Europe After 8:15
by H. L. Mencken, George Jean Nathan and Willard Huntington Wright
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* * * * * Transcriber's Note: Obvious typographical errors have been corrected in this text. For a complete list, please see the bottom of this document. Subscript letters are shown thus: H_{2}O.

* * * * *









Copyright, 1914 BY JOHN LANE COMPANY










"Nothing broadens and mellows the mind so much as foreign travel."—Dr. Orison Swett Marden.

The scene is the brow of the Hungerberg at Innsbruck. It is the half-hour before sunset, and the whole lovely valley of the Inn—still wie die Nacht, tief wie das Meer—begins to glow with mauves and apple greens, apricots and silvery blues. Along the peaks of the great snowy mountains which shut it in, as if from the folly and misery of the world, there are touches of piercing primary colours—red, yellow, violet—the palette of a synchromist. Far below, hugging the winding river, lies little Innsbruck, with its checkerboard parks and Christmas garden villas. A battalion of Austrian soldiers, drilling in the Exerzierplatz, appears as an army of grey ants, now barely visible. Somewhere to the left, beyond the broad flank of the Hungerberg, the night train for Venice labours toward the town.

It is a superbly beautiful scene, perhaps the most beautiful in all Europe. It has colour, dignity, repose. The Alps here come down a bit and so increase their spell. They are not the harsh precipices of Switzerland, nor the too charming stage mountains of Northern Italy, but rolling billows of clouds and snow, the high-flung waves of some titanic but stricken ocean. Now and then comes a faint clank of metal from the funicular railway, but the tracks themselves are hidden among the trees of the lower slopes. The tinkle of an angelus bell (or maybe it is only a sheep bell) is heard from afar. A great bird, an eagle or a falcon, sweeps across the crystal spaces.

Here where we are is a shelf on the mountainside, and the hand of man has converted it into a terrace. To the rear, clinging to the mountain, is an Alpine gasthaus—a bit overdone, perhaps, with its red-framed windows and elaborate fretwork, but still genuinely of the Alps. Along the front of the terrace, protecting sightseers from the sheer drop of a thousand feet, is a stout wooden rail.

A man in an American sack suit, with a bowler hat on his head, lounges against this rail. His elbows rest upon it, his legs are crossed in the fashion of a figure four, and his face is buried in the red book of Herr Baedeker. It is the volume on Southern Germany, and he is reading the list of Munich hotels. Now and then he stops to mark one with a pencil, which he wets at his lips each time. While he is thus engaged, another man comes ambling along the terrace, apparently from the direction of the funicular railway station. He, too, carries a red book. It is Baedeker on Austria-Hungary. After gaping around him a bit, this second man approaches the rail near the other and leans his elbows upon it. Presently he takes a package of chewing gum from his coat pocket, selects two pieces, puts them into his mouth and begins to chew. Then he spits idly into space, idly but homerically, a truly stupendous expectoration, a staggering discharge from the Alps to the first shelf of the Lombard plain! The first man, startled by the report, glances up. Their eyes meet and there is a vague glimmer of recognition.

The First Man—"American?"

The Second Man—"Yes: St. Louis."

"Been over long?"

"A couple of months."

"What ship'd you come over in?"

"The Kronprinz Friedrich."

"Aha, the German line! I guess you found the grub all right."

"Oh, in the main. I have eaten better, but then again, I have eaten worse."

"Well, they charge you enough for it, whether you get it or not. A man could live at the Plaza cheaper."

"I should say he could. What boat did you come over in?"

"The Maurentic."

"How is she?"

"Oh, so-so."

"I hear the meals on those English ships are nothing to what they used to be."

"That's what everybody tells me. But, as for me, I can't say I found them so bad. I had to send back the potatoes twice and the breakfast bacon once, but they had very good lima beans."

"Isn't that English bacon awful stuff to get down?"

"It certainly is: all meat and gristle. I wonder what an Englishman would say if you put him next to a plate of genuine, crisp, American bacon?"

"I guess he would yell for the police—or choke to death."

"Did you like the German cooking on the Kronprinz?"

"Well, I did and I didn't. The chicken a la Maryland was very good, but they had it only once. I could eat it every day."

"Why didn't you order it?"

"It wasn't on the bill."

"Oh, bill be damned! You might have ordered it anyhow. Make a fuss and you'll get what you want. These foreigners have to be bossed around. They're used to it."

"I guess you're right. There was a fellow near me who set up a holler about his room the minute he saw it—said it was dark and musty and not fit to pen a hog in—and they gave him one twice as large, and the chief steward bowed and scraped to him, and the room stewards danced around him as if he was a duke. And yet I heard later that he was nothing but a Bismarck herring importer from Hoboken."

"Yes, that's the way to get what you want. Did you have any nobility on board?"

"Yes, there was a Hungarian baron in the automobile business, and two English sirs. The baron was quite a decent fellow: I had a talk with him in the smoking room one night. He didn't put on any airs at all. You would have thought he was an ordinary man. But the sirs kept to themselves. All they did the whole voyage was to write letters, wear their dress suits and curse the stewards."

"They tell me over here that the best eating is on the French lines."

"Yes, so I hear. But some say, too, that the Scandinavian lines are best, and then again I have heard people boosting the Italian lines."

"I guess each one has its points. They say that you get wine free with meals on the French boats."

"But I hear it's fourth rate wine."

"Well, you don't have to drink it."

"That's so. But, as for me, I can't stand a Frenchman. I'd rather do without the wine and travel with the Dutch. Paris is dead compared with Berlin."

"So it is. But those Germans are getting to be awful sharks. The way they charge in Berlin is enough to make you sick."

"Don't tell me. I have been there. No longer ago than last Tuesday—or was it last Monday?—I went into one of those big restaurants on the Unter den Linden and ordered a small steak, French fried potatoes, a piece of pie and a cup of coffee—and what do you think those thieves charged me for it? Three marks fifty! Think of it! That's eighty-seven and a half cents. Why, a man could have got the same meal at home for a dollar. These Germans are running wild. American money has gone to their heads. They think every American they get hold of is a millionaire."

"The French are worse. I went into a hotel in Paris and paid ten francs a day for a room for myself and wife, and when we left they charged me one franc forty a day extra for sweeping it out and making the bed!"

"That's nothing. Here in Innsbruck they charge you half a krone a day taxes."

"What! You don't say!"

"Sure thing. And if you don't eat breakfast in the hotel they charge you a krone for it anyhow."

"Well, well, what next? But, after all, you can't blame them. We Americans come over here and hand them our pocket-books, and we ought to be glad if we get anything back at all. The way a man has to tip is something fearful."

"Isn't it, though! I stayed in Dresden a week, and when I left there were six grafters lined up with their claws out. First came the porteer. Then came—"

"How much did you give the porteer?"

"Five marks."

"You gave him too much. You ought to have given him about three marks, or, say, two marks fifty. How much was your hotel bill?"

"Including everything?"

"No, just your bill for your room."

"I paid six marks a day."

"Well, that made forty-two marks for the week. Now the way to figure out how much the porteer ought to get is easy: a fellow I met in Baden-Baden showed me how to do it. First, you multiply your hotel bill by two, then you divide by twenty-seven, and then you knock off half a mark. Twice forty-two is eighty-four! Twenty-seven into eighty-four goes about three times, and a half from three leaves two and a half. See how easy it is?"

"It looks easy, anyhow. But you haven't got much time to do all that figuring."

"Well, let the porteer wait. The longer he has to wait the more he appreciates you."

"But how about the others?"

"It's just as simple. Your chambermaid gets a quarter of a mark for every day you have been in the hotel. But if you stay less than four days she gets a whole mark anyhow. If there are two in the party she gets half a mark a day, but no more than three marks in any one week."

"But suppose there are two chambermaids? In Dresden there was one on day duty and one on night duty. I left at six o'clock in the evening, and so they were both on the job."

"Don't worry. They'd have been on the job anyhow, no matter when you left. But it's just as easy to figure out the tip for two as for one. All you have to do is to add fifty per cent., and then divide it into two halves, and give one to each girl. Or, better still, give it all to one girl and tell her to give half to her pal. If there are three chambermaids, as you sometimes find in the swell hotels, you add another fifty per cent. and then divide by three. And so on."

"I see. But how about the hall porter and the floor waiter?"

"Just as easy. The hall porter gets whatever the chambermaid gets, plus twenty-five per cent.—but no more than two marks in any one week. The floor waiter gets thirty pfennigs a day straight, but if you stay only one day he gets half a mark, and if you stay more than a week he gets two marks flat a week after the first week. In some hotels the hall porter don't shine shoes. If he don't he gets just as much as if he does, but then the actual 'boots' has to be taken care of. He gets half a mark every two days. Every time you put out an extra pair of shoes he gets fifty per cent. more for that day. If you shine your own shoes, or go without shining them, the 'boots' gets half his regular tip, but never less than a mark a week."

"Certainly it seems simple enough. I never knew there was any such system."

"I guess you didn't. Very few do. But it's just because Americans don't know it that these foreign blackmailers shake 'em down. Once you let the porteer see that you know the ropes, he'll pass the word on to the others, and you'll be treated like a native."

"I see. But how about the elevator boy? I gave the elevator boy in Dresden two marks and he almost fell on my neck, so I figured that I played the sucker."

"So you did. The rule for elevator boys is still somewhat in the air, because so few of these bum hotels over here have elevators, but you can sort of reason the thing out if you put your mind on it. When you get on a street car in Germany, what tip do you give the conductor?"

"Five pfennigs."

"Naturally. That's the tip fixed by custom. You may almost say it's the unwritten law. If you gave the conductor more, he would hand you change. Well, how I reason it out is this way: If five pfennigs is enough for a car conductor, who may carry you three miles, why shouldn't it be enough for the elevator boy, who may carry you only three stories?"

"It seems fair, certainly."

"And it is fair. So all you have to do is to keep account of the number of times you go up and down in the elevator, and then give the elevator boy five pfennigs for each trip. Say you come down in the morning, go up in the evening, and average one other round trip a day. That makes twenty-eight trips a week. Five times twenty-eight is one mark forty—and there you are."

"I see. By the way, what hotel are you stopping at?"

"The Goldene Esel."

"How is it?"

"Oh, so-so. Ask for oatmeal at breakfast and they send to the livery stable for a peck of oats and ask you please to be so kind as to show them how to make it."

"My hotel is even worse. Last night I got into such a sweat under the big German feather bed that I had to throw it off. But when I asked for a single blanket they didn't have any, so I had to wrap up in bath towels."

"Yes, and you used up every one in town. This morning, when I took a bath, the only towel the chambermaid could find wasn't bigger than a wedding invitation. But while she was hunting around I dried off, so no harm was done."

"Well, that's what a man gets for running around in such one-horse countries. In Leipzig they sat a nigger down beside me at the table. In Amsterdam they had cheese for breakfast. In Munich the head waiter had never heard of buckwheat cakes. In Mannheim they charged me ten pfennigs extra for a cake of soap."

"What do you think of the German railroad trains?"

"Rotten. That compartment system is all wrong. If nobody comes into your compartment it's lonesome, and if anybody does come in it's too damn sociable. And if you try to stretch out and get some sleep, some ruffian begins singing in the next compartment, or the conductor keeps butting in and jabbering at you."

"But you can say one thing for these German trains; they get in on time."

"So they do, but no wonder! They run so slow they can't help it. The way I figure it, a German engineer must have a devil of a time holding his engine in. The fact is, he usually can't, and so he has to wait outside every big town until the schedule catches up to him. They say they never have accidents, but is it any more than you expect? Did you ever hear of a mud turtle having an accident?"

"Scarcely. As you say, these countries are far behind the times. I saw a fire in Cologne; you would have laughed your head off! It was in a feed store near my hotel, and I got there before the firemen. When they came at last, in their tinpot hats, they got out half a dozen big squirts and rushed into the building with them. Then, when it was out, they put the squirts back into their little express wagon and drove off. You never saw such child's play. Not a line of hose run out, not an engine puffing, not a gong heard, not a soul letting out a whoop. It was more like a Sunday school picnic than a fire. I guess if these Dutch ever did have a civilised blaze, it would scare them to death. But they never have any."

"Well, what can you expect? A country where all the charwomen are men and all the garbage men are women!"

For the moment the two have talked each other out, and so they lounge upon the rail in silence and gaze out over the valley. Anon the gumchewer spits. By now the sun has reached the skyline to the westward and the tops of the ice mountains are in gorgeous conflagration. Scarlets war with golden oranges, and vermilions fade into palpitating pinks. Below, in the valley, the colours begin to fade slowly to a uniform seashell grey. It is a scene of indescribable loveliness; the wild reds of hades splashed riotously upon the cold whites and pale hues of heaven. The night train for Venice, a long line of black coaches, is entering the town. Somewhere below, apparently in the barracks, a sunset gun is fired. After a silence of perhaps two or three minutes, the Americans gather fresh inspiration and resume their conversation.

"I have seen worse scenery."

"Very pretty."

"Yes, sir; it's well worth the money."

"But the Rockies beat it all hollow."

"Oh, of course. They have nothing over here that we can't beat to a whisper. Just consider the Rhine, for instance. The Hudson makes it look like a country creek."

"Yes, you're right. Take away the castles, and not even a German would give a hoot for it. It's not so much what a thing is over here as what reputation it's got. The whole thing is a matter of press-agenting."

"I agree with you. There's the 'beautiful, blue Danube.' To me it looks like a sewer. If it's blue, then I'm green. A man would hesitate to drown himself in such a mud puddle."

"But you hear the bands playing that waltz all your life, and so you spend your good money to come over here to see the river. And when you get back home you don't want to admit that you've been a sucker, so you start touting it from hell to breakfast. And then some other fellow comes over and does the same, and so on and so on."

"Yes, it's all a matter of boosting. Day in and day out you hear about Westminster Abbey. Every English book mentions it; it's in the newspapers almost as much as William Jennings Bryan or Caruso. Well, one day you pack your grip, put on your hat and come over to have a look—and what do you find? A one-horse church full of statues! And every statue crying for sapolio! You expect to see something magnificent, something enormous, something to knock your eye out and send you down for the count. What you do see is a second-rate graveyard under roof. And when you examine into it, you find that two-thirds of the graves haven't even got a dead man in them. Whenever a prominent Englishman dies, they put up a statue to him in Westminster Abbey—no matter where he happens to be buried. I call that clever advertising. That's the way to get the crowd."

"Yes, these foreigners know the game. They have made millions out of it in Paris. Every time you go to see a musical comedy at home, the second act is laid in Paris, and you see a whole stageful of girls doing the hesitation, and a lot of old sports having the time of their lives. All your life you hear that Paris is something rich and racy, something that makes New York look like Roanoke, Virginia. Well, you fall for the ballyhoo and come over to have your fling—and then you find that Paris is largely bunk. I spent a whole week in Paris, trying to find something really awful. I hired one of those Jew guides at five dollars a day and told him to go the limit. I said to him: 'Don't mind me. I am twenty-one years old. Let me have the genuine goods.' But the worst he could show me wasn't half as bad as what I have seen in Chicago. Every night I would say to that Jew: 'Come on, now Mr. Cohen; let's get away from these tinhorn shows. Lead me to the real stuff.' Well, I believe the fellow did his darndest, but he always fell down. I almost felt sorry for him. In the end, when I paid him off, I said to him: 'Save up your money, my boy, and come over to the States. Let me know when you land. I'll show you the sights for nothing. You need a little relaxation. This Baracca Class atmosphere is killing you.'

"And yet Paris is famous all over the world. No American ever came to Europe without dropping off there to have a look. I once saw the Bal Tabarin crowded with Sunday school superintendents returning from Jerusalem. And when the sucker gets home he goes around winking and hinting, and so the fake grows. I often think the government ought to take a hand. If the beer is inspected and guaranteed in Germany, why shouldn't the shows be inspected and guaranteed in Paris?"

"I guess the trouble is that the Frenchmen themselves never go to their own shows. They don't know what is going on. They see thousands of Americans starting out every night from the Place de l'Opera and coming back in the morning all boozed up, and so they assume that everything is up to the mark. You'll find the same thing in Washington. No Washingtonian has ever been up to the top of the Washington monument. Once the elevator in the monument was out of commission for two weeks, and yet Washington knew nothing about it. When the news got into the local papers at last, it came from Macon, Georgia. Some honeymooner from down there had written home about it, roasting the government."

"Well, me for the good old U.S.A. These Alps are all right, I guess—but I can't say I like the coffee."

"And it takes too long to get a letter from Jersey City."

"Yes, that reminds me. Just before I started up here this afternoon my wife got the Ladies' Home Journal of month before last. It had been following us around for six weeks, from London to Paris, to Berlin, to Munich, to Vienna, to a dozen other places. Now she's fixed for the night. She won't let up until she's read every word—the advertisements first. And she'll spend all day to-morrow sending off for things—new collar hooks, breakfast foods, complexion soaps and all that sort of junk. Are you married yourself?"

"No; not yet."

"Well, then, you don't know how it is. But I guess you play poker."

"Oh, to be sure."

"Well, let's go down into the town and hunt up some quiet barroom and have a civilised evening. This scenery gives me the creeps."

"I'm with you. But where are we going to get any chips?"

"Don't worry. I carry a set with me. I made my wife put it in the bottom of my trunk, along with a bottle of real whiskey and a couple of porous plasters. A man can't be too careful when he's away from home."

They start along the terrace toward the station of the funicular railway. The sun has now disappeared behind the great barrier of ice and the colours of the scene are fast softening. All the scarlets and vermilions are gone; a luminous pink bathes the whole scene in its fairy light. The night train for Venice, leaving the town, appears as a long string of blinking lights. A chill breeze comes from the Alpine vastness to westward. The deep silence of an Alpine night settles down. The two Americans continue their talk until they are out of hearing. The breeze interrupts and obfuscates their words, but now and then half a sentence comes clearly.

"Have you seen any American papers lately?"

"Nothing but the Paris Herald—if you call that a paper."

"How are the Giants making out?"

"... badly as usual ... rotten ... slump ... shake up...."

"... John McGraw ... Connie Mack ... glass arm...."

"... homesick ... give five dollars for...."

"... whole continent without a single baseball cl...."

"... glad to get back ... damn tired...."

"... damn...."

"... damn...."



The casual Sunday School superintendent, bursting with visions of luxurious gaieties, his brain incited by references to Wiener blut, his corpuscles tripping to the strains of some Viennese schlagermusik, will suffer only disappointment as he sallies forth on his first night in Vienna. He is gorgeously caparisoned with clean linen, talcumed, exuding Jockey Club, prepared for surgical and psychic shock, his legs drilled hollow to admit of precious fluids, his pockets bulging with kronen. He is a lovely, mellow creature, a virtuoso of the domestic virtues when home, but now, at large in Europe, he craves excitement. His timid soul is bent on participating in the deviltries for which Vienna is famous. His blood is thumping through his arteries in three-four time. His mind is inflamed by such strophes as "Es giebt nur a Kaiserstadt; es giebt nur a Wien" and "Immer luste, fesch und munter, und der Wiener geht nit unter." But he is brought gradually to the realisation that something is amiss. Can it be that the vice crusaders have been at work? Have the militant moralists and the professional women hunters, in their heated yearnings to flay the transgressor, fallen foul of Vienna?

He expected to find a city which would be one roseate and romantic revel, given over to joys of the flesh, to wine-drinking and confetti-throwing, overrun with hussies, gone mad with lascivious waltzes, reeking with Babylonish amours. He dreamed of Vienna as one continual debauch, one never-ceasing saturnalia, an eternal tournament of perfumed hilarities. His lewd dreams of the "gayest city in Europe" have produced in him a marked hallucinosis with visions of Neronic orgies, magnificently prodigal—deliriums of chromatic disorder.

But as he walks down the Kaerntnerstrasse, encircles the Ring and stands with bulging inquisitive eyes on the corner of the Wiedner Hauptstrasse and Karlsplatz, he wonders what can be the matter. Where, indeed, is that prodigality of flowers and spangled satin he has heard so much about? Where are those super-orchestras sweating over the scores of seductive waltzes? Where the silken ankles and the glittering eyes, the kisses and the flutes, the beery laughter and the delirious leg shaking? The excesses of merrymaking are nowhere discoverable. Des Moines, Iowa, or Camden, New Jersey, would present quite as festive a spectacle, he thinks, as he gazes up at the sepulchral shadows on the gigantic Opernhaus before him. He cannot understand the nocturnal solitude of the streets. There is actual desolation about him. A chlorotic girl, her cheeks unskilfully painted, brushes up to him with a careless "Geh Rudl, gib ma a Spreitzn." But that might happen in Cleveland, Ohio—and Cleveland is not framed as a modern Tyre. He is puzzled and distressed. He feels like a Heliogabalus on a desert isle. He consults his watch. It is past midnight. He has searched for hours. No famous thoroughfare has escaped him. He has reconnoitred diligently and thoroughly, as only a pious tourist bent on forbidden pleasures knows how. He is the arch-type of American traveller; the God-fearing deacon on the loose; the vestryman returning from Jerusalem. Hopefully, yet fearfully, he has pushed his search. He has traversed the Kaerntnerring, the Kolowratring, peered into Stadt Park, hit the Stubenring, scouted Franz Josefs Kai, searched the Rotenturmstrasse, zigzagged over to the Schottenring, followed the Franz, Burg and Opern-Rings, and is back on the Karlsplatz, still virtuous, still sober!

Not a houri. Nary a carnival. No strain of the "Blaue Donau" has wooed his ear. No one has nailed him with sachet eggs. He has not been choked by quarts of confetti. His conscience is as pure as the brews of Munich. He is still in a beneficent state of primeval and exquisite prophylaxis, of benign chemical purity, of protean moral asepsis. He came prepared for deluges of wine and concerted onslaughts from ineffable freimaderln. But he might as well have attended a drama by Charles Klein for all the rakish romance he has unearthed. His evening has gone. His legs are weary. And nothing has happened to astound or flabbergast him, to send him sprawling with Cheyne-Stokes breathing. In all his promenading he has seen nothing to affect his vasomotor centres or to produce Argyll-Robertson pupils.

Can it be true, he wonders, that, after all, Viennese gaiety is an illusion, a base fabrication? Is the Wiener blut, like Iowan blood, calm and sluggish? Is Vienna's reputation bogus, a snare for tourists, a delusion for the unsophisticated? Where is that far-renowned gemuethlichkeit? Has an American press agent had his foul hand in the advertising of Austria's capital? Perhaps—perhaps!... But what of those Viennese operas? What of those sensuous waltzes, those lubric bits of schramm-musik which have come from Vienna? And has he not seen pictures of Viennese women—angels a la mode, miracles of beauty, Loreleis de luxe? Even Baedeker, the papa of the travelling schoolmarms, has admitted Vienna to be a bit frivolous.

A puzzle, to be sure. A problem for Copernicus—a paradox, a theorem with many decimal points. So thinks the tourist, retiring to his hotel. And figuring thus, he falls to sleep, enveloped in a caressing miasma of almost unearthly respectability.

But is it true that Vienna is the home of purity, of early retirers, of phlegmatic and virtuous souls? Are its gaieties mere febrile imaginings of liquorish dreamers? Is it, after all, the Los Angeles of Europe? Or, despite its appearances, is it truly the gayest city in the world, redolent of romance, bristling with intrigue, polluted with perfume? It is. And, furthermore, it is far gayer than its reputation; for all has never been told. Gaiety in Vienna is an end, not a means. It is born in the blood of the people. The carnival spirit reigns. There are almost no restrictions, no engines of repression. Alongside the real Viennese night life, the blatant and spectacular caprices of Paris are so much tinsel. The life on the Friedrichstrasse, the brightest and most active street in Europe, becomes tawdry when compared with the secret glories of the Kaerntnerring. In the one instance we have gaiety on parade, in strumpet garb—the simulacrum of sin—gaiety dramatised. In the other instance, it is an ineradicable factor of the city's life.

To appreciate these differences, one must understand the temperamental appeals of the Viennese. With them gaiety comes under the same physiological category as chilblains, hunger and fatigue. It is accepted as one of the natural and necessary adjuncts of life like eating and sleeping and lovemaking. It is an item in their pharmacopoeia. They do not make a business of pleasure any more than the Englishman makes a business of walking, or the American of drinking Peruna or the German of beerbibbing. For this reason, pleasure in Vienna is not elaborate and external. It is a private, intimate thing in which every citizen participates according to his standing and his pocketbook. The Austrians do not commercialize their pleasure in the hope of wheedling dollars from American pockets. Such is not their nature. And so the slumming traveller, lusting for obscure and fascinating debaucheries, finds little in Vienna to attract him.

Vienna is perhaps the one city in the world which maintains a consistent attitude of genuine indifference toward the outsider, which resents the intrusion of snoopers from these pallid States, which deliberately makes it difficult for foreign Florizels to find diversion. The liveliest places in Vienna present the gloomiest exteriors. The official guides maintain a cloistered silence regarding those addresses at which Viennese society disports itself when the ledgers are closed and the courts have adjourned. The Viennese, resenting the intrusion of outsiders upon his midnight romances, holds out no encouragement for globe-trotting Don Juans. He refuses to be inspected and criticised by the inquisitive sensation hunters of other nations. Money will not tempt him to commercialize his gaiety and regulate it to meet the morbid demands of the interloper. Hence the external aspect of sobriety. Hence the veneer of piety. Hence the sepulchral silence of the midnight thoroughfares. Hence the silence and the desolation which meet the roaming tourist.

In this respect Vienna is different from any other large city in Europe. The joys of Parisian night life are as artificial as cosmetics. They are organised and executed by technicians subtly schooled in the psychology of the Puritan mind. To the American, all forms of pleasure are excesses, to be indulged in only at rare intervals; and Paris supplies him with the opportunities. Berlin, and even Munich, makes a business of gaiety. St. Petersburg, patterning after Paris, excites the visitor with visions of gaudy glory; and London, outwardly chaste, maintains a series of supper clubs which in the dishonesty of their subterranean pleasures surpass in downright immorality any city in Europe. Budapest is a miniature Babylon burning incense by night which assails the visitor's nostrils and sends him into delirious ecstasies. San Francisco and New York are both equipped with opportunities for all-night indulgences. In not one of these cities does the sight seeker or the joy hunter find difficulty in sampling the syrups of sin. Mysterious guides assail him on the street corners, pouring libidinous tales into his furry ears, tempting him with descriptions like Suetonius's account of the Roman circuses. Automobiles with megaphones and placards summon him from the street corners. Electric signs—debauches of writhing colour—intoxicate his mind and point the way to haunts of Caracalla.

But Vienna! He will search in vain for a key to the night life. By bribery he may wring an admission or obtain an address from the hotel clerk; but the menage to which he is directed is, alas, not what he seeks. He may plead with cabmen or buy the honour of taxicab drivers, but little information will he obtain. For these gentlemen, strange as it may seem, are almost as ignorant of the gaiety of Vienna as he himself. And at last, in the early morning, after ineffectual searching, after hours of assiduous nosing, he ends up at some kaffeehaus near the Schillerplatz, partakes of a chaste ice with Wiener gebaeck and goes dolorously home—a virgin of circumstance, an unwilling and despondent Parsifal, a lofty and exquisite creature through lack of opportunity, the chaste victim of a killjoy conspiracy. He is that most tragic figure—an enforced pietist, a thwarted voluptuary. Eheu! Eheu! Dies faustus!

In order to come into intimate touch with the night life of Vienna one must live there and become a part of it. It is not for spectators and it is not public. It involves every family in the city. It is inextricably woven into the home life. It is elaborate because it is genuine, because it is not looked upon as a mere outlet for the repressions of puritanism. From an Anglo-Saxon point of view Vienna is perhaps the most degenerate city in the world. But degeneracy is geographical; morals are temperamental. This is why the Viennese resents intrusion and spying. His night life involves the national spirit. His gaiety is not a prerogative of the demi-monde, but the usufruct of all classes. Joy is not exclusive or solitary with the Viennese. He is not ashamed of his frolics and hilarities. He does not take his pleasures hypocritically after the manner of the Occidental moralist. He is a gay bird, a sybarite, a modern Lucullus, a Baron Chevrial—and admits it.

To be sure, there is in Vienna a miniature night life not unlike that of the other European capitals, but it requires constant attention and assiduous coddling to keep it alive. The better class Viennese will have none of it. It is a by-product of the underworld and is no more characteristic of Vienna than the gilded cafes chantants which cluster round the Place Pigalle on Montmartre are characteristic of Paris. These places correspond to the Palais de Danse and the Admirals Palast in Berlin; to the Villa Villa and the Astor Club in London; to Reisenweber's in New York; to L'Abbaye and the Rat Mort in Paris—allowing of course for the temperamental influences (and legal restrictions) of the different nations.

Let us arouse a snoring cabman and make the rounds. Why not? All merrymaking is shot through with youth, no matter how dolorous the joy or how expensive the indulgence. So let us partake of the feast before us. Our first encounter is with the Tabarin, in the Annagasse, an establishment not unlike the Bal Tabarin in Paris. We hesitate at the entrance, but being assured by the doorkeeper, garbed like Louis Seize, that it is "ein aeusserst feines und modernes nacht etablissement" we enter, partake of a bottle of champagne (thirty kronen—New York prices) and pass out and on to Le Chapeau Rouge, where we buy more champagne. From there we go to the Rauhensteingasse and enter Maxim's, brazenly heralded as the Montmartre of Vienna. Then on to the Wallfischgasse to mingle with the confused visitors of the Trocadero, where we are urged to have supper. But time is fleeting. The cabmeter is going round like a tortured turbine. So we hasten out and seek the Wiehburggasse, where we discover a "Palais de Danse"—seductive phrase, suggestive of ancient orgies. But we cannot tarry—in spite of Mimi Lobner (Ah, lovely lady!) who sings to us "Liebliche Kleine Dingerchen" from "Kino-Koenigin," and makes us buy her a peach bowle in payment. One more place and we are ready for the resort in the Prater, the Coney Island of Vienna. This last place has no embroidered name. Its existence is emblazoned across the blue skies by an electric sign reading "Etablissement Parisien." It is in the Schellinggasse and justifies itself by the possession of a very fine orchestra whose militaer-kapellmeister knows naught but inebriate tanzmusik.

Again in the open air, headed for the Kaisergarten, we reflect on our evening's search for nachtvergnuegungen. With the lone exception of our half-hour with Mimi, it has been a sad chase. All the places (with the possible exception of the Trocadero) have been cheaply imitative of Paris, with the usual appurtenances of arduous waiters, gorgeously dressed women dancing on red velvet carpets, fortissimo orchestras, expensive wines, blumenmaedl, hothouse strawberries and other accessories of manufactured pleasure. But compared with Paris these places have been second rate. The damen (I except thee, lovely Mimi!) have not inflamed us either with their beauty or with manifestations of their esprit gaulois. For the most part they have been stodgy women with voluminous bosoms, Eiffel towers of bought hair—bison with astonishing hyperboles and parabolas, dressed in all of the voluptuous splendour but possessing none of the grace of the Rue de la Paix. Furthermore, these establishments have lacked the deportmental abandon which saves their prototypes in Paris from downright banality. All of their deviltries have been muted, as if the guests suffered from a pathological fear of pleasure. Strangers we were when we entered. As strangers we take our departure.

Why do I linger thus, you ask, over these hothouse caperings? For the same reason that we are now going to inspect the Kaisergarten. Because this phase of life represents an unnatural development in the Viennese mode of pleasure, something grafted, yet something characteristic of the impressionability of the Viennese mind. The Viennese are a hybrid and imitative people. They have annexed characteristics distinctly French. In the Kaisergarten these characteristics are more evident than elsewhere. Here is a people's playground in which all manner of amusements are thrown together, from the balhaus, where nothing but expensive champagne is sold, to the scenic railway, on which one may ride for fifty heller. This park presents a bizarre and chaotic mingling of outdoor concerts, variety theatres, bierkabaretts, moving picture halls, promenades and sideshow attractions of the Atlantic City type. The Kaisergarten is the rendezvous of the bourgeoisie, the heaven of hoi polloi—rotund merchants with walrus moustachios, dapper young clerks with flowing ties, high-chokered soldiers, their boots polished into ebony mirrors, fat-jowled maidens in rainbow garb.... There is lovemaking under the Linden trees, beer drinking on the midway, schnitzel eating in the restaurants. Homely pleasantries are thrown from heavy German youths to the promenading maedchen. One catches such greetings and whisperings as "Du bist oba heut' fesch g'scholnt" and "Ko do net so lang umananderbandln." There exists a spirit of buoyant and genuine fellowship. But here again it is a private and personal brand of gaiety. Let the obvious stranger whisper "Schatz'rl" to a powdered Fritzi on the bench next to him, and he will be ignored for his impertinence. The same salutation from a Viennese will call forth a coquettish "Raubersbua." Even the Amerikan-bar in the centre of the Kaisergarten (in charge of no less a celebrity than Herr Pohnstingl!) will not offer the tourist the hospitality he hopes to find. He will find neither Americans nor American drinks. The cocktail—that boon to all refined palates, when mixed with artistry and true poetic feeling—circulates incognito at Herr Pohnstingl's. Such febrifuges as masquerade under that name are barely recognisable by authentic connoisseurs, by Rabelaises of sensitive esophagi, by true lovers of subtly concocted gin and vermouth and bitters. But the Viennese, soggy with acid beer, his throat astringentized by strong coffee, knows not the difference. And so the Amerikan-bar flourishes.

It was here that I discovered Gabrielle, a sad little French girl, alone and forsaken in the midst of merriment, drinking Dubonnet and dreaming of the Boulevard Montparnasse. I bought her another Dubonnet—what stranger would have done less? In her was epitomized the sadness of the stranger in Vienna. Lured by lavish tales of gaiety, she had left Paris, to seek an unsavoury fortune in the love marts of Vienna. But her dream had been broken. She was lonely as only a Parisian can be, stranded in an alien country. She knew scarcely a score of German words, in fact no language but her own. Her youth and coquetry did not avail. She was an outsider, a deserted onlooker. She spoke tenderly of the Cafe du Dome, of Fouquet's, the Cafe d'Harcourt, Marigny and the Luxembourg. She inquired sentimentally about the Bal Bullier. She was pretty, after the anaemic French type of beauty, with pink cheeks, pale blue eyes and hair the colour of wet straw. She had the slender, shapely feet of the French cocotte. Her stockings were of thin pink silk. Her slender, soft fingers were without a ring. Her jewelry, no doubt, had long since gone to the money lender. She seemed childishly happy because I sat and talked to her. Poor little Gabrielle! Her tragedy was one of genuine bereavement, or perhaps the worst of all tragedies—loneliness. I shall never think again of Vienna without picturing that stranded girl, sipping at her reddish drink in the Amerikan-bar in the Kaisergarten. But her case is typical. The Viennese are not hospitable to strangers. They are an intimate, self-sufficient people.

Let us turn, however, from the little Gabrielle to a more fascinating and exquisite creature, to a happier and more buoyant denizen of Viennese night life, to a lady of more elegant attire. In short, behold Fraeulein Bianca Weise. In her are the alkaloids of gaiety. She irradiates the joyfulness of the city. In her infancy she was hummed to sleep with snatches from the "Wiener Blut," the booziest waltz in all Christendom. Bianca is tall and catlike, but deliciously proportioned. Her hair is an alloy of bronze and gold. Her skin is pale, and in her cheeks there is the barest bit of rose, like a flame seen through ivory. Her eyes are large, and their blue is almost primary. Her face is a perfect oval. Her lips are full and abnormally red. Her slender, conical hands are always active like those of a child, and she wears but little jewelry. Her gowns come from Paquin's and seem almost a part of her body.

This is Bianca, the most beautiful woman in all Europe. Do I seem to rave? Then let me answer that perhaps you have not seen Bianca. And to see her is to be her slave, her press agent. It was Bianca's picture that went emblazoning over two continents a few years ago as the supreme type of modern feminine beauty, according to the physiological experts and the connoisseurs of pulchritude. But it is not because of the lady's gift of beauty that I feature her here. It is because she so perfectly typifies the romance of that whirling city, so accurately embodies the spirit of Vienna's darkened hours. In the afternoon you will find her on the Kaerntnerstrasse with her black-haired little maid. At five o'clock she goes for kaffeetsch'rl to Herr Reidl's Cafe de l'Europe, in the Stefanplatz. With her are always two or three Beau Brummels chatting incessantly about music and art, wooing her suavely with magnificent technique, drinking coffee intermittently, and lavishly tipping the kellner.

These kaffeehaeuser are the leading public institutions of Vienna. They take the place of private teas, culture clubs, dramatic readings and sewing circles in other countries. All Vienna society turns out in the afternoon to partake of melange, kaffee mit schlagobers, kapuziner, schwarzen, weckerln and kaisersemmeln. But no hard drinks, no vulgar pretzels and wursts. Only Americans order beer and cognac at the coffee houses, and generally, after once sampling them, they follow the bibulous lead of the Viennese. Each kaffeehaus has its own coterie, its own habitues. Thus, at the Cafe de l'Europe one finds the worldly set, the young bloods with artistic leanings. The Cafe de l'Opera, in the Opernring, is patronised by the advocates and legal attaches. At the Cafe Scheidl, in the Wallfischgasse, foregather the governmental coterie, the army officers and burgomasters. The merchants discuss their affairs at the Cafe Schwarzenberg, in the Kaerntnerring. At the Cafe Heinrichshof, in the Opernring, one finds the leading actors and musicians immersed in the small talk of their craft. Thus it goes. In all the leading cafes—the Habsburg, Landtmann, Mokesch, Gartenbau, Siller, Prueckl—the tables are filled, and the coffee drinking, the baunzerln eating and the gossiping go on till opera time.

The theatre in Vienna is a part of the life. It is not indulged in as a mere amusement or diversion, like shooting the chutes or going to church. It is an evening's obligation. This accounts for the large number of Vienna theatres and for their architectural beauty. But do not think that when you have attended a dozen such places as the Hofoperntheatre, the Hofburgtheatre, the Deutsches Volkstheatre and the Carltheatre you have sensed the entire theatrical appeal of Vienna. Far from it. No city in the world is punctuated with so large a number of semi-private intimate theatres and cabarets as Vienna—theatres with a seating capacity of forty or fifty. You may know the Kleine Buehne and the Max und Moritz and the Hoelle, but there are fifty others, and every night finds them crowded.

Theatregoing is occasionally varied with lesser and more primitive pastimes. Go out on the crooked Sieveringerstrasse and behold the multitudes waxing mellow over the sweet red heuriger. Go to the Volksgarten-Cafe Restaurant any summer night after seven, pay sixty heller, and see the crowds gathered to hear the military band concerts; or seek the halls in winter and join the audiences who come to wallow in the florid polyphonies of the Wiener Tonkuenstler Orchester. Sundays and holiday nights go to Grinsing and Nussdorf and watch the people at play. Make the rounds of the wine houses—the Rathaus Keller, the Nieder-Oesterreichisches Winzerhaus, the Tommasoni—and behold the spooning and the rough joking.

All this is part of the night life of Vienna. But it is not the life in which Bianca participates. Therefore we cannot tarry in the wine houses or at the concerts. Instead let us attend the opera. We go early before the sun has set. The curtain rises at six-thirty to permit of our leaving by half past ten, for there is much to do before morning. After the performance—dinner! The Viennese are adepts in the gustatory art. Their meals have the heft of German victualty combined with the delicacies and imaginative qualities of French cooking. An ideal and seductive combination! A rich and toothsome blending!... Bianca touches my arm and says we must make haste. This evening I am to be honoured with dinner in her apartment. So we drive to her rooms on the Franzenring overlooking the Volksgarten.

The Viennese dinner hour is eleven, and this is why the tourist, fingering his guide book, looks in vain for the diners. Sacher's, the Imperial, the Bristol and the Spatenbraeu are deserted in the early evenings. Even after the Opera these restaurants present little of the life found in the Paris, Berlin or London restaurants. The Viennese is not a public diner; and here again we find an explanation for the tourist's impressions. When the Viennese goes to dinner, he does so privately. Bianca's dinner that night was typical. There were twelve at table. There was music by a semi-professional pianist. The service was perfect—it was more like a dinner in a cabinet particulier at a Parisian cafe than one in a private apartment. But here we catch the spirit of Vienna, the transforming of what the other cities do publicly into the intimacies of the home.

At one o'clock, the meal finished, the intimate theatre claimed us. There the glorious Bianca met her lovers, her little following. At these theatres every one knows every one else. It is the social lure as well as the theatrical appeal that brings the people there. Bianca chats with the actors, flirts with the admiring Lotharios and drinks champagne. At her side sit the greatest artists and dramatists of the day, princes and other celebrities. At one of these performances I saw her bewitching two men—one a composer, the other a writer—whose names lead the artistic activities of Southern Europe. But Bianca is prodigal with her charms, and before the final curtain was dropped she had shed her fascinations on every patron in the theatre. And I, whose thirty kronen had passed her by the satin-pantalooned and lace-bosomed doorkeeper, was quite forgot. But such is Viennese etiquette. An escort may pay the fiacre charge and the entrance fee, but such a meagre, vulgar claim does not suffice to obtain a lady's entire attention for the evening. Such selfishness is not understood by the Viennese.

The real business of the evening came later. The coffee drinking, the theatre and the dining had been so many preliminaries for that form of amusement which forms the basis of all Viennese night life—dancing. The Viennese dance more than any people in the world. During Faschingzeit there are at least fifty large public balls every night. These balls become gay at one o'clock and last through the entire night. For the most part they are masked, and range from the low to the high, from those where the entrance fee is but two kronen to the elaborate ones whose demand is thirty kronen. Every night in Vienna during the season fifty thousand people are dancing. Nor are these balls the suave and conventional dances of less frank nations. By the mere presentation of a flower any one may dance with any one else. In every phase of night life in Vienna flowers play an important part. They constitute the language of the carnival. To such an extent is this true that, though you may ask for a dance by presenting a flower, you may not ask verbally, though your tongue be polished and your soul ablaze with poetry. And while you are dancing you may not talk to your partner. She is yours for that dance—but she is yours in silence. Should you meet her the following afternoon in the Prater or on parade in the Kaerntnerstrasse, her eyes will look past you, for the night has gone, carrying with it its memories and its intoxications.

It is this spirit of evanescence, this youthful buoyancy, snatched out of the passing years, lived for a moment and then forgot, which constitutes the genuine gaiety of Vienna. It is an unconscious gaiety, sensed but not analysed, in the very soul of the people. It keeps the Viennese young and makes him resent, intuitively, the invasion of other nations to whom gaiety is artificial. That is why the dances are open to all, why the formality of introductions would be scoffed at. Their blood has all been tapped from the same fountain head. There are affinities between all Viennese phagocytes. The basis of all romance is ephemeral in its nature, and in no people in the world do we find so great an element of transitoriness in pleasure-taking as in the Viennese.

A description of one of the masked balls would tell you the whole of the night life in Vienna, but until you have become a part of one of them you would not understand them. Not until you yourself had accompanied the fair Bianca and watched her for a whole evening, could you appreciate how these dances differ from those of other cities. Externally they would appear the same. Photographed, they would look like any other carnival ball. But there are things which a photographic plate could never catch, and the spirit of merriment which runs through these dances is one. If you care to see them, go to the Blumensaele or to the Wimberger. The crowds here are typical. However, if you care for a more lavish or elaborate gathering, you will find it at the Musikvereinsaele or the Sofiensaele. These latter two are more fashionable, though no one remains at any of the maskenbaelle the whole evening. The dancers go from one ball to another; and should you, at five in the morning, return to a balhaus where you had been earlier in the evening, you would find an entirely new set of dancers.

Let us then take our departure, with the masked ball still in full progress, our hearts still thumping to the measures of an intoxicating waltz, the golden confetti still glistening in our hair, perfumed powder on our clothes, the murmuring of clandestine whispers still in our ears, the rhythm of swaying girls still in our blood. As we pass out into the bleak street, the first faint flush of dawn is in the east. The waesserer are washing off the cabs; a helmeted hauptmann salutes lazily as we pass, and we drive home full of the intoxications of that pagan gaiety which the Viennese, more than any other people, have preserved in all its innocence, its sensuous splendour, its spontaneity and youth.

Bianca? By now she has forgotten with whom she came to the dance. Next week my name will be but one of her innumerable memories—if, indeed, it does not altogether pass away. For Bianca is Vienna, lavish and joyous and buoyant—and forgetful. I danced with her three times, but my three roses, along with scores of others, have long since been lost in the swirl of the evening.

I wish I might think only of Bianca as the shadows dissolve from the streets and the grey morning light strikes the great steeple of Stefans-Dom. But another picture presents itself. I see a little French girl, out of touch with all the merriment around her, sipping her Dubonnet in solitude—a forlorn girl with pink cheeks, pale blue eyes and hair the colour of wet straw.



Let the most important facts come first. The best beer in Munich is Spatenbraeu; the best place to get it is at the Hoftheatre Cafe in the Residenzstrasse; the best time to drink it is after 10 P.M., and the best of all girls to serve it is Fraeulein Sophie, that tall and resilient creature, with her appetizing smile, her distinguished bearing and her superbly manicured hands.

I have, in my time, sat under many and many superior kellnerinen, some as regal as grand duchesses, some as demure as shoplifters, some as graceful as prime ballerini, but none reaching so high a general level of merit, none so thoroughly satisfying to eye and soul as Fraeulein Sophie. She is a lady, every inch of her, a lady presenting to all gentlemanly clients the ideal blend of cordiality and dignity, and she serves the best beer in Christendom. Take away that beer, and it is possible, of course, that Sophie would lose some minute granule or globule of her charm; but take away Sophie and I fear the beer would lose even more.

In fact, I know it, for I have drunk that same beer in the Spatenbraeukeller in the Bayerstrasse, at all hours of the day and night, and always the ultimate thrill was missing. Good beer, to be sure, and a hundred times better than the common brews, even in Munich, but not perfect beer, not beer de luxe, not super-beer. It is the human equation that counts, in the bierhalle as on the battlefield. One resents, somehow a kellnerin with the figure of a taxicab, no matter how good her intentions and fluent her technique, just as one resents a trained nurse with a double chin or a glass eye. When a personal office that a man might perform, or even an intelligent machine, is put into the hands of a woman, it is put there simply and solely because the woman can bring charm to it and irradiate it with romance. If, now, she fails to do so—if she brings, not charm, not beauty, not romance, but the gross curves of an aurochs and a voice of brass—if she offers bulk when the heart cries for grace and adenoids when the order is for music, then the whole thing becomes a hissing and a mocking, and a grey fog is on the world.

But to get back to the Hoftheatre Cafe. It stands, as I have said, in the Residenzstrasse, where that narrow street bulges out into the Max-Joseph-platz, and facing it, as its name suggests, is the Hoftheatre, the most solemn-looking playhouse in Europe, but the scene of appalling tone debaucheries within. The supreme idea at the Hoftheatre is to get the curtain down at ten o'clock. If the bill happens to be a short one, say "Haensel and Gretel" or "Elektra," the three thumps of the starting mallet may not come until eight o'clock or even 8:30, but if it is a long one, say "Parsifal" or "Les Huguenots," a beginning is made far back in the afternoon. Always the end arrives at ten, with perhaps a moment or two leeway in one direction or the other. And two minutes afterward, without further ceremony or delay, the truly epicurean auditor has his feet under the mahogany at the Hoftheatre Cafe across the platz, with a seidel of that incomparable brew tilted elegantly toward his face and his glad eyes smiling at Fraeulein Sophie through the glass bottom.

How many women could stand that test? How many could bear the ribald distortions of that lens-like seidel bottom and yet keep their charm? How many thus caricatured and vivisected, could command this free reading notice from a casual American, dictating against time and space to a red-haired stenographer, three thousand and five hundred miles away? And yet Sophie does it, and not only Sophie, but also Frida, Elsa, Lili, Kunigunde, Maertchen, Therese and Lottchen, her confreres and aides, and even little Rosa, who is half Bavarian and half Japanese, and one of the prettiest girls in Munich, in or out of uniform. It is a pleasure to say a kind word for little Rosa, with her coal black hair and her slanting eyes, for she is too fragile a fraeulein to be toting around those gigantic German schnitzels and bifsteks, those mighty double portions of sauerbraten and rostbif, those staggering drinking urns, overballasted and awash.

Let us not, however, be unjust to the estimable Herr Wirt of the Hoftheatre Cafe, with his pneumatic tread, his chaste side whiskers and his long-tailed coat, for his drinking urns, when all is said and done, are quite the smallest in Munich. And not only the smallest, but also the shapeliest. In the Hofbraeuhaus and in the open air bierkneipen (for instance, the Mathaeser joint, of which more anon) one drinks out of earthen cylinders which resemble nothing so much as the gaunt towers of Munich cathedral; and elsewhere the orthodox goblet is a glass edifice following the lines of an old-fashioned silver water pitcher—you know the sort the innocently criminal used to give as wedding presents!—but at the Hoftheatre there is a vessel of special design, hexagonal in cross section and unusually graceful in general aspect. On top, a pewter lid, ground to an optical fit and highly polished—by Sophie, Rosa et al., poor girls! To starboard, a stout handle, apparently of reinforced onyx. Above the handle, and attached to the lid, a metal flange or thumbpiece. Grasp the handle, press your thumb on the thumbpiece—and presto, the lid heaves up. And then, to the tune of a Strauss waltz, played passionately by tone artists in oleaginous dress suits, down goes the Spatenbraeu—gurgle, gurgle—burble, burble—down goes the Spatenbraeu—exquisite, ineffable!—to drench the heart in its nut brown flood and fill the arteries with its benign alkaloids and antitoxins.

Well, well, maybe I grow too eloquent! Such memories loose and craze the tongue. A man pulls himself up suddenly, to find that he has been vulgar. If so here, so be it! I refuse to plead to the indictment; sentence me and be hanged to you! I am by nature a vulgar fellow. I prefer "Tom Jones" to "The Rosary," Rabelais to the Elsie books, the Old Testament to the New, the expurgated parts of "Gulliver's Travels" to those that are left. I delight in beef stews, limericks, burlesque shows, New York City and the music of Haydn, that beery and delightful old rascal! I swear in the presence of ladies and archdeacons. When the mercury is above ninety-five I dine in my shirt sleeves and write poetry naked. I associate habitually with dramatists, bartenders, medical men and musicians. I once, in early youth, kissed a waitress at Dennett's. So don't accuse me of vulgarity; I admit it and flout you. Not, of course, that I have no pruderies, no fastidious metes and bounds. Far from it. Babies, for example, are too vulgar for me; I cannot bring myself to touch them. And actors. And evangelists. And the obstetrical anecdotes of ancient dames. But in general, as I have said, I joy in vulgarity, whether it take the form of divorce proceedings or of "Tristan und Isolde," of an Odd Fellows' funeral or of Munich beer.

But here, perhaps, I go too far again. That is to say, I have no right to admit that Munich beer is vulgar. On the contrary, it is my obvious duty to deny it, and not only to deny it but also to support my denial with an overwhelming mass of evidence and a shrill cadenza of casuistry. But the time and the place, unluckily enough, are not quite fit for the dialectic, and so I content myself with a few pertinent observations. Imprimis, a thing that is unique, incomparable, sui generis, cannot be vulgar. Munich beer is unique, incomparable, sui generis. More, it is consummate, transcendental, uebernatuerlich. Therefore it cannot be vulgar. Secondly, the folk who drink it day after day do not die of vulgar diseases. Turn to the subhead Todesursachen in the instructive Statistischer Monatsbericht der Stadt Muenchen, and you will find records of few if any deaths from delirium tremens, boils, hookworm, smallpox, distemper, measles or what the Monatsbericht calls "liver sickness." The Muencheners perish more elegantly, more charmingly than that. When their time comes it is gout that fetches them, or appendicitis, or neurasthenia, or angina pectoris; or perchance they cut their throats.

Thirdly, and to make it short, lastly, the late Henrik Ibsen, nourished upon Munich beer, wrote "Hedda Gabler," not to mention "Rosmersholm" and "The Lady from the Sea"—wrote them in his flat in the Maximilianstrasse overlooking the palace and the afternoon promenaders, in the late eighties of the present, or Christian era—wrote them there and then took them to the Cafe Luitpold, in the Briennerstrasse, to ponder them, polish them and make them perfect. I myself have sat in old Henrik's chair and victualed from the table. It is far back in the main hall of the cafe, to the right as you come in, and hidden from the incomer by the glass vestibule which guards the pantry. Ibsen used to appear every afternoon at three o'clock, to drink his vahze of Loewenbraeu and read the papers. The latter done, he would sit in silence, thinking, thinking, planning, planning. Not often did he say a word, even to Fraeulein Mizzi, his favourite kellnerin. So taciturn was he, in truth, that his rare utterances were carefully entered in the archives of the cafe and are now preserved there. By the courtesy of Dr. Adolph Himmelheber, the present curator, I am permitted to transcribe a few, the imperfect German of the poet being preserved:

November 18, 1889, 4:15 P.M.—Giebt es kein Feuer in diese verfluchte Bierstube? Meine Fuesse sind so kalt wie Eiszapfen!

April 12, 1890, 5:20 P.M.—Der Kerl is verrueckt! (Said of an American who entered with the stars and stripes flying from his hat.)

May 22, 1890, 4:40 P.M.—Sie sind so eselhaft wie ein Schauspieler! (To an assistant Herr Wirt who brought him a Socialist paper in mistake for the London Times.)

Now and then the great man would condescend to play a game of billiards in the hall to the rear, usually with some total stranger. He would point out the stranger to Fraeulein Mizzi and she would carry his card. The game would proceed, as a rule, in utter silence. But it was for the Loewenbraeu and not for the billiards that Ibsen came to the Luitpold, for the Loewenbraeu and the high flights of soul that it engendered. He had no great liking for Munich as a city; his prime favourite was always Vienna, with Rome second. But he knew that the incomparable malt liquor of Munich was full of the inspiration that he needed, and so he kept near it, not to bathe in it, not to frivol with it, but to take it discreetly and prophylactically, and as the exigencies of his art demanded.

Ibsen's inherent fastidiousness, a quality which urged him to spend hours shining his shoes, was revealed by his choice of the Cafe Luitpold, for of all the cafes in Munich the Luitpold is undoubtedly the most elegant. Its walls are adorned with frescoes by Albrecht Hildebrandt. The ceiling of the main hall is supported by columns of coloured marble. The tables are of carved mahogany. The forks and spoons, before Americans began to steal them, were of real silver. The chocolate with whipped cream, served late in the afternoon, is famous throughout Europe. The Herr Wirt has the suave sneak of John Drew and is a privy councillor to the King of Bavaria. All the tables along the east wall, which is one vast mirror, are reserved from 8 P.M. to 2 A.M. nightly by the faculty of the University of Munich, which there entertains the eminent scientists who constantly visit the city. No orchestra arouses the baser passions with "Wiener Blut." The place has calm, aloofness, intellectuality, aristocracy, distinction. It was the scene foreordained for the hatching of "Hedda Gabler."

But don't imagine that Munich, when it comes to elegance, must stand or fall with the Luitpold. Far from it, indeed. There are other cafes of noble and elevating quality in that delectable town—plenty of them, you may be sure. For example, the Odeon, across the street from the Luitpold, a place lavish and luxurious, but with a certain touch of dogginess, a taste of salt. The piccolo who lights your cigar and accepts your five pfennigs at the Odeon is an Ethiopian dwarf. Do you sense the romance, the exotic diablerie, the suggestion of Levantine mystery? And somewhat Levantine, too, are the ladies who sit upon the plush benches along the wall and take Russian cigarettes with their kirschenwasser. Not that the atmosphere is frankly one of Sin. No! No! The Odeon is no cabaret. A leg flung in the air would bring the Herr Wirt at a gallop, you may be sure—or, at any rate, his apoplectic corpse. In all New York, I dare say, there is no public eating house so near to the far-flung outposts, the Galapagos Islands of virtue. But one somehow feels that for Munich, at least, the Odeon is just a bit tolerant, just a bit philosophical, just a bit Bohemian. One even imagines taking an American show girl there without being warned (by a curt note in one's serviette) that the head waiter's family lives in the house.

Again, pursuing these haunts of the baroque and arabesque, there is the restaurant of the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, a masterpiece of the Munich glass cutters and upholsterers. It is in the very heart of things, with the royal riding school directly opposite, the palace a block away and the green of the Englischer Garten glimmering down the street. Here, of a fine afternoon, the society is the best between Vienna and Paris. One may share the vinegar cruet with a countess, and see a general of cavalry eat peas with a knife (hollow ground, like a razor; a Bavarian trick!) and stand aghast while a great tone artist dusts his shoes with a napkin, and observe a Russian grand duke at the herculean labour of drinking himself to death.

The Vier Jahreszeiten is no place for the common people; such trade is not encouraged. The dominant note of the establishment is that of proud retirement, of elegant sanctuary. One enters, not from the garish Maximilianstrasse, with its motor cars and its sinners, but from the Marstallstrasse, a sedate and aristocratic side street. The Vier Jahreszeiten, in its time, has given food, alcohol and lodgings for the night to twenty crowned heads and a whole shipload of lesser magnificoes, and despite the rise of other hotels it retains its ancient supremacy. It is the peer of Shepheard's at Cairo, of the Cecil in London, of the old Inglaterra at Havana, of the St. Charles at New Orleans. It is one of the distinguished hotels of the world.

I could give you a long list of other Munich restaurants of a kingly order—the great breakfast room of the Bayrischer Hof, with its polyglot waiters and its amazing repertoire of English jams; the tea and liquor atelier of the same hostelry, with its high dome and its sheltering palms; the pretty little open air restaurant of the Kuenstlerhaus in the Lenbachplatz; the huge catacomb of the Rathaus, with its mediaeval arches and its vintage wines; the lovely al fresco cafe on Isar Island, with the green cascades of the Isar winging on lazy afternoons; the cafe in the Hofgarten, gay with birds and lovers; that in the Tiergarten, from the terrace of which one watches lions and tigers gamboling in the woods; and so on, and so on. There is even, I hear, a temperance restaurant in Munich, the Jungbrunnen in the Arcostrasse, where water is served with meals, but that is only rumour. I myself have never visited it, nor do I know any one who has.

All this, however, is far from the point. I am here hired to discourse of Munich beer, and not of vintage wines, bogus cocktails, afternoon chocolate and well water. We are on a beeriad. Avaunt, ye grapes, ye maraschino cherries, ye puerile H_{2}O!

And so, resuming that beeriad, it appears that we are once again in the Hoftheatre Cafe in the Residenzstrasse, and that Fraeulein Sophie, that pleasing creature, has just arrived with two ewers of Spatenbraeu—two ewers fresh from the wood—woody, nutty, incomparable! Ah, those elegantly manicured hands! Ah, that Mona Lisa smile! Ah, that so graceful waist! Ah, malt! Ah, hops! Ach, Muenchen, wie bist du so schoen!

But even Paradise has its nuisances, its scandals, its lacks. The Hoftheatre Cafe, alas, is not the place to eat sauerkraut—not the place, at any rate, to eat sauerkraut de luxe, the supreme and singular masterpiece of the Bavarian uplands, the perfect grass embalmed to perfection. The place for that is the Pschorrbraeu in the Neuhauserstrasse, a devious and confusing journey, down past the Pompeian post office, into the narrow Schrammerstrasse, around the old cathedral, and then due south to the Neuhauserstrasse. Sapperment! The Neuhauserstrasse is here called the Kaufingerstrasse! Well, well, don't let it fool you. A bit further to the east it is called the Marienplatz, and further still the Thal, and then the Isarthorplatz, and then the Zweibrueckenstrasse, and then the Isarbruecke, and then the Ludwigbruecke, and finally, beyond the river, the Gasteig or the Rosenheimerstrasse, according as one takes its left branch or its right.

But don't be dismayed by all that versatility. Munich streets, like London streets, change their names every two or three blocks. Once you arrive between the two mediaeval arches of the Karlsthor and the Sparkasse, you are in the Neuhauserstrasse, whatever the name on the street sign, and if you move westward toward the Karlsthor you will come inevitably to the Pschorrbraeu, and within you will find Fraeulein Tilde (to whom my regards), who will laugh at your German with a fine show of pearly teeth and the extreme vibration of her 195 pounds. Tilde, in these godless states, would be called fat. But observe her in the Pschorrbraeu, mellowed by that superb malt, glorified by that consummate kraut, and you will blush to think her more than plump.

I give you the Pschorrbraeu as the one best eating bet in Munich—and not forgetting, by any means, the Luitpold, the Rathaus, the Odeon and all the other gilded hells of victualry to northward. Imagine it: every skein of sauerkraut is cooked three times before it reaches your plate! Once in plain water, once in Rhine wine and once in melted snow! A dish, in this benighted republic, for stevedores and yodlers, a coarse fee for violoncellists, barbers and reporters for the Staats-Zeitung—but the delight, at the Pschorrbraeu, of diplomats, the literati and doctors of philosophy. I myself, eating it three times a day, to the accompaniment of schweinersrippen and bonensalat, have composed triolets in the Norwegian language, a feat not matched by Bjoernstjerne Bjoernson himself. And I once met an American medical man, in Munich to sit under the learned Prof. Dr. Mueller, who ate no less than five portions of it nightly, after his twelve long hours of clinical prodding and hacking. He found it more nourishing, he told me, than pure albumen, and more stimulating to the jaded nerves than laparotomy.

But to many Americans, of course, sauerkraut does not appeal. Prejudiced against the dish by ridicule and innuendo, they are unable to differentiate between good and bad, and so it's useless to send them to this or that ausschank. Well, let them then go to the Pschorrbraeu and order bifstek from the grill, at M. 1.20 the ration. There may be tenderer and more savoury bifsteks in the world, bifsteks which sizzle more seductively upon red hot plates, bifsteks with more proteids and manganese in them, bifsteks more humane to ancient and hyperesthetic teeth, bifsteks from nobler cattle, more deftly cut, more passionately grilled, more romantically served—but not, believe me, for M. 1.20! Think of it: a cut of tenderloin for M. 1.20—say, 28.85364273x cents! For a side order of sauerkraut, forty pfennigs extra. For potatoes, twenty-five pfennigs. For a mass of dunkle, thirty-two pfennigs. In all, M. 2.17—an odd mill or so more or less than fifty-two cents. A square meal, perfectly cooked, washed down with perfect beer and served perfectly by Fraeulein Tilde—and all for the price of a shampoo!

From the Pschorrbraeu, if the winds be fair, the beeriad takes us westward along the Neuhauserstrasse a distance of eighty feet and six inches, and behold, we are at the Augustinerbraeu. Good beer—a trifle pale, perhaps, and without much grip to it, but still good beer. After all, however, there is something lacking here. Or, to be more accurate, something jars. The orchestra plays Grieg and Moszkowski; a smell of chocolate is in the air; that tall, pink lieutenant over there, with his cropped head and his outstanding ears, his backfisch waist and his mudscow feet—that military gargoyle, half lout and half fop, offends the roving eye. No doubt a handsome man, by German standards—even, perhaps a celebrated seducer, a soldier with a future—but the mere sight of him suffices to paralyse an American esophagus. Besides, there is the smell of chocolate, sweet, sickly, effeminate, and at two in the afternoon! Again, there is the music of Grieg, clammy, clinging, creepy. Away to the Mathaeserbraeu, two long blocks by taxi! From the Munich of Berlinish decadence and Prussian epaulettes to the Munich of honest Bavarians! From chocolate and macaroons to pretzels and white radishes! From Grieg to "Lachende Liebe!" From a boudoir to an inn yard! From pale beer in fragile glasses to red beer in earthen pots!

The Mathaeserbraeu is up a narrow alley, and that alley is always full of Muencheners going in. Follow the crowd, and one comes presently to a row of booths set up by radish sellers—ancient dames of incredible diameter, gnarled old peasants in tapestry waistcoats and country boots; veterans, one half ventures, of the Napoleonic wars, even of the wars of Frederick the Great. A ten-pfennig piece buys a noble white radish, and the seller slices it free of charge, slices it with a silver revolving blade into two score thin schnitzels, and puts salt between each adjacent pair. A radish so sliced and salted is the perfect complement of this dark Mathaeser beer. One nibbles and drinks, drinks and nibbles, and so slides the lazy afternoon. The scene is an incredible, playhouse courtyard, with shrubs in tubs and tables painted scarlet; a fit setting for the first act of "Manon." But instead of choristers in short skirts, tripping, the whoop-la and boosting the landlord's wine, one feasts the eye upon Muenchenese of a rhinocerous fatness, dropsical and gargantuan creatures, bisons in skirts, who pass laboriously among the bibuli, offering bunches of little pretzels strung upon red strings. Six pretzels for ten pfennigs. A five-pfennig tip for Frau Dickleibig, and she brings you the Fliegende Blaetter, Le Rire, the Munich or Berlin papers, whatever you want. A drowsy, hedonistic, easy-going place. Not much talk, not much rattling of crockery, not much card playing. The mountain, one guesses, of Munich meditation. The incubator of Munich gemuetlichkeit.

Upstairs there is the big Mathaeser hall, with room for three thousand visitors of an evening, a great resort for Bavarian high privates and their best girls, the scene of honest and public courting. Between the Bavarian high private and the Bavarian lieutenant all the differences are in favour of the former. He wears no corsets, he is innocent of the monocle, he sticks to native beer. A man of amour like his officer, he disdains the elaborate winks, the complex diableries of that superior being, and confines himself to open hugging. One sees him, in these great beer halls, with his arm around his Lizzie. Anon he arouses himself from his coma of love to offer her a sip from his mass or to whisper some bovine nothing into her ear. Before they depart for the evening he escorts her to the huge sign, "Fuer Damen," and waits patiently while she goes in and fixes her mussed hair.

The Bavarians have no false pruderies, no nasty little nicenesses. There is, indeed, no race in Europe more innocent, more frank, more clean-minded. Postcards of a homely and harmless vulgarity are for sale in every Munich stationer's shop, but the connoisseur looks in vain for the studied indecencies of Paris, the appalling obscenities of the Swiss towns. Munich has little to show the American Sunday school superintendent on the loose. The ideal there is not a sharp and stinging deviltry, a swift massacre of all the commandments, but a liquid and tolerant geniality, a great forgiveness. Beer does not refine, perhaps, but at any rate it mellows. No Muenchener ever threw a stone.

And so, passing swiftly over the Burgerbraeu in the Kaufingerstrasse, the Hackerbraeu, the Kreuzbraeu, and the Kochelbraeu, all hospitable lokale, selling pure beer in honest measures; and over the various Pilsener fountains and the agency for Vienna beer—dish-watery stuff!—in the Maximilianstrasse; and over the various summer keller on the heights of Au and Haidhausen across the river, with their spacious terraces and their ancient traditions—passing over all these tempting sanctuaries of mass and kellnerin, we arrive finally at the Loewenbraeukeller and the Hofbraeuhaus, which is quite a feat of arriving, it must be granted, for the one is in the Nymphenburgerstrasse, in Northwest Munich, and the other is in the Platzl, not two blocks from the royal palace, and the distance from the one to the other is a good mile and a half.

The Loewenbraeu first—a rococo castle sprawling over a whole city block, and with accommodations in its "halls, galleries, loges, verandas, terraces, outlying garden promenades and beer rooms" (I quote the official guide) for eight thousand drinkers. A lordly and impressive establishment is this Loewenbraeu, an edifice of countless towers, buttresses, minarets and dungeons. It was designed by the learned Prof. Albert Schmidt, one of the creators of modern Munich, and when it was opened, on June 14, 1883, all the military bands in Munich played at once in the great hall, and the royal family of Bavaria turned out in state coaches, and 100,000 eager Muencheners tried to fight their way in.

How large that great hall may be I don't know, but I venture to guess that it seats four thousand people—not huddled together, as a theatre seats them, but comfortably, loosely, spaciously, with plenty of room between the tables for the 250 kellnerinen to navigate safely with their cargoes of Loewenbraeu. Four nights a week a military band plays in this hall or a maennerchor rowels the air with song, and there is an admission fee of thirty pfennigs (7-1/5 cents). One night I heard the band of the second Bavarian (Crown Prince's) Regiment, playing as an orchestra, go through a programme that would have done credit to the New York philharmonic. A young violinist in corporal's stripes lifted the crowd to its feet with the slow movement of the Tschaikowsky concerto; the band itself began with Wagner's "Siegfried Idyl" and ended with Strauss's "Rosen aus dem Sueden," a superb waltz, magnificently performed. Three hours of first-rate music for 7-1/5 cents! And a mass of Loewenbraeu, twice the size of the seidel sold in this country at twenty cents, for forty pfennigs (9-1/2 cents)! An inviting and appetizing spot, believe me. A place to stretch your legs. A temple of Lethe. There, when my days of moneylust are over, I go to chew my memories and dream my dreams and listen to my arteries hardening.

By taxicab down the wide Briennerstrasse, past the Luitpold and the Odeon, to the Ludwigstrasse, gay with its after-the-opera crowds, and then to the left into the Residenzstrasse, past the Hoftheatre and its cafe (ah, Sophie, thou angel!), and so to the Maximilianstrasse, to the Neuthurmstrasse, and at last, with a sharp turn, into the Platzl.

The Hofbraeuhaus! One hears it from afar; a loud buzzing, the rattle of mass lids, the sputter of the released dunkle, the sharp cries of pretzel and radish sellers, the scratching of matches, the shuffling of feet, the eternal gurgling of the plain people. No palace this, for all its towering battlements and the frescos by Ferdinand Wagner in the great hall upstairs, but drinking butts for them that labour and are heavy laden: station porter, teamsters, servant girls, soldiers, bricklayers, blacksmiths, tinners, sweeps.

There sits the fair lady who gathers cigar stumps from the platz in front of the Bayerischer Hof, still in her green hat of labour, but now with an earthen cylinder of Hofbraeu in her hands. The gentleman beside her, obviously wooing her, is third fireman at the same hotel. At the next table, a squad of yokels just in from the oberland, in their short jackets and their hobnailed boots. Beyond, a noisy meeting of Socialists, a rehearsal of some liedertafel, a family reunion of four generations, a beer party of gay young bloods from the gas works, a conference of the executive committee of the horse butchers' union. Every second drinker has brought his lunch wrapped in newspaper; half a blutwurst, two radishes, an onion, a heel of rye bread. The debris of such lunches covers the floor. One wades through escaped beer, among floating islands of radish top and newspaper. Children go overboard and are succoured with shouts. Leviathans of this underground lake, Lusitanias of beer, Pantagruels of the Hofbraeuhaus, collide, draw off, collide again and are wrecked in the narrow channels.... A great puffing and blowing. Stranded craft on every bench.... Noses like cigar bands.

No waitresses here. Each drinker for himself! You go to the long shelf, select your mass, wash it at the spouting faucet and fall into line. Behind the rail the zahlmeister takes your twenty-eight pfennigs and pushes your mass along the counter. Then the perspiring bierbischof fills it from the naked keg, and you carry it to the table of your choice, or drink it standing up and at one suffocating gulp, or take it out into the yard, to wrestle with it beneath the open sky. Roughnecks enter eternally with fresh kegs; the thud of the mallet never ceases; the rude clamour of the bung-starter is as the rattle of departing time itself. Huge damsels in dirty aprons—retired kellnerinen, too bulky, even, for that trade of human battleships—go among the tables rescuing empty maesse. Each mass returns to the shelf and begins another circuit of faucet, counter and table. A dame so fat that she must remain permanently at anchor—the venerable Constitution of this fleet!—bawls postcards and matches. A man in pince-nez, a decadent doctor of philosophy, sells pale German cigars at three for ten pfennigs. Here we are among the plain people. They believe in Karl Marx, blutwurst and the Hofbraeuhaus. They speak a German that is half speech and half grunt. One passes them to windward and enters the yard.

A brighter scene. A cleaner, greener land. In the centre a circular fountain; on four sides the mediaeval gables of the old beerhouse; here and there a barrel on end, to serve as table. The yard is most gay on a Sunday morning, when thousands stop on their way to church—not only Socialists and servant girls, remember, but also solemn gentlemen in plug hats and frock coats, students in their polychrome caps and in all the glory of their astounding duelling scars, citizens' wives in holiday finery. The fountain is a great place for gossip. One rests one's mass on the stone coping and engages one's nearest neighbour. He has a cousin who is brewmaster of the largest brewery in Zanesville, Ohio. Is it true that all the policemen in America are convicts? That some of the skyscrapers have more than twenty stories? What a country! And those millionaire Socialists! Imagine a rich man denouncing riches! And then, "Gruess' Gott!"—and the pots clink. A kindly, hospitable, tolerant folk, these Bavarians! "Gruess' Gott!"—"the compliments of God." What other land has such a greeting for strangers?

On May day all Munich goes to the Hofbraeuhaus to "prove" the new bock. I was there last May in company with a Virginian weighing 190 pounds. He wept with joy when he smelled that heavenly brew. It had the coppery glint of old Falernian, the pungent bouquet of good port, the acrid grip of English ale, and the bubble and bounce of good champagne. A beer to drink reverently and silently, as if in the presence of something transcendental, ineffable—but not too slowly, for the supply is limited! One year it ran out in thirty hours and there were riots from the Max-Joseph-Platz to the Isar. But last May day there was enough and to spare—enough, at all events, to last until the Virginian and I gave up, at high noon of May 3. The Virginian went to bed at the Bayerischer Hof at 12:30, leaving a call for 4 P.M. of May 5.

Ah, the Hofbraeuhaus! A massive and majestic shrine, the Parthenon of beer drinking, seductive to virtuosi, fascinating to the connoisseur, but a bit too strenuous, a trifle too cruel, perhaps, for the dilettante. The Muencheners love it as hillmen love the hills. There every one of them returns, soon or late. There he takes his children, to teach them his hereditary art. There he takes his old grandfather, to say farewell to the world. There, when he has passed out himself, his pallbearers in their gauds of grief will stop to refresh themselves, and to praise him in speech and song, and to weep unashamed for the loss of so gemuethlich a fellow.

But, as I have said, the Hofbraeuhaus is no playroom for amateurs. My advice to you, if you would sip the cream of Munich and leave the hot acids and lye, is that you have yourself hauled forthwith to the Hoftheatre Cafe, and that you there tackle a modest seidel of Spatenbraeu—first one, and then another, and so on until you master the science.

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