Puslapio vaizdai

husband. Perhaps he was thinking of this alteration of his mode of li when he once remarked that he married rumor that he misbehaved w his Käthe out of pity.

hand is an evident lie. No When he came to an understanding with done, you ought not to take Käthe we do not know. He probably met fault with it. I suppose mar with no obstacles from her after he had ral necessity; and the marri decided to press his suit, and his court- humble, is at the same time ship, it may fairly be presumed, was brief pleasing to God than celiba and matter of fact enough. Neither he see that Luther himself is in nor Käthe was violently in love. Her spirits and disturbed over th - willingness to accept either him or Ams- as earnestly and wisely as dorf shows that her own heart was not courage him, for he has as y deeply engaged, and Luther himself no deserving to be called unwort doubt correctly described his feelings to- ble. I still have evidences o ward her in the letter to Amsdorf already so cannot condemn him. Bi quoted. But a protracted engagement prefer to have him humble was the last thing he desired. Constantly alted and lifted up. The latı under the eyes of the whole world as he not only for the clergy, bu was, with enemies and friends observing men as well. For success his every movement, he naturally wished casion of evil thoughts, no the matter concluded as speedily as pos- rhetorician says, to the fool sible. Years later he remarked, “It is the wise. Then, too, I hop very dangerous to put off your wedding, will make him more sober, : for Satan gladly interferes and makes give up the buffoonery we ha great trouble through evil talkers, slander- him for. ers, and friends of both parties. If I had not married quickly and secretly, and Luther evidently unders taken few into my confidence, every one and had good reason for would have done what he could to hinder into his confidence. But de me; for all my best friends cried, Not this thon's impatience at the eve one, but another.'

reconciled to the new order Melanchthon, who was kept in the dark became a stanch friend and until the wedding was over, was almost of Frau Käthe. beside himself with annoyance.

On the Luther himself, thoug sixteenth of June he wrote the following deeply in love, grew very

f characteristic letter to an intimate friend: and cherished her warmly

his life. We have only a f On the thirteenth of June, without in- letters he wrote her. T forming any of his friends of his intention, particular endearments be Luther unexpectedly married Von Bora. ing “Meine herzliebe Kät The customary ceremony took place in the and the signature “Dein evening, Bugenhagen and Lucas the painter others. But they show and Apel alone being invited to the feast.

terms on which husband You will perhaps wonder that in this un- and the sympathy and und happy time, while good and right-minded could count upon from eac men are everywhere sore distressed, he does

summer of 1526 he w sorrow with them, but rather, as it “Käthe sends greetings, seems, lives voluptuously and tarnishes his for thinking her worthy reputation, when Germany specially needs letter. She is well, by th his wisdom and strength. I suppose it has and is in all things more happened in this wise. The man is very ac- dient, and obliging than commodating, and the nuns fell upon him hope, -- thanks be to G and plotted against him with all their wiles. would not exchange my Perhaps his much association with them, wealth of Cræsus.” Som though he is honorable and high-minded, ferring to his marriage, h softened or even inflamed him.

In this way

has turned out well, G he seems to have fallen into this untimely For I have a pious and tru


her husband's heart can rely." To Käthe would have been entirely out of sympathy herself he once said: “Käthe, you have a with it, had he heard of it. But he perpious husband who loves you. You are an formed an incalculable service in dignifyempress.” And on other occasions he ing married life and ascribing to it a declared he held her dearer than the king- sacredness above the career of monk or dom of France and the dominions of nun. Instead of a temptation to a less perVenice, and even loved her better than his fect way of living, as woman was too own life. To be sure, he did not think commonly represented by the religious her perfect. He recognized her faults as teachers of the middle ages, he saw in her well as his own. He was hot-tempered, one ordained of God to be the companion and she had a quick tongue, and often hard and helpmate of man, and in their union, words passed between them. But despite not in their separation, he found the ideal such temporary ebullitions, they lived for life. Religion had been making too much the most part on good terms, and he found of the abnormal. Luther's greatest service her congenial despite the great difference to the modern world lay in his recognition in their temperaments and interests. of the normal human relationships as the

The following words throw a flood of true sphere for the development of the light upon the experiences of his married highest religious, as of the highest moral, life:


Luther's marriage took place in the Ah, dear Lord, marriage is not an affair

cloister where he had lived ever since he of nature, but a gift of God. It is the sweetest and dearest, yes, purest life. It is

came to Wittenberg. Here he and Käthe. far better than celibacy when it turns out

made their home for the rest of their lives.

It was a roomy building, and had accomwell; but when it turns out ill, it is hell.

modated at one time as many as forty For though all women as a rule know the

monks. While Luther was at the Wartart of taking a man captive with tears, lies, burg, its inmates, under the influence of and persuasions, and are able to distort everything and employ fair words, neverthe

his teaching, began to renounce monasless, when truth and faith, children and fruits himself had no inclination to follow their

ticism and to return to the world. He of love, are there, and marriage is regarded example. Writing to Link in December, as holy and divine, then it is indeed a blessed

1521, he said: “Do thou meanwhile constate. How eagerly I longed for my dear

tinue with Jeremiah in the ministry of ones as I lay deadly ill at Schmalkalden!

Babylon, for I also will remain in this I thought I should never again see wife and

habit and rite unless the world become anchildren here. How I mourned over the

other." separation! I am convinced that the natural

The exodus went on steadily until in longing and love a husband has for his wife

1523 only Luther himself and the prior and parents for their children are greatest Brisger remained in residence. Although of all in those who are dying. Now that I

criticized and laughed at both by enemies am by God's grace well again, I cherish my

and friends for not putting his own prinwife and children so much the more. No one is so spiritual as not to feel such inborn ciples into practice, and turning his back

upon the monastic life, he continued for a love and longing. For the union and communion of man and wife are a great thing. and to keep up the required devotions. But

long time to observe the monastic rules

gradually one after another of the tradiLuther's ideas about woman were not tional ceremonies and practices fell into modern. She was the weaker vessel, he abeyance, until finally the building ceased maintained, and was made to be subject to to be a monastery in aught but name. At the man. Her true life was in the home. the same time the traditional monastic The faithful, obedient, and efficient wife hospitality was still maintained, and the fulfilled the highest ideal of womanhood. place was overrun with escaped monks The eloquent description of a virtuous and others temporarily in need. woman in the thirty-first chapter of Prov- In 1523, Luther laid off the monastic erbs he regarded as valid for his own time dress when in the convent, but continued and all times. Of the so-called emancipa- to wear it in public, “to strengthen the tion of the sex he knew nothing, and weak and to spite the pope," as he re



marked in a letter to a friend. Finally, in had to protest tha
October, 1524, he discarded it altogether, as, for instance,
and appeared thenceforth in the ordinary the Elector John,
costume of a university professor.
In December of the same year, when

I have long de he and Brisger proposed to vacate the

toral Grace for monastery and let it be devoted to other you sent me. purposes, the elector virtually made

toral Grace not t Luther a present of the building, with the am in want. I court in front and the garden behind, and cially from your E put a small house belonging to it at the I can conscientiou disposal of Brisger. The gift to Luther

come me as a prea was legally confirmed seven years later by nor do I desire Frederick's successor, the Élector John. Grace's all too n The building in which Luther was mar

much that I am b ried, and where he continued to live for

I should not like the rest of his life, was thus no longer a

those to whom C cloister, but his own private dwelling. rich, you have ye

While the monastery was still flourish- speak humanly, I ing, he depended entirely upon it for his some to your Elec support, as all the other monks did. But

Grace has to giv with the exodus of most of its inmates,

remains over; fc and with the waning respect for monas

sack. The brown ticism in Wittenberg and its neighborhood, in order to show the income of the monastery from begging toral Grace, I w and from the voluntary gifts of the faith- your honor, altho ful was greatly reduced, and it was found

and if it were difficult even to collect the rents and other

should never wea taxes legally due, as Luther frequently your Electoral complained in letters to the elector and until I ask, that Spalatin. The situation was finally met your Grace's anti by giving him a salary for his university begging for oth work, and for the rest of his life this re- worthy of such f mained his only regular source of income. For his services as preacher in the city As this letter si church he received nothing, and in ac- asking gifts for cordance with a not uncommon custom of for himself, and the day he refused to take money for his needed venison books, though more than one publisher tivity. From the made a fortune out of them. His salary

never solicited at first amounted to a hundred gulden, in- count, but they trinsically equal to fifty dollars of our growth and pro money, but probably the equivalent in pur- frequently show chasing power of six or eight hundred fact. He would dollars to-day. When he married, it was from taxation, doubled, and some years later another hun- that he was not dred was added, making with the payments one kind and ar in kind regularly allowed him by the elec- early years of hi tor, an assured income of about four hundred gulden. This was

the same what he had, g amount received by Melanchthon, and was without hesitatii unusually large for a university professor more money, ta of the day.

naments, presen In addition, gifts of all sorts poured in admiring friend not only from the elector and the town lieve the wants council of Wittenberg, but from admirers as firm a hand in all parts of the world. Occasionally he

money troubles.

many a gulden

otherwise have found its way into the tirely lacking. As late as 1540 he had to pocket of some friend or stranger. On the go for weeks without his nightly glass of occasion of Agricola's marriage, he wrote beer because there was none left in the him he was sending as a wedding-present house and no money to buy more with. a vase received sometime before from an- In 1542, when he made his will, he other friend; but in a postscript he had to carefully reckoned up his possessions, and inform him that Käthe had hidden it wrote out detailed accounts covering a away, so it could not be found.

number of years.

We still have some of Curiously enough, a wedding-gift of the original pages, decorated with amusing twenty-five gulden was sent him by Arch- rhymes, ruefully lamenting his extravabishop Albert of Mayence. Luther him- gance and making sport of his lack of self declined to receive it; but the more business capacity. At his death he left a thrifty Käthe accepted it without his respectable property, perhaps amounting, . knowledge, and when he learned of it, he all told, to eight thousand gulden; but did not know whether to be more annoyed most of it was unproductive, and Käthe or amused.

found considerable difficulty in making He frequently got into trouble through both ends meet. She once complained that indorsing notes for his friends when he he might have been a rich man had he had no money of his own to lend. In wished; but wealth was the last thing order that he might not altogether impov- he cared for, and with his disposition he erish himself, Lucas Cranach and other could hardly have compassed it had he capitalists of the town finally refused to tried. honor his signature, and this way of help- Käthe was

a vigorous and efficient ing the needy was thus closed to him. He housewife. The monastery had been sadly was rather deeply in debt when he mar- neglected before she became its mistress. ried, and it took some time for Käthe, by Luther had lived very carelessly, often judicious management, to straighten out leaving his bed unmade, as he once rehis tangled affairs. In 1527, he wrote marked, for a year at a time, and tumbling Brisger that his own imprudence made it into it at night too tired from his strenuous necessary for him to plunge still deeper labors to notice the difference. His marinto debt and to pawn some silver goblets. riage brought order into the place, and A little later he could announce the pay- transformed the bare and cheerless monasment of all his debts, but he not infre- tery into a real home. In 1536, after a quently had to lament the burden of new visit to Wittenberg, Wolfgang Capito of ones. "I justly remain in the catalogue Strasburg wrote Luther: "My greetings of the poor," he once remarked, "for I to your wife, Lady Katharine, best of keep too large an establishment.” Gradu- women! When I have returned home I ally, despite his free-handedness, a certain will. send her something to remember me measure of worldly prosperity was attained by. I love her with all my heart. She through Käthe's energy and economy, and was born to look after your health, that they were able to make considerable im- you may the longer serve the church which provements in the Wittenberg house, to has come into existence through you." buy an orchard, a hop-garden, and some Luther's own personal habits changed other pieces of land in the neighborhood, little. He remained negligent about his where Käthe raised cattle and did farming dress, as he had always been, and his study on a small scale. Finally Luther pur- continued a wilderness of disorder. Desks, chased from her brother a farm at Zuls- tables, chairs, and every available spot dorf, a part of the small family inheritance, were covered with books, letters, and not far from her birthplace. In the man- manuscripts, and he often lost things altoagement of this she took particular delight. gether in the confusion of the place. Even One of Luther's letters to her opens with before his marriage he kept a dog, which the playful greeting, “To the rich wife at frequently played havoc with his papers. Zulsdorf, Frau Doctor Luther, in the He was also careless about his food. Bebody at home at Wittenberg, but in spirit fore Käthe came upon the scene he ate busy at Zulsdorf."

very irregularly, often forgetting his meals Even then petty economies were still altogether. His bodily needs, indeed, necessary, and ready money was often en- meant little to him. As he once wrote

Melanchthon, when he could not get meat curious mixture of G
and wine, he contented himself with telligible only to one a
bread and water. On the other hand, he A pious woman she
was often as imprudent in his eating as in interested in Luther
his fasting. Käthe set a bountiful table, work. As his referen
and whatever the condition of his health, ecclesiastical affairs i
and despite her protests, he was apt to eat to her show he took h
anything that seized his fancy, bad as it and talked matterso
might be for him. His irregular habits Evidently she unders
and his strenuous labors combined with what was going on, a
the ascetic practices of his early years to influence felt even in
undermine his health. He was a sufferer when she induced hin
.from severe kidney and liver trouble dur- engage in open contro
ing most of his life, and had to endure a Erasmus.
great deal from headaches, which often Their home was th
completely incapacitated him for work. tive social life. No

A masterful person Käthe was, with a and neighbors were f
mind and will of her own. The cloister but guests from abr
she made her particular domain, and ruled for Wittenberg was
it with a strong hand. Strength and Mecca of Christian
energy, indeed, were her prominent charac- Europe, and Luther
teristics. Among her neighbors she bore comers was generous a
the reputation of being a capable but some- the regular members
what over-thrifty housewife, and while many university stu
generally respected, she was not generally custom common am
liked. To many she seemed proud and professors, Käthe beg
domineering. As the wife of the great her marriage to take
reformer, it was not unnatural that she the practice to the en
should hold her head high and expect her some of them we ou
will to count in the little university city. ords of Luther's tabl
Luther once compared her to Moses and we catch many fascia
himself to Aaron, and he often spoke of home-life. Beginni
her jestingly as “My Lord Käthe.” In early in the thirties,
October, 1535, he wrote his friend Jonas: boarders finally got
"My Lord Käthe greets you. She rides ing down under his
about, cultivates the fields, raises and buys was talking the subs
cattle, brews beer, and the like. At the tions. At timesh
same time she has begun to read the Bible, have presented the a
and I have promised her fifty florins if she with the auditors
finishes before Easter. She is

very earnest the lecturer's words about it, and has already reached the fifth

seem as if the effect book of Moses.” Her reason for taking take all spontaneity up the reading of the Bible at this particu- his talk, but this was lar time, it may be remarked, was the re- Even the most caref cent appearance of Luther's German ver- are full of informal sion in its first complete edition.

sions of opinion on With all his playful raillery, he valued ject, grave and gay her highly for just those practical qualities while some of the he lacked himself, and was very glad to recently recovered s turn the management of family affairs freely and unconscio wholly over to her. Though we hear of scribes were waitis her chiefly as a housewife, she was not Often the talk, as w simply that. While her tastes were not monplace enough, bu intellectual literary, she had a fair edu- brilliancy and reve cation, and knew enough Latin to under- insight. stand and bear her share in the table The records of c conversation, commonly carried on in a with caution, for

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