List Of Contents | Contents of Karl Ludwig Sand, by Dumas, Pere
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

every man, like myself, has a right to count upon some other, and
everyone thus counting, every hour's delay, but makes our state
worse; far at any moment--and how deep a shame would that be for us!
Kotzebue may leave Germany, unpunished, and go to devour in Russia
the treasures for which he has exchanged his honour, his conscience,
and his German name.  Who can preserve us from this shame, if every
man, if I myself, do not feel strength to make myself the chosen
instrument of God's justice?  Therefore, forward!  It shall be I who
will courageously rush upon him (do not be alarmed), on him, the
loathsome seducer; it shall be I who will kill the traitor, so that
his misguiding voice, being extinguished, shall cease to lead us
astray from the lessons of history and from the Spirit of God.  An
irresistible and solemn duty impels me to this deed, ever since I
have recognised to what high destinies the German; nation may attain
during this century, and ever since I have come to know the dastard
and hypocrite who alone prevents it from reaching them; for me, as
for every German who seeks the public good, this desire has became a
strict and binding necessity.  May I, by this national vengeance,
indicate to all upright and loyal consciences where the true danger
lies, and save our vilified and calumniated societies from the
imminent danger that threatens them!  May I, in short, spread terror
among the cowardly and wicked, and courage arid faith among the good!
Speeches and writings lead to nothing; only actions work.

"I will act, therefore; and though driven violently away from my fair
dreams of the future, I am none the less full of trust in God; I even
experience a celestial joy, now that, like the Hebrews when they
sought the promised land, I see traced before me, through darkness
and death, that road at the end of which I shall have paid my debt to
my country.

"Farewell, then, faithful hearts: true, this early separation is
hard; true, your hopes, like my wishes, are disappointed; but let us
be consoled by the primary thought that we have done what the voice
of our country called upon us to do; that, you knew, is the principle
according to which I have always lived.  You will doubtless say among
yourselves, 'Yes, thanks to our sacrifices, he had learned to know
life and to taste the joys of earth, and he seemed: deeply to love
his native country and the humble estate to which he was called'.
Alas, yes, that is true!  Under your protection, and amid your
numberless sacrifices, my native land and life had become profoundly
dear to me.  Yes, thanks to you, I have penetrated into the Eden of
knowledge, and have lived the free life of thought; thanks to you, I
have looked into history, and have then returned to my own conscience
to attach myself to the solid pillars of faith in the Eternal.

"Yes, I was to pass gently through this life as a preacher of the
gospel; yes, in my constancy to my calling I was to be sheltered from
the storms of this existence.  But would that suffice to avert the
danger that threatens Germany?  And you yourselves, in your infinite
lave, should you not rather push me on to risk my life for the good
of all?  So many modern Greeks have fallen already to free their
country from the yoke of the Turks, and have died almost without any
result and without any hope; and yet thousands of fresh martyrs keep
up their courage and are ready to fall in their turn; and should I,
then, hesitate to die?

"That I do not recognise your love, or that your love is but a
trifling consideration with me, you will not believe.  What else
should impel me to die if not my devotion to you and to Germany, and
the need of proving this devotion to my family and my country?

"You, mother, will say, 'Why have I brought up a son whom I loved and
who loved me, for whom I have undergone a thousand cares and toils,
who, thanks to my prayers and my example, was impressionable to good
influences, and from whom, after my long and weary course, I hoped to
receive attentions like those which I have given him?  Why does he
now abandon me?'

"Oh, my kind and tender mother!  Yes, you will perhaps say that; but
could not the mother of anyone else say the same, and everything go
off thus in words when there is need to act for the country?  And if
no one would act, what would become of that mother of us all who is
called Germany?

"But no; such complaints are far from you, you noble woman!  I
understood your appeal once before, and at this present hour, if no
one came forward in the German cause, you yourself would urge me to
the fight.  I have two brothers and two sisters before me, all noble
and loyal.  They will remain to you, mother; and besides you will
have for sons all the children of Germany who love their country.

"Every man has a destiny which he has to accomplish: mine is devoted
to the action that I am about to undertake; if I were to live another
fifty years, I could not live more happily than I have done lately.
Farewell, mother: I commend you to the protection of God; may He
raise you to that joy which misfortunes can no longer trouble!  Take
your grandchildren, to whom I should so much have liked to be a
loving friend, to the top of our beautiful mountains soon.  There, on
that altar raised by the Lord Himself in the midst of Germany, let
them devote themselves, swearing to take up the sword as soon as they
have strength to lift it, and to lay it down only when our brethren
are all united in liberty, when all Germans, having a liberal
constitution; are great before the Lord, powerful against their
neighbours, and united among themselves.

"May my country ever raise her happy gaze to Thee, Almighty Father!
May Thy blessing fall abundantly upon her harvests ready to be cut
and her armies ready for battle, and recognising the blessings that
Thou host showered upon us, may the German nation ever be first among
nations to rise and uphold the cause of humanity, which is Thy image
upon earth!

"Your eternally attached son, brother and friend,
" JENA, the beginning of March, 1819."

Sand, who, as we have said, had at first been taken to the hospital,
was removed at the end of three months to the prison at Mannheim,
where the governor, Mr. G----, had caused a room to be prepared for
him.  There he remained two months longer in a state of extreme
weakness: his left arm was completely paralysed; his voice was very
weak; every movement gave him horrible pain, and thus it was not
until the 11th of August--that is to say, five months after the event
that we have narrated--that he was able to write to his family the
following letter:--

MY VERY DEAR PARENTS:-- The grand-duke's commission of inquiry
informed me yesterday that it might be possible I should have the
intense joy of a visit from you, and that I might perhaps see you
here and embrace you--you, mother, and some of my brothers and

"Without being surprised at this fresh proof of your motherly love, I
have felt an ardent remembrance reawaken of the happy life that we
spent gently together.  Joy and grief, desire and sacrifice, agitate
my heart violently, and I have had to weigh these various impulses
one against the other, and with the force of reason, in order to
resume mastery of myself and to take a decision in regard to my

"The balance has inclined in the direction of sacrifice.

"You know, mother, how much joy and courage a look from your eyes,
daily intercourse with you, and your pious and high-minded
conversation, might bring me during my very short time.  But you also
know my position, and you are too well acquainted with the natural
course of all these painful inquiries, not to feel as I do, that such
annoyance, continually recurring, would greatly trouble the pleasure
of our companionship, if it did not indeed succeed in entirely
destroying it.  Then, mother, after the long and fatiguing journey
that you would be obliged to make in order to see me, think of the
terrible sorrow of the farewell when the moment came to part in this
world.  Let us therefore abide by the sacrifice, according to God's
will, and let us yield ourselves only to that sweet community of
thought which distance cannot interrupt, in which I find my only
joys, and which, in spite of men, will always be granted us by the
Lord, our Father.

"As for my physical state, I knew nothing about it.  You see,
however, since at last I am writing to you myself, that I have come
past my first uncertainties.  As for the rest, I know too little of
the structure of my own body to give any opinion as to what my wounds
may determine for it.  Except that a little strength has returned to
me, its state is still the same, and I endure it calmly and
patiently; for God comes to my help, and gives me courage and
firmness.  He will help me, believe me, to find all the joys of the
soul and to be strong in mind.  Amen.

"May you live happy!--Your deeply respectful son,


A month after this letter came tender answers from all the family.
We will quote only that of Sand's mother, because it completes the
idea which the reader may have formed already of this great-hearted
woman, as her son always calls her.

"DEAR, INEXPRESSIBLY DEAR KARL,--How Sweet it was to me to see the
writing of your beloved hand after so long a time!  No journey would
have been so painful and no road so long as to prevent me from coming
to you, and I would go, in deep and infinite love, to any end of the
earth in the mere hope of catching sight of you.

"But, as I well know both your tender affection and your profound
anxiety for me, and as you give me, so firmly and upon such manly
reflection, reasons against which I can say nothing, and which I can
but honour, it shall be, my well-beloved Karl, as you have wished and
decided.  We will continue, without speech, to communicate our
thoughts; but be satisfied, nothing can separate us; I enfold you in
my soul, and my material thoughts watch over you.

"May this infinite love which upholds us, strengthens us, and leads

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: