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Title: A Tramp Abroad
Author: Twain, Mark
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" ***


By Mark Twain

(Samuel L. Clemens)

First published in 1880

Illustrations taken from an 1880 First Edition

 * * * * * *


     2.   TITIAN’S MOSES
     7.   THE PORTIER
     10.  IN MY CAGE
     13.  THE RETREAT
     14.  JIM BAKER
      16.  COULD NOT SEE IT
     17.  THE BEER KING
     20.  IDLE STUDENT
      25.  THE OLD SURGEON
     28.  WOUNDED
     31.  PIECE OF SWORD


CHAPTER I A Tramp over Europe--On the
Holsatia--Hamburg--Frankfort-on-the- Main--How it Won its Name--A Lesson
in Political Economy--Neatness in Dress--Rhine Legends--“The Knave
of Bergen” The Famous Ball--The Strange Knight--Dancing with the
Queen--Removal of the Masks--The Disclosure--Wrath of the Emperor--The

CHAPTER II At Heidelberg--Great Stir at a Hotel--The Portier--Arrival
of the Empress--The Schloss Hotel--Location of Heidelberg--The River
Neckar--New Feature in a Hotel--Heidelberg Castle--View from the
Hotel--A Tramp in the Woods--Meeting a Raven--Can Ravens Talk?--Laughed
at and Vanquished--Language of Animals--Jim Baker--Blue-Jays

CHAPTER III Baker’s Blue-Jay Yarn--Jay Language--The Cabin--“Hello, I
reckon I’ve struck something”--A Knot Hole--Attempt to fill it--A Ton
of Acorns--Friends Called In--A Great Mystery--More Jays called A Blue
Flush--A Discovery--A Rich Joke--One that Couldn’t See It

CHAPTER IV Student Life--The Five Corps--The Beet King--A Free
Life--Attending Lectures--An Immense Audience--Industrious
Students--Politeness of the Students--Intercourse with the Professors
Scenes at the Castle Garden--Abundance of Dogs--Symbol of Blighted
Love--How the Ladies Advertise

CHAPTER V The Students’ Dueling Ground--The Dueling Room--The Sword
Grinder--Frequency of the Duels--The Duelists--Protection against
Injury--The Surgeon--Arrangements for the Duels--The First
Duel--The First Wound--A Drawn Battle--The Second Duel--Cutting and
Slashing--Interference of the Surgeon

CHAPTER VI The Third Duel--A Sickening Spectacle--Dinner between
Fights--The Last Duel--Fighting in Earnest--Faces and Heads
Mutilated--Great Nerve of the Duelists--Fatal Results not
Infrequent--The World’s View of these Fights

CHAPTER VII Corps--laws and Usages--Volunteering to Fight--Coolness
of the Wounded--Wounds Honorable--Newly bandaged Students around
Heidelberg--Scarred Faces Abundant--A Badge of Honor--Prince Bismark
as a Duelist--Statistics--Constant Sword Practice--Color of the
Corps--Corps Etiquette


[The Knighted Knave of Bergen]

One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world
had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake
a journey through Europe on foot. After much thought, I decided that
I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I
determined to do it. This was in March, 1878.

I looked about me for the right sort of person to accompany me in the
capacity of agent, and finally hired a Mr. Harris for this service.

It was also my purpose to study art while in Europe. Mr. Harris was in
sympathy with me in this. He was as much of an enthusiast in art as
I was, and not less anxious to learn to paint. I desired to learn the
German language; so did Harris.

Toward the middle of April we sailed in the HOLSATIA, Captain Brandt,
and had a very pleasant trip, indeed.

After a brief rest at Hamburg, we made preparations for a long
pedestrian trip southward in the soft spring weather, but at the
last moment we changed the program, for private reasons, and took the

We made a short halt at Frankfort-on-the-Main, and found it an
interesting city. I would have liked to visit the birthplace of
Gutenburg, but it could not be done, as no memorandum of the site of the
house has been kept. So we spent an hour in the Goethe mansion instead.
The city permits this house to belong to private parties, instead
of gracing and dignifying herself with the honor of possessing and
protecting it.

Frankfort is one of the sixteen cities which have the distinction of
being the place where the following incident occurred. Charlemagne,
while chasing the Saxons (as HE said), or being chased by them (as THEY
said), arrived at the bank of the river at dawn, in a fog. The enemy
were either before him or behind him; but in any case he wanted to get
across, very badly. He would have given anything for a guide, but none
was to be had. Presently he saw a deer, followed by her young, approach
the water. He watched her, judging that she would seek a ford, and he
was right. She waded over, and the army followed. So a great Frankish
victory or defeat was gained or avoided; and in order to commemorate the
episode, Charlemagne commanded a city to be built there, which he named
Frankfort--the ford of the Franks. None of the other cities where this
event happened were named for it. This is good evidence that Frankfort
was the first place it occurred at.

Frankfort has another distinction--it is the birthplace of the German
alphabet; or at least of the German word for alphabet --BUCHSTABEN.
They say that the first movable types were made on birch
sticks--BUCHSTABE--hence the name.

I was taught a lesson in political economy in Frankfort. I had brought
from home a box containing a thousand very cheap cigars. By way of
experiment, I stepped into a little shop in a queer old back street,
took four gaily decorated boxes of wax matches and three cigars, and
laid down a silver piece worth 48 cents. The man gave me 43 cents

In Frankfort everybody wears clean clothes, and I think we noticed that
this strange thing was the case in Hamburg, too, and in the villages
along the road. Even in the narrowest and poorest and most ancient
quarters of Frankfort neat and clean clothes were the rule. The little
children of both sexes were nearly always nice enough to take into a
body’s lap. And as for the uniforms of the soldiers, they were newness
and brightness carried to perfection. One could never detect a smirch
or a grain of dust upon them. The street-car conductors and drivers wore
pretty uniforms which seemed to be just out of the bandbox, and their
manners were as fine as their clothes.

In one of the shops I had the luck to stumble upon a book which has
charmed me nearly to death. It is entitled THE LEGENDS OF THE RHINE FROM
BASLE TO ROTTERDAM, by F. J. Kiefer; translated by L. W. Garnham, B.A.

All tourists MENTION the Rhine legends--in that sort of way which
quietly pretends that the mentioner has been familiar with them all his
life, and that the reader cannot possibly be ignorant of them--but no
tourist ever TELLS them. So this little book fed me in a very hungry
place; and I, in my turn, intend to feed my reader, with one or
two little lunches from the same larder. I shall not mar Garnham’s
translation by meddling with its English; for the most toothsome thing
about it is its quaint fashion of building English sentences on the
German plan--and punctuating them accordingly to no plan at all.

In the chapter devoted to “Legends of Frankfort,” I find the following:

“THE KNAVE OF BERGEN” “In Frankfort at the Romer was a great mask-ball,
at the coronation festival, and in the illuminated saloon, the clanging
music invited to dance, and splendidly appeared the rich toilets and
charms of the ladies, and the festively costumed Princes and Knights.
All seemed pleasure, joy, and roguish gaiety, only one of the numerous
guests had a gloomy exterior; but exactly the black armor in which he
walked about excited general attention, and his tall figure, as well as
the noble propriety of his movements, attracted especially the regards
of the ladies.

Who the Knight was? Nobody could guess, for his Vizier was well closed,
and nothing made him recognizable. Proud and yet modest he advanced to
the Empress; bowed on one knee before her seat, and begged for the favor
of a waltz with the Queen of the festival. And she allowed his request.
With light and graceful steps he danced through the long saloon, with
the sovereign who thought never to have found a more dexterous and
excellent dancer. But also by the grace of his manner, and fine
conversation he knew to win the Queen, and she graciously accorded him
a second dance for which he begged, a third, and a fourth, as well as
others were not refused him. How all regarded the happy dancer, how
many envied him the high favor; how increased curiosity, who the masked
knight could be.

“Also the Emperor became more and more excited with curiosity, and with
great suspense one awaited the hour, when according to mask-law, each
masked guest must make himself known. This moment came, but although all
other unmasked; the secret knight still refused to allow his features
to be seen, till at last the Queen driven by curiosity, and vexed at the
obstinate refusal; commanded him to open his Vizier.

He opened it, and none of the high ladies and knights knew him. But from
the crowded spectators, 2 officials advanced, who recognized the black
dancer, and horror and terror spread in the saloon, as they said who the
supposed knight was. It was the executioner of Bergen. But glowing with
rage, the King commanded to seize the criminal and lead him to death,
who had ventured to dance, with the queen; so disgraced the Empress,
and insulted the crown. The culpable threw himself at the Emperor, and

“‘Indeed I have heavily sinned against all noble guests assembled here,
but most heavily against you my sovereign and my queen. The Queen is
insulted by my haughtiness equal to treason, but no punishment even
blood, will not be able to wash out the disgrace, which you have
suffered by me. Therefore oh King! allow me to propose a remedy, to
efface the shame, and to render it as if not done. Draw your sword and
knight me, then I will throw down my gauntlet, to everyone who dares to
speak disrespectfully of my king.’

“The Emperor was surprised at this bold proposal, however it appeared
the wisest to him; ‘You are a knave,’ he replied after a moment’s
consideration, ‘however your advice is good, and displays prudence, as
your offense shows adventurous courage. Well then,’ and gave him the
knight-stroke ‘so I raise you to nobility, who begged for grace for your
offense now kneels before me, rise as knight; knavish you have acted,
and Knave of Bergen shall you be called henceforth,’ and gladly the
Black knight rose; three cheers were given in honor of the Emperor, and
loud cries of joy testified the approbation with which the Queen danced
still once with the Knave of Bergen.”



[Landing a Monarch at Heidelberg]

We stopped at a hotel by the railway-station. Next morning, as we sat in
my room waiting for breakfast to come up, we got a good deal interested
in something which was going on over the way, in front of another hotel.
First, the personage who is called the PORTIER (who is not the PORTER,
but is a sort of first-mate of a hotel) [1. See Appendix A] appeared
at the door in a spick-and-span new blue cloth uniform, decorated with
shining brass buttons, and with bands of gold lace around his cap and
wristbands; and he wore white gloves, too.

He shed an official glance upon the situation, and then began to give
orders. Two women-servants came out with pails and brooms and brushes,
and gave the sidewalk a thorough scrubbing; meanwhile two others
scrubbed the four marble steps which led up to the door; beyond these we
could see some men-servants taking up the carpet of the grand staircase.
This carpet was carried away and the last grain of dust beaten and
banged and swept out of it; then brought back and put down again. The
brass stair-rods received an exhaustive polishing and were returned to
their places. Now a troop of servants brought pots and tubs of blooming
plants and formed them into a beautiful jungle about the door and the
base of the staircase. Other servants adorned all the balconies of the
various stories with flowers and banners; others ascended to the
roof and hoisted a great flag on a staff there. Now came some more
chamber-maids and retouched the sidewalk, and afterward wiped the marble
steps with damp cloths and finished by dusting them off with feather
brushes. Now a broad black carpet was brought out and laid down the
marble steps and out across the sidewalk to the curbstone. The PORTIER
cast his eye along it, and found it was not absolutely straight; he
commanded it to be straightened; the servants made the effort--made
several efforts, in fact--but the PORTIER was not satisfied. He finally
had it taken up, and then he put it down himself and got it right.

At this stage of the proceedings, a narrow bright red carpet was
unrolled and stretched from the top of the marble steps to the
curbstone, along the center of the black carpet. This red path cost the
PORTIER more trouble than even the black one had done. But he patiently
fixed and refixed it until it was exactly right and lay precisely in the
middle of the black carpet. In New York these performances would have
gathered a mighty crowd of curious and intensely interested spectators;
but here it only captured an audience of half a dozen little boys who
stood in a row across the pavement, some with their school-knapsacks on
their backs and their hands in their pockets, others with arms full of
bundles, and all absorbed in the show. Occasionally one of them skipped
irreverently over the carpet and took up a position on the other side.
This always visibly annoyed the PORTIER.

Now came a waiting interval. The landlord, in plain clothes, and
bareheaded, placed himself on the bottom marble step, abreast the
PORTIER, who stood on the other end of the same steps; six or eight
waiters, gloved, bareheaded, and wearing their whitest linen, their
whitest cravats, and their finest swallow-tails, grouped themselves
about these chiefs, but leaving the carpetway clear. Nobody moved or
spoke any more but only waited.

In a short time the shrill piping of a coming train was heard, and
immediately groups of people began to gather in the street. Two or three
open carriages arrived, and deposited some maids of honor and some male
officials at the hotel. Presently another open carriage brought the
Grand Duke of Baden, a stately man in uniform, who wore the handsome
brass-mounted, steel-spiked helmet of the army on his head. Last came
the Empress of Germany and the Grand Duchess of Baden in a closed
carriage; these passed through the low-bowing groups of servants and
disappeared in the hotel, exhibiting to us only the backs of their
heads, and then the show was over.

It appears to be as difficult to land a monarch as it is to launch a

But as to Heidelberg. The weather was growing pretty warm,--very warm,
in fact. So we left the valley and took quarters at the Schloss Hotel,
on the hill, above the Castle.

Heidelberg lies at the mouth of a narrow gorge--a gorge the shape of
a shepherd’s crook; if one looks up it he perceives that it is about
straight, for a mile and a half, then makes a sharp curve to the
right and disappears. This gorge--along whose bottom pours the swift
Neckar--is confined between (or cloven through) a couple of long, steep
ridges, a thousand feet high and densely wooded clear to their summits,
with the exception of one section which has been shaved and put under
cultivation. These ridges are chopped off at the mouth of the gorge
and form two bold and conspicuous headlands, with Heidelberg nestling
between them; from their bases spreads away the vast dim expanse of the
Rhine valley, and into this expanse the Neckar goes wandering in shining
curves and is presently lost to view.

Now if one turns and looks up the gorge once more, he will see the
Schloss Hotel on the right perched on a precipice overlooking the
Neckar--a precipice which is so sumptuously cushioned and draped with
foliage that no glimpse of the rock appears. The building seems very
airily situated. It has the appearance of being on a shelf half-way
up the wooded mountainside; and as it is remote and isolated, and very
white, it makes a strong mark against the lofty leafy rampart at its

This hotel had a feature which was a decided novelty, and one which
might be adopted with advantage by any house which is perched in a
commanding situation. This feature may be described as a series of
glass-enclosed parlors CLINGING TO THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE, one against
each and every bed-chamber and drawing-room. They are like long, narrow,
high-ceiled bird-cages hung against the building. My room was a corner
room, and had two of these things, a north one and a west one.

From the north cage one looks up the Neckar gorge; from the west one he
looks down it. This last affords the most extensive view, and it is one
of the loveliest that can be imagined, too. Out of a billowy upheaval
of vivid green foliage, a rifle-shot removed, rises the huge ruin
of Heidelberg Castle, [2. See Appendix B] with empty window arches,
ivy-mailed battlements, moldering towers--the Lear of inanimate
nature--deserted, discrowned, beaten by the storms, but royal still,
and beautiful. It is a fine sight to see the evening sunlight suddenly
strike the leafy declivity at the Castle’s base and dash up it and
drench it as with a luminous spray, while the adjacent groves are in
deep shadow.

Behind the Castle swells a great dome-shaped hill, forest-clad, and
beyond that a nobler and loftier one. The Castle looks down upon the
compact brown-roofed town; and from the town two picturesque old bridges
span the river. Now the view broadens; through the gateway of the
sentinel headlands you gaze out over the wide Rhine plain, which
stretches away, softly and richly tinted, grows gradually and dreamily
indistinct, and finally melts imperceptibly into the remote horizon.

I have never enjoyed a view which had such a serene and satisfying charm
about it as this one gives.

The first night we were there, we went to bed and to sleep early; but
I awoke at the end of two or three hours, and lay a comfortable while
listening to the soothing patter of the rain against the balcony
windows. I took it to be rain, but it turned out to be only the murmur
of the restless Neckar, tumbling over her dikes and dams far below, in
the gorge. I got up and went into the west balcony and saw a wonderful
sight. Away down on the level under the black mass of the Castle, the
town lay, stretched along the river, its intricate cobweb of streets
jeweled with twinkling lights; there were rows of lights on the bridges;
these flung lances of light upon the water, in the black shadows of the
arches; and away at the extremity of all this fairy spectacle blinked
and glowed a massed multitude of gas-jets which seemed to cover acres of
ground; it was as if all the diamonds in the world had been spread
out there. I did not know before, that a half-mile of sextuple
railway-tracks could be made such an adornment.

One thinks Heidelberg by day--with its surroundings--is the last
possibility of the beautiful; but when he sees Heidelberg by night, a
fallen Milky Way, with that glittering railway constellation pinned to
the border, he requires time to consider upon the verdict.

One never tires of poking about in the dense woods that clothe all
these lofty Neckar hills to their tops. The great deeps of a boundless
forest have a beguiling and impressive charm in any country; but German
legends and fairy tales have given these an added charm. They have
peopled all that region with gnomes, and dwarfs, and all sorts of
mysterious and uncanny creatures. At the time I am writing of, I had
been reading so much of this literature that sometimes I was not sure
but I was beginning to believe in the gnomes and fairies as realities.

One afternoon I got lost in the woods about a mile from the hotel, and
presently fell into a train of dreamy thought about animals which talk,
and kobolds, and enchanted folk, and the rest of the pleasant legendary
stuff; and so, by stimulating my fancy, I finally got to imagining I
glimpsed small flitting shapes here and there down the columned
aisles of the forest. It was a place which was peculiarly meet for the
occasion. It was a pine wood, with so thick and soft a carpet of brown
needles that one’s footfall made no more sound than if he were treading
on wool; the tree-trunks were as round and straight and smooth as
pillars, and stood close together; they were bare of branches to a point
about twenty-five feet above-ground, and from there upward so thick with
boughs that not a ray of sunlight could pierce through. The world was
bright with sunshine outside, but a deep and mellow twilight reigned in
there, and also a deep silence so profound that I seemed to hear my own

When I had stood ten minutes, thinking and imagining, and getting
my spirit in tune with the place, and in the right mood to enjoy the
supernatural, a raven suddenly uttered a horse croak over my head. It
made me start; and then I was angry because I started. I looked up, and
the creature was sitting on a limb right over me, looking down at me.
I felt something of the same sense of humiliation and injury which
one feels when he finds that a human stranger has been clandestinely
inspecting him in his privacy and mentally commenting upon him. I eyed
the raven, and the raven eyed me. Nothing was said during some seconds.
Then the bird stepped a little way along his limb to get a better point
of observation, lifted his wings, stuck his head far down below his
shoulders toward me and croaked again--a croak with a distinctly
insulting expression about it. If he had spoken in English he could not
have said any more plainly than he did say in raven, “Well, what do YOU
want here?” I felt as foolish as if I had been caught in some mean act
by a responsible being, and reproved for it. However, I made no reply;
I would not bandy words with a raven. The adversary waited a while, with
his shoulders still lifted, his head thrust down between them, and
his keen bright eye fixed on me; then he threw out two or three more
insults, which I could not understand, further than that I knew a
portion of them consisted of language not used in church.

I still made no reply. Now the adversary raised his head and
called. There was an answering croak from a little distance in the
wood--evidently a croak of inquiry. The adversary explained with
enthusiasm, and the other raven dropped everything and came. The two sat
side by side on the limb and discussed me as freely and offensively as
two great naturalists might discuss a new kind of bug. The thing became
more and more embarrassing. They called in another friend. This was too
much. I saw that they had the advantage of me, and so I concluded to get
out of the scrape by walking out of it. They enjoyed my defeat as much
as any low white people could have done. They craned their necks and
laughed at me (for a raven CAN laugh, just like a man), they squalled
insulting remarks after me as long as they could see me. They were
nothing but ravens--I knew that--what they thought of me could be a
matter of no consequence--and yet when even a raven shouts after you,
“What a hat!” “Oh, pull down your vest!” and that sort of thing, it
hurts you and humiliates you, and there is no getting around it with
fine reasoning and pretty arguments.

Animals talk to each other, of course. There can be no question about
that; but I suppose there are very few people who can understand them.
I never knew but one man who could. I knew he could, however, because he
told me so himself. He was a middle-aged, simple-hearted miner who had
lived in a lonely corner of California, among the woods and mountains,
a good many years, and had studied the ways of his only neighbors, the
beasts and the birds, until he believed he could accurately translate
any remark which they made. This was Jim Baker. According to Jim Baker,
some animals have only a limited education, and some use only simple
words, and scarcely ever a comparison or a flowery figure; whereas,
certain other animals have a large vocabulary, a fine command of
language and a ready and fluent delivery; consequently these latter talk
a great deal; they like it; they are so conscious of their talent,
and they enjoy “showing off.” Baker said, that after long and careful
observation, he had come to the conclusion that the bluejays were the
best talkers he had found among birds and beasts. Said he:

“There’s more TO a bluejay than any other creature. He has got more
moods, and more different kinds of feelings than other creatures; and,
mind you, whatever a bluejay feels, he can put into language. And
no mere commonplace language, either, but rattling, out-and-out
book-talk--and bristling with metaphor, too--just bristling! And as for
command of language--why YOU never see a bluejay get stuck for a word.
No man ever did. They just boil out of him! And another thing: I’ve
noticed a good deal, and there’s no bird, or cow, or anything that uses
as good grammar as a bluejay. You may say a cat uses good grammar. Well,
a cat does--but you let a cat get excited once; you let a cat get to
pulling fur with another cat on a shed, nights, and you’ll hear grammar
that will give you the lockjaw. Ignorant people think it’s the NOISE
which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it’s
the sickening grammar they use. Now I’ve never heard a jay use bad
grammar but very seldom; and when they do, they are as ashamed as a
human; they shut right down and leave.

“You may call a jay a bird. Well, so he is, in a measure--but he’s got
feathers on him, and don’t belong to no church, perhaps; but otherwise
he is just as much human as you be. And I’ll tell you for why. A jay’s
gifts, and instincts, and feelings, and interests, cover the whole
ground. A jay hasn’t got any more principle than a Congressman. A jay
will lie, a jay will steal, a jay will deceive, a jay will betray; and
four times out of five, a jay will go back on his solemnest promise. The
sacredness of an obligation is such a thing which you can’t cram into
no bluejay’s head. Now, on top of all this, there’s another thing; a
jay can out-swear any gentleman in the mines. You think a cat can swear.
Well, a cat can; but you give a bluejay a subject that calls for his
reserve-powers, and where is your cat? Don’t talk to ME--I know too much
about this thing; in the one little particular of scolding--just good,
clean, out-and-out scolding--a bluejay can lay over anything, human or
divine. Yes, sir, a jay is everything that a man is. A jay can cry,
a jay can laugh, a jay can feel shame, a jay can reason and plan and
discuss, a jay likes gossip and scandal, a jay has got a sense of humor,
a jay knows when he is an ass just as well as you do--maybe better. If
a jay ain’t human, he better take in his sign, that’s all. Now I’m going
to tell you a perfectly true fact about some bluejays.”


Baker’s Bluejay Yarn

[What Stumped the Blue Jays]

“When I first begun to understand jay language correctly, there was a
little incident happened here. Seven years ago, the last man in this
region but me moved away. There stands his house--been empty ever since;
a log house, with a plank roof--just one big room, and no more; no
ceiling--nothing between the rafters and the floor. Well, one Sunday
morning I was sitting out here in front of my cabin, with my cat, taking
the sun, and looking at the blue hills, and listening to the leaves
rustling so lonely in the trees, and thinking of the home away yonder in
the states, that I hadn’t heard from in thirteen years, when a bluejay
lit on that house, with an acorn in his mouth, and says, ‘Hello, I
reckon I’ve struck something.’ When he spoke, the acorn dropped out of
his mouth and rolled down the roof, of course, but he didn’t care; his
mind was all on the thing he had struck. It was a knot-hole in the roof.
He cocked his head to one side, shut one eye and put the other one to
the hole, like a possum looking down a jug; then he glanced up with
his bright eyes, gave a wink or two with his wings--which signifies
gratification, you understand--and says, ‘It looks like a hole, it’s
located like a hole--blamed if I don’t believe it IS a hole!’

“Then he cocked his head down and took another look; he glances up
perfectly joyful, this time; winks his wings and his tail both, and
says, ‘Oh, no, this ain’t no fat thing, I reckon! If I ain’t in luck!
--Why it’s a perfectly elegant hole!’ So he flew down and got that
acorn, and fetched it up and dropped it in, and was just tilting his
head back, with the heavenliest smile on his face, when all of a
sudden he was paralyzed into a listening attitude and that smile faded
gradually out of his countenance like breath off’n a razor, and the
queerest look of surprise took its place. Then he says, ‘Why, I didn’t
hear it fall!’ He cocked his eye at the hole again, and took a long
look; raised up and shook his head; stepped around to the other side of
the hole and took another look from that side; shook his head again. He
studied a while, then he just went into the Details--walked round and
round the hole and spied into it from every point of the compass.
No use. Now he took a thinking attitude on the comb of the roof and
scratched the back of his head with his right foot a minute, and finally
says, ‘Well, it’s too many for ME, that’s certain; must be a mighty long
hole; however, I ain’t got no time to fool around here, I got to “tend
to business”; I reckon it’s all right--chance it, anyway.’

“So he flew off and fetched another acorn and dropped it in, and tried
to flirt his eye to the hole quick enough to see what become of it,
but he was too late. He held his eye there as much as a minute; then he
raised up and sighed, and says, ‘Confound it, I don’t seem to understand
this thing, no way; however, I’ll tackle her again.’ He fetched
another acorn, and done his level best to see what become of it, but he
couldn’t. He says, ‘Well, I never struck no such a hole as this before;
I’m of the opinion it’s a totally new kind of a hole.’ Then he begun
to get mad. He held in for a spell, walking up and down the comb of the
roof and shaking his head and muttering to himself; but his feelings got
the upper hand of him, presently, and he broke loose and cussed himself
black in the face. I never see a bird take on so about a little thing.
When he got through he walks to the hole and looks in again for half a
minute; then he says, ‘Well, you’re a long hole, and a deep hole, and
a mighty singular hole altogether--but I’ve started in to fill you, and
I’m damned if I DON’T fill you, if it takes a hundred years!’

“And with that, away he went. You never see a bird work so since you was
born. He laid into his work like a nigger, and the way he hove acorns
into that hole for about two hours and a half was one of the most
exciting and astonishing spectacles I ever struck. He never stopped to
take a look anymore--he just hove ‘em in and went for more. Well, at
last he could hardly flop his wings, he was so tuckered out. He comes
a-dropping down, once more, sweating like an ice-pitcher, dropped his
acorn in and says, ‘NOW I guess I’ve got the bulge on you by this time!’
So he bent down for a look. If you’ll believe me, when his head come up
again he was just pale with rage. He says, ‘I’ve shoveled acorns enough
in there to keep the family thirty years, and if I can see a sign of one
of ‘em I wish I may land in a museum with a belly full of sawdust in two

“He just had strength enough to crawl up on to the comb and lean his
back agin the chimbly, and then he collected his impressions and
begun to free his mind. I see in a second that what I had mistook for
profanity in the mines was only just the rudiments, as you may say.

“Another jay was going by, and heard him doing his devotions, and stops
to inquire what was up. The sufferer told him the whole circumstance,
and says, ‘Now yonder’s the hole, and if you don’t believe me, go and
look for yourself.’ So this fellow went and looked, and comes back and
says, ‘How many did you say you put in there?’ ‘Not any less than
two tons,’ says the sufferer. The other jay went and looked again. He
couldn’t seem to make it out, so he raised a yell, and three more jays
come. They all examined the hole, they all made the sufferer tell
it over again, then they all discussed it, and got off as many
leather-headed opinions about it as an average crowd of humans could
have done.

“They called in more jays; then more and more, till pretty soon this
whole region ‘peared to have a blue flush about it. There must have been
five thousand of them; and such another jawing and disputing and ripping
and cussing, you never heard. Every jay in the whole lot put his eye to
the hole and delivered a more chuckle-headed opinion about the mystery
than the jay that went there before him. They examined the house all
over, too. The door was standing half open, and at last one old jay
happened to go and light on it and look in. Of course, that knocked the
mystery galley-west in a second. There lay the acorns, scattered all
over the floor.. He flopped his wings and raised a whoop. ‘Come here!’
he says, ‘Come here, everybody; hang’d if this fool hasn’t been trying
to fill up a house with acorns!’ They all came a-swooping down like a
blue cloud, and as each fellow lit on the door and took a glance, the
whole absurdity of the contract that that first jay had tackled hit him
home and he fell over backward suffocating with laughter, and the next
jay took his place and done the same.

“Well, sir, they roosted around here on the housetop and the trees for
an hour, and guffawed over that thing like human beings. It ain’t any
use to tell me a bluejay hasn’t got a sense of humor, because I know
better. And memory, too. They brought jays here from all over the United
States to look down that hole, every summer for three years. Other
birds, too. And they could all see the point except an owl that come
from Nova Scotia to visit the Yo Semite, and he took this thing in on
his way back. He said he couldn’t see anything funny in it. But then he
was a good deal disappointed about Yo Semite, too.”


Student Life

[The Laborious Beer King]

The summer semester was in full tide; consequently the most frequent
figure in and about Heidelberg was the student. Most of the students
were Germans, of course, but the representatives of foreign lands
were very numerous. They hailed from every corner of the globe--for
instruction is cheap in Heidelberg, and so is living, too. The
Anglo-American Club, composed of British and American students, had
twenty-five members, and there was still much material left to draw

Nine-tenths of the Heidelberg students wore no badge or uniform;
the other tenth wore caps of various colors, and belonged to social
organizations called “corps.” There were five corps, each with a color
of its own; there were white caps, blue caps, and red, yellow, and green
ones. The famous duel-fighting is confined to the “corps” boys. The
“KNEIP” seems to be a specialty of theirs, too. Kneips are held, now and
then, to celebrate great occasions, like the election of a beer king,
for instance. The solemnity is simple; the five corps assemble at night,
and at a signal they all fall loading themselves with beer, out
of pint-mugs, as fast as possible, and each man keeps his own
count--usually by laying aside a lucifer match for each mug he empties.

The election is soon decided. When the candidates can hold no more, a
count is instituted and the one who has drank the greatest number of
pints is proclaimed king. I was told that the last beer king elected
by the corps--or by his own capabilities--emptied his mug seventy-five
times. No stomach could hold all that quantity at one time, of
course--but there are ways of frequently creating a vacuum, which those
who have been much at sea will understand.

One sees so many students abroad at all hours, that he presently begins
to wonder if they ever have any working-hours. Some of them have, some
of them haven’t. Each can choose for himself whether he will work or
play; for German university life is a very free life; it seems to have
no restraints. The student does not live in the college buildings, but
hires his own lodgings, in any locality he prefers, and he takes his
meals when and where he pleases. He goes to bed when it suits him, and
does not get up at all unless he wants to. He is not entered at the
university for any particular length of time; so he is likely to change
about. He passes no examinations upon entering college. He merely pays
a trifling fee of five or ten dollars, receives a card entitling him to
the privileges of the university, and that is the end of it. He is now
ready for business--or play, as he shall prefer. If he elects to
work, he finds a large list of lectures to choose from. He selects the
subjects which he will study, and enters his name for these studies; but
he can skip attendance.

The result of this system is, that lecture-courses upon specialties
of an unusual nature are often delivered to very slim audiences,
while those upon more practical and every-day matters of education are
delivered to very large ones. I heard of one case where, day after day,
the lecturer’s audience consisted of three students--and always the
same three. But one day two of them remained away. The lecturer began as

“Gentlemen,” --then, without a smile, he corrected himself, saying--

“Sir,” --and went on with his discourse.

It is said that the vast majority of the Heidelberg students are hard
workers, and make the most of their opportunities; that they have
no surplus means to spend in dissipation, and no time to spare for
frolicking. One lecture follows right on the heels of another, with very
little time for the student to get out of one hall and into the next;
but the industrious ones manage it by going on a trot. The professors
assist them in the saving of their time by being promptly in their
little boxed-up pulpits when the hours strike, and as promptly out again
when the hour finishes. I entered an empty lecture-room one day just
before the clock struck. The place had simple, unpainted pine desks and
benches for about two hundred persons.

About a minute before the clock struck, a hundred and fifty students
swarmed in, rushed to their seats, immediately spread open their
notebooks and dipped their pens in ink. When the clock began to strike,
a burly professor entered, was received with a round of applause, moved
swiftly down the center aisle, said “Gentlemen,” and began to talk as he
climbed his pulpit steps; and by the time he had arrived in his box and
faced his audience, his lecture was well under way and all the pens were
going. He had no notes, he talked with prodigious rapidity and
energy for an hour--then the students began to remind him in certain
well-understood ways that his time was up; he seized his hat, still
talking, proceeded swiftly down his pulpit steps, got out the last word
of his discourse as he struck the floor; everybody rose respectfully,
and he swept rapidly down the aisle and disappeared. An instant rush for
some other lecture-room followed, and in a minute I was alone with the
empty benches once more.

Yes, without doubt, idle students are not the rule. Out of eight hundred
in the town, I knew the faces of only about fifty; but these I saw
everywhere, and daily. They walked about the streets and the wooded
hills, they drove in cabs, they boated on the river, they sipped beer
and coffee, afternoons, in the Schloss gardens. A good many of them wore
colored caps of the corps. They were finely and fashionably dressed,
their manners were quite superb, and they led an easy, careless,
comfortable life. If a dozen of them sat together and a lady or a
gentleman passed whom one of them knew and saluted, they all rose
to their feet and took off their caps. The members of a corps always
received a fellow-member in this way, too; but they paid no attention
to members of other corps; they did not seem to see them. This was not
a discourtesy; it was only a part of the elaborate and rigid corps

There seems to be no chilly distance existing between the German
students and the professor; but, on the contrary, a companionable
intercourse, the opposite of chilliness and reserve. When the professor
enters a beer-hall in the evening where students are gathered together,
these rise up and take off their caps, and invite the old gentleman to
sit with them and partake. He accepts, and the pleasant talk and the
beer flow for an hour or two, and by and by the professor, properly
charged and comfortable, gives a cordial good night, while the students
stand bowing and uncovered; and then he moves on his happy way homeward
with all his vast cargo of learning afloat in his hold. Nobody finds
fault or feels outraged; no harm has been done.

It seemed to be a part of corps etiquette to keep a dog or so, too.
I mean a corps dog--the common property of the organization, like the
corps steward or head servant; then there are other dogs, owned by

On a summer afternoon in the Castle gardens, I have seen six students
march solemnly into the grounds, in single file, each carrying a bright
Chinese parasol and leading a prodigious dog by a string. It was a very
imposing spectacle. Sometimes there would be as many dogs around the
pavilion as students; and of all breeds and of all degrees of beauty and
ugliness. These dogs had a rather dry time of it; for they were tied
to the benches and had no amusement for an hour or two at a time except
what they could get out of pawing at the gnats, or trying to sleep and
not succeeding. However, they got a lump of sugar occasionally--they
were fond of that.

It seemed right and proper that students should indulge in dogs; but
everybody else had them, too--old men and young ones, old women and
nice young ladies. If there is one spectacle that is unpleasanter than
another, it is that of an elegantly dressed young lady towing a dog by a
string. It is said to be the sign and symbol of blighted love. It seems
to me that some other way of advertising it might be devised, which
would be just as conspicuous and yet not so trying to the proprieties.

It would be a mistake to suppose that the easy-going pleasure-seeking
student carries an empty head. Just the contrary. He has spent nine
years in the gymnasium, under a system which allowed him no freedom, but
vigorously compelled him to work like a slave. Consequently, he has left
the gymnasium with an education which is so extensive and complete, that
the most a university can do for it is to perfect some of its profounder
specialties. It is said that when a pupil leaves the gymnasium, he not
only has a comprehensive education, but he KNOWS what he knows--it is
not befogged with uncertainty, it is burnt into him so that it will
stay. For instance, he does not merely read and write Greek, but speaks
it; the same with the Latin. Foreign youth steer clear of the gymnasium;
its rules are too severe. They go to the university to put a mansard
roof on their whole general education; but the German student already
has his mansard roof, so he goes there to add a steeple in the nature of
some specialty, such as a particular branch of law, or diseases of the
eye, or special study of the ancient Gothic tongues. So this German
attends only the lectures which belong to the chosen branch, and drinks
his beer and tows his dog around and has a general good time the rest of
the day. He has been in rigid bondage so long that the large liberty
of the university life is just what he needs and likes and thoroughly
appreciates; and as it cannot last forever, he makes the most of it
while it does last, and so lays up a good rest against the day that must
see him put on the chains once more and enter the slavery of official or
professional life.


At the Students’ Dueling-Ground

[Dueling by Wholesale]

One day in the interest of science my agent obtained permission to bring
me to the students’ dueling-place. We crossed the river and drove up
the bank a few hundred yards, then turned to the left, entered a narrow
alley, followed it a hundred yards and arrived at a two-story public
house; we were acquainted with its outside aspect, for it was visible
from the hotel. We went upstairs and passed into a large whitewashed
apartment which was perhaps fifty feet long by thirty feet wide and
twenty or twenty-five high. It was a well-lighted place. There was no
carpet. Across one end and down both sides of the room extended a row of
tables, and at these tables some fifty or seventy-five students [1. See
Appendix C] were sitting.

Some of them were sipping wine, others were playing cards, others chess,
other groups were chatting together, and many were smoking cigarettes
while they waited for the coming duels. Nearly all of them wore colored
caps; there were white caps, green caps, blue caps, red caps, and
bright-yellow ones; so, all the five corps were present in strong
force. In the windows at the vacant end of the room stood six or eight,
narrow-bladed swords with large protecting guards for the hand, and
outside was a man at work sharpening others on a grindstone.

He understood his business; for when a sword left his hand one could
shave himself with it.

It was observable that the young gentlemen neither bowed to nor spoke
with students whose caps differed in color from their own. This did not
mean hostility, but only an armed neutrality. It was considered that
a person could strike harder in the duel, and with a more earnest
interest, if he had never been in a condition of comradeship with his
antagonist; therefore, comradeship between the corps was not permitted.
At intervals the presidents of the five corps have a cold official
intercourse with each other, but nothing further. For example, when the
regular dueling-day of one of the corps approaches, its president calls
for volunteers from among the membership to offer battle; three or more
respond--but there must not be less than three; the president lays their
names before the other presidents, with the request that they furnish
antagonists for these challengers from among their corps. This is
promptly done. It chanced that the present occasion was the battle-day
of the Red Cap Corps. They were the challengers, and certain caps of
other colors had volunteered to meet them. The students fight duels in
the room which I have described, TWO DAYS IN EVERY WEEK DURING SEVEN
AND A HALF OR EIGHT MONTHS IN EVERY YEAR. This custom had continued in
Germany two hundred and fifty years.

To return to my narrative. A student in a white cap met us and
introduced us to six or eight friends of his who also wore white caps,
and while we stood conversing, two strange-looking figures were led in
from another room. They were students panoplied for the duel. They were
bareheaded; their eyes were protected by iron goggles which projected an
inch or more, the leather straps of which bound their ears flat against
their heads were wound around and around with thick wrappings which
a sword could not cut through; from chin to ankle they were padded
thoroughly against injury; their arms were bandaged and rebandaged,
layer upon layer, until they looked like solid black logs. These weird
apparitions had been handsome youths, clad in fashionable attire,
fifteen minutes before, but now they did not resemble any beings one
ever sees unless in nightmares. They strode along, with their arms
projecting straight out from their bodies; they did not hold them out
themselves, but fellow-students walked beside them and gave the needed

There was a rush for the vacant end of the room, now, and we followed
and got good places. The combatants were placed face to face, each with
several members of his own corps about him to assist; two seconds, well
padded, and with swords in their hands, took their stations; a student
belonging to neither of the opposing corps placed himself in a good
position to umpire the combat; another student stood by with a watch and
a memorandum-book to keep record of the time and the number and nature
of the wounds; a gray-haired surgeon was present with his lint, his
bandages, and his instruments.

After a moment’s pause the duelists saluted the umpire respectfully,
then one after another the several officials stepped forward, gracefully
removed their caps and saluted him also, and returned to their places.
Everything was ready now; students stood crowded together in the
foreground, and others stood behind them on chairs and tables. Every
face was turned toward the center of attraction.

The combatants were watching each other with alert eyes; a perfect
stillness, a breathless interest reigned. I felt that I was going to
see some wary work. But not so. The instant the word was given, the two
apparitions sprang forward and began to rain blows down upon each other
with such lightning rapidity that I could not quite tell whether I saw
the swords or only flashes they made in the air; the rattling din of
these blows as they struck steel or paddings was something wonderfully
stirring, and they were struck with such terrific force that I could not
understand why the opposing sword was not beaten down under the assault.
Presently, in the midst of the sword-flashes, I saw a handful of hair
skip into the air as if it had lain loose on the victim’s head and a
breath of wind had puffed it suddenly away.

The seconds cried “Halt!” and knocked up the combatants’ swords with
their own. The duelists sat down; a student official stepped forward,
examined the wounded head and touched the place with a sponge once or
twice; the surgeon came and turned back the hair from the wound--and
revealed a crimson gash two or three inches long, and proceeded to bind
an oval piece of leather and a bunch of lint over it; the tally-keeper
stepped up and tallied one for the opposition in his book.

Then the duelists took position again; a small stream of blood was
flowing down the side of the injured man’s head, and over his shoulder
and down his body to the floor, but he did not seem to mind this. The
word was given, and they plunged at each other as fiercely as before;
once more the blows rained and rattled and flashed; every few moments
the quick-eyed seconds would notice that a sword was bent--then they
called “Halt!” struck up the contending weapons, and an assisting
student straightened the bent one.

The wonderful turmoil went on--presently a bright spark sprung from
a blade, and that blade broken in several pieces, sent one of its
fragments flying to the ceiling. A new sword was provided and the fight
proceeded. The exercise was tremendous, of course, and in time the
fighters began to show great fatigue. They were allowed to rest a
moment, every little while; they got other rests by wounding each other,
for then they could sit down while the doctor applied the lint and
bandages. The law is that the battle must continue fifteen minutes if
the men can hold out; and as the pauses do not count, this duel was
protracted to twenty or thirty minutes, I judged. At last it was decided
that the men were too much wearied to do battle longer. They were led
away drenched with crimson from head to foot. That was a good fight, but
it could not count, partly because it did not last the lawful fifteen
minutes (of actual fighting), and partly because neither man was
disabled by his wound. It was a drawn battle, and corps law requires
that drawn battles shall be refought as soon as the adversaries are well
of their hurts.

During the conflict, I had talked a little, now and then, with a young
gentleman of the White Cap Corps, and he had mentioned that he was to
fight next--and had also pointed out his challenger, a young gentleman
who was leaning against the opposite wall smoking a cigarette and
restfully observing the duel then in progress.

My acquaintanceship with a party to the coming contest had the effect of
giving me a kind of personal interest in it; I naturally wished he might
win, and it was the reverse of pleasant to learn that he probably would
not, because, although he was a notable swordsman, the challenger was
held to be his superior.

The duel presently began and in the same furious way which had marked
the previous one. I stood close by, but could not tell which blows told
and which did not, they fell and vanished so like flashes of light. They
all seemed to tell; the swords always bent over the opponents’ heads,
from the forehead back over the crown, and seemed to touch, all the
way; but it was not so--a protecting blade, invisible to me, was always
interposed between. At the end of ten seconds each man had struck twelve
or fifteen blows, and warded off twelve or fifteen, and no harm done;
then a sword became disabled, and a short rest followed whilst a new one
was brought. Early in the next round the White Corps student got an ugly
wound on the side of his head and gave his opponent one like it. In the
third round the latter received another bad wound in the head, and the
former had his under-lip divided. After that, the White Corps student
gave many severe wounds, but got none of the consequence in return.
At the end of five minutes from the beginning of the duel the surgeon
stopped it; the challenging party had suffered such injuries that any
addition to them might be dangerous. These injuries were a fearful
spectacle, but are better left undescribed. So, against expectation, my
acquaintance was the victor.


[A Sport that Sometimes Kills]

The third duel was brief and bloody. The surgeon stopped it when he saw
that one of the men had received such bad wounds that he could not fight
longer without endangering his life.

The fourth duel was a tremendous encounter; but at the end of five or
six minutes the surgeon interfered once more: another man so severely
hurt as to render it unsafe to add to his harms. I watched this
engagement as I watched the others--with rapt interest and strong
excitement, and with a shrink and a shudder for every blow that laid
open a cheek or a forehead; and a conscious paling of my face when I
occasionally saw a wound of a yet more shocking nature inflicted.
My eyes were upon the loser of this duel when he got his last and
vanquishing wound--it was in his face and it carried away his--but no
matter, I must not enter into details. I had but a glance, and then
turned quickly, but I would not have been looking at all if I had known
what was coming. No, that is probably not true; one thinks he would not
look if he knew what was coming, but the interest and the excitement are
so powerful that they would doubtless conquer all other feelings; and
so, under the fierce exhilaration of the clashing steel, he would yield
and look after all. Sometimes spectators of these duels faint--and it
does seem a very reasonable thing to do, too.

Both parties to this fourth duel were badly hurt so much that the
surgeon was at work upon them nearly or quite an hour--a fact which is
suggestive. But this waiting interval was not wasted in idleness by
the assembled students. It was past noon, therefore they ordered their
landlord, downstairs, to send up hot beefsteaks, chickens, and such
things, and these they ate, sitting comfortable at the several tables,
whilst they chatted, disputed and laughed. The door to the surgeon’s
room stood open, meantime, but the cutting, sewing, splicing, and
bandaging going on in there in plain view did not seem to disturb
anyone’s appetite. I went in and saw the surgeon labor awhile, but could
not enjoy; it was much less trying to see the wounds given and received
than to see them mended; the stir and turmoil, and the music of the
steel, were wanting here--one’s nerves were wrung by this grisly
spectacle, whilst the duel’s compensating pleasurable thrill was

Finally the doctor finished, and the men who were to fight the closing
battle of the day came forth. A good many dinners were not completed,
yet, but no matter, they could be eaten cold, after the battle;
therefore everybody crowded forth to see. This was not a love duel, but
a “satisfaction” affair. These two students had quarreled, and were here
to settle it. They did not belong to any of the corps, but they were
furnished with weapons and armor, and permitted to fight here by the
five corps as a courtesy. Evidently these two young men were unfamiliar
with the dueling ceremonies, though they were not unfamiliar with the
sword. When they were placed in position they thought it was time
to begin--and then did begin, too, and with a most impetuous energy,
without waiting for anybody to give the word. This vastly amused the
spectators, and even broke down their studied and courtly gravity and
surprised them into laughter. Of course the seconds struck up the swords
and started the duel over again. At the word, the deluge of blows began,
but before long the surgeon once more interfered--for the only reason
which ever permits him to interfere--and the day’s war was over. It was
now two in the afternoon, and I had been present since half past nine in
the morning. The field of battle was indeed a red one by this time;
but some sawdust soon righted that. There had been one duel before I
arrived. In it one of the men received many injuries, while the other
one escaped without a scratch.

I had seen the heads and faces of ten youths gashed in every direction
by the keen two-edged blades, and yet had not seen a victim wince, nor
heard a moan, or detected any fleeting expression which confessed the
sharp pain the hurts were inflicting. This was good fortitude, indeed.
Such endurance is to be expected in savages and prize-fighters, for they
are born and educated to it; but to find it in such perfection in these
gently bred and kindly natured young fellows is matter for surprise.
It was not merely under the excitement of the sword-play that this
fortitude was shown; it was shown in the surgeon’s room where an
uninspiring quiet reigned, and where there was no audience. The doctor’s
manipulations brought out neither grimaces nor moans. And in the fights
it was observable that these lads hacked and slashed with the same
tremendous spirit, after they were covered with streaming wounds, which
they had shown in the beginning.

The world in general looks upon the college duels as very farcical
affairs: true, but considering that the college duel is fought by boys;
that the swords are real swords; and that the head and face are exposed,
it seems to me that it is a farce which had quite a grave side to it.
People laugh at it mainly because they think the student is so covered
up with armor that he cannot be hurt. But it is not so; his eyes and
ears are protected, but the rest of his face and head are bare. He
can not only be badly wounded, but his life is in danger; and he would
sometimes lose it but for the interference of the surgeon. It is
not intended that his life shall be endangered. Fatal accidents are
possible, however. For instance, the student’s sword may break, and the
end of it fly up behind his antagonist’s ear and cut an artery which
could not be reached if the sword remained whole. This has happened,
sometimes, and death has resulted on the spot. Formerly the student’s
armpits were not protected--and at that time the swords were pointed,
whereas they are blunt, now; so an artery in the armpit was sometimes
cut, and death followed. Then in the days of sharp-pointed swords, a
spectator was an occasional victim--the end of a broken sword flew five
or ten feet and buried itself in his neck or his heart, and death ensued
instantly. The student duels in Germany occasion two or three deaths
every year, now, but this arises only from the carelessness of the
wounded men; they eat or drink imprudently, or commit excesses in the
way of overexertion; inflammation sets in and gets such a headway that
it cannot be arrested. Indeed, there is blood and pain and danger
enough about the college duel to entitle it to a considerable degree of

All the customs, all the laws, all the details, pertaining to the
student duel are quaint and naive. The grave, precise, and courtly
ceremony with which the thing is conducted, invests it with a sort of
antique charm.

This dignity and these knightly graces suggest the tournament, not the
prize-fight. The laws are as curious as they are strict. For instance,
the duelist may step forward from the line he is placed upon, if he
chooses, but never back of it. If he steps back of it, or even leans
back, it is considered that he did it to avoid a blow or contrive an
advantage; so he is dismissed from his corps in disgrace. It would seem
natural to step from under a descending sword unconsciously, and against
one’s will and intent--yet this unconsciousness is not allowed. Again:
if under the sudden anguish of a wound the receiver of it makes a
grimace, he falls some degrees in the estimation of his fellows; his
corps are ashamed of him: they call him “hare foot,” which is the German
equivalent for chicken-hearted.


[How Bismark Fought]

In addition to the corps laws, there are some corps usages which have
the force of laws.

Perhaps the president of a corps notices that one of the membership who
is no longer an exempt--that is a freshman--has remained a sophomore
some little time without volunteering to fight; some day, the president,
instead of calling for volunteers, will APPOINT this sophomore
to measure swords with a student of another corps; he is free to
decline--everybody says so--there is no compulsion. This is all
true--but I have not heard of any student who DID decline; to decline
and still remain in the corps would make him unpleasantly conspicuous,
and properly so, since he knew, when he joined, that his main
business, as a member, would be to fight. No, there is no law against
declining--except the law of custom, which is confessedly stronger than
written law, everywhere.

The ten men whose duels I had witnessed did not go away when their hurts
were dressed, as I had supposed they would, but came back, one after
another, as soon as they were free of the surgeon, and mingled with the
assemblage in the dueling-room. The white-cap student who won the second
fight witnessed the remaining three, and talked with us during the
intermissions. He could not talk very well, because his opponent’s sword
had cut his under-lip in two, and then the surgeon had sewed it together
and overlaid it with a profusion of white plaster patches; neither could
he eat easily, still he contrived to accomplish a slow and troublesome
luncheon while the last duel was preparing. The man who was the worst
hurt of all played chess while waiting to see this engagement. A good
part of his face was covered with patches and bandages, and all the rest
of his head was covered and concealed by them.

It is said that the student likes to appear on the street and in other
public places in this kind of array, and that this predilection often
keeps him out when exposure to rain or sun is a positive danger for
him. Newly bandaged students are a very common spectacle in the public
gardens of Heidelberg. It is also said that the student is glad to
get wounds in the face, because the scars they leave will show so well
there; and it is also said that these face wounds are so prized that
youths have even been known to pull them apart from time to time and
put red wine in them to make them heal badly and leave as ugly a scar
as possible. It does not look reasonable, but it is roundly asserted
and maintained, nevertheless; I am sure of one thing--scars are plenty
enough in Germany, among the young men; and very grim ones they are,
too. They crisscross the face in angry red welts, and are permanent and

Some of these scars are of a very strange and dreadful aspect; and the
effect is striking when several such accent the milder ones, which form
a city map on a man’s face; they suggest the “burned district” then. We
had often noticed that many of the students wore a colored silk band
or ribbon diagonally across their breasts. It transpired that this
signifies that the wearer has fought three duels in which a decision
was reached--duels in which he either whipped or was whipped--for drawn
battles do not count. [1] After a student has received his ribbon, he
is “free”; he can cease from fighting, without reproach--except some one
insult him; his president cannot appoint him to fight; he can volunteer
if he wants to, or remain quiescent if he prefers to do so. Statistics
show that he does NOT prefer to remain quiescent. They show that the
duel has a singular fascination about it somewhere, for these free
men, so far from resting upon the privilege of the badge, are always
volunteering. A corps student told me it was of record that Prince
Bismarck fought thirty-two of these duels in a single summer term when
he was in college. So he fought twenty-nine after his badge had given
him the right to retire from the field.

1. FROM MY DIARY.--Dined in a hotel a few miles up the Neckar, in a room
whose walls were hung all over with framed portrait-groups of the Five
Corps; some were recent, but many antedated photography, and were
pictured in lithography--the dates ranged back to forty or fifty years
ago. Nearly every individual wore the ribbon across his breast. In one
portrait-group representing (as each of these pictures did) an entire
Corps, I took pains to count the ribbons: there were twenty-seven
members, and twenty-one of them wore that significant badge.

The statistics may be found to possess interest in several particulars.
Two days in every week are devoted to dueling. The rule is rigid that
there must be three duels on each of these days; there are generally
more, but there cannot be fewer. There were six the day I was present;
sometimes there are seven or eight. It is insisted that eight duels a
week--four for each of the two days--is too low an average to draw
a calculation from, but I will reckon from that basis, preferring an
understatement to an overstatement of the case. This requires about four
hundred and eighty or five hundred duelists a year--for in summer the
college term is about three and a half months, and in winter it is four
months and sometimes longer. Of the seven hundred and fifty students in
the university at the time I am writing of, only eighty belonged to the
five corps, and it is only these corps that do the dueling; occasionally
other students borrow the arms and battleground of the five corps in
order to settle a quarrel, but this does not happen every dueling-day.
[2] Consequently eighty youths furnish the material for some two hundred
and fifty duels a year. This average gives six fights a year to each
of the eighty. This large work could not be accomplished if the
badge-holders stood upon their privilege and ceased to volunteer.

2. They have to borrow the arms because they could not get them
elsewhere or otherwise. As I understand it, the public authorities, all
over Germany, allow the five Corps to keep swords, but DO NOT ALLOW THEM
TO USE THEM. This is law is rigid; it is only the execution of it that
is lax.

Of course, where there is so much fighting, the students make it a point
to keep themselves in constant practice with the foil. One often sees
them, at the tables in the Castle grounds, using their whips or canes to
illustrate some new sword trick which they have heard about; and between
the duels, on the day whose history I have been writing, the swords were
not always idle; every now and then we heard a succession of the keen
hissing sounds which the sword makes when it is being put through its
paces in the air, and this informed us that a student was practicing.
Necessarily, this unceasing attention to the art develops an expert
occasionally. He becomes famous in his own university, his renown
spreads to other universities. He is invited to Goettingen, to fight
with a Goettingen expert; if he is victorious, he will be invited
to other colleges, or those colleges will send their experts to him.
Americans and Englishmen often join one or another of the five corps. A
year or two ago, the principal Heidelberg expert was a big Kentuckian;
he was invited to the various universities and left a wake of victory
behind him all about Germany; but at last a little student in Strasburg
defeated him. There was formerly a student in Heidelberg who had picked
up somewhere and mastered a peculiar trick of cutting up under instead
of cleaving down from above. While the trick lasted he won in sixteen
successive duels in his university; but by that time observers had
discovered what his charm was, and how to break it, therefore his
championship ceased.

A rule which forbids social intercourse between members of different
corps is strict. In the dueling-house, in the parks, on the street,
and anywhere and everywhere that the students go, caps of a color group
themselves together. If all the tables in a public garden were crowded
but one, and that one had two red-cap students at it and ten vacant
places, the yellow-caps, the blue-caps, the white caps, and the green
caps, seeking seats, would go by that table and not seem to see it, nor
seem to be aware that there was such a table in the grounds. The student
by whose courtesy we had been enabled to visit the dueling-place, wore
the white cap--Prussian Corps. He introduced us to many white caps, but
to none of another color. The corps etiquette extended even to us, who
were strangers, and required us to group with the white corps only, and
speak only with the white corps, while we were their guests, and keep
aloof from the caps of the other colors. Once I wished to examine some
of the swords, but an American student said, “It would not be quite
polite; these now in the windows all have red hilts or blue; they will
bring in some with white hilts presently, and those you can handle
freely.” When a sword was broken in the first duel, I wanted a piece
of it; but its hilt was the wrong color, so it was considered best and
politest to await a properer season.

It was brought to me after the room was cleared, and I will now make
a “life-size” sketch of it by tracing a line around it with my pen, to
show the width of the weapon. [Figure 1] The length of these swords is
about three feet, and they are quite heavy. One’s disposition to cheer,
during the course of the duels or at their close, was naturally strong,
but corps etiquette forbade any demonstrations of this sort. However
brilliant a contest or a victory might be, no sign or sound betrayed
that any one was moved. A dignified gravity and repression were
maintained at all times.

When the dueling was finished and we were ready to go, the gentlemen of
the Prussian Corps to whom we had been introduced took off their caps
in the courteous German way, and also shook hands; their brethren of the
same order took off their caps and bowed, but without shaking hands; the
gentlemen of the other corps treated us just as they would have treated
white caps--they fell apart, apparently unconsciously, and left us an
unobstructed pathway, but did not seem to see us or know we were there.
If we had gone thither the following week as guests of another corps,
the white caps, without meaning any offense, would have observed the
etiquette of their order and ignored our presence.

[How strangely are comedy and tragedy blended in this life! I had not
been home a full half-hour, after witnessing those playful sham-duels,
when circumstances made it necessary for me to get ready immediately to
assist personally at a real one--a duel with no effeminate limitation in
the matter of results, but a battle to the death. An account of it, in
the next chapter, will show the reader that duels between boys, for fun,
and duels between men in earnest, are very different affairs.]


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 immortal.

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


By Mark Twain

(Samuel L. Clemens)

First published in 1880

Illustrations taken from an 1880 First Edition

 * * * * * *


     2.   TITIAN’S MOSES
      75.  LIFE ON A RAFT
     79.  TAIL PIECE
     81.  THE LORELEI
     82.  THE LOVER’s FATE
     85.  THE EMBRACE
     89.  “IT WAS THE CAT”
      90.  TAILPIECE
     95.  THE OLD WELL
     104.  THE RIVER BATH
     106.  HENRI II. PLATE
     l07.  OLD BLUE CHINA
     108.  A REAL ANTIQUE
     109.  BRIC-A-BRAC SHOP
     110.  “PUT IT THERE”
     112.  TAIL PIECE
     116.  IN THE BATH


CHAPTER XV Down the River--German Women’s Duties--Bathing as We Went--A
Handsome Picture: Girls in the Willows--We Sight a Tug--Steamers on the
Neckar--Dinner on Board--Legend “Cave of the Spectre “--Lady Gertrude
the Heiress--The Crusader--The Lady in the Cave--A Tragedy

CHAPTER XVI An Ancient Legend of the Rhine--“The Lorelei”--Count
Hermann--Falling in Love--A Sight of the Enchantress--Sad Effect
on Count Hermann--An Evening visit--A Sad Mistake--Count Hermann
Drowned--The Song and Music--Different Trans lations--Curiosities in

CHAPTER XVII Another Legend--The Unconquered Monster--The Unknown Knight
--His Queer Shaped Knapsack--The Knight Pitied and Advised--He Attacks
the Monster--Victory for the Fire Extinguisher--The Knight rewarded--His
Strange Request----Spectacles Made Popular--Danger to the Raft--Blasting
Rocks--An Inglorious Death in View--Escaped--A Storm Overtakes
us--GreatDanger--Man Overboard--Breakers Ahead--Springing a Leak--Ashore
Safe--A General Embracing--A Tramp in the Dark--The Naturalist Tavern--A
Night’s Troubles--“It is the Cat”

CHAPTER XVIII Breakfast in a Garden--The Old Raven--Castle of
Hirschhorn--Attempt to Hire a Boat--High Dutch--What You Can Find out
by Enquiring--What I Found out about the Students--A good German
Custom--Harris Practices It--AnEmbarrassing Position--A Nice Party--At a
Ball--Stopped at the Door--Assistance at Hand and Rendered--Worthy to be
an Empress

CHAPTER XIX Arrive at Neckarsteinach--Castle of Dilsberg--A Walled
Town--On a Hill--Exclusiveness of the People--A Queer Old Place--An
Ancient Well--An Outlet Proved--Legend of Dilsberg Castle--The
Haunted Chamber--The Betrothed’s request--The Knight’s Slumbers
and Awakening--Horror of the Lover--The Wicked Jest--The Lover a
Maniac--Under the Linden--Turning Pilot--Accident to the Raft--Fearful

CHAPTER XX Good News--“Slow Freight”--Keramics--My Collection of Bric-a-
brac--My Tear Jug--Henri II. Plate--Specimen of Blue China--Indifference
to the Laugh of the World--I Discover an Antique En-route to
Baden--Baden--Meeting an Old Acquaintance--A young American--Embryo
Horse Doctor--An American, Sure--A Minister Captured

CHAPTER XXI Baden--Baden--Energetic Girls--A Comprehensive Yawn--A
Beggar’s Trick--Cool Impudence--The Bath Woman--Insolence of Shop
Keepers--Taking a Bath--Early and Late Hours--Popular Belief Regarding
Indians--An Old Cemetery--A Pious Hag--Curious Table Companions


[Charming Waterside Pictures]

Men and women and cattle were at work in the dewy fields by this time.
The people often stepped aboard the raft, as we glided along the grassy
shores, and gossiped with us and with the crew for a hundred yards or
so, then stepped ashore again, refreshed by the ride.

Only the men did this; the women were too busy. The women do all kinds
of work on the continent. They dig, they hoe, they reap, they sow, they
bear monstrous burdens on their backs, they shove similar ones long
distances on wheelbarrows, they drag the cart when there is no dog or
lean cow to drag it--and when there is, they assist the dog or cow. Age
is no matter--the older the woman the stronger she is, apparently.
On the farm a woman’s duties are not defined--she does a little of
everything; but in the towns it is different, there she only does
certain things, the men do the rest. For instance, a hotel chambermaid
has nothing to do but make beds and fires in fifty or sixty rooms, bring
towels and candles, and fetch several tons of water up several flights
of stairs, a hundred pounds at a time, in prodigious metal pitchers. She
does not have to work more than eighteen or twenty hours a day, and
she can always get down on her knees and scrub the floors of halls and
closets when she is tired and needs a rest.

As the morning advanced and the weather grew hot, we took off our
outside clothing and sat in a row along the edge of the raft and enjoyed
the scenery, with our sun-umbrellas over our heads and our legs dangling
in the water.

Every now and then we plunged in and had a swim. Every projecting grassy
cape had its joyous group of naked children, the boys to themselves and
the girls to themselves, the latter usually in care of some motherly
dame who sat in the shade of a tree with her knitting. The little boys
swam out to us, sometimes, but the little maids stood knee-deep in the
water and stopped their splashing and frolicking to inspect the raft
with their innocent eyes as it drifted by. Once we turned a corner
suddenly and surprised a slender girl of twelve years or upward, just
stepping into the water. She had not time to run, but she did what
answered just as well; she promptly drew a lithe young willow bough
athwart her white body with one hand, and then contemplated us with a
simple and untroubled interest. Thus she stood while we glided by. She
was a pretty creature, and she and her willow bough made a very
pretty picture, and one which could not offend the modesty of the most
fastidious spectator. Her white skin had a low bank of fresh green
willows for background and effective contrast--for she stood against
them--and above and out of them projected the eager faces and white
shoulders of two smaller girls.

Toward noon we heard the inspiriting cry,--

“Sail ho!”

“Where away?” shouted the captain.

“Three points off the weather bow!”

We ran forward to see the vessel. It proved to be a steamboat--for they
had begun to run a steamer up the Neckar, for the first time in May.
She was a tug, and one of a very peculiar build and aspect. I had often
watched her from the hotel, and wondered how she propelled herself, for
apparently she had no propeller or paddles. She came churning along,
now, making a deal of noise of one kind or another, and aggravating it
every now and then by blowing a hoarse whistle. She had nine keel-boats
hitched on behind and following after her in a long, slender rank. We
met her in a narrow place, between dikes, and there was hardly room for
us both in the cramped passage. As she went grinding and groaning by, we
perceived the secret of her moving impulse. She did not drive herself up
the river with paddles or propeller, she pulled herself by hauling on
a great chain. This chain is laid in the bed of the river and is only
fastened at the two ends. It is seventy miles long. It comes in over the
boat’s bow, passes around a drum, and is payed out astern. She pulls
on that chain, and so drags herself up the river or down it. She has
neither bow or stern, strictly speaking, for she has a long-bladed
rudder on each end and she never turns around. She uses both rudders
all the time, and they are powerful enough to enable her to turn to
the right or the left and steer around curves, in spite of the strong
resistance of the chain. I would not have believed that that impossible
thing could be done; but I saw it done, and therefore I know that there
is one impossible thing which CAN be done. What miracle will man attempt

We met many big keel-boats on their way up, using sails, mule power, and
profanity--a tedious and laborious business. A wire rope led from the
foretopmast to the file of mules on the tow-path a hundred yards ahead,
and by dint of much banging and swearing and urging, the detachment of
drivers managed to get a speed of two or three miles an hour out of the
mules against the stiff current. The Neckar has always been used as a
canal, and thus has given employment to a great many men and animals;
but now that this steamboat is able, with a small crew and a bushel or
so of coal, to take nine keel-boats farther up the river in one hour
than thirty men and thirty mules can do it in two, it is believed
that the old-fashioned towing industry is on its death-bed. A second
steamboat began work in the Neckar three months after the first one was
put in service. [Figure 4]

At noon we stepped ashore and bought some bottled beer and got some
chickens cooked, while the raft waited; then we immediately put to sea
again, and had our dinner while the beer was cold and the chickens hot.
There is no pleasanter place for such a meal than a raft that is
gliding down the winding Neckar past green meadows and wooded hills, and
slumbering villages, and craggy heights graced with crumbling towers and

In one place we saw a nicely dressed German gentleman without any
spectacles. Before I could come to anchor he had got underway. It was a
great pity. I so wanted to make a sketch of him. The captain comforted
me for my loss, however, by saying that the man was without any doubt a
fraud who had spectacles, but kept them in his pocket in order to make
himself conspicuous.

Below Hassmersheim we passed Hornberg, Goetz von Berlichingen’s old
castle. It stands on a bold elevation two hundred feet above the surface
of the river; it has high vine-clad walls enclosing trees, and a peaked
tower about seventy-five feet high. The steep hillside, from the castle
clear down to the water’s edge, is terraced, and clothed thick with
grape vines. This is like farming a mansard roof. All the steeps along
that part of the river which furnish the proper exposure, are given
up to the grape. That region is a great producer of Rhine wines. The
Germans are exceedingly fond of Rhine wines; they are put up in tall,
slender bottles, and are considered a pleasant beverage. One tells them
from vinegar by the label.

The Hornberg hill is to be tunneled, and the new railway will pass under
the castle. THE CAVE OF THE SPECTER Two miles below Hornberg castle is
a cave in a low cliff, which the captain of the raft said had once been
occupied by a beautiful heiress of Hornberg--the Lady Gertrude--in the
old times. It was seven hundred years ago. She had a number of rich and
noble lovers and one poor and obscure one, Sir Wendel Lobenfeld. With
the native chuckleheadedness of the heroine of romance, she preferred
the poor and obscure lover.

With the native sound judgment of the father of a heroine of romance,
the von Berlichingen of that day shut his daughter up in his donjon
keep, or his oubliette, or his culverin, or some such place, and
resolved that she should stay there until she selected a husband from
among her rich and noble lovers. The latter visited her and persecuted
her with their supplications, but without effect, for her heart was
true to her poor despised Crusader, who was fighting in the Holy Land.
Finally, she resolved that she would endure the attentions of the rich
lovers no longer; so one stormy night she escaped and went down
the river and hid herself in the cave on the other side. Her father
ransacked the country for her, but found not a trace of her. As the
days went by, and still no tidings of her came, his conscience began to
torture him, and he caused proclamation to be made that if she were yet
living and would return, he would oppose her no longer, she might marry
whom she would. The months dragged on, all hope forsook the old man, he
ceased from his customary pursuits and pleasures, he devoted himself to
pious works, and longed for the deliverance of death.

Now just at midnight, every night, the lost heiress stood in the mouth
of her cave, arrayed in white robes, and sang a little love ballad which
her Crusader had made for her. She judged that if he came home alive the
superstitious peasants would tell him about the ghost that sang in the
cave, and that as soon as they described the ballad he would know that
none but he and she knew that song, therefore he would suspect that she
was alive, and would come and find her. As time went on, the people of
the region became sorely distressed about the Specter of the Haunted
Cave. It was said that ill luck of one kind or another always overtook
any one who had the misfortune to hear that song. Eventually, every
calamity that happened thereabouts was laid at the door of that music.
Consequently, no boatmen would consent to pass the cave at night; the
peasants shunned the place, even in the daytime.

But the faithful girl sang on, night after night, month after month, and
patiently waited; her reward must come at last. Five years dragged by,
and still, every night at midnight, the plaintive tones floated out over
the silent land, while the distant boatmen and peasants thrust their
fingers into their ears and shuddered out a prayer.

And now came the Crusader home, bronzed and battle-scarred, but bringing
a great and splendid fame to lay at the feet of his bride. The old lord
of Hornberg received him as his son, and wanted him to stay by him
and be the comfort and blessing of his age; but the tale of that young
girl’s devotion to him and its pathetic consequences made a changed
man of the knight. He could not enjoy his well-earned rest. He said his
heart was broken, he would give the remnant of his life to high deeds in
the cause of humanity, and so find a worthy death and a blessed reunion
with the brave true heart whose love had more honored him than all his
victories in war.

When the people heard this resolve of his, they came and told him there
was a pitiless dragon in human disguise in the Haunted Cave, a dread
creature which no knight had yet been bold enough to face, and begged
him to rid the land of its desolating presence. He said he would do it.
They told him about the song, and when he asked what song it was, they
said the memory of it was gone, for nobody had been hardy enough to
listen to it for the past four years and more.

Toward midnight the Crusader came floating down the river in a boat,
with his trusty cross-bow in his hands. He drifted silently through the
dim reflections of the crags and trees, with his intent eyes fixed upon
the low cliff which he was approaching. As he drew nearer, he discerned
the black mouth of the cave. Now--is that a white figure? Yes. The
plaintive song begins to well forth and float away over meadow and
river--the cross-bow is slowly raised to position, a steady aim is
taken, the bolt flies straight to the mark--the figure sinks down, still
singing, the knight takes the wool out of his ears, and recognizes the
old ballad--too late! Ah, if he had only not put the wool in his ears!

The Crusader went away to the wars again, and presently fell in battle,
fighting for the Cross. Tradition says that during several centuries the
spirit of the unfortunate girl sang nightly from the cave at midnight,
but the music carried no curse with it; and although many listened for
the mysterious sounds, few were favored, since only those could hear
them who had never failed in a trust. It is believed that the singing
still continues, but it is known that nobody has heard it during the
present century.


An Ancient Legend of the Rhine [The Lorelei]

The last legend reminds one of the “Lorelei”--a legend of the Rhine.
There is a song called “The Lorelei.”

Germany is rich in folk-songs, and the words and airs of several of them
are peculiarly beautiful--but “The Lorelei” is the people’s favorite. I
could not endure it at first, but by and by it began to take hold of me,
and now there is no tune which I like so well.

It is not possible that it is much known in America, else I should have
heard it there. The fact that I never heard it there, is evidence that
there are others in my country who have fared likewise; therefore, for
the sake of these, I mean to print the words and music in this chapter.
And I will refresh the reader’s memory by printing the legend of the
Lorelei, too. I have it by me in the LEGENDS OF THE RHINE, done into
English by the wildly gifted Garnham, Bachelor of Arts. I print the
legend partly to refresh my own memory, too, for I have never read it
before. THE LEGEND Lore (two syllables) was a water nymph who used to
sit on a high rock called the Ley or Lei (pronounced like our word LIE)
in the Rhine, and lure boatmen to destruction in a furious rapid
which marred the channel at that spot. She so bewitched them with her
plaintive songs and her wonderful beauty that they forgot everything
else to gaze up at her, and so they presently drifted among the broken
reefs and were lost.

In those old, old times, the Count Bruno lived in a great castle near
there with his son, the Count Hermann, a youth of twenty. Hermann had
heard a great deal about the beautiful Lore, and had finally fallen very
deeply in love with her without having seen her. So he used to wander to
the neighborhood of the Lei, evenings, with his Zither and “Express his
Longing in low Singing,” as Garnham says. On one of these occasions,
“suddenly there hovered around the top of the rock a brightness of
unequaled clearness and color, which, in increasingly smaller circles
thickened, was the enchanting figure of the beautiful Lore.

“An unintentional cry of Joy escaped the Youth, he let his Zither fall,
and with extended arms he called out the name of the enigmatical Being,
who seemed to stoop lovingly to him and beckon to him in a friendly
manner; indeed, if his ear did not deceive him, she called his name with
unutterable sweet Whispers, proper to love. Beside himself with delight
the youth lost his Senses and sank senseless to the earth.”

After that he was a changed person. He went dreaming about, thinking
only of his fairy and caring for naught else in the world. “The old
count saw with affliction this changement in his son,” whose cause he
could not divine, and tried to divert his mind into cheerful channels,
but to no purpose. Then the old count used authority. He commanded the
youth to betake himself to the camp. Obedience was promised. Garnham

“It was on the evening before his departure, as he wished still once to
visit the Lei and offer to the Nymph of the Rhine his Sighs, the
tones of his Zither, and his Songs. He went, in his boat, this time
accompanied by a faithful squire, down the stream. The moon shed her
silvery light over the whole country; the steep bank mountains appeared
in the most fantastical shapes, and the high oaks on either side bowed
their Branches on Hermann’s passing. As soon as he approached the
Lei, and was aware of the surf-waves, his attendant was seized with an
inexpressible Anxiety and he begged permission to land; but the Knight
swept the strings of his Guitar and sang:

     “Once I saw thee in dark night,
     In supernatural Beauty bright;
     Of Light-rays, was the Figure wove,
     To share its light, locked-hair strove.

     “Thy Garment color wave-dove
     By thy hand the sign of love,
     Thy eyes sweet enchantment,
     Raying to me, oh! enchantment.

     “O, wert thou but my sweetheart,
     How willingly thy love to part!
     With delight I should be bound
     To thy rocky house in deep ground.”

That Hermann should have gone to that place at all, was not wise; that
he should have gone with such a song as that in his mouth was a most
serious mistake. The Lorelei did not “call his name in unutterable
sweet Whispers” this time. No, that song naturally worked an instant
and thorough “changement” in her; and not only that, but it stirred the
bowels of the whole afflicted region around about there--for--

“Scarcely had these tones sounded, everywhere there began tumult and
sound, as if voices above and below the water. On the Lei rose flames,
the Fairy stood above, at that time, and beckoned with her right hand
clearly and urgently to the infatuated Knight, while with a staff in
her left hand she called the waves to her service. They began to mount
heavenward; the boat was upset, mocking every exertion; the waves rose
to the gunwale, and splitting on the hard stones, the Boat broke into
Pieces. The youth sank into the depths, but the squire was thrown on
shore by a powerful wave.”

The bitterest things have been said about the Lorelei during many
centuries, but surely her conduct upon this occasion entitles her to our
respect. One feels drawn tenderly toward her and is moved to forget her
many crimes and remember only the good deed that crowned and closed her

“The Fairy was never more seen; but her enchanting tones have often been
heard. In the beautiful, refreshing, still nights of spring, when the
moon pours her silver light over the Country, the listening shipper
hears from the rushing of the waves, the echoing Clang of a wonderfully
charming voice, which sings a song from the crystal castle, and with
sorrow and fear he thinks on the young Count Hermann, seduced by the

Here is the music, and the German words by Heinrich Heine. This song has
been a favorite in Germany for forty years, and will remain a favorite
always, maybe. [Figure 5]

I have a prejudice against people who print things in a foreign language
and add no translation. When I am the reader, and the author considers
me able to do the translating myself, he pays me quite a nice
compliment--but if he would do the translating for me I would try to get
along without the compliment.

If I were at home, no doubt I could get a translation of this poem, but
I am abroad and can’t; therefore I will make a translation myself. It
may not be a good one, for poetry is out of my line, but it will serve
my purpose--which is, to give the unGerman young girl a jingle of words
to hang the tune on until she can get hold of a good version, made by
some one who is a poet and knows how to convey a poetical thought from
one language to another.


     I cannot divine what it meaneth,
     This haunting nameless pain:
     A tale of the bygone ages
     Keeps brooding through my brain:

     The faint air cools in the glooming,
     And peaceful flows the Rhine,
     The thirsty summits are drinking
     The sunset’s flooding wine;

     The loveliest maiden is sitting
     High-throned in yon blue air,
     Her golden jewels are shining,
     She combs her golden hair;

     She combs with a comb that is golden,
     And sings a weird refrain
     That steeps in a deadly enchantment
     The list’ner’s ravished brain:

     The doomed in his drifting shallop,
     Is tranced with the sad sweet tone,
     He sees not the yawning breakers,
     He sees but the maid alone:

     The pitiless billows engulf him!--
     So perish sailor and bark;
     And this, with her baleful singing,
     Is the Lorelei’s gruesome work.

I have a translation by Garnham, Bachelor of Arts, in the LEGENDS OF THE
RHINE, but it would not answer the purpose I mentioned above, because
the measure is too nobly irregular; it don’t fit the tune snugly enough;
in places it hangs over at the ends too far, and in other places one
runs out of words before he gets to the end of a bar. Still, Garnham’s
translation has high merits, and I am not dreaming of leaving it out of
my book. I believe this poet is wholly unknown in America and England; I
take peculiar pleasure in bringing him forward because I consider that I
discovered him:


     Translated by L. W. Garnham, B.A.

     I do not know what it signifies.
     That I am so sorrowful?
     A fable of old Times so terrifies,
     Leaves my heart so thoughtful.

     The air is cool and it darkens,
     And calmly flows the Rhine;
     The summit of the mountain hearkens
     In evening sunshine line.

     The most beautiful Maiden entrances
     Above wonderfully there,
     Her beautiful golden attire glances,
     She combs her golden hair.

     With golden comb so lustrous,
     And thereby a song sings,
     It has a tone so wondrous,
     That powerful melody rings.

     The shipper in the little ship
     It effects with woe sad might;
     He does not see the rocky slip,
     He only regards dreaded height.

     I believe the turbulent waves
     Swallow the last shipper and boat;
     She with her singing craves
     All to visit hermagic moat.

No translation could be closer. He has got in all the facts; and in
their regular order, too. There is not a statistic wanting. It is as
succinct as an invoice. That is what a translation ought to be; it
should exactly reflect the thought of the original. You can’t SING
“Above wonderfully there,” because it simply won’t go to the tune,
without damaging the singer; but it is a most clingingly exact
translation of DORT OBEN WUNDERBAR--fits it like a blister. Mr.
Garnham’s reproduction has other merits--a hundred of them--but it is
not necessary to point them out. They will be detected.

No one with a specialty can hope to have a monopoly of it. Even Garnham
has a rival. Mr. X had a small pamphlet with him which he had bought
while on a visit to Munich. It was entitled A CATALOGUE OF PICTURES IN
THE OLD PINACOTEK, and was written in a peculiar kind of English. Here
are a few extracts:

“It is not permitted to make use of the work in question to a
publication of the same contents as well as to the pirated edition of

“An evening landscape. In the foreground near a pond and a group of
white beeches is leading a footpath animated by travelers.”

“A learned man in a cynical and torn dress holding an open book in his

“St. Bartholomew and the Executioner with the knife to fulfil the

“Portrait of a young man. A long while this picture was thought to be
Bindi Altoviti’s portrait; now somebody will again have it to be the
self-portrait of Raphael.”

“Susan bathing, surprised by the two old man. In the background the
lapidation of the condemned.”

(“Lapidation” is good; it is much more elegant than “stoning.”)

“St. Rochus sitting in a landscape with an angel who looks at his
plague-sore, whilst the dog the bread in his mouth attents him.”

“Spring. The Goddess Flora, sitting. Behind her a fertile valley
perfused by a river.”

“A beautiful bouquet animated by May-bugs, etc.”

“A warrior in armor with a gypseous pipe in his hand leans against a
table and blows the smoke far away of himself.”

“A Dutch landscape along a navigable river which perfuses it till to the

“Some peasants singing in a cottage. A woman lets drink a child out of a

“St. John’s head as a boy--painted in fresco on a brick.” (Meaning a

“A young man of the Riccio family, his hair cut off right at the end,
dressed in black with the same cap. Attributed to Raphael, but the
signation is false.”

“The Virgin holding the Infant. It is very painted in the manner of

“A Larder with greens and dead game animated by a cook-maid and two

However, the English of this catalogue is at least as happy as that
which distinguishes an inscription upon a certain picture in Rome--to

“Revelations-View. St. John in Patterson’s Island.”

But meanwhile the raft is moving on.


[Why Germans Wear Spectacles]

A mile or two above Eberbach we saw a peculiar ruin projecting above the
foliage which clothed the peak of a high and very steep hill. This ruin
consisted of merely a couple of crumbling masses of masonry which bore
a rude resemblance to human faces; they leaned forward and touched
foreheads, and had the look of being absorbed in conversation. This
ruin had nothing very imposing or picturesque about it, and there was no
great deal of it, yet it was called the “Spectacular Ruin.”

LEGEND OF THE “SPECTACULAR RUIN” The captain of the raft, who was as
full of history as he could stick, said that in the Middle Ages a most
prodigious fire-breathing dragon used to live in that region, and made
more trouble than a tax-collector. He was as long as a railway-train,
and had the customary impenetrable green scales all over him. His breath
bred pestilence and conflagration, and his appetite bred famine. He ate
men and cattle impartially, and was exceedingly unpopular. The German
emperor of that day made the usual offer: he would grant to the
destroyer of the dragon, any one solitary thing he might ask for; for he
had a surplusage of daughters, and it was customary for dragon-killers
to take a daughter for pay.

So the most renowned knights came from the four corners of the earth and
retired down the dragon’s throat one after the other. A panic arose and
spread. Heroes grew cautious. The procession ceased. The dragon became
more destructive than ever. The people lost all hope of succor, and fled
to the mountains for refuge.

At last Sir Wissenschaft, a poor and obscure knight, out of a far
country, arrived to do battle with the monster. A pitiable object he
was, with his armor hanging in rags about him, and his strange-shaped
knapsack strapped upon his back. Everybody turned up their noses at him,
and some openly jeered him. But he was calm. He simply inquired if
the emperor’s offer was still in force. The emperor said it was--but
charitably advised him to go and hunt hares and not endanger so precious
a life as his in an attempt which had brought death to so many of the
world’s most illustrious heroes.

But this tramp only asked--“Were any of these heroes men of science?”
 This raised a laugh, of course, for science was despised in those days.
But the tramp was not in the least ruffled. He said he might be a little
in advance of his age, but no matter--science would come to be honored,
some time or other. He said he would march against the dragon in the
morning. Out of compassion, then, a decent spear was offered him, but
he declined, and said, “spears were useless to men of science.” They
allowed him to sup in the servants’ hall, and gave him a bed in the

When he started forth in the morning, thousands were gathered to see.
The emperor said:

“Do not be rash, take a spear, and leave off your knapsack.”

But the tramp said:

“It is not a knapsack,” and moved straight on.

The dragon was waiting and ready. He was breathing forth vast volumes
of sulphurous smoke and lurid blasts of flame. The ragged knight
stole warily to a good position, then he unslung his cylindrical
knapsack--which was simply the common fire-extinguisher known to modern
times--and the first chance he got he turned on his hose and shot the
dragon square in the center of his cavernous mouth. Out went the fires
in an instant, and the dragon curled up and died.

This man had brought brains to his aid. He had reared dragons from the
egg, in his laboratory, he had watched over them like a mother, and
patiently studied them and experimented upon them while they grew. Thus
he had found out that fire was the life principle of a dragon; put out
the dragon’s fires and it could make steam no longer, and must die.
He could not put out a fire with a spear, therefore he invented the
extinguisher. The dragon being dead, the emperor fell on the hero’s neck
and said:

“Deliverer, name your request,” at the same time beckoning out behind
with his heel for a detachment of his daughters to form and advance. But
the tramp gave them no observance. He simply said:

“My request is, that upon me be conferred the monopoly of the
manufacture and sale of spectacles in Germany.”

The emperor sprang aside and exclaimed:

“This transcends all the impudence I ever heard! A modest demand, by my
halidome! Why didn’t you ask for the imperial revenues at once, and be
done with it?”

But the monarch had given his word, and he kept it. To everybody’s
surprise, the unselfish monopolist immediately reduced the price of
spectacles to such a degree that a great and crushing burden was removed
from the nation. The emperor, to commemorate this generous act, and to
testify his appreciation of it, issued a decree commanding everybody to
buy this benefactor’s spectacles and wear them, whether they needed them
or not.

So originated the wide-spread custom of wearing spectacles in Germany;
and as a custom once established in these old lands is imperishable,
this one remains universal in the empire to this day. Such is the legend
of the monopolist’s once stately and sumptuous castle, now called the
“Spectacular Ruin.”

On the right bank, two or three miles below the Spectacular Ruin, we
passed by a noble pile of castellated buildings overlooking the water
from the crest of a lofty elevation. A stretch of two hundred yards of
the high front wall was heavily draped with ivy, and out of the mass
of buildings within rose three picturesque old towers. The place was in
fine order, and was inhabited by a family of princely rank. This castle
had its legend, too, but I should not feel justified in repeating it
because I doubted the truth of some of its minor details.

Along in this region a multitude of Italian laborers were blasting away
the frontage of the hills to make room for the new railway. They were
fifty or a hundred feet above the river. As we turned a sharp corner
they began to wave signals and shout warnings to us to look out for the
explosions. It was all very well to warn us, but what could WE do? You
can’t back a raft upstream, you can’t hurry it downstream, you can’t
scatter out to one side when you haven’t any room to speak of, you won’t
take to the perpendicular cliffs on the other shore when they appear to
be blasting there, too. Your resources are limited, you see. There is
simply nothing for it but to watch and pray.

For some hours we had been making three and a half or four miles an hour
and we were still making that. We had been dancing right along until
those men began to shout; then for the next ten minutes it seemed to me
that I had never seen a raft go so slowly. When the first blast went
off we raised our sun-umbrellas and waited for the result. No harm
done; none of the stones fell in the water. Another blast followed, and
another and another. Some of the rubbish fell in the water just astern
of us.

We ran that whole battery of nine blasts in a row, and it was certainly
one of the most exciting and uncomfortable weeks I ever spent, either
aship or ashore. Of course we frequently manned the poles and shoved
earnestly for a second or so, but every time one of those spurts of dust
and debris shot aloft every man dropped his pole and looked up to get
the bearings of his share of it. It was very busy times along there for
a while. It appeared certain that we must perish, but even that was
not the bitterest thought; no, the abjectly unheroic nature of the
death--that was the sting--that and the bizarre wording of the resulting
obituary: “SHOT WITH A ROCK, ON A RAFT.” There would be no poetry
written about it. None COULD be written about it. Example:

NOT by war’s shock, or war’s shaft,--SHOT, with a rock, on a raft.

No poet who valued his reputation would touch such a theme as that. I
should be distinguished as the only “distinguished dead” who went down
to the grave unsonneted, in 1878.

But we escaped, and I have never regretted it. The last blast was a
peculiarly strong one, and after the small rubbish was done raining
around us and we were just going to shake hands over our deliverance, a
later and larger stone came down amongst our little group of pedestrians
and wrecked an umbrella. It did no other harm, but we took to the water
just the same.

It seems that the heavy work in the quarries and the new railway
gradings is done mainly by Italians. That was a revelation. We have
the notion in our country that Italians never do heavy work at all, but
confine themselves to the lighter arts, like organ-grinding, operatic
singing, and assassination. We have blundered, that is plain.

All along the river, near every village, we saw little station-houses
for the future railway. They were finished and waiting for the rails and
business. They were as trim and snug and pretty as they could be. They
were always of brick or stone; they were of graceful shape, they had
vines and flowers about them already, and around them the grass was
bright and green, and showed that it was carefully looked after. They
were a decoration to the beautiful landscape, not an offense. Wherever
one saw a pile of gravel or a pile of broken stone, it was always heaped
as trimly and exactly as a new grave or a stack of cannon-balls; nothing
about those stations or along the railroad or the wagon-road was
allowed to look shabby or be unornamental. The keeping a country in such
beautiful order as Germany exhibits, has a wise practical side to
it, too, for it keeps thousands of people in work and bread who would
otherwise be idle and mischievous.

As the night shut down, the captain wanted to tie up, but I thought
maybe we might make Hirschhorn, so we went on. Presently the sky became
overcast, and the captain came aft looking uneasy. He cast his eye
aloft, then shook his head, and said it was coming on to blow. My party
wanted to land at once--therefore I wanted to go on. The captain said we
ought to shorten sail anyway, out of common prudence. Consequently, the
larboard watch was ordered to lay in his pole. It grew quite dark, now,
and the wind began to rise. It wailed through the swaying branches of
the trees, and swept our decks in fitful gusts. Things were taking on an
ugly look. The captain shouted to the steersman on the forward log:

“How’s she landing?”

The answer came faint and hoarse from far forward:

“Nor’-east-and-by-nor’--east-by-east, half-east, sir.”

“Let her go off a point!”

“Aye-aye, sir!”

“What water have you got?”

“Shoal, sir. Two foot large, on the stabboard, two and a half scant on
the labboard!”

“Let her go off another point!”

“Aye-aye, sir!”

“Forward, men, all of you! Lively, now! Stand by to crowd her round the
weather corner!”

“Aye-aye, sir!”

Then followed a wild running and trampling and hoarse shouting, but the
forms of the men were lost in the darkness and the sounds were distorted
and confused by the roaring of the wind through the shingle-bundles. By
this time the sea was running inches high, and threatening every moment
to engulf the frail bark. Now came the mate, hurrying aft, and said,
close to the captain’s ear, in a low, agitated voice:

“Prepare for the worst, sir--we have sprung a leak!”

“Heavens! where?”

“Right aft the second row of logs.”

“Nothing but a miracle can save us! Don’t let the men know, or there
will be a panic and mutiny! Lay her in shore and stand by to jump with
the stern-line the moment she touches. Gentlemen, I must look to you to
second my endeavors in this hour of peril. You have hats--go forward and
bail for your lives!”

Down swept another mighty blast of wind, clothed in spray and thick
darkness. At such a moment as this, came from away forward that most
appalling of all cries that are ever heard at sea:


The captain shouted:

“Hard a-port! Never mind the man! Let him climb aboard or wade ashore!”

Another cry came down the wind:

“Breakers ahead!”

“Where away?”

“Not a log’s length off her port fore-foot!”

We had groped our slippery way forward, and were now bailing with the
frenzy of despair, when we heard the mate’s terrified cry, from far aft:

“Stop that dashed bailing, or we shall be aground!”

But this was immediately followed by the glad shout:

“Land aboard the starboard transom!”

“Saved!” cried the captain. “Jump ashore and take a turn around a tree
and pass the bight aboard!”

The next moment we were all on shore weeping and embracing for joy,
while the rain poured down in torrents. The captain said he had been a
mariner for forty years on the Neckar, and in that time had seen storms
to make a man’s cheek blanch and his pulses stop, but he had never,
never seen a storm that even approached this one. How familiar that
sounded! For I have been at sea a good deal and have heard that remark
from captains with a frequency accordingly.

We framed in our minds the usual resolution of thanks and admiration
and gratitude, and took the first opportunity to vote it, and put it
in writing and present it to the captain, with the customary speech. We
tramped through the darkness and the drenching summer rain full three
miles, and reached “The Naturalist Tavern” in the village of Hirschhorn
just an hour before midnight, almost exhausted from hardship, fatigue,
and terror. I can never forget that night.

The landlord was rich, and therefore could afford to be crusty and
disobliging; he did not at all like being turned out of his warm bed to
open his house for us. But no matter, his household got up and cooked
a quick supper for us, and we brewed a hot punch for ourselves, to keep
off consumption. After supper and punch we had an hour’s soothing smoke
while we fought the naval battle over again and voted the resolutions;
then we retired to exceedingly neat and pretty chambers upstairs that
had clean, comfortable beds in them with heirloom pillowcases most
elaborately and tastefully embroidered by hand.

Such rooms and beds and embroidered linen are as frequent in German
village inns as they are rare in ours. Our villages are superior
to German villages in more merits, excellences, conveniences, and
privileges than I can enumerate, but the hotels do not belong in the

“The Naturalist Tavern” was not a meaningless name; for all the halls
and all the rooms were lined with large glass cases which were filled
with all sorts of birds and animals, glass-eyed, ably stuffed, and set
up in the most natural eloquent and dramatic attitudes. The moment we
were abed, the rain cleared away and the moon came out. I dozed off to
sleep while contemplating a great white stuffed owl which was looking
intently down on me from a high perch with the air of a person who
thought he had met me before, but could not make out for certain.

But young Z did not get off so easily. He said that as he was sinking
deliciously to sleep, the moon lifted away the shadows and developed
a huge cat, on a bracket, dead and stuffed, but crouching, with every
muscle tense, for a spring, and with its glittering glass eyes aimed
straight at him. It made Z uncomfortable. He tried closing his own eyes,
but that did not answer, for a natural instinct kept making him open
them again to see if the cat was still getting ready to launch at
him--which she always was. He tried turning his back, but that was a
failure; he knew the sinister eyes were on him still. So at last he had
to get up, after an hour or two of worry and experiment, and set the cat
out in the hall. So he won, that time.


[The Kindly Courtesy of Germans]

In the morning we took breakfast in the garden, under the trees, in the
delightful German summer fashion. The air was filled with the fragrance
of flowers and wild animals; the living portion of the menagerie of the
“Naturalist Tavern” was all about us. There were great cages populous
with fluttering and chattering foreign birds, and other great cages and
greater wire pens, populous with quadrupeds, both native and foreign.
There were some free creatures, too, and quite sociable ones they were.
White rabbits went loping about the place, and occasionally came and
sniffed at our shoes and shins; a fawn, with a red ribbon on its neck,
walked up and examined us fearlessly; rare breeds of chickens and doves
begged for crumbs, and a poor old tailless raven hopped about with
a humble, shamefaced mein which said, “Please do not notice my
exposure--think how you would feel in my circumstances, and be
charitable.” If he was observed too much, he would retire behind
something and stay there until he judged the party’s interest had found
another object. I never have seen another dumb creature that was
so morbidly sensitive. Bayard Taylor, who could interpret the dim
reasonings of animals, and understood their moral natures better than
most men, would have found some way to make this poor old chap forget
his troubles for a while, but we have not his kindly art, and so had to
leave the raven to his griefs.

After breakfast we climbed the hill and visited the ancient castle of
Hirschhorn, and the ruined church near it. There were some curious old
bas-reliefs leaning against the inner walls of the church--sculptured
lords of Hirschhorn in complete armor, and ladies of Hirschhorn in
the picturesque court costumes of the Middle Ages. These things are
suffering damage and passing to decay, for the last Hirschhorn has been
dead two hundred years, and there is nobody now who cares to preserve
the family relics. In the chancel was a twisted stone column, and the
captain told us a legend about it, of course, for in the matter of
legends he could not seem to restrain himself; but I do not repeat his
tale because there was nothing plausible about it except that the Hero
wrenched this column into its present screw-shape with his hands --just
one single wrench. All the rest of the legend was doubtful.

But Hirschhorn is best seen from a distance, down the river. Then
the clustered brown towers perched on the green hilltop, and the old
battlemented stone wall, stretching up and over the grassy ridge and
disappearing in the leafy sea beyond, make a picture whose grace and
beauty entirely satisfy the eye.

We descended from the church by steep stone stairways which curved this
way and that down narrow alleys between the packed and dirty tenements
of the village. It was a quarter well stocked with deformed, leering,
unkempt and uncombed idiots, who held out hands or caps and begged
piteously. The people of the quarter were not all idiots, of course, but
all that begged seemed to be, and were said to be.

I was thinking of going by skiff to the next town, Necharsteinach; so I
ran to the riverside in advance of the party and asked a man there if
he had a boat to hire. I suppose I must have spoken High German--Court
German--I intended it for that, anyway--so he did not understand me. I
turned and twisted my question around and about, trying to strike that
man’s average, but failed. He could not make out what I wanted. Now Mr.
X arrived, faced this same man, looked him in the eye, and emptied this
sentence on him, in the most glib and confident way: “Can man boat get

The mariner promptly understood and promptly answered. I can comprehend
why he was able to understand that particular sentence, because by mere
accident all the words in it except “get” have the same sound and the
same meaning in German that they have in English; but how he managed to
understand Mr. X’s next remark puzzled me. I will insert it, presently.
X turned away a moment, and I asked the mariner if he could not find
a board, and so construct an additional seat. I spoke in the purest
German, but I might as well have spoken in the purest Choctaw for all
the good it did. The man tried his best to understand me; he tried, and
kept on trying, harder and harder, until I saw it was really of no use,
and said:

“There, don’t strain yourself--it is of no consequence.”

Then X turned to him and crisply said:

“MACHEN SIE a flat board.”

I wish my epitaph may tell the truth about me if the man did not answer
up at once, and say he would go and borrow a board as soon as he had lit
the pipe which he was filling.

We changed our mind about taking a boat, so we did not have to go. I
have given Mr. X’s two remarks just as he made them. Four of the five
words in the first one were English, and that they were also German was
only accidental, not intentional; three out of the five words in the
second remark were English, and English only, and the two German ones
did not mean anything in particular, in such a connection.

X always spoke English to Germans, but his plan was to turn the sentence
wrong end first and upside down, according to German construction, and
sprinkle in a German word without any essential meaning to it, here and
there, by way of flavor. Yet he always made himself understood. He could
make those dialect-speaking raftsmen understand him, sometimes, when
even young Z had failed with them; and young Z was a pretty good German
scholar. For one thing, X always spoke with such confidence--perhaps
that helped. And possibly the raftsmen’s dialect was what is called
PLATT-DEUTSCH, and so they found his English more familiar to their ears
than another man’s German. Quite indifferent students of German can read
Fritz Reuter’s charming platt-Deutch tales with some little facility
because many of the words are English. I suppose this is the tongue
which our Saxon ancestors carried to England with them. By and by I will
inquire of some other philologist.

However, in the mean time it had transpired that the men employed to
calk the raft had found that the leak was not a leak at all, but only
a crack between the logs--a crack that belonged there, and was not
dangerous, but had been magnified into a leak by the disordered
imagination of the mate. Therefore we went aboard again with a good
degree of confidence, and presently got to sea without accident. As we
swam smoothly along between the enchanting shores, we fell to swapping
notes about manners and customs in Germany and elsewhere.

As I write, now, many months later, I perceive that each of us, by
observing and noting and inquiring, diligently and day by day, had
managed to lay in a most varied and opulent stock of misinformation. But
this is not surprising; it is very difficult to get accurate details in
any country. For example, I had the idea once, in Heidelberg, to find
out all about those five student-corps. I started with the White Cap
corps. I began to inquire of this and that and the other citizen, and
here is what I found out:

1. It is called the Prussian Corps, because none but Prussians are
admitted to it.

2. It is called the Prussian Corps for no particular reason. It has
simply pleased each corps to name itself after some German state.

3. It is not named the Prussian Corps at all, but only the White Cap

4. Any student can belong to it who is a German by birth.

5. Any student can belong to it who is European by birth.

6. Any European-born student can belong to it, except he be a Frenchman.

7. Any student can belong to it, no matter where he was born.

8. No student can belong to it who is not of noble blood.

9. No student can belong to it who cannot show three full generations of
noble descent.

10. Nobility is not a necessary qualification.

11. No moneyless student can belong to it.

12. Money qualification is nonsense--such a thing has never been thought

I got some of this information from students themselves--students who
did not belong to the corps.

I finally went to headquarters--to the White Caps--where I would
have gone in the first place if I had been acquainted. But even at
headquarters I found difficulties; I perceived that there were things
about the White Cap Corps which one member knew and another one didn’t.
It was natural; for very few members of any organization know ALL that
can be known about it. I doubt there is a man or a woman in Heidelberg
who would not answer promptly and confidently three out of every five
questions about the White Cap Corps which a stranger might ask; yet
it is a very safe bet that two of the three answers would be incorrect
every time.

There is one German custom which is universal--the bowing courteously
to strangers when sitting down at table or rising up from it. This
bow startles a stranger out of his self-possession, the first time
it occurs, and he is likely to fall over a chair or something, in his
embarrassment, but it pleases him, nevertheless. One soon learns to
expect this bow and be on the lookout and ready to return it; but to
learn to lead off and make the initial bow one’s self is a difficult
matter for a diffident man. One thinks, “If I rise to go, and tender my
bow, and these ladies and gentlemen take it into their heads to ignore
the custom of their nation, and not return it, how shall I feel, in case
I survive to feel anything.” Therefore he is afraid to venture. He sits
out the dinner, and makes the strangers rise first and originate the
bowing. A table d’hôte dinner is a tedious affair for a man who seldom
touches anything after the three first courses; therefore I used to do
some pretty dreary waiting because of my fears. It took me months to
assure myself that those fears were groundless, but I did assure myself
at last by experimenting diligently through my agent. I made Harris get
up and bow and leave; invariably his bow was returned, then I got up and
bowed myself and retired.

Thus my education proceeded easily and comfortably for me, but not for
Harris. Three courses of a table d’hôte dinner were enough for me, but
Harris preferred thirteen.

Even after I had acquired full confidence, and no longer needed the
agent’s help, I sometimes encountered difficulties. Once at Baden-Baden
I nearly lost a train because I could not be sure that three young
ladies opposite me at table were Germans, since I had not heard them
speak; they might be American, they might be English, it was not safe
to venture a bow; but just as I had got that far with my thought, one of
them began a German remark, to my great relief and gratitude; and before
she got out her third word, our bows had been delivered and graciously
returned, and we were off.

There is a friendly something about the German character which is very
winning. When Harris and I were making a pedestrian tour through the
Black Forest, we stopped at a little country inn for dinner one day;
two young ladies and a young gentleman entered and sat down opposite us.
They were pedestrians, too. Our knapsacks were strapped upon our backs,
but they had a sturdy youth along to carry theirs for them. All parties
were hungry, so there was no talking. By and by the usual bows were
exchanged, and we separated.

As we sat at a late breakfast in the hotel at Allerheiligen, next
morning, these young people entered and took places near us without
observing us; but presently they saw us and at once bowed and smiled;
not ceremoniously, but with the gratified look of people who have found
acquaintances where they were expecting strangers. Then they spoke of
the weather and the roads. We also spoke of the weather and the roads.
Next, they said they had had an enjoyable walk, notwithstanding the
weather. We said that that had been our case, too. Then they said they
had walked thirty English miles the day before, and asked how many we
had walked. I could not lie, so I told Harris to do it. Harris told
them we had made thirty English miles, too. That was true; we had “made”
 them, though we had had a little assistance here and there.

After breakfast they found us trying to blast some information out
of the dumb hotel clerk about routes, and observing that we were not
succeeding pretty well, they went and got their maps and things, and
pointed out and explained our course so clearly that even a New York
detective could have followed it. And when we started they spoke out a
hearty good-by and wished us a pleasant journey. Perhaps they were more
generous with us than they might have been with native wayfarers because
we were a forlorn lot and in a strange land; I don’t know; I only know
it was lovely to be treated so.

Very well, I took an American young lady to one of the fine balls in
Baden-Baden, one night, and at the entrance-door upstairs we were halted
by an official--something about Miss Jones’s dress was not according to
rule; I don’t remember what it was, now; something was wanting--her back
hair, or a shawl, or a fan, or a shovel, or something. The official was
ever so polite, and ever so sorry, but the rule was strict, and he could
not let us in. It was very embarrassing, for many eyes were on us. But
now a richly dressed girl stepped out of the ballroom, inquired into the
trouble, and said she could fix it in a moment. She took Miss Jones to
the robing-room, and soon brought her back in regulation trim, and then
we entered the ballroom with this benefactress unchallenged.

Being safe, now, I began to puzzle through my sincere but ungrammatical
thanks, when there was a sudden mutual recognition --the benefactress
and I had met at Allerheiligen. Two weeks had not altered her good face,
and plainly her heart was in the right place yet, but there was such
a difference between these clothes and the clothes I had seen her in
before, when she was walking thirty miles a day in the Black Forest,
that it was quite natural that I had failed to recognize her sooner. I
had on MY other suit, too, but my German would betray me to a person who
had heard it once, anyway. She brought her brother and sister, and they
made our way smooth for that evening.

Well--months afterward, I was driving through the streets of Munich in a
cab with a German lady, one day, when she said:

“There, that is Prince Ludwig and his wife, walking along there.”

Everybody was bowing to them--cabmen, little children, and everybody
else--and they were returning all the bows and overlooking nobody, when
a young lady met them and made a deep courtesy.

“That is probably one of the ladies of the court,” said my German

I said:

“She is an honor to it, then. I know her. I don’t know her name, but I
know HER. I have known her at Allerheiligen and Baden-Baden. She ought
to be an Empress, but she may be only a Duchess; it is the way things go
in this way.”

If one asks a German a civil question, he will be quite sure to get a
civil answer. If you stop a German in the street and ask him to direct
you to a certain place, he shows no sign of feeling offended. If the
place be difficult to find, ten to one the man will drop his own matters
and go with you and show you.

In London, too, many a time, strangers have walked several blocks with
me to show me my way.

There is something very real about this sort of politeness. Quite often,
in Germany, shopkeepers who could not furnish me the article I wanted
have sent one of their employees with me to show me a place where it
could be had.


[The Deadly Jest of Dilsberg]

However, I wander from the raft. We made the port of Necharsteinach in
good season, and went to the hotel and ordered a trout dinner, the same
to be ready against our return from a two-hour pedestrian excursion to
the village and castle of Dilsberg, a mile distant, on the other side
of the river. I do not mean that we proposed to be two hours making two
miles--no, we meant to employ most of the time in inspecting Dilsberg.

For Dilsberg is a quaint place. It is most quaintly and picturesquely
situated, too. Imagine the beautiful river before you; then a few rods
of brilliant green sward on its opposite shore; then a sudden hill--no
preparatory gently rising slopes, but a sort of instantaneous hill--a
hill two hundred and fifty or three hundred feet high, as round as a
bowl, with the same taper upward that an inverted bowl has, and with
about the same relation of height to diameter that distinguishes a
bowl of good honest depth--a hill which is thickly clothed with green
bushes--a comely, shapely hill, rising abruptly out of the dead level
of the surrounding green plains, visible from a great distance down the
bends of the river, and with just exactly room on the top of its head
for its steepled and turreted and roof-clustered cap of architecture,
which same is tightly jammed and compacted within the perfectly round
hoop of the ancient village wall.

There is no house outside the wall on the whole hill, or any vestige of
a former house; all the houses are inside the wall, but there isn’t room
for another one. It is really a finished town, and has been finished a
very long time. There is no space between the wall and the first circle
of buildings; no, the village wall is itself the rear wall of the first
circle of buildings, and the roofs jut a little over the wall and
thus furnish it with eaves. The general level of the massed roofs is
gracefully broken and relieved by the dominating towers of the ruined
castle and the tall spires of a couple of churches; so, from a distance
Dilsberg has rather more the look of a king’s crown than a cap. That
lofty green eminence and its quaint coronet form quite a striking
picture, you may be sure, in the flush of the evening sun.

We crossed over in a boat and began the ascent by a narrow, steep path
which plunged us at once into the leafy deeps of the bushes. But they
were not cool deeps by any means, for the sun’s rays were weltering hot
and there was little or no breeze to temper them. As we panted up the
sharp ascent, we met brown, bareheaded and barefooted boys and girls,
occasionally, and sometimes men; they came upon us without warning, they
gave us good day, flashed out of sight in the bushes, and were gone
as suddenly and mysteriously as they had come. They were bound for the
other side of the river to work. This path had been traveled by many
generations of these people. They have always gone down to the valley to
earn their bread, but they have always climbed their hill again to eat
it, and to sleep in their snug town.

It is said that the Dilsbergers do not emigrate much; they find that
living up there above the world, in their peaceful nest, is pleasanter
than living down in the troublous world. The seven hundred inhabitants
are all blood-kin to each other, too; they have always been blood-kin to
each other for fifteen hundred years; they are simply one large family,
and they like the home folks better than they like strangers, hence they
persistently stay at home. It has been said that for ages Dilsberg
has been merely a thriving and diligent idiot-factory. I saw no idiots
there, but the captain said, “Because of late years the government has
taken to lugging them off to asylums and otherwheres; and government
wants to cripple the factory, too, and is trying to get these
Dilsbergers to marry out of the family, but they don’t like to.”

The captain probably imagined all this, as modern science denies that
the intermarrying of relatives deteriorates the stock.

Arrived within the wall, we found the usual village sights and life. We
moved along a narrow, crooked lane which had been paved in the Middle
Ages. A strapping, ruddy girl was beating flax or some such stuff in
a little bit of a good-box of a barn, and she swung her flail with a
will--if it was a flail; I was not farmer enough to know what she was
at; a frowsy, barelegged girl was herding half a dozen geese with
a stick--driving them along the lane and keeping them out of the
dwellings; a cooper was at work in a shop which I know he did not make
so large a thing as a hogshead in, for there was not room. In the front
rooms of dwellings girls and women were cooking or spinning, and ducks
and chickens were waddling in and out, over the threshold, picking up
chance crumbs and holding pleasant converse; a very old and wrinkled
man sat asleep before his door, with his chin upon his breast and his
extinguished pipe in his lap; soiled children were playing in the dirt
everywhere along the lane, unmindful of the sun.

Except the sleeping old man, everybody was at work, but the place was
very still and peaceful, nevertheless; so still that the distant
cackle of the successful hen smote upon the ear but little dulled
by intervening sounds. That commonest of village sights was lacking
here--the public pump, with its great stone tank or trough of limpid
water, and its group of gossiping pitcher-bearers; for there is no well
or fountain or spring on this tall hill; cisterns of rain-water are

Our alpenstocks and muslin tails compelled attention, and as we moved
through the village we gathered a considerable procession of little boys
and girls, and so went in some state to the castle. It proved to be an
extensive pile of crumbling walls, arches, and towers, massive, properly
grouped for picturesque effect, weedy, grass-grown, and satisfactory.
The children acted as guides; they walked us along the top of the
highest walls, then took us up into a high tower and showed us a wide
and beautiful landscape, made up of wavy distances of woody hills, and
a nearer prospect of undulating expanses of green lowlands, on the one
hand, and castle-graced crags and ridges on the other, with the shining
curves of the Neckar flowing between. But the principal show, the chief
pride of the children, was the ancient and empty well in the grass-grown
court of the castle. Its massive stone curb stands up three or four feet
above-ground, and is whole and uninjured. The children said that in the
Middle Ages this well was four hundred feet deep, and furnished all the
village with an abundant supply of water, in war and peace. They said
that in the old day its bottom was below the level of the Neckar, hence
the water-supply was inexhaustible.

But there were some who believed it had never been a well at all, and
was never deeper than it is now--eighty feet; that at that depth a
subterranean passage branched from it and descended gradually to a
remote place in the valley, where it opened into somebody’s cellar or
other hidden recess, and that the secret of this locality is now lost.
Those who hold this belief say that herein lies the explanation that
Dilsberg, besieged by Tilly and many a soldier before him, was
never taken: after the longest and closest sieges the besiegers were
astonished to perceive that the besieged were as fat and hearty as ever,
and were well furnished with munitions of war--therefore it must be
that the Dilsbergers had been bringing these things in through the
subterranean passage all the time.

The children said that there was in truth a subterranean outlet down
there, and they would prove it. So they set a great truss of straw on
fire and threw it down the well, while we leaned on the curb and watched
the glowing mass descend. It struck bottom and gradually burned out. No
smoke came up. The children clapped their hands and said:

“You see! Nothing makes so much smoke as burning straw--now where did
the smoke go to, if there is no subterranean outlet?”

So it seemed quite evident that the subterranean outlet indeed existed.
But the finest thing within the ruin’s limits was a noble linden, which
the children said was four hundred years old, and no doubt it was. It
had a mighty trunk and a mighty spread of limb and foliage. The limbs
near the ground were nearly the thickness of a barrel.

That tree had witnessed the assaults of men in mail--how remote such a
time seems, and how ungraspable is the fact that real men ever did fight
in real armor!--and it had seen the time when these broken arches and
crumbling battlements were a trim and strong and stately fortress,
fluttering its gay banners in the sun, and peopled with vigorous
humanity--how impossibly long ago that seems!--and here it stands yet,
and possibly may still be standing here, sunning itself and dreaming its
historical dreams, when today shall have been joined to the days called

Well, we sat down under the tree to smoke, and the captain delivered
himself of his legend: THE LEGEND OF DILSBERG CASTLE It was to this
effect. In the old times there was once a great company assembled at the
castle, and festivity ran high. Of course there was a haunted chamber
in the castle, and one day the talk fell upon that. It was said that
whoever slept in it would not wake again for fifty years. Now when a
young knight named Conrad von Geisberg heard this, he said that if the
castle were his he would destroy that chamber, so that no foolish person
might have the chance to bring so dreadful a misfortune upon himself
and afflict such as loved him with the memory of it. Straightway, the
company privately laid their heads together to contrive some way to get
this superstitious young man to sleep in that chamber.

And they succeeded--in this way. They persuaded his betrothed, a lovely
mischievous young creature, niece of the lord of the castle, to help
them in their plot. She presently took him aside and had speech with
him. She used all her persuasions, but could not shake him; he said his
belief was firm, that if he should sleep there he would wake no more for
fifty years, and it made him shudder to think of it. Catharina began to
weep. This was a better argument; Conrad could not hold out against it.
He yielded and said she should have her wish if she would only smile and
be happy again. She flung her arms about his neck, and the kisses she
gave him showed that her thankfulness and her pleasure were very real.
Then she flew to tell the company her success, and the applause she
received made her glad and proud she had undertaken her mission, since
all alone she had accomplished what the multitude had failed in.

At midnight, that night, after the usual feasting, Conrad was taken to
the haunted chamber and left there. He fell asleep, by and by.

When he awoke again and looked about him, his heart stood still with
horror! The whole aspect of the chamber was changed. The walls were
moldy and hung with ancient cobwebs; the curtains and beddings were
rotten; the furniture was rickety and ready to fall to pieces. He sprang
out of bed, but his quaking knees sunk under him and he fell to the

“This is the weakness of age,” he said.

He rose and sought his clothing. It was clothing no longer. The colors
were gone, the garments gave way in many places while he was putting
them on. He fled, shuddering, into the corridor, and along it to
the great hall. Here he was met by a middle-aged stranger of a kind
countenance, who stopped and gazed at him with surprise. Conrad said:

“Good sir, will you send hither the lord Ulrich?”

The stranger looked puzzled a moment, then said:

“The lord Ulrich?”

“Yes--if you will be so good.”

The stranger called--“Wilhelm!” A young serving-man came, and the
stranger said to him:

“Is there a lord Ulrich among the guests?”

“I know none of the name, so please your honor.”

Conrad said, hesitatingly:

“I did not mean a guest, but the lord of the castle, sir.”

The stranger and the servant exchanged wondering glances. Then the
former said:

“I am the lord of the castle.”

“Since when, sir?”

“Since the death of my father, the good lord Ulrich more than forty
years ago.”

Conrad sank upon a bench and covered his face with his hands while he
rocked his body to and fro and moaned. The stranger said in a low voice
to the servant:

“I fear me this poor old creature is mad. Call some one.”

In a moment several people came, and grouped themselves about, talking
in whispers. Conrad looked up and scanned the faces about him wistfully.

Then he shook his head and said, in a grieved voice:

“No, there is none among ye that I know. I am old and alone in the
world. They are dead and gone these many years that cared for me. But
sure, some of these aged ones I see about me can tell me some little
word or two concerning them.”

Several bent and tottering men and women came nearer and answered his
questions about each former friend as he mentioned the names. This one
they said had been dead ten years, that one twenty, another thirty. Each
succeeding blow struck heavier and heavier. At last the sufferer said:

“There is one more, but I have not the courage to--O my lost Catharina!”

One of the old dames said:

“Ah, I knew her well, poor soul. A misfortune overtook her lover, and
she died of sorrow nearly fifty years ago. She lieth under the linden
tree without the court.”

Conrad bowed his head and said:

“Ah, why did I ever wake! And so she died of grief for me, poor child.
So young, so sweet, so good! She never wittingly did a hurtful thing in
all the little summer of her life. Her loving debt shall be repaid--for
I will die of grief for her.”

His head drooped upon his breast. In the moment there was a wild burst
of joyous laughter, a pair of round young arms were flung about Conrad’s
neck and a sweet voice cried:

“There, Conrad mine, thy kind words kill me--the farce shall go no
further! Look up, and laugh with us--‘twas all a jest!”

And he did look up, and gazed, in a dazed wonderment--for the disguises
were stripped away, and the aged men and women were bright and young and
gay again. Catharina’s happy tongue ran on:

“‘Twas a marvelous jest, and bravely carried out. They gave you a heavy
sleeping-draught before you went to bed, and in the night they bore you
to a ruined chamber where all had fallen to decay, and placed these rags
of clothing by you. And when your sleep was spent and you came forth,
two strangers, well instructed in their parts, were here to meet you;
and all we, your friends, in our disguises, were close at hand, to see
and hear, you may be sure. Ah, ‘twas a gallant jest! Come, now, and make
thee ready for the pleasures of the day. How real was thy misery for the
moment, thou poor lad! Look up and have thy laugh, now!”

He looked up, searched the merry faces about him in a dreamy way, then
sighed and said:

“I am aweary, good strangers, I pray you lead me to her grave.”

All the smile vanished away, every cheek blanched, Catharina sunk to the
ground in a swoon.

All day the people went about the castle with troubled faces, and
communed together in undertones. A painful hush pervaded the place which
had lately been so full of cheery life. Each in his turn tried to arouse
Conrad out of his hallucination and bring him to himself; but all the
answer any got was a meek, bewildered stare, and then the words:

“Good stranger, I have no friends, all are at rest these many years;
ye speak me fair, ye mean me well, but I know ye not; I am alone and
forlorn in the world--prithee lead me to her grave.”

During two years Conrad spent his days, from the early morning till the
night, under the linden tree, mourning over the imaginary grave of his
Catharina. Catharina was the only company of the harmless madman. He was
very friendly toward her because, as he said, in some ways she reminded
him of his Catharina whom he had lost “fifty years ago.” He often said:

“She was so gay, so happy-hearted--but you never smile; and always when
you think I am not looking, you cry.”

When Conrad died, they buried him under the linden, according to his
directions, so that he might rest “near his poor Catharina.” Then
Catharina sat under the linden alone, every day and all day long, a
great many years, speaking to no one, and never smiling; and at last her
long repentance was rewarded with death, and she was buried by Conrad’s

Harris pleased the captain by saying it was good legend; and pleased him
further by adding:

“Now that I have seen this mighty tree, vigorous with its four hundred
years, I feel a desire to believe the legend for ITS sake; so I will
humor the desire, and consider that the tree really watches over those
poor hearts and feels a sort of human tenderness for them.”

We returned to Necharsteinach, plunged our hot heads into the trough at
the town pump, and then went to the hotel and ate our trout dinner in
leisurely comfort, in the garden, with the beautiful Neckar flowing at
our feet, the quaint Dilsberg looming beyond, and the graceful towers
and battlements of a couple of medieval castles (called the “Swallow’s
Nest” [1] and “The Brothers.”) assisting the rugged scenery of a bend
of the river down to our right. We got to sea in season to make the
eight-mile run to Heidelberg before the night shut down. We sailed by
the hotel in the mellow glow of sunset, and came slashing down with
the mad current into the narrow passage between the dikes. I believed I
could shoot the bridge myself, and I went to the forward triplet of logs
and relieved the pilot of his pole and his responsibility.

   1. The seeker after information is referred to Appendix E
  for our captain’s legend of the “Swallow’s Nest” and
  “The Brothers.”

We went tearing along in a most exhilarating way, and I performed the
delicate duties of my office very well indeed for a first attempt;
but perceiving, presently, that I really was going to shoot the bridge
itself instead of the archway under it, I judiciously stepped ashore.
The next moment I had my long-coveted desire: I saw a raft wrecked. It
hit the pier in the center and went all to smash and scatteration like a
box of matches struck by lightning.

I was the only one of our party who saw this grand sight; the others
were attitudinizing, for the benefit of the long rank of young ladies
who were promenading on the bank, and so they lost it. But I helped to
fish them out of the river, down below the bridge, and then described it
to them as well as I could.

They were not interested, though. They said they were wet and felt
ridiculous and did not care anything for descriptions of scenery. The
young ladies, and other people, crowded around and showed a great deal
of sympathy, but that did not help matters; for my friends said they did
not want sympathy, they wanted a back alley and solitude.


[My Precious, Priceless Tear-Jug]

Next morning brought good news--our trunks had arrived from Hamburg
at last. Let this be a warning to the reader. The Germans are very
conscientious, and this trait makes them very particular. Therefore if
you tell a German you want a thing done immediately, he takes you
at your word; he thinks you mean what you say; so he does that thing
immediately--according to his idea of immediately--which is about a
week; that is, it is a week if it refers to the building of a garment,
or it is an hour and a half if it refers to the cooking of a trout. Very
well; if you tell a German to send your trunk to you by “slow freight,”
 he takes you at your word; he sends it by “slow freight,” and you
cannot imagine how long you will go on enlarging your admiration of the
expressiveness of that phrase in the German tongue, before you get that
trunk. The hair on my trunk was soft and thick and youthful, when I
got it ready for shipment in Hamburg; it was baldheaded when it reached
Heidelberg. However, it was still sound, that was a comfort, it was
not battered in the least; the baggagemen seemed to be conscientiously
careful, in Germany, of the baggage entrusted to their hands. There
was nothing now in the way of our departure, therefore we set about our

Naturally my chief solicitude was about my collection of Ceramics. Of
course I could not take it with me, that would be inconvenient, and
dangerous besides. I took advice, but the best brick-a-brackers were
divided as to the wisest course to pursue; some said pack the collection
and warehouse it; others said try to get it into the Grand Ducal Museum
at Mannheim for safe keeping. So I divided the collection, and followed
the advice of both parties. I set aside, for the Museum, those articles
which were the most frail and precious.

Among these was my Etruscan tear-jug. I have made a little sketch of
it here; that thing creeping up the side is not a bug, it is a hole.
I bought this tear-jug of a dealer in antiquities for four hundred and
fifty dollars. It is very rare. The man said the Etruscans used to keep
tears or something in these things, and that it was very hard to get
hold of a broken one, now.

I also set aside my Henri II. plate. See sketch from my pencil; it is
in the main correct, though I think I have foreshortened one end of it
a little too much, perhaps. This is very fine and rare; the shape is
exceedingly beautiful and unusual. It has wonderful decorations on it,
but I am not able to reproduce them. It cost more than the tear-jug, as
the dealer said there was not another plate just like it in the
world. He said there was much false Henri II ware around, but that the
genuineness of this piece was unquestionable.

He showed me its pedigree, or its history, if you please; it was a
document which traced this plate’s movements all the way down from its
birth--showed who bought it, from whom, and what he paid for it--from
the first buyer down to me, whereby I saw that it had gone steadily up
from thirty-five cents to seven hundred dollars. He said that the whole
Ceramic world would be informed that it was now in my possession and
would make a note of it, with the price paid. [Figure 8]

There were Masters in those days, but, alas--it is not so now. Of course
the main preciousness of this piece lies in its color; it is that old
sensuous, pervading, ramifying, interpolating, transboreal blue which is
the despair of modern art. The little sketch which I have made of this
gem cannot and does not do it justice, since I have been obliged to
leave out the color. But I’ve got the expression, though.

However, I must not be frittering away the reader’s time with these
details. I did not intend to go into any detail at all, at first, but
it is the failing of the true ceramiker, or the true devotee in any
department of brick-a-brackery, that once he gets his tongue or his pen
started on his darling theme, he cannot well stop until he drops from
exhaustion. He has no more sense of the flight of time than has any
other lover when talking of his sweetheart. The very “marks” on the
bottom of a piece of rare crockery are able to throw me into a gibbering
ecstasy; and I could forsake a drowning relative to help dispute about
whether the stopple of a departed Buon Retiro scent-bottle was genuine
or spurious.

Many people say that for a male person, bric-a-brac hunting is about as
robust a business as making doll-clothes, or decorating Japanese pots
with decalcomania butterflies would be, and these people fling mud at
the elegant Englishman, Byng, who wrote a book called THE BRIC-A-BRAC
HUNTER, and make fun of him for chasing around after what they choose to
call “his despicable trifles”; and for “gushing” over these trifles;
and for exhibiting his “deep infantile delight” in what they call his
“tuppenny collection of beggarly trivialities”; and for beginning his
book with a picture of himself seated, in a “sappy, self-complacent
attitude, in the midst of his poor little ridiculous bric-a-brac junk

It is easy to say these things; it is easy to revile us, easy to despise
us; therefore, let these people rail on; they cannot feel as Byng and
I feel--it is their loss, not ours. For my part I am content to be a
brick-a-bracker and a ceramiker--more, I am proud to be so named. I am
proud to know that I lose my reason as immediately in the presence of a
rare jug with an illustrious mark on the bottom of it, as if I had
just emptied that jug. Very well; I packed and stored a part of my
collection, and the rest of it I placed in the care of the Grand Ducal
Museum in Mannheim, by permission. My Old Blue China Cat remains there
yet. I presented it to that excellent institution.

I had but one misfortune with my things. An egg which I had kept back
from breakfast that morning, was broken in packing. It was a great pity.
I had shown it to the best connoisseurs in Heidelberg, and they all said
it was an antique. We spent a day or two in farewell visits, and then
left for Baden-Baden. We had a pleasant trip to it, for the Rhine valley
is always lovely. The only trouble was that the trip was too short. If
I remember rightly it only occupied a couple of hours, therefore I judge
that the distance was very little, if any, over fifty miles. We
quitted the train at Oos, and walked the entire remaining distance to
Baden-Baden, with the exception of a lift of less than an hour which
we got on a passing wagon, the weather being exhaustingly warm. We came
into town on foot.

One of the first persons we encountered, as we walked up the street,
was the Rev. Mr. ------, an old friend from America--a lucky encounter,
indeed, for his is a most gentle, refined, and sensitive nature, and his
company and companionship are a genuine refreshment. We knew he had been
in Europe some time, but were not at all expecting to run across him.
Both parties burst forth into loving enthusiasms, and Rev. Mr. ------

“I have got a brimful reservoir of talk to pour out on you, and an empty
one ready and thirsting to receive what you have got; we will sit up
till midnight and have a good satisfying interchange, for I leave here
early in the morning.” We agreed to that, of course.

I had been vaguely conscious, for a while, of a person who was walking
in the street abreast of us; I had glanced furtively at him once or
twice, and noticed that he was a fine, large, vigorous young fellow,
with an open, independent countenance, faintly shaded with a pale and
even almost imperceptible crop of early down, and that he was clothed
from head to heel in cool and enviable snow-white linen. I thought I had
also noticed that his head had a sort of listening tilt to it. Now about
this time the Rev. Mr. ------ said:

“The sidewalk is hardly wide enough for three, so I will walk behind;
but keep the talk going, keep the talk going, there’s no time to lose,
and you may be sure I will do my share.” He ranged himself behind us,
and straightway that stately snow-white young fellow closed up to the
sidewalk alongside him, fetched him a cordial slap on the shoulder with
his broad palm, and sung out with a hearty cheeriness:

“AMERICANS for two-and-a-half and the money up! HEY?”

The Reverend winced, but said mildly:

“Yes--we are Americans.”

“Lord love you, you can just bet that’s what _I_ am, every time! Put it

He held out his Sahara of his palm, and the Reverend laid his diminutive
hand in it, and got so cordial a shake that we heard his glove burst
under it.

“Say, didn’t I put you up right?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Sho! I spotted you for MY kind the minute I heard your clack. You been
over here long?”

“About four months. Have you been over long?”

“LONG? Well, I should say so! Going on two YEARS, by geeminy! Say, are
you homesick?”

“No, I can’t say that I am. Are you?”

“Oh, HELL, yes!” This with immense enthusiasm.

The Reverend shrunk a little, in his clothes, and we were aware, rather
by instinct than otherwise, that he was throwing out signals of distress
to us; but we did not interfere or try to succor him, for we were quite

The young fellow hooked his arm into the Reverend’s, now, with the
confiding and grateful air of a waif who has been longing for a friend,
and a sympathetic ear, and a chance to lisp once more the sweet accents
of the mother-tongue--and then he limbered up the muscles of his mouth
and turned himself loose--and with such a relish! Some of his words were
not Sunday-school words, so I am obliged to put blanks where they occur.

“Yes indeedy! If _I_ ain’t an American there AIN’T any Americans, that’s
all. And when I heard you fellows gassing away in the good old American
language, I’m ------ if it wasn’t all I could do to keep from hugging
you! My tongue’s all warped with trying to curl it around these ------
forsaken wind-galled nine-jointed German words here; now I TELL you it’s
awful good to lay it over a Christian word once more and kind of let the
old taste soak it. I’m from western New York. My name is Cholley Adams.
I’m a student, you know. Been here going on two years. I’m learning to
be a horse-doctor! I LIKE that part of it, you know, but ------these
people, they won’t learn a fellow in his own language, they make him
learn in German; so before I could tackle the horse-doctoring I had to
tackle this miserable language.

“First off, I thought it would certainly give me the botts, but I don’t
mind now. I’ve got it where the hair’s short, I think; and dontchuknow,
they made me learn Latin, too. Now between you and me, I wouldn’t give a
------for all the Latin that was ever jabbered; and the first thing _I_
calculate to do when I get through, is to just sit down and forget it.
‘Twon’t take me long, and I don’t mind the time, anyway. And I tell
you what! the difference between school-teaching over yonder and
school-teaching over here--sho! WE don’t know anything about it! Here
you’ve got to peg and peg and peg and there just ain’t any let-up--and
what you learn here, you’ve got to KNOW, dontchuknow --or else you’ll
have one of these ------ spavined, spectacles, ring-boned, knock-kneed
old professors in your hair. I’ve been here long ENOUGH, and I’m getting
blessed tired of it, mind I TELL you. The old man wrote me that he was
coming over in June, and said he’d take me home in August, whether I was
done with my education or not, but durn him, he didn’t come; never said
why; just sent me a hamper of Sunday-school books, and told me to
be good, and hold on a while. I don’t take to Sunday-school books,
dontchuknow--I don’t hanker after them when I can get pie--but I READ
them, anyway, because whatever the old man tells me to do, that’s the
thing that I’m a-going to DO, or tear something, you know. I buckled
in and read all those books, because he wanted me to; but that kind of
thing don’t excite ME, I like something HEARTY. But I’m awful homesick.
I’m homesick from ear-socket to crupper, and from crupper to hock-joint;
but it ain’t any use, I’ve got to stay here, till the old man drops the
rag and give the word--yes, SIR, right here in this ------ country
I’ve got to linger till the old man says COME!--and you bet your bottom
dollar, Johnny, it AIN’T just as easy as it is for a cat to have twins!”

At the end of this profane and cordial explosion he fetched a prodigious
“WHOOSH!” to relieve his lungs and make recognition of the heat, and
then he straightway dived into his narrative again for “Johnny’s”
 benefit, beginning, “Well, ------it ain’t any use talking, some of those
old American words DO have a kind of a bully swing to them; a man
can EXPRESS himself with ‘em--a man can get at what he wants to SAY,

When we reached our hotel and it seemed that he was about to lose the
Reverend, he showed so much sorrow, and begged so hard and so earnestly
that the Reverend’s heart was not hard enough to hold out against the
pleadings--so he went away with the parent-honoring student, like a
right Christian, and took supper with him in his lodgings, and sat in
the surf-beat of his slang and profanity till near midnight, and then
left him--left him pretty well talked out, but grateful “clear down
to his frogs,” as he expressed it. The Reverend said it had transpired
during the interview that “Cholley” Adams’s father was an extensive
dealer in horses in western New York; this accounted for Cholley’s
choice of a profession. The Reverend brought away a pretty high opinion
of Cholley as a manly young fellow, with stuff in him for a useful
citizen; he considered him rather a rough gem, but a gem, nevertheless.


[Insolent Shopkeepers and Gabbling Americans]

Baden-Baden sits in the lap of the hills, and the natural and artificial
beauties of the surroundings are combined effectively and charmingly.
The level strip of ground which stretches through and beyond the town is
laid out in handsome pleasure grounds, shaded by noble trees and adorned
at intervals with lofty and sparkling fountain-jets. Thrice a day a fine
band makes music in the public promenade before the Conversation
House, and in the afternoon and evening that locality is populous with
fashionably dressed people of both sexes, who march back and forth past
the great music-stand and look very much bored, though they make a
show of feeling otherwise. It seems like a rather aimless and stupid
existence. A good many of these people are there for a real purpose,
however; they are racked with rheumatism, and they are there to stew it
out in the hot baths. These invalids looked melancholy enough, limping
about on their canes and crutches, and apparently brooding over all
sorts of cheerless things. People say that Germany, with her damp stone
houses, is the home of rheumatism. If that is so, Providence must have
foreseen that it would be so, and therefore filled the land with the
healing baths. Perhaps no other country is so generously supplied with
medicinal springs as Germany. Some of these baths are good for one
ailment, some for another; and again, peculiar ailments are conquered
by combining the individual virtues of several different baths. For
instance, for some forms of disease, the patient drinks the native hot
water of Baden-Baden, with a spoonful of salt from the Carlsbad springs
dissolved in it. That is not a dose to be forgotten right away.

They don’t SELL this hot water; no, you go into the great Trinkhalle,
and stand around, first on one foot and then on the other, while two or
three young girls sit pottering at some sort of ladylike sewing-work
in your neighborhood and can’t seem to see you --polite as three-dollar
clerks in government offices.

By and by one of these rises painfully, and “stretches”--stretches fists
and body heavenward till she raises her heels from the floor, at the
same time refreshing herself with a yawn of such comprehensiveness that
the bulk of her face disappears behind her upper lip and one is able to
see how she is constructed inside--then she slowly closes her
cavern, brings down her fists and her heels, comes languidly forward,
contemplates you contemptuously, draws you a glass of hot water and sets
it down where you can get it by reaching for it. You take it and say:

“How much?”--and she returns you, with elaborate indifference, a
beggar’s answer:

“NACH BELIEBE” (what you please.)

This thing of using the common beggar’s trick and the common beggar’s
shibboleth to put you on your liberality when you were expecting a
simple straightforward commercial transaction, adds a little to your
prospering sense of irritation. You ignore her reply, and ask again:

“How much?”

--and she calmly, indifferently, repeats:


You are getting angry, but you are trying not to show it; you resolve
to keep on asking your question till she changes her answer, or at least
her annoyingly indifferent manner. Therefore, if your case be like mine,
you two fools stand there, and without perceptible emotion of any kind,
or any emphasis on any syllable, you look blandly into each other’s
eyes, and hold the following idiotic conversation:

“How much?”


“How much?”


“How much?”


“How much?”


“How much?”


“How much?”


I do not know what another person would have done, but at this point I
gave up; that cast-iron indifference, that tranquil contemptuousness,
conquered me, and I struck my colors. Now I knew she was used to
receiving about a penny from manly people who care nothing about the
opinions of scullery-maids, and about tuppence from moral cowards; but
I laid a silver twenty-five cent piece within her reach and tried to
shrivel her up with this sarcastic speech:

“If it isn’t enough, will you stoop sufficiently from your official
dignity to say so?”

She did not shrivel. Without deigning to look at me at all, she
languidly lifted the coin and bit it!--to see if it was good. Then she
turned her back and placidly waddled to her former roost again, tossing
the money into an open till as she went along. She was victor to the
last, you see.

I have enlarged upon the ways of this girl because they are typical;
her manners are the manners of a goodly number of the Baden-Baden
shopkeepers. The shopkeeper there swindles you if he can, and insults
you whether he succeeds in swindling you or not. The keepers of baths
also take great and patient pains to insult you. The frowsy woman who
sat at the desk in the lobby of the great Friederichsbad and sold bath
tickets, not only insulted me twice every day, with rigid fidelity
to her great trust, but she took trouble enough to cheat me out of a
shilling, one day, to have fairly entitled her to ten. Baden-Baden’s
splendid gamblers are gone, only her microscopic knaves remain.

An English gentleman who had been living there several years, said:

“If you could disguise your nationality, you would not find any
insolence here. These shopkeepers detest the English and despise the
Americans; they are rude to both, more especially to ladies of your
nationality and mine. If these go shopping without a gentleman or
a man-servant, they are tolerably sure to be subjected to petty
insolences--insolences of manner and tone, rather than word, though
words that are hard to bear are not always wanting. I know of an
instance where a shopkeeper tossed a coin back to an American lady with
the remark, snappishly uttered, ‘We don’t take French money here.’ And
I know of a case where an English lady said to one of these shopkeepers,
‘Don’t you think you ask too much for this article?’ and he replied with
the question, ‘Do you think you are obliged to buy it?’ However, these
people are not impolite to Russians or Germans. And as to rank, they
worship that, for they have long been used to generals and nobles. If
you wish to see what abysses servility can descend, present yourself
before a Baden-Baden shopkeeper in the character of a Russian prince.”

It is an inane town, filled with sham, and petty fraud, and snobbery,
but the baths are good. I spoke with many people, and they were all
agreed in that. I had the twinges of rheumatism unceasingly during three
years, but the last one departed after a fortnight’s bathing there,
and I have never had one since. I fully believe I left my rheumatism in
Baden-Baden. Baden-Baden is welcome to it. It was little, but it was
all I had to give. I would have preferred to leave something that was
catching, but it was not in my power.

There are several hot springs there, and during two thousand years they
have poured forth a never-diminishing abundance of the healing water.
This water is conducted in pipe to the numerous bath-houses, and is
reduced to an endurable temperature by the addition of cold water. The
new Friederichsbad is a very large and beautiful building, and in it one
may have any sort of bath that has ever been invented, and with all
the additions of herbs and drugs that his ailment may need or that the
physician of the establishment may consider a useful thing to put into
the water. You go there, enter the great door, get a bow graduated to
your style and clothes from the gorgeous portier, and a bath ticket and
an insult from the frowsy woman for a quarter; she strikes a bell and
a serving-man conducts you down a long hall and shuts you into a
commodious room which has a washstand, a mirror, a bootjack, and a sofa
in it, and there you undress at your leisure.

The room is divided by a great curtain; you draw this curtain aside, and
find a large white marble bathtub, with its rim sunk to the level of the
floor, and with three white marble steps leading down to it. This tub
is full of water which is as clear as crystal, and is tempered to 28
degrees Re’aumur (about 95 degrees Fahrenheit). Sunk into the floor, by
the tub, is a covered copper box which contains some warm towels and a
sheet. You look fully as white as an angel when you are stretched out
in that limpid bath. You remain in it ten minutes, the first time,
and afterward increase the duration from day to day, till you reach
twenty-five or thirty minutes. There you stop. The appointments of the
place are so luxurious, the benefit so marked, the price so moderate,
and the insults so sure, that you very soon find yourself adoring the
Friederichsbad and infesting it.

We had a plain, simple, unpretending, good hotel, in Baden-Baden--the
Hôtel de France--and alongside my room I had a giggling, cackling,
chattering family who always went to bed just two hours after me and
always got up two hours ahead of me. But this is common in German
hotels; the people generally go to bed long after eleven and get up
long before eight. The partitions convey sound like a drum-head, and
everybody knows it; but no matter, a German family who are all kindness
and consideration in the daytime make apparently no effort to moderate
their noises for your benefit at night. They will sing, laugh, and talk
loudly, and bang furniture around in a most pitiless way. If you knock
on your wall appealingly, they will quiet down and discuss the matter
softly among themselves for a moment--then, like the mice, they fall to
persecuting you again, and as vigorously as before. They keep cruelly
late and early hours, for such noisy folk.

Of course, when one begins to find fault with foreign people’s ways, he
is very likely to get a reminder to look nearer home, before he gets far
with it. I open my note-book to see if I can find some more information
of a valuable nature about Baden-Baden, and the first thing I fall upon
is this:

“BADEN-BADEN (no date). Lot of vociferous Americans at breakfast
this morning. Talking AT everybody, while pretending to talk among
themselves. On their first travels, manifestly. Showing off. The usual
signs--airy, easy-going references to grand distances and foreign
places. ‘Well GOOD-by, old fellow--if I don’t run across you in Italy,
you hunt me up in London before you sail.’”

The next item which I find in my note-book is this one:

“The fact that a band of 6,000 Indians are now murdering our
frontiersmen at their impudent leisure, and that we are only able
to send 1,200 soldiers against them, is utilized here to discourage
emigration to America. The common people think the Indians are in New

This is a new and peculiar argument against keeping our army down to a
ridiculous figure in the matter of numbers. It is rather a striking
one, too. I have not distorted the truth in saying that the facts in
the above item, about the army and the Indians, are made use of to
discourage emigration to America. That the common people should be
rather foggy in their geography, and foggy as to the location of the
Indians, is a matter for amusement, maybe, but not of surprise.

There is an interesting old cemetery in Baden-Baden, and we spent
several pleasant hours in wandering through it and spelling out the
inscriptions on the aged tombstones. Apparently after a man has laid
there a century or two, and has had a good many people buried on top
of him, it is considered that his tombstone is not needed by him any
longer. I judge so from the fact that hundreds of old gravestones have
been removed from the graves and placed against the inner walls of the
cemetery. What artists they had in the old times! They chiseled angels
and cherubs and devils and skeletons on the tombstones in the most
lavish and generous way--as to supply--but curiously grotesque and
outlandish as to form. It is not always easy to tell which of the
figures belong among the blest and which of them among the opposite
party. But there was an inscription, in French, on one of those old
stones, which was quaint and pretty, and was plainly not the work of any
other than a poet. It was to this effect:

Here Reposes in God, Caroline de Clery, a Religieuse of St. Denis aged
83 years--and blind. The light was restored to her in Baden the 5th of
January, 1839

We made several excursions on foot to the neighboring villages, over
winding and beautiful roads and through enchanting woodland scenery.
The woods and roads were similar to those at Heidelberg, but not
so bewitching. I suppose that roads and woods which are up to the
Heidelberg mark are rare in the world.

Once we wandered clear away to La Favorita Palace, which is several
miles from Baden-Baden. The grounds about the palace were fine; the
palace was a curiosity. It was built by a Margravine in 1725, and
remains as she left it at her death. We wandered through a great many
of its rooms, and they all had striking peculiarities of decoration.
For instance, the walls of one room were pretty completely covered
with small pictures of the Margravine in all conceivable varieties of
fanciful costumes, some of them male.

The walls of another room were covered with grotesquely and elaborately
figured hand-wrought tapestry. The musty ancient beds remained in the
chambers, and their quilts and curtains and canopies were decorated with
curious handwork, and the walls and ceilings frescoed with historical
and mythological scenes in glaring colors. There was enough crazy and
rotten rubbish in the building to make a true brick-a-bracker green with
envy. A painting in the dining-hall verged upon the indelicate--but then
the Margravine was herself a trifle indelicate.

It is in every way a wildly and picturesquely decorated house, and
brimful of interest as a reflection of the character and tastes of that
rude bygone time.

In the grounds, a few rods from the palace, stands the Margravine’s
chapel, just as she left it--a coarse wooden structure, wholly barren
of ornament. It is said that the Margravine would give herself up to
debauchery and exceedingly fast living for several months at a time,
and then retire to this miserable wooden den and spend a few months in
repenting and getting ready for another good time. She was a devoted
Catholic, and was perhaps quite a model sort of a Christian as
Christians went then, in high life.

Tradition says she spent the last two years of her life in the strange
den I have been speaking of, after having indulged herself in one final,
triumphant, and satisfying spree. She shut herself up there, without
company, and without even a servant, and so abjured and forsook the
world. In her little bit of a kitchen she did her own cooking; she wore
a hair shirt next the skin, and castigated herself with whips--these
aids to grace are exhibited there yet. She prayed and told her beads,
in another little room, before a waxen Virgin niched in a little box
against the wall; she bedded herself like a slave.

In another small room is an unpainted wooden table, and behind it sit
half-life-size waxen figures of the Holy Family, made by the very worst
artist that ever lived, perhaps, and clothed in gaudy, flimsy drapery.
[1] The margravine used to bring her meals to this table and DINE WITH
THE HOLY FAMILY. What an idea that was! What a grisly spectacle it must
have been! Imagine it: Those rigid, shock-headed figures, with corpsy
complexions and fish glass eyes, occupying one side of the table in the
constrained attitudes and dead fixedness that distinguish all men that
are born of wax, and this wrinkled, smoldering old fire-eater occupying
the other side, mumbling her prayers and munching her sausages in the
ghostly stillness and shadowy indistinctness of a winter twilight. It
makes one feel crawly even to think of it.

  [1] The Savior was represented as a lad of about fifteen
  years of age. This figure had lost one eye.

In this sordid place, and clothed, bedded, and fed like a pauper, this
strange princess lived and worshiped during two years, and in it she
died. Two or three hundred years ago, this would have made the poor den
holy ground; and the church would have set up a miracle-factory there
and made plenty of money out of it. The den could be moved into some
portions of France and made a good property even now.


By Mark Twain

(Samuel L. Clemens)

First published in 1880

Illustrations taken from an 1880 First Edition

 * * * * * *


     2.    TITIAN’S MOSES
     121.  RICH OLD HUSS
     122.  GRETCHEN
     123.  PAUL HOCH
     124.  HANS SCHMIDT
     127.  FRIENDS
     128.  PROSPECTING
     129.  TAIL PIECE
     130.  A GENERAL HOWL
     133.  RESULT OF A JOKE
     145.  TAIL PIECE
     147.  HE LIKED CLOCKS
     148.  “I WILL TELL YOU”
      149.  COULDN’T WAIT
     153.  JUST THE TRICK
     155.  NOT THROWN AWAY
     159.  DERN A DOG, ANYWAY
     160.  TAIL PIECE
     164.  “YOU’RE AN AMERICAN--SO AM I”
      165.  ENTERPRISE
     169.  THE JODLER
     173.  LOST IN THE MIST
     177.  TAIL PIECE


CHAPTER XXII The Black Forest--A Grandee and his Family--The Wealthy
Nabob--A New Standard of Wealth--Skeleton for a New Novel--Trying
Situation--The Common Council--Choosing a New Member Studying Natural
History--The Ant a Fraud--Eccentricities of the Ant--His Deceit and
Ignorance--A German Dish--Boiled Oranges

CHAPTER XXIII Off for a Day’s Tramp--Tramping and Talking--Story
Telling--Dentistry in Camp--Nicodemus Dodge--Seeking a Situation--A
Butt for Jokes--Jimmy Finn’s Skeleton--Descending a Farm--Unexpected

CHAPTER XXIV Sunday on the Continent--A Day of Rest--An Incident
at Church--An Object of Sympathy--Royalty at Church--Public Grounds
Concert--Power and Grades of Music--Hiring a Courier

CHAPTER XXV Lucerne--Beauty of its Lake--The Wild Chamois--A Great
Error Exposed--Methods of Hunting the Chamois--Beauties of Lucerne--The
Alpenstock--Marking Alpenstocks--Guessing at Nationalities--An American
Party--An Unexpected Acquaintance--Getting Mixed Up--Following Blind
Trails--A Happy Half--hour--Defeat and Revenge

CHAPTER XXVI Commerce of Lucerne--Benefits of Martyrdom--A Bit of
History--The Home of Cuckoo Clocks--A Satisfactory Revenge--The Alan
Who Put Up at Gadsby’s--A Forgotten Story--Wanted to be Postmaster--A
Tennessean at Washington--He Concluded to Stay A While--Application of
the Story

CHAPTER XXVII The Glacier Garden--Excursion on the Lake--Life on the
Mountains--A Specimen Tourist--“Where’re you From?”--An Advertising
Dodge--A Righteous Verdict--The Guide-book Student--I Believe that’s All

CHAPTER XXVIII The Rigi-Kulm--Its Ascent--Stripping for Business--A
Mountain Lad--An English Tourist--Railroad up the Mountain--Villages and
Mountain--The Jodlers--About Ice Water--The Felsenthor--Too Late--Lost
in the Fog--The Rigi-Kulm Hotel--The Alpine Horn--Sunrise at Night


[The Black Forest and Its Treasures]

From Baden-Baden we made the customary trip into the Black Forest. We
were on foot most of the time. One cannot describe those noble woods,
nor the feeling with which they inspire him. A feature of the feeling,
however, is a deep sense of contentment; another feature of it is a
buoyant, boyish gladness; and a third and very conspicuous feature of
it is one’s sense of the remoteness of the work-day world and his entire
emancipation from it and its affairs.

Those woods stretch unbroken over a vast region; and everywhere they are
such dense woods, and so still, and so piney and fragrant. The stems of
the trees are trim and straight, and in many places all the ground is
hidden for miles under a thick cushion of moss of a vivid green color,
with not a decayed or ragged spot in its surface, and not a fallen leaf
or twig to mar its immaculate tidiness. A rich cathedral gloom pervades
the pillared aisles; so the stray flecks of sunlight that strike a trunk
here and a bough yonder are strongly accented, and when they strike the
moss they fairly seem to burn. But the weirdest effect, and the most
enchanting is that produced by the diffused light of the low afternoon
sun; no single ray is able to pierce its way in, then, but the diffused
light takes color from moss and foliage, and pervades the place like
a faint, green-tinted mist, the theatrical fire of fairyland. The
suggestion of mystery and the supernatural which haunts the forest at
all times is intensified by this unearthly glow.

We found the Black Forest farmhouses and villages all that the Black
Forest stories have pictured them. The first genuine specimen which
we came upon was the mansion of a rich farmer and member of the Common
Council of the parish or district. He was an important personage in the
land and so was his wife also, of course.

His daughter was the “catch” of the region, and she may be already
entering into immortality as the heroine of one of Auerbach’s novels,
for all I know. We shall see, for if he puts her in I shall recognize
her by her Black Forest clothes, and her burned complexion, her plump
figure, her fat hands, her dull expression, her gentle spirit,
her generous feet, her bonnetless head, and the plaited tails of
hemp-colored hair hanging down her back.

The house was big enough for a hotel; it was a hundred feet long and
fifty wide, and ten feet high, from ground to eaves; but from the eaves
to the comb of the mighty roof was as much as forty feet, or maybe even
more. This roof was of ancient mud-colored straw thatch a foot thick,
and was covered all over, except in a few trifling spots, with a
thriving and luxurious growth of green vegetation, mainly moss. The
mossless spots were places where repairs had been made by the insertion
of bright new masses of yellow straw. The eaves projected far down, like
sheltering, hospitable wings. Across the gable that fronted the road,
and about ten feet above the ground, ran a narrow porch, with a wooden
railing; a row of small windows filled with very small panes looked upon
the porch. Above were two or three other little windows, one clear up
under the sharp apex of the roof. Before the ground-floor door was a
huge pile of manure. The door of the second-story room on the side of
the house was open, and occupied by the rear elevation of a cow. Was
this probably the drawing-room? All of the front half of the house from
the ground up seemed to be occupied by the people, the cows, and the
chickens, and all the rear half by draught-animals and hay. But the
chief feature, all around this house, was the big heaps of manure.

We became very familiar with the fertilizer in the Forest. We fell
unconsciously into the habit of judging of a man’s station in life
by this outward and eloquent sign. Sometimes we said, “Here is a poor
devil, this is manifest.” When we saw a stately accumulation, we said,
“Here is a banker.” When we encountered a country-seat surrounded by an
Alpine pomp of manure, we said, “Doubtless a duke lives here.”

The importance of this feature has not been properly magnified in the
Black Forest stories. Manure is evidently the Black-Forester’s main
treasure--his coin, his jewel, his pride, his Old Master, his ceramics,
his bric-a-brac, his darling, his title to public consideration, envy,
veneration, and his first solicitude when he gets ready to make his
will. The true Black Forest novel, if it is ever written, will be
skeletoned somewhat in this way:


Rich old farmer, named Huss.

Has inherited great wealth of manure, and by diligence has added to it.
It is double-starred in Baedeker. [1] The Black forest artist paints
it--his masterpiece. The king comes to see it. Gretchen Huss,
daughter and heiress. Paul Hoch, young neighbor, suitor for Gretchen’s
hand--ostensibly; he really wants the manure.

Hoch has a good many cart-loads of the Black Forest currency himself,
and therefore is a good catch; but he is sordid, mean, and without
sentiment, whereas Gretchen is all sentiment and poetry. Hans Schmidt,
young neighbor, full of sentiment, full of poetry, loves Gretchen,
Gretchen loves him. But he has no manure. Old Huss forbids him in the
house. His heart breaks, he goes away to die in the woods, far from the
cruel world--for he says, bitterly, “What is man, without manure?”

1. When Baedeker’s guide-books mention a thing and put two stars (**)
after it, it means well worth visiting. M.T.

[Interval of six months.]

Paul Hoch comes to old Huss and says, “I am at last as rich as you
required--come and view the pile.” Old Huss views it and says, “It is
sufficient--take her and be happy,”--meaning Gretchen.

[Interval of two weeks.]

Wedding party assembled in old Huss’s drawing-room. Hoch placid and
content, Gretchen weeping over her hard fate. Enter old Huss’s head
bookkeeper. Huss says fiercely, “I gave you three weeks to find out why
your books don’t balance, and to prove that you are not a defaulter;
the time is up--find me the missing property or you go to prison as
a thief.” Bookkeeper: “I have found it.” “Where?” Bookkeeper
(sternly--tragically): “In the bridegroom’s pile!--behold the thief--see
him blench and tremble!” [Sensation.] Paul Hoch: “Lost, lost!”--falls
over the cow in a swoon and is handcuffed. Gretchen: “Saved!” Falls over
the calf in a swoon of joy, but is caught in the arms of Hans Schmidt,
who springs in at that moment. Old Huss: “What, you here, varlet? Unhand
the maid and quit the place.” Hans (still supporting the insensible
girl): “Never! Cruel old man, know that I come with claims which even
you cannot despise.”

Huss: “What, YOU? name them.”

Hans: “Listen then. The world has forsaken me, I forsook the world, I
wandered in the solitude of the forest, longing for death but finding
none. I fed upon roots, and in my bitterness I dug for the bitterest,
loathing the sweeter kind. Digging, three days agone, I struck a manure
mine!--a Golconda, a limitless Bonanza, of solid manure! I can buy you
ALL, and have mountain ranges of manure left! Ha-ha, NOW thou smilest a
smile!” [Immense sensation.] Exhibition of specimens from the mine. Old
Huss (enthusiastically): “Wake her up, shake her up, noble young man,
she is yours!” Wedding takes place on the spot; bookkeeper restored to
his office and emoluments; Paul Hoch led off to jail. The Bonanza king
of the Black Forest lives to a good old age, blessed with the love of
his wife and of his twenty-seven children, and the still sweeter envy of
everybody around.

We took our noon meal of fried trout one day at the Plow Inn, in a very
pretty village (Ottenhoefen), and then went into the public room to rest
and smoke. There we found nine or ten Black Forest grandees assembled
around a table. They were the Common Council of the parish. They had
gathered there at eight o’clock that morning to elect a new member, and
they had now been drinking beer four hours at the new member’s expense.

They were men of fifty or sixty years of age, with grave good-natured
faces, and were all dressed in the costume made familiar to us by the
Black Forest stories; broad, round-topped black felt hats with the brims
curled up all round; long red waistcoats with large metal buttons, black
alpaca coats with the waists up between the shoulders. There were no
speeches, there was but little talk, there were no frivolities; the
Council filled themselves gradually, steadily, but surely, with beer,
and conducted themselves with sedate decorum, as became men of position,
men of influence, men of manure.

We had a hot afternoon tramp up the valley, along the grassy bank of a
rushing stream of clear water, past farmhouses, water-mills, and no end
of wayside crucifixes and saints and Virgins. These crucifixes, etc.,
are set up in memory of departed friends, by survivors, and are almost
as frequent as telegraph-poles are in other lands.

We followed the carriage-road, and had our usual luck; we traveled under
a beating sun, and always saw the shade leave the shady places before we
could get to them. In all our wanderings we seldom managed to strike
a piece of road at its time for being shady. We had a particularly hot
time of it on that particular afternoon, and with no comfort but what we
could get out of the fact that the peasants at work away up on the steep
mountainsides above our heads were even worse off than we were. By and
by it became impossible to endure the intolerable glare and heat
any longer; so we struck across the ravine and entered the deep cool
twilight of the forest, to hunt for what the guide-book called the “old

We found an old road, and it proved eventually to be the right one,
though we followed it at the time with the conviction that it was the
wrong one. If it was the wrong one there could be no use in hurrying;
therefore we did not hurry, but sat down frequently on the soft moss and
enjoyed the restful quiet and shade of the forest solitudes. There
had been distractions in the carriage-road--school-children, peasants,
wagons, troops of pedestrianizing students from all over Germany--but we
had the old road to ourselves.

Now and then, while we rested, we watched the laborious ant at his work.
I found nothing new in him--certainly nothing to change my opinion of
him. It seems to me that in the matter of intellect the ant must be a
strangely overrated bird. During many summers, now, I have watched him,
when I ought to have been in better business, and I have not yet come
across a living ant that seemed to have any more sense than a dead one.
I refer to the ordinary ant, of course; I have had no experience of
those wonderful Swiss and African ones which vote, keep drilled armies,
hold slaves, and dispute about religion. Those particular ants may be
all that the naturalist paints them, but I am persuaded that the
average ant is a sham. I admit his industry, of course; he is the
hardest-working creature in the world--when anybody is looking--but
his leather-headedness is the point I make against him. He goes out
foraging, he makes a capture, and then what does he do? Go home? No--he
goes anywhere but home. He doesn’t know where home is. His home may be
only three feet away--no matter, he can’t find it. He makes his capture,
as I have said; it is generally something which can be of no sort of
use to himself or anybody else; it is usually seven times bigger than
it ought to be; he hunts out the awkwardest place to take hold of it;
he lifts it bodily up in the air by main force, and starts; not toward
home, but in the opposite direction; not calmly and wisely, but with a
frantic haste which is wasteful of his strength; he fetches up against
a pebble, and instead of going around it, he climbs over it backward
dragging his booty after him, tumbles down on the other side, jumps up
in a passion, kicks the dust off his clothes, moistens his hands, grabs
his property viciously, yanks it this way, then that, shoves it ahead
of him a moment, turns tail and lugs it after him another moment,
gets madder and madder, then presently hoists it into the air and goes
tearing away in an entirely new direction; comes to a weed; it never
occurs to him to go around it; no, he must climb it; and he does climb
it, dragging his worthless property to the top--which is as bright
a thing to do as it would be for me to carry a sack of flour from
Heidelberg to Paris by way of Strasburg steeple; when he gets up there
he finds that that is not the place; takes a cursory glance at the
scenery and either climbs down again or tumbles down, and starts off
once more--as usual, in a new direction. At the end of half an hour, he
fetches up within six inches of the place he started from and lays his
burden down; meantime he has been over all the ground for two yards
around, and climbed all the weeds and pebbles he came across. Now he
wipes the sweat from his brow, strokes his limbs, and then marches
aimlessly off, in as violently a hurry as ever. He does not remember to
have ever seen it before; he looks around to see which is not the way
home, grabs his bundle and starts; he goes through the same adventures
he had before; finally stops to rest, and a friend comes along.
Evidently the friend remarks that a last year’s grasshopper leg is a
very noble acquisition, and inquires where he got it.

Evidently the proprietor does not remember exactly where he did get
it, but thinks he got it “around here somewhere.” Evidently the friend
contracts to help him freight it home. Then, with a judgment peculiarly
antic (pun not intended), they take hold of opposite ends of that
grasshopper leg and begin to tug with all their might in opposite
directions. Presently they take a rest and confer together. They decide
that something is wrong, they can’t make out what. Then they go at
it again, just as before. Same result. Mutual recriminations follow.
Evidently each accuses the other of being an obstructionist. They lock
themselves together and chew each other’s jaws for a while; then they
roll and tumble on the ground till one loses a horn or a leg and has to
haul off for repairs. They make up and go to work again in the same old
insane way, but the crippled ant is at a disadvantage; tug as he may,
the other one drags off the booty and him at the end of it. Instead
of giving up, he hangs on, and gets his shins bruised against every
obstruction that comes in the way. By and by, when that grasshopper leg
has been dragged all over the same old ground once more, it is finally
dumped at about the spot where it originally lay, the two perspiring
ants inspect it thoughtfully and decide that dried grasshopper legs
are a poor sort of property after all, and then each starts off in a
different direction to see if he can’t find an old nail or something
else that is heavy enough to afford entertainment and at the same time
valueless enough to make an ant want to own it.

There in the Black Forest, on the mountainside, I saw an ant go through
with such a performance as this with a dead spider of fully ten times
his own weight. The spider was not quite dead, but too far gone to
resist. He had a round body the size of a pea. The little ant--observing
that I was noticing--turned him on his back, sunk his fangs into his
throat, lifted him into the air and started vigorously off with him,
stumbling over little pebbles, stepping on the spider’s legs and
tripping himself up, dragging him backward, shoving him bodily ahead,
dragging him up stones six inches high instead of going around them,
climbing weeds twenty times his own height and jumping from their
summits--and finally leaving him in the middle of the road to be
confiscated by any other fool of an ant that wanted him. I measured the
ground which this ass traversed, and arrived at the conclusion that what
he had accomplished inside of twenty minutes would constitute some
such job as this--relatively speaking--for a man; to wit: to strap two
eight-hundred-pound horses together, carry them eighteen hundred feet,
mainly over (not around) boulders averaging six feet high, and in the
course of the journey climb up and jump from the top of one precipice
like Niagara, and three steeples, each a hundred and twenty feet high;
and then put the horses down, in an exposed place, without anybody to
watch them, and go off to indulge in some other idiotic miracle for
vanity’s sake.

Science has recently discovered that the ant does not lay up anything
for winter use. This will knock him out of literature, to some extent.
He does not work, except when people are looking, and only then when the
observer has a green, naturalistic look, and seems to be taking notes.
This amounts to deception, and will injure him for the Sunday-schools.
He has not judgment enough to know what is good to eat from what isn’t.
This amounts to ignorance, and will impair the world’s respect for
him. He cannot stroll around a stump and find his way home again. This
amounts to idiocy, and once the damaging fact is established, thoughtful
people will cease to look up to him, the sentimental will cease to
fondle him. His vaunted industry is but a vanity and of no effect, since
he never gets home with anything he starts with. This disposes of the
last remnant of his reputation and wholly destroys his main usefulness
as a moral agent, since it will make the sluggard hesitate to go to him
any more. It is strange, beyond comprehension, that so manifest a humbug
as the ant has been able to fool so many nations and keep it up so many
ages without being found out.

The ant is strong, but we saw another strong thing, where we had not
suspected the presence of much muscular power before. A toadstool--that
vegetable which springs to full growth in a single night--had torn loose
and lifted a matted mass of pine needles and dirt of twice its own bulk
into the air, and supported it there, like a column supporting a shed.
Ten thousand toadstools, with the right purchase, could lift a man, I
suppose. But what good would it do?

All our afternoon’s progress had been uphill. About five or half past we
reached the summit, and all of a sudden the dense curtain of the forest
parted and we looked down into a deep and beautiful gorge and out over a
wide panorama of wooded mountains with their summits shining in the sun
and their glade-furrowed sides dimmed with purple shade. The gorge under
our feet--called Allerheiligen--afforded room in the grassy level at its
head for a cozy and delightful human nest, shut away from the world and
its botherations, and consequently the monks of the old times had not
failed to spy it out; and here were the brown and comely ruins of their
church and convent to prove that priests had as fine an instinct seven
hundred years ago in ferreting out the choicest nooks and corners in a
land as priests have today.

A big hotel crowds the ruins a little, now, and drives a brisk trade
with summer tourists. We descended into the gorge and had a supper which
would have been very satisfactory if the trout had not been boiled.
The Germans are pretty sure to boil a trout or anything else if left to
their own devices. This is an argument of some value in support of the
theory that they were the original colonists of the wild islands of the
coast of Scotland. A schooner laden with oranges was wrecked upon one
of those islands a few years ago, and the gentle savages rendered the
captain such willing assistance that he gave them as many oranges as
they wanted. Next day he asked them how they liked them. They shook
their heads and said:

“Baked, they were tough; and even boiled, they warn’t things for a
hungry man to hanker after.”

We went down the glen after supper. It is beautiful--a mixture of sylvan
loveliness and craggy wildness. A limpid torrent goes whistling down
the glen, and toward the foot of it winds through a narrow cleft between
lofty precipices and hurls itself over a succession of falls. After one
passes the last of these he has a backward glimpse at the falls which
is very pleasing--they rise in a seven-stepped stairway of foamy and
glittering cascades, and make a picture which is as charming as it is


[Nicodemus Dodge and the Skeleton]

We were satisfied that we could walk to Oppenau in one day, now that
we were in practice; so we set out the next morning after breakfast
determined to do it. It was all the way downhill, and we had the
loveliest summer weather for it. So we set the pedometer and then
stretched away on an easy, regular stride, down through the cloven
forest, drawing in the fragrant breath of the morning in deep refreshing
draughts, and wishing we might never have anything to do forever but
walk to Oppenau and keep on doing it and then doing it over again.

Now, the true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or
in the scenery, but in the talking. The walking is good to time the
movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred
up and active; the scenery and the woodsy smells are good to bear in
upon a man an unconscious and unobtrusive charm and solace to eye and
soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk. It is no
matter whether one talks wisdom or nonsense, the case is the same, the
bulk of the enjoyment lies in the wagging of the gladsome jaw and the
flapping of the sympathetic ear.

And what motley variety of subjects a couple of people will casually
rake over in the course of a day’s tramp! There being no constraint,
a change of subject is always in order, and so a body is not likely to
keep pegging at a single topic until it grows tiresome. We discussed
everything we knew, during the first fifteen or twenty minutes, that
morning, and then branched out into the glad, free, boundless realm of
the things we were not certain about.

Harris said that if the best writer in the world once got the slovenly
habit of doubling up his “haves” he could never get rid of it while he
lived. That is to say, if a man gets the habit of saying “I should
have liked to have known more about it” instead of saying simply and
sensibly, “I should have liked to know more about it,” that man’s
disease is incurable. Harris said that his sort of lapse is to be found
in every copy of every newspaper that has ever been printed in English,
and in almost all of our books. He said he had observed it in Kirkham’s
grammar and in Macaulay. Harris believed that milk-teeth are commoner in
men’s mouths than those “doubled-up haves.”

I do not know that there have not been moments in the course of the
present session when I should have been very glad to have accepted the
proposal of my noble friend, and to have exchanged parts in some of our
evenings of work.--[From a Speech of the English Chancellor of the
Exchequer, August, 1879.]

That changed the subject to dentistry. I said I believed the average
man dreaded tooth-pulling more than amputation, and that he would yell
quicker under the former operation than he would under the latter. The
philosopher Harris said that the average man would not yell in either
case if he had an audience. Then he continued:

“When our brigade first went into camp on the Potomac, we used to be
brought up standing, occasionally, by an ear-splitting howl of anguish.
That meant that a soldier was getting a tooth pulled in a tent. But the
surgeons soon changed that; they instituted open-air dentistry. There
never was a howl afterward--that is, from the man who was having the
tooth pulled. At the daily dental hour there would always be about five
hundred soldiers gathered together in the neighborhood of that dental
chair waiting to see the performance--and help; and the moment the
surgeon took a grip on the candidate’s tooth and began to lift, every
one of those five hundred rascals would clap his hand to his jaw and
begin to hop around on one leg and howl with all the lungs he had!
It was enough to raise your hair to hear that variegated and enormous
unanimous caterwaul burst out!

With so big and so derisive an audience as that, a sufferer wouldn’t
emit a sound though you pulled his head off. The surgeons said that
pretty often a patient was compelled to laugh, in the midst of his
pangs, but that they had never caught one crying out, after the open-air
exhibition was instituted.”

Dental surgeons suggested doctors, doctors suggested death, death
suggested skeletons--and so, by a logical process the conversation
melted out of one of these subjects and into the next, until the topic
of skeletons raised up Nicodemus Dodge out of the deep grave in my
memory where he had lain buried and forgotten for twenty-five years.
When I was a boy in a printing-office in Missouri, a loose-jointed,
long-legged, tow-headed, jeans-clad countrified cub of about sixteen
lounged in one day, and without removing his hands from the depths of
his trousers pockets or taking off his faded ruin of a slouch hat, whose
broken rim hung limp and ragged about his eyes and ears like a bug-eaten
cabbage leaf, stared indifferently around, then leaned his hip against
the editor’s table, crossed his mighty brogans, aimed at a distant
fly from a crevice in his upper teeth, laid him low, and said with

“Whar’s the boss?”

“I am the boss,” said the editor, following this curious bit of
architecture wonderingly along up to its clock-face with his eye.

“Don’t want anybody fur to learn the business, ‘tain’t likely?”

“Well, I don’t know. Would you like to learn it?”

“Pap’s so po’ he cain’t run me no mo’, so I want to git a show somers if
I kin, ‘taint no diffunce what--I’m strong and hearty, and I don’t turn
my back on no kind of work, hard nur soft.”

“Do you think you would like to learn the printing business?”

“Well, I don’t re’ly k’yer a durn what I DO learn, so’s I git a chance
fur to make my way. I’d jist as soon learn print’n’s anything.”

“Can you read?”



“Well, I’ve seed people could lay over me thar.”


“Not good enough to keep store, I don’t reckon, but up as fur as
twelve-times-twelve I ain’t no slouch. ‘Tother side of that is what gits

“Where is your home?”

“I’m f’m old Shelby.”

“What’s your father’s religious denomination?”

“Him? Oh, he’s a blacksmith.”

“No, no--I don’t mean his trade. What’s his RELIGIOUS DENOMINATION?”

“OH--I didn’t understand you befo’. He’s a Freemason.”

“No, no, you don’t get my meaning yet. What I mean is, does he belong to
any CHURCH?”

“NOW you’re talkin’! Couldn’t make out what you was a-tryin’ to git
through yo’ head no way. B’long to a CHURCH! Why, boss, he’s ben the
pizenest kind of Free-will Babtis’ for forty year. They ain’t no pizener
ones ‘n what HE is. Mighty good man, pap is. Everybody says that. If
they said any diffrunt they wouldn’t say it whar I wuz--not MUCH they

“What is your own religion?”

“Well, boss, you’ve kind o’ got me, there--and yit you hain’t got me so
mighty much, nuther. I think ‘t if a feller he’ps another feller when
he’s in trouble, and don’t cuss, and don’t do no mean things, nur
noth’n’ he ain’ no business to do, and don’t spell the Saviour’s name
with a little g, he ain’t runnin’ no resks--he’s about as saift as he
b’longed to a church.”

“But suppose he did spell it with a little g--what then?”

“Well, if he done it a-purpose, I reckon he wouldn’t stand no chance--he
OUGHTN’T to have no chance, anyway, I’m most rotten certain ‘bout that.”

“What is your name?”

“Nicodemus Dodge.”

“I think maybe you’ll do, Nicodemus. We’ll give you a trial, anyway.”

“All right.”

“When would you like to begin?”


So, within ten minutes after we had first glimpsed this nondescript he
was one of us, and with his coat off and hard at it.

Beyond that end of our establishment which was furthest from the street,
was a deserted garden, pathless, and thickly grown with the bloomy and
villainous “jimpson” weed and its common friend the stately sunflower.
In the midst of this mournful spot was a decayed and aged little “frame”
 house with but one room, one window, and no ceiling--it had been a
smoke-house a generation before. Nicodemus was given this lonely and
ghostly den as a bedchamber.

The village smarties recognized a treasure in Nicodemus, right away--a
butt to play jokes on. It was easy to see that he was inconceivably
green and confiding. George Jones had the glory of perpetrating the
first joke on him; he gave him a cigar with a firecracker in it and
winked to the crowd to come; the thing exploded presently and swept away
the bulk of Nicodemus’s eyebrows and eyelashes. He simply said:

“I consider them kind of seeg’yars dangersome,”--and seemed to suspect
nothing. The next evening Nicodemus waylaid George and poured a bucket
of ice-water over him.

One day, while Nicodemus was in swimming, Tom McElroy “tied” his
clothes. Nicodemus made a bonfire of Tom’s by way of retaliation.

A third joke was played upon Nicodemus a day or two later--he walked
up the middle aisle of the village church, Sunday night, with a staring
handbill pinned between his shoulders. The joker spent the remainder
of the night, after church, in the cellar of a deserted house, and
Nicodemus sat on the cellar door till toward breakfast-time to make
sure that the prisoner remembered that if any noise was made, some rough
treatment would be the consequence. The cellar had two feet of stagnant
water in it, and was bottomed with six inches of soft mud.

But I wander from the point. It was the subject of skeletons that
brought this boy back to my recollection. Before a very long time
had elapsed, the village smarties began to feel an uncomfortable
consciousness of not having made a very shining success out of their
attempts on the simpleton from “old Shelby.” Experimenters grew scarce
and chary. Now the young doctor came to the rescue. There was delight
and applause when he proposed to scare Nicodemus to death, and explained
how he was going to do it. He had a noble new skeleton--the skeleton of
the late and only local celebrity, Jimmy Finn, the village drunkard--a
grisly piece of property which he had bought of Jimmy Finn himself, at
auction, for fifty dollars, under great competition, when Jimmy lay very
sick in the tan-yard a fortnight before his death. The fifty dollars had
gone promptly for whiskey and had considerably hurried up the change of
ownership in the skeleton. The doctor would put Jimmy Finn’s skeleton in
Nicodemus’s bed!

This was done--about half past ten in the evening. About Nicodemus’s
usual bedtime--midnight--the village jokers came creeping stealthily
through the jimpson weeds and sunflowers toward the lonely frame den.
They reached the window and peeped in. There sat the long-legged pauper,
on his bed, in a very short shirt, and nothing more; he was dangling
his legs contentedly back and forth, and wheezing the music of “Camptown
Races” out of a paper-overlaid comb which he was pressing against his
mouth; by him lay a new jewsharp, a new top, and solid india-rubber
ball, a handful of painted marbles, five pounds of “store” candy, and
a well-gnawed slab of gingerbread as big and as thick as a volume of
sheet-music. He had sold the skeleton to a traveling quack for three
dollars and was enjoying the result!

Just as we had finished talking about skeletons and were drifting into
the subject of fossils, Harris and I heard a shout, and glanced up the
steep hillside. We saw men and women standing away up there looking
frightened, and there was a bulky object tumbling and floundering down
the steep slope toward us. We got out of the way, and when the object
landed in the road it proved to be a boy. He had tripped and fallen, and
there was nothing for him to do but trust to luck and take what might

When one starts to roll down a place like that, there is no stopping
till the bottom is reached. Think of people FARMING on a slant which is
so steep that the best you can say of it--if you want to be fastidiously
accurate--is, that it is a little steeper than a ladder and not quite
so steep as a mansard roof. But that is what they do. Some of the little
farms on the hillside opposite Heidelberg were stood up “edgeways.”
 The boy was wonderfully jolted up, and his head was bleeding, from cuts
which it had got from small stones on the way.

Harris and I gathered him up and set him on a stone, and by that time
the men and women had scampered down and brought his cap.

Men, women, and children flocked out from neighboring cottages
and joined the crowd; the pale boy was petted, and stared at, and
commiserated, and water was brought for him to drink and bathe his
bruises in. And such another clatter of tongues! All who had seen the
catastrophe were describing it at once, and each trying to talk louder
than his neighbor; and one youth of a superior genius ran a little way
up the hill, called attention, tripped, fell, rolled down among us, and
thus triumphantly showed exactly how the thing had been done.

Harris and I were included in all the descriptions; how we were coming
along; how Hans Gross shouted; how we looked up startled; how we saw
Peter coming like a cannon-shot; how judiciously we got out of the way,
and let him come; and with what presence of mind we picked him up and
brushed him off and set him on a rock when the performance was over.
We were as much heroes as anybody else, except Peter, and were so
recognized; we were taken with Peter and the populace to Peter’s
mother’s cottage, and there we ate bread and cheese, and drank milk and
beer with everybody, and had a most sociable good time; and when we left
we had a handshake all around, and were receiving and shouting back LEB’
WOHL’s until a turn in the road separated us from our cordial and kindly
new friends forever.

We accomplished our undertaking. At half past eight in the evening
we stepped into Oppenau, just eleven hours and a half out of
Allerheiligen--one hundred and forty-six miles. This is the distance by
pedometer; the guide-book and the Imperial Ordinance maps make it only
ten and a quarter--a surprising blunder, for these two authorities are
usually singularly accurate in the matter of distances.


[I Protect the Empress of Germany]

That was a thoroughly satisfactory walk--and the only one we were ever
to have which was all the way downhill. We took the train next morning
and returned to Baden-Baden through fearful fogs of dust. Every seat was
crowded, too; for it was Sunday, and consequently everybody was taking
a “pleasure” excursion. Hot! the sky was an oven--and a sound one,
too, with no cracks in it to let in any air. An odd time for a pleasure
excursion, certainly!

Sunday is the great day on the continent--the free day, the happy day.
One can break the Sabbath in a hundred ways without committing any sin.

We do not work on Sunday, because the commandment forbids it; the
Germans do not work on Sunday, because the commandment forbids it. We
rest on Sunday, because the commandment requires it; the Germans rest on
Sunday because the commandment requires it. But in the definition of
the word “rest” lies all the difference. With us, its Sunday meaning
is, stay in the house and keep still; with the Germans its Sunday and
week-day meanings seem to be the same--rest the TIRED PART, and never
mind the other parts of the frame; rest the tired part, and use the
means best calculated to rest that particular part. Thus: If one’s
duties have kept him in the house all the week, it will rest him to
be out on Sunday; if his duties have required him to read weighty and
serious matter all the week, it will rest him to read light matter on
Sunday; if his occupation has busied him with death and funerals all the
week, it will rest him to go to the theater Sunday night and put in two
or three hours laughing at a comedy; if he is tired with digging ditches
or felling trees all the week, it will rest him to lie quiet in the
house on Sunday; if the hand, the arm, the brain, the tongue, or any
other member, is fatigued with inanition, it is not to be rested by
addeding a day’s inanition; but if a member is fatigued with exertion,
inanition is the right rest for it. Such is the way in which the Germans
seem to define the word “rest”; that is to say, they rest a member by
recreating, recuperating, restoring its forces. But our definition is
less broad. We all rest alike on Sunday--by secluding ourselves and
keeping still, whether that is the surest way to rest the most of us or
not. The Germans make the actors, the preachers, etc., work on Sunday.
We encourage the preachers, the editors, the printers, etc., to work on
Sunday, and imagine that none of the sin of it falls upon us; but I do
not know how we are going to get around the fact that if it is wrong for
the printer to work at his trade on Sunday it must be equally wrong for
the preacher to work at his, since the commandment has made no exception
in his favor. We buy Monday morning’s paper and read it, and thus
encourage Sunday printing. But I shall never do it again.

The Germans remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy, by abstaining
from work, as commanded; we keep it holy by abstaining from work, as
commanded, and by also abstaining from play, which is not commanded.
Perhaps we constructively BREAK the command to rest, because the resting
we do is in most cases only a name, and not a fact.

These reasonings have sufficed, in a measure, to mend the rent in my
conscience which I made by traveling to Baden-Baden that Sunday. We
arrived in time to furbish up and get to the English church before
services began. We arrived in considerable style, too, for the landlord
had ordered the first carriage that could be found, since there was no
time to lose, and our coachman was so splendidly liveried that we were
probably mistaken for a brace of stray dukes; why else were we honored
with a pew all to ourselves, away up among the very elect at the left of
the chancel? That was my first thought. In the pew directly in front of
us sat an elderly lady, plainly and cheaply dressed; at her side sat
a young lady with a very sweet face, and she also was quite simply
dressed; but around us and about us were clothes and jewels which it
would do anybody’s heart good to worship in.

I thought it was pretty manifest that the elderly lady was embarrassed
at finding herself in such a conspicuous place arrayed in such cheap
apparel; I began to feel sorry for her and troubled about her. She
tried to seem very busy with her prayer-book and her responses, and
unconscious that she was out of place, but I said to myself, “She is
not succeeding--there is a distressed tremulousness in her voice which
betrays increasing embarrassment.” Presently the Savior’s name was
mentioned, and in her flurry she lost her head completely, and rose and
courtesied, instead of making a slight nod as everybody else did. The
sympathetic blood surged to my temples and I turned and gave those fine
birds what I intended to be a beseeching look, but my feelings got the
better of me and changed it into a look which said, “If any of you pets
of fortune laugh at this poor soul, you will deserve to be flayed for
it.” Things went from bad to worse, and I shortly found myself mentally
taking the unfriended lady under my protection. My mind was wholly upon
her. I forgot all about the sermon. Her embarrassment took stronger
and stronger hold upon her; she got to snapping the lid of her
smelling-bottle--it made a loud, sharp sound, but in her trouble she
snapped and snapped away, unconscious of what she was doing. The last
extremity was reached when the collection-plate began its rounds; the
moderate people threw in pennies, the nobles and the rich contributed
silver, but she laid a twenty-mark gold piece upon the book-rest before
her with a sounding slap! I said to myself, “She has parted with all her
little hoard to buy the consideration of these unpitying people--it is a
sorrowful spectacle.” I did not venture to look around this time; but
as the service closed, I said to myself, “Let them laugh, it is their
opportunity; but at the door of this church they shall see her step into
our fine carriage with us, and our gaudy coachman shall drive her home.”

Then she rose--and all the congregation stood while she walked down the
aisle. She was the Empress of Germany!

No--she had not been so much embarrassed as I had supposed. My
imagination had got started on the wrong scent, and that is always
hopeless; one is sure, then, to go straight on misinterpreting
everything, clear through to the end. The young lady with her imperial
Majesty was a maid of honor--and I had been taking her for one of her
boarders, all the time.

This is the only time I have ever had an Empress under my personal
protection; and considering my inexperience, I wonder I got through
with it so well. I should have been a little embarrassed myself if I had
known earlier what sort of a contract I had on my hands.

We found that the Empress had been in Baden-Baden several days. It is
said that she never attends any but the English form of church service.

I lay abed and read and rested from my journey’s fatigues the remainder
of that Sunday, but I sent my agent to represent me at the afternoon
service, for I never allow anything to interfere with my habit of
attending church twice every Sunday.

There was a vast crowd in the public grounds that night to hear the band
play the “Fremersberg.” This piece tells one of the old legends of the
region; how a great noble of the Middle Ages got lost in the mountains,
and wandered about with his dogs in a violent storm, until at last
the faint tones of a monastery bell, calling the monks to a midnight
service, caught his ear, and he followed the direction the sounds came
from and was saved. A beautiful air ran through the music, without
ceasing, sometimes loud and strong, sometimes so soft that it could
hardly be distinguished--but it was always there; it swung grandly along
through the shrill whistling of the storm-wind, the rattling patter of
the rain, and the boom and crash of the thunder; it wound soft and low
through the lesser sounds, the distant ones, such as the throbbing
of the convent bell, the melodious winding of the hunter’s horn, the
distressed bayings of his dogs, and the solemn chanting of the monks;
it rose again, with a jubilant ring, and mingled itself with the country
songs and dances of the peasants assembled in the convent hall to
cheer up the rescued huntsman while he ate his supper. The instruments
imitated all these sounds with a marvelous exactness. More than one man
started to raise his umbrella when the storm burst forth and the sheets
of mimic rain came driving by; it was hardly possible to keep from
putting your hand to your hat when the fierce wind began to rage and
shriek; and it was NOT possible to refrain from starting when those
sudden and charmingly real thunder-crashes were let loose.

I suppose the “Fremersberg” is a very low-grade music; I know, indeed,
that it MUST be low-grade music, because it delighted me, warmed me,
moved me, stirred me, uplifted me, enraptured me, that I was full of
cry all the time, and mad with enthusiasm. My soul had never had such a
scouring out since I was born. The solemn and majestic chanting of the
monks was not done by instruments, but by men’s voices; and it rose
and fell, and rose again in that rich confusion of warring sounds, and
pulsing bells, and the stately swing of that ever-present enchanting
air, and it seemed to me that nothing but the very lowest of low-grade
music COULD be so divinely beautiful. The great crowd which the
“Fremersberg” had called out was another evidence that it was low-grade
music; for only the few are educated up to a point where high-grade
music gives pleasure. I have never heard enough classic music to be able
to enjoy it. I dislike the opera because I want to love it and can’t.

I suppose there are two kinds of music--one kind which one feels, just
as an oyster might, and another sort which requires a higher faculty,
a faculty which must be assisted and developed by teaching. Yet if base
music gives certain of us wings, why should we want any other? But we
do. We want it because the higher and better like it. We want it without
giving it the necessary time and trouble; so we climb into that upper
tier, that dress-circle, by a lie; we PRETEND we like it. I know several
of that sort of people--and I propose to be one of them myself when I
get home with my fine European education.

And then there is painting. What a red rag is to a bull, Turner’s “Slave
Ship” was to me, before I studied art. Mr. Ruskin is educated in art
up to a point where that picture throws him into as mad an ecstasy of
pleasure as it used to throw me into one of rage, last year, when I was
ignorant. His cultivation enables him--and me, now--to see water in that
glaring yellow mud, and natural effects in those lurid explosions
of mixed smoke and flame, and crimson sunset glories; it reconciles
him--and me, now--to the floating of iron cable-chains and other
unfloatable things; it reconciles us to fishes swimming around on top
of the mud--I mean the water. The most of the picture is a manifest
impossibility--that is to say, a lie; and only rigid cultivation can
enable a man to find truth in a lie. But it enabled Mr. Ruskin to do
it, and it has enabled me to do it, and I am thankful for it. A Boston
newspaper reporter went and took a look at the Slave Ship floundering
about in that fierce conflagration of reds and yellows, and said it
reminded him of a tortoise-shell cat having a fit in a platter
of tomatoes. In my then uneducated state, that went home to my
non-cultivation, and I thought here is a man with an unobstructed eye.
Mr. Ruskin would have said: This person is an ass. That is what I would
say, now.

Months after this was written, I happened into the National Gallery in
London, and soon became so fascinated with the Turner pictures that I
could hardly get away from the place. I went there often, afterward,
meaning to see the rest of the gallery, but the Turner spell was too
strong; it could not be shaken off. However, the Turners which attracted
me most did not remind me of the Slave Ship.

However, our business in Baden-Baden this time, was to join our courier.
I had thought it best to hire one, as we should be in Italy, by and by,
and we did not know the language. Neither did he. We found him at the
hotel, ready to take charge of us. I asked him if he was “all fixed.” He
said he was. That was very true. He had a trunk, two small satchels,
and an umbrella. I was to pay him fifty-five dollars a month and railway
fares. On the continent the railway fare on a trunk is about the same
it is on a man. Couriers do not have to pay any board and lodging. This
seems a great saving to the tourist--at first. It does not occur to the
tourist that SOMEBODY pays that man’s board and lodging. It occurs to
him by and by, however, in one of his lucid moments.


[Hunted by the Little Chamois]

Next morning we left in the train for Switzerland, and reached Lucerne
about ten o’clock at night. The first discovery I made was that the
beauty of the lake had not been exaggerated. Within a day or two I made
another discovery. This was, that the lauded chamois is not a wild goat;
that it is not a horned animal; that it is not shy; that it does not
avoid human society; and that there is no peril in hunting it.

The chamois is a black or brown creature no bigger than a mustard seed;
you do not have to go after it, it comes after you; it arrives in vast
herds and skips and scampers all over your body, inside your clothes;
thus it is not shy, but extremely sociable; it is not afraid of man, on
the contrary, it will attack him; its bite is not dangerous, but neither
is it pleasant; its activity has not been overstated --if you try to put
your finger on it, it will skip a thousand times its own length at one
jump, and no eye is sharp enough to see where it lights. A great deal
of romantic nonsense has been written about the Swiss chamois and the
perils of hunting it, whereas the truth is that even women and children
hunt it, and fearlessly; indeed, everybody hunts it; the hunting is
going on all the time, day and night, in bed and out of it. It is poetic
foolishness to hunt it with a gun; very few people do that; there is
not one man in a million who can hit it with a gun. It is much easier to
catch it than it is to shoot it, and only the experienced chamois-hunter
can do either. Another common piece of exaggeration is that about the
“scarcity” of the chamois. It is the reverse of scarce. Droves of one
hundred million chamois are not unusual in the Swiss hotels. Indeed,
they are so numerous as to be a great pest. The romancers always dress
up the chamois-hunter in a fanciful and picturesque costume, whereas the
best way to hunt this game is to do it without any costume at all.

The article of commerce called chamois-skin is another fraud; nobody
could skin a chamois, it is too small. The creature is a humbug in
every way, and everything which has been written about it is sentimental
exaggeration. It was no pleasure to me to find the chamois out, for he
had been one of my pet illusions; all my life it had been my dream to
see him in his native wilds some day, and engage in the adventurous
sport of chasing him from cliff to cliff. It is no pleasure to me to
expose him, now, and destroy the reader’s delight in him and respect for
him, but still it must be done, for when an honest writer discovers an
imposition it is his simple duty to strip it bare and hurl it down from
its place of honor, no matter who suffers by it; any other course would
render him unworthy of the public confidence.

Lucerne is a charming place. It begins at the water’s edge, with a
fringe of hotels, and scrambles up and spreads itself over two or three
sharp hills in a crowded, disorderly, but picturesque way, offering
to the eye a heaped-up confusion of red roofs, quaint gables, dormer
windows, toothpick steeples, with here and there a bit of ancient
embattled wall bending itself over the ridges, worm-fashion, and here
and there an old square tower of heavy masonry. And also here and there
a town clock with only one hand--a hand which stretches across the dial
and has no joint in it; such a clock helps out the picture, but you
cannot tell the time of day by it. Between the curving line of hotels
and the lake is a broad avenue with lamps and a double rank of low shade
trees. The lake-front is walled with masonry like a pier, and has
a railing, to keep people from walking overboard. All day long the
vehicles dash along the avenue, and nurses, children, and tourists sit
in the shade of the trees, or lean on the railing and watch the schools
of fishes darting about in the clear water, or gaze out over the lake
at the stately border of snow-hooded mountain peaks. Little pleasure
steamers, black with people, are coming and going all the time; and
everywhere one sees young girls and young men paddling about in fanciful
rowboats, or skimming along by the help of sails when there is any wind.
The front rooms of the hotels have little railed balconies, where one
may take his private luncheon in calm, cool comfort and look down upon
this busy and pretty scene and enjoy it without having to do any of the
work connected with it.

Most of the people, both male and female, are in walking costume, and
carry alpenstocks. Evidently, it is not considered safe to go about in
Switzerland, even in town, without an alpenstock. If the tourist forgets
and comes down to breakfast without his alpenstock he goes back and gets
it, and stands it up in the corner. When his touring in Switzerland is
finished, he does not throw that broomstick away, but lugs it home
with him, to the far corners of the earth, although this costs him
more trouble and bother than a baby or a courier could. You see, the
alpenstock is his trophy; his name is burned upon it; and if he has
climbed a hill, or jumped a brook, or traversed a brickyard with it, he
has the names of those places burned upon it, too.

Thus it is his regimental flag, so to speak, and bears the record of his
achievements. It is worth three francs when he buys it, but a bonanza
could not purchase it after his great deeds have been inscribed upon it.
There are artisans all about Switzerland whose trade it is to burn
these things upon the alpenstock of the tourist. And observe, a man is
respected in Switzerland according to his alpenstock. I found I could
get no attention there, while I carried an unbranded one. However,
branding is not expected, so I soon remedied that. The effect upon
the next detachment of tourists was very marked. I felt repaid for my

Half of the summer horde in Switzerland is made up of English people;
the other half is made up of many nationalities, the Germans leading and
the Americans coming next. The Americans were not as numerous as I had
expected they would be.

The seven-thirty table d’hôte at the great Schweitzerhof furnished
a mighty array and variety of nationalities, but it offered a better
opportunity to observe costumes than people, for the multitude sat
at immensely long tables, and therefore the faces were mainly seen in
perspective; but the breakfasts were served at small round tables,
and then if one had the fortune to get a table in the midst of the
assemblage he could have as many faces to study as he could desire.
We used to try to guess out the nationalities, and generally succeeded
tolerably well. Sometimes we tried to guess people’s names; but that
was a failure; that is a thing which probably requires a good deal of
practice. We presently dropped it and gave our efforts to less difficult
particulars. One morning I said:

“There is an American party.”

Harris said:

“Yes--but name the state.”

I named one state, Harris named another. We agreed upon one thing,
however--that the young girl with the party was very beautiful, and
very tastefully dressed. But we disagreed as to her age. I said she was
eighteen, Harris said she was twenty. The dispute between us waxed warm,
and I finally said, with a pretense of being in earnest:

“Well, there is one way to settle the matter--I will go and ask her.”

Harris said, sarcastically, “Certainly, that is the thing to do. All you
need to do is to use the common formula over here: go and say, ‘I’m an
American!’ Of course she will be glad to see you.”

Then he hinted that perhaps there was no great danger of my venturing to
speak to her.

I said, “I was only talking--I didn’t intend to approach her, but I see
that you do not know what an intrepid person I am. I am not afraid of
any woman that walks. I will go and speak to this young girl.”

The thing I had in my mind was not difficult. I meant to address her
in the most respectful way and ask her to pardon me if her strong
resemblance to a former acquaintance of mine was deceiving me; and when
she should reply that the name I mentioned was not the name she bore, I
meant to beg pardon again, most respectfully, and retire. There would be
no harm done. I walked to her table, bowed to the gentleman, then turned
to her and was about to begin my little speech when she exclaimed:

“I KNEW I wasn’t mistaken--I told John it was you! John said it probably
wasn’t, but I knew I was right. I said you would recognize me presently
and come over; and I’m glad you did, for I shouldn’t have felt much
flattered if you had gone out of this room without recognizing me.
Sit down, sit down--how odd it is--you are the last person I was ever
expecting to see again.”

This was a stupefying surprise. It took my wits clear away, for an
instant. However, we shook hands cordially all around, and I sat down.
But truly this was the tightest place I ever was in. I seemed to vaguely
remember the girl’s face, now, but I had no idea where I had seen it
before, or what name belonged with it. I immediately tried to get up a
diversion about Swiss scenery, to keep her from launching into topics
that might betray that I did not know her, but it was of no use, she
went right along upon matters which interested her more:

“Oh dear, what a night that was, when the sea washed the forward boats
away--do you remember it?”

“Oh, DON’T I!” said I--but I didn’t. I wished the sea had washed the
rudder and the smoke-stack and the captain away--then I could have
located this questioner.

“And don’t you remember how frightened poor Mary was, and how she

“Indeed I do!” said I. “Dear me, how it all comes back!”

I fervently wished it WOULD come back--but my memory was a blank. The
wise way would have been to frankly own up; but I could not bring myself
to do that, after the young girl had praised me so for recognizing her;
so I went on, deeper and deeper into the mire, hoping for a chance clue
but never getting one. The Unrecognizable continued, with vivacity:

“Do you know, George married Mary, after all?”

“Why, no! Did he?”

“Indeed he did. He said he did not believe she was half as much to blame
as her father was, and I thought he was right. Didn’t you?”

“Of course he was. It was a perfectly plain case. I always said so.”

“Why, no you didn’t!--at least that summer.”

“Oh, no, not that summer. No, you are perfectly right about that. It was
the following winter that I said it.”

“Well, as it turned out, Mary was not in the least to blame --it was all
her father’s fault--at least his and old Darley’s.”

It was necessary to say something--so I said:

“I always regarded Darley as a troublesome old thing.”

“So he was, but then they always had a great affection for him, although
he had so many eccentricities. You remember that when the weather was
the least cold, he would try to come into the house.”

I was rather afraid to proceed. Evidently Darley was not a man--he
must be some other kind of animal--possibly a dog, maybe an elephant.
However, tails are common to all animals, so I ventured to say:

“And what a tail he had!”

“ONE! He had a thousand!”

This was bewildering. I did not quite know what to say, so I only said:

“Yes, he WAS rather well fixed in the matter of tails.”

“For a negro, and a crazy one at that, I should say he was,” said she.

It was getting pretty sultry for me. I said to myself, “Is it possible
she is going to stop there, and wait for me to speak? If she does, the
conversation is blocked. A negro with a thousand tails is a topic which
a person cannot talk upon fluently and instructively without more or
less preparation. As to diving rashly into such a vast subject--”

But here, to my gratitude, she interrupted my thoughts by saying:

“Yes, when it came to tales of his crazy woes, there was simply no
end to them if anybody would listen. His own quarters were comfortable
enough, but when the weather was cold, the family were sure to have his
company--nothing could keep him out of the house. But they always bore
it kindly because he had saved Tom’s life, years before. You remember

“Oh, perfectly. Fine fellow he was, too.”

“Yes he was. And what a pretty little thing his child was!”

“You may well say that. I never saw a prettier child.”

“I used to delight to pet it and dandle it and play with it.”

“So did I.”

“You named it. What WAS that name? I can’t call it to mind.”

It appeared to me that the ice was getting pretty thin, here. I would
have given something to know what the child’s was. However, I had the
good luck to think of a name that would fit either sex--so I brought it

“I named it Frances.”

“From a relative, I suppose? But you named the one that died, too--one
that I never saw. What did you call that one?”

I was out of neutral names, but as the child was dead and she had
never seen it, I thought I might risk a name for it and trust to luck.
Therefore I said:

“I called that one Thomas Henry.”

She said, musingly:

“That is very singular ... very singular.”

I sat still and let the cold sweat run down. I was in a good deal of
trouble, but I believed I could worry through if she wouldn’t ask me
to name any more children. I wondered where the lightning was going to
strike next. She was still ruminating over that last child’s title, but
presently she said:

“I have always been sorry you were away at the time--I would have had
you name my child.”

“YOUR child! Are you married?”

“I have been married thirteen years.”

“Christened, you mean.”

“No, married. The youth by your side is my son.”

“It seems incredible--even impossible. I do not mean any harm by it, but
would you mind telling me if you are any over eighteen?--that is to say,
will you tell me how old you are?”

“I was just nineteen the day of the storm we were talking about. That
was my birthday.”

That did not help matters, much, as I did not know the date of the
storm. I tried to think of some non-committal thing to say, to keep up
my end of the talk, and render my poverty in the matter of reminiscences
as little noticeable as possible, but I seemed to be about out of
non-committal things. I was about to say, “You haven’t changed a bit
since then”--but that was risky. I thought of saying, “You have improved
ever so much since then”--but that wouldn’t answer, of course. I was
about to try a shy at the weather, for a saving change, when the girl
slipped in ahead of me and said:

“How I have enjoyed this talk over those happy old times--haven’t you?”

“I never have spent such a half-hour in all my life before!” said I,
with emotion; and I could have added, with a near approach to truth,
“and I would rather be scalped than spend another one like it.” I was
holily grateful to be through with the ordeal, and was about to make my
good-bys and get out, when the girl said:

“But there is one thing that is ever so puzzling to me.”

“Why, what is that?”

“That dead child’s name. What did you say it was?”

Here was another balmy place to be in: I had forgotten the child’s name;
I hadn’t imagined it would be needed again. However, I had to pretend to
know, anyway, so I said:

“Joseph William.”

The youth at my side corrected me, and said:

“No, Thomas Henry.”

I thanked him--in words--and said, with trepidation:

“O yes--I was thinking of another child that I named--I have named
a great many, and I get them confused--this one was named Henry

“Thomas Henry,” calmly interposed the boy.

I thanked him again--strictly in words--and stammered out:

“Thomas Henry--yes, Thomas Henry was the poor child’s name. I named
him for Thomas--er--Thomas Carlyle, the great author, you know--and
Henry--er--er--Henry the Eighth. The parents were very grateful to have
a child named Thomas Henry.”

“That makes it more singular than ever,” murmured my beautiful friend.

“Does it? Why?”

“Because when the parents speak of that child now, they always call it
Susan Amelia.”

That spiked my gun. I could not say anything. I was entirely out of
verbal obliquities; to go further would be to lie, and that I would not
do; so I simply sat still and suffered--sat mutely and resignedly there,
and sizzled--for I was being slowly fried to death in my own blushes.
Presently the enemy laughed a happy laugh and said:

“I HAVE enjoyed this talk over old times, but you have not. I saw very
soon that you were only pretending to know me, and so as I had wasted a
compliment on you in the beginning, I made up my mind to punish you. And
I have succeeded pretty well. I was glad to see that you knew George and
Tom and Darley, for I had never heard of them before and therefore could
not be sure that you had; and I was glad to learn the names of those
imaginary children, too. One can get quite a fund of information out
of you if one goes at it cleverly. Mary and the storm, and the sweeping
away of the forward boats, were facts--all the rest was fiction. Mary
was my sister; her full name was Mary ------. NOW do you remember me?”

“Yes,” I said, “I do remember you now; and you are as hard-headed as you
were thirteen years ago in that ship, else you wouldn’t have punished me
so. You haven’t changed your nature nor your person, in any way at all;
you look as young as you did then, you are just as beautiful as you were
then, and you have transmitted a deal of your comeliness to this fine
boy. There--if that speech moves you any, let’s fly the flag of truce,
with the understanding that I am conquered and confess it.”

All of which was agreed to and accomplished, on the spot. When I went
back to Harris, I said:

“Now you see what a person with talent and address can do.”

“Excuse me, I see what a person of colossal ignorance and simplicity can
do. The idea of your going and intruding on a party of strangers, that
way, and talking for half an hour; why I never heard of a man in his
right mind doing such a thing before. What did you say to them?”

“I never said any harm. I merely asked the girl what her name was.”

“I don’t doubt it. Upon my word I don’t. I think you were capable of it.
It was stupid in me to let you go over there and make such an exhibition
of yourself. But you know I couldn’t really believe you would do such an
inexcusable thing. What will those people think of us? But how did you
say it?--I mean the manner of it. I hope you were not abrupt.”

“No, I was careful about that. I said, ‘My friend and I would like to
know what your name is, if you don’t mind.’”

“No, that was not abrupt. There is a polish about it that does you
infinite credit. And I am glad you put me in; that was a delicate
attention which I appreciate at its full value. What did she do?”

“She didn’t do anything in particular. She told me her name.”

“Simply told you her name. Do you mean to say she did not show any

“Well, now I come to think, she did show something; maybe it was
surprise; I hadn’t thought of that--I took it for gratification.”

“Oh, undoubtedly you were right; it must have been gratification; it
could not be otherwise than gratifying to be assaulted by a stranger
with such a question as that. Then what did you do?”

“I offered my hand and the party gave me a shake.”

“I saw it! I did not believe my own eyes, at the time. Did the gentleman
say anything about cutting your throat?”

“No, they all seemed glad to see me, as far as I could judge.”

“And do you know, I believe they were. I think they said to themselves,
‘Doubtless this curiosity has got away from his keeper--let us amuse
ourselves with him.’ There is no other way of accounting for their
facile docility. You sat down. Did they ASK you to sit down?”

“No, they did not ask me, but I suppose they did not think of it.”

“You have an unerring instinct. What else did you do? What did you talk

“Well, I asked the girl how old she was.”

“UNdoubtedly. Your delicacy is beyond praise. Go on, go on--don’t mind
my apparent misery--I always look so when I am steeped in a profound and
reverent joy. Go on--she told you her age?”

“Yes, she told me her age, and all about her mother, and her
grandmother, and her other relations, and all about herself.”

“Did she volunteer these statistics?”

“No, not exactly that. I asked the questions and she answered them.”

“This is divine. Go on--it is not possible that you forgot to inquire
into her politics?”

“No, I thought of that. She is a democrat, her husband is a republican,
and both of them are Baptists.”

“Her husband? Is that child married?”

“She is not a child. She is married, and that is her husband who is
there with her.”

“Has she any children.”

“Yes--seven and a half.”

“That is impossible.”

“No, she has them. She told me herself.”

“Well, but seven and a HALF? How do you make out the half? Where does
the half come in?”

“There is a child which she had by another husband--not this one
but another one--so it is a stepchild, and they do not count in full

“Another husband? Has she another husband?”

“Yes, four. This one is number four.”

“I don’t believe a word of it. It is impossible, upon its face. Is that
boy there her brother?”

“No, that is her son. He is her youngest. He is not as old as he looked;
he is only eleven and a half.”

“These things are all manifestly impossible. This is a wretched
business. It is a plain case: they simply took your measure, and
concluded to fill you up. They seem to have succeeded. I am glad I am
not in the mess; they may at least be charitable enough to think there
ain’t a pair of us. Are they going to stay here long?”

“No, they leave before noon.”

“There is one man who is deeply grateful for that. How did you find out?
You asked, I suppose?”

“No, along at first I inquired into their plans, in a general way, and
they said they were going to be here a week, and make trips round about;
but toward the end of the interview, when I said you and I would tour
around with them with pleasure, and offered to bring you over and
introduce you, they hesitated a little, and asked if you were from the
same establishment that I was. I said you were, and then they said they
had changed their mind and considered it necessary to start at once and
visit a sick relative in Siberia.”

“Ah, me, you struck the summit! You struck the loftiest altitude of
stupidity that human effort has ever reached. You shall have a monument
of jackasses’ skulls as high as the Strasburg spire if you die before
I do. They wanted to know I was from the same ‘establishment’ that you
hailed from, did they? What did they mean by ‘establishment’?”

“I don’t know; it never occurred to me to ask.”

“Well I know. They meant an asylum--an IDIOT asylum, do you understand?
So they DO think there’s a pair of us, after all. Now what do you think
of yourself?”

“Well, I don’t know. I didn’t know I was doing any harm; I didn’t MEAN
to do any harm. They were very nice people, and they seemed to like me.”

Harris made some rude remarks and left for his bedroom--to break some
furniture, he said. He was a singularly irascible man; any little thing
would disturb his temper.

I had been well scorched by the young woman, but no matter, I took it
out on Harris. One should always “get even” in some way, else the sore
place will go on hurting.


[The Nest of the Cuckoo-clock]

The Hofkirche is celebrated for its organ concerts. All summer long the
tourists flock to that church about six o’clock in the evening, and pay
their franc, and listen to the noise. They don’t stay to hear all of
it, but get up and tramp out over the sounding stone floor, meeting late
comers who tramp in in a sounding and vigorous way. This tramping
back and forth is kept up nearly all the time, and is accented by
the continuous slamming of the door, and the coughing and barking and
sneezing of the crowd. Meantime, the big organ is booming and crashing
and thundering away, doing its best to prove that it is the biggest and
best organ in Europe, and that a tight little box of a church is the
most favorable place to average and appreciate its powers in. It is
true, there were some soft and merciful passages occasionally, but the
tramp-tramp of the tourists only allowed one to get fitful glimpses of
them, so to speak. Then right away the organist would let go another

The commerce of Lucerne consists mainly in gimcrackery of the souvenir
sort; the shops are packed with Alpine crystals, photographs of
scenery, and wooden and ivory carvings. I will not conceal the fact that
miniature figures of the Lion of Lucerne are to be had in them. Millions
of them. But they are libels upon him, every one of them. There is a
subtle something about the majestic pathos of the original which the
copyist cannot get. Even the sun fails to get it; both the photographer
and the carver give you a dying lion, and that is all. The shape is
right, the attitude is right, the proportions are right, but that
indescribable something which makes the Lion of Lucerne the most
mournful and moving piece of stone in the world, is wanting.

The Lion lies in his lair in the perpendicular face of a low cliff--for
he is carved from the living rock of the cliff. His size is colossal,
his attitude is noble. His head is bowed, the broken spear is sticking
in his shoulder, his protecting paw rests upon the lilies of France.
Vines hang down the cliff and wave in the wind, and a clear stream
trickles from above and empties into a pond at the base, and in the
smooth surface of the pond the lion is mirrored, among the water-lilies.

Around about are green trees and grass. The place is a sheltered,
reposeful woodland nook, remote from noise and stir and confusion--and
all this is fitting, for lions do die in such places, and not on granite
pedestals in public squares fenced with fancy iron railings. The Lion of
Lucerne would be impressive anywhere, but nowhere so impressive as where
he is.

Martyrdom is the luckiest fate that can befall some people. Louis XVI
did not die in his bed, consequently history is very gentle with him;
she is charitable toward his failings, and she finds in him high virtues
which are not usually considered to be virtues when they are lodged in
kings. She makes him out to be a person with a meek and modest spirit,
the heart of a female saint, and a wrong head. None of these qualities
are kingly but the last. Taken together they make a character which
would have fared harshly at the hands of history if its owner had had
the ill luck to miss martyrdom. With the best intentions to do the right
thing, he always managed to do the wrong one. Moreover, nothing could
get the female saint out of him. He knew, well enough, that in national
emergencies he must not consider how he ought to act, as a man, but how
he ought to act as a king; so he honestly tried to sink the man and be
the king--but it was a failure, he only succeeded in being the female
saint. He was not instant in season, but out of season. He could not be
persuaded to do a thing while it could do any good--he was iron, he was
adamant in his stubbornness then--but as soon as the thing had reached a
point where it would be positively harmful to do it, do it he would, and
nothing could stop him. He did not do it because it would be harmful,
but because he hoped it was not yet too late to achieve by it the good
which it would have done if applied earlier. His comprehension was
always a train or two behindhand. If a national toe required amputating,
he could not see that it needed anything more than poulticing; when
others saw that the mortification had reached the knee, he first
perceived that the toe needed cutting off--so he cut it off; and he
severed the leg at the knee when others saw that the disease had reached
the thigh. He was good, and honest, and well meaning, in the matter of
chasing national diseases, but he never could overtake one. As a private
man, he would have been lovable; but viewed as a king, he was strictly

His was a most unroyal career, but the most pitiable spectacle in it was
his sentimental treachery to his Swiss guard on that memorable 10th of
August, when he allowed those heroes to be massacred in his cause, and
forbade them to shed the “sacred French blood” purporting to be flowing
in the veins of the red-capped mob of miscreants that was raging around
the palace. He meant to be kingly, but he was only the female saint once
more. Some of his biographers think that upon this occasion the spirit
of Saint Louis had descended upon him. It must have found pretty cramped
quarters. If Napoleon the First had stood in the shoes of Louis XVI that
day, instead of being merely a casual and unknown looker-on, there would
be no Lion of Lucerne, now, but there would be a well-stocked Communist
graveyard in Paris which would answer just as well to remember the 10th
of August by.

Martyrdom made a saint of Mary Queen of Scots three hundred years ago,
and she has hardly lost all of her saintship yet. Martyrdom made a saint
of the trivial and foolish Marie Antoinette, and her biographers
still keep her fragrant with the odor of sanctity to this day, while
unconsciously proving upon almost every page they write that the only
calamitous instinct which her husband lacked, she supplied--the instinct
to root out and get rid of an honest, able, and loyal official, wherever
she found him. The hideous but beneficent French Revolution would have
been deferred, or would have fallen short of completeness, or even
might not have happened at all, if Marie Antoinette had made the unwise
mistake of not being born. The world owes a great deal to the French
Revolution, and consequently to its two chief promoters, Louis the Poor
in Spirit and his queen.

We did not buy any wooden images of the Lion, nor any ivory or ebony
or marble or chalk or sugar or chocolate ones, or even any photographic
slanders of him. The truth is, these copies were so common, so
universal, in the shops and everywhere, that they presently became as
intolerable to the wearied eye as the latest popular melody usually
becomes to the harassed ear. In Lucerne, too, the wood carvings of
other sorts, which had been so pleasant to look upon when one saw them
occasionally at home, soon began to fatigue us. We grew very tired
of seeing wooden quails and chickens picking and strutting around
clock-faces, and still more tired of seeing wooden images of the alleged
chamois skipping about wooden rocks, or lying upon them in family
groups, or peering alertly up from behind them. The first day, I would
have bought a hundred and fifty of these clocks if I had the money--and
I did buy three--but on the third day the disease had run its course,
I had convalesced, and was in the market once more--trying to sell.
However, I had no luck; which was just as well, for the things will be
pretty enough, no doubt, when I get them home.

For years my pet aversion had been the cuckoo clock; now here I was, at
last, right in the creature’s home; so wherever I went that distressing
“HOO’hoo! HOO’hoo! HOO’hoo!” was always in my ears. For a nervous man,
this was a fine state of things. Some sounds are hatefuler than others,
but no sound is quite so inane, and silly, and aggravating as the
“HOO’hoo” of a cuckoo clock, I think. I bought one, and am carrying it
home to a certain person; for I have always said that if the opportunity
ever happened, I would do that man an ill turn.

What I meant, was, that I would break one of his legs, or something of
that sort; but in Lucerne I instantly saw that I could impair his mind.
That would be more lasting, and more satisfactory every way. So I bought
the cuckoo clock; and if I ever get home with it, he is “my meat,” as
they say in the mines. I thought of another candidate--a book-reviewer
whom I could name if I wanted to--but after thinking it over, I didn’t
buy him a clock. I couldn’t injure his mind.

We visited the two long, covered wooden bridges which span the green and
brilliant Reuss just below where it goes plunging and hurrahing out
of the lake. These rambling, sway-backed tunnels are very attractive
things, with their alcoved outlooks upon the lovely and inspiriting
water. They contain two or three hundred queer old pictures, by old
Swiss masters--old boss sign-painters, who flourished before the
decadence of art.

The lake is alive with fishes, plainly visible to the eye, for the water
is very clear. The parapets in front of the hotels were usually fringed
with fishers of all ages. One day I thought I would stop and see a
fish caught. The result brought back to my mind, very forcibly, a
circumstance which I had not thought of before for twelve years. This


When my odd friend Riley and I were newspaper correspondents in
Washington, in the winter of ‘67, we were coming down Pennsylvania
Avenue one night, near midnight, in a driving storm of snow, when the
flash of a street-lamp fell upon a man who was eagerly tearing along in
the opposite direction. “This is lucky! You are Mr. Riley, ain’t you?”

Riley was the most self-possessed and solemnly deliberate person in the
republic. He stopped, looked his man over from head to foot, and finally

“I am Mr. Riley. Did you happen to be looking for me?”

“That’s just what I was doing,” said the man, joyously, “and it’s the
biggest luck in the world that I’ve found you. My name is Lykins. I’m
one of the teachers of the high school--San Francisco. As soon as I
heard the San Francisco postmastership was vacant, I made up my mind to
get it--and here I am.”

“Yes,” said Riley, slowly, “as you have remarked ... Mr. Lykins ... here
you are. And have you got it?”

“Well, not exactly GOT it, but the next thing to it. I’ve brought a
petition, signed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and all
the teachers, and by more than two hundred other people. Now I want you,
if you’ll be so good, to go around with me to the Pacific delegation,
for I want to rush this thing through and get along home.”

“If the matter is so pressing, you will prefer that we visit the
delegation tonight,” said Riley, in a voice which had nothing mocking in
it--to an unaccustomed ear.

“Oh, tonight, by all means! I haven’t got any time to fool around. I
want their promise before I go to bed--I ain’t the talking kind, I’m the
DOING kind!”

“Yes ... you’ve come to the right place for that. When did you arrive?”

“Just an hour ago.”

“When are you intending to leave?”

“For New York tomorrow evening--for San Francisco next morning.”

“Just so.... What are you going to do tomorrow?”

“DO! Why, I’ve got to go to the President with the petition and the
delegation, and get the appointment, haven’t I?”

“Yes ... very true ... that is correct. And then what?”

“Executive session of the Senate at 2 P.M.--got to get the appointment
confirmed--I reckon you’ll grant that?”

“Yes ... yes,” said Riley, meditatively, “you are right again. Then
you take the train for New York in the evening, and the steamer for San
Francisco next morning?”

“That’s it--that’s the way I map it out!”

Riley considered a while, and then said:

“You couldn’t stay ... a day ... well, say two days longer?”

“Bless your soul, no! It’s not my style. I ain’t a man to go fooling
around--I’m a man that DOES things, I tell you.”

The storm was raging, the thick snow blowing in gusts. Riley stood
silent, apparently deep in a reverie, during a minute or more, then he
looked up and said:

“Have you ever heard about that man who put up at Gadsby’s, once? ...
But I see you haven’t.”

He backed Mr. Lykins against an iron fence, buttonholed him, fastened
him with his eye, like the Ancient Mariner, and proceeded to unfold
his narrative as placidly and peacefully as if we were all stretched
comfortably in a blossomy summer meadow instead of being persecuted by a
wintry midnight tempest:

“I will tell you about that man. It was in Jackson’s time. Gadsby’s was
the principal hotel, then. Well, this man arrived from Tennessee
about nine o’clock, one morning, with a black coachman and a splendid
four-horse carriage and an elegant dog, which he was evidently fond
of and proud of; he drove up before Gadsby’s, and the clerk and the
landlord and everybody rushed out to take charge of him, but he said,
‘Never mind,’ and jumped out and told the coachman to wait--

said he hadn’t time to take anything to eat, he only had a little claim
against the government to collect, would run across the way, to
the Treasury, and fetch the money, and then get right along back to
Tennessee, for he was in considerable of a hurry.

“Well, about eleven o’clock that night he came back and ordered a bed
and told them to put the horses up--said he would collect the claim in
the morning. This was in January, you understand--January, 1834--the 3d
of January--Wednesday.

“Well, on the 5th of February, he sold the fine carriage, and bought
a cheap second-hand one--said it would answer just as well to take the
money home in, and he didn’t care for style.

“On the 11th of August he sold a pair of the fine horses--said he’d
often thought a pair was better than four, to go over the rough mountain
roads with where a body had to be careful about his driving--and there
wasn’t so much of his claim but he could lug the money home with a pair
easy enough.

“On the 13th of December he sold another horse--said two warn’t
necessary to drag that old light vehicle with--in fact, one could snatch
it along faster than was absolutely necessary, now that it was good
solid winter weather and the roads in splendid condition.

“On the 17th of February, 1835, he sold the old carriage and bought a
cheap second-hand buggy--said a buggy was just the trick to skim along
mushy, slushy early spring roads with, and he had always wanted to try a
buggy on those mountain roads, anyway.

“On the 1st August he sold the buggy and bought the remains of an old
sulky--said he just wanted to see those green Tennesseans stare and gawk
when they saw him come a-ripping along in a sulky--didn’t believe they’d
ever heard of a sulky in their lives.

“Well, on the 29th of August he sold his colored coachman--said he
didn’t need a coachman for a sulky--wouldn’t be room enough for two in
it anyway--and, besides, it wasn’t every day that Providence sent a man
a fool who was willing to pay nine hundred dollars for such a third-rate
negro as that--been wanting to get rid of the creature for years, but
didn’t like to THROW him away.

“Eighteen months later--that is to say, on the 15th of February,
1837--he sold the sulky and bought a saddle--said horseback-riding was
what the doctor had always recommended HIM to take, and dog’d if he
wanted to risk HIS neck going over those mountain roads on wheels in the
dead of winter, not if he knew himself.

“On the 9th of April he sold the saddle--said he wasn’t going to risk
HIS life with any perishable saddle-girth that ever was made, over a
rainy, miry April road, while he could ride bareback and know and feel
he was safe--always HAD despised to ride on a saddle, anyway.

“On the 24th of April he sold his horse--said ‘I’m just fifty-seven
today, hale and hearty--it would be a PRETTY howdy-do for me to be
wasting such a trip as that and such weather as this, on a horse, when
there ain’t anything in the world so splendid as a tramp on foot through
the fresh spring woods and over the cheery mountains, to a man that IS
a man--and I can make my dog carry my claim in a little bundle, anyway,
when it’s collected. So tomorrow I’ll be up bright and early, make my
little old collection, and mosey off to Tennessee, on my own hind legs,
with a rousing good-by to Gadsby’s.’

“On the 22d of June he sold his dog--said ‘Dern a dog, anyway, where
you’re just starting off on a rattling bully pleasure tramp through the
summer woods and hills--perfect nuisance--chases the squirrels, barks
at everything, goes a-capering and splattering around in the fords--man
can’t get any chance to reflect and enjoy nature--and I’d a blamed sight
ruther carry the claim myself, it’s a mighty sight safer; a dog’s
mighty uncertain in a financial way--always noticed it--well, GOOD-by,
boys--last call--I’m off for Tennessee with a good leg and a gay heart,
early in the morning.’”

There was a pause and a silence--except the noise of the wind and the
pelting snow. Mr. Lykins said, impatiently:


Riley said:

“Well,--that was thirty years ago.”

“Very well, very well--what of it?”

“I’m great friends with that old patriarch. He comes every evening to
tell me good-by. I saw him an hour ago--he’s off for Tennessee early
tomorrow morning--as usual; said he calculated to get his claim through
and be off before night-owls like me have turned out of bed. The tears
were in his eyes, he was so glad he was going to see his old Tennessee
and his friends once more.”

Another silent pause. The stranger broke it:

“Is that all?”

“That is all.”

“Well, for the TIME of night, and the KIND of night, it seems to me the
story was full long enough. But what’s it all FOR?”

“Oh, nothing in particular.”

“Well, where’s the point of it?”

“Oh, there isn’t any particular point to it. Only, if you are not in
TOO much of a hurry to rush off to San Francisco with that post-office
appointment, Mr. Lykins, I’d advise you to ‘PUT UP AT GADSBY’S’ for a
spell, and take it easy. Good-by. GOD bless you!”

So saying, Riley blandly turned on his heel and left the astonished
school-teacher standing there, a musing and motionless snow image
shining in the broad glow of the street-lamp.

He never got that post-office.

To go back to Lucerne and its fishers, I concluded, after about
nine hours’ waiting, that the man who proposes to tarry till he sees
something hook one of those well-fed and experienced fishes will find
it wisdom to “put up at Gadsby’s” and take it easy. It is likely that
a fish has not been caught on that lake pier for forty years; but no
matter, the patient fisher watches his cork there all the day long, just
the same, and seems to enjoy it. One may see the fisher-loafers just as
thick and contented and happy and patient all along the Seine at Paris,
but tradition says that the only thing ever caught there in modern times
is a thing they don’t fish for at all--the recent dog and the translated


[I Spare an Awful Bore]

Close by the Lion of Lucerne is what they call the “Glacier Garden”--and
it is the only one in the world. It is on high ground. Four or five
years ago, some workmen who were digging foundations for a house came
upon this interesting relic of a long-departed age. Scientific men
perceived in it a confirmation of their theories concerning the glacial
period; so through their persuasions the little tract of ground was
bought and permanently protected against being built upon. The soil was
removed, and there lay the rasped and guttered track which the ancient
glacier had made as it moved along upon its slow and tedious journey.
This track was perforated by huge pot-shaped holes in the bed-rock,
formed by the furious washing-around in them of boulders by the
turbulent torrent which flows beneath all glaciers. These huge round
boulders still remain in the holes; they and the walls of the holes are
worn smooth by the long-continued chafing which they gave each other in
those old days.

It took a mighty force to churn these big lumps of stone around in that
vigorous way. The neighboring country had a very different shape, at
that time--the valleys have risen up and become hills, since, and the
hills have become valleys. The boulders discovered in the pots had
traveled a great distance, for there is no rock like them nearer than
the distant Rhone Glacier.

For some days we were content to enjoy looking at the blue lake
Lucerne and at the piled-up masses of snow-mountains that border it all
around--an enticing spectacle, this last, for there is a strange and
fascinating beauty and charm about a majestic snow-peak with the sun
blazing upon it or the moonlight softly enriching it--but finally we
concluded to try a bit of excursioning around on a steamboat, and a dash
on foot at the Rigi. Very well, we had a delightful trip to Fluelen, on
a breezy, sunny day. Everybody sat on the upper deck, on benches, under
an awning; everybody talked, laughed, and exclaimed at the wonderful
scenery; in truth, a trip on that lake is almost the perfection of

The mountains were a never-ceasing marvel. Sometimes they rose straight
up out of the lake, and towered aloft and overshadowed our pygmy steamer
with their prodigious bulk in the most impressive way. Not snow-clad
mountains, these, yet they climbed high enough toward the sky to meet
the clouds and veil their foreheads in them. They were not barren and
repulsive, but clothed in green, and restful and pleasant to the eye.
And they were so almost straight-up-and-down, sometimes, that one could
not imagine a man being able to keep his footing upon such a surface,
yet there are paths, and the Swiss people go up and down them every day.

Sometimes one of these monster precipices had the slight inclination of
the huge ship-houses in dockyards--then high aloft, toward the sky, it
took a little stronger inclination, like that of a mansard roof--and
perched on this dizzy mansard one’s eye detected little things like
martin boxes, and presently perceived that these were the dwellings of
peasants--an airy place for a home, truly. And suppose a peasant should
walk in his sleep, or his child should fall out of the front
yard?--the friends would have a tedious long journey down out of those
cloud-heights before they found the remains. And yet those far-away
homes looked ever so seductive, they were so remote from the troubled
world, they dozed in such an atmosphere of peace and dreams--surely no
one who has learned to live up there would ever want to live on a meaner

We swept through the prettiest little curving arms of the lake, among
these colossal green walls, enjoying new delights, always, as the
stately panorama unfolded itself before us and rerolled and hid itself
behind us; and now and then we had the thrilling surprise of bursting
suddenly upon a tremendous white mass like the distant and dominating
Jungfrau, or some kindred giant, looming head and shoulders above a
tumbled waste of lesser Alps.

Once, while I was hungrily taking in one of these surprises, and doing
my best to get all I possibly could of it while it should last, I was
interrupted by a young and care-free voice:

“You’re an American, I think--so’m I.”

He was about eighteen, or possibly nineteen; slender and of medium
height; open, frank, happy face; a restless but independent eye; a snub
nose, which had the air of drawing back with a decent reserve from
the silky new-born mustache below it until it should be introduced; a
loosely hung jaw, calculated to work easily in the sockets. He wore a
low-crowned, narrow-brimmed straw hat, with a broad blue ribbon
around it which had a white anchor embroidered on it in front; nobby
short-tailed coat, pantaloons, vest, all trim and neat and up with the
fashion; red-striped stockings, very low-quarter patent-leather shoes,
tied with black ribbon; blue ribbon around his neck, wide-open collar;
tiny diamond studs; wrinkleless kids; projecting cuffs, fastened with
large oxidized silver sleeve-buttons, bearing the device of a dog’s
face--English pug. He carried a slim cane, surmounted with an English
pug’s head with red glass eyes. Under his arm he carried a German
grammar--Otto’s. His hair was short, straight, and smooth, and presently
when he turned his head a moment, I saw that it was nicely parted
behind. He took a cigarette out of a dainty box, stuck it into a
meerschaum holder which he carried in a morocco case, and reached for my
cigar. While he was lighting, I said:

“Yes--I am an American.”

“I knew it--I can always tell them. What ship did you come over in?”


“We came in the BATAVIA--Cunard, you know. What kind of passage did you

“Tolerably rough.”

“So did we. Captain said he’d hardly ever seen it rougher. Where are you

“New England.”

“So’m I. I’m from New Bloomfield. Anybody with you?”

“Yes--a friend.”

“Our whole family’s along. It’s awful slow, going around alone--don’t
you think so?”

“Rather slow.”

“Ever been over here before?”


“I haven’t. My first trip. But we’ve been all around--Paris and
everywhere. I’m to enter Harvard next year. Studying German all the
time, now. Can’t enter till I know German. I know considerable French--I
get along pretty well in Paris, or anywhere where they speak French.
What hotel are you stopping at?”


“No! is that so? I never see you in the reception-room. I go to
the reception-room a good deal of the time, because there’s so many
Americans there. I make lots of acquaintances. I know an American as
soon as I see him--and so I speak to him and make his acquaintance. I
like to be always making acquaintances--don’t you?”

“Lord, yes!”

“You see it breaks up a trip like this, first rate. I never got bored on
a trip like this, if I can make acquaintances and have somebody to
talk to. But I think a trip like this would be an awful bore, if a body
couldn’t find anybody to get acquainted with and talk to on a trip like
this. I’m fond of talking, ain’t you?


“Have you felt bored, on this trip?”

“Not all the time, part of it.”

“That’s it!--you see you ought to go around and get acquainted, and
talk. That’s my way. That’s the way I always do--I just go ‘round,
‘round, ‘round and talk, talk, talk--I never get bored. You been up the
Rigi yet?”



“I think so.”

“What hotel you going to stop at?”

“I don’t know. Is there more than one?”

“Three. You stop at the Schreiber--you’ll find it full of Americans.
What ship did you say you came over in?”


“German, I guess. You going to Geneva?”


“What hotel you going to stop at?”

“Hôtel de l‘Écu de Génève.”

“Don’t you do it! No Americans there! You stop at one of those big
hotels over the bridge--they’re packed full of Americans.”

“But I want to practice my Arabic.”

“Good gracious, do you speak Arabic?”

“Yes--well enough to get along.”

“Why, hang it, you won’t get along in Geneva--THEY don’t speak Arabic,
they speak French. What hotel are you stopping at here?”

“Hotel Pension-Beaurivage.”

“Sho, you ought to stop at the Schweitzerhof. Didn’t you know the
Schweitzerhof was the best hotel in Switzerland?-- look at your

“Yes, I know--but I had an idea there warn’t any Americans there.”

“No Americans! Why, bless your soul, it’s just alive with them! I’m in
the great reception-room most all the time. I make lots of acquaintances
there. Not as many as I did at first, because now only the new ones stop
in there--the others go right along through. Where are you from?”


“Is that so? I’m from New England--New Bloomfield’s my town when I’m at
home. I’m having a mighty good time today, ain’t you?”


“That’s what I call it. I like this knocking around, loose and easy, and
making acquaintances and talking. I know an American, soon as I see him;
so I go and speak to him and make his acquaintance. I ain’t ever bored,
on a trip like this, if I can make new acquaintances and talk. I’m awful
fond of talking when I can get hold of the right kind of a person, ain’t

“I prefer it to any other dissipation.”

“That’s my notion, too. Now some people like to take a book and sit
down and read, and read, and read, or moon around yawping at the lake or
these mountains and things, but that ain’t my way; no, sir, if they like
it, let ‘em do it, I don’t object; but as for me, talking’s what I like.
You been up the Rigi?”


“What hotel did you stop at?”


“That’s the place!--I stopped there too. FULL of Americans, WASN’T it?
It always is--always is. That’s what they say. Everybody says that. What
ship did you come over in?”


“French, I reckon. What kind of a passage did ... excuse me a minute,
there’s some Americans I haven’t seen before.”

And away he went. He went uninjured, too--I had the murderous impulse to
harpoon him in the back with my alpenstock, but as I raised the weapon
the disposition left me; I found I hadn’t the heart to kill him, he was
such a joyous, innocent, good-natured numbskull.

Half an hour later I was sitting on a bench inspecting, with strong
interest, a noble monolith which we were skimming by--a monolith not
shaped by man, but by Nature’s free great hand--a massy pyramidal rock
eighty feet high, devised by Nature ten million years ago against the
day when a man worthy of it should need it for his monument. The time
came at last, and now this grand remembrancer bears Schiller’s name in
huge letters upon its face. Curiously enough, this rock was not degraded
or defiled in any way. It is said that two years ago a stranger let
himself down from the top of it with ropes and pulleys, and painted all
over it, in blue letters bigger than those in Schiller’s name, these
words: “Try Sozodont;” “Buy Sun Stove Polish;” “Helmbold’s Buchu;” “Try
Benzaline for the Blood.” He was captured and it turned out that he was
an American. Upon his trial the judge said to him:

“You are from a land where any insolent that wants to is privileged
to profane and insult Nature, and, through her, Nature’s God, if by
so doing he can put a sordid penny in his pocket. But here the case is
different. Because you are a foreigner and ignorant, I will make your
sentence light; if you were a native I would deal strenuously with
you. Hear and obey: --You will immediately remove every trace of
your offensive work from the Schiller monument; you pay a fine of ten
thousand francs; you will suffer two years’ imprisonment at hard labor;
you will then be horsewhipped, tarred and feathered, deprived of your
ears, ridden on a rail to the confines of the canton, and banished
forever. The severest penalties are omitted in your case--not as a grace
to you, but to that great republic which had the misfortune to give you

The steamer’s benches were ranged back to back across the deck. My back
hair was mingling innocently with the back hair of a couple of
ladies. Presently they were addressed by some one and I overheard this

“You are Americans, I think? So’m I.”

“Yes--we are Americans.”

“I knew it--I can always tell them. What ship did you come over in?”


“Oh, yes--Inman line. We came in the BATAVIA--Cunard you know. What kind
of a passage did you have?”

“Pretty fair.”

“That was luck. We had it awful rough. Captain said he’d hardly seen it
rougher. Where are you from?”

“New Jersey.”

“So’m I. No--I didn’t mean that; I’m from New England. New Bloomfield’s
my place. These your children?--belong to both of you?”

“Only to one of us; they are mine; my friend is not married.”

“Single, I reckon? So’m I. Are you two ladies traveling alone?”

“No--my husband is with us.”

“Our whole family’s along. It’s awful slow, going around alone--don’t
you think so?”

“I suppose it must be.”

“Hi, there’s Mount Pilatus coming in sight again. Named after Pontius
Pilate, you know, that shot the apple off of William Tell’s head.
Guide-book tells all about it, they say. I didn’t read it--an American
told me. I don’t read when I’m knocking around like this, having a good
time. Did you ever see the chapel where William Tell used to preach?”

“I did not know he ever preached there.”

“Oh, yes, he did. That American told me so. He don’t ever shut up
his guide-book. He knows more about this lake than the fishes in it.
Besides, they CALL it ‘Tell’s Chapel’--you know that yourself. You ever
been over here before?”


“I haven’t. It’s my first trip. But we’ve been all around--Paris and
everywhere. I’m to enter Harvard next year. Studying German all the time
now. Can’t enter till I know German. This book’s Otto’s grammar. It’s a
mighty good book to get the ICH HABE GEHABT HABEN’s out of. But I don’t
really study when I’m knocking around this way. If the notion takes me,
I just run over my little old ICH HABE GEHABT, DU HAST GEHABT, ER HAT
‘Now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep’ fashion, you know, and after that, maybe
I don’t buckle to it for three days. It’s awful undermining to the
intellect, German is; you want to take it in small doses, or first you
know your brains all run together, and you feel them sloshing around in
your head same as so much drawn butter. But French is different; FRENCH
ain’t anything. I ain’t any more afraid of French than a tramp’s afraid
of pie; I can rattle off my little J’AI, TU AS, IL A, and the rest of
it, just as easy as a-b-c. I get along pretty well in Paris, or anywhere
where they speak French. What hotel are you stopping at?”

“The Schweitzerhof.”

“No! is that so? I never see you in the big reception-room. I go in
there a good deal of the time, because there’s so many Americans there.
I make lots of acquaintances. You been up the Rigi yet?”



“We think of it.”

“What hotel you going to stop at?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, then you stop at the Schreiber--it’s full of Americans. What ship
did you come over in?”


“Oh, yes, I remember I asked you that before. But I always ask everybody
what ship they came over in, and so sometimes I forget and ask again.
You going to Geneva?”


“What hotel you going to stop at?”

“We expect to stop in a pension.”

“I don’t hardly believe you’ll like that; there’s very few Americans in
the pensions. What hotel are you stopping at here?”

“The Schweitzerhof.”

“Oh, yes. I asked you that before, too. But I always ask everybody what
hotel they’re stopping at, and so I’ve got my head all mixed up with
hotels. But it makes talk, and I love to talk. It refreshes me up
so--don’t it you--on a trip like this?”


“Well, it does me, too. As long as I’m talking I never feel bored--ain’t
that the way with you?”

“Yes--generally. But there are exception to the rule.”

“Oh, of course. I don’t care to talk to everybody, MYSELF. If a person
starts in to jabber-jabber-jabber about scenery, and history, and
pictures, and all sorts of tiresome things, I get the fan-tods mighty
soon. I say ‘Well, I must be going now--hope I’ll see you again’--and
then I take a walk. Where you from?”

“New Jersey.”

“Why, bother it all, I asked you THAT before, too. Have you seen the
Lion of Lucerne?”

“Not yet.”

“Nor I, either. But the man who told me about Mount Pilatus says it’s
one of the things to see. It’s twenty-eight feet long. It don’t seem
reasonable, but he said so, anyway. He saw it yesterday; said it was
dying, then, so I reckon it’s dead by this time. But that ain’t any
matter, of course they’ll stuff it. Did you say the children are
yours--or HERS?”


“Oh, so you did. Are you going up the ... no, I asked you that. What
ship ... no, I asked you that, too. What hotel are you ... no, you told
me that. Let me see ... um .... Oh, what kind of voy ... no, we’ve
been over that ground, too. Um ... um ... well, I believe that is all.
BONJOUR--I am very glad to have made your acquaintance, ladies. GUTEN


[The Jodel and Its Native Wilds]

The Rigi-Kulm is an imposing Alpine mass, six thousand feet high, which
stands by itself, and commands a mighty prospect of blue lakes, green
valleys, and snowy mountains--a compact and magnificent picture
three hundred miles in circumference. The ascent is made by rail, or
horseback, or on foot, as one may prefer. I and my agent panoplied
ourselves in walking-costume, one bright morning, and started down
the lake on the steamboat; we got ashore at the village of Waeggis;
three-quarters of an hour distant from Lucerne. This village is at the
foot of the mountain.

We were soon tramping leisurely up the leafy mule-path, and then the
talk began to flow, as usual. It was twelve o’clock noon, and a breezy,
cloudless day; the ascent was gradual, and the glimpses, from under
the curtaining boughs, of blue water, and tiny sailboats, and beetling
cliffs, were as charming as glimpses of dreamland. All the circumstances
were perfect--and the anticipations, too, for we should soon be
enjoying, for the first time, that wonderful spectacle, an Alpine
sunrise--the object of our journey. There was (apparently) no real need
for hurry, for the guide-book made the walking-distance from Waeggis to
the summit only three hours and a quarter. I say “apparently,” because
the guide-book had already fooled us once--about the distance from
Allerheiligen to Oppenau--and for aught I knew it might be getting
ready to fool us again. We were only certain as to the altitudes--we
calculated to find out for ourselves how many hours it is from the
bottom to the top. The summit is six thousand feet above the sea, but
only forty-five hundred feet above the lake. When we had walked half an
hour, we were fairly into the swing and humor of the undertaking, so we
cleared for action; that is to say, we got a boy whom we met to carry
our alpenstocks and satchels and overcoats and things for us; that left
us free for business. I suppose we must have stopped oftener to stretch
out on the grass in the shade and take a bit of a smoke than this boy
was used to, for presently he asked if it had been our idea to hire him
by the job, or by the year? We told him he could move along if he was
in a hurry. He said he wasn’t in such a very particular hurry, but he
wanted to get to the top while he was young.

We told him to clear out, then, and leave the things at the uppermost
hotel and say we should be along presently. He said he would secure us a
hotel if he could, but if they were all full he would ask them to build
another one and hurry up and get the paint and plaster dry against we
arrived. Still gently chaffing us, he pushed ahead, up the trail, and
soon disappeared. By six o’clock we were pretty high up in the air,
and the view of lake and mountains had greatly grown in breadth and
interest. We halted awhile at a little public house, where we had bread
and cheese and a quart or two of fresh milk, out on the porch, with the
big panorama all before us--and then moved on again.

Ten minutes afterward we met a hot, red-faced man plunging down the
mountain, making mighty strides, swinging his alpenstock ahead of him,
and taking a grip on the ground with its iron point to support these
big strides. He stopped, fanned himself with his hat, swabbed the
perspiration from his face and neck with a red handkerchief, panted
a moment or two, and asked how far to Waeggis. I said three hours. He
looked surprised, and said:

“Why, it seems as if I could toss a biscuit into the lake from here,
it’s so close by. Is that an inn, there?”

I said it was.

“Well,” said he, “I can’t stand another three hours, I’ve had enough
today; I’ll take a bed there.”

I asked:

“Are we nearly to the top?”

“Nearly to the TOP? Why, bless your soul, you haven’t really started,

I said we would put up at the inn, too. So we turned back and ordered a
hot supper, and had quite a jolly evening of it with this Englishman.

The German landlady gave us neat rooms and nice beds, and when I and my
agent turned in, it was with the resolution to be up early and make the
utmost of our first Alpine sunrise. But of course we were dead tired,
and slept like policemen; so when we awoke in the morning and ran to the
window it was already too late, because it was half past eleven. It
was a sharp disappointment. However, we ordered breakfast and told the
landlady to call the Englishman, but she said he was already up and off
at daybreak--and swearing like mad about something or other. We could
not find out what the matter was. He had asked the landlady the altitude
of her place above the level of the lake, and she told him fourteen
hundred and ninety-five feet. That was all that was said; then he lost
his temper. He said that between ------fools and guide-books, a man
could acquire ignorance enough in twenty-four hours in a country like
this to last him a year. Harris believed our boy had been loading him
up with misinformation; and this was probably the case, for his epithet
described that boy to a dot.

We got under way about the turn of noon, and pulled out for the summit
again, with a fresh and vigorous step. When we had gone about two
hundred yards, and stopped to rest, I glanced to the left while I was
lighting my pipe, and in the distance detected a long worm of black
smoke crawling lazily up the steep mountain. Of course that was the
locomotive. We propped ourselves on our elbows at once, to gaze, for we
had never seen a mountain railway yet. Presently we could make out the
train. It seemed incredible that that thing should creep straight up a
sharp slant like the roof of a house--but there it was, and it was doing
that very miracle.

In the course of a couple hours we reached a fine breezy altitude where
the little shepherd huts had big stones all over their roofs to hold
them down to the earth when the great storms rage. The country was wild
and rocky about here, but there were plenty of trees, plenty of moss,
and grass.

Away off on the opposite shore of the lake we could see some villages,
and now for the first time we could observe the real difference between
their proportions and those of the giant mountains at whose feet they
slept. When one is in one of those villages it seems spacious, and
its houses seem high and not out of proportion to the mountain that
overhangs them--but from our altitude, what a change! The mountains were
bigger and grander than ever, as they stood there thinking their solemn
thoughts with their heads in the drifting clouds, but the villages
at their feet--when the painstaking eye could trace them up and find
them--were so reduced, almost invisible, and lay so flat against the
ground, that the exactest simile I can devise is to compare them to
ant-deposits of granulated dirt overshadowed by the huge bulk of a
cathedral. The steamboats skimming along under the stupendous precipices
were diminished by distance to the daintiest little toys, the sailboats
and rowboats to shallops proper for fairies that keep house in the cups
of lilies and ride to court on the backs of bumblebees.

Presently we came upon half a dozen sheep nibbling grass in the spray
of a stream of clear water that sprang from a rock wall a hundred feet
high, and all at once our ears were startled with a melodious “Lul ...
l ... l l l llul-lul-LAhee-o-o-o!” pealing joyously from a near but
invisible source, and recognized that we were hearing for the first
time the famous Alpine JODEL in its own native wilds. And we recognized,
also, that it was that sort of quaint commingling of baritone and
falsetto which at home we call “Tyrolese warbling.”

The jodeling (pronounced yOdling--emphasis on the O) continued, and
was very pleasant and inspiriting to hear. Now the jodeler appeared--a
shepherd boy of sixteen--and in our gladness and gratitude we gave him
a franc to jodel some more. So he jodeled and we listened. We moved
on, presently, and he generously jodeled us out of sight. After about
fifteen minutes we came across another shepherd boy who was jodeling,
and gave him half a franc to keep it up. He also jodeled us out of
sight. After that, we found a jodeler every ten minutes; we gave the
first one eight cents, the second one six cents, the third one four, the
fourth one a penny, contributed nothing to Nos. 5, 6, and 7, and during
the remainder of the day hired the rest of the jodelers, at a franc
apiece, not to jodel any more. There is somewhat too much of the
jodeling in the Alps.

About the middle of the afternoon we passed through a prodigious natural
gateway called the Felsenthor, formed by two enormous upright rocks,
with a third lying across the top. There was a very attractive little
hotel close by, but our energies were not conquered yet, so we went on.

Three hours afterward we came to the railway-track. It was planted
straight up the mountain with the slant of a ladder that leans against a
house, and it seemed to us that man would need good nerves who proposed
to travel up it or down it either.

During the latter part of the afternoon we cooled our roasting interiors
with ice-cold water from clear streams, the only really satisfying water
we had tasted since we left home, for at the hotels on the continent
they merely give you a tumbler of ice to soak your water in, and that
only modifies its hotness, doesn’t make it cold. Water can only be made
cold enough for summer comfort by being prepared in a refrigerator or
a closed ice-pitcher. Europeans say ice-water impairs digestion. How do
they know?--they never drink any.

At ten minutes past six we reached the Kaltbad station, where there is
a spacious hotel with great verandas which command a majestic expanse of
lake and mountain scenery. We were pretty well fagged out, now, but as
we did not wish to miss the Alpine sunrise, we got through our dinner
as quickly as possible and hurried off to bed. It was unspeakably
comfortable to stretch our weary limbs between the cool, damp sheets.
And how we did sleep!--for there is no opiate like Alpine pedestrianism.

In the morning we both awoke and leaped out of bed at the same instant
and ran and stripped aside the window-curtains; but we suffered a bitter
disappointment again: it was already half past three in the afternoon.

We dressed sullenly and in ill spirits, each accusing the other of
oversleeping. Harris said if we had brought the courier along, as we
ought to have done, we should not have missed these sunrises. I said he
knew very well that one of us would have to sit up and wake the
courier; and I added that we were having trouble enough to take care
of ourselves, on this climb, without having to take care of a courier

During breakfast our spirits came up a little, since we found by this
guide-book that in the hotels on the summit the tourist is not left to
trust to luck for his sunrise, but is roused betimes by a man who goes
through the halls with a great Alpine horn, blowing blasts that would
raise the dead. And there was another consoling thing: the guide-book
said that up there on the summit the guests did not wait to dress much,
but seized a red bed blanket and sailed out arrayed like an Indian. This
was good; this would be romantic; two hundred and fifty people grouped
on the windy summit, with their hair flying and their red blankets
flapping, in the solemn presence of the coming sun, would be a striking
and memorable spectacle. So it was good luck, not ill luck, that we had
missed those other sunrises.

We were informed by the guide-book that we were now 3,228 feet above
the level of the lake--therefore full two-thirds of our journey had been
accomplished. We got away at a quarter past four P.M.; a hundred yards
above the hotel the railway divided; one track went straight up the
steep hill, the other one turned square off to the right, with a very
slight grade. We took the latter, and followed it more than a mile,
turned a rocky corner, and came in sight of a handsome new hotel. If we
had gone on, we should have arrived at the summit, but Harris
preferred to ask a lot of questions--as usual, of a man who didn’t know
anything--and he told us to go back and follow the other route. We did
so. We could ill afford this loss of time.

We climbed and climbed; and we kept on climbing; we reached about forty
summits, but there was always another one just ahead. It came on to
rain, and it rained in dead earnest. We were soaked through and it
was bitter cold. Next a smoky fog of clouds covered the whole region
densely, and we took to the railway-ties to keep from getting lost.
Sometimes we slopped along in a narrow path on the left-hand side of the
track, but by and by when the fog blew aside a little and we saw that we
were treading the rampart of a precipice and that our left elbows were
projecting over a perfectly boundless and bottomless vacancy, we gasped,
and jumped for the ties again.

The night shut down, dark and drizzly and cold. About eight in the
evening the fog lifted and showed us a well-worn path which led up a
very steep rise to the left. We took it, and as soon as we had got far
enough from the railway to render the finding it again an impossibility,
the fog shut down on us once more.

We were in a bleak, unsheltered place, now, and had to trudge right
along, in order to keep warm, though we rather expected to go over a
precipice, sooner or later. About nine o’clock we made an important
discovery--that we were not in any path. We groped around a while on our
hands and knees, but we could not find it; so we sat down in the mud and
the wet scant grass to wait.

We were terrified into this by being suddenly confronted with a vast
body which showed itself vaguely for an instant and in the next instant
was smothered in the fog again. It was really the hotel we were after,
monstrously magnified by the fog, but we took it for the face of a
precipice, and decided not to try to claw up it.

We sat there an hour, with chattering teeth and quivering bodies, and
quarreled over all sorts of trifles, but gave most of our attention to
abusing each other for the stupidity of deserting the railway-track. We
sat with our backs to the precipice, because what little wind there was
came from that quarter. At some time or other the fog thinned a little;
we did not know when, for we were facing the empty universe and the
thinness could not show; but at last Harris happened to look around, and
there stood a huge, dim, spectral hotel where the precipice had been.
One could faintly discern the windows and chimneys, and a dull blur of
lights. Our first emotion was deep, unutterable gratitude, our next was
a foolish rage, born of the suspicion that possibly the hotel had been
visible three-quarters of an hour while we sat there in those cold
puddles quarreling.

Yes, it was the Rigi-Kulm hotel--the one that occupies the extreme
summit, and whose remote little sparkle of lights we had often seen
glinting high aloft among the stars from our balcony away down yonder
in Lucerne. The crusty portier and the crusty clerks gave us the
surly reception which their kind deal out in prosperous times, but by
mollifying them with an extra display of obsequiousness and servility
we finally got them to show us to the room which our boy had engaged for

We got into some dry clothing, and while our supper was preparing we
loafed forsakenly through a couple of vast cavernous drawing-rooms,
one of which had a stove in it. This stove was in a corner, and densely
walled around with people. We could not get near the fire, so we moved
at large in the artic spaces, among a multitude of people who sat
silent, smileless, forlorn, and shivering--thinking what fools they were
to come, perhaps. There were some Americans and some Germans, but one
could see that the great majority were English.

We lounged into an apartment where there was a great crowd, to see
what was going on. It was a memento-magazine. The tourists were eagerly
buying all sorts and styles of paper-cutters, marked “Souvenir of the
Rigi,” with handles made of the little curved horn of the ostensible
chamois; there were all manner of wooden goblets and such things,
similarly marked. I was going to buy a paper-cutter, but I believed
I could remember the cold comfort of the Rigi-Kulm without it, so I
smothered the impulse.

Supper warmed us, and we went immediately to bed--but first, as Mr.
Baedeker requests all tourists to call his attention to any errors which
they may find in his guide-books, I dropped him a line to inform him he
missed it by just about three days. I had previously informed him of his
mistake about the distance from Allerheiligen to Oppenau, and had also
informed the Ordnance Depart of the German government of the same error
in the imperial maps. I will add, here, that I never got any answer to
those letters, or any thanks from either of those sources; and, what is
still more discourteous, these corrections have not been made, either in
the maps or the guide-books. But I will write again when I get time, for
my letters may have miscarried.

We curled up in the clammy beds, and went to sleep without rocking. We
were so sodden with fatigue that we never stirred nor turned over till
the blooming blasts of the Alpine horn aroused us.

It may well be imagined that we did not lose any time. We snatched on
a few odds and ends of clothing, cocooned ourselves in the proper red
blankets, and plunged along the halls and out into the whistling wind
bareheaded. We saw a tall wooden scaffolding on the very peak of the
summit, a hundred yards away, and made for it. We rushed up the stairs
to the top of this scaffolding, and stood there, above the vast outlying
world, with hair flying and ruddy blankets waving and cracking in the
fierce breeze.

“Fifteen minutes too late, at last!” said Harris, in a vexed voice. “The
sun is clear above the horizon.”

“No matter,” I said, “it is a most magnificent spectacle, and we will
see it do the rest of its rising anyway.”

In a moment we were deeply absorbed in the marvel before us, and dead to
everything else. The great cloud-barred disk of the sun stood just above
a limitless expanse of tossing white-caps--so to speak--a billowy chaos
of massy mountain domes and peaks draped in imperishable snow, and
flooded with an opaline glory of changing and dissolving splendors,
while through rifts in a black cloud-bank above the sun, radiating
lances of diamond dust shot to the zenith. The cloven valleys of the
lower world swam in a tinted mist which veiled the ruggedness of their
crags and ribs and ragged forests, and turned all the forbidding region
into a soft and rich and sensuous paradise.

We could not speak. We could hardly breathe. We could only gaze in
drunken ecstasy and drink in it. Presently Harris exclaimed:

“Why--nation, it’s going DOWN!”

Perfectly true. We had missed the MORNING hornblow, and slept all day.
This was stupefying.

Harris said:

“Look here, the sun isn’t the spectacle--it’s US--stacked up here on top
of this gallows, in these idiotic blankets, and two hundred and fifty
well-dressed men and women down here gawking up at us and not caring
a straw whether the sun rises or sets, as long as they’ve got such a
ridiculous spectacle as this to set down in their memorandum-books. They
seem to be laughing their ribs loose, and there’s one girl there that
appears to be going all to pieces. I never saw such a man as you before.
I think you are the very last possibility in the way of an ass.”

“What have I done?” I answered, with heat.

“What have you done? You’ve got up at half past seven o’clock in the
evening to see the sun rise, that’s what you’ve done.”

“And have you done any better, I’d like to know? I’ve always used to
get up with the lark, till I came under the petrifying influence of your
turgid intellect.”

“YOU used to get up with the lark--Oh, no doubt--you’ll get up with the
hangman one of these days. But you ought to be ashamed to be jawing
here like this, in a red blanket, on a forty-foot scaffold on top of the
Alps. And no end of people down here to boot; this isn’t any place for
an exhibition of temper.”

And so the customary quarrel went on. When the sun was fairly down, we
slipped back to the hotel in the charitable gloaming, and went to bed
again. We had encountered the horn-blower on the way, and he had tried
to collect compensation, not only for announcing the sunset, which we
did see, but for the sunrise, which we had totally missed; but we said
no, we only took our solar rations on the “European plan”--pay for what
you get. He promised to make us hear his horn in the morning, if we were


By Mark Twain

(Samuel L. Clemens)

First published in 1880

Illustrations taken from an 1880 First Edition

 * * * * * *


     2.    TITIAN’S MOSES
     179.  THE SUNRISE
     180.  THE RIGI-KULM
     182.  TAIL PIECE
     185.  A GLACIER TABLE
     188.  TAIL PIECE
     189.  NEW AND OLD STYLE
     191.  A LANDSLIDE
     193.  THE WAY THEY DO IT
     195.  A MOUNTAIN PASS
     196.  “I’M OFUL DRY”
      197.  IT’S THE FASHION
     200.  THE TOURISTS
     201.  THE YOUNG BRIDE
     204.  THE JUNGFRAU BY M.T.
     208.  TAIL PIECE
     214.  FALLS
     215.  WHAT MIGHT BE
     218.  THE FORGET-ME-NOT
     219.  A NEEDLE OF ICE
     222.  CUTTING STEPS
     223.  THE GUIDE
     230.  THEY’VE GOT IT ALL
     235.  TAIL PIECE


CHAPTER XXIX Everything Convenient--Looking for a Western
Sunrise--Mutual Recrimination--View from the Summit--Down the
Mountain--Railroading--Confidence Wanted and Acquired

CHAPTER XXX A Trip by Proxy--A Visit to the Furka Regions--Deadman’s
Lake--Source of the Rhone--Glacier Tables--Storm in the Mountains--At
Grindelwald--Dawn on the Mountains--An Explanation Required--Dead
Language--Criticism of Harris’s Report

CHAPTER XXXI Preparations for a Tramp--From Lucerne to Interlaken--The
Brunig Pass--Modern and Ancient Chalets--Death of Pontius Pilate--Hermit
Home of St Nicholas--Landslides--Children Selling Refreshments--How they
Harness a Horse--A Great Man--Honors to a Hero--A Thirsty Bride--For
Better or Worse--German Fashions--Anticipations--Solid Comfort--An
Unsatisfactory Awakening--What we had Lost--Our Surroundings

CHAPTER XXXII The Jungfrau Hotel--A Whiskered Waitress--An Arkansas
Bride--Perfection in Discord--A Famous Victory--A Look from a
Window--About the Jungfrau

CHAPTER XXXIII The Giesbach Falls--The Spirit of the Alps--Why People
Visit Them--Whey and Grapes as Medicines--The Kursaal--A Formidable
Undertaking--From Interlaken to Zermatt on Foot--We Concluded to take
a Buggy--A Pair of Jolly Drivers--We meet with Companions--A Cheerful
Ride--Kandersteg Valley--An Alpine Parlor--Exercise and Amusement--A
Race with a Log

CHAPTER XXXIV An Old Guide--Possible Accidents--Dangerous
Habitation--Mountain Flowers--Embryo Lions--Mountain Pigs--The End
of The World--Ghastly Desolation--Proposed Adventure--Reading-up
Adventures--Ascent of Monte Rosa--Precipices and Crevasses--Among
the Snows--Exciting Experiences--lee Ridges--The Summit--Adventures

CHAPTER XXXV A New Interest--Magnificent Views--A Mule’s
Prefereoces--Turning Mountain Corners--Terror of a Horse--Lady
Tourists--Death of a young Countess--A Search for a Hat--What We Did
Find--Harris’s Opinion of Chamois--A Disappointed Man--A Giantess--Model
for an Empress--Baths at Leuk--Sport in the Water--The Gemmi
Precipices--A Palace for an Emperor--The Famous Ladders--Considerably
Mixed Up--Sad Plight of a Minister


[Looking West for Sunrise]

He kept his word. We heard his horn and instantly got up. It was dark
and cold and wretched. As I fumbled around for the matches, knocking
things down with my quaking hands, I wished the sun would rise in the
middle of the day, when it was warm and bright and cheerful, and one
wasn’t sleepy. We proceeded to dress by the gloom of a couple sickly
candles, but we could hardly button anything, our hands shook so.
I thought of how many happy people there were in Europe, Asia, and
America, and everywhere, who were sleeping peacefully in their beds,
and did not have to get up and see the Rigi sunrise--people who did
not appreciate their advantage, as like as not, but would get up in the
morning wanting more boons of Providence. While thinking these thoughts
I yawned, in a rather ample way, and my upper teeth got hitched on a
nail over the door, and while I was mounting a chair to free myself,
Harris drew the window-curtain, and said:

“Oh, this is luck! We shan’t have to go out at all--yonder are the
mountains, in full view.”

That was glad news, indeed. It made us cheerful right away. One could
see the grand Alpine masses dimly outlined against the black firmament,
and one or two faint stars blinking through rifts in the night. Fully
clothed, and wrapped in blankets, and huddled ourselves up, by the
window, with lighted pipes, and fell into chat, while we waited in
exceeding comfort to see how an Alpine sunrise was going to look by
candlelight. By and by a delicate, spiritual sort of effulgence spread
itself by imperceptible degrees over the loftiest altitudes of the snowy
wastes--but there the effort seemed to stop. I said, presently:

“There is a hitch about this sunrise somewhere. It doesn’t seem to go.
What do you reckon is the matter with it?”

“I don’t know. It appears to hang fire somewhere. I never saw a sunrise
act like that before. Can it be that the hotel is playing anything on

“Of course not. The hotel merely has a property interest in the sun, it
has nothing to do with the management of it. It is a precarious kind of
property, too; a succession of total eclipses would probably ruin this
tavern. Now what can be the matter with this sunrise?”

Harris jumped up and said:

“I’ve got it! I know what’s the matter with it! We’ve been looking at
the place where the sun SET last night!”

“It is perfectly true! Why couldn’t you have thought of that sooner? Now
we’ve lost another one! And all through your blundering. It was exactly
like you to light a pipe and sit down to wait for the sun to rise in the

“It was exactly like me to find out the mistake, too. You never would
have found it out. I find out all the mistakes.”

“You make them all, too, else your most valuable faculty would be wasted
on you. But don’t stop to quarrel, now--maybe we are not too late yet.”

But we were. The sun was well up when we got to the exhibition-ground.

On our way up we met the crowd returning--men and women dressed in
all sorts of queer costumes, and exhibiting all degrees of cold and
wretchedness in their gaits and countenances. A dozen still remained on
the ground when we reached there, huddled together about the scaffold
with their backs to the bitter wind. They had their red guide-books open
at the diagram of the view, and were painfully picking out the several
mountains and trying to impress their names and positions on their
memories. It was one of the saddest sights I ever saw.

Two sides of this place were guarded by railings, to keep people from
being blown over the precipices. The view, looking sheer down into
the broad valley, eastward, from this great elevation--almost a
perpendicular mile--was very quaint and curious. Counties, towns, hilly
ribs and ridges, wide stretches of green meadow, great forest tracts,
winding streams, a dozen blue lakes, a block of busy steamboats--we saw
all this little world in unique circumstantiality of detail--saw it just
as the birds see it--and all reduced to the smallest of scales and as
sharply worked out and finished as a steel engraving. The numerous toy
villages, with tiny spires projecting out of them, were just as the
children might have left them when done with play the day before; the
forest tracts were diminished to cushions of moss; one or two big lakes
were dwarfed to ponds, the smaller ones to puddles--though they did not
look like puddles, but like blue teardrops which had fallen and lodged
in slight depressions, conformable to their shapes, among the moss-beds
and the smooth levels of dainty green farm-land; the microscopic
steamboats glided along, as in a city reservoir, taking a mighty time to
cover the distance between ports which seemed only a yard apart; and the
isthmus which separated two lakes looked as if one might stretch out on
it and lie with both elbows in the water, yet we knew invisible wagons
were toiling across it and finding the distance a tedious one. This
beautiful miniature world had exactly the appearance of those “relief
maps” which reproduce nature precisely, with the heights and depressions
and other details graduated to a reduced scale, and with the rocks,
trees, lakes, etc., colored after nature.

I believed we could walk down to Waeggis or Vitznau in a day, but I knew
we could go down by rail in about an hour, so I chose the latter method.
I wanted to see what it was like, anyway. The train came along about the
middle of the afternoon, and an odd thing it was. The locomotive-boiler
stood on end, and it and the whole locomotive were tilted sharply
backward. There were two passenger-cars, roofed, but wide open all
around. These cars were not tilted back, but the seats were; this
enables the passenger to sit level while going down a steep incline.

There are three railway-tracks; the central one is cogged; the “lantern
wheel” of the engine grips its way along these cogs, and pulls the
train up the hill or retards its motion on the down trip. About the same
speed--three miles an hour--is maintained both ways. Whether going up or
down, the locomotive is always at the lower end of the train. It pushes
in the one case, braces back in the other. The passenger rides backward
going up, and faces forward going down.

We got front seats, and while the train moved along about fifty yards
on level ground, I was not the least frightened; but now it started
abruptly downstairs, and I caught my breath. And I, like my neighbors,
unconsciously held back all I could, and threw my weight to the rear,
but, of course, that did no particular good. I had slidden down the
balusters when I was a boy, and thought nothing of it, but to slide down
the balusters in a railway-train is a thing to make one’s flesh creep.
Sometimes we had as much as ten yards of almost level ground, and this
gave us a few full breaths in comfort; but straightway we would turn a
corner and see a long steep line of rails stretching down below us, and
the comfort was at an end. One expected to see the locomotive pause,
or slack up a little, and approach this plunge cautiously, but it
did nothing of the kind; it went calmly on, and went it reached the
jumping-off place it made a sudden bow, and went gliding smoothly
downstairs, untroubled by the circumstances.

It was wildly exhilarating to slide along the edge of the precipices,
after this grisly fashion, and look straight down upon that far-off
valley which I was describing a while ago.

There was no level ground at the Kaltbad station; the railbed was as
steep as a roof; I was curious to see how the stop was going to be
managed. But it was very simple; the train came sliding down, and when
it reached the right spot it just stopped--that was all there was “to
it”--stopped on the steep incline, and when the exchange of passengers
and baggage had been made, it moved off and went sliding down again. The
train can be stopped anywhere, at a moment’s notice.

There was one curious effect, which I need not take the trouble to
describe--because I can scissor a description of it out of the railway
company’s advertising pamphlet, and save my ink:

“On the whole tour, particularly at the Descent, we undergo an optical
illusion which often seems to be incredible. All the shrubs, fir trees,
stables, houses, etc., seem to be bent in a slanting direction, as by an
immense pressure of air. They are all standing awry, so much awry that
the chalets and cottages of the peasants seem to be tumbling down. It
is the consequence of the steep inclination of the line. Those who
are seated in the carriage do not observe that they are going down a
declivity of twenty to twenty-five degrees (their seats being adapted
to this course of proceeding and being bent down at their backs). They
mistake their carriage and its horizontal lines for a proper measure of
the normal plain, and therefore all the objects outside which really
are in a horizontal position must show a disproportion of twenty to
twenty-five degrees declivity, in regard to the mountain.”

By the time one reaches Kaltbad, he has acquired confidence in the
railway, and he now ceases to try to ease the locomotive by holding
back. Thenceforth he smokes his pipe in serenity, and gazes out upon the
magnificent picture below and about him with unfettered enjoyment. There
is nothing to interrupt the view or the breeze; it is like inspecting
the world on the wing. However--to be exact--there is one place where
the serenity lapses for a while; this is while one is crossing the
Schnurrtobel Bridge, a frail structure which swings its gossamer frame
down through the dizzy air, over a gorge, like a vagrant spider-strand.

One has no difficulty in remembering his sins while the train is
creeping down this bridge; and he repents of them, too; though he sees,
when he gets to Vitznau, that he need not have done it, the bridge was
perfectly safe.

So ends the eventual trip which we made to the Rigi-Kulm to see an
Alpine sunrise.


[Harris Climbs Mountains for Me]

An hour’s sail brought us to Lucerne again. I judged it best to go to
bed and rest several days, for I knew that the man who undertakes to
make the tour of Europe on foot must take care of himself.

Thinking over my plans, as mapped out, I perceived that they did not
take in the Furka Pass, the Rhone Glacier, the Finsteraarhorn, the
Wetterhorn, etc. I immediately examined the guide-book to see if these
were important, and found they were; in fact, a pedestrian tour of
Europe could not be complete without them. Of course that decided me at
once to see them, for I never allow myself to do things by halves, or in
a slurring, slipshod way.

I called in my agent and instructed him to go without delay and make a
careful examination of these noted places, on foot, and bring me back a
written report of the result, for insertion in my book. I instructed
him to go to Hospenthal as quickly as possible, and make his grand start
from there; to extend his foot expedition as far as the Giesbach fall,
and return to me from thence by diligence or mule. I told him to take
the courier with him.

He objected to the courier, and with some show of reason, since he was
about to venture upon new and untried ground; but I thought he might
as well learn how to take care of the courier now as later, therefore I
enforced my point. I said that the trouble, delay, and inconvenience
of traveling with a courier were balanced by the deep respect which a
courier’s presence commands, and I must insist that as much style be
thrown into my journeys as possible.

So the two assumed complete mountaineering costumes and departed. A week
later they returned, pretty well used up, and my agent handed me the
following: Official Report


BY H. HARRIS, AGENT About seven o’clock in the morning, with perfectly
fine weather, we started from Hospenthal, and arrived at the MAISON on
the Furka in a little under QUATRE hours. The want of variety in the
scenery from Hospenthal made the KAHKAHPONEEKA wearisome; but let none
be discouraged; no one can fail to be completely R’ECOMPENS’EE for his
fatigue, when he sees, for the first time, the monarch of the Oberland,
the tremendous Finsteraarhorn. A moment before all was dullness, but
a PAS further has placed us on the summit of the Furka; and exactly in
front of us, at a HOPOW of only fifteen miles, this magnificent mountain
lifts its snow-wreathed precipices into the deep blue sky. The inferior
mountains on each side of the pass form a sort of frame for the picture
of their dread lord, and close in the view so completely that no other
prominent feature in the Oberland is visible from this BONG-A-BONG;
nothing withdraws the attention from the solitary grandeur of the
Finsteraarhorn and the dependent spurs which form the abutments of the
central peak.

With the addition of some others, who were also bound for the Grimsel,
we formed a large XHVLOJ as we descended the STEG which winds round the
shoulder of a mountain toward the Rhone Glacier. We soon left the path
and took to the ice; and after wandering amongst the crevices UN PEU, to
admire the wonders of these deep blue caverns, and hear the rushing of
waters through their subglacial channels, we struck out a course toward
L’AUTRE CÔTE and crossed the glacier successfully, a little above the
cave from which the infant Rhone takes its first bound from under the
grand precipice of ice. Half a mile below this we began to climb the
flowery side of the Meienwand. One of our party started before the rest,
but the HITZE was so great, that we found IHM quite exhausted, and lying
at full length in the shade of a large GESTEIN. We sat down with him
for a time, for all felt the heat exceedingly in the climb up this very
steep BOLWOGGOLY, and then we set out again together, and arrived at
last near the Dead Man’s Lake, at the foot of the Sidelhorn. This lonely
spot, once used for an extempore burying-place, after a sanguinary
BATTUE between the French and Austrians, is the perfection of
desolation; there is nothing in sight to mark the hand of man, except
the line of weather-beaten whitened posts, set up to indicate the
direction of the pass in the OWDAWAKK of winter. Near this point the
footpath joins the wider track, which connects the Grimsel with the head
of the Rhone SCHNAWP; this has been carefully constructed, and leads
with a tortuous course among and over LES PIERRES, down to the bank of
the gloomy little SWOSH-SWOSH, which almost washes against the walls of
the Grimsel Hospice. We arrived a little before four o’clock at the end
of our day’s journey, hot enough to justify the step, taking by most of
the PARTIE, of plunging into the crystal water of the snow-fed lake.

The next afternoon we started for a walk up the Unteraar glacier, with
the intention of, at all events, getting as far as the Hütte which is
used as a sleeping-place by most of those who cross the Strahleck Pass
to Grindelwald. We got over the tedious collection of stones and DÉBRIS
which covers the PIED of the GLETCHER, and had walked nearly three hours
from the Grimsel, when, just as we were thinking of crossing over to the
right, to climb the cliffs at the foot of the hut, the clouds, which had
for some time assumed a threatening appearance, suddenly dropped, and
a huge mass of them, driving toward us from the Finsteraarhorn, poured
down a deluge of HABOOLONG and hail. Fortunately, we were not far from
a very large glacier-table; it was a huge rock balanced on a pedestal
of ice high enough to admit of our all creeping under it for GOWKARAK.
A stream of PUCKITTYPUKK had furrowed a course for itself in the ice
at its base, and we were obliged to stand with one FUSS on each side of
this, and endeavor to keep ourselves CHAUD by cutting steps in the steep
bank of the pedestal, so as to get a higher place for standing on,
as the WASSER rose rapidly in its trench. A very cold BZZZZZZZZEEE
accompanied the storm, and made our position far from pleasant; and
presently came a flash of BLITZEN, apparently in the middle of our
little party, with an instantaneous clap of YOKKY, sounding like a large
gun fired close to our ears; the effect was startling; but in a few
seconds our attention was fixed by the roaring echoes of the thunder
against the tremendous mountains which completely surrounded us. This
was followed by many more bursts, none of WELCHE, however, was so
dangerously near; and after waiting a long DEMI-hour in our icy prison,
we sallied out to talk through a HABOOLONG which, though not so heavy
as before, was quite enough to give us a thorough soaking before our
arrival at the Hospice.

The Grimsel is CERTAINEMENT a wonderful place; situated at the bottom
of a sort of huge crater, the sides of which are utterly savage GEBIRGE,
composed of barren rocks which cannot even support a single pine ARBRE,
and afford only scanty food for a herd of GMWKWLLOLP, it looks as if
it must be completely BEGRABEN in the winter snows. Enormous avalanches
fall against it every spring, sometimes covering everything to the depth
of thirty or forty feet; and, in spite of walls four feet thick, and
furnished with outside shutters, the two men who stay here when the
VOYAGEURS are snugly quartered in their distant homes can tell you that
the snow sometimes shakes the house to its foundations.

Next morning the HOGGLEBUMGULLUP still continued bad, but we made up our
minds to go on, and make the best of it. Half an hour after we started,
the REGEN thickened unpleasantly, and we attempted to get shelter under
a projecting rock, but being far to NASS already to make standing at
all AGRÉABLE, we pushed on for the Handeck, consoling ourselves with the
reflection that from the furious rushing of the river Aar at our
side, we should at all events see the celebrated WASSERFALL in GRANDE
PERFECTION. Nor were we NAPPERSOCKET in our expectation; the water
was roaring down its leap of two hundred and fifty feet in a most
magnificent frenzy, while the trees which cling to its rocky sides
swayed to and fro in the violence of the hurricane which it brought down
with it; even the stream, which falls into the main cascade at right
angles, and TOUTEFOIS forms a beautiful feature in the scene, was now
swollen into a raging torrent; and the violence of this “meeting of the
waters,” about fifty feet below the frail bridge where we stood, was
fearfully grand. While we were looking at it, GLÜECKLICHEWEISE a gleam
of sunshine came out, and instantly a beautiful rainbow was formed by
the spray, and hung in mid-air suspended over the awful gorge.

On going into the CHALET above the fall, we were informed that a BRUECKE
had broken down near Guttanen, and that it would be impossible to
proceed for some time; accordingly we were kept in our drenched
condition for EIN STUNDE, when some VOYAGEURS arrived from Meiringen,
and told us that there had been a trifling accident, ABER that we could
now cross. On arriving at the spot, I was much inclined to suspect that
the whole story was a ruse to make us SLOWWK and drink the more at the
Handeck Inn, for only a few planks had been carried away, and though
there might perhaps have been some difficulty with mules, the gap was
certainly not larger than a MMBGLX might cross with a very slight leap.
Near Guttanen the HABOOLONG happily ceased, and we had time to walk
ourselves tolerably dry before arriving at Reichenback, WO we enjoyed a
good DINÉ at the Hotel des Alps.

Next morning we walked to Rosenlaui, the BEAU IDÉAL of Swiss scenery,
where we spent the middle of the day in an excursion to the glacier.
This was more beautiful than words can describe, for in the constant
progress of the ice it has changed the form of its extremity and formed
a vast cavern, as blue as the sky above, and rippled like a frozen
ocean. A few steps cut in the WHOOPJAMBOREEHOO enabled us to walk
completely under this, and feast our eyes upon one of the loveliest
objects in creation. The glacier was all around divided by numberless
fissures of the same exquisite color, and the finest wood-ERDBEEREN were
growing in abundance but a few yards from the ice. The inn stands in a
CHARMANT spot close to the CÔTÉ DE LA RIVIÈRE, which, lower down, forms
the Reichenbach fall, and embosomed in the richest of pine woods,
while the fine form of the Wellhorn looking down upon it completes the
enchanting BOPPLE. In the afternoon we walked over the Great Scheideck
to Grindelwald, stopping to pay a visit to the Upper glacier by the way;
but we were again overtaken by bad HOGGLEBUMGULLUP and arrived at the
hotel in a SOLCHE a state that the landlord’s wardrobe was in great

The clouds by this time seemed to have done their worst, for a lovely
day succeeded, which we determined to devote to an ascent of the
Faulhorn. We left Grindelwald just as a thunder-storm was dying away,
and we hoped to find GUTEN WETTER up above; but the rain, which had
nearly ceased, began again, and we were struck by the rapidly increasing
FROID as we ascended. Two-thirds of the way up were completed when
the rain was exchanged for GNILLIC, with which the BODEN was thickly
covered, and before we arrived at the top the GNILLIC and mist became
so thick that we could not see one another at more than twenty POOPOO
distance, and it became difficult to pick our way over the rough and
thickly covered ground. Shivering with cold, we turned into bed with a
double allowance of clothes, and slept comfortably while the wind
howled AUTOUR DE LA MAISON; when I awoke, the wall and the window looked
equally dark, but in another hour I found I could just see the form
of the latter; so I jumped out of bed, and forced it open, though with
great difficulty from the frost and the quantities of GNILLIC heaped up
against it.

A row of huge icicles hung down from the edge of the roof, and anything
more wintry than the whole ANBLICK could not well be imagined; but the
sudden appearance of the great mountains in front was so startling
that I felt no inclination to move toward bed again. The snow which
had collected upon LA FÊNTRE had increased the FINSTERNISS ODER DER
DUNKELHEIT, so that when I looked out I was surprised to find that the
daylight was considerable, and that the BALRAGOOMAH would evidently rise
before long. Only the brightest of LES E’TOILES were still shining; the
sky was cloudless overhead, though small curling mists lay thousands of
feet below us in the valleys, wreathed around the feet of the mountains,
and adding to the splendor of their lofty summits. We were soon dressed
and out of the house, watching the gradual approach of dawn, thoroughly
absorbed in the first near view of the Oberland giants, which broke
upon us unexpectedly after the intense obscurity of the evening before.
grand summit gleamed with the first rose of dawn; and in a few moments
the double crest of the Schreckhorn followed its example; peak after
peak seemed warmed with life, the Jungfrau blushed even more beautifully
than her neighbors, and soon, from the Wetterhorn in the east to the
Wildstrubel in the west, a long row of fires glowed upon mighty altars,
truly worthy of the gods.

The WLGW was very severe; our sleeping-place could hardly be DISTINGUEÉ
from the snow around it, which had fallen to a depth of a FLIRK during
the past evening, and we heartily enjoyed a rough scramble EN BAS to
the Giesbach falls, where we soon found a warm climate. At noon the day
before Grindelwald the thermometer could not have stood at less than 100
degrees Fahr. in the sun; and in the evening, judging from the icicles
formed, and the state of the windows, there must have been at least
twelve DINGBLATTER of frost, thus giving a change of 80 degrees during a
few hours.

I said:

“You have done well, Harris; this report is concise, compact, well
expressed; the language is crisp, the descriptions are vivid and not
needlessly elaborated; your report goes straight to the point, attends
strictly to business, and doesn’t fool around. It is in many ways an
excellent document. But it has a fault--it is too learned, it is much
too learned. What is ‘DINGBLATTER’?

“‘DINGBLATTER’ is a Fiji word meaning ‘degrees.’”

“You knew the English of it, then?”

“Oh, yes.”

“What is ‘GNILLIC’?

“That is the Eskimo term for ‘snow.’”

“So you knew the English for that, too?”

“Why, certainly.”

“What does ‘MMBGLX’ stand for?”

“That is Zulu for ‘pedestrian.’”

“‘While the form of the Wellhorn looking down upon it completes the
enchanting BOPPLE.’ What is ‘BOPPLE’?”

“‘Picture.’ It’s Choctaw.”

“What is ‘SCHNAWP’?”

“‘Valley.’ That is Choctaw, also.”

“What is ‘BOLWOGGOLY’?”

“That is Chinese for ‘hill.’”


“‘Ascent.’ Choctaw.”

“‘But we were again overtaken by bad HOGGLEBUMGULLUP.’ What does

“That is Chinese for ‘weather.’”

“Is ‘HOGGLEBUMGULLUP’ better than the English word? Is it any more

“No, it means just the same.”

“And ‘DINGBLATTER’ and ‘GNILLIC,’ and ‘BOPPLE,’ and ‘SCHNAWP’--are they
better than the English words?”

“No, they mean just what the English ones do.”

“Then why do you use them? Why have you used all this Chinese and
Choctaw and Zulu rubbish?”

“Because I didn’t know any French but two or three words, and I didn’t
know any Latin or Greek at all.”

“That is nothing. Why should you want to use foreign words, anyhow?”

“They adorn my page. They all do it.”

“Who is ‘all’?”

“Everybody. Everybody that writes elegantly. Anybody has a right to that
wants to.”

“I think you are mistaken.” I then proceeded in the following scathing
manner. “When really learned men write books for other learned men
to read, they are justified in using as many learned words as they
please--their audience will understand them; but a man who writes a book
for the general public to read is not justified in disfiguring his pages
with untranslated foreign expressions. It is an insolence toward the
majority of the purchasers, for it is a very frank and impudent way of
saying, ‘Get the translations made yourself if you want them, this
book is not written for the ignorant classes.’ There are men who know
a foreign language so well and have used it so long in their daily
life that they seem to discharge whole volleys of it into their English
writings unconsciously, and so they omit to translate, as much as
half the time. That is a great cruelty to nine out of ten of the man’s
readers. What is the excuse for this? The writer would say he only uses
the foreign language where the delicacy of his point cannot be conveyed
in English. Very well, then he writes his best things for the tenth man,
and he ought to warn the nine other not to buy his book. However, the
excuse he offers is at least an excuse; but there is another set of
men who are like YOU; they know a WORD here and there, of a foreign
language, or a few beggarly little three-word phrases, filched from the
back of the Dictionary, and these are continually peppering into their
literature, with a pretense of knowing that language--what excuse can
they offer? The foreign words and phrases which they use have their
exact equivalents in a nobler language--English; yet they think they
‘adorn their page’ when they say STRASSE for street, and BAHNHOF for
railway-station, and so on--flaunting these fluttering rags of poverty
in the reader’s face and imagining he will be ass enough to take
them for the sign of untold riches held in reserve. I will let your
‘learning’ remain in your report; you have as much right, I suppose, to
‘adorn your page’ with Zulu and Chinese and Choctaw rubbish as others of
your sort have to adorn theirs with insolent odds and ends smouched from
half a dozen learned tongues whose A-B ABS they don’t even know.”

When the musing spider steps upon the red-hot shovel, he first exhibits
a wild surprise, then he shrivels up. Similar was the effect of these
blistering words upon the tranquil and unsuspecting Agent. I can be
dreadfully rough on a person when the mood takes me.


[Alp-scaling by Carriage]

We now prepared for a considerable walk--from Lucerne to Interlaken,
over the Bruenig Pass. But at the last moment the weather was so good
that I changed my mind and hired a four-horse carriage. It was a huge
vehicle, roomy, as easy in its motion as a palanquin, and exceedingly

We got away pretty early in the morning, after a hot breakfast, and
went bowling over a hard, smooth road, through the summer loveliness of
Switzerland, with near and distant lakes and mountains before and about
us for the entertainment of the eye, and the music of multitudinous
birds to charm the ear. Sometimes there was only the width of the road
between the imposing precipices on the right and the clear cool water on
the left with its shoals of uncatchable fish skimming about through the
bars of sun and shadow; and sometimes, in place of the precipices, the
grassy land stretched away, in an apparently endless upward slant,
and was dotted everywhere with snug little chalets, the peculiarly
captivating cottage of Switzerland.

The ordinary chalet turns a broad, honest gable end to the road, and
its ample roof hovers over the home in a protecting, caressing way,
projecting its sheltering eaves far outward. The quaint windows are
filled with little panes, and garnished with white muslin curtains,
and brightened with boxes of blooming flowers. Across the front of the
house, and up the spreading eaves and along the fanciful railings of
the shallow porch, are elaborate carvings--wreaths, fruits, arabesques,
verses from Scripture, names, dates, etc. The building is wholly of
wood, reddish brown in tint, a very pleasing color. It generally has
vines climbing over it. Set such a house against the fresh green of the
hillside, and it looks ever so cozy and inviting and picturesque, and is
a decidedly graceful addition to the landscape.

One does not find out what a hold the chalet has taken upon him, until
he presently comes upon a new house--a house which is aping the town
fashions of Germany and France, a prim, hideous, straight-up-and-down
thing, plastered all over on the outside to look like stone, and
altogether so stiff, and formal, and ugly, and forbidding, and so out of
tune with the gracious landscape, and so deaf and dumb and dead to the
poetry of its surroundings, that it suggests an undertaker at a picnic,
a corpse at a wedding, a puritan in Paradise.

In the course of the morning we passed the spot where Pontius Pilate is
said to have thrown himself into the lake. The legend goes that after
the Crucifixion his conscience troubled him, and he fled from Jerusalem
and wandered about the earth, weary of life and a prey to tortures
of the mind. Eventually, he hid himself away, on the heights of Mount
Pilatus, and dwelt alone among the clouds and crags for years; but rest
and peace were still denied him, so he finally put an end to his misery
by drowning himself.

Presently we passed the place where a man of better odor was born. This
was the children’s friend, Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas. There are some
unaccountable reputations in the world. This saint’s is an instance. He
has ranked for ages as the peculiar friend of children, yet it appears
he was not much of a friend to his own. He had ten of them, and when
fifty years old he left them, and sought out as dismal a refuge from the
world as possible, and became a hermit in order that he might reflect
upon pious themes without being disturbed by the joyous and other noises
from the nursery, doubtless.

Judging by Pilate and St. Nicholas, there exists no rule for the
construction of hermits; they seem made out of all kinds of material.
But Pilate attended to the matter of expiating his sin while he was
alive, whereas St. Nicholas will probably have to go on climbing down
sooty chimneys, Christmas eve, forever, and conferring kindness on other
people’s children, to make up for deserting his own. His bones are kept
in a church in a village (Sachseln) which we visited, and are naturally
held in great reverence. His portrait is common in the farmhouses of
the region, but is believed by many to be but an indifferent likeness.
During his hermit life, according to legend, he partook of the bread
and wine of the communion once a month, but all the rest of the month he

A constant marvel with us, as we sped along the bases of the steep
mountains on this journey, was, not that avalanches occur, but that they
are not occurring all the time. One does not understand why rocks
and landslides do not plunge down these declivities daily. A landslip
occurred three quarters of a century ago, on the route from Arth to
Brunnen, which was a formidable thing. A mass of conglomerate two miles
long, a thousand feet broad, and a hundred feet thick, broke away from a
cliff three thousand feet high and hurled itself into the valley below,
burying four villages and five hundred people, as in a grave.

We had such a beautiful day, and such endless pictures of limpid lakes,
and green hills and valleys, and majestic mountains, and milky cataracts
dancing down the steeps and gleaming in the sun, that we could not help
feeling sweet toward all the world; so we tried to drink all the
milk, and eat all the grapes and apricots and berries, and buy all the
bouquets of wild flowers which the little peasant boys and girls offered
for sale; but we had to retire from this contract, for it was too heavy.

At short distances--and they were entirely too short--all along the
road, were groups of neat and comely children, with their wares nicely
and temptingly set forth in the grass under the shade trees, and as soon
as we approached they swarmed into the road, holding out their baskets
and milk bottles, and ran beside the carriage, barefoot and bareheaded,
and importuned us to buy. They seldom desisted early, but continued to
run and insist--beside the wagon while they could, and behind it until
they lost breath. Then they turned and chased a returning carriage back
to their trading-post again. After several hours of this, without any
intermission, it becomes almost annoying. I do not know what we should
have done without the returning carriages to draw off the pursuit.
However, there were plenty of these, loaded with dusty tourists and
piled high with luggage. Indeed, from Lucerne to Interlaken we had
the spectacle, among other scenery, of an unbroken procession of
fruit-peddlers and tourists carriages.

Our talk was mostly anticipatory of what we should see on the down-grade
of the Bruenig, by and by, after we should pass the summit. All our
friends in Lucerne had said that to look down upon Meiringen, and the
rushing blue-gray river Aar, and the broad level green valley; and
across at the mighty Alpine precipices that rise straight up to the
clouds out of that valley; and up at the microscopic chalets perched
upon the dizzy eaves of those precipices and winking dimly and fitfully
through the drifting veil of vapor; and still up and up, at the superb
Oltschiback and the other beautiful cascades that leap from those rugged
heights, robed in powdery spray, ruffled with foam, and girdled with
rainbows--to look upon these things, they say, was to look upon the last
possibility of the sublime and the enchanting. Therefore, as I say,
we talked mainly of these coming wonders; if we were conscious of any
impatience, it was to get there in favorable season; if we felt any
anxiety, it was that the day might remain perfect, and enable us to see
those marvels at their best.

As we approached the Kaiserstuhl, a part of the harness gave way.

We were in distress for a moment, but only a moment. It was the
fore-and-aft gear that was broken--the thing that leads aft from the
forward part of the horse and is made fast to the thing that pulls the
wagon. In America this would have been a heavy leathern strap; but, all
over the continent it is nothing but a piece of rope the size of
your little finger--clothes-line is what it is. Cabs use it, private
carriages, freight-carts and wagons, all sorts of vehicles have it. In
Munich I afterward saw it used on a long wagon laden with fifty-four
half-barrels of beer; I had before noticed that the cabs in Heidelberg
used it--not new rope, but rope that had been in use since Abraham’s
time --and I had felt nervous, sometimes, behind it when the cab was
tearing down a hill. But I had long been accustomed to it now, and had
even become afraid of the leather strap which belonged in its place. Our
driver got a fresh piece of clothes-line out of his locker and repaired
the break in two minutes.

So much for one European fashion. Every country has its own ways. It may
interest the reader to know how they “put horses to” on the continent.
The man stands up the horses on each side of the thing that projects
from the front end of the wagon, and then throws the tangled mess of
gear forward through a ring, and hauls it aft, and passes the other
thing through the other ring and hauls it aft on the other side of the
other horse, opposite to the first one, after crossing them and bringing
the loose end back, and then buckles the other thing underneath the
horse, and takes another thing and wraps it around the thing I spoke
of before, and puts another thing over each horse’s head, with broad
flappers to it to keep the dust out of his eyes, and puts the iron thing
in his mouth for him to grit his teeth on, uphill, and brings the ends
of these things aft over his back, after buckling another one around
under his neck to hold his head up, and hitching another thing on
a thing that goes over his shoulders to keep his head up when he is
climbing a hill, and then takes the slack of the thing which I mentioned
a while ago, and fetches it aft and makes it fast to the thing that
pulls the wagon, and hands the other things up to the driver to steer
with. I never have buckled up a horse myself, but I do not think we do
it that way.

We had four very handsome horses, and the driver was very proud of his
turnout. He would bowl along on a reasonable trot, on the highway, but
when he entered a village he did it on a furious run, and accompanied it
with a frenzy of ceaseless whip-crackings that sounded like volleys of
musketry. He tore through the narrow streets and around the sharp curves
like a moving earthquake, showering his volleys as he went, and before
him swept a continuous tidal wave of scampering children, ducks, cats,
and mothers clasping babies which they had snatched out of the way of
the coming destruction; and as this living wave washed aside, along the
walls, its elements, being safe, forgot their fears and turned their
admiring gaze upon that gallant driver till he thundered around the next
curve and was lost to sight.

He was a great man to those villagers, with his gaudy clothes and his
terrific ways. Whenever he stopped to have his cattle watered and fed
with loaves of bread, the villagers stood around admiring him while
he swaggered about, the little boys gazed up at his face with humble
homage, and the landlord brought out foaming mugs of beer and conversed
proudly with him while he drank. Then he mounted his lofty box, swung
his explosive whip, and away he went again, like a storm. I had not
seen anything like this before since I was a boy, and the stage used to
flourish the village with the dust flying and the horn tooting.

When we reached the base of the Kaiserstuhl, we took two more horses; we
had to toil along with difficulty for an hour and a half or two hours,
for the ascent was not very gradual, but when we passed the backbone and
approached the station, the driver surpassed all his previous efforts in
the way of rush and clatter. He could not have six horses all the time,
so he made the most of his chance while he had it.

Up to this point we had been in the heart of the William Tell region.
The hero is not forgotten, by any means, or held in doubtful veneration.
His wooden image, with his bow drawn, above the doors of taverns, was a
frequent feature of the scenery.

About noon we arrived at the foot of the Bruenig Pass, and made a
two-hour stop at the village hotel, another of those clean, pretty, and
thoroughly well-kept inns which are such an astonishment to people
who are accustomed to hotels of a dismally different pattern in remote
country-towns. There was a lake here, in the lap of the great mountains,
the green slopes that rose toward the lower crags were graced with
scattered Swiss cottages nestling among miniature farms and gardens,
and from out a leafy ambuscade in the upper heights tumbled a brawling

Carriage after carriage, laden with tourists and trunks, arrived, and
the quiet hotel was soon populous. We were early at the table d’hôte and
saw the people all come in. There were twenty-five, perhaps. They were
of various nationalities, but we were the only Americans. Next to me sat
an English bride, and next to her sat her new husband, whom she called
“Neddy,” though he was big enough and stalwart enough to be entitled to
his full name. They had a pretty little lovers’ quarrel over what wine
they should have. Neddy was for obeying the guide-book and taking the
wine of the country; but the bride said:

“What, that nahsty stuff!”

“It isn’t nahsty, pet, it’s quite good.”

“It IS nahsty.”

“No, it ISN’T nahsty.”

“It’s Oful nahsty, Neddy, and I shahn’t drink it.”

Then the question was, what she must have. She said he knew very well
that she never drank anything but champagne.

She added:

“You know very well papa always has champagne on his table, and I’ve
always been used to it.”

Neddy made a playful pretense of being distressed about the expense,
and this amused her so much that she nearly exhausted herself with
laughter--and this pleased HIM so much that he repeated his jest a
couple of times, and added new and killing varieties to it. When the
bride finally recovered, she gave Neddy a love-box on the arm with her
fan, and said with arch severity:

“Well, you would HAVE me--nothing else would do--so you’ll have to make
the best of a bad bargain. DO order the champagne, I’m Oful dry.”

So with a mock groan which made her laugh again, Neddy ordered the

The fact that this young woman had never moistened the selvedge edge of
her soul with a less plebeian tipple than champagne, had a marked and
subduing effect on Harris. He believed she belonged to the royal family.
But I had my doubts.

We heard two or three different languages spoken by people at the
table and guessed out the nationalities of most of the guests to our
satisfaction, but we failed with an elderly gentleman and his wife and
a young girl who sat opposite us, and with a gentleman of about
thirty-five who sat three seats beyond Harris. We did not hear any of
these speak. But finally the last-named gentleman left while we were not
noticing, but we looked up as he reached the far end of the table. He
stopped there a moment, and made his toilet with a pocket comb. So he
was a German; or else he had lived in German hotels long enough to catch
the fashion. When the elderly couple and the young girl rose to leave,
they bowed respectfully to us. So they were Germans, too. This national
custom is worth six of the other one, for export.

After dinner we talked with several Englishmen, and they inflamed our
desire to a hotter degree than ever, to see the sights of Meiringen from
the heights of the Bruenig Pass. They said the view was marvelous, and
that one who had seen it once could never forget it. They also spoke of
the romantic nature of the road over the pass, and how in one place it
had been cut through a flank of the solid rock, in such a way that the
mountain overhung the tourist as he passed by; and they furthermore said
that the sharp turns in the road and the abruptness of the descent would
afford us a thrilling experience, for we should go down in a flying
gallop and seem to be spinning around the rings of a whirlwind, like a
drop of whiskey descending the spirals of a corkscrew.

I got all the information out of these gentlemen that we could need; and
then, to make everything complete, I asked them if a body could get hold
of a little fruit and milk here and there, in case of necessity. They
threw up their hands in speechless intimation that the road was simply
paved with refreshment-peddlers. We were impatient to get away, now, and
the rest of our two-hour stop rather dragged. But finally the set time
arrived and we began the ascent. Indeed it was a wonderful road. It was
smooth, and compact, and clean, and the side next the precipices was
guarded all along by dressed stone posts about three feet high, placed
at short distances apart. The road could not have been better built if
Napoleon the First had built it. He seems to have been the introducer of
the sort of roads which Europe now uses. All literature which describes
life as it existed in England, France, and Germany up to the close
of the last century, is filled with pictures of coaches and carriages
wallowing through these three countries in mud and slush half-wheel
deep; but after Napoleon had floundered through a conquered kingdom he
generally arranged things so that the rest of the world could follow

We went on climbing, higher and higher, and curving hither and thither,
in the shade of noble woods, and with a rich variety and profusion of
wild flowers all about us; and glimpses of rounded grassy backbones
below us occupied by trim chalets and nibbling sheep, and other glimpses
of far lower altitudes, where distance diminished the chalets to toys
and obliterated the sheep altogether; and every now and then some
ermined monarch of the Alps swung magnificently into view for a moment,
then drifted past an intervening spur and disappeared again.

It was an intoxicating trip altogether; the exceeding sense of
satisfaction that follows a good dinner added largely to the enjoyment;
the having something especial to look forward to and muse about, like
the approaching grandeurs of Meiringen, sharpened the zest. Smoking
was never so good before, solid comfort was never solider; we lay back
against the thick cushions silent, meditative, steeped in felicity. *
* * * * * * * I rubbed my eyes, opened them, and started. I had been
dreaming I was at sea, and it was a thrilling surprise to wake up and
find land all around me. It took me a couple seconds to “come to,” as
you may say; then I took in the situation. The horses were drinking at
a trough in the edge of a town, the driver was taking beer, Harris was
snoring at my side, the courier, with folded arms and bowed head, was
sleeping on the box, two dozen barefooted and bareheaded children were
gathered about the carriage, with their hands crossed behind, gazing up
with serious and innocent admiration at the dozing tourists baking there
in the sun. Several small girls held night-capped babies nearly as big
as themselves in their arms, and even these fat babies seemed to take a
sort of sluggish interest in us.

We had slept an hour and a half and missed all the scenery! I did not
need anybody to tell me that. If I had been a girl, I could have cursed
for vexation. As it was, I woke up the agent and gave him a piece of
my mind. Instead of being humiliated, he only upbraided me for being
so wanting in vigilance. He said he had expected to improve his mind by
coming to Europe, but a man might travel to the ends of the earth with
me and never see anything, for I was manifestly endowed with the very
genius of ill luck. He even tried to get up some emotion about that
poor courier, who never got a chance to see anything, on account of my
heedlessness. But when I thought I had borne about enough of this kind
of talk, I threatened to make Harris tramp back to the summit and make a
report on that scenery, and this suggestion spiked his battery.

We drove sullenly through Brienz, dead to the seductions of its
bewildering array of Swiss carvings and the clamorous HOO-hooing of
its cuckoo clocks, and had not entirely recovered our spirits when we
rattled across a bridge over the rushing blue river and entered the
pretty town of Interlaken. It was just about sunset, and we had made the
trip from Lucerne in ten hours.


[The Jungfrau, the Bride, and the Piano]

We located ourselves at the Jungfrau Hotel, one of those huge
establishments which the needs of modern travel have created in every
attractive spot on the continent. There was a great gathering at dinner,
and, as usual, one heard all sorts of languages.

The table d’hôte was served by waitresses dressed in the quaint and
comely costume of the Swiss peasants. This consists of a simple gros de
laine, trimmed with ashes of roses, with overskirt of scare bleu ventre
saint gris, cut bias on the off-side, with facings of petit polonaise
and narrow insertions of pâte de foie gras backstitched to the mise
en sce`ne in the form of a jeu d’esprit. It gives to the wearer a
singularly piquant and alluring aspect.

One of these waitresses, a woman of forty, had side-whiskers reaching
half-way down her jaws. They were two fingers broad, dark in color,
pretty thick, and the hairs were an inch long. One sees many women on
the continent with quite conspicuous mustaches, but this was the only
woman I saw who had reached the dignity of whiskers.

After dinner the guests of both sexes distributed themselves about the
front porches and the ornamental grounds belonging to the hotel, to
enjoy the cool air; but, as the twilight deepened toward darkness, they
gathered themselves together in that saddest and solemnest and most
constrained of all places, the great blank drawing-room which is the
chief feature of all continental summer hotels. There they grouped
themselves about, in couples and threes, and mumbled in bated voices,
and looked timid and homeless and forlorn.

There was a small piano in this room, a clattery, wheezy, asthmatic
thing, certainly the very worst miscarriage in the way of a piano that
the world has seen. In turn, five or six dejected and homesick ladies
approached it doubtingly, gave it a single inquiring thump, and
retired with the lockjaw. But the boss of that instrument was to come,
nevertheless; and from my own country--from Arkansaw.

She was a brand-new bride, innocent, girlish, happy in herself and her
grave and worshiping stripling of a husband; she was about eighteen,
just out of school, free from affectations, unconscious of that
passionless multitude around her; and the very first time she smote
that old wreck one recognized that it had met its destiny. Her stripling
brought an armful of aged sheet-music from their room--for this bride
went “heeled,” as you might say--and bent himself lovingly over and got
ready to turn the pages.

The bride fetched a swoop with her fingers from one end of the keyboard
to the other, just to get her bearings, as it were, and you could see
the congregation set their teeth with the agony of it. Then, without
any more preliminaries, she turned on all the horrors of the “Battle of
Prague,” that venerable shivaree, and waded chin-deep in the blood of
the slain. She made a fair and honorable average of two false notes in
every five, but her soul was in arms and she never stopped to correct.
The audience stood it with pretty fair grit for a while, but when the
cannonade waxed hotter and fiercer, and the discord average rose to
four in five, the procession began to move. A few stragglers held their
ground ten minutes longer, but when the girl began to wring the true
inwardness out of the “cries of the wounded,” they struck their colors
and retired in a kind of panic.

There never was a completer victory; I was the only non-combatant left
on the field. I would not have deserted my countrywoman anyhow, but
indeed I had no desires in that direction. None of us like mediocrity,
but we all reverence perfection. This girl’s music was perfection in its
way; it was the worst music that had ever been achieved on our planet by
a mere human being.

I moved up close, and never lost a strain. When she got through, I
asked her to play it again. She did it with a pleased alacrity and a
heightened enthusiasm. She made it ALL discords, this time. She got an
amount of anguish into the cries of the wounded that shed a new light on
human suffering. She was on the war-path all the evening. All the time,
crowds of people gathered on the porches and pressed their noses against
the windows to look and marvel, but the bravest never ventured in.
The bride went off satisfied and happy with her young fellow, when her
appetite was finally gorged, and the tourists swarmed in again.

What a change has come over Switzerland, and in fact all Europe, during
this century! Seventy or eighty years ago Napoleon was the only man in
Europe who could really be called a traveler; he was the only man who
had devoted his attention to it and taken a powerful interest in it; he
was the only man who had traveled extensively; but now everybody goes
everywhere; and Switzerland, and many other regions which were unvisited
and unknown remotenesses a hundred years ago, are in our days a buzzing
hive of restless strangers every summer. But I digress.

In the morning, when we looked out of our windows, we saw a wonderful
sight. Across the valley, and apparently quite neighborly and close at
hand, the giant form of the Jungfrau rose cold and white into the clear
sky, beyond a gateway in the nearer highlands. It reminded me, somehow,
of one of those colossal billows which swells suddenly up beside one’s
ship, at sea, sometimes, with its crest and shoulders snowy white, and
the rest of its noble proportions streaked downward with creamy foam.

I took out my sketch-book and made a little picture of the Jungfrau,
merely to get the shape.

I do not regard this as one of my finished works, in fact I do not rank
it among my Works at all; it is only a study; it is hardly more than
what one might call a sketch. Other artists have done me the grace to
admire it; but I am severe in my judgments of my own pictures, and this
one does not move me.

It was hard to believe that that lofty wooded rampart on the left which
so overtops the Jungfrau was not actually the higher of the two, but it
was not, of course. It is only two or three thousand feet high, and of
course has no snow upon it in summer, whereas the Jungfrau is not much
shorter of fourteen thousand feet high and therefore that lowest verge
of snow on her side, which seems nearly down to the valley level, is
really about seven thousand feet higher up in the air than the summit
of that wooded rampart. It is the distance that makes the deception.
The wooded height is but four or five miles removed from us, but the
Jungfrau is four or five times that distance away.

Walking down the street of shops, in the fore-noon, I was attracted by
a large picture, carved, frame and all, from a single block of
chocolate-colored wood. There are people who know everything. Some of
these had told us that continental shopkeepers always raise their prices
on English and Americans. Many people had told us it was expensive to
buy things through a courier, whereas I had supposed it was just the
reverse. When I saw this picture, I conjectured that it was worth more
than the friend I proposed to buy it for would like to pay, but still it
was worth while to inquire; so I told the courier to step in and ask
the price, as if he wanted it for himself; I told him not to speak in
English, and above all not to reveal the fact that he was a courier.
Then I moved on a few yards, and waited.

The courier came presently and reported the price. I said to myself, “It
is a hundred francs too much,” and so dismissed the matter from my
mind. But in the afternoon I was passing that place with Harris, and the
picture attracted me again. We stepped in, to see how much higher
broken German would raise the price. The shopwoman named a figure just
a hundred francs lower than the courier had named. This was a pleasant
surprise. I said I would take it. After I had given directions as to
where it was to be shipped, the shopwoman said, appealingly:

“If you please, do not let your courier know you bought it.”

This was an unexpected remark. I said:

“What makes you think I have a courier?”

“Ah, that is very simple; he told me himself.”

“He was very thoughtful. But tell me--why did you charge him more than
you are charging me?”

“That is very simple, also: I do not have to pay you a percentage.”

“Oh, I begin to see. You would have had to pay the courier a

“Undoubtedly. The courier always has his percentage. In this case it
would have been a hundred francs.”

“Then the tradesman does not pay a part of it--the purchaser pays all of

“There are occasions when the tradesman and the courier agree upon a
price which is twice or thrice the value of the article, then the two
divide, and both get a percentage.”

“I see. But it seems to me that the purchaser does all the paying, even

“Oh, to be sure! It goes without saying.”

“But I have bought this picture myself; therefore why shouldn’t the
courier know it?”

The woman exclaimed, in distress:

“Ah, indeed it would take all my little profit! He would come and demand
his hundred francs, and I should have to pay.”

“He has not done the buying. You could refuse.”

“I could not dare to refuse. He would never bring travelers here again.
More than that, he would denounce me to the other couriers, they would
divert custom from me, and my business would be injured.”

I went away in a thoughtful frame of mind. I began to see why a courier
could afford to work for fifty-five dollars a month and his fares. A
month or two later I was able to understand why a courier did not have
to pay any board and lodging, and why my hotel bills were always larger
when I had him with me than when I left him behind, somewhere, for a few

Another thing was also explained, now, apparently. In one town I had
taken the courier to the bank to do the translating when I drew some
money. I had sat in the reading-room till the transaction was finished.
Then a clerk had brought the money to me in person, and had been
exceedingly polite, even going so far as to precede me to the door and
holding it open for me and bow me out as if I had been a distinguished
personage. It was a new experience. Exchange had been in my favor ever
since I had been in Europe, but just that one time. I got simply the
face of my draft, and no extra francs, whereas I had expected to get
quite a number of them. This was the first time I had ever used the
courier at the bank. I had suspected something then, and as long as he
remained with me afterward I managed bank matters by myself.

Still, if I felt that I could afford the tax, I would never travel
without a courier, for a good courier is a convenience whose value
cannot be estimated in dollars and cents. Without him, travel is a
bitter harassment, a purgatory of little exasperating annoyances, a
ceaseless and pitiless punishment--I mean to an irascible man who has no
business capacity and is confused by details.

Without a courier, travel hasn’t a ray of pleasure in it, anywhere; but
with him it is a continuous and unruffled delight. He is always at hand,
never has to be sent for; if your bell is not answered promptly--and it
seldom is--you have only to open the door and speak, the courier will
hear, and he will have the order attended to or raise an insurrection.
You tell him what day you will start, and whither you are going--leave
all the rest to him. You need not inquire about trains, or fares, or car
changes, or hotels, or anything else. At the proper time he will put you
in a cab or an omnibus, and drive you to the train or the boat; he has
packed your luggage and transferred it, he has paid all the bills. Other
people have preceded you half an hour to scramble for impossible places
and lose their tempers, but you can take your time; the courier has
secured your seats for you, and you can occupy them at your leisure.

At the station, the crowd mash one another to pulp in the effort to get
the weigher’s attention to their trunks; they dispute hotly with these
tyrants, who are cool and indifferent; they get their baggage billets,
at last, and then have another squeeze and another rage over the
disheartening business of trying to get them recorded and paid for, and
still another over the equally disheartening business of trying to get
near enough to the ticket office to buy a ticket; and now, with their
tempers gone to the dogs, they must stand penned up and packed together,
laden with wraps and satchels and shawl-straps, with the weary wife and
babies, in the waiting-room, till the doors are thrown open--and then
all hands make a grand final rush to the train, find it full, and have
to stand on the platform and fret until some more cars are put on. They
are in a condition to kill somebody by this time. Meantime, you have
been sitting in your car, smoking, and observing all this misery in the
extremest comfort.

On the journey the guard is polite and watchful--won’t allow anybody to
get into your compartment--tells them you are just recovering from the
small-pox and do not like to be disturbed. For the courier has made
everything right with the guard. At way-stations the courier comes to
your compartment to see if you want a glass of water, or a newspaper,
or anything; at eating-stations he sends luncheon out to you, while the
other people scramble and worry in the dining-rooms. If anything breaks
about the car you are in, and a station-master proposes to pack you and
your agent into a compartment with strangers, the courier reveals to him
confidentially that you are a French duke born deaf and dumb, and the
official comes and makes affable signs that he has ordered a choice car
to be added to the train for you.

At custom-houses the multitude file tediously through, hot and
irritated, and look on while the officers burrow into the trunks and
make a mess of everything; but you hand your keys to the courier and sit
still. Perhaps you arrive at your destination in a rain-storm at ten
at night--you generally do. The multitude spend half an hour verifying
their baggage and getting it transferred to the omnibuses; but the
courier puts you into a vehicle without a moment’s loss of time, and
when you reach your hotel you find your rooms have been secured two or
three days in advance, everything is ready, you can go at once to bed.
Some of those other people will have to drift around to two or three
hotels, in the rain, before they find accommodations.

I have not set down half of the virtues that are vested in a good
courier, but I think I have set down a sufficiency of them to show that
an irritable man who can afford one and does not employ him is not a
wise economist. My courier was the worst one in Europe, yet he was a
good deal better than none at all. It could not pay him to be a better
one than he was, because I could not afford to buy things through him.
He was a good enough courier for the small amount he got out of his
service. Yes, to travel with a courier is bliss, to travel without one
is the reverse.

I have had dealings with some very bad couriers; but I have also had
dealings with one who might fairly be called perfection. He was a young
Polander, named Joseph N. Verey. He spoke eight languages, and seemed
to be equally at home in all of them; he was shrewd, prompt, posted,
and punctual; he was fertile in resources, and singularly gifted in the
matter of overcoming difficulties; he not only knew how to do everything
in his line, but he knew the best ways and the quickest; he was handy
with children and invalids; all his employer needed to do was to take
life easy and leave everything to the courier. His address is, care of
Messrs. Gay & Son, Strand, London; he was formerly a conductor of Gay’s
tourist parties. Excellent couriers are somewhat rare; if the reader is
about to travel, he will find it to his advantage to make a note of this


[We Climb Far--by Buggy]

The beautiful Giesbach Fall is near Interlaken, on the other side of
the lake of Brienz, and is illuminated every night with those gorgeous
theatrical fires whose name I cannot call just at this moment. This was
said to be a spectacle which the tourist ought by no means to miss. I
was strongly tempted, but I could not go there with propriety, because
one goes in a boat. The task which I had set myself was to walk over
Europe on foot, not skim over it in a boat. I had made a tacit contract
with myself; it was my duty to abide by it. I was willing to make boat
trips for pleasure, but I could not conscientiously make them in the way
of business.

It cost me something of a pang to lose that fine sight, but I lived down
the desire, and gained in my self-respect through the triumph. I had
a finer and a grander sight, however, where I was. This was the mighty
dome of the Jungfrau softly outlined against the sky and faintly
silvered by the starlight. There was something subduing in the influence
of that silent and solemn and awful presence; one seemed to meet the
immutable, the indestructible, the eternal, face to face, and to feel
the trivial and fleeting nature of his own existence the more sharply
by the contrast. One had the sense of being under the brooding
contemplation of a spirit, not an inert mass of rocks and ice--a spirit
which had looked down, through the slow drift of the ages, upon a
million vanished races of men, and judged them; and would judge a
million more--and still be there, watching, unchanged and unchangeable,
after all life should be gone and the earth have become a vacant

While I was feeling these things, I was groping, without knowing it,
toward an understanding of what the spell is which people find in the
Alps, and in no other mountains--that strange, deep, nameless influence,
which, once felt, cannot be forgotten--once felt, leaves always
behind it a restless longing to feel it again--a longing which is like
homesickness; a grieving, haunting yearning which will plead, implore,
and persecute till it has its will. I met dozens of people, imaginative
and unimaginative, cultivated and uncultivated, who had come from far
countries and roamed through the Swiss Alps year after year--they could
not explain why. They had come first, they said, out of idle curiosity,
because everybody talked about it; they had come since because they
could not help it, and they should keep on coming, while they lived, for
the same reason; they had tried to break their chains and stay away, but
it was futile; now, they had no desire to break them. Others came nearer
formulating what they felt; they said they could find perfect rest and
peace nowhere else when they were troubled: all frets and worries and
chafings sank to sleep in the presence of the benignant serenity of the
Alps; the Great Spirit of the Mountain breathed his own peace upon their
hurt minds and sore hearts, and healed them; they could not think base
thoughts or do mean and sordid things here, before the visible throne of

Down the road a piece was a Kursaal--whatever that may be--and we joined
the human tide to see what sort of enjoyment it might afford. It was the
usual open-air concert, in an ornamental garden, with wines, beer, milk,
whey, grapes, etc.--the whey and the grapes being necessaries of life to
certain invalids whom physicians cannot repair, and who only continue to
exist by the grace of whey or grapes. One of these departed spirits told
me, in a sad and lifeless way, that there is no way for him to live but
by whey, and dearly, dearly loved whey, he didn’t know whey he did, but
he did. After making this pun he died--that is the whey it served him.

Some other remains, preserved from decomposition by the grape system,
told me that the grapes were of a peculiar breed, highly medicinal in
their nature, and that they were counted out and administered by the
grape-doctors as methodically as if they were pills. The new patient,
if very feeble, began with one grape before breakfast, took three
during breakfast, a couple between meals, five at luncheon, three in the
afternoon, seven at dinner, four for supper, and part of a grape just
before going to bed, by way of a general regulator. The quantity was
gradually and regularly increased, according to the needs and capacities
of the patient, until by and by you would find him disposing of his one
grape per second all the day long, and his regular barrel per day.

He said that men cured in this way, and enabled to discard the grape
system, never afterward got over the habit of talking as if they were
dictating to a slow amanuensis, because they always made a pause between
each two words while they sucked the substance out of an imaginary
grape. He said these were tedious people to talk with. He said that men
who had been cured by the other process were easily distinguished from
the rest of mankind because they always tilted their heads back, between
every two words, and swallowed a swig of imaginary whey. He said it was
an impressive thing to observe two men, who had been cured by the two
processes, engaged in conversation--said their pauses and accompanying
movements were so continuous and regular that a stranger would think
himself in the presence of a couple of automatic machines. One finds
out a great many wonderful things, by traveling, if he stumbles upon the
right person.

I did not remain long at the Kursaal; the music was good enough, but it
seemed rather tame after the cyclone of that Arkansaw expert. Besides,
my adventurous spirit had conceived a formidable enterprise--nothing
less than a trip from Interlaken, by the Gemmi and Visp, clear to
Zermatt, on foot! So it was necessary to plan the details, and get ready
for an early start. The courier (this was not the one I have just been
speaking of) thought that the portier of the hotel would be able to tell
us how to find our way. And so it turned out. He showed us the whole
thing, on a relief-map, and we could see our route, with all its
elevations and depressions, its villages and its rivers, as clearly as
if we were sailing over it in a balloon. A relief-map is a great thing.
The portier also wrote down each day’s journey and the nightly hotel on
a piece of paper, and made our course so plain that we should never be
able to get lost without high-priced outside help.

I put the courier in the care of a gentleman who was going to Lausanne,
and then we went to bed, after laying out the walking-costumes and
putting them into condition for instant occupation in the morning.

However, when we came down to breakfast at 8 A.M., it looked so much
like rain that I hired a two-horse top-buggy for the first third of the
journey. For two or three hours we jogged along the level road which
skirts the beautiful lake of Thun, with a dim and dreamlike picture of
watery expanses and spectral Alpine forms always before us, veiled in
a mellowing mist. Then a steady downpour set in, and hid everything but
the nearest objects. We kept the rain out of our faces with umbrellas,
and away from our bodies with the leather apron of the buggy; but the
driver sat unsheltered and placidly soaked the weather in and seemed
to like it. We had the road to ourselves, and I never had a pleasanter

The weather began to clear while we were driving up a valley called the
Kienthal, and presently a vast black cloud-bank in front of us dissolved
away and uncurtained the grand proportions and the soaring loftiness of
the Blumis Alp. It was a sort of breath-taking surprise; for we had not
supposed there was anything behind that low-hung blanket of sable cloud
but level valley. What we had been mistaking for fleeting glimpses of
sky away aloft there, were really patches of the Blumis’s snowy crest
caught through shredded rents in the drifting pall of vapor.

We dined in the inn at Frutigen, and our driver ought to have dined
there, too, but he would not have had time to dine and get drunk
both, so he gave his mind to making a masterpiece of the latter, and
succeeded. A German gentleman and his two young-lady daughters had been
taking their nooning at the inn, and when they left, just ahead of us,
it was plain that their driver was as drunk as ours, and as happy
and good-natured, too, which was saying a good deal. These rascals
overflowed with attentions and information for their guests, and with
brotherly love for each other. They tied their reins, and took off
their coats and hats, so that they might be able to give unencumbered
attention to conversation and to the gestures necessary for its

The road was smooth; it led up and over and down a continual succession
of hills; but it was narrow, the horses were used to it, and could
not well get out of it anyhow; so why shouldn’t the drivers entertain
themselves and us? The noses of our horses projected sociably into the
rear of the forward carriage, and as we toiled up the long hills our
driver stood up and talked to his friend, and his friend stood up and
talked back to him, with his rear to the scenery. When the top was
reached and we went flying down the other side, there was no change
in the program. I carry in my memory yet the picture of that forward
driver, on his knees on his high seat, resting his elbows on its back,
and beaming down on his passengers, with happy eye, and flying hair, and
jolly red face, and offering his card to the old German gentleman while
he praised his hack and horses, and both teams were whizzing down a
long hill with nobody in a position to tell whether we were bound to
destruction or an undeserved safety.

Toward sunset we entered a beautiful green valley dotted with chalets, a
cozy little domain hidden away from the busy world in a cloistered nook
among giant precipices topped with snowy peaks that seemed to float like
islands above the curling surf of the sea of vapor that severed them
from the lower world. Down from vague and vaporous heights, little
ruffled zigzag milky currents came crawling, and found their way to the
verge of one of those tremendous overhanging walls, whence they plunged,
a shaft of silver, shivered to atoms in mid-descent and turned to an air
puff of luminous dust. Here and there, in grooved depressions among the
snowy desolations of the upper altitudes, one glimpsed the extremity of
a glacier, with its sea-green and honeycombed battlements of ice.

Up the valley, under a dizzy precipice, nestled the village of
Kandersteg, our halting-place for the night. We were soon there, and
housed in the hotel. But the waning day had such an inviting influence
that we did not remain housed many moments, but struck out and followed
a roaring torrent of ice-water up to its far source in a sort of little
grass-carpeted parlor, walled in all around by vast precipices and
overlooked by clustering summits of ice. This was the snuggest little
croquet-ground imaginable; it was perfectly level, and not more than a
mile long by half a mile wide. The walls around it were so gigantic, and
everything about it was on so mighty a scale that it was belittled, by
contrast, to what I have likened it to--a cozy and carpeted parlor. It
was so high above the Kandersteg valley that there was nothing between
it and the snowy-peaks. I had never been in such intimate relations with
the high altitudes before; the snow-peaks had always been remote and
unapproachable grandeurs, hitherto, but now we were hob-a-nob--if one
may use such a seemingly irreverent expression about creations so august
as these.

We could see the streams which fed the torrent we had followed issuing
from under the greenish ramparts of glaciers; but two or three of these,
instead of flowing over the precipices, sank down into the rock and
sprang in big jets out of holes in the mid-face of the walls.

The green nook which I have been describing is called the Gasternthal.
The glacier streams gather and flow through it in a broad and rushing
brook to a narrow cleft between lofty precipices; here the rushing
brook becomes a mad torrent and goes booming and thundering down
toward Kandersteg, lashing and thrashing its way over and among monster
boulders, and hurling chance roots and logs about like straws. There
was no lack of cascades along this route. The path by the side of
the torrent was so narrow that one had to look sharp, when he heard a
cow-bell, and hunt for a place that was wide enough to accommodate a cow
and a Christian side by side, and such places were not always to be had
at an instant’s notice. The cows wear church-bells, and that is a
good idea in the cows, for where that torrent is, you couldn’t hear
an ordinary cow-bell any further than you could hear the ticking of a

I needed exercise, so I employed my agent in setting stranded logs and
dead trees adrift, and I sat on a boulder and watched them go whirling
and leaping head over heels down the boiling torrent. It was a
wonderfully exhilarating spectacle. When I had had enough exercise, I
made the agent take some, by running a race with one of those logs. I
made a trifle by betting on the log.

After dinner we had a walk up and down the Kandersteg valley, in the
soft gloaming, with the spectacle of the dying lights of day playing
about the crests and pinnacles of the still and solemn upper realm
for contrast, and text for talk. There were no sounds but the dulled
complaining of the torrent and the occasional tinkling of a distant
bell. The spirit of the place was a sense of deep, pervading peace; one
might dream his life tranquilly away there, and not miss it or mind it
when it was gone.

The summer departed with the sun, and winter came with the stars. It
grew to be a bitter night in that little hotel, backed up against a
precipice that had no visible top to it, but we kept warm, and woke in
time in the morning to find that everybody else had left for Gemmi
three hours before--so our little plan of helping that German family
(principally the old man) over the pass, was a blocked generosity.


[The World’s Highest Pig Farm]

We hired the only guide left, to lead us on our way. He was over
seventy, but he could have given me nine-tenths of his strength and
still had all his age entitled him to. He shouldered our satchels,
overcoats, and alpenstocks, and we set out up the steep path. It was hot
work. The old man soon begged us to hand over our coats and waistcoats
to him to carry, too, and we did it; one could not refuse so little a
thing to a poor old man like that; he should have had them if he had
been a hundred and fifty.

When we began that ascent, we could see a microscopic chalet perched
away up against heaven on what seemed to be the highest mountain near
us. It was on our right, across the narrow head of the valley. But when
we got up abreast it on its own level, mountains were towering high
above on every hand, and we saw that its altitude was just about that of
the little Gasternthal which we had visited the evening before. Still it
seemed a long way up in the air, in that waste and lonely wilderness of
rocks. It had an unfenced grass-plot in front of it which seemed about
as big as a billiard-table, and this grass-plot slanted so sharply
downward, and was so brief, and ended so exceedingly soon at the verge
of the absolute precipice, that it was a shuddery thing to think of a
person’s venturing to trust his foot on an incline so situated at all.
Suppose a man stepped on an orange peel in that yard; there would be
nothing for him to seize; nothing could keep him from rolling; five
revolutions would bring him to the edge, and over he would go.

What a frightful distance he would fall!--for there are very few birds
that fly as high as his starting-point. He would strike and bounce, two
or three times, on his way down, but this would be no advantage to him.
I would as soon take an airing on the slant of a rainbow as in such
a front yard. I would rather, in fact, for the distance down would be
about the same, and it is pleasanter to slide than to bounce. I could
not see how the peasants got up to that chalet--the region seemed too
steep for anything but a balloon.

As we strolled on, climbing up higher and higher, we were continually
bringing neighboring peaks into view and lofty prominence which had been
hidden behind lower peaks before; so by and by, while standing before a
group of these giants, we looked around for the chalet again; there it
was, away down below us, apparently on an inconspicuous ridge in the
valley! It was as far below us, now, as it had been above us when we
were beginning the ascent.

After a while the path led us along a railed precipice, and we looked
over--far beneath us was the snug parlor again, the little Gasternthal,
with its water jets spouting from the face of its rock walls. We could
have dropped a stone into it. We had been finding the top of the world
all along--and always finding a still higher top stealing into view in
a disappointing way just ahead; when we looked down into the Gasternthal
we felt pretty sure that we had reached the genuine top at last, but it
was not so; there were much higher altitudes to be scaled yet. We were
still in the pleasant shade of forest trees, we were still in a region
which was cushioned with beautiful mosses and aglow with the many-tinted
luster of innumerable wild flowers.

We found, indeed, more interest in the wild flowers than in anything
else. We gathered a specimen or two of every kind which we were
unacquainted with; so we had sumptuous bouquets. But one of the chief
interests lay in chasing the seasons of the year up the mountain, and
determining them by the presence of flowers and berries which we were
acquainted with. For instance, it was the end of August at the level
of the sea; in the Kandersteg valley at the base of the pass, we found
flowers which would not be due at the sea-level for two or three weeks;
higher up, we entered October, and gathered fringed gentians. I made
no notes, and have forgotten the details, but the construction of the
floral calendar was very entertaining while it lasted.

In the high regions we found rich store of the splendid red flower
called the Alpine rose, but we did not find any examples of the ugly
Swiss favorite called Edelweiss. Its name seems to indicate that it is a
noble flower and that it is white. It may be noble enough, but it is not
attractive, and it is not white. The fuzzy blossom is the color of bad
cigar ashes, and appears to be made of a cheap quality of gray plush. It
has a noble and distant way of confining itself to the high altitudes,
but that is probably on account of its looks; it apparently has no
monopoly of those upper altitudes, however, for they are sometimes
intruded upon by some of the loveliest of the valley families of wild
flowers. Everybody in the Alps wears a sprig of Edelweiss in his hat. It
is the native’s pet, and also the tourist’s.

All the morning, as we loafed along, having a good time, other
pedestrians went staving by us with vigorous strides, and with the
intent and determined look of men who were walking for a wager. These
wore loose knee-breeches, long yarn stockings, and hobnailed high-laced
walking-shoes. They were gentlemen who would go home to England or
Germany and tell how many miles they had beaten the guide-book every
day. But I doubted if they ever had much real fun, outside of the mere
magnificent exhilaration of the tramp through the green valleys and the
breezy heights; for they were almost always alone, and even the finest
scenery loses incalculably when there is no one to enjoy it with.

All the morning an endless double procession of mule-mounted tourists
filed past us along the narrow path--the one procession going, the
other coming. We had taken a good deal of trouble to teach ourselves the
kindly German custom of saluting all strangers with doffed hat, and we
resolutely clung to it, that morning, although it kept us bareheaded
most of the time and was not always responded to. Still we found an
interest in the thing, because we naturally liked to know who were
English and Americans among the passers-by. All continental natives
responded of course; so did some of the English and Americans, but, as
a general thing, these two races gave no sign. Whenever a man or a woman
showed us cold neglect, we spoke up confidently in our own tongue and
asked for such information as we happened to need, and we always got a
reply in the same language. The English and American folk are not less
kindly than other races, they are only more reserved, and that comes of
habit and education. In one dreary, rocky waste, away above the line of
vegetation, we met a procession of twenty-five mounted young men, all
from America. We got answering bows enough from these, of course, for
they were of an age to learn to do in Rome as Rome does, without much

At one extremity of this patch of desolation, overhung by bare and
forbidding crags which husbanded drifts of everlasting snow in their
shaded cavities, was a small stretch of thin and discouraged grass, and
a man and a family of pigs were actually living here in some shanties.
Consequently this place could be really reckoned as “property”; it had
a money value, and was doubtless taxed. I think it must have marked
the limit of real estate in this world. It would be hard to set a money
value upon any piece of earth that lies between that spot and the empty
realm of space. That man may claim the distinction of owning the end
of the world, for if there is any definite end to the world he has
certainly found it.

From here forward we moved through a storm-swept and smileless
desolation. All about us rose gigantic masses, crags, and ramparts of
bare and dreary rock, with not a vestige or semblance of plant or tree
or flower anywhere, or glimpse of any creature that had life. The frost
and the tempests of unnumbered ages had battered and hacked at these
cliffs, with a deathless energy, destroying them piecemeal; so all the
region about their bases was a tumbled chaos of great fragments which
had been split off and hurled to the ground. Soiled and aged banks of
snow lay close about our path. The ghastly desolation of the place was
as tremendously complete as if Doré had furnished the working-plans
for it. But every now and then, through the stern gateways around us
we caught a view of some neighboring majestic dome, sheathed with
glittering ice, and displaying its white purity at an elevation compared
to which ours was groveling and plebeian, and this spectacle always
chained one’s interest and admiration at once, and made him forget there
was anything ugly in the world.

I have just said that there was nothing but death and desolation in
these hideous places, but I forgot. In the most forlorn and arid and
dismal one of all, where the racked and splintered debris was thickest,
where the ancient patches of snow lay against the very path, where
the winds blew bitterest and the general aspect was mournfulest and
dreariest, and furthest from any suggestion of cheer or hope, I found
a solitary wee forget-me-not flourishing away, not a droop about it
anywhere, but holding its bright blue star up with the prettiest and
gallantest air in the world, the only happy spirit, the only smiling
thing, in all that grisly desert. She seemed to say, “Cheer up!--as long
as we are here, let us make the best of it.” I judged she had earned a
right to a more hospitable place; so I plucked her up and sent her to
America to a friend who would respect her for the fight she had made,
all by her small self, to make a whole vast despondent Alpine desolation
stop breaking its heart over the unalterable, and hold up its head and
look at the bright side of things for once.

We stopped for a nooning at a strongly built little inn called the
Schwarenbach. It sits in a lonely spot among the peaks, where it is
swept by the trailing fringes of the cloud-rack, and is rained on, and
snowed on, and pelted and persecuted by the storms, nearly every day of
its life. It was the only habitation in the whole Gemmi Pass.

Close at hand, now, was a chance for a blood-curdling Alpine adventure.
Close at hand was the snowy mass of the Great Altels cooling its topknot
in the sky and daring us to an ascent. I was fired with the idea, and
immediately made up my mind to procure the necessary guides, ropes,
etc., and undertake it. I instructed Harris to go to the landlord of the
inn and set him about our preparations. Meantime, I went diligently to
work to read up and find out what this much-talked-of mountain-climbing
was like, and how one should go about it--for in these matters I
was ignorant. I opened Mr. Hinchliff’s SUMMER MONTHS AMONG THE ALPS
(published 1857), and selected his account of his ascent of Monte Rosa.

It began:

“It is very difficult to free the mind from excitement on the evening
before a grand expedition--”

I saw that I was too calm; so I walked the room a while and worked
myself into a high excitement; but the book’s next remark --that the
adventurer must get up at two in the morning--came as near as anything
to flatting it all out again. However, I reinforced it, and read on,
about how Mr. Hinchliff dressed by candle-light and was “soon down among
the guides, who were bustling about in the passage, packing provisions,
and making every preparation for the start”; and how he glanced out into
the cold clear night and saw that--

“The whole sky was blazing with stars, larger and brighter than they
appear through the dense atmosphere breathed by inhabitants of the lower
parts of the earth. They seemed actually suspended from the dark vault
of heaven, and their gentle light shed a fairylike gleam over the
snow-fields around the foot of the Matterhorn, which raised its
stupendous pinnacle on high, penetrating to the heart of the Great Bear,
and crowning itself with a diadem of his magnificent stars. Not a sound
disturbed the deep tranquillity of the night, except the distant roar
of streams which rush from the high plateau of the St. Theodule glacier,
and fall headlong over precipitous rocks till they lose themselves in
the mazes of the Gorner glacier.”

He took his hot toast and coffee, and then about half past three his
caravan of ten men filed away from the Riffel Hotel, and began the steep
climb. At half past five he happened to turn around, and “beheld the
glorious spectacle of the Matterhorn, just touched by the rosy-fingered
morning, and looking like a huge pyramid of fire rising out of the
barren ocean of ice and rock around it.” Then the Breithorn and the Dent
Blanche caught the radiant glow; but “the intervening mass of Monte Rosa
made it necessary for us to climb many long hours before we could hope
to see the sun himself, yet the whole air soon grew warmer after the
splendid birth of the day.”

He gazed at the lofty crown of Monte Rosa and the wastes of snow that
guarded its steep approaches, and the chief guide delivered the opinion
that no man could conquer their awful heights and put his foot upon that
summit. But the adventurers moved steadily on, nevertheless.

They toiled up, and up, and still up; they passed the Grand Plateau;
then toiled up a steep shoulder of the mountain, clinging like flies to
its rugged face; and now they were confronted by a tremendous wall
from which great blocks of ice and snow were evidently in the habit of
falling. They turned aside to skirt this wall, and gradually ascended
until their way was barred by a “maze of gigantic snow crevices,”--so
they turned aside again, and “began a long climb of sufficient steepness
to make a zigzag course necessary.”

Fatigue compelled them to halt frequently, for a moment or two. At one
of these halts somebody called out, “Look at Mont Blanc!” and “we were
at once made aware of the very great height we had attained by actually
seeing the monarch of the Alps and his attendant satellites right over
the top of the Breithorn, itself at least 14,000 feet high!”

These people moved in single file, and were all tied to a strong rope,
at regular distances apart, so that if one of them slipped on those
giddy heights, the others could brace themselves on their alpenstocks
and save him from darting into the valley, thousands of feet below. By
and by they came to an ice-coated ridge which was tilted up at a sharp
angle, and had a precipice on one side of it. They had to climb this, so
the guide in the lead cut steps in the ice with his hatchet, and as fast
as he took his toes out of one of these slight holes, the toes of the
man behind him occupied it.

“Slowly and steadily we kept on our way over this dangerous part of the
ascent, and I dare say it was fortunate for some of us that attention
was distracted from the head by the paramount necessity of looking after

“Great caution, therefore, was absolutely necessary, and in this exposed
situation we were attacked by all the fury of that grand enemy of
aspirants to Monte Rosa--a severe and bitterly cold wind from the north.
The fine powdery snow was driven past us in the clouds, penetrating the
interstices of our clothes, and the pieces of ice which flew from the
blows of Peter’s ax were whisked into the air, and then dashed over the
precipice. We had quite enough to do to prevent ourselves from being
served in the same ruthless fashion, and now and then, in the more
violent gusts of wind, were glad to stick our alpenstocks into the ice
and hold on hard.”

Having surmounted this perilous steep, they sat down and took a brief
rest with their backs against a sheltering rock and their heels dangling
over a bottomless abyss; then they climbed to the base of another
ridge--a more difficult and dangerous one still:

“The whole of the ridge was exceedingly narrow, and the fall on each
side desperately steep, but the ice in some of these intervals between
the masses of rock assumed the form of a mere sharp edge, almost like a
knife; these places, though not more than three or four short paces
in length, looked uncommonly awkward; but, like the sword leading true
believers to the gates of Paradise, they must needs be passed before
we could attain to the summit of our ambition. These were in one or two
places so narrow, that in stepping over them with toes well turned
these occasions Peter would take my hand, and each of us stretching as
far as we could, he was thus enabled to get a firm footing two paces
or rather more from me, whence a spring would probably bring him to the
rock on the other side; then, turning around, he called to me to come,
and, taking a couple of steps carefully, I was met at the third by his
outstretched hand ready to clasp mine, and in a moment stood by his
side. The others followed in much the same fashion. Once my right foot
slipped on the side toward the precipice, but I threw out my left arm in
a moment so that it caught the icy edge under my armpit as I fell, and
supported me considerably; at the same instant I cast my eyes down the
side on which I had slipped, and contrived to plant my right foot on
a piece of rock as large as a cricket-ball, which chanced to protrude
through the ice, on the very edge of the precipice. Being thus anchored
fore and aft, as it were, I believe I could easily have recovered
myself, even if I had been alone, though it must be confessed the
situation would have been an awful one; as it was, however, a jerk from
Peter settled the matter very soon, and I was on my legs all right in an
instant. The rope is an immense help in places of this kind.”

Now they arrived at the base of a great knob or dome veneered with ice
and powdered with snow--the utmost, summit, the last bit of solidity
between them and the hollow vault of heaven. They set to work with their
hatchets, and were soon creeping, insectlike, up its surface, with their
heels projecting over the thinnest kind of nothingness, thickened up a
little with a few wandering shreds and films of cloud moving in a lazy
procession far below. Presently, one man’s toe-hold broke and he fell!
There he dangled in mid-air at the end of the rope, like a spider, till
his friends above hauled him into place again.

A little bit later, the party stood upon the wee pedestal of the very
summit, in a driving wind, and looked out upon the vast green expanses
of Italy and a shoreless ocean of billowy Alps.

When I had read thus far, Harris broke into the room in a noble
excitement and said the ropes and the guides were secured, and asked if
I was ready. I said I believed I wouldn’t ascend the Altels this time. I
said Alp-climbing was a different thing from what I had supposed it was,
and so I judged we had better study its points a little more before we
went definitely into it. But I told him to retain the guides and order
them to follow us to Zermatt, because I meant to use them there. I said
I could feel the spirit of adventure beginning to stir in me, and was
sure that the fell fascination of Alp-climbing would soon be upon me. I
said he could make up his mind to it that we would do a deed before
we were a week older which would make the hair of the timid curl with

This made Harris happy, and filled him with ambitious anticipations. He
went at once to tell the guides to follow us to Zermatt and bring all
their paraphernalia with them.


[Swindling the Coroner]

A great and priceless thing is a new interest! How it takes possession
of a man! how it clings to him, how it rides him! I strode onward from
the Schwarenbach hostelry a changed man, a reorganized personality. I
walked into a new world, I saw with new eyes. I had been looking
aloft at the giant show-peaks only as things to be worshiped for their
grandeur and magnitude, and their unspeakable grace of form; I looked
up at them now, as also things to be conquered and climbed. My sense of
their grandeur and their noble beauty was neither lost nor impaired; I
had gained a new interest in the mountains without losing the old ones.
I followed the steep lines up, inch by inch, with my eye, and noted the
possibility or impossibility of following them with my feet. When I saw
a shining helmet of ice projecting above the clouds, I tried to imagine
I saw files of black specks toiling up it roped together with a gossamer

We skirted the lonely little lake called the Daubensee, and presently
passed close by a glacier on the right--a thing like a great river
frozen solid in its flow and broken square off like a wall at its mouth.
I had never been so near a glacier before.

Here we came upon a new board shanty, and found some men engaged in
building a stone house; so the Schwarenbach was soon to have a rival. We
bought a bottle or so of beer here; at any rate they called it beer, but
I knew by the price that it was dissolved jewelry, and I perceived by
the taste that dissolved jewelry is not good stuff to drink.

We were surrounded by a hideous desolation. We stepped forward to a sort
of jumping-off place, and were confronted by a startling contrast: we
seemed to look down into fairyland. Two or three thousand feet below us
was a bright green level, with a pretty town in its midst, and a silvery
stream winding among the meadows; the charming spot was walled in on all
sides by gigantic precipices clothed with pines; and over the pines, out
of the softened distances, rose the snowy domes and peaks of the Monte
Rosa region. How exquisitely green and beautiful that little valley down
there was! The distance was not great enough to obliterate details, it
only made them little, and mellow, and dainty, like landscapes and towns
seen through the wrong end of a spy-glass.

Right under us a narrow ledge rose up out of the valley, with a green,
slanting, bench-shaped top, and grouped about upon this green-baize
bench were a lot of black and white sheep which looked merely like
oversized worms. The bench seemed lifted well up into our neighborhood,
but that was a deception--it was a long way down to it.

We began our descent, now, by the most remarkable road I have ever seen.
It wound its corkscrew curves down the face of the colossal precipice--a
narrow way, with always the solid rock wall at one elbow, and
perpendicular nothingness at the other. We met an everlasting procession
of guides, porters, mules, litters, and tourists climbing up this steep
and muddy path, and there was no room to spare when you had to pass a
tolerably fat mule. I always took the inside, when I heard or saw the
mule coming, and flattened myself against the wall. I preferred the
inside, of course, but I should have had to take it anyhow, because
the mule prefers the outside. A mule’s preference--on a precipice--is a
thing to be respected. Well, his choice is always the outside. His life
is mostly devoted to carrying bulky panniers and packages which rest
against his body--therefore he is habituated to taking the outside edge
of mountain paths, to keep his bundles from rubbing against rocks or
banks on the other. When he goes into the passenger business he absurdly
clings to his old habit, and keeps one leg of his passenger always
dangling over the great deeps of the lower world while that passenger’s
heart is in the highlands, so to speak. More than once I saw a mule’s
hind foot cave over the outer edge and send earth and rubbish into the
bottom abyss; and I noticed that upon these occasions the rider, whether
male or female, looked tolerably unwell.

There was one place where an eighteen-inch breadth of light masonry had
been added to the verge of the path, and as there was a very sharp
turn here, a panel of fencing had been set up there at some time, as
a protection. This panel was old and gray and feeble, and the light
masonry had been loosened by recent rains. A young American girl came
along on a mule, and in making the turn the mule’s hind foot caved all
the loose masonry and one of the fence-posts overboard; the mule gave a
violent lurch inboard to save himself, and succeeded in the effort, but
that girl turned as white as the snows of Mont Blanc for a moment.

The path was simply a groove cut into the face of the precipice; there
was a four-foot breadth of solid rock under the traveler, and four-foot
breadth of solid rock just above his head, like the roof of a narrow
porch; he could look out from this gallery and see a sheer summitless
and bottomless wall of rock before him, across a gorge or crack a
biscuit’s toss in width--but he could not see the bottom of his own
precipice unless he lay down and projected his nose over the edge. I did
not do this, because I did not wish to soil my clothes.

Every few hundred yards, at particularly bad places, one came across
a panel or so of plank fencing; but they were always old and weak,
and they generally leaned out over the chasm and did not make any rash
promises to hold up people who might need support. There was one of
these panels which had only its upper board left; a pedestrianizing
English youth came tearing down the path, was seized with an impulse to
look over the precipice, and without an instant’s thought he threw his
weight upon that crazy board. It bent outward a foot! I never made a
gasp before that came so near suffocating me. The English youth’s face
simply showed a lively surprise, but nothing more. He went swinging
along valleyward again, as if he did not know he had just swindled a
coroner by the closest kind of a shave.

The Alpine litter is sometimes like a cushioned box made fast between
the middles of two long poles, and sometimes it is a chair with a back
to it and a support for the feet. It is carried by relays of strong
porters. The motion is easier than that of any other conveyance. We met
a few men and a great many ladies in litters; it seemed to me that most
of the ladies looked pale and nauseated; their general aspect gave me
the idea that they were patiently enduring a horrible suffering. As a
rule, they looked at their laps, and left the scenery to take care of

But the most frightened creature I saw, was a led horse that overtook
us. Poor fellow, he had been born and reared in the grassy levels of the
Kandersteg valley and had never seen anything like this hideous place
before. Every few steps he would stop short, glance wildly out from
the dizzy height, and then spread his red nostrils wide and pant as
violently as if he had been running a race; and all the while he quaked
from head to heel as with a palsy. He was a handsome fellow, and he
made a fine statuesque picture of terror, but it was pitiful to see him
suffer so.

This dreadful path has had its tragedy. Baedeker, with his customary
over terseness, begins and ends the tale thus:

“The descent on horseback should be avoided. In 1861 a Comtesse
d’Herlincourt fell from her saddle over the precipice and was killed on
the spot.”

We looked over the precipice there, and saw the monument which
commemorates the event. It stands in the bottom of the gorge, in a place
which has been hollowed out of the rock to protect it from the torrent
and the storms. Our old guide never spoke but when spoken to, and then
limited himself to a syllable or two, but when we asked him about this
tragedy he showed a strong interest in the matter. He said the Countess
was very pretty, and very young--hardly out of her girlhood, in fact.
She was newly married, and was on her bridal tour. The young husband was
riding a little in advance; one guide was leading the husband’s horse,
another was leading the bride’s.

The old man continued:

“The guide that was leading the husband’s horse happened to glance back,
and there was that poor young thing sitting up staring out over the
precipice; and her face began to bend downward a little, and she put
up her two hands slowly and met it--so,--and put them flat against her
eyes--so--and then she sank out of the saddle, with a sharp shriek, and
one caught only the flash of a dress, and it was all over.”

Then after a pause:

“Ah, yes, that guide saw these things--yes, he saw them all. He saw them
all, just as I have told you.”

After another pause:

“Ah, yes, he saw them all. My God, that was ME. I was that guide!”

This had been the one event of the old man’s life; so one may be sure he
had forgotten no detail connected with it. We listened to all he had to
say about what was done and what happened and what was said after the
sorrowful occurrence, and a painful story it was.

When we had wound down toward the valley until we were about on the last
spiral of the corkscrew, Harris’s hat blew over the last remaining
bit of precipice--a small cliff a hundred or hundred and fifty feet
high--and sailed down toward a steep slant composed of rough chips and
fragments which the weather had flaked away from the precipices. We went
leisurely down there, expecting to find it without any trouble, but we
had made a mistake, as to that. We hunted during a couple of hours--not
because the old straw hat was valuable, but out of curiosity to find
out how such a thing could manage to conceal itself in open ground where
there was nothing left for it to hide behind. When one is reading in
bed, and lays his paper-knife down, he cannot find it again if it is
smaller than a saber; that hat was as stubborn as any paper-knife could
have been, and we finally had to give it up; but we found a fragment
that had once belonged to an opera-glass, and by digging around and
turning over the rocks we gradually collected all the lenses and the
cylinders and the various odds and ends that go to making up a complete
opera-glass. We afterward had the thing reconstructed, and the owner can
have his adventurous lost-property by submitting proofs and paying costs
of rehabilitation. We had hopes of finding the owner there, distributed
around amongst the rocks, for it would have made an elegant paragraph;
but we were disappointed. Still, we were far from being disheartened,
for there was a considerable area which we had not thoroughly searched;
we were satisfied he was there, somewhere, so we resolved to wait over a
day at Leuk and come back and get him.

Then we sat down to polish off the perspiration and arrange about what
we would do with him when we got him. Harris was for contributing him to
the British Museum; but I was for mailing him to his widow. That is the
difference between Harris and me: Harris is all for display, I am all
for the simple right, even though I lose money by it. Harris argued in
favor of his proposition against mine, I argued in favor of mine and
against his. The discussion warmed into a dispute; the dispute warmed
into a quarrel. I finally said, very decidedly:

“My mind is made up. He goes to the widow.”

Harris answered sharply:

“And MY mind is made up. He goes to the Museum.”

I said, calmly:

“The museum may whistle when it gets him.”

Harris retorted:

“The widow may save herself the trouble of whistling, for I will see
that she never gets him.”

After some angry bandying of epithets, I said:

“It seems to me that you are taking on a good many airs about these
remains. I don’t quite see what YOU’VE got to say about them?”

“I? I’ve got ALL to say about them. They’d never have been thought of if
I hadn’t found their opera-glass. The corpse belongs to me, and I’ll do
as I please with him.”

I was leader of the Expedition, and all discoveries achieved by it
naturally belonged to me. I was entitled to these remains, and could
have enforced my right; but rather than have bad blood about the matter,
I said we would toss up for them. I threw heads and won, but it was a
barren victory, for although we spent all the next day searching, we
never found a bone. I cannot imagine what could ever have become of that

The town in the valley is called Leuk or Leukerbad. We pointed our
course toward it, down a verdant slope which was adorned with fringed
gentians and other flowers, and presently entered the narrow alleys of
the outskirts and waded toward the middle of the town through liquid
“fertilizer.” They ought to either pave that village or organize a

Harris’s body was simply a chamois-pasture; his person was populous with
the little hungry pests; his skin, when he stripped, was splotched like
a scarlet-fever patient’s; so, when we were about to enter one of the
Leukerbad inns, and he noticed its sign, “Chamois Hotel,” he refused to
stop there. He said the chamois was plentiful enough, without hunting
up hotels where they made a specialty of it. I was indifferent, for the
chamois is a creature that will neither bite me nor abide with me; but
to calm Harris, we went to the Hôtel des Alpes.

At the table d’hôte, we had this, for an incident. A very grave man--in
fact his gravity amounted to solemnity, and almost to austerity--sat
opposite us and he was “tight,” but doing his best to appear sober. He
took up a CORKED bottle of wine, tilted it over his glass awhile, then
set it out of the way, with a contented look, and went on with his

Presently he put his glass to his mouth, and of course found it empty.
He looked puzzled, and glanced furtively and suspiciously out of the
corner of his eye at a benignant and unconscious old lady who sat at his
right. Shook his head, as much as to say, “No, she couldn’t have
done it.” He tilted the corked bottle over his glass again, meantime
searching around with his watery eye to see if anybody was watching him.
He ate a few mouthfuls, raised his glass to his lips, and of course it
was still empty. He bent an injured and accusing side-glance upon that
unconscious old lady, which was a study to see. She went on eating and
gave no sign. He took up his glass and his bottle, with a wise private
nod of his head, and set them gravely on the left-hand side of his
plate--poured himself another imaginary drink--went to work with
his knife and fork once more--presently lifted his glass with good
confidence, and found it empty, as usual.

This was almost a petrifying surprise. He straightened himself up in his
chair and deliberately and sorrowfully inspected the busy old ladies at
his elbows, first one and then the other. At last he softly pushed his
plate away, set his glass directly in front of him, held on to it
with his left hand, and proceeded to pour with his right. This time
he observed that nothing came. He turned the bottle clear upside down;
still nothing issued from it; a plaintive look came into his face, and
he said, as if to himself,

“‘IC! THEY’VE GOT IT ALL!” Then he set the bottle down, resignedly, and
took the rest of his dinner dry.

It was at that table d’hôte, too, that I had under inspection the
largest lady I have ever seen in private life. She was over seven feet
high, and magnificently proportioned. What had first called my attention
to her, was my stepping on an outlying flange of her foot, and hearing,
from up toward the ceiling, a deep “Pardon, m’sieu, but you encroach!”

That was when we were coming through the hall, and the place was dim,
and I could see her only vaguely. The thing which called my attention
to her the second time was, that at a table beyond ours were two very
pretty girls, and this great lady came in and sat down between them and
me and blotted out my view. She had a handsome face, and she was very
finely formed--perfectly formed, I should say. But she made everybody
around her look trivial and commonplace. Ladies near her looked like
children, and the men about her looked mean. They looked like failures;
and they looked as if they felt so, too. She sat with her back to us. I
never saw such a back in my life. I would have so liked to see the
moon rise over it. The whole congregation waited, under one pretext or
another, till she finished her dinner and went out; they wanted to see
her at full altitude, and they found it worth tarrying for. She filled
one’s idea of what an empress ought to be, when she rose up in her
unapproachable grandeur and moved superbly out of that place.

We were not at Leuk in time to see her at her heaviest weight. She had
suffered from corpulence and had come there to get rid of her extra
flesh in the baths. Five weeks of soaking--five uninterrupted hours of
it every day--had accomplished her purpose and reduced her to the right

Those baths remove fat, and also skin-diseases. The patients remain in
the great tanks for hours at a time. A dozen gentlemen and ladies occupy
a tank together, and amuse themselves with rompings and various games.
They have floating desks and tables, and they read or lunch or play
chess in water that is breast-deep. The tourist can step in and view
this novel spectacle if he chooses. There’s a poor-box, and he will have
to contribute. There are several of these big bathing-houses, and you
can always tell when you are near one of them by the romping noises and
shouts of laughter that proceed from it. The water is running water, and
changes all the time, else a patient with a ringworm might take the bath
with only a partial success, since, while he was ridding himself of the
ringworm, he might catch the itch.

The next morning we wandered back up the green valley, leisurely, with
the curving walls of those bare and stupendous precipices rising
into the clouds before us. I had never seen a clean, bare precipice
stretching up five thousand feet above me before, and I never shall
expect to see another one. They exist, perhaps, but not in places where
one can easily get close to them. This pile of stone is peculiar. From
its base to the soaring tops of its mighty towers, all its lines and all
its details vaguely suggest human architecture. There are rudimentary
bow-windows, cornices, chimneys, demarcations of stories, etc. One could
sit and stare up there and study the features and exquisite graces of
this grand structure, bit by bit, and day after day, and never weary his
interest. The termination, toward the town, observed in profile, is the
perfection of shape. It comes down out of the clouds in a succession of
rounded, colossal, terracelike projections--a stairway for the gods; at
its head spring several lofty storm-scarred towers, one after another,
with faint films of vapor curling always about them like spectral
banners. If there were a king whose realms included the whole world,
here would be the place meet and proper for such a monarch. He would
only need to hollow it out and put in the electric light. He could give
audience to a nation at a time under its roof.

Our search for those remains having failed, we inspected with a glass
the dim and distant track of an old-time avalanche that once swept down
from some pine-grown summits behind the town and swept away the houses
and buried the people; then we struck down the road that leads toward
the Rhone, to see the famous Ladders. These perilous things are built
against the perpendicular face of a cliff two or three hundred feet
high. The peasants, of both sexes, were climbing up and down them, with
heavy loads on their backs. I ordered Harris to make the ascent, so I
could put the thrill and horror of it in my book, and he accomplished
the feat successfully, through a subagent, for three francs, which I
paid. It makes me shudder yet when I think of what I felt when I was
clinging there between heaven and earth in the person of that proxy. At
times the world swam around me, and I could hardly keep from letting go,
so dizzying was the appalling danger. Many a person would have given up
and descended, but I stuck to my task, and would not yield until I had
accomplished it. I felt a just pride in my exploit, but I would not have
repeated it for the wealth of the world. I shall break my neck yet with
some such foolhardy performance, for warnings never seem to have any
lasting effect on me. When the people of the hotel found that I had
been climbing those crazy Ladders, it made me an object of considerable

Next morning, early, we drove to the Rhone valley and took the train for
Visp. There we shouldered our knapsacks and things, and set out on foot,
in a tremendous rain, up the winding gorge, toward Zermatt. Hour after
hour we slopped along, by the roaring torrent, and under noble Lesser
Alps which were clothed in rich velvety green all the way up and
had little atomy Swiss homes perched upon grassy benches along their
mist-dimmed heights.

The rain continued to pour and the torrent to boom, and we continued
to enjoy both. At the one spot where this torrent tossed its white mane
highest, and thundered loudest, and lashed the big boulders fiercest,
the canton had done itself the honor to build the flimsiest wooden
bridge that exists in the world. While we were walking over it, along
with a party of horsemen, I noticed that even the larger raindrops made
it shake. I called Harris’s attention to it, and he noticed it, too.
It seemed to me that if I owned an elephant that was a keepsake, and I
thought a good deal of him, I would think twice before I would ride him
over that bridge.

We climbed up to the village of St. Nicholas, about half past four
in the afternoon, waded ankle-deep through the fertilizer-juice, and
stopped at a new and nice hotel close by the little church. We stripped
and went to bed, and sent our clothes down to be baked. And the horde
of soaked tourists did the same. That chaos of clothing got mixed in the
kitchen, and there were consequences.

I did not get back the same drawers I sent down, when our things came up
at six-fifteen; I got a pair on a new plan. They were merely a pair
of white ruffle-cuffed absurdities, hitched together at the top with
a narrow band, and they did not come quite down to my knees. They were
pretty enough, but they made me feel like two people, and disconnected
at that. The man must have been an idiot that got himself up like
that, to rough it in the Swiss mountains. The shirt they brought me
was shorter than the drawers, and hadn’t any sleeves to it--at least
it hadn’t anything more than what Mr. Darwin would call “rudimentary”
 sleeves; these had “edging” around them, but the bosom was ridiculously
plain. The knit silk undershirt they brought me was on a new plan, and
was really a sensible thing; it opened behind, and had pockets in it to
put your shoulder-blades in; but they did not seem to fit mine, and so
I found it a sort of uncomfortable garment. They gave my bobtail coat
to somebody else, and sent me an ulster suitable for a giraffe. I had
to tie my collar on, because there was no button behind on that foolish
little shirt which I described a while ago.

When I was dressed for dinner at six-thirty, I was too loose in some
places and too tight in others, and altogether I felt slovenly and
ill-conditioned. However, the people at the table d’hôte were no better
off than I was; they had everybody’s clothes but their own on. A
long stranger recognized his ulster as soon as he saw the tail of it
following me in, but nobody claimed my shirt or my drawers, though I
described them as well as I was able. I gave them to the chambermaid
that night when I went to bed, and she probably found the owner, for my
own things were on a chair outside my door in the morning.

There was a lovable English clergyman who did not get to the table
d’hôte at all. His breeches had turned up missing, and without any
equivalent. He said he was not more particular than other people, but he
had noticed that a clergyman at dinner without any breeches was almost
sure to excite remark.


By Mark Twain

(Samuel L. Clemens)

First published in 1880

Illustrations taken from an 1880 First Edition

 * * * * * *


     2.    TITIAN’S MOSES
     237.  JUST SAVED
     240.  FITTED OUT
     241.  A FEARFUL FALL
     242.  TAIL PIECE
     243.  ALL READY
     244.  THE MARCH
     245.  THE CARAVAN
     246.  THE HOOK
     249.  SAVED! SAVED!
     251.  THE BLACK RAM
     252.  THE MIRACLE
     253.  THE NEW GUIDE
     256.  THE GRANDSON
     262.  SPRUNG A LEAK
     266.  AN OLD MORAINE
     271.  ON THE SUMMIT
     277.  A SUNDAY PLAY
     279.  CHILLON
     280.  THE TETE NOIR
     283.  A WILD RIDE


CHAPTER XXXVI Sunday Church Bells--A Cause of
Profanity--A Magnificent Glacier--Fault Finding by Harris--Almost
an Accident--Selfishness of Harris--Approaching Zermatt--The
Matterhorn--Zermatt--Home of Mountain Climbers--Fitted out for
Climbing--A Fearful Adventure --Never Satisfied

CHAPTER XXXVII A Calm Decision--“I Will Ascend the
Riffelberg”--Preparations for the Trip--All Zermatt on the
Alert--Schedule of Persons and Things--An Unprecedented Display--A
General Turn--out--Ready for a Start--The Post of Danger--The Advance
Directed--Grand Display of Umbrellas--The First Camp--Almost a
Panic--Supposed to be Lost--The First Accident--A Chaplain Disabled--An
Experimenting Mule--Good Effects of a Blunder--Badly Lost--A
Reconnoiter--Mystery and Doubt--Stern Measures Taken--A Black Ram--Saved
by a Miracle--The Guide’s Guide

CHAPTER XXXVIII Our Expedition Continued--Experiments with the
Barometer--Boiling Thermometer--Barometer Soup--An Interesting
Scientific Discovery--Crippling a Latinist--A Chaplain Injured--Short
of Barkeepers--Digging a Mountain Cellar--A Young American
Specimen--Somebody’s Grandson--Arrival at Riffelberg Botel--Ascent of
Gorner Grat--Faith in Thermometers--The Matterhorn

CHAPTER XXXIX Guide Books--Plans for the Return of the Expedition--A
Glacier Train--Parachute Descent from Gorner Grat--Proposed Honors
to Harris Declined--All had an Excuse--A Magnificent Idea
Abandoned--Descent to the Glacier--A Supposed Leak--A Slow Train--The
Glacier Abandoned--Journey to Zermatt--A Scientific Question

CHAPTER XL Glaciers--Glacier Perils--Moraines--Terminal
Moraines--Lateral Moraines--Immense Size of Glacier--Traveling
Glacier----General Movements of Glaciers--Ascent of Mont Blacc--Loss
of Guides--Finding of Remains--Meeting of Old Friends--The Dead and
Living--Proposed Museum--The Relics at Chamonix

CHAPTER XLI The Matterhorn Catastrophe of 1563--Mr Whymper’s
Narrative--Ascent of the Matterhorn--The Summit--The Matterhorn
Conquered--The Descent Commenced--A Fearful Disaster--Death of Lord
Douglas and Two Others--The Graves of the Two

CHAPTER XLII Switzerland--Graveyard at Zermatt--Balloting for
Marriage--Farmers as Heroes--Falling off a Farm--From St Nicholas to
Visp--Dangerous Traveling--Children’s Play--The Parson’s Children--A
Landlord’s Daughter--A Rare Combination--Ch iIIon--Lost Sympathy--Mont
Blanc and its Neighbors--Beauty of Soap Bubbles--A Wild Drive--The King
of Drivers--Benefit of getting Drunk


[The Fiendish Fun of Alp-climbing]

We did not oversleep at St. Nicholas. The church-bell began to ring at
four-thirty in the morning, and from the length of time it continued
to ring I judged that it takes the Swiss sinner a good while to get the
invitation through his head. Most church-bells in the world are of poor
quality, and have a harsh and rasping sound which upsets the temper and
produces much sin, but the St. Nicholas bell is a good deal the worst
one that has been contrived yet, and is peculiarly maddening in its
operation. Still, it may have its right and its excuse to exist, for the
community is poor and not every citizen can afford a clock, perhaps; but
there cannot be any excuse for our church-bells at home, for there is
no family in America without a clock, and consequently there is no fair
pretext for the usual Sunday medley of dreadful sounds that issues from
our steeples. There is much more profanity in America on Sunday than in
all in the other six days of the week put together, and it is of a more
bitter and malignant character than the week-day profanity, too. It is
produced by the cracked-pot clangor of the cheap church-bells.

We build our churches almost without regard to cost; we rear an edifice
which is an adornment to the town, and we gild it, and fresco it, and
mortgage it, and do everything we can think of to perfect it, and then
spoil it all by putting a bell on it which afflicts everybody who hears
it, giving some the headache, others St. Vitus’s dance, and the rest the
blind staggers.

An American village at ten o’clock on a summer Sunday is the quietest
and peacefulest and holiest thing in nature; but it is a pretty
different thing half an hour later. Mr. Poe’s poem of the “Bells” stands
incomplete to this day; but it is well enough that it is so, for the
public reciter or “reader” who goes around trying to imitate the sounds
of the various sorts of bells with his voice would find himself “up a
stump” when he got to the church-bell--as Joseph Addison would say. The
church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be
a bad idea to reform itself a little, by way of example. It is still
clinging to one or two things which were useful once, but which are
not useful now, neither are they ornamental. One is the bell-ringing
to remind a clock-caked town that it is church-time, and another is the
reading from the pulpit of a tedious list of “notices” which everybody
who is interested has already read in the newspaper. The clergyman even
reads the hymn through--a relic of an ancient time when hymn-books are
scarce and costly; but everybody has a hymn-book, now, and so the public
reading is no longer necessary. It is not merely unnecessary, it is
generally painful; for the average clergyman could not fire into his
congregation with a shotgun and hit a worse reader than himself, unless
the weapon scattered shamefully. I am not meaning to be flippant and
irreverent, I am only meaning to be truthful. The average clergyman, in
all countries and of all denominations, is a very bad reader. One would
think he would at least learn how to read the Lord’s Prayer, by and by,
but it is not so. He races through it as if he thought the quicker
he got it in, the sooner it would be answered. A person who does not
appreciate the exceeding value of pauses, and does not know how to
measure their duration judiciously, cannot render the grand simplicity
and dignity of a composition like that effectively.

We took a tolerably early breakfast, and tramped off toward Zermatt
through the reeking lanes of the village, glad to get away from that
bell. By and by we had a fine spectacle on our right. It was the
wall-like butt end of a huge glacier, which looked down on us from an
Alpine height which was well up in the blue sky. It was an astonishing
amount of ice to be compacted together in one mass. We ciphered upon it
and decided that it was not less than several hundred feet from the base
of the wall of solid ice to the top of it--Harris believed it was
really twice that. We judged that if St. Paul’s, St. Peter’s, the Great
Pyramid, the Strasburg Cathedral and the Capitol in Washington were
clustered against that wall, a man sitting on its upper edge could not
hang his hat on the top of any one of them without reaching down three
or four hundred feet--a thing which, of course, no man could do.

To me, that mighty glacier was very beautiful. I did not imagine that
anybody could find fault with it; but I was mistaken. Harris had been
snarling for several days. He was a rabid Protestant, and he was always

“In the Protestant cantons you never see such poverty and dirt and
squalor as you do in this Catholic one; you never see the lanes and
alleys flowing with foulness; you never see such wretched little sties
of houses; you never see an inverted tin turnip on top of a church for
a dome; and as for a church-bell, why, you never hear a church-bell at

All this morning he had been finding fault, straight along. First it was
with the mud. He said, “It ain’t muddy in a Protestant canton when it
rains.” Then it was with the dogs: “They don’t have those lop-eared dogs
in a Protestant canton.” Then it was with the roads: “They don’t leave
the roads to make themselves in a Protestant canton, the people make
them--and they make a road that IS a road, too.” Next it was the goats:
“You never see a goat shedding tears in a Protestant canton--a goat,
there, is one of the cheerfulest objects in nature.” Next it was the
chamois: “You never see a Protestant chamois act like one of these--they
take a bite or two and go; but these fellows camp with you and stay.”
 Then it was the guide-boards: “In a Protestant canton you couldn’t get
lost if you wanted to, but you never see a guide-board in a Catholic
canton.” Next, “You never see any flower-boxes in the windows,
here--never anything but now and then a cat--a torpid one; but you take
a Protestant canton: windows perfectly lovely with flowers--and as for
cats, there’s just acres of them. These folks in this canton leave a
road to make itself, and then fine you three francs if you ‘trot’ over
it--as if a horse could trot over such a sarcasm of a road.” Next about
the goiter: “THEY talk about goiter!--I haven’t seen a goiter in this
whole canton that I couldn’t put in a hat.”

He had growled at everything, but I judged it would puzzle him to find
anything the matter with this majestic glacier. I intimated as much; but
he was ready, and said with surly discontent: “You ought to see them in
the Protestant cantons.”

This irritated me. But I concealed the feeling, and asked:

“What is the matter with this one?”

“Matter? Why, it ain’t in any kind of condition. They never take any
care of a glacier here. The moraine has been spilling gravel around it,
and got it all dirty.”

“Why, man, THEY can’t help that.”

“THEY? You’re right. That is, they WON’T. They could if they wanted to.
You never see a speck of dirt on a Protestant glacier. Look at the Rhone
glacier. It is fifteen miles long, and seven hundred feet thick. If this
was a Protestant glacier you wouldn’t see it looking like this, I can
tell you.”

“That is nonsense. What would they do with it?”

“They would whitewash it. They always do.”

I did not believe a word of this, but rather than have trouble I let it
go; for it is a waste of breath to argue with a bigot. I even doubted if
the Rhone glacier WAS in a Protestant canton; but I did not know, so I
could not make anything by contradicting a man who would probably put me
down at once with manufactured evidence.

About nine miles from St. Nicholas we crossed a bridge over the raging
torrent of the Visp, and came to a log strip of flimsy fencing which
was pretending to secure people from tumbling over a perpendicular wall
forty feet high and into the river. Three children were approaching; one
of them, a little girl, about eight years old, was running; when pretty
close to us she stumbled and fell, and her feet shot under the rail of
the fence and for a moment projected over the stream. It gave us a
sharp shock, for we thought she was gone, sure, for the ground slanted
steeply, and to save herself seemed a sheer impossibility; but she
managed to scramble up, and ran by us laughing.

We went forward and examined the place and saw the long tracks which her
feet had made in the dirt when they darted over the verge. If she had
finished her trip she would have struck some big rocks in the edge of
the water, and then the torrent would have snatched her downstream among
the half-covered boulders and she would have been pounded to pulp in two
minutes. We had come exceedingly near witnessing her death.

And now Harris’s contrary nature and inborn selfishness were strikingly
manifested. He has no spirit of self-denial. He began straight off, and
continued for an hour, to express his gratitude that the child was not
destroyed. I never saw such a man. That was the kind of person he was;
just so HE was gratified, he never cared anything about anybody else. I
had noticed that trait in him, over and over again. Often, of course, it
was mere heedlessness, mere want of reflection. Doubtless this may have
been the case in most instances, but it was not the less hard to bar
on that account--and after all, its bottom, its groundwork, was
selfishness. There is no avoiding that conclusion. In the instance under
consideration, I did think the indecency of running on in that way might
occur to him; but no, the child was saved and he was glad, that was
sufficient--he cared not a straw for MY feelings, or my loss of such a
literary plum, snatched from my very mouth at the instant it was
ready to drop into it. His selfishness was sufficient to place his own
gratification in being spared suffering clear before all concern for
me, his friend. Apparently, he did not once reflect upon the valuable
details which would have fallen like a windfall to me: fishing the child
out--witnessing the surprise of the family and the stir the thing would
have made among the peasants--then a Swiss funeral--then the roadside
monument, to be paid for by us and have our names mentioned in it. And
we should have gone into Baedeker and been immortal. I was silent. I was
too much hurt to complain. If he could act so, and be so heedless and so
frivolous at such a time, and actually seem to glory in it, after all
I had done for him, I would have cut my hand off before I would let him
see that I was wounded.

We were approaching Zermatt; consequently, we were approaching the
renowned Matterhorn. A month before, this mountain had been only a name
to us, but latterly we had been moving through a steadily thickening
double row of pictures of it, done in oil, water, chromo, wood, steel,
copper, crayon, and photography, and so it had at length become a shape
to us--and a very distinct, decided, and familiar one, too. We were
expecting to recognize that mountain whenever or wherever we should run
across it. We were not deceived. The monarch was far away when we first
saw him, but there was no such thing as mistaking him. He has the rare
peculiarity of standing by himself; he is peculiarly steep, too, and is
also most oddly shaped. He towers into the sky like a colossal wedge,
with the upper third of its blade bent a little to the left. The broad
base of this monster wedge is planted upon a grand glacier-paved Alpine
platform whose elevation is ten thousand feet above sea-level; as the
wedge itself is some five thousand feet high, it follows that its apex
is about fifteen thousand feet above sea-level. So the whole bulk of
this stately piece of rock, this sky-cleaving monolith, is above the
line of eternal snow. Yet while all its giant neighbors have the look of
being built of solid snow, from their waists up, the Matterhorn stands
black and naked and forbidding, the year round, or merely powdered or
streaked with white in places, for its sides are so steep that the
snow cannot stay there. Its strange form, its august isolation, and its
majestic unkinship with its own kind, make it--so to speak--the Napoleon
of the mountain world. “Grand, gloomy, and peculiar,” is a phrase which
fits it as aptly as it fitted the great captain.

Think of a monument a mile high, standing on a pedestal two miles high!
This is what the Matterhorn is--a monument. Its office, henceforth, for
all time, will be to keep watch and ward over the secret resting-place
of the young Lord Douglas, who, in 1865, was precipitated from the
summit over a precipice four thousand feet high, and never seen again.
No man ever had such a monument as this before; the most imposing of
the world’s other monuments are but atoms compared to it; and they will
perish, and their places will pass from memory, but this will remain.

[The accident which cost Lord Douglas his life (see Chapter xii) also
cost the lives of three other men. These three fell four-fifths of a
mile, and their bodies were afterward found, lying side by side, upon a
glacier, whence they were borne to Zermatt and buried in the churchyard.

The remains of Lord Douglas have never been found. The secret of his
sepulture, like that of Moses, must remain a mystery always.]

A walk from St. Nicholas to Zermatt is a wonderful experience. Nature
is built on a stupendous plan in that region. One marches continually
between walls that are piled into the skies, with their upper heights
broken into a confusion of sublime shapes that gleam white and cold
against the background of blue; and here and there one sees a big
glacier displaying its grandeurs on the top of a precipice, or a
graceful cascade leaping and flashing down the green declivities. There
is nothing tame, or cheap, or trivial--it is all magnificent. That
short valley is a picture-gallery of a notable kind, for it contains
no mediocrities; from end to end the Creator has hung it with His

We made Zermatt at three in the afternoon, nine hours out from
St. Nicholas. Distance, by guide-book, twelve miles; by pedometer
seventy-two. We were in the heart and home of the mountain-climbers,
now, as all visible things testified. The snow-peaks did not hold
themselves aloof, in aristocratic reserve; they nestled close around,
in a friendly, sociable way; guides, with the ropes and axes and other
implements of their fearful calling slung about their persons, roosted
in a long line upon a stone wall in front of the hotel, and waited for
customers; sun-burnt climbers, in mountaineering costume, and followed
by their guides and porters, arrived from time to time, from breakneck
expeditions among the peaks and glaciers of the High Alps; male and
female tourists, on mules, filed by, in a continuous procession,
hotelward-bound from wild adventures which would grow in grandeur every
time they were described at the English or American fireside, and at
last outgrow the possible itself.

We were not dreaming; this was not a make-believe home of the
Alp-climber, created by our heated imaginations; no, for here was Mr.
Girdlestone himself, the famous Englishman who hunts his way to the most
formidable Alpine summits without a guide. I was not equal to imagining
a Girdlestone; it was all I could do to even realize him, while looking
straight at him at short range. I would rather face whole Hyde Parks of
artillery than the ghastly forms of death which he has faced among the
peaks and precipices of the mountains. There is probably no pleasure
equal to the pleasure of climbing a dangerous Alp; but it is a pleasure
which is confined strictly to people who can find pleasure in it. I have
not jumped to this conclusion; I have traveled to it per gravel-train,
so to speak. I have thought the thing all out, and am quite sure I am
right. A born climber’s appetite for climbing is hard to satisfy; when
it comes upon him he is like a starving man with a feast before him; he
may have other business on hand, but it must wait. Mr. Girdlestone had
had his usual summer holiday in the Alps, and had spent it in his usual
way, hunting for unique chances to break his neck; his vacation was
over, and his luggage packed for England, but all of a sudden a hunger
had come upon him to climb the tremendous Weisshorn once more, for he
had heard of a new and utterly impossible route up it. His baggage
was unpacked at once, and now he and a friend, laden with knapsacks,
ice-axes, coils of rope, and canteens of milk, were just setting out.
They would spend the night high up among the snows, somewhere, and
get up at two in the morning and finish the enterprise. I had a
strong desire to go with them, but forced it down--a feat which Mr.
Girdlestone, with all his fortitude, could not do.

Even ladies catch the climbing mania, and are unable to throw it off.
A famous climber, of that sex, had attempted the Weisshorn a few days
before our arrival, and she and her guides had lost their way in a
snow-storm high up among the peaks and glaciers and been forced to
wander around a good while before they could find a way down. When this
lady reached the bottom, she had been on her feet twenty-three hours!

Our guides, hired on the Gemmi, were already at Zermatt when we
reached there. So there was nothing to interfere with our getting up an
adventure whenever we should choose the time and the object. I resolved
to devote my first evening in Zermatt to studying up the subject of
Alpine climbing, by way of preparation.

I read several books, and here are some of the things I found out. One’s
shoes must be strong and heavy, and have pointed hobnails in them. The
alpenstock must be of the best wood, for if it should break, loss of
life might be the result. One should carry an ax, to cut steps in the
ice with, on the great heights. There must be a ladder, for there are
steep bits of rock which can be surmounted with this instrument--or this
utensil--but could not be surmounted without it; such an obstruction
has compelled the tourist to waste hours hunting another route, when a
ladder would have saved him all trouble. One must have from one hundred
and fifty to five hundred feet of strong rope, to be used in lowering
the party down steep declivities which are too steep and smooth to
be traversed in any other way. One must have a steel hook, on another
rope--a very useful thing; for when one is ascending and comes to a low
bluff which is yet too high for the ladder, he swings this rope aloft
like a lasso, the hook catches at the top of the bluff, and then the
tourist climbs the rope, hand over hand--being always particular to try
and forget that if the hook gives way he will never stop falling till
he arrives in some part of Switzerland where they are not expecting him.
Another important thing--there must be a rope to tie the whole party
together with, so that if one falls from a mountain or down a bottomless
chasm in a glacier, the others may brace back on the rope and save him.
One must have a silk veil, to protect his face from snow, sleet, hail
and gale, and colored goggles to protect his eyes from that dangerous
enemy, snow-blindness. Finally, there must be some porters, to carry
provisions, wine and scientific instruments, and also blanket bags for
the party to sleep in.

I closed my readings with a fearful adventure which Mr. Whymper once had
on the Matterhorn when he was prowling around alone, five thousand
feet above the town of Breil. He was edging his way gingerly around
the corner of a precipice where the upper edge of a sharp declivity of
ice-glazed snow joined it. This declivity swept down a couple of hundred
feet, into a gully which curved around and ended at a precipice eight
hundred feet high, overlooking a glacier. His foot slipped, and he fell.

He says:

“My knapsack brought my head down first, and I pitched into some rocks
about a dozen feet below; they caught something, and tumbled me off
the edge, head over heels, into the gully; the baton was dashed from my
hands, and I whirled downward in a series of bounds, each longer than
the last; now over ice, now into rocks, striking my head four or five
times, each time with increased force. The last bound sent me spinning
through the air in a leap of fifty or sixty feet, from one side of the
gully to the other, and I struck the rocks, luckily, with the whole of
my left side. They caught my clothes for a moment, and I fell back on to
the snow with motion arrested. My head fortunately came the right side
up, and a few frantic catches brought me to a halt, in the neck of the
gully and on the verge of the precipice. Baton, hat, and veil skimmed
by and disappeared, and the crash of the rocks--which I had started--as
they fell on to the glacier, told how narrow had been the escape from
utter destruction. As it was, I fell nearly two hundred feet in seven or
eight bounds. Ten feet more would have taken me in one gigantic leap of
eight hundred feet on to the glacier below.

“The situation was sufficiently serious. The rocks could not be let go
for a moment, and the blood was spurting out of more than twenty cuts.
The most serious ones were in the head, and I vainly tried to close
them with one hand, while holding on with the other. It was useless;
the blood gushed out in blinding jets at each pulsation. At last, in a
moment of inspiration, I kicked out a big lump of snow and struck it
as plaster on my head. The idea was a happy one, and the flow of blood
diminished. Then, scrambling up, I got, not a moment too soon, to
a place of safety, and fainted away. The sun was setting when
consciousness returned, and it was pitch-dark before the Great Staircase
was descended; but by a combination of luck and care, the whole four
thousand seven hundred feet of descent to Breil was accomplished without
a slip, or once missing the way.”

His wounds kept him abed some days. Then he got up and climbed that
mountain again. That is the way with a true Alp-climber; the more fun he
has, the more he wants.


[Our Imposing Column Starts Upward]

After I had finished my readings, I was no longer myself; I was tranced,
uplifted, intoxicated, by the almost incredible perils and adventures
I had been following my authors through, and the triumphs I had been
sharing with them. I sat silent some time, then turned to Harris and

“My mind is made up.”

Something in my tone struck him: and when he glanced at my eye and
read what was written there, his face paled perceptibly. He hesitated a
moment, then said:


I answered, with perfect calmness:

“I will ascend the Riffelberg.”

If I had shot my poor friend he could not have fallen from his chair
more suddenly. If I had been his father he could not have pleaded harder
to get me to give up my purpose. But I turned a deaf ear to all he said.
When he perceived at last that nothing could alter my determination, he
ceased to urge, and for a while the deep silence was broken only by his
sobs. I sat in marble resolution, with my eyes fixed upon vacancy, for
in spirit I was already wrestling with the perils of the mountains, and
my friend sat gazing at me in adoring admiration through his tears.
At last he threw himself upon me in a loving embrace and exclaimed in
broken tones:

“Your Harris will never desert you. We will die together.”

I cheered the noble fellow with praises, and soon his fears were
forgotten and he was eager for the adventure. He wanted to summon the
guides at once and leave at two in the morning, as he supposed the
custom was; but I explained that nobody was looking at that hour; and
that the start in the dark was not usually made from the village but
from the first night’s resting-place on the mountain side. I said we
would leave the village at 3 or 4 P.M. on the morrow; meantime he could
notify the guides, and also let the public know of the attempt which we
proposed to make.

I went to bed, but not to sleep. No man can sleep when he is about to
undertake one of these Alpine exploits. I tossed feverishly all night
long, and was glad enough when I heard the clock strike half past eleven
and knew it was time to get up for dinner. I rose, jaded and rusty, and
went to the noon meal, where I found myself the center of interest and
curiosity; for the news was already abroad. It is not easy to eat calmly
when you are a lion; but it is very pleasant, nevertheless.

As usual, at Zermatt, when a great ascent is about to be undertaken,
everybody, native and foreign, laid aside his own projects and took up
a good position to observe the start. The expedition consisted of 198
persons, including the mules; or 205, including the cows. As follows:


     Myself      1  Veterinary Surgeon
     Mr. Harris  1  Butler
 17  Guides     12  Waiters
 4  Surgeons     1  Footman
 1  Geologist    1  Barber
 1  Botanist     1  Head Cook
 3  Chaplains    9  Assistants
 2  Draftsman    4  Pastry Cooks
 15  Barkeepers  1  Confectionery Artist
 1  Latinist


 27  Porters     3  Coarse Washers and Ironers
 44  Mules       1  Fine ditto
 44  Muleteers   7  Cows
                 2  Milkers

Total, 154 men, 51 animals. Grand Total, 205.

      RATIONS, ETC.          APPARATUS

 16  Cases Hams      25  Spring Mattresses
 2  Barrels Flour     2  Hair ditto
 22  Barrels Whiskey     Bedding for same
 1  Barrel Sugar      2  Mosquito-nets
 1  Keg Lemons       29  Tents
 2,000 Cigars            Scientific Instruments
 1  Barrel Pies      97  Ice-axes
 1  Ton of Pemmican   5  Cases Dynamite
 143  Pair Crutches   7  Cans Nitroglycerin
 2  Barrels Arnica   22  40-foot Ladders
 1  Bale of Lint      2  Miles of Rope
 27  Kegs Paregoric 154  Umbrellas

It was full four o’clock in the afternoon before my cavalcade was
entirely ready. At that hour it began to move. In point of numbers and
spectacular effect, it was the most imposing expedition that had ever
marched from Zermatt.

I commanded the chief guide to arrange the men and animals in single
file, twelve feet apart, and lash them all together on a strong rope. He
objected that the first two miles was a dead level, with plenty of room,
and that the rope was never used except in very dangerous places. But
I would not listen to that. My reading had taught me that many serious
accidents had happened in the Alps simply from not having the people
tied up soon enough; I was not going to add one to the list. The guide
then obeyed my order.

When the procession stood at ease, roped together, and ready to move, I
never saw a finer sight. It was 3,122 feet long--over half a mile; every
man and me was on foot, and had on his green veil and his blue goggles,
and his white rag around his hat, and his coil of rope over one shoulder
and under the other, and his ice-ax in his belt, and carried his
alpenstock in his left hand, his umbrella (closed) in his right, and his
crutches slung at his back. The burdens of the pack-mules and the horns
of the cows were decked with the Edelweiss and the Alpine rose.

I and my agent were the only persons mounted. We were in the post of
danger in the extreme rear, and tied securely to five guides apiece. Our
armor-bearers carried our ice-axes, alpenstocks, and other implements
for us. We were mounted upon very small donkeys, as a measure of safety;
in time of peril we could straighten our legs and stand up, and let
the donkey walk from under. Still, I cannot recommend this sort of
animal--at least for excursions of mere pleasure--because his
ears interrupt the view. I and my agent possessed the regulation
mountaineering costumes, but concluded to leave them behind. Out of
respect for the great numbers of tourists of both sexes who would be
assembled in front of the hotels to see us pass, and also out of respect
for the many tourists whom we expected to encounter on our expedition,
we decided to make the ascent in evening dress.

We watered the caravan at the cold stream which rushes down a trough
near the end of the village, and soon afterward left the haunts of
civilization behind us. About half past five o’clock we arrived at a
bridge which spans the Visp, and after throwing over a detachment to see
if it was safe, the caravan crossed without accident. The way now led,
by a gentle ascent, carpeted with fresh green grass, to the church at
Winkelmatten. Without stopping to examine this edifice, I executed
a flank movement to the right and crossed the bridge over the
Findelenbach, after first testing its strength. Here I deployed to the
right again, and presently entered an inviting stretch of meadowland
which was unoccupied save by a couple of deserted huts toward the
furthest extremity. These meadows offered an excellent camping-place.
We pitched our tents, supped, established a proper grade, recorded the
events of the day, and then went to bed.

We rose at two in the morning and dressed by candle-light. It was a
dismal and chilly business. A few stars were shining, but the general
heavens were overcast, and the great shaft of the Matterhorn was draped
in a cable pall of clouds. The chief guide advised a delay; he said he
feared it was going to rain. We waited until nine o’clock, and then got
away in tolerably clear weather.

Our course led up some terrific steeps, densely wooded with larches and
cedars, and traversed by paths which the rains had guttered and which
were obstructed by loose stones. To add to the danger and inconvenience,
we were constantly meeting returning tourists on foot and horseback, and
as constantly being crowded and battered by ascending tourists who were
in a hurry and wanted to get by.

Our troubles thickened. About the middle of the afternoon the seventeen
guides called a halt and held a consultation. After consulting an hour
they said their first suspicion remained intact--that is to say, they
believed they were lost. I asked if they did not KNOW it? No, they said,
they COULDN’T absolutely know whether they were lost or not, because
none of them had ever been in that part of the country before. They had
a strong instinct that they were lost, but they had no proofs--except
that they did not know where they were. They had met no tourists for
some time, and they considered that a suspicious sign.

Plainly we were in an ugly fix. The guides were naturally unwilling to
go alone and seek a way out of the difficulty; so we all went together.
For better security we moved slow and cautiously, for the forest was
very dense. We did not move up the mountain, but around it, hoping to
strike across the old trail. Toward nightfall, when we were about tired
out, we came up against a rock as big as a cottage. This barrier took
all the remaining spirit out of the men, and a panic of fear and despair
ensued. They moaned and wept, and said they should never see their homes
and their dear ones again. Then they began to upbraid me for bringing
them upon this fatal expedition. Some even muttered threats against me.

Clearly it was no time to show weakness. So I made a speech in which I
said that other Alp-climbers had been in as perilous a position as this,
and yet by courage and perseverance had escaped. I promised to stand
by them, I promised to rescue them. I closed by saying we had plenty
of provisions to maintain us for quite a siege--and did they suppose
Zermatt would allow half a mile of men and mules to mysteriously
disappear during any considerable time, right above their noses, and
make no inquiries? No, Zermatt would send out searching-expeditions and
we should be saved.

This speech had a great effect. The men pitched the tents with some
little show of cheerfulness, and we were snugly under cover when the
night shut down. I now reaped the reward of my wisdom in providing one
article which is not mentioned in any book of Alpine adventure but this.
I refer to the paregoric. But for that beneficent drug, would have not
one of those men slept a moment during that fearful night. But for that
gentle persuader they must have tossed, unsoothed, the night through;
for the whiskey was for me. Yes, they would have risen in the morning
unfitted for their heavy task. As it was, everybody slept but my agent
and me--only we and the barkeepers. I would not permit myself to sleep
at such a time. I considered myself responsible for all those lives. I
meant to be on hand and ready, in case of avalanches up there, but I did
not know it then.

We watched the weather all through that awful night, and kept an eye on
the barometer, to be prepared for the least change. There was not the
slightest change recorded by the instrument, during the whole time.
Words cannot describe the comfort that that friendly, hopeful, steadfast
thing was to me in that season of trouble. It was a defective barometer,
and had no hand but the stationary brass pointer, but I did not know
that until afterward. If I should be in such a situation again, I should
not wish for any barometer but that one.

All hands rose at two in the morning and took breakfast, and as soon as
it was light we roped ourselves together and went at that rock. For some
time we tried the hook-rope and other means of scaling it, but without
success--that is, without perfect success. The hook caught once, and
Harris started up it hand over hand, but the hold broke and if there
had not happened to be a chaplain sitting underneath at the time, Harris
would certainly have been crippled. As it was, it was the chaplain. He
took to his crutches, and I ordered the hook-rope to be laid aside. It
was too dangerous an implement where so many people are standing around.

We were puzzled for a while; then somebody thought of the ladders.
One of these was leaned against the rock, and the men went up it tied
together in couples. Another ladder was sent up for use in descending.
At the end of half an hour everybody was over, and that rock was
conquered. We gave our first grand shout of triumph. But the joy was
short-lived, for somebody asked how we were going to get the animals

This was a serious difficulty; in fact, it was an impossibility.
The courage of the men began to waver immediately; once more we were
threatened with a panic. But when the danger was most imminent, we were
saved in a mysterious way. A mule which had attracted attention from the
beginning by its disposition to experiment, tried to eat a five-pound
can of nitroglycerin. This happened right alongside the rock. The
explosion threw us all to the ground, and covered us with dirt and
debris; it frightened us extremely, too, for the crash it made was
deafening, and the violence of the shock made the ground tremble.
However, we were grateful, for the rock was gone. Its place was occupied
by a new cellar, about thirty feet across, by fifteen feet deep. The
explosion was heard as far as Zermatt; and an hour and a half afterward,
many citizens of that town were knocked down and quite seriously injured
by descending portions of mule meat, frozen solid. This shows, better
than any estimate in figures, how high the experimenter went.

We had nothing to do, now, but bridge the cellar and proceed on our way.
With a cheer the men went at their work. I attended to the engineering,
myself. I appointed a strong detail to cut down trees with ice-axes and
trim them for piers to support the bridge. This was a slow business, for
ice-axes are not good to cut wood with. I caused my piers to be firmly
set up in ranks in the cellar, and upon them I laid six of my forty-foot
ladders, side by side, and laid six more on top of them. Upon this
bridge I caused a bed of boughs to be spread, and on top of the boughs
a bed of earth six inches deep. I stretched ropes upon either side to
serve as railings, and then my bridge was complete. A train of elephants
could have crossed it in safety and comfort. By nightfall the caravan
was on the other side and the ladders were taken up.

Next morning we went on in good spirits for a while, though our way
was slow and difficult, by reason of the steep and rocky nature of the
ground and the thickness of the forest; but at last a dull despondency
crept into the men’s faces and it was apparent that not only they, but
even the guides, were now convinced that we were lost. The fact that we
still met no tourists was a circumstance that was but too significant.
Another thing seemed to suggest that we were not only lost, but very
badly lost; for there must surely be searching-parties on the road
before this time, yet we had seen no sign of them.

Demoralization was spreading; something must be done, and done quickly,
too. Fortunately, I am not unfertile in expedients. I contrived one
now which commended itself to all, for it promised well. I took
three-quarters of a mile of rope and fastened one end of it around the
waist of a guide, and told him to go find the road, while the caravan
waited. I instructed him to guide himself back by the rope, in case of
failure; in case of success, he was to give the rope a series of violent
jerks, whereupon the Expedition would go to him at once. He departed,
and in two minutes had disappeared among the trees. I payed out the rope
myself, while everybody watched the crawling thing with eager eyes.
The rope crept away quite slowly, at times, at other times with some
briskness. Twice or thrice we seemed to get the signal, and a shout was
just ready to break from the men’s lips when they perceived it was a
false alarm. But at last, when over half a mile of rope had slidden
away, it stopped gliding and stood absolutely still--one minute--two
minutes--three--while we held our breath and watched.

Was the guide resting? Was he scanning the country from some high point?
Was he inquiring of a chance mountaineer? Stop,--had he fainted from
excess of fatigue and anxiety?

This thought gave us a shock. I was in the very first act of detailing
an Expedition to succor him, when the cord was assailed with a series of
such frantic jerks that I could hardly keep hold of it. The huzza that
went up, then, was good to hear. “Saved! saved!” was the word that rang
out, all down the long rank of the caravan.

We rose up and started at once. We found the route to be good enough
for a while, but it began to grow difficult, by and by, and this feature
steadily increased. When we judged we had gone half a mile, we momently
expected to see the guide; but no, he was not visible anywhere; neither
was he waiting, for the rope was still moving, consequently he was
doing the same. This argued that he had not found the road, yet, but
was marching to it with some peasant. There was nothing for us to do
but plod along--and this we did. At the end of three hours we were
still plodding. This was not only mysterious, but exasperating. And very
fatiguing, too; for we had tried hard, along at first, to catch up with
the guide, but had only fagged ourselves, in vain; for although he was
traveling slowly he was yet able to go faster than the hampered caravan
over such ground.

At three in the afternoon we were nearly dead with exhaustion--and still
the rope was slowly gliding out. The murmurs against the guide had been
growing steadily, and at last they were become loud and savage. A mutiny
ensued. The men refused to proceed. They declared that we had been
traveling over and over the same ground all day, in a kind of circle.
They demanded that our end of the rope be made fast to a tree, so as to
halt the guide until we could overtake him and kill him. This was not an
unreasonable requirement, so I gave the order.

As soon as the rope was tied, the Expedition moved forward with that
alacrity which the thirst for vengeance usually inspires. But after a
tiresome march of almost half a mile, we came to a hill covered thick
with a crumbly rubbish of stones, and so steep that no man of us all
was now in a condition to climb it. Every attempt failed, and ended in
crippling somebody. Within twenty minutes I had five men on crutches.

Whenever a climber tried to assist himself by the rope, it yielded and
let him tumble backward. The frequency of this result suggested an idea
to me. I ordered the caravan to ‘bout face and form in marching order; I
then made the tow-rope fast to the rear mule, and gave the command:

“Mark time--by the right flank--forward--march!”

The procession began to move, to the impressive strains of a
battle-chant, and I said to myself, “Now, if the rope don’t break I
judge THIS will fetch that guide into the camp.” I watched the rope
gliding down the hill, and presently when I was all fixed for triumph
I was confronted by a bitter disappointment; there was no guide tied to
the rope, it was only a very indignant old black ram. The fury of the
baffled Expedition exceeded all bounds. They even wanted to wreak their
unreasoning vengeance on this innocent dumb brute. But I stood between
them and their prey, menaced by a bristling wall of ice-axes and
alpenstocks, and proclaimed that there was but one road to this murder,
and it was directly over my corpse. Even as I spoke I saw that my doom
was sealed, except a miracle supervened to divert these madmen from
their fell purpose. I see the sickening wall of weapons now; I see that
advancing host as I saw it then, I see the hate in those cruel eyes; I
remember how I drooped my head upon my breast, I feel again the
sudden earthquake shock in my rear, administered by the very ram I was
sacrificing myself to save; I hear once more the typhoon of laughter
that burst from the assaulting column as I clove it from van to rear
like a Sepoy shot from a Rodman gun.

I was saved. Yes, I was saved, and by the merciful instinct of
ingratitude which nature had planted in the breast of that treacherous
beast. The grace which eloquence had failed to work in those men’s
hearts, had been wrought by a laugh. The ram was set free and my life
was spared.

We lived to find out that that guide had deserted us as soon as he had
placed a half-mile between himself and us. To avert suspicion, he had
judged it best that the line should continue to move; so he caught that
ram, and at the time that he was sitting on it making the rope fast to
it, we were imagining that he was lying in a swoon, overcome by fatigue
and distress. When he allowed the ram to get up it fell to plunging
around, trying to rid itself of the rope, and this was the signal which
we had risen up with glad shouts to obey. We had followed this ram round
and round in a circle all day--a thing which was proven by the discovery
that we had watered the Expedition seven times at one and same spring in
seven hours. As expert a woodman as I am, I had somehow failed to notice
this until my attention was called to it by a hog. This hog was always
wallowing there, and as he was the only hog we saw, his frequent
repetition, together with his unvarying similarity to himself, finally
caused me to reflect that he must be the same hog, and this led me to
the deduction that this must be the same spring, also--which indeed it

I made a note of this curious thing, as showing in a striking manner the
relative difference between glacial action and the action of the hog.
It is now a well-established fact that glaciers move; I consider that
my observations go to show, with equal conclusiveness, that a hog in a
spring does not move. I shall be glad to receive the opinions of other
observers upon this point.

To return, for an explanatory moment, to that guide, and then I shall be
done with him. After leaving the ram tied to the rope, he had wandered
at large a while, and then happened to run across a cow. Judging that a
cow would naturally know more than a guide, he took her by the tail,
and the result justified his judgment. She nibbled her leisurely way
downhill till it was near milking-time, then she struck for home and
towed him into Zermatt.


[I Conquer the Gorner Grat]

We went into camp on that wild spot to which that ram had brought us.
The men were greatly fatigued. Their conviction that we were lost was
forgotten in the cheer of a good supper, and before the reaction had a
chance to set in, I loaded them up with paregoric and put them to bed.

Next morning I was considering in my mind our desperate situation and
trying to think of a remedy, when Harris came to me with a Baedeker
map which showed conclusively that the mountain we were on was still in
Switzerland--yes, every part of it was in Switzerland. So we were not
lost, after all. This was an immense relief; it lifted the weight of two
such mountains from my breast. I immediately had the news disseminated
and the map was exhibited. The effect was wonderful. As soon as the men
saw with their own eyes that they knew where they were, and that it
was only the summit that was lost and not themselves, they cheered up
instantly and said with one accord, let the summit take care of itself.

Our distresses being at an end, I now determined to rest the men in camp
and give the scientific department of the Expedition a chance. First,
I made a barometric observation, to get our altitude, but I could not
perceive that there was any result. I knew, by my scientific reading,
that either thermometers or barometers ought to be boiled, to make them
accurate; I did not know which it was, so I boiled them both. There was
still no result; so I examined these instruments and discovered that
they possessed radical blemishes: the barometer had no hand but the
brass pointer and the ball of the thermometer was stuffed with tin-foil.
I might have boiled those things to rags, and never found out anything.

I hunted up another barometer; it was new and perfect. I boiled it half
an hour in a pot of bean soup which the cooks were making. The result
was unexpected: the instrument was not affecting at all, but there was
such a strong barometer taste to the soup that the head cook, who was
a most conscientious person, changed its name in the bill of fare.
The dish was so greatly liked by all, that I ordered the cook to have
barometer soup every day.

It was believed that the barometer might eventually be injured, but I
did not care for that. I had demonstrated to my satisfaction that it
could not tell how high a mountain was, therefore I had no real use for
it. Changes in the weather I could take care of without it; I did not
wish to know when the weather was going to be good, what I wanted to
know was when it was going to be bad, and this I could find out from
Harris’s corns. Harris had had his corns tested and regulated at the
government observatory in Heidelberg, and one could depend upon them
with confidence. So I transferred the new barometer to the cooking
department, to be used for the official mess. It was found that even a
pretty fair article of soup could be made from the defective barometer;
so I allowed that one to be transferred to the subordinate mess.

I next boiled the thermometer, and got a most excellent result; the
mercury went up to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. In the opinion of the
other scientists of the Expedition, this seemed to indicate that we had
attained the extraordinary altitude of two hundred thousand feet above
sea-level. Science places the line of eternal snow at about ten thousand
feet above sea-level. There was no snow where we were, consequently
it was proven that the eternal snow-line ceases somewhere above the
ten-thousand-foot level and does not begin any more. This was an
interesting fact, and one which had not been observed by any observer
before. It was as valuable as interesting, too, since it would open up
the deserted summits of the highest Alps to population and agriculture.
It was a proud thing to be where we were, yet it caused us a pang
to reflect that but for that ram we might just as well have been two
hundred thousand feet higher.

The success of my last experiment induced me to try an experiment with
my photographic apparatus. I got it out, and boiled one of my cameras,
but the thing was a failure; it made the wood swell up and burst, and I
could not see that the lenses were any better than they were before.

I now concluded to boil a guide. It might improve him, it could not
impair his usefulness. But I was not allowed to proceed. Guides have
no feeling for science, and this one would not consent to be made
uncomfortable in its interest.

In the midst of my scientific work, one of those needless accidents
happened which are always occurring among the ignorant and thoughtless.
A porter shot at a chamois and missed it and crippled the Latinist.
This was not a serious matter to me, for a Latinist’s duties are as well
performed on crutches as otherwise--but the fact remained that if the
Latinist had not happened to be in the way a mule would have got that
load. That would have been quite another matter, for when it comes down
to a question of value there is a palpable difference between a Latinist
and a mule. I could not depend on having a Latinist in the right place
every time; so, to make things safe, I ordered that in the future the
chamois must not be hunted within limits of the camp with any other
weapon than the forefinger.

My nerves had hardly grown quiet after this affair when they got another
shake-up--one which utterly unmanned me for a moment: a rumor swept
suddenly through the camp that one of the barkeepers had fallen over a

However, it turned out that it was only a chaplain. I had laid in an
extra force of chaplains, purposely to be prepared for emergencies
like this, but by some unaccountable oversight had come away rather
short-handed in the matter of barkeepers.

On the following morning we moved on, well refreshed and in good
spirits. I remember this day with peculiar pleasure, because it saw
our road restored to us. Yes, we found our road again, and in quite an
extraordinary way. We had plodded along some two hours and a half, when
we came up against a solid mass of rock about twenty feet high. I did
not need to be instructed by a mule this time. I was already beginning
to know more than any mule in the Expedition. I at once put in a blast
of dynamite, and lifted that rock out of the way. But to my surprise and
mortification, I found that there had been a chalet on top of it.

I picked up such members of the family as fell in my vicinity, and
subordinates of my corps collected the rest. None of these poor people
were injured, happily, but they were much annoyed. I explained to
the head chaleteer just how the thing happened, and that I was only
searching for the road, and would certainly have given him timely notice
if I had known he was up there. I said I had meant no harm, and hoped
I had not lowered myself in his estimation by raising him a few rods in
the air. I said many other judicious things, and finally when I offered
to rebuild his chalet, and pay for the breakages, and throw in the
cellar, he was mollified and satisfied. He hadn’t any cellar at all,
before; he would not have as good a view, now, as formerly, but what he
had lost in view he had gained in cellar, by exact measurement. He said
there wasn’t another hole like that in the mountains--and he would have
been right if the late mule had not tried to eat up the nitroglycerin.

I put a hundred and sixteen men at work, and they rebuilt the chalet
from its own debris in fifteen minutes. It was a good deal more
picturesque than it was before, too. The man said we were now on the
Feil-Stutz, above the Schwegmatt--information which I was glad to get,
since it gave us our position to a degree of particularity which we had
not been accustomed to for a day or so. We also learned that we were
standing at the foot of the Riffelberg proper, and that the initial
chapter of our work was completed.

We had a fine view, from here, of the energetic Visp, as it makes its
first plunge into the world from under a huge arch of solid ice, worn
through the foot-wall of the great Gorner Glacier; and we could also see
the Furggenbach, which is the outlet of the Furggen Glacier.

The mule-road to the summit of the Riffelberg passed right in front of
the chalet, a circumstance which we almost immediately noticed, because
a procession of tourists was filing along it pretty much all the time.

“Pretty much” may not be elegant English, but it is high time it was.
There is no elegant word or phrase which means just what it means.--M.T.

The chaleteer’s business consisted in furnishing refreshments to
tourists. My blast had interrupted this trade for a few minutes, by
breaking all the bottles on the place; but I gave the man a lot of
whiskey to sell for Alpine champagne, and a lot of vinegar which would
answer for Rhine wine, consequently trade was soon as brisk as ever.

Leaving the Expedition outside to rest, I quartered myself in the
chalet, with Harris, proposing to correct my journals and scientific
observations before continuing the ascent. I had hardly begun my work
when a tall, slender, vigorous American youth of about twenty-three, who
was on his way down the mountain, entered and came toward me with that
breezy self-complacency which is the adolescent’s idea of the well-bred
ease of the man of the world. His hair was short and parted accurately
in the middle, and he had all the look of an American person who would
be likely to begin his signature with an initial, and spell his middle
name out. He introduced himself, smiling a smirky smile borrowed from
the courtiers of the stage, extended a fair-skinned talon, and while he
gripped my hand in it he bent his body forward three times at the
hips, as the stage courtier does, and said in the airiest and most
condescending and patronizing way--I quite remember his exact language:

“Very glad to make your acquaintance, ‘m sure; very glad indeed, assure
you. I’ve read all your little efforts and greatly admired them, and
when I heard you were here, I ...”

I indicated a chair, and he sat down. This grandee was the grandson of
an American of considerable note in his day, and not wholly forgotten
yet--a man who came so near being a great man that he was quite
generally accounted one while he lived.

I slowly paced the floor, pondering scientific problems, and heard this

GRANDSON. First visit to Europe?

HARRIS. Mine? Yes.

G.S. (With a soft reminiscent sigh suggestive of bygone joys that may
be tasted in their freshness but once.) Ah, I know what it is to you. A
first visit!--ah, the romance of it! I wish I could feel it again.

H. Yes, I find it exceeds all my dreams. It is enchantment. I go...

G.S. (With a dainty gesture of the hand signifying “Spare me your callow
enthusiasms, good friend.”) Yes, _I_ know, I know; you go to cathedrals,
and exclaim; and you drag through league-long picture-galleries and
exclaim; and you stand here, and there, and yonder, upon historic
ground, and continue to exclaim; and you are permeated with your first
crude conceptions of Art, and are proud and happy. Ah, yes, proud and
happy--that expresses it. Yes-yes, enjoy it--it is right--it is an
innocent revel.

H. And you? Don’t you do these things now?

G.S. I! Oh, that is VERY good! My dear sir, when you are as old a
traveler as I am, you will not ask such a question as that. _I_ visit
the regulation gallery, moon around the regulation cathedral, do the
worn round of the regulation sights, YET?--Excuse me!

H. Well, what DO you do, then?

G.S. Do? I flit--and flit--for I am ever on the wing--but I avoid the
herd. Today I am in Paris, tomorrow in Berlin, anon in Rome; but you
would look for me in vain in the galleries of the Louvre or the common
resorts of the gazers in those other capitals. If you would find me, you
must look in the unvisited nooks and corners where others never think
of going. One day you will find me making myself at home in some obscure
peasant’s cabin, another day you will find me in some forgotten castle
worshiping some little gem or art which the careless eye has overlooked
and which the unexperienced would despise; again you will find me as
guest in the inner sanctuaries of palaces while the herd is content to
get a hurried glimpse of the unused chambers by feeing a servant.

H. You are a GUEST in such places?

G.S. And a welcoming one.

H. It is surprising. How does it come?

G.S. My grandfather’s name is a passport to all the courts in Europe. I
have only to utter that name and every door is open to me. I flit from
court to court at my own free will and pleasure, and am always welcome.
I am as much at home in the palaces of Europe as you are among your
relatives. I know every titled person in Europe, I think. I have my
pockets full of invitations all the time. I am under promise to go to
Italy, where I am to be the guest of a succession of the noblest houses
in the land. In Berlin my life is a continued round of gaiety in the
imperial palace. It is the same, wherever I go.

H. It must be very pleasant. But it must make Boston seem a little slow
when you are at home.

G.S. Yes, of course it does. But I don’t go home much. There’s no life
there--little to feed a man’s higher nature. Boston’s very narrow, you
know. She doesn’t know it, and you couldn’t convince her of it--so I say
nothing when I’m there: where’s the use? Yes, Boston is very narrow, but
she has such a good opinion of herself that she can’t see it. A man who
has traveled as much as I have, and seen as much of the world, sees it
plain enough, but he can’t cure it, you know, so the best is to leave it
and seek a sphere which is more in harmony with his tastes and culture.
I run across there, once a year, perhaps, when I have nothing important
on hand, but I’m very soon back again. I spend my time in Europe.

H. I see. You map out your plans and ...

G.S. No, excuse me. I don’t map out any plans. I simply follow the
inclination of the day. I am limited by no ties, no requirements, I
am not bound in any way. I am too old a traveler to hamper myself with
deliberate purposes. I am simply a traveler--an inveterate traveler--a
man of the world, in a word--I can call myself by no other name. I do
not say, “I am going here, or I am going there”--I say nothing at all, I
only act. For instance, next week you may find me the guest of a grandee
of Spain, or you may find me off for Venice, or flitting toward Dresden.
I shall probably go to Egypt presently; friends will say to friends,
“He is at the Nile cataracts”--and at that very moment they will be
surprised to learn that I’m away off yonder in India somewhere. I am
a constant surprise to people. They are always saying, “Yes, he was
in Jerusalem when we heard of him last, but goodness knows where he is

Presently the Grandson rose to leave--discovered he had an appointment
with some Emperor, perhaps. He did his graces over again: gripped me
with one talon, at arm’s-length, pressed his hat against his stomach
with the other, bent his body in the middle three times, murmuring:

“Pleasure, ‘m sure; great pleasure, ‘m sure. Wish you much success.”

Then he removed his gracious presence. It is a great and solemn thing to
have a grandfather.

I have not purposed to misrepresent this boy in any way, for what little
indignation he excited in me soon passed and left nothing behind it but
compassion. One cannot keep up a grudge against a vacuum. I have tried
to repeat this lad’s very words; if I have failed anywhere I have at
least not failed to reproduce the marrow and meaning of what he said.
He and the innocent chatterbox whom I met on the Swiss lake are the most
unique and interesting specimens of Young America I came across
during my foreign tramping. I have made honest portraits of them, not

The Grandson of twenty-three referred to himself five or six times as
an “old traveler,” and as many as three times (with a serene complacency
which was maddening) as a “man of the world.” There was something very
delicious about his leaving Boston to her “narrowness,” unreproved and

I formed the caravan in marching order, presently, and after riding down
the line to see that it was properly roped together, gave the command to
proceed. In a little while the road carried us to open, grassy land. We
were above the troublesome forest, now, and had an uninterrupted view,
straight before us, of our summit--the summit of the Riffelberg.

We followed the mule-road, a zigzag course, now to the right, now to
the left, but always up, and always crowded and incommoded by going and
coming files of reckless tourists who were never, in a single instance,
tied together. I was obliged to exert the utmost care and caution, for
in many places the road was not two yards wide, and often the lower side
of it sloped away in slanting precipices eight and even nine feet deep.
I had to encourage the men constantly, to keep them from giving way to
their unmanly fears.

We might have made the summit before night, but for a delay caused by
the loss of an umbrella. I was allowing the umbrella to remain lost, but
the men murmured, and with reason, for in this exposed region we stood
in peculiar need of protection against avalanches; so I went into camp
and detached a strong party to go after the missing article.

The difficulties of the next morning were severe, but our courage
was high, for our goal was near. At noon we conquered the last
impediment--we stood at last upon the summit, and without the loss of a
single man except the mule that ate the glycerin. Our great achievement
was achieved--the possibility of the impossible was demonstrated, and
Harris and I walked proudly into the great dining-room of the Riffelberg
Hotel and stood our alpenstocks up in the corner.

Yes, I had made the grand ascent; but it was a mistake to do it in
evening dress. The plug hats were battered, the swallow-tails were
fluttering rags, mud added no grace, the general effect was unpleasant
and even disreputable.

There were about seventy-five tourists at the hotel--mainly ladies and
little children--and they gave us an admiring welcome which paid us for
all our privations and sufferings. The ascent had been made, and the
names and dates now stand recorded on a stone monument there to prove it
to all future tourists.

I boiled a thermometer and took an altitude, with a most curious result:
HAD TAKEN THE FIRST ALTITUDE. Suspecting that I had made an important
discovery, I prepared to verify it. There happened to be a still higher
summit (called the Gorner Grat), above the hotel, and notwithstanding
the fact that it overlooks a glacier from a dizzy height, and that the
ascent is difficult and dangerous, I resolved to venture up there and
boil a thermometer. So I sent a strong party, with some borrowed hoes,
in charge of two chiefs of service, to dig a stairway in the soil all
the way up, and this I ascended, roped to the guides. This breezy height
was the summit proper--so I accomplished even more than I had originally
purposed to do. This foolhardy exploit is recorded on another stone

I boiled my thermometer, and sure enough, this spot, which purported to
be two thousand feet higher than the locality of the hotel, turned out
to be nine thousand feet LOWER. Thus the fact was clearly demonstrated
IT ACTUALLY IS. Our ascent itself was a great achievement, but this
contribution to science was an inconceivably greater matter.

Cavilers object that water boils at a lower and lower temperature the
higher and higher you go, and hence the apparent anomaly. I answer that
I do not base my theory upon what the boiling water does, but upon what
a boiled thermometer says. You can’t go behind the thermometer.

I had a magnificent view of Monte Rosa, and apparently all the rest of
the Alpine world, from that high place. All the circling horizon was
piled high with a mighty tumult of snowy crests. One might have
imagined he saw before him the tented camps of a beleaguering host of

NOTE.--I had the very unusual luck to catch one little momentary glimpse
of the Matterhorn wholly unencumbered by clouds. I leveled my
photographic apparatus at it without the loss of an instant, and should
have got an elegant picture if my donkey had not interfered. It was my
purpose to draw this photograph all by myself for my book, but was
obliged to put the mountain part of it into the hands of the
professional artist because I found I could not do landscape well.

But lonely, conspicuous, and superb, rose that wonderful upright wedge,
the Matterhorn. Its precipitous sides were powdered over with snow, and
the upper half hidden in thick clouds which now and then dissolved to
cobweb films and gave brief glimpses of the imposing tower as through a
veil. A little later the Matterhorn took to himself the semblance of
a volcano; he was stripped naked to his apex--around this circled
vast wreaths of white cloud which strung slowly out and streamed away
slantwise toward the sun, a twenty-mile stretch of rolling and tumbling
vapor, and looking just as if it were pouring out of a crater. Later
again, one of the mountain’s sides was clean and clear, and another
side densely clothed from base to summit in thick smokelike cloud which
feathered off and flew around the shaft’s sharp edge like the smoke
around the corners of a burning building. The Matterhorn is always
experimenting, and always gets up fine effects, too. In the sunset, when
all the lower world is palled in gloom, it points toward heaven out of
the pervading blackness like a finger of fire. In the sunrise--well,
they say it is very fine in the sunrise.

Authorities agree that there is no such tremendous “layout” of snowy
Alpine magnitude, grandeur, and sublimity to be seen from any other
accessible point as the tourist may see from the summit of the
Riffelberg. Therefore, let the tourist rope himself up and go there; for
I have shown that with nerve, caution, and judgment, the thing can be

I wish to add one remark, here--in parentheses, so to speak--suggested
by the word “snowy,” which I have just used. We have all seen hills and
mountains and levels with snow on them, and so we think we know all the
aspects and effects produced by snow. But indeed we do not until we have
seen the Alps. Possibly mass and distance add something--at any rate,
something IS added. Among other noticeable things, there is a dazzling,
intense whiteness about the distant Alpine snow, when the sun is on it,
which one recognizes as peculiar, and not familiar to the eye. The snow
which one is accustomed to has a tint to it--painters usually give it a
bluish cast--but there is no perceptible tint to the distant Alpine snow
when it is trying to look its whitest. As to the unimaginable
splendor of it when the sun is blazing down on it--well, it simply IS


[We Travel by Glacier]

A guide-book is a queer thing. The reader has just seen what a man who
undertakes the great ascent from Zermatt to the Riffelberg Hotel must
experience. Yet Baedeker makes these strange statements concerning this

   1. Distance--3 hours.
   2. The road cannot be mistaken.
   3. Guide unnecessary.
   4. Distance from Riffelberg Hotel to the Gorner Grat, one hour and a half.
   5. Ascent simple and easy. Guide unnecessary.
   6. Elevation of Zermatt above sea-level, 5,315 feet.
   7. Elevation of Riffelberg Hotel above sea-level, 8,429 feet.
   8. Elevation of the Gorner Grat above sea-level, 10,289 feet.

I have pretty effectually throttled these errors by sending him the
following demonstrated facts:

   1. Distance from Zermatt to Riffelberg Hotel, 7 days.
   2. The road CAN be mistaken. If I am the first that did it, I want the credit
      of it, too.
   3. Guides ARE necessary, for none but a native can read those finger-boards.
   4. The estimate of the elevation of the several localities above sea-level
      is pretty correct--for Baedeker. He only misses it about a hundred and
      eighty or ninety thousand feet.

I found my arnica invaluable. My men were suffering excruciatingly, from
the friction of sitting down so much. During two or three days, not
one of them was able to do more than lie down or walk about; yet so
effective was the arnica, that on the fourth all were able to sit up.
I consider that, more than to anything else, I owe the success of our
great undertaking to arnica and paregoric.

My men are being restored to health and strength, my main perplexity,
now, was how to get them down the mountain again. I was not willing to
expose the brave fellows to the perils, fatigues, and hardships of that
fearful route again if it could be helped. First I thought of balloons;
but, of course, I had to give that idea up, for balloons were
not procurable. I thought of several other expedients, but upon
consideration discarded them, for cause. But at last I hit it. I was
aware that the movement of glaciers is an established fact, for I had
read it in Baedeker; so I resolved to take passage for Zermatt on the
great Gorner Glacier.

Very good. The next thing was, how to get down the glacier
comfortably--for the mule-road to it was long, and winding, and
wearisome. I set my mind at work, and soon thought out a plan. One looks
straight down upon the vast frozen river called the Gorner Glacier, from
the Gorner Grat, a sheer precipice twelve hundred feet high. We had
one hundred and fifty-four umbrellas--and what is an umbrella but a

I mentioned this noble idea to Harris, with enthusiasm, and was about to
order the Expedition to form on the Gorner Grat, with their umbrellas,
and prepare for flight by platoons, each platoon in command of a guide,
when Harris stopped me and urged me not to be too hasty. He asked me if
this method of descending the Alps had ever been tried before. I said
no, I had not heard of an instance. Then, in his opinion, it was a
matter of considerable gravity; in his opinion it would not be well to
send the whole command over the cliff at once; a better way would be to
send down a single individual, first, and see how he fared.

I saw the wisdom in this idea instantly. I said as much, and thanked
my agent cordially, and told him to take his umbrella and try the thing
right away, and wave his hat when he got down, if he struck in a soft
place, and then I would ship the rest right along.

Harris was greatly touched with this mark of confidence, and said so,
in a voice that had a perceptible tremble in it; but at the same time he
said he did not feel himself worthy of so conspicuous a favor; that it
might cause jealousy in the command, for there were plenty who would not
hesitate to say he had used underhanded means to get the appointment,
whereas his conscience would bear him witness that he had not sought it
at all, nor even, in his secret heart, desired it.

I said these words did him extreme credit, but that he must not throw
away the imperishable distinction of being the first man to descend
an Alp per parachute, simply to save the feelings of some envious
underlings. No, I said, he MUST accept the appointment--it was no longer
an invitation, it was a command.

He thanked me with effusion, and said that putting the thing in this
form removed every objection. He retired, and soon returned with his
umbrella, his eye flaming with gratitude and his cheeks pallid with joy.
Just then the head guide passed along. Harris’s expression changed to
one of infinite tenderness, and he said:

“That man did me a cruel injury four days ago, and I said in my heart
he should live to perceive and confess that the only noble revenge a
man can take upon his enemy is to return good for evil. I resign in his
favor. Appoint him.”

I threw my arms around the generous fellow and said:

“Harris, you are the noblest soul that lives. You shall not regret this
sublime act, neither shall the world fail to know of it. You shall have
opportunity far transcending this one, too, if I live--remember that.”

I called the head guide to me and appointed him on the spot. But the
thing aroused no enthusiasm in him. He did not take to the idea at all.

He said:

“Tie myself to an umbrella and jump over the Gorner Grat! Excuse me,
there are a great many pleasanter roads to the devil than that.”

Upon a discussion of the subject with him, it appeared that he
considered the project distinctly and decidedly dangerous. I was not
convinced, yet I was not willing to try the experiment in any risky
way--that is, in a way that might cripple the strength and efficiency
of the Expedition. I was about at my wits’ end when it occurred to me to
try it on the Latinist.

He was called in. But he declined, on the plea of inexperience,
diffidence in public, lack of curiosity, and I didn’t know what all.
Another man declined on account of a cold in the head; thought he
ought to avoid exposure. Another could not jump well--never COULD jump
well--did not believe he could jump so far without long and patient
practice. Another was afraid it was going to rain, and his umbrella had
a hole in it. Everybody had an excuse. The result was what the reader
has by this time guessed: the most magnificent idea that was ever
conceived had to be abandoned, from sheer lack of a person with
enterprise enough to carry it out. Yes, I actually had to give that
thing up--while doubtless I should live to see somebody use it and take
all the credit from me.

Well, I had to go overland--there was no other way. I marched the
Expedition down the steep and tedious mule-path and took up as good a
position as I could upon the middle of the glacier--because Baedeker
said the middle part travels the fastest. As a measure of economy,
however, I put some of the heavier baggage on the shoreward parts, to go
as slow freight.

I waited and waited, but the glacier did not move. Night was coming on,
the darkness began to gather--still we did not budge. It occurred to me
then, that there might be a time-table in Baedeker; it would be well to
find out the hours of starting. I called for the book--it could not be
found. Bradshaw would certainly contain a time-table; but no Bradshaw
could be found.

Very well, I must make the best of the situation. So I pitched the
tents, picketed the animals, milked the cows, had supper, paregoricked
the men, established the watch, and went to bed--with orders to call me
as soon as we came in sight of Zermatt.

I awoke about half past ten next morning, and looked around. We hadn’t
budged a peg! At first I could not understand it; then it occurred to me
that the old thing must be aground. So I cut down some trees and rigged
a spar on the starboard and another on the port side, and fooled away
upward of three hours trying to spar her off. But it was no use. She
was half a mile wide and fifteen or twenty miles long, and there was
no telling just whereabouts she WAS aground. The men began to show
uneasiness, too, and presently they came flying to me with ashy faces,
saying she had sprung a leak.

Nothing but my cool behavior at this critical time saved us from another
panic. I ordered them to show me the place. They led me to a spot where
a huge boulder lay in a deep pool of clear and brilliant water. It did
look like a pretty bad leak, but I kept that to myself. I made a pump
and set the men to work to pump out the glacier. We made a success of
it. I perceived, then, that it was not a leak at all. This boulder had
descended from a precipice and stopped on the ice in the middle of the
glacier, and the sun had warmed it up, every day, and consequently it
had melted its way deeper and deeper into the ice, until at last it
reposed, as we had found it, in a deep pool of the clearest and coldest

Presently Baedeker was found again, and I hunted eagerly for the
time-table. There was none. The book simply said the glacier was moving
all the time. This was satisfactory, so I shut up the book and chose a
good position to view the scenery as we passed along. I stood there some
time enjoying the trip, but at last it occurred to me that we did
not seem to be gaining any on the scenery. I said to myself, “This
confounded old thing’s aground again, sure,”--and opened Baedeker to
see if I could run across any remedy for these annoying interruptions.
I soon found a sentence which threw a dazzling light upon the matter.
It said, “The Gorner Glacier travels at an average rate of a little less
than an inch a day.” I have seldom felt so outraged. I have seldom had
my confidence so wantonly betrayed. I made a small calculation: One inch
a day, say thirty feet a year; estimated distance to Zermatt, three and
one-eighteenth miles. Time required to go by glacier, A LITTLE OVER FIVE
HUNDRED YEARS! I said to myself, “I can WALK it quicker--and before I
will patronize such a fraud as this, I will do it.”

When I revealed to Harris the fact that the passenger part of this
glacier--the central part--the lightning-express part, so to speak--was
not due in Zermatt till the summer of 2378, and that the baggage, coming
along the slow edge, would not arrive until some generations later, he
burst out with:

“That is European management, all over! An inch a day--think of that!
Five hundred years to go a trifle over three miles! But I am not a bit
surprised. It’s a Catholic glacier. You can tell by the look of it. And
the management.”

I said, no, I believed nothing but the extreme end of it was in a
Catholic canton.

“Well, then, it’s a government glacier,” said Harris. “It’s all the
same. Over here the government runs everything--so everything’s slow;
slow, and ill-managed. But with us, everything’s done by private
enterprise--and then there ain’t much lolling around, you can depend
on it. I wish Tom Scott could get his hands on this torpid old slab
once--you’d see it take a different gait from this.”

I said I was sure he would increase the speed, if there was trade enough
to justify it.

“He’d MAKE trade,” said Harris. “That’s the difference between
governments and individuals. Governments don’t care, individuals do. Tom
Scott would take all the trade; in two years Gorner stock would go to
two hundred, and inside of two more you would see all the other glaciers
under the hammer for taxes.” After a reflective pause, Harris added, “A
little less than an inch a day; a little less than an INCH, mind you.
Well, I’m losing my reverence for glaciers.”

I was feeling much the same way myself. I have traveled by canal-boat,
ox-wagon, raft, and by the Ephesus and Smyrna railway; but when it comes
down to good solid honest slow motion, I bet my money on the glacier. As
a means of passenger transportation, I consider the glacier a failure;
but as a vehicle of slow freight, I think she fills the bill. In the
matter of putting the fine shades on that line of business, I judge she
could teach the Germans something.

I ordered the men to break camp and prepare for the land journey to
Zermatt. At this moment a most interesting find was made; a dark object,
bedded in the glacial ice, was cut out with the ice-axes, and it proved
to be a piece of the undressed skin of some animal--a hair trunk,
perhaps; but a close inspection disabled the hair-trunk theory, and
further discussion and examination exploded it entirely--that is, in the
opinion of all the scientists except the one who had advanced it. This
one clung to his theory with affectionate fidelity characteristic of
originators of scientific theories, and afterward won many of the first
scientists of the age to his view, by a very able pamphlet which he
wrote, entitled, “Evidences going to show that the hair trunk, in a wild
state, belonged to the early glacial period, and roamed the wastes of
chaos in the company with the cave-bear, primeval man, and the other
Ooelitics of the Old Silurian family.”

Each of our scientists had a theory of his own, and put forward
an animal of his own as a candidate for the skin. I sided with the
geologist of the Expedition in the belief that this patch of skin had
once helped to cover a Siberian elephant, in some old forgotten age--but
we divided there, the geologist believing that this discovery proved
that Siberia had formerly been located where Switzerland is now, whereas
I held the opinion that it merely proved that the primeval Swiss was not
the dull savage he is represented to have been, but was a being of high
intellectual development, who liked to go to the menagerie.

We arrived that evening, after many hardships and adventures, in some
fields close to the great ice-arch where the mad Visp boils and surges
out from under the foot of the great Gorner Glacier, and here we camped,
our perils over and our magnificent undertaking successfully completed.
We marched into Zermatt the next day, and were received with the
most lavish honors and applause. A document, signed and sealed by the
authorities, was given to me which established and endorsed the fact
that I had made the ascent of the Riffelberg. This I wear around my
neck, and it will be buried with me when I am no more.


[Piteous Relics at Chamonix]

I am not so ignorant about glacial movement, now, as I was when I took
passage on the Gorner Glacier. I have “read up” since. I am aware that
these vast bodies of ice do not travel at the same rate of speed; while
the Gorner Glacier makes less than an inch a day, the Unter-Aar Glacier
makes as much as eight; and still other glaciers are said to go twelve,
sixteen, and even twenty inches a day. One writer says that the slowest
glacier travels twenty-five feet a year, and the fastest four hundred.

What is a glacier? It is easy to say it looks like a frozen river which
occupies the bed of a winding gorge or gully between mountains. But that
gives no notion of its vastness. For it is sometimes six hundred feet
thick, and we are not accustomed to rivers six hundred feet deep; no,
our rivers are six feet, twenty feet, and sometimes fifty feet deep; we
are not quite able to grasp so large a fact as an ice-river six hundred
feet deep.

The glacier’s surface is not smooth and level, but has deep swales and
swelling elevations, and sometimes has the look of a tossing sea whose
turbulent billows were frozen hard in the instant of their most violent
motion; the glacier’s surface is not a flawless mass, but is a river
with cracks or crevices, some narrow, some gaping wide. Many a man, the
victim of a slip or a misstep, has plunged down one of these and met his
death. Men have been fished out of them alive; but it was when they
did not go to a great depth; the cold of the great depths would quickly
stupefy a man, whether he was hurt or unhurt. These cracks do not go
straight down; one can seldom see more than twenty to forty feet down
them; consequently men who have disappeared in them have been sought
for, in the hope that they had stopped within helping distance, whereas
their case, in most instances, had really been hopeless from the

In 1864 a party of tourists was descending Mont Blanc, and while picking
their way over one of the mighty glaciers of that lofty region, roped
together, as was proper, a young porter disengaged himself from the line
and started across an ice-bridge which spanned a crevice. It broke under
him with a crash, and he disappeared. The others could not see how deep
he had gone, so it might be worthwhile to try and rescue him. A brave
young guide named Michel Payot volunteered.

Two ropes were made fast to his leather belt and he bore the end of a
third one in his hand to tie to the victim in case he found him. He was
lowered into the crevice, he descended deeper and deeper between the
clear blue walls of solid ice, he approached a bend in the crack and
disappeared under it. Down, and still down, he went, into this profound
grave; when he had reached a depth of eighty feet he passed under
another bend in the crack, and thence descended eighty feet lower, as
between perpendicular precipices. Arrived at this stage of one hundred
and sixty feet below the surface of the glacier, he peered through the
twilight dimness and perceived that the chasm took another turn and
stretched away at a steep slant to unknown deeps, for its course was
lost in darkness. What a place that was to be in--especially if that
leather belt should break! The compression of the belt threatened to
suffocate the intrepid fellow; he called to his friends to draw him up,
but could not make them hear. They still lowered him, deeper and deeper.
Then he jerked his third cord as vigorously as he could; his friends
understood, and dragged him out of those icy jaws of death.

Then they attached a bottle to a cord and sent it down two hundred feet,
but it found no bottom. It came up covered with congelations--evidence
enough that even if the poor porter reached the bottom with unbroken
bones, a swift death from cold was sure, anyway.

A glacier is a stupendous, ever-progressing, resistless plow. It pushes
ahead of it masses of boulders which are packed together, and they
stretch across the gorge, right in front of it, like a long grave or a
long, sharp roof. This is called a moraine. It also shoves out a moraine
along each side of its course.

Imposing as the modern glaciers are, they are not so huge as were some
that once existed. For instance, Mr. Whymper says:

“At some very remote period the Valley of Aosta was occupied by a vast
glacier, which flowed down its entire length from Mont Blanc to the
plain of Piedmont, remained stationary, or nearly so, at its mouth
for many centuries, and deposited there enormous masses of debris. The
length of this glacier exceeded EIGHTY MILES, and it drained a basin
twenty-five to thirty-five miles across, bounded by the highest
mountains in the Alps.

“The great peaks rose several thousand feet above the glaciers, and
then, as now, shattered by sun and frost, poured down their showers of
rocks and stones, in witness of which there are the immense piles of
angular fragments that constitute the moraines of Ivrea.

“The moraines around Ivrea are of extraordinary dimensions. That which
was on the left bank of the glacier is about THIRTEEN MILES long, and
in some places rises to a height of TWO THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY
FEET above the floor of the valley! The terminal moraines (those which
are pushed in front of the glaciers) cover something like twenty square
miles of country. At the mouth of the Valley of Aosta, the thickness of
the glacier must have been at least TWO THOUSAND feet, and its width, at

It is not easy to get at a comprehension of a mass of ice like that. If
one could cleave off the butt end of such a glacier--an oblong block
two or three miles wide by five and a quarter long and two thousand
feet thick--he could completely hide the city of New York under it,
and Trinity steeple would only stick up into it relatively as far as a
shingle-nail would stick up into the bottom of a Saratoga trunk.

“The boulders from Mont Blanc, upon the plain below Ivrea, assure us
that the glacier which transported them existed for a prodigious length
of time. Their present distance from the cliffs from which they were
derived is about 420,000 feet, and if we assume that they traveled at
the rate of 400 feet per annum, their journey must have occupied them no
less than 1,055 years! In all probability they did not travel so fast.”

Glaciers are sometimes hurried out of their characteristic snail-pace.
A marvelous spectacle is presented then. Mr. Whymper refers to a case
which occurred in Iceland in 1721:

“It seems that in the neighborhood of the mountain Kotlugja, large
bodies of water formed underneath, or within the glaciers (either on
account of the interior heat of the earth, or from other causes), and at
length acquired irresistible power, tore the glaciers from their mooring
on the land, and swept them over every obstacle into the sea. Prodigious
masses of ice were thus borne for a distance of about ten miles over
land in the space of a few hours; and their bulk was so enormous that
they covered the sea for seven miles from the shore, and remained
aground in six hundred feet of water! The denudation of the land was
upon a grand scale. All superficial accumulations were swept away, and
the bedrock was exposed. It was described, in graphic language, how all
irregularities and depressions were obliterated, and a smooth surface of
several miles’ area laid bare, and that this area had the appearance of
having been PLANED BY A PLANE.”

The account translated from the Icelandic says that the mountainlike
ruins of this majestic glacier so covered the sea that as far as the eye
could reach no open water was discoverable, even from the highest peaks.
A monster wall or barrier of ice was built across a considerable stretch
of land, too, by this strange irruption:

“One can form some idea of the altitude of this barrier of ice when it
is mentioned that from Hofdabrekka farm, which lies high up on a fjeld,
one could not see Hjorleifshofdi opposite, which is a fell six hundred
and forty feet in height; but in order to do so had to clamber up a
mountain slope east of Hofdabrekka twelve hundred feet high.”

These things will help the reader to understand why it is that a man who
keeps company with glaciers comes to feel tolerably insignificant by
and by. The Alps and the glaciers together are able to take every bit of
conceit out of a man and reduce his self-importance to zero if he will
only remain within the influence of their sublime presence long enough
to give it a fair and reasonable chance to do its work.

The Alpine glaciers move--that is granted, now, by everybody. But there
was a time when people scoffed at the idea; they said you might as well
expect leagues of solid rock to crawl along the ground as expect leagues
of ice to do it. But proof after proof was furnished, and the finally
the world had to believe.

The wise men not only said the glacier moved, but they timed its
movement. They ciphered out a glacier’s gait, and then said confidently
that it would travel just so far in so many years. There is record of
a striking and curious example of the accuracy which may be attained in
these reckonings.

In 1820 the ascent of Mont Blanc was attempted by a Russian and two
Englishmen, with seven guides. They had reached a prodigious altitude,
and were approaching the summit, when an avalanche swept several of the
party down a sharp slope of two hundred feet and hurled five of them
(all guides) into one of the crevices of a glacier. The life of one
of the five was saved by a long barometer which was strapped to his
back--it bridged the crevice and suspended him until help came. The
alpenstock or baton of another saved its owner in a similar way. Three
men were lost--Pierre Balmat, Pierre Carrier, and Auguste Tairraz. They
had been hurled down into the fathomless great deeps of the crevice.

Dr. Forbes, the English geologist, had made frequent visits to the Mont
Blanc region, and had given much attention to the disputed question of
the movement of glaciers. During one of these visits he completed his
estimates of the rate of movement of the glacier which had swallowed
up the three guides, and uttered the prediction that the glacier would
deliver up its dead at the foot of the mountain thirty-five years from
the time of the accident, or possibly forty.

A dull, slow journey--a movement imperceptible to any eye--but it was
proceeding, nevertheless, and without cessation. It was a journey
which a rolling stone would make in a few seconds--the lofty point of
departure was visible from the village below in the valley.

The prediction cut curiously close to the truth; forty-one years after
the catastrophe, the remains were cast forth at the foot of the glacier.

I find an interesting account of the matter in the HISTOIRE DU MONT
BLANC, by Stephen d’Arve. I will condense this account, as follows:

On the 12th of August, 1861, at the hour of the close of mass, a guide
arrived out of breath at the mairie of Chamonix, and bearing on his
shoulders a very lugubrious burden. It was a sack filled with human
remains which he had gathered from the orifice of a crevice in the
Glacier des Bossons. He conjectured that these were remains of the
victims of the catastrophe of 1820, and a minute inquest, immediately
instituted by the local authorities, soon demonstrated the correctness
of his supposition. The contents of the sack were spread upon a long
table, and officially inventoried, as follows:

Portions of three human skulls. Several tufts of black and blonde hair.
A human jaw, furnished with fine white teeth. A forearm and hand, all
the fingers of the latter intact. The flesh was white and fresh,
and both the arm and hand preserved a degree of flexibility in the

The ring-finger had suffered a slight abrasion, and the stain of the
blood was still visible and unchanged after forty-one years. A left
foot, the flesh white and fresh.

Along with these fragments were portions of waistcoats, hats, hobnailed
shoes, and other clothing; a wing of a pigeon, with black feathers; a
fragment of an alpenstock; a tin lantern; and lastly, a boiled leg of
mutton, the only flesh among all the remains that exhaled an unpleasant
odor. The guide said that the mutton had no odor when he took it from
the glacier; an hour’s exposure to the sun had already begun the work of
decomposition upon it.

Persons were called for, to identify these poor pathetic relics, and a
touching scene ensued. Two men were still living who had witnessed the
grim catastrophe of nearly half a century before--Marie Couttet (saved
by his baton) and Julien Davouassoux (saved by the barometer). These
aged men entered and approached the table. Davouassoux, more than eighty
years old, contemplated the mournful remains mutely and with a vacant
eye, for his intelligence and his memory were torpid with age; but
Couttet’s faculties were still perfect at seventy-two, and he exhibited
strong emotion. He said:

“Pierre Balmat was fair; he wore a straw hat. This bit of skull, with
the tuft of blond hair, was his; this is his hat. Pierre Carrier was
very dark; this skull was his, and this felt hat. This is Balmat’s
hand, I remember it so well!” and the old man bent down and kissed it
reverently, then closed his fingers upon it in an affectionate grasp,
crying out, “I could never have dared to believe that before quitting
this world it would be granted me to press once more the hand of one of
those brave comrades, the hand of my good friend Balmat.”

There is something weirdly pathetic about the picture of that
white-haired veteran greeting with his loving handshake this friend
who had been dead forty years. When these hands had met last, they were
alike in the softness and freshness of youth; now, one was brown and
wrinkled and horny with age, while the other was still as young and fair
and blemishless as if those forty years had come and gone in a single
moment, leaving no mark of their passage. Time had gone on, in the one
case; it had stood still in the other. A man who has not seen a friend
for a generation, keeps him in mind always as he saw him last, and is
somehow surprised, and is also shocked, to see the aging change the
years have wrought when he sees him again. Marie Couttet’s experience,
in finding his friend’s hand unaltered from the image of it which he
had carried in his memory for forty years, is an experience which stands
alone in the history of man, perhaps.

Couttet identified other relics:

“This hat belonged to Auguste Tairraz. He carried the cage of pigeons
which we proposed to set free upon the summit. Here is the wing of one
of those pigeons. And here is the fragment of my broken baton; it was by
grace of that baton that my life was saved. Who could have told me that
I should one day have the satisfaction to look again upon this bit of
wood that supported me above the grave that swallowed up my unfortunate

No portions of the body of Tairraz, other than a piece of the skull,
had been found. A diligent search was made, but without result. However,
another search was instituted a year later, and this had better success.
Many fragments of clothing which had belonged to the lost guides were
discovered; also, part of a lantern, and a green veil with blood-stains
on it. But the interesting feature was this:

One of the searchers came suddenly upon a sleeved arm projecting from
a crevice in the ice-wall, with the hand outstretched as if offering
greeting! “The nails of this white hand were still rosy, and the pose
of the extended fingers seemed to express an eloquent welcome to the
long-lost light of day.”

The hand and arm were alone; there was no trunk. After being removed
from the ice the flesh-tints quickly faded out and the rosy nails took
on the alabaster hue of death. This was the third RIGHT hand found;
therefore, all three of the lost men were accounted for, beyond cavil or

Dr. Hamel was the Russian gentleman of the party which made the ascent
at the time of the famous disaster. He left Chamonix as soon as he
conveniently could after the descent; and as he had shown a chilly
indifference about the calamity, and offered neither sympathy nor
assistance to the widows and orphans, he carried with him the cordial
execrations of the whole community. Four months before the first remains
were found, a Chamonix guide named Balmat--a relative of one of the lost
men--was in London, and one day encountered a hale old gentleman in the
British Museum, who said:

“I overheard your name. Are you from Chamonix, Monsieur Balmat?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Haven’t they found the bodies of my three guides, yet? I am Dr. Hamel.”

“Alas, no, monsieur.”

“Well, you’ll find them, sooner or later.”

“Yes, it is the opinion of Dr. Forbes and Mr. Tyndall, that the glacier
will sooner or later restore to us the remains of the unfortunate

“Without a doubt, without a doubt. And it will be a great thing for
Chamonix, in the matter of attracting tourists. You can get up a museum
with those remains that will draw!”

This savage idea has not improved the odor of Dr. Hamel’s name in
Chamonix by any means. But after all, the man was sound on human nature.
His idea was conveyed to the public officials of Chamonix, and they
gravely discussed it around the official council-table. They were only
prevented from carrying it into execution by the determined opposition
of the friends and descendants of the lost guides, who insisted on
giving the remains Christian burial, and succeeded in their purpose.

A close watch had to be kept upon all the poor remnants and fragments,
to prevent embezzlement. A few accessory odds and ends were sold. Rags
and scraps of the coarse clothing were parted with at the rate equal to
about twenty dollars a yard; a piece of a lantern and one or two other
trifles brought nearly their weight in gold; and an Englishman offered a
pound sterling for a single breeches-button.


[The Fearful Disaster of 1865]

One of the most memorable of all the Alpine catastrophes was that of
July, 1865, on the Matterhorn--already slightly referred to, a few
pages back. The details of it are scarcely known in America. To the vast
majority of readers they are not known at all. Mr. Whymper’s account is
the only authentic one. I will import the chief portion of it into this
book, partly because of its intrinsic interest, and partly because it
gives such a vivid idea of what the perilous pastime of Alp-climbing
is. This was Mr. Whymper’s NINTH attempt during a series of years, to
vanquish that steep and stubborn pillar or rock; it succeeded, the other
eight were failures. No man had ever accomplished the ascent before,
though the attempts had been numerous.

MR. WHYMPER’S NARRATIVE We started from Zermatt on the 13th of July, at
half past five, on a brilliant and perfectly cloudless morning. We were
eight in number--Croz (guide), old Peter Taugwalder (guide) and his
two sons; Lord F. Douglas, Mr. Hadow, Rev. Mr. Hudson, and I. To insure
steady motion, one tourist and one native walked together. The youngest
Taugwalder fell to my share. The wine-bags also fell to my lot to carry,
and throughout the day, after each drink, I replenished them secretly
with water, so that at the next halt they were found fuller than before!
This was considered a good omen, and little short of miraculous.

On the first day we did not intend to ascend to any great height, and we
mounted, accordingly, very leisurely. Before twelve o’clock we had found
a good position for the tent, at a height of eleven thousand feet. We
passed the remaining hours of daylight--some basking in the sunshine,
some sketching, some collecting; Hudson made tea, I coffee, and at
length we retired, each one to his blanket bag.

We assembled together before dawn on the 14th and started directly
it was light enough to move. One of the young Taugwalders returned to
Zermatt. In a few minutes we turned the rib which had intercepted the
view of the eastern face from our tent platform. The whole of this
great slope was now revealed, rising for three thousand feet like a huge
natural staircase. Some parts were more, and others were less easy, but
we were not once brought to a halt by any serious impediment, for when
an obstruction was met in front it could always be turned to the right
or to the left. For the greater part of the way there was no occasion,
indeed, for the rope, and sometimes Hudson led, sometimes myself. At
six-twenty we had attained a height of twelve thousand eight hundred
feet, and halted for half an hour; we then continued the ascent without
a break until nine-fifty-five, when we stopped for fifty minutes, at a
height of fourteen thousand feet.

We had now arrived at the foot of that part which, seen from the
Riffelberg, seems perpendicular or overhanging. We could no longer
continue on the eastern side. For a little distance we ascended by snow
upon the ARÊTE--that is, the ridge--then turned over to the right, or
northern side. The work became difficult, and required caution. In some
places there was little to hold; the general slope of the mountain was
LESS than forty degrees, and snow had accumulated in, and had filled
up, the interstices of the rock-face, leaving only occasional fragments
projecting here and there. These were at times covered with a thin film
of ice. It was a place which any fair mountaineer might pass in safety.
We bore away nearly horizontally for about four hundred feet, then
ascended directly toward the summit for about sixty feet, then doubled
back to the ridge which descends toward Zermatt. A long stride round
a rather awkward corner brought us to snow once more. That last doubt
vanished! The Matterhorn was ours! Nothing but two hundred feet of easy
snow remained to be surmounted.

The higher we rose, the more intense became the excitement. The slope
eased off, at length we could be detached, and Croz and I, dashed away,
ran a neck-and-neck race, which ended in a dead heat. At 1:40 P.M., the
world was at our feet, and the Matterhorn was conquered!

The others arrived. Croz now took the tent-pole, and planted it in the
highest snow. “Yes,” we said, “there is the flag-staff, but where is the
flag?” “Here it is,” he answered, pulling off his blouse and fixing it
to the stick. It made a poor flag, and there was no wind to float
it out, yet it was seen all around. They saw it at Zermatt--at the
Riffel--in the Val Tournanche... .

We remained on the summit for one hour--

One crowded hour of glorious life.

It passed away too quickly, and we began to prepare for the descent.

Hudson and I consulted as to the best and safest arrangement of the
party. We agreed that it was best for Croz to go first, and Hadow
second; Hudson, who was almost equal to a guide in sureness of foot,
wished to be third; Lord Douglas was placed next, and old Peter, the
strongest of the remainder, after him. I suggested to Hudson that we
should attach a rope to the rocks on our arrival at the difficult bit,
and hold it as we descended, as an additional protection. He approved
the idea, but it was not definitely decided that it should be done. The
party was being arranged in the above order while I was sketching the
summit, and they had finished, and were waiting for me to be tied in
line, when some one remembered that our names had not been left in a
bottle. They requested me to write them down, and moved off while it was
being done.

A few minutes afterward I tied myself to young Peter, ran down after the
others, and caught them just as they were commencing the descent of the
difficult part. Great care was being taken. Only one man was moving at a
time; when he was firmly planted the next advanced, and so on. They had
not, however, attached the additional rope to rocks, and nothing was
said about it. The suggestion was not made for my own sake, and I am not
sure that it ever occurred to me again. For some little distance we two
followed the others, detached from them, and should have continued so
had not Lord Douglas asked me, about 3 P.M., to tie on to old Peter, as
he feared, he said, that Taugwalder would not be able to hold his ground
if a slip occurred.

A few minutes later, a sharp-eyed lad ran into the Monte Rosa Hotel, at
Zermatt, saying that he had seen an avalanche fall from the summit of
the Matterhorn onto the Matterhorn glacier. The boy was reproved for
telling idle stories; he was right, nevertheless, and this was what he

Michel Croz had laid aside his ax, and in order to give Mr. Hadow
greater security, was absolutely taking hold of his legs, and putting
his feet, one by one, into their proper positions. As far as I know, no
one was actually descending. I cannot speak with certainty, because the
two leading men were partially hidden from my sight by an intervening
mass of rock, but it is my belief, from the movements of their
shoulders, that Croz, having done as I said, was in the act of turning
round to go down a step or two himself; at this moment Mr. Hadow
slipped, fell against him, and knocked him over. I heard one startled
exclamation from Croz, then saw him and Mr. Hadow flying downward;
in another moment Hudson was dragged from his steps, and Lord Douglas
immediately after him. All this was the work of a moment. Immediately we
heard Croz’s exclamation, old Peter and I planted ourselves as firmly as
the rocks would permit; the rope was taut between us, and the jerk came
on us both as on one man. We held; but the rope broke midway between
Taugwalder and Lord Francis Douglas. For a few seconds we saw our
unfortunate companions sliding downward on their backs, and spreading
out their hands, endeavoring to save themselves. They passed from our
sight uninjured, disappeared one by one, and fell from the precipice to
precipice onto the Matterhorn glacier below, a distance of nearly
four thousand feet in height. From the moment the rope broke it was
impossible to help them. So perished our comrades!

For more than two hours afterward I thought almost every moment that the
next would be my last; for the Taugwalders, utterly unnerved, were not
only incapable of giving assistance, but were in such a state that a
slip might have been expected from them at any moment. After a time we
were able to do that which should have been done at first, and fixed
rope to firm rocks, in addition to being tied together. These ropes were
cut from time to time, and were left behind. Even with their assurance
the men were afraid to proceed, and several times old Peter turned,
with ashy face and faltering limbs, and said, with terrible emphasis, “I

About 6 P.M., we arrived at the snow upon the ridge descending toward
Zermatt, and all peril was over. We frequently looked, but in vain, for
traces of our unfortunate companions; we bent over the ridge and cried
to them, but no sound returned. Convinced at last that they were neither
within sight nor hearing, we ceased from our useless efforts; and, too
cast down for speech, silently gathered up our things, and the little
effects of those who were lost, and then completed the descent. Such
is Mr. Whymper’s graphic and thrilling narrative. Zermatt gossip
darkly hints that the elder Taugwalder cut the rope, when the accident
occurred, in order to preserve himself from being dragged into the
abyss; but Mr. Whymper says that the ends of the rope showed no evidence
of cutting, but only of breaking. He adds that if Taugwalder had had the
disposition to cut the rope, he would not have had time to do it, the
accident was so sudden and unexpected.

Lord Douglas’ body has never been found. It probably lodged upon some
inaccessible shelf in the face of the mighty precipice. Lord Douglas was
a youth of nineteen. The three other victims fell nearly four thousand
feet, and their bodies lay together upon the glacier when found by
Mr. Whymper and the other searchers the next morning. Their graves are
beside the little church in Zermatt.


[Chillon has a Nice, Roomy Dungeon]

Switzerland is simply a large, humpy, solid rock, with a thin skin of
grass stretched over it. Consequently, they do not dig graves, they
blast them out with powder and fuse. They cannot afford to have large
graveyards, the grass skin is too circumscribed and too valuable. It is
all required for the support of the living.

The graveyard in Zermatt occupies only about one-eighth of an acre.
The graves are sunk in the living rock, and are very permanent; but
occupation of them is only temporary; the occupant can only stay till
his grave is needed by a later subject, he is removed, then, for they do
not bury one body on top of another. As I understand it, a family owns
a grave, just as it owns a house. A man dies and leaves his house to his
son--and at the same time, this dead father succeeds to his own father’s
grave. He moves out of the house and into the grave, and his predecessor
moves out of the grave and into the cellar of the chapel. I saw a black
box lying in the churchyard, with skull and cross-bones painted on it,
and was told that this was used in transferring remains to the cellar.

In that cellar the bones and skulls of several hundred of former
citizens were compactly corded up. They made a pile eighteen feet long,
seven feet high, and eight feet wide. I was told that in some of the
receptacles of this kind in the Swiss villages, the skulls were all
marked, and if a man wished to find the skulls of his ancestors for
several generations back, he could do it by these marks, preserved in
the family records.

An English gentleman who had lived some years in this region, said it
was the cradle of compulsory education. But he said that the English
idea that compulsory education would reduce bastardy and intemperance
was an error--it has not that effect. He said there was more seduction
in the Protestant than in the Catholic cantons, because the confessional
protected the girls. I wonder why it doesn’t protect married women in
France and Spain?

This gentleman said that among the poorer peasants in the Valais, it was
common for the brothers in a family to cast lots to determine which
of them should have the coveted privilege of marrying, and his
brethren--doomed bachelors--heroically banded themselves together to
help support the new family.

We left Zermatt in a wagon--and in a rain-storm, too--for St. Nicholas
about ten o’clock one morning. Again we passed between those grass-clad
prodigious cliffs, specked with wee dwellings peeping over at us from
velvety green walls ten and twelve hundred feet high. It did not seem
possible that the imaginary chamois even could climb those precipices.
Lovers on opposite cliffs probably kiss through a spy-glass, and
correspond with a rifle.

In Switzerland the farmer’s plow is a wide shovel, which scrapes up and
turns over the thin earthy skin of his native rock--and there the man of
the plow is a hero. Now here, by our St. Nicholas road, was a grave, and
it had a tragic story. A plowman was skinning his farm one morning--not
the steepest part of it, but still a steep part--that is, he was not
skinning the front of his farm, but the roof of it, near the eaves--when
he absent-mindedly let go of the plow-handles to moisten his hands, in
the usual way; he lost his balance and fell out of his farm backward;
poor fellow, he never touched anything till he struck bottom, fifteen
hundred feet below. [This was on a Sunday.--M.T.] We throw a halo of
heroism around the life of the soldier and the sailor, because of the
deadly dangers they are facing all the time. But we are not used to
looking upon farming as a heroic occupation. This is because we have not
lived in Switzerland.

From St. Nicholas we struck out for Visp--or Vispach--on foot. The
rain-storms had been at work during several days, and had done a deal of
damage in Switzerland and Savoy. We came to one place where a stream had
changed its course and plunged down a mountain in a new place, sweeping
everything before it. Two poor but precious farms by the roadside were
ruined. One was washed clear away, and the bed-rock exposed; the other
was buried out of sight under a tumbled chaos of rocks, gravel, mud,
and rubbish. The resistless might of water was well exemplified. Some
saplings which had stood in the way were bent to the ground, stripped
clean of their bark, and buried under rocky debris. The road had been
swept away, too.

In another place, where the road was high up on the mountain’s face, and
its outside edge protected by flimsy masonry, we frequently came across
spots where this masonry had carved off and left dangerous gaps for
mules to get over; and with still more frequency we found the masonry
slightly crumbled, and marked by mule-hoofs, thus showing that there had
been danger of an accident to somebody. When at last we came to a
badly ruptured bit of masonry, with hoof-prints evidencing a desperate
struggle to regain the lost foothold, I looked quite hopefully over the
dizzy precipice. But there was nobody down there.

They take exceedingly good care of their rivers in Switzerland and other
portions of Europe. They wall up both banks with slanting solid stone
masonry--so that from end to end of these rivers the banks look like the
wharves at St. Louis and other towns on the Mississippi River.

It was during this walk from St. Nicholas, in the shadow of the majestic
Alps, that we came across some little children amusing themselves in
what seemed, at first, a most odd and original way--but it wasn’t; it
was in simply a natural and characteristic way. They were roped together
with a string, they had mimic alpenstocks and ice-axes, and were
climbing a meek and lowly manure-pile with a most blood-curdling amount
of care and caution. The “guide” at the head of the line cut imaginary
steps, in a laborious and painstaking way, and not a monkey budged till
the step above was vacated. If we had waited we should have witnessed an
imaginary accident, no doubt; and we should have heard the intrepid band
hurrah when they made the summit and looked around upon the “magnificent
view,” and seen them throw themselves down in exhausted attitudes for a
rest in that commanding situation.

In Nevada I used to see the children play at silver-mining. Of course,
the great thing was an accident in a mine, and there were two “star”
 parts; that of the man who fell down the mimic shaft, and that of the
daring hero who was lowered into the depths to bring him up. I knew one
small chap who always insisted on playing BOTH of these parts--and he
carried his point. He would tumble into the shaft and die, and then come
to the surface and go back after his own remains.

It is the smartest boy that gets the hero part everywhere; he is head
guide in Switzerland, head miner in Nevada, head bull-fighter in Spain,
etc.; but I knew a preacher’s son, seven years old, who once selected
a part for himself compared to which those just mentioned are tame
and unimpressive. Jimmy’s father stopped him from driving imaginary
horse-cars one Sunday--stopped him from playing captain of an imaginary
steamboat next Sunday--stopped him from leading an imaginary army to
battle the following Sunday--and so on. Finally the little fellow said:

“I’ve tried everything, and they won’t any of them do. What CAN I play?”

“I hardly know, Jimmy; but you MUST play only things that are suitable
to the Sabbath-day.”

Next Sunday the preacher stepped softly to a back-room door to see if
the children were rightly employed. He peeped in. A chair occupied the
middle of the room, and on the back of it hung Jimmy’s cap; one of
his little sisters took the cap down, nibbled at it, then passed it to
another small sister and said, “Eat of this fruit, for it is good.” The
Reverend took in the situation--alas, they were playing the Expulsion
from Eden! Yet he found one little crumb of comfort. He said to himself,
“For once Jimmy has yielded the chief role--I have been wronging him, I
did not believe there was so much modesty in him; I should have expected
him to be either Adam or Eve.” This crumb of comfort lasted but a very
little while; he glanced around and discovered Jimmy standing in an
imposing attitude in a corner, with a dark and deadly frown on his face.
What that meant was very plain--HE WAS IMPERSONATING THE DEITY! Think of
the guileless sublimity of that idea.

We reached Vispach at 8 P.M., only about seven hours out from St.
Nicholas. So we must have made fully a mile and a half an hour, and it
was all downhill, too, and very muddy at that. We stayed all night at
the Hotel de Soleil; I remember it because the landlady, the portier,
the waitress, and the chambermaid were not separate persons, but were
all contained in one neat and chipper suit of spotless muslin, and she
was the prettiest young creature I saw in all that region. She was the
landlord’s daughter. And I remember that the only native match to her
I saw in all Europe was the young daughter of the landlord of a village
inn in the Black Forest. Why don’t more people in Europe marry and keep

Next morning we left with a family of English friends and went by train
to Brevet, and thence by boat across the lake to Ouchy (Lausanne).

Ouchy is memorable to me, not on account of its beautiful situation and
lovely surroundings--although these would make it stick long in one’s
memory--but as the place where _I_ caught the London TIMES dropping into
humor. It was NOT aware of it, though. It did not do it on purpose.
An English friend called my attention to this lapse, and cut out the
reprehensible paragraph for me. Think of encountering a grin like this
on the face of that grim journal:

ERRATUM.--We are requested by Reuter’s Telegram Company to correct an
erroneous announcement made in their Brisbane telegram of the 2d inst.,
published in our impression of the 5th inst., stating that “Lady Kennedy
had given birth to twins, the eldest being a son.” The Company explain
that the message they received contained the words “Governor of
Queensland, TWINS FIRST SON.” Being, however, subsequently informed that
Sir Arthur Kennedy was unmarried and that there must be some mistake, a
telegraphic repetition was at once demanded. It has been received today
(11th inst.) and shows that the words really telegraphed by Reuter’s
agent were “Governor Queensland TURNS FIRST SOD,” alluding to the
Maryborough-Gympic Railway in course of construction. The words in
italics were mutilated by the telegraph in transmission from Australia,
and reaching the company in the form mentioned above gave rise to the

I had always had a deep and reverent compassion for the sufferings of
the “prisoner of Chillon,” whose story Byron had told in such moving
verse; so I took the steamer and made pilgrimage to the dungeons of the
Castle of Chillon, to see the place where poor Bonnivard endured his
dreary captivity three hundred years ago. I am glad I did that, for it
took away some of the pain I was feeling on the prisoner’s account. His
dungeon was a nice, cool, roomy place, and I cannot see why he should
have been dissatisfied with it. If he had been imprisoned in a St.
Nicholas private dwelling, where the fertilizer prevails, and the goat
sleeps with the guest, and the chickens roost on him and the cow comes
in and bothers him when he wants to muse, it would have been another
matter altogether; but he surely could not have had a very cheerless
time of it in that pretty dungeon. It has romantic window-slits that
let in generous bars of light, and it has tall, noble columns, carved
apparently from the living rock; and what is more, they are written
all over with thousands of names; some of them--like Byron’s and Victor
Hugo’s--of the first celebrity. Why didn’t he amuse himself reading
these names? Then there are the couriers and tourists--swarms of them
every day--what was to hinder him from having a good time with them? I
think Bonnivard’s sufferings have been overrated.

Next, we took the train and went to Martigny, on the way to Mont Blanc.
Next morning we started, about eight o’clock, on foot. We had plenty of
company, in the way of wagon-loads and mule-loads of tourists--and dust.
This scattering procession of travelers was perhaps a mile long. The
road was uphill--interminable uphill--and tolerably steep. The weather
was blisteringly hot, and the man or woman who had to sit on a creeping
mule, or in a crawling wagon, and broil in the beating sun, was an
object to be pitied. We could dodge among the bushes, and have the
relief of shade, but those people could not. They paid for a conveyance,
and to get their money’s worth they rode.

We went by the way of the Tête Noir, and after we reached high ground
there was no lack of fine scenery. In one place the road was tunneled
through a shoulder of the mountain; from there one looked down into a
gorge with a rushing torrent in it, and on every hand was a charming
view of rocky buttresses and wooded heights. There was a liberal
allowance of pretty waterfalls, too, on the Tête Noir route.

About half an hour before we reached the village of Argentière a vast
dome of snow with the sun blazing on it drifted into view and framed
itself in a strong V-shaped gateway of the mountains, and we recognized
Mont Blanc, the “monarch of the Alps.” With every step, after that,
this stately dome rose higher and higher into the blue sky, and at last
seemed to occupy the zenith.

Some of Mont Blanc’s neighbors--bare, light-brown, steeplelike
rocks--were very peculiarly shaped. Some were whittled to a sharp point,
and slightly bent at the upper end, like a lady’s finger; one monster
sugar-loaf resembled a bishop’s hat; it was too steep to hold snow on
its sides, but had some in the division.

While we were still on very high ground, and before the descent toward
Argentière began, we looked up toward a neighboring mountain-top, and
saw exquisite prismatic colors playing about some white clouds which
were so delicate as to almost resemble gossamer webs. The faint pinks
and greens were peculiarly beautiful; none of the colors were deep, they
were the lightest shades. They were bewitching commingled. We sat down
to study and enjoy this singular spectacle. The tints remained during
several minutes--flitting, changing, melting into each other; paling
almost away for a moment, then reflushing--a shifting, restless,
unstable succession of soft opaline gleams, shimmering over that air
film of white cloud, and turning it into a fabric dainty enough to
clothe an angel with.

By and by we perceived what those super-delicate colors, and their
continuous play and movement, reminded us of; it is what one sees in a
soap-bubble that is drifting along, catching changes of tint from the
objects it passes. A soap-bubble is the most beautiful thing, and the
most exquisite, in nature; that lovely phantom fabric in the sky was
suggestive of a soap-bubble split open, and spread out in the sun. I
wonder how much it would take to buy a soap-bubble, if there was only
one in the world? One could buy a hatful of Koh-i-Noors with the same
money, no doubt.

We made the tramp from Martigny to Argentière in eight hours. We beat
all the mules and wagons; we didn’t usually do that. We hired a sort of
open baggage-wagon for the trip down the valley to Chamonix, and then
devoted an hour to dining. This gave the driver time to get drunk. He
had a friend with him, and this friend also had had time to get drunk.

When we drove off, the driver said all the tourists had arrived and
gone by while we were at dinner; “but,” said he, impressively, “be not
disturbed by that--remain tranquil--give yourselves no uneasiness--their
dust rises far before us--rest you tranquil, leave all to me--I am the
king of drivers. Behold!”

Down came his whip, and away we clattered. I never had such a shaking up
in my life. The recent flooding rains had washed the road clear away in
places, but we never stopped, we never slowed down for anything. We tore
right along, over rocks, rubbish, gullies, open fields--sometimes with
one or two wheels on the ground, but generally with none. Every now and
then that calm, good-natured madman would bend a majestic look over his
shoulder at us and say, “Ah, you perceive? It is as I have said--I am
the king of drivers.” Every time we just missed going to destruction,
he would say, with tranquil happiness, “Enjoy it, gentlemen, it is very
rare, it is very unusual--it is given to few to ride with the king of
drivers--and observe, it is as I have said, I am he.”

He spoke in French, and punctuated with hiccoughs. His friend was
French, too, but spoke in German--using the same system of punctuation,
however. The friend called himself the “Captain of Mont Blanc,” and
wanted us to make the ascent with him. He said he had made more ascents
than any other man--forty seven--and his brother had made thirty-seven.
His brother was the best guide in the world, except himself--but he,
yes, observe him well--he was the “Captain of Mont Blanc”--that title
belonged to none other.

The “king” was as good as his word--he overtook that long procession
of tourists and went by it like a hurricane. The result was that we got
choicer rooms at the hotel in Chamonix than we should have done if
his majesty had been a slower artist--or rather, if he hadn’t most
providentially got drunk before he left Argentière.


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
      311.  ROBBING A BEGGAR
     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" ***

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