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Title: A War-time Journal, Germany 1914 and German Travel Notes
Author: Jephson, Harriet Julia
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A War-time Journal, Germany 1914 and German Travel Notes" ***

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                          A WAR-TIME JOURNAL

                             GERMANY 1914
                          GERMAN TRAVEL NOTES

                [Illustration: ENGLISCHE KRIEGSFÜHRUNG
                  (_How the Englishman makes war._)]

                           WAR-TIME JOURNAL
                             GERMANY 1914
                          GERMAN TRAVEL NOTES


                             LADY JEPHSON

                       'LETTERS TO A DÉBUTANTE'

                      ELKIN MATHEWS, CORK STREET
                                M CM XV


Prefaces are rarely read, yet I have the hardihood to venture on this
one because there are certain things in connection with my journal
which it is necessary to explain. On returning from Germany, although
urged by my friends to publish the story of my experiences, I refused,
fearing to do anything which in the smallest degree might prejudice
the case of those still in captivity. There came a day, nevertheless,
when I read that all English people had left "Altheim." The papers
announced that men under forty-five had been interned at Ruhleben, and
those over that age had been sent to Giessen. There seemed, therefore,
no possible object in further withholding the journal, since, after
all, there was nothing in it which could by any possibility affect the
fate of others less fortunate than I. Accordingly I sent my manuscript
to the _Evening Standard_, which accepted it, and published the first
couple of pages. Then, in deference to the wishes of people whose
relations were still at "Altheim" (having been sent back from
Giessen), I stopped my diary. However, in view of the daily
revelations in the Press as regards prisoners in Germany, I have come,
after seven months, to the conclusion that nothing I can say will in
any degree make the condition of prisoners there worse. Meanwhile it
is of supreme interest to compare the opinions and conduct of Germans
at the beginning of the war with what they express and observe now. My
journal is simply a record made each day of my detention, and although
it has no pretension to being literature, it is at least a truthful
picture of the state of things as we in Altheim saw them at the
beginning of the war. For obvious reasons the place of detention has
been given a fictitious name.

                                           HARRIET J. JEPHSON.



A WAR-TIME JOURNAL                                           11


  "TAKIN' NOTES"                                             67


  SCHLANGENBAD                                               84

  LIEBENSTEIN                                                90

  TRÈVES                                                     96

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


ENGLISCHE KRIEGSFÜHRUNG                        _Frontispiece_
  (_How the Englishman makes war._)

  (_England finds troops to help her._)

  I. IN KANADA                                        17
    (_Behold the German idea of a Canadian._)

  II. IN POLYNESIEN                                   33
    (_The German idea of an Australian._)

  III. NUR IN LONDON NICHT                            49
    _But not in London!_

_These illustrations are reproduced from German newspapers._

                          A WAR-TIME JOURNAL:
                             GERMANY, 1914

VILLA BUCHHOLZ, ALTHEIM, _August 1st._--Last night a herald went round
the town and roused everyone, blowing his trumpet and crying, "Kommen
Sie heraus! Kommen Sie alle fort!" This was a call to the reservists,
all of whom are leaving Altheim. To-day the crowd cheered madly, sang
"Heil Dir im Sieger Kranz," and "Deutschland über alles," showing the
utmost enthusiasm. To my horror, I find that the banks here refuse
foreign cheques, and will have nothing to do with letters of credit. I
have very little ready money with me, and the situation is not a
pleasant one!

_August 2nd._--Germany has declared war against Russia! All men old
enough to serve are leaving to join the army. Proclamations are
posted up in the Park Strasse, and crowds are standing in tense
anxiety in groups, discussing matters with grave faces. We don't know
how to get away, since all trains are to be used only for the troops
while "mobilmachung" is going on. People have got as far as the
frontier and been turned back there, and some who left Altheim
yesterday are still at Frankfort. I tried to buy an English paper in
the town, and was told that none were to be had until England had made
up her mind what she was going to do! We think of motor-cars to the
frontier, or the Rhine boat.

_August 3rd._--Alas! all steamers on the Rhine are stopped and
motor-cars are impossible, because an order has come out that
petroleum is to be reserved for the Government. I made another attempt
to cash a cheque to-day, and again the bank refused. A Russian who
stood beside me was desperate. He spoke execrable French, and cried
excitedly: "Comment donc! je ne puis pas quitter le pays et j'ai une
famille et trois femmes!" Poor Bluebeard! his "trois femmes" (wife and
daughters) looked terrified and miserable. Our position is incredible
and most serious. Still, one cannot but admire the glorious spirit of
sacrifice and patriotism which animates all classes of the German
people. Just what it was in the war of 1813, when women even cut off
their hair and sold it to help their country.

_August 4th._--Troops are marching through the streets and leaving for
the Front all day long. The ladies of Altheim go to the station as the
trains pass through, and give the soldiers coffee, chocolate, cigars,
and zwiebacks. They get much gratitude, and the men say (poor deluded
mortals): "Wir kriegen für Sie" (We fight for you). I saw poor Frau
G---- (my doctor's wife) to-day. She was quite calm, but looked
miserable. Her eldest son, Dr. T----, left for the front this morning.
I sympathised, and she said, choking back a sob: "Man gibt das beste
für das Vaterland" (one gives one's best for the Fatherland). No
letters come, nor papers; and we are only allowed to send postcards
written in German.

_August 5th._--Our baker has gone to the war, and Dr. G---- 's butler;
the schools have shut up, so many masters having been called upon to
fight. Even learned professors turn soldiers in this country, and
most of the weedy cabhorses here have left Altheim to serve their
"Fatherland." My Bade-Frau's husband has gone to the front, and so has
our Apotheke; there are no porters left at the station, and a jeweller
is doing duty as station-master! The Red Cross Society meet daily, and
make preparations for the care of wounded men. Hospitals, private
houses, and doctors' houses are getting ready, and all motors have
been put at the State's disposal. Insane hatred against Russia exists,
and the Russians here are not enjoying themselves! My position is most
serious: no money, and no return ticket!

_August 6th._--I went out early in quest of news, and looked in at
K---- and L----'s. A young clerk, pale with excitement and anger, in
reply to my question: "Gibt es etwas neues?" literally hissed at me:
"England hat Krieg erklärt" (England has declared war). It was an
awful moment, although one was prepared for it in a measure, feeling
sure that England would be faithful to her bond.

Next came the Press announcements, "Das unglaubliche ist Tatsache
geworden" (The unbelievable is become an accomplished fact). "England,
who poses as the guardian of morality and all the virtues, sides with
Russia and assassins!" Abuse of Sir Edward Grey, of our Government,
and of all things English, follows. When vituperation fails, the
"Frankfurter Zeitung" reminds its readers that, after all, such
conduct is only what may be expected from "Die historische Perfide
Albions." That it is a blow none the less is shown by more than one
newspaper beginning "Das Schlimmste ist geschehen." (The worst has
happened.) Miss M----, Miss H----, and I went to the "Prince of
Wales's Hotel" to see Mr. S----, who had made out a list of the
English in Altheim, and tried to telephone to our Consul in Frankfort
to ask what he was going to do for our rescue. The telephone people
refused to send the message because we were English! Mr. S---- and
other men here are doing all they can to secure a train when the
mobilisation is over. He advised us to pack up and be ready to start,
also not to show ourselves out of doors much, as there is the greatest
fury and indignation at present against the English, and to be careful
what we said and did. We are all terribly anxious, and it is rather
trying for me, as I am the only woman in the place quite alone.

_August 7th._--Still no help! Innumerable wild rumours are flying
about. They say that those who left Altheim have all come back, unable
to get farther than Frankfort. We are beginning to feel hopeless.
Nothing about England is in the German papers, and, of course, we see
no others. It is quite terrible being without news. Last night there
was great scrubbing and scraping of Altheim shop windows, and all the
notices: "English spoken here" have disappeared.

There is a mania about spies in Frankfort, we hear, and some Americans
yesterday were very roughly handled because their motor bore a French
maker's name. The Americans have returned to Altheim, and their motor
has been taken to fight for the Fatherland! Our situation is dreadful,
but we are keeping up brave hearts. Every day a fresh "Bekanntmachung"
(notice) appears; that of to-day was addressed to the children and
called upon them to gather in the harvest, the workers having gone as
soldiers and turned their "pruning hooks" into swords. My postcards
written in German have all come back. One cannot communicate with
anyone outside Altheim. What a position! God in His mercy help us! It
seems so strange to see German troops marching to the tune of "God
Save the King," yet it is Germany's National Anthem too, and these are
the words they sing to it:--

    "Heil Dir im Sieger Kranz,
    Herrscher des Vaterlands,
    Heil Kaiser Dir!" etc.

[Illustration: IN KANADA
(_Behold the German idea of a Canadian_)]

A "Warnung" has now been affixed to trees in the Avenue forbidding
Russians, English, French or Belgians to go within 100 metres of the
station. The Russians are being hardly used, but so far Germans are
quite nice to us. Mrs. N---- tells me a gruesome tale of a Russian
lady who left her hotel for Russia smiling, well dressed, and happy.
At Giessen all Russians were turned out of the train and put into a
waiting-room, and locked up there without any convenience of food,
drink, or beds for the night. The following morning they were told to
come out and soldiers marched them several miles into the country to a
farm-house. Some of the poor creatures were faint from want of food,
and others had heart disease, and fell exhausted in the road, the
soldiers prodding them with their bayonets to make them get up! After
several hours' detention there, they were brought back to Altheim,
where the poor lady arrived a pitiable wreck! What an experience! I
have been packed up for days!

_August 8th._--I went into the Park Strasse this morning to buy a
"Frankfurter Zeitung." Outside the shop where I bought it some
American women stood gazing at a map of the war, and one said: "I am
_disgusted_ with England, just disgusted. So degrading of her to help
a country like Russia, and side with assassins, just degrading! All we
Americans despise her now." I thought to myself: "If I go to prison
for it, I will not allow anyone to call my country 'degraded and
disgusting.'" So I said, trembling with wrath, "There is nothing
'degrading' in being honourable, nor despicable in keeping true to
your word. England promised to protect Belgium's frontier, and she is
bound to do it."

Several Germans were gathered round the map, and they scowled at me
until I faced them calmly and said: "Jeder man für sein Land" (Every
man for his country), and they answered quite civilly: "Gewiss!"
(Certainly). The Americans in Altheim, I found afterwards, were
chiefly of German extraction, which accounted for the woman's

Early this morning three men arrived to search my room for weapons. I
was in bed, but they pushed past the maid Käthchen, forced their way
in, pried into every corner, and departed. Emile the housemaid here
has _four_ brothers at the war. Dreadful rumours are flying about as
to our destination. One day we hear we are to go to Denmark, another
to Holland. Sometimes we are told that we shall not be allowed to
leave Germany until the war is over; again that we shall be sent away
at a moment's notice; that we shall be left at the frontier, and have
to walk for six hours, and carry our own luggage, etc.

The German papers are perfectly horrible in their violent abuse of
England, and we are so miserably anxious, not about ourselves, but
about our dear, dear country, and how she is faring. Käthchen said
this morning, "Die deutschen in Ausland sind sehr schlecht behandelt"
(Germans abroad are very badly treated). "See how well the foreigners
are treated _here_," by way of impressing upon me how thankful I ought
to be for my mercies.

_August 9th._--No papers! No news! No letters! No money! All of us are
more or less packed up ready to start. We are warned that no heavy
luggage can go with us, and are limited to two small "hand Gepäck,"
which we can carry ourselves. I have presented my best hats to
Käthchen, and it consoles me to think how comical she will look under
them!--but "flying canvas" is the order of the day.

_August 10th._--The "Frankfurter Zeitung" calls England "ehrlos"
(dishonourable), and the Belgian frontier question "only an excuse,"
and even kind, good Dr. G---- raged against England. One is sick with
longing to hear how the war gets on from the English point of view.
The papers here never allude to England's movements--only to her moral
delinquencies. I am so poverty-stricken now I wash my own
pocket-handkerchiefs, guimpes, and blouses!

The American part of our community have quite recovered their spirits
since money has come for them. The United States is making every
effort to rescue her people, and get them back in safety to America.
No one seems to concern themselves about us, and we can't get away
while mobilising is going on. All Germans show the greatest deference
to Americans, and call them "our honoured guests." We, of course, are
the _dis_honoured ones, and in disgrace!

Altheim people so far are passably civil to us, but sometimes one has
a disagreeable person to deal with, as I had to-day at the Bad Haus.
The girl who stamps our tickets refused to pass mine until I could
show her my Kur Karte. I had none, and told her so, and asked her why
I should pay twenty marks for a card, when I could not get any of the
privileges to which it entitled me: the band, terrace, reading-room,
and so on. Her answer was a persistent dogged reiteration of "Sie
müssen eine Kur Karte haben, sonst können Sie nicht baden," and not
having twenty marks in the world at present I had to come away without
my bath. Every day there are fresh appeals to the patriotism of the
people. They are pasted on walls, windows, and even trees.

_August 12th._--Such an amusing thing has happened. Mr. S---- said to
Dr. ----, "We English have captured your Kronprinzessin Cecilie,"
without saying that he meant the _ship_, and not the _lady_. As the
Government keeps all such disagreeable intelligence dark, it was news
to the doctor, and he stoutly contradicted it, and went round the town
afterwards telling people: "Just think what liars the English are;
they say they have captured our Crown Princess!" We learnt of this
prize-taking from the "Corriere della Sera."

_August 13th._--The newspapers are full of German victories and abuse
of England. Also they declare that the most terrible atrocities have
taken place in Belgium, where women have despatched wounded Germans on
the field and shot doctors. The indignation is tremendous.

_August 14th._--Permission has at last been given for "Fremden"
(foreigners) to depart, and also the threats and restrictions as to
the railway station have been removed, but we must submit our
passports to the police, who send them to Berlin to be stamped by the
military authorities, and in about a week we shall be free. "Gott sei

_August 15th._--I went to the Polizei-Amt, a dreary little house, and
found both yard and staircase crammed with people. After waiting a
long time in the _queue_ I had to beat a retreat, the neighbourhood of
Polish Jews being too overpowering! In the afternoon I ventured again
with the same result. They say Holland is crammed with refugees, and
the hotels so full that people are sleeping on billiard tables even.
We are allowed to choose between Switzerland and Holland.

German papers express deepest disappointment that Italy has not been
"ehrlich" (honourable) to her "Dreibund," and yet (extraordinary
people) the Germans blame us for being true to ours.

_August 16th._--I sent a telegram off to Ems this morning, of course
written in German, but the official behind the little window where I
handed it in refused to send it until I showed him my passport. As I
have not yet succeeded in getting through the crowds at the police
station I still had mine. We hear dreadful tales of hardships endured
by those who have managed to get away from other places. Some went by
the Rhine steamers, which are now running, but wherever they passed a
fortress they were made to go below. As the cabins were not enough for
all, preference was given to other nationalities, and English people
had to sit up all night on deck, even in pouring rain. The entire
absence of news is for us quite terrible. One feels so out of the
world, not knowing what is happening outside our prison doors. The
"Frankfurter Zeitung" is full of nothing but boasts and untruths. A
fresh "Bekanntmachung" has been posted up forbidding us to leave the
town, and ordering us to be indoors by nine o'clock.

_August 17th._--The Landsturm has been called out and leaves to-day
for the Front. These men are the last to be requisitioned, being
elderly.[1] After long waiting among Jews, Infidels, and Turks, I at
last got entrance to the Chief of Police's office, had my passport
taken, paid one mark fifty, and was told to come back on Thursday,
when it would be returned from Berlin. The Chief was a gruff,
disagreeable old man, who, to my amiable "Guten Tag" and "Adieu"
vouchsafed no reply.

    [Footnote 1: This we were told at the time.]

_August 18th._--A dreadful blow! We English are forbidden to go to
Holland, and told that our destination is to be Denmark. Imagine
crossing that mined sea now! For reasons of their own German
authorities will not allow any of us to go by or near the Rhine.

_August 19th._--The German Press is to me a revelation of bombast,
self-righteousness, falsehood, and hypocrisy. What shocks one most is
the familiar and perpetual calling upon God to witness that He alone
has led the Germans to victory and blessed their cause. I read a poem
yesterday, which began "Du Gott der Deutschen," as if indeed the Deity
were the especial property of the German Nation! Massacre, pillage,
destruction, violation of territory, everything wicked God is supposed
to bless! What hideously distorted minds, and where is the sane, if
prosaic Teuton of one's imaginings! I wake often in the morning and
wonder if all that has happened here has not been a horrible
nightmare--if it can be possible in the twentieth century that I, a
woman, am a prisoner, and for no sin that one has committed. I cannot
order an Einspänner and drive to the station without a challenge and
danger. I cannot possibly get away without my passport. If I attempted
to drive to the Rhine my fate might be that of the poor Russians who
were shot the other day. In any case I could not leave Germany without
my passport nor enter Dutch territory without permission from the
Netherlands Consul at Frankfort. It seems all hopeless and

_August 20th._--Another terrific blow! Fraulein S---- came into my
room this morning and said: "Kein Engländer, kein Ausländer, kann
Deutschland verlassen" (no Englishman, no foreigner can leave
Germany). I rushed off immediately to the Polizei Amt and found it
only too terribly true. Worse! Mr. W---- and Mr. S----, who tried to
arrange for a steamer on the Rhine to take us away, have been
arrested, and are being tried on a trumped-up charge of _forgery_, and
the Company who were the go-betweens demand 3,000 marks because the
boat came a certain distance down the river in order to embark us.

(_Later_) The Englishmen have been acquitted of forgery, but we fear
we shall have to pay the £120. I have one mark left!

There is jubilation all over the town as the Germans have taken
Belfort. Käthchen enters triumphantly. "Unter Führung des Kronprinzen
von Bayern haben Truppen gestern in Schlachten zwischen Metz und den
Vogesen noch einen Sieg erkämpft," and she goes on with the weary old
story of "viele tausend Gefangene" (many thousand prisoners).

_August 21st._--I found that charming old American friends of mine,
the W----s, were here, and I went to see them at the Grand Hotel. They
have been to a Nach Kur in Thuringia, and have had most alarming and
unpleasant adventures coming back. However, being American their pains
and penalties are nearly over. A special train is to take them and
their compatriots to the Hague on Wednesday next. They go to the
flesh-pots of Egypt, and we are left to eat manna in the wilderness!
They can drive in the country, while we poor Britishers may not go
outside the town, and oh! how sick we are of the avenues and streets
of the red-roofed Bath Houses and shop windows whose contents we know
by heart. Mr. W---- told me a good tale of the _chef_ of a Hotel here,
who was obliged to obey his country's call and join the French forces.
When he found German bullets whizzing about him at Mülhausen, he said
to himself (so the story goes), "What is my duty? Is it best for me to
let these cursed Germans make an end of me, or live to cook another
day for my country?" He decided that living was his game, threw his
rifle away, lay flat on his face, and let the bullets whistle over
him. He was taken prisoner to his great relief, and now lies in
Frankfort prison where his German brother chef has visited him! The
French of course are a brave nation, but I daresay the poor cook was
more at home with his pots and pans than with bayonets and rifles!

No papers! no letters! no news! no chance of escape! Two men were put
in prison yesterday for laughing at Germany. Two Russians were stopped
in a motor car, and when arms were found upon them they were put up
against a wall and shot.

_August 22nd._--Altheim has gone mad with joy over the victory near
Metz. Church bells chime and German children sing "Deutschland über
Alles" _ad nauseam_; and the Kur Haus and all private dwellings are
draped with bunting. Red Cross people are busy preparing for the
wounded--sewing classes are held every day in Bad Haus 8, and the
doctors are full of work. Mr. S----, a young Englishman, formerly in
the army, has been arrested, and also the hall-porter of the "Grand,"
and two English valets.

_August 24th._--A terrible day! First of all Käthchen announced with
complacency and obvious triumph, that there had been a great victory
"ganz herrlich!" and that an English Cavalry Brigade had been cut to
pieces at Lunéville, and that those who were not killed had "run
away"! Of course I did not believe this, but it made one terribly
anxious. Then in came Miss H---- saying that two men of our little
colony had been arrested and taken to the police-station, whence after
examination they were to be sent to Frankfurt. At the Polizei Amt the
Officials exhibited the results of their _Kultur_ by being rude and
rough to the unfortunate people arrested. A Polish woman whose son had
been made prisoner sobbed and cried, whereupon the grim old inspector
came into the room and said sternly: "Kein Frauen Jammer hier!"
ordering her out of the room. I was in the Park Strasse and heard some
Germans chuckling and saying: "Zwei Engländer sind verhaftet" (two
Englishmen are arrested), looked round, and saw two of our little
community, both service men, following each other in Einspänners, each
surrounded by soldiers and fixed bayonets. It was anything but a
pleasing sight to me!

_August 25th._--The clouds are lifting, thank God! Cheering news has
come that we are to be allowed to leave this delightful country in
eight days' time; most likely we shall have to travel either by way of
Switzerland or Denmark. Those sagacious personages in Berlin seem to
imagine that the secrets of the Rhine fortresses will reveal
themselves to us as we go by! What a compliment to our powers of

Fraulein G---- has just been in to see me. Usually she is a most
pleasant, gentle little woman, kind and charming; now she is full of
scorn and hatred of England. She says the Englishmen were arrested
because they were heard to say that German papers were "full of lies."
"So they are," said I, "and you can go now and get me arrested too."
"Oh, no," said she, "I would not tell on _you_!" In spite of her
magnanimity I cannot think our interview was a success. We argued
until I said, "If we are to remain friends, we must not discuss the
war. I _can_not think England wrong, and as a loyal German you think
Germany right. Don't let us talk about it any more."

The "Frankfurter Zeitung" declares that no workmen in England will
fight for their country, only the "mercenaries" who are well paid to
risk their lives. Oh, this life is hard to bear! Such intense,
frightful hatred speaks in every look, in every action of our enemies.
It is consoling to remember that their own Nietzsche says: "One does
not hate as long as one dis-esteems, and only when one esteems an
equal or superior."

_August 26th._--A chauffeur at the Bellevue was arrested to-day and
taken to Frankfort. He is only twenty, a Glasgow lad, and absolutely

I am so sick of "Heil Dir im Sieger Kranz" that as the children pass
my villa shouting it or "Was ist des Deutschen Vaterland?" I go out on
my balcony and retaliate by singing "Rule Britannia." Small children
with flags and paper cocked hats, toy swords and tiny drums march
through the streets, day after day, singing patriotic songs, whilst
(poor dears!) their fathers are being slaughtered in thousands. No
reverses are ever reported in the German papers, nothing but victories
appear, and Germans are treated like children. If it were not for the
"Corriere della Sera" we should be tempted to believe the Allies in a
bad way. The "beehrte gäste" departed this morning. At the station a
band played, flags were waved, and every American man and woman was
presented with a small white book which contained the telegrams which
passed between the belligerent nations at the beginning of the war.
Again we hear that Copenhagen is to be our destination.

[Illustration: IN POLYNESIEN
(The German idea of an Australian)]

_August 27th._--I saw Dr. G---- this morning. He begged me to be most
careful what I said. Two patients of his (English) Levantines were
talking on the Terrace, and one said to the other, "We had better
shave off our moustaches, or we shall be taken for military men." They
were promptly arrested, having been overheard by a spy. We are now
ordered to get health certificates, which are to go to Frankfort, and
be forwarded to the military authorities in Berlin. There is an idea
that we may go away on Tuesday next. We have found out that our
passports never went to Berlin at all, but are lying at this moment in
the drawer of that old demon in the "Polizei-Amt."

_August 28th._--Nothing new. The German papers, as usual, full of
their victories and their piety, and their patriotism, and their
"Kultur," and goodness knows what not besides. Both Kaisers praising
each other and distributing iron crosses _ad lib._, early though it be
in the day. No mention of English troops or England, except to abuse
the "Verflüchte" English.

A train of wounded men arrived yesterday, and bandaged and lame
soldiers are to be seen limping about the town, looking ghastly pale
and ill. At the Lazarett behind the "Prince of Wales' Hotel" there are
many sad cases. The Red Cross Society has made every provision for
their comfort and happiness possible. Sheets have been hemmed, pillow
cases sewn, bandages got ready. The Germans, however, are chary of
admitting English women to share their labours, and those who go and
offer to help meet with a very chilly reception.

_August 29th._--An account has come of the battle of St. Quentin. The
"Frankfurter Zeitung" calls it "decisive," and says that the German
army has cut off the English army from its base.

_August 30th._--Joy at last! Even the "Frankfurter Zeitung"
acknowledges that there has been a fight in the North Sea, and that we
have sunk German ships, but, of course, it was "overpowering numbers
and larger ships" that did it, and the Germans covered themselves with
glory as usual. I came home and hung out my flag, the best I could do,
a red silk dressing jacket, lined with white, and draped over a blue
silk parasol, which I tied knob out, to look like a pole.

On our church door to-day was posted a typewritten notice: "We have
smashed your army on the French Continent,(!) and we will smash _you
too_ if you dare to ring your bell!"

_August 31st._--I heard a small boy singing to-day:

    "Wo liegt Paris, Paris liegt Hier,
    Den fingen drauf' Das nehmen Wir."

I pray it may not prove prophetic, but they all talk of occupying
Paris as a certainty, and the German Emperor has invited a number of
his Generals to dine with him there on the 12th of September. I hear
that a doctor went into the Prince of Wales' Hotel to-day, and saw
stuck up in the hall the words: "Das Seegefecht in der Nordsee" (in
which of course we were victorious). He tore it down and stamped on
it. An altruistic German waiter thinking to please the English guests
had put the first sheet of the "Frankfurter Zeitung" in a prominent
position to console them for the many defeats we are supposed to have
had. John Burns' speech at the Albert Hall is reported in full in the
German newspapers, headed "Eine Rede des ehemaligen Englischen
Minister, John Burns. England gegen seine wahren interessen" (a speech
of the former English minister,[2] John Burns. England against her
true interests). No passports yet! No release! This suspense is

    [Footnote 2: This speech I have since learnt was an absolute

_September 1st._--The sentimentality of the Germans is amazing! They
cannot even insert a simple notice of a death on the battlefield
without this sickly parade, "Heute starb den Heldentod furs Vaterland,
unser innigste-geliebter einziger Sohn," etc. Always a "hero's death"
and "for his Fatherland." A fresh "Bekanntmachung" has appeared, we
prisoners of war are not to leave the town, not to stand in groups
("rotten" they call it) talking in the streets, to be in our houses at
9 p.m., etc. Two ex-Frankfort prisoners have been sent for by the
Chief of the Police accused of indiscreet talking. "I hear," said the
great man, "you say you were fed on nothing but bread and water in
prison." "No," said Mr. ----, "I had soup in the middle of the day,
and coffee and bread at night, and in the morning." "Then why do you
tell lies!" Such utter childishness, to believe every scrap of unkind

_September 2nd._--We are buoyed up with hope, as they talk of our
getting away this week! It _will_ be delightful to leave this
perpetual bell-ringing and flag-waving and Vaterlandslieder behind us!

_September 3rd._--The whole of Altheim went mad last night,
processions, bands, marchings all night, and such a noise that at last
a nurse had to come out from the Lazarett near the Park and beg the
revellers to think of the poor wounded sick, and spare them. No one
could sleep! The last blow has come, our church is closed!

_September 4th._--Despair! The American Ambassador at Berlin has
telegraphed that we English are not to leave! The Russians are going,
but our treatment is retaliatory, because they say England is
detaining German women, and Russia lets them go. To make all worse
Fraulein S----, tired of keeping me so long for nothing, has given me
notice to quit at the moment when for three days I have had no greater
fortune than 2_d._ in my pocket. Where I am to go, or who will take me
in without money I can't imagine! The American Ambassador in Berlin
and Mr. Ives, the American Vice-Consul at Frankfort, are working
untiringly and most kindly for us. We do not complain of actual harsh
treatment, although to be turned adrift in the world without money by
one whose tenant I had been for five years is hardly kind. However,
war is war undoubtedly. Mr. Ives is from the Southern States, Mr.
H----, his Chief, from the Northern. The Scotch chauffeur has been
released after a week in prison. He looks pale and dispirited, "a
sadder," and no doubt "a wiser man."

_September 5th._--The "Times" of the 5th August has turned up in
Altheim. It has gone the round of our little community until such a
worn, creased remnant reached me, that I had much ado to keep it
together until I could master its contents. One felt a second Rip Van
Winkle, awaking after a long sleep, our world being so confined here.
At last I have discovered how to get money from England. One writes to
the American Embassy in Berlin, and encloses a telegram (with postal
order for the same) to one's banker in London, instructing him to pay
the sum of money wanted to the American Embassy in London, to be
forwarded through their kind offices to the Embassy in Berlin. The
telegram to be written on a sheet of foolscap paper, with the full
name and address of the sender, and the name also of the nearest
American Consul. No letters can be sent through this channel.

_September 6th._--No church now! Even that taken from us! The
American Vice-Consul has been here, and still thinks that we may get
away in a fortnight. We are sick with hoping and being disappointed.
The German Press full of the most virulent abuse of England,
"treacherous," "hypocritical," "lying," "cowardly," "boastful," there
is no bad name they don't call her! Russia and France and Belgium get
no lashings of scorn and fury and hatred such as England does! At last
the account of Sir Edward Goschen's interviews with Von Jagow and
Bethmann Hollweg has appeared in the German papers. I had read it all
in the "Corriere della Sera" long ago. They talk of stopping Italian
papers in Germany since they are pro-English (in German, "lying").

Most of my English friends here went to the German church to-day. The
Pfarrer pointed out to his congregation how clearly God had favoured
their cause, how victory had followed victory, the virtuous, religious
people triumphing over the wicked, ungodly nations. Then he spoke of
the day so near when Germany should annihilate the "Macht von
England," and teach her when crushed and humbled "die Wahrheit,"
Religion and Morality! Humph!

_September 7th._--Wonder of wonders! no bell-ringing to-day, nor
processions of singing youngsters, so we hope there is a lull in the

Miss H---- went last week to have her hair washed, and during the
process her hair-dresser remarked casually to her, "We shall be in
Paris in a day or two, and in London in another week, and when we have
conquered England as well as France you will all have to learn to
speak German." This shows the amazing conceit and arrogance of the
people. Poor, ignorant things, they are quite hoodwinked by their
rulers--and even look forward to seeing their Kaiser "Emperor of
Europe"! One day we read that a bag has been made of 30,000 Russians,
the next that the number was understated, and that it is 70,000. As
for Belgians and French, every day 10,000 men and guns _ad lib._ are
captured, and the poor silly people believe it all. Villas and streets
are still beflagged, and by this time we know every patriotic song in
the "Vaterlandslieder" book by heart. One tries to be plucky, but our
hearts are very sad just now.

Paris seems doomed, and apparently the French have abandoned hope
too, since Poincaré and his Cabinet have gone to Bordeaux. The German
Press call him a "Feiger" (Coward).

_September 9th._--Unaccountably the forward march seems to have been
checked, although we don't know why. Maubeuge has fallen, and of
course the usual bell-ringing and bunting and singing has celebrated
the victory. We cannot understand what our troops are doing. There is
no mention of them in the German papers, only columns of sneers and
abuse of England.

_September 10th._--A rumour has reached us that the Crown Prince has
been captured, and that the enemy is retreating. No official
confirmation has come to hand however; but the flags are down at last,
and the jangling of bells has ceased, and we have not heard
"Deutschland über Alles" for twenty-four hours, "Gott sei Dank"!
Prince Joachim is wounded, and he has sent a telegram worded after the
manner of his dear Papa, thanking God who in His goodness permitted
him to be wounded for his beloved Fatherland. I wonder what Frederick
the Great would have thought of these boastful warriors. We English
are looked upon with horror as the brutal barbarians who use dum dum
bullets, and Sir Edward Grey's dignified disclaimer is reported under
the polite heading "Grey leugnet" (Grey lies).

_September 11th._--Nothing new in the situation, but we rejoice to see
grave faces and groups looking solemn in the streets, and talking in
subdued voices, and thank God! we hear no bell-ringing! Everything
cheering we read in the "Corriere della Sera" is denied in the
"Frankfurter Zeitung" or given as a production of the "Lügen Fabrik"
(manufactory of lies).

_September 12th._--The Germans seem depressed, no flags, no bands, and
although there is a notice posted up in the town to say that the Crown
Prince has achieved another victory, there is evidently something
unsatisfactory in the background to counterbalance this. I draw
deductions from the "Frankfurter Zeitung," which has a bitter article
entitled "Torheiten" (Folly), and which speaks of the "Kindische
Freudengeheul" (childish howls of joy) of the English and French
Press, because "ein parr Kalonnen deutscher Soldaten ein Stuck weges
zurückgezogen haben" (two columns of German soldiers had withdrawn a
bit of the way back). Then the writer contrasts the boastful words
("prahlender wörte") of England with the self-restraint and pious calm
and virtuous behaviour of Germany. One has only to look at the
postcards in the Park Strasse to see which of the combatants is
boastful. England is drawn as ignominiously lying on the ground (when
she isn't running away) and Germany invariably is kicking or thrashing

People are less friendly than at first, though the bath attendants,
people in the Inhalatorium, and doctors are most kind. I had tea at
Müller's with Miss H---- the other day. There were at least thirty
empty chairs in the tea-room, but a German woman marched up to the
chair on which I had laid my daily newspaper, and ordered me to take
it off, as she must have my chair! She was stout and ugly, and had a
way of doing her hair which, as a writer says, "alone would have
proved impeccable virtue in the face of incriminating circumstantial
evidence." For all their "Kultur" Germans are gross, and to the last
degree inartistic. Their "_nouveau art_" is repulsive; their dressing
outrageously ugly, and their cooking atrocious. I have watched them
here year after year tramping up and down the shady walks stolidly
drinking, wearing garments of ingeniously devised ugliness and blind
to "_l'inutile beauté_." There is no variety of type nor individuality
of person in either men or women. These worthy _Hausfrauen_ have no
grace of dainty frills, diaphanous lace or rustling petticoats. They
are obviously and incontestably of the class described by a witty
writer to whom "a lace petticoat is as much a badge of infamy as a
cigarette on the stage." The German proletariat cannot be susceptible
to externals, else the universal sad-coloured skirt, the ill-fitting
blouse and the ugly hat worn by his women-folk could not find favour
in his eyes.

Life in Altheim has changed under war conditions. The Kur Haus is
closed, there are no teas on the Terrace or promenadings to the
strains of Grieg or Strauss, or theatrical performances. The German
Kur-Gäste have left, and only the Russian, English and a few Belgian
prisoners of war remain. Russians here are chiefly of a very low
class. Most of the women go about bareheaded, and all are rough and
unkempt and dirty-looking. I fancy some of them have suffered much
privation, but happily their order of release has come. They will have
to travel by Denmark, Sweden and across to Petrograd. The weather is
autumnal, and they have only summer clothes, like us. We cannot help
them, having so little money ourselves. I have had to borrow twice,
and tried to sell my jewellery without success, but I have developed a
latent and unsuspected talent for laundry work. The pretty summer
shops in the Park Strasse are now closed, and the sound of beating
mattresses is heard everywhere; the blinds of most of the villas are
drawn down, and the families having no longer lodgers have descended
to their winter quarters on the ground floor. Only a few _einspänners_
are left, as both _Kutschers_ and horses are gone to meet a
"Heldentod" for their Fatherland.

One sees white-capped nurses and Red Cross Ambulance men and wounded
and bandaged warriors everywhere. When recovered, the soldiers get
three days leave to visit their families, and then return to the
Front. Poor souls! Shops are chiefly tended by women nowadays, and
the German Frau is not a capable shopkeeper like the French woman. A
"Drogerie" here is presided over by the wife of the man who owns it,
in his absence at the war. She is a gentle, rather pretty creature,
but amazingly slow and stupid. If tooth-powder be asked for, she
mounts a ladder, searches among a hundred bottles, shakes her head
despairingly, and wonders where her "Mann" has put it. Outside her
Küche and house, the German woman does not shine, but she is a
faithful unselfish wife, and a good and affectionate mother. Mr. Ives
thinks we shall certainly get away next week. I hope so! The weather
is cold and rainy, and there is no fire-place in my room.

_September 13th._--The Altheim daily papers complain that they are
inundated with foolish questions over the telephone. "Ist Namur
belgisch oder französisch?" (Is Namur Belgian or French?)

"Gehen die Schottländer wirklich mit nackten Beinen in die Schlacht?"
(Do the Highlanders really go into battle with naked legs?)

"Wie lange wird es ungefähr dauern, bis die Deutschen Paris
eingenommen haben?" (How long will it be before the Germans have
taken Paris?) and so on.

_September 14th._--Again rumours of our going, but even though release
will be most welcome, we all dread the journey. Terrible tales come to
us of the treatment meted out to foreigners crossing the frontier.
Many English were turned out of Wiesbaden and sent here. At F---- they
had their luggage searched, and the ladies of the party were stripped
to the skin by women who even combed their hair to see if by any
ingenuity they had concealed plans and drawings in the puffs and
coils, two soldiers with fixed bayonets mounting guard meanwhile
outside. No doubt we shall remember this journey to the end of our
lives, but what can you expect from a people whose Prophet Nietzsche
says, "What is more harmful than any vice? Pity for the weak and

_September 15th._--The singular absence of humour of the Germans often
amuses me. I think it was Palmerston who described Germany as "that
land of damned Professors." They are all so desperately in earnest,
and their "Kultur" is so serious, that jokes and fun seem like
blasphemy. My penury has again been relieved by Mr. S----'s kind loan
of £1. Lady M---- came in to tell me that the American Vice-Consul had
telegraphed to Mr. W---- the good news that we are all to go on
Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday next. I have heard this story so often
that I am utterly sceptical. We conclude that things are going badly
for the enemy, since there is no bell-ringing, and the flags have been
taken in.

[Illustration: NUR IN LONDON NICHT
(_But not in London!_)]

_September 16th._--I hear that no men who have served in the Army or
Navy are to be allowed to go with us. To-day's "Frankfurter Zeitung"
thinks that England must be at her last gasp, or she would not have
"barbarians such as Indians, Japanese and _Highlanders_" fighting her
battles for her! They also declare on "unimpeachable evidence" that
India is in a state of revolt, and that the Japanese are to be
despatched at once to quell the rebellion. Any misfortune to the
British delights them.

_September 17th._--The B----s, who to our envy have received special
passes to go to Denmark, got as far as Hamburg and then had their
passports taken from them. The Chaplain and his wife disappeared one
morning, and we learn that he obtained a special pass on the ground of
being a clergyman. He was heard to utter something about the "Bishop
of London," and perhaps that was the talisman. Lady M---- tells me
that they have arrived in Hamburg, we wonder what their fate will be!

A delightful story has just reached me from an Italian source. In the
church of a Convent Hospital in France, one of the sisters was
praying aloud with immense fervour, and when she came to the
"Confiteor" she said: "C'est ma faute! c'est ma faute! c'est ma très
grande faute," whereupon uprose a Turco crying out: "Ah! non! ma
Soeur! c'est la faute à Guilleaume!"

_September 18th._--A letter at last! but only one from the American
Consul at Frankfort, saying that the Foreign Office wanted to know my
whereabouts as several friends had inquired about me and my safety. I
can't imagine why, when America rescued her stranded citizens long
ago, and sent them money to get home, we should be suffering like
this. Nothing more about the phantom train! Our nerves are becoming
wrought up, and we are developing unexpectedly irritable and
argumentative natures. The weather is amazingly windy and horribly
cold, one shivers in summer garments, and cannot afford to buy warmer
things. A leading article in the "Frankfurter Zeitung" gives us a
grain of comfort, since it is headed "Geduld und Zuversicht" (patience
and confidence), and begins,

"In consequence of the victorious news of the first weeks, those
remaining at home had become accustomed to constant victories, and
the pause in the news of the battlefield of the West is a great trial
of patience." Long may that trial last! On the whole we ought to be
thankful that we are in Hesse and not in Prussia. The Hessians are a
simple, kindly people, pleasant, and good tempered. I have known
Germany well for eighteen years. When first we travelled in the
Fatherland I found each Duchy, or Kingdom, or Principality, devoted to
its own particular Ruler, and little outside it mattered to its
people. Nowadays there are no Hessians or Würtembergers, not even
Saxons or Bavarians, but all are Germans, and for one photograph of
the Grand Duke of Hesse and his Duchess you will see here one hundred
of "Unser Kaiser" and "Unsere Kaiserin." They have become
Imperialists, and the ambitious spirit which animates them is shown by
the act of a soldier at Liège who chalked up on a wall: "Kaiser
Wilhelm the Second, Emperor of Europe."

I have now 2_d._ left in the world, and have not taken my inhalation
for two days, not being able to pay for it. The money I telegraphed
for has not yet come, and life seems very difficult! I think of the
old lines:

    "'Tis a very good world we live in,
    To lend, or to spend, or to give in;
    But to beg, or to borrow, or get a man's own,
    'Tis the very worst world that ever was known."

_September 19th._--At the eleventh hour and when I seemed at the end
of my resources, help came from a most unexpected quarter! I can never
cease to be grateful for the goodness and kindness which relieved my
distress. The Germans look downcast, the Russians jubilant. How
paternal this Government is no one who has not lived in Germany can
imagine. For instance, above the nearest pillar box I saw a notice
written "Don't forget address and stamps!"

_September 20th._--Our passports are now in the hands of the military
authorities at Frankfort, and Mr. Ives, the American Vice-Consul, is
doing all in his power to get us leave to go. The Superintendent of
the Inhalatorium is most kind and sympathetic. She inquired why I had
not been there for three days, and when I told her "Gar kein Geld" (no
money) was the cause, she cried with real feeling, "Schrecklich!"
(terrible). Any thing to do with money or the want of it appeals to
the Teutonic mind, although the Germans sneer at us for being a nation
of shopkeepers. There are two words we hope never to hear again,
"Kultur" and "Unser." "Unser Deutschland," "Unser Kaiser," "Unser
Kultur." How weary and trite are these! What an extraordinary mixture
the Germans are, brave, conceited, sentimental, prosaic, patriotic,
and yet no people so soon lose their national characteristics, and
become citizens of another country as Germans. Many of their
intellectual poses are absolutely morbid. They adore Ibsen as a
playwright and despise Goldsmith and Sheridan; they worship Gauguin,
and the school of Impressionists, and have little appreciation
nowadays for pre-Raphaelitism. They are intensely and truly musical,
and it is amazing, taking into consideration their extraordinary lack
of humour, that they should be such accomplished students of
Shakespeare, but of real wit or humour the German possesses not an
atom. Take, for instance, the modern novels of Suderman, of Rudolph
Herzog, of Rudolph Stratz, of Bernard Kellerman, of Paul Heyse, and
you will find intense seriousness, tragedy, pathos, masterly drawing
of character, and absolutely no fun from cover to cover. As for the
"Fliegende Blätter," the German "Punch," it is the sickliest imitation
of humour possible to conceive. Foremost in science, the German is yet
a neophyte in the graces and arts of life. What cooking! what clothes!

_September 22nd._--If we may believe such good news we are to be
released from this irksome life, and set at liberty next Saturday. Our
joy is much damped, however, by hearing that none of the men are to be
allowed to leave, and, of course, their wives stay with them. Mr. Ives
has made a special journey to Berlin on behalf of our poor men, but
the authorities are obdurate.

People say that the loss of life in this terrible war is beyond belief
as far as the Germans are concerned. To hide this the Emperor requests
that no one shall wear mourning for the dead until the war is over.
Also, no complete catalogues of casualties are issued, only lists for
each kingdom, or duchy, so that the bulk of the people have no idea of
the waste of life. The wounded being so numerous, the doctors now have
little time to attend to them on the spot, and therefore they are put
into trains and sent off to "Lazaretts" sometimes before even their
wounds are washed. A Belgian lady who had a special police permit to
go to Frankfort, returned this afternoon in a train full of wounded
soldiers. One of these was put into her carriage. He had been badly
shot in the arm; his sleeve was soaked with blood, and that had
coagulated; his wound had never been washed, and French earth was
still on his boots, and yet he had been sent in this condition from
Rheims to Giessen!

_September 23rd._--Terrible news! A telegram was posted up in the town
this morning, saying that three English "Panzerkreuzers" had been sunk
by one German submarine. Of course the church bells pealed, and the
flags came out, and the children sang "Nun danket alle Gott," because
950 brave Englishmen had gone under. We are much depressed, and our
depression is aggravated by the want of occupation here. We dare not
sketch for fear of being "verhaftet" (arrested). It is no good writing
because every scrap of paper will be taken from us on the frontier;
nobody I know plays bridge, and so I read and walk all day long. Miss
H---- tells me that a rude young clerk in the "Löwen-Apotheke" refused
to talk English to her this morning, "You will have to learn German
now, because we shall be in London within a fortnight," said he! No
German I have yet known foresees any other result of this war but
success. The Fatherland Commissariat, according to the Italian papers,
leaves much to be desired. The unfortunate soldiers are almost
starving, and often live for days together on raw carrots, turnips,
herbs, or any other vegetable they can root up out of the ground. The
doctors are puzzled because men have died of such seemingly slight
wounds. One case seemed so incomprehensible that an autopsy was
decided on, and a raw root with fragments of earth upon it was found
in the poor creature's stomach. The Russians left at 5 a.m. this
morning, men and women. It is more than hard that our poor men should
be left behind. Lady M----, who has been ill, and her daughter, an
invalid lady, and her maid, were given special passes to go a couple
of days ago. Miss M---- and Miss G---- went to the police station
armed with these passes, and requested to have their passports back.
"The Demon" curtly refused. "But you _must_ give them to us," said
Miss M----. "Don't say _müssen_ to me!" said "the Demon," "_bitten_
is the word!" (Don't say _must_ to me, _beg_ is the word).

_September 24th._--Joyfully packing! A last meeting was held at the
"Prince of Wales' Hotel" where kind Mr. S---- presided, and we all
received instructions for our journey, and our long detained

Fifty women and children go. We sleep in Frankfort, and cross from
Flushing to Folkestone. Oh! that terrible mined sea, and the
"untersuchung" of the Frontier. I tremble for this Diary, all letters
I have destroyed.

FRANKFORT, _September 25th._--We are still in the enemy's country of
course, but have come out of our prison Altheim. All were early at the
Bahn-Hof. There for the last time, please God! we found our old horror
the Chief of Police. He had a long paper in his hand, and read out our
names; "Hamilton?" "Here!" "Your passport?" (which he scrutinised as
if he had never seen such a thing before), and so on. As we got our
precious papers back we passed through the barrier, where our tickets
were clipped, and on to the platform above. The train when it came in
was crammed with soldiers, and we were advised to wait two hours for
the next, but (to a woman) we all preferred travelling third, or even
fourth class, rather than remain another hour where we had suffered so
much. Miss G---- told me afterwards that she had travelled with two
German men, who cursed England up and down, using the most horrible
language about her.

Presently a wounded soldier came into the carriage, and they asked him
where he had been fighting. "On the Western Frontier," said he.

"With the French?"


"Did you see the English?"


"Of course not! They had all run away. Cowards, cowards!"

These are the things which make life so unendurable in an enemy's
land. I was sent here to the "Hessicher-Hof," which, although it
masquerades under another name, I had no difficulty in recognising as
the former "Englischer-Hof." Miss H---- went to the "Hotel Bristol,"
and when she got there found over the door the one word "Hotel." What
we women should have done without the able committee who arranged all
details for us with such kindness and thoroughness, I cannot imagine.

_September 28th._--There were few tears shed when we steamed out of
Frankfort two days ago on our way to home and freedom. It was
wonderful to feel that we might talk above a whisper in the
railway-carriage; amazing that we had not to scrutinize carefully
every corner to be sure no spies lurked there, and most delightful of
all to know that we had got beyond the reach of the Demon of the
Burg-Strasse. Egotistically enough we went over in retrospect our
anxieties, disappointments and miseries. Should we ever get rid of
that evil shadow, we wondered, which had darkened so cruelly two weary
months of our lives!

Now and then we looked out of the windows with distaste--agreed that
the outskirts of Frankfort were hideous with their obtrusive and
insistent collection of factory chimneys; and shuddered at the distant
and beautiful background of mountain and forest, to us so teeming
with painful memories. We exclaimed at the unsightliness of the huge
skeleton lettering proclaiming to all the world that a _maschinen-Fabrik_
was below. Even when we entered a bucolic region of modest gardens and
saw nothing more aggressive than cabbages and turnips, we turned away
from the sight with aversion. Yet the villages are picturesque enough,
and so are the towns. Timber-framed and gabled houses, steeply pitched
red roofs and stunted grey and mossy church spires, certainly make no
unpleasing picture. In happier days I have admired the grape-vines
meandering over the whitewashed cottages, and marvelled at the
monotony of taste which furnished every window-ledge with exactly four
pots of scarlet geraniums. Now, nothing pleased us that was German;
scenery, architecture or people! "This," we said to ourselves, is "the
sunny Rhineland through which we are passing, and we see no obvious
signs as we go by of the struggle which is devastating Belgium and
menacing France." At the first station, however, we realised that
Germany was indeed at war. Red Cross nurses seemed everywhere. Long
tables were spread with snowy cloths and bore coffee urns, zwiebacks,
hörnchen and huge bowls of steaming soup ready for the poor wounded as
they pass through. Now and then pale bandaged faces looked out at us
from passing trains, and men on crutches hobbled by, and the horrors
of mutilating war came home to us all. At Goch we had to show our
passports, and have our luggage examined, but the reality proved not
nearly so bad as our imaginings, and on the whole the officials were
kind and courteous compared to our Altheim demon. The sun was setting
blood-red behind a distant line of black forest when we left Goch and
our enemies and imprisonment behind us and entered the Land of Promise.

We had all been saddened in the morning to learn that Mr. Ives'
strenuous efforts to get permission for the men left behind to go
soon, had met with a curt refusal from the Commandant at Frankfort.
"When England returns our men, not before, and she had better be quick
about it," said he. But how true is Rochefoucauld's cynical
epigram--"Nous avons tous assez de force pour supporter les maux
d'Autrui!" Even our sympathy with, and sorrow for, those left in
Altheim could not damp the joy we felt to be free again; and when we
quitted Goch, the German frontier station, I thought how blessed would
be that day when "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and
their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword
against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall
sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree; and none shall
make them afraid."

                          GERMAN TRAVEL NOTES

                            "TAKIN' NOTES"

He who knows his Rhine and loves it must take of its charms in small
doses, or satiety is the outcome. There are those, of course, who can
travel from Dan to Beersheba and cry, "'Tis all barren"; but the
ordinarily intelligent traveller may find much to delight and interest
on the banks of the Rhine, always provided that he suits his mood to
his environment, and takes but little of Rhine scenery at a time. For
surely between Coblentz and Bingen there is an iteration as regards
castles and ruins which is downright wearisome. Do we not between
these points find Lahneck, Marksburg, Sterrenberg, Liebenstein, The
Mouse, Rheinfels, The Cat, Schönburg, Gutenfels, The Pfalz, Stahleck,
Furstenberg, Hohneck, Sooneck, Falkenburg, Rheinstein, and Ehrenfels?

Moreover, there is an affinity of form and colour and, indeed, of
situation between all these which produces the effect of perpetual
repetition. And we owe Byron a grudge for having written such trite
words as "the castled crag" in relation to the Rhine, since no
commonplace mind of the present day acquainted with his works but has
fallen back on "the castled crag" to describe Drachenfels or Marksburg
or Rheinfels, because, forsooth, its own English is too limited to
supply a better adjective. So it is that conventional and inadequate
English is perpetuated and individual force and expression are lost
because people accept the ideas of others and will not seek language
to convey their own.

All of which above prosing is the result of a day on the Rhine when
the thermometer registered 74° to 84° in the shade, and a white vapour
hid the banks of the river from Köln till close on Bonn. At Bonn a
huge party of "personally-conducted" American tourists came on board.
Their sharp, keen, eager, shrewd faces and shrill voices proclaimed
their nationality at the outset. They were all obviously outside the
pale of Society, and their thirst for information and keen interest in
their surroundings were amazing. One learned before long that they had
"done" the Paris Exhibition and meant to have a "look in" at most
European countries before sailing from Naples. They took the whole
ship into their confidence before a quarter of an hour had passed; and
we shared alike in thrilling intelligences conveyed through the medium
of Baedeker's pages. "The castled crag" resounded from one end of the
boat to the other; and as for Roland and Hildegunde, the tragedy of
their lives was discussed, and exclaimed over, and lamented, until,
happily, a bend of the river hid Nonnenwerth from sight.

In emphatic contrast to the nervous alertness of the Yankee was the
spectacle of the middle-class German and his ways. He sat by his
plain, stout, ill-dressed Frau, with his back to the scenery, and ate.
Occasionally he spoke in monosyllables: more often he drank; but the
end and object of his Rhine trip seemed to be that of consuming as
much food as lay within the limits of possibility. What Nemesis has in
store for him and those of his manner of life I can only imagine!

At a table near us sat three women and two men. Directly we left Köln
a waiter set forth trays in front of them laden with coffee,
zwiebacks, hörnchens, and eggs. This meal over, they sat sleepily
blinking their eyes, whisking away flies, and mopping the moisture
from their faces until the sound of "Eis! meine Herrschaften!" "Bier!
meine Herrschaften!" roused them from their lethargy. Ices and beer
and cherries and peaches successively filled up the weary hours until
"the tocsin of the soul, the dinner bell," carried joy to their
hearts. I can never forget the rapturous look of anticipation and
satisfaction which those stolid middle-class Teutonic countenances
wore when "Mittagsessen" was announced. They shook off their normal
and habitual torpidity, and cheerfully elbowed their neighbours,
nearly tumbling down the companion-ladder in their eagerness to be
first in the field. They lost no time over the unlovely detail of
tucking a corner of their napkins down their necks, and smoothing its
folds over their protuberant persons; and they studied the
Speise-Karte with a conscientiousness that was worthy of a better

Dinner began with a tolerably good soup, followed by tough roast beef,
cut in thick slices and garnished with carrots, peas and beans. Next
came veal, equally uneatable, and then a surprise in the shape of
Rhine salmon; after which followed chicken, salad, and _compôte_.
Finally, a stodgy pudding, sufficiently satisfying, and dessert. Not
one item of the menu was neglected by the five. They calmly and
conscientiously and readily ate through the Speise-Karte from start to
finish. Then they returned to deck, only to order coffee and ices, and
called for a bottle of champagne, three of light Rhine wine, and a
plateful of peaches; out of which they brewed a cup, ladling it from a
Taunus ware bowl into their long Munich glasses, and sipping it lazily
all the afternoon between such trifles as Kuchen and fresh relays of
cherries. They ate and drank from Köln to Bingen with rare intervals
of dozing, and I never once saw any of the party take the faintest
interest in the Rhine, so far as its banks were concerned.

It was a relief to turn from such grossness to its antithesis in the
shape of two American ladies who sat near us. They were
well-preserved, well-bred spinsters under forty. Everything about them
was dainty and exquisitely neat. I likened them in my mind to bowls of
dried rose-leaves--the freshness gone, the perfume left. Such was
their intense and intelligent interest in travel that, rather than
lose a timber-framed village or historic castle, a vineyard or
watch-tower, they abstained from lunch and picnicked lightly on deck
off tea and eggs and hörnchen. They knew the legends of the Rhine as
you and I know (or ought to know) our Prayer-Books. They had studied
the history of Germany, and mastered the intricacies alike of the
Thirty Years' War and of the Hohenzollern pedigree; and they talked
well, expressing their ideas in good Saxon words; at times, perhaps a
trifle pedantic, but never offensively so.

As the day wore on the temperature became almost overpowering. The
water reflected a blinding glare, and a heat like that of a burning
fiery furnace was radiated from the engines. I was wondering whether a
hammock in a cool English garden would not have been more desirable,
when I heard a plaintive, uneducated American voice behind me ask a
question of its mate which exactly embodied my own unuttered

"What _I_ want to know, Jake, is: Is this pleasure, or ain't it? Did
we come here to enjoy ourselves, or what?"

JAKE: "Wall, I guess you ain't used to travelling around, my dear, and
you don't understand it. Oh, yes" (with an obvious effort), "this is
real fust-class pleasure, this is!"

MRS. JAKE: "Wall, I'm darned! I'd as lief be in our store."

JAKE: "Sakes alive! You _do_ surprise me! Think what Keren-Happuch
Jones will say when you mention casual on your return something that
happened when you was sailing up the Rhine. She'll die of envy, she
will, and spite to think you've seen more'n her."

MRS. JAKE (cheered somewhat): "Wall, I reckon, Jake, there's summat in
that. Keren-Happuch don't like anyone to do what she don't do."

JAKE: "And then, my dear, think of your noo bonnet from Paris! That'll
be another pill for Keren-Happuch to swallow."

MRS. JAKE: "My! Yes! I don't think much of Europe, anyway, but I could
never have bought that bonnet in Baltimore. But, Jake, do look on the
map and tell me when we get to Heidelberg."

JAKE: "It ain't any good my lookin', my dear, for I wasn't raised to
these sort of things, and I'm darned if I know where to find it."

A groan from Mrs. Jake, followed by: "Wall, I reckon when I find
myself again in No. 9, Mount Mascal Street, I won't want to go
travelling around even to cut out Keren-Happuch Jones."

I came to the rescue at this point, and showed the good lady where
Heidelberg lay. She was a hard-featured, plain woman of some
thirty-eight summers, her hair was dragged back uncompromisingly from
her forehead, and there were no "adulteries of art" about either
coiffure or costume.

"You see," she said apologetically, "Jake here and me are travelling
around, and the only way we can get on is to ask for a ticket to a
place, and never stop travelling till we get there. We speak German
all right because my parents were Germans, and Jake was born in
Germany; but he don't know much about it because he was only two years
old when he left it eight-and-thirty years ago. We thought we'd like
to see the Paris Exposition, but my! it ain't to be compared to the
Chicago Exhibition, and as for Paris, it can't come up to Noo York,
and these river steamers ain't a patch on the Hudson River boats, and
I don't think much of Europe anyway."

Jake, a good-looking, gentle-mannered man, tried to soften the
asperity of his wife's strictures without success. He evidently adored

"The way we travel," resumed Mrs. Jake, "is to think of a place we've
heard of, and to ask for a ticket to it. Now, we'd heard of Paris and
Cologne, and Heidelberg, and Baden, and Dresden, and Berlin, and
Hamburg, but we don't know now how they come--see? So we hev' to go
cavortin' around to find out which to take next. A gentleman way back
at Cologne"--she pronounced it "Klon"--"told me Heidelberg came next.
I quite thought Baden was near Hamburg, and that we should take it
last; but they tell me it ain't, and that, you see, has upset all our
calculations. Guess you're a Londoner, anyway; thought so by your

When we left the steamer at Bingen, the last I heard of Mrs. Jake was
a plaintive moan:

"Guess I don't think much of Europe, anyway, and I wouldn't come
again, not even to cut out Keren-Happuch!"


"Ja Wohl! Frau Rittergutsbesitzer. I have lived in the Herr
Professor's house for five-and-thirty years. I have pickled his
cabbage and preserved his fruit. I have minced with my own hand the
pork for his sausages before they had mincing-machines in
Schleswig-Holstein. I have seen personally to the smoking of his hams
and fish. I make his Apfelkuchen and Nusskuchen myself, and do not buy
them in the shop, like that lazy Hausfrau opposite us at No 2, who
comes from that God-forgotten country England, where all the women are
so badly brought up. I grant you that what I do is no more than the
duty of every God-fearing German _Haushälterin_; none the less, I do
not mean all my work to go for nothing, and I will not be ousted by a
hussy! In the time of the _vielbedauerten_ mother (Frau Regierungsrat
Lenbach) I had no worries about his matrimonial affairs; she looked
after those. But _sieh mal_, Frau Riedel, now the care of him is on my
shoulders. He has no more idea of taking care of himself than a baby!
He is exactly like that learned man--I think it was our great
Neander--who was running out of his college one day and ran into a
cow; so he pulled off his hat and said, '_Gnädige Frau, ich bitte um
Verzeihung_' ('Gracious lady, I beg your pardon'), and went on; and
the week after he came tearing round the same corner, thinking, I
suppose, of those heathen gods and goddesses whose pictures shame a
modest woman to look at, and he ran up against a lady, so he cried
out: '_Oh! du dumme Kuh! warum kommst du mir immer in den Weg?_' ('Oh,
you stupid cow, why will you always get in my way?') Yes, my Herr
Professor is just like that--quite as stupid, though they call him so
wise and clever; and what chance has a born innocent like he is
against a designing spinster of forty-five who makes him presents of
_Weihnachtstollen_ at Christmas, _Oster-Eier_ at Easter, and
_Geburtstagstorte_ on his birthday? I ask you what chance of escape a
poor _Junggeselle_ has?

"Told him she wanted to marry him! Not I. Why, _liebe Frau_, I have
not lived sixty-five and a half years in this world for nothing! If I
let him suppose she was in love with him, that would be the very way
to make him like her. So as I laid the cloth for the Herr Professor's
_Abendtisch_, I remarked casually that Fräulein Bettine Meyer was not
at all a bad sort of woman really, and that she had some excellent
qualities, if only she did not make herself so ridiculous. 'How
ridiculous?' says he, sitting up. 'What does she do ridiculous, I
should like to know?' 'Why, wears a false front and curls bought at
Frau Kölsch's shop,' says I. 'Poor thing, she can't make herself look
young and beautiful, whatever she does, and Frau Rittmeister Bernstorf
was laughing at her the other day, and at the high heels and at the
stuffing the _Schneiderin_ round the corner puts into her gowns to
cover the angular bones! She would look much more respectable,' said
I, 'if she would brush her scanty grey locks back, and smooth them
with pomatum as I do, and wear a black lace _Mütze_ over them, instead
of making herself the laughing-stock of Schleswig.' And away I walked.
And the Professor ate no supper that night, and next day he left for
his _Ferienausflug_, and never called to say good-bye to Fräulein
Meyer; and so I put the extinguisher on that little candle just as its
flame was beginning to burn up, and--why! here we are at Mainz."

And this is what I heard, and how I was entertained, in the
"elektrische Bahn" on my little expedition from Wiesbaden to Mainz. I
reflected, as I saw the Haushälterin get down heavily with all the
deliberation of her sixty-five and a half years, that feline amenities
are much the same in Germany as in England; and I felt sorry for poor
Fräulein Meyer, who might have given up her small vanities and made
pancakes and _Apfelkuchen_ for the Professor quite as well in the end
as the Haushälterin.

The cathedral of Mainz was, of course, the object of our expedition.
It dominates the city from afar, with its wonderful towers and
pinnacles, making of Mainz (a commonplace city enough) a thing of
beauty. From the shores of the Rhine we crossed a wide street planted
with trees and lined on each hand with modern German houses of pinkish
stone (covered with heavy sculpture and breaking out into countless
balconies and bay windows), and soon found ourselves in the
market-place. And here, indeed, one felt oneself in the Germany of
bygone days. Instead of pseudo-classic buildings, heavy with
meaningless ornamentation, we found beautiful old timber-framed
houses, with deep eaves and wood carvings. On one of these I read:

                          Zum Kurfürstlichen
                           Erneuert in Jahr
                               des Heils

It was evidently a Gasthaus of considerable antiquity, and had been
carefully restored. Close by a Brobdingnagian finger lured the unwary
to where it pointed--a low doorway above which was inscribed the
legend: "_Hier essen Sie gut_." The market-place had been dismantled
of its stalls and umbrellas all but one, which was being furled as we
arrived on the scene. A couple of men in blue smocks were sweeping up
the cabbage leaves, straw and refuse, market carts were driving off,
and smart-looking officers in beautiful uniforms strolled across what
we English miscall "a square" for want of a better word.

But to get a good view of the exterior of the cathedral was what we
wanted, and to this end we dived down strange, evil-smelling alleys,
and went round and round a labyrinth of streets, always expecting to
see, and never arriving at, the cathedral's façade. At last we
realised that the quest was hopeless, since the building is so
surrounded and deformed by commonplace, ugly houses that nothing of it
but roof and towers can be seen from outside. We entered it at last by
a narrow lane between poor, ugly houses, an unfit approach indeed to
this beautiful Romanesque cathedral--one of the four famous Romanesque
Gothic cathedrals of Germany. The general effect of the interior is
that of strength, solidity, and simplicity. The grand structural lines
are noble and pure. There is an entire absence of the florid in
architecture, and no attempt at all at decoration as one understands
it in Spanish cathedrals. The tone of the walls and floor is a pinkish
brown, and the whole church has a warm glowing effect from its
richly-coloured stone. I could have spared most, if not all, of the
overladen rococo monuments to the Electors of Mainz, with their
monstrous records of impossible perfections; but my companion (a
German lady) thought them beautiful. The whole church struck one as
rather ill-kept; perhaps the red stone floor had something to do with
it. Dust and mud do not adhere somehow to an opus Alexandrinum
pavement. A guide appeared to offer his services, almost obsequiously
polite in his attentions to the English lady. Whatever their opinions
may be as to our failings and vices, our shortcomings and our
iniquities, most Germans are civil to us nowadays.[3] They hate us
cordially, envy us sincerely, attack us in the press and out of it,
and are insanely jealous of the people they affect to despise. But
while the superficial _entente_ lasts, they smile and bow and are
outwardly polite. I asked an English lady, the widow of a German
official, if her husband, having married an English wife, did not
cherish kindlier sentiments towards us than the majority of his
countrymen. "He died during the Boer war," she said, "and he died in
the sure and certain hope that England was done for."

    [Footnote 3: This was written before the war.]

Apart from the Domkirche, there is little to see in Mainz, although
the city is of great antiquity, having been founded by Drusus. It is a
strongly fortified place, and stood once upon a time a memorable
siege. There are pleasant walks by the Rhine, beautiful Anlagen, a
picturesque old tower, and the site of Gutenberg's house to see. The
Grand Ducal Palace once sheltered Napoleon the First, as did many
another palace in Germany. The present Grand Duke prefers his palace
in Darmstadt, the Neue Palais (built by Queen Victoria for Princess
Alice), and comes little to the ancient city of bygone Electors.

We have fallen into German ways--alarming thought!--and become
unquestionably alive to the virtues of cafés and Restaurations as a
wind-up to a day's expedition. At Mainz we discovered a café close to
the theatre, and sipped coffee and ate _Streuselkuchen_ out of doors
in the shadow of the cathedral and Gutenberg's statue. A
pleasant-faced Gretchen brought us miniature Mont Blancs of whipped
cream on small glass plates, and loitered near us ostensibly
rearranging a table, but in reality studying our gowns and hats.
Before we paid our Rechnung, the Haushälterin and Frau Rittergutsbesitzer
turned up hot and rather cross, having spent their time since we
parted in futile attempts to match Schleswig-Holstein ribbons with
those of the sunny Rhineland.


                     GREEN HILLS AND BLUE WATERS.

Schlangenbad, although a charmingly pretty spot, is not one to
fascinate a painter. The landscape is unvaryingly green, and that
green is too monotonous in tone for effect in a picture. Moreover, it
lies shut in by hills, and there is no distant horizon to give the
value of foreground and middle distance. But less critical eyes find
much to admire in Schlangenbad. The great wide road leading to it from
Eltville testifies to its former popularity in the days of family
coaches and postilions. Nowadays an ugly steam tram transports the
traveller from the Rhine to the "Serpent's Bath," and nearly poisons
and chokes him _en route_ with the horrible smoke it emits. Half of
the tram is open to the air at the sides, like a char-a-banc; and when
we travelled by it a little party of Germans were enjoying an
_Ausflug_, each man with one eye cocked on the scenery and the other
on the look-out for a _Bier-garten_.

Next to me sat a student, whose face was so slashed and gashed that it
reminded one of "Amtshauptmann Weber" (in Reuter's delightful book),
whose "face looked as if he had sat down upon it on a cane-bottomed
chair." Opposite the student was a middle-aged fat "Assessor," with a
small girl in long frilled drawers and short petticoats; and on the
other side of the gangway were two homely-looking women in
lead-coloured garments. As we passed through Altdorf the child drew
her father's attention to a fat goose which waddled away as the tram
approached. "_Sieh mal, Vater_," said she, "_die schöne Gans_."
("Look, father, at the beautiful goose.") "O! _die Gans_," said her
practical and prosaic parent, "_wird viel schöner sein, mein Kind,
wenn sie gebraten ist_." ("The goose will be much more beautiful, my
child, when it is roast.") "And has an accompaniment of sage-stuffing
and apple-sauce," I added, to which he in all serious conviction bowed
an assent.

The valley up which we journeyed was green and pleasant. There were no
walls or fences on either side of the road, but trees shaded the
wayfarer, and his outlook on gardens, bean-poles, orchards, and vines
was agreeable enough. If he chose to look further afield a silvery
streak called the Rhine was visible, and beyond that again low blue
hills stretched away until their cobalt and that of the sky got mixed
on the palette of Nature. From this valley comes the famous
Rauen-thaler wine. Most of the hills, indeed, are covered with vines,
and the village houses showed grapes hanging from their eaves and
peeping in at their windows.

At Neudorf we paused to pick up a _Barmherzige Schwester_; and as our
halt was exactly in front of the village shop I amused myself by
making a mental inventory of its contents. The window--an ordinary
one--had wooden shelves nailed across it; and on these were displayed
soap, slates and slate-pencils, bottles of peppermint lozenges,
hearthstone, flannel, lemon-drops, gingham, sausages, and gingerbread.

The houses of the village were covered with rough stucco, and white or
yellow-wash was swished liberally over them. Under their deep eaves an
occasional small image of _Die Mutter Gottes_ was to be seen. Many
were covered with grape-vines, and all had clean muslin blinds at
their windows, and often pots of geraniums and fuchsias outside.
Sunflowers, dahlias, and roses grew in the little patches of garden by
the road; and all was charming and primitive, save for the discordant
electric fittings which hung midway on the telegraph-posts, and the
anomaly of a brand new brick _Brod-fabrik_ just outside the village.

All the way up the "cane-bottomed chair" and the "Assessor" smoked
stolidly, while their women-folk cackled like human geese. "_Wie
schön!_" "_Colossal!_" "_Entzückend!_" "_Reizend!_" Nothing but
incessant and weary adjectives! I turned with relief to the
"Barmherzige Schwester," a prim and silent little figure in neat blue
cotton gown, black apron, and white kerchief pinned over her shining

The tram stopped at last before the village church, and we all got
out. To our left, as we faced the Kurhaus, straggled a long line of
houses with deep verandahs and balconies, to our right shady walks and
bath-houses and beautiful woods. Here and there amid the hotels and
villas was a shop, and we knew that Schlangenbad marched with the
times when we saw the word "_Schamponieren_" and a bunch of Empire
curls exhibited as a modern trophy. We stopped at a shop and examined
its wares, which, indeed, hung chiefly on the shutters. There were
Swiss embroidered gowns and blouses to be bought, edelweiss penwipers,
wooden paper-cutters, and clocks with chamois climbing wooden rocks.
Nothing apparently in that shop had been "made in Germany." When we
reached the verandah of the "Nassauer Hof" we were gladdened by bows
from the "Assessor" and the student, who with the "cackling geese"
were seated at a long table consuming piles of Apfelkuchen,
Streuselkuchen, and Napfkuchen to an accompaniment of steaming coffee.

As for dull, useful information Schlangenbad, of course, was known to
the Romans, and they bathed in its waters. The Middle Ages seem to
have neglected Spas generally, and to have been dead to the joys of a
bath. At all events, nothing more was heard about Schlangenbad or its
springs until in 1687 a wooden hut was put over what was known as the
"Römer Bad." Next the Landgraf of Hesse awoke to the virtues of its
waters, and caused the "Oberes Kurhaus" to be built. Five years
later, the "Nassauer Hof" was erected, and a time of prosperity and
fashion set in for Schlangenbad. The waters have always had a great
reputation for beautifying the skin and healing wounds and sores. It
is on record that Frederick the First of Sweden ordered four thousand
bottles of Schlangenbad water a year as _eau de toilette_, and another
and still vainer sovereign three hundred a week. After this who shall
dare say that women have the monopoly of vanity?

Besides embellishing, the Schlangenbad waters are good in nervous
disorders, rheumatism, and asthma. They are of an exquisite light-blue
colour, and when bathing in them one's limbs have the appearance of
marble. That the Schlangenbad people think highly of their "cure" is
obvious. I bought a map of the district (manufactured in the place)
and found the word Schlangenbad printed in huge letters, while the
neighbouring town of Wiesbaden was in such small ones that it looked
as if scarcely worth mentioning at all.


Here in the Thuringian Forest, aloof from the stir and roar of life,
lies a Kur-Ort little known to the English world. Its waters are
analogous to those of Schwalbach, its air is as pure, its scenery more
beautiful, and its prices half those of the Taunus Wald. Its people
still retain their primitive charm, unspoilt as yet by the
potentialities of South African or American money-bags. Within easy
reach of such interesting towns as Eisenach, Weimar, Erfurt, Gotha,
and Coburg, it offers many alluring baits to the sightseer; yet to the
coming and going of tourists is it altogether unaccustomed.
Liebenstein lies in a green and beautiful valley, and the hills which
surround it are covered for the most part with great black forests.
Patches of wheat and rye vibrate in the winds which sweep up the
valleys, and the fields of potatoes alternate on the low grounds with
pasturage and orchards. Under the great limestone rocks, which near
Liebenstein rise sheer out of the plain, nestle charming villages, and
long avenues of poplars conduct you where you would go along the high
roads. By the roadside a wealth of flowers is yours for the
picking--wild thyme and asparagus and mallow, periwinkles, and the
picturesque dock and crowfoot. The woods are starred with flowers, and
the perfume of the pines is a revelation.

The humbler houses of Liebenstein (for the greater part timber-framed
and red-tiled) straggle up the immediate hills which surround it.
Those of more pretention and inevitable ugliness range themselves
decently and in order along two parallel roads. Aloof as this village
is from "the madding crowd's ignoble strife," it has yet been touched
to its undoing by the ruthless finger of conventionality. The
inevitable Kur-Haus and bandstand and Anlagen are here; worst of all,
a Trink-Halle! The Trink-Halle stands a mute and awful warning to the
vaulting ambition which overleaps itself, since a classic temple in
the heart of Liebenstein is surely as much out of place as a tiara
would be on the head of the peasant woman who hands you your daily
portion of Stahlwasser. Even the spring it originally sheltered has
revolted against its sham marble pillars and grotesque entablature,
and betaken itself elsewhere! Nowadays the paint and plaster are
peeling off the columns, and its door is padlocked. Happily--although
a melancholy warning to the educated--it remains a source of pride to
the peasant, who loves his shabby temple as the Romans do the marble
glories of their Vesta.

Immediately behind the temple are the springs of Georg and Kasimir, at
which stand two charming maidens ready to fill your glasses. No
conventional and hideous hat or bonnet disfigures the neat outline of
their heads. No travesty of Berlin or Paris fashion burlesques their
sturdy figures. Theirs the traditional costume of the Thuringian
female peasant--a dark skirt, and white, short-sleeved chemisette, a
blue apron and the daintiest of white silk kerchiefs, fringed sparsely
and brocaded abundantly with red roses. Albeit their arms are red and
coarse with the combined effect of iron-water, hot sun, and exposure
to the air, their faces make ample amends in their innocent,
good-tempered comeliness. They greet you with a kindly "Guten Tag" or
"Guten Abend," and, in the case of a lady, seldom omit the pretty
"Gnädige Frau," for which our "Ma'am" is but a poor correlative.

Wandering through the streets of Liebenstein, one is struck by the
intensely picturesque sights of its older and original part. The
little houses are timber-framed and whitewashed, with deep projecting
eaves and often many gables. Their windows are made gay outside by
boxes filled with geraniums, nasturtiums, and fuchsias. Beneath the
windows lie small gardens, in which bloom roses and single dahlias,
while scarlet runners send their tendrils climbing over the palings
which separate road and garden. Many of the little houses have
projecting signs, on which one reads such legends as "_Tabak,
Cigarren, Cigaretten_;" "Adolf Schmidt, _Herren kleidermacher_;"
"_Weinhandlung Naturreinheit garantirt_;" or the very indispensable
"_Bäckerei_." One house bears a tablet announcing to an admiring world
that "_Herzoglich. Sachsen-Meiningen Stadtesbeamter_" lives within.
Cocks and hens, dogs and children, make common playground of these
narrow streets, and one sees in them pretty well every form of animal
life represented, except horses. Now a long cart, drawn by oxen and
well filled, toils up the hill, and not long after follows one drawn
by a big dog. At a pump two tiny girls are busily employed filling
stone jars, which by the beauty and purity of their outlines might
have been Etruscan. Mothers beat mats at their cottage doors, and
shrilly scream at their children to get out of the way of the passing
carts; and the world in this remote village goes on pretty much as it
does elsewhere.

But the fashionable life of Liebenstein does not concern itself with
such mean sights and bucolic sounds as oxen-carts and crowing of
cocks. It takes its pleasure up and down the long avenues of beech
trees which lie between the Kur-Haus and the Hôtel Bellevue. It
rallies round the bandstand, and makes great show of studying the
programmes of the daily concert. It chatters glibly over the previous
evening's illuminations, and describes them as "_colossal!_" and
"_wunderschön_." Beauty is not in vogue at Liebenstein, judging by the
middle-class Kur guests who haunt the shade of the beech trees.
Indeed, if anywhere in the world an Englishman might be forgiven for
thanking God that he is not as other men are, it would be here among
the "_Ober-Lieutenants_" and "Herr Professors" and their mates.
Figures, both male and female, seem to be of the switchback
order--faces rudimentary in their modelling, and uncompromising in
their plainness, dressing of the ugliest. Yet, _Gott sei Dank!_ Hans
thinks his Gretchen perfection, and it would never enter into innocent
Gretchen's head, as it does mine, to bestow upon Hans the carping
criticism of Portia upon Monsieur Le Bon: "God made him, and therefore
let him pass for a man."


The dominant glory of the Moselle region is Trèves. No town or city
near has the smallest affinity with its peculiar character, and all
seem modern and prosaic compared with its well-preserved tale of
antiquity. "Nowhere north of the Alps," we are told in weary
iteration, "exist such magnificent Roman remains." It is generally on
the obvious that the unimaginative English parson takes upon himself
to comment. We listen submissively to much school-book lore as to
"Claudius" and the "fourth century" and the "residence of Roman
Emperors," but when it rains Bishops and Archbishops and Electors we
fly before them. For, after all, what signifies the paltry learning of
a dry-as-dust dominie compared with the vivid tales these grand old
ruins tell if suffered to speak for themselves? In Trèves people need
to absorb silently, and then assimilate undisturbed by weary chatter.
One looks at the tender turquoise sky, flecked with luminous clouds;
at the fine horizontal distance, with its sense of breadth and
breathing-space; at the low hills covered with vines; at the
cornfields, and orchards, and river--and we wonder what the old Romans
thought of it all, and reflect on the strangeness of life that a
people so remote from our times should have lived and loved and died,
as we live and love and die to-day. Whether Trèves lie on the right or
left bank of the Moselle is immaterial except to the tiresomely
precise or to those who pin their faith to guide-books and such
shallow teachers. There is a more valuable lesson to be learnt of the
place than that of its exact situation; and no Baedeker or Murray can
help you to appreciate Trèves as quiet communings with your own
intelligence will. If it so happens that you have none to commune
with, then God help you--and yours!

In Trèves you have not far to go in search of the Romans. Their
_magnum opus_ confronts you boldly at the very threshold of the town.
Solid and massive and symmetrical, it stands a pregnant lesson to the
jerry-builders of to-day. There is little affinity indeed between the
building methods of the ancient Romans and those of their trade whose
sorry, pitiable record exists in the Quartiere Nuovo of Rome. About
the Porta Nigra is no trace of stucco or rubble. The huge blocks of
which it is built stand one upon the other clean-hewn and square. No
signs of mortar are left, but we see marks of iron or brass clamps.
Its colour is a warm, deep red, softened here and there by streaks of

The Porta Nigra has passed through strange phases since first it
started in life as a city gate. Obviously built for purposes of
fortification, and equipped with towers of defence, its second phase
was an ecclesiastical one, and the "spears" were indeed turned into
"pruning-hooks" when the bellicose propugnaculum found itself
transformed into a church.

                          "Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange, eventful history."

The gate was in 1876 finally cleared of priests and altars, and
allowed to revert to its original form.

Not far from the Porta Nigra stands the Cathedral, one of the oldest
in Germany, archæologically interesting, inasmuch as it owes its
inception to the Romans. The Basilica, built by Valentinian as a court
of law, is clearly traceable in the present cathedral, and one reads a
strange tale of Romans and Franks in the sandstone and limestone and
brick of its walls. Here is treasured the famous Heilige Rock, or holy
coat worn by our Saviour when a boy. At rare intervals this garment is
exhibited to the faithful, who come from all countries to gaze
reverently upon it. Who that has seen can forget the last exposition
in 1891? Never before or since has there been anything more pathetic
than the sight of the long rows of tired, haggard, perspiring, praying
pilgrims, who stood patiently for hours in the broiling August sun,
moving only when permitted, and then at a snail's pace, towards their
Mecca. Plebeian though the majority of faces were, their devotional,
solemn, rapt expressions for the time being ennobled and beautified

Trèves during that time, however, was by no means the reposeful,
dignified city it is to-day. Its buildings were defaced with flags and
banners, its streets blocked with pilgrims, and the road leading from
the station to the town was lined with booths, whose owners disposed
quickly of such delicacies as Napfkuchen, Streusel-Kuchen, and
Apfelwein. Piety and profit went everywhere hand-in-hand, and a
roaring trade was done in rosaries and bénitiers, the last made of the
blue pottery of the country, and stamped with a representation of Leo
XIII. against a background of Domkirche.

But to be thoroughly in harmony with Trèves one must be Pagan and
Roman rather than Christian and German. Indeed, one feels in sympathy
with the Isle of Wight farmer who after he had found a Roman villa on
his farm gave up the bucolic and inglorious occupation of growing
turnips and potatoes, and could talk of nothing meaner than hypocausts
and thermae. So we, like the farmer, slight the really beautiful Early
Gothic "Liebfrauenkirche" and roam and muse for hours about the ruins
of the Amphitheatre, the Roman Baths, the Roman Palace and the


                          TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

page 23--inserted a missing closing quote after 'Dank!'
page 36--inserted a missing period after 'Burns'
page 61--inserted a missing closing quote after 'France'
page 82--typo fixed: changed a comma into a period after 'pavement'
page 83--typo fixed: changed a comma into a period after 'Electors'
page 93--spelling normalized: changed the position of semi-colon and
         a quote after 'Cigaretten'

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A War-time Journal, Germany 1914 and German Travel Notes" ***

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