The motif of the story is the search for a manuscript of Tacitus, which the Professor, a rabid philologist, from finding its mention in an old account-book of a monastery, supposes to be concealed in a certain village. He goes there to pursue his search, but instead of the manuscript he brings back to the city a charming provincial wife, whom, in his leisure moments, he attempts to train. In the meantime he continues his quest. It leads him to the court of a certain Prince who falls in love with his wife and keeps the Professor there on the pretense of finding the manuscript while he pays court to the wife. The story is at times intensely exciting; it is at all times interesting in spite of its sometimes tedious descriptions; and the psychological idea of the expansion of the soul at death into a radiating influence and activity expressed upon future generations, which is in a measure its immortality, gives it a permanent value.
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