Chapter 4: The road to Lobositz, and home

3. Once more, and then adieu Rottweil, adieu for ever!

This man von R - - was one of Markoni's bad debtors, of whom he had plenty. Now, he did not fear that he might be going to bring him his money, but rather that he might come for more, for my master could not refuse anything to anyone. From time to time, however, he tried to employ me in collecting debts of this kind, but for this I was of no use whatsoever; the fellows would give me good words and I would go home satisfied. But this manner of housekeeping could not any longer continue. It finally came to the point that Markoni had to fear the worst, when he considered how few young men he had delivered to the King for so much money spent, for, as well he knew, Frederick the Great was also the most exact accountant of his times. He therefore urged me and the landlord, and all his acquaintances, to look round and see if we could not bring a few more fellows into his net. But all was in vain. And at the same time the two sergeants Hevel and Krüger arrived once more in Rottweil empty- handed. Now all of us together had to make ready for a journey.

But beforehand there were a few more days yet of merry-making. Hevel was a virtuoso on the guitar, Krüger was a good violinist, both of them elegant gentlemen as long as they were engaged in recruiting, but when with the regiment they were ill-nourished corporals. And a third, Labrot, a great sturdy fellow, now at this time let his moustaches grow, for he shaved them off for the recruiting. These three lads cheered Rottweil with their capers to the very last. It was carnival time, when the so-called Guild of Fools


, (a regular institution in this town, in which over two hundred persons of all ranks are enrolled), were playing their pranks, which cost my master a deal of money. And in short, it was high time that we should quit the place.
And so the time came to take our leave. Mariane bound me a splendid posy of expensive artificial flowers and gave it to me weeping, nor could I remain dry-eyed as I took it. And so adieu, Rottweil, dear, peaceful little town! Dear, tolerant Catholic gentry and citizens! How I rejoiced in your friendly drinking-parties, so full of brotherly mirth! Adieu, ye worthy farmers, whom I so liked to hear talking over your business in the tavern on market-days, and to see riding homeward on your donkeys! How well I often relished milk and eggs under your thatch! What happiness I enjoyed in your beautiful meadows, where Markoni shot down singing larks by the dozen from the sky, though I mourned for them in my heart! What rapture was mine, whenever my master permitted me to wander here and there in your dark forests, on the delightful shores of the Neckar, where I had been bidden to search out hares for him, but preferred to listen to the birds and the rustling of the west wind in the tops of the fir-trees. And so again: adieu, Rottweil, dear, precious little spot! Alas, it is perhaps for ever! Since that time I have seen many cities ten times larger and twenty times cleaner and more orderly than you! But for all your smallness and for all your muckheaps you were ever ten and twenty times dearer to me than they! Adieu, Marianchen! A thousand thanks for your love for me, so sincere and yet so undeserved! Adieu, Sebastian Zipfel, dear kindly host of The Crossbow


and my gentle hostess likewise! Farewell, farewell to you all!

44. Journey to Berlin:

On the 15th of March 1756 we set forth in God's name from Rottweil, the sergeants Hevel, Krüger and Labrot, myself and Kaminski, with bag and baggage, and, except for the last-named, all fully armed. Marianchen sewed a posy on my hat and sobbed; I pressed a nine-batz piece into her hand, myself also almost overcome by grief. For though I was so firmly resolved upon this journey, and had no forebodings of trouble, yet it caused my heart to be strangely heavy, though I


Celebrations of the days before Lent, in Catholic countries, involved feasting and parading on a grand scale, and many other ceremonies somewhat similar to the Mystery Plays in England, but including many elements of pre-Christian beliefs.


The Crossbow inn still stands but is now the main post office.