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Title: A Tramp's Wallet
       stored by an English goldsmith during his wanderings in Germany and France

Author: William Duthie

Release Date: March 13, 2009  [eBook #28320]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


This ebook was transcribed by Les Bowler.


stored by
during his
Wanderings in Germany and France.


dedicated, by permission, to charles dickens, esq.




[The right of Translation is reserved by the Author.]



This Volume
is respectfully dedicated,
in grateful acknowledgment of his sympathy and
encouragement during
the publication of the greater portion of its contents;
and as a slight tribute of admiration
for his unwearying labours as a public writer,
to the advancement of the whole people,
by his sincere admirer,



During a stay of three years and a half in Germany and France, sometimes at work, sometimes tramping through the country, the Author collected a number of facts and stray notes, which he has endeavoured in these pages to present to the public in a readable shape.

Of the twenty-eight chapters contained in the volume, sixteen originally appeared in “Household Words.”  They are entitled The German Workman; Hamburg to Lübeck; Lübeck to Berlin; Fair-time at Leipsic; Down in a Silver Mine; A Lift in a Cart; The Turks’ Cellar; A Taste of Austrian Jails; What my Landlord Believed; A Walk through a Mountain; Cause and Effect; The French Workman; Licensed to Juggle; Père Panpan; Some German Sundays; and More Sundays Abroad.  Several other chapters were published in a weekly newspaper; and the remainder, together with the Introductory Narrative, appear in print for the first time.  For the careful and valuable revision of that portion of his book which has appeared in “Household Words,” the Author here begs to express his sincere thanks; and to acknowledge, in particular, his obligation to some unknown collaborator, who, to the paper called “The French Workman,” has added some valuable information.

The desire of the Author in writing the Introductory Narrative was to present to his readers a brief outline of his whole journey, and a summary of its results; and to connect, so far as it was possible, the somewhat fragmentary contents of the body of the work.  It was also hoped and believed that the statistical information there given, although of so humble a character, would be valuable as illustrative of the social condition of workmen in the countries to which they refer, and of a character hitherto rarely attempted.

Written, as these chapters were, at intervals of time, and separately published, each paper must be taken as complete in itself; and, as they are separate incidents of one narrative, occasional repetitions occur, which could scarcely have been erased, now that they are collected together, without injuring the sense of the passage.  For that portion of the book which has appeared in print no apology will be expected; and, with regard to the remainder, the Author has rather endeavoured to avoid censure than hoped to propitiate it.

In conclusion, the Author must add, in order that he may not stand self-accused of misleading his readers with regard to his personal position, that good fortune has so far favoured his own exertions, that, although still of the craft, he can no longer lay claim to the title of a Journeyman Goldsmith.  It was while in that capacity that the greater part of the following pages were written: he cannot but believe that they may be of some practical utility; and if, added to this, their perusal should afford to his readers some portion of that pleasure which their composition yielded to him, his purpose will have been fully answered.





hamburg.—on tramp to berlin


berlin and leipsic.—on tramp to vienna




on tramp to paris











altona.—a poet’s grave.—a danish harvest-home



magnificence.”—at church.—the last headsman



workmen in hamburg



plays and piccadilloes.—“hamletin german



the german workman



hamburg to lübeck



lübeck to berlin



berlin.—our herberge



a street in berlin



police and people



the kreutzberg.—a prussian supper and carouse



fair-time at leipsic



down in a silver mine



a lift in a cart



the turks’ cellar



a taste of austrian jails



what my landlord believed



an execution in vienna



a jail episode



a walk through a mountain



cause and effect



greece and her deliverer



the french workman



licensed to juggle



père panpan



some german sundays



more sundays abroad




There have appeared from time to time, in public print, sorrowful recitals of journeys attempted by English workmen in foreign countries, with no better result than the utter failure of the resources of the adventurous traveller, and his return homeward by the aid of private charity or the good offices of his consul.  It is precisely because the travels about to be here narrated were financially a success, being prosecuted throughout by means of the wages earned during their progress, that it is thought they may be worthy of publication; not that it is imagined many such examples may not be found, but because success in such an undertaking has not hitherto appeared so often before the public as failure.  This narrative is necessarily a personal one; and as it is my especial object in this place to present these foreign rambles in a pecuniary point of view, I trust I shall not be misunderstood in stating minute items of receipt and expenditure, as such details, however trivial they may appear, are of vital importance in estimating the comparative position of the foreign and the English workman.

There was more than one cause which prompted me to seek my fortune abroad; but it is sufficient here to state, that I had worked in the company of Germans, and had thus become interested in their country, and, as great depression prevailed at the time among the goldsmiths in London, I provided myself with a letter of introduction to a working jeweller in Hamburg, and prepared to start for this outpost of the great German continent.  My whole p. iicapital amounted to five pounds sterling; and, armed with a passport from the Hanseatic consul, and provided with an extra suit of clothes, a few books, and some creature comforts, I embarked for my destination on board the “Glory,” a trading schooner, then lying in Shadwell basin.

I paid thirty shillings for my passage, including provisions, and could have slept in the cabin, and fared with the captain, for two pounds, but in the weak state of my finances, considered it only prudent to content myself with sailor’s beef and biscuit, and a hard bulk and coil of ropes for my bed.  After, to me, a rough sea and river passage of eight days, marked by no greater incidents than belonged to the vicissitudes of the weather, we crossed the sand-bar at the mouth of the Elbe, and were soon safe at our moorings in the outer harbour of Hamburg.  It was Sunday morning; paddled on shore in the ship’s boat, I found myself in a town utterly strange to me, armed only with a letter addressed to a person with whom I could not converse, and written in a language I did not understand.  My chief comforts were three sovereigns, carefully wrapped in a piece of cotton print, and deposited in my fob.

In the course of a ramble through the town, I discovered an English hotel, and was there happy in making the acquaintance of a needle-maker of Redditch, Worcestershire, who at once offered to be my interpreter and guide in search of employment.  We began our peregrinations on the morrow, and I was first introduced to the only English cabinet-maker established in Hamburg, who, however, did not receive our visit cheerfully.  He drew a rueful picture of trade generally, but more especially of his own.  The hours of labour were long, he said; the work was hard, and the wages contemptible.  He concluded by assuring me that I had been very ill advised to come there, and that the best course I could pursue was to take the first ship home again.  As I was not yet inclined to follow this doleful piece of advice, we continued our enquiries.  In a short time I was shaking hands with the jeweller to whom my letter of introduction was addressed; and before another hour had elapsed, acting under his instructions, I had the gratification of knowing that I was “in work,” and, best of all, under an employer who spoke the English, French, and German languages with equal facility.  Thus, in ten days from leaving England, eight of which were spent on the passage, I had found both friends and employment in a foreign city, and now that my greatest source of anxiety p. iiifor the future was removed, felt thoroughly independent and at my ease.

My companions in the workshop were a quiet Dane who spoke German, and a young Frenchman, whom I will call Alcibiade, who had been in London, and acquired a smattering of English.  We worked twelve hours a day, commencing at six o’clock in the morning—the whole city was up and busy at that hour—and kept on till seven in the evening.  Thirteen hours were thus spent in the workshop, one of which was given to meals.  The practice of boarding the workmen is universal in Hamburg, and we therefore fared at the table of our “principal,” and were amply and well provided for.  During the first week of my stay in Hamburg, I lodged at an humble English hotel, where I paid at the rate of ten marks a week for bed and board, a sum equal to eleven shillings and eightpence.  Reasonable as this may appear, it was beyond my resources, and would indeed have been a positive extravagance under the circumstances.  Moreover, the arrangements of the workshop forbade it.  My next lodging was at a German hotel, where I slept in a little cupboard which hung over a black, sluggish canal, and was without stove or fire-place.  The cost of this chamber was five marks a month, or scarcely one shilling and sixpence a week.  These expenses will appear paltry and insignificant, till compared with the amount of wages received, when it will be apparent that boarding and lodging in an English hotel at eleven shillings and odd pence a week, was a monstrous extravagance; and that even an apartment in a German gasthaus, at five marks a month, was more than the slender pittance received would reasonably bear.  Alcibiade, who, besides being an expert workman, was an excellent modeller and draughtsman, received seven marks a week, with board and lodging, or eight shillings weekly in positive cash.  Peterkin the Dane, who was yet a novice, was in the receipt of four marks a week, and paid for his own lodging—weekly pay, four shillings and eightpence.  My own wages were seven marks a week and board, while I paid for my own lodging; and when, upon the departure of Alcibiade for Berlin, I took possession of his bedroom—a mere box without a window—a deduction of one mark was made as an equivalent.  I thus received in wages six marks; lodging may be reckoned at one, and board at five marks a week—total, twelve marks; which will yield in English money the magnificent sum of fourteen shillings.

p. ivIn order to contrast these figures more fully with the pay of our English artisans, it will be necessary to mention some further expenses to which the workman in England is not liable, or in which the commercial pre-eminence of his country gives him a marked advantage.  With respect to the former, as the employer in many cases furnishes only the ruder and less portable machinery of the workshop, the workman has, to a certain extent, to provide his own tools; and in regard to the latter, clothing in general, and more especially cotton, woollen, and worsted articles of apparel, are nearly as costly as in London.

Of the social position of the workmen, and the rules of the trade Guilds, I have endeavoured to treat under the head of “The German Workman;” but there are some matters there omitted which may be worthy of mention.  I was forcibly struck, as well in Hamburg as in other towns and cities of Germany, by the almost total want of that cheap serial literature which is so marked a feature of popular education in England.  There was, indeed, a penny magazine published in Leipsic, after the type of the original periodical of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge; but it found no purchasers among any of my acquaintances, and was only to be seen, with a few other literary magazines, at the better sort of eating and coffee-houses.  The workmen were gay, and fond of amusement, but not recklessly so.  They were passionately fond of music, and formed little clubs among themselves for the practice of choral singing.  There was shown no want of respect for the Church and its institutions, quite the reverse; and I well remember that we were gratified with a holiday on a day set apart by the authorities for the public confirmation of the youths about to be apprenticed, and the whole ceremonial of which wore an imposing and solemn character.  The conscription was, I believe, made also on that day.  With respect to the relation between employers and employed, there existed a degree of amiability and consideration for which we look too often in vain in England, while it must also be confessed that every mark of respect was rigorously exacted by the master, and that his affability towards the workmen sometimes assumed the character of an affectionate condescension towards a favoured menial.  I did not personally know any one married journeyman in Hamburg; but there was one jeweller who had entered into the silken bonds of wedlock, and who was pointed out to me with a shrug of the shoulder and a shake of the head, as a doomed mortal.

p. vIt might be imagined that as the city of Hamburg claims the title of “free,” such assumed liberty might extend to its social institutions; as well as to its port and navigation.  Indeed, the worthy citizens are under some such delusion themselves, and boast of immunities, and liberalities of government, such as would place them at the head of the German nation.  It would be hard to know in what they consist.  The passport system is enforced with all its rigours and impertinences; an annual conscription is taken of its inhabitants, and the more solvent of them perform military service (this may perhaps be considered a liberty), as a national guard, with the additional luxury of providing their own weapons and equipments.  Moreover, they were, at the time I write of, called upon to render certain services in case of an outbreak of fire: one contributing a bucket, another a rope, and a third a ladder; none of which articles, as might easily be imagined, were forthcoming when most wanted.  The city tolls were heavy, and stringently levied, and, what more nearly concerned the exercise of public liberty and private convenience, the city gates were nominally closed at a certain hour in the evening, varied according to the season of the year, and were only to be passed after the appointed period by the payment of a toll.  It was curious to see the people hurrying towards the Jacob Thor on a Sunday evening as the hour of closing approached, jostling and mobbing each other in their endeavours to escape the human poll tax.

But men are free, or in fetters, only by comparison; and although the rule of the senate of Hamburg, when contrasted with British government, can scarcely be called a liberal one, there is little doubt that identical laws are in Hamburg less stringently carried out than in other and most parts of the great German continent.

Seven months’ stay in Hamburg found me eager to commence the march into Germany, which I had long meditated.  Five months had already elapsed since Alcibiade, my French fellow-workman, had departed for Berlin (paying eight dollars for the journey by post), and he had never written to inform me of his fortunes.  I was resolved to follow him, and, if possible, to seek him out, for we were already sworn friends; but my finances would only allow of a journey on foot.  During twenty-eight weeks of employment in Hamburg, I had received two hundred and three marks banco in wages, which would yield, in round numbers, twelve pounds sterling, or exactly an average receipt of five shillings per week.  Against this sum were to be placed: expenses for tools, five shillings and p. visixpence; trade society and police, five shillings and tenpence; clothing and washing, three pounds, one shilling and twopence; and rent and extra board, one pound seven shillings. Seventeen visits to theatres at prices ranging from two shillings to sevenpence amounted to sixteen shillings and sixpence, making a total of five pounds sixteen shillings. The surplus of six pounds four shillings had been further reduced, by outlay in necessities or indulgences, as the reader may assume according to his fancy, to thirty marks banco.  With this sum of thirty-five shillings in English money, and consisting of two Dutch ducats and five Prussian dollars, I started to tramp the two hundred miles between Hamburg and Berlin.  As a matter of explanation it may be stated that, during a residence of seven months in Hamburg, I had acquired enough of the German language to trust myself alone in the country.

Under the impression that I might be required to set to work in any town on my route, like any travelling tinker, I had packed in my knapsack my best scoopers and an upright drillstock; and these tools, while they added to its weight, presented so many obdurate points of resistance to my back.  Stowed within the knapsack were an extra suit, two changes of linen, a few books, a flute, and a pair of boots.  It weighed twenty-eight pounds.  My remaining personal property was safely packed in a trunk, and left in the hands of a friend, to be forwarded by waggon as soon as my resting place should be determined.

I have only to deal in this place with the statistics of my first tramp.  The distance was lessened sixty miles by taking the eilwagen from Wusterhausen to Berlin, and nine days in all were spent upon the road.  My total expenses, including the dollar (three shillings) for coach fare, amounted to eighteen shillings, or an average of two shillings a-day.  Of this sum I may particularise the cost of the straw-litter and early cup of coffee at the outset of the journey, twopence; at Lübeck, where I lodged respectably for one night, the bill was two shillings; at Schönefeld, twopence halfpenny; a lodging, and board for two nights and a day at Schwerin in a “grand hotel,” but faring with the servants, cost one shilling and ninepence; at Ludwigslust, a comfortable bed after a grand supper with the carpenters at their house of call, was charged one shilling and sevenpence; and at Perleberg, where I lodged superbly, the cost was sixteen silver groschens, or a fraction over one shilling and sixpence.

Against this I have to place the trade gift of two shillings at p. viiLübeck, being the whole contents of their cash box, and which was kindly forced upon me.  At Schönefeld I was urged by the masons to demand the usual “geschenk” from the only jeweller in the village.  “Why,” exclaimed the landlord, enthusiastically, “if you only get a penny, it will buy you a glass of beer!”  I overcame the temptation.


I was less fortunate in the search for work in Berlin than I had been in Hamburg.  Having started on my travels too early in the year, I paid the penalty of my rashness.  My guide into Berlin was a glovemaker, whose acquaintance I had made upon the road, and through whom, curiously enough, I succeeded in discovering my Parisian friend Alcibiade, the first object of my search.  Alcibiade, eccentric, but frank and generous, received me like a brother.  There was no employment to be obtained in Berlin, or assuredly he would have ferreted it out; more especially as in the search he had the assistance of one of those philological curiosities met with in Germany more often than in any other country, a school-teacher, who seemed to have any number of foreign languages glibly at the end of his tongue.  I stayed a week in Berlin, sleeping at the Herberge in the Schuster Gasse, described in the body of this work; and when forced at length to depart, Alcibiade pressed four dollars upon me as a loan, to help me on my further wanderings.  It must be remembered that my stock was reduced to seventeen shillings on my arrival at Berlin, and as my expenses in this capital, during a week’s vain search for employment, amounted to nine shillings, I was but indifferently provided.  Under these circumstances I asserted my claim to the trade geschenk, and, having fulfilled all the conditions of a tramp unable to find work, received from the Guild twenty silver groschens, or two shillings.

Leipsic was my natural destination, and thither I proceeded by railway, paying two dollars eight groschens for the transit in an open carriage.  This would give seven shillings in English money.  The journey occupied about twelve hours, and although the average speed through the Prussian territory was slow, no sooner did we come upon Saxon ground at the frontier town of Köthen, than we spun along over the sandy waste with a rapidity which reminded one of p. viiia trip on an English railway.  It was already dark when the train reached Leipsic, and in the drizzling rain I wandered round the city ditch and rampart, unknowing where to find a lodging.  At length, directed by a stranger to a trade herberge in the Kleine Kirche Hof, after some demur on account of my not belonging to the proper craft, I was admitted to a sort of out-house, paved with red bricks, and allowed a bed for the night.  On the morrow I presented a letter of recommendation, from my good genius Alcibiade, to one of the principal jewellers in the city, and felt inexpressibly happy on being at once taken into employment.  I spent two delightful months in Leipsic.  My fortnight’s ramble, with its discomforts and anxieties, had given me a desire for rest, and in the bustling town, (it was the Easter fair time), skirted by its fringe of garden, and among its pleasant, good-natured inhabitants, the time sped happily on.

The pay was better than in Hamburg, but the living worse.  My wages were four dollars—twelve shillings per week—and board and lodging.  I slept in the same room with my one fellow workman and an apprentice.  It was light, and scrupulously clean, but had the single disadvantage of being so low in the ceiling, that one could not stand upright in it.  Saxony has the unenviable distinction of being the country the worst fed in Germany.  I had no prejudice against Saxon fare upon my arrival in Leipsic, but found, after a fortnight’s trial, that I could not possibly endure its unvarying boiled fresh beef, excessively insipid, with no other accompaniment than various kinds of beans stewed into a sort of porridge.  Potato dumplings were a luxury with us.

I am afraid I seriously offended my worthy “principal,” on pleading my inability to persist in this kind of training.  But he acquiesced in the desire to board myself, and generously made the additional payment of one dollar sixteen groschens, or five shillings per week, for the purpose.  I found no difficulty in tracing out a “restauration,” the proprietor of which readily undertook to furnish one principal meal per diem for seventeen silver groschens, that is, one shilling and eightpence halfpenny per week, paid in advance.  Each dinner cost, therefore, a fraction less than threepence.  With the remainder of the allowance it was easy to purchase a simple supper, and even some small luxuries now and then.  The dinners, although certainly not sumptuous, were wholesome, and infinitely more relishing than the fresh beef and beans of the p. ix“principal’s” table; while there was a relief in quitting the workshop for a while, to descend the steep wooden staircase leading from the street into the cellar, which formed the dining-room of the eating-house.

The great Easter fair had just commenced as I reached Leipsic, and with its termination came my stay in the city also to an end.  The work was exhausted.  I had luxuriated in a few brilliants and the old Polish rose-diamonds, and had descended to mounting a monstrous meerschaum pipe in silver.  But now there was nothing left but the turquoises and Bohemian garnets, set in millegriffes, and the Herr shook his head, and decided that they would not pay; so I received notice to leave in a fortnight.  During this period of six weeks, my receipts in wages were six-and-twenty Prussian dollars, or three pounds eighteen shillings, which would allow an average of eleven shillings per week with board and lodging.  Of expenses incurred there were: for Guild and police, eightpence; and clothing and washing, fourteen shillings.  The Leipsicers have an ugly trick of doubling the prices of the theatre during the fair time, so that my expenditure on that head was nil.  My trunk, forwarded from Hamburg in fourteen days, and weighing seventy pounds, cost three shillings in the transit, including sixpence for city toll.

After a vain search for further employment in Leipsic, and a disappointment of obtaining a situation in Altenburg, there appeared nothing before me but a toilsome march through Dresden to Vienna, with little hope of finding occupation by the way, and scarcely more than twenty shillings in my pocket.  At this crisis there came a welcome letter from Alcibiade, with the tidings that certain employment, for at least two months, awaited me in Berlin.  This was pleasant news indeed; and the Herr entered so fully into the necessity of seizing this golden opportunity, that he kindly released me from a day’s labor, that I might have full time to make my preparations.  One would naturally suppose that a few hours would suffice to pack my little stores and to depart; but there were the Guild regulations to fulfil, the railway officials to be waited on, and the police to satisfy.  The last-named gentlemen would not consent to vise my passport till I should produce my railway ticket, as a proof of my intention to go; while the railway officials doubted the propriety of issuing a ticket till I had received the authority of the police for my departure.  Here was a case of daggers—a dead lock; but the railway was obliged to cede the ground, and I departed in p. xpeace.  As I was to start at six in the morning, the Herr rose earlier than was his wont, prepared for me with his own hands a cup of hot coffee, kissed me on both cheeks, and wished me God speed.

My stay in Berlin was limited to six weeks.  It would have been longer, but that Alcibiade had set his heart upon tramping to Vienna at the end of that period; and I was pledged to accompany him.  We worked together at one of the court jewellers.  Alcibiade stood in high favour, and received in wages thirty dollars per calendar month, or an average rate of twenty-two shillings and sixpence a week.  My own wages were fixed at twenty-four dollars a month to begin with, or eighteen shillings a week; but I received ten dollars for the last ten days of my engagement, which brought me on a level with my Parisian friend.  These were, I believe, high wages.  We worked twelve hours a day.  The city of Berlin had outgrown the feudal usages of Hamburg and Leipsic, and we were no longer lodged under the same roof with the Herr, nor humbly ate at his table.  Alcibiade had an apartment in a rambling house with a princely staircase, but the central court of which happened, unfortunately, to be a stable.  An extra bed and double rent enabled us to domicile together, and we paid for this chamber, roomy and commodious (always overlooking the stable), per month, together with morning coffee and a bullet of white bread, two dollars eighteen groschens each.  This would give, in English money, seven shillings and tenpence, being less than two shillings a week.  Our average expenses for living were five shillings each per week; and thus, while our whole weekly necessities were met by the sum of seven shillings, we were in the receipt of eighteen shillings and twenty-two shillings and sixpence respectively.  Reckoning, however, the average wages in Berlin at sixteen shillings a week, it will be seen that the artisan, whose necessary outlay for food and lodging need certainly not exceed seven shillings, is at least in as good a position as his self-vaunted brother of London upon thirty shillings.  It naturally results that the mechanics of Berlin, unlike those of the smaller towns of Germany, “are married and given in marriage,” although the practice is regarded even there as indiscreet and improvident.  It is doubtless a creditable feeling which demands of the workman that he shall have past out of his state of servitude, and have gained the position of an employer of labor, before he dare assume still higher responsibilities; but the system has also great evils.

p. xiDuring my employment of one calendar month and ten days in Berlin, I received thirty-four dollars in wages, or five pounds two shillings.  Of expenses, to the trade Guild, were paid tenpence; for a silk hat, four shillings and twopence; a visit to Potsdam cost three shillings and tenpence, including railway fare; and the fee for viewing the King’s Palace in Berlin was tenpence.  One shilling and twopence were lost in agio, in exchanging my small remaining stock of Prussian dollars into Austrian gold.  I may mention, that the binding of an 18mo. volume in boards, covered in paper, cost one groschen, eight pfennige, or, as nearly as it can be calculated, twopence in English money.

As we were upon the point of departure, there arrived in Berlin an old friend whom we had known in Hamburg, a silversmith of Vienna, accompanied by two other silversmiths, natives of Lübeck, all bound to the same goal.  We made common cause at once.  We started by rail for Leipsic; Alcibiade provided with a purse of no less than eighty dollars, or twelve pounds sterling, his savings in Berlin, while my own stock, with all my sparing and scraping, scarcely amounted to two pounds.

The length of the railway between Berlin and Leipsic is between eighty and a hundred miles.  From Leipsic, where we stayed only one night, sleeping at the herberge, and supping off roasted pigeons, we had, in round numbers, about four hundred miles before us.

Having narrated the chief incidents of this journey under other heads, I will only mention isolated points there omitted, and sum up its general results.  Leipsic was our real starting-point for the tramp, and our first haven the Saxon capital Dresden.  We took the road through Altenburg, thus diverging considerably from the common route, in order to visit the silver mines of Freiberg, and ramble through the romantic scenery of the Plaunischen Grund.  We passed through Saxon Altenburg, Zwickau, Lichtenstein, Chemnitz, Oderan, Freiberg, Tharant, and Wildsruf, and arrived in the evening of the fifth day at Dresden.  We had in reality no business near Zwickau, but were seduced out of our direct route by the offer of a cheap ride in an open waggon, and were thus led to a secluded village, where our couch of rest was among the beer puddles on the table of the village tap.  On the morrow we found we were a day’s march out of our road.  Finding that my stock of cash was already reduced to the half of its original bulk, that I had indeed expended one pound, I seriously endeavoured to find employment in Dresden; but utterly failing in that hope, I claimed the p. xii“viaticum” of the Guild, which was ten silver groschens, or one shilling.  We lodged at the herberge during our stay, and were cleanly and comfortably housed, and at a reasonable cost.  It is a fact highly honourable to the Saxons, that the only trade herberges in Germany which are in any way decent, are those of Leipsic and Dresden.  We rested in the Saxon capital during three days, visiting its principal attractions, and then prepared once more for the road.

There were many official regulations to observe before we could quit the city.  Alcibiade and I, who had passports, were not called upon to show the condition of our finances, but our three companions, possessing only wander-books, an inferior kind of pass which marks the holder as a simple workman wholly dependent on his labor, were called upon to exhibit a sum equal to at least ten shillings each.  Now, the collective resources of our three companions were certainly not equal to one pound ten shillings; but, as may be easily imagined, a little sleight-of-hand would make any one of them appear to be possessed of the stock of the whole.  And this was done; and thus the police were daily and hourly deceived.  In addition to the usual official routine—the testimony of the father of the herberge to our having paid our score, the authority of the vorsteher that we were not indebted to the Guild, and the usual police visa—we had each to obtain the signature of his own consul; that of the Saxon minister, as a testimony of his willingness to allow us to go; and of the Austrian consul, as a sign that the Imperial Government was not disinclined to receive us.  This done, we departed under strict injunctions to proceed through Pirna, a town which, as it was completely out of our route, we never took any pains to reach.  How we escaped punishment for this infraction of police directions I scarcely know, but we heard no more of the matter.  When we had already passed through the most romantic portion of Saxon Switzerland, and were slowly descending to the plain, we met a poor, footsore wanderer, with a woe-begone visage, who proved to be the dejected object of official vengeance.  Four days before, he had started from Dresden full of life and hope, but on arriving at the frontier town of Peterswald, it was discovered that he had neglected to obtain the signature of one of the numerous gentlemen of whose existence he was scarcely even cognizant, and so was driven back to Dresden to seek the required attestation, with loss of time, loss of money, and almost broken-hearted.

When we reached the Saxon frontier our little party, by the addition of other tramps, had increased to the number of ten; and p. xiiiwe leaped the boundary line at word of command, and stood on Austrian territory.  We had been warned of a rigorous search for letters and tobacco at Peterswald, and as we had made due arrangements for the visitation, we felt somewhat slighted at our knapsacks being passed over with little better than contempt.  We had slept upon hay the previous night, but upon our arrival at Töplitz, which we entered in a cabriolet, three of us inside with five knapsacks, and other two companions hanging on behind, we boldly took up our abode at one of the first hotels, and were, the whole five of us, crammed into a little room on the top floor, and charged a zwanziger (eightpence) a head for the accommodation.  We looked upon this charge as little short of a robbery.  On the following day we approached Prague, and I got a lift in a waggon, of about ten miles, and then laid down by the city gates till my four friends should come up.  Upon presenting ourselves at the wicket, we were challenged by the sentinel, our passes taken from us by the military guard, and a sort of receipt given for them.  Our three companions having only wander-books, were imperiously directed to their herberge for accommodation, while we were permitted to consult our own tastes upon the matter.  Of course we accompanied our friends.  The herberge gained, we descended by a stone step to the common room, a vaulted chamber half under ground, very ill lighted, and provided only with a few rude tables and benches.  We called for beer, being weary and thirsty, (the Praguer beer is especially good) and requested a private room for our party.  The hostess, a fat, vulgar woman, being called by the astonished servant maid, sneered at our presumption, and said we must content ourselves with common tramps’ lodging.  We submitted; but the Viennese, who had a visit of some importance to pay in the city, and wished to remove some of the stains of travel, and make himself generally presentable, having requested some simple means of making his toilet, was, after considerable delay, presented with water in a pint mug, and a soiled neckcloth as a towel.  This was too much for the Austrian’s proud stomach; a storm of abuse in the richest Viennese dialect was poured forth upon the landlady, her maid, and the whole establishment, which being liberally responded to, there resulted an uproar of foul language, such as was seldom heard, even in those regions.  The hostess threatened us with the vengeance of the police, should we attempt to leave our authorised herberge, to which we replied by tossing the beer into the kennel, p. xivbuckling on our knapsacks, and stalking into the street.  We soon found a decent hotel, with the accommodation of a large room containing five beds, and at so reasonable a price that my whole expenses of entertainment during the two days and three nights of our stay in Prague, amounted only to one florin and forty kreutzers (schein), or one shilling and sixpence.  We heard no more of our Bohemian herberge and its landlady.  I may mention as a further proof of the different treatment which awaits the holder of the workman’s wander-book, as compared with the bearer of a passport, that on attending at the police office, Alcibiade and myself were at once called into the bureau, and our duly viséd passports handed to us with great politeness, while our companions were left to cool their heels in a stone paved hall, till the officials could find time to attend to them.  We soon left Prague, and were assisted on our journey towards Brünn by a lift in a country cart, which brought us fifty English miles forward on our road.  We did not sleep in a bed during four consecutive nights; not, indeed, till we reached the village of Goldentraum, on the Moravian frontier.  This was not the result of any wish of our own, but from an apparent deficiency of beds in that part of the country.  On one occasion a heap of hay was delicately covered with a clean white cloth, lest the stubbly ends should trouble our slumbers—a woman’s attention you may be sure—while on another, we slept on the bare boards, with no other pillows than our knapsacks, in a room, the air of which was at fever heat from recent bread-baking, and where the fierce flies made circular sweeps at our ears, and droned about our nostrils.  But we did sleep in spite of that, for we had tramped more than thirty miles during the day.

From Goldentraum there were still twenty English miles to Brünn, the capital of Moravia, and thence thirty-eight German stunden, or about eighty English miles, to Vienna.  My funds were now reduced to about four shillings, and we had still one hundred miles before us.  One of our Lübecker silversmiths, who had been ailing throughout the whole journey, was unable to proceed further on foot, and we left him at Goldenstraun to take a place in the eilwagen later in the day.  We had, however, scarcely made half our journey, when Alcibiade and the Viennese also gave in—their feet were fearfully blistered—and seated themselves by the road-side to await the expected conveyance.  The remaining Lübecker, whom we had called Hannibal, and myself tramped on to Brünn.  On the morrow p. xvwe traced out our three friends, but found them still so lame that they were resolved to take the railway to Vienna at an expense of three guldens (müntz), about six shillings each.  As my own resources were reduced to less than half that sum, and those of Hannibal were in much the same condition, there remained to us two only a choice of evils: either to borrow the requisite amount, or to tramp the remaining distance on our diminished finances.  We chose the latter course.  We walked the eighty miles between Brünn and Vienna in two days and a half, subsisting chiefly on bread and fruit—pears and plums, which were very plentiful—and long pulls at the pumps.  We were once induced to indulge in a half seidle (pint) of wine, which was offered at a temptingly low price, but found it of such a muddy and sour quality, that we bitterly repented of our bargain.

When within a few miles of Vienna, having been on the march since five in the morning, we laid down on the road-side to sleep.  It was with something like grief that I felt myself forced to abandon one pair of boots, a few miles before Vienna.  I had brought them from London, and they had done me good service; but now, with split and ragged fronts, and scarcely a sole, they were only a torture to my feet, and a long way past repair.  I perched them on a little hillock with their toes pointing towards Vienna, and turned round more than once as we advanced, to give another farewell look to such faithful and long companions.

After a refreshing sleep on the road-side, we entered Vienna early in the afternoon.  Hannibal was no richer than I was, and my whole stock consisted of six groschens, a sum equal to threepence.


My first notes in Vienna must undoubtedly be devoted to the police.  As Hannibal and I arrived at the guard-house of the Tabor Linie, or barrier, we were ordered by the sentinel to halt and hand over our papers; and, upon doing so, received a slip of very little better than sugar paper in return, with printed directions in German, French, and Italian, commanding our attendance at the chief police office within twenty-four hours.  We knew better than p. xvito disobey.  On the following morning we presented ourselves and handed in our tickets, when mine was returned to me with the words: “Three days’ residence,” written on the back.

“And should I not obtain employment in three days?” I inquired.  “Then you must leave Vienna.”

Hannibal was permitted greater licence, being a native of one of the states of the Bund; but both he and his fellow-townsmen of Lübeck were taken into fictitious employment, in order to obtain the necessary residence-card.  Alcibiade, as a Frenchman, and, moreover, as being still possessed of a certain amount of hard cash, was also more leniently dealt with.  Not having found work on the fourth day I waited again upon the police, and was at first peremptorily ordered to depart; but, upon explaining that I had friends in the city, a further stay of fourteen days was promised, on the production of a written recommendation.  On the following day, through the friendship of our Viennese companion of the road, I found work at a small shop-keeper’s in the suburb of Maria-hilf.  Mark the routine.  From my new employer I received a written attestation of my engagement; with this I waited upon the police commissioner of the district for his signature, and thence to the magistrate of the suburb to obtain the authority of his name to the act.  This done, I was in a position to face the head police authorities in the city, and they, to my astonishment, doled out a six weeks’ permission of residence only, and charged me a gulden, two shillings, for the document.  I pleaded my position as a workman, but was answered that my passport was that of a merchant.  This was disproved by every entry on its broad sheet, more especially by a written description by the magistrate of Perleberg, Prussia.  All remonstrances were, however, in vain: while unemployed they had dealt with me as a workman without resources; now that I was under engagement, they taxed me like a proprietor.  Alcibiade at once furnished the means of meeting this new difficulty, as, indeed, of every other connected with our finances at this period, and we consoled ourselves with the assurance that one of us at least was in employment.  Our disgust was only equalled by our despondency when, upon reaching home, we were met with the news that my new Herr refused to complete his engagement, having met with an old workman whom he preferred to a stranger.  By law he was bound to furnish me with a fortnight’s work, and I threatened him with an enforcement of my claim; but I knew I p. xviishould come off the worse in the struggle, and submitted to the injustice.

In the meantime two of our silversmiths were under fictitious engagements—a common occurrence, and almost excusable under the circumstances—and were dining upon credit.  The times were bad.  I did not really commence work till the fourth week, and Alcibiade a week later.  But, these first difficulties overcome, our condition improved daily; and for myself I can say with gratitude, that nowhere in Germany was I more happy than in Vienna.  Our position was this: Alcibiade was engaged as a diamond jeweller at a weekly sum of six guldens, or twelve shillings, a little more than half the sum he had earned in Berlin; but no doubt, had he remained longer in the Austrian capital, he would have increased his rate of pay.  Unfortunately, after three months’ stay there came word from Paris requiring his presence by a certain day at the military court of the department of Seine et Oise, to which, being a native of Argenteuil, he belonged, to draw for the conscription.  Alcibiade was too good a Frenchman to hesitate about obeying this summons, or even to murmur at the sacrifice it demanded of him.  He left Vienna with regret, but with the utmost alacrity; and thus I lost for a time my best companion and sincerest friend.  My first essay as a workman in Vienna was discouraging, for I undertook, in my extremity, to execute work to which I was unaccustomed, and made such indifferent progress at the outset, that the Herr, a Russian from St. Petersburg, would only pay me five guldens, or ten shillings a week.  We worked twelve hours a day, commencing at six o’clock in the morning in summer time; but there were a number of fête and saint days in the year, which were paid for—I think eight in all—including St. Leopold, the patron saint of Vienna; the birth of the Virgin; Corpus Christi Die, and other church holidays.  As I improved in the practice of my new branch of business, I gained additions to my wages, till I received nine gulden, eighteen shillings, a week; a sum certainly much above the average pay.

Alcibiade and I lodged in a narrow slip of a room, the last of a suite of three, on the first floor of a house, or rather conglomerate of houses, in the Neudegger Gasse, Josephstadt.  Our landlord was a worthy Bohemian cabinet-maker; his wife, a Viennese, who kept everything in the neatest order.  I do not know how many families lived in this house; but it was a huge parallelogram with a paved courtyard, in the centre of which stood a wooden pump.  There was p. xviiia common stair in each corner, all of stone, and a common closet at the bottom of each staircase, equally of stone, seat and all, and very common indeed.  Each lodging consisted of three continuous rooms, with only one entrance from the common stair: first was the kitchen, with cooking apparatus, and the oven, which warmed the whole suite; then a larger room with two windows, at once workshop, dining-room, and bed-room; and beyond this the narrow closet with one window, which was our dormitory.  Thus we had to pass through our landlord’s bed-room to get to our own.  The other portions of the building were arranged much in the same manner, and the house must have had, in all, at least a hundred inhabitants.  There are much larger houses in the suburbs of Vienna, but they are all built upon the same principle, with trifling modifications.  Here are two cards of address, which are models of exactness in their way, and will illustrate the nature of these barracks in the best possible manner:

Joseph Uberlachner,
Master Tailor,

Lives in the Wieden, in the Lumpertsgasse, next to the Suspension bridge, No. 831, the left hand staircase on the second floor, door No. 31.”

Martin Spies,
Men’s Tailor,

Lives in Neubau, Stückgosse, No 149, in the courtyard, the right hand staircase, on the second floor, door on the left hand.”

The entrance to our house from the street was small and unimportant, and, as may naturally be supposed, always open.  The law was, however, strict upon this subject, and permitted the house to be open in summer from five in the morning till ten o’clock at night only; in winter from seven till nine.  There was a little room opening from the passage, where dwelt the porter of the mansion.  It was his duty to close the door at the appointed hours; a duty which he scrupulously fulfilled, seeing that the law empowered him to levy a fine of six kreutzers for his own especial benefit, upon every inhabitant or stranger seeking egress or ingress after the authorised hour of closing.  The Viennese insist upon it that this impost is recoverable by law; but, as the porter’s whole existence depends upon the employment of his labour in and about the house, and therefore upon the good-will of its inhabitants, he takes care in general not to be too pressing for his toll.

p. xixOur dormitory, diminutive as it appeared, still managed to contain two single bedsteads (French), a wash-hand-stand, wardrobe, used in common by landlord and lodgers, a table, and two chairs.  We paid in rent twelve florins a month, or barely ten shillings between us; add to this, for washing, candles, and morning coffee (a tiny cup at six in the morning, before starting to work), another four florins, and our united expenses for these necessaries did not exceed thirteen shillings per month.  As in Berlin, we dined at a “restauration,” or at the “Fress Madam’s” (Mrs. Gobble’s), a jocose term for a private eating-house, well known to the jewellers.  The mid-day meal of the Viennese workman is remarkable for strength and solidity, but also for its sameness.  It always takes the shape of fresh boiled beef and vegetables, the latter arranged in a thick porridge of meal and fat.  It commences, of course, with soup; is followed by the “rind-fleisch and gemuse,” as above; and, if you can afford it, is concluded by some such sweet dish as flour puddings stewed with prunes, a common sort of cake called zwieback, omelette, macaroni, or a lighter kind of cake, baked and eaten with jam.  All solid, wholesome, and of the best.  There is a choice of other more relishing dishes, and of these we usually partook, with an occasional descent into the regions of beef and greens.  Vienna prides itself upon its baked chickens and Danube carps, but these were beyond our reach on ordinary occasions; and our usual delectation was upon Augsburger sausages; bacon and sour kraut; breaded veal cutlets; ditto lamb’s head; and roasted liver and onions.  When we drank the ordinary white wine, we did so much diluted.  To sup at the “restauration” would have entailed too great an expense; we therefore contented ourselves with bread and a taste of butter at home, moistened by a glass of a liquor resembling gin, seeing that it was made of the juniper berry, which our landlord obtained for us at about tenpence a quart.  It was supposed to be smuggled from Hungary, and Vater Böhm coloured and sweetened it with molasses, and called it Schlipowitzer.

Our weekly outlay for food during the first month of residence in Vienna, especially while unemployed, did not exceed five florins, i.e. four shillings each.  We ate bread and fruit in large quantities; indeed, during one day my “rations” consisted of: breakfast at eight, half of a coarse loaf and thirty plums; at twelve, one dozen pears and the other half of the loaf; at seven a whole loaf, and forty more plums.  Cost of the whole, nine kreutzers (schein), or p. xxscarcely three halfpence in English money.  It was not surprising that I should fall ill upon this diet, and this I accordingly did.  When, however, we were in constant work, we lived as I have already described, and at an average expense of seven florins—five shillings and tenpence each weekly—and thus the individual outlay for lodging, food, and other necessaries, was, in round numbers, seven shillings and sixpence a week.  A dinner on New Year’s Day, of baked pork and fried potatoes, with bread, wine, and apple puffs, cost ninepence.

To return to the police.  When my six weeks’ permission of residence was expired, I attended again at the chief office in the Stadt, with the certificate of my employer, signed and countersigned by police-commissioner and magistrate, and was granted thereon a further term of three months at the same fee, two shillings; to me at that time a day’s wages.  Subsequently, however, the “Herr,” by means of a further attestation, with vouchers from the landlord of the house, and the usual official signatures, obtained for me a card of residence for six months, gratis, and I experienced no more trouble on that head.  This, and the various other certificates, were upon stamped paper of the value of six kreutzers, or one penny.  While upon this subject I may observe, that domestic servants must make known to the police every change of service.  They are hired by the month.  Change of residence is also a matter of official interference: a printed sheet is handed to the new lodger, with spaces for name, age, country, religion, condition, married or single, where last resided, and probable length of stay in new apartments.  All these particulars must be stated and signed, witnessed by your own particular landlord, and attested by the landlord of the house.  The document is then deposited in the archives of the district police.

At the termination of my first year’s stay in Germany, I found that my receipts in wages, during the twelve months, amounted to twenty-one pounds six shillings and fourpence, an average of eight shillings and twopence-halfpenny per week; but it must be remembered that, during nine months of that period, board and lodging formed part of my remuneration.  I stayed a full year in Vienna, and received in wages, in all, three hundred and sixty-two guldens, thirty kreutzers, or thirty-six pounds five shillings.  This would give, in round numbers, fourteen shillings per week throughout the year.  Of this sum, as I have said, seven shillings and sixpence were on an average spent weekly in lodging and necessary p. xxifood; there therefore remained six shillings and sixpence for clothes, amusements, and savings.

When the period arrived at which I had determined upon starting on foot for Paris, my savings amounted to seven pounds sterling, and with that sum I thought myself amply provided for the journey.  In order that it may not be supposed that I had suffered undue privations, or enforced, in financial arrangements, anything beyond a reasonable economy, I must state, that in addition to paying to the Guild and police, during the year, eight florins twelve kreutzers, or six shillings and tenpence, I had witnessed twenty-three theatrical representations, at prices varying from fourpence to a shilling, at a total cost of eleven shillings and fourpence; been present at eighteen concerts, at an outlay of seven shillings and eightpence; and had visited the Brühl, Wöslau, Mödlin, Laxenburg, Helena-Thal, Klosterneuburg, Grinzing, and Weinhaus; the Treasure Chamber, and picture-galleries innumerable; which latter, although supposed to be open to public inspection free of expense, were not conveniently accessible without a fee.  Twenty-five kreutzers, or fourpence, was the price of a seat in the gallery of the suburban theatres of the Leopold, Joseph, and Wiener vorstädte; while tenpence and a shilling procured a similar place in the imperial opera and play-house.  Hot sausages and beer were the luxuries vended in the former; while ices, coffee, and delicate pastry, were the bonnes bouches prepared for the latter.

I found the workmen in Vienna industrious and submissive; gay, thoughtless, and kind-hearted.  In some trades it was still the practice for the workmen, if not numerous, to sleep in the workshop.  I knew a cabinet-maker who did so, and he was very cleanly and well lodged.  I knew one or two married journeymen, and there were no doubt very many in so large a capital as Vienna, but marriage among artisans was generally condemned.  The wages were on the average much less than I have stated; I knew silversmiths who were earning only three and four florins a week—six shillings and eight shillings; and I have no doubt that tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, and others, were paid even less.  I visited one family circle in the Leopoldstadt which consisted of the man, his wife and child, and three single men lodgers, who all lived and slept in one room.  I found the lodgers airing themselves in the court-yard, while the beds were made and the room set in order.  But I saw very little of squalor or filth even in the poorest quarters.  p. xxiiAs a check upon the assumed thoughtlessness of the Viennese artisans, the pawnbrokers are by civil ordinance closed a week before and after every great holiday, such as Easter, Whitsuntide, etc.

There were very many small masters, known in England as master-men, who worked at home, and by their skill and quickness earned superior wages.  My own landlord was one of them, and called himself a “Gallanterie Tischler.”  He was chiefly employed in ornamental woodwork for the silversmiths, and, being tasty and expert, earned a very respectable living.  He used to buy English knives for certain parts of his work, on account of the superiority of the steel, but he complained bitterly of their clumsy and awkward fashion.  He was extremely industrious during the week, and many a pleasant Sunday visit have we paid to Weinhaus and other suburban villages, when the “heueriger”—the young, half-made wine—was to be tasted.  Heueriger was sold at a few pence a quart, and is a whitish liquid of an acid but not unpleasant flavour.  It is a treacherous drink, like most white wines, and from its apparently innocent character tempts many into unexpected inebriation.  The Viennese delight in an Italian sausage called “Salami,” said to be made of asses’ flesh, and a pale, but highly scented cheese, as the proper accompaniments to the heueriger.

Domestic servants in Vienna have one very laborious duty to perform, and that is the fetching of water from the springs.  These springs are simply pumps in appearance, and were so formerly, but the flow of water is now continuous, and to be obtained without effort.  It is painful to see the poor girls bending under the weight of their water troughs, which are carried on the back, and shaped something like a pannier with a flat side.  They are made of wood, hooped like a barrel, and have a close-fitting lid.  The Bohemian women perform duties even more unsuitable.  They are bricklayers labourers; and sift sand, mix mortar, and carry slates on their heads to the highest houses.  In these labours they are sometimes assisted, or set aside, by the soldiery, the more well-behaved of whom are allowed to hire themselves as labourers and porters.  In one case, as I know, a soldier was “put in possession,” as his Imperial Majesty’s representative, and provided daily with a sum of money as an equivalent for food.

There is another class of labourers who make themselves particularly conspicuous in the streets of Vienna, and that is the “holzhacker,” or wood-chopper.  Wood is the universal fuel, and p. xxiiiis sold in klafters, or stacks of six cubic feet.  A klafter consists of logs, each about three feet long, and apparently the split quarters of young trees of a uniform size.  This wood, when delivered to the purchaser, is shot upon the footpath in front of the house, or in the court-yard, if there be a porte cochêre, which is not usual.  The business of the holzhacker is to chop the logs into small pieces for the convenience of burning, and this he does in an incredibly short space of time, but to the great inconvenience and sometimes personal risk of the passers by.  He is, however, very independent in his way, and is treated with astonishing forbearance by the police.  He is, moreover, the street wit of Vienna.

The Viennese workmen are not merely uninformed of, but in general, perfectly indifferent to political matters.  This ignorance may in a great measure result from the unthinking and pleasure-seeking character of the Viennese public—which levity is encouraged by the Government, as taverns and concert rooms are open long after private houses are closed—but is also to be traced to the uneasy position which the citizens hold with respect to the police.  It is not alone that the restrictions and impediments of official routine render his social existence a matter of public legislation, but there is an unpleasant consciousness that his landlord, his neighbour on the same flat, his barber, or his fellow workman, may be a “vertrauter,” a spy in the pay of the police, and his simplest actions, through their means, perverted into misdemeanours.  A worthy cooper, with whom I occasionally dined, on reading a skeleton report of a public meeting in England, where working men had made speeches and moved resolutions, exclaimed, as he threw down the paper: “But, seriously, don’t you think this very ridiculous?”


We were three in number, a jeweller from Copenhagen, a Viennese silversmith, and myself, who started from Vienna to walk to Paris.  We were all in tolerable feather as to funds.  I was possessed of about seventy guldens (seven pounds), and a little packet of fifty dozens of piercing-saws, a trading speculation, which I hoped to smuggle over the French frontier in my boots.  I was better provided p. xxivin all respects than on any of my former journeys.  We had forwarded our boxes to Strassburg, our knapsacks were light, and we wore stout walking shoes with scarcely any heels, and had prepared some well-boiled linen wrappers, intended, when smeared with tallow, to serve the purpose of socks.  They effectually prevent blisters, and can be readily washed in any running stream.  Our first stage was by steam on the Danube to Linz, the capital of Upper Austria; and we took our departure from Nussdorf amid the valedictions and kisses of some thirty male friends, each of whom saluted us thrice—on each cheek, and on the lips, for this is the true German fashion, and may not be slighted or avoided.

A voyage on the water may seem a curious commencement of a foot journey; but the fact is, that no one knows better than the tramp that a railway or a steamboat is always cheaper than shoe-leather and time; and no doubt as these new means of progress increase in number they will entirely change the character of German trade-wanderings.  From Vienna to Linz is, in round numbers, a distance of one hundred and fifty English miles, and this one vessel, the “Karl,” got over in two days and a night.  The wind was against us, and it must be remembered that it is all up stream.  The Danube is upon the whole a melancholy river, of a sullen encroaching character, for its whole course is marked by over-floodings and their consequent desolation.  The passage cost ten florins, twenty-five kreutzers, or eight shillings and fourpence, and we slept on the table below, on deck, or not at all, as we best could.

Our real starting-point on tramp was Linz, whence we pursued our way through Wells, Gmunden, Ebensee, and Ishl to Salzburg, in which beautiful city we rested for a day and half.  We steamed across lake Traun from Gmunden, and paid a fare of twenty-five kreutzers, or fourpence.  From Salzburg we pushed on to Hallein, to visit the salt mines there, and thence diverged still further from the beaten route for the sake of seeing the water-fall of Golling—the stern terrors of the Œfen—and dream away an hour upon the beautiful and romantic waters of Königsee, the King’s Lake.  We had crossed the frontier of Bavaria near Hallein, and, having loitered so long among the delightful scenery of its neighbourhood, we now hurried on towards Munich, through Reichenhall, Fraunstein, Weisham, Rosenheim, Aibling, and Peiss.  Thirsty and weary, we overtook a timber waggon when within eight miles of the capital, and made a bargain with the driver to carry us forward to our p. xxvdestination for six kreutzers, about one penny, each; and upon the unhewn timber of the springless log-waggon we rode into Munich.  We had been already fourteen days upon the road, ten of which had been spent on tramp, advancing at an average rate of twenty-five miles a day.  From Linz to Munich, by the circuitous route we had taken, I reckon in round numbers at two hundred and fifty miles.  My share of the expenses amounted to thirty-six florins, forty kreutzers, say one pound nine shillings in English money, or an average outlay of two shillings a day.  It may be added, that many of our expenses were those of ordinary foot-tourists, rather than of tramping workmen; that we had lived well although frugally; and that, save in a goatherd’s hut on the Schaf-berg, we had never slept out of bed.

We spent five happy days in Munich: wandering among picture-galleries and museums; visiting the royal palace in the capital, and the pleasure retreat at Nymphenburg; and the churches, with their painted windows, beautiful architecture, and radiant frescoes.  We visited two theatres, and roamed in the English garden, and among the wilder scenery of hills in the environs.  Munich is the real capital of modern art, and contains more magnificent public buildings than any city of the same extent in the world.  Vulgar figures again: my expenses in Munich amounted to eight guldens, forty kreutzers, Bavarian or Reich’s money, which will yield, as nearly as the intricacies of German coinage will allow of the calculation, fifteen shillings and fourpence.  The fare by railway from Munich to Augsburg, our next station, was one gulden, twenty-four kreutzers,—two shillings and fourpence,—and from the latter fine old city we proceeded entirely on foot to Strassburg.  We took the road through Ulm, Stutgard, Heilbron, Heidelberg, Manheim, Carlsruhe, Baden-Baden, and Keil; wandering a little from the beaten path near Kissengan to see the beautiful waterworks and garden there.  These cities have all been described by innumerable travellers, and I doubt whether I could add anything to the knowledge already possessed of them.

We had passed fifteen days upon the road, and traversed a distance, roughly estimated, of two hundred and fifty miles.  We rested in all four days in the towns of Augsburg, Ulm, Heidelberg, (of glorious recollection), and Carlsruhe; and thus, during the ten days of actual tramp, we had advanced at an average rate of twenty-five miles a day.  Since leaving Vienna, we had walked five hundred miles.  p. xxviOn one occasion only did we march more than thirty miles in the day.  This was between Stutgard and Heilbron.  As we limped wearily through the latter city, we came upon a tavern at the sign of the Eagle, and inquiring, like cautious travellers, the price of a bed, we found it was twelve kreutzers Reich’s money, fourpence.  This was beyond our mark, so we tottered onward to the Stag, where we were very indifferently lodged for half the money.  At Heidelberg we paid twelve kreutzers for our bed, and were well accommodated; but this was more by four kreutzers than we considered ourselves in a position to pay.  Our average expenses per day, while on tramp at this period, were twenty-four kreutzers, or eightpence.  My total outlay from Munich to Strassburg was twenty-one florins, ten kreutzers, or one pound five shillings; being at the rate of one shilling and sixpence a day.

It may be right to mention, that a German mile is divided into two stunden, or hours, and the natural inference would be, that it would occupy two hours to walk a mile.  This is not the case, for a stunden can generally be traversed in three quarters of an hour; but the German miles are not uniform, and I well remember one terribly long one between Brünn and Vienna, which was more than two hours walk.  As three English miles an hour is an average walking pace, a German mile, occupying on the average an hour and a half in the traverse, should be equal to four and a half English miles, and this is the rate at which I have estimated it, although I have seen it variously stated at less than four, and even at five English miles.

While on tramp, we rose at five in the morning, and walked till eight fasting, when we took breakfast—a simple affair of milk, or of coffee and plain bread, with occasionally a little meat as a luxury—we then proceeded on our march till twelve, always supposing that a town or village was at such a distance as to render the arrangement possible, when we dined.  This meal consisted invariably of soup—milk soup, if possible, peppered and salted like broth—and sometimes meat, but not always, as it was dear, and supposed to be heavy for walking.  As by this time the sun was in its zenith, and our advance in the great heat would be most fatiguing, and even dangerous, we laid ourselves down to rest till three, in the open air if possible, and weather permitting; out on the fields among the corn; stretched upon the hay in some shady nook; or, as in Bavaria and Wurtemberg during a great part of the route, under the apple p. xxviiand plum trees which lined the public way, eating of the fruit unquestioned and without restraint.  After this welcome repose we pursued our march with renewed animation till eight o’clock, when we sought out a place of rest; and for our evening meal usually indulged in something more substantial than at any other time of the day.  Our beds were not always clean, and the lavatorial necessaries either deficient or wholly wanting, in which latter case the pump was our only substitute.

Our brief stays in towns or cities were by no means the least fatiguing part of our journey; for it naturally happened that in our anxiety to see whatever was remarkable or beautiful, in museum, picture-gallery, or public building, that our time was tasked even more severely than on the road; always remembering also, that the police required a great deal of attention.  My passport has fourteen distinct visas during this journey.  We found the police in Bavaria the least civil among a very exacting class of people.  Here, for the first time, I heard a mode of address which is, I think, peculiar to Germany.  It is customary to address strangers in the third person plural, Se; or, when on very familiar or affectionate terms, in the second person singular, Du; but of all modes of speech the third person singular, Er, when applied to the person addressed, is the most opprobrious.  A police official thus interrogates a wandering workman:—

“What is he?”  “A currier.”

“Where from?”  “Siegesdorf.”

“Where to?”  “Ulm.”

“Has he got the itch?”  “No.”

“Then let him sign this book.”

At Augsburg the police were in a dilemma with respect to us.  We had come by rail from Munich, and, to our surprise, were suffered to pass through the gate unchallenged by the sentinel, who paced leisurely before the guard-house.  The following morning, on presenting our papers at the police-bureau, we were met with the accusation of having smuggled ourselves into the city; and, as the usual official routine had been departed from, we were ordered to proceed at once to the gates, and humbly deliver up our passports to the sentinel in due form, that the requirements of the law might be fulfilled.  This sage proposition was, however, overruled in consideration of our being jewellers: the respectability of the craft being thus acknowledged.  It was in Augsburg also that I narrowly p. xxviiiescaped being entered in the books of the Guild as “Mr. Great Britain, native of London;” the slim apprentice whose duty it was to make the entry, having mistaken the name of the country for that of the individual in my English passport.

I may not omit to mention, although I do it with a feeling of humiliation, that during our journey we availed ourselves of whatever assistance was granted by the Guild to “wandering boys” unable to obtain employment.  We had a perfect right to this aid, and had, while in work, always contributed to the fund (in which we had, indeed, no option); but I must confess that there was something exceedingly like asking for alms in the whole process of obtaining it.  Our slender resources must plead as an excuse.  The following were our individual receipts: in Linz, twenty-four kreutzers; in Munich, thirty-six; Augsburg, eighteen; Ulm, fifteen; Stutgard, thirty; Heilbron, twenty-four; Heidelberg, nine, (begged from shop to shop, there being no general cash-box); and Carlsruhe, twenty-four; making a total of one hundred and eighty kreutzers, or the munificent sum of two shillings and sixpence in English money.  What must be the fate of those whose dependence was upon such a pittance!

I had passed two whole years and a few days in Germany, and during a period of eighty-eight weeks, had been fully at work.  I had received fifty-six pounds thirteen shillings in wages, or an average, throughout the whole term, of eleven shillings per week.  I felt grateful for this result in a strange country, and left Germany with a lingering step.

As we crossed over the bridge of Kiel on our way to Strassburg, the French soldiery were quietly fishing on their side of the Rhine, and the sentinel, from whom we had expected a harsh summons to the guard-house, and a rigorous search into our knapsacks, eyed us with a look of half pity, half contempt, and allowed us to pass unchallenged.  We were, to him, only so many miserable “square-heads” (Germans) on our way to Paris.  The curiosities of Strassburg need not detain me: the cathedral, and the wonderful clock; the theatre, which we visited; the fortifications, which we overlooked from the lofty spire; those things are set down in every traveller’s guidebook, and the recollection of them is probably much more agreeable to me than their description would be to the reader.  We had resolved not to tramp through France, and we therefore sought places in the diligence; and by the time I had paid forty-three p. xxixfrancs for my seat in that respectable vehicle, and ten francs for the carriage of my box from Vienna to Strassburg, together with two francs for a passeport provisoire; and by the time also that I had paid some two francs more for extra luggage, including two loaves and a string of six Strassburger sausages, which were all included in the weight, I found that I should arrive in Paris with less than five francs in my pocket.  And this I accordingly did, after a very uncomfortable ride of fifty-two hours, and within a day of six weeks from our departure from Vienna.


We thought ourselves very ill-used on our first night in Paris, when, having been wiled into a grand hotel near the Bourse, we were stowed away on the fifth floor, three in a room, and charged six francs for our beds, one more for a candle, and one for service.  Our parsimonious Dane was so highly irritated, that he took possession of the candle and carried it off in his pocket.  But Alcibiade was soon by our side, to give us help and advice with his old kindness; and under his guidance we removed immediately to more suitable lodgings, and were set in the proper course to obtain employment.  Although scarcely possessed of a single franc in actual cash, I had fifty dozens of fine piercing-saws, my contraband speculation, and for which I ultimately obtained about twenty francs.  What was of more importance, in less than a week from our arrival in Paris I commenced work at the modest remuneration of four francs and a half, three shillings and ninepence, a day.  My two companions were scarcely so fortunate, but lingered on for a week or two without employment.

I found myself in a motley company; at one time our atélier contained three Russians, two Germans, two Englishmen, an Italian, and a Frenchman; and sometimes a simple inquiry would have to pass through four languages before it received its answer.  I did not remain long amid this babel, although long enough to be offered six francs a day to remain.  I never afterwards worked for a less rate of remuneration than six francs a day, but never succeeded in obtaining a sous more.  I had many “Patrons” in Paris.  In one establishment there were three workmen continually employed p. xxxin making crosses of honour, in gold and silver, to reward the merit, or to purchase the affection and support, of the French people.  I was variously employed: in gold work; in setting small rose-diamonds; and upon the most costly brilliant ornaments.  Sometimes idling upon three days a week, or totally unemployed; at other times slaving night and day, Sunday and all, to complete some urgent order.  I have worked nineteen days in a fortnight.

I have endeavoured to give some details with regard to the manner of living, working, and lodging, among the labouring population of Paris, under the head of “The French Workman;” and which details were in most part personal, or such as I had learned from actual experience.  My business here is with results, and I will condense them into as few words as possible.  I stayed in all one year and five months in Paris, during the whole of which period I was never out of a situation, although at various times but scantily provided with employment.  I received in wages a total of two thousand three hundred and one francs, thirteen sous, or ninety-two pounds two shillings and twopence-halfpenny.  This would give an average receipt, upon the seventy-one weeks of my stay, of one pound three shillings and three-halfpence a week.  I have said that during the greater part of this time I earned at the rate of six francs, or five shillings a day; if I now give the current expenses per week, a comparison may from these data be drawn as to the comparative position of the English and French workman.  The usual outlay for food per week amounted to twelve francs, or ten shillings, of course with fluctuations; for I have lived a whole week upon five francs when unemployed, and have luxuriated upon twenty when in full work.  Upon striking a balance among my various lodgings,—I lodged in company and slept double during the whole period of my stay in Paris—I find the result to be, that we paid twelve francs each per month, or two shillings and sixpence per week.  This did not include extras: a German stove hired at five francs a month for the winter season; wood at four francs the hundred pounds weight; candles at thirteen sous the pound, and soap at a fraction less.  Nor does it include the half franc to the concierge, an obligatory payment upon presenting yourself at the street-door after midnight.  Summing up these items, we arrive at this result: for food, ten shillings; rent, two shillings and sixpence; and miscellaneous necessaries, including twelve sous for washing, of another two p. xxxishillings and sixpence; or a total of fifteen shillings of expenditure against, in my case, of one pound three shillings and odd pence of income.  The cost of pleasure in the French capital must not be omitted; and I feel bound to state that twenty-seven visits to the theatres, from the pit of the Italian Opera House at four francs, to the same place at the Vaudeville for eighteen sous; and thirteen public balls and concerts, from the grand masked ball to that of the “Grande Chaumière,” were met by an outlay of sixty-eight francs thirteen sous, or three pounds seven shillings and tenpence-halfpenny.

After an absence of nearly three years and a half, I turned my steps towards home.  From the time that I had crossed the French frontier, and, upon delivering my papers, had received a passeport provisoire at Strassburg, I had never sustained cheque or molestation from the police; but now that I was about to depart, and made the usual application for my original passport, it was discovered that, as a workman, I should have had a “livret” upon my first entering Paris, and a number of certificates and attestations were required, in order to reinstate me in a legitimate position in the eyes of the law.  Escaped from this dilemma, and officially recognised as ouvrier, it was with some surprise that I found myself dubbed gentleman at the Bureau des Affaires Etrangéres, and charged a fee of ten franca for the signature of the foreign minister.  Too old a traveller to be entrapped into the payment of so heavy a fine upon my vanity, I strongly repudiated any more pretentious title than that of simple workman; and after a tough struggle succeeded in carrying off the necessary visa at an outlay of two francs.  The journey, by diligence, from Paris to Boulogne, cost twenty-seven francs; I lost a clear six francs in changing my French savings into English gold—twelve sovereigns—and, after a rough passage by the Boulogne boat to London, at an expense of twelve francs, found myself once more in my native city.

Let those who would estimate the value of such an enterprise as mine, consider its cost and its result.  I had passed several years in foreign travel; I had undeniably profited in the acquisition of new experiences in my trade; new modes of working, and additional manual skill.  I had rubbed off some of the most valued, and therefore most absurd, prejudices against foreigners; and made some progress in the acquisition of two languages—a gain which must ever be a source of mental profit and gratification.  To conclude: I had p. xxxiistarted on my journey but indifferently clad, and with scarcely five pounds in my pocket, of which sum two pounds had been remitted home; and I had been able not merely to subsist by the labor of my hands, but to enjoy much that was costly, and an infinite deal more that was pleasurable and advantageous; and to return home, having liquidated every debt, save that of gratitude, well provided with apparel, and with ten pounds sterling in my purse.

I would not venture to urge upon any man to follow in my footsteps.  I should scarcely retrace them myself under the same conditions; but I believe I have shown the practicability of such an undertaking, and its probability of success, with no more unusual qualifications than a ready hand, a patient will, and some perseverance.



Hamburg at last!—after eight days’ sail from London, three of them spent in knocking about the North Sea, where the wind always blows in your teeth.  Never mind! we are now safely moored to these substantial timbers; huge piles, driven in a line, which form the outer harbour of Hamburg.  The city lies before us, but there is nothing very imposing in it; the houses, with gable roofs and whitened walls, look rather lath-and-plastery, in fact; but we must not express our opinions too rashly, for first impressions are not always the most faithful after all.

“Now, Tom, is the boat ready?”

“Ay, ay, sir!”

We scramble down the sides of the British schooner, the “Glory,” and seat ourselves along with Tom.  What a confusion of boats, long-pointed barges, and small sailing vessels!

“Mind how you go, Tom.”

“Ay, ay, sir!” replies Tom, contemptuously shifting his quid.

These small sailing vessels we see are from the Hanoverian and Danish coasts.  Their cargoes consist principally of wood, and whole stacks of vegetables, the latter ridiculously small.  Those long-pointed barges are for canal navigation, and are admirably adapted to Hamburg, threaded as it is by canals in every direction.

Steady!  Do you see that curious, turret-looking building, old and time-worn, guarded by a sentinel?—it is the fort to protect the water-gate through which we are now passing.  It is also p. 2occasionally used as a prison.  On the opposite side is a poor, dilapidated, wooden building, erected on a barge, where permits are obtained for spirits and tobacco—a diminutive custom-house indeed.  There being no one to question or molest us, we pass on, and in a few moments are at our landing-place, a short flight of stone steps leading to the Vorsetzen or quay.

Tom moors his boat with a grave celerity, leads the way up the stone steps on to the quay, and as speedily disappears down a sort of trap which gapes in the open street, in the immediate vicinity of the landing-place.  Let him alone; Tom knows the way.  We follow him down an almost perpendicular flight of stairs into a spirit kellar, and gratify Tom’s little propensity for ardent liquors.

Tom has disappeared, and is now paddling his way back to the “Glory,” and we stand upon the humble water-terrace, the Vorsetzen, looking out upon the shipping.  It is a still, bright, Sunday afternoon in September.  There is no broiling sun to weary us; the sky is clear, and the air soft and cheering, like the breath of a spring morning.  We will turn our backs upon the river and proceed up Neuerweg.

We cannot walk upon the narrow strip of footpath, for, besides that there is very little of it, our course would become a sort of serpentine as we wound about the fresh young trees which skirt the edge of it at regular intervals.  But are they not pleasant to look upon, those leafy sentinels, standing by the stone steps of the houses, shaking their green tops in happy contrast to the whitened walls?  So we will walk in the road, and being good-tempered today, will not indulge in violent invectives upon the round-topped little pebbles which form the pavement; but, should we by chance step into a puddle which has no manner of means of running out of our way, we will look with complacency at our dirtied boots, and trip smilingly on.  Yes, trip is the word, for I defy the solemnest pedestrian in Christendom to keep a measured pace upon these upright, pointed, shining-faced pebbles.

There! we are in the Schaar-markt.  Now look around, and say, would you not fancy yourself in some quaint old English village?  What a curious complication of cross-beams is presented in the fronts of the houses!—a barring and binding of huge timbers, with their angles filled in with red bricks.  How simple and neat is everything!—the clean stone steps leading up to the principal entrance of each house, and the humbler flight which conducts you to the kellar p. 3and kitchen.  You would imagine you had seen the place before, or dreamt of it, or read of it in some glorious old book when your memory was fresh and young.

See that young damsel with bare arms, no bonnet, no cap, but her hair cleanly and neatly parted in the middle of her head, and disclosing her round, rosy, honest German face.  She is not pretty, but how innocent and good-tempered she looks; and see how lightly and easily she springs over those, to us, ruthless pebbles, her short petticoats showing her clean white stockings and bright shoes to advantage.

And here comes a male native of the place; a shortish, square-built, and somewhat portly man, clad in a comfortable, old-fashioned way, with nothing dashing or expensive about him.  He is not very brisk, to be sure; and when you first look at his round face an idea of his simplicity comes over you; but it is only for an instant, and then you read the solid, sterling qualities quietly shining in his clear eyes.  There is not a great amount of intellectuality, that is to say nervous intellectuality, in his contented countenance, but a vast quantity of unstudied common sense.

We will pass on, leaving the guard-house on our left; and winding up Hohleweg, many simple and not a few pretty faces with roguish eyes do we see at the open windows.

We halt only for a moment to look at the noble Michaelis Kirche which lies to our right, and turn off on the left hand, crossing an open space of some extent called Zeughaus Platz, and behold us before the Altonaer Thor, or Altona-gate.

Ah, these are pleasant banks and noble trees!  How green the grass upon those slopes—how fresh the flowers!  And what a splendid walk is this, looking to the right down the double avenue of sturdy stems waving their spreading tops across the path!  You did not think that quaint old town below could boast of such a border as this; but take a tour about the environs, and you will find them cheerful, fresh, and beautiful, from Neuer Kaye to Deich Thor.

We will pass through the simple Altona-gate, and make towards Hamburger-Berg.  Do not be alarmed.  Perhaps you have heard of the “Berg” before, and virtuous people have told you that it is a godless place.  Well, so it is; but we will steer clear of its godlessness; we will avoid the dancing-houses.  Before us lies a broad open road, neither dignified by buildings nor ornamented by trees, p. 4but there are plenty of people, and they are worth our notice.  There is a neat figure in a close boddice and a hauben, or hood-like headdress; she has taken to winter attire early.  She carries no trailing skirts, nor has she ill-shapen ankles to hide.  Look at her healthy face, though the cheek-bones are rather too high; but the mouth is ever breaking into a smile.  Her hair is drawn back tightly from her face, tied in a knot at the back, and covered with a velvet skull-cap, richly worked with gold and silver wire and braid.  The effect is not bad.

There is a country girl from Bardewick—Bardewick, you know, though now a mere village, is traditionally said to have been once a large and flourishing city.  She has flowers to sell, and stands by the wayside.  She has neither shoes nor stockings, nor is her dark dress and white apron of the longest.  Her tightly fitting boddice is of blue cloth, with bullet buttons, and has but a short waist, while a coral confines her apron and dress.  Her head-dress is only a striped coloured handkerchief, tied under the chin, but in such a way that it presents a sort of straight festoon just above her sparkling eyes, and completely hides her hair.

But here comes a curiosity of the male species.  Surely this is Rip van Winkle from the States.  He has no sugar-loaf hat, but he wears the trunkhose, stockings, and large buckled shoes of the old Dutchman, and even his ample jacket, with an enormous sort of frill at the bottom.  No, my friend, let me give you to understand that this is a Vierländer, and a farmer of some means.  Do you not see that he has a double row of bullet buttons on his jacket, down the front of his ample hose, and even along the edges of his enormous pockets?  They are solid silver, every button of them, nor are the massive buckles on his shoes of any more gross material.  Here come more velvet skull-caps, with gold and silver worked into them.  How jauntily the wearers trip along!  It is a fact, the abominable pavement of Hamburg sets the inhabitants eternally on their toes.

Here is a Tyroler, and a tall fellow he is; straight as an arrow, and nimble as a chamois; but yet with a steady, earnest look about him, although a secret smile is playing round his handsome, mustachioed mouth, that tells you of a strong and persevering character.  He is shaped like an Adonis, and his short jacket, breeches, pale striped stockings, and tightly laced boots; the broad leathern embroidered band about his waist, and the steeple-crowned hat with the little coquettish feather, all help to make up a figure that you p. 5would like to see among his native mountains.  And yet he is but a dignified sort of pedlar, and would be very happy to sell you a dozen or so of table napkins, Alpine handkerchiefs, or a few pieces of tape.

Well! he is gone, and before us comes a female figure, who forms a fit companion to the silver-buttoned Vierländer we have just past.  Notice her dress; she is a Vierländerin.  Her petticoats are shamefully short, you will say, stiff and plaited too as they are, but what a gallant pair of red stockings she wears, and what a neat, bright pair of buckled shoes!  Her dress consists of a close boddice with long sleeves, all of dark purple stuff, and her neat black apron does not make a bad contrast to it.  But her head-gear!—her hair is drawn from her face under a closely fitting caul, while an exaggerated black bow, or rather a pair of triangular wings, project some distance from the back of the head, and beneath them two enormous tails of hair trail down her back, each terminating in a huge red bow.

This country girl appears to have sold all her fruit, and has placed her basket upside down upon her head.  No such thing; that is her peculiar head-dress; look again, and you will see that it is a small plaited straw basket, about a foot and a half in diameter, with a very deep straight edge.  It is fastened on her head by a caul sewn into the inside.  Well! at any rate this is a Quakeress we see coming at such a stately pace along the gravelled road?  Wrong again, my friend; this is a young lady from Heligoland, the little island we passed at the mouth of the Elbe, and a very prim and neat young lady she is, though where she got her bonnet shape from I cannot say.

The way is lined with hawkers of every description: fruit, songs and sausages; toys, sticks and cigars; pipes, sweetmeats and tape; every imaginable article that was ever sold at a fair is to be found here, and every vender in a different dress, illustrating at one view the peasant costumes of every village in the vicinity.  As for tobacco, the air is like a gust from some gigantic pipe.  Here is the entrance to Franconi’s Circus, though not yet open for public entertainment.  Blasts of obstreperous music rush upon you from every door; the shrill squealing of a flageolet being heard above everything else.

Knife-swallowers, mesmerisers, and the eternal Punch—here called Caspar—ballad-singers, tumblers, quacks, and incredible p. 6animals, are here for inspection.  You would fancy it was some old English fair; for in spite of yourself there is a quaint feeling steals over you, that you had suddenly tumbled back into the middle of the last century.

And who pays for all this? for whose especial amusement is all this got up?  For our old friend “Jack.”  Here are English sailors, and French sailors; sailors in green velveteen jackets; sailors with their beards and whiskers curled into little shining ringlets.  We meet our salt-water friend everywhere, and, by the intense delight depicted on his features, “Jack” is evidently in a high state of enjoyment.

Let us go on; we have promised not to visit the dancehouses to-day, and we will quit this clamorous crowd.


the poet’s grave.—a danish harvest home.

We tread upon elevated ground, and far away to our left, down in a hollow, flows the broad Elbe; placid indeed from this distance, for not a ripple can we see upon its surface.  A few ships are lazily moving on its waters.  Stand aside, and make way for this reverend gentleman; he is a prediger, a preacher of the gospel; he is habited in a black gown, black silk stockings and shoes, a small black velvet skull-cap on his head, while round his neck bristles a double plaited frill, white as a curd, and stiff as block tin.  You would take him for the Dutch nobleman in an old panel painting.  It may appear rather grotesque to your unaccustomed eyes, but remember there are many things very ridiculous at home.

A blackened gate, a confused mass of houses, an open square, and the pebbles again, and we are in Holstein, Denmark, in the public square and market place of Altona.  Here it is that the Danish state lotteries are drawn, and we might moralise upon that subject, but that we prefer to press onwards to the real village of Altona.

p. 7Here through this beautiful avenue of trees; here where the sunshine is broken into patches by the waving foliage; far away from the din of trumpets, huxterers and showmen; here can the sweet air whisper its low song of peace and lull our fervid imaginations into tranquillity.  This is no solitude, though all is quiet and in repose.  Under the trees and in the road are throngs of loiterers, but there is no rude laughter, no coarse jests; a moving crowd is there, but a quiet and happy one.  And now we come upon the venerable church with its low steeple, its time-eaten stone walls, and its humble, grassy, flower-spangled graves.  We see a passer-by calling the attention of his friend to a stone tablet, green and worn with age, and surrounded by a slight railing.  Can it be that there is a spirit hovering over that grave whose influence is peace and love?  May not some mighty man lie buried there, the once frail tenement of a great mind whose noble thoughts have years ago wakened a besotted world to truths and aspirations hitherto unknown?  There is veneration and respect in every countenance that gazes upon that simple stone; a solemn tread in every foot that trenches on its limits.  This is the grave of a great poet.  A man whose works, though little read in modern times, were once the wonder of his country; and whose very name comes upon the German people in a gush of melody, and a halo of bright thoughts.  It is like an old legend breathed through the chords of a harp.  This is the grave of Klopstock, the Milton of Germany.  We will enter the churchyard, and look for a moment on the unimposing tablet.  The inscription is scarcely legible, but the poet’s mother lies also buried here, and some others of his family.  Could there be anything more humble, more unobtrusive?  No; but there is something about the grave of a great poet that serves to dignify the simplest monument, and shed a lustre round the lowest mound.

We will cross the churchyard to yonder low brick wall which confines it.  There are clusters of rosy, happy children, clambering about its crumbling top; little knots of men too in the road beyond—evidently expecting something.  Even this is in keeping with the poet’s grave, which should not be sombre and melancholy, like other graves; and what could better embellish and enliven its aspect than young, blushing life clustering around it?  We linger awhile among the boisterous children playing on the churchyard wall, and then we hear a confused sound of voices and music in the distance.

p. 8“What is this we hear, my friend?” we inquire.

“It is the harvest-home; if you wait you will see the procession.”

We turn out upon the high road, and soon come upon the first signs of this Danish festival.  An open gravelled space of some extent stretches out before an imposing mansion of modern appearance; a plantation of trees on each side shapes the space into a rude semicircle.  This mansion is the manor house, and in front, in the midst of a confused crowd, some dozen young men in gay sylvan costumes are standing in a circle, armed with flails, and vigorously threshing the ground.  Jolly, hearty young fellows they are, and a merry chant they raise.  One eager thresher in his zeal breaks his flail at the bend, and a shout from the bystanders greets the exploit.

Now they thresh their way from the great house to a hostelry where the remaining portion of the pageant is awaiting their arrival.  Let us stand a little on one side and view the procession.  The threshers lead the way, singing and plying their flails as they advance, thus effectually clearing the road for the rest.  A merry group of other threshers, each with his lass upon his arm, and his flail swung across his shoulder, come tripping after, singing the harvest song and dancing to their own music.  Now a rude wooden car comes lumbering on, and within sits a grave man in old German costume, who from a large sack before him takes handsful of grain, and liberally casts it about him.  This is the sower, but the grain is in this instance only chaff.  Now follow heavy instruments of husbandry—ploughs and harrows—while rakes, scythes, and reaping-hooks form a picturesque trophy behind them.  A shout of laughter greets the next figure in the procession, for it is no other than the jolly god Bacchus.  And a hearty, rubicund, big-bellied god he is, and very decent, too, being decorously clad in a brown suit turned up with red, and cut in the fashion of the time of Maximilian I., or thereabouts.  A perpetual smile mantles over his broad face, and complacently he pats his huge rotundity of stomach as he rolls from side to side on the barrel astride which he is seated.  Is he drunk, or does he only feign?  If it be a piece of acting it is decidedly the most natural we ever saw.

Next comes the miller; a lank rascal, with a white frock, a tall, white tasselled nightcap, and a cadaverous, flour-besprinkled face; and he is the reaper, too, it would seem by the scythe he bears in his hand: other threshers close the procession.  A happy train it is.  God speed them all!  A merry time, and many a bounteous harvest!

p. 9Let us turn now upon our steps.  Once more before the antique church, the reverenced grave; and with a soothed and grateful mind, we will bend our way back to Hamburg, and diving into one of the odorous cellars on the Jungfern Stieg, will delectate ourselves with beefsteaks and fried potatoes, our glass of Baierisches Bier, and perhaps a tiny schnapschen to settle our repast.


magnificence.—at church.—the last headsman.

“Herrlichkeit!”  Magnificence!  What a name!  Ye Paradise-rows, ye Mount-pleasants, what is your pride of appellation to this?  In all Belgravia there is not a terrace, place, or square that can match it.  Fancy the question, “Where do you reside?”

“In Magnificence—number forty.”

Yet it is a fact, Magnificence is a street in Hamburg.  I have lived in Magnificence.

The Herrlichkeit, like many other places of imposing title, loses considerably upon a close acquaintance.  You approach it from the waterside through a rugged way, blessed with the euphonious appellation of Stuben Huck; and having climbed over two pebbly bridges—looking down as you do so at the busy scene in the docks below, where crowds of canal craft lie packed and jumbled together—you turn a little to the left hand and behold—Magnificence!

Magnificence has no footpath, but it is not singular in that respect.  It is of rather less than the average width of the streets in Hamburg—and they are all narrow—and the houses are lofty.  It is paved with small pebbles, and has a gutter running down the centre; and as a short flight of stone steps forms the approach to the chief entrance of each house, the available roadway is small indeed.  But they are grand houses in Magnificence, at least they have been, and still bear visible signs of their former character.

Let us enter one house; it will serve as a type of many houses in Hamburg.  Having mounted the stone steps, we stand before a half-glazed folding-door, and seeing a small brass lever before us, p. 10we test its power, and find the door yield to the pressure.  But we have set a clamorous bell ringing, like that of a suburban huxter, for this is the Hamburger’s substitute for a knocker.  We enter a large stone-paved hall, lighted from the back, where a glazed balcony overlooks the teeming canal.  You wish to wipe your shoes.  Well! do you see this pattern of a small area-railing cut in wood?  That is our scraper and door-mat—all in one.

To our right is a massive oaken staircase.  We ascend in gloom, for the staircase being built in the middle of the house, only a few straggling rays of light can reach it, and whence they proceed is a mystery.  Every few steps we mount we are upon the point of stumbling into the door of some cupboard or apartment; they are in all sorts of places.  At length we reach a broad landing paved with stone.  What a complication of doors and passages, which the vague light tends to make more obscure!  Here are huge presses, lumbering oaken cabinets, jammed into corners.  We ascend a second flight and arrive at another extensive landing.  Here are two suites of apartments, besides odd little cribs in the corners which are not occupied by other presses.  There are still two floors above, but as they are both contained in the huge gable roof of the house, they are more useful as store-rooms than as habitable apartments.  The quantity of wood we see about us is frightful when associated with the idea of fire.

We will enter the suite on the right hand; the apartments are light and agreeable, and overlook the canal, and, when the tide is up, and the canal full, and the grassy bleaching ground on the opposite bank is dotted with white linen, it is a pleasant scene indeed; but when the tide is out—ugh! the River Thames at low water is a paradise to it.  The tidal changes are carefully watched, and it is not an unusual occurrence to hear the solemn gun booming through the air as a warning to the inhabitants to block and barricade their cellars and kitchens against the rush of waters.


It is Sunday morning, and the most beautiful melody of bells I ever heard is toning through the air.  They are the bells of S. Michael’s church, and I am told that the musician plays them by a set of pedal keys, and works himself into a mighty heat and flurry in the operation.  But we cannot think of the wild manner and mad motions of the player in connection with those beautiful sounds, so clear and melodious; that half plaintive music so sweetly measured.  p. 11They ring thus every morning, commencing at a quarter to six, and play till the hour strikes.

We descend, and make our way through irregular streets and dingy canals till we reach the church of St. Jacobi.  It stands in an open space, is neither railed in, nor has it a graveyard attached to it.  It is of stone, and has an immense gable roof, slated, and studded with eaved windows.  A shortish square basement is at one end, from which springs a tall octangular steeple.  Within all is quiet and decorous.  The church is paved with stone, and there is a double row of pews down the centre.  But is this a Protestant Church?  Most assuredly; Lutheran.  You are astonished at the crosses, the images, the altar?  True! there is something Romish in the whole arrangement, but it is Protestant for all that.  You cannot help feeling vexed at the pertinacity with which the Germans whitewash everything, nor do the pale lavender-coloured curtains of the pulpit appear in keeping with the edifice.  Everything is scrupulously clean.

We are too late to hear the congregational singing, the devotional union of voices, for as we enter the minister ascends into the pulpit in his black velvet skull-cap, and bristling white frill.  Unless you are a good German scholar you will fail to understand the discourse so earnestly, so emphatically delivered.  The echo of the building, and the high character of the composition, will baffle and mislead you; while, at the same time, the incessant tingling of the little silver bells suspended from the corners of scarlet velvet bags, which are handed along the pews (at the end of a stick), during the whole of the sermon, will distract and irritate you.  It is thus they collect alms for the poor.  Yet even to one ignorant of the language, there is a fullness and vigour in the style and manner of delivery that would almost persuade you that you had understood, and felt convinced of the truth of what you had heard.  As we quit the church we purchase at the door a printed copy of the sermon from a poor widow woman, who is there to sell them at a penny each.

We will loiter home to dinner.  The streets are thronged with people, with cheerful, contented faces, and in holiday attire.  Who are these grave gentlemen?  This little troop in sable trappings; buskins, cloaks, silken hose, hats and feathers, and shoes with large rosettes—all black and sombre, like so many middle aged Hamlets?  Can they be masqueraders on the Sabbath?  Possibly some of the senators in their official costume?  No!  Oh, human vanity!  A p. 12passer-by informs us that they are only undertakers’ men—paid mourners.  They are to swell the funeral procession, and are the mere mimics of woe.  The undertakers of Hamburg vie with each other in the dressing of their men, and indeed, one indispensable part of their “stock-in-trade” are some half-dozen dress-suits of black, it matters not of what age or country, the stranger the better, so that the “effect” be good.


We will take a stroll about the beautiful Alster this Sunday afternoon.  It is late autumn, and the early budding trees have already shed their leaves.  But rich, floating masses of foliage are still there—the deepening hues of autumn, and here and there broad patches of bright summer green.  There are two Alsters, the “inner” and “outer,” each of them a broad expanse of water; they are connected by flood-gates, surrounded by verdure, and studded with pleasure-boats; while on the city side several elegant pavilions hang on the water’s edge, where coffee and beverages of every kind can be obtained, and the seldom omitted and never-to-be-forgotten music of the Germans may be heard thrilling in the evening air.

It is already growing dusk; let us enter the Alster Halle.  This is the most important of these pavilions.  It is not large; there is but the ground-floor.  It has much the appearance of a French café, the whole space being filled with small, round, white marble tables, and innumerable chairs.  Here all the lighter articles of refreshment are to be obtained; tea, coffee, wines, spirits and pastry in numberless shapes.  There is an inner room where the more quietly disposed can read his newspaper in comparative silence; here are German, Danish, French, and English journals, and a little sprinkling of literary periodicals.  Another room is set apart for billiards, where silent, absorbed individuals may be seen playing eternally at poule.  In the evening a little band of skilled musicians, in the pay of the proprietor, perform choice morsels of beautiful music, and all this can be enjoyed for the price of a cup of coffee—twopence!


Ten years ago the ancient city of Hamburg was awakened into terror by the commission of a fearful murder.  The cry of “Fire!” arose in the night; the nachtwächter (watchman) gave the alarm; p. 13and the few means at command were resorted to with an energy and goodwill that sufficed soon to extinguish the flames.  It was, however, discovered that the fire had not done the work it had been kindled for; it would not hide murder.  Among the smouldering embers in the kellar or underground kitchen, where the fire had originated, was discovered the charred body of a poor old woman, whose recent wounds were too certain evidences of a violent death.  It was also ascertained that a petty robbery of some few dollars had been committed, and the utmost vigilance was called into exercise to discover the perpetrator.

All surmises were in vain, till suspicion fell upon the watchman who had first given the alarm; and the first evidence of the track of guilt being thus fallen upon, it was not difficult to trace it to its source.  Numerous little scraps of evidence came out, one upon another, till the whole diabolical plot was stripped of its mystery, and the guilt of the wächter clearly proved.  He was convicted of the crime imputed to him, and condemned to death by the Senate.  But on receiving sentence, the condemned man assumed a tone totally unexpected of him, for he boldly asserted that the punishment of death had fallen into disuse; that it was no longer the law of Hamburg; and concluded by defying the Senators to carry the sentence pronounced into execution.

It was indeed true that the ponderous weapon of the headsman had lain for two-and-twenty years rusting in its scabbard; nor without reason.  At that period a criminal stood convicted and condemned to death.  The law gave little mercy in those days, and there was no hesitation in carrying the sentence into effect.  But an unexpected difficulty arose; the old headsman was but lately dead, and his son, a fine stalwart young man, was, from inexperience, considered unequal to the task.  A crowd of eager competitors proffered their services in this emergency, but the ancient city of Hamburg, like some other ancient cities, was hampered with antiquated usages.  Its profits and other advantages were tied up into little knots of monopoly, in various shapes of privileges and hereditary rights.  The young headsman claimed his office on the latter ground; to the surprise of all, his mother, the wife of the old headsman, not merely supported him in his claim, but persisted, with a spirit that might have become a Roman matron but certainly no one else, that if her son were incapable, she herself was responsible for the performance of her husband’s duty, and would p. 14execute it.  The Senate was in consternation, for this assertion of hereditary right was unanswerable; and while they courteously declined the offer of the chivalrous mother, they felt constrained to accept the services of her son.

The fatal morning came; the scaffold stood erected; and pressing closely around the wooden barriers, stood the anxious crowd awaiting the execution.  The culprit knelt with head erect, his neck and shoulders bared for the stroke, while the young headsman stood by his side armed with the double-handed sword, the weapon of his office.  At a sign given, he swung the tremendous blade in the air, and aimed a fearful blow at the neck of the condemned; but his skilless hand sloped the broad blade as it fell, and it struck deeply into the victim’s breast.  Amid a cry of terror he raised his sword again; again it whirled through the air, and again it failed to do its deadly work.  The miserable wretch still lived; and a third stroke was necessary to complete the task so dreadfully began.  Who can wonder that that fearful weapon had for years long rested from its service?

Influenced by this terrible scene, and, let us hope, as well by motives of humanity as by the conviction of the utter uselessness of such a spectacle as a moral lesson, the Senate of Hamburg had commuted the punishment of death into that of a life imprisonment.  Yet now they were taunted with their unreadiness to shed blood, and dared to carry the law, as it still stood upon the statute-book, into effect.  For a while it seemed that anger would govern the acts of the Senate, for every preparation was made for the execution.  The headsman, whose blundering essay has been above related, was still living, but he had long filled the humble office of a messenger, and made no claim to repeat his effort.  Among the many competitors who offered their services, a Dane was finally selected, and the inhabitants of Hamburg, excited to the utmost degree by the anticipation of the forthcoming spectacle, awaited the event with a morbid and gloating curiosity.  They were, however, disappointed; humanity prevailed, and the guilty wächter was conducted to a life prison.

The Senate of Hamburg has not formally abolished the punishment of death; but the last hereditary headsman is now growing an old man, and the first and only stroke of his weapon was dealt thirty-two years ago.


workmen in hamburg.

Here amid the implements of labor, in the dingy werkstube in Johannis Strasse; lighted by the single flicker of an oil lamp, with the workboard for a writing-desk, let me endeavour to collect some few scattered details about the German workmen in Hamburg.

German workmen! do not the very words recall to your memory old amber-coloured engravings of sturdy men, with waving locks, grasping the arm of the printing-press, by the side of Faust, Schœffer, and Gottenberg?  Or, perhaps, the words of Schiller’s “Song of the Bell” may not be unknown to you, and hum in your ears:

Frisch, gesellen, seyd zur hand!
   Von der stirne heiss,
   Rinnen muss der schweiss.

Briskly, comrades to your work!
   From the flushing brow
   Must the sweatdrops flow.

But your modern German workman is somewhat of a different stamp; he points his moustaches with black wax, trims his locks à la Française, and wears wide pantaloons.  He tapers his waist with a leathern strap, and wears a blouse while at his labors.  He discards old forms and regulations as far as he can or dare, and thus the old word “Meister” has fallen into disrepute, and the titles “Herr” and “Principal” occupy its place.  Schiller, like a true poet, calls his workmen “gesellen,” which is the old German word meaning companion or comrade, but modern politeness has changed it into “gehülfe,” assistant; and “mitglied,” member.  In some places, however, the words “knecht” and “knappe,” servant or attendant, are still in use to signify journeyman; as “schusterknecht,” shoemaker; “schlächterknecht,” butcher’s man; “muhlknappe,” miller; “bergknappe,” miner; p. 16but these terms are employed more from habit than from any invidious distinction.

Well! we live and work on the fourth floor of a narrow slip of a house in Johannis Strasse.  Herr Sorgenpfennig, our “principal,” occupies the suite of four rooms, and devotes a central one (to which no light can possibly come save at second hand through the door), to his “gesellen.”  We are three; a quiet Dane, full of sage precepts, and practical illustrations of economy; a roystering Bavarian from Nuremberg, who never fails to grieve over the thin beer of Hamburg, and who, as member of a choral union near Das Johanneum, delights in vigorous and unexpected bursts of song; and myself.

Workmen in Hamburg are still in a state of villanage; beneath the roof of the “Herr” do they find at once a workshop, a dormitory, and a home.  We endeavour so far to conform to the rules of propriety as to escape the imprisonment and other penalties that await the “unruly journeyman.”  The table of Herr Sorgenpfennig is our own, and a very liberal one it is esteemed to be.  Let me sketch you a few of its items: delicious coffee, “white bread and brown,” or rather black, and unlimited butter, make up our breakfast.  Dinner always commences with a soup, usually made from meat, sometimes from herbs, lemon, sweet fruit, or other ingredients utterly indescribable.  Meat, to be fit for a German table, must be carefully pared of every vestige of fat; if boiled it is underdone, unless expressly devoted to the soup, when the juiceless shreds that remain are served up with plums or prepared vegetables; if it be baked (roasting is almost unknown) it is dry and tasteless.  Bacon and sausages, with their inevitable accompaniment, sourkraut, is a favourite dish; but not so unvaryingly so as some choose to imagine.  Acids generally are much admired in German cookery.  In nothing, perhaps, are the Hamburgers more to be envied, in a gastronomic view, than in their vegetables.  Singularly small as are these products of the kitchen garden, they are sweeter and more delicately flavoured than any I ever tasted elsewhere.  As entremets, and as accompaniments to meat, they are largely consumed.  The Hamburgers laugh at the English cooks who boil green peas and potatoes in plain water, for here boiled potatoes are scarcely known—that nutritious vegetable being cut into slices and fried; while green peas are slowly stewed in butter or cream, and sweetened with fine sugar.  But we “gesellen” have plebeian appetites, and whatever dish may p. 17be set before us, as surely vanishes to its latest shred.  The little patches of puff-paste, smeared with preserve, sent to us as Sunday treat, or the curious production in imitation of our English pie, and filled with maccaroni, are immolated at once without misgiving or remorse.  If we sup at all, it is upon pasty, German cheese, full of holes, as if it had been made in water, or a hot liver sausage, as an extraordinary indulgence.

And our “Licht Braten?”  Herr Sorgenpfennig rubs his short, fat hands, and his round eyes twinkle again, as he tells his little cluster of “Herren Gesellen” that there will be a feast, a sumptuous abendbrod, to inaugurate the commencement of candle-light.  The “Licht Braten,” as this entertainment is called, is one of the old customs of Hamburg now falling into disuse.  It would be doing Herr Sorgenpfennig an eternal injustice did we pass over it in silence, more especially as he boasts of it as real “North German fare.”  Here we have it: raw herrings to begin with.  Bah! I confess this does not sound well upon the first blush; but, then, a raw dried herring is somewhat different to one salted in a barrel.  To cook it would be a sacrilege, say the Germans.  And then the accompaniments!  We have two dishes of wonderful little potatoes, baked in an oven, freshly peeled and shining; and in the centre of the table is a bowl of melted butter and mustard well mixed together.  You dip your potato in the butter, and while you thus soften the deep-sea saltness of your herring, the rough flavour of the latter relishes and overcomes the unctuous dressing of your potato.  I swear to you it is delicious!

But where is our “braten,” the “roast,” in fact?  Oh, thou unhappy Peter!  I see thee still, reeking over the glowing forge fire, cooking savoury sausages thou art forbidden to taste!  I see thee still, struggling in vain to “bolt” the blazing morsel, rashly plucked (in the momentary absence of Sorgenpfennig), from the bubbling, hissing fat, and thrust into thy jaws.  Those burning tears! those mad distortions of limb and feature!  God pity thee, Peter, but it was not to be!  Those savoury sausages are our “braten,” and they smack wonderfully after the herrings.  If there is one item in our repast to be deplored, it is the Hamburger beer, which, however, is as good as it can be, I suppose, for the money—something under an English penny a bottle.  But here is wine; good, sound wine, not indeed from the Rhine, nor the Moselle, but red, sparkling, French vin ordinaire, at a mark—fourteen-pence the bottle.

p. 18Truly, Hamburg, thou art a painstaking, industrious, money-making city, with more available wealth among thy pitch and slime than other towns can boast of in their trimness and finery, but spendthrift, and debauched, and dissolute withal art thou!

Punch, du edler trank der Britten!
Punch, thou noble drink of Britons—

the outburst of some exhilarated poet—should be inscribed upon thy double-turreted gate, good Hamburg!  The odorous steam of rum and lemon contends in thine open streets with the fumes of tobacco; the union of these two perfumes make up thine atmosphere; while thy public walks are strewn with the unsmoked ends of cigars, thick as the shrivelled leaves in autumn.

Seriously, the Hamburger toils earnestly, and takes his pleasure with a proportionate amount of zeal.  His enjoyments, like his labours, are of a strong and solid description.  The workmen trundle kegle balls in long, wooden-built alleys; and down in deep beer cellars, snug and warm, do they cluster, fondling their pipes like favoured children; taking long gulps of well-made punch, or deeper draughts of Bairisches beer.  If they talk, they do so vehemently, but they love better to sit and listen to some little troop of harfenisten—street harp-players—as they tone the waltzes of Lanner, or sing some chivalrous romance.  Sometimes they form themselves into bands of choristers, and sing with open windows into the street, or play at billiards as if it were for life, or congregate in the dance-houses, and waltz by the hour without a pause.  In all they are hearty, somewhat boisterous, but never wanting in good temper.

As marriage is out of the question with the workman in Hamburg, whether stranger or native—unless indeed the latter may have passed through the probationary course of travel and conscription, and be already on the verge of mastership—so also is honourable courtship.  His low wages and dependent position form an impassable barrier to wedlock, and a married journeyman is almost unknown.  By the law of his native city he must travel for two or three years, independently of the chances of conscription, and thus for a period at least he becomes a restless wanderer, without tie or home.  No prudent maiden can listen to his addresses, and thus it is that Hamburg swarms with unfortunates; and this it is which gives them rights and immunities unknown in any other city.


plays and piccadilloes.—“hamletin german.

It is Sunday again.  Soberly and sedately do we pass our morning hours.  We waken with the sweet music of bells in our ears; bells that whisper to us of devotion; bells that thrill us with a calm delight, and raise up in us thoughts of gentleness and charity.

There is no lack of churches; we see their tapering steeples and deep gable roofs rising above the general level in many places, and there is a Little Bethel down by the water’s side on the Vorsetzen, for the sailors.  There are two or three Little Pandemoniums in its immediate vicinity, or at least by that classical title are they designated by the Bethlemites over the way; but salt-water Jack and fresh-river Jack give them much simpler names, and like them a great deal better, more’s the pity.  We have heard the little jangling bells in the church pews, and they will not ring in tune, although they tell the deeds of charity; we have marched staidly home, and joined in Herr Sorgenpfennig’s blessing over the midday meal;—Herr Sorgenpfennig delivers it with the presence and intonation of an Eastern patriarch, standing among his tribe;—and the delicacies of German cookery having fulfilled their purpose and disappeared, with a whispered grace and a bow of humbleness, we sidle out of the room, and leave the “Herr Meister” to his meditations and his punch.  And so ends the service of the day.

The blond-headed Bavarian begins to hum the last Tafelliêd, and our quiet Dane smiles reservedly.  “Whither, friends, shall we bend our steps?”  No! by the eternal spirit of modesty, we will not visit the dance-houses to-day!  Those vile shambles by the water-side, growing out of the slime and filth of the river, and creeping like a noxious, unwholesome weed, up the shaded hill, and by narrow ruts and gullies into the open country.  No!  Those half-draped, yet gaping doors, have no attractions for us; those whining notes of soulless music find no echo in our ears or hearts.  There, in their hideous blandishments, the shameless sit, miserable in their p. 20tawdriness, their painted cheeks peeling in the hot sun, which they cannot shut out if they would.  Throughout the long day the wearied minstrels pant over their greasy tubes of brass, or scrape their grimy instruments with horny fingers, praying for the deep night; and there, through the long day, does the echoing floor rebound with the beating of vigorous feet; for salt-water Jack is there, and fresh-river Jack is there, and while there is a copper pfennig in their pockets, or a flicker of morality in their hearts, doomed are they equally; for what can escape spoliation or wreck among such a crowd?

Yet from such commodities as these does the merchant spirit of the Senate of Hamburg draw huge profits; indeed, it is said that the whole expense of police and city, and what is worse, yet better, the tending of the sick, the feeding of the poor, and the succouring of the helpless and desolate, are alike defrayed from the produce of the city’s vice; and let us add, the Senate’s fostering care of it.

And if we wandered out beyond the walls to the right or to the left, what do we find?  On the one hand, “Peter Hund’s;” on the other “Unkraut’s Pavilion;” mere dance-houses, after all, though for “the better sort.”  “Peter” has a tawdry hall, smeared with the escutcheons of all nations, where music and waltzing whirl through the dense air, hour after hour; and what is at least of equal consequence to him, Peter holds a tavern in the next room, where spirits, beer, or coffee are equally at the command of the drouthy or the luxuriant.  And so also if we followed the road which passes through Stein Thor, away across the leafy fringing of trees and shrubs which ornament the city’s outline; and still on through the shady avenues of youthful stems, when we come upon a great house with deep overhanging eaves, square-topped chimneys, and altogether with a Swiss air about it.  There are idlers hanging about the door, for this is “Unkraut’s,” and the brisk air of musical instruments streams out of the open portal.  Within all is motion and uproar.  A large salle de danse occupies the greater part of the ground floor, the central portion of which is appropriated to the waltzers, while a broad slip on each side, beneath an overhanging gallery, running round the whole of the apartment, remains for those who drink, or take a temporary repose.  Sometimes, however, the flood of waltzers pours in upon the side-tables, amid the clatter of chairs, the ringing of glass and china, and the laughter of the spectators.  Gentlemen are not allowed to dance with their hats on; (where else, in Heaven’s name, can they place them?) and must lay their heavy pipes and cigars aside, as p. 21smoking is permitted only in the gallery above.  The company is of the “better sort” in the salle below; that is to say, that vice, shameless and unveiled, is not allowed to flaunt without a check; but there is taint and gangrene among all; feeble wills and failing hearts to bear up against the intoxicating stream of music, and giddy heads for thought or reason amid the whirl and swimming of the dance.

“Unkraut’s” has, however, attractions apart from the ball-room.  By a quiet stair at the end of the gallery, through muffled doors that close upon you as you enter, and shut out like walls the hum and hubbub below, we come upon an ill-shapen apartment, where hushed, absorbed men are seated at desks, as at a school, each with a huge frame dotted with numbers before him.  A strange contrast to the scene without.  There is a heavy quiet in the place, disturbed only by an occasional cough, a shuffling of feet, and the silvery ringing of little plates of glass.  A monstrous game of Lotto is this.  A mere child’s play of gambling, requiring neither tact, wit, nor reasoning; a simple lottery, in fact, dependent for success upon the accidental marking (each player upon his own board or table) of the first five numbers that may be drawn.  Now we hear a strange rattling of wooden pieces, shaken in a bag, and as each piece is drawn, a bustling man with an obstreperous voice, calls out the number; not in full, sonorous German, but in broad, uncouth Platt Deutsche (low German), and eager tongues respond from distant corners claiming the prize.  A dull-headed game is this, fitted only for the most inveterate gamblers; but it yields money to the Stadt, and that is its recommendation.

As the day wears on, its attractions increase.  The Elb Pavilion offers a rare treat; exquisite music, executed with vigour, delicacy, and precision.  Moreover, its frequenters are decidedly of a respectable class.  But we will not be moved; we have set our hearts upon witnessing a play of Shakespeare’s, announced for this night at the Stadt Theatre, and that no less a one than “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.”

The Stadt Theatre in Hamburg enjoys a strange monopoly; for by the Senate’s will it is declared that no other theatre shall exist within the city walls.  Yet, curiously enough, a wonderful old woman, by some unaccountable freak, has the privilege, or hereditary right, of licensing or directing a theatrical establishment within the boundaries, and thus a second theatre contends for the favours of the public; and in order to define its position and state of existence, it p. 22is entitled simply Das Zweite Theatre (The Second Theatre).  It is an especially favourite place of amusement with the Hamburgers, although they play an incomprehensible jumble of unconnected scenes, called “possen,” adapted solely to display the peculiar talents of certain actors.  One odd fellow there reaps showers of applause for no other exhibition of ability than that of looking intensely stupid, for he seldom utters a word; but assumes an appearance of unfathomable vacuity that is inimitable.  There are still two theatres outside the city walls: the one, the Tivoli, devoted to farces and vaudevilles; the other consecrated to the portrayal of the deeply sentimental, and the fearfully tragic—with poison, dagger-blades, convulsions and heavy-stamping ever at command.

But our play!  Here we are in the gallery of a splendid edifice, equal in extent to our Covent Garden Theatre at home, having come to this part of the house in anticipation of a feeble audience in preference to the parterre or pit.  Note also, that here we pay eight schillinge only, while a place below would cost us twenty.  But the house is crammed, for Shakespeare draws as well in Germany as in England, perhaps for the simple reason that in no other country are his works so well translated.  We find ourselves in the midst of a dense cluster of earnest Danes, who say the most impressive things in the quietest way in the world.  They are strongly interested in the coming performance, for “Hamlet the Dane” has taken deep hold upon the Danish affections; and in Elsinore, so great is the consideration entertained for this all but fabulous prince, that they will point you out the garden wherein his royal father suffered murder

—most foul, strange, and unnatural,

and the grave where the “gentle prince” himself lies buried.  The play begins; with the deepest earnestness the audience listen, and, crowded as they are, preserve the utmost quiet.  The glorious drama scene by scene unfolds itself, and passage by passage we recognise the beauties of our great poet.  Herr Carr, starring it from Vienna, is no unworthy representative of the noble-hearted Dane, although unequal, we think, to the finer traits, and more delicate emotions of the character.  The dresses are admirable, sometimes gorgeous, and the groupings most effective.  The scenery alone is unsatisfactory; indecisive and colourless as it is, without p. 23depth or tone, it strikes you as the first effort in perspective of a feeble-handed amateur.  As the play proceeds, the action grows upon us, and the rapt spectators resent with anger the least outcry or disturbance.  The first scene with the players is omitted, but the concluding portion is a triumph; for as Hamlet, arriving at the climax of his sarcasm, and bursting for a moment into rage, flings the flute away, with the exclamation: “S’blood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe?” the whole theatre rings with the applause.

Presently, however, we are aware of a gap, a huge hiatus in the performance; a grave, and yet no grave, for the whole churchyard scene, with its quaint and exquisite philosophy, the rude wit of the gravediggers, and the pointed moralising of the prince, are all wanting—all swept away by the ruthless hand of the critic; skulls and bones, picks and mattocks, wit and drollery, diggers, waistcoats and all!  Not even Yorick, with his “gibes” and “flashes of merriment”—not even he is spared.  On the other hand, a portion of a scene is represented which, until lately, was always omitted on the English stage.  It is that in which the guilty king, overcome by remorse, thus soliloquises:—

O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven!

Hamlet, coming upon his murderous uncle in his prayers, exclaims:—

Now might I do it, pat, while he is praying;
And now I’ll do ’t—and so he goes to heaven:
And so am I revenged?

The omission or retention of this scene might well be a matter of dispute, for while it represents the guilty Claudius miserable and contrite, even in the height of his success, it also portrays the anticipated revenge of Hamlet in so fearful a light, that he stands there, not the human instrument of divine retribution, but with all the diabolical cravings of Satan himself.  I leave this question to abler critics, and, in the meantime, our play is finished, amid shouts of delight and calls before the curtain.  It is but half-past nine, yet this is a late hour for a German theatre, where they rarely perform more than one piece, and that seldom exceeding two hours in duration.  Descending to the street, wrapped in the recollections of the gorgeous poem whose beauties still echo in our ears, we are vulgar enough to relish hot sausages and Bavarian beer.

p. 24An hour later we pace our half-lighted Johannis Strasse, seeking the portal of our house amid the gloom.  Suddenly we are startled by the tramp of a heavy foot, and the clang and rattle of a steel weapon as it strikes upon the ground.  A burly voice assails us: “Whither are you going?”

Is this Bernardo, wandered from the ramparts in search of the ghost of Hamlet’s father?

Not so: it is but one of the night-watch, armed with an enormous halbert which might have done good service in the thirty years’ war.  The faithful nachtwächter strikes it upon the ground with the butt-end at regular intervals, so that sinful depredators may have timely notice of his approach.  As it has a large hook at the back it is said to be admirably adapted for catching thieves by the leg, if its opportune clattering does not keep them out of its reach.

We render a good account of ourselves, and are duly escorted to our home.


the german workman.

That workmen in England may have some clear knowledge of the ways and customs of a large number of their brethren on the Continent, I here intend to put down for their use a part of my own knowledge and experience.

The majority of trades in Germany are formed into guilds, or companies.  At the head of each guild stands an officer chosen by the government, whatever it may be—for you may find a government of any sort in Germany, between an emperor and a senate—this officer being always a master, and a member of the guild.  His title differs in almost every German state, but he is generally called Trade-master, or Deputy.  Associated with him are two or three of the oldest employers; or, in some cases, workmen in the trade, under the titles of Eldermen, or Masters’ Representatives.  These three or four men govern the guild, and have under them, for the proper transaction of business, a secretary and a messenger.  Such p. 25officers, however, do not represent their trade in the whole state or kingdom, but are chosen, in every large town, to conduct the multifarious business that may require attention within its limits.

Although all these guilds are, in their original constitution, formed on the same model, they differ materially in their internal arrangements.  Much depends upon the ruling government of the state in which they are situated; for, while in despotic Prussia, what is there called Freedom of Trade is declared for all, in the “free” town of Hamburg everything is bound and locked up in small monopolies.

In some parts of Germany there are “close trades,” which means to say that the number of masters in each is definitely fixed.  This is so in Hamburg.  For instance, among the goldsmiths, the number of new masters annually to be elected is three, being about sufficient to fill up the deficiencies occurring from death and other causes.  I have heard of as many as five being elected in one year, and I have also heard it asserted that this was to be accounted for on the supposition that the aldermen had been “smeared in the hand,” that is to say, bribed.

There are other trades locked up in a different way.  There exist several of this kind in Nuremberg and thereabouts; as, the awl and punch-makers, lead-pencil makers, hand-bell makers, gold and silver wire-drawers, and others.  They occupy a particular town or district, and they say, “Here we are.  We possess these trades, and we mean to keep them to ourselves.  We will teach no strangers our craft; we will confine it among our relatives and townsmen; and in order to prevent the knowledge of it from spreading any farther, we will allow our workmen to travel only within the limits of our town or land;” and so they keep their secrets close.

In other trades, the workmen are allowed to engage themselves only to a privileged employer.  That is to say, they dare not execute a private order, but can receive employment from a master of the craft only.  In Prussia, and some few other lands, each workman can work on his own account, and can offer his goods for sale in the public market unhindered, so long as they are the production of his own hands alone; but should he employ a journeyman, then he pays a tax to Government of about ten shillings annually, the tax increasing in proportion to the number of men he may employ.

There are also “endowed” and “unendowed” trades.  An endowed guild is one the members of which pay a certain small sum monthly p. 26while in work, and thus form a fund for the relief of the sick and the assistance of the travelling members of the trade.  There are few trades of the unendowed kind, for the workmen of such trades have to depend upon the generosity of their companions in the craft in the hour of need; and it is generally found more economical to pay a regular sum than to be called on at uncertain intervals for a donation; moreover, the respectability of the craft is better maintained.

While we talk of respectability, we may add that it was formerly the especial care of the heads of each guild, to see that no disreputable persons became members of the trade; and illegitimate children, and even the lawful offspring of shepherds, bailiffs, and town servants were carefully excluded.  This practice exists no longer, except in some few insignificant places; but the law is still very general which says that no workman can become a master who has not fulfilled every regulation imposed by his guild; that is to say, he must have been apprenticed at the proper age to a properly-constituted master; must have regularly completed his period of apprenticeship, and have passed the appointed time in travel.  The worst part of all these regulations is, that, as they vary in almost every state, the unfortunate wanderer has to conform to a new set of laws in every new land he enters.

One other regulation is almost universal.  Each guild must have a place of meeting; not a sumptuous hall, but mere accommodation in a public-house.  It is called the “Herberge,” and answers, in many respects, to our “House of Call.”  This is the weary traveller’s place of rest—he can claim a shelter here; indeed, in most cases, he dares sleep nowhere else.  Here also the guild holds its quarterly meetings.  By way of illustration, let us take the Goldsmith’s Herberge in Hamburg; the “Stadt Bremen” is the sign of the house.  In it, the goldsmiths use a large, rectangular apartment, furnished with a few rough tables and chairs, and a wooden bench running round its four walls.  On the tables are arranged long clay pipes, and in the centre of each table is a small dish of what the uninitiated might take to be dried tea leaves.  This is uncut tobacco, which the host, the father of the House of Call, is bound to provide.  The secretary and messenger of the guild of goldsmiths are there, together with one or two of the “Altgesellen” (elder journeymen), who perform the active part of the duties of the guild.  The minutes of the last meeting, and the incidents of p. 27the quarter—possibly, also, an abstract of the rules—having been read, and new officers, to supersede those who retire, having been balloted for, the business of the evening closes.  Then commences a confusion of tongues; for here are congregated Russians, Hungarians, Danes, Hamburgers, Prussians, Austrians; possibly there may be found here a member of every state in the German Union.  None are silent, and the dialect of each is distinct.  Assiduously, in the pauses of his private conversation, every man smokes his long pipe, and drinks his beer or punch.  Presently two female harp-players enter—sources of refreshment quite as popular in Hamburg as the punch.  They strike up an infatuating waltz.  The effect is wonderful.  Two or three couples (men waltzing with men, of course) are immediately on their feet, scrambling, kicking, and scraping round the room; hugging each other in the most awkward manner.  Chairs and tables are huddled into corners; for the mania has seized upon two-thirds of the company.  The rest cannot forsake their beer, but congregate in the corners, and yell, and scream toasts and “Lebe-hoch!” till they are hoarse.

Two girls enter, with trifling articles of male attire for sale; stocks, pomatum, brushes, and beard-wax; but the said damsels are immediately pounced upon for partners.  In the intervals of the music a grand tournament takes place; the weapons being clay-pipes, which are speedily shattered into a thousand pieces, and strewn about the room to facilitate dancing.  Such a scene of shuffling, whirling, shouting, and pipe-crunching could scarcely be seen elsewhere.

We will take a German youth destined to become an artisan, and endeavour to follow him through the complication of conflicting usages of which he stands the ordeal.  Hans is fourteen years of age, and has just left school with a decent education.  Hans has his trade and master chosen for him; is taken before the heads of the guild, and his indenture duly signed and sealed in their presence, they themselves witnessing the document.  His term of apprenticeship is probably four years, perhaps six; a premium is seldom given, and when it is, it shortens the period of apprenticeship.  The indenture, together with a certificate of baptism, in some cases that of confirmation (which ceremony serves as an important epoch in Germany), and even a documentary proof of vaccination, are deposited in the coffers of the guild, and kept at the Herberge for future reference.

p. 28Obedience to elders and superiors is the one great duty inculcated in the minds of all Germans, and Hans is taught to look upon his master as a second father; to consider short commons as a regulation for his especial good, and to bear cuffing—if he should fall in the way of it—patiently.  If he be an apprentice in Vienna, he may possibly breakfast upon a hunch of brown bread, and an unlimited supply of water; dine upon a thin soup and a block of tasteless, fresh-boiled beef; and sup upon a cold crust.  He may fare better or worse; but, as a general rule, he will sleep in a vile hole, will look upon coffee and butter as undeniable luxuries, and know the weight of his master’s hand.

Hans has one great source of pleasure.  There is a state school, which he attends on Sundays, and where he is instructed in drawing and modelling.  In his future travels he will find the advantage he has acquired over less educated mechanics in this necessary knowledge; and should he come to England, he will discover that his skill as a draughtsman will place him at once in a position superior to that of the chance-taught workmen about him.  He completes his apprenticeship without attempting to run away.  That is practically impossible; but he yearns, with all the ardour of a young heart, for the happy day when he may tramp out of his native town with his knapsack on his back, and the wide world before him.

We will suppose Hans out of his time, and declared a free journeyman by the guild.  The law of his country now has it that he must travel—generally for three years, perhaps four or six—before he can take up the position of a master.  He may work for a short period in his native town as a journeyman, but forth he must; nor is he in any way loth.  One only contingency there is, which may serve to arrest him in his course,—he may be drawn as a conscript—and, possibly, forget in the next two or three years, as a soldier, all he has previously learned in four as a mechanic.  But we suppose Hans to have escaped this peril, and to be on the eve of his departure.

When an English gentleman, or mechanic, or beggar, in these isles, has resolved upon making a journey, he has but to pack up his traps, whether it be in his portmanteau, his deal-box, or his pocket-handkerchief; to purchase his ticket at the railway or steam-packet station; and without asking or consulting with anybody about the matter, to take his seat in the vehicle, and off he goes.  p. 29Not so Hans.  He gives his master fourteen days’ notice of his intention to wander; applies to the aldermen of his guild for copies of the various documents concerning himself in their possession; and obtains from his employer a written attestation of his past services.  This document is called a “Kundschaft;” is written in set form, acknowledges his probity and industry, and is countersigned by the two aldermen.  He is now in a condition to wait upon the “Herberges-Vater” (the landlord of the House of Call), and request his signature also.  The Vater, seeing that Hans owes nothing to him or to any other townsman—and all creditors know that they have only to report their claims at the Herberge to obtain for them a strict attention—signs his paper, “all quit.”  Surely he may start forth now!  Not so; the most important document is still wanting.  He has, as yet, no passport or wander-book.

Hans goes to the police-bureau, and, as he is poor, has to wait a long while.  If Hans were rich, or an artist, or a master’s son, it is highly probable that ho would be able to obtain a passport—and the possession of a passport guarantees many advantages—but as Hans is simply a workman, a “wander-book” only is granted to him.  This does indeed cost him less money, but it thrusts him into an unwelcome position, from which it is not easy to escape.  He is placed under stricter rule, and, among other things, is forced, during his wandering, to sleep at his trade Herberge, which, from the very monopoly it thus enjoys, is about the worst place he could go to for a lodging.

The good magistrate of Perleberg—the frontier town of Prussia, as you enter from Mecklenburg—had the kindness to affix to my passport a document entitled, “Ordinance concerning the Wandering of Working-men.”  I will briefly translate its contents.  The “Verordnung” commences with a preamble, to the effect that, notwithstanding the various things that have been done and undone with respect to the aforesaid journeymen, it still happens that numbers of them wander purposeless about the land, to the great burden of their particular trades and the public in general, and to the imminent danger of the common safety.  Therefore, be it enacted, that “passports,” that is to say, “passes,” in which the distinct purpose of the journey is stated, such as a search for employment; or “wander-books,” in which occupation by manual labour is the especial object, are to be granted to those natives of Prussia only who pursue a trade or art for the perfection of which p. 30travelling may be considered useful or necessary.  To those only who are irreproachable in character, and perfectly healthy in body; this latter to be attested by a medical certificate.  To those only who have not passed their thirtieth year, nor have travelled for the five previous years without intermission.  To those only who possess a proper amount of clothing, including linen, as well as a sum of money not less than five dollars (about sixteen shillings) for travelling expenses.  So much for natives.  Foreigners must possess all the above-named requisites; must be provided with proper credentials from their home authorities, and may not have been more than four weeks without employment on their arrival at the frontier.  Again, every wanderer must distinctly state in what particular town or city he intends to seek employment, and by what route he purposes to get there; and any deviation from the chosen road (which will be marked in the wander-book) will be visited by the punishment of expulsion from the country.  A fixed number of days will be allotted to the wanderer in which to reach his destination, but should he overstep that period, a similar punishment awaits him; expulsion from the country always meaning that the offender shall retrace his steps, and quit the land by the way he had entered it.  This is the substance of the “ordinance.”

Hans is ready for the road.  He has only now to take his farewell.  A farewell among workmen is simply a drinking-bout, a parting glass taken overnight.  Hans has many friends; these appoint a place of assemblage, and invite him thither.  It is a point of honour among them that the “wandering boy” shall pay nothing.  Imagine a large, half-lighted room; a crowded board of bearded faces.  On the table steams a huge bowl of punch, which the chosen head of the party, perhaps Johann’s late master, ladles into the tiny glasses.  He proclaims the toast, “The Health of the Wanderer!”  The little crowd are on their feet, and amid a pretty tinkling of glasses, an irregular shout arises, a small hurricane of voices, wishing him good speed.

What songs are sung, what healths are drunk, what heartfelt wishes are expressed!  The German workmen are good friends to one another—men who are already away from friends and home, and whose tenderest recollections are awakened in the farewell expressed to a departing companion.  Many tears are shed, many hearty presses of the hand are given, and not a few kisses impressed upon the cheek.  Little tokens of affection are interchanged, and p. 31promises to write are made, but seldom kept.  With this mingling and outpouring of full hearts, the stream of punch still flows through tiny glasses: but, since “Many a little makes a mickle,” the farewell thus taken ends sometimes as a debauch.

Hans, in the morning, is perhaps a little the worse for last night’s punch.  He is attired in a clean white blouse, strapped round the waist; a neat travelling-cap; low, stout shoes; and, possibly, linen wrappers, instead of socks.  The knapsack, strapped to his back, contains a sufficient change of linen, a coat artistically packed, which is to be worn in cities, and a few necessary tools; the whole stock weighing, perhaps, twenty or thirty pounds.  On the sides of the knapsack are little pouches, containing brushes, blacking, and soap; and in his breast-pocket is stowed away a little flask of brandy-schnaps, to revive his drooping spirits on the road.  A stout stick completes his equipment.  A last adieu from the one friend of his heart, who will walk a few miles with him on the way—and so he is launched fairly on his journey.

Hans finds the road much harder, and his knapsack heavier than he had expected.  Now he is drenched with rain, and can get no shelter; and, when he does, he will find straw an inconvenient substitute for a bed.  At last he arrives at Berlin.  He has picked up a companion on the road; and, as it frequently happens that several trades hold their meetings in the same house, they both are bound to the same Herberge.  Through strange, half-lighted streets, along narrow edges of pavement, they proceed till they enter a court, or wynd, with no footpath at all, and they are in the Schuster Gasse, before the door of the Herberge.  The comrade of Hans announces them as they pass the bar, and the next moment they are in the travellers’ room, amid as motley a group as ever met within four walls.

Tumult and hubbub.  An indescribable odour of tobacco, cummin (carraway), and potato-salad.  A variety of hustled blouses.  Sunburnt and haggard faces.  Ragged beards and unkempt locks.  A strong pipe hanging from every lip; beer, or kümmil (a spirit prepared with cummin) at every hand.  Wild snatches of song, and hurried bursts of dialogue.  Some are all violence and uproar; some are half dead with sleep and fatigue, their arms sprawling about the tables.  Such is the inside of a German trade traveller’s room.

Hans and his companion hand over their papers to the “father” as a security, and their knapsacks to a sluttish-looking girl, who p. 32deposits them in a cupboard in the corner of the room, and locks the door upon them.  Our travellers order a measure of Berliner Weiss Bier, to be in keeping with the rest, and long for the hour of sleep.  At length, a stout young man enters, carrying a lighted lantern, and in a loud voice of authority summonses all to bed.  And there is a scrambling and hustling among some of the travellers, a hasty guzzling of beer and spirits, and a few low murmurs at being disturbed, but none dare disobey.

A shambling troop of sixteen or eighteen, they quit the room, and enter a small paved yard, preceded by the young man with the lantern.  There is a rough building resembling a stable, at the other end of the yard; and, in one corner, a steep ladder, with a handrail, which leads to a chamber above.  They ascend, and enter a long, low loft, so completely crowded with rough bedsteads that there remains but a narrow alley between them, just sufficient to allow a single person to pass.  Eight double beds, and the ceiling so low that the companion of Hans can scarcely stand upright with his hat on.

“New-comers this way,” shouts the conductor.

“What’s the matter, now?” inquires Hans of his comrade.

“Take off your coat,” is the answer in a whisper; “undo the wristbands, and throw open the collar of your shirt.”

“What for?”

“To be examined.”

So they are examined; and, being pronounced sound, are allowed to sleep with the rest of the flock.  In this loft, each bed with at least two occupants, and the door locked—without consideration for fire, accident, or sudden indisposition,—Hans passes the first night in Berlin.

But there is no work in Berlin, and Hans must pursue his journey.  He waits for hours at the police-office, as play-goers wait at the door of a London theatre.  By and by, he gets into the small bureau with a desperate rush.  That business is settled, and he is off again.  Time runs on; and, after a further tramp of good two hundred miles, Hans gets settled at last in the free city of Hamburg.

With the exception of a few factories, such as the silk-works at Chemnitz, in Saxony, and the colony of goldsmiths at Pfortzheim, in Wurtemburg, there are few extensive manufactories in Germany.  Trade is split up into little masterships of from one to five or six men.  p. 33This circumstance materially affects the relation between the employer and employed.

The master under whom Hans serves at Hamburg is a pleasant, affable gentleman; his apprentice Peter may be of a different opinion, but that is of no consequence.  The master has spent the best years of his life in England and France; has learned to speak the languages of both countries with perfect facility, and is one of the lucky monopolists of his trade.  He employs three workmen; one of them, who is possessed of that peculiar cast of countenance generally attributed to the children of Israel, has been demurred to by the Guild,—and why?  Because a Jew is legally incapable of working in Hamburg.  He is, however, allowed the usual privileges on attesting that he is not an Israelite.

Our master accommodates under his own roof one workman and his apprentice Peter.  The others, whom he cannot lodge, are allowed each one mark-banco (fourteen pence) per week, to enable them to find a bed-chamber elsewhere.  They suffer a pecuniary loss by the arrangement.  Hans sleeps in a narrow box, built on the landing, into which no ray of heaven’s light had ever penetrated.  His bedding is a very simple affair.  He is troubled with neither blankets nor sheets.  An “under” and an “over” bed, the latter rather lighter than the former, and both supposed to be of feathers, form his bed and bedding.  Hans is as well off as others, so he does not complain.  As for the apprentice, Peter, it was known that he disappeared at a certain hour every evening; and from his appearance when he turned out in the morning, Hans was under the impression that he wildly shot himself into some deep and narrow hole, and slept the night through on his head.

And how does Hans fare under his master’s roof?  Considering the reminiscences of his apprenticeship, he relishes his cup of coffee in the morning; his tiny round roll of white bread; the heavy black rye-loaf, into which he is allowed to hew his way unchecked; and the beautiful Holstein butter.  Not being accustomed to better food, it is possible that he enjoys the tasteless, fresh boiled beef, and the sodden baked meat, with no atom of fat, which form the staple food at dinner.  Whether he can comprehend the soups which are sometimes placed before him,—now made of shredded lemons, now of strained apples, and occasionally of plain water, with a sprinkling of rice, is another matter; but the sourkraut and bacon, the boiled beef and raisins, p. 34and the baked veal and prunes, are certain to be looked upon by him as unusual luxuries.

The master presides at the table, and blesses the meat with the air of a father of his people.  Although workmen in Germany are little better than old apprentices, this daily and familiar intercourse has the effect of breaking down the formal barriers which in England effectually divide the capitalist and the labourer.  It creates a respectful familiarity, which raises the workman without lowering the master.  The manners of both are thereby decidedly improved.

Hans gradually learns other trade customs.  His comrade falls sick, and is taken to the free hospital, a little way out of the city.  This hospital is clean and well kept, but fearfully crowded.  The elder journeymen of the Guild are there too, and they comfort the sick man, and hand him the weekly stipend, half-a-crown, allowed out of the sick-fund.  Hans contributes to this sick-fund two marks—two shillings and fourpence—a quarter.  He does it willingly, but the master has power to deduct it from his wages in the name of the Guild.  His poor sick friend dies; away from home and friends—a desolate being among strangers.  But he is not, therefore, to be neglected.  Every workman in the trade is called upon to contribute his share—about sevenpence—towards the expenses of the funeral; and the two senior, assisted by four other journeymen, in full evening dress, attend his funeral.  His effects are then carefully packed up, and sent—a melancholy memorial of the dead—to his relations.

From the same fund which relieves the sick, are the “wandering boys” also assisted.  But the “Geschenk” (gift), as it is called, is a mere trifle; sometimes but a few pence, and in a large city like Berlin it amounts to but twenty silver groschen—little more than two shillings.  It is not considered disgraceful to accept this donation; as all, when in work, contribute towards the fund from which it is supplied.

And what is the amount of wages that German workmen receive?  In Hamburg wages vary from five to eight marks per week, that is, from seven shillings to ten and sixpence, paid monthly.  In Leipsic they are paid fortnightly, and average about ten shillings per week.  In Berlin wages are paid by the calendar month, and average twenty-four dollars (a dollar is rather more than three shillings), for that period; so that a workman may be said to earn about eighteen shillings a week, but is dependent on his own resources for food and lodging.  In Vienna the same regulation exists, and wages range p. 35from five to eight guldens—ten to sixteen shillings per week—paid weekly, as in England.  But a workman in Vienna may be respectably lodged, lighted, and washed for at the rate of half-a-crown a week.  In Berlin and Vienna married journeymen are to be met with, but not in great numbers, and in smaller towns they may almost be said to be unknown.  Dr. Korth, in his address to his young friends, the “travelling boys,” on this subject, emphatically says—“Avoid, in God’s name, all attachments to womankind, more especially to those of whom your hearts would say, ‘These could I love.’”  And then the quaint old gentleman proceeds to say a number of ungallant things, which are not worth translating.

No! the German workman is taught to hold himself free, that he may carry out the law of his land to the letter; that he may return from his travels at the appointed time “a wiser and a better man;” that he may show proofs of his acquired skill in his trade, and thereupon claim the master’s right and position.  He is then free to marry, and is looked upon as an “eligible party.”  But how seldom does all this come to pass, may the thousands who swarm in London and Paris; may the German colonies which dot the American States, sufficiently tell.  Many linger in large cities till they feel that to return to the little native village, and its old, poor, plodding ways, would be little better than burial alive; and some return, wasted with foreign vice and purchased adversity, premature old men, to die upon the threshold of their early homes.

One more question—what are their amusements?  It would be a long story to tell, but certainly home-reading is not a prominent enjoyment among them.  German governments, as a rule, take care that the people’s amusements shall not be interfered with.  The workmen throng in dance-houses, beer-cellars, cafés, and theatres, which are all liveliest and most attractive on a Sunday; and, as they are tolerably cheap, they are generally a successful lure from deep thinking or study.  Besides, the German workman has no home.  If he stay there at all in holiday hours, it is to draw, or model, or sing romances to the strumming of his guitar.


hamburg to lübeck.

The bleak, icy winter of North Germany is past.  We have trodden its accumulated snows as they lay in crisp heaps in the streets of Hamburg; and have watched the muffled crowd upon the frozen Alster, darting and reeling, skating, sliding, and sleighing upon its opaque and motionless surface.  We have alternately loved and execrated the massive German oven, which warmed us indeed, but never showed us a cheerful face.  We have sipped our coffee or our punch in the beautiful winter garden of Tivoli, under the shade of lemon-trees, with fragrant flowers and shrubs around us; and finally, have looked upon the ice-bound Elbe with its black vessels, slippery masts, and rigid cordage, and seen the Hanoverian milk lasses skimming its dun expanse laden with their precious burdens.  We have got over the slop and drizzle, and half-thawed slush, too; and the boisterous March wind dashes among the houses; and what is better than all, the fresh mornings are growing brighter and longer with every returning sun.

Away, then, out of the old city, alone on the flat, sandy road that lies between Hamburg and Berlin.  Here we are, with hope before us, resolution spurring us on, and a twenty-eight pound knapsack on our backs.  Tighten the straps, my friend, and you will walk easier with your load.

My journey as a workman on the tramp from Hamburg to Berlin I propose to tell, as simply as I can.  I have no great adventures to describe, but I desire to illustrate some part of what has already been said about the workmen in Germany, and I can do this best by relating, just as it was, a small part of my own road experience, neither more nor less wonderful than the experience which is every day common to thousands of Germans.

I was very poor when I set out from Hamburg in the month of March, with my knapsack strapped to my back, my stick in my hand, and my bottle of strong comfort slung about my neck after p. 37the manner of a locket.  I was not poor in my own conceit, for I had in my fob—the safest pocket for so large a sum of money—two gold ducats and some Prussian dollars: English money, thirty-five shillings.  I thought I was a proper fellow with that quantity of ready cash upon my person, and a six weeks’ beard on my chin.

Many adieus had been spoken in Hamburg at our last night’s revel, but a Danish friend was up betimes to see me out of town.  At length he also bade the wanderer farewell, and for the comfort of us both my locket having passed from hand to hand, he left me to tramp on alone, over the dull, flat, sandy road.  There was scarcely a tree to be seen, and the sky looked like a heavy sheet of lead, but I stepped out boldly and made steady progress.  The road got to be worse; I came among deep ruts and treacherous sloughs, and the fields on each side of the road were flooded.  In some parts the road was a sand swamp, and the walk became converted into a gymnastic exercise; a leaping about towards what seemed the hard and knobby places that appeared among the mud.  This exercise soon made me conscious of the knapsack, to which I was then not thoroughly accustomed.  It was not so much the weight that I felt, but the tightness of the belt across the chest, which caused pain and impediment of breathing.  Custom, however, caused the knapsack to become even an aid to me in walking.

A sturdy young fellow who did not object to mud was pushing his way recklessly behind me.  I was soon overtaken, we exchanged kind greetings, and jogged on together, shoulder to shoulder.  He had been upon his travels; had been in Denmark for two years, and had left Copenhagen to return to his native village, that lay then only eight or ten miles before us.  What was his reason for returning?  He was required to perform military service, and for the next two years at least—or for a longer time, should war break out—was doomed to be a soldier.  He did not think the doom particularly hard, and we jogged on together in a cheerful mood until his knowledge of the ground became distressingly familiar, and he illustrated portions of the scenery with tales of robbery and murder.  The scenery of the road became at every turn more picturesque.  Instead of passing between swampy fields, it ran along a hollow, and the ground was on each side broken into deep holes with rugged edges; black leafless bushes stood out from the grey and yellow sand, while farther away in the background, against the leaden sky, there was a sombre fringe of thickly planted fir-trees.  p. 38The daylight, dim at noon, had become dimmer as evening drew near; the grey sky darkened, and the tales of robbery and murder made my thoughts anything but cheerful.  As the hills grew higher on each side of us, it occurred to us both that here was a fine place for a murder, and I let my companion go before, handling my stick at the same time as one ready to strike instantly if any injury were offered.  I was just demonstrative enough to frighten my companion.  We were a mere couple of rabbits.  Each of us in his innocence feared that the other might be a guilty monster, and so we were both glad enough to get out of the narrow pass.  On the other side of the glen the road widened, and my companion paused at the head of a little path that led down to a deeper corner of the hollow, and across the fields.  That was his way home.  He had but a mile to go, and was already anticipating all the kisses of his household.  He wished me a prosperous journey; I wished him a happy welcome in his village; and we shook hands like two young men who owed amends to one another.

He had told me before we parted that there were two houses of entertainment not far in advance.  Already I saw the red-tiled roof of one, that looked like a respectable farm-house.  From the door of that house, however, I was turned away; and as the darkness of the evening was changing into night, I ran as fast as I was able to the next place of shelter.  By the pump, the horse-trough, and the dirty pool I knew that there was entertainment there for man and horse.  I therefore raised the wooden latch, and in a modest tone made my request for a bed.  A vixenish landlady from the midst of a group of screaming children cried to me, “You can’t have a bed, you can have straw.”  That would do quite as well, I said.

I sat down at a table in a corner of the large room, called for a glass of beer, produced some bread and sausage that I had brought with me from Hamburg, and made a comfortable supper.  There was a large wood fire blazing on the ample hearth, but the landlord and his family engrossed its whole vicinity.  The house contained no other sitting-room and no other sleeping accommodation than the one family bedroom and the barn.

While I was at supper there came in other wandering boys like myself.  I had escaped the rain, but they had not; they came in dripping: a stout man, and a tall, lank stripling.  The youth wore a white blouse and hat covered with oil-skin; his trousers were tucked halfway up his legs, and he had mud up to his ankles.  We p. 39soon exchanged our scraps of information about one another.  The stout man was a baker from Lübeck on the way to Hamburg; the stripling, probably not yet out of his teens, was part brazier, part coppersmith, part tinman; had been three weeks on his travels, and had come, like myself, from Hamburg since morning.  He was very poor.  He did not tell us that; but he ordered nothing to eat or drink, and except the draught of comfort that he got out of my bottle, the poor fellow went supperless to bed.  Not altogether supperless though, for he had some smoke.  We made a snug little party in the corner, and talked, smoked, and comforted ourselves, after the children had been put to bed, and while the landlord, landlady, and an old grandfather told stories to each other in Low German by the fire.  At nine o’clock the landlord lighted his lantern, and told us bluffly that we might go to bed.  We therefore, having handed him our papers—passports and wander-books—for his security and for our own, followed into the barn.  That was a place large enough to hold straw for a regiment of soldiers.  It was a continuation of the dwelling-house, sheltered under the same roof.  We mounted three rude ladders, and so got from floor to floor into the loft.  Having guided us safely thither, he quitted us at once with a “good night;” taking his lantern with him, and leaving us to make our beds in the thick darkness as we could.  The straw was not straw: it was short-cut hay, old enough to have lost all scent of hay, and to have acquired some other scents less pleasing to the nose; hay, trodden, pressed, and matted down, without a vestige in it of its ancient elasticity.  There was nothing in it to remind us of a summer tumble on the hay-cock.  The barn roof was open, and the March night wind whistled over us.  I took off my boots to ease my swollen feet; took my coat off that I might spread it over my chest as a counterpane; and struggled in vain to work a hole for my feet into the hard knotted bank of hay.  So I spent the night, just so much not asleep that I was always conscious, dimly, of the snoring of the baker, and awoke sometimes to wonder what the landlord’s cock had supped upon, for it was continually crowing in its sleep, on the barn-floor below.  When morning broke we rose and had a brisk wash at the pump, scraped the mud from our boots, and breakfasted.  The baker and I had plain dry bread and hot coffee.  The tinman breakfasted on milk.  He said it was better—poor fellow! he knew it was cheaper.  By p. 40seven o’clock we were all afoot again, the baker journeying to Hamburg, the tinman and I road-companions to Lübeck.

At noon, after a five hours’ walk, a pleasant roadside inn with a deep gable roof and snug curtains behind its lattice windows, tempted me to rest and dine.  “We shall get a good dinner here,” I said; “let us go in.”  The tinman would hear of no such thing.  “We must get on to Lübeck,” he replied.  “Two more hours of steady walking and we shall be there.”  Poor youth!  At Lübeck he could demand a dinner at his herberge, and he had no chance of any other.  So we trudged on till the tall turrets and steeples of Lübeck rose on the horizon.  The tinman desired to know what my intentions were.  Was I going straight on to Berlin without working?  Should I seek work at Lübeck?  If not, of course I would take the viaticum.  “I thought not,” I told him.  “Ah, then,” he said, “you have some money.”  The viaticum is the tramp-money that may be claimed from his guild by the travelling workman.  Germans, like other people, like to take pills gilded, and so they cloak the awkward incident of poverty under a Latin name.

Lübeck being in sight we sat down upon a grassy bank to make our toilet.  A tramp’s knapsack always has little pouches at the side for soap, brushes, and blacking.  We were not so near to the tall steeples as we thought, and it took us a good hour and a half before we reached the city gates.  The approaches are through pretty avenues of young trees and ornamental flower-plots.  The town entrance at which we arrived was simply a double iron gate, like a park gate in England.  As we were about to pass in, the sentinel beckoned and pointed us towards a little whitened watchbox, at which we stopped to hand our papers through a pigeon-hole.  In a few minutes the police officer came out, handed to me my passport with great politeness, and in a sharp voice bade the tinman follow him.  Such is the difference between a passport and a wander-book.  I, owner of a passport, might go whither I would: tinman, carrying a wander-book, was marched off by the police to his appointed house of call.  I took full advantage of my liberty, and, as became a weary young man with two gold ducats in his fob, went to recruit my strength with the best dinner I could get.  Having taken off my knapsack and my blouse, I soon, therefore, was indulging in a lounge upon the sofa of one of the best hotels in the sleepy and old-fashioned free city of Lübeck.


lübeck to berlin.

By right of churches full of relics, antique buildings, and places curiously named, Lübeck is, no doubt, a jewel of a town to antiquarians.  Its streets are badly paved, but infinitely cleaner than the streets of Hamburg.  I did not much wonder at that, for I saw no people out of doors to make them dirty, when I exposed myself to notice from within doors as a solitary pedestrian, upon my way to take a letter to a goldsmith in the market place.  The market place is a kind of exchange; a square building with an open court in the centre, around which there is a covered way roofed quaintly with carved timbers.  In this building the mechanical trades of Lübeck are collected, each trade occupying a space exclusively its own under the colonnade.  Here, all the tradesmen are compelled to work, but are not permitted to reside.  Each master has his tiny shop-front with a trifling show of goods exposed in it, and his small workshop behind, in which, at most, two or three men can be employed.  In some odd little nooks the doors of these boxes are so arranged, that two masters cannot go out of adjoining premises at the same time without collision.

Though my friend in Lübeck was a stranger, as a brother jeweller he gave me friendly welcome.  Having inquired into my resources, he said, “You must take the viaticum.”—“It is like begging,” I answered.—“Nonsense,” he replied; “you pay for it when you are in work, and have a right to it when travelling.”—“But I might find employment, on inquiry.”—“Do not be alarmed, my friend; there is not a job to be done in the whole city.”  I was forced, therefore, by my friend’s good-natured earnestness, to make the usual demand throughout the little group of goldsmiths, and having thus satisfied the form, I was conducted to our Guild alderman and treasurer.  A little quiet conversation passed between them, and the cash-box was then emptied out into my hand; p. 42it contained twenty-eight Hamburg shillings, equal to two shillings in English money.

I returned to my hotel and slept in a good bed that night.  The morning broke heavily, and promised a day’s rain.  Through the lowering weather and the dismal streets I went to the police office to get my passport viséd for Schwerin in Mecklenburg.  Most dismal streets!  The Lübeckers were complaining of loss of trade, and yearned for a railway from Lübeck to Hamburg.  But the line would run through a corner of Holstein, and no such thing would be tolerated by the Duke.  The Lübeckers wanted the Russian traffic to come through their town and on to Hamburg by rail.  The Duke of Holstein wished to bring it through his little port of Kiel upon the Baltic.

Too poor to loiter on the road, having got my passport viséd, I again strapped the knapsack to my back, and set out through the long avenues of trees over the long, wet road, through bitter wind and driving rain.  Soaked with rain, and shivering with cold, I entered the village of Schöneberg at two o’clock, just after the rain had ceased, as deplorable a figure as a man commonly presents when all the vigour has been washed out of his face, and his clothes hang limp and damp about his body.  Wearied to death, I halted at the door of an inn, but was told inhospitably—miserable tramp as I seemed, and was—that “I could go to the next house.”  At the next house they again refused me, already humbled, and advised me to go to The Tall Grenadier.  That is a house of call for masons.  I went to it, and was received there hospitably.  My knapsack being waterproof, I could put on dry clothes, and hang my wet garments round the stove, while the uproarious masons—terrible men for beer and music—comforted me with unending joviality.  They got into their hands a book of German songs that dropped out of my knapsack, and having appointed a reader, set him upon the table to declaim them.  Presently, another jolly mason cried out over a drinking song—declaimed among the others in a loud monotonous bawl—“I know that song;” and having hemmed and tuned his voice a little, broke out into music with tremendous power.  The example warmed the others; they began to look out songs with choruses, and so continued singing to the praise of wine and beauty out of my book, until they were warned home by the host.  I climbed a ladder to p. 43my bedroom, and slept well.  The Grenadier was not an expensive hotel, for in the morning when I paid my bill for bed and breakfast, I found that the accommodation cost me fourpence-halfpenny.

Since it is my desire not to fatigue the reader of this uneventful narrative, but simply to illustrate by a few notes drawn from my own experience the life of a German workman on the tramp, I shall now pass over a portion of the road between Hamburg and Berlin in silence.  My way lay through Schwerin; from Schöneberg to Schwerin is twenty-six English miles, and we find it a long way.  In reckoning distances, the Germans count by “stunden”—i.e. hours—and two “stunden” make one German mile.  From experience, I should say that five miles English were about equal to one mile German; but they vary considerably.  Having spent a night in the exceedingly neat city of Schwerin beside its pleasant waters, and under the protection of the cannon in the antiquated castle overhead, I set out for a walk of twenty miles onward to Ludwigslust.  The road was a pleasant one, firm and dry, with trim grass edgings and sylvan seats on either side.  The country itself was flat and dull, enlivened only now and then by a fir plantation or a pretty village.  Brother tramps passed me from time to time with a cheerful salutation, and at three o’clock I passed within the new brick walls of Ludwigslust; a town dignified as a pleasure seat with a military garrison, a ducal palace, and an English park.

The inn to which I went in Ludwigslust, was the house of call for carpenters.  The carpenters were there assembled in great force, laughing, smoking, and enjoying their red wine, which may have come from France, for Mecklenburg is no wine country.  It was the quarter-day and pay-day of the carpenters, who were about to celebrate the date as usual with a supper.  I went to sit down in the small travellers’ room, and was assailed instantly by the whole army of joiners, some with bleared eyes; with flushed faces under caps of every shape and colour; and a flexible pipe hanging from every mouth—Who was I?—What was I?—Whence did I come?—Where was I born? and whither was I going? etc., etc.  When they had found out all about me and confirmed their knowledge by examination of my passport, which one dull dog persisted in regarding as a book of ballads, out of which he sang, I began to ask concerning food.  “Nothing warm in the house,” said the housefather, a carpenter himself.  “There will be a grand supper at six p. 44o’clock, and everything and everybody is wanted in the preparation of it.  Make yourself easy for the present with brown bread and dripping, and a glass of beer, and then you can make your dinner with us when we sup.”  That suited me well enough.

The carpenters flowed out into the street, to take a stroll and get their appetites, leaving behind them one besotted man, who propped himself against the oven, and there gave himself a lecture on the blessings of equanimity under all circumstances of distress.

“Do you sleep here to-night?” inquired the host.  Certainly, I desired to do so.  “Then you must go to the police bureau for a permission.”—“But you have my passport; is not that sufficient?”—“Not in Ludwigslust; your passport must be held by the police, and they will give you in exchange for it a ticket, which I must hold, or else I dare not let you have a lodging.”  I went to the police office at once; through the ill-paved street into the middle of the town.  I went by a large gravelled square, which serves as a riding ground for the cavalry in the adjoining barracks; and a long broad street of no great beauty, ending in a flight of steps, led me then to the police office, and would have led me also, had that been my destination, to the ducal palace.  The palace fronts to a paved square; it is a massive, noble edifice of stone, having before it a fine cascade with a treble fall.  To the left, across a green meadow, I observed the church—the only church—a simple whitewashed building with a colonnaded front.  At the foot of the low flight of steps was the police office, in which I found one man, who civilly copied my passport into a book, put it aside, and gave me a ticket of permission to remain one night in Ludwigslust.  I was desired to call for my passport before leaving in the morning.

At seven o’clock there was no sign of supper.  At eight o’clock the cloth was spread in a long, low lumber-room at the back of the inn, and the assembled carpenters took their seats before the board, or rather boards supported upon tressels.  I took my place and waited hungrily.  Very soon there was a great steam over the whole table sent up from huge tureens of boiled potatoes; smaller dishes of preserved prunes, boiled also, occupied the intervals.  A bottle of red wine was placed for every two men.  We then began our meal with soup; thin, sorry stuff.  Then came the chief dishes, baked veal and baked pig’s head.  The prunes were to be eaten with the veal, which meat, having been first boiled to make the soup, and then baked in a deep dish in a close oven to bring out some of the p. 45faded flavour, was a sodden mass, and the whole meal was removed a very long way from the roast fillet of veal and pickled pork known to an Englishman.  Our pig’s head was, however, capital,—no soup had been made out of that.  The carpenters, with assiduous kindness, heaped choice bits upon my plate, and as I had not dined, I supped with energy.  The drunken man who had fallen asleep by the stove sat by my side with greedy looks, eating nothing, for he had not paid his share; he was a man who drank away his gains, and he received no pity.

Then after supper there came toasts.  The president was on his legs, all glasses were filled; men ready.  “Long live the Guild of carpenters!  Vivat h—o!” The ho! was a howl; the glasses clashed.  “Long live all carpenters!  Vivat ho—o!”  At ten o’clock there was a bustle and confusion at the door, and a long string of lads marched, two and two, cap in hand, into the room.  These were all the carpenters’ apprentices in Ludwigslust.  Every quarterly night the hospitable carpenters have them in after supper to be regaled with beer and cordials, and initiated into the mysteries of jollity that are connected with the existence of a master carpenter.  “Long live all carpenters’ apprentices!  Vivat ho—o—o!”  The apprentices having revelled in as much beer and spirits as could be got through, shouting included, in a quarter of an hour, formed double line again, and marched out under a fire of lusty cheers into the street.  Some jolly carpenters still lingered in the supper room, smoking or singing choruses, or making partners of each other for mad waltzes round the table to the music of their tongues.

Longing for bed, I was obliged to wait until the landlord was at leisure to attend to me.  After I rose next morning, I waited for three hours impatiently enough until the sleepy host had risen; for until I had received my ticket back from him I was unable to get my passport and go on.  At length, however, I got out of the brick walls of Ludwigslust, and marched forward under a clear sky on the way to Perleberg, my next stage, distant about fifteen English miles.

Having passed through two dirty, ill-paved towns, and being in some uncertainty about the road, I asked my way of a short, red-faced man who, being himself bound for the frontier station, favoured me so far with his company.  He was a post-boy whose vocation was destroyed, but who was nevertheless blessed with p. 46philosophy enough to recognise the merits of the railway system, and to point out the posts marking the line between Berlin and Hamburg, with the comment that “the world must move.”  It seemed to be enough for him that he lived in the recollection of the people on his old road-side, and that he could stop with me outside a toll-gate, the first I had seen in Germany, sure of the production of a bottle for a social dram, in which I cordially joined.  Then presently we came to a small newly-built village, the Prussian military station.  A sentinel standing silent and alone by his sentry box striped with the Prussian colours, black and white, marked where the road crossed the Prussian frontier.  We passed unchallenged, and found dinner upon the territory of the Black Eagle, in a very modest house of entertainment.

Travelling alone onward to Perleberg, I stopped once more for refreshment at a melancholy, dirty place, having one common room, of which the chairs and tables contained as much heavy timber as would build a house.  I wanted an hour’s rest, for my knapsack had become a burden to me, and the handles of the few tools I was obliged to carry dug themselves relentlessly into my back.  “White or brown beer?” asked the attendant.  Dolt that I was to answer Brown!  They brought me a vile treacley compound that I could not drink; whereas the Berlin white beer is a famous effervescing liquor; so good, says a Berliner, that you cannot distinguish it from champagne if you drink it rapidly with closed eyes, and at the same time press your nose between your fingers.  In the evening I got to Perleberg, and walking wearily up the old, irregular High Street, established myself at the Londoner Schenke—the London Tavern.  I found the parlour pleasant and almost private, the hostess quiet and lady-like.  While she was getting coffee ready for me, I paid my call of duty upon the police; for though my passport had been viséd to Berlin in half a dozen places, the law required that I should not sleep in a new kingdom without first announcing my arrival.

At the upper end of the market place I found a red brick building with a gloomy door, opening upon a broad stone staircase, by which I mounted to the magistrate’s room.  That was a lofty hall, badly lighted by two little windows, and scantily furnished with a few seats.  Behind a railing sat the magistrate in a velvet skull-cap and black robe; a short fat man with a satisfied face, but unsatisfied and restless eyes.  Two armed soldiers shared with him the space beyond the rail.  Two townsmen, hat in hand, were patiently p. 47waiting for their passes.  Having mentioned my business, I was told that I might wait; standing, of course.  The heavy quiet of the room was broken presently by the entrance of two young workmen in clean blouses, bound upon an errand like my own, who hovered in a tremulous condition near the doorway.

The magistrate of Perleberg, after awhile, looked at my passport, and asked “Have you the requisite amount of travelling money to show?”  I had not expected such a question, but the two gold ducats were still in my fob, and I produced them with the air of a fine gentleman.  One of the soldiers took them in his hand, examined them and passed them to his comrade, who passed them to the townspeople.  “They are good,” said the soldier, as he put them back into my hand.—“Is that enough?” I asked, as though there had been thousands of such things about other parts of my person, for I saw that I had made an impression.  “That will do,” said the magistrate, “you may sit down.”  O miserable homage before wealth!  They would not keep me standing.

It had grown dark, and a lighted candle had been placed upon the desk of the chief magistrate, a most diligent man in his office, who, seeing no description of my person in the passport, set to work with the zest of an artist upon the depiction of my features.  Examining each feature minutely with a candle, he put down the results of his researches, and then finally read off his work to me with this note at the bottom—“The little finger of his left hand is crooked.”

The hostess of the London Tavern, when I got back to my quarters, must have heard about my wealth.  That pleasant little maiden lady told me all about her house, and how it had been named afresh after the King of Prussia slept there on his way to London, where he was to act as sponsor to the Prince of Wales.  I, who had been turned away from the doors of the humblest inns, was flattered and courted by a landlady who had entertained His Majesty of Prussia.  The neatest of chambermaids conducted me to an elegant bedchamber—“her own room,” the little old maid had said as I left her—and there I slept upon the couch sacred to her maiden meditations, among hangings white as snow.

The next morning I went out into Perleberg,—a ricketty old place, full of rats and legends.  There is a colossal figure in the market-place of an armed knight, eighteen or twenty feet high, gazing eternally into the fruit baskets below.  He has his head uncovered, his hand upon his sword, and is made of stone; but who he p. 48is nobody seemed to know; I was only told that the statue would turn any one to stone who fixed his eyes upon it in intense gaze for a sufficiently long time.  I visited the chief jeweller, a wonderful man, who was said to have visited nearly all parts of the known world except London and Paris.  I found him with one workman, very busy, but not doing much; and he was very civil, although manifestly labouring under the fear that I had come to ask for a “viaticum.”  I did not.  I went back to eat a hearty breakfast at the London Tavern, where I found the mistress gracious, and the handmaid very chatty and coquettish.  From her talk I half concluded that I was believed to be an Englishman who travelled like a journeyman for the humour of the thing: the English are so odd, and at the London Tavern they had not been without experience of English ways.  My display of the gold pieces must have been communicated to them overnight, by one of the townspeople who heard me tell the magistrate at what inn I was staying.

From Perleberg to Keritz was eighteen miles.  Upon the road I came up with a poor fellow limping pitiably.  He had a flat wooden box upon his back, being a tramping glazier; and he made snail’s progress, having his left thigh swollen by much walking.  I loitered with him as long as my time allowed, and then dashed on to recover the lost ground.  Passing at a great pace a neat road-side inn, singing the while, a jolly red face blazed out upon me from the lattice window.  “Ei da!  You are merry.  Whither so fast?”—“To Berlin.”—“Wait an instant and I’m with you.”  Two odd figures tumbled almost at the end of the instant out of the house door.  One a burly man with a red face and a large moustache, the other a chalky young man with a pair of Wellington boots slung round his neck.  They were both native Prussians on the way from Hamburg to Berlin, having come through Magdeburg, travelling, they declared, at the rate of about six-and-twenty English miles a day.  These Prussians will talk; but at whatever rate my friends might have travelled, they were nearly dead beat.  They had sent on their knapsacks by the waggon, finding them unmercifully heavy.  The stout traveller had a white sack over his shoulders, his trousers tucked up to his knees, and his Wellington boots cut down into ankle-jacks to ease his chafed shins, that were already dotted with hectic red spots from over-exertion.  His young friend carried his best Wellingtons about his neck, and wore a pair of cracked boots, through which I could see the colour, in some places, p. 49of his dark blue socks, in other places of his dark red flesh.  Both were lamed by the same cause, inflammation of the front of the leg, in which part I also had begun to feel some smartings.

We got on merrily, in spite of our legs, and overtook two very young travellers, whom I recognised as the flutterers before the presence of the magistrate at Perleberg.  One proved to be a bookbinder, the other a wood-turner.  They were fresh upon their travels, and their clean white blouses, the arrangements of their knapsacks, and the little neatnesses and comforts here and there about them, showed that they had not yet travelled many days’ march from a mother’s care.  Then we toiled on, until our elder friend grew worse and worse about his feet, laughing and joking himself out of pain as he was able.  Finally, he could go no farther, and we waited until we could send him forward in a passing cart.

He being dispatched, we travelled on, I and my friend with the boot-necklace, till we met a little crowd of men in blouses, little queer caps, knapsacks, and ragged beards, all carrying sticks.  They were travelling boys like ourselves, bound from Berlin to Hamburg.  “Halloo!” they cried.  “Halloo!” we answered, shouting in unison as we approached each other.  When we met, a little friendly skirmish with our sticks was the first act of greeting.  A storm of questions and replies then followed.  We all knew each other in a few minutes; carpenters, turners, glovers were there,—not a jeweller among them but myself.  We parted soon, for time was precious.  “Love to Berlin,” cried one of them back to us.  “My compliments to Hamburg,” I replied; and then we all struck up an amatory chorus of the “Fare thee well, love” species, that fitted properly with our position.

Continuing upon our way we found our lame companion smoking a pipe comfortably outside the village inn at Warnow.  His cart was resting there for bait to man and horse.  We baited also and discussed black bread-and-butter, and Berlin white beer, till the cart carried away our moustachioed friend, never again, perhaps, to meet us in this world, and not likely to be recognised by his moustachios in the other.

My chalky comrade, who was also very lame, lay on the ground in a desperate condition before the day was over, and it was with some difficulty that I brought him safe by nightfall into Wusterhausen.  He had become also mysterious, and evidently inquisitive p. 50as to the state of my finances, exhibiting on his own part hasty glimpses of a brass medal wrapped up in fine wool, which he wished me to look upon as a double ducat.  When we got to the inn-door, my friend made a hurried proposition very nervously, which made his purpose clear.  There were sixty English miles of road between us and Berlin; he was knocked up, and a fast coach, or rumbling omnibus, accommodating six insides, would start for Berlin in the morning.  He thought he could bargain with the coachman to take us to Berlin for a dollar—three shillings—a piece, if I did not mind advancing his fare, because he did not want to change the double ducat until he got home.  I put no difficulty in his way, for he was a good fellow, and moreover would be well able to help me in return, by telling me the addresses of some people I depended upon finding in Berlin.  He proceeded, therefore, into the agonies of bargaining, and was not disappointed in his expectation.  At the price of a dollar a-piece we were packed next morning in a frowsy vehicle, tainted with much tobacco-smoke, to which he came with his swollen feet pressed only half-way down into the legs of his best Wellingtons.  The ride was long and dull, for there was little prospect to be caught through the small, dirty window; and the air tasted of German tinder.  From a cottage villa on the roadside, a German student added himself to the three passengers that started from Wusterhausen.  He came to us with a pipe in his mouth, unwashed, and hurriedly swaddled in a morning gown, carelessly tied with a cord about the middle.  After a few miles travelling the vehicle was full, and remained full—until we at last reached Berlin.

There I found no work, and wandered listlessly through the museums and picture-galleries; for a troubled mind is a poor critic in works of art.  So I squeezed myself into the Police Court, meaning to leave Berlin, and had the distinction of being beckoned, before my turn out of the reeking mass of applicants for passports, because my clothes had a respectable appearance, and I wore a showy pin in my cravat.


berlin.—our herberge.

Fairly in Prussia!  We have passed the frontier town of Perleberg, and press onward in company with a glovemaker of Berlin, last from Copenhagen, whom we have overtaken on the road towards Wusterhausen.

“Thou wouldst know, good friend, the nature of my prospects in Berlin when I arrive there?  Have I letters of recommendation—am I provided in case of the worst?  Brother, not so!  I am provided for nothing.  I dare the vicissitudes of fortune.  I had a friend in Hamburg, a Frenchman, who departed thence five months ago for Berlin, under a promise to write to me at the lapse of a month.  He has never written, and he is my hope.  That is all.  Let us go on.”

“I have a cousin,” says the glovemaker, “who is a jeweller in Berlin.  I will recommend you to him.  His name is Kupferkram.”

“Strange!  I knew a Kupferkram in Hamburg; a short, sallow man, with no beard.”

“A Prussian?”


“It cannot be that my cousin was in Hamburg and I not know it.  I was there twelve months.”

“Why not?  A German will be anywhere in the course of twelve months except where you expect to find him.”

“His name is Gottlob—Gottlob Kupferkram.”

“The very man!  Does he not lisp like a child, and his father sell sausages in the stadt?”

“Donnerwetter!  Ja!”

This may not appear to be of much importance, but to me it is everything; for upon the discovery of this vender of sausages depends my meeting with my best and only friend in Berlin, Alcibiade Tourniquet, of Argenteuil, the Frenchman before mentioned.  It is at least a strange coincidence.

p. 52We came into the capital of Prussia in the eil-wagen from Wusterhausen.  We had tramped the previous day a distance of good two-and-thirty English miles, through a flat, uninteresting country, and being dead beat, had made an anxious bargain with the driver of the “Fast-coach,” to carry us to Berlin for a dollar a-head.  It was late in the evening as we rumbled heavily along the dusty road, and through the long vista of thick plantations which skirt the public way as you enter the city from Spandau.  We dismounted, cramped and weary, from our vehicle, and my companion, a native of Berlin, unwilling to disturb his friends at that late hour, and in his then travel-worn guise; and I myself being unknown and unknowing in the huge capital, led the way at once to “Our Herberge.”

The English term “House of Call” is but an inadequate translation of the German “Herberge.”  It must be remembered that the German artisan is ruled in everything by the state; for while English workmen, by their own collective will, raise up their trade or other societies, in whatever form or to whatever purpose their intelligence or their caprices may dictate to them, the German, on the contrary, discovers among his very first perceptions that his position and treatment in the world is already fixed and irrevocable.  He becomes numbered and labelled from the hour of his birth, and the gathering items of his existence are duly recorded—not in the annals of history—but in the registry of the police.  Thus he finds that the State, in the shape of his Zunft or Guild, is his Sick Benefit Club and his Burial Society, his Travellers’ Fund and his Trade Roll-Call; aspires indeed to be everything he ought to desire, and certainly succeeds in being a great deal that he does not want.

I have a little paper at my hand presented to me by the police of Dresden, which may help to elucidate the question of associations of workmen in Germany.  It is an “Ordinance” by which “We, Frederick Augustus, by God’s grace King of Saxony, &c., &c., make known to all working journeymen the penalties to which they are liable should they take part in any disallowed ‘workmen’s unions, tribunals, or declarations;’” the said penalties having been determined on by the various governments of the German Union.  “Independently,” says the Ordinance, “of the punishment” (not named) “which may be inflicted for the offence, the delinquent shall be deprived of his papers, which shall be sealed up and sent to his home Government.  On his release from prison(!) he shall p. 53receive a restricted pass for his immediate and direct return home; and on his arrival there he shall be strictly confined within its limits, nor ever be permitted to travel into the other states of the German Union, until by a long course of repentance and good behaviour his home government may think him worthy of such a favour.”  It will easily be understood from this that mechanics’ or other institutions, independent of the government, are unknown.

The German Herberge is the home of the travelling workman.  It should be clean and wholesome; there should he be provided, together with simple and nutritious food, every necessary information connected with his trade, and such aid and reasonable solace as his often wearisome pilgrimage requires.  All this is to be rendered at a just and remunerative price, and it is usually supposed that the fulfilment of these requisites is guaranteed by the care and surveillance of the police.  But this is a fiction.

Our Herberge is in the Schuster-gasse; and a vile, ill-conditioned, uncleanly den it is; nor, I am sorry to say, are its occupants, in appearance at least, unworthy of their abode.  But we must not be uncharitable; it is a hard task this tramping through the length and breadth of the land; and he is a smart fellow who can keep his toilet in anything like decent condition amid the dust, the wind, the pelting rain or the weltering sunshine that beset and envelope him on the implacable high road.  As there is no help, we take our places among the little herd of weary mortals without a murmur; among the ragged beards and uncombed locks; the soiled blouses and travel-worn shoe-leather; the horny hands and embrowned visages of our motley companions.  We are duly marshalled to bed at eight o’clock with the rest; huddled into our loft where nine beds await some sixteen occupants; and having undergone the customary examination as to our freedom from disease and vermin, are safely locked in our dormitory, to be released only at the good will of the “Vater” in the morning.

Your German is truly a patient animal; the laws of his Guild compel him to wander for a period of years, but the laws of his country do not provide him with even the decencies of life upon the road.  With his humble pack, and his few hoarded dollars, he sets forth upon the road of life; he is bullied and hustled by the police upon every step of his journey; burdened with vexatious regulations at every halting-place; and while the law forbids him to seek any other shelter than that of his Herberge, it leaves it to the p. 54mercy of his host to yield him the worst fare, spread for him the vilest litter, and to filch him of his scanty savings in the bargain.  What, in Heaven’s name! are the accommodations for which we in the Schuster-gasse are called upon to pay?  There is the common room with its rude benches and tables; a stone-paved court-yard with offices, doubtless at one period appropriated as stabling, but the ground floor of which is now penned off for some few choice biped occupants; while the story above, reached by a railed ladder, and, in fact, no more than a stable loft, is nightly crammed to the door with sweltering humanity.  For the purpose of cleanliness there is no other toilette apparatus than the iron pump in the yard; and for the claims of nature and decency, no better resource than is afforded by the sheltering arch of the nearest bridge over the Spree.

The goldsmiths and jewellers in Berlin are too inconsiderable a body to have a Herberge of their own, and therefore we crowd in with the turners, the carpenters, and the smiths; the glove-makers, bookbinders, and others who claim the hospitalities of the asylum in the Schuster-gasse.  Let us take a sketch or two among them that may serve as a sample of the whole.

We have a sturdy young carpenter from Darmstadt, bound to Vienna, or wherever else he may find a resting-place, who makes his morning and almost only meal of Kümmel—corn spirit prepared with caraways—and brown bread; and whose great exploit and daily exercise is that of lifting the great table in the common room with his teeth.  An iron-jawed fellow he is, with every muscle in his well-knit body to match.  Fortunately, though a Goliath in strength, he is as simple-minded and joyous as a child.

Then comes a restless pigmy of a Hungarian, a jeweller, last from Dresden, full of life and song, but who complains ruefully that the potatoes of Berlin are violently anti-dyspeptic.  This suffering wanderer from the banks of the Theiss is also vehemently expressive in his opinion that the indiscriminate use of soap is injurious to the skin, and, as a matter of principle, never uses any.

Near him stands a lank native of Lübeck, a fringe-maker, whose whole pride and happiness is concentrated in his ponderous staff of pilgrimage; a patriarchal wand, indeed! rightly bequeathed as an heirloom from father to son, and in its state and appearance not unworthy of the reverence with which it is regarded.  It is no flimsy cane to startle flies with, but a stout stem some six feet long, duly peeled, p. 55scraped and polished, and mounted with a chased head of massive silver.

Close by his side an effeminate leather-dresser from Carlsruhe sits stroking his yellow goat’s beard.  Instead of strapping his knapsack to his back like a stalwart youth, after the manly fashion of his forefathers when on the tramp, he trundles behind him as he goes, a little iron chaise loaded with his pack and worldly equipage.

There broods a sombre cordwainer from Bremen, gloating over his enormous pipe, in form and size like a small barrel, raising an atmosphere for himself of the fumes of coarse uncut knaster.  He has doffed his white kittel (blouse), and has wriggled himself into a short-waisted, long-skirted, German frock-coat, which, having been badly packed in his knapsack, exhibits every crease and wrinkle it has acquired during a three weeks’ march.  Know, friend, that the skilful folding of apparel, to be worn on his arrival in every important town, is one of the necessary acquirements of the German wanderer.

Add to these a rollicking saddler from Heldesheim, who figures in a full beard, a rich cluster of crisp, brown curls, his own especial pride, and the object of deep envy to his less hirsute companions; and who, far too fond of corn brandy-wine, goes about singing continually the song of the German tramp, “Ich Liebe das liederliche Leben!”—This vagabond life I delight in!—an earnest, quiet student, who, for reasons of economy, has made the Schuster-gasse his place of refuge; and a dishevelled button-maker, last from Hamburg, who has just received his geschenck, or trade-gift, amounting to fifteen silver groschens, about eighteenpence in English money; and who ponders drearily over it as it lies in the palm of his hand, wondering how far this slender sum will carry him on the road to Breslau, his native place, still some two hundred miles away.

We have among us the wily and the simple, the boisterous and the patient, the taciturn and the unruly; but though they will sing songs before they go to sleep, and swagger enormously among themselves, they become as still and meek as doves at the voice of the Herberges-Vater (the father of the Herberge), and quake like timid mice beneath the eye of the police.


a street in berlin.

Berlin is a fine city, let the wise Germans of the East say what they will.  It may be deficient in those monumental records of “the good old times,” the crumbling church, the thick-walled tower, the halls and dungeons of feudal barbarism, but it abounds with evidences of the vigour and life of modern taste and skill; and instead of daily sinking into rotten significance, like some of its elder brethren, is hourly growing in beauty and strength.  It has all the attributes of a great city—spacious “places,” handsome edifices, broad and well-paved streets.  Its monuments, while they are evidences of great cultivation in the arts, tell of times and events just old enough to be beyond the ken of our own experiences, yet possess all the truth and vividness of recent history.  “Der Alter Fritz,” Blucher, Zieten, Seyditz, Winterfeldt, Keith, and “Der Alter Dessauer”—what names are these in Prussian story!

The entrance into Berlin, on the western side, from Spandau, by the Brandenburger Gate, is the finest that the capital of Prussia has to present.  A thickly-planted wood skirts the road for a mile or two before you reach the city.  The trees are dwarfed and twisted, for they cannot grow freely in the dense, eternal sands of this part of North Germany, but they form a rough fringing to the white road; while the noble gate itself, built of massive stone in the Doric order of architecture, and surmounted by an effective group of a four-horse chariot, within which stands the figure of Victory raising the Roman eagle above the almost winged steeds, might grace the entrance to the city of the Cæsars.

This Brandenburger Thor, as it is called, is a copy of the Propylæa of the Acropolis of Athens, but built on a much grander scale.  The central gate is of iron, eighteen feet high; of the fourteen land gates of Berlin it is immeasurably the finest, and it acquires a still deeper interest when some enthusiastic Berliner, pointing to the prancing steeds upon the summit of the arch, tells you how Napoleon in his admiration had ordered this self-same group to be transported to p. 57Paris in 1807, to ornament a French “arch de triomphe,” and how “We, the Prussians,” had torn the spoil from the eagle’s very nest in 1814, to replant it on its original site.  A glow of military ardour flushes over your heart at the recital, and the echoes of a hundred battles thunder in your ears.

Through this gate, which is in the Dorotheen Stadt, after crossing the Square of Paris, we enter upon one of the handsomest streets in the world, and one bearing the most poetical of titles: “Unter-den-Linden,”—“Under the Lime Trees!”—there is something at once charming and imposing in the very sound.  Nor is this appellation an empty fiction, for there stand the lime trees themselves, in two double rows with their delicate green leaves rustling in the breeze, forming a two-fold verdant allée, vigorous and fragrant, down the centre of the street, and into the very heart of the city.  Unter-den-Linden itself is two thousand seven hundred and fifty-four feet in length, and one hundred and seventy-four in width; but it extends, under another title, for a much greater distance.  This is the summer evening’s ramble of your true Berliner, and not a little proud and pompous he is as he parades himself and family beneath the leafy canopy; and here, in the snowy winters, when the city lies half buried in the snowdrift, the gaily dressed sleighs go skimming under the leafless branches, filling the bright cold air with the music of their bells.

As we proceed deeper into the city, we find gay shops and stately houses.  A noble range of buildings appropriated to the foreign embassies rises upon the left hand, and is succeeded by the Royal Academy; while some distance beyond stands the University, an edifice of a rather sombre appearance, although graced with columns and pilasters of the Corinthian order.  To enter it you traverse a spacious court-yard, and it may be that the nature of its contents impart a melancholy character to the building itself; for, on ascending its stone staircase, and wandering for a brief period among its bottles and cases, its wax models and human preserves, we find them of so unsightly and disgusting a character that we are happy to regain the echoing corridor which had led us into this huge, systematised charnel-house.

As we cross to the opposite side of the broad street, the Royal Library faces us; a massive temple of stored knowledge, polyglot and universal; while to the right of it, in the centre of a paved space of considerable extent, stands the Catholic church of St. Hedwig, p. 58at once a model of Roman architecture, and the emblem of the liberty of faith.

Close at hand is the Opera-house, once already purified by fire, like so many of its companion edifices, and only lately rebuilt.  Some idea may be formed of the extent of its interior from the fact that it affords accommodation for three thousand spectators.  Our way lies onward still.  What noble figure is this?  Simple but commanding in character and attitude, it fixes your attention at once.  Look at the superscription.  Upon a scroll on its pedestal are the words “Frederick William III. to Field Marshal Prince Blucher of Wahlstatt, in the year 1826.”  Yes! the impetuous soldier, figured in eternal bronze by the first sculptor of Prussia, Rauch himself, here claims and receives the admiration of his countrymen.  Bare-headed stands the old warrior, but is duly crowned with laurels on every returning anniversary of the well remembered day, the 18th of June.

Leaving the sanctuary of the Christian Deity, the heathen temple of Terpsichore, and the effigy of the renowned soldier, thus grouped together, we traverse the fine road, and pause for a moment to look at a severe but elegant structure, erected, we are told, in exact imitation of a Roman castrum, or fortress, and therefore eminently in character with the purpose for which it is intended.  The smart Prussian infantry are grouped about its pillared entrance, which is graced also by two statues of military celebrities—for this is the royal guard-house.

“Der Alter Fritz.”  “Old Fred!”  This is the familiar title bestowed upon a great monarch; and there is something in this nickname a thousand times more telling to the ear and heart of a Prussian than the stately appellation of “Frederick the Great.”  The former is for their own hearts and homes, the latter for the world.  And for the world also is the noble equestrian statue upon which we now gaze.  It is a question whether a work of sterling genius does not speak as effectively to the eye of the uninitiated as to that of the most inveterate stickler for antecedents of grace and technicalities of beauty.  This statue of Frederick of Prussia tells upon the sense at once, because it is true to art as established by ancient critics, but more so, because it is imitated nature, which art too often only presumes to be, reckoning too much upon fixed rules and time-honoured dogmas.  It is noble and impressive, because it p. 59is like; no antiquated Roman figure in toga and calcei, but the representation of the living man.

Das Zeughaus, or arsenal, which we now approach, is a massive quadrangular building, and the warlike character of its architectural decorations strikingly indicate the nature of its contents.  We pass through the open gate into an inner court, and looking round upon the sombre walls which inclose us, see the fearful faces of dead and dying men, cut in stone, which the taste or caprice of the architect has considered their fittest ornament.  There is something strangely original and attractive in the grotesque hideousness of these heads, agonised with pain, scowling in anger, or frightful with their upturned eyes in the rigidity of death, all bleached and shadowed as they are by the vicissitudes of the weather.

Within the arsenal we find walls of glistening steel, columns of lances, architectural and other devices worked out in dagger blades and pistol handles; while battered armour and faded draperies, in the shape of pennons and standards, storm and battle-tattered, help to make up trophies, and swing duskily in every corner.

After a rapid survey, we are about to leave this magazine of Bellona, when we are struck by the sight of an object which reminds us so completely of one of those “gorgeous processions” in Eastern “spectacles” at home, that we wonder for a moment whether it be “part of the play,” or tangible, sober reality.  Yes! placed upon a scarlet cushion lies an enormous gilt key (such a one as clown in the pantomime might open his writing-desk with, or such as hangs over a locksmith’s door), and above it glistens a golden legend to the effect that the treasure beneath was presented to “William of Prussia by his loving cousin, Nicolas, Emperor of all the Russias,” and is no less a prize than the identical key of the captured city of Adrianople!  Has, then, the Russian Emperor so many such trophies of Eastern spoliation that his own museums at Petersburg are insufficient to contain them?

Up the steep way towards the residence of the Prince of Prussia, guarded by its zealous sentries, we pursue our course, and reach the first bridge we have yet seen, being one of the very many which span the Spree as it meanders through the city.  This river does not present an imposing appearance in any part of Berlin.  The Berliners may shake their heads, and talk of the “Lange Brücke,” but let them remember that in no part does the Spree exceed two hundred feet in width.  Moreover, the manner in which it is jammed p. 60up between locks, like a mere canal—one is puzzled sometimes to know which is canal and which river—does not improve its appearance, while the use to which some of its bridges are appropriated does not increase its purity.  Passing onwards we come upon the Schloss Platz, which is itself half a garden, and find ourselves in the midst of an assemblage of public wonders—the Museum, the Protestant Cathedral, a handsome basin and fountain (the pride of the true Berliner), the Exchange, and the Old Palace.

The Museum stands on the left-hand, gracefully shaded by young trees.  Traversing this miniature grove, which guards its entrance, and passing by the lofty fountain scattering its spray upon the leaves, we come upon an elegant vase of gigantic proportions, sculptured from a solid mass of native granite.  Ascending into the body of the building by a sombre stone staircase, we reach the Gallery of Antiquities and the Museum of Paintings.  The latter, though no doubt very valuable, appeals unsatisfactorily to me (not presuming to be a critic), and is of a peculiarly rigid, ecclesiastical character, of the early school; certainly one of its chief features is a crowd of martyred St. Sebastians.

The portion of the Museum appropriated to painting, unlike the National Gallery of London, and the Pinakothek at Munich, receives a lateral light.  Imagine a long gallery divided into small cabinets by partitions, which advance only so far from the outer wall as to leave a commodious passage along its entire extent; imagine also that each of these cabinets has a lofty window, and that on its side walls (the partitions) are suspended the paintings for exhibition,—and you will form something like a notion of the general arrangement.  An effective ensemble is out of the question; but, on the other hand, every painting is well lighted, and a better opportunity is afforded for quiet observation and study.

We descend into the “Platz,” and proceed towards the palace, a huge rectangular building, striped with columns, dotted with windows, and blackened as few continental edifices are.

The palace of the kings of Prussia—few as they have been—has surely its thrilling historical records.  Doubtless; and through them all the spirit of the one king, “Der Alter Fritz,” shines, all but visible.  Here did he hold his councils, here sit in private study; this was his favourite promenade, here did he take his rest.  These details light up the imagination; but when we have traversed the echoing galleries, admired the gilt mouldings and the costly p. 61hangings, the quaint furniture and beautiful pictures: when we have, in short, become wrought into enthusiasm by the clustering memories of a great monarch, by traits and traditions which fill the very air, what do we see next?  We are ushered into a private chamber, and called upon to express our especial reverence for a miserable figure, dressed up in the Great Frederick’s “own clothes;” seated in his own chair, stuck into his identical boots; his own redoubtable stick dangling from its splayed fingers, and the whole contemptible effigy crowned by the very three-cornered hat and crisp wig he last wore!  The spirit of mountebankism overshadows the spirit of the mighty man, and his very relics are rendered ridiculous.

We turn from this puppet-show to contemplate with a melancholy wonder the truly iron records of the almost life-imprisonment of Baron von Trenck.  For here, a silent memorial of at least one bad act of the Prussian monarch, are iron cups and utensils engraved with scrolls and legends; the work, not of the skilled artisan with tempered and well-prepared gravers, but of the patient hands of a state prisoner with a mere nail sharpened on the stony walls of his dungeon, and the painful result of long and weary years.  A strange contrast! the waxen image of the jailer, tricked out in his last garments; the solitary labours of his captive.

Thinking more of the soldier and less of the king, we quit the palace and turn on the left hand once more towards the waters of the Spree.  Here is one other monument we must not forget in our hasty ramble through the main artery of the Prussian capital.  In the centre of the Lange Brücke (the Long Bridge) stands the bronze figure of the last Elector and Duke of Brandenburg, Frederick William, the grandfather of Frederick the Great.  It is a well-executed equestrian statue, but to my mind the four figures clustered round the pediment, on whose hands still hang the broken chains of slavery, are better works of art, as well as admirable emblems of the energetic materials—the oppressed but spirited inhabitants of a few small states—of which the now powerful kingdom of Prussia was originally formed.

We might follow the course of the wandering river over whose waters we now stand, and thus penetrate into the heart of the old city, but we should find little that was picturesque, and a great deal that was very unclean.  Indeed, in spite of its general beauty, Berlin is lamentably deficient in the modern and common-place p. 62article, sewerage.  But even this will come; and in the meantime we may well ponder over the rapid growth of the city, since the brief space of time that has elapsed since it was the little town of Cologne upon the Spree, to distinguish it from the then greater one of Cologne upon the Rhine.


berlin.—police and people.

It may not appear correct to an English reader to couple the people and the police thus cavalierly together, but in Prussia, as in the rest of Germany, the police are so completely bound up in, and their services so entirely devoted to, the every-day existence, as well as any more prominent acts of the people, that it is impossible to proceed far with the one without falling into the company of the other.  A few facts may serve to illustrate this point.

We (Alcibiade and I) are here duly received into the employment of Herr Stickl, Jeweller to the Court.  This may appear a matter of no importance to any but ourselves; nevertheless the “Herr” is bound duly to notify the circumstance to the police, with date and certification, and must also instruct the Forsteher, or chief of the Guild of goldsmiths and jewellers, of the matter, that we may be properly registered by corporation and police.  This is item number one.  But I am still unhoused, and here my good friend and fellow-workman, Alcibiade Tourniquet, native of Argenteuil, stands me in good stead.  Tourniquet claims to be a Parisian, and has lofty notions about style and appearances.  He lives in Jerusalem Strasse in a grand house, with a porte cochère, and a wide, scrambling staircase.  He offers me a share in his apartment, which is light and commodious; and as his landlady generously consents to provide an additional bed for my accommodation, on condition of doubling the rent, that matter is satisfactorily arranged.  Alcibiade has experiences to relate, and this is one of them:

“Pense donc!” cries he.  “I arrive in Berlin a perfect stranger.  Without work and without friends, I find living at an hotel too expensive: Bon!—I look about me for some quiet little chambre p. 63garni, and finding one to my liking, up a great many stairs, genteelly furnished, and not too dear, I move myself and my little baggage into it without further inquiry.  Bon!  Imagine me on the first night of residence, snugly coiled up between my two feather beds in true German fashion, dreaming of la belle France, and of the grapes at Argenteuil, when rap, rap, rap! comes a tantamarre at the chamber door, and I start up wide awake all at once, and hear a shuffling noise outside, and a rough voice which calls to be admitted.  ‘Diable! qu’est que tu veux, donc?’ I inquire.  But before I can make up my mind whether to admit them or not, crack! goes the door, and half a dozen Prussian police take my citadel by storm, and surround me in a moment.  I complain indignantly, but it is of no use.  I hurl at them—not my boots—but all the hard words I know of in their own abominable language, together with a considerable quantity of good French, but all of no avail; for they make me dress myself and carry me off bodily with bag and baggage to the police-bureau.  And what was it all about, pense tu?  Just this: they said I had got into a suspected house, and that it was for my own protection I was made a prisoner of!  Nom de Dieu! that might be all very well, but there was no necessity to pull me out of bed to take care of me; and it was not till I had shown that my papers were all en regle, and threatened an appeal to the French Ambassador, that they gave me these soft words, and expressed their regret at my discomfiture.  Du reste, what can you expect? they are only Prussians.”  This is item number two.

I too have a little experience of the Prussian Police; let me relate it.  Being regularly domiciled, it was necessary that I should inform them of my residence.  I stand within the dingy little bureau, and hand over a certificate from my landlord in proof of my place of habitation.  The liveried functionary casts it back to me, with the curt remark, “It is imperfect, the year is omitted.”  And so it is; and I trudge back to my landlord to have this rather important omission rectified.  Returning, in haste, I re-present my document, corrected and revised, for inspection.  “This won’t do,” exclaims the irate registrar of apartments; “the day of the week should be mentioned.”  Dull-headed landlord! unlucky lodger!—it should have been written, “Wednesday, the 19th of,” etc.  This looks something like quibbling, however, and no doubt I express as much by my countenance as I leave the bureau, and race back to p. 64Jerusalem Strasse once more.  For the third time I offer my credentials.  “This will do,” observes the official, with a ferocious calmness, “but I must have a duplicate of this, for the convenience of entry and reference.”  Now, by all the gilded buttons on the best coat of the British Ambassador, this is too bad! and I say as much.  “You have nothing of this sort in England, I suppose?” sneers the clerk-policeman.  “No, thank Heaven!” I exclaim, as I rush home once more to obtain the copy of my certificate.  This is item the third.  To a Prussian, all this is a mere matter of course, yet to such a degree does this home interference extend, that the porte cochère of our grand house, and the door of every other house in Jerusalem Strasse, is officially closed at nine o’clock in the evening; and no man can enter his own residence after that hour without first applying to the police-watchman, who retains in his keeping, literally and in fact, the “key of the street.”

While on my way to Berlin, I had been frequently warned by Germans, natives of other states, of the boastful and deceptive character of the Prussians.  Such was the general opinion expressed; and although I never found them deceptive, the epithet of boastful seemed only too truthfully bestowed.  A Prussian is naturally a swaggerer; but then, unfortunately for other Germans, who are swaggerers too, the Prussian has something to boast of.  He feels and thinks differently to those around him; for, by the very impetus of his nature, he stands on a higher position.  It is because Prussia has progressed like a giant, while the rest of Germany has been lagging behind, or actually losing ground, that every individual in her now large area seems personally to have aided in the work, and acts and speaks as if the whole ultimate result depended upon his own exertions.  This naturally leads to exaggeration, both in words and actions, and your true Berliner figures as a sort of Ancient Pistol, with more words than he knows properly what to do with, and more pretensions than he is able to maintain.  One striking characteristic of the people of Berlin is the Franco-mania, which prevails among all classes.  This may be the result of the decided leaning towards France and its literature, which was evinced by their almost idolised king, Frederick the Great; but one would think that the events of the last war with Napoleon must have effectually obliterated that.  But, no; in their language, their literature, their places of public amusement, their shops, and promenades, French words sound in your ears, or meet your eye at every p. 65turn; while the sometimes ridiculous mimicry of French habits forces itself upon your attention.  There would be nothing so very remarkable in this, if the opinion generally expressed of the French people were consonant with it; but while the Berliner apes the Parisian in language and manners, he never fails to express his derision, and even contempt, for the whole French nation on every convenient opportunity.  I suspect, however, that these remarks might not inaptly apply to the inhabitants of the British capital, as well as those of Berlin.


kreutzberg.—a prussian supper and carouse.

Herr Kupferkram the elder, I have done thee wrong.  I have set thee down as a mere vender of sausages, and lo! thou holdest tavern and eating-house; dispensing prandial portions of savoury delicacies in flesh and vegetable, at the charge of six silver groschens the meal.  I beg a thousand pardons; and as a sincere mark of contrition, will consent to swallow thy dinners for a while.

“Will the Herrn Tourniquet and Tuci,” said the Frau Kupferkram one morning, with a duck and a smirk, “do us the honour of supping with us this evening?  There will be a few friends, for this is the ‘nahmenstag’ of our dear Gottlob, now in England.”

“Liebe Frau Kupferkram, we shall be delighted!”

I ought, perhaps, to observe, that in Prussia, although a Protestant country, the Catholic custom of commemorating the “saint” rather than the “birth-day,” is almost universal.  The former is called the “nahmenstag,” or name-day.

But the day is yet “so young,” that nothing short of the most inveterate gluttony could bend the mind at present upon the evening’s festivity; and moreover, the Berlin races have called us from the workshop and the cares of labour, and our very souls are in the stirrups, eagerly panting for the sport.  My dear reader, how can I describe what I never saw?  Did we not expend two silver groschens in a programme of the races, and gloat over the spirited p. 66engraving of a “flying” something, which was its appropriate heading, and which you would swear was executed somewhere in the neighbourhood of Holywell Street, Strand?  Did we not grow hotter than even the hot sun could make us, in ploughing through the sand, and commit some careless uncivilities in struggling among the crowd that hemmed the course as with a wall?  See?  Of course not!  Nobody at the Berlin races ever does see anything but the mounted police and the dust.  Yes, sir, lay out two dollars in a “card” for the grand stand, and fix it in your hat-band like a turnpike ticket, and you may saunter through the whole police-military cordon; but be one of the crowd, and trust to no other aid than is afforded by your own eyes, and the said cordon will be the extent of your vision.

A fig for the races! we will go and see the Kreutzberg instead.  Our way lies through the Halle gate—Halle, a town that belonged to the Saxons before the French invasion, but lost through their adherence to Napoleon, is now the seat of a Prussian university—and by the Place of the Belle Alliance.  What “alliance?”  The alliance of sovereigns against destruction, or of people against tyranny?  One and both; but while the union of the former has triumphed over the common leveller, the latter, by whose aid it was effected, still drag their unrelenting chains.  The Kreutzberg is consecrated to the same magniloquent union, and bears upon its head a military monument illustrative of the triumph of a roused and indignant people against a great oppression; but alas! it does not record the emancipation of that same people from intestine slavery.  But that is their business and not ours.

The Kreutzberg stands about a mile and a half from the city gates, and rears its grey height like a mountain amid the general level, commanding a prospect of thirty miles around.  Berlin, half garden, half palace, lies at your feet, rising majestically from the sandy plain, and irregularly divided by the winding Spree.  The surrounding country, by its luxuriance, gives evidence of the energy of an industrious race struggling against a naturally barren soil.  Turning our eyes upwards upon the military monument which graces the summit of the hill, we cannot repress our gratification at its beauty.  A terrace eighty feet in diameter rises from the bare ground, and in its centre, upon a substructure of stone, towers an iron temple or shrine in the turreted Gothic style, divided into twelve chapels or niches.  In each recess stands a figure, life size, p. 67emblematical of the principal battles (defeats included) fought in the campaigns of 1813, 1814, and 1815.  A noble cluster of idealised military heroism they stand; some in the stubborn attitude of resistance, others in the eager impetuosity of attack, all wonderfully spirited.  When you have warmed your imagination into a glow by the sight of these effigies of war, read and ponder over this inscription:—

“The Sovereign to his People, who at his summons magnanimously poured forth their Blood and Treasure for the Country.  In Memory of the Fallen, in Gratitude to the Living, as an Incitement to every future Generation.”

One is tempted to add, “and of sacred promises still unfulfilled.”  There is a beautiful garden and saloon called the Tivoli, close at hand, and from our heroics we soon slide into the peaceful enjoyment of a “baisser” and a cup of coffee; lounging luxuriantly among the flowers till the hour approaches for our departure.

We are a snug little party of a dozen, not including Herr Kupferkram and the Frau, who will insist upon waiting on us.  There is the smug master-butcher from round the corner, who has a very becoming sense of his own position in society; two mild-spoken bookseller’s clerks, who scarcely find their voices till the evening is far advanced; my friend and fellow-tramp the glovemaker; a spruce little model of a man, with the crispest hair, and the fullest and best trimmed moustache in the world, and who is no doubt a great man somewhere; a tremendous fellow of a student, who talks of cannon-boots, rapiers, and Berliner Weiss Bier; and an individual whose only distinguishing feature is his nose, and that is an insult to polite society.  The rest have no characteristics at all.

But ah! shall I forget thee, the beautiful Louise!—the affianced of Gottlob, the blonde, the coquettish, and the gay!  Have you not asked me, in half confidence (Alcibiade being present), whether the German “geliebte,” is not changed in English into “süsses herz,” “sweet-heart,” as Gottlob had told you in his last letter from London?  And you think the sentiment “so pretty and poetical!”  And so it is; but we dunderheads in England have used the word so often that we have half forgotten its meaning.

Down we sit to supper; commencing with a delicate gravy soup and liver fritters; following up with breaded pork-chops and red saurkraut; continuing upon baked veal and prunes; not forgetting the entremets of green pease and finely-sliced carrots stewed in p. 68butter together; going on with a well-made sallad; and winding up with a syllabub and preserves.  Hah!  Bread unlimited, and beer without discretion.  How can we sing after all that and yet we do, and talk unceasingly.  The tables are cleared; and, accompanied by a beautiful tinkling of tiny bell-shaped glasses, the china punch-bowl, odorous with its steaming orange fluid, is placed at the head of the table.  How the meek bookseller’s clerks shine out!  They are all voice now.  And we drink a “Lebe hoch!” to Gottlob far away; and to Gottlob’s mother, and to Gottlob’s father, chinking our glasses merrily every time, and draining them after each draught on our thumb nails, to show how faithfully we have honoured the toasts.  We shout “Vivat h-o-o-o;” till the old German oven quakes again.

“Sing, fair Louise, I prithee sing!”  Louise is troubled with a cold, of course; and, after due persuasion, lisps and murmurs some incoherent tremblings; exceedingly pretty, no doubt, if we could only make out what they meant.  Then the student, who, although diminutive, has the voice of a giant, shouts a university song with the Latin chorus:—

“Edite, bebite, collegiales,
Post multa sæcula procula nulla!”

“Eat ye then, drink ye then, social companions,
Centuries hence and your cups are no more!”

The mildest of the clerks comes out well with Kotzebue’s philosophical song:—

“Es kann ja nicht immer so bleiben,
Hier unter den wechselnden Mond;
Es blüht eine Zeit und verwelket,
Was mit uns die Erde bewhont.”

“It cannot remain thus for ever,
   Here under the changeable moon;
For earthly things bloom but a season,
   And wither away all too soon.”

The spruce gentleman with the crisp hair throws back his head, and with closed eyes warbles melodiously:—

“Einsich bin ich nicht allein.”

“Alone I’m not in solitude.”

p. 69The butcher has forgotten his dignity, and joins vigorously in every chorus.  At this crisis Louise gracefully retires, leaving us to our replenished bowl.

“My friends!” shouts the student, mounting on a chair, “listen to me for a moment.”  And then he plunges into an eloquent discourse upon the beauties of fraternity, and the union of nations, concluding his harangue by proposing a “Lebe hoch” to Alcibiade and myself.  Alcibiade is decidedly the lion of the evening, and bears his honours gracefully, like a well-tamed creature.  “Se sollen leben!  Vivat ho—o!” it roars in our ears, and amid its echoes we duly acknowledge the compliment.

“That’s beautiful!” exclaims the student, whose name, by the bye, is Pimblebeck.  “And now grant me one other favour.  Thou Briton, and thou son of France, let us drink brotherhood together.  What say ye?  Let it be no longer ‘you’ and ‘yours’ between us, but ‘thou’ and ‘thine.’”  Having reached the affectionate stage of exhilaration, we enter at once into the spirit of the proposal, and each in his turn, glass in hand, locking his arm in that of the enthusiastic Pimblebeck, drinks eternal friendship: to love truly; to defend valiantly; and to address each other by no other title than that of “thou” and “thee” for the rest of our lives.

I confess to a certain obliviousness here; a mental haze, amid which the mingled airs of “Rule Britannia” and the “Marsellaise” float indistinctly.  But above all, and through all, with terrible distinctness, tones the voice of Pimblebeck; his boyish form dilated into the dimensions of a Goliath, as he pours forth the words of a Prussian revolutionary song, some few of which stand out in letters of fire in my memory still, thus:—

“Prinzen vom Land hinaus,
Denn kommt der Bürger Schmaus;
      Werden gebraten;
Fürsten and Pfaffen die werden gehangt!”

“Drive out the prince and priest,
Then comes the burger’s feast;
      Each aristocrat
      Shall broil in his fat,
And nobles and bigoted bishops be hanged.”


fair time at leipsic.

From Berlin to Leipsic by rail, in an open carriage, is not the most interesting journey in the world.  Whirr, whizz, burr! away we hum through the keen Spring air, between pleasant banks and dark fir-woods, not very rapidly indeed, for we travel under government regulations, but pleasantly enough if it were not for the sparks and the dust.  There are few objects of interest on our route, till we perceive the towers of Wittenberg rising out of the hollow on the left, and we are at once buried in a dream about the simple monk of Eisleben, who, in his struggle against the papal authority, grew into the gigantic proportions of a Luther.

At Köthen we change carriages, for we are on the Saxon frontier.  With a snort and a roar, we start upon our journey over the dull waste, which can be described in no better way than by the single word repeated: sand, sand, sand.  And now it comes on to rain, and my thin blouse is but a sorry shred to withstand the cold, dead drizzle.  By degrees the heavy night clouds wrap themselves round us, fold by fold, till we see the engine fire reflected on the ground like a flying meteor; and the forms of lonely trees on the roadside come upon us suddenly, like spectres out of the darkness.

“Have you a lodging for the night, friend?” inquires a kind voice near me, speaking to my very thoughts.

“No.  I am a stranger in Leipsic.”

“And your herberge?”

“I know nothing of it.”

The inquirer is a little man with a thin face, and a voice which might be disagreeable, were it not mellowed by good nature.  He tells me, then, that he is a jewel-case maker, and has no doubt that I shall find a ready shelter in the herberge of his trade till the morning, if I am willing to accept of it.  It is in the Little Churchyard.  In spite of this ominous direction I shake the good man heartily by the hand, and, although I lose him in the darkness and confusion of the railway-station, cling mentally to the Little Churchyard as a passport p. 71to peace and rest.  I don’t know how it is that I escape interrogation by the police, but once out of the turmoil of the crowd, I find myself wandering by a deep ditch and the shadowy outline of a high wall, seeking in vain amid the drizzling mist for one of the gates of the city.  When almost hopeless of success, a welcome voice inquires my destination; and, under the guidance of a worthy Saxon, I find myself in Kleine Kirche Hof at last.  There is the herberge in question, but with no light—welcoming sign!—for it is already ten o’clock, and its guests are all in bed.  Dripping with rain, and with a rueful aspect, I prefer my request for a lodging.  The “vater” looks dubiously at me out of the corner of one eye, till, having inspected my passport, he brightens up a little, and thinks he can find me a bed, but cannot break through the rules of his house so far as to give me any supper.  It is too late.

Lighting a small lantern he leads the way across a stone-paved yard, and, opening one leaf of the folding-doors of a stable at its upper end, inducts me at once into the interior.  It also is paved with stones, is small, and is nearly choked up with five or six bedsteads.  The vater points to one which happily is as yet untenanted, and says, “Now, make haste, will you?  I can’t stop here all night.”  Before I have time to scramble into bed we are already in darkness, and no sooner is the door closed than my bed-fellows, who seemed all fast asleep a moment before, open a rattling fire of inquiries as to my parentage, birthplace, trade, and general condition; and having satisfied all this amiable questioning we fall asleep.

We turn our waking eyes upon a miserable glimmering which finds its way through the wooden bars of our stable-door; but it tells us of morning, of life, and of hope, and we rise with a bound, and are as brisk as bees in our summary toilet.  With a dry crust of bread and a cup of coffee, we are fortified for our morning’s work.  I have a letter of introduction upon Herr Herzlich of the Brühl, at the sign of the Golden Horn, between the White Lamb and the Brass Candlestick.  Every house in Leipsic has its sign, and the numbers run uninterruptedly through the whole city, as in most German towns; so that the clown’s old joke of “Number One, London,” if applied to them, would be no joke at all.

I leave the gloomy precincts of Little Churchyard, and descending a slight incline over a pebbly, irregular pavement, with scarcely a sign of footpath, arrive at the lower end of the Brühl.  There is a murmur of business about the place, for this p. 72is the first week of the Easter Fair, but there are none of those common sounds usually associated with the name to English ears.  No braying of trumpets, clashing of cymbals, or hoarse groaning of gongs; no roaring through broad-mouthed horns, smacking of canvass, or pattering of incompetent rifles.  All these vulgar noises belonging to a fair, are banished out of the gates of the city: which is itself deeply occupied with sober, earnest trading.

Leipsic has the privilege of holding three markets in the year.  The first, because the most important, is called the Ostermesse, or Easter Fair, and commences on Jubilee Sunday after Easter.  It continues for three weeks, and is the great cloth market of the year.  The second begins on the Sunday after St. Michael, and is called Michialismesse.  It is the great Book Fair, is also of three weeks’ duration, and dates, as does the Easter Fair, from the end of the twelfth century.  The New Year’s Fair commences on the First of January, and was established in fourteen hundred and fifty-eight.  Curiously enough, the real business of the Fair is negotiated in the week preceding its actual proclamation; it is then that the great sales between manufacturers and merchants, and their busy agents from all parts of the continent, are effected, while the three weeks of the actual Fair are taken up in minor transactions.  No sooner is the freedom of the Fair proclaimed than the hubbub begins; the booths, already planted in their allotted spaces—every inch of which must be paid for—are found to be choked up with stock of every description, from very distant countries: while every town and village, within a wide radius, finds itself represented by both wares and customers.

It is not, however, all freedom even at fair time.  The guild laws of the different trades, exclusive and jealous as they are, are enforced with the utmost severity.  Jews, in general, and certain trades in particular,—shoemakers, for example,—are not allowed the same privileges as the rest; for their liberty to sell is restricted to a shorter period, and woe to the ambitious or unhappy journeyman who shall manufacture, or expose for sale, any article of his trade, either on his own account or for others, if they be not acknowledged as masters by the Guild.  Every such article will be seized by the public officers, deposited in the Rathhaus, and severe punishment—in the shape of fines—inflicted on the offender.  The last week of the Fair is called the pay-week; the Thursday and Friday in this week being severally pay and assignation days.  The traffic at the Easter p. 73Fair, before the establishment of railways, was estimated at forty millions of dollars, but since, by their means, increased facilities of transit between Leipsic and the two capitals, Berlin and Dresden, have been afforded, it has risen to seventy millions of dollars, or ten millions five hundred thousand pounds sterling.

In the meantime, here we are in the Brühl, a street important enough, no doubt, so far as its inhabitants and traffic are concerned, but neither beautiful nor picturesque.  The houses are high and flat, and, from a peculiarity of build about their tops, seem to leer at you with one eye.  Softly over the pebbles! and mind you don’t tread on the pigeons.  They are the only creatures in Leipsic that enjoy uncontrolled freedom.  They wriggle about the streets without fear of molestation; they sit in rows upon the tops of houses; they whirl in little clouds above our heads; they outnumber, at a moderate estimate, the whole human population of the city, and are as sacred as the Apis or the Brahmin bull.  As we proceed along the Brühl, the evidences of the traffic become more perceptible.  Square sheds of a dingy black hue line one side of the way, and are made in such a manner, that from being more closed boxes at night, they readily become converted into shops in the daytime, by a falling flap in front, which in some cases is adjusted so as to perform the part of a counter.  These booths form the outer depositories of the merchandise of the fair, and are generally filled with small and inexpensive articles.  The real riches accumulated in Leipsic during these periods, are stowed in the massive old houses: floor above floor being filled with them, till they jam up the very roof, and their plenitude flow out into the street.  The booths, where not private property, are articles of profitable speculation with the master builders of the city.  They are of planed deal painted, and are neatly enough made.  They are easily stowed away in ordinary times, and, when required, are readily erected, being simply clammed together with huge hooks and eyes.

We have not proceeded half-way down the Brühl, when we are accosted by a veritable child of Israel, who in tolerably good English requests our custom.  Will we buy some of those unexceptionable slippers?  In spite of my cap and blouse, it is evident that I bear some national peculiarity about me, at once readable to the keen eyes of the Jew; and upon this point, I remember that my friend Alcibiade, of Argenteuil, jeweller, once expressed himself to me thus: “You may always distinguish an Englishman,” said he, p. 74“by two things: his trousers and his gait.  The first never fit him, and he always walks as if he was an hour behind time.”

We are at the sign of the Golden Horn.  Its very door-way is blocked up for the moment by an enormous bale of goods, puffy, and covered with cabalistic characters.  When we at length enter the outer gate of the house, we find ourselves in a small court-yard paved with stone and open to the sky, but now choked with boxes and packages, piled one upon the other in such confusion, that they appear to have been rained from above, rather than brought by vulgar trucks and human hands.  Herr Herzlich, whose house this is, resides on the third floor.  As we ascend the winding stair to his apartments, we perceive that the building occupies the four sides of the courtyard, and that on the third floor a wooden gallery is suspended along one side, and serves as a means of connection between the upper portions of the house.  Queerly-shaped bundles, and even loose goods, occupy every available corner; and as we look down from the gallery into a deep window on the opposite side, we perceive a portly, moustachioed gentleman busily counting and arranging piles of Prussian bank-notes, while heaps of golden coin, apparently Dutch ducats, or French louis d’or, are built up in a golden barricade before him.  We pause before the door of Herr Herzlich, master goldsmith and house-owner, and prepare to deliver our letter of introduction.  They are trying moments, these first self-presentations; but Herr Herzlich is a true-hearted old Saxon, who raises his black velvet skullcap with one hand, as I announce myself, while with the other he lowers his silver spectacles from his forehead on to his nose.  Then, with all sorts of comforting words, as to my future prospects in Leipsic, he sends me forth rejoicing.

Once more in the open street, we pass up the crowded way into the market-place.  A succession of wooden booths lines the road; and many of the houses have an overhanging floor resting on sturdy posts, which makes the footpath a rude colonnade.  Here are piled rolls and bales of cloth, while the booths are crammed with a heterogeneous collection of articles of use and ornament diversified beyond description.  A strange knot of gentlemen arrests our attention for a moment.  They are clad in long gowns of black serge, and wear highly-polished boots reaching to the knee.  Some have low-crowned hats, others a kind of semi-furred turban, but they all have jet black hair arranged in innumerable wiry ringlets, even to their p. 75beards.  They are Polish Jews, and trade chiefly in pearls, garnets, turquoises, and a peculiar sort of ill-cut and discoloured rose-diamonds.

The market-place is scarcely passable for the crowd, and the wooden booths are so thickly studded over its whole space, as to allow of only a narrow footway between them.  Here we see pipes and walking-sticks, enough not only for the present, but for generations unborn.  Traversing the ground by slow degrees, we bend towards the Dresden gate, and come upon the country people, all handkerchief and waistcoat, who line the path with their little stores of toys, of eggs, butter, and little pats of goats’-milk cheese.  Here is a farmer who has straggled all the way from Altenburg.  He wears a queer round-crowned hat, with the rim turned up at the back; a jacket with large pockets outside, a sort of trunk hose, and black boots reaching to the knee.  A little beyond him is a band of musicians with wind instruments, in the full costume of the Berg-leute, or mountaineers of Freiberg.  With their jackets of black stuff, trimmed with velvet of the same hue, and edged at the bottom with little square lappets; their dark leggings and brimless hats, they look like a party of Grindoff the miller’s men in mourning.

As we approach the gates, the stalls and wares dwindle into insignificance, until they disappear altogether; and so we pass out of the city to the picturesque promenades which surround it.  Afar off we hear the booming and occasional squeal of the real Fair.  It is not without its drollery, and, if not equal to “Old Bartlemy” in noise and rude humour, has a word to say for itself on the point of decency.  It is, however, but child’s play after all, and abounds with toys and games, from a half-penny whistle to an electric machine.  Leipsic is now in its waking hours; but a short time hence her fitful three weeks’ fever will have passed away, and, weary with excitement, or as some say, plethoric with her gorge of profits, she will sink into a soulless lethargy.  Her streets will become deserted, and echo to solitary footsteps; and whole rows of houses, with their lately teeming shops, will be black and tenantless, and barred and locked in grim security.  The students will shine among the quiet citizens; the pigeons will flap their wings in idleness, and coo in melancholy tones as they totter about the streets; and the last itinerant player (on the flageolet, of course) will have sounded his farewell note to the slumbering city.


down in a silver mine.

The sojourner in Leipsic, while strolling through its quaint old streets and spacious market-place, will be attracted, among other peculiarities of national costume, by one which, while startling and showy, is still attractive and picturesque.  The wearer is most probably a young man of small figure and of pallid appearance.  He is dressed in a short jacket, which is black, and is enriched with black velvet.  The nether garments are also black.  His head is covered with a black brimless hat, and a small semicircular apron of dark cloth is tied, not before, but behind.  This is one of the Berg-leute, mountain people; he comes from the Freiberg silver district, and is attired in the full dress of a miner.

Doubtless, these somewhat theatrically attired mountaineers hold a superior position to the diggers and blasters of the earth.  The dress is, perhaps, more properly that worn in the mountains, than that of the miners themselves.  Still, even their habiliments, as I afterwards learned, are but a working-day copy of this more costly model; and the semicircular apron tied on behind, is more especially an indispensable portion of the working dress of the labouring miner.

From Leipsic, the mines are distant about seventy English miles.  We—who are a happy party of foot-wanderers bound for Vienna—spend three careless days upon the road.  Look at this glorious old castle of Altenburg, gravely nodding from its towering rock upon the quaint town below.  It is the first station we come to, and is the capital of the ancient dukedom of Saxon-Altenburg.  Look at the people about us!  Does it not strike you as original, that what is here called modest attire, would elsewhere be condemned as immoral and ridiculous?  Each of the males, indeed, presents an old German portrait, with short plaited and wadded jacket, trunk breeches, and low hat, with a rolled brim.  But the women!  With petticoats no deeper than a Highlandman’s kilt, and their legs thus p. 77guiltless of shoes or stockings, the bust and neck are hideously covered by a wooden breastplate, which, springing from the waist, rises at an angle of forty-five degrees as high as the chin; and on the edge of it is fastened a handkerchief, tied tightly round the neck.  A greater disfigurement of the female form could scarcely have been devised.  Yet, to these good people, it is doubtless beauty and propriety itself; for it is old, and national.

Through pretty woods and cultivated lands; beside rugged, roadside dells, we trudge along.  We halt in quiet villages, snug and neat even in their poverty; or wend our way, in the midst of sunshine, through endless vistas of fruit-laden woods, the public road being one rich orchard of red-dotted cherry-trees: purchasable for a mere fraction, but not to be feloniously abstracted.  Through Altenburg, Zwickau, Oederon, and Chemnitz; up steep hill paths, and by the side of unpronounceable villages, until, on the morning of the fourth day, we straggle into Freiberg.

Freiberg is the walled capital of the Saxon ore mountains, the Erzgebirge; the centre of the Saxon mining administration.  One of its most spacious buildings is the Mining Academy, which dates from 1767.  Here are rich collections of the wonderful produce of these mountains; models of mining machines, of philosophical and chemical apparatus; class and lecture rooms, and books out of number.  Here Werner, the father of geology, and Humboldt, the systematiser of physical geography, were pupils.  The former has bequeathed an extensive museum of mineralogy to the Academy, which has been gratefully named after its founder, the Wernerian Museum.

Freiberg holds up its head very high.  The Mining Academy stands one thousand two hundred and thirty-one feet above the sea, although this is by no means the greatest altitude in the long range of mountains, which form a huge boundary line between the kingdoms of Saxony and Bohemia.  The general name for the whole district is the Erzgebirg-Kreis—the circle of ore mountains—and truly they form one vast store of silver, tin, lead, iron, coal, copper, and cobalt ores; besides a host of chemical compounds and other riches.  The indefatigable Saxons have worked and burrowed in them for more than seven hundred years.

We proceed to the Royal Saxon Mining Office, and request permission to descend into the “bowels of the land.”  This is accorded us without difficulty, and we receive a beautiful specimen of p. 78German text, in the shape of a lithographed Fahrschein, or permission to descend into Abraham’s Shaft and Himmelfahrt, and to inspect all the works and appliances thereunto belonging.  This Fahrschein especially informs us, that no person, unless of the Minerstand (fraternity of miners), can be permitted to descend into the Zechen or pits, who is not eighteen years old; nor can more than two persons be intrusted to the care of one guide.  We cheerfully pay on demand the sum of ten silver groschens each (about one shilling), for the purpose—as we are informed in a note at the bottom of the Fahrschein—of meeting the exigencies of the Miners’ Pension and Relief Fund.

The mine we are about to inspect, which bears the general title of Himmelsfurst—Prince of Heaven—is situated near to the village of Brand.  How fond these old miners were of Biblical designations! and what an earnest spirit of religion glowed within them!  There is another mine in the vicinity, at Voightberg, called the Old Hope of God; but we must recollect that Freiberg was one of the strongholds of early Protestantism, and that the first and sternest of the reformers clustered about its mountains.  They have a cold, desolate look; and we think of the gardens we have left at their bases, and of the forests of fir-trees which wave upon some of the loftier pinnacles of these same Erzgebirge.  Nor are the few men we meet of more promising appearance: not dwarfed nor stunted, but naturally diminutive, with sallow skins and oppressed demeanour.  How different are the firm, lithe, sun-tanned mountaineers, who breathe the free air on the summits of their hills!

We are near the entrance of the mine; and, entering the neat, wooden office of the Schachtmeister, or mine-controller, we produce our credentials.  Having signed our names in a huge book (in which we decipher more than one English name), we are passed to the care of an intelligent-looking guide; who, although still in early manhood, is of the same small and delicate growth observable in the miners generally.

Our guide, providing himself with small lanterns and an ominous-looking bundle, leads the way out of the Schachtmeister’s office to another portion of the same building.  Here are heaps of dark grey “macadamised” stones;—silver and lead ores just raised from the pit; over whose very mouth we are unknowingly standing.  A windlass is in the centre of the chasm; and it is by means of this windlass that the metalliferous substance is raised to the surface in p. 79square wooden boxes.  Here the dressing of the ores commences; boys cluster in all directions, under the wooden shed, and in oilier sheds beyond that.  Here the ores are picked and sorted, washed and sieved, and, we believe, crushed or pulverised, according to the amount of metal contained in them, till they are in a fit state for the smelting furnace.  We are not admitted to a minute inspection of these processes; but, under the direction of our guide, turn towards the mouth of the pit which we are to descend.  Ere we leave the shed, we pick out a small block of ore as a memorial of the visit, and are astonished at its weight; bright yellow, and dull lead-coloured crystals gleam over its surface; and a portion of the gneiss, from which it has been broken, still adheres to it.

We follow our guide across a dusty space towards a wooden building with a conical roof; and, as we approach it, we become conscious of, rather than hear, the sweet, melancholy sound of a bell, which, at minute intervals, tones dreamily through the air.  Whence comes that sad sound?  In the centre of the shed is a square box, open at the top; and immediately above hangs the small bell; thence comes the silvery voice.

“For what purpose is this bell?” we inquire of our guide.

“It is the bell of safety.”

“Does it sound a warning?”

“No, the reverse; its silence gives the warning.  The bell is tolled by a large water-wheel, immediately below the surface.  By means of this wheel, and others at greater depths, the whole drainage of this mine is effected.  If, by any means, these waterwheels should cease to act, the bell would cease to sound, and the miners would hasten to the day, for no man could tell how soon his working might be flooded.”

“And can it be heard throughout the mine?”

“Through this portion of it.  Probably the water acts as a conductor of the sound; but the miners listen earnestly for its minute tolling.”

Toll on, thou messenger of comfort!  May thy voice ever tell of safety to the haggard toiler, deep in the earth!

Our guide now directs us to attire ourselves in the garments disgorged from the portentous-looking bundle.  They consist of a pair of black calico trousers, a dark, lapelled coat, a leathern semicircular apron, buckled on behind—the strap of which serves to hook a small lantern on in front—and a terrible brimless felt hat, which p. 80we feel to be a curse the moment we put it on, and which we never cease to anathematise, up to the instant when we take it off.  These habiliments being drawn over our ordinary clothing, do not facilitate our motions, or help to keep us in so cool a state as might be desirable.

Over the edge of the square box, and down a stone staircase cut through the solid granite, we follow our guide.  We pause on the first few steps, and are just able to distinguish the huge, broad water-wheel, slowly revolving in its stony chamber: its spokes, like giant arms, sweep through the wet darkness with scarcely a sound, but a low dripping and gurgling of water.  That terrible staircase! dark and steep and slimy!  Water drips from its roof and oozes from its walls.  It is so low, that instead of bending forward as the body naturally does when in the act of descent, we are compelled to throw our heads back at the risk of dislocating our necks, in order that the detestable hat may not be driven over our eyes by coming in contact with the roof.  Down, down the slippery steps; feeling our way along slimy walls: through the dense gloom, and heavy, moist air!  The way seems to wave and bend we scarcely know how; sometimes we traverse level galleries, but they only lead us again to the steep, clammy steps, cut through the tough rock, always at the same acute angle.  Down, down, six hundred feet! and our guide whispers to us to be careful how we go, for we are in a dangerous place: he has brought us to this portion of the mine to show us how the water accumulates when undisturbed.

The vein of ore has, in this part, ceased to yield a profit for the necessary labour, and the works have been abandoned.  We creep breathlessly down until our guide bids us halt; and, holding out his lantern at arm’s length, but half reveals, in the pitchy darkness, a low-roofed cavern, floored by an inky lake of still, dead water; in which we see the light of the lantern reflected as in a mirror.  It is fearful to look on—so black and motionless: a sluggish pool, thick and treacherous, which seemingly would engulf us without so much as a wave or a bubble; and we are within a foot of its surface!  We draw involuntarily back, and creep up the steep stair to the first level above us.

Along a narrow gallery we proceed for a short space, and then down again; still down the interminable steps, till our knees crack with the ever uniform motion, and the hot perspiration streams from every pore.  The air is so thick and heavy, that we occasionally p. 81draw breath with a half gasp; and still we descend, till we hear the muffled ring of steel,—tink, tink, tink,—immediately near us, and are suddenly arrested in our downward course by the level ground.

We are in a narrow gallery, considerably loftier than any we have yet seen; for we can walk about in it without stooping.  At the further end are two miners, just distinguishable by the tiny glow of their lanterns.  From these proceed the ring of steel—the muffled tinkling in the thick air we had heard—and we see that they are preparing for a “blast.”  With a long steel rod, or chisel, they are driving a way into the hard rock (geologists say there is little else in the Erzebirge than the primitive gneiss and granite), and thus prepare a deep, narrow chamber, within which a charge of gunpowder is placed and exploded.  The hard material is rent into a thousand pieces, bringing with it the ore so indefatigably sought.

With every limb strained and distorted, the miners pursue their cramping labours, grovelling on the earth.  The drilling or boring they are engaged in is a slow process, and the choice of a spot, so that the explosion may loosen as much of the lode and as little of the rock as possible, is of considerable importance.  They cease their labours as we enter, and turn to look at us.  The curse of wealth-digging is upon them.  They, in their stained and disordered costume, seated on the ground on their semicircular leather aprons (for that is the obvious use of this portion of the dress, in these moist regions); we, in our borrowed garments and brimless beavers, with flushed features and dripping hair.  The miners do not wear the abominable hats, at least “beneath the day,” that is, in the mines.

“Is this the bottom of the mine?” we inquire anxiously.

The guide smiles grimly as he answers, “We are little more than half-way to the bottom; but we can descend no deeper in this direction.”

Heaven knows we have no desire!

“This is the first working,” he continues.  “The rest of the mine is much the same as you have already seen.  We have no other means of reaching the workings than by the stone staircases you have partly descended.”

“What are the miners’ hours of work?”

“Eight hours a day for five days in the week at this depth,” is the answer.  “In the deeper workings the hours are fewer.”

p. 82“What is the extent of the mine?” we demand.

“I cannot tell.  There is no miner living who has traversed them all.  The greater portion is out of work, and spreads for miles under ground.”

“And the depth?”

“About two hundred fathoms—twelve hundred feet—the sea level.  The ‘Old Hope of God’ is sixty feet below the level of the sea.”

“Are there many mines like this?”

“There are about two hundred mines in all, with five hundred and forty pits: in all the mines together there are some four thousand eight hundred hands, men and boys.  This mine occupies nine hundred of them.”

“And your pay?”

“One dollar a week is a good wage with us.”

One dollar is about three shillings of English money!  This seems small pay, even in cheap Saxony.

“But,” we pursue our inquiries, “you have no short time, and are pensioned?—at least, so says our Fahrschein.”

“We are paid our wages during sickness, and are never out of work.  When we can no longer use the pick, nor climb these staircases, we can retire upon our pension of eight silver groschens a week.”

Tenpence!  Magnificent independence!  This is digging for silver with a vengeance.

But we are faint with fatigue; and, bidding adieu to the two miners, we gladly agree to our guide’s suggestion of ascending to the happy daylight.  Our way is still the same; although we mount by another shaft, most appropriately named Himmelfahrt—the path of heaven; but we clamber up the same steep steps; feel our way along the same slimy walls, and occasionally drive our hats over our eyes against the same low, dripping roof.  With scarcely a dry thread about us; our hair matted and dripping; beads of perspiration streaming down our faces, we reach the top at last; and thank Heaven, that after two hours’ absence deep down among those terrible “diggins,” we are permitted once more to feel the bracing air, and to look upon the glorious light of day.

Our labours, however are not over.  Distant rather more than an English mile from Himmelsfürst are the extensive amalgamation works, the smelting furnaces and refining ovens.  Painfully fatigued p. 83as we are, we cannot resist the temptation of paying them a brief visit.  The road is dusty and desolate; nor are the works themselves either striking or attractive.  An irregular mass of sheds, brick buildings, and tall chimneys, present themselves.  As we approach them we come upon a “sludge hole”—the bed of a stream running from the dredging and jigging works; where, by the agency of water, the ore is relieved of its earthy and other waste matter, and the stream of water—allowed to run off in separate channels—deposits, as it flows, the smaller particles washed away in the first process.  These are all carefully collected, and the veriest atom of silver or lead extracted.  It is only the coarser ores that undergo this process; the richer deposits being pulverised and smelted with white or charred wood and fluxes, without the application of water, and refined by amalgamation with quicksilver.  The two metals are afterwards separated by distilling off the latter.

Here are heaps of scoria—stacks of piglead, wood, coke, limestone and waste earth, everything, indeed, but silver; although we are emphatically in a silver mining district, silver is by no means the material which presents itself in the greatest bulk.  Having placed ourselves under the direction of one of the workmen, we are led into some newly built brick buildings, where force-pumps and other water appliances, erected at great cost by the Saxon government, are gratefully pointed out to us.  These water-works are equally applicable to the extinction of fire, as to the preparation of ores.

Into what an incomprehensible maze of words should we be betrayed, were we to attempt a description of the multifarious operations for the extraction and refining of metals!  Every description of ore, or metalliferous deposit, requires a different treatment: each suggested and verified by laborious experience and vigilant attention.  In some cases the pure silver is separated by mechanical means; in others the ore is roasted, in order to throw off the sulphur, arsenic, and other volatile matters, which are separately collected and form no inconsiderable portion of the valuable produce of the mine.  These roastings again are smelted with a variety of fluxes, and in different states of purification, until they are ready for refining.

Here are roasting furnaces, dull and black; huge brick tubes with swollen ends; others built in, and ready for ignition.  Everywhere, we see pigs of lead, sometimes lying about in reckless confusion, at others, neatly packed in square stacks.  Now, they bring us to a p. 84huge circular oven, with at least half-a-dozen firmly closed iron doors, and as many glowing caves; and a swarthy man, armed with an iron rake, swinging open one of the iron doors with a ring and a clatter, we look in upon a small lake of molten silver, fuming, and steaming, and bubbling.  The iron rake is thrust in, and scrapes off the crumbling crust—the oxide of lead, which has formed upon its surface.  The silver fumes and flashes, and a white vapour swims in the air.  The swarthy man swings the iron door to with a clang, takes us by the arm, and bids us look through into a dark cavity, and watch the white drops which fall at intervals like tiny stars from above.  This is the quicksilver evaporated from the heated silver in the furnace, which passes through the chimney into a kind of still, and is restored to its original condition.

And what is the result of all this skill and labour?  We find that the average produce of the Saxon mines is from three to four ounces of silver to the hundred pounds’ weight of ore; and that the mines about Freiberg yield annually nearly four hundred and fifty thousand ounces of silver.  We find further that the total mines of the Erzgebirge-Kreis—“circle of ore mountains”—of which those of Freiberg form a portion, produce a total of seven hundred and twenty thousand ounces of silver every year; besides from four hundred to five hundred tons of lead, one hundred and forty tons of tin, about thirty tons of copper, from three thousand five hundred to four thousand tons of iron, and six hundred tons of cobalt.  They are rich also in arsenic, brimstone, and vitriol, and contain, in no inconsiderable quantities, quicksilver, antimony, calamites, bismuth, and manganese.  Even precious stones are not wanting; garnets, topazes, tourmalines, amethysts, beryls, jaspers, and chalcedonies having been found.

A shrewd old workman tells us, with a proud satisfaction, that when Napoleon’s power was crushed, and Saxony had to pay the penalty of her adhesion to the French conqueror, in the shape of various parings and loppings of her already narrow territories—that Prussia gloated with greedy eyes, and half stretched out an eager hand to grasp the Erzgebirge and their mineral riches.  “Aber,” exclaims he with a chuckle, “die sind noch Sächische, Gott sey dank!”  “But they are still Saxon, thanks be to God!”

All things considered (the Australian diggins included), we came to the conclusion, from our small experience of Saxon mines, that p. 85there are more profitable, and even more agreeable occupations in the world than mining—pleasanter ways, in short, of getting a living, than digging for silver in Saxony, or even for gold in Australia.


a lift in a cart.

We left Dresden in the middle of July, a motley group of five: a Frenchman, an Austrian, two natives of Lübeck, and myself; silversmiths and jewellers together; all of us duly viséd by our several ambassadors through Saxon Switzerland, by way of Pirna, on to Peterswald.  The latter is the frontier town of Bohemia, and forms, therefore, the entrance from Saxony into the Austrian empire.

At dusk we were on the banks of the Elbe, at the ferry station near Pillnitz, the summer dwelling of the King of Saxony.  Having crossed the broad stream, we leapt joyously up the steep path that led into a mimic Switzerland; a country of peaks, valleys, and pine trees, wanting only snow and glaciers.  For three days we wandered among those wild regions; now scaling the bleak face of a rock; now stretched luxuriously on the purple moss, or gathering wild raspberries by the road side.  From the abrupt edge of the overhanging Bastei we looked down some six hundred feet upon the wandering Elbe, threading its way by broad slopes, rich with the growth of the vine; or by bleached walls of stone, upon which even the lichens seemed to have been unable to make good their footing.  From the narrow wooden bridge of Neu Rathen, we looked down upon the waving tops of fir trees, hundreds of feet beneath us.  Then down we ourselves went by a wild and jagged path into a luxuriant valley called by no unfit name, Liebethal—the Valley of Love!

Then there was Königstein, seen far away, a square-topped mountain, greyish white with time and weather, soaring above the river’s level some fourteen hundred feet.  And we clambered on, never wearying; by mountain fall and sombre cavern, and round the base of an old rock up to a fortress, till we reached the iron gates; and, amid the echo of repeated passwords and the clatter of military arms, entered its gloomy portal.  We entered only to pass through; p. 86and having admired from the summit a glorious summer prospect, we journeyed on again into the plains beyond, and so entered the Austrian territory at Peterswald.

Then there was a great change from fertility to barrenness.  From the moment we entered Bohemia we were oppressed by a sense of poverty, of sloth, or some worse curse resulting from Austrian domination, which seemed to have been enough to cripple even Nature herself as she stood about us.  It was evident that we had got among another race of people, or else into contact with a quite different state of things.  At the first inn we found upon the road, although it was a mighty rambling place, with stone staircases and spacious chambers, there was not bedding enough in the whole establishment for our party of five, and yet we were the only guests.  We were reduced to the expedient of spreading the two mattresses at our disposal close together upon the bare boards, and so sleeping five men in one double bed.  A miserable night we had of it.  We fared better at Prague, which town we entered the next day.  That is a fine old city.  From the first glimpse we caught of it from an adjoining hill, bathing its feet, as it were, in the Moldan, we were charmed.  There was a wonderful cluster of minarets and conical towers, half Eastern, half German, piled up to the summit of the castle hill.  There was the beautifully barbarous chapel of Johann von Nepomuk, with its silver tomb.  It was all one mass of picturesque details, beautiful in their outline and impressive in their very age,—and, I may add, dirt.  A rare picture of middle-age romance is Prague—a fragment of the past, uninjured and unchanged.  The new suspension bridge across the Moldan looks ridiculous; it is incongruous; what has old Prague to do with modern engineering?  It is a noble structure, to be sure, of which the inhabitants are proud; but it was designed and executed for them by an Englishman.

From Prague we tramped with all the diligence of needy travellers to Brünn, the capital of Moravia.  Our march was straggling.  Foremost strode Alcibiade Tourniquet, jeweller and native of Argenteuil, the best fellow in the world: but one who would persist in marching in a pair of Parisian boots with high, tapering heels, bearing the pain they gave with little wincing.  For him the ground we trod was classical, for we were in the neighbourhood of Austerlitz.  Immediately in his rear swaggered the Austrian, with swarthy features and black straggling locks, swaddled and dirty; he was called “bandit” by general consent.  The other three men p. 87of our party tramped abreast under the guidance of a Lübecker, a smart upright fellow, who, on the strength of having served two years in an infantry regiment, naturally took the position of drill-sergeant, and was dignified with the name of Hannibal on that account.

We halted to rest in the village of Bischowitz, where the few straggling houses, and the dreary, almost tenantless hostelry, told their own sorrows.  But we got good soup, with an unlimited supply of bread, which formed a dinner of the best description; for, besides that the adopted doctrine in Germany is that soup is the best meat for the legs, we found that it also agreed well with our pockets.  While in the full enjoyment of our rest, we observed that an earnest conversation had sprung up between the landlord and a ruddy-featured fellow in a green half-livery.

“Whither are you going, friends?” inquired the landlord at length, advancing towards us.

“We were going to Brünn by the high-road,” we answered.

“This man will carry you beyond Chradim for a zwanziger a head,” said the landlord, pointing to the half-liveried fellow, who began gesticulating violently, and marking us off with his fingers as if we were so many sheep.  This was a tempting offer for foot travellers, each burthened with a heavy knapsack.  Chradim was eleven German miles on our road—a good fifty miles in English measurement—and we were all to be transported this distance for a total of about three shillings and sixpence.  We therefore inspected the furwerk, which did not promise much; but as it was drawn by a neat sturdy little horse, who rattled his harness with a sort of brisk independence that spoke well for a rapid journey, we readily decided upon the acceptance of the offer made by the Bohemian driver.  That worthy shook his head when we addressed him, and grunted out “Kein Deutsch,”—“No German.”  Indeed we found that, excepting people in official situations, innkeepers, and the like, the German language was either unknown to, or unacknowledged by the natives.  In less than half an hour we had tumbled our knapsacks into the cart—which was a country dray, of course without either springs or seats—and disposing ourselves as conveniently as we could on its rough edges, were rattling and jolting off over the uneven road towards Collin, our station for the night.

The country through which we passed was uncultivated and uninteresting; but, like the rest that we had seen, it spoke of a p. 88poverty rather induced than natural.  With the exception of the two villages of Planinam and Böhmishbrod we scarcely saw a house, and human creatures were extremely scarce.  As we approached Collin we halted for a moment to look at a column of black marble erected on the roadside to commemorate the devotion of a handful of Russian troops, who had at this spot checked the progress of the whole French army for many hours.  A little later, and we were lodged at our inn in the market-town of Collin, where we supped on bread and cheese and good Prague beer.  A wild chorus of loud voices, and an overwhelming odour of tobacco and onions, were the accompaniments of our meal.  The morrow being market-day in Collin, the whole population of the district had flocked to the town, and the houses of accommodation were all full.  Our common room was quite choked up with sturdy forms in white loose coats; broad country faces, flushed with good humour, or beer, shone upon us from all sides.  Our driver, who had been very sedate and reserved during the whole of the day, soon joined a cluster of congenial spirits in one corner, and was the thirstiest and most uproarious of mortals.  As for ourselves, we seemed to be made doubly strangers, for there was not a word of German spoken in our hearing.  Hours wore on, and the country folks seemed to enjoy their town excursion so extremely well, that there were no signs of breaking up, till mine host made his appearance and insisted upon the lights being put out, and upon the departure of his guests to bed.  But, beds; where were they?  Our military Lübecker laughed at the idea.

“There are never more than two beds in a Bohemian house of entertainment,” said he, “and the landlord by law claims the best of the two for himself.  The other is for the first comer who pays for it.  Perhaps we shall get some straw, perhaps not.  At the worst there are the boards.”

But we did get some straw, after considerable trouble, and the whole crowd of boozers (with the exception of our driver, who went to bed with his horses) set about preparing couches for themselves, with a tact that plainly showed how well they were accustomed to it.  The straw was spread equally over the whole chamber, and each man turned over his heavy oaken chair, so that its back became a pillow.  Divested of boots and coats, we were soon stretched upon our litters, thirty in a room.

Our morning duty was to shake the loose straw out of our hair and ears, and then to clear away every vestige of our night p. 89accommodation, in order that a delicious breakfast of rich, black, thick coffee, and plain bread, might be spread before us in the same room.  The country folks were all at market, and, as far as we could see, so was our driver.  He was nowhere to be found.  We had vague notions of his having decamped; but considering that we had only paid him two zwanzigers out of the five bargained for, the supposition seemed hardly a reasonable one.  After seeking him in vain through every room in the house, in the crowded market place, and in the neat little town, full of low, square-built houses and whitened colonnades, we thought of the stable, and there we found our friend, stretched on his back among the hoofs of his horse, who, careful creature, loving him too well to disturb him, never stirred a limb.

We saw our guide in a new light that day.  In spite of all our urging, it was nine o’clock before we fairly quitted Collin, and he was then already in an exhilarated state, having taken several strong draughts to cool his inward fever.  We would have given much to have been able to converse with him; for, as we were about to start, he grinned and gesticulated in such a violent way—having, evidently, something to communicate which he was unable to express—that we called the host to our assistance.

“You must not be alarmed,” said the landlord in explanation, “if he should swerve from the high-road, for he thinks of taking you cross country, and it may be a little rough.”

We started at last, and the brave little horse rattled along at a gallant pace.  “Hi, hi, hi!” shouted the Bohemian, and away we went along the well-beaten high-road, jolted unmercifully; our knapsacks dancing about our feet like living creatures.  We were too much occupied in the task of keeping our seats, to be able to devote much attention to the country, until, having passed Czaslau, we turned suddenly out of the high-road, and came upon a scene of cultivation and refinement that was very charming.  A rapid cooling down of our driver’s extravagance of manner was the immediate result of our entering upon the well-kept paths, and between smooth lawns; we went at a decent trot, following a semicircular road, by which we were brought immediately in front of a noble mansion.  At the door of an inn, which pressed upon the pathway, our Bohemian halted and addressed to us a voluble and enthusiastic harangue in his own language (one that has a soft and pleasant sound): evidently he meant to impress us with the beauty of the scene.

p. 90We soon learned all about it from the landlord of the inn.  Our driver was a liveried servant of the Prince before whose mansion we had stopped, and he was probably running much risk of dismissal in letting his grace’s country cart for hire.  He was a sad dog, for, in the course of a quarter of an hour he ran up a score upon the strength of an alleged promise on our parts to pay all expenses, and succeeded in wheedling another zwanziger in advance out of our cashier, the military Lübecker.  This piece of money, however, on being proffered in payment of a last half-pint of beer, was instantly confiscated by the landlord for previous arrears.

Amid a hurricane of abuse, exchanged between landlord and driver, we clattered out of private ground to the main road again.  Our charioteer had risen into a state of exaltation that defied all curb, and in a short time we were again firmly planted before the sign-post of a public-house.  But here there was no credit, and our good-natured Lübecker having doled out a fourth zwanziger on account, was scarcely surprised to see it pounced upon and totally appropriated by the host in liquidation of some ancient score.  With a shout of rage, or rather a howl, from our Bohemian whip, we again set forward.  “Hi, hi, hi!” and helter-skelter we went, through bush and bramble, where indeed there was no trace or shadow of a beaten track.  The Bohemian was lost to control; he shouted, he sang, he yelled, savagely flogging his willing beast all the while, until we began to have serious fears for the safety of our necks.  Presently we were skimming along the edge of the steep bank of a broad and rapid stream, wondering internally what might possibly come next, when, to our terror, the Bohemian, pointing with his whip to the opposite bank, suddenly wheeled the horse and rude vehicle round, and before we could expostulate with or arrest him in his course, plunged down a long slope and dashed into the river, with a hissing and splashing that completely blinded us for a few seconds, and drenched us to the skin.  We held on with the desperation of fear; but before we could well know whether we swam or rode we had passed the stream, and our unconquered little horse was tugging us might and main up the opposite bank.  That once obtained, we saw before us a wide expanse of heath, rugged and broken, and no trace of any road.

But horse and driver seemed to be alike careless about beaten tracks.  The Bohemian grew wilder at every step, urging on his horse with mad gestures and unearthly cries.  His driving was p. 91miraculous; along narrow strips of road, scarcely wide enough to contain the wheels, he passed in safety; sometimes skimming the outer ridge of a steep bank, and when, seemingly about to plunge into an abyss, suddenly wheeling both horse and cart round at an acute angle, and darting on with a reckless speed to new dangers and new escapes.  We had been told that he was an admirable hand at the rein when sober; but, when drunk, he certainly surpassed himself.  As for ourselves, we were in constant fear of our lives; and, being utterly unacquainted with the country and the language, and unable to control the extravagances of our driver, we calmly awaited, and almost invoked, the “spill” that seemed inevitable.

But the paroxysm of the Bohemian had reached its height; from an incarnate devil, in demeanour and language, he rapidly dropped into childish helplessness, and finally into a deep uncontrollable slumber.  This was a state of things which, at first, threatened more danger than his open madness; but then it was the horse’s turn to show his quality.  He saw that a responsibility devolved upon him, and he was quite equal to the occasion.  He seemed to know his way as well without as with his master.  We guessed this; and, taking the reins from the hands of the quite helpless Bohemian, we left the gallant animal to take whatever course he thought most prudent.  The good beast brought us well out of the tangled heath, and once more to a level, open road.

Soon, a neat village was before us, and we came to the resolution that we would dismount there at all hazards.  But then our sleepy driver suddenly started into life, and, with a terrible outburst of wrath, gave us, by motions, to understand that we had gone beyond his destination.  We paid very little heed to him; but, leaping from the cart, felt grateful for the blessing of whole bones.  There remained still one zwanziger unpaid; but, to our astonishment, the Bohemian relapsed into his old rage when this was tendered to him, and, by a complication of finger reckoning, explained to us that he had never received more than two.  In fact, he ignored all that had passed during his drunken fit.  Argument being on each side useless, we also betook ourselves to abuse, and a terrible conflict of strong language, in which neither party understood the other, was the result.  We entered the chief inn of the village, followed by the implacable Bohemian, who, though ejected several times, never failed to re-appear, repeating his finger calculations every time, and p. 92concluding each assault with the mystical words, “Sacramentum hallaluyah!”  The landlord came at length to our assistance; and, by a few emphatic words in his own language, exorcised this evil spirit.

We pursued our way by Hohenmauth, and having missed somehow the larger village of Chradim, lodged for the night in a lonely hamlet.  We walked fully thirty-two miles the next day, through a wild, neglected country, and hobbled into Loitomischl as the night was setting in.

We were now upon the borders of Bohemia, and saw glaring on the wall of a frontier hostelry, “Willkommen zu Mähren”—“Welcome to Moravia.”  We sealed the welcome by a sumptuous breakfast of sausages and beer in the frontier town of Zwittau—a pleasant place, with a spacious colonnaded market-square—and finished our meal on a green bank on the outskirts of the town, with a heap of sweet blackberries, of which we had purchased a capful for six kreutzers shein.  It was a quiet, beautiful Sunday morning, and the country folks were streaming towards the church.  They were all in holiday trim, with a strong tendency to Orientalism in the fashion of their garments.  The women’s head-dresses were arranged with much taste, consisting generally of a large handkerchief, or shawl, folded turban-wise, with hanging ends; but the heads of the men were surmounted by an atrocious machine, in the shape of a hat, which, with its broad, rolled brim, its expanded top, and numerous braidings and pendants, could be nothing less than an heirloom in a family.  We marched some twenty-five miles that day, and as the even darkened, entered the village of Goldentraum—Golden dream—happy name! for here, after four nights of straw-litter, we slept in beds.

Seated in the travellers’ room was a group which at once arrested our attention.  A swarthy man, with scattered, raven locks, and a handsome countenance, was filling a glass with red wine from a round-bellied flask.  His companion, a black, shaggy-bearded fellow, ragged and filthy, sat opposite to him; while close by the wall, squatted on the ground, was a squalid, olive-skinned woman, with black, matted hair, who was vainly endeavouring to still the cries of a child, swaddled at her back.  The men wore slouched Spanish hats, and wide cloaks, which, partly thrown aside, revealed the rags and dirt beneath.  Bohemian gipseys—real Bohemians were they—filchers and beggars, whose ample cloaks were intended as much p. 93for a convenient means of concealing stolen property, as articles of dress.  Our military Lübecker thought they would be very useful as a foraging party.  They sat laughing and sipping their wine, now and then handing a glass of the liquor, in an ungracious way, to the woman squatted on the ground; and who received it with a real or assumed humility which was, perhaps, the most curious part of the picture.  Here three of our companions, Alcibiade, the Viennese silversmith, and one of the Lübeckers, were unable to proceed further on foot, and took places in the “fast coach;” while “Hannibal” and myself tramped the remaining twenty miles which lay between us and Brünn, the capital of Moravia.

It was again Sunday, our usual rest day, and I stood in the open square before the huge church at Brünn, watching the motley, shifting, and clamorous crowd which had converted its very steps into a market-place.  There was something strikingly Eastern in the character of the women’s attire: intensely gaudy and highly contrasted; and their head-dresses the very next thing to a turban with double-frilled ends.  There was also something peculiarly Catholic in the nature of the articles exposed for sale; beads, crosses, coloured pictures of saints, and tiny images of suffering Saviours; but more especially in the manner in which the Sunday had been turned into a market-day.  Above all, and through all, the impressive tones of the solemn chant, mingled with bursts of inspiring music, pealed out of the open doorway, round which clustered the kneeling devotees.

Our lame companions started on the following day by rail for the Austrian capital, while we took the high road.  The country through which we passed was beautifully undulated; hill and dale following each other in regular succession, and in a far different state of order and cultivation to the neglected plains of Bohemia.  We were now in Austria proper, and everything spoke of prosperity and comfort.  Neat, populous villages, hung upon every hill-side—the southern side invariably—and there were no shortcomings in the accommodation for man or horse.  But our finances were in a miserable plight; and our sustenance during the two and a half days occupied in tramping the more than eighty miles between Brünn and Vienna, consisted for the most part of fruit, bread, and water.  We crossed the Danube at a place called “Am Spitz,” where there is an interminable bridge across the broad flood, and entered Vienna almost penniless.


the turks’ cellar.

You enter the old town of Vienna from Leopoldstadt by the Ferdinand Bridge; and, walking for a few minutes parallel with the river, come into a hollow called the Tiefer Grund; passing next under a broad arch which itself supports a street spanning the gulley, you find on the left hand a rising ground which must be climbed in order to reach a certain open space of a triangular form, walled in by lofty houses, called “Die Freiung,”—the Deliverance.  In it there is an old wine-house, the Turks’ Cellar, and there belongs to this spot one of the legends of Vienna.

In the autumn of the year sixteen hundred and twenty-seven, when the city was so closely invested by the Turks, that the people were half famished, there stood in the place now called “Freiung,” or thereabouts, the military bakery for that portion of the garrison which had its quarters in the neighbourhood.  The bakery had to supply not only the soldiers, but bread was made in it to be doled out to destitute civilians by the municipal authorities; and, as the number of the destitute was great, the bakers there employed had little rest.  Once in the dead of the night, while some of the apprentices were getting their dough ready for the early morning batch, they were alarmed by a hollow ghostly sound as of spirits knocking in the earth.  The blows were regular and quite distinct, and without cessation until cockcrow.  The next night these awful sounds were again heard, and seemed to become louder and more urgent as the day drew near; but, with the first scent of morning air, they suddenly ceased.  The apprentices gave information to the town authorities; a military watch was set, and the cause of the strange noises in the earth was very soon discovered.  The enemy was under ground; the Turks, from their camp on the Leopoldiberg, were carrying a mine under the city; and, not knowing the levels, had approached so nearly to the surface that there was but a mere crust between them and the bakehouse floor.

p. 95What was to be done?  The danger was imminent—the remedy must be prompt and decisive.  A narrow arm of the Danube ran within a hundred yards of the place: pick and spade were vigorously plied, and in a short time a canal was cut between the river and the bakery.  Little knew the Turks of the cold water that could then at any time be thrown upon their undertaking.  All was still.  The Viennese say that the hostile troops already filled the mine, armed to the teeth, and awaiting only a concerted signal to tell them that a proposed midnight attack on the walls had diverted the attention of the citizens.  Then they were to rush up out of the earth and surprise the town.  But the besieged, forewarned and forearmed, suddenly threw the flood-gates open and broke a way for the water through the new canal under the bakehouse floor; down it went bubbling, hissing, and gurgling into the dark cavern, where it swept the Mussulmans before it, and destroyed them to a man.

This was the origin of the Turks’ Cellar; and although the title is perhaps unjustly appropriated by the winehouse I have mentioned, yet there is no doubt that the tale is true, and that the house at any rate is near the spot from which its name is taken.  Grave citizens even believe that the underground passage still exists, walled and roofed over with stone, and that it leads directly to the Turks’ camp, at the foot of the Leopoldiberg.  They even know the size of it, namely, that it is of such dimensions as to admit the marching through it of six men abreast.  Of this I know nothing; but I know from the testimony of a venerable old lady—who is not the oldest in Vienna—that the bakers’ apprentices were formerly allowed special privileges in consideration of the service once rendered by some of their body to the state.  Indeed, the procession of the bakers, on every returning anniversary of the swamp-in of the Turks, when they marched horse and foot from the Freiung, with banners, emblems, and music, through the heart of the city to the grass-grown camp outside the city walls, was one of the spectacles that made the deepest impression on this chatty old lady in her childhood.

The Turks’ Cellar is still famous.  It is noted now, not for its bread or its canal-water, but for its white wine, its baked veal, and its savoury chickens.  Descend into its depths (for it is truly a cellar and nothing else) late in the evening, when citizens have time and money at their disposal, and you find it full of jolly company.  As well as the tobacco-smoke will permit you to see what the place p. 96resembles, you would say that it is like nothing so much as the after cabin of a Gravesend steamer on a summer Sunday afternoon.  There is just such a row of tables on each side; just such a low roof; just such a thick palpable air, uncertain light, and noisy steamy crowd of occupants.  The place is intolerable in itself, but fall-to upon the steaming block of baked veal which is set before you; clear your throat of the tobacco-smoke by mighty draughts of the pale yellow wine which is its proper accompaniment; finally, fill a deep-bowled meerschaum with Three Kings tobacco, creating for yourself your own private and exclusive atmosphere, and you begin to feel the situation.  The temperature of mine host’s cellar aids imagination greatly in recalling the idea of the old bakehouse, and there comes over you, after a while, a sense of stifling that mixes with the nightmare, usually constituting in this place an after-supper nap.  In the waking lethargy that succeeds, you feel as if jostled in dark vaults by a mob of frantic Turks, labouring heavily to get breath, and sucking in foul water for air.

Possibly when fully awakened you begin to consider that the Turks’ Cellar is not the most healthful place of recreation to be in; and, cleaving the dense smoke, you ascend into sunlight.  Perhaps you stroll to some place where the air is better, but which may still have a story quite as exciting as the catastrophe of the imperial bakehouse: perhaps to Bertholdsdorf; a pretty little market-town with a tall-steepled church, and a half ruined battlement, situated on the hill slope about six miles to the south of Vienna.  It forms a pretty summer day’s ramble.  Its chronicler is the worthy Markt-richter, or Town-justice, Jacob Trinksgeld; and his unvarnished story, freely translated, runs thus:—

“When the Turkish army, two hundred thousand strong without their allies, raised the siege of Raab, the retreating host of rebels and Tartars were sent to overrun the whole of Austria below the Enns on this side of the Danube, and to waste it with fire and sword.  This was done.  On the ninth of July, detached troops of Spahis and Tartars appeared before the walls of Bertholdsdorf, but were beaten back by our armed citizens.  Those attacks were repeated on the tenth and twelfth, and also repulsed; but as at this time the enemy met with a determined resistance from the city of Vienna, which they had invested, they gathered in increased force about our devoted town, and on the fifteenth of July attacked us with such fury on every side that, seeing it was no longer possible to hold out p. 97against them, partly from their great numbers, and partly from our failing of powder; and, moreover, seeing that they had already set fire to the town in several places, we were compelled to seek shelter with our goods and chattels in the church and fortress, neither of which were as yet touched by the flames.

“On the sixteenth, the town itself being then in ashes, there came a soldier dressed in the Turkish costume, save that he wore the leather jerkin of a German horseman, into the high street, and waving a white cloth, he called out in the Hungarian language, to those of us who were in the fortress, that if we would ask for grace, both we and ours should be protected, and a safe conduct (salva quartier) given to us, that should be our future defence.  Thereupon we held honest counsel together, citizens and neighbours then present, and in the meantime gave reply, translated also into Hungarian, that if we should agree thereto, we would set up a white flag upon the tower as a sign of our submission.  Early on the morning of the nineteenth of July there came a Pasha from the camp at Vienna, at the head of a great army, and with him the same Turk who had on the previous day made the proposal to us.  And the Pasha sat himself down upon a red carpet spread on the bare ground, close by the house of Herr Streninger, till we should agree to his terms.  It was five o’clock in the morning before we could make up our minds.

“Then, when we were all willing to surrender, our enemies demanded, in the first place, that two of our men should march out of the fortress as hostages, and that two Turks should take their places with us; and that a maiden, with loose streaming hair, and a wreath upon her forehead, should bring forth the key of the town, seeing that this place had never till then been taken by an enemy.  Further, they demanded six thousand florins ransom from us, which, however, we abated to four thousand, handing to them two thousand florins at once, upon three dishes, with the request that the remainder should be allowed to stand over till the forthcoming day of John the Baptist.  As soon as this money had been paid over to them, the Pasha called such of our faithful garrison as were in the church to come out and arrange themselves in the square, that he might see how many safe-conducts were required; but, as each armed man came to the door, his musket was torn out of his hand, and such as resisted were dragged by the hair of the head into the square by the Turks, and told that they would need no weapons, seeing that p. 98to those who sought for mercy, the passes would be sufficient protection.  And thus were our arms carried away from us.

“As soon as the whole garrison, thus utterly defenceless, were collected in the public square, there sprang fifty Turks from their horses, and with great rudeness began searching every one of them for money or other valuables; and the citizens began already to see that they were betrayed into a surrender, and some of them tried to make their escape—among others, Herr Streninger, the town-justice; but he was struck down immediately, and he was the first man murdered.  Upon this, the Pasha stood up, and began to call out with a loud, clear voice to his troops, and as they heard his words, they fell upon the unarmed men in the market-place, and hewed them down with their scimitars without pity or remorse—sparing none in their eagerness for the butchery, and which, in spite of their haste, was not ended till between one and two o’clock in the afternoon.  Of all our citizens, only two escaped the slaughter, and they contrived to hide themselves in the tower; but those who fled out of the town were captured by the Tartars, and instantly dispatched.  Then, having committed this cruel barbarism, they seized the women and children who had been left for safety in the church, and carried them away into slavery, taking care to burn and utterly destroy the fortress ere they departed.  And when Vienna was relieved, and the good people there came among the ruins of Bertholdsdorf, they gathered together the headless and mangled remains of our murdered citizens to the number of three thousand five hundred, and buried them all in one grave.”

In “eternal remembrance” of this catastrophe, the worthy town-justice, Trinksgeld, in seventeen hundred ordered a painting to be executed, representing the fearful scene described.  It occupies the whole of one side of the Town-hall, and in its quaint minuteness of detail, and defiance of perspective—depicting, not merely the slaughter of the betrayed Bertholdsdorfers, but the concealment of the two who were fortunate enough to escape, and who are helplessly apparent behind some loose timber—would be ludicrous, were it not for the sacred gravity of the subject.

As it is, we quit the romantic little town with a sigh, and turning our faces towards Vienna, wonder what the young Turks of eighteen hundred and fifty-four may possibly think of the Old Turks of one hundred and thirty years ago.


a taste of austrian jails.

At the “Fete de Dieu,” in Vienna (the Frohnleichnamsfest), religious rites are not confined to the places of worship—the whole city becomes a church.  Altars rise in every street, and high mass is performed in the open air, amid clouds of incense and showers of holy water.  The Emperor himself and his family swell the procession.

I had taken a cheering glass of Kronewetter with the worthy landlord of my lodgings, and sauntered forth to observe the day’s proceedings.  I crossed the Platz of St. Ulrick, and thence proceeded to the high street of Mariahilf—an important suburb of Vienna.  I passed two stately altars on my way, and duly raised my hat, in obedience to the custom of the country.  A little crowd was collected round the parish church of Mariahilf; and, anticipating that a procession would pass, I took my stand among the rest of the expectant populace.  A few assistant police, in light blue-grey uniforms with green facings, kept the road.

A bustle about the church-door, and a band of priests, attendants, and—what pleased me most—a troop of pretty little girls came, two and two, down the steps, and into the road.  I remember nothing of the procession but those beautiful and innocent children, adorned with wreaths and ribbons for the occasion.  I was thinking of the rosy faces I had left at home, when my reflections were interrupted by a peremptory voice, exclaiming, “Take off your hat!”  I should have obeyed with alacrity at any other moment; but there was something in the manner and tone of the “Polizeidiener’s” address which touched my pride, and made me obstinate.  I drew back a little.  The order was repeated; the crowd murmured.  I half turned to go; but, the next moment, my hat was struck off my head by the police-assistant.

What followed was mere confusion.  I struck the “Polizeidiener;” and, in return, received several blows on the head from behind with p. 100a heavy stick.  In less than ten minutes I was lodged in the police-office of the district; my hat broken and my clothes bespattered with the blood which had dropped, and was still dropping, from the wounds in my head.

I had full time to reflect upon the obstinate folly which had produced this result; nor were my reflections enlivened by the manners of the police-agents attached to the office.  They threatened me with heavy pains and punishments; and the Polizeidiener whom I had struck, assured me, while stanching his still-bleeding nose, that I should have at least “three months for this.”

After several hours’ waiting in the dreary office, I was abruptly called into the commissioner’s room.  The commissioner was seated at a table with writing materials before him, and commenced immediately, in a sharp offensive tone, a species of examination.  After my name and country had been demanded, he asked:

“Of what religion are you?”

“I am a Protestant.”

“So!  Leave the room.”

I had made no complaint of my bruises, because I did not think this the proper place to do so; although the man who dealt them was present.  He had assisted, stick in hand, in taking me to the police-office.  He was in earnest conversation with the Polizeidiener, but soon left the office.  From that instant I never saw him again; nor, in spite of repeated demands, could I ever obtain redress for, or even recognition of, the violence I had suffered.

Another weary hour, and I was consigned to the care of a police-soldier; who, armed with sabre and stick, conducted me through the crowded city to prison.  It was then two o’clock.

The prison, situated in the Spengler Gasse, is called the “Polizei-Haupt-Direction.”  We descended a narrow gut, which had no outlet, except through the prison gates.  They were slowly opened at the summons of my conductor.  I was beckoned into a long gloomy apartment, lighted from one side only, and having a long counter running down its centre; chains and handcuffs hung upon the walls.

An official was standing behind the counter.  He asked me abruptly:

“Whence come you?”

“From England,” I answered.

“Where’s that?”

p. 101“In Great Britain; close to France.”

The questioner behind the counter cast an inquiring look at my escort:—

“Is it so?” he asked.

The subordinate answered him in a pleasant way, that I had spoken the truth.  Happily an Englishman, it seems, is a rarity within those prison walls.

I was passed into an adjoining room, which reminded me of the back parlour of a Holywell Street clothes shop, only that it was rather lighter.  Its sides consisted entirely of sets of great pigeon-holes, each occupied by the habiliments or effects of some prisoner.

“Have you any valuables?”

“Few enough.”  My purse, watch, and pin were rendered up, ticketed, and, deposited in one of the compartments.  I was then beckoned into a long paved passage or corridor down some twenty stone steps, into the densest gloom.  Presently I discerned before me a massive door studded with bosses, and crossed with bars and bolts.  A police-soldier, armed with a drawn sabre, guarded the entrance to Punishment Room No. 1.  The bolts gave way; and, in a few moments, I was a prisoner within.

Punishment Room No. 1, is a chamber some fifteen paces long by six broad, with a tolerably high ceiling and whitened walls.  It has but two windows, and they are placed at each end of one side of the chamber.  They are of good height, and look out upon an inclosed gravelled space, variegated with a few patches of verdure.  The room is tolerably light.  On each side are shelves, as in barracks, for sleeping.  In one corner, by the window, is a stone sink; in another, a good supply of water.

Such is the prison; but the prisoners!  There were forty-eight—grey-haired men and puny boys—all ragged, and stalking with slippered feet from end to end with listless eyes.  Some, all eagerness; some, crushed and motionless; some, scared and stupid; now singing, now swearing, now rushing about playing at some mad game; now hushed or whispering, as the loud voice of the Vater (or father of the ward) is heard above the uproar, calling out “Ruhe!” (“Order!”)

On my entrance I was instantly surrounded by a dozen of the younger jail-birds, amid a shout of “Ein Zuwachs!  Ein Zuwachs!” which I was not long in understanding to be the name given to the last comer.  “Was haben sie?” (What have you done?) was the next p. 102eager cry.  “Struck a Polizeidiener!”  “Ei! das ist gut!” was the hearty exclamation; and I was a favourite immediately.  One dirty villanous-looking fellow, with but one eye, and very little light in that, took to handling my clothes; then inquired if I had any money “up above?”  Upon my answering in the affirmative my popularity immediately increased.  They soon made me understand that I could “draw” upon the pigeon-hole bank to indulge in any such luxuries as beer or tobacco.

People breakfast early in Vienna; and, as I had tasted nothing since that meal, I was very hungry; but I was not to starve; for soon we heard the groaning of bolts and locks, and the police-soldier who guarded the door appeared, bearing in his hand a red earthen pot, surmounted by a round flat loaf of bread “for the Englishman.”  I took my portion with thanks, and found that the pipkin contained a thick porridge made of lentils, prepared with meal and fat; in the midst of which was a piece of fresh boiled beef.  The cake was of a darkish colour; but good wholesome bread.  Altogether, the meal was not unsavoury.  Many a greedy eye watched me as I sat on the end of the hard couch, eating my dinner.  One wretched man seeing that I did not eat all, whispered a proposal to barter his dirty neckerchief—which he took off in my presence—for half of my loaf.  I satisfied his desires, but declined the recompense.  My half-emptied pipkin was thankfully taken by another man, under the pretence of “cleaning it.”

One of my fellow-prisoners approached me.

“It is getting late,” said he; “do you know what you have got to do?”


“You are the Zuwachs (latest accession), and it is your business to empty and clean out the ‘Kiefel’” (the sink, etc.)

“The devil!”

“But I dare say,” he added, carelessly, “if you pay the Vater a ‘mass-bier,’” (something less than a quart of beer), “he will make some of the boys do it for you.”

“With all my heart.”

“Have you a rug?”


“You must ask the Corporal, at seven o’clock; but I dare say the Vater will find you one—for a ‘mass-bier’—if you ask him.”

p. 103I saw that a mass-bier would do a great deal in an Austrian prison.

The Vater, who was a prisoner like the rest, was appealed to.  He was a tall, burly-looking young man, with a frank countenance.  He had quitted his honest calling of butcher, and had taken to smuggling tobacco into the city.  This is a heavy crime; for the growth, manufacture, and sale of tobacco is a strict Imperial monopoly.  Accordingly, his punishment had been proportionately severe—two years’ imprisonment.  The sentence was now approaching completion; and, on account of good conduct, he had received the appointment of Vater to Punishment Room No. 1.  The benefits were enumerated to me with open eyes by one of the prisoners—“Double rations, two rugs, and a mass-bier a day!”

The result of my application to the Vater was the instant calling out of several young lads, who crouched all day in the darkest end of the room—a condemned corner, abounding in vermin; and I heard no more of the sink and so forth.  The next day a newcomer occupied my position.

At about seven o’clock the bolts were again withdrawn, the ponderous door opened, and the Corporal—who seemed to fill the office of ward-inspector—marched into the chamber.  He was provided with a small note-book and a pencil, and made a general inquiry into the wants and complaints of the prisoners.  Several of them asked for little indulgences.  All these were duly noted down to be complied with the next day—always supposing that the prisoner possessed a small capital “up above.”  I stepped forward, and humbly made my request for a rug.  “You!” exclaimed the Corporal, eyeing me sharply.  “Oh! you are the Englishman?—No!”

I heard some one near me mutter: “So; struck a policeman!  No mercy for him from the other policemen—any of them.”

The Vater dared not help me; but two of his most intimate friends made me lie down between them; and, swaddled in their rugs, I passed the night miserably.  The hard boards, and the vermin, effectually broke my slumbers.

The morning came.  The rules of the prison required that we should all rise at six, roll up the rugs, lay them at the heads of our beds, and sweep out the room.  Weary and sore, I paced the prison while these things were done.  Even the morning ablution was comfortless and distressing; a pocket-handkerchief serving but indifferently for a towel.

p. 104Restless activity now took full possession of the prisoners.  There was not the combined shouting or singing of the previous day; but there was independent action, which broke out in various ways.  Hunger had roused them; the prison allowance is one meal a day: and although, by husbanding the supply, some few might eke it out into several repasts, the majority had no such control over their appetite.  Tall, gaunt lads, just starting into men, went roaming about with wild eyes, purposeless, pipkin in hand, although hours must elapse before the meal would come.  Caged beasts pace their narrow prisons with the same uniform and unvarying motion.

At last eleven o’clock came.  The barred door opened, and swiftly, yet with a terrible restraint—knowing that the least disorder would cost them a day’s dinner—the prisoners mounted the stone steps, and passed slowly, in single file, before two enormous caldrons.  A cook, provided with a long ladle, stood by the side of each; and, with a dexterous plunge and a twist, a portion of porridge and a small block of beef were fished up and dashed into the pipkin extended by each prisoner.  Another official stood ready with the flat loaves.  In a very short time, the whole of the prisoners were served.

Hunger seasoned the mess; and I was sitting on the bedstead-end enjoying it, when the police-soldier appeared on the threshold, calling me by name.

“You must leave—instantly.”

“I am ready,” I said, starting up.

“Have you a rug?”


I hurried out into the dark passage.  I was conducted to the left; another heavy door was loosened, and I was thrust into a gloomy cell, bewildered, and almost speechless with alarm.  I was not alone.  Some half-dozen melancholy wretches, crouching in one corner, were disturbed by my entrance; but half-an-hour had scarcely elapsed, when the police-soldier again appeared, and I was hurried out.  We proceeded through the passage by which I had first entered.  In my way past the nest of pigeon-holes “up above,” my valuables were restored to me.  Presently a single police-soldier led me into the open street.

The beautiful air and sunshine! how I enjoyed them as we passed through the heart of the city.  “Bei’m Magistrat,” at the corner of the Kohlmarkt was our destination.  We entered its porticoed door, ascended the stone stairs, and went into a small office, where p. 105the most repulsive-looking official I have anywhere seen, noted my arrival in a book.  Thence we passed into another pigeon-holed chamber, where I delivered up my little property, as before, “for its security.”  A few minutes more, and I was safely locked in a small chamber, having one window darkened by a wooden blind.  My companions were a few boys, a courier—who, to my surprise, addressed me in English—and a man with blazing red hair.

In this place I passed four days, occupied by what I suppose I may designate “my trial.”  The first day was enlivened by a violent attack which the jailer made upon the red-haired man for looking out of window.  He seized the fiery locks, and beat their owner’s head against the wall.  I had to submit that day to a degrading medical examination.

On the second day I was called to appear before the “Rath,” or counsel.  The process of examination is curious.  It is considered necessary to the complete elucidation of a case, that the whole life and parentage of the accused should be made known; and I was thus exposed to a series of questions which I had never anticipated:—The names and countries of both of my parents; their station; the ages, names, and birthplaces of my brothers and sisters; my own babyhood, education, subsequent behaviour, and adventures; my own account, with the minutest details of the offence I had committed.  It was more like a private conference than an examination.  The Rath was alone—with the exception of his secretary, who diligently recorded my answers.  While being thus perseveringly catechised, the Rath sauntered up and down; putting his interminable questions in a friendly chatty way, as though he were taking a kindly interest in my history, rather than pursuing a judicial investigation.  When the examination was concluded, the secretary read over every word to me, and I confirmed the report with my signature.

The Rath promised to do what he could for me; and I was then surprised and pleased by the entrance of my employer.  The Rath recommended him to write to the English Embassy in my behalf, and allowed him to send me outer clothing better suited to the interior of a prison than the best clothes I had donned to spend the holiday in.

I went back to my cell with a lightened heart.  I was, however, a little disconcerted on my return by the courier, who related an anecdote of a groom, of his acquaintance, who had persisted in p. 106smoking a cigar while passing a sentinel; and who, in punishment therefor, had been beaten by a number of soldiers, with willow rods; and whose yells of pain had been heard far beyond the prison walls.  What an anticipation!  Was I to be similarly served?  I thought it rather a suspicious circumstance that my new friend appeared to be thoroughly conversant with all the details (I suspect from personal experience) of the police and prison system of Vienna.  He told me (but I had no means of testing the correctness of his information) that there were twenty Rathsherrn, or Counsellors; that each had his private chamber, and was assisted by a confidential secretary; that every offender underwent a private examination by the Rath appointed to investigate his case—the Rath having the power to call all witnesses, and to examine them, singly, or otherwise, as he thought proper; that on every Thursday the “Rathsherrn” met in conclave; that each Rath brought forward the particular cases which he had investigated, explained all their bearings, attested his report by documentary evidence prepared by his secretary, and pronounced his opinion as to the amount of punishment to be inflicted.  The question was then decided by a majority.

On the third day, I was suddenly summoned before the Rath, and found myself side by side with my accuser.  He was in private clothes.

“Herr Tuci,” exclaimed the Rath, trying to pronounce my name, but utterly disguising it, “you have misinformed me.  The constable says he did not knock your hat off—he only pulled it off.”

I adhered to my statement.  The Polizeidiener nudged my elbow, and whispered, “Don’t be alarmed—it will not go hard with you.”

“Now, constable,” said the Rath; “what harm have you suffered in this affair?”

“My uniform is stained with blood.”

“From my head!” I exclaimed.

“From my nose,” interposed the Polizeidiener.

“In any case it will wash out,” said the Rath.

“And you,” he added, turning to me,—“are you willing to indemnify this man for damage done?”

I assented; and was then removed.

On the following morning I was again summoned to the Rath’s chamber.  His secretary, who was alone, met me with smiles and congratulations: he announced to me the sentence—four days’ p. 107imprisonment.  I am afraid I did not evince that degree of pleasure which was expected from me; but I thanked him, was removed, and, in another hour, was reconducted to Punishment Room No. 1.

The four days of sentence formed the lightest part of the adventure.  My mind was at ease: I knew the worst.  Additions to my old companions had arrived in the interval.  We had an artist among us, who was allowed, in consideration of his talents, to retain a sharp cutting implement fashioned by himself from a flat piece of steel—knives and books being, as the most dangerous objects in prison, rigidly abstracted from us.  He manufactured landscapes in straw, gummed upon pieces of blackened wood.  Straw was obtained, in a natural state, of green, yellow, and brown; and these, when required, were converted into differently-tinted reds, by a few hours’ immersion in the Kiefel.  He also kneaded bread in the hand, until it became as plastic as clay.  This he modelled into snuffboxes (with strips of rag for hinges, and a piece of whalebone for a spring), draughts, chess-men, pipe-bowls, and other articles.  When dry, they became hard and serviceable; and he sold them among the prisoners and the prison officials.  He obtained thus a number of comforts not afforded by the prison regulations.

On Sunday, I attended the Catholic chapel attached to the prison—a damp unwholesome cell.  I stood among a knot of prisoners, enveloped in a nauseous vapour; for there arose musty, mouldy, effluvia which gradually overpowered my senses.  I felt them leaving me, and tottered towards the door.  I was promptly met by a man who seemed provided for emergencies of the kind; for he held a vessel of cold water, poured some of it into my hands, and directed me to bathe my temples.  I partly recovered; and, faint and dispirited, staggered back to the prison.  I had not, however, lain long upon my bed (polished and slippery from constant use), when the prison guard came to my side, holding in his hand a smoking basin of egg soup “for the Englishman.”  It was sent by the mistress of the kitchen.  I received the offering of a kind heart to a foreigner in trouble, with a blessing on the donor.

On the following Tuesday, after an imprisonment of, in all, nine days, during which I had never slept without my clothes, I was discharged from the prison.  In remembrance of the place, I brought p. 108away with me a straw landscape and a bread snuff-box, the works of the prison artist.

On reaching my lodging I looked into my box.  It was empty.

“Where are my books and papers?” I asked my landlord.

The police had taken them on the day after my arrest.

“And my bank-notes?”

“Here they are!” exclaimed my landlord, triumphantly.  “I expected the police; I knew you had money somewhere, so I took the liberty of searching until I found it.  The police made particular inquiries about your cash, and went away disappointed, taking the other things with them.”

“Would they have appropriated it?”

“Hem!  Very likely—under pretence of paying your expenses.”

On application to the police of the district, I received the whole of my effects back.  One of my books was detained for about a week; a member of the police having taken it home to read, and being, as I apprehend, a slow reader.

It was matter of great astonishment, both to my friends and to the police, that I escaped with so slight a punishment.


what my landlord believed.

My Bohemian landlord in Vienna told me a story of an English nobleman.  It may be worth relating, as showing what my landlord, quite in good faith and earnest, believed.

You know, Lieber Herr, said Vater Böhm, there is nothing in the whole Kaiserstadt so astonishing to strangers as our signboards.  Those beautiful paintings that you see—Am Graben and Hohe Markt,—real works of art, with which the sign-boards of other countries are no more to be compared, than your hum-drum English music is to the delicious waltzes of Lanner, or the magic polkas of Strauss.  Imagine an Englishman, who knows nothing of painting, finding himself all at once in front of one of those charming compositions—pictures that they would make a gallery of in p. 109London, but which we can afford to put out of doors; he is fixed, he is dumb with astonishment and delight—he goes mad.  Well, Lieber Herr, this is exactly what happened to one of your English nobility.  Milor arrived in Vienna; and as he had made a wager that he would see every notability in the city and its environs in the course of three days, which was all the time he could spare, he hired a fiaker at the Tabor-Linie, and drove as fast as the police would let him from church to theatre; from museum to wine-cellar; till chance and the fiaker brought him into the Graben.  Milor got out to stretch himself, and to see the wonderful shops, and after a few turns came suddenly upon the house at the sign of the Joan of Arc.

“Goddam!” exclaimed Milor, as his eye met the sign-board.

There he stood, this English nobleman, in his drab coat with pearl buttons, his red neckcloth, blue pantaloons and white hat, transfixed for at least five minutes.  Then, swearing some hard oaths—a thing the English always do when they are particularly pleased—Milor exclaimed, “It is exquisite!  Holy Lord Mayor, it is unbelievable!”

Mein Lieber, you have seen that painting of course, I mean Joan of Arc, life-size, clad in steel, sword in hand, and with a wonderful serenity expressed in her countenance, as she leads her flagging troops once more to the attack upon the walls.  It has all the softness of a Coreggio, and the vigour of a Rubens.  Milor gave three bounds, and was in the middle of the shop in a moment.

“That picture!” he exclaimed.

“What picture—Eurer Gnaden?” inquired the shopkeeper, bowing in the most elegant manner.

“It hangs at your door—Joan of Arc, I wish to buy it.”

“It is not for sale, Eurer Gnaden.”

“Bah!” ejaculated Milor, “I must have it.  I will cover it with guineas.”

“It is impossible.”

“How impossible?” cried Milor, diving into the capacious pocket of the drab coat with the pearl buttons, and drawing forth a heavy roll of English bank-notes, “I’ll bet you anything you like that it is possible.”

You know, mein Lieber, that the English settle everything by a wager; indeed, betting and swearing is about all their language is fit for.  For a fact, there were once two English noblemen, from Manchester or some such ancient place, who journeyed down the p. 110Rhine on the steam-boat.  They looked neither to the right nor to the left; neither at the vine-fields nor the old castles; but sat at a table, silent and occupied with nothing before them but two lumps of sugar, and two heaps of guineas.  A little crowd gathered round them wondering what it might mean.  Suddenly one of them cried out, “Goddam, it’s mine!”  “What is yours?” inquired one who stood by, gaping with curiosity.  “Don’t you see,” replied the other, “I bet twenty guineas level, that the first fly would alight upon my lump of sugar, and by God, I’ve won it!”

To return to Milor.  “I’ll bet you anything you like that it is possible,” said he.

“Your grace,” replied the shopkeeper, “my Joan of Arc is beyond price to me.  It draws all the town to my shop; not forgetting the foreigners.”

“I will buy your shop,” said the Englishman.

“Milor!  Graf Schweinekopf von Pimplestein called only yesterday to see it, and Le Comte de Barbebiche.”

“A Frenchman!” shouted Milor.

“From Paris, your grace.”

“Will you sell me your Joan of Arc?” was the furious demand.  “I will cover it with pounds sterling twice over.”

“Le Comte de Barbebiche—”

“You have promised it to him?”

“Yes!” gasped Herr Wechsel, catching at the idea.

“Enough!” cried the English nobleman; and he strode into the street.  With one impassioned glance at the figure of La Pucelle, he threw himself into his fiaker, and drove rapidly out of sight.

On reaching his hotel, he chose two pairs of boxing gloves, a set of rapiers, and a case of duelling pistols; and, thus loaded, descended to his fiaker, tossed them in, and started off in the direction of the nearest hotel.  “Le Comte de Barbebiche”—that was the pass-word; but everywhere it failed to elicit the desired reply.  He passed from street to street—from gasthaus to gasthaus—everywhere the same dreary negative; and the day waned, and his search was still unsuccessful.  But he never relaxed; the morning found him still pursuing his inquiries; and midday saw him at the porte cochére of the Hotel of the Holy Ghost, in the Rothenthurm Strasse, with his case of duelling pistols in his hand, his set of rapiers under his arm, and his two pairs of boxing-gloves slung round his neck.

“Deliver my card immediately to the Comte,” said he to the p. 111attendant; “and tell him I am waiting.”  He had found him out.  Luckily, the Comte de Barbebiche happened to be in the best possible humour when this message was conveyed to him, having just succeeded in dyeing his moustache to his entire satisfaction.  He glanced at the card—smiled at himself complacently in the mirror before him, and answered in a gracious voice, “Let Milor Mountpleasant come up.”

Milor was soon heard upon the stairs; and, as he strode into the room, he flung his set of rapiers with a clatter on the floor, dashed his case of duelling pistols on the table, and with a dexterous twist sent one pair of boxing-gloves rolling at the feet of the Comte, while, pulling on the other, he stood in an attitude of defence before the astonished Frenchman.

“What is this?” inquired the Comte de Barbebiche.

“This is the alternative,” cried the Englishman.  “Here are weapons; take your choice—pistols, rapiers, or the gloves.  Fight with one of them you must and shall, or abandon your claim to Joan of Arc.”

“Mon Dieu!  What Joan of Arc?  I do not have the felicity of knowing the lady.”

“You may see her, Am Graben,” gravely replied Milor, “outside a shop door, done in oil.”

“Heh!” exclaimed the astonished Comte, “in oil—an Esquimaux, or a Tartar, pray?”

“Monsieur le Comte, I want no trifling.  Do you persist in the purchase of this picture?  I have set my heart upon it; I love it; I have sworn to possess it.  Make it a matter of money, and I will give you a thousand pounds for your bargain; make it a matter of dispute, and I will fight you for it to the death; make it a matter of friendship, and yield up your right, and I will embrace you as a brother, and be your debtor for the rest of my life.”

The Comte de Barbebiche—seeing that he had to do with an Englishman a degree, at least, more crazed than the rest of his countrymen—entered into the spirit of the matter at once, and chose the easiest means of extricating himself from a difficulty.

“Milor,” he exclaimed, advancing towards him, “I am charmed with your sentiments, your courage, and your integrity.  Take her, Milor—take your Joan of Arc; I would not attempt to deprive you of her if she were a real flesh and blood Pucelle, and my own sister.”

p. 112The Englishman, with a grand oath, seized the Comte’s hand in both his own, and shook it heartily; then scrambling up his paraphernalia of war, spoke a hurried farewell, and disappeared down the stairs.

The grey of the morning saw Milor in full evening costume, pacing the Graben with hurried steps, watching with anxious eyes the shop front where his beloved was wont to hang.  He saw her carried out like a shutter from the house, and duly suspended on the appointed hook.  She had lost none of her charms, and he stood with arms folded upon his breast, entranced for awhile before the figure of the valiant maiden.

“Herr Wechsel,” said he abruptly, as he entered the shop; “Le Comte de Barbebiche has ceded his claim to me.  I repeat my offer for your Joan of Arc—decide at once, for I am in a hurry.”

It certainly does appear surprising that Herr Wechsel did not close in with the offer at once; perhaps he really had an affection for his picture; perhaps he thought to improve the bargain; or, more probably, looking upon his strange customer as so undoubtedly mad, as to entertain serious fears as to his ever receiving the money.  Certain it is, that he respectfully declined to sell.

“You refuse!” shouted Milor, striking his clenched fist upon the counter; “then, by Jove! I’ll—but never mind!” and he strode into the street.

The dusk of the evening saw Milor in the dress of a porter, pacing the Graben with a steady step.  He halted in front of his cherished Joan; with the utmost coolness and deliberation unhooked the painting from its nail, and placing it carefully, and with the air of a workman, upon his shoulder, stalked away with his precious burden.

Imagine the consternation of Herr Wechsel upon the discovery of his loss.  His pride, his delight, the chief ornament of his shop was gone; and, moreover, he had lost his money.  But his sorrow was changed into surprise, and his half-tearful eyes twinkled with satisfaction as he read the following epistle, delivered into his hands within an hour after the occurrence:—

“Sir,—You will find placed to your credit in the Imperial Bank of Vienna the sum of five thousand pounds, the amount proffered for your Joan of Arc.  Your obstinacy has driven me into the commission of a misdemeanour.  God forgive you.  But I have kept my word.

“I am already beyond your reach, and you will search in vain for my trace.  p. 113In consideration for your feelings, and to cause you as little annoyance as possible, I have placed my Joan of Arc into the hands of a skilful artist; and I trust to forward you as accurate a copy as can be made.

“Yours, Mountpleasant.”

And Milor kept his word, mein Lieber, and the copy hangs Am Graben to this day in the place of the original.  The original shines among the paintings in the splendid collection of Milor at Mountpleasant Castle.

I will not pretend to say, concluded Vater Böhm, reloading his pipe, that the English have any taste, but they certainly have a strange passion for pictures; and, let them once get an idea into their heads, they are the most obstinate people in the world in the pursuit of it.


an execution at vienna.

Carl Fickte, a native of Vienna, stood condemned for execution.  His crime was murder.  He was convicted of having enveigled his nephew, of eight years old, to the Mölker bastion of the city fortification, and of having thrown him over the parapet into the dry ditch below.  The depth of the fall was between thirty and forty feet, and the shattered body of the boy explained his miserable death.  His nephew’s cloak became loosened in the struggle, and remained in the hands of Fickte, who sold it, and spent the produce in a night’s debauch.  This cloak led to the discovery of the murderer, and after a lapse of eight months to his conviction and execution.

I had resolved to witness the last act of the law, and started from home at six o’clock on the appointed morning.  A white mist filled the air, and gradually thickened into rain; and by the time I had reached the spot—a distance of about two miles—a smart shower was falling.  The place of execution is a field in the outskirts of the city, bounded on one side by the main road, and close to the “Spinnerinn am Kreuz,” an ancient stone cross, standing on p. 114the edge of the highway.  From this spot a beautiful view of the city is obtained.

The crowd was already gathering, and carts, benches, and platforms were in course of arrangement by enterprising speculators, for the accommodation of the people.  A low bank which skirted the field was soon occupied, and every swell of the ground was taken advantage of.  Soon the rain fell in torrents, and the earth became sodden and yielding; but no pelting shower, no sinking clay, could drive the anxious crowd from the attractive spectacle.  Still on they came, men and women together; laughing and joking; their clothes tucked about them, and umbrella-laden.  Over the field; on to the slippery bank, whence, every now and again, arose a burst of uproar and laughter, as some part of the mound gave way, and precipitated a snugly-packed crowd into the swamp below.

Venders of fruit, sausages, bread, and spirits, occupied every eligible situation, and from the early hour, and the unprepared state of the spectators, found abundant patronage.

A clatter was heard from the city side, and a body of mounted police galloped along the high road, halted at the gallows, and formed themselves into a hollow square around it.  The gibbet was unlike our own, it had no platform, and no steps; but was a simple frame formed by two strong upright, and one horizontal beam.  There was a little entanglement of pulleys and ropes, which I learned to understand at a later hour.

Still the rain came pouring down, in one uninterrupted flood, that nothing but the excitement of a public execution could withstand.  And still the people clustered together in a dense crowd, under the open air and pelting rain, shifting and reeling, splashing and staggering, till the field became trodden into a heavy, clinging paste of a full foot deep.  But no one left the spot; they had come for the sight, and see it they would.  Over the whole field and bank, and rising ground, a perfect sea of umbrellas waved and swayed with the crowd, as they vainly sought a firmer resting place among the clogging clay.  An hour went by, but there was no change, except a continued accession to the crowd.  It was wonderful how patiently they stood under the watery hurricane; helplessly embedded in a slimy swamp; feverish and anxious; with no thought but the looming gallows, towards which all eyes were turned, and the miserable culprit, whose sudden end they were awaiting to see.

Fagged, at length, and soaked with rain, I left the slough, and p. 115gaining the highroad, pressed towards the city to meet the cavalcade.  A rushing of people, and a confused cry, told me of its approach.  “There he is!”  Yes, there! in that open cart, surrounded by mounted police, and pressed on all sides by a hurrying crowd.  On either side of him sit the prison officials; while in front, an energetic priest, with all the vehemence and gesticulation of the wildest religious fervour, is evidently urging him to repentance.

It is the law of Austria, that no criminal, however distinctly his crime may have been proved by circumstantial evidence, can suffer death, till he has himself confirmed the evidence by confession.  But any artifice can be lawfully employed to entrap him into an acknowledgment of his guilt; therefore, although the sentence of the law may often be deferred, it is rare indeed that its completion is averted.  Fickte had of course confessed.  A flush was on his face; but there was no life or intellectual spirit there.

Another battle with the crowd, and I stood in the rear of the gibbet.  After a weary interval, the scharfrichter—executioner—mounted, by means of a ladder, to the cross beam of the gallows.  By the action of a wheel the culprit slowly rose into the air, but still unhurt.  Three broad leathern straps confined his arms; and perfectly motionless, held in a perpendicular position by cordage fixed to the ground, and to the beam above, he awaited his death.  No cap covered his face.  A looped cord passing through another pulley, was placed under his chin, the cord running along the cross-beam, and the end fixed to a wheel at the side of the gibbet.

The culprit kissed the crucifix; a single turn of the wheel; a hoarse cry of “Down with the umbrellas!” and his life had passed away; though no cry, no struggle, announced its departure.  The scharfrichter laid his hand upon the heart of the criminal, then, assured of his death, descended.  And still, amid the incessant rain, with eager eyes bent upon the dead, the crowd waited, gloating on the sight.  According to the sentence of the law, the corpse, with nothing to hide its discoloured and distorted features, remained hanging till the setting of the sun.

Ashamed, wearied, and horrified, I hurried home; only halting on my way to purchase the “Todesurtheil,” or “Death-sentence,” which was being cried about the streets.  This is an official document, and indeed the only one with which the people of Vienna are gratified on such a subject.  Trials are not public, nor can p. 116they be reported; and although the whole of the details invariably ooze out through the police, no authentic account appears before the public till the sentence is carried out.

The “Todesurtheil” appears, like our “Last Dying Speech,” at the time of the execution, but contains no verses; being a simple, and very brief narrative of the life and crime of the condemned.  He is designated by his initials only, out of delicacy to his relatives, although his real name is, somehow or other, already well known.

Six months later there occurred another execution, but I had no curiosity to witness it.  The condemned was a soldier, who, in a fit of jealousy, had fired upon his mistress; but killed a bystander instead.  There was no mystery about the affair, and he was condemned to death.

On the day previous to his execution, he was allowed to receive the visits of his friends and the public.  Only a single person was admitted at a time.  He awaited his visitor (in this instance, an acquaintance of my own), with calmness and resolution; advanced with outstretched hand to meet him; greeting him with a hearty salutation.  The visitor, totally unprepared for this, trembled with a cold shudder, as he received the pressure of the murderer’s hand; murmured a blessing; dropped a few coin into the box for the especial benefit of his soul, and hurriedly withdrew.

On the following morning the condemned quitted his prison for the gibbet.  But the soldier, unlike the civilian—the soldier who has forfeited his right to a military execution—must walk to his death.  The civilian rides in the felon’s cart; the soldier, in undress, must pace the weary way on foot.  Imagine a death-condemned criminal walking from the Old Bailey to Copenhagen Fields to the gallows, and you have a parallel case.


a jail episode.

While in the full enjoyment of that luxury, “A Taste of Austrian Jails,” already related in these pages, I met with a man whose whole life would seem to signify perversion; a “dirty, villanous-looking fellow, with but one eye, and very little light in that.”  A first glance at this fellow would call up the reflection, “Here is the result of bad p. 117education, and bad example, induced perhaps by natural misfortunes, but the inevitable growth of filth and wretchedness in a large city.”

With thin, straggling wisps of hair thrown, as it were, on his head, a dull glimmer only in his one eye, and his whole features of a crafty, selfish character—such he was; clad in a long, threadbare, snuff-coloured great-coat, reaching almost to his heels, and which served to hide the trowsers, the frayed ends of which explained their condition; on his bare feet he wore a pair of trodden-down slippers, with upper leathers gaping in front with open mouths; a despicable rascal to look at, and yet this was a brother of one of the magistrates of Vienna.

It was soon evident to me that this individual was held in great respect by the rest of the prisoners; such an influence has education,—for he was an educated man,—even in such a place as a common jail.

I was soon informed of the peculiar talent which gave him a prominent position.  He was an inexhaustible teller of stories; and, added my informant, “he can drink as much beer as any three men in Vienna.”

This was saying a great deal.

On the second night of my incarceration in Punishment Room No. 1, I had an opportunity of judging of his powers; for, on our retiring to our boards and rugs, which, according to prison regulations, we were bound to do at the ringing of the eight o’clock bell, I heard his peculiar voice announce from the other side of the room, where he lay, propped up against the wall by the especial indulgence of his comrades, that he was about to tell a story.  I could not sleep, but lay upon the hard planks listening, as he recounted with a wonderful power of language, and no mean amount of elocutionary dignity, some principal incidents in the life of Napoleon.  His companions lay entranced; they did not sleep, for I could hear their whispers, and, now and then, their uneasy shiftings on the relentless wood.  And so he went on, and I fell off to sleep before he had come to a conclusion.

This was repeated each night of my confinement, for which he received his due payment in beer from his fellow prisoners.

He professed to have a great affection for me; would take my arm, and walk with me up and down the ward, telling me of his acquirements, little scraps of his history, and invariably making a request for a little beer.

p. 118On one occasion it was suggested by the “Vater” that he should tell us his own story.

“My story!” chuckled the unashamed rascal.  “Why, all Vienna knows my story.  I am the brother of Rathherr Lech, of the Imperial-royal-city-police-bureau of Vienna.  My brother is a great man; I am a vagabond.  He deserves it, and I deserve it; but he is my brother for all that, and I put him in mind of it now and then.

“My brother, by his zeal and talent, has acquired great learning, and raised himself to a position of honour and independence.  And why have I not done the same?  Because I am lazy, have got weak eyes, and am fond of beer.  I do not care for your wine; good Liesinger beer is the drink for me.

“My brother wished me to attain a lofty position in the world.  I am the younger.  He paid teachers to instruct me, and I learned a great deal; but it was dry work, and I sought change, after days of study, in beer-cellars, among a few choice boosers.  And my eyes were weak, and close study made them worse; and many a day I stole from my lessons on the plea of failing sight.  My brother, who is a good fellow, only that he does not sufficiently consider my weakness, employed physicians and oculists out of number; and among them I lost the sight of one eye.  It was of no use; I did not like the labour of learning, and I made my weak eyes an excuse for doing less than I could have done.

“At last I gave it up altogether, and my brother got me into the ‘Institute for the Blind.’  That would not do for me at all; I was not blind enough for that.  So, one day, when the door was open, and the weather fine, I strolled home again to my brother.  This vexed him greatly; but he got over it, and then he placed me in the ‘Imperial Bounty.’  A stylish place, I can tell you, where few but nobles were allowed.

“But how could I, a lusty young fellow, be happy among that moping, musty, crampt-up lot of old respectables?  Not I! so, as I could not easily get out in the day-time, I ran away one night, and went back to my old quarters.  At first my brother would not see me; but that passed over, for he could not let me starve.  He then obtained for me a post in the ‘Refuge for the Aged;’ about the dullest place in all Vienna.  I was too young to be one of the members, so they gave me a birth, where I did nothing.  But what was the use of that?  I could not live among that company of p. 119mumbling, bible-backed old people; and if I could, it was all the same, for they kicked me out at the end of a month for impropriety.

“It was lucky for me that I tumbled into a legacy about this time, of eighty gulden münz.  I enjoyed myself while it lasted, and never troubled my brother with my presence.

“It did not last long; for, what with drinking beer, and wearing fine clothes, and taking a dashing lodging on the Glacis, I found my eighty guldens gone, just as I was in a position to enjoy them most.  But I was never very proud; so, seeing that there was nothing to be done, but to go without beer, or to humble myself to my brother, the rath, I chose the latter course as the most reasonable, and made my peace with him at once.

“And what do you suppose he did for me?  He said I had disgraced myself and him at all the other places, so he could do nothing but send me to the ‘Asylum for the Indigent.’  But I did not stay there long.  There was no beer there; nothing but thin soup and rind-fleish (fresh boiled beef) all the year round.  And a pretty lot of ill-bred, miserable ignoramuses they were—the indigent!  Not a spark of life or jollity in the place.

“One day I coolly walked out of the ‘Asylum,’ made off to a house I well knew, and ran up a credit account in my brother’s name of good eight guldens for beer and tobacco.  A glorious day! for I forgot all about the ‘asylum,’ and the ‘indigent,’ and every mortal pain and trouble in this inconvenient world.

“I was awakened from a deep dream by a heavy hand on my shoulder, and a loud voice in my ear.

“‘Holloa! friend Lech.’

“‘What’s the matter?’ inquired I, gaping.

“‘Get up, and I’ll tell you.’

“‘Who are you?’

“‘You’ll know that soon enough; I am a police officer.’

“‘And where am I, in God’s name?’

“‘Why, lying on your back, on the open Glacis.’

“That was pleasant, was it not?  So they took me to the police-bureau, in the first case, for lying out in the open air; and when they found that I had used my brother’s name to incur a debt, without his permission, they gave me two months for fraudulent intentions.

p. 120“‘Why did you not stay at the “Bounty?”’ expostulated my friend, the police-assistant, as we were talking the matter over.

“‘Because it was too aristocratic and uncomfortable,’ answered I.

“‘Perhaps the Rathherr, your brother, will be able to get you into the “Refuge,”’ said he, in a consoling way.

“‘God bless you! they have kicked me out of there long ago.’

“‘Then I know of nothing but the “Indigent” left for you.’

“‘My worthy friend,’ said I, ‘that is the very last place I came from.’

“But I was determined to be revenged.  When my time was expired, I sallied forth with my mind fully made up as to what I was to do.  I knew the hour when my brother, in pursuance of his duties, usually entered the magistrate’s office, and, attired as I was—look at me! just as I am now—in this old coat, the souvenir of the ‘Indigent,’ and these free-and-easy slippers, I waited at the great entrance of the Magistracy, to pay my respects to my brother, the Rath.

“I saw him coming; and, as soon as he reached the foot of the flight of stone steps, I marched forward, gave him a mock salute, and exclaimed, in a loud voice,

“‘Good morning, brother!’

“‘What is the meaning of this?’ demanded he.

“‘Look here, brother!’ said I, ‘look at this coat, and these shoes.’

“‘Remove this fellow!’ exclaimed he to the police, who were standing at his heels.

“I knew what would be the result, but had determined to have the play out.  So I drew off my slipper, and, thrusting my hand right through the hole at the toe, I made a bit of play with my fingers, and shouted in his ear:

“‘Look at this, brother.  Are you not ashamed to see me?  Look here!  Look at this kripple-gespiel (puppet show)!  Look!’

“Of course I was laid hold of; and here I am for another two months, for insulting a city functionary.”

This story was received with a glee only equalled by the gusto with which it was related.  The last expression, “kripple-gespiel,” was peculiarly his own.

Before leaving Vienna, about a month after my release, I had p. 121determined to see the Brühl, a wild, wooded, and mountainous district, at a short distance from the city.  We had spent a delightful day among its thick pine woods, and on its towering heights, and in the evening made our way to the small town of Mödling, where we intended to take the railway to Vienna.  But there was a grand fête in the pleasure grounds close to the town, accompanied by a magnificent display of fireworks.  This whiled away the time, and it was already dark, as we at length bent our steps towards the railway station.

Suddenly a voice that I knew too well, struck upon my ear.

“Pity the poor blind!” it exclaimed.

I turned, and behold! there was my one-eyed jail acquaintance, planted against a brick wall, a stout staff, at least six feet long, in his hand, and his apparently sightless eyes turned up to the sky.

“Pity the poor blind!”

In the greatest fear lest, even in his present blind condition, he might recognise, and claim me as an acquaintance, I hurried from the spot with all the speed of which I was capable, and, thank Heaven, never set eyes upon him again.


a walk through a mountain.

I lately took a walk through the substance of a mountain, entering at the top, and coming out at the bottom, after a two or three mile journey underground.  Perhaps the story of this trip is worth narrating.  The mountain was part of an extensive property belonging to the Emperor of Austria, in his character of salt merchant, and contained the famous salt mine of Hallein.

The whole salt district of Upper Austria, called the Salzkammergut, forms part of a range of rocks that extends from Halle in the Tyrol, passes through Reichenthal in Bavaria, and continues by way of Hallein in Salzburg, to end at Ausse in Styria.  The Austrian part of the range is now included in what is called the p. 122district of Salzburg, and that district abounds, as might be expected, in salt springs, hot and cold, which form in fact the baths of Gastein, Ischl, and some other places.  The names of Salzburg (Saltborough), the capital, and of the Salzack (Saltbrook), on the left bank of which that pleasant city stands, indicate clearly enough the character of the surrounding country.  Hallein is a small town eight miles to the south-east of Salzburg, and it was to the mine of Hallein, as before said, that I paid my visit.

On the way thither, we, a party of three foot-travellers, passed through much delightful rock and water scenery.  From Linz, the capital of Upper Austria, we got through Wells and Laimbach to the river Traun, and trudged afoot beside its winding waters till we reached the point of its junction with the Traunsee, or Lake of Traun.  At Gmunden, we stopped to look over the Imperial Salt Warehouses.  The Emperor of Austria, as most people know, is the only dealer in salt and tobacco with whom his subjects are allowed to trade.  His salt warehouses, therefore, must needs be extensive.  They are situated at Gmunden to the left of the landing-place, from which a little steamer plies across the lake; and they are so built as to afford every facility for the unloading of boats that bring salt barrels from the mine by the highway of the Traun.  The warehouses consisted simply of a large number of sheds piled with the salt in barrels, a few offices, and a low but spacious hall, filled, in a confused way, with dusty models.  There were models of river-boats and salt moulds, mining tools, and tram ways, hydraulic models of all kinds, miniature furnaces, wooden troughs, and seething pans.  We looked through these until the bell from the adjacent pier warned us, at five o’clock in the evening, to go on board the steamer that was quite ready to puff and splash its way across the beautiful green lake.  We went under the shadow of the black and lofty Traunstien, and among pine-covered rocks, of which the reflections were mingled in the water with a ruddy glow, that streamed across a low shore from some fires towards which we were steering.

The glow proceeded from the fires of the Imperial Saltern, erected at Ebensee.  We paid a short visit to the works, which have been erected at great cost; and display all the most recent improvements in the art of getting the best marketable salt from saline water.  We found that the water, heavily impregnated, is conducted p. 123from the distant mines by wooden troughs into the drying pan.  The pan is a large shallow vessel of metal, supported by small piles of brick, and a low brick wall about three feet high, extending round two-thirds of its circumference; leaving one-third, as the mouth of the furnace, open to the air.  Among the brick columns, and within the wall, the fire flashed and curled under the seething pan.  Ascending next into the house over the great pan, and looking down upon the surface and its contents through sliding doors upon the floors, we saw the white salt crusting like a coat of snow over the boiling water, and being raked, as it is formed, by workmen stationed at each of the trap doors.  As the water evaporated, the salt was stirred and turned from rake to rake; and finally, when quite dry, raked into the neighbourhood of a long-handled spade, with which one workman was shovelling among the dried salt, and filling a long row of wooden moulds, placed ready to his hand.  These moulds are sugar-loaf shaped, and perforated at the bottom like a sugar mould, in order that any remaining moisture may drain out of them.  The moulds will be placed finally in a heated room before the salt will be considered dry enough for storeage as a manufactured article.

The brine that pours with an equable flow into the seething pan at Ebensee, is brought by wooden troughs from the salt mine at Hallein, a distance of thirty miles in a direct line.  It comes by way of mountains and along a portion of the valley of the Traun, through which we continued our journey the same evening from Ebensee, until the darkness compelled us to rest for the night at a small inn on a hill side.  The next day we went through Ischl and Wolfgang, and spent three hours of afternoon in climbing up the Scharfberg, which is more than a thousand feet higher than Snowdon, to see the sunset and the sunrise.  There was sleeping accommodation on the top: so there is on the top of Snowdon.  On the Scharfberg we had a hay-litter in a wooden shed, and ate goat’s cheese and bread and butter.  We saw neither sunset nor sunrise, but had a night of wind and rain, and came down in the morning through white mist within a rugged gully ploughed up by the rain, to get a wholesome breakfast at St. Gilgen on the lake.  More I need not say about the journey than that, on the fifth day after leaving Ebensee, having rested a little in the very beautiful city of Salzburg, we marched into the town of Hallein, at the foot of the Dürrnberg, the famous salt mountain, called Tumal by old chroniclers, p. 124and known for a salt mountain seven hundred and thirty years ago.

After a night’s rest in the town, we were astir by five o’clock in the morning, and went forward on our visit to the mines.  In the case of the Dürrnberg salt mine, as I have already said, the miner enters at the top and comes out at the bottom.  Our first business, therefore, was to walk up the mountain, the approach to which is by a long slope of about four English miles.

We met few miners by the way, and noticed in them few peculiarities of manners or costume.  The national dress about these regions is a sort of cross between the Swiss Alpine costume and a common peasant dress of the lowlands.  We saw indications of the sugar-loafed hat; jackets were worn almost by all, with knee-breeches and coloured leggings.  The clothing was always neat and sound, and the clothed bodies looked reasonably healthy, except that they had all remarkably pale faces.  The miners did not seem bodily to suffer from their occupation.

As we approached the summit of the Dürrnberg, the dry brownish limestone showed its bare front to the morning sun.  We entered the offices, partly contained in the rock, and applied for admission into the dominion of the gnomes.  Our arrival was quite in the nick of time, for we had not to be kept waiting, as we happened to complete the party of twelve, without which the guides do not start.  It was a Tower of London business; and, as at the Tower, the demand upon our purses was not very heavy.  One gulden-schein—about tenpence—is the regulated fee.  Our full titles having been duly put down in the register, each of us was furnished with a miner’s costume, and, so habited, off we set.

We started from a point that is called the Obersteinberghauptstollen; our guides only having candles, one in advance, the other in the rear.

We were sensible of a pleasant coldness in the air when we had gone a little way into the sloping tunnel.  The tunnel was lofty, wide, and dry.  Having walked downwards on a gentle decline for a distance of nearly three thousand feet through the half gloom and among the echoes, we arrived at the mouth of the first shaft, named Freudenberg.  The method of descent is called the “Rolle.”  It is both simple and efficacious.  Down the steep slope of the shaft, and at an angle, in this case, of forty-one and a half degrees, runs a smooth railway consisting of two pieces of timber, each of about the p. 125thickness of a scaffold pole; they are twelve inches apart, and run together down the shaft like two sides of a thick ladder without the intervening rounds.  Following the directions and example of the foremost guide, we sat astride, one behind the other, on this wooden tramway, and slid very comfortably to the bottom.  The shaft itself was only of the width necessary to allow room for our passage.  In this way we descended to the next chamber in the mountain, at a depth of a hundred and forty feet (perpendicular) from the top of the long slide.

We then stood in a low-roofed chamber, small enough to be lighted throughout by the dusky glare of our two candles.  The walls and roof sparkled with brown and purple colours, showing the unworked stratum of rock-salt.  We stood then at the head of the Untersteinberghauptstulm, and after a glance back at the narrow slit in the solid limestone through which we had just descended, we pursued our way along a narrow gallery of irregular level for a further distance of six hundred and sixty feet.  A second shaft there opened us a passage into the deeper regions of the mine.  With a boyish pleasure we all seated ourselves again upon a “Rolle”—this time upon the Johann-Jacob-berg-rolle, which is laid at an angle of forty-five and a half degrees—and away we slipped to the next level, which is at the perpendicular depth of another couple of hundred feet.

We alighted in another chamber where our candles made the same half gloom, with their ruddy glare into the darkness, and where there was the same sombre glittering upon the walls and ceiling.  We pursued our track along a devious cutting, haunted by confused and giant shadows, suddenly passing black cavernous sideways that startled us as we came upon them, and I began to expect mummies, for I thought myself for one minute within an old Egyptian catacomb.  After traversing a further distance of two thousand seven hundred feet we halted at the top of the third slide, the Königsrolle.  That shot us fifty-four feet deeper into the heart of the mountain.  We had become quite expert at our exercise, and had left off considering, amid all these descents and traverses, what might be our real position in the bowels of the earth.  Perhaps we might get down to Aladdin’s garden and find trees loaded with emerald and ruby fruits.  It was quite possible, for there was something very cabalistic, very strong of enchantment in the word Konhauserankehrschachtricht, the name given to the portion of the p. 126mine which we were then descending.  Konhauser-return-shaft is, I think, however, about the meaning of that compound word.

So far we had felt nothing like real cold, although I had been promised a wintry atmosphere.  Possibly with a miner’s dress over my ordinary clothing, and with plenty of exercise, there was enough to counteract the effects of the chill air.  But our eyes began to ache at the uncertain light, and we all straggled irregularly along the smooth cut shaft level for another sixty feet, and so reached the Konhauser-rolle, the fourth slide we had encountered in our progress.

That cheered us up a little, as it shot us down another one hundred and eight feet perpendicular depth to the Soolererzeugungswerk-Konhauser—surely a place nearer than ever to the magic regions of Abracadabra.  If not Aladdin’s garden, something wonderful ought surely by this time to have been reached.  I was alive to any sight or sound, and was excited by the earnest whispering of my fellow adventurers, and the careful directions as to our progress given by the guides and light-bearers.

With eager rapidity we flitted among the black shadows of the cavern, till we reached a winding flight of giant steps.  We mounted them with desperate excitement, and at the summit halted, for we felt that there was space before our faces, and had been told that those stairs led to a mid mountain lake, nine hundred and sixty feet below the mountain’s top; two hundred and forty feet above its base.  Presently, through the darkness, we perceived at an apparently interminable distance a few dots of light, that shed no lustre, and could help us in no way to pierce the pitchy gloom of the great cavern.  The lights were not interminably distant, for they were upon the other shore, and this gnome lake is but a mere drop of water in the mountain mass, its length being three hundred and thirty, and its breadth one hundred and sixty feet.

Our guides lighted more candles, and we began to see their rays reflected from the water; we could hear too the dull splashing of the boat, which we could not see, as old Charon slowly ferried to our shore.  More lights were used; they flashed and flickered from the opposite ferry station, and we began to have an indistinct sense of a spangled dome, and of an undulating surface of thick, black water, through which the coming boat loomed darkly.  More candles were lighted on both sides of the Konhauser lake, a very Styx, defying all the illuminating force of candles; dead and dark in its p. 127dim cave, even the limits of which all our lights did not serve to define.  The boat reached the place of embarcation, and we, wandering ghosts, half walked and were half carried into its broad clumsy hulk, and took each his allotted seat in ghostly silence.  There was something really terrible in it all; in the slow funereal pace at which we floated across the subterranean lake; in the dead quiet among us, only interrupted by the slow plunge of the oar into the sickly waters.  In spite of all the lights that had been kindled we were still in a thick vapour of darkness, and could form but a dreamy notion of the beauty and the grandeur of the crystal dome within which we men from the upper earth were hidden from our fellows.  The lights were flared aloft as we crept sluggishly across the lake, and now and then were flashed back from a hanging stalactite, but that was all.  The misty darkness about us brought to the fancy at the same time fearful images, and none of us were sorry when we reached the other shore in safety.  There a rich glow of light awaited us, and there we were told a famous tale about the last Arch-ducal visit to these salt mines, where some thousands of lighted tapers glittered and flashed about him, and exhibited the vaulted roof and spangled lake in all their beauty.  As we were not Archdukes, we had our Hades lighted only by a pound of short sixteens.

We left the lake behind us, and then, traversing a further distance of seventy feet along the Wehrschachtricht, arrived at the mouth of the Konhauser Stiege.  Another rapid descent of forty-five feet at an angle of fifty degrees, and we reached Rupertschachtricht, a long cavern of the extent of five hundred and sixty feet, through which we toiled with a growing sense of weariness.  We had now come to the top of the last and longest “slide” in the whole Dürrnberg.  It is called the Wolfdietrichberg-rolle, and is four hundred and sixty-eight feet long, carrying us two hundred and forty feet lower down into the mountain.  We went down this “slide” with the alacrity of school-boys, one after another keeping the pot boiling, and all regulating our movements with great circumspection, for we knew that we had far to go and we could never see more than a few yards before us.

Having gained the ground beneath in safety, our attention was drawn to a fresh water well or spring, sunk in this spot at great cost by order of the Archduke, and blessed among miners.  Amid all the stone and salt and brine, a gush of pure fresh water at our feet was very welcome to us all.  The well was sunk, however, to get p. 128water that was necessary for the mining operations.  We did not see any of those operations underground, for they are not exhibited; the show-trip underground is only among the ventilating shafts and galleries.  Through the dark openings by which we had passed, we should have found our way (had we been permitted) to the miners.  I have seen them working in the Tyrol, and their labours are extremely simple.  Some of the rock-salt is quarried in transparent crystals, which undergo only the process of crushing before they are sent into the market as an article of commerce.  Very little of this grain salt is seen in England, but on the continent it may be found in some of the first hotels, and on the table of most families.  It is cheaper than the loaf salt, and is known in Germany under the title of salzkorn, and in France, as selle de cuisine.  In order to obtain a finer grained and better salt, it is necessary that the original salt-crystals should be dissolved, and for this purpose parallel galleries are run into the rock, and there is dug in each of them a dyke or cistern.  These dykes are then flushed with water, which is allowed to remain in them undisturbed for the space of from five to twelve months, according to the richness of the soil; and, being then thoroughly saturated with the salt that it has taken up, the brine is drawn off through wooden pipes from Hallein over hill and dale into the evaporating pans.

We had traversed the last level, and had reached what is generally called the end of the salt-mine; but we were still a long way distant from the pure air and the sunshine.  We had travelled through seven galleries of an aggregate length of nearly two miles; we had floated across an earthy piece of water; had followed one another down six slides, and had penetrated to the depth of twelve hundred feet into the substance of the mountain limestone, gypsum, and marl.  Having done all this, there we were, in the very heart of the Dürrnberg, left by our guides, and intrusted to the care of two lank lads with haggard faces.  We stood together in a spacious cavern, poorly lighted by our candles; there was a line of tram-rail running through the middle of it, and we soon saw the carriage that was to take us out of the mountain emerging from a dark nook in the distance.  It was a truck with seats upon it, economically arranged after the fashion of an Irish jaunting car.  The two lads were to be our horses, and our way lay through a black hollow in one side of the cavern, into which the tram-rail ran.

We took our seats, instructed to sit perfectly still, and to restrain p. 129our legs and arms from any straggling.  There was no room to spare in the shaft we were about to traverse.  Our car was run on to the tram-line, and the two lads, with a sickly smile, and a broad hint at their expected gratuity, began to pull, and promised us a rapid journey.  In another minute we were whirring down an incline with a rush and a rattle, through the subterranean passage tunnelled into the solid limestone which runs to the outer edge of the Dürrnberg.  The length of this tunnel is considerably more than an English mile.

The reverberation and the want of light were nothing, but we were disagreeably sensible of a cloud of fine stone dust, and knew well that we should come out not only stone deaf, but as white as millers.  Clinging to our seats with a cowardly instinct, down we went through a hurricane of sound and dust.  At length we were sensible of a diminution in our speed, and the confusion of noises so far ceased, that we could hear the panting of our biped cattle.  Then, straight before us, shining in the centre of the pitchy darkness, there was a bright blue star suddenly apparent.  One of the poor lads in the whisper of exhaustion, and between his broken pantings for breath, told us that they always know when they have got half way by the blue star, for that is the daylight shining in.

A little necessary rest, and we were off again, the blue star before us growing gradually paler, and expanding and still growing whiter, till with an uncontrollable dash, and a concussion, we are thrown within a few feet of the broad incomparable daylight.  With how much contempt of candles did I look up at the noonday sun!  The two lads, streaming with perspiration, who had dragged us down the long incline, were made happy by the payment we all gladly offered for their services.  Then, as we passed out of the mouth of the shaft, by a rude chamber cut out of the rock, we were induced to pause and purchase from a family of miners who reside there a little box of salt crystals, as a memento of our visit.  Truly we must have been among the gnomes, for when I had reached the inn I spread the brilliant crystals I had brought home with me on my bedroom window sill, and there they sparkled in the sun and twinkled rainbows, changing and shifting their bright colours as though there were a living imp at work within.  But when I got up next morning and looked for my crystals, in the place where each had stood, I found only a little slop of brine.  That fact may, I have p. 130no doubt, be accounted for by the philosophers; but I prefer to think that it was something wondrous strange, and that I fared marvellously like people of whom I had read in German tales, how they received gifts from the good people who live in the bowels of the earth, and what became of them.  I have had my experiences, and I do not choose to be sure whether those tales are altogether founded upon fancy.


cause and effect.

One September evening we rode into Carlsruhe.  We made our entry in a crazy hackney cab behind a lazy horse that had been dragging us for a long time with cheerless industry between a double file of trees, along a road without a bend in it; a long, lanky, Quaker road, heavily drab-coated with dust; a tight-rope of a road that comes from Manheim, and is hooked on to the capital of Baden.  Out of that allée we were dragged into the square-cut capital itself, which had evidently been planned by the genius of a ruler—not a prince, but the wooden measure.  The horse stopped at the City of Pfortzheim, and as his decision on the subject of our halting-place appeared to be irrevocable, we got out.

At the capital of a grand dukedom, except Weimar, it is better to sleep (it is the only thing to be done there) and pass on; but it so happened that on that particular evening Carlsruhe was in a ferment: there was something brewing.  I heard talk of a procession and of certain names, particularly the names Kugelblitz and Thalermacher.  Never having heard those names before, and caring therefore nothing in the world about them, I tumbled into bed.  To my delight, when I got up in the morning, I found the little town turned upside down.  Landlord, boots, and chambermaid, overwhelmed me with exclamations, surmises, and incoherent summaries of the night’s news.  There had been an outbreak.  Lieber Herr, a revolution!  One entire house razed to the ground.  “Hep! hep!” that is the old cry, “Down with the Jews!”  All their bones would p. 131be made powder of.  Tremendous funeral of Kugelblitz.  Students on their way in a body from Heidelberg.  Thalermacher the rich Jew, soldiers, the entire court, Meinheer, all in despair; a regular sack.  Not only Kugelblitz, but Demboffsky, the Russian officer, killed.  O hep! hep! a lamentable tragedy.  “For they were two such fine-looking young men,” mourned the chambermaid, “especially Demboffsky.”  “You had better,” said the landlord, “stay in Carlsruhe till to-morrow.”

Roused by the incoherent tidings, I hurried to the centre of the tumult.  The house of the firm of Thalermacher and Company was situated in the High Street; and though, certainly, it had a doleful look, it was there situated still: it held its ground.  Not a brick was displaced; but—gaunt and windowless, disfigured with great blotches of ink and dirt, its little shop rent from the wall and split up into faggots—it looked like a house out of which all life had been knocked; but there was the carcase.  In the street before the house, there were by that time a few splinters of furniture remaining; the rest had been broken up or hidden by kind and cunning neighbours.  The shop had been cobbled together with the broken shutters; and half-a-dozen soldiers, quite at their ease, were lounging pleasantly about the broken door.

The outbreak, I was told by the bystanders, was quite unpremeditated.  A few stragglers had halted before the house at about eight o’clock on the preceding evening, and had been discussing there the dreadful tale connected with its owner.  One gossip, in a sudden burst of anger, hurled a bottle of ink—then by chance in his hand—at the Jew’s house.  The idea was taken up with such good will that a hard rain of stones, bottles, and other missiles was soon pelting against Thalermacher’s walls.  Where all are unanimous it is not difficult to come to a conclusion.  An hour’s labour, lightened by yells and shouts of “Hep, hep!” was enough; and, the zeal of the people burning like a fire, soon left of the house nothing but its shell.

The authorities in Germany, usually so watchful and so prompt to interfere, were either taken completely off their guard, or tacitly permitted the rude work of vengeance; for, although there was a guard-post in the immediate vicinity, the whole efforts of the military were confined to conducting Thalermacher and his family into a place of safety.  The protection Thalermacher received was of a peculiar kind.  Under the plea of insuring him against public p. 132attack, he was conducted under escort, to the fortress of Rastadt, and there held a close prisoner, until the whole affair could be investigated.

The funeral procession of Lieutenant Kugelblitz was not a thing to be missed.  I went, therefore, to the other end of the city, whence the procession was to start.  The scene was impressive.  Not merely his brothers-in-arms of the artillery, but the general-staff—all the officers of distinction in the Baden army, whose duties allowed them to be present—and even the Russian companions of his antagonist Demboffsky, acted as mourners.

As the procession came before the house of Thalermacher, I observed that a strong guard had been posted there for its protection.  The funeral passed by without any demonstration whatever.  Presently we turned up a narrow passage, leading from the high street towards the cemetery, and our progress became tediously slow as we moved with the close mass of people.  At the burial-place every mound and stone was occupied.  Flowers were trampled under foot, shrubs broken or uprooted, and the grass all stamped into the mould.  The whole crowd listened to the impressive tone—only a few could hear the words—of the funeral harangue, and to the solemn hymn which followed.  The service closed with the military honour of musketry fired over the soldier’s grave.  That over, I was sucked back by the retreating tide of citizens into the main street of Carlsruhe.

The crowd instantly dispersed; and, as I wandered through the side streets, I soon saw that the authorities had come to life.  My attention was first called to an official announcement freshly posted, which warned all persons from assembling in the public street in knots or clusters, even of three or four, on pain of being instantly dispersed by the military.  Another placard fulminated an injunction to parents, masters, and burghers to restrain and confine all persons under their charge—such as workmen, servants, and children—within their respective houses; because, for any offence committed by them against the public peace, such masters or parents would be held responsible.  I began to fancy myself in a state of siege.  Wandering again into the main street I was met by a strong division of dusty dragoons, in full equipment of war, which came sweeping and clashing along from adjacent parts of the country, evidently under urgent orders.  Another and another followed.  Troops of infantry tramped hastily along the side streets.  The very p. 133few civilians I met in the streets seemed to be hurrying to shelter from a coming storm.  Was there really any social tempest in the wind?  Or were all these precautions but a locking of the stable door after the steed was stolen?

Having roamed by chance into a sequestered beer-house, I was surprised to find myself in the midst of a large party of students; probably from Heidelberg.  They were well-grown youths, with silken blond beards; and in their behaviour, half-swaggerers, half-gentlemen.  These were, perhaps, the enemies of order against whom the tremendous military preparations had been made.

As the day wore on it became evident that the authorities were ready to brave the most overwhelming revolution that ever burst forth.  Troop after troop of cavalry galloped in; every soldier, indeed, of whatever arm stationed within an available distance of Carlsruhe, was brought within its walls.  By eight o’clock in the evening the military preparations were completed: a picket of infantry was stationed at every street corner; and, from that hour to the break of day, parties of dragoons swept the main thoroughfares, clashing and clattering over the paved road with a din that kept me awake all night.  Intercourse between one street and another, except on urgent business, was interdicted; and the humblest pedestrian found abroad without an urgent errand was conducted home with drums beating, colours flying, and all the honours of war.  The display of force answered its purpose in preventing a second attack of Christians on Jews.  The pale ghost of insubordination was laid and dared not walk abroad—especially at night.

I must say I felt a little relieved when it was ascertained for certain that the city was safe.  I am no friend to despotism nor to political thraldom of any kind; but really it is impossible not to feel for the solemn aristocracies of German Grand-Duchies (who, if they be despots, are extremely amiable) when, poor people, they are in the least put out of their way: they are so dreadfully fussy, so fearfully piteous, so distraught, so inconsolable.  I was glad therefore that, the revolution being put down, they could retire in peace to their coffee, their picquet, and their metaphysics.  Doubtless Thalermacher (some Hebrew millionaire, perhaps) and Kugelblitz (a fire-eater, for certain) had headed a frightful band of anarchists; who, but for the indomitable energy of the authorities, would peradventure have changed the destiny of the entire Duchy, of Germany, of Europe itself!  Nothing but so illimitable an p. 134apprehension could have been the cause of such a siege-like effect.  What else could have occasioned the entire blockade of Carlsruhe?

I had, however, exaggerated the cause as well as the danger; and I will now relate the real circumstances which had led to all these awful results; for the facts were afterwards made known in the Carlsruhe and Baden-Baden public journals of the day.

Early in the month of August, eighteen hundred and forty-three, the inhabitants of Baden-Baden gave a ball in honour of the Grand-Princess Helene of Baden, and the Duchess of Nassau.  Among the names on the subscription-list stood that of Herr Heller von Thalermacher.  Some unexplained animosity existed between this gentleman and Lieutenant Kugelblitz, who was also one of the subscribers.

Baron Donner von Kugelblitz, chief lieutenant of the Baden artillery, although only in his twenty-ninth year, had already spent fourteen years in military service, and was highly esteemed for his soldierly qualities and straightforward bearing.  He was tall, remarkably handsome, of an impetuous temperament, and his natural strength had been well developed by constant practice in manly and athletic exercises.  Herr Heller von Thalermacher, or rather the firm of which he was the prominent member, was distinguished for qualities far different, but equally deserving of goodwill.  The banking-house of Thalermacher was one of the most responsible in South Germany; and, at great expense and sacrifice, had introduced into the grand, but by no means affluent, duchy of Baden several branches of industry, which had enriched the ducal treasury, and furnished employment for thousands of industrious subjects.  It had revived the almost extinguished mining interest; had introduced extensive spinning machinery; and had established a factory for the manufacture of beetroot sugar.

Lieutenant Kugelblitz, to whose opinion deference was due, expressed himself in such offensive terms with respect to Herr von Thalermacher, in relation to the ball, that the gentlemen who had prepared the subscription-list at once erased the objectionable name: Herr von Thalermacher at once demanded satisfaction from his accuser, but this Lieutenant Kugelblitz refused, on the ground that the banker was not respectable enough for powder and shot.  Hereupon two courts of honour were formed, one composed of gentlemen civilians in Baden-Baden, and the other of the officers in Carlsruhe.  Both appeared to have been called together at the wish p. 135of Lieutenant Kugelblitz, to inquire into and pronounce upon the point at issue.  The civilians came to no decision.  The military court of honour put the result of its deliberations in the Carlsruhe Zeitung, as a public advertisement, couched in these terms: “The Herr von Kugelblitz may not fight with the Herr von Thalermacher.”  Thus posted as a scamp, Thalermacher advertised back his own defence; and, by public circulars and bills, declared the accusation of Kugelblitz to be false and malicious, and his behaviour dishonourable and cowardly.  At the same time, a Russian officer of good family,—Demboffsky—who had acted throughout as negotiator and friend on the part of Thalermacher, and who felt himself deeply compromised by the imputations put forth against his principal, declared publicly that the military court which had condemned the Herr von Thalermacher, after hearing only his accuser, was a one-sided and absurd tribunal, and that it was not competent to give any decision.

The result of this declaration was a challenge from Lieutenant Kugelblitz.  Demboffsky said that he was quite willing to give his challenger the satisfaction he demanded, on condition that he should first arrange his quarrel with Herr Thalermacher, as became a gentleman.

On the night of the first of September (at the beginning of our English shooting season), the Russian being on a visit to his friend Thalermacher, in his apartments, assured him in the most positive terms that he would keep promise, and would make no hostile arrangement with Lieutenant Kugelblitz.  Prince Trubetzkoi and other friends then present completely coincided in this mode of action.  At half-past eleven at night, Demboffsky quitted his friend, and hastened homewards.  Be had advanced only a few steps on the road, when suddenly two figures strode up to him, and stayed his progress.  He at once recognised Kugelblitz, and a Spaniard named Manillo, who had lived for many years in Germany.

“Will you fight with me?” shouted Kugelblitz in a passion.

The Russian, although taken completely by surprise, replied that he would do as he had already said.  He would fight with Senor Manillo at once if it were thought desirable; but he would engage in no hostilities with Kugelblitz, until the quarrel with Thalermacher was adjusted.  Great was the wrath of Kugelblitz.  He clenched his fist, shook it in the face of Demboffsky, and demanded furiously that he should give his word of honour to fight him in the p. 136morning.  The Russian, who expected bodily violence, then said that since the insult had been pushed so far, there remained no other course open to him, than to accept the challenge; which he accordingly did, pledging himself to meet Kugelblitz on the morrow.  He then hastened back to his friend Thalermacher, and related the occurrence to him.

On the following day the duel took place.  It happened that Lieutenant Kugelblitz was under orders to mark out the artillery practice-ground at Hardwald, near Rastadt, and as he could not leave his post, the meeting took place in its neighbourhood.  The two officers stood forward in deadly opposition with a measured distance of ten paces only.

Nevertheless, the first fire was without result; but, at the second fire, Kugelblitz was struck in the breast; yet he still held his weapon undischarged.  He pressed his left hand on the wound as he pulled the trigger with his right.  The pistol missed fire.  Another cap was placed upon the nipple, but it also failed.  The second of Demboffsky then handed another weapon to the dying man; who, with quiet resolution, still closing his wound with his fingers, drew for the third time upon his opponent, and with such effect, that, uttering a wild cry, and the words “Je suis mort!” “I am dead!” the Russian leapt up into the air, and then rolled upon the ground a corpse.  Kugelblitz, exhausted by the efforts he had made to die like a gentleman, sank into the arms of his second, Manillo, and was carried insensible to Carlsruhe.  He died at noon on the second day after the duel.

Thereupon the discerning and indignant public, a little biassed—as it too often has been in Germany—against the Jews in general, gutted the house of Herr von Thalermacher.

The state also fell in with the common notion; and, under the plea of sheltering an injured man, lodged him in prison for eleven days.  Seals were also placed upon his papers and apartments.  The State then set about ascertaining privately in how far the victim of mob law had been guilty of the mischief which by general acclamation was imputed to him.

After a hunt through the banker’s desk, and an inspection of his drawers, the decision of the court tribunal of Rastadt was delivered.  It was ordered that the Herr Heller von Thalermacher be forthwith liberated from the fortress of Rastadt, free and untainted.  Further: that the seals be removed from his apartments and papers, p. 137seeing that nothing among them had been found which could cast the faintest shadow upon his reputation.

We had all been yelling at the wrong man.  Kugelblitz was, after all, the author of the tragedy.


greece and her deliverer.

Four happy tramps in company, we passed the frontiers of Austria and Bavaria, near Berchtesgaden, in the hazy shimmering of an autumn morning sun.  We came from the lakes and mountain regions of Upper Austria, and already yearned towards Munich, the Bavarian capital, as our next station and brief resting place.  The sun seemed to have melted into the air, for we walked through it rather than beneath it, and sought in vain for coolness and shelter among the plum trees which lined the public road.  Halting as the night closed in at the frontier town, Reichenhall, with its quaint old streets, and its distant fortress, casting a lengthened protective shadow over the place, we felt the indescribable luxury of the foot-traveller’s rest; as readily enjoyed at such times on a litter of straw in the common room of an alehouse as between the cumbersome comforts of two German feather beds.  Both the ale and the feather beds were at our service at Reichenhall, and we did not neglect them.

In the morning our road lay by sombre, romantic Traunstein, and what was better still, by the glistening waters of the lake of Chiem, whose broad surface was so unruffled, that the wide expanse seemed to lie in a hollow, and a delicious coolness whispered rather than blew across its tranquil waves.  The day was waning as we made a half circuit round the edge of the lake, and the deepening night only stayed our steps and drove us to rest, after a march of twenty-four miles, in the village of Seebruck.  At Rosenheim we were challenged by the Bavarian sentinel, who held post on a stone bridge leading to the town, but it was rather in kindliness than suspicion; and with some useful information as to our route, and a cheering valediction, p. 138we pursued our way.  The villages of Weisham and Aibling lay before us, and must be passed before night; and it was in the immediate neighbourhood of these places, although I confess to some indistinctness as to the precise locality, that we came upon an object which at once surprised and delighted us.

By the side of the road, on a slight elevation, stood a beautiful stone monument, of the purest Grecian architecture, and of the most delicate workmanship.  It was fresh and sharp from the chisel of the sculptor, and looked so stately and graceful in the midst of the level landscape and simple village scenery that we halted spontaneously to examine it.  “Can it be the memorial of some battle?” exclaimed one.  “Or a devotional shrine?”  “Or a tomb?”  Not any one of these.  Its purpose was as singular as the sentiment it expressed would have been beautiful and touching, but for its presumption.  Graven deeply into the stone were words in the German language to this effect: “This monument is raised in remembrance of the parting of Louis, King of Bavaria, with his second son Otho, who here left his bereaved father to become the Deliverer of Greece.”  As we stood and read these words the vision of the fond father and proud king, taking his last farewell of the son whom he fondly believed destined to fulfil so great a mission, floated before us, to be replaced the next instant by the no less eloquent picture of the court of the then King Otho, a German colony in the midst of the Greek people, living upon its blood, and wantoning with its treasure; and of this same Greek people, driven at length into fury by the rapacity of the hated Tudesca, who filled every position of authority and grasped at every office of emolument, and hunting them like a routed army out of the land.  Still there was a depth of paternal affection in the words upon the monument, which impressed us with respect, as the miniature temple, with its delicate columns and classical proportions, had inspired us with admiration.

We pursued our way along the dull road, now halting a moment to cool our fevered feet, now restlessly shifting our knapsacks in the vain hope of lightening the burden, when, being in the immediate neighbourhood of the village of Aibling, we came upon a second monument equally classical in form, though of less pretensions than the first.  A twice-told tale, uttered this time in a woman’s accents; for the block of stone repeated the same story in almost identical words.

“Here the Queen of Bavaria parted with her beloved second son p. 139Otho, only comforted in her affliction by the knowledge that he has left her to become the Deliverer of Greece.”

The hopes of the King and Queen of Bavaria, thus unluckily commemorated by these monuments, were no less at that time the hopes and the belief of all Europe—with what little of prophetic spirit full twenty years of experience has shown.  Greece, swarming with Bavarian adventurers, till goaded to the utmost she drove them from her bosom; Greece, bankrupt, apathetic, and ungrateful; a Greek port blockaded by the ships of her first defender, and her vessels held in pawn for the payment of a miserable debt; Greece, piratical, dissembling, and rebellious, aiding in her weak and greedy ambition the worst enemy of Europe—so runs the story—but Greek deliverance not yet.  Her joint occupation by French and English forces, and the possible imposition of a provisional government, may indeed lead to the unprophesied consummation—her deliverance—from King Otho.

No doubt, those monuments of mingled weakness and arrogance still whiten in the air; as for us, we continued our march towards the Bavarian capital, slept at a pilgrimage church that night, and on the following morning made a bargain with the driver of a country cart who had overtaken us, and seated on the rough timber which formed his load, jolted into Munich.

King Louis then reigned in Bavaria, but being so indifferent a prophet could not foresee his own speedy abdication.


the french workman.

The original stuff out of which a French workman is made, is a street boy of fourteen years old, or, perhaps, twelve.  That young gamin de Paris can sing as many love ditties and drinking songs as there are hairs upon his head, before he knows how much is nine times seven.  He prefers always the agreeable to the useful: he knows how to dance all the quadrilles: he knows how to make grimaces of ten thousand sorts one after the other without stopping, p. 140and at the rate of twenty in a minute.  Of his other attainments, I say little.  It is possible that he may have been to one of the elementary schools set up by the Government; or, it may be that he knows not how to read; although, by Article 10 of a law passed in eighteen hundred and thirty-three, it was determined that no chief town of a department, or chief place of a commune, containing more than six thousand inhabitants, should be without at least one elementary school for public instruction.

Such as the boy may be, he is made an apprentice.  He needs no act, or, as you say in England, indenture.  His contract has to be attested at the Prefecture of Police, Bureau of Passports, Section of Livrets.  Formerly, it was the custom in France for the apprentice to be both fed and lodged by his master; but, as the patron seldom received money with him, he was mainly fed on cuffs.  Apprenticeship in Paris, which is France, begins at ages differing according to the nature of the trade.  If strength be wanted, the youth is apprenticed at eighteen, but otherwise, perhaps, at fourteen.  There are in Paris nineteen thousand apprentices dispersed among two hundred and seventy branches of trade.

Of all the apprentices whose number has been just named, only one in five is bound by a written agreement with his master.  The rest have a verbal understanding.  The youths commonly are restless; and, since they are apt to change their minds, the business of the master is not so much to teach them as to obtain value for himself as soon as he can out of their labour.  It is the apprentice who is sent out to take orders in the town, and to play the part of messenger.  In consequence of the looseness of the tie, it often happens that a thoughtless parent, when his son is able to earn wages, tells the youth that his master is sucking him and fattening upon his unpaid labour; that he might earn money for the house at home.  The youth is glad to earn, and throws up his apprenticeship for independent work.  It soon occurs to him that his parents are sucking him, and that his earnings ought to be for himself, and not for them.  He then throws up his home dependence, as he had thrown up dependence on his master, takes a lodging, falls into careless company, and works on, a half-skilled labourer, receiving all his life a less income than he could have assured to himself by a few years of early perseverance.

When I was apprentice, eight years ago, I found that to be a good workman, it was needful to design and model.  “Come with me,” p. 141said my comrade Gredinot, “I will show you a good school.”  It was a winter evening; our work was over; and, with leave of the patron, we left our shop in the Rue Saint Martin, and went by Saint Saviour to the Rue Montorgueil.  We bought as we went about twelve pounds of modelling clay.  At the upper end of the street, my friend Gredinot turned up a dark passage.  I followed him.  A single lamp glimmered in the court to which it led us.  We went up a few steps to the schoolroom.  “Here we are,” said Gredinot, in opening the door.  We entered, carrying our caps.  There was a low room lighted by flaring oil lamps; but in it were busts and statues of such beauty that it seemed to me to be the most delightful chamber in the world.  Boys and youths and a few men, all in blouses like ourselves, laboured there.  We threw our clay upon a public heap in a wooden trough near the door.  There was only that mud to pay, and there were our own tools to take.  Everything else was free.  Gredinot introduced me to the master, and I learnt to model from that night.  There are other schools—the school of Arts and Trades in the Rue St. Martin, and the Special and Gratuitous School of Design in the Rue du Tourraine, in connection, as I think, with the School of Fine Arts.  I might number the museums and the libraries, and I may make mention also of the prizes of the Academy of Industry and of the Society for the Encouragement of National Industry.

The apprentice when out of his time goes to the prefecture of police.  There he must obtain a livret, which must have on the face of it the seal of the prefecture, the full name of the admitted workman, his age, his place of birth, and a description of his person, his trade, and the name of the master who employs him.  The French workman is taboo, until he is registered by the police and can produce his livret.  The book costs him twopence halfpenny.  Its first entry is a record of the completion of his apprenticeship.  Afterwards every fresh engagement must be set down in it, with the dates of its beginning and its end, each stamped by the prefecture.  The employer of a workman holds his livret as a pledge.  When he receives money in advance, the sum is written in his book, and it is a debt there chargeable as a deduction of not more than one fifth upon all future employment, until it is paid.  The workman when travelling must have his livret viséd; for, without that, says the law, “he is a vagabond, and can be arrested and punished as such.”

p. 142The workman registered and livreted, how does he live, work, and sleep?  He is not a great traveller; for, unless forced into exile, the utmost notion of travel that a French workman has, is the removal—if he be a provincial—from his native province to Paris.  We pass over the workman’s chance of falling victim to the conscription, if he has no friends rich enough to buy for him a substitute, or if he cannot subscribe for the same object to a Conscription Mutual Assurance Company.  When Louis Blanc had his own way in France the workmen did but ten hours’ labour in the day.  Now, however, as before, twelve or thirteen hours are regarded as a fair day’s work.  I and Friponnet, who are diamond jewellers, work ten hours only.  My friend Cornichon, who is a goldsmith, works as long as a painter or a smith.  Sunday labour used to be very general in France, but extended seldom beyond the half day; which was paid for at a higher rate.  In Paris seven in eight of us used to earn money on the Sunday morning.  That necessity could not be pleaded for the act, is proved by the fact, that often we did no work on Monday, but on that day spent the Sunday’s earnings.  As for wages, calculated on an average of several years, they are about as follows:—The average pay for a day’s labour is three shillings and twopence.  The lowest day’s pay known is five pence, and the highest thirty shillings.  About thirty thousand of us receive half-a-crown a day; five or six times as many (the majority) receive some sum between half-a-crown and four and twopence.  About ten thousand receive higher wages.  The best wages are earned by men whose work is connected with print, paper, and engraving.  The workers in jewels and gold are the next best provided for; next to them workers in metal and in fancy ware.  Workers on spun and woven fabrics get low wages; the lowest is earned, as in London, by slop-workers and all workers with the needle.  The average receipts of Paris needlewomen have not, however, fallen below fourteenpence a day; those of them who work with fashionable dressmakers earn about one and eightpence.  While speaking of the ill-paid class of women, I must mention that the most sentimental of our occupations earns the least bread.  Those who make crowns of immortelles to hang upon the tombs, only earn about sevenpence-halfpenny a day.  That trade is, in very truth, funereal.  To come back to ourselves, it should be said that our wages, as a whole, have risen rather than declined during p. 143the last quarter of a century.  It is a curious fact, however, that the pay for job-work has decreased very decidedly.

And how do we live? it is asked.  Well enough.  All of us eat two meals a day; but what we eat depends upon our money.  We three, who draw up this account, work in one room.  We begin fasting, and maintain our fast until eleven o’clock.  Then we send the apprentice out to fetch our breakfasts.  When he comes back with his stores, he disposes them neatly on a centre table in little groups.  I generally have a pennyworth of ham, which certainly is tough, but very full of flavour; bread to the same value; a half share with Friponnet in two-pennyworth of wine, and a half-pennyworth of fried potatoes; thus spending in all threepence-halfpenny.  Cornichon spends the same sum generally in another way.  He has a pennyworth of cold boiled (unsalted) beef, a pennyworth of bread, a halfpennyworth of cheese and a pennyworth of currant jam.  Friponnet is more extravagant.  A common breakfast bill of fare with him is two penny sausages, twopennyworth of bread, a pennyworth of wine, a halfpenny paquet de couenne (which is a little parcel of crisply fried strips of bacon rind), and a baked pear.  All this is sumptuous; for we are of the aristocracy of workmen.  The labourers of Paris do not live so well.  They go to the gargottes, where they get threepence halfpennyworth of bouilli—soup, beef and vegetable—which includes the title to a liberal supply of bread.  Reeking, dingy dens are those gargottes, where all the poorer classes of Parisian workmen save the beef out of their breakfast bouilli, and carry it away to eat later in the day at the wine-shop; where it will make a dinner with more bread and a pennyworth of wine.  Of bread they eat a great deal; and, reckoning that at fourpence and the wine at a penny, we find eightpence to be the daily cost of living to the great body of Parisian workmen.

We aristos among workpeople dine famously.  My own practice is to dine in the street du Petit Carré upon dinners for ninepence; or, by taking dinner-tickets for fourteen days in advance, I get one dinner a fortnight given me gratuitously.  I dine upon soup, a choice of three plates of meat, about half-a-pint of wine, a dessert and bread at discretion.  Our dinner hour is four o’clock, and we are not likely to eat anything more before bedtime; although one of us may win a cup of coffee or a dram of brandy at billiards or dominoes in the evening.  Cornichon and Friponnet dine in the street Chabannais; have soup at a penny a portion, small plates of p. 144meat at twopence each, dessert at a penny, and halfpenny slips of bread.  Each of us when he has dined rolls up a cigarette, and lounges perhaps round the Palais Royal for half an hour.

As for our lodging the poorest of us live by tens in one room, and sleep by fours and fives upon one mattress; paying from twopence to tenpence a night.  The ordinary cost of such lodging as the workman in Paris occupies is, for a whole room for one person, nine or ten shillings a month; for more than one, six or seven shillings each; and for half a bed, four shillings.  Cornichon lives in room number thirty-six on the third floor of a furnished lodging house in the street du Petit Lion.  You must ring for the porter if you would go in to Cornichon; and the porter must, by a jerk at a string, unlatch the street door if Cornichon wishes to come out to you.  In a little court at the back are two flights of dirty stairs of red tile edged with wood.  They lead to distinct portions of the house.  Cornichon’s room is paved with red tiles, polished now and then with beeswax.  It is furnished with the bed and a few inches of bedside carpet, forming a small island on the floor, with two chairs, a commode with a black marble top, a washing-basin and a water-bottle.  Cornichon has also a cupboard there in which he stores his wood for winter, paying twenty-pence per hundred pounds for logs; and as the room contains no grate, he rents a German stove from his landlord, paying four-and-two-pence for his use of it during the season.

Friponnet rents two unfurnished rooms up four pair of stairs, at the back of a house in the street d’Argenteuil.  He pays ten shillings a month.  They are furnished in mahogany and black marble bought of a broker, and I think not paid for yet.  Fidette visits him there.  She is a gold and silver polisher, his bonne amie.  She has her own lodging; but she and Friponnet divide their earnings.  They belong to one another: although no priest has blessed their voluntary contract.  It is so, I am pained to say, with very many of us.

I have a half-bed in a little street, with a man who is a good fellow, considering he is a square-head—a German.  The red tiles of my staircase are very clean, and slippery with beeswax.  My landlord rents a portion of the third floor of the house, and under-lets it fearfully.  One apartment has been penned off into four, and mine is the fourth section at the end.  To reach me one must pass through the first pen, which is occupied by Monsieur and Madame.  p. 145There they work, eat, and sleep; as for Madame, she never leaves it.  Monsieur only goes away to wait upon the griffe, his master, when he wants more work; his griffe is a slop tailor.  Monsieur and Madame sleep in a recess, which looks like a sarcophagus.  A little Italian tailor also sleeps in the same pen; but whereabouts I know not—his bed is a mystery.  The next pen is occupied by two carpenters, seldom at home.  When they come home, all of us know it; for they are extremely musical.  In the third pen live three more tailors, through whose territory I must pass to my own cabinet.  But how snug that is!  Although only eight feet by ten, it has two corner windows; and, if there is little furniture and but a scanty bed, there is a looking-glass fit for a baron, and some remains of violet-coloured hangings and long muslin curtains; either white or brown, I am not sure.  I and the German pay for this apartment fifteen shillings monthly.

There is a kind of lodgers worth especial mention.  The men working in the yards of masons, carpenters, and others—masons especially—frequently come from the provinces.  They are not part of the fixed population; but are men who have left their wives and families to come up to the town and earn a sum of money.  For this they work most energetically; living in the most abstemious manner, in order that they may not break into their hoard.  They occupy furnished lodgings, flocking very much together.  Thus the masons from the departments of la Creuse and la Haute Vienne occupy houses let out in furnished rooms exclusively to themselves, in the quarters of the Hotel de Ville, the Arsenal, Saint Marcel, and in other parts of Paris.  The rigid parsimony of these men is disappointed terribly when any crisis happens.  They are forced to eat their savings, to turn their clothing and their tools into food, and, by the revolution of eighteen hundred and forty-eight, were reduced to such great destitution, that in some of the houses occupied by them one dress was all that remained to all the lodgers.  They wore it in turn, one going out in it to seek for work while all the rest remained at home in bed.  The poor fellows thanked the want of exercise for helping them to want of appetite—the only kind of want that poverty desires.

These men, however, working in the great yards, eating their meals near them in an irregular and restless way, form clubs and associations which lead not seldom to strikes—blunders which we call placing ourselves en Grève.  They take the name en Grève from p. 146the place in which one class of builders’ workmen assemble when waiting to be hired.  Various places are chosen by sundry workmen and workwomen for this practice of waiting to be hired.  Laundresses, for example, are to be found near the church of our Lady of Lorette, where they endure, and too often enjoy, coarse words from passers-by.

Except in the case of the masons and labourers from the departments, it is to be regarded as no good sign when a workman makes a residence of furnished lodgings.  The orderly workman marries, and acquires the property of furniture.  The mason from the departments lives cheaply, and saves, to go home with money to his family, and acquire in his own village the property of land.  The workman bound to Paris, who dwells only in furnished lodgings, and has bought no furniture, has rarely saved, and has rarely made an honest marriage.  In most cases he is a lover of pleasure, frequents the theatre and the wine shop.  From wine he runs on to the stronger stimulus of brandy; but these leave to him some gleams of his national vivacity.  The most degraded does not get so lumpish as the English workman, whose brains have become sodden in the public-houses by long trains of pots of beer.  By far the largest portion of the Paris workmen possess furniture: only twenty-one in a hundred—and that includes, of course, the mobile population, the masons, etc.—live in furnished lodgings.

For clothing we spend, according to our means, from four to fourteen pounds a year.  Half of us have no coat in addition to the blouse.  Before the crisis of eighteen hundred and forty-eight, one sixth of us had money in savings’ banks, and one man in every two was a member of some benefit society.  The benefit societies were numerous, each generally containing some two or three hundred members; but even our singing clubs are now suppressed, and we must not meet even to transact the business of a benefit society without giving notice of our design to the police, and receiving into our party at least two of its agents as lookers-on.  The result has been the decay of all such societies, and the extinction of most of them.  Where they remain, the average monthly subscription is fifteen-pence, which insures the payment of twenty-pence a day during sickness, with gratuitous advice and medicine from the doctor.  The funds of such societies are lodged either in savings’ banks, or in the Mont de Pieté; which, though properly a pawnbroking establishment, has also its uses as a bank.  The p. 147imperial fist presses everywhere down upon us.  It has forced us out of sick clubs, because we sometimes talked in them about the state of the nation: it would build us huge barracks to live in, so that we may be had continually under watch and ward; and it has lately thrust in upon us a president of its own at the head of our Conseil de Prud’hommes, the only tribunal we possess for the adjustment of our internal trade disputes.

Of our pleasures on a Sunday afternoon the world has heard.  We devote that to our families, if we have any; Monday, too often, to our friends.  There are on Sundays our feats of gymnastics at open-air balls beyond the barriers, and our dancing saloons in the city; such as the Prado, the Bal Montesquieu, and the Dogs’ Ball.  There are our pleasant country rambles, and our pleasant little dinners in the fields.  There are our games at poule, and dominoes, and piquet; and our pipes with dexterously blackened bowls.  There are our theatres, the Funambule and the Porte St. Martin.  Gamblers among us play at bowls in the Elysian fields, or they stay at home losing and winning more than they can properly afford to risk at écarté.

Then there are our holidays.  The best used to be “the three days of July,” but they were lost in the last scramble.  Yet we still have no lack of holiday amusement; our puppets to admire, and greasy poles to climb for prizes by men who have been prudently required first to declare and register their ambition at the Bureau of Police.  Government so gets something like a list of the men who aspire; who wish to mount.  It must be very useful.  There are our water tournaments at St. Cloud and at Boulogne-sur-Seine; where they who have informed the police of their combative propensities, may thrust at each other with long-padded poles from boats which are being rowed forcibly into collision.  We are not much of water-birds, but when we do undertake boating, we engage in the work like Algerine pirates.  We must have a red sash round the waist or not a man of us will pull a stroke.

To go back to our homes and to our wives.  When we do marry, we prefer a wife who can support herself by her own labour.  If we have children, it is in our power to apply—and very many of us do apply—to the Bureau of Nurses; and, soon after an infant’s birth, it can be sent down into the country at the monthly cost of about ten shillings and two pounds of lump sugar.  That prevents the child from hindering our work or pleasure; and, as it is the interest of p. 148the nurse to protect the child for which she receives payment, why should we disturb our consciences with qualm or fear?

In Paris there are few factories; some that have existed were removed into the provinces for the sole purpose of avoiding the dictation of the workmen in the town.  The Parisian fancy work employs a large number of people who can work at their own homes.  In this, and in the whole industry of Paris, the division of labour is very great; but the fancy work offers a good deal of scope for originality and taste, and the workman of Paris is glad to furnish both.  He will delight himself by working night and day to execute a sudden order, to be equal to some great occasion; but he cannot so well be depended upon when the work falls again into its even, humdrum pace.  On the whole, however, they who receive good wages, and are trusted—as the men working for jewellers are trusted—become raised by the responsibility of their position, shun the wine-shop, live contented with the pleasures of their homes, dress with neatness, and would die rather than betray the confidence reposed in them.  With all his faults and oddities, the workman of Paris is essentially a thoroughly good fellow.  The solitary work of tailors and of shoemakers causes them of course to brood and think, and to turn out of their body a great number of men who take a foremost place in all political discussions.  But the French workman always is a loser by political disturbance.  The crisis of eighteen hundred and forty-eight—a workman’s triumph—reduced the value of industry in Paris from sixty to twenty-eight millions of pounds.  Fifty-four men in every hundred were at the same time thrown out of employ, or nearly two hundred thousand people in all.

But there are some callings, indeed, wholly untouched by a crisis.  The manufacture of street gas goes on, for example, without any change.  There are others that are even benefited by a revolution.  After the last revolution, while other trades were turning away men to whom there was no longer work to give, the trades concerned in providing military equipment were taking on fresh hands.  To that class in Paris, and to that only, there was an increase of business in eighteen hundred and forty-eight to the extent of twenty-nine per cent.  The decrease of business among the printers, although few books were printed, did not amount to more than twenty-seven per cent., in consequence of the increased demand for proclamations, handbills, and manifestoes.

Without any extra crisis, men working in all trades have trouble p. 149enough to get over the mere natural checks upon industry, which come to most tradesmen twice a year in the shape of the dead seasons.  Every month is a dead season to some trade; but the dead seasons which prevail over the largest number of workmen in Paris are the two months, July and August, in summer, and the two months, January and February, in winter.  The dead season of summer is the more decided of the two.  The periods of greatest activity, on the other hand, are the two months, April and May, and next to those the months, October and November.  Printers are busiest in winter, builders are busiest in summer—so there are exceptions to the rule; but, except those who provide certain requisites for eating and drinking which are in continual demand, there are few workmen in Paris or elsewhere in France, who have not every year quite enough slack time to perplex them.  They can ill afford the interference of any small crisis in the shape of a strike, or large crisis in the shape of a national tumult.

Finally, let me say that the French workman, take him all in all, is certainly a clever fellow.  He is fond of Saint Monday, “solidarity,” and shows; but is quickwitted at his work, and furiously energetic when there is any strong call made upon his industry.  In the most debased form he has much more vigour and vivacity than the most debased of English operatives.  He may be more immoral; but he is less brutish.  If we are a little vain, and very fond of gaiety; and if we are improvident, we are not idle; and, with all our street fighting, we are not a discontented race.  Except an Arab, who can be so happy as we know how to make ourselves, upon the smallest possible resources?


licensed to juggle.

Some years ago a short iron-built man used to balance a scaffold pole upon his chin; to whizz a slop-basin round upon the end of it; and to imitate fire-works with golden balls and gleaming knives, in the public streets of London.  I am afraid his genius was p. 150not rewarded in his own country; for not long ago I saw him starring it in Paris.  As I stood by to watch his evolutions, in the Champs Elysées, I felt a patriotic glow when they were rewarded with the enthusiastic applause of a very wide and thick ring of French spectators.

There was one peculiarity in his performance which distinguished him from French open-air artistes—he never spoke.  Possibly he was diffident of his French accent.  He simply uttered a grunt when he wished to call attention to any extraordinary perfection in his performance; in imitation, perhaps, of the “La!—la!” of the prince of French acrobats, Auriol.  Whatever he attempted he did well; that is to say, in a solid, deliberate, thorough manner.  His style of chin-balancing, knife-catching, ball-throwing, and ground and lofty tumbling, was not so agile or flippant as that of his French competitors, but he never failed.  On the circulation of his hat, the French halfpence were dropped in with great liberality.

As the fall of the curtain denotes the close of a play, so the raising of the square of carpet signifies the end of a juggler’s performance; and, when my old acquaintance had rolled up his little bit of tapestry, and had pocketed his sous, I accosted him—“You are,” I said, “an Englishman?”

“That’s right!” he observed, familiarly.

“What say you to a glass of something, and a chat?”

“Say?” he repeated, with a very broad grin, “why, yes, to be sure!”

The tumbler, with his tools done up in a carpet-bag closed at the mouth with a bit of rope, and your humble servant were speedily seated in a neighbouring wine-shop.

“What do you prefer to drink?” I inquired.

“Cure-a-sore,” he modestly answered.

The epicure!  Quality and not quantity was evidently his taste; a sign of, at least, a sober fellow.

“You find yourself tolerably well off in Paris?”

“I should think I did,” he answered, smacking his lips, “for I wos a wagabon in London; but here I am an artiste!”

“A distinction only in name, I suspect.”

“P’raps it is; but there’s a good deal of difference, mind you.  In England (I have been a’most all over it) a feller in my line is a wagabon.  He don’t take no standing in society.  He may be quiet, never get into no trouble, and never give nobody else none; but p. 151that don’t help him.  ‘He gits his livin’ in the streets,’ they say, and that’s enough.  Well, ’spose he does? he ’as to work tremenjus hard for it.”

“His certainly cannot be an idle life.”

“It just ain’t, if they’d only let us alone; but they won’t—them blessed Peelers I mean.  How would you like it?” he continued, appealing to me with as hard a look in the face as if I had been his most implacable enemy, “how would you like it, if you had looked up a jolly good pitch, and a reg’lar good comp’ny was a looking on—at the west end, in a slap up street, where there ain’t no thoroughfare—and jist as you’re a doin’ the basin, and the browns is a droppin’ into the ’at, up comes a Peeler.  Then it’s ‘Move on!’  You must go;” he stared harder than ever, and thumped his hand on the table; “I say you must go, and lose p’raps a pick up as ’u’d keep you for a week.  How would you like that?”

“I should expostulate.”

“Spostallate!—would you?” a slight curl of the lip, expressive of contempt at my ignorance of the general behaviour of policemen.  “Ah! if you say ’bo!’ to a Peeler he pulls you, and what’s the consequence?  Why, a month at the Steel!”—which hard name I understood to be given to the House of Correction.

“But the police are not unreasonable,” I suggested.

“Well, p’raps some of ’em ain’t,” he remarked, “but you can’t pick out your policemen, that’s where it is.”

“Do the police never interfere with you here?” I asked.

“They used to it; and I’ve had to beg back my traps more than once from the borough of the Police Correctionell, as they call it; but then that was ’cause I was hignorant of the law.  When they see that I could git a ’onest living, an old cove in a cocked hat ses he to me, ses he, ‘You’re a saltimbanc, you are.  Wery good.  You go to the borough of police for public morals, and the minister (not a parson, mind you, but the ’ed hinspector), if he’s satisfied with your character he’ll give you a ticket.”

“And did he?”

“Course he did; and I’m now one of the reg’lar perfession.  I aint to be hinterfered with; leastways, without I’m donkey enough to go on the cross and be took up.  That’s the ticket,” he exclaimed triumphantly, pulling out a bronze badge, “I’m number thirty-five, I am.”

“And can you perform anywhere?”

p. 152“No; the police picked out thirteen good places—‘pitches,’ we calls ’em—where we can play.  Ther’s the list—thirteen on ’em all of a row—beginning on the Boulevards at the Place de la Colonne de Juilliet, and ending in the Champs Elysées.”  He unfolded a neatly written document that plainly defined the limits of Paris within which he, in common with his co-professors, was allowed to display his abilities.

With a small gratuity for the new light thrown upon the subject of street performances, I parted from my enterprising countryman, wishing him every success.

I have sometimes wondered whether—considering that we have all sorts of licensed people about us; people who are licensed to cram us upon steam-boats; to crowd us into omnibuses; to jolt us in ramshackle cabs; to supply us with bad brandy and other adulterated drinks; licentiates for practising physic; licentiates for carrying parcels; licentiates for taking money at their own doors for the diversions of singing and dancing; licentiates for killing game with gunpowder, which other people have been licensed to make—whether, I say, it would not be wise to license in England out-of-door as well as in-door amusements.


père panpan.

“Monsieur Panpan lives in the Place Valois,” said my friend, newly arrived from London on a visit to Paris, “and as I am under a promise to his brother Victor to deliver a message on his behalf, I must keep my word even if I go alone, and execute my mission in pantomime.  Will you be my interpreter?”

The Place Valois is a dreamy little square formed by tall houses: graced by an elegant fountain in its centre; guarded by a red-legged sentinel; and is chiefly remarkable in Parisian annals as the scene of the assassination of the Duc de Berri.  There is a quiet, melancholy air about the place which accords well with its p. 153traditions; and even the little children who make it their playground on account of the absence of both vehicles and equestrians, pursue their sports in a subdued, tranquil way, hanging about the fountain’s edge, and dabbling in the water with their little fingers.  Monsieur Panpan’s residence was not difficult to find.  We entered by a handsome porte-cochère into a paved court-yard, and, having duly accounted for our presence to the watchful concierge who sat sedulously peering out of a green sentry-box, commenced our ascent to the upper regions.  Seeing that Monsieur lived on the fourth floor, and that the steps of the spacious staircase were of that shallow description which disappoint the tread by falling short of its expectations, it was no wonder that we were rather out of breath when we reached the necessary elevation; and that we paused a moment to collect our thoughts, and calm our respiration, before knocking at the little backroom door, which we knew to be that of Monsieur Panpan.

Madame Panpan received us most graciously, setting chairs for us, and apologising for her husband, who, poor man, was sitting up in his bed, with a wan countenance, and hollow glistening eyes.  We were in the close heavy air of a sick chamber.  The room was very small, and the bedstead occupied a large portion of its space.  It was lighted by one little window only, and that looked down a sort of square shaft which served as a ventilator to the house.  A pale child, with large wandering eyes, watched us intently from behind the end of the little French bedstead, while the few toys he had been playing with lay scattered upon the floor.  The room was very neat, although its furniture was poor and scanty; and by the brown saucepan perched upon the top of the diminutive German stove, which had strayed, as it were, from its chimney corner into the middle of the room, we knew that the pot-au-feu was in preparation.  Madame, before whom was a small table covered with the unfinished portions of a corset, was very agreeable—rather coquettish, indeed, we should have said in England.  Her eyes were bright and cheerful, and her hair drawn back from her forehead à la Chinoise.  In a graceful, but decided way, she apologised for continuing her labours, which were evidently works of necessity rather than of choice.

“And Victor, that good boy,” she exclaimed, when we had further explained the object of our visit, “was quite well!  I am charmed!  And he had found work, and succeeding so well in his p. 154affairs?  I am enchanted!  It is so amiable of him to send me this little cadeau!”

Monsieur Panpan, with his strange lustrous eyes, if not enchanted, rubbed his thin bony hands together as he sat up in the bed, and chuckled in an unearthly way at the good news.  Having executed our commission, we felt it would be intrusive to prolong our stay, and therefore rose to depart, but received so pressing an invitation to repeat the visit, that, on the part of myself and friend, who was to leave Paris in a few days, I could not refuse to comply with a wish so cordially expressed, and evidently sincere.  And thus commenced my acquaintance with the Panpans.

I cannot trace the course of our acquaintance, or tell how, from an occasional call, my visits became those of a bosom friend; but certain it is, that soon each returning Sunday saw me a guest at the table of Monsieur Panpan, where my couvert and serviette became sacred to my use; and, after the meal, were carefully cleaned and laid apart for the next occasion.  This, I afterwards learned, was a customary mark of consideration towards an esteemed friend among the poorer class of Parisians.  I soon learned their history.  Their every-day existence was a simple, easily read story, and not the less simple and touching because it is the every-day story of thousands of poor French families.  Madame was a stay-maker; and the whole care and responsibility of providing for the wants and comforts of a sick husband; for her little Victor, her eldest born; and the monthly stipend of her infant Henri, out at nurse some hundred leagues from Paris, hung upon the unaided exertions of her single hands, and the scrupulous and wonderful economy of her management.

One day I found Madame in tears.  Panpan himself lay with rigid features, and his wiry hands spread out upon the counterpane.  Madame was at first inconsolable and inexplicable, but at length, amid sobs, half suppressed, related the nature of their new misfortune.  Would Monsieur believe that those miserable nurse-people, insulting as they were, had sent from the country to say, that unless the three months nursing of little Henri, together with the six pounds of lump sugar, which formed part of the original bargain, were immediately paid, cette pauvre bête (Henri that was), would be instantly dispatched to Paris, and proceedings taken for the recovery of the debt?  Ces miserables!

Here poor Madame Panpan could not contain herself, but gave p. 155way to her affliction in a violent outburst of tears.  And yet the poor child, the cause of all this sorrow, was almost as great stranger to his mother as he was to me, who had never seen him in my life.  With scarcely a week’s existence to boast of, he had been swaddled up in strange clothes; intrusted to strange hands; and hurried away some hundred leagues from the capital, to scramble about the clay floor of an unwholesome cottage, in company perhaps with some half-dozen atomies like himself, as strange to each other as they were to their own parents, to pass those famous mois de nourrice which form so important and momentous a period in the lives of most French people.  Madame Panpan was however in no way responsible for this state of things; the system was there, not only recognised, but encouraged; become indeed a part of the social habits of the people, and it was no wonder if her poverty should have driven her to so popular and ready a means of meeting a great difficulty.  How she extricated herself from this dilemma, it is not necessary to state; suffice it to say, that a few weeks saw cette petite bête Henri, happily domiciled in the Place Valois; and, if not overburdened with apparel, at least released from the terrible debt of six and thirty francs, and six pounds of lump-sugar.

It naturally happened, that on the pleasant Sunday afternoons, when we had disposed of our small, but often sumptuous dinner; perhaps a gigot de mouton with a clove of garlic in the knuckle; a fricassée de lapins with onions, or a fricandeau, Panpan himself would tell me part of his history; and in the course of our salad; of our little dessert of fresh fruit, or currant jelly; or perhaps, stimulated by the tiniest glass of brandy, would grow warm in the recital of his early experiences, and the unhappy chance which had brought him into his present condition.

“Ah, Monsieur!” he said one day, “little would you think, to see me cribbed up in this miserable bed, that I had been a soldier, or that the happiest days of my life had been passed in the woods of Fontainebleau, following the chase in the retinue of King Charles the Tenth of France.  I was a wild young fellow in my boyhood; and, when at the age of eighteen I drew for the conscription and found it was my fate to serve, I believe I never was so happy in my life.  I entered the cavalry; and, in spite of the heavy duties and strict discipline, it was a glorious time.  It makes me mad, Monsieur, when I think of the happy days I have spent on the road, in barracks, and in snug country quarters, where there was cider or p. 156wine for the asking; to find myself in a solitary corner of great, thoughtless Paris, sick and helpless.  It would be something to die out in the open fields like a worn-out horse, or to be shot like a wounded one.  But this is terrible!—and I am but thirty-eight.”

We comforted him in the best way we could with sage axioms of antique date, or more lively stories of passing events; but I saw a solitary tear creeping down the cheek of Madame Panpan, even in the midst of a quaint sally; and, under pretence of arranging his pillow, she bent over his head and kissed him gently on the forehead.

Père Panpan—I had come by degrees to call him “Père,” although he was still young; for it sounded natural and kindly—continued his narrative in his rambling, gossiping way.  He had been chosen, he said, to serve in the Garde Royale, of whom fifteen thousand sabres were stationed in and about the capital at this period; and in the royal forest of Fontainebleau, in the enjoyment of a sort of indolent activity, he passed his happiest days; now employed in the chase, now in the palace immediately about the person of the king, in a succession of active pleasures, or easy, varied duties.  Panpan was no republican.  Indeed, I question whether any very deep political principles governed his sentiments; which naturally allied themselves with those things that yielded the greatest amount of pleasure.

The misfortunes of Père Panpan dated from the revolution of eighteen hundred and thirty.  Then the glittering pageantry in the palace of Fontainebleau vanished like a dream.  The wild clatter of military preparation; the rattling of steel and the trampling of horses; and away swept troop after troop, with sword-belt braced and carabine in hand, to plunge into the mad uproar of the streets of Paris, risen, stones and all, in revolution.  The Garde Royale did their duty in those three terrible days, and if their gallant charges through the encumbered streets, or their patient endurance amid the merciless showers of indescribable missiles, were all in vain, it was because their foe was animated by an enthusiasm of which they knew nothing, save in the endurance of its effects.  Panpan’s individual fate, amid all this turmoil, was lamentable enough.

A few hours amid the dust; the sweltering heat; the yellings of the excited populace; the roaring of cannon and the pattering of musketry; saw the troop in which he served, broken and scattered, and Panpan himself rolling in the dust, with a thousand lights flashing in his eyes, and a brass button lodged in his side!

“Those villains of Parisians!” he exclaimed, “not content with p. 157showering their whole garde meuble upon our heads, fired upon us a diabolical collection of missiles, such as no mortal ever thought of before:—bits of broken brass; little plates of tin and iron rolled into sugar-loaves; crushed brace-buckles; crooked nails and wads of metal wire;—anything, indeed, that in their extremity they could lay their hands on, and ram into the muzzle of a gun!  These things inflicted fearful gashes, and, in many cases, a mere flesh-wound turned out a death-stroke.  Few that got hurt in our own troop lived to tell the tale.”

A few more days and the whole royal cavalcade was scattered like chaff before the wind, and Charles the Tenth a fugitive on his way to England; a few more days and the wily Louis Philippe was taking the oath to a new constitution, and our friend, Panpan, lay carefully packed, brass button and all, in the Hôtel-Dieu.  The brass button was difficult to find, and when found the ugly fissure it had made grew gangrened, and would not heal; and thus it happened that many a bed became vacant, and got filled, and was vacant again, as their occupants either walked out, or were borne out, of the hospital gates, before Panpan was declared convalescent, and finally dismissed from the Hôtel-Dieu as “cured.”

The proud trooper was, however, an altered man; his health and spirits were gone; the whole corps of which he had so often boasted was broken up and dispersed; his means of livelihood were at an end, and, what was worse, he knew of no other in the exercise of which he could gain his daily bread.  There were very many such helpless, tradeless men pacing the streets of Paris, when the fever of the revolution was cooled down, and ordinary business ways began to take their course.  Nor was it those alone who were uninstructed in any useful occupation, but there were also the turbulent, dissatisfied spirits; builders of barricades, and leaders of club-sections, whom the late excitement, and their temporary elevation above their fellow workmen, had left restless and ambitious, and whose awakened energies, if not directed to some useful and congenial employment, would infallibly lead to mischief.

Panpan chuckled over the fate which awaited some of these ardent youths: “Ces gaillards là!” he said, “had become too proud and troublesome to be left long in the streets of Paris; they would have fomented another revolution; so Louis Philippe, under pretence of rewarding his brave ‘soldats laboureurs,’ whom he was ready to shake by the hand in the public streets in the first flush of success, p. 158enrolled them in the army, and sent them to the commanding officers with medals of honour round their necks, and special recommendations to promotion in their hands.  They hoped to become Marshals of France in no time.  Pauvres diables! they were soon glad to hide their decorations, and cease bragging about street-fighting and barricades, for the regulars relished neither their swaggering stories nor the notion of being set aside by such parvenus; and they got so quizzed, snubbed, and tormented, that they were happy at last to slide into their places as simple soldats, and trust to the ordinary course for promotion.”


As for Panpan, his street wanderings terminated in his finding employment in a lace manufactory, and it soon became evident that his natural talent here found a congenial occupation.  He came by degrees to be happy in his new position of a workman.  Then occurred the serious love passage of his life—his meeting with Louise, now Madame Panpan.  It was the simplest matter in the world: Panpan, to whom life was nothing without the Sunday quadrille at the barrière, having resolved to figure on the next occasion in a pair of bottes vernis, waited upon his bootmaker—every Parisian has his bootmaker—to issue his mandates concerning their length, shape, and general construction.  He entered the boutique of Mons. Cuire, when, lo! he beheld in the little back parlour, the most delicate little foot that ever graced a shoe, or tripped to measure on the grass.  He would say nothing of the owner of this miracle; of her face—which was full of intelligence; of her figure—which was gentille toute à fait—but for that dear, chaste, ravishing model of a foot! so modestly posé upon the cushion.  Heaven!—and Panpan unconsciously heaved a long sigh, and brought with it from the very bottom of his heart a vow to become its possessor.  There was no necessity for anything very rash or very desperate in the case, as it happened, for the evident admiration of Panpan had inspired Louise with an impromptu interest in his favour, and he being besides gentil garçon, their chance rencontre was but the commencement of a friendship which ripened into love,—and so the old story over again, with marriage at the end of it.

Well! said M. Panpan, time rolled on, and little Louis was born.  This might have been a blessing, but while family cares and expenses were growing upon them, Panpan’s strength and energies were withering away.  He suffered little pain, but what there was seemed p. 159to spring from the old wound; and there were whole days when he lay a mere wreck, without the power or will to move; and when his feeble breath seemed passing away for ever.  Happily, these relapses occurred only at intervals, but by slow degrees they became more frequent and more overwhelming.  Madame Panpan’s skill and untiring perseverance grew to be, as other resources failed, the main, and for many, many months, the whole support of the family.  Then came a time when the winter had passed away, and the spring was already in its full, and still Panpan lay helpless in bed with shrunken limbs and hollow, pallid cheeks,—and then little Henri was born.

Père Panpan having arrived at this crisis in his history, drew a long breath, and stretched himself back in his bed.  I knew the rest.  It was soon after the event last named that I made his acquaintance, and the remainder of his simple story, therefore, devolves upon me.

The debility of the once dashing soldier increased daily, and as it could be traced to no definite cause, he gradually became a physiological enigma; and thence naturally a pet of the medical profession.  Not that he was a profitable patient, for the necessities of the family were too great to allow of so expensive a luxury as a doctor’s bill; but urged, partly by commiseration, and partly by professional curiosity, both ardent students and methodical practitioners would crowd round his simple bed, probing him with instruments, poking him with their fingers, and punching him with their fists; each with a new theory to propound and establish; and the more they were baffled and contradicted in their preconceived notions, the more obstinate they became in their enforcement.  Panpan’s own thoughts upon the subject always reverted to the brass button, although he found few to listen to or encourage him in his idea.  His medical patrons were a constant source of suffering to him, but he bore with them patiently; sometimes reviving from his prostration as if inspired, then lapsing as suddenly into his old state of semi-pain and total feebleness.  As a last hope, he was removed from his fourth floor in the Place Valois, to become an inmate of the Bicêtre, and a domiciled subject of contention and experiment to its medical staff.

The Bicêtre is a large, melancholy-looking building, half hospital half madhouse, situated a few leagues from Paris.  I took a distaste to it on my very first visit.  It always struck me as a sort of p. 160menagerie, I suppose from the circumstance of there having been pointed out to me, immediately on my entrance, a railed and fenced portion of the building, where the fiercer sort of inhabitants were imprisoned.  Moreover, I met with such strange looks and grimaces; such bewildering side-glances or moping stares, as I traversed the open court-yards, with their open corridors, or the long arched passages of the interior, that the whole of the inmates came before me as creatures in human shape indeed, but as possessed by the cunning or the ferocity of the mere animal.  Yet it was a public hospital, and in the performance of its duties there was an infinite deal of kindly attention, consummate skill, and unwearying labour.  Its associations were certainly unhappy, and had, I am sure, a depressing effect upon at least the physically disordered patients.  It may be that as the Bicêtre is a sort of forlorn hope of hospitals, where the more desperate or inexplicable cases only are admitted, it naturally acquires a sombre and ominous character; but in no establishment of a similar kind (and I have seen many) did I meet with such depressing influences.

Panpan was at first in high spirits at the change.  He was to be restored to health in a brief period, and he really did in the first few weeks make rapid progress towards convalescence.  Already a sort of gymnasium had been arranged over his bed, so that he might, by simple muscular exercises, regain his lost strength; and more than once I have guided his tottering steps along the arched corridors, as, clad in the gray uniform of the hospital, and supported by a stick, he took a brief mid-day promenade.

We made him cheering Sunday visits, Madame Panpan, Louis, the little Henri, and I, and infringed many a rule of the hospital in regard to his regimen.  There was a charcutier living close to the outer walks, and when nothing else could be had, we purchased some of his curiously prepared delicacies, and smuggled them in under various guises.  To him they were delicious morsels amid the uniform soup and bouillon of the hospital, and I dare say did him neither good nor harm.

Poor Madame Panpan! apart from the unceasing exertions which her difficult position demanded of her; apart from the harassing days, the sleepless nights, and pecuniary deficiencies which somehow never were made up; apart from the shadow of death which hovered ever near her; and the unvarying labours which pulled at her fingers, and strained at her eyes, so that her efforts seemed still p. 161devoted to one ever unfinished corset,—there arose another trouble where it was least expected; and alas! I was the unconscious cause of a new embarrassment.  I was accused of being her lover.  Numberless accusations rose up against us.  Had I not played at pat-ball with Madame in the Bois de Boulogne?  Yes, pardi! while Panpan lay stretched upon the grass a laughing spectator of the game; and which was brought to an untimely conclusion by my breaking my head against the branch of a tree.  But had I not accompanied Madame alone to the Champs Elysées to witness the jeu-de-feu on the last fête of July?  My good woman, did I not carry Louis pick-a-back the whole way? and was not the crowd so dense and fearful, that our progress to the Champs Elysées was barred at its very mouth by the fierce tornado of the multitude, and the trampling to death of three unhappy mortals, whose shrieks and groans still echo in my ear? and was it not at the risk of life or limb that I fought my way along the Rue de la Madeleine, with little Louis clinging round my neck, and Madame hanging on to my coat-tail?  Amid the swaying and eddying of the crowd, the mounted Garde Municipale came dashing into the thickest of the press, to snatch little children, and even women, from impending death, and bear them to a place of safety.  And if we did take a bottle of Strassburger beer on the Boulevards, when at length we found a freer place to breathe in, faint and reeling as we were, pray where was the harm, and who would not have done as much?  Ah, Madame! if you had seen, as I did, that when we reached home the first thing poor Madame Panpan came to do, was to fall upon her husband’s neck, and in a voice broken with sobs, and as though her heart would break, to thank that merciful God who had spared her in her trouble, that she might still work for him and his children! you would not be so ready with your blame.

But there was a heavier accusation still.  Did you not, sir, entertain Madame to supper in the Rue de Roule? with the utmost extravagance too, not to mention the omelette soufflée with which you must needs tickle your appetites, and expressly order for the occasion?  And more than that: did you not then take coffee in the Rue St. Honoré, and play at dominoes with Madame in the salon?  Alas, yes! all this is true, and the cause still more true and more sad; for it was under the terrible impression that Madame Panpan and her two children—for they were both with us, you will remember, even little Henri—had not eaten of one tolerable meal throughout p. 162a whole week, that these unpardonable acts were committed on the Sunday.  An omelette soufflée, you know, must he ordered; but as for the dominoes, I admit that that was an indiscretion.

Père Panpan drooped and drooped.  The cord of his gymnasium swung uselessly above his head; he tottered no more along the corridors of the hospital.  He had ceased to be the pet of the medical profession.  His malady was obstinate and impertinent; it could neither be explained nor driven away; and as all the deep theories propounded respecting it, or carried into practical operation for its removal, proved to be mere elaborate fancies, or useless experiments, the medical profession—happily for Panpan—retired from the field in disgust.

“I do believe it was the button!” exclaimed Panpan, one Sunday afternoon, with a strange light gleaming in his eyes.  Madame replied only with a sob.  “You have seen many of them?” he abruptly demanded of me.

“Of what?”


“There are a great many of them made in England,” I replied.  Where were we wandering?

Panpan took my hand in his, and, with a gentle pressure that went to my very heart, exclaimed: “I do believe it was the brass button after all.  I hope to God it was not an English button!”

I can’t say whether it was or not.  But, as to poor Père Panpan, we buried him at Bicêtre.


some german sundays.

Of how Sunday is really spent by the labouring classes in some towns in Germany, I claim, as an English workman who has worked and played on German ground, some right to speak.  It is possible that I may relate matters which some do not suspect, and concerning which others have already made up their minds; but, as I shall p. 163tell nothing but truths, I trust I may not very much disconcert the former, nor put the latter completely out of patience; nor offend anybody.

To begin with Hamburg.  I spent seven months in this free, commercial port.  I came into Hamburg on a Sunday morning; and, although everything was new and strange to me, and a number of things passed before my eyes which could never be seen in decorous London, yet there were unmistakable signs of Sunday in them all—only it was not the Sunday to which I had been born and bred.  The shops were closed, and there was stillness in the houses, if not in the streets.  I passed by the fore-courted entrance to a theatre, and its doors were shut; but one could easily guess by the bills at the door-posts that it offered histrionic entertainment for the evening.  Wandering through some beautifully-wooded walks which encircle the city, I met many promenaders, trim, well-dressed, and chatty; and when I turned back into the city, was once or twice absorbed in the streams of people which flowed from the church doors.  One thing was certain; the people were not at work.  It struck me at once; for I met them at every turn in their clean faces and spruce clothes—the veritable mechanic may be known in every country—and there was the happy look and the lounging gait in all, which told that they had laid down their implements of trade for that day, and were thoroughly at leisure.  When I came to be domiciled and fairly at work, I learned to discriminate more clearly between many apparently irreconcilable things; and will here roughly set down what we did, or did not, on Sundays, in the emporium and outlet of Northern Germany; which, it will be well to remember, is thoroughly Lutheran-Protestant in its faith.

There was a church not far from our workshop—I think the Jacobi-Kirche—which had the sweetest set of Dutch bells that ever rung to measure, and these played at six o’clock in the morning on every day in the week; but, to our minds, they never played so beautiful a melody as when they woke us on the Sunday morning, to the delightful consciousness of being able to listen to them awhile, through the drowsy medium of our upper feather bed.  Once fairly roused, properly attired, and breakfasted with the Herr, what did we next?  Sometimes we worked till mid-day, but that was a rarity; for our ordinary day’s labour was thirteen hours, p. 164with scarcely a blink of rest at meal-times, and often we had not stirred from the house during the whole week, but had worn out the monotonous hours between bed and workboard.  When, however, orders pressed, we did work; but this again was no new thing to me, for I had done the same thing in London; had toiled deep into the Saturday night, and had been up again to work on the Sunday morning, because some gentleman or lady who was engaged, I dare say, in their morning devotions, could not bide the ordinary time for their trinkets.  If we did work, which as I have said was a rarity, our ordinary pay of two schillinge, scarcely twopence per hour, was increased to three.

Sometimes we went to church; and we always found a goodly congregation there.  The service was in good honest German; and the preacher—quaintly conspicuous to an English eye by his velvet skull-cap, and a wonderfully plaited frill which bristled round his neck—was always earnest and impressive, and often eloquent.  Among other religious services, I well remember that of the Busse and Bet-Tag (day of Repentance and Prayer); the anniversary of the battle of Leipsic; and a remarkable sermon preached on St. Michael’s Day, and of which I bought a copy after the service of a poor widow who stood at the church door.  If the weather were fine, we strolled along the banks of the beautiful Alster, or made short excursions into the country; and here again all was repose, for I recollect having once had pointed out to me as a matter of wonder a woman who was toiling in the field.  Or, if the weather were stormy and wet, we stayed in the workshop and read, or made drawings, or worked in the manufacture of some favourite tool.  Often, again, we had especial duties to perform on that day in the shape of visiting some sick craftsman in the hospital, to pay him his weekly allowance, or convey him a book, or some little creature comforts.  The Sunday morning was an authorised visiting time, and the hospital was usually crowded—too crowded with patients, as we thought—and each had his cluster of cheering friends.  Or we paid friendly visits to fellow workmen; smoked quiet pipes, and told travellers’ stories; or listened to the uncertain essays of our brethren of the Männergesangverein as they practised their part music.  There was one piece of business transacted on the Sunday morning which may have been sinful, although we did not view it in that light.  We paid our tailors’ bills on the Sunday morning if we had p. 165the money, or ordered new garments if we had credit; and I believe it is a practice more generally prevalent even in England than gentlefolks are apt to imagine.

We dined with the Herr at noon, and at one o’clock were at liberty for the day.  I have seen a Danish harvest-home on a Sunday afternoon in the pretty village of Altona; watching its merry mummers as they passed by the old church-yard wall, where Klopstock lies buried.  I have attended a funeral as a real mourner, followed by the mourning professionals in the theatrical trappings with which the custom of Hamburg usually adorns them.  If we bent our steps, as we sometimes did, through the Altona gate to Hamburger Berg, we came upon a scene of hubbub and animation which was something between Clare Market on Saturday night, and High Street, Greenwich, at fair time.  Stalls, booths, and baskets lined the way; flowers, fruit, and pastry disputed possession of the side-paths with sugar-plums, sticks and tobacco-pipes; and, although Franconi’s Circus was not open yet, it gave every promise of being so; and the air already rang with voices of showmen, and the clangour of instruments.  In the Summer there were gay boats on the Alster, and nautical holiday-makers were busy with oar and sail; while, in the Winter months, if the ice held well, there was no end of skating and sledging; and then we had a pleasant winter-garden near the Tivoli, with orange-trees in tubs, the mould so covered over as to form extemporary tables, and the green leaves and pale fruit shining above our heads.  At the upper end was a conservatory of choice plants, which was more particularly appropriated to the ladies and children.  The café pavilions on the Alster steamed odoriferously; punch and hot coffee were in the ascendant; and there were more cigars smoked in an afternoon on the Jungfern Stieg (the Maiden’s Walk) than would have stored the cases of a London suburban tobacconist.

These may, perhaps, be reckoned mere idlings, but there were occasionally official doings on the Sunday, which might have been national, if Hamburg had been a nation, and which no doubt were eminently popular.  Two such, I remember; one a grand review of the Bürger Militär; the other the public confirmation of the apprentices and others, and the conscription of the youth of the city.  The former was a trying affair.  Some twelve thousand citizen-soldiers had to turn out, fully rigged and equipped, by early dawn, ready for any amount of drill and evolution.  Many were the stories—more witty than generous—of the whereabout of their uniforms p. 166and accoutrements; as to their being deposited in Lombardian hands, or wholly used up since the last grand field-day some three years before.  Such furbishing as there was of brass ornaments and metal-buttons; such an oiling and sand-papering of brown muskets, and such a rearrangement of blue tunics which, after all, did not match in colour, length, nor appointments!  Fortunately our warriors did not burn powder; and there was enough of military ardour among them to carry them through the fatigue of the day.  It required a great deal; for, like other military bodies of a late day, the commissariat department totally broke down, and citizens were kept hungering and thirsting upon the blank, dusty plain, within half-a-mile of stored-up abundance.  The confirmation of the apprentices and the conscription of the young men was a more serious matter.  It took place in the great square, where a stage and pavilion were erected; all the authority of the senate, and the services of the church were united to render it solemn and impressive.  It was a source of deep interest to many of my own acquaintances, more especially to the young cooper who worked underground at our house, and who, just released from his apprenticeship, had the good or ill fortune to be drawn for the next year’s levy.

There was one institution, not precisely of Hamburg, but at the very doors of it, which exercised considerable influence upon its habits and morals, and that of no beneficial kind.  This was the Danish State Lottery, the office of which was at Altona, where the prizes were periodically drawn upon Sunday.  The Hamburgers were supposed to receive certain pecuniary advantages from this lottery in the shape of benefits bestowed upon the Waisenkinder of the town, who, like our own blue-coat boys of the old time, were the drawers of the numbers; but the advantages were very questionable, seeing that the bulk of speculators were the Hamburgers themselves, and the great prizes of the undertaking went to swell the Danish Royal Treasury.  Portions of shares could be purchased for as low a sum as fourpence, and the Hamburg Senate, in self-defence, and with a great show of propriety, prohibited the traffic of them among servants and apprentices: which prohibition passed, of course, for next to nothing, seeing that the temptation was very strong, and the injunction very weak.  It was a curious sight to witness the crowd upon the occasion of a public drawing in the quaint old square of Altona; a pebble-dotted space with a dark box in the centre, not unlike the basement of a gallows.  On this stood the p. 167wheel, bright in colours and gold, and by its side two orphan boys in school-costume, who officiated at the ceremony.  One boy turned the wheel, the other drew the numbers, and called them aloud as he held them before the spectators; while the blast of a trumpet heralded the announcement.  What feverish anxiety, what restless cupidity might be fostering among that crowd no man could calculate, and certainly, to my mind, there was no worse thing done on the Sunday in all Hamburg than this exhibition of legalised gambling.

Of course the theatres were open, and we of the working people were not unfrequent visitors there.  But let us thoroughly understand the nature of a German theatrical entertainment.  There is rarely more than one piece, and the whole performance is usually included in the period of two hours—from seven till nine.  The parterre, or pit, is a mere promenade or standing place, in which the few seats are let at a higher price than the rest of the space.  The whole of the arrangements are conducted with the utmost decorum: so much so, that they would probably disappoint some people who look upon the shouting, drovers’ whistling, and “hooroar” and hissing of some of our theatres as part of the legitimate drama.  On the Christmas day, when I had the option of getting gloriously fuddled with a select party of English friends, or of entertaining myself in some less orthodox way, I preferred to witness the opera of “Norma” at the Stadt Theatre, and think I was the better for the choice.  “Hamlet” was the source of another Sunday evening’s gratification (an anniversary play of the Hamburgers, and intensely popular with the Danes), although with unpardonable barbarity the German censors entirely blotted out the gravediggers, and never buried the hapless, “sweet Ophelia.”  In the gallery of the Imperial Opera House at Vienna, liveried servants hand sweetmeats, ices, and coffee about between the acts; and although the Hamburger theatricals have not yet reached this stage of refinement, there is much in the shape of social convenience in their arrangement, which even we might copy.

Sometimes, we workmen spent a pleasant hour or two in the concert-rooms, of which there were several admirably conducted; or pored hours long over the papers, chiefly literary, in the Alster Halle; sipping our coffee, and listening in the pauses of our reading to the band of choice musicians, who played occasionally through the evening.  Sometimes we dived into snug cellars, where they sold good beer, or mixed odoriferous punch; and here again music p. 168would come, though in a more questionable shape, her attendant priestesses being the wandering harp-players, who sang sentimental ditties to the twanging of their instruments.  Other places there were, some in the city, and some outside the walls, where an abominable medley of waltz, smoke, wine, and lotto made up the evening’s entertainment.  The larger of these establishments had some pretensions to gentility, seeing that they did not allow gentlemen to dance with their hats on; but whatever other claims they set up to the respect of the community may be briefly set down as worth very little.  It will not unnaturally follow that where there is much liberty there will be some licence, and with respect to Hamburg, it is in her dance-houses that this excess is to be found.  But where is the wonder?  The Hamburger authorities in this, and some other cases, set up a sort of excise officer, and grant permits for this frivolity, and that vice, at a regular scale of charges.

In spite of these half-incentives and whole encouragements to laxity of behaviour, what is the general character of the Hamburger population?  I venture to call them provident, temperate, and industrious.  Let it be remembered that we speak of a mercantile port, in some parts a little like Wapping, and into and out of which there is a perpetual ebb and flow of seamen of all nations, full of boisterous humour, of strong life, and wilful in their recent escape from ship restraint.  The worst of the dance-houses are situated near the water’s edge, and are almost wholly frequented by sailors; while the other resorts which are open to the charge of licentiousness, have also a strong proportion of maritime frequenters, and the rest is mostly made up of the wandering workmen of Germany, to many of whom Hamburg is a culminating point, and who are, as it were, out on leave.  But, after all, these cancer spots are few indeed, when compared with the great proportion of the means of amusement thrown open, or, rather never closed to the people.  Wander on the Sunday when and where you will; in theatre, concert-room, or coffee-house; in public garden or beer-cellar; you will find them joyous indeed, sometimes loud in song or conversation, and taking generally a sort of pride in a dash of rudeness, calling it independence, but you will never find them sottish; nowhere cumbering the footway with their prostrate carcases; nowhere reeling zigzag, blear-eyed and stupid, to a miserable home.

On tramp towards the South, we rested on the Sunday in Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg; but there was public p. 169mourning in the city for a death in the ducal family, and the usual Sunday festivities were forbidden.  On attending church in the evening I found a large congregation, and the service similar to that of Hamburg.  In the afternoon, as there was no military parade or music, over the absence of which the chambermaids of Der Gross-Herzog moaned dolorously, we rambled through the ducal garden, admiring the quaintly-shaped basin in its centre, its numerous statues, and fresh grass.  The town was dull and methodical enough, but would have been rejoicing, if it had not been respectfully mournful.

Our next resting-place was Berlin, where we stayed two months; and here, according to our experience, the Sunday afternoon recreations differed only in tone from those of Hamburg, being less boisterous in their gaiety than in the former seaman’s paradise.  We never worked on Sunday in Berlin, nor did any of our artizan friends, although there were very pressing orders in the shape of those unvarying German court douceurs, diamond-circled snuff boxes, and insignia of the Red and Black Eagle.  Once, we accompanied our principal, by special invitation, to the Hasenheide, to witness the rifle practice, civil and military, among its heather and sandy hollows.  Officers and rank and file alike were there; the officer practising with the private’s heavy gewehr, and the private in his turn with the light weapon of his superior in grade.  There were some capital shots among them.  Thence, on the same day, we waded through the sand to Tegel, to visit the residence and private grounds of Baron Humboldt; and from a mound in his garden beheld the beautifully picturesque view of Lake Tegel, and the distant towers of Spandau.  I have been present on the Sunday at a review of the Royal Guard in their striking uniform of black and dazzling white.

Once, we made a river voyage in a huge tub of a boat along the weedy banks of the Spree, under the command of a female captain—a jolly matron, weighing I am afraid to guess how many stone.  I am told it was a very plebeian piece of business, but we were very happy notwithstanding.  We had a Tafel-lieder party on board, with a due proportion of guitars, and they played and sang all the way to Treptow and back again.  Once arrived at our destination, we sat upon the grass, and watched the merry groups around, or sauntered along the margin of the stream, sipping occasionally very inconsiderable quantities of feeble cordials; and when the evening p. 170drew near, we re-embarked, and, under the safe conduct of our female commodore—who was skilled in the difficult navigation of the shallow river—returned soberly home.  The environs of Berlin are of no great beauty, the city being built on a sandy plain, with the single eminence of the Kreutzberg, from which it can be viewed with advantage; but in and about the city there are beautiful gardens, private and of royal foundation, and these are invariably open to the public.  One happy Sunday afternoon we spent in Charlottenburg, the pleasure-palace of the king; and one other in the noble botanical gardens in the city; while on a fine day the avenue of lime trees, Unter-den-Linden, in its crowd of promenaders, and social groups at the refreshment tables, presented an animated, and, to my mind, a recreative and humanising spectacle.  Music was everywhere; and in the theatres, in the display of pyrotechnic eccentricities, or perhaps in ballooning—but that was English—the evening was variously spent.  There may be dance-houses and other abominations in Berlin, as in Hamburg, but I never heard of them, and if they existed, more was the pity.  For my own part, I was happy in enjoying the moderate pleasures of life in company with the majority of my fellow-workmen, who, I must again say, and insist upon, were not at work, but at rest, on the Sunday.  It is true that here, as elsewhere, tailors and boot-makers (master-men) were content to take measures, and receive orders from the workmen, for very little other opportunity presented itself for such necessary service.

A few hours’ whirl on the railway on a Sunday saw us in Leipsic.  This was at the Easter festival; and we stayed two months in this Saxon market of the world, embracing in their course the most important of the three great markets in the year.  If ever there was a fair opportunity of judging the question of Sunday labour and Sunday rest, it was in Leipsic, at this period.  If Sunday work be a necessary consequence of Sunday recreation—an absurd paradox, surely—it would have been exhibited in a commercial town, at a period when all the elements of frivolity, as gathered together at a fair; and all the wants of commerce compressed into a few brief weeks, were brought into co-existence.  Yet in no town in Germany did I witness so complete a cessation from labour on the Sunday.  There was no question of working.  Early in the morning there was, it is true, a domestic market in the great square, highly interesting to a stranger from the number p. 171of curious costumes collected together; the ringletted Polish Jew, old Germans from Altenburg, seeming masqueraders from the mining districts of the Erzgeberge, and country folks from every neighbouring village, who flocked to Leipsic with their wares and edibles.  But all this was at an end long before the church service commenced.  I have been in the Nicolai-Kirche (remarkable for its lofty roof, upheld by columns in the form of palm trees), and the congregation thronged the whole edifice.  And at a smaller church, I was completely wedged in by the standing crowd of unmistakable working people, whose congregational singing was particularly effective.  The German Protestant church service is not so long as our own.  There are only a few pews in the body of the building; and the major part of the audience stand during the service.  I was not so well pleased with one sermon I heard in the English church, for it happened to be the effort of a German preacher; a student in our tongue, whose discourse was indeed intrinsically good, and would have been solemn, if the pauses and emphases had only been in the right places.

I never worked on Sunday in Leipsic, nor was I acquainted with any one who did.  The warehouses were strictly closed; and a few booths, with trifling gewgaws, were alone to be seen.  The city was at rest.  Leipsic has but one theatre, and to this the prices of admission are doubled in fair-time, which placed it out of our reach.  Thus we were forced to be content with humbler sources of amusement, and to find recreation, which we readily did, in the beautiful promenades round the city, laid out by Dr. Müller; in country rambles to Breitenfeld, and other old battle-fields; in tracing the winding paths of a thin wood, near the town, wonderful to us from the flakes of wool (baumwolle) which whitened the ground.  Or again, among the bands of music and happy crowds which dotted the Rosenthal—a title, by the bye, more fanciful than just, seeing that the vale in question is only a grassy undulating plain.  Here we sometimes met the “Herr,” with wife on arm, and exchanged due salutations.

The fair, such as we understand by the name, commenced in the afternoon, and was a scene of much noise and some drollery.  The whole town teemed with itinerant musicians, whose violent strains would sometimes burst from the very ground under your feet, as it appeared, issuing as they did from the open mouths of beer and wine-cellars.  Quiet coffee-houses there were, in which grave citizens smoked and read; and admirable concerts in saloons, and in the p. 172open air.  To one of these latter I was seduced by the mendacious announcement of a certain Wagner of Berlin, that a whole troop of real Moors would perform fantastic tricks before high heaven; and on paying the price of admission, I had to run the gauntlet through a score of black-headed Teutons, who salaamed and grinned as they ushered me into the blank space beyond, containing nothing more interesting than a few tables and chairs, a dumb brass band, and a swarm of hungry waiters.  I saw no dance-houses, such as there were in Hamburg; and by nine o’clock the festivities of the day were at an end.  The Easter fair lasted some five or six weeks, and at its termination its merriment disappeared.  The wandering minstrels wailed their last notes as they departed, and the quiet city was left to its students and the pigeons.

So much for my experiences of Protestant Germany as regards Sunday occupation.  I have, however, said nothing of museums or picture galleries.  I should be sorry to misrepresent the kindred commercial cities of Hamburg and Leipsic; but I think they may shake hands on this question, seeing that, at the period of my visit, they possessed neither the one nor the other.  I do not say that there were no stored-up curiosities, dignified with the title of museums.  But, as far as the public instruction was concerned, they were nearly useless, being little known and less visited, and certainly not accessible on the Sunday.  Schwerin, in Mecklenburg, possesses a noble ducal museum of arts and sciences, but this also was closed on the weekly holiday; and in Berlin, where the museum, par excellence, may vie with any in Europe, and which city is otherwise rich in natural and art collections, the doors of all such places were, on the Sunday, strictly closed against the people.  Of the good taste which authorises the display of stage scenery and decorations (and that not of the best), and yet forbids the inspection of the masterpieces of painting; of the judgment which patronises beer and tobacco, yet virtually condemns as unholy the sight of the best evidences of nature’s grandeur, and the beautiful results of human efforts in art, it is not necessary to treat here.


more sundays abroad.

Still on tramp toward the south, we came to Dresden, and there rested five days; but as they were week-days their experiences gave us no insight into the Sunday usages of the place, and I only allude to them because it would seem unbecoming to pass the capital of Saxony without a word; and because I feel morally convinced that of all the art-wonders collected in the Zwinger, Das Grüne Gewölbe, and in the picture gallery, all of which we visited, not any of them are visible to the public on Sunday. [173]  On a sultry day in August we struggled, dusty and athirst, into Vienna.  It is said that the first impressions of a traveller are the most faithful, and I therefore transcribe from a diary of that time some of my recollections of the first Sunday spent in the capital of Austria.  It is not flattering.

“Yesterday (Sunday), we rambled through a part of the city known as Lerchenfeld, in the suburb of St. Joseph, where the low life of Vienna is exhibited.  It was a kind of fair.  The way was lined with petty booths and stalls, furnished with fruit, pipes, and common pastry.  Here were sold live rabbits and birds; there, paper clock-faces, engravings, songs, and figures of saints.  In one part was a succession of places of public resort, like our tea-gardens in appearance, but devoted to the sale of other beverages; tea being here almost unknown, except as a medicine.  From each of them there streamed the mingled sounds of obstreperous music and human voices, while in several there appeared to be a sort of conjuring exhibition in course of performance.  Further on, there came from the opposite side of the way the screaming of a flageolet, heard far above its accompaniment of a violin and a couple of horns, to all of which the shuffling and scraping of many feet formed a sort of dull bass, as the dancers whirled round in their interminable waltz.  Looking into the window of the building thus outrageously conspicuous, we saw a motley crowd of persons of both sexes, and in such a variety of costumes as scarcely any other city but Vienna could furnish; some of p. 174them careering round in the excitement of the dance; others impatiently awaiting their turn, or quizzing the dancers; while a third party sat gravely at the side-tables, smoking their pipes, playing at cards, and sipping their wine and beer.  Passing onward, we came upon a diminutive merryman, screaming from the platform of his mountebank theatre, the nature of the entertainment and the lowness of the price of admission—‘Only four kreutzers for the first place!’

“Continuing our course, we were attracted into a side-street by a crowd, among whom stood conspicuous a brass musical band, and an old man in a semi-religious costume of black and white, bearing a large wooden crucifix in his hand.  In anticipation of some religious ceremony, we waited awhile to watch its development.  It was a funeral, and the whole procession soon formed itself in the following order:—First came the large crucifix, then a boy bearing a banner on which was painted the figure of the Virgin; then came six other boys, followed by the same number of girls, all neatly and cleanly dressed; and then the coffin, hung with scarlet drapery, adorned with flowers, and having a small silver crucifix at its head.  We were told it was the funeral of a girl of thirteen.  Close upon the coffin came the minister, or priest, clad in a black, loosish gown, and wearing a curiously crown-shaped cap, also black.  Every head was uncovered as he and the coffin passed.  Then came, as we imagined, the real mourners of the dead, followed by six exceedingly old women, mourners by profession, and immediately behind them the brass band which had first attracted our attention.  The latter, as soon as the procession was fairly in motion, burst forth into a noisy, and by no means melancholy strain, and continued to play for some time; they suddenly ceased, and there was heard from some one at the head of the procession a Latin prayer, which was immediately echoed by the old women in the rear, in the same drowsy, monotonous tone in which the church responses are usually made.  The scene was altogether curious and striking; the progress of the procession was everywhere marked by uncovered heads and signs of sympathy and respect; but in spite of its attempted solemnity, there was a holiday appearance about it which jarred sadly with its real character of grief and death.”

I have given this description a front place because it is the worst thing I can say of Vienna, and in no other part of the city did I ever see its like.  During a stay of twelve months, I lost no opportunity of enjoying all that the Viennese enjoyed, or of witnessing whatever p. 175was part of the national customs in festival, holiday, or religious ceremonial.  In addition to the Sundays, which were all, to a certain extent, days of rejoicing—there were nine distinct festivals in the year enjoined by the church, and on which, if they fell on week-days, the working people rested from their labours.  Of course each of these days had its special religious reference and obligations, and these were in general faithfully observed; but, apart from this, they were essentially holidays, and, as no deduction of wages was made by the employers on their account, they did not fall as a burden upon the working classes.  These days were: New Year’s Day, the Annunciation, Good Friday, Easter and Whit Sunday, Corpus Christi Day, All Saints’ Day, the Birth of the Virgin, Christmas Day, and the festival of St. Leopold, the patron saint of Vienna.  On the strictly church festivals, with the exception of All Saints’ Day, theatrical performances, and public amusements generally, were interdicted, but rest and quiet recreation, in addition to the religious observances, were their great characteristics.  Easter and Whit Monday were among the Volks Feste (people’s feasts), as well as one known as that of the Brigittenau, from the place in which it is held; and another on the first of May, when the laüfer (running footmen) have their races in the Prater, and the emperor permits himself to be mobbed—at least the Emperor Francis did—as he strolls for a half-hour or so among his people in their own park.  Then the Bohemians have a special religious festival, when one is astonished to see, in out-of-the-way niches and corners, a perhaps hitherto-unobserved figure of an amiable-looking priest, with a star on his forehead, now hung about and conspicuous with wreaths and festoons of flowers, and bright with the glittering of tiny lamps.  This is the Holy St. John of Nepomuk.  I have, however, nothing to do with the religious ceremonies of the Catholic Church.  It is sufficient for my purpose to know that I watched the solemn and splendid procession of mingled royalty, priest, and people, on Corpus Christi Day, from the open door of a coffee and wine-house in the Kohl-market; and that, at the Easter festival, after ascending and descending the Mount Calvary, near Vienna, or rather having been borne up and down its semicircular flight of steps, and past the modelled groups of painted figures to represent the life of Christ, from the birth to the crowning act of the crucifixion on the summit, I then sauntered away with my landlord (a cabinet-maker) and his family to Weinhaus, to drink of the new wine called heueriger.  p. 176It is enough that, on All Saints’ Day, after wandering awhile about a swampy churchyard in the suburb of Maria Hilf, to see the melancholy spot of light which glimmered at each grave-head, I went to the Burg Theatre, and witnessed Shakespeare’s play of “King Lear” (and the best actor in Vienna played the Fool); and further, that I spent the evening of Christmas Day in Daum’s coffee-house in reading Galignani’s Messenger, in order to bring myself, in imagination at least, as near home as possible.

The jewellers in Vienna are not such elderly apprentices as they are in Hamburg, Leipsic, and the majority of small towns in Germany.  They dine at gast haüse, and sleep in the independence of a separate lodging.  They have, therefore, more liberty; but there are many trades in Vienna among whom the old usages still exist, by which they become a kind of vassals, living and sleeping under the patriarchal roof.  All worked twelve hours a-day alike, from six till seven, including one hour for dinner.  Various licences were, however, allowed; quarter-of-day or half-hour deductions were scarcely known; and I have myself spent the morning at a public execution, without suffering any loss in wages.  This brings me to the Sunday work; and I say, unhesitatingly that, as a system, it does not exist.  I never worked on the Sunday myself during my whole twelve months’ stay.  I do not know that there was any law against it; but rest was felt to be a necessity after a week of seventy-two hours’ labour.  It is not unusual, both in Germany and France, to engage new hands on the Sunday morning, because it is a leisure time, convenient to both master and workman; and I have sought for work at this time, and found the Herr in a silk dressing-gown, and white satin slippers with pink bows.  I recollect visiting a working cabinet-maker’s on one Sunday morning, whose men slept on the premises, and found the workshop a perfect model of cleanliness and order: every tool in its place, and the whole swept and polished up; and was once invited, under the impression that, as an Englishman, I ought to know something of newspaper presses, to inspect those of the Imperial Printing Office, with the last number of the Wiener Zeitung in type; and this was on a Sunday morning—a time especially chosen on account of the absence of the workmen.  My landlord, a master-man, would sometimes work in the Sunday morning when hard pressed; but, if he did, he took his revenge in the week.

As we did not work, at what did we play?  Perhaps there was a p. 177sick comrade to visit in the great hospital; and we paced the long corridors, and stepped lightly through the lofty wards to his bedside.  Or, if he were convalescent, we sought him out, among many others, in the open square, with its broad grass-plots and young trees, where, in his grey loose gown, he smoked a morning pipe.  Or we went to church, I, with others, to the Evangelical Chapel near the Augustine Platz.  There, among a closely-pressed throng, we heard admirable discourses (and not too long, the whole service being concluded in an hour), and heard much beautiful music; but, to my mind, there were too many tawdry ornaments in this place of worship—too many lamps about the altar; and the altar-piece itself—a gigantic figure of the Saviour on the Cross, said to be by Albert Dürer—seemed to be out of place.

It was lawful in Vienna to bathe on Sunday; and this we did, with great delight, in the public baths upon the Danube.  Or we strolled about the Glacis; attended the miniature review in the Hof-Burg; wandered out as far as Am-Spitz, by the long wooden bridge over the broad and melancholy river; or, what was better, sauntered in some one of the beautiful gardens of the Austrian nobility,—those of Schwargenberg, Lichtenstein, or in the Belvidere—thrown open to the public, not only on Sunday, but on every day in the week.

As the day waned, music burst forth in many strains at once.  There was a knot of artisans in our back room, who were learning the entire “Czar and Zimmerman,” and who were very vigorous about this hour.  At seven, the theatres opened their doors, with something of our own rush and press, although there was a guard-house, and a whole company of grenadiers in the ante-room; but, once in the interior, all was order and decorum.  There was, of course, a difference in tone and character between the city and the suburban theatres, inasmuch as the ices and coffee of the court playhouses found their parallel in the beer and hot sausages of the Joseph Stadt and An-der-Wieden; but the performances of all rarely occupied more than two, and never exceeded three hours; and there was an amount of quiet and propriety manifested during the entertainment, which said something for the authorities, but more for the people.

As the night deepened, the ball-rooms and dancing-booths of Vienna,—the Sperl’s, Das Tanz Salon beim Schaf, and so downward to the dens of Lerchenfeld—grew furious in music, and hysterical in waltz.  It was something fearful.  It made your eyes twinkle, p. 178and your head dizzy, to see that eternal whirling of so many human teetotums.  They seemed to see nothing, to feel nothing, to know nothing; there was no animation in their looks; no speculation in their eyes; nothing but a dead stare, as if the dancers were under a spell, only to be released when the music was at an end.  Generally speaking, I think the ball-rooms of continental cities are the curses and abominations of the Sunday.  My landlord, who was no moralist, but played faro, draughts, and billiards on the Sunday evening, would not hear of his daughter attending a public ballroom.  There is a curious anomaly in connection with places of public entertainment which strikes a stranger at once, and which is equally true of Berlin as of Vienna; it is this: that, while private houses are closed at nine and ten o’clock, according to the season of the year, coffee-houses, taverns, dancing and concert-rooms, are open till midnight.  Up to the former hours you may gain admission to your own house by feeing the porter to the extent of twopence; but, later than this, it is dangerous to try the experiment.

To return to out-of-door amusements.  A visit to Schœnbrun was business for a whole afternoon; for we must perforce each time unravel the windings to the pure spring in the maze, with vague and mysterious ideas of some time or other falling upon the grave of the Duc de Reichstadt, there secretly buried, according to popular tradition.  On rare occasions we spent the whole of Sunday in some more distant palatial domain, or suburban retreat.  In Klosterneuburgh, with its good wine: in the Brühl, with its rugged steeps, its military memorials, and ruined castles; at the village of Bertholdsdorf, with its Turkish traditions; among the viny slopes of the Leopoldiberg, or the more distant and wilder tract of mingled rock and forest which encircle the Vale of Helen.  Above all, there was Laxenberg,—an imperial pleasure-palace and garden, and a whole fairy-land in itself, peopled by the spirits of ancient knights and courtly dames.  Some one of the Hapsburgs had built, many years ago, a knightly castle on a lake, and in it were stored dim suits of armour of Maximilian; a cabinet of Wallenstein; grim portraits of kings and warriors; swords, halbards, jewelled daggers, and antique curiosities innumerable; only rather prosaically completed by the exhibition of the every-day suit of the last Emperor of Austria, which, however affecting a spectacle for a simple-hearted Viennese—and they are mere babies in matters of royalty—irresistibly reminded p. 179one of Holywell Street, London, and cast-off regimentals.  Laxenberg is distant less than a shilling ride, and about two hours’ walk from Vienna; and, like our Hampton Court Palace, is thrown unreservedly open to the public.  There were no end to its wonders: fishing-grounds, and boats upon the lake; waterfalls, and rustic bridges were there; and one little elegant pavilion, perched on the water, dedicated to the beauties of Windsor, illustrating its scenery in transparent porcelain.  There was a list for knightly riders; a dais for the Queen of Beauty; and places for belted nobles, saintly abbots, and Wambas in motley; an Ashby-de-la-Zouch in miniature, which a little imagination could people.  Then, for the plebeians, there were leaping-bars and turning-posts, skittle-alleys, and the quintain; and, for all alike, clusters of noble trees, broad grassy meads, and flowers unnumbered.  There was even a farm-house, homely and substantial, with a dairy and poultry-yard, sheep in the paddocks, and cattle in the stalls.

We started from Vienna on a Sunday morning on board the steamboat Karl for Linz; and trudging thence on foot came on the following Saturday night into Salzburg, the queen of the Salzack.  We rested here one happy Sunday: not so much in the town, which had its abundant curiosities, as in the pleasure gardens of the old Archbishops of Salzburg, at an easy stroll from it.  This garden is pleasant enough in itself, but there are besides a number of water eccentricities in it such as I should think were in their peculiar fashion unequalled.  Here blooms a cluster of beautiful flowers, covered as it were by a glass shade, but which turns out to be only water.  There a miniature palace is in course of erection, with crowds of workmen in its different storeys, each man at his avocation with hammer and chisel, pulley and wheel, and the grave architect himself directing their labour.  All this is set in motion by water, and is not a mere doll’s house, but a symmetrical model.  Then we enter a subterranean grotto, with a roof of pendant stalactites, where the pleasant sound of falling waters and the melodious piping of birds fill all the air.  There is a sly drollery too in some of the water performances, invented years ago by the grave Archbishops of Salzburg; for suddenly the stalactites are set dripping like a modern shower bath: and the gigantic stags at its entrance spout water from the very tips of their horns.  The garden is not a Versailles, for there is nothing grand in any of its hydraulic p. 180arrangements; but in the beauty with which are clothed such trifles, the artistic spirit which has suggested its objects, and the humour which spirts up tiny jets of water by seats where lovers sit, and in unsuspected places where the public congregate, even in the middle of a walk, it is a wonderful and delightful exhibition.  This garden was thronged by the holiday folks of Salzburg.  There was an official to explain the curious display, and nothing but innocent gaiety was to be seen.

The Sunday we spent in Munich was passed in the Kirche Unserer Lieben Frauen, with its self-supporting roof; in the English Garden; and at a lovely spot on a hill-side, in the environs of the city.  During the week we were escorted by a friend to a sort of tea-gardens of some notoriety, but found it silent and deserted.  Our friend apologised for its dulness, but exclaimed, in part explanation, “You should see it on Sunday!”  It was evident that Sunday was a day of rest and enjoyment, and not a working day in Munich.  My own impression of the Munichers was, that they drank too much beer every day in the week.

Still tramping towards France, we passed one Sunday in Heidelberg, among all its romantic wonders; but as everybody knows, or ought to know, all about Heidelberg, I will not allow my enthusiasm to lead me into a description which would not be novel, and might probably be tedious.  This was the last Sunday we spent on German ground.  So far as Germany is concerned, you may look upon everything but museums, picture galleries, and the like, on Sunday; you may, as Luther says you ought, “dance on it, ride on it, play on it,—do anything”—but see that which is most likely to instruct you.  You may visit tawdry shows, and inspect badly painted scenery; you may let off fireworks; gamble to your ruin; smoke the eyes out of your head, and dance the head off your shoulders; but you shall not, with few exceptions, look upon works of art, or the results of science in museums and picture galleries.  Let it be said, however, that the general opportunities for acquiring correct and elevated taste are, on the whole, greater in Germany than in England; and that in many cities there is a profusion of exterior ornament, more especially in Munich, in the shape of the fresco paintings of the Palace Garden, on Isar Thor, and in the Basilica and churches generally, so that the eye is better educated in artistic combinations; and the same necessity does not exist for special art instruction with them as p. 181with us.  Then, let us never forget that their public and other gardens are as free to them as the air they breathe, and that music is almost as universal.

The remembrances I have of Paris Sundays decidedly possess a character of rest and recreation; of waking in the morning to a grateful sense of repose; of clean shirts and trimmed beards; and of delicious breakfasts at our Café aux Quatres Mendiants, of coffee and white bread, instead of the bouillon and confiture of the atelier.  Did we not work, then?  Assuredly we did sometimes, when hard pressed; but the recollection of those few occasions is drowned in that of a flood of happy, tranquil Sundays.  When we did work it was from eight till twelve, which made half a day, and this was the rate at which all overtime was reckoned.  One hard taskmaster I remember, who, instead of paying us our dues, as is the custom on Saturday night, at the end of quinze jours, cajoled us to come and work under the promise of their payment on the Sunday morning.  He failed us like a rogue; and we drudged on for another quinzaine, Sunday mornings included, in hopeful anticipation of the receipt of our wages.  When we found that he slunk out of the way, without paying us a sou, we rebelled, sang the Marseillaise, demanded our wages, and never worked another Sunday.

I am lost in my endeavours to define the mingled recollections of Sunday tranquillity, enjoyment, and frivolity during a stay of eighteen months in Paris.  My thoughts run from the Madelaine to Minu-montant; from Versailles to the Funambule; from Diogenes’ lantern at St. Cloud to the blind man’s concert in the Palais Royal.  Sometimes I wander over the plains of Auteuil and Passy; then suddenly find myself examining a paper-making machine in the Museum of Arts and Trades.  Or I look over the vine fields from the heights of Montmorency at one moment, and the next am pacing the long galleries of the Louvre, or the classic chambers of the Palais des Beaux Arts.  I have passed a Whitsunday morning at Versailles among the paintings; the afternoon at Sèvres among glass and porcelain; have won a game at dominoes after dinner in Paris; and have heard the last polka at the Salle Vivienne in the evening.  Paris is a city of extremes; the young Théophile who works by my side, and is an ingenious fellow and a clever workman, you will meet next Sunday in the Louvre discoursing energetically on the comparative merits of the French and Italian schools of painting; yet this same Théophile shall be the Titi of the gallery of p. 182the Porte St. Martin in the evening, who yells slang at his friend on the opposite side; and the Pierrot or Débardeur of the next opera masquerade.

With the vivid impressions of many Sundays abroad upon my mind, I have been wondering whether, after all, the practices of the continental Sunday have anything to do with the opening of a museum or picture-gallery in London; and, after profound study, in the laborious course of which I have several times fallen asleep, I have come to the deliberate conclusion that there is no connection between the two things.  In the first case, as regards Germany, seeing that they there almost sedulously close all that relates to art or science, and give full licence only to beer and tobacco, to music and dancing on the Sunday—where is the parallel?  In the second, as regards France or Paris, although it must be admitted that there is unfortunately no comparison between the Louvre and the National Gallery, it can at least be claimed that there is no resemblance between the British Museum and the Bal des Chiens in the Rue St. Honoré.  I take it that to preserve the English Sunday as a day of greater rest than French or German Sundays ever were, and to add to it such rational and instructive recreation, as a Museum or a Picture-Gallery, or a place of innocent recreation could supply, might be a good thing in the eyes of religious men; and I have not yet heard of any society or association in any part of the United Kingdom, which proposes to open a Sunday evening ball at the Pig and Tinderbox, or to grant licences to the theatrical performances at the Penny Gaff in the New Cut.


[173]  This is incorrect; the Picture Gallery is open during the mid-day hours on Sunday.


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