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HINNERKE THE SHOEMAKER

49

could only serve, and be meant to serve, at the very best, as a support for your Highness, when the lackeys opened the doors and ushered in the solemn figures in Court dress who came to present their respects to you.…

Klaus Heinrich looked round the hall, and clearly saw that there was nothing here which reminded him of the realities which Schulrat Dröge, for all his bows, was always impressing upon him. Here all was Sunday and solemnity, just as in church, where also he would have felt the calls made on him by his tutor out of place. Everything here was severe and empty show and a formal symmetry, self-sufficient, pointless, and uncomfortable—whose functions were obviously to create an atmosphere of awe and tension, not of freedom and ease, to inculcate an attitude of decorum and discreet self-obliteration towards an unnamed object. And it was cold in the silver hall—cold as in the halls of the snow-king, where the children's hearts froze stiff.

Klaus Heinrich walked over the glassy floor and stood at the table in the middle. He laid his right hand lightly on the mother-of-pearl table, and placed the left on his hip, so far behind that it rested almost in the small of his back, and was not visible from in front, for it was an ugly sight, brown and wrinkled, and had not kept pace with the right in its growth. He stood resting on one leg, with the other a little advanced, and kept his eyes fixed on the silver ornaments of the door. It was not the place nor the attitude for dreaming, and yet he dreamed.

He saw his father, and looked at him as he looked at the hall, to try to grasp his meaning. He saw the dull haughtiness of his blue eyes, the furrows which, proudly and morosely, ran from nostril down to his beard, and were often deepened or accentuated by weariness and boredom.… Nobody dared to address him or to go freely