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all of a sudden, opened his eyes wide, and looked as if quite a new
light had come upon him for the first time.
‘“Why, certainly,” said Von Koeldwethout, “nothing is too bad
to be retrieved.”
‘“Except empty coffers,” cried the genius.
‘“Well; but they may be one day filled again,” said the baron.
‘“Scolding wives,” snarled the genius.
‘“Oh! They may be made quiet,” said the baron.
‘“Thirteen children,” shouted the genius.
‘“Can’t all go wrong, surely,” said the baron.
‘The genius was evidently growing very savage with the baron,
for holding these opinions all at once; but he tried to laugh it off,
and said if he would let him know when he had left off joking he
should feel obliged to him.
‘“But I am not joking; I was never farther from it,”
remonstrated the baron.
‘“Well, I am glad to hear that,” said the genius, looking very
grim, “because a joke, without any figure of speech, IS the death of
me. Come! Quit this dreary world at once.”
‘“I don’t know,” said the baron, playing with the knife; “it’s a
dreary one certainly, but I don’t think yours is much better, for
you have not the appearance of being particularly comfortable.
That puts me in mind--what security have I, that I shall be any the
better for going out of the world after all!” he cried, starting up; “I
never thought of that.”
‘“Dispatch,” cried the figure, gnashing his teeth.
‘“Keep off!” said the baron. ‘I’ll brood over miseries no longer,
but put a good face on the matter, and try the fresh air and the
bears again; and if that don’t do, I’ll talk to the baroness soundly,