of sunshine broke through the clouds.  Sand greeted it with a
smile and sat down.

Then, as, according to the orders given, his sentence was to be read
to him a second time, he was asked whether he felt strong enough to
hear it standing.  Sand answered that he would try, and that if his
physical strength failed him, his moral strength would uphold him.
He rose immediately from the fatal chair, begging Mr. G----to stand
near enough to support him if he should chance to stagger.  The
precaution was unnecessary, Sand did not stagger.

After the judgment had been read, he sat down again and said in a
laud voice, "I die trusting in God."

But at these words Mr.  G------ interrupted him.

"Sand," said he, "what did you promise?"

"True," he answered; "I had forgotten."  He was silent, therefore, to
the crowd; but, raising his right hand and extending it solemnly in
the air, he said in a low voice, so that he might be heard only by
those who were around him, "I take God to witness that I die for the
freedom of Germany."

Then, with these words, he did as Conradin did with his glove; he
threw his rolled-up handkerchief over the line of soldiers around
him, into the midst of the people.

Then the executioner came to cut off his hair; but Sand at first
objected.

"It is for your mother," said Mr.  Widemann.

"On your honour, sir?" asked Sand.

"On my honour."

"Then do it," said Sand, offering his hair to the executioner.

Only a few curls were cut off, those only which fell at the back, the
others were tied with a ribbon on the top of the head.  The
executioner then tied his hands on his breast, but as that position
was oppressive to him and compelled him an account of his wound to
bend his head, his hands were laid flat on his thighs and fixed in
that position with ropes.  Then, when his eyes were about to be
bound, he begged Mr.  Widemann to place the bandage in such a manner
that he could see the light to his last moment.  His wish was
fulfilled.

Then a profound and mortal stillness hovered over the whole crowd and
surrounded the scaffold.  The executioner drew his sword, which
flashed like lightning and fell.  Instantly a terrible cry rose at
once from twenty thousand bosoms; the head had not fallen, and though
it had sunk towards the breast still held to the neck.  The
executioner struck a second time, and struck off at the same blow the
head and a part of the hand.

In the same moment, notwithstanding the efforts of the soldiers,
their line was broken through; men and women rushed upon the
scaffold, the blood was wiped up to the last drop with handkerchiefs;
the chair upon which Sand had sat was broken and divided into pieces,
and those who could not obtain one, cut fragments of bloodstained
wood from the scaffold itself.

The head and body were placed in a coffin draped with black, and
carried back, with a large military escort, to the prison.  At
midnight the body was borne silently, without torches or lights, to
the Protestant cemetery, in which Kotzebue had been buried fourteen
months previously.  A grave had been mysteriously dug; the coffin was
lowered into it, and those who were present at the burial were sworn
upon the New Testament not to reveal the spot where Sand was buried
until such time as they were freed from their oath.  Then the grave
was covered again with the turf, that had been skilfully taken off,
and that was relaid on the same spat, so that no new grave could be
perceived; then the nocturnal gravediggers departed, leaving guards
at the entrance.

There, twenty paces apart, Sand and Kotzebue rest: Kotzebue opposite
the gate in the most conspicuous spot of the cemetery, and beneath a
tomb upon which is engraved this inscription:

"The world persecuted him without pity,
Calumny was his sad portion,
He found no happiness save in the arms of his wife,
And no repose save in the bosom of death.
Envy dogged him to cover his path with thorns,
Love bade his roses blossom;
May Heaven pardon him
As he pardons earth!"

In contrast with this tall and showy monument, standing, as we have
said, in the most conspicuous spot of the cemetery, Sand's grave must
be looked far in the corner to the extreme left of the entrance gate;
and a wild plum tree, some leaves of which every passing traveller
carries away, rises alone upon the grave, which is devoid of any
inscription.

As far the meadow in which Sand was executed, it is still called by
the people "Sand's Himmelsfartsweise," which signifies "The manner of
Sand's ascension."

Toward the end of September, 1838, we were at Mannheim, where I had
stayed three days in order to collect all the details I could find
about the life and death of Karl-Ludwig Sand.  But at the end of
these three days, in spite of my active investigations, these details
still remained extremely incomplete, either because I applied in the
wrong quarters, or because, being a foreigner, I inspired same
distrust in those to whom I applied.  I was leaving Mannheim,
therefore, somewhat disappointed, and after having visited the little
Protestant cemetery where Sand and Kotzebue are buried at twenty
paces from each other, I had ordered my driver to take the road to
Heidelberg, when, after going a few yards, he, who knew the object of
my inquiries, stopped of himself and asked me whether I should not
like to see the place where Sand was executed.  At the same time he
pointed to a little mound situated in the middle of a meadow and a
few steps from a brook.  I assented eagerly, and although the driver
remained on the highroad with my travelling companions, I soon
recognised the spot indicated, by means of some relics of cypress
branches, immortelles, and forget-me-nots scattered upon the earth.
It will readily be understood that this sight, instead of diminishing
my desire for information, increased it.  I was feeling, then, more
than ever dissatisfied at going away, knowing so little, when I saw a
man of some five-and-forty to fifty years old, who was walking a
little distance from the place where I myself was, and who, guessing
the cause that drew me thither, was looking at me with curiosity.
I determined to make a last effort, and going up to him, I said, "Oh,
sir, I am a stranger; I am travelling to collect all the rich and
poetic traditions of your Germany.  By the way in which you look at
me, I guess that you know which of them attracts me to this meadow.
Could you give me any information about the life and death of Sand?"

"With what object, sir?" the person to whom I spoke asked me in
almost unintelligible French.

"With a very German object, be assured, sir," I replied.  "From the
little I have learned, Sand seems to me to be one of those ghosts
that appear only the greater and the more poetic for being wrapped in
a shroud stained with blood.  But he is not known in France; he might
be put on the same level there with a Fieschi or a Meunier, and I
wish, to the best of my ability, to enlighten the minds of my
countrymen about him."

"It would be a great pleasure to me, sir, to assist in such an
undertaking; but you see that I can scarcely speak French; you do not
speak German at all; so that we shall find it difficult to understand
each other."

"If that is all," I returned, "I have in my carriage yonder an
interpreter, or rather an interpretress, with whom you will, I hope,
be quite satisfied, who speaks German like Goethe, and to whom, when
you have once begun to speak to her, I defy you not to tell
everything."

"Let us go, then, sir," answered the pedestrian.  "I ask no better
than to be agreeable to you."

We walked toward the carriage, which was still waiting on the
highroad, and I presented to my travelling companion the new recruit
whom I had just gained.  The usual greetings were exchanged, and the
dialogue began in the purest Saxon.  Though I did not understand a
word that was said, it was easy for me to see, by the rapidity of the
questions and the length of the answers, that the conversation was
most interesting.  At last, at the end of half an hours growing
desirous of knowing to what point they had come, I said, "Well?"

"Well," answered my interpreter, "you are in luck's way, and you

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