George Eliot: A Biography

By Blanche Colton Williams | Go to book overview

13
FLIGHT TO GERMANY

To the land of philosophy, the land of Goethe. They sailed to Antwerp, July 20, 1854, meeting dawn as they passed up the Scheldt and greeting the sun on the shores of Belgium. On to Cologne, where they met Dr. Brabant, who was visiting Strauss and brought him to meet the translator of his 'Leben Jesu.' To Coblentz, and to their first goal--Weimar. In this town, rich in Goethe associations, they spent August, September, and October, happy in each other, enthusiastic over the scenery, which they reconstructed for Goethe's day, visiting castles, art galleries, Schiller's and Goethe's homes, and making expeditions to Ettersburg and Ilmenau. Arthur Helps, who had just returned from Spain, accompanied them on their second trip to Ettersburg, and then may have recommended they call themselves husband and wife.

At Ilmenau they visited the Kickelhahn, and the little wooden house occupied by Goethe. Both were impressed by the lines he had written near the window frame:

Ueber allen Gipfeln Ist Ruh, In allen Wipfeln Spürest du Kaum einen Hauch; Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde. Warte nur, balde Ruhest du auch.

Marian reproduces these in her journal, and closes with them her 'Three Months in Weimar'1--'perhaps,' she says, 'the finest ex-

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