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HINNERKE THE SHOEMAKER

47

yellow dry scalp, which was full of holes like canvas. But thin grey hair was visible under the strong brown hair behind and at the sides. He bowed slightly to the lackeys who opened the door for him to the big schoolroom at whose table Klaus Heinrich sat waiting for him. But to Klaus Heinrich he did not confine himself to a superficial bow as he entered the room, but made a pronounced and deliberate bow before he came up to him, and waited for his exalted pupil to offer him his hand. This Klaus Heinrich did; and the fact that he did so twice, not only when he greeted him, but also when he took his departure, just in the graceful and winning way in which he had seen his father give his hand to those who expected it, seemed to him far more important and essential than all the instruction which came between the two ceremonies.

After Schulrat Dröge had come and gone any number of times, Klaus Heinrich had imperceptibly gained a knowledge of all sorts of practical things: to everybody's surprise he was quite at home in every kind of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and could reel off to order the names of the towns in the Grand Duchy pretty well without an omission. But, as has been said, this was not what was in his opinion really necessary and essential for him. From time to time, when he was inattentive at his lessons, the Schulrat rebuked him with a reference to his exalted calling. "Your exalted calling requires you …" he would say, or: "You owe it to your exalted calling …" What was his calling, and how was it exalted? Why did the lackeys smile as if to say, "The lad that is born to be king," and why was his governess so much put out when he let himself go a little in speech or action? He looked round him, and at times, when he looked steadily and long and forced himself to probe the essence of the phenomena around him, a dim apprehension arose in him of the "aloofness" of his position.