8/27

The bitterness of my years of schooling and preparation, during which I had often been very close to ruin, was now forgotten or laughed at - even my relations and friends, who had previously been in despair about me, now smiled encouragingly. I had triumphed, and now if I did the silliest or most trivial thing it was thought charming, just as I was greatly charmed by myself. Now for the first time I realized in what dreadful isolation, asceticism, and danger I had lived year after year; the warm breeze of recognition did me good and I began to be a contented man.

 

Outwardly my life now ran in for a good while in calm and agreeable fashion. I had a wife, children, a house and garden. I wrote my books, I was considered an amiable poet, and I lived at peace with the world. In the year 1905 I helped to found a periodical which was principally directed against the personal government of Wilhelm II, without myself taking this political aim very seriously. I took interesting trips in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, India. Everything seemed to be in order.

 

Then came the summer of 1914, and suddenly everything looked different, inwardly and outwardly. It became evident that our former well-being had rested on insecure foundations, and accordingly there now began a period of misery, the great education.