«Gegengabe» in Paremiology, Folklore, Language, and Literature – Honoring Wolfgang Mieder on His Seventieth Birthday
Edited By Christian Grandl and Kevin J. McKenna
Double Trouble: Uncanny Secrets in E.T.A. Hoffmann's and Otto Ludwig's Das Fräulein von Scuderi
Dennis F. Mahoney
In her one and only personal encounter with René Cardillac, master goldsmith, the title figure of E.T.A. Hoffmann's novella Das Fräulein von Scuderi (Mademoiselle de Scudéri) has an uncanny feeling when comparing his reputation as a solid and respectable citizen with the bizarre behavior he exhibits while urging her to keep the precious jewelry seemingly stolen from his workshop by the band of thieves and murderers terrorizing seventeenth-century Paris. At the beginning of the story, a deathly pale youth with distorted features had appeared at her doorstep at midnight and persuaded Scudéri's chambermaid Martinière to let him in. Alarmed by the sound of an approaching police troop, the youth fled, leaving behind a parcel for Scudéri that Martinière and her fellow servant Baptiste at first fear may contain some deadly poison. Ultimately deciding that this box must contain "ein besonderes Geheimnis" (a special secret),1 they entrust it to their mistress, but are disconcerted when Scudéri discovers not only costly bracelets and a necklace but also a letter from the "Die Unsichtbaren" (The Unseen Ones, 20) thanking her for protecting them from persecution and presenting this jewelry as a sign of their esteem. In point of fact, Scudéri's couplet "Un amant qui craint les voleurs / n'est point digne d'amour" (A lover who fears thieves / is not worthy of...
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