Translated from the German by Miss E. C. Emerson.
ld certainly have put old Mahlmann's characteristic head on his canvas. He had a clever old face with a firm mouth and glittering eyes whose expression was so sombre and at the same time observant that we children imagined old Mahlmann was different from other people. And indeed so he was. To begin with he never thanked anyone for bringing him food; in fact he criticized freely the benefits he received. If one brought what was not to his liking, he would say: "Go home and tell your mother old Mahlmann is not a waste-tub where you throw what's not fit to eat. You needn't come again either!"
In this manner he got himself into disfavor with many a good housewife, who would protest by all that was holy that never would she send the hoary old sinner anything again. But Mahlmann never cared. His needs were few and there was always some one to satisfy them.
For me the old man with the sombre eyes had a peculiar fascination; I think from the fact that he once told me a wonderful ghost-story. There were at least half a dozen witches and a whole dozen ghosts in this tale, and for many nights after I went to bed in tears, and only on condition some one sat with me till I fell asleep. Still the spell of these horrors was so strong upon me that I visited Mahlmann all the moreĽ and often bought him something out of my own slender pocket-money to induce him to tell stories. I was not always successful, fo