The Project Gutenberg EBook of Villa Elsa, by Stuart Henry

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Title: Villa Elsa
       A Story of German Family Life

Author: Stuart Henry

Release Date: November 28, 2006 [EBook #19946]

Language: English

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A Story of German Family Life





681 Fifth Avenue

Copyright 1920, BY
All Rights Reserved
Printed in the United States of America


Pat and Anna




THIS narrative offers a gentle but permanent answer to the problem presented to humanity by the German people. It seeks to go beyond the stage of indemnities, diplomatic or trade control, peace by armed preponderance. These agencies do not take into account Teuton nature, character, manner of living, beliefs.

Unless the Germans are changed, the world will live at swords' points with them both in theory and in practice. Whether they are characteristically Huns or not, it should be tragically realized that something ought to be done to alter their type. Their minds, hearts, souls, should be touched in a direct, personal, intimate way. There should be a natural relationship of good feeling, an intelligent and lived mutual experience, worked up, brought[viii] about. A League of Nations, of Peace, inevitably based on some sort of force, should be followed by a truly human programme leading to the amicable conversion of that race, if it is at heart unrepentant, crafty, murderous.

In the absence of any particular heed being paid to this underlying, fundamental subject, the present pages suggest for it a vital solution that seems both easy and practical and would promise to relieve anxiety as to an indefinitely uncertain, ugly future ahead of harassed mankind.

How shall the German be treated in the present century and beyond?

To try to answer this aright, it is obviously necessary to know what the German is—what he is really like. To know him at his best, in his truest colors, is to live with him in his most normal condition, and that is at his fireside, surrounded by his family. This aspect has been the least fully presented during the war. What the Teuton military and political chieftains, clergymen, professors, captains of industry, editors and other men of position have said, how they have conducted themselves toward the rest of humanity, is notoriously[ix] and distressingly familiar. But what the ordinary, educated German of peaceful pursuits, staying by his hearthstone far behind and safe from the battle line, thought and wished to say, has been beyond our ken. There has been no way to get at him or hear from him as to what lay frankly in his mind.

His leaders loudly proclaimed themselves to be as terrifying as Huns and unblushingly gloried in this profession. Has he agreed or has he silently disagreed? Has he too wished this or has he been unwilling? Is he essentially a Hun, are his family essentially Huns, or are they in reality good and kindly people like our people? Are they temporarily misled?

The humble German families of education who are hospitable, who sing and weep over sentimental songs in their homes, whose duties are modest and revenues small, who have never been out of their provinces, who have had no relations with foreigners and could have no personal cause for hatred—have they been so bloodthirsty about killing and pillaging in alien lands?

Villa Elsa contains a family immune from any foreign influence and matured in the most[x] regular and unsuspecting Teuton way. The German household is the most thoroughly instructed of all households. Its members are disciplined to do most things well. How can it then be Hun in any considerable degree? Impossible, said the nations, and so they remained illy prepared against a frenzied onslaught. But a shocked public has beheld how readily the most erudite of mankind, as the Germans were generally held to be, could officially, deliberately and repeatedly as soldiers, singly and en masse, act like their ancestors—the barbarians of the days of Attila.

These are all puzzling queries which this story attempts to illuminate and solve by its pictures and observations of the life of such a modest and typical Teuton home in 1913 and 1914. Admittedly too much light, too much study, cannot be given to the greatest issue civilization as a whole has faced.

Villa Elsa is but Germany in miniature. In the significant character, habits and activities of this household may be found the true pith and essence of real Germanism as normally developed. This Germanism appears ready to continue after the War to be the malignant and would-be assassin of other civilizations.[xi] It is, therefore, tragically important to find and act on the right answer to the question:

Is there any possible way to make the Germans become true, peace-loving friends with us—with the rest of mankind?


  Forward vii
I. Triumphant Germany in 1913 1
II. Deutschland ueber Alles 6
III. Gard Kirtley 11
IV. Villa Elsa 19
V. Family Life 29
VI. The Home 36
VII. German Loving 46
VIII. German Courtship 54
IX. A Journalist 64
X. Spies and War 71
XI. German Ways 78
XII. Habits and Children 86
XIII. Down with America! 94
XIV. Aftermath 106
XV. Military Blockheads 113
XVI. A Lively Musician 120
XVII. Immorality and Obscenity 125
XVIII. The Naked Cult 134
XIX. Jim Deming of Erie, Pay 145
XX. An American Victory 152
XXI. A People Peculiar or Pagan? 160
XXII. Making for War 168
XXIII. Social Etiquette 178
XXIV. The Court Ball 186
XXV. Fritzi and Another Conversation 192
XXVI. Some of the Less Known Efficiency 200
XXVII. The Imperial Secret Service 210
XXVIII. Jim Deming's Fate 218
XXIX. Winter and Spring 229
XXX. Villa Elsa Outdoors 238
XXXI. A Casual Tragedy 247
XXXII. A German Marriage Proposal 256
XXXIII. A Waitress Dance 263
XXXIV. Champagne 272
XXXV. Recuperation 279
XXXVI. The German Problem. An Answer 285
XXXVII. A German "Gott Be with Ye" 294
XXXVIII. A Journey 302
XXXIX. The Tomb of Charlemagne 313
XL. The End of a Little Game 323
XLI. Are They Huns 329
XLII. The Anti-Christians 336
XLIII. The Teuton Problem. A Solution 347




Triumphant Germany in 1913

IN the late summer of 1913 a quiet American college man of twenty-three, tall, lean, somewhat listless in bearing, who had been idling on a trip in Germany without a thought of adventure, was observing, without being able to define or understand, one of the most remarkable conditions of national and racial exhilaration that ever blessed a country in time of ripest peace.

He had never been out of America, and supposed his Yankee people, with all their wide liberty, contemplated life with as much enjoyment as any other. But in that land which is governed with iron, where (as Bis[2]marck said) a man cannot even get up out of his bed and walk to a window without breaking a law, Gard Kirtley was finding something different, strange, wonderful, in the way of marked happiness. It pulsated everywhere, in every man, woman and child. It seemed to be a sensation of victory, yet there had been no victory. It appeared to reflect some mighty distinctive human achievement or event of which a whole race could be proud in unison. There had been nothing of the sort.

And yet it was there, a certain exuberance. The people, with heads carried high, quickly moving feet and pockets full of money, were enlivened by a public joyousness because they were humans and, above all, because they were Germans. It seemed a joy of human prestige, of wholesale well-being, of an assuredly auspicious future. Multitudes of toasts were being drunk. The marching and counter-marching of soldiers looked excessive even for Germany. A season of patriotic holidays was apparently at hand. Festivals, public rites, celebrated the widespread exultation. The whole country conducted itself as on parade, en fête.

Wages were higher and comforts greater[3] than ever known there. For the first time chambermaids often drank champagne and wore on their heads lop-sided creations of expensive millinery with confident awkwardness—creations which they said came from Paris. The chimney sweeps had high hats and smoked good tobacco which they may have thought came from London. For the imported was the high water mark of plenty in Germany as always elsewhere, though she claimed to make the best goods.

The scene should not be painted in too high colors—colors too fixed. To the careless observer it doubtless appeared little different from the annual flowering forth of the German race in its short summer season. Always at that time were the open gardens lively, the roses blooming with the crude, dense hues that the Teutons like, and all the folk pursuing their busy tasks and vigorous pleasures with a sort of goose-step alacrity.

But the closer, more sensitive onlooker felt something more in 1913—something widely organized, unified, puissant, imperial indeed, such as, he may have imagined, had not existed since the days of the great emperors in Rome. What the Germans told all comers was that[4] they had the best of governments, and that no nation had been so thoroughly, soundly and extensively prosperous.

For each citizen read in his daily paper of successful and growing Teuton activities in the most distant parts of the earth—in ports, regions and among peoples whose names he had never heard before and could not pronounce. At breakfast his capacious paunch and his wife's fat, flowing bosom expanded with pride in hearing of some new far-off passenger route carrying the flag, of the Made in Germany brand sweeping the markets of the world, and perhaps of the Kaiser's safe return to his palace, bronzed with the cast of health and strength. Never had investments brought the German such high rates. Never had speculation been so rife and withal so uniformly profitable.

As for industry, Deutschland was a colossal beehive. If Frederick the Great started the beehive, William the Second was increasing its size to unbelievable proportions. Insignificant villages everywhere contained millions of dollars' worth of machinery, manufacturing goods of untold value. Not an ounce of energy, not a second of time, seemed to be lost[5] in the Empire. Every German was a busy cog fitted precisely into the whole national plant.

It was as if the Teuton knew that other races must soon stand with their backs to the wall and that now was the moment to redouble effort to capture still more trade and reduce the rest of the world to an acknowledged state of submission.



Deutschland Ueber Alles

THUS the Germans, in 1913, felt how supreme their country was or was speedily becoming. Not only their newspapers but their educators, their pastors and, more than all, their military and political leaders told them that a place above the rest of mankind had been reached. The pride, the assurance, pervading the land was the stiff and hardy efflorescence of this universal conclusion. And the Teutons had earned and therefore merited it all, for no one, nothing, scarcely even Nature, had lent a helping hand.

German women knew they were the best housekeepers, wives, mothers, dressers, dancers. Never had they been so to the fore. Never had they had so much money to spend for clothes. Never had they promenaded so proudly to martial music or waltzed so per[7]spiringly with the fashion-plate officers whom they adored.

The children were paragons of diligence and promise. In their school books and college text books everything German was lauded in the superlative; everything foreign was decried as inferior, undesirable. Nearly every human discovery, invention, improvement, was somehow traced to a Teuton origin. Even characteristic German vices were held to be better than many virtues in other lands.

The young person grew up to believe that the Rhine was the finest of rivers, the mountains of the Fatherland were the most celebrated in song and story, its lakes the most picturesque, its soil the best tilled. He was properly stuffed with the indomitable conviction, the aggressive obsession, that the fittest civilization must prevail.

And the army! Always the army—that bulwark, that invincible force! Hundreds of thousands of civilians apparently regretted they were not back in the barracks, following the noblest of occupations as soldiers for the supreme War Lord. The army represented admitted perfection. Foreign observers were united in naïvely attesting its impeccableness.[8] It was ready to the last shoe button, to the last twist of its waxed mustache. But ready for what? Few outside of Germany appeared to think of asking. The army was taken to be simply Teuton life and of no more ulterior significance than the national beer.

The admission was also general at home and abroad that the German Government was the most free from graft and the most thorough. In Germany the kings and princes were paid homage as models of wisdom and virtue, and the Kaiser was believed to be walking with God, hand in hand, palm to palm. In token of the mystic union between Emperor and people, Hohenzollern monuments were seen rising in all parts of the Empire in greater quantity, amid greater thanksgivings. These Denkmals were growing huger, more thunderous in appearance, and served the double purpose of keeping the populace in a state of admiring, unquestioning awe and expressing fulminating Bewares! to other races. In every home, factory, retail shop, public place, was the Kaiser's picture, with his trellised mustache, and his devout eyes cast with a chummy comradeship up to heaven.

All the foregoing explanations accounted in[9] part for a glorious increase in noise among a people that does everything loudly. The national noisiness was harmonized somewhat by innumerable bands and orchestras. Public balls seemed to have become the order of the night, and the famous forests by day were filled by echoes of the horns of the bloody chase—the cors de chasse of the legendary Roland and knights of the Nibelungen. Humble civilians grew fonder of the habit of donning their military or hunting uniforms and big marching boots, and sticking cock's feathers in their hats at rakish angles, recalling the war of 1870 or reviving dreams of the sporting Tyrol. They drank daily more pints of beer and swallowed the hot-headed Rhine wines as if thus renewing their blood in that of their fiery ancestors. Meals mounted to seven or eight a day, for it was proper to gorge themselves like the human gods they were. Even the most servile took on a conscious air of being of a regal species.

In this wise, the German, like Cain, the competent iron-worker, was treading the earth with resounding footsteps. Over his bullneck and under his spiked hat he had naturally come to look upon himself as a super-being.[10] While the American watched ball games, the Englishman played golf and the Frenchman wrote to his loved one, the Teuton was keeping himself hardened for war, and toiling like the systematic beaver in up-building national industries that were so swiftly dominating all others. To say the least, this intense people were strenuously perfecting an intensive and powerful civilization such as never had been seen.

So—as Gard Kirtley was finding and yet failing to explain to himself—expectancy, undescribable and splendid, was in the air beyond the Rhine. And there was one special toast drunk to it all with ever more loudly clinking glasses—Der Tag! Such was triumphant Germany, the triumphant Vaterland, in 1913—foretasting a portentous future; pregnant with colossal success; swollen with a hundred years of victories and growth; as sure of its prowess and might as were the swaggering gods of its Valhallas.

Imperial Deutschland über Alles!



Gard Kirtley

INTO this Triumphant Germany young Kirtley had come to recuperate from the sadness over the loss, the previous year, of his parents and from a siege of sickness. Still somewhat pale, somewhat weak, he showed the shock he had undergone. He had toured across southern Germany and up to Berlin where he had bidden good-by to his chance American traveling companion, Jim Deming, who was knocking about Italy and Teutonland. They had exchanged final addresses.

Kirtley, clean-shaven, with pleasant brown eyes, and brown hair brushed down flat, giving his head the appearance of smallness, looked very lank and Yankeeish among the robust, fat Teutons of the Saxon capital. He was entering Dresden on a late afternoon brown[12] with German sunshine. The school year had begun, but a loitering summer-time brightened city and countryside. As he made his way slowly through the throng at the station, he gave evidence of a rather shy way of looking up and about, an apologetic readiness to step aside, to yield place, not characteristic of the speedy American in Europe. He had not, as we have said, come to Germany for adventure. He had not come merely to idle for the winter. And certainly he little mistrusted he was finally to figure as a modest hero in a curious and dangerous experience that linked itself up with the beginning of the war of which he, like the world at large, felt not the slightest premonition.

His German teacher had been his favorite in his eastern college where he had one season been a very fair halfback. His better showing had exhibited itself in his ability to throw from left field to home plate on the ball team. This American preceptor of German parentage had taken an interest in Kirtley with the insistent way of Teutonic pedagogues. Always commending with a uniform vigor the Germans and German fashions of living, he had[13] gradually filled Gard full of the idea of their excelling merits.

Kirtley heard of the tonic of the nutritious Teuton beer and Teuton music in overflowing measures. In the Kaiser's realm, it appeared, the digestions are always good. How desirable it would be for Gard to take on some flesh in the German manner! In that climate, Professor Rebner claimed with assurance, although he had never been abroad, one can eat and drink his fill without causing the human system to rebel as it is apt to in our dry, high-strung America. His pupil's appetite would come back. Hearty meals of robust cheese and sausages would be craved with an honest, clamorous hunger that meant foolish indelicacy here at home.

Rebner also urged that Gard could in Deutschland improve his German which, notwithstanding his affection for his preceptor, was indifferent. Its gutturalness grated on his nerves, antagonized him. But he criticized himself for this, not the language. Had not his old mentor always sung of the superiorities of that tongue?

Kirtley could improve, too, his fingering on[14] the piano by familiarizing himself with the noble melodies that flooded the German land. Two hairy hands would go up in exultation,

"To hear Beethoven and Wagner in their own country, filling the atmosphere with their glories! And then Goethe and Schiller. Those mighty deities. To read them in their own home!"

But the greatest thing, to the old professor's mind, would be to behold the German people themselves, study them, profit by them in their preëminence. What an example, what an inspiration, what a grand symphony of concentrated harmony! Germany was the source of Protestantism and therefore of modern morals—honest, uncompromising morals. German discipline would have a bracing, solidifying effect on a typically casual, slack American youth like Gard, whose latent capabilities were never likely to be fully called upon in the comparatively hit-and-miss organization of Yankee life.

For he had not yet begun to find himself. He had not even decided on a calling at an age when the German is almost a full-fledged citizen, shouldering all the accompanying[15] obligations. Kirtley's exemplary conduct and the gravity cast over him by the death of his loved ones, had led him to think a little of Rebner's suggestions about the ministry. And for this, Luther's country would be expected to be sublime.

The loudly reiterated praise of Germany and the Germans had at last produced the desired effect on Gard. He was prevailed upon to break away from the old associations, go abroad for a year and get a fresh and stout hold on the future. Rebner, through his connections, had been able to arrange for a home in Saxony for his pupil's sojourn. It was in "a highly estimable and well-informed family" who had never taken a paying guest. Although a new experience for them, they had urgently insisted that they would do everything they could to make his stay agreeable and beneficial. This was deemed most lucky. For the real German character and existence could there be observed and lived with the best profit, uncontaminated by the intermixture of doubtful foreign associations.

And so Gard had arrived in Dresden, in whose attractive suburb of Loschwitz, on the[16] gently rising banks of the Elbe, the worthy Buchers were domiciled. As his limping German did not give him confidence about the up-and-down variety of the Saxon dialect, he did not venture this afternoon to find his way by tram to the house. The blind German script in which his hosts' solicitous and minute instructions were couched, and the funny singsong of the natives talking blatantly about him, made him feel still more helpless. He sought refuge in an open droschke. He could then, too, enjoy the drive across the city.

The Saxon capital sits capaciously like a comfortable old dowager fully dressed in stuffs of a richly dull color. Her thick skirts are spread about her with a contented dignity which does not interfere with her eating large sandwiches openly and vigorously at the opera. To-day the mellow sunlight crowned her ancient nobleness with a becoming hue, as Gard was jogged along in a roundabout way through the city. Here at the left were the august bridges and great park, all famed in Napoleon's battles. Over there were the dowdy royal palaces. There, too, was the house of the sacred Sistine. Her[17] sweet lineaments shone down in almost every American parlor Gard knew.

The dingy baroque architecture, whose general tastelessness was heavily banked up by a multitude of towers, gables and high copings, suggested an old-fashioned residential city of the days of urban fortifications. The uniform arrays of buildings, all pretending to the effect of sumptuousness thickened by weighty proportions and blasphemed by rococo hesitations and doubts, seemed constructed to exalt the doughty glory of Augustus the Strong—Dresden's local Thor, its chief heroic figure in the favorite Teuton galaxy of muscled Titans. Somber medieval squares, blocked away quaintly from the world, were relieved by the celebrated Brühl Terrace, enlivened by gilded statuary and by historic and literary memories.

Through all this metropolis of formidable and dun respectability curved the Elbe as if to round off the massive imitations of something better somewhere else. Hither coursed the smooth brown stream from Bohemia, not far away, through the high fastnesses of the Erz range and the groomed vistas of Saxon[18] Switzerland, and past the frowning old fortress of Königstein, towering near a thousand feet above its untroubled bosom. Kirtley was to find the river, with its carefully tended shores, a companion in many an hour.



Villa Elsa

SUCH in brief was the scene that stretched out around him and enveloped his attention and interest. There was not majesty that would offend, but rather a cosy formality that is the absence of style. It cured somewhat the homesick inclinations that quite naturally haunted him after a wearying day of travel and as nightfall drew down about his loneliness. He was bound for the home of a strange family, speaking a tongue in which he was far from glib. It had been written, though, that the Bucher young people had learned English pretty well at school.

Kirtley reached his destination to find that the parents were waiting expectantly to receive him. With German consciousness, they were stuffily attired for this novel and important event. After staunch greetings he was[20] led into the house past a big angry dog that stood guard tempestuously at the door. Gard found later that such savage barking was quite a feature of the Teuton threshold, and might be considered one bristling aspect or cause of the ungenial development of the social spirit in Germany. Cave canem can hardly be called a suitable first attraction toward the spread of hospitality. He feared he was going to be bitten and wished his welcome had not been complicated with shudders.

The entrance to Villa Elsa consisted of a hallway swimming in heady odors from the strong cooking in the adjacent kitchen. Kirtley stood for a moment stifled. But he was to become more used to the lusty smells that roam about, presumptuous and fortifying, in German households and of which, indeed, all German existence is resolutely redolent. Strength, whether in barking dogs or fumes or what-not, appeals to the race.

In the passage-way, too, Gard was struck by the presence of various weapons, and shields, hunting horns, sundry pairs of large boots, military or shooting garments, belts loaded with cartridges. It seemed almost like the combative entry to some museum of[21] armor. Taken together with the embattled dog, it suggested a defended fortress rather than a peaceful fireside.

"How pugnacious!" Gard declared to himself.

In the entry Ernst was called, and he came promptly forth, a smiling lad of fifteen, with a musing face, his thick light hair thrown back and run through meditatively by his fingers. He conducted Gard up two flights to a good-sized but snug room where he was to abide. A linden tree courted the window panes with its green branches.

Just the place for a fellow who wants to get away from the world and read!—Kirtley thought.

On his nightstand lay, with characteristic Teuton foresight, the names and addresses of a language teacher and of a music teacher who were duly "recommending themselves" to him in the German idiom. Lists of purchasable text books and musical editions from houses which, in the thoroughly informed Teuton manner, had got wind of his coming, also opened before him.

"They evidently expect me to begin to-mor[22]row morning. No loss of time." He laughed to himself.

His trunk and satchel were in his room in a few minutes with all the certainty and punctuality of the imperial-royal service. "Essen fertig!" was soon vociferated up the stairway by the cook Tekla, whose bulky young form Gard had glimpsed in the kitchen. Not sure of being summoned he did not emerge until Ernst tapped on the door—

"Meester Kirtley, please come to eating."

At table the elder son was introduced—Rudolph, called Rudi, a youth of about Gard's age. There was an unseemly scar on his face and something oblique in his look. Engineering was given as his profession, but he affected the German military strut and was forward and crammed with ready-made conclusions on most subjects. But Herr Bucher reigned here as elsewhere about Villa Elsa as absolute master. He alone spoke with authority. Reverence was first of all due him. Gard soon saw how the wife and children, notwithstanding their stirring presences, were on a secondary plane. How different in the land where he had come from where they are quite free to rule in the house! The sturdy Frau was sub[23]missive, energetically helpful. But in her husband's absence she assumed his stentorian command.

The manner of eating was frankly informal and ungainly. Evidences of sharp discipline one moment; the next, awkward short-cuts. The Germans have never been able to harmonize these extremes into a medium of easy formality or sightly smoothness. At the Bucher table each one reached across for the food with scarce an apology—a plan jerkily interrupted at times by Tekla, who stuck things at Gard as if she were going to hit him. The strong provender heaped up in abundance, rank in smell and usually unappetizing in color, interfered at first with his hunger. And the drinking was, of course, of a copiousness he had little dreamed of.

The whole effect created a distinctly unsympathetic impression. It ran full tilt against Gard's anticipations. Rebner had led him to expect always the best among the Germans. Were they not the most advanced of humans? Were they not the patterns whom he should model himself after in the laudatory desire for self-improvement? He was naturally curious to see the young lady of the household, all the[24] more as he wondered how she would blend into this blunt picture. She did not appear and he heard no reference to her. But there was a vacant place.

Much struggling occurred over the mutual endeavors to carry on conversation. With the English which the sons had learned and with Gard's German which he found a strange article on its native ground, headway was made after a fashion. His bloodless American college variety of the language was very weak to buffet about in these billows of idioms and colloquialisms.

The family, in its emphatic substantiality, was most friendly and eager to please. They urged food and fluid upon him in a way that would have dismayed his Yankee doctor. He found himself eating and drinking to an extent he had never imagined. This sort of thing, he concluded half-despairingly, would either be the making of him or kill him. At home the general fear was about too much. Here satiety, over-satiety, seemed to be the rule as at all German firesides. While he dreaded to think what his abstemious digestive apparatus would do, his new friends took not amiss the bountiful spilling of edibles and[25] liquids upon their napkins spread conspicuously over their breasts. Laundering must be cheap in Germany. That was one good thing.

Gard did not forget that this was represented to be a highly instructed and cultivated circle. The members had graduated from the best schools or held degrees from standard universities. He kept asking himself in what guises the much advertised German excellence was yet to appear in this domestic group whose culture and virtues had been so extolled. If these manners and habits were part of its perfect ripened fruit, then American education and life were indeed obviously blighted. He could not help noticing that all hands had not been necessarily washed before meal-time, and that finger nails were unblushingly uncleaned and unkempt. An accidental glimpse under the immense flowing white beard of his host revealed the absence of a shirt collar, and the neck evidently relied on its untrimmed hairiness as an excuse for not being customarily washed.

It became apparent to Kirtley after a month that personal cleanness and neatness in Germany were not particularly considered[26] as next to godliness. The gold braid, spick and span uniforms and other showy gear, were apt to cover dirty bodies and soiled underwear. Alas, the Germans could not wash in beer. He wondered why his old enthusiastic mentor had never given him a hint of these things. Likely he did not know. Distance often increases eloquence in proportion as it breeds ignorance.

With the exhilaration of the bounteous meal, however, Gard's spirits rose to a height he had not known in a long time. If conversation languished over the stony roads of the duality of expression, glasses were clinked together again and a new topic was hopefully started. When it seemed proper to him that the end of the repast should be in sight, a new course would be brought in, usually accompanied boisterously by the two family dogs, including the ferocious beast who had given Gard the shivers. The animals conducted themselves with a ravenous freedom around the board, alternately being petted and fed and allowed to lick plates, only to be in turn kicked out and shrieked after, with a chair occasionally upset in the rumpus. This habit of kicking animals, things and per[27]sons Gard later observed was prevalent among the Teutons, whose appropriate fondness for conveniently big boots and large stout shoes at the same time discourages any vanity about small feet. It is a part of their military predilection.

At the end of a couple of hours dinner was brought to a close. Fräulein had not yet put in an appearance, and it now came out that she was "at lesson." She must have stayed for another class. After his gastronomic feat Gard did not know whether he felt sick or never better in his life. What's more, he did not seem to care, his senses were so pleasantly numbed.

On his way up to his room, in the dim hall, he caught sight of a young woman hanging up her wrap. Mussed strands of straw-colored hair shone down her shoulders and sent a sudden thrill of gladness through his veins. He had never seen but one Wagner opera and that was "The Twilight of the Gods," with its aureate Rhine maidens bathing in that delicious revelry of divine music. The arrival at last of the daughter of the house, as he assumed this was, brought back a flash of all that golden loveliness.[28]

In his sleep that first night, vast trenchers of food and tankards of drink disported in happy confusion with goddesses blond and magical.



Family Life

THE matter of much eating and drinking had first to be, if possible, disposed of. It was exacting and the most important affair. Kirtley did not want to be discourteous or appear unappreciative. He had come to Germany to do as the superior Germans do. His digestive tract was on the narrow-gage American plan. Theirs was broad-gage, with their surpassing organisms.

At the Buchers Gard had manfully to face six meals a day. Must he be swamped in order to put the desirable adipose tissue on his bones? By all the laws of American dieting and Prohibition the German race should have been destroyed by indigestion and drunkenness centuries ago. But here they were more flourishing than ever—the generally acknowledged nation of masters!

And his bed—the German bed. He could[30] not remember whether Mark Twain ever described it, but he should have. Gard's haven of rest appeared to lie on solid foundations. It was constructed with German stability. There were as many blankets in summer as in winter.

Worst of all, two immense feather pillows lay across its middle. The only place for them seemed to be on his sorely tried stomach or on the floor. In a month an attack of insomnia resulted. For hours at night he lay awake, listening to the frequent rain on the roof or the wind whining Teutonically in the leaves of his linden.

In his initial troubles and anxieties he went to a German doctor. This spectacled wise man prescribed more beer. German physicians seemed to be in league with the brewers. Gard was of the kind who would suffer rather than complain. So he worried along.

He did not fall in with the urgent, conscientious assumption of the Buchers that he would at once want to begin driving away at "lessons." His hosts reminded him openly at times that his prospective teachers were still waiting, still recommending themselves. Responsibility was evidently felt for his pro[31]gramme of work. He realized that he was somewhat disappointing, for instruction, education, is such a pushing, unceasing business with the Germans. It may be said they never finish school.

Yet he wished first to take a good look at the historic city, its celebrated art treasures. He wanted to make a few excursions in the environs before the winter set in with its dampness and gloom. Besides, he never before had had a chance at fine opera, at fine symphonies and music recitals.

"But ought not Herr Kirtley at least begin with the free evening lectures?"—with which Dresden shone through the illuminations of many profound and oracular professors in lofty pulpits. He submitted that his German was too feeble of wing to enable him to soar into the heights of such wisdom.

The zest in Germany for learning and accomplishments was truly wonderful to him. Half his life of instruction now quickly seemed to have been idling. As far as industriousness, drilling, well-defined ambitiousness, were concerned, the young German had many advantages.

The modest Bucher household was run edu[32]cationally with the dynamic regularity of military establishments. It was, of course, no exception. Lessons and lectures commenced mornings at eight, with Sundays partly included. This routine begins with the German child at six.

Evenings, too, had their busy duties. No baseball, no tennis, no lazy days of swimming and fishing. Playtime was spent in martial exercise, in evenings at the opera or seeing the classical dramas of all races and epochs on the stage. Gard became aware that the Bucher children had carried six or seven studies at an age when he had thought he was abused, overburdened, with four.

Besides, their courses were more mature. And yet he had come to Germany, despite Rebner's eulogiums of the Germans, with the complacent idea that, as he was the respectable American average, he could look the other youth of the world in the face unashamed, asking no odds.

Little Ernst at fifteen was studying, among numerous things, philosophy and didactic religion. The way he could cite facts and carry on a discussion on these and similar subjects!

"What part do philosophy and religion play[33] in our system of instruction for the young?" Gard asked himself with a deprecatory smile. "Is it a miracle that the Germans can teach us desirable knowledge and morals, as Rebner insists?"

Kirtley readily perceived that he had scarcely sufficient precise information to discuss intelligently general topics with this boy. The latter could always quote some acknowledged and ponderous authority—German, of course, and all the more awe-inspiring, but of whom Gard had not heard. For it usually came down to the question, Who are your authorities? He rarely could tell who his were. They promptly faded away before all the weight and definiteness Ernst could bring to bear.

While Rudolph and Ernst were so far along as a result of a busy adolescence, Fräulein Elsa, as Gard discovered, was in her way not behind. She knew English and French pretty well and was quite an accomplished musician, able to play from memory on the winged Pleyel almost whole books of classic music. She could paint fairly well in oil and was now taking up etching with enthusiastic assiduity. She could sew, cook, run the house.[34] In brief, her days were as full as her brothers' in propelling tasks. She, apparently, did not have "boys on the brain."

Kirtley threw up his hands in imitation of his venerated professor. This was just an ordinary German miss. He had scarcely dreamed of such things in a girl.

It was all illustrated by Gard's piano playing, which was cheap and meaningless strumming. He could rattle through a lot of popular tunes and stumble through a few short simple school-girl salon pieces. The Buchers were a real orchestra. With the ladies at the piano, the old Herr at the flute, Ernst at the violin and Rudi at the 'cello, they could play a dozen programmes and furnish enjoyment for the listener.

And always salutary, enlightened, cultivated music. The house reverberated with a multitude of choice enduring arias, sung, hummed or whistled, and this made Villa Elsa almost take on a charm for Gard. He had not known how his melodious soul was starved.

Why should not the Germans be expected to have noble souls with all the wealth of distinguished, inspiring music flowing through their lives? Should it not give them neces[35]sarily a strong, desirable spirit, fortify them in healthy aspirations, encourage them to get the best out of existence? This incentive and pleasureableness, making for the good, the true and the beautiful—must it not contribute a deep richness and righteousness to the Teuton heart?

And is it to be wondered at—the Germans' big supply of red blood? For the strength of the Teuton's body, Gard observed, was built up, maintained, in equal measure with his other training. The military drilling and strenuous gymnastics provided him with straight shoulders, a full chest, a sound spine, strength of limb—in short, good, presentable health.

The Bucher fireside had no doctor, no adored specialists, hanging about. It had been taught to handle simple complaints itself. Medical and surgical bills did not upset its modest financial equilibrium. The family were extraordinarily well. Their brawn, energetically looked after as well as the brain, accounted partly for their marvelous appetites.

So nothing seemed to Gard to be missed in this potent scheme of instruction and Kultur.



The Home

OFTEN when he peeked down from his attic window he spied the shining bald head of the very elderly Herr Bucher surrounded by the mass of lively colors of his rose garden. He loved to spend hours there in the sunshine with his posies, tying up their branches, clipping choice specimens with which he was fond of decorating the members of Villa Elsa, its dining table, its living room. Roses, roses, everywhere.

It was his hobby, this spot of blossoms, and in it his short, bulky form, so whitened by his Jovian beard meerschaumed by the stains from his huge, curving German pipe, was often almost lost to view. He was like some droll gnome waddling about in a flower patch. Frequently someone had to be sent to find him among all those pets which he knew so well by their Latin and popular names and[37] by their characteristics. While he grumbled and so often stormed about in the house, speaking always in gruff tones of command, he was quite sunny out there in his plot, although still guttural and dictatorial.

He was a retired professor of phonetics and diction, but now and then prepared a pupil. This was how he had met his wife a long, long time before, when she was a young singer. She was twenty years his junior and had become so completely a housewife that you could scarcely associate her with any art. She was fat, harsh, homely, masculine in the way of German women, an occasional long hair sticking from her face in emulation of a beard.

Devoid of any graces of seduction, putting out her heavy fists in every direction she exhibited a bearish kindness toward Gard that seemed calculated at first to frighten him. She was loud-voiced, iron-jawed. One of her favorite boasts was that she had never been to a dentist. She pulled out her rarely aching teeth, or some one of the family pulled them for her.

The Herr could be smoother and he assumed a fatherly solicitude over Gard, look[38]ing out for his advantages, anxious that he should make progress. But Bucher evidently was annoyed at times by not having authority in the matter of the slow way in which his young guest set about with his "studies." Kirtley had not come to study, had not been trained to study, in the German sense. It would have been difficult to make the old man see any virtue in such desultoriness. It doubtless proved to his mind that Americans are only half trained, half tamed, half domesticated.

The couple surrounded Kirtley with a protection, an honesty, a reliability, a zeal, that was as surprising as it was, on the whole, gratifying. He felt a security he had hardly known in his own home. If he were cheated or otherwise imposed upon anywhere in Dresden—and this did not often happen—the Buchers were violently up in arms about it and never ceased pursuit of the recreant until the wrong was righted.

"The good German name must not be tarnished."

In a word, they tried to treat him like a son; and so forceful and constant were their efforts in this direction that he sometimes[39] wished their well-meant attentions were less formidable. The easy American "forget it," "why bother," "never again," were expressions of a mood unfamiliar to them. They visibly had small patience with such slackness which only, to their minds, encouraged lawlessness.

The setting for Gard's approaching German love affair was appropriately picturesque and propitious. A tight little meadow, with a grassy path wandering through by the Elbe, lay near at hand, and beyond, at the right, a pine wood—the Waldpark—with neat graveled walks and rustic seats where the tonic air was often to brace his musings.

Adjacent was the small summer house, still poetically standing, where Schiller wrote "Don Carlos" a century and a quarter before. A leafy lane led from the meadow to the walled garden inclosure of Villa Elsa, whose branches, vines and flowering bushes insisted on making it almost a hidden retreat. The spot could not be more gemütlich—that familiar expressive word which Kirtley soon learned to rely on amid the scant artillery of his defensive weapons of conversational German.

Through a swinging gate in the wall, and[40] usually to the clanging of a bell that announced you, you entered the house on a level with the ground. On this floor were the kitchen and dining room. Next came the belle étage, with the salon and music room opening into each other, and with another apartment or two. Above, the chambers. And still above, the two attic rooms. All was plain but substantial.

The garden furnished not only flowers but vegetables. And in one corner stood a table and chairs for afternoon tea with cakes or beer with cheese. Here the ever-busy sewing and knitting mainly went on in summer, and a forgotten book, half read, was usually left by some one of the young folks. There was a drowsy, old-fashioned air about the premises that recalled illustrations in some of the editions of Grimm's fairy tales.

Aside from the abundance of bound music, Gard had been far from expecting that fine examples of art and literature would be so meagerly represented in this representative German home. There were poor pictures of Bismarck, of William the Second, and of his grandfather aping the appearance of Gambrinus.

[41]Prominent also were steel engravings of Saxon and Prussian kings of whom Kirtley had never heard. But there they were, conspicuous household gods, with fierce, epic miens and lordly bodies, surrounded by wreaths of glory and Latin texts, and supported by cannon pointed at the observer with menaces of angry welcome. And not to be forgotten were the august thrones, avenging swords of royalty, and the dark swirling clouds suggesting the German Olympus.

"It all harmonizes with the arsenal down in the entrance," muttered Gard.

As for books, he was taken at an angle still more unexpected and significant. Goethe and Schiller and the other old Teuton classics, breathing of liberalness and freedom—figures that had always stood out in the world as leading exponents and guardians of a cultured enlightenment—were only present in the Bucher home in the form of musty, unused volumes.

These authors, who were so loved, advocated and expounded in American colleges and whom Kirtley had come to Germany to know better and to worship, were scarcely ever mentioned. He was astonished to find that the Germans thought little of them. And Heine[42] likewise, that naughty child of the Vaterland! At the Buchers the presentable red and gilt edition of his poems was kept in Fräulein's escritoire in her room.

American education, Gard began to realize, was somehow on the wrong track here. It was trying to cultivate a Germany that no longer seemed to exist. It was diligently teaching and acclaiming Teutons who were repudiated in their own land. It was separating the spirit and taste of the two peoples instead of bringing them together.

The books that were in evidence in Villa Elsa were a new lot, excepting the great and formidable Nietschke. Kirtley had never heard of the Treitschkes and Bernhardis and Hartmanns, whom the Buchers were reading and quoting.

From what he made out, these and similar authorities were insisting mightily on German conceptions and prerogatives—some exalting the Teuton supremacy of will, others urging and preparing the mental ground for an armed attack on the world for a German dictatorship. This militant literature was introduced here by Rudolph, who was armed with strategic plans, diagrams, military maps, which the[43] family frequently of an evening pored over with the enthusiasm of a parlor game. First it was Russia to be assaulted, then Belgium, and always France.

"Italy is already as good as conquered," Rudi proclaimed, "and England simply needs to be tilted off her worm-eaten perch by a sudden shock."

Kirtley rubbed his eyes. What a widespread, horrible butchery was being nursed and nourished here in this obscure family of peace? Surely this good folk did not appreciate the meaning of it all. Was it not merely something awfully exciting to talk about, argue about, puzzle over, in the prosaic humdrum at this respectable hearthstone?

Such a strange form of social entertainment! The "arsenal" below always came to Gard's mind. These people acted as if they were actually thinking of capturing the whole Eastern Hemisphere, speaking as if they were going to rule it like conquerors, going to enforce at the point of the blade German "might," "will," "rights." These were the common expressions used. Kirtley thought the household must be unbalanced on this topic.

He said to himself, "No one else whom I[44] have read or heard of is contemplating such a campaign. Other races are holding forth on the benefits and glories of peace. These Dresden Germans are talking of the benefits and glories of war!"

This example in these simple, every-day Buchers was most pointed. Their lines were furthest from the military. Teaching diction and phonetics to women and male singers, studying engineering, religion and the gentle arts, had nothing to do with such proposed bloody belligerence.

Only Rudi could be called somewhat martial. Hydraulics was his branch, and his frequent absences on missions about which he assumed an important and mystifying air, such as is, for that matter, usual in bumptious young men, never caused any comment or visible interest on the part of the others. He gave himself out to be close to the militaire, familiar with its secrets, as he freely blew his cigarette smoke across the meal table; and to him the family deferred on these subjects. Surely all this was to Gard very foreign and interesting.

"What a different race of beings! What a curious revelation to observe, what a doughty complex to comprehend!"

[45]He was more confounded by the attitude of the women. They were even fiercer than the men. To them the other Europeans were a wholly bad lot. Those neighbors were so much in the way of the good, all-worthy Germans. But it was on the English that this feminine hatred vented itself most turbulently. Frau Bucher shouted that she would be more than glad—she would be hilarious—if war came.

"I would wear my last rag for years, see my two boys dead on the battle front, if Gross Britain could be knocked into the bottom of the sea."

Was all this a part of that national gladness Gard was observing in Germany and could not gage, could not yet give an explicit and sufficient reason for? Those old-time Teuton liberals, masters of prose and verse—how would they feel at home in this modern Rhineland of hysterical spleen and arms provocative? Was it possible he had really come on a sort of fool's errand?



German Loving

FRÄULEIN ELSA was a blooming, almost blue-eyed young woman of twenty. Such a fresh, strawberry and cream complexion under a plenteous harvest of flaxen hair would not be associated in America with anyone very serious. There she would have been thought arrayed by Nature as a tearing blonde, suitable for the equivocal light stage, or as a frivolous artist's model, or as promenade girl in a suit and cloak house. But in Fräulein the extraordinary combination of volatile comeliness and unimpeachable earnestness daily worked growing wonders in Kirtley.

It is a luckless young traveler who does not find himself or herself engaged in some romance, permanent or transient, which ever after sweetens or gilds the memories of the tour. Moreover Gard was at an age when[47] youthful susceptibilities were softened by the lackadaisicalness of his returning state of health and hope.

So his difficulties with the German language, feasting, sleeping and redoubtable ways in general, were to be complicated by German loving. The shining object of his tenderness—how she was to lend brightness to the short dismal days and long black nights of the Teuton winter! At first he had asked himself:

"Is a campaign of the heart in Deutschland as portentous, dreadfully systematic, a proceeding as the other undertakings? Do the Germans go at that sort of thing, too, hammer and tongs?"

The glowing Fräulein was able-bodied, full-chested, with every golden promise of a rich maternityhood. Did American girls have any bosoms to speak of? Gard seemed now to have never noticed that feature in them. Yet bounding breasts are the unashamed pride of German girls.

While the Yankee miss is often to be identified by complaints of a physical nature, Elsa had no aches or pains to talk about. She had a strength competent to support all her ener[48]getic, meritorious endeavors. A thoroughly well woman—what an exceptional being, a god-send! It is not the fashion with maids beyond the Rhine to be ailing. Weak backs, nervous prostration, indigestion and similar indispositions were not topics at the Buchers'. To be coquettishly delicate or romantically ill is a liability to the Germans. Health, unenchanting as it may be, is a prime asset. That the Teuton women are gormands—what is that compared with their willingness to mother six or more sturdy youngsters?

Had Frau Bucher been an Elsa at twenty? Yes, in the main, yet impossible to conceive. Would Elsa become at fifty-five like her parent? Heaven forbid! But Youth ignores such deterrent probabilities.

The daughter and her manifold achievements easily bowled Gard over. Was he in love or did he merely imagine he was? Was he filling with the divine fire or only being smitten? Who could ever tell? And what is, in fact, the practical difference? Kindly old Rebner had hinted that it would not be amiss in Gard to bring home one of the excellent German mädchens with her brimming stock of health and efficiency.

[49]"She would be an answer to our American servant girl question, flood your fireside with invigorating music, and rear a house full of robust children. It would be a novel and commendable experiment and experience for you, Kirtley."

Of course Heine is the approved route with a German girl. Gard borrowed from Fräulein an old copy of the "Buch der Lieder." Very obliging at times like the rest of the family in the business of improving his accent, she urged that if he would commit some of those little prized poems to heart, she would supervise his intonations. He eagerly betook himself to this charming exercise, and it was not long before he was inviting her to walk along that alluring path through the meadow by the persuasive water. Here he repeated over and over to her the very pertinent lines,

Thou'rt like unto a flower,


Thou lov'st me not, thou lov'st me not,

under the conscientious reproofs of her engaging diction.

[50]But never more than for half an hour at a time. This was all she could spare him. Her days were very strictly divided by her pressing concerns. A sightly young woman so tremendously busy—it was almost exasperating.

And he could not establish any tender quality of relationship that would warm a delectable exchange of rosy intimations or tentative expressions of budding feelings of delight. It was teacher and pupil. She unsuspectingly insisted on following her rôle of preceptress and very earnest was she about it, too.

She saw nothing comical in his frequent linguistic stumblings that would naturally lead to melting moods. As the Germans have, of course, little humor, she found in these faulty exhibitions only causes for disappointed glances and reprimands approaching severity. Often you would have thought he was a boy of ten reciting his lesson at her knee.

"Now Thursday by half past ten, you must have that line right or I will scold you." And she would sometimes laugh a little in her discouragement.

She looked upon it as a duty, a voluntary drudgery, but which, she assured him, she was most pleased to do. For she loved Heine[51]—raved about him, like sentimental German maids. She could never go over his verse often enough. And so she encouraged Gard to keep on. It was a reflected part of her normal disciplined life of acquisition.

After a month of these tactics he realized he was making no headway toward—he did not acknowledge what. Young men as a type did not seem to Elsa of special interest any more than a hundred other objects on earth. And then the cold weather before long put an end to the little promenades of rime by the shore, and Gard had to try other lines of attack on this radiant and beflowered German fortress.

The park of fir trees lay quite beyond the meadow. It was a silent, evocative spot, unfrequented except for a peasant now and then trudging along under a bundle of wood or a weather-beaten basket of provisions. Kirtley had managed to stray that far once with Elsa, but learned that the mother was expected to accompany at such distances. It provoked his silent comment,

"As nearly as I can estimate, about a half a mile from home is all that is allowed a German miss unchaperoned."

[52]It was the same when he invited Fräulein to the opera or theater. The parent must attend. As she was equally occupied, it did not appear easy for him to arrange for the two. Besides, Frau Bucher killed everything under these confounding and confounded circumstances. She sat between him and her daughter and ruled the conversation. It was little better than taking her alone, so he abandoned also these enterprises.

In the talk at table the family, with Teuton tactlessness, now and then cried out the surpassing merits of the German young man. Unquestionably he led all others. Gard met no success in stemming the tide, miffed as he was about this social seclusion of the daughter. He soon saw his mistake in feeling personally hurt, as if insulted. It was but the custom. Could it be indeed a fact that German youths were such moral reprobates that girls could not be trusted to their unguarded companionship? The question had no meaning to his hosts. It was useless to hint of such an idea, burning as he often was to launch it upon the waves of discussion. To them, chaperoning signified the highest morals.

They exploded with, "It may very well[53] be as you say in America! That is to be expected. Are there any morals in the United States? We have heard awful things. There are the Mormons. There is co-education. And young girls of the best families go around loose with men day and night. What could be the result? Free love. And free love means cheap love or no love at all. Admittedly pretty low conditions for virtue. What else can be looked for in a country where all sorts of people come promiscuously from everywhere? Divorces, voting females, slatterns, homelessness, neglected, poorly educated children."

If, in passing, America and Americans were referred to in the family, and this was rare, Elsa, Gard noticed, kept silent. Yet she could be very wrought up about other Europeans. This nursed his fancies. He interpreted it in terms of promise. Elsa, he decided, was a good girl in a hedge-hog environment of unbelievable traits, of warring contrasts.



German Courtship

ONCE during the winter he tried on her a course of flirtation which he had learned very well in his Sophomore year. But German girls do not flirt. His arrows sank in feebly, impotently, as if her attention had the despairing resistance of a sandbag. Unperturbed she made nothing of it. He felt that she thought he was silly or had the rickets. So he speedily gave this up.

Thus he became aware how vastly different are courtship and other relations between young men and young women in America and in Germany. He asked himself.

"Are the German ways more civilized?" Certainly, to the Teuton, they represent a more creditable and becoming evolution. He always stoutly favors his own customs, and finds little here to discuss. Even if a rotten morality in his young gods is to be assumed,[55] this would be proper as in the young gods of the mythologies.

The Teuton marriage refers plainly to property. The language has prominent terms indicating how espousal means goods with a woman attached to them. There is scarcely an equivalent in English. Courtship in the form of natural little raptures that disport in and beautify enamored companionship in youth, the pure, unfettered, mystic attraction between the sexes in blossoming time, are practically unknown to the German social life. The full gloss of fancy, the velveting of manners, the felicitous fabrication of innocent emotions into a blessed garment of many colors, find their development outside the domain of Thor. Such associations have there no charming playtime, but forthwith make for permanent good or permanent evil.

Accordingly, for Gard, in his fond inclinations, there was no experience with Cupids about the Bucher flower garden. Only, as it were, a sort of rough sledding on broken, jolting ice! And he noted the comparative absence of such delicate sentiment in German literature. Aside from Heine, who became French, German letters have relatively little[56] to offer on this score. The very language discourages love-making. Since Heine's exile a century ago, the increasing might of the armored Hohenzollerns had finally almost killed all this.

Gard was thrown out of gear in another way. Fräulein's lack not only of amatory complaisance but of social polish or even facility kept him dubious and disconcerted. She brusquely alternated between a sisterly tenderness of familiarity, almost exaggerated, only to follow it by a sudden, disquieting flop over on the side of a formality as stiff as buckram. She would be as distant as if they were two boarders having a tiff in a pension. These detachments were not because of anything Kirtley had done or said. They formed a natural example of Gothic undevelopedness in human relations, the rude unevenness of beginners.

But, then, he forgave her for this.

"Is she not extremely occupied—full of pursuits? How admirable!"

It shamed him, spurred him on not a little. For days he would only see her at the generous meals where she exclaimed over her dread of getting fat. That usually furnishes a Ger[57]man with an excuse for being helped to more. She dutifully played of an evening in the family orchestra, yet this was a musical, not a social, happening. The severe if rich harmonies that were favored, largely with the idea of drill, created generally an atmosphere of austerity.

She could not understand Gard's offers to carry her umbrella over her to a class or to bring her a storm coat in case of need. Such attentiveness meant intrusions almost to be resented. She appeared to frown upon any kindly little considerations that should have been agreeable to her or at any rate convenient. She had been brought up to do everything for herself. There was nothing of the clinging vine about her. Young German women are not expected to lean upon men in this wise.

Presents of candy or what-not are looked upon with an inquisitive or doubtful eye, especially by the parents. For the German girl has no charming secrets from her father and mother. They must know all, with immediate conjectures about marriage. Troubling gifts, consequently, became rather out of the question with Gard.

[58]He feared that Fräulein Elsa might reflect sometimes the feeling of unfriendliness which he was aware of in the supercilious Rudi. The latter exhibited a negligent attitude of indifference toward Gard, though it was cloaked under casualness. There was a sinister air about the young engineer, and she would be bound to follow submissively anyone breathing the military ozone.

Under all these unsettling circumstances, Kirtley's uncertain attachment for the German language did not increase by Peter Schlemihl strides. Besides, his regular teacher was something like a wild boar. He had proceeded to dragoon Gard as if he were a lad. And Herr Keller's person was offensive. He exhaled a smell unpleasant if scholastic. Dressed in a soiled, shiny, black garb, and with a bristly mustache and beard which often showed egg of a morning, he talked blatantly of having been in Paris as a soldier in '70. It was his one excursion out of Saxony.

Even the German language at such a cost was not very inviting. Finally Gard received a curt note to the effect that if he were not more assiduous, the lessons would better end.[59] Herr Keller did not want to be bothered with triflers.

"Bounced from school!" Kirtley exclaimed. It was the first time. He took advantage of this opportunity to discontinue.

He could see that his hosts did not blame the professor. Why, he was capable of forcibly drilling the Teuton language and literature into a post hole. This doubtless confirmed Kirtley's failure as a student in their eyes. And this was to be looked for in Americans who think that they can acquire knowledge and know life by gadding about and "observing," instead of by book study. The awful German language seemed doomed to blast Gard's affectionate hopes.

While his burgeoning amorousness met with such blighting encouragement in the direction of Fräulein Elsa, it encountered unexpectedly an immense and yearning bosom in another quarter. Fräulein Wasserhaus, next door, clamored for a mate. With cowlike simpleness she almost bellowed out for love. Of an age verging on the precarious she waddled into and out from Villa Elsa with bulging breasts so bared, under the transparent pretenses of white gauze, that Frau Bucher de[60]clared herself shocked. She said that the Wasserhaus was trying to be a part of the disgraceful Naked Kultur that had been assailing Germany.

When this bovine soul came to know of Kirtley's presence, she fastened her consuming desires upon him. She had a brother in America and actively developed a hankering to go there and be near him. Yoking up with a Yankee would be a most natural and fitting state in which to negotiate the Atlantic.

As the Bucher wall was too high for her to hang over in her languishing ardors, she hung over her gate to offer a book or a tiger lily to Gard as he passed. Several times when the pachydermatous Tekla banged her way upstairs with an armful of utensils in her work, a bouncing compote or other unabashed delicacy would be tumbling about on a dustpan or a slop basin, bound for the attic room by the linden tree. Twice a belabored missive accompanied these little couriers, anxiously quoting some anguishing sentimentality from one of the household poets writhing amid the pages of the affecting Gartenlaube.

It was at first so bothersome that Gard contemplated leaving the neighborhood. Even[61] the Buchers, truest of prosy Germans, could grasp the ridiculousness of this situation, and it was the one item of noisy fun they could fall back upon when they wished to be especially entertaining.

"Mein Gott!" the Frau would cry out when going over her troubles and arduous occupations. "And I've got to get a husband for the Wasserhaus yet!" The Herr often went into a deafening rage about it.

"Is there no way to keep that lachrymose female out of my house with her belated calf-love? She annoys the good Herr Kirtley." And he would toddle out, slamming the door like a clap of thunder.

The family assumed a very self-conscious behavior when the lorn maiden was mentioned, and were anxious Gard should know that, while unfortunately she was their neighbor, she was not at all of their stratum.

"Poor girl!" Gard mused. There were nearly half again as many women as men in Saxony.

At last he came to know there seemed to be a mystery about Fräulein Elsa—something which was hidden from him. And a new and deeper interest was summoned forth from[62] within his breast. Occasionally at table she was silent as a mile stone. Some days she did not appear to his sight at all. And then, when he did see her, she evidently wanted to avoid him. Very true it was that she often pored over the little volume of Heine in her room without a word to anyone. But, of a sudden, she would become frankly in evidence again—a floral and quite superb girl, resolutely "making good," as was her wont.

"What is it?" Gard wondered.

None of the family ever referred to it. Even in his intimate talks with her mother, whom Gard now and then practiced his German upon as she was plying her needle, nothing was divulged. There was no young German coming to the house with regularity. Consequently, could it be love difficulties? Yet something was wrong. It lent respect to Elsa, threw enhancement about her.

Gard concluded that the roughness of the Bucher family life mortified her. It was often well-nigh outlandish. How could she have so ardently studied the beautiful in music and colors without realizing this?

But he had not been long enough in Germany to be advised that knowledge is not[63] expected there to enter into the inner life. What one is has little in common with what one knows or can dexterously do. Study does not pass into character. The German, with all his acquirements, does not look for moral or esthetic effect upon the heart or soul.

German women esteem the strong fighter, the rugged accomplisher the boisterous enthusiast, among their men. Whether these are atheistic, immoral, boorish, cruel, are considerations of secondary importance. The daughters marry them with little hesitation. Men are men, supreme, to be adored. Women are to be tolerated, stepped on, sat upon. Man is the master, woman is the willing servant.



A Journalist

GARD'S experience in perfecting himself in German met with another rebuff. Under the prompting of his parental friends in Villa Elsa he concluded at length to attend a course of lectures given by a celebrated professor who was, however, known to be of an exceptionally cantankerous disposition. Kirtley had become aware of the querulous restrictions and exactions attending the most peaceful German activities and made sure of his ground at the class room, whither he went one morning with encouraging expectations. He asked the janitor if the hearings were free and public. They were.

It was the usual amphitheater and Gard entered to find only a few regular students down in the front rows. He decided on a seat alone in the center. Herr Professor, be[65]-spectacled, soon clambered up on the rostrum and squatted dumpily. Blear-eyed he scanned the place and blurted out:

"There is a stranger in the room. The lecture will not proceed until he departs." Gard, having been assured by the janitor, could not imagine that he himself was meant. The man of prodigious learning shouted angrily, throwing out his arm toward Kirtley:

"Must I repeat that there is a foreigner in the audience? I shall not begin until his presence has been removed."

Gard went away, incensed. Surely, he swore to himself, Teuton erudition acts so often like a mad bear ready to claw away at men and things. He never attended another day lecture.

But he had to get on with his German. He decided to put an advertisement for an instructor in the Dresden Nachrichten. At its bureau he ran counter to a lot of ifs and ands at the hands of a surly young clerk. A German, naturally gruff, only needs a small position to increase his acerbity. His newspapers display, likewise, a disagreeable officiousness, being nearly always, to some extent, bureaucratic organs. They are lords, not servants,[66] of the public. They do not appear to want your business, your money.

Gard's imperfect German balked him, too. After he had been back and forth to the little window three or four times, trying to alter his "ad" to suit the rasping individual whose face Gard could scarcely catch a glimpse of by stooping down to the aperture, an American stepped forward. He was a steel gray man of about sixty and was inserting a notice. He said he was familiar with all the rigors of such a proceeding, being a correspondent for the Chicago Gazette.

"Perhaps I can help," volunteered Miles Anderson. "After having had scraps and fights about this sort of thing around this country for seven years—though the Germans won't fight—I've finally got the hang of it. You can save three or four words by a different jargon. I can see you are an American because you take up more room about this than necessary. German economy, you must remember."

Gard was glad to find a friend of his race. And after the advertisement was disposed of, they repaired to a neighboring beer hall to refresh and relieve their feelings. Anderson[67] was smooth-shaven, with piercing gray eyes under bushy eyebrows, his head presenting the appearance of just having been in a barber's chair. With the insistent curiosity of a practiced interviewer he wanted to know why Kirtley had come to this godless land; where he was hanging out; and all about the Buchers.

A bachelor, Anderson had become toughened by hotel and pension. He thought Kirtley very fortunate in getting right into a family where the veritable German bloom had not been rubbed off by foreigners, by boarders. It would be a most fragrant experience. Here Kirtley would see on the native heath the genuine German of the great middle class that makes up the might of the nation.

"Can you read German comfortably?" asked Anderson. "What do you make of it? I've been studying it for seven years and sometimes it seems as if I hadn't got much further than the verb to hate."

"You can't give me any short cuts about it, then?" laughed Gard.

"Yes, I can—yes, I can. Here's a little compilation and analysis of the irregular verbs," explained his new acquaintance, pull[68]ing a green brochure from his pocket. "Only costs a mark. You can get a second-hand one at the book stalls by the Augustus bridge. I always carry it with me and con it over and over. Good for the pronunciation. If you get the irregular verbs of a language well fed into your system, you've got the language by the windpipe.

"Then buy Simplicissimus. You'll pick up a good deal from that—the popular expressions, the phrases and exclamations that are going. If you learn to use the exclamations, it makes you interesting and well-liked. It gives the other fellow the chance to do the talking. Simplicissimus and that kind of thing are better than the dry, stilted German classics—'Ekkehard,' 'Nathan der Weise' and all that discarded stuff. But remember that esprit was not given the Germans, because it would hide their Boeotian stupidity."

"I haven't yet seen—I suppose I shall see"—said Kirtley, "why the general American student like me is so persistently encouraged to come to Germany. Why is it?"

"Because we are damn fools," heartily rejoined Anderson. "The Germans don't have education. They have instruction. The one[69] makes gentlemen. The other makes experts. It is hard for an expert to be a gentleman. They don't have gentlemen in Germany. No such word in their language. It is a nation of experts, but that's precisely the reason it should be feared. Why, education would teach a German not to slobber at his meals.

"It is his strenuous ingrowing instruction that cultivates his extreme national egotism until it has become like a boil. His racial egoism helps obscure the obscure sunlight here in Germany and blinds him. He has to wear spectacles. It is a natural cry, his cry for a place in the sun."

"Should I have gone to England or France?" suggested Gard.

"Yes. At any rate, not here. The German procedure roughens the fiber and lowers the moral standards of the general student. Instruction here is along mental and manual lines. The Teuton is meant to be a specialist. He is competent but not refined."

The two compatriots gossiped along about this and that.

"I'm having a devil of a time sleeping on my bed," confessed Gard. "You ought to[70] know about German beds. How do you get on with them?"

"The German bed helps to give the German his bad disposition. I put two beds side by side and sleep across the middle. That's one way to fool the German bed. If I saw yours I might be able to suggest something."

Anderson frankly expressed a desire to visit the Loschwitz home. So on Gard's invitation they had lunch and went out to his suburb.



Spies and War

THEY took off the bed clothes, including the two huge feather bolsters in the center.

"These bolsters are for the gingerbread effect that the German likes everywhere," explained the visitor. They examined the remaining construction. It was narrow and short. It suggested a granite-like base.

"Rock of Ages!" commented Anderson. "As you can't ask for an additional bed, all I can see is for you to swill beer and then you don't care where you sleep. That's the way the Germans do."

The journalist appeared disappointed in not meeting any of the family that first day. Frau was overwhelmed in kitchen duties and not presentable. The other members were away, working, working. Anderson had to be contented with Gard's description of them, after the latter had passed the cigars.

[72]"Who's the spy in your family?" abruptly asked the elder.

"The spy?"

"Yes, the spy. Every well-regulated German family should have a spy in it."

"What for?" queried Kirtley in surprise.

"Why, for the Kaiser, of course. Who else? The Teutons call him euphemistically the Government. But without Wilhelm there wouldn't be any German Government."

"Why should he want spies in his own German families?" interrogated Gard innocently.

"Didn't every medieval feudal lord keep close tab on his subjects—the people he owned? The Kaiser wants to know of any signs of disloyalty. If a household harbors any foreigners, as your family is doing, he wants to know what they are up to."

"Do you mean to say that the Government knows about me—that I'm being watched?"

"They are at least ready to watch you. Mind you, Germany is a real block-house, and the elaborate spy system is an integral part of it. I should say, from what you tell me of the Buchers, that young Rudolph is the sleuth here."


[73]"Yes. He's doubtless keeping an eye on you and reporting to the authorities if there's anything suspicious about you and your actions."

And then the journalist, pleased to have a fresh listener, launched upon his pet idea.

"The Kaiser is preparing an abysmal pitfall for the world and it won't take heed. I tell you, Kirtley—and I want you to mark my words—Deutschland is going to spring at Europe like a tiger. The army and navy are ready for the onslaught. When they spring, it will be farewell to civilization—except the German—unless something like a miracle supervenes. The French army is being moth-eaten by the Socialists, the British navy has dry rot. I look to see Wilhelm practically the ruler of the earth. If not, he will cause it to pay a cost that will make the next fifty years groggy."

Kirtley thought this was jesting. He later learned that the "old man" was regarded as "cracked" on this topic. Every spring he prophesied war, but it had not come. The Kaiser failed to rush to Paris and there dictate terms to an astounded and cowed universe. People politely laughed in their sleeves. Yes,[74] Anderson was a fine fellow, but they wearied of his dismal forebodings that came to naught. Some said it was because German had been hard for him to learn. He had taken it up when more than fifty and had become tangled in its snarling roots—its beer-drunken syntax. "He had got mad at the language." It was natural that he should get mad at the people.

Gard saw a light.

"Perhaps," he said, "that's what the Buchers really mean about the German army conquering everybody whenever it wants to."

"That's it, that's it!" Anderson was gratified by the confirmation. He went on with grave seriousness.

"I'm a journalist. I have opportunities to see behind the curtain, haven't I? I have been at the army maneuvers, at the officers' messes and dinners, when they were sober and when they were drunk. Beer loosened their tongues and they did not care. They talk of it, boast of it, and the civilian, too. I'm telling no secrets. They are very frank about it. Don't you hear the Buchers openly discussing it? They all give us warning and we say it's a fine day. Did you ever read any of the Kaiser's speeches in German? There you find it all.[75] But he's crazy, they say. Crazy or not, he has the most thoroughly organized and powerful nation behind him that the globe ever saw. And behind him to a man."

"Why don't you write it up, then—tell people over home?" Gard ventured, somewhat impressed.

"Write it up? Tell people? That's what I have been doing for five years. But what's the use of shouting to a world of fools? No one will pay any attention to it. My paper sends my stuff back and says it don't want war talk—it wants peace talk. Americans are happy and they don't want to be disturbed. They only want to hear about what they want to believe. So it seems to be everywhere."

"I guess you are right about that," Gard testified. "I have been a pretty fair reader of our papers and periodicals and have never been made to feel there was any need for alarm."

"Exactly," Anderson scolded. "Why, look at our Exchange professors. They are coming over here, ready to swallow the Germans whole. The Kaiser invites them to lunch on his yacht, gives them a pat on the shoulder blade, and they are his. While the Germans[76] plainly despise us, our educators go home crying Great is Germany! How superior are her people! Let us send our sons over there to drink of her wisdom and grandeur! What inanity! Bah!"

"And so here I am," Gard smiled. "But I have bunted into you almost the first thing."

"Couldn't do better—couldn't do better," repeated Anderson with a cheering turn. "I'll tell you what to do. I'll give you a little practical advice—free."

"It won't be worth much if it's free, will it?"

"Well, it's worth this rotten German cigar you've given me. Read the editorials and correspondence in the Dresden papers. They're a good sample. There you'll see what the German attitude toward us is officially, and what German hatred feeds on day by day. The trouble with Americans over here is they don't read anything serious. Of course our students study their text books. But generally our people just fly around, hear music, drink beer in the cafés, but they don't read. Too nervous—afraid of being bored. So they don't learn much."

Anderson ran on into other subjects.

[77]"One great thing about the German system is that it would make such people work to some purpose. We don't. It also makes its plodders work. This Government recognizes frankly that most of its population, like all populations, are plodders, and it gives them something regularly to do and sees that they do it. This converts this dull element into an organized strength—a source of power. The Germans practice their wonderful economies with respect to the poorest kind of human energy. They kick something into their drones. So they are such a mighty nation in a small land.

"In America, in other countries, this element is rather a disorganized weakness. It is not pushed. It is for the most part waste material or neglected material. Our public system, when economies are concerned, first considers money, property. It seems sometimes as if our free individualistic plan of government were, after all, adapted for the minority of the bright-witted."



German Ways

HAD the Buchers ever known an American before you came?" Anderson interrupted himself.


"How do you think they like you?"

"I guess if I dropped out of their lives, I would not create much of a splash."

"You'll find they hate you. Hate is the German religion. The Germans can hate people they've never known, never seen. They hate on principle and without principle. Of course it's the proper precursor for their programme of conquering the world. If they were trying to love the world, they could not be preparing to demolish it and expecting to."

Though Anderson had lived so long among the Teutons, he had not become Teutonized. He was a marked exception. He viewed the[79] nation with a metallic aplomb that at times sent shivers down Kirtley's spine.

"Now this family of yours," he went on discursively—"don't you notice about them and in them and behind them something tremendously unifying and propelling that is lacking in our American home?"

"I certainly do," responded Gard. "I can't make it out—their dynamic, conscientious industry. What is it for? It's not with the idea of making money—like Americans, eager to accumulate the dollars. It's not for personal fame. It's not for any ambitious social position. It does not seem to be for any of the reasons that inspire an American household. And yet it is here, in this house, in every room, behind every chair at table, night and morning. It's bigger than anything we find in our Yankee life because it's beyond and higher than mere individuality. It makes the Buchers satisfied and still is something that has fearfulness lurking about it. It's not religious or divine—they are not actuated by such motives, do not speak of them. What in the world is it that the Germans have that is so wonderful and we do not seem to have?"

[80]Kirtley had thought a great deal about this and talked almost fluently.

"I'll tell you," and the old correspondent, bent forward toward him earnestly, glad that he had a young, receptive mind opened out toward him. "I'll tell you. It's simply the Hohenzollern in his mad and unconcealed pride about ruling the universe. He is in every German home like this, driving each individual to work the best, to make the most of himself and of herself, and without loss of time. He makes them understand that it's for the great German race—that they may become the potent force everywhere—leaders of mankind as he has taught them they deserve to be. It is for the benefit of their more and more deserving nation. But it is first and foremost for himself and his family. He has a burning, itching desire to reign everywhere. He is not a normal man physically and is unbalanced by a monumental vanity—arrogance—egotism.

"When your Frau is so busily sewing, she is sewing for her household, it is true, but she is consciously and unconsciously sewing for Wilhelm. When your Fräulein goes out to her etching lesson, she is aware of being of[81] the magnificent German people, and shares a part of the national ambition to excel. It's this that we haven't got in America and can't well have under our system. But it's this unified, disciplined zeal that enables two or three ordinary Germans to do what it takes four ordinary Yankees to do. Clad in armor and with a glistening sword in hand, Germania ought to scare men, and they are not taking the warning.

"But, Kirtley, it scares me. I feel—see—something awful coming. In the universal German hate, the national boundary stops any flow outward of sympathy, good faith, equity. All peoples outside are human insects whom it is proper for the Teuton to tread on if he can, crush the life out of, because they are in his pathway to glory."

Kirtley, who had stared at his new friend in this solemnity, turned a serious face toward the clawlike branches of his linden in its gauntness of late autumn-tide. This meaning of the animus that was impelling his odd and yet so normal German household, he began to see, was substantiated by a score of acts and attitudes in its daily life. He scarcely deemed it proper to tell of them.

[82]Besides, he did not want to fire up Anderson who already was so unsettled, so comfortless, on the subject. But Kirtley was reasoning out how this animus gave a solidity, a solidarity, to the German household—a satisfied contentment—because it was working toward a definite racial goal. Any such incentive was almost absent in the American family.

"And so," wound up Anderson with epigrams, "the years will be left humanity to weep these days of insouciance and neglect. You can see that Germany is a man-made nation. It is not the kind God or Nature would make. God must have turned His face when the Teuton species was manufactured. Germany is like a man-made hot air register. When it isn't throwing up hot air, it is throwing up cold air. It is always throwing up."

To change the somewhat painful theme, Kirtley soon began:

"I don't see any sports—such as we know them—in Germany. How do they get along without them?" Like all Yankee college men he was alert on these lines.

"No sports in Deutschland. Go out on the Dresden golf links of a morning and you'll find hardly a German soul playing. It's the[83] same in Vienna—the same in Berlin. They have links because it's the fashion in England. The Germans ape everything. Go out on the highway to Berlin or Vienna or any of the great roads and you will seldom meet any Germans touring in their motors for pleasure. Only Americans—English. The Germans are spoiling little time by such matters. They are busy—busy working for their Empire—busy like moles boring away to undermine the earth—busy drilling with arms.

"So you see no sporting terms incorporated in their daily language, in their newspaper language, such as we see in England and America—terms denoting fair play, square deal, manly courtesy toward the under dog. Our Anglo-Saxon motto, 'Don't hit him when he's down,' is no motto with the Germans. They think that's just the time to hit him. Kick him when he's flattened out. Kick him preferably in the face. That's one reason so many Teutons have scarred faces. The Anglo-Saxon spirit in a sporting crowd is for the little fellow. In Germany, it's for the big fellow—the fellow who already has everything on his side.

"This sort of thing, of course, kills the true[84] idea and fun of sport. Take away its knightliness of bearing, spirit of self-sacrifice, exhibition of pluck though defeat is certain, and what have you left to sport about? It merely becomes a question of brute force—overwhelming force. You have cruelty left as a net result. And that's a large part of German conduct—cruelty to underlings or to those who are feebler or caught at an unfair disadvantage. Having no leaven of sports is one thing that makes the German life seem so heavy, ominous, brutal, to us."

"Its growling rigidity, with all this," Anderson continued gravely, "is due to the fact that the old men are mainly in the saddle in Germany—men sixty and seventy. The existence and influence of young men are not as much in command as with us. These old Germans have disgruntled stomachs from so much drinking, and they roar about. Physical sports mean nothing to them. And so it seems sometimes as if the Germans are born old, not young. Their children are old. This helps make them such a serious race—the most serious. And yet people insist on believing that this serious race means nothing but fun[85] by all its military preparations. Where's the logic?"...

When the journalist went, Kirtley let him through the wall gate with its weighted rope. The gate flew back in place with a loud report as if to give emphasis to the old man's direful interpretations and prophecies.



Habits and Children

IN spite of Anderson, Gard could not make up his mind that Rudolph was anything more than a young braggadocio. The idea of an ordinary family living comfortably along with a spy in its midst, ready to inform on them and their guests, was so foreign to his notions, so caddish, that it weakened his confidence in his compatriot's judgment. While Gard felt that Rudi was not "straight," he could not consider him downright harmful. However, under the spur of the valuable significance that Anderson attached to this typical household life, Kirtley felt it profitable to observe closely its manifestations and opinions. They were verified in other German families where Gard often went with the Buchers. What could be more truly educational?

[87]In defiance of the famous Teuton discipline, a certain disorderliness ran through the management of Villa Elsa. This surprised him. The eruptive way meals were served, the jumbled-up spectacle of the dining table, beds made up at any time of day, knitting and sewing going on in many rooms—all this was in unforeseen contrast to the rigorous military and educational training and precision. He could but compare the genre picture of looseness in the homes with that of the correct and fine army.

The inadequate, almost primitive, bathing facilities in Villa Elsa corresponded to the unscoured condition of its occupants. The unsightly hairiness of German skins seemed to answer for much washing. There was little thought of soap and hot water as a law of health, a delight, a luxury. Kirtley had assumed that soiled bodies did not betoken the loftiest state of man. But the bath was looked upon here as a disagreeable performance and accordingly was only indulged in at infrequent intervals. It was discussed freely at table as a forthcoming, dreaded event. Gard bathed in town. As for fresh underwear and[88] hose, they were talked of over soup like some new and rare dispensation of Providence.

Fräulein alone had a toothbrush and powder, and they appeared rather conspicuously here and there as if they were modern ornaments of which the household was visibly proud. Bad breaths coming from decayed teeth and from stomachs sour with drink were freely blown about and without apologies. Indeed, apologies about anything were small features at all times.

There was no particular provision for the maid. Gard scarcely knew where or how she slept. Tekla dressed with unconcern in the kitchen and in the hall. Servant girls were rather considered like calves and therefore entitled to scant human consideration. The odors, the unsightly colors, the clatter of the German home, gave further evidence of the absence of sensitiveness, of any fine and balanced poise of nerves.

This repulsiveness of existence, of course, did not affect the audible consciousness of the family about their representing the most progressive state of civilized man. And not to be forgotten was the German ill-temperedness, which was pronounced in the morning, and did[89] not wear off considerably until stomachs were filled during the day. All these facts testified that the Teuton little cultivates loveliness in human contact. Beauty of living is not, with him, a natural end to attain.

After awhile it came over Kirtley that the Buchers showed no interest in his antecedents or in his country. Their apparent ignorance of America was rivaled by their indifference about it. They evidently were of the firm conclusion that there was nothing worth while there to learn, nothing worthy of attention. It was, to them, an unprofitable jumble of peoples and things in a rudimentary, unvarnished state of development. It was Patagonia trying to copy the ways of Europe. This was but a feature of the Teuton tribal belief that all the racial evolutions outside the German borders were undesirable, demoralizing and mischievously blocking the outspread of Kultur.

Gard could not but know of the limited income on which existence went on at Villa Elsa. It was characteristic. Though limited, the income was secure. Despite the economies practiced, the prevailing confidence and self-satisfaction did not suffer, as a result, the slightest impairment. It was significantly German.

[90]Gard said to himself:

"There are here none of the spectacular ups and downs, everlasting sudden changes and movings to and fro, riches one year, poverty the next, the unsettledness and acute money misfortunes, that make up so large a share of our feverish, restless, uncertain Yankee careers. There does not seem to be a synonym for 'hard up' in German. As for us Americans the habitual changes of location of the household, the separation of the parents for reasons of business, travel, or inharmonious temperaments, the resultant ever-growing crop of divorces, the frequent living apart of the children, both from fathers and mothers and from the home, the loose family ties and ignoring of kin who are not of the most immediate relationship—how far is all this from the steady, compact, solid, unanxious and unthreatened examples of Villa Elsa and German households in general!"

The Teutons had a paternal Government which they knew would not let them come to want. Their firesides could thrive and accomplish greatly on so small a basis because this was stationary and unfailing. The American needed so much more because, with him, all[91] was relatively unsafe. While he hesitated about rearing a large family for this reason among others, the German had no such thought of dodging the future, for he knew his children would be taken care of.

In fact, he raised his progeny conspicuously for the State. Parental feeling was secondary to the Kaiser's wishes. The Bucher children, like usual German children, were in effect dedicated to the Government, consecrated to its uses. It could come in and did come in and take this boy or girl for that and that one for this. It had designated Rudi for hydraulic engineering and indicated his university course to that end. Ernst was selected for philosophy. The parents were not only willing but proud of this. It was not for them to resent such outside interference because of any personal likes of their own.

Gard wrote Rebner:

"In America, the child's future is somewhat a matter of buffeting back and forth aimlessly between teacher and parent. The latter is disposed to shirk the responsibility by leaning on the shoulders of the instructor who is inclined to keep shifting the burden back to the home. As a result, while the German youngster is[92] early being adapted to a particular future course for which Nature has given him an aptitude, his American competitor is often left to drift through the years without definite ambition, or at least with only a belated or partly drilled preparation therefor."

In Germany, Kirtley observed, the Government stood as the real father. The actual father was its representative. The mother played a subsidiary rôle. All was the father idea. The Germans call it Fatherland, not Motherland, as the English affectionately term their own country.

This interposition of the State in the Teuton family weakens the links of personal tenderness. The State rather than Love rules the home. Hence resulted the unfeelingness that Kirtley observed in the life about him in Loschwitz—the roughness so little tempered with affection, but, instead, frankly interpreted and exhibited as the true bearing of the dominant male's masculine nobility.

Quite normally, then, came about the extensive amount of open and violent quarreling which Gard noticed in the households. In Villa Elsa the Herr quarreled with the Frau, each quarreled with the children, they quarreled[93] with Tekla, and she took it out on the dogs. It was not disputing among self-respecting equals, but ill-humored domineering over those who were confessedly underneath.



Down With America!

THE German text books that came in Gard's way proved the national craze for what was Deutsch, echt Deutsch, to the exclusion of what was not. It was almost a ferocity of inbreeding instruction. It created the furor Teutonicus. The Hohenzollerns used education as a prod to madden the Germans. It kept stirred up, with increasing exaggeration and rage, the racial rabidness on the subject of other nations.

Kirtley still did not believe that this reached to America and Americans, for which topics, as already indicated, the Buchers had shown small curiosity in their intercourse with him, seldom mentioning the names. But his eyes were abruptly opened wide with astonishment and concealed indignation one evening at dinner.

It was a habit for the family, when nothing[95] was pressing, to remain at table discussing this and that, nearly always providing the theme was German. He encouraged this because he could learn from the well-stocked information which the members possessed about Germany and the Germans, and for the further reason of conversational opportunities.

It may be best to try to reproduce the scene in outline as it occurred. The talk had fallen upon governments, nations, peoples—a general field of inquiry for which Kirtley had had some predilection at college. The vast superiority of the German Government had been again, as often before, so emphasized in Villa Elsa that he felt now that he ought to raise a question. Should this overweening assumption always pass unnoticed, unqualified?

It was partly because the foreigner avoided disputing with the Germans, who made discussion unpleasant by their acrid, dictatorial manners and drowning diapasons, that their arrogance had so rapidly grown out of bounds. They do not recognize courtesies in debate, fly off the handle, burst in with interruptions on the half-finished statements and sentences of others.

Besides, Kirtley had not yet fully learned[96] that they have not the same understanding of things, not the same definitions for the same words. For instance, the Buchers insisted that the Germans had the most freedom of any nation. But their freedom meant something like the liberty allowed in a prison yard. Free press? Yes, it was to be found in Deutschland in its highest state, since it was always authoritative. And there authority meant liberty of opinion. Again, thought was the most free and liberal there, because, as it seemed, the German was free to think just as the Kaiser thought. Equity? Equity was only what the Teutons wanted, and therefore of the most desirable type. And so on.

Such differences were usually antipodal—diametrically opposed. The reason, Gard worked out, was that in America and other democratic lands the significance of such words sprang from the common people upward. In Germany such interpretations proceeded essentially from the reigning family downward. Discussions under such circumstances, instead of leading toward mutual understanding, breed acrimony. There is little room for shadings, amicable approachments, progress in the direction of reciprocal enlightenment.

[97]It was a nest of blustering, pugnacious hornets which Kirtley poked up on the evening in question, by asking:

"How do you prove that the German Government is the best?"

The Herr, taking his knife from his mouth—the Teuton eats conspicuously with his knife—suddenly showed that he had evidently, in the presence of his American guest, long held himself in on this subject with ill-feelings that clamored to be let loose.

"Prove it? Prove it?" he hoarsely exclaimed. "It needs no proof. Everybody knows it. Could we have the greatest people without the best Government? Could we have the best education without the best Government? Why does everybody come to Germany to study? Why did you come? It's because these things are true. Did you ever hear of young Germans going elsewhere to universities? They do not need to. We have the best."

The family were up in arms. Their Government had been questioned. Each member, with the exception of Fräulein, who was "at class," was bursting to talk about America. It had no army. Therefore it amounted to[98] little. It had no higher education worthy of the name. It had only one institution that could claim to be called a university. It had no aristocracy. It was a country of low, lawless classes. These and similar sentences flew back at Kirtley, whose face reddened. The mask was being at last hurled off. What self-control, indeed, had the family before maintained, when they were so armed with displeasure concerning the United States! He would not have credited it. It was at least illuminating, if blinding. For what could be the excuse, provocation? Nothing that he had ever heard of. The two peoples had been so separate and distinct. The words of Anderson rushed into his mind. "The Germans can hate people they've never known, never seen. They hate on principle and without principle."

Knives and forks figured in the air, beer mugs were grabbed and banged down, napkins took refuge under the table as if in fright, to be indiscriminately dirtied under foot. The gulped down food, meeting the oncoming throaty expressions of irritability, created much alimentary confusion. Gard almost trembled. Here he had been for weeks dwelling in a friendly society, in an intimate rela[99]tionship, without any realization of what ugly thoughts were secretly leveled at him in the form of a political unit. As an individual, he had been most welcome. As a citizen of the United States he was despised. The Herr vociferated:

"What is your country, tell me, what is your country? It is nichts, nichts. It is not a country. It is a ragout, a potpourri, a mess. We do not recognize such a country. It has no beginnings, no tradition, no unity of blood, no ideals——" He choked and the Frau flared forth while attempting to crack a nut between her teeth.

"The American people are the off-scourings of Europe. They were criminals, atheists, diseased people, failures, who were sent away from Europe. So they go and try to found a new race, a new nation. They try, but they fail of course...."

When his mother got out of breath, little Ernst began with a milder, more judicial air, though he seemed partly to have memorized official declarations.

"Don't you think, Herr Kirtley, it stands to reason that our reigning family, which is admitted to be honest and has practiced ruling[100] for centuries, knows better how to govern a race than the always new and untried persons who keep taking the reins of government in a democracy? The Americans can never tell far ahead who is to rule. There are changes all the time. How can the citizen prepare confidently for the future? How can he plan long ahead as we do? I have always read that this is the reason things are so steady and stable in Germany and so uncertain and wabbling in America. This uncertainty hanging over a republic unsettles its population. You have panics, lynchings, graft. We are free of such scourges. Our Government is always the same unit and to be relied on. If new policies are begun, it is there to carry them through to their logical end, even if it takes a generation or longer. You have always new statesmen with new ideas. We no sooner learn to know of one of your politicians than he is dropped and we must read about another in control. How does that make for any well-considered and thoroughly demonstrated plans? Would it not be the natural result that the German people are completely contented and the American people are always discontented?"

[101]Rudolph's excited pronouncements ran along a different line, interchanged with voluminous whiffs of tobacco.

"Under our Government, Herr Kirtley, the German flag is seen in all parts of the globe. And wherever it is seen, it is respected, feared. Who ever sees the American flag? Even I don't know what it looks like. It is not feared. It is only noticed out of voluntary courtesy. And a nation can't be really great without an army like ours. The army is the spine of the country. It makes a country a vertebrate. What would even Germany be without its army? Almost nothing. The army consolidates, trains, disciplines. It gives us health, good constitutions, industrious habits, exactness. It makes a nation superior because it fortifies human effort. In the constant changing of our regiments about to different sections of the Empire, our soldiers come to be well acquainted everywhere. They make friends and are at home in every direction. They learn to realize how great we are and this strengthens the German feeling and makes all parts of the nation one.

"Of course we have the only first-class army. All our General Staff has to do any[102] day is to say the word and, as I have so often said, our army can go out and defeat the world. Our navy will soon be in a position to destroy England's. We are getting her trade routes, her mail routes. Our goods are now selling everywhere. It is not only because they are the best and the cheapest, but because our army and our navy stand behind them to make people know what is best for them. Every little German box of goods has a big gun behind it. Of course we don't need to use the gun—yet—because people are crying for our manufactures all over the world. If we had occupied your big and half-developed country in your place, we would have long ago been the only great State. There would have been no others. We would have annihilated them if they were not willing to become German provinces."

Rudi took a long pull at his cigarette, with his elbows outspread like the haughty wings of the Prussian eagles of war. Emitting a long streamer of smoke, he summed up the whole thing in a nutshell with a derisory—Pouf!

Kirtley was inwardly fired up with resentment. Then he had to smother a laugh. This exhibition of the family taken off its guard was more instructive than volumes of discus[103]sion he might read about the true German attitude toward America—toward everyone. Were these but Goths with the German skins scratched off a little? He kept thinking of Anderson—how it furnished the pure evidence of what the latter was despairing of before deaf ears! Gard's respect, his sympathy, for the old man, jumped up with patriotic fervor.

He marveled at first how the good Buchers had been primed with this knowledge, these comparisons. Then he realized that the editorials and other articles in the Dresden journals, whose lengthy, heavy, pounding sentences confused with an obtuse, inverted syntax he was reading at Anderson's suggestion, accounted for these venomous conceptions and prejudices.

"So it is our duty to hate," broke in the Herr once more, with croaks and grunts now behind his long porcelain pipe which roved down over his stomach, a green tassel dangling at the end. "We give our children beatings to educate them, don't we? So we have the best education. We must give the world a beating to improve it."

The Frau all the while could hardly restrain herself.

"You know what we in Germany call[104] Americans? We call them pigs—yes, pigs. America is like a big pig pen where everybody is wallowing over everybody for money—just for money."

"And Germany," added her elder son, "is just waiting till the United States gets money enough, then we go in with our navy and our army and take it all."

Gard wanted to see how far they would go, and he had seen. Was this the old barbarian of the north risen to earth again, his rude garments of hide torn off, exposing him in his pristine, fighting nakedness? Where was the German under it all—the German who was taken to be civilized in heart and spirit as other men are? These law-abiding, stay-at-home people had deliberately grown in Villa Elsa this robust plant of contempt, so full-blossomed now and ready to exhale its noisome fumes which at moments almost stifled Kirtley with their poison. What would Rebner say to this with his golden, soul-felt opinions of the excelling race!

This hospitable and apparently harmless domicile was, in reality, like a martial encampment. Gard could not but conclude that he would have to leave Loschwitz. How could he[105] for a moment stay in face of these direct and hard-fisted attacks? And certainly Villa Elsa would not want to harbor a hog any longer. The similar households he had come to know, all such households, unquestionably bore the same furious grudges against the western hemisphere.

But Elsa? How could he leave her—like this? She was the first girl to excite seriously his affections. She seemed to strike the note of whatever was truly earnest in him. Yet did she, too, think Americans were pigs? Did she consider him of such an inferior breed? Perhaps, in her misled innocence, she did. Perhaps that was the reason why she acted toward him in an upsetting fashion which only the more tempted a certain tenacious element in his make-up.




THIS astonishing outbreak in Villa Elsa was followed by something still more singular to Kirtley, or at least out of his reckoning. It was to stir the depths of his contemplations and comparisons and give him the sharpest look into German character he had yet received. It was to show him that a gaping abyss might be separating the Teuton from other western humanity. Having latterly doubted that the race was easy of sympathetic grasp, any true kinship, he now profoundly realized that instead of being able to approach it nearer in feeling the more he knew it, he was encountering very high cliffs that threatened forever to mark an inaccessible boundary line.

He had taken it for granted that the anti-American outburst would end the Buchers' relations with him. He must have turned out to[107] be very unwelcome. The very sight of him as one of the American pigs about the house must have been most unsatisfactory, distasteful. They could not from now on visibly wish him or any Yankee in their home. Their personal dignity could not permit their assault to be backed up afterward by any equivocal conduct toward him.

Then, too, they would expect that he would not want to remain. Had they not voluntarily, deliberately, hurled at him their defiant scorn of his people? Self-respect would demand his immediate departure.

As for himself, Gard passed a sleepless night thinking hotly about the episode. Toward morning he cooled off. These were boors. Why should he take to heart their boorishness? Richness was here indeed. Just the place to keep finding out the real German. Having let the bars down with such a bang and hullabaloo, the family would from now on readily and fully reveal themselves. It is a poor investigator and observer who is easily shied away from his purpose by taunts and ill-breeding.

But the miracle was that the Buchers went on exactly as before. They obviously saw no[108] reasons for altering their friendly daily intercourse, nor did they have any idea that he should harbor a grievance. Beginning with the next morning, their usual amicable bearing and attentions continued uninterrupted. The family was not conscious of having tried to give mortal offense or to cause resentment from him.

For, to a German, blows in all senses are a normal part of living. His social habits indulge themselves in knocks, coarse attacks, unseemly abuse, as rather matters of course. He wields a bludgeon where more refined men would cut down with sarcasm or wither one with disdain. Blows are his natural method of instructing others and of getting himself instructed. "Good German blows" are what the Kaiser talked of loudly. To strike as well as to kick is a wholesome, healthful, righteous procedure, not to be grieved over, not to be kept rankling in the bosom. It is truth and fact in action, and action should always be forceful and decisive to be effective. The whipping of a school boy for any just cause should not be remembered by him throughout life as something to be allowed to fester or as calling for angry vengeance.

[109]So Gard's hosts pursued the tenor of their ways as if that detonating night had witnessed nothing. Their insensitiveness about it included insensitiveness about him. In other words, he discovered that as you cannot insult a German, therefore he cannot insult you. He does not know about such things in the Anglo-Saxon meaning. His conception of social and moral values is so obtusely or radically different from those of the truly occidental civilizations that there is little common ground here. Consequently, in such relations, the Teuton does not feel anything to be sorry for. There is nothing for him to worry about in any shame the next day.

Kirtley learned gradually, through his dealings with tradesmen and in hearing business men talk in the cafés, that this underbred attitude extended into the German secular world. A German may cheat you, lie to you, take a grossly unfair advantage of your good faith, but he will not expect that this is going to interfere with a continuance of your business relations. It is only a part of the hard game of gain. If you indignantly enumerate to him the facts of your unpleasant discovery, he sees little about which to bear a grudge. He[110] is not humiliated. He merely and unfortunately did not succeed, or succeeded while unluckily you found him out.

Likewise if one lies to him, cheats him or otherwise mistreats him in a transaction, he does not permanently lay it up against the evil-doer. For he knows he would have done the same thing under similar circumstances. He is prepared to go on next week with the usual dealings. Of course he will complain with prompt vigor, and rage in his favorite fashion, but it is only because of his material loss or discomfort, not because of broken standards of trusted faith lying dishonored in the dust.

All this alien side of German character thus came to be lain before Gard like a scroll unrolled. He read its lines with eyes blinking in wonderment. And this was the people who were to lead the earth.

The only part of it he felt the Buchers did not comprehend and were disappointed about, was that he did not candidly acknowledge the porcine truth of all they had shouted at him. He was of a heterogeneous conglomeration called Yankees. He should admit it. He was stupid not to. For him not to join in the[111] Bucher chorus of Germany's greatness was a poor return for all they were doing for his ease and profit. But he was an American and of course the Americans—

It must be quickly acknowledged, it is true, that Kirtley's experiences and observations along these channels did not necessarily show that the Teuton is less honest than others. Let it be granted that he is fully as upright as anyone in the sum total of his commercial transactions. The point Gard uncovered was that here were full-fledged race traits and habitudes which stood counter to Christian ideals, were pagan in type, were due to a lower stratum of moral and social perceptions.

The explosion in Villa Elsa led him on to another revealment. What was it but a rather puerile performance? Tactless, boisterous youngsters blurt out the disagreeable sentiments of a household. The Buchers had acted like children. Laying aside all question of the wonderful German trained mind, knowledge, efficiency, Gard observed so much that was boy-like and girl-like in the adult Teuton life. No country has such a wealth of toys and juvenile story books as Germany. The Teuton weaves his nursery tales, so grotesque and[112] strikingly cruel, into his grown-up years. All this influence continues with him and affects him strongly as long as he lives. The mature German can kick, sulk, whine, much as his offspring do. When irritated he can easily act like an enfant terrible.

What is quaint, droll, distorted, comically ugly, or of a gingerbready effect, in Germany, is the expression of this childish strain. And it appeals particularly there to the youthfulness that remains in the hearts of visiting foreigners. It is accordingly one of the most popular Teuton aspects, especially among women and the young.



Military Blockheads

GARD'S attentions to Elsa continued intermittently, and as if detached, on their unadvancing course. He had, however, reached the stage of playing piano duets with her. This is always hopeful. Occasionally they rambled through Schubert's little Vienna love waltzes and other selections that could top off an evening with melodies of a sprightly and sentimental nature. He felt he was becoming acquainted with her in a way he otherwise could not. She was more cheerful at these times, exhilarated by the music.

He had learned a large part of his playing by ear. Reading at sight was a fresh experience. She corrected his fingering while helping fill out his conversational vocabulary. It was certainly most agreeable to have Fräulein take his fingers in her warm, plump,[114] flexible hand with conscientious authority and show him the method of the Dresden Conservatoire.

Think of a young and lustrous miss being able to instruct him like a veteran! He had never considered American girls in such a light—had never expected to learn anything of profitable skill from them. Elsa, for her part, regarded it as a curious and amusing experience to watch this tall man playing like a boy. The musical Germans she knew were adept at some instrument.

He formed the habit of adding en, or its variants, to the English equivalent of the German word he could not think of, and she seemed to be struck by this as a very original fashion of eliciting information. On one occasion at the piano they heard the entrance bell below clang, announcing a visitor, and Gard, hastening to disappear upstairs, exclaimed:

"Wir müssen—wir müssen—stopfen!"

The word for stop would not come to him. Fräulein blushed and snickered and ran off to tell her mother about Herr Kirtley and his German. He was frightened. What absurdity had he uttered? He got to his diction[115]ary as soon as he could and found he had said—We must darn stockings!

The incident nearly always put Elsa in good humor. She doubtless considered Yankees an odd folk. How could they expect to become civilized with their rudimentary attainments? Must he not be seeming to her a sort of freak?...

But, for the most part, she continued to hold him aloof, and he concluded the reason lay in the mystery which shadowed her young life and to which he could trace no clue. What could it frankly be that sent her to her room and to Heine? The beginning of the answer seemed to come at last in the form of a youth who suddenly soared in at Villa Elsa.

Herr Friedrich von Tielitz-Leibach was a composer and a music director. He was the son of a neighbor who had moved away, and the musical Buchers doted on him as one with a shining future. Kirtley had often heard them refer to Friedrich as to so many of their friends of whom he knew nothing.

When Friedrich called, at very rare intervals, it was always a wonderful day. The steady, stolid routine of the home became perturbed, gladdened. He was a German of Hun[116]garian extraction, and the Magyar blood gave him a dash and sparkle. He was tall, very thin, with the intellectual look that black-rimmed glasses produce. His eyes harmonized in color with the black shock of tossing hair that set off a distinguished appearance. And, like a traditional votary of music, he wore a great black cloak swinging around him with an operatic air, giving the impression that he was just going to or coming from the theater.

Highly agitated, gilded with flattery, readily acquainted, he bubbled over promptly in confidences and intimate allusions. He was ever brimming with the freshest gossip of himself and his exalted career; and his personal experiences, he assumed, were bound to be unique and entertaining.

Making friends with everyone, he insisted on calling on Gard up in the attic room, pleased to welcome such an "excellent person"—as he had heard downstairs—to the fold of the family. But did they not lead such dull, stagnant, imbecile lives, moored here in this stodgy, out-of-the-world suburb, where so many idiots live who wonder how the world can come to an end when it's round? Friedrich[117] truly hoped Herr Kirtley would not be bored to death.

To-day the musician had finished with his final military examination and was at last free from ever having to serve. He made a diverting story of it and had hastened to the Villa to recount the congratulatory news.

"I had to report this morning for military service, just having got back to Dresden. So I went to the Platz and there sat an officer as big as a hogshead. And I hope not as full. He began treating me as if I were a truant school boy. 'Stand up! Sit down! Stand up again!' So the examination commenced. I knew I was not fit for the army. I did not want to go. I hate it. But they were after me. He said:

"'Take off your glasses!' I removed them. He said:

"'What is that letter off there?' Mein Gott! it looked as far off as Pillnitz. It was my left eye out of which I had seen nothing since I was a baby.

"'I see nothing,' I said. He yelled:

"'You can!' Then I said:

"'I can't!' Then he roared out:

"'Why can't you?'

[118]"'Because I am blind in it!' He glared at me as if I were a perjurer.

"'It is blind and you can see nothing out of it?'

"And now I was getting out of patience with this blockhead. Blind and can't see out of it! They put the blockheads in the army because there is no other place for them. I think that must be the reason why there are more synonyms for blockhead in the German language than in any other—we have the largest army. I said:

"'Of course I can't see anything out of it because it's blind, you—— ' I was just on the point of adding 'fool' when I stopped myself in time. It was the military—the august military. One must hold his peace before the magnificent military. He thought I was cheating about my eye because I did not want to march to Moscow, to Paris. And I don't want to march to Moscow or Paris. They're so far.

"So this stupid Kerl took me over to a higher officer and still another. They sat there as stiff and self-complacent as wooden saints in a plaster church. They too shouted at me They were so suspicious, although I had never[119] had the pleasure of meeting any of them before.

"'You say you are blind in one eye and can't see out of it?'

"I screamed, 'No, no, no!' They thought I might be going insane. They examined my eye, my glasses, and tried all kinds of tests to try to fool my poor eye. But it remained my faithful friend, and they were mad. And I was just as mad and ready to shriek at them—'Blind! Blind! Blind!' I was losing half a day for nothing over their stupidities.

"Then the Dummkopfen began to enter it up on their official blotters. That seemed to take forever too. I was nearly exhausted. They solemnly wrote me down as blind in one eye and cannot see out of it. And at last, Gott sei Dank! they let me go, glowering at me as if they were still sure I was somehow tricking them. And here I am—alive!"

Friedrich's ludicrous recital, embellished by a hundred gestures and poses, had raised a guffaw even in Villa Elsa.



A Lively Musician

GARD discovered that such mockery or berating of military officials, with whom the ordinary public came in servile contact, was rather common in Germany in spite of the universal adoration of the army.

Intermixed with Friedrich's take-off were his moments of "the grand manner," appropriate to a musical director who is born to command fickle or imperious singers and musicians. He was naturally an actor. His refreshing mimicries amused Gard. Against the bovine background of the Villa Elsa circle, he stood out in relief as an enlivening figure with flitting phases of elegance.

He was clever, talented. He spun off a lot of new music at the piano, much of it coming from his own pen. Elsa hung absorbed over the wing of the instrument. Friedrich, of[121] about Kirtley's age but adequately equipped and ambitious, was aspiring to some one of the dignified thrones in the musical kingdom of Germany. Gard was only just hatching out as a man. He was essentially but a lad grown up. Von Tielitz showed already a wholly developed maturity. German instruction again versus American education!

Friedrich was better versed in English than the Bucher children. He paid two calls on Gard that first day. Talking Anglo-Saxon was good practice. On the second call he discharged a missile that struck Kirtley near the heart, and gave him a feeling of faintness.

"Don't you like Elsa?" Von Tielitz whipped out with no preamble. "She is really a nice girl, a very nice girl. Her family thinks we are to marry. Well, perhaps. I don't know. Sometimes I think yes. Sometimes I think no. There are so many others, don't you know. But I think we will marry as soon as I get my Kapellmeistership. We are always such good friends. She used to sit on my lap before I went away. O! we are very good friends. But now I am not so much in Dresden and, my dear Mr. Kirtley, my poor Kapellmeistership does not come along. It[122] is most aggravating, as you say in English. I get so discouraged."

He brightened again.

"They tell me you and Elsa have been playing duos. Such good training. Very agreeable. We used to play together also. A nice girl to rub one's knees against under the piano—oh,

"I am Titania the blond,
Titania, of the air!"

Friedrich twittered gayly the lines from "Mignon." Then he abruptly changed.

"But I have now so little time for serious maidens. Ach Himmel! How I am driven by going here and going there! One says this to me, another says that to me, and my head gets all in a whirl."

So he wandered on with his mixtures of nonchalance, condescension and, above all, his ebullient self-esteem that flowed over on to everyone to the point of deluging them. When he went away, it was with such a warm invitation to call upon him the next week that Kirtley could not but accept. Besides, here was opened up a novel and suggestive line of[123] behavior from the standpoint of the German young man of the world.

Gard was left with confused feelings that drooped their wings in displeasure if not distress. So there was a rival, and of long standing, on the little rosy sea of his romance! And this was he. Was it a wonder that Elsa had "spells"? Here was a true heart-breaker. Just the type to play havoc with a girl. What place was there left for the mild, unpretending Gard? And still she deserved far better than Von Tielitz. Perhaps it was this feeling that added to her unhappiness. His vulgarity! To talk as Von Tielitz did about one who might become his wife, and to a stranger, was a new form of German brutality. It steadied and deepened Gard's admiration for her. Who ever heard a young Yankee speak like this about his serious sweetheart? However raw he may be, there is a certain sacred respect at the bottom of his language about her—his bearing toward her.

Elsa did not appear at meals for a day or two after Friedrich left. Kirtley was not encouraged by learning that this usually happened after a call from the composer. He thought it strange that the Frau, with all her[124] plain speech and hardy lack of sentiment, still made no reference to her daughter's trouble. Marriage is to the Germans such an earth-to-earth affair, as Gard perceived, that he marveled she did not unbosom herself capaciously about what must be a mother's anxiety. But the Teuton daughter is like a glove that can be put on or cast off by the sovereign male. She is meant to be toughened, exposed to rude blasts, fortified, to be able to support the draft-mare burdens of Teuton wifehood.



Immorality and Obscenity

GARD now descended unwittingly into one of the darkest regions of German life, and one which foreign publics had persistently missed or voluntarily overlooked in their chorus of approbation of the race.

It is a familiar dictum that one can judge of a nation pretty fairly by the position and treatment of its women. Kirtley had never, in America, heard anything about Deutschland in this light. But he soon found in Saxony that this was only one of the numerous German topics on which little publicity was shed in his homeland in spite of the general emphasis laid on German preëminence. This emphasis was mainly a diffusion, through mere books of information, about achievements and an extraordinary condition of learned mentality. Of the actual inhabitants beyond the Rhine, ignorance was kept widespread. Ger[126]man femininity was assumed to be of a predominating excellence to match that of German masculinity.

No study of a people is indeed complete without an unglossed inquiry into its conduct toward its women and children. To say that the German's business traits are the same and as reputable as those of other races, is below the mark. In this secular domain he is compelled to deal and to act within the accepted formulæ of trade. To do otherwise would be to ostracize himself.

But he is in no such competition or is subject to no such exactions in his attitude toward his own women and children. With them he does as he pleases and his real nature stands forth. These truly vital matters have been passed over as if unnoticed by the world, as has been said, and still it wonders why it cannot learn what the German is—does not understand him. He is, perhaps more than anyone, what he is toward his own inferiors—toward those who are weaker and dependent.

The question of German womanhood and girlhood should not therefore be blinked by the earnest contemplator. It was not long before Gard was saying to himself that if[127] Americans could be made to realize the status of womankind in Deutschland, they would not be so lured by the idea of sending their young folk thither for education. There would be a marked decline in their generous enthusiasm for all things German. In what civilized land does woman lead less in lofty, sublimated power or put a fainter stamp on the talents of the race? German art, music, poetry, language, politics, education, all are distinctively masculine. The Teuton woman merely partakes of the life of man, the ideal. She does not assume to lead him. She would seem so far below par that, as Gard had seen, even flirtation scarcely exists in Deutschland. Flirtation is particularly a custom among equals.

When he returned Friedrich's visits as promised, he found him sharing the room of his friend Karl Messer. Messer was a successful architect who had already secured a Government commission while the equally youthful Kirtley—may it be repeated—had not begun real life and, according to the American plan, could do nothing very well. Those two room-mates and cronies were leading the typical Teuton existence of youths who combined proficient work with a frank sensuality accom[128]panied, of course, by much imbibing in the German way. And it may be preliminarily noted that what explorations Gard afterward made in this great and seamy side of Teuton nature, likewise ended in a downward direction toward depths that he had scarcely thought possible in the educated human.

Von Tielitz and Messer had been at an uproarious ball the night before and were idling about, recuperating. They had accomplished the ruin there of two girls, which they looked upon as truly manly sport. Assuming that Kirtley, as must be the case with all young men, was equally interested with them in being satyrs, they lost no time in trying to entertain him with their adventures.

The pursuit of woman! In Germany this is not very difficult, as she is not visibly unhappy to consider herself the legitimate prey of the lordly sex. This idea runs naturally and powerfully throughout the Teuton scheme. It is not merely that the female is considered to have a price, but the price must be low, if not a cypher. To German women the triumphant male is a splendid creature. His acts are noble. To be hungry, thirsty, sensual are proper, and therefore candid, attri[129]butes in man. In order to subdue the earth, the race must be prolific, and to be prolific, desires must not be limited or weakened by pale Puritanisms. That men are normally uncleansed sewers from which the face need not be averted, was a conception Kirtley's senses had fallen somewhat foul of in the Bucher home. To what point this aspect was carried logically outside Villa Elsa, he was to realize in skirting the openly sensual sides.

The two Germans told of the various girls who had lived with them when in college. For the frank amatory life of the Teuton student begins early. Von Tielitz and Messer also boasted of their present-day mistresses who were so often changed for reasons of economy. The hilarious game, as Gard learned, was to obtain favors in exchange for nothing as far as possible. Trickery, lies, abuse, kicks, were employed to this purpose. Female chastity? A fable for the impotent. Consequently all was fair.

Sisters of their respected fellows were inferentially appraised and colloquially "hefted" as articles of social commerce ready to be knocked off matrimonially to the best bidder under the material rules of the German Mitgift[130] system. Through the garish films of innuendo and braggadocio that day Kirtley was led to behold images of these daughters as if they were languishing to become mates and beating their breasts in their longing to become mothers. He had by no means now forgotten Friedrich's equivocal remarks about Elsa.

Before Gard was to leave Deutschland he had to conclude that the German puts himself in the attitude of thinking of his women as sluttish and accordingly acting in that scale toward them. There is no great gilding to these fancies. Girls are small inspiration to him compared with what the petites dames are to the amorous Frenchman. Idealization of love in its ultimate fulfillment, the poetizing of the ardent flesh crying out for its craving mate, are characteristically ignored by the Teuton who seeks the baser gratifications without illuminations of loveliness or hesitations of delicate refinement.

Kirtley thought he knew young men, yet this revolting capacity in them in Germany was proven to him to be not unnormal by its openness and by the dearth of any loud voices in rebuke. The German is conspicuously full[131] of animal spirits. He affects the mighty in physique. Exudations and emanations are frank and prominent functions.

Under the Kaiser the Berlin dame who rented rooms to the foreign student, offering them "with" or "without," meaning sometimes her own daughter in the bargain, considered herself respectable enough. More than this she acted in line with what appeared to be the purpose of acquiring a sympathetic control of the morals as well as the minds of the alien sojourner, the one being accompanied by a pandering to his lower nature with the doors of vice flagrantly ajar while the other armed his mentality with a Teutonized equipment and outlook. To sap the will, to galvanize the mind as from a German electric battery, palsied resistance to aggressive Germania. It was of a piece with that propaganda which the world was not to wake up to until almost too late.

These downright animal phases pointed the way logically, in Gard's mind, to that obscenity which is interwoven in the German civilization. He had first come across such evidence in leading comic journals. The drawings and jests that did not leave much[132] to be filled out, adorned many a German page with an Adamic candor. It divorced him from Simplicissimus and Ulk, not that he was squeamish or a Miss Priscilla, but he saw no fun in that sort of thing.

He talked of it later with Anderson. Though there were pleasant delusions in Anderson's mind about Germany before he arrived, it was not his fault if few seemed to be left after his seven years. He bluntly defined the limited German wit and humor as characteristically born of the latrine.

Gard's two young friends did not refrain from talk in the key of indecency. Their complacent revelation of the extent to which the pornographic enters into the German scene, suggested an unclosed Priapean volume whose companion in America is as a sealed book. Kirtley heard that stores filled with obscene objects publicly for sale were to be found on frequented thoroughfares in German cities.

He saw that Frau Bucher's insistence on a chaperone, which he had regarded a silly, outworn conventionality, appeared most wise. Germany was a poor place for an unguarded German girl.

This ran through his mind:

[133]"Great Guns! What a country for me to study for the ministry, study morality, best fit myself for life, as advised by Rebner and, it seems—everybody!"



The Naked Cult

THE German, in all this physical aspect, is not a little like an unabashed ape. Accordingly the foreigner in Deutschland is impressed by the popular worship of the wide-hipped female. The Teuton can leave little to be inferred but that he is more interested in the magnet of her developed hips than in the magic of her brain.

American women, with their slender waists and chaste frigidness born of Plymouth Rock, with their rulership in the home, their influence permeating conspicuously in matters of public interest out of the home, their entire freedom to be courted and married or let alone in unbounded respect—how long would these conditions have been permitted by the Gothic Kaiser if heedless America had fallen into his gradually tightening grip? Doubtless to his view Yankee women were treated too much[135] like dolls. They are not breeders of soldiers, makers of kingdoms. They do not rear children for the State. What have they desirably in common with the disciplined Hausfrau who becomes the mother of the ruling future generations? She is properly the chattel of the Government.

And so it is not enough, as Gard recognized, for Frau or Fräulein to be massive of line and fond of being upholstered in dense colors in order to satisfy the general grossness of her male. It is not enough that she should be armed with strong hands, planted on large feet, and decorated in the German's favorite rococo manner of abounding breasts, to gratify his cyclopean aspirations.

"Big hips mean big women and big women mean big empires." The sex fecund, ardent for mating and offspring, is the type. And thus fatness, which obviously and indisputably fills out the picture, is a popular German female attribute. Von Tielitz and Messer made it plain that obesity and width of girth characterized the transient objects of their amours. And their allusions gave every evidence that the famous Naked Cult, to the fascinations of which Fräulein Wasserhaus, with her bared[136] and redundant bosom, was yielding, had been claiming the German youth for its own.

Germany was recovering from this rage for nudity which had assumed some proportions. Starting from the only artistic section of the Empire, namely Bavaria, this cult had knocked even against the gloomy portals of the Pommeranian churches in the north. The Teuton had suddenly discovered that it was right and proper in his godship, as it was in the realm of the Greek deities, to go about naked. It was natural, healthful, and both beautiful and moral.

German men and women, in their divinity, should bathe, drink beer, dance together nude. What else did Grecian sculpture teach to these the modern Greeks—the true legatees of all that was Hellenic? What else did painting inculcate but the beauty of undraped couples wandering through landscapes? What more majestic spectacle than that of the Teuton father, mother and children going out for an afternoon promenade, clothed only in the ingenuous consciousness of their human greatness?

In a race of beings so little modeled after the accepted lines of pulchritude, all this was[137] laughable. But to the German, condemned to a vise-like seriousness and to childlikeness, it became significant and weighty. It was such a grateful revelation not to have to dream of his loved ones through the unsatisfactory medium of German clothing.

With his customary excess of logic he plunged headlong into these ardent waves of the realm of Venus rising unimpeachably from the sea in her immortal bareness. He began to systematize this demonstration. Some of the political parties seemed to be in line to favor this revealment of another radical tenet. German philosophers made ready to seize upon it with huge mental biceps and labor to incorporate it beneficently into the Teuton pansophy. Even doctors of theology were said to view the novel dispensation through the blue spectacles of their didacticism, and to hesitate and stumble over the question of greeting these glad visions of a glad apocalypse. What was truer Protestantism than that there is the natural body as well as the spiritual body, and that it would be virtuous to behold outwardly the former as it was virtuous to recognize inwardly the latter?

The campaign became almost lively. Of[138] course the young Germans, whose fathers and mothers in their youth had raved over Wagner and thus shocked their elders, raved over a departure that linked such possibilities of frankness and loveliness so delectably together. The Von Tielitzes and Messers were in the seventh heaven.

But Germany, being a northern country ruled severely in the main by old men, was bound to feel in the end more comfortable in clothes. Climate governs male and female alike and shapes their habits to its own tyrannical mandates. The Teutons were doomed to suggest flannel. So a vast moral revulsion in the form of the much German clothedness finally rose up and overwhelmed the religion of Nudity—the Nackt Kultur. Although the Teuton male likes to contemplate himself and be contemplated as candid Mother Nature made him, he could not adapt himself to the idea of his fleshy women appearing naked before a critical and commenting world. Momus had at last arrived in ancient Deutschland and was feared.

While the movement, which was presuming to cover Germany with sculptures of its heroes in complete undress, honored itself by such[139] fitting testimonials to their lordliness, Fritz curiously shrank before public statues depicting his fat housewife in like absence of attire. This was illogical besides being unsatisfactory to those who had insisted on worshipping the German female form al fresco. The vital point being thus dodged, there was left nothing interesting in the way of legs for the Naked Cult to stand on, and it dropped out of sight as suddenly as it had risen to view. Prejudice is Plebeian and blind and to the blind and Plebeian high art of course goes with low morals. The Plebs are always in the crushing majority. So the odd German mind jumped to the other extreme and for a few months got ashamed of little daughters going barefoot or playing with naked animal toys.

Gard had been able to warm up small sympathy for the modern military authors and iron and blood philosophers whom he found in vogue in Germany. On the other hand, cold water had unexpectedly been thrown on the retreating Goethes and Schillers whom he had come to venerate with grammar and lexicon. As the Germans were proving to be wide of what his anticipations had set as a mark, he[140] had begun a serious course of reading not only about the modern race but about its origins, curious to know of the early developments of this strange people who belonged to civilization yet was so considerably and constitutionally outside the realm of its Christian development.

In this study he became attracted to Charlemagne and that epoch. Of them he had learned little at college. Of course the Germans had "bagged" Charlemagne, as an Englishman would express it, in addition to their other seizures right and left in the face of an indulgent, even supine, world. But Gard discovered that while they had kept the puissant Carolingian snatched to their breasts, the chivalrous side of the great medieval evolution which ended in fostering the romantic ideal of womanhood in its chastity, daintiness and colorful spell, had never reached much east of his capital—Aix-la-Chapelle. His heroic size, his practical religious pretensions and assumptions, his campaigns to seize control of foreign lands—all such Carolingian features and manifestations were imitated and adopted as German motifs, but the corresponding gallant exaltation of the gentler sex was not included.[141] The polished courts of self-denying love, the Troubadours, the salons, the refining influences that gradually raised woman to her modern sovereignty of a graceful liberty and charm, never characterized Deutschland.

Besides, women becoming idols through his own sexual restraint compelled a self-sacrificing procedure that did not appeal to Fritz. To him those many feminizing influences had naught to do with strength in battle or in toil. They were dangerous, softening, and coddled the elements of defeat. He wanted work and fighting and children, always children, but with the lustful appetites of the undisputed male.

His Berthas and Gretchens, who had been exceptional figures in the warring camps of the ancient Teutons, were therefore only transferred into a similar yet menial relation in the housed home. And there they have typically remained—in its cook room and nursery. The fact that the Buchers, though coming, as they boasted, from one original, unmixed, stationary stock there in that middle spot of old Europe, had displayed themselves as social and political parvenus, led to Kirtley's reflecting:

[142]"The German thinks of a wife as in the kitchen, while a wife appears to the Frenchman as in the salon, to the Briton, as in an English garden."

So this gradual elevating of the sex toward an ethereal height in all respects, toward pure associations which, through the epochs of chaste saints, chivalry, gallantry, social freedom, were to uplift men by the graces of lofty feminine enchantment, took place westward of the Rhine. And Germany, if the sporadic Heine is excepted, had no Shelleys, no Chopins, and scarcely any of that rare, delightful perfume of human existence which western and southern mankind quite typically adores as the ultimate extract of beauty because it is associated with the spiritual elegance of womanhood....

On Kirtley's leaving that day, Von Tielitz and Messer showed themselves generously ready to share their amorous acquaintanceship. They insisted on his going with them sometime to the smallest, quaintest inn in Dresden where they were at present cultivating friendly relations with "Fritzi." In short petticoats she served the best hot sausages in[143] Saxony. To an American student of life and language in Germany she was pictured as absolutely necessary. For, although originally from the Thuringian forest, she spoke the Saxon dialect "shockingly well."

Kirtley laughed it off as a part of the ribald fun.

The young Germans wound up their list of salutations with Der Tag!

"What do you mean by Der Tag?" he inquired. The others grinned significantly.

"Wait and see. It will be something kolossal." And they called out after him:

"Don't forget about Fritzi!"

That night Gard, laden with heavy feelings, tumbled into his German bed piled with its equatorial bolsters. Could Elsa marry a man like Friedrich? Ought she to be permitted to? Could she really love him? Wouldn't she be horrified if she knew fully about him? Or would she, like German women in general, seem to care little about the morals of her future mate? Likely, as Gard fancied, it was this knowledge of him that sent her now and then in evident unhappiness to her room.

She was a pure and very worth-while girl.[144] He could not ignore that her healthful, productive example was a stimulus to him. It would be a sturdy prop in his long sensitive, susceptible physical recovery—and afterward. Was it really not a kind of duty to try to save her from sharing the fate of Von Tielitz, and win her if he could?



Jim Deming of Erie, Pay.

THE Americanization of the Bucher home Kirtley naturally thought beyond all attempts. Its detestation of the low-born Yankee, with only his sorry millions, seemed too deeply planted there, especially in the brain and bosom of the Frau. Could Villa Elsa have been transferred to the United States, such a viewpoint might perhaps have been altered after a time. But this representative boorish German family, stuck here on the rainy banks of the mid-continent Elbe and so rooted and clamorous in the presumption that they and their kind were eclipsing the earth—how impossible of any conversion?

Gard had at first the idea of getting together some American statistics and showing the Buchers a few facts. Then he saw this was hopeless. They accepted nothing that did not come through their own official channels. And[146] why should he waste time on these obscure people? Why should he undertake to upset their racial happiness? Nobody, least of all he, could change their attitude about the upstart Yankee and his upstart dollars. The Buchers held themselves too far above mere money and its filth.

But the miracle was, nevertheless, to be accomplished, at least for awhile, in a manner as simple as it was unlooked for. And this was what happened.

One day, soon after Gard's disillusioning call on Von Tielitz, he was grubbing in his attic among the ninth century roots of the future super-luxuriant Teuton forest, when he heard Tekla's woodchopper feet pounding their way upstairs. A card was thrust in. James Alexander Deming, Erie, Pa. Well, of all the world! The next moment he was there in the room, talkative, airy, sunny, dressed with the obvious American consciousness of having just left the hands of his fashionable tailor and haberdasher. Every section of his black hair and tiny black mustache was plastered down as always in correct position.

Making himself right at home with his newly acquired cosmopolitanism, Jim ex[147]plained how he was already settled in Dresden for the winter.

"You knew that the more I saw of this old Germany, the more I liked it. My governor wrote me I could stay if I would try to learn something and I thought of you. I said to myself, 'Kirtley is a serious sort of chap. If I light down near him, it will be easier to learn this confounded language they have got over here, and I will be able to shine with it in Erie, Pay, and do the old folks proud.'

"So I've got a teacher and a grammar and also a dictionary so big I can't find anything in it—all ready to loop the loop. But first, of course, I must run out and see you and see how you are getting on, swimming in beer. Nothing is too good for us Americans, you know, so my room in the hotel is right by the royal palace where I can see the Crown Prince with his sword fall off his horse every morning at ten. Gad, won't it be something to talk about when I get back to good old Pennsylwanee?"

Deming's "old man" was possessed of wealth derived from oil wells. But although Jim's pockets had always been stuffed with money, he had never been able to get through[148] high school or enter college. Hang it all, he didn't take to books like Kirtley and all such intellectual boys. It was the fault of his dad and mam. They had petted and spoiled him—an only child. It was too bad, but shucks, he wasn't going to let it interfere with his happiness. So it was money here and money there, and a host of friends who, like Gard, could not help being fond of him.

Jim had seen the Kaiser and quaffed out of the largest hogshead on the Rhine. He had been at a duel at Heidelberg where the chap with a cut through his cheek asked for a mug of beer and blew the beer out through the gash. He had swum in Lake Starnberg where Ludwig II had drowned himself; had seen the café in Munich where the celebrated Naked Culture was said to have originated; had bribed his way into the villa at Mayerling where Rudolph of Austria and Marie had ended that mysterious night of fatality. In short, he had done Germany pretty thoroughly.

When, by his insistent questionings, he learned about the comfortable and illuminating German home where Kirtley had installed himself, and that there was a fine, serious[149] young lady in it with a harvest of straw-colored hair, he soon confessed, after all, to his disappointments.

"Kirtley, you are always a lucky dog. Here you are with nice Dutch people, in the social swim, absorbing German to beat the band. All I see is chambermaids who shout at me some kind of devilish dialect that a fellow can't understand. And my chambermaid and I are just at present at outs. I told her this morning she was the tallest woman I ever saw. A little of her went such a long ways. As she don't know any English words, that is the only thing we have agreed about. She said, Ja wohl! This going to balls and cafés as I'm doing is all right for local color and all that, but it would tickle dad a lot if I knew a quiet, decent, respectable German family. And I want to know a nice, sober German girl who has got yellow, chorus-girl hair and will steady a fellow down. The proper study of young man is young woman. I haven't been able to meet any young ladies in this country. Sometimes I think they have only wenches. And I want some of the classic Gayty and Schiller stuff too that you can get here in Loschwitz."

This urgent idea did not appear auspicious[150] to Gard. If Deming got the run of Villa Elsa, he would unsettle things, interfere with his own work. Jim was a good boy but he played hob with study. And he was just the kind of flashy, ignorant Yankee who would prove to Villa Elsa what it claimed about the race. He would disgust the Buchers with his showy superficiality and dolessness. Mere money, everlasting money. More than all he would complicate the situation with Fräulein. He might upset her somehow, and at least discover his own secret feelings toward her—feelings that had become more distraught after the Von Tielitz revelation. In a word, everything would be helter-skelter.

After Jim had called twice, bent upon becoming intimate with the Buchers, Gard, as he thought, conceived a clever maneuver. He took Deming over to call on Fräulein Wasserhaus. Here was an earnest young woman, lolling on the gate with plenty of time on her hands, dying for a man. She could teach Deming everything he wanted to know. She was not antagonistic to Americans as were the Buchers. On the contrary she was aching to clasp some one of them in her pudgy arms.

But this stratagem proved a flat failure.[151] When they came away from her abode, Jim took on a worried look and lit a cigarette.

"Say, see here, old chap. Are you trying to make fun of me? Is this a joke? I don't want a walrus, thirty years old, with ragbag clothes that fit her a foot off. She has a gait like an ice wagon. Why, she couldn't get a job as window-washer in the street car shops of Erie, Pay."



An American Victory

DEMING'S campaign against the terrible German language was unable to advance perceptibly beyond the stage of preparations. These were somewhat elaborate, especially from the standpoint of expense. He had a multiplicity of instructors and grammars. If they had been placed side by side they might have reached from the Green Vault to the Zwinger.

He blamed these agencies of instruction. His "professors" he generally picked up at the Stadt Gotha where he played billiards. While these parties were fair with the ivories, they could not seem to knock any caroms of German around the cushions of Jim's brain.

His daily routine was like this: At ten, his lesson in Dutch. Teacher would come. Great show of hospitality. There must be something[153] to drink. The preceptor must try one of the fancy pipes, of which Deming had collected a large array in Germany. He would be feeling knocked in this morning, having been up late consuming numerous bocks in amicable emulation of the local prowess. He had not got around to his lesson and had concluded he did not think much of his present grammar. Herr Preceptor would suggest procuring another which would strew roses no doubt along the thorny path. Capital idea. Of course they must then wait for the new grammar.

Adjournment at eleven to the café for billiards. Deming was a good wielder of the cue. He said the Germans were too be-spectacled and blear-eyed to play well and by three o'clock he had usually won quite a number of marks. This was making "easy money." It went toward paying for his evening's entertainment and was good economy. His pleasure account would not look so large to his governor. At three, to his hotel for afternoon dress. Evenings it was some other form of diversion. Home at all hours.

This was his day of study, of which his hopeful parents learned the promising side. Some[154]one advised him that if he did not try so hard to master German, it would come easier. But he experimented with this plan for a week and told Gard:

"When you don't bone over the blamed language, it's surprising how much you don't know about it. It still takes me an hour and a half to hold a five minutes' conversation."

In two months he was thumbing page ten of the grammar, but he had seized upon a good many slang phrases, supercharged ejaculations. Though the undercurrent of his discouragement about his progress was considerable, it interfered little with his acquainting him proficiently with the restaurant world of Dresden. He saw and heard what was going on in those quarters, and through him Kirtley learned of that phase of German character and habits.

In view of everything, there had finally been no decent, reasonable way for Gard but to let Deming, professedly zealous of knowing German and seeing Teuton home life, into the Bucher circle. Aware that Jim was quite innocent enough morally, Gard avoided introducing him to Von Tielitz and Messer whose[155] depravities might prove harmful. But Deming at last met the former at Loschwitz and the two became friends just before Friedrich left in quest of another Kapellmeistership. The friction or explosion Gard rather expected between them over Fräulein did not occur. While he had dreaded such a happening for Jim's sake, it might have cleared the atmosphere pleasantly for his own. But Friedrich was delighted that Herr Deming showed his old neighbors, the Buchers, such munificent courtesies, and Jim thought Von Tielitz the most brilliant chap he had ever known.

Kirtley waited with fear, with trembling and also with some hopeful interest, for the fireworks resulting from Deming's induction to Villa Elsa. And they promptly began to soar, for Jim had, in his way, all the American speed, and proceeded to overwhelm the household with his attentions. It was a case of swift enthusiasm about the whole family. Unlike Kirtley he did not care how many of the members accompanied the Fräulein and him. All were welcome. Though he openly displayed his fascination about the Fräulein, it[156] had none of that tender sentiment which Gard was dissembling before his friend. Nevertheless it appeared to be a violent case of love at first sight, and before the first sight.

Kirtley dropped out of the running. He excused himself by the necessity of burying himself deeper in his books on Teuton origins and traits. In a brief week the Buchers had forgotten him. All was Herr Deming—the wonderful Herr Deming—the fortunate youth who was bringing the witchery of good luck into the drab home. It was Herr Deming morning, noon and night.

There were theater parties, suppers on Brühl Terrace, plans for the next dance. Jim spread it on thick, and the dutiful, docile Elsa was swept along with the rest, although with a reserve in evocation as became the modesty of a maiden who was manifestly the pivotal center of all this vertiginous attraction and activity. The Buchers suddenly evinced a great and favorable curiosity about America. Their attitude toward it was revolutionized. They plied Gard with questions. What was living like there? It must be most desirable. Gard came across convenient hand books of knowledge, inconvenient encyclopedias and[157] atlases, lying here and there in the house, with pages opened freely at the United States. Frau Bucher became vociferous in praise of the advantages of the Yankee fashion of courtship over the slow, economical, dull, German process of match-making.

The household was overturned. Its affairs got dreadfully behind. Mother was mightily absorbed in getting out and fixing up imposing old dresses, laces, wraps, that were heirlooms or dated from her bridal days of a quarter of a century before. Elsa's lessons in etching and her methodical hours for perfecting her manifold talents, became badly confused.

The great thing was driving at the fashionable hour in the Grosse Garten. This was what the Buchers had never dreamed of. In the winter only the royal and very aristocratic families drove there. The common people, who might extravagantly expend a few marks to indulge in this pastime of nobility in summer, were frozen out of it in winter. Hot drinks in beer halls were then more to their taste.

But many an afternoon at four Deming, with his two ladies overdressed for the occa[158]sion in the dowdy German manner, occupying a handsome, heated limousine decorated with a conspicuous mirror and with Parma violets gently disengaging a delicate perfume, fell in right behind the king's household if possible, and toured the park in stately measure, being numbered, no doubt, by the open-mouthed beholder on the sidewalk, among the social elect in Saxony.

Elsa was as good as engaged, as good as married. In her mother's eyes, bloodshot with all this glory of excitement, her daughter was already dwelling in a palace in that amazing city of Erie, in that splendid commonwealth of Pennsylvania, of whose double fame she had never before heard. For, of course, Deming sang constantly of the wonders of his native haunts, where wealth flowed out of the ground and the trolley system was the best in the world.

Thus the Americanization of Villa Elsa was accomplished in the twinkling of an eye. No more did Gard hear of the Yankee pigs. No more did he hear of the disgusting Yankee billions. Germany and America in union would form the blessed state which would command the globe, and the two excelling peoples, by[159] intermarrying, would produce a race too far ahead and above Frau Bucher's hoarse vocabulary to admit of much more than her Ach Himmels and Ach Gotts.



A People Peculiar or Pagan?

CONCURRENT with all these lively happenings Kirtley had cultivated the acquaintance of Miles Anderson. The two became very friendly. Gard had been so rudely treated by the great German professor in the lecture room that he was quite willing to conclude he could learn from the journalist far more of what he was interested in than from a Teuton university pulpit.

Anderson, like himself, had entered Germany ignorant of the nation and its folk, and fully disposed to find almost everything worthy the highest praise. The elder's vivid convictions, his caustic reflections, were honestly born of what he had seen and heard in different parts of the land, not of what the Germans said of themselves in books, as was the customary rule. By virtue of his calling[161] he had superior opportunities for observation. He was therefore not a negligible imparter of information.

Gard usually found him in a high-ceilinged, majestic chamber in a typical Dresden pension, frequented, however, by only three or four boarders. It was a little like a home for Anderson, even if gloomily august in the German style. Dark woodwork, severely waxed floors on which Gard often slipped violently, huge doors, huge chairs and tables—everything large to suit the national taste for big Teuton gods and supermen. Long, thick stuffs concealed the passageways and windows and contributed to the absence of cheering light—that sign and symbol of the Gothic environment and disposition.

The first question the old man usually plumped was:

"How's your German going?"

"Slowly. Pegging along. I suppose it's because I don't get up much of a liking for it. There's something about it that goes against my grain."

And then Anderson would be off for that particular session. On one early occasion he had said, jestingly:

[162]"I guess you will have to fall back upon the natural method."

"What's that?" had come back the innocent interrogatory.

"Take a sweetheart. She will teach you more useful German in a month than you can learn from the pedagogues in a year. Right here in the best parts of Dresden are streets where these ladies can be rented with their rooms per week or per month cheap, with all the German you want thrown in. Are we to assume it is by this system that the German universities are able to turn out what the world believes are the best students?"

"I never heard anything about that back home," confessed Kirtley, always letting the bars down to encourage a monologue.

"Of course not. That would be to interfere with our American readiness to admit German transcendence."

"But how do you harmonize the frank state of morals here with the fact that the Germans are the great religious authorities? How have they established such a reputation abroad for the morality that is assumed to go with Protestantism?"

"That is simple enough. First, by claim[163]ing that the French are degenerate. Second, by retaining religion with its morals as an adjunct of an unmoral and authoritative militarism. Religion is to them a topic for expert investigation and study just as is militarism or any natural product—oil, coal, the chemical elements, anything. The Teuton specialist goes at it as at any objective science. His analytical and synthetic processes simply explore in his own subterranean caverns apropos of theology. He has taken over the Bible as the Kaiser has taken over Jerusalem. Wilhelm is becoming the Cerberus of Christianity—sole and surly guardian of its meanings and influence.

"But you never see any men in these German churches, do you? They don't go to church. Nor the women very much. You see old women and children at worship. This is because the German has always typically worshipped Gott on the battlefield or in the military camps—out in the open. The German God is an out-of-doors God and is distinctively associated with the thought of war. God within walls, within a church, is a deity of good will on earth. He is a deity of peace. Naturally this does not appeal to the Goth.[164] He don't pay much lively attention to God unless there's a war on hand or in immediate prospect. Then he begins to shout and 'holler' at Him to attract His attention, because He is so far off from Germany."

Gard laughed. Then, after a moment, he asked, almost shyly,

"If German morals and religion have little necessary relation—little actual relation—how about love?"

"The German would never have known of love if he had not heard it talked of," replied Anderson with responsive geniality, pleased with Kirtley's amused face. "Generally an excess of a moral religion destroys love, just as the absence of it in the past has been apt to go with an indecent and widespread sensuality. So we have, what is called, the beastliness in the Teuton. For he has to go, as you know, to an extreme in things—logical extreme. This is why he is only partly human, from our standpoint. The human is so constructed that he can't stand excess in any direction very long and remain human. Everything has to be diluted, alloyed, temporized for him or it is not bearable—it will not work successfully.

[165]"We see this in medicine—conspicuously. Medicines pure from the hands of Mother Nature are too strong, too rank in their purity, to be properly effective. They have to be weakened, reduced, compounded with inferior elements, to be of service. So with Truth. People are always begging for Truth, seeking the ultimate Truth, as if that would bring the perfect state of happiness. This is childlike ignorance. Truth in its pure, perfect condition would simply kill them—like unadulterated drugs. They could not stand its blinding light. They could not stand the shock. Like the rest—to change the metaphor—it has to be made up so largely of shoddy to wear well or wear at all.

"Love, the same way. When the world talks of love so much, it means only friendliness—you like me and I like you—you do something kind for me and I will do something kind for you. Love in its alloyed form of friendship is its efficacious shape for universal use. Pure love, which poor humanity is always reaching out its hands for, simply—as George Sand said—simply tears people to pieces without doing them any good. The result is tragedy, despair, wrecked lives, death before one's time.[166] We see that everywhere depicted in fiction, in the drama, at the opera.

"So the German has kept love in a practical state—for him—by associating it so prominently with his procreative capacities. It is a case of Mars and Venus producing fighting men."

"If the German is not governed by love as an ideal," put in Gard, "how is it then that he is so sentimental? People always assure us that Fritz must be really at bottom as affectionate, tender, emotional, as anyone because he is so sentimental."

"Yes, that's the old conundrum that the enthusiasts over everything German confuse one with. The German's fondness—gobbling-down fondness—for food does not prove that he is a gourmet. The Teuton sentimentality is like mush. It's principally for children. As Fritz keeps a good deal of his childishness about him as he grows up, he keeps this taste for mush. It takes the place of sentiment which is of the proper mental pabulum for enlightened adults. You can't write poetry about mush. So the Germans have little poetry worth talking about. Where their emotional side ought to be, they are slightly[167] developed beyond the youthful stage of sentimentalism. Their abortive conception of love, their treatment of their women and children—other things—all account for this naturally enough. One is rather forced, in spite of himself, to take the Germans at either of two extremes in order to understand them candidly—mushiness or iron."



Making for War

ANDERSON did not care for the Buchers and only came two or three times to Villa Elsa. So Gard did the calling. The elder would invariably bring out from his table drawer his "bachelor's bride" in the form of a box of clear Havanas, and the "lecture" would begin again before, what he said, was the most select audience in Deutschland.

"Have you heard anything from your spy?" he queried one day.

"No. You don't seriously mean that Rudolph—you assume it's Rudolph—is watching me?" returned Kirtley, a little disturbed over the recurrence to this subject. "What am I guilty of? I'm as innocent as an unborn lamb."

"Certainly you are. But, my dear boy, what's innocence in Germany? The Secret Police can make an alien like you a lot of[169] trouble about nothing. You wouldn't believe how systematic they are, and serious as stuffed owls. Take my advice and don't do things at too loose ends as we are apt to over home. But if you do get into trouble, come to me and I will tell you what to say.

"Sometimes they even have one spy spying on another in the home. Of course the spy system, like the army and navy, belongs to the Kaiser. All the people have to do is to furnish the men and the money. It's as Heine said, the royal palaces and so forth are owned by the princes, but the debts owing for them are assumed by the public. The Hohenzollerns have the property, the Germans have the obligations.

"You see, the spy system tends to prevent the Teuton from talking politics. But he can theorize concerning the State. The State is an active philosophic concept that holds off the people from discussing and gossiping about Wilhelm. It does not exist apart from the ruling family and apart from the bureaucracy which is the ruling family in action. It takes on their character. The State is a mirage which the citizen is made to gawk at in the air, thinking he sees something besides the[170] frowning German sky. It surrounds the Emperor with the divine halo, removes him up above the rumbling clouds where the distant views lend enchantment."

There hung about Anderson's talk to-day, as so frequently, a certain sententious and acidulous manner that, to Gard, evidenced twinges of rheumatism.

The dialogue fell once more on war. After the demonstration in Villa Elsa against America, Anderson was gratified by this proof of his contentions. While Kirtley admitted the force in the argument that this excited and confident condition of feeling among the common German people pointed toward hostilities, he could not really believe that such a horror would break forth upon Europe. There was the Hague Convention—

"Pooh!" exclaimed Anderson. "What does the Hague Convention signify in face of the growing armaments? What have you ever seen in Prussian history to show that Prussia would stop for any agreement when she was sure of winning?"

"You expect war soon," said Gard. "Why soon? Granted the Germans want war to carry out their world plans, why should it[171] come before another generation, for instance?"

"Because the Kaiser is getting along in years. Time does not wait even for him. Alexander, Cæsar, Napoleon were young in comparison. So he is talking a lot about God now and that means war. He wants to enjoy ruling Europe awhile before he dies. He does not get on with the Crown Prince and is not greatly interested in leaving all such glory for him to sport about in. Soon Wilhelm the Deuce will be too old to take part in a military campaign. He has not many years to live at his age. He is not a well man. The longer he puts it off, the shorter will be the triumph he craves."

The talk shifted angles and Anderson was saying after awhile:

"When you have the German statesmen, generals, magnates, press, professors, theologians, everybody, insisting on the incomparable virtues of the Germans and never on their failings—on their rights and privileges and never on their duties to humanity—do you wonder that the plain people, like your Buchers, think it devolves upon them to turn foreign lands into waste by the sword in order[172] to convert them into German countries? It is hard to find in any German publication a frank and commending acknowledgment that a foreigner has really completed anything to his credit. If such evidence is too strong in any case and forces an admission, the foreign inventor or discoverer is rather made to appear presumptuous in acting before some German got around to it. The Teutons never think, talk and write in terms of humanity—only in terms of Germanity. Do you not begin to see that the Teutons are, in intent, as murderously fanatical about their greatness as the mad Mullah and his followers were about their bigotry? The Germans have been educated to these views since childhood....

"You tell me that Charlemagne took on Christian religion as a prop to, an ally of, his military power—an aid to the extension of his rule. Well, then, the Teutons have turned what they call their Christianity into a warlike worship of themselves. Their preachers must stand in with the Kaiser. He is to them God on earth. It is the old story of the throne upheld by the official church."

"But how about all Catholic Germany?" parried Gard. "About one-third is Catholic."

[173]"True, true. Yet from what I've seen, the German Catholics will be found fighting for the Protestants when war comes, just as the Socialists will be found fighting for the Emperor. This is because the feeling for race and nation is far stronger than for creed or doctrine. If the Kaiser succeeds in getting control of Europe, he will take to himself the spiritual and religious headship of the world and the Pope will become essentially his vassal, for the Pope will be impotent as against the victorious sword. Hasn't Wilhelm already assumed to be the head of Mohammedanism?

"And look at it. South Germany, which is Catholic, and Saxony here, are cramped up in the interior. Their manufacturing interests are increasing by leaps and bounds. Isn't it natural they should want a direct outlet to the Atlantic and Mediterranean? Wouldn't these Saxons be proud to have a piece of real ocean shore to use as their own?

"Another thing. As the Germans are brutal among themselves, I predict that, stirred up as they are, they will be brutal like Huns in this war. You see how they deal with their own women. Imagine what they will do to foreign women. How do you yourself think[174] your young military Bucher would act toward Americans if he landed on our coast with a gun? The German will be like a Hun just as he was in the treacherous days of Ariovistus and Arminius—the Teutoberger forest and all that over again. He will red-handedly rebuff civilizing influences just as he did in those days."

"How do you define Hun?" asked Gard. "The Germans are not Huns by race."

"No. I said like Huns. I mean by Huns a people who insist on their tribal sovereign right of conquest by means of ruthless murder and senseless destruction—wiping out foreign races and property."

One evening the conversation drifted to this theme:

"Is Luther—Protestantism—one of the reasons why Protestant America is so favorably inclined to Germany?" suggested Kirtley.

"Americans would be surprised to find there is no such thing as Lutheranism here. A bumptious military cult has usurped its place. There are no Lutherans in Deutschland—only Evangelicals and Dissidents. And of course Catholics. If you ask an ordinary Teu[175]ton what Protestantism is, he will scarcely know what you mean precisely. American Protestantism and German Protestantism are radically unlike. The one is peaceful and trustful, the other is warlike and knavish.

"And it seems to me so plain that, besides our religionists, our American education is playing in with the Kaiser's plans. It tends to weaken faith in our government. It makes unpatriotic citizens. Our colleges turn out young men who feel no political duties. We teach them to look for benefits without responsibilities. How different with the German universities! Our school histories, too, nurse active hatred of England, and everywhere with us the main opinion about the French is fostered that they are immoral and therefore to be despised. All this works in with the advancement of German popularity and interests, while at the same time our young men, like you, are sent here to study. Only the best in Germany is diligently kept before our people. The worst is never known as you and I are learning to know it over here."

"So you think," said Gard companionably, "that the Kaiser will set his fiery ball rolling this spring."

[176]"I put the date at March first." The old man's hands trembled as he relighted his cigar stub. His voice almost broke.

"I know they think I'm getting in my dotage—brain a little cracked—and all that. I'm a poor chap possessed of a foolish and wicked delusion. Mean well, but head rickety. Sometimes I really think I must be crazy, with all the world against me about the German danger. They call me Jeremiah and Mother Goose rolled into one. But, by God, Kirtley, as my soul's immortal, I tell you I'm right—I'm right! The deluge is just ahead!—and nothing being done to prevent it." He shouted the words till Gard almost shook.

Every time he left Anderson, he would settle back into the lulling arms of false security, but always a little less assured. How could the old newspaper man be correct and the rest of mankind be in error? He used the stock arguments with himself. Granted that the obese Germans about him on the tram trundling along toward Loschwitz were talking war and preparing for war. They had been doing so for forty-three years and no conflict had come. Immense populations of peace and unpreparedness were growing up[177] who would discourage a world war—would not permit it. There were increasing millions of people who had never seen a soldier, never seen a battleship. Would they want to pay the cost in blood and billions of treasure? It was unthinkable.

And so everyone was floating on with these comfortable convictions—floating on toward the imminent cataclysm, smiling pityingly on the few lugubrious Andersons who were right.



Social Etiquette

BALLS and dancing are a notable expression of life and character in Germany. The Teuton has a passion for them. In what country are they so institutional? The German dance music is on the whole by far the best any land has composed. The waltzes are fine productions of the race. They are not enemic, lascivious or empty of meaning. They are noble, wholesome and full-throbbing with the pounding blood of men and women.

German balls are most varied in kind, responding to the complete scale of existence from high to low. However dowdy, rigid, ungainly or sensual they may be, their music is nearly always elevating or at least of merit because it is written by thoroughly trained composers of whom Germany has a full complement. One of the dreams of any American woman in Europe has been to dance with a[179] German officer who, in his handsome, well-fitting uniform setting off his commanding proportions and guarded forcefully by his clattering sword and jingling spurs, appealed to those instincts for knightliness and chivalric appearance which excite the feminine nature.

Nevertheless the general unloveliness of the social disposition and activities of the Teutons is normally reflected in their balls, and is increased by their tremendous and perspiring energies in this diversion where usually pervades an atmosphere thick with the odors of beer, sausage, cheese.

The Royal Court Ball opened the fashionable season every winter in Dresden as proper in an orthodox monarchy. It was Kirtley's one opportunity to view German royalty, in its intimacy of pumps and low necks, at a ceremonious function in a whirl of music and the dance. Naturally he wanted to be present with Elsa who was, of course, competent in the art of Terpsichore. To say the least she was the only young lady he knew well in Saxony, and to have her hair of ripe corn color dancing in its luxuriance before his eyes to the inspiring melodies of the opera bands would be something to thrill him and his memories after[180]ward. He would take a box and somehow manage to moor Frau Bucher in its depths.

His hopes had sprung up about it for, luckily, Von Tielitz had gone away and Jim, who had put the family in such a state of intoxication, was to be in Prague and Warsaw for a month. It would be a chance for the obscured Gard to emerge into the light and see how Elsa was really affected by the Deming glamor. Of all her booby family she had comported herself so far with a dutiful steadiness in face of his dizzying coup de main. As for Von Tielitz and a respectable young woman—how could there be anything serious ahead?

During Jim's trip Fräulein plunged into her etching to make up for absences. But Gard was pleased over the renewal of their piano duos which had been abandoned after Deming's arrival. She very loyally found a little time for this distraction, and so, as before, they played through earnest stuff and tasseled it off with lighter emotions in the form of "Heart and Hand," "Love's Dreams," "Affection True"—good things with which to court a musical girl. Her cordiality suddenly took on a frank warmness, as if she had come back to an old friend. He[181] saw that she felt more at home with him. Wasn't she at last becoming like a "pal"? Yet sometimes the doubtful impression assailed him that she was merely acting in a sort of gratefulness for his having brought the stylish and princely James Alexander Deming of Erie, Pay, to Villa Elsa.

Gard was quite happy when his invitation to the ball was accepted. Both mother and daughter were most glad to go. He procured the box and Frau Bucher, steeped in the practices of economy and judging that his means were modest, pooh-pooed with material kindness at his idea of an expensive motor car. He insisted on compromising by ordering one at five in the morning for the return. It would be an event and he wished to carry it off quite grandly for Elsa's sake. She had never attended the Court Ball, it turned out, and, like all maidens of Saxony, had always longed to go.

Accordingly due preparations were started by her mother and by her in what had served, since Deming's arrival, as a kind of boudoir. The gala affair was talked over with the usual noisiness in the family. Anything that had to do with the King's household was[182] wonderful. The neighbors were exultantly apprised. Certainly the Buchers were nowadays cutting a high figure—they to whom such costly festivities had been unknown. No one had ever associated Villa Elsa with the wand of prodigality, and its vulgar Americans were dumfounding.

But, four days before the ball, Frau Bucher, in a constant condition of agitation in her social upheaval, announced to Gard that she and Fräulein could not accompany him because a telegram had been received from Friedrich. His sister at Meissen was coming for the occasion and he took it for granted that the Buchers would complete his company. Of course Friedrich and his sister could not be disappointed. They were old friends—really a part of the family. Gard, greatly disappointed, reclaimed his money for the box and countermanded the order for the motor. It was provoking, yet such things very reasonably happened.

The next morning another telegram from the always excited Von Tielitz. Plans were changed. Sister did not think she would be able to leave. Frau Bucher would much like to go with Gard. Elsa was so anxious to[183] dance at Court. It would be too bad to dash her anticipations to the ground. Gard spent the day renewing the arrangements. It was a pleasure to do so.

That evening a note couched in the spacious terms of formality was handed in at his door by Tekla. Frau Bucher was extremely sorry, but Friedrich and his sister had found they could come and were making all preparations. Herr Kirtley's invitation must be declined again.

Beginning to be put out, he found that his box could not now be returned. And he had no one to go with. It would be stupid to be there without even an acquaintance. At last he thought of Anderson. The latter announced his satisfaction at the prospect of "seeing the Germans jump around." Gard's dancing was cut off, which was disappointing enough, yet he could at least see the spectacle.

The following morning, the day before the event, another wire, and another cramped, stiff note through the diplomatic channels of the kitchen reached the attic. More regrets, but the Von Tielitzes were unable to carry out their plan. Would not Herr Kirtley kindly renew his invitation? This stately despatch[184]ing of communications, as with a foreign power, went on side by side of and unseparated from the usual daily informal intercourse of the family.

Gard's good nature wrestled with his balanced equilibrium and overcame it along the lines of gallant generosity. It would be a pity to deprive the ladies of what they had looked forward to, although his own expectations were already marred. He would bemean himself sufficiently to overlook Frau's caddishness. He went in town to see if the change would suit his invited friend. Anderson bravely rose to the occasion and accepted silently the duty of having to tour the ball room now and then with his arm despairingly clasping the rotundity of mother Bucher.

When Gard got back to Villa Elsa, another stilted letter with a new programme was awaiting him. It had developed that the Von Tielitzes could come, though the sister was slightly indisposed. It would be nice for all to form a party, and Frau Bucher would be so pleased if Herr Kirtley would have them joined in. But transportation to and fro must be provided because of the sister. He had so kindly, at first, spoken of a motor.

[185]As Friedrich had admittedly no money, Gard saw that this was a project—likely on the part of both—to saddle him with the whole expense. The clumsy maneuvering had got down to bargaining. He was mad. He sent the scullery courier back definitely withdrawing all arrangements. The pleasure of his invited guest could not be complicated. Result, the Von Tielitzes did not appear, mother and daughter Bucher remained at home, and Kirtley went with Anderson.



The Court Ball

THE two sat the night out in the box. The reader is familiar with Thackeray's amusing references to the stuffy German Court balls. After his day and under the sway of the Empire, they had broadened and aired out somewhat in their automaton grandeurs.

Precisely at nine o'clock the Saxon Court entered, so far as possible in battle array, and unlimbered to a slight extent before their revering subjects. No one knew of anything this Royal family had ever said, commented Anderson. None of them had done anything original or brilliant except Louise, who had run off with the tutor. She could not stand the dullness here any longer. And the members of this Court represented civilization raised to the famous nth power!

How commonplace, uninspiring, they did look to Kirtley! As Germans can illy take on[187] polish he thought he only beheld Rudolphs and Teklas jammed into court dress. The disenchantment of a medieval dynasty at near view!

After the midnight supper Anderson, refreshed, told of an illuminating book he might write on Germany with journalistic brevity and conciseness. It would run something like this:

Chapter on Gentlemen and Ladies.
There are few gentlemen and ladies in Germany.
Chapter on Manners.
There are no manners in Germany. Only orders and servility.
Chapter on Charm and Delicacy.
No specimens to be found.
Chapter on the Milk of Human Kindness.
There is no milk of human kindness in Germany.
Chapter on the Absence of Arrogance.
There is no absence of arrogance in Germany.

And so forth. What did Kirtley think of it?

The journalist jestingly identified the dignitaries, the men about town, the titled ladies about whose bulbous red shoulders often hung scandal, and retailed other gossip from his newspaper files. The scene indeed scintillated with lights and diamonds and[188] crystal. Two orchestras answered each other in a continuous strain of conquering music. Swords and spurs clanked and clattered through the riotous German dances, adding their martial clangor to the regal sounds. Trains were stepped on, dresses torn. The retiring rooms were often sought for repairs. Now and again commotion was caused by some heavy person tripping on her skirts and crashing to the floor. It was Triumphant Germany celebrating her undisputed position and pride—celebrating her mastery of the universe.

Gard really longed at moments to be actively throbbing with it all, circling in the throng, and holding Elsa with her blond florescence in his arms. Then a certain contentment would possess him as he pictured her mother forced to stay home with blighted hankerings. What a ridiculous appearance he would have presented towing her around here in a waltz before all these florid and grandiose figures of state!

Kirtley's disposition was somewhat slow-going, sure-footed. He had a gentle or quiet conservative tenacity that so often comes with[189] the inheritance of a moderate income. It at least gave him time to look things deliberately in the face.

He had at first discounted heavily his old friend's pyrotechnic, cynical bill of complaints against the Teutons and Teutonism. It was diverting, salient, but therefore discouraging to credence. Such judgments were apt to be flashes in the pan. They startled but lacked rootage. Gard had not sufficiently taken into consideration that the journalist was speaking at the end of seven years in Germany instead of at the beginning. When one arrives in a country, extreme snap-shot impressions readily flare forth in the mind.

Yet the more Kirtley saw, the more did he turn toward the same divorced mental attitude. He realized how truly the typical Villa Elsa, though in quite a different key, justified Anderson's conclusions. The performance Frau Bucher had gone through verified another variant in racial traits—a variant which Anderson had stressed.

Namely, one must be forcible, even harsh, with a German. He does not respond satisfactorily to kindness, leniency, liberality. Little sunny courtesies, unselfishnesses, genial en[190]deavors, do not characteristically illuminate the tenebrous interior of his consciousness. He misinterprets them as feeblenesses, as confessions of his dominating rights and privileges. The more one grants to him, the more one yields to him, the more advantage and aggressive advantage he assumes he is invited to take. To go out of one's way to be obliging, to attempt to ingratiate one's self, brings difficulties.

But stout decision, sternness, defiant ultimatums, win out with him. As long as Gard had tried to make himself agreeable in the affair of the Court ball, his efforts were misunderstood and he became a handball buffeted about for the superior convenience of others. As soon as he finally stiffened up and mentally told them to go to perdition, the ingrowing troubles ceased with disciplined promptness. A satisfactory relation resulted, and a hearty respect for him in the household, he recognized, was measureably and contentedly increased.

It was a little different phase of the old pagan German tribal habit of considering the outsider as one from whom all should be got that was possible, irrespective of return in[191] kind or a decent proportion of benefits. To hear in hard, to gouge, are toward the foreigner procedures relied on by the Teuton nature as appropriate. In it there is to be found little mutuality or respectfulness of feeling that curbs, not to speak of the social spirit that restrains or breeds a fine dignity of self. A show of weakness in any form, however ideal or beautiful, makes small appeal. So far as any other "tribe" is concerned, life to the German is at base a knock-down argument. Misfortunes in an alien land do not awaken sympathy. They are rather to be regarded as windfalls, as a result of which a profit is to be grabbed or a steely hand of control inserted where it does not belong.



Fritzi and Another Conversation

WHEN Jim Deming returned he resumed sway over Villa Elsa, though with less vehemence. The Buchers fell promptly again under his spell, the duos were dropped, and Gard retired into the attic for study, varying its monotony with sojourns in town to familiarize himself with the personal peculiarities of the German multitude.

During the long break-up of winter, when the Teuton skies were leaden, and it was neither cold enough nor hot enough to stay comfortably in his room, owing to the Bucher economy of heat in this mid-season, it was pleasanter to be stirring about en ville, and, when weary of this, seeking the agreeable cosiness of the cafés with their warmth of cooking and beverages that thawed one out. He usually lunched in some one of these well-[193]known resorts where he became acquainted with the personnel and frequenters. It was Deming who introduced him to the inn where Fritzi served, whom Von Tielitz and Messer had urged upon Gard's attentions. Jim had learned of it through the former.

Imagine the tiniest of restaurants. It was scarcely large enough for six small tables. The miniature kitchen immediately adjoined this dining nook, so that these two rooms were in effect one. When the two young Americans first went there together, a very comely girl sat cutting colored papers into fantastic shapes with the apparent intention of having more floral decorations. For huge artificial bouquets decked the boards. The place was freshly painted and engagingly clean. The very low walls were covered with queer mottoes in grotesque Gothic script, with Meissen wares, Vienna glass, and also misshapen oddities that always interest the puerile part of mature German nature.

There was a bust of the Emperor covered with ivy and flower concoctions in cardboard. The coat of arms of Saxony embellished the ceiling which one could almost touch with the upraised hand. A cat and a dog were[194] taking their noon-day nap. Sausages and cake in the form of the ever-popular Lebkuchen were made a specialty of here, and when Fritzi—for this was Fritzi—had served the young men she took a seat companionably by them, as became her rôle.

She had a rustic beauty and was sound and plump as a cherry. Her peasant headdress was high and elaborate, winged with chicken feathers, and her short skirts gave way before white stockings pulpily emerging from painted wooden shoes which clicked over the dull tiled floor.

By the table she knitted, watching the eating solicitously, and was by turns candid, sociable and saucy as a spoiled child. It was her business not to be affronted by familiar remarks and actions. She was there to draw trade. She knew how to drop quick curtsies in response to compliments and tips. Although Deming acted freely toward her like an old acquaintance, he could not make much headway owing to the bar of language—her jargon of dialect.

Gard, when touched with loneliness, went there several times and struck up quite an intimacy with her, the proprietor and his wife.[195] It was a snug spot and she was picturesque. The Lebkuchen and famous sausages, which would have been a deadly combination in America, seemed to agree with him, soothed with beer. While Fritzi appeared keck at intervals, Gard did not see any excuse for agreeing with the scandalous hints Von Tielitz and Messer threw out about her. They would naturally see the wench in every domestic.

It was from the inn that Kirtley frequently went to Anderson's for the afternoon. Gard had found it desirable to write down in a notebook some of the facts and reflections he was accumulating on the subject of the German. He would want to show them to his old tutor when home was reached again. Among them, Anderson's ideas and comments were included, flanked by an occasional apothegm.

Gard copied off a sample of their many talks in somewhat the abridged form as given below. It was when, on one of these days, Kirtley learned that Anderson had moved, and traced him to his new abode. From the window of this apartment they could see, through the bleary March light, the dowager-like Grosse Garten where Deming paraded in style with Frau Bucher and Fräulein. Al[196]though the trees and shrubbery were now so gaunt and chilly of aspect, soon they would be green and gay with beautiful spring, and Anderson would find them cheering.

"I am getting old," he said. "I have never wanted May to hurry up so much as this year. Here I can get a good view and the birds will come and nest in these branches. They will whistle to me. I can fill my pocket with crumbs and go out and make their acquaintance in the sunshine and flowers. Since the war failed me again, I can see that my friends pull away from me. They doubtless think that no one is more worthless than a prophet who cannot pull off his 'stunt' and has short gray hair in the bargain. Everyone is blissfully lolling in the embraces of enduring tranquillity and I am seeking the companionship of trees and birds that are not troubled with the machinations and delusions of mankind.

"So there will be this delightful summer of 1914 ahead. Christian civilization is spreading rapidly everywhere. More Bibles being sold than ever. More Hottentots and cannibals wearing clothes and losing their taste for human flesh. And so universal Peace has come to stay. There will not be another war.

[197]"And yet the Dresden barracks were never so full of soldiers, and the German bases of military supplies are crammed. The munition factories are running on extra-time schedules. Has the world turned topsy-turvy or have I? Does what one actually see and hear have no meaning any more?"

"Why do you stay in Germany?" asked Gard. "The Germans antagonize you. And you look upon their Government as a wicked monster prepared to leap upon its innocent prey?"

"For about the same reasons that you remain at the Buchers'. Because it's so often exasperating here. And that's always exciting. I guess it's the Irish strain in us. Want to stick around where there's a good prospect for trouble—want something to swear at. And I consider it my duty to remain here as a sign post of warning. I am carrying about a small red flag with DANGER on it. If the Germans win command of the world, I will be here on the ground all ready to start in as a German and will have a great advantage over nearly all Yankees. I have conned my green book of irregular verbs, which I think would bother most of them considerably. I[198] have got accustomed to the German eating and drinking which I imagine would prove the death of most of them, too. I have learned to sleep athwart the German bed—no small feat, as you know. For everything must become Germanized under German rule. Teutons know no other method."

"Is that the meaning of the sort of happy, triumphant feeling that one finds in Germany? It seems to pervade the whole Empire—rich and poor, merchant and peasant, housewife and children."

"Yes, because they know a victorious war is coming and they will all be lords and masters. The Empire will stretch out wide and there will be work at the highest wages and plenty of money. The German will be able to travel on his own railroads throughout most of Europe and Turkey. No matter how servile he may be at home, everyone will kowtow to him abroad.

"It will be a short, decisive campaign. It will cost some blood and some treasure, but then—the German millennium! The people a eager, ripe, fit for it. The coveted Government jobs will be more numerous and remunerative. They will confer more power on the[199] incumbents, for they will be largely connected with conquered provinces. The German Michel will be no longer cramped up in his mid-continent."...



Some of the Less Known Efficiency

WHY is it that this seems to be a nation of professionals while ours seems to be a nation of amateurs? I suppose it is, of course, because of the more general spread here of thorough instruction."

"Yes, with us unskilled mediocrity is the popular level because it is within the reach of everyone in a democracy. With the German, high skilled, highly instructed efficiency is the ideal. The failure of America to rise into the expert level is due to our unenforced higher education. We compel our people to have a common school education in order to preserve the Republic. Its voters must know how to read and write and 'figger' or they won't be able to vote intelligently.

"Now if we did in addition what Germany does, we would insist, as far as practicable, on advanced education or instruction in every[201] family. Then we, too, would have a wealth of trained talent. Comparing the riches and population of the two countries there is a much greater proportion of university men and other competently instructed men in Germany. Only relatively few Americans can show diplomas for genuine and severe mental training. Take your own Bucher family as an illustration. All its men will have sheepskins that are worth while to show. With us, out of such a family none would have a sheepskin, or at most one. One of the boys might have gone to a university. And as for the difference in the women—little comparison. Your Frau, as you have told me, has several framed diplomas to her credit.

"You can see what a tremendous advantage all this gives the German people over us. You have hit it very well—we are nearly always amateurs. They are nearly always able to be professionals."

"Is it the same with the laboring classes—the mechanics and all that?"

"The same is true, in its way. A poor American boy thinks he will like to be a machinist. He gets a job as a new hand on a salary. He works at it a couple of years. Then somebody[202] offers him ten dollars a week more to drive a truck, which is a simple, elementary task. He drops his machinist career for this. He gets more money and it requires no tedious training. So he remains an indifferent mechanic. It's the money he's looking for, not the satisfaction of proficiency in a skilled trade.

"Now, by contrast, the future of the poor German child is decided in a fashion at about the age of ten. When a boy is elected to go into industry, for instance, he is apprenticed at about fourteen for, say, four years to be a mechanic. He is given no wages. In fact he has to pay something, very often, for the opportunity to learn. But he must, at the same time, attend what they call here continuing schools. It is these schools, which we do not have in America, that hold him fixed to his line of work—prevent him from jumping from one kind of thing to another. He not only works in the shop but is forced to go to a continuing school.

"Hence at eighteen the German factory and Government are sure to find in him just the kind of instructed worker they need. There has never been any danger of his meanwhile[203] changing to driving a truck. He sticks to his trade through life. He becomes a master mechanic. You can't lure him away into an unskilled channel by more money. It's not the money alone he is thinking of. It is also the pride of having a specific calling that lifts him out of the great commonplace market of untrained labor. So Germany is full of competent mechanical men while we limp along with our huge supply of the partly experienced. Every such German knows how to do at least one thing as well as and usually better than anyone else.

"This is one big reason why Germany is pushing ahead of every nation in the industrial world and one reason why I fear her. No matter what she wants to do, she has an abundance of efficient brain and muscle right at hand with which to do it well and at once. In our great United States the lack of this is the bane of American industry and development, and causes such immense and continual loss in time and money because of our having to deal with such a mass of inexperienced young workmen.

"But more than this. The German who is taught a trade acquires not only the technic of[204] it in a shop or laboratory, but also acquires in his studies something of an enlightening and inspiring knowledge of its history and significance. He is, consequently, much more than a mere drudge. He is made intelligent about his calling. This particular feature, so pregnant and valuable, is not incorporated in the American plan, if we can be said to have a plan in these matters. For the Yankee ambition is to make plenty of money in any quick way, and therefore to rise above a trade which a German is content to remain in. We feel no keen necessity about careful instruction in such vocations. Luck, "pull," "cheek," mere cleverness, are prominently relied on in its stead.

"There is another thing in this trade instruction that we do not have in any noticeable degree. It teaches the German mechanic to become wedded to his Nation and Government. He is made to realize the great benefits and responsibilities he owes to them. He becomes an integral national citizen ready to serve his homeland. He is taught to think of something higher than his pay envelope. Under our system such a mechanic grows up loosely connected in thought and acts with the[205] governing public under which he enjoys all his liberty and opportunity. In so far as national necessities go he is apt to be a weakened unit or pulling the wrong way. Unlike the German, he has been educated to have no self-sacrificing ideal of state or country."

Anderson had, at one time, drawn Gard's attention to the immense advantage Germany uniquely derived by completely organizing and keeping at work that vast majority of incurable mediocrities—mere plodders—who are found in every race and who often weigh down its destiny to the point of sinking hopelessness.

Kirtley had since observed that one conspicuous German method was largely to employ this empty talent in small Government jobs. In general, these tasks seemed to be expressly for the swarming and uninspired nonentities, and meant most trivial duties for trivial pay. But such tasks kept this population occupied, orderly and more than self-respecting. In America incurable mediocrity is left to shift for itself in huge masses.

The natural ambition of a Teuton was to be in the national service. Rare was the German family who had not one member in "Govern[206]ment circles." Or if not, it was building expectations toward such a future. One in every eight wage-earning men a bureaucrat! It was not only a question of the salary, assured if small, but the honor. Any Government clerk or roustabout, not to speak of functionaries in higher duties, was looked up to in a way unfamiliar in America, for under that continuous régime his position remained fixed for life. Government officials and employees in the United States are quite freely thrown out under the frequent election upheavals and may to-morrow be ordinary citizens bereft of any sort of authority over their fellows. So they enjoy only a passing deference.

In Germany, owing to the use of plodders who made up extensively its ubiquitous and commanding official class, this bureaucratic scheme proved useful in more ways than one. It put faith and expectation into these stolid, menial lives and took them out of the ranks of the idle and discontented dullards who, in other countries, are a source of danger or decay. It attached Fritz firmly and loyally to the Nation. It held the links between the ruling caste and the people hard and tight. At the same time it tied his family and friends[207] to the Hohenzollern, uniting them in a bond almost servile. The ever-swelling ranks of bureaucrats, in such a large measure imbecile and applying themselves to imbecile occupations, strengthened the incomparable solidarity of the race. And it was this army of State employees who were actively helping diffuse through Germany in 1913 the frothy ideas of a national triumph that intoxicated the populace.

But Kirtley, admiring this manifestation of practical and administrative wisdom, felt that there must be somewhere a tremendous weak spot. The expense of this plan and its withdrawal of muscle and even poor brain from directly productive channels, were costly. And there was about it a pompous vacancy, an arrogant nonsensicalness, a latent peril resulting from such a large number of automatons in unquestioned positions, that should all logically indicate this: If Germany once broke, it would collapse somewhat like an eggshell. It would be a formidable eggshell but with a content surprisingly void.

In a sentence, the mighty German bureaucracy kept the population from thinking. It meant—Obey and make no inquiry! And[208] where in history, Gard asked himself, has a nation of such political and body slaves endured as against nations where the common individual was free to ask questions? Slavery in any important form is acknowledged to be an outworn, decadent economic policy. It cannot compete in the long run.

As a result of this bureaucratic domination in Germany there were, as Kirtley observed, many aspects of the organized public life so excessively worked out and applied in their development as to be unbelievable to Americans who had not come in actual contact with them. These logical extremes and exhaustive minutiæ often enough combined a ferocious ostentation and comical absurdness that were so little realized by those afar who learned of the mighty seriousness and intelligence of the Germans merely from the printed page. The conduct and operations of the limitless bureaucracy were usually the form in which the foreigner in the flesh ran counter to this unconscionable discipline.

Of all this Government routine, the spy system stood out in relief, although, at the same time, it was so dovetailed into the civil administration as to be frequently indistin[209]guishable. Like a typical Yankee Gard, always greatly impressed by the general emphasis everywhere laid on the perfection of the Germans and their methods in everything, had regarded Anderson's remarks and hints about the spy régime as exaggerations. He still could not believe that Rudolph was a kind of Government sleuth or that Teuton existence was honeycombed from cellar to roof with official suspicion and the tyranny of the detective.

But this phase was now brought within range of his personal knowledge, and he had a glimpse of this famous German service. And through whom? Of all persons, Jim Deming. Strange to relate, it brought to a sudden head the latter's stirring courtship of Fräulein Elsa.



The Imperial Secret Service

AFTER New Year he had organized a little informal dancing club among the Americans. He called it the Cinderella Cotillion Coterie, in alliterative compliment to the daintiness of the ladies. He was the self-constituted secretary and sole official.

For the birthday of the Father of our country he sent out to the members a rollicking printed invitation reading:

In honor of our George's birthday, which comes as usual this year on February the twenty-second, the inimitable CCCs will hold one of their regular reunions in pumps, beginning punctually at nine. Full beer orchestra as usual. No flowers or singing of hymns.

By order

James Alexander Deming, Sec., CCC.

R. S. V. P.—the Senate and the Roman People.

The notice at least gave evidence that Jim had been in Italy.

[211]Several weeks after the pleasant event, when he had forgotten all about it, he was loafing in his room one morning after breakfast, smoking an eccentric pipe from his collection, and comforting himself over his decision once more that German teachers and grammars are a failure.

A thump was heard at his door. He called out Herein! whereat a person in uniform strode in and stuck into Deming's hands a majestic communication from which he made out with some difficulty that he was peremptorily ordered to appear at Police Headquarters at eleven that forenoon. Fully conscious of the political innocence of his conduct, he welcomed this new diversion and, humming the latest opera bouffe air, he dressed in his best with a posy in his lapel.

His gay feelings were a little dampened at the Platz where he encountered a massive solemnity and sullen looks as if he were an arch criminal of State. A ponderous minor individual, not unarmed, commanded him to be seated in front of his desk and, eying him sternly, handed over one of Jim's invitations to the George Washington party.

"Do you know of this?"

[212]"Yes, sir," replied Jim, surprised that this harmless missive had turned up among the Police, and wondering what it could all be about.

"Have you authorization?"

"Authorization, sir?"

"What is this?" roared the petty functionary.

"Why, nothing at all. It means dance—ball—a little dance we had."

"Dance—ball." The other repeated the words with a severity that champed upon its bits. "Are you this party?" He tried to pronounce Jim's formidable name on the card.

"Yes, sir."

"What does this mean—Sec., CCC?" he roared again.

Deming was getting upset, confused besides by his inadequate vocabulary.

"I don't know in German, but in English we say Secretary of the Cinderella Cotillion Coterie."

"Ah, you say Secretary. It is English." And an enlightened satisfaction furrowed the hardened face of the interlocutor. Then, abruptly to Deming's relief:

"You may go."

[213]As Jim rose to leave he found a court flunkey at either elbow. They escorted him out with a military precision and flourish. He congratulated himself on the easy way he had got through with it. He must have somehow managed it pretty well.

Two days later, in the evening, an attendant from the Intelligence Office ushered himself into Deming's room without announcement. He bore a summons for the next day.

"Well, of all the damned fools!" Jim exclaimed to himself. "They don't seem to know I'm a free American citizen. I'll tell them this time. They are getting too familiar—walking into a chap's room without waiting to be invited."

This time he was brought before a higher official with a more exalted mien, and manners of inextinguishable anger. He held the tell-tale notice of February twenty-second in his horny paw. Deming was this time not asked to sit down.

"Who's this George?" was demanded.

"Why, that's our great George," confirmed Jim, sharing with jaunty confidence this bit of universal knowledge.

[214]"George—George—the king of England," was the gratifying conclusion.

"And what does this mean?"

"That's Senate and the Roman People. That's just a joke."

"Senate—Senate! Official."

Several of the glowering army folk stood about. They took on menacing airs of importance, following the lead of their chief. An international intrigue, involving a foreign king and senate, was being rapidly unraveled. Deming was so suddenly and summarily dismissed again that he forgot to tell them proudly he was a free American citizen—with a hundred million people behind them.

He was becoming worried and consulted the experience of Miles Anderson whom he had, of course, met through Kirtley.

"In the toils of the German high police!" chuckled Anderson. "That is certainly funny."

"But what am I to do to get rid of them?" inquired Jim anxiously. "It seems I have no privacy. And I don't want to be going to the Platz all the time. Hadn't I better turn it over to our Consulate?"

"Heavens, no. American consuls won't do[215] anything for you. They are considerably Germanic anyhow—work in with the local authorities. It's our easy-going American way. If you want anything done, go to the British or Japanese. Then you will get action. Our official attitude seems to be that an American ought not to be away from America. If he is away, he must look out for himself—has few rights abroad. The Germans respect the English and Japs for they mean business and their consular service is not to be trifled with."

"I don't want to go to foreigners—get this thing all advertised about—go to all that trouble."

"Then tell the Germans to go to hell. That's the only way to get on with Germans. They are used to being sworn at. They will quit you then. If you don't, they will keep you trotting to Headquarters for six months. If you try to be nice, try to placate them, you'll simply get into hotter water. They don't understand such things. They think they are uncovering a vast conspiracy. Cinderella Cotillion Coterie! Gad, of all the farcical happenings I have come across even in Germany!"

Deming was braced up by this advice, and[216] if anything more came of the incident he determined to see it through with some of Anderson's good American bluff and independence.

The following morning he was plashing about in his bath tub when the door was bluntly opened and then partly closed. He faced around in amazement at the audacity of anyone boldly intruding into a bath room—the only place left in Germany for the self-respecting Naked Cult. His eyes fell upon another uniformed emissary from the Police. This one was very obsequious and bowed and scraped his excuses for the unseemly interruption.

"Excuse me, mein Herr, but I heard water splashing and I thought you were at breakfast."

Jim had adopted the fashion of talking derogatorily in English to Germans who, not understanding, usually agreed with his sentiments. This always amused him and satisfied his injured feelings.

"That's the way with you Germans. When you hear a noise, you think someone is eating."

"Ja wohl, ja wohl, mein Herr," assented[217] the incomer with crude agreeableness, all the while grinning in shamefacedness. And floating in the water Jim received another order, from the retreating and apologizing minion of the law, to stand at attention at Headquarters. He was unfamiliar with courts of any sort and did not know he should ask for an interpreter. That the officials had not as yet used one showed apparently an attempt to let the accused, thus handicapped, stumble into an incriminating confession.



Jim Deming's Fate

THE scene was now transferred to a third chamber which looked somewhat like an august tribunal of state. It was an imposing room divided by a long high rostrum upon which sat a terrible looking individual of the utmost lordliness. The attendants were numerous, and if Deming had ever heard of the trial of Warren Hastings he would have thought this appeared an occasion of almost equal importance and gravity. When he arrived for his ordeal before the bench, he seemed a rather small and defenseless figure.

For he was now to be subjected to a sort of "third degree," with a court interpreter at hand. Every word that might be significant in his bedeviling invitation of February twenty-second was gone over with the minatory harshness of medieval inquisitors.

[219]"February twenty-second. Why is that day?"

Deming explained through his intermediary. His interrogators persisted in the idea that it was a pregnant date in English history and had some sinister meaning like Guy Fawkes day. The pages of British annals had evidently been scanned to find the hidden clew.

"'No flowers or singing of hymns.' What is all this?"

"Just a joke, tell him, just a little innocent fun," appealed Jim to his translator.

"You signed yourself as Secretary. That contravenes the law. You had no authority to assume an official position without conferring."

Then there was the mighty Senate and the Roman People again on the mystic communication with its cryptic letters as full of mystery as runes to these Germans. It was, of course, the language of a code.

"Tell him that there is no such thing in the world as the Roman Senate and People," explained Deming with nervous despair. "That was just fooling. Nothing political—nothing political!" he exclaimed. Everything became less convincing and therefore visibly more sat[220]isfactory, and looks and voices grew savage in proportion.

There was also the occult CCC.

"Who is Cinderella? Is he in Dresden with you? Where is he to be found?" The word was indicated by a big thumb. Poor Jim, whose specific information was as limited about Cinderella as about most subjects, entered nevertheless on a long explanation not only concerning her but concerning the playful innocence of the George Washington meeting.

"Tell him it was a harmless little social affair that a few of us fellows and girls got up. We will never do it again. I did not know it would be any offense. Tell him I was only doing what I would do in my own country. There we can get together and dance a little any time without disturbing the nation." He wanted to add that the United States was not like police-ridden Germany where it almost seemed that a chap couldn't tie his shoe without permission from the Kaiser. Prudence refrained him.

"Cotillion Coterie. That's French," translated the Ober-Offizier on the bench, gravely illuminated. An assistant suggested that sec[221] might, in fact, refer to champagne. That would be French too.

"When did you leave France the last time?" the other demanded in a hoarse, triumphant tone.

"Never been in France," returned Jim in a loud voice.

"Never been in France and yet you use French fluently."

"Tell him I don't know a word of French. I didn't know that was especially French. With us it's just dancing language—everybody uses it. Tell him"—Jim added encouragingly—"tell him I never knew a Frenchman in my life."

"This is evidently a French affair as well as English," commented the officer. "Anglo-French. Reaches out."

"What are they saying?" anxiously asked Deming of his intermediary.

On learning the new and extensive ramifications into which the sportive CCC was leading him, he threw up his hands before he thought and exclaimed, "Oh, my God!" It expressed his disgusted confirmation of Mr. Anderson's assertion—"What egregious asses such Germans can be!"—and also his own[222] alarm over his situation. When would he get back to America at this rate? It was going to cost money to escape from this scrape, and how would his governor and mother feel about it? A few months in a political prison with rats and vermin crawling over him seemed ahead instead of the jolly summer he had planned. He cursed under his breath the member of the CCC who had carelessly let his card get away from his clutches.

But a greater surprise awaited him. It revealed an example of the tremendous thoroughness and immense detail that were the pride of the Teuton bureaucracy. Deming was taken off his feet. The chief held up a little battered sheet.

"Have you always paid your bills in Germany?"

"Yes, I have, sir," returned Jim, wondering at this strange turn, but fully sure of himself on this ground.

"Untruth. Why did you not pay for three candles left in your room at Karlsruhe? Here is the unreceipted slip."

"Because I did not use them. I did not want them. I left them on the mantel."

"And here is a balance due on your laundry[223] bill at Hamburg—twelve cents—unpaid. How do you explain that?" A torn and dirty washing schedule was handed down to him to refresh his memory.

"I didn't know I owed any balance," argued Jim to his spokesman. "Tell him it was not presented to me. Tell him I will be only too glad to pay anything I owe. I always pay what I owe." The examiner gingerly took up a crumpled napkin, brown from an overturned demi-tasse.

"August sixteenth, you spilled coffee on your napkin at lunch—half-past twelve. And you went away from the Hotel Bellevue—Bavaria—without making it good. What have you to say to that?" The sorry cloth was held up contemptuously for Jim's inspection and for the edification of the duly pained official audience, most of whom, however, doubtless made no use of such an article in their daily lives.

"I never heard anything about it!" cried Deming. "In my country such things are thrown in. Nothing said about them. But tell him I'll pay it—I'll pay anything—everything. How much is it?"

"Twenty-five cents, the bill claims."

[224]"What is the total?" And Jim began digging in his pockets while holding up his head testily. He had never before been accused of hotel-beating. But payment did not yet appear to be in order. He stared at the mass of files and papers before his cross-questioner. He realized that his whole record in Germany lay there. The Imperial Service had traced him like bloodhounds. Due to his frequent irritated displays of proud American independence on his tour, the bill of small grievances, now accumulated, no doubt assumed troublesome proportions when exposed in its formidable length. Three hours had been consumed, accounted for in part by the necessity of an interpreter. As meal time was at hand Deming was commanded to appear the next morning at nine to have his testimony taken at length.

He departed, his buoyant nature rising once more in partial relief. True to his Yankee instincts he now concluded they were only after the money he owed.

"They want to scare me to make me pay up," he said to himself. "They are afraid they won't get it. I'll pay the little two or three dollars and that will end the matter.[225] These blamed Germans with their ten cents and twenty-five cents! What a system of government to be bothering with these idiotic trifles!"

He sought distraction in several games of billiards followed by dinner at his favorite café. When he returned to his room late that night he found that his effects had been ransacked by two detectives. Fully incensed by this high-handed procedure he determined to place his inalienable rights in the hands of a lawyer the first thing after the early morning meeting.

The taking of his testimony was a proceeding held in a small side apartment before an elderly crotchety underling who pretended to understand English and French, but whose thick-wittedness seemed monumental. The slowness and dullness indicated a whole summer's programme of this preposterous horseplay. Everything was being written down in detail in long hand in the form of questions and answers. All Deming's candles, soiled linen, stained napkins and what-not, reported from all directions of the Empire, began to be raked over. There were green, yellow, red, blue telegrams from half the German States.[226] Harassed by this muck and by the leering taunts of the old party, Jim was glad to find, at the noon hour, that the session was postponed to the second day after.

As he was leaving the room, another offensive inquiry about an absurdity caused him suddenly to remember Mr. Anderson's advice. And in one immortal moment in his existence he rose to a sublime height of moral courage.

"Go to hell!" he shot back. And as he saw the clumsy servitor beginning to pen "Answer: Go to h——" in his great book, Jim slipped out.

He briskly hunted a lawyer to whom he related all the circumstances, winding up elatedly with the last remark.

"Did they write that down too?"


The attorney was at first convulsed, familiar with Teuton naïveté. Then he dubiously shook his head. To Jim's unexpected discomfort the affair was regarded seriously. If he had not ejaculated this affront, something could be done. But now he had been guilty of what the Germans might rightfully construe as a voluntary indignity offered to the Imperial Secret Service in the performance of its[227] highly responsible duties. If he wanted to avoid important trouble, the only simple and effective course would be to quit the country. He could leave that night and in not many hours would be in Russia and beyond German control.

And so Jim Deming made a hasty and unceremonious exit from the Deutschland he had been so fond of, without having time to salute any of his many friends good-by. He had to send them a line of farewell from St. Petersburg.

"Here you have German bureaucracy in its full flower and odor," remarked Anderson as he recounted the affair to Kirtley. "It flourishes to a great extent by exaggerating mole hills into mountains with officious vacuity. It is so large that there is not enough serious work for it. So something often must be found to do. It is a civil army radiating the glory of the Kaiser. The more extensive it is, the more entrenched he is. It is official dry rot which is part of the price the people pay for having themselves governed. It is national graft. But while our American forms of graft at least stimulate individual cleverness among our compatriots, this German[228] form tends to reduce its recipients to the level of donkeys, as seen in the Deming case."

Gard little suspected that he was to drift into a somewhat similar misadventure, but of an advanced type.



Winter and Spring

THE sudden drop in the life in Villa Elsa occasioned by meteoric Jim Deming's disappearance, was terrific. Frau Bucher gasped, caught her breath and sank voluminously beneath the waters of social oblivion whence she had so grandly emerged. When she finally came up to her plain surface of existence she demanded, Where are now the theater parties, and drives in the Grosse Garten behind the King? The family had almost begun to wonder how they had got on before. She wailed:

"The good Herr Deming, the marvelous Herr Deming! How could he have abruptly left us? Something mightily strange must have forced him to go. He will surely return. How could he treat Elsa so? Here we are with our hopes, our plans and our new underwear. It is terrible."

[230]For several days the house resounded with perturbation. This gradually decreased as the readjustment to the former flat conditions took place. The transition was not completed until the information arrived that Herr Deming was never coming back. The final stroke. It was indeed pitiable, tragic, amusing. And all because the American custom of flirtation was unknown to these matter-of-fact Germans, so deadly in earnest about everything.

But, Teuton-like, the brave ship Villa Elsa soon righted itself, being used to blows. It had at least entertained and been entertained by one of the Golden Youths of Good Fortune whose legends gild the expectations of every race. And it was a superior satisfaction to realize that this had not happened elsewhere in Loschwitz.

There were left behind no lingering animosities, no painful grievings. Feelings were too stout, sensibilities too tough, to admit of acknowledging rancors or sickly complaints. The daughter's marriageable future was apparently faced again with courageous determination. As she could not be a luxurious American queen, she must be a German housewife who ranked, to say the least, high enough[231] in the eyes of Gott. But what German's wife? Oddly enough Frau Bucher, despite all her bluntness, never let a hint out of the bag of her franknesses before Kirtley.

After Jim Deming's second riotous invasion of Villa Elsa, when there had been confirmed the abject and tumultuous surrender of the two ladies, mind, body and soul, to mere money, prostrate at the feet of an American "pig," Gard experienced a numbness of heart. True, the daughter was tied to the apron strings of her mother. But then Jim could only fling his pocketbook in her face. He had done it and she, sheep-like, had obviously accepted the situation without a question, a murmur.

How could he, as an American, gage such a blank lack of character, individuality? How different was this trait from that which was exhibited by the energetic prosecution of her talents where her personality, shining forth so steadily, held his admiration almost undimmed! This was a baffling interrogation that furnished another evidence to Kirtley of a gaping chasm separating the Teutons from other peoples. The highest ideal of German character is expressed by works. The highest[232] ideal of "Christian" character is expressed by self.

Spring was now at hand. The sunlit air invited to the out-door life. The windows and doors of Villa Elsa, which was stale and stuffy from the closed-up winter, stood open and the inmates came out of their hibernation, shook themselves and welcomed the warmth and lack-luster brightness. The lindens and plane trees and shrubberies began to hug the place under their cosy leafage. Herr Bucher's rose garden was prepared to grow merry with colors. The companionable garden corner for afternoon tea and beer became a nook of liveliness. The oncoming summer sent forth generally its exulting thrills.

This fine surging-in of sunny, revivifying Nature took at first such a strong and glad hold on Gard that his private emotions, which Elsa had so promptly sharpened and whose edge had become dulled, seemed to lay themselves pleasantly aside for the moment. Whether they were to become whetted again into keen interest remained to be seen, for the awakening green and white noon-tide of actual existence was absorbing.

Apparently she was not greatly affected by[233] Deming's departure. She betook herself to her lessons and duties with well-drilled diligence. The years were cut out for her. She had only to follow the pattern. How much more fortunate it would be, Gard had often felt, if she were detached from her semi-civilized household! Her own attractions would then be freed from the surrounding thorns, prickly hedges, that bruised and tore and dismayed one. An American chap could marry her—but oh, her family!

It was not long, however, before she missed meals. She had begun again being mysteriously mute at times in her room, over the Heine poems. Gard had almost forgotten them.

There were no promenades this early season in the meadow, with the poet. No duos were played. Winter, for that matter, was a more favorable time for them, as it was also for the family concerts.

Fräulein observed a meaningless familiarity with Kirtley as if he were an old member of the home circle. He wondered again if Rudolph had influenced and troubled from the first her relations with himself. And nowadays Tekla was surly toward him. She[234] served him unwillingly and grabbed his occasional Trinkgelds with scarcely a thank-you. Had Rudi, with whom he had had hardly any contact, stirred her up against him out of sheer unjustified Satanism?

The spring weather somewhat curtailed, mollified, all the frank irascibility and wrangling that went on in the house, and it was under the lukewarm spell of this German virgin summer-time that the routine took on its most agreeable aspects, though accompanied with the usual Teuton domestic din. It was, in fact, very enjoyable, contrasted with what the cold months had permitted.

In the winter a pleasant feature had been the theater or opera nights. Darkness then came at four. Dinner would be served at five in order to reach the amusement place at half past six or seven. By eleven the family were back in Loschwitz, sitting down, starved, to a bouncing supper where frequently Kirtley regaled himself with the toothsome Pumpernickel. Over the hot dishes the feverish points of the entertainment were discussed, exclaimed about, while the party cooled off and solaced themselves with Schultheiss. These were rousing and satisfying little happenings.

[235]Free public lectures had also been a source of enjoyment to the Buchers during the long frigid fortnights. Of the five senses, Gard reflected, hearing is the only good one the Germans possess. They hear, absorb through hearing, to better advantage than other races. They close their eyes and drink in seriously. Naturally enough comes about the universality of their music and lectures.

Of these public dissertations a course on the Union between Greek Philosophy and Greek Poetry was especially raved over in Villa Elsa. Gard attended one of these evenings, inspired by the instructional ardors of Frau and Fräulein and Ernst. The example of little Ernst, avid of such intellectual pleasures at his tender age, ever impressed Gard anew. He thought of American lads in comparison.

The German professor, as is well known, occupies a much more potent and exalted position in Germany than the American professor in America. He is considered a reliable fount of wisdom. He speaks with sure authority. He is an oracle, permanent and sounding afar.

On this occasion, precisely at eight o'clock, in a majestic university hall, Kirtley saw this particular grand and popular orator ascend[236] the pulpit. He was in full dress—white waistcoat, white tie, white kids. He was large, shapely, commanding. The women were "at his feet." He stood there solemnly as the clock was striking, and slowly removed his gloves and inserted them under his coat tail. And for exactly an hour there was a remarkable flow of formidable, finished periods, without a note, without a hesitation. Gard really felt there would never be anything else to say about Beauty, so profound, so complete, so final, seemed this survey of the topic.

At the close the audience flocked to the speaker as if to an Olympian victor. Frau Bucher was ecstatic, covering him with her compliments while insisting on waiting for a propitious moment to introduce Herr Kirtley. But as Gard remained there at the lecturer's elbow, he met with another disillusion about German professors. This locally famous man, so correctly dressed to outward view, wore no shirt collar under his beard. His neck and ears showed no signs of recent ablutions and were bushy with unkempt hairs. And he exhaled a rank odor compounded of perspiration and dirt.

Gard almost choked, being crowded into[237] close contact. Could he ever get fully accustomed to German smells? It was most unpleasant, disenchanting. He could not, it appeared, find himself attracted to Teuton university expounders—those gods of wisdom who had repulsed him.

Whether it was his unfortunate luck or not, he was not able to summon a desire to go again. He had not forgotten his other experience. It was a part of that something fundamentally, monumentally lacking in the German race—something shoddy, deceptive, which he had met with at so many turns.



Villa Elsa Outdoors

IN the vernal season the lectures and theaters were dropped for neighborhood excursions of which the Buchers, like all German families, were extremely fond. A rendezvous would be made for dinner, for instance, at some attractive spot up the Elbe. It would be a walking trip from Loschwitz along the winding banks or up on a higher path stretching from one smooth, low-lying hilltop to another. Everywhere the invigorating odor of pine lay in the air. The company assembled by twos or singly at their convenience during the late afternoon. Generally the Herr would be last. And when he was spied approaching, with a cock's feather in his hat and supporting himself authoritatively on his big stick, a chorus of acclaim greeted him, for craving appetites were now to be satisfied.

[239]The household would pass the evening dining al fresco and enjoying the landscape studded with historic and other enduring memories. Near by was Hosterwitz, where Weber composed "Oberon" and "Der Freischütz." Often mists from the Elbe rose mystically to engarland the crenelated castles here and there on the heights. A drowsy river boat in that long agreeable northern twilight would finally gather up the family at the dock and drop them off at home.

Sundays were the favorite time for these little outings. Lessons, classes, tasks, were then lightened. Gard had quickly become aware in Germany that the Sabbath is considerably a day of work as well as pleasure. The usual impression in America that the Germans are religious, not to speak of being moral, was dispelled. This had been a fragment of his erroneous idea that they are active Protestants in the sense that carries any Calvinistic or ethical meaning.

Neither the Buchers, nor any of the families whom Kirtley met through them, went to church. The Protestant churches were, in fact, gloomy, tasteless and almost empty. Their services appeared cheerless and forbid[240]ding. Tremendous fear was their keynote. It seemed far more agreeable to a German to partake of the national sacrament out in a beer garden.

His attitude seemed to be that his race were born so constitutionally and thoroughly in line with Divineness that they did not need to do anything about it. The religious element, as a shaper of conduct and thought, was accordingly not required. As for any restraining power, the Government furnished all of this that was necessary.

At any rate the rulers looked after religion. They observed all-sufficiently its rites. They stood next to Deity and represented and protected the people. Kirtley remarked that when the ordinary German began talking of God, which was rare, he was soon talking of the Emperor. Both deities were ever solicitous for him, working tirelessly in his behalf. The Kaiser was properly the national busybody, the head schoolmaster, who attended to everybody and everything and drove all constantly forward toward a unified and splendid destiny.

Thus arose the firm belief of the Germans in their natural righteousness—the righteous[241]ness of how they act, what they possess. Gard saw there existed among them little virtue in the way of religion to offer the youth of other lands. To send an American son or daughter to Deutschland for such influence and benefit was but another example of the prevailing misconception of real Teutonism.

Many an evening the family dined at the famous Schiller Garden which stretched along the shore, just across the river. Knitting and sewing and books were taken along, a large table was secured, and there the members ate and refreshed themselves with liquids in leisurely fashion from six o'clock until bed time. There would be plenty of talking and smoking and plying of needles as the moonlight or river lights danced forth to guide the active river traffic and also the large inflowings and outflowings of restaurant guests. And all to the bracing music of a capital orchestra reeling off jubilant marches and waltzes.

These were good times when the German was to be observed under the most favorable colors. After Tekla's little tragedy snatched her away from Villa Elsa, as will soon be seen, this dining out became the regular event of the day.

[242]On one of these occasions in the Schiller Garden the conversation fell once more on America. The subject had not been touched since the eruption over Yankee "pigs". It had lain dormant under the mesmeric effect of Jim Deming's appearance.

Gard gathered the following for his notebook. The Buchers maintained that, even if the Hohenzollerns were not wanted, they were necessary to hold Germany together. Otherwise she would split up into many impotent states and be at the mercy of the solidary races adjoining her. But who could not want the Hohenzollerns? They had made of Germany—really a small, poor country—a mighty power. Look at huge America, by contrast! She was weak, disorganized, aimless. She was the proverbial giant with few bones. The western half of the United States was still practically undeveloped, and yet it abounded in natural wealth.

Then there was the Monroe Doctrine. It was a baseless fiat for which there was no legal or moral justification—as arrogant a presumption as could be claimed of any edict of a Kaiser. The Buchers asserted that the Doctrine was a crime against humanity. It had[243] kept, for a hundred years, South America and Central America indifferently civilized, miserably governed, their thin populations uneducated, thriftless, superstitious, bigoted. Said the Herr:

"If our Germany had had full access to that half hemisphere it would be in a full blaze of progress. It would be affording prosperous homes to untold millions of Europeans now packed together like sardines. The mines, forests, rich soils, grazing lands, would have long ago been completely opened up, tilled, occupied, for the benefit of man who is still, in the main, inadequately fed and clothed. We Germans can, admittedly, manufacture cheaper and better goods than anyone. We ought to be free in our way and by our own methods to supply those Americas with the necessities and comforts of civilization and make them rich and happy.

"Their mongrel races are poverty stricken, disease stricken, and often fighting among themselves. The United States does little for them. Nor will she let anyone else. She plays the dog in the manger to the detriment of the world. And this is because she is vain, timid and without plan. Is that logical, wise and[244] serving mankind for the best? Were conditions reversed, would she herself favor such a backward, lagging programme?"

Kirtley admitted to himself that this was a very good and valid point of view for Germans. He recognized its general source, for the Buchers, in the Dresden newspapers. But he did not enter into argument. He had satisfied himself that argument with Teutons, who do not have open minds, who are obsessed by fixed ideas bored into them, can only end in unpleasantness—a row. He had come to Germany to learn. It would be defeating this purpose to air what notions he might have.

In Villa Elsa itself a good deal of the feasting in April and May was carried on in the garden where flowers and dogs completed the picture, together with much open-air singing accompanied by the piano up in the salon. Were it not for the musical cult, it would have been difficult, Gard had concluded, to live in this household. As Anderson said, music had in a degree tamed the German "beast" of the north and made it possible to get on with him at all. Music rather than woman, religion, or[245] the ideal of social intercourse, had partly softened him.

The Bucher sons liked to come to table outdoors with spurs or side arms, and the Herr's favorite hunting equipment was often in evidence, recalling to him days of valiant sport. With their stiff and long strides they affected to be larger, greater, than other males. Supermen in the form of Goliaths! The women loved the sight of such warlike paraphernalia. Such things added zest to the joyous toast—Der Tag! But none of these heroes had yet killed anyone or anything, so far as Kirtley discovered.

In warm weather Villa Elsa did not relax in the matter of six daily repasts. Breakfast at half-past seven. Bread, slices of cold meat and something in addition, at eleven. Luncheon at one, hearty enough for a dinner. At half-past four helles beer and tea with Butterbrods. Dinner at seven. And on going to bed a fortifying supper of pigs' feet, sausage, cheese and other man-like delicacies, flooded with potations.

Gard had, after the months, adjusted himself somewhat to these conditions. He had become, he thought, more used to the German[246] way of living. To get the best out of it, he realized that one must coarsen instead of refine the senses and aptitudes. Instincts should be strengthened, roughened, rather than checked or made more esthetic. The German puts a heavy hand on things. He takes big bites at existence. Thunderous might envelops and clouds his idea of perfection.



A Casual Tragedy

ONE morning early in June when Kirtley, who had been away the afternoon and evening before, came down to breakfast, he found the household upset. Something bad had happened. Tekla was gone. Rudi was not to be seen. Frau had prepared a partial meal and Elsa was making ready to sweep and dust and tidy up the rooms.

The parents were in a rage. They made no bones about it. Frau blurted out with German unreservedness:

"I packed Tekla off—the animal. She had no consideration for me. What do you think, Herr Kirtley? She is going to be a mother. And by Rudi. Wouldn't you have thought he would have more sense than this—right here at home—break up my service? He let her get him into the mess. I have no doubt[248] it was her doings—my poor Rudi. We have sent him away for a couple of days. I told Tekla to go—be off. And she was out on the street—like that—with her bundle of belongings under her arm. And here I am with no servant. Ach Gott! they are all cattle, of course. One has to put up with them."

Herr was in a growling, ferocious state. He blamed Tekla. He blamed his Frau for not knowing what was going on. It was the woman's fault. Everything always was. His incomplete breakfast was late.

"Is there nothing left to eat in the house?" he cried out. He took on a famished and abused air, although he had had his usual six meals the day before. "Give me at least some cheese and bread!"

In this manner Tekla was roundly denounced for interrupting the course of family comfort. That she had mortally sinned awakened no attention, aroused no concern. There was no sympathy expressed for her in her condition, no responsibility felt for her in her downfall or anxiety about her future. Whether she would, from this misstep, have to take to the streets for a living occurred to no one but Kirtley.

[249]Germans are little wrought up about such questions. There is no shuddering as from an admitted mortal sin. Natural impulses and facts are natural impulses and facts. Why should one be squeamish about them or have soul burnings? In general, carnal desires meet with no great fastidiousness in the German domestic circle. They are rather regarded as honest and healthy like desires for food and drink. The Teuton wife is ashamed of barrenness and considers it proper for women to be fully sexed in feeling. Sexuality is not something to be shrunk from, discouraged or denied, but is a candid, copious law of Nature to be recognized.

When Rudi returned shortly from Leipsic, where it had been deemed best for him to retire for the moment, he appeared as conceited and noisy as if nothing had happened. He was not cowed or penitent. His parents, who had got Villa Elsa in running order and were forgetting the contretemps, almost beamed upon him. He was now a full-fledged male. Any lingering uncertainties as to his completed manhood had been effectually removed. His affair was viewed from the standpoint of potent strength, not lapse from virtue. Young[250] men had their wild oats to sow. His mistake had been to disturb his own household. Had it been another household, little heed would have been given.

In the Bucher minds the satisfying net result seemed to be that another soldier (it was to be hoped) was to be born for the army, for the Kaiser. Soldiers had to be. Tekla was to fulfill her highest mission as a German servant girl. She was to become a just and constituent part of the swelling Empire.

Frau's ideas and information on the subject provided Gard's journal with some more condensed material. They were talking out by the garden table.

"What becomes of the German servant girl under such conditions?" he inquired.

"Oh, she can get into another family and go on as before."

"And the baby? How does she manage with that?"

"She puts it out among poor farm people and pays a little for its keep. As the mother usually works about in different localities—sometimes being taken far away by her employers—the farmer often adopts the baby as it grows up. He can always use more help.[251] If it's a girl, she is good for the farm as well as the house. If it's a boy, he becomes a soldier. A boy of this kind makes the best soldier because he has no parental and no home attachments. He only knows the barracks and has the officers to obey. He does not learn who his father is, and the mother becomes practically a stranger to him as she moves about in the city or country. He is ready to serve in the colonies or go anywhere or do anything, having no personal ties to hold him."

"Does not your large army badly demoralize these social conditions?"

"You know, we housewives don't like it much when a new regiment moves into the vicinity. It makes mothers among our domestics and we have to change about. Of course, you see, we have more women than men in Germany and we must have children growing up for the barracks and the cheap labor market. There seems to be no other way, but it is often a great nuisance for us housekeepers. Yet there is this to say: The girls rarely have more than one child by the same man. For another regiment comes along and there are new relations. The army is necessarily a[252] floating population and not very responsible for what it does among us civilians because it protects us."

Kirtley concluded that this accounted for the large number of detached young men in Germany—in the army and out of it—who appeared to be so entirely footloose, ready for any mission or task in any part of the globe. As the two sat there talking about the question of lovelessness in these relations, Herr Bucher strolled up from his flower beds and joined them in his Tyrolean jacket of the chase and big army boots. Gard said,

"We were speaking of affection, Herr Bucher. Why do the Germans have the ideal of hate when other races are holding up the ideal of love?"

"Because it is good to hate!" exclaimed the host with rugged forcefulness as he squatted in a seat. "To hate is strong, manly. It makes the blood flow. It makes one alert. It is necessary for keeping up the fighting instinct. To love is a feebleness. It enervates. You see all the nations that talk of love as the keynote of life are weak, degenerate. Germany is the most powerful nation in the world because she hates. When you hate, you[253] eat well, sleep well, work well, fight well. It is best for the health. When you love, it is like a sickness and disorganizes and debilitates."

"How do you reconcile that with Christ and His mission of love?" pursued Gard.

"There is nothing to reconcile. We simply do not admit all that. It is not practical. Christ was not practical. He had no family. He made no home. He never even built a house. He did not found a State. He let the Romans run over Him. How can one live in a cold northern climate without a house, a nation and an army to protect him? No, it is not at all practical. Even Christ could not defend Himself. He was crucified without any resistance, any struggle. To hate is to struggle and that is the mainspring of action. So one must prepare himself to struggle successfully. To hate, to cause to be feared, are the proper motives for life. They are life. Fear is a stronger and far more universal human motive than love. Therefore we Germans want to be feared rather than to be loved. So we hate because it engenders fear in others. To love is already half a surrender and ends logically in death. With Christ the[254] real victory, the real heaven aspired to, was in death, not in life."

The Herr had faithfully read Rudi's contemporary German military philosophers.

Truly this was too strange a race, Kirtley felt, to admit of any levels of genuine, unreserved association and companionship except under a quasi truce or other provisional conditions. To form a perfect union with it, other races had to adopt its attitude. It could not and would not adopt theirs until some sort of a Teuton reformation took place.

In the midst of these repulsing discords Gard was surprised, on returning to his room a night or two later, to find by his table a new red and gold copy of Heine's verse inclosing a sprig of forget-me-not. On the fly leaf was inscribed in a youthful, copybook hand:

Immer heller brennt die Licht,
Meines schoen' Vergissmeinnicht.

Offered to her meadow pupil
By his meadow teacher.

(Ever brighter burns the light
Of my sweet forget-me-not.)

[255]The Germans are not original in love-making. Elsa had read of such things being done. But it was an admission or advance from her as unexpected as it was belated. Gard tossed about awhile on his bed, thinking of it. As he had often acknowledged to himself, he had been interested in her more than any girl he had yet known.

In the morning, when things were clearer in his consciousness, he assumed that her enterprising, calculating mother had inspired the gift. For it seemed to be apropos of nothing in particular at this unpropitious time, although he had made Elsa little presents during the fall and early winter. It was evident that the family, after the arrival of the mirific Jim Deming, had grown somewhat accustomed to Americans and had at length struck a sentimental attitude.



A German Marriage Proposal

A DAY or two afterward, another little tragedy visited Villa Elsa, following on the heels of the unfortunate departure of Tekla. Ernst came home at lunch time with his head swollen in reds and purples and hardly able to walk. At his morning drill his sergeant had knocked him down by a blow in the face and then kicked him in the knee. The little philosopher was a good deal of a dreamer and had failed in strict and prompt attention. To strike down and boot the rank and file are, of course, a normal part of Prussian army discipline.

Kirtley was incensed, horrified. But to his amazement the family sided with the officer. Although Ernst stood in grave danger of being crippled for life, they were ugly in their censures of him. They said it was a good thing to bring him down from the clouds.

[257]The poor little fellow was a pitiable object for some time. He not only suffered painfully from his bruises but had to meet the irate looks and casehardened bearing of his parents. Brutality made soldiers of visionary and idealistic temperaments. It kept the feet on the earth.

Gard thought how differently an American father and mother would act. Their sons belonged to them and they would resent any outside interference that smacked of cruelty. In Germany, the boys, as already observed, belonged essentially to the Government. The vicious treatment of German children in the home, at school, in the army, accounts for the unique Teuton institution of child-suicide. The number of these boys and girls who, because of their hardships, destroy themselves in despair, is shockingly great. The statistics in other races offer little in comparison.

To break down the will by abasing youth before its comrades and elders, to lay its self-respect low, to beat dignified individuality into callous insensibility, manufactured a docile, automatic unit for the German mechanism. The peculiar strength of Deutschland lay in this early control and training of its[258] young. And as the young surrendered their unimportant consciousness as individuals, they gained an important consciousness as factors in the State. For this reason, as they learned to be almost servile among their own folk, they became domineering among foreigners.

Villa Elsa now was true to the adage that misfortunes do not come or loom singly. One forenoon, about the middle of June, Kirtley was sitting in his attic, turning over in his mind the fact that his year in Germany would soon be up, and endeavoring to explain why he felt depressed. The recent events, it was true, had created a very unpleasant condition of mind, but his body itself also seemed to share in the inharmony. A dullness, a heaviness, had begun to weigh upon his physique and yet here were summer, Nature, the green earth, rejoicing all about him. It was odd. What was the full explanation?

As he sat there thinking somewhat dolefully about himself and forgetting his opened books, a loud knock was heard at his door. It was Frau Bucher with her knitting. She had never honored him with a call in his room. Something must be the matter.

[259]At his invitation she came in and sank into a chair. Her face and hair were mussed. She was laboring under a great strain. The sons with their ill-luck had troubled her. The recent mishaps had evidently alarmed her, upset her, so that it was now the daughter filling the mother's anxious hours.

"Your daughter—Fräulein Elsa!" Gard exclaimed in astonishment.

"Yes, my poor daughter. Oh, good Herr Kirtley, you have always been so kind. I have treated you this winter like a son—just like my own sons."

"You have been very good to me, Frau Bucher," interpolated Kirtley, hastening to offer any consolation, although he could not imagine what distress had brought her to him.

"Well, my daughter—you know it has always been the intention that she marry Friedrich—ever since they were almost children. But, mein Gott, the poor Friedrich does not arrive at anything. We love him. All our friends love him—admire him. But he can get no fixed position. We wait, he waits, Elsa waits. Always hopes and more hopes and nothing comes. And he is so disappointed. No Kapellmeistership. Only[260] small engagements which do not pay much and soon end. He has no money and what little we have to give with Elsa will not answer until he is permanently established.

"You see Friedrich is a courageous fellow and he is apt to speak his mind. You remember how he mimicked the military. My husband and I think he makes enemies by his impulsive temper. You know what musicians are. They talk right out. We think his enemies put difficulties in his way. And so nothing is settled. We keep waiting and here we are. Elsa wants to marry. She wants children!" exploded the artless Frau.

The abruptness of this confession in the matter-of-fact German way almost overcame Gard with embarrassment. He recovered himself at length to ask:

"Does she love him?"

"Ach Himmel! does she love him? Haven't you seen her so dumb at times? But nothing comes to pass—and when will there be anything? She gets her grumpy spells over these postponements—always postponements. You know young people are impatient. They don't understand such things. She wants to marry. Every young girl wants to marry and[261] have children. I may die. My husband may die at any time. And she won't be settled for life."

The mother went off in a vigorous scene of upheaval. The slender and youthful Kirtley felt himself unequal to the task of trying to comfort her bulky person with its commotions.

"But what do you want me to do? Frau Bucher?"

"We all love America, Herr Kirtley!" she burst out. "Elsa loves America. Ever since that splendid Herr Deming came, we love America. And we feel we can trust you. Young men ought to marry early. Elsa wants a decent husband and a decent little home. That is not much to ask. Of course we would hate to have her go so far away. But you have always been so kind to her. You have shown such interest in her. And what a good girl Elsa is! We have brought her up so carefully—and to be a good wife. She can cook and sew and keep house. She can play and paint, and also sing a little. She is strong, never sick, and can work—work. All you Americans have money. We Germans are poor. We can't give her much for a dowry.[262] Excuse me, Herr Kirtley, but you see I came naturally to you. Who else is there? We have made a son of you this winter." Then Frau Bucher almost shrieked out:

"And you can stay here always, if you prefer that!"

Full of her brave endeavor the mother bolted through the door without any ceremony of leave-taking.

Gard could not collect his tumultuous thoughts there in the room. At last the whole secret was out. Had she not foresightedly kept it so long with some such purpose in view?

Fresh air was the only place for him. He grabbed his hat to escape other fateful contingencies that morning, and made for the pine park where it was silent and cool. He walked hastily, with his hat off, along the path where Elsa and he used to stroll while conning together the passionate lyrics of the passionate Heine.



A Waitress Dance

HE went on and on through the firs and hemlocks, on the right bank of the Elbe, then down toward the city. A multitude of convictions, reflections, impressions, flocked in his brain. After awhile he seemed to send them all scattering by exclaiming, "I'll be damned!"

They turbulently regathered. There was the sensual ape Von Tielitz—they would marry her to him. She could love him, polluted and swinish in the low sinks of womankind. There was the flatulent Jim Deming with his money—she could quickly marry him. And at last the ideals Gard had nourished about her had finally tumbled to the ground that day in her mother's crude offer of bargain and sale.

These Germans! They were outside the pale. They were the midway people between bar[264]baric Asia and the civilized West. America, millions, pigs, morals, love, brutality, erudition, proficiency, obscenity—the Teuton race mixed them all up hopelessly, without rime or reason.

Gard walked and walked without realizing he was becoming tired. As he neared the city he burst out again with, "I'll be damned!" It was all the résumé he could arrive at. He found himself finally hungry and made his way to Fritzi's little inn. He felt almost beaten out. Was he really well?

The middle of the afternoon had come. There she was fresh, free, like a hardy wild flower. She trotted back and forth, curtseying, chattering, with her merry heels clicking on the tiling. The hot sausages and Lebkuchen and a stein were hastened in, and she switched her short skirts down cosily on a bench in front of him to knit and look out after his needs. He had encouraged such opportunities for the practice of conversation.

"I've been looking for you to come in," she lisped.


"I wanted to ask you to buy a ticket for our Waitress Dance, and I did not know[265] at all where you lived." It was a long sentence for her and she giggled.

"Number 5, Wiesenstrasse, Loschwitz."

"Gott im Himmel! That's way off."

"When is your dance?"

"It's to-night. And it's only twelve marks." She fumbled out a ticket from beneath her white apron with a maid's agitation.

"I'll take it," said Gard.

"But you have to promise to go. They want every ticket holder to go."

"Are you going?"

"Of course I'm going. It's all us waitresses. And it's only once a year. The waiters have theirs twice a year."

"And are you going to dance?"

"Of course I'm going to dance. I always dance." She perked up her head with her young red mouth open in almost childish puzzlement, as much as to say, "Why, what are balls for?"

Gard looked down on his fattening supply of smoking sausages and honey cakes. A servants' ball might be just the thing to cure his disgust with Loschwitz—with himself—with everything. He had heard Friedrich, Messer and Jim Deming exclaim enthusias[266]tically about these popular fêtes. They should not, it appeared, be missed if one wanted to see the real German nature let loose.

"Well, if you're going to dance, I'll go," he promised.

"You bet your life I'm going to dance!" Fritzi cried out in the Saxon dialect's equivalent as she sprang up, and wheeled off to wait on a new visitor. When she had served him she sidled back to Gard's table with a doubting, half-disappointed air.

"You're fooling me." She stuck her tongue out on her upper lip in peasant bashfulness.

"No, I'll be there as sure as I'm now paying for the ticket." He filled her fat hand with the coins which it could hardly hold. She went away happy.

The ball did not begin until ten, to give the young ladies time to finish their dining-room duties and dress. Kirtley went to a café and watched the billiards until after dark, then slipped out to Villa Elsa, jumped into his evening clothes, and slipped away again. He had seen the royalty dance. Now he would see the common people. This bustling about was cheering. He was glad to go.

[267]The ball room was big, barn-like, with green branches and cheap flowers strung about. Aprons, napkins, table cloths, bills of fare, and other insignia of the waitress profession filled in the local color of the decorations on the walls. There was not one of the everlasting Verbotens to be seen. Alcoves containing tables and chairs ranged around.

The entertainment was in full fling when Gard arrived. As the night was warm the doors and windows were open wide, and fully as many people seemed outside as inside. The throng included a number of students. The dancing was everywhere—on the grass, in the doorways, in the dressing rooms, on the stage by the orchestra. How free and easy compared with the Court affair!

Kirtley took refuge in an alcove. He fancied he would before long spy Fritzi. She would be the only person he knew. But she discovered him first. She tripped up to him with a green cavalier redolent of salad oil and beer. She was very proud to be able to claim Herr Kirtley for one of her "sales." Foreigners are always distinguished. The music struck up again and off she was whisked without saying Aufwiedersehen.

[268]She next came up hanging on to the arms of two dancers. More introductions. All were getting sweaty and thirsty. Gard invited them to sit and he provided Schultheiss.

Fritzi soon settled upon this spot as headquarters, twirling off into the figures and returning with different companions. She brought a girl whom she wanted specially to meet the Herr. The girls dived into the alcove, then out, back again, and hung about flustered, by turns bold or backward. They did not know whether it was proper to see that he danced. He was, of course, high above their class, but if he didn't wish to dance, why had he come? Fritzi wanted to be polite but the situation was above her etiquette. He had been so kind as to buy a ticket, and how could he have a good time without joining in the festivities? The girls nudged each other, balked and snickered.

Gard saw Fritzi's awkward restraint and set her at rest by saying:

"I can't dance the German way."

"The German way?" she echoed bluntly. "Why, I thought everybody in the world danced alike."

[269]"We don't whirl round and round as you do," Gard explained.

"Well, I'll swear!" she clucked incredulously, her tongue in her cheek as if saying, "What sort of dancing can that be!"

The dust and streams of perspiration began to affect everyone, but the music and revolving exertions grew more rapid and vigorous as the hours advanced. Beetles and bugs sailed through the air along with the familiar German odors that greeted Kirtley's nostrils. Everyone became freer. Enjoyment ran higher. Men shed their coats and women made themselves equally comfortable. It was beer, beer, beer.

When Fritzi had seen that her Herr was not to take part, she began to behave toward him with a more bluff unconventionality. She made him acquainted with all her partners and girl friends. She confided to him the little jingling trinkets she wore. Her face ablaze, her hair tousled, her feet keeping on the floor with difficulty, she looked to Gard like a flaming mænad. She had come in cheap satin, and also in silk hose which she particularly doted on. But like all thrifty German maids, after two or three dances she divested herself[270] of these and put on stouter stuffs which she had brought along and which could stand the wear and tear. The possession of those finer things had first to be shown to gratify vanity. Then recourse was had to a practical basis for physical pleasure.

Gard mused over the seething picture before him. He knew it had been pointed out that while the Germans are lewd, they are not dissolute. They do not let their duties suffer. Their ample physiques can stand hard strains, and a night of revelry is followed next day by a prompt resumption of tasks. These young folk, tearing about like disheveled satyrs and nymphs, would be at their jobs in the morning.

The Teuton does not waste his patrimony in riotous living or lead a lawless existence. To this extent the influence of the Government, in its way, was felt. While it recognized that the forceful animal spirits of its people must be indulged to keep them contentedly in control, it set its face against waste of time and of belongings in any prolonged habits of dissipation. Thus the strength and material resources, the plodding industry and economy,[271] of the race were conserved as well as energized.

As for the German women, they are not naturally passionate in the ordinary emotional and imaginative acceptation of this word. Their passions are not extended by any radical complications of romance or ideality. In a sense, they keep their heads in any indulgence.




AT midnight Kirtley saw a remarkable sight. On the stroke of twelve, loud toasts to Der Tag were suddenly lifted high in air as the orchestra broke forth with the Wacht am Rhein. An uproar seized the assembly. "Gott scourge England! Down with France! Deutschland über Alles!" In a twinkling it was a crowd mad for war. Beer mugs were smashed, various objects of apparel were flung far and wide. Improvised orators—students—mounted tables and began crying for vengeance on the world in speeches which, in the hubbub, did not get much beyond preliminary exclamations.

Hatred of Great Britain stood out above it all. How long must the Fatherland be held in check? "Der Kaiser! Hoch der Kaiser!" The popular national frenzy had in this spot[273] ripped off any bounds. Burn, sack, violate, kill—Gard heard the intimations—the threats—of all such frightfulness. In the furor he stood up on his table to get a better view of the extraordinary demonstration. It sounded fateful, terrible, like descriptions recited of the French Revolution. He was almost awestruck. At its height he feared personal violence for himself. He had sometimes been taken for a Britisher.

Anderson was right again. The Teutons lusted for war now. What a spectacle! The old, old German hate. This very lowly class of people—waiters and waitresses—had nothing, would be the very first to face severe hardships, and the men would suffer more than any at the front. They would all be mainly the ones to go hungry, be cold, be killed. But here appeared the cannon fodder demanding to be shot down in its craze for Triumphant Germany. It was hoarse for Victory or Destruction. It was drunk with its physical power. These soldiers were angrily impatient to be let loose like hellhounds, from the sullen fastnesses of mountains and swamps behind the Rhine, upon the Christian populations beyond in the great plains of civilization.

[274]When the tempest had passed and its activities were dwindling into the renewed whirlwinds of the dance, Gard resumed his seat, his head beginning to swim a little. At last his doubting eyes were as if unsealed. A Vandal tribe, a great and powerful Vandal tribe, still lived in the world. It was feeding on Conflict—the food of its ancient bellicose gods.

How was it, indeed, that our trained American observers, men who had been educated in Germany and those who had not, never saw anything of this danger that was boiling in the breasts of even the humblest classes of Teutons? Yes, Anderson was correct. The Germans were, after all, frank enough about it. All was spontaneous and bold. Egged on by their military, political, educational, religious masters, the populace could easily, at any time, work themselves up like this into a frantic state about conquest. And yet Americans heard nothing of it. It was as if their channels of information were subsidized under German authority.

At one o'clock supper time came and Gard ordered. There were Fritzi and another girl and two young men—all very profuse in their appreciation of his hospitality. The popping[275] of a few bottles of cheap champagne sounded in his ears. He was in the swing of the excitement and could not be outdone. His brand was French, of a fine quality. It exhilarated his brain far above the plain, distorted commonplaces of Loschwitz.

After supper the real frolic set in. The true devotees now alone remained. They began doing fancy twists, with legs out far and wide. Vests came off, with collars and ties, and feminine charms became as familiar as an old story that is read too often to have much meaning for the senses. To Gard it all now appeared seemly enough, like an opera peasant ballet whose frank rusticities were excused under the inspiration of the music.

Fritzi's hair floated loosely over her shoulders. It looked to him even brighter than Elsa's. Her snug, many-colored bodice became partly unlaced and she had kicked off her tight slippers under Gard's table. In their heated condition many of the other waitresses were dancing in their unshod feet. He thought it very natural and pleasing when Fritzi rushed up with her heirloom of silk stockings which she had removed early in the evening. They had been her grandmother's[276] who had worn them at some grand baron's wedding long ago—the sole tradition and distinction connected with Fritzi's lineage. One of her friends had been robbed in the dressing room and she was afraid to trust these precious articles there longer. She made sure that Gard had tucked them in his pocket for safekeeping. As she hurried to rejoin the circles, he saw that she had worn through the bottoms of her dancing hose.

Whenever that feeling of discomfort, which he had been conscious of early that morning, surged for a moment through him, a sip of champagne brought quick relief and gilded the scene and his spirits with its necromancy. He felt dizzy but blissful. He became drowsy.... He had sunk into a dream, glorious then ugly, foolish but haunting.

He dreamed he was an armored knight of the time of Charlemagne. He was astride a steed caparisoned for battle, and was riding southward from the Alps in the blazing sunlight, along a white road amid what he supposed were the gardened plains of Lombardy. By his side, in similar array, rode a lovely blond princess of the North with a wonderful luxuriance of hair—some daughter of the[277] Frankish race of fierce and resplendent Brunnhildas or Fredegondas.

She at last became wearied of her heavy armor, the length of the journey and the burning sun. He assisted in extricating her from her coat of mail, and took her over into his arms asleep, letting her armor ride upright on her charger save for the helmet which he fastened to his pommel. As the horses kept onward he held with delight her lightsome body, with her miraculous tresses entwining him as she slumbered. He held her embraced in tenderness, for had not she—a princess—trusted him and gone away with him alone?

He had not thus ridden with her far, before his eyes, alert in every direction for the treacherous enemies of the land, beheld with gaping fright an immense black serpent, brilliant with scales glistening in the scintillating air, slowly uncoiling out of her headless panoply that was still riding bolt upright by his side. He glared down at her in the certainty that she had turned into a twin serpent at his breast. She lay there still in the seductive form of a woman. But she had turned loathsome to his touch. He hurled her to the ground and the[278] next moment was flying on foot, afield, in horror from the spot.

And he recalled in his dream how woman and the snake have been allied in legend, religion and history—how they have ever been identified in the minds of men. His beautiful queen had been at one with the serpent in that suit of metal. Or was it only Elsa?—was it only Fritzi?—with their amber hair?

For what seemed a very long time he was fitfully trying to decide—when he slowly made out that brawny Frau Bucher stood over him.




SHE was in the act of giving him a potion for a raging fever. Once he realized that Herr Bucher sat silently poring over a book by the bed, chucking him back into it when he tossed out. The Bucher children occasionally appeared on errands for his comfort. The family nursed him more diligently than if he had been their own.

Gard came back to his senses rather rapidly. He had found himself in his room. He was in his own bed—that German bed. Summertide was steadily flooding in through the grateful leaves of his linden, and brightening his confining walls. His narrow-gage American digestive apparatus had, it appeared, finally rebelled over the broad German fare. All his eating and drinking during the months had proven disastrous. When he had begun to[280] feel bad that last day, it only needed a little champagne to bring to a head the inevitable revolt. And so, toward the end of his year, he was physically not far from where he had been on coming to Deutschland for the sake of its inspiring virilities.

He had plenty of time to wonder how he had got back to Loschwitz from the Waitress Dance. He never inquired, never learned. But Fritzi alone knew his address. He had no recollection of anything. He went through his pockets. His valuables were intact. His money was all there as nearly as he could figure out, except a reasonable amount evidently used to pay the supper bill and convey him home. Truly those considerate servants had not acted like amateurs.

He finally remembered about Fritzi's hose. They were gone. At length Frau Bucher said she had forgotten to tell him that a pretty young woman came to reclaim them. He was ashamed enough. To be carried to his room in the odor of champagne and with a girl's silk stockings in his pocket! He—Gard Kirtley! Was this the low estate to which German life had brought him?

But he soon observed that the Buchers[281] cared nothing about all this. Young men, as we have seen, were expected to go on larks. No one spoke of the distressing occurrence. There was no disagreeable testimony that he had made great trouble. No looks of reproach attacked him. His Puritan habits had been, in fact, very curious to the parents. They felt now that he was a youth whom they could understand. He was true to the proper type.

It was a relief for him to know that he had not dropped in respect before any of the household. He believed he had, on the contrary, grown in their estimation, as had Rudi after his "experience." The poor Herr Kirtley was considered a much abused victim of an unfortunate sickness. Once Frau exclaimed:

"Ach Himmel! our sons have such a hard time of it!"

When he began to eat ravenously after his enforced abstinence, hearty foods and heavy drinks were supplied. It is the German fashion at such times to build up the strength quickly with lusty meals. He was started promptly again on the road to gastric ruin.

Often at night a cold sweat would bead over Gard. What would he do about Frau Bucher[282] and Elsa? He had been thrown helpless into their hands. Holy Smoke! Would he become a German in spite of himself? He sometimes wished the Imperial Secret Service might scare him out of the country as had been the case with the lucky Deming.

The Buchers had likely saved his life. He had been brought by them faithfully back to health. How was he going to repay? What excuses could he offer when the time came to face Frau's proposal? How could he possibly make his escape at all agreeably? Was ever a fellow in just such a pickle?

And here was the ever-capable Elsa dutifully bringing his viands and at times reading to him stories from Hoffmann. She was like a real fairy out of a German story book. The new Heine she had given him lay there, but neither suggested opening it. It was not a thing to get well over.

To a sick man, his nurse seems heavenly. And Elsa looked truly golden as she sat there over the Hoffmann, with the sunlight streaming about her head. In Gard's phantasmagoria at night there had often been a blond maiden, dancing and lovely—but mingled at length into some unpleasant circumstance like[283] that connected with the phantom princess he had ridden with in Italy.

Ernst, still limping from his beating, came in now and then and read out of a ponderous volume on the Relation of German Music to the Reformation. It was full of intricate, plodding, dull detail in the German style, which the lad found of interest. But Gard, despite this kindness, could not make much headway with it. Smoking was, of course, permitted to accompany his man-like return to health, and it was always a genial hour to have Anderson sitting there in the wreaths of nicotine before the summery window, talking, talking.

The correspondent came several times, bringing comic papers. Gard pleased him by saying he was veering round to the journalist's way of thinking on things German. He related the Der Tag incident at the ball. The family life of the Teutons, the life of the plain people—all were substantiating the essential and alarming truth of the old man's beliefs. At last another American in Germany had been found who was experiencing an awakening. The result was a mutual appreciation.

One afternoon they were eating some of[284] the big German cherries, and the fragrance of Herr Bucher's rose garden below was engaged in balmy conflict with the odors of cigars.

"Well, what is the solution about the German people?" Gard propounded. "What's to be done with them? Here they are, industrious as bees and as fully armed with stings. Will a war cure anything? Even if defeated, won't they be the same people? Won't they present the same problem? Won't they present the same menace to what we consider as the best and most desirable types of civilization?"

Anderson did not interrupt these questions. When they had all come out, he gravely took another cigar, leisurely lighted it and turned his chair to face the linden at the window. He spoke very mildly.



The German Problem. An Answer

IHAVE given this a great deal of thought. I have read a great deal and I believe I have never known of a writer who furnished what I should call an answer. And that is the most important thing—the vital thing. So I have evolved a simple, natural proposal. It is the only proposal, I think, that will remedy the evil of the German nation—remedy the ugly situation that hangs over the careless earth.

"We know that when young foreigners are educated in considerable part in a country, they generally become at peace with it. Everything, in fact, draws them to this attitude—for instance, their excusable satisfaction in feeling that their sojourn abroad has been a success for them instead of a failure. Any foreign instruction makes the student more of an intelligent, cosmopolitan sympa[286]thizer. It knits together warm acquaintances abroad. Every Rhodes scholar is an ally of England. He goes forth bearing kindly messages for her. I have told you how it works with our Americans coming over here to the German universities. They nearly all become pro-Germanic. And this is one reason why our compatriots at home have in general such a downright admiration for what they consider the super-excellence of the Teutons.

"But while this providing of the German education for Americans is pulling so strong in favor of Germany, we have nothing similar in America pulling Germany toward us and our ways. Young Germans are not sent to the United States to study and to lead our lives and to return home bearing good-will and good reports. They stay where they are and become more narrowly, intrinsically Teutons—irreclaimably Teutons. They are left with the undisputed idea that their system of instruction is altogether the best, as proven by the spectacle of aliens coming here for schooling. Why, then, should German lads and misses go abroad to learn? And they don't.

"Now as long as this state of things continues, the German race will remain a tribe[287] in itself, and radically at loggerheads with the world. It will be hopelessly separated, unreconciled, inimical. It will be strange and opposed to everyone else—everything else. As you have seen yourself, even the meanings of the most common and essential terms are usually, to the German, the contrary of what they are to the rest of mankind.

"How will there ever be any natural and genuine meeting of the minds, fellowship, community of interests, under present programmes? For centuries civilized countries have been living side by side with the Teutons, have been pursuing education ever more zealously, and still the German brain and character stay profoundly different from the rest and are not understood. They are so different, in fact, that the forces of war and destruction must be maintained as against them and are constant irritants to thought and activity.

"My plan is this. Young German men and women should be amicably educated abroad in very large numbers—the largest well possible. And on a broader basis than the Cecil Rhodes scheme. In our country they would become, from youthful association, more or less fond of our open homes, our sense of democracy,[288] the untrammeled opportunities to go and to do. They would see the advantages of these blessings—or at least their human attraction—among boys and girls.

"Under my programme these Germans, still adolescent, will return home and a little of this foreign education will stick. But their children will do the same. More will stick with them. Then their children, and still more sticking. After fifty or a hundred years you will have a large population in Deutschland thinking and liking and to a great extent living like their Christian and less warlike neighbors. It will be a tremendous beneficial element introduced for the first time into Germany. It will slowly and silently, without friction or loss of self-respect, accomplish an internal revolution.

"Foreign education for Teuton boys and girls! That's the only final answer I can find—the only true one. You see, a war will never accomplish this, nor tariffs or penalties. Such agencies do not change human nature or character or modes of existence. They antagonize, make stubborn or resentful or malevolent. And, unlike other races, the Germans would always remain, as they are to-day, UNITED.[289] This is the explanation of their World Power."

Anderson stopped as if waiting for a comment.

"It all sounds well and is a beautiful way to do it, but how is it practicable?" asked Gard, who had listened attentively, impressed. "How are you going to coax the Germans to enter into this? What benefit will they see in it?"

"You are right," returned Anderson. "That's the difficulty at present. It can't be put in operation, as I see it, unless Germany happens to be defeated in the coming war. If she is defeated she will, of course, be humbled and temporarily sick of fighting, and this proposal could then be readily forced into adoption as one of the post-war measures looking to the quickest rehabilitation of the nation. Anything that will put it on its feet again soon will be most welcome at that time. Meanwhile, the instruments of war, the power to do damage, must not be left in the German's hands. As long as he has them, he will prepare to destroy."

"But if Germany is victorious, as you seem to think she will be?" suggested Gard.

[290]"Oh, then nothing will work. It won't have a chance. What will there be of all this to contemplate? Germany will be the master and its semi-paganism will prevail. The modern Teuton tribes will begin to level the Christian civilizations to the ground just as the Huns leveled the Roman civilization. The Hun disposition in the German must be eradicated—must be destroyed. Until this is done the world will always have these Huns at its gates."...

It was now July in the year of everlasting tragedy—1914. Kirtley must leave for home, as Villa Elsa knew. He talked over his route with Anderson. His interest in Charlemagne made him wish to see at Aix-la-Chapelle the great emperor's tomb, underneath which, according to an old-time legend, the ruler still sits in his white robes of state in his marble chair, looking forward to resurrection to power. So the trip was mapped out through central Germany.

As the time was at hand for Gard to announce his date of setting off, his perplexities before Frau and Elsa grew entangled. But, happily, their knot was cut for him. Von Tie[291]litz, who had long been away, broke in upon the household one morning with glorious news. He had received a commission as bandmaster in the army with fair pay. Most unexpected. A civilian, who could make sport of the military, summoned into the ranks! What could it mean? Something must be in the wind.

At all events he had come to arrange to marry Elsa, and converted the Villa into a hubbub. He was so beside himself that he appeared ready to embrace and marry the first person he met. He was also officious as if conducting a rehearsal. He rushed to Gard's room and overwhelmed him with the tidings. His eye-glasses kept tumbling off. He was upstairs and down, in the flower garden, out at the tea table, and now and then he rushed to the Pleyel and rent the air with its exultant chords.

The family turned the day into celebration. The wine cellar was opened. The kitchen sent forth its hot and overflowing dishes hour after hour until well into the evening. The marriageable Jim Deming and Gard Kirtley were to Villa Elsa as if they had never been. Frau proclaimed in husky sounds that she had not felt so young in thirty years. Luckily[292] Fräulein Wasserhaus had gone off to Brunswick to visit a relative soon after Deming's advent, so she was not in Wiesenstrasse to encounter this joyous climax and Gard's preparations for his eventful journey.

Elsa acted as one overjoyed. It was what she had yearned for and what filled the measure of her Teutonic maiden nature. On seeing her happy like a yellow mermaid on a sunlit, blissful shore, and knowing what Friedrich was with all his talent, Gard realized she was never for him or he for her. It had been for him a vagary, an irresponsible venture in ethno-psychology, a poorly based confusion of appreciation with a vague notion of duty intermingled with sentiment.

His illness had cleared his intuitions. The unalluring defects of the Teuton systems of love-making overshadowed his own defects as a suitor. Elsa had been as truly foreign to him as the German habits of eating and drinking. In thinking of her he now knew he had always been conscious of her nation. The German woman, as he had already learned, is sunk into her race. It swallows up her individuality. In marrying her, one married the whole people—the German State—the[293] Kaiser. One became possessed not only of a help-meet but of an aggressive political idea.

Now that Gard was a friend instead of a lover, how much easier were his relations with Fräulein! Brooding sensitiveness and responsibility passed into lightsomeness. The unnatural and crankling proceeding of his trying to woo a German girl was smoothed away into a genial indifference. The mental picture of Elsa would remain as one that had attracted him on the wall of his German memories. And like the hundred maids that a youth is smitten with, she would gradually blend into the dim gallery of such pleasant visions of Kirtley's susceptible spring-time—visions which, in all men, fade sweetly into their manhood.

In this manner the cloud of Gard's awkward discomfort in speaking out or acting out his answer to Frau's virile project, had melted away before these lighted-up faces. He felt as if a fog were lifted off his consciousness. He was glad to slip out thus easily. In the lively jumble of robust, rejoicing realities about him, he seemed to have emerged from the fringy edges of a daze.



A German "Gott Be with Ye"

ADASH of adventure was to crown Gard Kirtley's farewell to Germany as it had crowned Jim Deming's, but with an ominous wreath of the tragic instead of garlands of the comic. War was at hand, yet even Anderson did not see it plainly enough to report it. War was often in the sky in Germany and often had he been fooled. The Teutons must be sure of victory and, he was positive, would avail themselves of a long summer for their campaign.

In those days of July something peculiar and tense hung over the land, but its sources were untraceable, its form, abstract. The unadvised, ordinary people wiped the sweat from their foreheads and said it must be the heat. Kirtley would not have been expected to interpret Friedrich's surprising engagement in the music ranks of the Landwehr as a sign that[295] widespread preparations were being made for the fullest onslaught of which the nation could be capable. The Government was, nevertheless, quietly laying its hands on all its young men—even musicians who were blind in one eye and could not see out of it.

Gard was glad to go home through the heart of Germany. Jena, Weimar, Erfurt, Eisenach!—the land of Goethe, Schiller, Luther. While these figures were discarded from the blatant pageantry of the armed Empire, the landmarks associated with them remained to satisfy the vision, and he could tell of them to dear old ignorant Rebner who would be waiting to hear of his beloved Deutschland which existed no more. Afterward, Heidelberg; the trip down the Rhine to the spires of Cologne; and then Aix at the western border, where that august sovereign slept in a haunting majesty, wrapped in the mystic grandeur of the Dark Ages. It was the most fitting and impressive place on the frontier from which to bid adieu to Germania.

In gratitude for his recovery Gard made handsome presents to everyone at Loschwitz, accompanied by the conventional Edelweiss. Villa Elsa, in turn, was profuse in its expres[296]sions and little acts of good will. Herr Bucher gave him a queer pipe, and the boys furnished the smoking tobacco. These gifts were to while away the lost hours on the tour. From Frau came a flask of cognac for use in case he were dizzy on the trains. Fräulein bestowed on him one of her tiny etchings showing the Elbe with the Schiller Garden where all had spent so many evenings.

Gard's route, his through ticket to the sea, his traveling clothing, were subjects of daily conversation at the table. Although the family were entirely obliging, Rudi, odd to say, occupied himself the most about the trip. He seemed wonderfully keyed up and more full of military talk even than usual. He insisted on seeing about time-tables, hotels to be recommended, the favorite dishes and brews to be called for at each stopping place for local tone.

Kirtley was pleased over his friendly attentions. He wished to leave with good feelings all around.

When Rudi helped him get his trunk from the store room, Gard's forgotten passport fell out and excited the other's curiosity.

"I've never seen an American state paper[297] before," he remarked, puffing a cigarette. "What a droll looking affair! So different from ours. Would you mind if I just glanced at it?"

"Certainly not." Anderson's suspicions of the young German glanced through Kirtley's mind. But Rudi was a thick-headed boy, and what could he or anyone accomplish with a passport? Gard had scarcely been called upon to use it. It had been treated almost as a blank formality, an empty courtesy.

"You don't have to show it in German towns—only at the frontier? Am I right?" inquired Rudi after he had minutely read it through as if he had been an official.

"Only at the frontier." Gard grew wary. This knowing and recent familiarity was not becoming entirely agreeable. It would be prudent to mystify the son.

"But of course something might happen in a German town and I might need it. So it's always convenient to have about."

"Where are you going to carry it, then?" pursued the other, handing back the ribboned paper.

"Would you think my grip would be the place?"

[298]"Your grip? Yes, that's just like me. I always shove everything into my grip at last. See here, now. I have none of my papers about me. All in my grip—even in the house." Rudi opened to view his inside coat pocket in testimony, as if he were an important individual. Gard shifted ground again.

"I don't know. I may carry it in my pocket—with my ticket. What if I leave it in my trunk after all? I shall have to open up at the border anyhow."

The subject of the passport kept in Rudi's mind. Three days later he called out to Gard:

"I have been thinking it over and I believe you should carry your passport in your grip. It may slip out of your pocket while you are dozing in the train."

"Danke schoen!" said Gard.

The parents also took great interest in the matter. The paper ought to be examined by the German authorities. Was it not Herr Kirtley's credentials to the German nation? Nothing would answer but that Herr Bucher and Rudolph should take it in town and see that the proper officials were duly cognizant. It was another evidence to Gard that a Teuton is not content until his Government is given[299] an opportunity to approve. The document seemed so vital to Villa Elsa that Gard mentioned it to Anderson in the way of gossip.

"Don't leave it in your trunk or grip," cautioned the elder. "Keep it on your person. Sew it on your shirt, by golly. One never needs a passport, you know, and then you need it like the devil. I've heard of two or three persons this month who got separated from their passports and were in trouble. Something seems to be really going on under the surface. But spring is the classic time for war as well as love to break out."

Gard decided to follow Anderson's advice and keep the parchment in his innermost pocket. He also checked his trunk through to the frontier, contrary to Rudi's suggestion. He said nothing of these changes, yet he was far from thinking that the hand of the Goth would dare to reach out after him—a friendly foreigner and guest leaving this peaceful hearthstone, so effusive in its amicable leave-takings.

Just before his departure he felt something of a restraint in the household. He attributed it to the social stiffness of the German. This increases when intercourse comes to a point.[300] Affecting moments jolt hard in him—moments when embarrassment is natural to all humans.

At the gate, for the last time, the Herr was energetically smoking his long pipe. The Frau frequently wiped her sweating face with a handkerchief. The boys kept kicking away the dogs whose barking half drowned the parting words. Gard said good-by, too, to the old linden by his window. How one can miss a tree!

And Elsa! He flattered himself she looked a mite regretful that he was going. She was starting for her class when she joined the topsy-turvy group by the gate and waved her creamy hand. Her small straw hat, wreathed fatiguingly in roses, clung desperately to her head in the awkward way German women have of wearing headgear, and made her, despite her blossom-like attractiveness, seem quaint and so truly German like the rest. She looked to Gard as pink and blonde as the year before when he had first been dazzled by her glistening hair.

On crossing the river he could see her moving down their meadow path where Heine had sung to him, her etching materials under her[301] arm. One last look at the row of knightly castles rimming the heights above her and at the storied Elbe at her feet as she hurried along! He gulped down a small something in his throat, and turned his face toward the station.

After all, Dresden had been a year of his life.



A Journey

AT Eisenach, bound for Frankfort, the train guard punched Kirtley's ticket and showed him into a compartment that was empty save for a military figure engaged in reading a large newspaper, holding it firmly with gloved hands before his face. Although the day was warm, an army cap was clapped down low on the head.

Gard sank back on the cushions and closed his eyes. He was somewhat fatigued from having climbed the Wartburg whose castle, famed in the history of Luther, lay asleep there like a long and oddly shaped beetle. He soon fell into a doze. When he became conscious again, his companion's countenance was buried as before in the paper. Underneath it, gray trousers and large boots protruded in Kirtley's direction as if to ward off any familiar approach.

[303]That editorial page must be extensive and absorbing, Kirtley commented to himself as he whiffed the refreshing breeze that came in his window from Hesse close by on the west. In a delicious half-dreaminess he thought the stranger turned the journal and that a reddish, be-whiskered visage, with a flat, wide-lobed nose, popped into view for a second.

The motionless reading, nevertheless, continued for the remainder of the trip. To the sweet July zephyr and the snug landscapes flitting by, the soldier paid no heed. How German this was!—Kirtley mused. The Teutons are a wintry race and often take their summer joys in a hard, hyperborean fashion. He could not but admire this example of physical constraint. The iron rigors of Prussian drill had made the best army in the world.

Or perhaps this was some queer, abnormal chap. Gard remembered fragments of stories he had heard of comic or tragic happenings in the separated, locked compartments of continental trains. But the tales were too vague in his mind to pique any anxiety. He roused himself and took up his German newspaper. Muffled war scares. Always war scares more or less in evidence. How dull the Teuton[304] journals would be without them! Dog days were coming and brains were no doubt effervescing.

The forty-eight hours in the rich old capital on the Main were full and Kirtley had almost forgotten his peculiar fellow traveler from Eisenach. What was his amazement, after his guard had punched his transportation and closed him into his compartment in the train for Heidelberg, to find the same individual seated alone again in the corner, engrossed in his voluminous and stationary paper!

This began to be disturbing. Gard was not more brave than the average mortal, but fear had not really been born into his bones. Was this some weird affair? Was it a spy at work, combining German earnestness with German farcicalness? The ludicrous extremes of Jim Deming's experience flashed over Kirtley's mind. But he felt as full confidence in his innocence as had Jim, and he had not given a Cinderella party.

It was a short run to the celebrated university town on the Neckar through ancient Hesse. What would Gard do? This was a nonsensical situation. He decided to crack it open, find out what it was all about. He[305] summoned his best German and formally addressed a casual remark to the stranger. No answer. He did not hear.

"Oh, deaf! Probably dumb too!" Gard exclaimed to himself. His next move was to step across to the other window for the evident purpose of throwing out something. A lurch of the train caused him to stumble against the high boots. They remained motionless. He discovered that the eyes behind the paper were fixed in a stare.

It was a stuffed figure!

A mere puppet. And yet a thrill of alarm, for the first time, shot through Gard. It was not reassuring. He thought of Rudi. Was this some official prank young Bucher had set going? It would be like him. He must be a spy, as Anderson had insisted. Was the son trying to act with confederates far away over here near the Rhine?

The passport! Rudi and the family knew all about it. Kirtley felt in his inside shirt pocket. He was relieved to find the parchment still there. How foolish he would have been to leave it in his grip, as Rudi had urged! A traveler couldn't be with his grip every[306] moment. But why was such a paper considered valuable by the Secret Service?

As he returned to his seat, Kirtley gave the legs a kick "just for luck." He could not help laughing. The burlesque! The Germans were certainly a curious people. This was like some fantastic tale of Hoffmann with its marionettes and other childish stuff so dear to the race.

It came over him that this image was thus being conveniently transported from one town to another for some show—some Jarley waxworks. But how, then, about that other form in the train from Eisenach? It had certainly been alive. Had he not seen it turn its paper? Yet, was he sure? He had been half asleep and might have imagined it.

As he revolved the matter in his mind, he was less and less positive. At any rate, how explain the fact that this exact figure had been on the two trains and that each time he had been with it alone? How was it known here what trains he would take? Only the Buchers were advised.

Whether a silly hoax or a performance of the tremendous sleuth system of Germany, Gard was too unsettled to enjoy fully his brief[307] sojourn at Heidelberg. He decided to trip up any pursuers. Instead of resuming by rail his journey to Mannheim, according to that section of his ticket, he took an auto. For every reason that would be pleasanter. He could see to better advantage the far-famed, vine-clad valley of the Neckar where it merges into the wide and noble plains of the Rhine.

From Mannheim he went by boat as proposed. His be-whiskered friend did not put in an appearance and Kirtley congratulated himself on the riddance. The more he reflected, the less he made any sense out of it. Coincidence, practical joke, spy system at white heat, hallucination—all suggestions seemed equally untenable.

At Cologne he found the newspapers full of discussions about war. On the trip he had not read much. He was either sight-seeing, traveling, weary or sleepy. For that matter, the public generally was not aware that fearful hostilities were imminent, and he gave the subject no keen notice.

There is not much to view in the city of odors—Coleridge's city of "two and seventy" smells. Only the cathedral. Although the[308] museum is mediocre Gard dropped in there at noon to fill in his time. After wandering about he became aware that there was, in the distance, another visitor whose occasional shuffling footsteps first attracted his attention among the eye-obstructing objects. Then he saw, at times, a bulky form bending over some curiosity and contemplating it.

As Kirtley had no companion on his journey, except the military scarecrow, he felt a touch of lonesomeness and was glad when he gradually approached near enough to see that this person was a kindly looking German who had the wondering air of a sight-seer. In their leisurely itineraries they at last met in front of a small bronze copy of a Roman horse marked with italics in Gard's guide book.

The other looked, too, as if he wanted to speak, and his cheerful countenance invited Kirtley's readiness to visit with someone. The stranger was in appearance a prosperous man of about thirty-five, blond, with a very small curling mustache under a small nose. Though he kept smiling he still said nothing, as if doubtful of a first advance.

Gard hesitated, then broke the ice.

"I don't know anything about Roman[309] horses," he essayed. "I can't tell whether this is a good thing or not." The other was affably relieved and was soon pouring out information about the animal.

"Excuse me," he ventured, "but I raise horses on my estate and I know a little about them. The Roman horse was, of course, smaller, shorter, stockier, than our modern type. Small heads, short necks, built closer to the ground. Just like the Roman himself. This is a splendid example."

Seeing that Gard followed him he began again with:

"Excuse me." And he plunged into a minute, quite exhaustive, discussion of the Latin specimen before them, as they walked round and round to view it from all angles. Kirtley had never before realized there were so many points—fine points—about this familiar quadruped. The German showed why this animal could not speed, could not make nearly as many miles a day as his present successor. But, like the Roman, he had endurance and he was undoubtedly easier to handle. There were the withers, the haunch, the hock, and a score of other features upon which Gard's new acquaintance held forth, introducing[310] almost every remark with his rather embarrassed "excuse me."

The astonishing Teuton erudition again! Gard had to marvel at it once more. This German was, by rare exception, ingratiating. They finally introduced themselves. Herr Furstenheimer of Wuerttemberg—a farmer. Gard concluded he did not dislike Germans of the south. Their temperaments, voices, manners, are somewhat softer than those of the north.

"I haven't been in Cologne in twenty years," Furstenheimer explained. "Just stopped off. I wonder if you—I see you too are a tourist—happen to be going my way. Excuse me, but that would be odd, wouldn't it?"

"Yes—I'm bound for Rotterdam."

"Rotterdam—- why so am I!" ejaculated the German in a happy moment. "I'm on my way to visit my sister there. I haven't seen her for years. It's really shameful. What train do you take?"

"The two o'clock. I wish you might be going along. One gets somewhat bored traveling alone."

"I'm the same way. I like company. I[311] had intended going on to-night, but this Cologne one hears so much about is disappointingly dull, isn't it? Nothing to see." They conversed in German to Kirtley's linguistic satisfaction.

"But I'm stopping off at Aix-la-Chapelle," he had to say. "That's at four. Then I'm taking the late train."

"What is there at Aix? I don't remember."

"I want to see Charlemagne's tomb."

"Oh, so? That can't be duller than Cologne, can it? I don't see that I would be losing any time by it either. I'll tell you what I'll do. If I decide to join you—and I hope I shall—you'll see me at the two o'clock. But if I don't—well, Aufwiedersehen!—let us hope—and I am delighted to have met you."

Gard was gratified when the sociable Wuerttemberger arrived at the station. They went on to Aix in a compartment full of militaires. The countryside, swimming in the sunlight, lay tidy and dimpling in the gentle arms of a peace and prosperity that made the newspaper talk of a campaign seem unreal and preposterous.

[312]Furstenheimer appeared to have only the interests of a small land-holder, and gossiped about his farm, his horses and prices. He was not apparently concerned about the war excitement. Agriculture in Wuerttemberg was more important. Like most Germans, whether there was war or no war, seemed much the same thing with him. Either must be taken naturally and philosophically like a state of Nature. Furstenheimer was not fond of being away from home. To be frank, his brother-in-law in Rotterdam had got into financial straits and his own sister was ill. They had become almost strangers in the long separation. And that was not right, was it? He really had had to go.

When they arrived at Aix—the German Aachen—they decided to leave their grips in an inn, across the station Platz, so that they could conveniently dine there and be near at hand for the express. Then they started for the cathedral which, with its eleven centuries, loomed under a lofty octagon from a low hill.



The Tomb of Charlemagne

IN a few minutes the two travelers reached the side portal of the hoary temple. It represented the seat of Charlemagne's political and ecclesiastical power—the capitol of the ancient Franks. The door was closed. A service was being held. It would be out at five o'clock.

To occupy the interim Gard and his new friend went over to the neighboring town hall, located on the site of the emperor's palace. They found it a gay Gothic edifice, the roof flanked by two pert towers. Inside they tiptoed about with silent respect in the immense coronation gallery—one of the largest rooms in the world. Here the medieval German emperors were crowned and imperial diets held.

When the tourists returned to the cathedral they met two young, clean-shaven Germans,[314] obviously travelers like themselves, also wishing to enter. One was tall, the other short. While waiting for the audience to file out, the four struck up a casual conversation about the edifice. Gard, full of his guide book, was pleased to inform them on a subject of which they pleaded ignorance.

They sauntered into the somber, august interior. Above were the impressive stained glass windows, high-flung in the octagon. Kirtley's binocular, strung over his shoulders, came in handy to the others. The Germans seemed somewhat posted on stained glass (Teuton erudition!) and with Gard's binocular they went off for an inspection from the exterior.

He preferred to remain and contemplate alone the solemn scene about him. It was an hour he had looked forward to. He wanted to recall what he had read of this historic spot and the epic and romantic associations here of the most celebrated of Carolingians.

In the mosaic flooring at his feet, as he sat down, was the tombstone which (in the tradition) lies above the imperial victor who sits below waiting with his scepter in his hand and his white beard ever growing—the king of the[315] Middle Ages. How many, many potentates, great and small, during all the intervening centuries, had bowed their heads and spoken words of reverence in the presence of the only sepulchre remaining in situ and intact of the world-conquerors of antiquity! Of all these reputed soliloquies, that of Don Carlos, in the spacious Alexandrines of Victor Hugo in "Hernani," Gard remembered as being the most famous. He had heard what a long and impressive recital it always is as one of the tests of the dramatic actor at the Théâtre Français.

His thoughts ran on. Without Charlemagne's military successes, his widespread reorganizations, the political and civil grandeur of his acts, his picturesque journeys, his union of church and state, what would the Dark Ages have been? In its mountains of fact and luring mists of fable he had stood mighty and solitary, inspiring its imagination, its legends, its superstitions, its songs. He was its compelling figure. He it was who unified medievaldom and laid the bases of what had since governed in western Europe and prevented it from remaining a vast region of large and small tribes fighting among themselves.[316] And he alone, among the powerful military chieftains of the old, old past, had died both peacefully and undefeated.

Why, then, has he faded from view? This was an interesting question to Kirtley. Why has Cæsar so outshone Charlemagne? Why are Homer and Vergil, in comparison, coming ever more to the fore? Why has Dante become the masterly profile of medievalism?

A significant answer had before occurred to Gard. These four personages could write marvelously well while Charlemagne could scarcely even write his name. Had he been a great author, why would not his fame be burning brightly like theirs? In every institution of education their classic language is kept before both youth and professor. Their cults accordingly grow. While the Frank so largely shaped the Middle Ages and furnished leading motives for its background, the Italian merely pictured it.

And yet the latter has become its most distinct luminary. His art has surpassed in renown the medieval sword and crown. His pen is a constant self-advertiser while those emblems of state fall to the ground. Though every spot associated with the lives of Cæsar,[317] of Vergil, of Dante, is sought by student and sage, the tomb of Charlemagne is being forgotten. Who knows that it exists or cares? And is it all because he had no literary skill? A gigantesque character, surrounded by his romantic paladins—Roland, Oliver, Ganelon and the rest—his face turned alike toward west, east and south—to France and Germany and Italy—he nevertheless has long been sinking into the ever-darker shadows of a dulled obscurity....

Gard's friend and the other two Germans presently returned and interrupted his ruminations. They had seen their fill and were anxious to escape from this gray cavern of a dim oblivion. Outdoors the party of four found the sun shining, but rain clouds were hovering in the east. The strangers had plenty of time as they were without a fixed itinerary. They were very agreeable and it was suggested that all dine together. Would not a stroll in the environs be meanwhile a suitable diversion?—out toward the attractive Lousberg and its belvedere?

Herr Furstenheimer had indicated an inquiry to Kirtley as to whether he would like to join the other two. Upon his signifying[318] affirmatively, the four walked northward. The flat face of one of the young men Gard fancied he had seen before. It was, however, of a somewhat familiar Teuton variety and lost in the maze of all the German visages he had seen.

They idled along, recounting their exciting experiences in traveling. Gard told of the wax image in the train as the singular incident he had to offer. As it did not appear to appeal to the curiosity of his companions, he dropped the subject. The Germans are used to the grotesque and egregious.

At intervals the company changed about by twos, their hats coming off frequently in the warmth of the evening. On reaching the top of a small ascent, a summer inn there invited to cooling drinks. It was a low-storied, straggling construction, with a large green yard and trees. There were no guests as yet for the approaching meal time.

The cathedral acquaintances took one side of a table under the branches, and the companionable Furstenheimer with Gard faced them. With the beer they began comparing the parts of the world they hailed from. Kirtley belonged to that distant land—America![319] Incredible! He had traveled so far. It was a country the two newcomers wished to visit. They could not credit the surprising things they had heard concerning the United States. All was so odd there.

The smaller German, with the broad face, having lost no time in being full of compliments about Kirtley's accent, went on:

"You Americans learn our language better than we do yours. I could never get the th in my school. You seem to do everything so differently in America, too. Now, there's your great game of cards, for instance. I was on a boat once going down the Danube and some of your compatriots were playing it. They called it—ach Gott!—what did they call it? You know."

"Poker," said Gard, amused.

"No, that isn't it."


"No, the devil, why can't I think of it? They played it—if I had a pack of cards I would show you what I mean. You could name it then."

The German called the attendant. The latter did not come. The other hurried into the restaurant and came back waving a deck.

[320]"Now I will try to show you. I can't do it well. I have never seen it but once."

"Monte," said Gard. It was not the name the German recognized. Kirtley laughed over this old county fair acquaintance. Three card monte under the walls of Charlemagne's church! This was bringing the ancient and the modern together with a vengeance. Furstenheimer thought the game was droll. He had never seen any played like that.

"How can that be a game!" he exclaimed—"only three cards! You must have left out something. It looks ridiculous. What's the point?"

"Why, you bet!" cried the dealer who was awkwardly manipulating the cards. The two strangers wagered with each other, and the Wuerttemberger at last got interested and bet first against one, then the other. In a few minutes he had lost two hundred marks to the dealer, and acted as if worried. The dealer won also from his associate, but not so readily.

"A gambler, and playing clumsily to fool me," Gard had promptly said to himself. He endeavored to save his friend from falling deeper into the toils. He nudged him under the table, but the Teuton stupidly understood[321] nothing. He kept on, more and more distraught, losing money, then groaning about it and wiping his trickling and distressed countenance.

When the dealer finally saw that Kirtley would not wager, he grew noisy.

"Not to play your own national game—is it polite, I say?" He flaunted the cards before Gard.

"I do not bet," Kirtley repeated as pleasantly as he could, and the tall German tried to quiet his mate.

The rain, which had been brewing, presently began to come down and was breaking up the sport. They agreed to dine in the inn and go back to town when the downpour was over. Gard's friend squared accounts—four hundred and eighty marks passed across. He looked unhappy enough. But the dealer was still far from satisfied because the American had not played. The German had won from the other two. Could he not win from an American in an American game? He had been eager to wager at one turn all the money he had gained.

"A pair of cheap gamblers," Gard repeated to himself. He wished his foolish friend from[322] Wuerttemberg had kept out of it. They were here on the edge of a strange city, in an unknown inn, at nightfall. It showed that Furstenheimer was a green country man who, as he admitted, had seldom been away from home. He had not even seen his neighboring Rhine in years.

The rain was now pelting them and they scurried indoors.



The End of a Little Game

THE short German had worked himself up into an irritable state. He led the way about the arrangements for dining, his tall friend all the while mildly attempting to soothe his ruffled feelings. Furstenheimer, appearing much crest-fallen, meekly followed their wishes.

A private room must be had, the dealer announced. They took a detached one with the door opening out toward the highway. Each one of the three proposed to have a favorite dish from his province.

The little German grew more fussy. He condemned the restaurant manager and got at loggerheads with the waiter. He must at least have a Mecklenburg salad as he came from Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The waiter did not know what it was and the irascible Teuton informed him bluntly that he was a Dummkopf[324]. The card player would make it himself and all must do him the honor of eating it. He proclaimed in a loud voice that it was the superior of all salads. He had won at cards, the money stuck out of his pockets. He was triumphant and becoming insolent.

Kirtley wished he were out of this company. He opened the outside door a moment for fresh air. He noticed that the door had a spring lock. The rain was coming down in torrents. And he ought not to abandon his naïve friend.

The repast was begun by drinking the prevailing toast to Der Tag! His companions now talked openly about the threatening war, and Gard, who had not seen a paper since morning, did not know that hostilities were at last in the way of breaking out. From the conversation he could but judge that all Belgium and northern France were to be made German. This seemed simple and inevitable through all the blustering and bragging. England—America—did not appear to cut any figure. They had no armies, hence they were negligible.

When the company got down to the Mecklenburg salad, the clamorous German expa[325]tiated about it at length as he began his bustling preparations for its manufacture.

"One of the great points of my salad is plenty of pepper." With a flourish he grabbed the little pepper box to suit the action to the words, and nothing came out. It was empty.

"Waiter, waiter, bring some pepper, you stupid Kerl. Don't you know enough to set the table properly?"

Another pepper receptacle was brought, but it would not work. It was stopped up.

"Gott im Himmel! waiter, you idiot, bring some pepper and be quick about it." And the swaggerer began abusing him, the inn and inferentially men who would not wager in a social little card game. The servitor raced in, mad and muttering, and banged down a big can of the much desired condiment. At last, Gott sei Dank! there was pepper by the wholesale. The salad proceeded on its troubled course.

"You like our Germany—yes?" was inserted. Kirtley assured the three that he had had a pleasant year.

"Our Germany is a great country," explained the tall Teuton in a high, cracked voice. "And after the war it will be a much[326] greater country." He was flushed with drink like the other two. The Germans lifted their glasses again to Der Tag, and Gard, their guest, joined in half-heartedly. There was this time an ugly firmness showing in the demonstration that he did not fancy. He was frankly uncomfortable. His companions did not like it because he drank sparingly in spite of all the vehement urging.

The salad proved to be a wonderful dish, hot and strong, fit for the iron stomach of a "blond beast." It not only bit but was provocative. In the growing conviviality the subject leaped from salad to cards. The winner took out his money. He began shaking it in Gard's eyes, insisting once more on wagering it that his American friend could not pick the card. With the demi-tasses and cigars he ordered the deck and table. He started the game, having locked out the blockhead of a waiter and dropped the key into his own pocket.

Gard would not play. His ire was rising. The small German declared himself mistreated. He jumped up from the table and burst out in a tirade against shoddy Americans. This brought each man to his feet. The[327] dealer, violent and familiar, put his hands on Gard.

"You are a dollar American and dare not bet."

"Please keep your hands off me," cried Kirtley and drew back, shaking with the affront. The German persisted and Gard's football days stood him in good stead. He knocked him down. At this the mask was thrown off.

"Get his passport!" yelled the dealer on the floor. The other two began to draw weapons and started toward Kirtley. He was almost unnerved. His genial Wuerttemberg friend a spy! It was the Secret Service.

As he stepped back, thunderstruck, his hand grazed the big pepper can which had been left on the side table. It sent an inspiration whizzing through his brain. He whisked off its unfastened top, grabbed a handful of pepper, and with a swing of the kind he used to use in his throws from left field to home plate—let go with all his force.

The aim was true. The pepper swept into the eyes and mouths of the two men. The other was half lying on the floor near their feet and he also received a dose. Pepper filled[328] their side of the room and blinded them as they sneezed and groped about in pain. Gard bolted for the outer, self-locking door and, almost before he realized it, was out in the highway in the rain, heading away from the city and in the direction of the Dutch border which, he knew, lay not far away.



Are They Huns?

IT was an instinctive move to get out of Deutschland—raucous, hostile Deutschland, lying athwart his soul. But his grip? his overcoat? his umbrella? He faced back toward the town. His mind was in a tumult. No, he must make for the frontier at all hazards. The Germans, whenever they recovered, would naturally expect him to return for his articles and would watch them or have them watched. He felt for his passport, money, trunk check. They were safe. He was sure his trunk would be at the border for him. He turned about and began running. The bellowing condition of the agonized sleuths and the locked door would enable him to get a good start under the cover of the darkness and storm.

When almost breathless he stopped running and walked forward rapidly. There was[330] no travel in his direction. But he had to dodge frequent oncoming vehicles with men and materials of some kind. They were being concentrated at Aix—a main distributing point for the invasion of Belgium.

He was wet through, yet hot as a furnace. The cooling rain was grateful. The loss of his grip and things would be inconvenient, not serious. He began running again. Then he walked as fast as he could. He was more and more convinced that those Germans would count on his going back for his belongings. They would not imagine that a dollar American would leave his possessions and hoof it to the Dutch Limberg on a night like this.

His brain was on fire. He thought of everything. Furstenheimer had been a trailing sleuth. He had fooled Kirtley completely. It was a masterly piece of work. Gard metaphorically took off his hat to the German Secret Service. Notwithstanding the Jim Deming episode and Anderson's animadversions, this had been a highly expert demonstration of the art.

Gard's mind went over his whole trip from Eisenach, trying to find where his suspicions should have been more aroused. He could[331] discover no loophole where any unflattering dullness on his part was particularly at fault. He had made rather the most advances at Cologne to the self-styled Furstenheimer with his Roman horse.

How casually, too, the two confederates had been picked up at the cathedral! Their intelligent interest in stained glass! Very clever. All had been wonderfully clever. He now saw that when Furstenheimer left him at Cologne to decide about joining him, and also when the three had gone off to inspect the windows, there had been ample time to perfect their scheme.

His passport! What on earth could they want of that! In the German way they had used a steam hammer to crack a hickory nut. No one in 1914 had an inkling of what service American passports were to be to the Kaiser's Government. The world was soon to rub its eyes over Germany's treacherous, fiendish, employment of chemicals both on documents and on humans. Lackadaisical mankind did not then dream of the thoroughness and elaboration with which Deutschland was preparing her many deep and diabolical designs.

[332]Toward dawn Gard, pretty well winded and in a bath of perspiration, trudged along more slowly while his thoughts streamed precipitately ahead under the pressure of the stupefying developments. He now knew who the little German was. He was that rigid, whiskered, military person in the train from Eisenach! The same flat, wide-lobed nose. He had not guessed it before because the face, clear of a beard, had really suggested in Aix (he now realized) that of the typical shaven Teuton waiter. But why had the spy traveled in such a stiff and mysterious fashion? Likely to locate the passport—find out whether it was then being carried in the grip or on Kirtley's person. In some way—probably from the manner in which the grip had been handled—the sleuth had convinced himself it was kept in a pocket.

Although Gard could not clearly make it out, the puppet must have been an ingenious device to mislead. The ridiculous card dealer, going through all his mock part with such desperate earnestness, could very well have conceived this eccentric project. Would anyone outside Germany have believed in such use of a stuffed figure? The maneuver succeeded in[333] a fashion, for Gard had not been as shrewd as he imagined in taking the auto from Heidelberg. He may have caused a change in tactics, but he had simply fallen into the hands of Furstenheimer in the museum. The leisurely stroll, the game of cards, the badgering over the betting, everything, had been fully worked out. Somehow, through it all, they were to deprive him of his state paper—likely when he had become intoxicated, as was evidently planned.

But the revelation about the Buchers! That was the finishing blow. "Dastards!" Gard hurled out the word. It was not only Rudi but his parents who had followed his leadership. The son's surprising concern over the passport, their insistence on seeing about his route and his ticket, Rudi's persistence about suggestions for carrying the document—all was now plain. It must be that war was coming and Rudi knew it.

Dastards! To betray their guest, to cause him to go through this miserable experience, endanger his health when he had lately been in a sick bed! Their kind hospitality, their flush demonstrations of friendliness, their little presents! This was the final mark that,[334] to Gard Kirtley, branded the German as only a partly reclaimed Goth.

Perhaps the atmosphere of restraint he had detected in the Buchers at the last, amid all their cordial expressions and deeds, was due to the changed rôle they then knew they were playing as against an American "pig." At their frontier all human relations—obligations, honor, amicability, trust, good faith, religion—were exchangeable for brutality and dastardly brutality.

Yet who in 1914 would have believed such things? It was the case of old Rome asleep, with barbarians swarming in Europe. Gard kept coming back to the sole word for it all—Hun!—in the Anderson definition.

And what to do with the Huns—about them? Can the world ever get on a genuine, fraternal basis for living with them? Can they ever be made to become like other people? These questions kept surging through his mind as he hurried along.

When Holland was reached that morning, his passport was declared impeccable and his faithful trunk caused him no trouble. Although the war excitement was seizing that region he fortunately met no delay in getting[335] to the coast. Once out of Deutschland he felt amazingly well despite the weariness of his exhausting night. He concluded that the vigorous exercise and sweating he had been through had steamed out of him the vileness he had found in Germany. It acted like a rejuvenating process. Gard now seemed to himself like a clean, new man. He was to be a new man.



The Anti-Christians

IN England, when war came, the confusion was unbelievable. All that Gard had seen, heard, gone through in Deutschland proved the awfulness of the Force flung against Europe which had stupidly considered itself civilized.

He was burning to enlist. But what a chagrin to find his services not wanted! The only satisfaction he could get lay in the suggestion to wait. The more he was put off, the more he was bent on reaching the firing line.

In his enforced and impatient idleness he took out his German note book and began writing letters to Rebner in America, thus giving partial vent to his own feelings. The following brief extracts were written first as he went about different camps, offering himself, then at the front:


England, October, 1914.

... You know how I went to Germany at your urging, with every favorable impulse toward the Germans. But you had little idea what they are. If our fellow-Americans realized what was thought and said of them beyond the Rhine, they would be in battle now.

As there is no prospect of our Government wanting fighting men, I am trying to get into the English service. No success yet....

How could you, my good mentor, be so in error about the race from which you sprang? Had you been in Germany, the scales would have dropped from your eyes. You have never lived with the Germans there—only read the best about the "most advanced" of mankind. They are so different from our American-Germans. You did not know that the educated Teuton at home is apt to be dirty in his person and habits, eats with his knife, walks before women, kicks his children about, has coarse or vulgar ideas on[338] female chastity, enjoys the obscene, has no good words to say of anyone beyond his boundaries.

Pray do not fancy I am pretending to chide you. Weren't we all like you in America, dazzled before what apparently we were humbly ready to admit as the super-race? And yet in a multitude of ways it is so obviously a people set off by itself in much barbarism. There is its Gothic script which offends the eye somewhat like outlandish runes. Its very language growls and snorts at you, sounds threatening as if angry—pardon me for these sentences! There are its mud-colored towns and architecture, its rude life, rough skinned, hairy, ferocious, with tastelessness prevailing.

The German imagination is never shot through with clear, happy sunshine. The German emotions are distinctively expressed by thumpings in some form. The Teuton's inability to see himself as another sees him—is this not, above all, the stamp of an under-civilized people?...


England, October, 1914.

... Do not think I am unduly harsh, prejudiced, revengeful. I am trying to write in measured terms of what has been forced in upon me and my attention against my wish or expectations.

I have met but one American who said that war was at hand and knew what the Germans really are at home. He was an elderly journalist in Dresden who was jeered at until he almost imagined himself mentally unbalanced. Others thought him so, at any rate.

But Anderson was a true prophet. Dear isolated, desolated soul! I wonder where he is now. I wonder if he got out safely. How I wish I could grasp his hand and say, How wise were your convictions!

Like myself he had gone to Deutschland to admire and love the Germans. But he found what I found—an astonishing amount of ruthlessness. How could one expect that the ultimate world-justice and world-humanity were to evolve out of a race to which the army,[340] armed soldiers and statesmen clad in steel, stand for so much?

How could anything of universal good come from a people who consider nothing from the viewpoint of a kindly common brotherhood? Contempt, intolerance, physical force, are what they gloat over in international relations. I discovered that when they must ask pardon or make amends, they do so with bad grace. They do not take a magnanimous and frank satisfaction or pleasure in righting a wrong.

You would not believe how lacking their character is in the capacity for penitence, for atonement. We will never see them sorry for any of their present enormities. The still, small voice in them has not been allowed to develop. Their notion of ethics is so different that it is inadmissible from our standards.

To be sensitive, grieve, suffer morally, is apart from their normal consciousness. For all this tender and beautiful side of human nature they substitute only the discomforted feelings of defeat. No matter how this present conflict ends, he who[341] looks for any sympathetic actions or noble regrets from them will be dumfounded....

England, November, 1914.

Hurrah! I am at last, after disappointments and frettings, under way for Flanders. Lo, I am become, as it were, an Englishman! The British now see the full peril and are taking almost any kind of men, and I'm going along. I suppose it is because I am so keyed up that I feel so well. I'm surprised at myself. I guess I must have, after all, a little good Anglo-Saxon grit in me.

I am trying to write this scrawl to you on a round milk container in a camp near London. We are not permitted to tell where....

As I was on the point of saying in my last letter, Jesus is never a watchword in Germany. The Nazarene meekness makes small appeal there. All is Gott. The Teuton regards Christ as too much of a weakling. Had He an army? Could He shoot, as all Germans can?[342] He would not fight and therefore was properly destroyed. If His foolish ideas were followed, the weak would eventually rule the earth whereas, to the German mind, the strong should manifestly rule the earth. The strongest are the fittest, and the fittest should alone survive.

To the Goth the Christian religion and philosophy are baneful, baleful. As the result of their feeble policy was not Christ followed—the Germans claim—by the Dark Ages when mankind was obsessed by His superstitious worship? Lifting men out of this morass, the proper practical, scientific and warlike forces came at length into play and we have the magnificent modern régime whose basis is armed strength.

Hence—it is argued—Germany came into her own and inevitably leads the world. She represents the perfection of organized physical and mental powers which are the antitheses of the Christ ideal.

And so you never hear much in Deutschland about Peace and Good Will, Do as You would be Done by, Faith,[343] Hope and Charity and the greatest of these is Charity. Such Christian texts and mottoes, which fill our American homes, churches and public places, are little in evidence in Germany because they do not enter into the life. The popular nomenclature is pagan rather than Biblical. Already in this war we behold the Kaiser drawing his names for forts and trenches from his wild pagan mythology, not from Christian sources. And in Deutschland, acts in the field count for so much more than words in the pulpit.

If the Huns win, Teuton hate will, of course, succeed Christian love as the human creed. Friendship, as we know it, will largely cease to exist. Friends will be those who can be cowed into truculence or bought. There will be no truth, justice, equity, in our meaning. Only the will or whim of the Emperor. His State Church, with its worship of Him, will grow as the church.

Everything that southern and western Europe stands for, from ancient Greece to the northern points of Scotland and Ireland (with America in addition)[344]—beauty, loveableness, the brightness of life with its joyousness, gayety, grace, charm—will be stamped down under the metallic heels of the Kaiser's battalions and bureaucrats....

Boulogne, January, 1915.

After what I have written you from Germany, and since, about my unexpected disillusionment, you will ask me:

"Well, enough of this. What ought to be done or can be done about it?"

I am thinking about a solution. Not original, for its framework was suggested by my old journalistic friend. I will send you an outline of his idea as he gave it to me one day. All that he said and prophesied has come so direfully true that I have now full faith and confidence in his vision and practical sense on the subject of the Goth race. For he lived and observed among them seven years.

That's the great point—living together. And I do not mean living together when people are mature or old but when young—when minds, sympathies, etc., are plas[345]tic and pliable. As long as the young Germans are kept home—never sent abroad unless as spies in some form—the Teutons will remain Huns.

Granted that they can't help it if they are born with the Hun strain in their blood which their education or instruction not only preserves but enrages. Admit that they want any barbarism eliminated from their veins. That would be an important point over which our world should hold out to them the glad hand....

Don't be offended, but the best thing that I learned in college was to throw well from left field. At any rate it saved my life, I suppose, at Aix. And I've grown wonderfully fond of pepper. It braces a chap for this Iceland wind that howls down upon us at times. We call baseball and football a part of education. Good, brave things. The Germans don't have them because they have only "instruction."

From what I observed beyond the Rhine, education is a growth in free and liberal countries. As we are seeing in the war, German instruction turns out ex[346]perts, but also intellectual monsters and scientific fiends—instructed heathens....

Strange to say, I don't believe I could have stood this existence here if my system had not got a good cleansing out when I was sick. I am all the time thinking about the Huns. And it is strictly necessary hereabouts.



The Teuton Problem. A Solution

Flanders, a Mudhole, February, 1915.

... Is not my old friend Anderson's plan the only natural, practical, efficient method by which to humanize their barbarous instincts? Assuming that they will be defeated, as they must be, the Anderson project, as you see, is that a permanent arrangement must be offered them, and if necessary enforced upon them, whereby a multitude of young German men and women shall be sent yearly to foreign democratic lands to live and be educated there for a period. By attractive scholarships, by pecuniary inducements or by any of a number of programmes, young Germans can be tempted to this step. In living and study[348]ing, before middle age, under free and liberal conditions, they will begin looking at foreigners in a friendly, or what we should call a Christian, manner. After awhile, after generations perhaps, this leaven will work in the thick, tough, sour Teuton dough. It will transform the people. They will gradually become allies at heart instead of remaining hostiles.

As it is now, the German eats, drinks, bathes, and nauseatingly does other elemental things much as he did a hundred years ago, because he receives his instruction in his homeland with the idea, not only complacent but aggressive, that his habits are the best. And this is for the reason that he has seen no other kind when young. Do you think, for instance, that a youthful German, after living in the freedom of our young sexes, would return to the Rhine and long be content with the iron-like Teuton customs in love, courtship and marriage?

A youthful person is apt to admire the people among whom he is staying a long while for the reason that, under such cir[349]cumstances, aliens are kind. He will always take pride in these foreign connections, pride in what he has learned abroad. He will think himself more fortunate and more advanced than his fellow stay-at-homes. The young German, becoming used to more amiable modes of existence, would naturally become more or less fond of them. A broader, more human social spirit—the true social spirit—would get a hold in him.

I would go further than my friend Anderson. I would have all civilized countries adopt this plan with one another as well as with Germany. The trouble with civilization, as seen in this war, is that no people understands or truly sympathizes with any foreign nation—not even among the Allies. They are strangers because they have been kept strangers. This creates suspicion, envy, enmity, for they have not in any noticeable degree lived together. They do not know one another's customs, habits, perspectives. As a result, armies, navies, tariffs, treaties backed by force, are necessary to hold civilization precariously in[350] shape—and at what colossal effort, anxiety, expense? The different languages, literatures, arts, educations, religions, should become familiar to large numbers in each race and be the open, peaceful highways back and forth instead of, as now, barriers.

Flanders, another Mudhole, February, 1915.

... I see the woeful, tragic need for this international co-education all around us here at the front. The Canadians, Australians, English, French, all quarreling back and forth and pulling against one another as unfriendly strangers.

Germany is giving—has given—one great lesson to them all and to us Americans at home. And that is, IN UNION THERE IS STRENGTH.

After this war the tremendous question before the world will be:

How are we going to live with the Germans?—how get on with them?

The only true and gracious solution I can see is—To associate and study to[351]gether when young! Would not you—would not everyone—agree that this interchange in education, which would not be very troublesome or expensive, is a true manner in which to remove from the German make-up its savage, destructive animus toward mankind? In order really to change a race, the work must be done from the inside outward. And this means some form of education, not merely victories, edicts, Leagues.

Let or make the Teutons be associated with gentler cultures than their own. What if it does take a hundred, two hundred, years! What is that compared with having the German problem and menace unsolved in the future as in the past?

Such young German missionaries year after year, as I have indicated, would be bringing back something of sweetness and light to their stubborn, irascible folk. The powerful and exacerbated bias of this folk toward the echt Deutsch would be neutralized and mollified under the contact of its youths with dispositions making for kindliness and courtesy. Confessedly the stoutest race prejudices lie with those who[352] have never stepped outside their own boundaries.

It is true this plan, in a small way, was tried under the exchange of professors scheme. But the Kaiser won out in that because his professors were too old and, it develops, were simply his emissaries with hostile inclinations and intent. It would appear that most of the young Americans who are partly educated in Germany are pro-German. Had they gone to England or France, they would be pro-British or pro-French.

It is now being shown that the German's education or instruction does not do away with the Hun element in him. The logical thing, then, is to try foreign education on him. He needs to learn in other countries, and to live out, their meanings of good faith and a give-and-take, manly spirit. For he at present considers it right to have no respect for his own spoken word to foreigners, or even his written word.

This is his old habit of the tribal fanatic. To lie to, to cheat, to steal from, to kill, aliens is no admitted sin in the[353] moral decalogue of the Germans when an advantage can be derived. Murder, senseless destruction, violation of women, obscenity, do not therefore horrify them. If you as a foreigner strike the metallic shield of their character, no resounding ringing of what we know as conscience is heard, because extreme erudition in Germany largely takes the place of moral feelings. "Science without conscience is the death of man." And the women and State religion are as Hunnish as the males. All these influences make for war.

This conscienceless dullness, or immense hollowness, in the Teuton people always suggests to me an eggshell encased in the pomp of steel. Should they be defeated, I feel that the nation may cave in tremendously, horribly. How can it be otherwise with a race that never sees anything foolish in itself, and exaggerates the core of its costly army and bureaucracy at the expense of the kernel?

By living abroad a part of their study years the young Germans would little by little come to prefer to substitute amity[354] for armaments, confident trust for suspicion, love as a motto instead of hate. For they would see that other peoples are worthy to live. They would learn more chivalry toward women and children, the beautiful significance of humanity and of universal brotherhood. They would learn that what they call weakness desirably lends delicacy, tenderness, spiritual and moral loveliness to existence which the coarse bigness and bow-wowness of the German ideal itself will never attain....

When March came, and the birds flew back to find no trees, no grass, no flowers, Gard Kirtley, in his spring-time of life, stepped out from his dugout in Flanders with a gun, and faced the Huns of the northeast. He was prepared to greet Death which is the fruit of old age but which in youth appears as with a crown of laurel.


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