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Title: Europe After 8:15
Author: Nathan, George Jean, 1882-1958, Mencken, H. L. (Henry Louis), 1880-1956, Wright, Willard Huntington
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Europe After 8:15" ***

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    | Obvious typographical errors have been corrected in        |
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[Illustration: EUROPE AFTER 8:15]

[Illustration: BERLIN]



EUROPE AFTER 8:15

BY

H. L. MENCKEN

GEORGE JEAN NATHAN

WILLARD HUNTINGTON WRIGHT


WITH DECORATIONS

_By_ THOMAS H. BENTON


NEW YORK--JOHN LANE COMPANY
TORONTO--BELL & COCKBURN--MCMXIV

Copyright, 1914
BY JOHN LANE COMPANY



CONTENTS


                                                      PAGE

PREFACE IN THE SOCRATIC MANNER                           7

VIENNA                                                  35

MUNICH                                                  71

BERLIN                                                 111

LONDON                                                 145

PARIS                                                  189



PREFACE IN THE SOCRATIC MANNER

     "Nothing broadens and mellows the mind so much as foreign
     travel."--_Dr. Orison Swett Marden._


The scene is the brow of the Hungerberg at Innsbruck. It is the
half-hour before sunset, and the whole lovely valley of the Inn--_still
wie die Nacht, tief wie das Meer_--begins to glow with mauves and apple
greens, apricots and silvery blues. Along the peaks of the great snowy
mountains which shut it in, as if from the folly and misery of the
world, there are touches of piercing primary colours--red, yellow,
violet--the palette of a synchromist. Far below, hugging the winding
river, lies little Innsbruck, with its checkerboard parks and Christmas
garden villas. A battalion of Austrian soldiers, drilling in the
Exerzierplatz, appears as an army of grey ants, now barely visible.
Somewhere to the left, beyond the broad flank of the Hungerberg, the
night train for Venice labours toward the town.

It is a superbly beautiful scene, perhaps the most beautiful in all
Europe. It has colour, dignity, repose. The Alps here come down a bit
and so increase their spell. They are not the harsh precipices of
Switzerland, nor the too charming stage mountains of Northern Italy, but
rolling billows of clouds and snow, the high-flung waves of some titanic
but stricken ocean. Now and then comes a faint clank of metal from the
funicular railway, but the tracks themselves are hidden among the trees
of the lower slopes. The tinkle of an angelus bell (or maybe it is only
a sheep bell) is heard from afar. A great bird, an eagle or a falcon,
sweeps across the crystal spaces.

Here where we are is a shelf on the mountainside, and the hand of man
has converted it into a terrace. To the rear, clinging to the mountain,
is an Alpine _gasthaus_--a bit overdone, perhaps, with its red-framed
windows and elaborate fretwork, but still genuinely of the Alps. Along
the front of the terrace, protecting sightseers from the sheer drop of a
thousand feet, is a stout wooden rail.

A man in an American sack suit, with a bowler hat on his head, lounges
against this rail. His elbows rest upon it, his legs are crossed in the
fashion of a figure four, and his face is buried in the red book of Herr
Baedeker. It is the volume on Southern Germany, and he is reading the
list of Munich hotels. Now and then he stops to mark one with a pencil,
which he wets at his lips each time. While he is thus engaged, another
man comes ambling along the terrace, apparently from the direction of
the funicular railway station. He, too, carries a red book. It is
Baedeker on Austria-Hungary. After gaping around him a bit, this second
man approaches the rail near the other and leans his elbows upon it.
Presently he takes a package of chewing gum from his coat pocket,
selects two pieces, puts them into his mouth and begins to chew. Then he
spits idly into space, idly but homerically, a truly stupendous
expectoration, a staggering discharge from the Alps to the first shelf
of the Lombard plain! The first man, startled by the report, glances up.
Their eyes meet and there is a vague glimmer of recognition.

The First Man--"American?"

The Second Man--"Yes: St. Louis."

"Been over long?"

"A couple of months."

"What ship'd you come over in?"

"The _Kronprinz Friedrich_."

"Aha, the German line! I guess you found the grub all right."

"Oh, in the main. I have eaten better, but then again, I have eaten
worse."

"Well, they charge you enough for it, whether you get it or not. A man
could live at the Plaza cheaper."

"I should _say_ he could. What boat did _you_ come over in?"

"The _Maurentic_."

"How is she?"

"Oh, so-so."

"I hear the meals on those English ships are nothing to what they used
to be."

"That's what everybody tells me. But, as for me, I can't say I found
them so bad. I had to send back the potatoes twice and the breakfast
bacon once, but they had very good lima beans."

"Isn't that English bacon awful stuff to get down?"

"It certainly is: all meat and gristle. I wonder what an Englishman
would say if you put him next to a plate of genuine, crisp, _American_
bacon?"

"I guess he would yell for the police--or choke to death."

"Did you like the German cooking on the _Kronprinz_?"

"Well, I did and I didn't. The chicken _à la_ Maryland was very good,
but they had it only once. I could eat it every day."

"Why didn't you order it?"

"It wasn't on the bill."

"Oh, bill be damned! You might have ordered it anyhow. Make a fuss and
you'll get what you want. These foreigners have to be bossed around.
They're used to it."

"I guess you're right. There was a fellow near me who set up a holler
about his room the minute he saw it--said it was dark and musty and not
fit to pen a hog in--and they gave him one twice as large, and the chief
steward bowed and scraped to him, and the room stewards danced around
him as if he was a duke. And yet I heard later that he was nothing but a
Bismarck herring importer from Hoboken."

"Yes, that's the way to get what you want. Did you have any nobility on
board?"

"Yes, there was a Hungarian baron in the automobile business, and two
English sirs. The baron was quite a decent fellow: I had a talk with him
in the smoking room one night. He didn't put on any airs at all. You
would have thought he was an ordinary man. But the sirs kept to
themselves. All they did the whole voyage was to write letters, wear
their dress suits and curse the stewards."

"They tell me over here that the best eating is on the French lines."

"Yes, so I hear. But some say, too, that the Scandinavian lines are
best, and then again I have heard people boosting the Italian lines."

"I guess each one has its points. They say that you get wine free with
meals on the French boats."

"But I hear it's fourth rate wine."

"Well, you don't have to drink it."

"That's so. But, as for me, I can't stand a Frenchman. I'd rather do
without the wine and travel with the Dutch. Paris is dead compared with
Berlin."

"So it is. But those Germans are getting to be awful sharks. The way
they charge in Berlin is enough to make you sick."

"Don't tell _me_. I have been there. No longer ago than last
Tuesday--or was it last Monday?--I went into one of those big
restaurants on the Unter den Linden and ordered a small steak, French
fried potatoes, a piece of pie and a cup of coffee--and what do you
think those thieves charged me for it? Three marks fifty! Think of it!
That's eighty-seven and a half cents. Why, a man could have got the same
meal at home for a dollar. These Germans are running wild. American
money has gone to their heads. They think every American they get hold
of is a millionaire."

"The French are worse. I went into a hotel in Paris and paid ten francs
a day for a room for myself and wife, and when we left they charged me
one franc forty a day extra for sweeping it out and making the bed!"

"That's nothing. Here in Innsbruck they charge you half a krone a day
_taxes_."

"What! You don't say!"

"Sure thing. And if you don't eat breakfast in the hotel they charge you
a krone for it anyhow."

"Well, well, what next? But, after all, you can't blame them. We
Americans come over here and hand them our pocket-books, and we ought to
be glad if we get anything back at all. The way a man has to tip is
something fearful."

"Isn't it, though! I stayed in Dresden a week, and when I left there
were six grafters lined up with their claws out. First came the
port_eer_. Then came--"

"How much did you give the port_eer_?"

"Five marks."

"You gave him too much. You ought to have given him about three marks,
or, say, two marks fifty. How much was your hotel bill?"

"Including everything?"

"No, just your bill for your room."

"I paid six marks a day."

"Well, that made forty-two marks for the week. Now the way to figure out
how much the port_eer_ ought to get is easy: a fellow I met in
Baden-Baden showed me how to do it. First, you multiply your hotel bill
by two, then you divide by twenty-seven, and then you knock off half a
mark. Twice forty-two is eighty-four! Twenty-seven into eighty-four goes
about three times, and a half from three leaves two and a half. See how
easy it is?"

"It _looks_ easy, anyhow. But you haven't got much time to do all that
figuring."

"Well, let the port_eer_ wait. The longer he has to wait the more he
appreciates you."

"But how about the others?"

"It's just as simple. Your chambermaid gets a quarter of a mark for
every day you have been in the hotel. But if you stay less than four
days she gets a whole mark anyhow. If there are two in the party she
gets half a mark a day, but no more than three marks in any one week."

"But suppose there are two chambermaids? In Dresden there was one on day
duty and one on night duty. I left at six o'clock in the evening, and so
they were both on the job."

"Don't worry. They'd have been on the job anyhow, no matter when you
left. But it's just as easy to figure out the tip for two as for one.
All you have to do is to add fifty per cent., and then divide it into
two halves, and give one to each girl. Or, better still, give it all to
one girl and tell her to give half to her pal. If there are three
chambermaids, as you sometimes find in the swell hotels, you add another
fifty per cent. and then divide by three. And so on."

"I see. But how about the hall porter and the floor waiter?"

"Just as easy. The hall porter gets whatever the chambermaid gets, plus
twenty-five per cent.--but no more than two marks in any one week. The
floor waiter gets thirty pfennigs a day straight, but if you stay only
one day he gets half a mark, and if you stay more than a week he gets
two marks flat a week after the first week. In some hotels the hall
porter don't shine shoes. If he don't he gets just as much as if he
does, but then the actual 'boots' has to be taken care of. He gets half
a mark every two days. Every time you put out an extra pair of shoes he
gets fifty per cent. more for that day. If you shine your own shoes, or
go without shining them, the 'boots' gets half his regular tip, but
never less than a mark a week."

"Certainly it seems simple enough. I never knew there was any such
system."

"I guess you didn't. Very few do. But it's just because Americans don't
know it that these foreign blackmailers shake 'em down. Once you let the
port_eer_ see that you know the ropes, he'll pass the word on to the
others, and you'll be treated like a native."

"I see. But how about the elevator boy? I gave the elevator boy in
Dresden two marks and he almost fell on my neck, so I figured that I
played the sucker."

"So you did. The rule for elevator boys is still somewhat in the air,
because so few of these bum hotels over here have elevators, but you can
sort of reason the thing out if you put your mind on it. When you get on
a street car in Germany, what tip do you give the conductor?"

"Five pfennigs."

"Naturally. That's the tip fixed by custom. You may almost say it's the
unwritten law. If you gave the conductor more, he would hand you change.
Well, how I reason it out is this way: If five pfennigs is enough for a
car conductor, who may carry you three miles, why shouldn't it be enough
for the elevator boy, who may carry you only three stories?"

"It _seems_ fair, certainly."

"And it _is_ fair. So all you have to do is to keep account of the
number of times you go up and down in the elevator, and then give the
elevator boy five pfennigs for each trip. Say you come down in the
morning, go up in the evening, and average one other round trip a day.
That makes twenty-eight trips a week. Five times twenty-eight is one
mark forty--and there you are."

"I see. By the way, what hotel are you stopping at?"

"The Goldene Esel."

"How is it?"

"Oh, so-so. Ask for oatmeal at breakfast and they send to the livery
stable for a peck of oats and ask you please to be so kind as to show
them how to make it."

"My hotel is even worse. Last night I got into such a sweat under the
big German feather bed that I had to throw it off. But when I asked for
a single blanket they didn't have any, so I had to wrap up in bath
towels."

"Yes, and you used up every one in town. This morning, when I took a
bath, the only towel the chambermaid could find wasn't bigger than a
wedding invitation. But while she was hunting around I dried off, so no
harm was done."

"Well, that's what a man gets for running around in such one-horse
countries. In Leipzig they sat a nigger down beside me at the table. In
Amsterdam they had cheese for breakfast. In Munich the head waiter had
never heard of buckwheat cakes. In Mannheim they charged me ten pfennigs
extra for a cake of soap."

"What do you think of the German railroad trains?"

"Rotten. That compartment system is all wrong. If nobody comes into your
compartment it's lonesome, and if anybody _does_ come in it's too damn
sociable. And if you try to stretch out and get some sleep, some ruffian
begins singing in the next compartment, or the conductor keeps butting
in and jabbering at you."

"But you can say _one_ thing for these German trains; they get in on
time."

"So they do, but no wonder! They run so slow they can't _help_ it. The
way I figure it, a German engineer must have a devil of a time holding
his engine in. The fact is, he usually can't, and so he has to wait
outside every big town until the schedule catches up to him. They say
they never have accidents, but is it any more than you expect? Did you
ever hear of a mud turtle having an accident?"

"Scarcely. As you say, these countries are far behind the times. I saw a
fire in Cologne; you would have laughed your head off! It was in a feed
store near my hotel, and I got there before the firemen. When they came
at last, in their tinpot hats, they got out half a dozen big squirts and
rushed into the building with them. Then, when it was out, they put the
squirts back into their little express wagon and drove off. You never
saw such child's play. Not a line of hose run out, not an engine
puffing, not a gong heard, not a soul letting out a whoop. It was more
like a Sunday school picnic than a fire. I guess if these Dutch ever
_did_ have a civilised blaze, it would scare them to death. But they
never have any."

"Well, what can you expect? A country where all the charwomen are men
and all the garbage men are women!"

For the moment the two have talked each other out, and so they lounge
upon the rail in silence and gaze out over the valley. Anon the
gumchewer spits. By now the sun has reached the skyline to the westward
and the tops of the ice mountains are in gorgeous conflagration.
Scarlets war with golden oranges, and vermilions fade into palpitating
pinks. Below, in the valley, the colours begin to fade slowly to a
uniform seashell grey. It is a scene of indescribable loveliness; the
wild reds of hades splashed riotously upon the cold whites and pale hues
of heaven. The night train for Venice, a long line of black coaches, is
entering the town. Somewhere below, apparently in the barracks, a sunset
gun is fired. After a silence of perhaps two or three minutes, the
Americans gather fresh inspiration and resume their conversation.

"I have seen worse scenery."

"Very pretty."

"Yes, sir; it's well worth the money."

"But the Rockies beat it all hollow."

"Oh, of course. They have nothing over here that we can't beat to a
whisper. Just consider the Rhine, for instance. The Hudson makes it look
like a country creek."

"Yes, you're right. Take away the castles, and not even a German would
give a hoot for it. It's not so much what a thing _is_ over here as what
_reputation_ it's got. The whole thing is a matter of press-agenting."

"I agree with you. There's the 'beautiful, blue Danube.' To me it looks
like a sewer. If _it's_ blue, then _I'm_ green. A man would hesitate to
drown himself in such a mud puddle."

"But you hear the bands playing that waltz all your life, and so you
spend your good money to come over here to see the river. And when you
get back home you don't want to admit that you've been a sucker, so you
start touting it from hell to breakfast. And then some other fellow
comes over and does the same, and so on and so on."

"Yes, it's all a matter of boosting. Day in and day out you hear about
Westminster Abbey. Every English book mentions it; it's in the
newspapers almost as much as William Jennings Bryan or Caruso. Well, one
day you pack your grip, put on your hat and come over to have a
look--and what do you find? A one-horse church full of statues! And
every statue crying for sapolio! You expect to see something
magnificent, something enormous, something to knock your eye out and
send you down for the count. What you _do_ see is a second-rate
graveyard under roof. And when you examine into it, you find that
two-thirds of the graves haven't even got a dead man in them. Whenever a
prominent Englishman dies, they put up a statue to him in Westminster
Abbey--_no matter where he happens to be buried_. I call that clever
advertising. That's the way to get the crowd."

"Yes, these foreigners know the game. They have made millions out of it
in Paris. Every time you go to see a musical comedy at home, the second
act is laid in Paris, and you see a whole stageful of girls doing the
hesitation, and a lot of old sports having the time of their lives. All
your life you hear that Paris is something rich and racy, something that
makes New York look like Roanoke, Virginia. Well, you fall for the
ballyhoo and come over to have your fling--and then you find that Paris
is largely bunk. I spent a whole week in Paris, trying to find something
really awful. I hired one of those Jew guides at five dollars a day and
told him to go the limit. I said to him: 'Don't mind _me_. I am
twenty-one years old. Let me have the genuine goods.' But the worst he
could show me wasn't half as bad as what I have seen in Chicago. Every
night I would say to that Jew: 'Come on, now Mr. Cohen; let's get away
from these tinhorn shows. Lead me to the real stuff.' Well, I believe
the fellow did his darndest, but he always fell down. I almost felt
sorry for him. In the end, when I paid him off, I said to him: 'Save up
your money, my boy, and come over to the States. Let me know when you
land. I'll show you the sights for nothing. You need a little
relaxation. This Baracca Class atmosphere is killing you.'

"And yet Paris is famous all over the world. No American ever came to
Europe without dropping off there to have a look. I once saw the Bal
Tabarin crowded with Sunday school superintendents returning from
Jerusalem. And when the sucker gets home he goes around winking and
hinting, and so the fake grows. I often think the government ought to
take a hand. If the beer is inspected and guaranteed in Germany, why
shouldn't the shows be inspected and guaranteed in Paris?"

"I guess the trouble is that the Frenchmen themselves never go to their
own shows. They don't know what is going on. They see thousands of
Americans starting out every night from the Place de l'Opéra and coming
back in the morning all boozed up, and so they assume that everything is
up to the mark. You'll find the same thing in Washington. No
Washingtonian has ever been up to the top of the Washington monument.
Once the elevator in the monument was out of commission for two weeks,
and yet Washington knew nothing about it. When the news got into the
local papers at last, it came from Macon, Georgia. Some honeymooner from
down there had written home about it, roasting the government."

"Well, me for the good old U.S.A. These Alps are all right, I guess--but
I can't say I like the coffee."

"And it takes too long to get a letter from Jersey City."

"Yes, that reminds me. Just before I started up here this afternoon my
wife got the _Ladies' Home Journal_ of month before last. It had been
following us around for six weeks, from London to Paris, to Berlin, to
Munich, to Vienna, to a dozen other places. Now she's fixed for the
night. She won't let up until she's read every word--the advertisements
first. And she'll spend all day to-morrow sending off for things--new
collar hooks, breakfast foods, complexion soaps and all that sort of
junk. Are you married yourself?"

"No; not yet."

"Well, then, you don't know how it is. But I guess you play poker."

"Oh, to be sure."

"Well, let's go down into the town and hunt up some quiet barroom and
have a civilised evening. This scenery gives me the creeps."

"I'm with you. But where are we going to get any chips?"

"Don't worry. I carry a set with me. I made my wife put it in the
bottom of my trunk, along with a bottle of real whiskey and a couple of
porous plasters. A man can't be too careful when he's away from home."

They start along the terrace toward the station of the funicular
railway. The sun has now disappeared behind the great barrier of ice and
the colours of the scene are fast softening. All the scarlets and
vermilions are gone; a luminous pink bathes the whole scene in its fairy
light. The night train for Venice, leaving the town, appears as a long
string of blinking lights. A chill breeze comes from the Alpine vastness
to westward. The deep silence of an Alpine night settles down. The two
Americans continue their talk until they are out of hearing. The breeze
interrupts and obfuscates their words, but now and then half a sentence
comes clearly.

"Have you seen any American papers lately?"

"Nothing but the Paris _Herald_--if you call _that_ a paper."

"How are the Giants making out?"

"... badly as usual ... rotten ... slump ... shake up...."

"... John McGraw ... Connie Mack ... glass arm...."

"... homesick ... give five dollars for...."

"... whole continent without a single baseball cl...."

"... glad to get back ... damn tired...."

"... damn...."

"... _damn_...."



VIENNA

[Illustration: VIENNA]



VIENNA


The casual Sunday School superintendent, bursting with visions of
luxurious gaieties, his brain incited by references to _Wiener blut_,
his corpuscles tripping to the strains of some Viennese _schlagermusik_,
will suffer only disappointment as he sallies forth on his first night
in Vienna. He is gorgeously caparisoned with clean linen, talcumed,
exuding Jockey Club, prepared for surgical and psychic shock, his legs
drilled hollow to admit of precious fluids, his pockets bulging with
kronen. He is a lovely, mellow creature, a virtuoso of the domestic
virtues when home, but now, at large in Europe, he craves excitement.
His timid soul is bent on participating in the deviltries for which
Vienna is famous. His blood is thumping through his arteries in
three-four time. His mind is inflamed by such strophes as "_Es giebt nur
a Kaiserstadt; es giebt nur a Wien_" and "_Immer luste, fesch und
munter, und der Wiener geht nit unter_." But he is brought gradually to
the realisation that something is amiss. Can it be that the vice
crusaders have been at work? Have the militant moralists and the
professional women hunters, in their heated yearnings to flay the
transgressor, fallen foul of Vienna?

He expected to find a city which would be one roseate and romantic
revel, given over to joys of the flesh, to wine-drinking and
confetti-throwing, overrun with hussies, gone mad with lascivious
waltzes, reeking with Babylonish amours. He dreamed of Vienna as one
continual debauch, one never-ceasing saturnalia, an eternal tournament
of perfumed hilarities. His lewd dreams of the "gayest city in Europe"
have produced in him a marked hallucinosis with visions of Neronic
orgies, magnificently prodigal--deliriums of chromatic disorder.

But as he walks down the Kärntnerstrasse, encircles the Ring and stands
with bulging inquisitive eyes on the corner of the Wiedner Hauptstrasse
and Karlsplatz, he wonders what can be the matter. Where, indeed, is
that prodigality of flowers and spangled satin he has heard so much
about? Where are those super-orchestras sweating over the scores of
seductive waltzes? Where the silken ankles and the glittering eyes, the
kisses and the flutes, the beery laughter and the delirious leg shaking?
The excesses of merrymaking are nowhere discoverable. Des Moines, Iowa,
or Camden, New Jersey, would present quite as festive a spectacle, he
thinks, as he gazes up at the sepulchral shadows on the gigantic
Opernhaus before him. He cannot understand the nocturnal solitude of the
streets. There is actual desolation about him. A chlorotic girl, her
cheeks unskilfully painted, brushes up to him with a careless "_Geh
Rudl, gib ma a Spreitzn._" But that might happen in Cleveland, Ohio--and
Cleveland is not framed as a modern Tyre. He is puzzled and distressed.
He feels like a Heliogabalus on a desert isle. He consults his watch. It
is past midnight. He has searched for hours. No famous thoroughfare has
escaped him. He has reconnoitred diligently and thoroughly, as only a
pious tourist bent on forbidden pleasures knows how. He is the arch-type
of American traveller; the God-fearing deacon on the loose; the
vestryman returning from Jerusalem. Hopefully, yet fearfully, he has
pushed his search. He has traversed the Kärntnerring, the Kolowratring,
peered into Stadt Park, hit the Stubenring, scouted Franz Josefs Kai,
searched the Rotenturmstrasse, zigzagged over to the Schottenring,
followed the Franz, Burg and Opern-Rings, and is back on the Karlsplatz,
still virtuous, still sober!

Not a houri. Nary a carnival. No strain of the "Blaue Donau" has wooed
his ear. No one has nailed him with sachet eggs. He has not been choked
by quarts of confetti. His conscience is as pure as the brews of Munich.
He is still in a beneficent state of primeval and exquisite prophylaxis,
of benign chemical purity, of protean moral asepsis. He came prepared
for deluges of wine and concerted onslaughts from ineffable
_freimaderln_. But he might as well have attended a drama by Charles
Klein for all the rakish romance he has unearthed. His evening has gone.
His legs are weary. And nothing has happened to astound or flabbergast
him, to send him sprawling with Cheyne-Stokes breathing. In all his
promenading he has seen nothing to affect his vasomotor centres or to
produce Argyll-Robertson pupils.

Can it be true, he wonders, that, after all, Viennese gaiety is an
illusion, a base fabrication? Is the _Wiener blut_, like Iowan blood,
calm and sluggish? Is Vienna's reputation bogus, a snare for tourists, a
delusion for the unsophisticated? Where is that far-renowned
_gemüthlichkeit_? Has an American press agent had his foul hand in the
advertising of Austria's capital? Perhaps--perhaps!... But what of those
Viennese operas? What of those sensuous waltzes, those lubric bits of
_schramm-musik_ which have come from Vienna? And has he not seen
pictures of Viennese women--angels _à la mode_, miracles of beauty,
Loreleis _de luxe_? Even Baedeker, the papa of the travelling
schoolmarms, has admitted Vienna to be a bit frivolous.

A puzzle, to be sure. A problem for Copernicus--a paradox, a theorem
with many decimal points. So thinks the tourist, retiring to his hotel.
And figuring thus, he falls to sleep, enveloped in a caressing miasma of
almost unearthly respectability.

But is it true that Vienna is the home of purity, of early retirers, of
phlegmatic and virtuous souls? Are its gaieties mere febrile imaginings
of liquorish dreamers? Is it, after all, the Los Angeles of Europe? Or,
despite its appearances, is it truly the gayest city in the world,
redolent of romance, bristling with intrigue, polluted with perfume? It
is. And, furthermore, it is far gayer than its reputation; for all has
never been told. Gaiety in Vienna is an end, not a means. It is born in
the blood of the people. The carnival spirit reigns. There are almost no
restrictions, no engines of repression. Alongside the real Viennese
night life, the blatant and spectacular caprices of Paris are so much
tinsel. The life on the Friedrichstrasse, the brightest and most active
street in Europe, becomes tawdry when compared with the secret glories
of the Kärntnerring. In the one instance we have gaiety on parade, in
strumpet garb--the simulacrum of sin--gaiety dramatised. In the other
instance, it is an ineradicable factor of the city's life.

To appreciate these differences, one must understand the temperamental
appeals of the Viennese. With them gaiety comes under the same
physiological category as chilblains, hunger and fatigue. It is accepted
as one of the natural and necessary adjuncts of life like eating and
sleeping and lovemaking. It is an item in their pharmacopoeia. They do
not make a business of pleasure any more than the Englishman makes a
business of walking, or the American of drinking Peruna or the German of
beerbibbing. For this reason, pleasure in Vienna is not elaborate and
external. It is a private, intimate thing in which every citizen
participates according to his standing and his pocketbook. The Austrians
do not commercialize their pleasure in the hope of wheedling dollars
from American pockets. Such is not their nature. And so the slumming
traveller, lusting for obscure and fascinating debaucheries, finds
little in Vienna to attract him.

Vienna is perhaps the one city in the world which maintains a
consistent attitude of genuine indifference toward the outsider, which
resents the intrusion of snoopers from these pallid States, which
deliberately makes it difficult for foreign Florizels to find diversion.
The liveliest places in Vienna present the gloomiest exteriors. The
official guides maintain a cloistered silence regarding those addresses
at which Viennese society disports itself when the ledgers are closed
and the courts have adjourned. The Viennese, resenting the intrusion of
outsiders upon his midnight romances, holds out no encouragement for
globe-trotting Don Juans. He refuses to be inspected and criticised by
the inquisitive sensation hunters of other nations. Money will not tempt
him to commercialize his gaiety and regulate it to meet the morbid
demands of the interloper. Hence the external aspect of sobriety. Hence
the veneer of piety. Hence the sepulchral silence of the midnight
thoroughfares. Hence the silence and the desolation which meet the
roaming tourist.

In this respect Vienna is different from any other large city in
Europe. The joys of Parisian night life are as artificial as cosmetics.
They are organised and executed by technicians subtly schooled in the
psychology of the Puritan mind. To the American, all forms of pleasure
are excesses, to be indulged in only at rare intervals; and Paris
supplies him with the opportunities. Berlin, and even Munich, makes a
business of gaiety. St. Petersburg, patterning after Paris, excites the
visitor with visions of gaudy glory; and London, outwardly chaste,
maintains a series of supper clubs which in the dishonesty of their
subterranean pleasures surpass in downright immorality any city in
Europe. Budapest is a miniature Babylon burning incense by night which
assails the visitor's nostrils and sends him into delirious ecstasies.
San Francisco and New York are both equipped with opportunities for
all-night indulgences. In not one of these cities does the sight seeker
or the joy hunter find difficulty in sampling the syrups of sin.
Mysterious guides assail him on the street corners, pouring libidinous
tales into his furry ears, tempting him with descriptions like
Suetonius's account of the Roman circuses. Automobiles with megaphones
and placards summon him from the street corners. Electric
signs--debauches of writhing colour--intoxicate his mind and point the
way to haunts of Caracalla.

But Vienna! He will search in vain for a key to the night life. By
bribery he may wring an admission or obtain an address from the hotel
clerk; but the ménage to which he is directed is, alas, not what he
seeks. He may plead with cabmen or buy the honour of taxicab drivers,
but little information will he obtain. For these gentlemen, strange as
it may seem, are almost as ignorant of the gaiety of Vienna as he
himself. And at last, in the early morning, after ineffectual searching,
after hours of assiduous nosing, he ends up at some _kaffeehaus_ near
the Schillerplatz, partakes of a chaste ice with _Wiener gebäck_ and
goes dolorously home--a virgin of circumstance, an unwilling and
despondent Parsifal, a lofty and exquisite creature through lack of
opportunity, the chaste victim of a killjoy conspiracy. He is that most
tragic figure--an enforced pietist, a thwarted voluptuary. _Eheu! Eheu!
Dies faustus!_

In order to come into intimate touch with the night life of Vienna one
must live there and become a part of it. It is not for spectators and it
is not public. It involves every family in the city. It is inextricably
woven into the home life. It is elaborate because it is genuine, because
it is not looked upon as a mere outlet for the repressions of
puritanism. From an Anglo-Saxon point of view Vienna is perhaps the most
degenerate city in the world. But degeneracy is geographical; morals are
temperamental. This is why the Viennese resents intrusion and spying.
His night life involves the national spirit. His gaiety is not a
prerogative of the _demi-monde_, but the usufruct of all classes. Joy is
not exclusive or solitary with the Viennese. He is not ashamed of his
frolics and hilarities. He does not take his pleasures hypocritically
after the manner of the Occidental moralist. He is a gay bird, a
sybarite, a modern Lucullus, a Baron Chevrial--and admits it.

To be sure, there is in Vienna a miniature night life not unlike that
of the other European capitals, but it requires constant attention and
assiduous coddling to keep it alive. The better class Viennese will have
none of it. It is a by-product of the underworld and is no more
characteristic of Vienna than the gilded _cafés chantants_ which cluster
round the Place Pigalle on Montmartre are characteristic of Paris. These
places correspond to the Palais de Danse and the Admirals Palast in
Berlin; to the Villa Villa and the Astor Club in London; to
Reisenweber's in New York; to L'Abbaye and the Rat Mort in
Paris--allowing of course for the temperamental influences (and legal
restrictions) of the different nations.

Let us arouse a snoring cabman and make the rounds. Why not? All
merrymaking is shot through with youth, no matter how dolorous the joy
or how expensive the indulgence. So let us partake of the feast before
us. Our first encounter is with the Tabarin, in the Annagasse, an
establishment not unlike the Bal Tabarin in Paris. We hesitate at the
entrance, but being assured by the doorkeeper, garbed like Louis Seize,
that it is "_ein äusserst feines und modernes nacht etablissement_" we
enter, partake of a bottle of champagne (thirty kronen--New York prices)
and pass out and on to Le Chapeau Rouge, where we buy more champagne.
From there we go to the Rauhensteingasse and enter Maxim's, brazenly
heralded as the Montmartre of Vienna. Then on to the Wallfischgasse to
mingle with the confused visitors of the Trocadero, where we are urged
to have supper. But time is fleeting. The cabmeter is going round like a
tortured turbine. So we hasten out and seek the Wiehburggasse, where we
discover a "Palais de Danse"--seductive phrase, suggestive of ancient
orgies. But we cannot tarry--in spite of Mimi Lobner (Ah, lovely lady!)
who sings to us "Liebliche Kleine Dingerchen" from "Kino-Königin," and
makes us buy her a peach _bowle_ in payment. One more place and we are
ready for the resort in the Prater, the Coney Island of Vienna. This
last place has no embroidered name. Its existence is emblazoned across
the blue skies by an electric sign reading "Etablissement Parisien." It
is in the Schellinggasse and justifies itself by the possession of a
very fine orchestra whose _militär-kapellmeister_ knows naught but
inebriate _tanzmusik_.

Again in the open air, headed for the Kaisergarten, we reflect on our
evening's search for _nachtvergnügungen_. With the lone exception of our
half-hour with Mimi, it has been a sad chase. All the places (with the
possible exception of the Trocadero) have been cheaply imitative of
Paris, with the usual appurtenances of arduous waiters, gorgeously
dressed women dancing on red velvet carpets, fortissimo orchestras,
expensive wines, _blumenmädl_, hothouse strawberries and other
accessories of manufactured pleasure. But compared with Paris these
places have been second rate. The _damen_ (I except thee, lovely Mimi!)
have not inflamed us either with their beauty or with manifestations of
their _esprit gaulois_. For the most part they have been stodgy women
with voluminous bosoms, Eiffel towers of bought hair--bison with
astonishing hyperboles and parabolas, dressed in all of the voluptuous
splendour but possessing none of the grace of the Rue de la Paix.
Furthermore, these establishments have lacked the deportmental abandon
which saves their prototypes in Paris from downright banality. All of
their deviltries have been muted, as if the guests suffered from a
pathological fear of pleasure. Strangers we were when we entered. As
strangers we take our departure.

Why do I linger thus, you ask, over these hothouse caperings? For the
same reason that we are now going to inspect the Kaisergarten. Because
this phase of life represents an unnatural development in the Viennese
mode of pleasure, something grafted, yet something characteristic of the
impressionability of the Viennese mind. The Viennese are a hybrid and
imitative people. They have annexed characteristics distinctly French.
In the Kaisergarten these characteristics are more evident than
elsewhere. Here is a people's playground in which all manner of
amusements are thrown together, from the _balhaus_, where nothing but
expensive champagne is sold, to the scenic railway, on which one may
ride for fifty heller. This park presents a bizarre and chaotic mingling
of outdoor concerts, variety theatres, _bierkabaretts_, moving picture
halls, promenades and sideshow attractions of the Atlantic City type.
The Kaisergarten is the rendezvous of the bourgeoisie, the heaven of hoi
polloi--rotund merchants with walrus moustachios, dapper young clerks
with flowing ties, high-chokered soldiers, their boots polished into
ebony mirrors, fat-jowled maidens in rainbow garb.... There is
lovemaking under the Linden trees, beer drinking on the midway,
_schnitzel_ eating in the restaurants. Homely pleasantries are thrown
from heavy German youths to the promenading _mädchen_. One catches such
greetings and whisperings as "_Du bist oba heut' fesch g'scholnt_" and
"_Ko do net so lang umananderbandln_." There exists a spirit of buoyant
and genuine fellowship. But here again it is a private and personal
brand of gaiety. Let the obvious stranger whisper "_Schatz'rl_" to a
powdered Fritzi on the bench next to him, and he will be ignored for his
impertinence. The same salutation from a Viennese will call forth a
coquettish "_Raubersbua_." Even the _Amerikan-bar_ in the centre of the
Kaisergarten (in charge of no less a celebrity than Herr Pohnstingl!)
will not offer the tourist the hospitality he hopes to find. He will
find neither Americans nor American drinks. The cocktail--that boon to
all refined palates, when mixed with artistry and true poetic
feeling--circulates _incognito_ at Herr Pohnstingl's. Such febrifuges as
masquerade under that name are barely recognisable by authentic
connoisseurs, by Rabelaises of sensitive esophagi, by true lovers of
subtly concocted gin and vermouth and bitters. But the Viennese, soggy
with acid beer, his throat astringentized by strong coffee, knows not
the difference. And so the _Amerikan-bar_ flourishes.

[Illustration: VIENNA]

It was here that I discovered Gabrielle, a sad little French girl,
alone and forsaken in the midst of merriment, drinking Dubonnet and
dreaming of the Boulevard Montparnasse. I bought her another
Dubonnet--what stranger would have done less? In her was epitomized the
sadness of the stranger in Vienna. Lured by lavish tales of gaiety, she
had left Paris, to seek an unsavoury fortune in the love marts of
Vienna. But her dream had been broken. She was lonely as only a Parisian
can be, stranded in an alien country. She knew scarcely a score of
German words, in fact no language but her own. Her youth and coquetry
did not avail. She was an outsider, a deserted onlooker. She spoke
tenderly of the Café du Dôme, of Fouquet's, the Café d'Harcourt, Marigny
and the Luxembourg. She inquired sentimentally about the Bal Bullier.
She was pretty, after the anæmic French type of beauty, with pink
cheeks, pale blue eyes and hair the colour of wet straw. She had the
slender, shapely feet of the French cocotte. Her stockings were of thin
pink silk. Her slender, soft fingers were without a ring. Her jewelry,
no doubt, had long since gone to the money lender. She seemed childishly
happy because I sat and talked to her. Poor little Gabrielle! Her
tragedy was one of genuine bereavement, or perhaps the worst of all
tragedies--loneliness. I shall never think again of Vienna without
picturing that stranded girl, sipping at her reddish drink in the
_Amerikan-bar_ in the Kaisergarten. But her case is typical. The
Viennese are not hospitable to strangers. They are an intimate,
self-sufficient people.

Let us turn, however, from the little Gabrielle to a more fascinating
and exquisite creature, to a happier and more buoyant denizen of
Viennese night life, to a lady of more elegant attire. In short, behold
Fräulein Bianca Weise. In her are the alkaloids of gaiety. She
irradiates the joyfulness of the city. In her infancy she was hummed to
sleep with snatches from the "Wiener Blut," the booziest waltz in all
Christendom. Bianca is tall and catlike, but deliciously proportioned.
Her hair is an alloy of bronze and gold. Her skin is pale, and in her
cheeks there is the barest bit of rose, like a flame seen through ivory.
Her eyes are large, and their blue is almost primary. Her face is a
perfect oval. Her lips are full and abnormally red. Her slender, conical
hands are always active like those of a child, and she wears but little
jewelry. Her gowns come from Paquin's and seem almost a part of her
body.

This is Bianca, the most beautiful woman in all Europe. Do I seem to
rave? Then let me answer that perhaps you have not seen Bianca. And to
see her is to be her slave, her press agent. It was Bianca's picture
that went emblazoning over two continents a few years ago as the supreme
type of modern feminine beauty, according to the physiological experts
and the connoisseurs of pulchritude. But it is not because of the lady's
gift of beauty that I feature her here. It is because she so perfectly
typifies the romance of that whirling city, so accurately embodies the
spirit of Vienna's darkened hours. In the afternoon you will find her on
the Kärntnerstrasse with her black-haired little maid. At five o'clock
she goes for _kaffeetsch'rl_ to Herr Reidl's Café de l'Europe, in the
Stefanplatz. With her are always two or three Beau Brummels chatting
incessantly about music and art, wooing her suavely with magnificent
technique, drinking coffee intermittently, and lavishly tipping the
_kellner_.

These _kaffeehäuser_ are the leading public institutions of Vienna.
They take the place of private teas, culture clubs, dramatic readings
and sewing circles in other countries. All Vienna society turns out in
the afternoon to partake of _melange_, _kaffee mit schlagobers_,
_kapuziner_, _schwarzen_, _weckerln_ and _kaisersemmeln_. But no hard
drinks, no vulgar pretzels and wursts. Only Americans order beer and
cognac at the coffee houses, and generally, after once sampling them,
they follow the bibulous lead of the Viennese. Each _kaffeehaus_ has its
own coterie, its own habitués. Thus, at the Café de l'Europe one finds
the worldly set, the young bloods with artistic leanings. The Café de
l'Opéra, in the Opernring, is patronised by the advocates and legal
attachés. At the Café Scheidl, in the Wallfischgasse, foregather the
governmental coterie, the army officers and burgomasters. The merchants
discuss their affairs at the Café Schwarzenberg, in the Kärntnerring. At
the Café Heinrichshof, in the Opernring, one finds the leading actors
and musicians immersed in the small talk of their craft. Thus it goes.
In all the leading cafés--the Habsburg, Landtmann, Mokesch, Gartenbau,
Siller, Prückl--the tables are filled, and the coffee drinking, the
_baunzerln_ eating and the gossiping go on till opera time.

The theatre in Vienna is a part of the life. It is not indulged in as a
mere amusement or diversion, like shooting the chutes or going to
church. It is an evening's obligation. This accounts for the large
number of Vienna theatres and for their architectural beauty. But do not
think that when you have attended a dozen such places as the
Hofoperntheatre, the Hofburgtheatre, the Deutsches Volkstheatre and the
Carltheatre you have sensed the entire theatrical appeal of Vienna. Far
from it. No city in the world is punctuated with so large a number of
semi-private intimate theatres and cabarets as Vienna--theatres with a
seating capacity of forty or fifty. You may know the Kleine Bühne and
the Max und Moritz and the Hölle, but there are fifty others, and every
night finds them crowded.

Theatregoing is occasionally varied with lesser and more primitive
pastimes. Go out on the crooked Sieveringerstrasse and behold the
multitudes waxing mellow over the sweet red _heuriger_. Go to the
Volksgarten-Café Restaurant any summer night after seven, pay sixty
heller, and see the crowds gathered to hear the military band concerts;
or seek the halls in winter and join the audiences who come to wallow in
the florid polyphonies of the _Wiener Tonkünstler Orchester_. Sundays
and holiday nights go to Grinsing and Nussdorf and watch the people at
play. Make the rounds of the wine houses--the Rathaus Keller, the
Nieder-Oesterreichisches Winzerhaus, the Tommasoni--and behold the
spooning and the rough joking.

All this is part of the night life of Vienna. But it is not the life in
which Bianca participates. Therefore we cannot tarry in the wine houses
or at the concerts. Instead let us attend the opera. We go early before
the sun has set. The curtain rises at six-thirty to permit of our
leaving by half past ten, for there is much to do before morning. After
the performance--dinner! The Viennese are adepts in the gustatory art.
Their meals have the heft of German victualty combined with the
delicacies and imaginative qualities of French cooking. An ideal and
seductive combination! A rich and toothsome blending!... Bianca touches
my arm and says we must make haste. This evening I am to be honoured
with dinner in her apartment. So we drive to her rooms on the
Franzenring overlooking the Volksgarten.

The Viennese dinner hour is eleven, and this is why the tourist,
fingering his guide book, looks in vain for the diners. Sacher's, the
Imperial, the Bristol and the Spatenbräu are deserted in the early
evenings. Even after the Opera these restaurants present little of the
life found in the Paris, Berlin or London restaurants. The Viennese is
not a public diner; and here again we find an explanation for the
tourist's impressions. When the Viennese goes to dinner, he does so
privately. Bianca's dinner that night was typical. There were twelve at
table. There was music by a semi-professional pianist. The service was
perfect--it was more like a dinner in a _cabinet particulier_ at a
Parisian café than one in a private apartment. But here we catch the
spirit of Vienna, the transforming of what the other cities do publicly
into the intimacies of the home.

At one o'clock, the meal finished, the intimate theatre claimed us.
There the glorious Bianca met her lovers, her little following. At these
theatres every one knows every one else. It is the social lure as well
as the theatrical appeal that brings the people there. Bianca chats with
the actors, flirts with the admiring Lotharios and drinks champagne. At
her side sit the greatest artists and dramatists of the day, princes and
other celebrities. At one of these performances I saw her bewitching two
men--one a composer, the other a writer--whose names lead the artistic
activities of Southern Europe. But Bianca is prodigal with her charms,
and before the final curtain was dropped she had shed her fascinations
on every patron in the theatre. And I, whose thirty kronen had passed
her by the satin-pantalooned and lace-bosomed doorkeeper, was quite
forgot. But such is Viennese etiquette. An escort may pay the _fiacre_
charge and the entrance fee, but such a meagre, vulgar claim does not
suffice to obtain a lady's entire attention for the evening. Such
selfishness is not understood by the Viennese.

The real business of the evening came later. The coffee drinking, the
theatre and the dining had been so many preliminaries for that form of
amusement which forms the basis of all Viennese night life--dancing. The
Viennese dance more than any people in the world. During _Faschingzeit_
there are at least fifty large public balls every night. These balls
become gay at one o'clock and last through the entire night. For the
most part they are masked, and range from the low to the high, from
those where the entrance fee is but two kronen to the elaborate ones
whose demand is thirty kronen. Every night in Vienna during the season
fifty thousand people are dancing. Nor are these balls the suave and
conventional dances of less frank nations. By the mere presentation of a
flower any one may dance with any one else. In every phase of night life
in Vienna flowers play an important part. They constitute the language
of the carnival. To such an extent is this true that, though you may ask
for a dance by presenting a flower, you may not ask verbally, though
your tongue be polished and your soul ablaze with poetry. And while you
are dancing you may not talk to your partner. She is yours for that
dance--but she is yours in silence. Should you meet her the following
afternoon in the Prater or on parade in the Kärntnerstrasse, her eyes
will look past you, for the night has gone, carrying with it its
memories and its intoxications.

It is this spirit of evanescence, this youthful buoyancy, snatched out
of the passing years, lived for a moment and then forgot, which
constitutes the genuine gaiety of Vienna. It is an unconscious gaiety,
sensed but not analysed, in the very soul of the people. It keeps the
Viennese young and makes him resent, intuitively, the invasion of other
nations to whom gaiety is artificial. That is why the dances are open to
all, why the formality of introductions would be scoffed at. Their blood
has all been tapped from the same fountain head. There are affinities
between all Viennese phagocytes. The basis of all romance is ephemeral
in its nature, and in no people in the world do we find so great an
element of transitoriness in pleasure-taking as in the Viennese.

A description of one of the masked balls would tell you the whole of
the night life in Vienna, but until you have become a part of one of
them you would not understand them. Not until you yourself had
accompanied the fair Bianca and watched her for a whole evening, could
you appreciate how these dances differ from those of other cities.
Externally they would appear the same. Photographed, they would look
like any other carnival ball. But there are things which a photographic
plate could never catch, and the spirit of merriment which runs through
these dances is one. If you care to see them, go to the Blumensäle or to
the Wimberger. The crowds here are typical. However, if you care for a
more lavish or elaborate gathering, you will find it at the
Musikvereinsäle or the Sofiensäle. These latter two are more
fashionable, though no one remains at any of the _maskenbälle_ the whole
evening. The dancers go from one ball to another; and should you, at
five in the morning, return to a _balhaus_ where you had been earlier in
the evening, you would find an entirely new set of dancers.

Let us then take our departure, with the masked ball still in full
progress, our hearts still thumping to the measures of an intoxicating
waltz, the golden confetti still glistening in our hair, perfumed powder
on our clothes, the murmuring of clandestine whispers still in our ears,
the rhythm of swaying girls still in our blood. As we pass out into the
bleak street, the first faint flush of dawn is in the east. The
_wässerer_ are washing off the cabs; a helmeted _hauptmann_ salutes
lazily as we pass, and we drive home full of the intoxications of that
pagan gaiety which the Viennese, more than any other people, have
preserved in all its innocence, its sensuous splendour, its spontaneity
and youth.

Bianca? By now she has forgotten with whom she came to the dance. Next
week my name will be but one of her innumerable memories--if, indeed, it
does not altogether pass away. For Bianca is Vienna, lavish and joyous
and buoyant--and forgetful. I danced with her three times, but my three
roses, along with scores of others, have long since been lost in the
swirl of the evening.

I wish I might think only of Bianca as the shadows dissolve from the
streets and the grey morning light strikes the great steeple of
Stefans-Dom. But another picture presents itself. I see a little French
girl, out of touch with all the merriment around her, sipping her
Dubonnet in solitude--a forlorn girl with pink cheeks, pale blue eyes
and hair the colour of wet straw.



MUNICH

[Illustration: MUNICH]



MUNICH


Let the most important facts come first. The best beer in Munich is
Spatenbräu; the best place to get it is at the Hoftheatre Café in the
Residenzstrasse; the best time to drink it is after 10 P.M., and the
best of all girls to serve it is Fräulein Sophie, that tall and
resilient creature, with her appetizing smile, her distinguished bearing
and her superbly manicured hands.

I have, in my time, sat under many and many superior _kellnerinen_,
some as regal as grand duchesses, some as demure as shoplifters, some as
graceful as _prime ballerini_, but none reaching so high a general level
of merit, none so thoroughly satisfying to eye and soul as Fräulein
Sophie. She is a lady, every inch of her, a lady presenting to all
gentlemanly clients the ideal blend of cordiality and dignity, and she
serves the best beer in Christendom. Take away that beer, and it is
possible, of course, that Sophie would lose some minute granule or
globule of her charm; but take away Sophie and I fear the beer would
lose even more.

In fact, I know it, for I have drunk that same beer in the
Spatenbräukeller in the Bayerstrasse, at all hours of the day and night,
and always the ultimate thrill was missing. Good beer, to be sure, and a
hundred times better than the common brews, even in Munich, but not
perfect beer, not beer _de luxe_, not super-beer. It is the human
equation that counts, in the _bierhalle_ as on the battlefield. One
resents, somehow a _kellnerin_ with the figure of a taxicab, no matter
how good her intentions and fluent her technique, just as one resents a
trained nurse with a double chin or a glass eye. When a personal office
that a man might perform, or even an intelligent machine, is put into
the hands of a woman, it is put there simply and solely because the
woman can bring charm to it and irradiate it with romance. If, now, she
fails to do so--if she brings, not charm, not beauty, not romance, but
the gross curves of an aurochs and a voice of brass--if she offers bulk
when the heart cries for grace and adenoids when the order is for music,
then the whole thing becomes a hissing and a mocking, and a grey fog is
on the world.

But to get back to the Hoftheatre Café. It stands, as I have said, in
the Residenzstrasse, where that narrow street bulges out into the
Max-Joseph-platz, and facing it, as its name suggests, is the
Hoftheatre, the most solemn-looking playhouse in Europe, but the scene
of appalling tone debaucheries within. The supreme idea at the
Hoftheatre is to get the curtain down at ten o'clock. If the bill
happens to be a short one, say "Hänsel and Gretel" or "Elektra," the
three thumps of the starting mallet may not come until eight o'clock or
even 8:30, but if it is a long one, say "Parsifal" or "Les Huguenots," a
beginning is made far back in the afternoon. Always the end arrives at
ten, with perhaps a moment or two leeway in one direction or the other.
And two minutes afterward, without further ceremony or delay, the truly
epicurean auditor has his feet under the mahogany at the Hoftheatre Café
across the platz, with a seidel of that incomparable brew tilted
elegantly toward his face and his glad eyes smiling at Fräulein Sophie
through the glass bottom.

How many women could stand that test? How many could bear the ribald
distortions of that lens-like seidel bottom and yet keep their charm?
How many thus caricatured and vivisected, could command this free
reading notice from a casual American, dictating against time and space
to a red-haired stenographer, three thousand and five hundred miles
away? And yet Sophie does it, and not only Sophie, but also Frida, Elsa,
Lili, Kunigunde, Märtchen, Thérèse and Lottchen, her confrères and
aides, and even little Rosa, who is half Bavarian and half Japanese, and
one of the prettiest girls in Munich, in or out of uniform. It is a
pleasure to say a kind word for little Rosa, with her coal black hair
and her slanting eyes, for she is too fragile a fräulein to be toting
around those gigantic German schnitzels and bifsteks, those mighty
double portions of sauerbraten and rostbif, those staggering drinking
urns, overballasted and awash.

Let us not, however, be unjust to the estimable Herr Wirt of the
Hoftheatre Café, with his pneumatic tread, his chaste side whiskers and
his long-tailed coat, for his drinking urns, when all is said and done,
are quite the smallest in Munich. And not only the smallest, but also
the shapeliest. In the Hofbräuhaus and in the open air _bierkneipen_
(for instance, the Mathäser joint, of which more anon) one drinks out of
earthen cylinders which resemble nothing so much as the gaunt towers of
Munich cathedral; and elsewhere the orthodox goblet is a glass edifice
following the lines of an old-fashioned silver water pitcher--you know
the sort the innocently criminal used to give as wedding presents!--but
at the Hoftheatre there is a vessel of special design, hexagonal in
cross section and unusually graceful in general aspect. On top, a pewter
lid, ground to an optical fit and highly polished--by Sophie, Rosa _et
al._, poor girls! To starboard, a stout handle, apparently of reinforced
onyx. Above the handle, and attached to the lid, a metal flange or
thumbpiece. Grasp the handle, press your thumb on the thumbpiece--and
presto, the lid heaves up. And then, to the tune of a Strauss waltz,
played passionately by tone artists in oleaginous dress suits, down goes
the Spatenbräu--gurgle, gurgle--burble, burble--down goes the
Spatenbräu--exquisite, ineffable!--to drench the heart in its nut brown
flood and fill the arteries with its benign alkaloids and antitoxins.

Well, well, maybe I grow too eloquent! Such memories loose and craze
the tongue. A man pulls himself up suddenly, to find that he has been
vulgar. If so here, so be it! I refuse to plead to the indictment;
sentence me and be hanged to you! I am by nature a vulgar fellow. I
prefer "Tom Jones" to "The Rosary," Rabelais to the Elsie books, the Old
Testament to the New, the expurgated parts of "Gulliver's Travels" to
those that are left. I delight in beef stews, limericks, burlesque
shows, New York City and the music of Haydn, that beery and delightful
old rascal! I swear in the presence of ladies and archdeacons. When the
mercury is above ninety-five I dine in my shirt sleeves and write poetry
naked. I associate habitually with dramatists, bartenders, medical men
and musicians. I once, in early youth, kissed a waitress at Dennett's.
So don't accuse me of vulgarity; I admit it and flout you. Not, of
course, that I have no pruderies, no fastidious metes and bounds. Far
from it. Babies, for example, are too vulgar for me; I cannot bring
myself to touch them. And actors. And evangelists. And the obstetrical
anecdotes of ancient dames. But in general, as I have said, I joy in
vulgarity, whether it take the form of divorce proceedings or of
"Tristan und Isolde," of an Odd Fellows' funeral or of Munich beer.

But here, perhaps, I go too far again. That is to say, I have no right
to admit that Munich beer is vulgar. On the contrary, it is my obvious
duty to deny it, and not only to deny it but also to support my denial
with an overwhelming mass of evidence and a shrill cadenza of casuistry.
But the time and the place, unluckily enough, are not quite fit for the
dialectic, and so I content myself with a few pertinent observations.
_Imprimis_, a thing that is unique, incomparable, _sui generis_, cannot
be vulgar. Munich beer is unique, incomparable, _sui generis_. More, it
is consummate, transcendental, _übernatürlich_. Therefore it cannot be
vulgar. Secondly, the folk who drink it day after day do not die of
vulgar diseases. Turn to the subhead _Todesursachen_ in the instructive
_Statistischer Monatsbericht der Stadt München_, and you will find
records of few if any deaths from delirium tremens, boils, hookworm,
smallpox, distemper, measles or what the _Monatsbericht_ calls "liver
sickness." The Müncheners perish more elegantly, more charmingly than
that. When their time comes it is gout that fetches them, or
appendicitis, or neurasthenia, or angina pectoris; or perchance they cut
their throats.

Thirdly, and to make it short, lastly, the late Henrik Ibsen,
nourished upon Munich beer, wrote "Hedda Gabler," not to mention
"Rosmersholm" and "The Lady from the Sea"--wrote them in his flat in the
Maximilianstrasse overlooking the palace and the afternoon promenaders,
in the late eighties of the present, or Christian era--wrote them there
and then took them to the Café Luitpold, in the Briennerstrasse, to
ponder them, polish them and make them perfect. I myself have sat in old
Henrik's chair and victualed from the table. It is far back in the main
hall of the café, to the right as you come in, and hidden from the
incomer by the glass vestibule which guards the pantry. Ibsen used to
appear every afternoon at three o'clock, to drink his vahze of Löwenbräu
and read the papers. The latter done, he would sit in silence, thinking,
thinking, planning, planning. Not often did he say a word, even to
Fräulein Mizzi, his favourite _kellnerin_. So taciturn was he, in truth,
that his rare utterances were carefully entered in the archives of the
café and are now preserved there. By the courtesy of Dr. Adolph
Himmelheber, the present curator, I am permitted to transcribe a few,
the imperfect German of the poet being preserved:

November 18, 1889, 4:15 P.M.--_Giebt es kein Feuer in diese verfluchte
Bierstube? Meine Füsse sind so kalt wie Eiszapfen!_

April 12, 1890, 5:20 P.M.--_Der Kerl is verrückt!_ (Said of an American
who entered with the stars and stripes flying from his hat.)

May 22, 1890, 4:40 P.M.--_Sie sind so eselhaft wie ein Schauspieler!_
(To an assistant Herr Wirt who brought him a Socialist paper in mistake
for the London _Times_.)

Now and then the great man would condescend to play a game of billiards
in the hall to the rear, usually with some total stranger. He would
point out the stranger to Fräulein Mizzi and she would carry his card.
The game would proceed, as a rule, in utter silence. But it was for the
Löwenbräu and not for the billiards that Ibsen came to the Luitpold, for
the Löwenbräu and the high flights of soul that it engendered. He had no
great liking for Munich as a city; his prime favourite was always
Vienna, with Rome second. But he knew that the incomparable malt liquor
of Munich was full of the inspiration that he needed, and so he kept
near it, not to bathe in it, not to frivol with it, but to take it
discreetly and prophylactically, and as the exigencies of his art
demanded.

Ibsen's inherent fastidiousness, a quality which urged him to spend
hours shining his shoes, was revealed by his choice of the Café
Luitpold, for of all the cafés in Munich the Luitpold is undoubtedly the
most elegant. Its walls are adorned with frescoes by Albrecht
Hildebrandt. The ceiling of the main hall is supported by columns of
coloured marble. The tables are of carved mahogany. The forks and
spoons, before Americans began to steal them, were of real silver. The
chocolate with whipped cream, served late in the afternoon, is famous
throughout Europe. The Herr Wirt has the suave sneak of John Drew and is
a privy councillor to the King of Bavaria. All the tables along the east
wall, which is one vast mirror, are reserved from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M.
nightly by the faculty of the University of Munich, which there
entertains the eminent scientists who constantly visit the city. No
orchestra arouses the baser passions with "Wiener Blut." The place has
calm, aloofness, intellectuality, aristocracy, distinction. It was the
scene foreordained for the hatching of "Hedda Gabler."

But don't imagine that Munich, when it comes to elegance, must stand or
fall with the Luitpold. Far from it, indeed. There are other cafés of
noble and elevating quality in that delectable town--plenty of them, you
may be sure. For example, the Odéon, across the street from the
Luitpold, a place lavish and luxurious, but with a certain touch of
dogginess, a taste of salt. The _piccolo_ who lights your cigar and
accepts your five pfennigs at the Odéon is an Ethiopian dwarf. Do you
sense the romance, the exotic _diablerie_, the suggestion of Levantine
mystery? And somewhat Levantine, too, are the ladies who sit upon the
plush benches along the wall and take Russian cigarettes with their
kirschenwasser. Not that the atmosphere is frankly one of Sin. No! No!
The Odéon is no cabaret. A leg flung in the air would bring the Herr
Wirt at a gallop, you may be sure--or, at any rate, his apoplectic
corpse. In all New York, I dare say, there is no public eating house so
near to the far-flung outposts, the Galapagos Islands of virtue. But one
somehow feels that for Munich, at least, the Odéon is just a bit
tolerant, just a bit philosophical, just a bit Bohemian. One even
imagines taking an American show girl there without being warned (by a
curt note in one's serviette) that the head waiter's family lives in the
house.

Again, pursuing these haunts of the baroque and arabesque, there is the
restaurant of the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, a masterpiece of the Munich
glass cutters and upholsterers. It is in the very heart of things, with
the royal riding school directly opposite, the palace a block away and
the green of the Englischer Garten glimmering down the street. Here, of
a fine afternoon, the society is the best between Vienna and Paris. One
may share the vinegar cruet with a countess, and see a general of
cavalry eat peas with a knife (hollow ground, like a razor; a Bavarian
trick!) and stand aghast while a great tone artist dusts his shoes with
a napkin, and observe a Russian grand duke at the herculean labour of
drinking himself to death.

The Vier Jahreszeiten is no place for the common people; such trade is
not encouraged. The dominant note of the establishment is that of proud
retirement, of elegant sanctuary. One enters, not from the garish
Maximilianstrasse, with its motor cars and its sinners, but from the
Marstallstrasse, a sedate and aristocratic side street. The Vier
Jahreszeiten, in its time, has given food, alcohol and lodgings for the
night to twenty crowned heads and a whole shipload of lesser
magnificoes, and despite the rise of other hotels it retains its ancient
supremacy. It is the peer of Shepheard's at Cairo, of the Cecil in
London, of the old Inglaterra at Havana, of the St. Charles at New
Orleans. It is one of the distinguished hotels of the world.

I could give you a long list of other Munich restaurants of a kingly
order--the great breakfast room of the Bayrischer Hof, with its polyglot
waiters and its amazing repertoire of English jams; the tea and liquor
atelier of the same hostelry, with its high dome and its sheltering
palms; the pretty little open air restaurant of the Künstlerhaus in the
Lenbachplatz; the huge catacomb of the Rathaus, with its mediæval arches
and its vintage wines; the lovely _al fresco_ café on Isar Island, with
the green cascades of the Isar winging on lazy afternoons; the café in
the Hofgarten, gay with birds and lovers; that in the Tiergarten, from
the terrace of which one watches lions and tigers gamboling in the
woods; and so on, and so on. There is even, I hear, a temperance
restaurant in Munich, the Jungbrunnen in the Arcostrasse, where water is
served with meals, but that is only rumour. I myself have never visited
it, nor do I know any one who has.

All this, however, is far from the point. I am here hired to discourse
of Munich beer, and not of vintage wines, bogus cocktails, afternoon
chocolate and well water. We are on a beeriad. Avaunt, ye grapes, ye
maraschino cherries, ye puerile H_{2}O!

And so, resuming that beeriad, it appears that we are once again in the
Hoftheatre Café in the Residenzstrasse, and that Fräulein Sophie, that
pleasing creature, has just arrived with two ewers of Spatenbräu--two
ewers fresh from the wood--woody, nutty, incomparable! Ah, those
elegantly manicured hands! Ah, that Mona Lisa smile! Ah, that so
graceful waist! Ah, malt! Ah, hops! _Ach, München, wie bist du so
schön!_

But even Paradise has its nuisances, its scandals, its lacks. The
Hoftheatre Café, alas, is not the place to eat sauerkraut--not the
place, at any rate, to eat sauerkraut _de luxe_, the supreme and
singular masterpiece of the Bavarian uplands, the perfect grass embalmed
to perfection. The place for that is the Pschorrbräu in the
Neuhauserstrasse, a devious and confusing journey, down past the
Pompeian post office, into the narrow Schrammerstrasse, around the old
cathedral, and then due south to the Neuhauserstrasse. _Sapperment!_ The
Neuhauserstrasse is here called the Kaufingerstrasse! Well, well, don't
let it fool you. A bit further to the east it is called the Marienplatz,
and further still the Thal, and then the Isarthorplatz, and then the
Zweibrückenstrasse, and then the Isarbrücke, and then the Ludwigbrücke,
and finally, beyond the river, the Gasteig or the Rosenheimerstrasse,
according as one takes its left branch or its right.

But don't be dismayed by all that versatility. Munich streets, like
London streets, change their names every two or three blocks. Once you
arrive between the two mediæval arches of the Karlsthor and the
Sparkasse, you are in the Neuhauserstrasse, whatever the name on the
street sign, and if you move westward toward the Karlsthor you will come
inevitably to the Pschorrbräu, and within you will find Fräulein Tilde
(to whom my regards), who will laugh at your German with a fine show of
pearly teeth and the extreme vibration of her 195 pounds. Tilde, in
these godless states, would be called fat. But observe her in the
Pschorrbräu, mellowed by that superb malt, glorified by that consummate
kraut, and you will blush to think her more than plump.

I give you the Pschorrbräu as the one best eating bet in Munich--and
not forgetting, by any means, the Luitpold, the Rathaus, the Odéon and
all the other gilded hells of victualry to northward. Imagine it: every
skein of sauerkraut is cooked three times before it reaches your plate!
Once in plain water, once in Rhine wine and once in melted snow! A dish,
in this benighted republic, for stevedores and yodlers, a coarse fee for
violoncellists, barbers and reporters for the _Staats-Zeitung_--but the
delight, at the Pschorrbräu, of diplomats, the literati and doctors of
philosophy. I myself, eating it three times a day, to the accompaniment
of _schweinersrippen_ and _bonensalat_, have composed triolets in the
Norwegian language, a feat not matched by Björnstjerne Björnson himself.
And I once met an American medical man, in Munich to sit under the
learned Prof. Dr. Müller, who ate no less than five portions of it
nightly, after his twelve long hours of clinical prodding and hacking.
He found it more nourishing, he told me, than pure albumen, and more
stimulating to the jaded nerves than laparotomy.

But to many Americans, of course, sauerkraut does not appeal.
Prejudiced against the dish by ridicule and innuendo, they are unable to
differentiate between good and bad, and so it's useless to send them to
this or that _ausschank_. Well, let them then go to the Pschorrbräu and
order bifstek from the grill, at M. 1.20 the ration. There may be
tenderer and more savoury bifsteks in the world, bifsteks which sizzle
more seductively upon red hot plates, bifsteks with more proteids and
manganese in them, bifsteks more humane to ancient and hyperesthetic
teeth, bifsteks from nobler cattle, more deftly cut, more passionately
grilled, more romantically served--but not, believe me, for M. 1.20!
Think of it: a cut of tenderloin for M. 1.20--say, 28.85364273x cents!
For a side order of sauerkraut, forty pfennigs extra. For potatoes,
twenty-five pfennigs. For a _mass_ of _dunkle_, thirty-two pfennigs. In
all, M. 2.17--an odd mill or so more or less than fifty-two cents. A
square meal, perfectly cooked, washed down with perfect beer and served
perfectly by Fräulein Tilde--and all for the price of a shampoo!

From the Pschorrbräu, if the winds be fair, the beeriad takes us
westward along the Neuhauserstrasse a distance of eighty feet and six
inches, and behold, we are at the Augustinerbräu. Good beer--a trifle
pale, perhaps, and without much grip to it, but still good beer. After
all, however, there is something lacking here. Or, to be more accurate,
something jars. The orchestra plays Grieg and Moszkowski; a smell of
chocolate is in the air; that tall, pink lieutenant over there, with his
cropped head and his outstanding ears, his _backfisch_ waist and his
mudscow feet--that military gargoyle, half lout and half fop, offends
the roving eye. No doubt a handsome man, by German standards--even,
perhaps a celebrated seducer, a soldier with a future--but the mere
sight of him suffices to paralyse an American esophagus. Besides, there
is the smell of chocolate, sweet, sickly, effeminate, and at two in the
afternoon! Again, there is the music of Grieg, clammy, clinging, creepy.
Away to the Mathäserbräu, two long blocks by taxi! From the Munich of
Berlinish decadence and Prussian epaulettes to the Munich of honest
Bavarians! From chocolate and macaroons to pretzels and white radishes!
From Grieg to "Lachende Liebe!" From a boudoir to an inn yard! From pale
beer in fragile glasses to red beer in earthen pots!

The Mathäserbräu is up a narrow alley, and that alley is always full
of Müncheners going in. Follow the crowd, and one comes presently to a
row of booths set up by radish sellers--ancient dames of incredible
diameter, gnarled old peasants in tapestry waistcoats and country boots;
veterans, one half ventures, of the Napoleonic wars, even of the wars of
Frederick the Great. A ten-pfennig piece buys a noble white radish, and
the seller slices it free of charge, slices it with a silver revolving
blade into two score thin schnitzels, and puts salt between each
adjacent pair. A radish so sliced and salted is the perfect complement
of this dark Mathäser beer. One nibbles and drinks, drinks and nibbles,
and so slides the lazy afternoon. The scene is an incredible, playhouse
courtyard, with shrubs in tubs and tables painted scarlet; a fit setting
for the first act of "Manon." But instead of choristers in short skirts,
tripping, the whoop-la and boosting the landlord's wine, one feasts the
eye upon Münchenese of a rhinocerous fatness, dropsical and gargantuan
creatures, bisons in skirts, who pass laboriously among the bibuli,
offering bunches of little pretzels strung upon red strings. Six
pretzels for ten pfennigs. A five-pfennig tip for Frau Dickleibig, and
she brings you the _Fliegende Blätter_, _Le Rire_, the Munich or Berlin
papers, whatever you want. A drowsy, hedonistic, easy-going place. Not
much talk, not much rattling of crockery, not much card playing. The
mountain, one guesses, of Munich meditation. The incubator of Munich
_gemütlichkeit_.

Upstairs there is the big Mathäser hall, with room for three thousand
visitors of an evening, a great resort for Bavarian high privates and
their best girls, the scene of honest and public courting. Between the
Bavarian high private and the Bavarian lieutenant all the differences
are in favour of the former. He wears no corsets, he is innocent of the
monocle, he sticks to native beer. A man of amour like his officer, he
disdains the elaborate winks, the complex _diableries_ of that superior
being, and confines himself to open hugging. One sees him, in these
great beer halls, with his arm around his Lizzie. Anon he arouses
himself from his coma of love to offer her a sip from his _mass_ or to
whisper some bovine nothing into her ear. Before they depart for the
evening he escorts her to the huge sign, "_Für Damen_," and waits
patiently while she goes in and fixes her mussed hair.

The Bavarians have no false pruderies, no nasty little nicenesses.
There is, indeed, no race in Europe more innocent, more frank, more
clean-minded. Postcards of a homely and harmless vulgarity are for sale
in every Munich stationer's shop, but the connoisseur looks in vain for
the studied indecencies of Paris, the appalling obscenities of the Swiss
towns. Munich has little to show the American Sunday school
superintendent on the loose. The ideal there is not a sharp and stinging
deviltry, a swift massacre of all the commandments, but a liquid and
tolerant geniality, a great forgiveness. Beer does not refine, perhaps,
but at any rate it mellows. No Münchener ever threw a stone.

And so, passing swiftly over the Burgerbräu in the Kaufingerstrasse,
the Hackerbräu, the Kreuzbräu, and the Kochelbräu, all hospitable
_lokale_, selling pure beer in honest measures; and over the various
Pilsener fountains and the agency for Vienna beer--dish-watery
stuff!--in the Maximilianstrasse; and over the various summer _keller_
on the heights of Au and Haidhausen across the river, with their
spacious terraces and their ancient traditions--passing over all these
tempting sanctuaries of _mass_ and _kellnerin_, we arrive finally at the
Löwenbräukeller and the Hofbräuhaus, which is quite a feat of arriving,
it must be granted, for the one is in the Nymphenburgerstrasse, in
Northwest Munich, and the other is in the Platzl, not two blocks from
the royal palace, and the distance from the one to the other is a good
mile and a half.

The Löwenbräu first--a rococo castle sprawling over a whole city block,
and with accommodations in its "halls, galleries, loges, verandas,
terraces, outlying garden promenades and beer rooms" (I quote the
official guide) for eight thousand drinkers. A lordly and impressive
establishment is this Löwenbräu, an edifice of countless towers,
buttresses, minarets and dungeons. It was designed by the learned Prof.
Albert Schmidt, one of the creators of modern Munich, and when it was
opened, on June 14, 1883, all the military bands in Munich played at
once in the great hall, and the royal family of Bavaria turned out in
state coaches, and 100,000 eager Müncheners tried to fight their way in.

How large that great hall may be I don't know, but I venture to guess
that it seats four thousand people--not huddled together, as a theatre
seats them, but comfortably, loosely, spaciously, with plenty of room
between the tables for the 250 _kellnerinen_ to navigate safely with
their cargoes of Löwenbräu. Four nights a week a military band plays in
this hall or a _männerchor_ rowels the air with song, and there is an
admission fee of thirty pfennigs (7-1/5 cents). One night I heard the
band of the second Bavarian (Crown Prince's) Regiment, playing as an
orchestra, go through a programme that would have done credit to the New
York philharmonic. A young violinist in corporal's stripes lifted the
crowd to its feet with the slow movement of the Tschaikowsky concerto;
the band itself began with Wagner's "Siegfried Idyl" and ended with
Strauss's "Rosen aus dem Süden," a superb waltz, magnificently
performed. Three hours of first-rate music for 7-1/5 cents! And a _mass_
of Löwenbräu, twice the size of the seidel sold in this country at
twenty cents, for forty pfennigs (9-1/2 cents)! An inviting and
appetizing spot, believe me. A place to stretch your legs. A temple of
Lethe. There, when my days of moneylust are over, I go to chew my
memories and dream my dreams and listen to my arteries hardening.

By taxicab down the wide Briennerstrasse, past the Luitpold and the
Odéon, to the Ludwigstrasse, gay with its after-the-opera crowds, and
then to the left into the Residenzstrasse, past the Hoftheatre and its
café (ah, Sophie, thou angel!), and so to the Maximilianstrasse, to the
Neuthurmstrasse, and at last, with a sharp turn, into the Platzl.

The Hofbräuhaus! One hears it from afar; a loud buzzing, the rattle of
_mass_ lids, the sputter of the released _dunkle_, the sharp cries of
pretzel and radish sellers, the scratching of matches, the shuffling of
feet, the eternal gurgling of the plain people. No palace this, for all
its towering battlements and the frescos by Ferdinand Wagner in the
great hall upstairs, but drinking butts for them that labour and are
heavy laden: station porter, teamsters, servant girls, soldiers,
bricklayers, blacksmiths, tinners, sweeps.

There sits the fair lady who gathers cigar stumps from the platz in
front of the Bayerischer Hof, still in her green hat of labour, but now
with an earthen cylinder of Hofbräu in her hands. The gentleman beside
her, obviously wooing her, is third fireman at the same hotel. At the
next table, a squad of yokels just in from the oberland, in their short
jackets and their hobnailed boots. Beyond, a noisy meeting of
Socialists, a rehearsal of some _liedertafel_, a family reunion of four
generations, a beer party of gay young bloods from the gas works, a
conference of the executive committee of the horse butchers' union.
Every second drinker has brought his lunch wrapped in newspaper; half a
_blutwurst_, two radishes, an onion, a heel of rye bread. The débris of
such lunches covers the floor. One wades through escaped beer, among
floating islands of radish top and newspaper. Children go overboard and
are succoured with shouts. Leviathans of this underground lake,
_Lusitanias_ of beer, Pantagruels of the Hofbräuhaus, collide, draw off,
collide again and are wrecked in the narrow channels.... A great puffing
and blowing. Stranded craft on every bench.... Noses like cigar bands.

No waitresses here. Each drinker for himself! You go to the long shelf,
select your _mass_, wash it at the spouting faucet and fall into line.
Behind the rail the _zahlmeister_ takes your twenty-eight pfennigs and
pushes your _mass_ along the counter. Then the perspiring _bierbischof_
fills it from the naked keg, and you carry it to the table of your
choice, or drink it standing up and at one suffocating gulp, or take it
out into the yard, to wrestle with it beneath the open sky. Roughnecks
enter eternally with fresh kegs; the thud of the mallet never ceases;
the rude clamour of the bung-starter is as the rattle of departing time
itself. Huge damsels in dirty aprons--retired _kellnerinen_, too bulky,
even, for that trade of human battleships--go among the tables rescuing
empty _mässe_. Each _mass_ returns to the shelf and begins another
circuit of faucet, counter and table. A dame so fat that she must remain
permanently at anchor--the venerable _Constitution_ of this
fleet!--bawls postcards and matches. A man in _pinçe-nez_, a decadent
doctor of philosophy, sells pale German cigars at three for ten
pfennigs. Here we are among the plain people. They believe in Karl Marx,
_blutwurst_ and the Hofbräuhaus. They speak a German that is half speech
and half grunt. One passes them to windward and enters the yard.

A brighter scene. A cleaner, greener land. In the centre a circular
fountain; on four sides the mediæval gables of the old beerhouse; here
and there a barrel on end, to serve as table. The yard is most gay on a
Sunday morning, when thousands stop on their way to church--not only
Socialists and servant girls, remember, but also solemn gentlemen in
plug hats and frock coats, students in their polychrome caps and in all
the glory of their astounding duelling scars, citizens' wives in holiday
finery. The fountain is a great place for gossip. One rests one's _mass_
on the stone coping and engages one's nearest neighbour. He has a cousin
who is brewmaster of the largest brewery in Zanesville, Ohio. Is it true
that all the policemen in America are convicts? That some of the
skyscrapers have more than twenty stories? What a country! And those
millionaire Socialists! Imagine a rich man denouncing riches! And then,
"_Grüss' Gott!_"--and the pots clink. A kindly, hospitable, tolerant
folk, these Bavarians! "_Grüss' Gott!_"--"the compliments of God." What
other land has such a greeting for strangers?

On May day all Munich goes to the Hofbräuhaus to "prove" the new bock.
I was there last May in company with a Virginian weighing 190 pounds. He
wept with joy when he smelled that heavenly brew. It had the coppery
glint of old Falernian, the pungent bouquet of good port, the acrid grip
of English ale, and the bubble and bounce of good champagne. A beer to
drink reverently and silently, as if in the presence of something
transcendental, ineffable--but not too slowly, for the supply is
limited! One year it ran out in thirty hours and there were riots from
the Max-Joseph-Platz to the Isar. But last May day there was enough and
to spare--enough, at all events, to last until the Virginian and I gave
up, at high noon of May 3. The Virginian went to bed at the Bayerischer
Hof at 12:30, leaving a call for 4 P.M. of May 5.

Ah, the Hofbräuhaus! A massive and majestic shrine, the Parthenon of
beer drinking, seductive to virtuosi, fascinating to the connoisseur,
but a bit too strenuous, a trifle too cruel, perhaps, for the
dilettante. The Müncheners love it as hillmen love the hills. There
every one of them returns, soon or late. There he takes his children, to
teach them his hereditary art. There he takes his old grandfather, to
say farewell to the world. There, when he has passed out himself, his
pallbearers in their gauds of grief will stop to refresh themselves, and
to praise him in speech and song, and to weep unashamed for the loss of
so _gemüthlich_ a fellow.

But, as I have said, the Hofbräuhaus is no playroom for amateurs. My
advice to you, if you would sip the cream of Munich and leave the hot
acids and lye, is that you have yourself hauled forthwith to the
Hoftheatre Café, and that you there tackle a modest seidel of
Spatenbräu--first one, and then another, and so on until you master the
science.

And all that I ask in payment for that tip--the most valuable,
perhaps, you have ever got from a book--is that you make polite inquiry
of the Herr Wirt regarding Fräulein Sophie, and that you present to her,
when she comes tripping to your table, the respects and compliments of
one who forgets not her cerulean eyes, her swanlike glide, her Mona Lisa
smile and her leucemic and superbly manicured hands!



BERLIN

[Illustration: BERLIN]



BERLIN


I am back again, back again in New York. My rooms are littered with
battered bags and down-at-the-heel walking sticks and still-damp
steamer rugs, lying where they dropped from the hands of maudlin
bellboys. My trunks are creaking their way down the hall, urged on by
a perspiring, muttering porter. The windows, still locked and gone
blue-grey with the August heat, rattle to the echo of the "L" trains a
block away, trains rankling up to Harlem with a sweating, struggling
people, the people of the Republic, their day's grind over, jamming
their one way to a thousand flat houses, there to await, in an all
unconscious poverty, the sunrise of still such another day. The last
crack of a triphammer, peckering at a giant pile of iron down the
block, dies out on the dead air. A taxicab, rrrrr-ing in the street
below, grunts its horn. A newsboy, in neuralgic yowl, bawls out a
sporting extra. Another "L" train and the panes rattle again. A
momentary quiet ... and from somewhere in a nearby street I hear a
grind-organ. What is the tune it is playing? I've heard it, I
know--somewhere; but--no, I can't remember. I try--I try to follow the
air--but no use. And then, presently, one of the notes whispers into
my puckering lips a single word--"_Mariechen_." Then other notes
whisper others--"_du süsses Viehchen_"; and then others still
others--"_du bist mein alles, bist mein Traum_." And the battered bags
and the down-at-the-heel walking sticks and the still-damp steamer
rugs and the trunks creaking down the hallway and the rattle of the
"L" trains fade out of my eyes and ears and again dear little Hulda is
with me under the Linden trees--poor dear little Hulda who ever in the
years to come shall bring back to me the starlit romance of youth--and
again I feel her so soft hand in mine and again I hear her whisper the
_auf wiederseh'n_ that was to be our last good-bye--and I am three
thousand miles over the seas. For it's night for me again in
Berlin--_kronprinzessin_ of the cities of the world.

I am again on the hitherward shore of the Hundekehlensee, flashing back
its diamond smiles at the setting sun. I am sitting again near the
water's edge in the moist shade of the Grunewald, and the trees sing for
me the poetry that they once sang to the palette of Leistikow. My nose
cools itself in the recesses of a translucent _schoppen_ of
Johannisberger, proud beverage in whose every topaz drop lies imprisoned
the kiss of a peasant girl of Prussia. From the southward side of the
Grunewaldsee the horn of a distant hunting lodge seems to call a welcome
to the timid stars; and then I seem to hear another--or is it just an
echo?--from somewhere out the spur of the Havelberge beyond. Or is just
the Johannesberger, soul of the most imaginative grape in Christendom?
Or--woe is me--am I really back again across the seas in New York, and
is what I hear only the horn of the taxicab, rrrrr-ing in the street
below?

But I open my too-dreaming eyes--and yes; I am in the Grunewald. And
the summer sun is saffron in the waters of the lake. And about me, at a
thousand tables under the Grunewald trees, are a thousand people and
more, the people of the Kaiserland, their day's work over, clinking a
thousand _wohlseins_ in a great twilight peace and awaiting, in all
unconscious opulence, the sunrise of yet such another day. And a great
band, swung into the measures by a firm-bellied _kapellmeister_ as
gorgeous in his pounds of gold braid as a peafowl, sets sail into
"Parsifal" against a spray of salivary brass. And the air about me is
full of "_Kellner!_" and "_Zwei Seidel, bitte!_" and "_Wiener
Roastbraten und Stangenspargel mit geschlagener Butter!_" and "_Zwei
Seidel, bitte!_" and "_Junge Kohlrabi mit gebratenen Sardellenklopsen!_"
and "_Zwei Seidel, bitte!_" and "_Sahnenfilets mit Schwenkkartoffeln!_"
and "_Zwei Seidel, bitte!_" and a thousand _schmeckt's guts_ and a
thousand _prosits_ and "_Zwei Seidel, bitte!_" And no outrage upon the
ear is in all this guttural B minor, no rape of exotic tympani, but a
sense rather of superb languor and wholesome tranquillity, of harmonious
stomachic socialism, an orchestration of honest ovens and a diapason of
honest _bräus_ and _brunners_, with their balmy wealth of nostril
arpeggios and roulades.

And thus the evening breeze, come hither through the reeds and
cypress from over the purpling Havel hills beyond, takes on an added
perfume, an added bouquet, as it transports itself to the sniffer over
to the hurrying _krebs-suppen_ and thick brown-gravied platters and dewy
seidels. My nose, in its day, has engaged with many a seductive aroma.
It has met, at Cassis on the Mediterranean, the fumes breathed by
_bécasse sur canapés_ and Château Lafitte '69--and it has ffd and ffd
again and again in an ecstasy of inhalation. It has encountered in
Moscow, the regal vapours of _nevop astowka Dernidoff_ sweeping across a
slender goblet of golden sherry--and it has been abashed at the delirium
of scent. On the Grand Boulevards, it has skirmished with punch _à la
Toscane_ flavoured with Maraschino and with bitter almonds--and has
inhaled as if in a dream. The juicy, dripping cuts of Simpson's in
London, the paradisian pudding _sueldoiro_ on the little screened
veranda in the shadow of the six-minareted Mosque of El-Azhar in Cairo,
the salmon dipped in Chambertin and the artichokes, sauce Barigoule, at
Schönbrunn on the road to Vienna, the _escaloppes de foie gras à la
russe_ (favourite dish of the late Beau McAllister) at Delmonico's at
home--all these and more have wooed my nostril with their rare
fragrances. But, though I have attended many a table and given audience
to many an attendant perfume, nowhere, nor never, has there been borne
in upon me the like of that exquisite nasal blend of _bratens_ and
_bräus_ with which the twilight breezes have christened me among the
trees of the Grunewald. Forgotten, there, are the roses on the moonlit
garden wall in Barbizon, chaperoned by the fairy forest of
Fontainebleau; forgotten the damp wild clover fields of the Indiana of
my boyhood. All vanished, gone, before the olfactory transports of this
concert of hops and schnitzels, of Rhineland vineyards and upland
_käse_. And here it is, here in the great German out-of-doors, on the
border of the Hundekehlen lake, with a nimble _kellner_ at my elbow,
with the plain, homely German people to the right and left of me, with
the stars beginning to silver in the silent water, with the band lifting
me, a drab and absurd American, into the spirit of this kaiserwelt, and
with the innocent eyes of the fair fräulein under yonder tree
intermittently englishing their coquettish glances from the
_eisschokolade_ that should alone engage them--here it is that I like
best to bide the climbing of the moon into the skies over Berlin--here
it is that I like best to wait upon the city's night.

Ah, Berlin, how little the world knows you--you and your children! It
sees you fat of figure, an Adam's apple struggling with your every
vowel, ponderous of temperament. It sees you a sullen and varicose
mistress, whose draperies hang heavy and ludicrous from a pudgy form. It
sees you a portly, pursy, foolish Undine struggling awkwardly from out a
cyclopean vat of beer. It hears your music in the ta-tata-tata-ta-ta of
your "_Ach, du lieber Augustin_" alone; the sum of your sentiment in
your "_Ich weiss nicht was soll es bedeuten_." Wise American
journalists, commissioned to explore your soul, have returned
characteristically to announce that you "In your German way" (_American
synonyms: elephantine, phlegmatic, stodgy, clumsy, sluggish_) seek
desperately to appropriate, in ferocious lech to be metropolitan, the
"spirit of Paris" (_American synonyms: silk stockings, "wine," Maxim's,
jevousaime, Rat Mort_). Announce they also your "mechanical" pleasures,
your weighty light-heartedness, your stolid, stoic essay to take unto
yourself, still in tigerish itch to be cosmopolitan, the
frou-frouishness of the flirting capital over the frontier. Wise old
philosophers! Translating you in terms of your palaces of prostitution,
your Palais de Danse, your Admirals-Casinos; translating you in terms of
your purposely spurious Victorias, your Riche Cafés, your Fledermauses.
As well render the spirit of Vienna in the key of the Kärntnerstrasse at
eleven of the Austrian night; as well play the spirit of Paris in the
discords of its Montmartre, in the leaden pitch of its Pré Catélan at
sunrise. Sing of London from the Astor Club; sing of New York from its
Bryant Park at moontide, its Rector's, its ridiculous Café San Souci and
its Madam Hunter's. 'Twere the same.

Pleasure in the mass, incidentally, is perforce ever mechanical; a levee
at Buckingham Palace, a fête on the velvet terraces sloping into the
Newport sea, a Coney Island gangfest, a city's electric den of gilt and
tinsel.

But the essence of a city is never here. Berlin, in the wanderlust of
its darkened heavens, is not the ample-bosomed, begarneted,
crimson-lipped Minna angling in its gaudy dance decoy in the
Behrenstrasse; nor the satin-clad, pencilled-eyed Amelie ogling from her
"reserved" table in the silly sham called Moulin Rouge; nor yet the more
baby-glanced, shirtwaisted Ertrude laughing in the duntoned Café Lang.
Berlin is not she who beckons by night in the Friedrichstrasse; nor the
frowsy she who sings in the _bier-cabarets_ that hover about the
Lichtprunksaal. Berlin, under the stars, is the sound of soldiers
singing near the arch of the Brandenburger Tor, the peaceful _bauer_ and
his frau Hannah and his young daughters Lilla and Mia lodged before
their _abend bier_ at a bare table on the darker side of the far
Jägerstrasse. Berlin, when skies are navy blue, is Heinrich, gallant
rear private of Regiment 31, publicly and with audible ado encircling
the waist of his most recent _engel_ on a bench in the Linden
promenade--Berlin, in the Inverness of night, is Hulda, little Alsatian
rebel--a rebel to France--a rebel to the Vosges and the
vineyards--Hulda, the provinces behind her, and in her heart, there to
rule forever, the spirit of the capital of Wilhelm der Grösste. For the
spirit of Berlin is the laughter of a pretty, clean and healthy
girl--not the neurotic simper of a devastated ware of the Madeleine
highway, not the raucous giggle of a bark that sails Piccadilly, not the
meaningfull and toothy beam of a fair American badger--none of these. It
is a laugh that has in it not the motive power of Krug and Company or
Ruinart _père et fils_; it smells not of suspicioned guineas to be
enticed; it is not an answer to the baton of necessity. There's heart
behind it--and it means only that youth is in the air, that youth and
steaming blood and a living life, be the world soever stern on the
morrow, are a trinity invincible, unconquerable--that the music is good,
the seidel full. Ah, Berlin--ah, Hulda--ah, youth ... ah, youth, what
things you see that are not, that never will be, never were; foolish,
innocent, splendid youth!

An end to such so tender philosophies, such so blissful ruminations.
For even now the _kutsche_ has drawn us up before the door of Herr
Kempinski's victual studio, running from the Leipzigerstrasse through to
the Krausenstrasse and constituting what is probably the largest stomach
Senate and House of Representatives in the seven kingdoms. Here, in the
multitudinous _säle_--the Mosel-saal, the Berliner-saal, the huge
Grauer-saal, the Burgen-saal, the Alter-saal, the Erker-saal, the
Gelber-saal, the Cadiner-saal, the Eingangs-saal, the Durchgangs-saal,
the Brauner-saal and the various other chromatic and geographical
saals--one may listen in dyspeptic Anglo-Saxon abashment to such a
concerto of down-going _suppen_ and _coteletten_ and _gemüse_ and
down-gurgling Laubenheimer and Marcobrunner and Zeltinger and
Brauneberger as one may not hear elsewhere in the palatinates. And here,
in the preface to the night, one may prehend while again eating (for in
Germany, you must know, one's eating is limited in so far as time and
occasion are concerned only by the locks of the alimentary canal and the
contumacy of the intestines) the grand democracy of this kaiser city.
For in this giant eating hall that would hold a round half-dozen New
York restaurants and still offer ample elbow room for the dissection of
a knuckle and the wielding of a stein, one observes a vast and
heterogeneous commingling of the human breed such as may not be observed
outside an American charity ball. At one table, a lieutenant of Uhlans
with his _mädel_ of the moment, at another a jolly old _spitzbub'_
sending with a loose jest a girl from the chorus of the Theater des
Westens into blushes--and being sent himself in return with a looser. At
another (one removed from that of a duo of palpable daughters of joy
engaged in a desperate hand-to-hand encounter with a colossal _roastbif
englisch mit Leipziger allerlei_) a family man _with_ his family. At
still another, another family man with his. At another, the Salome from
the Königliches Opernhaus--at another a noted _advokat_--at another, two
little girls (they can't he more than sixteen years old) enjoying their
meal and their bottle of Rhenish wine undisturbed, unogled, unafraid.

But why need to pursue the catalogue? This, too, is Berlin. Not the
Berlin of Herr Adlon's inn, gilded with the leaf of Broadway and the
Strand to flabbergast and ensnare the American snooper--not the Berlin
of the Bristol, with its imitation cocktails--not the Berlin of the
Esplanade, gaudy dump of the Bellevuestrasse, with its sugar tongs,
finger bowls and kindred criteria of degeneracy--not this Berlin; but
the real Berlin of the German people, warm-hearted, mindful only of its
own affairs, all-understanding, all-sympathetic, all-human--its larynx
eternally beseeching liquid succour, its stomach eternally demanding
chow. And, too--and note this well--not the Berlin of the rouged menu
and silk-stockinged _kellner_, not the trumped-up Berlin of the
vaselined vassal, of the bowing _oberkellner_, not the Berlin of the
affected canteloupe (3,50 m.) and the affected biscuit tortoni (2,40
m.)--but the Berlin of _beinfleisch im kessel mit Meerrettich_ (90 pf.),
the Berlin of _kräftbruhe mit nudeln_ (40 pf.)--the Berlin of Mamsch and
Traube.

And now I am again in the streets of the city, rattling with the racing
flotilla of things awheel. (Or is the rattle that I hear only the rattle
of the "L" trains a block away, and am I really back in New York?) But
no; for still I see in the brilliant Berlin moonlight the bronze
Quadriga of Victory atop the distant Gate of Brandenburg and still I
hear a group of students singing in the Café Mozart, and still--but what
is moonlight beside the fairy light in your eyes, fair Hulda? What is
song beside the soft melody of your smile? Normandy is in the night air
... "_man lacht, man lebt, man liebt und man küsst wo's Küsse giebt_"
... and we and all the world are young. Ah, Hulda, mine own, mine all,
and who is that pretty girl tripping adown the street, that one there
with the corals at her throat and the devil at the curtain of her glance
... and _that_ girl who has just passed, that little minx with eyes like
sleeping sapphires and a smile as melodious as mandolins by the summer
sea? As melodious as your own, fair Hulda.

       *       *       *       *       *

The play is over and I have alternated a contemplation of the loves
and fears, the tremors and triumphs of some obese stage princess with a
lusty entr'-acte excursion into Culmbacher and the cheese sandwich,
served, as is the appealing custom, in the theatre promenade. And thus
fortified against the night, I pass again into the thoroughfares still
a-rattle with the musketry of wheels. I perceive that many amateur
American Al-Raschids are abroad in the land, pockets echoing the
tintinnabulation of manifold marks and eyes abulge at the prospect of
midnight diableries. See that fellow yonder! At home, probably a family
man, a wearer of mesh underwear, an assiduous devourer of the wisdom of
George Harvey, a patron of the dramas of Charles Rann Kennedy, a spanker
of children, an entertainer at his board of the visiting clergyman, a
pantophagous subscriber, a silk hat wearer--in brief, a leading citizen.
See him oleaginate his grin at the sight of a passing painted paver. (To
his mind, probably a barmaid out for an innocent lark.) See him make for
the Palais de Danse where (so he has read in the _Saturday Evening
Post_) one may purchase the Berliner spirit at so much per pound. We
track him, and presently we behold him seated at a table in this
splendiferous hall of Terpsichore and Thaïs "opening wine" and
purchasing _blumen_ for a battle-scarred veteran who is telling him
confidentially that she just got in that afternoon from her poor home in
a little Bavarian village and that she feels so alone in this big, great
city, with its lures and temptations, its snares and its pitfalls. Soon
the bubbles of the grape are percolating through his arteries and soon
the "Grosse Rosinen" waltzes have mellowed his conscience and soon....

       *       *       *

"Berlin spirit, huh!" he is telling his wife a month later--"Berlin
spirit? All artificial. Just to make money out of the visitors. And
_very_ sordid!"

       *       *       *

At the Moulin Rouge and at the Admirals-Casino, at the Alhambra and the
Tabarin, at the Amor-säle and the Rosen-säle, we track down others such,
"seeing the night life of Berlin." We see them, too, champagne before
them, coquetting with Fräulein Ilona, who numbers Militär-Regiment 42 as
her gentleman friend, and with innocent-looking little Hedwig, who in
her day has tramped the streets of Brussels and Paris, of London and
Vienna; we see them intriguing elaborately with these sisters of sorrow,
who, intriguing in turn against the night's wage, assist the skirmish on
with incendiary quip and tender touch of foot and similar cantharides of
financial amour. And we track them later to such institutions as the
Fledermaus--"_der grosse luxuriöse, vornehmstes vergnügungsplatz,
paradiesgarten, grösste sehenswürdigkeit Berlins_" (in the
advertisements)--as the Victoria and the Café Riche, the Westminster and
the Café Opéra and--

       *       *       *

"Berlin spirit, huh!" _they_ are telling _their_ wives a month
later--"Berlin spirit? All artificial. Just to make money out of the
visitors. And _very_ sordid!"

       *       *       *

Ah, Cairo dreaming in the Nile's moon-haze--are you to be judged thus
by the narrow street that snakes into the dark of Bulak? And Budapest by
the Danube--are you to be judged by the wreckage of the Stefansplatz
that has drifted on your shores? And you, Vienna, and you, Paris--are
you, too, to be measured thus, as measured you are, by the crimson light
of your half-worlds that for some obscures your stars?

The Berlin of the Palais de Danse is the Paris of L'Abbaye; the Berlin
of the Fledermaus is the New York of Jack's.

But the Berlin that I know and love is not this Berlin, the Berlin of
Americans, not the spangled Berlin, the hollow-laughing Berlin, the
Berlin decked with rhinestones, set alight with prismatic electroliers
and offered up as mistress to foreign gold. When the River Spree is
amethystine under springtime skies and the city's lights are yellow in
the linden trees, I like best the Berlin that sips its beer in the peace
of the little by-streets, the Berlin that laughs in the Tiergarten near
the Lake of the Goldfish and on the Isle of Louisa, where watch
throughout eternity the graven images of Friedrich Wilhelm the Third and
of Wilhelm the First in the years of his boyhood. I like best the Berlin
that sings with the students in the undiscovered, untainted _wein_ and
_bier stuben_ of the thitherward thoroughfares, the Berlin that dances
in the Joachimstrasse, where the _mädels_, each to herself a Cecilie,
shirtwaisted, poor, happy, kick up their German heels, drink up their
German beer, assault the Schweizerkäse and bring back memories of that
paradise of all paradises--the Englischer Garten of Munich the
Incomparable, the Divine.

In such phases of this kaiser city, one is removed from the so-called
Tingel-Tangel, or _variétés_ and cabarets, where the visiting
_narrverein_ is regaled with such integral and valid elements of Berlin
"night life" as "_der cake walk_," "_der can-can_" and "_die
matschiche--getanzt von original importierten Mexikanerinnen_." So, too,
is one removed from the garish demi-women of the so-called "Quartier
Latin" near the Oranienburger Tor and from the spurious deviltries of
the Rothenburger Krug and the Staffelstein, with their "property"
students, cheeks scarred with red ink, singing "Heidelberg" (from "The
Prince of Pilsen") for the edification and impression of foreign
visitors, and fiercely and frequently challenging other prop. students
to immediate duel. The girls, alas, in these places are not unlovely.
Well do I remember the dainty Elsa of the Hopfenblüthe, she of face
kissed by the Prussian dawn, and employed at sixteen marks the week to
wink dramatically at the old roués and give the resort "an air." Well
does memory repeat to me the loveliness of delicate little Anna, she
with hair like the waving golden grass in the fields that skirt the
roadways from Targon to Villandraut, and paid so much the month to laugh
uproariously every time the hands of the clock point the quarter-hour.
And Rika and Dessa and Julia and Paulina--all sweet of look, all
professional actresses; Bernhardts of Fun (inc.), Duses of Pleasure
(ltd.). Not the girls in whose hearts Berlin is beating, not the girls
in whose _élan_ Berlin lives and laughs. Leave behind all places such as
these, seeker after the soul of Berlin. Leave behind the Tingel-Tangel
with its uniformed bouncer at the gate, with its threadbare piano, with
its "_na kleener Dicker_" smirked by soiled _decolletés_, its doleful
near-naughty ditties--"_Ich lass mich nicht verführen, dazu bin ich zu
schlau, ich kenne die Manieren der Männer ganz genau_"--"I won't be led
astray, I am too slick for that, I know the ways of mankind, I've got
them all down pat." Leave behind the Berlin of the Al-Raschids and keep
to the Berlin of the Germans.

Just as the worst of Paris came from America, so has the worst of
Berlin come from America by way of Paris. The maquereau spirit of
Montmartre, with its dollar lust and its poisoned blood, has not yet the
throat of this German night city full in its fists; but the fists are
tightening slowly--and the voice behind them speaks not French, but the
jargon of Broadway. And yet, when finally the fingers work closer,
closer still, around that throat, when finally the death gurgle of
spontaneous pleasure and of clean, honest, fearless night skies
comes--and yet, when this happens, Berlin will still rise from the
dunghill. I must believe it. For they--_we_--may kill the laughter of
Berlin's streets--as we have killed it in Paris--but we can never kill
the heart, the spirit and the living, quivering corpuscles of German
blood. The French may drink stronger stuffs, eat richer foods and love
oftener than the Germans, and may be better fighters--but they cannot
laugh, they cannot sing as the Germans laugh and sing. And Berlin is the
new Germany, the Germany of to-day and to-morrow ... the Germany whose
laughter will grow louder as the decades pass and whose song will echo
clearer from the distant hills. While Paris (to go to Conrad)--is not
Paris and her land already at Bankok, and far, far beyond? Her children
spent before their day, listening to the too-soon lecture of Time? And
all hopelessly nodding at him: "the man of finance, the man of accounts,
the man of law, we all nodded at him over the polished table that like a
still sheet of brown water reflected our faces, lined, wrinkled; our
faces marked by toil, by deceptions, by success, by love; our weary eyes
looking still, looking always, looking anxiously for something out of
life, that while it is expected is already gone--has passed unseen, in a
sigh, in a flash--together with the youth, with the strength, with the
romance of illusions...."

But again a truce to philosophisings. It grows late apace. (Ah, Hulda,
how like opals in the lyric April rain are your eyes in this first faint
purple-pink of the tremulous dawn.... Were I a Heine!) In my far-away
America, Hulda, in far-away New York, it is now onto midnight. I see
Broadway, strumpet of the highways, sweltering collarless under the loud
electricity of Times Square. I see a fetid blonde, dangling a patent
leather handbag, hurrying to an assignation in Forty-fifth Street. I see
two actors, pointing their boasts with yellow bamboo canes. A chop suey
restaurant flashes its sign. And I can hear the racking ragtime out of
Shanley's. A big sightseeing bus is howling the fictitious lure of the
Bowery, Chinatown and the Ghetto to gaping groups from the hinterlands.
A streetwalker. Another. Another. In the subway entrance across the
street, a blind man is selling papers. A "dip" calls a friendly "Hello,
Dan" to the policeman in front of the drugstore and works his steps over
the car tracks toward the drunk teetering against the window of the
Jew's clothing store. The air is dust-filled. An intermittent baking
gust from the river sends a cast-aside _Journal_ fluttering aloft. A
dirt-encrusted bum begs the price of a coffee. Another streetwalker,
appearing from the backwaters of Seventh Avenue, grins in the
drugstore's green light....

But to your eyes, Hulda, must be given no such picture. Yet such is the
New York I come from; such the New York, stunning by day in its New
World strength and splendour, loathsome by night in its hot, illumined
bawdry. Ah, city by the Hudson, forgetting Riverside Drive twinkling
amid the long tiara of trees, forgetting the still of the lake and cool
of the boulders that plead in Central Park, forgetting the superb
majesty of Cathedral Heights and the mighty peace of the
byways--forgetting these all for a Broadway!

But the symphony of the Berlin dawn is ours now, fräulein, and have
done with intrusive memories, corroding reflections. What are my people
doing in Berlin at this hour? What are these prowling Al-Raschids about?
Do they know the sorcery of the virgin morning light of Berlin as it
falls upon the Siegesallee and gives life again to the marble heroes of
Germany? Have they ever stood with such as you, fräulein, in the
coral-tipped hours of the dawning day before the image of Friedrich der
Grosse in that wonderful lane and felt, through this dead, cold thing,
the thrill of an empire's glory? Do they know the witchery of the
withering Berlin night as it plays out its wild fantasia in the leaves
of the Linden trees? Have they ever been with such as you, fräulein, at
the base of the Pillar of Triumph in Königsplatz or sat with such as
you, fräulein, near the Grotto Lake in the Tiergarten, or stood with
such as you, fräulein, on one of the bridges arching the Spree in the
first trembling innuendo of morning?

Where are these, my people?

You will find them seeking the romance of Berlin's greying night amid
the Turkish cigarette smoke and stale wine smells of the half-breed
cabarets marshalled along the Jägerstrasse, the Behrenstrasse and their
tributaries. You will find them up a flight of stairs in one of the
all-night Linden cafés, throwing celluloid balls at the weary, patient,
left-over women. You will find them sitting in the balcony of the
Pavilion Mascotte, blowing up toy balloons and hurling small cones of
coloured paper down at the benign harlotry. You will see them, hatless,
shooting up the Friedrichstrasse in an open taxicab, singing "Give My
Regards to Broadway" in all the prime ecstasy of a beer souse. You will
find them in the rancid Tingel-Tangel, blaspheming the _kellner_ because
they can't get a highball. You will find them in the Nollendorfplatz
gaping at the fairies. You will see them, green-skinned in the tyrannic
light of early morning, battering at the iron grating of their hotel for
the porter to open up and let them in.

For them, are no souvenirs of happy evening hours that sing always in
the heart of a Berlin they can never know. For them, shall be no memory
of that vast and insuperable _gemütlichkeit_, that superb and pacific
democracy, that dwells and shall dwell forever by night in the spirit of
the German people. They will never know the Berlin that lifts its seidel
to the setting sun, the Berlin that greets the moonrise, the Berlin that
meets the dawn. The Berlin that they know is a Berlin of French
champagnes, Italian confetti, Spanish dancers, English-trained waiters,
Austrian courtesans and American hilarities. They interpret a city by
its leading all-night restaurant; a nation by the _demi-mondaine_ who
happens to be nearest their table. For them, there is no--

But hark, what is that?

What is that strange sound that comes to me?

       *       *       *

"Extra! _Evening Telegram_, extra! All 'bout the Giants win
double-header!"

       *       *       *

A newsboy in neuralgic yowl, bawling in the street below.

Alas, it is true: after all, I am really back again in New York. My
rooms are littered with battered bags and down-at-the-heel walking
sticks and still-damp steamer rugs, lying where they dropped from the
hands of maudlin bellboys. My trunks are creaking their way down the
hall, urged on by a perspiring, muttering porter. The windows, still
locked and gone blue-grey with the August heat, rattle to the echo of
the rankling "L" trains. The last crack of a triphammer, peckering at a
giant pile of iron down the block, dies out on the dead air. A taxicab,
rrrrr-ing in the street below, grunts its horn. Another "L" train and
the panes rattle again. A momentary quiet ... and from somewhere in a
nearby street I hear again the grind-organ.

It is playing "Alexander's Ragtime Band."



LONDON

[Illustration: LONDON]



LONDON


Macauley's New Zealander, so I hear, will view the ruins of St. Paul's
from London Bridge; but as for me, I prefer that more westerly arch
which celebrates Waterloo, there to sniff and immerse myself in the
town. The hour is 8:15 _post meridien_ and the time is early summer. I
have just rolled down Wellington Street from the Strand, smoking a
ninepence Vuelta Abajo, humming an ancient air. One of Simpson's
incomparable English dinners--salmon with lobster sauce, a cut from the
joint, two vegetables, a cress salad, a slice of old Stilton and a mug
of bitter--has lost itself, amazed and enchanted, in my interminable
recesses. My board is paid at Morley's. I have some thirty-eight dollars
to my credit at Brown's, a ticket home is sewn to my lingerie, there is
a friendly jingle of shillings and sixpences in my pocket. The stone
coping invites; I lay myself against it, fold my arms, blow a smoke ring
toward the sunset, and give up my soul to recondite and mellow
meditation.

There are thirteen great bridges between Fulham Palace and the Isle of
Dogs, and I have been at pains to try every one of them; but the best of
all, for such needs as overtake a well fed and ruminative man on a
summer evening, is that of Waterloo. Look westward and the towers of St.
Stephen's are floating in the haze, a greenish slate colour with edges
of peroxide yellow and seashell pink. Look eastward and the fine old
dome of St. Paul's is slipping softly into greasy shadows. Look downward
and the river throws back its innumerable hues--all the coal tar dyes
plus all the duns and drabs of Thames mud. The tide is out and along the
south bank a score of squat barges are high and dry upon the flats.
Opposite, on the embankment, the lights are beginning to blink, and from
the little hollow behind Charing Cross comes the faint, far-away braying
of a brass band.

All bands are in tune at four hundred yards, the reason whereof you
must not ask me now. This one plays a melody I do not know, a melody
plaintive and ingratiating, of clarinet arpeggios all compact. Some lay
of amour, I venture, breathing the hot passion of the Viennese Jew who
wrote it. But so heard, filtered through that golden haze, echoed back
from that lovely panorama of stone and water, all flavour of human
frailty has been taken out of it. There is, indeed, something wholly
chastening and dephlogisticating in the scene, something which makes the
joys and tumults of the flesh seem trivial and debasing. A man must be
fed, of course, to yield himself to the suggestion, for hunger is
frankly a brute; but once he has yielded he departs forthwith from his
gorged carcass and flaps his transcendental wings.... Do honeymooners
ever come to Waterloo Bridge? I doubt it. Imagine turning from that
sublime sweep of greys and sombre gilts, that perfect arrangement of
blank masses and sweeping lines, to the mottled pink of a cheek lately
virgin, the puny curve of a modish eyebrow, the hideous madness of a
trousseau hat!...

I am no stranger to these moods and whims. I am not merely a casual
outsider who has looked about him, sniffed deprecatingly and taken the
train for Dover--which leads to Calais--which leads to Paris--which
leads to youthful romance. I have wallowed in London as the ascetic
wallows in his punitive rites, with a strange, keen joy. I have been a
voluntary St. Simeon on its cold grey street corners. I have eaten so
often--and so much--at Simpson's that I know two of the waiters by their
first names. And I could order correctly their famous cuts by looking at
my watch, knowing at what hour the mutton was ready, at what hour the
roast beef was rarest. So long have I worn English shirts that even now
I find myself crawling into the American brand after the manner of the
woodchuck burrowing into his hole. Frequently I find myself proffering
dimes to the fair uniformed vestals of our theatres who present me with
programmes. I have read each separate slab in Westminster Abbey. I have
made suave and courtly love to a thousand nursemaids in Hyde Park. I
have exuded great globules of perspiration rowing on the Thames, while
the fair beneficiary of my labours lolled placidly in the boat's stern
upon a hummock of Persian pillows. I know every overhanging lovers' tree
from Richmond to Hampton Court. I have consumed hogsheads of ale at "The
Sign of the Cock." I have followed the horses at Epsom and Newmarket, at
Goodwood and Ascot. I have browsed for hours in French's book store. I
have lounged in luxurious taxicabs upholstered in pale grey, and ridden
interminably back and forth through the Mall, Constitution Hill and
Piccadilly....

All of these things have I done. And more. In brief, I have lived the
dashing and reckless life of a dozen Londoners. But--and here is the
point!--I have lived it _in the daytime_. When the shadows began to
drift into the fogs and the twilight settled over the grey masonry of
the city, I would generally fly to the theatre and afterward to my
garish rooms in Adams Street; or, as was often the case, I would merely
fly to my flat, giving up my evenings to the low humour of Rabelais, or
to deep, deep sleep.

Although for years one could not lose me in London, or flabbergast me
with those leaning-tower-of-Pisa addresses (the items piled one upon the
other in innumerable strata), I knew nothing of the goings-on when the
windows of London became patches of orange light. In fact, I assumed
that when I slept London also snored. To think of London and of night
romance was like conjuring up the wildest of anachronisms. Romance there
was in London, but to me it had always been shot through with sunshine.
It had been the hard commercial romance of the Stock Exchange. Or the
courteous and impeccable romance of polished hats and social banalities.
Or the gustatory romance of Cheddar cheese, musty ale, roast lamb and
greens. Or it had been the romance of the Cook's tourist--the romance of
cathedrals, towers, palaces, dungeons and parliamentary buildings. Or
the romance of pomp, of horseguards and helmets and epaulettes and brass
buttons and guns at "present arms." Or it had been the anæmic romance of
Ceylon tea, toasted muffins and _petits fours_. As for amours and
intrigues and subdued lights and dances and cabarets and sparkling
_demi-mondaines_ and all-night orchestras and liquid jousting bouts and
perfume and champagne and rouge and kohl--who would have thought that
London, the severe, the formal; London, the saintly, the high-collared,
the stiff; London, the serious, the practical, the kid-gloved; London,
the arctic, the methodical, the fixed, the ceremonious, the starched,
the precise, the punctilious, the conservative, the static; London, the
God-fearing, the episcopal, the nice, the careful, the scrupulous, the
aloof, the decorous, the proper, the dignified--who would have thought
that London would loosen up and relax and partake of the potions of Eros
and Bacchus?

And yet--and yet--back of London's grim and formidable exterior there
lurks a smile. Her stiff and proper legs know how to shake themselves.
Her cold and sluggish blood grows warm to the strains of dance music.
Her desensitized and asphalt palate thrills and throbs beneath the
tricklings of _Cordon Rouge_. Her steel heart flutters at the touch of a
wheedling phryne. She, too, can wear the strumpet garb of youth. She,
too, in the vitals of her nature, longs for the gay romance of the
Boulevard Montparnasse ere the American possessed it. She, too, admires
the rhythmic parabolic curve of bare shoulders. Silken ankles and
amorous whisperings stir her--if not to deeds of valour, then at least
to deeds of indiscretion. London, it seems, cannot look upon the moon
without suffering some of the love qualms of Endymion. In fine, London,
the mentalized, is human.

It was only last year that the rumours of London's night life sank
into the depths of my sensitive ears. At first I put such murmurings
aside as psychiatric ravings of visionaries and yearners. Always at the
first signs of neurosis--the inevitable result of the simple life--I
dashed to Paris, to the golden-haired Reine at the Marigny; or else I
cabled to Anna of the Admiral's Palast in Berlin; or, if time permitted,
I sought the glittering presence of Bianca Weise at Vienna. (Ah, Bianca!
_Du süsser Engel!_) Never once did it occur to me that youth stalked
abroad in the London streets, that gaiety sang among the wine cups in
London cafés, that romance went drunk amid the mazes of abandoned
dancing. London had always seemed to me essentially senile--grey-haired
and sedate. And so I devoted myself to the labours of youth, as did the
youthful George Moore; and when the first crocuses of the spring
appeared, and the lilacs came forth, and the April primroses got into my
blood, and the hawthorn sent forth its pink and white shoots, I sought
the Luxembourg or the Tiergarten or the Prater. Why, indeed, I thought,
should spring come to London? Why should Henley, an Englishman, have
called Spring "the wild, the sweet-blooded, wonderful harlot"? And why
should the year's first crocus have brought him luck? Had he indeed lain
mouth to mouth with spring in London? Perhaps. But I doubted him.
Therefore, before the lavender appeared, I was beyond the channel.

But last spring I met the girl in the flat below me. Her name was
Elsie--Winwood, I think. Of one thing, however, I am sure; she had cold
grey eyes and auburn hair--an uncanny combination; but she was typical
of the English girl, the girl who had been educated abroad. This girl
and I came face to face on the stairs one day.

"Why do you always leave London at the best time of the year?" she asked
me.

"I am young," I confessed. "In the spring I live by night, and one may
only sleep in London at night."

"But you do not know London," she told me.

She smiled intimatingly and disappeared into the gloom of her studio.

That night I thought of Arthur Symons's "London Nights." Nobody in any
city in the world had more subtly caught the spirit of youthful
buoyancy, the spirit of romantic evanescence, the spirit of midnight
abandon. Could it be that he was but a "poseur," a dealer in false
words, a concocter of the non-existent? Did the eyes of dancers never
gleam in his? Did Renée never issue forth from that dim arch-way where
he waited? Did Nora never dance upon the pavement? Was Violet but the
figment of a poet's dreams? And was that painted angel, Peppina, a mere
psychic snare? Could any man--even a poet--write as he did of Muriel at
the Opera if there had been no Muriel? It seemed highly improbable.
Finally I decided that, ere departing for Reine or Anna or Bianca, I
would sally forth into the night of London and see if, after all,
romance did not lurk in the darkened corners.

At first I started without a guide, trusting to my own knowledge of the
city, intending to follow up vague rumours to which I had lent but half
an ear. Later I equipped myself with a guide--not a professional guide,
but a man of means and of easy morals, a young barrister in whose family
were R. A.'s, M. P.'s and K. C.'s.

"Shall we see it all?" asked Leonard.

"All," I replied. "From the high to the low."

We set forth. It was eleven o'clock, and the theatregoers were swarming
in the Strand. We were heading for a great arch of incandescent light.

I was beginning to be disappointed. Visions of the dark-eyed Reine, in
veils of mauve and orange, silhouetted against the synchromatic scenery
of the Marigny swam before my eyes. I gave vent to a cavernous yawn. I
had often had supper at the Savoy. But such a performance was not my
idea of romance. I had never considered that luxurious dining room in
the light of adventure. But with Leonard's suggestion I entered and
found that, when the mental lenses are focused correctly, it in truth
possesses much of that same gorgeousness and lavish spirit which no
doubt invested the banquets of Belshazzar.

Thus begins the night romance of London:

  Souper.
  Oeufs de Pluvier
  Consommé Double en Tasse
  Fillet de Merlan à l'Anglaise
  Pommes Nature
  Caille Cocotte Arménienne
  Buffet Froid
  Salade
  Petit Glace Parisienne
  Friandises

This is arbitrary, however. On the crested bill of fare we learn that
there are other things to be had, but that they must be ordered _à la
carte_. Glancing down the mammoth card we begin reading such items:
_Saumon Fumé_, _Pigeon Cocotte Bonne Femme_, _Rognons Sautés_,
_Champignons_, _Caille Royal aux Raisins_, _Tournedos Sauté Mascotte_,
_Noisette d'Agneau Fines Herbes_, _Poussin de Hambourg Vapeur_,
_Médaillon Ris de Veau Colbert_, _Terrine de Boeuf à la Mode Glacée_,
_Suprême de Chapon Jeannette_ ... and so on, almost indefinitely. I saw
nothing in the fact--nor had I seen anything in the fact--that the menu
contained not one English word; but later in the week these affectations
of French dishes became highly significant. They were really the symbol
of London's night romance. They were the tuning fork which gave the
pitch for London pleasures. For romance and gaiety in London are grafted
to an otherwise unromantic and lugubrious hulk. All joys in that
terrible city are lugged from overseas, and, in the process of suturing,
the spontaneity has been lost, the buoyancy has disappeared, the honesty
has vanished.

But no people can be without romance. No nation can withstand forever
the engines of repression. Not all the moral lawmakers of England have
succeeded in stamping out the natural impulses. Hypocrisy, that great
mediator, sits into the game and stacks the cards. There is no more
sensuous dining room in the world than the Savoy. There is no more
impressive vision of human beings in the primitive act of eating than
can be gained from the top of the stairway which leads into that great
double room. And nowhere on earth is there a more cosmopolitan gathering
than sits down to the Savoy supper when the theatres are over. Here at
least is visual romance; and when we inspect the people at closer range
we glimpse a more intimate romance. One catches snatches of conversation
from a dozen languages within the radius of hearing. Here is modern
civilisation at apogee--the final word in luxury--the _dénouement_ of
spectacular life. Go to the Aquarium in St. Petersburg, to the Adlon in
Berlin, to the Bristol in Vienna, to the Café de Paris; go wherever you
will--to Cairo, to Buenos Aires, to Madrid--the Savoy at the supper hour
surpasses them all. From the pantalooned giants who relieve you of your
outer garments to the farthest table in the room where the great windows
overlook the Embankment Gardens, there is not one note to mar the
gorgeous _ensemble_.

But we must not tarry too long amid the jewelled women, the impeccable
music and the subdued conversation of the Savoy. In fact, it is not
possible to linger. No sooner have we hastened through the courses of
our supper and started to sip a liqueur than we are suddenly plunged
into darkness. A hint! A warning! A silent but eloquent reminder that
the moral man must hasten to his bed, that midnight is upon us, that
respectability demands immediate retirement. When the lights come on
again there is a gentle fluttering of silken wraps, a shuffling of feet,
a movement of chairs. The crowds, preparing to depart, are obeying that
lofty English law which makes eating illegal after twelve-thirty. If you
tarry after this signal for departure, a Parisian born waiter taps you
gently on the shoulder and begs of you to respect the majesty of the
law. Within ten minutes of the darkened warning the dining room is
empty. Liqueurs are left undrunk. Ices are deserted. Half-consumed
salads are abandoned. Out into the waiting taxis and limousines pours
that vast assemblage. In fifteen minutes an atmosphere of desolation
settles upon the streets. The day is ended--completely, finally,
irrevocably. The moral subtleties of the fathers have been sensed and
obeyed. Virtue snickers triumphantly.

"And now?" I demand of my companion.

"S-s-s-h!" he warns. And, leaning over me, he pours strange and lurid
information into my gaping ear. "Now," he whispers, "to the Supper
Clubs, the real night life of London--wine, women, song and dance."

There is a mystery in his mien. And, obeying the warning of an
admonishing finger, I silently follow him into a taxicab. A low,
guttural order is given to the driver, the import of which is shielded
from the inquisitive world by my companion using his hands as a tube to
connect his mouth with the ear of the chauffeur.

I had heard of these supper clubs, but they had meant nothing to me. I
rarely ate supper and detested clubs. Their literature which frequently
came to me, had left me cold. But, as I was carried in the taxicab
through dark alleys and twisted streets, certain intimations in these
printed invitations came back to me with a new meaning. Lest the
iniquity of the London pleasure seeker be underestimated, let me supply
you with the details of one of these supper club circulars. I will not
tell you the name of the club: it has probably been changed by now. No
sooner do the police put one club out of business (so far as I can see,
merely to gratify the demand of the moralists that all sinners be flayed
in public) than it changes its name and reopens to the old membership.
Let it be noted here that in order to eat or drink in London after
twelve-thirty at night you must be a member of something; and to become
a member of a London supper club is not so easy a matter as one might
imagine. Traitors are forever worming their way into such societies, and
the management exercises typical British discretion in selecting the
devotees for its illegal victualing organisation. The club of which I
speak, and whose circular--a masterpiece of low cunning--lies before me,
has its headquarters on a street so small that in giving the address to
even the most erudite of London geographers it is necessary to mention
two or three larger streets in the neighbourhood.

The object of this club, it seems, is "to cultivate a form of art
previously unknown in England--the Cabaret." A noble and worthy desire!
But in the next paragraph we learn that this aristocratic uplift does
not begin until eleven-thirty P.M.; and by reading further we note the
implication that it ceases at one-thirty A.M., at which hour the
cultivation of this unknown art--the Cabaret--is supplanted by a Gipsy
Orchestra, to say nothing of the International Minstrels. Farther on we
learn that once a month the club gives a dinner to its members, and that
this dinner is followed by a "Recital Evening" in honour of and "if
possible" (Oh, subtlety!) under the direction of Lascelles Abercrombie,
Frank Harris, Arthur Machen, T. Sturge Moore, Ezra Pound and W. B.
Yeats. (Note: Although during the last year I have supper-clubbed
incessantly whilst staying in London, I think, in all justice to the
above-mentioned illustrious men, that it should be stated that not once
have I had the pleasure of being personally directed by any one of
them.)

One evening during the month, so runs the forecast, will be devoted to
John Davidson (I missed that evening); one to Modern Fairy Tales (I
somehow missed that evening also); another to Fabian de Castro and "Old
Gipsy Folk Lore and Dance" (Alas, alas, that I should have missed that
evening, too!). But this loss of culture, so far as I personally was
concerned (and other, too, I opine), was not accompanied by any physical
loss; that is to say, the statement on the manifest that during the
performance there would be available "suppers and every kind of
refreshment" is eminently correct, and veracious almost to the point of
fault. Even when the performance was not given--as seemed always to be
the case--there was no cessation in the kitchen activities. Suppers
there were and, what is more to the point, every kind of refreshment.

The most important item on this manifest I have saved until the last.
There is in it something of the epic, of the beyond, of the trans and
the super. I print it in capitals that it may the better penetrate:

NO FIXED CLOSING HOURS

Such is the unlucky star under which I was born that I have escaped at
these clubs all of the artistic and cultural performances. When I have
attended them no light has been thrown on the Drama, Opera, Pantomime,
Vocal Music, or "such delicate Art of the past as adapts itself to the
frame of an intimate stage, and more especially all such new art as in
the strength of its sincerity allows simplicity." Nor has it been my
luck to be present during the production of "Lysistrata," by
Aristophanes, or "Bastien et Bastienne," by W. A. Mozart, or "Orpheus,"
by Monteverde, or "Maestro di Capella," by Pergolese, or "Timon of
Athens," by Purcell. Nor have I been present when an eminent technician
has rendered Florent Schmitt's "Palais Hanté," or Arnold Schoenberg's
"Pierrot Lunaire." All of which are booked for production or rendition.
And yet I cannot feel that my money has been entirely wasted. It has
bought me "every kind of refreshment," and catering by Frenchmen, and
the company of lovely ladies--ladies, who, I fear, are more familiar
with the works of Victoria Cross than the works of Aristophanes, and
whose ears are attuned to the melodies of Theodore Moses-Tobani rather
than to the diabolical intricacies of Schoenberg's piano pieces.

Let us indulge ourselves for a moment in what is known to ritualists as
a responsive service, thus:

Q.--What is a Supper Club?

A.--A Supper Club is a legal technicality--a system whereby the
English law is misconstrued, misapplied, controverted, disguised and
outdone. Specifically, it is a combination restaurant, café, and dance
hall, the activities in which begin at about one A.M. and continue so
long as there are patrons whose expenditures warrant the orchestra being
retained and the electric lights being left on. A Supper Club is usually
downstairs, decorated in the cheap imitation of a grape arbour,
furnished with small tables, comfortable wicker chairs, suave and
sophisticated waiters, an orchestra of from six to ten pieces and a
small polished floor for purposes of dancing. Supper Clubs are run to
meet every size of pocketbook. There are those whose patrons do not know
the titillating effects of champagne; and there are those where the
management serves no other form of febrifuge. Club members naturally
need no introduction to one another, with the result that such
formalities are here entirely dispensed with. In the better grade Supper
Clubs the ladies are not admitted unless in evening dress, while at
other establishments even such sartorial formalities are not insisted
upon. The object of a Supper Club is to furnish relaxation to the tired
business man, profits to the management, usufructs to the police and
incomes to the lady patrons. The principal activities of a Supper Club
are (1) drinking; (2) dancing; (3) wooing.

There you have it. In the Astor Club (or is it the Palm Club? Or has
the name been changed since spring?) one finds the higher type of
nocturnal rounder. Evening clothes are obligatory for all. Champagne and
expensive wines constitute the only beverages served. The orchestra is
composed of very creditable musicians; and the lady patrons, chosen by
the management by standards of pulchritude rather than of social
standing, are attestations to the good taste of the corpulent and
amiable Signor Bolis, owner and director. The men whose money pours into
the Signor's coffers are obviously drawn from the better class of
English society--clean-cut, clean-shaven youths; slick and pompous army
officers; prosperous-looking middle-aged men who, even at a supper club,
drop but little of their genteel dignity. On my numerous visits to this
club I failed to find one member who did not have about him in a marked
degree an atmosphere of deportmental distinction. Even during those
final mellow hours, when the dawn was sifting through the cracks of the
window above the stairs, there was little or none of that loud-mouthed
boisterousness which follows on the heels of alcoholic imbibitions in
America. Surfacely the Astor Club is an orderly and decorous
institution, and so fastidious were the casual "good evenings" between
the men and women that only the initiated would have guessed that ere
that meeting they had been strangers. Even under the protection of
membership and the police, the Englishman does not know how to laugh. He
is decorous and stilted during the basest of intriguing.

I had become a member of the Astor Club after as much red tape,
investigation and scrutiny as would have been exerted by a board of the
most exclusive social club. I had signed my full name, my address and
business, beneath which had been appended the names of two of my
sponsors. I had had a blue seal pinned beneath my coat lapel and an
engraved card sewn in my chemise. After which precautions and rigmarole
I was admitted each evening by the gorgeous St. Peter in red zouave
breeches and drum major's jacket who guarded the outer portal.

Have I given the impression that, once inside, I assumed virtues which
ill became me; that I sat apart and watched with critical eyes the
merriment around me? Then let the impression be forever blasted. I am
not a virtuous man according to theological standards. I have been a
hardened sinner since birth. I gamble. Beer is my favourite drink. It
has been flatteringly whispered into my ear that I dance beautifully. I
read Cellini and Rabelais and Boccaccio with unfeigned delight. I am
enchanted by the music of Charpentier and Wolf-Ferrari. I smoke strong
cigars. And I do not flee at the sight of beautiful women. In short, I
am a man of sin. Born in iniquity (according to the moral fathers) I
have never been regenerated. Therefore let me admit that the spirit of
the vice crusader was not mine as a member of the Astor Club. I spent
many a delightful half-hour chatting with Héloïse Dessault, formerly at
Fouquet's in Champs Elysées; with Mizzi Schwarz, one-time frequenter of
the Café de l'Europe, in Vienna; with Hedwig Zinkeisen, of Berlin's
Palais de Danse....

Here is a characteristic thing about the London supper club: the
majority of the girls and--to London's shame let it be noted--the more
attractive girls are all from the Continent. Without these feminine
importations I doubt if the supper clubs could be maintained. At the
musical galleries--a third-rate supper place run by the Musical and
Theatrical Club at 30 Whitfield Street, near Tottenham Court Road, W.--I
was approached and greeted by a little French girl, whose knowledge of
English was almost as limited as is my knowledge of Russian.

But I was forgetting Elsie Winwood, and to forget Elsie in this
shameless chronicle would be disloyalty. At the Astor Club one evening I
met her. I realised then what that intimating smile had meant when, the
week before, she had met me on the stairs. I thereupon forgot Leonard,
and visited the night debaucheries of London in the company of the
grey-eyed, auburn-haired Elsie. I have every reason to believe that ere
I sailed back to America I had sounded the depths of London's
iniquities. By stealth and copious bribing, plus the influence of my
fair companion, I found that, though it was difficult it was
nevertheless possible to eat and drink and dance in London till dawn.
Yet at no place to which we went could I find anything unlike any other
city in the world--the only difference being that in London one must act
surreptitiously, while other cities permit all of the London indulgences
openly. Surely the night life of London is innocent enough! Why
membership in expensive clubs is necessary in order for one to enjoy it
is a question to which only British logic is applicable. The searcher
for thrills or the touring shock absorber will find nothing in London to
rattle his psychic slats. Even the professional moralist, skilled in the
subtle technicalities of sin, can find nothing in England's capital to
make him shudder and flee. The chief criticism against London night life
is that it is hypocritical, that it is sordid, because it is denied and
indulged in subterraneanly. The hypocrisy of it all is doubly
accentuated by the curious fact that the British public permits
trafficking in the promenades of its theatres, such as even New York has
balked at these many years. I refer to such theatres--called "music
halls," that they may be distinguished from the smaller houses in which
the serious drama is produced--as the "Alhambra," in Leicester Square;
the "Empire Theatre of Varieties," also in Leicester Square; the "Palace
Theatre of Varieties" on Cambridge Circus in Shaftesbury Avenue; the
"London Pavilion" in Piccadilly; and the "Hippodrome" at the corner of
Cranbourn Street and Charing Cross Road. Let us inspect their vaudeville
offerings. Let us snoop into their wares. At these theatres, equipped
with numerous and eminently available cafés, women, frail and fair, sit
and walk about on the promenades and generously waive introductions when
the young gentlemen evince a desire to speak to them. But there is no
romance here. These promenades are even without illusion. Here, among
the theatres, is where London tries to be Paris. Just as she tries to be
New York in Regent Street. Here is where the most moral town in
Christendom discovers her native hoggishness. Here is the great slave
market of the English.

But we are out for vaudeville and not for slaves, and so we pursue our
virtuous way up the stream of amiable fair until we reach the Palace
Music Hall, where a poster advertising a Russian dancer inspires us to
part with half a dozen shillings. Luxurious seats of red velvet, wide
enough for a pair of German contraltos, invite to slumber, and the
juggler on the stage does the rest. Twenty times he heaves a cannon ball
into the air, and twenty times he catches it safely on his neck. The
Russian dancer, we find, is booked for ten-thirty, and it is now but
eight-fifty. "Why wait?" says the fair Elsie. "It will never kill him."
So we try another hall--and find a lady with a face like a tomato
singing a song about the derby, to an American tune that was stale in
1907. Yet another, and we are in the midst of a tedious ballet founded
upon "Carmen," with the music reduced to jigtime and a flute playing out
of tune. A fourth--and we suffer a pair of comedians who impersonate
Americans by saying "Naow" and "Amurican." When they break into "My
Cousin Carus'" we depart by the fire escape. We have now spent eight
dollars on divertisement and have failed to be diverted. We take one
more chance, and pick a prize--Little Tich, to wit, a harlequin no more
than four feet in his shoes, but as full of humour as a fraternal order
funeral.

Before these few lines find you well, Little Tich, I dare say, will be
on Broadway, drawing his four thousand stage dollars a week and longing
for a decent cut of mutton. But we saw him on his native heath,
uncontaminated by press agents, unboomed by a vociferous press,
undefiled by contact with acquitted murderers, eminent divorcées,
"perfect" women, returned explorers who never got where they went, and
suchlike prodigies and nuisances of the Broadway 'alls. Tich, as I have
said, is but four feet from sole to crown, but there is little of the
dwarf's distortion about him. He is simply a man in miniature: in
aspect, much like any other man. His specialty is impersonation. First
he appears as a drill sergeant, then as a headwaiter, then as a gas
collector, then as some other familiar fellow. But what keen insight and
penetrating humour in every detail of the picture! How mirth bubbles
out! Here we have burlesque, of course, and there is even some horseplay
in it, but at bottom how deft it is, and how close to life, and how
wholly and irresistibly comical! You must see him do the
headwaiter--hear him blarney and flabbergast the complaining guest,
observe him reckon up his criminal bill, see the subtle condescension of
his tip grabbing. This Tich, I assure you, is no common mountebank, but
a first-rate comic actor. Given legs eighteen inches longer and an
equator befitting the rôle, he would make the best Falstaff of our
generation. Even as he stands, he would do wonders with Bob Acres--and
I'd give four dollars any day to see him play Marguerite Gautier.

But enough of theatres! There are two night restaurants in London
which should be mentioned here. Let what little fame they may attain
from being set down in these pages be theirs. They more nearly
approximate to youthful whole-heartedness than any institutions in the
city. Perhaps this is because they are so distinctly Continental,
because they are almost stripped of anything (save the language spoken)
which savours of London and the British temperament. They are the Villa
Villa, at 37 Gerrard Street (once the residence of Edmund Burke), and
Maxim's, at 30 Wardour Street. Their reputations are far from spotless,
and English society gives them a wide berth. Because of this they have
become the meeting place of clandestine lovers. Here is the genuine
laughter and the wayward noise of youth. Nine out of every ten of their
patrons are young, and four out of every five of the girls are pretty.
Music is continuous and lively, and they possess an intimacy found only
in Parisian cafés. Do I imply that they are free from sordidness and
commercialism? They are not. Far from it. There is no night life in
London entirely free from these two disintegrating factors. But their
simulacrum of gaiety is far from obvious. When the fifteen-minute
warning for evacuation is given a good-natured cheer goes up, and a peal
of laughter which shakes the chandeliers and drowns out the musicians.
The crowd at least sees the humour of the closing law, and, being unable
to repeal it, laughs at it. In the Villa Villa and Maxim's, hands meet
lingeringly over the table; faces are near together; and a public stolen
kiss is not a rarity. When the doors of these restaurants are locked on
a deserted room the exiles do not go decorously and dolorously home. In
another hour you will see many of these same couples dancing at the
supper clubs.

Here we are again in Signor Bolis's establishment--which means that we
have made the round.... Elsie is yawning. I, too, am tired of the dance
and sick of the taste of champagne. I motion the waiter and pay the
bill. I draw Elsie's long coat about her, and we pass out into the clear
London night. We walk home circuitously--down Cranbourn Street and into
Charing Cross Road where it turns past the National Gallery into St.
Martin's place. Through Duncannon Street, we enter the Strand, now
almost deserted save for a few stray figures and a hurrying taxicab. We
then turn into Villiers Street, and in a few minutes we are on York
Terrace, overlooking the Thames embankment. The elm trees and the
beeches stand about like green ghosts in the pale night. At the edge of
the water Cleopatra's Needle is a black silhouette. We should like to
walk through the Gardens in the starlight, but the formidable iron gates
are locked against us. So we turn up Robert Street into Adelphi Terrace.
We lean for a moment against the railing.

There below us, a crinkling tapestry of gilts, silvers and coppery
pinks, is ancient Father Thames, the emperor and archbishop of all
earthly streams. There are the harsh waters (but now so soft!) that the
Romans braved, watching furtively for blue savages along the banks, and
the Danes after the Romans, and the Normans after the Danes, and
innumerable companies of hardy seafarers in the long years following. At
this lovely turning, where the river flouts the geography books by
flowing almost due northward for a mile, bloody battles must have been
fought in those old, forgotten, far-off times--and battles, I venture,
not always ending with Roman cheers. One pictures some young naval
lieutenant, just out of the Tiber Annapolis, and brash and nosey like
his kind--one sees some such youngster pushing thus far in his light
craft, and perhaps going around on the mud of the south bank, and there
fighting to the death with Britons of the fog-wrapped marshes, "hairy,
horrible, human." And one sees, too, his return to the fleet so snug at
Gravesend, an imperfect carcass lashed to a log, the pioneer and prophet
of all that multitude of dead men who have since bobbed down this dirty
tide. Dead men, and men alive--men full of divine courage and high
hopes, the great dreamers and experimenters of the race. Out of this
sluggish sewer the Anglo-Saxon, that fabulous creature, has gone forth
to his blundering conquest of the earth. And conquering, he has brought
back his loot to the place of his beginning. The great liners flashing
along their policed and humdrum lanes, have long since abandoned London,
but every turn of the tide brings up her fleet of cargo ships,
straggling, weather-worn and grey, trudging in from ports far-flung and
incredible--Surinam, Punta Arenas, Antofagasta, Port Banana, Tang-chow,
Noumea, Sarawak. If you think that commerce, yielding to steel and
steam, has lost all romance, just give an idle day or two to London
docks. The very names upon the street signs are as exotic as a breath of
frankincense. Mango Wharf, Kamchatka Wharf, Havannah Street, the Borneo
Stores, Greenland Dock, Sealers' Yard--on all sides are these
suggestions of adventure beyond the sky-rim, of soft, tropical moons and
cold, arctic stars, of strange peoples, strange tongues and strange
lands. In one Limehouse barroom you will find sailors from Behring
Straits and the China Sea, the Baltic and the River Plate, the Congo and
Labrador, all calling London home, all paying an orang-outang's
devotions to the selfsame London barmaid, all drenched and paralysed by
London beer....

The _kaiserstadt_ of the world, this grim and grey old London! And the
river of rivers, this oily, sluggish, immemorial Thames! At its widest,
I suppose, it might be doubled upon itself and squeezed into the lower
Potomac, and no doubt the Mississippi, even at St. Louis, could swallow
it without rising a foot--but it leads from London Bridge to every coast
and headland of the world! Of all the pathways used by man this is the
longest and the greatest. And not only the greatest, but the loveliest.
Grant the Rhine its castles, the Hudson its hills, the Amazon its
stupendous reaches. Not one of these can match the wonder and splendour
of frail St. Stephen's, wrapped in the mists of a summer night, or the
cool dignity of St. Paul's, crowning its historic mount, or the iron
beauty of the bridges, or the magic of the ancient docks, or the
twinkling lights o' London, sweeping upward to the stars....



PARIS

[Illustration: PARIS]



PARIS


For the American professional seeker after the night romance of Paris,
the French have a phrase which, be it soever inelegant, retains still a
brilliant verity. The phrase is "_une belle poire_." And its Yankee
equivalent is "sucker."

The French, as the world knows, are a kindly, forgiving people; and
though they cast the epithet, they do so in manner tolerant and with
light arpeggio--of Yankee sneer and bitterness containing not a trace.
They cast it as one casts a coin into the hand of some maundering
beggar, with commingled oh-wells and philosophical pity. For in the
Frenchman of the Paris of to-day, though there run not the blood of
Lafayette, and though he detest Americans as he detests the Germans, he
yet, detesting, sorrows for them, sees them as mere misled yokels,
uncosmopolite, obstreperous, of comical posturing in ostensible un-Latin
lech, vainglorious and spying--children into whose hands has fallen
Zola, children adream, somnambulistic, groping rashly for those things
out of life that, groped for, are lost--that may come only as life
comes, naturally, calmly, inevitably.

But the Frenchman, he never laughs at us; that would his culture
forbid. And, if he smile, his mouth goes placid before the siege. His
attitude is the attitude of one beholding a Comstock come to the hill of
Hörselberg in Thuringia, there to sniff and snicker in Venus's crimson
court. His attitude is the attitude of one beholding a Tristan _en
voyage_ for a garden of love and roses he can never reach. His attitude,
the attitude of an old and understanding professor, shaking his head
musingly as his tender pupils, unmellowed yet in the autumnal fragrances
of life, giggle covertly over the pages of Balzac and Flaubert, over the
nudes of Manet, over even the innocent yearnings of the bachelor Chopin.

The American, loosed in the streets of Paris by night, however sees in
himself another and a worldlier image. Into the crevices of his flat
house in his now far-away New York have penetrated from time to time
vague whisperings of the laxative deviltries, the bold saucinesses of
the city by the Seine. And hither has he come, as comes a jack tar to
West Street after protracted cruise upon the celibate seas, to smell
out, as a very devil of a fellow, quotation-marked life and its
attributes. What is romance to such a soul--even were romance, the
romance of this Paris, uncurtained to him? Which, forsooth, the romance
seldom is; for though it may go athwart his path, he sees it not, he
feels it not, he knows it not, can know it not, for what it is.

Romance to him means only an elaborate and circumspect winking at some
perfectly obvious and duly checked little baggage; it means to him only
a scarlet-cushioned seat along the mirrored wall of the Café Américain,
a thousand incandescents, a string quartette sighing through "Un Peu
d'Amour," a quart of "wine." Romance to him is a dinner jacket prowling
by night into the comic opera (American libretto) purlieus of modern
Montmartre, with its spurious extravaganzas of rouge and roister, with
its spider webs of joy. For him, there is romance in the pleasure girls
who sit at the tables touching St. Michel before the Café d'Harcourt,
making patient pretence of sipping their Byrrh until a passing "_Eh,
bébé_" assails their tympani with its suggested tintinnabulation of
needed francs: for him--"models." And the Bullier, ghost now of the old
Bullier where once little Luzanne, the inspiration of a hundred
palettes, tripped the polka, the new Bullier with its coloured
electricity and ragtime band and professional treaders of the Avenue de
l'Observatoire, is eke romance to his nostril. And so, too, he finds it
atop the Rue Lepic in the now sham Mill of Galette, a capon of its
former self, where Germaine and Florie and Mireille, veteran battle-axes
of the Rue Victor Massé, pose as modest little workgirls of the
Batignolles. And so, too, in that loud, crass annex of Broadway, the
Café de Paris--and in the Moulin Rouge, which died forever from the
earth a dozen years ago when the architect Niermans seduced the place
with the "art nouveau"--and amid the squalid hussies of the fake
Tabarin--and in the Rue Royale, at Maxim's, with its Tzigane orchestra
composed of German gipsies and its toy balloons made by the Elite
Novelty Co. of Jersey City, U.S.A.

The American notion of Paris under the guardianship of the French
stars, of Paris caressed by the night wind come down from Longchamps and
filtered through the chestnut branches of Boulogne, is usually achieved
from the Sons of Moses who, in spats and sticks, adorn the entrance of
the Olympia and the sidewalks of the Café de la Paix and interrogatively
guide-sir the passing foreign mob. This Paris consists chiefly of a view
of the exotic bathtub of the good King Edward of Britain, quondam Prince
of Wales, in the celebrated house of the crystal staircase in the Rue
Chabanais, of one of the two "mysterious" midinette speak-easys in the
dark Rue de Berlin (where the midinettes range from the tender age of
forty-five to fifty), of the cellar of the tavern near the Panthéon with
its tawdry wenches and beer and butt-soaked floors--of tawdry resorts
and tawdrier peoples.

Do I treat of but a single class of Americans? Well, maybe so. But the
other class--and the class after that--think you _these_ are so
different? So different, goes my meaning, in the matter of appropriating
to themselves something of the deep and very true romance that sings
still in the shadowed corners of this one-time Flavia of capitals, that
sounds still, as sounds some far-off steamboat whistle wail in the
death-quiet of night, pleading and pathetic, that calls still to the
dreamers of all the world from out the tomb of faded triumphs and
forgotten memories?

True, alas, it is, that gone is the Paris of Paris's glory--gone that
Paris that called to Louise with the luring melody of a zithered soul.
True, alas, it is, that the Paris of the Guerbois, with its crowd of
other days--Degas and Cladel and Astruc and the rest of them--is no
more. Gone, as well, and gone forever is the cabaret of Bruant, him of
the line of François Villon--now become a place for the vulgar oglings
of Cook's tourists taxicabbing along the Boulevard Rochechouart. Gone
the wild loves, the bravuras, the _camaraderie_ of warm night skies in
the old Boulevard de Clichy, supplanted now with a strident
concatenation of Coney Island sideshows: the "Cabaret de l'Enfer," with
its ballyhoo made up as Satan, the "Cabaret du Ciel," with its "grotto"
smelling of Sherwin-Williams' light blue paint, the "Cabaret du Néant,"
with its Atlantic City plate glass trick of metamorphosing the visiting
doodle into a skeleton, the "Lune Rousse," with its mean Marie Lloyd
species of lyrical concupiscence, the "Quat'-z-Arts," with its charge of
two francs the glass of beer and its concourse of loafers dressed up
like Harry B. Smith "poets," in black velvet, corduroy _grimpants_ and
wiggy hirsutal cascades to impress "atmosphere" on the minds of the
attendant citizenry of Louisville. And gone, too, with the song of
Clichy, is the song from the heart of St. Michel, the song from the
heart of St. Germain. "Tea rooms," operated by American old maids, have
poked their noses into these once genuine boulevards ... and, as if
giving a further fillip to the scenery, clothing shops with windows
haughtily revealing the nobby art of Kuppenheimer, postcard shops laden
to the sill's edge with lithographs disclosing erstwhile _Saturday
Evening Post_ cover heroines, and case upon case displaying in lordly
enthusiasm the choicest cranial confections of the house of Stetson....

What once on a time was, is no more. But Romance, notwithstanding, has
not yet altogether deserted the Paris that was her loyal sweetheart in
the days when the tricolour was a prouder flag, its subjects a prouder
people. There is something of the old spirit of it, the old verve of it,
lingering still, if not in Montmartre, if not in the edisoned highways
of the Left Bank, if not in the hitherward boulevards, then still
somewhere. But where, ask you, is this somewhere? And I shall tell you.
This somewhere is in the eyes of the Parisian girl; this somewhere is in
the heart of the Parisian man. There, romance has not died--one must
believe, will never die.

And, having told you, I seem to hear you laugh. "We thought," I would
seem to hear you say, "that he was going to tell us of concrete places,
of concrete byways, where this so gorgeous romance yet tarries." And you
are aggrieved and disappointed. But I bid you patience. I am still too
young to be sentimental: so have you no fear. And yet, bereft of all of
sentimentality, I _re_-issue you my challenge: this somewhere is in the
eyes of the Parisian girl, this somewhere is in the heart of the
Parisian man.

By Parisian girl I mean not the order of Austrian wenches who twist
their tummies in elaborate tango epilepsies in the Place Pigalle, nor
the order of female curios who expectorate with all the gusto of
American drummers in La Hanneton, nor yet the Forty-niners who
foregather in the private entrance of 16 Rue Frochot. I do not mean the
dead-eyed joy jades of the café concerts in the Champs Elysées. I do not
mean the crow-souled scows who steam by night in the channels off the
Place de la Madeleine. The girl I mean is that girl you notice leaning
against the onyx balustrade at the Opéra--that one with lips of Burgundy
and cheeks the colour of roses in olive oil. The girl I mean is that
phantom girl you see, from your table before the Rotonde across the way,
slipping past the iron grilling of the Luxembourg Gardens--that girl
with faded blouse but with eyes, you feel, a-colour with the lightning
of the world's jewels. The girl I mean is that girl you catch sight
of--but what matters it where? Or what she leans against or what she
wears or what her lips and eyes? If you know Paris, you know her.
Whether in the Allée des Acacias or in the boulevard Montparnasse, she
is the same: the real French girl of still abiding Parisian romance; the
real French girl in whose baby daughter, some day, will be perpetuated
the laughter of the soul of a city that will not fade. And in whose baby
girl in turn, some day long after that, it will be born anew.

Ah, me, the cynic in you! Do you protest that the girl of the
balustrade, the girl of the Luxembourg, are very probably American girls
here for visit? Well, well! _Tu te paye ma tête._ Who has heard of
romance in an American girl? I grant you, and I make grant quickly, that
the American girl is, in the mass, more ocularly massaging, more nimble
with the niblick, more more in several ways than her sister of France;
but in her eyes, however otherwise lovely, is glint of steel where
should be dreaming pansies, in her heart reverie of banknotes where
should be _billets doux_.

And so by Parisian man I mean, not the chorus men of Des Italiens,
betalcumed and odoriferous with the scents of Pinaud, those weird birds
who are guarded by the casual Yankee as typical and symbolic of the
nation. Nor do I mean the fish-named, liver-faced denizens of the region
down from the Opéra, those spaniel-eyed creatures who live in the tracks
of petite Sapphos, who spend the days in cigarette smoke, the nights in
scheming ambuscade. Nor yet the Austrian cross-breeds who are to be
beheld behind the _gulasch_ in the Rue d'Hauteville, nor the
semi-Milanese who sibilate the _minestrone_ at Aldegani's in the Passage
des Panoramas, nor the Frenchified Spaniards and Portuguese who gobble
the _guisillo madrileño_ at Don José's in the Rue Helder, nor the
half-French Cossacks amid the _potrokha_ in the Restaurant Cubat, nor
the Orientals with the waxed moustachios and girlish waists who may be
observed at moontide dawdling over their _café à la Turque_ at Madame
Louna Sonnak's. These are the Frenchmen of Paris no more than the
habitués of Back Bay are the Americans of Boston, no more than the
Americans of Boston are--Americans.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is night in Paris! It is night in the Paris of a thousand memories.
And the Place de la Concorde lies silver blue under springtime skies.
And up the Champs Elysées the elfin lamps shimmer in the moist leaves
like a million topaz tears. And the boulevards are a-thrill with the
melody of living. Are you, now far away and deep in the American winter,
with me once again in memory over the seas in this warm and wonderful
and fugitive world? And do you hear with me again the twang of guitars
come out the hedges of the Avenue Marigny? And do you smell with me the
rare perfume of the wet asphalt and feel with me the wanderlust in the
spirit soul of the Seine? Through the frost on the windows can you look
out across the world and see with me once again the trysting tables in
the Boulevard Raspail, a-whisper with soft and wondrous monosyllables,
and can you hear little Ninon laughing and Fleurette sighing, and little
Hélène (just passed nineteen) weeping because life is so short and death
so long? Are you young again and do memories sing in your brain? And
does the snow melt from the landscape of your life and in its place
bloom again the wild poppies of the Saint Cloud roadways, telegraphing
their drowsy, content through the evening air to Paris?

Or is the only rosemary of Paris that you have carried back with you
the memory of a two-step danced with some painted bawd at the Abbaye,
the memory of the night when you drank six quarts of champagne without
once stopping to prove to the onlookers in the Rat Mort that an American
can drink more than a damned Frenchman, the memory of that fine cut of
roast beef you succeeded in obtaining at the Ritz?

       *       *       *       *       *

Did I mention food? Ah-h-h, the night romance of Parisian nutriment!
Parisian, said I. Not the low hybrid dishes of the bevy of
British-American hotels that surround the Place Vendôme and march up the
Rue de Castiglione or of such nondescripts as the Tavernes Royale and
Anglaise--but _Parisian_. For instance, my good man, _caneton à la
bigarade_, or duckling garnished with the oozy, saliva-provoking sauce
of the peel of bitter oranges. There is a dish for you, a philter
wherewith to woo the appetite! For example, my good fellow, sole Mornay
(no, no, not the "sole Mornay" you know!), the sole Mornay whose each
and every drop of shrimp sauce carries with it to palate and nostril the
faint suspicion of champagne. Oysters, too. Not the Portuguese--those
arrogant shysters of a proud line--but the Arcachons Marennes and
Cancales _supérieures_: baked in the shell with mushrooms and cheese,
and washed down exquisitely with the juice of grapes goldened by the
French suns. And salmon, cold, with sauce Criliche; and artichokes made
sentimental with that Beethoven-like fluid orchestrated out of caviar,
grated sweet almonds and small onions; and ham boiled in claret and
touched up with spinach _au gratin_. The romance of it--and the wonder!

But other things, alackaday, must concern us. _Au 'voir_, my beloveds,
_au 'voir_! _Au 'voir_ to thee, _La Matelote_, thou fair and fair and
toothsome fish stew, and to thee, _Perdreau Farci à la Stuért_, thou
aristocratic twelve-franc seducer of the esophagus! _Au 'voir_, my
adored ones, _au 'voir_.

_Voilà!_ And now again are we afield under the French moon. What if no
more are the grisettes of Paul de Kock and Murger to fascinate the eye
with wistful diableries? What if no more the old Vachette of the Boul'
Mich' and the Rue des Ecoles, last of the _cafés littéraires_, once the
guzzling ground of Voltaire and Rousseau and many such another profound
imbiber? What if no more the simple Montmartroise of other times, and in
her stead the elaborate wench of Le Coq d'Or, redolent of new satin and
parfum Dolce Mia? Other times, other manners--and other girls! And if,
forsooth, Ninette and Manon, Gabrielle and Fifi, arch little mousmés of
another and mayhap lovelier day, have long since gone to put deeper soul
into the cold harps of the other angels of heaven, there still are with
us other Ninettes, other Manons and other Gabrielles and Fifis. "La vie
de Bohéme" is but a cobwebbed memory: yet its hosts, though scattered
and scarred, in spirit go marching on. The Marseillaise of romance is
not stilled. In the little Yvette whose heart is weeping because the
glass case in the Café du Dôme this day reveals no letter from her so
grand André, gone to Cassis and there to transfer the sapphire of the
sea and mesmerism of roses to canvas, is the heart of the little Yvette
of the Second Empire. In the lips of Diane that smile and in the eyes of
Hélène that dream and in the toes of Thérèse that dance is the smile, is
the dream, is the dance in echo of the Paris of a day bygone.

Look you with me into the Rue de la Gaité, into the
Gaité-Montparnasse, still comparatively liberated from the intrusion of
foreign devils, and say to me if there is not something of old Paris
here. Not the Superba, Fantasma Paris of Anglo-Saxon fictioneers, not
the Broadwayed, Strandified, dandified Paris of the Folies-Bergère and
the Alcazar, but the Paris still primitive in innocent and unbribed
pleasure. And into the Bobino, its sister music hall of the common
people, where the favourite Stradel and the beloved Berthe Delny,
"_petite poupée jolie_," as she so modestly terms herself, bring the
grocer and his wife and children and the baker and his wife and children
temporarily out of their glasses of Bock to yell their immense approval
and clap their hands. I have heard many an audience applaud. I have
heard applause for Tree at His Majesty's in London, for Schroth at the
Kleines in Berlin, for Féraudy at the Comédie Française, for Skinner at
the Knickerbocker--and it was stentorian applause and sincere--but I
have never heard applause like the applause of the audience of these
drabber halls. The thunders of the storm king are as a sonata against
the staggering artillery of approbation when Pharnel of the Montparnasse
sings "_C'est pas difficile_"; the howlings of the north wind are as
zephyrs against the din of eulogy when Marius Reybas of the Bobino lifts
a mighty larynx in "Mahi Mahi." Great talent? Well, maybe not. But show
me a group of vaudevillians and acrobats who, like this group at the
Gaité, can amuse one night with risqué ballad and somersault and the
next with Molière--and not be shot dead on the spot!

Leave behind you Fysher's, where the smirking monsieur fills the red
upholstery with big-spending American hinds by warbling into their
liquored bodies cocoa butter ballades of love and passion, and come over
to the untufted Maillol's. And hear Maillol sing for the price of a
beer. Maillol's lyrics are not for the American virgin: but, at that,
they sing laughter in place of Fysher lech. Leave behind you Paillard's,
vainglorious in its bastard salades Danicheff, its soufflés Javanaise;
leave the blatant Boulevard des Italiens for the timid _bistrop_ of
Monsieur Delmas in the scrawny Rue Huygens, with its _soupe aux legumes_
at twenty centimes the bowl, its _cotelette de veau_ at fifty the plate.
A queer oasis, this, with old Delmas's dog suffering from the St. Vitus
and quivering against the tables as you eat; with its marked napkins in
a rack, like the shaving cups in a rural barber shop, one napkin a week
to each regular patron. Avaunt, ye gauds of Americanized Paris. Here are
poor and starving artists come to dine aristocratically on seventy-five
centimes--fifteen cents. Here are no gapings of Cook's; here no Broadway
prowlers. A dank hole, yes, but in its cracked plaster the sense of
Romany sunsets of yonder times. Leave behind the dazzling dance places
of theatrical Montmartre, American, and come back of the wine shop in
the Rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Geneviève! Leave behind the turning mill
wheel, American, and come into the Avenue de Choisy, where over a
preglacial store a couple of cornets baffle the night and set a hundred
feet in motion, feet from the Gobelin quarter, feet from the
Butte-aux-Cailles! More leathery feet, to be sure, than the suéde feet
of the Ziegfeld Montmartre, but kicking up a different wax dust, the wax
dust of a different Paris.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is springtime in Paris! It is night in the Paris of a thousand
memories. Can you, now remote in the American winter, hear again through
the bang of the steaming radiator and the crunch on the winter's snows
the song that Sauterne sang into your heart on the terrace named after
the lilacs--on that wonderful, star-born evening when all the world
seemed like a baby's first laugh; all full of dreams and hopes and
thrilling futures? And can you rub the white cold off the panes and look
out across the Atlantic to a warmer land and see again the Gardens of
the Tuileries sleeping in the moon glow and Sacré Coeur sentinelled
against the springtime sky and the tables of the cafés along the Grand
Boulevards agog and a-glitter and the green-yellow lights of the
Ambassadeurs tucked away in the trees and the al fresco amours at
Fouquet's and the gay crowds on the Avenue de l'Opéra and the massive
splendour of Notre Dame blessing the night with its towered hands and
girls shooting ebony arrows from the bows of ebony eyes? And no smell of
Child's cooking filters into the open to offend the nostril, for the
sachet of the Bois de Boulogne breeze is again on the world. Ah, Bois de
Boulogne, silent now under the slumbering heavens, where your equal?
From the Prater to the Prado, from the Cassine to Central Park, one may
not find the like of you, fairy wood of France!

       *       *       *       *       *

Romance hunter, come with me. Stomach-turned at the fat niggers dressed
up like Turks and Algerians and made to lend an "air" to the haunt of
the nocturnal belly dancers in the Rue Pigalle, sickened at the stupid
lewdities of the Rue Biot, disgusted at the brassy harlotries of the
Lapin Agil', come with me into that _auberge_ of the Avenue Trudaine
where are banned catch-coin stratagems, fleshly pyrotechnics, that
little refuge whose wall gives forth the tableau of Salis, he of the
Niagaran whiskers and the old Chat Noir, strangling the adolescent
versifiers of Montmartre, the tableau of the crimson rose of Poetry
blossoming from out their strangling pools of blood. Come with me and
sing a chorus with the crowd in the "conservatoire" of the Boulevard
Rochechouart and beat time, like the rest of it, with knife on plate,
with glass on table. Come away from the Brasserie des Sirènes of
Mademoiselle Marthe in the Faubourg Poissonnière, from the Rue Dancourt,
from the Moulin Rose in the Mazagran--from all such undiluted cellars of
vicious prostitution--if these be Paris, then West Twenty-eighth Street
in New York.

Look you, romance seeker, rather into the places of Montépin and
Eugène Sue. The moon is down. The sound of dance is stilled in the city.
So go we into the Rue Croissant, with its shaveless thuggeries and
marauding cabs. It is dark, very. And very quiet. And the sniff of
unknown things is to be had in the air. Dens of drink with their furtive
thieves ... the enigma of the shadows of the church of Saint Eustache
... slinking feet to the rear of you ... at length, the Rue Pirouette
and the sign of the angel Gabriel on the lantern before the house. Here
is good company to be found! Well do I remember the _bon-camaraderie_ of
Henri Lavérte, that most successful of Parisian burglars, of the good
Jean Darteau, that most artistic of all Parisian second story virtuosi,
of pretty Mado Veralment, who was not convicted for the murder of her
erstwhile lover Abernal, nor, at a later date, for that of her erstwhile
lover Crepeat, both of whom, so it had been rudely whispered by her
enemies, had rashly believed to desert her for another charmer. Witty
and altogether excellent folk. Indeed, I might go further from the truth
than to say that in no woman have ever I found a deeper, a more
authentic appreciation of the poetry of Verlaine than in this
Mademoiselle Mado.

So, too, up the stone steps and into the Caveau of the Rue des
Innocents ... and here--likewise a jolly party. Inquire of most persons
about Le Caveau and you will be apprised that it is a "vile hole," "a
place of the lowest order." It _is_ dirty, so much I will grant; and it
_is_ of a Brobdingnagian smell. Also, is it frequented almost entirely
by murderers, garroters, and thieves. But to say it is a "vile hole" or
"a place of the lowest order" is to say what is not true. It is
immeasurably superior to the tinselled inn of the Rue Royale. And its
habitués constitute an infinitely more respectable lodge. If the left
wall of the cavern contains its "roll of honour"--the names of all the
erstwhile noted gentlemen patrons of the establishment who have, because
of some slight carelessness or oversight, ended their days in the
company of the public executioner--I still cannot appreciate that the
list is any the less civilised than the head waiter's "roll of honour"
at the celebrated tavern in the Avenue de l'Opéra. Nor do the numerous
scribbled inscriptions on the other walls, such saucy epigrams as "To
hell with the prefect of police," "The police are damned low flea-full
dogs" and the like impress me less favourably than the scribbled
inscriptions on notes of assignation placed covertly by subsidised
waiters into the serviettes of the Callot-adorned Thaïses in the
spectacularized haunts of the Bois. The piano in Le Caveau may be
diabetic, senescent, and its operator half blind and all knuckles (as he
is), but the music it gives forth is full of the romance of Sheppard and
Turpin, of stage coach days and dark and nervous highways, of life when
life was in the world and all the world was young.

Paris when your skies are greying, how many of us know you? Do we know
your Rue du Pont Neuf, with its silent melodrama under the dawning
heavens, or do we know only the farce of your Montmartre? Do we know the
drama of your Comptoir, of your Rue Montorgueil, when your skies are
faintly lighting, or do we know only the burlesque of your Maxim's and
your Catélans? Do we, when the week's work of your humbler people is
done, see the laughter in dancing eyes in the Rue Mouffetard or, in the
revel of your Saturday night, do we see only the belladonna'd leer of
the drabs in the Place Pigalle? Do we hear the romance of your
concertinas setting thousands of hobnailed boots a-clatter with
Terpsichore in the Boulevard de la Chapelle, in Polonceau and Myrrha, or
do we hear only your union orchestra soughing through Mascagni in the
Café de Paris? Do we know the romance of your peoples or the romance of
your restaurateurs? Which? I wonder.

       *       *       *       *       *

Paris has changed ... it isn't the Paris of other days ... and
Paquerette, little Easter daisy in whose lips new worlds were born to
you, little flower of France the music and perfume of whose youth are
yours still to remember through the guerrilla warfare of the mounting
years--little Paquerette is dead. And you are old now and married, and
there are the children to look out for--they're at the school age--and
life's quondam melody is full of rests and skies are not always as blue
as once they were. And Paris, four thousand miles beyond the seas--Paris
isn't what it used to be!

[Illustration: PARIS]

But Paris is. For Paris is not a city--it is Youth. And Youth never
dies. To Youth, while youth is in the arteries, Paris is ever Paris,
a-throb with dreams, a-dream with love, a-love with triumphs to be
triumphed o'er. The Paris of Villon and Murger and Du Maurier is still
there by the Seine: it is only Villon and Murger and Du Maurier who are
not. And if your Paquerette is gone forever, there is Zinette--some
other fellow's Paquerette--in her place. And to him new worlds are born
in her lips even as new worlds were born to you in the kisses of
another's yesterday ... and the music and the perfume of Zinette's youth
shall, too, be rosemary some day to this other.

The only thing that changes in Paris is the Paris of the Americans,
that foul swelling at the Carrara throat of Youth's fairyland. It is
this Paris, cankered with the erosions of foreign gold and foreign itch,
that has placed "souvenirs" on sale at the Tomb of Napoleon, that vends
obscenities on the boulevards, that has raised the price of
bouillabaisse to one franc fifty, that has installed ice cream at the
Brasserie Zimmer, that has caused innumerable erstwhile respectable
French working girls to don short yellow skirts, stick roses in their
mouths, wield castanets and become Spanish dancers in the restaurants.
It is this Paris that celebrates the hour of the apéritif with Bronx
cocktails and "stingers," that has put Chicken à la King on the menu of
the Soufflet, that has enabled the _ober-kellner_ of Ledoyen to purchase
a six-cylinder Benz, that has introduced forks in the Rue Falguiére,
that has made the _beguins_ at the annual Quat'-z-Arts ball conscious of
the visibility of their legs. It is this Paris that puts on evening
clothes in order to become properly soused at Maxim's and cast confetti
at the Viennese Magdalenes, that fights the cabmen, that sings "We Won't
Go Home Till Morning" at the Catélan, that buys a set of Maupassant in
the original French (and then can't read it), that sits in front of the
Café de la Paix reading the New York _Morning Telegraph_ and wondering
what Jake and the rest of the gang are doing back home, that gives the
Pittsburgh high sign to every good-looking woman walking on the
boulevards in the belief that all French women are in the constant state
of desiring a liaison, that callouses its hands in patriotic music hall
applause for that great American, Harry Pilcer, that trips the turkey
trot with all the Castle interpolations at the Tabarin. It is this Paris
that changes year by year--from bad to worse. It is this Paris that
remembers Gaby Deslys and forgets Cécile Sorel, that remembers Madge
Lessing and arches its eyebrow in interrogation as to Marie Leconte.
This is the Paris of Sniff and Snicker, this the Paris of New York.

But the other Paris, the Paris of the canorous night, the Paris of the
Parisians! The little studio in the Rue Leopold Robert ... Alinette and
Reine and Renée ... the road to Auteuil under the moon-shot baldaquin of
French stars ... the crowd in the old gathering place in the Boulevard
Raspail ... the music of the heathen streets ... dawn in the Gardens of
the Luxembourg....

Yes, there's a Paris that never changes. Always it's there for some one,
some one still young, still dreaming, still with eyes that sweep the
world with youth's wild ambitions. Always it's there, across the seas,
for some one--maybe no longer you and me, exiles of the years in this
far-away America--but still for some one younger, some one for whom the
loves and adventures and the hazards of life are still so all-wondrous,
so all-worth-while, so almighty. But, however old, however hardened by
the trickeries of passing decades, those who have loved Paris, those to
whom Paris has lifted her lips in youth, these never say good-bye to
her. For in their hearts sings on her romance, for in their hearts march
on the million memories of her gipsy days and nights.


THE END

       *       *       *       *       *

  +------------------------------------------------------------+
  | Transcriber's Notes:                                       |
  |                                                            |
  | Page 54: Dome amended to Dôme                              |
  | Page 58: Kartnerring amended to Kärtnerring; italics to    |
  | "and" removed ("and kaisersemmln")                         |
  | Page 75: Théresè amended to Thérèse                        |
  | Page 76: _et al_ amended to _et al._                       |
  | Page 90: Yodlers _sic_                                     |
  | Page 91: jadded amended to jaded                           |
  | Page 103: _mässe_ and _pinçe-nez sic_                      |
  | Page 119: _jevousaime sic_                                 |
  | Page 120: Catelan amended to Catélan                       |
  | Page 122: _pére_ amended to _père_;                        |
  | meaningfull _sic_                                          |
  | Page 134: Montmarte amended to Montmartre                  |
  | Page 158: _Suatés_ amended to _Sautés_                     |
  | Page 194: speakeasys _sic_                                 |
  | Page 205: _violà_ amended to _voilà_                       |
  | Page 210: _suéde sic_                                      |
  | Page 220: _apértif_ amended to _apéritif_                  |
  |                                                            |
  | Where there is an equal number of instances of a word      |
  | being hyphenated and unhyphenated, or an equal number of   |
  | instances of a spelling of a word, both versions have      |
  | been retained: oberkellner/ober-kellner;                   |
  | Max-Joseph-Platz/Max-Joseph-platz; and                     |
  | Johannisberger/Johannesberger.                             |
  |                                                            |
  +------------------------------------------------------------+

       *       *       *       *       *





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