Peer came to the house where he was to study to be a scholar. The man’s name there was Herr Gabriel. At the house was Madame Gabriel, but that wasn’t all. There were several children and even a couple of other lodgers. Peer was to have his own room, but it was nailed up tight from Madame Gabriel and her children, for safety’s sake.
Madame Gabriel told Peer not to tell, but she gave the children punch in the evenings. She would give Peer punch too if he would put his glass under a hold in the wall so she could pour the punch in.
Herr Gabriel was a strange man who shouted, “Fudge,” after having discovered a sandwich being used as a bookmark.
Peer got punch at bedtime and things went on.
Look, this punch obviously isn’t punch and Herr Gabriel does not take punch himself, as mentioned in the story. So his wife sneaks everyone in the house “punch,” except for Herr Gabriel himself, to get them to go to bed. This sounds like a really bad foster home.
“Oh, just give ’em some brandy, they’ll shut up.”
I didn’t think people said “fudge” as a curse alternative in the 1800s. I thought this was a relatively recent development, but I must be wrong.
Herr Gabriel is more straight-laced that Madame Gabriel, but they all sound weird overall. Peer has definitely found himself in a different situation than he is used to. In some ways, these people are of a higher class than Peer because we’re talking about a scholar’s family, but in others, they’re as base as the roughest dock-hands. I mean who gives their kids alcohol to get them to go to bed? People who yell out 1970s single-wide trailer screen-doors, smoke menthols since age twelve, and drop out of high school and get pregnant at fourteen, that’s who. We’re not talking about high-class behaviors or even middle-class behaviors. We’re talking about the Beverly Hillbillies compared to all the rich people in California. I think, as the story continues, that we will find that this family was not always in the position they are in today. I could be wrong, but it’s a guess.
This is the first time in Peer’s life that he has probably encountered such juxtaposition of outward and inward behaviors from the people that he knows. The people he knew before always seemed to act in public as they did in private, but with the Gabriels, it’s just not so. Peer is definitely getting an education.
I bet that Madame Gabriel gave her kids moonshine to help with their teething.
Would you report the Gabriels to child services?
Do you think Peer has gathered that the Gabriels aren’t exactly the same as their status says, or is he oblivious naive?