Recently, NASA scientists claimed that there are at least about 300 million potentially habitable planets in the Milky Way. Some of these exoplanets may even be our interstellar neighbors. At least 4 of them may be less than 30 light-years away from the sun, and the closest one may be at most 20 light-years away. These figures are based on the most conservative estimate, that is, 7% of sun-like stars have such a planet. According to the average expected ratio of 50%, there will be more such planets. This research can help us understand how likely it is that these planets have elements that support the existence of life.
T he painter had continued working until late in the evening. Now he sat, his hands in his lap and dull from fatigue, slumped for a while in the armchair, completely empty and squeezed, with slack cheeks and somewhat inflamed eyelids, old and almost lifeless like a farmer or wood cutter after the hardest physical work.
He would have loved to sit there and surrender to the tiredness and longing for sleep. But his imperious discipline and habit demanded it differently, and after a quarter of an hour he pulled himself together with a jerk. He got up without looking at the big picture, went to the bathing area by the pond, undressed and swam slowly around the lake.
It was a milky pale evening, coming from the nearest dirt road, muffled through the park, the sound of creaking hay wagons and the clumsy shouts and laughter of tired servants and maids. Veraguth climbed up, shivering Land, carefully rubbing himself warm and dry, went into his little living room and lit a cigar.
He had wanted to write letters that evening, now he moved indecisively on the table drawer, but angrily pushed it closed again and rang for Robert.
The servant came running.
“Tell me, when did the young people come back with the car?”
“Not yet, Mr. Veraguth.”
“What, are you not back yet?”
“No, Mr. Veraguth. If only Mr. Albert has not strained the bay too much, he likes to drive a little bit strict. ”
His master did not answer. He had wished to have another half an hour with Pierre, whom he believed had long since returned home. Now he was angry and a little frightened by the news.
He ran over to the manor house and knocked on his wife’s room. She greeted him in astonishment; it had not happened for a long time that he had come to see her here and at this time.
“Sorry,” he said in suppressed excitement, “but where is Pierre?”
Mrs. Adele looked at her husband in surprise.
“The boys left with the car, you know.”
Feeling his irritation, she added: “You won’t be afraid, will you?”
He shrugged angrily.
“Oh no. But I find it inconsiderate of Albert. He spoke of a couple of hours. At least he could have phoned us. ”
“It’s still early. You will certainly be there for dinner. ”
“The little one is always gone when I want to have him a little!”
“There’s no point in your being so angry. It’s just pure coincidence. Pierre is over with you often enough. ”
He bit his lip and went out in silence. She was right, there was no point in getting excited, there was no point in being lively and asking for something from the moment! It was better to sit in patient serenity as she did!
Angry, he went out to the courtyard and onto the road. No, he didn’t want to learn that, he wanted his joy and wanted his anger! How this woman had already muffled him and made him quiet, how he had already become restrained and old, he who had previously been used to dragging happy days noisily into the deep night and smashing the chairs in anger! All resentment and bitterness reappeared in him, and at the same time a longing for his boy, whose look and voice alone could make him happy.
With great strides he ran along the evening street. The rolling of the chariot could be heard and he hurried towards it, excited. It was nothing. A farmer’s horse with a cart full of vegetables. Veraguth called him.
“Didn’t you overtake a single horse carriage with two young people on the box?”
The farmer shook his head without stopping and his heavy horse trotted on calmly into the gentle evening.
As the painter walked on, he felt his anger grow cold and fade away. His steps became calmer, tiredness came over him comfortably, and while he walked comfortably, his eyes rested gratefully in the quiet, rich landscape, which lay pale and fine in the misty late light.
He hardly thought about his sons anymore when, after half an hour of walking, their car came towards him. He didn’t pay attention until he was close. Veraguth stopped near a large pear tree, and when he could see Albert’s face he stepped back further so as not to be seen and called out.
Albert was alone on the box. Pierre was sitting half-lying in the corner of the car, his head bowed uncovered, and seemed to be asleep. The car rolled by and the painter watched him go, he stood on the edge of the dusty road while the car could still be seen. Then he turned and went back the way. He would still like to have Pierre seen, but it was soon bedtime for the boy, and Veraguth was not in the mood to go to his wife again today.
So he walked past the park, the house and the courtyard gate, and down into town, where he had his supper in a popular wine cellar and leafed through the newspapers.
Meanwhile his sons were at home long ago. Albert sat with his mother and talked. Pierre had been very tired, hadn’t felt like eating any more and was now asleep in his pretty little bedroom. And when the father came back in the night and passed the house, there was nowhere to be seen a light. The mild, starless night enveloped the park, the house and the lake in black silence, and fine, quiet raindrops fell from the motionless air.
Veraguth turned on the light in his living room and sat at the desk. His need for sleep was completely lost again. He took a sheet of paper and wrote to Otto Burkhardt. Small moths and moths came flying through the open windows. He wrote:
You are probably not expecting a letter from me now. But while I am already writing, you are again expecting more than I can give. You expect that clarity has come into me now and that I can see the damaged machinery of my life as cleanly in cross section as you think you can see it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean anything. I’ve had a glow in the weather since we talked about it, and at some moments embarrassing revelations stare at me; but it is not yet day.
So I cannot say what I will or will not do later. But we are traveling! I’m going with you to India, please, get me a place on the ship as soon as you know the date. It doesn’t work before the end of summer, but it is more the more preferable in autumn.
I would like to give you the picture with the fish that you saw here, but I would like it to stay in Europe. Where should i send it?
Everything is the same here. Albert plays the man of the world and we treat one another with tremendous respect as two messengers from hostile powers.
Before we travel, I expect you again at Roßhalde. I have to show you a picture that will be finished these days. The thing is good and would be a nice ending if your crocodiles ate me outside, which, by the way, would be undesirable to me, in spite of everything.
I have to go to bed even though I have no sleep. I was in front of the easel for nine hours today.
The letter was addressed and placed in the anteroom so that Robert could take it to the post office in the morning.
When the painter stuck his head out of the window before going to bed, he first noticed the rustling of the rain, which he hadn’t paid attention to at his desk. It sank in soft strands out of the darkness and he listened for a long time from his bed as it fell and poured and ran from the weighted leaves in small tinkling pours to the thirsty earth.