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DOCTOR UEBERBEIN

69

There were five of them, not counting Klaus Heinrich: Trümmerhauff , Gumplach, Platow, Prenzlau and Wehrzahn. They were called "the Pheasants" in the country round. They had a landau from the Court stables which had seen its best days, a dog-cart, a sledge, and a few hacks, and when in winter some of the meadows were flooded and frozen over, they had an opportunity of skating. There was one cook, two chamber-maids, one coachman, and two lackeys at the "Pheasantry," one of whom could drive at a pinch.

Professor Kürtchen, a little suspicious and irritable bachelor with the airs of a comic actor and the manners of an old French chevalier, was head of the seminary. He wore a stubbly grey moustache, a pair of gold spectacles in front of his restless brown eyes, and always out-of-doors a top hat on the back of his head. He stuck his belly out as he walked and held his little fists on each side of his stomach like a long-distance runner. He treated Klaus Heinrich with self-satisfied tact, but was full of suspicion of the noble arrogance of his other pupils and fired up like a tom-cat when he scented any signs of contempt for him as a commoner. He loved when out for a walk, if there were people close by, to stop and gather his pupils in a knot around him and explain something to them, drawing diagrams in the sand with his stick. He addressed Frau Amelung, the housekeeper, a captain's widow who smelt strongly of drugs, as "my lady" and showed thus that he knew what was what in the best circles.

Professor Kürtchen was helped by a yet younger assis tant teacher with a doctor's degree—a good-humoured, energetic man, bumptious but enthusiastic, who influenced Klaus Heinrich's views and conscience perhaps more than was good for him. A gymnastic instructor called Zotte had also been appointed. The assistant teacher, it may be remarked in passing, was called Ueberbein, Raoul Ueber-