Charles

Dickens

The Haunted Man

and the Ghost’s Bargin

Der heimgesuchte Mann

und der Vertrag des Geistes

Übersetzt von Margit Meyer, Lizenz der Aufbau Verlagsgruppe
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2012

TITELBLATT

CHAPTER I — THE GIFT BESTOWED

CHAPTER II — THE GIFT DIFFUSED

CHAPTER III — THE GIFT REVERSED

IMPRESSUM

CHAPTER I — THE GIFT BESTOWED

Every­body said so.
Far be it from me to as­sert that what every­body says must be true. Every­body is, of­ten, as likely to be wrong as right.
In the gen­er­al ex­per­i­ence, every­body has been wrong so of­ten,
and it has taken, in most in­stances, such a weary while to find out how wrong, that the au­thor­ity is proved to be fal­lible.
Every­body may some­times be right; “but that’s no rule,” as the ghost of Giles Scrog­gins says in the bal­lad.
The dread word, GHOST, re­calls me.
Every­body said he looked like a haunted man. The ex­tent of my present claim for every­body is, that they were so far right. He did.
Who could have seen his hol­low cheek; his sunken bril­liant eye;
his black-at­tired fig­ure, in­defin­ably grim, al­though well-knit and well-pro­por­tioned;
his grizzled hair hanging, like tangled sea-weed, about his face,
— as if he had been, through his whole life, a lonely mark for the chaf­ing and beat­ing of the great deep of hu­man­ity,—
but might have said he looked like a haunted man?
Who could have ob­served his man­ner, ta­cit­urn, thought­ful, gloomy, shad­owed by ha­bitu­al re­serve, re­tir­ing al­ways and joc­und nev­er,
with a dis­traught air of re­vert­ing to a by­gone place and time, or of listen­ing to some old echoes in his mind,
but might have said it was the man­ner of a haunted man?
Who could have heard his voice, slow-speak­ing, deep, and grave, with a nat­ur­al ful­ness and melody in it which he seemed to set him­self against and stop,
but might have said it was the voice of a haunted man?
Who that had seen him in his in­ner cham­ber, part lib­rary and part labor­at­ory,—
for he was, as the world knew, far and wide, a learned man in chem­istry,
and a teach­er on whose lips and hands a crowd of as­pir­ing ears and eyes hung daily,
— who that had seen him there, upon a winter night, alone, sur­roun­ded by his drugs and in­stru­ments and books;
the shad­ow of his shaded lamp a mon­strous beetle on the wall,
mo­tion­less among a crowd of spec­tral shapes raised there by the flick­er­ing of the fire upon the quaint ob­jects around him;
some of these phantoms (the re­flec­tion of glass ves­sels that held li­quids), trem­bling at heart like things
that knew his power to un­com­bine them, and to give back their com­pon­ent parts to fire and va­pour;
— who that had seen him then, his work done, and he pon­der­ing in his chair be­fore the rus­ted grate and red flame,
mov­ing his thin mouth as if in speech, but si­lent as the dead, would not have said that the man seemed haunted and the cham­ber too?
Who might not, by a very easy flight of fancy, have be­lieved
that everything about him took this haunted tone, and that he lived on haunted ground?
His dwell­ing was so sol­it­ary and vault-like,— an old, re­tired part of an an­cient en­dow­ment for stu­dents,
once a brave edi­fice, planted in an open place, but now the ob­sol­ete whim of for­got­ten ar­chi­tects;
smoke-age-and-weath­er-darkened, squeezed on every side by the over­grow­ing of the great city, and choked, like an old well, with stones and bricks;
its small quad­rangles, ly­ing down in very pits formed by the streets and build­ings, which, in course of time, had been con­struc­ted above its heavy chim­ney stalks;
its old trees, in­sul­ted by the neigh­bour­ing smoke, which deigned to droop so low when it was very feeble and the weath­er very moody;
its grass-plots, strug­gling with the mil­dewed earth to be grass, or to win any show of com­prom­ise;
its si­lent pave­ments, un­ac­cus­tomed to the tread of feet, and even to the ob­ser­va­tion of eyes,
ex­cept when a stray face looked down from the up­per world, won­der­ing what nook it was;
its sun-dial in a little bricked-up corner, where no sun had straggled for a hun­dred years,
but where, in com­pens­a­tion for the sun’s neg­lect, the snow would lie for weeks when it lay nowhere else,
and the black east wind would spin like a huge hum­ming-top, when in all oth­er places it was si­lent and still.
His dwell­ing, at its heart and core — with­in doors — at his fireside — was so lower­ing and old, so crazy, yet so strong,
with its worn-eaten beams of wood in the ceil­ing, and its sturdy floor shelving down­ward to the great oak chim­ney-piece;
so en­vironed and hemmed in by the pres­sure of the town yet so re­mote in fash­ion, age, and cus­tom;
so quiet, yet so thun­der­ing with echoes when a dis­tant voice was raised or a door was shut,
— echoes, not con­fined to the many low pas­sages and empty rooms, but rum­bling and grumbling
till they were stifled in the heavy air of the for­got­ten Crypt where the Nor­man arches were half-bur­ied in the earth.
You should have seen him in his dwell­ing about twi­light, in the dead winter time.

Charles Dickens
The Haunted Man / Der heimgesuchte Mann
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Margit Meyer

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