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A TRAMP'S WALLET;
STORED BY AN ENGLISH GOLDSMITH DURING HIS Wanderings in Germany and France.
BY WILLIAM DUTHIE.
DEDICATED, BY PERMISSION, TO CHARLES DICKENS, ESQ.
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LONDON: DARTON AND CO., 58, HOLBORN HILL. MDCCCLVIII.
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[The right of Translation is reserved by the Author.]
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CHARLES DICKENS, ESQ., This Volume IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED, IN GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF HIS SYMPATHY AND ENCOURAGEMENT DURING THE PUBLICATION OF THE GREATER PORTION OF ITS CONTENTS; AND AS A SLIGHT TRIBUTE OF ADMIRATION FOR HIS UNWEARYING LABOURS AS A PUBLIC WRITER, TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE WHOLE PEOPLE, BY HIS SINCERE ADMIRER,
During a stay of three years and a half in Germany and France, sometimes at work, sometimes tramping through the country, the Author collected a number of facts and stray notes, which he has endeavoured in these pages to present to the public in a readable shape.
Of the twenty-eight chapters contained in the volume, sixteen originally appeared in "Household Words." They are entitled THE GERMAN WORKMAN; HAMBURG TO LUBECK; LUBECK TO BERLIN; FAIR-TIME AT LEIPSIC; DOWN IN A SILVER MINE; A LIFT IN A CART; THE TURKS' CELLAR; A TASTE OF AUSTRIAN JAILS; WHAT MY LANDLORD BELIEVED; A WALK THROUGH A MOUNTAIN; CAUSE AND EFFECT; THE FRENCH WORKMAN; LICENSED TO JUGGLE; PERE PANPAN; SOME GERMAN SUNDAYS; and MORE SUNDAYS ABROAD. Several other chapters were published in a weekly newspaper; and the remainder, together with the Introductory Narrative, appear in print for the first time. For the careful and valuable revision of that portion of his book which has appeared in "Household Words," the Author here begs to express his sincere thanks; and to acknowledge, in particular, his obligation to some unknown collaborator, who, to the paper called "The French Workman," has added some valuable information.
The desire of the Author in writing the Introductory Narrative was to present to his readers a brief outline of his whole journey, and a summary of its results; and to connect, so far as it was possible, the somewhat fragmentary contents of the body of the work. It was also hoped and believed that the statistical information there given, although of so humble a character, would be valuable as illustrative of the social condition of workmen in the countries to which they refer, and of a character hitherto rarely attempted.
Written, as these chapters were, at intervals of time, and separately published, each paper must be taken as complete in itself; and, as they are separate incidents of one narrative, occasional repetitions occur, which could scarcely have been erased, now that they are collected together, without injuring the sense of the passage. For that portion of the book which has appeared in print no apology will be expected; and, with regard to the remainder, the Author has rather endeavoured to avoid censure than hoped to propitiate it.
In conclusion, the Author must add, in order that he may not stand self-accused of misleading his readers with regard to his personal position, that good fortune has so far favoured his own exertions, that, although still of the craft, he can no longer lay claim to the title of a Journeyman Goldsmith. It was while in that capacity that the greater part of the following pages were written: he cannot but believe that they may be of some practical utility; and if, added to this, their perusal should afford to his readers some portion of that pleasure which their composition yielded to him, his purpose will have been fully answered.
INTRODUCTORY NARRATIVE Page HAMBURG.—ON TRAMP TO BERLIN i BERLIN AND LEIPSIC.—ON TRAMP TO VIENNA vii VIENNA xv ON TRAMP TO PARIS xxiii PARIS xxix Chapter I. HAMBURG 1 II. ALTONA.—A POET'S GRAVE.—A DANISH 6 HARVEST-HOME III. "MAGNIFICENCE."—AT CHURCH.—THE LAST 9 HEADSMAN IV. WORKMEN IN HAMBURG 15 V. PLAYS AND PICCADILLOES.—"HAMLET" IN GERMAN 19 VI. THE GERMAN WORKMAN 24 VII. HAMBURG TO LUBECK 36 VIII. LUBECK TO BERLIN 41 IX. BERLIN.—OUR HERBERGE 51 X. A STREET IN BERLIN 56 XI. POLICE AND PEOPLE 62 XII. THE KREUTZBERG.—A PRUSSIAN SUPPER AND 65 CAROUSE XIII. FAIR-TIME AT LEIPSIC 70 XIV. DOWN IN A SILVER MINE 76 XV. A LIFT IN A CART 85 XVI. THE TURKS' CELLAR 94 XVII. A TASTE OF AUSTRIAN JAILS 99 XVIII. WHAT MY LANDLORD BELIEVED 108 XIX. AN EXECUTION IN VIENNA 113 XX. A JAIL EPISODE 116 XXI. A WALK THROUGH A MOUNTAIN 121 XXII. CAUSE AND EFFECT 130 XXIII. GREECE AND HER DELIVERER 137 XXIV. THE FRENCH WORKMAN 139 XXV. LICENSED TO JUGGLE 149 XXVI. PERE PANPAN 152 XXVII. SOME GERMAN SUNDAYS 162 XXVIII. MORE SUNDAYS ABROAD 173
HAMBURG.—ON TRAMP TO BERLIN.
There have appeared from time to time, in public print, sorrowful recitals of journeys attempted by English workmen in foreign countries, with no better result than the utter failure of the resources of the adventurous traveller, and his return homeward by the aid of private charity or the good offices of his consul. It is precisely because the travels about to be here narrated were financially a success, being prosecuted throughout by means of the wages earned during their progress, that it is thought they may be worthy of publication; not that it is imagined many such examples may not be found, but because success in such an undertaking has not hitherto appeared so often before the public as failure. This narrative is necessarily a personal one; and as it is my especial object in this place to present these foreign rambles in a pecuniary point of view, I trust I shall not be misunderstood in stating minute items of receipt and expenditure, as such details, however trivial they may appear, are of vital importance in estimating the comparative position of the foreign and the English workman.
There was more than one cause which prompted me to seek my fortune abroad; but it is sufficient here to state, that I had worked in the company of Germans, and had thus become interested in their country, and, as great depression prevailed at the time among the goldsmiths in London, I provided myself with a letter of introduction to a working jeweller in Hamburg, and prepared to start for this outpost of the great German continent. My whole capital amounted to five pounds sterling; and, armed with a passport from the Hanseatic consul, and provided with an extra suit of clothes, a few books, and some creature comforts, I embarked for my destination on board the "Glory," a trading schooner, then lying in Shadwell basin.
I paid thirty shillings for my passage, including provisions, and could have slept in the cabin, and fared with the captain, for two pounds, but in the weak state of my finances, considered it only prudent to content myself with sailor's beef and biscuit, and a hard bulk and coil of ropes for my bed. After, to me, a rough sea and river passage of eight days, marked by no greater incidents than belonged to the vicissitudes of the weather, we crossed the sand-bar at the mouth of the Elbe, and were soon safe at our moorings in the outer harbour of Hamburg. It was Sunday morning; paddled on shore in the ship's boat, I found myself in a town utterly strange to me, armed only with a letter addressed to a person with whom I could not converse, and written in a language I did not understand. My chief comforts were three sovereigns, carefully wrapped in a piece of cotton print, and deposited in my fob.
In the course of a ramble through the town, I discovered an English hotel, and was there happy in making the acquaintance of a needle-maker of Redditch, Worcestershire, who at once offered to be my interpreter and guide in search of employment. We began our peregrinations on the morrow, and I was first introduced to the only English cabinet-maker established in Hamburg, who, however, did not receive our visit cheerfully. He drew a rueful picture of trade generally, but more especially of his own. The hours of labour were long, he said; the work was hard, and the wages contemptible. He concluded by assuring me that I had been very ill advised to come there, and that the best course I could pursue was to take the first ship home again. As I was not yet inclined to follow this doleful piece of advice, we continued our enquiries. In a short time I was shaking hands with the jeweller to whom my letter of introduction was addressed; and before another hour had elapsed, acting under his instructions, I had the gratification of knowing that I was "in work," and, best of all, under an employer who spoke the English, French, and German languages with equal facility. Thus, in ten days from leaving England, eight of which were spent on the passage, I had found both friends and employment in a foreign city, and now that my greatest source of anxiety for the future was removed, felt thoroughly independent and at my ease.
My companions in the workshop were a quiet Dane who spoke German, and a young Frenchman, whom I will call Alcibiade, who had been in London, and acquired a smattering of English. We worked twelve hours a day, commencing at six o'clock in the morning—the whole city was up and busy at that hour—and kept on till seven in the evening. Thirteen hours were thus spent in the workshop, one of which was given to meals. The practice of boarding the workmen is universal in Hamburg, and we therefore fared at the table of our "principal," and were amply and well provided for. During the first week of my stay in Hamburg, I lodged at an humble English hotel, where I paid at the rate of ten marks a week for bed and board, a sum equal to eleven shillings and eightpence. Reasonable as this may appear, it was beyond my resources, and would indeed have been a positive extravagance under the circumstances. Moreover, the arrangements of the workshop forbade it. My next lodging was at a German hotel, where I slept in a little cupboard which hung over a black, sluggish canal, and was without stove or fire-place. The cost of this chamber was five marks a month, or scarcely one shilling and sixpence a week. These expenses will appear paltry and insignificant, till compared with the amount of wages received, when it will be apparent that boarding and lodging in an English hotel at eleven shillings and odd pence a week, was a monstrous extravagance; and that even an apartment in a German gasthaus, at five marks a month, was more than the slender pittance received would reasonably bear. Alcibiade, who, besides being an expert workman, was an excellent modeller and draughtsman, received seven marks a week, with board and lodging, or eight shillings weekly in positive cash. Peterkin the Dane, who was yet a novice, was in the receipt of four marks a week, and paid for his own lodging—weekly pay, four shillings and eightpence. My own wages were seven marks a week and board, while I paid for my own lodging; and when, upon the departure of Alcibiade for Berlin, I took possession of his bedroom—a mere box without a window—a deduction of one mark was made as an equivalent. I thus received in wages six marks; lodging may be reckoned at one, and board at five marks a week—total, twelve marks; which will yield in English money the magnificent sum of fourteen shillings.
In order to contrast these figures more fully with the pay of our English artisans, it will be necessary to mention some further expenses to which the workman in England is not liable, or in which the commercial pre-eminence of his country gives him a marked advantage. With respect to the former, as the employer in many cases furnishes only the ruder and less portable machinery of the workshop, the workman has, to a certain extent, to provide his own tools; and in regard to the latter, clothing in general, and more especially cotton, woollen, and worsted articles of apparel, are nearly as costly as in London.
Of the social position of the workmen, and the rules of the trade Guilds, I have endeavoured to treat under the head of "THE GERMAN WORKMAN;" but there are some matters there omitted which may be worthy of mention. I was forcibly struck, as well in Hamburg as in other towns and cities of Germany, by the almost total want of that cheap serial literature which is so marked a feature of popular education in England. There was, indeed, a penny magazine published in Leipsic, after the type of the original periodical of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge; but it found no purchasers among any of my acquaintances, and was only to be seen, with a few other literary magazines, at the better sort of eating and coffee-houses. The workmen were gay, and fond of amusement, but not recklessly so. They were passionately fond of music, and formed little clubs among themselves for the practice of choral singing. There was shown no want of respect for the Church and its institutions, quite the reverse; and I well remember that we were gratified with a holiday on a day set apart by the authorities for the public confirmation of the youths about to be apprenticed, and the whole ceremonial of which wore an imposing and solemn character. The conscription was, I believe, made also on that day. With respect to the relation between employers and employed, there existed a degree of amiability and consideration for which we look too often in vain in England, while it must also be confessed that every mark of respect was rigorously exacted by the master, and that his affability towards the workmen sometimes assumed the character of an affectionate condescension towards a favoured menial. I did not personally know any one married journeyman in Hamburg; but there was one jeweller who had entered into the silken bonds of wedlock, and who was pointed out to me with a shrug of the shoulder and a shake of the head, as a doomed mortal.
It might be imagined that as the city of Hamburg claims the title of "free," such assumed liberty might extend to its social institutions; as well as to its port and navigation. Indeed, the worthy citizens are under some such delusion themselves, and boast of immunities, and liberalities of government, such as would place them at the head of the German nation. It would be hard to know in what they consist. The passport system is enforced with all its rigours and impertinences; an annual conscription is taken of its inhabitants, and the more solvent of them perform military service (this may perhaps be considered a liberty), as a national guard, with the additional luxury of providing their own weapons and equipments. Moreover, they were, at the time I write of, called upon to render certain services in case of an outbreak of fire: one contributing a bucket, another a rope, and a third a ladder; none of which articles, as might easily be imagined, were forthcoming when most wanted. The city tolls were heavy, and stringently levied, and, what more nearly concerned the exercise of public liberty and private convenience, the city gates were nominally closed at a certain hour in the evening, varied according to the season of the year, and were only to be passed after the appointed period by the payment of a toll. It was curious to see the people hurrying towards the Jacob Thor on a Sunday evening as the hour of closing approached, jostling and mobbing each other in their endeavours to escape the human poll tax.
But men are free, or in fetters, only by comparison; and although the rule of the senate of Hamburg, when contrasted with British government, can scarcely be called a liberal one, there is little doubt that identical laws are in Hamburg less stringently carried out than in other and most parts of the great German continent.
Seven months' stay in Hamburg found me eager to commence the march into Germany, which I had long meditated. Five months had already elapsed since Alcibiade, my French fellow-workman, had departed for Berlin (paying eight dollars for the journey by post), and he had never written to inform me of his fortunes. I was resolved to follow him, and, if possible, to seek him out, for we were already sworn friends; but my finances would only allow of a journey on foot. During twenty-eight weeks of employment in Hamburg, I had received two hundred and three marks banco in wages, which would yield, in round numbers, twelve pounds sterling, or exactly an average receipt of five shillings per week. Against this sum were to be placed: expenses for tools, five shillings and sixpence; trade society and police, five shillings and tenpence; clothing and washing, three pounds, one shilling and twopence; and rent and extra board, one pound seven shillings. Seventeen visits to theatres at prices ranging from two shillings to sevenpence amounted to sixteen shillings and sixpence, making a total of five pounds sixteen shillings. The surplus of six pounds four shillings had been further reduced, by outlay in necessities or indulgences, as the reader may assume according to his fancy, to thirty marks banco. With this sum of thirty-five shillings in English money, and consisting of two Dutch ducats and five Prussian dollars, I started to tramp the two hundred miles between Hamburg and Berlin. As a matter of explanation it may be stated that, during a residence of seven months in Hamburg, I had acquired enough of the German language to trust myself alone in the country.
Under the impression that I might be required to set to work in any town on my route, like any travelling tinker, I had packed in my knapsack my best scoopers and an upright drillstock; and these tools, while they added to its weight, presented so many obdurate points of resistance to my back. Stowed within the knapsack were an extra suit, two changes of linen, a few books, a flute, and a pair of boots. It weighed twenty-eight pounds. My remaining personal property was safely packed in a trunk, and left in the hands of a friend, to be forwarded by waggon as soon as my resting place should be determined.
I have only to deal in this place with the statistics of my first tramp. The distance was lessened sixty miles by taking the eilwagen from Wusterhausen to Berlin, and nine days in all were spent upon the road. My total expenses, including the dollar (three shillings) for coach fare, amounted to eighteen shillings, or an average of two shillings a-day. Of this sum I may particularise the cost of the straw-litter and early cup of coffee at the outset of the journey, twopence; at Lubeck, where I lodged respectably for one night, the bill was two shillings; at Schonefeld, twopence halfpenny; a lodging, and board for two nights and a day at Schwerin in a "grand hotel," but faring with the servants, cost one shilling and ninepence; at Ludwigslust, a comfortable bed after a grand supper with the carpenters at their house of call, was charged one shilling and sevenpence; and at Perleberg, where I lodged superbly, the cost was sixteen silver groschens, or a fraction over one shilling and sixpence.
Against this I have to place the trade gift of two shillings at Lubeck, being the whole contents of their cash box, and which was kindly forced upon me. At Schonefeld I was urged by the masons to demand the usual "geschenk" from the only jeweller in the village. "Why," exclaimed the landlord, enthusiastically, "if you only get a penny, it will buy you a glass of beer!" I overcame the temptation.
BERLIN AND LEIPSIC.—ON TRAMP TO VIENNA.
I was less fortunate in the search for work in Berlin than I had been in Hamburg. Having started on my travels too early in the year, I paid the penalty of my rashness. My guide into Berlin was a glovemaker, whose acquaintance I had made upon the road, and through whom, curiously enough, I succeeded in discovering my Parisian friend Alcibiade, the first object of my search. Alcibiade, eccentric, but frank and generous, received me like a brother. There was no employment to be obtained in Berlin, or assuredly he would have ferreted it out; more especially as in the search he had the assistance of one of those philological curiosities met with in Germany more often than in any other country, a school-teacher, who seemed to have any number of foreign languages glibly at the end of his tongue. I stayed a week in Berlin, sleeping at the Herberge in the Schuster Gasse, described in the body of this work; and when forced at length to depart, Alcibiade pressed four dollars upon me as a loan, to help me on my further wanderings. It must be remembered that my stock was reduced to seventeen shillings on my arrival at Berlin, and as my expenses in this capital, during a week's vain search for employment, amounted to nine shillings, I was but indifferently provided. Under these circumstances I asserted my claim to the trade geschenk, and, having fulfilled all the conditions of a tramp unable to find work, received from the Guild twenty silver groschens, or two shillings.
Leipsic was my natural destination, and thither I proceeded by railway, paying two dollars eight groschens for the transit in an open carriage. This would give seven shillings in English money. The journey occupied about twelve hours, and although the average speed through the Prussian territory was slow, no sooner did we come upon Saxon ground at the frontier town of Kothen, than we spun along over the sandy waste with a rapidity which reminded one of a trip on an English railway. It was already dark when the train reached Leipsic, and in the drizzling rain I wandered round the city ditch and rampart, unknowing where to find a lodging. At length, directed by a stranger to a trade herberge in the Kleine Kirche Hof, after some demur on account of my not belonging to the proper craft, I was admitted to a sort of out-house, paved with red bricks, and allowed a bed for the night. On the morrow I presented a letter of recommendation, from my good genius Alcibiade, to one of the principal jewellers in the city, and felt inexpressibly happy on being at once taken into employment. I spent two delightful months in Leipsic. My fortnight's ramble, with its discomforts and anxieties, had given me a desire for rest, and in the bustling town, (it was the Easter fair time), skirted by its fringe of garden, and among its pleasant, good-natured inhabitants, the time sped happily on.
The pay was better than in Hamburg, but the living worse. My wages were four dollars—twelve shillings per week—and board and lodging. I slept in the same room with my one fellow workman and an apprentice. It was light, and scrupulously clean, but had the single disadvantage of being so low in the ceiling, that one could not stand upright in it. Saxony has the unenviable distinction of being the country the worst fed in Germany. I had no prejudice against Saxon fare upon my arrival in Leipsic, but found, after a fortnight's trial, that I could not possibly endure its unvarying boiled fresh beef, excessively insipid, with no other accompaniment than various kinds of beans stewed into a sort of porridge. Potato dumplings were a luxury with us.
I am afraid I seriously offended my worthy "principal," on pleading my inability to persist in this kind of training. But he acquiesced in the desire to board myself, and generously made the additional payment of one dollar sixteen groschens, or five shillings per week, for the purpose. I found no difficulty in tracing out a "restauration," the proprietor of which readily undertook to furnish one principal meal per diem for seventeen silver groschens, that is, one shilling and eightpence halfpenny per week, paid in advance. Each dinner cost, therefore, a fraction less than threepence. With the remainder of the allowance it was easy to purchase a simple supper, and even some small luxuries now and then. The dinners, although certainly not sumptuous, were wholesome, and infinitely more relishing than the fresh beef and beans of the "principal's" table; while there was a relief in quitting the workshop for a while, to descend the steep wooden staircase leading from the street into the cellar, which formed the dining-room of the eating-house.
The great Easter fair had just commenced as I reached Leipsic, and with its termination came my stay in the city also to an end. The work was exhausted. I had luxuriated in a few brilliants and the old Polish rose-diamonds, and had descended to mounting a monstrous meerschaum pipe in silver. But now there was nothing left but the turquoises and Bohemian garnets, set in millegriffes, and the Herr shook his head, and decided that they would not pay; so I received notice to leave in a fortnight. During this period of six weeks, my receipts in wages were six-and-twenty Prussian dollars, or three pounds eighteen shillings, which would allow an average of eleven shillings per week with board and lodging. Of expenses incurred there were: for Guild and police, eightpence; and clothing and washing, fourteen shillings. The Leipsicers have an ugly trick of doubling the prices of the theatre during the fair time, so that my expenditure on that head was nil. My trunk, forwarded from Hamburg in fourteen days, and weighing seventy pounds, cost three shillings in the transit, including sixpence for city toll.
After a vain search for further employment in Leipsic, and a disappointment of obtaining a situation in Altenburg, there appeared nothing before me but a toilsome march through Dresden to Vienna, with little hope of finding occupation by the way, and scarcely more than twenty shillings in my pocket. At this crisis there came a welcome letter from Alcibiade, with the tidings that certain employment, for at least two months, awaited me in Berlin. This was pleasant news indeed; and the Herr entered so fully into the necessity of seizing this golden opportunity, that he kindly released me from a day's labor, that I might have full time to make my preparations. One would naturally suppose that a few hours would suffice to pack my little stores and to depart; but there were the Guild regulations to fulfil, the railway officials to be waited on, and the police to satisfy. The last-named gentlemen would not consent to vise my passport till I should produce my railway ticket, as a proof of my intention to go; while the railway officials doubted the propriety of issuing a ticket till I had received the authority of the police for my departure. Here was a case of daggers—a dead lock; but the railway was obliged to cede the ground, and I departed in peace. As I was to start at six in the morning, the Herr rose earlier than was his wont, prepared for me with his own hands a cup of hot coffee, kissed me on both cheeks, and wished me God speed.
My stay in Berlin was limited to six weeks. It would have been longer, but that Alcibiade had set his heart upon tramping to Vienna at the end of that period; and I was pledged to accompany him. We worked together at one of the court jewellers. Alcibiade stood in high favour, and received in wages thirty dollars per calendar month, or an average rate of twenty-two shillings and sixpence a week. My own wages were fixed at twenty-four dollars a month to begin with, or eighteen shillings a week; but I received ten dollars for the last ten days of my engagement, which brought me on a level with my Parisian friend. These were, I believe, high wages. We worked twelve hours a day. The city of Berlin had outgrown the feudal usages of Hamburg and Leipsic, and we were no longer lodged under the same roof with the Herr, nor humbly ate at his table. Alcibiade had an apartment in a rambling house with a princely staircase, but the central court of which happened, unfortunately, to be a stable. An extra bed and double rent enabled us to domicile together, and we paid for this chamber, roomy and commodious (always overlooking the stable), per month, together with morning coffee and a bullet of white bread, two dollars eighteen groschens each. This would give, in English money, seven shillings and tenpence, being less than two shillings a week. Our average expenses for living were five shillings each per week; and thus, while our whole weekly necessities were met by the sum of seven shillings, we were in the receipt of eighteen shillings and twenty-two shillings and sixpence respectively. Reckoning, however, the average wages in Berlin at sixteen shillings a week, it will be seen that the artisan, whose necessary outlay for food and lodging need certainly not exceed seven shillings, is at least in as good a position as his self-vaunted brother of London upon thirty shillings. It naturally results that the mechanics of Berlin, unlike those of the smaller towns of Germany, "are married and given in marriage," although the practice is regarded even there as indiscreet and improvident. It is doubtless a creditable feeling which demands of the workman that he shall have past out of his state of servitude, and have gained the position of an employer of labor, before he dare assume still higher responsibilities; but the system has also great evils.
During my employment of one calendar month and ten days in Berlin, I received thirty-four dollars in wages, or five pounds two shillings. Of expenses, to the trade Guild, were paid tenpence; for a silk hat, four shillings and twopence; a visit to Potsdam cost three shillings and tenpence, including railway fare; and the fee for viewing the King's Palace in Berlin was tenpence. One shilling and twopence were lost in agio, in exchanging my small remaining stock of Prussian dollars into Austrian gold. I may mention, that the binding of an 18mo. volume in boards, covered in paper, cost one groschen, eight pfennige, or, as nearly as it can be calculated, twopence in English money.
As we were upon the point of departure, there arrived in Berlin an old friend whom we had known in Hamburg, a silversmith of Vienna, accompanied by two other silversmiths, natives of Lubeck, all bound to the same goal. We made common cause at once. We started by rail for Leipsic; Alcibiade provided with a purse of no less than eighty dollars, or twelve pounds sterling, his savings in Berlin, while my own stock, with all my sparing and scraping, scarcely amounted to two pounds.
The length of the railway between Berlin and Leipsic is between eighty and a hundred miles. From Leipsic, where we stayed only one night, sleeping at the herberge, and supping off roasted pigeons, we had, in round numbers, about four hundred miles before us.
Having narrated the chief incidents of this journey under other heads, I will only mention isolated points there omitted, and sum up its general results. Leipsic was our real starting-point for the tramp, and our first haven the Saxon capital Dresden. We took the road through Altenburg, thus diverging considerably from the common route, in order to visit the silver mines of Freiberg, and ramble through the romantic scenery of the Plaunischen Grund. We passed through Saxon Altenburg, Zwickau, Lichtenstein, Chemnitz, Oderan, Freiberg, Tharant, and Wildsruf, and arrived in the evening of the fifth day at Dresden. We had in reality no business near Zwickau, but were seduced out of our direct route by the offer of a cheap ride in an open waggon, and were thus led to a secluded village, where our couch of rest was among the beer puddles on the table of the village tap. On the morrow we found we were a day's march out of our road. Finding that my stock of cash was already reduced to the half of its original bulk, that I had indeed expended one pound, I seriously endeavoured to find employment in Dresden; but utterly failing in that hope, I claimed the "viaticum" of the Guild, which was ten silver groschens, or one shilling. We lodged at the herberge during our stay, and were cleanly and comfortably housed, and at a reasonable cost. It is a fact highly honourable to the Saxons, that the only trade herberges in Germany which are in any way decent, are those of Leipsic and Dresden. We rested in the Saxon capital during three days, visiting its principal attractions, and then prepared once more for the road.
There were many official regulations to observe before we could quit the city. Alcibiade and I, who had passports, were not called upon to show the condition of our finances, but our three companions, possessing only wander-books, an inferior kind of pass which marks the holder as a simple workman wholly dependent on his labor, were called upon to exhibit a sum equal to at least ten shillings each. Now, the collective resources of our three companions were certainly not equal to one pound ten shillings; but, as may be easily imagined, a little sleight-of-hand would make any one of them appear to be possessed of the stock of the whole. And this was done; and thus the police were daily and hourly deceived. In addition to the usual official routine—the testimony of the father of the herberge to our having paid our score, the authority of the vorsteher that we were not indebted to the Guild, and the usual police visa—we had each to obtain the signature of his own consul; that of the Saxon minister, as a testimony of his willingness to allow us to go; and of the Austrian consul, as a sign that the Imperial Government was not disinclined to receive us. This done, we departed under strict injunctions to proceed through Pirna, a town which, as it was completely out of our route, we never took any pains to reach. How we escaped punishment for this infraction of police directions I scarcely know, but we heard no more of the matter. When we had already passed through the most romantic portion of Saxon Switzerland, and were slowly descending to the plain, we met a poor, footsore wanderer, with a woe-begone visage, who proved to be the dejected object of official vengeance. Four days before, he had started from Dresden full of life and hope, but on arriving at the frontier town of Peterswald, it was discovered that he had neglected to obtain the signature of one of the numerous gentlemen of whose existence he was scarcely even cognizant, and so was driven back to Dresden to seek the required attestation, with loss of time, loss of money, and almost broken-hearted.
When we reached the Saxon frontier our little party, by the addition of other tramps, had increased to the number of ten; and we leaped the boundary line at word of command, and stood on Austrian territory. We had been warned of a rigorous search for letters and tobacco at Peterswald, and as we had made due arrangements for the visitation, we felt somewhat slighted at our knapsacks being passed over with little better than contempt. We had slept upon hay the previous night, but upon our arrival at Toplitz, which we entered in a cabriolet, three of us inside with five knapsacks, and other two companions hanging on behind, we boldly took up our abode at one of the first hotels, and were, the whole five of us, crammed into a little room on the top floor, and charged a zwanziger (eightpence) a head for the accommodation. We looked upon this charge as little short of a robbery. On the following day we approached Prague, and I got a lift in a waggon, of about ten miles, and then laid down by the city gates till my four friends should come up. Upon presenting ourselves at the wicket, we were challenged by the sentinel, our passes taken from us by the military guard, and a sort of receipt given for them. Our three companions having only wander-books, were imperiously directed to their herberge for accommodation, while we were permitted to consult our own tastes upon the matter. Of course we accompanied our friends. The herberge gained, we descended by a stone step to the common room, a vaulted chamber half under ground, very ill lighted, and provided only with a few rude tables and benches. We called for beer, being weary and thirsty, (the Praguer beer is especially good) and requested a private room for our party. The hostess, a fat, vulgar woman, being called by the astonished servant maid, sneered at our presumption, and said we must content ourselves with common tramps' lodging. We submitted; but the Viennese, who had a visit of some importance to pay in the city, and wished to remove some of the stains of travel, and make himself generally presentable, having requested some simple means of making his toilet, was, after considerable delay, presented with water in a pint mug, and a soiled neckcloth as a towel. This was too much for the Austrian's proud stomach; a storm of abuse in the richest Viennese dialect was poured forth upon the landlady, her maid, and the whole establishment, which being liberally responded to, there resulted an uproar of foul language, such as was seldom heard, even in those regions. The hostess threatened us with the vengeance of the police, should we attempt to leave our authorised herberge, to which we replied by tossing the beer into the kennel, buckling on our knapsacks, and stalking into the street. We soon found a decent hotel, with the accommodation of a large room containing five beds, and at so reasonable a price that my whole expenses of entertainment during the two days and three nights of our stay in Prague, amounted only to one florin and forty kreutzers (schein), or one shilling and sixpence. We heard no more of our Bohemian herberge and its landlady. I may mention as a further proof of the different treatment which awaits the holder of the workman's wander-book, as compared with the bearer of a passport, that on attending at the police office, Alcibiade and myself were at once called into the bureau, and our duly vised passports handed to us with great politeness, while our companions were left to cool their heels in a stone paved hall, till the officials could find time to attend to them. We soon left Prague, and were assisted on our journey towards Brunn by a lift in a country cart, which brought us fifty English miles forward on our road. We did not sleep in a bed during four consecutive nights; not, indeed, till we reached the village of Goldentraum, on the Moravian frontier. This was not the result of any wish of our own, but from an apparent deficiency of beds in that part of the country. On one occasion a heap of hay was delicately covered with a clean white cloth, lest the stubbly ends should trouble our slumbers—a woman's attention you may be sure—while on another, we slept on the bare boards, with no other pillows than our knapsacks, in a room, the air of which was at fever heat from recent bread-baking, and where the fierce flies made circular sweeps at our ears, and droned about our nostrils. But we did sleep in spite of that, for we had tramped more than thirty miles during the day.
From Goldentraum there were still twenty English miles to Brunn, the capital of Moravia, and thence thirty-eight German stunden, or about eighty English miles, to Vienna. My funds were now reduced to about four shillings, and we had still one hundred miles before us. One of our Lubecker silversmiths, who had been ailing throughout the whole journey, was unable to proceed further on foot, and we left him at Goldenstraun to take a place in the eilwagen later in the day. We had, however, scarcely made half our journey, when Alcibiade and the Viennese also gave in—their feet were fearfully blistered—and seated themselves by the road-side to await the expected conveyance. The remaining Lubecker, whom we had called Hannibal, and myself tramped on to Brunn. On the morrow we traced out our three friends, but found them still so lame that they were resolved to take the railway to Vienna at an expense of three guldens (muntz), about six shillings each. As my own resources were reduced to less than half that sum, and those of Hannibal were in much the same condition, there remained to us two only a choice of evils: either to borrow the requisite amount, or to tramp the remaining distance on our diminished finances. We chose the latter course. We walked the eighty miles between Brunn and Vienna in two days and a half, subsisting chiefly on bread and fruit—pears and plums, which were very plentiful—and long pulls at the pumps. We were once induced to indulge in a half seidle (pint) of wine, which was offered at a temptingly low price, but found it of such a muddy and sour quality, that we bitterly repented of our bargain.
When within a few miles of Vienna, having been on the march since five in the morning, we laid down on the road-side to sleep. It was with something like grief that I felt myself forced to abandon one pair of boots, a few miles before Vienna. I had brought them from London, and they had done me good service; but now, with split and ragged fronts, and scarcely a sole, they were only a torture to my feet, and a long way past repair. I perched them on a little hillock with their toes pointing towards Vienna, and turned round more than once as we advanced, to give another farewell look to such faithful and long companions.
After a refreshing sleep on the road-side, we entered Vienna early in the afternoon. Hannibal was no richer than I was, and my whole stock consisted of six groschens, a sum equal to threepence.
My first notes in Vienna must undoubtedly be devoted to the police. As Hannibal and I arrived at the guard-house of the Tabor Linie, or barrier, we were ordered by the sentinel to halt and hand over our papers; and, upon doing so, received a slip of very little better than sugar paper in return, with printed directions in German, French, and Italian, commanding our attendance at the chief police office within twenty-four hours. We knew better than to disobey. On the following morning we presented ourselves and handed in our tickets, when mine was returned to me with the words: "Three days' residence," written on the back.
"And should I not obtain employment in three days?" I inquired. "Then you must leave Vienna."
Hannibal was permitted greater licence, being a native of one of the states of the Bund; but both he and his fellow-townsmen of Lubeck were taken into fictitious employment, in order to obtain the necessary residence-card. Alcibiade, as a Frenchman, and, moreover, as being still possessed of a certain amount of hard cash, was also more leniently dealt with. Not having found work on the fourth day I waited again upon the police, and was at first peremptorily ordered to depart; but, upon explaining that I had friends in the city, a further stay of fourteen days was promised, on the production of a written recommendation. On the following day, through the friendship of our Viennese companion of the road, I found work at a small shop-keeper's in the suburb of Maria-hilf. Mark the routine. From my new employer I received a written attestation of my engagement; with this I waited upon the police commissioner of the district for his signature, and thence to the magistrate of the suburb to obtain the authority of his name to the act. This done, I was in a position to face the head police authorities in the city, and they, to my astonishment, doled out a six weeks' permission of residence only, and charged me a gulden, two shillings, for the document. I pleaded my position as a workman, but was answered that my passport was that of a merchant. This was disproved by every entry on its broad sheet, more especially by a written description by the magistrate of Perleberg, Prussia. All remonstrances were, however, in vain: while unemployed they had dealt with me as a workman without resources; now that I was under engagement, they taxed me like a proprietor. Alcibiade at once furnished the means of meeting this new difficulty, as, indeed, of every other connected with our finances at this period, and we consoled ourselves with the assurance that one of us at least was in employment. Our disgust was only equalled by our despondency when, upon reaching home, we were met with the news that my new Herr refused to complete his engagement, having met with an old workman whom he preferred to a stranger. By law he was bound to furnish me with a fortnight's work, and I threatened him with an enforcement of my claim; but I knew I should come off the worse in the struggle, and submitted to the injustice.
In the meantime two of our silversmiths were under fictitious engagements—a common occurrence, and almost excusable under the circumstances—and were dining upon credit. The times were bad. I did not really commence work till the fourth week, and Alcibiade a week later. But, these first difficulties overcome, our condition improved daily; and for myself I can say with gratitude, that nowhere in Germany was I more happy than in Vienna. Our position was this: Alcibiade was engaged as a diamond jeweller at a weekly sum of six guldens, or twelve shillings, a little more than half the sum he had earned in Berlin; but no doubt, had he remained longer in the Austrian capital, he would have increased his rate of pay. Unfortunately, after three months' stay there came word from Paris requiring his presence by a certain day at the military court of the department of Seine et Oise, to which, being a native of Argenteuil, he belonged, to draw for the conscription. Alcibiade was too good a Frenchman to hesitate about obeying this summons, or even to murmur at the sacrifice it demanded of him. He left Vienna with regret, but with the utmost alacrity; and thus I lost for a time my best companion and sincerest friend. My first essay as a workman in Vienna was discouraging, for I undertook, in my extremity, to execute work to which I was unaccustomed, and made such indifferent progress at the outset, that the Herr, a Russian from St. Petersburg, would only pay me five guldens, or ten shillings a week. We worked twelve hours a day, commencing at six o'clock in the morning in summer time; but there were a number of fete and saint days in the year, which were paid for—I think eight in all—including St. Leopold, the patron saint of Vienna; the birth of the Virgin; Corpus Christi Die, and other church holidays. As I improved in the practice of my new branch of business, I gained additions to my wages, till I received nine gulden, eighteen shillings, a week; a sum certainly much above the average pay.
Alcibiade and I lodged in a narrow slip of a room, the last of a suite of three, on the first floor of a house, or rather conglomerate of houses, in the Neudegger Gasse, Josephstadt. Our landlord was a worthy Bohemian cabinet-maker; his wife, a Viennese, who kept everything in the neatest order. I do not know how many families lived in this house; but it was a huge parallelogram with a paved courtyard, in the centre of which stood a wooden pump. There was a common stair in each corner, all of stone, and a common closet at the bottom of each staircase, equally of stone, seat and all, and very common indeed. Each lodging consisted of three continuous rooms, with only one entrance from the common stair: first was the kitchen, with cooking apparatus, and the oven, which warmed the whole suite; then a larger room with two windows, at once workshop, dining-room, and bed-room; and beyond this the narrow closet with one window, which was our dormitory. Thus we had to pass through our landlord's bed-room to get to our own. The other portions of the building were arranged much in the same manner, and the house must have had, in all, at least a hundred inhabitants. There are much larger houses in the suburbs of Vienna, but they are all built upon the same principle, with trifling modifications. Here are two cards of address, which are models of exactness in their way, and will illustrate the nature of these barracks in the best possible manner:
"JOSEPH UBERLACHNER, Master Tailor,
Lives in the Wieden, in the Lumpertsgasse, next to the Suspension bridge, No. 831, the left hand staircase on the second floor, door No. 31."
"MARTIN SPIES, Men's Tailor,
Lives in Neubau, Stuckgosse, No 149, in the courtyard, the right hand staircase, on the second floor, door on the left hand."
The entrance to our house from the street was small and unimportant, and, as may naturally be supposed, always open. The law was, however, strict upon this subject, and permitted the house to be open in summer from five in the morning till ten o'clock at night only; in winter from seven till nine. There was a little room opening from the passage, where dwelt the porter of the mansion. It was his duty to close the door at the appointed hours; a duty which he scrupulously fulfilled, seeing that the law empowered him to levy a fine of six kreutzers for his own especial benefit, upon every inhabitant or stranger seeking egress or ingress after the authorised hour of closing. The Viennese insist upon it that this impost is recoverable by law; but, as the porter's whole existence depends upon the employment of his labour in and about the house, and therefore upon the good-will of its inhabitants, he takes care in general not to be too pressing for his toll.
Our dormitory, diminutive as it appeared, still managed to contain two single bedsteads (French), a wash-hand-stand, wardrobe, used in common by landlord and lodgers, a table, and two chairs. We paid in rent twelve florins a month, or barely ten shillings between us; add to this, for washing, candles, and morning coffee (a tiny cup at six in the morning, before starting to work), another four florins, and our united expenses for these necessaries did not exceed thirteen shillings per month. As in Berlin, we dined at a "restauration," or at the "Fress Madam's" (Mrs. Gobble's), a jocose term for a private eating-house, well known to the jewellers. The mid-day meal of the Viennese workman is remarkable for strength and solidity, but also for its sameness. It always takes the shape of fresh boiled beef and vegetables, the latter arranged in a thick porridge of meal and fat. It commences, of course, with soup; is followed by the "rind-fleisch and gemuse," as above; and, if you can afford it, is concluded by some such sweet dish as flour puddings stewed with prunes, a common sort of cake called zwieback, omelette, macaroni, or a lighter kind of cake, baked and eaten with jam. All solid, wholesome, and of the best. There is a choice of other more relishing dishes, and of these we usually partook, with an occasional descent into the regions of beef and greens. Vienna prides itself upon its baked chickens and Danube carps, but these were beyond our reach on ordinary occasions; and our usual delectation was upon Augsburger sausages; bacon and sour kraut; breaded veal cutlets; ditto lamb's head; and roasted liver and onions. When we drank the ordinary white wine, we did so much diluted. To sup at the "restauration" would have entailed too great an expense; we therefore contented ourselves with bread and a taste of butter at home, moistened by a glass of a liquor resembling gin, seeing that it was made of the juniper berry, which our landlord obtained for us at about tenpence a quart. It was supposed to be smuggled from Hungary, and Vater Bohm coloured and sweetened it with molasses, and called it Schlipowitzer.
Our weekly outlay for food during the first month of residence in Vienna, especially while unemployed, did not exceed five florins, i.e. four shillings each. We ate bread and fruit in large quantities; indeed, during one day my "rations" consisted of: breakfast at eight, half of a coarse loaf and thirty plums; at twelve, one dozen pears and the other half of the loaf; at seven a whole loaf, and forty more plums. Cost of the whole, nine kreutzers (schein), or scarcely three halfpence in English money. It was not surprising that I should fall ill upon this diet, and this I accordingly did. When, however, we were in constant work, we lived as I have already described, and at an average expense of seven florins—five shillings and tenpence each weekly—and thus the individual outlay for lodging, food, and other necessaries, was, in round numbers, seven shillings and sixpence a week. A dinner on New Year's Day, of baked pork and fried potatoes, with bread, wine, and apple puffs, cost ninepence.
To return to the police. When my six weeks' permission of residence was expired, I attended again at the chief office in the Stadt, with the certificate of my employer, signed and countersigned by police-commissioner and magistrate, and was granted thereon a further term of three months at the same fee, two shillings; to me at that time a day's wages. Subsequently, however, the "Herr," by means of a further attestation, with vouchers from the landlord of the house, and the usual official signatures, obtained for me a card of residence for six months, gratis, and I experienced no more trouble on that head. This, and the various other certificates, were upon stamped paper of the value of six kreutzers, or one penny. While upon this subject I may observe, that domestic servants must make known to the police every change of service. They are hired by the month. Change of residence is also a matter of official interference: a printed sheet is handed to the new lodger, with spaces for name, age, country, religion, condition, married or single, where last resided, and probable length of stay in new apartments. All these particulars must be stated and signed, witnessed by your own particular landlord, and attested by the landlord of the house. The document is then deposited in the archives of the district police.
At the termination of my first year's stay in Germany, I found that my receipts in wages, during the twelve months, amounted to twenty-one pounds six shillings and fourpence, an average of eight shillings and twopence-halfpenny per week; but it must be remembered that, during nine months of that period, board and lodging formed part of my remuneration. I stayed a full year in Vienna, and received in wages, in all, three hundred and sixty-two guldens, thirty kreutzers, or thirty-six pounds five shillings. This would give, in round numbers, fourteen shillings per week throughout the year. Of this sum, as I have said, seven shillings and sixpence were on an average spent weekly in lodging and necessary food; there therefore remained six shillings and sixpence for clothes, amusements, and savings.
When the period arrived at which I had determined upon starting on foot for Paris, my savings amounted to seven pounds sterling, and with that sum I thought myself amply provided for the journey. In order that it may not be supposed that I had suffered undue privations, or enforced, in financial arrangements, anything beyond a reasonable economy, I must state, that in addition to paying to the Guild and police, during the year, eight florins twelve kreutzers, or six shillings and tenpence, I had witnessed twenty-three theatrical representations, at prices varying from fourpence to a shilling, at a total cost of eleven shillings and fourpence; been present at eighteen concerts, at an outlay of seven shillings and eightpence; and had visited the Bruhl, Woslau, Modlin, Laxenburg, Helena-Thal, Klosterneuburg, Grinzing, and Weinhaus; the Treasure Chamber, and picture-galleries innumerable; which latter, although supposed to be open to public inspection free of expense, were not conveniently accessible without a fee. Twenty-five kreutzers, or fourpence, was the price of a seat in the gallery of the suburban theatres of the Leopold, Joseph, and Wiener vorstadte; while tenpence and a shilling procured a similar place in the imperial opera and play-house. Hot sausages and beer were the luxuries vended in the former; while ices, coffee, and delicate pastry, were the bonnes bouches prepared for the latter.
I found the workmen in Vienna industrious and submissive; gay, thoughtless, and kind-hearted. In some trades it was still the practice for the workmen, if not numerous, to sleep in the workshop. I knew a cabinet-maker who did so, and he was very cleanly and well lodged. I knew one or two married journeymen, and there were no doubt very many in so large a capital as Vienna, but marriage among artisans was generally condemned. The wages were on the average much less than I have stated; I knew silversmiths who were earning only three and four florins a week—six shillings and eight shillings; and I have no doubt that tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, and others, were paid even less. I visited one family circle in the Leopoldstadt which consisted of the man, his wife and child, and three single men lodgers, who all lived and slept in one room. I found the lodgers airing themselves in the court-yard, while the beds were made and the room set in order. But I saw very little of squalor or filth even in the poorest quarters. As a check upon the assumed thoughtlessness of the Viennese artisans, the pawnbrokers are by civil ordinance closed a week before and after every great holiday, such as Easter, Whitsuntide, etc.
There were very many small masters, known in England as master-men, who worked at home, and by their skill and quickness earned superior wages. My own landlord was one of them, and called himself a "Gallanterie Tischler." He was chiefly employed in ornamental woodwork for the silversmiths, and, being tasty and expert, earned a very respectable living. He used to buy English knives for certain parts of his work, on account of the superiority of the steel, but he complained bitterly of their clumsy and awkward fashion. He was extremely industrious during the week, and many a pleasant Sunday visit have we paid to Weinhaus and other suburban villages, when the "heueriger"—the young, half-made wine—was to be tasted. Heueriger was sold at a few pence a quart, and is a whitish liquid of an acid but not unpleasant flavour. It is a treacherous drink, like most white wines, and from its apparently innocent character tempts many into unexpected inebriation. The Viennese delight in an Italian sausage called "Salami," said to be made of asses' flesh, and a pale, but highly scented cheese, as the proper accompaniments to the heueriger.
Domestic servants in Vienna have one very laborious duty to perform, and that is the fetching of water from the springs. These springs are simply pumps in appearance, and were so formerly, but the flow of water is now continuous, and to be obtained without effort. It is painful to see the poor girls bending under the weight of their water troughs, which are carried on the back, and shaped something like a pannier with a flat side. They are made of wood, hooped like a barrel, and have a close-fitting lid. The Bohemian women perform duties even more unsuitable. They are bricklayers labourers; and sift sand, mix mortar, and carry slates on their heads to the highest houses. In these labours they are sometimes assisted, or set aside, by the soldiery, the more well-behaved of whom are allowed to hire themselves as labourers and porters. In one case, as I know, a soldier was "put in possession," as his Imperial Majesty's representative, and provided daily with a sum of money as an equivalent for food.
There is another class of labourers who make themselves particularly conspicuous in the streets of Vienna, and that is the "holzhacker," or wood-chopper. Wood is the universal fuel, and is sold in klafters, or stacks of six cubic feet. A klafter consists of logs, each about three feet long, and apparently the split quarters of young trees of a uniform size. This wood, when delivered to the purchaser, is shot upon the footpath in front of the house, or in the court-yard, if there be a porte cochere, which is not usual. The business of the holzhacker is to chop the logs into small pieces for the convenience of burning, and this he does in an incredibly short space of time, but to the great inconvenience and sometimes personal risk of the passers by. He is, however, very independent in his way, and is treated with astonishing forbearance by the police. He is, moreover, the street wit of Vienna.
The Viennese workmen are not merely uninformed of, but in general, perfectly indifferent to political matters. This ignorance may in a great measure result from the unthinking and pleasure-seeking character of the Viennese public—which levity is encouraged by the Government, as taverns and concert rooms are open long after private houses are closed—but is also to be traced to the uneasy position which the citizens hold with respect to the police. It is not alone that the restrictions and impediments of official routine render his social existence a matter of public legislation, but there is an unpleasant consciousness that his landlord, his neighbour on the same flat, his barber, or his fellow workman, may be a "vertrauter," a spy in the pay of the police, and his simplest actions, through their means, perverted into misdemeanours. A worthy cooper, with whom I occasionally dined, on reading a skeleton report of a public meeting in England, where working men had made speeches and moved resolutions, exclaimed, as he threw down the paper: "But, seriously, don't you think this very ridiculous?"
ON TRAMP TO PARIS.
We were three in number, a jeweller from Copenhagen, a Viennese silversmith, and myself, who started from Vienna to walk to Paris. We were all in tolerable feather as to funds. I was possessed of about seventy guldens (seven pounds), and a little packet of fifty dozens of piercing-saws, a trading speculation, which I hoped to smuggle over the French frontier in my boots. I was better provided in all respects than on any of my former journeys. We had forwarded our boxes to Strassburg, our knapsacks were light, and we wore stout walking shoes with scarcely any heels, and had prepared some well-boiled linen wrappers, intended, when smeared with tallow, to serve the purpose of socks. They effectually prevent blisters, and can be readily washed in any running stream. Our first stage was by steam on the Danube to Linz, the capital of Upper Austria; and we took our departure from Nussdorf amid the valedictions and kisses of some thirty male friends, each of whom saluted us thrice—on each cheek, and on the lips, for this is the true German fashion, and may not be slighted or avoided.
A voyage on the water may seem a curious commencement of a foot journey; but the fact is, that no one knows better than the tramp that a railway or a steamboat is always cheaper than shoe-leather and time; and no doubt as these new means of progress increase in number they will entirely change the character of German trade-wanderings. From Vienna to Linz is, in round numbers, a distance of one hundred and fifty English miles, and this one vessel, the "Karl," got over in two days and a night. The wind was against us, and it must be remembered that it is all up stream. The Danube is upon the whole a melancholy river, of a sullen encroaching character, for its whole course is marked by over-floodings and their consequent desolation. The passage cost ten florins, twenty-five kreutzers, or eight shillings and fourpence, and we slept on the table below, on deck, or not at all, as we best could.
Our real starting-point on tramp was Linz, whence we pursued our way through Wells, Gmunden, Ebensee, and Ishl to Salzburg, in which beautiful city we rested for a day and half. We steamed across lake Traun from Gmunden, and paid a fare of twenty-five kreutzers, or fourpence. From Salzburg we pushed on to Hallein, to visit the salt mines there, and thence diverged still further from the beaten route for the sake of seeing the water-fall of Golling—the stern terrors of the OEfen—and dream away an hour upon the beautiful and romantic waters of Konigsee, the King's Lake. We had crossed the frontier of Bavaria near Hallein, and, having loitered so long among the delightful scenery of its neighbourhood, we now hurried on towards Munich, through Reichenhall, Fraunstein, Weisham, Rosenheim, Aibling, and Peiss. Thirsty and weary, we overtook a timber waggon when within eight miles of the capital, and made a bargain with the driver to carry us forward to our destination for six kreutzers, about one penny, each; and upon the unhewn timber of the springless log-waggon we rode into Munich. We had been already fourteen days upon the road, ten of which had been spent on tramp, advancing at an average rate of twenty-five miles a day. From Linz to Munich, by the circuitous route we had taken, I reckon in round numbers at two hundred and fifty miles. My share of the expenses amounted to thirty-six florins, forty kreutzers, say one pound nine shillings in English money, or an average outlay of two shillings a day. It may be added, that many of our expenses were those of ordinary foot-tourists, rather than of tramping workmen; that we had lived well although frugally; and that, save in a goatherd's hut on the Schaf-berg, we had never slept out of bed.
We spent five happy days in Munich: wandering among picture-galleries and museums; visiting the royal palace in the capital, and the pleasure retreat at Nymphenburg; and the churches, with their painted windows, beautiful architecture, and radiant frescoes. We visited two theatres, and roamed in the English garden, and among the wilder scenery of hills in the environs. Munich is the real capital of modern art, and contains more magnificent public buildings than any city of the same extent in the world. Vulgar figures again: my expenses in Munich amounted to eight guldens, forty kreutzers, Bavarian or Reich's money, which will yield, as nearly as the intricacies of German coinage will allow of the calculation, fifteen shillings and fourpence. The fare by railway from Munich to Augsburg, our next station, was one gulden, twenty-four kreutzers,—two shillings and fourpence,—and from the latter fine old city we proceeded entirely on foot to Strassburg. We took the road through Ulm, Stutgard, Heilbron, Heidelberg, Manheim, Carlsruhe, Baden-Baden, and Keil; wandering a little from the beaten path near Kissengan to see the beautiful waterworks and garden there. These cities have all been described by innumerable travellers, and I doubt whether I could add anything to the knowledge already possessed of them.
We had passed fifteen days upon the road, and traversed a distance, roughly estimated, of two hundred and fifty miles. We rested in all four days in the towns of Augsburg, Ulm, Heidelberg, (of glorious recollection), and Carlsruhe; and thus, during the ten days of actual tramp, we had advanced at an average rate of twenty-five miles a day. Since leaving Vienna, we had walked five hundred miles. On one occasion only did we march more than thirty miles in the day. This was between Stutgard and Heilbron. As we limped wearily through the latter city, we came upon a tavern at the sign of the Eagle, and inquiring, like cautious travellers, the price of a bed, we found it was twelve kreutzers Reich's money, fourpence. This was beyond our mark, so we tottered onward to the Stag, where we were very indifferently lodged for half the money. At Heidelberg we paid twelve kreutzers for our bed, and were well accommodated; but this was more by four kreutzers than we considered ourselves in a position to pay. Our average expenses per day, while on tramp at this period, were twenty-four kreutzers, or eightpence. My total outlay from Munich to Strassburg was twenty-one florins, ten kreutzers, or one pound five shillings; being at the rate of one shilling and sixpence a day.
It may be right to mention, that a German mile is divided into two stunden, or hours, and the natural inference would be, that it would occupy two hours to walk a mile. This is not the case, for a stunden can generally be traversed in three quarters of an hour; but the German miles are not uniform, and I well remember one terribly long one between Brunn and Vienna, which was more than two hours walk. As three English miles an hour is an average walking pace, a German mile, occupying on the average an hour and a half in the traverse, should be equal to four and a half English miles, and this is the rate at which I have estimated it, although I have seen it variously stated at less than four, and even at five English miles.
While on tramp, we rose at five in the morning, and walked till eight fasting, when we took breakfast—a simple affair of milk, or of coffee and plain bread, with occasionally a little meat as a luxury—we then proceeded on our march till twelve, always supposing that a town or village was at such a distance as to render the arrangement possible, when we dined. This meal consisted invariably of soup—milk soup, if possible, peppered and salted like broth—and sometimes meat, but not always, as it was dear, and supposed to be heavy for walking. As by this time the sun was in its zenith, and our advance in the great heat would be most fatiguing, and even dangerous, we laid ourselves down to rest till three, in the open air if possible, and weather permitting; out on the fields among the corn; stretched upon the hay in some shady nook; or, as in Bavaria and Wurtemberg during a great part of the route, under the apple and plum trees which lined the public way, eating of the fruit unquestioned and without restraint. After this welcome repose we pursued our march with renewed animation till eight o'clock, when we sought out a place of rest; and for our evening meal usually indulged in something more substantial than at any other time of the day. Our beds were not always clean, and the lavatorial necessaries either deficient or wholly wanting, in which latter case the pump was our only substitute.
Our brief stays in towns or cities were by no means the least fatiguing part of our journey; for it naturally happened that in our anxiety to see whatever was remarkable or beautiful, in museum, picture-gallery, or public building, that our time was tasked even more severely than on the road; always remembering also, that the police required a great deal of attention. My passport has fourteen distinct visas during this journey. We found the police in Bavaria the least civil among a very exacting class of people. Here, for the first time, I heard a mode of address which is, I think, peculiar to Germany. It is customary to address strangers in the third person plural, Se; or, when on very familiar or affectionate terms, in the second person singular, Du; but of all modes of speech the third person singular, Er, when applied to the person addressed, is the most opprobrious. A police official thus interrogates a wandering workman:—
"What is he?" "A currier."
"Where from?" "Siegesdorf."
"Where to?" "Ulm."
"Has he got the itch?" "No."
"Then let him sign this book."
At Augsburg the police were in a dilemma with respect to us. We had come by rail from Munich, and, to our surprise, were suffered to pass through the gate unchallenged by the sentinel, who paced leisurely before the guard-house. The following morning, on presenting our papers at the police-bureau, we were met with the accusation of having smuggled ourselves into the city; and, as the usual official routine had been departed from, we were ordered to proceed at once to the gates, and humbly deliver up our passports to the sentinel in due form, that the requirements of the law might be fulfilled. This sage proposition was, however, overruled in consideration of our being jewellers: the respectability of the craft being thus acknowledged. It was in Augsburg also that I narrowly escaped being entered in the books of the Guild as "Mr. Great Britain, native of London;" the slim apprentice whose duty it was to make the entry, having mistaken the name of the country for that of the individual in my English passport.
I may not omit to mention, although I do it with a feeling of humiliation, that during our journey we availed ourselves of whatever assistance was granted by the Guild to "wandering boys" unable to obtain employment. We had a perfect right to this aid, and had, while in work, always contributed to the fund (in which we had, indeed, no option); but I must confess that there was something exceedingly like asking for alms in the whole process of obtaining it. Our slender resources must plead as an excuse. The following were our individual receipts: in Linz, twenty-four kreutzers; in Munich, thirty-six; Augsburg, eighteen; Ulm, fifteen; Stutgard, thirty; Heilbron, twenty-four; Heidelberg, nine, (begged from shop to shop, there being no general cash-box); and Carlsruhe, twenty-four; making a total of one hundred and eighty kreutzers, or the munificent sum of two shillings and sixpence in English money. What must be the fate of those whose dependence was upon such a pittance!
I had passed two whole years and a few days in Germany, and during a period of eighty-eight weeks, had been fully at work. I had received fifty-six pounds thirteen shillings in wages, or an average, throughout the whole term, of eleven shillings per week. I felt grateful for this result in a strange country, and left Germany with a lingering step.
As we crossed over the bridge of Kiel on our way to Strassburg, the French soldiery were quietly fishing on their side of the Rhine, and the sentinel, from whom we had expected a harsh summons to the guard-house, and a rigorous search into our knapsacks, eyed us with a look of half pity, half contempt, and allowed us to pass unchallenged. We were, to him, only so many miserable "square-heads" (Germans) on our way to Paris. The curiosities of Strassburg need not detain me: the cathedral, and the wonderful clock; the theatre, which we visited; the fortifications, which we overlooked from the lofty spire; those things are set down in every traveller's guidebook, and the recollection of them is probably much more agreeable to me than their description would be to the reader. We had resolved not to tramp through France, and we therefore sought places in the diligence; and by the time I had paid forty-three francs for my seat in that respectable vehicle, and ten francs for the carriage of my box from Vienna to Strassburg, together with two francs for a passeport provisoire; and by the time also that I had paid some two francs more for extra luggage, including two loaves and a string of six Strassburger sausages, which were all included in the weight, I found that I should arrive in Paris with less than five francs in my pocket. And this I accordingly did, after a very uncomfortable ride of fifty-two hours, and within a day of six weeks from our departure from Vienna.
We thought ourselves very ill-used on our first night in Paris, when, having been wiled into a grand hotel near the Bourse, we were stowed away on the fifth floor, three in a room, and charged six francs for our beds, one more for a candle, and one for service. Our parsimonious Dane was so highly irritated, that he took possession of the candle and carried it off in his pocket. But Alcibiade was soon by our side, to give us help and advice with his old kindness; and under his guidance we removed immediately to more suitable lodgings, and were set in the proper course to obtain employment. Although scarcely possessed of a single franc in actual cash, I had fifty dozens of fine piercing-saws, my contraband speculation, and for which I ultimately obtained about twenty francs. What was of more importance, in less than a week from our arrival in Paris I commenced work at the modest remuneration of four francs and a half, three shillings and ninepence, a day. My two companions were scarcely so fortunate, but lingered on for a week or two without employment.
I found myself in a motley company; at one time our atelier contained three Russians, two Germans, two Englishmen, an Italian, and a Frenchman; and sometimes a simple inquiry would have to pass through four languages before it received its answer. I did not remain long amid this babel, although long enough to be offered six francs a day to remain. I never afterwards worked for a less rate of remuneration than six francs a day, but never succeeded in obtaining a sous more. I had many "Patrons" in Paris. In one establishment there were three workmen continually employed in making crosses of honour, in gold and silver, to reward the merit, or to purchase the affection and support, of the French people. I was variously employed: in gold work; in setting small rose-diamonds; and upon the most costly brilliant ornaments. Sometimes idling upon three days a week, or totally unemployed; at other times slaving night and day, Sunday and all, to complete some urgent order. I have worked nineteen days in a fortnight.
I have endeavoured to give some details with regard to the manner of living, working, and lodging, among the labouring population of Paris, under the head of "THE FRENCH WORKMAN;" and which details were in most part personal, or such as I had learned from actual experience. My business here is with results, and I will condense them into as few words as possible. I stayed in all one year and five months in Paris, during the whole of which period I was never out of a situation, although at various times but scantily provided with employment. I received in wages a total of two thousand three hundred and one francs, thirteen sous, or ninety-two pounds two shillings and twopence-halfpenny. This would give an average receipt, upon the seventy-one weeks of my stay, of one pound three shillings and three-halfpence a week. I have said that during the greater part of this time I earned at the rate of six francs, or five shillings a day; if I now give the current expenses per week, a comparison may from these data be drawn as to the comparative position of the English and French workman. The usual outlay for food per week amounted to twelve francs, or ten shillings, of course with fluctuations; for I have lived a whole week upon five francs when unemployed, and have luxuriated upon twenty when in full work. Upon striking a balance among my various lodgings,—I lodged in company and slept double during the whole period of my stay in Paris—I find the result to be, that we paid twelve francs each per month, or two shillings and sixpence per week. This did not include extras: a German stove hired at five francs a month for the winter season; wood at four francs the hundred pounds weight; candles at thirteen sous the pound, and soap at a fraction less. Nor does it include the half franc to the concierge, an obligatory payment upon presenting yourself at the street-door after midnight. Summing up these items, we arrive at this result: for food, ten shillings; rent, two shillings and sixpence; and miscellaneous necessaries, including twelve sous for washing, of another two shillings and sixpence; or a total of fifteen shillings of expenditure against, in my case, of one pound three shillings and odd pence of income. The cost of pleasure in the French capital must not be omitted; and I feel bound to state that twenty-seven visits to the theatres, from the pit of the Italian Opera House at four francs, to the same place at the Vaudeville for eighteen sous; and thirteen public balls and concerts, from the grand masked ball to that of the "Grande Chaumiere," were met by an outlay of sixty-eight francs thirteen sous, or three pounds seven shillings and tenpence-halfpenny.
After an absence of nearly three years and a half, I turned my steps towards home. From the time that I had crossed the French frontier, and, upon delivering my papers, had received a passeport provisoire at Strassburg, I had never sustained cheque or molestation from the police; but now that I was about to depart, and made the usual application for my original passport, it was discovered that, as a workman, I should have had a "livret" upon my first entering Paris, and a number of certificates and attestations were required, in order to reinstate me in a legitimate position in the eyes of the law. Escaped from this dilemma, and officially recognised as ouvrier, it was with some surprise that I found myself dubbed gentleman at the Bureau des Affaires Etrangeres, and charged a fee of ten franca for the signature of the foreign minister. Too old a traveller to be entrapped into the payment of so heavy a fine upon my vanity, I strongly repudiated any more pretentious title than that of simple workman; and after a tough struggle succeeded in carrying off the necessary visa at an outlay of two francs. The journey, by diligence, from Paris to Boulogne, cost twenty-seven francs; I lost a clear six francs in changing my French savings into English gold—twelve sovereigns—and, after a rough passage by the Boulogne boat to London, at an expense of twelve francs, found myself once more in my native city.
Let those who would estimate the value of such an enterprise as mine, consider its cost and its result. I had passed several years in foreign travel; I had undeniably profited in the acquisition of new experiences in my trade; new modes of working, and additional manual skill. I had rubbed off some of the most valued, and therefore most absurd, prejudices against foreigners; and made some progress in the acquisition of two languages—a gain which must ever be a source of mental profit and gratification. To conclude: I had started on my journey but indifferently clad, and with scarcely five pounds in my pocket, of which sum two pounds had been remitted home; and I had been able not merely to subsist by the labor of my hands, but to enjoy much that was costly, and an infinite deal more that was pleasurable and advantageous; and to return home, having liquidated every debt, save that of gratitude, well provided with apparel, and with ten pounds sterling in my purse.
I would not venture to urge upon any man to follow in my footsteps. I should scarcely retrace them myself under the same conditions; but I believe I have shown the practicability of such an undertaking, and its probability of success, with no more unusual qualifications than a ready hand, a patient will, and some perseverance.
Hamburg at last!—after eight days' sail from London, three of them spent in knocking about the North Sea, where the wind always blows in your teeth. Never mind! we are now safely moored to these substantial timbers; huge piles, driven in a line, which form the outer harbour of Hamburg. The city lies before us, but there is nothing very imposing in it; the houses, with gable roofs and whitened walls, look rather lath-and-plastery, in fact; but we must not express our opinions too rashly, for first impressions are not always the most faithful after all.
"Now, Tom, is the boat ready?"
"Ay, ay, sir!"
We scramble down the sides of the British schooner, the "Glory," and seat ourselves along with Tom. What a confusion of boats, long-pointed barges, and small sailing vessels!
"Mind how you go, Tom."
"Ay, ay, sir!" replies Tom, contemptuously shifting his quid.
These small sailing vessels we see are from the Hanoverian and Danish coasts. Their cargoes consist principally of wood, and whole stacks of vegetables, the latter ridiculously small. Those long-pointed barges are for canal navigation, and are admirably adapted to Hamburg, threaded as it is by canals in every direction.
Steady! Do you see that curious, turret-looking building, old and time-worn, guarded by a sentinel?—it is the fort to protect the water-gate through which we are now passing. It is also occasionally used as a prison. On the opposite side is a poor, dilapidated, wooden building, erected on a barge, where permits are obtained for spirits and tobacco—a diminutive custom-house indeed. There being no one to question or molest us, we pass on, and in a few moments are at our landing-place, a short flight of stone steps leading to the Vorsetzen or quay.
Tom moors his boat with a grave celerity, leads the way up the stone steps on to the quay, and as speedily disappears down a sort of trap which gapes in the open street, in the immediate vicinity of the landing-place. Let him alone; Tom knows the way. We follow him down an almost perpendicular flight of stairs into a spirit kellar, and gratify Tom's little propensity for ardent liquors.
Tom has disappeared, and is now paddling his way back to the "Glory," and we stand upon the humble water-terrace, the Vorsetzen, looking out upon the shipping. It is a still, bright, Sunday afternoon in September. There is no broiling sun to weary us; the sky is clear, and the air soft and cheering, like the breath of a spring morning. We will turn our backs upon the river and proceed up Neuerweg.
We cannot walk upon the narrow strip of footpath, for, besides that there is very little of it, our course would become a sort of serpentine as we wound about the fresh young trees which skirt the edge of it at regular intervals. But are they not pleasant to look upon, those leafy sentinels, standing by the stone steps of the houses, shaking their green tops in happy contrast to the whitened walls? So we will walk in the road, and being good-tempered today, will not indulge in violent invectives upon the round-topped little pebbles which form the pavement; but, should we by chance step into a puddle which has no manner of means of running out of our way, we will look with complacency at our dirtied boots, and trip smilingly on. Yes, trip is the word, for I defy the solemnest pedestrian in Christendom to keep a measured pace upon these upright, pointed, shining-faced pebbles.
There! we are in the Schaar-markt. Now look around, and say, would you not fancy yourself in some quaint old English village? What a curious complication of cross-beams is presented in the fronts of the houses!—a barring and binding of huge timbers, with their angles filled in with red bricks. How simple and neat is everything!—the clean stone steps leading up to the principal entrance of each house, and the humbler flight which conducts you to the kellar and kitchen. You would imagine you had seen the place before, or dreamt of it, or read of it in some glorious old book when your memory was fresh and young.
See that young damsel with bare arms, no bonnet, no cap, but her hair cleanly and neatly parted in the middle of her head, and disclosing her round, rosy, honest German face. She is not pretty, but how innocent and good-tempered she looks; and see how lightly and easily she springs over those, to us, ruthless pebbles, her short petticoats showing her clean white stockings and bright shoes to advantage.
And here comes a male native of the place; a shortish, square-built, and somewhat portly man, clad in a comfortable, old-fashioned way, with nothing dashing or expensive about him. He is not very brisk, to be sure; and when you first look at his round face an idea of his simplicity comes over you; but it is only for an instant, and then you read the solid, sterling qualities quietly shining in his clear eyes. There is not a great amount of intellectuality, that is to say nervous intellectuality, in his contented countenance, but a vast quantity of unstudied common sense.
We will pass on, leaving the guard-house on our left; and winding up Hohleweg, many simple and not a few pretty faces with roguish eyes do we see at the open windows.
We halt only for a moment to look at the noble Michaelis Kirche which lies to our right, and turn off on the left hand, crossing an open space of some extent called Zeughaus Platz, and behold us before the Altonaer Thor, or Altona-gate.
Ah, these are pleasant banks and noble trees! How green the grass upon those slopes—how fresh the flowers! And what a splendid walk is this, looking to the right down the double avenue of sturdy stems waving their spreading tops across the path! You did not think that quaint old town below could boast of such a border as this; but take a tour about the environs, and you will find them cheerful, fresh, and beautiful, from Neuer Kaye to Deich Thor.
We will pass through the simple Altona-gate, and make towards Hamburger-Berg. Do not be alarmed. Perhaps you have heard of the "Berg" before, and virtuous people have told you that it is a godless place. Well, so it is; but we will steer clear of its godlessness; we will avoid the dancing-houses. Before us lies a broad open road, neither dignified by buildings nor ornamented by trees, but there are plenty of people, and they are worth our notice. There is a neat figure in a close boddice and a hauben, or hood-like headdress; she has taken to winter attire early. She carries no trailing skirts, nor has she ill-shapen ankles to hide. Look at her healthy face, though the cheek-bones are rather too high; but the mouth is ever breaking into a smile. Her hair is drawn back tightly from her face, tied in a knot at the back, and covered with a velvet skull-cap, richly worked with gold and silver wire and braid. The effect is not bad.
There is a country girl from Bardewick—Bardewick, you know, though now a mere village, is traditionally said to have been once a large and flourishing city. She has flowers to sell, and stands by the wayside. She has neither shoes nor stockings, nor is her dark dress and white apron of the longest. Her tightly fitting boddice is of blue cloth, with bullet buttons, and has but a short waist, while a coral confines her apron and dress. Her head-dress is only a striped coloured handkerchief, tied under the chin, but in such a way that it presents a sort of straight festoon just above her sparkling eyes, and completely hides her hair.
But here comes a curiosity of the male species. Surely this is Rip van Winkle from the States. He has no sugar-loaf hat, but he wears the trunkhose, stockings, and large buckled shoes of the old Dutchman, and even his ample jacket, with an enormous sort of frill at the bottom. No, my friend, let me give you to understand that this is a Vierlander, and a farmer of some means. Do you not see that he has a double row of bullet buttons on his jacket, down the front of his ample hose, and even along the edges of his enormous pockets? They are solid silver, every button of them, nor are the massive buckles on his shoes of any more gross material. Here come more velvet skull-caps, with gold and silver worked into them. How jauntily the wearers trip along! It is a fact, the abominable pavement of Hamburg sets the inhabitants eternally on their toes.
Here is a Tyroler, and a tall fellow he is; straight as an arrow, and nimble as a chamois; but yet with a steady, earnest look about him, although a secret smile is playing round his handsome, mustachioed mouth, that tells you of a strong and persevering character. He is shaped like an Adonis, and his short jacket, breeches, pale striped stockings, and tightly laced boots; the broad leathern embroidered band about his waist, and the steeple-crowned hat with the little coquettish feather, all help to make up a figure that you would like to see among his native mountains. And yet he is but a dignified sort of pedlar, and would be very happy to sell you a dozen or so of table napkins, Alpine handkerchiefs, or a few pieces of tape.
Well! he is gone, and before us comes a female figure, who forms a fit companion to the silver-buttoned Vierlander we have just past. Notice her dress; she is a Vierlanderin. Her petticoats are shamefully short, you will say, stiff and plaited too as they are, but what a gallant pair of red stockings she wears, and what a neat, bright pair of buckled shoes! Her dress consists of a close boddice with long sleeves, all of dark purple stuff, and her neat black apron does not make a bad contrast to it. But her head-gear!—her hair is drawn from her face under a closely fitting caul, while an exaggerated black bow, or rather a pair of triangular wings, project some distance from the back of the head, and beneath them two enormous tails of hair trail down her back, each terminating in a huge red bow.
This country girl appears to have sold all her fruit, and has placed her basket upside down upon her head. No such thing; that is her peculiar head-dress; look again, and you will see that it is a small plaited straw basket, about a foot and a half in diameter, with a very deep straight edge. It is fastened on her head by a caul sewn into the inside. Well! at any rate this is a Quakeress we see coming at such a stately pace along the gravelled road? Wrong again, my friend; this is a young lady from Heligoland, the little island we passed at the mouth of the Elbe, and a very prim and neat young lady she is, though where she got her bonnet shape from I cannot say.
The way is lined with hawkers of every description: fruit, songs and sausages; toys, sticks and cigars; pipes, sweetmeats and tape; every imaginable article that was ever sold at a fair is to be found here, and every vender in a different dress, illustrating at one view the peasant costumes of every village in the vicinity. As for tobacco, the air is like a gust from some gigantic pipe. Here is the entrance to Franconi's Circus, though not yet open for public entertainment. Blasts of obstreperous music rush upon you from every door; the shrill squealing of a flageolet being heard above everything else.
Knife-swallowers, mesmerisers, and the eternal Punch—here called Caspar—ballad-singers, tumblers, quacks, and incredible animals, are here for inspection. You would fancy it was some old English fair; for in spite of yourself there is a quaint feeling steals over you, that you had suddenly tumbled back into the middle of the last century.
And who pays for all this? for whose especial amusement is all this got up? For our old friend "Jack." Here are English sailors, and French sailors; sailors in green velveteen jackets; sailors with their beards and whiskers curled into little shining ringlets. We meet our salt-water friend everywhere, and, by the intense delight depicted on his features, "Jack" is evidently in a high state of enjoyment.
Let us go on; we have promised not to visit the dancehouses to-day, and we will quit this clamorous crowd.
CHAPTER II. ALTONA.
THE POET'S GRAVE.—A DANISH HARVEST HOME.
We tread upon elevated ground, and far away to our left, down in a hollow, flows the broad Elbe; placid indeed from this distance, for not a ripple can we see upon its surface. A few ships are lazily moving on its waters. Stand aside, and make way for this reverend gentleman; he is a prediger, a preacher of the gospel; he is habited in a black gown, black silk stockings and shoes, a small black velvet skull-cap on his head, while round his neck bristles a double plaited frill, white as a curd, and stiff as block tin. You would take him for the Dutch nobleman in an old panel painting. It may appear rather grotesque to your unaccustomed eyes, but remember there are many things very ridiculous at home.
A blackened gate, a confused mass of houses, an open square, and the pebbles again, and we are in Holstein, Denmark, in the public square and market place of Altona. Here it is that the Danish state lotteries are drawn, and we might moralise upon that subject, but that we prefer to press onwards to the real village of Altona.
Here through this beautiful avenue of trees; here where the sunshine is broken into patches by the waving foliage; far away from the din of trumpets, huxterers and showmen; here can the sweet air whisper its low song of peace and lull our fervid imaginations into tranquillity. This is no solitude, though all is quiet and in repose. Under the trees and in the road are throngs of loiterers, but there is no rude laughter, no coarse jests; a moving crowd is there, but a quiet and happy one. And now we come upon the venerable church with its low steeple, its time-eaten stone walls, and its humble, grassy, flower-spangled graves. We see a passer-by calling the attention of his friend to a stone tablet, green and worn with age, and surrounded by a slight railing. Can it be that there is a spirit hovering over that grave whose influence is peace and love? May not some mighty man lie buried there, the once frail tenement of a great mind whose noble thoughts have years ago wakened a besotted world to truths and aspirations hitherto unknown? There is veneration and respect in every countenance that gazes upon that simple stone; a solemn tread in every foot that trenches on its limits. This is the grave of a great poet. A man whose works, though little read in modern times, were once the wonder of his country; and whose very name comes upon the German people in a gush of melody, and a halo of bright thoughts. It is like an old legend breathed through the chords of a harp. This is the grave of Klopstock, the Milton of Germany. We will enter the churchyard, and look for a moment on the unimposing tablet. The inscription is scarcely legible, but the poet's mother lies also buried here, and some others of his family. Could there be anything more humble, more unobtrusive? No; but there is something about the grave of a great poet that serves to dignify the simplest monument, and shed a lustre round the lowest mound.
We will cross the churchyard to yonder low brick wall which confines it. There are clusters of rosy, happy children, clambering about its crumbling top; little knots of men too in the road beyond—evidently expecting something. Even this is in keeping with the poet's grave, which should not be sombre and melancholy, like other graves; and what could better embellish and enliven its aspect than young, blushing life clustering around it? We linger awhile among the boisterous children playing on the churchyard wall, and then we hear a confused sound of voices and music in the distance.
"What is this we hear, my friend?" we inquire.
"It is the harvest-home; if you wait you will see the procession."
We turn out upon the high road, and soon come upon the first signs of this Danish festival. An open gravelled space of some extent stretches out before an imposing mansion of modern appearance; a plantation of trees on each side shapes the space into a rude semicircle. This mansion is the manor house, and in front, in the midst of a confused crowd, some dozen young men in gay sylvan costumes are standing in a circle, armed with flails, and vigorously threshing the ground. Jolly, hearty young fellows they are, and a merry chant they raise. One eager thresher in his zeal breaks his flail at the bend, and a shout from the bystanders greets the exploit.