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Title: A Tramp Abroad — Volume 07
Author: Twain, Mark, 1835-1910
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Tramp Abroad — Volume 07" ***


By Mark Twain

(Samuel L. Clemens)

First published in 1880

Illustrations taken from an 1880 First Edition

 * * * * * *


     2.    TITIAN'S MOSES
     289.  ONLY A MISTAKE
     290.  A BROAD VIEW
     296.  KEEPING WARM
     297.  TAIL PIECE
     298.  TAKE IT EASY
     300.  TAKING TOLL
     301.  HIGH PRESSURE
     305.  NO APOLOGY
     307.  A LIVELY STREET
     309.  HOW SHE FOOLED US
     313.  STOCK IN TRADE
     314.  STYLE
     316.  AN OLD MASTER
     317.  THE LION OF ST MARK
     318.  OH TO BE AT RRST!
     320.  TAIL PIECE
     327.  TAIL PIECE 600
     328.  A COMPLETE WORD


CHAPTER XLIII Chamonix--Contrasts--Magnificent Spectacle--The Guild
of Guides--The Guide--in--Chief--The Returned Tourist--Getting
Diploma--Rigid Rules--Unsuccessful Efforts to Procure a Diploma--The
Record-Book--The Conqueror of Mont Blanc--Professional Jealousy
--Triumph of Truth--Mountain Music--Its Effect--A Hunt for a Nuisance

CHAPTER XLIV Looking at Mont Blanc--Telescopic Effect--A Proposed
Trip--Determination and Courage--The Cost all counted----Ascent of
Mont Blanc by Telescope--Safe and Rapid Return--Diplomas Asked for and
Refused--Disaster of 1866--The Brave Brothers--Wonderful Endurance and
Pluck--Love Making on Mont Blanc--First Ascent of a Woman--Sensible

CHAPTER XLV A Catastrophe which Cost Eleven Lives--Accident of 1870--A
Party of Eleven--A Fearful Storm--Note-books of the Victims--Within Five
Minutes of Safety--Facing Death Resignedly

CHAPTER XLVI The Hotel des Pyramids--The Glacier des Bossons--One of
the Shows--Premeditated Crime--Saved Again--Tourists Warned--Advice
to Tourists--The Two Empresses--The Glacier Toll Collector--Pure
Ice Water--Death Rate of the World--Of Various Cities--A Pleasure
Excursionist--A Diligence Ride--A Satisfied Englishman

CHAPTER XLVII Geneva--Shops of Geneva--Elasticity of Prices--Persistency
of Shop-Women--The High Pressure System--How a Dandy was brought to
Grief--American Manners--Gallantry--Col Baker of London--Arkansaw
Justice--Safety of Women in America--Town of Chambery--A Lively
Place--At Turin--A Railroad Companion--An Insulted Woman--City of
Turin--Italian Honesty--A Small Mistake --Robbing a Beggar Woman

CHAPTER XLVIII In Milan--The Arcade--Incidents we Met With--The
Pedlar--Children--The Honest Conductor--Heavy Stocks of Clothing--The
Quarrelsome Italians--Great Smoke and Little Fire--The Cathedral--Style
in Church--The Old Masters--Tintoretto's great Picture--Emotional
Tourists--Basson's Famed Picture--The Hair Trunk

CHAPTER XLIX In Venice--St Mark's Cathedral--Discovery of an
Antique--The Riches of St Mark's--A Church Robber--Trusting Secrets to a
Friend --The Robber Hanged--A Private Dinner--European Food

CHAPTER L Why Some things Are--Art in Rome and Florence--The Fig Leaf
Mania--Titian's Venus--Difference between Seeing and Describing A Real
work of Art--Titian's Moses--Home


    A--The Portier analyzed
    B--Hiedelberg Castle Described
    C--The College Prison and Inmates
    D--The Awful German Language
    E--Legends of the Castle
    F--The Journals of Germany


[My Poor Sick Friend Disappointed]

Everybody was out-of-doors; everybody was in the principal street of the
village--not on the sidewalks, but all over the street; everybody was
lounging, loafing, chatting, waiting, alert, expectant, interested--for
it was train-time. That is to say, it was diligence-time--the half-dozen
big diligences would soon be arriving from Geneva, and the village was
interested, in many ways, in knowing how many people were coming and
what sort of folk they might be. It was altogether the livest-looking
street we had seen in any village on the continent.

The hotel was by the side of a booming torrent, whose music was loud
and strong; we could not see this torrent, for it was dark, now, but
one could locate it without a light. There was a large enclosed yard in
front of the hotel, and this was filled with groups of villagers waiting
to see the diligences arrive, or to hire themselves to excursionists for
the morrow. A telescope stood in the yard, with its huge barrel canted
up toward the lustrous evening star. The long porch of the hotel was
populous with tourists, who sat in shawls and wraps under the vast
overshadowing bulk of Mont Blanc, and gossiped or meditated.

Never did a mountain seem so close; its big sides seemed at one's very
elbow, and its majestic dome, and the lofty cluster of slender minarets
that were its neighbors, seemed to be almost over one's head. It was
night in the streets, and the lamps were sparkling everywhere; the broad
bases and shoulders of the mountains were in a deep gloom, but their
summits swam in a strange rich glow which was really daylight, and yet
had a mellow something about it which was very different from the hard
white glare of the kind of daylight I was used to. Its radiance was
strong and clear, but at the same time it was singularly soft, and
spiritual, and benignant. No, it was not our harsh, aggressive,
realistic daylight; it seemed properer to an enchanted land--or to

I had seen moonlight and daylight together before, but I had not seen
daylight and black night elbow to elbow before. At least I had not seen
the daylight resting upon an object sufficiently close at hand, before,
to make the contrast startling and at war with nature.

The daylight passed away. Presently the moon rose up behind some of
those sky-piercing fingers or pinnacles of bare rock of which I have
spoken--they were a little to the left of the crest of Mont Blanc,
and right over our heads--but she couldn't manage to climb high enough
toward heaven to get entirely above them. She would show the glittering
arch of her upper third, occasionally, and scrape it along behind the
comblike row; sometimes a pinnacle stood straight up, like a statuette
of ebony, against that glittering white shield, then seemed to glide out
of it by its own volition and power, and become a dim specter, while the
next pinnacle glided into its place and blotted the spotless disk with
the black exclamation-point of its presence. The top of one pinnacle
took the shapely, clean-cut form of a rabbit's head, in the inkiest
silhouette, while it rested against the moon. The unillumined peaks and
minarets, hovering vague and phantom-like above us while the others
were painfully white and strong with snow and moonlight, made a peculiar

But when the moon, having passed the line of pinnacles, was hidden
behind the stupendous white swell of Mont Blanc, the masterpiece of the
evening was flung on the canvas. A rich greenish radiance sprang into
the sky from behind the mountain, and in this some airy shreds and
ribbons of vapor floated about, and being flushed with that strange
tint, went waving to and fro like pale green flames. After a while,
radiating bars--vast broadening fan-shaped shadows--grew up and
stretched away to the zenith from behind the mountain. It was a
spectacle to take one's breath, for the wonder of it, and the sublimity.

Indeed, those mighty bars of alternate light and shadow streaming up
from behind that dark and prodigious form and occupying the half of the
dull and opaque heavens, was the most imposing and impressive marvel I
had ever looked upon. There is no simile for it, for nothing is like
it. If a child had asked me what it was, I should have said, "Humble
yourself, in this presence, it is the glory flowing from the hidden head
of the Creator." One falls shorter of the truth than that, sometimes, in
trying to explain mysteries to the little people. I could have found
out the cause of this awe-compelling miracle by inquiring, for it is not
infrequent at Mont Blanc,--but I did not wish to know. We have not the
reverent feeling for the rainbow that a savage has, because we know how
it is made. We have lost as much as we gained by prying into the matter.

We took a walk down street, a block or two, and a place where four
streets met and the principal shops were clustered, found the groups
of men in the roadway thicker than ever--for this was the Exchange of
Chamonix. These men were in the costumes of guides and porters, and were
there to be hired.

The office of that great personage, the Guide-in-Chief of the Chamonix
Guild of Guides, was near by. This guild is a close corporation, and is
governed by strict laws. There are many excursion routes, some dangerous
and some not, some that can be made safely without a guide, and some
that cannot. The bureau determines these things. Where it decides that a
guide is necessary, you are forbidden to go without one. Neither are you
allowed to be a victim of extortion: the law states what you are to pay.
The guides serve in rotation; you cannot select the man who is to take
your life into his hands, you must take the worst in the lot, if it is
his turn. A guide's fee ranges all the way up from a half-dollar (for
some trifling excursion of a few rods) to twenty dollars, according to
the distance traversed and the nature of the ground. A guide's fee
for taking a person to the summit of Mont Blanc and back, is twenty
dollars--and he earns it. The time employed is usually three days, and
there is enough early rising in it to make a man far more "healthy and
wealthy and wise" than any one man has any right to be. The porter's
fee for the same trip is ten dollars. Several fools--no, I mean several
tourists--usually go together, and divide up the expense, and thus make
it light; for if only one f--tourist, I mean--went, he would have to
have several guides and porters, and that would make the matter costly.

We went into the Chief's office. There were maps of mountains on the
walls; also one or two lithographs of celebrated guides, and a portrait
of the scientist De Saussure.

In glass cases were some labeled fragments of boots and batons, and
other suggestive relics and remembrances of casualties on Mount Blanc.
In a book was a record of all the ascents which have ever been made,
beginning with Nos. 1 and 2--being those of Jacques Balmat and De
Saussure, in 1787, and ending with No. 685, which wasn't cold yet. In
fact No. 685 was standing by the official table waiting to receive the
precious official diploma which should prove to his German household and
to his descendants that he had once been indiscreet enough to climb to
the top of Mont Blanc. He looked very happy when he got his document; in
fact, he spoke up and said he WAS happy.

I tried to buy a diploma for an invalid friend at home who had never
traveled, and whose desire all his life has been to ascend Mont Blanc,
but the Guide-in-Chief rather insolently refused to sell me one. I was
very much offended. I said I did not propose to be discriminated against
on the account of my nationality; that he had just sold a diploma to
this German gentleman, and my money was a good as his; I would see to
it that he couldn't keep his shop for Germans and deny his produce to
Americans; I would have his license taken away from him at the dropping
of a handkerchief; if France refused to break him, I would make an
international matter of it and bring on a war; the soil should be
drenched with blood; and not only that, but I would set up an opposition
show and sell diplomas at half price.

For two cents I would have done these things, too; but nobody offered me
two cents. I tried to move that German's feelings, but it could not be
done; he would not give me his diploma, neither would he sell it to me.
I TOLD him my friend was sick and could not come himself, but he said
he did not care a VERDAMMTES PFENNIG, he wanted his diploma for
himself--did I suppose he was going to risk his neck for that thing and
then give it to a sick stranger? Indeed he wouldn't, so he wouldn't. I
resolved, then, that I would do all I could to injure Mont Blanc.

In the record-book was a list of all the fatal accidents which happened
on the mountain. It began with the one in 1820 when the Russian Dr.
Hamel's three guides were lost in a crevice of the glacier, and it
recorded the delivery of the remains in the valley by the slow-moving
glacier forty-one years later. The latest catastrophe bore the date

We stepped out and roved about the village awhile. In front of the
little church was a monument to the memory of the bold guide Jacques
Balmat, the first man who ever stood upon the summit of Mont Blanc. He
made that wild trip solitary and alone. He accomplished the ascent
a number of times afterward. A stretch of nearly half a century lay
between his first ascent and his last one. At the ripe old age of
seventy-two he was climbing around a corner of a lofty precipice of the
Pic du Midi--nobody with him--when he slipped and fell. So he died in
the harness.

He had grown very avaricious in his old age, and used to go off
stealthily to hunt for non-existent and impossible gold among those
perilous peaks and precipices. He was on a quest of that kind when he
lost his life. There was a statue to him, and another to De Saussure, in
the hall of our hotel, and a metal plate on the door of a room upstairs
bore an inscription to the effect that that room had been occupied
by Albert Smith. Balmat and De Saussure discovered Mont Blanc--so to
speak--but it was Smith who made it a paying property. His articles in
BLACKWOOD and his lectures on Mont Blanc in London advertised it and
made people as anxious to see it as if it owed them money.

As we strolled along the road we looked up and saw a red signal-light
glowing in the darkness of the mountainside. It seemed but a trifling
way up--perhaps a hundred yards, a climb of ten minutes. It was a lucky
piece of sagacity in us that we concluded to stop a man whom we met and
get a light for our pipes from him instead of continuing the climb to
that lantern to get a light, as had been our purpose. The man said that
that lantern was on the Grands Mulets, some sixty-five hundred feet
above the valley! I know by our Riffelberg experience, that it would
have taken us a good part of a week to go up there. I would sooner not
smoke at all, than take all that trouble for a light.

Even in the daytime the foreshadowing effect of this mountain's close
proximity creates curious deceptions. For instance, one sees with the
naked eye a cabin up there beside the glacier, and a little above and
beyond he sees the spot where that red light was located; he thinks he
could throw a stone from the one place to the other. But he couldn't,
for the difference between the two altitudes is more than three thousand
feet. It looks impossible, from below, that this can be true, but it is
true, nevertheless.

While strolling around, we kept the run of the moon all the time, and we
still kept an eye on her after we got back to the hotel portico. I had
a theory that the gravitation of refraction, being subsidiary to
atmospheric compensation, the refrangibility of the earth's surface
would emphasize this effect in regions where great mountain ranges
occur, and possibly so even-handed impact the odic and idyllic forces
together, the one upon the other, as to prevent the moon from rising
higher than 12,200 feet above sea-level. This daring theory had been
received with frantic scorn by some of my fellow-scientists, and with
an eager silence by others. Among the former I may mention Prof. H----y;
and among the latter Prof. T----l. Such is professional jealousy; a
scientist will never show any kindness for a theory which he did not
start himself. There is no feeling of brotherhood among these people.
Indeed, they always resent it when I call them brother. To show how far
their ungenerosity can carry them, I will state that I offered to let
Prof. H----y publish my great theory as his own discovery; I even begged
him to do it; I even proposed to print it myself as his theory. Instead
of thanking me, he said that if I tried to fasten that theory on him he
would sue me for slander. I was going to offer it to Mr. Darwin, whom
I understood to be a man without prejudices, but it occurred to me
that perhaps he would not be interested in it since it did not concern

But I am glad now, that I was forced to father my intrepid theory
myself, for, on the night of which I am writing, it was triumphantly
justified and established. Mont Blanc is nearly sixteen thousand feet
high; he hid the moon utterly; near him is a peak which is 12,216 feet
high; the moon slid along behind the pinnacles, and when she approached
that one I watched her with intense interest, for my reputation as a
scientist must stand or fall by its decision. I cannot describe the
emotions which surged like tidal waves through my breast when I saw the
moon glide behind that lofty needle and pass it by without exposing more
than two feet four inches of her upper rim above it; I was secure, then.
I knew she could rise no higher, and I was right. She sailed behind all
the peaks and never succeeded in hoisting her disk above a single one of

While the moon was behind one of those sharp fingers, its shadow was
flung athwart the vacant heavens--a long, slanting, clean-cut, dark
ray--with a streaming and energetic suggestion of FORCE about it, such
as the ascending jet of water from a powerful fire-engine affords. It
was curious to see a good strong shadow of an earthly object cast upon
so intangible a field as the atmosphere.

We went to bed, at last, and went quickly to sleep, but I woke up,
after about three hours, with throbbing temples, and a head which was
physically sore, outside and in. I was dazed, dreamy, wretched, seedy,
unrefreshed. I recognized the occasion of all this: it was that torrent.
In the mountain villages of Switzerland, and along the roads, one has
always the roar of the torrent in his ears. He imagines it is music, and
he thinks poetic things about it; he lies in his comfortable bed and is
lulled to sleep by it. But by and by he begins to notice that his
head is very sore--he cannot account for it; in solitudes where the
profoundest silence reigns, he notices a sullen, distant, continuous
roar in his ears, which is like what he would experience if he had
sea-shells pressed against them--he cannot account for it; he is drowsy
and absent-minded; there is no tenacity to his mind, he cannot keep hold
of a thought and follow it out; if he sits down to write, his vocabulary
is empty, no suitable words will come, he forgets what he started to do,
and remains there, pen in hand, head tilted up, eyes closed, listening
painfully to the muffled roar of a distant train in his ears; in his
soundest sleep the strain continues, he goes on listening, always
listening intently, anxiously, and wakes at last, harassed, irritable,
unrefreshed. He cannot manage to account for these things.

Day after day he feels as if he had spent his nights in a sleeping-car.
It actually takes him weeks to find out that it is those persecuting
torrents that have been making all the mischief. It is time for him
to get out of Switzerland, then, for as soon as he has discovered the
cause, the misery is magnified several fold. The roar of the torrent is
maddening, then, for his imagination is assisting; the physical pain
it inflicts is exquisite. When he finds he is approaching one of those
streams, his dread is so lively that he is disposed to fly the track and
avoid the implacable foe.

Eight or nine months after the distress of the torrents had departed
from me, the roar and thunder of the streets of Paris brought it all
back again. I moved to the sixth story of the hotel to hunt for peace.
About midnight the noises dulled away, and I was sinking to sleep,
when I heard a new and curious sound; I listened: evidently some joyous
lunatic was softly dancing a "double shuffle" in the room over my head.
I had to wait for him to get through, of course. Five long, long minutes
he smoothly shuffled away--a pause followed, then something fell with
a thump on the floor. I said to myself "There--he is pulling off his
boots--thank heavens he is done." Another slight pause--he went to
shuffling again! I said to myself, "Is he trying to see what he can do
with only one boot on?" Presently came another pause and another thump
on the floor. I said "Good, he has pulled off his other boot--NOW he is
done." But he wasn't. The next moment he was shuffling again. I said,
"Confound him, he is at it in his slippers!" After a little came that
same old pause, and right after it that thump on the floor once more. I
said, "Hang him, he had on TWO pair of boots!" For an hour that magician
went on shuffling and pulling off boots till he had shed as many as
twenty-five pair, and I was hovering on the verge of lunacy. I got
my gun and stole up there. The fellow was in the midst of an acre of
sprawling boots, and he had a boot in his hand, shuffling it--no, I mean
POLISHING it. The mystery was explained. He hadn't been dancing. He was
the "Boots" of the hotel, and was attending to business.


[I Scale Mont Blanc--by Telescope]

After breakfast, that next morning in Chamonix, we went out in the yard
and watched the gangs of excursioning tourists arriving and departing
with their mules and guides and porters; then we took a look through
the telescope at the snowy hump of Mont Blanc. It was brilliant with
sunshine, and the vast smooth bulge seemed hardly five hundred yards
away. With the naked eye we could dimly make out the house at the Pierre
Pointue, which is located by the side of the great glacier, and is more
than three thousand feet above the level of the valley; but with the
telescope we could see all its details. While I looked, a woman rode by
the house on a mule, and I saw her with sharp distinctness; I could have
described her dress. I saw her nod to the people of the house, and rein
up her mule, and put her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun. I was
not used to telescopes; in fact, I had never looked through a good one
before; it seemed incredible to me that this woman could be so far away.
I was satisfied that I could see all these details with my naked
eye; but when I tried it, that mule and those vivid people had wholly
vanished, and the house itself was become small and vague. I tried
the telescope again, and again everything was vivid. The strong black
shadows of the mule and the woman were flung against the side of the
house, and I saw the mule's silhouette wave its ears.

The telescopulist--or the telescopulariat--I do not know which is
right--said a party were making a grand ascent, and would come in sight
on the remote upper heights, presently; so we waited to observe this
performance. Presently I had a superb idea. I wanted to stand with a
party on the summit of Mont Blanc, merely to be able to say I had done
it, and I believed the telescope could set me within seven feet of the
uppermost man. The telescoper assured me that it could. I then asked him
how much I owed him for as far as I had got? He said, one franc. I asked
him how much it would cost to make the entire ascent? Three francs. I at
once determined to make the entire ascent. But first I inquired if there
was any danger? He said no--not by telescope; said he had taken a great
many parties to the summit, and never lost a man. I asked what he would
charge to let my agent go with me, together with such guides and porters
as might be necessary. He said he would let Harris go for two francs;
and that unless we were unusually timid, he should consider guides and
porters unnecessary; it was not customary to take them, when going by
telescope, for they were rather an encumbrance than a help. He said that
the party now on the mountain were approaching the most difficult part,
and if we hurried we should overtake them within ten minutes, and could
then join them and have the benefit of their guides and porters without
their knowledge, and without expense to us.

I then said we would start immediately. I believe I said it calmly,
though I was conscious of a shudder and of a paling cheek, in view of
the nature of the exploit I was so unreflectingly engaged in. But the
old daredevil spirit was upon me, and I said that as I had committed
myself I would not back down; I would ascend Mont Blanc if it cost me
my life. I told the man to slant his machine in the proper direction and
let us be off.

Harris was afraid and did not want to go, but I heartened him up and
said I would hold his hand all the way; so he gave his consent, though
he trembled a little at first. I took a last pathetic look upon the
pleasant summer scene about me, then boldly put my eye to the glass and
prepared to mount among the grim glaciers and the everlasting snows.

We took our way carefully and cautiously across the great Glacier des
Bossons, over yawning and terrific crevices and among imposing crags
and buttresses of ice which were fringed with icicles of gigantic
proportions. The desert of ice that stretched far and wide about us was
wild and desolate beyond description, and the perils which beset us were
so great that at times I was minded to turn back. But I pulled my pluck
together and pushed on.

We passed the glacier safely and began to mount the steeps beyond, with
great alacrity. When we were seven minutes out from the starting-point,
we reached an altitude where the scene took a new aspect; an apparently
limitless continent of gleaming snow was tilted heavenward before our
faces. As my eye followed that awful acclivity far away up into the
remote skies, it seemed to me that all I had ever seen before of
sublimity and magnitude was small and insignificant compared to this.

We rested a moment, and then began to mount with speed. Within three
minutes we caught sight of the party ahead of us, and stopped to observe
them. They were toiling up a long, slanting ridge of snow--twelve
persons, roped together some fifteen feet apart, marching in single
file, and strongly marked against the clear blue sky. One was a woman.
We could see them lift their feet and put them down; we saw them swing
their alpenstocks forward in unison, like so many pendulums, and then
bear their weight upon them; we saw the lady wave her handkerchief. They
dragged themselves upward in a worn and weary way, for they had been
climbing steadily from the Grand Mulets, on the Glacier des Bossons,
since three in the morning, and it was eleven, now. We saw them sink
down in the snow and rest, and drink something from a bottle. After a
while they moved on, and as they approached the final short dash of the
home-stretch we closed up on them and joined them.

Presently we all stood together on the summit! What a view was spread
out below! Away off under the northwestern horizon rolled the silent
billows of the Farnese Oberland, their snowy crests glinting softly in
the subdued lights of distance; in the north rose the giant form of the
Wobblehorn, draped from peak to shoulder in sable thunder-clouds; beyond
him, to the right, stretched the grand processional summits of the
Cisalpine Cordillera, drowned in a sensuous haze; to the east loomed the
colossal masses of the Yodelhorn, the Fuddelhorn, and the Dinnerhorn,
their cloudless summits flashing white and cold in the sun; beyond
them shimmered the faint far line of the Ghauts of Jubbelpore and the
Aiguilles des Alleghenies; in the south towered the smoking peak
of Popocatapetl and the unapproachable altitudes of the peerless
Scrabblehorn; in the west-south the stately range of the Himalayas lay
dreaming in a purple gloom; and thence all around the curving horizon
the eye roved over a troubled sea of sun-kissed Alps, and noted,
here and there, the noble proportions and the soaring domes of the
Bottlehorn, and the Saddlehorn, and the Shovelhorn, and the Powderhorn,
all bathed in the glory of noon and mottled with softly gliding blots,
the shadows flung from drifting clouds.

Overcome by the scene, we all raised a triumphant, tremendous shout, in
unison. A startled man at my elbow said:

"Confound you, what do you yell like that for, right here in the

That brought me down to Chamonix, like a flirt. I gave that man some
spiritual advice and disposed of him, and then paid the telescope man
his full fee, and said that we were charmed with the trip and would
remain down, and not reascend and require him to fetch us down by
telescope. This pleased him very much, for of course we could have
stepped back to the summit and put him to the trouble of bringing us
home if we wanted to.

I judged we could get diplomas, now, anyhow; so we went after them, but
the Chief Guide put us off, with one pretext or another, during all the
time we stayed in Chamonix, and we ended by never getting them at all.
So much for his prejudice against people's nationality. However, we
worried him enough to make him remember us and our ascent for some
time. He even said, once, that he wished there was a lunatic asylum
in Chamonix. This shows that he really had fears that we were going to
drive him mad. It was what we intended to do, but lack of time defeated

I cannot venture to advise the reader one way or the other, as to
ascending Mont Blanc. I say only this: if he is at all timid, the
enjoyments of the trip will hardly make up for the hardships and
sufferings he will have to endure. But, if he has good nerve, youth,
health, and a bold, firm will, and could leave his family comfortably
provided for in case the worst happened, he would find the ascent a
wonderful experience, and the view from the top a vision to dream about,
and tell about, and recall with exultation all the days of his life.

While I do not advise such a person to attempt the ascent, I do not
advise him against it. But if he elects to attempt it, let him be warily
careful of two things: chose a calm, clear day; and do not pay the
telescope man in advance. There are dark stories of his getting advance
payers on the summit and then leaving them there to rot.

A frightful tragedy was once witnessed through the Chamonix telescopes.
Think of questions and answers like these, on an inquest:

CORONER. You saw deceased lose his life?


C. Where was he, at the time?

W. Close to the summit of Mont Blanc.

C. Where were you?

W. In the main street of Chamonix.

C. What was the distance between you?

W. A LITTLE OVER FIVE MILES, as the bird flies.

This accident occurred in 1866, a year and a month after the disaster
on the Matterhorn. Three adventurous English gentlemen, [1] of great
experience in mountain-climbing, made up their minds to ascend Mont
Blanc without guides or porters. All endeavors to dissuade them from
their project failed. Powerful telescopes are numerous in Chamonix.
These huge brass tubes, mounted on their scaffoldings and pointed
skyward from every choice vantage-ground, have the formidable look of
artillery, and give the town the general aspect of getting ready
to repel a charge of angels. The reader may easily believe that the
telescopes had plenty of custom on that August morning in 1866, for
everybody knew of the dangerous undertaking which was on foot, and
all had fears that misfortune would result. All the morning the tubes
remained directed toward the mountain heights, each with its anxious
group around it; but the white deserts were vacant.

1. Sir George Young and his brothers James and Albert.

At last, toward eleven o'clock, the people who were looking through the
telescopes cried out "There they are!"--and sure enough, far up, on
the loftiest terraces of the Grand Plateau, the three pygmies appeared,
climbing with remarkable vigor and spirit. They disappeared in the
"Corridor," and were lost to sight during an hour. Then they reappeared,
and were presently seen standing together upon the extreme summit
of Mont Blanc. So, all was well. They remained a few minutes on that
highest point of land in Europe, a target for all the telescopes, and
were then seen to begin descent. Suddenly all three vanished. An instant
after, they appeared again, TWO THOUSAND FEET BELOW!

Evidently, they had tripped and been shot down an almost perpendicular
slope of ice to a point where it joined the border of the upper glacier.
Naturally, the distant witness supposed they were now looking upon three
corpses; so they could hardly believe their eyes when they presently saw
two of the men rise to their feet and bend over the third. During
two hours and a half they watched the two busying themselves over the
extended form of their brother, who seemed entirely inert. Chamonix's
affairs stood still; everybody was in the street, all interest was
centered upon what was going on upon that lofty and isolated stage
five miles away. Finally the two--one of them walking with great
difficulty--were seen to begin descent, abandoning the third, who was no
doubt lifeless. Their movements were followed, step by step, until they
reached the "Corridor" and disappeared behind its ridge. Before they had
had time to traverse the "Corridor" and reappear, twilight was come, and
the power of the telescope was at an end.

The survivors had a most perilous journey before them in the gathering
darkness, for they must get down to the Grands Mulets before they would
find a safe stopping-place--a long and tedious descent, and perilous
enough even in good daylight. The oldest guides expressed the opinion
that they could not succeed; that all the chances were that they would
lose their lives.

Yet those brave men did succeed. They reached the Grands Mulets in
safety. Even the fearful shock which their nerves had sustained was not
sufficient to overcome their coolness and courage. It would appear from
the official account that they were threading their way down through
those dangers from the closing in of twilight until two o'clock in the
morning, or later, because the rescuing party from Chamonix reached
the Grand Mulets about three in the morning and moved thence toward the
scene of the disaster under the leadership of Sir George Young, "who had
only just arrived."

After having been on his feet twenty-four hours, in the exhausting work
of mountain-climbing, Sir George began the reascent at the head of the
relief party of six guides, to recover the corpse of his brother. This
was considered a new imprudence, as the number was too few for the
service required. Another relief party presently arrived at the cabin
on the Grands Mulets and quartered themselves there to await events. Ten
hours after Sir George's departure toward the summit, this new relief
were still scanning the snowy altitudes above them from their own high
perch among the ice deserts ten thousand feet above the level of the
sea, but the whole forenoon had passed without a glimpse of any living
thing appearing up there.

This was alarming. Half a dozen of their number set out, then early in
the afternoon, to seek and succor Sir George and his guides. The persons
remaining at the cabin saw these disappear, and then ensued another
distressing wait. Four hours passed, without tidings. Then at five
o'clock another relief, consisting of three guides, set forward from
the cabin. They carried food and cordials for the refreshment of their
predecessors; they took lanterns with them, too; night was coming on,
and to make matters worse, a fine, cold rain had begun to fall.

At the same hour that these three began their dangerous ascent, the
official Guide-in-Chief of the Mont Blanc region undertook the dangerous
descent to Chamonix, all alone, to get reinforcements. However, a couple
of hours later, at 7 P.M., the anxious solicitude came to an end, and
happily. A bugle note was heard, and a cluster of black specks was
distinguishable against the snows of the upper heights. The watchers
counted these specks eagerly--fourteen--nobody was missing. An hour and
a half later they were all safe under the roof of the cabin. They had
brought the corpse with them. Sir George Young tarried there but a few
minutes, and then began the long and troublesome descent from the cabin
to Chamonix. He probably reached there about two or three o'clock in the
morning, after having been afoot among the rocks and glaciers during two
days and two nights. His endurance was equal to his daring.

The cause of the unaccountable delay of Sir George and the relief
parties among the heights where the disaster had happened was a thick
fog--or, partly that and partly the slow and difficult work of conveying
the dead body down the perilous steeps.

The corpse, upon being viewed at the inquest, showed no bruises, and it
was some time before the surgeons discovered that the neck was broken.
One of the surviving brothers had sustained some unimportant injuries,
but the other had suffered no hurt at all. How these men could fall two
thousand feet, almost perpendicularly, and live afterward, is a most
strange and unaccountable thing.

A great many women have made the ascent of Mont Blanc. An English girl,
Miss Stratton, conceived the daring idea, two or three years ago, of
attempting the ascent in the middle of winter. She tried it--and she
succeeded. Moreover, she froze two of her fingers on the way up, she
fell in love with her guide on the summit, and she married him when she
got to the bottom again. There is nothing in romance, in the way of a
striking "situation," which can beat this love scene in midheaven on
an isolated ice-crest with the thermometer at zero and an Artic gale

The first woman who ascended Mont Blanc was a girl aged
twenty-two--Mlle. Maria Paradis--1809. Nobody was with her but her
sweetheart, and he was not a guide. The sex then took a rest for about
thirty years, when a Mlle. d'Angeville made the ascent --1838. In
Chamonix I picked up a rude old lithograph of that day which pictured
her "in the act."

However, I value it less as a work of art than as a fashion-plate. Miss
d'Angeville put on a pair of men's pantaloons to climb it, which was
wise; but she cramped their utility by adding her petticoat, which was

One of the mournfulest calamities which men's disposition to climb
dangerous mountains has resulted in, happened on Mont Blanc in September
1870. M. D'Arve tells the story briefly in his HISTOIRE DU MONT BLANC.
In the next chapter I will copy its chief features.


A Catastrophe Which Cost Eleven Lives

On the 5th of September, 1870, a caravan of eleven persons departed
from Chamonix to make the ascent of Mont Blanc. Three of the party
were tourists; Messrs. Randall and Bean, Americans, and Mr. George
Corkindale, a Scotch gentleman; there were three guides and five
porters. The cabin on the Grands Mulets was reached that day; the ascent
was resumed early the next morning, September 6th. The day was fine
and clear, and the movements of the party were observed through the
telescopes of Chamonix; at two o'clock in the afternoon they were seen
to reach the summit. A few minutes later they were seen making the first
steps of the descent; then a cloud closed around them and hid them from

Eight hours passed, the cloud still remained, night came, no one had
returned to the Grands Mulets. Sylvain Couttet, keeper of the cabin
there, suspected a misfortune, and sent down to the valley for help. A
detachment of guides went up, but by the time they had made the tedious
trip and reached the cabin, a raging storm had set in. They had to wait;
nothing could be attempted in such a tempest.

The wild storm lasted MORE THAN A WEEK, without ceasing; but on the
17th, Couttet, with several guides, left the cabin and succeeded in
making the ascent. In the snowy wastes near the summit they came upon
five bodies, lying upon their sides in a reposeful attitude which
suggested that possibly they had fallen asleep there, while exhausted
with fatigue and hunger and benumbed with cold, and never knew when
death stole upon them. Couttet moved a few steps further and discovered
five more bodies. The eleventh corpse--that of a porter--was not found,
although diligent search was made for it.

In the pocket of Mr. Bean, one of the Americans, was found a note-book
in which had been penciled some sentences which admit us, in flesh and
spirit, as it were, to the presence of these men during their last hours
of life, and to the grisly horrors which their fading vision looked upon
and their failing consciousness took cognizance of:
 TUESDAY, SEPT. 6. I have made the ascent of Mont Blanc, with ten
persons--eight guides, and Mr. Corkindale and Mr. Randall. We reached
the summit at half past 2. Immediately after quitting it, we were
enveloped in clouds of snow. We passed the night in a grotto hollowed in
the snow, which afforded us but poor shelter, and I was ill all night.

SEPT. 7--MORNING. The cold is excessive. The snow falls heavily and
without interruption. The guides take no rest.

EVENING. My Dear Hessie, we have been two days on Mont Blanc, in the
midst of a terrible hurricane of snow, we have lost our way, and are
in a hole scooped in the snow, at an altitude of 15,000 feet. I have no
longer any hope of descending.

They had wandered around, and around, in the blinding snow-storm,
hopelessly lost, in a space only a hundred yards square; and when cold
and fatigue vanquished them at last, they scooped their cave and lay
down there to die by inches, UNAWARE THAT FIVE STEPS MORE WOULD HAVE
BROUGHT THEM INTO THE TRUTH PATH. They were so near to life and safety
as that, and did not suspect it. The thought of this gives the sharpest
pang that the tragic story conveys.

The author of the HISTOIRE DU MONT BLANC introduced the closing
sentences of Mr. Bean's pathetic record thus:

"Here the characters are large and unsteady; the hand which traces them
is become chilled and torpid; but the spirit survives, and the faith and
resignation of the dying man are expressed with a sublime simplicity."

Perhaps this note-book will be found and sent to you. We have nothing to
eat, my feet are already frozen, and I am exhausted; I have strength to
write only a few words more. I have left means for C's education; I know
you will employ them wisely. I die with faith in God, and with loving
thoughts of you. Farewell to all. We shall meet again, in Heaven. ... I
think of you always.

It is the way of the Alps to deliver death to their victims with a
merciful swiftness, but here the rule failed. These men suffered
the bitterest death that has been recorded in the history of those
mountains, freighted as that history is with grisly tragedies.


[Meeting a Hog on a Precipice]

Mr. Harris and I took some guides and porters and ascended to the Hotel
des Pyramides, which is perched on the high moraine which borders the
Glacier des Bossons. The road led sharply uphill, all the way, through
grass and flowers and woods, and was a pleasant walk, barring the
fatigue of the climb.

From the hotel we could view the huge glacier at very close range. After
a rest we followed down a path which had been made in the steep inner
frontage of the moraine, and stepped upon the glacier itself. One of the
shows of the place was a tunnel-like cavern, which had been hewn in the
glacier. The proprietor of this tunnel took candles and conducted us
into it. It was three or four feet wide and about six feet high. Its
walls of pure and solid ice emitted a soft and rich blue light that
produced a lovely effect, and suggested enchanted caves, and that sort
of thing. When we had proceeded some yards and were entering darkness,
we turned about and had a dainty sunlit picture of distant woods and
heights framed in the strong arch of the tunnel and seen through the
tender blue radiance of the tunnel's atmosphere.

The cavern was nearly a hundred yards long, and when we reached its
inner limit the proprietor stepped into a branch tunnel with his candles
and left us buried in the bowels of the glacier, and in pitch-darkness.
We judged his purpose was murder and robbery; so we got out our matches
and prepared to sell our lives as dearly as possible by setting the
glacier on fire if the worst came to the worst--but we soon perceived
that this man had changed his mind; he began to sing, in a deep,
melodious voice, and woke some curious and pleasing echoes. By and by he
came back and pretended that that was what he had gone behind there for.
We believed as much of that as we wanted to.

Thus our lives had been once more in imminent peril, but by the exercise
of the swift sagacity and cool courage which had saved us so often, we
had added another escape to the long list. The tourist should visit that
ice-cavern, by all means, for it is well worth the trouble; but I would
advise him to go only with a strong and well-armed force. I do not
consider artillery necessary, yet it would not be unadvisable to take
it along, if convenient. The journey, going and coming, is about three
miles and a half, three of which are on level ground. We made it in
less than a day, but I would counsel the unpracticed--if not pressed
for time--to allow themselves two. Nothing is gained in the Alps by
over-exertion; nothing is gained by crowding two days' work into one for
the poor sake of being able to boast of the exploit afterward. It will
be found much better, in the long run, to do the thing in two days, and
then subtract one of them from the narrative. This saves fatigue, and
does not injure the narrative. All the more thoughtful among the Alpine
tourists do this.

We now called upon the Guide-in-Chief, and asked for a squadron of
guides and porters for the ascent of the Montanvert. This idiot glared
at us, and said:

"You don't need guides and porters to go to the Montanvert."

"What do we need, then?"

"Such as YOU?--an ambulance!"

I was so stung by this brutal remark that I took my custom elsewhere.

Betimes, next morning, we had reached an altitude of five thousand feet
above the level of the sea. Here we camped and breakfasted. There was
a cabin there--the spot is called the Caillet--and a spring of ice-cold
water. On the door of the cabin was a sign, in French, to the effect
that "One may here see a living chamois for fifty centimes." We did not
invest; what we wanted was to see a dead one.

A little after noon we ended the ascent and arrived at the new hotel on
the Montanvert, and had a view of six miles, right up the great glacier,
the famous Mer de Glace. At this point it is like a sea whose deep
swales and long, rolling swells have been caught in mid-movement and
frozen solid; but further up it is broken up into wildly tossing billows
of ice.

We descended a ticklish path in the steep side of the moraine, and
invaded the glacier. There were tourists of both sexes scattered far and
wide over it, everywhere, and it had the festive look of a skating-rink.

The Empress Josephine came this far, once. She ascended the Montanvert
in 1810--but not alone; a small army of men preceded her to clear the
path--and carpet it, perhaps--and she followed, under the protection of

Her successor visited Chamonix later, but in far different style.

It was seven weeks after the first fall of the Empire, and poor Marie
Louise, ex-Empress was a fugitive. She came at night, and in a storm,
with only two attendants, and stood before a peasant's hut, tired,
bedraggled, soaked with rain, "the red print of her lost crown still
girdling her brow," and implored admittance--and was refused! A few days
before, the adulations and applauses of a nation were sounding in her
ears, and now she was come to this!

We crossed the Mer de Glace in safety, but we had misgivings. The
crevices in the ice yawned deep and blue and mysterious, and it made one
nervous to traverse them. The huge round waves of ice were slippery and
difficult to climb, and the chances of tripping and sliding down them
and darting into a crevice were too many to be comfortable.

In the bottom of a deep swale between two of the biggest of the
ice-waves, we found a fraud who pretended to be cutting steps to insure
the safety of tourists. He was "soldiering" when we came upon him, but
he hopped up and chipped out a couple of steps about big enough for a
cat, and charged us a franc or two for it. Then he sat down again, to
doze till the next party should come along.

He had collected blackmail from two or three hundred people already,
that day, but had not chipped out ice enough to impair the glacier
perceptibly. I have heard of a good many soft sinecures, but it seems
to me that keeping toll-bridge on a glacier is the softest one I have
encountered yet.

That was a blazing hot day, and it brought a persistent and persecuting
thirst with it. What an unspeakable luxury it was to slake that thirst
with the pure and limpid ice-water of the glacier! Down the sides of
every great rib of pure ice poured limpid rills in gutters carved by
their own attrition; better still, wherever a rock had lain, there was
now a bowl-shaped hole, with smooth white sides and bottom of ice, and
this bowl was brimming with water of such absolute clearness that the
careless observer would not see it at all, but would think the bowl was
empty. These fountains had such an alluring look that I often stretched
myself out when I was not thirsty and dipped my face in and drank till
my teeth ached. Everywhere among the Swiss mountains we had at hand the
blessing--not to be found in Europe EXCEPT in the mountains--of water
capable of quenching thirst. Everywhere in the Swiss highlands brilliant
little rills of exquisitely cold water went dancing along by the
roadsides, and my comrade and I were always drinking and always
delivering our deep gratitude.

But in Europe everywhere except in the mountains, the water is flat and
insipid beyond the power of words to describe. It is served lukewarm;
but no matter, ice could not help it; it is incurably flat, incurably
insipid. It is only good to wash with; I wonder it doesn't occur to
the average inhabitant to try it for that. In Europe the people say
contemptuously, "Nobody drinks water here." Indeed, they have a sound
and sufficient reason. In many places they even have what may be called
prohibitory reasons. In Paris and Munich, for instance, they say, "Don't
drink the water, it is simply poison."

Either America is healthier than Europe, notwithstanding her "deadly"
indulgence in ice-water, or she does not keep the run of her death-rate
as sharply as Europe does. I think we do keep up the death statistics
accurately; and if we do, our cities are healthier than the cities of
Europe. Every month the German government tabulates the death-rate of
the world and publishes it. I scrap-booked these reports during several
months, and it was curious to see how regular and persistently each city
repeated its same death-rate month after month. The tables might as well
have been stereotyped, they varied so little. These tables were
based upon weekly reports showing the average of deaths in each 1,000
population for a year. Munich was always present with her 33 deaths in
each 1,000 of her population (yearly average), Chicago was as constant
with her 15 or 17, Dublin with her 48--and so on.

Only a few American cities appear in these tables, but they are
scattered so widely over the country that they furnish a good general
average of CITY health in the United States; and I think it will be
granted that our towns and villages are healthier than our cities.

Here is the average of the only American cities reported in the German

Chicago, deaths in 1,000 population annually, 16; Philadelphia, 18; St.
Louis, 18; San Francisco, 19; New York (the Dublin of America), 23.

See how the figures jump up, as soon as one arrives at the transatlantic

Paris, 27; Glasgow, 27; London, 28; Vienna, 28; Augsburg, 28;
Braunschweig, 28; Königsberg, 29; Cologne, 29; Dresden, 29; Hamburg, 29;
Berlin, 30; Bombay, 30; Warsaw, 31; Breslau, 31; Odessa, 32; Munich, 33;
Strasburg, 33, Pesth, 35; Cassel, 35; Lisbon, 36; Liverpool, 36;
Prague, 37; Madras, 37; Bucharest, 39; St. Petersburg, 40; Trieste, 40;
Alexandria (Egypt), 43; Dublin, 48; Calcutta, 55.

Edinburgh is as healthy as New York--23; but there is no CITY in the
entire list which is healthier, except Frankfort-on-the-Main--20. But
Frankfort is not as healthy as Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, or

Perhaps a strict average of the world might develop the fact that where
one in 1,000 of America's population dies, two in 1,000 of the other
populations of the earth succumb.

I do not like to make insinuations, but I do think the above statistics
darkly suggest that these people over here drink this detestable water
"on the sly."

We climbed the moraine on the opposite side of the glacier, and then
crept along its sharp ridge a hundred yards or so, in pretty constant
danger of a tumble to the glacier below. The fall would have been only
one hundred feet, but it would have closed me out as effectually as one
thousand, therefore I respected the distance accordingly, and was
glad when the trip was done. A moraine is an ugly thing to assault
head-first. At a distance it looks like an endless grave of fine sand,
accurately shaped and nicely smoothed; but close by, it is found to be
made mainly of rough boulders of all sizes, from that of a man's head to
that of a cottage.

By and by we came to the Mauvais Pas, or the Villainous Road, to
translate it feelingly. It was a breakneck path around the face of a
precipice forty or fifty feet high, and nothing to hang on to but some
iron railings. I got along, slowly, safely, and uncomfortably, and
finally reached the middle. My hopes began to rise a little, but they
were quickly blighted; for there I met a hog--a long-nosed, bristly
fellow, that held up his snout and worked his nostrils at me
inquiringly. A hog on a pleasure excursion in Switzerland--think of it!
It is striking and unusual; a body might write a poem about it. He
could not retreat, if he had been disposed to do it. It would have been
foolish to stand upon our dignity in a place where there was hardly room
to stand upon our feet, so we did nothing of the sort. There were twenty
or thirty ladies and gentlemen behind us; we all turned about and went
back, and the hog followed behind. The creature did not seem set up by
what he had done; he had probably done it before.

We reached the restaurant on the height called the Chapeau at four in
the afternoon. It was a memento-factory, and the stock was large, cheap,
and varied. I bought the usual paper-cutter to remember the place by,
and had Mont Blanc, the Mauvais Pas, and the rest of the region branded
on my alpenstock; then we descended to the valley and walked home
without being tied together. This was not dangerous, for the valley was
five miles wide, and quite level.

We reached the hotel before nine o'clock. Next morning we left for
Geneva on top of the diligence, under shelter of a gay awning. If I
remember rightly, there were more than twenty people up there. It was
so high that the ascent was made by ladder. The huge vehicle was full
everywhere, inside and out. Five other diligences left at the same time,
all full. We had engaged our seats two days beforehand, to make sure,
and paid the regulation price, five dollars each; but the rest of the
company were wiser; they had trusted Baedeker, and waited; consequently
some of them got their seats for one or two dollars. Baedeker knows
all about hotels, railway and diligence companies, and speaks his mind
freely. He is a trustworthy friend of the traveler.

We never saw Mont Blanc at his best until we were many miles away; then
he lifted his majestic proportions high into the heavens, all white
and cold and solemn, and made the rest of the world seem little and
plebeian, and cheap and trivial.

As he passed out of sight at last, an old Englishman settled himself in
his seat and said:

"Well, I am satisfied, I have seen the principal features of Swiss
scenery--Mont Blanc and the goiter--now for home!"


[Queer European Manners]

We spent a few pleasant restful days at Geneva, that delightful city
where accurate time-pieces are made for all the rest of the world, but
whose own clocks never give the correct time of day by any accident.

Geneva is filled with pretty shops, and the shops are filled with the
most enticing gimcrackery, but if one enters one of these places he is
at once pounced upon, and followed up, and so persecuted to buy this,
that, and the other thing, that he is very grateful to get out again,
and is not at all apt to repeat his experiment. The shopkeepers of the
smaller sort, in Geneva, are as troublesome and persistent as are
the salesmen of that monster hive in Paris, the Grands Magasins du
Louvre--an establishment where ill-mannered pestering, pursuing, and
insistence have been reduced to a science.

In Geneva, prices in the smaller shops are very elastic--that is another
bad feature. I was looking in at a window at a very pretty string of
beads, suitable for a child. I was only admiring them; I had no use for
them; I hardly ever wear beads. The shopwoman came out and offered them
to me for thirty-five francs. I said it was cheap, but I did not need

"Ah, but monsieur, they are so beautiful!"

I confessed it, but said they were not suitable for one of my age and
simplicity of character. She darted in and brought them out and tried to
force them into my hands, saying:

"Ah, but only see how lovely they are! Surely monsieur will take them;
monsieur shall have them for thirty francs. There, I have said it--it is
a loss, but one must live."

I dropped my hands, and tried to move her to respect my unprotected
situation. But no, she dangled the beads in the sun before my face,
exclaiming, "Ah, monsieur CANNOT resist them!" She hung them on my coat
button, folded her hand resignedly, and said: "Gone,--and for thirty
francs, the lovely things--it is incredible!--but the good God will
sanctify the sacrifice to me."

I removed them gently, returned them, and walked away, shaking my head
and smiling a smile of silly embarrassment while the passers-by halted
to observe. The woman leaned out of her door, shook the beads, and
screamed after me:

"Monsieur shall have them for twenty-eight!"

I shook my head.

"Twenty-seven! It is a cruel loss, it is ruin--but take them, only take

I still retreated, still wagging my head.

"MON DIEU, they shall even go for twenty-six! There, I have said it.

I wagged another negative. A nurse and a little English girl had been
near me, and were following me, now. The shopwoman ran to the nurse,
thrust the beads into her hands, and said:

"Monsieur shall have them for twenty-five! Take them to the hotel--he
shall send me the money tomorrow--next day--when he likes." Then to the
child: "When thy father sends me the money, come thou also, my angel,
and thou shall have something oh so pretty!"

I was thus providentially saved. The nurse refused the beads squarely
and firmly, and that ended the matter.

The "sights" of Geneva are not numerous. I made one attempt to hunt up
the houses once inhabited by those two disagreeable people, Rousseau and
Calvin, but I had no success. Then I concluded to go home. I found
it was easier to propose to do that than to do it; for that town is a
bewildering place. I got lost in a tangle of narrow and crooked streets,
and stayed lost for an hour or two. Finally I found a street which
looked somewhat familiar, and said to myself, "Now I am at home, I
judge." But I was wrong; this was "HELL street." Presently I found
another place which had a familiar look, and said to myself, "Now I am
at home, sure." It was another error. This was "PURGATORY street." After
a little I said, "NOW I've got the right place, anyway ... no, this is
'PARADISE street'; I'm further from home than I was in the beginning."
Those were queer names--Calvin was the author of them, likely.
"Hell" and "Purgatory" fitted those two streets like a glove, but the
"Paradise" appeared to be sarcastic.

I came out on the lake-front, at last, and then I knew where I was.
I was walking along before the glittering jewelry shops when I saw a
curious performance. A lady passed by, and a trim dandy lounged across
the walk in such an apparently carefully timed way as to bring himself
exactly in front of her when she got to him; he made no offer to step
out of the way; he did not apologize; he did not even notice her. She
had to stop still and let him lounge by. I wondered if he had done that
piece of brutality purposely. He strolled to a chair and seated himself
at a small table; two or three other males were sitting at similar
tables sipping sweetened water. I waited; presently a youth came by, and
this fellow got up and served him the same trick. Still, it did not seem
possible that any one could do such a thing deliberately. To satisfy my
curiosity I went around the block, and, sure enough, as I approached, at
a good round speed, he got up and lounged lazily across my path, fouling
my course exactly at the right moment to receive all my weight. This
proved that his previous performances had not been accidental, but

I saw that dandy's curious game played afterward, in Paris, but not
for amusement; not with a motive of any sort, indeed, but simply from a
selfish indifference to other people's comfort and rights. One does not
see it as frequently in Paris as he might expect to, for there the law
says, in effect, "It is the business of the weak to get out of the way
of the strong." We fine a cabman if he runs over a citizen; Paris fines
the citizen for being run over. At least so everybody says--but I saw
something which caused me to doubt; I saw a horseman run over an old
woman one day--the police arrested him and took him away. That looked as
if they meant to punish him.

It will not do for me to find merit in American manners--for are they
not the standing butt for the jests of critical and polished Europe?
Still, I must venture to claim one little matter of superiority in our
manners; a lady may traverse our streets all day, going and coming as
she chooses, and she will never be molested by any man; but if a lady,
unattended, walks abroad in the streets of London, even at noonday, she
will be pretty likely to be accosted and insulted--and not by drunken
sailors, but by men who carry the look and wear the dress of gentlemen.
It is maintained that these people are not gentlemen, but are a lower
sort, disguised as gentlemen. The case of Colonel Valentine Baker
obstructs that argument, for a man cannot become an officer in the
British army except he hold the rank of gentleman. This person, finding
himself alone in a railway compartment with an unprotected girl--but
it is an atrocious story, and doubtless the reader remembers it well
enough. London must have been more or less accustomed to Bakers, and the
ways of Bakers, else London would have been offended and excited. Baker
was "imprisoned"--in a parlor; and he could not have been more visited,
or more overwhelmed with attentions, if he had committed six murders and
then--while the gallows was preparing--"got religion"--after the manner
of the holy Charles Peace, of saintly memory. Arkansaw--it seems a
little indelicate to be trumpeting forth our own superiorities, and
comparisons are always odious, but still--Arkansaw would certainly have
hanged Baker. I do not say she would have tried him first, but she would
have hanged him, anyway.

Even the most degraded woman can walk our streets unmolested, her sex
and her weakness being her sufficient protection. She will encounter
less polish than she would in the old world, but she will run across
enough humanity to make up for it.

The music of a donkey awoke us early in the morning, and we rose up and
made ready for a pretty formidable walk--to Italy; but the road was so
level that we took the train.. We lost a good deal of time by this, but
it was no matter, we were not in a hurry. We were four hours going to
Chamb`ery. The Swiss trains go upward of three miles an hour, in places,
but they are quite safe.

That aged French town of Chambèry was as quaint and crooked as
Heilbronn. A drowsy reposeful quiet reigned in the back streets which
made strolling through them very pleasant, barring the almost unbearable
heat of the sun. In one of these streets, which was eight feet wide,
gracefully curved, and built up with small antiquated houses, I saw
three fat hogs lying asleep, and a boy (also asleep) taking care of

From queer old-fashioned windows along the curve projected boxes of
bright flowers, and over the edge of one of these boxes hung the head
and shoulders of a cat--asleep. The five sleeping creatures were the
only living things visible in that street. There was not a sound;
absolute stillness prevailed. It was Sunday; one is not used to
such dreamy Sundays on the continent. In our part of the town it was
different that night. A regiment of brown and battered soldiers had
arrived home from Algiers, and I judged they got thirsty on the way.
They sang and drank till dawn, in the pleasant open air.

We left for Turin at ten the next morning by a railway which was
profusely decorated with tunnels. We forgot to take a lantern along,
consequently we missed all the scenery. Our compartment was full. A
ponderous tow-headed Swiss woman, who put on many fine-lady airs, but
was evidently more used to washing linen than wearing it, sat in a
corner seat and put her legs across into the opposite one, propping them
intermediately with her up-ended valise. In the seat thus pirated, sat
two Americans, greatly incommoded by that woman's majestic coffin-clad
feet. One of them begged, politely, to remove them. She opened her wide
eyes and gave him a stare, but answered nothing. By and by he proferred
his request again, with great respectfulness. She said, in good English,
and in a deeply offended tone, that she had paid her passage and was not
going to be bullied out of her "rights" by ill-bred foreigners, even if
she was alone and unprotected.

"But I have rights, also, madam. My ticket entitles me to a seat, but
you are occupying half of it."

"I will not talk with you, sir. What right have you to speak to me? I
do not know you. One would know you came from a land where there are no
gentlemen. No GENTLEMAN would treat a lady as you have treated me."

"I come from a region where a lady would hardly give me the same

"You have insulted me, sir! You have intimated that I am not a lady--and
I hope I am NOT one, after the pattern of your country."

"I beg that you will give yourself no alarm on that head, madam; but at
the same time I must insist--always respectfully--that you let me have
my seat."

Here the fragile laundress burst into tears and sobs.

"I never was so insulted before! Never, never! It is shameful, it is
brutal, it is base, to bully and abuse an unprotected lady who has
lost the use of her limbs and cannot put her feet to the floor without

"Good heavens, madam, why didn't you say that at first! I offer a
thousand pardons. And I offer them most sincerely. I did not know--I
COULD not know--anything was the matter. You are most welcome to the
seat, and would have been from the first if I had only known. I am truly
sorry it all happened, I do assure you."

But he couldn't get a word of forgiveness out of her. She simply sobbed
and sniffed in a subdued but wholly unappeasable way for two long hours,
meantime crowding the man more than ever with her undertaker-furniture
and paying no sort of attention to his frequent and humble little
efforts to do something for her comfort. Then the train halted at the
Italian line and she hopped up and marched out of the car with as firm a
leg as any washerwoman of all her tribe! And how sick I was, to see how
she had fooled me.

Turin is a very fine city. In the matter of roominess it transcends
anything that was ever dreamed of before, I fancy. It sits in the midst
of a vast dead-level, and one is obliged to imagine that land may be
had for the asking, and no taxes to pay, so lavishly do they use it. The
streets are extravagantly wide, the paved squares are prodigious, the
houses are huge and handsome, and compacted into uniform blocks that
stretch away as straight as an arrow, into the distance. The sidewalks
are about as wide as ordinary European STREETS, and are covered over
with a double arcade supported on great stone piers or columns. One
walks from one end to the other of these spacious streets, under shelter
all the time, and all his course is lined with the prettiest of shops
and the most inviting dining-houses.

There is a wide and lengthy court, glittering with the most wickedly
enticing shops, which is roofed with glass, high aloft overhead, and
paved with soft-toned marbles laid in graceful figures; and at night
when the place is brilliant with gas and populous with a sauntering and
chatting and laughing multitude of pleasure-seekers, it is a spectacle
worth seeing.

Everything is on a large scale; the public buildings, for instance--and
they are architecturally imposing, too, as well as large. The big
squares have big bronze monuments in them. At the hotel they gave us
rooms that were alarming, for size, and parlor to match. It was well the
weather required no fire in the parlor, for I think one might as well
have tried to warm a park. The place would have a warm look, though, in
any weather, for the window-curtains were of red silk damask, and the
walls were covered with the same fire-hued goods--so, also, were the
four sofas and the brigade of chairs. The furniture, the ornaments, the
chandeliers, the carpets, were all new and bright and costly. We did not
need a parlor at all, but they said it belonged to the two bedrooms and
we might use it if we chose. Since it was to cost nothing, we were not
averse to using it, of course.

Turin must surely read a good deal, for it has more book-stores to the
square rod than any other town I know of. And it has its own share of
military folk. The Italian officers' uniforms are very much the most
beautiful I have ever seen; and, as a general thing, the men in them
were as handsome as the clothes. They were not large men, but they had
fine forms, fine features, rich olive complexions, and lustrous black

For several weeks I had been culling all the information I could about
Italy, from tourists. The tourists were all agreed upon one thing--one
must expect to be cheated at every turn by the Italians. I took an
evening walk in Turin, and presently came across a little Punch and Judy
show in one of the great squares. Twelve or fifteen people constituted
the audience. This miniature theater was not much bigger than a man's
coffin stood on end; the upper part was open and displayed a
tinseled parlor--a good-sized handkerchief would have answered for a
drop-curtain; the footlights consisted of a couple of candle-ends an
inch long; various manikins the size of dolls appeared on the stage and
made long speeches at each other, gesticulating a good deal, and they
generally had a fight before they got through. They were worked by
strings from above, and the illusion was not perfect, for one saw not
only the strings but the brawny hand that manipulated them--and the
actors and actresses all talked in the same voice, too. The audience
stood in front of the theater, and seemed to enjoy the performance

When the play was done, a youth in his shirt-sleeves started around with
a small copper saucer to make a collection. I did not know how much to
put in, but thought I would be guided by my predecessors. Unluckily, I
only had two of these, and they did not help me much because they did
not put in anything. I had no Italian money, so I put in a small Swiss
coin worth about ten cents. The youth finished his collection trip and
emptied the result on the stage; he had some very animated talk with
the concealed manager, then he came working his way through the little
crowd--seeking me, I thought. I had a mind to slip away, but concluded
I wouldn't; I would stand my ground, and confront the villainy, whatever
it was. The youth stood before me and held up that Swiss coin, sure
enough, and said something. I did not understand him, but I judged he
was requiring Italian money of me. The crowd gathered close, to listen.
I was irritated, and said--in English, of course:

"I know it's Swiss, but you'll take that or none. I haven't any other."

He tried to put the coin in my hand, and spoke again. I drew my hand
away, and said:

"NO, sir. I know all about you people. You can't play any of your
fraudful tricks on me. If there is a discount on that coin, I am sorry,
but I am not going to make it good. I noticed that some of the audience
didn't pay you anything at all. You let them go, without a word, but you
come after me because you think I'm a stranger and will put up with
an extortion rather than have a scene. But you are mistaken this
time--you'll take that Swiss money or none."

The youth stood there with the coin in his fingers, nonplused and
bewildered; of course he had not understood a word. An English-speaking
Italian spoke up, now, and said:

"You are misunderstanding the boy. He does not mean any harm. He did
not suppose you gave him so much money purposely, so he hurried back to
return you the coin lest you might get away before you discovered your
mistake. Take it, and give him a penny--that will make everything smooth

I probably blushed, then, for there was occasion. Through the
interpreter I begged the boy's pardon, but I nobly refused to take back
the ten cents. I said I was accustomed to squandering large sums in that
way--it was the kind of person I was. Then I retired to make a note to
the effect that in Italy persons connected with the drama do not cheat.

The episode with the showman reminds me of a dark chapter in my history.
I once robbed an aged and blind beggar-woman of four dollars--in a
church. It happened this way. When I was out with the Innocents Abroad,
the ship stopped in the Russian port of Odessa and I went ashore, with
others, to view the town. I got separated from the rest, and wandered
about alone, until late in the afternoon, when I entered a Greek church
to see what it was like. When I was ready to leave, I observed two
wrinkled old women standing stiffly upright against the inner wall, near
the door, with their brown palms open to receive alms. I contributed to
the nearer one, and passed out. I had gone fifty yards, perhaps, when it
occurred to me that I must remain ashore all night, as I had heard that
the ship's business would carry her away at four o'clock and keep her
away until morning. It was a little after four now. I had come ashore
with only two pieces of money, both about the same size, but differing
largely in value--one was a French gold piece worth four dollars, the
other a Turkish coin worth two cents and a half. With a sudden and
horrified misgiving, I put my hand in my pocket, now, and sure enough, I
fetched out that Turkish penny!

Here was a situation. A hotel would require pay in advance --I must walk
the street all night, and perhaps be arrested as a suspicious character.
There was but one way out of the difficulty--I flew back to the church,
and softly entered. There stood the old woman yet, and in the palm of
the nearest one still lay my gold piece. I was grateful. I crept
close, feeling unspeakably mean; I got my Turkish penny ready, and was
extending a trembling hand to make the nefarious exchange, when I heard
a cough behind me. I jumped back as if I had been accused, and stood
quaking while a worshiper entered and passed up the aisle.

I was there a year trying to steal that money; that is, it seemed a
year, though, of course, it must have been much less. The worshipers
went and came; there were hardly ever three in the church at once, but
there was always one or more. Every time I tried to commit my crime
somebody came in or somebody started out, and I was prevented; but at
last my opportunity came; for one moment there was nobody in the church
but the two beggar-women and me. I whipped the gold piece out of the
poor old pauper's palm and dropped my Turkish penny in its place. Poor
old thing, she murmured her thanks--they smote me to the heart. Then I
sped away in a guilty hurry, and even when I was a mile from the church
I was still glancing back, every moment, to see if I was being pursued.

That experience has been of priceless value and benefit to me; for I
resolved then, that as long as I lived I would never again rob a blind
beggar-woman in a church; and I have always kept my word. The most
permanent lessons in morals are those which come, not of booky teaching,
but of experience.


[Beauty of Women--and of Old Masters]

In Milan we spent most of our time in the vast and beautiful Arcade or
Gallery, or whatever it is called. Blocks of tall new buildings of the
most sumptuous sort, rich with decoration and graced with statues, the
streets between these blocks roofed over with glass at a great height,
the pavements all of smooth and variegated marble, arranged in tasteful
patterns--little tables all over these marble streets, people sitting
at them, eating, drinking, or smoking--crowds of other people strolling
by--such is the Arcade. I should like to live in it all the time. The
windows of the sumptuous restaurants stand open, and one breakfasts
there and enjoys the passing show.

We wandered all over the town, enjoying whatever was going on in the
streets. We took one omnibus ride, and as I did not speak Italian and
could not ask the price, I held out some copper coins to the conductor,
and he took two. Then he went and got his tariff card and showed me
that he had taken only the right sum. So I made a note--Italian omnibus
conductors do not cheat.

Near the Cathedral I saw another instance of probity. An old man was
peddling dolls and toy fans. Two small American children bought fans,
and one gave the old man a franc and three copper coins, and both
started away; but they were called back, and the franc and one of the
coppers were restored to them. Hence it is plain that in Italy, parties
connected with the drama and the omnibus and the toy interests do not

The stocks of goods in the shops were not extensive, generally. In the
vestibule of what seemed to be a clothing store, we saw eight or ten
wooden dummies grouped together, clothed in woolen business suits and
each marked with its price. One suit was marked forty-five francs--nine
dollars. Harris stepped in and said he wanted a suit like that. Nothing
easier: the old merchant dragged in the dummy, brushed him off with a
broom, stripped him, and shipped the clothes to the hotel. He said he
did not keep two suits of the same kind in stock, but manufactured a
second when it was needed to reclothe the dummy.

In another quarter we found six Italians engaged in a violent quarrel.
They danced fiercely about, gesticulating with their heads, their arms,
their legs, their whole bodies; they would rush forward occasionally
with a sudden access of passion and shake their fists in each other's
very faces. We lost half an hour there, waiting to help cord up the
dead, but they finally embraced each other affectionately, and the
trouble was over. The episode was interesting, but we could not have
afforded all the time to it if we had known nothing was going to come of
it but a reconciliation. Note made--in Italy, people who quarrel cheat
the spectator.

We had another disappointment afterward. We approached a deeply
interested crowd, and in the midst of it found a fellow wildly
chattering and gesticulating over a box on the ground which was covered
with a piece of old blanket. Every little while he would bend down
and take hold of the edge of the blanket with the extreme tips of his
fingertips, as if to show there was no deception--chattering away all
the while--but always, just as I was expecting to see a wonder feat of
legerdemain, he would let go the blanket and rise to explain further.
However, at last he uncovered the box and got out a spoon with a liquid
in it, and held it fair and frankly around, for people to see that it
was all right and he was taking no advantage--his chatter became more
excited than ever. I supposed he was going to set fire to the liquid
and swallow it, so I was greatly wrought up and interested. I got a cent
ready in one hand and a florin in the other, intending to give him the
former if he survived and the latter if he killed himself--for his loss
would be my gain in a literary way, and I was willing to pay a fair
price for the item --but this impostor ended his intensely moving
performance by simply adding some powder to the liquid and polishing
the spoon! Then he held it aloft, and he could not have shown a wilder
exultation if he had achieved an immortal miracle. The crowd applauded
in a gratified way, and it seemed to me that history speaks the truth
when it says these children of the south are easily entertained.

We spent an impressive hour in the noble cathedral, where long shafts
of tinted light were cleaving through the solemn dimness from the lofty
windows and falling on a pillar here, a picture there, and a kneeling
worshiper yonder. The organ was muttering, censers were swinging,
candles were glinting on the distant altar and robed priests were filing
silently past them; the scene was one to sweep all frivolous thoughts
away and steep the soul in a holy calm. A trim young American lady
paused a yard or two from me, fixed her eyes on the mellow sparks
flecking the far-off altar, bent her head reverently a moment, then
straightened up, kicked her train into the air with her heel, caught it
deftly in her hand, and marched briskly out.

We visited the picture-galleries and the other regulation "sights" of
Milan--not because I wanted to write about them again, but to see if
I had learned anything in twelve years. I afterward visited the great
galleries of Rome and Florence for the same purpose. I found I had
learned one thing. When I wrote about the Old Masters before, I said
the copies were better than the originals. That was a mistake of large
dimensions. The Old Masters were still unpleasing to me, but they were
truly divine contrasted with the copies. The copy is to the original as
the pallid, smart, inane new wax-work group is to the vigorous, earnest,
dignified group of living men and women whom it professes to duplicate.
There is a mellow richness, a subdued color, in the old pictures, which
is to the eye what muffled and mellowed sound is to the ear. That is the
merit which is most loudly praised in the old picture, and is the one
which the copy most conspicuously lacks, and which the copyist must not
hope to compass. It was generally conceded by the artists with whom I
talked, that that subdued splendor, that mellow richness, is imparted
to the picture by AGE. Then why should we worship the Old Master for it,
who didn't impart it, instead of worshiping Old Time, who did? Perhaps
the picture was a clanging bell, until Time muffled it and sweetened it.

In conversation with an artist in Venice, I asked: "What is it that
people see in the Old Masters? I have been in the Doge's palace and I
saw several acres of very bad drawing, very bad perspective, and very
incorrect proportions. Paul Veronese's dogs to not resemble dogs; all
the horses look like bladders on legs; one man had a RIGHT leg on
the left side of his body; in the large picture where the Emperor
(Barbarossa?) is prostrate before the Pope, there are three men in the
foreground who are over thirty feet high, if one may judge by the size
of a kneeling little boy in the center of the foreground; and according
to the same scale, the Pope is seven feet high and the Doge is a
shriveled dwarf of four feet."

The artist said:

"Yes, the Old Masters often drew badly; they did not care much for truth
and exactness in minor details; but after all, in spite of bad drawing,
bad perspective, bad proportions, and a choice of subjects which no
longer appeal to people as strongly as they did three hundred years ago,
there is a SOMETHING about their pictures which is divine--a something
which is above and beyond the art of any epoch since--a something which
would be the despair of artists but that they never hope or expect to
attain it, and therefore do not worry about it."

That is what he said--and he said what he believed; and not only
believed, but felt.

Reasoning--especially reasoning, without technical knowledge--must be
put aside, in cases of this kind. It cannot assist the inquirer. It
will lead him, in the most logical progression, to what, in the eyes of
artists, would be a most illogical conclusion. Thus: bad drawing, bad
proportion, bad perspective, indifference to truthful detail, color
which gets its merit from time, and not from the artist--these things
constitute the Old Master; conclusion, the Old Master was a bad painter,
the Old Master was not an Old Master at all, but an Old Apprentice. Your
friend the artist will grant your premises, but deny your conclusion;
he will maintain that notwithstanding this formidable list of confessed
defects, there is still a something that is divine and unapproachable
about the Old Master, and that there is no arguing the fact away by any
system of reasoning whatsoever.

I can believe that. There are women who have an indefinable charm in
their faces which makes them beautiful to their intimates, but a cold
stranger who tried to reason the matter out and find this beauty would
fail. He would say of one of these women: This chin is too short, this
nose is too long, this forehead is too high, this hair is too red, this
complexion is too pallid, the perspective of the entire composition
is incorrect; conclusion, the woman is not beautiful. But her nearest
friend might say, and say truly, "Your premises are right, your logic
is faultless, but your conclusion is wrong, nevertheless; she is an Old
Master--she is beautiful, but only to such as know her; it is a beauty
which cannot be formulated, but it is there, just the same."

I found more pleasure in contemplating the Old Masters this time than
I did when I was in Europe in former years, but still it was a calm
pleasure; there was nothing overheated about it. When I was in Venice
before, I think I found no picture which stirred me much, but this time
there were two which enticed me to the Doge's palace day after day, and
kept me there hours at a time. One of these was Tintoretto's three-acre
picture in the Great Council Chamber. When I saw it twelve years ago
I was not strongly attracted to it--the guide told me it was an
insurrection in heaven--but this was an error.

The movement of this great work is very fine. There are ten thousand
figures, and they are all doing something. There is a wonderful "go"
to the whole composition. Some of the figures are driving headlong
downward, with clasped hands, others are swimming through the
cloud-shoals--some on their faces, some on their backs--great
processions of bishops, martyrs, and angels are pouring swiftly
centerward from various outlying directions--everywhere is enthusiastic
joy, there is rushing movement everywhere. There are fifteen or twenty
figures scattered here and there, with books, but they cannot keep their
attention on their reading--they offer the books to others, but no one
wishes to read, now. The Lion of St. Mark is there with his book; St.
Mark is there with his pen uplifted; he and the Lion are looking
each other earnestly in the face, disputing about the way to spell a
word--the Lion looks up in rapt admiration while St. Mark spells. This
is wonderfully interpreted by the artist. It is the master-stroke of
this imcomparable painting.

I visited the place daily, and never grew tired of looking at that
grand picture. As I have intimated, the movement is almost unimaginably
vigorous; the figures are singing, hosannahing, and many are blowing
trumpets. So vividly is noise suggested, that spectators who become
absorbed in the picture almost always fall to shouting comments in each
other's ears, making ear-trumpets of their curved hands, fearing they
may not otherwise be heard. One often sees a tourist, with the eloquent
tears pouring down his cheeks, funnel his hands at his wife's ear, and
hears him roar through them, "OH, TO BE THERE AND AT REST!"

None but the supremely great in art can produce effects like these with
the silent brush.

Twelve years ago I could not have appreciated this picture. One year ago
I could not have appreciated it. My study of Art in Heidelberg has been
a noble education to me. All that I am today in Art, I owe to that.

The other great work which fascinated me was Bassano's immortal Hair
Trunk. This is in the Chamber of the Council of Ten. It is in one of
the three forty-foot pictures which decorate the walls of the room.
The composition of this picture is beyond praise. The Hair Trunk is not
hurled at the stranger's head--so to speak--as the chief feature of an
immortal work so often is; no, it is carefully guarded from prominence,
it is subordinated, it is restrained, it is most deftly and cleverly
held in reserve, it is most cautiously and ingeniously led up to, by the
master, and consequently when the spectator reaches it at last, he
is taken unawares, he is unprepared, and it bursts upon him with a
stupefying surprise.

One is lost in wonder at all the thought and care which this elaborate
planning must have cost. A general glance at the picture could never
suggest that there was a hair trunk in it; the Hair Trunk is not
mentioned in the title even--which is, "Pope Alexander III. and the Doge
Ziani, the Conqueror of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa"; you see,
the title is actually utilized to help divert attention from the Trunk;
thus, as I say, nothing suggests the presence of the Trunk, by any hint,
yet everything studiedly leads up to it, step by step. Let us examine
into this, and observe the exquisitely artful artlessness of the plan.

At the extreme left end of the picture are a couple of women, one of
them with a child looking over her shoulder at a wounded man sitting
with bandaged head on the ground. These people seem needless, but no,
they are there for a purpose; one cannot look at them without seeing
the gorgeous procession of grandees, bishops, halberdiers, and
banner-bearers which is passing along behind them; one cannot see the
procession without feeling the curiosity to follow it and learn whither
it is going; it leads him to the Pope, in the center of the picture, who
is talking with the bonnetless Doge--talking tranquilly, too, although
within twelve feet of them a man is beating a drum, and not far from the
drummer two persons are blowing horns, and many horsemen are plunging
and rioting about--indeed, twenty-two feet of this great work is all a
deep and happy holiday serenity and Sunday-school procession, and then
we come suddenly upon eleven and one-half feet of turmoil and racket and
insubordination. This latter state of things is not an accident, it has
its purpose. But for it, one would linger upon the Pope and the Doge,
thinking them to be the motive and supreme feature of the picture;
whereas one is drawn along, almost unconsciously, to see what the
trouble is about. Now at the very END of this riot, within four feet of
the end of the picture, and full thirty-six feet from the beginning
of it, the Hair Trunk bursts with an electrifying suddenness upon the
spectator, in all its matchless perfection, and the great master's
triumph is sweeping and complete. From that moment no other thing in
those forty feet of canvas has any charm; one sees the Hair Trunk, and
the Hair Trunk only--and to see it is to worship it. Bassano even placed
objects in the immediate vicinity of the Supreme Feature whose pretended
purpose was to divert attention from it yet a little longer and thus
delay and augment the surprise; for instance, to the right of it he has
placed a stooping man with a cap so red that it is sure to hold the eye
for a moment--to the left of it, some six feet away, he has placed a
red-coated man on an inflated horse, and that coat plucks your eye
to that locality the next moment--then, between the Trunk and the red
horseman he has intruded a man, naked to his waist, who is carrying
a fancy flour-sack on the middle of his back instead of on his
shoulder--this admirable feat interests you, of course--keeps you at
bay a little longer, like a sock or a jacket thrown to the pursuing
wolf--but at last, in spite of all distractions and detentions, the eye
of even the most dull and heedless spectator is sure to fall upon the
World's Masterpiece, and in that moment he totters to his chair or leans
upon his guide for support.

Descriptions of such a work as this must necessarily be imperfect, yet
they are of value. The top of the Trunk is arched; the arch is a perfect
half-circle, in the Roman style of architecture, for in the then
rapid decadence of Greek art, the rising influence of Rome was already
beginning to be felt in the art of the Republic. The Trunk is bound or
bordered with leather all around where the lid joins the main body. Many
critics consider this leather too cold in tone; but I consider this its
highest merit, since it was evidently made so to emphasize by contrast
the impassioned fervor of the hasp. The highlights in this part of the
work are cleverly managed, the MOTIF is admirably subordinated to the
ground tints, and the technique is very fine. The brass nail-heads are
in the purest style of the early Renaissance. The strokes, here, are
very firm and bold--every nail-head is a portrait. The handle on the
end of the Trunk has evidently been retouched--I think, with a piece of
chalk--but one can still see the inspiration of the Old Master in the
tranquil, almost too tranquil, hang of it. The hair of this Trunk is
REAL hair--so to speak--white in patches, brown in patches. The details
are finely worked out; the repose proper to hair in a recumbent and
inactive attitude is charmingly expressed. There is a feeling about this
part of the work which lifts it to the highest altitudes of art; the
sense of sordid realism vanishes away--one recognizes that there is SOUL

View this Trunk as you will, it is a gem, it is a marvel, it is a
miracle. Some of the effects are very daring, approaching even to
the boldest flights of the rococo, the sirocco, and the Byzantine
schools--yet the master's hand never falters--it moves on, calm,
majestic, confident--and, with that art which conceals art, it finally
casts over the TOUT ENSEMBLE, by mysterious methods of its own, a subtle
something which refines, subdues, etherealizes the arid components and
endures them with the deep charm and gracious witchery of poesy.

Among the art-treasures of Europe there are pictures which approach the
Hair Trunk--there are two which may be said to equal it, possibly--but
there is none that surpasses it. So perfect is the Hair Trunk that it
moves even persons who ordinarily have no feeling for art. When an Erie
baggagemaster saw it two years ago, he could hardly keep from checking
it; and once when a customs inspector was brought into its presence,
he gazed upon it in silent rapture for some moments, then slowly and
unconsciously placed one hand behind him with the palm uppermost, and
got out his chalk with the other. These facts speak for themselves.


[Hanged with a Golden Rope]

One lingers about the Cathedral a good deal, in Venice. There is a
strong fascination about it--partly because it is so old, and partly
because it is so ugly. Too many of the world's famous buildings fail of
one chief virtue--harmony; they are made up of a methodless mixture
of the ugly and the beautiful; this is bad; it is confusing, it is
unrestful. One has a sense of uneasiness, of distress, without knowing
why. But one is calm before St. Mark's, one is calm within it, one
would be calm on top of it, calm in the cellar; for its details are
masterfully ugly, no misplaced and impertinent beauties are intruded
anywhere; and the consequent result is a grand harmonious whole, of
soothing, entrancing, tranquilizing, soul-satisfying ugliness. One's
admiration of a perfect thing always grows, never declines; and this is
the surest evidence to him that it IS perfect. St. Mark's is perfect. To
me it soon grew to be so nobly, so augustly ugly, that it was difficult
to stay away from it, even for a little while. Every time its squat
domes disappeared from my view, I had a despondent feeling; whenever
they reappeared, I felt an honest rapture--I have not known any happier
hours than those I daily spent in front of Florian's, looking across the
Great Square at it. Propped on its long row of low thick-legged columns,
its back knobbed with domes, it seemed like a vast warty bug taking a
meditative walk.

St. Mark's is not the oldest building in the world, of course, but it
seems the oldest, and looks the oldest--especially inside.

When the ancient mosaics in its walls become damaged, they are repaired
but not altered; the grotesque old pattern is preserved. Antiquity has
a charm of its own, and to smarten it up would only damage it. One day
I was sitting on a red marble bench in the vestibule looking up at an
ancient piece of apprentice-work, in mosaic, illustrative of the command
to "multiply and replenish the earth." The Cathedral itself had seemed
very old; but this picture was illustrating a period in history which
made the building seem young by comparison. But I presently found an
antique which was older than either the battered Cathedral or the date
assigned to the piece of history; it was a spiral-shaped fossil as large
as the crown of a hat; it was embedded in the marble bench, and had
been sat upon by tourists until it was worn smooth. Contrasted with the
inconceivable antiquity of this modest fossil, those other things were
flippantly modern--jejune--mere matters of day-before-yesterday. The
sense of the oldness of the Cathedral vanished away under the influence
of this truly venerable presence.

St. Mark's is monumental; it is an imperishable remembrancer of the
profound and simple piety of the Middle Ages. Whoever could ravish a
column from a pagan temple, did it and contributed his swag to this
Christian one. So this fane is upheld by several hundred acquisitions
procured in that peculiar way. In our day it would be immoral to go on
the highway to get bricks for a church, but it was no sin in the old
times. St. Mark's was itself the victim of a curious robbery once. The
thing is set down in the history of Venice, but it might be smuggled
into the Arabian Nights and not seem out of place there:

Nearly four hundred and fifty years ago, a Candian named Stammato, in
the suite of a prince of the house of Este, was allowed to view the
riches of St. Mark's. His sinful eye was dazzled and he hid himself
behind an altar, with an evil purpose in his heart, but a priest
discovered him and turned him out. Afterward he got in again--by false
keys, this time. He went there, night after night, and worked hard and
patiently, all alone, overcoming difficulty after difficulty with his
toil, and at last succeeded in removing a great brick of the marble
paneling which walled the lower part of the treasury; this block he
fixed so that he could take it out and put it in at will. After
that, for weeks, he spent all his midnights in his magnificent mine,
inspecting it in security, gloating over its marvels at his leisure, and
always slipping back to his obscure lodgings before dawn, with a
duke's ransom under his cloak. He did not need to grab, haphazard, and
run--there was no hurry. He could make deliberate and well-considered
selections; he could consult his esthetic tastes. One comprehends how
undisturbed he was, and how safe from any danger of interruption,
when it is stated that he even carried off a unicorn's horn--a mere
curiosity--which would not pass through the egress entire, but had to
be sawn in two--a bit of work which cost him hours of tedious labor. He
continued to store up his treasures at home until his occupation lost
the charm of novelty and became monotonous; then he ceased from it,
contented. Well he might be; for his collection, raised to modern
values, represented nearly fifty million dollars!

He could have gone home much the richest citizen of his country, and
it might have been years before the plunder was missed; but he was
human--he could not enjoy his delight alone, he must have somebody to
talk about it with. So he exacted a solemn oath from a Candian noble
named Crioni, then led him to his lodgings and nearly took his breath
away with a sight of his glittering hoard. He detected a look in his
friend's face which excited his suspicion, and was about to slip a
stiletto into him when Crioni saved himself by explaining that that look
was only an expression of supreme and happy astonishment. Stammato
made Crioni a present of one of the state's principal jewels--a huge
carbuncle, which afterward figured in the Ducal cap of state--and the
pair parted. Crioni went at once to the palace, denounced the criminal,
and handed over the carbuncle as evidence. Stammato was arrested, tried,
and condemned, with the old-time Venetian promptness. He was hanged
between the two great columns in the Piazza--with a gilded rope, out of
compliment to his love of gold, perhaps. He got no good of his booty at
all--it was ALL recovered.

In Venice we had a luxury which very seldom fell to our lot on the
continent--a home dinner with a private family. If one could always stop
with private families, when traveling, Europe would have a charm which
it now lacks. As it is, one must live in the hotels, of course, and that
is a sorrowful business. A man accustomed to American food and American
domestic cookery would not starve to death suddenly in Europe; but I
think he would gradually waste away, and eventually die.

He would have to do without his accustomed morning meal. That is too
formidable a change altogether; he would necessarily suffer from it. He
could get the shadow, the sham, the base counterfeit of that meal; but
it would do him no good, and money could not buy the reality.

To particularize: the average American's simplest and commonest form of
breakfast consists of coffee and beefsteak; well, in Europe, coffee is
an unknown beverage. You can get what the European hotel-keeper thinks
is coffee, but it resembles the real thing as hypocrisy resembles
holiness. It is a feeble, characterless, uninspiring sort of stuff, and
almost as undrinkable as if it had been made in an American hotel. The
milk used for it is what the French call "Christian" milk--milk which
has been baptized.

After a few months' acquaintance with European "coffee," one's mind
weakens, and his faith with it, and he begins to wonder if the rich
beverage of home, with its clotted layer of yellow cream on top of it,
is not a mere dream, after all, and a thing which never existed.

Next comes the European bread--fair enough, good enough, after a
fashion, but cold; cold and tough, and unsympathetic; and never any
change, never any variety--always the same tiresome thing.

Next, the butter--the sham and tasteless butter; no salt in it, and made
of goodness knows what.

Then there is the beefsteak. They have it in Europe, but they don't know
how to cook it. Neither will they cut it right. It comes on the table in
a small, round pewter platter. It lies in the center of this platter,
in a bordering bed of grease-soaked potatoes; it is the size, shape, and
thickness of a man's hand with the thumb and fingers cut off. It is a
little overdone, is rather dry, it tastes pretty insipidly, it rouses no

Imagine a poor exile contemplating that inert thing; and imagine an
angel suddenly sweeping down out of a better land and setting before him
a mighty porterhouse steak an inch and a half thick, hot and sputtering
from the griddle; dusted with a fragrant pepper; enriched with
little melting bits of butter of the most unimpeachable freshness and
genuineness; the precious juices of the meat trickling out and joining
the gravy, archipelagoed with mushrooms; a township or two of tender,
yellowish fat gracing an outlying district of this ample county of
beefsteak; the long white bone which divides the sirloin from the
tenderloin still in its place; and imagine that the angel also adds a
great cup of American home-made coffee, with a cream a-froth on top,
some real butter, firm and yellow and fresh, some smoking hot-biscuits,
a plate of hot buckwheat cakes, with transparent syrup--could words
describe the gratitude of this exile?

The European dinner is better than the European breakfast, but it has
its faults and inferiorities; it does not satisfy. He comes to the table
eager and hungry; he swallows his soup--there is an undefinable
lack about it somewhere; thinks the fish is going to be the thing he
wants--eats it and isn't sure; thinks the next dish is perhaps the one
that will hit the hungry place--tries it, and is conscious that there
was a something wanting about it, also. And thus he goes on, from dish
to dish, like a boy after a butterfly which just misses getting caught
every time it alights, but somehow doesn't get caught after all; and at
the end the exile and the boy have fared about alike; the one is full,
but grievously unsatisfied, the other has had plenty of exercise, plenty
of interest, and a fine lot of hopes, but he hasn't got any butterfly.
There is here and there an American who will say he can remember rising
from a European table d'hôte perfectly satisfied; but we must not
overlook the fact that there is also here and there an American who will

The number of dishes is sufficient; but then it is such a monotonous
variety of UNSTRIKING dishes. It is an inane dead-level of
"fair-to-middling." There is nothing to ACCENT it. Perhaps if the roast
of mutton or of beef--a big, generous one--were brought on the table and
carved in full view of the client, that might give the right sense of
earnestness and reality to the thing; but they don't do that, they pass
the sliced meat around on a dish, and so you are perfectly calm, it does
not stir you in the least. Now a vast roast turkey, stretched on the
broad of his back, with his heels in the air and the rich juices oozing
from his fat sides ... but I may as well stop there, for they would not
know how to cook him. They can't even cook a chicken respectably; and as
for carving it, they do that with a hatchet.

This is about the customary table d'hôte bill in summer:

  Soup (characterless).

  Fish--sole, salmon, or whiting--usually tolerably good.

  Roast--mutton or beef--tasteless--and some last year's potatoes.

  A pate, or some other made dish--usually good--"considering."

  One vegetable--brought on in state, and all alone--usually insipid
                      lentils, or string-beans, or indifferent asparagus.

  Roast chicken, as tasteless as paper.

  Lettuce-salad--tolerably good.

  Decayed strawberries or cherries.

  Sometimes the apricots and figs are fresh, but this is no advantage,
                      as these fruits are of no account anyway.

  The grapes are generally good, and sometimes there is a tolerably
                      good peach, by mistake.

The variations of the above bill are trifling. After a fortnight one
discovers that the variations are only apparent, not real; in the third
week you get what you had the first, and in the fourth the week you get
what you had the second. Three or four months of this weary sameness
will kill the robustest appetite.

It has now been many months, at the present writing, since I have had
a nourishing meal, but I shall soon have one--a modest, private affair,
all to myself. I have selected a few dishes, and made out a little bill
of fare, which will go home in the steamer that precedes me, and be hot
when I arrive--as follows:

    Radishes. Baked apples, with cream
    Fried oysters; stewed oysters. Frogs.
    American coffee, with real cream.
    American butter.
    Fried chicken, Southern style.
    Porter-house steak.
    Saratoga potatoes.
    Broiled chicken, American style.
    Hot biscuits, Southern style.
    Hot wheat-bread, Southern style.
    Hot buckwheat cakes.
    American toast. Clear maple syrup.
    Virginia bacon, broiled.
    Blue points, on the half shell.
    Cherry-stone clams.
    San Francisco mussels, steamed.
    Oyster soup. Clam Soup.
    Philadelphia Terapin soup.
    Oysters roasted in shell-Northern style.
    Soft-shell crabs. Connecticut shad.
    Baltimore perch.
    Brook trout, from Sierra Nevadas.
    Lake trout, from Tahoe.
    Sheep-head and croakers, from New Orleans.
    Black bass from the Mississippi.
    American roast beef.
    Roast turkey, Thanksgiving style.
    Cranberry sauce. Celery.
    Roast wild turkey. Woodcock.
    Canvas-back-duck, from Baltimore.
    Prairie liens, from Illinois.
    Missouri partridges, broiled.
    'Possum. Coon.
    Boston bacon and beans.
    Bacon and greens, Southern style.
    Hominy. Boiled onions. Turnips.
    Pumpkin. Squash. Asparagus.
    Butter beans. Sweet potatoes.
    Lettuce. Succotash. String beans.
    Mashed potatoes. Catsup.
    Boiled potatoes, in their skins.
    New potatoes, minus the skins.
    Early rose potatoes, roasted in the ashes, Southern style, served hot.
    Sliced tomatoes, with sugar or vinegar. Stewed tomatoes.
    Green corn, cut from the ear and served with butter and pepper.
    Green corn, on the ear.
    Hot corn-pone, with chitlings, Southern style.
    Hot hoe-cake, Southern style.
    Hot egg-bread, Southern style.
    Hot light-bread, Southern style.
    Buttermilk. Iced sweet milk.
    Apple dumplings, with real cream.
    Apple pie. Apple fritters.
    Apple puffs, Southern style.
    Peach cobbler, Southern style
    Peach pie. American mince pie.
    Pumpkin pie. Squash pie.
    All sorts of American pastry.

Fresh American fruits of all sorts, including strawberries which are
not to be doled out as if they were jewelry, but in a more liberal way.
Ice-water--not prepared in the ineffectual goblet, but in the sincere
and capable refrigerator.

Americans intending to spend a year or so in European hotels will
do well to copy this bill and carry it along. They will find it an
excellent thing to get up an appetite with, in the dispiriting presence
of the squalid table d'hôte.

Foreigners cannot enjoy our food, I suppose, any more than we can
enjoy theirs. It is not strange; for tastes are made, not born. I might
glorify my bill of fare until I was tired; but after all, the Scotchman
would shake his head and say, "Where's your haggis?" and the Fijian
would sigh and say, "Where's your missionary?"

I have a neat talent in matters pertaining to nourishment. This has
met with professional recognition. I have often furnished recipes for
cook-books. Here are some designs for pies and things, which I recently
prepared for a friend's projected cook-book, but as I forgot to furnish
diagrams and perspectives, they had to be left out, of course.

RECIPE FOR AN ASH-CAKE Take a lot of water and add to it a lot of coarse
Indian-meal and about a quarter of a lot of salt. Mix well together,
knead into the form of a "pone," and let the pone stand awhile--not on
its edge, but the other way. Rake away a place among the embers, lay it
there, and cover it an inch deep with hot ashes. When it is done, remove
it; blow off all the ashes but one layer; butter that one and eat.

N.B.--No household should ever be without this talisman. It has been
noticed that tramps never return for another ash-cake. ----------

RECIPE FOR NEW ENGLISH PIE To make this excellent breakfast dish,
proceed as follows: Take a sufficiency of water and a sufficiency of
flour, and construct a bullet-proof dough. Work this into the form of
a disk, with the edges turned up some three-fourths of an inch. Toughen
and kiln-dry in a couple days in a mild but unvarying temperature.
Construct a cover for this redoubt in the same way and of the same
material. Fill with stewed dried apples; aggravate with cloves,
lemon-peel, and slabs of citron; add two portions of New Orleans sugars,
then solder on the lid and set in a safe place till it petrifies. Serve
cold at breakfast and invite your enemy. ----------

RECIPE FOR GERMAN COFFEE Take a barrel of water and bring it to a boil;
rub a chicory berry against a coffee berry, then convey the former into
the water. Continue the boiling and evaporation until the intensity of
the flavor and aroma of the coffee and chicory has been diminished to
a proper degree; then set aside to cool. Now unharness the remains of a
once cow from the plow, insert them in a hydraulic press, and when you
shall have acquired a teaspoon of that pale-blue juice which a German
superstition regards as milk, modify the malignity of its strength in a
bucket of tepid water and ring up the breakfast. Mix the beverage in a
cold cup, partake with moderation, and keep a wet rag around your head
to guard against over-excitement.

TO CARVE FOWLS IN THE GERMAN FASHION Use a club, and avoid the joints.


[Titian Bad and Titian Good]

I wonder why some things are? For instance, Art is allowed as much
indecent license today as in earlier times--but the privileges of
Literature in this respect have been sharply curtailed within the
past eighty or ninety years. Fielding and Smollett could portray the
beastliness of their day in the beastliest language; we have plenty
of foul subjects to deal with in our day, but we are not allowed to
approach them very near, even with nice and guarded forms of speech.
But not so with Art. The brush may still deal freely with any subject,
however revolting or indelicate. It makes a body ooze sarcasm at every
pore, to go about Rome and Florence and see what this last generation
has been doing with the statues. These works, which had stood in
innocent nakedness for ages, are all fig-leaved now. Yes, every one of
them. Nobody noticed their nakedness before, perhaps; nobody can help
noticing it now, the fig-leaf makes it so conspicuous. But the comical
thing about it all, is, that the fig-leaf is confined to cold and pallid
marble, which would be still cold and unsuggestive without this sham and
ostentatious symbol of modesty, whereas warm-blood paintings which do
really need it have in no case been furnished with it.

At the door of the Uffizzi, in Florence, one is confronted by statues
of a man and a woman, noseless, battered, black with accumulated
grime--they hardly suggest human beings--yet these ridiculous creatures
have been thoughtfully and conscientiously fig-leaved by this fastidious
generation. You enter, and proceed to that most-visited little gallery
that exists in the world--the Tribune--and there, against the wall,
without obstructing rag or leaf, you may look your fill upon the
foulest, the vilest, the obscenest picture the world possesses--Titian's
Venus. It isn't that she is naked and stretched out on a bed--no, it is
the attitude of one of her arms and hand. If I ventured to describe
that attitude, there would be a fine howl--but there the Venus lies, for
anybody to gloat over that wants to--and there she has a right to lie,
for she is a work of art, and Art has its privileges. I saw young
girls stealing furtive glances at her; I saw young men gaze long and
absorbedly at her; I saw aged, infirm men hang upon her charms with a
pathetic interest. How I should like to describe her--just to see what
a holy indignation I could stir up in the world--just to hear the
unreflecting average man deliver himself about my grossness and
coarseness, and all that. The world says that no worded description of
a moving spectacle is a hundredth part as moving as the same spectacle
seen with one's own eyes--yet the world is willing to let its son
and its daughter and itself look at Titian's beast, but won't stand
a description of it in words. Which shows that the world is not as
consistent as it might be.

There are pictures of nude women which suggest no impure thought--I
am well aware of that. I am not railing at such. What I am trying to
emphasize is the fact that Titian's Venus is very far from being one of
that sort. Without any question it was painted for a bagnio and it was
probably refused because it was a trifle too strong. In truth, it is too
strong for any place but a public Art Gallery. Titian has two Venuses in
the Tribune; persons who have seen them will easily remember which one I
am referring to.

In every gallery in Europe there are hideous pictures of blood,
carnage, oozing brains, putrefaction--pictures portraying intolerable
suffering--pictures alive with every conceivable horror, wrought out in
dreadful detail--and similar pictures are being put on the canvas every
day and publicly exhibited--without a growl from anybody--for they
are innocent, they are inoffensive, being works of art. But suppose
a literary artist ventured to go into a painstaking and elaborate
description of one of these grisly things--the critics would skin him
alive. Well, let it go, it cannot be helped; Art retains her privileges,
Literature has lost hers. Somebody else may cipher out the whys and the
wherefores and the consistencies of it--I haven't got time.

Titian's Venus defiles and disgraces the Tribune, there is no softening
that fact, but his "Moses" glorifies it. The simple truthfulness of
its noble work wins the heart and the applause of every visitor, be he
learned or ignorant. After wearying one's self with the acres of stuffy,
sappy, expressionless babies that populate the canvases of the Old
Masters of Italy, it is refreshing to stand before this peerless child
and feel that thrill which tells you you are at last in the presence of
the real thing. This is a human child, this is genuine. You have seen
him a thousand times--you have seen him just as he is here--and you
confess, without reserve, that Titian WAS a Master. The doll-faces of
other painted babes may mean one thing, they may mean another, but
with the "Moses" the case is different. The most famous of all the
art-critics has said, "There is no room for doubt, here--plainly this
child is in trouble."

I consider that the "Moses" has no equal among the works of the Old
Masters, except it be the divine Hair Trunk of Bassano. I feel sure that
if all the other Old Masters were lost and only these two preserved, the
world would be the gainer by it.

My sole purpose in going to Florence was to see this immortal "Moses,"
and by good fortune I was just in time, for they were already preparing
to remove it to a more private and better-protected place because a
fashion of robbing the great galleries was prevailing in Europe at the

I got a capable artist to copy the picture; Pannemaker, the engraver of
Doré's books, engraved it for me, and I have the pleasure of laying it
before the reader in this volume.

We took a turn to Rome and some other Italian cities--then to Munich,
and thence to Paris--partly for exercise, but mainly because these
things were in our projected program, and it was only right that we
should be faithful to it.

From Paris I branched out and walked through Holland and Belgium,
procuring an occasional lift by rail or canal when tired, and I had
a tolerably good time of it "by and large." I worked Spain and other
regions through agents to save time and shoe-leather.

We crossed to England, and then made the homeward passage in the
Cunarder GALLIA, a very fine ship. I was glad to get home--immeasurably
glad; so glad, in fact, that it did not seem possible that anything
could ever get me out of the country again. I had not enjoyed a pleasure
abroad which seemed to me to compare with the pleasure I felt in seeing
New York harbor again. Europe has many advantages which we have not, but
they do not compensate for a good many still more valuable ones which
exist nowhere but in our own country. Then we are such a homeless lot
when we are over there! So are Europeans themselves, for that matter.
They live in dark and chilly vast tombs--costly enough, maybe, but
without conveniences. To be condemned to live as the average European
family lives would make life a pretty heavy burden to the average
American family.

On the whole, I think that short visits to Europe are better for us than
long ones. The former preserve us from becoming Europeanized; they keep
our pride of country intact, and at the same time they intensify our
affection for our country and our people; whereas long visits have the
effect of dulling those feelings--at least in the majority of cases. I
think that one who mixes much with Americans long resident abroad must
arrive at this conclusion.

APPENDIX   Nothing gives such weight and dignity to a book as an Appendix.


The Portier

Omar Khay'am, the poet-prophet of Persia, writing more than eight
hundred years ago, has said:

"In the four parts of the earth are many that are able to write learned
books, many that are able to lead armies, and many also that are able to
govern kingdoms and empires; but few there be that can keep a hotel."

A word about the European hotel PORTIER. He is a most admirable
invention, a most valuable convenience. He always wears a conspicuous
uniform; he can always be found when he is wanted, for he sticks closely
to his post at the front door; he is as polite as a duke; he speaks
from four to ten languages; he is your surest help and refuge in time of
trouble or perplexity. He is not the clerk, he is not the landlord; he
ranks above the clerk, and represents the landlord, who is seldom seen.
Instead of going to the clerk for information, as we do at home, you
go to the portier. It is the pride of our average hotel clerk to know
nothing whatever; it is the pride of the portier to know everything. You
ask the portier at what hours the trains leave--he tells you instantly;
or you ask him who is the best physician in town; or what is the hack
tariff; or how many children the mayor has; or what days the galleries
are open, and whether a permit is required, and where you are to get it,
and what you must pay for it; or when the theaters open and close, what
the plays are to be, and the price of seats; or what is the newest thing
in hats; or how the bills of mortality average; or "who struck Billy
Patterson." It does not matter what you ask him: in nine cases out of
ten he knows, and in the tenth case he will find out for you before you
can turn around three times. There is nothing he will not put his hand
to. Suppose you tell him you wish to go from Hamburg to Peking by the
way of Jericho, and are ignorant of routes and prices--the next morning
he will hand you a piece of paper with the whole thing worked out on it
to the last detail. Before you have been long on European soil, you find
yourself still SAYING you are relying on Providence, but when you come
to look closer you will see that in reality you are relying on the
portier. He discovers what is puzzling you, or what is troubling you,
or what your need is, before you can get the half of it out, and he
promptly says, "Leave that to me." Consequently, you easily drift into
the habit of leaving everything to him. There is a certain embarrassment
about applying to the average American hotel clerk, a certain hesitancy,
a sense of insecurity against rebuff; but you feel no embarrassment in
your intercourse with the portier; he receives your propositions with an
enthusiasm which cheers, and plunges into their accomplishment with an
alacrity which almost inebriates. The more requirements you can pile
upon him, the better he likes it. Of course the result is that you cease
from doing anything for yourself. He calls a hack when you want one;
puts you into it; tells the driver whither to take you; receives you
like a long-lost child when you return; sends you about your business,
does all the quarreling with the hackman himself, and pays him his money
out of his own pocket. He sends for your theater tickets, and pays for
them; he sends for any possible article you can require, be it a doctor,
an elephant, or a postage stamp; and when you leave, at last, you will
find a subordinate seated with the cab-driver who will put you in your
railway compartment, buy your tickets, have your baggage weighed, bring
you the printed tags, and tell you everything is in your bill and paid
for. At home you get such elaborate, excellent, and willing service as
this only in the best hotels of our large cities; but in Europe you get
it in the mere back country-towns just as well.

What is the secret of the portier's devotion? It is very simple: he gets
FEES, AND NO SALARY. His fee is pretty closely regulated, too. If you
stay a week, you give him five marks--a dollar and a quarter, or about
eighteen cents a day. If you stay a month, you reduce this average
somewhat. If you stay two or three months or longer, you cut it down
half, or even more than half. If you stay only one day, you give the
portier a mark.

The head waiter's fee is a shade less than the portier's; the Boots, who
not only blacks your boots and brushes your clothes, but is usually the
porter and handles your baggage, gets a somewhat smaller fee than the
head waiter; the chambermaid's fee ranks below that of the Boots. You
fee only these four, and no one else. A German gentleman told me that
when he remained a week in a hotel, he gave the portier five marks, the
head waiter four, the Boots three, and the chambermaid two; and if he
stayed three months he divided ninety marks among them, in about the
above proportions. Ninety marks make $22.50.

None of these fees are ever paid until you leave the hotel, though it
be a year--except one of these four servants should go away in the mean
time; in that case he will be sure to come and bid you good-by and
give you the opportunity to pay him what is fairly coming to him. It
is considered very bad policy to fee a servant while you are still to
remain longer in the hotel, because if you gave him too little he might
neglect you afterward, and if you gave him too much he might neglect
somebody else to attend to you. It is considered best to keep his
expectations "on a string" until your stay is concluded.

I do not know whether hotel servants in New York get any wages or not,
but I do know that in some of the hotels there the feeing system in
vogue is a heavy burden. The waiter expects a quarter at breakfast--and
gets it. You have a different waiter at luncheon, and so he gets a
quarter. Your waiter at dinner is another stranger--consequently he gets
a quarter. The boy who carries your satchel to your room and lights your
gas fumbles around and hangs around significantly, and you fee him to
get rid of him. Now you may ring for ice-water; and ten minutes later
for a lemonade; and ten minutes afterward, for a cigar; and by and by
for a newspaper--and what is the result? Why, a new boy has appeared
every time and fooled and fumbled around until you have paid him
something. Suppose you boldly put your foot down, and say it is the
hotel's business to pay its servants? You will have to ring your bell
ten or fifteen times before you get a servant there; and when he goes
off to fill your order you will grow old and infirm before you see him
again. You may struggle nobly for twenty-four hours, maybe, if you are
an adamantine sort of person, but in the mean time you will have been
so wretchedly served, and so insolently, that you will haul down your
colors, and go to impoverishing yourself with fees.

It seems to me that it would be a happy idea to import the European
feeing system into America. I believe it would result in getting even
the bells of the Philadelphia hotels answered, and cheerful service

The greatest American hotels keep a number of clerks and a cashier, and
pay them salaries which mount up to a considerable total in the course
of a year. The great continental hotels keep a cashier on a trifling
salary, and a portier WHO PAYS THE HOTEL A SALARY. By the latter system
both the hotel and the public save money and are better served than by
our system. One of our consuls told me that a portier of a great Berlin
hotel paid five thousand dollars a year for his position, and yet
cleared six thousand dollars for himself. The position of portier in the
chief hotels of Saratoga, Long Branch, New York, and similar centers of
resort, would be one which the holder could afford to pay even more than
five thousand dollars for, perhaps.

When we borrowed the feeing fashion from Europe a dozen years ago, the
salary system ought to have been discontinued, of course. We might make
this correction now, I should think. And we might add the portier, too.
Since I first began to study the portier, I have had opportunities to
observe him in the chief cities of Germany, Switzerland, and Italy;
and the more I have seen of him the more I have wished that he might be
adopted in America, and become there, as he is in Europe, the stranger's
guardian angel.

Yes, what was true eight hundred years ago, is just as true today: "Few
there be that can keep a hotel." Perhaps it is because the landlords and
their subordinates have in too many cases taken up their trade without
first learning it. In Europe the trade of hotel-keeper is taught. The
apprentice begins at the bottom of the ladder and masters the several
grades one after the other. Just as in our country printing-offices the
apprentice first learns how to sweep out and bring water; then learns
to "roll"; then to sort "pi"; then to set type; and finally rounds
and completes his education with job-work and press-work; so the
landlord-apprentice serves as call-boy; then as under-waiter; then as
a parlor waiter; then as head waiter, in which position he often has to
make out all the bills; then as clerk or cashier; then as portier. His
trade is learned now, and by and by he will assume the style and dignity
of landlord, and be found conducting a hotel of his own.

Now in Europe, the same as in America, when a man has kept a hotel
so thoroughly well during a number of years as to give it a great
reputation, he has his reward. He can live prosperously on that
reputation. He can let his hotel run down to the last degree of
shabbiness and yet have it full of people all the time. For instance,
there is the Hotel de Ville, in Milan. It swarms with mice and fleas,
and if the rest of the world were destroyed it could furnish dirt enough
to start another one with. The food would create an insurrection in a
poorhouse; and yet if you go outside to get your meals that hotel makes
up its loss by overcharging you on all sorts of trifles--and without
making any denials or excuses about it, either. But the Hotel de Ville's
old excellent reputation still keeps its dreary rooms crowded with
travelers who would be elsewhere if they had only some wise friend to
warn them.


Heidelberg Castle Heidelberg Castle must have been very beautiful before
the French battered and bruised and scorched it two hundred years ago.
The stone is brown, with a pinkish tint, and does not seem to stain
easily. The dainty and elaborate ornamentation upon its two chief fronts
is as delicately carved as if it had been intended for the interior of
a drawing-room rather than for the outside of a house. Many fruit and
flower clusters, human heads and grim projecting lions' heads are still
as perfect in every detail as if they were new. But the statues which
are ranked between the windows have suffered. These are life-size
statues of old-time emperors, electors, and similar grandees, clad in
mail and bearing ponderous swords. Some have lost an arm, some a head,
and one poor fellow is chopped off at the middle. There is a saying that
if a stranger will pass over the drawbridge and walk across the court to
the castle front without saying anything, he can make a wish and it will
be fulfilled. But they say that the truth of this thing has never had
a chance to be proved, for the reason that before any stranger can walk
from the drawbridge to the appointed place, the beauty of the palace
front will extort an exclamation of delight from him.

A ruin must be rightly situated, to be effective. This one could not
have been better placed. It stands upon a commanding elevation, it is
buried in green woods, there is no level ground about it, but, on the
contrary, there are wooded terraces upon terraces, and one looks down
through shining leaves into profound chasms and abysses where twilight
reigns and the sun cannot intrude. Nature knows how to garnish a ruin to
get the best effect. One of these old towers is split down the middle,
and one half has tumbled aside. It tumbled in such a way as to establish
itself in a picturesque attitude. Then all it lacked was a fitting
drapery, and Nature has furnished that; she has robed the rugged mass in
flowers and verdure, and made it a charm to the eye. The standing half
exposes its arched and cavernous rooms to you, like open, toothless
mouths; there, too, the vines and flowers have done their work of grace.
The rear portion of the tower has not been neglected, either, but is
clothed with a clinging garment of polished ivy which hides the wounds
and stains of time. Even the top is not left bare, but is crowned with a
flourishing group of trees and shrubs. Misfortune has done for this old
tower what it has done for the human character sometimes--improved it.

A gentleman remarked, one day, that it might have been fine to live in
the castle in the day of its prime, but that we had one advantage which
its vanished inhabitants lacked--the advantage of having a charming ruin
to visit and muse over. But that was a hasty idea. Those people had the
advantage of US. They had the fine castle to live in, and they could
cross the Rhine valley and muse over the stately ruin of Trifels
besides. The Trifels people, in their day, five hundred years ago, could
go and muse over majestic ruins that have vanished, now, to the last
stone. There have always been ruins, no doubt; and there have always
been pensive people to sigh over them, and asses to scratch upon them
their names and the important date of their visit. Within a hundred
years after Adam left Eden, the guide probably gave the usual general
flourish with his hand and said: "Place where the animals were named,
ladies and gentlemen; place where the tree of the forbidden fruit stood;
exact spot where Adam and Eve first met; and here, ladies and gentlemen,
adorned and hallowed by the names and addresses of three generations of
tourists, we have the crumbling remains of Cain's altar--fine old ruin!"
Then, no doubt, he taxed them a shekel apiece and let them go.

An illumination of Heidelberg Castle is one of the sights of Europe.
The Castle's picturesque shape; its commanding situation, midway up the
steep and wooded mountainside; its vast size--these features combine to
make an illumination a most effective spectacle. It is necessarily an
expensive show, and consequently rather infrequent. Therefore whenever
one of these exhibitions is to take place, the news goes about in the
papers and Heidelberg is sure to be full of people on that night. I and
my agent had one of these opportunities, and improved it.

About half past seven on the appointed evening we crossed the lower
bridge, with some American students, in a pouring rain, and started up
the road which borders the Neunheim side of the river. This roadway was
densely packed with carriages and foot-passengers; the former of all
ages, and the latter of all ages and both sexes. This black and solid
mass was struggling painfully onward, through the slop, the darkness,
and the deluge. We waded along for three-quarters of a mile, and finally
took up a position in an unsheltered beer-garden directly opposite
the Castle. We could not SEE the Castle--or anything else, for that
matter--but we could dimly discern the outlines of the mountain over the
way, through the pervading blackness, and knew whereabouts the Castle
was located. We stood on one of the hundred benches in the garden, under
our umbrellas; the other ninety-nine were occupied by standing men and
women, and they also had umbrellas. All the region round about, and up
and down the river-road, was a dense wilderness of humanity hidden
under an unbroken pavement of carriage tops and umbrellas. Thus we stood
during two drenching hours. No rain fell on my head, but the converging
whalebone points of a dozen neighboring umbrellas poured little cooling
steams of water down my neck, and sometimes into my ears, and thus kept
me from getting hot and impatient. I had the rheumatism, too, and
had heard that this was good for it. Afterward, however, I was led to
believe that the water treatment is NOT good for rheumatism. There were
even little girls in that dreadful place. A man held one in his arms,
just in front of me, for as much as an hour, with umbrella-drippings
soaking into her clothing all the time.

In the circumstances, two hours was a good while for us to have to wait,
but when the illumination did at last come, we felt repaid. It came
unexpectedly, of course--things always do, that have been long looked
and longed for. With a perfectly breath-taking suddenness several mast
sheaves of varicolored rockets were vomited skyward out of the black
throats of the Castle towers, accompanied by a thundering crash of
sound, and instantly every detail of the prodigious ruin stood revealed
against the mountainside and glowing with an almost intolerable splendor
of fire and color. For some little time the whole building was a
blinding crimson mass, the towers continued to spout thick columns of
rockets aloft, and overhead the sky was radiant with arrowy bolts which
clove their way to the zenith, paused, curved gracefully downward, then
burst into brilliant fountain-sprays of richly colored sparks. The red
fires died slowly down, within the Castle, and presently the shell grew
nearly black outside; the angry glare that shone out through the broken
arches and innumerable sashless windows, now, reproduced the aspect
which the Castle must have borne in the old time when the French
spoilers saw the monster bonfire which they had made there fading and
spoiling toward extinction.

While we still gazed and enjoyed, the ruin was suddenly enveloped in
rolling and rumbling volumes of vaporous green fire; then in dazzling
purple ones; then a mixture of many colors followed, then drowned the
great fabric in its blended splendors. Meantime the nearest bridge had
been illuminated, and from several rafts anchored in the river, meteor
showers of rockets, Roman candles, bombs, serpents, and Catharine wheels
were being discharged in wasteful profusion into the sky--a marvelous
sight indeed to a person as little used to such spectacles as I was. For
a while the whole region about us seemed as bright as day, and yet the
rain was falling in torrents all the time. The evening's entertainment
presently closed, and we joined the innumerable caravan of half-drowned
strangers, and waded home again.

The Castle grounds are very ample and very beautiful; and as they joined
the Hotel grounds, with no fences to climb, but only some nobly shaded
stone stairways to descend, we spent a part of nearly every day in
idling through their smooth walks and leafy groves. There was an
attractive spot among the trees where were a great many wooden tables
and benches; and there one could sit in the shade and pretend to sip at
his foamy beaker of beer while he inspected the crowd. I say pretend,
because I only pretended to sip, without really sipping. That is the
polite way; but when you are ready to go, you empty the beaker at a
draught. There was a brass band, and it furnished excellent music every
afternoon. Sometimes so many people came that every seat was occupied,
every table filled. And never a rough in the assemblage--all nicely
dressed fathers and mothers, young gentlemen and ladies and children;
and plenty of university students and glittering officers; with here and
there a gray professor, or a peaceful old lady with her knitting; and
always a sprinkling of gawky foreigners. Everybody had his glass of
beer before him, or his cup of coffee, or his bottle of wine, or his
hot cutlet and potatoes; young ladies chatted, or fanned themselves, or
wrought at their crocheting or embroidering; the students fed sugar to
their dogs, or discussed duels, or illustrated new fencing tricks
with their little canes; and everywhere was comfort and enjoyment, and
everywhere peace and good-will to men. The trees were jubilant with
birds, and the paths with rollicking children. One could have a seat in
that place and plenty of music, any afternoon, for about eight cents, or
a family ticket for the season for two dollars.

For a change, when you wanted one, you could stroll to the Castle, and
burrow among its dungeons, or climb about its ruined towers, or visit
its interior shows--the great Heidelberg Tun, for instance. Everybody
has heard of the great Heidelberg Tun, and most people have seen it, no
doubt. It is a wine-cask as big as a cottage, and some traditions say
it holds eighteen thousand bottles, and other traditions say it holds
eighteen hundred million barrels. I think it likely that one of these
statements is a mistake, and the other is a lie. However, the mere
matter of capacity is a thing of no sort of consequence, since the cask
is empty, and indeed has always been empty, history says. An empty cask
the size of a cathedral could excite but little emotion in me.

I do not see any wisdom in building a monster cask to hoard up emptiness
in, when you can get a better quality, outside, any day, free of
expense. What could this cask have been built for? The more one studies
over that, the more uncertain and unhappy he becomes. Some historians
say that thirty couples, some say thirty thousand couples, can dance on
the head of this cask at the same time. Even this does not seem to me
to account for the building of it. It does not even throw light on it. A
profound and scholarly Englishman--a specialist--who had made the great
Heidelberg Tun his sole study for fifteen years, told me he had at last
satisfied himself that the ancients built it to make German cream in.
He said that the average German cow yielded from one to two and half
teaspoons of milk, when she was not worked in the plow or the hay-wagon
more than eighteen or nineteen hours a day. This milk was very sweet and
good, and a beautiful transparent bluish tint; but in order to get cream
from it in the most economical way, a peculiar process was necessary.
Now he believed that the habit of the ancients was to collect several
milkings in a teacup, pour it into the Great Tun, fill up with water,
and then skim off the cream from time to time as the needs of the German
Empire demanded.

This began to look reasonable. It certainly began to account for the
German cream which I had encountered and marveled over in so many hotels
and restaurants. But a thought struck me--

"Why did not each ancient dairyman take his own teacup of milk and his
own cask of water, and mix them, without making a government matter of

"Where could he get a cask large enough to contain the right proportion
of water?"

Very true. It was plain that the Englishman had studied the matter from
all sides. Still I thought I might catch him on one point; so I asked
him why the modern empire did not make the nation's cream in the
Heidelberg Tun, instead of leaving it to rot away unused. But he
answered as one prepared--

"A patient and diligent examination of the modern German cream had
satisfied me that they do not use the Great Tun now, because they have
got a BIGGER one hid away somewhere. Either that is the case or they
empty the spring milkings into the mountain torrents and then skim the
Rhine all summer."

There is a museum of antiquities in the Castle, and among its most
treasured relics are ancient manuscripts connected with German history.
There are hundreds of these, and their dates stretch back through many
centuries. One of them is a decree signed and sealed by the hand of a
successor of Charlemagne, in the year 896. A signature made by a hand
which vanished out of this life near a thousand years ago, is a more
impressive thing than even a ruined castle. Luther's wedding-ring was
shown me; also a fork belonging to a time anterior to our era, and an
early bootjack. And there was a plaster cast of the head of a man who
was assassinated about sixty years ago. The stab-wounds in the face
were duplicated with unpleasant fidelity. One or two real hairs still
remained sticking in the eyebrows of the cast. That trifle seemed to
almost change the counterfeit into a corpse.

There are many aged portraits--some valuable, some worthless; some of
great interest, some of none at all. I bought a couple--one a gorgeous
duke of the olden time, and the other a comely blue-eyed damsel,
a princess, maybe. I bought them to start a portrait-gallery of my
ancestors with. I paid a dollar and a half for the duke and a half for
the princess. One can lay in ancestors at even cheaper rates than these,
in Europe, if he will mouse among old picture shops and look out for


The College Prison It seems that the student may break a good many of
the public laws without having to answer to the public authorities.
His case must come before the University for trial and punishment. If a
policeman catches him in an unlawful act and proceeds to arrest him,
the offender proclaims that he is a student, and perhaps shows his
matriculation card, whereupon the officer asks for his address, then
goes his way, and reports the matter at headquarters. If the offense is
one over which the city has no jurisdiction, the authorities report
the case officially to the University, and give themselves no further
concern about it. The University court send for the student, listen to
the evidence, and pronounce judgment. The punishment usually inflicted
is imprisonment in the University prison. As I understand it, a
student's case is often tried without his being present at all.
Then something like this happens: A constable in the service of the
University visits the lodgings of the said student, knocks, is invited
to come in, does so, and says politely--

"If you please, I am here to conduct you to prison."

"Ah," says the student, "I was not expecting it. What have I been

"Two weeks ago the public peace had the honor to be disturbed by you."

"It is true; I had forgotten it. Very well: I have been complained of,
tried, and found guilty--is that it?"

"Exactly. You are sentenced to two days' solitary confinement in the
College prison, and I am sent to fetch you."

STUDENT. "O, I can't go today."

OFFICER. "If you please--why?"

STUDENT. "Because I've got an engagement."

OFFICER. "Tomorrow, then, perhaps?"

STUDENT. "No, I am going to the opera, tomorrow."

OFFICER. "Could you come Friday?"

STUDENT. (Reflectively.) "Let me see--Friday--Friday. I don't seem to
have anything on hand Friday."

OFFICER. "Then, if you please, I will expect you on Friday."

STUDENT. "All right, I'll come around Friday."

OFFICER. "Thank you. Good day, sir."

STUDENT. "Good day."

So on Friday the student goes to the prison of his own accord, and is

It is questionable if the world's criminal history can show a custom
more odd than this. Nobody knows, now, how it originated. There have
always been many noblemen among the students, and it is presumed that
all students are gentlemen; in the old times it was usual to mar the
convenience of such folk as little as possible; perhaps this indulgent
custom owes its origin to this.

One day I was listening to some conversation upon this subject when an
American student said that for some time he had been under sentence
for a slight breach of the peace and had promised the constable that he
would presently find an unoccupied day and betake himself to prison. I
asked the young gentleman to do me the kindness to go to jail as soon
as he conveniently could, so that I might try to get in there and visit
him, and see what college captivity was like. He said he would appoint
the very first day he could spare.

His confinement was to endure twenty-four hours. He shortly chose
his day, and sent me word. I started immediately. When I reached the
University Place, I saw two gentlemen talking together, and, as they
had portfolios under their arms, I judged they were tutors or elderly
students; so I asked them in English to show me the college jail. I
had learned to take it for granted that anybody in Germany who knows
anything, knows English, so I had stopped afflicting people with my
German. These gentlemen seemed a trifle amused--and a trifle confused,
too--but one of them said he would walk around the corner with me and
show me the place. He asked me why I wanted to get in there, and I said
to see a friend--and for curiosity. He doubted if I would be admitted,
but volunteered to put in a word or two for me with the custodian.

He rang the bell, a door opened, and we stepped into a paved way and
then up into a small living-room, where we were received by a hearty
and good-natured German woman of fifty. She threw up her hands with a
surprised "ACH GOTT, HERR PROFESSOR!" and exhibited a mighty deference
for my new acquaintance. By the sparkle in her eye I judged she was a
good deal amused, too. The "Herr Professor" talked to her in German, and
I understood enough of it to know that he was bringing very plausible
reasons to bear for admitting me. They were successful. So the Herr
Professor received my earnest thanks and departed. The old dame got her
keys, took me up two or three flights of stairs, unlocked a door, and
we stood in the presence of the criminal. Then she went into a jolly and
eager description of all that had occurred downstairs, and what the Herr
Professor had said, and so forth and so on. Plainly, she regarded it as
quite a superior joke that I had waylaid a Professor and employed him
in so odd a service. But I wouldn't have done it if I had known he was a
Professor; therefore my conscience was not disturbed.

Now the dame left us to ourselves. The cell was not a roomy one; still
it was a little larger than an ordinary prison cell. It had a window
of good size, iron-grated; a small stove; two wooden chairs; two oaken
tables, very old and most elaborately carved with names, mottoes, faces,
armorial bearings, etc.--the work of several generations of imprisoned
students; and a narrow wooden bedstead with a villainous straw mattress,
but no sheets, pillows, blankets, or coverlets--for these the student
must furnish at his own cost if he wants them. There was no carpet, of

The ceiling was completely covered with names, dates, and monograms,
done with candle-smoke. The walls were thickly covered with pictures and
portraits (in profile), some done with ink, some with soot, some with a
pencil, and some with red, blue, and green chalks; and whenever an inch
or two of space had remained between the pictures, the captives had
written plaintive verses, or names and dates. I do not think I was ever
in a more elaborately frescoed apartment.

Against the wall hung a placard containing the prison laws. I made a
note of one or two of these. For instance: The prisoner must pay, for
the "privilege" of entering, a sum equivalent to 20 cents of our money;
for the privilege of leaving, when his term had expired, 20 cents; for
every day spent in the prison, 12 cents; for fire and light, 12 cents a
day. The jailer furnishes coffee, mornings, for a small sum; dinners and
suppers may be ordered from outside if the prisoner chooses--and he is
allowed to pay for them, too.

Here and there, on the walls, appeared the names of American students,
and in one place the American arms and motto were displayed in colored

With the help of my friend I translated many of the inscriptions.

Some of them were cheerful, others the reverse. I will give the reader a
few specimens:

"In my tenth semester (my best one), I am cast here through the
complaints of others. Let those who follow me take warning."

curiosity to know what prison life was like; so he made a breach in some
law and got three days for it. It is more than likely that he never had
the same curiosity again.

(TRANSLATION.) "E. Glinicke, four days for being too eager a spectator
of a row."

"F. Graf Bismarck--27-29, II, '74." Which means that Count Bismarck, son
of the great statesman, was a prisoner two days in 1874.

(TRANSLATION.) "R. Diergandt--for Love--4 days." Many people in this
world have caught it heavier than for the same indiscretion.

This one is terse. I translate:

"Four weeks for MISINTERPRETED GALLANTRY." I wish the sufferer had
explained a little more fully. A four-week term is a rather serious

There were many uncomplimentary references, on the walls, to a certain
unpopular dignitary. One sufferer had got three days for not saluting
him. Another had "here two days slept and three nights lain awake,"
on account of this same "Dr. K." In one place was a picture of Dr. K.
hanging on a gallows.

Here and there, lonesome prisoners had eased the heavy time by altering
the records left by predecessors. Leaving the name standing, and the
date and length of the captivity, they had erased the description of the
misdemeanor, and written in its place, in staring capitals, "FOR THEFT!"
or "FOR MURDER!" or some other gaudy crime. In one place, all by itself,
stood this blood-curdling word:

"Rache!" [1]

1. "Revenge!"

There was no name signed, and no date. It was an inscription well
calculated to pique curiosity. One would greatly like to know the nature
of the wrong that had been done, and what sort of vengeance was wanted,
and whether the prisoner ever achieved it or not. But there was no way
of finding out these things.

Occasionally, a name was followed simply by the remark, "II days, for
disturbing the peace," and without comment upon the justice or injustice
of the sentence.

In one place was a hilarious picture of a student of the green cap
corps with a bottle of champagne in each hand; and below was the legend:
"These make an evil fate endurable."

There were two prison cells, and neither had space left on walls or
ceiling for another name or portrait or picture. The inside surfaces of
the two doors were completely covered with CARTES DE VISITE of former
prisoners, ingeniously let into the wood and protected from dirt and
injury by glass.

I very much wanted one of the sorry old tables which the prisoners had
spent so many years in ornamenting with their pocket-knives, but red
tape was in the way. The custodian could not sell one without an
order from a superior; and that superior would have to get it from HIS
superior; and this one would have to get it from a higher one--and so on
up and up until the faculty should sit on the matter and deliver final
judgment. The system was right, and nobody could find fault with it; but
it did not seem justifiable to bother so many people, so I proceeded no
further. It might have cost me more than I could afford, anyway; for
one of those prison tables, which was at the time in a private museum
in Heidelberg, was afterward sold at auction for two hundred and fifty
dollars. It was not worth more than a dollar, or possibly a dollar and
half, before the captive students began their work on it. Persons who
saw it at the auction said it was so curiously and wonderfully carved
that it was worth the money that was paid for it.

Among them many who have tasted the college prison's dreary hospitality
was a lively young fellow from one of the Southern states of America,
whose first year's experience of German university life was rather
peculiar. The day he arrived in Heidelberg he enrolled his name on the
college books, and was so elated with the fact that his dearest hope
had found fruition and he was actually a student of the old and renowned
university, that he set to work that very night to celebrate the event
by a grand lark in company with some other students. In the course of
his lark he managed to make a wide breach in one of the university's
most stringent laws. Sequel: before noon, next day, he was in the
college prison--booked for three months. The twelve long weeks dragged
slowly by, and the day of deliverance came at last. A great crowd of
sympathizing fellow-students received him with a rousing demonstration
as he came forth, and of course there was another grand lark--in the
course of which he managed to make a wide breach of the CITY'S most
stringent laws. Sequel: before noon, next day, he was safe in the city
lockup--booked for three months. This second tedious captivity drew to
an end in the course of time, and again a great crowd of sympathizing
fellow students gave him a rousing reception as he came forth; but
his delight in his freedom was so boundless that he could not proceed
soberly and calmly, but must go hopping and skipping and jumping down
the sleety street from sheer excess of joy. Sequel: he slipped and broke
his leg, and actually lay in the hospital during the next three months!

When he at last became a free man again, he said he believed he would
hunt up a brisker seat of learning; the Heidelberg lectures might
be good, but the opportunities of attending them were too rare, the
educational process too slow; he said he had come to Europe with the
idea that the acquirement of an education was only a matter of time,
but if he had averaged the Heidelberg system correctly, it was rather a
matter of eternity.


The Awful German Language

   A little learning makes the whole world kin.
                 --Proverbs xxxii, 7.

I went often to look at the collection of curiosities in Heidelberg
Castle, and one day I surprised the keeper of it with my German. I spoke
entirely in that language. He was greatly interested; and after I had
talked a while he said my German was very rare, possibly a "unique"; and
wanted to add it to his museum.

If he had known what it had cost me to acquire my art, he would also
have known that it would break any collector to buy it. Harris and I had
been hard at work on our German during several weeks at that time, and
although we had made good progress, it had been accomplished under great
difficulty and annoyance, for three of our teachers had died in the mean
time. A person who has not studied German can form no idea of what a
perplexing language it is.

Surely there is not another language that is so slipshod and systemless,
and so slippery and elusive to the grasp. One is washed about in it,
hither and thither, in the most helpless way; and when at last he thinks
he has captured a rule which offers firm ground to take a rest on amid
the general rage and turmoil of the ten parts of speech, he turns over
the page and reads, "Let the pupil make careful note of the following
EXCEPTIONS." He runs his eye down and finds that there are more
exceptions to the rule than instances of it. So overboard he goes again,
to hunt for another Ararat and find another quicksand. Such has been,
and continues to be, my experience. Every time I think I have got one
of these four confusing "cases" where I am master of it, a seemingly
insignificant preposition intrudes itself into my sentence, clothed with
an awful and unsuspected power, and crumbles the ground from under
me. For instance, my book inquires after a certain bird--(it is always
inquiring after things which are of no sort of consequence to anybody):
"Where is the bird?" Now the answer to this question--according to the
book--is that the bird is waiting in the blacksmith shop on account of
the rain. Of course no bird would do that, but then you must stick to
the book. Very well, I begin to cipher out the German for that answer. I
begin at the wrong end, necessarily, for that is the German idea. I
say to myself, "REGEN (rain) is masculine--or maybe it is feminine--or
possibly neuter--it is too much trouble to look now. Therefore, it
is either DER (the) Regen, or DIE (the) Regen, or DAS (the) Regen,
according to which gender it may turn out to be when I look. In the
interest of science, I will cipher it out on the hypothesis that it is
masculine. Very well--then THE rain is DER Regen, if it is simply in
the quiescent state of being MENTIONED, without enlargement or
discussion--Nominative case; but if this rain is lying around, in a kind
of a general way on the ground, it is then definitely located, it is
DOING SOMETHING--that is, RESTING (which is one of the German grammar's
ideas of doing something), and this throws the rain into the Dative
case, and makes it DEM Regen. However, this rain is not resting, but is
doing something ACTIVELY,--it is falling--to interfere with the bird,
likely--and this indicates MOVEMENT, which has the effect of sliding it
into the Accusative case and changing DEM Regen into DEN Regen."
Having completed the grammatical horoscope of this matter, I answer
up confidently and state in German that the bird is staying in the
blacksmith shop "wegen (on account of) DEN Regen." Then the teacher lets
me softly down with the remark that whenever the word "wegen" drops
into a sentence, it ALWAYS throws that subject into the GENITIVE case,
regardless of consequences--and therefore this bird stayed in the
blacksmith shop "wegen DES Regens."

N.B.--I was informed, later, by a higher authority, that there was
an "exception" which permits one to say "wegen DEN Regen" in certain
peculiar and complex circumstances, but that this exception is not
extended to anything BUT rain.

There are ten parts of speech, and they are all troublesome. An average
sentence, in a German newspaper, is a sublime and impressive curiosity;
it occupies a quarter of a column; it contains all the ten parts of
speech--not in regular order, but mixed; it is built mainly of compound
words constructed by the writer on the spot, and not to be found in
any dictionary--six or seven words compacted into one, without joint
or seam--that is, without hyphens; it treats of fourteen or fifteen
different subjects, each enclosed in a parenthesis of its own, with here
and there extra parentheses, making pens within pens: finally, all the
parentheses and reparentheses are massed together between a couple
of king-parentheses, one of which is placed in the first line of the
majestic sentence and the other in the middle of the last line of
it--AFTER WHICH COMES THE VERB, and you find out for the first time what
the man has been talking about; and after the verb--merely by way of
ornament, as far as I can make out--the writer shovels in "HABEN SIND
GEWESEN GEHABT HAVEN GEWORDEN SEIN," or words to that effect, and the
monument is finished. I suppose that this closing hurrah is in the
nature of the flourish to a man's signature--not necessary, but pretty.
German books are easy enough to read when you hold them before
the looking-glass or stand on your head--so as to reverse the
construction--but I think that to learn to read and understand a German
newspaper is a thing which must always remain an impossibility to a

Yet even the German books are not entirely free from attacks of the
Parenthesis distemper--though they are usually so mild as to cover only
a few lines, and therefore when you at last get down to the verb it
carries some meaning to your mind because you are able to remember a
good deal of what has gone before. Now here is a sentence from a popular
and excellent German novel--with a slight parenthesis in it. I will make
a perfectly literal translation, and throw in the parenthesis-marks and
some hyphens for the assistance of the reader--though in the original
there are no parenthesis-marks or hyphens, and the reader is left to
flounder through to the remote verb the best way he can:

"But when he, upon the street, the
government counselor's wife MET," etc., etc. [1]

1. Wenn er aber auf der Strasse der in Sammt und Seide gehuellten
jetz sehr ungenirt nach der neusten mode gekleideten Regierungsrathin

That is from THE OLD MAMSELLE'S SECRET, by Mrs. Marlitt. And that
sentence is constructed upon the most approved German model. You observe
how far that verb is from the reader's base of operations; well, in a
German newspaper they put their verb away over on the next page; and
I have heard that sometimes after stringing along the exciting
preliminaries and parentheses for a column or two, they get in a hurry
and have to go to press without getting to the verb at all. Of course,
then, the reader is left in a very exhausted and ignorant state.

We have the Parenthesis disease in our literature, too; and one may see
cases of it every day in our books and newspapers: but with us it is the
mark and sign of an unpracticed writer or a cloudy intellect, whereas
with the Germans it is doubtless the mark and sign of a practiced pen
and of the presence of that sort of luminous intellectual fog
which stands for clearness among these people. For surely it is NOT
clearness--it necessarily can't be clearness. Even a jury would have
penetration enough to discover that. A writer's ideas must be a good
deal confused, a good deal out of line and sequence, when he starts out
to say that a man met a counselor's wife in the street, and then right
in the midst of this so simple undertaking halts these approaching
people and makes them stand still until he jots down an inventory of the
woman's dress. That is manifestly absurd. It reminds a person of those
dentists who secure your instant and breathless interest in a tooth by
taking a grip on it with the forceps, and then stand there and
drawl through a tedious anecdote before they give the dreaded jerk.
Parentheses in literature and dentistry are in bad taste.

The Germans have another kind of parenthesis, which they make by
splitting a verb in two and putting half of it at the beginning of
an exciting chapter and the OTHER HALF at the end of it. Can any one
conceive of anything more confusing than that? These things are called
"separable verbs." The German grammar is blistered all over with
separable verbs; and the wider the two portions of one of them are
spread apart, the better the author of the crime is pleased with his
performance. A favorite one is REISTE AB--which means departed. Here is
an example which I culled from a novel and reduced to English:

"The trunks being now ready, he DE- after kissing his mother and
sisters, and once more pressing to his bosom his adored Gretchen, who,
dressed in simple white muslin, with a single tuberose in the ample
folds of her rich brown hair, had tottered feebly down the stairs, still
pale from the terror and excitement of the past evening, but longing to
lay her poor aching head yet once again upon the breast of him whom she
loved more dearly than life itself, PARTED."

However, it is not well to dwell too much on the separable verbs. One is
sure to lose his temper early; and if he sticks to the subject, and will
not be warned, it will at last either soften his brain or petrify
it. Personal pronouns and adjectives are a fruitful nuisance in this
language, and should have been left out. For instance, the same sound,
SIE, means YOU, and it means SHE, and it means HER, and it means IT,
and it means THEY, and it means THEM. Think of the ragged poverty of
a language which has to make one word do the work of six--and a poor
little weak thing of only three letters at that. But mainly, think of
the exasperation of never knowing which of these meanings the speaker is
trying to convey. This explains why, whenever a person says SIE to me, I
generally try to kill him, if a stranger.

Now observe the Adjective. Here was a case where simplicity would have
been an advantage; therefore, for no other reason, the inventor of this
language complicated it all he could. When we wish to speak of our "good
friend or friends," in our enlightened tongue, we stick to the one form
and have no trouble or hard feeling about it; but with the German
tongue it is different. When a German gets his hands on an adjective,
he declines it, and keeps on declining it until the common sense is all
declined out of it. It is as bad as Latin. He says, for instance:


Nominative--Mein gutER Freund, my good friend. Genitives--MeinES GutEN
FreundES, of my good friend. Dative--MeinEM gutEN Freund, to my good
friend. Accusative--MeinEN gutEN Freund, my good friend.


N.--MeinE gutEN FreundE, my good friends. G.--MeinER gutEN FreundE,
of my good friends. D.--MeinEN gutEN FreundEN, to my good friends.
A.--MeinE gutEN FreundE, my good friends.

Now let the candidate for the asylum try to memorize those variations,
and see how soon he will be elected. One might better go without friends
in Germany than take all this trouble about them. I have shown what a
bother it is to decline a good (male) friend; well this is only a third
of the work, for there is a variety of new distortions of the adjective
to be learned when the object is feminine, and still another when the
object is neuter. Now there are more adjectives in this language than
there are black cats in Switzerland, and they must all be as
elaborately declined as the examples above suggested.
Difficult?--troublesome?--these words cannot describe it. I heard a
Californian student in Heidelberg say, in one of his calmest moods, that
he would rather decline two drinks than one German adjective.

The inventor of the language seems to have taken pleasure in
complicating it in every way he could think of. For instance, if one is
casually referring to a house, HAUS, or a horse, PFERD, or a dog, HUND,
he spells these words as I have indicated; but if he is referring to
them in the Dative case, he sticks on a foolish and unnecessary E and
spells them HAUSE, PFERDE, HUNDE. So, as an added E often signifies the
plural, as the S does with us, the new student is likely to go on for a
month making twins out of a Dative dog before he discovers his mistake;
and on the other hand, many a new student who could ill afford loss,
has bought and paid for two dogs and only got one of them, because
he ignorantly bought that dog in the Dative singular when he really
supposed he was talking plural--which left the law on the seller's side,
of course, by the strict rules of grammar, and therefore a suit for
recovery could not lie.

In German, all the Nouns begin with a capital letter. Now that is a good
idea; and a good idea, in this language, is necessarily conspicuous from
its lonesomeness. I consider this capitalizing of nouns a good idea,
because by reason of it you are almost always able to tell a noun the
minute you see it. You fall into error occasionally, because you mistake
the name of a person for the name of a thing, and waste a good deal of
time trying to dig a meaning out of it. German names almost always do
mean something, and this helps to deceive the student. I translated a
passage one day, which said that "the infuriated tigress broke loose
and utterly ate up the unfortunate fir forest" (Tannenwald). When I was
girding up my loins to doubt this, I found out that Tannenwald in this
instance was a man's name.

Every noun has a gender, and there is no sense or system in the
distribution; so the gender of each must be learned separately and by
heart. There is no other way. To do this one has to have a memory like a
memorandum-book. In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has.
Think what overwrought reverence that shows for the turnip, and what
callous disrespect for the girl. See how it looks in print--I translate
this from a conversation in one of the best of the German Sunday-school

"Gretchen. Wilhelm, where is the turnip?

"Wilhelm. She has gone to the kitchen.

"Gretchen. Where is the accomplished and beautiful English maiden?

"Wilhelm. It has gone to the opera."

To continue with the German genders: a tree is male, its buds are
female, its leaves are neuter; horses are sexless, dogs are male, cats
are female--tomcats included, of course; a person's mouth, neck, bosom,
elbows, fingers, nails, feet, and body are of the male sex, and his head
is male or neuter according to the word selected to signify it, and NOT
according to the sex of the individual who wears it--for in Germany all
the women wear either male heads or sexless ones; a person's nose, lips,
shoulders, breast, hands, and toes are of the female sex; and his hair,
ears, eyes, chin, legs, knees, heart, and conscience haven't any sex
at all. The inventor of the language probably got what he knew about a
conscience from hearsay.

Now, by the above dissection, the reader will see that in Germany a
man may THINK he is a man, but when he comes to look into the matter
closely, he is bound to have his doubts; he finds that in sober truth
he is a most ridiculous mixture; and if he ends by trying to comfort
himself with the thought that he can at least depend on a third of this
mess as being manly and masculine, the humiliating second thought will
quickly remind him that in this respect he is no better off than any
woman or cow in the land.

In the German it is true that by some oversight of the inventor of
the language, a Woman is a female; but a Wife (Weib) is not--which is
unfortunate. A Wife, here, has no sex; she is neuter; so, according
to the grammar, a fish is HE, his scales are SHE, but a fishwife is
neither. To describe a wife as sexless may be called under-description;
that is bad enough, but over-description is surely worse. A German
speaks of an Englishman as the ENGLÄNNDER; to change the sex, he
adds INN, and that stands for Englishwoman--ENGLÄNDERINN. That seems
descriptive enough, but still it is not exact enough for a German; so he
precedes the word with that article which indicates that the creature to
follow is feminine, and writes it down thus: "die Engländerinn,"--which
means "the she-Englishwoman." I consider that that person is

Well, after the student has learned the sex of a great number of nouns,
he is still in a difficulty, because he finds it impossible to persuade
his tongue to refer to things as "he" and "she," and "him" and "her,"
which it has been always accustomed to refer to as "it." When he even
frames a German sentence in his mind, with the hims and hers in the
right places, and then works up his courage to the utterance-point, it
is no use--the moment he begins to speak his tongue flies the track and
all those labored males and females come out as "its." And even when he
is reading German to himself, he always calls those things "it," whereas
he ought to read in this way:


2. I capitalize the nouns, in the German (and ancient English) fashion.

It is a bleak Day. Hear the Rain, how he pours, and the Hail, how he
rattles; and see the Snow, how he drifts along, and of the Mud, how
deep he is! Ah the poor Fishwife, it is stuck fast in the Mire; it has
dropped its Basket of Fishes; and its Hands have been cut by the Scales
as it seized some of the falling Creatures; and one Scale has even got
into its Eye, and it cannot get her out. It opens its Mouth to cry
for Help; but if any Sound comes out of him, alas he is drowned by the
raging of the Storm. And now a Tomcat has got one of the Fishes and she
will surely escape with him. No, she bites off a Fin, she holds her in
her Mouth--will she swallow her? No, the Fishwife's brave Mother-dog
deserts his Puppies and rescues the Fin--which he eats, himself, as his
Reward. O, horror, the Lightning has struck the Fish-basket; he sets him
on Fire; see the Flame, how she licks the doomed Utensil with her red
and angry Tongue; now she attacks the helpless Fishwife's Foot--she
burns him up, all but the big Toe, and even SHE is partly consumed; and
still she spreads, still she waves her fiery Tongues; she attacks the
Fishwife's Leg and destroys IT; she attacks its Hand and destroys HER
also; she attacks the Fishwife's Leg and destroys HER also; she attacks
its Body and consumes HIM; she wreathes herself about its Heart and IT
is consumed; next about its Breast, and in a Moment SHE is a Cinder; now
she reaches its Neck--He goes; now its Chin--IT goes; now its Nose--SHE
goes. In another Moment, except Help come, the Fishwife will be no more.
Time presses--is there none to succor and save? Yes! Joy, joy,
with flying Feet the she-Englishwoman comes! But alas, the generous
she-Female is too late: where now is the fated Fishwife? It has ceased
from its Sufferings, it has gone to a better Land; all that is left of
it for its loved Ones to lament over, is this poor smoldering Ash-heap.
Ah, woeful, woeful Ash-heap! Let us take him up tenderly, reverently,
upon the lowly Shovel, and bear him to his long Rest, with the Prayer
that when he rises again it will be a Realm where he will have one good
square responsible Sex, and have it all to himself, instead of having a
mangy lot of assorted Sexes scattered all over him in Spots.

There, now, the reader can see for himself that this pronoun business is
a very awkward thing for the unaccustomed tongue. I suppose that in all
languages the similarities of look and sound between words which have
no similarity in meaning are a fruitful source of perplexity to the
foreigner. It is so in our tongue, and it is notably the case in the
German. Now there is that troublesome word VERMÄHLT: to me it has so
close a resemblance--either real or fancied--to three or four other
words, that I never know whether it means despised, painted, suspected,
or married; until I look in the dictionary, and then I find it means the
latter. There are lots of such words and they are a great torment. To
increase the difficulty there are words which SEEM to resemble each
other, and yet do not; but they make just as much trouble as if they
did. For instance, there is the word VERMIETHEN (to let, to lease, to
hire); and the word VERHEIRATHEN (another way of saying to marry). I
heard of an Englishman who knocked at a man's door in Heidelberg and
proposed, in the best German he could command, to "verheirathen" that
house. Then there are some words which mean one thing when you emphasize
the first syllable, but mean something very different if you throw the
emphasis on the last syllable. For instance, there is a word which
means a runaway, or the act of glancing through a book, according to the
placing of the emphasis; and another word which signifies to
ASSOCIATE with a man, or to AVOID him, according to where you put the
emphasis--and you can generally depend on putting it in the wrong place
and getting into trouble.

There are some exceedingly useful words in this language. SCHLAG, for
example; and ZUG. There are three-quarters of a column of SCHLAGS in the
dictonary, and a column and a half of ZUGS. The word SCHLAG means Blow,
Stroke, Dash, Hit, Shock, Clap, Slap, Time, Bar, Coin, Stamp,
Kind, Sort, Manner, Way, Apoplexy, Wood-cutting, Enclosure, Field,
Forest-clearing. This is its simple and EXACT meaning--that is to say,
its restricted, its fettered meaning; but there are ways by which
you can set it free, so that it can soar away, as on the wings of the
morning, and never be at rest. You can hang any word you please to
its tail, and make it mean anything you want to. You can begin
with SCHLAG-ADER, which means artery, and you can hang on the whole
dictionary, word by word, clear through the alphabet to SCHLAG-WASSER,
which means bilge-water--and including SCHLAG-MUTTER, which means

Just the same with ZUG. Strictly speaking, ZUG means Pull, Tug, Draught,
Procession, March, Progress, Flight, Direction, Expedition, Train,
Caravan, Passage, Stroke, Touch, Line, Flourish, Trait of Character,
Feature, Lineament, Chess-move, Organ-stop, Team, Whiff, Bias, Drawer,
Propensity, Inhalation, Disposition: but that thing which it does NOT
mean--when all its legitimate pennants have been hung on, has not been
discovered yet.

One cannot overestimate the usefulness of SCHLAG and ZUG. Armed just
with these two, and the word ALSO, what cannot the foreigner on German
soil accomplish? The German word ALSO is the equivalent of the English
phrase "You know," and does not mean anything at all--in TALK, though
it sometimes does in print. Every time a German opens his mouth an
ALSO falls out; and every time he shuts it he bites one in two that was
trying to GET out.

Now, the foreigner, equipped with these three noble words, is master of
the situation. Let him talk right along, fearlessly; let him pour his
indifferent German forth, and when he lacks for a word, let him heave a
SCHLAG into the vacuum; all the chances are that it fits it like a
plug, but if it doesn't let him promptly heave a ZUG after it; the two
together can hardly fail to bung the hole; but if, by a miracle, they
SHOULD fail, let him simply say ALSO! and this will give him a moment's
chance to think of the needful word. In Germany, when you load your
conversational gun it is always best to throw in a SCHLAG or two and a
ZUG or two, because it doesn't make any difference how much the rest of
the charge may scatter, you are bound to bag something with THEM. Then
you blandly say ALSO, and load up again. Nothing gives such an air
of grace and elegance and unconstraint to a German or an English
conversation as to scatter it full of "Also's" or "You knows."

In my note-book I find this entry:

July 1.--In the hospital yesterday, a word of thirteen syllables was
successfully removed from a patient--a North German from near Hamburg;
but as most unfortunately the surgeons had opened him in the wrong
place, under the impression that he contained a panorama, he died. The
sad event has cast a gloom over the whole community.

That paragraph furnishes a text for a few remarks about one of the most
curious and notable features of my subject--the length of German words.
Some German words are so long that they have a perspective. Observe
these examples:




These things are not words, they are alphabetical processions. And they
are not rare; one can open a German newspaper at any time and see them
marching majestically across the page--and if he has any imagination
he can see the banners and hear the music, too. They impart a martial
thrill to the meekest subject. I take a great interest in these
curiosities. Whenever I come across a good one, I stuff it and put it in
my museum. In this way I have made quite a valuable collection. When I
get duplicates, I exchange with other collectors, and thus increase the
variety of my stock. Here are some specimens which I lately bought at an
auction sale of the effects of a bankrupt bric-a-brac hunter:







Of course when one of these grand mountain ranges goes stretching across
the printed page, it adorns and ennobles that literary landscape--but at
the same time it is a great distress to the new student, for it blocks
up his way; he cannot crawl under it, or climb over it, or tunnel
through it. So he resorts to the dictionary for help, but there is no
help there. The dictionary must draw the line somewhere--so it leaves
this sort of words out. And it is right, because these long things are
hardly legitimate words, but are rather combinations of words, and the
inventor of them ought to have been killed. They are compound words with
the hyphens left out. The various words used in building them are in
the dictionary, but in a very scattered condition; so you can hunt the
materials out, one by one, and get at the meaning at last, but it is a
tedious and harassing business. I have tried this process upon some of
the above examples. "Freundshaftsbezeigungen" seems to be "Friendship
demonstrations," which is only a foolish and clumsy way of saying
"demonstrations of friendship." "Unabhängigkeitserklärungen" seems to be
"Independencedeclarations," which is no improvement upon
"Declarations of Independence," so far as I can see.
"Generalstaatsverordnetenversammlungen" seems to be
"General-statesrepresentativesmeetings," as nearly as I can get at it--a
mere rhythmical, gushy euphemism for "meetings of the legislature,"
I judge. We used to have a good deal of this sort of crime in our
literature, but it has gone out now. We used to speak of a thing as a
"never-to-be-forgotten" circumstance, instead of cramping it into the
simple and sufficient word "memorable" and then going calmly about our
business as if nothing had happened. In those days we were not content
to embalm the thing and bury it decently, we wanted to build a monument
over it.

But in our newspapers the compounding-disease lingers a little to the
present day, but with the hyphens left out, in the German fashion. This
is the shape it takes: instead of saying "Mr. Simmons, clerk of the
county and district courts, was in town yesterday," the new form puts
it thus: "Clerk of the County and District Courts Simmons was in town
yesterday." This saves neither time nor ink, and has an awkward
sound besides. One often sees a remark like this in our papers: "MRS.
Assistant District Attorney Johnson returned to her city residence
yesterday for the season." That is a case of really unjustifiable
compounding; because it not only saves no time or trouble, but confers
a title on Mrs. Johnson which she has no right to. But these little
instances are trifles indeed, contrasted with the ponderous and dismal
German system of piling jumbled compounds together. I wish to submit the
following local item, from a Mannheim journal, by way of illustration:

"In the daybeforeyesterdayshortlyaftereleveno'clock Night, the
inthistownstandingtavern called 'The Wagoner' was downburnt. When the
fire to the onthedownburninghouseresting Stork's Nest reached, flew the
parent Storks away. But when the bytheraging, firesurrounded Nest ITSELF
caught Fire, straightway plunged the quickreturning Mother-Stork into
the Flames and died, her Wings over her young ones outspread."

Even the cumbersome German construction is not able to take the pathos
out of that picture--indeed, it somehow seems to strengthen it. This
item is dated away back yonder months ago. I could have used it sooner,
but I was waiting to hear from the Father-stork. I am still waiting.

"ALSO!" If I had not shown that the German is a difficult language, I
have at least intended to do so. I have heard of an American student
who was asked how he was getting along with his German, and who answered
promptly: "I am not getting along at all. I have worked at it hard for
three level months, and all I have got to show for it is one solitary
German phrase--'ZWEI GLAS'" (two glasses of beer). He paused for a
moment, reflectively; then added with feeling: "But I've got that

And if I have not also shown that German is a harassing and infuriating
study, my execution has been at fault, and not my intent. I heard lately
of a worn and sorely tried American student who used to fly to a certain
German word for relief when he could bear up under his aggravations no
longer--the only word whose sound was sweet and precious to his ear and
healing to his lacerated spirit. This was the word DAMIT. It was only
the SOUND that helped him, not the meaning; [3] and so, at last, when he
learned that the emphasis was not on the first syllable, his only stay
and support was gone, and he faded away and died.

3. It merely means, in its general sense, "herewith."

I think that a description of any loud, stirring, tumultuous episode
must be tamer in German than in English. Our descriptive words of this
character have such a deep, strong, resonant sound, while their German
equivalents do seem so thin and mild and energyless. Boom, burst, crash,
roar, storm, bellow, blow, thunder, explosion; howl, cry, shout, yell,
groan; battle, hell. These are magnificent words; the have a force and
magnitude of sound befitting the things which they describe. But their
German equivalents would be ever so nice to sing the children to sleep
with, or else my awe-inspiring ears were made for display and not for
superior usefulness in analyzing sounds. Would any man want to die in a
battle which was called by so tame a term as a SCHLACHT? Or would not
a comsumptive feel too much bundled up, who was about to go out, in
a shirt-collar and a seal-ring, into a storm which the bird-song word
GEWITTER was employed to describe? And observe the strongest of the
several German equivalents for explosion--AUSBRUCH. Our word Toothbrush
is more powerful than that. It seems to me that the Germans could
do worse than import it into their language to describe particularly
tremendous explosions with. The German word for hell--Hoelle--sounds
more like HELLY than anything else; therefore, how necessarily chipper,
frivolous, and unimpressive it is. If a man were told in German to go
there, could he really rise to thee dignity of feeling insulted?

Having pointed out, in detail, the several vices of this language, I
now come to the brief and pleasant task of pointing out its virtues. The
capitalizing of the nouns I have already mentioned. But far before this
virtue stands another--that of spelling a word according to the sound of
it. After one short lesson in the alphabet, the student can tell how any
German word is pronounced without having to ask; whereas in our language
if a student should inquire of us, "What does B, O, W, spell?" we should
be obliged to reply, "Nobody can tell what it spells when you set if off
by itself; you can only tell by referring to the context and finding out
what it signifies--whether it is a thing to shoot arrows with, or a nod
of one's head, or the forward end of a boat."

There are some German words which are singularly and powerfully
effective. For instance, those which describe lowly, peaceful, and
affectionate home life; those which deal with love, in any and all
forms, from mere kindly feeling and honest good will toward the passing
stranger, clear up to courtship; those which deal with outdoor Nature,
in its softest and loveliest aspects--with meadows and forests, and
birds and flowers, the fragrance and sunshine of summer, and the
moonlight of peaceful winter nights; in a word, those which deal with
any and all forms of rest, repose, and peace; those also which deal with
the creatures and marvels of fairyland; and lastly and chiefly, in
those words which express pathos, is the language surpassingly rich
and affective. There are German songs which can make a stranger to the
language cry. That shows that the SOUND of the words is correct--it
interprets the meanings with truth and with exactness; and so the ear is
informed, and through the ear, the heart.

The Germans do not seem to be afraid to repeat a word when it is the
right one. They repeat it several times, if they choose. That is
wise. But in English, when we have used a word a couple of times in a
paragraph, we imagine we are growing tautological, and so we are weak
enough to exchange it for some other word which only approximates
exactness, to escape what we wrongly fancy is a greater blemish.
Repetition may be bad, but surely inexactness is worse.

There are people in the world who will take a great deal of trouble to
point out the faults in a religion or a language, and then go blandly
about their business without suggesting any remedy. I am not that kind
of person. I have shown that the German language needs reforming. Very
well, I am ready to reform it. At least I am ready to make the proper
suggestions. Such a course as this might be immodest in another; but I
have devoted upward of nine full weeks, first and last, to a careful and
critical study of this tongue, and thus have acquired a confidence in
my ability to reform it which no mere superficial culture could have
conferred upon me.

In the first place, I would leave out the Dative case. It confuses the
plurals; and, besides, nobody ever knows when he is in the Dative case,
except he discover it by accident--and then he does not know when or
where it was that he got into it, or how long he has been in it, or
how he is ever going to get out of it again. The Dative case is but an
ornamental folly--it is better to discard it.

In the next place, I would move the Verb further up to the front. You
may load up with ever so good a Verb, but I notice that you never really
bring down a subject with it at the present German range--you only
cripple it. So I insist that this important part of speech should be
brought forward to a position where it may be easily seen with the naked

Thirdly, I would import some strong words from the English tongue--to
swear with, and also to use in describing all sorts of vigorous things
in a vigorous way. [4]

1. "Verdammt," and its variations and enlargements, are words which
have plenty of meaning, but the SOUNDS are so mild and ineffectual that
German ladies can use them without sin. German ladies who could not be
induced to commit a sin by any persuasion or compulsion, promptly rip
out one of these harmless little words when they tear their dresses or
don't like the soup. It sounds about as wicked as our "My gracious."
German ladies are constantly saying, "Ach! Gott!" "Mein Gott!" "Gott in
Himmel!" "Herr Gott" "Der Herr Jesus!" etc. They think our ladies have
the same custom, perhaps; for I once heard a gentle and lovely old
German lady say to a sweet young American girl: "The two languages are
so alike--how pleasant that is; we say 'Ach! Gott!' you say 'Goddamn.'"

Fourthly, I would reorganizes the sexes, and distribute them accordingly
to the will of the creator. This as a tribute of respect, if nothing

Fifthly, I would do away with those great long compounded words; or
require the speaker to deliver them in sections, with intermissions for
refreshments. To wholly do away with them would be best, for ideas are
more easily received and digested when they come one at a time than when
they come in bulk. Intellectual food is like any other; it is pleasanter
and more beneficial to take it with a spoon than with a shovel.

Sixthly, I would require a speaker to stop when he is done, and not
hang a string of those useless "haven sind gewesen gehabt haben geworden
seins" to the end of his oration. This sort of gewgaws undignify a
speech, instead of adding a grace. They are, therefore, an offense, and
should be discarded.

Seventhly, I would discard the Parenthesis. Also the reparenthesis, the
re-reparenthesis, and the re-re-re-re-re-reparentheses, and likewise
the final wide-reaching all-enclosing king-parenthesis. I would require
every individual, be he high or low, to unfold a plain straightforward
tale, or else coil it and sit on it and hold his peace. Infractions of
this law should be punishable with death.

And eighthly, and last, I would retain ZUG and SCHLAG, with their
pendants, and discard the rest of the vocabulary. This would simplify
the language.

I have now named what I regard as the most necessary and important
changes. These are perhaps all I could be expected to name for nothing;
but there are other suggestions which I can and will make in case my
proposed application shall result in my being formally employed by the
government in the work of reforming the language.

My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to
learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French
in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then,
that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is
to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among
the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it.


Gentlemen: Since I arrived, a month ago, in this old wonderland, this
vast garden of Germany, my English tongue has so often proved a useless
piece of baggage to me, and so troublesome to carry around, in a country
where they haven't the checking system for luggage, that I finally set
to work, and learned the German language. Also! Es freut mich dass dies
so ist, denn es muss, in ein hauptsächlich degree, höflich sein, dass
man auf ein occasion like this, sein Rede in die Sprache des Landes
worin he boards, aussprechen soll. Dafuer habe ich, aus reinische
Verlegenheit--no, Vergangenheit--no, I mean Höflichkeit--aus reinishe
Höflichkeit habe ich resolved to tackle this business in the German
language, um Gottes willen! Also! Sie muessen so freundlich sein, und
verzeih mich die interlarding von ein oder zwei Englischer Worte, hie
und da, denn ich finde dass die deutsche is not a very copious language,
and so when you've really got anything to say, you've got to draw on a
language that can stand the strain.

Wenn haber man kann nicht meinem Rede Verstehen, so werde ich ihm später
dasselbe uebersetz, wenn er solche Dienst verlangen wollen haben werden
sollen sein hätte. (I don't know what wollen haben werden sollen sein
hätte means, but I notice they always put it at the end of a German
sentence--merely for general literary gorgeousness, I suppose.)

This is a great and justly honored day--a day which is worthy of the
veneration in which it is held by the true patriots of all climes and
nationalities--a day which offers a fruitful theme for thought and
speech; und meinem Freunde--no, meinEN FreundEN--meinES FreundES--well,
take your choice, they're all the same price; I don't know which one is
right--also! ich habe gehabt haben worden gewesen sein, as Goethe says
in his Paradise Lost--ich--ich--that is to say--ich--but let us change

Also! Die Anblich so viele Grossbrittanischer und Amerikanischer
hier zusammengetroffen in Bruderliche concord, ist zwar a welcome and
inspiriting spectacle. And what has moved you to it? Can the
terse German tongue rise to the expression of this impulse? Is it
Nein, O nein! This is a crisp and noble word, but it fails to pierce
the marrow of the impulse which has gathered this friendly meeting and
produced diese Anblick--eine Anblich welche ist gut zu sehen--gut fuer
die Augen in a foreign land and a far country--eine Anblick solche als
in die gewöhnliche Heidelberger phrase nennt man ein "schönes Aussicht!"
Ja, freilich natürlich wahrscheinlich ebensowohl! Also! Die Aussicht auf
dem Koenigsstuhl mehr grösser ist, aber geistlische sprechend nicht
so schön, lob' Gott! Because sie sind hier zusammengetroffen, in
Bruderlichem concord, ein grossen Tag zu feirn, whose high benefits were
not for one land and one locality, but have conferred a measure of
good upon all lands that know liberty today, and love it. Hundert Jahre
vorueber, waren die Engländer und die Amerikaner Feinde; aber heut sind
sie herzlichen Freunde, Gott sei Dank! May this good-fellowship endure;
may these banners here blended in amity so remain; may they never
any more wave over opposing hosts, or be stained with blood which was
kindred, is kindred, and always will be kindred, until a line drawn upon
a map shall be able to say: "THIS bars the ancestral blood from flowing
in the veins of the descendant!"


Legend of the Castles Called the "Swallow's Nest" and "The Brothers," as
Condensed from the Captain's Tale

In the neighborhood of three hundred years ago the Swallow's Nest and
the larger castle between it and Neckarsteinach were owned and occupied
by two old knights who were twin brothers, and bachelors. They had no
relatives. They were very rich. They had fought through the wars and
retired to private life--covered with honorable scars. They were honest,
honorable men in their dealings, but the people had given them a couple
of nicknames which were very suggestive--Herr Givenaught and Herr
Heartless. The old knights were so proud of these names that if a
burgher called them by their right ones they would correct them.

The most renowned scholar in Europe, at the time, was the Herr Doctor
Franz Reikmann, who lived in Heidelberg. All Germany was proud of the
venerable scholar, who lived in the simplest way, for great scholars are
always poor. He was poor, as to money, but very rich in his sweet young
daughter Hildegarde and his library. He had been all his life collecting
his library, book and book, and he lived it as a miser loves his hoarded
gold. He said the two strings of his heart were rooted, the one in his
daughter, the other in his books; and that if either were severed he
must die. Now in an evil hour, hoping to win a marriage portion for his
child, this simple old man had intrusted his small savings to a sharper
to be ventured in a glittering speculation. But that was not the worst
of it: he signed a paper--without reading it. That is the way with poets
and scholars; they always sign without reading. This cunning paper made
him responsible for heaps of things. The rest was that one night he
found himself in debt to the sharper eight thousand pieces of gold!--an
amount so prodigious that it simply stupefied him to think of it. It was
a night of woe in that house.

"I must part with my library--I have nothing else. So perishes one
heartstring," said the old man.

"What will it bring, father?" asked the girl.

"Nothing! It is worth seven hundred pieces of gold; but by auction it
will go for little or nothing."

"Then you will have parted with the half of your heart and the joy of
your life to no purpose, since so mighty a burden of debt will remain

"There is no help for it, my child. Our darlings must pass under the
hammer. We must pay what we can."

"My father, I have a feeling that the dear Virgin will come to our help.
Let us not lose heart."

"She cannot devise a miracle that will turn NOTHING into eight thousand
gold pieces, and lesser help will bring us little peace."

"She can do even greater things, my father. She will save us, I know she

Toward morning, while the old man sat exhausted and asleep in his chair
where he had been sitting before his books as one who watches by his
beloved dead and prints the features on his memory for a solace in the
aftertime of empty desolation, his daughter sprang into the room and
gently woke him, saying--

"My presentiment was true! She will save us. Three times has she
appeared to me in my dreams, and said, 'Go to the Herr Givenaught, go to
the Herr Heartless, ask them to come and bid.' There, did I not tell you
she would save us, the thrice blessed Virgin!"

Sad as the old man was, he was obliged to laugh.

"Thou mightest as well appeal to the rocks their castles stand upon as
to the harder ones that lie in those men's breasts, my child. THEY bid
on books writ in the learned tongues!--they can scarce read their own."

But Hildegarde's faith was in no wise shaken. Bright and early she was
on her way up the Neckar road, as joyous as a bird.

Meantime Herr Givenaught and Herr Heartless were having an early
breakfast in the former's castle--the Sparrow's Nest--and flavoring
it with a quarrel; for although these twins bore a love for each other
which almost amounted to worship, there was one subject upon which they
could not touch without calling each other hard names--and yet it was
the subject which they oftenest touched upon.

"I tell you," said Givenaught, "you will beggar yourself yet with your
insane squanderings of money upon what you choose to consider poor and
worthy objects. All these years I have implored you to stop this foolish
custom and husband your means, but all in vain. You are always lying
to me about these secret benevolences, but you never have managed to
deceive me yet. Every time a poor devil has been set upon his feet I
have detected your hand in it--incorrigible ass!"

"Every time you didn't set him on his feet yourself, you mean. Where I
give one unfortunate a little private lift, you do the same for a dozen.
The idea of YOUR swelling around the country and petting yourself with
the nickname of Givenaught--intolerable humbug! Before I would be such
a fraud as that, I would cut my right hand off. Your life is a continual
lie. But go on, I have tried MY best to save you from beggaring yourself
by your riotous charities--now for the thousandth time I wash my hands
of the consequences. A maundering old fool! that's what you are."

"And you a blethering old idiot!" roared Givenaught, springing up.

"I won't stay in the presence of a man who has no more delicacy than to
call me such names. Mannerless swine!"

So saying, Herr Heartless sprang up in a passion. But some lucky
accident intervened, as usual, to change the subject, and the daily
quarrel ended in the customary daily living reconciliation. The
gray-headed old eccentrics parted, and Herr Heartless walked off to his
own castle.

Half an hour later, Hildegarde was standing in the presence of Herr
Givenaught. He heard her story, and said--

"I am sorry for you, my child, but I am very poor, I care nothing for
bookish rubbish, I shall not be there."

He said the hard words kindly, but they nearly broke poor Hildegarde's
heart, nevertheless. When she was gone the old heartbreaker muttered,
rubbing his hands--

"It was a good stroke. I have saved my brother's pocket this time,
in spite of him. Nothing else would have prevented his rushing off to
rescue the old scholar, the pride of Germany, from his trouble. The poor
child won't venture near HIM after the rebuff she has received from his
brother the Givenaught."

But he was mistaken. The Virgin had commanded, and Hildegarde would
obey. She went to Herr Heartless and told her story. But he said

"I am very poor, my child, and books are nothing to me. I wish you well,
but I shall not come."

When Hildegarde was gone, he chuckled and said--

"How my fool of a soft-headed soft-hearted brother would rage if he knew
how cunningly I have saved his pocket. How he would have flown to the
old man's rescue! But the girl won't venture near him now."

When Hildegarde reached home, her father asked her how she had
prospered. She said--

"The Virgin has promised, and she will keep her word; but not in the way
I thought. She knows her own ways, and they are best."

The old man patted her on the head, and smiled a doubting smile, but he
honored her for her brave faith, nevertheless.


Next day the people assembled in the great hall of the Ritter tavern,
to witness the auction--for the proprietor had said the treasure of
Germany's most honored son should be bartered away in no meaner place.
Hildegarde and her father sat close to the books, silent and sorrowful,
and holding each other's hands. There was a great crowd of people
present. The bidding began--

"How much for this precious library, just as it stands, all complete?"
called the auctioneer.

"Fifty pieces of gold!"

"A hundred!"

"Two hundred."



"Five hundred!"

"Five twenty-five."

A brief pause.

"Five forty!"

A longer pause, while the auctioneer redoubled his persuasions.


A heavy drag--the auctioneer persuaded, pleaded, implored--it was
useless, everybody remained silent--

"Well, then--going, going--one--two--"

"Five hundred and fifty!"

This in a shrill voice, from a bent old man, all hung with rags, and
with a green patch over his left eye. Everybody in his vicinity
turned and gazed at him. It was Givenaught in disguise. He was using a
disguised voice, too.

"Good!" cried the auctioneer. "Going, going--one--two--"

"Five hundred and sixty!"

This, in a deep, harsh voice, from the midst of the crowd at the other
end of the room. The people near by turned, and saw an old man, in a
strange costume, supporting himself on crutches. He wore a long white
beard, and blue spectacles. It was Herr Heartless, in disguise, and
using a disguised voice.

"Good again! Going, going--one--"

"Six hundred!"

Sensation. The crowd raised a cheer, and some one cried out, "Go it,
Green-patch!" This tickled the audience and a score of voices shouted,
"Go it, Green-patch!"

"Going--going--going--third and last call--one--two--"

"Seven hundred!"

"Huzzah!--well done, Crutches!" cried a voice. The crowd took it up, and
shouted altogether, "Well done, Crutches!"

"Splendid, gentlemen! you are doing magnificently. Going, going--"

"A thousand!"

"Three cheers for Green-patch! Up and at him, Crutches!"


"Two thousand!"

And while the people cheered and shouted, "Crutches" muttered, "Who can
this devil be that is fighting so to get these useless books?--But no
matter, he sha'n't have them. The pride of Germany shall have his books
if it beggars me to buy them for him."

"Going, going, going--"

"Three thousand!"

"Come, everybody--give a rouser for Green-patch!"

And while they did it, "Green-patch" muttered, "This cripple is plainly
a lunatic; but the old scholar shall have his books, nevertheless,
though my pocket sweat for it."


"Four thousand!"


"Five thousand!"


"Six thousand!"


"Seven thousand!"


"EIGHT thousand!"

"We are saved, father! I told you the Holy Virgin would keep her word!"
"Blessed be her sacred name!" said the old scholar, with emotion. The
crowd roared, "Huzza, huzza, huzza--at him again, Green-patch!"


"TEN thousand!" As Givenaught shouted this, his excitement was so
great that he forgot himself and used his natural voice. His brother
recognized it, and muttered, under cover of the storm of cheers--

"Aha, you are there, are you, besotted old fool? Take the books, I know
what you'll do with them!"

So saying, he slipped out of the place and the auction was at an end.
Givenaught shouldered his way to Hildegarde, whispered a word in
her ear, and then he also vanished. The old scholar and his daughter
embraced, and the former said, "Truly the Holy Mother has done more
than she promised, child, for she has given you a splendid marriage
portion--think of it, two thousand pieces of gold!"

"And more still," cried Hildegarde, "for she has given you back your
books; the stranger whispered me that he would none of them--'the
honored son of Germany must keep them,' so he said. I would I might have
asked his name and kissed his hand and begged his blessing; but he was
Our Lady's angel, and it is not meet that we of earth should venture
speech with them that dwell above."


German Journals The daily journals of Hamburg, Frankfort, Baden, Munich,
and Augsburg are all constructed on the same general plan. I speak of
these because I am more familiar with them than with any other German
papers. They contain no "editorials" whatever; no "personals"--and this
is rather a merit than a demerit, perhaps; no funny-paragraph column;
no police-court reports; no reports of proceedings of higher courts;
no information about prize-fights or other dog-fights, horse-races,
walking-machines, yachting-contents, rifle-matches, or other sporting
matters of any sort; no reports of banquet speeches; no department of
curious odds and ends of floating fact and gossip; no "rumors" about
anything or anybody; no prognostications or prophecies about anything or
anybody; no lists of patents granted or sought, or any reference to
such things; no abuse of public officials, big or little, or complaints
against them, or praises of them; no religious columns Saturdays, no
rehash of cold sermons Mondays; no "weather indications"; no "local
item" unveiling of what is happening in town--nothing of a local nature,
indeed, is mentioned, beyond the movements of some prince, or the
proposed meeting of some deliberative body.

After so formidable a list of what one can't find in a German daily,
the question may well be asked, What CAN be found in it? It is easily
answered: A child's handful of telegrams, mainly about European national
and international political movements; letter-correspondence about the
same things; market reports. There you have it. That is what a German
daily is made of. A German daily is the slowest and saddest and
dreariest of the inventions of man. Our own dailies infuriate the
reader, pretty often; the German daily only stupefies him. Once a
week the German daily of the highest class lightens up its heavy
columns--that is, it thinks it lightens them up--with a profound, an
abysmal, book criticism; a criticism which carries you down, down, down
into the scientific bowels of the subject--for the German critic is
nothing if not scientific--and when you come up at last and scent the
fresh air and see the bonny daylight once more, you resolve without a
dissenting voice that a book criticism is a mistaken way to lighten up
a German daily. Sometimes, in place of the criticism, the first-class
daily gives you what it thinks is a gay and chipper essay--about ancient
Grecian funeral customs, or the ancient Egyptian method of tarring a
mummy, or the reasons for believing that some of the peoples who existed
before the flood did not approve of cats. These are not unpleasant
subjects; they are not uninteresting subjects; they are even exciting
subjects--until one of these massive scientists gets hold of them. He
soon convinces you that even these matters can be handled in such a way
as to make a person low-spirited.

As I have said, the average German daily is made up solely of
correspondences--a trifle of it by telegraph, the rest of it by mail.
Every paragraph has the side-head, "London," "Vienna," or some other
town, and a date. And always, before the name of the town, is placed
a letter or a sign, to indicate who the correspondent is, so that the
authorities can find him when they want to hang him. Stars, crosses,
triangles, squares, half-moons, suns--such are some of the signs used by

Some of the dailies move too fast, others too slowly. For instance, my
Heidelberg daily was always twenty-four hours old when it arrived at
the hotel; but one of my Munich evening papers used to come a full
twenty-four hours before it was due.

Some of the less important dailies give one a tablespoonful of a
continued story every day; it is strung across the bottom of the page,
in the French fashion. By subscribing for the paper for five years I
judge that a man might succeed in getting pretty much all of the story.

If you ask a citizen of Munich which is the best Munich daily journal,
he will always tell you that there is only one good Munich daily, and
that it is published in Augsburg, forty or fifty miles away. It is like
saying that the best daily paper in New York is published out in New
Jersey somewhere. Yes, the Augsburg ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG is "the best
Munich paper," and it is the one I had in my mind when I was describing
a "first-class German daily" above. The entire paper, opened out, is not
quite as large as a single page of the New York HERALD. It is printed on
both sides, of course; but in such large type that its entire contents
could be put, in HERALD type, upon a single page of the HERALD--and
there would still be room enough on the page for the ZEITUNG's
"supplement" and some portion of the ZEITUNG's next day's contents.

Such is the first-class daily. The dailies actually printed in Munich
are all called second-class by the public. If you ask which is the best
of these second-class papers they say there is no difference; one is as
good as another. I have preserved a copy of one of them; it is
called the MÜNCHENER TAGES-ANZEIGER, and bears date January 25, 1879.
Comparisons are odious, but they need not be malicious; and without any
malice I wish to compare this journal, published in a German city of
170,000 inhabitants, with journals of other countries. I know of no
other way to enable the reader to "size" the thing.

A column of an average daily paper in America contains from 1,800 to
2,500 words; the reading-matter in a single issue consists of from
25,000 to 50,000 words. The reading-matter in my copy of the Munich
journal consists of a total of 1,654 words --for I counted them. That
would be nearly a column of one of our dailies. A single issue of the
bulkiest daily newspaper in the world--the London TIMES--often contains
100,000 words of reading-matter. Considering that the DAILY ANZEIGER
issues the usual twenty-six numbers per month, the reading matter in a
single number of the London TIMES would keep it in "copy" two months and
a half.

The ANZEIGER is an eight-page paper; its page is one inch wider and one
inch longer than a foolscap page; that is to say, the dimensions of its
page are somewhere between those of a schoolboy's slate and a lady's
pocket handkerchief. One-fourth of the first page is taken up with the
heading of the journal; this gives it a rather top-heavy appearance;
the rest of the first page is reading-matter; all of the second page is
reading-matter; the other six pages are devoted to advertisements.

The reading-matter is compressed into two hundred and five small-pica
lines, and is lighted up with eight pica headlines. The bill of fare
is as follows: First, under a pica headline, to enforce attention and
respect, is a four-line sermon urging mankind to remember that, although
they are pilgrims here below, they are yet heirs of heaven; and that
"When they depart from earth they soar to heaven." Perhaps a four-line
sermon in a Saturday paper is the sufficient German equivalent of the
eight or ten columns of sermons which the New-Yorkers get in their
Monday morning papers. The latest news (two days old) follows the
four-line sermon, under the pica headline "Telegrams"--these are
"telegraphed" with a pair of scissors out of the AUGSBURGER ZEITUNG of
the day before. These telegrams consist of fourteen and two-thirds lines
from Berlin, fifteen lines from Vienna, and two and five-eights lines
from Calcutta. Thirty-three small-pica lines of telegraphic news in a
daily journal in a King's Capital of one hundred and seventy thousand
inhabitants is surely not an overdose. Next we have the pica heading,
"News of the Day," under which the following facts are set forth: Prince
Leopold is going on a visit to Vienna, six lines; Prince Arnulph is
coming back from Russia, two lines; the Landtag will meet at ten o'clock
in the morning and consider an election law, three lines and one word
over; a city government item, five and one-half lines; prices of tickets
to the proposed grand Charity Ball, twenty-three lines--for this one
item occupies almost one-fourth of the entire first page; there is to be
a wonderful Wagner concert in Frankfurt-on-the-Main, with an orchestra
of one hundred and eight instruments, seven and one-half lines. That
concludes the first page. Eighty-five lines, altogether, on that page,
including three headlines. About fifty of those lines, as one perceives,
deal with local matters; so the reporters are not overworked.

Exactly one-half of the second page is occupied with an opera criticism,
fifty-three lines (three of them being headlines), and "Death Notices,"
ten lines.

The other half of the second page is made up of two paragraphs under
the head of "Miscellaneous News." One of these paragraphs tells about a
quarrel between the Czar of Russia and his eldest son, twenty-one and
a half lines; and the other tells about the atrocious destruction of a
peasant child by its parents, forty lines, or one-fifth of the total of
the reading-matter contained in the paper.

Consider what a fifth part of the reading-matter of an American daily
paper issued in a city of one hundred and seventy thousand inhabitants
amounts to! Think what a mass it is. Would any one suppose I could so
snugly tuck away such a mass in a chapter of this book that it would be
difficult to find it again if the reader lost his place? Surely not.
I will translate that child-murder word for word, to give the reader a
realizing sense of what a fifth part of the reading-matter of a Munich
daily actually is when it comes under measurement of the eye:

"From Oberkreuzberg, January 21st, the DONAU ZEITUNG receives a long
account of a crime, which we shortened as follows: In Rametuach,
a village near Eppenschlag, lived a young married couple with two
children, one of which, a boy aged five, was born three years before the
marriage. For this reason, and also because a relative at Iggensbach had
bequeathed M400 ($100) to the boy, the heartless father considered him
in the way; so the unnatural parents determined to sacrifice him in the
cruelest possible manner. They proceeded to starve him slowly to death,
meantime frightfully maltreating him--as the village people now make
known, when it is too late. The boy was shut in a hole, and when
people passed by he cried, and implored them to give him bread. His
long-continued tortures and deprivations destroyed him at last, on the
third of January. The sudden (sic) death of the child created suspicion,
the more so as the body was immediately clothed and laid upon the bier.
Therefore the coroner gave notice, and an inquest was held on the 6th.
What a pitiful spectacle was disclosed then! The body was a complete
skeleton. The stomach and intestines were utterly empty; they contained
nothing whatsoever. The flesh on the corpse was not as thick as the back
of a knife, and incisions in it brought not one drop of blood. There
was not a piece of sound skin the size of a dollar on the whole body;
wounds, scars, bruises, discolored extravasated blood, everywhere--even
on the soles of the feet there were wounds. The cruel parents asserted
that the boy had been so bad that they had been obliged to use severe
punishments, and that he finally fell over a bench and broke his neck.
However, they were arrested two weeks after the inquest and put in the
prison at Deggendorf."

Yes, they were arrested "two weeks after the inquest." What a home sound
that has. That kind of police briskness rather more reminds me of my
native land than German journalism does.

I think a German daily journal doesn't do any good to speak of, but at
the same time it doesn't do any harm. That is a very large merit, and
should not be lightly weighted nor lightly thought of.

The German humorous papers are beautifully printed upon fine paper, and
the illustrations are finely drawn, finely engraved, and are not vapidly
funny, but deliciously so. So also, generally speaking, are the two or
three terse sentences which accompany the pictures. I remember one of
these pictures: A most dilapidated tramp is ruefully contemplating some
coins which lie in his open palm. He says: "Well, begging is getting
played out. Only about five marks ($1.25) for the whole day; many an
official makes more!" And I call to mind a picture of a commercial
traveler who is about to unroll his samples:

MERCHANT (pettishly).--NO, don't. I don't want to buy anything!

DRUMMER.--If you please, I was only going to show you--

MERCHANT.--But I don't wish to see them!

DRUMMER (after a pause, pleadingly).--But do you you mind letting ME
look at them! I haven't seen them for three weeks!

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Tramp Abroad — Volume 07" ***

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