In Auerbach's cellar (a tavern) "jolly companions"
are described. The author doubts that this is
actually the right word for this kind of people.
It could be thought of a piece of irony of Goethe
to call them that way. The author of this chapter
worked as a cab driver to earn money during studies
and has a lot of experience with those "jolly
companions". Most part of the work as a cab
driver was to bring drunk people home. The language
of those people turns in something a linguist
would call restricted and the general behaviour
has something of an atavism.
If trying to establish a relation between this
scene and the line of narration one could say
that this scene is about the first, but still
the most stupid try of Mephistopheles to win his
bet. The explication he gives is quite weak.
Ich muß dich nun vor allen
In lustige Gesellschaft bringen,
Damit du siehst, wie leicht sich's leben läßt.
Dem Volke hier wird jeder Tag ein Fest.
Mit wenig Witz und viel Behagen
Dreht jeder sich im engen Zirkeltanz,
Wie junge Katzen mit dem Schwanz.
Wenn sie nicht über Kopfweh klagen,
So lang der Wirt nur weiter borgt,
Sind sie vergnügt und unbesorgt.
Before all else I now must
let you view
The doings of a jovial crew,
That you may see how smoothly
life can flow along.
To this crowd every day's a feast
With little wit and much content,
Each, on his own small round intent,
Is like a kitten with its tail.
While no sick headache they bewail
And while their host will still
more credit give,
Joyous and free from care they
Knowing the real intentions of Mephistopheles,
to bring Faust to a point that he eats dust like
the serpent, we know what means to put Faust in
company of "jolly companions". But as
we know Mephistopheles is not stupid, who does
very well understands the psychology of Faust
(even though the real, eternal search seems to
him to be absolutely ridiculous) as well as the
on of this evening society. It seems right to
believe that Mephistopheles brought Faust to this
place to have fun himself. Evidently he likes
to make fun of drunks, who think that the magic
they see is only due the wine.
Faust is just bored and wants to leave as soon
as possible. These people only make him feel sick.