Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > German
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vol. XII: German
 
Rewards Hereafter
By Heinrich Heine (1797–1856)
 
From “Confessions”

HEGEL’S conversation was usually a kind of monologue, sighed forth in a toneless voice. The grotesqueness of his expressions often struck me, and several of them have remained in my memory. One beautiful, starry evening we both stood at a window, and I, a young man of twenty-two, having just eaten and drunk well, spoke with enthusiasm of the stars, and called them the abodes of souls. The master growled:
  1
  “The stars—the stars are only blotches of white leprosy on the face of heaven.”  2
  “For mercy’s sake!” I cried, “do you not believe in some fair habitation above, where virtue will receive its ultimate reward?”  3
  He looked at me with his dim eyes, and said sneeringly:  4
  “Aha! You want to be paid a fee for having nursed your sick mother, and for not having poisoned your brother?”  5
  He then looked about suspiciously, lest his excitement should have been noticed. An acquaintance stepped up, and asked him to take a hand at whist.  6
 
 
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