Europe After 8:15
by H. L. Mencken, George Jean Nathan and Willard Huntington Wright
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And all that I ask in payment for that tip—the most valuable, perhaps, you have ever got from a book—is that you make polite inquiry of the Herr Wirt regarding Fraeulein Sophie, and that you present to her, when she comes tripping to your table, the respects and compliments of one who forgets not her cerulean eyes, her swanlike glide, her Mona Lisa smile and her leucemic and superbly manicured hands!



I am back again, back again in New York. My rooms are littered with battered bags and down-at-the-heel walking sticks and still-damp steamer rugs, lying where they dropped from the hands of maudlin bellboys. My trunks are creaking their way down the hall, urged on by a perspiring, muttering porter. The windows, still locked and gone blue-grey with the August heat, rattle to the echo of the "L" trains a block away, trains rankling up to Harlem with a sweating, struggling people, the people of the Republic, their day's grind over, jamming their one way to a thousand flat houses, there to await, in an all unconscious poverty, the sunrise of still such another day. The last crack of a triphammer, peckering at a giant pile of iron down the block, dies out on the dead air. A taxicab, rrrrr-ing in the street below, grunts its horn. A newsboy, in neuralgic yowl, bawls out a sporting extra. Another "L" train and the panes rattle again. A momentary quiet ... and from somewhere in a nearby street I hear a grind-organ. What is the tune it is playing? I've heard it, I know—somewhere; but—no, I can't remember. I try—I try to follow the air—but no use. And then, presently, one of the notes whispers into my puckering lips a single word—"Mariechen." Then other notes whisper others—"du suesses Viehchen"; and then others still others—"du bist mein alles, bist mein Traum." And the battered bags and the down-at-the-heel walking sticks and the still-damp steamer rugs and the trunks creaking down the hallway and the rattle of the "L" trains fade out of my eyes and ears and again dear little Hulda is with me under the Linden trees—poor dear little Hulda who ever in the years to come shall bring back to me the starlit romance of youth—and again I feel her so soft hand in mine and again I hear her whisper the auf wiederseh'n that was to be our last good-bye—and I am three thousand miles over the seas. For it's night for me again in Berlin—kronprinzessin of the cities of the world.

I am again on the hitherward shore of the Hundekehlensee, flashing back its diamond smiles at the setting sun. I am sitting again near the water's edge in the moist shade of the Grunewald, and the trees sing for me the poetry that they once sang to the palette of Leistikow. My nose cools itself in the recesses of a translucent schoppen of Johannisberger, proud beverage in whose every topaz drop lies imprisoned the kiss of a peasant girl of Prussia. From the southward side of the Grunewaldsee the horn of a distant hunting lodge seems to call a welcome to the timid stars; and then I seem to hear another—or is it just an echo?—from somewhere out the spur of the Havelberge beyond. Or is just the Johannesberger, soul of the most imaginative grape in Christendom? Or—woe is me—am I really back again across the seas in New York, and is what I hear only the horn of the taxicab, rrrrr-ing in the street below?

But I open my too-dreaming eyes—and yes; I am in the Grunewald. And the summer sun is saffron in the waters of the lake. And about me, at a thousand tables under the Grunewald trees, are a thousand people and more, the people of the Kaiserland, their day's work over, clinking a thousand wohlseins in a great twilight peace and awaiting, in all unconscious opulence, the sunrise of yet such another day. And a great band, swung into the measures by a firm-bellied kapellmeister as gorgeous in his pounds of gold braid as a peafowl, sets sail into "Parsifal" against a spray of salivary brass. And the air about me is full of "Kellner!" and "Zwei Seidel, bitte!" and "Wiener Roastbraten und Stangenspargel mit geschlagener Butter!" and "Zwei Seidel, bitte!" and "Junge Kohlrabi mit gebratenen Sardellenklopsen!" and "Zwei Seidel, bitte!" and "Sahnenfilets mit Schwenkkartoffeln!" and "Zwei Seidel, bitte!" and a thousand schmeckt's guts and a thousand prosits and "Zwei Seidel, bitte!" And no outrage upon the ear is in all this guttural B minor, no rape of exotic tympani, but a sense rather of superb languor and wholesome tranquillity, of harmonious stomachic socialism, an orchestration of honest ovens and a diapason of honest braeus and brunners, with their balmy wealth of nostril arpeggios and roulades.

And thus the evening breeze, come hither through the reeds and cypress from over the purpling Havel hills beyond, takes on an added perfume, an added bouquet, as it transports itself to the sniffer over to the hurrying krebs-suppen and thick brown-gravied platters and dewy seidels. My nose, in its day, has engaged with many a seductive aroma. It has met, at Cassis on the Mediterranean, the fumes breathed by becasse sur canapes and Chateau Lafitte '69—and it has ffd and ffd again and again in an ecstasy of inhalation. It has encountered in Moscow, the regal vapours of nevop astowka Dernidoff sweeping across a slender goblet of golden sherry—and it has been abashed at the delirium of scent. On the Grand Boulevards, it has skirmished with punch a la Toscane flavoured with Maraschino and with bitter almonds—and has inhaled as if in a dream. The juicy, dripping cuts of Simpson's in London, the paradisian pudding sueldoiro on the little screened veranda in the shadow of the six-minareted Mosque of El-Azhar in Cairo, the salmon dipped in Chambertin and the artichokes, sauce Barigoule, at Schoenbrunn on the road to Vienna, the escaloppes de foie gras a la russe (favourite dish of the late Beau McAllister) at Delmonico's at home—all these and more have wooed my nostril with their rare fragrances. But, though I have attended many a table and given audience to many an attendant perfume, nowhere, nor never, has there been borne in upon me the like of that exquisite nasal blend of bratens and braeus with which the twilight breezes have christened me among the trees of the Grunewald. Forgotten, there, are the roses on the moonlit garden wall in Barbizon, chaperoned by the fairy forest of Fontainebleau; forgotten the damp wild clover fields of the Indiana of my boyhood. All vanished, gone, before the olfactory transports of this concert of hops and schnitzels, of Rhineland vineyards and upland kaese. And here it is, here in the great German out-of-doors, on the border of the Hundekehlen lake, with a nimble kellner at my elbow, with the plain, homely German people to the right and left of me, with the stars beginning to silver in the silent water, with the band lifting me, a drab and absurd American, into the spirit of this kaiserwelt, and with the innocent eyes of the fair fraeulein under yonder tree intermittently englishing their coquettish glances from the eisschokolade that should alone engage them—here it is that I like best to bide the climbing of the moon into the skies over Berlin—here it is that I like best to wait upon the city's night.

Ah, Berlin, how little the world knows you—you and your children! It sees you fat of figure, an Adam's apple struggling with your every vowel, ponderous of temperament. It sees you a sullen and varicose mistress, whose draperies hang heavy and ludicrous from a pudgy form. It sees you a portly, pursy, foolish Undine struggling awkwardly from out a cyclopean vat of beer. It hears your music in the ta-tata-tata-ta-ta of your "Ach, du lieber Augustin" alone; the sum of your sentiment in your "Ich weiss nicht was soll es bedeuten." Wise American journalists, commissioned to explore your soul, have returned characteristically to announce that you "In your German way" (American synonyms: elephantine, phlegmatic, stodgy, clumsy, sluggish) seek desperately to appropriate, in ferocious lech to be metropolitan, the "spirit of Paris" (American synonyms: silk stockings, "wine," Maxim's, jevousaime, Rat Mort). Announce they also your "mechanical" pleasures, your weighty light-heartedness, your stolid, stoic essay to take unto yourself, still in tigerish itch to be cosmopolitan, the frou-frouishness of the flirting capital over the frontier. Wise old philosophers! Translating you in terms of your palaces of prostitution, your Palais de Danse, your Admirals-Casinos; translating you in terms of your purposely spurious Victorias, your Riche Cafes, your Fledermauses. As well render the spirit of Vienna in the key of the Kaerntnerstrasse at eleven of the Austrian night; as well play the spirit of Paris in the discords of its Montmartre, in the leaden pitch of its Pre Catelan at sunrise. Sing of London from the Astor Club; sing of New York from its Bryant Park at moontide, its Rector's, its ridiculous Cafe San Souci and its Madam Hunter's. 'Twere the same.

Pleasure in the mass, incidentally, is perforce ever mechanical; a levee at Buckingham Palace, a fete on the velvet terraces sloping into the Newport sea, a Coney Island gangfest, a city's electric den of gilt and tinsel.

But the essence of a city is never here. Berlin, in the wanderlust of its darkened heavens, is not the ample-bosomed, begarneted, crimson-lipped Minna angling in its gaudy dance decoy in the Behrenstrasse; nor the satin-clad, pencilled-eyed Amelie ogling from her "reserved" table in the silly sham called Moulin Rouge; nor yet the more baby-glanced, shirtwaisted Ertrude laughing in the duntoned Cafe Lang. Berlin is not she who beckons by night in the Friedrichstrasse; nor the frowsy she who sings in the bier-cabarets that hover about the Lichtprunksaal. Berlin, under the stars, is the sound of soldiers singing near the arch of the Brandenburger Tor, the peaceful bauer and his frau Hannah and his young daughters Lilla and Mia lodged before their abend bier at a bare table on the darker side of the far Jaegerstrasse. Berlin, when skies are navy blue, is Heinrich, gallant rear private of Regiment 31, publicly and with audible ado encircling the waist of his most recent engel on a bench in the Linden promenade—Berlin, in the Inverness of night, is Hulda, little Alsatian rebel—a rebel to France—a rebel to the Vosges and the vineyards—Hulda, the provinces behind her, and in her heart, there to rule forever, the spirit of the capital of Wilhelm der Groesste. For the spirit of Berlin is the laughter of a pretty, clean and healthy girl—not the neurotic simper of a devastated ware of the Madeleine highway, not the raucous giggle of a bark that sails Piccadilly, not the meaningfull and toothy beam of a fair American badger—none of these. It is a laugh that has in it not the motive power of Krug and Company or Ruinart pere et fils; it smells not of suspicioned guineas to be enticed; it is not an answer to the baton of necessity. There's heart behind it—and it means only that youth is in the air, that youth and steaming blood and a living life, be the world soever stern on the morrow, are a trinity invincible, unconquerable—that the music is good, the seidel full. Ah, Berlin—ah, Hulda—ah, youth ... ah, youth, what things you see that are not, that never will be, never were; foolish, innocent, splendid youth!

An end to such so tender philosophies, such so blissful ruminations. For even now the kutsche has drawn us up before the door of Herr Kempinski's victual studio, running from the Leipzigerstrasse through to the Krausenstrasse and constituting what is probably the largest stomach Senate and House of Representatives in the seven kingdoms. Here, in the multitudinous saele—the Mosel-saal, the Berliner-saal, the huge Grauer-saal, the Burgen-saal, the Alter-saal, the Erker-saal, the Gelber-saal, the Cadiner-saal, the Eingangs-saal, the Durchgangs-saal, the Brauner-saal and the various other chromatic and geographical saals—one may listen in dyspeptic Anglo-Saxon abashment to such a concerto of down-going suppen and coteletten and gemuese and down-gurgling Laubenheimer and Marcobrunner and Zeltinger and Brauneberger as one may not hear elsewhere in the palatinates. And here, in the preface to the night, one may prehend while again eating (for in Germany, you must know, one's eating is limited in so far as time and occasion are concerned only by the locks of the alimentary canal and the contumacy of the intestines) the grand democracy of this kaiser city. For in this giant eating hall that would hold a round half-dozen New York restaurants and still offer ample elbow room for the dissection of a knuckle and the wielding of a stein, one observes a vast and heterogeneous commingling of the human breed such as may not be observed outside an American charity ball. At one table, a lieutenant of Uhlans with his maedel of the moment, at another a jolly old spitzbub' sending with a loose jest a girl from the chorus of the Theater des Westens into blushes—and being sent himself in return with a looser. At another (one removed from that of a duo of palpable daughters of joy engaged in a desperate hand-to-hand encounter with a colossal roastbif englisch mit Leipziger allerlei) a family man with his family. At still another, another family man with his. At another, the Salome from the Koenigliches Opernhaus—at another a noted advokat—at another, two little girls (they can't he more than sixteen years old) enjoying their meal and their bottle of Rhenish wine undisturbed, unogled, unafraid.

But why need to pursue the catalogue? This, too, is Berlin. Not the Berlin of Herr Adlon's inn, gilded with the leaf of Broadway and the Strand to flabbergast and ensnare the American snooper—not the Berlin of the Bristol, with its imitation cocktails—not the Berlin of the Esplanade, gaudy dump of the Bellevuestrasse, with its sugar tongs, finger bowls and kindred criteria of degeneracy—not this Berlin; but the real Berlin of the German people, warm-hearted, mindful only of its own affairs, all-understanding, all-sympathetic, all-human—its larynx eternally beseeching liquid succour, its stomach eternally demanding chow. And, too—and note this well—not the Berlin of the rouged menu and silk-stockinged kellner, not the trumped-up Berlin of the vaselined vassal, of the bowing oberkellner, not the Berlin of the affected canteloupe (3,50 m.) and the affected biscuit tortoni (2,40 m.)—but the Berlin of beinfleisch im kessel mit Meerrettich (90 pf.), the Berlin of kraeftbruhe mit nudeln (40 pf.)—the Berlin of Mamsch and Traube.

And now I am again in the streets of the city, rattling with the racing flotilla of things awheel. (Or is the rattle that I hear only the rattle of the "L" trains a block away, and am I really back in New York?) But no; for still I see in the brilliant Berlin moonlight the bronze Quadriga of Victory atop the distant Gate of Brandenburg and still I hear a group of students singing in the Cafe Mozart, and still—but what is moonlight beside the fairy light in your eyes, fair Hulda? What is song beside the soft melody of your smile? Normandy is in the night air ... "man lacht, man lebt, man liebt und man kuesst wo's Kuesse giebt" ... and we and all the world are young. Ah, Hulda, mine own, mine all, and who is that pretty girl tripping adown the street, that one there with the corals at her throat and the devil at the curtain of her glance ... and that girl who has just passed, that little minx with eyes like sleeping sapphires and a smile as melodious as mandolins by the summer sea? As melodious as your own, fair Hulda.

* * * * *

The play is over and I have alternated a contemplation of the loves and fears, the tremors and triumphs of some obese stage princess with a lusty entr'-acte excursion into Culmbacher and the cheese sandwich, served, as is the appealing custom, in the theatre promenade. And thus fortified against the night, I pass again into the thoroughfares still a-rattle with the musketry of wheels. I perceive that many amateur American Al-Raschids are abroad in the land, pockets echoing the tintinnabulation of manifold marks and eyes abulge at the prospect of midnight diableries. See that fellow yonder! At home, probably a family man, a wearer of mesh underwear, an assiduous devourer of the wisdom of George Harvey, a patron of the dramas of Charles Rann Kennedy, a spanker of children, an entertainer at his board of the visiting clergyman, a pantophagous subscriber, a silk hat wearer—in brief, a leading citizen. See him oleaginate his grin at the sight of a passing painted paver. (To his mind, probably a barmaid out for an innocent lark.) See him make for the Palais de Danse where (so he has read in the Saturday Evening Post) one may purchase the Berliner spirit at so much per pound. We track him, and presently we behold him seated at a table in this splendiferous hall of Terpsichore and Thais "opening wine" and purchasing blumen for a battle-scarred veteran who is telling him confidentially that she just got in that afternoon from her poor home in a little Bavarian village and that she feels so alone in this big, great city, with its lures and temptations, its snares and its pitfalls. Soon the bubbles of the grape are percolating through his arteries and soon the "Grosse Rosinen" waltzes have mellowed his conscience and soon....

* * *

"Berlin spirit, huh!" he is telling his wife a month later—"Berlin spirit? All artificial. Just to make money out of the visitors. And very sordid!"

* * *

At the Moulin Rouge and at the Admirals-Casino, at the Alhambra and the Tabarin, at the Amor-saele and the Rosen-saele, we track down others such, "seeing the night life of Berlin." We see them, too, champagne before them, coquetting with Fraeulein Ilona, who numbers Militaer-Regiment 42 as her gentleman friend, and with innocent-looking little Hedwig, who in her day has tramped the streets of Brussels and Paris, of London and Vienna; we see them intriguing elaborately with these sisters of sorrow, who, intriguing in turn against the night's wage, assist the skirmish on with incendiary quip and tender touch of foot and similar cantharides of financial amour. And we track them later to such institutions as the Fledermaus—"der grosse luxurioese, vornehmstes vergnuegungsplatz, paradiesgarten, groesste sehenswuerdigkeit Berlins" (in the advertisements)—as the Victoria and the Cafe Riche, the Westminster and the Cafe Opera and—

* * *

"Berlin spirit, huh!" they are telling their wives a month later—"Berlin spirit? All artificial. Just to make money out of the visitors. And very sordid!"

* * *

Ah, Cairo dreaming in the Nile's moon-haze—are you to be judged thus by the narrow street that snakes into the dark of Bulak? And Budapest by the Danube—are you to be judged by the wreckage of the Stefansplatz that has drifted on your shores? And you, Vienna, and you, Paris—are you, too, to be measured thus, as measured you are, by the crimson light of your half-worlds that for some obscures your stars?

The Berlin of the Palais de Danse is the Paris of L'Abbaye; the Berlin of the Fledermaus is the New York of Jack's.

But the Berlin that I know and love is not this Berlin, the Berlin of Americans, not the spangled Berlin, the hollow-laughing Berlin, the Berlin decked with rhinestones, set alight with prismatic electroliers and offered up as mistress to foreign gold. When the River Spree is amethystine under springtime skies and the city's lights are yellow in the linden trees, I like best the Berlin that sips its beer in the peace of the little by-streets, the Berlin that laughs in the Tiergarten near the Lake of the Goldfish and on the Isle of Louisa, where watch throughout eternity the graven images of Friedrich Wilhelm the Third and of Wilhelm the First in the years of his boyhood. I like best the Berlin that sings with the students in the undiscovered, untainted wein and bier stuben of the thitherward thoroughfares, the Berlin that dances in the Joachimstrasse, where the maedels, each to herself a Cecilie, shirtwaisted, poor, happy, kick up their German heels, drink up their German beer, assault the Schweizerkaese and bring back memories of that paradise of all paradises—the Englischer Garten of Munich the Incomparable, the Divine.

In such phases of this kaiser city, one is removed from the so-called Tingel-Tangel, or varietes and cabarets, where the visiting narrverein is regaled with such integral and valid elements of Berlin "night life" as "der cake walk," "der can-can" and "die matschiche—getanzt von original importierten Mexikanerinnen." So, too, is one removed from the garish demi-women of the so-called "Quartier Latin" near the Oranienburger Tor and from the spurious deviltries of the Rothenburger Krug and the Staffelstein, with their "property" students, cheeks scarred with red ink, singing "Heidelberg" (from "The Prince of Pilsen") for the edification and impression of foreign visitors, and fiercely and frequently challenging other prop. students to immediate duel. The girls, alas, in these places are not unlovely. Well do I remember the dainty Elsa of the Hopfenbluethe, she of face kissed by the Prussian dawn, and employed at sixteen marks the week to wink dramatically at the old roues and give the resort "an air." Well does memory repeat to me the loveliness of delicate little Anna, she with hair like the waving golden grass in the fields that skirt the roadways from Targon to Villandraut, and paid so much the month to laugh uproariously every time the hands of the clock point the quarter-hour. And Rika and Dessa and Julia and Paulina—all sweet of look, all professional actresses; Bernhardts of Fun (inc.), Duses of Pleasure (ltd.). Not the girls in whose hearts Berlin is beating, not the girls in whose elan Berlin lives and laughs. Leave behind all places such as these, seeker after the soul of Berlin. Leave behind the Tingel-Tangel with its uniformed bouncer at the gate, with its threadbare piano, with its "na kleener Dicker" smirked by soiled decolletes, its doleful near-naughty ditties—"Ich lass mich nicht verfuehren, dazu bin ich zu schlau, ich kenne die Manieren der Maenner ganz genau"—"I won't be led astray, I am too slick for that, I know the ways of mankind, I've got them all down pat." Leave behind the Berlin of the Al-Raschids and keep to the Berlin of the Germans.

Just as the worst of Paris came from America, so has the worst of Berlin come from America by way of Paris. The maquereau spirit of Montmartre, with its dollar lust and its poisoned blood, has not yet the throat of this German night city full in its fists; but the fists are tightening slowly—and the voice behind them speaks not French, but the jargon of Broadway. And yet, when finally the fingers work closer, closer still, around that throat, when finally the death gurgle of spontaneous pleasure and of clean, honest, fearless night skies comes—and yet, when this happens, Berlin will still rise from the dunghill. I must believe it. For they—we—may kill the laughter of Berlin's streets—as we have killed it in Paris—but we can never kill the heart, the spirit and the living, quivering corpuscles of German blood. The French may drink stronger stuffs, eat richer foods and love oftener than the Germans, and may be better fighters—but they cannot laugh, they cannot sing as the Germans laugh and sing. And Berlin is the new Germany, the Germany of to-day and to-morrow ... the Germany whose laughter will grow louder as the decades pass and whose song will echo clearer from the distant hills. While Paris (to go to Conrad)—is not Paris and her land already at Bankok, and far, far beyond? Her children spent before their day, listening to the too-soon lecture of Time? And all hopelessly nodding at him: "the man of finance, the man of accounts, the man of law, we all nodded at him over the polished table that like a still sheet of brown water reflected our faces, lined, wrinkled; our faces marked by toil, by deceptions, by success, by love; our weary eyes looking still, looking always, looking anxiously for something out of life, that while it is expected is already gone—has passed unseen, in a sigh, in a flash—together with the youth, with the strength, with the romance of illusions...."

But again a truce to philosophisings. It grows late apace. (Ah, Hulda, how like opals in the lyric April rain are your eyes in this first faint purple-pink of the tremulous dawn.... Were I a Heine!) In my far-away America, Hulda, in far-away New York, it is now onto midnight. I see Broadway, strumpet of the highways, sweltering collarless under the loud electricity of Times Square. I see a fetid blonde, dangling a patent leather handbag, hurrying to an assignation in Forty-fifth Street. I see two actors, pointing their boasts with yellow bamboo canes. A chop suey restaurant flashes its sign. And I can hear the racking ragtime out of Shanley's. A big sightseeing bus is howling the fictitious lure of the Bowery, Chinatown and the Ghetto to gaping groups from the hinterlands. A streetwalker. Another. Another. In the subway entrance across the street, a blind man is selling papers. A "dip" calls a friendly "Hello, Dan" to the policeman in front of the drugstore and works his steps over the car tracks toward the drunk teetering against the window of the Jew's clothing store. The air is dust-filled. An intermittent baking gust from the river sends a cast-aside Journal fluttering aloft. A dirt-encrusted bum begs the price of a coffee. Another streetwalker, appearing from the backwaters of Seventh Avenue, grins in the drugstore's green light....

But to your eyes, Hulda, must be given no such picture. Yet such is the New York I come from; such the New York, stunning by day in its New World strength and splendour, loathsome by night in its hot, illumined bawdry. Ah, city by the Hudson, forgetting Riverside Drive twinkling amid the long tiara of trees, forgetting the still of the lake and cool of the boulders that plead in Central Park, forgetting the superb majesty of Cathedral Heights and the mighty peace of the byways—forgetting these all for a Broadway!

But the symphony of the Berlin dawn is ours now, fraeulein, and have done with intrusive memories, corroding reflections. What are my people doing in Berlin at this hour? What are these prowling Al-Raschids about? Do they know the sorcery of the virgin morning light of Berlin as it falls upon the Siegesallee and gives life again to the marble heroes of Germany? Have they ever stood with such as you, fraeulein, in the coral-tipped hours of the dawning day before the image of Friedrich der Grosse in that wonderful lane and felt, through this dead, cold thing, the thrill of an empire's glory? Do they know the witchery of the withering Berlin night as it plays out its wild fantasia in the leaves of the Linden trees? Have they ever been with such as you, fraeulein, at the base of the Pillar of Triumph in Koenigsplatz or sat with such as you, fraeulein, near the Grotto Lake in the Tiergarten, or stood with such as you, fraeulein, on one of the bridges arching the Spree in the first trembling innuendo of morning?

Where are these, my people?

You will find them seeking the romance of Berlin's greying night amid the Turkish cigarette smoke and stale wine smells of the half-breed cabarets marshalled along the Jaegerstrasse, the Behrenstrasse and their tributaries. You will find them up a flight of stairs in one of the all-night Linden cafes, throwing celluloid balls at the weary, patient, left-over women. You will find them sitting in the balcony of the Pavilion Mascotte, blowing up toy balloons and hurling small cones of coloured paper down at the benign harlotry. You will see them, hatless, shooting up the Friedrichstrasse in an open taxicab, singing "Give My Regards to Broadway" in all the prime ecstasy of a beer souse. You will find them in the rancid Tingel-Tangel, blaspheming the kellner because they can't get a highball. You will find them in the Nollendorfplatz gaping at the fairies. You will see them, green-skinned in the tyrannic light of early morning, battering at the iron grating of their hotel for the porter to open up and let them in.

For them, are no souvenirs of happy evening hours that sing always in the heart of a Berlin they can never know. For them, shall be no memory of that vast and insuperable gemuetlichkeit, that superb and pacific democracy, that dwells and shall dwell forever by night in the spirit of the German people. They will never know the Berlin that lifts its seidel to the setting sun, the Berlin that greets the moonrise, the Berlin that meets the dawn. The Berlin that they know is a Berlin of French champagnes, Italian confetti, Spanish dancers, English-trained waiters, Austrian courtesans and American hilarities. They interpret a city by its leading all-night restaurant; a nation by the demi-mondaine who happens to be nearest their table. For them, there is no—

But hark, what is that?

What is that strange sound that comes to me?

* * *

"Extra! Evening Telegram, extra! All 'bout the Giants win double-header!"

* * *

A newsboy in neuralgic yowl, bawling in the street below.

Alas, it is true: after all, I am really back again in New York. My rooms are littered with battered bags and down-at-the-heel walking sticks and still-damp steamer rugs, lying where they dropped from the hands of maudlin bellboys. My trunks are creaking their way down the hall, urged on by a perspiring, muttering porter. The windows, still locked and gone blue-grey with the August heat, rattle to the echo of the rankling "L" trains. The last crack of a triphammer, peckering at a giant pile of iron down the block, dies out on the dead air. A taxicab, rrrrr-ing in the street below, grunts its horn. Another "L" train and the panes rattle again. A momentary quiet ... and from somewhere in a nearby street I hear again the grind-organ.

It is playing "Alexander's Ragtime Band."



Macauley's New Zealander, so I hear, will view the ruins of St. Paul's from London Bridge; but as for me, I prefer that more westerly arch which celebrates Waterloo, there to sniff and immerse myself in the town. The hour is 8:15 post meridien and the time is early summer. I have just rolled down Wellington Street from the Strand, smoking a ninepence Vuelta Abajo, humming an ancient air. One of Simpson's incomparable English dinners—salmon with lobster sauce, a cut from the joint, two vegetables, a cress salad, a slice of old Stilton and a mug of bitter—has lost itself, amazed and enchanted, in my interminable recesses. My board is paid at Morley's. I have some thirty-eight dollars to my credit at Brown's, a ticket home is sewn to my lingerie, there is a friendly jingle of shillings and sixpences in my pocket. The stone coping invites; I lay myself against it, fold my arms, blow a smoke ring toward the sunset, and give up my soul to recondite and mellow meditation.

There are thirteen great bridges between Fulham Palace and the Isle of Dogs, and I have been at pains to try every one of them; but the best of all, for such needs as overtake a well fed and ruminative man on a summer evening, is that of Waterloo. Look westward and the towers of St. Stephen's are floating in the haze, a greenish slate colour with edges of peroxide yellow and seashell pink. Look eastward and the fine old dome of St. Paul's is slipping softly into greasy shadows. Look downward and the river throws back its innumerable hues—all the coal tar dyes plus all the duns and drabs of Thames mud. The tide is out and along the south bank a score of squat barges are high and dry upon the flats. Opposite, on the embankment, the lights are beginning to blink, and from the little hollow behind Charing Cross comes the faint, far-away braying of a brass band.

All bands are in tune at four hundred yards, the reason whereof you must not ask me now. This one plays a melody I do not know, a melody plaintive and ingratiating, of clarinet arpeggios all compact. Some lay of amour, I venture, breathing the hot passion of the Viennese Jew who wrote it. But so heard, filtered through that golden haze, echoed back from that lovely panorama of stone and water, all flavour of human frailty has been taken out of it. There is, indeed, something wholly chastening and dephlogisticating in the scene, something which makes the joys and tumults of the flesh seem trivial and debasing. A man must be fed, of course, to yield himself to the suggestion, for hunger is frankly a brute; but once he has yielded he departs forthwith from his gorged carcass and flaps his transcendental wings.... Do honeymooners ever come to Waterloo Bridge? I doubt it. Imagine turning from that sublime sweep of greys and sombre gilts, that perfect arrangement of blank masses and sweeping lines, to the mottled pink of a cheek lately virgin, the puny curve of a modish eyebrow, the hideous madness of a trousseau hat!...

I am no stranger to these moods and whims. I am not merely a casual outsider who has looked about him, sniffed deprecatingly and taken the train for Dover—which leads to Calais—which leads to Paris—which leads to youthful romance. I have wallowed in London as the ascetic wallows in his punitive rites, with a strange, keen joy. I have been a voluntary St. Simeon on its cold grey street corners. I have eaten so often—and so much—at Simpson's that I know two of the waiters by their first names. And I could order correctly their famous cuts by looking at my watch, knowing at what hour the mutton was ready, at what hour the roast beef was rarest. So long have I worn English shirts that even now I find myself crawling into the American brand after the manner of the woodchuck burrowing into his hole. Frequently I find myself proffering dimes to the fair uniformed vestals of our theatres who present me with programmes. I have read each separate slab in Westminster Abbey. I have made suave and courtly love to a thousand nursemaids in Hyde Park. I have exuded great globules of perspiration rowing on the Thames, while the fair beneficiary of my labours lolled placidly in the boat's stern upon a hummock of Persian pillows. I know every overhanging lovers' tree from Richmond to Hampton Court. I have consumed hogsheads of ale at "The Sign of the Cock." I have followed the horses at Epsom and Newmarket, at Goodwood and Ascot. I have browsed for hours in French's book store. I have lounged in luxurious taxicabs upholstered in pale grey, and ridden interminably back and forth through the Mall, Constitution Hill and Piccadilly....

All of these things have I done. And more. In brief, I have lived the dashing and reckless life of a dozen Londoners. But—and here is the point!—I have lived it in the daytime. When the shadows began to drift into the fogs and the twilight settled over the grey masonry of the city, I would generally fly to the theatre and afterward to my garish rooms in Adams Street; or, as was often the case, I would merely fly to my flat, giving up my evenings to the low humour of Rabelais, or to deep, deep sleep.

Although for years one could not lose me in London, or flabbergast me with those leaning-tower-of-Pisa addresses (the items piled one upon the other in innumerable strata), I knew nothing of the goings-on when the windows of London became patches of orange light. In fact, I assumed that when I slept London also snored. To think of London and of night romance was like conjuring up the wildest of anachronisms. Romance there was in London, but to me it had always been shot through with sunshine. It had been the hard commercial romance of the Stock Exchange. Or the courteous and impeccable romance of polished hats and social banalities. Or the gustatory romance of Cheddar cheese, musty ale, roast lamb and greens. Or it had been the romance of the Cook's tourist—the romance of cathedrals, towers, palaces, dungeons and parliamentary buildings. Or the romance of pomp, of horseguards and helmets and epaulettes and brass buttons and guns at "present arms." Or it had been the anaemic romance of Ceylon tea, toasted muffins and petits fours. As for amours and intrigues and subdued lights and dances and cabarets and sparkling demi-mondaines and all-night orchestras and liquid jousting bouts and perfume and champagne and rouge and kohl—who would have thought that London, the severe, the formal; London, the saintly, the high-collared, the stiff; London, the serious, the practical, the kid-gloved; London, the arctic, the methodical, the fixed, the ceremonious, the starched, the precise, the punctilious, the conservative, the static; London, the God-fearing, the episcopal, the nice, the careful, the scrupulous, the aloof, the decorous, the proper, the dignified—who would have thought that London would loosen up and relax and partake of the potions of Eros and Bacchus?

And yet—and yet—back of London's grim and formidable exterior there lurks a smile. Her stiff and proper legs know how to shake themselves. Her cold and sluggish blood grows warm to the strains of dance music. Her desensitized and asphalt palate thrills and throbs beneath the tricklings of Cordon Rouge. Her steel heart flutters at the touch of a wheedling phryne. She, too, can wear the strumpet garb of youth. She, too, in the vitals of her nature, longs for the gay romance of the Boulevard Montparnasse ere the American possessed it. She, too, admires the rhythmic parabolic curve of bare shoulders. Silken ankles and amorous whisperings stir her—if not to deeds of valour, then at least to deeds of indiscretion. London, it seems, cannot look upon the moon without suffering some of the love qualms of Endymion. In fine, London, the mentalized, is human.

It was only last year that the rumours of London's night life sank into the depths of my sensitive ears. At first I put such murmurings aside as psychiatric ravings of visionaries and yearners. Always at the first signs of neurosis—the inevitable result of the simple life—I dashed to Paris, to the golden-haired Reine at the Marigny; or else I cabled to Anna of the Admiral's Palast in Berlin; or, if time permitted, I sought the glittering presence of Bianca Weise at Vienna. (Ah, Bianca! Du suesser Engel!) Never once did it occur to me that youth stalked abroad in the London streets, that gaiety sang among the wine cups in London cafes, that romance went drunk amid the mazes of abandoned dancing. London had always seemed to me essentially senile—grey-haired and sedate. And so I devoted myself to the labours of youth, as did the youthful George Moore; and when the first crocuses of the spring appeared, and the lilacs came forth, and the April primroses got into my blood, and the hawthorn sent forth its pink and white shoots, I sought the Luxembourg or the Tiergarten or the Prater. Why, indeed, I thought, should spring come to London? Why should Henley, an Englishman, have called Spring "the wild, the sweet-blooded, wonderful harlot"? And why should the year's first crocus have brought him luck? Had he indeed lain mouth to mouth with spring in London? Perhaps. But I doubted him. Therefore, before the lavender appeared, I was beyond the channel.

But last spring I met the girl in the flat below me. Her name was Elsie—Winwood, I think. Of one thing, however, I am sure; she had cold grey eyes and auburn hair—an uncanny combination; but she was typical of the English girl, the girl who had been educated abroad. This girl and I came face to face on the stairs one day.

"Why do you always leave London at the best time of the year?" she asked me.

"I am young," I confessed. "In the spring I live by night, and one may only sleep in London at night."

"But you do not know London," she told me.

She smiled intimatingly and disappeared into the gloom of her studio.

That night I thought of Arthur Symons's "London Nights." Nobody in any city in the world had more subtly caught the spirit of youthful buoyancy, the spirit of romantic evanescence, the spirit of midnight abandon. Could it be that he was but a "poseur," a dealer in false words, a concocter of the non-existent? Did the eyes of dancers never gleam in his? Did Renee never issue forth from that dim arch-way where he waited? Did Nora never dance upon the pavement? Was Violet but the figment of a poet's dreams? And was that painted angel, Peppina, a mere psychic snare? Could any man—even a poet—write as he did of Muriel at the Opera if there had been no Muriel? It seemed highly improbable. Finally I decided that, ere departing for Reine or Anna or Bianca, I would sally forth into the night of London and see if, after all, romance did not lurk in the darkened corners.

At first I started without a guide, trusting to my own knowledge of the city, intending to follow up vague rumours to which I had lent but half an ear. Later I equipped myself with a guide—not a professional guide, but a man of means and of easy morals, a young barrister in whose family were R. A.'s, M. P.'s and K. C.'s.

"Shall we see it all?" asked Leonard.

"All," I replied. "From the high to the low."

We set forth. It was eleven o'clock, and the theatregoers were swarming in the Strand. We were heading for a great arch of incandescent light.

I was beginning to be disappointed. Visions of the dark-eyed Reine, in veils of mauve and orange, silhouetted against the synchromatic scenery of the Marigny swam before my eyes. I gave vent to a cavernous yawn. I had often had supper at the Savoy. But such a performance was not my idea of romance. I had never considered that luxurious dining room in the light of adventure. But with Leonard's suggestion I entered and found that, when the mental lenses are focused correctly, it in truth possesses much of that same gorgeousness and lavish spirit which no doubt invested the banquets of Belshazzar.

Thus begins the night romance of London:

Souper. Oeufs de Pluvier Consomme Double en Tasse Fillet de Merlan a l'Anglaise Pommes Nature Caille Cocotte Armenienne Buffet Froid Salade Petit Glace Parisienne Friandises

This is arbitrary, however. On the crested bill of fare we learn that there are other things to be had, but that they must be ordered a la carte. Glancing down the mammoth card we begin reading such items: Saumon Fume, Pigeon Cocotte Bonne Femme, Rognons Sautes, Champignons, Caille Royal aux Raisins, Tournedos Saute Mascotte, Noisette d'Agneau Fines Herbes, Poussin de Hambourg Vapeur, Medaillon Ris de Veau Colbert, Terrine de Boeuf a la Mode Glacee, Supreme de Chapon Jeannette ... and so on, almost indefinitely. I saw nothing in the fact—nor had I seen anything in the fact—that the menu contained not one English word; but later in the week these affectations of French dishes became highly significant. They were really the symbol of London's night romance. They were the tuning fork which gave the pitch for London pleasures. For romance and gaiety in London are grafted to an otherwise unromantic and lugubrious hulk. All joys in that terrible city are lugged from overseas, and, in the process of suturing, the spontaneity has been lost, the buoyancy has disappeared, the honesty has vanished.

But no people can be without romance. No nation can withstand forever the engines of repression. Not all the moral lawmakers of England have succeeded in stamping out the natural impulses. Hypocrisy, that great mediator, sits into the game and stacks the cards. There is no more sensuous dining room in the world than the Savoy. There is no more impressive vision of human beings in the primitive act of eating than can be gained from the top of the stairway which leads into that great double room. And nowhere on earth is there a more cosmopolitan gathering than sits down to the Savoy supper when the theatres are over. Here at least is visual romance; and when we inspect the people at closer range we glimpse a more intimate romance. One catches snatches of conversation from a dozen languages within the radius of hearing. Here is modern civilisation at apogee—the final word in luxury—the denouement of spectacular life. Go to the Aquarium in St. Petersburg, to the Adlon in Berlin, to the Bristol in Vienna, to the Cafe de Paris; go wherever you will—to Cairo, to Buenos Aires, to Madrid—the Savoy at the supper hour surpasses them all. From the pantalooned giants who relieve you of your outer garments to the farthest table in the room where the great windows overlook the Embankment Gardens, there is not one note to mar the gorgeous ensemble.

But we must not tarry too long amid the jewelled women, the impeccable music and the subdued conversation of the Savoy. In fact, it is not possible to linger. No sooner have we hastened through the courses of our supper and started to sip a liqueur than we are suddenly plunged into darkness. A hint! A warning! A silent but eloquent reminder that the moral man must hasten to his bed, that midnight is upon us, that respectability demands immediate retirement. When the lights come on again there is a gentle fluttering of silken wraps, a shuffling of feet, a movement of chairs. The crowds, preparing to depart, are obeying that lofty English law which makes eating illegal after twelve-thirty. If you tarry after this signal for departure, a Parisian born waiter taps you gently on the shoulder and begs of you to respect the majesty of the law. Within ten minutes of the darkened warning the dining room is empty. Liqueurs are left undrunk. Ices are deserted. Half-consumed salads are abandoned. Out into the waiting taxis and limousines pours that vast assemblage. In fifteen minutes an atmosphere of desolation settles upon the streets. The day is ended—completely, finally, irrevocably. The moral subtleties of the fathers have been sensed and obeyed. Virtue snickers triumphantly.

"And now?" I demand of my companion.

"S-s-s-h!" he warns. And, leaning over me, he pours strange and lurid information into my gaping ear. "Now," he whispers, "to the Supper Clubs, the real night life of London—wine, women, song and dance."

There is a mystery in his mien. And, obeying the warning of an admonishing finger, I silently follow him into a taxicab. A low, guttural order is given to the driver, the import of which is shielded from the inquisitive world by my companion using his hands as a tube to connect his mouth with the ear of the chauffeur.

I had heard of these supper clubs, but they had meant nothing to me. I rarely ate supper and detested clubs. Their literature which frequently came to me, had left me cold. But, as I was carried in the taxicab through dark alleys and twisted streets, certain intimations in these printed invitations came back to me with a new meaning. Lest the iniquity of the London pleasure seeker be underestimated, let me supply you with the details of one of these supper club circulars. I will not tell you the name of the club: it has probably been changed by now. No sooner do the police put one club out of business (so far as I can see, merely to gratify the demand of the moralists that all sinners be flayed in public) than it changes its name and reopens to the old membership. Let it be noted here that in order to eat or drink in London after twelve-thirty at night you must be a member of something; and to become a member of a London supper club is not so easy a matter as one might imagine. Traitors are forever worming their way into such societies, and the management exercises typical British discretion in selecting the devotees for its illegal victualing organisation. The club of which I speak, and whose circular—a masterpiece of low cunning—lies before me, has its headquarters on a street so small that in giving the address to even the most erudite of London geographers it is necessary to mention two or three larger streets in the neighbourhood.

The object of this club, it seems, is "to cultivate a form of art previously unknown in England—the Cabaret." A noble and worthy desire! But in the next paragraph we learn that this aristocratic uplift does not begin until eleven-thirty P.M.; and by reading further we note the implication that it ceases at one-thirty A.M., at which hour the cultivation of this unknown art—the Cabaret—is supplanted by a Gipsy Orchestra, to say nothing of the International Minstrels. Farther on we learn that once a month the club gives a dinner to its members, and that this dinner is followed by a "Recital Evening" in honour of and "if possible" (Oh, subtlety!) under the direction of Lascelles Abercrombie, Frank Harris, Arthur Machen, T. Sturge Moore, Ezra Pound and W. B. Yeats. (Note: Although during the last year I have supper-clubbed incessantly whilst staying in London, I think, in all justice to the above-mentioned illustrious men, that it should be stated that not once have I had the pleasure of being personally directed by any one of them.)

One evening during the month, so runs the forecast, will be devoted to John Davidson (I missed that evening); one to Modern Fairy Tales (I somehow missed that evening also); another to Fabian de Castro and "Old Gipsy Folk Lore and Dance" (Alas, alas, that I should have missed that evening, too!). But this loss of culture, so far as I personally was concerned (and other, too, I opine), was not accompanied by any physical loss; that is to say, the statement on the manifest that during the performance there would be available "suppers and every kind of refreshment" is eminently correct, and veracious almost to the point of fault. Even when the performance was not given—as seemed always to be the case—there was no cessation in the kitchen activities. Suppers there were and, what is more to the point, every kind of refreshment.

The most important item on this manifest I have saved until the last. There is in it something of the epic, of the beyond, of the trans and the super. I print it in capitals that it may the better penetrate:


Such is the unlucky star under which I was born that I have escaped at these clubs all of the artistic and cultural performances. When I have attended them no light has been thrown on the Drama, Opera, Pantomime, Vocal Music, or "such delicate Art of the past as adapts itself to the frame of an intimate stage, and more especially all such new art as in the strength of its sincerity allows simplicity." Nor has it been my luck to be present during the production of "Lysistrata," by Aristophanes, or "Bastien et Bastienne," by W. A. Mozart, or "Orpheus," by Monteverde, or "Maestro di Capella," by Pergolese, or "Timon of Athens," by Purcell. Nor have I been present when an eminent technician has rendered Florent Schmitt's "Palais Hante," or Arnold Schoenberg's "Pierrot Lunaire." All of which are booked for production or rendition. And yet I cannot feel that my money has been entirely wasted. It has bought me "every kind of refreshment," and catering by Frenchmen, and the company of lovely ladies—ladies, who, I fear, are more familiar with the works of Victoria Cross than the works of Aristophanes, and whose ears are attuned to the melodies of Theodore Moses-Tobani rather than to the diabolical intricacies of Schoenberg's piano pieces.

Let us indulge ourselves for a moment in what is known to ritualists as a responsive service, thus:

Q.—What is a Supper Club?

A.—A Supper Club is a legal technicality—a system whereby the English law is misconstrued, misapplied, controverted, disguised and outdone. Specifically, it is a combination restaurant, cafe, and dance hall, the activities in which begin at about one A.M. and continue so long as there are patrons whose expenditures warrant the orchestra being retained and the electric lights being left on. A Supper Club is usually downstairs, decorated in the cheap imitation of a grape arbour, furnished with small tables, comfortable wicker chairs, suave and sophisticated waiters, an orchestra of from six to ten pieces and a small polished floor for purposes of dancing. Supper Clubs are run to meet every size of pocketbook. There are those whose patrons do not know the titillating effects of champagne; and there are those where the management serves no other form of febrifuge. Club members naturally need no introduction to one another, with the result that such formalities are here entirely dispensed with. In the better grade Supper Clubs the ladies are not admitted unless in evening dress, while at other establishments even such sartorial formalities are not insisted upon. The object of a Supper Club is to furnish relaxation to the tired business man, profits to the management, usufructs to the police and incomes to the lady patrons. The principal activities of a Supper Club are (1) drinking; (2) dancing; (3) wooing.

There you have it. In the Astor Club (or is it the Palm Club? Or has the name been changed since spring?) one finds the higher type of nocturnal rounder. Evening clothes are obligatory for all. Champagne and expensive wines constitute the only beverages served. The orchestra is composed of very creditable musicians; and the lady patrons, chosen by the management by standards of pulchritude rather than of social standing, are attestations to the good taste of the corpulent and amiable Signor Bolis, owner and director. The men whose money pours into the Signor's coffers are obviously drawn from the better class of English society—clean-cut, clean-shaven youths; slick and pompous army officers; prosperous-looking middle-aged men who, even at a supper club, drop but little of their genteel dignity. On my numerous visits to this club I failed to find one member who did not have about him in a marked degree an atmosphere of deportmental distinction. Even during those final mellow hours, when the dawn was sifting through the cracks of the window above the stairs, there was little or none of that loud-mouthed boisterousness which follows on the heels of alcoholic imbibitions in America. Surfacely the Astor Club is an orderly and decorous institution, and so fastidious were the casual "good evenings" between the men and women that only the initiated would have guessed that ere that meeting they had been strangers. Even under the protection of membership and the police, the Englishman does not know how to laugh. He is decorous and stilted during the basest of intriguing.

I had become a member of the Astor Club after as much red tape, investigation and scrutiny as would have been exerted by a board of the most exclusive social club. I had signed my full name, my address and business, beneath which had been appended the names of two of my sponsors. I had had a blue seal pinned beneath my coat lapel and an engraved card sewn in my chemise. After which precautions and rigmarole I was admitted each evening by the gorgeous St. Peter in red zouave breeches and drum major's jacket who guarded the outer portal.

Have I given the impression that, once inside, I assumed virtues which ill became me; that I sat apart and watched with critical eyes the merriment around me? Then let the impression be forever blasted. I am not a virtuous man according to theological standards. I have been a hardened sinner since birth. I gamble. Beer is my favourite drink. It has been flatteringly whispered into my ear that I dance beautifully. I read Cellini and Rabelais and Boccaccio with unfeigned delight. I am enchanted by the music of Charpentier and Wolf-Ferrari. I smoke strong cigars. And I do not flee at the sight of beautiful women. In short, I am a man of sin. Born in iniquity (according to the moral fathers) I have never been regenerated. Therefore let me admit that the spirit of the vice crusader was not mine as a member of the Astor Club. I spent many a delightful half-hour chatting with Heloise Dessault, formerly at Fouquet's in Champs Elysees; with Mizzi Schwarz, one-time frequenter of the Cafe de l'Europe, in Vienna; with Hedwig Zinkeisen, of Berlin's Palais de Danse....

Here is a characteristic thing about the London supper club: the majority of the girls and—to London's shame let it be noted—the more attractive girls are all from the Continent. Without these feminine importations I doubt if the supper clubs could be maintained. At the musical galleries—a third-rate supper place run by the Musical and Theatrical Club at 30 Whitfield Street, near Tottenham Court Road, W.—I was approached and greeted by a little French girl, whose knowledge of English was almost as limited as is my knowledge of Russian.

But I was forgetting Elsie Winwood, and to forget Elsie in this shameless chronicle would be disloyalty. At the Astor Club one evening I met her. I realised then what that intimating smile had meant when, the week before, she had met me on the stairs. I thereupon forgot Leonard, and visited the night debaucheries of London in the company of the grey-eyed, auburn-haired Elsie. I have every reason to believe that ere I sailed back to America I had sounded the depths of London's iniquities. By stealth and copious bribing, plus the influence of my fair companion, I found that, though it was difficult it was nevertheless possible to eat and drink and dance in London till dawn. Yet at no place to which we went could I find anything unlike any other city in the world—the only difference being that in London one must act surreptitiously, while other cities permit all of the London indulgences openly. Surely the night life of London is innocent enough! Why membership in expensive clubs is necessary in order for one to enjoy it is a question to which only British logic is applicable. The searcher for thrills or the touring shock absorber will find nothing in London to rattle his psychic slats. Even the professional moralist, skilled in the subtle technicalities of sin, can find nothing in England's capital to make him shudder and flee. The chief criticism against London night life is that it is hypocritical, that it is sordid, because it is denied and indulged in subterraneanly. The hypocrisy of it all is doubly accentuated by the curious fact that the British public permits trafficking in the promenades of its theatres, such as even New York has balked at these many years. I refer to such theatres—called "music halls," that they may be distinguished from the smaller houses in which the serious drama is produced—as the "Alhambra," in Leicester Square; the "Empire Theatre of Varieties," also in Leicester Square; the "Palace Theatre of Varieties" on Cambridge Circus in Shaftesbury Avenue; the "London Pavilion" in Piccadilly; and the "Hippodrome" at the corner of Cranbourn Street and Charing Cross Road. Let us inspect their vaudeville offerings. Let us snoop into their wares. At these theatres, equipped with numerous and eminently available cafes, women, frail and fair, sit and walk about on the promenades and generously waive introductions when the young gentlemen evince a desire to speak to them. But there is no romance here. These promenades are even without illusion. Here, among the theatres, is where London tries to be Paris. Just as she tries to be New York in Regent Street. Here is where the most moral town in Christendom discovers her native hoggishness. Here is the great slave market of the English.

But we are out for vaudeville and not for slaves, and so we pursue our virtuous way up the stream of amiable fair until we reach the Palace Music Hall, where a poster advertising a Russian dancer inspires us to part with half a dozen shillings. Luxurious seats of red velvet, wide enough for a pair of German contraltos, invite to slumber, and the juggler on the stage does the rest. Twenty times he heaves a cannon ball into the air, and twenty times he catches it safely on his neck. The Russian dancer, we find, is booked for ten-thirty, and it is now but eight-fifty. "Why wait?" says the fair Elsie. "It will never kill him." So we try another hall—and find a lady with a face like a tomato singing a song about the derby, to an American tune that was stale in 1907. Yet another, and we are in the midst of a tedious ballet founded upon "Carmen," with the music reduced to jigtime and a flute playing out of tune. A fourth—and we suffer a pair of comedians who impersonate Americans by saying "Naow" and "Amurican." When they break into "My Cousin Carus'" we depart by the fire escape. We have now spent eight dollars on divertisement and have failed to be diverted. We take one more chance, and pick a prize—Little Tich, to wit, a harlequin no more than four feet in his shoes, but as full of humour as a fraternal order funeral.

Before these few lines find you well, Little Tich, I dare say, will be on Broadway, drawing his four thousand stage dollars a week and longing for a decent cut of mutton. But we saw him on his native heath, uncontaminated by press agents, unboomed by a vociferous press, undefiled by contact with acquitted murderers, eminent divorcees, "perfect" women, returned explorers who never got where they went, and suchlike prodigies and nuisances of the Broadway 'alls. Tich, as I have said, is but four feet from sole to crown, but there is little of the dwarf's distortion about him. He is simply a man in miniature: in aspect, much like any other man. His specialty is impersonation. First he appears as a drill sergeant, then as a headwaiter, then as a gas collector, then as some other familiar fellow. But what keen insight and penetrating humour in every detail of the picture! How mirth bubbles out! Here we have burlesque, of course, and there is even some horseplay in it, but at bottom how deft it is, and how close to life, and how wholly and irresistibly comical! You must see him do the headwaiter—hear him blarney and flabbergast the complaining guest, observe him reckon up his criminal bill, see the subtle condescension of his tip grabbing. This Tich, I assure you, is no common mountebank, but a first-rate comic actor. Given legs eighteen inches longer and an equator befitting the role, he would make the best Falstaff of our generation. Even as he stands, he would do wonders with Bob Acres—and I'd give four dollars any day to see him play Marguerite Gautier.

But enough of theatres! There are two night restaurants in London which should be mentioned here. Let what little fame they may attain from being set down in these pages be theirs. They more nearly approximate to youthful whole-heartedness than any institutions in the city. Perhaps this is because they are so distinctly Continental, because they are almost stripped of anything (save the language spoken) which savours of London and the British temperament. They are the Villa Villa, at 37 Gerrard Street (once the residence of Edmund Burke), and Maxim's, at 30 Wardour Street. Their reputations are far from spotless, and English society gives them a wide berth. Because of this they have become the meeting place of clandestine lovers. Here is the genuine laughter and the wayward noise of youth. Nine out of every ten of their patrons are young, and four out of every five of the girls are pretty. Music is continuous and lively, and they possess an intimacy found only in Parisian cafes. Do I imply that they are free from sordidness and commercialism? They are not. Far from it. There is no night life in London entirely free from these two disintegrating factors. But their simulacrum of gaiety is far from obvious. When the fifteen-minute warning for evacuation is given a good-natured cheer goes up, and a peal of laughter which shakes the chandeliers and drowns out the musicians. The crowd at least sees the humour of the closing law, and, being unable to repeal it, laughs at it. In the Villa Villa and Maxim's, hands meet lingeringly over the table; faces are near together; and a public stolen kiss is not a rarity. When the doors of these restaurants are locked on a deserted room the exiles do not go decorously and dolorously home. In another hour you will see many of these same couples dancing at the supper clubs.

Here we are again in Signor Bolis's establishment—which means that we have made the round.... Elsie is yawning. I, too, am tired of the dance and sick of the taste of champagne. I motion the waiter and pay the bill. I draw Elsie's long coat about her, and we pass out into the clear London night. We walk home circuitously—down Cranbourn Street and into Charing Cross Road where it turns past the National Gallery into St. Martin's place. Through Duncannon Street, we enter the Strand, now almost deserted save for a few stray figures and a hurrying taxicab. We then turn into Villiers Street, and in a few minutes we are on York Terrace, overlooking the Thames embankment. The elm trees and the beeches stand about like green ghosts in the pale night. At the edge of the water Cleopatra's Needle is a black silhouette. We should like to walk through the Gardens in the starlight, but the formidable iron gates are locked against us. So we turn up Robert Street into Adelphi Terrace. We lean for a moment against the railing.

There below us, a crinkling tapestry of gilts, silvers and coppery pinks, is ancient Father Thames, the emperor and archbishop of all earthly streams. There are the harsh waters (but now so soft!) that the Romans braved, watching furtively for blue savages along the banks, and the Danes after the Romans, and the Normans after the Danes, and innumerable companies of hardy seafarers in the long years following. At this lovely turning, where the river flouts the geography books by flowing almost due northward for a mile, bloody battles must have been fought in those old, forgotten, far-off times—and battles, I venture, not always ending with Roman cheers. One pictures some young naval lieutenant, just out of the Tiber Annapolis, and brash and nosey like his kind—one sees some such youngster pushing thus far in his light craft, and perhaps going around on the mud of the south bank, and there fighting to the death with Britons of the fog-wrapped marshes, "hairy, horrible, human." And one sees, too, his return to the fleet so snug at Gravesend, an imperfect carcass lashed to a log, the pioneer and prophet of all that multitude of dead men who have since bobbed down this dirty tide. Dead men, and men alive—men full of divine courage and high hopes, the great dreamers and experimenters of the race. Out of this sluggish sewer the Anglo-Saxon, that fabulous creature, has gone forth to his blundering conquest of the earth. And conquering, he has brought back his loot to the place of his beginning. The great liners flashing along their policed and humdrum lanes, have long since abandoned London, but every turn of the tide brings up her fleet of cargo ships, straggling, weather-worn and grey, trudging in from ports far-flung and incredible—Surinam, Punta Arenas, Antofagasta, Port Banana, Tang-chow, Noumea, Sarawak. If you think that commerce, yielding to steel and steam, has lost all romance, just give an idle day or two to London docks. The very names upon the street signs are as exotic as a breath of frankincense. Mango Wharf, Kamchatka Wharf, Havannah Street, the Borneo Stores, Greenland Dock, Sealers' Yard—on all sides are these suggestions of adventure beyond the sky-rim, of soft, tropical moons and cold, arctic stars, of strange peoples, strange tongues and strange lands. In one Limehouse barroom you will find sailors from Behring Straits and the China Sea, the Baltic and the River Plate, the Congo and Labrador, all calling London home, all paying an orang-outang's devotions to the selfsame London barmaid, all drenched and paralysed by London beer....

The kaiserstadt of the world, this grim and grey old London! And the river of rivers, this oily, sluggish, immemorial Thames! At its widest, I suppose, it might be doubled upon itself and squeezed into the lower Potomac, and no doubt the Mississippi, even at St. Louis, could swallow it without rising a foot—but it leads from London Bridge to every coast and headland of the world! Of all the pathways used by man this is the longest and the greatest. And not only the greatest, but the loveliest. Grant the Rhine its castles, the Hudson its hills, the Amazon its stupendous reaches. Not one of these can match the wonder and splendour of frail St. Stephen's, wrapped in the mists of a summer night, or the cool dignity of St. Paul's, crowning its historic mount, or the iron beauty of the bridges, or the magic of the ancient docks, or the twinkling lights o' London, sweeping upward to the stars....



For the American professional seeker after the night romance of Paris, the French have a phrase which, be it soever inelegant, retains still a brilliant verity. The phrase is "une belle poire." And its Yankee equivalent is "sucker."

The French, as the world knows, are a kindly, forgiving people; and though they cast the epithet, they do so in manner tolerant and with light arpeggio—of Yankee sneer and bitterness containing not a trace. They cast it as one casts a coin into the hand of some maundering beggar, with commingled oh-wells and philosophical pity. For in the Frenchman of the Paris of to-day, though there run not the blood of Lafayette, and though he detest Americans as he detests the Germans, he yet, detesting, sorrows for them, sees them as mere misled yokels, uncosmopolite, obstreperous, of comical posturing in ostensible un-Latin lech, vainglorious and spying—children into whose hands has fallen Zola, children adream, somnambulistic, groping rashly for those things out of life that, groped for, are lost—that may come only as life comes, naturally, calmly, inevitably.

But the Frenchman, he never laughs at us; that would his culture forbid. And, if he smile, his mouth goes placid before the siege. His attitude is the attitude of one beholding a Comstock come to the hill of Hoerselberg in Thuringia, there to sniff and snicker in Venus's crimson court. His attitude is the attitude of one beholding a Tristan en voyage for a garden of love and roses he can never reach. His attitude, the attitude of an old and understanding professor, shaking his head musingly as his tender pupils, unmellowed yet in the autumnal fragrances of life, giggle covertly over the pages of Balzac and Flaubert, over the nudes of Manet, over even the innocent yearnings of the bachelor Chopin.

The American, loosed in the streets of Paris by night, however sees in himself another and a worldlier image. Into the crevices of his flat house in his now far-away New York have penetrated from time to time vague whisperings of the laxative deviltries, the bold saucinesses of the city by the Seine. And hither has he come, as comes a jack tar to West Street after protracted cruise upon the celibate seas, to smell out, as a very devil of a fellow, quotation-marked life and its attributes. What is romance to such a soul—even were romance, the romance of this Paris, uncurtained to him? Which, forsooth, the romance seldom is; for though it may go athwart his path, he sees it not, he feels it not, he knows it not, can know it not, for what it is.

Romance to him means only an elaborate and circumspect winking at some perfectly obvious and duly checked little baggage; it means to him only a scarlet-cushioned seat along the mirrored wall of the Cafe Americain, a thousand incandescents, a string quartette sighing through "Un Peu d'Amour," a quart of "wine." Romance to him is a dinner jacket prowling by night into the comic opera (American libretto) purlieus of modern Montmartre, with its spurious extravaganzas of rouge and roister, with its spider webs of joy. For him, there is romance in the pleasure girls who sit at the tables touching St. Michel before the Cafe d'Harcourt, making patient pretence of sipping their Byrrh until a passing "Eh, bebe" assails their tympani with its suggested tintinnabulation of needed francs: for him—"models." And the Bullier, ghost now of the old Bullier where once little Luzanne, the inspiration of a hundred palettes, tripped the polka, the new Bullier with its coloured electricity and ragtime band and professional treaders of the Avenue de l'Observatoire, is eke romance to his nostril. And so, too, he finds it atop the Rue Lepic in the now sham Mill of Galette, a capon of its former self, where Germaine and Florie and Mireille, veteran battle-axes of the Rue Victor Masse, pose as modest little workgirls of the Batignolles. And so, too, in that loud, crass annex of Broadway, the Cafe de Paris—and in the Moulin Rouge, which died forever from the earth a dozen years ago when the architect Niermans seduced the place with the "art nouveau"—and amid the squalid hussies of the fake Tabarin—and in the Rue Royale, at Maxim's, with its Tzigane orchestra composed of German gipsies and its toy balloons made by the Elite Novelty Co. of Jersey City, U.S.A.

The American notion of Paris under the guardianship of the French stars, of Paris caressed by the night wind come down from Longchamps and filtered through the chestnut branches of Boulogne, is usually achieved from the Sons of Moses who, in spats and sticks, adorn the entrance of the Olympia and the sidewalks of the Cafe de la Paix and interrogatively guide-sir the passing foreign mob. This Paris consists chiefly of a view of the exotic bathtub of the good King Edward of Britain, quondam Prince of Wales, in the celebrated house of the crystal staircase in the Rue Chabanais, of one of the two "mysterious" midinette speak-easys in the dark Rue de Berlin (where the midinettes range from the tender age of forty-five to fifty), of the cellar of the tavern near the Pantheon with its tawdry wenches and beer and butt-soaked floors—of tawdry resorts and tawdrier peoples.

Do I treat of but a single class of Americans? Well, maybe so. But the other class—and the class after that—think you these are so different? So different, goes my meaning, in the matter of appropriating to themselves something of the deep and very true romance that sings still in the shadowed corners of this one-time Flavia of capitals, that sounds still, as sounds some far-off steamboat whistle wail in the death-quiet of night, pleading and pathetic, that calls still to the dreamers of all the world from out the tomb of faded triumphs and forgotten memories?

True, alas, it is, that gone is the Paris of Paris's glory—gone that Paris that called to Louise with the luring melody of a zithered soul. True, alas, it is, that the Paris of the Guerbois, with its crowd of other days—Degas and Cladel and Astruc and the rest of them—is no more. Gone, as well, and gone forever is the cabaret of Bruant, him of the line of Francois Villon—now become a place for the vulgar oglings of Cook's tourists taxicabbing along the Boulevard Rochechouart. Gone the wild loves, the bravuras, the camaraderie of warm night skies in the old Boulevard de Clichy, supplanted now with a strident concatenation of Coney Island sideshows: the "Cabaret de l'Enfer," with its ballyhoo made up as Satan, the "Cabaret du Ciel," with its "grotto" smelling of Sherwin-Williams' light blue paint, the "Cabaret du Neant," with its Atlantic City plate glass trick of metamorphosing the visiting doodle into a skeleton, the "Lune Rousse," with its mean Marie Lloyd species of lyrical concupiscence, the "Quat'-z-Arts," with its charge of two francs the glass of beer and its concourse of loafers dressed up like Harry B. Smith "poets," in black velvet, corduroy grimpants and wiggy hirsutal cascades to impress "atmosphere" on the minds of the attendant citizenry of Louisville. And gone, too, with the song of Clichy, is the song from the heart of St. Michel, the song from the heart of St. Germain. "Tea rooms," operated by American old maids, have poked their noses into these once genuine boulevards ... and, as if giving a further fillip to the scenery, clothing shops with windows haughtily revealing the nobby art of Kuppenheimer, postcard shops laden to the sill's edge with lithographs disclosing erstwhile Saturday Evening Post cover heroines, and case upon case displaying in lordly enthusiasm the choicest cranial confections of the house of Stetson....

What once on a time was, is no more. But Romance, notwithstanding, has not yet altogether deserted the Paris that was her loyal sweetheart in the days when the tricolour was a prouder flag, its subjects a prouder people. There is something of the old spirit of it, the old verve of it, lingering still, if not in Montmartre, if not in the edisoned highways of the Left Bank, if not in the hitherward boulevards, then still somewhere. But where, ask you, is this somewhere? And I shall tell you. This somewhere is in the eyes of the Parisian girl; this somewhere is in the heart of the Parisian man. There, romance has not died—one must believe, will never die.

And, having told you, I seem to hear you laugh. "We thought," I would seem to hear you say, "that he was going to tell us of concrete places, of concrete byways, where this so gorgeous romance yet tarries." And you are aggrieved and disappointed. But I bid you patience. I am still too young to be sentimental: so have you no fear. And yet, bereft of all of sentimentality, I re-issue you my challenge: this somewhere is in the eyes of the Parisian girl, this somewhere is in the heart of the Parisian man.

By Parisian girl I mean not the order of Austrian wenches who twist their tummies in elaborate tango epilepsies in the Place Pigalle, nor the order of female curios who expectorate with all the gusto of American drummers in La Hanneton, nor yet the Forty-niners who foregather in the private entrance of 16 Rue Frochot. I do not mean the dead-eyed joy jades of the cafe concerts in the Champs Elysees. I do not mean the crow-souled scows who steam by night in the channels off the Place de la Madeleine. The girl I mean is that girl you notice leaning against the onyx balustrade at the Opera—that one with lips of Burgundy and cheeks the colour of roses in olive oil. The girl I mean is that phantom girl you see, from your table before the Rotonde across the way, slipping past the iron grilling of the Luxembourg Gardens—that girl with faded blouse but with eyes, you feel, a-colour with the lightning of the world's jewels. The girl I mean is that girl you catch sight of—but what matters it where? Or what she leans against or what she wears or what her lips and eyes? If you know Paris, you know her. Whether in the Allee des Acacias or in the boulevard Montparnasse, she is the same: the real French girl of still abiding Parisian romance; the real French girl in whose baby daughter, some day, will be perpetuated the laughter of the soul of a city that will not fade. And in whose baby girl in turn, some day long after that, it will be born anew.

Ah, me, the cynic in you! Do you protest that the girl of the balustrade, the girl of the Luxembourg, are very probably American girls here for visit? Well, well! Tu te paye ma tete. Who has heard of romance in an American girl? I grant you, and I make grant quickly, that the American girl is, in the mass, more ocularly massaging, more nimble with the niblick, more more in several ways than her sister of France; but in her eyes, however otherwise lovely, is glint of steel where should be dreaming pansies, in her heart reverie of banknotes where should be billets doux.

And so by Parisian man I mean, not the chorus men of Des Italiens, betalcumed and odoriferous with the scents of Pinaud, those weird birds who are guarded by the casual Yankee as typical and symbolic of the nation. Nor do I mean the fish-named, liver-faced denizens of the region down from the Opera, those spaniel-eyed creatures who live in the tracks of petite Sapphos, who spend the days in cigarette smoke, the nights in scheming ambuscade. Nor yet the Austrian cross-breeds who are to be beheld behind the gulasch in the Rue d'Hauteville, nor the semi-Milanese who sibilate the minestrone at Aldegani's in the Passage des Panoramas, nor the Frenchified Spaniards and Portuguese who gobble the guisillo madrileno at Don Jose's in the Rue Helder, nor the half-French Cossacks amid the potrokha in the Restaurant Cubat, nor the Orientals with the waxed moustachios and girlish waists who may be observed at moontide dawdling over their cafe a la Turque at Madame Louna Sonnak's. These are the Frenchmen of Paris no more than the habitues of Back Bay are the Americans of Boston, no more than the Americans of Boston are—Americans.

* * * * *

It is night in Paris! It is night in the Paris of a thousand memories. And the Place de la Concorde lies silver blue under springtime skies. And up the Champs Elysees the elfin lamps shimmer in the moist leaves like a million topaz tears. And the boulevards are a-thrill with the melody of living. Are you, now far away and deep in the American winter, with me once again in memory over the seas in this warm and wonderful and fugitive world? And do you hear with me again the twang of guitars come out the hedges of the Avenue Marigny? And do you smell with me the rare perfume of the wet asphalt and feel with me the wanderlust in the spirit soul of the Seine? Through the frost on the windows can you look out across the world and see with me once again the trysting tables in the Boulevard Raspail, a-whisper with soft and wondrous monosyllables, and can you hear little Ninon laughing and Fleurette sighing, and little Helene (just passed nineteen) weeping because life is so short and death so long? Are you young again and do memories sing in your brain? And does the snow melt from the landscape of your life and in its place bloom again the wild poppies of the Saint Cloud roadways, telegraphing their drowsy, content through the evening air to Paris?

Or is the only rosemary of Paris that you have carried back with you the memory of a two-step danced with some painted bawd at the Abbaye, the memory of the night when you drank six quarts of champagne without once stopping to prove to the onlookers in the Rat Mort that an American can drink more than a damned Frenchman, the memory of that fine cut of roast beef you succeeded in obtaining at the Ritz?

* * * * *

Did I mention food? Ah-h-h, the night romance of Parisian nutriment! Parisian, said I. Not the low hybrid dishes of the bevy of British-American hotels that surround the Place Vendome and march up the Rue de Castiglione or of such nondescripts as the Tavernes Royale and Anglaise—but Parisian. For instance, my good man, caneton a la bigarade, or duckling garnished with the oozy, saliva-provoking sauce of the peel of bitter oranges. There is a dish for you, a philter wherewith to woo the appetite! For example, my good fellow, sole Mornay (no, no, not the "sole Mornay" you know!), the sole Mornay whose each and every drop of shrimp sauce carries with it to palate and nostril the faint suspicion of champagne. Oysters, too. Not the Portuguese—those arrogant shysters of a proud line—but the Arcachons Marennes and Cancales superieures: baked in the shell with mushrooms and cheese, and washed down exquisitely with the juice of grapes goldened by the French suns. And salmon, cold, with sauce Criliche; and artichokes made sentimental with that Beethoven-like fluid orchestrated out of caviar, grated sweet almonds and small onions; and ham boiled in claret and touched up with spinach au gratin. The romance of it—and the wonder!

But other things, alackaday, must concern us. Au 'voir, my beloveds, au 'voir! Au 'voir to thee, La Matelote, thou fair and fair and toothsome fish stew, and to thee, Perdreau Farci a la Stuert, thou aristocratic twelve-franc seducer of the esophagus! Au 'voir, my adored ones, au 'voir.

Voila! And now again are we afield under the French moon. What if no more are the grisettes of Paul de Kock and Murger to fascinate the eye with wistful diableries? What if no more the old Vachette of the Boul' Mich' and the Rue des Ecoles, last of the cafes litteraires, once the guzzling ground of Voltaire and Rousseau and many such another profound imbiber? What if no more the simple Montmartroise of other times, and in her stead the elaborate wench of Le Coq d'Or, redolent of new satin and parfum Dolce Mia? Other times, other manners—and other girls! And if, forsooth, Ninette and Manon, Gabrielle and Fifi, arch little mousmes of another and mayhap lovelier day, have long since gone to put deeper soul into the cold harps of the other angels of heaven, there still are with us other Ninettes, other Manons and other Gabrielles and Fifis. "La vie de Boheme" is but a cobwebbed memory: yet its hosts, though scattered and scarred, in spirit go marching on. The Marseillaise of romance is not stilled. In the little Yvette whose heart is weeping because the glass case in the Cafe du Dome this day reveals no letter from her so grand Andre, gone to Cassis and there to transfer the sapphire of the sea and mesmerism of roses to canvas, is the heart of the little Yvette of the Second Empire. In the lips of Diane that smile and in the eyes of Helene that dream and in the toes of Therese that dance is the smile, is the dream, is the dance in echo of the Paris of a day bygone.

Look you with me into the Rue de la Gaite, into the Gaite-Montparnasse, still comparatively liberated from the intrusion of foreign devils, and say to me if there is not something of old Paris here. Not the Superba, Fantasma Paris of Anglo-Saxon fictioneers, not the Broadwayed, Strandified, dandified Paris of the Folies-Bergere and the Alcazar, but the Paris still primitive in innocent and unbribed pleasure. And into the Bobino, its sister music hall of the common people, where the favourite Stradel and the beloved Berthe Delny, "petite poupee jolie," as she so modestly terms herself, bring the grocer and his wife and children and the baker and his wife and children temporarily out of their glasses of Bock to yell their immense approval and clap their hands. I have heard many an audience applaud. I have heard applause for Tree at His Majesty's in London, for Schroth at the Kleines in Berlin, for Feraudy at the Comedie Francaise, for Skinner at the Knickerbocker—and it was stentorian applause and sincere—but I have never heard applause like the applause of the audience of these drabber halls. The thunders of the storm king are as a sonata against the staggering artillery of approbation when Pharnel of the Montparnasse sings "C'est pas difficile"; the howlings of the north wind are as zephyrs against the din of eulogy when Marius Reybas of the Bobino lifts a mighty larynx in "Mahi Mahi." Great talent? Well, maybe not. But show me a group of vaudevillians and acrobats who, like this group at the Gaite, can amuse one night with risque ballad and somersault and the next with Moliere—and not be shot dead on the spot!

Leave behind you Fysher's, where the smirking monsieur fills the red upholstery with big-spending American hinds by warbling into their liquored bodies cocoa butter ballades of love and passion, and come over to the untufted Maillol's. And hear Maillol sing for the price of a beer. Maillol's lyrics are not for the American virgin: but, at that, they sing laughter in place of Fysher lech. Leave behind you Paillard's, vainglorious in its bastard salades Danicheff, its souffles Javanaise; leave the blatant Boulevard des Italiens for the timid bistrop of Monsieur Delmas in the scrawny Rue Huygens, with its soupe aux legumes at twenty centimes the bowl, its cotelette de veau at fifty the plate. A queer oasis, this, with old Delmas's dog suffering from the St. Vitus and quivering against the tables as you eat; with its marked napkins in a rack, like the shaving cups in a rural barber shop, one napkin a week to each regular patron. Avaunt, ye gauds of Americanized Paris. Here are poor and starving artists come to dine aristocratically on seventy-five centimes—fifteen cents. Here are no gapings of Cook's; here no Broadway prowlers. A dank hole, yes, but in its cracked plaster the sense of Romany sunsets of yonder times. Leave behind the dazzling dance places of theatrical Montmartre, American, and come back of the wine shop in the Rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Genevieve! Leave behind the turning mill wheel, American, and come into the Avenue de Choisy, where over a preglacial store a couple of cornets baffle the night and set a hundred feet in motion, feet from the Gobelin quarter, feet from the Butte-aux-Cailles! More leathery feet, to be sure, than the suede feet of the Ziegfeld Montmartre, but kicking up a different wax dust, the wax dust of a different Paris.

* * * * *

It is springtime in Paris! It is night in the Paris of a thousand memories. Can you, now remote in the American winter, hear again through the bang of the steaming radiator and the crunch on the winter's snows the song that Sauterne sang into your heart on the terrace named after the lilacs—on that wonderful, star-born evening when all the world seemed like a baby's first laugh; all full of dreams and hopes and thrilling futures? And can you rub the white cold off the panes and look out across the Atlantic to a warmer land and see again the Gardens of the Tuileries sleeping in the moon glow and Sacre Coeur sentinelled against the springtime sky and the tables of the cafes along the Grand Boulevards agog and a-glitter and the green-yellow lights of the Ambassadeurs tucked away in the trees and the al fresco amours at Fouquet's and the gay crowds on the Avenue de l'Opera and the massive splendour of Notre Dame blessing the night with its towered hands and girls shooting ebony arrows from the bows of ebony eyes? And no smell of Child's cooking filters into the open to offend the nostril, for the sachet of the Bois de Boulogne breeze is again on the world. Ah, Bois de Boulogne, silent now under the slumbering heavens, where your equal? From the Prater to the Prado, from the Cassine to Central Park, one may not find the like of you, fairy wood of France!

* * * * *

Romance hunter, come with me. Stomach-turned at the fat niggers dressed up like Turks and Algerians and made to lend an "air" to the haunt of the nocturnal belly dancers in the Rue Pigalle, sickened at the stupid lewdities of the Rue Biot, disgusted at the brassy harlotries of the Lapin Agil', come with me into that auberge of the Avenue Trudaine where are banned catch-coin stratagems, fleshly pyrotechnics, that little refuge whose wall gives forth the tableau of Salis, he of the Niagaran whiskers and the old Chat Noir, strangling the adolescent versifiers of Montmartre, the tableau of the crimson rose of Poetry blossoming from out their strangling pools of blood. Come with me and sing a chorus with the crowd in the "conservatoire" of the Boulevard Rochechouart and beat time, like the rest of it, with knife on plate, with glass on table. Come away from the Brasserie des Sirenes of Mademoiselle Marthe in the Faubourg Poissonniere, from the Rue Dancourt, from the Moulin Rose in the Mazagran—from all such undiluted cellars of vicious prostitution—if these be Paris, then West Twenty-eighth Street in New York.

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