Изображения страниц

births in Munich were only sixty less than the legitimate. The deaths of young children are out of all proportion to those of adults, chiefly because so many are born informally into the world. Among the cruelest of Bavarian laws, is one forbidding two people to marry without some well assured means of livelihood. Such a law at once shuts out all whose earnings depend on their own health and their masters' pleasure. Nature of course asserts herself; and those who may not live decently together as married folk, live quietly apart as virtual man and wife. "Almost every female servant above a certain age' —says Mr. Wilberforce-" has one or two children :" most of them are engaged, many for years and years, but marriage is out of the question, unless some kindly masters will now and then sign a paper promising to keep their servants for ever.


As for Munich streets, they are villanously paved, noisy, often offensive, and commonly left to take care of themselves. It is a common thing for passengers to wade through the mud, while brewers' drays block up the crossing for half an hour together. Shopkeepers' temporary booths jut out across the pathways while the shops are being altered or repaired. In the open street all sorts of trades are freely carried on: the coppersmith rivets his cauldrons, the tinman solders a housepipe, the carpenter and the woodcutter ply their noisy tools all day in front of every window.

Officialism is the prime curse of Bavaria. There, yet more than in other parts of the Continent, is a man expected to do what some stupid Bumble of a placeman deems best for him. Silly laws, administered mainly by stark fools, clog and worry him at every turn. It is the paternal sway of the English Tudors revived under a worse form. Fancy a poor woman being fined, because, having got leave to bake dumplings, she baked a few cakes also! Some master tailors were warned for having piece-cloth in their shops, their concession" only extending to made-up goods. A bookseller, wanting to remove from Bayreuth to Munich, was opposed by four different bodies, trading or official, and he only won his suit because no new second-hand book-shop had been opened in Munich since 1834. Only

[ocr errors]

after endless trouble, weary waiting, sometimes ruinous cost, can a workman or apprentice get formal leave to set up on his own account. It is no uncommon thing to wait ten years or more for a "concession," forfeitable for the slightest fault, for one hasty word spoken against an insolent official. The worst principles of our own trades unions find themselves outdone by the protective laws of this paternally governed Bavaria.

One marked result of these atrocities is the constant exodus of good workmen from Bavarian ground. Another shows itself in such stories as that of the Englishman who, wanting a bucket, had to get one man to make the staves, another to supply the hoops, a third to make the handle, and yet another to paint the bucket itself. You must go through the same process to supply yourself with a set of double windows, an essential adjunct to a house in Munich. But the paternal system worries you in yet other ways. The same Englishman who ordered the bucket, insisted on changing his barber, because the apprentice who had always shaved him was going to change his master. In vain the apprentice warned him that to take a customer away from his former tradesman without a month's notice was against the law. The Englishman would be shaved by no one else, and the end of it was that the apprentice got punished for breaking the law, while the gentleman was bidden to get himself shaved by any one he liked, barring the man he wanted.

Under these, and such like inflictions, who can wonder that the overgoverned Bavarian falls back on beer, as the one solace that never can be taken from him. Talk to him of art, and in spite of Munich's claims to artistic greatness, he will hardly understand you. Politics are forbidden fruit, for which he has long ceased to care. Even in music, his taste is not remarkably fine. Philosophy he leaves to the professors who are paid to teach it, and who carry off from the Royal Library loads of books which are long enough in finding their way back. But give him a fair allowance of good beer, with or without a little music, and he casts all other cares to the dogs. His thoughts, his conversation, runs upon beer. "Sit

down," says Mr. Wilberforce, "in a coffee-house or eating-house, and the waiter brings you beer unordered, and when you have emptied your glass, replenishes it without a summons. Tell a doctor the climate of Munich does not agree with you, and he will ask you if you drink enough beer. Arrive at a place before the steamer or train, and you are told you have so long to drink beer. Go to balls, and

you find that it replaces champagne with the rich and dancing with the poor."

And what about the boasted art of Munich? Well, that is too long a subject to bring in at the end of an article; but they who would read some chapters of honest, if unflattering, criticism thereon, may turn with profit to Mr. Wilberforce's agreeable volume.



THERE is a small pale-green handybook to be purchased in those fascinating little towns which are ruled over by a king and corporation of card dealers and wheel turners,which is kindly meant for the assistance of such young novices as are anxious to contribute to the health and prosperity of the little State in question. The little pale handy-book is adorned with a characteristic emblem representing an attractive goddess, seated with some discomfort on a large wheel, and from each hand is showering a stream of gold. Over her is the device "Glück gedenke mein!" or in French, "Favorise moi !"

This should surely be the coat of arms for all those pleasant little free towns of iniquity. There could be no shame in this handsome public acknowledgment to the thriving branch of industry which furnishes their otherwise delicate systems with a rich tide of good sound blood and nutriment-in the shape of thalers, and guilders, and Napoleons, and a copious stream of florins. The tribe of noble Dukes and Landgraves who batten on this spoil, might at least pay this commerce the compliment of quartering upon their illustrious shields, some such little emblem as a card "proper," or a roulette wheel "sinister," and have at least one supporter, a croupier "rampant." These pleasant little colonies, dotted now very sparingly over the Continent, are the most curious of all con

tinental features. They are, indeed, anachronisms; and are legacies from the good old days of Divine Right and Holy Alliances, and that universal rottenness as of unripe fruit, gorgeously coloured over and varnished, and even "enamelled," which all shrank and shrivelled away en masse at the French Revolution. In the old memoirs these are found to be part of the fashionable programme, when kings and nobles repaired, and drank of the healing waters, and played their little game of state over again. But now their days are numbered. No more are likely to come into existence, and they will gradually die out like the members of a Tontine Society.*

Homburg, junior of all, strong in all the gaiety and impetuosity of youth, has been often sketched in many journals. But there is yet another little city of entertainment, living on cards and numbers, which is far more seductive, has an older and more rococo flavour, and has such distinct features as to preclude any danger of going over any of the same ground. This is not Spa, that genteel and pretty gangrene which good King Leopold-Nestor of sovereigns, as he is fashionably called-unaccountably tolerates among his rude, honest, toiling, and pastoral children; nor is it yet Wiesbaden. We swoop down from Paris, along the railway, whose guards and porters are all labelled and ticketed "EST," down to that odd composite city of Strasburg, where French and German "livers" are mixed together in this genuine sort of Strasburg pie, where on this side of

*See, for this sort of life in the last century, the pleasant "Amusemens de Spa," "Amusemens d'Aix la Chapelle," &c.

No need of that huge jingling tabernacle labelled "Service de Chemin de Fer." The lightly equipped traveller may wander on up this little street-if it can be called street-and take his first glimpse. Nothing more dainty, more inviting, can be conceived. Before him, rising steeply, a stately company of soft hills, to the sky over his head, rising and swelling and falling away behind each other, and all clothed thickly and luxuriantly with richest trees, as with green sables. And here two have gently moved away and left an opening; and between them steals in a dainty little street, that winds up like a pathway, and is but the entrance, it can be seen, to the daintier little town further behind, as it were round the corner. This is the fairy town of Baden. We go on. Here are trees and houses and gay colours all mixed, and the way winds and twists with the ascent of the hills. Here is a little street perched above our heads on the side of the hill, and on the roofs of the houses. There are little houses above them, yet again, and further in front, out of a whole of miscellany of toy houses, all as bright and gay as though they had been burnished that morning, rises the quaint round bossed spire of the church of the place. Surely never were such scenic little streets. Artists of the Grand Opera must have been down here from Paris, painted them on "flats," delicately, and set them up edgeways corners, and with charming irregularity-so gay, so sprightly, pale buff-coloured, pink, and paler green, breaking into picturesque balconies, wherein ladies as gay, sit and look down, and fluttering all over with cool yellow linen blinds standing out. Looking towards us a bright file of windows rises above a little bridge below, and the sun catches the golden letters "Hotel de Russie," on a rich cream ground. To the right projects other golden legends, at various signs, all sparkling, fresh, magnificent, with gardens, balconies, fountains. Not a particle of the grim, fatal, commercial die which hangs over hostelry at home.

the platform the neat French guard, stout men calling out gutturally, trim, clean, and gentlemanly, whose "Baden Baden!" uniform fits him without a seam (there are elegans even among railway guards) comes and gathers the tickets; and on the other, a burly German, pink-cheeked, and tightly-belted, points you out your carriage on his Eisenbahn-down farther still, of a sudden, into regions of tobacco smoke first, second, third, and of all classes, with every carriage crowded, and passengers made to sit close, and every passenger, in odd caps, and generally shabby clothing, and adorned with great pipes. Where, too, the electric wires seem to be supported on the branches of old twisted dinner chandeliers, much in fashion at the beginning of this century; and where too, the points-men wear white linen coats and common black hats, bound heavily with brass; where, too, the stations seem to have the air of Swiss chalets translated, and show poles and balconies and trellis work of yellow varnished wood, and are hidden in green creeping plants; where, too, out of the stations look forth men in Lincoln-green, more or less fat, wearing swords, and broadbrimmed waggoners' hats, like the Bersaglieri of Turin; where, too, get in and out at many stations, men with hussar fur caps, bound with gold cord, and short jackets, who are not soldiers but peasants; and men, with long black velvet coats or mantles, split up the back, but who from wearing such a uniform upon a fierce broiling day might reasonably be taken for soldiers; and women in black silk, and something like two stiff black-silk fans placed point to point in their hair as a becoming headdress. In a short half hour the whole has changed-scene, actors, and decorations. Now the Eisenbahn has wound itself gently into a new order of country, not customarily thus visited, into a wilderness of glens and glades, all gorgeously draped and wooded, with layers of mountains. Now as it were between the green knees of contiguous hills, getting further and further on, and all the while ascending steadily. And finally, the vulgar, screaming, bustling, railworld being left long behind, we wind up at last to this enlarged chalet, open at both sides, halt, and hear pastoral men in blouses, and more

Further on still, a kind of pleasant murmur from a little river, trickling down the centre of the streets, and fenced in with real miniature quays,

and crossed by many light bridges. Yet green has its way here. Besides the huge, grand, green background frame to the whole, every house and row of houses seems to get special shade and friendly support from some kindly trees of its own; and this creeping greenery has overgrown all the little quay-walls and bridges, and hidden their green iron-work.

Further on still, houses slope away to the left on one side of the river, and seem to go up the stage, like the opening scene in an opera. Our path spreads on to the right, in a fragrant avenue between two rows of trees, beyond which a long perspective of yellow pillars begins to break into view. A charming colonnade, so delicate in its hues, so vast, so imposing, and so effective, with its colouring of pale pink tilery and frieze, that we think again the opera artists must have been down here with their brushes, and merely got in a bit of their stage effect. Just one glimpse at the row of frescoes, a score or so, with the whole pretty legend of Undine in tableaux, and pass on. More trees crowding together thickly, a hill accompanying us all the time that ascends like a bank; hills everywhere covered still with a green velvet pile of trees, rising round us in gigantic peaks, and each crowned with what seems a little temple. Winding walks, invisible, yet easy of ascent, lead up to these pleasant resting-places.

[ocr errors]

Now we break into an open place or square. Trees clear away a little, and scene the second begins. So gay, so lively a "set piece cannot be conceived. To the right, a massive colonnade of yellow columns-the true Kürhaus livery; to the left, rich furnishing of trees, with, well forward and almost in the centre, a graceful and elegant kiosk, of the Turkish pattern, pale-green and gold, whence soft orchestral music is being discoursed. Beyond the yellow columns a café, yellow, and a busy café too. Sprinkle orange trees plentifully in their proper tubs, and the artists of the opera have built us a pretty



BUT then for the actors-who crowded thickly as flies-who swarm out of

the café door-who are seen within, sitting in lazy perspective-who cluster round innumerable little white tables-who sip coffee leisurely, and cognac hurriedly, in a sort of sultanic fashion, and about whom flutter and chirp waiter insects, with white buzzing napkins-who walk up and down, the gay men and women of Baden-who sit on chairs-who stand-who chatter-who listen to the music-who read newspapers-the bright beau monde, in rich, rustling silks trailing three yards behind, in hats of every pattern-in cool, snowy linen coats and trowsers, without speck or fleck-in gray, in black, in yellow, in all tints-in lace, in diamonds, in pearls-the noble, the gentle, the simple-the prince, duc, pair, and milord-the good, the foolish, and the bad-the sound, steady English domestic pottery, and those delicate, exquisitely-moulded, bits of Sevrès down from Paris-the wicked paté tendre, which must be held quite close to the eye to see that network of little fine cracks and speckles. In short, if the stage is fitting, never were there such actors. King Benazet has the showiest, most glittering, costly, and perhaps the wickedest troupe in the world!

Such costumes! I say again. Beginning with the ladies' hats, of endless shapes, ingenious in their variety, from what is vulgarly known as the "porkpie" to the more fashionable waggoner's hat, as it might be called; hats of straw, hats of velvet mauve, purple, black, and cobalt blue,-with white ostrich feathers fluttering, and at times confined with a brooch of diamonds-hats tricornered, edged with swans' down, exactly what Mr. Fechter wears in his picturesque Lagardère dress-hats, in shape like a boy's or commissionnaire's cap, with a peak coming over the eyes, and of blue or crimson velvet-hats of which an inventory would be wearisome.

Diamonds at the ears; diamonds at the dress; costly bracelets on the hand; Brussels laces, plentiful, but too quiet. See these two ladies tripping down in mantles of white, richly embroidered all over with Chinese flowers, with a dress to match, with a Chinese border, and the dress looped up in festoons, to show a Chinese petticoat. Some have velvet spencers, and white skirts. Some

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Wonderfully fresh and cool seem these snowy white dresses, without speck or fleck, about as acceptable to the eye as would be at that moment a cool water-ice to the taste; matched, too, with petticoat, boots, everything, as in a sort of uniform; and set off in good contrast by a broad-brimmed black velvet hat. Infinitely bewildering the varieties of these cool costumes-delicate grays, delicate saffrons, delicate no-colours," as Mr. Carlyle would put itthings easily found, but set off with braiding, and decoration as delicate and not quite so easily to be found. That is rather a bold coup, and at first sight makes us gasp a little what seems to be a pair of Chinese ladies approaching, but what turns out to be loose, flowing robes, of a palish yellow, embroidered all over with gaudy wreaths of flowers, like a court waistcoat. Gorgeous silkswhat seem golden opera cloaks-lace shawls of matchless Brussels-gold, diamonds, pearls ;-these flit back and forward, and make up what seems a costly Eastern scarf, waving in the wind, and shot with threads of all colours and patterns.


Hats, too. It is wonderful the ingenious variety of shape found for this simple article of attire, from the familiar porkpie" (if we must use that coarse and odious name), set off impudently with a single short white feather, to what may be called the broadleafed waggoner's hat of velvet. What shall be said to a "casquet" of pale cerulean blue velvet, set off in front with a diamond buckle; or to a pale pink velvet boy's cap, with a small peak in front, and a round Mandarin button of diamonds. Broad

yellow straw hats, set on as French women alone can set them on, and not made to furnish that rude, gardening, sunburnt association which the same article supplies when worn by our English sisters.

I note, too, another device which chimes in excellently with the theatrical atmosphere of the place. From the little round hats hang short shreds of thick black veils, in shape exactly like a mask-such a one as the suffering Elvira in Don Giovanni carries in her hand, and holds at times before her face. The effect here is excellent and piquant. Of what quality, however, are the Donna Elviras and Donna Annas, he would be a gauche, surly fellow, who would be rude enough to inquire.

By-and-by, when faces and figures grow familiar, the most marvellous feature of the whole breaks in on us. All these Dryads and Hamadryads are in a state of eternal change. Each shifts her dress as often as a leading lady in a grand spectacle at the Porte St. Martin. Thus the lady in gray in the morning flashes out as the Woman in White of an afternoon on the grand promenade, as the woman in black at dinner, and as the woman in gold or tinsel at night. It must be one universal round of dressing, and the labour must indeed be prodigious.

But that afternoon promenade, when Baden comes out to look at Baden, when Baden is gay, and dressed, and scented, is the special occasion. Everything tends to that hour; for that the whole morning is consumed in secret mysteries and preparations (up in the higher chambers), into which we may not too curiously inquire.

Threading their way through this glittering throng, carefully protected by a stout ruddy guardian, we meet our own English sisterhood, and someway feel a little ashamed. They look domestic, but sadly dingy by contrast. The more elderly have a strange housekeeper look, and their clothes seem faded. Even that unique article of complexion, for which we have a deserved and famous specialité, fails them; for here are complexions and colour (no matter how or whence procured), more brilliant than any ever freshened by the breezes of the pleasant Downs of England. Perhaps it is as well; for our British flowers

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »