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Title: Villa Elsa - A Story of German Family Life
Author: Henry, Stuart Oliver, 1860-1953
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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VILLA ELSA

_A Story of German Family Life_

BY

STUART HENRY


NEW YORK
E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY
681 FIFTH AVENUE


COPYRIGHT 1920, BY
E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

_All Rights Reserved_

_Printed in the United States of America_



TO

Pat and Anna

IN LOVING TOKEN OF OUR WINTER'S
CONVERSATIONS ON THE GERMANS



FOREWORD


This narrative offers a gentle but permanent answer to the problem
presented to humanity by the German people. It seeks to go beyond
the stage of indemnities, diplomatic or trade control, peace by
armed preponderance. These agencies do not take into account Teuton
nature, character, manner of living, beliefs.

Unless the Germans are changed, the world will live at swords'
points with them both in theory and in practice. Whether they are
characteristically Huns or not, it should be tragically realized
that something ought to be done to alter their type. Their minds,
hearts, souls, should be touched in a direct, personal, intimate
way. There should be a natural relationship of good feeling, an
intelligent and _lived_ mutual experience, worked up, brought
about. A League of Nations, of Peace, inevitably based on some sort
of force, should be followed by a truly human programme leading to
the amicable conversion of that race, if it is at heart unrepentant,
crafty, murderous.

In the absence of any particular heed being paid to this underlying,
fundamental subject, the present pages suggest for it a vital
solution that seems both easy and practical and would promise to
relieve anxiety as to an indefinitely uncertain, ugly future ahead
of harassed mankind.

How shall the German be treated in the present century and beyond?

To try to answer this aright, it is obviously necessary to know what
the German is--what he is really like. To know him at his best, in
his truest colors, is to live with him in his most normal condition,
and that is at his fireside, surrounded by his family. This aspect
has been the least fully presented during the war. What the Teuton
military and political chieftains, clergymen, professors, captains
of industry, editors and other men of position have said, how they
have conducted themselves toward the rest of humanity, is
notoriously and distressingly familiar. But what the ordinary,
educated German of peaceful pursuits, staying by his hearthstone
far behind and safe from the battle line, thought and wished to
say, has been beyond our ken. There has been no way to get at him
or hear from him as to what lay frankly in his mind.

His leaders loudly proclaimed themselves to be as terrifying as Huns
and unblushingly gloried in this profession. Has he agreed or has he
silently disagreed? Has he too wished this or has he been unwilling?
Is he essentially a Hun, are his family essentially Huns, or are
they in reality good and kindly people like our people? Are they
temporarily misled?

The humble German families of education who are hospitable, who sing
and weep over sentimental songs in their homes, whose duties are
modest and revenues small, who have never been out of their
provinces, who have had no relations with foreigners and could have
no personal cause for hatred--have they been so bloodthirsty about
killing and pillaging in alien lands?

Villa Elsa contains a family immune from any foreign influence and
matured in the most regular and unsuspecting Teuton way. The German
household is the most thoroughly instructed of all households. Its
members are disciplined to do most things well. How can it then be
Hun in any considerable degree? Impossible, said the nations, and so
they remained illy prepared against a frenzied onslaught. But a
shocked public has beheld how readily the most erudite of mankind,
as the Germans were generally held to be, could officially,
deliberately and repeatedly as soldiers, singly and _en masse_,
act like their ancestors--the barbarians of the days of Attila.

These are all puzzling queries which this story attempts to
illuminate and solve by its pictures and observations of the
life of such a modest and typical Teuton home in 1913 and 1914.
Admittedly too much light, too much study, cannot be given to
the greatest issue civilization as a whole has faced.

Villa Elsa is but Germany in miniature. In the significant
character, habits and activities of this household may be found
the true pith and essence of real Germanism as normally developed.
This Germanism appears ready to continue after the War to be the
malignant and would-be assassin of other civilizations. It is,
therefore, tragically important to find and act on the right
answer to the question:

Is there any possible way to make the Germans become true,
peace-loving friends with us--with the rest of mankind?



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                         PAGE

         FOREWORD                                vii

      I. TRIUMPHANT GERMANY IN 1913                1

     II. DEUTSCHLAND UEBER ALLES                   6

    III. GARD KIRTLEY                             11

     IV. VILLA ELSA                               19

      V. FAMILY LIFE                              29

     VI. THE HOME                                 36

    VII. GERMAN LOVING                            46

   VIII. GERMAN COURTSHIP                         54

     IX. A JOURNALIST                             64

      X. SPIES AND WAR                            71

     XI. GERMAN WAYS                              78

    XII. HABITS AND CHILDREN                      86

   XIII. DOWN WITH AMERICA!                       94

    XIV. AFTERMATH                               106

     XV. MILITARY BLOCKHEADS                     113

    XVI. A LIVELY MUSICIAN                       120

   XVII. IMMORALITY AND OBSCENITY                125

  XVIII. THE NAKED CULT                          134

    XIX. JIM DEMING OF ERIE, PAY                 145

     XX. AN AMERICAN VICTORY                     152

    XXI. A PEOPLE PECULIAR OR PAGAN?             160

   XXII. MAKING FOR WAR                          168

  XXIII. SOCIAL ETIQUETTE                        178

   XXIV. THE COURT BALL                          186

    XXV. FRITZI AND ANOTHER CONVERSATION         192

   XXVI. SOME OF THE LESS KNOWN EFFICIENCY       200

  XXVII. THE IMPERIAL SECRET SERVICE             210

 XXVIII. JIM DEMING'S FATE                       218

   XXIX. WINTER AND SPRING                       229

    XXX. VILLA ELSA OUTDOORS                     238

   XXXI. A CASUAL TRAGEDY                        247

  XXXII. A GERMAN MARRIAGE PROPOSAL              256

 XXXIII.  A WAITRESS DANCE                       263

  XXXIV. CHAMPAGNE                               272

   XXXV. RECUPERATION                            279

  XXXVI. THE GERMAN PROBLEM. AN ANSWER           285

 XXXVII. A GERMAN "GOTT BE WITH YE"              294

XXXVIII. A JOURNEY                               302

  XXXIX. THE TOMB OF CHARLEMAGNE                 313

     XL. THE END OF A LITTLE GAME                323

    XLI. ARE THEY HUNS?                          329

   XLII. THE ANTI-CHRISTIANS?                    336

  XLIII. THE TEUTON PROBLEM. A SOLUTION          347



VILLA ELSA

CHAPTER I

TRIUMPHANT GERMANY IN 1913


In the late summer of 1913 a quiet American college man of
twenty-three, tall, lean, somewhat listless in bearing, who had
been idling on a trip in Germany without a thought of adventure,
was observing, without being able to define or understand, one of
the most remarkable conditions of national and racial exhilaration
that ever blessed a country in time of ripest peace.

He had never been out of America, and supposed his Yankee people,
with all their wide liberty, contemplated life with as much
enjoyment as any other. But in that land which is governed with
iron, where (as Bismarck said) a man cannot even get up out of his
bed and walk to a window without breaking a law, Gard Kirtley was
finding something different, strange, wonderful, in the way of
marked happiness. It pulsated everywhere, in every man, woman and
child. It seemed to be a sensation of victory, yet there had been
no victory. It appeared to reflect some mighty distinctive human
achievement or event of which a whole race could be proud in
unison. There had been nothing of the sort.

And yet it was there, a certain exuberance. The people, with heads
carried high, quickly moving feet and pockets full of money, were
enlivened by a public joyousness because they were humans and,
above all, because they were Germans. It seemed a joy of human
prestige, of wholesale well-being, of an assuredly auspicious
future. Multitudes of toasts were being drunk. The marching and
counter-marching of soldiers looked excessive even for Germany. A
season of patriotic holidays was apparently at hand. Festivals,
public rites, celebrated the widespread exultation. The whole
country conducted itself as on parade, _en fête_.

Wages were higher and comforts greater than ever known there. For
the first time chambermaids often drank champagne and wore on their
heads lop-sided creations of expensive millinery with confident
awkwardness--creations which they said came from Paris. The chimney
sweeps had high hats and smoked good tobacco which they may have
thought came from London. For the imported was the high water mark
of plenty in Germany as always elsewhere, though she claimed to make
the best goods.

The scene should not be painted in too high colors--colors too
fixed. To the careless observer it doubtless appeared little
different from the annual flowering forth of the German race in
its short summer season. Always at that time were the open gardens
lively, the roses blooming with the crude, dense hues that the
Teutons like, and all the folk pursuing their busy tasks and
vigorous pleasures with a sort of goose-step alacrity.

But the closer, more sensitive onlooker felt something more in
1913--something widely organized, unified, puissant, imperial
indeed, such as, he may have imagined, had not existed since the
days of the great emperors in Rome. What the Germans told all comers
was that they had the best of governments, and that no nation had
been so thoroughly, soundly and extensively prosperous.

For each citizen read in his daily paper of successful and growing
Teuton activities in the most distant parts of the earth--in ports,
regions and among peoples whose names he had never heard before and
could not pronounce. At breakfast his capacious paunch and his
wife's fat, flowing bosom expanded with pride in hearing of some new
far-off passenger route carrying the flag, of the Made in Germany
brand sweeping the markets of the world, and perhaps of the Kaiser's
safe return to his palace, bronzed with the cast of health and
strength. Never had investments brought the German such high
rates. Never had speculation been so rife and withal so uniformly
profitable.

As for industry, Deutschland was a colossal beehive. If Frederick
the Great started the beehive, William the Second was increasing its
size to unbelievable proportions. Insignificant villages everywhere
contained millions of dollars' worth of machinery, manufacturing
goods of untold value. Not an ounce of energy, not a second of time,
seemed to be lost in the Empire. Every German was a busy cog fitted
precisely into the whole national plant.

It was as if the Teuton knew that other races must soon stand with
their backs to the wall and that now was the moment to redouble
effort to capture still more trade and reduce the rest of the world
to an acknowledged state of submission.



CHAPTER II

DEUTSCHLAND UEBER ALLES


Thus the Germans, in 1913, felt how supreme their country was or was
speedily becoming. Not only their newspapers but their educators,
their pastors and, more than all, their military and political
leaders told them that a place above the rest of mankind had been
reached. The pride, the assurance, pervading the land was the stiff
and hardy efflorescence of this universal conclusion. And the
Teutons had earned and therefore merited it all, for no one,
nothing, scarcely even Nature, had lent a helping hand.

German women knew they were the best housekeepers, wives, mothers,
dressers, dancers. Never had they been so to the fore. Never had
they had so much money to spend for clothes. Never had they
promenaded so proudly to martial music or waltzed so perspiringly
with the fashion-plate officers whom they adored.

The children were paragons of diligence and promise. In their school
books and college text books everything German was lauded in the
superlative; everything foreign was decried as inferior,
undesirable. Nearly every human discovery, invention, improvement,
was somehow traced to a Teuton origin. Even characteristic German
vices were held to be better than many virtues in other lands.

The young person grew up to believe that the Rhine was the finest of
rivers, the mountains of the Fatherland were the most celebrated in
song and story, its lakes the most picturesque, its soil the best
tilled. He was properly stuffed with the indomitable conviction, the
aggressive obsession, that the fittest civilization _must_ prevail.

And the army! Always the army--that bulwark, that invincible force!
Hundreds of thousands of civilians apparently regretted they were
not back in the barracks, following the noblest of occupations as
soldiers for the supreme War Lord. The army represented admitted
perfection. Foreign observers were united in naïvely attesting its
impeccableness. It was ready to the last shoe button, to the last
twist of its waxed mustache. But ready for what? Few outside of
Germany appeared to think of asking. The army was taken to be simply
Teuton life and of no more ulterior significance than the national
beer.

The admission was also general at home and abroad that the German
Government was the most free from graft and the most thorough. In
Germany the kings and princes were paid homage as models of wisdom
and virtue, and the Kaiser was believed to be walking with God, hand
in hand, palm to palm. In token of the mystic union between Emperor
and people, Hohenzollern monuments were seen rising in all parts of
the Empire in greater quantity, amid greater thanksgivings. These
_Denkmals_ were growing huger, more thunderous in appearance, and
served the double purpose of keeping the populace in a state of
admiring, unquestioning awe and expressing fulminating Bewares! to
other races. In every home, factory, retail shop, public place, was
the Kaiser's picture, with his trellised mustache, and his devout
eyes cast with a chummy comradeship up to heaven.

All the foregoing explanations accounted in part for a glorious
increase in noise among a people that does everything loudly. The
national noisiness was harmonized somewhat by innumerable bands and
orchestras. Public balls seemed to have become the order of the
night, and the famous forests by day were filled by echoes of the
horns of the bloody chase--the _cors de chasse_ of the legendary
Roland and knights of the Nibelungen. Humble civilians grew fonder
of the habit of donning their military or hunting uniforms and big
marching boots, and sticking cock's feathers in their hats at rakish
angles, recalling the war of 1870 or reviving dreams of the sporting
Tyrol. They drank daily more pints of beer and swallowed the
hot-headed Rhine wines as if thus renewing their blood in that of
their fiery ancestors. Meals mounted to seven or eight a day, for it
was proper to gorge themselves like the human gods they were. Even
the most servile took on a conscious air of being of a regal
species.

In this wise, the German, like Cain, the competent iron-worker, was
treading the earth with resounding footsteps. Over his bullneck and
under his spiked hat he had naturally come to look upon himself as a
super-being. While the American watched ball games, the Englishman
played golf and the Frenchman wrote to his loved one, the Teuton was
keeping himself hardened for war, and toiling like the systematic
beaver in up-building national industries that were so swiftly
dominating all others. To say the least, this intense people were
strenuously perfecting an intensive and powerful civilization such
as never had been seen.

So--as Gard Kirtley was finding and yet failing to explain to
himself--expectancy, undescribable and splendid, was in the air
beyond the Rhine. And there was one special toast drunk to it all
with ever more loudly clinking glasses--Der Tag! Such was triumphant
Germany, the triumphant Vaterland, in 1913--foretasting a portentous
future; pregnant with colossal success; swollen with a hundred years
of victories and growth; as sure of its prowess and might as were
the swaggering gods of its Valhallas.

Imperial Deutschland über Alles!



CHAPTER III

GARD KIRTLEY


Into this Triumphant Germany young Kirtley had come to recuperate
from the sadness over the loss, the previous year, of his parents
and from a siege of sickness. Still somewhat pale, somewhat weak, he
showed the shock he had undergone. He had toured across southern
Germany and up to Berlin where he had bidden good-by to his chance
American traveling companion, Jim Deming, who was knocking about
Italy and Teutonland. They had exchanged final addresses.

Kirtley, clean-shaven, with pleasant brown eyes, and brown hair
brushed down flat, giving his head the appearance of smallness,
looked very lank and Yankeeish among the robust, fat Teutons of the
Saxon capital. He was entering Dresden on a late afternoon brown
with German sunshine. The school year had begun, but a loitering
summer-time brightened city and countryside. As he made his way
slowly through the throng at the station, he gave evidence of a
rather shy way of looking up and about, an apologetic readiness
to step aside, to yield place, not characteristic of the speedy
American in Europe. He had not, as we have said, come to Germany
for adventure. He had not come merely to idle for the winter. And
certainly he little mistrusted he was finally to figure as a modest
hero in a curious and dangerous experience that linked itself up
with the beginning of the war of which he, like the world at large,
felt not the slightest premonition.

His German teacher had been his favorite in his eastern college
where he had one season been a very fair halfback. His better
showing had exhibited itself in his ability to throw from left field
to home plate on the ball team. This American preceptor of German
parentage had taken an interest in Kirtley with the insistent way of
Teutonic pedagogues. Always commending with a uniform vigor the
Germans and German fashions of living, he had gradually filled Gard
full of the idea of their excelling merits.

Kirtley heard of the tonic of the nutritious Teuton beer and Teuton
music in overflowing measures. In the Kaiser's realm, it appeared,
the digestions are always good. How desirable it would be for Gard
to take on some flesh in the German manner! In that climate,
Professor Rebner claimed with assurance, although he had never been
abroad, one can eat and drink his fill without causing the human
system to rebel as it is apt to in our dry, high-strung America. His
pupil's appetite would come back. Hearty meals of robust cheese and
sausages would be craved with an honest, clamorous hunger that meant
foolish indelicacy here at home.

Rebner also urged that Gard could in Deutschland improve his German
which, notwithstanding his affection for his preceptor, was
indifferent. Its gutturalness grated on his nerves, antagonized him.
But he criticized himself for this, not the language. Had not his
old mentor always sung of the superiorities of that tongue?

Kirtley could improve, too, his fingering on the piano by
familiarizing himself with the noble melodies that flooded the
German land. Two hairy hands would go up in exultation,

"To hear Beethoven and Wagner in their own country, filling the
atmosphere with their glories! And then Goethe and Schiller. Those
mighty deities. To read them in their own home!"

But the greatest thing, to the old professor's mind, would be to
behold the German people themselves, study them, profit by them in
their preëminence. What an example, what an inspiration, what a
grand symphony of concentrated harmony! Germany was the source of
Protestantism and therefore of modern morals--honest, uncompromising
morals. German discipline would have a bracing, solidifying effect
on a typically casual, slack American youth like Gard, whose latent
capabilities were never likely to be fully called upon in the
comparatively hit-and-miss organization of Yankee life.

For he had not yet begun to find himself. He had not even decided on
a calling at an age when the German is almost a full-fledged
citizen, shouldering all the accompanying obligations. Kirtley's
exemplary conduct and the gravity cast over him by the death of his
loved ones, had led him to think a little of Rebner's suggestions
about the ministry. And for this, Luther's country would be expected
to be sublime.

The loudly reiterated praise of Germany and the Germans had at last
produced the desired effect on Gard. He was prevailed upon to break
away from the old associations, go abroad for a year and get a fresh
and stout hold on the future. Rebner, through his connections, had
been able to arrange for a home in Saxony for his pupil's sojourn.
It was in "a highly estimable and well-informed family" who had
never taken a paying guest. Although a new experience for them, they
had urgently insisted that they would do everything they could to
make his stay agreeable and beneficial. This was deemed most lucky.
For the real German character and existence could there be observed
and lived with the best profit, uncontaminated by the intermixture
of doubtful foreign associations.

And so Gard had arrived in Dresden, in whose attractive suburb of
Loschwitz, on the gently rising banks of the Elbe, the worthy
Buchers were domiciled. As his limping German did not give him
confidence about the up-and-down variety of the Saxon dialect, he
did not venture this afternoon to find his way by tram to the house.
The blind German script in which his hosts' solicitous and minute
instructions were couched, and the funny singsong of the natives
talking blatantly about him, made him feel still more helpless. He
sought refuge in an open droschke. He could then, too, enjoy the
drive across the city.

The Saxon capital sits capaciously like a comfortable old dowager
fully dressed in stuffs of a richly dull color. Her thick skirts are
spread about her with a contented dignity which does not interfere
with her eating large sandwiches openly and vigorously at the opera.
To-day the mellow sunlight crowned her ancient nobleness with a
becoming hue, as Gard was jogged along in a roundabout way through
the city. Here at the left were the august bridges and great park,
all famed in Napoleon's battles. Over there were the dowdy royal
palaces. There, too, was the house of the sacred Sistine. Her sweet
lineaments shone down in almost every American parlor Gard knew.

The dingy baroque architecture, whose general tastelessness was
heavily banked up by a multitude of towers, gables and high copings,
suggested an old-fashioned residential city of the days of urban
fortifications. The uniform arrays of buildings, all pretending to
the effect of sumptuousness thickened by weighty proportions and
blasphemed by rococo hesitations and doubts, seemed constructed to
exalt the doughty glory of Augustus the Strong--Dresden's local
Thor, its chief heroic figure in the favorite Teuton galaxy of
muscled Titans. Somber medieval squares, blocked away quaintly from
the world, were relieved by the celebrated Brühl Terrace, enlivened
by gilded statuary and by historic and literary memories.

Through all this metropolis of formidable and dun respectability
curved the Elbe as if to round off the massive imitations of
something better somewhere else. Hither coursed the smooth brown
stream from Bohemia, not far away, through the high fastnesses of
the Erz range and the groomed vistas of Saxon Switzerland, and past
the frowning old fortress of Königstein, towering near a thousand
feet above its untroubled bosom. Kirtley was to find the river, with
its carefully tended shores, a companion in many an hour.



CHAPTER IV

VILLA ELSA


Such in brief was the scene that stretched out around him and
enveloped his attention and interest. There was not majesty that
would offend, but rather a cosy formality that is the absence of
style. It cured somewhat the homesick inclinations that quite
naturally haunted him after a wearying day of travel and as
nightfall drew down about his loneliness. He was bound for the
home of a strange family, speaking a tongue in which he was far
from glib. It had been written, though, that the Bucher young
people had learned English pretty well at school.

Kirtley reached his destination to find that the parents were
waiting expectantly to receive him. With German consciousness, they
were stuffily attired for this novel and important event. After
staunch greetings he was led into the house past a big angry dog
that stood guard tempestuously at the door. Gard found later that
such savage barking was quite a feature of the Teuton threshold, and
might be considered one bristling aspect or cause of the ungenial
development of the social spirit in Germany. _Cave canem_ can hardly
be called a suitable first attraction toward the spread of
hospitality. He feared he was going to be bitten and wished his
welcome had not been complicated with shudders.

The entrance to Villa Elsa consisted of a hallway swimming in heady
odors from the strong cooking in the adjacent kitchen. Kirtley stood
for a moment stifled. But he was to become more used to the lusty
smells that roam about, presumptuous and fortifying, in German
households and of which, indeed, all German existence is resolutely
redolent. Strength, whether in barking dogs or fumes or what-not,
appeals to the race.

In the passage-way, too, Gard was struck by the presence of various
weapons, and shields, hunting horns, sundry pairs of large boots,
military or shooting garments, belts loaded with cartridges. It
seemed almost like the combative entry to some museum of armor.
Taken together with the embattled dog, it suggested a defended
fortress rather than a peaceful fireside.

"How pugnacious!" Gard declared to himself.

In the entry Ernst was called, and he came promptly forth, a smiling
lad of fifteen, with a musing face, his thick light hair thrown back
and run through meditatively by his fingers. He conducted Gard up
two flights to a good-sized but snug room where he was to abide. A
linden tree courted the window panes with its green branches.

Just the place for a fellow who wants to get away from the world and
read!--Kirtley thought.

On his nightstand lay, with characteristic Teuton foresight, the
names and addresses of a language teacher and of a music teacher
who were duly "recommending themselves" to him in the German idiom.
Lists of purchasable text books and musical editions from houses
which, in the thoroughly informed Teuton manner, had got wind of
his coming, also opened before him.

"They evidently expect me to begin to-morrow morning. No loss of
time." He laughed to himself.

His trunk and satchel were in his room in a few minutes with all the
certainty and punctuality of the imperial-royal service. "_Essen
fertig!_" was soon vociferated up the stairway by the cook Tekla,
whose bulky young form Gard had glimpsed in the kitchen. Not sure of
being summoned he did not emerge until Ernst tapped on the door--

"Meester Kirtley, please come to eating."

At table the elder son was introduced--Rudolph, called Rudi, a youth
of about Gard's age. There was an unseemly scar on his face and
something oblique in his look. Engineering was given as his
profession, but he affected the German military strut and was
forward and crammed with ready-made conclusions on most subjects.
But Herr Bucher reigned here as elsewhere about Villa Elsa as
absolute master. He alone spoke with authority. Reverence was
first of all due him. Gard soon saw how the wife and children,
notwithstanding their stirring presences, were on a secondary plane.
How different in the land where he had come from where they are
quite free to rule in the house! The sturdy Frau was submissive,
energetically helpful. But in her husband's absence she assumed his
stentorian command.

The manner of eating was frankly informal and ungainly. Evidences of
sharp discipline one moment; the next, awkward short-cuts. The
Germans have never been able to harmonize these extremes into a
medium of easy formality or sightly smoothness. At the Bucher table
each one reached across for the food with scarce an apology--a plan
jerkily interrupted at times by Tekla, who stuck things at Gard as
if she were going to hit him. The strong provender heaped up in
abundance, rank in smell and usually unappetizing in color,
interfered at first with his hunger. And the drinking was, of
course, of a copiousness he had little dreamed of.

The whole effect created a distinctly unsympathetic impression. It
ran full tilt against Gard's anticipations. Rebner had led him to
expect always the best among the Germans. Were they not the most
advanced of humans? Were they not the patterns whom he should model
himself after in the laudatory desire for self-improvement? He was
naturally curious to see the young lady of the household, all the
more as he wondered how she would blend into this blunt picture. She
did not appear and he heard no reference to her. But there was a
vacant place.

Much struggling occurred over the mutual endeavors to carry on
conversation. With the English which the sons had learned and with
Gard's German which he found a strange article on its native ground,
headway was made after a fashion. His bloodless American college
variety of the language was very weak to buffet about in these
billows of idioms and colloquialisms.

The family, in its emphatic substantiality, was most friendly and
eager to please. They urged food and fluid upon him in a way that
would have dismayed his Yankee doctor. He found himself eating and
drinking to an extent he had never imagined. This sort of thing, he
concluded half-despairingly, would either be the making of him or
kill him. At home the general fear was about too much. Here satiety,
over-satiety, seemed to be the rule as at all German firesides.
While he dreaded to think what his abstemious digestive apparatus
would do, his new friends took not amiss the bountiful spilling of
edibles and liquids upon their napkins spread conspicuously over
their breasts. Laundering must be cheap in Germany. That was one
good thing.

Gard did not forget that this was represented to be a highly
instructed and cultivated circle. The members had graduated from the
best schools or held degrees from standard universities. He kept
asking himself in what guises the much advertised German excellence
was yet to appear in this domestic group whose culture and virtues
had been so extolled. If these manners and habits were part of its
perfect ripened fruit, then American education and life were indeed
obviously blighted. He could not help noticing that all hands had
not been necessarily washed before meal-time, and that finger nails
were unblushingly uncleaned and unkempt. An accidental glimpse under
the immense flowing white beard of his host revealed the absence of
a shirt collar, and the neck evidently relied on its untrimmed
hairiness as an excuse for not being customarily washed.

It became apparent to Kirtley after a month that personal cleanness
and neatness in Germany were not particularly considered as next to
godliness. The gold braid, spick and span uniforms and other showy
gear, were apt to cover dirty bodies and soiled underwear. Alas, the
Germans could not wash in beer. He wondered why his old enthusiastic
mentor had never given him a hint of these things. Likely he did not
know. Distance often increases eloquence in proportion as it breeds
ignorance.

With the exhilaration of the bounteous meal, however, Gard's spirits
rose to a height he had not known in a long time. If conversation
languished over the stony roads of the duality of expression,
glasses were clinked together again and a new topic was hopefully
started. When it seemed proper to him that the end of the repast
should be in sight, a new course would be brought in, usually
accompanied boisterously by the two family dogs, including the
ferocious beast who had given Gard the shivers. The animals
conducted themselves with a ravenous freedom around the board,
alternately being petted and fed and allowed to lick plates, only to
be in turn kicked out and shrieked after, with a chair occasionally
upset in the rumpus. This habit of kicking animals, things and
persons Gard later observed was prevalent among the Teutons, whose
appropriate fondness for conveniently big boots and large stout
shoes at the same time discourages any vanity about small feet. It
is a part of their military predilection.

At the end of a couple of hours dinner was brought to a close.
Fräulein had not yet put in an appearance, and it now came out that
she was "at lesson." She must have stayed for another class. After
his gastronomic feat Gard did not know whether he felt sick or never
better in his life. What's more, he did not seem to care, his senses
were so pleasantly numbed.

On his way up to his room, in the dim hall, he caught sight of a
young woman hanging up her wrap. Mussed strands of straw-colored
hair shone down her shoulders and sent a sudden thrill of gladness
through his veins. He had never seen but one Wagner opera and that
was "The Twilight of the Gods," with its aureate Rhine maidens
bathing in that delicious revelry of divine music. The arrival at
last of the daughter of the house, as he assumed this was, brought
back a flash of all that golden loveliness.

In his sleep that first night, vast trenchers of food and tankards
of drink disported in happy confusion with goddesses blond and
magical.



CHAPTER V

FAMILY LIFE


The matter of much eating and drinking had first to be, if possible,
disposed of. It was exacting and the most important affair. Kirtley
did not want to be discourteous or appear unappreciative. He had
come to Germany to do as the superior Germans do. His digestive
tract was on the narrow-gage American plan. Theirs was broad-gage,
with their surpassing organisms.

At the Buchers Gard had manfully to face six meals a day. Must he be
swamped in order to put the desirable adipose tissue on his bones?
By all the laws of American dieting and Prohibition the German race
should have been destroyed by indigestion and drunkenness centuries
ago. But here they were more flourishing than ever--the generally
acknowledged nation of masters!

And his bed--the German bed. He could not remember whether Mark
Twain ever described it, but he should have. Gard's haven of rest
appeared to lie on solid foundations. It was constructed with German
stability. There were as many blankets in summer as in winter.

Worst of all, two immense feather pillows lay across its middle. The
only place for them seemed to be on his sorely tried stomach or on
the floor. In a month an attack of insomnia resulted. For hours at
night he lay awake, listening to the frequent rain on the roof or
the wind whining Teutonically in the leaves of his linden.

In his initial troubles and anxieties he went to a German doctor.
This spectacled wise man prescribed more beer. German physicians
seemed to be in league with the brewers. Gard was of the kind who
would suffer rather than complain. So he worried along.

He did not fall in with the urgent, conscientious assumption of
the Buchers that he would at once want to begin driving away at
"lessons." His hosts reminded him openly at times that his
prospective teachers were still waiting, still recommending
themselves. Responsibility was evidently felt for his programme
of work. He realized that he was somewhat disappointing, for
instruction, education, is such a pushing, unceasing business
with the Germans. It may be said they never finish school.

Yet he wished first to take a good look at the historic city, its
celebrated art treasures. He wanted to make a few excursions in the
environs before the winter set in with its dampness and gloom.
Besides, he never before had had a chance at fine opera, at fine
symphonies and music recitals.

"But ought not Herr Kirtley at least begin with the free evening
lectures?"--with which Dresden shone through the illuminations of
many profound and oracular professors in lofty pulpits. He submitted
that his German was too feeble of wing to enable him to soar into
the heights of such wisdom.

The zest in Germany for learning and accomplishments was truly
wonderful to him. Half his life of instruction now quickly seemed to
have been idling. As far as industriousness, drilling, well-defined
ambitiousness, were concerned, the young German had many advantages.

The modest Bucher household was run educationally with the dynamic
regularity of military establishments. It was, of course, no
exception. Lessons and lectures commenced mornings at eight, with
Sundays partly included. This routine begins with the German child
at six.

Evenings, too, had their busy duties. No baseball, no tennis, no
lazy days of swimming and fishing. Playtime was spent in martial
exercise, in evenings at the opera or seeing the classical dramas of
all races and epochs on the stage. Gard became aware that the Bucher
children had carried six or seven studies at an age when he had
thought he was abused, overburdened, with four.

Besides, their courses were more mature. And yet he had come to
Germany, despite Rebner's eulogiums of the Germans, with the
complacent idea that, as he was the respectable American average,
he could look the other youth of the world in the face unashamed,
asking no odds.

Little Ernst at fifteen was studying, among numerous things,
philosophy and didactic religion. The way he could cite facts
and carry on a discussion on these and similar subjects!

"What part do philosophy and religion play in our system of
instruction for the young?" Gard asked himself with a deprecatory
smile. "Is it a miracle that the Germans can teach us desirable
knowledge and morals, as Rebner insists?"

Kirtley readily perceived that he had scarcely sufficient precise
information to discuss intelligently general topics with this boy.
The latter could always quote some acknowledged and ponderous
authority--German, of course, and all the more awe-inspiring, but of
whom Gard had not heard. For it usually came down to the question,
Who are your authorities? He rarely could tell who his were. They
promptly faded away before all the weight and definiteness Ernst
could bring to bear.

While Rudolph and Ernst were so far along as a result of a busy
adolescence, Fräulein Elsa, as Gard discovered, was in her way not
behind. She knew English and French pretty well and was quite an
accomplished musician, able to play from memory on the winged Pleyel
almost whole books of classic music. She could paint fairly well in
oil and was now taking up etching with enthusiastic assiduity. She
could sew, cook, run the house. In brief, her days were as full as
her brothers' in propelling tasks. _She_, apparently, did not have
"boys on the brain."

Kirtley threw up his hands in imitation of his venerated professor.
This was just an ordinary German miss. He had scarcely dreamed of
such things in a girl.

It was all illustrated by Gard's piano playing, which was cheap and
meaningless strumming. He could rattle through a lot of popular
tunes and stumble through a few short simple school-girl salon
pieces. The Buchers were a real orchestra. With the ladies at the
piano, the old Herr at the flute, Ernst at the violin and Rudi at
the 'cello, they could play a dozen programmes and furnish enjoyment
for the listener.

And always salutary, enlightened, cultivated music. The house
reverberated with a multitude of choice enduring arias, sung, hummed
or whistled, and this made Villa Elsa almost take on a charm for
Gard. He had not known how his melodious soul was starved.

Why should not the Germans be expected to have noble souls with all
the wealth of distinguished, inspiring music flowing through their
lives? Should it not give them necessarily a strong, desirable
spirit, fortify them in healthy aspirations, encourage them to get
the best out of existence? This incentive and pleasureableness,
making for the good, the true and the beautiful--must it not
contribute a deep richness and righteousness to the Teuton heart?

And is it to be wondered at--the Germans' big supply of red blood?
For the strength of the Teuton's body, Gard observed, was built up,
maintained, in equal measure with his other training. The military
drilling and strenuous gymnastics provided him with straight
shoulders, a full chest, a sound spine, strength of limb--in short,
good, presentable health.

The Bucher fireside had no doctor, no adored specialists, hanging
about. It had been taught to handle simple complaints itself.
Medical and surgical bills did not upset its modest financial
equilibrium. The family were extraordinarily well. Their brawn,
energetically looked after as well as the brain, accounted partly
for their marvelous appetites.

So nothing seemed to Gard to be missed in this potent scheme of
instruction and _Kultur_.



CHAPTER VI

THE HOME


Often when he peeked down from his attic window he spied the shining
bald head of the very elderly Herr Bucher surrounded by the mass of
lively colors of his rose garden. He loved to spend hours there in
the sunshine with his posies, tying up their branches, clipping
choice specimens with which he was fond of decorating the members
of Villa Elsa, its dining table, its living room. Roses, roses,
everywhere.

It was his hobby, this spot of blossoms, and in it his short, bulky
form, so whitened by his Jovian beard meerschaumed by the stains
from his huge, curving German pipe, was often almost lost to view.
He was like some droll gnome waddling about in a flower patch.
Frequently someone had to be sent to find him among all those pets
which he knew so well by their Latin and popular names and by their
characteristics. While he grumbled and so often stormed about in the
house, speaking always in gruff tones of command, he was quite sunny
out there in his plot, although still guttural and dictatorial.

He was a retired professor of phonetics and diction, but now and
then prepared a pupil. This was how he had met his wife a long, long
time before, when she was a young singer. She was twenty years his
junior and had become so completely a housewife that you could
scarcely associate her with any art. She was fat, harsh, homely,
masculine in the way of German women, an occasional long hair
sticking from her face in emulation of a beard.

Devoid of any graces of seduction, putting out her heavy fists in
every direction she exhibited a bearish kindness toward Gard that
seemed calculated at first to frighten him. She was loud-voiced,
iron-jawed. One of her favorite boasts was that she had never been
to a dentist. She pulled out her rarely aching teeth, or some one of
the family pulled them for her.

The Herr could be smoother and he assumed a fatherly solicitude over
Gard, looking out for his advantages, anxious that he should make
progress. But Bucher evidently was annoyed at times by not having
authority in the matter of the slow way in which his young guest set
about with his "studies." Kirtley had not come to study, had not
been trained to study, in the German sense. It would have been
difficult to make the old man see any virtue in such desultoriness.
It doubtless proved to his mind that Americans are only half
trained, half tamed, half domesticated.

The couple surrounded Kirtley with a protection, an honesty, a
reliability, a zeal, that was as surprising as it was, on the whole,
gratifying. He felt a security he had hardly known in his own home.
If he were cheated or otherwise imposed upon anywhere in
Dresden--and this did not often happen--the Buchers were violently
up in arms about it and never ceased pursuit of the recreant until
the wrong was righted.

"The good German name must not be tarnished."

In a word, they tried to treat him like a son; and so forceful and
constant were their efforts in this direction that he sometimes
wished their well-meant attentions were less formidable. The easy
American "forget it," "why bother," "never again," were expressions
of a mood unfamiliar to them. They visibly had small patience with
such slackness which only, to their minds, encouraged lawlessness.

The setting for Gard's approaching German love affair was
appropriately picturesque and propitious. A tight little meadow,
with a grassy path wandering through by the Elbe, lay near at hand,
and beyond, at the right, a pine wood--the Waldpark--with neat
graveled walks and rustic seats where the tonic air was often to
brace his musings.

Adjacent was the small summer house, still poetically standing,
where Schiller wrote "Don Carlos" a century and a quarter before. A
leafy lane led from the meadow to the walled garden inclosure of
Villa Elsa, whose branches, vines and flowering bushes insisted
on making it almost a hidden retreat. The spot could not be more
_gemütlich_--that familiar expressive word which Kirtley soon
learned to rely on amid the scant artillery of his defensive
weapons of conversational German.

Through a swinging gate in the wall, and usually to the clanging of
a bell that announced you, you entered the house on a level with the
ground. On this floor were the kitchen and dining room. Next came
the _belle étage_, with the salon and music room opening into each
other, and with another apartment or two. Above, the chambers. And
still above, the two attic rooms. All was plain but substantial.

The garden furnished not only flowers but vegetables. And in one
corner stood a table and chairs for afternoon tea with cakes or beer
with cheese. Here the ever-busy sewing and knitting mainly went on
in summer, and a forgotten book, half read, was usually left by some
one of the young folks. There was a drowsy, old-fashioned air about
the premises that recalled illustrations in some of the editions of
Grimm's fairy tales.

Aside from the abundance of bound music, Gard had been far from
expecting that fine examples of art and literature would be so
meagerly represented in this representative German home. There
were poor pictures of Bismarck, of William the Second, and of
his grandfather aping the appearance of Gambrinus.

Prominent also were steel engravings of Saxon and Prussian kings of
whom Kirtley had never heard. But there they were, conspicuous
household gods, with fierce, epic miens and lordly bodies,
surrounded by wreaths of glory and Latin texts, and supported by
cannon pointed at the observer with menaces of angry welcome. And
not to be forgotten were the august thrones, avenging swords of
royalty, and the dark swirling clouds suggesting the German Olympus.

"It all harmonizes with the arsenal down in the entrance,"
muttered Gard.

As for books, he was taken at an angle still more unexpected and
significant. Goethe and Schiller and the other old Teuton classics,
breathing of liberalness and freedom--figures that had always stood
out in the world as leading exponents and guardians of a cultured
enlightenment--were only present in the Bucher home in the form of
musty, unused volumes.

These authors, who were so loved, advocated and expounded in
American colleges and whom Kirtley had come to Germany to know
better and to worship, were scarcely ever mentioned. He was
astonished to find that the Germans thought little of them. And
Heine likewise, that naughty child of the Vaterland! At the Buchers
the presentable red and gilt edition of his poems was kept in
Fräulein's escritoire in her room.

American education, Gard began to realize, was somehow on the wrong
track here. It was trying to cultivate a Germany that no longer
seemed to exist. It was diligently teaching and acclaiming Teutons
who were repudiated in their own land. It was separating the spirit
and taste of the two peoples instead of bringing them together.

The books that were in evidence in Villa Elsa were a new lot,
excepting the great and formidable Nietschke. Kirtley had never
heard of the Treitschkes and Bernhardis and Hartmanns, whom the
Buchers were reading and quoting.

From what he made out, these and similar authorities were insisting
mightily on German conceptions and prerogatives--some exalting the
Teuton supremacy of will, others urging and preparing the mental
ground for an armed attack on the world for a German dictatorship.
This militant literature was introduced here by Rudolph, who was
armed with strategic plans, diagrams, military maps, which the
family frequently of an evening pored over with the enthusiasm of a
parlor game. First it was Russia to be assaulted, then Belgium, and
always France.

"Italy is already as good as conquered," Rudi proclaimed, "and
England simply needs to be tilted off her worm-eaten perch by a
sudden shock."

Kirtley rubbed his eyes. What a widespread, horrible butchery was
being nursed and nourished here in this obscure family of peace?
Surely this good folk did not appreciate the meaning of it all. Was
it not merely something awfully exciting to talk about, argue about,
puzzle over, in the prosaic humdrum at this respectable hearthstone?

Such a strange form of social entertainment! The "arsenal" below
always came to Gard's mind. These people acted as if they were
actually thinking of capturing the whole Eastern Hemisphere,
speaking as if they were going to rule it like conquerors, going to
enforce at the point of the blade German "might," "will," "rights."
These were the common expressions used. Kirtley thought the
household must be unbalanced on this topic.

He said to himself, "No one else whom I have read or heard of is
contemplating such a campaign. Other races are holding forth on the
benefits and glories of peace. These Dresden Germans are talking of
the benefits and glories of war!"

This example in these simple, every-day Buchers was most pointed.
Their lines were furthest from the military. Teaching diction and
phonetics to women and male singers, studying engineering, religion
and the gentle arts, had nothing to do with such proposed bloody
belligerence.

Only Rudi could be called somewhat martial. Hydraulics was his
branch, and his frequent absences on missions about which he assumed
an important and mystifying air, such as is, for that matter, usual
in bumptious young men, never caused any comment or visible interest
on the part of the others. He gave himself out to be close to the
_militaire_, familiar with its secrets, as he freely blew his
cigarette smoke across the meal table; and to him the family
deferred on these subjects. Surely all this was to Gard very
foreign and interesting.

"What a different race of beings! What a curious revelation to
observe, what a doughty complex to comprehend!"

He was more confounded by the attitude of the women. They were even
fiercer than the men. To them the other Europeans were a wholly bad
lot. Those neighbors were so much in the way of the good, all-worthy
Germans. But it was on the English that this feminine hatred vented
itself most turbulently. Frau Bucher shouted that she would be more
than glad--she would be hilarious--if war came.

"I would wear my last rag for years, see my two boys dead on the
battle front, if Gross Britain could be knocked into the bottom of
the sea."

Was all this a part of that national gladness Gard was observing in
Germany and could not gage, could not yet give an explicit and
sufficient reason for? Those old-time Teuton liberals, masters of
prose and verse--how would they feel at home in this modern
Rhineland of hysterical spleen and arms provocative? Was it
possible he had really come on a sort of fool's errand?



CHAPTER VII

GERMAN LOVING


Fräulein Elsa was a blooming, almost blue-eyed young woman of
twenty. Such a fresh, strawberry and cream complexion under a
plenteous harvest of flaxen hair would not be associated in America
with anyone very serious. _There_ she would have been thought
arrayed by Nature as a tearing blonde, suitable for the equivocal
light stage, or as a frivolous artist's model, or as promenade girl
in a suit and cloak house. But in Fräulein the extraordinary
combination of volatile comeliness and unimpeachable earnestness
daily worked growing wonders in Kirtley.

It is a luckless young traveler who does not find himself or herself
engaged in some romance, permanent or transient, which ever after
sweetens or gilds the memories of the tour. Moreover Gard was at an
age when youthful susceptibilities were softened by the
lackadaisicalness of his returning state of health and hope.

So his difficulties with the German language, feasting, sleeping and
redoubtable ways in general, were to be complicated by German
loving. The shining object of his tenderness--how she was to lend
brightness to the short dismal days and long black nights of the
Teuton winter! At first he had asked himself:

"Is a campaign of the heart in Deutschland as portentous, dreadfully
systematic, a proceeding as the other undertakings? Do the Germans
go at that sort of thing, too, hammer and tongs?"

The glowing Fräulein was able-bodied, full-chested, with every
golden promise of a rich maternityhood. Did American girls have
any bosoms to speak of? Gard seemed now to have never noticed that
feature in them. Yet bounding breasts are the unashamed pride of
German girls.

While the Yankee miss is often to be identified by complaints of a
physical nature, Elsa had no aches or pains to talk about. She had
a strength competent to support all her energetic, meritorious
endeavors. A thoroughly well woman--what an exceptional being, a
god-send! It is not the fashion with maids beyond the Rhine to be
ailing. Weak backs, nervous prostration, indigestion and similar
indispositions were not topics at the Buchers'. To be coquettishly
delicate or romantically ill is a liability to the Germans. Health,
unenchanting as it may be, is a prime asset. That the Teuton women
are gormands--what is that compared with their willingness to mother
six or more sturdy youngsters?

Had Frau Bucher been an Elsa at twenty? Yes, in the main, yet
impossible to conceive. Would Elsa become at fifty-five like her
parent? Heaven forbid! But Youth ignores such deterrent
probabilities.

The daughter and her manifold achievements easily bowled Gard over.
Was he in love or did he merely imagine he was? Was he filling with
the divine fire or only being smitten? Who could ever tell? And what
is, in fact, the practical difference? Kindly old Rebner had hinted
that it would not be amiss in Gard to bring home one of the
excellent German _mädchens_ with her brimming stock of health and
efficiency.

"She would be an answer to our American servant girl question, flood
your fireside with invigorating music, and rear a house full of
robust children. It would be a novel and commendable experiment and
experience for you, Kirtley."

Of course Heine is the approved route with a German girl. Gard
borrowed from Fräulein an old copy of the "Buch der Lieder." Very
obliging at times like the rest of the family in the business of
improving his accent, she urged that if he would commit some of
those little prized poems to heart, she would supervise his
intonations. He eagerly betook himself to this charming exercise,
and it was not long before he was inviting her to walk along that
alluring path through the meadow by the persuasive water. Here he
repeated over and over to her the very pertinent lines,

    Thou'rt like unto a flower,

and

    Thou lov'st me not, thou lov'st me not,

under the conscientious reproofs of her engaging diction.

But never more than for half an hour at a time. This was all she
could spare him. Her days were very strictly divided by her pressing
concerns. A sightly young woman so tremendously busy--it was almost
exasperating.

And he could not establish any tender quality of relationship that
would warm a delectable exchange of rosy intimations or tentative
expressions of budding feelings of delight. It was teacher and
pupil. She unsuspectingly insisted on following her rôle of
preceptress and very earnest was she about it, too.

She saw nothing comical in his frequent linguistic stumblings that
would naturally lead to melting moods. As the Germans have, of
course, little humor, she found in these faulty exhibitions only
causes for disappointed glances and reprimands approaching severity.
Often you would have thought he was a boy of ten reciting his lesson
at her knee.

"Now Thursday by half past ten, you must have that line right or I
will _scold_ you." And she would sometimes laugh a little in her
discouragement.

She looked upon it as a duty, a voluntary drudgery, but which, she
assured him, she was most pleased to do. For she loved Heine--raved
about him, like sentimental German maids. She could never go over
his verse often enough. And so she encouraged Gard to keep on. It
was a reflected part of her normal disciplined life of acquisition.

After a month of these tactics he realized he was making no headway
toward--he did not acknowledge what. Young men as a type did not
seem to Elsa of special interest any more than a hundred other
objects on earth. And then the cold weather before long put an end
to the little promenades of rime by the shore, and Gard had to try
other lines of attack on this radiant and beflowered German
fortress.

The park of fir trees lay quite beyond the meadow. It was a silent,
evocative spot, unfrequented except for a peasant now and then
trudging along under a bundle of wood or a weather-beaten basket of
provisions. Kirtley had managed to stray that far once with Elsa,
but learned that the mother was expected to accompany at such
distances. It provoked his silent comment,

"As nearly as I can estimate, about a half a mile from home is all
that is allowed a German miss unchaperoned."

It was the same when he invited Fräulein to the opera or theater.
The parent must attend. As she was equally occupied, it did not
appear easy for him to arrange for the two. Besides, Frau Bucher
killed everything under these confounding and confounded
circumstances. She sat between him and her daughter and ruled the
conversation. It was little better than taking her alone, so he
abandoned also these enterprises.

In the talk at table the family, with Teuton tactlessness, now and
then cried out the surpassing merits of the German young man.
Unquestionably he led all others. Gard met no success in stemming
the tide, miffed as he was about this social seclusion of the
daughter. He soon saw his mistake in feeling personally hurt, as if
insulted. It was but the custom. Could it be indeed a fact that
German youths were such moral reprobates that girls could not be
trusted to their unguarded companionship? The question had no
meaning to his hosts. It was useless to hint of such an idea,
burning as he often was to launch it upon the waves of discussion.
To them, chaperoning signified the highest morals.

They exploded with, "It may very well be as you say in America!
That is to be expected. Are there any morals in the United States?
We have heard awful things. There are the Mormons. There is
co-education. And young girls of the best families go around loose
with men day and night. What _could_ be the result? Free love. And
free love means cheap love or no love at all. Admittedly pretty low
conditions for virtue. What else can be looked for in a country
where all sorts of people come promiscuously from everywhere?
Divorces, voting females, slatterns, homelessness, neglected, poorly
educated children."

If, in passing, America and Americans were referred to in the
family, and this was rare, Elsa, Gard noticed, kept silent. Yet she
could be very wrought up about other Europeans. This nursed his
fancies. He interpreted it in terms of promise. Elsa, he decided,
was a good girl in a hedge-hog environment of unbelievable traits,
of warring contrasts.



CHAPTER VIII

GERMAN COURTSHIP


Once during the winter he tried on her a course of flirtation which
he had learned very well in his Sophomore year. But German girls do
not flirt. His arrows sank in feebly, impotently, as if her
attention had the despairing resistance of a sandbag. Unperturbed
she made nothing of it. He felt that she thought he was silly or had
the rickets. So he speedily gave this up.

Thus he became aware how vastly different are courtship and other
relations between young men and young women in America and in
Germany. He asked himself.

"Are the German ways more civilized?" Certainly, to the Teuton, they
represent a more creditable and becoming evolution. He always
stoutly favors his own customs, and finds little here to discuss.
Even if a rotten morality in his young gods is to be assumed, this
would be proper as in the young gods of the mythologies.

The Teuton marriage refers plainly to property. The language has
prominent terms indicating how espousal means goods with a woman
attached to them. There is scarcely an equivalent in English.
Courtship in the form of natural little raptures that disport in and
beautify enamored companionship in youth, the pure, unfettered,
mystic attraction between the sexes in blossoming time, are
practically unknown to the German social life. The full gloss of
fancy, the velveting of manners, the felicitous fabrication of
innocent emotions into a blessed garment of many colors, find their
development outside the domain of Thor. Such associations have there
no charming playtime, but forthwith make for permanent good or
permanent evil.

Accordingly, for Gard, in his fond inclinations, there was no
experience with Cupids about the Bucher flower garden. Only, as it
were, a sort of rough sledding on broken, jolting ice! And he noted
the comparative absence of such delicate sentiment in German
literature. Aside from Heine, who became French, German letters have
relatively little to offer on this score. The very language
discourages love-making. Since Heine's exile a century ago, the
increasing might of the armored Hohenzollerns had finally almost
killed all this.

Gard was thrown out of gear in another way. Fräulein's lack not only
of amatory complaisance but of social polish or even facility kept
him dubious and disconcerted. She brusquely alternated between a
sisterly tenderness of familiarity, almost exaggerated, only to
follow it by a sudden, disquieting flop over on the side of a
formality as stiff as buckram. She would be as distant as if they
were two boarders having a tiff in a _pension_. These detachments
were not because of anything Kirtley had done or said. They formed
a natural example of Gothic undevelopedness in human relations, the
rude unevenness of beginners.

But, then, he forgave her for this.

"Is she not extremely occupied--full of pursuits? How admirable!"

It shamed him, spurred him on not a little. For days he would only
see her at the generous meals where she exclaimed over her dread of
getting fat. That usually furnishes a German with an excuse for
being helped to more. She dutifully played of an evening in the
family orchestra, yet this was a musical, not a social, happening.
The severe if rich harmonies that were favored, largely with the
idea of drill, created generally an atmosphere of austerity.

She could not understand Gard's offers to carry her umbrella over
her to a class or to bring her a storm coat in case of need. Such
attentiveness meant intrusions almost to be resented. She appeared
to frown upon any kindly little considerations that should have been
agreeable to her or at any rate convenient. She had been brought up
to do everything for herself. There was nothing of the clinging vine
about her. Young German women are not expected to lean upon men in
this wise.

Presents of candy or what-not are looked upon with an inquisitive or
doubtful eye, especially by the parents. For the German girl has no
charming secrets from her father and mother. They must know all,
with immediate conjectures about marriage. Troubling gifts,
consequently, became rather out of the question with Gard.

He feared that Fräulein Elsa might reflect sometimes the feeling of
unfriendliness which he was aware of in the supercilious Rudi. The
latter exhibited a negligent attitude of indifference toward Gard,
though it was cloaked under casualness. There was a sinister air
about the young engineer, and she would be bound to follow
submissively anyone breathing the military ozone.

Under all these unsettling circumstances, Kirtley's uncertain
attachment for the German language did not increase by Peter
Schlemihl strides. Besides, his regular teacher was something like a
wild boar. He had proceeded to dragoon Gard as if he were a lad. And
Herr Keller's person was offensive. He exhaled a smell unpleasant if
scholastic. Dressed in a soiled, shiny, black garb, and with a
bristly mustache and beard which often showed egg of a morning, he
talked blatantly of having been in Paris as a soldier in '70. It was
his one excursion out of Saxony.

Even the German language at such a cost was not very inviting.
Finally Gard received a curt note to the effect that if he were not
more assiduous, the lessons would better end. Herr Keller did not
want to be bothered with triflers.

"Bounced from school!" Kirtley exclaimed. It was the first time. He
took advantage of this opportunity to discontinue.

He could see that his hosts did not blame the professor. Why, he was
capable of forcibly drilling the Teuton language and literature into
a post hole. This doubtless confirmed Kirtley's failure as a student
in their eyes. And this was to be looked for in Americans who think
that they can acquire knowledge and know life by gadding about and
"observing," instead of by book study. The awful German language
seemed doomed to blast Gard's affectionate hopes.

While his burgeoning amorousness met with such blighting
encouragement in the direction of Fräulein Elsa, it encountered
unexpectedly an immense and yearning bosom in another quarter.
Fräulein Wasserhaus, next door, clamored for a mate. With cowlike
simpleness she almost bellowed out for love. Of an age verging on
the precarious she waddled into and out from Villa Elsa with bulging
breasts so bared, under the transparent pretenses of white gauze,
that Frau Bucher declared herself shocked. She said that the
Wasserhaus was trying to be a part of the disgraceful Naked _Kultur_
that had been assailing Germany.

When this bovine soul came to know of Kirtley's presence, she
fastened her consuming desires upon him. She had a brother in
America and actively developed a hankering to go there and be near
him. Yoking up with a Yankee would be a most natural and fitting
state in which to negotiate the Atlantic.

As the Bucher wall was too high for her to hang over in her
languishing ardors, she hung over her gate to offer a book or a
tiger lily to Gard as he passed. Several times when the
pachydermatous Tekla banged her way upstairs with an armful of
utensils in her work, a bouncing compote or other unabashed delicacy
would be tumbling about on a dustpan or a slop basin, bound for the
attic room by the linden tree. Twice a belabored missive accompanied
these little couriers, anxiously quoting some anguishing
sentimentality from one of the household poets writhing amid the
pages of the affecting Gartenlaube.

It was at first so bothersome that Gard contemplated leaving the
neighborhood. Even the Buchers, truest of prosy Germans, could
grasp the ridiculousness of this situation, and it was the one item
of noisy fun they could fall back upon when they wished to be
especially entertaining.

"Mein Gott!" the Frau would cry out when going over her troubles and
arduous occupations. "And I've got to get a husband for the
Wasserhaus yet!" The Herr often went into a deafening rage about it.

"Is there no way to keep that lachrymose female out of my house with
her belated calf-love? She annoys the good Herr Kirtley." And he
would toddle out, slamming the door like a clap of thunder.

The family assumed a very self-conscious behavior when the lorn
maiden was mentioned, and were anxious Gard should know that, while
unfortunately she was their neighbor, she was not at all of their
stratum.

"Poor girl!" Gard mused. There were nearly half again as many women
as men in Saxony.

At last he came to know there seemed to be a mystery about Fräulein
Elsa--something which was hidden from him. And a new and deeper
interest was summoned forth from within his breast. Occasionally at
table she was silent as a mile stone. Some days she did not appear
to his sight at all. And then, when he did see her, she evidently
wanted to avoid him. Very true it was that she often pored over the
little volume of Heine in her room without a word to anyone. But, of
a sudden, she would become frankly in evidence again--a floral and
quite superb girl, resolutely "making good," as was her wont.

"What is it?" Gard wondered.

None of the family ever referred to it. Even in his intimate talks
with her mother, whom Gard now and then practiced his German upon as
she was plying her needle, nothing was divulged. There was no young
German coming to the house with regularity. Consequently, could it
be love difficulties? Yet something was wrong. It lent respect to
Elsa, threw enhancement about her.

Gard concluded that the roughness of the Bucher family life
mortified her. It was often well-nigh outlandish. How could she
have so ardently studied the beautiful in music and colors without
realizing this?

But he had not been long enough in Germany to be advised that
knowledge is not expected there to enter into the inner life. What
one is has little in common with what one knows or can dexterously
do. Study does not pass into character. The German, with all his
acquirements, does not look for moral or esthetic effect upon the
heart or soul.

German women esteem the strong fighter, the rugged accomplisher the
boisterous enthusiast, among their men. Whether these are atheistic,
immoral, boorish, cruel, are considerations of secondary importance.
The daughters marry them with little hesitation. Men are men,
supreme, to be adored. Women are to be tolerated, stepped on, sat
upon. Man is the master, woman is the willing servant.



CHAPTER IX

A JOURNALIST


Gard's experience in perfecting himself in German met with another
rebuff. Under the prompting of his parental friends in Villa Elsa he
concluded at length to attend a course of lectures given by a
celebrated professor who was, however, known to be of an
exceptionally cantankerous disposition. Kirtley had become aware of
the querulous restrictions and exactions attending the most peaceful
German activities and made sure of his ground at the class room,
whither he went one morning with encouraging expectations. He asked
the janitor if the hearings were free and public. They were.

It was the usual amphitheater and Gard entered to find only a few
regular students down in the front rows. He decided on a seat alone
in the center. Herr Professor, be-spectacled, soon clambered up on
the rostrum and squatted dumpily. Blear-eyed he scanned the place
and blurted out:

"There is a stranger in the room. The lecture will not proceed until
he departs." Gard, having been assured by the janitor, could not
imagine that he himself was meant. The man of prodigious learning
shouted angrily, throwing out his arm toward Kirtley:

"Must I repeat that there is a foreigner in the audience? I shall
not begin until his presence has been removed."

Gard went away, incensed. Surely, he swore to himself, Teuton
erudition acts so often like a mad bear ready to claw away at men
and things. He never attended another day lecture.

But he had to get on with his German. He decided to put an
advertisement for an instructor in the Dresden _Nachrichten_. At its
_bureau_ he ran counter to a lot of ifs and ands at the hands of a
surly young clerk. A German, naturally gruff, only needs a small
position to increase his acerbity. His newspapers display, likewise,
a disagreeable officiousness, being nearly always, to some extent,
bureaucratic organs. They are lords, not servants, of the public.
They do not appear to want your business, your money.

Gard's imperfect German balked him, too. After he had been back and
forth to the little window three or four times, trying to alter his
"ad" to suit the rasping individual whose face Gard could scarcely
catch a glimpse of by stooping down to the aperture, an American
stepped forward. He was a steel gray man of about sixty and was
inserting a notice. He said he was familiar with all the rigors of
such a proceeding, being a correspondent for the Chicago _Gazette_.

"Perhaps I can help," volunteered Miles Anderson. "After having had
scraps and fights about this sort of thing around this country for
seven years--though the Germans won't fight--I've finally got the
hang of it. You can save three or four words by a different jargon.
I can see you are an American because you take up more room about
this than necessary. German economy, you must remember."

Gard was glad to find a friend of his race. And after the
advertisement was disposed of, they repaired to a neighboring beer
hall to refresh and relieve their feelings. Anderson was
smooth-shaven, with piercing gray eyes under bushy eyebrows, his
head presenting the appearance of just having been in a barber's
chair. With the insistent curiosity of a practiced interviewer he
wanted to know why Kirtley had come to this godless land; where he
was hanging out; and all about the Buchers.

A bachelor, Anderson had become toughened by hotel and _pension_. He
thought Kirtley very fortunate in getting right into a family where
the veritable German bloom had not been rubbed off by foreigners, by
boarders. It would be a most fragrant experience. Here Kirtley would
see on the native heath the genuine German of the great middle class
that makes up the might of the nation.

"Can you read German comfortably?" asked Anderson. "What do you make
of it? I've been studying it for seven years and sometimes it seems
as if I hadn't got much further than the verb to hate."

"You can't give me any short cuts about it, then?" laughed Gard.

"Yes, I can--yes, I can. Here's a little compilation and analysis of
the irregular verbs," explained his new acquaintance, pulling a
green brochure from his pocket. "Only costs a mark. You can get a
second-hand one at the book stalls by the Augustus bridge. I always
carry it with me and con it over and over. Good for the
pronunciation. If you get the irregular verbs of a language well fed
into your system, you've got the language by the windpipe.

"Then buy _Simplicissimus_. You'll pick up a good deal from
that--the popular expressions, the phrases and exclamations that are
going. If you learn to use the exclamations, it makes you
interesting and well-liked. It gives the other fellow the chance to
do the talking. _Simplicissimus_ and that kind of thing are better
than the dry, stilted German classics--'Ekkehard,' 'Nathan der
Weise' and all that discarded stuff. But remember that _esprit_ was
not given the Germans, because it would hide their Boeotian
stupidity."

"I haven't yet seen--I suppose I shall see"--said Kirtley, "why the
general American student like me is so persistently encouraged to
come to Germany. Why is it?"

"Because we are damn fools," heartily rejoined Anderson. "The
Germans don't have education. They have instruction. The one makes
gentlemen. The other makes experts. It is hard for an expert to be a
gentleman. They don't have gentlemen in Germany. No such word in
their language. It is a nation of experts, but that's precisely the
reason it should be feared. Why, education would teach a German not
to slobber at his meals.

"It is his strenuous ingrowing instruction that cultivates his
extreme national egotism until it has become like a boil. His racial
egoism helps obscure the obscure sunlight here in Germany and blinds
him. He has to wear spectacles. It is a natural cry, his cry for a
place in the sun."

"Should I have gone to England or France?" suggested Gard.

"Yes. At any rate, not here. The German procedure roughens the fiber
and lowers the moral standards of the general student. Instruction
here is along mental and manual lines. The Teuton is meant to be a
specialist. He is competent but not refined."

The two compatriots gossiped along about this and that.

"I'm having a devil of a time sleeping on my bed," confessed Gard.
"You ought to know about German beds. How do you get on with them?"

"The German bed helps to give the German his bad disposition. I put
two beds side by side and sleep across the middle. That's one way to
fool the German bed. If I saw yours I might be able to suggest
something."

Anderson frankly expressed a desire to visit the Loschwitz home. So
on Gard's invitation they had lunch and went out to his suburb.



CHAPTER X

SPIES AND WAR


They took off the bed clothes, including the two huge feather
bolsters in the center.

"These bolsters are for the gingerbread effect that the German likes
everywhere," explained the visitor. They examined the remaining
construction. It was narrow and short. It suggested a granite-like
base.

"Rock of Ages!" commented Anderson. "As you can't ask for an
additional bed, all I can see is for you to swill beer and then you
don't care where you sleep. That's the way the Germans do."

The journalist appeared disappointed in not meeting any of the
family that first day. Frau was overwhelmed in kitchen duties and
not presentable. The other members were away, working, working.
Anderson had to be contented with Gard's description of them, after
the latter had passed the cigars.

"Who's the spy in your family?" abruptly asked the elder.

"The spy?"

"Yes, the spy. Every well-regulated German family should have a spy
in it."

"What for?" queried Kirtley in surprise.

"Why, for the Kaiser, of course. Who else? The Teutons call him
euphemistically the Government. But without Wilhelm there wouldn't
be any German Government."

"Why should he want spies in his own German families?" interrogated
Gard innocently.

"Didn't every medieval feudal lord keep close tab on his
subjects--the people he owned? The Kaiser wants to know of any signs
of disloyalty. If a household harbors any foreigners, as your family
is doing, he wants to know what they are up to."

"Do you mean to say that the Government knows about me--that I'm
being watched?"

"They are at least ready to watch you. Mind you, Germany is a real
block-house, and the elaborate spy system is an integral part of it.
I should say, from what you tell me of the Buchers, that young
Rudolph is the sleuth here."

"Rudolph?"

"Yes. He's doubtless keeping an eye on you and reporting to the
authorities if there's anything suspicious about you and your
actions."

And then the journalist, pleased to have a fresh listener, launched
upon his pet idea.

"The Kaiser is preparing an abysmal pitfall for the world and it
won't take heed. I tell you, Kirtley--and I want you to mark my
words--Deutschland is going to spring at Europe like a tiger. The
army and navy are ready for the onslaught. When they spring, it will
be farewell to civilization--except the German--unless something
like a miracle supervenes. The French army is being moth-eaten by
the Socialists, the British navy has dry rot. I look to see Wilhelm
practically the ruler of the earth. If not, he will cause it to pay
a cost that will make the next fifty years groggy."

Kirtley thought this was jesting. He later learned that the "old
man" was regarded as "cracked" on this topic. Every spring he
prophesied war, but it had not come. The Kaiser failed to rush to
Paris and there dictate terms to an astounded and cowed universe.
People politely laughed in their sleeves. Yes, Anderson was a fine
fellow, but they wearied of his dismal forebodings that came to
naught. Some said it was because German had been hard for him to
learn. He had taken it up when more than fifty and had become
tangled in its snarling roots--its beer-drunken syntax. "He had got
mad at the language." It was natural that he should get mad at the
people.

Gard saw a light.

"Perhaps," he said, "that's what the Buchers really mean about the
German army conquering everybody whenever it wants to."

"That's it, that's it!" Anderson was gratified by the confirmation.
He went on with grave seriousness.

"I'm a journalist. I have opportunities to see behind the curtain,
haven't I? I have been at the army maneuvers, at the officers'
messes and dinners, when they were sober and when they were drunk.
Beer loosened their tongues and they did not care. They talk of it,
boast of it, and the civilian, too. I'm telling no secrets. They are
very frank about it. Don't you hear the Buchers openly discussing
it? They all give us warning and we say it's a fine day. Did you
ever read any of the Kaiser's speeches in German? There you find it
all. But he's crazy, they say. Crazy or not, he has the most
thoroughly organized and powerful nation behind him that the globe
ever saw. And behind him to a man."

"Why don't you write it up, then--tell people over home?" Gard
ventured, somewhat impressed.

"Write it up? Tell people? That's what I _have_ been doing for five
years. But what's the use of shouting to a world of fools? No one
will pay any attention to it. My paper sends my stuff back and says
it don't want war talk--it wants peace talk. Americans are happy and
they don't want to be disturbed. They only want to hear about what
they want to believe. So it seems to be everywhere."

"I guess you are right about that," Gard testified. "I have been a
pretty fair reader of our papers and periodicals and have never been
made to feel there was any need for alarm."

"Exactly," Anderson scolded. "Why, look at our Exchange professors.
They are coming over here, ready to swallow the Germans whole. The
Kaiser invites them to lunch on his yacht, gives them a pat on the
shoulder blade, and they are his. While the Germans plainly despise
us, our educators go home crying Great is Germany! How superior are
her people! Let us send our sons over there to drink of her wisdom
and grandeur! What inanity! Bah!"

"And so here I am," Gard smiled. "But I have bunted into you almost
the first thing."

"Couldn't do better--couldn't do better," repeated Anderson with a
cheering turn. "I'll tell you what to do. I'll give you a little
practical advice--free."

"It won't be worth much if it's free, will it?"

"Well, it's worth this rotten German cigar you've given me. Read the
editorials and correspondence in the Dresden papers. They're a good
sample. There you'll see what the German attitude toward us is
officially, and what German hatred feeds on day by day. The trouble
with Americans over here is they don't read anything serious. Of
course our students study their text books. But generally our people
just fly around, hear music, drink beer in the cafés, but they don't
read. Too nervous--afraid of being bored. So they don't learn much."

Anderson ran on into other subjects.

"One great thing about the German system is that it would make such
people work to some purpose. We don't. It also makes its plodders
work. This Government recognizes frankly that most of its
population, like all populations, are plodders, and it gives them
something regularly to do and sees that they do it. This converts
this dull element into an organized strength--a source of power. The
Germans practice their wonderful economies with respect to the
poorest kind of human energy. They kick something into their drones.
So they are such a mighty nation in a small land.

"In America, in other countries, this element is rather a
disorganized weakness. It is not pushed. It is for the most part
waste material or neglected material. Our public system, when
economies are concerned, first considers money, property. It seems
sometimes as if our free individualistic plan of government were,
after all, adapted for the minority of the bright-witted."



CHAPTER XI

GERMAN WAYS


"Had the Buchers ever known an American before you came?" Anderson
interrupted himself.

"No."

"How do you think they like you?"

"I guess if I dropped out of their lives, I would not create much of
a splash."

"You'll find they hate you. Hate is the German religion. The Germans
can hate people they've never known, never seen. They hate on
principle and without principle. Of course it's the proper precursor
for their programme of conquering the world. If they were trying to
love the world, they could not be preparing to demolish it and
expecting to."

Though Anderson had lived so long among the Teutons, he had not
become Teutonized. He was a marked exception. He viewed the nation
with a metallic aplomb that at times sent shivers down Kirtley's
spine.

"Now this family of yours," he went on discursively--"don't you
notice about them and in them and behind them something tremendously
unifying and propelling that is lacking in our American home?"

"I certainly do," responded Gard. "I can't make it out--their
dynamic, conscientious industry. What is it for? It's not with the
idea of making money--like Americans, eager to accumulate the
dollars. It's not for personal fame. It's not for any ambitious
social position. It does not seem to be for any of the reasons that
inspire an American household. And yet it is here, in this house, in
every room, behind every chair at table, night and morning. It's
bigger than anything we find in our Yankee life because it's beyond
and higher than mere individuality. It makes the Buchers satisfied
and still is something that has fearfulness lurking about it. It's
not religious or divine--they are not actuated by such motives, do
not speak of them. What in the world is it that the Germans have
that is so wonderful and we do not seem to have?"

Kirtley had thought a great deal about this and talked almost
fluently.

"I'll tell you," and the old correspondent, bent forward toward him
earnestly, glad that he had a young, receptive mind opened out
toward him. "I'll tell you. It's simply the Hohenzollern in his mad
and unconcealed pride about ruling the universe. He is in every
German home like this, driving each individual to work the best, to
make the most of himself and of herself, and without loss of time.
He makes them understand that it's for the great German race--that
they may become the potent force everywhere--leaders of mankind as
he has taught them they deserve to be. It is for the benefit of
their more and more deserving nation. But it is first and foremost
for himself and his family. He has a burning, itching desire to
reign everywhere. He is not a normal man physically and is
unbalanced by a monumental vanity--arrogance--egotism.

"When your Frau is so busily sewing, she is sewing for her
household, it is true, but she is consciously and unconsciously
sewing for Wilhelm. When your Fräulein goes out to her etching
lesson, she is aware of being of the magnificent German people, and
shares a part of the national ambition to excel. It's this that we
haven't got in America and can't well have under our system. But
it's this unified, disciplined zeal that enables two or three
ordinary Germans to do what it takes four ordinary Yankees to do.
Clad in armor and with a glistening sword in hand, Germania ought to
scare men, and they are not taking the warning.

"But, Kirtley, it scares me. I feel--see--something awful coming. In
the universal German hate, the national boundary stops any flow
outward of sympathy, good faith, equity. All peoples outside are
human insects whom it is proper for the Teuton to tread on if he
can, crush the life out of, because they are in his pathway to
glory."

Kirtley, who had stared at his new friend in this solemnity, turned
a serious face toward the clawlike branches of his linden in its
gauntness of late autumn-tide. This meaning of the animus that was
impelling his odd and yet so normal German household, he began to
see, was substantiated by a score of acts and attitudes in its daily
life. He scarcely deemed it proper to tell of them.

Besides, he did not want to fire up Anderson who already was so
unsettled, so comfortless, on the subject. But Kirtley was reasoning
out how this animus gave a solidity, a solidarity, to the German
household--a satisfied contentment--because it was working toward a
definite racial goal. Any such incentive was almost absent in the
American family.

"And so," wound up Anderson with epigrams, "the years will be left
humanity to weep these days of _insouciance_ and neglect. You can
see that Germany is a man-made nation. It is not the kind God or
Nature would make. God must have turned His face when the Teuton
species was manufactured. Germany is like a man-made hot air
register. When it isn't throwing up hot air, it is throwing up cold
air. It is always throwing up."

To change the somewhat painful theme, Kirtley soon began:

"I don't see any sports--such as we know them--in Germany. How do
they get along without them?" Like all Yankee college men he was
alert on these lines.

"No sports in Deutschland. Go out on the Dresden golf links of a
morning and you'll find hardly a German soul playing. It's the same
in Vienna--the same in Berlin. They have links because it's the
fashion in England. The Germans ape everything. Go out on the
highway to Berlin or Vienna or any of the great roads and you will
seldom meet any Germans touring in their motors for pleasure. Only
Americans--English. The Germans are spoiling little time by such
matters. They are busy--busy working for their Empire--busy like
moles boring away to undermine the earth--busy drilling with arms.

"So you see no sporting terms incorporated in their daily language,
in their newspaper language, such as we see in England and
America--terms denoting fair play, square deal, manly courtesy
toward the under dog. Our Anglo-Saxon motto, 'Don't hit him when
he's down,' is no motto with the Germans. They think that's just the
time _to_ hit him. Kick him when he's flattened out. Kick him
preferably in the face. That's one reason so many Teutons have
scarred faces. The Anglo-Saxon spirit in a sporting crowd is for the
little fellow. In Germany, it's for the big fellow--the fellow who
already has everything on his side.

"This sort of thing, of course, kills the true idea and fun of
sport. Take away its knightliness of bearing, spirit of
self-sacrifice, exhibition of pluck though defeat is certain, and
what have you left to sport about? It merely becomes a question of
brute force--overwhelming force. You have cruelty left as a net
result. And that's a large part of German conduct--cruelty to
underlings or to those who are feebler or caught at an unfair
disadvantage. Having no leaven of sports is one thing that makes the
German life seem so heavy, ominous, brutal, to us."

"Its growling rigidity, with all this," Anderson continued gravely,
"is due to the fact that the old men are mainly in the saddle in
Germany--men sixty and seventy. The existence and influence of young
men are not as much in command as with us. These old Germans have
disgruntled stomachs from so much drinking, and they roar about.
Physical sports mean nothing to them. And so it seems sometimes as
if the Germans are born old, not young. Their children are old. This
helps make them such a serious race--the most serious. And yet
people insist on believing that this serious race means nothing but
fun by all its military preparations. Where's the logic?"...

When the journalist went, Kirtley let him through the wall gate with
its weighted rope. The gate flew back in place with a loud report as
if to give emphasis to the old man's direful interpretations and
prophecies.



CHAPTER XII

HABITS AND CHILDREN


In spite of Anderson, Gard could not make up his mind that Rudolph
was anything more than a young braggadocio. The idea of an ordinary
family living comfortably along with a spy in its midst, ready to
inform on them and their guests, was so foreign to his notions, so
caddish, that it weakened his confidence in his compatriot's
judgment. While Gard felt that Rudi was not "straight," he could not
consider him downright harmful. However, under the spur of the
valuable significance that Anderson attached to this typical
household life, Kirtley felt it profitable to observe closely its
manifestations and opinions. They were verified in other German
families where Gard often went with the Buchers. What could be more
truly educational?

In defiance of the famous Teuton discipline, a certain
disorderliness ran through the management of Villa Elsa. This
surprised him. The eruptive way meals were served, the jumbled-up
spectacle of the dining table, beds made up at any time of day,
knitting and sewing going on in many rooms--all this was in
unforeseen contrast to the rigorous military and educational
training and precision. He could but compare the _genre_ picture of
looseness in the homes with that of the correct and fine army.

The inadequate, almost primitive, bathing facilities in Villa Elsa
corresponded to the unscoured condition of its occupants. The
unsightly hairiness of German skins seemed to answer for much
washing. There was little thought of soap and hot water as a law of
health, a delight, a luxury. Kirtley had assumed that soiled bodies
did not betoken the loftiest state of man. But the bath was looked
upon here as a disagreeable performance and accordingly was only
indulged in at infrequent intervals. It was discussed freely at
table as a forthcoming, dreaded event. Gard bathed in town. As for
fresh underwear and hose, they were talked of over soup like some
new and rare dispensation of Providence.

Fräulein alone had a toothbrush and powder, and they appeared rather
conspicuously here and there as if they were modern ornaments of
which the household was visibly proud. Bad breaths coming from
decayed teeth and from stomachs sour with drink were freely blown
about and without apologies. Indeed, apologies about anything were
small features at all times.

There was no particular provision for the maid. Gard scarcely knew
where or how she slept. Tekla dressed with unconcern in the kitchen
and in the hall. Servant girls were rather considered like calves
and therefore entitled to scant human consideration. The odors, the
unsightly colors, the clatter of the German home, gave further
evidence of the absence of sensitiveness, of any fine and balanced
poise of nerves.

This repulsiveness of existence, of course, did not affect the
audible consciousness of the family about their representing the
most progressive state of civilized man. And not to be forgotten was
the German ill-temperedness, which was pronounced in the morning,
and did not wear off considerably until stomachs were filled during
the day. All these facts testified that the Teuton little cultivates
loveliness in human contact. Beauty of living is not, with him, a
natural end to attain.

After awhile it came over Kirtley that the Buchers showed no
interest in his antecedents or in his country. Their apparent
ignorance of America was rivaled by their indifference about it.
They evidently were of the firm conclusion that there was nothing
worth while there to learn, nothing worthy of attention. It was, to
them, an unprofitable jumble of peoples and things in a rudimentary,
unvarnished state of development. It was Patagonia trying to copy
the ways of Europe. This was but a feature of the Teuton tribal
belief that all the racial evolutions outside the German borders
were undesirable, demoralizing and mischievously blocking the
outspread of _Kultur_.

Gard could not but know of the limited income on which existence
went on at Villa Elsa. It was characteristic. Though limited, the
income was _secure_. Despite the economies practiced, the prevailing
confidence and self-satisfaction did not suffer, as a result, the
slightest impairment. It was significantly German.

Gard said to himself:

"There are here none of the spectacular ups and downs, everlasting
sudden changes and movings to and fro, riches one year, poverty the
next, the unsettledness and acute money misfortunes, that make up so
large a share of our feverish, restless, uncertain Yankee careers.
There does not seem to be a synonym for 'hard up' in German. As for
us Americans the habitual changes of location of the household, the
separation of the parents for reasons of business, travel, or
inharmonious temperaments, the resultant ever-growing crop of
divorces, the frequent living apart of the children, both from
fathers and mothers and from the home, the loose family ties and
ignoring of kin who are not of the most immediate relationship--how
far is all this from the steady, compact, solid, unanxious and
unthreatened examples of Villa Elsa and German households in
general!"

The Teutons had a paternal Government which they knew would not let
them come to want. Their firesides could thrive and accomplish
greatly on so small a basis because this was stationary and
unfailing. The American needed so much more because, with him, all
was relatively unsafe. While he hesitated about rearing a large
family for this reason among others, the German had no such thought
of dodging the future, for he knew his children would be taken care
of.

In fact, he raised his progeny conspicuously for the State. Parental
feeling was secondary to the Kaiser's wishes. The Bucher children,
like usual German children, were in effect dedicated to the
Government, consecrated to its uses. It could come in and did come
in and take this boy or girl for that and that one for this. It had
designated Rudi for hydraulic engineering and indicated his
university course to that end. Ernst was selected for philosophy.
The parents were not only willing but proud of this. It was not for
them to resent such outside interference because of any personal
likes of their own.

Gard wrote Rebner:

"In America, the child's future is somewhat a matter of buffeting
back and forth aimlessly between teacher and parent. The latter is
disposed to shirk the responsibility by leaning on the shoulders of
the instructor who is inclined to keep shifting the burden back to
the home. As a result, while the German youngster is early being
adapted to a particular future course for which Nature has given him
an aptitude, his American competitor is often left to drift through
the years without definite ambition, or at least with only a belated
or partly drilled preparation therefor."

In Germany, Kirtley observed, the Government stood as the real
father. The actual father was its representative. The mother played
a subsidiary rôle. All was the father idea. The Germans call it
Fatherland, not Motherland, as the English affectionately term their
own country.

This interposition of the State in the Teuton family weakens the
links of personal tenderness. The State rather than Love rules the
home. Hence resulted the unfeelingness that Kirtley observed in the
life about him in Loschwitz--the roughness so little tempered with
affection, but, instead, frankly interpreted and exhibited as the
true bearing of the dominant male's masculine nobility.

Quite normally, then, came about the extensive amount of open and
violent quarreling which Gard noticed in the households. In Villa
Elsa the Herr quarreled with the Frau, each quarreled with the
children, they quarreled with Tekla, and she took it out on the
dogs. It was not disputing among self-respecting equals, but
ill-humored domineering over those who were confessedly underneath.



CHAPTER XIII

DOWN WITH AMERICA!


The German text books that came in Gard's way proved the national
craze for what was Deutsch, _echt Deutsch_, to the exclusion of what
was not. It was almost a ferocity of inbreeding instruction. It
created the _furor Teutonicus_. The Hohenzollerns used education as
a prod to madden the Germans. It kept stirred up, with increasing
exaggeration and rage, the racial rabidness on the subject of other
nations.

Kirtley still did not believe that this reached to America and
Americans, for which topics, as already indicated, the Buchers had
shown small curiosity in their intercourse with him, seldom
mentioning the names. But his eyes were abruptly opened wide with
astonishment and concealed indignation one evening at dinner.

It was a habit for the family, when nothing was pressing, to remain
at table discussing this and that, nearly always providing the theme
was German. He encouraged this because he could learn from the
well-stocked information which the members possessed about Germany
and the Germans, and for the further reason of conversational
opportunities.

It may be best to try to reproduce the scene in outline as it
occurred. The talk had fallen upon governments, nations, peoples--a
general field of inquiry for which Kirtley had had some predilection
at college. The vast superiority of the German Government had been
again, as often before, so emphasized in Villa Elsa that he felt now
that he ought to raise a question. Should this overweening
assumption always pass unnoticed, unqualified?

It was partly because the foreigner avoided disputing with the
Germans, who made discussion unpleasant by their acrid, dictatorial
manners and drowning diapasons, that their arrogance had so rapidly
grown out of bounds. They do not recognize courtesies in debate, fly
off the handle, burst in with interruptions on the half-finished
statements and sentences of others.

Besides, Kirtley had not yet fully learned that they have not the
same understanding of things, not the same definitions for the same
words. For instance, the Buchers insisted that the Germans had the
most freedom of any nation. But their freedom meant something like
the liberty allowed in a prison yard. Free press? Yes, it was to be
found in Deutschland in its highest state, since it was always
authoritative. And there authority meant liberty of opinion. Again,
thought was the most free and liberal there, because, as it seemed,
the German was free to think just as the Kaiser thought. Equity?
Equity was only what the Teutons wanted, and therefore of the most
desirable type. And so on.

Such differences were usually antipodal--diametrically opposed. The
reason, Gard worked out, was that in America and other democratic
lands the significance of such words sprang from the common people
upward. In Germany such interpretations proceeded essentially from
the reigning family downward. Discussions under such circumstances,
instead of leading toward mutual understanding, breed acrimony.
There is little room for shadings, amicable approachments, progress
in the direction of reciprocal enlightenment.

It was a nest of blustering, pugnacious hornets which Kirtley poked
up on the evening in question, by asking:

"How do you prove that the German Government is the best?"

The Herr, taking his knife from his mouth--the Teuton eats
conspicuously with his knife--suddenly showed that he had evidently,
in the presence of his American guest, long held himself in on this
subject with ill-feelings that clamored to be let loose.

"Prove it? Prove it?" he hoarsely exclaimed. "It needs no proof.
Everybody knows it. Could we have the greatest people without the
best Government? Could we have the best education without the best
Government? Why does everybody come to Germany to study? Why did
_you_ come? It's because these things are true. Did you ever hear of
young Germans going elsewhere to universities? They do not need to.
We have the best."

The family were up in arms. Their Government had been questioned.
Each member, with the exception of Fräulein, who was "at class," was
bursting to talk about America. It had no army. Therefore it
amounted to little. It had no higher education worthy of the name.
It had only one institution that could claim to be called a
university. It had no aristocracy. It was a country of low, lawless
classes. These and similar sentences flew back at Kirtley, whose
face reddened. The mask was being at last hurled off. What
self-control, indeed, had the family before maintained, when they
were so armed with displeasure concerning the United States! He
would not have credited it. It was at least illuminating, if
blinding. For what could be the excuse, provocation? Nothing that he
had ever heard of. The two peoples had been so separate and
distinct. The words of Anderson rushed into his mind. "The Germans
can hate people they've never known, never seen. They hate on
principle and without principle."

Knives and forks figured in the air, beer mugs were grabbed and
banged down, napkins took refuge under the table as if in fright,
to be indiscriminately dirtied under foot. The gulped down food,
meeting the oncoming throaty expressions of irritability, created
much alimentary confusion. Gard almost trembled. Here he had been
for weeks dwelling in a friendly society, in an intimate
relationship, without any realization of what ugly thoughts were
secretly leveled at him in the form of a political unit. As an
individual, he had been most welcome. As a citizen of the United
States he was despised. The Herr vociferated:

"What is your country, tell me, what is your country? It is _nichts,
nichts_. It is not a country. It is a ragout, a potpourri, a mess.
We do not recognize such a country. It has no beginnings, no
tradition, no unity of blood, no ideals----" He choked and the Frau
flared forth while attempting to crack a nut between her teeth.

"The American people are the off-scourings of Europe. They were
criminals, atheists, diseased people, failures, who were sent away
from Europe. So they go and try to found a new race, a new nation.
They try, but they fail of course...."

When his mother got out of breath, little Ernst began with a milder,
more judicial air, though he seemed partly to have memorized
official declarations.

"Don't you think, Herr Kirtley, it stands to reason that our
reigning family, which is admitted to be honest and has practiced
ruling for centuries, knows better how to govern a race than the
always new and untried persons who keep taking the reins of
government in a democracy? The Americans can never tell far ahead
who is to rule. There are changes all the time. How can the citizen
prepare confidently for the future? How can he plan long ahead as we
do? I have always read that this is the reason things are so steady
and stable in Germany and so uncertain and wabbling in America. This
uncertainty hanging over a republic unsettles its population. You
have panics, lynchings, graft. We are free of such scourges. Our
Government is always the same unit and to be relied on. If new
policies are begun, it is there to carry them through to their
logical end, even if it takes a generation or longer. You have
always new statesmen with new ideas. We no sooner learn to know of
one of your politicians than he is dropped and we must read about
another in control. How does that make for any well-considered and
thoroughly demonstrated plans? Would it not be the natural result
that the German people are completely contented and the American
people are always discontented?"

Rudolph's excited pronouncements ran along a different line,
interchanged with voluminous whiffs of tobacco.

"Under our Government, Herr Kirtley, the German flag is seen in all
parts of the globe. And wherever it is seen, it is respected,
feared. Who ever sees the American flag? Even _I_ don't know what it
looks like. It is not feared. It is only noticed out of voluntary
courtesy. And a nation can't be really great without an army like
ours. The army is the spine of the country. It makes a country a
vertebrate. What would even Germany be without its army? Almost
nothing. The army consolidates, trains, disciplines. It gives us
health, good constitutions, industrious habits, exactness. It makes
a nation superior because it fortifies human effort. In the constant
changing of our regiments about to different sections of the Empire,
our soldiers come to be well acquainted everywhere. They make
friends and are at home in every direction. They learn to realize
how great we are and this strengthens the German feeling and makes
all parts of the nation one.

"Of course we have the only first-class army. All our General Staff
has to do any day is to say the word and, as I have so often said,
our army can go out and defeat the world. Our navy will soon be in a
position to destroy England's. We are getting her trade routes, her
mail routes. Our goods are now selling everywhere. It is not only
because they are the best and the cheapest, but because our army and
our navy stand behind them to _make_ people know what is best for
them. Every little German box of goods has a big gun behind it. Of
course we don't need to use the gun--_yet_--because people are
crying for our manufactures all over the world. If we had occupied
your big and half-developed country in your place, we would have
long ago been the only great State. There would have been no others.
We would have annihilated them if they were not willing to become
German provinces."

Rudi took a long pull at his cigarette, with his elbows outspread
like the haughty wings of the Prussian eagles of war. Emitting a
long streamer of smoke, he summed up the whole thing in a nutshell
with a derisory--Pouf!

Kirtley was inwardly fired up with resentment. Then he had to
smother a laugh. This exhibition of the family taken off its guard
was more instructive than volumes of discussion he might read about
the true German attitude toward America--toward everyone. Were these
but Goths with the German skins scratched off a little? He kept
thinking of Anderson--how it furnished the pure evidence of what the
latter was despairing of before deaf ears! Gard's respect, his
sympathy, for the old man, jumped up with patriotic fervor.

He marveled at first how the good Buchers had been primed with this
knowledge, these comparisons. Then he realized that the editorials
and other articles in the Dresden journals, whose lengthy, heavy,
pounding sentences confused with an obtuse, inverted syntax he was
reading at Anderson's suggestion, accounted for these venomous
conceptions and prejudices.

"So it is our duty to hate," broke in the Herr once more, with
croaks and grunts now behind his long porcelain pipe which roved
down over his stomach, a green tassel dangling at the end. "We give
our children beatings to educate them, don't we? So we have the best
education. We must give the world a beating to improve it."

The Frau all the while could hardly restrain herself.

"You know what we in Germany call Americans? We call them
pigs--yes, _pigs_. America is like a big pig pen where everybody is
wallowing over everybody for money--just for money."

"And Germany," added her elder son, "is just waiting till the United
States gets money enough, then we go in with our _navy_ and our
_army_ and take it all."

Gard wanted to see how far they _would_ go, and he had seen. Was
this the old barbarian of the north risen to earth again, his rude
garments of hide torn off, exposing him in his pristine, fighting
nakedness? Where was the German under it all--the German who was
taken to be civilized in heart and spirit as other men are? These
law-abiding, stay-at-home people had deliberately grown in Villa
Elsa this robust plant of contempt, so full-blossomed now and ready
to exhale its noisome fumes which at moments almost stifled Kirtley
with their poison. What would Rebner say to this with his golden,
soul-felt opinions of the excelling race!

This hospitable and apparently harmless domicile was, in reality,
like a martial encampment. Gard could not but conclude that he would
have to leave Loschwitz. How could he for a moment stay in face of
these direct and hard-fisted attacks? And certainly Villa Elsa would
not want to harbor a hog any longer. The similar households he had
come to know, all such households, unquestionably bore the same
furious grudges against the western hemisphere.

But Elsa? How could he leave her--like this? She was the first girl
to excite seriously his affections. She seemed to strike the note of
whatever was truly earnest in him. Yet did she, too, think Americans
were pigs? Did she consider him of such an inferior breed? Perhaps,
in her misled innocence, she did. Perhaps that was the reason why
she acted toward him in an upsetting fashion which only the more
tempted a certain tenacious element in his make-up.



CHAPTER XIV

AFTERMATH


This astonishing outbreak in Villa Elsa was followed by something
still more singular to Kirtley, or at least out of his reckoning. It
was to stir the depths of his contemplations and comparisons and
give him the sharpest look into German character he had yet
received. It was to show him that a gaping abyss might be separating
the Teuton from other western humanity. Having latterly doubted that
the race was easy of sympathetic grasp, any true kinship, he now
profoundly realized that instead of being able to approach it nearer
in feeling the more he knew it, he was encountering very high cliffs
that threatened forever to mark an inaccessible boundary line.

He had taken it for granted that the anti-American outburst would
end the Buchers' relations with him. He must have turned out to be
very unwelcome. The very sight of him as one of the American pigs
about the house must have been most unsatisfactory, distasteful.
They could not from now on visibly wish him or any Yankee in their
home. Their personal dignity could not permit their assault to be
backed up afterward by any equivocal conduct toward him.

Then, too, they would expect that he would not want to remain. Had
they not voluntarily, deliberately, hurled at him their defiant
scorn of his people? Self-respect would demand his immediate
departure.

As for himself, Gard passed a sleepless night thinking hotly about
the episode. Toward morning he cooled off. These were boors. Why
should he take to heart their boorishness? Richness was here indeed.
Just the place to keep finding out the real German. Having let the
bars down with such a bang and hullabaloo, the family would from now
on readily and fully reveal themselves. It is a poor investigator
and observer who is easily shied away from his purpose by taunts and
ill-breeding.

But the miracle was that the Buchers went on exactly as before. They
obviously saw no reasons for altering their friendly daily
intercourse, nor did they have any idea that he should harbor a
grievance. Beginning with the next morning, their usual amicable
bearing and attentions continued uninterrupted. The family was not
conscious of having tried to give mortal offense or to cause
resentment from him.

For, to a German, blows in all senses are a normal part of living.
His social habits indulge themselves in knocks, coarse attacks,
unseemly abuse, as rather matters of course. He wields a bludgeon
where more refined men would cut down with sarcasm or wither one
with disdain. Blows are his natural method of instructing others and
of getting himself instructed. "Good German blows" are what the
Kaiser talked of loudly. To strike as well as to kick is a
wholesome, healthful, righteous procedure, not to be grieved over,
not to be kept rankling in the bosom. It is truth and fact in
action, and action should always be forceful and decisive to be
effective. The whipping of a school boy for any just cause should
not be remembered by him throughout life as something to be allowed
to fester or as calling for angry vengeance.

So Gard's hosts pursued the tenor of their ways as if that
detonating night had witnessed nothing. Their insensitiveness about
it included insensitiveness about him. In other words, he discovered
that as you cannot insult a German, therefore he cannot insult you.
He does not know about such things in the Anglo-Saxon meaning. His
conception of social and moral values is so obtusely or radically
different from those of the truly occidental civilizations that
there is little common ground here. Consequently, in such relations,
the Teuton does not feel anything to be sorry for. There is nothing
for him to worry about in any shame the next day.

Kirtley learned gradually, through his dealings with tradesmen and
in hearing business men talk in the cafés, that this underbred
attitude extended into the German secular world. A German may cheat
you, lie to you, take a grossly unfair advantage of your good faith,
but he will not expect that this is going to interfere with a
continuance of your business relations. It is only a part of the
hard game of gain. If you indignantly enumerate to him the facts of
your unpleasant discovery, he sees little about which to bear a
grudge. He is not humiliated. He merely and unfortunately did not
succeed, or succeeded while unluckily you found him out.

Likewise if one lies to him, cheats him or otherwise mistreats him
in a transaction, he does not permanently lay it up against the
evil-doer. For he knows he would have done the same thing under
similar circumstances. He is prepared to go on next week with the
usual dealings. Of course he will complain with prompt vigor, and
rage in his favorite fashion, but it is only because of his material
loss or discomfort, not because of broken standards of trusted faith
lying dishonored in the dust.

All this alien side of German character thus came to be lain before
Gard like a scroll unrolled. He read its lines with eyes blinking in
wonderment. And this was the people who were to lead the earth.

The only part of it he felt the Buchers did not comprehend and were
disappointed about, was that he did not candidly acknowledge the
porcine truth of all they had shouted at him. He was of a
heterogeneous conglomeration called Yankees. He should admit it. He
was stupid not to. For him not to join in the Bucher chorus of
Germany's greatness was a poor return for all they were doing for
his ease and profit. But he was an American and of course the
Americans--

It must be quickly acknowledged, it is true, that Kirtley's
experiences and observations along these channels did not
necessarily show that the Teuton is less honest than others. Let it
be granted that he is fully as upright as anyone in the sum total of
his commercial transactions. The point Gard uncovered was that here
were full-fledged race traits and habitudes which stood counter to
Christian ideals, were pagan in type, were due to a lower stratum of
moral and social perceptions.

The explosion in Villa Elsa led him on to another revealment. What
was it but a rather puerile performance? Tactless, boisterous
youngsters blurt out the disagreeable sentiments of a household. The
Buchers had acted like children. Laying aside all question of the
wonderful German trained mind, knowledge, efficiency, Gard observed
so much that was boy-like and girl-like in the adult Teuton life. No
country has such a wealth of toys and juvenile story books as
Germany. The Teuton weaves his nursery tales, so grotesque and
strikingly cruel, into his grown-up years. All this influence
continues with him and affects him strongly as long as he lives. The
mature German can kick, sulk, whine, much as his offspring do. When
irritated he can easily act like an _enfant terrible_.

What is quaint, droll, distorted, comically ugly, or of a
gingerbready effect, in Germany, is the expression of this childish
strain. And it appeals particularly there to the youthfulness that
remains in the hearts of visiting foreigners. It is accordingly one
of the most popular Teuton aspects, especially among women and the
young.



CHAPTER XV

MILITARY BLOCKHEADS


Gard's attentions to Elsa continued intermittently, and as if
detached, on their unadvancing course. He had, however, reached the
stage of playing piano duets with her. This is always hopeful.
Occasionally they rambled through Schubert's little Vienna love
waltzes and other selections that could top off an evening with
melodies of a sprightly and sentimental nature. He felt he was
becoming acquainted with her in a way he otherwise could not. She
was more cheerful at these times, exhilarated by the music.

He had learned a large part of his playing by ear. Reading at sight
was a fresh experience. She corrected his fingering while helping
fill out his conversational vocabulary. It was certainly most
agreeable to have Fräulein take his fingers in her warm, plump,
flexible hand with conscientious authority and show him the method
of the Dresden Conservatoire.

Think of a young and lustrous miss being able to instruct him like a
veteran! He had never considered American girls in such a light--had
never expected to learn anything of profitable skill from them.
Elsa, for her part, regarded it as a curious and amusing experience
to watch this tall man playing like a boy. The musical Germans she
knew were adept at some instrument.

He formed the habit of adding _en_, or its variants, to the English
equivalent of the German word he could not think of, and she seemed
to be struck by this as a very original fashion of eliciting
information. On one occasion at the piano they heard the entrance
bell below clang, announcing a visitor, and Gard, hastening to
disappear upstairs, exclaimed:

"Wir müssen--wir müssen--_stopfen_!"

The word for stop would not come to him. Fräulein blushed and
snickered and ran off to tell her mother about Herr Kirtley and his
German. He was frightened. What absurdity had he uttered? He got to
his dictionary as soon as he could and found he had said--We must
darn stockings!

The incident nearly always put Elsa in good humor. She doubtless
considered Yankees an odd folk. How could they expect to become
civilized with their rudimentary attainments? Must he not be seeming
to her a sort of freak?...

But, for the most part, she continued to hold him aloof, and he
concluded the reason lay in the mystery which shadowed her young
life and to which he could trace no clue. What could it frankly be
that sent her to her room and to Heine? The beginning of the answer
seemed to come at last in the form of a youth who suddenly soared in
at Villa Elsa.

Herr Friedrich von Tielitz-Leibach was a composer and a music
director. He was the son of a neighbor who had moved away, and the
musical Buchers doted on him as one with a shining future. Kirtley
had often heard them refer to Friedrich as to so many of their
friends of whom he knew nothing.

When Friedrich called, at very rare intervals, it was always a
wonderful day. The steady, stolid routine of the home became
perturbed, gladdened. He was a German of Hungarian extraction, and
the Magyar blood gave him a dash and sparkle. He was tall, very
thin, with the intellectual look that black-rimmed glasses produce.
His eyes harmonized in color with the black shock of tossing hair
that set off a distinguished appearance. And, like a traditional
votary of music, he wore a great black cloak swinging around him
with an operatic air, giving the impression that he was just going
to or coming from the theater.

Highly agitated, gilded with flattery, readily acquainted, he
bubbled over promptly in confidences and intimate allusions. He was
ever brimming with the freshest gossip of himself and his exalted
career; and his personal experiences, he assumed, were bound to be
unique and entertaining.

Making friends with everyone, he insisted on calling on Gard up in
the attic room, pleased to welcome such an "excellent person"--as he
had heard downstairs--to the fold of the family. But did they not
lead such dull, stagnant, imbecile lives, moored here in this
stodgy, out-of-the-world suburb, where so many idiots live who
wonder how the world can come to an end when it's round? Friedrich
truly hoped Herr Kirtley would not be bored to death.

To-day the musician had finished with his final military examination
and was at last free from ever having to serve. He made a diverting
story of it and had hastened to the Villa to recount the
congratulatory news.

"I had to report this morning for military service, just having got
back to Dresden. So I went to the Platz and there sat an officer as
big as a hogshead. And I hope not as full. He began treating me as
if I were a truant school boy. 'Stand up! Sit down! Stand up again!'
So the examination commenced. I knew I was not fit for the army. I
did not want to go. I hate it. But they were after me. He said:

"'Take off your glasses!' I removed them. He said:

"'What is that letter off there?' Mein Gott! it looked as far off as
Pillnitz. It was my left eye out of which I had seen nothing since I
was a baby.

"'I see nothing,' I said. He yelled:

"'You can!' Then I said:

"'I can't!' Then he roared out:

"'Why can't you?'

"'Because I am blind in it!' He glared at me as if I were a
perjurer.

"'It is blind and you can see nothing out of it?'

"And now I was getting out of patience with this blockhead. Blind
and can't see out of it! They put the blockheads in the army because
there is no other place for them. I think that must be the reason
why there are more synonyms for blockhead in the German language
than in any other--we have the largest army. I said:

"'Of course I can't see anything out of it because it's blind,
you---- ' I was just on the point of adding 'fool' when I stopped
myself in time. It was the military--the august _military_. One must
hold his peace before the magnificent military. He thought I was
cheating about my eye because I did not want to march to Moscow, to
Paris. And I don't want to march to Moscow or Paris. They're so far.

"So this stupid _Kerl_ took me over to a higher officer and still
another. They sat there as stiff and self-complacent as wooden
saints in a plaster church. They too shouted at me They were so
suspicious, although I had never had the pleasure of meeting any of
them before.

"'You say you are blind in one eye and can't see out of it?'

"I screamed, 'No, no, no!' They thought I might be going insane.
They examined my eye, my glasses, and tried all kinds of tests to
try to fool my poor eye. But it remained my faithful friend, and
they were mad. And I was just as mad and ready to shriek at
them--'Blind! Blind! Blind!' I was losing half a day for nothing
over their stupidities.

"Then the _Dummkopfen_ began to enter it up on their official
blotters. That seemed to take forever too. I was nearly exhausted.
They solemnly wrote me down as blind in one eye and cannot see out
of it. And at last, Gott sei Dank! they let me go, glowering at me
as if they were still sure I was somehow tricking them. And here I
am--alive!"

Friedrich's ludicrous recital, embellished by a hundred gestures and
poses, had raised a guffaw even in Villa Elsa.



Chapter XVI

A LIVELY MUSICIAN


Gard discovered that such mockery or berating of military officials,
with whom the ordinary public came in servile contact, was rather
common in Germany in spite of the universal adoration of the army.

Intermixed with Friedrich's take-off were his moments of "the grand
manner," appropriate to a musical director who is born to command
fickle or imperious singers and musicians. He was naturally an
actor. His refreshing mimicries amused Gard. Against the bovine
background of the Villa Elsa circle, he stood out in relief as an
enlivening figure with flitting phases of elegance.

He was clever, talented. He spun off a lot of new music at the
piano, much of it coming from his own pen. Elsa hung absorbed over
the wing of the instrument. Friedrich, of about Kirtley's age but
adequately equipped and ambitious, was aspiring to some one of the
dignified thrones in the musical kingdom of Germany. Gard was only
just hatching out as a man. He was essentially but a lad grown up.
Von Tielitz showed already a wholly developed maturity. German
instruction again versus American education!

Friedrich was better versed in English than the Bucher children. He
paid two calls on Gard that first day. Talking Anglo-Saxon was good
practice. On the second call he discharged a missile that struck
Kirtley near the heart, and gave him a feeling of faintness.

"Don't you like Elsa?" Von Tielitz whipped out with no preamble.
"She is really a nice girl, a very nice girl. Her family thinks we
are to marry. Well, perhaps. I don't know. Sometimes I think yes.
Sometimes I think no. There are so many others, don't you know. But
I think we will marry as soon as I get my Kapellmeistership. We are
always such good friends. She used to sit on my lap before I went
away. O! we are _very_ good friends. But now I am not so much in
Dresden and, my dear Mr. Kirtley, my poor Kapellmeistership does not
come along. It is most aggravating, as you say in English. I get so
discouraged."

He brightened again.

"They tell me you and Elsa have been playing duos. Such good
training. Very agreeable. We used to play together also. A nice girl
to rub one's knees against under the piano--oh,

    "I am Titania the blond,
     Titania, of the air!"

Friedrich twittered gayly the lines from "Mignon." Then he abruptly
changed.

"But I have now so little time for serious maidens. Ach Himmel! How
I am driven by going here and going there! One says this to me,
another says that to me, and my head gets all in a whirl."

So he wandered on with his mixtures of _nonchalance_, condescension
and, above all, his ebullient self-esteem that flowed over on to
everyone to the point of deluging them. When he went away, it was
with such a warm invitation to call upon him the next week that
Kirtley could not but accept. Besides, here was opened up a novel
and suggestive line of behavior from the standpoint of the German
young man of the world.

Gard was left with confused feelings that drooped their wings in
displeasure if not distress. So there was a rival, and of long
standing, on the little rosy sea of his romance! And this was he.
Was it a wonder that Elsa had "spells"? Here was a true
heart-breaker. Just the type to play havoc with a girl. What place
was there left for the mild, unpretending Gard? And still she
deserved far better than Von Tielitz. Perhaps it was this feeling
that added to her unhappiness. His vulgarity! To talk as Von Tielitz
did about one who might become his wife, and to a stranger, was a
new form of German brutality. It steadied and deepened Gard's
admiration for her. Who ever heard a young Yankee speak like this
about his serious sweetheart? However raw he may be, there is a
certain sacred respect at the bottom of his language about her--his
bearing toward her.

Elsa did not appear at meals for a day or two after Friedrich left.
Kirtley was not encouraged by learning that this usually happened
after a call from the composer. He thought it strange that the Frau,
with all her plain speech and hardy lack of sentiment, still made
no reference to her daughter's trouble. Marriage is to the Germans
such an earth-to-earth affair, as Gard perceived, that he marveled
she did not unbosom herself capaciously about what must be a
mother's anxiety. But the Teuton daughter is like a glove that can
be put on or cast off by the sovereign male. She is meant to be
toughened, exposed to rude blasts, fortified, to be able to support
the draft-mare burdens of Teuton wifehood.



CHAPTER XVII

IMMORALITY AND OBSCENITY


Gard now descended unwittingly into one of the darkest regions of
German life, and one which foreign publics had persistently missed
or voluntarily overlooked in their chorus of approbation of the
race.

It is a familiar dictum that one can judge of a nation pretty fairly
by the position and treatment of its women. Kirtley had never, in
America, heard anything about Deutschland in this light. But he soon
found in Saxony that this was only one of the numerous German topics
on which little publicity was shed in his homeland in spite of the
general emphasis laid on German preëminence. This emphasis was
mainly a diffusion, through mere books of information, about
achievements and an extraordinary condition of learned mentality. Of
the actual inhabitants beyond the Rhine, ignorance was kept
widespread. German femininity was assumed to be of a predominating
excellence to match that of German masculinity.

No study of a people is indeed complete without an unglossed inquiry
into its conduct toward its women and children. To say that the
German's business traits are the same and as reputable as those of
other races, is below the mark. In this secular domain he is
compelled to deal and to act within the accepted formulæ of trade.
To do otherwise would be to ostracize himself.

But he is in no such competition or is subject to no such exactions
in his attitude toward his own women and children. With them he does
as he pleases and his real nature stands forth. These truly vital
matters have been passed over as if unnoticed by the world, as has
been said, and still it wonders why it cannot learn what the German
is--does not understand him. He is, perhaps more than anyone, what
he is toward his own inferiors--toward those who are weaker and
dependent.

The question of German womanhood and girlhood should not therefore
be blinked by the earnest contemplator. It was not long before Gard
was saying to himself that if Americans could be made to realize
the status of womankind in Deutschland, they would not be so lured
by the idea of sending their young folk thither for education. There
would be a marked decline in their generous enthusiasm for _all_
things German. In what civilized land does woman lead less in lofty,
sublimated power or put a fainter stamp on the talents of the race?
German art, music, poetry, language, politics, education, all are
distinctively masculine. The Teuton woman merely partakes of the
life of man, the ideal. She does not assume to lead him. She would
seem so far below par that, as Gard had seen, even flirtation
scarcely exists in Deutschland. Flirtation is particularly a custom
among equals.

When he returned Friedrich's visits as promised, he found him
sharing the room of his friend Karl Messer. Messer was a successful
architect who had already secured a Government commission while the
equally youthful Kirtley--may it be repeated--had not begun real
life and, according to the American plan, could do nothing very
well. Those two room-mates and cronies were leading the typical
Teuton existence of youths who combined proficient work with a frank
sensuality accompanied, of course, by much imbibing in the German
way. And it may be preliminarily noted that what explorations Gard
afterward made in this great and seamy side of Teuton nature,
likewise ended in a downward direction toward depths that he had
scarcely thought possible in the educated human.

Von Tielitz and Messer had been at an uproarious ball the night
before and were idling about, recuperating. They had accomplished
the ruin there of two girls, which they looked upon as truly manly
sport. Assuming that Kirtley, as must be the case with all young
men, was equally interested with them in being satyrs, they lost no
time in trying to entertain him with their adventures.

The pursuit of woman! In Germany this is not very difficult, as she
is not visibly unhappy to consider herself the legitimate prey of
the lordly sex. This idea runs naturally and powerfully throughout
the Teuton scheme. It is not merely that the female is considered to
have a price, but the price must be low, if not a cypher. To German
women the triumphant male is a splendid creature. His acts are
noble. To be hungry, thirsty, sensual are proper, and therefore
candid, attributes in man. In order to subdue the earth, the race
must be prolific, and to be prolific, desires must not be limited or
weakened by pale Puritanisms. That men are normally uncleansed
sewers from which the face need not be averted, was a conception
Kirtley's senses had fallen somewhat foul of in the Bucher home. To
what point this aspect was carried logically outside Villa Elsa, he
was to realize in skirting the openly sensual sides.

The two Germans told of the various girls who had lived with them
when in college. For the frank amatory life of the Teuton student
begins early. Von Tielitz and Messer also boasted of their
present-day mistresses who were so often changed for reasons of
economy. The hilarious game, as Gard learned, was to obtain favors
in exchange for nothing as far as possible. Trickery, lies, abuse,
kicks, were employed to this purpose. Female chastity? A fable for
the impotent. Consequently all was fair.

Sisters of their respected fellows were inferentially appraised and
colloquially "hefted" as articles of social commerce ready to be
knocked off matrimonially to the best bidder under the material
rules of the German _Mitgift_ system. Through the garish films of
innuendo and braggadocio that day Kirtley was led to behold images
of these daughters as if they were languishing to become mates and
beating their breasts in their longing to become mothers. He had by
no means now forgotten Friedrich's equivocal remarks about Elsa.

Before Gard was to leave Deutschland he had to conclude that the
German puts himself in the attitude of thinking of his women as
sluttish and accordingly acting in that scale toward them. There
is no great gilding to these fancies. Girls are small inspiration
to him compared with what the _petites dames_ are to the amorous
Frenchman. Idealization of love in its ultimate fulfillment, the
poetizing of the ardent flesh crying out for its craving mate,
are characteristically ignored by the Teuton who seeks the baser
gratifications without illuminations of loveliness or hesitations
of delicate refinement.

Kirtley thought he knew young men, yet this revolting capacity in
them in Germany was proven to him to be not unnormal by its openness
and by the dearth of any loud voices in rebuke. The German is
conspicuously full of animal spirits. He affects the mighty in
physique. Exudations and emanations are frank and prominent
functions.

Under the Kaiser the Berlin dame who rented rooms to the foreign
student, offering them "with" or "without," meaning sometimes her
own daughter in the bargain, considered herself respectable enough.
More than this she acted in line with what appeared to be the
purpose of acquiring a sympathetic control of the morals as well as
the minds of the alien sojourner, the one being accompanied by a
pandering to his lower nature with the doors of vice flagrantly ajar
while the other armed his mentality with a Teutonized equipment and
outlook. To sap the will, to galvanize the mind as from a German
electric battery, palsied resistance to aggressive Germania. It was
of a piece with that propaganda which the world was not to wake up
to until almost too late.

These downright animal phases pointed the way logically, in Gard's
mind, to that obscenity which is interwoven in the German
civilization. He had first come across such evidence in leading
comic journals. The drawings and jests that did not leave much to
be filled out, adorned many a German page with an Adamic candor. It
divorced him from _Simplicissimus_ and _Ulk_, not that he was
squeamish or a Miss Priscilla, but he saw no fun in that sort of
thing.

He talked of it later with Anderson. Though there were pleasant
delusions in Anderson's mind about Germany before he arrived, it was
not his fault if few seemed to be left after his seven years. He
bluntly defined the limited German wit and humor as
characteristically born of the latrine.

Gard's two young friends did not refrain from talk in the key of
indecency. Their complacent revelation of the extent to which the
pornographic enters into the German scene, suggested an unclosed
Priapean volume whose companion in America is as a sealed book.
Kirtley heard that stores filled with obscene objects publicly for
sale were to be found on frequented thoroughfares in German cities.

He saw that Frau Bucher's insistence on a chaperone, which he had
regarded a silly, outworn conventionality, appeared most wise.
Germany was a poor place for an unguarded German girl.

This ran through his mind:

"Great Guns! What a country for me to study for the ministry, study
morality, best fit myself for life, as advised by Rebner and, it
seems--everybody!"



CHAPTER XVIII

THE NAKED CULT


The German, in all this physical aspect, is not a little like an
unabashed ape. Accordingly the foreigner in Deutschland is impressed
by the popular worship of the wide-hipped female. The Teuton can
leave little to be inferred but that he is more interested in the
magnet of her developed hips than in the magic of her brain.

American women, with their slender waists and chaste frigidness born
of Plymouth Rock, with their rulership in the home, their influence
permeating conspicuously in matters of public interest out of the
home, their entire freedom to be courted and married or let alone in
unbounded respect--how long would these conditions have been
permitted by the Gothic Kaiser if heedless America had fallen into
his gradually tightening grip? Doubtless to his view Yankee women
were treated too much like dolls. They are not breeders of
soldiers, makers of kingdoms. They do not rear children for the
State. What have they desirably in common with the disciplined
Hausfrau who becomes the mother of the ruling future generations?
_She_ is properly the chattel of the Government.

And so it is not enough, as Gard recognized, for Frau or Fräulein to
be massive of line and fond of being upholstered in dense colors in
order to satisfy the general grossness of her male. It is not enough
that she should be armed with strong hands, planted on large feet,
and decorated in the German's favorite rococo manner of abounding
breasts, to gratify his cyclopean aspirations.

"Big hips mean big women and big women mean big empires." The sex
fecund, ardent for mating and offspring, is the type. And thus
fatness, which obviously and indisputably fills out the picture, is
a popular German female attribute. Von Tielitz and Messer made it
plain that obesity and width of girth characterized the transient
objects of their amours. And their allusions gave every evidence
that the famous Naked Cult, to the fascinations of which Fräulein
Wasserhaus, with her bared and redundant bosom, was yielding, had
been claiming the German youth for its own.

Germany was recovering from this rage for nudity which had assumed
some proportions. Starting from the only artistic section of the
Empire, namely Bavaria, this cult had knocked even against the
gloomy portals of the Pommeranian churches in the north. The Teuton
had suddenly discovered that it was right and proper in his godship,
as it was in the realm of the Greek deities, to go about naked. It
was natural, healthful, and both beautiful and moral.

German men and women, in their divinity, should bathe, drink beer,
dance together nude. What else did Grecian sculpture teach to these
the modern Greeks--the true legatees of all that was Hellenic? What
else did painting inculcate but the beauty of undraped couples
wandering through landscapes? What more majestic spectacle than that
of the Teuton father, mother and children going out for an afternoon
promenade, clothed only in the ingenuous consciousness of their
human greatness?

In a race of beings so little modeled after the accepted lines of
pulchritude, all this was laughable. But to the German, condemned
to a vise-like seriousness and to childlikeness, it became
significant and weighty. It was such a grateful revelation not to
have to dream of his loved ones through the unsatisfactory medium of
German clothing.

With his customary excess of logic he plunged headlong into these
ardent waves of the realm of Venus rising unimpeachably from the sea
in her immortal bareness. He began to systematize this
demonstration. Some of the political parties seemed to be in line to
favor this revealment of another radical tenet. German philosophers
made ready to seize upon it with huge mental biceps and labor to
incorporate it beneficently into the Teuton pansophy. Even doctors
of theology were said to view the novel dispensation through the
blue spectacles of their didacticism, and to hesitate and stumble
over the question of greeting these glad visions of a glad
apocalypse. What was truer Protestantism than that there is the
natural body as well as the spiritual body, and that it would be
virtuous to behold outwardly the former as it was virtuous to
recognize inwardly the latter?

The campaign became almost lively. Of course the young Germans,
whose fathers and mothers in their youth had raved over Wagner and
thus shocked their elders, raved over a departure that linked such
possibilities of frankness and loveliness so delectably together.
The Von Tielitzes and Messers were in the seventh heaven.

But Germany, being a northern country ruled severely in the main by
old men, was bound to feel in the end more comfortable in clothes.
Climate governs male and female alike and shapes their habits to its
own tyrannical mandates. The Teutons were doomed to suggest flannel.
So a vast moral revulsion in the form of the much German clothedness
finally rose up and overwhelmed the religion of Nudity--the _Nackt
Kultur_. Although the Teuton male likes to contemplate himself and
be contemplated as candid Mother Nature made him, he could not adapt
himself to the idea of his fleshy women appearing naked before a
critical and commenting world. Momus had at last arrived in ancient
Deutschland and was feared.

While the movement, which was presuming to cover Germany with
sculptures of its heroes in complete undress, honored itself by
such fitting testimonials to their lordliness, Fritz curiously
shrank before public statues depicting his fat housewife in like
absence of attire. This was illogical besides being unsatisfactory
to those who had insisted on worshipping the German female form _al
fresco_. The vital point being thus dodged, there was left nothing
interesting in the way of legs for the Naked Cult to stand on, and
it dropped out of sight as suddenly as it had risen to view.
Prejudice is Plebeian and blind and to the blind and Plebeian high
art of course goes with low morals. The Plebs are always in the
crushing majority. So the odd German mind jumped to the other
extreme and for a few months got ashamed of little daughters going
barefoot or playing with naked animal toys.

       *       *       *       *       *

Gard had been able to warm up small sympathy for the modern military
authors and iron and blood philosophers whom he found in vogue in
Germany. On the other hand, cold water had unexpectedly been thrown
on the retreating Goethes and Schillers whom he had come to venerate
with grammar and lexicon. As the Germans were proving to be wide of
what his anticipations had set as a mark, he had begun a serious
course of reading not only about the modern race but about its
origins, curious to know of the early developments of this strange
people who belonged to civilization yet was so considerably and
constitutionally outside the realm of its Christian development.

In this study he became attracted to Charlemagne and that epoch. Of
them he had learned little at college. Of course the Germans had
"bagged" Charlemagne, as an Englishman would express it, in addition
to their other seizures right and left in the face of an indulgent,
even supine, world. But Gard discovered that while they had kept the
puissant Carolingian snatched to their breasts, the chivalrous side
of the great medieval evolution which ended in fostering the
romantic ideal of womanhood in its chastity, daintiness and colorful
spell, had never reached much east of his capital--Aix-la-Chapelle.
His heroic size, his practical religious pretensions and
assumptions, his campaigns to seize control of foreign lands--all
such Carolingian features and manifestations were imitated and
adopted as German _motifs_, but the corresponding gallant exaltation
of the gentler sex was not included. The polished courts of
self-denying love, the Troubadours, the salons, the refining
influences that gradually raised woman to her modern sovereignty of
a graceful liberty and charm, never characterized Deutschland.

Besides, women becoming idols through his own sexual restraint
compelled a self-sacrificing procedure that did not appeal to Fritz.
To him those many feminizing influences had naught to do with
strength in battle or in toil. They were dangerous, softening, and
coddled the elements of defeat. He wanted work and fighting and
children, always children, but with the lustful appetites of the
undisputed male.

His Berthas and Gretchens, who had been exceptional figures in the
warring camps of the ancient Teutons, were therefore only
transferred into a similar yet menial relation in the housed home.
And there they have typically remained--in its cook room and
nursery. The fact that the Buchers, though coming, as they boasted,
from one original, unmixed, stationary stock there in that middle
spot of old Europe, had displayed themselves as social and political
parvenus, led to Kirtley's reflecting:

"The German thinks of a wife as in the kitchen, while a wife appears
to the Frenchman as in the salon, to the Briton, as in an English
garden."

So this gradual elevating of the sex toward an ethereal height in
all respects, toward pure associations which, through the epochs of
chaste saints, chivalry, gallantry, social freedom, were to uplift
men by the graces of lofty feminine enchantment, took place westward
of the Rhine. And Germany, if the sporadic Heine is excepted, had no
Shelleys, no Chopins, and scarcely any of that rare, delightful
perfume of human existence which western and southern mankind quite
typically adores as the ultimate extract of beauty because it is
associated with the spiritual elegance of womanhood....

       *       *       *       *       *

On Kirtley's leaving that day, Von Tielitz and Messer showed
themselves generously ready to share their amorous acquaintanceship.
They insisted on his going with them sometime to the smallest,
quaintest inn in Dresden where they were at present cultivating
friendly relations with "Fritzi." In short petticoats she served the
best hot sausages in Saxony. To an American student of life and
language in Germany she was pictured as absolutely necessary. For,
although originally from the Thuringian forest, she spoke the Saxon
dialect "shockingly well."

Kirtley laughed it off as a part of the ribald fun.

The young Germans wound up their list of salutations with Der Tag!

"What do you mean by Der Tag?" he inquired. The others grinned
significantly.

"Wait and see. It will be something _kolossal_." And they called out
after him:

"Don't forget about Fritzi!"

That night Gard, laden with heavy feelings, tumbled into his German
bed piled with its equatorial bolsters. Could Elsa marry a man like
Friedrich? Ought she to be permitted to? Could she really love him?
Wouldn't she be horrified if she knew fully about him? Or would she,
like German women in general, seem to care little about the morals
of her future mate? Likely, as Gard fancied, it was this knowledge
of him that sent her now and then in evident unhappiness to her
room.

She was a pure and very worth-while girl. He could not ignore that
her healthful, productive example was a stimulus to him. It would be
a sturdy prop in his long sensitive, susceptible physical
recovery--and afterward. Was it really not a kind of _duty_ to try
to save her from sharing the fate of Von Tielitz, and win her if he
could?



CHAPTER XIX

JIM DEMING OF ERIE, PAY.


The Americanization of the Bucher home Kirtley naturally thought
beyond all attempts. Its detestation of the low-born Yankee, with
only his sorry millions, seemed too deeply planted there, especially
in the brain and bosom of the Frau. Could Villa Elsa have been
transferred to the United States, such a viewpoint might perhaps
have been altered after a time. But this representative boorish
German family, stuck here on the rainy banks of the mid-continent
Elbe and so rooted and clamorous in the presumption that they and
their kind were eclipsing the earth--how impossible of any
conversion?

Gard had at first the idea of getting together some American
statistics and showing the Buchers a few facts. Then he saw this was
hopeless. They accepted nothing that did not come through their own
official channels. And why should he waste time on these obscure
people? Why should he undertake to upset their racial happiness?
Nobody, least of all he, could change their attitude about the
upstart Yankee and his upstart dollars. The Buchers held themselves
too far above mere money and its filth.

But the miracle was, nevertheless, to be accomplished, at least for
awhile, in a manner as simple as it was unlooked for. And this was
what happened.

One day, soon after Gard's disillusioning call on Von Tielitz, he
was grubbing in his attic among the ninth century roots of the
future super-luxuriant Teuton forest, when he heard Tekla's
woodchopper feet pounding their way upstairs. A card was thrust in.
James Alexander Deming, Erie, Pa. Well, of all the world! The next
moment he was there in the room, talkative, airy, sunny, dressed
with the obvious American consciousness of having just left the
hands of his fashionable tailor and haberdasher. Every section of
his black hair and tiny black mustache was plastered down as always
in correct position.

Making himself right at home with his newly acquired
cosmopolitanism, Jim explained how he was already settled in
Dresden for the winter.

"You knew that the more I saw of this old Germany, the more I liked
it. My governor wrote me I could stay if I would try to learn
something and I thought of you. I said to myself, 'Kirtley is a
serious sort of chap. If I light down near him, it will be easier to
learn this confounded language they have got over here, and I will
be able to shine with it in Erie, Pay, and do the old folks proud.'

"So I've got a teacher and a grammar and also a dictionary so big I
can't find anything in it--all ready to loop the loop. But first, of
course, I must run out and see you and see how you are getting on,
swimming in beer. Nothing is too good for us Americans, you know, so
my room in the hotel is right by the royal palace where I can see
the Crown Prince with his sword fall off his horse every morning at
ten. Gad, won't it be something to talk about when I get back to
good old Pennsylwanee?"

Deming's "old man" was possessed of wealth derived from oil wells.
But although Jim's pockets had always been stuffed with money, he
had never been able to get through high school or enter college.
Hang it all, he didn't take to books like Kirtley and all such
intellectual boys. It was the fault of his dad and mam. They had
petted and spoiled him--an only child. It was too bad, but shucks,
he wasn't going to let it interfere with his happiness. So it was
money here and money there, and a host of friends who, like Gard,
could not help being fond of him.

Jim had seen the Kaiser and quaffed out of the largest hogshead on
the Rhine. He had been at a duel at Heidelberg where the chap with a
cut through his cheek asked for a mug of beer and blew the beer out
through the gash. He had swum in Lake Starnberg where Ludwig II had
drowned himself; had seen the café in Munich where the celebrated
Naked Culture was said to have originated; had bribed his way into
the villa at Mayerling where Rudolph of Austria and Marie had ended
that mysterious night of fatality. In short, he had done Germany
pretty thoroughly.

When, by his insistent questionings, he learned about the
comfortable and illuminating German home where Kirtley had installed
himself, and that there was a fine, serious young lady in it with a
harvest of straw-colored hair, he soon confessed, after all, to his
disappointments.

"Kirtley, you are always a lucky dog. Here you are with nice Dutch
people, in the social swim, absorbing German to beat the band. All I
see is chambermaids who shout at me some kind of devilish dialect
that a fellow can't understand. And my chambermaid and I are just at
present at outs. I told her this morning she was the tallest woman I
ever saw. A little of her went such a long ways. As she don't know
any English words, that is the only thing we have agreed about. She
said, Ja wohl! This going to balls and cafés as I'm doing is all
right for local color and all that, but it would tickle dad a lot if
I knew a quiet, decent, respectable German family. And I want to
know a nice, sober German girl who has got yellow, chorus-girl hair
and will steady a fellow down. The proper study of young man is
young woman. I haven't been able to meet any young ladies in this
country. Sometimes I think they have only wenches. And I want some
of the classic Gayty and Schiller stuff too that you can get here in
Loschwitz."

This urgent idea did not appear auspicious to Gard. If Deming got
the run of Villa Elsa, he would unsettle things, interfere with his
own work. Jim was a good boy but he played hob with study. And he
was just the kind of flashy, ignorant Yankee who would prove to
Villa Elsa what it claimed about the race. He would disgust the
Buchers with his showy superficiality and dolessness. Mere money,
everlasting money. More than all he would complicate the situation
with Fräulein. He might upset her somehow, and at least discover his
own secret feelings toward her--feelings that had become more
distraught after the Von Tielitz revelation. In a word, everything
would be helter-skelter.

After Jim had called twice, bent upon becoming intimate with the
Buchers, Gard, as he thought, conceived a clever maneuver. He took
Deming over to call on Fräulein Wasserhaus. Here was an earnest
young woman, lolling on the gate with plenty of time on her hands,
dying for a man. She could teach Deming everything he wanted to
know. She was not antagonistic to Americans as were the Buchers. On
the contrary she was aching to clasp some one of them in her pudgy
arms.

But this stratagem proved a flat failure. When they came away from
her abode, Jim took on a worried look and lit a cigarette.

"Say, see here, old chap. Are you trying to make fun of me? Is this
a joke? I don't want a walrus, thirty years old, with ragbag clothes
that fit her a foot off. She has a gait like an ice wagon. Why, she
couldn't get a job as window-washer in the street car shops of Erie,
Pay."



CHAPTER XX

AN AMERICAN VICTORY


Deming's campaign against the terrible German language was unable to
advance perceptibly beyond the stage of preparations. These were
somewhat elaborate, especially from the standpoint of expense. He
had a multiplicity of instructors and grammars. If they had been
placed side by side they might have reached from the Green Vault to
the Zwinger.

He blamed these agencies of instruction. His "professors" he
generally picked up at the Stadt Gotha where he played billiards.
While these parties were fair with the ivories, they could not seem
to knock any caroms of German around the cushions of Jim's brain.

His daily routine was like this: At ten, his lesson in Dutch.
Teacher would come. Great show of hospitality. There must be
something to drink. The preceptor must try one of the fancy pipes,
of which Deming had collected a large array in Germany. He would be
feeling knocked in this morning, having been up late consuming
numerous bocks in amicable emulation of the local prowess. He had
not got around to his lesson and had concluded he did not think much
of his present grammar. Herr Preceptor would suggest procuring
another which would strew roses no doubt along the thorny path.
Capital idea. Of course they must then wait for the new grammar.

Adjournment at eleven to the café for billiards. Deming was a good
wielder of the cue. He said the Germans were too be-spectacled and
blear-eyed to play well and by three o'clock he had usually won
quite a number of marks. This was making "easy money." It went
toward paying for his evening's entertainment and was good economy.
His pleasure account would not look so large to his governor. At
three, to his hotel for afternoon dress. Evenings it was some other
form of diversion. Home at all hours.

This was his day of study, of which his hopeful parents learned the
promising side. Someone advised him that if he did not try so hard
to master German, it would come easier. But he experimented with
this plan for a week and told Gard:

"When you don't bone over the blamed language, it's surprising how
much you don't know about it. It still takes me an hour and a half
to hold a five minutes' conversation."

In two months he was thumbing page ten of the grammar, but he had
seized upon a good many slang phrases, supercharged ejaculations.
Though the undercurrent of his discouragement about his progress was
considerable, it interfered little with his acquainting him
proficiently with the restaurant world of Dresden. He saw and heard
what was going on in those quarters, and through him Kirtley learned
of that phase of German character and habits.

In view of everything, there had finally been no decent, reasonable
way for Gard but to let Deming, professedly zealous of knowing
German and seeing Teuton home life, into the Bucher circle. Aware
that Jim was quite innocent enough morally, Gard avoided introducing
him to Von Tielitz and Messer whose depravities might prove
harmful. But Deming at last met the former at Loschwitz and the two
became friends just before Friedrich left in quest of another
Kapellmeistership. The friction or explosion Gard rather expected
between them over Fräulein did not occur. While he had dreaded such
a happening for Jim's sake, it might have cleared the atmosphere
pleasantly for his own. But Friedrich was delighted that Herr Deming
showed his old neighbors, the Buchers, such munificent courtesies,
and Jim thought Von Tielitz the most brilliant chap he had ever
known.

Kirtley waited with fear, with trembling and also with some hopeful
interest, for the fireworks resulting from Deming's induction to
Villa Elsa. And they promptly began to soar, for Jim had, in his
way, all the American speed, and proceeded to overwhelm the
household with his attentions. It was a case of swift enthusiasm
about the whole family. Unlike Kirtley he did not care how many of
the members accompanied the Fräulein and him. All were welcome.
Though he openly displayed his fascination about the Fräulein, it
had none of that tender sentiment which Gard was dissembling before
his friend. Nevertheless it appeared to be a violent case of love at
first sight, and before the first sight.

Kirtley dropped out of the running. He excused himself by the
necessity of burying himself deeper in his books on Teuton origins
and traits. In a brief week the Buchers had forgotten him. All was
Herr Deming--the wonderful Herr Deming--the fortunate youth who was
bringing the witchery of good luck into the drab home. It was Herr
Deming morning, noon and night.

There were theater parties, suppers on Brühl Terrace, plans for the
next dance. Jim spread it on thick, and the dutiful, docile Elsa was
swept along with the rest, although with a reserve in evocation as
became the modesty of a maiden who was manifestly the pivotal center
of all this vertiginous attraction and activity. The Buchers
suddenly evinced a great and favorable curiosity about America.
Their attitude toward it was revolutionized. They plied Gard with
questions. What was living like there? It must be most desirable.
Gard came across convenient hand books of knowledge, inconvenient
encyclopedias and atlases, lying here and there in the house, with
pages opened freely at the United States. Frau Bucher became
vociferous in praise of the advantages of the Yankee fashion of
courtship over the slow, economical, dull, German process of
match-making.

The household was overturned. Its affairs got dreadfully behind.
Mother was mightily absorbed in getting out and fixing up imposing
old dresses, laces, wraps, that were heirlooms or dated from her
bridal days of a quarter of a century before. Elsa's lessons in
etching and her methodical hours for perfecting her manifold
talents, became badly confused.

The great thing was driving at the fashionable hour in the Grosse
Garten. This was what the Buchers had never dreamed of. In the
winter only the royal and very aristocratic families drove there.
The common people, who might extravagantly expend a few marks to
indulge in this pastime of nobility in summer, were frozen out of it
in winter. Hot drinks in beer halls were then more to their taste.

But many an afternoon at four Deming, with his two ladies
overdressed for the occasion in the dowdy German manner, occupying
a handsome, heated limousine decorated with a conspicuous mirror and
with Parma violets gently disengaging a delicate perfume, fell in
right behind the king's household if possible, and toured the park
in stately measure, being numbered, no doubt, by the open-mouthed
beholder on the sidewalk, among the social elect in Saxony.

Elsa was as good as engaged, as good as married. In her mother's
eyes, bloodshot with all this glory of excitement, her daughter was
already dwelling in a palace in that amazing city of Erie, in that
splendid commonwealth of Pennsylvania, of whose double fame she had
never before heard. For, of course, Deming sang constantly of the
wonders of his native haunts, where wealth flowed out of the ground
and the trolley system was the best in the world.

Thus the Americanization of Villa Elsa was accomplished in the
twinkling of an eye. No more did Gard hear of the Yankee pigs. No
more did he hear of the disgusting Yankee billions. Germany and
America in union would form the blessed state which would command
the globe, and the two excelling peoples, by intermarrying, would
produce a race too far ahead and above Frau Bucher's hoarse
vocabulary to admit of much more than her Ach Himmels and Ach
Gotts.



CHAPTER XXI

A PEOPLE PECULIAR OR PAGAN?


Concurrent with all these lively happenings Kirtley had cultivated
the acquaintance of Miles Anderson. The two became very friendly.
Gard had been so rudely treated by the great German professor in the
lecture room that he was quite willing to conclude he could learn
from the journalist far more of what he was interested in than from
a Teuton university pulpit.

Anderson, like himself, had entered Germany ignorant of the nation
and its folk, and fully disposed to find almost everything worthy
the highest praise. The elder's vivid convictions, his caustic
reflections, were honestly born of what he had seen and heard in
different parts of the land, not of what the Germans said of
themselves in books, as was the customary rule. By virtue of his
calling he had superior opportunities for observation. He was
therefore not a negligible imparter of information.

Gard usually found him in a high-ceilinged, majestic chamber in a
typical Dresden _pension_, frequented, however, by only three or
four boarders. It was a little like a home for Anderson, even if
gloomily august in the German style. Dark woodwork, severely waxed
floors on which Gard often slipped violently, huge doors, huge
chairs and tables--everything large to suit the national taste for
big Teuton gods and supermen. Long, thick stuffs concealed the
passageways and windows and contributed to the absence of cheering
light--that sign and symbol of the Gothic environment and
disposition.

The first question the old man usually plumped was:

"How's your German going?"

"Slowly. Pegging along. I suppose it's because I don't get up much
of a liking for it. There's something about it that goes against my
grain."

And then Anderson would be off for that particular session. On one
early occasion he had said, jestingly:

"I guess you will have to fall back upon the natural method."

"What's that?" had come back the innocent interrogatory.

"Take a sweetheart. She will teach you more useful German in a month
than you can learn from the pedagogues in a year. Right here in the
best parts of Dresden are streets where these ladies can be rented
with their rooms per week or per month cheap, with all the German
you want thrown in. Are we to assume it is by this system that the
German universities are able to turn out what the world believes are
the best students?"

"I never heard anything about that back home," confessed Kirtley,
always letting the bars down to encourage a monologue.

"Of course not. That would be to interfere with our American
readiness to admit German transcendence."

"But how do you harmonize the frank state of morals here with the
fact that the Germans are the great religious authorities? How have
they established such a reputation abroad for the morality that is
assumed to go with Protestantism?"

"That is simple enough. First, by claiming that the French are
degenerate. Second, by retaining religion with its morals as an
adjunct of an unmoral and authoritative militarism. Religion is to
them a topic for expert investigation and study just as is
militarism or any natural product--oil, coal, the chemical elements,
anything. The Teuton specialist goes at it as at any objective
science. His analytical and synthetic processes simply explore in
his own subterranean caverns apropos of theology. He has taken over
the Bible as the Kaiser has taken over Jerusalem. Wilhelm is
becoming the Cerberus of Christianity--sole and surly guardian of
its meanings and influence.

"But you never see any men in these German churches, do you? They
don't go to church. Nor the women very much. You see old women and
children at worship. This is because the German has always typically
worshipped Gott on the battlefield or in the military camps--out in
the open. The German God is an out-of-doors God and is distinctively
associated with the thought of war. God within walls, within a
church, is a deity of good will on earth. He is a deity of peace.
Naturally this does not appeal to the Goth. He don't pay much
lively attention to God unless there's a war on hand or in immediate
prospect. Then he begins to shout and 'holler' at Him to attract His
attention, because He is so far off from Germany."

Gard laughed. Then, after a moment, he asked, almost shyly,

"If German morals and religion have little necessary
relation--little actual relation--how about love?"

"The German would never have known of love if he had not heard it
talked of," replied Anderson with responsive geniality, pleased with
Kirtley's amused face. "Generally an excess of a moral religion
destroys love, just as the absence of it in the past has been apt to
go with an indecent and widespread sensuality. So we have, what is
called, the beastliness in the Teuton. For he has to go, as you
know, to an extreme in things--logical extreme. This is why he is
only partly human, from our standpoint. The human is so constructed
that he can't stand excess in any direction very long and remain
human. Everything has to be diluted, alloyed, temporized for him or
it is not bearable--it will not work successfully.

"We see this in medicine--conspicuously. Medicines pure from the
hands of Mother Nature are too strong, too rank in their purity, to
be properly effective. They have to be weakened, reduced, compounded
with inferior elements, to be of service. So with Truth. People are
always begging for Truth, seeking the ultimate Truth, as if that
would bring the perfect state of happiness. This is childlike
ignorance. Truth in its pure, perfect condition would simply kill
them--like unadulterated drugs. They could not stand its blinding
light. They could not stand the shock. Like the rest--to change the
metaphor--it has to be made up so largely of shoddy to wear well or
wear at all.

"Love, the same way. When the world talks of love so much, it means
only friendliness--you like me and I like you--you do something kind
for me and I will do something kind for you. Love in its alloyed
form of friendship is its efficacious shape for universal use. Pure
love, which poor humanity is always reaching out its hands for,
simply--as George Sand said--simply tears people to pieces without
doing them any good. The result is tragedy, despair, wrecked lives,
death before one's time. We see that everywhere depicted in
fiction, in the drama, at the opera.

"So the German has kept love in a practical state--for him--by
associating it so prominently with his procreative capacities. It is
a case of Mars and Venus producing fighting men."

"If the German is not governed by love as an ideal," put in Gard,
"how is it then that he is so sentimental? People always assure us
that Fritz must be really at bottom as affectionate, tender,
emotional, as anyone because he is so sentimental."

"Yes, that's the old conundrum that the enthusiasts over everything
German confuse one with. The German's fondness--gobbling-down
fondness--for food does not prove that he is a gourmet. The Teuton
sentimentality is like mush. It's principally for children. As Fritz
keeps a good deal of his childishness about him as he grows up, he
keeps this taste for mush. It takes the place of _sentiment_ which
is of the proper mental pabulum for enlightened adults. You can't
write poetry about mush. So the Germans have little poetry worth
talking about. Where their emotional side ought to be, they are
slightly developed beyond the youthful stage of sentiment_alism_.
Their abortive conception of love, their treatment of their women
and children--other things--all account for this naturally enough.
One is rather forced, in spite of himself, to take the Germans at
either of two extremes in order to understand them
candidly--mushiness or iron."



CHAPTER XXII

MAKING FOR WAR


Anderson did not care for the Buchers and only came two or three
times to Villa Elsa. So Gard did the calling. The elder would
invariably bring out from his table drawer his "bachelor's bride" in
the form of a box of clear Havanas, and the "lecture" would begin
again before, what he said, was the most select audience in
Deutschland.

"Have you heard anything from your spy?" he queried one day.

"No. You don't seriously mean that Rudolph--you assume it's
Rudolph--is watching me?" returned Kirtley, a little disturbed over
the recurrence to this subject. "What am I guilty of? I'm as
innocent as an unborn lamb."

"Certainly you are. But, my dear boy, what's innocence in Germany?
The Secret Police can make an alien like you a lot of trouble about
nothing. You wouldn't believe how systematic they are, and serious
as stuffed owls. Take my advice and don't do things at too loose
ends as we are apt to over home. But if you do get into trouble,
come to me and I will tell you what to say.

"Sometimes they even have one spy spying on another in the home. Of
course the spy system, like the army and navy, belongs to the
Kaiser. All the people have to do is to furnish the men and the
money. It's as Heine said, the royal palaces and so forth are owned
by the princes, but the debts owing for them are assumed by the
public. The Hohenzollerns have the property, the Germans have the
obligations.

"You see, the spy system tends to prevent the Teuton from talking
politics. But he can theorize concerning the State. The State is an
active philosophic concept that holds off the people from discussing
and gossiping about Wilhelm. It does not exist apart from the ruling
family and apart from the bureaucracy which is the ruling family in
action. It takes on their character. The State is a mirage which the
citizen is made to gawk at in the air, thinking he sees something
besides the frowning German sky. It surrounds the Emperor with the
divine halo, removes him up above the rumbling clouds where the
distant views lend enchantment."

There hung about Anderson's talk to-day, as so frequently, a certain
sententious and acidulous manner that, to Gard, evidenced twinges of
rheumatism.

The dialogue fell once more on war. After the demonstration in Villa
Elsa against America, Anderson was gratified by this proof of his
contentions. While Kirtley admitted the force in the argument that
this excited and confident condition of feeling among the common
German people pointed toward hostilities, he could not really
believe that such a horror would break forth upon Europe. There was
the Hague Convention--

"Pooh!" exclaimed Anderson. "What does the Hague Convention signify
in face of the growing armaments? What have you ever seen in
Prussian history to show that Prussia would stop for any agreement
when she was sure of winning?"

"You expect war soon," said Gard. "Why soon? Granted the Germans
want war to carry out their world plans, why should it come before
another generation, for instance?"

"Because the Kaiser is getting along in years. Time does not wait
even for him. Alexander, Cæsar, Napoleon were young in comparison.
So he is talking a lot about God now and that means war. He wants to
enjoy ruling Europe awhile before he dies. He does not get on with
the Crown Prince and is not greatly interested in leaving all such
glory for him to sport about in. Soon Wilhelm the Deuce will be too
old to take part in a military campaign. He has not many years to
live at his age. He is not a well man. The longer he puts it off,
the shorter will be the triumph he craves."

The talk shifted angles and Anderson was saying after awhile:

"When you have the German statesmen, generals, magnates, press,
professors, theologians, everybody, insisting on the incomparable
virtues of the Germans and never on their failings--on their rights
and privileges and never on their duties to humanity--do you wonder
that the plain people, like your Buchers, think it devolves upon
them to turn foreign lands into waste by the sword in order to
convert them into German countries? It is hard to find in any German
publication a frank and commending acknowledgment that a foreigner
has really completed anything to his credit. If such evidence is too
strong in any case and forces an admission, the foreign inventor or
discoverer is rather made to appear presumptuous in acting before
some German got around to it. The Teutons never think, talk and
write in terms of humanity--only in terms of Germanity. Do you not
begin to see that the Teutons are, in intent, as murderously
fanatical about their greatness as the mad Mullah and his followers
were about their bigotry? The Germans have been educated to these
views since childhood....

"You tell me that Charlemagne took on Christian religion as a prop
to, an ally of, his military power--an aid to the extension of his
rule. Well, then, the Teutons have turned what they call their
Christianity into a warlike worship of themselves. Their preachers
must stand in with the Kaiser. He is to them God on earth. It is the
old story of the throne upheld by the official church."

"But how about all Catholic Germany?" parried Gard. "About one-third
is Catholic."

"True, true. Yet from what I've seen, the German Catholics will be
found fighting for the Protestants when war comes, just as the
Socialists will be found fighting for the Emperor. This is because
the feeling for race and nation is far stronger than for creed or
doctrine. If the Kaiser succeeds in getting control of Europe, he
will take to himself the spiritual and religious headship of the
world and the Pope will become essentially his vassal, for the Pope
will be impotent as against the victorious sword. Hasn't Wilhelm
already assumed to be the head of Mohammedanism?

"And look at it. South Germany, which is Catholic, and Saxony here,
are cramped up in the interior. Their manufacturing interests are
increasing by leaps and bounds. Isn't it natural they should want a
direct outlet to the Atlantic and Mediterranean? Wouldn't these
Saxons be proud to have a piece of real ocean shore to use as their
own?

"Another thing. As the Germans are brutal among themselves, I
predict that, stirred up as they are, they will be brutal like Huns
in this war. You see how they deal with their own women. Imagine
what they will do to foreign women. How do you yourself think your
young military Bucher would act toward Americans if he landed on our
coast with a gun? The German will be like a Hun just as he was in
the treacherous days of Ariovistus and Arminius--the Teutoberger
forest and all that over again. He will red-handedly rebuff
civilizing influences just as he did in those days."

"How do you define Hun?" asked Gard. "The Germans are not Huns by
race."

"No. I said _like_ Huns. I mean by Huns a people who insist on their
tribal sovereign right of conquest by means of ruthless murder and
senseless destruction--wiping out foreign races and property."

One evening the conversation drifted to this theme:

"Is Luther--Protestantism--one of the reasons why Protestant America
is so favorably inclined to Germany?" suggested Kirtley.

"Americans would be surprised to find there is no such thing as
Lutheranism here. A bumptious military cult has usurped its place.
There are no Lutherans in Deutschland--only Evangelicals and
Dissidents. And of course Catholics. If you ask an ordinary Teuton
what Protestantism is, he will scarcely know what you mean
precisely. American Protestantism and German Protestantism are
radically unlike. The one is peaceful and trustful, the other is
warlike and knavish.

"And it seems to me so plain that, besides our religionists, our
American education is playing in with the Kaiser's plans. It tends
to weaken faith in our government. It makes unpatriotic citizens.
Our colleges turn out young men who feel no political duties. We
teach them to look for benefits without responsibilities. How
different with the German universities! Our school histories, too,
nurse active hatred of England, and everywhere with us the main
opinion about the French is fostered that they are immoral and
therefore to be despised. All this works in with the advancement of
German popularity and interests, while at the same time our young
men, like you, are sent here to study. Only the best in Germany is
diligently kept before our people. The worst is never known as you
and I are learning to know it over here."

"So you think," said Gard companionably, "that the Kaiser will set
his fiery ball rolling this spring."

"I put the date at March first." The old man's hands trembled as he
relighted his cigar stub. His voice almost broke.

"I know they think I'm getting in my dotage--brain a little
cracked--and all that. I'm a poor chap possessed of a foolish and
wicked delusion. Mean well, but head rickety. Sometimes I really
think I must be crazy, with all the world against me about the
German danger. They call me Jeremiah and Mother Goose rolled into
one. But, by God, Kirtley, as my soul's immortal, I tell you I'm
right--I'm _right_! The _deluge_ is just ahead!--and nothing being
done to prevent it." He shouted the words till Gard almost shook.

Every time he left Anderson, he would settle back into the lulling
arms of false security, but always a little less assured. How could
the old newspaper man be correct and the rest of mankind be in
error? He used the stock arguments with himself. Granted that the
obese Germans about him on the tram trundling along toward Loschwitz
were talking war and preparing for war. They had been doing so for
forty-three years and no conflict had come. Immense populations of
peace and unpreparedness were growing up who would discourage a
world war--would not permit it. There were increasing millions of
people who had never seen a soldier, never seen a battleship. Would
they want to pay the cost in blood and billions of treasure? It was
unthinkable.

And so everyone was floating on with these comfortable
convictions--floating on toward the imminent cataclysm, smiling
pityingly on the few lugubrious Andersons who were right.



CHAPTER XXIII

SOCIAL ETIQUETTE


Balls and dancing are a notable expression of life and character in
Germany. The Teuton has a passion for them. In what country are they
so institutional? The German dance music is on the whole by far the
best any land has composed. The waltzes are fine productions of the
race. They are not enemic, lascivious or empty of meaning. They are
noble, wholesome and full-throbbing with the pounding blood of men
and women.

German balls are most varied in kind, responding to the complete
scale of existence from high to low. However dowdy, rigid, ungainly
or sensual they may be, their music is nearly always elevating or
at least of merit because it is written by thoroughly trained
composers of whom Germany has a full complement. One of the
dreams of any American woman in Europe has been to dance with
a German officer who, in his handsome, well-fitting uniform
setting off his commanding proportions and guarded forcefully
by his clattering sword and jingling spurs, appealed to those
instincts for knightliness and chivalric appearance which excite
the feminine nature.

Nevertheless the general unloveliness of the social disposition and
activities of the Teutons is normally reflected in their balls, and
is increased by their tremendous and perspiring energies in this
diversion where usually pervades an atmosphere thick with the odors
of beer, sausage, cheese.

The Royal Court Ball opened the fashionable season every winter in
Dresden as proper in an orthodox monarchy. It was Kirtley's one
opportunity to view German royalty, in its intimacy of pumps and low
necks, at a ceremonious function in a whirl of music and the dance.
Naturally he wanted to be present with Elsa who was, of course,
competent in the art of Terpsichore. To say the least she was the
only young lady he knew well in Saxony, and to have her hair of ripe
corn color dancing in its luxuriance before his eyes to the
inspiring melodies of the opera bands would be something to thrill
him and his memories afterward. He would take a box and somehow
manage to moor Frau Bucher in its depths.

His hopes had sprung up about it for, luckily, Von Tielitz had gone
away and Jim, who had put the family in such a state of
intoxication, was to be in Prague and Warsaw for a month. It would
be a chance for the obscured Gard to emerge into the light and see
how Elsa was really affected by the Deming glamor. Of all her booby
family she had comported herself so far with a dutiful steadiness in
face of his dizzying _coup de main_. As for Von Tielitz and a
respectable young woman--how could there be anything serious ahead?

During Jim's trip Fräulein plunged into her etching to make up for
absences. But Gard was pleased over the renewal of their piano duos
which had been abandoned after Deming's arrival. She very loyally
found a little time for this distraction, and so, as before, they
played through earnest stuff and tasseled it off with lighter
emotions in the form of "Heart and Hand," "Love's Dreams,"
"Affection True"--good things with which to court a musical girl.
Her cordiality suddenly took on a frank warmness, as if she had come
back to an old friend. He saw that she felt more at home with him.
Wasn't she at last becoming like a "pal"? Yet sometimes the doubtful
impression assailed him that she was merely acting in a sort of
gratefulness for his having brought the stylish and princely James
Alexander Deming of Erie, Pay, to Villa Elsa.

Gard was quite happy when his invitation to the ball was accepted.
Both mother and daughter were most glad to go. He procured the box
and Frau Bucher, steeped in the practices of economy and judging
that his means were modest, pooh-pooed with material kindness at his
idea of an expensive motor car. He insisted on compromising by
ordering one at five in the morning for the return. It would be an
event and he wished to carry it off quite grandly for Elsa's sake.
She had never attended the Court Ball, it turned out, and, like all
maidens of Saxony, had always longed to go.

Accordingly due preparations were started by her mother and by her
in what had served, since Deming's arrival, as a kind of boudoir.
The gala affair was talked over with the usual noisiness in the
family. Anything that had to do with the King's household was
wonderful. The neighbors were exultantly apprised. Certainly the
Buchers were nowadays cutting a high figure--they to whom such
costly festivities had been unknown. No one had ever associated
Villa Elsa with the wand of prodigality, and its vulgar Americans
were dumfounding.

But, four days before the ball, Frau Bucher, in a constant condition
of agitation in her social upheaval, announced to Gard that she and
Fräulein could not accompany him because a telegram had been
received from Friedrich. His sister at Meissen was coming for the
occasion and he took it for granted that the Buchers would complete
his company. Of course Friedrich and his sister could not be
disappointed. They were old friends--really a part of the family.
Gard, greatly disappointed, reclaimed his money for the box and
countermanded the order for the motor. It was provoking, yet such
things very reasonably happened.

The next morning another telegram from the always excited Von
Tielitz. Plans were changed. Sister did not think she would be able
to leave. Frau Bucher would much like to go with Gard. Elsa was so
anxious to dance at Court. It would be too bad to dash her
anticipations to the ground. Gard spent the day renewing the
arrangements. It was a pleasure to do so.

That evening a note couched in the spacious terms of formality was
handed in at his door by Tekla. Frau Bucher was extremely sorry, but
Friedrich and his sister had found they could come and were making
all preparations. Herr Kirtley's invitation must be declined again.

Beginning to be put out, he found that his box could not now be
returned. And he had no one to go with. It would be stupid to be
there without even an acquaintance. At last he thought of Anderson.
The latter announced his satisfaction at the prospect of "seeing the
Germans jump around." Gard's dancing was cut off, which was
disappointing enough, yet he could at least see the spectacle.

The following morning, the day before the event, another wire, and
another cramped, stiff note through the diplomatic channels of the
kitchen reached the attic. More regrets, but the Von Tielitzes were
unable to carry out their plan. Would not Herr Kirtley kindly renew
his invitation? This stately despatching of communications, as with
a foreign power, went on side by side of and unseparated from the
usual daily informal intercourse of the family.

Gard's good nature wrestled with his balanced equilibrium and
overcame it along the lines of gallant generosity. It would be a
pity to deprive the ladies of what they had looked forward to,
although his own expectations were already marred. He would bemean
himself sufficiently to overlook Frau's caddishness. He went in town
to see if the change would suit his invited friend. Anderson bravely
rose to the occasion and accepted silently the duty of having to
tour the ball room now and then with his arm despairingly clasping
the rotundity of mother Bucher.

When Gard got back to Villa Elsa, another stilted letter with a new
programme was awaiting him. It had developed that the Von Tielitzes
could come, though the sister was slightly indisposed. It would be
nice for all to form a party, and Frau Bucher would be so pleased if
Herr Kirtley would have them joined in. But transportation to and
fro must be provided because of the sister. He had so kindly, at
first, spoken of a motor.

As Friedrich had admittedly no money, Gard saw that this was a
project--likely on the part of both--to saddle him with the whole
expense. The clumsy maneuvering had got down to bargaining. He was
mad. He sent the scullery courier back definitely withdrawing all
arrangements. The pleasure of his invited guest could not be
complicated. Result, the Von Tielitzes did not appear, mother and
daughter Bucher remained at home, and Kirtley went with Anderson.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE COURT BALL


The two sat the night out in the box. The reader is familiar with
Thackeray's amusing references to the stuffy German Court balls.
After his day and under the sway of the Empire, they had broadened
and aired out somewhat in their automaton grandeurs.

Precisely at nine o'clock the Saxon Court entered, so far as
possible in battle array, and unlimbered to a slight extent before
their revering subjects. No one knew of anything this Royal family
had ever said, commented Anderson. None of them had done anything
original or brilliant except Louise, who had run off with the tutor.
She could not stand the dullness here any longer. And the members of
this Court represented civilization raised to the famous _n_th
power!

How commonplace, uninspiring, they _did_ look to Kirtley! As Germans
can illy take on polish he thought he only beheld Rudolphs and
Teklas jammed into court dress. The disenchantment of a medieval
dynasty at near view!

After the midnight supper Anderson, refreshed, told of an
illuminating book he might write on Germany with journalistic
brevity and conciseness. It would run something like this:

                  Chapter on Gentlemen and Ladies.
           There are few gentlemen and ladies in Germany.
                        Chapter on Manners.
    There are no manners in Germany. Only orders and servility.
                   Chapter on Charm and Delicacy.
                      No specimens to be found.
               Chapter on the Milk of Human Kindness.
           There is no milk of human kindness in Germany.
                Chapter on the Absence of Arrogance.
            There is no absence of arrogance in Germany.

And so forth. What did Kirtley think of it?

The journalist jestingly identified the dignitaries, the men about
town, the titled ladies about whose bulbous red shoulders often hung
scandal, and retailed other gossip from his newspaper files. The
scene indeed scintillated with lights and diamonds and crystal. Two
orchestras answered each other in a continuous strain of conquering
music. Swords and spurs clanked and clattered through the riotous
German dances, adding their martial clangor to the regal sounds.
Trains were stepped on, dresses torn. The retiring rooms were often
sought for repairs. Now and again commotion was caused by some heavy
person tripping on her skirts and crashing to the floor. It was
Triumphant Germany celebrating her undisputed position and
pride--celebrating her mastery of the universe.

Gard really longed at moments to be actively throbbing with it all,
circling in the throng, and holding Elsa with her blond florescence
in his arms. Then a certain contentment would possess him as he
pictured her mother forced to stay home with blighted hankerings.
What a ridiculous appearance he would have presented towing her
around here in a waltz before all these florid and grandiose figures
of state!

       *       *       *       *       *

Kirtley's disposition was somewhat slow-going, sure-footed. He had a
gentle or quiet conservative tenacity that so often comes with the
inheritance of a moderate income. It at least gave him time to look
things deliberately in the face.

He had at first discounted heavily his old friend's pyrotechnic,
cynical bill of complaints against the Teutons and Teutonism. It was
diverting, salient, but therefore discouraging to credence. Such
judgments were apt to be flashes in the pan. They startled but
lacked rootage. Gard had not sufficiently taken into consideration
that the journalist was speaking at the end of seven years in
Germany instead of at the beginning. When one arrives in a country,
extreme snap-shot impressions readily flare forth in the mind.

Yet the more Kirtley saw, the more did he turn toward the same
divorced mental attitude. He realized how truly the typical Villa
Elsa, though in quite a different key, justified Anderson's
conclusions. The performance Frau Bucher had gone through verified
another variant in racial traits--a variant which Anderson had
stressed.

Namely, one must be forcible, even harsh, with a German. He does not
respond satisfactorily to kindness, leniency, liberality. Little
sunny courtesies, unselfishnesses, genial endeavors, do not
characteristically illuminate the tenebrous interior of his
consciousness. He misinterprets them as feeblenesses, as confessions
of his dominating rights and privileges. The more one grants to him,
the more one yields to him, the more advantage and aggressive
advantage he assumes he is invited to take. To go out of one's way
to be obliging, to attempt to ingratiate one's self, brings
difficulties.

But stout decision, sternness, defiant ultimatums, win out with him.
As long as Gard had tried to make himself agreeable in the affair of
the Court ball, his efforts were misunderstood and he became a
handball buffeted about for the superior convenience of others. As
soon as he finally stiffened up and mentally told them to go to
perdition, the ingrowing troubles ceased with disciplined
promptness. A satisfactory relation resulted, and a hearty respect
for him in the household, he recognized, was measureably and
contentedly increased.

It was a little different phase of the old pagan German tribal habit
of considering the outsider as one from whom all should be got that
was possible, irrespective of return in kind or a decent proportion
of benefits. To hear in hard, to gouge, are toward the foreigner
procedures relied on by the Teuton nature as appropriate. In it
there is to be found little mutuality or respectfulness of feeling
that curbs, not to speak of the social spirit that restrains or
breeds a fine dignity of self. A show of weakness in any form,
however ideal or beautiful, makes small appeal. So far as any other
"tribe" is concerned, life to the German is at base a knock-down
argument. Misfortunes in an alien land do not awaken sympathy. They
are rather to be regarded as windfalls, as a result of which a
profit is to be grabbed or a steely hand of control inserted where
it does not belong.



CHAPTER XXV

FRITZI AND ANOTHER CONVERSATION


When Jim Deming returned he resumed sway over Villa Elsa, though
with less vehemence. The Buchers fell promptly again under his
spell, the duos were dropped, and Gard retired into the attic for
study, varying its monotony with sojourns in town to familiarize
himself with the personal peculiarities of the German multitude.

During the long break-up of winter, when the Teuton skies were
leaden, and it was neither cold enough nor hot enough to stay
comfortably in his room, owing to the Bucher economy of heat in this
mid-season, it was pleasanter to be stirring about _en ville_, and,
when weary of this, seeking the agreeable cosiness of the cafés with
their warmth of cooking and beverages that thawed one out. He
usually lunched in some one of these well-known resorts where he
became acquainted with the _personnel_ and frequenters. It was
Deming who introduced him to the inn where Fritzi served, whom Von
Tielitz and Messer had urged upon Gard's attentions. Jim had learned
of it through the former.

Imagine the tiniest of restaurants. It was scarcely large enough for
six small tables. The miniature kitchen immediately adjoined this
dining nook, so that these two rooms were in effect one. When the
two young Americans first went there together, a very comely girl
sat cutting colored papers into fantastic shapes with the apparent
intention of having more floral decorations. For huge artificial
bouquets decked the boards. The place was freshly painted and
engagingly clean. The very low walls were covered with queer mottoes
in grotesque Gothic script, with Meissen wares, Vienna glass, and
also misshapen oddities that always interest the puerile part of
mature German nature.

There was a bust of the Emperor covered with ivy and flower
concoctions in cardboard. The coat of arms of Saxony embellished the
ceiling which one could almost touch with the upraised hand. A cat
and a dog were taking their noon-day nap. Sausages and cake in the
form of the ever-popular _Lebkuchen_ were made a specialty of here,
and when Fritzi--for this was Fritzi--had served the young men she
took a seat companionably by them, as became her rôle.

She had a rustic beauty and was sound and plump as a cherry. Her
peasant headdress was high and elaborate, winged with chicken
feathers, and her short skirts gave way before white stockings
pulpily emerging from painted wooden shoes which clicked over the
dull tiled floor.

By the table she knitted, watching the eating solicitously, and was
by turns candid, sociable and saucy as a spoiled child. It was her
business not to be affronted by familiar remarks and actions. She
was there to draw trade. She knew how to drop quick curtsies in
response to compliments and tips. Although Deming acted freely
toward her like an old acquaintance, he could not make much headway
owing to the bar of language--her jargon of dialect.

Gard, when touched with loneliness, went there several times and
struck up quite an intimacy with her, the proprietor and his wife.
It was a snug spot and she was picturesque. The _Lebkuchen_ and
famous sausages, which would have been a deadly combination in
America, seemed to agree with him, soothed with beer. While Fritzi
appeared _keck_ at intervals, Gard did not see any excuse for
agreeing with the scandalous hints Von Tielitz and Messer threw out
about her. They would naturally see the wench in every domestic.

It was from the inn that Kirtley frequently went to Anderson's for
the afternoon. Gard had found it desirable to write down in a
notebook some of the facts and reflections he was accumulating on
the subject of the German. He would want to show them to his old
tutor when home was reached again. Among them, Anderson's ideas and
comments were included, flanked by an occasional apothegm.

Gard copied off a sample of their many talks in somewhat the
abridged form as given below. It was when, on one of these days,
Kirtley learned that Anderson had moved, and traced him to his new
abode. From the window of this apartment they could see, through the
bleary March light, the dowager-like Grosse Garten where Deming
paraded in style with Frau Bucher and Fräulein. Although the trees
and shrubbery were now so gaunt and chilly of aspect, soon they
would be green and gay with beautiful spring, and Anderson would
find them cheering.

"I _am_ getting old," he said. "I have never wanted May to hurry up
so much as this year. Here I can get a good view and the birds will
come and nest in these branches. They will whistle to me. I can fill
my pocket with crumbs and go out and make their acquaintance in the
sunshine and flowers. Since the war failed me again, I can see that
my friends pull away from me. They doubtless think that no one is
more worthless than a prophet who cannot pull off his 'stunt' and
has short gray hair in the bargain. Everyone is blissfully lolling
in the embraces of enduring tranquillity and I am seeking the
companionship of trees and birds that are not troubled with the
machinations and delusions of mankind.

"So there will be this delightful summer of 1914 ahead. Christian
civilization is spreading rapidly everywhere. More Bibles being sold
than ever. More Hottentots and cannibals wearing clothes and losing
their taste for human flesh. And so universal Peace has come to
stay. There will not be another war.

"And yet the Dresden barracks were never so full of soldiers, and
the German bases of military supplies are crammed. The munition
factories are running on extra-time schedules. Has the world turned
topsy-turvy or have I? Does what one actually see and hear have no
meaning any more?"

"Why do you stay in Germany?" asked Gard. "The Germans antagonize
you. And you look upon their Government as a wicked monster prepared
to leap upon its innocent prey?"

"For about the same reasons that you remain at the Buchers'. Because
it's so often exasperating here. And that's always exciting. I guess
it's the Irish strain in us. Want to stick around where there's a
good prospect for trouble--want something to swear at. And I
consider it my duty to remain here as a sign post of warning. I am
carrying about a small red flag with DANGER on it. If the Germans
win command of the world, I will be here on the ground all ready to
start in as a German and will have a great advantage over nearly all
Yankees. I have conned my green book of irregular verbs, which I
think would bother most of them considerably. I have got accustomed
to the German eating and drinking which I imagine would prove the
death of most of them, too. I have learned to sleep athwart the
German bed--no small feat, as you know. For everything must become
Germanized under German rule. Teutons know no other method."

"Is that the meaning of the sort of happy, triumphant feeling that
one finds in Germany? It seems to pervade the whole Empire--rich and
poor, merchant and peasant, housewife and children."

"Yes, because they know a victorious war is coming and they will all
be lords and masters. The Empire will stretch out wide and there
will be work at the highest wages and plenty of money. The German
will be able to travel on his own railroads throughout most of
Europe and Turkey. No matter how servile he may be at home, everyone
will kowtow to him abroad.

"It will be a short, decisive campaign. It will cost some blood and
some treasure, but then--the German millennium! The people a eager,
ripe, fit for it. The coveted Government jobs will be more numerous
and remunerative. They will confer more power on the incumbents,
for they will be largely connected with conquered provinces. The
German Michel will be no longer cramped up in his mid-continent."...



CHAPTER XXVI

SOME OF THE LESS KNOWN EFFICIENCY


"Why is it that this seems to be a nation of professionals while
ours seems to be a nation of amateurs? I suppose it is, of course,
because of the more general spread here of thorough instruction."

"Yes, with us unskilled mediocrity is the popular level because it
is within the reach of everyone in a democracy. With the German,
high skilled, highly instructed efficiency is the ideal. The failure
of America to rise into the expert level is due to our unenforced
higher education. We compel our people to have a common school
education in order to preserve the Republic. Its voters must know
how to read and write and 'figger' or they won't be able to vote
intelligently.

"Now if we did in addition what Germany does, we would insist, as
far as practicable, on advanced education or instruction in every
family. Then we, too, would have a wealth of trained talent.
Comparing the riches and population of the two countries there is a
much greater proportion of university men and other competently
instructed men in Germany. Only relatively few Americans can show
diplomas for genuine and severe mental training. Take your own
Bucher family as an illustration. All its men will have sheepskins
that are worth while to show. With us, out of such a family none
would have a sheepskin, or at most one. One of the boys might have
gone to a university. And as for the difference in the women--little
comparison. Your Frau, as you have told me, has several framed
diplomas to her credit.

"You can see what a tremendous advantage all this gives the German
people over us. You have hit it very well--we are nearly always
amateurs. They are nearly always able to be professionals."

"Is it the same with the laboring classes--the mechanics and all
that?"

"The same is true, in its way. A poor American boy thinks he will
like to be a machinist. He gets a job as a new hand on a salary. He
works at it a couple of years. Then somebody offers him ten dollars
a week more to drive a truck, which is a simple, elementary task. He
drops his machinist career for this. He gets more money and it
requires no tedious training. So he remains an indifferent mechanic.
It's the money he's looking for, not the satisfaction of proficiency
in a skilled trade.

"Now, by contrast, the future of the poor German child is decided in
a fashion at about the age of ten. When a boy is elected to go into
industry, for instance, he is apprenticed at about fourteen for,
say, four years to be a mechanic. He is given no wages. In fact he
has to pay something, very often, for the opportunity to learn. But
he must, at the same time, attend what they call here continuing
schools. It is these schools, which we do not have in America, that
hold him fixed to his line of work--prevent him from jumping from
one kind of thing to another. He not only works in the shop but is
forced to go to a continuing school.

"Hence at eighteen the German factory and Government are sure to
find in him just the kind of instructed worker they need. There has
never been any danger of his meanwhile changing to driving a truck.
He sticks to his trade through life. He becomes a master mechanic.
You can't lure him away into an unskilled channel by more money.
It's not the money alone he is thinking of. It is also the pride of
having a specific calling that lifts him out of the great
commonplace market of untrained labor. So Germany is full of
competent mechanical men while we limp along with our huge supply of
the partly experienced. Every such German knows how to do at least
one thing as well as and usually better than anyone else.

"This is one big reason why Germany is pushing ahead of every nation
in the industrial world and one reason why I fear her. No matter
what she wants to do, she has an abundance of efficient brain and
muscle right at hand with which to do it well and at once. In our
great United States the lack of this is the bane of American
industry and development, and causes such immense and continual loss
in time and money because of our having to deal with such a mass of
inexperienced young workmen.

"But more than this. The German who is taught a trade acquires not
only the technic of it in a shop or laboratory, but also acquires
in his studies something of an enlightening and inspiring knowledge
of its history and significance. He is, consequently, much more than
a mere drudge. He is made intelligent about his calling. This
particular feature, so pregnant and valuable, is not incorporated in
the American plan, if we can be said to have a plan in these
matters. For the Yankee ambition is to make plenty of money in _any_
quick way, and therefore to rise above a trade which a German is
content to remain in. We feel no keen necessity about careful
instruction in such vocations. Luck, "pull," "cheek," mere
cleverness, are prominently relied on in its stead.

"There is another thing in this trade instruction that we do not
have in any noticeable degree. It teaches the German mechanic to
become wedded to his Nation and Government. He is made to realize
the great benefits and responsibilities he owes to them. He becomes
an integral national citizen ready to serve his homeland. He is
taught to think of something higher than his pay envelope. Under our
system such a mechanic grows up loosely connected in thought and
acts with the governing public under which he enjoys all his
liberty and opportunity. In so far as national necessities go he is
apt to be a weakened unit or pulling the wrong way. Unlike the
German, he has been educated to have no self-sacrificing ideal of
state or country."

Anderson had, at one time, drawn Gard's attention to the immense
advantage Germany uniquely derived by completely organizing and
keeping at work that vast majority of incurable mediocrities--mere
plodders--who are found in every race and who often weigh down its
destiny to the point of sinking hopelessness.

Kirtley had since observed that one conspicuous German method was
largely to employ this empty talent in small Government jobs. In
general, these tasks seemed to be expressly for the swarming and
uninspired nonentities, and meant most trivial duties for trivial
pay. But such tasks kept this population occupied, orderly and more
than self-respecting. In America incurable mediocrity is left to
shift for itself in huge masses.

The natural ambition of a Teuton was to be in the national service.
Rare was the German family who had not one member in "Government
circles." Or if not, it was building expectations toward such a
future. One in every eight wage-earning men a bureaucrat! It was not
only a question of the salary, assured if small, but the honor. Any
Government clerk or roustabout, not to speak of functionaries in
higher duties, was looked up to in a way unfamiliar in America, for
under that continuous régime his position remained fixed for life.
Government officials and employees in the United States are quite
freely thrown out under the frequent election upheavals and may
to-morrow be ordinary citizens bereft of any sort of authority over
their fellows. So they enjoy only a passing deference.

In Germany, owing to the use of plodders who made up extensively its
ubiquitous and commanding official class, this bureaucratic scheme
proved useful in more ways than one. It put faith and expectation
into these stolid, menial lives and took them out of the ranks of
the idle and discontented dullards who, in other countries, are a
source of danger or decay. It attached Fritz firmly and loyally to
the Nation. It held the links between the ruling caste and the
people hard and tight. At the same time it tied his family and
friends to the Hohenzollern, uniting them in a bond almost servile.
The ever-swelling ranks of bureaucrats, in such a large measure
imbecile and applying themselves to imbecile occupations,
strengthened the incomparable solidarity of the race. And it was
this army of State employees who were actively helping diffuse
through Germany in 1913 the frothy ideas of a national triumph that
intoxicated the populace.

But Kirtley, admiring this manifestation of practical and
administrative wisdom, felt that there must be somewhere a
tremendous weak spot. The expense of this plan and its withdrawal of
muscle and even poor brain from directly productive channels, were
costly. And there was about it a pompous vacancy, an arrogant
nonsensicalness, a latent peril resulting from such a large number
of automatons in unquestioned positions, that should all logically
indicate this: If Germany once broke, it would collapse somewhat
like an eggshell. It would be a formidable eggshell but with a
content surprisingly void.

In a sentence, the mighty German bureaucracy kept the population
from thinking. It meant--Obey and make no inquiry! And where in
history, Gard asked himself, has a nation of such political and body
slaves endured as against nations where the common individual was
free to ask questions? Slavery in any important form is acknowledged
to be an outworn, decadent economic policy. It cannot compete in the
long run.

As a result of this bureaucratic domination in Germany there were,
as Kirtley observed, many aspects of the organized public life so
excessively worked out and applied in their development as to be
unbelievable to Americans who had not come in actual contact with
them. These logical extremes and exhaustive minutiæ often enough
combined a ferocious ostentation and comical absurdness that were so
little realized by those afar who learned of the mighty seriousness
and intelligence of the Germans merely from the printed page. The
conduct and operations of the limitless bureaucracy were usually the
form in which the foreigner in the flesh ran counter to this
unconscionable discipline.

Of all this Government routine, the spy system stood out in relief,
although, at the same time, it was so dovetailed into the civil
administration as to be frequently indistinguishable. Like a
typical Yankee Gard, always greatly impressed by the general
emphasis everywhere laid on the perfection of the Germans and their
methods in everything, had regarded Anderson's remarks and hints
about the spy régime as exaggerations. He still could not believe
that Rudolph was a kind of Government sleuth or that Teuton
existence was honeycombed from cellar to roof with official
suspicion and the tyranny of the detective.

But this phase was now brought within range of his personal
knowledge, and he had a glimpse of this famous German service.
And through whom? Of all persons, Jim Deming. Strange to relate,
it brought to a sudden head the latter's stirring courtship of
Fräulein Elsa.



CHAPTER XXVII

THE IMPERIAL SECRET SERVICE


After New Year he had organized a little informal dancing club among
the Americans. He called it the Cinderella Cotillion Coterie, in
alliterative compliment to the daintiness of the ladies. He was the
self-constituted secretary and sole official.

For the birthday of the Father of our country he sent out to the
members a rollicking printed invitation reading:

    In honor of our George's birthday, which comes as usual this
    year on February the twenty-second, the inimitable CCCs will
    hold one of their regular reunions in pumps, beginning
    punctually at nine. Full beer orchestra as usual. No flowers or
    singing of hymns.

        By order

                       JAMES ALEXANDER DEMING, Sec., CCC.
            R. S. V. P.--the Senate and the Roman People.

The notice at least gave evidence that Jim had been in Italy.

Several weeks after the pleasant event, when he had forgotten all
about it, he was loafing in his room one morning after breakfast,
smoking an eccentric pipe from his collection, and comforting
himself over his decision once more that German teachers and
grammars are a failure.

A thump was heard at his door. He called out _Herein!_ whereat a
person in uniform strode in and stuck into Deming's hands a majestic
communication from which he made out with some difficulty that he
was peremptorily ordered to appear at Police Headquarters at eleven
that forenoon. Fully conscious of the political innocence of his
conduct, he welcomed this new diversion and, humming the latest
opera bouffe air, he dressed in his best with a posy in his lapel.

His gay feelings were a little dampened at the Platz where he
encountered a massive solemnity and sullen looks as if he were an
arch criminal of State. A ponderous minor individual, not unarmed,
commanded him to be seated in front of his desk and, eying him
sternly, handed over one of Jim's invitations to the George
Washington party.

"Do you know of this?"

"Yes, sir," replied Jim, surprised that this harmless missive had
turned up among the Police, and wondering what it could all be
about.

"Have you authorization?"

"Authorization, sir?"

"What _is_ this?" roared the petty functionary.

"Why, nothing at all. It means dance--ball--a little dance we had."

"Dance--ball." The other repeated the words with a severity that
champed upon its bits. "Are you this party?" He tried to pronounce
Jim's formidable name on the card.

"Yes, sir."

"What does this mean--Sec., CCC?" he roared again.

Deming was getting upset, confused besides by his inadequate
vocabulary.

"I don't know in German, but in English we say Secretary of the
Cinderella Cotillion Coterie."

"Ah, you say _Secretary_. It is English." And an enlightened
satisfaction furrowed the hardened face of the interlocutor. Then,
abruptly to Deming's relief:

"You may go."

As Jim rose to leave he found a court flunkey at either elbow. They
escorted him out with a military precision and flourish. He
congratulated himself on the easy way he had got through with it. He
must have somehow managed it pretty well.

Two days later, in the evening, an attendant from the Intelligence
Office ushered himself into Deming's room without announcement. He
bore a summons for the next day.

"Well, of all the damned fools!" Jim exclaimed to himself. "They
don't seem to know I'm a free American citizen. I'll tell them this
time. They are getting too familiar--walking into a chap's room
without waiting to be invited."

This time he was brought before a higher official with a more
exalted mien, and manners of inextinguishable anger. He held the
tell-tale notice of February twenty-second in his horny paw. Deming
was this time not asked to sit down.

"Who's this George?" was demanded.

"Why, that's our great George," confirmed Jim, sharing with jaunty
confidence this bit of universal knowledge.

"George--George--the king of England," was the gratifying
conclusion.

"And what does this mean?"

"That's Senate and the Roman People. That's just a joke."

"Senate--Senate! Official."

Several of the glowering army folk stood about. They took on
menacing airs of importance, following the lead of their chief. An
international intrigue, involving a foreign king and senate, was
being rapidly unraveled. Deming was so suddenly and summarily
dismissed again that he forgot to tell them proudly he was a free
American citizen--with a hundred million people behind them.

He was becoming worried and consulted the experience of Miles
Anderson whom he had, of course, met through Kirtley.

"In the toils of the German high police!" chuckled Anderson. "That
is certainly funny."

"But what am I to do to get rid of them?" inquired Jim anxiously.
"It seems I have no privacy. And I don't want to be going to the
Platz all the time. Hadn't I better turn it over to our Consulate?"

"Heavens, no. American consuls won't do anything for you. They are
considerably Germanic anyhow--work in with the local authorities.
It's our easy-going American way. If you want anything done, go to
the British or Japanese. Then you will get action. Our official
attitude seems to be that an American ought not to be away from
America. If he is away, he must look out for himself--has few rights
abroad. The Germans respect the English and Japs for they mean
business and their consular service is not to be trifled with."

"I don't want to go to foreigners--get this thing all advertised
about--go to all that trouble."

"Then tell the Germans to go to hell. That's the only way to get on
with Germans. They are used to being sworn at. They will quit you
then. If you don't, they will keep you trotting to Headquarters for
six months. If you try to be nice, try to placate them, you'll
simply get into hotter water. They don't understand such things.
They think they are uncovering a vast conspiracy. Cinderella
Cotillion Coterie! Gad, of all the farcical happenings I have come
across even in Germany!"

Deming was braced up by this advice, and if anything more came of
the incident he determined to see it through with some of Anderson's
good American bluff and independence.

The following morning he was plashing about in his bath tub when the
door was bluntly opened and then partly closed. He faced around in
amazement at the audacity of anyone boldly intruding into a bath
room--the only place left in Germany for the self-respecting Naked
Cult. His eyes fell upon another uniformed emissary from the Police.
This one was very obsequious and bowed and scraped his excuses for
the unseemly interruption.

"Excuse me, mein Herr, but I heard water splashing and I thought you
were at breakfast."

Jim had adopted the fashion of talking derogatorily in English to
Germans who, not understanding, usually agreed with his sentiments.
This always amused him and satisfied his injured feelings.

"That's the way with you Germans. When you hear a noise, you think
someone is eating."

"Ja wohl, ja wohl, mein Herr," assented the incomer with crude
agreeableness, all the while grinning in shamefacedness. And
floating in the water Jim received another order, from the
retreating and apologizing minion of the law, to stand at attention
at Headquarters. He was unfamiliar with courts of any sort and did
not know he should ask for an interpreter. That the officials had
not as yet used one showed apparently an attempt to let the accused,
thus handicapped, stumble into an incriminating confession.



CHAPTER XXVIII

JIM DEMING'S FATE


The scene was now transferred to a third chamber which looked
somewhat like an august tribunal of state. It was an imposing room
divided by a long high rostrum upon which sat a terrible looking
individual of the utmost lordliness. The attendants were numerous,
and if Deming had ever heard of the trial of Warren Hastings he
would have thought this appeared an occasion of almost equal
importance and gravity. When he arrived for his ordeal before the
bench, he seemed a rather small and defenseless figure.

For he was now to be subjected to a sort of "third degree," with a
court interpreter at hand. Every word that might be significant in
his bedeviling invitation of February twenty-second was gone over
with the minatory harshness of medieval inquisitors.

"February twenty-second. Why is that day?"

Deming explained through his intermediary. His interrogators
persisted in the idea that it was a pregnant date in English history
and had some sinister meaning like Guy Fawkes day. The pages of
British annals had evidently been scanned to find the hidden clew.

"'No flowers or singing of hymns.' What is all this?"

"Just a joke, tell him, just a little innocent fun," appealed Jim to
his translator.

"You signed yourself as Secretary. That contravenes the law. You had
no authority to assume an official position without conferring."

Then there was the mighty Senate and the Roman People again on the
mystic communication with its cryptic letters as full of mystery as
runes to these Germans. It was, of course, the language of a code.

"Tell him that there is no such thing in the world as the Roman
Senate and People," explained Deming with nervous despair. "That was
just fooling. Nothing political--nothing _political_!" he exclaimed.
Everything became less convincing and therefore visibly more
satisfactory, and looks and voices grew savage in proportion.

There was also the occult CCC.

"Who is Cinderella? Is he in Dresden with you? Where is he to be
found?" The word was indicated by a big thumb. Poor Jim, whose
specific information was as limited about Cinderella as about most
subjects, entered nevertheless on a long explanation not only
concerning her but concerning the playful innocence of the George
Washington meeting.

"Tell him it was a harmless little social affair that a few of us
fellows and girls got up. We will never do it again. I did not know
it would be any offense. Tell him I was only doing what I would do
in my own country. There we can get together and dance a little any
time without disturbing the nation." He wanted to add that the
United States was not like police-ridden Germany where it almost
seemed that a chap couldn't tie his shoe without permission from the
Kaiser. Prudence refrained him.

"Cotillion Coterie. That's French," translated the Ober-Offizier on
the bench, gravely illuminated. An assistant suggested that _sec_
might, in fact, refer to champagne. That would be French too.

"When did you leave France the last time?" the other demanded in a
hoarse, triumphant tone.

"Never been in France," returned Jim in a loud voice.

"Never been in France and yet you use French fluently."

"Tell him I don't know a word of French. I didn't know that was
especially French. With us it's just dancing language--everybody
uses it. Tell him"--Jim added encouragingly--"tell him I never knew
a Frenchman in my life."

"This is evidently a French affair as well as English," commented
the officer. "Anglo-French. Reaches out."

"What are they saying?" anxiously asked Deming of his intermediary.

On learning the new and extensive ramifications into which the
sportive CCC was leading him, he threw up his hands before he
thought and exclaimed, "Oh, my God!" It expressed his disgusted
confirmation of Mr. Anderson's assertion--"What egregious asses such
Germans can be!"--and also his _own_ alarm over his situation. When
would he get back to America at this rate? It was going to cost
money to escape from this scrape, and how would his governor and
mother feel about it? A few months in a political prison with rats
and vermin crawling over him seemed ahead instead of the jolly
summer he had planned. He cursed under his breath the member of the
CCC who had carelessly let his card get away from his clutches.

But a greater surprise awaited him. It revealed an example of the
tremendous thoroughness and immense detail that were the pride of
the Teuton bureaucracy. Deming was taken off his feet. The chief
held up a little battered sheet.

"Have you always paid your bills in Germany?"

"Yes, I have, sir," returned Jim, wondering at this strange turn,
but fully sure of himself on this ground.

"Untruth. Why did you not pay for three candles left in your room at
Karlsruhe? Here is the unreceipted slip."

"Because I did not use them. I did not want them. I left them on the
mantel."

"And here is a balance due on your laundry bill at Hamburg--twelve
cents--unpaid. How do you explain that?" A torn and dirty washing
schedule was handed down to him to refresh his memory.

"I didn't know I owed any balance," argued Jim to his spokesman.
"Tell him it was not presented to me. Tell him I will be only too
glad to pay anything I owe. I always pay what I owe." The examiner
gingerly took up a crumpled napkin, brown from an overturned
_demi-tasse_.

"August sixteenth, you spilled coffee on your napkin at
lunch--half-past twelve. And you went away from the Hotel
Bellevue--Bavaria--without making it good. What have you to
say to that?" The sorry cloth was held up contemptuously for
Jim's inspection and for the edification of the duly pained
official audience, most of whom, however, doubtless made no
use of such an article in their daily lives.

"I never heard anything about it!" cried Deming. "In my country
such things are thrown in. Nothing said about them. But tell him
I'll pay it--I'll pay anything--everything. How much is it?"

"Twenty-five cents, the bill claims."

"What is the total?" And Jim began digging in his pockets while
holding up his head testily. He had never before been accused of
hotel-beating. But payment did not yet appear to be in order. He
stared at the mass of files and papers before his cross-questioner.
He realized that his whole record in Germany lay there. The Imperial
Service had traced him like bloodhounds. Due to his frequent
irritated displays of proud American independence on his tour, the
bill of small grievances, now accumulated, no doubt assumed
troublesome proportions when exposed in its formidable length. Three
hours had been consumed, accounted for in part by the necessity of
an interpreter. As meal time was at hand Deming was commanded to
appear the next morning at nine to have his testimony taken at
length.

He departed, his buoyant nature rising once more in partial relief.
True to his Yankee instincts he now concluded they were only after
the money he owed.

"They want to scare me to make me pay up," he said to himself. "They
are afraid they won't get it. I'll pay the little two or three
dollars and that will end the matter. These blamed Germans with
their ten cents and twenty-five cents! What a system of government
to be bothering with these idiotic trifles!"

He sought distraction in several games of billiards followed by
dinner at his favorite café. When he returned to his room late that
night he found that his effects had been ransacked by two
detectives. Fully incensed by this high-handed procedure he
determined to place his inalienable rights in the hands of a lawyer
the first thing after the early morning meeting.

The taking of his testimony was a proceeding held in a small side
apartment before an elderly crotchety underling who pretended to
understand English and French, but whose thick-wittedness seemed
monumental. The slowness and dullness indicated a whole summer's
programme of this preposterous horseplay. Everything was being
written down in detail in long hand in the form of questions and
answers. All Deming's candles, soiled linen, stained napkins and
what-not, reported from all directions of the Empire, began to be
raked over. There were green, yellow, red, blue telegrams from half
the German States. Harassed by this muck and by the leering taunts
of the old party, Jim was glad to find, at the noon hour, that the
session was postponed to the second day after.

As he was leaving the room, another offensive inquiry about an
absurdity caused him suddenly to remember Mr. Anderson's advice. And
in one immortal moment in his existence he rose to a sublime height
of moral courage.

"Go to hell!" he shot back. And as he saw the clumsy servitor
beginning to pen "Answer: Go to h----" in his great book, Jim
slipped out.

He briskly hunted a lawyer to whom he related all the circumstances,
winding up elatedly with the last remark.

"Did they write that down too?"

"Yes."

The attorney was at first convulsed, familiar with Teuton naïveté.
Then he dubiously shook his head. To Jim's unexpected discomfort the
affair was regarded seriously. If he had not ejaculated this
affront, something could be done. But now he had been guilty of what
the Germans might rightfully construe as a voluntary indignity
offered to the Imperial Secret Service in the performance of its
highly responsible duties. If he wanted to avoid important trouble,
the only simple and effective course would be to quit the country.
He could leave that night and in not many hours would be in Russia
and beyond German control.

And so Jim Deming made a hasty and unceremonious exit from the
Deutschland he had been so fond of, without having time to salute
any of his many friends good-by. He had to send them a line of
farewell from St. Petersburg.

"Here you have German bureaucracy in its full flower and odor,"
remarked Anderson as he recounted the affair to Kirtley. "It
flourishes to a great extent by exaggerating mole hills into
mountains with officious vacuity. It is so large that there is not
enough serious work for it. So something often must be found to do.
It is a civil army radiating the glory of the Kaiser. The more
extensive it is, the more entrenched he is. It is official dry rot
which is part of the price the people pay for having themselves
governed. It is national graft. But while our American forms of
graft at least stimulate individual cleverness among our
compatriots, this German form tends to reduce its recipients to the
level of donkeys, as seen in the Deming case."

Gard little suspected that he was to drift into a somewhat similar
misadventure, but of an advanced type.



CHAPTER XXIX

WINTER AND SPRING


The sudden drop in the life in Villa Elsa occasioned by meteoric Jim
Deming's disappearance, was terrific. Frau Bucher gasped, caught her
breath and sank voluminously beneath the waters of social oblivion
whence she had so grandly emerged. When she finally came up to her
plain surface of existence she demanded, Where are now the theater
parties, and drives in the Grosse Garten behind the King? The family
had almost begun to wonder how they had got on before. She wailed:

"The good Herr Deming, the marvelous Herr Deming! How could he have
abruptly left us? Something mightily strange must have forced him to
go. He will surely return. How could he treat Elsa so? Here we are
with our hopes, our plans and our new underwear. It is terrible."

For several days the house resounded with perturbation. This
gradually decreased as the readjustment to the former flat
conditions took place. The transition was not completed until the
information arrived that Herr Deming was never coming back. The
final stroke. It was indeed pitiable, tragic, amusing. And all
because the American custom of flirtation was unknown to these
matter-of-fact Germans, so deadly in earnest about everything.

But, Teuton-like, the brave ship Villa Elsa soon righted itself,
being used to blows. It had at least entertained and been
entertained by one of the Golden Youths of Good Fortune whose
legends gild the expectations of every race. And it was a superior
satisfaction to realize that this had not happened elsewhere in
Loschwitz.

There were left behind no lingering animosities, no painful
grievings. Feelings were too stout, sensibilities too tough, to
admit of acknowledging rancors or sickly complaints. The daughter's
marriageable future was apparently faced again with courageous
determination. As she could not be a luxurious American queen, she
must be a German housewife who ranked, to say the least, high
_enough_ in the eyes of Gott. But what German's wife? Oddly enough
Frau Bucher, despite all her bluntness, never let a hint out of the
bag of her franknesses before Kirtley.

After Jim Deming's second riotous invasion of Villa Elsa, when there
had been confirmed the abject and tumultuous surrender of the two
ladies, mind, body and soul, to mere money, prostrate at the feet of
an American "pig," Gard experienced a numbness of heart. True, the
daughter was tied to the apron strings of her mother. But then Jim
could only fling his pocketbook in her face. He had done it and she,
sheep-like, had obviously accepted the situation without a question,
a murmur.

How could he, as an American, gage such a blank lack of character,
individuality? How different was this trait from that which was
exhibited by the energetic prosecution of her talents where her
personality, shining forth so steadily, held his admiration almost
undimmed! This was a baffling interrogation that furnished another
evidence to Kirtley of a gaping chasm separating the Teutons from
other peoples. The highest ideal of German character is expressed by
works. The highest ideal of "Christian" character is expressed by
self.

Spring was now at hand. The sunlit air invited to the out-door
life. The windows and doors of Villa Elsa, which was stale and
stuffy from the closed-up winter, stood open and the inmates
came out of their hibernation, shook themselves and welcomed
the warmth and lack-luster brightness. The lindens and plane
trees and shrubberies began to hug the place under their cosy
leafage. Herr Bucher's rose garden was prepared to grow merry
with colors. The companionable garden corner for afternoon tea
and beer became a nook of liveliness. The oncoming summer sent
forth generally its exulting thrills.

This fine surging-in of sunny, revivifying Nature took at first such
a strong and glad hold on Gard that his private emotions, which Elsa
had so promptly sharpened and whose edge had become dulled, seemed
to lay themselves pleasantly aside for the moment. Whether they were
to become whetted again into keen interest remained to be seen, for
the awakening green and white noon-tide of actual existence was
absorbing.

Apparently she was not greatly affected by Deming's departure.
She betook herself to her lessons and duties with well-drilled
diligence. The years were cut out for her. She had only to follow
the pattern. How much more fortunate it would be, Gard had often
felt, if she were detached from her semi-civilized household! Her
own attractions would then be freed from the surrounding thorns,
prickly hedges, that bruised and tore and dismayed one. An
American chap could marry her--but oh, her family!

It was not long, however, before she missed meals. She had begun
again being mysteriously mute at times in her room, over the Heine
poems. Gard had almost forgotten them.

There were no promenades this early season in the meadow, with the
poet. No duos were played. Winter, for that matter, was a more
favorable time for them, as it was also for the family concerts.

Fräulein observed a meaningless familiarity with Kirtley as if he
were an old member of the home circle. He wondered again if Rudolph
had influenced and troubled from the first her relations with
himself. And nowadays Tekla was surly toward him. She served him
unwillingly and grabbed his occasional _Trinkgelds_ with scarcely a
thank-you. Had Rudi, with whom he had had hardly any contact,
stirred her up against him out of sheer unjustified Satanism?

The spring weather somewhat curtailed, mollified, all the frank
irascibility and wrangling that went on in the house, and it was
under the lukewarm spell of this German virgin summer-time that the
routine took on its most agreeable aspects, though accompanied with
the usual Teuton domestic din. It was, in fact, very enjoyable,
contrasted with what the cold months had permitted.

In the winter a pleasant feature had been the theater or opera
nights. Darkness then came at four. Dinner would be served at five
in order to reach the amusement place at half past six or seven. By
eleven the family were back in Loschwitz, sitting down, starved, to
a bouncing supper where frequently Kirtley regaled himself with the
toothsome Pumpernickel. Over the hot dishes the feverish points of
the entertainment were discussed, exclaimed about, while the party
cooled off and solaced themselves with Schultheiss. These were
rousing and satisfying little happenings.

Free public lectures had also been a source of enjoyment to the
Buchers during the long frigid fortnights. Of the five senses, Gard
reflected, hearing is the only good one the Germans possess. They
hear, absorb through hearing, to better advantage than other races.
They close their eyes and drink in seriously. Naturally enough comes
about the universality of their music and lectures.

Of these public dissertations a course on the Union between Greek
Philosophy and Greek Poetry was especially raved over in Villa Elsa.
Gard attended one of these evenings, inspired by the instructional
ardors of Frau and Fräulein and Ernst. The example of little Ernst,
avid of such intellectual pleasures at his tender age, ever
impressed Gard anew. He thought of American lads in comparison.

The German professor, as is well known, occupies a much more potent
and exalted position in Germany than the American professor in
America. He is considered a reliable fount of wisdom. He speaks with
sure authority. He is an oracle, permanent and sounding afar.

On this occasion, precisely at eight o'clock, in a majestic
university hall, Kirtley saw this particular grand and popular
orator ascend the pulpit. He was in full dress--white waistcoat,
white tie, white kids. He was large, shapely, commanding. The women
were "at his feet." He stood there solemnly as the clock was
striking, and slowly removed his gloves and inserted them under his
coat tail. And for exactly an hour there was a remarkable flow of
formidable, finished periods, without a note, without a hesitation.
Gard really felt there would never be anything else to say about
Beauty, so profound, so complete, so final, seemed this survey of
the topic.

At the close the audience flocked to the speaker as if to an
Olympian victor. Frau Bucher was ecstatic, covering him with her
compliments while insisting on waiting for a propitious moment to
introduce Herr Kirtley. But as Gard remained there at the lecturer's
elbow, he met with another disillusion about German professors. This
locally famous man, so correctly dressed to outward view, wore no
shirt collar under his beard. His neck and ears showed no signs of
recent ablutions and were bushy with unkempt hairs. And he exhaled a
rank odor compounded of perspiration and dirt.

Gard almost choked, being crowded into close contact. Could he ever
get fully accustomed to German smells? It was most unpleasant,
disenchanting. He could not, it appeared, find himself attracted
to Teuton university expounders--those gods of wisdom who had
repulsed him.

Whether it was his unfortunate luck or not, he was not able to
summon a desire to go again. He had not forgotten his other
experience. It was a part of that something fundamentally,
monumentally lacking in the German race--something shoddy,
deceptive, which he had met with at so many turns.



CHAPTER XXX

VILLA ELSA OUTDOORS


In the vernal season the lectures and theaters were dropped for
neighborhood excursions of which the Buchers, like all German
families, were extremely fond. A rendezvous would be made for
dinner, for instance, at some attractive spot up the Elbe. It would
be a walking trip from Loschwitz along the winding banks or up on a
higher path stretching from one smooth, low-lying hilltop to
another. Everywhere the invigorating odor of pine lay in the air.
The company assembled by twos or singly at their convenience during
the late afternoon. Generally the Herr would be last. And when he
was spied approaching, with a cock's feather in his hat and
supporting himself authoritatively on his big stick, a chorus of
acclaim greeted him, for craving appetites were now to be
satisfied.

The household would pass the evening dining _al fresco_ and enjoying
the landscape studded with historic and other enduring memories.
Near by was Hosterwitz, where Weber composed "Oberon" and "Der
Freischütz." Often mists from the Elbe rose mystically to engarland
the crenelated castles here and there on the heights. A drowsy river
boat in that long agreeable northern twilight would finally gather
up the family at the dock and drop them off at home.

Sundays were the favorite time for these little outings. Lessons,
classes, tasks, were then lightened. Gard had quickly become aware
in Germany that the Sabbath is considerably a day of work as well as
pleasure. The usual impression in America that the Germans are
religious, not to speak of being moral, was dispelled. This had been
a fragment of his erroneous idea that they are active Protestants in
the sense that carries any Calvinistic or ethical meaning.

Neither the Buchers, nor any of the families whom Kirtley met
through them, went to church. The Protestant churches were, in fact,
gloomy, tasteless and almost empty. Their services appeared
cheerless and forbidding. Tremendous fear was their keynote. It
seemed far more agreeable to a German to partake of the national
sacrament out in a beer garden.

His attitude seemed to be that his race were born so
constitutionally and thoroughly in line with Divineness that they
did not need to _do_ anything about it. The religious element, as a
shaper of conduct and thought, was accordingly not required. As for
any restraining power, the Government furnished all of this that was
necessary.

At any rate the rulers looked after religion. They observed
all-sufficiently its rites. They stood next to Deity and represented
and protected the people. Kirtley remarked that when the ordinary
German began talking of God, which was rare, he was soon talking of
the Emperor. Both deities were ever solicitous for him, working
tirelessly in his behalf. The Kaiser was properly the national
busybody, the head schoolmaster, who attended to everybody and
everything and drove all constantly forward toward a unified and
splendid destiny.

Thus arose the firm belief of the Germans in their natural
righteousness--the righteousness of how they act, what they
possess. Gard saw there existed among them little virtue in the way
of religion to offer the youth of other lands. To send an American
son or daughter to Deutschland for such influence and benefit was
but another example of the prevailing misconception of real
Teutonism.

Many an evening the family dined at the famous Schiller Garden which
stretched along the shore, just across the river. Knitting and
sewing and books were taken along, a large table was secured, and
there the members ate and refreshed themselves with liquids in
leisurely fashion from six o'clock until bed time. There would be
plenty of talking and smoking and plying of needles as the moonlight
or river lights danced forth to guide the active river traffic and
also the large inflowings and outflowings of restaurant guests. And
all to the bracing music of a capital orchestra reeling off jubilant
marches and waltzes.

These were good times when the German was to be observed under the
most favorable colors. After Tekla's little tragedy snatched her
away from Villa Elsa, as will soon be seen, this dining out became
the regular event of the day.

On one of these occasions in the Schiller Garden the conversation
fell once more on America. The subject had not been touched since
the eruption over Yankee "pigs". It had lain dormant under the
mesmeric effect of Jim Deming's appearance.

Gard gathered the following for his notebook. The Buchers maintained
that, even if the Hohenzollerns were not wanted, they were necessary
to hold Germany together. Otherwise she would split up into many
impotent states and be at the mercy of the solidary races adjoining
her. But who could not want the Hohenzollerns? They had made of
Germany--really a small, poor country--a mighty power. Look at huge
America, by contrast! She was weak, disorganized, aimless. She was
the proverbial giant with few bones. The western half of the United
States was still practically undeveloped, and yet it abounded in
natural wealth.

Then there was the Monroe Doctrine. It was a baseless fiat for which
there was no legal or moral justification--as arrogant a presumption
as could be claimed of any edict of a Kaiser. The Buchers asserted
that the Doctrine was a crime against humanity. It had kept, for a
hundred years, South America and Central America indifferently
civilized, miserably governed, their thin populations uneducated,
thriftless, superstitious, bigoted. Said the Herr:

"If our Germany had had full access to that half hemisphere it would
be in a full blaze of progress. It would be affording prosperous
homes to untold millions of Europeans now packed together like
sardines. The mines, forests, rich soils, grazing lands, would have
long ago been completely opened up, tilled, occupied, for the
benefit of man who is still, in the main, inadequately fed and
clothed. We Germans can, admittedly, manufacture cheaper and better
goods than anyone. We ought to be free in our way and by our own
methods to supply those Americas with the necessities and comforts
of civilization and make them rich and happy.

"Their mongrel races are poverty stricken, disease stricken, and
often fighting among themselves. The United States does little for
them. Nor will she let anyone else. She plays the dog in the manger
to the detriment of the world. And this is because she is vain,
timid and without plan. Is that logical, wise and serving mankind
for the best? Were conditions reversed, would she herself favor such
a backward, lagging programme?"

Kirtley admitted to himself that this was a very good and valid
point of view for Germans. He recognized its general source, for the
Buchers, in the Dresden newspapers. But he did not enter into
argument. He had satisfied himself that argument with Teutons, who
do not have open minds, who are obsessed by fixed ideas bored into
them, can only end in unpleasantness--a row. He had come to Germany
to learn. It would be defeating this purpose to air what notions he
might have.

In Villa Elsa itself a good deal of the feasting in April and May
was carried on in the garden where flowers and dogs completed the
picture, together with much open-air singing accompanied by the
piano up in the salon. Were it not for the musical cult, it would
have been difficult, Gard had concluded, to live in this household.
As Anderson said, music had in a degree tamed the German "beast" of
the north and made it possible to get on with him at all. Music
rather than woman, religion, or the ideal of social intercourse,
had partly softened him.

The Bucher sons liked to come to table outdoors with spurs or side
arms, and the Herr's favorite hunting equipment was often in
evidence, recalling to him days of valiant sport. With their stiff
and long strides they affected to be larger, greater, than other
males. Supermen in the form of Goliaths! The women loved the sight
of such warlike paraphernalia. Such things added zest to the joyous
toast--Der Tag! But none of these heroes had yet killed anyone or
anything, so far as Kirtley discovered.

In warm weather Villa Elsa did not relax in the matter of six daily
repasts. Breakfast at half-past seven. Bread, slices of cold meat
and something in addition, at eleven. Luncheon at one, hearty enough
for a dinner. At half-past four _helles_ beer and tea with
_Butterbrods_. Dinner at seven. And on going to bed a fortifying
supper of pigs' feet, sausage, cheese and other man-like delicacies,
flooded with potations.

Gard had, after the months, adjusted himself somewhat to these
conditions. He had become, he _thought_, more used to the German
way of living. To get the best out of it, he realized that one must
coarsen instead of refine the senses and aptitudes. Instincts should
be strengthened, roughened, rather than checked or made more
esthetic. The German puts a heavy hand on things. He takes big bites
at existence. Thunderous might envelops and clouds his idea of
perfection.



CHAPTER XXXI

A CASUAL TRAGEDY


One morning early in June when Kirtley, who had been away the
afternoon and evening before, came down to breakfast, he found the
household upset. Something bad had happened. Tekla was gone. Rudi
was not to be seen. Frau had prepared a partial meal and Elsa was
making ready to sweep and dust and tidy up the rooms.

The parents were in a rage. They made no bones about it. Frau
blurted out with German unreservedness:

"I packed Tekla off--the animal. She had no consideration for me.
What do you think, Herr Kirtley? She is going to be a mother. And by
Rudi. Wouldn't you have thought he would have more sense than
this--right here at home--break up my service? He let her get him
into the mess. I have no doubt it was her doings--my poor Rudi. We
have sent him away for a couple of days. I told Tekla to go--be off.
And she was out on the street--like _that_--with her bundle of
belongings under her arm. And here I am with no servant. Ach Gott!
they are all cattle, of course. One has to put up with them."

Herr was in a growling, ferocious state. He blamed Tekla. He blamed
his Frau for not knowing what was going on. It was the woman's
fault. Everything always was. His incomplete breakfast was late.

"Is there nothing left to eat in the house?" he cried out. He took
on a famished and abused air, although he had had his usual six
meals the day before. "Give me at least some cheese and bread!"

In this manner Tekla was roundly denounced for interrupting the
course of family comfort. That she had mortally sinned awakened no
attention, aroused no concern. There was no sympathy expressed for
her in her condition, no responsibility felt for her in her downfall
or anxiety about her future. Whether she would, from this misstep,
have to take to the streets for a living occurred to no one but
Kirtley.

Germans are little wrought up about such questions. There is no
shuddering as from an admitted mortal sin. Natural impulses and
facts are natural impulses and facts. Why should one be squeamish
about them or have soul burnings? In general, carnal desires meet
with no great fastidiousness in the German domestic circle. They are
rather regarded as honest and healthy like desires for food and
drink. The Teuton wife is ashamed of barrenness and considers it
proper for women to be fully sexed in feeling. Sexuality is not
something to be shrunk from, discouraged or denied, but is a candid,
copious law of Nature to be recognized.

When Rudi returned shortly from Leipsic, where it had been deemed
best for him to retire for the moment, he appeared as conceited and
noisy as if nothing had happened. He was not cowed or penitent. His
parents, who had got Villa Elsa in running order and were forgetting
the _contretemps_, almost beamed upon him. He was now a full-fledged
male. Any lingering uncertainties as to his completed manhood had
been effectually removed. His affair was viewed from the standpoint
of potent strength, not lapse from virtue. Young men had their wild
oats to sow. His mistake had been to disturb his own household. Had
it been another household, little heed would have been given.

In the Bucher minds the satisfying net result seemed to be that
another _soldier_ (it was to be hoped) was to be born for the army,
for the Kaiser. Soldiers had to be. Tekla was to fulfill her highest
mission as a German servant girl. She was to become a just and
constituent part of the swelling Empire.

Frau's ideas and information on the subject provided Gard's journal
with some more condensed material. They were talking out by the
garden table.

"What becomes of the German servant girl under such conditions?" he
inquired.

"Oh, she can get into another family and go on as before."

"And the baby? How does she manage with that?"

"She puts it out among poor farm people and pays a little for its
keep. As the mother usually works about in different
localities--sometimes being taken far away by her employers--the
farmer often adopts the baby as it grows up. He can always use more
help. If it's a girl, she is good for the farm as well as the
house. If it's a boy, he becomes a soldier. A boy of this kind makes
the best soldier because he has no parental and no home attachments.
He only knows the barracks and has the officers to obey. He does not
learn who his father is, and the mother becomes practically a
stranger to him as she moves about in the city or country. He is
ready to serve in the colonies or go anywhere or do anything, having
no personal ties to hold him."

"Does not your large army badly demoralize these social conditions?"

"You know, we housewives don't like it much when a new regiment
moves into the vicinity. It makes mothers among our domestics and we
have to change about. Of course, you see, we have more women than
men in Germany and we must have children growing up for the barracks
and the cheap labor market. There seems to be no other way, but it
is often a great nuisance for us housekeepers. Yet there is this to
say: The girls rarely have more than one child by the same man. For
another regiment comes along and there are new relations. The army
is necessarily a floating population and not very responsible for
what it does among us civilians because it _protects_ us."

Kirtley concluded that this accounted for the large number of
detached young men in Germany--in the army and out of it--who
appeared to be so entirely footloose, ready for any mission or task
in any part of the globe. As the two sat there talking about the
question of lovelessness in these relations, Herr Bucher strolled up
from his flower beds and joined them in his Tyrolean jacket of the
chase and big army boots. Gard said,

"We were speaking of affection, Herr Bucher. Why do the Germans have
the ideal of hate when other races are holding up the ideal of
love?"

"Because it is good to hate!" exclaimed the host with rugged
forcefulness as he squatted in a seat. "To hate is strong, manly. It
makes the blood flow. It makes one alert. It is necessary for
keeping up the fighting instinct. To love is a feebleness. It
enervates. You see all the nations that talk of love as the keynote
of life are weak, degenerate. Germany is the most powerful nation in
the world because she hates. When you hate, you eat well, sleep
well, work well, fight well. It is best for the health. When you
love, it is like a sickness and disorganizes and debilitates."

"How do you reconcile that with Christ and His mission of love?"
pursued Gard.

"There is nothing to reconcile. We simply do not admit all that. It
is not practical. Christ was not practical. He had no family. He
made no home. He never even built a house. He did not found a State.
He let the Romans run over Him. How can one live in a cold northern
climate without a house, a nation and an army to protect him? No, it
is not at all practical. Even Christ could not defend Himself. He
was crucified without any resistance, any struggle. To hate is to
struggle and that is the mainspring of action. So one must prepare
himself to struggle successfully. To hate, to cause to be feared,
are the proper motives for life. They _are_ life. Fear is a stronger
and far more universal human motive than love. Therefore we Germans
want to be feared rather than to be loved. So we hate because it
engenders fear in others. To love is already half a surrender and
ends logically in death. With Christ the real victory, the real
heaven aspired to, was in death, not in life."

The Herr had faithfully read Rudi's contemporary German military
philosophers.

Truly this was too strange a race, Kirtley felt, to admit of any
levels of genuine, unreserved association and companionship except
under a _quasi_ truce or other provisional conditions. To form a
perfect union with it, other races had to adopt its attitude. It
could not and would not adopt theirs until some sort of a Teuton
reformation took place.

In the midst of these repulsing discords Gard was surprised, on
returning to his room a night or two later, to find by his table a
new red and gold copy of Heine's verse inclosing a sprig of
forget-me-not. On the fly leaf was inscribed in a youthful, copybook
hand:

    Immer heller brennt die Licht,
    Meines schoen' Vergissmeinnicht.

    Offered to her meadow pupil
    By his meadow teacher.

    (Ever brighter burns the light
    Of my sweet forget-me-not.)

The Germans are not original in love-making. Elsa had read of such
things being done. But it was an admission or advance from her as
unexpected as it was belated. Gard tossed about awhile on his bed,
thinking of it. As he had often acknowledged to himself, he had been
interested in her more than any girl he had yet known.

In the morning, when things were clearer in his consciousness, he
assumed that her enterprising, calculating mother had inspired the
gift. For it seemed to be _apropos_ of nothing in particular at this
unpropitious time, although he had made Elsa little presents during
the fall and early winter. It was evident that the family, after the
arrival of the mirific Jim Deming, had grown somewhat accustomed to
Americans and had at length struck a sentimental attitude.



CHAPTER XXXII

A GERMAN MARRIAGE PROPOSAL


A day or two afterward, another little tragedy visited Villa Elsa,
following on the heels of the unfortunate departure of Tekla. Ernst
came home at lunch time with his head swollen in reds and purples
and hardly able to walk. At his morning drill his sergeant had
knocked him down by a blow in the face and then kicked him in the
knee. The little philosopher was a good deal of a dreamer and had
failed in strict and prompt attention. To strike down and boot the
rank and file are, of course, a normal part of Prussian army
discipline.

Kirtley was incensed, horrified. But to his amazement the family
sided with the officer. Although Ernst stood in grave danger of
being crippled for life, they were ugly in their censures of him.
They said it was a good thing to bring him down from the clouds.

The poor little fellow was a pitiable object for some time. He not
only suffered painfully from his bruises but had to meet the irate
looks and casehardened bearing of his parents. Brutality made
soldiers of visionary and idealistic temperaments. It kept the feet
on the earth.

Gard thought how differently an American father and mother would
act. Their sons belonged to them and they would resent any outside
interference that smacked of cruelty. In Germany, the boys, as
already observed, belonged essentially to the Government. The
vicious treatment of German children in the home, at school, in the
army, accounts for the unique Teuton institution of child-suicide.
The number of these boys and girls who, because of their hardships,
destroy themselves in despair, is shockingly great. The statistics
in other races offer little in comparison.

To break down the will by abasing youth before its comrades and
elders, to lay its self-respect low, to beat dignified individuality
into callous insensibility, manufactured a docile, automatic unit
for the German mechanism. The peculiar strength of Deutschland lay
in this early control and training of its young. And as the young
surrendered their unimportant consciousness as individuals, they
gained an important consciousness as factors in the State. For this
reason, as they learned to be almost servile among their own folk,
they became domineering among foreigners.

Villa Elsa now was true to the adage that misfortunes do not come or
loom singly. One forenoon, about the middle of June, Kirtley was
sitting in his attic, turning over in his mind the fact that his
year in Germany would soon be up, and endeavoring to explain why he
felt depressed. The recent events, it was true, had created a very
unpleasant condition of mind, but his body itself also seemed to
share in the inharmony. A dullness, a heaviness, had begun to weigh
upon his physique and yet here were summer, Nature, the green earth,
rejoicing all about him. It was odd. What was the full explanation?

As he sat there thinking somewhat dolefully about himself and
forgetting his opened books, a loud knock was heard at his door. It
was Frau Bucher with her knitting. She had never honored him with a
call in his room. Something must be the matter.

At his invitation she came in and sank into a chair. Her face and
hair were mussed. She was laboring under a great strain. The sons
with their ill-luck had troubled her. The recent mishaps had
evidently alarmed her, upset her, so that it was now the daughter
filling the mother's anxious hours.

"Your daughter--Fräulein Elsa!" Gard exclaimed in astonishment.

"Yes, my poor daughter. Oh, good Herr Kirtley, you have always been
so kind. I have treated you this winter like a son--just like my own
sons."

"You have been very good to me, Frau Bucher," interpolated Kirtley,
hastening to offer any consolation, although he could not imagine
what distress had brought her to him.

"Well, my daughter--you know it has always been the intention that
she marry Friedrich--ever since they were almost children. But, mein
Gott, the poor Friedrich does not arrive at anything. We love him.
All our friends love him--admire him. But he can get no fixed
position. We wait, he waits, Elsa waits. Always hopes and more hopes
and nothing comes. And he is so disappointed. No Kapellmeistership.
Only small engagements which do not pay much and soon end. He has
no money and what little we have to give with Elsa will not answer
until he is permanently established.

"You see Friedrich is a courageous fellow and he is apt to speak his
mind. You remember how he mimicked the military. My husband and I
think he makes enemies by his impulsive temper. You know what
musicians are. They talk right out. We think his enemies put
difficulties in his way. And so nothing is settled. We keep waiting
and here we are. Elsa wants to marry. She wants children!" exploded
the artless Frau.

The abruptness of this confession in the matter-of-fact German way
almost overcame Gard with embarrassment. He recovered himself at
length to ask:

"Does she love him?"

"Ach Himmel! does she love him? Haven't you seen her so dumb at
times? But nothing comes to pass--and when will there be anything?
She gets her grumpy spells over these postponements--always
postponements. You know young people are impatient. They don't
understand such things. She wants to marry. Every young girl wants
to marry and have children. I may die. My husband may die at any
time. And she won't be settled for life."

The mother went off in a vigorous scene of upheaval. The slender and
youthful Kirtley felt himself unequal to the task of trying to
comfort her bulky person with its commotions.

"But what do you want me to do? Frau Bucher?"

"We all love America, Herr Kirtley!" she burst out. "Elsa loves
America. Ever since that splendid Herr Deming came, we love America.
And we feel we can trust _you_. Young men ought to marry early. Elsa
wants a decent husband and a decent little home. That is not much to
ask. Of course we would hate to have her go so far away. But you
have always been so kind to her. You have shown such interest in
her. And what a good girl Elsa is! We have brought her up so
carefully--and to be a good wife. She can cook and sew and keep
house. She can play and paint, and also sing a little. She is
strong, never sick, and can work--_work_. All you Americans have
money. We Germans are poor. We can't give her much for a dowry.
Excuse me, Herr Kirtley, but you see I came naturally to you. Who
else is there? We have made a son of you this winter." Then Frau
Bucher almost shrieked out:

"And you can stay here _always_, if you prefer that!"

Full of her brave endeavor the mother bolted through the door
without any ceremony of leave-taking.

Gard could not collect his tumultuous thoughts there in the room. At
last the whole secret was out. Had she not foresightedly kept it so
long with some such purpose in view?

Fresh air was the only place for him. He grabbed his hat to escape
other fateful contingencies that morning, and made for the pine park
where it was silent and cool. He walked hastily, with his hat off,
along the path where Elsa and he used to stroll while conning
together the passionate lyrics of the passionate Heine.



CHAPTER XXXIII

A WAITRESS DANCE


He went on and on through the firs and hemlocks, on the right bank
of the Elbe, then down toward the city. A multitude of convictions,
reflections, impressions, flocked in his brain. After awhile he
seemed to send them all scattering by exclaiming, "I'll be damned!"

They turbulently regathered. There was the sensual ape Von
Tielitz--they would marry her to him. She could love him, polluted
and swinish in the low sinks of womankind. There was the flatulent
Jim Deming with his money--she could quickly marry him. And at last
the ideals Gard had nourished about her had finally tumbled to the
ground that day in her mother's crude offer of bargain and sale.

These Germans! They were outside the pale. They were the midway
people between barbaric Asia and the civilized West. America,
millions, pigs, morals, love, brutality, erudition, proficiency,
obscenity--the Teuton race mixed them all up hopelessly, without
rime or reason.

Gard walked and walked without realizing he was becoming tired. As
he neared the city he burst out again with, "I'll be damned!" It was
all the résumé he could arrive at. He found himself finally hungry
and made his way to Fritzi's little inn. He felt almost beaten out.
Was he really well?

The middle of the afternoon had come. There she was fresh, free,
like a hardy wild flower. She trotted back and forth, curtseying,
chattering, with her merry heels clicking on the tiling. The hot
sausages and _Lebkuchen_ and a stein were hastened in, and she
switched her short skirts down cosily on a bench in front of him to
knit and look out after his needs. He had encouraged such
opportunities for the practice of conversation.

"I've been looking for you to come in," she lisped.

"Why?"

"I wanted to ask you to buy a ticket for our Waitress Dance, and I
did not know at all where you lived." It was a long sentence for
her and she giggled.

"Number 5, Wiesenstrasse, Loschwitz."

"Gott im Himmel! That's way off."

"When _is_ your dance?"

"It's to-night. And it's only twelve marks." She fumbled out a
ticket from beneath her white apron with a maid's agitation.

"I'll take it," said Gard.

"But you have to promise to go. They want every ticket holder to
go."

"Are you going?"

"Of course I'm going. It's all us waitresses. And it's only once a
year. The waiters have theirs twice a year."

"And are you going to dance?"

"Of course I'm going to dance. I always dance." She perked up her
head with her young red mouth open in almost childish puzzlement, as
much as to say, "Why, what are balls for?"

Gard looked down on his fattening supply of smoking sausages and
honey cakes. A servants' ball might be just the thing to cure his
disgust with Loschwitz--with himself--with everything. He had heard
Friedrich, Messer and Jim Deming exclaim enthusiastically about
these popular fêtes. They should not, it appeared, be missed if one
wanted to see the real German nature let loose.

"Well, if you're going to dance, I'll go," he promised.

"You bet your life I'm going to dance!" Fritzi cried out in the
Saxon dialect's equivalent as she sprang up, and wheeled off to wait
on a new visitor. When she had served him she sidled back to Gard's
table with a doubting, half-disappointed air.

"You're fooling me." She stuck her tongue out on her upper lip in
peasant bashfulness.

"No, I'll be there as sure as I'm now paying for the ticket." He
filled her fat hand with the coins which it could hardly hold. She
went away happy.

The ball did not begin until ten, to give the young ladies time to
finish their dining-room duties and dress. Kirtley went to a café
and watched the billiards until after dark, then slipped out to
Villa Elsa, jumped into his evening clothes, and slipped away again.
He had seen the royalty dance. Now he would see the common people.
This bustling about was cheering. He was glad to go.

The ball room was big, barn-like, with green branches and cheap
flowers strung about. Aprons, napkins, table cloths, bills of fare,
and other insignia of the waitress profession filled in the local
color of the decorations on the walls. There was not one of the
everlasting _Verbotens_ to be seen. Alcoves containing tables and
chairs ranged around.

The entertainment was in full fling when Gard arrived. As the night
was warm the doors and windows were open wide, and fully as many
people seemed outside as inside. The throng included a number of
students. The dancing was everywhere--on the grass, in the doorways,
in the dressing rooms, on the stage by the orchestra. How free and
easy compared with the Court affair!

Kirtley took refuge in an alcove. He fancied he would before long
spy Fritzi. She would be the only person he knew. But she discovered
him first. She tripped up to him with a green cavalier redolent of
salad oil and beer. She was very proud to be able to claim Herr
Kirtley for one of her "sales." Foreigners are always distinguished.
The music struck up again and off she was whisked without saying
Aufwiedersehen.

She next came up hanging on to the arms of two dancers. More
introductions. All were getting sweaty and thirsty. Gard invited
them to sit and he provided Schultheiss.

Fritzi soon settled upon this spot as headquarters, twirling off
into the figures and returning with different companions. She
brought a girl whom she wanted specially to meet the Herr. The girls
dived into the alcove, then out, back again, and hung about
flustered, by turns bold or backward. They did not know whether it
was proper to see that he danced. He was, of course, high above
their class, but if he didn't wish to dance, why had he come? Fritzi
wanted to be polite but the situation was above her etiquette. He
had been so kind as to buy a ticket, and how could he have a good
time without joining in the festivities? The girls nudged each
other, balked and snickered.

Gard saw Fritzi's awkward restraint and set her at rest by saying:

"I can't dance the German way."

"The German way?" she echoed bluntly. "Why, I thought everybody in
the world danced alike."

"We don't whirl round and round as you do," Gard explained.

"Well, I'll swear!" she clucked incredulously, her tongue in her
cheek as if saying, "What sort of dancing can that be!"

The dust and streams of perspiration began to affect everyone, but
the music and revolving exertions grew more rapid and vigorous as
the hours advanced. Beetles and bugs sailed through the air along
with the familiar German odors that greeted Kirtley's nostrils.
Everyone became freer. Enjoyment ran higher. Men shed their coats
and women made themselves equally comfortable. It was beer, beer,
beer.

When Fritzi had seen that her Herr was not to take part, she began
to behave toward him with a more bluff unconventionality. She made
him acquainted with all her partners and girl friends. She confided
to him the little jingling trinkets she wore. Her face ablaze, her
hair tousled, her feet keeping on the floor with difficulty, she
looked to Gard like a flaming mænad. She had come in cheap satin,
and also in silk hose which she particularly doted on. But like all
thrifty German maids, after two or three dances she divested
herself of these and put on stouter stuffs which she had brought
along and which could stand the wear and tear. The possession of
those finer things had first to be shown to gratify vanity. Then
recourse was had to a practical basis for physical pleasure.

Gard mused over the seething picture before him. He knew it had been
pointed out that while the Germans are lewd, they are not dissolute.
They do not let their duties suffer. Their ample physiques can stand
hard strains, and a night of revelry is followed next day by a
prompt resumption of tasks. These young folk, tearing about like
disheveled satyrs and nymphs, would be at their jobs in the morning.

The Teuton does not waste his patrimony in riotous living or lead a
lawless existence. To this extent the influence of the Government,
in its way, was felt. While it recognized that the forceful animal
spirits of its people must be indulged to keep them contentedly in
control, it set its face against waste of time and of belongings in
any prolonged habits of dissipation. Thus the strength and material
resources, the plodding industry and economy, of the race were
conserved as well as energized.

As for the German women, they are not naturally passionate in the
ordinary emotional and imaginative acceptation of this word. Their
passions are not extended by any radical complications of romance or
ideality. In a sense, they keep their heads in any indulgence.



CHAPTER XXXIV

CHAMPAGNE


At midnight Kirtley saw a remarkable sight. On the stroke of twelve,
loud toasts to Der Tag were suddenly lifted high in air as the
orchestra broke forth with the Wacht am Rhein. An uproar seized the
assembly. "Gott scourge England! Down with France! Deutschland über
Alles!" In a twinkling it was a crowd mad for war. Beer mugs were
smashed, various objects of apparel were flung far and wide.
Improvised orators--students--mounted tables and began crying for
vengeance on the world in speeches which, in the hubbub, did not get
much beyond preliminary exclamations.

Hatred of Great Britain stood out above it all. How long must the
Fatherland be held in check? "Der Kaiser! Hoch der Kaiser!" The
popular national frenzy had in this spot ripped off any bounds.
Burn, sack, violate, kill--Gard heard the intimations--the
threats--of all such frightfulness. In the furor he stood up on his
table to get a better view of the extraordinary demonstration. It
sounded fateful, terrible, like descriptions recited of the French
Revolution. He was almost awestruck. At its height he feared
personal violence for himself. He had sometimes been taken for a
Britisher.

Anderson was right again. The Teutons lusted for war now. What a
spectacle! The old, old German hate. This very lowly class of
people--waiters and waitresses--had nothing, would be the very first
to face severe hardships, and the men would suffer more than any at
the front. They would all be mainly the ones to go hungry, be cold,
be killed. But here appeared the cannon fodder demanding to be shot
down in its craze for Triumphant Germany. It was hoarse for Victory
or Destruction. It was drunk with its physical power. These soldiers
were angrily impatient to be let loose like hellhounds, from the
sullen fastnesses of mountains and swamps behind the Rhine, upon the
Christian populations beyond in the great plains of civilization.

When the tempest had passed and its activities were dwindling into
the renewed whirlwinds of the dance, Gard resumed his seat, his head
beginning to swim a little. At last his doubting eyes were as if
unsealed. A Vandal tribe, a great and powerful Vandal tribe, still
lived in the world. It was feeding on Conflict--the food of its
ancient bellicose gods.

How was it, indeed, that our trained American observers, men who had
been educated in Germany and those who had not, never saw anything
of this danger that was boiling in the breasts of even the humblest
classes of Teutons? Yes, Anderson was correct. The Germans were,
after all, frank enough about it. All was spontaneous and bold.
Egged on by their military, political, educational, religious
masters, the populace could easily, at any time, work themselves up
like this into a frantic state about conquest. And yet Americans
heard nothing of it. It was as if their channels of information were
subsidized under German authority.

At one o'clock supper time came and Gard ordered. There were Fritzi
and another girl and two young men--all very profuse in their
appreciation of his hospitality. The popping of a few bottles of
cheap champagne sounded in his ears. He was in the swing of the
excitement and could not be outdone. His brand was French, of a fine
quality. It exhilarated his brain far above the plain, distorted
commonplaces of Loschwitz.

After supper the real frolic set in. The true devotees now alone
remained. They began doing fancy twists, with legs out far and wide.
Vests came off, with collars and ties, and feminine charms became as
familiar as an old story that is read too often to have much meaning
for the senses. To Gard it all now appeared seemly enough, like an
opera peasant ballet whose frank rusticities were excused under the
inspiration of the music.

Fritzi's hair floated loosely over her shoulders. It looked to him
even brighter than Elsa's. Her snug, many-colored bodice became
partly unlaced and she had kicked off her tight slippers under
Gard's table. In their heated condition many of the other waitresses
were dancing in their unshod feet. He thought it very natural and
pleasing when Fritzi rushed up with her heirloom of silk stockings
which she had removed early in the evening. They had been her
grandmother's who had worn them at some grand baron's wedding long
ago--the sole tradition and distinction connected with Fritzi's
lineage. One of her friends had been robbed in the dressing room and
she was afraid to trust these precious articles there longer. She
made sure that Gard had tucked them in his pocket for safekeeping.
As she hurried to rejoin the circles, he saw that she had worn
through the bottoms of her dancing hose.

Whenever that feeling of discomfort, which he had been conscious of
early that morning, surged for a moment through him, a sip of
champagne brought quick relief and gilded the scene and his spirits
with its necromancy. He felt dizzy but blissful. He became
drowsy.... He had sunk into a dream, glorious then ugly, foolish but
haunting.

He dreamed he was an armored knight of the time of Charlemagne. He
was astride a steed caparisoned for battle, and was riding southward
from the Alps in the blazing sunlight, along a white road amid what
he supposed were the gardened plains of Lombardy. By his side, in
similar array, rode a lovely blond princess of the North with a
wonderful luxuriance of hair--some daughter of the Frankish race of
fierce and resplendent Brunnhildas or Fredegondas.

She at last became wearied of her heavy armor, the length of the
journey and the burning sun. He assisted in extricating her from her
coat of mail, and took her over into his arms asleep, letting her
armor ride upright on her charger save for the helmet which he
fastened to his pommel. As the horses kept onward he held with
delight her lightsome body, with her miraculous tresses entwining
him as she slumbered. He held her embraced in tenderness, for had
not she--a princess--trusted him and gone away with him alone?

He had not thus ridden with her far, before his eyes, alert in every
direction for the treacherous enemies of the land, beheld with
gaping fright an immense black serpent, brilliant with scales
glistening in the scintillating air, slowly uncoiling out of her
headless panoply that was still riding bolt upright by his side. He
glared down at her in the certainty that she had turned into a twin
serpent at his breast. She lay there still in the seductive form of
a woman. But she had turned loathsome to his touch. He hurled her to
the ground and the next moment was flying on foot, afield, in
horror from the spot.

And he recalled in his dream how woman and the snake have been
allied in legend, religion and history--how they have ever been
identified in the minds of men. His beautiful queen had been at one
with the serpent in that suit of metal. Or was it only Elsa?--was it
only Fritzi?--with their amber hair?

For what seemed a very long time he was fitfully trying to
decide--when he slowly made out that brawny Frau Bucher stood over
him.



CHAPTER XXXV

RECUPERATION


She was in the act of giving him a potion for a raging fever. Once
he realized that Herr Bucher sat silently poring over a book by the
bed, chucking him back into it when he tossed out. The Bucher
children occasionally appeared on errands for his comfort. The
family nursed him more diligently than if he had been their own.

Gard came back to his senses rather rapidly. He had found himself in
his room. He was in his own bed--that German bed. Summertide was
steadily flooding in through the grateful leaves of his linden, and
brightening his confining walls. His narrow-gage American digestive
apparatus had, it appeared, finally rebelled over the broad German
fare. All his eating and drinking during the months had proven
disastrous. When he had begun to feel bad that last day, it only
needed a little champagne to bring to a head the inevitable revolt.
And so, toward the end of his year, he was physically not far from
where he had been on coming to Deutschland for the sake of its
inspiring virilities.

He had plenty of time to wonder how he had got back to Loschwitz
from the Waitress Dance. He never inquired, never learned. But
Fritzi alone knew his address. He had no recollection of anything.
He went through his pockets. His valuables were intact. His money
was all there as nearly as he could figure out, except a reasonable
amount evidently used to pay the supper bill and convey him home.
Truly those considerate servants had not acted like amateurs.

He finally remembered about Fritzi's hose. They were gone. At length
Frau Bucher said she had forgotten to tell him that a pretty young
woman came to reclaim them. He was ashamed enough. To be carried to
his room in the odor of champagne and with a girl's silk stockings
in his pocket! _He_--Gard Kirtley! Was this the low estate to which
German life had brought him?

But he soon observed that the Buchers cared nothing about all this.
Young men, as we have seen, were expected to go on larks. No one
spoke of the distressing occurrence. There was no disagreeable
testimony that he had made great trouble. No looks of reproach
attacked him. His Puritan habits had been, in fact, very curious to
the parents. They felt now that he was a youth whom they could
understand. He was true to the proper type.

It was a relief for him to know that he had not dropped in respect
before any of the household. He believed he had, on the contrary,
grown in their estimation, as had Rudi after his "experience." The
poor Herr Kirtley was considered a much abused victim of an
unfortunate sickness. Once Frau exclaimed:

"Ach Himmel! our sons have such a hard time of it!"

When he began to eat ravenously after his enforced abstinence,
hearty foods and heavy drinks were supplied. It is the German
fashion at such times to build up the strength quickly with lusty
meals. He was started promptly again on the road to gastric ruin.

Often at night a cold sweat would bead over Gard. What would he do
about Frau Bucher and Elsa? He had been thrown helpless into their
hands. Holy Smoke! Would he become a German in spite of himself? He
sometimes wished the Imperial Secret Service might scare him out of
the country as had been the case with the lucky Deming.

The Buchers had likely saved his life. He had been brought by them
faithfully back to health. How was he going to repay? What excuses
could he offer when the time came to face Frau's proposal? How could
he possibly make his escape at all agreeably? Was ever a fellow in
just such a pickle?

And here was the ever-capable Elsa dutifully bringing his viands and
at times reading to him stories from Hoffmann. She was like a real
fairy out of a German story book. The new Heine she had given him
lay there, but neither suggested opening it. It was not a thing to
get well over.

To a sick man, his nurse seems heavenly. And Elsa looked truly
golden as she sat there over the Hoffmann, with the sunlight
streaming about her head. In Gard's phantasmagoria at night there
had often been a blond maiden, dancing and lovely--but mingled at
length into some unpleasant circumstance like that connected with
the phantom princess he had ridden with in Italy.

Ernst, still limping from his beating, came in now and then and read
out of a ponderous volume on the Relation of German Music to the
Reformation. It was full of intricate, plodding, dull detail in the
German style, which the lad found of interest. But Gard, despite
this kindness, could not make much headway with it. Smoking was, of
course, permitted to accompany his man-like return to health, and it
was always a genial hour to have Anderson sitting there in the
wreaths of nicotine before the summery window, talking, talking.

The correspondent came several times, bringing comic papers. Gard
pleased him by saying he was veering round to the journalist's way
of thinking on things German. He related the Der Tag incident at the
ball. The family life of the Teutons, the life of the plain
people--all were substantiating the essential and alarming truth of
the old man's beliefs. At last another American in Germany had been
found who was experiencing an awakening. The result was a mutual
appreciation.

One afternoon they were eating some of the big German cherries, and
the fragrance of Herr Bucher's rose garden below was engaged in
balmy conflict with the odors of cigars.

"Well, what is the solution about the German people?" Gard
propounded. "What's to be done with them? Here they are, industrious
as bees and as fully armed with stings. Will a war cure anything?
Even if defeated, won't they be the same people? Won't they present
the same problem? Won't they present the same menace to what we
consider as the best and most desirable types of civilization?"

Anderson did not interrupt these questions. When they had all come
out, he gravely took another cigar, leisurely lighted it and turned
his chair to face the linden at the window. He spoke very mildly.



CHAPTER XXXVI

THE GERMAN PROBLEM. AN ANSWER


"I have given this a great deal of thought. I have read a great deal
and I believe I have never known of a writer who furnished what I
should call an answer. And that is the most important thing--the
vital thing. So I have evolved a simple, natural proposal. It is the
only proposal, I think, that will remedy the evil of the German
nation--remedy the ugly situation that hangs over the careless
earth.

"We know that when young foreigners are educated in considerable
part in a country, they generally become at peace with it.
Everything, in fact, draws them to this attitude--for instance,
their excusable satisfaction in feeling that their sojourn abroad
has been a success for them instead of a failure. Any foreign
instruction makes the student more of an intelligent, cosmopolitan
sympathizer. It knits together warm acquaintances abroad. Every
Rhodes scholar is an ally of England. He goes forth bearing kindly
messages for her. I have told you how it works with our Americans
coming over here to the German universities. They nearly all become
pro-Germanic. And this is one reason why our compatriots at home
have in general such a downright admiration for what they consider
the super-excellence of the Teutons.

"But while this providing of the German education for Americans is
pulling so strong in favor of Germany, we have nothing similar in
America pulling Germany toward us and our ways. Young Germans are
not sent to the United States to study and to lead our lives and to
return home bearing good-will and good reports. They stay where they
are and become more narrowly, intrinsically Teutons--irreclaimably
Teutons. They are left with the undisputed idea that their system of
instruction is altogether the best, as proven by the spectacle of
aliens coming here for schooling. Why, then, should German lads and
misses go abroad to learn? And they don't.

"Now as long as this state of things continues, the German race will
remain a tribe in itself, and radically at loggerheads with the
world. It will be hopelessly separated, unreconciled, inimical. It
will be strange and opposed to everyone else--everything else. As
you have seen yourself, even the meanings of the most common and
essential terms are usually, to the German, the contrary of what
they are to the rest of mankind.

"How will there ever be any natural and genuine meeting of the
minds, fellowship, community of interests, under present programmes?
For centuries civilized countries have been living side by side with
the Teutons, have been pursuing education ever more zealously, and
still the German brain and character stay profoundly different from
the rest and are not understood. They are so different, in fact,
that the forces of war and destruction must be maintained as against
them and are constant irritants to thought and activity.

"My plan is this. Young German men and women should be amicably
educated abroad in very large numbers--the largest well possible.
And on a broader basis than the Cecil Rhodes scheme. In our country
they would become, from youthful association, more or less fond of
our open homes, our sense of democracy, the untrammeled
opportunities to go and to do. They would see the advantages of
these blessings--or at least their human attraction--among boys and
girls.

"Under my programme these Germans, still adolescent, will return
home and a little of this foreign education will stick. But their
children will do the same. More will stick with them. Then their
children, and still more sticking. After fifty or a hundred years
you will have a large population in Deutschland thinking and liking
and to a great extent living like their Christian and less warlike
neighbors. It will be a tremendous beneficial element introduced for
the first time into Germany. It will slowly and silently, without
friction or loss of self-respect, accomplish an internal revolution.

"Foreign education for Teuton boys and girls! That's the only final
answer I can find--the only true one. You see, a war will never
accomplish this, nor tariffs or penalties. Such agencies do not
change human nature or character or modes of existence. They
antagonize, make stubborn or resentful or malevolent. And, unlike
other races, the Germans would always remain, as they are to-day,
UNITED. This is the explanation of their World Power."

Anderson stopped as if waiting for a comment.

"It all sounds well and is a beautiful way to do it, but how is it
practicable?" asked Gard, who had listened attentively, impressed.
"How are you going to coax the Germans to enter into this? What
benefit will they see in it?"

"You are right," returned Anderson. "That's the difficulty at
present. It can't be put in operation, as I see it, unless Germany
happens to be defeated in the coming war. If she is defeated she
will, of course, be humbled and temporarily sick of fighting, and
this proposal could then be readily forced into adoption as one of
the post-war measures looking to the quickest rehabilitation of the
nation. Anything that will put it on its feet again soon will be
most welcome at that time. Meanwhile, the instruments of war, the
power to do damage, must not be left in the German's hands. As long
as he has them, he will prepare to destroy."

"But if Germany is victorious, as you seem to think she will be?"
suggested Gard.

"Oh, then nothing will work. It won't have a chance. What will there
be of all this to contemplate? Germany will be the master and its
semi-paganism will prevail. The modern Teuton tribes will begin to
level the Christian civilizations to the ground just as the Huns
leveled the Roman civilization. The Hun disposition in the German
_must_ be eradicated--_must_ be destroyed. Until this is done the
world will always have these Huns at its gates."...

       *       *       *       *       *

It was now July in the year of everlasting tragedy--1914. Kirtley
must leave for home, as Villa Elsa knew. He talked over his route
with Anderson. His interest in Charlemagne made him wish to see at
Aix-la-Chapelle the great emperor's tomb, underneath which,
according to an old-time legend, the ruler still sits in his white
robes of state in his marble chair, looking forward to resurrection
to power. So the trip was mapped out through central Germany.

As the time was at hand for Gard to announce his date of setting
off, his perplexities before Frau and Elsa grew entangled. But,
happily, their knot was cut for him. Von Tielitz, who had long been
away, broke in upon the household one morning with glorious news. He
had received a commission as bandmaster in the army with fair pay.
Most unexpected. A civilian, who could make sport of the military,
summoned into the ranks! What could it mean? Something must be in
the wind.

At all events he had come to arrange to marry Elsa, and converted
the Villa into a hubbub. He was so beside himself that he appeared
ready to embrace and marry the first person he met. He was also
officious as if conducting a rehearsal. He rushed to Gard's room and
overwhelmed him with the tidings. His eye-glasses kept tumbling off.
He was upstairs and down, in the flower garden, out at the tea
table, and now and then he rushed to the Pleyel and rent the air
with its exultant chords.

The family turned the day into celebration. The wine cellar was
opened. The kitchen sent forth its hot and overflowing dishes hour
after hour until well into the evening. The marriageable Jim Deming
and Gard Kirtley were to Villa Elsa as if they had never been. Frau
proclaimed in husky sounds that she had not felt so young in thirty
years. Luckily Fräulein Wasserhaus had gone off to Brunswick to
visit a relative soon after Deming's advent, so she was not in
Wiesenstrasse to encounter this joyous climax and Gard's
preparations for his eventful journey.

Elsa acted as one overjoyed. It was what she had yearned for and
what filled the measure of her Teutonic maiden nature. On seeing her
happy like a yellow mermaid on a sunlit, blissful shore, and knowing
what Friedrich _was_ with all his talent, Gard realized she was
never for him or he for her. It had been for him a vagary, an
irresponsible venture in ethno-psychology, a poorly based confusion
of appreciation with a vague notion of duty intermingled with
sentiment.

His illness had cleared his intuitions. The unalluring defects of
the Teuton systems of love-making overshadowed his own defects as a
suitor. Elsa had been as truly foreign to him as the German habits
of eating and drinking. In thinking of her he now knew he had always
been conscious of her nation. The German woman, as he had already
learned, is sunk into her race. It swallows up her individuality. In
marrying her, one married the whole people--the German State--the
Kaiser. One became possessed not only of a help-meet but of an
aggressive political idea.

Now that Gard was a friend instead of a lover, how much easier were
his relations with Fräulein! Brooding sensitiveness and
responsibility passed into lightsomeness. The unnatural and
crankling proceeding of his trying to woo a German girl was smoothed
away into a genial indifference. The mental picture of Elsa would
remain as one that had attracted him on the wall of his German
memories. And like the hundred maids that a youth is smitten with,
she would gradually blend into the dim gallery of such pleasant
visions of Kirtley's susceptible spring-time--visions which, in all
men, fade sweetly into their manhood.

In this manner the cloud of Gard's awkward discomfort in speaking
out or acting out his answer to Frau's virile project, had melted
away before these lighted-up faces. He felt as if a fog were lifted
off his consciousness. He was glad to slip out thus easily. In the
lively jumble of robust, rejoicing realities about him, he seemed to
have emerged from the fringy edges of a daze.



CHAPTER XXXVII

A GERMAN "GOTT BE WITH YE"


A dash of adventure was to crown Gard Kirtley's farewell to Germany
as it had crowned Jim Deming's, but with an ominous wreath of the
tragic instead of garlands of the comic. War was at hand, yet even
Anderson did not see it plainly enough to report it. War was often
in the sky in Germany and often had he been fooled. The Teutons must
be sure of victory and, he was positive, would avail themselves of a
long summer for their campaign.

In those days of July something peculiar and tense hung over the
land, but its sources were untraceable, its form, abstract. The
unadvised, ordinary people wiped the sweat from their foreheads and
said it must be the heat. Kirtley would not have been expected to
interpret Friedrich's surprising engagement in the music ranks of
the _Landwehr_ as a sign that widespread preparations were being
made for the fullest onslaught of which the nation could be capable.
The Government was, nevertheless, quietly laying its hands on all
its young men--even musicians who were blind in one eye and could
not see out of it.

Gard was glad to go home through the heart of Germany. Jena, Weimar,
Erfurt, Eisenach!--the land of Goethe, Schiller, Luther. While these
figures were discarded from the blatant pageantry of the armed
Empire, the landmarks associated with them remained to satisfy the
vision, and he could tell of them to dear old ignorant Rebner who
would be waiting to hear of his beloved Deutschland which existed no
more. Afterward, Heidelberg; the trip down the Rhine to the spires
of Cologne; and then Aix at the western border, where that august
sovereign slept in a haunting majesty, wrapped in the mystic
grandeur of the Dark Ages. It was the most fitting and impressive
place on the frontier from which to bid adieu to Germania.

In gratitude for his recovery Gard made handsome presents to
everyone at Loschwitz, accompanied by the conventional _Edelweiss_.
Villa Elsa, in turn, was profuse in its expressions and little acts
of good will. Herr Bucher gave him a queer pipe, and the boys
furnished the smoking tobacco. These gifts were to while away the
lost hours on the tour. From Frau came a flask of cognac for use in
case he were dizzy on the trains. Fräulein bestowed on him one of
her tiny etchings showing the Elbe with the Schiller Garden where
all had spent so many evenings.

Gard's route, his through ticket to the sea, his traveling clothing,
were subjects of daily conversation at the table. Although the
family were entirely obliging, Rudi, odd to say, occupied himself
the most about the trip. He seemed wonderfully keyed up and more
full of military talk even than usual. He insisted on seeing about
time-tables, hotels to be recommended, the favorite dishes and brews
to be called for at each stopping place for local tone.

Kirtley was pleased over his friendly attentions. He wished to leave
with good feelings all around.

When Rudi helped him get his trunk from the store room, Gard's
forgotten passport fell out and excited the other's curiosity.

"I've never seen an American state paper before," he remarked,
puffing a cigarette. "What a droll looking affair! So different from
ours. Would you mind if I just glanced at it?"

"Certainly not." Anderson's suspicions of the young German glanced
through Kirtley's mind. But Rudi was a thick-headed boy, and what
could he or anyone accomplish with a passport? Gard had scarcely
been called upon to use it. It had been treated almost as a blank
formality, an empty courtesy.

"You don't have to show it in German towns--only at the frontier? Am
I right?" inquired Rudi after he had minutely read it through as if
he had been an official.

"Only at the frontier." Gard grew wary. This knowing and recent
familiarity was not becoming entirely agreeable. It would be prudent
to mystify the son.

"But of course something _might_ happen in a German town and I might
need it. So it's always convenient to have about."

"Where are you going to carry it, then?" pursued the other, handing
back the ribboned paper.

"Would you think my grip would be the place?"

"Your grip? Yes, that's just like me. I always shove everything into
my grip at last. See here, now. I have none of my papers about me.
All in my grip--even in the house." Rudi opened to view his inside
coat pocket in testimony, as if he were an important individual.
Gard shifted ground again.

"I don't know. I may carry it in my pocket--with my ticket. What if
I leave it in my trunk after all? I shall have to open up at the
border anyhow."

The subject of the passport kept in Rudi's mind. Three days later he
called out to Gard:

"I have been thinking it over and I believe you should carry your
passport in your grip. It may slip out of your pocket while you are
dozing in the train."

"Danke schoen!" said Gard.

The parents also took great interest in the matter. The paper ought
to be examined by the German authorities. Was it not Herr Kirtley's
credentials to the German nation? Nothing would answer but that Herr
Bucher and Rudolph should take it in town and see that the proper
officials were duly cognizant. It was another evidence to Gard that
a Teuton is not content until his Government is given an
opportunity to approve. The document seemed so vital to Villa Elsa
that Gard mentioned it to Anderson in the way of gossip.

"Don't leave it in your trunk or grip," cautioned the elder. "Keep
it on your person. Sew it on your shirt, by golly. One never needs a
passport, you know, and then you need it like the devil. I've heard
of two or three persons this month who got separated from their
passports and were in trouble. Something seems to be really going on
under the surface. But spring is the classic time for war as well as
love to break out."

Gard decided to follow Anderson's advice and keep the parchment in
his innermost pocket. He also checked his trunk through to the
frontier, contrary to Rudi's suggestion. He said nothing of these
changes, yet he was far from thinking that the hand of the Goth
would dare to reach out after him--a friendly foreigner and guest
leaving this peaceful hearthstone, so effusive in its amicable
leave-takings.

Just before his departure he felt something of a restraint in the
household. He attributed it to the social stiffness of the German.
This increases when intercourse comes to a point. Affecting moments
jolt hard in him--moments when embarrassment is natural to all
humans.

At the gate, for the last time, the Herr was energetically smoking
his long pipe. The Frau frequently wiped her sweating face with a
handkerchief. The boys kept kicking away the dogs whose barking half
drowned the parting words. Gard said good-by, too, to the old linden
by his window. How one can miss a tree!

And Elsa! He flattered himself she looked a mite regretful that he
was going. She was starting for her class when she joined the
topsy-turvy group by the gate and waved her creamy hand. Her small
straw hat, wreathed fatiguingly in roses, clung desperately to her
head in the awkward way German women have of wearing headgear, and
made her, despite her blossom-like attractiveness, seem quaint and
so truly German like the rest. She looked to Gard as pink and blonde
as the year before when he had first been dazzled by her glistening
hair.

On crossing the river he could see her moving down their meadow path
where Heine had sung to him, her etching materials under her arm.
One last look at the row of knightly castles rimming the heights
above her and at the storied Elbe at her feet as she hurried along!
He gulped down a small something in his throat, and turned his face
toward the station.

After all, Dresden had been a year of his life.



CHAPTER XXXVIII

A JOURNEY


At Eisenach, bound for Frankfort, the train guard punched Kirtley's
ticket and showed him into a compartment that was empty save for a
military figure engaged in reading a large newspaper, holding it
firmly with gloved hands before his face. Although the day was warm,
an army cap was clapped down low on the head.

Gard sank back on the cushions and closed his eyes. He was somewhat
fatigued from having climbed the Wartburg whose castle, famed in the
history of Luther, lay asleep there like a long and oddly shaped
beetle. He soon fell into a doze. When he became conscious again,
his companion's countenance was buried as before in the paper.
Underneath it, gray trousers and large boots protruded in Kirtley's
direction as if to ward off any familiar approach.

That editorial page must be extensive and absorbing, Kirtley
commented to himself as he whiffed the refreshing breeze that came
in his window from Hesse close by on the west. In a delicious
half-dreaminess he thought the stranger turned the journal and that
a reddish, be-whiskered visage, with a flat, wide-lobed nose, popped
into view for a second.

The motionless reading, nevertheless, continued for the remainder of
the trip. To the sweet July zephyr and the snug landscapes flitting
by, the soldier paid no heed. How German this was!--Kirtley mused.
The Teutons are a wintry race and often take their summer joys in a
hard, hyperborean fashion. He could not but admire this example of
physical constraint. The iron rigors of Prussian drill had made the
best army in the world.

Or perhaps this was some queer, abnormal chap. Gard remembered
fragments of stories he had heard of comic or tragic happenings in
the separated, locked compartments of continental trains. But the
tales were too vague in his mind to pique any anxiety. He roused
himself and took up his German newspaper. Muffled war scares. Always
war scares more or less in evidence. How dull the Teuton journals
would be without them! Dog days were coming and brains were no doubt
effervescing.

The forty-eight hours in the rich old capital on the Main were full
and Kirtley had almost forgotten his peculiar fellow traveler from
Eisenach. What was his amazement, after his guard had punched his
transportation and closed him into his compartment in the train for
Heidelberg, to find the same individual seated alone again in the
corner, engrossed in his voluminous and stationary paper!

This began to be disturbing. Gard was not more brave than the
average mortal, but fear had not really been born into his bones.
Was this some weird affair? Was it a spy at work, combining German
earnestness with German farcicalness? The ludicrous extremes of Jim
Deming's experience flashed over Kirtley's mind. But he felt as full
confidence in his innocence as had Jim, and he had not given a
Cinderella party.

It was a short run to the celebrated university town on the Neckar
through ancient Hesse. What would Gard do? This was a nonsensical
situation. He decided to crack it open, find out what it was all
about. He summoned his best German and formally addressed a casual
remark to the stranger. No answer. He did not hear.

"Oh, deaf! Probably dumb too!" Gard exclaimed to himself. His next
move was to step across to the other window for the evident purpose
of throwing out something. A lurch of the train caused him to
stumble against the high boots. They remained motionless. He
discovered that the eyes behind the paper were fixed in a stare.

_It was a stuffed figure!_

A mere puppet. And yet a thrill of alarm, for the first time, shot
through Gard. It was not reassuring. He thought of Rudi. Was this
some official prank young Bucher had set going? It would be like
him. He must be a spy, as Anderson had insisted. Was the son trying
to act with confederates far away over here near the Rhine?

The passport! Rudi and the family knew all about it. Kirtley felt in
his inside shirt pocket. He was relieved to find the parchment still
there. How foolish he would have been to leave it in his grip, as
Rudi had urged! A traveler couldn't be with his grip every moment.
But why was such a paper considered valuable by the Secret Service?

As he returned to his seat, Kirtley gave the legs a kick "just for
luck." He could not help laughing. The burlesque! The Germans were
certainly a curious people. This was like some fantastic tale of
Hoffmann with its marionettes and other childish stuff so dear to
the race.

It came over him that this image was thus being conveniently
transported from one town to another for some show--some Jarley
waxworks. But how, then, about that other form in the train from
Eisenach? It had certainly been alive. Had he not seen it turn its
paper? Yet, was he sure? He had been half asleep and might have
imagined it.

As he revolved the matter in his mind, he was less and less
positive. At any rate, how explain the fact that this exact figure
had been on the two trains and that each time he had been with it
alone? How was it known here what trains he would take? Only the
Buchers were advised.

Whether a silly hoax or a performance of the tremendous sleuth
system of Germany, Gard was too unsettled to enjoy fully his brief
sojourn at Heidelberg. He decided to trip up any pursuers. Instead
of resuming by rail his journey to Mannheim, according to that
section of his ticket, he took an auto. For every reason that would
be pleasanter. He could see to better advantage the far-famed,
vine-clad valley of the Neckar where it merges into the wide and
noble plains of the Rhine.

From Mannheim he went by boat as proposed. His be-whiskered friend
did not put in an appearance and Kirtley congratulated himself on
the riddance. The more he reflected, the less he made any sense out
of it. Coincidence, practical joke, spy system at white heat,
hallucination--all suggestions seemed equally untenable.

At Cologne he found the newspapers full of discussions about war. On
the trip he had not read much. He was either sight-seeing,
traveling, weary or sleepy. For that matter, the public generally
was not aware that fearful hostilities were imminent, and he gave
the subject no keen notice.

There is not much to view in the city of odors--Coleridge's city of
"two and seventy" smells. Only the cathedral. Although the museum
is mediocre Gard dropped in there at noon to fill in his time. After
wandering about he became aware that there was, in the distance,
another visitor whose occasional shuffling footsteps first attracted
his attention among the eye-obstructing objects. Then he saw, at
times, a bulky form bending over some curiosity and contemplating
it.

As Kirtley had no companion on his journey, except the military
scarecrow, he felt a touch of lonesomeness and was glad when he
gradually approached near enough to see that this person was a
kindly looking German who had the wondering air of a sight-seer. In
their leisurely itineraries they at last met in front of a small
bronze copy of a Roman horse marked with italics in Gard's guide
book.

The other looked, too, as if he wanted to speak, and his cheerful
countenance invited Kirtley's readiness to visit with someone. The
stranger was in appearance a prosperous man of about thirty-five,
blond, with a very small curling mustache under a small nose. Though
he kept smiling he still said nothing, as if doubtful of a first
advance.

Gard hesitated, then broke the ice.

"I don't know anything about Roman horses," he essayed. "I can't
tell whether this is a good thing or not." The other was affably
relieved and was soon pouring out information about the animal.

"Excuse me," he ventured, "but I raise horses on my estate and I
know a little about them. The Roman horse was, of course, smaller,
shorter, stockier, than our modern type. Small heads, short necks,
built closer to the ground. Just like the Roman himself. This is a
splendid example."

Seeing that Gard followed him he began again with:

"Excuse me." And he plunged into a minute, quite exhaustive,
discussion of the Latin specimen before them, as they walked round
and round to view it from all angles. Kirtley had never before
realized there were so many points--fine points--about this familiar
quadruped. The German showed why this animal could not speed, could
not make nearly as many miles a day as his present successor. But,
like the Roman, he had endurance and he was undoubtedly easier to
handle. There were the withers, the haunch, the hock, and a score of
other features upon which Gard's new acquaintance held forth,
introducing almost every remark with his rather embarrassed "excuse
me."

The astonishing Teuton erudition again! Gard had to marvel at it
once more. This German was, by rare exception, ingratiating. They
finally introduced themselves. Herr Furstenheimer of Wuerttemberg--a
farmer. Gard concluded he did not dislike Germans of the south.
Their temperaments, voices, manners, are somewhat softer than those
of the north.

"I haven't been in Cologne in twenty years," Furstenheimer
explained. "Just stopped off. I wonder if you--I see you too are a
tourist--happen to be going my way. Excuse me, but that would be
odd, wouldn't it?"

"Yes--I'm bound for Rotterdam."

"Rotterdam--- why so am I!" ejaculated the German in a happy moment.
"I'm on my way to visit my sister there. I haven't seen her for
years. It's really shameful. What train do you take?"

"The two o'clock. I wish you might be going along. One gets somewhat
bored traveling alone."

"I'm the same way. I like company. I had intended going on
to-night, but this Cologne one hears so much about is
disappointingly dull, isn't it? Nothing to see." They conversed in
German to Kirtley's linguistic satisfaction.

"But I'm stopping off at Aix-la-Chapelle," he had to say. "That's at
four. Then I'm taking the late train."

"What is there at Aix? I don't remember."

"I want to see Charlemagne's tomb."

"Oh, _so_? That can't be duller than Cologne, can it? I don't see
that I would be losing any time by it either. I'll tell you what
I'll do. If I decide to join you--and I hope I shall--you'll see me
at the two o'clock. But if I don't--well, Aufwiedersehen!--let us
hope--and I am delighted to have met you."

Gard was gratified when the sociable Wuerttemberger arrived at the
station. They went on to Aix in a compartment full of _militaires_.
The countryside, swimming in the sunlight, lay tidy and dimpling in
the gentle arms of a peace and prosperity that made the newspaper
talk of a campaign seem unreal and preposterous.

Furstenheimer appeared to have only the interests of a small
land-holder, and gossiped about his farm, his horses and prices. He
was not apparently concerned about the war excitement. Agriculture
in Wuerttemberg was more important. Like most Germans, whether there
was war or no war, seemed much the same thing with him. Either must
be taken naturally and philosophically like a state of Nature.
Furstenheimer was not fond of being away from home. To be frank, his
brother-in-law in Rotterdam had got into financial straits and his
own sister was ill. They had become almost strangers in the long
separation. And that was not right, _was_ it? He really had had to
go.

When they arrived at Aix--the German Aachen--they decided to leave
their grips in an inn, across the station Platz, so that they could
conveniently dine there and be near at hand for the express. Then
they started for the cathedral which, with its eleven centuries,
loomed under a lofty octagon from a low hill.



CHAPTER XXXIX

THE TOMB OF CHARLEMAGNE


In a few minutes the two travelers reached the side portal of the
hoary temple. It represented the seat of Charlemagne's political and
ecclesiastical power--the capitol of the ancient Franks. The door
was closed. A service was being held. It would be out at five
o'clock.

To occupy the interim Gard and his new friend went over to the
neighboring town hall, located on the site of the emperor's palace.
They found it a gay Gothic edifice, the roof flanked by two pert
towers. Inside they tiptoed about with silent respect in the immense
coronation gallery--one of the largest rooms in the world. Here the
medieval German emperors were crowned and imperial diets held.

When the tourists returned to the cathedral they met two young,
clean-shaven Germans, obviously travelers like themselves, also
wishing to enter. One was tall, the other short. While waiting for
the audience to file out, the four struck up a casual conversation
about the edifice. Gard, full of his guide book, was pleased to
inform them on a subject of which they pleaded ignorance.

They sauntered into the somber, august interior. Above were the
impressive stained glass windows, high-flung in the octagon.
Kirtley's binocular, strung over his shoulders, came in handy to the
others. The Germans seemed somewhat posted on stained glass (Teuton
erudition!) and with Gard's binocular they went off for an
inspection from the exterior.

He preferred to remain and contemplate alone the solemn scene about
him. It was an hour he had looked forward to. He wanted to recall
what he had read of this historic spot and the epic and romantic
associations here of the most celebrated of Carolingians.

In the mosaic flooring at his feet, as he sat down, was the
tombstone which (in the tradition) lies above the imperial victor
who sits below waiting with his scepter in his hand and his white
beard ever growing--the king of the Middle Ages. How many, many
potentates, great and small, during all the intervening centuries,
had bowed their heads and spoken words of reverence in the presence
of the only sepulchre remaining _in situ_ and intact of the
world-conquerors of antiquity! Of all these reputed soliloquies,
that of Don Carlos, in the spacious Alexandrines of Victor Hugo in
"Hernani," Gard remembered as being the most famous. He had heard
what a long and impressive recital it always is as one of the tests
of the dramatic actor at the Théâtre Français.

His thoughts ran on. Without Charlemagne's military successes, his
widespread reorganizations, the political and civil grandeur of his
acts, his picturesque journeys, his union of church and state, what
would the Dark Ages have been? In its mountains of fact and luring
mists of fable he had stood mighty and solitary, inspiring its
imagination, its legends, its superstitions, its songs. He was its
compelling figure. He it was who unified medievaldom and laid the
bases of what had since governed in western Europe and prevented it
from remaining a vast region of large and small tribes fighting
among themselves. And he alone, among the powerful military
chieftains of the old, old past, had died both peacefully and
undefeated.

Why, then, has he faded from view? This was an interesting question
to Kirtley. Why has Cæsar so outshone Charlemagne? Why are Homer and
Vergil, in comparison, coming ever more to the fore? Why has Dante
become the masterly profile of medievalism?

A significant answer had before occurred to Gard. These four
personages could _write_ marvelously well while Charlemagne could
scarcely even write his name. Had he been a great author, why would
not his fame be burning brightly like theirs? In every institution
of education their classic language is kept before both youth and
professor. Their cults accordingly grow. While the Frank so largely
shaped the Middle Ages and furnished leading motives for its
background, the Italian merely pictured it.

And yet the latter has become its most distinct luminary. His art
has surpassed in renown the medieval sword and crown. His pen is a
constant self-advertiser while those emblems of state fall to the
ground. Though every spot associated with the lives of Cæsar, of
Vergil, of Dante, is sought by student and sage, the tomb of
Charlemagne is being forgotten. Who knows that it exists or cares?
And is it all because he had no literary skill? A gigantesque
character, surrounded by his romantic paladins--Roland, Oliver,
Ganelon and the rest--his face turned alike toward west, east and
south--to France and Germany and Italy--he nevertheless has long
been sinking into the ever-darker shadows of a dulled obscurity....

Gard's friend and the other two Germans presently returned and
interrupted his ruminations. They had seen their fill and were
anxious to escape from this gray cavern of a dim oblivion. Outdoors
the party of four found the sun shining, but rain clouds were
hovering in the east. The strangers had plenty of time as they were
without a fixed itinerary. They were very agreeable and it was
suggested that all dine together. Would not a stroll in the environs
be meanwhile a suitable diversion?--out toward the attractive
Lousberg and its belvedere?

Herr Furstenheimer had indicated an inquiry to Kirtley as to whether
he would like to join the other two. Upon his signifying
affirmatively, the four walked northward. The flat face of one of
the young men Gard fancied he had seen before. It was, however, of a
somewhat familiar Teuton variety and lost in the maze of all the
German visages he had seen.

They idled along, recounting their exciting experiences in
traveling. Gard told of the wax image in the train as the singular
incident he had to offer. As it did not appear to appeal to the
curiosity of his companions, he dropped the subject. The Germans are
used to the grotesque and egregious.

At intervals the company changed about by twos, their hats coming
off frequently in the warmth of the evening. On reaching the top of
a small ascent, a summer inn there invited to cooling drinks. It was
a low-storied, straggling construction, with a large green yard and
trees. There were no guests as yet for the approaching meal time.

The cathedral acquaintances took one side of a table under the
branches, and the companionable Furstenheimer with Gard faced them.
With the beer they began comparing the parts of the world they
hailed from. Kirtley belonged to that distant land--America!
Incredible! He had traveled so far. It was a country the two
newcomers wished to visit. They could not credit the surprising
things they had heard concerning the United States. All was so odd
there.

The smaller German, with the broad face, having lost no time in
being full of compliments about Kirtley's accent, went on:

"You Americans learn our language better than we do yours. I could
never get the th in my school. You seem to _do_ everything so
differently in America, too. Now, there's your great game of cards,
for instance. I was on a boat once going down the Danube and some of
your compatriots were playing it. They called it--ach Gott!--what
did they call it? _You_ know."

"Poker," said Gard, amused.

"No, that isn't it."

"Bridge."

"No, the devil, why can't I think of it? They played it--if I had a
pack of cards I would show you what I mean. You could name it then."

The German called the attendant. The latter did not come. The other
hurried into the restaurant and came back waving a deck.

"Now I will try to show you. I can't do it well. I have never seen
it but once."

"Monte," said Gard. It was not the name the German recognized.
Kirtley laughed over this old county fair acquaintance. Three card
monte under the walls of Charlemagne's church! This was bringing the
ancient and the modern together with a vengeance. Furstenheimer
thought the game was droll. He had never seen any played like that.

"How can that be a game!" he exclaimed--"only three cards! You must
have left out something. It looks ridiculous. What's the point?"

"Why, you _bet_!" cried the dealer who was awkwardly manipulating
the cards. The two strangers wagered with each other, and the
Wuerttemberger at last got interested and bet first against one,
then the other. In a few minutes he had lost two hundred marks to
the dealer, and acted as if worried. The dealer won also from his
associate, but not so readily.

"A gambler, and playing clumsily to fool me," Gard had promptly said
to himself. He endeavored to save his friend from falling deeper
into the toils. He nudged him under the table, but the Teuton
stupidly understood nothing. He kept on, more and more distraught,
losing money, then groaning about it and wiping his trickling and
distressed countenance.

When the dealer finally saw that Kirtley would not wager, he grew
noisy.

"Not to play your own national game--is it polite, I say?" He
flaunted the cards before Gard.

"I do not bet," Kirtley repeated as pleasantly as he could, and the
tall German tried to quiet his mate.

The rain, which had been brewing, presently began to come down and
was breaking up the sport. They agreed to dine in the inn and go
back to town when the downpour was over. Gard's friend squared
accounts--four hundred and eighty marks passed across. He looked
unhappy enough. But the dealer was still far from satisfied because
the American had not played. The German had won from the other two.
Could he not win from an American in an American game? He had been
eager to wager at one turn all the money he had gained.

"A pair of cheap gamblers," Gard repeated to himself. He wished his
foolish friend from Wuerttemberg had kept out of it. They were here
on the edge of a strange city, in an unknown inn, at nightfall. It
showed that Furstenheimer was a green country man who, as he
admitted, had seldom been away from home. He had not even seen his
neighboring Rhine in years.

The rain was now pelting them and they scurried indoors.



CHAPTER XL

THE END OF A LITTLE GAME


The short German had worked himself up into an irritable state. He
led the way about the arrangements for dining, his tall friend all
the while mildly attempting to soothe his ruffled feelings.
Furstenheimer, appearing much crest-fallen, meekly followed their
wishes.

A private room must be had, the dealer announced. They took a
detached one with the door opening out toward the highway. Each one
of the three proposed to have a favorite dish from his province.

The little German grew more fussy. He condemned the restaurant
manager and got at loggerheads with the waiter. He must at least
have a Mecklenburg salad as he came from Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The
waiter did not know what it was and the irascible Teuton informed
him bluntly that he was a _Dummkopf_. The card player would make it
himself and all must do him the honor of eating it. He proclaimed in
a loud voice that it was the superior of all salads. He had won at
cards, the money stuck out of his pockets. He was triumphant and
becoming insolent.

Kirtley wished he were out of this company. He opened the outside
door a moment for fresh air. He noticed that the door had a spring
lock. The rain was coming down in torrents. And he ought not to
abandon his naïve friend.

The repast was begun by drinking the prevailing toast to Der Tag!
His companions now talked openly about the threatening war, and
Gard, who had not seen a paper since morning, did not know that
hostilities were at last in the way of breaking out. From the
conversation he could but judge that all Belgium and northern France
were to be made German. This seemed simple and inevitable through
all the blustering and bragging. England--America--did not appear to
cut any figure. They had no armies, hence they were negligible.

When the company got down to the Mecklenburg salad, the clamorous
German expatiated about it at length as he began his bustling
preparations for its manufacture.

"One of the great points of my salad is plenty of pepper." With a
flourish he grabbed the little pepper box to suit the action to the
words, and nothing came out. It was empty.

"Waiter, waiter, bring some pepper, you stupid _Kerl_. Don't you
know enough to set the table properly?"

Another pepper receptacle was brought, but it would not work. It was
stopped up.

"Gott im Himmel! waiter, you idiot, bring some _pepper_ and be quick
about it." And the swaggerer began abusing him, the inn and
inferentially men who would not wager in a social little card game.
The servitor raced in, mad and muttering, and banged down a big can
of the much desired condiment. At last, Gott sei Dank! there was
pepper by the wholesale. The salad proceeded on its troubled course.

"You like our Germany--yes?" was inserted. Kirtley assured the three
that he had had a pleasant year.

"Our Germany is a great country," explained the tall Teuton in a
high, cracked voice. "And after the war it will be a much greater
country." He was flushed with drink like the other two. The Germans
lifted their glasses again to Der Tag, and Gard, their guest, joined
in half-heartedly. There was this time an ugly firmness showing in
the demonstration that he did not fancy. He was frankly
uncomfortable. His companions did not like it because he drank
sparingly in spite of all the vehement urging.

The salad proved to be a wonderful dish, hot and strong, fit for the
iron stomach of a "blond beast." It not only bit but was
provocative. In the growing conviviality the subject leaped from
salad to cards. The winner took out his money. He began shaking it
in Gard's eyes, insisting once more on wagering it that his American
friend could not pick the card. With the _demi-tasses_ and cigars he
ordered the deck and table. He started the game, having locked out
the blockhead of a waiter and dropped the key into his own pocket.

Gard would not play. His ire was rising. The small German declared
himself mistreated. He jumped up from the table and burst out in a
tirade against shoddy Americans. This brought each man to his feet.
The dealer, violent and familiar, put his hands on Gard.

"You are a dollar American and dare not bet."

"Please keep your hands off me," cried Kirtley and drew back,
shaking with the affront. The German persisted and Gard's football
days stood him in good stead. He knocked him down. At this the mask
was thrown off.

"Get his passport!" yelled the dealer on the floor. The other two
began to draw weapons and started toward Kirtley. He was almost
unnerved. His genial Wuerttemberg friend a spy! It was the _Secret
Service_.

As he stepped back, thunderstruck, his hand grazed the big pepper
can which had been left on the side table. It sent an inspiration
whizzing through his brain. He whisked off its unfastened top,
grabbed a handful of pepper, and with a swing of the kind he used to
use in his throws from left field to home plate--let go with all his
force.

The aim was true. The pepper swept into the eyes and mouths of the
two men. The other was half lying on the floor near their feet and
he also received a dose. Pepper filled their side of the room and
blinded them as they sneezed and groped about in pain. Gard bolted
for the outer, self-locking door and, almost before he realized it,
was out in the highway in the rain, heading away from the city and
in the direction of the Dutch border which, he knew, lay not far
away.



CHAPTER XLI

ARE THEY HUNS?


It was an instinctive move to get out of Deutschland--raucous,
hostile Deutschland, lying athwart his soul. But his grip? his
overcoat? his umbrella? He faced back toward the town. His mind was
in a tumult. No, he must make for the frontier at all hazards. The
Germans, whenever they recovered, would naturally expect him to
return for his articles and would watch them or have them watched.
He felt for his passport, money, trunk check. They were safe. He was
sure his trunk would be at the border for him. He turned about and
began running. The bellowing condition of the agonized sleuths and
the locked door would enable him to get a good start under the cover
of the darkness and storm.

When almost breathless he stopped running and walked forward
rapidly. There was no travel in his direction. But he had to dodge
frequent oncoming vehicles with men and materials of some kind. They
were being concentrated at Aix--a main distributing point for the
invasion of Belgium.

He was wet through, yet hot as a furnace. The cooling rain was
grateful. The loss of his grip and things would be inconvenient, not
serious. He began running again. Then he walked as fast as he could.
He was more and more convinced that those Germans would count on his
going back for his belongings. They would not imagine that a dollar
American would leave his possessions and hoof it to the Dutch
Limberg on a night like this.

His brain was on fire. He thought of everything. Furstenheimer had
been a trailing sleuth. He had fooled Kirtley completely. It was a
masterly piece of work. Gard metaphorically took off his hat to the
German Secret Service. Notwithstanding the Jim Deming episode and
Anderson's animadversions, this had been a highly expert
demonstration of the art.

Gard's mind went over his whole trip from Eisenach, trying to find
where his suspicions should have been more aroused. He could
discover no loophole where any unflattering dullness on his part was
particularly at fault. He had made rather the most advances at
Cologne to the self-styled Furstenheimer with his Roman horse.

How casually, too, the two confederates had been picked up at the
cathedral! Their intelligent interest in stained glass! Very clever.
All had been wonderfully clever. He now saw that when Furstenheimer
left him at Cologne to decide about joining him, and also when the
three had gone off to inspect the windows, there had been ample time
to perfect their scheme.

His passport! What on earth could they want of that! In the German
way they had used a steam hammer to crack a hickory nut. No one in
1914 had an inkling of what service American passports were to be to
the Kaiser's Government. The world was soon to rub its eyes over
Germany's treacherous, fiendish, employment of chemicals both on
documents and on humans. Lackadaisical mankind did not then dream of
the thoroughness and elaboration with which Deutschland was
preparing her many deep and diabolical designs.

Toward dawn Gard, pretty well winded and in a bath of perspiration,
trudged along more slowly while his thoughts streamed precipitately
ahead under the pressure of the stupefying developments. He now knew
who the little German was. He was that rigid, whiskered, military
person in the train from Eisenach! The same flat, wide-lobed nose.
He had not guessed it before because the face, clear of a beard, had
really suggested in Aix (he now realized) that of the typical shaven
Teuton waiter. But why had the spy traveled in such a stiff and
mysterious fashion? Likely to locate the passport--find out whether
it was then being carried in the grip or on Kirtley's person. In
some way--probably from the manner in which the grip had been
handled--the sleuth had convinced himself it was kept in a pocket.

Although Gard could not clearly make it out, the puppet must have
been an ingenious device to mislead. The ridiculous card dealer,
going through all his mock part with such desperate earnestness,
could very well have conceived this eccentric project. Would anyone
outside Germany have believed in such use of a stuffed figure? The
maneuver succeeded in a fashion, for Gard had not been as shrewd as
he imagined in taking the auto from Heidelberg. He may have caused a
change in tactics, but he had simply fallen into the hands of
Furstenheimer in the museum. The leisurely stroll, the game of
cards, the badgering over the betting, everything, had been fully
worked out. Somehow, through it all, they were to deprive him of his
state paper--likely when he had become intoxicated, as was evidently
planned.

But the revelation about the Buchers! That was the finishing blow.
"Dastards!" Gard hurled out the word. It was not only Rudi but his
parents who had followed his leadership. The son's surprising
concern over the passport, their insistence on seeing about his
route and his ticket, Rudi's persistence about suggestions for
carrying the document--all was now plain. It must be that war was
coming and Rudi knew it.

Dastards! To betray their guest, to cause him to go through this
miserable experience, endanger his health when he had lately been in
a sick bed! Their kind hospitality, their flush demonstrations of
friendliness, their little presents! This was the final mark that,
to Gard Kirtley, branded the German as only a partly reclaimed Goth.

Perhaps the atmosphere of restraint he had detected in the Buchers
at the last, amid all their cordial expressions and deeds, was due
to the changed rôle they then knew they were playing as against an
American "pig." At their frontier all human relations--obligations,
honor, amicability, trust, good faith, religion--were exchangeable
for brutality and dastardly brutality.

Yet who in 1914 would have believed such things? It was the case of
old Rome asleep, with barbarians swarming in Europe. Gard kept
coming back to the sole word for it all--Hun!--in the Anderson
definition.

And what to do with the Huns--about them? Can the world ever get on
a genuine, fraternal basis for living with them? Can they ever be
made to become like other people? These questions kept surging
through his mind as he hurried along.

When Holland was reached that morning, his passport was declared
impeccable and his faithful trunk caused him no trouble. Although
the war excitement was seizing that region he fortunately met no
delay in getting to the coast. Once out of Deutschland he felt
amazingly well despite the weariness of his exhausting night. He
concluded that the vigorous exercise and sweating he had been
through had steamed out of him the vileness he had found in Germany.
It acted like a rejuvenating process. Gard now seemed to himself
like a clean, new man. He _was_ to be a new man.



CHAPTER XLII

THE ANTI-CHRISTIANS?


In England, when war came, the confusion was unbelievable. All that
Gard had seen, heard, gone through in Deutschland proved the
awfulness of the Force flung against Europe which had stupidly
considered itself civilized.

He was burning to enlist. But what a chagrin to find his services
not wanted! The only satisfaction he could get lay in the suggestion
to wait. The more he was put off, the more he was bent on reaching
the firing line.

In his enforced and impatient idleness he took out his German note
book and began writing letters to Rebner in America, thus giving
partial vent to his own feelings. The following brief extracts were
written first as he went about different camps, offering himself,
then at the front:

    _England, October, 1914._

    ... You know how I went to Germany at your urging, with every
    favorable impulse toward the Germans. But you had little idea
    what they are. If our fellow-Americans realized what was thought
    and said of them beyond the Rhine, they would be in battle now.

    As there is no prospect of our Government wanting fighting men,
    I am trying to get into the English service. No success yet....

    How could you, my good mentor, be so in error about the race
    from which you sprang? Had you been in Germany, the scales would
    have dropped from your eyes. You have never lived with the
    Germans there--only read the best about the "most advanced" of
    mankind. They are so different from our American-Germans. You
    did not know that the educated Teuton at home is apt to be dirty
    in his person and habits, eats with his knife, walks before
    women, kicks his children about, has coarse or vulgar ideas on
    female chastity, enjoys the obscene, has no good words to say of
    anyone beyond his boundaries.

    Pray do not fancy I am pretending to chide _you_. Weren't we all
    like you in America, dazzled before what apparently we were
    humbly ready to admit as the super-race? And yet in a multitude
    of ways it is so obviously a people set off by itself in much
    barbarism. There is its Gothic script which offends the eye
    somewhat like outlandish runes. Its very language growls and
    snorts at you, sounds threatening as if angry--pardon me for
    these sentences! There are its mud-colored towns and
    architecture, its rude life, rough skinned, hairy, ferocious,
    with tastelessness prevailing.

    The German imagination is never shot through with clear, happy
    sunshine. The German emotions are distinctively expressed by
    thumpings in some form. The Teuton's inability to see himself as
    another sees him--is this not, above all, the stamp of an
    under-civilized people?...

       *       *       *       *       *

    _England, October, 1914._

    ... Do not think I am unduly harsh, prejudiced, revengeful. I am
    trying to write in measured terms of what has been forced in
    upon me and my attention against my wish or expectations.

    I have met but one American who said that war was at hand and
    knew what the Germans really are at home. He was an elderly
    journalist in Dresden who was jeered at until he almost imagined
    himself mentally unbalanced. Others thought him so, at any rate.

    But Anderson was a true prophet. Dear isolated, desolated soul!
    I wonder where he is now. I wonder if he got out safely. How I
    wish I could grasp his hand and say, How wise were your
    convictions!

    Like myself he had gone to Deutschland to admire and love the
    Germans. But he found what I found--an astonishing amount of
    ruthlessness. How could one expect that the ultimate
    world-justice and world-humanity were to evolve out of a race to
    which the army, armed soldiers and statesmen clad in steel,
    stand for so much?

    How could anything of universal good come from a people who
    consider nothing from the viewpoint of a kindly common
    brotherhood? Contempt, intolerance, physical force, are what
    they gloat over in international relations. I discovered that
    when they must ask pardon or make amends, they do so with bad
    grace. They do not take a magnanimous and frank satisfaction or
    pleasure in righting a wrong.

    You would not believe how lacking their character is in the
    capacity for penitence, for atonement. We will never see them
    sorry for any of their present enormities. The still, small
    voice in them has not been allowed to develop. Their notion of
    ethics is so different that it is inadmissible from our
    standards.

    To be sensitive, grieve, suffer morally, is apart from their
    normal consciousness. For all this tender and beautiful side of
    human nature they substitute only the discomforted feelings of
    defeat. No matter how this present conflict ends, he who looks
    for any sympathetic actions or noble regrets from them will be
    dumfounded....

       *       *       *       *       *

    _England, November, 1914_.

    Hurrah! I am at last, after disappointments and frettings, under
    way for Flanders. Lo, I am become, as it were, an Englishman!
    The British now see the full peril and are taking almost any
    kind of men, and I'm going along. I suppose it is because I am
    so keyed up that I feel so well. I'm surprised at myself. I
    guess I must have, after all, a little good Anglo-Saxon grit in
    me.

    I am trying to write this scrawl to you on a round milk
    container in a camp near London. We are not permitted to tell
    where....

    As I was on the point of saying in my last letter, Jesus is
    never a watchword in Germany. The Nazarene meekness makes small
    appeal there. All is Gott. The Teuton regards Christ as too much
    of a weakling. Had He an army? Could He shoot, as all Germans
    can? He would not fight and therefore was properly destroyed.
    If His foolish ideas were followed, the weak would eventually
    rule the earth whereas, to the German mind, the strong should
    manifestly rule the earth. The strongest are the fittest, and
    the fittest should alone survive.

    To the Goth the Christian religion and philosophy are baneful,
    baleful. As the result of their feeble policy was not Christ
    followed--the Germans claim--by the Dark Ages when mankind was
    obsessed by His superstitious worship? Lifting men out of this
    morass, the proper practical, scientific and warlike forces came
    at length into play and we have the magnificent modern régime
    whose basis is armed strength.

    Hence--it is argued--Germany came into her own and inevitably
    leads the world. She represents the perfection of organized
    physical and mental powers which are the antitheses of the
    Christ ideal.

    And so you never hear much in Deutschland about Peace and Good
    Will, Do as You would be Done by, Faith, Hope and Charity and
    the greatest of these is Charity. Such Christian texts and
    mottoes, which fill our American homes, churches and public
    places, are little in evidence in Germany because they do not
    enter into the life. The popular nomenclature is pagan rather
    than Biblical. Already in this war we behold the Kaiser drawing
    his names for forts and trenches from his wild pagan mythology,
    not from Christian sources. And in Deutschland, acts in the
    field count for so much more than words in the pulpit.

    If the Huns win, Teuton hate will, of course, succeed Christian
    love as the human creed. Friendship, as we know it, will largely
    cease to exist. Friends will be those who can be cowed into
    truculence or bought. There will be no truth, justice, equity,
    in our meaning. Only the will or whim of the Emperor. His State
    Church, with its worship of Him, will grow as _the_ church.

    Everything that southern and western Europe stands for, from
    ancient Greece to the northern points of Scotland and Ireland
    (with America in addition)--beauty, loveableness, the
    brightness of life with its joyousness, gayety, grace,
    charm--will be stamped down under the metallic heels of the
    Kaiser's battalions and bureaucrats....

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Boulogne, January, 1915_.

    After what I have written you from Germany, and since, about my
    unexpected disillusionment, you will ask me:

    "Well, enough of this. What ought to be done or can be done
    about it?"

    I am thinking about a solution. Not original, for its framework
    was suggested by my old journalistic friend. I will send you an
    outline of his idea as he gave it to me one day. All that he
    said and prophesied has come so direfully true that I have now
    full faith and confidence in his vision and practical sense on
    the subject of the Goth race. For he _lived_ and observed among
    them seven years.

    That's the great point--_living together_. And I do not mean
    living together when people are mature or old but when
    _young_--when minds, sympathies, etc., are plastic and pliable.
    As long as the young Germans are kept home--never sent abroad
    unless as spies in some form--the Teutons will remain Huns.

    Granted that they can't help it if they are born with the Hun
    strain in their blood which their education or instruction not
    only preserves but enrages. Admit that they want any barbarism
    eliminated from their veins. That would be an important point
    over which our world should hold out to them the glad hand....

    Don't be offended, but the best thing that I learned in college
    was to throw well from left field. At any rate it saved my life,
    I suppose, at Aix. And I've grown wonderfully fond of pepper. It
    braces a chap for this Iceland wind that howls down upon us at
    times. We call baseball and football a part of education. Good,
    brave things. The Germans don't have them because they have only
    "instruction."

    From what I observed beyond the Rhine, education is a growth in
    free and liberal countries. As we are seeing in the war, German
    instruction turns out experts, but also intellectual monsters
    and scientific fiends--instructed heathens....

    Strange to say, I don't believe I could have stood this
    existence here if my system had not got a good cleansing out
    when I was sick. I am all the time thinking about the Huns. And
    it is strictly necessary hereabouts.



CHAPTER XLIII

THE TEUTON PROBLEM. A SOLUTION


    _Flanders, a Mudhole, February, 1915._

    ... Is not my old friend Anderson's plan the only natural,
    practical, efficient method by which to humanize their barbarous
    instincts? Assuming that they will be defeated, as they _must_
    be, the Anderson project, as you see, is that a permanent
    arrangement must be offered them, and if necessary enforced upon
    them, whereby a multitude of young German men and women shall be
    sent yearly to foreign democratic lands to _live_ and be
    educated there for a period. By attractive scholarships, by
    pecuniary inducements or by any of a number of programmes, young
    Germans can be tempted to this step. In living and studying,
    before middle age, under free and liberal conditions, they will
    begin looking at foreigners in a friendly, or what we should
    call a Christian, manner. After awhile, after generations
    perhaps, this leaven will work in the thick, tough, sour Teuton
    dough. It will transform the people. They will gradually become
    allies at heart instead of remaining hostiles.

    As it is now, the German eats, drinks, bathes, and nauseatingly
    does other elemental things much as he did a hundred years ago,
    because he receives his instruction in his homeland with the
    idea, not only complacent but aggressive, that his habits are
    the best. And this is for the reason that he has seen no other
    kind when young. Do you think, for instance, that a youthful
    German, after living in the freedom of our young sexes, would
    return to the Rhine and long be content with the iron-like
    Teuton customs in love, courtship and marriage?

    A youthful person is apt to admire the people among whom he is
    staying a long while for the reason that, under such
    circumstances, aliens are kind. He will always take pride in
    these foreign connections, pride in what he has learned abroad.
    He will think himself more fortunate and more advanced than his
    fellow stay-at-homes. The young German, becoming used to more
    amiable modes of existence, would naturally become more or less
    fond of them. A broader, more human social spirit--the true
    social spirit--would get a hold in him.

    I would go further than my friend Anderson. I would have _all_
    civilized countries adopt this plan with one another as well as
    with Germany. The trouble with civilization, as seen in this
    war, is that no people understands or truly sympathizes with any
    foreign nation--not even among the Allies. They are strangers
    because they have been kept strangers. This creates suspicion,
    envy, enmity, for they have not in any noticeable degree lived
    together. They do not know one another's customs, habits,
    perspectives. As a result, armies, navies, tariffs, treaties
    backed by force, are necessary to hold civilization precariously
    in shape--and at what colossal effort, anxiety, expense? The
    different languages, literatures, arts, educations, religions,
    should become familiar to large numbers in each race and be the
    open, peaceful highways back and forth instead of, as now,
    barriers.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Flanders, another Mudhole, February, 1915._

    ... I see the woeful, tragic need for this international
    co-education all around us here at the front. The Canadians,
    Australians, English, French, all quarreling back and forth and
    pulling against one another as unfriendly strangers.

    Germany is giving--has given--one great lesson to them all and
    to us Americans at home. And that is, IN UNION THERE IS
    STRENGTH.

    After this war the tremendous question before the world will be:

    _How are we going to live with the Germans?--how get on with
    them?_

    The only true and gracious solution I can see is--_To associate
    and study together when young_! Would not you--would not
    everyone--agree that this interchange in education, which would
    not be very troublesome or expensive, is a true manner in which
    to remove from the German make-up its savage, destructive animus
    toward mankind? In order really to change a race, the work must
    be done from the inside outward. And this means _some_ form of
    education, not merely victories, edicts, Leagues.

    Let or make the Teutons be associated with gentler cultures than
    their own. What if it does take a hundred, two hundred, years!
    What is that compared with having the German problem and menace
    unsolved in the future as in the past?

    Such young German missionaries year after year, as I have
    indicated, would be bringing back something of sweetness and
    light to their stubborn, irascible folk. The powerful and
    exacerbated bias of this folk toward the _echt Deutsch_ would be
    neutralized and mollified under the contact of its youths with
    dispositions making for kindliness and courtesy. Confessedly the
    stoutest race prejudices lie with those who have never stepped
    outside their own boundaries.

    It is true this plan, in a small way, was tried under the
    exchange of professors scheme. But the Kaiser won out in that
    because his professors were too old and, it develops, were
    simply his emissaries with hostile inclinations and intent. It
    would appear that most of the young Americans who are partly
    educated in Germany are pro-German. Had they gone to England or
    France, they would be pro-British or pro-French.

    It is now being shown that the German's education or instruction
    does not do away with the Hun element in him. The logical thing,
    then, is to try foreign education on him. He needs to learn in
    other countries, and to _live out_, their meanings of good faith
    and a give-and-take, manly spirit. For he at present considers
    it right to have no respect for his own spoken word to
    foreigners, or even his written word.

    This is his old habit of the tribal fanatic. To lie to, to
    cheat, to steal from, to kill, aliens is no admitted sin in the
    moral decalogue of the Germans when an advantage can be derived.
    Murder, senseless destruction, violation of women, obscenity, do
    not therefore horrify them. If you as a foreigner strike the
    metallic shield of their character, no resounding ringing of
    what we know as conscience is heard, because extreme erudition
    in Germany largely takes the place of moral feelings. "Science
    without con_science_ is the death of man." And the women and
    State religion are as Hunnish as the males. All these influences
    make for war.

    This conscienceless dullness, or immense hollowness, in the
    Teuton people always suggests to me an eggshell encased in the
    pomp of steel. Should they be defeated, I feel that the nation
    may cave in tremendously, horribly. How can it be otherwise with
    a race that never sees anything foolish in itself, and
    exaggerates the core of its costly army and bureaucracy at the
    expense of the kernel?

    By living abroad a part of their study years the young Germans
    would little by little come to prefer to substitute amity for
    armaments, confident trust for suspicion, love as a motto
    instead of hate. For they would see that other peoples are
    worthy to live. They would learn more chivalry toward women and
    children, the beautiful significance of humanity and of
    universal brotherhood. They would learn that what they call
    weakness desirably lends delicacy, tenderness, spiritual and
    moral loveliness to existence which the coarse bigness and
    bow-wowness of the German ideal itself will never attain....

When March came, and the birds flew back to find no trees, no grass,
no flowers, Gard Kirtley, in his spring-time of life, stepped out
from his dugout in Flanders with a gun, and faced the Huns of the
northeast. He was prepared to greet Death which is the fruit of old
age but which in youth appears as with a crown of laurel.


THE END





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