Academics and laymen
Anna runs through the house, she is everywhere and nowhere, she wants to skip things and she manages.
I knew that she had a strong personality, now she proves it to me plus everyone who can see it and who can appreciate the thankless work of a servant.
It is slavery in a lovely form; she has grown above these heads, she is captain of this ship, which now gives the signal to raise the anchor in order to start a journey to the unknown.
When I come back with some flowers from my own garden, she has a vase ready ... she knows so well what everyone is thinking that wants to understand her and appreciates her strong character.
She is a beacon of light for Erica, and a pilot to Karel ... it is she who has knowledge of things, who does not fear darkness or storm, even if the waves sweep overboard.
She admires all the colours of the sea ... because she is a child of the same Father, who created the elements.
“What are you waiting for, Anna?”
“Is there something?
Is there a new baby on the way, Frederik?”
“Can’t you see that?”
“Then I know what I have to do.
No one can work it out.
Those men with their talk do not know.
Do you think, Frederik, that this will be permanent?
She mumbles words and I do not understand their purpose.
Just a moment ago, she called out: ‘Did you see that, Anna?
That is a sea serpent.
But soon we will see land animals.
Those seagulls are accompanying us until we are in open sea.
Frederik knows what he is doing.’
Could she be delirious?’
“Just leave her, Anna.”
“Do you really mean that, Frederik?”
“I mean it.”
“Then I don’t understand it anymore.
If Karel does not stop bringing those men, it will be the death of her.
What a world, I don’t know any more.
Now we are even at sea, we can see serpents and there will also be land animals.
Good heavens, it is like a madhouse here.”
“You will have to have patience, Anna.
Soon you will recognise her again.
Listen well to what she tells you about the things she sees on the way.
Do not worry, there is nothing the matter.”
“Karel says that as well, but you cannot depend on him.
Those others do not mean a thing to me.
If you cannot help her, I will.”
Anna goes back to Erica ...
Karel calls me.
He introduces me to his friends.
First of all ... Doctor Ten Hove.
I already know Van Hoogten.
I am disappointed in Ten Hove; my first impressions are bad.
Time will tell whether I am right.
Ten Hove is like a lanky schoolboy; he looks like a small, stocky farmer.
Karel likes him, and he smells that he is from the same background.
The man comes from a provincial town, but behaves as if the Royal House is standing behind him.
I can see a nice piece of ironwork on his right hand ... but it is too showy for a doctor.
However, I sit down.
Karel talks and pours me a drink, and the gentlemen also have a drink.
They smoke in such a way that a chimney would be envious of them.
I do not follow their conversation, but I look at the academics.
All the same, I later realise that Karel’s talk gets through to me.
He is talking about a patient ... it has nothing to do with Erica.
Ten Hove is rummaging in his pocket for something.
I see a small pair of scissors there that he never uses.
He has dark blond hair with a wide parting to the right and he looks dapper.
I already said: a real farmer’s head ... much imagination and much fuss.
I suspect that his whole family has contributed towards paying for his studies.
He walks on roses, I already know his gait.
Wears high shoes, because low ones do not suit him.
I know those types from the past; they prefer to walk about in evening wear, with a few golden buttons!
To think a person like that has become a doctor!
Van Hoogten is taller and slimmer.
A narrow head with a large nose on a long neck.
Blinks but is very calm apart from that.
Ten Hove cannot sit still, and it is as if the greenfly are stinging him too.
Ten Hove looks at his woollen socks, and I conclude that this man is not a direct disciple of Robert Koch ... he did not let himself be disturbed.
He is therefore open to influence.
Karel and Van Hoogten do not react to it. Karel is a good storyteller; he dishes up interesting stories and is very good at analysing.
Many people will envy him, I know that he can run rings round these two men; he has them eating out of his hand.
I now understand that Karel has long told them everything about me.
I get the feeling that they are calm, because you usually receive signals during a conversation like that from which you get to know their characters.
Ten Hove keeps rubbing his forehead, he only smokes cigars and knows what to do with them.
He sips his drink, just as women do, who do not wish to admit that they are partial to a drink.
Karel has finished his story, refers to it again and now starts talking about Erica.
“What do you make of it, Frederik?”
“What do you think about it, what do the gentlemen think about it?
I am just a layman.”
“That is true ... but you know her, Frederik.”
“I repeat, Karel, I am just a layman.
But it rains a bit for her, it is a bit stormy, but the situation is changing.”
The gentlemen smile, I am on my guard.
Karel does not help me out.
And he closes himself off.
When Ten Hove asks me if I think that these phenomena came directly from the baby, I know that Karel has hoodwinked me.
I go into the question and answer with a question in return:
“What do you want me to do, do I have to make a diagnosis?”
He now admits that Karel has mentioned a few things.
Karel senses my irritation and asks me:
“Frederik, is this condition not the same as the one we have seen all this time?”
“I believe, Karel, that this is also a process.
Natural laws ... but, after all, I am just a layman.
I believe that the baby is now also influencing the mother.
We already saw what she is now experiencing between the fourth and the third month of pregnancy.
I once spoke to a doctor who placed an advertisement for himself in order to find out how many mothers felt during pregnancy.
I do not know whether you know that story.
He made a complete study of it, so I heard, he was sent wonderful letters.”
“Please continue, Frederik”, Karel asks.
“I was told that there were mothers amongst them who were bothered by a beard when they were pregnant.”
Ten Hove suddenly bursts out laughing.
Van Hoogten remains serious, Karel follows the first one.
“This must sound dreadful to you academics.
Yet, this mother said: ‘I knew beforehand that I would have a boy.
And it was a boy!’’’
Ten Hove thinks it is remarkable, but Karel laughs and now he thinks that I am kicking him into my ditch.
However, Van Hoogten asks:
“Is there more to come?”
“For example, there was also a letter from a mother who felt suicidal during pregnancy, but still had the strength to resist it.
There were other very interesting letters, about a mother who wanted to wear nice clothes when she was pregnant and later saw when the child had grown up that it was very vain.
There were also among them who were afraid that they would lose the baby.
Nothing happened, but the child was run over.
Now I ask the gentlemen: can the soul, can the life already think before birth and let his thoughts penetrate the consciousness of the mother?
For example, does the child know it will have a beard?”
Karel laughs out loud.
Ten Hove smirks.
Van Hoogten is as white as a sheet.
He prepares to go.
Karel sees it, gets it wrong and thinks that I am kicking his friends into the ditch.
In any case: they are leaving!
Karel says goodbye to them ...
Anna keeps them away from Erica ... she is dreaming; a wonderful mystic shows her the balloons of Our Lord, the nicest of which she wants to keep for herself and René.
But will she also know what to do with them?
The doctors have gone; Karel storms in.
“Frederik, since when did you use so many words to vomit up such a load of nonsense?
You really went too far.”
I do not answer him.
He suddenly begins to laugh wildly, he cannot calm down.
Finally, when he is calm again, he says: “We will drink to it.
He was really good.
But how is Erica?”
“You will have to ask Anna.”
“But you were upstairs?
What do you think of the child, Frederik?
Now no nonsense this time.”
It takes a moment before I can speak.
The machine is not standing still but does not start to work at full speed either, that is not possible yet.
I chug towards him.
Karel takes over the conversation:
“What is actually the matter with you, Frederik, you have changed.
I have never known you to be anyone other than a person who does not open his mouth in company, but now you were able to talk the hind legs off a donkey.
Where did you get all that nonsense?”
“What are you trying to say, Karel?”
“I do not intend to insult you, Frederik, things are different now.
I have turned enough into the eye of the wind, we are now faced with serious problems.”
“So, if that is what you think, we are in the same boat.”
“What else ... I do not know Erica anymore.
I had not thought that she had such a weak character.
She has lost the personality she had.
Do you understand it?”
“You could have understood it a long time ago, but your own blood apparently did not mean anything to you.
You prefer to jump over ditches and let another fall in, while you stand at the edge watching how he manages to climb out.
Then you have great fun.
I couldn’t care less now about your pears and apples, as long as you know.”
“What do you mean by pears and apples?”
“I compare all of your life to a farmer’s life.
To me your arguments are the fruits from your gardens.
But I have my own tree.
I have not looked at it for years, only now do I know what I have.
You, on the other hand, you do not know that!”
“I do not understand you, Frederik.”
“That is because your life is standing still.
You are chugging day and night through the streets and you do not see that people throw rotten apples at you, for that matter, you are too whimsical for that.”
“Good grief, do not talk such nonsense, what are you trying to say.”
“I will just go away, try my luck elsewhere.”
“I do not mean it like that, Frederik, but I do not understand you.”
“Although we have lived next to each other all those years, I have to admit that now your own garden is blossoming, by which I mean to say: you are now really seeing for the first time how much weeds you have.
You, Karel, want to be dead serious?
Do you want to talk to me?
Do you want to see problems?
Do you want to worry about mother and child?
“Stop it ... Frederik ... what do you want?”
“You do not even let me finish.
You fall and do not see that there are thousands to help you.”
“How poetic you are today, where did you get that wisdom?”
“I picked it up from the street and filled my pockets, now I am sharing out what I found.
You drive in a car and do not see it like that.
Only people who saunter through life and see everything what people do not wish to see experience that.
In this way I saw that you have been throwing away the greatest part of your possessions for many years ... and I also picked that up.”
Karel thinks: in this body there is deadly seriousness, his soul climbs up the railings of the castle, but the rain pipes are too slippery, he keeps falling back and now feels his own helplessness.
He knows that it is not working like this.
Thank God, I think, there is still a core ... not everything is frivolous, not everything in him throws away His natural products ... he is learning to think.
He looks at me, I know, I have touched him.
We sit like this for some time ... we do not say another word, but our souls feel each other, there is no question of kissing.
He still does not say anything, Anna brings tea, he drinks it, he is thinking, he is now going in another direction, he lets go of his horses and he chases them one for one into the field, he chastises himself.
When that is over, he runs into the woods.
I can see him sitting under a tree, staring in front of him, his forehead wrinkled.
After a while he comes home ... sits down there again, but he has changed.
“You are right ...
Frederik, that has to change.
But tell me, am I blind?
Have I sunk so terribly low?
Am I no longer a normal person?”
“You were wearing a mask, Karel.
Not a complicated or frightening one, people were not afraid of it.
It is because of this that you did not see the others.
Since you were wearing a mask yourself, you did not see through the others and you saw your own surroundings as a circus.
However, I will get you ... I have seen other people of your kind laughing heartily at the deadly seriousness of others!
I have seen your sort destroy more than those who apparently received the blows and were made an example of, while no one knew how to deal with them.
I just do not like people who carry scissors in their pockets, which they never use; provincial bourgeois continually attract attention, especially if they have noble airs, although they sold everything out of poverty and the family ran a bakery in order to at least be able to make a living.
Do you not hear that bragging, do you not have any eyes left in your head, do you not feel that you and Erica are being cheated?
If you say that I must leave, Karel, I will clear off immediately.
However, you do not know the slightest about Erica’s condition ... you do not even see her.
You are an ungrateful dog!”
“Continue ... Frederik” he says after a short pause, “just continue.”
“Thank you ...!
Thank you very much ...!
How can it be!!!
I will now drink to the health of your whole family ... it is a pity that Erica is not here.
But that will come.
“Cheers, but continue!
I think you are a miracle today.”
But it doesn’t work!”
I think that he is taking away my inspiration, if what I received is given to me, or ... my inner being is awakening, as I have experienced for a few days.
He appears to understand and waits.
Karel has started to hear ... it is a great gain!
Suddenly it is as if He hands me His letters ... and I hear myself say: “If I go back to the first moment that voices could be heard in the house, a general change was announced, a body began to thicken and a process came about ... understand ... I saw myself standing before a great miracle, which you both did not understand.
It all appeared so simple, Karel, millions of lives are involved, they all experienced their own world.
Anyone who did not behave normally was immediately out of it ... out of the naturalness of the event and was then alone, because the rest of this humanity is not concerned with affected sanctimoniousness.
Sensation and showing off are foremost and making light of problems, which are not a problem to you academics.
The lid is on the pan; to me it was as if castles close their doors ... your own blood boils from ringing at the door, because there is no question of it being opened.
I am sure you can feel it: in my dream world, they speak differently.
Like you, I would no longer be able to talk; I now know that, having reached this age, I have worked on it without being able to know.
It also means that a person does not know himself, all kinds of things live within you, good, evil; sometimes you see beautiful things with which you can decorate your castle, usually you already break your neck entering it, because your servants have left a piece of soap lying.
You swear a bit, but it does not help you, you can make sure yourself that there is order.
Your own flesh and blood is standing outside in the wind and rain!
You do not realise that someone else is laughing.
You do not hear anything; you do not see anything.
You can only feel your own presence and the dead world in which you live, where you are also in charge, but no one sees anything in it.
You can also pick that up in the street gutters of your town.
Yet, look at those people?
What a fuss they make ...?
Are we ourselves not putting on masks, breaking as many hearts as we can?
You are lucky, you laugh, you enjoy it and try to fool another person that, despite everything, you feel and understand the misery of life, and you devote your life to it.
When the first phenomena started, I saw Erica standing in the rain, and you kept your doors closed.
Then you started haunting!
You enjoyed undressing her, and with her that which you call a process, and sending her out in the street – otherwise you would never have given Van Stein the chance to shroud her firmament and make a deep darkness of it.
Put in a human way, closer to your life ... it is gossip!
What you managed – and just throw me out for saying this – was nothing more than slam the doors shut ... and show her that you come from a farm, have a farming background ...
But what do I actually have to do with it?
I believe that you are starting to think that I want to tell you what to do, forgive me, Karel, I have the greatest respect for you ... also for Erica and Anna ...
Just throw me out!”
“Continue, Frederik, I beg you!”
“Thank you ...!”
I have lost the thread of conversation again ... but the machine will probably still work.
“Try to get the thing working again ...!”
“I am already doing my best ... can you hear it puffing, Karel?”
“I can hear it, continue ...!”
“When those first phenomena became apparent, Karel, I started to think in a different direction, not for myself, but because I was involved ... I was a part of all this furniture.
I am proud of myself because I approved ... I did not know that I would be able to accept the task of postman and, if necessary, have a broom handy to sweep up the farmer's waste, so as not to obstruct the human eye, which looks around here freely, which was really no fun.
If you want to, you can say: go! ... I will not mind!
I see that you can be quiet.
I have only known since a few days ago that I had all those capacities, Karel; I had not thought that a broom like that could give you so much information, which actually belongs to a university level, where human characteristics are analysed.
I lost myself in philosophical systems, but I saw that they lay in the street; the gutters were blocked with them.
Then Erica got airs and graces ... at that moment she was standing outside ... there was not a single chance anymore of letting her penetrate your own university, because you were too busy with your horses, put too much manure on the buttercups so that they died off because of the surplus.
Your characteristics were obscured.
You hid behind a mask and sat out his time.
You did not see that this process understands what it is to have a beard, that this same process felt like a drink, and could even drink a bottle of old gin before nine o’clock in the morning, you did not see that great ... art lived within and on that muddy soil, you did not hear or see anything, you did not know that universal principles were being laid in us, which would be given foundations through that little soul.
You did not see that that sea could not be fathomed, that the ship drifted about, wrecked, with land in sight, but in the wrong direction; you did not see that she was sitting on her grave, taking care of the little flowers which she had picked for your common sense, and shared her happiness like a child!
You have never understood that mothers in such a situation can feel suicidal, you never felt that she could be right, you beat her, you destroyed her ... you put yourself on a pedestal and did not know it.
This process is everything ... nature does it of its own accord ... but you never even thought that that nature also ... has a personality.
You were not taught this, Karel, that ‘university’ does not yet live, it still has to be born, but as a result of this, my life got contact, like a cogwheel of the masses.
I believe that that cogwheel has become a construction of its own ... however, it turns as a result of the phenomena, what you find on the street!
I do not know everything about it, Karel, but it took me to the soul and the God of all life.
Then I knew that people are a great miracle.
However, that miracle does not even know itself!
I could explain to you the day and the hour ... I also know that it is still no good to us, and why I am saying all these things, I do not know that either, but I will tell you: I am delivering letters!
Erica experiences natural phenomena, Karel, even if we do not understand it one bit, they are present.
When a mother knows beforehand that her baby is a boy, because for nine months she has felt the itchy feeling of a beard, which she has tried to resist day and night, you laugh about it, but try to get it out of the mud, to explain it as a natural phenomenon.
You just told me that these things mean nothing to you, and you called it nonsense!
I tell you, we lived next to each other and did not know each other.
I knew you, you did not know me and you did not know Erica any better.
And now, Karel, there are two people upstairs, who both experience phenomena.
One of them sails the great seas, sees serpents with human heads, with masks, she sees beautiful places and strange birds.
You and your expertise now have to decide where she got that from, I tell you, everything is so wonderfully healthy, so beautiful, so very natural, but you do not see the light, you do not know the origin.
Yet life gives you peace.
You can now see that she is changing ... but she is walking through the swamps, through rain and wind, through deserts, she climbs mountains, she hears the roaring of wild animals, she sees from close by that they tear each other to pieces.
Just give a name to all these new phenomena that she did not yet have this morning but which make her happy.
You can see that from her wonderful smile ... which materialises now and again from behind this supernatural mask.”
Anna enters and says:
“Frederik, she is delirious again.
She is talking about bears roaring and the cry of a jackal in the distance.
It is horrible.
Can you understand that?”
“Then we have made great progress, Anna, we will soon have dinner.
Do not worry, Anna, she will soon go to sleep now, and tomorrow she will not be able to find any words for it.
But it is blissful!”
Anna does not understand it and yet she is satisfied; she also sees that my life has changed.
Karel does not say anything, he is thinking!
Then he says:
“Good gracious ...!”
“You will never leave here, Frederik, will you?
We need you!”
“Thank you ... I will stay, because I have been promoted on that journey to captain of the ship.
But what do you make of that madness, Karel?”
“I do not have any words for it.
Do you think that it will change soon?”
“There is nothing the matter with her, Karel.
It is René!”
“I thought so, but I cannot understand it.
What is the matter with the baby?”
“You have to find a name for it.
I do not yet know ... preserve me from this science, but ... they are phenomena again!”
“Do you have a name for it?”
“I am a layman, Karel, you are the academics!”
“Forget about that, Frederik, surely you can give a name to it yourself?
I am starting to see your buttercups.”
“Thank you ... but René’s buttercups have too much manure ... they die off and now you are powerless for the moment; now, Karel, you must leave it to nature, it knows what it is doing, but you have to be careful, help when you see that your help is needed.
I am telling you honestly, I do not like that head!”
“That is another story ... I studied the science of the skull for years.
You see, there it is again; you do not know me!
You saw me for an idiot ... now that has to stop, at least partly.
I believe that I am growing!
I am awakening.”
“Tell me about his skull.”
“If you think that tongs can change life, Karel, I will believe it immediately.
You could now say, the tongs were too tight.
But ... do you believe that?
According to laws of your friend, everything is okay.
I do not believe that!
And from that crown of the skull, or however you wish to call it, Erica sees snakes and brown bears, it rains, it storms; it keeps changing, because she has to continue her journey.
You must see the fact that she has to lie down as rest, dealing with this natural event, which has affected her too deeply.
Furthermore, you will have to wait, because there is no more to it!”
Karel is thinking ... but he says:
“You are a strange man, Frederik.
I regret everything, you are right!
I will think about it!”
Karel suddenly gets up and leaves the room.
But he comes back almost immediately with the message that Erica is sleeping peacefully, as he has never seen in the past few months.
“I just hope”, he continues, “that this whole matter will be resolved, we have not had a minute’s enjoyment.
However, the baby looks like an old man ...
It is terrible.
We were too old!”
“Nonsense, doctor Wolff, nonsense, you know very well, you are hiding again behind your mask.
Where is your knowledge now?
What do you know about natural brooding?
You would say that a newly born duckling already knows that it belongs in water, which a chicken does not understand.
Why does a dog never try to fly?
They are greenfly to your life and your knowledge as a doctor; your university is suffering from scurvy!
Clean your wounds first and put on a new bandage, but watch out a bit more, look after those wounds in a different way, you do not have the right medicine, Karel!”
“Is there anything else, Frederik?”
“Not immediately, because you have to lay foundations for everything first.
I became involved in individual situations.
I descended into masks and I saw that it also lives behind them and you receive the seed again to sow your land.
It is a certainty, the laws of which you do not yet know but which is a fact for us.
You do not know anything about this birth.
Sometimes you have the urge to talk about it, but when you open your mouth, Karel, you speak a language, which you do not know the slightest about.
You lose yourself completely.”
“Since when did you become so poetic?”
“I was already like that as a child, Karel, but now you can see its colours.
My apples are starting to ripen!
I did not know that you could be so friendly towards your minors.
Laymen do not understand academic science ... scholars know better, they studied for it, but forget that everything has its foundations and it is defined for everyone”, also passed my lips.
Then his head went down and he sighed, which did me good!
Then it was six o’clock in the evening, a certain day in the year 1900 and something and somewhere in this country of which I am a child.
Then I saw that the curtains were closed to me, but behind the scenes, I could hear noise, people moving about, who are building the decor for the next act.
There is still tension in the hall, they do not know how it will end; I, the director, now know all about it ...
I also saw that laying in the street ... no one realised it; but now those stupid people will foot the bill.
However, it is I that invited them ...
Can you see those masks?
Now you must see, despite everything, that everyone has a true soul.
Come on, Frederik; deliver your letters!
However, do not forget your broom!
How can it be!