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Title: A Tramp Abroad — Volume 02
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 02" ***


By Mark Twain

(Samuel L. Clemens)

First published in 1880

Illustrations taken from an 1880 First Edition

 * * * * * *


     2.   TITIAN'S MOSES
     32.  FRENCH CALM
     34.  A SEARCH
     37.  THE ONE I HIRED
     42.  WAGNER
     43.  RAGING
     44.  ROARING
     45.  SHRIEKING
     47.  ONE OF THE "REST"
     50.  TAIL PIECE
     51.  ONLY A SHRIEK
     52.  "HE ONLY CRY"
     55.  "TURN ON MORE RAIN"
     58.  OUR START
     60.  THE TOWER
     61.  SLOW BUT SURE
     63.  AN HONEST MAN
     66.  OUR BEDROOM
     67.  PRACTICING
     69.  A NIGHT'S WORK
     71.  THE CAPTAIN


CHAPTER VIII The Great French Duel--Mistaken Notions--Outbreak in the
French Assembly--Calmness of M Gambetta--I Volunteer as Second--Drawing
up a Will--The Challenge and its Acceptance--Difficulty in Selection
of Weapons--Deciding on Distance--M. Gambetta's Firmness--Arranging
Details--Hiring Hearses--How it was Kept from the Press--March to the
Field--The Post of Danger--The Duel--The Result--General Rejoicings--The
only One Hurt--A Firm Resolution

CHAPTER IX At the Theatre--German Ideal--At the Opera--The
Orchestra--Howlings and Wailings--A Curious Play--One Season of
Rest--The Wedding Chorus--Germans fond of the Opera--Funerals Needed
--A Private Party--What I Overheard--A Gentle Girl--A
Contribution--box--Unpleasantly Conspicuous

CHAPTER X Four Hours with Wagner--A Wonderful Singer, Once--" Only a
Shriek"--An Ancient Vocalist--"He Only Cry"--Emotional Germans--A
Wise Custom--Late Comers Rebuked--Heard to the Last--No Interruptions
Allowed--A Royal Audience--An Eccentric King--Real Rain and More of
It--Immense Success--"Encore! Encore!"--Magnanimity of the King

CHAPTER XI Lessons in Art--My Great Picture of Heidelberg Castle--Its
Effect in the Exhibition--Mistaken for a Turner--A Studio--Waiting
for Orders--A Tramp Decided On--The Start for Heilbronn--Our Walking
Dress--"Pleasant march to you"--We Take the Rail--German People on
Board--Not Understood--Speak only German and English--Wimpfen--A Funny
Tower--Dinner in the Garden--Vigorous Tramping--Ride in a Peasant's
Cart--A Famous Room

CHAPTER XII The Rathhaus--An Old Robber Knight, Gotz Von
Berlichingen--His Famous Deeds--The Square Tower--A Curious old
Church--A Gay Turn--out--A Legend--The Wives' Treasures--A Model
Waiter--A Miracle Performed--An Old Town--The Worn Stones

CHAPTER XIII Early to Bed--Lonesome--Nervous Excitement--The Room We
Occupied--Disturbed by a Mouse--Grow Desperate--The Old Remedy--A Shoe
Thrown--Result--Hopelessly Awake--An Attempt to Dress--A Cruise in the
Dark--Crawling on the Floor--A General Smash-up--Forty-seven Miles'

CHAPTER XIV A Famous Turn--out--Raftsmen on the Neckar--The Log
Rafts--The Neckar--A Sudden Idea--To Heidelberg on a Raft--Chartering
a Raft--Gloomy Feelings and Conversation--Delicious Journeying--View of
the Banks--Compared with Railroading


The Great French Duel

[I Second Gambetta in a Terrific Duel]

Much as the modern French duel is ridiculed by certain smart people, it
is in reality one of the most dangerous institutions of our day. Since
it is always fought in the open air, the combatants are nearly sure
to catch cold. M. Paul de Cassagnac, the most inveterate of the French
duelists, had suffered so often in this way that he is at last a
confirmed invalid; and the best physician in Paris has expressed
the opinion that if he goes on dueling for fifteen or twenty years
more--unless he forms the habit of fighting in a comfortable room where
damps and draughts cannot intrude--he will eventually endanger his life.
This ought to moderate the talk of those people who are so stubborn
in maintaining that the French duel is the most health-giving of
recreations because of the open-air exercise it affords. And it
ought also to moderate that foolish talk about French duelists and
socialist-hated monarchs being the only people who are immoral.

But it is time to get at my subject. As soon as I heard of the late
fiery outbreak between M. Gambetta and M. Fourtou in the French
Assembly, I knew that trouble must follow. I knew it because a long
personal friendship with M. Gambetta revealed to me the desperate and
implacable nature of the man. Vast as are his physical proportions,
I knew that the thirst for revenge would penetrate to the remotest
frontiers of his person.

I did not wait for him to call on me, but went at once to him. As I had
expected, I found the brave fellow steeped in a profound French calm.
I say French calm, because French calmness and English calmness have
points of difference.

He was moving swiftly back and forth among the debris of his furniture,
now and then staving chance fragments of it across the room with his
foot; grinding a constant grist of curses through his set teeth; and
halting every little while to deposit another handful of his hair on the
pile which he had been building of it on the table.

He threw his arms around my neck, bent me over his stomach to his
breast, kissed me on both cheeks, hugged me four or five times, and
then placed me in his own arm-chair. As soon as I had got well again, we
began business at once.

I said I supposed he would wish me to act as his second, and he said,
"Of course." I said I must be allowed to act under a French name, so
that I might be shielded from obloquy in my country, in case of fatal
results. He winced here, probably at the suggestion that dueling was not
regarded with respect in America. However, he agreed to my requirement.
This accounts for the fact that in all the newspaper reports M.
Gambetta's second was apparently a Frenchman.

First, we drew up my principal's will. I insisted upon this, and stuck
to my point. I said I had never heard of a man in his right mind going
out to fight a duel without first making his will. He said he had never
heard of a man in his right mind doing anything of the kind. When he had
finished the will, he wished to proceed to a choice of his "last words."
He wanted to know how the following words, as a dying exclamation,
struck me:

"I die for my God, for my country, for freedom of speech, for progress,
and the universal brotherhood of man!"

I objected that this would require too lingering a death; it was a good
speech for a consumptive, but not suited to the exigencies of the field
of honor. We wrangled over a good many ante-mortem outbursts, but I
finally got him to cut his obituary down to this, which he copied into
his memorandum-book, purposing to get it by heart:


I said that this remark seemed to lack relevancy; but he said relevancy
was a matter of no consequence in last words, what you wanted was

The next thing in order was the choice of weapons. My principal said he
was not feeling well, and would leave that and the other details of the
proposed meeting to me. Therefore I wrote the following note and carried
it to M. Fourtou's friend:

Sir: M. Gambetta accepts M. Fourtou's challenge, and authorizes me to
propose Plessis-Piquet as the place of meeting; tomorrow morning at
daybreak as the time; and axes as the weapons.

I am, sir, with great respect,

Mark Twain.

M. Fourtou's friend read this note, and shuddered. Then he turned to me,
and said, with a suggestion of severity in his tone:

"Have you considered, sir, what would be the inevitable result of such a
meeting as this?"

"Well, for instance, what WOULD it be?"


"That's about the size of it," I said. "Now, if it is a fair question,
what was your side proposing to shed?"

I had him there. He saw he had made a blunder, so he hastened to explain
it away. He said he had spoken jestingly. Then he added that he and his
principal would enjoy axes, and indeed prefer them, but such weapons
were barred by the French code, and so I must change my proposal.

I walked the floor, turning the thing over in my mind, and finally it
occurred to me that Gatling-guns at fifteen paces would be a likely way
to get a verdict on the field of honor. So I framed this idea into a

But it was not accepted. The code was in the way again. I proposed
rifles; then double-barreled shotguns; then Colt's navy revolvers. These
being all rejected, I reflected awhile, and sarcastically suggested
brickbats at three-quarters of a mile. I always hate to fool away a
humorous thing on a person who has no perception of humor; and it filled
me with bitterness when this man went soberly away to submit the last
proposition to his principal.

He came back presently and said his principal was charmed with the idea
of brickbats at three-quarters of a mile, but must decline on account of
the danger to disinterested parties passing between them. Then I said:

"Well, I am at the end of my string, now. Perhaps YOU would be good
enough to suggest a weapon? Perhaps you have even had one in your mind
all the time?"

His countenance brightened, and he said with alacrity:

"Oh, without doubt, monsieur!"

So he fell to hunting in his pockets--pocket after pocket, and he had
plenty of them--muttering all the while, "Now, what could I have done
with them?"

At last he was successful. He fished out of his vest pocket a couple
of little things which I carried to the light and ascertained to be
pistols. They were single-barreled and silver-mounted, and very dainty
and pretty. I was not able to speak for emotion. I silently hung one of
them on my watch-chain, and returned the other. My companion in crime
now unrolled a postage-stamp containing several cartridges, and gave me
one of them. I asked if he meant to signify by this that our men were
to be allowed but one shot apiece. He replied that the French code
permitted no more. I then begged him to go and suggest a distance, for
my mind was growing weak and confused under the strain which had been
put upon it. He named sixty-five yards. I nearly lost my patience. I

"Sixty-five yards, with these instruments? Squirt-guns would be deadlier
at fifty. Consider, my friend, you and I are banded together to destroy
life, not make it eternal."

But with all my persuasions, all my arguments, I was only able to
get him to reduce the distance to thirty-five yards; and even this
concession he made with reluctance, and said with a sigh, "I wash my
hands of this slaughter; on your head be it."

There was nothing for me but to go home to my old lion-heart and tell my
humiliating story. When I entered, M. Gambetta was laying his last lock
of hair upon the altar. He sprang toward me, exclaiming:

"You have made the fatal arrangements--I see it in your eye!"

"I have."

His face paled a trifle, and he leaned upon the table for support. He
breathed thick and heavily for a moment or two, so tumultuous were his
feelings; then he hoarsely whispered:

"The weapon, the weapon! Quick! what is the weapon?"

"This!" and I displayed that silver-mounted thing. He cast but one
glance at it, then swooned ponderously to the floor.

When he came to, he said mournfully:

"The unnatural calm to which I have subjected myself has told upon my
nerves. But away with weakness! I will confront my fate like a man and a

He rose to his feet, and assumed an attitude which for sublimity has
never been approached by man, and has seldom been surpassed by statues.
Then he said, in his deep bass tones:

"Behold, I am calm, I am ready; reveal to me the distance."

"Thirty-five yards." ...

I could not lift him up, of course; but I rolled him over, and poured
water down his back. He presently came to, and said:

"Thirty-five yards--without a rest? But why ask? Since murder was that
man's intention, why should he palter with small details? But mark you
one thing: in my fall the world shall see how the chivalry of France
meets death."

After a long silence he asked:

"Was nothing said about that man's family standing up with him, as
an offset to my bulk? But no matter; I would not stoop to make such
a suggestion; if he is not noble enough to suggest it himself, he is
welcome to this advantage, which no honorable man would take."

He now sank into a sort of stupor of reflection, which lasted some
minutes; after which he broke silence with:

"The hour--what is the hour fixed for the collision?"

"Dawn, tomorrow."

He seemed greatly surprised, and immediately said:

"Insanity! I never heard of such a thing. Nobody is abroad at such an

"That is the reason I named it. Do you mean to say you want an

"It is no time to bandy words. I am astonished that M. Fourtou should
ever have agreed to so strange an innovation. Go at once and require a
later hour."

I ran downstairs, threw open the front door, and almost plunged into the
arms of M. Fourtou's second. He said:

"I have the honor to say that my principal strenuously objects to the
hour chosen, and begs you will consent to change it to half past nine."

"Any courtesy, sir, which it is in our power to extend is at the service
of your excellent principal. We agree to the proposed change of time."

"I beg you to accept the thanks of my client." Then he turned to a
person behind him, and said, "You hear, M. Noir, the hour is altered to
half past nine." Whereupon M. Noir bowed, expressed his thanks, and went
away. My accomplice continued:

"If agreeable to you, your chief surgeons and ours shall proceed to the
field in the same carriage as is customary."

"It is entirely agreeable to me, and I am obliged to you for mentioning
the surgeons, for I am afraid I should not have thought of them. How
many shall I want? I supposed two or three will be enough?"

"Two is the customary number for each party. I refer to 'chief'
surgeons; but considering the exalted positions occupied by our clients,
it will be well and decorous that each of us appoint several consulting
surgeons, from among the highest in the profession. These will come in
their own private carriages. Have you engaged a hearse?"

"Bless my stupidity, I never thought of it! I will attend to it right
away. I must seem very ignorant to you; but you must try to overlook
that, because I have never had any experience of such a swell duel as
this before. I have had a good deal to do with duels on the Pacific
coast, but I see now that they were crude affairs. A hearse--sho! we
used to leave the elected lying around loose, and let anybody cord
them up and cart them off that wanted to. Have you anything further to

"Nothing, except that the head undertakers shall ride together, as is
usual. The subordinates and mutes will go on foot, as is also usual. I
will see you at eight o'clock in the morning, and we will then arrange
the order of the procession. I have the honor to bid you a good day."

I returned to my client, who said, "Very well; at what hour is the
engagement to begin?"

"Half past nine."

"Very good indeed. Have you sent the fact to the newspapers?"

"SIR! If after our long and intimate friendship you can for a moment
deem me capable of so base a treachery--"

"Tut, tut! What words are these, my dear friend? Have I wounded you? Ah,
forgive me; I am overloading you with labor. Therefore go on with the
other details, and drop this one from your list. The bloody-minded
Fourtou will be sure to attend to it. Or I myself--yes, to make certain,
I will drop a note to my journalistic friend, M. Noir--"

"Oh, come to think of it, you may save yourself the trouble; that other
second has informed M. Noir."

"H'm! I might have known it. It is just like that Fourtou, who always
wants to make a display."

At half past nine in the morning the procession approached the field of
Plessis-Piquet in the following order: first came our carriage--nobody
in it but M. Gambetta and myself; then a carriage containing M. Fourtou
and his second; then a carriage containing two poet-orators who did not
believe in God, and these had MS. funeral orations projecting from their
breast pockets; then a carriage containing the head surgeons and their
cases of instruments; then eight private carriages containing consulting
surgeons; then a hack containing a coroner; then the two hearses; then a
carriage containing the head undertakers; then a train of assistants
and mutes on foot; and after these came plodding through the fog a long
procession of camp followers, police, and citizens generally. It was a
noble turnout, and would have made a fine display if we had had thinner

There was no conversation. I spoke several times to my principal, but
I judge he was not aware of it, for he always referred to his note-book
and muttered absently, "I die that France might live."

Arrived on the field, my fellow-second and I paced off the thirty-five
yards, and then drew lots for choice of position. This latter was but
an ornamental ceremony, for all the choices were alike in such weather.
These preliminaries being ended, I went to my principal and asked him
if he was ready. He spread himself out to his full width, and said in a
stern voice, "Ready! Let the batteries be charged."

The loading process was done in the presence of duly constituted
witnesses. We considered it best to perform this delicate service with
the assistance of a lantern, on account of the state of the weather. We
now placed our men.

At this point the police noticed that the public had massed themselves
together on the right and left of the field; they therefore begged a
delay, while they should put these poor people in a place of safety.

The request was granted.

The police having ordered the two multitudes to take positions behind
the duelists, we were once more ready. The weather growing still more
opaque, it was agreed between myself and the other second that before
giving the fatal signal we should each deliver a loud whoop to enable
the combatants to ascertain each other's whereabouts.

I now returned to my principal, and was distressed to observe that he
had lost a good deal of his spirit. I tried my best to hearten him. I
said, "Indeed, sir, things are not as bad as they seem. Considering
the character of the weapons, the limited number of shots allowed, the
generous distance, the impenetrable solidity of the fog, and the added
fact that one of the combatants is one-eyed and the other cross-eyed and
near-sighted, it seems to me that this conflict need not necessarily be
fatal. There are chances that both of you may survive. Therefore, cheer
up; do not be downhearted."

This speech had so good an effect that my principal immediately
stretched forth his hand and said, "I am myself again; give me the

I laid it, all lonely and forlorn, in the center of the vast solitude
of his palm. He gazed at it and shuddered. And still mournfully
contemplating it, he murmured in a broken voice:

"Alas, it is not death I dread, but mutilation."

I heartened him once more, and with such success that he presently
said, "Let the tragedy begin. Stand at my back; do not desert me in this
solemn hour, my friend."

I gave him my promise. I now assisted him to point his pistol toward the
spot where I judged his adversary to be standing, and cautioned him to
listen well and further guide himself by my fellow-second's whoop.
Then I propped myself against M. Gambetta's back, and raised a rousing
"Whoop-ee!" This was answered from out the far distances of the fog, and
I immediately shouted:


Two little sounds like SPIT! SPIT! broke upon my ear, and in the same
instant I was crushed to the earth under a mountain of flesh. Bruised
as I was, I was still able to catch a faint accent from above, to this

"I die for... for ... perdition take it, what IS it I die for? ... oh,
yes--FRANCE! I die that France may live!"

The surgeons swarmed around with their probes in their hands, and
applied their microscopes to the whole area of M. Gambetta's person,
with the happy result of finding nothing in the nature of a wound. Then
a scene ensued which was in every way gratifying and inspiriting.

The two gladiators fell upon each other's neck, with floods of proud and
happy tears; that other second embraced me; the surgeons, the
orators, the undertakers, the police, everybody embraced, everybody
congratulated, everybody cried, and the whole atmosphere was filled with
praise and with joy unspeakable.

It seems to me then that I would rather be a hero of a French duel than
a crowned and sceptered monarch.

When the commotion had somewhat subsided, the body of surgeons held a
consultation, and after a good deal of debate decided that with proper
care and nursing there was reason to believe that I would survive my
injuries. My internal hurts were deemed the most serious, since it was
apparent that a broken rib had penetrated my left lung, and that many of
my organs had been pressed out so far to one side or the other of where
they belonged, that it was doubtful if they would ever learn to perform
their functions in such remote and unaccustomed localities. They then
set my left arm in two places, pulled my right hip into its socket
again, and re-elevated my nose. I was an object of great interest,
and even admiration; and many sincere and warm-hearted persons had
themselves introduced to me, and said they were proud to know the only
man who had been hurt in a French duel in forty years.

I was placed in an ambulance at the very head of the procession;
and thus with gratifying 'ECLAT I was marched into Paris, the most
conspicuous figure in that great spectacle, and deposited at the

The cross of the Legion of Honor has been conferred upon me. However,
few escape that distinction.

Such is the true version of the most memorable private conflict of the

I have no complaints to make against any one. I acted for myself, and I
can stand the consequences.

Without boasting, I think I may say I am not afraid to stand before a
modern French duelist, but as long as I keep in my right mind I will
never consent to stand behind one again.


[What the Beautiful Maiden Said]

One day we took the train and went down to Mannheim to see "King Lear"
played in German. It was a mistake. We sat in our seats three whole
hours and never understood anything but the thunder and lightning; and
even that was reversed to suit German ideas, for the thunder came first
and the lightning followed after.

The behavior of the audience was perfect. There were no rustlings, or
whisperings, or other little disturbances; each act was listened to in
silence, and the applauding was done after the curtain was down. The
doors opened at half past four, the play began promptly at half past
five, and within two minutes afterward all who were coming were in their
seats, and quiet reigned. A German gentleman in the train had said that
a Shakespearian play was an appreciated treat in Germany and that
we should find the house filled. It was true; all the six tiers were
filled, and remained so to the end--which suggested that it is not only
balcony people who like Shakespeare in Germany, but those of the pit and
gallery, too.

Another time, we went to Mannheim and attended a shivaree--otherwise an
opera--the one called "Lohengrin." The banging and slamming and booming
and crashing were something beyond belief. The racking and pitiless pain
of it remains stored up in my memory alongside the memory of the time
that I had my teeth fixed.

There were circumstances which made it necessary for me to stay through
the four hours to the end, and I stayed; but the recollection of that
long, dragging, relentless season of suffering is indestructible. To
have to endure it in silence, and sitting still, made it all the harder.
I was in a railed compartment with eight or ten strangers, of the two
sexes, and this compelled repression; yet at times the pain was so
exquisite that I could hardly keep the tears back.

At those times, as the howlings and wailings and shrieking of the
singers, and the ragings and roarings and explosions of the vast
orchestra rose higher and higher, and wilder and wilder, and fiercer and
fiercer, I could have cried if I had been alone. Those strangers would
not have been surprised to see a man do such a thing who was being
gradually skinned, but they would have marveled at it here, and made
remarks about it no doubt, whereas there was nothing in the present case
which was an advantage over being skinned.

There was a wait of half an hour at the end of the first act, and I
could have gone out and rested during that time, but I could not trust
myself to do it, for I felt that I should desert to stay out. There was
another wait of half an hour toward nine o'clock, but I had gone through
so much by that time that I had no spirit left, and so had no desire but
to be let alone.

I do not wish to suggest that the rest of the people there were like
me, for, indeed, they were not. Whether it was that they naturally
liked that noise, or whether it was that they had learned to like it
by getting used to it, I did not at the time know; but they did like
it--this was plain enough. While it was going on they sat and looked as
rapt and grateful as cats do when one strokes their backs; and whenever
the curtain fell they rose to their feet, in one solid mighty multitude,
and the air was snowed thick with waving handkerchiefs, and hurricanes
of applause swept the place. This was not comprehensible to me. Of
course, there were many people there who were not under compulsion to
stay; yet the tiers were as full at the close as they had been at the
beginning. This showed that the people liked it.

It was a curious sort of a play. In the manner of costumes and scenery
it was fine and showy enough; but there was not much action. That is
to say, there was not much really done, it was only talked about; and
always violently. It was what one might call a narrative play. Everybody
had a narrative and a grievance, and none were reasonable about it, but
all in an offensive and ungovernable state. There was little of that
sort of customary thing where the tenor and the soprano stand down by
the footlights, warbling, with blended voices, and keep holding out
their arms toward each other and drawing them back and spreading both
hands over first one breast and then the other with a shake and a
pressure--no, it was every rioter for himself and no blending. Each sang
his indictive narrative in turn, accompanied by the whole orchestra of
sixty instruments, and when this had continued for some time, and one
was hoping they might come to an understanding and modify the noise, a
great chorus composed entirely of maniacs would suddenly break forth,
and then during two minutes, and sometimes three, I lived over again all
that I suffered the time the orphan asylum burned down.

We only had one brief little season of heaven and heaven's sweet ecstasy
and peace during all this long and diligent and acrimonious reproduction
of the other place. This was while a gorgeous procession of people
marched around and around, in the third act, and sang the Wedding
Chorus. To my untutored ear that was music--almost divine music. While
my seared soul was steeped in the healing balm of those gracious sounds,
it seemed to me that I could almost resuffer the torments which had
gone before, in order to be so healed again. There is where the deep
ingenuity of the operatic idea is betrayed. It deals so largely in pain
that its scattered delights are prodigiously augmented by the contrasts.
A pretty air in an opera is prettier there than it could be anywhere
else, I suppose, just as an honest man in politics shines more than he
would elsewhere.

I have since found out that there is nothing the Germans like so much as
an opera. They like it, not in a mild and moderate way, but with their
whole hearts. This is a legitimate result of habit and education. Our
nation will like the opera, too, by and by, no doubt. One in fifty of
those who attend our operas likes it already, perhaps, but I think a
good many of the other forty-nine go in order to learn to like it, and
the rest in order to be able to talk knowingly about it. The latter
usually hum the airs while they are being sung, so that their neighbors
may perceive that they have been to operas before. The funerals of these
do not occur often enough.

A gentle, old-maidish person and a sweet young girl of seventeen sat
right in front of us that night at the Mannheim opera. These people
talked, between the acts, and I understood them, though I understood
nothing that was uttered on the distant stage. At first they were
guarded in their talk, but after they had heard my agent and me
conversing in English they dropped their reserve and I picked up many
of their little confidences; no, I mean many of HER little
confidences--meaning the elder party--for the young girl only listened,
and gave assenting nods, but never said a word. How pretty she was,
and how sweet she was! I wished she would speak. But evidently she was
absorbed in her own thoughts, her own young-girl dreams, and found a
dearer pleasure in silence. But she was not dreaming sleepy dreams--no,
she was awake, alive, alert, she could not sit still a moment. She was
an enchanting study. Her gown was of a soft white silky stuff that clung
to her round young figure like a fish's skin, and it was rippled over
with the gracefulest little fringy films of lace; she had deep, tender
eyes, with long, curved lashes; and she had peachy cheeks, and a
dimpled chin, and such a dear little rosebud of a mouth; and she was so
dovelike, so pure, and so gracious, so sweet and so bewitching. For long
hours I did mightily wish she would speak. And at last she did; the red
lips parted, and out leaps her thought--and with such a guileless and
pretty enthusiasm, too: "Auntie, I just KNOW I've got five hundred fleas
on me!"

That was probably over the average. Yes, it must have been very much
over the average. The average at that time in the Grand Duchy of Baden
was forty-five to a young person (when alone), according to the official
estimate of the home secretary for that year; the average for older
people was shifty and indeterminable, for whenever a wholesome young
girl came into the presence of her elders she immediately lowered their
average and raised her own. She became a sort of contribution-box.

This dear young thing in the theater had been sitting there
unconsciously taking up a collection. Many a skinny old being in our
neighborhood was the happier and the restfuler for her coming.

In that large audience, that night, there were eight very conspicuous
people. These were ladies who had their hats or bonnets on. What a
blessed thing it would be if a lady could make herself conspicuous in
our theaters by wearing her hat.

It is not usual in Europe to allow ladies and gentlemen to take bonnets,
hats, overcoats, canes, or umbrellas into the auditorium, but in
Mannheim this rule was not enforced because the audiences were largely
made up of people from a distance, and among these were always a few
timid ladies who were afraid that if they had to go into an anteroom to
get their things when the play was over, they would miss their train.
But the great mass of those who came from a distance always ran the risk
and took the chances, preferring the loss of a train to a breach of good
manners and the discomfort of being unpleasantly conspicuous during a
stretch of three or four hours.


[How Wagner Operas Bang Along]

Three or four hours. That is a long time to sit in one place, whether
one be conspicuous or not, yet some of Wagner's operas bang along for
six whole hours on a stretch! But the people sit there and enjoy it all,
and wish it would last longer. A German lady in Munich told me that a
person could not like Wagner's music at first, but must go through the
deliberate process of learning to like it--then he would have his sure
reward; for when he had learned to like it he would hunger for it and
never be able to get enough of it. She said that six hours of Wagner was
by no means too much. She said that this composer had made a complete
revolution in music and was burying the old masters one by one. And
she said that Wagner's operas differed from all others in one notable
respect, and that was that they were not merely spotted with music here
and there, but were ALL music, from the first strain to the last. This
surprised me. I said I had attended one of his insurrections, and found
hardly ANY music in it except the Wedding Chorus. She said "Lohengrin"
was noisier than Wagner's other operas, but that if I would keep on
going to see it I would find by and by that it was all music, and
therefore would then enjoy it. I COULD have said, "But would you advise
a person to deliberately practice having a toothache in the pit of his
stomach for a couple of years in order that he might then come to enjoy
it?" But I reserved that remark.

This lady was full of the praises of the head-tenor who had performed in
a Wagner opera the night before, and went on to enlarge upon his old and
prodigious fame, and how many honors had been lavished upon him by the
princely houses of Germany. Here was another surprise. I had attended
that very opera, in the person of my agent, and had made close and
accurate observations. So I said:

"Why, madam, MY experience warrants me in stating that that tenor's
voice is not a voice at all, but only a shriek--the shriek of a hyena."

"That is very true," she said; "he cannot sing now; it is already many
years that he has lost his voice, but in other times he sang, yes,
divinely! So whenever he comes now, you shall see, yes, that the theater
will not hold the people. JAWOHL BEI GOTT! his voice is WUNDERSCHOEN in
that past time."

I said she was discovering to me a kindly trait in the Germans which
was worth emulating. I said that over the water we were not quite so
generous; that with us, when a singer had lost his voice and a jumper
had lost his legs, these parties ceased to draw. I said I had been to
the opera in Hanover, once, and in Mannheim once, and in Munich
(through my authorized agent) once, and this large experience had nearly
persuaded me that the Germans PREFERRED singers who couldn't sing. This
was not such a very extravagant speech, either, for that burly Mannheim
tenor's praises had been the talk of all Heidelberg for a week before
his performance took place--yet his voice was like the distressing noise
which a nail makes when you screech it across a window-pane. I said so
to Heidelberg friends the next day, and they said, in the calmest and
simplest way, that that was very true, but that in earlier times his
voice HAD been wonderfully fine. And the tenor in Hanover was just
another example of this sort. The English-speaking German gentleman who
went with me to the opera there was brimming with enthusiasm over that
tenor. He said:

"ACH GOTT! a great man! You shall see him. He is so celebrate in all
Germany--and he has a pension, yes, from the government. He not obliged
to sing now, only twice every year; but if he not sing twice each year
they take him his pension away."

Very well, we went. When the renowned old tenor appeared, I got a nudge
and an excited whisper:

"Now you see him!"

But the "celebrate" was an astonishing disappointment to me. If he
had been behind a screen I should have supposed they were performing a
surgical operation on him. I looked at my friend--to my great surprise
he seemed intoxicated with pleasure, his eyes were dancing with eager
delight. When the curtain at last fell, he burst into the stormiest
applause, and kept it up--as did the whole house--until the afflictive
tenor had come three times before the curtain to make his bow. While the
glowing enthusiast was swabbing the perspiration from his face, I said:

"I don't mean the least harm, but really, now, do you think he can

"Him? NO! GOTT IM HIMMEL, ABER, how he has been able to sing twenty-five
years ago?" [Then pensively.] "ACH, no, NOW he not sing any more, he
only cry. When he think he sing, now, he not sing at all, no, he only
make like a cat which is unwell."

Where and how did we get the idea that the Germans are a stolid,
phlegmatic race? In truth, they are widely removed from that. They are
warm-hearted, emotional, impulsive, enthusiastic, their tears come at
the mildest touch, and it is not hard to move them to laughter. They are
the very children of impulse. We are cold and self-contained, compared
to the Germans. They hug and kiss and cry and shout and dance and sing;
and where we use one loving, petting expression, they pour out a score.
Their language is full of endearing diminutives; nothing that they love
escapes the application of a petting diminutive--neither the house, nor
the dog, nor the horse, nor the grandmother, nor any other creature,
animate or inanimate.

In the theaters at Hanover, Hamburg, and Mannheim, they had a wise
custom. The moment the curtain went up, the light in the body of the
house went down. The audience sat in the cool gloom of a deep twilight,
which greatly enhanced the glowing splendors of the stage. It saved gas,
too, and people were not sweated to death.

When I saw "King Lear" played, nobody was allowed to see a scene
shifted; if there was nothing to be done but slide a forest out of the
way and expose a temple beyond, one did not see that forest split itself
in the middle and go shrieking away, with the accompanying disenchanting
spectacle of the hands and heels of the impelling impulse--no, the
curtain was always dropped for an instant--one heard not the least
movement behind it--but when it went up, the next instant, the forest
was gone. Even when the stage was being entirely reset, one heard no
noise. During the whole time that "King Lear" was playing the curtain
was never down two minutes at any one time. The orchestra played until
the curtain was ready to go up for the first time, then they departed
for the evening. Where the stage waits never reach two minutes there is
no occasion for music. I had never seen this two-minute business between
acts but once before, and that was when the "Shaughraun" was played at

I was at a concert in Munich one night, the people were streaming in,
the clock-hand pointed to seven, the music struck up, and instantly
all movement in the body of the house ceased--nobody was standing, or
walking up the aisles, or fumbling with a seat, the stream of incomers
had suddenly dried up at its source. I listened undisturbed to a piece
of music that was fifteen minutes long--always expecting some tardy
ticket-holders to come crowding past my knees, and being continuously
and pleasantly disappointed--but when the last note was struck, here
came the stream again. You see, they had made those late comers wait in
the comfortable waiting-parlor from the time the music had begun until
it was ended.

It was the first time I had ever seen this sort of criminals denied the
privilege of destroying the comfort of a house full of their betters.
Some of these were pretty fine birds, but no matter, they had to tarry
outside in the long parlor under the inspection of a double rank of
liveried footmen and waiting-maids who supported the two walls with
their backs and held the wraps and traps of their masters and mistresses
on their arms.

We had no footmen to hold our things, and it was not permissible to take
them into the concert-room; but there were some men and women to take
charge of them for us. They gave us checks for them and charged a fixed
price, payable in advance--five cents.

In Germany they always hear one thing at an opera which has never yet
been heard in America, perhaps--I mean the closing strain of a fine solo
or duet. We always smash into it with an earthquake of applause. The
result is that we rob ourselves of the sweetest part of the treat; we
get the whiskey, but we don't get the sugar in the bottom of the glass.

Our way of scattering applause along through an act seems to me to be
better than the Mannheim way of saving it all up till the act is ended.
I do not see how an actor can forget himself and portray hot passion
before a cold still audience. I should think he would feel foolish. It
is a pain to me to this day, to remember how that old German Lear raged
and wept and howled around the stage, with never a response from that
hushed house, never a single outburst till the act was ended. To
me there was something unspeakably uncomfortable in the solemn dead
silences that always followed this old person's tremendous outpourings
of his feelings. I could not help putting myself in his place--I thought
I knew how sick and flat he felt during those silences, because I
remembered a case which came under my observation once, and which--but I
will tell the incident:

One evening on board a Mississippi steamboat, a boy of ten years lay
asleep in a berth--a long, slim-legged boy, he was, encased in quite
a short shirt; it was the first time he had ever made a trip on a
steamboat, and so he was troubled, and scared, and had gone to bed
with his head filled with impending snaggings, and explosions, and
conflagrations, and sudden death. About ten o'clock some twenty ladies
were sitting around about the ladies' saloon, quietly reading, sewing,
embroidering, and so on, and among them sat a sweet, benignant old dame
with round spectacles on her nose and her busy knitting-needles in her
hands. Now all of a sudden, into the midst of this peaceful scene burst
that slim-shanked boy in the brief shirt, wild-eyed, erect-haired, and
MINUTE TO LOSE!" All those ladies looked sweetly up and smiled, nobody
stirred, the old lady pulled her spectacles down, looked over them, and
said, gently:

"But you mustn't catch cold, child. Run and put on your breastpin, and
then come and tell us all about it."

It was a cruel chill to give to a poor little devil's gushing vehemence.
He was expecting to be a sort of hero--the creator of a wild panic--and
here everybody sat and smiled a mocking smile, and an old woman made fun
of his bugbear. I turned and crept away--for I was that boy--and never
even cared to discover whether I had dreamed the fire or actually seen

I am told that in a German concert or opera, they hardly ever encore
a song; that though they may be dying to hear it again, their good
breeding usually preserves them against requiring the repetition.

Kings may encore; that is quite another matter; it delights everybody to
see that the King is pleased; and as to the actor encored, his pride and
gratification are simply boundless. Still, there are circumstances in
which even a royal encore--

But it is better to illustrate. The King of Bavaria is a poet, and has a
poet's eccentricities--with the advantage over all other poets of being
able to gratify them, no matter what form they may take. He is fond
of opera, but not fond of sitting in the presence of an audience;
therefore, it has sometimes occurred, in Munich, that when an opera has
been concluded and the players were getting off their paint and finery,
a command has come to them to get their paint and finery on again.
Presently the King would arrive, solitary and alone, and the players
would begin at the beginning and do the entire opera over again with
only that one individual in the vast solemn theater for audience. Once
he took an odd freak into his head. High up and out of sight, over
the prodigious stage of the court theater is a maze of interlacing
water-pipes, so pierced that in case of fire, innumerable little
thread-like streams of water can be caused to descend; and in case
of need, this discharge can be augmented to a pouring flood. American
managers might want to make a note of that. The King was sole audience.
The opera proceeded, it was a piece with a storm in it; the mimic
thunder began to mutter, the mimic wind began to wail and sough, and
the mimic rain to patter. The King's interest rose higher and higher; it
developed into enthusiasm. He cried out:

"It is very, very good, indeed! But I will have real rain! Turn on the

The manager pleaded for a reversal of the command; said it would ruin
the costly scenery and the splendid costumes, but the King cried:

"No matter, no matter, I will have real rain! Turn on the water!"

So the real rain was turned on and began to descend in gossamer lances
to the mimic flower-beds and gravel walks of the stage. The richly
dressed actresses and actors tripped about singing bravely and
pretending not to mind it. The King was delighted--his enthusiasm grew
higher. He cried out:

"Bravo, bravo! More thunder! more lightning! turn on more rain!"

The thunder boomed, the lightning glared, the storm-winds raged, the
deluge poured down. The mimic royalty on the stage, with their soaked
satins clinging to their bodies, slopped about ankle-deep in water,
warbling their sweetest and best, the fiddlers under the eaves of the
stage sawed away for dear life, with the cold overflow spouting down the
backs of their necks, and the dry and happy King sat in his lofty box
and wore his gloves to ribbons applauding.

"More yet!" cried the King; "more yet--let loose all the thunder, turn
on all the water! I will hang the man that raises an umbrella!"

When this most tremendous and effective storm that had ever been
produced in any theater was at last over, the King's approbation was
measureless. He cried:

"Magnificent, magnificent! ENCORE! Do it again!"

But the manager succeeded in persuading him to recall the encore, and
said the company would feel sufficiently rewarded and complimented
in the mere fact that the encore was desired by his Majesty, without
fatiguing him with a repetition to gratify their own vanity.

During the remainder of the act the lucky performers were those whose
parts required changes of dress; the others were a soaked, bedraggled,
and uncomfortable lot, but in the last degree picturesque. The stage
scenery was ruined, trap-doors were so swollen that they wouldn't work
for a week afterward, the fine costumes were spoiled, and no end of
minor damages were done by that remarkable storm.

It was a royal idea--that storm--and royally carried out. But observe
the moderation of the King; he did not insist upon his encore. If he had
been a gladsome, unreflecting American opera-audience, he probably would
have had his storm repeated and repeated until he drowned all those


[I Paint a "Turner"]

The summer days passed pleasantly in Heidelberg. We had a skilled
trainer, and under his instructions we were getting our legs in the
right condition for the contemplated pedestrian tours; we were well
satisfied with the progress which we had made in the German language,
[1. See Appendix D for information concerning this fearful tongue.] and
more than satisfied with what we had accomplished in art. We had had the
best instructors in drawing and painting in Germany--Haemmerling, Vogel,
Mueller, Dietz, and Schumann. Haemmerling taught us landscape-painting.
Vogel taught us figure-drawing, Mueller taught us to do still-life,
and Dietz and Schumann gave us a finishing course in two
specialties--battle-pieces and shipwrecks. Whatever I am in Art I owe to
these men. I have something of the manner of each and all of them;
but they all said that I had also a manner of my own, and that it
was conspicuous. They said there was a marked individuality about my
style--insomuch that if I ever painted the commonest type of a dog, I
should be sure to throw a something into the aspect of that dog which
would keep him from being mistaken for the creation of any other artist.
Secretly I wanted to believe all these kind sayings, but I could not; I
was afraid that my masters' partiality for me, and pride in me, biased
their judgment. So I resolved to make a test. Privately, and unknown to
any one, I painted my great picture, "Heidelberg Castle Illuminated"--my
first really important work in oils--and had it hung up in the midst
of a wilderness of oil-pictures in the Art Exhibition, with no name
attached to it. To my great gratification it was instantly recognized
as mine. All the town flocked to see it, and people even came from
neighboring localities to visit it. It made more stir than any other
work in the Exhibition. But the most gratifying thing of all was, that
chance strangers, passing through, who had not heard of my picture, were
not only drawn to it, as by a lodestone, the moment they entered the
gallery, but always took it for a "Turner."

Apparently nobody had ever done that. There were ruined castles on the
overhanging cliffs and crags all the way; these were said to have their
legends, like those on the Rhine, and what was better still, they had
never been in print. There was nothing in the books about that lovely
region; it had been neglected by the tourist, it was virgin soil for the
literary pioneer.

Meantime the knapsacks, the rough walking-suits and the stout
walking-shoes which we had ordered, were finished and brought to us.
A Mr. X and a young Mr. Z had agreed to go with us. We went around one
evening and bade good-by to our friends, and afterward had a little
farewell banquet at the hotel. We got to bed early, for we wanted to
make an early start, so as to take advantage of the cool of the morning.

We were out of bed at break of day, feeling fresh and vigorous, and took
a hearty breakfast, then plunged down through the leafy arcades of the
Castle grounds, toward the town. What a glorious summer morning it was,
and how the flowers did pour out their fragrance, and how the birds did
sing! It was just the time for a tramp through the woods and mountains.

We were all dressed alike: broad slouch hats, to keep the sun off; gray
knapsacks; blue army shirts; blue overalls; leathern gaiters buttoned
tight from knee down to ankle; high-quarter coarse shoes snugly laced.
Each man had an opera-glass, a canteen, and a guide-book case slung over
his shoulder, and carried an alpenstock in one hand and a sun-umbrella
in the other. Around our hats were wound many folds of soft white
muslin, with the ends hanging and flapping down our backs--an idea
brought from the Orient and used by tourists all over Europe. Harris
carried the little watch-like machine called a "pedometer," whose
office is to keep count of a man's steps and tell how far he has walked.
Everybody stopped to admire our costumes and give us a hearty "Pleasant
march to you!"

When we got downtown I found that we could go by rail to within five
miles of Heilbronn. The train was just starting, so we jumped aboard and
went tearing away in splendid spirits. It was agreed all around that we
had done wisely, because it would be just as enjoyable to walk DOWN the
Neckar as up it, and it could not be needful to walk both ways. There
were some nice German people in our compartment. I got to talking some
pretty private matters presently, and Harris became nervous; so he
nudged me and said:

"Speak in German--these Germans may understand English."

I did so, it was well I did; for it turned out that there was not a
German in that party who did not understand English perfectly. It is
curious how widespread our language is in Germany. After a while some of
those folks got out and a German gentleman and his two young daughters
got in. I spoke in German of one of the latter several times, but
without result. Finally she said:

"ICH VERSTEHE NUR DEUTCH UND ENGLISHE,"--or words to that effect. That
is, "I don't understand any language but German and English."

And sure enough, not only she but her father and sister spoke English.
So after that we had all the talk we wanted; and we wanted a good deal,
for they were agreeable people. They were greatly interested in our
customs; especially the alpenstocks, for they had not seen any before.
They said that the Neckar road was perfectly level, so we must be going
to Switzerland or some other rugged country; and asked us if we did not
find the walking pretty fatiguing in such warm weather. But we said no.

We reached Wimpfen--I think it was Wimpfen--in about three hours, and
got out, not the least tired; found a good hotel and ordered beer and
dinner--then took a stroll through the venerable old village. It was
very picturesque and tumble-down, and dirty and interesting. It had
queer houses five hundred years old in it, and a military tower 115 feet
high, which had stood there more than ten centuries. I made a little
sketch of it. I kept a copy, but gave the original to the Burgomaster.

I think the original was better than the copy, because it had more
windows in it and the grass stood up better and had a brisker look.
There was none around the tower, though; I composed the grass myself,
from studies I made in a field by Heidelberg in Haemmerling's time. The
man on top, looking at the view, is apparently too large, but I found
he could not be made smaller, conveniently. I wanted him there, and I
wanted him visible, so I thought out a way to manage it; I composed the
picture from two points of view; the spectator is to observe the man
from bout where that flag is, and he must observe the tower itself from
the ground. This harmonizes the seeming discrepancy. [Figure 2]

Near an old cathedral, under a shed, were three crosses of stone--moldy
and damaged things, bearing life-size stone figures. The two thieves
were dressed in the fanciful court costumes of the middle of the
sixteenth century, while the Saviour was nude, with the exception of a
cloth around the loins.

We had dinner under the green trees in a garden belonging to the hotel
and overlooking the Neckar; then, after a smoke, we went to bed. We had
a refreshing nap, then got up about three in the afternoon and put
on our panoply. As we tramped gaily out at the gate of the town, we
overtook a peasant's cart, partly laden with odds and ends of cabbages
and similar vegetable rubbish, and drawn by a small cow and a smaller
donkey yoked together. It was a pretty slow concern, but it got us into
Heilbronn before dark--five miles, or possibly it was seven.

We stopped at the very same inn which the famous old robber-knight
and rough fighter Goetz von Berlichingen, abode in after he got out of
captivity in the Square Tower of Heilbronn between three hundred and
fifty and four hundred years ago. Harris and I occupied the same room
which he had occupied and the same paper had not quite peeled off the
walls yet. The furniture was quaint old carved stuff, full four hundred
years old, and some of the smells were over a thousand. There was a hook
in the wall, which the landlord said the terrific old Goetz used to hang
his iron hand on when he took it off to go to bed. This room was very
large--it might be called immense--and it was on the first floor; which
means it was in the second story, for in Europe the houses are so
high that they do not count the first story, else they would get tired
climbing before they got to the top. The wallpaper was a fiery red, with
huge gold figures in it, well smirched by time, and it covered all the
doors. These doors fitted so snugly and continued the figures of the
paper so unbrokenly, that when they were closed one had to go feeling
and searching along the wall to find them. There was a stove in the
corner--one of those tall, square, stately white porcelain things that
looks like a monument and keeps you thinking of death when you ought to
be enjoying your travels. The windows looked out on a little alley, and
over that into a stable and some poultry and pig yards in the rear of
some tenement-houses. There were the customary two beds in the room,
one in one end, the other in the other, about an old-fashioned
brass-mounted, single-barreled pistol-shot apart. They were fully
as narrow as the usual German bed, too, and had the German bed's
ineradicable habit of spilling the blankets on the floor every time you
forgot yourself and went to sleep.

A round table as large as King Arthur's stood in the center of the room;
while the waiters were getting ready to serve our dinner on it we
all went out to see the renowned clock on the front of the municipal


[What the Wives Saved]

The RATHHAUS, or municipal building, is of the quaintest and most
picturesque Middle-Age architecture. It has a massive portico and steps,
before it, heavily balustraded, and adorned with life-sized rusty iron
knights in complete armor. The clock-face on the front of the building
is very large and of curious pattern. Ordinarily, a gilded angel
strikes the hour on a big bell with a hammer; as the striking ceases, a
life-sized figure of Time raises its hour-glass and turns it; two golden
rams advance and butt each other; a gilded cock lifts its wings; but the
main features are two great angels, who stand on each side of the dial
with long horns at their lips; it was said that they blew melodious
blasts on these horns every hour--but they did not do it for us. We were
told, later, that they blew only at night, when the town was still.

Within the RATHHAUS were a number of huge wild boars' heads, preserved,
and mounted on brackets along the wall; they bore inscriptions telling
who killed them and how many hundred years ago it was done. One room in
the building was devoted to the preservation of ancient archives. There
they showed us no end of aged documents; some were signed by Popes,
some by Tilly and other great generals, and one was a letter written and
subscribed by Goetz von Berlichingen in Heilbronn in 1519 just after his
release from the Square Tower.

This fine old robber-knight was a devoutly and sincerely religious
man, hospitable, charitable to the poor, fearless in fight, active,
enterprising, and possessed of a large and generous nature. He had in
him a quality of being able to overlook moderate injuries, and being
able to forgive and forget mortal ones as soon as he had soundly
trounced the authors of them. He was prompt to take up any poor devil's
quarrel and risk his neck to right him. The common folk held him dear,
and his memory is still green in ballad and tradition. He used to go on
the highway and rob rich wayfarers; and other times he would swoop down
from his high castle on the hills of the Neckar and capture passing
cargoes of merchandise. In his memoirs he piously thanks the Giver of
all Good for remembering him in his needs and delivering sundry such
cargoes into his hands at times when only special providences could have
relieved him. He was a doughty warrior and found a deep joy in battle.
In an assault upon a stronghold in Bavaria when he was only twenty-three
years old, his right hand was shot away, but he was so interested in the
fight that he did not observe it for a while. He said that the iron hand
which was made for him afterward, and which he wore for more than half a
century, was nearly as clever a member as the fleshy one had been. I was
glad to get a facsimile of the letter written by this fine old German
Robin Hood, though I was not able to read it. He was a better artist
with his sword than with his pen.

We went down by the river and saw the Square Tower. It was a very
venerable structure, very strong, and very ornamental. There was no
opening near the ground. They had to use a ladder to get into it, no

We visited the principal church, also--a curious old structure, with a
towerlike spire adorned with all sorts of grotesque images. The inner
walls of the church were placarded with large mural tablets of copper,
bearing engraved inscriptions celebrating the merits of old Heilbronn
worthies of two or three centuries ago, and also bearing rudely painted
effigies of themselves and their families tricked out in the queer
costumes of those days. The head of the family sat in the foreground,
and beyond him extended a sharply receding and diminishing row of
sons; facing him sat his wife, and beyond her extended a low row of
diminishing daughters. The family was usually large, but the perspective

Then we hired the hack and the horse which Goetz von Berlichingen used
to use, and drove several miles into the country to visit the place
called WEIBERTREU--Wife's Fidelity I suppose it means. It was a feudal
castle of the Middle Ages. When we reached its neighborhood we found
it was beautifully situated, but on top of a mound, or hill, round and
tolerably steep, and about two hundred feet high. Therefore, as the sun
was blazing hot, we did not climb up there, but took the place on trust,
and observed it from a distance while the horse leaned up against a
fence and rested. The place has no interest except that which is lent it
by its legend, which is a very pretty one--to this effect:


In the Middle Ages, a couple of young dukes, brothers, took opposite
sides in one of the wars, the one fighting for the Emperor, the other
against him. One of them owned the castle and village on top of the
mound which I have been speaking of, and in his absence his brother
came with his knights and soldiers and began a siege. It was a long and
tedious business, for the people made a stubborn and faithful defense.
But at last their supplies ran out and starvation began its work;
more fell by hunger than by the missiles of the enemy. They by and
by surrendered, and begged for charitable terms. But the beleaguering
prince was so incensed against them for their long resistance that he
said he would spare none but the women and children--all men should be
put to the sword without exception, and all their goods destroyed. Then
the women came and fell on their knees and begged for the lives of their

"No," said the prince, "not a man of them shall escape alive; you
yourselves shall go with your children into houseless and friendless
banishment; but that you may not starve I grant you this one grace,
that each woman may bear with her from this place as much of her most
valuable property as she is able to carry."

Very well, presently the gates swung open and out filed those women
carrying their HUSBANDS on their shoulders. The besiegers, furious at
the trick, rushed forward to slaughter the men, but the Duke stepped
between and said:

"No, put up your swords--a prince's word is inviolable."

When we got back to the hotel, King Arthur's Round Table was ready for
us in its white drapery, and the head waiter and his first assistant, in
swallow-tails and white cravats, brought in the soup and the hot plates
at once.

Mr. X had ordered the dinner, and when the wine came on, he picked up
a bottle, glanced at the label, and then turned to the grave, the
melancholy, the sepulchral head waiter and said it was not the sort of
wine he had asked for. The head waiter picked up the bottle, cast his
undertaker-eye on it and said:

"It is true; I beg pardon." Then he turned on his subordinate and calmly
said, "Bring another label."

At the same time he slid the present label off with his hand and laid it
aside; it had been newly put on, its paste was still wet. When the new
label came, he put it on; our French wine being now turned into German
wine, according to desire, the head waiter went blandly about his other
duties, as if the working of this sort of miracle was a common and easy
thing to him.

Mr. X said he had not known, before, that there were people honest
enough to do this miracle in public, but he was aware that thousands
upon thousands of labels were imported into America from Europe every
year, to enable dealers to furnish to their customers in a quiet and
inexpensive way all the different kinds of foreign wines they might

We took a turn around the town, after dinner, and found it fully as
interesting in the moonlight as it had been in the daytime. The streets
were narrow and roughly paved, and there was not a sidewalk or a
street-lamp anywhere. The dwellings were centuries old, and vast enough
for hotels. They widened all the way up; the stories projected further
and further forward and aside as they ascended, and the long rows
of lighted windows, filled with little bits of panes, curtained with
figured white muslin and adorned outside with boxes of flowers, made a
pretty effect.

The moon was bright, and the light and shadow very strong; and nothing
could be more picturesque than those curving streets, with their rows
of huge high gables leaning far over toward each other in a friendly
gossiping way, and the crowds below drifting through the alternating
blots of gloom and mellow bars of moonlight. Nearly everybody was
abroad, chatting, singing, romping, or massed in lazy comfortable
attitudes in the doorways.

In one place there was a public building which was fenced about with a
thick, rusty chain, which sagged from post to post in a succession of
low swings. The pavement, here, was made of heavy blocks of stone. In
the glare of the moon a party of barefooted children were swinging on
those chains and having a noisy good time. They were not the first ones
who have done that; even their great-great-grandfathers had not been the
first to do it when they were children. The strokes of the bare feet
had worn grooves inches deep in the stone flags; it had taken many
generations of swinging children to accomplish that.

Everywhere in the town were the mold and decay that go with antiquity,
and evidence of it; but I do not know that anything else gave us so
vivid a sense of the old age of Heilbronn as those footworn grooves in
the paving-stones.


[My Long Crawl in the Dark]

When we got back to the hotel I wound and set the pedometer and put
it in my pocket, for I was to carry it next day and keep record of the
miles we made. The work which we had given the instrument to do during
the day which had just closed had not fatigued it perceptibly.

We were in bed by ten, for we wanted to be up and away on our tramp
homeward with the dawn. I hung fire, but Harris went to sleep at once.
I hate a man who goes to sleep at once; there is a sort of indefinable
something about it which is not exactly an insult, and yet is an
insolence; and one which is hard to bear, too. I lay there fretting
over this injury, and trying to go to sleep; but the harder I tried, the
wider awake I grew. I got to feeling very lonely in the dark, with no
company but an undigested dinner. My mind got a start by and by, and
began to consider the beginning of every subject which has ever been
thought of; but it never went further than the beginning; it was touch
and go; it fled from topic to topic with a frantic speed. At the end of
an hour my head was in a perfect whirl and I was dead tired, fagged out.

The fatigue was so great that it presently began to make some head
against the nervous excitement; while imagining myself wide awake, I
would really doze into momentary unconsciousness, and come suddenly out
of it with a physical jerk which nearly wrenched my joints apart--the
delusion of the instant being that I was tumbling backward over a
precipice. After I had fallen over eight or nine precipices and thus
found out that one half of my brain had been asleep eight or nine times
without the wide-awake, hard-working other half suspecting it, the
periodical unconsciousnesses began to extend their spell gradually over
more of my brain-territory, and at last I sank into a drowse which grew
deeper and deeper and was doubtless just on the very point of being a
solid, blessed dreamless stupor, when--what was that?

My dulled faculties dragged themselves partly back to life and took a
receptive attitude. Now out of an immense, a limitless distance, came
a something which grew and grew, and approached, and presently was
recognizable as a sound--it had rather seemed to be a feeling, before.
This sound was a mile away, now--perhaps it was the murmur of a storm;
and now it was nearer--not a quarter of a mile away; was it the muffled
rasping and grinding of distant machinery? No, it came still nearer; was
it the measured tramp of a marching troop? But it came nearer still,
and still nearer--and at last it was right in the room: it was merely
a mouse gnawing the woodwork. So I had held my breath all that time for
such a trifle.

Well, what was done could not be helped; I would go to sleep at once and
make up the lost time. That was a thoughtless thought. Without intending
it--hardly knowing it--I fell to listening intently to that sound, and
even unconsciously counting the strokes of the mouse's nutmeg-grater.
Presently I was deriving exquisite suffering from this employment, yet
maybe I could have endured it if the mouse had attended steadily to
his work; but he did not do that; he stopped every now and then, and I
suffered more while waiting and listening for him to begin again than
I did while he was gnawing. Along at first I was mentally offering a
reward of five--six--seven--ten--dollars for that mouse; but toward
the last I was offering rewards which were entirely beyond my means. I
close-reefed my ears--that is to say, I bent the flaps of them down
and furled them into five or six folds, and pressed them against the
hearing-orifice--but it did no good: the faculty was so sharpened
by nervous excitement that it was become a microphone and could hear
through the overlays without trouble.

My anger grew to a frenzy. I finally did what all persons before me have
done, clear back to Adam,--resolved to throw something. I reached down
and got my walking-shoes, then sat up in bed and listened, in order to
exactly locate the noise. But I couldn't do it; it was as unlocatable as
a cricket's noise; and where one thinks that that is, is always the very
place where it isn't. So I presently hurled a shoe at random, and with
a vicious vigor. It struck the wall over Harris's head and fell down on
him; I had not imagined I could throw so far. It woke Harris, and I was
glad of it until I found he was not angry; then I was sorry. He soon
went to sleep again, which pleased me; but straightway the mouse began
again, which roused my temper once more. I did not want to wake Harris
a second time, but the gnawing continued until I was compelled to throw
the other shoe.

This time I broke a mirror--there were two in the room--I got the
largest one, of course. Harris woke again, but did not complain, and
I was sorrier than ever. I resolved that I would suffer all possible
torture before I would disturb him a third time.

The mouse eventually retired, and by and by I was sinking to sleep, when
a clock began to strike; I counted till it was done, and was about to
drowse again when another clock began; I counted; then the two great
RATHHAUS clock angels began to send forth soft, rich, melodious blasts
from their long trumpets. I had never heard anything that was so lovely,
or weird, or mysterious--but when they got to blowing the quarter-hours,
they seemed to me to be overdoing the thing. Every time I dropped
off for the moment, a new noise woke me. Each time I woke I missed my
coverlet, and had to reach down to the floor and get it again.

At last all sleepiness forsook me. I recognized the fact that I was
hopelessly and permanently wide awake. Wide awake, and feverish and
thirsty. When I had lain tossing there as long as I could endure it, it
occurred to me that it would be a good idea to dress and go out in the
great square and take a refreshing wash in the fountain, and smoke and
reflect there until the remnant of the night was gone.

I believed I could dress in the dark without waking Harris. I had
banished my shoes after the mouse, but my slippers would do for a summer
night. So I rose softly, and gradually got on everything--down to one
sock. I couldn't seem to get on the track of that sock, any way I could
fix it. But I had to have it; so I went down on my hands and knees, with
one slipper on and the other in my hand, and began to paw gently around
and rake the floor, but with no success. I enlarged my circle, and went
on pawing and raking. With every pressure of my knee, how the floor
creaked! and every time I chanced to rake against any article, it seemed
to give out thirty-five or thirty-six times more noise than it would
have done in the daytime. In those cases I always stopped and held
my breath till I was sure Harris had not awakened--then I crept along
again. I moved on and on, but I could not find the sock; I could not
seem to find anything but furniture. I could not remember that there was
much furniture in the room when I went to bed, but the place was alive
with it now --especially chairs--chairs everywhere--had a couple of
families moved in, in the mean time? And I never could seem to GLANCE on
one of those chairs, but always struck it full and square with my head.
My temper rose, by steady and sure degrees, and as I pawed on and on, I
fell to making vicious comments under my breath.

Finally, with a venomous access of irritation, I said I would leave
without the sock; so I rose up and made straight for the door--as I
supposed--and suddenly confronted my dim spectral image in the unbroken
mirror. It startled the breath out of me, for an instant; it also showed
me that I was lost, and had no sort of idea where I was. When I realized
this, I was so angry that I had to sit down on the floor and take hold
of something to keep from lifting the roof off with an explosion of
opinion. If there had been only one mirror, it might possibly have
helped to locate me; but there were two, and two were as bad as a
thousand; besides, these were on opposite sides of the room. I could see
the dim blur of the windows, but in my turned-around condition they were
exactly where they ought not to be, and so they only confused me instead
of helping me.

I started to get up, and knocked down an umbrella; it made a noise
like a pistol-shot when it struck that hard, slick, carpetless floor;
I grated my teeth and held my breath--Harris did not stir. I set the
umbrella slowly and carefully on end against the wall, but as soon as
I took my hand away, its heel slipped from under it, and down it came
again with another bang. I shrunk together and listened a moment in
silent fury--no harm done, everything quiet. With the most painstaking
care and nicety, I stood the umbrella up once more, took my hand away,
and down it came again.

I have been strictly reared, but if it had not been so dark and solemn
and awful there in that lonely, vast room, I do believe I should have
said something then which could not be put into a Sunday-school book
without injuring the sale of it. If my reasoning powers had not been
already sapped dry by my harassments, I would have known better than to
try to set an umbrella on end on one of those glassy German floors in
the dark; it can't be done in the daytime without four failures to one
success. I had one comfort, though--Harris was yet still and silent--he
had not stirred.

The umbrella could not locate me--there were four standing around the
room, and all alike. I thought I would feel along the wall and find the
door in that way. I rose up and began this operation, but raked down
a picture. It was not a large one, but it made noise enough for a
panorama. Harris gave out no sound, but I felt that if I experimented
any further with the pictures I should be sure to wake him. Better give
up trying to get out. Yes, I would find King Arthur's Round Table once
more--I had already found it several times--and use it for a base of
departure on an exploring tour for my bed; if I could find my bed I
could then find my water pitcher; I would quench my raging thirst and
turn in. So I started on my hands and knees, because I could go faster
that way, and with more confidence, too, and not knock down things. By
and by I found the table--with my head--rubbed the bruise a little, then
rose up and started, with hands abroad and fingers spread, to balance
myself. I found a chair; then a wall; then another chair; then a sofa;
then an alpenstock, then another sofa; this confounded me, for I had
thought there was only one sofa. I hunted up the table again and took a
fresh start; found some more chairs.

It occurred to me, now, as it ought to have done before, that as the
table was round, it was therefore of no value as a base to aim from; so
I moved off once more, and at random among the wilderness of chairs and
sofas--wandering off into unfamiliar regions, and presently knocked a
candlestick and knocked off a lamp, grabbed at the lamp and knocked
off a water pitcher with a rattling crash, and thought to myself,
"I've found you at last--I judged I was close upon you." Harris shouted
"murder," and "thieves," and finished with "I'm absolutely drowned."

The crash had roused the house. Mr. X pranced in, in his long
night-garment, with a candle, young Z after him with another candle; a
procession swept in at another door, with candles and lanterns--landlord
and two German guests in their nightgowns and a chambermaid in hers.

I looked around; I was at Harris's bed, a Sabbath-day's journey from my
own. There was only one sofa; it was against the wall; there was only
one chair where a body could get at it--I had been revolving around it
like a planet, and colliding with it like a comet half the night.

I explained how I had been employing myself, and why. Then the
landlord's party left, and the rest of us set about our preparations for
breakfast, for the dawn was ready to break. I glanced furtively at my
pedometer, and found I had made 47 miles. But I did not care, for I had
come out for a pedestrian tour anyway.


[Rafting Down the Neckar]

When the landlord learned that I and my agents were artists, our party
rose perceptibly in his esteem; we rose still higher when he learned
that we were making a pedestrian tour of Europe.

He told us all about the Heidelberg road, and which were the best places
to avoid and which the best ones to tarry at; he charged me less than
cost for the things I broke in the night; he put up a fine luncheon
for us and added to it a quantity of great light-green plums, the
pleasantest fruit in Germany; he was so anxious to do us honor that he
would not allow us to walk out of Heilbronn, but called up Goetz von
Berlichingen's horse and cab and made us ride.

I made a sketch of the turnout. It is not a Work, it is only what
artists call a "study"--a thing to make a finished picture from. This
sketch has several blemishes in it; for instance, the wagon is not
traveling as fast as the horse is. This is wrong. Again, the person
trying to get out of the way is too small; he is out of perspective,
as we say. The two upper lines are not the horse's back, they are the
reigns; there seems to be a wheel missing--this would be corrected in a
finished Work, of course. This thing flying out behind is not a flag,
it is a curtain. That other thing up there is the sun, but I didn't get
enough distance on it. I do not remember, now, what that thing is that
is in front of the man who is running, but I think it is a haystack or a
woman. This study was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1879, but did not
take any medal; they do not give medals for studies.

We discharged the carriage at the bridge. The river was full of
logs--long, slender, barkless pine logs--and we leaned on the rails
of the bridge, and watched the men put them together into rafts. These
rafts were of a shape and construction to suit the crookedness and
extreme narrowness of the Neckar. They were from fifty to one hundred
yards long, and they gradually tapered from a nine-log breadth at their
sterns, to a three-log breadth at their bow-ends. The main part of the
steering is done at the bow, with a pole; the three-log breadth there
furnishes room for only the steersman, for these little logs are not
larger around than an average young lady's waist. The connections of the
several sections of the raft are slack and pliant, so that the raft
may be readily bent into any sort of curve required by the shape of the

The Neckar is in many places so narrow that a person can throw a dog
across it, if he has one; when it is also sharply curved in such places,
the raftsman has to do some pretty nice snug piloting to make the turns.
The river is not always allowed to spread over its whole bed--which is
as much as thirty, and sometimes forty yards wide--but is split into
three equal bodies of water, by stone dikes which throw the main
volume, depth, and current into the central one. In low water these neat
narrow-edged dikes project four or five inches above the surface, like
the comb of a submerged roof, but in high water they are overflowed. A
hatful of rain makes high water in the Neckar, and a basketful produces
an overflow.

There are dikes abreast the Schloss Hotel, and the current is violently
swift at that point. I used to sit for hours in my glass cage, watching
the long, narrow rafts slip along through the central channel, grazing
the right-bank dike and aiming carefully for the middle arch of the
stone bridge below; I watched them in this way, and lost all this time
hoping to see one of them hit the bridge-pier and wreck itself sometime
or other, but was always disappointed. One was smashed there one
morning, but I had just stepped into my room a moment to light a pipe,
so I lost it.

While I was looking down upon the rafts that morning in Heilbronn, the
daredevil spirit of adventure came suddenly upon me, and I said to my

"I am going to Heidelberg on a raft. Will you venture with me?"

Their faces paled a little, but they assented with as good a grace as
they could. Harris wanted to cable his mother--thought it his duty to
do that, as he was all she had in this world--so, while he attended to
this, I went down to the longest and finest raft and hailed the captain
with a hearty "Ahoy, shipmate!" which put us upon pleasant terms at
once, and we entered upon business. I said we were on a pedestrian tour
to Heidelberg, and would like to take passage with him. I said this
partly through young Z, who spoke German very well, and partly through
Mr. X, who spoke it peculiarly. I can UNDERSTAND German as well as the
maniac that invented it, but I TALK it best through an interpreter.

The captain hitched up his trousers, then shifted his quid thoughtfully.
Presently he said just what I was expecting he would say--that he had no
license to carry passengers, and therefore was afraid the law would be
after him in case the matter got noised about or any accident happened.
So I CHARTERED the raft and the crew and took all the responsibilities
on myself.

With a rattling song the starboard watch bent to their work and hove
the cable short, then got the anchor home, and our bark moved off with a
stately stride, and soon was bowling along at about two knots an hour.

Our party were grouped amidships. At first the talk was a little gloomy,
and ran mainly upon the shortness of life, the uncertainty of it, the
perils which beset it, and the need and wisdom of being always prepared
for the worst; this shaded off into low-voiced references to the dangers
of the deep, and kindred matters; but as the gray east began to redden
and the mysterious solemnity and silence of the dawn to give place
to the joy-songs of the birds, the talk took a cheerier tone, and our
spirits began to rise steadily.

Germany, in the summer, is the perfection of the beautiful, but nobody
has understood, and realized, and enjoyed the utmost possibilities of
this soft and peaceful beauty unless he has voyaged down the Neckar on
a raft. The motion of a raft is the needful motion; it is gentle,
and gliding, and smooth, and noiseless; it calms down all feverish
activities, it soothes to sleep all nervous hurry and impatience; under
its restful influence all the troubles and vexations and sorrows that
harass the mind vanish away, and existence becomes a dream, a charm,
a deep and tranquil ecstasy. How it contrasts with hot and perspiring
pedestrianism, and dusty and deafening railroad rush, and tedious
jolting behind tired horses over blinding white roads!

We went slipping silently along, between the green and fragrant banks,
with a sense of pleasure and contentment that grew, and grew, all the
time. Sometimes the banks were overhung with thick masses of willows
that wholly hid the ground behind; sometimes we had noble hills on one
hand, clothed densely with foliage to their tops, and on the other hand
open levels blazing with poppies, or clothed in the rich blue of
the corn-flower; sometimes we drifted in the shadow of forests, and
sometimes along the margin of long stretches of velvety grass, fresh and
green and bright, a tireless charm to the eye. And the birds!--they were
everywhere; they swept back and forth across the river constantly, and
their jubilant music was never stilled.

It was a deep and satisfying pleasure to see the sun create the new
morning, and gradually, patiently, lovingly, clothe it on with splendor
after splendor, and glory after glory, till the miracle was complete.
How different is this marvel observed from a raft, from what it is when
one observes it through the dingy windows of a railway-station in some
wretched village while he munches a petrified sandwich and waits for the

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Tramp Abroad — Volume 02" ***

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