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Title: Home Life in Germany
Author: Sidgwick, Alfred, Mrs., 1854-1934
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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HOME LIFE IN
GERMANY


BY
MRS. ALFRED SIDGWICK



The Chautauqua Press
CHAUTAUQUA, NEW YORK
MCMXII



_First Published May 1908_
_Second Edition June 1908_
_Third Edition 1912_



CONTENTS


CHAP.                                                        PAGE

    I. INTRODUCTORY                                             1

   II. CHILDREN                                                 7

  III. SCHOOLS                                                 15

   IV. THE EDUCATION OF THE POOR                               28

    V. THE BACKFISCH                                           36

   VI. THE STUDENT                                             47

  VII. RIEHL ON WOMEN                                          59

 VIII. THE OLD AND THE NEW                                     68

   IX. GIRLHOOD                                                78

    X. MARRIAGES                                               92

   XI. THE HOUSEHOLDER                                        103

  XII. HOUSEWIVES                                             113

 XIII. HOUSEWIVES (_continued_)                               123

  XIV. SERVANTS                                               138

   XV. FOOD                                                   153

  XVI. SHOPS AND MARKETS                                      167

 XVII. EXPENSES OF LIFE                                       177

XVIII. HOSPITALITY                                            196

  XIX. GERMAN SUNDAYS                                         205

   XX. SPORTS AND GAMES                                       217

  XXI. INNS AND RESTAURANTS                                   225

 XXII. LIFE IN LODGINGS                                       237

XXIII. SUMMER RESORTS                                         250

 XXIV. PEASANT LIFE                                           267

  XXV. HOW THE POOR LIVE                                      286

 XXVI. BERLIN                                                 297

XXVII. ODDS AND ENDS                                          307

Translations of foreign words and phrases in this book will be found
in the Appendix at the back of the volume.



HOME LIFE IN GERMANY



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY


I was once greatly impressed by a story of an officer in the German
army, who told his English hostess that he knew the position of every
blacksmith's forge in Yorkshire. I wondered at the time how many
officers in the English army had learned where to find the
blacksmiths' forges in Pomerania. But those are bygone days. Most of
us know more about Germany now than we do about our own country.[1] We
go over there singly and in batches, we see their admirable public
institutions, we visit their factories, we examine their Poor Laws, we
walk their hospitals, we look on at their drill and their manoeuvres,
we follow each twist and turn of their politics, we watch their
birth-rate, we write reams about their navy, and we can explain to any
one according to our bias exactly what their system of Protection does
for them. We are often sufficiently ignorant to compare them with the
Japanese, and about once a month we publish a weighty book concerning
various aspects of their flourishing empire.

Some of these books I have read with ardent and respectful interest;
and always as I read, my own little venture seemed to wither and
vanish in the light of a profounder knowledge and a wider judgment
than I shall ever attain. For I have not visited workhouses and
factories, I know little more about German taxes than about English
ones, and I have no statistics for the instruction and entertainment
of the intelligent reader. I can take him inside a German home, but I
can give him no information about German building laws. I know how
German women spend their days, but I know as little about the exact
function of a Bürgermeister as about the functions of a Mayor. In
short, my knowledge of Germany, like my knowledge of England, is based
on a series of life-long, unclassified, more or less inchoate
impressions, and the only excuse I have for writing about either
country I find in my own and some other people's trivial minds.

When I read of a country unknown or only slightly known, I like to be
told all the insignificant trifles that make the common round of life.
It is assuredly desirable that the great movements should be watched
and described for us; but we want pictures of the people in their
homes, pictures of them at rest and at play, as well as engaged in
those public works that make their public history. For no reason in
the world I happen to be interested in China, but I am still waiting
for just the gossip I want about private life there. We have Pierre
Loti's exquisite dream pictures of his deserted palace at Pekin, and
we have many useful and expert accounts of the roads, mines, railways,
factories, laws, politics, and creeds of the Celestial Empire. But the
book I ask for could not be written by anyone who was not of Chinese
birth, and it would probably be written by a woman. It might not have
much literary form or value, but it would enter into those minutiæ of
life that the masculine traveller either does not see or does not
think worth notice. The author of such a small-beer chronicle must
have been intimate from childhood with the Chinese point of view,
though her home and her friends were in a foreign land. She would
probably not know much about her ancestral laws and politics, but she
would have known ever since she could hear and speak just what Chinese
people said to each other when none but Chinese were by, what they
ate, what they wore, how they governed their homes, the relationship
between husband and wife, parents and children, master and servant; in
what way they fought the battle of life, how they feasted and how they
mourned. If circumstances took her over and over again to different
parts of China for long stretches of time, she would add to her
traditions and her early atmosphere some experience of her race on
their own soil and under their own sun. What she could tell us would
be of such small importance that she would often hesitate to set it
down; and again, she would hesitate lest what she had to say should be
well known already to those amongst her readers who had sojourned in
her father's country. She would do well, I think, to make some picture
for herself of the audience she could hope to entertain, and to fix
her mind on these people while she wrote her book. She would know that
in the country of her adoption there were some who never crossed their
own seas, and others who travelled here and there in the world but did
not visit China or know much about its people. She would write for the
ignorant ones, and not for any others; and she would of necessity
leave aside all great issues and all vexed questions. Her picture
would be chiefly, too, a picture of the nation's women; for though
they have on the whole no share in political history, they reckon
with the men in any history of domestic life and habit.

Germans often maintain that their country is more diverse than any
other, and on that account more difficult to describe: a country of
many races and various rules held loosely together by language and
more tightly of late years by the bond of empire. But the truth
probably is, that in our country we see and understand varieties,
while in a foreign one we chiefly perceive what is unlike ourselves
and common to the people we are observing. For from the flux and
welter of qualities that form a modern nation certain traits survive
peculiar to that nation: specialities of feature, character, and
habit, some seen at first sight, others only discovered after long and
intimate acquaintance. It is undoubtedly true that no one person can
be at home in every corner of the German Empire, or of any other
empire.

There are many Germanys. The one we hear most of in England nowadays
is armed to the teeth, set wholly on material advancement, in a
dangerously warlike mood, hustling us without scruple from our place
in the world's markets, a model of municipal government and
enterprise, a land where vice, poverty, idleness, and dirt are all
unknown. We hear so much of this praiseworthy but most unamiable
_Wunderkind_ amongst nations, that we generally forget the Germany we
know, the Germany still there for our affection and delight, the dear
country of quaint fancies, of music and of poetry. That Germany has
vanished, the wiseacres say, the dreamy unworldly German is no more
with us, it is sheer sentimental folly to believe in him and to waste
your time looking for him. But how if you know him everywhere, in the
music and poetry that he could not have given us if they had not
burned within him, and in the men and women who have accompanied you
as friends throughout life,--how if you still find him whenever you go
to Germany? Not, to be sure, in the shape of the wholly unpractical
fool who preceded the modern English myth; but, for instance, in some
of the mystical plays that hold his stage, in many of his toys and
pictures, and above all in the kindly, lovable, clever people it is
your pleasure to meet there. You may perhaps speak with all the more
conviction of this attractive Germany if you have never shut your eyes
and ears to the Germany that does not love us, and if you have often
been vexed and offended by the Anglophobia that undoubtedly exists.
This Germany makes more noise than the friendly element, and it is
called into existence by a variety of causes not all important or
political. It flourished long before the Transvaal War was seized as a
convenient stick to beat us with. In some measure the Anglicised
Germans who love us too well are responsible, for they do not always
love wisely. They deny their descent and their country, and that
justly offends their compatriots. I do not believe that the Englishman
breathes who would ever wish to call himself anything but English;
while it is quite rare for Germans in England, America, or France to
take any pride in their blood. The second generation constantly denies
it, changes its name, assures you it knows nothing of Germany. They
have not the spirit of a Touchstone, and in so far they do their
country a wrong.

In another more material sense, too, there are many Germanys, so that
when you write of one corner you may easily write of ways and food and
regulations that do not obtain in some other corner, and it is
obviously impossible to remind the reader in every case that the part
is not the whole. Wine is dear in the north, but it has sometimes
been so plentiful in the south that barrels to contain it ran short,
and anyone who possessed an empty one could get the measure of wine it
would hold in exchange. Every town and district has its special ways
of cooking. There is great variety in manner of life, in
entertainments, and in local law. There are Protestant and Catholic
areas, and there are areas where Protestants, Catholics, and Jews live
side by side. The peasant proprietor of Baden is on a higher level of
prosperity and habit than the peasant serf of Eastern Prussia; and the
Jews on the Russian frontier, those strange Oriental figures in a
special dress and wearing earlocks and long beards, have as little in
common with the Jews of Mannheim or Frankfort as with the Jews of the
London Stock Exchange. It would, in fact, be impossible for any one
person to enter into every shade and variety of German life. You can
only describe the side you know, and comment on the things you have
seen. So you bring your mite to the store of knowledge which many have
increased before you, and which many will add to again.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Throughout the book, although I am of German parentage, I have
spoken of England as my country and of the English as my
country-people. I was born and bred in England, and I found it more
convenient for purposes of expression to belong to one country than to
both.



CHAPTER II

CHILDREN


In Germany the storks bring the children. "I know the pond in which
all the little children lie waiting till the storks come to take them
to their parents," says the mother stork in Andersen's story. "The
stork has visited the house," people say to each other when a child is
born; and if you go to a christening party you will find that the
stork has come too: in sugar on a cake, perhaps, or to be handed round
in the form of ice cream. Most of the kindly intimate little jests
about babies have a stork in them, and a stranger might easily blunder
by presenting an emblem of the bird where it would not be welcome. The
house on which storks build is a lucky one, and people regret the
disappearance of their nests from the large towns.

When the baby has come it is not allowed out of doors for weeks. Air
and sunlight are considered dangerous at first, and so is soap and
even an immoderate use of water. For eight weeks it lies day and night
in the _Steckkissen_, a long bag that confines its legs and body but
not its arms. The bag is lined with wadding, and a German nurse, who
was showing me one with great pride, assured me that while a child's
bones were soft it was not safe to lift it in any other way. These
bags are comparatively modern, and have succeeded the swaddling
clothes still used in some parts of Germany. They are bandages
wrapping the child round like a mummy, and imprisoning its arms as
well as its legs. A German doctor told me that as these _Wickelkinder_
had never known freedom they did not miss it; but he seemed to approve
of the modern compromise that leaves the upper limbs some power of
movement.

Well-to-do German mothers rarely nurse their children. When you ask
why, you hear of nerves and anæmia, and are told that at any rate in
cities women find it impossible. I have seen it stated in a popular
book about Germany that mothers there are little more than "aunts" to
their children; and the _Steckkissen_ and the foster-mother were about
equally blamed for this unnatural state of affairs. From our point of
view there is not a word to be said in favour of the _Steckkissen_,
but it really is impossible to believe that a bag lined with wadding
can undermine a mother's affection for her child. Your German friends
will often show you a photograph of a young mother holding her baby in
her arms, and the baby, if it is young enough, will probably be in its
bag. But unless you look closely you will take the bag for a long
robe, it hangs so softly and seems so little in the mother's way. It
will be as dainty as a robe too, and when people have the means as
costly; for you can deck out your bag with ribbons and laces as easily
as your robe. The objection to foster-mothers has reality behind it,
but the evils of the system are well understood, and have been much
discussed of late. Formerly every mother who could afford it hired one
for her child, and peasant women still come to town to make money in
this way. But the practice is on the wane, now that doctors order
sterilised milk. The real ruler of a German nursery is the family
doctor. He keeps his eye on an inexperienced mother, calls when he
sees fit, watches the baby's weight, orders its food, and sees that
its feet are kept warm.

A day nursery in the English sense of the word is hardly known in
Germany. People who can afford it give up two rooms to the small fry,
but where the flat system prevails, and rents are high, this is seldom
possible. One room is usually known as the _Kinderstube_, and here the
children sleep and play. But it must be remembered that rooms are big,
light, and high in Germany, and that such a _Kinderstube_ will not be
like a night nursery in a small English home. Besides, directly
children can walk they are not as much shut up in the nursery as they
are in England. The rooms of a German flat communicate with each
other, and this in itself makes the segregation to which we are used
difficult to carry out. During the first few days of a sojourn with
German friends, you are constantly reminded of a pantomime rally in
which people run in and out of doors on all sides of the stage; and if
they have several lively children you sometimes wish for an English
room with one door only, and that door kept shut. Even when you pay a
call you generally see the children, and possibly the nurse or the
_Mamsell_ with them. But a typical middle-class German family
recognises no such foreign body as a nurse. It employs one maid of all
work, who helps the housewife wherever help is needed, whether it is
in the kitchen or the nursery. The mother spends her time with her
children, playing with them when she has leisure, cooking and ironing
and saving for them, and for her husband all through her busy day.
Modern Germans like to tell you that young women no longer devote
themselves to these simple duties, but if you use your eyes you will
see that most women do their work as faithfully as ever. There is an
idle, pleasure-loving, money-spending element in Germany as there is
in other countries, and it makes more noise than the steady bulk of
the nation, and is an attractive target there as here for the darts of
popular preachers and playwrights. But it is no more preponderant in
Germany than in England. On the whole, the German mother leaves her
children less to servants than the English mother does, and in some
way works harder for them. That is to say, a German woman will do
cooking and ironing when an Englishwoman of the same class would
delegate all such work to servants. This is partly because German
servants are less efficient and partly because fewer servants are
employed.

The fashionable nurses in Germany are either English or peasant girls
in costume. It is considered smart to send out your baby with a young
woman from the Spreewald if you live in Berlin, or from one of the
Black Forest valleys if you live in the duchy of Baden. In some
quarters of Berlin you see the elaborate skirts and caps of the
Spreewald beside every other baby-carriage, but it is said that these
girls are chiefly employed by the rich Jews, and you certainly need to
be as rich as a Jew to pay their laundry bills. The young children of
the poor are provided for in Berlin, as they are in other cities, by
crêches, where the working mother can leave them for the day. Several
of these institutions are open to the public at certain times, and
those I have seen were well kept and well arranged.

The women of Germany have not thrown away their knitting needles yet,
though they no longer take them to the concert or the play as they did
in a less sophisticated age. Children still learn to knit either at
school or at home, and if their mother teaches them she probably makes
them a marvellous ball. She does this by winding the wool round little
toys and small coins, until it hides as many surprises as a Christmas
stocking, and is as much out of shape; but the child who wants the
treasures in the stocking has to knit for them, and the faster she
secures them the faster she is learning her lesson. The mother,
however, who troubles about knitting is not quite abreast of her
times. The truly modern woman flies at higher game; with the solemnity
and devotion of a Mrs. Cimabue Brown she cherishes in her children a
love of Art. Her watchword is _Die Kunst im Leben des Kindes_, or Art
in the Nursery, and she is assisted by men who are doing for German
children of this generation what Walter Crane and others did for
English nurseries twenty-five years ago. You can get enchanting
nursery pictures, toys, and decorations in Germany to-day, and each
big city has its own school of artists who produce them: friezes where
the birds and beasts beloved of children solemnly pursue each other;
grotesque wooden manikins painted in motley; mysterious landscapes
where the fairy-tales of the world might any day come true. Dream
pictures these are of snow and moonlight, marsh and forest, the real
Germany lying everywhere outside the cities for those who have eyes to
see. Even the toy department in an ordinary shop abounds in treasures
that never seem to reach England: queer cheap toys made of wood, and
not mechanical. It must be a dull child who is content with a
mechanical toy, and it is consoling to observe that most children
break the mechanism as quickly as possible and then play sensibly with
the remains. Many of the toys known to generations of children seemed
to be as popular as ever, and quite unchanged. You still find the old
toy towns, for instance, with their red roofed coloured houses and
green curly trees, toys that would tell an imaginative child a story
every time they were set up. It is to be hoped they never will change,
but in this sense I have no faith in Germany. The nation is so
desperately intent on improvement that some dreadful day it will
improve its toys. Indeed, I have seen a trade circular threatening
some such vandalism; and in the last Noah's ark I bought Noah and his
family had changed the cut of their clothes. So the whole ark had lost
some of its charm.

Everyone who is interested in children and their education, and who
happens to be in Berlin, goes to see the _Pestalozzi Fröbel Haus_, the
great model Kindergarten where children of the working classes are
received for fees varying from sixpence to three shillings a month,
according to the means of the parents. There are large halls in which
the children drill and sing, and there are classrooms in which twelve
to sixteen children are taught at a time. Every room has some live
birds or other animals and some plants that the children are trained
to tend; the walls are decorated with pictures and processions of
animals, many painted and cut out by the children themselves, and
every room has an impressive little rod tied with blue ribbons. But
the little ones do not look as if they needed a rod much. They are
cheerful, tidy little people, although many of them come from poor
homes. In the middle of the morning they have a slice of rye bread,
which they eat decorously at table on wooden platters. They can buy
milk to drink with the bread for 5 pf., and they dine in school for 10
pf. They play the usual Kindergarten games in the usual systematised
mechanical fashion, and they study Nature in a real back garden, where
there are real dejected-looking cocks and hens, a real cow, and a
lamb. What happens to the lamb when he becomes a sheep no one tells
you. Perhaps he supplies mutton to the school of cookery in connection
with the Kindergarten. Some of the children have their own little
gardens, in which they learn to raise small salads and hardy flowers.
There are carpentering rooms for the boys, and both boys and girls are
allowed in the miniature laundry, where they learn how to wash,
starch, and iron doll's clothes. You may frequently see them engaged
in this business, apparently without a teacher; but, as a matter of
fact, the children are always under a teacher's eye, even when they
are only digging in a sand heap or weeding their plots of ground. Each
child has a bath at school once a week, and at first the mothers are
uneasy about this part of the programme, lest it should give their
child cold. But they soon learn to approve it, and however poor they
are they do their utmost to send a child to school neatly shod and
clad.

As a rule German children of all classes are treated as children, and
taught the elementary virtue of obedience. _Das Recht des Kindes_ is a
new cry with some of the new people, but nevertheless Germany is one
of the few remaining civilised countries where the elders still have
rights and privileges. I heard of an Englishwoman the other day who
said that she had never eaten the wing of a chicken, because when she
was young it was always given to the older people, and now that she
was old it was saved for the children. If she lived in Germany she
would still have a chance, provided she kept away from a small loud
set, who in all matters of education and morality would like to turn
the world upside down. In most German homes the noisy, spoilt American
child would not be endured for a moment, and the little tyrant of a
French family would be taught its place, to the comfort and advantage
of all concerned. I have dined with a large family where eight young
ones of various ages sat at an overflow table, and did not disturb
their elders by a sound. It was not because the elders were harsh or
the young folk repressed, but because Germany teaches its youth to
behave. The little girls still drop you a pretty old-fashioned curtsey
when they greet you; just such a curtsey as Miss Austen's heroines
must have made to their friends. The little boys, if you are staying
in the house with them, come and shake hands at unexpected
times,--when they arrive from school, for instance, and before they go
out for a walk. At first they take you by surprise, but you soon learn
to be ready for them. They play many of the same games as English
children, and I need hardly say that they are brought up on the same
fairy stories, because many of our favourites come from Germany. The
little boys wear sensible carpenters' aprons indoors, made of leather
or American cloth; and the little girls still wear bib aprons of black
alpaca. Their elders do not play games with them as much as English
people do with their children. They are expected to entertain and
employ themselves; and the immense educational value of games, the
training they are in temper, skill, and manners, is not understood or
admitted in Germany as it is here. The Kindergarten exercises are not
competitive, and do not teach a child to play a losing game with
effort and good grace.



CHAPTER III

SCHOOLS


German children go to day schools. This is not to say that there are
no boarding schools in Germany; but the prevailing system throughout
the empire is a system of day schools. The German mother does not get
rid of her boys and girls for months together, and look forward to the
holidays as a time of uproar and enjoyment. She does not wonder
anxiously what changes she will see in them when they come back to
her. They are with her all the year round,--the boys till they go to a
university, the girls till they marry. Any day in the streets of a
German city you may see troops of children going to school, not with a
maid at their heels as in Paris, but unattended as in England. They
have long tin satchels in which they carry their books and lunch, the
boys wear peaked caps, and many children of both sexes wear
spectacles.

Except at the Kindergarten, boys and girls are educated separately and
differently in Germany. In some rare cases lately some few girls have
been admitted to a boys' _Gymnasium_, but this is experimental and at
present unusual. It may be found that the presence of a small number
in a large boys' school does not work well. In addition to the
elementary schools, there are four kinds of Public Day School for
boys in Germany, and they are all under State supervision. There is
the _Gymnasium_, the _Real-Gymnasium_, the _Ober-Real-Schule_, and the
_Real-Schule_. Until 1870 the Gymnasiums were the only schools that
could send their scholars to the universities; a system that had
serious disadvantages. It meant that in choosing a child's school,
parents had to decide whether at the end of his school life he was to
have a university education. Children with no aptitude for scholarship
were sent to these schools to receive a scholar's training; while boys
who would have done well in one of the learned professions could not
be admitted to a university, except for science or modern languages,
because they had not attended a Gymnasium.

A boy who has passed through one of these higher schools has had
twelve years' education. He began Latin at the age of ten, and Greek
at thirteen. He has learned some French and mathematics, but no
English unless he paid for it as an extra. His school years have been
chiefly a preparation for the university. If he never reaches the
higher classes he leaves the Gymnasium with a stigma upon him, a
record of failure that will hamper him in his career. The higher
official posts and the professions will be closed to him; and he will
be unfitted by his education for business. This at least is what many
thoughtful Germans say of their classical schools; and they lament
over the unsuitable boys who are sent to them because their parents
want a professor or a high official in the family. It is considered
more sensible to send an average boy to a _Real-Gymnasium_ or to an
_Ober-Real Schule_, because nowadays these schools prepare for the
university, and any boy with a turn for scholarship can get the
training he needs. The _Ober-Real Schule_ professedly pays most
attention to modern languages; and it is, in fact, only since 1900
that their boys are received at a university on the classical side.
They still prepare largely for technical schools and for a commercial
career.

At a _Real-Schule_, the fourth grade of higher school, the course only
lasts six years. They do not prepare for the Abiturienten examination,
and their scholars cannot go from them to a university. They prepare
for practical life, and they admit promising boys from the elementary
schools. A boy who has been through any one of these higher schools
successfully need only serve in the army for one year; and that in
itself is a great incentive to parents to send their children. A
_Real-Schule_ in Prussia only costs a hundred marks a year, and a
_Gymnasium_ a hundred and thirty-five marks. In some parts of Germany
the fees are rather higher, in some still lower. The headmasters of
these schools are all university men, and are themselves under State
supervision. In an entertaining play called _Flachsmann als Erzieher_
the headmaster had not been doing his duty, and has allowed the school
to get into a bad way. The subordinates are either slack or
righteously rebellious, and the children are unruly. The State
official pays a surprise visit, discovers the state of things, and
reads the Riot Act all round. The wicked headmaster is dismissed, the
eager young reformer is put in his place, the slackers are warned and
given another chance.... Blessed be St. Bureaukrazius ... says the
genial old god out of a machine, when by virtue of his office he has
righted every man's wrongs. The school in the play must be an
elementary one, for children and teachers are of both sexes, but a
master at a _Gymnasium_ told me that the picture of the official visit
was not exaggerated in its importance and effect. There was
considerable excitement in Germany over the picture of the evil
headmaster, his incompetent staff, and the neglected children; and I
was warned before I saw the play that I must not think such a state of
affairs prevailed in German schools. The warning was quite
unnecessary. An immoral, idle, and ignorant class of men could not
carry on the education of a people as it is carried on throughout the
German Empire to-day.

I have before me the Annual Report of a _Gymnasium_ in Berlin, and it
may interest English people to see how many lessons the teachers in
each subject gave every week. There were thirty teachers in the
school.

                                     LESSONS
    SUBJECT                          PER WEEK

  Religion                              31
  German                                42
  Latin                                112
  Greek                                 72
  French                                36
  History and Geography                 44
  Mathematics and Arithmetic            56
  Natural History                       10
  Physics                               20
  Hebrew                                 4
  Law                                    1
  Writing                                6
  Drawing                               18
  Singing                               12
  Gymnasium                             27
  Swimming                               8-½
  Handfertigkeit                         3
                                      ----
                                       502-½ lessons

The headmaster took Latin for seven hours every week, and Greek for
three hours. A professor who came solely for religious teaching came
for ten hours every week. But most of the masters taught from sixteen
to twenty-four hours, while one who is down for reading, writing,
arithmetic, gymnastics, German, singing, and _Natur_ could not get
through all he had to do in less than thirty hours. On looking into
the hours devoted to each subject by the various classes, you find
that the lowest class had three hours religious instruction every
week, and the other classes two hours. There were 407 boys in the
school described as _Evangelisch_, 47 Jews, and 23 Catholics; but in
Germany parents can withdraw their children from religious instruction
in school, provided they satisfy the authorities that it is given
elsewhere. The two highest classes had lessons on eight chapters of
St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, on the Epistle to the Philippians,
and on the confessions of St. Augustine. Some classes were instructed
in the Gospel according to St. John, and the little boys learned Bible
History. So Germans are not without orthodox theological teaching in
their early years, whatever opinions they arrive at in their
adolescence.

Every boy in the school spent two or three hours each week on German
composition, and, like boys in other countries, handled themes they
could assuredly not understand, probably, like other boys, without a
scruple or a hesitation.

"Why does the ghost of Banquo appear to Macbeth, and not the ghost of
Duncan?"

"How are the unities of time, place, and action treated in Schiller's
ballads?"

"Discuss the antitheses in Lessing's Laokoon."

"What can you say about the representation of concrete objects in
Goethe's _Hermann and Dorothea_?"

These examples are taken at random from a list too long to quote
completely; but no one need be impressed by them. Boys perform
wonderful feats of this kind in England too. However, I once heard a
German professor say that the English boy outdid the German in
_gesunder Menschenverstand_ (sound common sense), but that the German
wins in the race when it comes to the abstract knowledge (_Wissen_)
that he and his countryfolk prize above all the treasures of the
earth. No one who knows both countries can doubt for a single moment
that the professor was right, and that he stated the case as fairly as
it can be stated. In an emergency or in trying circumstances the
English boy would be readier and more self-reliant: but when you meet
him where entertainment is wanted rather than resource, his ignorance
will make you open your eyes. This, at any rate, is the kind of story
told and believed of Englishmen in Germany. A student who was working
at science in a German university had been there the whole winter, and
though the city possessed many fine theatres he had only visited a
variety show. At last his friends told him that it was his duty to go
to the _Schauspielhaus_ and see a play by Goethe or Schiller. "Goethe!
Schiller!" said my Englishman, "_Was ist das?_"

The education of girls in Germany is in a transition state at present.
Important changes have been made of late years, and still greater
ones, so the reformers say, are pending. Formerly, if a girl was to be
educated at all she went to a _Höhere Töchterschule_, or to a private
school conducted on the same lines, and, like the official
establishment, under State supervision. When she had finished with
school she had finished with education, and began to work at the
useful arts of life, more especially at the art of cooking. What she
had learned at school she had learned thoroughly, and it was
considered in those days quite as much as was good for her. The
officials who watched and regulated the education of boys had nothing
to do with girls' schools. These were left to the staff that managed
elementary schools, and kept on much the same level. Girls learned
history, geography, elementary arithmetic, two modern languages, and a
great deal of mythology. The scandalous ignorance of mythology
displayed by Englishwomen still shocks the right-minded German. If a
woman asked for more than this because she was going to earn her
bread, she spent three years in reading for an examination that
qualified her for one of the lower posts in the school. The higher
posts were all in the hands of men. Of late years women have been able
to prepare for a teacher's career at one of the Teachers' Seminaries,
most of which were opened in 1897.

More than forty years ago the English princess in Berlin was not
satisfied with what was done in Germany for the education of women;
and one of the many monuments to her memory is the Victoria Lyceum.
This institution was founded at her suggestion by Miss Archer, an
English lady who had been teaching in Berlin for some years, and who
was greatly liked and respected there. At first it only aimed at
giving some further education to girls who had left school, and it was
not easy to get men of standing to teach them. But as it was the
outcome of a movement with life in it the early difficulties were
surmounted, and its scope and usefulness have grown since its
foundation thirty-eight years ago. It is not a residential college,
and it has no laboratories. During the winter it still holds courses
of lectures for women who are not training for a definite career; but
under its present head, Fräulein von Cotta, the chief work of the
Victoria Lyceum has become the preparation of women for the _Ober
Lehrerin_ examination. This is a State examination that can only be
passed five years after a girl has qualified as _Lehrerin_, and two
of these five years must have been spent in teaching at a German
school. To qualify as _Lehrerin_, a girl must have spent three years
at a Seminary for teachers after she leaves school, and she usually
gets through this stage of her training between the ages of fifteen
and eighteen. Therefore a woman must have three years special
preparation for a subordinate post and eight years for a higher post
in a German girls' school.

The whole question of women's education is in a ferment in Germany at
present, and though everyone interested is ready to talk of it,
everyone tells you that it is impossible to foresee exactly what
reforms are coming. There are to be new schools established, _Lyceen_
and _Ober-Lyceen_, and _Ober-Lyceen_ will prepare for matriculation.
When girls have matriculated from one of these schools they will be
ready for the university, and will work for the same examinations as
men. Baden was the first German State that allowed women to
matriculate at its universities. It did so in 1900, and in 1903
Bavaria followed suit. In 1905 there were eighty-five women at the
universities who had matriculated in Germany; but there are hundreds
working at the universities without matriculating first. At present
the professors are free to admit women or to exclude them from their
classes; but the right of exclusion is rarely exercised. Before long
it will presumably be a thing of the past.

An Englishwoman residing at Berlin, and engaged in education, told me
that in her opinion no German woman living had done as much for her
countrywomen as Helene Lange, the president of the _Allgemeine
deutsche Frauenverein_. Nineteen years ago she began the struggle that
is by no means over, the struggle to secure a better education for
women and a greater share in its control. In English ears her aim
will sound a modest one, but English girls' schools are not entirely
in the hands of men, with men for principals and men to teach the
higher classes. She began in 1887 by publishing a pamphlet that made a
great sensation, because it demanded, what after a mighty tussle was
conceded, women teachers for the higher classes in girls' schools, and
for these women an academic education. In 1890 she founded, together
with Auguste Schmidt and Marie Loeper-Housselle, the _Allgemeine
deutsche Lehrerinnen-Verein_, which now has 80 branches and 17,000
members. But the pluckiest thing she did was to fight Prussian
officialdom and win. In 1889 she opened _Real-Kurse für Mädchen und
Frauen_, classes where women could work at subjects not taught in
girls' schools, Latin for instance, and advanced mathematics; for the
State in Germany has always decided how much as well as how little
women may learn. It would not allow people as ignorant as Squeers to
keep a school because it offered an easy livelihood. It organised
women's education carefully and thoroughly in the admirable German
way; but it laid down the law from A to Z, which is also the German
way. When, therefore, Helene Lange opened her classes for women, the
officials came to her and said that she was doing an illegal thing.
She replied that her students were not schoolgirls under the German
school laws, but grown-up women free to learn what they needed and
desired. The officials said that an old law of 1837 would empower them
to close the classes by force if Helene Lange did not do so of her own
accord. After some reflection and in some anxiety she decided to go on
with them. By this time public opinion was on her side and came to her
assistance; for public opinion does count in Germany even with the
officials. The classes went on, and were changed in 1893 to
_Gymnasialkurse_. In 1896 the first German women passed the
Abiturienten examination, the difficult examination young men of
eighteen pass at the end of a nine years' course in one of the
classical schools. Even to-day you may hear German men argue that
women should not be admitted to universities because they have had no
classical training. Helene Lange was the first to prove that even
without early training women can prepare themselves for an academic
career. Her experiment led to the establishment of _Gymnasialkurse_ in
many German cities; and even to the admission of girls in some few
cases to boys' Gymnasium schools.

To-day Helene Lange and her associates are contending with the
schoolmasters, who desire to keep the management of girls' schools in
their own hands. She calls the _Höhere Töchterschule_ the failure of
German school organisation, and she says that the difference of view
taken by men and women teachers as to the proper work of girls'
schools makes it most difficult to come to an understanding.
Consciously or not, men form an ideal of what they want and expect of
women, and try to educate them up to it; while women think of the
claims life may make on a girl, and desire the full development of her
powers. "The Higher Daughter," she says, "must vanish, and her place
must be taken by the girl who has been thoroughly prepared for life,
who can stand on her own feet if circumstances require it, or who
brings with her as housewife the foundations of further
self-development, instead of the pretentiousness of the half
educated." In one of her many articles on the subject of school reform
she points to three directions where reform is needed. What she says
about the teaching of history is so characteristic of her views and of
the modern movement in Germany, that I think the whole passage is
worth translation:--

     "All those subjects that help to make a woman a better
     citizen must be taken more seriously," she says. "It can no
     longer be the proper aim of history teaching to foster and
     strengthen in women a sentimental attachment to her country
     and its national character: its aim must be to give her the
     insight that will enable her to understand the forces at
     work, and ultimately play an active part in them. Many
     branches of our social life await the work of women, civic
     philanthropy to begin with; and as our public life becomes
     more and more constitutional, it demands from the individual
     both a ripe insight into the good of the community and a
     living sense of duty in regard to its destiny; and, on the
     other hand, the foundations of this insight and sense of duty
     must be in our times more and more laid by the mother, since
     the father is often entirely prevented by his work from
     sharing in the education of his children. Therefore, both on
     her own account and in consideration of the task before her,
     a woman just as much as a man should understand and take a
     practical interest in public life, and it is the business of
     the school to see that she does so. Over and over again those
     who are trying to reform girls' schools insist that history
     teaching should lead the student to understand the present
     time; that it should recognise those economic conditions on
     which the history of the world, especially in our day,
     depends in so great a measure; that it should pay attention
     not only to dates and events, but also to the living process
     of civilisation, since it is only from the latter inquiry
     that we can arrive at the principles of individual effort in
     forwarding social life."

Nowadays in Germany Helene Lange is considered one of the
"Moderates," but it will be seen from the above quotation that she has
travelled far from the old ideals which invested women with many
beautiful qualities, but not with the sense and knowledge required of
useful public citizens. She proceeds in the same article to say that
scientific and mathematical teaching should reach a higher standard in
girls' schools; and thirdly, that certain branches of psychology,
physiology, and hygiene should receive greater attention, because a
woman is a better wife and mother when she fulfils her duties with
understanding instead of by mere instinct. Nor will education on this
higher plane deprive women of any valuable feminine virtues if it is
carried out in the right way. But to this end women must direct it,
and in great measure take it into their own hands. She would not shut
men out of girls' schools, but she would place women in supreme
authority there, and give them the lion's share of the work.

It seems to the English onlooker that this contest can only end in one
way, and that if the women of Germany mean to have the control of
girls' schools they are bound to get it. Some of the evils of the
present system lie on the surface. "It is a fact," said a
schoolmaster, speaking lately at a conference,--"it is a fact that a
more intimate, spiritual, and personal relationship is developed
between a schoolgirl and her master than between a schoolgirl and her
mistress." This remark, evidently made in good faith, was received
with hilarity by a large mixed audience of teachers; and when one
reflects on the unbridled sentiment of some "higher daughters" one
sees where it must inevitably find food under the present anomalous
state of things. But the schoolmaster's argument is the argument
brought forward by many men against the reforms desired by Helene
Lange and her party. They insist that girls would deteriorate if they
were withdrawn throughout their youth from masculine scholarship and
masculine authority in school. They talk of the emasculation of the
staff as a future danger. They do not seem to talk of their natural
reluctance to cede important posts to women, but this must, of course,
strengthen their pugnacity and in some cases colour their views.

Meanwhile many parents prefer to send their daughters to one of the
private schools that have a woman at the head, and where most of the
teaching is done by women; or to a _Stift_, a residential school of
the conventual type, which may be either Protestant or Catholic. A
girl who had spent some years at a well-known Protestant _Stift_
described her school life to me as minutely as possible, and it
sounded so like the life in a good English boarding-school thirty
years ago that it is difficult to pick out points of differences. That
only means, of course, that the differences were subtle and not
apparent in rules and time-tables. The girls wore a school uniform,
were well fed and taught, strictly looked after, taken out for walks
and excursions, allowed a private correspondence, shown how to mend
their clothes, made to keep their rooms tidy, encouraged in piety and
decorum. In these strenuous times it sounds a little old-fashioned,
and as a matter of fact a school of this kind fits a girl for a
sheltered home but not for the open road. For everyone concerned about
the education of women the interesting spectacle in Germany to-day is
the campaign being carried on by Helene Lange and her party, the
support they receive from the official as well as from the unofficial
world, and the progress they make year by year to gain their ends.



CHAPTER IV

THE EDUCATION OF THE POOR


There are no people in the world who need driving to school less than
the Germans. There are no people in the world who set so high a value
on knowledge. In the old days, when they lived with Jove in the
clouds, they valued knowledge solely for its own sake, and did not
trouble much about its practical use in the world. It is absurd to
say, as people often do now, that this spirit is dead in the nation.
You cannot be long in the society of Germans without recognising that
it survives wherever the stress of modern life leaves room for it. You
see that when a German makes money his sons constantly enter the
learned and the artistic professions with his full approval, though
they are most unlikely to make a big income in this way. You are told
by people who work amongst the poor, that parents will make any
sacrifices year after year in order to send a boy to one of the higher
schools. You know that the Scotsmen who live on oatmeal while they
acquire learning have their counterparts in the German universities,
where many a student would not dine at all if private or organised
charity did not give him a dinner so many days a week. Sometimes you
have heard it said of such and such a great German, that he was so
poor when he was young that he had to accept these free dinners given
in every German university town to penniless students. The fact would
be remembered, but it would never count against a man in Germany. The
dollar is not almighty there.

To say, therefore, that education is compulsory throughout the empire
is not to say that it is unpopular. A teacher in an elementary school
was once telling me how particular the authorities were that every
child, even the poorest, should come to school properly clothed and
shod. "For instance," she said, "if a child comes to school in
house-shoes he is sent straight home again." "But do the parents mind
that?" I asked from my English point of view, for the teacher was
speaking of people who in England would live in slums and care little
whether their children were educated or not. But in Germany even the
poorest of the poor do care, and to refuse a child admission to school
is an effective punishment. At any rate, you may say this of the
majority. No doubt if school was not compulsory the dregs of the
nation would slip out of the net, especially in those parts of the
empire where the prevalent character is shiftless and easy going.
"When you English think that we hold the reins too tight, it is
because you do not understand what a mixed team we have to drive," a
north German said to me. "We should not get on, we should not hold
together long, if our rule was slack and our attention careless."

At the last census only one in 10,000 could not read or write, and
these dunces were all Slavs. But how even a Slav born under the eye of
the Eagle can remain illiterate is a mystery. In 1905 there were
59,348 elementary schools in the empire, and their organisation is as
elaborate and well planned as the organisation of the army. In Berlin
alone there are 280. All the teachers at these schools have been
trained to teach at special seminaries, and have passed State
examinations that qualify them for their work. In Germany many men and
women, entitled both by class and training to teach in the higher
grade schools, have taken up work in the elementary ones from choice.
I know one lady whose certificates qualify her to teach in a _Höhere
Töchterschule_ and who elects to teach a large class of backward
children in a _Volkschule_. Her ambition is to teach those children
described in Germany as _nicht völlig normal_: children we should
describe as "wanting." She says that her backward children repay her
for any extra trouble they give by their affection and gratitude. She
knows the circumstances of every child in her class, and where there
is real need she can get help from official sources or from
philanthropic organisations, because a teacher's recommendation
carries great weight in Germany. This lady gets up every day in summer
at a quarter past five, in order to be in school by seven. Her school
hours are from seven to eleven in summer, and from eight till twelve
in winter; but she has a great deal of work to prepare and correct
after school. Her salary is raised with every year of service, and
when she is past work she will be entitled to a State pension of
thirty pounds.

Children have to attend school from the age of six and to stay till
they are fourteen; and in their school years they are not allowed to
work at a trade without permission. They do not learn foreign
languages, but they are thoroughly grounded in German, and they
receive religious instruction. Of course, they learn history,
geography, and arithmetic. In the new schools every child is obliged
to have a warm bath every week, but it is not part of a teacher's
duties to superintend it. Probably the women who clean the school
buildings do so. In the old schools, where there are no bathrooms,
the children are given tickets for the public bathing establishments.
The State does not supply free food, but there are philanthropic
societies that supply those children who need it with a breakfast of
bread and milk in winter. Everyone connected with German schools says
that no child would apply for this if his parents were not destitute,
and one teacher told me a story of the headmaster's boy being found,
to his father's horror and indignation, seated with the starving
children and sharing their free lunch. He had brought his own lunch
with him, but it was his first week at school, and he thought that a
dispensation of bread and milk in the middle of the morning was part
of the curriculum.

School books are supplied to children too poor to buy them, and it
seems that no trouble is given by applications for this kind of relief
by people not entitled to it. Gymnastics are compulsory for both boys
and girls in the lower classes, and choral singing is taught in every
school. Teachers must all be qualified to accompany singing on the
violin. Most of the elementary schools in Prussia are free. Some few
charge sixpence a month. A child can even have free teaching in its
own home if it is able to receive instruction, but not to attend
school. Medical inspection is rigorously carried out in German
elementary schools. The doctor not only watches the general health of
the school, but he registers the height, weight, carriage, state of
nourishment, and vaccination marks of each child on admission; the
condition of the eyes and ears and any marked constitutional tendency
he can discover. Every child is examined once a month, when necessary
once a fortnight. In this way weak or wanting children are weeded out,
and removed to other surroundings, the short-sighted and the deaf are
given places in the schoolroom to suit them. The system protects the
child and helps the teacher, and has had the best results since it was
introduced into Prussia in 1888.

Attendance at continuation schools is now compulsory on boys and girls
for three years after leaving the elementary school, where they have
had eight years steady education. They must attend from four to six
hours weekly; instruction is free, and is given in the evening, when
the working day is over. Certain classes of the community are free,
but about 30,000 students attend these schools in Berlin. The subjects
taught are too many to enumerate. They comprise modern languages,
history, law, painting, music, mathematics, and various domestic arts,
such as ironing and cooking. More boys than girls attend these
schools, as girls are more easily exempt. It is presumably not
considered so necessary for them as for their brothers to continue
their education after the age of fourteen.

One of the most interesting experiments being made in Germany at
present is the "open air" school, established for sickly children
during the summer months. The first one was set up by the city of
Charlottenberg at the suggestion of their _Schulrat_ and their school
doctor, and it is now being imitated in other parts of Germany. From
Charlottenberg the electric cars take you right into the pine forest,
far beyond the last houses of the growing city. The soil here is loose
and sandy, and the air in summer so soft that it wants strength and
freshness. But as far out as this it is pure, and the medical men must
deem it healing, for they have set up three separate ventures close
together amongst the pine trees. One belongs to the Society of the Red
Cross, and here sick and consumptive women come with their children
for the day, and are waited on by the Red Cross sisters. We saw some
of them lying about on reclining chairs, and some, less sickly, were
playing croquet. The second establishment is for children who are not
able to do any lessons, children who have been weeded out by the
school doctor because they are backward and sickly. There are a
hundred and forty children in this school, and there is a crêche with
twenty beds attached to it for babies and very young children. One
airy room with two rows of neat beds was for rickety children.

The third and largest of the settlements was the _Waldschule_, open
every day, Sundays included, from the end of April to the middle of
October, and educating two hundred and forty delicate children chosen
from the elementary schools of Charlottenberg. We arrived there just
as the children were going to sit down to their afternoon meal of
bread and milk, and each child was fetching its own mug hanging on a
numbered hook. The meals in fine weather are taken at long tables in
the open air. When it rains they are served in big shelters closed on
three sides. Dotted about the forest there were mushroom-shaped
shelters with seats and tables beneath them, sufficient cover in
slight showers; and there were well lighted, well aired class-rooms,
where the children are taught for twenty-five minutes at a time.

All the buildings are on the Doecker system, and were manufactured by
Messrs. Christoph & Unmark of Niesky. This firm makes a speciality of
schools and hospitals, built in what we should call the bungalow
style. Of course, this style exactly suits the needs of the school in
the forest. There is not a staircase in the place, there is no danger
of fire, no want of ventilation, and very little work for housemaids
or charwomen. The school furniture is simple and carefully planned.
Some of it was designed by Richard Riemerschmid of Munich, the
well-known artist.

Each child has two and a half hours' work each day; all who are strong
enough do gymnastics, and all have baths at school. Each child has its
own locker and its own numbered blanket for use out of doors on damp
or chilly days. The doctor visits the school twice a week, and the
weight of each child is carefully watched. The busy sister who
superintends the housekeeping and the hygienic arrangements seemed to
know how much each child had increased already; and she told us what
quantities of food were consumed every day. The kitchen and larder
were as bright and clean as such places always are in Germany. When
the children arrive in the morning at half-past seven they have a
first breakfast of _Griesbrei_. At ten o'clock they have rolls and
butter. Their dinner consists of one solid dish. The day we were there
it had been pork and cabbage, a combination Germans give more
willingly to delicate children than we should; the next day it was to
be _Nudelsuppe_ and beef. At four o'clock they have bread and milk,
and just before they go home a supper like their early breakfast of
milk-soup, and bread. 260 litres of milk are used every day, 50 to 60
lbs. of meat, 2 cwts. potatoes, 30 big rye loaves, 280 rolls, and when
spinach, for instance, is given, 80 lbs. of spinach. We asked whether
the children paid, and were told that those who could afford it paid
from 25 to 45 pf. a day. The school is kept open throughout the summer
holidays, but no work is done then, and two-thirds of the teachers are
away. Although the children are at play for the greater part of the
day in term time, and all day in the holidays, the headmaster told us
that they gave no trouble. There was not a dirty or untidy child to be
seen, nor one with rough manners. They are allowed to play in the
light, sandy soil of the forest, much as English children play at the
seaside, and we saw the beginning of an elaborate chain of fortresses
defended by toy guns and decorated with flowers. We heard a lesson in
mental arithmetic given in one of the class-rooms, the boys sitting on
one side of the room and the girls on the other; and we found that
these young sickly children were admirably taught and well advanced
for their age. To be a teacher in one of these open-air schools is
hard work, because the strain is never wholly relaxed. All day long,
and a German day is very long, the children must be watched and
guarded, sheltered from changes in the weather and prevented from
over-tiring themselves. Many of them come from poor cramped homes, and
to spend the whole summer in the forest more at play than at work
makes them most happy. I met Germans who did not approve of the
_Waldschule_ who considered it a fantastic extravagant experiment, too
heavy for the rate-payers to bear. This is a side of the question that
the rate-payers must settle for themselves; but there is no doubt
about the results of the venture on the children sent to school in the
forest. They get a training that must shape their whole future, moral
and physical, a training that changes so many unsound citizens into
sound ones every year for the German Empire. If the rate-payers can
survive the strain it seems worth while.



CHAPTER V

THE BACKFISCH


The word is untranslatable, though my dictionary translates it.
Backfisch, m. fried fish; young girl; says the dictionary. In Germany
a woman does not arrive at her own gender till she marries and becomes
somebody's _Frau_. Woman in general, girl, and miss are neuter; and
the fried-fish girl is masculine. But if one little versed in German
wished to tell you that he liked a fried sole, and said _Ich liebe
einen Backfisch_, it might lead to misunderstandings. The origin of
the word in this application is dubious. Some say it means fish that
are baked in the oven because they are too small to fry in pans; but
this does not seem a sensible explanation to anyone who has seen
white-bait cooked. Others say it means fish the anglers throw back
into the water because they are small. At any rate, the word used is
to convey an impression of immaturity. A _Backfisch_ is what English
and American fashion papers call a "miss." You may see, too, in German
shop windows a printed intimation that special attention is given to
_Backfisch Moden_. It is a girl who has left school but has not cast
off her school-girl manners; and who, according to her nation and her
history, will require more or less last touches.

Miss Betham-Edwards tells us that a French girl is taught from
babyhood to play her part in society, and that the exquisite grace
and taste of Frenchwomen are carefully developed in them from the
cradle. An English girl begins her social education in the nursery,
and is trained from infancy in habits of personal cleanliness and in
what old-fashioned English people call "table manners." An
Englishwoman, who for many years lived happily as governess in a
German country house, told me how on the night of her arrival she
tried out of politeness to eat and drink as her hosts did; and how the
mistress of the house confided to her later that she had disappointed
everyone grievously. There were daughters in the family, and they were
to learn to behave at table in the English way. That was why the
father, arriving from Berlin, had on his own initiative brought them
an English governess; for the English are admitted by their
continental friends to excel in this special branch of manners, while
their continental enemies charge them with being "ostentatiously" well
groomed and dainty. The truth is, that if you have lived much with
both English and Germans, and desire to be fair and friendly to both
races, you find that your generalisations will not often weigh on one
side. The English child learns to eat with a fork rather than with a
spoon, and never by any chance to put a knife in its mouth, or to
touch a bone with its fingers. The German child learns that it must
never wear a soiled or an unmended garment or have untidy hair. I have
known a German scandalised by the slovenly wardrobe of her well-to-do
English pupil, and I have heard English people say that to hear
Germans eat soup destroyed their appetite for dinner. English girls
are not all slovens, and nowadays decently bred Germans behave like
other people at table. But untidiness is commoner in England than in
Germany, and you may still stumble across a German any day who,
abiding by old customs, puts his knife in his mouth and takes his
bones in his hands. He will not only do these things, but defend them
vociferously. In that case you are strongly advised not to eat a dish
of asparagus in his company.

Your modern German _Backfisch_ may be a person of finish and wide
culture. You may find that she insists on her cold tub every morning,
and is scandalised by your offer of hot water in it. She has seen
Salome as a play and heard Salome as an opera. She has seen plays by
G.B.S. both in Berlin and London. She does not care to see Shakespeare
in London, because, as she tells you, the English know nothing about
him. Besides, he could not sound as well in English as in German. She
has read Carlyle, and is now reading Ruskin. She adores Byron, but
does not know Keats, Shelley, or Rossetti. Tennyson she waves
contemptuously away from her, not because she has read him, but
because she has been taught that his poetry is "bourgeois." Her
favourite novels are _Dorian Gray_ and _Misunderstood_. She dresses
with effect and in the height of fashion, she speaks French and
English fluently, she has travelled in Italy and Switzerland, she
plays tennis well, she can ride and swim and skate, and she would
cycle if it was not out of fashion. In fact, she can do anything, and
she knows everything, and she has been everywhere. Your French and
English girls are ignorant misses in comparison with her, and you say
to yourself as you watch her and humbly listen to her opinions,
delivered without hesitation and expressed without mistakes: "Where is
the German _Backfisch_ of yesteryear?"

"Did you ever read _Backfischchen's Leiden und Freuden_?" you say to
her; for the book is in its 55th edition, and you have seen German
girls devouring it only last week; German girls of a different type,
that is, from your present glittering companion.

"That old-fashioned inferior thing," she says contemptuously. "I
believe my mother had it. That is not literature."

You leave her to suppose you could not have made that discovery for
yourself, and you spend an amusing hour over the story again, for
there are occasions when a book that is not "literature" will serve
your purpose better than a masterpiece. The little book has
entertained generations of German girls, and is presumably accepted by
them, just as _Little Women_ is accepted in America or _The Daisy
Chain_ in England. The picture was always a little exaggerated, and
some of its touches are now out of date; yet as a picture of manners
it still has a value. It narrates the joys and sorrows of a young girl
of good family who leaves her country home in order to live with an
aunt in Berlin, a facetious but highly civilised aunt who uses a large
quantity of water at her morning toilet. All the stages of this toilet
are minutely described, and all the mistakes the poor countrified
_Backfisch_ makes the first morning. She actually gets out of bed
before she puts on her clothes, and has to be driven behind the bed
curtains by her aunt's irony. This is an incident that is either out
of date or due to the genius and imagination of the author, for I have
never seen bed curtains in Germany. However, Gretchen is taught to
perform the early stages of her toilet behind them, and then to wash
for the first time in her life in a basin full of water. She is
sixteen. Her aunt presents her with a sponge, and observes that the
civilisation of a nation is judged by the amount of soap it uses. "In
much embarrassment I applied myself to this unaccustomed task,"
continues the ingenuous _Backfisch_, "and I managed it so cleverly
that everything around me was soon swimming. To make matters worse, I
upset the water-jug, and now the flood spread to the washstand, the
floor, the bed curtains, even to my clothes lying on the chair. If
only this business of dressing was over," she sighs as she is about to
brush her teeth, with brushes supplied by her aunt. But it is by no
means over. She is just going to slip into a dressing-gown, cover her
unbrushed hair with a cap, and so proceed to breakfast, when this
exacting aunt stops her: actually desires her to plait and comb her
hair at this hour of the morning, and to put on a tidy gown.
Gretchen's gown is extremely untidy, and on that account I will not
admit that the portrait is wholly lifelike. In fact, the author has
summed up the sins of all the _Backfisch_ tribe, and made a single
_Backfisch_ guilty of them. But caricature, if you know how to allow
for it, is instructive. Mr. Stiggins is a caricature, yet he stands
for failings that exist among us, though they are never displayed
quite so crudely. "Go and brush your nails," says the aunt to the
niece when the girl attempts to kiss her hand; and the _Backfisch_
uses a nail-brush for the first time in her life.

Then the two ladies sit down to breakfast. Gretchen fills the cups too
full, soaks her roll in her coffee, and drinks out of her saucer. Her
aunt informs her that "coffee pudding" is not polite, and can only be
allowed when they are by themselves; also that she must not drink out
of the saucer. "But we children always did it at home," says Gretchen.
"I can well believe it," says the aunt. "_Everything is permitted to
children._" The italics are mine.

An aunt who has such ideas about the education of the young is
naturally not surprised when at dinner-time she has to admonish her
niece not to wipe her mouth with her hand, not to speak with her
mouth full, to eat her soup quietly, to keep her elbows off the table,
not to put her fingers in her plate or her knife in her mouth, and not
to take her chicken into her hands on ceremonial occasions.

"My treasure," says the aunt, "as you know, we are going to dinner
with the Dunkers to-morrow. Be good enough not to take your chicken
into your hands. Here at home I don't object to it, but the really
correct way is to separate the meat from the bone with the knife and
fork."

The docile _Backfisch_ says _Jawohl, liebe Tante_, and feels that this
business of becoming civilised is full of pitfalls and surprises.
Never in her life has she eaten poultry without the assistance of her
fingers. When she gets to the dinner-party she is fortunate enough to
sit next to her bosom friend, who starts in horror and whispers "With
a knife, Gretchen," when Gretchen is just about to dip her fingers in
the salt. The _Backfisch_ is truly anxious to learn, but she feels
that the injunctions of society are hard, and says it is poor sport to
eat your chicken with a knife and fork, because the best part sticks
to the bones. Then her friend stops her from drinking fruit syrup out
of her plate, and her neighbour on the other side, a stout guzzler who
has not been taught by his aunt to eat properly, encourages Gretchen
to drink too much champagne.

After these early adventures the education of the _Backfisch_ proceeds
quickly. She has to learn at her aunt's tea-parties not to fill cups
to overflowing in sheer exuberance of hospitality; and she is also
instructed not to press food on people. "In good society," says the
aunt, "people decline to eat because they have had enough, and not
because they require pressing." She is obliged also to discourage
Gretchen from waiting too attentively on the young men who visit at
the house; and Gretchen, who does not care about young men, but only
yearns to be serviceable, devotes herself in future to the old ladies,
their foot-stools, their knitting, and their smelling bottles. This
touch is one of many that makes the book, in spite of its obvious
shortcomings, valuable as a picture of German character and manner. It
is impossible to imagine Gretchen in a French or English story of the
same class. The French girl would be more adroit and witty; the
English girl would expect young men to wait on her; and neither of
them would gush as Gretchen did about her old ladies. "My readiness to
serve them knew no bounds. To arrange their seats to their liking, to
give them stools for their feet and cushions for their backs, to rush
for their shawls and cloaks, to count the rows in their knitting, to
help them pick up their stitches, to thread their needles, to wind
silk or wool, to peel fruit, to run for smelling bottles and cold
water,--all these things I did with delight the instant my watchful
eye discovered the smallest wish, and I was always cordially thanked."

Tastes differ. Some old ladies would be made quite uncomfortable by
such fussy attentions. The _Backfisch_ goes on to say that she was
equally assiduous in waiting on the old gentlemen. She picked up
anything they dropped, polished their spectacles for them, and
listened to their dull stories when no one else would. I consider the
portrait of Gretchen in this story a literary triumph. I can see the
girl; I can hear her voice and laugh. I know exactly how she behaved
and what the old ladies and gentlemen said to her, how she dressed and
how she did her hair; not because the author tells me just these
things, but because her type is as true to life to-day as it was
thirty years ago. As a contrast to her, a fine young lady from the
city presently joins the household, and the aunt does not have to
provide her with a tooth-brush. The new arrival wears blue satin
slippers, drinks her chocolate in bed, and cannot dress without the
help of a maid. In this way the author shows you that girls brought up
in cities are superfine rather than savage, and that you are not to
suppose the ordinary German _Backfisch_ is like her little heroine
from the provinces.

The truth of the matter is, that no one nowadays has such manners as
the _Backfisch_ had when she first came from the wilds; at least, no
one of her class, even if they have grown up in Hinter-Pommern. But if
you travel in Germany next week and stay in small towns and country
places, you will still meet plenty of people who take their poultry
bones in their fingers and put their knives in their mouths. If they
are men you will see them use their fork as a dagger to hold the meat
while they cut it up; you will see them stick their napkins into their
shirt collars and placidly comb their hair with a pocket comb in
public; if they are women and at a restaurant, they will pocket the
lumps of sugar they have not used in their coffee. But if you are in
private houses amongst people of Gretchen's type you will see none of
these things. A German host still pulls the joint close to him
sometimes or stands up to carve, and a German hostess still presses
you to eat, still in the kindness of her heart piles up your plate.
But this embarrassing form of hospitality is dying out. As Gretchen's
aunt said, people in good society recognise that a guest refuses food
because he does not want it. Some years ago, when you had satisfied
your hunger and declined more, your German friends used to look
offended or distressed, and say _Sie geniren sich gewiss_. This is a
difficult phrase to translate, because the idea is one that has never
taken root in the English mind, _Sich geniren_, however, is a
reflective verb, a corruption of the French verb _se gêner_, and what
they meant was that you really wanted a third potato dumpling but did
not like to say so. Whether your reluctance was supposed to proceed
from your distrust of your host's hospitality or shame at your own
appetite, is not clear; in either case it was taken, is even to-day
still often taken, for artificial. To accept a portion of an untouched
dish was considered a sign that you came from "a good house" where no
one grudged or wished to save the food put on the table; and formerly
you could not refuse sugar in your tea without being commended for
your economy. You are still invited to eat tarts and puddings in
Germany with what we consider the insufficient assistance of a
tea-spoon, but I have never been in a private house where salt-spoons
were not provided. You never used to find them in inns of a plain
kind, and unless you were known to be English and peculiar you were
not provided with more than one knife and fork for all the courses of
a _table d'hôte_. You would see your German neighbours putting theirs
aside as a matter of course when their plates were removed.

On the whole, then, the celebrated picture of the _Backfisch_, though
it is overloaded, bears some relation to the facts of life in Germany:
not only in the episodes that make the early chapters entertaining,
but all through the story in atmosphere, in the little touches that
give a story nationality. When the excellent Gretchen has been
civilised she spends a great deal of time in the kitchen, and soon
knows all the duties of the complete housekeeper; while, when the
frivolous Eugenie becomes _Braut_ she cannot cook at all. But
frivolous as she is, she recognises that marriage is unthinkable
without cooking, and straightway sets to work to learn. Then, too,
the _Backfisch_ is the ideal German maiden, cheerful, docile, and
facetious; and constantly on the jump (_springen_ is the word she
uses) to serve her elders. Middle-aged Germans used to have a most
tiresome way of expecting girls to be like lambs in spring, always in
the mood to frisk and caper: so that a quiet or a delicate girl had a
bad time with some of them. _Ein junges Mädchen muss immer heiter
sein_, they would say reproachfully. But it does not follow that you
are always _heiter_ just because you are not twenty yet; especially in
Germany, where girls are often anæmic and have headaches. However,
perhaps the modern German maiden does not allow her elders to be so
silly.

There are some other ways, too, in which my _Backfisch_ of thirty
years ago is typical of German womanhood both then and now. She is as
good as gold, she is devoted to duty not to pleasure, and she is as
guileless as a child. You know that when she marries she will be
faithful unto death; you know that her husband and her children will
call her blessed. These things come out quite naturally, almost
unconsciously, in the little story that is "not literature," and which
for all that is so truly and deeply German in its quality and tone.
This Gretchen of the schoolroom, this caricature of the country
cousin, is akin in her simplicity, sweetness, and depth of nature to
that other Gretchen whose figure lives for ever in the greatest of
German poems. Just as the women of Shakespeare and the women of Miss
Austen are subtly kin to each other, inasmuch as they are English
women, so Goethe's girl and the girl of the poor little schoolroom
story are German in every pulse and fibre. And this national essence,
the honesty, goodness, and sweetness of the girl, are the real
things, the things to remember about her. Those little matters of the
toilet and the table will soon be out of date, are out of date already
in the greater part of Germany. As a picture of forgotten manners they
will always be amusing, just as it is amusing to read an
eighteenth-century English story of school life, in which the young
ladies fought and bit and scratched each other and were whipped and
sent to bed.



CHAPTER VI

THE STUDENT


When an English lad goes to the university he usually goes there from
a public school, where out of school hours he has been learning for
years past to be a man. In these strenuous days he may have learned a
little in school hours too, but that is a new departure. Cricket and
character are what an English boy expects to develop at school, and if
there is stuff in him he succeeds. He does not set a high value on
learning. Even if he works and brings home prizes he will not be as
proud of them as of his football cap, while a boy who is head of the
school, but a duffer at games, will live for all time in the memory of
his fellows as a failure. But the German boy goes to school to acquire
knowledge, and he too gets what he wants. The habit of work must be
strong in him when at the age of eighteen he goes to one of his many
universities. But when he gets there he is free for the first time in
his life, and the first use he for the most part makes of his freedom
is to be thoroughly, happily idle. This idleness, if he has a backbone
and a call to work, only lasts a term or two; and no one who knows how
a German boy is held to the grindstone for twelve years of school life
can grudge him a holiday. But the odd fact is, that the Briton who
leaves school a man is more under control at Oxford or Cambridge than
the German at Heidelberg who leaves school a boy.

A German university is a teaching institution which prepares for the
State examinations, and is never residential. There are no old
colleges. The professors live in flats like other people, and the
students live in lodgings or board with private families. There is one
building or block of buildings called the _Universität_ where there
are laboratories and lecture-rooms. The State can decline a professor
chosen by the university; but this power is rarely exercised. The
teachers at a German university consist of ordinary professors,
extraordinary professors, and _Privatdocenten_--men who are not
professors yet, but hope to be some day. An Englishman in his
ignorance might think that an extraordinary professor ought to rank
higher than an ordinary one; but this is not so. The ordinary
professors are those who have chairs; the extraordinary ones have
none. But all professors have a fixed salary which is paid to the day
of their death, though they may cease work when they choose. The
salaries vary from £240 to £350, and are paid by the State, but this
income is increased by lecturing fees. Whether it is largely increased
depends on the popularity of the lecturer and on his subject. An
astronomer cannot expect large classes, while a celebrated professor
of Law or Medicine addresses crowds. I have found it difficult to make
my English friends believe that there are professors now in Berlin
earning as much as £2500 a year. The English idea of the German
professor is rudely disturbed by such a fact, for his poverty and
simplicity of life have played as large a part in our tradition of him
as his learning. The Germans seem to recognise that a scholar cannot
want as much money as a man of affairs; therefore, when one of their
professors is so highly esteemed by the youth of the nation that his
fees exceed £225, half of the overflow goes to the university and not
to him at all. In this way Berlin receives a considerable sum every
year, and uses it to assist poorer professors and to attract new men.
As a rule a German professor has not passed the State examinations.
These are official, not academic, and they qualify men for government
posts rather than for professorial chairs. A professor acquires the
academic title of doctor by writing an original essay that convinces
the university of his learning. The title confers no privileges. It is
an academic distinction, and its value depends on the prestige of the
university conferring it.

Germans say that our English universities exist to turn out gentlemen
rather than scholars, and that the aim of their own universities is to
train servants for the State and to encourage learning. I think an
Englishman would say that a gentleman is bred at home, but he would
understand how the German arrived at his point of view. When a German
talks of an English university he is thinking of Oxford and Cambridge,
and he knows that, roughly speaking, it is the sons of well-to-do men
who go there. Perhaps he does not know much about the Scotch and Irish
and Welsh universities, or London, or the north of England; though it
is never safe to build on what a German does not know. I once took for
granted that a man talking to me of some point in history would no
more remember all the names and dates of the Kings of Scotland than I
remember them myself. But he knew every one, and was scandalised by my
ignorance. So perhaps the average German knows better than I do what
it costs a man to graduate at Edinburgh or at Dublin. Anyhow, he knows
that three or four years at Oxford or Cambridge cost a good deal; and
he knows that in Berlin, for instance, a student can live on sixty
pounds a year, out of which he can afford about five pounds a term for
academic fees. If he is too poor to pay his fees the authorities allow
him to get into their debt, and pay later in life when he has a post.
There are cases where a man pays for his university training six years
after he has ended it. But a German university comes to a man's help
still more effectively when there is need for it, and will grant him
partial or even entire support. Then there are various organisations
for providing hungry men with dinners so many days a week; sometimes
at a public table, sometimes with families who arrange to receive one
or more guests on certain days every week. The Jewish community in a
university always looks after its poor students well, and this
practice of entertaining them in private houses is one that gives
rises to many jests and stories. The students soon find out which of
their hosts are liberal and which are not, and give them a reputation
accordingly.

A German comparing his universities with the English ones will always
lay stress on the fact that his are not examining bodies, and that his
professors are not crammers but teachers. A student who intends to
pass the State examinations chooses his own course of reading for
them, and the lectures that he thinks will help him. He does not
necessarily spend his whole time at the same university, but may move
from one to the other in pursuit of the professors he wants for his
special purpose. He is quite free to do this; and he is free to work
night and day, or to drink beer night and day. He is under no
supervision either in his studies or his way of life.

English people who have been to Germany at all have invariably been
to Heidelberg, and if they have been there in term time they have been
amused by the gangs of young men who swagger about the narrow streets,
each gang wearing a different coloured cap. They will have been told
that these are the "corps" students, and the sight of them so jolly
and so idle will confirm their mental picture of the German student,
the picture of a young man who does nothing but drink beer, fight
duels, sing _Volkslieder_ and _Trinklieder_, and make love to pretty
low-born maidens. When you see a company of these young men clatter
into the Schloss garden on a summer afternoon, and drink vast
quantities of beer, when you observe their elaborate ceremonial of
bows and greetings, when you hear their laughter and listen to the
latest stories of their monkey tricks, you understand that the
student's life is a merry one, but except for the sake of tradition
you wonder why he need lead it at a seat of learning. Anything further
removed from learning than a German corps student cannot be imagined,
and the noise he makes must incommode the quiet working students who
do not join a corps. Not that the quiet working students would wish to
banish the others. They are the glory of the German universities. In
novels and on the stage none others appear. The innocent foreigner
thinks that the moment a young German goes to the Alma Mater of his
choice he puts on an absurd little cap, gets his face slashed, buys a
boarhound, and devotes all his energies to drinking beer and ragging
officials. But though the "corps" students are so conspicuous in the
small university towns, it is only the men of means who join them. For
poorer students there is a cheaper form of union, called a
_Burschenschaft_. When a young German goes to the university he has
probably never been from home before, and by joining a _Corps_ or a
_Burschenschaft_ he finds something to take the place of home,
companions with whom he has a special bond of intimacy, and a
discipline that carries on his social education; for the etiquette of
these associations is most elaborate and strict. The members of a
corps all say "thou" to each other, and on the _Alte Herren Abende_,
when members of an older generation are entertained by the young ones
of to-day, this practice still obtains, although one man may be a
great minister of State and the other a lad fresh from school. The
laws of a "corps" remind you of the laws made by English schoolboys
for themselves,--they are as solemnly binding, as educational, and as
absurd. If a Vandal meets a Hessian in the street he may not recognise
him, though the Hessian be his brother; but outside the town's
boundary this prohibition is relaxed, for it is not rooted in ill
feeling but in ceremony. One corps will challenge another to meet it
on the duelling ground, just as an English football team will meet
another--in friendly rivalry. All the students' associations except
the theological require their members to fight these duels, which are
really exercises in fencing, and take place on regular days of the
week, just as cricket matches do in England. The men are protected by
goggles and by shields and baskets on various parts of their bodies,
but their faces are exposed, and they get ugly cuts, of which they are
extremely proud. As it is quite impossible that I should have seen
these duels myself, I will quote from a description sent me by an
English friend who was taken to them in Heidelberg by a corps student.
"They take place," he says, "in a large bare room with a plain boarded
floor. There were tables, each to hold ten or twelve persons, on
three sides of the room, and a refreshment counter on the fourth
side, where an elderly woman and one or two girls were serving wine.
The wine was brought to the tables, and the various corps sat at their
special tables, all drinking and smoking. The dressing and undressing
and the sewing up of wounds was done in an adjoining room. When the
combatants were ready they were led in by their seconds, who held up
their arms one on each side. The face and the top of the head were
exposed, but the body, arms and neck were heavily bandaged. The
duellists are placed opposite each other, and the seconds, who also
have swords in their hands, stand one on each side, ready to interfere
and knock up the combatant's sword. They say '_Auf die Mensur_', and
then the slashing begins. As soon as blood is drawn the seconds
interfere, and the doctor examines the cut. If it is not bad they go
on fighting directly. If it needs sewing up they go into the next
room, and you wait an endless time for the next party. I got awfully
tired of the long intervals, sitting at the tables, drinking and
smoking. While the fights were going on we all stood round in a ring.
There were only about three duels the whole morning. There was a good
deal of blood on the floor. The women at the refreshment counter were
quite unconcerned. They didn't trouble to look on, but talked to each
other about blouses like girls in a post office. The students drove
out to the inn and back in open carriages. It is a mile from
Heidelberg. The duels are generally as impersonal as games, but
sometimes they are in settlement of quarrels. I think any student may
come and fight on these occasions, but I suppose he has to be the
guest of a corps."

A German professor lecturing on university life constantly used a word
I did not understand at first. The word as he said it was _Commang_,
with a strong accent on the second syllable. The word as it is written
is _Comment_, and means the etiquette set up and obeyed by the
students. The Germans have taken many French words into their language
and corrupted them, much as we have ourselves: sometimes by
Germanising the pronunciation, sometimes by conjugating a French verb
in the German way as they do in _raisonniren_ and _geniren_. The
_Commang_, said the professor, was a highly valuable factor in a young
man's education, because it helped more than anything else to turn a
schoolboy into a man of the world. So when I saw a little book called
_Der Bier Comment_ for sale I bought it instantly, for I wanted to
know how beer turned a schoolboy into a man of the world. It began
with a little preface, a word of warning to anyone attempting to write
about the morals, customs, and characteristics of the German nation.
No one undertaking this was to forget that the Germans had an amazing
_Bierdurst_, and that they liked to assuage this thirst in company, to
be cheerful and easy, and to sing while they were drinking. Then it
goes on to give the elaborate ceremonial observed at the _Kneiptafel_.
One of my dictionaries, although the German-English part has 2412
pages, translates _Kneipe_ as "any instrument for pinching." I never
yet found anything I wanted in those 2412 pages. Another dictionary,
one that cost ninepence, and is supposed to give you all words in
common use, does not include _Kneipe_ at all. As an instrument for
pinching, _Kneipe_ is certainly not common, except possibly amongst
people who use tools. As a word for a sort of beer club it is as
common as beer. It is not only students who go to the _Kneipe_. In
some parts of Germany men spend most of the evening drinking beer and
smoking with their friends, while the womenfolk are by themselves or
with the children at home. But the beer _Commang_ that the professor
thought had such educational value is the name for certain intricate
rites practised by university students at the _Kneiptafel_. Those who
sit at the table are called Beer Persons, and they are of various
ranks according to the time of membership and their position in the
Kneipe. Every Beer Person must drink beer and join in the songs,
unless he has special permission from the chairman. The Beer Persons
do not just sit round the table and drink as they please. If they did
there would be no _Comment_, and I suppose no educational value. They
have to invite their fellows to drink with them, and the quantity
drunk, the persons who may have challenged, and the exact number of
minutes that may elapse before a challenge is accepted and returned,
is all exactly laid down. Then there are various festive and ingenious
ways of drinking together, so as to turn the orgy into something like
a game. For instance, the glass "goes into the world," that is, it
circulates, and any Beer Person who seizes it with a different hand or
different fingers from his neighbour is fined. Or the glasses are
piled one on the top of another while the Beer Persons sing, and some
one man has to drink to each glass in the pile at the word of command.
Or the president orders a "Beer Galop" with the words "_Silentium für
einen Biergalopp: ich bitte den nötigen Stoff anzuschaffen._" At the
word of command everyone, beginning with the president, passes his
glass to his left-hand neighbour and empties the one he receives. Then
the glasses are refilled, passed to the right, and emptied again as
soon as possible. The president, it seems, has to exercise a good deal
of discretion and ingenuity, for if the _Kneipe_ seems flat it lies
with him to order the moves in the game that will make it lively and
stimulate beer, song, and conversation. There are various fines and
punishments inflicted according to strict rule on those who transgress
the code of the _Kneipe_, but as far as I can make out they all
resolve themselves into drinking extra beer, singing extra songs, or
in really serious cases ceasing to be a Beer Person for whatever
length of time meets the offence. An Englishman who was present at
some of these gatherings in Heidelberg, told me that the etiquette was
most difficult for a foreigner to understand, and always a source of
anxiety to him all the evening. He was constantly invited to drink
with various members, and the German responsible for him explained
that he must not only respond to the invitation at the moment, but
return it at the right time: not too soon, because that would look
like shaking off an obligation, and not too late, because that would
look like forgetting it.

A _Kommers_ is a students' festival in which the professors and other
senior members of a university take part, and at which outsiders are
allowed to look on. The presiding students appear _in vollem Wichs_,
as we should say in their war paint, with sashes and rapiers. Young
and old together drink beer, sing songs, make speeches, and in honour
of one or the other they "rub a Salamander,"--a word which is said to
be a corruption of _Sauft alle mit einander_. This is a curious
ceremony and of great antiquity. When the glasses are filled, at the
word of command they are rubbed on the table; at the word of command
they are raised and emptied; and again at the word of command every
man rubs his glass on the table, the second time raises it and brings
it down with a crash. Anyone who brought his glass down a moment
earlier or later than the others would spoil the _Salamander_ and be
in disgrace. In _Ekkehardt_ Scheffel describes a similar ceremonial in
the tenth century. "The men seized their mugs," he says, "and rubbed
them three times in unison on the smooth rocks, producing a humming
noise, then they lifted them towards the sun and drank; each man set
down his mug at the same moment, so that it sounded like a single
stroke."

A _Kommers_ is not always a gay festival. It may be a memorial
ceremony in honour of some great man lately dead. Then speeches are
made in his praise, solemn and sacred music is sung, and the
Salamander, an impressive libation to the dead man's Manes, is drunk
with mournful effect.

In small university towns--and it must be remembered that there are
twenty-two universities in Germany--the students play a great part in
the social life of the place. German ladies have often told me that
the balls they looked forward to with most delight as girls were those
given by students, when one "corps" would take rooms and pay for
music, wine, and lights. For supper, tickets are issued on such
occasions, which the guests pay themselves. The small German
universities seem full of the students in term time, especially in
those places where people congregate for pleasure and not for work.
Even in a town as big as Leipsic they are seen a good deal, filling
the pavement, occupying the restaurants, going in gangs to the play.
But in Berlin the German student of tradition, the beer person, the
duellist, the rollicking lad with his big dog, is lost. He is there,
you are told, but if you keep to the highway you never see him; and,
to tell the truth, in Germany you miss him. He stands for youth and
high spirits and that world of ancient custom most of us would be
loth to lose. In Berlin, if you go to the _Universität_ when the
working day begins, you see a crowd of serious, well-mannered young
men, most of them carrying books and papers. They are swarming like
bees to the various lecture-rooms; they are as quiet as the elderly
professors who appear amongst them. They have no corps caps, no dogs,
no scars on their scholarly faces. By their figures you judge that
they are not Beer Persons. They have worked hard for twelve years in
the gymnasiums of Germany, they have no idle habits, no interests so
keen as their interest in this business of preparing for the future.
They are the men of next year's Germany, and will carry on their
country's reputation in the world for efficiency and scholarship.



CHAPTER VII

RIEHL ON WOMEN


Not long ago I heard a German professor say that anyone who wanted to
speak with authority about the German family must read _Die Familie_
by W.H. Riehl. He said that, amongst other things, this important work
explained why men went to the _Kneipe_, because they were fond of home
life; and also what was the sphere of women. I thought it would be
useful to have both these points settled; besides, I asked several
wise Germans about the book, and they all nodded their heads and said
it was a good one. So I got it, and was surprised to find it came out
in 1854. I thought ideas about women had advanced since then, even in
Germany, though a German friend had warned me just before my last
visit not to expect much in this way. She made a movement with her
lips as if she was blowing a bit of thistledown from her. "Remember,"
she said, "that is what you will be directly you get there ... nothing
at all." But I had been to Germany so often that I was prepared to be
"nothing at all" for a time, and not to mind it much. What I wanted to
discover was how far German women had arrived at being "something" in
the eyes of their men. In my eyes they had always been a good deal:
admirable wives and mothers, for instance, patient, capable, thrifty,
and self-sacrificing. At first I thought that my friend was wrong,
and that women of late years had made great strides in Germany. I met
single women who had careers and homes of their own and were quite
cheerful. When you are old enough to look back twenty or thirty years,
and remember the blight there used to be on the "old maid," and the
narrow gossiping life she was driven to lead, you must admit that
these contented bachelor women have done a good deal to emancipate
themselves. In England they have been with us for a long time, but
formerly I had not come across them in Germany. On the contrary, I
well remember my amazement as a girl at hearing a sane able-bodied
single woman of sixty say she had naturally not ventured on a summer
journey to Switzerland till some man who looked after her money
affairs, but was in no way related, had given her his consent. I did
once hear a German boast of having struck his wife in order to bring
her to submission. He was not a navvy either, but a merchant of good
standing. He was not a common type, however. German men, on the whole,
treat their womenfolk kindly, but never as their equals. Over and over
again German women have told me they envied the wives of Englishmen,
and I should say that it is impossible for an English woman to be in
Germany without feeling, if she understands what is going on around
her, that she has suddenly lost caste. She is "nothing at all" because
she is a woman: to be treated with gallantry if she is young and
pretty, and as a negligible quantity if she is not. That perhaps is a
bitter description of what really takes place, but after reading Herr
Riehl, and hearing that his ideas are still widely accepted in
Germany, I am not much afraid of being unjust. His own arguments
convict the men of the nation in a measure nothing I could say would.
They are in extreme opposition to the ideas fermenting amongst modern
women there, and the strange fact that they are not regarded as quite
out of date makes them interesting.

Herr Riehl's theory, to put it in a nutshell, is that the family is
all-important, and the individual, if she is a woman, is of no
importance at all. He does not object to her being yoked to a plough,
because then she is working for the family, but he would forbid her,
if he could, to enter any profession that would make her independent
of the family. She is not to practise any art, and if she "commences
author" it is a sure sign that she is ugly, soured, and bitter. In any
country where they are allowed to rule, and even in any country where
they distinguish themselves in art and literature, civilisation as
well as statecraft must be at a standstill. Queen Elizabeth and Maria
Theresa were evidently awkward people for a man laying down this
theory to encounter, so he goes out of his way to say that they were
not women at all, but men in women's clothes. Moreover, he has no
doubt that the Salic law must ultimately prevail everywhere.

A woman has no independent existence: he says she is taught from
childhood to be subordinate to others; she cannot go out by herself
with propriety; she is not a complete creature till she finds a mate.
The unlucky women who never find one (more than 400,000 in Germany)
are not to make any kind of career for themselves, either humble or
glorious. Each one is to search carefully for relatives who will give
her a corner in their house, and allow her to work for them. If no one
wants her she may live with other women and bring up poor children. He
would allow women some education. Far be it from him to think that
women are to remain in compulsory ignorance. But their education is to
be "womanly," and carried on in the family. Women teachers in public
schools he considered a danger to the State, and he would send all
girls till they reach their twelfth or fourteenth year to the
elementary schools, where they would be taught by men and associate
with bare-footed children. Woman, in short, is to learn how to be
woman at home, and how not to be superwoman in school. She may even
have some instruction in art and science, but only a limited
instruction that will not encroach on her duty to the family.

The fate of lonely single women is much on Herr Riehl's mind. What are
we to do with them? he asks despairingly. "What is to become of the
army of innocent creatures, without means, without a craft, doomed to
an aimless, disappointed life. Shall we shut them up in convents?
Shall we buy them into Stifts? Shall we send them to Australia? Shall
we put an end to them?" Quite in the manner of Dogberry, he answers
his own questions. Let them go their ways as before, he says. He knows
there is no short cut to social regeneration, and he will not
recommend one, not even extirpation. He points out that the working
women of Germany have never asked to be on an equality with men. The
lower you descend in the social scale the less sharply women are
differentiated from men, and the worse time women have in consequence.
The wife of a peasant is only his equal in one respect: she works as
hard as he does. Otherwise she is his serf. The sole public position
allowed to a woman in a village is that of gooseherd; while those
original minds who in other circumstances would take to authorship or
painting have to wait, if they are peasants, till they are old, when
they can take to fortune-telling and witchcraft. Herr Riehl admits
that the lot of women when they are peasants is not a happy one. He
does not make the admission because he thinks it of much consequence,
but because it illustrates his argument that the less "feminine" women
are the less power they exercise. He has no great fault to find with
the peasant's household, where the wife is a beast of burden in the
field and a slave indoors, bears children in quick succession, is old
before her time, and sacrifices herself body and soul to the family.
But he points out that on a higher social plane, where women are more
unlike men, more distinctively feminine, the position they take is
more honourable. Yet it is these same "superfeminine" women who are
foolishly claiming equality with men.

Herr Riehl's views expressed in English seem a little behind the
times, here and there more than a little brutal. He speaks with
sympathy of suttee, and he quotes the Volga-Kalmucks with approval.
This tribe, it seems, "treat their wives with the most exquisite
patriarchal courtesy; but directly the wife neglects a household duty
courtesy ceases (for the _genius_ of the house is more important than
the personal dignity of the wife), and the sinner is castigated (_wird
tüchtig durchgepeitscht_). The whip used, the household sword and
sceptre, is handed down from generation to generation as a sacred
heirloom." I have translated this passage instead of alluding to it,
because I thought it was an occasion on which Herr Riehl should
literally speak for himself.

It is, however, fair to explain that modern men as well as modern
women come under his censure. All the tendencies and all the habits of
modern life afflict him, and he lashes out at them without
discrimination, and with such an entire lack of prophetic insight
that I have found him consoling. For this book was published sixteen
years before the Franco-Prussian War, when Germany, the world must
admit, proved that it was not decadent. Yet every page of it is a
Jeremiad, an exhortation to his countryfolk to stop short on the road
to ruin. He does not see that the whole nation is slowly and patiently
girding its loins for that mighty effort; he believes it is blind,
weak, and flighty. If he had lived in England, and a little later, he
would certainly have talked about the Smart Set, Foreign Financiers,
and the Yellow Press. As he lived in Germany fifty years ago, he
scolds his countryfolk for living in flats. He wants to know why a
family cannot herd in one room instead of scattering itself in
several. As for a father who cannot endure the cry of children, that
man should never have been a father, says Herr Riehl. He cannot
approve of the dinner hour being put off till two o'clock. Why not
begin work at five and dine at eleven in the good old German way? He
praises the ruinous elaborate festivals that used to celebrate family
events, and considers that the police help to destroy family life by
fining people who in their opinion spend more than they can afford on
a wedding or a christening. He objects to artificial Christmas trees,
and points out that other nations set a tree in the drawing-room, but
that Germans have it in the nursery, the innermost sanctum of family
life. He arrives at some curious conclusions when he discusses the
German's habit of turning the beer-house into a sort of club that he
calls his _Kneipe_. Other races can drink, he says; _aber bloss die
germanischen können kneipen_--only the Germanic peoples can make
themselves at home in an inn. What does the _Stammgast_, the regular
guest, ask but the ways of home? the same chair every night, the same
corner, the same glass, the same wine; and where there is a
_Stammtisch_ the same companions. He sees that family life is more or
less destroyed when the men of the household spend their leisure
hours, and especially their evenings, at an inn, but he says that the
homelike surroundings of the _Kneipe_ prove the German's love of home.
In fact, he suggests that even the habitual drunkard is often a weak,
amiable creature cut out for family life; only, he has sought it at
the public-house instead of on his own hearth.

Herr Riehl is, in fact, deeply concerned to see amongst his
countryfolk a gradual slackening of family ties, a widespread selfish
individualism amongst women, an abdication of duty and authority
amongst men. His views about women sound outrageous to-day, chiefly
because he wants to apply them to all women without distinction; and
also because they display a total want of consideration for the
welfare and the wishes of women themselves. But his position is
interesting, because with some modifications it is the position still
taken by the majority of German men; naturally, not by the most
advanced and intelligent, but by the average German from the Spree to
the Danube. He thinks that woman was made for man, and that if she has
board, lodging, and raiment, according to the means of her menfolk,
she has all she can possibly ask of life. When her menfolk are
peasants, she must work in the fields; when they belong to the middle
or upper classes, her place is in the kitchen and the nursery. Unless
he is exceptionally intelligent he does not understand that this
simple rule is complicated by modern economic conditions, and by the
enormous number of women thrown on their own resources. He would send
them as Herr Riehl did, to the kitchens and nurseries of other people;
or he would give up the problem in despair, as Herr Riehl did,
admitting with a sigh that modern humanitarianism forbids the
establishment of a lethal chamber for the superfluous members of a
weaker sex.

The most modern German women are in direct opposition to Herr Riehl,
and it must be said that some of their leaders are enthusiastic rather
than sensible. They are drunk with the freedom they claim in a country
where women are not even allowed to attend a political meeting except
with the express consent of the police. In their ravings against the
tyranny of men they lose all historical sense, just as an American
does when he describes a mediæval crime as if it had been committed by
a European with a twentieth-century conscience. They charge men with
keeping half humanity in a degrading state of slavery, and attribute
all the sins of civilisation to the enforced ignorance and
helplessness of women. Their contempt for their masters is almost
beyond the German language to express, eloquently as they use it. They
demand equality of education and opportunity, but they do not want to
be men. Far be such a desire from their minds. They mean to be
something much better. To what a pass have men brought the world, they
ask? How much better would manners and morals and politics be in the
hands of women! They repel with indignation the taunt that women have
no right to govern the State because their bodies are too weak to
defend it. They point out with a gleam of sense and justice that the
mother of children does serve the State in a supremely important way;
and for that matter they are willing to take many State duties on
their shoulders, and to train for them as arduously and regularly as
men train for the wretched business of killing each other. They will
not mate with those poor things--modern men--under the existing
marriage laws. They refuse to be household beasts of burden a day
longer. Life, life to the dregs with all its joys and all its
responsibilities, is what they want, and love if it comes their way.
But not marriage. Young Siegfrieds they ask for, young lions. Here one
bewildered reader rubbed her eyes; for she had just heard Siegfried
and the Götterdämmerung again, and sometimes she reads in the
_Nibelungenlied_; and if ever a man won a woman with his club, by
muscle seemingly, by magic really, but anyhow by sheer bodily
strength, was not that man Siegfried? and was not the woman
Brünnhilde? And what does the Siegfried of the Lied say when his wife
has failed to keep a guard on her tongue--

    "Man soll so Frauen ziehen," sprach Siegfried, "der Degen,
    Das sie üppig Reden lassen unterwegen.
    Verbiet es deinem Weibe; der meinen thu' ich's auch.
    Ich schäme mich, wahrlich um solchen übermüthigen Brauch."

And then, just as if he was one of those Volga-Kalmucks admired by
Herr Riehl, he beats poor Kriemhilde black and blue.

    "Das hat mich bald gereuet," so sprach das edle Weib;
    "Auch hat er so zerblaüet deswegen meinen Leib!
    Dass ich es je geredet, beschwerte ihm den Muth:
    Das hat gar wohl gerochen der Degen tapfer und gut."

Yet here is the last development in women, the woman who refuses as an
outrage both the theory of masculine superiority and the fact so
evident in Germany of masculine domination, here is the
self-constituted superwoman calling as if she was Eve to the primæval
male. It may be perverse of me, but my imagination refuses to behold
them mated.



CHAPTER VIII

THE OLD AND THE NEW


Germany stands midway between France and England in its care for its
womenfolk. French parents consider marriage the proper career for a
woman, and with logical good sense set themselves from the day of a
girl's birth to provide a dowry for her. When she is of a marriageable
age they provide the husband. They will make great sacrifices to
establish a daughter in prosperity, and they leave nothing to chance.
We leave everything to chance, and the idea of marriage made by
bargain and without love offends us. Such marriages are often enough
made in England, but they are never admitted. Some gloss of sentiment
or of personal respect is considered decent. But on the whole in this
country a girl shifts for herself. If she marries, well and good; if
she remains single, well and good too, provided she can earn her
living or has means. When she has neither means nor craft and fails to
marry, she is one of the most tragic figures in our confused social
hierarchy, difficult to help, superfluous. She sets her hand to this
and that, but she has no grip on life. To think of her is to invoke
the very image of failure and incompetence. She flocks into every
opening, blocking and depressing it; as a "help" she becomes a byword,
for she has grown up without learning to help herself or anybody
else. If she is a Protestant she has no haven. Only people who have
set themselves to help poor ladies know the difficulties of the
undertaking, and the miseries their protégées endure.

Even in the Middle Ages the conscientious German was doing more for
this helpless element of his population than England and America are
doing to-day. He saw that some of his daughters would remain
unmarried, and that if they were gently bred he must provide for their
future, and he did this by founding _Stifte_. The old _Stift_ was
established by the gentlemen of some one district, who built a house
and contributed land and money for its maintenance, so that when they
died their unmarried daughters should still have a suitable home. Some
of these old _Stifte_ are very wealthy now, and have buildings of
great dignity and beauty; they still admit none but the descendants of
the men who founded them, and when they have more money than they need
to support the _Stift_ itself, they use it to pension the widows and
endow the brides belonging to their group or families. In
Hesse-Cassel, for instance, there is an ancient _Stift_ formed by the
_Ritterschaft_ of the Duchy and it is so well off that it can afford
to pension every widow and fatherless child, and buy an outfit for
every bride whose name either by marriage or descent entitles her to
its protection. The example set by the noble families of the Middle
Ages was followed in time by other classes, and _Stifte_ were
established all over Germany for the daughters of the bourgeoisie.
They grew in number and variety; some had a school attached to their
endowment and some an orphanage. In some the rule was elastic, in
others binding. There are _Stifte_ from which a woman may absent
herself for the greater part of the year, and yet draw an income from
its funds and have a room or rooms appointed to her use; there are
others where residence is compulsory. Some are only open to
descendants of the founders; some sell vacancies. A woman may have to
wait year after year for a chance of getting in; or she may belong to
one that will admit her at a certain age. In many there is a presiding
lady, the Domina or Abbess; and when the present Emperor visited a
well-known _Stift_ lately he gave the Abbess a shepherd's crook with
which to rule her flock. Some are just sets of rooms with certain
privileges of light and firing attached. Their constitution varies
greatly, according to the class provided for and the means available.
But you cannot be much amongst Germans without meeting women who have
been educated, endowed, helped in sickness, or supported in old age by
one of these organisations. You come across girls of gentle birth but
with no means who have been brought up in a _Stift_, or you hear of
well-to-do girls whose parents have paid high for their schooling in
one. You know the elderly unmarried daughter of an official living on
his pension, and you find that though she has never been taught to
earn her bread she looks forward to old age with serenity, because
when she was a child her relations bought her into a _Stift_ that will
give her at the age of fifty free quarters, fire, light, and an income
on which, with her habits of thrift, she can live comfortably. Another
woman engaged in private teaching and a good deal battered by the
struggle for life, comes to you some day more radiant than you have
ever seen her, and you find that influential friends have put her case
before a _Stift_, and that it has granted her two charming rooms with
free fire and light. I heard of a cook the other day who, after many
years of faithful service, left her employers to spend her old age in
a _Stift_. No social stigma attaches to the women living in one, and
they are as free, in some cases as well placed and well born, as the
English women living at Hampton Court. Some friction and some gossip
is presumably inevitable wherever women herd together in an unnatural
segregation from men and children. But at any rate the German _Stift_
saves many a woman from the tragic struggle with old age and poverty
to which the penniless incapable spinster is condemned in our country.
It may not be a paradise, but it is a haven. As I said at the
beginning, the Frenchman dowers and marries his girl, the German buys
her a refuge, the Englishman leaves her to fate.

On the whole, the German believes that the woman's province is within
the limits of the household. He wants her to be a home-maker, and in
Germany what "he" wants her to be still fixes the standard. But as the
census reveals the existence of large numbers of single women, and as
"he" often has a thoughtful and benevolent mind, more and more is done
there every year to prepare those women who must earn their living to
earn it capably. It has been understood for some time past that Herr
Riehl's plan of finding a family roof for every woman without one
presents difficulties where there are 400,000-odd women to provide for
in this way. One of the people who first saw this clearly, and
supported every sensible undertaking that came to the assistance of
women, was the Empress Frederick; and one of the institutions that she
encouraged and esteemed from the beginning was the _Lette-Verein_ in
Berlin.

The _Lette-Verein_, named after its originator, Dr. A. Lette, was
founded, says its prospectus, to further the education of women and to
increase the efficiency of women dependent on themselves for support.
What it actually does is to train for housekeeping and office work,
and for some trades. Its interest lies in the ordered and thoughtful
provision it makes both for the woman who means to devote herself body
and soul to the family; and for the woman who prefers, or who is
driven, to stand in the market-place and compete with men. The
_Lette-Verein_ does not train servants or admit servants to its
classes. It occupies a large block of buildings in the west of Berlin,
for its various schools and hostels require a great deal of room.
Students who live in the city can attend daily classes; but those who
come from a distance can have board and residence for £1 a week or
less. Once a week strangers are allowed to see the _Lette-Haus_ at
work, and when I went there we were taken first to the kitchens, where
the future housewives of Germany were learning to cook. The stoves
were the sensible low closed-in ones used on the continent, and the
vessels were either earthenware or metal, kept brightly polished both
inside and out. The students were preparing and cooking various
dishes, but the one that interested me was the _Leipziger Allerlei_,
because I compared it with the "herbage" an English plain cook throws
into water and sends up half drained, half cold, and often enough half
clean. I could not stop to count the vegetables required for
_Leipziger Allerlei_, but there seemed to be at least six varieties,
all cooked separately, and afterwards combined with a properly made
sauce. The Englishman may say that he prefers his half-cooked cabbage,
and the English woman, if she is a plain cook, will certainly say that
the cabbage gives her as much trouble as she means to take; but the
German woman knows that when she marries her husband will want
_Leipziger Allerlei_, so she goes to the _Lette-Haus_ and learns how
to make it. Even the young doctors of Berlin learn cooking at the
_Lette-Haus_. Special classes for invalid cookery are held on their
behalf, and are said to be popular and extremely useful. Certainly
doctors whose work is amongst the poor or in country places must often
wish they understood something about the preparation of food. The
girls who go to the _Lette-Haus_ are taught the whole art of
housekeeping, from the proper way to scour a pan or scrub a floor to
fine laundry work and darning, and even how to set and serve a table.
An intelligent girl who had been right through the courses at the
_Lette-Haus_ could train an inexperienced servant, because she would
understand exactly how things ought to be done, how much time they
should take, and what amount of fatigue they involve. If her servants
failed her she would be independent of them. Some students at the
_Lette-Haus_ do, as a matter of fact, form a household that is carried
on without a single servant, and is on this account the most
interesting branch of the organisation. The girls are from fourteen to
sixteen years of age, and they pay £25 a year for instruction, board,
and lodging. Some of them are the daughters of landed proprietors, and
some will eventually earn a living as "supports of the housewife," an
honourable career shortly referred to by Germans as _eine Stütze_.
They were a happy, healthy looking lot of girls. They wear neat
serviceable gowns while they are at work, aprons, linen sleeves to
protect their stuff ones, and pretty blue handkerchiefs tied like
turbans over their hair. Some of them were busy at the wash-tub, and
this seemed heavy work for girls of that age. The various kinds of
work are done in turn, and the student when her washing week comes
round is employed in this way three hours every morning. On alternate
days she mangles clothes, and in the afternoons she sews. Our guide
would not admit that three hours at the wash-tub could be too great a
strain on a half-developed girl, and it is a question for medical
wisdom to decide. The cooking and ironing looked hot work, but these
young German girls were cheerfully and thoroughly learning how to do
them, and whether they marry or stay single their knowledge of these
arts will be of inestimable use in later years. I heard of an
able-bodied Englishwoman the other day who took to her bed in tears
because her maids left her suddenly. She could not have roasted a leg
of mutton or made the plainest pudding. This is the school of the
future, said our enthusiastic guide when we went to see the "children"
at work at the _Lette-Haus_; and I, remembering my helpless
Englishwoman, agreed with her. The children's afternoons are mostly
given to needlework, and they are instructed in the prospectus not to
bring new clothes with them, because it is desired that they should
learn how to mend old ones neatly and correctly. They are taught to
darn and patch so finely that the repair cannot easily be discovered;
they make sets of body linen for themselves, three finely sewn men's
linen shirts, a gown for work-days, and some elaborate blouses. In
another part of the _Lette-Haus_, where students were being trained as
expert embroiderers and dressmakers, we were shown pieces of flowered
brocade into which patches had been so skilfully inserted that you
could only find them by holding them up to the light. In the
bookbinding department there were amateur and professional students.
The professionals apprentice themselves for three years, and from the
first receive a small weekly wage. The length of their apprenticeship
is determined by the length of time prescribed for men, and not by
what is necessary for their training. I asked if they easily found
regular work later, and was told that at present the demand for
expert women bookbinders exceeded the supply. The _Lette-Haus_ trains
women to be photographers, printers, and clerks. In fact, with German
thoroughness and foresight it does all one big institution can to save
the women of the nation from the curse of incompetence. It turns them
out efficient housewives or efficient craftswomen, according to their
needs.

The German woman of to-day has travelled far from the ideal set up by
Herr Riehl, and still upheld by his disciples. Women have found that
the realities of life clash with that particular ideal, and rudely
upset it. Just like any man, a woman wants bread when she is hungry,
and when there is no man to give it to her she must raven for it
herself. She has been driven from a family hearth that has no fire on
it, and from a family roof that cannot afford her shelter. On the
whole, if I may judge from personal observation, it has done her good.
The traditional old maid is dying out in Germany as assuredly as she
is dying out in England, and who shall regret her? Her outlook was
narrow, her temper often soured. She had neither self-reliance nor
charm. She was that sad, silly spectacle, a clinging plant without
support. Now that she is learning to grow on her own account, she
finds that there is a good deal in life a sensible plant can enjoy
without clinging. The German "old maid" of the twentieth century has,
like her English sister, transformed herself into a "bachelor," a
person who for this reason or that has not married, and who
nevertheless has a cheerful time. She has her own work, she often has
her own flat, and if she lives in one of the big cities she has her
own club.

There are at present three Ladies' Clubs in Berlin all flourishing.
The subscription to the _Berliner Frauenklub_ is only six marks a
year, yet it provides the members with comfortably furnished rooms
and well cooked meals at low prices. A member of this club can dine
for ninepence, and have a hot dish from fourpence to sevenpence. She
has access to a library of 1300 volumes, to the leading papers and
reviews, and to magazines in four languages. She can entertain women
at the club, but not men; though she can meet men there at certain
hours of the day. Social gatherings of various kinds are arranged to
meet the various needs and ages of the members; and one night a week
four or five card-tables are set out, so that the older members can
have a quiet game of skat or whist. We wonder what Herr Riehl would
say if he could see them.

Another German Ladies' Club in Berlin is the _Deutscher Frauenklub_,
and it is nicknamed the Millionaire's Club because the subscription is
twenty-five shillings. It is a rather smarter club than the other, and
has a charming set of rooms. There are about 450 members. The Third
Club is a branch of the London Lyceum, and it has aroused great
interest and attention in Berlin, not only because it is on a more
magnificent scale than the other clubs, but because of the brave
effort it makes to unite the women of all nations and help them. Most
of the women distinguished in art and literature have joined it.

I began this chapter by saying something of the _Stift_, the refuge
for unmarried women that Germany established in the Middle Ages and
still preserves. I end it with the Lyceum Club, that latest
manifestation of a modern woman's desire to help her own sex. The
character of these institutions and their history are both
significant. In other days men helped women; in these days women try
to help themselves. The _Stift_ gives a woman bread and shelter in
idleness; the aim of the Lyceum Club is not to give, but to bring
women together and to encourage good work. The _Stifte_ are still
crowded and the Lyceum flourishes, for in our time the old woman
jostles the new. But the new woman has arrived, and is making herself
felt; with amazing force and swiftness, you must admit when you
reflect on the position of women in Germany thirty or forty years
ago.



CHAPTER IX

GIRLHOOD


In the _Memoiren einer Idealistin_, those genuine and interesting
Memoirs that have been so widely read in Germany of late, Malvida von
Meysenbug, the daughter of a highly placed official at a small German
Court, describes her confirmation day and the long period of
preparation and the spiritual struggle that preceded it.

"During a whole year my sister and I went twice a week to the pastor's
house to be instructed in the dogma of the Protestant Church," she
says.... "The ceremony was to be on Sunday. The Friday before we had
our last lesson. Our teacher was deeply moved; with tears in his eyes
he spoke to us of the holiness and importance of the act we were about
to perform.... According to the German custom amongst girls of the
better classes, we put on black silk dresses for the first time for
our confirmation, and this ceremonial attire calmed me and did me
good. Our maid took special pains with our toilet, as if we were going
to a worldly entertainment, and chattered more than usual. It jarred
on me, but it helped to distract my thoughts. When it was time to
start I said Good-bye to my mother with deep emotion, and asked her to
forgive me my faults. My sister and I were to go to the pastor's house
on our way to church. There we found everything strewn with flowers.
Our teacher received us in his priestly robes, and spoke to all of us
so lovingly and earnestly that the most indifferent were moved. When
the church bells began to peal our procession set out, the pastor at
its head, and we following two by two. The way from the rectory to the
church was strewn with flowers, and the church was decked with them.
The Choral Society of the town, to which some of our best friends
belonged, received us with a beautiful hymn. I felt on wings, I prayed
to God that this hour might be blessed to me throughout my life. The
sermon preached by the voice that had so often affected me made me
calm. When the preacher required us to make our confession of faith, I
uttered my 'Yes' with firm assurance. Then I knelt before him with the
rest to receive his blessing. He put his hands on our heads, accepted
us as members of the Protestant Church, and blessed each one
separately, and with a special verse from the Bible. To me he said,
'Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.'
My heart echoed the solemn vow: Faithful unto death. The choir greeted
the young Christians with a song of victory. We did not return to the
seats reserved for candidates, but sat with our parents and relatives
waiting with them until everyone had left the church, except those who
wished to partake of the Holy Communion."

Malvida von Meysenbug is too much absorbed in her intense spiritual
experiences to describe the lighter side of confirmation in Germany,
which celebrates it with presents and a gathering of friends. A girl
gets her first black silk gown for the occasion, and both boys and
girls get as many presents as they do at Christmas or on a birthday.
These are all set out for the inspection of the friends who assemble
at the house after the religious ceremony, to congratulate the
parents and the youngest member of their church. There is an
entertainment of coffee, chocolate, and cakes; and a few days later
both boys and girls return these visits of congratulation in the
company of their parents. Some years ago, when a girl had been
confirmed, she was considered officially grown up and marriageable,
and entered straight away into the gaieties that are supposed to lead
to marriage. But the modern tendency in Germany is to prolong
girlhood, and the wife of sixteen is as rare there amongst the
educated classes as it is here.

Amongst the Jews in Germany marriages are still arranged for the young
people by their elders; often, as in France, through the intervention
of friends, but also by the business-like office of the marriage
broker. It need hardly be said, perhaps, that the refined and
enlightened Jews refuse to marry in this way. They insist on choosing
their own mate, and even on overlooking some disparity of fortune.
Unorthodox Jews marry Christian women, and the Jewish heiress
constantly allies herself and her money with a title or a uniform. In
the latter case, however, the nuptials are just as business-like as if
the _Schadchan_ had arranged them and received his commission. The
Graf or the Major gets the gold he lacks, and the rich Jewess gets
social prestige or the nearest approach to it possible in a
Jew-baiting land. An ardent anti-Semite told me that these mixed
marriages were not fertile, and that if only everyone of Jewish blood
would marry a Christian, the country would in course of time be
cleared of a race that, she solemnly assured me, is as great a curse
to it, and as inferior as the negro in America. But as she was an
anti-Semite with a sense of humour she admitted that the remedy was a
slow one and difficult to enforce. As a matter of fact, the Jews
marry mostly amongst themselves in Germany, and men are still living
in Frankfurt and other large cities who have made comfortable fortunes
by the brokerage they charged on their matchmaking. Formerly a
prosperous unmarried Jew used to be besieged by offers from these
agents; and so were men who could give their daughters a good dowry.
The better-class Jews do not employ them nowadays, but their marriages
are suggested and arranged much as marriages are in France. A young
merchant of Berlin thinks it is time to settle down, or perhaps wants
a little capital to enlarge his business. He consults an uncle in
Frankfurt. The uncle tells his old friend, the father of several
daughters, that the most handsome, industrious, and accomplished man
the world has ever seen, his own nephew, in fact, thinks of marriage,
and that his conditions are this and that; he tells his nephew that
the most beautiful and amiable creature in Germany, a brilliant
musician, a fluent linguist, a devoted daughter, and a person of
simple housewifely tastes, lives next door to him, the uncle. Except
for the housewifely tastes, it sounds, and in fact is, rather like a
courtship in the _Arabian Nights_ so far. The prince hears of the
princess, and without having seen her sets out to seek her hand. The
young merchant pays a flying visit to Frankfurt, is presented to the
most beautiful creature in Germany, finds her passable, has a talk to
her father as business-like as a talk between two solicitors,
proposes, is accepted, and at once becomes the most ardent lover the
world has ever seen.

Amongst Christians marriages are certainly not arranged for girls in
this matter-of-course way, and so "old maids" abound. Girls without
money have far less chance of marriage in Germany than in England,
where young people mate as they please and where a man expects to
support his wife entirely; while the spectacle, quite common here, of
girls with a good deal of money remaining single from various reasons,
sometimes actually from want of opportunity to marry, this every-day
occurrence amongst the English better classes is unknown on the
continent. In her powerful novel _Aus guter Familie_, Gabrielle Reuter
describes the life of a German girl whose parents cannot give her a
dowry, and who is doomed in consequence to old maidhood and to all the
disappointments, restrictions, and humiliations of unsought women.
While women look to marriage and nothing else for happiness, there
must be such lives in every monogamous country, where they outnumber
the men; but in England a woman's marriage is much more a matter of
chance and charm than of money. If she is poor and misses her chance
she is worse off than the German, for she has no _Stift_ provided for
her; but if she is attractive she is just as likely to marry without a
fortune as with one. Those German women who consider their ideas
"progressive" have taken up a new cry of late, a cry about every
woman's "right" to motherhood; but they do not seem to have found a
satisfactory way of securing this right to the 400,000 women who
outnumber the men. One learned professor wrote a pamphlet advocating
polygamy, but his proposal did not have the success he no doubt felt
it deserved. The women who discuss these questions, in magazines they
edit and mostly write themselves, said that his arguments were all
conducted from the man's point of view, and were most reprehensible.
Their own chief aim at present is to protect the mothers of
illegitimate children, and this seems a natural and proper thing for
the women of any community to do. Otherwise they are not a united
body. There are moderates and immoderates amongst them, and as I am a
moderate myself in such matters, I think those who go all lengths are
lunatics. It makes one open one's eyes to go to Germany to-day with
one's old-fashioned ideas of the German Frau, and hear what she is
doing in her desire to reform society and inaugurate a new code of
morals. She does not even wait till she is married to speak with
authority. On the contrary, she says that marriage is degrading, and
that temporary unions are more to the honour and profit of women.
"Dear Aunt S.," I heard of one girl writing to a venerable relative,
"I want you to congratulate me on my happiness. I am about to be
united with the man I love, and we shall live together (_in freier
Ehe_) till one of us is tired of it." A German lady of wide views and
worldly knowledge told me a girl had lately sent her a little volume
of original poems that she could only describe as unfit for
publication; yet she knew the girl and thought her a harmless
creature. She was presumably a goose who wanted to cackle in chorus.
This same lady met another girl in the gallery of an artist who
belonged to what Mr. Gilbert calls the "fleshly school." "Ah!" said
the girl to my friend, "this is where I feel at home." One of these
immoderates, on the authority of Plato, recommended at a public
meeting that girls should do gymnastics unclothed. Some of them are
men-haters, some in the interests of their sex are all for free love.
None of them accept the domination of men in theory, so I think that
the facts of life in their own country must often be unpleasantly
forced on them. I discussed the movement, which is a marked one in
Germany at present, with two women whose experience and good sense
made their opinion valuable. But they did not agree. One said that the
excesses of these people were the outcome of long repression, and
would wear out in time. The other thought the movement would go on and
grow; which was as much as to say that she thought the old morals were
dead. Undoubtedly they are dead in some sets in Germany to-day. You
hear of girls of good family who have asserted their "right to
motherhood" without marriage; and you hear of other girls who refuse
to marry because they will not make vows or accept conditions they
consider humiliating. These views do not attract large numbers;
probably never will. But they are sufficiently widespread to express
themselves in many modern essays, novels, and pamphlets, and even to
support several magazines. The women holding them are of various types
and quality, and are by no manner of means agreed with each other;
while those women who are working steadily and discreetly for the
progress of their sex condemn the extreme party, and consider them a
check on all real advancement.

The German girl, then, is not always the simple creature tradition
paints her. At any rate she reads novels and sees plays that would
have been forbidden to her mother. Nevertheless she is as a rule just
as happy as a girl should be when the man of her dreams asks her to
marry him. In other days a proposal of marriage was a ceremonial in
Germany. A man had to put on evening dress for the occasion, and carry
a bouquet with him. "Oh yes," said a German friend of mine, "this is
still done sometimes. A little while ago a cousin of mine in Mainz was
seen coming home in evening dress by broad daylight carrying his
bouquet. The poor fellow had been refused." But in these laxer times a
man is spared such an ordeal. It is more usual in Germany than in
England to speak to a girl's father before proposing to her, but even
this is not invariable nowadays. Young people make their own
opportunities. "Last year my brother proposed to his present wife in
the woods near Baden while they gathered Waldmeister," said a young
German to a girl he ardently admired. "It will be in flower next week,
and your parents have just arranged that I may meet them at the _Alte
Schloss_ in time for dinner. After dinner we will walk in the
woods--_nicht wahr_?" But the girl, as it happened, did not wish to
receive a proposal of marriage from this young man, so she took care
not to walk in the woods and gather Waldmeister with him. It is often
said that the sexes herd separately in Germany, and do not meet each
other much. But this always seems to me one of the things said by
people who have looked at Germans and not lived amongst them. A nation
that has such an intimate home life, and is on the whole poor,
receives its friends in an intimate informal way. Young men have
different occupations and interests from girls, but when they are
admitted to a family they are often admitted on terms of easy
friendship. In London you may ask a young man with others to dinner at
intervals, and never get to know him; in Berlin you ask him without
others to supper, and soon get to know him very well. Besides, a
German cannot endure life long without an _Ausflug_ or a _Landpartie_,
and when the family plans one it includes one or two of its friends.

When two Germans do get engaged they let their world know of it. A
betrothal there is not the informal flimsy contract it often is with
us. They begin by publishing the event in their newspapers, and
sending round printed forms announcing it to their friends. In the
newspaper the announcement is rather bare compared with the
advertisement of other family events. "Engaged. Frl. Martha Raekelwitz
mit Hrn. Ingenieur Julius Prinz Dresden-Hamburg" is considered
sufficient. But the printed intimations sent round on gilt-edged paper
or cardboard to the friends of the contracting parties are more
communicative. On one side the parents have the honour to announce the
engagement of their daughter Anna to Mr. So-and-So, and on the other
side Mr. So-and-So announces his engagement to Miss Anna. Here is a
reproduction of such a form, with nothing altered except the actual
names and addresses. On the left-hand side of the double sheet of
cartridge paper the parents of the _Braut_ have their say--

     "Die Verlobung ihrer Tochter Pauline mit Herrn Referendar Dr.
     jur. Heinrich Schmidt in Berlin beehren sich ergebenst
     anzuzeigen.

                          Geh. Regierungsrat Dr. EUGEN BRAND
                              Königl. Gymnasialdirektor und
                              FRAU HELENE, geb. ENGEL

STUTTGART, _im Juni 1906_
    Tiergarten 7"

Then on the opposite page the future bridegroom speaks for himself--

     "Meine Verlobung mit Fräulein Pauline Brand, Tochter des
     Königl. Gymnasialdirektors Herrn Geh. Regierungsrat Dr. Eugen
     Brand und seiner Frau Gemahlin Helene, geb. Engel, in
     Stuttgart, beehre ich mich ergebenst anzuzeigen.

                                   Dr. jur. HEINRICH SCHMIDT
                                           Referendar

BERLIN, _im Juni 1906_
    Kurfürstendamm 2000"

Directly these forms have been circulated, all the friends who have
received one and live near enough pay a visit of congratulation to the
bride's parents, and soon after the betrothed couple return these
visits with some ceremony. It is quite impossible, by the way, to talk
of Germans who are officially engaged without calling them the bride
and bridegroom. They plight their troth with the plain gold rings that
will be their wedding rings, and this stage of their union is
celebrated with as much ceremony and merrymaking as the actual
wedding. The Germans are giving up so many of their quaint poetical
customs that the girl of to-day probably wears a fine diamond
engagement ring instead of the old-fashioned gold one. But the ring
with which her mother and grandmother plighted their troth was the
ring with which they were wedded, and when Chamisso wrote _Du Ring an
meinem Finger_ he was not writing of diamonds. All the tenderness and
poetry of Germany go out to lovers, and the thought of a German bride
and bridegroom flashes through the mind with thoughts of flowers and
moonlight and nightingales. At least, it does if you can associate
them with the poems of Heine and Chamisso, with the songs of Schumann,
and with the caressing intimate talk of the German tongue unloosed by
love. But your experience is just as likely to play you the unkindest
trick, and remind you of German lovers whose uncouth public
endearments made everyone not to the manner born uncomfortable.

When the bride and bridegroom live in the same town, and know a large
number of people, they are overdone with festivities from the moment
of betrothal to the day of marriage. The round of entertainments
begins with a gala dinner given by the bride's father, and this is
followed by invitations from all the relatives and friends on either
side. When you receive a German _Brautpaar_ they should be the guests
of honour, and if you can hang garlands near them so much the better.
You must certainly present the _Braut_ with a bouquet at some stage of
the proceedings, and you will give pleasure if you can manufacture one
or two mottoes in green stuff and put them in conspicuous places. For
instance, I knew of a girl who got engaged away from home. Do you
suppose that she was allowed to return to a bare and speechless front
door as her English cousin would? Nothing of the kind. The whole
family had set to work to twine laurel wreaths and garlands in her
honour, and she was received with _Wilkommen du glückseliges Kind_
done in ivy leaves by her grandmother. It was considered very
_rührend_ and _innig_. At some time during the engagement the
betrothed couple are sure to get photographed together, and anyone who
possesses a German family album will bear me out that the lady is
nearly always standing, while her bearded lover is sitting down. When
they are both standing they are arm in arm or hand in hand. I remember
a collection possessing two photographs of a married daughter with her
husband. One had been taken just before the wedding in the orthodox
pose; he in an easy chair and she standing meekly by his side: the
other represented them a year after marriage, when Heaven had sent
them twins. They were both standing then, and they each had a baby in
a _Steckkissen_ in their arms.

If the bridegroom is not living in the same town with his bride her
life is supposed to run rather quietly in his absence. She is not
expected to dance with other men, for instance; but rather to spend
her time in embroidering his monogram on every conceivable object he
might use: on tobacco pouches, or slippers, on letter cases, on
braces, on photograph frames, on luggage straps, on fine pocket
handkerchiefs. If she is expert and possesses the true sentiment she
will embroider things for him with her hair. In these degenerate days
she does not make her own outfit. Formerly, when a German girl left
school she began to make stores of body and house linen for future
years. But in modern cities the _Braut_ gets everything at one of the
big "white" shops, from her own laces and muslins to the saucepan
holders for the kitchen, and the bread bags her cook will hang outside
the flat for the baker's boy. In Germany it is the bride, or rather
her parents, who furnish the house and provide the household linen;
and the linen is all embroidered with her initials. This custom
extends to all classes, so that you constantly hear of a servant who
is saving up for her _Aussteuer_, that is, the furniture and linen of
a house as well as her own clothes. If you ask whether she is engaged
you are told that the outfit is the thing. When the money for that is
there it is easy to provide the bridegroom. In higher spheres much
more is spent on a bride's trousseau than in England, taking class for
class. Some years ago I had occasion to help in the choice of a
trousseau bought in Hamburg, and to be often in and out of a great
"white ware" business there. I cannot remember how many outfits were
on view during those weeks, but they were all much alike. What some
people call "undies" had been ordered in immense quantities, sometimes
heavily trimmed with Madeira work, sometimes with a plain scollop of
double linen warranted to wash and wear for ever. The material was
also invariably of a kind to wear, a fine linen or a closely woven
English longcloth. How any one woman could want some six dozen
"nighties" (the silly slang sounds especially silly when I think of
those solid highly respectable German garments) was a question no one
seemed to ask. The bride's father could afford six dozen; it was the
custom to have six dozen if you could pay for them, and there they
were. The thin cambric garments French women were beginning to wear
then were shown to you and tossed contemptuously aside as only fit for
actresses. But this has all been changed. If you ask for "undies" in
Berlin to-day, a supercilious shoplady brings you the last folly in
gossamer, decolletée, and with elbow sleeves; and you wonder as you
stare at it what a sane portly German housewife makes of such a
garment. In this, as in other things, instead of abiding by his own
sensible fashions, the German is imitating the French and the
Americans; for it is the French and the Americans who have taught the
women of other nations to buy clothes so fragile and so costly that
they are only fit for the purse of a Chicago packer.

When the outfit is ready and the wedding day near, the bride returns
all the entertainments given in her honour by inviting her girl
friends to a Bride-chocolate or a Bean-coffee. This festivity is like
a _Kaffee-Klatsch_, or what we should call an afternoon tea. In
Germany, until quite lately, chocolate and coffee were preferred to
tea, and the guests sat round a dining-table well spread with cakes.
At a Bean-coffee the cake of honour had a bean in it, and the girl who
got the bean in her slice would be _Braut_ before the year was out.
Another entertainment that takes place immediately before the marriage
is given by the bride's best friend, who invites several other girls
to help her weave the bridal wreath of myrtle. The bride does not help
with it. She appears with the bridegroom later in the afternoon when
the wreath is ready. It is presented to her with great ceremony on a
cushion, and as they bring it the girls sing the well-known song from
the _Freischütz_--

    "Wir winden dir den Jungfernkranz
    Mit veilchenblauer Seide;
    Wir führen dich zu Spiel und Tanz
    Zu Glück und Liebesfreude!

    Lavendel, Myrt' und Thymian
    Das wächst in meinen Garten;
    Wie lang bleibt doch der Freiersmann?
    Ich kann es kaum erwarten.

    Sie hat gesponnen sieben Jahr
    Den goldnen Flachs am Rocken;
    Die Schleier sind wie Spinnweb klar,
    Und grün der Kranz der Locken.

    Und als der schmucke Freier kam,
    War'n sieben Jahr verronnen:
    Und weil sie der Herzliebste nahm
    Hat sie den Kranz gewonnen."

The bridegroom receives a buttonhole, but no one sings him a song. In
the opera he is not on the stage during the bridesmaids' chorus. I
have not been able to find out whether the quaint pretty verses are by
Friedrich Kind, who founded the libretto of the opera on a story by
August Apel, or whether he borrowed them from an older source. German
brides wore myrtle and their friends wove a wedding wreath for them
long before 1820, when _Der Freischütz_ appeared.



CHAPTER X

MARRIAGES


"He was a pompous, stiff-jointed man," said my friends, "an official
in a small town, who would go to the stake rather than break the
letter of the law. But when he came to Berlin to attend a niece's
marriage he thought he would have some fun. He arrived late on
_Polterabend_, and he brought with him an enormous earthenware crock.
Instead of ringing he hurled the crock against the outside door of the
flat, so that it smashed to atoms with a noise like thunder. The
inhabitants of that flat came forth like a swarm of bees, but they
were not laughing at the fun, because it was not their _Polterabend_."
He had broken crockery on the wrong floor.

In cities this ancient German custom of breaking crockery at the
bride's door on _Polterabend_ (the night before the wedding) has died
out, but it has not long been dead. I have talked with people who
remembered it in full force when they were young. I believe that the
idea was to appease the _Poltergeist_, who would otherwise vex and
disturb the young couple. My dictionary, the one that has 2412 pages,
says that a _Poltergeist_ is a "racketing spectre," probably what we
who are not dictionary makers would call a hobgoblin. In Brands'
_Antiquities_ I find reference to this old custom at the marriage of a
Duke of York in Germany, when great quantities of glass and china were
smashed at the palace doors the night before the wedding.

Polterabend is still celebrated by Germans, although they no longer
consider it polite to smash crockery. There is always a large
entertainment, sometimes at the bride's house, sometimes at the house
of a near relative; there are theatricals with personal allusions, or
recitations of home-made topical poetry, some good music, and the
inevitable evergreens woven into sentiments of encouragement and
congratulation. The bride's presents are set out much as they are in
England, and perhaps class for class more valuable presents are given
in Germany than in England. Electro-plate, for instance, was
considered impossible a few years ago. A wedding present, if it was
silver at all, must be real silver. But it is not so much the custom
as with us to give presents of money.

The civil marriage takes place either the day before or early on the
same day as the religious ceremony. The bride used to wear black silk,
and still wears a dark plain costume for this official function. Her
parents go with her and the necessary witnesses. The religious
ceremony often used to take place in the house, but that is no longer
customary. The anonymous author of _German Home Life_, a book
published and a good deal read in 1879, says that marriage is a
troublesome and expensive ceremony in Germany, and that this accounts
for the large number of illegitimate children. Mr. O. Eltzbacher, the
author of _Modern Germany_ published in 1905, confirms what was said
in 1877 as to the number of illegitimate children born in Germany and
Austria, for he says that in Germany itself they are 9 per cent.,
while in those districts of Austria where the Germans form about
nine-tenths of the population, from 20 per cent, to 40 per cent, of
the children are born out of wedlock. In France statistics give 9 per
cent., in Scotland 7.4 per cent., and in England and Wales 4.2 per
cent. Nevertheless in modern Germany children are not illegitimate
because their parents are too poor to pay their marriage fees. The
civil marriage is obligatory everywhere, and costs nothing. The
religious ceremony need cost nothing at all. In the porch of every
church in Prussia there is a notice stating on which days _Freie
Trauungen_ are conducted. Several couples are married at the same
time, but they have the full liturgy and the marriage sermon. A small
charge is made for the organist and for the decoration of the church.
A friend whose husband has a large poor parish in Berlin tells me that
the Social Democrats object to the religious ceremony, and will stand
guard outside the house on the day of the civil marriage, to make sure
that the newly made husband and wife do not leave together to go to
church. Sometimes an artisan will wait a fortnight after the civil
ceremony before he ventures to have the religious one. Every artisan
in Berlin has to belong to the _Sozialdemokratischer Verband_, because
if he did not his fellow-workmen would destroy his tools and ruin his
chances of work. Apparently they interfere with his private affairs as
well.

The marriage service is not to be found in the prayer-book Germans
take to church, but I have both read it and listened to it. The vows
made are much the same as here; but in Germany great importance is
attached to the homily or marriage sermon. This is often long and
heavy. I have heard the pastor preach to the young couple for nearly
half an hour about their duties, and especially about the wife's duty
of submission and obedience. His victims were kept standing before him
the whole time, and the poor little bride was shaking from head to
foot with nervousness and excitement. In some cities the carriage used
by a well-to-do bride and bridegroom is as big as a royal coach, and
upholstered with white satin, and on the wedding day decorated inside
and out with garlands of flowers. The bridegroom fetches his bride in
this coach, and enters the church with her. When a pretty popular girl
gets married all her admirers send flowers to the church to decorate
it. The bride and bridegroom exchange rings, for in Germany men as
well as women wear a plain gold wedding ring, and it is always worn on
the right hand. The bridegroom and all the male guests wear evening
dress and silk hats. The women wear evening clothes too, and no hats.
The bride wears the conventional white silk or satin and a white veil,
but her wreath must be partly of myrtle, for in Germany myrtle is the
bride's emblem.

After the wedding dinner the bride slips away unnoticed and changes
her gown, and is presently joined by the bridegroom, but not by any of
the guests. No rice and no old slippers are thrown in Germany, and no
crowd of friends assembles to see the young pair start. The bride bids
her parents farewell, and slips away with her husband unseen and
unattended. After the wedding dinner there is often dancing and music.

A hundred years ago wedding festivities lasted for many days after the
wedding, and the bride and bridegroom did not go till they were over.
When the celebrated and much married Caroline Schlegel married her
first husband, George Böhmer, in 1784, the ceremony took place at her
own home in Göttingen, where her father was a well-known professor.
"It would be unnatural if a young wife did not begin with an account
of her wedding day," she says in one of her letters. "Mine was
delightful enough. Böhmer breakfasted with me, and the morning hours
passed gaily, and yet with quietness. There was no trepidation--only
an intercourse of souls. My brother came. We were together till four,
and when he left us he gave us his blessing with tears.... Lotte and
Friederike wove the bridal wreath.... Then I had a talk with my father
and dressed myself.... Meanwhile those dear Meiners sent me a note,
with which were some garters they had embroidered themselves. Several
of my friends wrote to me, and last of all I got a silhouette, painted
on glass, of Lotte and Friederike weaving my bridal wreath. When I was
dressed I was a pretty bride. The room was charmingly decorated by my
mother. Soon after four o'clock Böhmer arrived, and the guests,
thirty-eight in number. Thank Heaven, there were no old uncles and
aunts, so the company was of a more bearable type than is usual on
such occasions. I stood there surrounded by my girl friends, and my
most vivid thought was of what my condition would be if I did not love
the man before me. My father, who was still far from well, led me to
the clergyman, and I saw myself for life at Böhmer's side and yet did
not tremble. During the ceremony I did not cry. But after it was over
and Böhmer took me in his arms with every expression of the deepest
love, while parents, brothers, sisters, and friends greeted me with
kind wishes as never a bride was greeted before, my brother being
quite overwhelmed--then my heart melted and overflowed out of sheer
happiness."

A week later Caroline and her husband are still at Göttingen, and
still celebrating their marriage. At one house, under pretence of the
heat, the bride was led into the garden, and beheld there an
illuminated motto: "Happy the man who has a virtuous wife: his life
will be doubly long." Another friend arrayed her son as Hymen, and
taught him to strew flowers in Caroline's path, leading her thus to an
arbour where there was a throne of moss and flowers, with high steps
ascending to it, a canopy and a triumphal arch. Concealed behind a
bush were musicians, who sang an appropriate song, while the bride and
bridegroom mounted the throne and sank in each other's arms before a
crowd of sympathising and tearful spectators.

This took place more than a hundred and twenty years ago, but I have
in my possession what I can only describe as the "literature" of a
marriage celebrated three years ago between a North and a South
German, both belonging to commercial families of old standing; and it
supplies me, if I needed it, with documentary evidence that Germans
enjoy now what they enjoyed then. The marriage took place in winter
and from a flat, so that the bride's friends could not build grottoes
or hide musicians behind a bush; but for weeks before both sides of
the family must have been busy composing the poems sung at the wedding
feast, the music that accompanied them, and the elaborate humorous
verses containing allusions to the past history of the bride and
bridegroom. To begin with, there is a dainty book of picture
postcards, the first one giving portraits of a very handsome and
dignified bridegroom with his dainty bride. Then there is a view of
Dresden where the bridegroom was born, another of the Rhenish town in
which he found his bride, and one of Berlin where she used to stay
with a married sister and deal "baskets" right and left to would-be
admirers. In Germany, when a girl refuses a man she is said to give
him a "basket," and a favourite old figure in the cotillon used to put
one in a girl's hands and then present two men to her. She danced with
the one she liked best, and the rejected man had to dance round after
them with the basket.

Besides the book of postcards, each guest at this wedding was
presented with printed copies of the _Tafel-Lieder_ composed by
members of the family. One of these has eight verses and each verse
has eight lines. It relates little events in the life of the
bridegroom from babyhood onwards. You learn that he was a clever
child, that he lived at home with his mother instead of going abroad
to learn his work, that when he was young he ardently desired to go on
the stage, that he is a fine gymnast and musician, but that he needs a
wife because he is a dreamy person capable of putting on odd boots.
Another _Tafel-Lied_ describes the courtship step by step, and even
the assistance given by the poet's wife to bring the romance to its
present happy conclusion.

    "At last Frau Sophie stirred in the affair,
    Her eyes had pierced to his heart's desire,
    With fine diplomacy she coaxed Miss Clare
    To own her maiden heart was set on fire.
    On all the words and sighs there follow deeds:
    He comes, he woos her, and at last succeeds."

The songs are not all sentiment. They are jocular, and contain puns
and play upon names. Three out of the five end with an invitation to
everyone to raise their glasses with a _Hoch_ to the married pair.
This is done over and over again at German weddings, and as all the
guests want to clink glasses with the bride and bridegroom, there is a
good deal of movement as well as noise. Besides the _Tafel-Lieder_,
each of which made a separate booklet with its own dedication and
illustration, every guest received an elaborate book of samples:
samples of the various straws used that summer for ladies' hats. The
bridegroom's family had manufactured hats for many generations; they
were wealthy, highly considered people, and extremely proud of their
position in their own industry. I am sure that when an Englishman in
the same trade and of the same standing gets married, the last thing
that would be mentioned at his wedding would be hats. It would be
considered in the highest degree indecorous. But the German is still
guileless enough to be satisfied with his station in life when it is
sufficiently honourable and prosperous, and for this wedding two
little nieces had prepared this card of samples and composed a rhyme
for each different colour--

    "Wie ist doch der Onkel hoch beglückt
    Das Tantchen heute der 'Brautkranz' schmückt"

went with "myrtle green."

    "Liebe Gäste, mit Genuss,
    Wollet alle Euch erheben--
    Hoch das Brautpaar--
        Es soll leben!"

went with the "champagne" straw at the end; and one accompanying the
"silver" straw contained an allusion to the "silver" wedding
twenty-five years hence, when the bride's golden hair would be
silver-grey.

Here is the _menu_, mostly in French, to which all the _Tafel-Lieder_
were sung, and all the toasts drunk and congratulatory speeches made.
You will observe that it is none of your light cup, cake, and ice
entertainments that you have substituted for the solid old wedding
breakfast in this country.

HOCHZEITS-TAFEL.

Caviar-Schnitten
Potage Douglas
Saumon-S^{ce} Bernaise
Pommes Naturelles
Selle de Chevreuil à la Chipolata
Ris de Veau en demi Deuil
Poularde
Salade & Compote
Asperges en Branches S^{ce} Mousseline
Glace Napolitaine
Patisserie
Fruits & Dessert
Fromage

Scharzberger Mousseux
1900er Caseler
1896er St. Emilion

1890er Schloss Johannisberg

Moet et Chandon
  White Star

And that no guest should depart hungry--

Kaltes Abendbrot
Bier

Germans celebrate both silver and golden weddings with as much
ceremony and rejoicing as the first wedding. The husband and wife
receive presents from all their friends, and entertain them according
to the best of their circumstances. Children will travel across the
world and bring grandchildren with them to one of these anniversaries,
and they are of course a great occasion for the topical poetry,
theatricals, and tableaux that Germans enjoy. If the grandmother by
good luck has saved a gown she wore as a girl, and the grandchild can
put it on and act some little episode from the old lady's youth,
everyone will applaud and enjoy and be stirred to smiles and tears.
There is as much feasting as at a youthful wedding, and perhaps more
elaborate performances. Silver-grey is considered the proper thing for
the silver bride to wear.

It seems like a want of sentiment to speak of divorce in the same
breath with weddings; but as a matter of fact, divorce is commoner in
Germany than in England, and more easily obtained. Imprisonment for
felony is sufficient reason, and unfaithfulness without cruelty,
insanity that has lasted three years, desertion, ill treatment or any
attempt on the other's life. You hear divorce spoken of lightly by
people whose counterparts in England would be shocked by it; people, I
mean, of blameless sequestered lives and rigid moral views. Some
saintly ladies, who I am sure have never harboured a light thought or
spent a frivolous hour, told me of a cousin who played whist every
evening with her present husband and his predecessor. My friends
seemed to think the situation amusing, but not in any way to be
condemned. At the same time, I have heard Germans quote the
saying--"_Geschiedene Leute scheiden fort und fort_," and object
strongly to associate with anyone, however innocent, who had been
connected with a matrimonial scandal.

A woman remains in possession of her own money after marriage even
without marriage settlements; but the husband has certain rights of
use and investment. Her clothes, jewels, and tools are her own, and
the wages she earns by her own work. A man's creditors cannot seize
either these or her fortune to pay his debts. Both in Germany and
England the wife must live in the house and place chosen by the
husband, but in Germany she need not follow him to _unwirtlichen_
countries against her will. He can insist on her doing the housework
and helping him in his business when he has no means to pay
substitutes; but she can insist on being maintained in a style proper
to their station in life. He is responsible for her business debts if
he has consented to her undertakings; but he can forbid her to carry
on a business if he prefers that she should be supported by him and
give her time and strength to the administration of their home. When
they are legally separated he must make her an allowance, but it need
only be enough for the bare necessaries of life if the separation is
due to her misconduct. The father and mother have joint control of the
children, but during the father's lifetime his rule is paramount. When
he is dead or incapacitated parental authority remains in the mother's
hands. It is her right and duty to care for the child's person, to
decide where it shall live, and to superintend its education. She can
claim it legally from people who desire to keep it from her. A child
born in wedlock is legitimate unless the husband can prove otherwise,
and he must establish proof within a year of the birth coming to his
knowledge. But a woman is not allowed to prove that a child born in
wedlock is illegitimate.

If a man dies intestate and leaves children or grandchildren, his
widow inherits a fourth of his property; if he only has more distant
relatives, half; if he has none, the whole. A man cannot cut his wife
off with a shilling. He must leave her at least half of what would
come to her if he died intestate. All the laws relating to husband and
wife are to be found in the _Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch_, which can be
bought for a mark. As far as the non-legal intelligence can grasp
them, they seem according to our times to be just to women, except
when they give the use of her income to the husband. This is a big
exception, however. I remember hearing a German say that his sister's
quarterly allowance, which happened to be a large one, was always sent
to her husband, as it was right and proper that important sums of
money should be in the man's hands and under his control. This
undoubtedly is the general German view. After the moonshine, the
nightingales, the feasting, the toasts, and the family poetry come the
realities of life: and the realities in German make the man the
predominant partner.



CHAPTER XI

THE HOUSEHOLDER


Rents are high in Germany. At least, the Germans say so, and so do the
people whose books about Germany are crammed with soul-satisfying
statistics and elaborate calculations. Over-crowding, too, is said to
be worse in Germany than in English cities. But I have always seen the
rent and the crowding judged by the number of rooms and not by their
size. This is really misleading, because you could put the whole of a
small London flat into many a German middle-class dining-room or
_Wohnzimmer_. You could bring up a family in a single room I once had
for a whole summer in Thüringen for 5s. a week. It was as big as a
church, and most light and airy. One camped in bits of it. I think
rent for rent rooms in Germany are quite twice as large as in London.
In Berlin, where rent is considered wickedly high, you can get a flat
in a good quarter for £80, and for that sum you will have four large
rooms, three smaller ones, a good kitchen, an attic that serves as a
lumber-room, and a share in a laundry at the top of the house. There
will even be a bathroom with a trickle of cold water, but it is only
in the very newest and most expensive German flats that you find hot
and cold water laid on. Your drawing and dining-rooms will be
spacious, and one of them is almost sure to have a balcony looking on
the street and the pleasant avenue of trees with which it is planted.
For this rent you must either make yourself happy on the third or
fourth floor in a house without a lift, or you must find one of the
delightful "garden" dwellings behind the _Hof_; but you will have a
better home for your money than you could get in a decent part of
London. In fact, it comes to this, in spite of all the statistics in
favour of London. If you can only spend £80 on your rent you can live
in a good quarter of Berlin, near enough to the Tiergarten, close to
the Zoological Gardens, and within a tram-ride of the delightful woods
at Halensee. In London you can get a small house for £80, but it will
either be in an unattractive quarter or in a suburb. A flat, wherever
it is, must always seem a dwelling place rather than a home, but the
Germans have elected to live in flats and accept their disadvantages.
In and around all the great cities there are villas, but their number
hardly counts in comparison with the masses of tall white houses, six
storeys high for the most part, and holding within their walls all
degrees of wealth and poverty. The German villa is florid, and likes
blue glass balls and artificial fountains in its garden. It is often a
villa in appearance and several flats in reality. Its most pleasant
feature is the garden-room or big verandah, where in summer all meals
are served. Outside Hamburg, on the banks of the Elbe, the merchant
princes of the city have built themselves palaces surrounded by
splendid park-like gardens. But Hamburg, though it does not love the
English, is always accused by the rest of Germany of being English. It
certainly has beautiful gardens. So have other German cities in some
instances, but well kept gardens are not the matter of course in
Germany that they are here. You see more bare and artificial ones and
more neglected overgrown ones in an afternoon's walk than you do all
the year round in England. But I wish we could follow the German
fashion of planting all our streets with double avenues of healthy
trees. Berlin in spring seems to be set in a wood; it is so fresh and
green. The flowering shrubs, on the other hand, are not to be compared
with ours. Everyone rushes to see a few lilac bushes, and Gueldres
roses trimmed to a stiff snowball of flowers, and everyone says _Wie
Herrlich!_ but you miss the profusion of lilac, hawthorn, and laburnum
that runs riot all about London in every residential road and every
garden. Above all, you miss the English lawns. In Berlin wherever
grass is grown it looks either thin or coarse. The majority of Germans
do not dream of wanting a garden. They are content with a few palms in
their sitting-room or window boxes on their balcony. They are proud of
their window-gardening in Berlin, but I think London windows in June
are gayer and more flowery. The palms kept in German rooms attain to a
great size and number, and a palm is a favourite present. Nursery
gardeners undertake the troublesome business of repotting them every
spring, so the owners have nothing to do but water them and keep them
from draughts. There are usually so many windows in a German
sitting-room that those near the plants need never be opened in
winter; and even when the temperature sinks several degrees below zero
outside, the air of the flat is kept artificially warm, so warm that
English folk gasp and flag in it. At the first sign of winter the
outside windows, removed for the summer, are brought back again. Our
windows are unknown on the continent, and disliked by continentals who
see them here. They call them guillotine windows, and consider them
dangerous. Theirs all open like doors, so that you have four doors to
each window, and until you get used to them you find they make a
pretty clatter whenever you set them wide. But in winter they are only
opened for a few minutes every morning when the room is "aired." It is
considered extravagant to open them at other times, because the heat
would escape and more fuel would be required. I suppose everyone in
England understands that our open fireplaces are almost unknown in
Germany. They have enclosed stoves of iron or porcelain that make
little work or dirt and give no pleasure. There is no gathering round
the hearth. You sit about the room as you would in summer, for it is
evenly heated. All the beauty and poetry of fire are wanting; you have
nothing but an atmosphere that will be comfortable or asphyxiating,
according to the taste of your hosts. Years ago in South Germany you
burnt nothing but logs of wood in the old-fashioned iron stoves, and
there was some faint pleasure in listening to their crackle. You could
just see the flames too, if you stooped low enough and opened the
little stove door. But the wood burnt so quickly that it was most
difficult to keep a big room warm. Nowadays you always find the
porcelain stove that Mark Twain says looks like the family monument.
In some of these coal is burnt, or a mixture of coal and peat. Some
burn anthracite, and are considered economical. A _Füllofen_ of this
kind is kept burning night and day during the worst of the winter. It
requires attention two or three times in twenty-four hours; it is
easily regulated, and if the communicating doors are left open it
warms two or three rooms. A friend who has a large flat in Berlin told
me that there was one of these stoves in her husband's study, and that
her drawing-room which opens out of it, and which they constantly use,
had only had a fire in it five times last winter. I find on looking
at this friend's budget that she spends £16 a year on turf and other
fuel, and this seems high for a flat where so few fires were lighted.
But fuel is dear in German towns. Briquettes are largely used in
cities, small slabs of condensed coal that cost one pfennig each. It
takes about twenty-four slabs to keep a stove in during the day. The
great advantage of the _Füllofen_ over the ordinary stove is that it
keeps in all night. There are dangerous variations of temperature in a
German flat that is kept as hot as an oven all day, and allowed to
sink below zero during the night. But you hear complaints on all sides
in Germany, both of inconsiderate English people who waste fuel by
opening windows in cold weather; and of the sufferings endured by
Germans who have been in England in winter. They do not like our open
fireplaces at all, because they say they wish to be warm all over and
not in bits. "In England," they tell you solemnly, "you can be warm
either in front or at the back; but you cannot be warm on both sides
as we are here. Besides, your fireplaces make dirt and work and are
extravagant. They would not suit us." In fact, they imply that for the
French and the English they are well enough, but not for the salt of
the earth. The German kitchen stoves are certainly more practical and
economical than ours, and I never can understand why we do not fetch a
few over and try them. They are entirely enclosed, and much lower than
ours. The Berlin kitchener has one fire that is lighted for a short
time to roast a joint, and another using less fuel that heats water
and does light cooking. The sweep, who is bound by the etiquette of
his trade to wear a tall hat in Germany, does not come into your flat
at all. You hear him shout through the courtyard that he will visit
the house next day, and he works from the garrets and cellars. The
police regulate his visits as they regulate everything else in
Germany. Chimneys must be swept every six weeks in summer, and every
four weeks in winter in Berlin. Dustbins are emptied every day, and in
some towns the police make most troublesome regulations with regard to
them. The householder has to set his outside to be emptied, and the
police insist on this being done at a certain hour, neither earlier
nor later, so that if your servant happens to be careless or
unpunctual you will be repeatedly fined.

Staircases vary greatly according to the date and rent of the house.
The most modern houses in Berlin have broad front staircases with
thick carpets, and in some cases seats of "Nouveau Art" design on the
landings. In such houses you are always met on the threshold by
printed requests to wipe your feet and shut the door gently. They
don't tell you to do as you're bid. That is taken for granted, or the
police will know the reason why. There is always an uncarpeted back
staircase for servants and tradespeople, and for the tenants who
inhabit the poorer parts of the building. In houses where all the
tenants belong to the poorer classes, you find notices that forbid
children to play in the Hof, and command people not to loiter or to
make any noise on the stairs. Carpet-beating and shaking, which is
constantly and vigorously carried on, is only allowed on certain days
of the week and at certain hours. When there is a house porter he is
not as important and conspicuous as the French concierge. In my
experience he has usually gone out and thoughtfully left the front
door ajar. He is not a universal institution even in Berlin.

Taxes vary in different parts of Germany. In Saxony a man spending
£500 a year pays altogether £60 for Income tax, Municipal rates,
Water, School, and Church rates. In Berlin the Income tax is not an
Imperial (Reichs) tax, but a _Landes_ tax, and amounts to £15 on an
income of £500. Smaller incomes pay less and larger ones more, in
proportion varying from about 2 to 4 per cent. Besides this _Staats_
tax there is a municipal tax of exactly the same amount in Berlin and
Charlottenberg. But there are towns in Prussia where it is less;
others, mostly in the Western Provinces, where it is more,
considerably more in some cases. The water rate is paid by the house
owners, and the tenant pays it in his rent. There are no school taxes.
The church tax is compulsory on members of the _Landeskirche_. When a
man has no capital his income tax is levied on his yearly expenses;
but the man whose income is derived from capital pays a higher tax
than the man who has none. The German, too, pays a great deal to the
State indirectly; for nearly everything he requires is taxed. But the
three things he loves best, tobacco, beer, and music, he gets
cheap--cheaper than he can in a Free Trade country; so he pays for
everything else as best he can, and tries to look pleasant. "But the
burden is almost more than we can bear," said one thoughtful German to
me when I told him how greatly English people admired their municipal
enterprise, and the admirable provision made in Berlin for the very
poor.

Last time I went to Germany I actually made the acquaintance of one
German who did not smoke, and on various occasions I was in the
society of others who did not smoke for some hours. In the Berlin
tramcars smoking is strictly forbidden, but I did not observe that
this rule was strictly enforced. In fact, my attention was drawn to it
one day by finding my neighbour's cigar unpleasantly strong. One
cigar in a tramcar, however, is nothing at all, and should not be
mentioned. It is when a railway carriage beautifully upholstered with
crimson velvet holds you, six Germans, and one Englishman, for eight
hours on a blazing summer day, that you begin to wonder whether, after
all, you do mind smoke. To be sure, you might have travelled in a
_Nichtraucher_ or a _Damen-Coupé_, but changes are a nuisance on a
journey. Besides, you know that a _Damen-Coupé_ is always crowded, and
that the moment you open a window someone will hold a handkerchief
tearfully to her neck and say, "_Aber ich bitte meine Dame: es
zieht!_" and all the other women in the carriage will say in chorus,
"_Ja! ja! es zieht!_" and if you don't shut the window instantly the
conductor will be summoned, and he will give the case against you. So
you travel all day long with seven cigars, most of them cheap strong
ones, that their owners smoke very slowly and replace directly they
are finished. And after a time the conversation turns on smoking, and
your neighbour admits that he always lights his first cigar when he
gets up in the morning and smokes it while he is dressing. His wife
dresses in the same room and does not like it, but.... It is
unnecessary to say more. Five cigars out of six are in sympathy with
him, while you amuse yourself by wondering what revenge a wife could
take in such circumstances. A bottle of the most offensive scent in
the market suggests itself, but you look at your neighbour's profile,
and see that he is the kind of man to pitch scent he did not like out
of the window. You have heard of one German husband who did this when
his wife brought home perfumes that did not please him. And then your
memory travels back and back along the years, arriving at last at the
picture of an English nursery, in the household where a German guest
had arrived the night before. The nurses and the children are sitting
peacefully at breakfast, when there enters to them a housemaid,
scornful, scandalised, out of breath with her hurry to impart what she
had seen.

"He's a-smoking in bed," she says, "that there Mr. Hoggenheimer! He's
a-smoking in bed!"

"Some of them do," says nurse, who is a travelled person, and refuses
to be taken by surprise.

"Well, of all the nasty...."

"Sh!" says nurse, pointing to the children, all eyes and ears.

So that is all you can remember about the housemaid and Mr.
Hoggenheimer. But you remember him--a little dark man who sent you
books you could not read at Christmas, and brought you enchanting
gingerbreads covered with hundreds and thousands. You thought him
rather funny, but you liked him, and if he wanted to smoke in bed why
not? You liked toys in bed yourself, and you would have taken the dog
there if only it had been allowed. Then you come back again to the
present hour, nearly all the years of your life later, and you are in
a railway carriage with six German householders who, like Mr.
Hoggenheimer, want cigars in and out of season.

"To-morrow," you say to your Englishman; "to-morrow I shall travel in
a _Nichtraucher_."

"But then I can't smoke," he says quite truly.

"We shall not travel together."

"But that is so unsociable."

"I would rather be unsociable than suffocated," you explain. "I have
suffered tortures to-day."

"Have you? But you always say you don't mind smoke."

"In reason. Seven cigars and one woman are not reasonable. Never
again will I travel with seven cigars."

"I thought we had a pleasant journey," says the Englishman
regretfully. "That little man next to you----"

"Mr. Hoggenheimer----?"

"Was that his name?--I couldn't understand all he said, but he had an
amusing face."

"A face can be misleading," you say; "that man bullies his wife."

"How do you know?"

"He told us so. He smokes before breakfast ... while he is dressing,
... and he has no dressing room...."

The Englishman looks calm.

"They do take one into their confidence," he remarks. "My neighbour
told me that he never could eat mayonnaise of salmon directly after
roast pork, because it gave him peculiar pains. I was afraid you'd
hear him describe his symptoms; but I believe you were asleep."

"No, I wasn't," you confess; "I heard it all, and I shut my eyes,
because I knew if I opened them he'd address himself to me. I shut
them when he began talking to you about your _Magen_ and what you
ought to do to give it tone. You seemed interested."

"It's quite an interesting subject," says the Englishman, who makes
friends with every German he meets. "He is not in the least like an
Englishman," they say to you cordially,--"he is so friendly and
amiable."



CHAPTER XII

HOUSEWIVES


"Frenchwomen are the best housewives in Europe," said a German lady
who knew most European countries well; "the next best are the English;
Germans come third." The lady speaking was one whose opinions were
always uttered with much charm, but _ex-cathedra_; so that you found
it impossible to disagree with her ... until you got home. But to hear
the supreme excellence of the _Hausfrau_ contested takes the breath
away; to see her deposed from the first place by one of her own
countrywomen dazzles the eyes. It was a new idea to me that any women
in the world except the Germans kept house at all. If you live amongst
Germans when you are young you adopt this view quite insensibly and
without argument.

"My son is in England," you hear a German mother say. "I am uneasy
about him. I fear he may marry an Englishwoman."

"They sometimes do," says her gossip, shaking her head.

"It would break my heart. The women of that nation know nothing of
housekeeping. They sit in their drawing-rooms all day, while their
husband's hard-earned money is wasted in the kitchen. Besides ...
_mein armer Karl_--he loves _Nudelsuppe_ and _Küken mit Spargel_. What
does an Englishwoman know of such things? She would give him cold
mutton to eat, and he would die of an indigestion. I was once in
England in my youth, and when I got back we had a _Frikassee von
Hähnchen mit Krebsen_ for dinner, and I wept with pleasure."

"Perhaps," says the gossip consolingly, "your Karl will remember these
things and fetch himself a German wife."

"Poor girl!" says Karl's not-to-be-consoled mother, "she would have to
live in England and keep house there. It happened to my niece Greta
Löhring. She had a new cook every fortnight, and each one was worse
than the one before. In England when a cook spoils a pudding she puts
it in the fire and makes another. Imagine the eggs that are used under
such circumstances."

I remember this little dialogue, because I was young and ignorant
enough at the time to ask what a German did when she spoilt a pudding,
and was promptly informed that in Germany such things could not
happen. A cook was not allowed to make puddings unless her mistress
stood by and saw that she made them properly; "unless she is a
_perfekte Köchin_," added Karl's mother, "and then she does not spoil
things."

A German friend, not the travelled one, but a real home-baked domestic
German, took me one hot afternoon this summer to pay a call, and at
once fell to talking to the mistress of the house about the washing of
lace curtains. There were eight windows in front of the flat, and each
window had a pair of stiff spotless lace curtains, and each curtain
had been washed by the lady's own hands. My friend had just washed
hers, and they both approached the subject as keenly as two gardeners
will approach a question of bulbs or Alpines. There are different ways
of washing a white curtain, you know, and different methods of
rinsing and drying it, and various soaps. Starch is used too at some
stage of the process; at least, I think so. But the afternoon was hot
and the argument involved. The starch I will not swear to, but I will
swear to ten waters--ten successive cleansings in fresh water before
the soul of the housewife was at rest.

"And how do you wash yours?" said one of them, turning to me.

"Oh--I!" I stammered, taken aback, for I had been nearly asleep; "I
send a post-card to Whiteley's, and they fetch them one week and bring
them back the next. They cost 1s. a pair."

The two German ladies looked at each other and smiled. Then they
politely changed the subject.

This trivial story is not told for its intrinsic merits, but because
it illustrates the difference of method between English and German
women. The German with much wear and tear of body and spirit washes
her own lace curtains. She saves a little money, and spends a great
deal of time over them. The Englishwoman, when she possibly can, likes
to spend her time in a different way. In both countries there are
admirable housekeepers, and middling housekeepers, and extremely bad
ones. The German who goes the wrong way about it sends her husband to
the _Kneipe_ by her eternal fussing and fidgeting. She is not his
companion mentally, but the cook's, for her mind has sunk to the
cook's level, while her temper through constant fault-finding is on a
lower one. The Englishwoman sends her husband to the club or the
public house, according to his social station, because she is
incapable of giving him eatable food. But the English belief that
German housewives are invariably dull and stodgy is not a whit more
ignorant and untrue than the German belief that all Englishwomen are
neglectful, extravagant housekeepers. The Englishwoman keeps house in
her own way, and it is different from the German way, but it is often
admirable. The comfort, the organisation, and the unbroken peace of a
well-managed English household are not surpassed, in some details not
equalled, anywhere in the world.

The German ideal (for women) is one of service and self-sacrifice. Let
her learn betimes to serve, says Goethe, for by service only shall she
attain to command and to the authority in the house that is her due.

    "Dienen lerne bei Zeiten das Weib nach ihrer Bestimmung,
    Denn durch Dienen allein gelangt sie endlich zum Herrschen
    Zu der verdienten Gewalt, die doch ihr im Hause gehöret,
    Dienet die Schwester dem Bruder doch früh, sie dienet den Eltern;
    Und ihr Leben ist immer ein ewiges Gehen und Kommen,
    Oder ein Heben und Tragen, Bereiten und Schaffen für Andre;
    Wohl ihr, wenn sie daran sich gewöhnt, dass kein Weg ihr zu sauer
    Wird, und die Stunden der Nacht ihr sind wie die Stunden des Tages:
    Dass ihr niemals die Arbeit zu klein und die Nadel zu fein dünkt,
    Dass sie sich ganz vergisst, und leben mag nur in Andern!"

She is to serve her brothers and parents. Her whole life is to be a
going and coming, a lifting and carrying, a preparing and acting for
others. Well for her if she treads her way unweariedly, if night is as
day to her, if no task seems too small and no needle too fine. She is
to forget herself altogether and live in others.

It is a beautiful passage, and an unabashed magnificent masculine
egotism speaks in every line of it. Whenever I read it I think of the
little girl in _Punch_ whose little brother called to her, "Come here,
Effie. I wants you." And Effie answered, "Thank you, Archie, but I
wants myself!" Herr Riehl quotes the passage at the end of his own
exhortations to his countrywomen, which are all in the same spirit,
and were not needed by them. German women have always been devoted to
their homes and their families, and they are as subservient to their
menfolk as the Japanese. They do not actually fall on their knees
before their lords, but the tone of voice in which a woman of the old
school speaks of _die Herren_ is enough to make a French, American, or
Englishwoman think there is something to be said for the modern revolt
against men. For any woman with a spice of feminine perversity in her
nature will be driven to the other camp when she meets extremes; so
that in Germany she feels ready to rise against overbearing males;
whilst in America she misses some of the regard for masculine judgment
and authority that German women show in excess. At least, it seems an
excess of duty to us when we hear of a German bride who will not go
down to dinner with the man appointed by her hostess till she has
asked her husband's permission; and when we hear of another writing
from Germany that, although in England she had ardently believed in
total abstention, she had now changed her opinion because her husband
drank beer and desired her to approve of it. But it was an
Englishwoman who, when asked about some question of politics, said
quite simply and honestly, "I think what Jack thinks."

The truth is, that the women of the two great Germanic races are kin.
There are differences, chiefly those of history, manners, and
environment. The likeness is profound.

"Par une rencontre singulière," says M. Taine, "les femmes sont plus
femmes et les hommes plus hommes ici qu'ailleurs. Les deux natures
vont chacune à son extrême; chez les uns vers l'audace, l'esprit
d'entreprise et de resistance, le caractère guerrier, impérieux et
rude; chez les autres vers la douceur, l'abnégation, la patience,
l'affection inépuisable; chose inconnue dans les pays lointains,
surtout en France, la femme ici se donne sans se reprendre et met sa
gloire et son devoir à obeir, à pardonner, à adorer, sans souhaiter ni
pretendre autre chose que se fondre et s'absorber chaque jour
davantage en celui qu'elle a volontairement et pour toujours choisi.
C'est cet instinct, un antique instinct Germanique, que ces grands
peintres de l'instinct mettent tous ici en lumière!... L'âme dans
cette race, est à la fois primitive et serieuse. La candeur chez les
femmes y subsiste plus longtemps qu'ailleurs. Elles perdent moins vite
le respect, elles pèsent moins vite les valeurs et les caractères:
elles sont moins promptes à deviner le mal et à mesurer leurs
maris.... Elles n'ont pas la netteté, la hardiesse d'idées,
l'assurance de conduite, la précocité qui chez nous en six mois font
d'une jeune fille une femme d'intrigue et une reine de salon. La vie
enfermée et l'obéissance leur sont plus faciles. Plus pliantes et plus
sédentaires elles sont en même temps plus concentrées, plus
intérieures, plus disposées à suivre des yeux le noble rêve qu'on
nomme le devoir...."

I cannot imagine what M. Taine means by saying that Englishwomen lead
a more sedentary and sequestered life than Frenchwomen, but the rest
of his description presents a well-known type in England and Germany.
"Voir la peinture de ce caractère dans toute la littérature anglaise
et allemande," he says in a footnote. "Le plus grand des observateurs,
Stendhal tout imprégné des moeurs et des idées Italiennes et
françaises, est stupéfait à cette vue. Il ne comprend rien à cette
espèce de dévouement, 'à cette servitude, que les maris Anglais, sous
le nom de devoir, out eu l'esprit d'imposer à leurs femmes.' Ce sont
'des moeurs de sérail.'"

Here the "greatest of all observers" seems to talk nonsense, for
marriage in the seraglio does not hinge on the submission of one wife
to one husband, but on a plurality of wives that English and German
women have only endured in certain historic cases. In both western
countries marriage has its roots in the fidelity of one man and one
woman to each other. A well-known English novelist once said quite
truly that an Englishman very rarely distrusts his wife, and never by
any chance distrusts the girl who is to become his wife; and just the
same may be said of the German of the better classes. In both
countries you will find sections of society above and below where
morals are lax and manners corrupt. German professors write sketches
of London in which our busy grimy city is held up to a virtuous
Germania as the modern Sodom and Gomorrah; and the Continental
Anglophobe likes nothing better than to entertain you with pictures of
our decadent society, pictures that really do credit to the vividness
and detail of his imagination. Meanwhile our press assures the
respectable Briton that Berlin is the most profligate city in Europe,
and that scurrilous German novels about the German army will show him
what the rotten state of things really is in that much over-rated
organisation. But these national amenities are misleading. The bulk of
the nation in both countries is sound, and family life still
flourishes both here and there. The men of the race, in spite of Herr
Riehl's prognostications, still have the whip hand, as much as is good
for them in England, a little more than is good for them in Germany.
If you go to Germany you must not expect a man to open a door for you,
or to wait on you at afternoon tea, or to carry a parcel for you in
the street. He will kiss your hand when he greets you, he will address
you as gracious lady or gracious miss, he will put his heels together
and make you beautiful bows, he will pay you compliments that are
manifestly, almost admittedly, artificial. That at least is one type
of man. He may leave out the kisses and the bows and the compliments
and be quite undisguisedly bearish; or he may be something betwixt and
between, kindly, concerned for your pleasure and welfare. But whatever
he is he will never forget for a moment that you are "only a woman."
If you marry him he will expect to rule everywhere except in the
kitchen, and as you value a quiet life you had better take care that
the kitchen produces what pleases him. On occasion he will assert his
authority with some violence and naïveté. No one can be long amongst
Germans, or even read many German novels, without coming across
instances of what I mean. For example, there was once a quarrel
between lovers that all turned upon a second glass of champagne. The
girl did not want it, and the man insisted that she should drink it
whether she wanted it or not. What happened in the end is forgotten
and does not matter. It is the comment of the historian that remains
in the memory.

"Her family had spoilt her," said he. "When they are married and my
friend gets her to himself she will not behave so."

"But why should she drink a second glass of champagne if she did not
want it?" I asked.

"Because he commanded her to," said this Petruchio, beginning to
bristle at once; and he straightway told me another story about a man
who threw his lady-love's dog into a pond, not because the dog needed
a bath, but in assertion of his authority. The lady had wished to keep
her dog out of the water.

"Did she ever forgive the man?" said I.

"Forgive!--What was there to forgive? The man wished to put the dog
in the pond. A man must know how to enforce his will ... or he is no
man."

I nearly said "Lor!" like Mr. Tweddle in _The Tinted Venus_, but in
Germany it's a serious matter, a sort of _lèse majesté_, to laugh at
the rightful rule of man. You must expect to see them waited on hand
and foot, and to take this service as a matter of course. I have known
Englishmen embarrassed by this state of affairs.

"They will get me chairs," complained one, "and at table the daughters
jump up and wait on me. It's horrid."

"Not at all," said I. "It's your due. You must behave as if you were
used to it."

"I can't. The other day I got the daughters of the house to sit still
while I handed about cups of tea, and if some of the old boys didn't
jump down their throats and tell them they'd no business to let me
forget my dignity. Bless my dignity ... if it's such a tender plant as
that...."

"Sh!" I said. "They must have been old-fashioned people. In some
houses young men hand cups."

"They look jolly self-conscious while they're doing it, ... as if they
didn't half like it. You bet, they take it out of their womenfolk when
they get home. Look at that chap Müller!"

"Where is he?"

"In Dresden, where I lived last winter. He stormed the house down
because his wife took up his glass of beer and drank before he did.
Nearly had a fit. Said his dignity as a husband was damaged. Then he
turned to me and asked whether even in England a wife would be so bold
and bad?"

"What did you say?"

"I didn't say anything. I looked sick."

"That's no use. You should say a great deal, and wave your arms about
and hammer on the table. You don't know how to show emotion."

"I should hope not," says the Englishman. "But German women are always
telling me they envy the women in our country."

"That's their politeness," I assure him. "They don't mean it. They're
as happy as the day is long. Besides, Germans don't get drunk and beat
their wives with pokers. You know perfectly well that most
Englishmen----"

But, of course, whatever you say about German women of the present day
can be contradicted by anybody who chooses to describe one at either
end of the scale, for the contrasts there are violent. You will find
in the same street a woman who exercises a profession, lives more or
less at her club, and is as independent as her brother; and women who
are household drudges, with neither leisure nor spirit for any
occupation that would enrich their minds.



CHAPTER XIII

HOUSEWIVES (_Continued_)


In Germany the home is furnished by the bride's parents, and the
household linen forms part of her trousseau and is marked by her
monogram. In describing the furniture of a German flat, you must first
decide whether you are going to choose one furnished to-day by a
fashionable young woman in Berlin or Hamburg; or one furnished by her
parents twenty to twenty-five years ago. Modern German furniture is
quite easily suggested to the English imagination, because some of it
looks as if the artist had visited our Arts and Crafts Exhibitions and
then made his own designs in a nightmare; while some has accepted
English inspiration and adapted itself wisely and cleverly to German
needs. To-day a German bride will have in her bedroom a wardrobe with
a big mirror, a toilet table or chest, a marble-topped washstand and
two narrow bedsteads, all of fumed wood. If she has money and
understanding the things have probably come from England, not from an
emporium, but from one of our artists in furniture whom the Germans
know better and value more highly than we do ourselves. But if she has
money only she can buy florid pretentious stuff that outdoes in
ugliness the worst productions of our "suite" sellers. Her mother,
however, probably did without any kind of toilet table or glass in
her wardrobe. Twenty years ago you occasionally saw such things in the
houses of rich people, but they were quite unusual. A small hanging
glass behind the washstand was considered enough for any _ordentliche
Frau_. Nowadays in rare cases the _ordentliche Frau_ actually has
silver brushes and powder pots and trinket boxes. But as a rule she
still does without such things; she brushes her beautiful hair with an
ivory or a wooden brush, and leaves paint and powder to ladies who are
presumably not _ordentlich_. At one time narrow brass or iron
bedsteads were introduced from England, and were used a great deal in
Germany. I remember seeing one all forlorn in a vast magnificent
palace bedroom where a fourposter hung with brocade or tapestry would
have looked more at home. But the real old-fashioned bedstead, still
much liked and formerly seen everywhere was always of wood, single and
with deep sides to hold the heavy box mattress. In Mariana Starcke's
_Travels in Europe_, published in 1833, she says of an inn in Villach,
"tall people cannot sleep comfortably here or in any part of Germany;
the beds, which are very narrow, being placed in wooden frames or
boxes, so short that any person who happened to be above five feet
high must absolutely sit up all night supported by pillows; and this,
in fact, is the way in which the Germans sleep."

I think this is a statement that will be as surprising to any German
who reads it as the statements made by Germans about England have
often been to me. It is true, however, that tall people do find the
old-fashioned German bedsteads short; and it is true that the big
square downy pillows are supported by a wedge-shaped bolster called a
_Keilkissen_. But the _Plumeau_ is what the German loves, and the
Briton hates above all things: the mountain of down or feathers that
tumbles off on cold nights and stays on on hot ones. You hate it all
the year round, because in winter it is too short and in summer it is
an oppression. Sometimes the sheet is buttoned to it, and then though
you are a traveller you are less than ever content. At the best you
never succumb to its attractions. Every spring the good German
housewife takes her maid and her _Plumeaux_ to a cleaner and sits
there while the feathers are purified by machinery and returned to
their bags. In this way she makes sure of getting back her own
feathers both in quality and quantity. Except for the _Plumeaux_ and
the want of a dressing-table and proper mirror, an ordinary German
bedroom is very comfortable and always very clean. However plain it is
you can use it partly as a sitting-room, because a sofa and a good
sized table in front of it are considered an indispensable part of its
furniture. When Germans come to England and have to live in lodgings
or poorly furnished inns, the bedrooms seem to them most comfortless
and ill provided. The poor Idealist who lived as an exile in London in
the early Victorian age describes her forlorn room with nothing in it
but a "colossal" bed, a washstand, and a chest of drawers, and though
she does not describe them, you who know London from that side can see
the half-dirty honey-combed counterpane, the untempting cotton sheets,
the worn uncleanly carpet, the grained or painted furniture with doors
and drawers that will not shut; and if you know Germany too you must
in honesty compare with it the pleasant rooms you have inhabited there
for less rent than she paid her Mrs. Quickly,--rooms with cool clean
painted floors, solid old dark elm cupboards, and bedsteads that when
you had pitched the _Plumeau_ on the floor or the sofa were inviting
because they were made with spotless home-spun linen.

What we call the drawing-room used to be extremely chill and formal in
Germany, but it has never been as hideously overloaded as English
drawing-rooms belonging to people who do not know better. The "suite"
of furniture covered with rep or brocade was everywhere, and the rep
was frequently grass-green or magenta. There was invariably a sofa and
a table in front of the sofa, and a rug or a small carpet under the
table. Even in these days this arrangement prevails and must continue
to do so while the sofa is considered the place of honour to which the
hostess invites her leading guest. If you go to Germany in ignorance
of the social importance attached to the sofa, you may blunder quite
absurdly and sit down uninvited or when your age or your sex does not
entitle you to a seat there. I was once present when an English girl
innocently chose a corner of the sofa instead of a chair, though there
were older women in the room. The hostess promptly and audibly told
her to get up, for she knew it was not an affair to pass off as a
joke. In England the question of precedence comes up chiefly at the
dinner-table. The host and hostess must send the right people together
and place them correctly too. In Germany you have to know as hostess
who is to sit on the sofa; and your decision may be complicated by the
absurd titles of your guests. For instance, one Frau Direktor may be
the wife of a post office official who had a university education, and
in Germany a university education counts; while another Frau Direktor,
though she can afford better clothes, is merely the wife of the man
who manages the factory in the next village. I have heard a story of a
Frau Kreisrichter and a Frau Actuar that ended in a life-long feud,
and it all turned on a _Kaffee Klatsch_ and the wrong woman on the
sofa. It is not easy to know what to do about these ridiculous titles
in Germany, because some people insist on them and some laugh at them
as much as we do. I once asked a lady who had the best right to know,
about using military titles instead of names: Herr Lieutenant, Herr
Major, and so on. She was quite explicit. "_Mir ist es ein Greuel_,"
she said, and went on to tell me that it was only done as one might
expect by people who did not know better, and of course by servants.
All the same, it is well to be careful and study the individual case.
I know of an American who addressed his professor as Professor Lachs.

"Where are your manners, mein Herr?" said the professor in a fury, "I
am Herr Professor Dr. Lachs to every student in this laboratory."

But when it comes to Mrs. Tax-Collector and Mrs. Organist and Mrs.
Head Master, and it does come to this quite seriously, it is difficult
for the foreigner to appraise values. The length of the titles, too,
is a stumbling-block. You may marry a harmless Herr Braun, and in
course of time become Frau Wirklichergeheimerober regierungsrath. In
this case I don't think your friends would use the whole of your title
every time they addressed you; but you would undoubtedly have a seat
on the sofa before all the small fry.

On the table in front of the sofa there used always to be a heavy
coloured cloth, and then put diamond-wise a light embroidered or lace
one. A vase of artificial or real flowers, according to taste, stood
exactly in the middle, and a few books in ornamental bindings on
either side. There would be very few ornaments, but these few would be
good of their kind, though probably hideous. Luckily the family did
not assemble here on State occasions. For every-day use there was a
_Wohnzimmer_ soberly furnished with solid well made chairs and
cupboards. Here the mistress of the house kept her palms, her
work-table, and her pet birds. Here her husband smoked his
after-dinner cigar and drank his coffee before going to his work
again. Here the elder children did their lessons for next day's
school, and here at night the family sat round one lamp,--the father
smoking, the mother probably mending, the children playing games. For
German fathers do not live at the _Kneipe_. They are occasionally to
be found with their families. When the flat was not large enough to
furnish a third sitting-room, the dining-room was used in this way. A
modern German family still lives in any room rather than the
drawing-room, but it has learned how to make a drawing-room
attractive. The odious "suite" has been abolished or dispersed, and a
lighter, less formal scheme of decoration is making its way. You see
charming rooms in Germany nowadays, but they are never quite like
English ones, even when your friends point to a wicker chair or an
Eastern carpet and tell you that they love everything English and have
furnished in the English fashion. In the first place, you do not see
piles of magazines and papers or of library books in a German
drawing-room. They would be considered scandalously untidy, and put
away in a cupboard at once. If there are cut flowers they are not
arranged as they are here. On ceremonial occasions and anniversaries
great quantities of flowers are presented, but they are mostly wired
and probably arranged in a fanciful shape. The favourite shape changes
with the season and the fashion of the moment. One year those who wish
to honour you and have plenty of money, will send you lyres and harps
made of violets, pansies, pinks, cornflowers, any flower that will
lend itself meekly to popular design. The favourite design in Berlin
one spring was a large flat sofa cushion of Guelder roses with tall
sprays of roses or carnations dancing from it. On ordinary occasions
market bunches are put into water as an English cottager puts in his
flowers, level and tightly packed. But on a festive occasion in a rich
man's house you hear of a long dinner table strewn with branches of
pink hawthorn and peonies. In fact, a riot of flowers is now
considered correct by wealthy people, but you do not find them here
and there and everywhere, whether people are wealthy or not, as you do
in England. That is partly because there are so few private gardens.

The extreme tidiness of German rooms is a constant source of surprise.
They are as guiltless of "litter" as the showrooms of a furniture
emporium. You would think that the people who live in them were never
employed if you did not know that Germans were never idle. Every bit
of embroidery has its use and its own corner. The article now being
embroidered is neatly folded inside the work-basket or work-table when
it is not in the lady's hands. The one book she is reading will be
near. Any other books she possesses will be on shelves, and probably
behind glass doors. Each chair has its place, each cushion, each
ornament. Even where there are children German rooms never look
disarranged. I can truly say I have only once seen a German room
untidy and dusty, and that was in a house with no one but a "Mamsell"
in charge; and she apologised and explained that it was to be spring
cleaned next day. There is, by the way, a curious litter of things
kept on a German sideboard in many houses,--coffee machines, silver,
useful and ornamental glass, great blue beer jugs, and suchlike; but
they are kept there with intention and not by neglectful accident.
Then the narrow corridor of a German flat is often uncomfortably
choked with articles of household use: lamps, for instance, and a
refrigerator, and the safe in which the mistress locks her food; spare
cupboards too, and neat piles of papers and magazines. It will be
inelegant, but it will be orderly and clean.

It is the way in this country to laugh at the German _Hausfrau_, and
pity her for a drudge; and it is the way with many Germans to talk as
if all Englishwomen were pleasure loving and incompetent. The less
people know of a foreign nation the greater nonsense they talk in
general, and the more cocksure they are about their own opinions. A
year ago, when I was in Germany, I asked a friend I could trust if
there really was much Anglophobia abroad except in the newspapers. She
reflected a little before she answered, for she was honest and
intelligent.

"There is none amongst people like ourselves," she said,--"people who
know the world a little. But you come across it?" She turned to her
husband.

"There are others like G.," she said. "He turns green if anyone speaks
of England, and he says Shakespeare is _dumm_. You see, he has never
been out of Germany, and has never met any English people."

So I told her about my English cook, who snorted with scorn when I
assured her Germans considered rabbits vermin and would not eat them.

"H ... ph!" she said, "I shouldn't have thought foreigners were so
particular."

The average German housewife has to keep the house going on
exceedingly small means and with inefficient help. It is her pride and
pleasure to make a little go a long way, and she can only achieve
this by working with her hands. Probably her servant cannot cook, but
she can, and it would never occur to her to let her husband and
children eat ill-prepared food because servants do not like ladies in
the kitchen. A German lady, like a princess of ancient Greece,
considers that it becomes her to do anything she chooses in her own
house, and that the most convenient household workshop is the kitchen.
The Idealist from whom I have quoted before was the daughter of a
well-known German diplomatist, and she had been used since childhood
to the atmosphere of Courts. She was an accomplished well-born woman
of the world, but she had not been a week in her sordid London
lodgings with the woman she calls Mrs. Quickly, before she blundered
in her innocent German way--into the lodging-house kitchen. Figure to
yourself the stupefaction and the indignation of Mrs. Quickly,
probably engaged, though the Idealist does not say so, in dining off
the foreign woman's beef. "I went down to the kitchen," says Fräulein
von Meysenbug, "with a muslin gown on my arm to ask for an iron so
that I could iron my gown there. The kitchen was Mrs. Quickly's true
kingdom; here she alone reigned at the hearth, for the servant was not
allowed to approach the saucepans. Mrs. Quickly looked at me with
unconcealed astonishment as I came in, but when I proffered my request
her astonishment turned to wrath. 'What!' she shrieked, 'a lady
ironing in the kitchen? That is impossible.' And with the mien of
offended majesty she snatched the gown from me, and ordered the little
maid servant to put an iron in the fire and to iron the gown; then she
turned to me and said with tragic emphasis, 'You are a foreigner. You
don't understand our English ways: we consider it extremely
unladylike for a lady to enter the kitchen, and worse still if she
wants to iron her own gown. No, ma'am, please to ring the bell when
you require anything; otherwise you will ruin my servants.' Much
ashamed of my ignorance on this higher plane of English custom,"
continues the Idealist, "I crept back to my parlour and laughed
heartily as I looked round the dirty, wretchedly furnished room, and
reflected on the abyss set by prejudice between the ground-floor and
the basement."

"How do you like your new German governess?" I once asked an English
friend who lived in the country and had just engaged a German lady for
her only daughter.

"Oh! I like her," said my friend without enthusiasm. "She is a
brilliant musician and a fine linguist and all that. But she has such
odd ideas about what a girl ought to know. The other day I actually
caught her teaching Patricia to _dust_."

"If you don't watch her," I said, "she'll probably teach Patricia to
cook."

My friend looked anxious first, and then relieved.

"I don't see how she could do that," she said. "The cook would never
have them in the kitchen for five minutes. But now you mention it, I
believe she can cook. When things go wrong she seems to know what has
been done or not done."

"That might be useful," I suggested.

"I don't see it. I expect my cook to know her work, and to do it and
not to rely on me. I've other fish to fry."

But the German housewife expects to have her fingers literally in
every pie even when by rights they should be employed elsewhere. You
hear, for instance, of a great Court functionary whose wife is so
devoted to cooking that though she has a large staff of servants she
cannot be persuaded to spend the day anywhere but in her kitchen.
Mistresses of this kind breed incapable servants, and you find, in
fact, that German maids cannot compare with our English ones in
qualities of self-reliance, method, and initiative. They mostly expect
to be told from hour to hour what to do, and very often to lend a hand
to the ladies of the household rather than to do the thing themselves.
Indeed, though the servants are on duty from morning till night more
than English servants are, in some ways they have an easier time of it
than ours, because they are used so much to run errands and go to
market. Everyone who has been in German towns can remember the hordes
of servants with baskets and big umbrellas strolling in twos and
threes along the streets in the early morning. They are never in any
hurry to get home to work again, and a good many doubtless know that
what they leave undone will be done by their mistress. The German
kitchen with its beautiful cleanliness and brightly polished copper
pans I have described, but I have not said anything yet about the
fidgety housewife who carries her _Tüchtigkeit_ to such a pitch that
she ties every wooden spoon and twirler with a coloured ribbon to hang
by against the wall. In England you hear of ladies who tie every
bottle of scent on the toilet table with a different ribbon, and that
really has more sense in it, because it must be trying to a cook's
nerves to use spoons tied with delicate ribbons that must not be
spoiled. Every housewife has dainty little holders for the handles of
saucepans when they are hot. You see them, all different shapes and
sizes, on view with the piles of kitchen cloths and the various aprons
that form part of every lady's trousseau, and if you have German
friends they probably present you with a few from time to time. I
have never noticed any pictures in a German kitchen, but there are
nearly always _Sprüche_ both in the kitchen, and the dining-room and
sometimes in the hall: rhyming maxims that are done in poker work or
painted on wood and hung in conspicuous positions--

    "Wie die Küche so das Haus,
    Reinlich drinnen, reinlich draus"

is a nice one; and so is

    "Trautes Heim
    Glück allein."

There was one in the _Lette-Haus_ or some other big institution about
an hour in the morning being worth several hours later in the day,
which would prick our English consciences more sharply than it can
most German ones, for they are a nation of early risers. Schools and
offices all open so early that a household must of necessity be up
betimes to feed its menfolk and children with bread and coffee before
their day's work. In most German towns the tradespeople do not call
for orders, but they do in Hamburg; and a friend born there told me in
a whisper, so that her husband should not hear the awful confession,
that she would never be a good "provider" in consequence. She went to
market regularly, for many housewives will not delegate this most
important business to a cook, but she had not the same eye for a tough
goose or a poor fish, perhaps not the same backbone for a bargain, as
a housewife used from childhood to these sorties. In some towns the
butcher calls over night for orders. The baker's boy brings rolls
before anyone is up, and hangs them outside the flat in one of two
bags every household possesses. After the early breakfast either the
mistress or the cook fetches what is required for the day.

When the good German housewife is not in her kitchen, English
tradition believes her to be at her linen cupboard.

"I am going to write a humble little gossiping book about German Home
Life," I said to a learned but kindly professor last spring.

"German Home Life," he said, rather aghast at my daring, for we had
only just made each other's acquaintance, and I believe he thought
that this was my first visit to Germany and that I had been there a
week. "It is a wide field," he went on. "However ... if you want to
understand our Home Life ... just look at that...."

We were having tea together in the dining-room in his wife's absence,
and he suddenly got up from table and threw back both doors of an
immense cupboard occupying the longest wall in the room. I gazed at
the sight before me, and my thoughts were too deep for words. It was a
small household, I knew. It comprised, in fact, the professor, his
beautiful young wife, and one small maid-servant; and for their
happiness they possessed all this linen: shelf upon shelf, pile upon
pile of linen, exactly ordered, tied with lemon coloured ribbons,
embroidered beyond doubt with the initials of the lady who brought it
here as a bride. The lady, it may as well be said, is a celebrated
musician who passes a great part of each winter fulfilling engagements
away from home. "But what happens to the linen cupboard when you are
away?" I asked her, later, for it was grievous to think of any
servant, even a "pearl," making hay of those ordered shelves. "I come
home for a few days in between and set things to rights again," she
explained; and then, seeing that I was interested, she admitted that
she had put up and made every blind and curtain, and had even
carpentered and upholstered an empire sofa in her drawing-room. She
showed me each cupboard and corner of the flat, and I saw everywhere
the exquisite order and spotlessness the notable German housewife
knows how to maintain. We even peeped into the professor's
dressing-room.

"He must be a very tidy man," I said, sighing and reflecting that he
could not be as other men are. "Do you never have to set things to
rights here?"

"Every half hour," she said.

These enormous quantities of linen that are still the housewife's
pride used to be necessary when house and table linen were only washed
twice a year. A German friend who entertained a large party of
children and grandchildren every week, pointed out to me that she used
eighteen or twenty dinner napkins each time they came, and that when
washing day arrived at the end of six months even her supply was
nearly exhausted. The soiled linen was stored meanwhile in an attic at
the top of the house. The wash itself and the drying and ironing all
took place up there with the help of a hired laundress. In most German
cities this custom of washing at home still prevails, but in these
days it is usually done once a month. The large attics that serve as
laundries are engaged for certain days by the families living in the
house, and one servant assisted for one day by a laundry woman washes
and irons all the house and body linen used by her employers and
herself in four weeks. It sounds impossible, but in Germany nothing
involving hard work is impossible. All the differences of life between
England and Germany, in as far as expenses are concerned, seem to come
to this in the end: that over there both men and women will work
harder for less money. On the monthly washing day the ladies of the
household do the cooking and housework, and on the following day they
help to fold the clothes and iron them.

"I am very tired," confessed a little maid-servant who had been sent
out at night to show me where to find a tram. "We got up at four
o'clock this morning, and have been ironing all day. My mistress gets
up as early, and works as hard as I do. She is very _tüchtig_, and
where there are four children and only one servant there is a good
deal to do."

Yet her mistress had asked me to supper, I reflected, and everything
had been to time and well cooked and served. The rooms had looked as
neat and orderly as usual. The _Hausfrau_ had entertained me as
pleasantly as if she had no reason to feel tired. We had talked of
English novels, and of the invasion of England by Germany; for her
husband was a soldier, and another guest present was a soldier too.
The men had talked seriously, for they were as angry with certain
English newspapers as we are over here with certain German ones. But
the _Hausfrau_ and I had laughed.

"When they come, I'm coming with them," she said.

"We will receive you with open arms," said I.



CHAPTER XIV

SERVANTS


The first thing that English people notice about German servants is,
that they are allowed to dress anyhow, and that the results are most
unpleasing. In Hamburg, the city that gives you ox-tail soup for
dinner and has sirloins of beef much like English sirloins, the maids
used to wear clean crackling, light print gowns with elbow sleeves.
This was their full dress in which they waited at table, and fresh
looking country girls from Holstein and thereabouts looked very well
in it. This costume is being superseded in Hamburg to-day by the
English livery of a black frock with a white cap and apron. But in
other German cities, in the ordinary middle-class household, the
servants wear what they choose on all occasions. In most places they
are as fond of plaids as their betters, and in a house where
everything else is methodical and well arranged, you will find the
dishes plumped on the table by a young woman wearing a tartan blouse
decidedly decolletée, and ornamented with a large cheap lace collar. I
have dined with people whose silver, glass, and food were all
luxurious; while the girl who waited on us wore a red and white
checked blouse, a plaid neck-tie with floating ends, and an enormous
brooch of sham diamonds. In South Germany the servants wear a great
deal of indigo blue: stuff skirts of plain blue woollen, with blouses
and aprons of blue cotton that has a small white pattern on it. Some
ladies keep smart white aprons to lend their servants on state
occasions, but the laciest apron will not do much for a girl in a
sloppy coloured blouse with a plaid neck-tie. But these same girls who
look such slovens usually have stores of tidy well-made body linen and
knitted stockings. In England a servant of the better class will not
be seen out of doors in her working-dress. "In London," says the
Idealist in her Memoirs, "no woman of the people, no servant-girl will
stir a step from the house without a hat on her head, and this is one
of the ugliest of English prejudices. While the clean white cap worn
by a French maid looks pretty and suitable, the Englishwoman's hat
which makes her "respectable" is odious, for it is usually dirty, out
of shape, and trimmed with faded flowers and ribbons." It gives me
pleasure to quote this criticism made by an observant German on our
English servants, partly because it is true, and it is good for us to
hear it, and partly because it encourages me to continue my criticism
of German as compared with English servants. For it ought to be
possible to criticise without giving offence. The Idealist has a very
poor opinion of English lodging-house bedrooms and lodging-house
keepers, and she states her opinion quite plainly, but I cannot
imagine that anyone in this country would be hurt by what she says. On
the contrary, it is amusing to find the ills from which most of us
have suffered at times recognised by the stranger within our gates.
None of us admire the battered tawdry finery we see in our streets
every day, and I cannot believe that German ladies admire the shocking
garments in which their servants will come to the door and wait at
table. But though these clothes are sloppy looking and unsuitable,
they are never ragged; and the girl who puts on an impossible tie and
blouse will also wear an impeccable long white apron with an
embroidered monogram you can see across the room. In most towns
servants go shopping or to market with a large basket and an umbrella.
They do not consider a hat or a stuff gown necessary, for they are not
in the least ashamed of being servants. Some years ago they made no
attempt to dress like ladies when they went out for themselves, and
even now what they do in this way is a trifle compared to the
extravagant get-up of an English cook or parlour-maid on a Sunday
afternoon. A German girl in service is always saving with might and
main to buy her _Aussteuer_, and as she gets very low wages it takes
her a long time. She needs about _£_30, so husbands are not expensive
in Germany in that class. German servants get less wages than ours,
and work longer hours. Speaking out of my own experience, I should say
that they were indefatigable, amiable, and inefficient. They will do
anything in the world for you, but they will not do their own work in
a methodical way. A lady whose uncle at one time occupied an important
diplomatic post in London, told me that her aunt was immensely
surprised to find that every one of her English servants knew his or
her work and did it without supervision, but that none of them would
do anything else. The German lady, not knowing English ways, used to
make the mistake at first of asking a servant to do what she wanted
done instead of what the servant had engaged to do; but she soon found
that the first housemaid would rather leave than fill a matchbox it
was the second housemaid's "place" to fill; and what surprised her
most was to find that her English friends sympathised with the
housemaids and not with her. "We believe in everyone minding his own
business," they said.

"We believe that it is the servant's business to do what his employer
wants," says the German.

"You must tell him what you want when you engage him," you say. "Then
he can take your place or leave it."

"But that is impossible ... _Unsinn_ ... _Quatsch_...." says the
German indignantly. "How can I tell what I shall want my servant to do
three months hence on a Monday morning. _Das hat keinen Zweck._"

"I know exactly what each one of my servants will do three months
hence on a Monday morning," you say. "It is quite easy. You plan it
all out...."

But you will never agree. The German has his or rather her own
methods, and you will always think her unmethodical but thrifty and
knowledgeable, and she will always think you extravagant and ignorant,
but "chic," and on these terms you may be quite good friends. In most
German households there is no such thing as the strict division of
labour insisted on here. Your cook will be delighted to make a blouse
for you, and your nurse will turn out the dining-room, and your
chambermaid will take the child for an airing. They are more human in
their relation to their employers. The English servant fixes a gulf
between herself and the most democratic mistress. The German servant
brings her intimate joys and sorrows to a good _Herrschaft_, and
expects their sympathy. When a girl has bad luck and engages with a
bad _Herrschaft_ she is worse off than in England, partly because when
German housekeeping is mean it sounds depths of meanness not unknown,
but extremely rare here; and also because a German servant is more in
the power of her employers and of the police than an English one.
Anyone who has read Klara Viebig's remarkable novel, _Das Tägliche
Brot_ (a story of servant life in Berlin) will remember the mistress
who kept every bit of dainty food under lock and key, and fed the
kitchen on soup-meat all the year round. The chambermaid gives way in
a moment of hunger and temptation, manages to get the key, and is
discovered by the worthless son of the house stealing cakes. He
threatens her with exposure if she will not listen to his love-making.
Even if there was no son and no love-making, a girl who once steals
cakes in Germany may go from place to place branded as a thief.
Because every servant has to have a _Dienstbuch_, which is under the
control of the police, and has to be shown to them whenever she leaves
her situation. There is no give and take of personal character in
Germany. Ladies do not see the last lady with whom a girl has lived.
They advertise or they go to a registry office where servants are
waiting to be engaged. In Berlin every third house seems to be a
registry office, and you hear as many complaints of the people who
keep them as you hear here. So the government has set up a large
Public Registry in Charlottenberg, where both sides can get what they
want without paying fees. But servants are not as scarce in Germany
yet as they are here and in America. German ladies tell you they are
scarce, but it is only true in comparison with a former state of
things. In comparison with London, servants are still plentiful in
Germany. When a lady finds a likely looking girl at an office, she
either engages her at once on the strength of the good character in
her _Dienstbuch_, or, if she is very particular, she takes her home
and discusses things with her there. The engagement is not completed
until the lady has filled in several forms for police inspection;
while the servant has to take her _Dienstbuch_ to the police station
both when she leaves and when she enters a situation. It is hardly
necessary to say that when a girl does anything seriously bad, and her
employers record it in the book, the book gets "lost." Then the police
interfere and make things extremely disagreeable for the girl. A
friend told me that in the confusion of a removal her own highly
valued servant lost her _Dienstbuch_, or rather my friend lost it, for
employers usually keep it while a girl is in their service; and though
she took the blame on herself, and explained that the book was lost,
the police were most offensive about it. In the end the book was
found, so I am not in a position to say what penalties my friend and
her maid would have incurred if they had never been able to produce
it. But Germans have often told me that servants as a class have real
good reason to complain of police insolence and brutality. Here is an
entry from a German servant's _Dienstbuch_, with nothing altered but
the names. On the first page you found the following particulars:--

GESINDE-DIENSTBUCH

Für                  Anna Schmidt.
Aus                  Rheinbeck.
Alt                  Geb. 20 Juni 1885.
Statur               Schlank.
Augen                Grau.
Nase }               Gewöhnlich.
Mund }
Haare                Dunkelblond.
Besondere Merkmale

_Official stamp._     (_Official signature of
                            Amtsvorsteher._)

Then came the record of her previous situations:--

Key:
A: NR.
B: NAME, STAND, UND WOHNUNG DER DIENERSCHAFT
C: INHABER IST ANGENOMMEN ALS
D: TAG DES DIENSTANTRITTS
E: TAG DES DIENSTAUSTRITTS
F: GRUND DES DIENSTAUSTRITTS UND DIENSTABSCHIEDS--ZEUGNISS
G: BEGLAUBIGUNG UND BEMERKUNG DER POLIZEI-BEHÖRDE

+--+------------+-------------+---------+--------+--------------+-----------
 A |    B       |       C     |    D    |      E |      F       |    G
+--+------------+-------------+---------+--------+--------------+-----------
 1 |Wittwe      |Dienstmagd   |Den 20ten|Den 2ten|Veränderung   |Gesehen
   |Auguste     |             | Oktober | Januar | halber.      |
   |Knoblauch   |             | 1901    | 1902   | Betragen     |(_Place and
   |            |             |         |        | gut          |date, with
   |            |             |         |        |              |official
   |            |             |         |        |              |stamp and
   |            |             |         |        |              |signature_)
   |            |             |         |        |              |
 2 |Boretzky,   |Dienstmädchen|Den 2ten |Den 2ten|Wird entlassen|Gesehen
   |Restaurant  |             | Februar | Oktober| weil ihr     |
   |zur Post,   |             | 1902    | 1904   | Benehmen mir |(_Place and
   |Bärenstrasse|             |         |        | nicht mehr   |date, with
   |2           |             |         |        | passt. Sonst |official
   |            |             |         |        | fleissig und |stamp and
   |            |             |         |        | ehrlich      |signature_)
+--+------------+-------------+---------+--------+--------------+-----------

It will be seen that the characters given tell nothing about a
servant's qualities and knowledge; while the vague complaint that Anna
Schmidt's behaviour no longer suited her mistress might mean anything
or nothing. In this case it meant that a son of the house had annoyed
the girl with his attentions, and she had in consequence treated him
with some brusquerie. But ten minutes' talk with a lady who knows the
best and the worst of a servant is worth any _Dienstbuch_ in Germany.
And when English servants write to the _Times_ and ask to have the
same system here, I always wonder how they would like their failings
sent with them from place to place in black and white; every fresh
start made difficult, and every bad trait recorded against them as
long as they earn their daily bread.

Wages are much lower in Germany than here. Some years ago you could
get a good cook for from £7 to £12, but those days are past. Now you
hear of a general servant getting from £10 to £12, and a good plain
cook from £15 upwards. These are servants who would get from £22 to
£30 in England, and more in America. But the wages of German servants
are supplemented at Christmas by a system of tips and presents that
has in course of time become extortionate. Germans groan under it, but
every nation knows how hard it is to depart from one of these
traditional indefinite customs. The system is hateful, because it is
neither one of free gift nor of business-like payment, but hovers
somewhere between and gives rise to much friction and discontent. In a
household account book that a friend allowed me to see I found the
following entry. "Christmas present for the servant. 30 marks in
money. Bed linen, 9.50. Pincushion, 1.5. Five small presents. In all
42 marks. _Was not contented._" This was a general servant in a
family of two occupying a good social position, but living as so many
Germans do on a small income. But then the servant's wages for doing
the work of a large well-furnished, well-kept flat was £14, and these
same friends told me that servants now expect to get a quarter of
their wages in money and presents at Christmas. A German servant gets
a great deal more help from her mistress, and is more directly under
her superintendence, than she would be in a household of the same
social standing in this country. I have heard an English lady say that
when she had asked people to dinner she made it a rule to go out all
day, because if she did not her servants worried her with questions
about extra silver and other tiresome details. All the notable
housewives in England will say that this lady was a "freak," and must
not be held up to the world as an English type. But I think there is
something of her spirit in many Englishwomen. They engage their
servants to do certain work, and hold them responsible. The German
holds herself responsible for every event and every corner in her
husband's house, and she never for a moment closes her eyes and lets
go the reins. The servants are used to working hand in hand with the
ladies of the household, and do not regard the kitchen as a department
belonging exclusively to themselves after an early hour in the
morning.

"Why did you leave your last place?" you say to an English cook
applying for yours.

"Because the lady was always in the kitchen," she replies quite
soberly and civilly. "I don't like to see ladies in my kitchen at all
hours of the day. It is impossible to get on with the work."

But in Germany the kitchen is not the cook's kitchen. It belongs to
the people who maintain it, and they enter it when they please. It is
always so spick and span that you sigh as you see it, because you
think of your own kitchen at home with its black pans and unpleasant
looking sink. _There are no black pans in a German kitchen_; you never
see any grease, and you never by any chance see a teacloth or a duster
with a hole in it. An English kitchen in a small household is
furnished with more regard to the comfort of the servants than a
German one, and with less concern for the work to be done there. We
supply comfortable chairs, a coloured table-cloth, oil-cloth, books,
hearth-rug, pictures, cushions, inkstand, and a roaring fire. The
German kitchen lacks all these things. It does not look as if the
women who live in it ever expected to pursue their own business, or
rest for an hour in an easy chair. But the shining brightness of it
rejoices you,--every vessel is of wood, earthenware, enamel, or highly
polished metal, and every one of them is scrupulously clean. The
groceries and pudding stuffs are kept in fascinating jars and barrels,
like those that come to children at Christmas in toy kitchens made in
Germany. The stove is a clean, low hot table at which you can stand
all day without getting black and greasy. In this sensible spotless
workshop a German servant expects to be busy from morning till night.
Neither for herself nor for her fellow-servants will she ever set a
table for a tidy kitchen meal. She eats anywhere and anywhen, as the
fancy takes her and the exigencies of the day permit. Her morning meal
will consist of coffee and rye bread without butter. In the middle of
the morning she will have a second breakfast, rye bread again with
cheese or sausage. In a liberal household she will dine as the family
dines; in a stingy one she will fare worse than they. In an
old-fashioned household her portion will be carved for her in the
dining-room, because the joint will not return to the kitchen when the
family has done with it, but be placed straightway in the
_Speiseschrank_ under lock and key. In the afternoon she will have
bread and coffee again, and for supper as a rule what the family has,
sausage or ham or some dish made with eggs. One friend who goes out so
much with her husband that they are rarely at home to supper, told me
that she made her servant a monthly allowance to buy what she liked
for supper. German servants are allowed coffee and either beer or
wine, but they are never given tea. Except for the scarcity of butter
in middle-class households, they live very well.

They go out on errands and to market a great deal, but they do not go
out as much for themselves as our servants do. A few hours every other
Sunday still contents them in most places. Their favourite amusement
is the cheap public ball, and the careful German householder is
actually in the habit of trusting the key of the flat to his
maid-of-all-work, and allowing her to return at any hour of the night
she pleases. This at any rate is the custom in Berlin and some other
large German towns, and the evil results of such a system are
manifold. Over and over again burglaries have been traced to it. One
beguiling man engages your maid to dance and sup with him, while his
confederate gets hold of her key and comfortably rifles your rooms. On
the girls themselves these entertainments are said to have the worst
possible influence, and most sensible Germans would put a stop to them
if they could.

You must not expect in Germany to have hot water brought to you at
regular intervals as you do in every orderly English household. The
Germans have a curious notion that English life is quite uniform, and
all English people exactly alike. One man, a notably wise man too,
said to me that if he knew one English family he knew ten thousand.
Another German told me that this account of German life would be
impossible to write, because one part of Germany differed from the
other part; but that a German could easily write the same kind of book
about England, because from Land's End to John o' Groats we were so
many peas in a pod. To us who live in England and know the differences
between the Cornish and the Yorkshire people, for instance, or the
Welsh and the East Anglians, this seems sheer nonsense. I have tried
to understand how Germans arrive at it, and I believe it is by way of
our cans of hot water brought at regular intervals every day in the
year in every British household. I remember that their machine-like
precision impressed M. Taine when he was in England, and certainly
miss them sadly while we are abroad. Gretchen brings you no hot water
unless you ask for it; but she will brush your clothes as a matter of
course, though she does all the work of the household. She will,
however, be hurt and surprised if you do not press a small coin into
her hand at the end of each week, and one or two big ones at parting.
One friend told me that when she stayed with her family at a German
hotel her German relatives told her she should give the chambermaid a
tip that was equal to 20 pf. for each pair of boots cleaned during
their stay. It seems an odd way of reckoning, because the chambermaid
does not clean boots. However, the tip came to £3, which seems a good
deal and helps to explain the ease with which German servants save
enough for their marriage outfit on small wages. It is usual also to
tip the servant where you have supped or dined. Your opportunity
probably comes when she precedes you down the unlighted stairs with a
lantern or a candle to the house door. But you need not be at all
delicate about your opportunity. You see the other guests make little
offerings, and you can only feel that the money has been well earned
when you have eaten the elaborate meal she has helped to cook, and has
afterwards served to you.

Domestic servants come under the law in Germany that obliges all
persons below a certain income to provide for their old age. The Post
Office issues cards and 20 pf. stamps, and one of these stamps must be
dated and affixed to the card every Monday. Sometimes the employers
buy the cards and stamps, and show them at the Post Office once a
month; sometimes they expect the servant to pay half the money
required. Women who go out by the day to different families get their
stamps at the house they work in on Mondays. If a girl marries she may
cease to insure, and may have a sum of money towards her outfit. In
that case she will receive no Old Age Pension. But if she goes on with
her insurance she will have from 15 to 20 marks a month from the State
after the age of 70. In cases of illness, employers are legally bound
to provide for their domestic servants during the term of notice
agreed on. At least this is so in Prussia, and the term varies from a
fortnight to three months. In some parts of Germany servants are still
engaged by the quarter, but in Berlin it has become unusual of late
years. The obligation to provide for illness is often a heavy tax on
employers, especially in cases when the illness has not been caused by
the work or the circumstances of the situation, but by the servant's
own carelessness and folly. Most householders in Berlin subscribe 7.50
a year to an insurance company, a private undertaking that provides
medical help, and when necessary sends the invalided servant to a
hospital and maintains her there. It even pays for any special food or
wine ordered by its own doctor.

One cause of ill health amongst German servants must often be the
abominable sleeping accommodation provided for them in old-fashioned
houses. It is said that rooms without windows opening to the air are
no longer allowed in Germany, and there may be a police regulation
against them. Even this cannot have been issued everywhere, for not
long ago I had a large well furnished room of this kind offered me in
a crowded hotel. It had windows, but they opened on to a narrow
corridor. The proprietor was quite surprised when I said I would
rather have a room at the top of the house with a window facing the
street. I know a young lady acting as _Stütze der Hausfrau_ who slept
in a cupboard for years, the only light and air reaching her coming
from a slit of glass over the door. I remember the consumptive looking
daughter of a prosperous tradesman showing us some rooms her father
wished to let, and suggesting that a cupboard off a sitting-room would
make a pleasant study. She said she slept in one just like it on a
higher floor. Of course she called it a _Kammer_ and not a cupboard,
but that did not make it more inviting. Over and over again I have
known servants stowed away in holes that seemed fit for brooms and
brushes, but not for creatures with lungs and easily poisoned blood.
This is one of the facts of German life that makes comparison between
England and Germany so difficult and bewildering. Everyone knowing
both countries is struck by the amount of State and police
surveillance and interference the Germans enjoy compared with us. I do
not say "endure," because Germans would not like it. Most of them
approve of the rule they are used to, and they tell us we live in a
horrid go-as-you-please fashion with the worst results. I suppose we
do. But I have never known an English servant put to sleep in a
cupboard, though I have heard complaints of damp fireless rooms,
especially in old historical palaces and houses. And I have never been
offered a room in a good English inn that had no windows to the open
air. These windowless rooms may be forbidden as bedrooms by the German
police, but it would take a bigger earthquake than the empire is
likely to sustain to do away with those still in use.



CHAPTER XV

FOOD


Although the Germans as a nation are large eaters, they begin their
day with the usual light continental breakfast of coffee and rolls. In
households where economy is practised it is still customary to do
without butter, or at any rate to provide it only for the master of
the house and for visitors. In addition to rolls and butter, you may,
if you are a man or a guest, have two small boiled eggs; but eggs in a
German town are apt to remind you of the Viennese waiter who assured a
complaining customer that their eggs were all stamped with the day,
month, and year. Home-made plum jam made with very little sugar is
often eaten instead of butter by the women of the family; and the
servants, where white rolls are regarded as a luxury, have rye bread.
No one need pity them on this account, however, as German rye bread is
as good as bread can be. Ordinary London household bread is poor stuff
in comparison with it. The white rolls and butter are always excellent
too, and I would even say a good word for the coffee. To be sure, Mark
Twain makes fun of German coffee in the _Tramp Abroad_: says something
about one chicory berry being used to a barrel of water; but the
poorest German coffee is better than the tepid muddy mixture you get
at all English railway stations, and at most English hotels and
private houses. Milk is nearly always poor in Germany, but whipped
cream is often added to either coffee or chocolate.

The precision that is so striking in the arrangement of German rooms
is generally lacking altogether in the serving of meals. The family
does not assemble in the morning at a table laid as in England with
the same care for breakfast as it will be at night for dinner. It
dribbles in as it pleases, arrayed as it pleases, drinks a cup of
coffee, eats a roll and departs about its business. Formerly the women
of the family always spent the morning in a loose gown, and wore a cap
over their undressed hair. This fashion, Germans inform you, is
falling into desuetude; but it falls slowly. Take an elderly German
lady by surprise in the morning, and you will still find her in what
fashion journals call a _negligé_, and what plain folk call a wrapper.
When it is of shepherd's plaid or snuff-coloured wool it is not an
attractive garment, and it is always what the last generation but one,
with their blunt tongues, called "slummocking." Most German women are
busy in the house all the morning, and when they are not going to
market they like to get through their work in this form of dress and
make themselves trim for the day later. The advantage claimed for the
plan is one of economy. The tidy costume worn later in the day is
saved considerable wear and tear. The obvious disadvantage is the
encouragement it offers to the sloven. In England whatever you are by
nature you must in an ordinary household be down to breakfast at a
fixed hour, presentably dressed; at any rate, with your hair done for
the day, and, it is to be supposed, with your bath accomplished.
Directly you depart from this you open the door to anything in the
dressing-gown and slipper way, to lying abed like a sluggard, and to
a waste of your own and the servants' time that undermines the whole
welfare of a home. At least, this is how the question presents itself
to English eyes. Meanwhile the continent continues to drink its coffee
attired in dressing-gowns, and to survive quite comfortably. In every
trousseau you still see some of these confections, and on the stage
the young wife who has to cajole her husband in the coming scene
usually appears in a coquettish one. But then it will not be made of
shepherd's plaid or snuff-coloured wool.

The dinner hour varies so much in Germany that it is impossible to fix
an hour for it. In country places you will find everyone sitting down
at midday, in towns one o'clock is usual, in Hamburg five is the
popular hour, in Berlin you may be invited anywhen. But unless people
dine at twelve they have some kind of second breakfast, and this meal
may correspond with the French déjeûner, or it may be even more
informal than the morning coffee. It consists in many places of a roll
or slice of bread with or without a shaving of meat or sausage.
Servants have it, children take it to school, charitable institutions
supply the bread without the meat to their inmates. In South Germany
all the men and many women drink beer or wine with this light meal,
but in Prussia most people are content with a _belegtes Butterbrot_, a
roll cut in two, buttered, and spread with meat or sausage or smoked
fish. This carries people on till one or two o'clock, when the chief
meal of the day is served.

All over Germany dinner begins with soup, and in most parts the soup
is followed by the _Ochsenfleisch_ that made it. At least
_Ochsenfleisch_ should make it by rights.

"I know what this is," said an old German friend, prodding at a tough
slice from a dish we all found uneatable. "This is not _Ochsenfleisch_
at all. This is _cow_."

Good gravy or horseradish sauce is served with it, whether it is ox or
cow, and for a time you take a slice day after day without
complaining. It is the persistence of the thing that wears you out in
the end. You must be born to _Ochsenfleisch_ to eat it year in and
year out as if it was bread or potatoes. It does not appear as
regularly in North as in South Germany; and in Hamburg you may once in
a way have dinner without soup. People who know Germany find this
almost beyond belief, but Hamburg has many little ways of its own, and
is a city with a strong individual character. It is extremely proud of
its cooking and its food, and it has every right to be. I once
travelled with two Germans who in a heated way discussed the
comparative merits of various German cities. They could not agree, and
they could not let the matter drop. At last one man got the best of
it. "I tell you that Hamburg is the finest city in Germany," he said.
"In a Hamburg hotel I once ate the best steak I ever ate in my life."
The other man had nothing to say to that. Hamburg has a splendid fish
supply, and Holstein brings her quantities of fruit and of farm
produce. Your second breakfast there is like a French déjeûner, a meal
served and prepared according to your means, but a regular meal and
not a mere snack. You drink coffee after it, and so sustain life till
five o'clock, when you dine. Then you drink coffee again, and as your
dinner has probably been an uncommonly good one you only need a light
supper at nine o'clock, when a tray will arrive with little sandwiches
and slender bottles of beer. In North Germany, where wine is scarce
and dear, it is hardly ever seen in many households, so that a young
Englishman wanting to describe his German friends, divided them for
convenience into wine people and beer people. The wine people were
plutocrats, and had red or white Rhine wine every day for dinner. I
probably need not tell my well-informed country people that Germans
never speak of hock.

In households where the chief meal of the day is at one or two o'clock
there is afternoon tea or coffee. It used invariably to be coffee,
good hot coffee and fresh rusks and dainty little _Hörnchen_ and
_Radankuchen_, an excellent light cake baked in a twisty tin. German
cakes want a whole chapter to themselves to do them justice, and they
should have it if it were not for a dialogue that frequently takes
place in a family well known to me. The wife is of German origin, but
as she has an English husband and English servants she keeps house in
the English way. Therefore mutton cold or hashed is her frequent
portion.

"How I hate hashed mutton," she sometimes says.

"Why do you have it, then?" says the husband, who has a genius for
asking apparently innocent but really provoking questions.

"What else can I have?" says the wife.

"Eel in jelly," says the husband. He once tasted it in Berlin, and it
must have given him a mental shock; for whenever his wife approaches
him with a domestic difficulty, asks him, for instance, what he would
like for breakfast, he suggests this inaccessible and uninviting dish.

"There is never anything to eat in England except mutton and
apple-tart," says the wife. "Your plain cooks can't cook anything
else. They can't cook those really. Think of a German apple-tart--"

"Why should I? I don't want one."

"That's the hopeless part of it. You are all content with what Daudet
called your _abominable cuisine_. I thank him for the phrase. It is
descriptive."

"Oh, well," says the husband, "we're not a greedy nation."

So if this is the English point of view the less said about cakes the
better. And anyhow, it is in this country that afternoon tea is an
engaging meal. Berlin offers you tea nowadays, but it is never good,
and instead of freshly cut bread and butter they have horrid little
chokey biscuits flavoured with vanilla. Old-fashioned Germans used to
put a bit of vanilla in the tea-pot when they had guests they delighted
to honour, but they all know better than that nowadays. The milk is
often boiled milk, but even that scarcely explains why tea is so seldom
fit to drink in Germany. Supper is a light meal in most houses. The
English mutton bone is never seen, for when cold meat is eaten it is
cut in neat slices and put on a long narrow dish. But there is nearly
always something from the nearest _Delikatessen_ shop with it,--slices
of ham or tongue, or slices of one or two of the various sausages of
Germany: _Blutwurst_, _Mettwurst_, _Schinkenwurst_, _Leberwurst_, all
different and all good. When a hot dish is served it is usually a light
one, often an omelette or some other preparation of eggs; and in spring
eggs and bits of asparagus are a great deal cooked together in various
ways: not asparagus heads so often as short lengths of the stalk sold
separately in the market, and quite tender when cooked. There is nearly
always a salad with the cold meat or a dish of the salted cucumbers
that make such a good pickle. The big loaves of light brown rye bread
appear at this meal instead of the little white rolls eaten at
breakfast. Beer or wine is drunk, and very often of late years tea as
well. Sweets are not usually served at supper, unless guests are
present. They are eaten at the midday dinner, and each part of Germany
has its own favourite dishes.

Soups are nearly always good in Germany, and some of the best are not
known in England. The dried green corn so much used for soup in South
Germany can, however, be bought in London from the German provision
merchants, so at the end of this greedy chapter I will give a recipe
for making it. _Nudelsuppe_ of strong chicken stock and home-made
_Nudeln_ used to be what the Berliner called his roast goose--"_eine
jute Jabe Jottes_," but the degenerate Germans of to-day buy tasteless
manufactured _Nudeln_ instead of rolling out their own. _Nudeln_ are
the German form of macaroni, but when properly made they are better
than any macaroni can be. If you have been brought up in an
old-fashioned German ménage, and, as a child likes to do, peeped into
the kitchen sometimes, you will remember seeing large sheets of
something as thin and yellow as chamois leather hung on a clothes
horse to dry. Then you knew that there would be _Nudeln_ for your
dinner, either narrow ones in soup, or wider ones boiled in water and
sprinkled with others cut as fine as vermicelli and fried brown in
butter. The paste is troublesome to make. It begins with a deceptive
simplicity. Take four whole eggs and four tablespoonsful of milk if
you want enough for ten people, says the cookery book, and make a
light dough of it with a knife in a basin. Anyone can do that, you
find. But then you must put your dough on the pastry board, and work
in more flour as you knead it with your hands. "The longer you knead
and the stiffer the dough is the better your _Nudeln_ will be,"
continues the cookery book. But the next operation is to cut the dough
into four, and roll out each portion _as thin as paper_, and no one
who has not seen German _Nudeln_ before they are cooked can believe
that this is actually done. It is no use to give the rest of the
recipe for drying them, rolling each piece loosely and cutting it into
strips and boiling them with salt in water. If you told your English
cook to make you _Nudeln_ she would despise it for a foreign mess, and
bring you something as thick as a pancake. If you want them you had
better get them in a box from a provision merchant, as the _Hausfrau_
herself does nowadays.

English people often say that there is no good meat to be had in
Germany. I would say that there is no good mutton, and a great deal of
poor coarse beef. But the _Filetbraten_ that you can get from the best
butchers is excellent. It is a long roll of undercut of beef, so long
that it seems to be sold by the yard. If you cook it in the English
way, says my German cookery book, you rub it well with salt and pepper
and baste it with butter; while the gravy is made with flour,
mushrooms, cream, and extract of beef. I should like to see the
expression of the English plain cook if she was told to baste her beef
with butter and make her gravy for it with mushrooms. I once came back
from Germany with a new idea for gravy, and tried it on a cook who
seemed to think that gravy was made by upsetting a kettle over a joint
and then adding lumps of flour.

"My sister's cook always puts an onion in the tin with a joint," I
said tentatively, for I was not very hopeful. I know that there is
always some insuperable objection to anything not consecrated by
tradition.

"It gives the gravy a flavour," I went on,--"not a strong flavour"--

I stopped. I waited for the objection.

"We couldn't do that HERE," said the cook.

"Why not?--We have tins and we have onions."

"It would spoil the dripping. What could I do with dripping as tasted
of onion?"

I had never thought of that, and so I had never asked my sister what
was done in her household with dripping as tasted with onion.

"I should think," I said slowly, "that it could be used to baste the
next joint."

"Then that would taste of onion," said the cook, "and I should have no
dripping when I wanted it."

I have always thought dripping a dull subject, and I know that it is
an explosive one, so I said nothing more. I went on instead to
describe a piece of beef stewed in its own juices on a bed of chopped
vegetables. We actually tried that, and when it was cold it tasted
agreeably of the vegetables, and was as tender to carve as butter.

"How did you like the German beef?" I said to an Englishwoman who had
been with me a great many years.

"I didn't like it at all, M'm."

"But it was so tender."

"Yes, M'm, it made me creep," she said.

So this chapter is really of no use from one point of view. You may
hear what queer things benighted people like the Germans eat and
drink, but you will never persuade your British household to
condescend to them.

Except in the coast towns, sea fish is scarce and dear all over
Germany. Salt fish and fresh-water fish are what you get, and except
the trout it is not interesting. A great deal of carp is eaten, cooked
with vinegar to turn it blue, and served with horseradish or wine
sauce. At a dinner party I have seen tench given, and they were
extremely pretty, like fish in old Italian pictures, but they were not
worth eating. At least a pound of fresh butter was put on each dish of
them, handed round, and you took some of it as well as a sort of
mustard sauce. Perch, pike, and eel are all eaten where nothing better
is to be had; but the standing fish-course of inland Germany is trout.
Most hotels have a tank where they keep it alive till it is wanted,
and in the Black Forest the peasants catch it and peddle it, walking
miles to make good sales. We went into the garden of our hotel in the
Wiesenthal one day, and found the basin of the fountain there crammed
with live trout. It was so full that you could take one in your hand
for a moment and look at its speckles, as lovely as the speckles on a
thrush's breast. The man who was carrying them on his back in a wooden
water-tight satchel was having a drink, and he had put out his fish
for a drink while he rested. I have never been within reach of fresh
herrings in Germany, and have never seen them there, but smoked ones
are eaten everywhere, often with salad, or together with smoked ham
and potatoes in their jackets. Neither the ham nor the herrings are
ever cooked when they have been smoked, and the ham is very tough in
consequence. The breast of a goose, too, is eaten smoked but not
cooked, and is considered a great delicacy. Poultry varies in quality
a good deal. Everyone knows the little chickens that come round at
hotel dinners, all legs and bones. A German family will sit down
contentedly to an old hen that the most economical of us would only
use for soup, and they will serve it roasted though it is as tough as
leather. I think it must be said that you get better fowls both in
France and England than in Germany. The German national bird is the
goose. In England, if you buy a goose your cook roasts it and sends it
up, and that is all you ever know of it. In Germany a goose is a
carnival, rather as a newly killed pig is in an English farmhouse.
You begin with a stew of the giblets, you perhaps continue with the
bird itself roasted and stuffed with chestnuts, you may have a dozen
different dishes made of its remains, while the fat that has basted it
you hoard and use sparingly for weeks. For instance, you cook a
cabbage with a little of it instead of with water. In South Germany,
goose livers are prepared with it, and are just as much liked as _pâté
de foie gras_.

Hares are eaten and most carefully prepared in Germany. They are
skinned in a way that an English poulterer has been known to learn
from his German customers and pronounce very troublesome, and the back
is usually served separately, larded and basted with sour cream.
Vegetables are cooked less simply than in England, and you will find
the two countries disagree heatedly about them. The Englishman does
not want his peas messed up with grease and vinegar, and though he
will be too polite to say so, he will silently agree with his plain
cook who says that peas served in the pod is a dish only fit for pigs
and what she has never been accustomed to; while the German will get
quite dejected over the everlasting plain boiled cabbage and potatoes
he is offered week after week in his English boarding-house. At home,
he says, he is used to mountains of fat asparagus all the spring, and
he thinks slightly of your skinny green ones or of the wooden stuff
you import and pay less for because it is "foreign." He likes potatoes
cooked in twenty various ways, and when mashed he is of opinion that
they should not be black or lumpy. He wants a dozen different
vegetables dished up round one joint of beef, and in summer salads of
various kinds on various occasions, and not your savage mixed salad
with a horrible sauce poured out of a bottle; furniture polish he
believes it to be from its colour. In the autumn he expects chestnuts
cooked with gravy and vegetables, or made into light puddings; and
apple sauce, he assures you, should be a creamy white, and as smooth
as a well made purée. If he is of the South he would like a
_Mehlspeise_ after his meat, _Spetzerle_ if he comes from Würtemberg;
one of a hundred different dishes if he is a Bavarian. He will not
allow that your national milk puddings take their place. If he is a
North German his _Leibgericht_ may be _Rote Grütze_. This is eaten
enormously all over Denmark and North Germany in summer, and is
nothing in the world but a ground rice or sago mould made with fruit
juice instead of milk. The old-fashioned way was to squeeze
raspberries and currants through a cloth till you had a quart of pure
juice, which you then boiled with 4 oz. ground rice and sugar to
taste, stirring carefully lest it should burn, and stirring patiently
so that the rice should be well cooked. But where fruit is dear you
can make excellent _Rote Grütze_ by stewing the fruit first with a
little water and straining off the juice. A quart of currants and a
pound of raspberries should give you a good quart mould. The Danes
make it of rhubarb and plum juice in the same way; and my German
cookery book gives a recipe for _Grüne Grütze_ made with green
gooseberries, but I tried that once and found it quite inferior to our
own gooseberry fool.

Food is so much a matter of taste and custom, that it seems absurd to
make dogmatic remarks about the superiority of one kitchen to another.
If you like cold mutton, boiled potatoes and rice pudding, most days
in the week, you like them and there is an end of it. The one thing
you can say for certain is that to cook for you requires neither skill
nor pains, while to cook for a German family, even if it lives plainly
and poorly, takes time and trouble. In trying to compare the methods
of two nations, one must naturally be careful to compare households on
the same social plane; and an English household that lives on cold
mutton and rice pudding is certainly a plain and probably a poor one.
In well-to-do English households you get the best food in the world as
far as raw material goes, but it must be said that you often get poor
cooking. It passes quite unnoticed too. No one seems to mind thick
soups that are too thick and gravies that are tasteless, and melted
butter like Stickphast paste, and savouries quite acrid with over much
vinegar and anchovy. I once saw a whole company of English people
contentedly eat a dish of hot scones that had gone wrong. They tasted
of strong yellow soap. But I once saw a company of Germans eat bad
fish and apparently like it. They were sea soles handed round in a
Swiss hotel, and they should by rights have been buried the day
before. I thought of Ottilie von Schlippenschlopp and the oysters. But
the soles were carefully cooked, and served with an elaborate sauce.

       *       *       *       *       *

GREEN CORN SOUP.--For six people take 7 oz. of green corn: wash it
well in hot water, and cook it until it is quite soft in stock or salt
water. Put it through a sieve, add boiling stock, and serve with fried
slice of bread or with small semolina dumplings.

GREEN CORN SOUP.--Another way. For six people take 5-½ oz. of green
corn, wash it well in hot water, and let it simmer for a few minutes
with a little stock and 1-½ oz. butter. Then add strong stock, and let
it simmer slowly with the lid on till the corn is soft. Then stir a
tablespoonful of fine flour with half a cupful of milk, and add it to
the soup, stirring all the time. This must then cook an hour longer.
When ready to serve, mix the yolks of two eggs with a little sour
cream, and add the soup carefully so that it is not curdled. The soup
is not strained through a sieve when it is served without dumplings.

The little dumplings are first cooked as a panada of semolina, butter,
milk and egg, and then dropped into the soup and cooked in it for ten
minutes.



CHAPTER XVI

SHOPS AND MARKETS


Berlin people compare their Wertheim with the Bon Marché at Paris, or
with Whiteley's in London; only always adding that Wertheim is
superior to any emporium in France or England. So it really is in one
way. A great artist designed it, and the outside of the building is
plain and stately, a most refreshing contrast to most Berlin
architecture. On the ground floor there is a high spacious hall that
is splendid when it is lighted up at night, and a staircase leads up
and down from here to the various departments, all decorated soberly
and pleasantly, mostly with wood. You can buy almost anything you want
at Wertheim's, from the furniture of your house to a threepenny pair
of cotton mittens with a thumb and no fingers. You can see tons of the
most hideous rubbish there, and you can find a corner reserved for
original work, done by two or three artists whose names are well known
in Germany. For instance, Wertheim exhibits the very clever curious
"applications" done by Frau Katy Münchhausen, groups of monkeys,
storks, cocks and hens, and other animals, drawn with immense spirit
and life on cloth, cut out and then _machined_ on a background of
another colour. The machining has a bad sound, I admit, but for all
that the "applications" are enchanting. Wertheim, too, shows some
good furniture; he sells theatre tickets, books, fruit, groceries,
Liberty cushions, embroideries, soaps, perfumes, toys, ironmongery,
china, glass, as well as everything that can be called drapery. He has
a tea-room as well as a large general refreshment-room, where you can
get ices, iced coffee, beer, all kinds of sandwiches, and the various
_Torten_ Germans make so very much better than other people. In this
room no money is wasted on waiters or waitresses, and no one expects
to be tipped. You fetch what you want from a long bar running along
two sides of the room, and divided into short stretches, each selling
its own stuff; you pay at the counter, and you carry your ice or your
cake to any little marble-topped table you choose. The advantage of
the plan is that you do not have to wait till you catch the eye of a
waitress determined not to look your way: the disadvantage is that you
have to perform the difficult feat of carrying a full cup or a full
glass through a crowd. Whatever you buy at the counter is sure to be
good, but if all you could get was a Mugby Junction bun you would have
to eat it after the exhausting process of buying a yard of ribbon or a
few picture postcards at Wertheim's.

To begin with, there are no chairs. You cannot sit down. On a hot
summer morning, when you have perhaps been to the market already, you
go to the Leipziger Strasse for theatre tickets, a pair of gloves, and
two or three small odds and ends. On the ground floor you see gloves,
innumerable boxes of them besieged by a pushing, determined crowd of
women. The shop ladies in any coloured blouses look hot and weary, but
try to serve six customers at once. When you have chosen what you
want, and know exactly how sharp the elbows to left and right of you
are, you see your lady walk off with your most pushful neighbour and
the pair of three-penny gloves she has after much argument agreed to
buy; for at Wertheim's you cannot depart with so much as a halfpenny
postcard till it has passed through three pairs of hands besides your
own. First the shop lady must deposit it with a bill at the cashier's
desk. Then, when the cashier can attend to you, you pay for it. Then
you may wait any time until the third person concerned will do it up
in paper and string. This last proceeding is often so interminably
delayed that if you were not in Germany you would snatch at what you
have paid for and make off. But the _Polizei_ alone knows what would
happen if you ran your head against the established pedantry of things
in the city of the Spree. You would probably find yourself in prison
for _Beamtenbeleidigung_ or _lèse majesté_. "The Emperor is a fool,"
said some disloyal subject in a public place. "To prison with him,"
screamed every horror-struck official. "Off with his head!" "But I
meant the Emperor of China," protested the sinner. "That's
impossible," said the officials in chorus. "Anyone who says the
Emperor is a fool means our Emperor." And an official spirit seems to
encroach on the business one, and drill its very customers while it
anxiously serves them. For instance, the arrangements for sending what
you buy are most tiresome and difficult to understand at Wertheim's.
His carts patrol the streets, and your German friends assure you that
he sends anything. You find that if you shop with a country card the
things entered on it will arrive; but if you buy a bulky toy or some
heavy books and pay for them in their departments, you meet with fuss
and refusal when you ask as a matter of course to have them sent. It
can be done if your goods have cost enough, but not if you have only
spent two or three shillings. It is the fashion in England just now
for every man who writes about Germans to say that they are immensely
ahead of us in business matters. I cannot judge of them in their
factories and warehouses, but I am sure they are behind us in their
shops. A woman cannot live three hundred miles from Berlin and get
everything she wants from Wertheim delivered by return and carriage
free. Nor will he supply her with an immense illustrated catalogue and
a book of order forms addressed to his firm, so that the trouble of
shopping from a distance is reduced to a minimum. In England you can
do your London shopping as easily, promptly, and cheaply from a Scotch
or a Cornish village as you can from a Surrey suburb.

In most German towns you still find the shops classified on the old
lines. You go to one for drapery, and to another for linen, and to
another for small wares, and to yet another for ribbons. There are
sausage shops and chocolate shops, and in Berlin there are shops for
the celebrated Berlin _Baumkuchen_. There are a great many cellar
shops all over Germany, and these are mostly restaurants, laundries,
and greengrocers. The drinking scene in _Faust_ when Mephisto made
wine flow from the table takes place in Auerbach's Keller, a cellar
restaurant still in existence in Leipzig. The lower class of cellar
takes the place in Germany of our slums, and the worst of them are
regular thieves' kitchens known to the police. There is an admirable
description of life in a cellar shop in Klara Viebig's _Das Tägliche
Brot_. The woman who keeps it has a greengrocery business and a
registry office for servants, and as such people go is respectable;
but I recommend the book to my countrymen who go to Berlin as
officials or journalists for ten days, are taken over various highly
polished public institutions, and come back to tell us that the
Germans are every man jack of them clean, prosperous, well mannered,
and healthy. It is true that German municipal government is striving
rather splendidly to bring this state of things about, but they have
plenty of work before them still. These cellar shops, for instance,
are more fit for mushroom growing than for human nurseries, and yet
the picture in the novel of the family struggling with darkness and
disease there can still be verified in most of the old streets of
Germany.

When our English journalists write column after column about the
dangerous explosive energy and restlessness of modern Germany, I feel
sure that they must be right, and yet I wish they could have come
shopping with me a year or two ago in a small Black Forest town. One
of us wanted a watch key and the other a piece of tape, and we set off
light-heartedly to buy them, for we knew that there was a draper and a
watchmaker in the main street. We knew, too, that in South Germany
everyone is first dining and then asleep between twelve and two, so we
waited till after two and then went to the watchmaker's. There was no
shop window, and when, after ringing two or three times, we were let
in we found there was no shop. We sat down in a big cool sitting-room,
beautifully clean and tidy. The watchmaker's wife appeared in due
course, looked at us with friendly interest, asked us where we came
from, and how long we meant to stay, wondered if we knew her cousin
Johannes Müller, a hairdresser in Islington, discussed the relative
merits of emigration to England and America, offered us some cherries
from a basketful on the table, and at last admitted unwillingly that
her husband was not at home, and that she herself knew not whether he
had watch keys. So we set off to buy our tape, and again found a
private room, an amiable family, but no one who felt able to sell
anything. It seemed an odd way of doing business we said to our
landlord, but he saw nothing odd in it. Most people were busy with
their hay, he explained. Towards the end of a week we caught our
watchmaker, and obtained a key, but he would not let us pay for it. He
said it was one of an old collection, and of no use to him. The
etiquette of shopping in Germany seems to us rather topsy-turvy at
first. In a small shop the proprietor is as likely as not to conduct
business with a cigar in his mouth, even if you are a lady, but if you
are a man he will think you a boor if you omit to remove your hat as
you cross his threshold. Whether you are a man, woman, or child, you
will wish him good-morning or good-evening before you ask for what you
want, and he will answer you before he asks what your commands are. If
you are a woman, about as ignorant as most women, and with a humble
mind, you will probably have no fixed opinion about the question of
free or fair trade. You may even, if you are very humble, recognise
that it is not quite the simple question Dick, Tom, and Harry think it
is. But you will know for certain that when you want ribbons for a hat
you had better buy them in Kensington and not in Frankfurt, and that
though there are plenty of cheap materials in Germany, the same
quality would be cheaper still in London. Everything to do with
women's clothing is dearer there than here. So is stationery, so are
groceries, so are the better class of fancy goods. But the Germans,
say the Fair Traders, are a prosperous nation, and it is because their
manufactures are protected. This may be so. I can only look at various
quite small unimportant trifles, such as ribbons, for instance, or
pewter vases or blotting-paper or peppermint drops. I know that a
German woman either wears a common ribbon on her hat, or pays twice
as much as I do for a good one; she is content with one pewter vase
where your English suburban drawing-room packs twenty into one corner,
with twenty silver frames and vases near them. A few years ago the one
thing German blotting-paper refused to do was to absorb ink, and it
was so dear that in all small country inns and in old-fashioned
offices you were expected to use sand instead. The sand was kept
beside the ink in a vessel that had a top like a pepper pot; and it
was more amusing than blotting-paper, but not as efficacious. As for
the peppermint drops, they used to be a regular export from families
living in London to families living in Germany. They were probably
needed after having goose and chestnuts for dinner, and ours were
twice as large as the German ones and about six times as strong, so no
doubt they were like our blotting-paper, and performed what they
engaged to perform more thoroughly.

But shops of any kind are dull compared with an open market held in
one of the many ancient market places of Germany. Photographs of
Freiburg give a bird's-eye view of the town with the minster rising
from the midst of its red roofs; but there is just a peep at the
market which is being held at the foot of the minster. On the side
hidden by the towering cathedral there are some of the oldest houses
in Freiburg. It is a large crowded market on certain days of the week,
and full of colour and movement. The peasants who come to it from the
neighbouring valleys wear bright-coloured skirts and headgear, and in
that part of Germany fruit is plentiful, so that all through the
summer and autumn the market carts and barrows are heaped with
cherries, wild strawberries, plums, apricots, peaches, and grapes in
their season. The market place itself, and even the steps of the
minster and of the surrounding houses, are crowded with the peasants
and their produce, and with the leisurely servants and housewives
bargaining for the day's supplies. From a view of the market place at
Cottbus in Brandenburg you may get a better idea of the people at a
German market; the servants with their umbrellas, their big baskets,
their baggy blouses and no hats, the middle class housewife with a hat
or a bonnet, and a huge basket on her arm, a nursemaid in peasant
costume stooping over her perambulator, other peasants in costume at
the stalls, and two of the farm carts that are in some districts yoked
oftener with oxen than with horses. There is naturally great variety
in the size and character of markets, according to the needs they
supply. In Hamburg the old names show you that there were separate
markets for separate trades, so that you went to the Schweinemarkt
when you wanted pigs, and to some other part of the city when you
wanted flowers and fruit. In Berlin there are twelve covered markets
besides the open ones, and they are all as admirably clean, tidy, and
unpoetical as everything else is in that spick and span, swept and
garnished Philistine city. The green gooseberries there are marked
"unripe fruit" by order of the police, so that no one should think
they were ripe and eat them uncooked; and you can buy rhubarb
nowadays, a vegetable the modern Berliner eats without shuddering. But
in a Berlin market you buy what you need as quickly as you can and
come away. There is nothing to tempt you, nothing picturesque, nothing
German, if German brings to your mind a queer mixture of poetry and
music, gabled, tumbledown houses, storks' nests, toys, marvellous
cakes and sweets and the kindliest of people. If you are so modern
that German means nothing to you but drill and hustle, the roar of
factories and the pride of monster municipal ventures, then you may
see the markets of Berlin and rest content with them. They will show
you what you already know of this day's Germany. But my household
treasures gathered here and there in German markets did not have one
added to their number in Berlin.

"That!" said a German friend when I showed her a yellow pitcher dabbed
with colour, and having a spout, a handle, and a lid,--"that! I would
not have it in my kitchen."

It certainly only cost the third of a penny, but it lived with honour
in my drawing-room till it shared the fate of all clay, and came in
two in somebody's hands. The blue and grey bellied bottle, one of
those in which the Thuringian peasants carry beer to the field, cost
three halfpence, but the butter-dish with a lid of the same ware only
cost a halfpenny. There is always an immense heap of this rough grey
and blue pottery in a South German market, and it is much prettier
than the more ornate Coblenz ware we import and sell at high prices.
So is the deep red earthenware glazed inside and rough outside and
splashed with colours. You find plenty of it at the Leipziger Messe,
that historical fair that used to be as important to Western Europe as
Nijni Novgorod is to Russia and the East. To judge from modern German
trade circulars, it is still of considerable importance, and the
buildings in which merchants of all countries display their wares have
recently been renovated and enlarged. Out of doors the various
market-places are covered with little stalls selling cheap clothing,
cheap toys, jewellery, sweets, and gingerbread; all the heterogeneous
rubbish you have seen a thousand times at German fairs, and never
tire of seeing if a fair delights you.

But better than the Leipziger Messe, better even than a summer market
at Freiburg or at Heidelburg, is a Christmas market in any one of the
old German cities in the hill country, when the streets and the open
places are covered with crisp clean snow, and the mountains are white
with it, and the moon shines on the ancient houses, and the tinkle of
sledge bells reaches you when you escape from the din of the market,
and look down at the bustle of it from some silent place, a high
window perhaps, or the high empty steps leading into the cathedral.
The air is cold and still, and heavy with the scent of the Christmas
trees brought from the forest for the pleasure of the children. Day by
day you see the rows of them growing thinner, and if you go to the
market on Christmas Eve itself you will find only a few trees left out
in the cold. The market is empty, the peasants are harnessing their
horses or their oxen, the women are packing up their unsold goods. In
every home in the city one of the trees that scented the open air a
week ago is shining now with lights and little gilded nuts and apples,
and is helping to make that Christmas smell, all compact of the pine
forest, wax candles, cakes, and painted toys, you must associate so
long as you live with Christmas in Germany.



CHAPTER XVII

EXPENSES OF LIFE


A few years ago a German economist reckoned that there were only
250,000 families in the empire whose incomes exceeded £450, a year.
There were nearly three million households living on incomes ranging
from £135 to £450, and nearly four millions with more than £90 but
less than £135. But there were upwards of five millions whose incomes
fell below £45. Since that estimate was made, Germany has grown in
wealth and prosperity; and in the big cities there is great
expenditure and luxury amongst some classes, especially amongst the
Jews who can afford it, and amongst the officers of the army who as a
rule cannot. But the bulk of the nation is poor, and class for class
lives on less than people do in England. For instance, the headmaster
of a school gets about £100 a year in a small town, and from £200 to
£300 in a big one. A lieutenant gets about £65 a year, and an
additional £12 if he has no private means. His uniform and mess
expenses are deducted from this. He is not allowed to marry on his
official income, unless he or his wife has an income of £125 in
addition to his pay, as even in Germany an army man can hardly keep up
appearances and support a wife and family on less than £190 a year. It
is quite common to hear of a clerk living on £40 or £50, or of a
doctor who knows his work and yet can only make £150. The official
posts so eagerly sought after are poorly paid; so are servants,
agricultural labourers, and artisans. When you are in Germany, if you
are interested in questions of income and expenditure, you are always
trying to make up your mind why a German family can live as
successfully on £400 as an English family on £700, for you know that
rent and taxes are high and food and clothing dear. If you are a woman
and think about it a great deal, and look at family life in as many
places and classes as you can, you finally decide that there are three
chief reasons for the great difference between the cost of life in
England and Germany. In the first place, labour is cheaper there; in
the second place, the standard of luxury and even of comfort is lower;
in the third place, the women are thriftier and more industrious than
Englishwomen. This, too, leaves out of account the most important
fact, that the State educates a man's children for next to nothing;
and drills the male ones into shape when they serve in the army.

Servants, we have seen, get lower wages than they do here, but the
real economy is in the smaller number kept. Where we pay and maintain
half a dozen a German family will be content with two, and the typical
small English household that cannot face life without its plain cook
in the kitchen and its parlour-maid in her black gown at the front
door, will throughout the German Empire get along quite serenely with
one young woman to cook and clean and do everything else required. If
she is a "pearl" she probably makes the young ladies' frocks and irons
the master's shirts to fill in her time. Germans do not trouble about
the black frock and the white apron at the front door. They will even
open the door to you themselves if the "girl" is washing or cooking.
A female servant is always a "girl" in Germany. I once heard a young
Englishwoman who had not been long in Germany ask an elderly
acquaintance to recommend a dressmaker.

"The best one in ---- is Fräulein Müller," said the elderly
acquaintance.

"But she is too expensive," said the Englishwoman, and she glanced
across the room at the lady's nieces, who were neatly and plainly
dressed. "Do girls go to Fräulein Müller?"

"Girls! Certainly not," said the lady, with the expression Germans
keep for the insane English it is their fate to encounter
occasionally.

"But that is what I want to know, ... a dressmaker girls go to ...
girls with a small allowance."

"I am afraid I cannot help you," said the lady stiffly. "I know
nothing about the dressmakers girls employ."

"Perhaps Miss Brown means 'young girls,'" said one of the nieces, who
was not as slow in the uptake as her aunt, and it turned out that this
was what Miss Brown did mean; but she had not known that in everyday
life _Mädchen_ without an adjective usually means a servant. She had
heard of _Das Mädchen aus der Fremde_ and _Der Tod und das Mädchen_,
and blundered.

I once made a German exceedingly angry by saying that the standard of
comfort was higher in England than in Germany. She said it was lower.
When you have lived in both countries and with both peoples you arrive
in the end at having your opinions, and knowing that each one you hold
will be disputed on one side or the other. "Find out what means
_Gemütlichkeit_, and do it without fail," says Hans Breitmann, but
_Gemütlichkeit_ and comfort are not quite interchangeable words. Our
word is more material. When we talk of English comfort we are thinking
of our open fires, our solid food, our thick carpets, and our
well-drilled smart-looking servants. The German is thinking of the
spiritual atmosphere in his own house, the absence, as he says, of
ceremony and the freedom of ideas. He talks of a man being _gemütlich_
in his disposition, kindly, that is, and easy going. We talk of a
house being comfortable, and when we do use the word for a person
usually mean that she is rather stout. When both you and the German
have decided that "comfort" for the moment shall mean material
comfort, you will disagree about what is necessary to yours. You must
have your bathroom, your bacon for breakfast, your table laid
precisely, your meals served to the moment, your young women in black
or your staid men to give them to you, and your glowing fires in as
many rooms as possible. The German cares for none of these things. He
would rather have his half-pound of odds and ends from the provision
shop than your boiled cod, roast mutton, and apple-tart; he wants his
stove, his double windows, his good coffee, his _kräftige Kost_, and
freedom to smoke in every corner of his house. He is never tired of
telling you that, though you have more political freedom in England,
you are groaning under a degree of social tyranny that he could not
endure for a day. The Idealist, quoted in a former chapter, is for
ever talking of the "hypocrisy" of English life, and her burning
anxiety is to save the children of certain Russian and German exiles
from contact with it. Another German tells you that our system of
collegiate life for women would not suit her countryfolk, because
they are more "individual." Each one likes to choose her own rooms,
and live as she pleases. The next German has suffered torments in
London because he had to sit down to certain meals at certain hours
instead of eating anything he fancied at any time he felt hungry, and
I suppose it is only your British _Heuchelei_ that leads you to smile
politely instead of adding, "As the beasts of the field do." But I am
always mazed, as the Cornish say, when Germans talk of their freedom
from convention. In Hamburg I was once seriously rebuked by an old
friend for carrying a book through the streets that was not wrapped up
in paper. In Hamburg that is one of the things people don't do. In
Mainz and in many other German towns there are certain streets where
one side, for reasons no one can explain, is taboo at certain hours of
the day; not of the night, but of the day. You may go to a music shop
at midday to buy a sonata, and find, if you are a girl, that you have
committed a crime. The intercourse between young people outside their
homes is hedged round with convention. German titles of address are so
absurdly formal that Germans laugh at them themselves. Their
ceremonies in connection with anniversaries and family events bristle
with convention, and offer pitfalls at every step to the stranger or
the blunderer. It is true that men do not dress for dinner every day,
and wax indignant over the necessity of doing so for the theatre in
England; but there are various occasions when they wear evening dress
in broad daylight, and an Englishman considers that an uncomfortable
convention. The truth is, that these questions of comfort and
ceremonial are not questions that should be discussed in the hostile
dogmatic tone adopted in both countries by those who only know their
own. The ceremonies that are foreign to you impress you, while those
you have been used to all your life have become a second nature. An
Englishwoman feels downright uncomfortable in her high stuff gown at
night, and a German lady brought up at one of the great German Courts
told me that when she stayed in an English country house and put on
what she called a ball dress for dinner every night, she felt like a
fool.

To come back to questions of expenditure so intimately related to
questions of comfort, it must be remembered that in an English
household there are two dinners a day: one early for the servants and
children, and one late for the grown-ups; and solid dinners cost money
even in England, where at present there is no meat famine. When
Germans dine late they don't also dine early, even where there are
children; while the kitchen dinner, that meal of supreme importance
here, is eaten when the family has finished theirs, and is as informal
as the meal a bird makes of berries. In a German household, living on
a small income, nothing is wasted,--not fuel, not food, not cleaning
materials, as far as possible not time. The _tüchtige Hausfrau_ would
be made miserable by having to pay and feed a woman who put on gala
clothes at midday, and did no work to soil them after that.

"Two girls," I once heard a German say to an Englishwoman who had just
described her own modest household which she ran, she said, with two
maids. "Two girls ... for you and your husband. But what, I ask you,
does the second one do?"

"She cleans the rooms and waits at table and opens the door," said the
Englishwoman.

"All that can one girl do just as well. I assure you it is so. There
cannot possibly be work in your household for two girls. You have told
me how quietly you live, and I know what English cooking is, if you
can call it cooking."

"You see, there must be someone to open the door."

"Why could one girl not answer the door, ... unless she was washing.
Then you would naturally go yourself."

"But it wouldn't be natural in England," said the Englishwoman. "It
would be odd. Besides, if you only have one servant, she can't dress
for lunch."

"Why should she dress for lunch?" asked the German. "My Auguste is a
pearl, but she only dresses when we have _Gesellschaft_. Then she
wears a plaid blouse and a garnet brooch that I gave her last
Christmas, and she looks very well in them. But every day ... and for
lunch, when half the work of the day is still to be done.... What,
then, does your second girl do in the afternoons?"

"She brings tea and answers the door."

"Always the door. But your husband is not a doctor or a dentist. Why
do so many people come to your door that you need a whole girl to
attend to them?"

"Oh! They don't," said the Englishwoman, getting rather worn. "There
are very few, really. It's the custom."

"Ah!" said the German, with a long deep breath of satisfaction. "So
are you English ... such slaves to custom. _Gott sei Dank_ that I do
not live in a country where I should have to keep a girl in idleness
for the sake of the door. With us a door is a door. Anyone who happens
to be near opens it."

"I know they do," said the Englishwoman, "and when a servant comes she
expects you to say _Guten Tag_ before you ask whether her mistress is
at home?"

"Certainly. It is a politeness. We are a polite nation."

"And once, when I had just come back from Germany, I said Good-morning
to an English butler before I asked if his mistress was at home, and
he thought I was mad. We each have our own conventions. That's the
truth of the matter."

"Not at all," said the German. "The truth of the matter is, that the
English are extremely conventional, and follow each other as sheep do;
but the German does what pleases him, without asking first whether his
neighbour does likewise."

This is what the German really believes, and you agree or disagree
with him according to the phase of life you look at when he is
speaking. You find that when he comes to England he honestly feels
checked at every turn by our unwritten laws, while when you go to
Germany you wonder how he can submit so patiently to the pettiness and
multiplicity of his written ones. He vaguely feels the pressure and
criticism of your indefinite code of manners; you think his elaborate
system of titles, introductions, and celebrations rather childish and
extremely troublesome. If you have what the English call manners you
will take the greatest care not to let him find this out, and in
course of time, however much you like him on the whole, you will lose
your patience a little with the individual you are bound to meet, the
individual who has England on his nerves, and exhausts his energy and
eloquence in informing you of your country's shortcomings. They are
legion, and indeed leave no room for the smallest virtue, so that in
the end you can only wonder solemnly why such a nation ever came to be
a nation at all.

"That is easily answered," says your Anglophobe. "England has arrived
where she is by seizing everything she can lay hands on. Now it is
going to be our turn."

You express your interest in the future of Germany as seen by your
friend, and he shows you a map of Europe which he has himself marked
with red ink all round the empire as it will be a few years hence.
There is not much Europe outside the red line.

"But you haven't taken Great Britain," you say, rather hurt at being
left out in this way.

"We don't want it ... otherwise, ... but India ... possibly
Australia." He waves his hands.

You look at him pensively, and suddenly see one of the great everyday
distances between your countryfolk and his. You think of a French
novel that has amused you lately, because the parents of the heroine
objected to her marriage with the hero on grounds you were quite
incapable of understanding. The young man's work was in Cochin-China,
and the young lady's father and mother did not wish her to go so far.
Never in your life have you heard anyone raise such a trivial
difficulty. You live in a dull sober street mostly inhabited by dull
sober people, but there is not one house in it that is not linked by
interest or affection, often doubly linked, with some uttermost end of
the earth. You can hardly find an English family that has not one
member or more in far countries, and so the common talk of English
people in all classes travels the width of the world in the wake of
those dear to them. But in 1900 only 22,309 Germans out of a
population of 60,400,000 emigrated from Germany, and these, says Mr.
Eltzbacher, whose figures I am quoting, were more than counterbalanced
by immigration into Germany from Austria, Russia, and Italy. It is
true that the population of Germany is increasing with immense
rapidity, and that the question of expansion is becoming a burning
one; but it is a question quite outside the strictly home politics of
this unpretending chronicle. We are only concerned with the obvious
fact that Germans settle in far countries in much smaller numbers than
we do, and that those who go abroad mostly choose the British flag and
avoid their own. It does not occur as easily to a German as to an
Englishman that he may better his fortunes in another part of the
world, or if he is an official that he will apply for a post in Asia
or Africa. He wants to stay near the Rhine or the Spree where he was
born, and to bring up his children there; and with the help of the
State and his wife he contrives to do this on an extraordinary small
income. The State, as we have seen, almost takes his children off his
hands from the time they are six years old. It brings them up for
nothing, or next to nothing; in cases of need it partially feeds and
clothes them, it even washes them. Some English humorist has said that
a German need only give himself the trouble to be born; his government
does the rest. But first his mother and then his wife do a good deal.
They are like the woman in Proverbs who worked willingly with her
hands, rose while it was night, saw well to the ways of her household,
and ate not the bread of idleness.

I have before me the household accounts of several German families
living on what we should call small incomes; and they show more
exactly than any vague praise can do the prodigies of thrift
accomplished by people obliged to economise, and at the same time to
present a respectable appearance. The first one is the budget of a
small official living with a wife and two children in a little town
where a flat on the fourth or fifth floor can be had at a low rent:--

                                         £   s. d.
Rent                                    20   0  0
Fuel                                     3  10  0
Light                                    1  10  0
Clothes for the man                      3   0  0
Clothes for the wife                     2   0  0
Clothes for the children                 1   0  0
Boots for the man                        1   0  0
Boots for the wife and children          1   5  0
Repairs to boots                         0  17  6
Washing and house repairs                3   0  0
Doctor                                   2   0  0
Newspaper                                0  12  0
Charwoman                                3   0  0
Taxes                                    2  10  0
Postage                                  1   4  0
Insurances                               2  10  0
Amusements                               3   0  0
Housekeeping                            45   0  0
Sundries                                 3   1  0
                                      -----------
                                      £100   0  0
                                      ===========

The fuel allowed in this budget consists of 30 cwt. of _Steinkohlen_
at 1 mark 15 pf. the cwt., 30 cwt. of _Braunkohlen_ at 70 pf. the
cwt., and 4 cwt. of kindling at 1 mark 10 pf. the cwt. This quantity,
3 tons without the kindling, would have to be used most sparingly to
last through a long rigorous German winter, as well as for cooking and
washing in summer. The amount set apart for lights allows for one lamp
in the living room and two small ones in the passage and kitchen. The
man may have a new suit every year, one year in winter and the next
year in summer, and his suit may cost £2, 10s. His great-coat also is
to cost £2, 10s., but he can't have a new suit the year he buys one,
and it should last him at least four years. The ten shillings left is
for all his other clothes except boots, and presumably for all his
personal expenses, including tobacco, so he had better not spend it
all at once. His wife performs greater miracles still, for she has to
buy a winter gown and a summer gown, a hat and gloves, for her £2.
These are not fancy figures. The miracle is performed by tens of
thousands of German women every year. They buy a few yards of cheap
stuff and get in a sewing-woman to make it up, for as a rule they are
not nearly as clever and capable as Englishwomen about making things
for themselves. Your English maid-servant will buy a blouse length at
a sale for a few pence, make it up smartly, and wear it out in a month
of Sundays. Your German she-official will have a blouse made for her,
and it will probably be hideous; but she will wear it so carefully
that it lasts her two years. Under-raiment she will never want to buy,
as she will have brought a life-long supply to her home at marriage.
You easily figure the children who are dressed on twenty marks a year,
the girl in a shoddy tartan made in a fashion of fifty years ago with
the "waist" hooked behind, and the boy in some snuff-coloured mixture
floridly braided. But the interesting revelation of this small
official budget is in its carefully planned fare made out for a
fortnight in summer and a fortnight in winter. In winter the
_Hausfrau_ may spend about 17s. a week on her food and in summer 19s.
That leaves only 2s. a month for the extra days of the month, and for
small expenses, such as soda, matches, blacking, and condiments.
Breakfast may cost sixpence a day, and for this there is to be ¾ litre
of milk, 4 small white rolls, ½ lb. rye bread, 2 oz. of butter, 1 oz.
of coffee. Nothing is set down for sugar, and I think that most German
families of this class would not use sugar, and would eat their bread
without butter. On Sunday they have a goose for dinner, and pay 4s.
6d. for it, and though 4s. 6d. is not much to pay for a goose, it
seems an extravagant dish for this family, until you discover that
they are still dining on it on Wednesday. Not only has the _Hausfrau_
brought home this costly bird, but she has laid in a whole pound of
lard to roast with it, white bread for stuffing, and cabbage for a
vegetable. Pudding is not considered necessary after goose, and for
supper there is bread and milk for the children, and bread, butter,
cheese, and beer for the parents. On Monday they have a rest from
goose, and dine on _gehacktes Schweinefleisch_. German butchers sell
raw minced meat very cheaply, and the _Hausfrau_ would probably get as
much as she wanted for three-halfpence. On Tuesday they get back to
the goose, and have a hash of the wings, neck, and liver with
potatoes. For supper, rice cooked with milk and cinnamon. Germans use
cinnamon rather as the Spaniards use garlic. They seem to think it
improves everything, and they eat quantities of milky rice strewn with
it. On Wednesday my family has soup for dinner, a solid soup made of
goose, rice, and a pennyworth of carrots. For supper there is sausage,
bread, and beer. By the way, this official is not really
representative, for he spends nothing on tobacco, and only a penny
every other day on beer. He cannot have been a Bavarian. His wife
gives him cod with mustard sauce on Thursday, Sauerkraut and shin of
beef on Friday, and on Saturday lentil soup with sausages, an
excellent dish when properly cooked for those who want solid
nourishing food. On the following Sunday 3 pounds of beef appears, and
potato dumplings with stewed fruit, another good German mixture if the
dumplings are as light as they should be. The husband has them warmed
up for supper next day. One day he has bacon and vegetables for
dinner, and another day only apple sauce and pancakes, but at every
midday meal throughout the fortnight he has carefully planned food on
which his wife spends considerable time and trouble. He never comes
home from his work on a winter's day to have a mutton bone and watery
potatoes set before him. In summer the bill of fare provides soups
made with wine, milk, or cider; sometimes there are curds for supper,
and if they have a chicken, rice and stewed fruit are eaten with it.
But a chicken only costs this _Hausfrau_ 1 mark 20 pf., so it must
have been a small one. I have often bought pigeons for 25 pf. apiece
in Germany, and stuffed in the Bavarian way with egg and bread crumbs
they are good eating. Fruit is extremely cheap and plentiful in many
parts of Germany, but not everywhere. We have Heine's word for it that
the plums grown by the wayside between Jena and Weimar are good, for
most of us know his story of his first interview with Goethe; how he
had looked forward to the meeting with ecstasy and reflection, and how
when he was face to face with the great man all he found to say was a
word in praise of the plums he had eaten as he walked. In the
fruit-growing districts most of the roads are set with an avenue of
fruit trees, and so law-abiding are the boys of Germany, and so
plentiful is fruit in its season, that no one seems to steal from
them. I have talked with elderly Germans, who remembered buying 3
pounds of cherries for 6 kreuzers, a little more than a penny, when
they were boys. But those days are over. The small sweet-water grapes
from the vineyards of South Germany are to be had for the asking where
they are grown, and apricots are plentiful in some districts, and the
little golden plums called _Mirabellen_ that are dried in quantities
and make the best winter compote there is. When I see English grocers'
shops loaded up with dried American apples and apricots that are not
worth eating, however carefully they are cooked, I always wonder why
we do not import _Mirabellen_ instead.

Sweetbreads in the Berlin markets were about 1 mark 10 pf. each last
year, small tongues were 1 mark 10 pf. _Morscheln_, a poor kind of
fungus much used in Germany, were 65 pf. a pound, real mushrooms were
1 mark 50 pf., and the dried ones used for flavouring sauces were the
same price. Butter and milk are usually about the same price as with
us, but eggs are cheaper. You get twenty for a mark still in spring,
and I remember making an English plumcake once in a Bavarian village
and being charged 6 pf. for the three eggs I used. A rye loaf weighing
4 pounds costs 50 pf., the little white rolls cost 3 pf. each. In
Berlin last year vegetables were nearly as dear as in London, but in
many parts of Germany they are much cheaper. I know of one housewife
who fed her family largely on vegetables, and would not spend more
than 10 pf. a day on them, but she lived in a small country town where
green stuff was a drug in the market. Asparagus is cheaper than here,
for it costs 35 pf. to 40 pf. a pound, and is eaten in such quantities
that even an asparagus lover gets tired of it. Meat has risen terribly
in price of late years. In the open market you can get fillet of beef
for 1 mark 60 pf., sirloin for 90 pf., good cuts of mutton for 90 pf.
to 1 mark, and veal for 1 mark, but all these prices are higher at a
butcher's shop. Fillet of beef, for instance, is 2 marks 40 pf. a
pound there.

The budget of a family living on £250 a year does not call for so much
comment as the smaller one, because £250 is a fairly comfortable
income in Germany. Either a schoolmaster or a soldier must have risen
in his profession before he gets it; but the following estimate is
made out for a business man who does not get a house free or any other
aid from outside:--

                                                £   s.  d.
Rent                                           50   0   0
Fuel                                            7  10   0
Light                                           5   0   0
Clothes--husband                                6   0   0
  "  wife                                       4   0   0
  "  children                                   2  10   0
Shoes                                           4   0   0
School fees                                     5   0   0
Washing                                         5   0   0
Repairs to linen                                2  10   0
Doctor and dentist                              5   0   0
Newspapers and magazines                        2   0   0
Servant's wages                                 9   0   0
Servant's insurance and Christmas present       2   0   0
Taxes                                           6   0   0
Postage                                         1  10   0
Insurances                                      5   0   0
Housekeeping                                   90   0   0
Amusements and travelling                      25   0   0
Christmas and presents                         10   0   0
Sundries                                        3   0   0
                                              -----------
                                             £250   0   0
                                              ===========

On examining this budget it will occur to most people that the poor
_Hausfrau_ might spend a little more on her clothes and a little less
on her presents, and as a matter of fact even in Germany, where
Christmas is a burden as well as a pleasure, this would be done. The
next budget is the most interesting, because it is not an ideal one
drawn up for anyone's guidance, but is taken without the alteration of
one penny from the beautifully kept account book of a friend. There
were no children in the family, so nothing appears for school fees or
children's clothes. The household consisted of husband and wife and
one maid. They lived in one of the largest and dearest of German
cities, and the husband's work as well as their social position forced
certain expenses on them. For instance, they had to live in a good
street and on the ground floor; and they had to entertain a good deal.

                                                  M. Pf.
Bread                                            180 --
Meat                                             310 95
Fish and poultry                                  98 55
Aufschnitt                                        67 25
Potatoes                                          19 10
Vegetables                                       110 50
Fruit                                             87 95
Eggs                                              83 90
Milk                                             121 85
Butter                                           195 --
Lard                                              36 55
Flour, Gries, etc.                                25 60
Sugar and treacle                                 66 20
Groceries                                         22 50
Coffee                                            67 --
Tea and chocolate                                 17 95
Drinks                                           159 10
Lights                                            30 55
Washing                                          126 80
Laundress                                         32 25
Ice                                               10 20
Coal and wood                                    170 10
Turf and other fuel                              159 25
Matches                                            3 --
Cleaning                                          60 --
Furniture                                          4 55
Repairs                                           19 50
Crockery and kitchenware                          38 --
Repairs                                           49 --
China and glass                                   30  5
Clothes--husband                                 181 20
  "      wife                                    452 85
Boots--husband                                    24 10
  "    wife                                       60 35
Linen                                             17  5
Charities                                        232 20
Rent                                            2150 --
Rent of husband's share of professional rooms    318 70
                                                ---- --
                                  Carry forward 5839 45

                                                  M. Pf.
Brought forward                                 5839 45
Fares                                             46 10
Books                                             64 25
Writing materials                                 30 50
Charwoman and tips                                85 95
Wages and servants' presents                     335 50
Papers                                            35 25
Carpenter                                        125 --
Tobacco and cigars                               165 90
Sundries                                          39 35
Photography and fishing tackle                   141 10
Music lessons                                     15 10
Medicine                                          13 80
Hairdresser                                        2 40
Presents--family                                 291 75
   "      friends                                119 --
Amusements                                       137 25
Travelling                                       736 40
Stamps                                            99 65
Entertaining (at Home)                           232 --
Charities[2]                                      24 --
Subscriptions                                    119 80
Fire insurance                                    12 30
Old age insurance                                 10 40
                                                ---- --
                                                8722 20
                                                ==== ==

There are some interesting points about this budget as compared with
an English one of £436. It will be seen that although meat is so dear
in Germany the weekly butcher's bill for three people was only 6s.,
fish and poultry together only 2s., and the ham sausage, etc. from the
provision shop under 1s. 6d. a week. The washing bill for the year is
low, because nearly everything was washed at home, and dear as fuel is
in Germany this household spent about £16, where an English one
presenting the same front would spend £20 to £25. Observe, too, the
amount spent on servants' wages by people who lived in a large
charmingly furnished flat, and had a long visiting list. The wife,
too, a very pretty woman and always well dressed, spent much less on
her toilet than anyone would have guessed from its finish and variety,
for she came from one of the German cities where women do dress well.
There is nearly as much difference amongst German cities in this
respect as there is amongst nations. Berlin is far behind either
Hamburg or Frankfurt, for instance. The middle-class women of Berlin
have an extraordinary affection all through the summer season for
collarless blouses, bastard tartans, and white cotton gloves with
thumbs but no fingers. In England the force of custom drives women to
uncover their necks in the evening, whether it becomes them or not,
and it is not a custom for which sensible elderly women can have much
to say. But pneumonia blouses have never been universal wear in any
country, and it is impossible to explain their apparently irresistible
attraction for all ages and sizes of women in the Berlin electric
cars. Those who were not wearing pneumonia blouses a year ago were
wearing _Reform-Kleider_, shapeless ill-cut garments usually of grey
tweed. The oddest combination, and quite a common one, was a sack-like
_Reform-Kleid_, with a saucy little coloured bolero worn over it,
fingerless gloves, and a madly tilted beflowered hat perched on a
dowdy coiffure. These are rude remarks to make about the looks of
foreign ladies, but the _Reform-Kleid_ is just as hideous and absurd
in Germany now as our bilious green draperies were on the wrong people
twenty-five years ago, and I am sure every foreigner who came to
England must have laughed at them. On the whole, I would say of German
women in general what a Frenchwoman once said to me in the most
matter-of-fact tone of Englishwomen, _Elles s'habillent si mal_.

FOOTNOTES:

[2] Probably private charities.



CHAPTER XVIII

HOSPITALITY


If a German cannot afford to ask you to dinner he asks you to supper,
and makes his supper inviting. At least, he does if he is sensible,
and if he lives where an inexpensive form of entertainment is in
vogue. But even in Germany people are not sensible everywhere. The
headmaster of a school in a small East Prussian town told me that his
colleagues, the higher officials and other persons of local
importance, felt bound to entertain their friends at least once a
year, and that their way was to invite everyone together to a dinner
given at the chief hotel in the town; and that to do this a family
would stint itself for months beforehand. He spoke with knowledge, so
I record what he said; but I have never been amongst Germans who were
hospitable in this painful way. Hotels are used for large
entertainments, just as they are in England, but most people receive
their friends in their homes, and only hire servants for some special
function, like a wedding or a public dinner.

The form of hospitality most popular in England now, the visit of two
or three days' duration, is hardly known in Germany, and I believe
that they have not begun yet to supply their guests with small cakes
of soap labelled "Visitors," and meant to last for a week-end but not
longer. In towns no one dreams of having a constant succession of
staying guests, and either in town or country when a German family
expects a guest at all it is more often than not for the whole summer
or winter. You do not find a German girl arranging, as her English
cousin will, for a round of visits, fitting in dates, writing here and
there to know if people can take her in, and by the same post
answering those who are planning a pilgrimage for themselves and wish
to be taken. A visit in Germany is not the flighty affair it is with
us.

"This winter," says your friend, "my niece from Posen will be with
us," and presently the niece arrives and stays about three months.
There is rarely more than one spare room on a flat, and that is often
a room not easily spared. In country houses there are rows of rooms,
but they are not filled by an everlasting procession of guests in the
English way. When you stay in a country house at home you wonder how
your hosts ever get anything done, and whether they don't sometimes
wish they had a few days to themselves. To be sure, English hosts go
about their business and leave you to yours, more than Germans think
polite. I once spent six weeks, quite an ordinary visit as to length,
with some friends who had several grown-up children. It was a most
cheerful friendly household, but one day I got into a corner near the
stove, rather glad for a change to be myself for a while with a novel
for company. When I had been there a little time the second daughter
looked in and at once apologised.

"Mamma sent me to see," she explained,--"she feared you were by
yourself."

It is not easy to tell your German hosts that you like and wish to be
by yourself sometimes; and if you say that you are used to it in
England you won't impress them. The English are so inhospitable and
unfriendly, they will say, for that is one of the many popular myths
that are believed about us. I have been told of a German lady who has
lived here most of her life, and complains to her German friends that
she has never spent a night under an English roof; but then, she
chooses to associate exclusively with Germans, whose roofs she refuses
to regard as English ones, even when they are in Kensington; and she
cherishes such an invincible prejudice against the born English that
she lives amongst them year after year without making a friend. It
would be quite simple to perform the same feat in Paris, or even in
Berlin, although there you would not have such a large foreign colony
to stand between you and the detestable natives.

The real difficulty in writing about German hospitality is to find and
express the ways in which it differs from our own; and certainly these
lie little in qualities of kindness and generosity. Amongst both
nations, if you have a friendly disposition you will find friends
easily, and receive kindness on all sides. Perhaps, as one concrete
instance is worth many assertions, I may describe a visit I paid many
years ago to a family who invited me because a marriage had recently
connected us. I had seen some of the family at the wedding, and had
been surprised to receive a warm invitation, not for a week-end and a
cake of visitors' soap, but for the rest of the winter; six weeks or
two months at least. The family living at home consisted of the
parents, a grown-up son and two grown-up daughters. Some of them met
me at the station, for the German does not breathe who would let a
guest arrive or depart alone. Your friends often give you flowers when
you arrive, and invariably when you go away. I cannot remember about
the flowers on this occasion, but I remember vividly that the day
after my arrival the two married daughters living in the same town
both called on me and brought me flowers. Week after week, too, they
made it their pleasure to entertain me just as kindly as my immediate
hosts, taking me to concerts or the opera, asking me to dinner or
supper, including me on every occasion in the family festivities,
which were numerous and lively. In some ways my hosts found me a
disappointing guest, and said so. The trouble was that I liked plain
rolls and butter for breakfast, while the daughters for days before I
came had baked every size and variety of rich cake for me to eat first
thing in the morning with my coffee. I never could eat enough to
please anyone either. You never can in Germany, try as you may. Yet it
was hungry weather, for the Rhine was frozen hard all the time I was
there, and we used to skate every day in the harbour when the
daughters of the house had finished their morning's work. Two maids
were kept on the flat, but, like most German servants, they were
supposed to require constant supervision, and when a room was turned
out the young ladies in their morning wrappers helped to do it. They
helped with the ironing too and the cooking, and did all the mending
of linen and clothes. "A child's time belongs to her parents," said
the father one day when the elder daughter wanted to skate, but was
told that she could not be spared. "I've had a heavenly time," said a
girl friend who had been laid up for some weeks with a sprained ankle;
"I've had nothing to do but read and amuse myself." The household
work, however, was usually done before the one o'clock dinner, and the
afternoon was given up to skating, walks, and visits. There were not
so many formal calls paid as in England, but there was a constant
interchange of hospitality amongst the members of the family, the kind
of intimate unceremonious entertaining described in Miss Austen's
novels. Every time one of the many small children had a birthday there
was a feast of chocolate and cakes, a gathering of the whole clan. The
birthday cake had a sugared _Spruch_ on it, and a little lighted
candle for each year of the child's age, and the birthday table had a
present on it from everyone who came to the party, and many who did
not. Once a week the married daughters and their husbands came to
supper with my hosts, and every day when they were not coming to
supper they called on their mother, and if she could coax them to stay
drank their afternoon coffee with her. Sometimes one or two strangers
were asked to coffee, for this household was an old-fashioned one, and
gave you good coffee rather than wishy-washy tea. It made a point of
honour of a _Meringuetorte_ when strangers came, and of the little
chocolate cream cakes Germans call Othellos. But it must not be
supposed that one or two strangers constitute a _Kaffee-Klatsch_, that
celebrated form of entertainment where at every sip a reputation dies.
A genuine _Klatsch_ was, however, given during my stay by a young
married woman who wished to entertain her friends and display her
furniture. About twenty ladies were invited, and when they had
assembled they were solemnly conducted through every room of the flat
from the drawing-room to the spick-and-span kitchen, where every pan
was of shining copper and every cloth embroidered with the bride's
monogram. The procession as it filed through the rooms chattered like
magpies, for except myself every member of it had been to school with
the bride, and had helped to adorn her home with embroidered chair
backs, cushions, cloths, newspaper stands, foot-stools, duster bags,
and suchlike, all of which they now had the pleasure of seeing in the
places suitable to them. By the time we sat down in the dining-room
to a table loaded with cakes, the slight frost of arrival had melted
away. The strange Englishwoman no longer acted as a wet blanket, and
when she tried to converse with her neighbours she found, as she still
finds at German entertainments, that she could only do so by screaming
at the top of her voice as you do in England in a high wind or in the
sound of loud machinery. Everyone was in the highest spirits, and the
collective noise they made was amazing. In Germany, when actors play
English parts or when people in private life put on English manners,
the first thing they do is to lower their voices as if they had met to
bury a friend. This is the way our natural manner strikes them, while
their natural manner strikes us as easy and jolly, but tiring to the
voice and after a time to the spirit. There are quiet Germans, but
when they sit at a good man's table they must certainly either shout
or be left out of all that goes on. At a _Kaffee-Klatsch_ you either
shout or whisper, you eat every sort of rich cake presented to you if
you can, you drink chocolate or coffee with whipped cream. Nowadays
you would often find tea provided instead. When the hostess finds she
cannot persuade anyone to eat another cake, she leads her guests back
to the drawing-room, and the _Klatsch_ goes on. There is often music
as well as gossip, and before you are allowed to depart there are more
refreshments, ices, sweetmeats, fruit, little glasses of lemonade or
_Bowle_. When you get home you do not want any supper, and you are
quite hoarse, though you have only been to a simple _Kaffee-Klatsch_
without _Schleppe_. Your friends tell you that when they were young a
_Kaffee-Klatsch mit Schleppe_ was the favourite form of entertaining,
and lasted the whole afternoon and evening. Men were asked to come in
when the _Klatsch_ was over and a supper was provided. Those must have
been proud and bustling days for a _Hausfrau_ with one "girl."

To be asked to dinner or supper in Germany may mean anything. Either
form of invitation varies both in hour and kind more than it does in
England; but unless you are asked to a dinner that precedes a dance
you hardly ever need evening dress. Some years ago you would have
written that people never dressed for dinner in Germany except when
the dinner celebrated a betrothal, a wedding, or some equally
important and unusual event. But it has become the fashion in Berlin
lately to dress for large dinners and evening entertainments. No rule
can be laid down for the guidance of English visitors to Germany,
because what you wear must depend partly on the dinner hour and partly
on the ways of your hosts and their friends. Last year when I was in
Berlin I accepted a formal invitation sent a fortnight beforehand to a
dinner given on a Sunday at five o'clock. As the host was a
distinguished scientific man who had just returned from a journey
round the world, it promised to be an interesting entertainment; and
there were, in fact, some of the most celebrated members of the
University present. They were all in morning dress, and their
womenfolk wore what we should call Sunday frocks. The dinner was
beautifully cooked and served, and was not oppressively long. Soup
began it of course, roast veal with various vegetables followed, fish
came next, lovely little grey-blue fish better to look at than to eat,
then chicken, ice pudding, and dessert. There were flowers on the
table, but not as many as we should have with the same opportunities,
for the house was set in an immense garden; and all down the long
narrow table there were bottles of wine and mineral water. When the
champagne came, and that is served at a later stage in Germany than it
is with us, speeches of congratulation were made to the host on his
safe return, and every guest in reach clinked their glasses with his.
After dinner men and women rose together in the German way, and drank
coffee in the drawing-room. The men lighted cigars. A little later in
the evening slender glasses of beer and lemonade were brought round,
and just before everyone left at nine o'clock there was tea and a
variety of little cakes and sandwiches, not our double sandwiches, but
tiny single slices of buttered roll, each with its scrap of caviare or
smoked salmon.

A ball supper or a Christmas supper in Germany consists of three or
four courses served separately, and all hot except the sweet, which is
usually _Gefrorenes_. Salmon, roast beef or veal, venison or chicken,
and then ice would be an ordinary menu, and every course would be
divided into portions and handed round on long narrow dishes. In most
German towns you are often asked to supper, and very seldom to dinner.
You never know beforehand what sort of meal to expect unless you have
been to the house before. In some houses it will be hot, in others
cold. In Berlin, supper usually offers you a dish made with eggs and
mushrooms, eggs and asparagus, or some combination of the kind, and
after this the usual variety of ham and sausages fetched from the
provision shop. Tea and beer are drunk at this meal in most houses.
Sometimes Rhine wine is on the table too. The sweets are often small
fruit tartlets served with whipped cream. One menu I remember
distinctly, because it was so quaint and full of surprises. We began
with huge quantities of asparagus and poached eggs eaten together.
Then we had _Pumpernickel_, Gruyère cheese and radishes, and for a
third course vanilla ice. That was the end of the supper, but later in
the evening, just before we left, in came an enormous dish covered
with gooseberry tartlets, and we had to eat them, for somehow in
Germany it seems ungrateful and unfriendly not to eat and drink what
is provided.

After dinner or supper everyone wishes everyone else _Mahlzeit_ which
is to say, "I wish you a good digestion." Sometimes people only bow as
they say it, but more often they shake hands. I know an Englishman who
was much puzzled by this ceremony at his first German dinner-party. He
saw everyone shaking hands as if they were about to disperse the
instant the feast was over, and when his host came to him with a
smiling face, took his hand and murmured _Mahlzeit_, he summoned what
German he had at his command and answered _Gute Nacht_.



CHAPTER XIX

GERMAN SUNDAYS


There was to be singing in the forest on Sunday afternoon, we were
told, when we arrived at our little Black Forest town; and we were on
no account to miss it. We did not want to miss anything, for whenever
we looked out of our windows or strolled through the streets we were
entertained and enchanted. From the hotel we could see women and girls
pass to and fro all day with the great wooden buckets they carried on
their backs and filled at the well close by. As dusk fell the oldest
woman in the community hobbled out, let down the iron chains slung
across the street, and lighted the oil lamps swinging from them. All
the gossips of the place gathered at the well of evenings, and
throughout the day barefooted children played there. Behind the main
street there were gabled houses with ancient wooden balconies and
gardens crammed with pinks. The population mostly sat out of doors
after dark, and as it was hot weather no one went to bed early. Even
in the dead of night the timber waggons drawn by oxen passed through
the town, and the driver did his best to wake us by cracking his long
whip. For though a Black Forest town is mediæval in its ways, it is
not restful. It may soothe you by suggestion, the people seem so
leisurely and the life so easy going; but there is not an hour in the
twenty-four when you are secure from noise. The Sunday in question
began with the bustle occasioned in a country inn by an unusual strain
on its resources. There must be an extra good dinner for the expected
influx of guests, said the landlord's niece, who kept house for him,
while the wife and daughters ran a second hotel higher up the valley.
We escaped to the forest, where the morning hours of a hot June day
were fresh and scented, and we were sorry we had to return to the
hotel for a long hot midday dinner. When it was over, we sat in the
garden and wondered why people held a festival on the top of a hill on
such a sleepy afternoon. However, when the time came we joined the
leisurely procession making the ascent. An hour's stroll took us to
the concert hall, a forest glade where people sat about in groups
waiting for the music to begin. Barrels of beer had been rolled up
here, and children were selling _Kringel_, crisp twists of bread
sprinkled with salt. There were more children present than adults, and
we observed, as you nearly always will in Germany, that though they
belonged to the poorer classes they wore neat clothes and had quiet,
modest manners. The older people often let them drink out of their
glasses, for it was a thirsty afternoon, and when the singing began
the children joined in some of the songs. The occasion of the festival
was the friendly meeting of several choirs, and they sang fine anthems
as well as _Volkslieder_. The effect of the music in the heart of the
forest was enchanting, and we stayed till the end. These choral
competitions or reunions often take place on a Sunday in Germany, and
in summer are often held in an inn garden. They bring some custom to
the innkeeper, but drunkenness and disorder are almost unknown. In
fact, all the cases of drunkenness I have seen in Germany have been
in the Munich comic papers. You never by any chance hear of it as you
do in England amongst people you know, and you may spend hours at the
Berlin Zoo on a Whit-Monday and see no one who is not sober.
University students get drunk and have fights with innkeepers and
policemen, but that is etiquette rather than vice. Next day they
suffer from _Katzenjammer_, but feel that they are upholding ancient
tradition. Real intemperance is found almost entirely amongst the
dregs of the big cities and the lowest class of peasants.

In Berlin the better class of artisans and small tradespeople escape
from their flats on Sundays to their allotment gardens. You see whole
tracts of these gardens on the outskirts of the city, and many of them
have some kind of summer house or rough shelter. Here the family
spends the whole day in fresher air, and presumably finds out how to
grow the simpler kinds of flowers and vegetables. Those who have no
garden and can afford a few pence for fares go farther afield. They
carry food for the day in tin satchels, or rolls that look as if they
ought to accompany butterfly nets and contain entomological specimens.
But they are usually in the hands of a stout alpaca-clad middle-class
mater-familias, who looks rather anxious and flustered while she herds
her flock and hunts for a garden with the announcement, "Hier können
Familien Kaffee kochen." There for a trifling indemnity she can be
accommodated with seats, cups and saucers, and hot water; just as
people can in an English tea-garden. Provisions she has with her in
her _Pickenick Rolle_. If fate takes you to Potsdam on a fine summer
Sunday, you will think that the whole bourgeoisie of Berlin has
elected to come by the same train and steamer, and that everyone but
you has brought food for the day in a green tin. You need not expect
to find a seat either in the train or the steamer at certain hours of
the day, and as you stand wedged in the crowd on the dangerously
overladen boat, and look about you as best you can at the chain of
wooded lakes, you wonder how it is that such overcrowding is permitted
in a police-governed land. At home we take such things for granted as
part of our system or want of system. But in Germany the moment you
cross the frontier a thousand trifles make you feel that you are a
unit in an army, drilled and kept under by the bureaucracy and the
police. It surprises you to see an unmanageable crowd in a train or on
a steamer, much as it would surprise you to see soldiers swarm at will
into a troopship. You expect them to march precisely, each man to his
place. And in Germany this nearly always happens in civil life; while
even on a Sunday or a public holiday the mob behaves itself. At the
Berlin Zoo, for instance, there are such masses of people every Sunday
that you see nothing but people. It is impossible, or rather would not
be agreeable, to force your way through the crowd surrounding the
cages. But the people are interesting, and it is to see them that you
have ventured here. You soon find, however, that it is not a venture
at all. No one will offend you, no one is drunken or riotous. The
gardens are packed with decent folk, mostly of the lower middle
classes, and the only unseemly thing you see them do is to eat small
hot sausages with their fingers in the open-air restaurants.

Sunday is the great day of the week at German theatres. In all the
large towns there are afternoon performances at popular prices, and
this means that people who can pay a few pence for a seat can see all
the great classical plays and most of the successful modern ones; and
they can hear many of the great operas as well as a variety of
charming light ones never heard in this country. On one Sunday
afternoon in Berlin, Hoffmann's _Erzählungen_ was played at one
theatre, and at others Gorky's _Nachtasyl_, Tolstoy's _Power of
Darkness_, Hauptmann's _Versunkene Glocke_, the well known military
play _Zapfenstreich_, and Lortzing's light opera _Der Waffenschmied_.
The star players and singers do not usually appear at these popular
performances, and the Wagnerian _Ring_ has, as far as I know, never
yet been given. But on Sunday afternoons all through the winter the
playhouses are crowded with people who cannot pay week-day prices, and
yet are intelligent enough to enjoy a fairly good performance of
_Hamlet_ or _Egmont_; who are musical and choose a Mozart opera; or
who are interested in the problems of life presented by Ibsen, Gorky,
Tolstoy, or their own great fellow-countryman Gerhardt Hauptmann. When
summer comes, as long as the theatres are open the whole audience
streams out between the acts to have coffee or beer in the garden, or
when there is no garden, in the nearest restaurant; and then comes
your chance of appraising the people who take their pleasure in this
way. They look for the most part as if they belonged to the small
official and shop-keeper class. If the play is a suitable one, there
are sure to be a great many young people present, and at the
State-supported theatres these Sunday performances are such as young
people are allowed to see.

In the evening the Sunday play or opera is always one of the most
important of the week; the play everyone wishes to see or the opera
that is most attractive. A Wagner opera is often played on a Sunday
evening in the theatre that undertakes Wagner. The smaller stages will
give some old favourite, _Der Freischütz_, _Don Juan_, _Oberon_, or
_Die Zauberflöte_. In fact, all through the winter the upper and
middle classes make the play and the opera their favourite Sunday
pastime. The lower classes depend a good deal on the public dancing
saloons, which seem to do as much harm as our public-houses, and to be
disliked and discouraged by all sensible Germans.

So far this account of a German Sunday suggests that Germans always go
from home for their weekly holiday, and it is true that when Sunday
comes the German likes to amuse himself. But he is not invariably at
the play or in inn gardens. It is the day when scattered members of a
family will meet most easily, and when the branch of the family that
can best do so will entertain the others. Some years ago in a North
German city I was often with friends who had a dining-room and narrow
dinner table long enough for a hotel. The host and hostess, when they
were by themselves, dined in a smaller room, sitting next to each
other on the sofa; but on Sundays their children and grandchildren,
some spinster cousins, some _Stammgäste_ (old friends who came every
week) all met in the drawing-room at five o'clock, and sat down soon
after to a dinner of four or five courses in a long dining-room. It
was a company of all ages and some variety of station, and the
patriarchal arrangement placed the venerable and beloved host and
hostess side by side at the top of the room, with their friends in
order of importance to right and left of them, until you came, below
the salt as it were, to the Mamsells and the little children at the
foot of the table. But the Mamsells did not leave the room when the
sweets arrived. Everyone ate everything, including the preserved
fruits that came round with the roast meat, and the pudding that
arrived after the cheese. In those days it was not considered proper
in Germany for ladies to eat cheese, and no young lady would dream of
taking one of the little glasses of Madeira offered on a tray. They
were exclusively for _die Herren_, and always gave a fillip to the
conversation, which was also more or less a masculine monopoly. Just
before the end of the dinner it was the business of the Mamsell
belonging to the house to light a little army of Vienna coffee
machines standing ready on the sideboard, so that coffee could be
served when everyone went back to the drawing-room. The men smoked
their cigars there too, and someone would play the piano, and when no
music was going on there was harmless, rather dull, family
conversation. The spinster cousins got out their embroidery, the
Mamsells disappeared with the children, _die Herren_ either talked to
each other or had a quiet game of _Skat_. The women and some of the
men had been to church in the morning, but this did not prevent them
from spending the rest of the day as it pleased them.

It will be seen that from the English point of view Sunday is not
observed at all in Germany; yet this does not mean, as is often
announced from English pulpits, that the whole nation is without
religion. Un-belief is more widely professed than here, and many
people who call themselves Christians openly reject certain vital
doctrines of Evangelical faith,--are Unitarians, in fact, but will not
say so. But the whole question of religious belief in Germany is a
difficult and contentious one, for according to the people you meet
you will be told that the nation lacks faith or possesses it. If you
use your own judgment you must conclude that there is immensely more
scepticism there than here, and that there is also a good deal of
vague belief, a belief, that is, in a personal God and a life after
death. But you must admit that except in an "evangelical" set belief
sits lightly on both men and women. Certainly it has nothing to do
with the way they spend Sunday, and if they go to church in the
morning they are as likely as not to go to the theatre in the
afternoon. They sew, they dance, they fiddle, they act, they travel on
the day of rest, more on that day than on any other, and when they
come to England there is nothing in our national life they find so
tedious and unprofitable as our Sundays. They cannot understand why a
people with so strong a tendency to drink should make the public-house
the only counter attraction to the church on the working man's day of
leisure; and when they are in a country place, and see our groups of
idle, aimless young louts standing about not knowing what to do, they
ask why in the name of common sense they should not play an outdoor
game. The Idealist expresses the German point of view very well in her
Memoirs, and in so far as she misunderstands our English point of view
she is only on a line with those amongst us who denounce the
continental Sunday as an orgy of noisy and godless pleasures. She
says: "I had a thousand opportunities of noticing that the religious
life did not mean a deep life-sanctifying belief, but simply one of
those formulas that are a part of 'respectability,' as they understand
it both in the family and in society." Nothing proves this better than
their truly shocking way of keeping holy the Sabbath day, which is the
very reverse of holy, inasmuch as it paves the way to the heaviest
boredom and slackness of spirit. I have been in English houses on
Sundays where the gentlemen threw themselves from one easy chair to
the other, and proclaimed their empty state of mind by their awful
yawns; where the children wandered about hopelessly depressed, because
they might neither play nor read an amusing book, not even Grimm's
_Fairy Tales_; where all the mental enjoyment of the household
consisted of so-called 'sacred music,' which some young miss strummed
on the piano or, worse still, sang. A young girl once spoke to me in
severe terms about the Germans who visit theatres and concerts on
Sundays. I asked her whether, if she put it to her conscience, she
could honestly say that she had holier feelings and higher thoughts,
whether, in fact, she felt herself a better human being on her quiet
Sunday, than when she heard a Beethoven Symphony, saw a Shakespeare
play, or any other noble work of art. She confessed with embarrassment
that she could not say so, but nevertheless arrived at the logical
conclusion that, for all that, it was very wicked of the Germans not
to keep Sunday more holy. Another lady, a cultured liberal-minded
person, invited me once to go with her to the Temple Church, one of
the oldest and most beautiful London churches in the city, belonging
to the great labyrinth of Temple Bar where English justice has its
seat. The music of the Temple Church is famous, and I had expressed a
wish to hear it. So I went with my house-mate and the lady in
question, and sat between them. During the sermon I had great trouble
not to fall asleep, but fought against it for the sake of decorum. To
my surprise, when I glanced at my right-hand neighbour I saw that she
was fast asleep, and when I glanced at the one on my left I saw that
she was asleep too. I looked about at other people, and saw more than
one sunk in a pious Nirvana. As we left the church I asked the
Englishwoman, who had a strong sense of humour, whether she had slept
well. 'Yes,' she said, laughing, 'it did me a lot of good.' 'But why
do you go?' I said. 'Oh, my dear,' said she, 'what can one do? It has
to be on Sundays.'

"But this narrow Sunday observance is worse for the lower than for the
upper classes. At that time the great dispute was just beginning as to
whether the people should be admitted to the Crystal Palace, to
museums, and suchlike institutions. The question was discussed in
Parliament, and decided in the negative. It was feared that the
churches would remain empty, and that morals would suffer if the
people began to like heathen gods, works of art and natural
curiosities, better than going to church. At least, this is the only
explanation one can give of such a decision. The churches and the
public-houses remained the only public places open on Sundays. The
churches were all very well for a few hours in the morning, but what
about the afternoon and evening? Then the beer-house was the only
refuge for the artisan or proletarian bowed down by the weight of hard
work, unused and untaught to wile away the idle hours of Sunday in any
intellectual occupation, and having no friendly attractive home to
make the peace of his own hearth the best refreshment after the
exhausting week. And so it turned out: the public-houses were full to
overflowing, and the holiness of Sunday was only too often desecrated
by the unholy sight of drunken men and, more horrible still, drunken
women; but this was not all, for so strong was the temptation thrust
upon them, that the workman's hardly earned week's wages went in
drink, and the children were left without bread and not a penny was
saved to lighten future distress. The coarse animal natures of the
only half-human beings became coarser and more animal through the
degrading passion for drink that only too often has murder in its
train, and murder in its most terrible and brutal guise!"

There is not one idea or argument in this passage that I have not
heard over and over again from the lips of every German who has
anything to say about our English Sunday, and every German who has
been in England or heard much of English life invariably attacks what
he considers this weak joint in our armour.

"What is the use?" he asks, "of going to church in the morning if you
get drunk and beat your wife at night?"

"But the same man does not usually do both things in one day," you
represent to him. "One set of people goes to church and keeps Sunday
strictly, and another set goes to public-houses and is drunk and
disorderly. You should try to get out of your head your idea that we
are all exactly alike."

"But you are--exactly alike. Everyone of you goes to church with a
solemn face, sings psalms, and comes back to his roast beef and
apple-pie. All the afternoon you are asleep; and at night the streets
and parks are not fit for respectable people."

"At night," you explain, "all the respectable people are at home
eating cold beef and cold pie. The others...."

"The others you drive to drink and fight and kill by your pharisaical
methods. You shut the doors of your theatres and your art galleries,
and you set wide the doors of your drinking hells. How you can call
yourself a religious people--it is Satanic...."

"But, my dear man," you say, taking a long breath, "the people who go
to public-houses don't want theatres and art galleries. They are on
too low a level."

"It is the business of the State to raise them--not to push them down.
Besides, there is drinking--much drinking--in England on the higher
levels too, as you well know...."

"Of course I know," you say impatiently. "All I am saying is that we
do not bring it about by shutting the British Museum on Sundays."

But next time the subject comes up for discussion your German will say
again, as he has said ever since he could speak, that the English
Sunday is anathema, and a standing witness to British _Heuchelei_,
because people sing psalms in the morning and get drunk and beat their
wives at night. You can easily imagine the Hypocrite's Progress
painted by a German Hogarth, and it would begin with a gentleman in a
black coat and tall hat on his way to church, and would end with the
same gentleman in the last stage of delirium tremens surrounded by his
slaughtered family. For in Germany one of the curious deep rooted
notions about us, who as people go are surely indifferent honest, is
that we are _ein falsches Volk_. With the want of logic that makes
human nature everywhere so entertaining, a German will nearly always
cash a cheque offered by an English stranger when he would refuse to
do so for a countryman. As far as one can get at it, what Germans
really mean by our _Heuchelei_ when they speak without malice is our
regard for the unwritten social law. This is so strong in us from old
habit and tradition that most of us do not feel the shackles; but the
stranger within our gates feels it at every step.



CHAPTER XX

SPORT AND GAMES


The word Sport has been taken into the German language lately, but
Germans use it when we should use "hobby." "It is my sport," says an
artist when he shows you furniture of his own design. He means that
his business in life is to paint pictures, but his pleasure is to
invent beautiful chairs and tables. When the talk turns on the absurd
extreme to which the Marthas of Germany carry their housekeeping zeal,
a German friend will turn to you in defence of his countrywomen. "It
is their 'sport,'" says he, and you understand his point of view. Yet
another will tell you that the English have only become sportsmen in
modern times, and that the Germans are rapidly catching them up; but
this is the kind of information you receive politely, disagree with
profoundly, and do not discuss because you have not all the facts at
your fingers' ends. But you know that the British love of sport, be it
vice or virtue, is as ingrained in Britons as their common sense, and
as old as their history.

In Germany the country gentleman is a sportsman. He rides, he shoots,
he hunts the wild boar which he preserves in his great forests. "You
have no country (_Land_)," said a German to me, using the word as
opposed to town. "In Germany we have country still." He meant that
England is thickly populated, and that we have no vast tracts of
heath and forest where wild animals live undisturbed. I told him there
were a few such places still in Scotland, but that they all belonged
to American and Jewish millionaires; however, he would not believe it.
He said he had spent a fortnight in England and had not heard of them.

It is not such a matter of course with Germans of a certain class to
ride as it is with us. You see a few men, women, and children on
horseback in Berlin, but not many; and in most German towns you see no
one riding except cavalry officers. I am told that the present Emperor
tried to institute a fashionable hour for riding in the Tiergarten,
but that it fell through partly because there were not enough people
to bring decent carriages and horses. On the great estates in East
Prussia the women as well as the men of the family ride, and go great
distances in this way to see their friends; but in cities you cannot
fail to observe the miserable quality and condition of the horses and
the scarcity of private carriages. In fact, the German does not make
as much of animals as the Englishman does. If he lives in the country,
or if he means to be a man of fashion, he will have dogs and horses,
but he will not have one or both, by hook or by crook, whether he is
rich or poor, as the Briton does. You see dogs in any German city that
remind you of a paragraph that once appeared in an Italian paper, a
paragraph about a case of dog stealing. The dog was produced in court,
said the paper, and was either a fox terrier or a Newfoundland. But
you often see a fine Dachs; in Heidelberg the students are proud of
their great boar-hounds, and in the Black Forest there are numbers of
little black Pomeranians.

In German towns where there is water, the traffic on it both for
business and amusement is as busy as with us, and in some respects
better managed. Hamburg life, for instance, is largely on the basin of
the Alster; either in the little steamers that carry you from city to
suburb, or in the small craft that crowd its waters on a summer night.
It is as usual in Hamburg as on the Thames to own boats and understand
their management, and there are the same varieties to be seen there:
the pleasure boats with people of all ages, the racing outrigger full
of strenuous, lightly clad young men, and the little sail boats
scurrying across the water before the breeze. On the Rhine the big
steamers do a roaring traffic all the summer, and catch the public
that likes a good dinner with their scenery; and on the Rhine, as well
as on most of the other rivers of Germany, there are a great many
swimming baths; for every German who has a chance learns to swim. In
Hamburg on a summer evening you meet troops of little boys and girls
going to the baths, many of them belonging to the poorer classes; for
where there are no swimming baths attached to the school they get
tickets free or at a very low rate. About fishing I can only speak
from hearsay, for I have never caught a minnow myself, but I have met
Germans who are keen anglers, and I have found that they knew every
London shop beloved of anglers, and the English name of every fly.

Germans get more amusement out of their water-ways in winter than we
do, for the winters there are long and hard, so that there is always
skating. I have seen the Alster frozen for weeks, and the whole city
of Hamburg playing on the ice. It was not what we call good ice, and
not what we call good skating. For the most part people were content
to get over the ground, to mix with their friends, to have hot drinks
at the booths that sprang up in long lines by the chief track, and
even to stroll about without skates and watch the fun. All classes,
all ages, and both sexes skate nowadays, but some fifty or sixty years
ago German ladies were not seen on the ice at all. Skating, like most
exercises that are healthy and agreeable, was considered unfeminine,
and men had the fun to themselves. In the mountain districts of
Germany winter sports are growing in favour every year, and people go
to the Riesengebirge or to the Black Forest for tobogganing and
ski-ing. The German illustrated papers constantly have articles about
these winter pastimes, and portraits of the distinguished men and
women who took part in them. The history of cycling in Germany is not
unlike its history here. The boom subsided some years ago, but a
steady industry survives. In Berlin you see officers in uniform on
bicycles, but you see hardly any ladies. That is because the Emperor
and Empress disapprove of cycling for women, and their disapproval has
made it unfashionable. Ten years ago, two years, that is, after the
English boom, no woman on a bicycle had ever been seen in the remoter
valleys of the Black Forest. One who ventured there used to be
followed by swarms of wondering children, who wished her _All Heil_ at
the top of their voices. They did not heave bricks at her.

Tennis has not been blighted by the imperial frown, and is extremely
popular in Germany. Hockey, as far as I know, is not played yet;
certainly not by women. Cricket and football are played, but not very
much. An Englishman teaching at a gymnasium, told me that the
authorities discouraged outdoor games, as they were considered waste
of time. Gymnastics is the form of athletics really enjoyed and
practised by Germans. Every boy, even every girl, begins them at
school, and the boy when he leaves school joins a _Turnverein_. For
wherever Germans foregather, and whatever they do, you may be sure
they have a _Verein_, and that the _Verein_ has feasts in winter and
_Ausflüge_ in summer. When a man is young and lusty, the delights of
the _Verein_, the _Ausflug_, the feast, and the walking tour are often
combined. You meet a whole gang of pleasure pilgrims ascending the
broad path that leads to the restaurant on the top of a German
mountain, or you encounter them in the restaurant itself making
speeches to the honour and glory of their _Verein_; and you find that
they are the gymnasts or the fire brigade, or the architects or what
not of an adjacent town, and that once a year they make an excursion
together, beginning with a walk or a journey by rail or by steamer,
and culminating in a restaurant where they dine and drink and
speechify. Every age, every trade, and every pastime has its _Verein_
and its anniversary rites. I was much amused and puzzled in Berlin one
afternoon by a procession that filed slowly past the tram in which I
sat, and was preceded and attended by such a rabble of sightseers that
the ordinary traffic was stopped for a time. I thought at first it was
a demonstration in connection with temperance or teetotalism, because
there were so many broad blue ribbons about, and I was surprised,
because I know that Germans club together to drink beer and not to
abstain from it, and that they are a sober nation. At the head of the
procession came a string of boys on bicycles, each boy carrying a
banner. Then came four open carriages garlanded with flowers. There
was a garland round each wheel, as well as round the horses' necks and
the coachmen's hats, and anywhere else where a garland would rest. In
each carriage sat four damsels robed in white, and they wore garlands
instead of hats. After them walked a large, stout, red-faced man in
evening dress, and he carried a staff. After him walked the music, men
puffing and blowing into brass instruments, and, like their leader,
wearing evening dress and silk hats. They were followed by a
procession that seemed as if it would stretch to the moon, a
procession of elderly, portly men all wearing evening dress, all
wearing broad blue ribbons and embroidered scarves, and all marching
with banners bearing various devices. The favourite device was _Heil
Gambrinus_, and when I saw that I knew that the blue ribbons had
nothing to do with total abstention. The next banner explained things.
It was the _Verein_ of the _Schenkwirte_ of Berlin,--the publicans, in
fact, of Berlin having their little holiday.

All through the summer the German nation amuses itself out of doors,
and leads an outdoor life to an extent unknown and impossible in our
damp climate. A house that has a garden nearly always has a garden
room where all meals are served. Sometimes it is a detached summer
house, but more often it opens from the house and is really a big
verandah with a roof and sides of glass. In country places the inn
gardens are used as dining-rooms from morning till night, and you may
if you choose have everything you eat and drink brought to you out of
doors. Most inns have a skittle alley, for skittles are still played
in Germany by all classes. The peasants play it on Sunday afternoons,
and the dignified merchant has his skittle club and spends an evening
there once a week. The favourite card game of Germany is still _Skat_,
but bridge has been heard of and will probably supersede it in time.
_Skat_ is a good game for three players, with a system of scoring
that seems intricate till you have played two or three times and got
used to it. In Germany it is always _die Herren_ who play these
serious games, while the women sit together with their bits of
embroidery. At the Ladies' Clubs in Berlin there is some card playing,
but these two or three highly modern and emancipated establishments do
not call the tune for all Germany. Directly you get away from Berlin
you find that men and women herd separately, far more than in England,
take their pleasures separately, and have fewer interests in common.
It is still the custom for the man of the family to go to a beer-house
every day, much as an Englishman goes to his club. Here he meets his
friends, sees the papers, talks, smokes, and drinks his _Schoppen_.
Each social grade will have its own haunts in this way, or its own
reserved table in a big public room. At the Hof Bräuhaus in Munich one
room is set apart for the Ministers of State, and I was told some
years ago that the appointments of it were just as plain and rough as
those in the immense public hall where anyone who looked respectable
could have the best beer in the world and a supper of sorts.

It is dull uphill work to write about sport and outdoor games in
Germany, because you may have been in many places and met a fair
variety of people without seeing any enthusiasm for either one or the
other. The bulk of the nation is, as a matter of fact, not interested
in sport or in any outdoor games except indifferent tennis, swimming,
skating, and in some places boating. When a German wants to amuse
himself, he sits in a garden and listens to a good band; if he is
young and energetic, he walks on a well-made road to a restaurant on
the top of a hill. In winter he plays skat, goes to the theatre or to
a concert, or has his music at home. Also he reads a great deal, and
he reads in several tongues. This, at any rate, is the way of Germans
in cities and summer places, and it is a very small proportion of the
educated classes who lead what we call a country life. "Elizabeth"
knows German country life, and describes it in her charming books;
perhaps she will some day choose to tell us how the men in her part of
the world amuse themselves, and whether they are good sportsmen. I
must confess that I have only once seen a German in full sporting
costume. It was most impressive, though, a sort of pinkish grey bound
everywhere with green, and set off by a soft felt hat and feathers. As
we were having a walk with him, and it was early summer, we ventured
to ask him what he had come to kill. "Bees," said he, and killed one
the next moment with a pop-gun.



CHAPTER XXI

INNS AND RESTAURANTS


English people who have travelled in Germany know some of the big
well-kept hotels in the large towns, and know that they are much like
big hotels in other continental cities. It is not in these
establishments that you can watch national life or discover much about
the Germans, except that they are good hotel-keepers; and this you
probably discovered long ago abroad or at home. If you are a woman,
you may be impressed by the fineness, the whiteness, the profusion,
and the embroidered monograms of the linen, whether you are in a huge
caravanserai or a wayside inn. Otherwise a hotel at Cologne or
Heidelberg has little to distinguish it from a hotel at Brussels or
Bâle. The dull correct suites of furniture, the two narrow bedsteads,
even the table with two tablecloths on it, a thick and a thin, the
parqueted floor, and the small carpet are here, there, and everywhere
directly you cross the Channel.

The modern German tells you with pride that this apparent want of
national quality and colour is to be felt in every corner of life, and
that what you take to be German is not peculiarly German at all, but
common to the whole continent of Europe. This may be true in certain
cases and in a certain sense, but there is another sense in which it
is never true. For instance, the women of continental nations wear
high-necked gowns in the evening. It is only English women who wear
evening gowns as a matter of course every day of their lives. I have
been told in Germany that, so far from being a sign of civilisation,
this fashion is merely a stupid survival from the times when all the
women of Europe went barenecked all day. However this may be, there is
no doubt that whether the gown be high or low, worn by sunlight or
lamplight, you can see at a glance whether the woman who wears it is
English, French, or German. Every nation has its own features, its own
manners, and its own tone, instantly recognised by foreigners, and
apparently hidden from itself. The German assures you that the English
manner is quite unmistakable, and he will even describe and imitate
for your amusement some of his silly countryfolk who were talking to
him quite naturally, but suddenly froze and stiffened at the approach
of English friends whose national manner they wished to assume. In
England we are not conscious of having a stiff frozen manner, and we
never dream that everyone has the same manner. It takes a foreigner to
perceive this; and so in Germany it takes a foreigner to appreciate
and even to see the characteristic trifles that give a nation a
complexion of its own.

Some of the most comfortable hotels in Germany are the smaller ones
supported entirely by Germans. A stray Englishman, finding one of
these starred in Baedeker and put in the second class, may try it from
motives of economy, but in many of them he would only meet merchants
on their travels and the unmarried men of the neighbourhood who dine
there. In such establishments as these the _table d'hôte_ still more
or less prevails, while if you go to fashionable hotels you dine at
small tables nowadays and see nothing of your neighbours. The part
played during dinner by the hotel proprietor varies considerably. In a
big establishment he is represented by the _Oberkellner_, and does not
appear at all. The _Oberkellner_ is a person of weight and standing;
so much so that when you are in a crowded beer garden and can get no
one to attend to you, you call out _Ober_ to the first boy waiter who
passes, and he is so touched by the compliment that he serves you
before your turn. But in a real old-fashioned German inn you have
personal relations with the proprietor, for he takes the head of his
table and attends to the comfort of his customers as carefully as if
they were his guests. This used to be a universal custom, but you only
find it observed now in the Sleepy Hollows of Germany. I have stayed
in a most comfortable and well-managed hotel where the proprietor and
his brother waited on their guests all through dinner, but never sat
down with them. There were hired men, but they played a subordinate
part. In small country inns the host still arrives in the garden when
your meal is served, asks if you have all you want, wishes you _guten
Appetit_, and after a little further conversation waddles away to
perform the same office at some other table. Except in the depths of
the country where the inn-keepers are peasants, a German hotel-keeper
invariably speaks several languages, and has usually been in Paris and
London or New York. His business is to deal with the guests and the
waiters, and to look after the cellar and the cigars; while his wife
or his sister, though she keeps more in the background than a French
proprietress, does just as much work as a Frenchwoman, and, as far as
one can judge, more than any man in the establishment. She
superintends the chambermaids and has entire care of the vast stock of
linen; in many cases she has most of it washed on the premises, and
she helps to iron and repair it. She buys the provisions, and sees
that there is neither waste nor disorder in the kitchen; she often
does a great part of the actual cooking herself. When I was a girl I
happened to spend a winter in a South German hotel of old standing,
kept for several generations in the same family, and now managed by
two brothers and a sister. The sister, a well-educated young woman of
twenty-five, used to get up at five winter and summer to buy what was
wanted for the market, and one day she took me with her. It was a
pretty lesson in the art of housekeeping as it is understood and
practised in Germany. All the peasant women in the duchy could not
have persuaded my young woman to have given the fraction of a farthing
more for her vegetables than they were worth that day, or to take any
geese except the youngest and plumpest. She went briskly from one part
of the market to the other, seeming to see at a glance where it was
profitable to deal this morning. She did not haggle or squabble as
inferior housewives will, because she knew just what she wanted and
what it was prudent to pay for it. When she got home she sat down to a
second breakfast that seemed to me like a dinner, a stew of venison
and half a bottle of light wine; but, as she said, hotel keeping is
exhausting work, and hotel-keepers must needs live well.

At some hotels in this part of Germany wine is included in the charge
for dinner, and given to each guest in a glass carafe or uncorked
bottle. It is kept on tap even in the small wayside inns, where you
get half a litre for two or three pence when you are out for a walk
and are thirsty. If you dislike thin sour wine you had better avoid
the grape-growing lands and travel in Bavaria, where every country
inn-keeper brews his own beer. Many of these small inns entertain
summer visitors, not English and Americans who want luxuries, but
their own countryfolk, whose purses and requirements are both small.
As far as I know by personal experience and by hearsay, the rooms in
these inns are always clean. The bedding all over Germany is most
scrupulously kept and aired. In country places you see the mattresses
and feather beds hanging out of the windows near the pots of
carnations every sunny day. The floors are painted, and are washed all
over every morning. The curtains are spotless. In each room there is
the inevitable sofa with the table in front of it, a most sensible and
comfortable addition to a bedroom, enabling you to seek peace and
privacy when you will. If you wander far enough from the beaten track,
you may still find that all the water you are supposed to want is
contained in a good-sized glass bottle; but if you are English your
curious habits will be known, and more water will be brought to you in
a can or pail. My husband and I once spent a summer in a Thuringian
inn that had never taken staying guests before, and even here we found
that the proprietress had heard of English ways, and was willing, with
a smile of benevolent amusement, to fill a travelling bath every day.
This inn had a summer house where all our meals were served as a
matter of course, and where people from a fashionable watering-place
in the next valley came for coffee or beer sometimes. The household
itself consisted of the proprietress, her daughter, and her
maidservant, and during the four months we spent there I never knew
them to sit down to a regular meal. They ate anything at any time, as
they fancied it. The summer house in which we had our meals was large
and pleasant, with a wide view of the hills and a near one of an old
stone bridge and a trout stream. The trees near the inn were limes,
and their scent while they were in flower overpowered the scent of
pines coming at other times with strength and fragrance from the
surrounding forest. The only drawback to our comfort was a hornets'
nest in an old apple-tree close to the summer-house. The hornets used
to buzz round us at every meal, and at first we supposed they might
sting us. This they never did, though we waged war on them fiercely.
But no one wants to be chasing and killing hornets all through
breakfast and dinner, so we asked the maid of the inn what could be
done to get rid of them. She smiled and said _Jawohl_, which was what
she always said; and we went out for a walk. When we came back and sat
down to supper there were no hornets. _Jawohl_ had just stood on a
chair, she said, poured a can of water into the nest, and stuffed up
the opening with grass. She had not been stung, and we were not
pestered by a hornet again that summer. I have sometimes told this
story to English people, and seen that though they were too polite to
say so they did not believe it. But that is their fault. The story as
I have told it is true. We found immense numbers of hornets in one
wild uninhabited valley where we sometimes walked that summer, but we
were never stung.

The proprietress of this inn, like most German women, was a fair cook.
Besides the inn she owned a small brewery, and employed a brewer who
lived quite near, and showed us the whole process by which he
transferred the water of the trout stream into foaming beer. His
mistress had no rival in the village, and the village was a small one,
so sometimes the beer was a little flat. When _Jawohl_ brought a jug
from a cask just broached, she put it on the table with a proud air,
and informed us that it was _frisch angesteckt_. We once spent a
summer in a Bavarian village where a dozen inns brewed their own beer,
and it was always known which one had just tapped a cask. Then
everyone crowded there as a matter of course. In all these country
inns there is one room with rough wooden tables and benches, and here
the peasants sit smoking their long pipes and emptying their big mugs
or glasses, and as a rule hardly speaking. They do not get drunk, but
no doubt they spend more than they can afford out of their scanty
earnings.

In the Bavarian village the inns were filled all through the summer
with people from Nuremberg, Erlangen, Augsburg, Erfurth, and other
Bavarian towns. The inn-keeper used to charge five shillings a week
for a scrupulously clean, comfortably furnished room, breakfast was
sixpence, dinner one and two-pence, and supper as you ordered it. For
dinner they gave you good soup, _Rindfleisch_, either poultry or roast
meat, and one of the _Mehlspeisen_ for which Bavaria is celebrated,
some dish, that is, made with eggs and flour. There was a great
variety of them, but I only remember one clearly, because I was
impressed by its disreputable name. It was some sort of small pancake
soaked in a wine sauce, and it was called _versoffene Jungfern_. Most
of these inns kept no servants, and except in the Kurhaus there was
not a black-coated waiter in the place. Our inn-keeper tilled his own
fields, grew his own hops, and brewed his own beer; and his wife,
wearing her peasant's costume, did all the cooking and cleaning,
assisted by a daughter or a cousin. When you met her out of doors she
would be carrying one of the immense loads peasant women do carry up
hill and down dale in Germany. She was hale and hearty in her middle
age, and always cheerful and obliging. At that inn, too, we never had
a meal indoors from May till October. Everything was brought out to a
summer-house, from which we looked straight down the village, its
irregular Noah's Ark-like houses, and its background of mountains and
forest.

When you first get back to England from Germany, you have to pull
yourself together and remember that in your own country, even on a hot
still summer evening, you cannot sit in a garden where a band is
playing and have your dinner in the open air, unless you happen to be
within reach of Earl's Court. In German towns there are always numbers
of restaurants in which, according to the weather, meals can be served
indoors or out. You see what use people make of them if, for instance,
you happen to be in Hamburg on a hot summer night. All round the basin
of the Alster there are houses, hotels, and gardens, and every public
garden is so crowded that you wonder the waiters can pass to and fro.
Bands are playing, lights are flashing, the little sailing boats are
flitting about. The whole city after its day's work has turned out for
air and music and to talk with friends. And as you watch the scene you
know that in every city, even in every village of the empire, there is
some such gala going on: in gardens going down to the Rhine from the
old Rhenish towns; in the gardens of ancient castles set high above
the stifling air of valleys; in the forest that comes to the very edge
of so many little German towns; even in the streets of towns where a
table set on the pavement will be pleasanter than in a room on such a
night as this. You can sit at one of these restaurants and order
nothing but a cup of coffee or a glass of beer; or you can dine, for
the most part, well and cheaply. If you order a _halbe Portion_ of
any dish, as Germans do, you will be served with more than you can eat
of it. The variety offered by some of the restaurants in the big
cities, the excellence of the cooking, the civilisation of the
appointments, and the service, all show that the German must be the
most industrious creature in the world, and the thriftiest and one of
the cleverest. In London we have luxurious restaurants for people who
can spend a great deal of money, but in Berlin they have them for
people who cannot spend much. That is the difference between the two
cities. How Berlin does it is a mystery. In the restaurants I have
seen there is neither noise nor bustle nor garish colours nor rough
service nor any other of the miseries we find in our own cheap
eating-houses. In one of them the walls were done in some kind of
plain fumed wood with a frieze and ceiling of soft dull gold. In
another each room had a different scheme of colour.

"So according to your _Stimmung_ you will choose your room," said the
friends who took me. "To-night we are rather cheerful. We will go to
the big room on the first floor. That is all pale green and ivory."

"You have nothing like this in England," said the artist as we went up
the lift. "It is terrible in England. When I asked for my lunch at
three or four o'clock I was told that lunch was over. _Das hat keinen
Zweck_,--I want my lunch when I am hungry."

"But you are terribly behindhand in some ways in Berlin," I said, for
I knew the artist liked an argument. "In London you can shop all
through the night by telephone. It is most convenient."

"Have you ever done it?"

"I'm not on the telephone, and I am generally asleep at night. But
other people...."

"_Verrückt_," said the artist. "Who in his senses wants to do shopping
at night? Now look at this room, and admit that you have nothing at
all like it."

The first swift impression of the place was that Liberty had brought
his stuffs, his furniture, and his glass from London and set up as a
restaurateur in Berlin. The whole thing was certainly well done. It
was not as florid and fussy as our expensive restaurants. The colours
were quiet, and the necessary draperies plain. The glass was thin and
elegant; so were the coffee cups; and the table linen was white and
fine. Nothing about it, however, would be worth describing if it had
been expensive. But the menu, which covered four closely printed
pages, showed that the most expensive dish offered there cost one and
threepence, while the greater number cost ninepence, sixpence, or
threepence each. The hungry man would begin with crayfish, which were
offered to him prepared in ten various ways; for the Germans, like the
French, are extremely fond of crayfish. He would have them in soup,
for instance, or with asparagus, with salad or dressed with dill. Then
he would find the week's bill of fare on his card, three or four
dishes for each day, some cooked in small casseroles and served so to
any guest who orders one. If it was a Friday he could have a ragoût of
chicken in the Bremen style, or a slice from a Hamburg leg of mutton
with cream sauce and celery salad, or ox-tongue cooked with young
turnips. If he was a Catholic he would find two kinds of fish ready
for him,--trout, cooked blue, and a ragoût of crayfish with asparagus
and baked perch. But these are just the special dishes of the day, and
he is not bound to try them. There are seven kinds of soup, including
real turtle, and it is not for me to say how real turtle can be
supplied in Berlin for 30 pfennig. There are seven kinds of fish and
too many varieties of meat, poultry, salads, vegetables and sweets,
both hot and cold, to count. A man can have any kind of cooking he
fancies, too; his steak may be German, Austrian, or French; he can
have English roast beef, Russian caviare, a Maltese rice pudding,
apples from the Tyrol, wild strawberries from a German forest, all the
cheeses of France and England, a Welsh rarebit, and English celery.
The English celery is as mysterious as the real turtle, for it was
offered in June. Pheasants and partridges, I can honestly say,
however, were not offered. Under the head of game there were only
venison, geese, chickens, and pigeons.

I am sorry now that when I dined at this restaurant I did not order
real turtle soup, _Roast beef Engl. mit Schmorkartoffeln_, celery, and
a Welsh rarebit, because then I should have discovered whether these
old British friends were recognisable in their Berlin environment. But
it was more amusing at the time to ask for ham cooked in champagne and
served with radish sauce, and other curious inviting combinations.

"But at home," I said to the artist,--"at home we just eat to live. We
have a great contempt for people who pay much attention to food."

"I stayed in an English house last year, and never did I hear so much
about food," said he. "One would eat nothing but grape-nuts and
cheese, and another swore by toast and hot water and little
_Pastetchen_ of beef, and the third would have large rice puddings,
and the fourth asked for fruit at every meal, and the fifth said all
the others were wrong and that he wanted a good dinner. The poor
hostess would have been distracted if she had not been one of those
who love a new fad and try each one in turn. Also there were two
eminent physicians in the house, and one of these drank champagne
every night, while the other would touch nothing but Perrier and said
champagne was poison. Directly we sat down we discussed these things,
... and everyone assured me that if I tried his regime I should
improve in health most marvellously."

"Which did you try?" I asked.

"The good dinner and the champagne, of course. But I did not find they
affected my health one way or the other."



CHAPTER XXII

LIFE IN LODGINGS


As rents are high in Germany, it is usual for people of small means to
let off one or two rooms, either furnished or unfurnished. But it is
not usual to supply a lodger with any meal except his coffee and rolls
in the morning. If you wish to take lodgings in a German town, and
work through the long list of them in a local paper, you will probably
find no one willing to provide for you in the English fashion.

"Cooking!" they say with horror,--"cooking! You want to eat in your
room. No. That can we not undertake. Coffee in the morning, yes; and
rolls with it and butter and even two eggs, but nothing further. Just
round the corner in the _Königstrasse_ are two very fine restaurants,
where the _Herrschaften_ can eat what they will at any hour of the
day, and for moderate prices."

If you insist, the most they will promise, and that not willingly, is
to provide you with a knife and fork and a tablecloth for a pyramid of
courses sent hot from one of the very fine adjacent restaurants for 1
mark or 1 mark 20 pf. Supper in Germany is the easiest meal in the day
to provide, as you buy the substantial part of it at a
_Delikatessenhandlung_, and find that even a German landlady will
condescend to get you rolls and butter and beer. This sounds like the
Simple Life, to be sure; but if you are in German lodgings for any
length of time you probably desire for one reason or the other to lead
it. The plan of having your dinner sent piping hot from a restaurant in
nice clean white dishes rather like monster soufflé dishes is not a bad
one if the restaurant keeps faith with you. It is rather amusing to
begin at the top with soup and work through the various surprises and
temptations of the pyramid till you get to _Biskuit-Pudding mit Vanille
Sauce_ at the bottom. But in nine cases out of ten the restaurant fails
you, sends uneatable food, is absurdly unpunctual or says plainly it
can't be bothered. Then you have to wander about and out of doors for
your food in all weathers and all states of health. This is amusing for
a time, but not in the long run. It is astonishing how tired you can
get of the "very fine" restaurants within reach, of their waitresses,
their furniture, their menus, and their daily guests. At least, this is
so in a small town where the best restaurant is not "very fine,"
although both food and service will be better than in an English town
of the same size. If you are in Berlin and can go to the good
restaurants, there you will be in danger of becoming a gourmet and
losing your natural affection for cold mutton.

In a university or a big commercial town it is easy to get rooms for
less than we pay in England; but in a small _Residenz_ I have found it
difficult. There were rooms to let, but no one wanted us, because we
were not officers with soldier servants to wait on us; nor did we want
to engage rooms as the officers did for at least six months. In fact,
we found ourselves as unpopular as ladies are in a London suburb where
all the lodging-house keepers want "gentlemen in the city" who are
away all day and give no trouble. At last, after searching through
every likely street in the town, we found a dentist with exuberant
manners, who said he would overlook our shortcomings, and allow us to
inhabit his rooms at a high price on condition we gave no trouble. We
said we never gave trouble anywhere, and left both hotels and
lodging-houses with an excellent character, so the bargain was
concluded. I saw that his wife was not a party to it, but he overruled
her, and as he was a big red-faced noisy man, and she was a small rat
of a woman, I thought he would continue to do so. One is always making
these stupid elementary mistakes about one's fellow-creatures. But a
little later in the day I had occasion to call at the rooms to
complete some arrangement about luggage, and then the wife received me
alone. I asked her if she could put a small table into a room that
only had a big one. I forget why I wanted it.

"Table!" she said rudely. "What can you want another table for? Isn't
that one enough?"

"I should like another," I said,--"any little one would do."

"I don't keep tables up my sleeve," said she. "You see what you can
have, ... just what is there. If it doesn't suit you...."

"But it does suit me," I said hurriedly, for the search had been long
and exhausting, and the rooms were pleasant enough. I thought we need
not deal much with the woman.

"No meals except coffee in the morning; you understand that?" she said
in a truculent tone.

"Oh yes, I understand. We shall go out at midday and at night.
Afternoon tea I always make myself with a spirit lamp...."

Never in my life have I been so startled. I thought the woman was
going to behave like a rat in a corner, and fly at me. She shook her
fist and shouted so loud that she brought the dentist on the scene.

"_Spiritus_," she screamed. "_Spiritus--Spiritus leid' ich nicht._"

"Bless us!" I said in English. "What's the matter?"

"_Was ist's?_" said the dentist, and he looked downright frightened.

"_Sie will kochen_," said his wife, shaking her fist at me again. "She
has a spirit lamp. She wants to turn my beautiful _bestes Zimmer_ into
a kitchen. She will take all the polish off my furniture, just as the
last people did when they cooked for themselves."

"Cooked!" I said. "Who speaks of cooking?--I spoke of a cup of tea."

"_Spiritus leid' ich nicht_," shrieked the woman.

"No," said the dentist, "we can't have cooking here."

"_Spiritus leid'_...."

But I fled. Luckily, we had not paid any rent in advance. I made up my
mind that I would never confess to my small harmless Etna in German
lodgings again, and would bolt the door while I boiled water for tea
in it. We found rooms after another weary search, but they were
extremely noisy and uncomfortable. We had to take them for six weeks,
and could only endure them for a fortnight, and though we paid them
the full six weeks' rent when we left, they charged us for every jug
of hot water we had used, and added a _Trinkgeld_ for the servant.

"We did not engage to pay extra either for hot water or for
_Trinkgeld_," we said, turning, as worms will even in a _Residenz_,
where everyone is a worm who is not _Militär_.

"But _Engländer_ never give a _Trinkgeld_. That is why we have put it
in the bill. The girl expects it, and has earned it."

"The girl will have it," we said; "but we shall give it her ourselves.
And what have you to say about the hot water?"

"Without coal it is impossible to have hot water. We let you our
rooms, but we did not let you our coal. It is quite simple. Have you
any other complaint to make?"

We had, but we did not make them. We went to one of the big cities,
where the civilian is still a worm, but where he has a large number
and variety of other worms to keep him company. In Berlin or Hamburg
or Leipzig there are always furnished rooms delighted to receive you.
There may be a difficulty, however, if you are a musician. The police
come in with their regulations; or your fellow-lodgers may be students
of medicine or philosophy, and driven wild by your harmonies. I knew a
young musician who always took rooms in the noisiest street in Berlin,
and practised with his windows open. He said the din of electric
trams, overhead trains, motor cars, and heavy lorries helped his
landlady and her family to suffer a Beethoven sonata quite gladly.

One of the insoluble mysteries of German life is the cheapness of
furnished lodgings as compared with the high rent and rates. To be
sure, the landlady does not cook for you, and the bed-sitting-room is
not considered sordid in Germany. In fact, the separate sitting-room
is almost unknown, though it is easy to arrange one by shifting some
furniture. The pattern of the room and its appointments hardly vary in
any part of Germany, though of course the size and quality vary with
the price. If you take a small room you have one straight window, and
if you take a large one you have several. Or you may have a broad
balcony window opening on to a balcony. You have the parqueted or
painted floor, the porcelain stove, the sofa, the table, the wooden
bedstead, and the wooden hanging cupboard wherever you are. It is
always sensible, comfortable furniture, and usually plain. When people
over there know no better they buy themselves tawdry horrors, just as
they do here. The German manufacturers flood the world with such
things. But people who let lodgings put their treasures in a sacred
room they call _das beste Zimmer_, and only use on festive occasions.
They fob you off with old-fashioned stuff they do not value, a roomy
solid cupboard, a family sofa, a chest of drawers black with age, and
a hanging mirror framed in old elm-wood; and if it were not for a
bright green rep tablecloth, snuff-coloured curtains, and a wall paper
with a brown background and yellow snakes on it, you would like your
quarters very well indeed. Rooms are usually let by the month, except
in watering-places, where weekly prices prevail. In Leipzig you can
get a room for 10s. a month. It will be a parterre or a fourth-floor
room, rather gloomy and rather shabby, but a possible room for a
student who happens to be hard up. For £1 a month you can get a room
on a higher floor, and better furnished, while for £1, 10s. a month in
Hamburg I myself have had two well-furnished rooms commanding a fine
view of the Alster, and one of them so large that in winter it was
nearly impossible to keep warm. Then my Hamburg friends told me I was
paying too much, and that they could have got better lodgings for less
money. They were nearer the sky than I should like in these days, but
the old German system of letting the higher flats in a good house for
a low rent benefits people who care about a "select" neighbourhood and
yet cannot pay very much. The modern system of lifts will gradually
make it impossible to get a flat or lodgings in a good street without
paying as much for the fifth floors as for the first.

You do not see much of a German landlady, as she does not cater for
you. She is often a widow, and when you know the rent of a flat you
wonder how she squeezes a living out of what her lodgers pay her. She
cannot even nourish herself with their scraps, or warm herself at a
kitchen fire for which they pay. Some of them perform prodigies of
thrift, especially when they have children to feed and educate. At the
end of a long severe winter, when the Alster had been frozen for
months, I found out by chance that my landlady, a sad aged widow with
one little boy, had never lighted herself a fire. She let every room
of her large flat, except a kitchen and a _Kammer_ opening out of it.
The little food she needed she cooked on an oil stove, at night she
had a lamp, and of course she never by any chance opened a window. She
said she could not afford coals, and that her son and she managed to
keep warm. The miracle is that they both kept alive and well. Another
German landlady was of a different type, a big buxom bustling
creature, who spent most of the day in her husband's coal sheds,
helping him with his books and taking orders. Although she was so busy
she undertook to cook for me, and kept her promise honourably; and she
cooked for herself, her husband, and their work-people. She used
sometimes to show me the huge dishes of food they were about to
consume, food that was cheap to buy and nourishing to eat, but
troublesome to prepare. She did all her own washing too, and dried it
in the narrow slip of a room her husband and she used for all
purposes. I discovered this by going in to see her when she was ill
one day, and finding rows of wet clothes hung on strings right across
her bed. I made no comment, for nothing that is an outrage of the
first laws of hygiene will surprise you if you have gone here and
there in the byways of Germany. An English girl told me that when she
was recovering from a slight attack of cholera in a Rhenish _Pension_,
they were quite hurt because she refused stewed cranberries. "_Das
schadet nichts, das ist gesund_," they said. I could hear them say it.
Only the summer before a kindly hotel-keeper had brought me a ragoût
of _Schweinefleisch_ and vanilla ice under similar circumstances. The
German constitution seems able to survive anything, even roast goose
at night at the age of three.

A _Pension_ in Germany costs from £3 a month upwards. That is to say,
you will get offers of a room and full board for this sum, but I must
admit that I never tried one at so low a rate, and should not expect
it to be comfortable. Rent and food are too dear in the big towns to
make a reasonable profit possible on such terms, unless the household
is managed on starvation lines. To have a comfortable room and
sufficient food, you must pay from £5 to £7 a month, and then if you
choose carefully you will be satisfied. The society is usually
cosmopolitan in these establishments, and the German spoken is a
warning rather than a lesson. It is not really German life that you
see in this way, though the proprietress and her assistants may be
German. In most of the university towns some private families take
"paying guests," and when they are agreeable people this is a
pleasanter way of life than any _Pension_.

Before you have been in Germany a fortnight the police expects to know
all about you. You have to give them your father's Christian and
surname, and tell them how he earned his living, and where he was
born; also your mother's Christian and maiden name, and where she was
born. You must declare your religion, and if you are married give your
husband's Christian and surname; also where he was born, and what he
does for a living. If you happen to do anything yourself, though, you
need not mention it. They do not expect a woman to be anything further
than married or single. But you must say when and where you were last
in Germany, and how often you have been, and why you have come now,
and what you are doing, and how long you propose to stay. They tell
you in London you do not need a passport in Germany, and they tell you
in Berlin that you must either produce one or be handed over for
inquiry to your Embassy. Last year when I was there I produced one
twenty-three years old. I had not troubled to get a new one, but I
came across this, quite yellow with age, and I thought it might serve
to make some official happy; for I had once seen my husband get
himself, me, and our bicycles over the German frontier and into
Switzerland, and next morning back into Germany, by showing the
gendarmes on the bridge his C.T.C. ticket. I cannot say that my
ancient passport made my official exactly happy. Twenty-three years
ago he was certainly in a _Steckkissen_, and no doubt he felt that in
those days, in a world without him to set it right, anything might
happen.

"Twenty-three years," he bellowed at the top of his voice, for he saw
that I was _fremd_, and wished to make himself clear. We are not the
only people who scream at foreigners that they may understand.
"Twenty-three years. But it is a lifetime."

It was for him no doubt. I admitted that twenty-three years was--well,
twenty-three years, and explained that I had been told at a
_Reisebureau_ that a passport was unnecessary.

"They know nothing in England," he said gloomily. "With us a passport
is necessary; but what is a passport twenty-three years old?"

I admitted that, from the official point of view, it was not much, and
he made no further difficulties. As a rule you need not go to the
police bureau at all. The people you are with will get the necessary
papers, and fill them in for you; but I wanted to see whether the
German jack-in-office was as bad as his reputation makes him. Germans
themselves often complain bitterly of the treatment they receive at
the hands of these lower class officials.

"I went to the police station," said a German lady who lived in
England, and was in her own country on a visit. "I went to _anmelden_
myself, but not one of the men in the office troubled to look up. When
I had stood there till I was tired I said that I wished someone to
attend to me. Every pen stopped, every head was raised, astounded by
my impertinence. But no one took any notice of my request. I waited a
little longer, and then fetched myself a chair that someone had left
unoccupied. I did not do it to make a sensation. I was tired. But
every pen again stopped, and one in authority asked in a voice like
thunder what I made here. I said that I had come to _anmelden_ myself,
and he began to ask the usual questions with an air of suspicion that
was highly offensive. You can see for yourself that I do not look like
an anarchist or anything but what I am, a respectable married woman of
middle age. I told the man everything he wanted to know, and at every
item he grunted as if he knew it was a lie. In the end he asked me
very rudely how long a stay I meant to make in Germany.

"Not a day longer than I can help," I said; "for your manners do not
please me."

All the pens stopped again till I left the office, and when I got
back to my mother she wept bitterly; for she said that I should be
prosecuted for _Beamtenbeleidigung_ and put in prison.

"But the really interesting fact about the system is that it doesn't
work," said a German to me; "when I wanted my papers a little while
ago I could not get them. Nothing about me could be discovered.
Officially I did not exist."

Yet he had inherited a name famous all over the world, was a
distinguished scientific man himself, and had been born in the city
where his existence was not known to the police.

"Take care you don't go in at an _Ausgang_ or out at an _Eingang_,"
said an Englishman who had just come back from Berlin. "Take care you
don't try to buy stamps at the Post Office out of your turn. Remember
that you can't choose your cab when you arrive. A policeman gives you
a number, and you have to hunt amongst a crowd of cabs for that
number, even if it is pouring with rain. Remember that the police
decides that you must buy your opera tickets on a Sunday morning, and
stand _queue_ for hours till you get them. If you have a cold in your
head, stay at home. Last winter a man was arrested for sneezing
loudly. It was considered _Beamtenbeleidigung_. The Englishwoman who
walked on the grass in the Tiergarten was not arrested, because the
official who saw her died of shock at the sight, and could not perform
his duty."

Wherever you go in Germany you hear stories of police interference and
petty tyranny, and it is mere luck if you do not innocently transgress
some of their fussy pedantic regulations. In South Germany I once put
a cream jug on my window-sill to keep a little milk cool for the
afternoon. The jug was so small and the window so high that it can
hardly have been visible from the street, but my landlady came to me
excitedly and said the police would be on her before the day was out
if the jug was left there. The police allowed nothing on a window-sill
in that town, lest it should fall on a citizen's head. Each town or
district has its own restrictions, its own crimes. In one you will
hear that a butcher boy is not allowed on the side-path carrying his
tray of meat. If a policeman catches him at it, he, or his employer,
is fined. In another town the awning from a shop window must not
exceed a certain length, and you are told of a poor widow, who, having
just had a new one put up at great expense, was compelled by the
police to take the whole thing down, because the flounce was a quarter
of an inch longer than the regulations prescribed. You hear of a poor
man laboriously building a toy brick wall round the garden in his
_Hof_, and having to pull it to pieces because "building" is not
allowed except with police permission. In some towns the length of a
woman's gown is decided in the _Polizeibureau_, and the officers fine
any woman whose skirt touches the ground. In one town you may take a
dog out without a muzzle; in another it is a crime. A merchant on his
way to his office, in a city where there was a muzzling order, found
to his annoyance, one morning, that his mother's dog had followed him
unmuzzled. He had no string with him, he could not persuade the dog to
return, and he could not go back with it, because he had an important
appointment. So he risked it and went on. Before long, however, he met
a policeman. The usual questions were asked, his name and address were
taken, and he was told that he would be fined. Hardly had he got to
the end of the street when he met a second policeman. He explained
that the matter was settled, but this was not the opinion of the
policeman. Was the dog not at large, unmuzzled, on his the
policeman's beat? With other policemen he had nothing to do. The dog
was his discovery, the name and address of the owner were required,
and there was no doubt, in the policeman's mind, that the owner would
have to pay a second fine. The merchant went his ways, still followed
by an unmuzzled unled dog. Before long he met a third policeman, gave
his name and address a third time, and was assured that he would have
to pay a third time.

"_Dann war es mir zu bunt_," said the merchant, and he picked up the
dog and carried it the rest of the way to his office. When he got
there he sent it home in a cab.



CHAPTER XXIII

SUMMER RESORTS


If you choose to leave the railroad you may still travel by diligence
in Germany, and rumble along the roads in its stuffy interior. As you
pass through a village the driver blows his horn, old and young run
out to enjoy the sensation of the day, the geese cackle and flutter
from you in the dust, you catch glimpses of a cobble-stoned
market-place, a square church-tower with a stork's nest on its summit,
Noah's Ark-like houses with thatched or gabled roofs, tumble-down
balconies, and outside staircases of wood. Sometimes when the official
coach is crowded you may have an open carriage given you without extra
charge, but you cannot expect that to happen often; nor will you often
be driven by postillion nowadays. Indeed, for all I know the last one
may have vanished and been replaced by a motor bus. You can take one
to a mountain inn in the Black Forest nowadays, over a pass I
travelled a few years ago in a mail coach. In those times it was a
jog-trot journey occupying the long lazy hours of a summer morning. I
suppose that now you whizz and hustle through the lovely forest
scenery pursued by clouds of dust and offended by the fumes of petrol,
but no doubt you get to your destination quicker than you used. The
pleasantest way to travel in Germany, if you are young and strong, is
on your feet. It is enchanting to walk day after day through the cool
scented forest and sleep at night in one of the clean country inns.
You must choose your district and your inn, for if you went right off
the traveller's track and came to a peasant's house you would find
nothing approaching the civilisation of an English farmhouse. But in
most of the beautiful country districts of Germany there are fine
inns, and there are invariably good roads leading to them. This way of
travelling is too tame for English people as a rule. They laugh at the
broad well-made path winding up the side of a German mountain, and
still more at the hotel or restaurant to be found at the top. From the
English point of view a walk of this kind is too tame and easy either
for health or pleasure. But the beauty of it, especially in early
summer, can never be forgotten; and so it is worth while, even if you
are young and cherish a proper scorn for broad roads and good dinners.
You would probably come across some dinners that were not good, tough
veal, for instance, and greasy vegetables. The roads you would have to
accept, and walk them if you choose in tennis shoes. Indeed, you would
forget the road and eat the dinner unattending; for all that's made
would be a green thought in a green shade for you by the end of the
day, and as you shut your eyes at night you would see forest, forest
with the sunlight on the young tips of the pines, forest unfolding
itself from earth to sky as you climbed hour after hour close to the
ferns and boulders of the foaming mountain stream your pathway
followed, forest too on the opposite side of the valley, with wastes
of golden broom here and there, and fields of rye and barley swept
gently by the breeze. You may walk day by day in Germany through such
a paradise as this, and meet no one but a couple of children gathering
wild strawberries, or an old peasant carrying faggots, or the
goose-girl herding her fussy flock. You may even spend your summer
holiday in a crowded watering-place, and yet escape quite easily into
the heart of the forest where the crowd never comes. The crowd sits
about on benches planted by a _Verschönerungsverein_ within a mile of
their hotel, or on the verandah of the hotel itself. Some of the
benches will command a view, and these will be most in demand. Those
that are nearly a mile away will be reached by energetic elderly
ladies, and at dinner you will hear that they have been to the
Rabenstein this morning, and that the _Aussicht_ was _prachtvoll_ and
the _Luft herrlich_, but that they must decline to go farther afield
this afternoon as the morning's exertions have tired them. But some of
_die Herren_ say they are ready for anything, and even propose to
scale the mountain behind the hotel and drink a glass of beer at the
top. You readily agree to go with them, for by this time you know that
even if you are a poor walker you can toddle half way up a German hill
and down again; and the hotel itself has been built high above the
valley. But after dinner you find that nearly everyone disappears for
a siesta, while the few who keep outside are asleep over their coffee
and cigar. Even _Skat_ hardly keeps awake the three _Herren_ who
proposed a walk; and your friend the Frau Geheimrath Schultze warns
you solemnly against the insanity of stirring a step before sundown;
for summer in South Germany is summer indeed. The sun comes suddenly
with power and glory, bursting every sheathed bud and ripening crops
in such a hurry that you walk through new mown hayfields while your
English calendar tells you it is still spring. Later in the year the
heat is often intense all through the middle of the day, and the young
men who make their excursions on foot start at dawn, so that they may
arrive at a resting place by ten or eleven. "For many years our boys
have wandered cheaply and simply through their German Fatherland,"
says a leaflet advertising a society that organises walking tours for
girls; Saturday afternoon walks, Sunday walks, and holiday walks
extending over six or eight days. "Simplicity, cheerful friendly
intercourse, gaiety in fresh air, these are the companions of our
pilgrimage.... We wish to provide the German nation with mothers who
are at home in woods and meadows, who have learned to observe the
beauties of nature, who have strengthened their health and their
perceptions of everything that is great and beautiful by happy
walks.... Anyone _wanderfroh_ who has been at a higher school or who
is still attending one is eligible. The card of membership only costs
3 marks for a single member and 4 marks for a whole family. Some of
the excursions are planned to include brother pilgrims, and their
character is gay and cheerful, without flirting or coquetry, a genuine
friendly intercourse between girls and boys, young men and maidens, a
pure and beautiful companionship such as no dancing lesson and no
ballroom can create, and which is nevertheless the best training for
life." So nowadays gangs of girls, and even mixed gangs of boys and
girls, are to swarm through the pleasant forests of Germany, ascend
the easy pathways of her mountains, and fill her country inns to
overflowing. How horrified the little _Backfisch_ would have been at
such a suggestion, how unmaidenly her excellent aunt would have deemed
it, how profoundly they would both have disapproved of any exercise
that heightens the colour or disturbs the neatness of a young lady's
toilet. I myself have heard German men become quite violent in their
condemnation of Englishwomen who play games or take walks that make
them temporarily dishevelled. It never seemed to occur to them that a
woman might think their displeasure at her appearance of less account
than her own enjoyment. "No," they said, "ask not that we should
admire Miss Smith. She has just come in from a six hours' walk with
her brother. Her face is as red as a poppy, her blouse is torn, and
her boots are thick and muddy."

As a matter of fact, I had not asked them to admire Miss Smith. I knew
that the lady they admired was arch, and had a persuasive giggle.
Nevertheless I tried to break a lance for my countrywoman.

"You will see," I assured them, "she will remove the torn blouse and
the muddy boots; and when she comes down her face will be quite pale."

"But she often looks like that," said one of the men. "At least once a
day she plays a game or takes a walk that is more of a strain on her
appearance than it should be. A young woman must always consider what
effect things have on her appearance."

"Why?"

"Why?--Because she is a woman. There is no sense in a question like
that. It goes back to the beginning of all things. It is unanswerable.
Every young woman wishes to please."

"But is it not conceivable," I asked, "that a young woman may
sometimes wish to please herself even at the expense of her
appearance. Miss Smith assures me that she enjoys long walks and
games,--oh, games that you have not seen her play here--hockey, for
instance, and cricket."

"_Verrückt!_" said the men in chorus. "A young woman should not think
of herself at all. The Almighty has created her to please us, and it
does not please us when she wears muddy boots and is as red as a
poppy; at least, not while she is young. When she is married, and her
place is in the kitchen, she may be as red as she pleases. That is a
different matter."

"Is it?" I said, and I wanted to ask why again; but I held my tongue.
Some questions, as they said, lead one too far afield.

The majority of visitors at a German watering-place take very little
exercise of any kind. They sit about the forest as our seaside
visitors sit about the sands, and though they cannot fill in their
mornings by sea bathing, there are often medicinal baths that take as
much time. Then the _Badearzt_ probably prescribes so many glasses of
water from his favourite spring each day, and a short walk after each
glass, and a long rest after the midday dinner. Dinner is the really
serious business of the day, and often occupies two hours. Where there
is still a _table d'hôte_ it is a tedious, noisy affair, conducted in
a stuffy room, and even if you are greedy enough to like the good
things brought round you wish very soon that you were on a Cumberland
fell-side with a mutton sandwich and a mountain stream. You wish it
even although you hate mutton sandwiches and like meringues filled
with Alpine strawberries and whipped cream; for the clatter and the
clack going on around you, and the asphyxiating air, bring on a
demoralising somnolence that you despise and cannot easily throw off.
You sit about as lazily as anyone else half through the golden
afternoon, drink a cup of coffee at four o'clock, look at mountains of
cake, and then start for the restaurant, which is said to be _eine
gute Stunde_ from the hotel. You find, as you expected, that you
saunter gently uphill on a broad winding road through the forest, and
that you have a charming walk, but not what anyone in this country
would call exercise till they were about seventy. In case you should
be weary you pass seats every hundred yards or so, and when you have
made your ascent you are received by a bustling waiter or a waitress
in costume, who expects to serve you with beer or coffee before you
venture down the hill again. By the time you get back to the hotel
everyone is streaming in to supper, which is not as long as dinner,
but quite as noisy. After supper everyone sits about the verandah or
the garden. The men play cards, and smoke and drink coffee and Kirsch,
the married women talk and do embroidery, the maidens stroll about in
twos and threes or sit down to Halma. There are never many young men
in these summer hotels, and the few there are herd with the older men
or with each other more than young men do in this country. What we
understand by flirtation is not encouraged, unless it is almost sure
to lead to marriage; and what the Germans understand by flirtation is
justly considered scandalous and reprehensible. For the Germans have
taken the word into use, but taken away the levity and innocence of
its meaning. They make it a term of serious reproach, and those who
dislike us condemn the shocking prevalence of Flirt (they make a noun
of the verb) in our decadent society.

The _Pension_ price at a German summer hotel varies from four to
fifteen marks, according to the general style of the establishment and
the position of the rooms engaged. In one frequented by Germans the
sitting-rooms are bare and formal, and as English visitors are not
expected no English papers are taken. The season begins in June and
lasts till the end of September, and you must be a successful
hotel-keeper yourself to understand how so much can be provided for so
little, miles away from any market. Many of these summer hotels have
been built high up in the forest, and with no others near them. Some
are run as a speculation by doctors. There is hardly a woman or girl
in Germany who has not needed a _Kur_ at some time of her life, or who
does not need one every year if she has money and pretty gowns. The
_Badereise_ and everything connected with it serves the German
professional humorist much as the mother-in-law and the drop too much
serve the English one, perennially and faithfully. For the wife is
determined to have her _Badereise_, and the husband is not inclined to
pay for it, and the family doctor is called in to prescribe it. The
artifices and complications arising suggest themselves, and to judge
by the postcards and farces of Germany never weary the public they are
designed to amuse.

In Berlin, when the hot weather comes, you see the family luggage and
bedding going off to the sea-coast, for people who take a house take
part of their bedding with them. There is so little seaside and so
much Berlin that prices rule high wherever there is civilised
accommodation. In Ruegen £1 a week per room is usual, and the room you
get for that may be a very poor one. In most German watering-places,
both on the coast and in the forest, you can have furnished rooms if
you prefer them to hotel life, but as a rule you must either cook your
own dinner or go out to a hotel for it. The cooking landlady is as
rare in the country as in the town. Then in some places, at Oberhof,
for instance, high upon the hills above Gotha, there are charming
little furnished bungalows. Friends of mine go there or to one of the
neighbouring villages every year, and never enter a hotel. They either
take a servant with them, or find someone on the spot to do what is
necessary. When there are no mineral waters or sea baths to give a
place importance, Germans say they have come there to do a _Luftkur_.
A delightful Frenchwoman who has written about England lately is
amused by our everlasting babble about a "change." This one needs a
change, she says, and that one is away for a change, and the other
means to have a change next week. So the Germans amuse us by their
eternal "cures." One tries air, and the other water, and the next
iron, and the fourth sulphur, while the number and variety of nerve
cures, _Blutarmut_ cures, diet cures, and obesity cures are
bewildering. It is difficult to believe that life in a hotel can cure
anyone anywhere. However, in Germany, if you are under a capable
_Badearzt_, there may be some salvation for you, since he orders your
baths, measures your walks, and limits your diet so strictly. At one
of the well-known places where people who eat too much all the year
round go to reduce their figures, there is in the chief hotels a table
known as the _Corpulententisch_, and a man who sits there is not
allowed an ounce of bread beyond what his physician has prescribed.

But the German _Luxusbad_, the fashionable watering-place where the
guests are cosmopolitan and the prices high--Marienbad, Homburg,
Karlsbad, Schwalbach, Wiesbaden--all these places are as well known to
English people as their own Bath and Buxton. Homburg they have
swallowed, and I have somewhere come across a paragraph from an
English newspaper objecting to the presence of Germans there. It is
the quiet German watering-place where no English come that is
interesting and not impossible to find. During the summer I spent in a
Bavarian forest village I only saw one English person the whole time,
except my own two or three friends. I heard the other day that the
village and the life there have hardly altered at all, but that some
English people have discovered the trout streams and come every year
for fishing. In my time no one seemed to care about fishing. You went
for walks in the forest. There was nothing else to do, unless you
played _Kegel_ and drank beer; for it was only a _Luftkur_. There was
no _Badearzt_ and no mineral water. To be sure, there were caves, huge
limestone caves that you visited with a guide the day after you
arrived, and never thought about again. There were various ruined
castles, too, in the neighbourhood that made a goal for a drive in
cases where there was a restaurant attached, and not far off there was
a curious network of underground beer-cellars that I did not see, but
which seemed to attract the men of our party sometimes. There were
several inns in the straggling village, for the place lay high up
amongst the dolomite hills of Upper Franconia, and people came there
from the neighbouring towns for _Waldluft_. The summer I was there
Richard Wagner passed through with his family, and we saw him more
than once. He stayed at the Kurhaus, a hotel of more pretentions than
the village inns, for it had a good sized garden and did not entertain
peasants. My inn, recommended by an old Nuremberg friend, was owned
and managed by a peasant proprietor, his wife, their elderly daughter,
and two charming orphan grandchildren in their early teens. The
peasant customers had as usual a large rough room to themselves, the
town guests had their plain bare _Speisesaal_, and we Britishers
possessed the summer house; so we were all happy. The whole glory of
the place was in the forest; for it was not flat sandy forest that has
no undergrowth, and wearies you very soon with its sameness and its
still, oppressive air. It was up hill and down dale forest, full of
lovely glades, broken by massive dolomite rocks; the trees not set in
serried rows, but growing for the most part as the birds and the wind
planted them; a varied natural forest tended but not dragooned by man.
The flowers there were a delight to us, for we arrived early enough in
the year to find lilies of the valley growing in great quantities
amongst the rocks, while a little later the stream and pathways were
bordered by oak and beech fern and by many wild orchises that are rare
now with us. It was not here, however, but in another German forest,
where, one day when I had no time to linger, I met people with great
bunches of the _Cypripedium calceolus_ that they had gathered as we
gather primroses. At the Bavarian watering-place we had the whole
forest as much to ourselves as the summer house, for no one seemed to
wander farther than the seats placed amongst the trees by the
_Verschönerungsverein_.

    "Warum willst du weiter schweifen
    Sieh das Gute liegt so nah,"

says Goethe, and most Germans out for their summer holiday seem to
take his advice in the most literal way, and find their happiness as
near home as they possibly can.

When you begin to think about the actual process of travelling in
Germany, the tiresome business of getting from the city to the forest
village, for instance, you at once remember both the many complaints
you have heard Germans make of our system, or rather want of system,
and the bitter scorn poured on German fussiness by travelling Britons.
The ways of one nation are certainly not the ways of another in this
respect. Directly I cross the German frontier I know that I am safe
from muddle and mistakes, that I need not look after myself or my
luggage, that I cannot get into a wrong train or alight at a wrong
station, or suffer any injury through carelessness or mismanagement.
Everything is managed for me, and on long journeys in the corridor
trains things are well managed. But your carriage is far more likely
to be unpleasantly crowded in Germany than in England; and as
hand-luggage is not charged for, the public takes all it can, and
fills the racks, the seats, and the floor with heavy bags and
portmanteaux. In bygone years the saying was that none travelled first
class save fools and Englishmen, but nowadays Germans travel in their
own first-class carriages a good deal. The third-class accommodation
is wretched, more fit for animals than men. In some districts there
are fourth-class uncovered seats on the roof of the carriages, but I
have only seen these used in summer. When I was last in Germany a year
ago there was much excitement and indignation over certain changes
that were to make travelling dearer for everyone. All luggage in the
van was to be paid for in future, first-class fares were to be raised,
and no return tickets issued.

But you must not think that when you have bought a ticket from one
place to another you can get to it by any train you please. "I want
the 10.15 to Entepfuhl," you say to the nearest and biggest official
you can see; and he looks at your ticket.

"_Personenzug_," he says in a withering way,--"the 10.15 is an
express."

You say humbly that you like an express.

"Then you must get an extra ticket," he says, "This one only admits
you to slow trains."

So you get your extra ticket, and then you wait with everyone else in
a big room where most people are eating and drinking to wile away the
time. Don't imagine that you can find your empty train, choose your
corner, and settle yourself comfortably for your journey as you can in
England. You are well looked after, but if you are used to England
you never quite lose the impression in Germany that if you are not an
official or a soldier you must be a criminal, and that if you move an
inch to right or left of what is prescribed you will hear of it. Just
before the train starts the warders open your prison doors and shout
out the chief places the train travels to. So you hustle along with
everyone else, and get the best place you can, and are hauled out by a
watchful conductor when you arrive. If it is a small station there is
sure to be a dearth of porters, but you get your luggage by going to
the proper office and giving up the slip of paper you received when it
was weighed. Never forget, as I have known English people do, that you
cannot travel in Germany without having your luggage weighed and
receiving the _Schein_ for it. If you lose the _Schein_ you are
undone. I cannot tell you exactly what would happen, because it would
be a tragedy without precedent, but it is impossible that German
officials would surrender a trunk without receiving a _Schein_ in
exchange; at least, not without months of rigmarole and delay. Even
when it is the official who blunders the public suffers for it. We
were travelling some years ago from Leipzig to London when the guard
examining our tickets let one blow away. Luckily some German gentlemen
in the carriage with us saw what happened, gave us their addresses,
and offered to help us in any way they could. But we had to buy a
fresh ticket and trust to getting our money back by correspondence.
Six months later we did get it back, and this is an exact translation
of the letter accompanying it:--

     "In answer to your gracious letter of the 26th September, we
     inform your wellbornship, respectfully, that the Ticket
     Office here is directed, in regard to the ticket by you on
     the 23rd of September taken, by the guard in checking lost
     ticket Leipzig-London via Calais 2nd class, the for the
     distance Hanover to London outpaid fare of 71 m. 40 pf. by
     post to you to refund."

One must admire the mind that can compose a sentence like that without
either losing its way or turning dizzy.

But if you want to see what Germans can give you in the way of order
and comfort you must leave the railroad and travel in one of their big
American liners. Even if you are not going to America, but only from
Hamburg to Dover, it is well worth doing. The interest of it begins
the day before, when you take your trunks to the docks and see the
steerage passengers assembled for their start. They are a strange
gipsy-looking folk, for the most part from the eastern frontier of
Germany, bare-footed and wearing scraps of brighter colours than
western people choose. When we arrived the doctor was examining their
eyes in an open shed, and we saw them huddled together in families
waiting their turn. There was no weeping and wailing as there is when
the Irish leave their shores. These people looked scared by the bustle
of departure, and concerned for the little children with them, and for
their poor bundles of clothes; but they did not seem unhappy. In the
luggage bureau itself you came across the emigrant upsides with
fortune, the successful business German returning to America after a
summer holiday in his native land, and speaking the most hideously
corrupt and vulgar English ever heard. The most harsh and nasal
American is heavenly music compared with nasal American spoken by a
German tongue. The great ship was crowded with people of this type,
and the resources of Europe could hardly supply them with the
luxuries they wanted. We had a special train next day to Cuxhaven, and
an army of blue-coated white-gloved stewards to meet us on the
platform, and a band to play us on board. Our private rooms were hung
with pale blue silk and painted with white enamel and furnished with
satin-wood; the passages had marble floors; there were quantities of
flowers everywhere, and books, and the electric light. In fact, it was
the luxurious floating hotel a modern liner must be to entice such
people as those I saw in the luggage bureau to travel in it. The meals
were most elaborate and excellent; and I feel sure that any royal
family happening to travel incognito on the ship would have been
satisfied with them. But my neighbours at table were not. "We shall
not dine down here again," said one of them, speaking with the twang I
have described. "After to-night we shall have all our meals in the
Ritz Restaurant." I looked at her reflectively, and next day after
breakfast I stood on the bridge and looked at the other emigrants. The
women were singing an interminable droning mass, the men sat about on
sacks and played cards, the bare-footed children scuttled to and fro.

"One day some of these people will come back in a _Luxus_ cabin," said
a German acquaintance to me.

"And they will dine in the Ritz Restaurant, because our dinner is not
good enough for them," I prophesied.

Directly we got to Dover every feature of our arrival helped us to
feel at home. There was a batch of large good-natured looking
policemen, whose function I cannot explain, but it was agreeable to
see them again. There was no order or organisation of any kind to
protect and annoy you. The authorities had thoughtfully painted the
letters of the alphabet on the platform where the luggage was
deposited, and you were supposed to find your own trunks in front of
your own letter. I, full of German ideas still, waited a weary time
near my letter. "You'll never get them that way," said an English
friend. "You'd much better go to the end of the platform and pick them
out as you can." So I went, and found a huge pile of luggage pitched
anyhow, anywhere, and picked out my own, seized a porter, made him
shoulder things, and followed him at risk to life and limb. All the
luggage leaving Dover was being tumbled about at our feet, and when we
tried to escape it we fell over what had arrived. Porters were rushing
to and fro with trunks, just as disturbed ants do with eggs, but in
this case it was the German passengers who felt disturbed. They were
not used to such ways. When they had to duck under a rope to reach the
waiting train they grew quite angry, and said they did not think much
of the British Empire. But there was worse to come for us all.
Breakfast on board had been early and a fog had delayed our arrival.
We were all hungry and streamed into the refreshment room. We filled
it.

"What is there to eat?" said one.

The young woman with the hauteur and detachment of her calling did not
speak, but just glanced at a glass dish under a glass cover. There
were two stale looking ham sandwiches.

"Well," says my Englishman, when I tell him this true story--"we are
not a greedy nation."

"But how about the trunks that were not under their right letters?" I
ask.

"Who in his senses wants to find trunks under letters?" says he. "The
proper place for trunks is the end of the platform. Then you can tear
out of the train and find yours first and get off quickly. When you
are all dragooned and drilled an ass comes off as well as anyone else.
You place a premium on stupidity."

"But that is an advantage to the ass," I say; "and in a civilised
State why should the ass not have as good a chance as anyone else?"

The argument that ensues is familiar, exhausting, and interminable.
"An ass is an ass wherever he lives," says someone at last; and
everyone is delighted to have a proposition put forward to which he
can honestly agree.



CHAPTER XXIV

PEASANT LIFE


The peasant proprietors of Southern Germany are a comfortable,
prosperous class. "A rich peasant" begins your comic story as often as
"a rich Jew." The peasants own their farms and a bit of forest, as
well as a vineyard or a hop garden. They never pretend to be anything
but peasants; but when they can afford it they like to have a son who
is a doctor, a schoolmaster, or a pastor. Unless you have special
opportunities you can only watch peasant life from outside in Germany,
for you could not stay in a Bauernhaus as you would in a farmhouse in
England. At least, you could not live with the family. In some of the
summer resorts the peasants make money by furnishing bedrooms and
letting them to _Herrschaften_, but the _Herrschaften_ have to get
their meals at the nearest inn. The inner life of the peasant family
is rougher than the inner life of the farmer's family in England,
though their level of prosperity is as high, possibly higher. You
cannot imagine the English farmer and his wife putting on costly and
picturesque mediæval costumes every Sunday and solemnly marching to
church in them; but the German Bauer still does this quite simply and
proudly. In some parts of the Black Forest every valley has its own
costume, so that you know where a man lives by the clothes he wears.
There is one valley where all the girls are pretty, and on festive
occasions or for church they wear charming transparent black caps with
wings to them. There is another valley where the men are big-boned and
blackavised, with square shaven chins and spare bodies, rather like
our English legal type; and they go to church in scarlet breeches,
long black velvet coats, and black three-cornered hats. Their
women-folk wear gay-coloured skirts and mushroom hats loaded with
heavy poms-poms. In Cassel there are most curious costumes to be seen
still on high days and holidays; from Berlin, people go to the
Spreewald to see the Wendish peasants, and in Bavaria there is still
some colour and variety of costume. But everywhere you hear that these
costumes are dying out. The new generation does not care to label
itself, for it finds _städtische Kleider_ cheaper and more convenient.
The Wendish girls seem to abide by the ways of their forefathers, for
they go to service in Berlin on purpose to save money for clothes.
They buy or are presented with two or three costumes each year, and
when they marry they have a stock that will last a lifetime and will
provide them with the variety their pride demands. For they like to
have a special rig-out for every occasion, and a great many changes
for church on Sundays. In Catholic Germany a procession on a saint's
day seems to have stepped down from a stained-glass window, the
women's gowns are so vivid and their bodies so stiff and angular. But
to see the German peasantry in full dress you must go to a
_Kirchweih_, a dance, or a wedding.

You can hardly be in Germany in summer without seeing something of
peasants' weddings, and of the elaborate rites observed at them.
Different parts of the empire have different ways, and even in one
district you will find much variety. We saw several peasant weddings
in the Black Forest one summer, and no two were quite alike. Sometimes
when we were walking through the forest we met a _Brautwagen_: the
great open cart loaded with the furniture and wedding presents the
bride was taking as part of her dowry to her new home. It would be
piled with bedding, wooden bedsteads, chests of drawers, and pots and
pans; and gay-coloured ribbons would be floating from each point of
vantage. Sometimes the bridal pair was with the cart, the young
husband in his wedding clothes walking beside the horse, the bride
seated amongst her possessions. Sometimes a couple of men in working
clothes, probably the bridegroom and a friend, were carrying the
things beforehand, so that the new home should be ready directly after
the wedding. We happened to be staying in the Black Forest when our
inn-keeper's daughter was going to marry a young doctor, the son of a
rich peasant in a neighbouring valley, and we were asked to the
wedding. Our landlord ran two inns, the one in which we stayed and
another a dozen miles away, which was managed by his wife and
daughters. The wife's hotel was in a fashionable watering-place, and
offered a smarter background for a wedding than the one in our
out-of-the-world little town. It is the proper moment now for you to
object that this could not have been a "peasant" wedding at all, and
has no place in a picture of peasant life; and I concede that the
bride and bridegroom, their parents, and certain of their friends all
wore _städtische Kleider_. The bride was in black silk, and the
bridegroom in his professional black coat. But nearly all the guests
were peasants, and wore peasant costume; and the heavy long-spun
festivities were those usual at a peasant's wedding. We started with
our bicycles at six o'clock in the morning, and soon found ourselves
in a straggling procession of carts and pedestrians come from all the
valleys round. The main road was like a road on a fair day. Everyone
knew that there was to be a _Hochzeit_ at R., a big splendid
_Hochzeit_, and everyone who could afford the time and the money was
going to eat and drink and dance at it. Everyone was in a holiday
mood, and all along the lovely forest road we exchanged greetings with
our fellow-guests and gathered scraps of information about the feast
we were on our way to join. Every inn we passed had set out extra
tables, and expected extra custom that day, and when we got to one
within a mile of R. we found the garden crowded. People were ready by
this time for their second breakfast, and were having it here before
making their appearance at the wedding. We were hungry and thirsty
ourselves, so we sat down under the shade of trees and ate _belegtes
Butterbrot_ and drank Pilsener as our neighbours did. We arrived at R.
just in time to remove the dust of the road, and then walk, as we
found our hosts expected us to do, in the wedding procession. First
came the bride and bridegroom, and then a long crocodile of
bridesmaids, all wearing the curious high bead wreaths possessed by
every village girl of standing in this part of Germany. We witnessed
the civil ceremony, but though I have been present at several German
civil weddings I remember as little about them as about a visit to the
English District Council Office where I have sometimes been to pay
taxes. In both cases there is a bare room, an indifferent official,
some production of official papers, and the thing is done. When the
bride and bridegroom had been made legally man and wife they headed
the waiting procession again, and proceeded to the church for the
real, the religious ceremony. It was packed with people, and the
service, which was Catholic, lasted a long time. When it was over
everyone streamed back to the hotel, and as soon as possible the
_Hochzeitsmahl_ began; but though we were politely bidden to it we
politely excused ourselves, for we knew that the feast would last for
hours and would be more than we could bear. Till evening, they said,
it would last, and there would be many speeches, and it was a broiling
summer day. The guests we perceived to be a mixed company of peasants
in costume, of inn-keepers and their families in ordinary clothes, and
of university students in black coats who were removed from the
peasantry by their education, but not by birth and affection. The
invited guests sat down to dinner in the _Speisesaal_, but the hotel
garden was crowded with country people who paid for what they
consumed. The dinner served to us and to others out here was an
unusually good one, so we discovered that people who attend a wedding
unasked get a spectacle, a dance, and extra fine food for their money.
Towards the end of the afternoon before we left R. we looked in at the
ballroom, where dancing had begun already.

At another peasant's wedding in the Black Forest we saw some quaint
customs observed that were omitted at R. In this case the bride and
bridegroom were themselves peasants, and wore the costume of their
valley. The bride was said to be well endowed, but she was extremely
plain. Amongst German peasants, however, beauty hardly counts. What a
woman is worth to a man, he reckons partly in hard cash and partly in
the work she can do. There were two charmingly pretty girls in the
Bavarian village where we once spent a summer, but we were told that
they had not the faintest chance of marriage, because, though they
belonged to a respectable family, they were orphans and dowerless.
Auerbach's enchanting story of _Barfüssele_, in which the village
Cinderella marries the rich peasant, is a fairy story and not a
picture of real life. The feast at this second wedding we saw must
have cost a good deal, for it was prepared at our hotel for a large
crowd of guests and lasted for hours. It was an agitating wedding in
some of its aspects. The day before we had been startled at irregular
but frequent intervals by loud gunshots, and we were told that these
were fired in welcome of the wedding guests as they arrived. When the
bride appeared with her _Brautwagen_ and an escort of young men there
was a volley in her honour. We did not go to church to see that
wedding, as we were not attracted by the bridal pair; but we watched
the crowd from our windows, and as it was a wet day, endured the
sounds of revelry that lasted for hours after the feast began. There
was no dancing at this marriage, and as each batch of guests departed
a brass band just outside our rooms played them a send-off. It was a
jerky irritating performance, because the instant the object of their
attentions disappeared round the turn of the hill they stopped short,
and only began a new tune when there was a new departure. We were
rather glad when the day came to an end. In the Black Forest you
always know where there is a wedding, because two small fir trees are
brought from the forest decked with flying coloured streamers of paper
or ribbon, and set on either side of the bride's front door.

The German peasant loves his pipe and his beer, and on a Sunday
afternoon his game of _Kegel_; but on high days and holidays he likes
to be dancing. He and she will trudge for miles to dance at some
distant village inn. You meet them dressed in their best clothes,
walking barefoot and carrying clean boots and stockings. How they can
dance in tight boots after a long hot walk on a dusty road, you must
be a German peasant yourself to understand. The dance I remember best
took place in a barn belonging to a village inn in Bavaria. I went
with several English friends to look on at it, and the men of our
party danced with some of the village girls. The room was only lighted
by a few candles, and it was so crowded that while everyone was
dancing everyone was hustled. But we were told that anyone who chose
could "buy the floor" for a time by giving sixpence or a shilling to
the band. Two of the Englishmen did this, and the crowd looked on in
solemn approval while they waltzed once or twice round with the pretty
granddaughters of our hosts. It was a scene I have often wished I
could paint, the crowd was so dense, and the faces, from our point of
view, so foreign. The candles only lifted the semi-darkness here and
there, but where their light fell it flashed on the bright-coloured
handkerchiefs which the women of this village twisted round their
heads like turbans, and pinned across their bosoms. I think it is
absurd, though, to say that German peasants dance well. They enjoy the
exercise immensely, but are heavy and loutish in their movements, and
they flounder about in a grotesque way with their hands on each
other's shoulders. At a _Kirchweih_ they dance in the open air.

A _Kirchweih_ is a feast to celebrate the foundations of the village
church, and it takes the form of a fair. The preparations begin the
day before, when the roundabouts and shooting booths are put up in the
appointed field. On the day before the _Kirchweih_ in our Bavarian
village I found the inn-keeper's wife cooking what we call Berlin
pancakes in a cauldron of boiling fat, the like of which I have never
seen before or since for size. It must have held gallons. All day long
she stood there throwing in the cinnamon flavoured batter, and taking
out the little crisp brown balls. They are, it seems, a favourite
dainty at a Bavarian _Kirchweih_, and must be provided in large
quantities. On the fair field itself the food offered by the
stall-keepers seemed to be chiefly enormous slabs of shiny gingerbread
made in fanciful shapes, such as hearts, lyres, and garlands, cheap
sweetmeats, and the small boiled sausages the artless German eats in
public without a knife and fork.

The _Kirchweih_ is the chief event of the summer in a German village,
and is talked of for weeks beforehand. The peasants stream in from all
the villages near, and join in the dancing and the shooting matches.
When the day is fine and the fair field has a background of wooded
hills, you see where the librettists of pre-Wagnerian days went for
their stage effects. All the characters of many a German opera are
there correctly dressed, joining in the songs and dances, shooting for
wagers, making love, sometimes coming to blows. But you may look on at
a _Kirchweih_ from morning till night without seeing either horseplay
or drunkenness. Not that the German peasant is an opera hero in his
inner life. He is a hard-working man, God-fearing on the whole, stupid
and stolid often, narrowly shrewd often, having his eye on the main
chance. When he is stupid but not God-fearing he dresses himself and
his wife in their best clothes, puts his insurance papers in his
pockets, sets his thatched house on fire, and goes for a walk. Then he
is surprised that he is caught and punished. Fires are frequent in
German villages, and in a high wind and where the roofs are of straw
destruction is complete sometimes. You often come across the blackened
remains of houses, and you always feel anxious about the new
buildings that will replace them. It is a good deal to say, but I
believe our own jerry-builders are outdone in florid vulgarity by
German villadom, and the German atrocities will last longer than ours,
because the building laws are more stringent. But the old _Bauernhaus_
still to be seen in most parts of the Black Forest is dignified and
beautiful. The Swiss chalet is a poor gim-crack thing in comparison.
Sometimes the German house has a shingled roof, and sometimes a
thatched roof dark with age, and it has drooping eaves and an outside
staircase and balcony of wood. It shelters the farm cattle in the
stables on the ground floor, and the family on the upper floor, and in
the roof there are granaries. But the beautiful old thatched roofs are
gradually giving place to the slate ones, because they burn so easily,
and fire, when it comes, is the village tragedy. I can remember when a
fire in a big German commercial town was proclaimed by a beating drum,
the noisy parade of fire-men, the clanging of bells, and all the
hullaballoo that panic and curiosity could make. But last year, in
Berlin, looking at houses like the tower of Babel, I said something of
fire, and was told that no one felt nervous nowadays, the arrangements
for dealing with it were so complete.

"People just look out of the window, see that there is a fire next
door, or above or beneath them, and go about their business," said my
hosts. "They know that the fire brigade will do their business and put
it out."

I did not see a fire in Berlin, so I had no opportunity of witnessing
the remarkable coolness of the Berliner in circumstances the ordinary
man finds trying; but I saw a fire in my Bavarian village, and there
were not many cool people there. The summons came in the middle of the
night with the hoarse insistent clanging of the church bell, the
sudden start into life of the sleeping village, the sounds in the
house and in the street of people astir and terrified. Then there came
the brilliant reflection of the flames in the opposite windows, and
the roar and crackle of fire no one at first knew where. It was only a
barn after all, a barn luckily detached from other buildings. Yet when
we got into the street we found most of the population removing its
treasures, as if danger was imminent. All the beds and chairs and pots
and pans of the place seemed to be on the cobble-stones, and the women
wailed and the children wept. "But the village is not on fire," we
said. "It may be at any moment," they assured us, and were scandalised
by our cold-bloodedness. For we had not carted our trunks into the
street, but hastened towards the burning barn to see if we could help
the men and boys carrying water. The weather was still and the barn
isolated, so we knew there was no danger of the fire spreading. But
the villagers were too excitable and too panic-stricken to be
convinced of this. All their lives they had dreaded fire, and when the
flames broke out so near them they thought that their houses were
doomed.

Next to fire the German peasant hates beggars and gipsies. We were six
months in the Black Forest and only met one beggar the whole time, and
he was a decent-looking old man who seemed to ask alms unwillingly.
But in some parts of Germany there are a great many most
unpleasant-looking tramps. The village council puts up a notice that
forbids begging, and has a general fund from which it sends tramps on
their way. But it does not seem able to deal with the caravans of
gipsies that come from Hungary and Bohemia. In a Thuringian village we
came down one morning to find our inn locked and barricaded as if a
riot was expected, and an attack. Even the shutters were drawn and
bolted. "_Was ist denn los?_" we asked in amazement, and were told
that the gipsies were coming.

"But will they do you any harm?" we asked.

"They will steal all they can lay hands on," our landlady assured us.
She was a widow, and her brewer, the only man in her employ, was, we
supposed, standing guard over his own house. We thought the panic
seemed extreme, but we had never encountered Hungarian gipsies on the
warpath, and we did not know how many were coming. So, after assuring
our excited little Frau that we would stand by her as well as we
could, we went to an upper window to watch for the enemy. Presently
the procession began, a straggling procession of the dirtiest,
meanest-looking ruffians ever seen. There was waggon after waggon,
swarming with ragamuffins of both sexes and all ages. The men were
mostly on foot, casting furtive glances to right and left, evident
snappers-up of unconsidered trifles, truculent, ragged, wearing
evil-looking knives by their sides. During their transit the village
had shut itself up, as Coventry did for Godiva's ride. When we all
ventured forth again the talk was of missing poultry and rifled fruit
trees. The geese had luckily started for their day on the high
pastures before the bad folk came; for in a German village there is
always a gooseherd. Sometimes it is a little boy or girl, sometimes an
old woman, and early in the morning whoever has the post collects the
whole flock, drives it to a chosen feeding ground, spends the day
there, and brings it back at night. It must be a contemplative life,
and in dry weather pleasant. I think it would suit a philosopher if he
could choose his days. In our Franconian village the gooseherd was a
little boy, vastly proud of his job. Every morning, long before we
were up, he would stride past our windows piping the same tune, and at
the sound of it every goose in the village would waddle out from her
night quarters and join the cackling fussy crowd at his heels. Every
evening as dusk fell he came back again, still piping the same tune,
and then the geese would detach themselves in little groups from the
main body and find their own homes as surely as cows do.

Every rural district of Germany has its own novelist. Fritz Reuter,
Frenssen, Rosegger, Sudermann all write of country life in the places
they know best. In Hauptmann's beautiful plays you see the peasant
through a veil of poetry and mysticism. Auerbach, I am told, is out of
fashion. His stories end well mostly, his construction one must admit
is childish, and his characters change their natures with the
suddenness of a thunderbolt to suit his plot. Yet when I have
_Sehnsucht_ for Germany, and cannot go there in reality, I love to go
in fancy where Auerbach leads. He takes you to a house in the Black
Forest, and you sit at breakfast with the family eating _Haferbrei_
out of one bowl. You know the people gathered there as well as if you
had been with them all the summer, and you know them now in winter
time when the roads are deep in snow and a wolf is abroad in the
forest. The story I am thinking of was published in 1860, and I
believe that there are no wolves now in the Black Forest. But as far
as one outside peasant life can judge, I doubt whether anything else
has changed much. You hear the history of the _Grossbauer_, the rich
farmer of the district whose breed is as strong and daring as the
breed of the Volsungs. Seven years ago the only son and heir of this
forest magnate, Adam Röttman, loved a poor girl called Martina, and
their child Joseph is now six years old. Adam is still faithful to
Martina, but his parents will not consent to their marriage, and
insists on betrothing him to an heiress as rich as he will be,
Heidenmüller's Toni. The whole village looks on at the romance and
sides with Martina; for Adam's mother, _die wilde Röttmännin_, is one
of those stormy viragoes I myself have met amongst German women. She
masters her husband and son with her temper. She is so rich that she
has more _Schmalz_ than she can use, and so mean that she would rather
let it go bad than give it to the poor. At midnight, when the roads
are deep in snow, she sends for the _Pfarrer_, and when he risks his
life and goes because he thinks she is dying, he finds she is merely
bored and wanted his company; for she has been used to think that she
could tyrannise over all men because she was richer and more
determined than most. Next day she gets up, orders her husband and son
to put on Sunday clothes, and well wrapped up in _Betten_ drives with
them to the _Heidenmühle_, where Adam is formally betrothed to Toni.
The girl knows all about Martina, but she consents because she would
marry anyone to escape from her stepmother, who treats her cruelly,
and in order to hurt her feelings has given her mother's cup to the
_Knecht_. After the betrothal the two fathers sit together and drink
hot spiced wine, the two mothers gossip together, and the _Brautpaar_
talk sadly about Martina, who should be Adam's wife, and Joseph who is
his child. At last Adam could bear it no longer. He would go straight
to Martina, he said, and he would be with Toni again before the
Christmas tree was lighted; and then he would either break with Toni
or feel free to marry her. "The bride stared at Adam with amazement as
he put on his grey cloak and his fur cap and seized his pointed stick.
He looked both handsome and terrible." For he is one of the heroes
Germans love, a giant who once held a bull by its horns while Martina
escaped from it, who is called the _Gaul_, because for a wager he once
carried the cart and the load a cart horse should have carried, and
who on this wild winter night meets the wolf in the forest and kills
it with his stick. So you see him striding through the snow-bound
forest to the village where Martina lives, dragging the wolf after
him, as strong as Siegfried, as credulous as a child, ready to believe
that the voices of his father and his child both looking for him in
the snow are witches' voices. But when he gets to the village he finds
that his child, so long disowned and disregarded, is really lost, and
is looking for him in the snow. The hatter who tramps from village to
village hung with hats met him, and tried to turn him back. But the
child said he had come out to find his father, and must go on. Then
every man in the village assembles at the _Pfarrhaus_, and, led by the
_Pfarrer's_ brother-in-law (an eventual husband for Heidenmüller's
Toni), sets out to find Joseph in the snow. Before they start Adam
vows before the whole community that whether the child is alive or
dead nothing shall ever part him again from Martina, and when he has
made this vow you see the whole company depart in various directions
carrying torches, ladders, axes, and long ropes. Meanwhile the child,
after some alarms and excursions, meets three angels (children
masquerading), who take him with them to the mill where Toni has just
lighted the Christmas tree. She rescues Joseph from _die wilde
Röttmännin_, and that same night, her father dying of his carouse, she
becomes a rich heiress and free of her wicked stepmother. Joseph's
hostile grandfathers, after a fight in the snow, make friends, the
obliging _Pfarrer_ marries Adam and Martina at midnight, and soon
after the _wilde Röttmännin_ who will not be reconciled leaves this
world. So everyone who deserves happiness gets it. But though you only
half believe in the story you have been in the very heart of the Black
Forest, the companion of its people, the observer of their most
intimate talk and ways. You have heard the women gossip at the well,
you have made friends with Leegart the seamstress, who believes that
quite against her will she is gifted with supernatural powers. There
is Häspele, too, who made Joseph his new boots, and would marry
Martina if he could; and there is David, the father of Martina, who
was hardly kept from murdering his daughter when she came home in
disgrace, and whose grandson becomes the apple of his eye. The whole
picture of these people is vivid and enchanting, touched with quaint
detail, veined with the tragedy of their lives, glowing with the warm
human qualities that knit them to each other. The South German loves
to tell you that his country is _ein gesegnetes Land_, a blessed
country, flowing with milk and honey; and whether you are reading
Auerbach's peasant stories or actually staying amongst his peasant
folk, you get this impression of their natural surroundings. Nature is
kind here, grows forest for her people on the hill-tops, and wine,
fruit and corn in her sheltered valleys, ripens their fruit in summer,
gives them heavy crops of hay, and sends soft warm rain as well as sun
to enrich their pastures.

In the eastern provinces of Germany the conditions of life amongst the
poor are most unhappy. Here the land belongs to large proprietors, and
until modern times the people born on the land belonged to the
landlords too. No man could leave the village where he was born
without permission, and he had to work for his masters without pay.
Even in the memory of living men the whip was quite commonly used. In
her most interesting account of a Silesian village,[3] Gertrud
Dyhrenfurth says that the present condition of the peasantry in this
region compares favourably with former times, but she admits that they
are still miserably overworked and underpaid. They are no longer
legally obliged to submit to corporal punishment, nor can they be
forced to live where they were born, and as they emigrate in large
numbers, scarcity of labour has brought about slightly improved
conditions for those remaining. But a man's wage is still a mark a day
in summer and 90 pf. in winter. A woman earns 60 pf. in summer and 50
pf. in winter. Besides receiving these wages, a family regularly
employed lives rent free and gets a fixed amount of coal, and at
harvest time some corn and brandy. You cannot say the family has a
house or cottage to itself, because the system is to build long
bare-looking barracks in which numbers of working families herd like
rabbits in a warren. In modern times each family has a kitchen to
itself, so there is one warm room where the small children can be kept
alive. In former times there was a general kitchen, and in the rooms
appointed to each family no heating apparatus; therefore, if the
children were not to die of cold, they had to be carried every morning
to the kitchen, where there was a fire. The present plan has grave
disadvantages, as in one room the whole family has to sleep, eat,
wash, and cook for themselves and for the animals in their care. The
furniture consists of two or three bedsteads with straw mattresses and
feather plumeaux, shelves for pots and pans, a china cupboard with
glass doors, a table in the window, and wooden benches with backs.
This installation is quite luxurious compared with that of a
milkmaid's or a stablemaid's surroundings sixty or seventy years ago.
"Her home consisted of a plank slung from the stable roof and
furnished with a sack of straw and a plumeau. Her small belongings
were in a little trunk in a wooden niche, her clothes in a chest that
stood in the garret." Here is the life history of an unmarried working
woman of eighty-six born in a Silesian village. When she left school
she was apprenticed to a thrasher, with a yearly wage of four thalers,
besides two chemises and two aprons as a Christmas present. Even in
those days this money did not suffice for clothing, although even in
winter the women wore no warm under-garments. Quite unprotected, they
waded up to the middle in snow.... In summer the girl was in the barn
and at work by dawn; in winter they threshed by artificial light. A
bit of bread taken in the pocket served as breakfast. The first warm
meal was taken at midday. When the farm work was finished there was
spinning to do till 10 o'clock.

This woman "bettered herself" as she grew older till she was earning
35 thalers (£5, 5s. 0d.) a year; she accustomed herself to live on
this sum, and when wages increased, to put by the surplus. So in her
old age she is a capitalist, has saved enough for a decent funeral,
for certain small legacies, and for such an amazing luxury as a tin
foot-warmer. The family she faithfully served for so many years allows
her coal, milk and potatoes, and when necessary pays for doctor and
medicine. Her weekly budget is as follows--

                                       Pf.
  Rent                                 50
  Bread                                25
  Rolls                                 5
                                       __
                 Carried forward       80

                                       Pf.
                 Brought forward       80
  ¼ lb. butter                         25
  ¼ lb. coffee and chicory             25
  Sugar                                15
  1 lb. flour                          14
  Salt                                  1
  Light                                10
  Washing                               5
                                   ------
                                   1m. 75
                                   ======

Meat is of course out of the question, and in discussing another
budget Fräulein Dyhrenfurth shows that a family of eight people could
only afford three quarters of a pound a week. Their yearly expenses
amounted to 455 m. 26 pf., so each one of the eight had to be fed and
clothed for about 1s. 1d. a week. Women are still terribly overworked
in the fields. They used to begin at four o'clock in the morning, and
go on till nine at night,--a working day, that is, of seventeen hours
for a wife and the mother of a family. When the family at the mansion
had the great half-yearly wash, the village women called in to help
began at midnight, and stood at the washtub till eight o'clock next
evening, twenty hours, that is, on end. In 1880 the working day was
shortened, and only lasts now from five in the morning till seven at
night, with a two hours' pause for dinner and shorter pauses for
breakfast and vesper. But, on the other hand, women do work now that
only men did in former times. The threshing of corn has fallen
entirely into their hands, and they follow a plough yoked with oxen.
Both kinds of work are heavy and unpleasant. But women are glad to get
the threshing in winter time when other work fails, and it is often on
this account that the proprietors do not introduce threshing machines.

At certain times of the year Poles swarm over the frontier into the
eastern provinces of Germany, but Fräulein Dyhrenfurth says that they
do not work for lower wages. The women have no house-keeping to do,
and can therefore give more hours to field labour. One woman prepares
a meal for a whole gang of her country people, and they live almost
entirely on bread, potatoes, and brandy. They do not mix with the
Germans, but spend their evenings and Sundays in playing the
harmonium, dancing, and drinking. They return every year, are always
foreigners in Germany, and are very industrious, religious, contented,
and cheerful, but inclined to drink and fight.

FOOTNOTES:

[3] _Ein schlesisches Dorf und Rittergut_, von Gertrud Dyhrenfurth.
Leipzig, Duncker und Humblot.



CHAPTER XXV

HOW THE POOR LIVE


Poverty in German cities puts on a more respectable face than it does
in London or Manchester. It herds in the cellars and courtyards of
houses that have an imposing frontage; and when it walks out of doors
it does not walk in rags. But you only have to look at the pinched
faces of the children in the poorer quarters of any city to know that
it is there. They are tidier and cleaner than English slum children,
but they make you wish just as ardently that you were the Pied Piper
and could pipe them all with you to a land of plenty. It would require
more experience and wider facts than I possess to compare the
condition of the poor in England and Germany, especially as the
professed economists and philanthropists who make it their business to
understand such things disagree with each other about every detail. If
you talk to Englishmen, one will tell you that the German starves on
rye bread and horse sausage because he is oppressed by an iniquitous
tariff; and the next will assure you that the German flourishes and
fattens on the high wages and prosperous trade he owes entirely to his
admirable protective laws. If you talk to the Anglophobe, he will tell
you that the dirt, drunkenness, disease, and extravagance of the
English lower classes are the sin and scandal of the civilised world;
that it is useless for you to ask where the poor live in Berlin,
because there are no poor. Everyone in Germany is clean, virtuous,
well housed, and well-to-do. If you talk to an honest, reasonable
German, he will recognise that each country has its own difficulties
and its own shortcomings, and that both countries make valiant efforts
to fight their own dragons. He will tell you of the suffering that
exists amongst the German poor crowded into these houses with the
imposing fronts, and of all that statecraft and philanthropy are
patiently trying to accomplish. Doctor Shadwell, in his most valuable
and interesting book _Industrial Efficiency_, says that the American
has to pay twice as much rent as the English working man, and that
rents in Germany are nearer the American than the English level. As
wages are lower in Germany than in England, and as meat and groceries
are decidedly dearer, it is plain that the working man cannot live in
clover. Doctor Shadwell gives an example of a smith earning 1050
marks, and having to pay 280 for rent. He had a wife and two children,
and Doctor Shadwell reckoned that the family to make two ends meet
must live on 37 pf. per head per day; the prison scale per head being
80 pf. I know a respectable German charwoman who earns 41 marks a
month, and pays 25 marks a month for her parterre flat in the _Hof_.
She lets off all her rooms except the kitchen, and she sleeps in a
place that is only fit for a coal-hole. A work-girl pays her 6 marks a
month for a clean tidy bedroom furnished with a solid wooden bedstead,
a chest of drawers, a sofa, and a table. This girl works from 7.30 to
6 in a shop, she pays the charwoman 10 pf. for her breakfast, 10 pf.
weekly for her lamp, and another 10 pf. for the use and comfort of the
kitchen fire at night. Her dinner of soup, meat, and vegetables the
girl gets at a _Privatküche_ for 40 pf. So the workgirl's weekly
expenses for food, fire, and lodging are 5 marks 20 pf., but this does
not give her an evening meal or afternoon coffee. The charwoman
reckoned that she herself only had 15 marks a month for food, fire,
light, and clothes; but she got nearly all her food with the families
for whom she worked. She was a cheerful, honest body, and though she
slept in a coal-hole was apparently quite healthy. She looked forward
to her old age with tranquillity, because before long she would be in
receipt of a pension from the State, a weekly sum that with her habits
of thrift and industry would enable her to live.

A German lady who chooses to teach in a _Volksschule_, because she
thinks the _Volk_ more interesting than Higher Daughters, described a
home to me from which one of her pupils came. The parents had eight
children, and the family of ten lived in two rooms. That is a state of
things we can match in England, unhappily. But my friend described
this home, not on account of its misery, but for the extraordinary
neatness and comfort the mother maintained in it. "Every time I go
there," said my friend, who lived with her father and sister in a
charming flat,--"every time I go there I say to the woman, if only it
looked like this in my home"; and there was no need for me to see the
rooms to understand what she meant; for I know the air of order and
even of solidity with which the poorest Germans will surround
themselves if they are respectable. They have very few pieces of
furniture, but those few will stand wear and tear; they prefer a clean
painted floor to a filthy carpet, and they are so poor that they have
no pence to spend on plush photograph frames. I cannot remember what
weekly wage this family existed on, but I know that it seemed quite
inadequate, and when I asked if the children were healthy as well as
clean and tidy, my friend admitted that they were not. In spite of the
brave struggle made by the parents, it was impossible to bring up a
large family on such means, and the maladies arising from insufficient
food, fire, and clothing afflicted them. The case is, I think, a
typical one. English people are always impressed when they visit
German cities by the tidy clothes poor people wear, and if they are
shown the right interiors, by their clean tidy homes. But you need
most carefully and widely collected facts and figures to judge how far
the children of a nation are suffering from poverty. It was found, for
instance, in one German city, that out of 1472 children examined in
the elementary schools, 63 per cent. of the girls and 60 per cent. of
the boys were _nicht völlig normal_.

Moreover, there are whole classes of poor people in Germany whose
homes are not tidy and comfortable, who are crowded into cellars and
courtyards, and who have neither time nor strength for the decencies
of life. The "Sweater" flourishes in Berlin as well as in London, and
his victims are as overworked as they are here. He is usually a Jew,
it is said in Berlin, but I will not guarantee the truth of that, for
I have not observed that the Jew is anywhere a harder task-master than
the Christian. As Berlin grew, these spiders of society increased in
numbers, finding it easy and profitable to employ home workers and
spare themselves the expenses of factories and of insurance. Women who
could not go out to work were tempted by the chance offered them of
earning a trifle at home, and woman-like never paused to reckon
whether it was worth earning. As the city gets larger every evil
connected with the system increases. The worst paid are naturally the
incompetent rough peasant women who swarm into Berlin from the
country districts, because they think that it will be easier to sit at
a machine than to labour in the fields. These people have to buy their
machines and their cotton at high prices from their employers, and
then they get 10 pf. for making a blouse. A lady who spends her life
in working amongst poor people told me that many of them worked for
nothing in reality, because the trifle they earned only just paid the
difference between the food they had to buy ready cooked and the food
they might with more leisure prepare at home. They pay high rents for
wretched homes, £15, for instance, for a kitchen and one room in a
dark courtyard. Under £13 it is impossible to get anything in the
poorest quarter of Berlin.

"The house itself looked respectable enough from outside," says Frau
Buchholz, when she went to see a girl who had just married a poor man;
"but oh! those steep narrow stairs that I had to mount, those wretched
entrances on each floor, the miserable door handles, the sickly
bluish-grey walls, the shaky banisters! It was easy to see that the
outside had been devised with a view to investors, and the inside for
poverty." In houses of this class there are often three courtyards,
one behind each other, all noisy and badly kept. The conditions of
life in such circumstances are no better than in our own notorious
slums, but a slum seven storeys high, and presenting a decent front to
the world, does not suggest the real misery behind its regular row of
windows, nor does the quiet well-swept street give any picture of the
rabbit warren in the courtyards at the back. In the enormous
"confection" trade of Berlin the home-workers are nearly all widows
and mothers of families, as the unmarried girls prefer to go to
factories. A skilled hand can earn a fair wage at certain seasons of
the year, as the demand for skilled work in this department always
exceeds the supply. But the average wage of the unskilled worker is
only 10 marks a week, while it sinks as low as 4 marks for petticoats,
aprons, and woollen goods. A corset maker, who has learned her trade,
can only make from 8 to 10 marks a week in a factory, while a woman
who sits at home and covers umbrellas gets 1 mark 50 pf. _a dozen_
when the coverings are of stuff, and slightly more when they are of
silk. The extreme poverty of these home-workers is a constant subject
of inquiry and legislation, but for various reasons it is most
difficult to combat. The market is always over-crowded, because, badly
paid as it is, the work is popular. Women push into it from the middle
classes for the sake of pocket-money, and from the agrarian classes
because they fancy a city life. Efforts are being made to organise
them, and especially to train the daughters of these women to more
healthy and profitable trades. I went over a small _Volksküche_ in
Berlin, and was told that there were many like it established by
various charitable agencies, and that the effect of them was to make
the children ready to go into service; a life that has some drawbacks,
but should at any rate be wholesome and civilising,--a better
preparation for marriage, too, than to sit like a slattern over a
machine all day, and buy scraps of expensive ready-made food, because
both time and skill are wanting for anything more palatable. In the
kitchen I visited there were sixteen children from the poorest
families in the neighbourhood, and, assisted by a superintendent and
two teachers, they were preparing a dinner that cost 30 pf. a head for
250 people. The rooms were clean and plainly furnished. A small
laundry business was run in connection with the kitchen, so that the
girls should be thoroughly trained to wash and iron as well as to
cook. Of late years the working classes of Berlin have adopted what
they call _Englische Tischzeit_, and no one who knows the ways of the
English artisan will guess that the German means _late dinner_. He now
does his long day's work, I am told, on bread alone, and has the one
solid meal in the twenty-four hours when he gets home at night. _Durch
Arbeiten_, he calls it, and people interested in the welfare of the
poor say it is bad for all concerned, but especially bad for the
children, who come in too exhausted to eat, and for the women, who
have to cook and clean up when the day's business should be nearly
done. It is quite characteristic of some kinds of modern Germans that
they should in a breath condemn us, imitate us, and completely
misunderstand our ways.

The business women of Germany have organised themselves. _Der
Kaufmännische Verband für Weibliche Angestellte_ was founded by Herr
Julius Meyer in 1889, and, beginning with 50 members, numbered 17,000
in 1904. Its aim has been to improve the conditions of life for women
working in shops and businesses, to carry on their education, and to
help them when ill or out of work. It began by opening commercial
schools for women, where they could receive a thorough training in
book-keeping, shorthand, typewriting, and other branches of office
work. These have been a great success, have been imitated all over
Germany, and have led to an expansion of the law enforcing on girls
attendance at the State continuation schools. The society was founded
to remedy some crying abuses amongst women employed in shops and
offices, a working day of seventeen hours, for instance, dismissal
without notice, no rest on Sundays, no summer holiday, and not only a
want of seats but an actual prohibition to sit down even when
unemployed. All these matters the society, which has become a powerful
one, has gradually set right. A ten-hours' day for grown-up women,
and eight hours for those under age, the provision of seats, an 8
o'clock closing rule, a month's notice on either side, some hours of
rest on Sunday, and a summer holiday are all secured to members of the
organisation. The system of "living in" does not obtain in Germany.
Shops may only open for five hours on Sundays now, and large numbers
do not open at all. They may only keep open after ten on twenty days
in the year. Other reforms the society hopes to bring about in time;
and meanwhile it occupies itself both in finding work for members who
are out of place, and in protecting those who are sick and destitute.

The ladies of Germany have taken to philanthropic work with
characteristic energy and thoroughness. There is one society in Berlin
that has 700 members, some of whom devote their whole time to their
poor neighbours. I am not going to give the name of the society; so I
may describe one of its secretaries, who personified the best modern
type of German woman. She was about 27, a dark-haired, slim,
serious-looking person with delicate Jewish features and beautiful
grey eyes; a girl belonging to the wealthy classes, and able if she
had chosen to lead a life of frivolity and pleasure. But she had
chosen instead to give herself to the sick, the afflicted, the needy,
and even to the sinning; for she was a moving spirit of the
organisation that dives down into the depths of the great city, and
rescues those who have gone under. Her society also does a great deal
for the children of the very poor, not only for babies in crêches, but
for those who go to school. The members help these older ones with
their school work, and when the children are free teach them to wash,
cook, and sew, and to play open-air games. They teach the blind, they
look after the deserted families of men in prison, and the older
members act as guardians to illegitimate children; for in Germany
every illegitimate child must have a guardian, and women are now
allowed to act in this capacity. The secretary said they found no
difficulty in getting both married and single women to take up these
good works.

"What do the parents say when their daughters take it up?" I asked,
for I could not picture the German girl as I had always known her
going out into the highways and byways of the city, leaving her
cooking, her music, her embroidery, and her sentiment, and battling
with the hideous realities of life amongst the sick, the poor, and the
more or less wicked of the earth.

"The parents don't like it," my girl with the honest eyes admitted.
"When girls have worked for us some time they often refuse to marry;
at least, they refuse the arranged marriages proposed to them. But we
cannot stop on that account. If a girl does not wish to marry in this
way it is better that she should not. No good can come of it."

Then she went on to tell me how well it was that a child born to
utmost shame and poverty should have a woman of the better classes
interested from the beginning in its welfare, and responsible for its
decent upbringing. It implied contact with various officials, of
course, but she said that the ladies who took this work in hand met
with courtesy and support everywhere.

You have only to place this type of young woman beside the
_Backfisch_, who represents an older type quite fairly, to understand
how far the modern German girl has travelled from the traditional
lines. If you can imagine the _Backfisch_ married and mentally little
altered in her middle age, you can also imagine that she would find a
daughter with the new ideas upsetting. At present both types are
living side by side, for there are still numbers of women of the old
school in Germany, women who passively accept the life made for them
by their surroundings, whether it suits their needs or not; and who
would never strike out a path for themselves, even if by doing so they
could forget their own troubles in the troubles of others.

The State and Municipal establishments for the poor and sick have been
so much described lately, that everyone in England must be acquainted
with all that Berlin does for its struggling citizens. There are, of
course, large hospitals and sanatoriums for consumption; and the
admirable system of national insurance secures help in sickness to
every working man and woman, as well as a pension in old age. "The
club doctor and dispensary as we have them here do not exist," say the
Birmingham Brassworkers in their pamphlet. "In their stead leading
doctors and specialists (with very few exceptions) are at the service
of the working man or woman."

"Yes," said a leading doctor to me when I quoted this; "we get about
three half-pence for a consultation, and we find them the most
impossible people in the community to satisfy. As they get medical
advice for nothing they run from one doctor to another, and consult a
dozen about some simple ailment that a student could set right. We all
suffer from them." So that is the other side of the question.

But Berlin certainly manages its Submerged Tenth both more humanely
and more wisely than we manage ours. It begins, as one thinks any
civilised country must, by separating those who will not work from
those who cannot. The able-bodied beggar, the drunkard, and other
vagrants are sent to a house of correction and made to work. The
respectable poor are not driven to herd with these people in Germany.
They receive shelter and assistance at institutions reserved for the
deserving. In one of these old married people who cannot support
themselves are allowed to spend the evening of their lives together.
Anyone desiring to know more about the charitable institutions of
Berlin will find a most interesting account of them in the pamphlet
written by the Birmingham Brassworkers, and published by P.S. King &
Son. The bias of the authors is so strongly German that when you have
read to the end you begin to lean in the opposite direction, and look
for the things we manage better over here. "In 1900," they say, "there
was such a shortage of houses (in Berlin) that 1500 families had to be
sheltered in the Municipal Refuge for Homeless People." That is surely
a worse state of affairs than in London. But when you walk through
London or a London suburb in winter, and are pestered at every
crossing and corner by able-bodied young beggars of both sexes, you
begin to agree with the brassworkers. Berlin is clear of beggars and
crossing-sweepers all the year round, and you know that as far as
possible they are classified and treated according to their deserts.
It is not possible for the individual bent on his own business to know
at a glance whether he will encourage vice by giving alms or behave
brutally to a deserving case by withholding them. The decision should
never be forced upon him as it is in England every day of his life.



CHAPTER XXVI

BERLIN


Once upon a time a German got hold of Aladdin's lamp, and he summoned
the Djinn attendant on the lamp. "Build me a city of broad airy
streets," he bade him, "and where several streets meet see that there
is an open place set with trees and statues and fountains." All the
houses, even those that the poor inhabit, are to be big and white and
shining, like palaces; but the real palaces where princes shall live
may be plain and grey. There are to be pleasure grounds in the midst
of the city, but they are to be woods rather than parks, because even
you and the lamp cannot make grass grow in this soil and climate. In
the pleasure grounds, and especially on either side of one broad
avenue, there are to be sculptured figures of kings and heroes, larger
than life and as white as snow. The Djinn said it would be easy to
build the city in a night as the German desired, but that the
sculpture could not be hurried in this way, because artists would have
to make it, and artists were people who would not work to order or to
time. The German, however, said he was master of the lamp, and that
the city must be ready when he wanted it early next morning. So the
Djinn set to work and got the city ready in a night, sculpture and
all. But when he had finished he had not used half the figures and
garlands and other stone ornaments he had made. If he had been in
England he might have reduced them in size, and given them to an
Italian hawker to carry about on his head on a tray. But he knew that
hawkers would not be allowed in the city he had built. So, as he was
rather tired and anxious to be done, he quickly made one more long,
broad street stretching all the way from the pleasure ground in the
centre of the city to the forest that begins where the city ends; and
on every house in the street he put figures and garlands and gilded
balconies and ornamental turrets, as many as he could. The effect when
he had finished pleased him vastly, and he said it was the finest
street in the city, and should be called the _Kurfürstendamm_. His
master and all the Germans who came to live in it agreed with him.
They gave large rents for a flat in one of the houses, and when they
went to London and saw the smoky dwarfish houses there they came away
as quickly as possible and rubbed their hands and were happy, and said
to each other, "How beautiful is our _Kurfürstendamm_. We have as many
turrets as we have chimneys, and we have garlands on our balconies of
green or gilded iron, and some of us have angelic figures made of red
brick, so that the angelic faces are checked with white where the
bricks are joined together."

"But it does not become anyone from England to criticise the
architecture and sculpture of a foreign country," I said to the artist
who told me the story of the lamp. "Our own is notoriously bad."

"It is not you who will criticise ours," he answered. "By your own
confession, you know nothing whatever of architecture and sculpture,
and when people know nothing they should either keep silence or ask
for information in the best quarter. You have my authority for saying
that the architects and sculptors of Berlin would have been better
employed building dog-kennels."

"But I rather like your wide cheerful streets," I objected, "and your
tall clean houses. Our houses...."

"Your houses are little black boxes in which people eat and sleep.
They do not pretend to anything. Ours pretend to be beautiful, and are
ridiculous. Moreover, in England there are men who can build beautiful
houses. You do not employ them much. You prefer your ugly little
boxes. But they are there. I know their names and their work."

"But what do you think of our statues?" I asked him.

"I don't think of them," he said; "I prefer to think of something
pleasant. When I am in London I spend every hour I have at the docks."

"I like the _Sieges-Allee_," I said boldly,--"it is so clean and
cheerful."

"It was made for people who look at sculpture from that point of
view," said my friend.

I hardly know where an artist finds inspiration in the streets of
Berlin. It really makes the impression of a city that has sprung up in
a night, and that is kept clean by invisible forces. The great breadth
of the streets, the avenues of trees everywhere, and the many open
places make it pleasant; but you look in vain for the narrow lanes and
gabled houses still to be found in other German towns, and you are not
surprised when Americans compare it with Chicago, because it is so new
and busy. It is indeed the city of the modern German spirit, and what
it has of old tradition and old social life lies beneath the surface,
hidden from the eye of the stranger. There is Sans-Souci, to be sure,
and Frederick the Great, and the Grosser Kurfürst. There is the double
line of princes on either side of the _Sieges-Allee_. But modern
Berlin dates from 1870, and so do all good Berliners, whatever their
age may be. They are proud of their young empire and of their big
city, and of doing everything in the best possible way. There is
unceasing flux and growth in Berlin, so that descriptions written a
few years ago are as out of date as these impressions must be soon.
For instance, I had counted steadfastly on finding three things there
that I cannot find at home: first and second-class cabs, hordes of
soldiers everywhere, and policemen who would run a sword through you
if you looked at them; and of all these I was more or less
disappointed.

I did get hold of a second-class cab on my arrival in Berlin, but it
nearly came to pieces on the way, and I never saw another during my
stay there. The cabs are all provided with the taximeter now, so that
the fare knows to a fraction what is due to the driver; and the
drivers are of the first class, and wear white hats. Anyone who wished
to see a second-class cab would have to make inquiries, and find a
stand where some still languish, but before long the last of them will
probably be preserved in a museum. Cabs are not much used in Berlin,
because communication by the electric cars is so well organised. The
whole population travels by them, the whole city is possessed by them.
If it is to convey a true impression, a description of Berlin should
run to the moan of them as they glide everlastingly to and fro. You
can hardly escape their noise, and not for long their sight. Even the
Tiergarten, the Hyde Park of Berlin, is traversed by them, which is as
it should be in a municipal republic. This is what the Germans call
their city, for they are not conscious themselves of living under an
autocracy or of being in any sense of the word less free than, let us
say, the English, a point of view most puzzling to an English person,
who is conscious from the moment he crosses the German frontier of
being governed for his good. But it is pleasant on a summer morning
to be carried through the shady avenues of the Tiergarten in an open
car, whether it is an autocracy or a republic that arranges it for
you; and you reflect that in this and a thousand other ways Germany is
an agreeable country even if it is not a free one; especially for "the
people" who have small means, and are able to drive through the chief
pleasure ground of their city for a penny. The conductors of the cars
are obliged to announce the name of the next halting-place, so that
passengers alighting may get up in time and step off directly, but on
no account before the car stops. Nothing is left to chance or muddle
in Berlin, and unless you are a born fool you cannot go astray. If you
are a born fool you ask a policeman, as you would at home, and find
another dear illusion shattered. He does not draw his sword, he is
neither gruff nor disobliging. He greets you with the military salute,
and calls you gracious lady. Then he answers your question if he can.
If not he gets out the little guide book he carries, and patiently
hunts up the street or the building you want. He is usually a
good-natured rosy faced young man with a fair moustache, and he will
do anything in the world for you except control the traffic. That with
the best will in the world he cannot do. So he stands in the midst of
it and smiles. Sometimes he sits amidst it on a horse and looks
solemn. But he never impresses himself on it. There is a story of a
policeman who went to London to learn from our men what to do, and who
bemoaned his fate when he got back. "I hold up my hand in just the
same way," he said, "and then the people run and the horses run, and
there's a smash and I get put in prison." The Berliners themselves say
that they are not accustomed yet, as we have been for years, to regard
the police as their well-liked and trusted servants, and to obey
their directions willingly. However this may be, there is at present
only one safe way of getting to the opposite side of a busy street in
Berlin, and that is to wait till a crowd gathers and charges across it
in a bunch like a swarm of bees.

Berlin is never asleep, and it is as light by night as by day. It is
much pleasanter for a woman without escort to come out of the theatre
there than in London. She will find crowds of respectable people with
her, and they will not depart in their own cabs and carriages. They
will crowd into the electric cars, and she must know which car she
wants and crowd with them. The worst that can happen to her will be to
find her car over-crowded, and in that case she must not expect a man
to give her his seat. I have seen a young German lady make an old lady
take her place, but I have never known men yield their seats to women.
You do not see as many private carriages in Berlin in a week as you do
in some parts of London in an hour. Even in front of the Opera House
very few will be in waiting; and there is no fashionable hour for
riding and driving in the Tiergarten. I know too little about horses
to judge of those that were being ridden, or driven in private
carriages; but the miserable beasts in cabs and carts force the most
ignorant person to observe and pity them. They look as if they were on
their way to the knacker's yard, and very often as if they must sink
beneath the load they are compelled to carry. It is comforting to
reflect that horses will doubtless soon be too old-fashioned for
Berlin, and that all the cabs and vans of the future will be motors.
The cars run early enough in the morning for the workmen, and late
enough at night for people who have had supper at a popular restaurant
after the theatre or a glass of beer at one of the _Zelten_, the
garden restaurants that in the time of Frederick the Great were really
tents, and where the Berliners flocked then as they do now to hear a
band, look at the trees of the Tiergarten, and enjoy light
refreshments. When you get back to your house from such gaieties you
find it locked and in darkness, but though there is a "portier" you do
not disturb him by calling out your name as you would in Paris. In
modern houses there is electric light outside each floor that you
switch on for yourself, and you have a race with it that you lose
unless you are active; but you soon learn to feel your way up to the
next light when you are left in darkness. The Berlin "portier" is not
as much in evidence as the Paris concierge. He opens the door to
strangers, but if you stay or live in the house you are expected to
carry two heavy keys about with you, one for the street door and one
for the flat. The modern doors have some machinery by which they shut
themselves noiselessly after you. You hear a great deal more said
about "nerves" in Germany than in England, and yet Germans seem to be
amazingly indifferent to noise. They will not tolerate the brass bands
and barrel-organs that pester us, but that is because they are fond of
music. Screaming voices, banging doors, and the clatter of kitchens
and business premises seem not to trouble them at all. Most houses in
Berlin are five or six storeys high, and are built round the four
sides of a small paved court. No one who has not lived in such a
house, and in a room giving on the court, can understand how every
sound increases and reverberates. Footsteps at dawn sound as if the
seven-leagued boots had come, and were shod with iron. You whisper
that the kitchen on a lower floor in an opposite corner looks well
kept, and the maid hears what you say and looks at you smiling. I
knew that the back premises of these big German hives might harbour
any social grade and almost any industry, and for a long time I vowed
that some one must live in our court whose business it was to hammer
tin, and that he hammered it most late at night and early in the
morning. I had not heard anything like the noise since I had lived in
a high narrow German street paved with cobble-stones, and occupied
just opposite my windows by a brewer whose vans returned to him at
daybreak and tumbled empty casks at his door. But I never discovered
my tin merchant in Berlin, and in time I had to admit that my hosts
were right. The noise I complained of was made by the cook washing up
in the opposite kitchen. I should not have noticed it if I had been a
sensible person, and slept with my curtains drawn and my double
windows tight shut.

Of course, there are some quiet streets in Berlin, and there are
charming homes in the "garden-houses." Some of the quadrangles are
built round a garden instead of a paved yard, and then you can get a
quiet pleasant flat with a balcony that looks on a garden instead of a
street. The traditional plan of a Berlin flat is most inconvenient and
unpractical. In old-fashioned houses, and even in houses built sixteen
years ago or less, you find that one of the chief rooms is the only
thoroughfare between the bedrooms near the kitchen premises and the
rooms near the front door. Anyone occupying one of these back rooms,
which are often good ones, can only get to the front door by way of
this thoroughfare, where he will usually find the family gathered
together; the maid, too, must pass through every time the door bell
rings, and when she goes about her business in the front regions her
brooms and pails must pass through with her. The window of this room,
which is known as a _Berliner Zimmer_, is always in one corner and
lights it insufficiently. The Berliners themselves recognise its
disadvantages, but I like to describe it, because I observe amongst the
Germans of to-day a fierce determination to destroy and deny everything
a foreigner might call a little absurd, even if it is characteristic;
so I feel sure that if I go to Berlin a few years hence there will not
be a _Berliner Zimmer_ left in the city, and no Berliner will ever have
seen or heard of one; nor will the flat doors have the quaint little
peepholes through which the maid's eye may be seen appraising you
before she lets you in. The newest houses, those in the
_Kurfürstendamm_, for instance, have every "improvement"--central
heating, lifts, gas cooking stoves, sinks for washing up, and bathrooms
that are a reality and not a mere appearance. These bathrooms, I am
assured, can be used without several hours' notice and the anxious
superintendence of the only person, the head of the family as a rule,
who understands the heating apparatus. Berlin, like Mr. Barrie's
Admirable Crichton, has found out how to lay on hot and cold. It has
found out about electric light too, and it might teach London how to
use the telephone. Berlin talks to its friends by telephone as a matter
of course, asks them how they are, if they enjoyed the _Fest_ last
night, whether if you call on Tuesday they will be at home. Perhaps
when Mr. Wells goes to Berlin he will forsee a reaction, a revolt
against the incessant insistent bell that respects no occupation and
allows no undisturbed rest. It is a hurried generation that uses the
telephone so much, for the letter boxes are emptied eighteen times in
twenty-four hours, and if the post is not quick enough or a telegram
too expensive for all you want to say you can send a card by the tube
post.

Berlin is not the city of soldiers that the English fancy pictures it.
English people, English little boys, for instance, who would like to
see all their lead soldiers come to life, must go to one of the
smaller garrison towns, where in every street and every square they
will watch men on the march and at drill. In those quarters of Berlin
not occupied by barracks the population is civilian. You see the grey
and the dark blue uniforms everywhere, but not in masses and not at
work. The people rush like children to follow the guard changed at the
Schloss every day; just as they might in London, where soldiers are a
rare spectacle. In a smaller town the army is more evidently in
possession. It fills the restaurants, occupies the front row of the
stalls at the opera, prevails in public gardens, and holds the
pavement against the world. But Berlin to all appearances belongs to
its citizens, and provides for their profit and convenience. They fill
its multitude of houses. They say they make its laws and order its
progress. At any rate they live in an agreeable, well-managed city,
full of air and light, and kept so clean that most other cities seem
slovenly and grimy by comparison. To go suddenly from Berlin to
Hamburg, for instance, gives you a shock; though Hamburg is
incomparably more attractive and delightful. But in Hamburg you may
see bits of paper lying about, and dust on the pavement. In Berlin
there is no dust, and no one has ever seen an untidy bit of paper
there. It is to be hoped that no one ever travels direct from Berlin
to London. What would he think of Covent Garden Market? There are
markets in Berlin, at least a dozen of them, but by midday they are
swept and garnished. You would not find a leaf of parsley or an end of
string to tell you where one had been.



CHAPTER XXVII

ODDS AND ENDS


The most amusing columns in German daily papers are those devoted to
family advertisement. There you find the prolix intimate announcements
of domestic events compared with which the first column of the _Times_
is so bare, so _nichtssagend_.

    "The birth of a second son is announced with joy by Dr
        Johann Weber and Wife Martha, born Hansen."--Dresden,
        22 May 1907.

    "Emil Harzdorf and wife Magdalene, born Klaus, have the
        honour to announce the birth of a strong
        girl."--Hamburg, 26 May 1907.

Boy babies are nearly always _stramm_, the girl babies are _kräftig_,
and the parents are _hocherfreut_, as they should be. Engagements and
marriages are advertised more simply, and your eye is not caught by
them as it is by the big black bordered paragraphs that inform the
world that someone has just left it.

    "To-day, in consequence of a stroke of apoplexy, my deeply
        loved husband, our dear father, grandfather,
        father-in-law, brother, and uncle fell asleep. In the
        name of the survivors, Olga Wagner, born
        Richter.--Leipzig, 23 May 1907."

This is a curt announcement compared with many. When the deceased has
occupied any kind of official post, or has been an employer of labour,
a long register of his many virtues accompanies the advertisement of
his death. "He who has just passed away was an exemplary chief, a
fatherly friend and adviser, who by his benevolence erected an
everlasting monument to himself in the hearts of his colleagues and
subordinates." He who had just passed away had been the head of a
small soap factory, and this advertisement was put in by the factory
hands just beneath the one signed by all the family. Another
advertisement on the same page expresses thanks for sympathy, "on the
death of my dear wife, our good mother, grandmother, mother-in-law,
aunt, sister-in-law, and cousin, Frau Angelika Pankow, born Salbach."

A German friend who had to undergo an operation last year wrote just
before to tell me she expected to come through safely. "If not," she
said, "you'll receive a card like this"--

  "Yesterday passed away
    Adelaide Deminski, born Weigert,
      Her heart-broken
                        Husband
                        Grandmother
                        Father
                        Mother
                        Sons
                        Daughters
                        Sons-in-law
                        Daughters-in-law
                        Brothers
                        Sisters
                        Brothers-in-law
                        Sisters-in-law
                        Uncles
                        Aunts
                        Cousins";

for Germans themselves laugh at these advertisements, and assure the
inquiring foreigner that their vogue has had its day. But if the
inquiring foreigner looks at the right papers he will find as many as
ever. You will also find matrimonial advertisements in papers that are
considered respectable.

But when you turn to the news columns for details of some event that
is startling the world, whether it is a crime, an earthquake, a
battle, or a royal wedding, you find a few lines that vex you with
their insufficiency. Our English papers have pages about a German
coronation, German manoeuvres, German high jinks at Köpenick. But when
I wanted to see what happened in London on our day of Diamond Jubilee
I found five lines about Queen Victoria having driven to St. Paul's
accompanied by her family and some royal guests. I was in a country
inn at the time, and the paper taken there was one taken everywhere in
the duchy. It is a great mistake to think that German newspaper
hostility to England dates from the Transvaal War. The same journal
that spared five lines to the Jubilee gave a column to a question
asked by one of our parliamentary cranks about the ill-treatment of
natives by Britons in India. The question was met by a complete and
convincing denial, but we had to turn to our English papers to find
that recorded. The ---- _Tageblatt_ printed the question with
comments, and suppressed the denial. As long ago as 1883, when there
was cholera in Egypt, a little Thuringian paper we saw weekly had
frenzied articles about the evil English who were doing all they could
to bring the scourge to Germany. I think we had refused some form of
quarantine that modern medical science considers worse than useless.
The tone of the press all through the Transvaal War did attract some
attention in this country, and since then from time to time we are
presented with quotations from abusive articles about our greed, our
perfidy, and our presumption. I am not writing as a journalist, for I
know nothing whatever of journalism; but as a member of the general
public I believe that we are inclined to overrate the importance of
these amenities, because we overrate the part played by the newspaper
in the average German household. One can only speak from personal
experience, but I should say that it hardly plays a part at all.
Whatever Tageblatt is in favour with the _Hausherr_ comes in every
morning, and is stowed away tidily in a corner till he has time to
look at it while he drinks his coffee and smokes his cigar. If the
ladies of the household are inclined that way they look at it too. But
there really is not much to look at as a rule. These paragraphs about
the wicked British that seem so pugnacious when they are printed on
solid English paper in plain English words, are often in a corner with
other political paragraphs about other wicked nations. At times of
crisis, when the leading papers are attacking us at great length, the
Germans themselves will talk of _Zeitungsgeschrei_ and shrug their
shoulders. It is absurd to deny the existence of Anglophobia in
Germany, because you can hardly travel there without coming across
isolated instances of it. But these isolated instances will stand out
against a crowded background of people from whom you have received the
utmost kindness and friendship; and of other people with whom your
relations have been fleeting, but who have been invariably civil.
Unfortunately the German Anglophobe is a creature of the meanest
breed, and he impresses himself on the memory like a pain; so that one
of him looms larger than fifty others, just as the moment will when
you had your last tooth out, and not the summer day that went before
and after. The truth is, that we are on the nerves of certain
Germans. You may live for ever in an English family and never hear a
German mentioned. You would assuredly not hear the nation
everlastingly discussed and scolded. As far as we are concerned, they
are welcome to their own manners, their own ways, and their own
opinions. If they would only take their stand on these and leave ours
alone we could meet on equal terms. But that is the one thing this
particular breed of German cannot do. He must be always arguing with
you about the superiority of his nation to yours, and you soon think
him the most tiresome and offensive creature you ever met. In private
life you can usually avoid him and seek out those charming German
people who, even if their Tageblatt teaches them that they should hate
England, will never extend their hatred to the English stranger within
their gates, and who will admit you readily and kindly to their
pleasant unaffected lives. Germany is full of such people, whatever
the German newspapers are saying.

Presumably every country has the press that suits it, and in one
respect German journalism is more dignified and estimable than our
own. It does not publish columns of silly society gossip, or of
fashions that only a duchess can follow and only a kitchen-maid can
read. Nor would the poorest, smallest provincial Tageblatt descend to
the depths of musical criticism in which one of our popular dailies
complacently flounders all through the London season.

"I cannot tell you much about last night's Wagner opera, because to my
great annoyance the auditorium was dark nearly all the time. Once when
we were allowed to see each other for a moment I noticed that the
Duchess of Whitechapel was in her box, looking so lovely in cabbage
green. Mrs. 'Dicky' Fitzwegschwein was in the stalls with a ruby
necklace and a marvellous coat of rose velours spangled in diamonds,
and on the grand tier I saw Lady 'Bobby' Holloway, who is of course
the daughter-in-law of Lord Islington, in black net over silver, quite
the dernier cri this season, and looking radiant over her sister Lady
Yolande's engagement to the Duke of Bilgewater. Richter conducted with
his usual brilliance, and the new Wotan sang with great élan, although
he was obviously suffering from a cold in his head."

It is impossible to imagine Berlin waking some winter morning to find
such a "criticism" as this on its breakfast table. In Germany, people
who understand music write about music, and people who understand
about fashions write about fashions, and the two subjects, both of
them interesting and important, are kept apart. Society journalists
who write about Lady Bobbies and Mrs. Fitzwegschweins do not exist yet
in Germany, and so far the empire seems to worry along quite
comfortably without them. I once asked a well-known English journalist
who is of German birth, why one of our newspaper kings did not set up
a huge, gossipy, frivolous paper in Berlin, and it was explained to me
that it would be impossible, because the editor and his staff would
probably find themselves in prison in a week. What we understand by
Freedom of the Press does not exist there.

On the other hand, books and pamphlets are circulated in Germany that
would be suppressed here; and the stage is freer than our own. _Monna
Vanna_ had a great success in Berlin, where Mme. Maeterlinck played
the part to crowded audiences. _Salome_ is now holding the stage both
as a play and with Richard Strauss' music as an opera; Gorky's
_Nachtasyl_ is played year after year in Berlin. Both French and
German plays are acted all over Germany that could not be produced in
England, both because the censor would refuse to pass them and because
public opinion would not tolerate them, unless, to be sure, they were
played in their own tongues. It is most difficult to explain our
attitude to Germans who have been in London, because they know what
vulgar and vicious farces and musical comedies pass muster with us,
and indeed are extremely popular. It is only when a play touches the
deeps of life and shows signs of thought and of poetry that we take
fright, and by the lips of our chosen official cry, "This will never
do." Tolstoy, Ibsen, Gorky, Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Hauptmann, and
Otto Ernst are the modern names I find on one week's programme cut
from a Berlin paper late in spring when the theatrical season was
nearly over. Besides plays by these authors, one of the State theatres
announced tragedies by Goethe, Schiller, and a comedy by Molière. _The
Merchant of Venice_ was being played at one theatre and _A Midsummer
Night's Dream_ at another; there were farces and light operas for some
people, and Wagner, Gluck, and Beethoven at the Royal Opera House for
others. The theatre in Germany is a part of national life and of
national education, and it is largely supported by the State; so that
even in small towns you get good music and acting. The Meiningen
players are celebrated all over the world, and everyone who has read
Goethe's Life will remember how actively and constantly he was
interested in the Weimar stage. At a _Stadt-Theater_ in a small town
two or three operas are given every week, and two or three plays. Most
people subscribe for seats once or twice a week all through the
winter, and they go between coffee and supper in their ordinary
clothes. Even in Berlin women do not wear full dress at any theatre.
In the little towns you may any evening meet or join the leisurely
stream of playgoers, and if you enter the theatre with them you will
find that the women leave their hats with an attendant. You are in no
danger in Germany of having the whole stage hidden from you by flowers
and feathers.

Shakespeare is as much played as Goethe and Schiller, and it is most
interesting and yet most disappointing to hear the poetry you know
line upon line spoken in a foreign tongue. Germans say that their
translation is more beautiful and satisfying than the original
English; but I actually knew a German who kept Bayard Taylor's _Faust_
by his bedside because he preferred it to Goethe's. I think there is
something the matter with people who prefer translated to original
poetry, but I will leave a critic of standing to explain what ails
them. I have never met a German who would admit that Shakespeare was
an Englishman. They say that his birth at Stratford-on-Avon was a
little accident, and that he belongs to the world. They say this out
of politeness, because what they really believe is that he belongs to
Germany, and that as a matter of fact Byron is the only great poet
England has ever had. I am not joking. I am not even exaggerating.
This is the real opinion of the German man in the street, and it is
taught in lessons in literature. An English girl went to one of the
best-known teachers in Berlin for lessons in German, and found, as she
found elsewhere, that the talk incessantly turned on the crimes of
England and the inferiority of England.

"You have had two great names," said the teacher,--"two and no more.
That is, if one can in any sense of the word call Shakespeare an
English name ... Shakespeare and Byron, ... then you have finished.
You have never had anyone else, and Shakespeare has always belonged
more to us than to you."

The English girl gasped, for she knew something of her own literature.

"But have you never heard about Chaucer," she asked, "or of the
Elizabethans, or of Milton, Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth...?"

"_Reden Sie nicht, reden Sie nicht!_" cried the teacher,--"I never
allow my pupils to argue with me. Shakespeare and Byron ... no, Byron
only, ... then England has done."

You still find Byron in every German household where English is read
at all, and no one seems to have found out what fustian most of his
poetry really was. Ruskin and Oscar Wilde are the two popular modern
authors, and the novel-reading public chooses, so several booksellers
assured me, Marion Crawford and Mrs. Croker. I could not hear a word
anywhere of Stevenson or Rudyard Kipling, but I did come across one
person who had enjoyed _Richard Feverel_.

"Your English novels are rather better than they used to be, are they
not?" said a lady to me in good faith, and I found it a difficult
question to answer, because I had always believed that we had a long
roll of great novelists; but then, I had also thought that England had
a few poets.

The most popular German novels are mostly translated into English, and
all German novels of importance are reviewed in our papers. So English
people who read German know what a strong reaction there is against
the moonshine of fifty years ago. The novels most in vogue exhibit the
same coarse, but often thoughtful and impressive, realism that
prevails on the stage and in the conversation and conduct of some sets
of people in the big cities. The _Tagebuch einer Verlorenen_ has sold
75,000 copies, and it is the story of a German _Kamelliendame_
compared with whom Dumas' lady is moonshine. It is a haunting picture
of a woman sinning against the moral and social law, and no one with
the least sense or judgment could put it on the low level of certain
English novels that sell because they are offensive, and for no other
reason in the world. _Aus guter Familie_, by Gabrielle Reuter, is
another remarkable novel, and I believe it has never been translated
into English. It presents the poignant tragedy of a woman's life
suffocated by the social conditions obtaining in a small German town
where a woman has no hope but marriage, and if she is poor no chance
of marriage. It is one of the most sincere books I ever read. _Das
Tägliche Brot_, Klara Viebig's story of servant-life in Berlin, is
another typical novel of the present day, and that has been translated
for those amongst us who do not read German. I choose these three
novels for mention because they are written by women, and because they
are brilliant examples of the modern tone amongst women. If you want
the traditional German qualities of sentiment, poetry, formlessness,
and dreamy childlike charm, you must read novels written by men.

I have said very little about music in Germany, because we all know
and admit that it reaches heights there no other nation can approach.
An Englishman writing about Germany lately says that you often hear
very bad music there, but I think his experience must have been
exceptional and unfortunate. I am sure that Germans do not tolerate
the vapid dreary drawing-room songs we listen to complacently in this
country; for in England people often have beautiful voices without any
musical understanding, or technical facility without charm. I suppose
such cases must occur amongst Germans too, and in the end one speaks
of a foreign nation partly from personal experience, which must be
narrow, and partly from hearsay. I have met Germans who were not
musical, but I have never met any who were pleased with downright bad
music. On the whole, it is the art they understand best, the one in
which their instinctive taste is sure and good. You would not find
that the Byron amongst composers, whoever he may be, was the one they
set up for worship. Nor do you find the street of a German city or
suburb infested with barrel-organs. There is some kind of low dancing
saloon or _café chantant_ called a Tingl-Tangl where I imagine they
have organs and gramaphones and suchlike horrors, but then unless you
chance to pass their open windows you need not endure their strains.
In England, even if we are fond of music, and therefore sensitive to
jarring sounds and maudlin melodies, yet in the street we cannot
escape the barrel-organ nor in the house the drawing-room songs. As if
these were not enough, we now invite each other to listen to the
pianotist and the pianola.

"I will explain my country to you," said the artist one day when I had
expressed myself puzzled by the curious gaps in German taste, and even
in German knowledge; by their enthusiasm for the second rate in poetry
and literature, and by their amazing uncertain mixture of information
and blank complacent ignorance. For when an Englishman says "Goethe!
Schiller!--Was is das?" you are not surprised. It is just what you
expect of an Englishman, and for all that he may know how to build
bridges and keep his temper in games and argument. But when a German
teacher of literature tells you Byron is the only English poet, and
when the whole nation neglects some of our big men but runs wild over
certain little ones, you listen eagerly for any explanation
forthcoming. "We have _Wissen_," said the artist, "we have _Kunst_;
but we have no _Kultur_."

I did not recover from the shock he gave me till the evening, when I
saw the professor of philosophy and æsthetics.

"The artist says that you have no _Kultur_," I told him; for I wanted
to see how he received a shock.

"The artist speaks the truth," said the professor calmly. I have never
met anyone more civilised and scholarly then he was himself; and I set
a high value on his opinion.

"What is _Kultur_?" I asked.

"One result of it is a fine discrimination," he replied, "a fine
discrimination in art, in conduct, and in manner."

"Are you not the most intellectual people in the world?" I said
reproachfully.

He seemed to think that had nothing to do with it.

"Are you still worrying your head about _Kultur_?" said the artist
next time I saw him. "Then I will explain a little more to you. I, as
you know, am extremely _anti-Semite_."

"I am sure that is not a proof of _Kultur_," I said hurriedly.

"It is not a proof of anything. It is a result. Nevertheless I
perceive that if it were not for the Jews there would be neither art
nor literature in Germany. They create, they appreciate, they support,
and although we affect to despise them we invariably follow them like
sheep. What they admire we admire; what they discover we see to be
good. But ... I told you I was _anti-Semite_, ... though they have
most of the brains in the country, they have little _Kultur_. One of
us who is as stupid as an ox, ... most of us are as stupid as oxen,
... may have more, ... but because he is stupid he cannot impose his
opinion on the multitude."

"Do you mean that the Jews set the fashion in art and literature, and
that they sometimes set a bad one?" I asked

"That is exactly what I mean."

It was a curious theory, and I will not be responsible for its truth.
But there is no doubt that in every German town artistic and literary
society has its centre amongst the educated Jews. They are most
generous hosts, and it is their pleasure to gather round them an
aristocracy of genius. The aristocracy that is perfectly happy without
genius would as a rule not enter a Jew's house; though the poorer
members of the aristocracy often marry a Jew's daughter. Where there
is inter-marriage some social intercourse is presumably inevitable.
But the social crusade against Jews is carried on in Germany to an
extent we do not dream of here. The Christian clubs and hostels
exclude them, Christian families avoid them, and Christian insults are
offered to them from the day of their birth. "What do you use those
long lances for?" said the wife of a Jewish professor to a young man
in a cavalry regiment. "_Damit hetzen wir die Juden_," said he, with
the snarl of his kind; and he knew very well that the lady's husband
was a Jew. I have been told a story of a Jewish girl being asked to a
Court ball by the Emperor Frederick, and finding that none of the men
present would consent to dance with her. I have heard of girls who
wished to ask a Jewish schoolmate to a dance, and discovered that
their Christian friends flatly refused to meet anyone of her race. How
any Christians contrive to avoid it I do not understand, for wherever
you go in Germany some of the great scholars, doctors, men of science,
art, and literature, are men of Jewish blood. The press is almost
entirely in their hands, and when there is a scurrilous artist or a
coarse picture your friends explain it by saying that the tone of
that special paper is _jüdisch_. The modern campaign against Jews
began nearly thirty years ago, when a Court chaplain called Stöcker
startled the world by the violence of his invective. But the fire he
stirred to flame must have been smouldering. He and his followers gave
the most ingenuous reasons for curtailing Jewish rights and privileges
in Germany, one of which was the provoking fact that Jewish boys did
more brilliantly at school than Christians. The subject bristles with
difficulties, and no one who knows the German Jew intimately will wish
to pose him as a persecuted saint. The Christian certainly makes it
unpleasant for him socially, but in one way or the other he holds his
own. I have seen him vexed and offended by some brutal slight, but his
keen sense of humour helps him over most stiles. So no doubt does his
sense of power. "They will not admit me to their clubs or ask my
daughters to their dances," said a Jewish friend, "but they come to me
for money for their charities." And I knew that half the starving poor
in the town came to his wife for charity, and that she never sent one
empty away.

When a very clever, sensitive, numerically small race has lived for
hundreds of years cheek by jowl with a dense brutal race that has
never ceased to insult and humiliate it, you cannot be surprised if
those clever but highly sensitive ones become imbued in course of time
with a painful undesirable conviction that the brutes are their
superiors. So you have the spectacle in Germany of Jews seeking
Christian society instead of avoiding it; and you hear them boast
quite artlessly of their _christlicher Umgang_. They would really
serve their people and even themselves more if they refused all
_christlicher Umgang_ until the Christians had learned to behave
themselves. An Englishwoman living in Berlin told me that once as she
came out of a concert hall an officer standing in the crowd stared at
her and said, so that everyone could hear: "At last! a single face
that is not a _jüdischer Fratz_." The concert, you will understand,
must have been a good one, and therefore largely attended by a Jewish
audience. Possibly the officer who so much disliked his surroundings
had married a Jewish heiress and was waiting for his wife. Such things
happen. During the worst times of Stöcker's campaign a woman with
Jewish features could hardly go out unescorted; and even now, though
it is not openly expressed, you can hardly fail to catch some note of
sympathy with the Russian persecution of the Jews. The deep helpless
genuine horror felt in England at the pogroms is felt in a fainter way
in Northern Germany.

Meanwhile the Jewish woman of the upper classes takes her revenge by
knowing how to dress. In German cities, when you see a woman who is
"exquisite," slim that is and graceful, dainty from head to foot and
finely clad, then you may vow by all the gods that she has Jewish
blood in her.



APPENDIX

  Page 4, l. 26. _Wunderkind_: a prodigy.

  Page 8, l. 5. _Wickelkinder_: infants in swaddling clothes.

  Page 9, l. 26. _Mamsell_: supervising housekeeper.

  Page 11, l. 13. _Die Kunst im Leben des Kindes_: art in the life
    of the child.

  Page 12, l. 14. _Pestalozzi Fröbel Haus_: named for the two great
    educators, Pestalozzi and Fröbel.

  Page 12, l. 31. _pf._: _pfennig_, a quarter of a cent.

  Page 13, l. 22. _Das Recht des Kindes_: the right of the child.

  Page 16, l. 2. _Gymnasium_: school where Latin and Greek are
    taught (humanistic education).

  Page 16, l. 2. _Real-Gymnasium_: school where Latin, modern
    languages, mathematics, science, and history are taught. No
    Greek.

  Page 16, l. 3. _Ober-Real Schule_: school where mathematics,
    science, history, French, and English are taught.

  Page 16, l. 3. _Real-Schule_: a school which prepares for
    practical life, not for the university; modern languages are
    included in the curriculum.

  Page 17, l. 7. _Abiturienten_: graduates from a Gymnasium or
    Ober-Real Schule.

  Page 17, l. 14. _mark_: a quarter of a dollar.

  Page 17, l. 19. _Flachsmann als Erzieher_: Flachsmann as a
    pedagogue.

  Page 19, l. 8. _Evangelisch_: Protestant.

  Page 20, l. 19. _Schauspielhaus_: theatre.

  Page 20, l. 21. _Was ist das?_ what is that?

  Page 20, l. 26. _Höhere Töchterschule_: high school for girls.

  Page 21, l. 33. _Ober Lehrerin_: high grade teacher.

  Page 22, l. 14. _Lyceen_: school where Latin and Greek is taught.

  Page 22, l. 14. _Ober-Lyceen_: school preparing for the
    university.

  Page 22, l. 31. _Allgemeine deutsche Frauenverein_: Universal
    League of German Women.

  Page 23, l. 10. _Allgemeine deutsche Lehrerinnen-Verein_:
    Universal League of German Teachers.

  Page 23, l. 13. _Real-Kurse für Mädchen und Frauen_: courses for
    girls and women outside of those found in the school system, and
    preparing for the university.

  Page 24, l. 11. _Gymnasialkurse_: the above plan organised into
    preparatory schools for women for the university.

  Page 26, l. 12. _Stift_: private or state school with board and
    residence. Also an endowed home for gentlewomen, with certain
    privileges--either with or without a school for girls.

  Page 30, l. 7. _Volkschule_: public school.

  Page 30, l. 9. _Nicht völlig normal_: rather weak intellectually,
    abnormal.

  Page 32, l. 24. _Schulrat_: superintendent of schools.

  Page 33, l. 12. _Waldschule_: forest school in open air.

  Page 34, l. 16. _Griesbrei_: porridge made of farina.

  Page 34, l. 21. _Nudelsuppe_: soup of noodles. Vermicelli soup.

  Page 36, l. 8. _Ich liebe einen Backfisch_: I love a girl in her
    teens.

  Page 36, l. 20. _Backfisch-Moden_: fashions for misses.

  Page 38, l. 33. _Backfischen's Leiden und Freuden_: Sorrows and
    Joys of a Backfisch.

  Page 41, l. 12. _Jawohl, liebe Tante_: yes, certainly, dear aunt.

  Page 43, l. 34. _Sie geniren sich gewiss_: you are surely too shy.

  Page 44, l. 34. _Braut_: betrothed.

  Page 45, l. 9. _Ein junges Mädchen muss immer heiter sein_: young
    girl must always be cheerful.

  Page 48, l. 13. _Privatdocenten_: private lecturer.

  Page 51, l. 9. _Volkslieder_: folk songs.

  Page 51, l. 9. _Trinklieder_: drinking songs.

  Page 51, l. 34. _Burschenschaft_: students' corporation.

  Page 52, l. 8. _Alte Herren Abende_: old gentlemen's (former
    students) evenings.

  Page 53, l. 14. "_Auf die Mensur_": Ready, begin!

  Page 54, l. 9. _raisonniren_: to reason, to argue, to dispute, to
    scold about.

  Page 54, l. 9. _geniren_: to embarrass, to trouble.

  Page 54, l. 13. _Der Bier Comment_: beer drinking custom; the
    commanding phrase for a drink called Salamander.

  Page 54, l. 20. _Bierdurst_: beer thirst.

  Page 54, l. 23. _Kneiptafel_: a kind of club table, where men
    generally spend evenings drinking beer and joining in songs.

  Page 55, l. 27. "_Silentium für einen Biergalopp, ich bitte den
    nötigen Staff anzuschaffen_": Silence for a beer gallop; please
    provide the necessary stuff.

  Page 56, l. 19. _Kommers_: students' festival evening, drinking
    bout.

  Page 56, l. 22. _In vollem Wichs_: in full dress.

  Page 56, l. 27. "_Sauft alle mit einander_": Drink all together.

  Page 65, l. 2. _Stammtisch_: a club table, where every member has
    a reserved seat.

  Page 67, l. 15. "_Man soll_," etc.: "One ought to so bring up
    women," said Siegfried, the champion, "that they omit all
    unnecessary talk. Forbid it your wife. I will do the same with
    mine. Really I am ashamed of such an arrogant custom."

  Page 67, l. 22. "_Das hat mich_," etc.: "I repented it
    immediately," said the noble woman. "On this account he beat my
    body black and blue; because I talked too much he was disturbed
    in his spirit: this did revenge the champion wise and good."

  Page 69, l. 22 _Ritterschaft_: knighthood.

  Page 71, l. 31. _Lette Verein_: Lette Association.

  Page 72, l. 21. _Leipziger Allerlei_: a kind of mixed pickles.

  Page 73, l. 25. _eine Stütze_: a helper for the housewife.

  Page 78, l. 1. _Memoiren einer Idealistin_: Memoirs of an
    Idealist.

  Page 80, l. 24. _Schadchan_: Jewish business match-maker or
    marriage broker.

  Page 82, l. 8. _Aus guter Familie_: of good family.

  Page 83, l. 15. _In freier Ehe_: in free love.

  Page 85, l. 7. _Alte Schloss_: old castle.

  Page 85, l. 8. _nicht wahr?_ is that not so?

  Page 85, l. 26. _Ausflug_ or _Landpartie_: excursion trip in the
    country.

  Page 86, l. 13. "_Die Verlobung_," etc.: The engagement of their
    daughter Pauline to Mr. Henry Schmidt, barrister Dr. jur., in
    Berlin, is announced respectfully by Privy Counsellor of
    Government Dr. Eugene Brand, Royal Director of Gymnase, and Mrs.
    Helene, born Engel. Stuttgart, in June, 1906. 7 Tiergarten.

  Page 86, l. 23. "_Meine Verlobung_," etc.: I have the honor
    respectfully to announce my engagement with Miss Pauline Brand,
    daughter of the Royal Director of Gymnase, Privy Counsellor of
    Government Dr. Eugen Brand and his honorable wife Helene, born
    Engel. Dr. jur. Heinrich Schmidt, barrister Referendar. Berlin,
    in June, 1906. Kurfürstendam 2000.

  Page 88, l. 2. _Brautpaar_: bride and bridegroom on the wedding
    day, betrothed couple.

  Page 88, l. 12. _Wilkommen, du glückseliges Kind_: Welcome, you
    happy child.

  Page 88, l. 15. _rührend_: touching.

  Page 88, l. 15. _innig_: hearty, fervent.

  Page 89, l. 16. _Aussteurer_: trousseau, also household endowment
    of money.

  Page 91, l. 2. "Wir winden dir":

  THE FREE SHOOTER

    The bridal wreath for thee we bind,
      With silken thread of azure;
    In wedded days, oh, mayst thou find
      Full store of hope and pleasure.

    I've planted thyme and myrtle sweet,
      They grew in my garden;
    But when shall I my true love meet,
      How long will he delay yet?

    Full seven years the maiden span,
      The snow-white web augmenting;
    The veil is clear like a web,
      And green the wreath in her hair.

    When lo! her true love came at last,
      When seven years had passed,
    Because her lover married her
      She has deserved her wreath.

  Page 94, l. 7. _Freie Trauungen_: free marriages.

  Page 94, l. 20. _Sozialdemokratischer Verband_: society of
    democratic socialists.

  Page 98, l. 1. _Tafel-Lieder_: table songs.

  Page 98, l. 22. _Hoch_: Hurrah.

  Page 99, l. 8. _"Wie ist doch,"_ etc.:

    How highly is the Uncle blest;
    To-day the bridal wreath adorns the aunt.

  Page 99, l. 11. "_Liebe Gäste_," etc.:

    Dear guests, will you all
    Arise with pleasure--
    Hail to the bridal pair--
    May they prosper.

  Page 99, l. 25. _Hochzeits-Tafel_: wedding meal.

  Page 101, l. 2. "_Geschiedene Leute scheiden fort und fort_":
    divorced people sever forever.

  Page 101, l. 14. _unwirtlichen_: inhospitable, barren.

  Page 102, l. 11. "_Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch_": citizen's law book,
    code.

  Page 103, l. 10. _Wohnzimmer_: living room.

  Page 104, l. 5. _Hof_: court; yard.

  Page 105, l. 9. _Wie Herrlich_: how splendid.

  Page 106, l. 26. _Füllofen_: stove, a self-feeder.

  Page 109, l. 13. _Landeskirche_: National church.

  Page 110, l. 7. _Nichtraucher_: no smoking allowed.

  Page 110, l. 7. _Damen-Coupé_: for ladies only (in railway).

  Page 110, l. 12. _Aber ich bitte, meine Dame: es zieht, ja, ja, es
    zieht_: but please, madame, there is a draught, yes, yes, there
    is a draught.

  Page 112, l. 25. _Magen_: stomach.

  Page 113, l. 24. _Mein armer Karl_: My poor Charles.

  Page 113, l. 24. _Küken mit Spargel_: spring chicken with
    asparagus.

  Page 114, l. 13. _Frikassee von Hähnchen mit Krebsen_: fricassee
    of chicken with crabs.

  Page 114, l. 23. _perfekte Köchin_: experienced cook.

  Page 116, l. 12. "_Dienen lerne_," etc.:

    Early a woman should learn to serve, for that is her calling;
    Since through service alone she finally comes to governing,
    Comes to the due command that is hers of right in the household.
    Early the sister must wait on her brother, and wait on her parents;
    Life must be always with her a perpetual coming and going,
    Or be a lifting and carrying, making and doing for others.
    Happy for her be she accustomed to think no way is too grievous,
    And if the hours of the night be to her as the hours of the daytime;
    If she find never a needle too fine, nor a labour too trifling;
    Wholly forgetful of self, and caring to live but in others!

  Page 117, l. 31. "_Par une recontre_," etc.: "By a strange
    chance," says Monsieur Taine, "women are more feminine and men
    more masculine here than elsewhere. The two natures go to
    extremes, the one to boldness, to a spirit of enterprise and
    opposition, to a character that is warlike, imperious, and
    rough; the other to gentleness, self-denial, patience,
    inexhaustible affection. Here woman yields completely, a thing
    unknown in foreign lands, especially in France, and looks upon
    obedience, pardon, adoration as an honour and a duty, without
    desiring or striving for anything beyond subordinating herself
    and becoming daily more absorbed in him whom she has chosen of
    her own accord and for all time. It is this instinct, an old
    Germanic instinct, that those great delineators of instinct all
    paint in a high light!... The spirit of this race is at once
    primitive and serious. Among women simplicity lasts longer than
    it does elsewhere. They are slower in losing respect, and in
    weighing values and characters; they are less ready to suspect
    evil and to analyse their husbands.... They have not the
    cleverness, the advanced ideas, the assured behaviour, the
    precocity which with us turns a young girl into a sophisticated
    woman and a queen of society in six months. A secluded life and
    obedience are easier for them. More yielding and more sedentary,
    they are at once more reserved, more self-centred, more disposed
    to gaze upon the noble dream that they call duty."

  Page 118, l. 28. "_Voir la peinture_," etc.: "Depiction of this
    character is to be seen in all English and German literature,"
    he says in a footnote. "The closest of observers, Stendhal,
    thoroughly impregnated with Italian and French ideas and
    customs, is amazed at sight of it. He understands nothing of
    this kind of devotion, 'of this slavery which English husbands
    have had the cleverness to impose upon their wives under the
    name of duty.' These are 'customs of the seraglio.'"

  Page 121, l. 5. _lèse majesté_: high treason.

  Page 124, l. 5. _ordentliche Frau_: respectable woman.

  Page 127, l. 8. "_Mir ist ein Greuel_": it is a horror for me.

  Page 127, l. 23. _Frau Wirklichergeheimerober regierungsrath_:
    Mrs. privy chief counsellor of government.

  Page 130, l. 26. _dumm_: silly, stupid.

  Page 133, l. 22. _Tüchtigkeit_: capability.

  Page 134, l. 7. "_Wie die Küche_," etc.: when the kitchen is
    clean, the whole house is clean. Neat indoors, neat outdoors.

  Page 134, l. 10. "_Trautes Heim_," etc.:

    There is no place like home.
    My home is my castle.

  Page 141, l. 6. _Unsinn ... Quatsch_: nonsense, rubbish.

  Page 141, l. 9. _Das hat keinen Zweck_: that is of no use.

  Page 141, l. 27. _Herrschaft_: master and mistress and their
    family.

  Page 143, l. 21. _Gesinde-Dienstbuch_: servant's book of
    reference.

    For Anna Schmidt.
    From Rheinbeck.
    Age (geboren, born) June 20, 1885.
    Stature, slender.
    Eyes, gray.
    Nose and mouth ordinary.
    Hair, dark blond.
    Especial characteristics.

---------------+-----------+--------+-------+------------+------------
NAME, VOCATION,|           |DAY OF  |DAY OF |REASON OF   |CERTIFICATE
AND ADDRESS OF |BEARER IS  |ENTERING|LEAVING|LEAVING--   |AND REMARKS
THE EMPLOYER   |ACCEPTED AS|SERVICE |SERVICE|REFERENCE   |OF POLICE
---------------+-----------+--------+-------+------------+------------
Widow Auguste  |Servant    |Oct. 20,|Jan. 2,|Wished a    |Seen
Knoblauch      |           |1901    |1902   |change      |(_Place and
               |           |        |       |Conduct     | date, with
               |           |        |       |good        |official
               |           |        |       |            |stamp and
               |           |        |       |            |signature_)
---------------+-----------+--------+-------+------------+------------
Boretzky, Post |Housemaid  |Feb. 2, |Oct. 2,|Is dismissed|
Restaurant, 2  |           |1902    |1904   |because of  |
Bären Street   |           |        |       |unbecoming  |
               |           |        |       |behaviour,  |
               |           |        |       |but is      |
               |           |        |       |diligent and|
               |           |        |       |honest      |
---------------+-----------+--------+-------+------------+------------

  Page 148, l. 3. _Speiseschrank_: pantry.

  Page 151, l. 23. _Kammer_: little chamber.

  Page 159, l. 11. _eine jute Jabe Jottes_: a good gift of God.

  Page 164, l. 5. _Mehlspeise_: farinaceous dish.

  Page 164, l. 5. _Spetzerle_: a sort of dumpling.

  Page 164, l. 9. _Leibgericht_: favourite dish.

  Page 164, l. 9. _Rote Grütze_: literally "red gruel."

  Page 168, l. 7. _Torten_: tarts.

  Page 169, l. 15. _Beamtenbeleidigung_: offence against an
    official.

  Page 170, l. 19. _Baumkuchen_: cake baked on a spit.

  Page 179, l. 26. _Das Mädchen aus der Fremde_: the Strange Maiden.

  Page 179, l. 27. _Der Tod und das Mädchen_: Death and the Maiden.

  Page 180, l. 10. _gemütlich_: comfortable, agreeable, cosy.

  Page 180, l. 25. _kräftige Kost_: nourishing food.

  Page 181, l. 7. _Heuchelei_: hypocrisy.

  Page 182, l. 22. _tüchtige Hausfrau_: experienced housewife.

  Page 183, l. 12. _Gesellschaft_: society, a "party."

  Page 183, l. 28. _Gott sei Dank_: God be thanked.

  Page 183, l. 33. _Guten Tag_: good day.

  Page 187, l. 22. _Steinkohlen_: mineral coal, anthracite.

  Page 187, l. 22. _Braunkohlen_: lignite, brown coal.

  Page 189, l. 8. _gehacktes Schweinefleisch_: choppy pork.

  Page 195, l. 21. _Reform-Kleider_: reform dresses.

  Page 195, l. 34. _Elles s'habillent si mal_: they dress so badly.

  Page 200, l. 4. _Spruch_: motto.

  Page 200, l. 16. _Meringuetorte_: pastry with whipped cream.

  Page 201, l. 29. _Bowle_: punch.

  Page 201, l. 33. _Kaffee-Klatsch mit Schleppe_ (train): a coffee
    party in grand style.

  Page 203, l. 16. _Gefrorenes_: ice cream.

  Page 203, l. 35. _Pumpernickel_: Westphalian rye bread.

  Page 207, l. 8. _Katzenjammer_: moral depression--the
    blues--seediness after drunken debauch.

  Page 207, l. 27. _Hier können Familien Kaffee kochen_: here
    families are allowed to cook coffee.

  Page 216, l. 17. _ein falsches Volk_: false people.

  Page 222, l. 16. _Schenkwirte_: tavern keepers.

  Page 223, l. 15. _Schoppen_: a pint.

  Page 227, l. 3. _Oberkellner_: head waiter, head steward.

  Page 231, l. I. _frisch angesteckt_: fresh on tap.

  Page 231, l. 20. _Rindfleisch_: boiled beef.

  Page 231, l. 26. _versoffene Jungfern_: drunken maidens.

  Page 233, l. 1. _halbe Portion_: half a portion.

  Page 233, l. 20. _Stimmung_: mood, humour.

  Page 233, l. 27. _Das hat keinen Zweck_: of no use, end, etc.;
    what difference does that make?

  Page 234, l. i. _Verrückt_: crazy, mad.

  Page 235, l. 16. _Schmorkartoffeln_: stewed potatoes baked in
    butter.

  Page 235, l. 28. _Pastetchen_: small pies, patties.

  Page 237, l. 13. _Königstrasse_: King's Road.

  Page 237, l. 14. _Herrschaften_: patrons.

  Page 237, l. 23. _Delikatessenhandlung_: delicatessen shop.

  Page 240, l. 3. _Spiritus leid' ich nicht_: I will not allow
    alcohol.

  Page 240, l. 29. _Trinkgeld_: tips.

  Page 242, l. 10. _das beste Zimmer_: best room, salon.

  Page 244, l. 8. _Das schadet nichts, das ist gesund_: never mind,
    it is healthful.

  Page 245, l. 27. _fremd_: strange.

  Page 245, l. 33. _Reisebureau_: office of information for
    travellers.

  Page 246, l. 14. _anmelden_: announce, report.

  Page 247, l. 13. _Ausgang_: exit.

  Page 247, l. 14. _Eingang_: entrance.

  Page 249, l. 10. _Dann war es mir zu bunt_: it was too much for
    me, it goes too far.

  Page 252, l. 6. _Verschönerungsverein_: society for
    embellishments.

  Page 252, l. 13. _Aussicht_: view.

  Page 252, l. 13 _prachtvoll_: splendid.

  Page 252, l. 13. _Luft herrlich_: lovely air.

  Page 252, l. 16. _die Herren_: the gentlemen.

  Page 253, l. 15. _wanderfroh_: fond of travelling.

  Page 255, l. 13. _Badearzt_: physician of a watering place.

  Page 255, l. 31. _eine gute Stunde_: a good hour's walk.

  Page 257, l. 3. _Kur_: medical treatment.

  Page 257, l. 5. _Badereise_: sojourn at a bathing place for the
    benefit of the waters.

  Page 258, l. 1. _Luftkur_: open air cure.

  Page 258, l. 9. _Blutarmut_: anæmia.

  Page 258, l. 18. _Corpulententisch_: table of the corpulents.

  Page 259, l. 4. _Kegel_: ninepins.

  Page 259, l. 17. _Waldluft_: forest air.

  Page 259, l. 28. _Speisesaal_: dining room.

  Page 260, l. 16. "_Warum willst_," etc.:

    Why do you wander elsewhere
    When happiness is so near?

  Page 261, l. 25. _Personenzug_: local train.

  Page 262, l. 16. _Schein_: bill, receipt.

  Page 268, l. 17. _städtische Kleider_: city dress.

  Page 268, l. 31. _Kirchweih_: annual festival in commemoration of
    the consecration of church.

  Page 269, l. 4. _Brautwagen_: wedding coach.

  Page 270, l. 6. _Hochzeit_: wedding.

  Page 270, l. 19. _belegtes Butterbrot_: sandwiches.

  Page 271, l. 5. _Hochzeitsmahl_: wedding meal.

  Page 271, l. 16. _Speisesaal_: dining room.

  Page 277, l. 2. _Was ist denn los?_ what is the matter?

  Page 278, l. 18. _Sehnsucht_: yearning.

  Page 278, l. 21. _Haferbrei_: oat meal.

  Page 279, l. 8. _Schmalz_: suet, lard.

  Page 279, l. 11. _Pfarrer_: priest, clergyman, parson.

  Page 279, l. 18. _Betten_: beds.

  Page 279, l. 19. _Heidenmühle_: mill on the heath.

  Page 279, l. 24. _Knecht_: manservant.

  Page 291, l. 19. _Volksküche_: public kitchen.

  Page 292, l. 2. _Tischzeit_: hours for meals.

  Page 292, l. 6. _Durch Arbeiten_: through work.

  Page 292, l. 16. _Der Kaufmännische Verband für Weibliche
    Angestellte_: Merchant Association for Employed Women.

  Page 298, l. 13. _Kurfürstendam_: elector's dyke.

  Page 303, l. 1. _Zelten_: tents.

  Page 305, l. 1. _Berliner Zimmer_: a room with one window.

  Page 307, l. 5. _nichtssagend_: trifling, of little value.

  Page 307, l. 12. _stramm_: robust, vigorous.

  Page 307, l. 13. _kräftig_: strong, healthy, sturdy.

  Page 307, l. 13. _hocherfreut_: delighted, highly pleased.

  Page 310, l. 21. _Zeitungsgeschrei_: newspaper clamour.

  Page 315, l. 8. _Reden sie nicht_: don't talk.

  Page 318, l. 2. _Kultur_: culture.

  Page 319, l. 22. _Damit hetzen wir die Juden_: therewith we stir
    up the Jews.

  Page 320, l. 33. _christlicher Umgang_: to be in company of
    Christians.

  Page 321, l. 5. _jüdischer Fratz_: Jewish phiz.



INDEX

Advertisements, 85, 307

Allotment gardens, 207

Anglophobia, 5, 119, 130, 184, 309-311

Art in the nursery, 11

Auerbach, 272-278


_Backfischen's Leiden und Freuden_, 38-43

Baden, 6, 22 (see also Black Forest)

_Badereise_, 255-260

Bathrooms, 103, 305

Bavaria, 228, 231, 258, 273, 275

Beds, 124, 229

Beggars, 276, 295

Berlin--
  Electric cars, 300
  Fire-brigade, 275
  Flats and houses, 103-108
  Fröbel Haus, 12
  Ladies' clubs, 75
  Philanthropy, 293
  Registry offices, 142
  Restaurants, 233
  Sculptures, 297
  Shops, 167-170, 174
  Students, 57
  Sunday excursions, 207
  Taxes, 109

_Berliner Zimmer_, 305

_Bestes Zimmer_, 242

Betham-Edwards, Miss, 36

Betrothals, 85-91

_Bier Comment_, 54-56

Birmingham brass workers, 295

Black Forest, 162, 171, 205, 220, 267 ff., 276

_Brautpaar_, 87

Budgets, household, 187-194, 283

_Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch_, 102

_Burschenschaft_, 51

Byron, 38, 314


Cellar-shops, 170

Charlottenberg Forest School, 32

Christmas, 176

Church tax, 109

Confirmation, 78-80

Cooking classes, 72

_Corps-Studenten_, 51-53

Cotta, Frl. v., 21

Cottbus Market, 174

_Crêches_, 10, 33


_Dienstbuch_, 142-145

Divorce, 100

Doctors, 9, 31, 72, 295

Doecker system, 33

Drawing-rooms, 126

Drunkenness, 206

Duels, students', 51-53

Dyhrenfurth, Gertrud, 282


Economy, 130, 178, 188, 243, 287

Eltzbacher, O., 93, 185

Emigration, 185, 263

Emperor Wilhelm II., 70, 218, 220

Empress Friedrich, 21, 71


Family life, 61, 65, 128

_Flachsmann als Erzieher_, 17

Flats, 103, 123, 130, 304

Food--
  Family meals, 154
  Fish, 161
  Free food, 31, 50
  Goose, 162
  Meat, 160
  _Mehlspeisen_, 164, 231
  _Nudeln_, 159
  _Ochsenfleisch_, 155
  Recipes, 159-165
  _Rothe Grütze_, 164
  Supper, 158, 203
  Tea, 158
  Vegetables, 163

Freiburg Market, 173

Fuel, 106, 187

Furniture, 123-126


"Garden houses," 304

Gardens, 104

"German Home Life," 8, 93

Gipsies, 276

Goethe, 116, 260

_Gymnasium_, 15-19

Gymnastics, 31, 34, 220


Hamburg--
  Life, 105, 155, 232
  Lodgings, 242
  Markets, 174
  Servants' dress, 138
  Sports, 219

Heidelberg, 51-53

_Hof_, the, 104, 108

Home-workers, 289-291

Hospitality, 43, 196 ff., 210

Hospitals, 295

Housekeeping budgets, 187-194, 283

House-porter, 108, 303


_Idealistin, Memoiren einer_, 78, 125, 131, 139, 180, 212-214

Illegitimate children, 93, 294

Incomes, 48, 177;
  and see Economy

Inns and Innkeepers, 227-232


Jews, 50, 80, 289, 319-321

_Joseph im Schnee_, 278-281


_Kaffee Klatsch_, 90, 200-202

_Kindergarten_, 12-14

_Kirchweih_, 273

Kitchens, 34, 107, 132-134, 146

_Kneipe_, 54-56, 64, 128

_Kommers_, 56


Ladies' clubs, 75-77

_Landes_ tax, 109

Lange, Frl. Helene, 22-27

Laundry work, 136

_Leipziger Messe_, 175

_Lette-Verein_, 71-75

Linen, 135-137

Lodgings, 237 ff.

Loeper-Housselle, Marie, 23

Luggage on railways, 261

Lyceum Club, 76

Lyceum, Victoria, 21


Marketing, 133-228

Markets, 173-176, 306

Marriage--
  Arranged, 68, 80-82
  Ceremony, 94 ff.
  Proposal, 84
  Revolt against, 66, 83

Münchhausen, Frau K., 167

Music, 31, 206, 303, 316


Newspapers, 307-312

Novels, 315

Nurseries, 9-11


Oberhof, 257

Opera, 209

Outdoor life, 222


Peasants' costume, 268
  Dances, 272-274
  Weddings, 269-272

Pensions, old age, 30, 150

Pestalozzi Fröbel Haus, 12

Philanthropy, 293-296

Police regulations, 108, 151, 169, 245-249

_Polterabend_, 92

Professors' salaries, 48

Prussia--
  Cost of schools, 17
  Free schools, 31
  Taxes, 109


Railway travelling, 260-263

Religious teaching, 19

Religious belief, 211-216

Rents, 103

Restaurants, 233-235

Reuter, Gabrielle, 82

Riehl on women, 57 ff.

Ruegen, 257


_Salamander_, 56

Saxony, 108

Scenery, 250 ff.

Schadchan, 80

Schlegel, Caroline, 95

Schmidt, Auguste, 23

Schools--
  Cost of, 17
  Elementary, 29-31
  Forest, 32-35
  Kinds of, 16, 20, 22
  Lessons, 18
  Medical inspection, 31, 34
  Music in, 31
  Religious teaching in, 19

Servants--
  Bedrooms, 151
  Costumes, 10, 138, 183
  Dances, 148
  Gratuities, 145, 149
  Meals, 147
  Pensions, 150
  Wages, 140, 145

Shadwell, Dr., 287

Shakespeare, 314

Shops--
  Cellar, 170
  In Berlin, 167-170
  In Black Forest, 171

Silesian village, 282-285

Skittles, 222

Sofa, 126

Sports, winter, 220

State tax, 109

_Steckkissen_, 7

_Stifte_, 27, 69-71, 76

Stoves, 106-108

Students, 47 ff.

_Stütze der Hausfrau_, 73, 151

Summer resorts, 250 ff.

Sundays, 205 ff.

"Sweating," 289-291

Swimming-baths, 219


_Tafel-Lieder_, 97-99

Taine, M., 117, 149

Taxes, 108

Teachers' seminaries, 21

Theatres, 208-210, 312-314

Thuringia, 229, 276

Tidiness, 37, 128-130, 135, 306

Titles, 126

Toys, 11

_Trousseaux_, 89, 123, 140


Universities, 47 ff.


_Verein_, 221

Victoria Lyceum, 21

Viebig, Klara, 141, 170, 316

Village fires, 274-276

Visits, 196-200

_Volksküche_, 291


Walking tours, organised, 253

Weddings, 92 ff., 268-272

_Weibliche Angestellte_, 292

Wertheim, 167-170

_Wickelkinder_, 8

Windows, 105

Winter sports, 220

Women--
  Dress, 154, 195
  Legal position, 101
  Modern, 66, 82-84
  Riehl on, 57 ff.
  Single, 60-62, 75, 81
  Treatment of, 60, 63, 65, 117-122
  Working, 287 ff.

       *       *       *       *       *

    +-----------------------------------------------------------+
    | Typographical errors corrected in text:                   |
    |                                                           |
    | Page  23: Allegemeine replaced with Allgemeine            |
    | Page  71: '400,000 odd women' replaced with               |
    |           '400,000-odd women'                             |
    | Page  94: bridgroom replaced with bridegroom              |
    | Page 127: 'It it not easy' replaced with                  |
    |           'It is not easy'                                |
    | Page 141: knowledgable replaced with knowledgeable        |
    | Page 164: Rothe Grütze replaced with Rote Grütze          |
    | Page 184: extremly replaced with extremely                |
    | Page 191: 'fairly comfortably income' replaced with       |
    |           'fairly comfortable income'                     |
    | Page 223: Braühaus replaced with Bräuhaus                 |
    | Page 253: preceptions replaced with perceptions           |
    | Page 277: amazment replaced with amazement                |
    | Page 301: 'it is an autocracy or are public' replaced     |
    |           with 'it is an autocracy or a republic'         |
    | Page 318: anti-Semit replaced with anti-Semite            |
    | Page 327: Burgerliches replaced with Bürgerliches         |
    | Page 330: Braunkolen replaced with Braunkohlen            |
    | Page 330: gahacktes replaced with gehacktes               |
    | Page 331: Delicatessenhandlung replaced with              |
    | Page 334: Dyrenfurth replaced with Dyhrenfurth            |
    | Page 336: 'Stüze der Hausfrau' replaced with              |
    |           'Stütze der Hausfrau'                           |
    | Page 336: Rügen replaced with Ruegen                      |
    | Page 336: Vereine replaced with Verein                    |
    | Page 336: Weibliche Angestelle replaced with              |
    |           Weibliche Angestellte                           |
    |                                                           |
    +-----------------------------------------------------------+





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