Should finish Penelope's "opus" by the end of the weekend. Have also dipped into the "fragment" that started it all: Henry von Ofterdingen.
'But there is something else which I have written and which I want to read to you while I still have time,' Fritz told Karoline. 'It will not truly exist until you have heard it.'
'Is it then poetry?'
'It is poetry, but not verse.'
'Then it is a story?' asked Karoline, who dreaded the reappearance of Fichte's triads.
'It is the beginning of a story.'
'Well, we will wait until my Aunt Rahel comes back from the evening service.'
'No, it is for you only,' said Fritz.
'His father and mother were already in bed and asleep, the clock on the wall ticked with a monotonous beat, the wind whistled outside the rattling window-pane. From time to time the room grew brighter when the moonlight shone in. The young man lay restlessly on his bed and remembered the stranger and his stories. "It was not the thought of the treasure which stirred up such unspeakable longings in me," he said to himself. "I have no craving to be rich, but I long to see the blue flower. It lies incessantly at my heart, and I can imagine and think about nothing else. Never did I feel like this before. It is as if until now I had been dreaming, or as if sleep had carried me into another world. For in the world I used to live in, who would have troubled himself about flowers? Such a wild passion for a flower was never heard of there. But where could this stranger have come from? None of us had ever seen such a man before. And yet I don't know how it was that I alone was truly caught and held by what he told us. Everyone else heard what I did, and yet none of them paid him serious attention."'
'Have you read this to anyone else, Hardenberg?'
'Never to anyone else. How could I? It is only just written, but what does that matter?'
He added, 'What is the meaning of the blue flower?'
Dr. Brown, of Edinburgh, had cured a number of patients by refusing to let blood, and by recommending exercise, sufficient sex, and fresh air. But he held that to be alive was not a natural state, and to prevent immediate collapse the constitution must be held in perpetual balance by a series of stimuli, either jacking it up with alcohol, or damping it down with opium.
Of late he had become so desperate about this deadlock that he boldly called it an absolutely epoch-making scientific work. But she only laughed and said: Whatever it is that you have in your head, I'd rather not see it; if your head could be tipped over to empty out its contents, what is likely to fall out is some ghastly mess or other, some indefinable, horrifying, utterly worthless kind of dung or rot. Your so-called book -- this is how the Konrad woman dared to refer to her husband's work-in-progress toward the end -- is really nothing more than a delusion.