In my opinion, what made the Head-forester Von Knör so incredibly sharp-set upon chess was, that from one year's end to the other, he had nothing to do but to be, once during that time, the guest, the Santa Hermandad or Holy Brotherhood and the Dispenser of Bulls to the rangers.
The reader can surely never have heard of an amateur with so extravagant a passion as his. The least he could do was to send for all his servants to the village of Strehpcnik, (where one gains as much immunity from taxation by chess as a nobleman does by a Saxon Diet,) in order that he might (though in a different sense from that of Cato) have as many opponents as servants. For another instance, he and a nobleman of Upper Yssel in Zwoll spent more postal money in writing than in riding, inasmuch as they played chess at a distance of 250 miles, not with fingers, but with pens. Still another fact may satisfy the reader, viz., that he and Kempele's Automaton Chess-player corresponded with each other, and that the fellow-lodger and adjutant of the wooden Moslem, Herr von Kempele, once in my presence wrote back to him from Hay street in Leipsic, in the name of the Mussulman, that the latter castled. The reader will have his own reflections on the subject, when told that the man, within two years, traveled away to Paris, to go to the Palais Royal and to the Société du Salon des Echecs, and to sit down there as chess-combatant, and jump up again as chess-conqueror, although he was afterward cudgeled much too severely in a democratic street, for having cried out in sleep: Gardez la Reine! It may simply seem striking to one and another that his daughter never could win a new hat from him or a new dressing-maid (soubrette) to put it on for her, except by winning at the same time a game of chess. But one thing will astonish and vex all who read me, of either sex and of every age, namely, that the Head-forester had sworn he would give his daughter to no other beast in the whole knightly circle but the one who should win not only her heart but at the same time the victory over her in a game of chess--and that in seven weeks.
The ground he took, and his chain of reasoning, was this: "A good mathematician is a good chess-player; therefore, vice-versâ--a good mathematician knows the Differential Calculus ten times better than a poor one,--and a good master of Differentiation understands himself as well as any one in the matter of wheeling and deploying, and consequently can command his company (and his wife, in fact,) at any hour--and why then should not one give so accomplished, so experienced an officer, his only daughter?" My reader would certainly have seated himself forthwith at the chess-board and thought to himself: the drawing of such a quaternion from the board as the daughter of a Head-forester, is an extraordinarily easy matter; but it is confoundedly hard when the father himself watches behind her chair, and prompts the daughter in every move whereby she is to guard her king and the maiden-queen (herself) from my reader.
No one who had heard of it could comprehend why the Forester's Lady, who had long been the Maid of Honor to a Countess von Ebersdorf, with her fine feelings and her piety, could tolerate such a hunter's-whim; but the truth is, she had a Moravian fancy of her own to carry out, namely, that the first child of her daughter Ernestina should be trained for Heaven; that is to say eight years under the earth--"eighty years for all me!" said the old man.