Part 2 out of 3
tiresomeness of Dresden; but the girl's style was of New York rather than
of Boston, and her accent was not quite of either place. Mrs. March
began to try the Triscoes in this place and in that, to divine them and
to class them. She had decided from the first that they were society
people, but they were cultivated beyond the average of the few swells
whom she had met; and there had been nothing offensive in their manner of
holding themselves aloof from the other people at the table; they had a
right to do that if they chose.
When the young Lefferses came in to breakfast, the talk went on between
these and the Marches; the Triscoes presently left the table, and Mrs.
March rose soon after, eager for that discussion of their behavior which
March knew he should not be able to postpone.
He agreed with her that they were society people, but she could not at
once accept his theory that they had themselves been the objects of an
advance from them because of their neutral literary quality, through
which they were of no social world, but potentially common to any. Later
she admitted this, as she said, for the sake of argument, though what she
wanted him to see, now, was that this was all a step of the girl's toward
finding out something about Burnamy.
The same afternoon, about the time the deck-steward was making his round
with his cups, Miss Triscoe abruptly advanced upon her from a neighboring
corner of the bulkhead, and asked, with the air of one accustomed to have
her advances gratefully received, if she might sit by her. The girl took
March's vacant chair, where she had her cup of bouillon, which she
continued to hold untasted in her hand after the first sip. Mrs. March
did the same with hers, and at the moment she had got very tired of doing
it, Burnamy came by, for the hundredth time that day, and gave her a
hundredth bow with a hundredth smile. He perceived that she wished to
get rid of her cup, and he sprang to her relief.
"May I take yours too?" he said very passively to Miss Triscoe.
"You are very good." she answered, and gave it.
Mrs. March with a casual air suggested, "Do you know Mr. Burnamy, Miss
Triscoe? "The girl said a few civil things, but Burnamy did not try to
make talk with her while he remained a few moments before Mrs. March.
The pivotal girl came in sight, tilting and turning in a rare moment of
isolation at the corner of the music-room, and he bowed abruptly, and
hurried off to join her.
Miss Triscoe did not linger; she alleged the necessity of looking up her
father, and went away with a smile so friendly that Mrs. March might
easily have construed it to mean that no blame attached itself to her in
Miss Triscoe's mind.
"Then you don't feel that it was a very distinct success?" her husband
asked on his return.
"Not on the surface," she said.
"Better let ill enough alone," he advised.
She did not heed him. "All the same she cares for him. The very fact
that she was so cold shows that."
"And do you think her being cold will make him care for her?"
"If she wants it to."
At dinner that day the question of 'The Maiden Knight' was debated among
the noises and silences of the band. Young Mrs. Leffers had brought the
book to the table with her; she said she had not been able to lay it down
before the last horn sounded; in fact she could have been seen reading it
to her husband where he sat under the same shawl, the whole afternoon.
"Don't you think it's perfectly fascinating," she asked Mrs. Adding, with
her petted mouth.
"Well," said the widow, doubtfully, "it's nearly a week since I read it,
and I've had time to get over the glow."
"Oh, I could just read it forever!" the bride exclaimed.
"I like a book," said her husband, "that takes me out of myself. I don't
want to think when I'm reading."
March was going to attack this ideal, but he reflected in time that Mr.
Leffers had really stated his own motive in reading. He compromised.
"Well, I like the author to do my thinking for me."
"Yes," said the other, "that is what I mean."
"The question is whether 'The Maiden Knight' fellow does it," said Kenby,
taking duck and pease from the steward at his shoulder.
"What my wife likes in it is to see what one woman can do and be single-
handed," said March.
"No," his wife corrected him, "what a man thinks she can."
"I suppose," said Mr. Triscoe, unexpectedly, "that we're like the English
in our habit of going off about a book like a train of powder."
"If you'll say a row of bricks," March assented, "I'll agree with you.
It's certainly Anglo-Saxon to fall over one another as we do, when we get
going. It would be interesting to know just how much liking there is in
the popularity of a given book."
"It's like the run of a song, isn't it?" Kenby suggested. "You can't
stand either, when it reaches a given point."
He spoke to March and ignored Triscoe, who had hitherto ignored the rest
of the table.
"It's very curious," March said. "The book or the song catches a mood,
or feeds a craving, and when one passes or the other is glutted--"
"The discouraging part is," Triscoe put in, still limiting himself to the
Marches, "that it's never a question of real taste. The things that go
down with us are so crude, so coarsely spiced; they tickle such a vulgar
palate--Now in France, for instance," he suggested.
"Well, I don't know," returned the editor. "After all, we eat a good
deal of bread, and we drink more pure water than any other people. Even
when we drink it iced, I fancy it isn't so bad as absinthe."
The young bride looked at him gratefully, but she said, "If we can't get
ice-water in Europe, I don't know what Mr. Leffers will do," and the talk
threatened to pass among the ladies into a comparison of American and
Burnamy could not bear to let it. "I don't pretend to be very well up in
French literature," he began, "but I think such a book as 'The Maiden
Knight' isn't such a bad piece of work; people are liking a pretty well-
built story when they like it. Of course it's sentimental, and it begs
the question a good deal; but it imagines something heroic in character,
and it makes the reader imagine it too. The man who wrote that book may
be a donkey half the time, but he's a genius the other half. By-and-by
he'll do something--after he's come to see that his 'Maiden Knight' was a
fool--that I believe even you won't be down on, Mr. March, if he paints a
heroic type as powerfully as he does in this book."
He spoke with the authority of a journalist, and though he deferred to
March in the end, he deferred with authority still. March liked him for
coming to the defence of a young writer whom he had not himself learned
to like yet. "Yes," he said, "if he has the power you say, and can keep
it after he comes to his artistic consciousness!"
Mrs. Leffers, as if she thought things were going her way, smiled; Rose
Adding listened with shining eyes expectantly fixed on March; his mother
viewed his rapture with tender amusement. The steward was at Kenby's
shoulder with the salad and his entreating "Bleace!" and Triscoe seemed
to be questioning whether he should take any notice of Burnamy's general
disagreement. He said at last: "I'm afraid we haven't the documents.
You don't seem to have cared much for French books, and I haven't read
'The Maiden Knight'." He added to March: "But I don't defend absinthe.
Ice-water is better. What I object to is our indiscriminate taste both
for raw whiskey--and for milk-and-water."
No one took up the question again, and it was Kenby who spoke next.
"The doctor thinks, if this weather holds, that we shall be into Plymouth
Wednesday morning. I always like to get a professional opinion on the
In the evening, as Mrs. March was putting away in her portfolio the
journal-letter which she was writing to send back from Plymouth to her
children, Miss Triscoe drifted to the place where she sat at their table
in the dining-room by a coincidence which they both respected as casual.
"We had quite a literary dinner," she remarked, hovering for a moment
near the chair which she later sank into. "It must have made you feel
very much at home. Or perhaps you're so tired of it at home that you
don't talk about books."
"We always talk shop, in some form or other," said Mrs. March.
"My husband never tires of it. A good many of the contributors come to
us, you know."
"It must be delightful," said the girl. She added as if she ought to
excuse herself for neglecting an advantage that might have been hers if
she had chosen, "I'm sorry one sees so little of the artistic and
literary set. But New York is such a big place."
New York people seem to be very fond of it," said Mrs. March. "Those who
have always lived there."
"We haven't always lived there," said the girl. "But I think one has a
good time there--the best time a girl can have. It's all very well
coming over for the summer; one has to spend the summer somewhere. Are
you going out for a long time?"
"Only for the summer. First to Carlsbad."
"Oh, yes. I suppose we shall travel about through Germany, and then go
to Paris. We always do; my father is very fond of it."
"You must know it very well," said Mrs. March, aimlessly.
"I was born there,--if that means knowing it. I lived there--till I was
eleven years old. We came home after my mother died."
"Oh!" said Mrs. March.
The girl did not go further into her family history; but by one of those
leaps which seem to women as logical as other progressions, she arrived
at asking, "Is Mr. Burnamy one of the contributors?"
Mrs. March laughed. "He is going to be, as soon as his poem is printed."
"Yes. Mr. March thinks it's very good."
"I thought he spoke very nicely about 'The Maiden Knight'. And he has
been very nice to papa. You know they have the same room."
"I think Mr. Burnamy told me," Mrs. March said.
The girl went on. "He had the lower berth, and he gave it up to papa;
he's done everything but turn himself out of doors."
"I'm sure he's been very glad," Mrs. March ventured on Burnamy's behalf,
but very softly, lest if she breathed upon these budding confidences they
should shrink and wither away.
"I always tell papa that there's no country like America for real
unselfishness; and if they're all like that, in Chicago!" The girl
stopped, and added with a laugh, "But I'm always quarrelling with papa
"We have a daughter living in Chicago," said Mrs. March, alluringly.
But Miss Triscoe refused the bait, either because she had said all she
meant, or because she had said all she would, about Chicago, which Mrs.
March felt for the present to be one with Burnamy. She gave another of
her leaps. "I don't see why people are so anxious to get it like Europe,
at home. They say that there was a time when there were no chaperons
before hoops, you know." She looked suggestively at Mrs. March, resting
one slim hand on the table, and controlling her skirt with the other, as
if she were getting ready to rise at any moment. "When they used to sit
on their steps."
"It was very pleasant before hoops--in every way," said Mrs. March.
"I was young, then; and I lived in Boston, where I suppose it was always
simpler than in New York. I used to sit on our steps. It was delightful
for girls--the freedom."
"I wish I had lived before hoops," said Miss Triscoe.
"Well, there must be places where it's before hoops yet: Seattle, and
Portland, Oregon, for all I know," Mrs. March suggested. "And there must
be people in that epoch everywhere."
"Like that young lady who twists and turns?" said Miss Triscoe, giving
first one side of her face and then the other. "They have a good time.
I suppose if Europe came to us in one way it had to come in another. If
it came in galleries and all that sort of thing, it had to come in
chaperons. You'll think I'm a great extremist, Mrs. March; but sometimes
I wish there was more America instead of less. I don't believe it's as
bad as people say. Does Mr. March," she asked, taking hold of the chair
with one hand, to secure her footing from any caprice of the sea, while
she gathered her skirt more firmly into the other, as she rose, "does he
think that America is going--all wrong?"
"All wrong? How?"
"Oh, in politics, don't you know. And government, and all that. And
bribing. And the lower classes having everything their own way. And the
horrid newspapers. And everything getting so expensive; and no regard
for family, or anything of that kind."
Mrs. March thought she saw what Miss Triscoe meant, but she answered,
still cautiously, "I don't believe he does always. Though there are
times when he is very much disgusted. Then he says that he is getting
too old--and we always quarrel about that--to see things as they really
are. He says that if the world had been going the way that people over
fifty have always thought it was going, it would have gone to smash in
the time of the anthropoidal apes."
"Oh, yes: Darwin," said Miss Triscoe, vaguely. "Well, I'm glad he
doesn't give it up. I didn't know but I was holding out just because I
had argued so much, and was doing it out of--opposition. Goodnight!"
She called her salutation gayly over her shoulder, and Mrs. March watched
her gliding out of the saloon with a graceful tilt to humor the slight
roll of the ship, and a little lurch to correct it, once or twice, and
wondered if Burnamy was afraid of her; it seemed to her that if she were
a young man she should not be afraid of Miss Triscoe.
The next morning, just after she had arranged herself in her steamer
chair, he approached her, bowing and smiling, with the first of his many
bows and smiles for the day, and at the same time Miss Triscoe came
toward her from the opposite direction. She nodded brightly to him, and
he gave her a bow and smile too; he always had so many of them to spare.
"Here is your chair!" Mrs. March called to her, drawing the shawl out of
the chair next her own. "Mr. March is wandering about the ship
"I'll keep it for him," said Miss Triscoe, and as Burnamy offered to take
the shawl that hung in the hollow of her arm, she let it slip into his
hand with an "Oh; thank you," which seemed also a permission for him to
wrap it about her in the chair.
He stood talking before the ladies, but he looked up and down the
promenade. The pivotal girl showed herself at the corner of the music-
room, as she had done the day before. At first she revolved there as if
she were shedding her light on some one hidden round the corner; then she
moved a few paces farther out and showed herself more obviously alone.
Clearly she was there for Burnamy to come and walk with her; Mrs. March
could see that, and she felt that Miss Triscoe saw it too. She waited
for her to dismiss him to his flirtation; but Miss Triscoe kept chatting
on, and he kept answering, and making no motion to get away. Mrs. March
began to be as sorry for her as she was ashamed for him. Then she heard
him saying, "Would you like a turn or two?" and Miss Triscoe answering,
"Why, yes, thank you," and promptly getting out of her chair as if the
pains they had both been at to get her settled in it were all nothing.
She had the composure to say, "You can leave your shawl with me, Miss
Triscoe," and to receive her fervent, "Oh, thank you," before they sailed
off together, with inhuman indifference to the girl at the corner of the
music-room. Then she sank into a kind of triumphal collapse, from which
she roused herself to point her husband to the chair beside her when he
He chose to be perverse about her romance. "Well, now, you had better
let them alone. Remember Kendricks." He meant one of their young
friends whose love-affair they had promoted till his happy marriage left
them in lasting doubt of what they had done. "My sympathies are all with
the pivotal girl. Hadn't she as much right to him, for the time being,
or for good and all, as Miss Triscoe?"
"That depends upon what you think of Burnamy."
"Well, I don't like to see a girl have a young man snatched away from her
just when she's made sure of him. How do you suppose she is feeling
"She isn't feeling at all. She's letting her revolving light fall upon
half a dozen other young men by this time, collectively or consecutively.
All that she wants to make sure of is that they're young men--or old
March laughed, but not altogether at what his wife said. "I've been
having a little talk with Papa Triscoe, in the smoking-room."
"You smell like it," said his wife, not to seem too eager: "Well?"
"Well, Papa Triscoe seems to be in a pout. He doesn't think things are
going as they should in America. He hasn't been consulted, or if he has,
his opinion hasn't been acted upon."
"I think he's horrid," said Mrs. March. "Who are they?"
"I couldn't make out, and I couldn't ask. But I'll tell you what I
"That there's no chance for, Burnamy. He's taking his daughter out to
marry her to a crowned head."
It was this afternoon that the dance took place on the south promenade.
Everybody came and looked, and the circle around the waltzers was three
or four deep. Between the surrounding heads and shoulders, the hats of
the young ladies wheeling and whirling, and the faces of the men who were
wheeling and whirling them, rose and sank with the rhythm of their steps.
The space allotted to the dancing was walled to seaward with canvas, and
was prettily treated with German, and American flags: it was hard to go
wrong with flags, Miss Triscoe said, securing herself under Mrs. March's
Where they stood they could see Burnamy's face, flashing and flushing in
the dance; at the end of the first piece he came to them, and remained
talking and laughing till the music began again.
"Don't you want to try it?" he asked abruptly of Miss Triscoe.
"Isn't it rather--public?" she asked back.
Mrs. March could feel the hand which the girl had put through her arm
thrill with temptation; but Burnamy could not.
"Perhaps it is rather obvious," he said, and he made a long glide over
the deck to the feet of the pivotal girl, anticipating another young man
who was rapidly advancing from the opposite quarter. The next moment her
hat and his face showed themselves in the necessary proximity to each
other within the circle.
"How well she dances!" said Miss Triscoe.
"Do you think so? She looks as if she had been wound up and set going."
"She's very graceful," the girl persisted.
The day ended with an entertainment in the saloon for one of the marine
charities which address themselves to the hearts and pockets of
passengers on all steamers. There were recitations in English and
German, and songs from several people who had kindly consented, and ever
more piano performance. Most of those who took part were of the race
gifted in art and finance; its children excelled in the music, and its
fathers counted the gate-money during the last half of the programme,
with an audible clinking of the silver on the table before them.
Miss Triscoe was with her father, and Mrs. March was herself chaperoned
by Mr. Burnamy: her husband had refused to come to the entertainment.
She hoped to leave Burnamy and Miss Triscoe together before the evening
ended; but Miss Triscoe merely stopped with her father, in quitting the
saloon, to laugh at some features of the entertainment, as people who
take no part in such things do; Burnamy stood up to exchange some
unimpassioned words with her, and then they said good-night.
The next morning, at five o'clock, the Norumbia came to anchor in the
pretty harbor of Plymouth. In the cool early light the town lay distinct
along the shore, quaint with its small English houses, and stately with
come public edifices of unknown function on the uplands; a country-seat
of aristocratic aspect showed itself on one of the heights; on another
the tower of a country church peered over the tree-tops; there were lines
of fortifications, as peaceful, at their distance, as the stone walls
dividing the green fields. The very iron-clads in the harbor close at
hand contributed to the amiable gayety of the scene under the pale blue
English sky, already broken with clouds from which the flush of the
sunrise had not quite faded. The breath of the land came freshly out
over the water; one could almost smell the grass and the leaves. Gulls
wheeled and darted over the crisp water; the tones of the English voices
on the tender were pleasant to the ear, as it fussed and scuffled to the
ship's side. A few score of the passengers left her; with their baggage
they formed picturesque groups on the tender's deck, and they set out for
the shore waving their hands and their handkerchiefs to the friends they
left clustering along the rail of the Norumbia. Mr. and Mrs. Leffers
bade March farewell, in the final fondness inspired by his having coffee
with them before they left the ship; they said they hated to leave.
The stop had roused everybody, and the breakfast tables were promptly
filled, except such as the passengers landing at Plymouth had vacated;
these were stripped of their cloths, and the remaining commensals placed
at others. The seats of the Lefferses were given to March's old Ohio
friend and his wife. He tried to engage them in the tally which began to
be general in the excitement of having touched land; but they shyly held
Some English newspapers had come aboard from the tug, and there was the
usual good-natured adjustment of the American self-satisfaction, among
those who had seen them, to the ever-surprising fact that our continent
is apparently of no interest to Europe. There were some meagre New York
stock-market quotations in the papers; a paragraph in fine print
announced the lynching of a negro in Alabama; another recorded a coal-
mining strike in Pennsylvania.
"I always have to get used to it over again," said Kenby. "This is the
twentieth time I have been across, and I'm just as much astonished as I
was the first, to find out that they don't want to know anything about us
"Oh," said March, "curiosity and the weather both come from the west.
San Francisco wants to know about Denver, Denver about Chicago, Chicago
about New York, and New York about London; but curiosity never travels
the other way any more than a hot wave or a cold wave."
"Ah, but London doesn't care a rap about Vienna," said Kenby.
"Well, some pressures give out before they reach the coast, on our own
side. It isn't an infallible analogy."
Triscoe was fiercely chewing a morsel, as if in haste to take part in the
discussion. He gulped it, and broke out. "Why should they care about
March lightly ventured, "Oh, men and brothers, you know."
"That isn't sufficient ground. The Chinese are men and brothers; so are
the South-Americans and Central-Africans, and Hawaiians; but we're not
impatient for the latest news about them. It's civilization that
"I hope that fact doesn't leave us out in the cold with the barbarians?"
Burnamy put in, with a smile.
"Do you think we are civilized?" retorted the other.
"We have that superstition in Chicago," said Burnamy. He added, still
smiling, "About the New-Yorkers, I mean."
"You're more superstitious in Chicago than I supposed. New York is an
anarchy, tempered by vigilance committees."
"Oh, I don't think you can say that," Kenby cheerfully protested, "since
the Reformers came in. Look at our streets!"
"Yes, our streets are clean, for the time being, and when we look at them
we think we have made a clean sweep in our manners and morals. But how
long do you think it will be before Tammany will be in the saddle again?"
"Oh, never in the world!" said the optimistic head of the table.
"I wish I had your faith; or I should if I didn't feel that it is one of
the things that help to establish Tammanys with us. You will see our
Tammany in power after the next election." Kenby laughed in a large-
hearted incredulity; and his laugh was like fuel to the other's flame.
"New York is politically a mediaeval Italian republic, and it's morally a
frontier mining-town. Socially it's--" He stopped as if he could not say
"I think it's a place where you have a very nice time, papa," said his
daughter, and Burnamy smiled with her; not because he knew anything about
Her father went on as if he had not heard her. "It's as vulgar and crude
as money can make it. Nothing counts but money, and as soon as there's
enough, it counts for everything. In less than a year you'll have
Tammany in power; it won't be more than a year till you'll have it in
"Oh no! Oh no!" came from Kenby. He did not care much for society, but
he vaguely respected it as the stronghold of the proprieties and the
"Isn't society a good place for Tammany to be in?" asked March in the
pause Triscoe let follow upon Kenby's laugh.
"There's no reason why it shouldn't be. Society is as bad as all the
rest of it. And what New York is, politically, morally, and socially,
the whole country wishes to be and tries to be."
There was that measure of truth in the words which silences; no one could
find just the terms of refutation.
"Well," said Kenby at last, "it's a good thing there are so many lines to
Europe. We've still got the right to emigrate."
"Yes, but even there we don't escape the abuse of our infamous newspapers
for exercising a man's right to live where he chooses. And there is no
country in Europe--except Turkey, or Spain--that isn't a better home for
an honest man than the United States."
The Ohioan had once before cleared his throat as if he were going to
speak. Now, he leaned far enough forward to catch Triscoe's eve, and
said, slowly and distinctly: "I don't know just what reason you have to
feel as you do about the country. I feel differently about it myself--
perhaps because I fought for it."
At first, the others were glad of this arrogance; it even seemed an
answer; but Burnamy saw Miss Triscoe's cheek, flush, and then he doubted
Triscoe nervously crushed a biscuit in his hand, as if to expend a
violent impulse upon it. He said, coldly, "I was speaking from that
The Ohioan shrank back in his seat, and March felt sorry for him, though
he had put himself in the wrong. His old hand trembled beside his plate,
and his head shook, while his lips formed silent words; and his shy wife
was sharing his pain and shame.
Kenby began to talk about the stop which the Norumbia was to make at
Cherbourg, and about what hour the next day they should all be in
Cuxhaven. Miss Triscoe said they had never come on the Hanseatic Line
before, and asked several questions. Her father did not speak again, and
after a little while he rose without waiting for her to make the move
from table; he had punctiliously deferred to her hitherto. Eltwin rose
at the same time, and March feared that he might be going to provoke
another defeat, in some way.
Eltwin lifted his voice, and said, trying to catch Triscoe's eye, "I
think I ought to beg your pardon, sir. I do beg your pardon."
March perceived that Eltwin wished to make the offer of his reparation as
distinct as his aggression had been; and now he quaked for Triscoe, whose
daughter he saw glance apprehensively at her father as she swayed aside
to let the two men come together.
"That is all right, Colonel--"
"Major," Eltwin conscientiously interposed.
"Major," Triscoe bowed; and he put out his hand and grasped the hand
which had been tremulously rising toward him. "There can't be any doubt
of what we did, no matter what we've got."
"No, no!" said the other, eagerly. "That was what I meant, sir. I
don't think as you do; but I believe that a man who helped to save the
country has a right to think what he pleases about it."
Triscoe said, "That is all right, my dear sir. May I ask your regiment?"
The Marches let the old fellows walk away together, followed by the wife
of the one and the daughter of the other. They saw the young girl making
some graceful overtures of speech to the elder woman as they went.
"That was rather fine, my dear," said Mrs. March.
"Well, I don't know. It was a little too dramatic, wasn't it? It wasn't
what I should have expected of real life."
"Oh, you spoil everything! If that's the spirit you're going through
"It isn't. As soon as I touch European soil I shall reform."
That was not the first time General Triscoe had silenced question of his
opinions with the argument he had used upon Eltwin, though he was seldom
able to use it so aptly. He always found that people suffered, his
belief in our national degeneration much more readily when they knew that
he had left a diplomatic position in Europe (he had gone abroad as
secretary of a minor legation) to come home and fight for the Union.
Some millions of other men had gone into the war from the varied motives
which impelled men at that time; but he was aware that he had
distinction, as a man of property and a man of family, in doing so. His
family had improved as time passed, and it was now so old that back of
his grandfather it was lost in antiquity. This ancestor had retired from
the sea and become a merchant in his native Rhode Island port, where his
son established himself as a physician, and married the daughter of a
former slave-trader whose social position was the highest in the place;
Triscoe liked to mention his maternal grandfather when he wished a
listener to realize just how anomalous his part in a war against slavery
was; it heightened the effect of his pose.
He fought gallantly through the war, and he was brevetted Brigadier-
General at the close. With this honor, and with the wound which caused
an almost imperceptible limp in his gait, he won the heart of a rich New
York girl, and her father set him up in a business, which was not long in
going to pieces in his hands. Then the young couple went to live in
Paris, where their daughter was born, and where the mother died when the
child was ten years old. A little later his father-in-law died, and
Triscoe returned to New York, where he found the fortune which his
daughter had inherited was much less than he somehow thought he had a
right to expect.
The income from her fortune was enough to live on, and he did not go back
to Paris, where, in fact, things were not so much to his mind under the
Republic as they had been under the Second Empire. He was still willing
to do something for his country, however, and he allowed his name to be
used on a citizen's ticket in his district; but his provision-man was
sent to Congress instead. Then he retired to Rhode Island and attempted
to convert his shore property into a watering-place; but after being
attractively plotted and laid out with streets and sidewalks, it allured
no one to build on it except the birds and the chipmonks, and he came
back to New York, where his daughter had remained in school.
One of her maternal aunts made her a coming-out tea, after she left
school; and she entered upon a series of dinners, dances, theatre
parties, and receptions of all kinds; but the tide of fairy gold pouring
through her fingers left no engagement-ring on them. She had no duties,
but she seldom got out of humor with her pleasures; she had some odd
tastes of her own, and in a society where none but the most serious books
were ever seriously mentioned she was rather fond of good ones, and had
romantic ideas of a life that she vaguely called bohemian. Her character
was never tested by anything more trying than the fear that her father
might take her abroad to live; he had taken her abroad several times for
The dreaded trial did not approach for several years after she had ceased
to be a bud; and then it came when her father was again willing to serve
his country in diplomacy, either at the Hague, or at Brussels, or even at
Berne. Reasons of political geography prevented his appointment
anywhere, but General Triscoe having arranged his affairs for going
abroad on the mission he had expected, decided to go without it. He was
really very fit for both of the offices he had sought, and so far as a
man can deserve public place by public service, he had deserved it.
His pessimism was uncommonly well grounded, and if it did not go very
deep, it might well have reached the bottom of his nature.
His daughter had begun to divine him at the early age when parents
suppose themselves still to be mysteries to their children. She did not
think it necessary ever to explain him to others; perhaps she would not
have found it possible; and now after she parted from Mrs. Eltwin and
went to sit down beside Mrs. March she did not refer to her father. She
said how sweet she had found the old lady from Ohio; and what sort of
place did Mrs. March suppose it was where Mrs. Eltwin lived? They seemed
to have everything there, like any place. She had wanted to ask Mrs.
Eltwin if they sat on their steps; but she had not quite dared.
Burnamy came by, slowly, and at Mrs. March's suggestion he took one of
the chairs on her other side, to help her and Miss Triscoe look at the
Channel Islands and watch the approach of the steamer to Cherbourg, where
the Norumbia was to land again. The young people talked across Mrs.
March to each other, and said how charming the islands were, in their
gray-green insubstantiality, with valleys furrowing them far inward, like
airy clefts in low banks of clouds. It seemed all the nicer not to know
just which was which; but when the ship drew nearer to Cherbourg, he
suggested that they could see better by going round to the other side of
the ship. Miss Triscoe, as at the other times when she had gone off with
Burnamy, marked her allegiance, to Mrs. March by leaving a wrap with her.
Every one was restless in breaking with the old life at sea. There had
been an equal unrest when the ship first sailed; people had first come
aboard in the demoralization of severing their ties with home, and they
shrank from forming others. Then the charm of the idle, eventless life
grew upon them, and united them in a fond reluctance from the inevitable
Now that the beginning of the end had come, the pangs of disintegration
were felt in all the once-more-repellant particles. Burnamy and Miss
Triscoe, as they hung upon the rail, owned to each other that they hated
to have the voyage over. They had liked leaving Plymouth and being at
sea again; they wished that they need not be reminded of another
debarkation by the energy of the crane in hoisting the Cherbourg baggage
from the hold.
They approved of the picturesqueness of three French vessels of war that
passed, dragging their kraken shapes low through the level water. At
Cherbourg an emotional French tender came out to the ship, very different
in her clamorous voices and excited figures from the steady self-control
of the English tender at Plymouth; and they thought the French
fortifications much more on show than the English had been. Nothing
marked their youthful date so much to the Marches, who presently joined
them, as their failure to realize that in this peaceful sea the great
battle between the Kearsarge and the Alabama was fought. The elder
couple tried to affect their imaginations with the fact which reanimated
the spectre of a dreadful war for themselves; but they had to pass on
and, leave the young people unmoved.
Mrs. March wondered if they noticed the debarkation of the pivotal girl,
whom she saw standing on the deck of the tender, with her hands at her
waist, and giving now this side and now that side of her face to the
young men waving their hats to her from the rail of the ship. Burnamy
was not of their number, and he seemed not to know that the girl was
leaving him finally to Miss Triscoe. If Miss Triscoe knew it she did
nothing the whole of that long, last afternoon to profit by the fact.
Burnamy spent a great part of it in the chair beside Mrs. March, and he
showed an intolerable resignation to the girl's absence.
"Yes," said March, taking the place Burnamy left at last, "that terrible
patience of youth!"
"Patience? Folly! Stupidity! They ought to be together every instant!
Do they suppose that life is full of such chances? Do they think that
fate has nothing to do but--"
She stopped for a fit climax, and he suggested, "Hang round and wait on
"Yes! It's their one chance in a life-time, probably."
"Then you've quite decided that they're in love?" He sank comfortably
back, and put up his weary legs on the chair's extension with the
conviction that love had no such joy as that to offer.
"I've decided that they're intensely interested in each other."
"Then what more can we ask of them? And why do you care what they do or
don't do with their chance? Why do you wish their love well, if it's
that? Is marriage such a very certain good?"
"It isn't all that it might be, but it's all that there is. What would
our lives have been without it?" she retorted.
"Oh, we should have got on. It's such a tremendous risk that we, ought
to go round begging people to think twice, to count a hundred, or a
nonillion, before they fall in love to the marrying-point. I don't mind
their flirting; that amuses them; but marrying is a different thing.
I doubt if Papa Triscoe would take kindly to the notion of a son-in-law
he hadn't selected himself, and his daughter doesn't strike me as a young
lady who has any wisdom to throw away on a choice. She has her little
charm; her little gift of beauty, of grace, of spirit, and the other
things that go with her age and sex; but what could she do for a fellow
like Burnamy, who has his way to make, who has the ladder of fame to
climb, with an old mother at the bottom of it to look after? You
wouldn't want him to have an eye on Miss Triscoe's money, even if she had
money, and I doubt if she has much. It's all very pretty to have a girl
like her fascinated with a youth of his simple traditions; though Burnamy
isn't altogether pastoral in his ideals, and he looks forward to a place
in the very world she belongs to. I don't think it's for us to promote
"Well, perhaps you're right," she sighed. "I will let them alone from
this out. Thank goodness, I shall not have them under my eyes very
"Oh, I don't think there's any harm done yet," said her husband, with a
At dinner there seemed so little harm of the kind he meant that she
suffered from an illogical disappointment. The young people got through
the meal with no talk that seemed inductive; Burnamy left the table
first, and Miss Triscoe bore his going without apparent discouragement;
she kept on chatting with March till his wife took him away to their
chairs on deck.
There were a few more ships in sight than there were in mid-ocean; but
the late twilight thickened over the North Sea quite like the night after
they left New York, except that it was colder; and their hearts turned to
their children, who had been in abeyance for the week past, with a
remorseful pang. "Well, she said, "I wish we were going to be in New
York to-morrow, instead of Hamburg."
"Oh, no! Oh, no!" he protested. "Not so bad as that, my dear. This is
the last night, and it's hard to manage, as the last night always is. I
suppose the last night on earth--"
"Basil!" she implored.
"Well, I won't, then. But what I want is to see a Dutch lugger. I've
never seen a Dutch lugger, and--"
She suddenly pressed his arm, and in obedience to the signal he was
silent; though it seemed afterwards that he ought to have gone on talking
as if he did not see Burnamy and Miss Triscoe swinging slowly by. They
were walking close together, and she was leaning forward and looking up
into his face while he talked.
"Now," Mrs. March whispered, long after they were out of hearing, "let us
go instantly. I wouldn't for worlds have them see us here when they get
found again. They would feel that they had to stop and speak, and that
would spoil everything. Come!"
Burnamy paused in a flow of autobiography, and modestly waited for Miss
Triscoe's prompting. He had not to wait long.
"And then, how soon did you think of printing your things in a book?"
"Oh, about as soon as they began to take with the public."
"How could you tell that they were-taking?"
"They were copied into other papers, and people talked about them."
"And that was what made Mr. Stoller want you to be his secretary?"
"I don't believe it was. The theory in the office was that he didn't
think much of them; but he knows I can write shorthand, and put things
"Oh--ideas. He has a notion of trying to come forward in politics. He
owns shares in everything but the United States Senate--gas, electricity,
railroads, aldermen, newspapers--and now he would like some Senate.
That's what I think."
She did not quite understand, and she was far from knowing that this
cynic humor expressed a deadlier pessimism than her father's fiercest
accusals of the country. "How fascinating it is!" she said, innocently.
"And I suppose they all envy your coming out?"
"In the office?"
"Yes. I should envy, them--staying."
Burnamy laughed. "I don't believe they envy me. It won't be all roses
for me--they know that. But they know that I can take care of myself if
it isn't." He remembered something one of his friends in the office had
said of the painful surprise the Bird of Prey would feel if he ever tried
his beak on him in the belief that he was soft.
She abruptly left the mere personal question. "And which would you
rather write: poems or those kind of sketches?"
"I don't know," said Burnamy, willing to talk of himself on any terms.
"I suppose that prose is the thing for our time, rather more; but there
are things you can't say in prose. I used to write a great deal of verse
in college; but I didn't have much luck with editors till Mr. March took
this little piece for 'Every Other Week'."
"Little? I thought it was a long poem!"
Burnamy laughed at the notion. "It's only eight lines."
"Oh!" said the girl. "What is it about?"
He yielded to the temptation with a weakness which he found incredible in
a person of his make. "I can repeat it if you won't give me away to Mrs.
"Oh, no indeed!" He said the lines over to her very simply and well."
They are beautiful--beautiful!"
"Do you think so?" he gasped, in his joy at her praise.
"Yes, lovely. Do you know, you are the first literary man--the only
literary man--I ever talked with. They must go out--somewhere! Papa
must meet them at his clubs. But I never do; and so I'm making the most
"You can't make too much of me, Miss Triscoe," said Burnamy.
She would not mind his mocking. "That day you spoke about 'The Maiden
Knight', don't you know, I had never heard any talk about books in that
way. I didn't know you were an author then."
"Well, I'm not much of an author now," he said, cynically, to retrieve
his folly in repeating his poem to her.
"Oh, that will do for you to say. But I know what Mrs. March thinks."
He wished very much to know what Mrs. March thought, too; 'Every Other
Week' was such a very good place that he could not conscientiously
neglect any means of having his work favorably considered there; if Mrs.
March's interest in it would act upon her husband, ought not he to know
just how much she thought of him as a writer? "Did she like the poem."
Miss Triscoe could not recall that Mrs. March had said anything about the
poem, but she launched herself upon the general current of Mrs. March's
liking for Burnamy. "But it wouldn't do to tell you all she said!"
This was not what he hoped, but be was richly content when she returned
to his personal history. "And you didn't know any one when, you went up
to Chicago from--"
"Tippecanoe? Not exactly that. I wasn't acquainted with any one in the
office, but they had printed somethings of mine, and they were willing to
let me try my hand. That was all I could ask."
"Of course! You knew you could do the rest. Well, it is like a romance.
A woman couldn't have such an adventure as that!" sighed the girl.
"But women do!" Burnamy retorted. "There is a girl writing on the paper
now--she's going to do the literary notices while I'm gone--who came to
Chicago from Ann Arbor, with no more chance than I had, and who's made
her way single-handed from interviewing up."
"Oh," said Miss Triscoe, with a distinct drop in her enthusiasm.
"Is she nice?"
"She's mighty clever, and she's nice enough, too, though the kind of
journalism that women do isn't the most dignified. And she's one of the
best girls I know, with lots of sense."
"It must be very interesting," said Miss Triscoe, with little interest in
the way she said it. "I suppose you're quite a little community by
"On the paper?"
"Well, some of us know one another, in the office, but most of us don't.
There's quite a regiment of people on a big paper. If you'd like to come
out," Burnamy ventured, "perhaps you could get the Woman's Page to do."
"Oh, fashion; and personal gossip about society leaders; and recipes for
dishes and diseases; and correspondence on points of etiquette."
He expected her to shudder at the notion, but she merely asked, "Do women
He laughed reminiscently. "Well, not always. We had one man who used to
do it beautifully--when he was sober. The department hasn't had any
permanent head since."
He was sorry he had said this, but it did not seem to shock her, and no
doubt she had not taken it in fully. She abruptly left the subject.
"Do you know what time we really get in to-morrow?"
"About one, I believe--there's a consensus of stewards to that effect,
anyway." After a pause he asked, "Are you likely to be in Carlsbad?"
"We are going to Dresden, first, I believe. Then we may go on down to
Vienna. But nothing is settled, yet."
"Are you going direct to Dresden?"
"I don't know. We may stay in Hamburg a day or two."
"I've got to go straight to Carlsbad. There's a sleeping-car that will
get me there by morning: Mr. Stoller likes zeal. But I hope you'll let
me be of use to you any way I can, before we part tomorrow."
"You're very kind. You've been very good already--to papa."
He protested that he had not been at all good. "But he's used to taking
care of himself on the other side. Oh, it's this side, now!"
"So it is! How strange that seems! It's actually Europe. But as long
as we're at sea, we can't realize it. Don't you hate to have experiences
slip through your fingers?"
"I don't know. A girl doesn't have many experiences of her own; they're
always other people's."
This affected Burnamy as so profound that he did not question its truth.
He only suggested, "Well; sometimes they make other people have the
Whether Miss Triscoe decided that this was too intimate or not she left
the question. "Do you understand German?"
"A little. I studied it at college, and I've cultivated a sort of beer-
garden German in Chicago. I can ask for things."
"I can't, except in French, and that's worse than English, in Germany,
"Then you must let me be your interpreter up to the last moment. Will
She did not answer. "It must be rather late, isn't it?" she asked. He
let her see his watch, and she said, "Yes, it's very late," and led the
way within. "I must look after my packing; papa's always so prompt, and
I must justify myself for making him let me give up my maid when we left
home; we expect to get one in Dresden. Good-night!"
Burnamy looked after her drifting down their corridor, and wondered
whether it would have been a fit return for her expression of a sense of
novelty in him as a literary man if he had told her that she was the
first young lady he had known who had a maid. The fact awed him; Miss
Triscoe herself did not awe him so much.
The next morning was merely a transitional period, full of turmoil and
disorder, between the broken life of the sea and the untried life of the
shore. No one attempted to resume the routine of the voyage. People
went and came between their rooms and the saloons and the decks, and were
no longer careful to take their own steamer chairs when they sat down for
In the cabins the berths were not made up, and those who remained below
had to sit on their hard edges, or on the sofas, which were cumbered
with, hand-bags and rolls of shawls. At an early hour after breakfast
the bedroom stewards began to get the steamer trunks out and pile them in
the corridors; the servants all became more caressingly attentive; and
people who had left off settling the amount of the fees they were going
to give, anxiously conferred together. The question whether you ought
ever to give the head steward anything pressed crucially at the early
lunch, and Kenby brought only a partial relief by saying that he always
regarded the head steward as an officer of the ship. March made the
experiment of offering him six marks, and the head steward took them
quite as if he were not an officer of the ship. He also collected a
handsome fee for the music, which is the tax levied on all German ships
beyond the tolls exacted on the steamers of other nations.
After lunch the flat shore at Cuxhaven was so near that the summer
cottages of the little watering-place showed through the warm drizzle
much like the summer cottages of our own shore, and if it had not been
for the strange, low sky, the Americans might easily have fancied
themselves at home again.
Every one waited on foot while the tender came out into the stream where
the Norumbia had dropped anchor. People who had brought their hand-
baggage with them from their rooms looked so much safer with it that
people who had left theirs to their stewards had to go back and pledge
them afresh not to forget it. The tender came alongside, and the
transfer of the heavy trunks began, but it seemed such an endless work
that every one sat down in some other's chair. At last the trunks were
all on the tender, and the bareheaded stewards began to run down the
gangways with the hand-baggage. "Is this Hoboken?" March murmured in his
wife's ear, with a bewildered sense of something in the scene like the
reversed action of the kinematograph.
On the deck of the tender there was a brief moment of reunion among the
companions of the voyage, the more intimate for their being crowded
together under cover from the drizzle which now turned into a dashing
rain. Burnamy's smile appeared, and then Mrs. March recognized Miss
Triscoe and her father in their travel dress; they were not far from
Burnamy's smile, but he seemed rather to have charge of the Eltwins, whom
he was helping look after their bags and bundles. Rose Adding was
talking with Kenby, and apparently asking his opinion of something; Mrs.
Adding sat near them tranquilly enjoying her son.
Mrs. March made her husband identify their baggage, large and small, and
after he had satisfied her, he furtively satisfied himself by a fresh
count that it was all there. But he need not have taken the trouble;
their long, calm bedroom-steward was keeping guard over it; his eyes
expressed a contemptuous pity for their anxiety, whose like he must have
been very tired of. He brought their handbags into the customs-room at
the station where they landed; and there took a last leave and a last fee
with unexpected cordiality.
Again their companionship suffered eclipse in the distraction which the
customs inspectors of all countries bring to travellers; and again they
were united during the long delay in the waiting-room, which was also the
restaurant. It was full of strange noises and figures and odors--the
shuffling of feet, the clash of crockery, the explosion of nervous German
voices, mixed with the smell of beer and ham, and the smoke of cigars.
Through it all pierced the wail of a postman standing at the door with a
letter in his hand and calling out at regular intervals, "Krahnay,
Krahnay! "When March could bear it no longer he went up to him and
shouted, "Crane! Crane!" and the man bowed gratefully, and began to cry,
"Kren! Kren!" But whether Mr. Crane got his letter or not, he never
People were swarming at the window of the telegraph-office, and sending
home cablegrams to announce their safe arrival; March could not forbear
cabling to his son, though he felt it absurd. There was a great deal of
talking, but no laughing, except among the Americans, and the girls
behind the bar who tried to understand, what they wanted, and then served
them with what they chose for them. Otherwise the Germans, though
voluble, were unsmiling, and here on the threshold of their empire the
travellers had their first hint of the anxious mood which seems habitual
with these amiable people.
Mrs. Adding came screaming with glee to March where he sat with his wife,
and leaned over her son to ask, "Do you know what lese-majesty is? Rose
is afraid I've committed it!"
"No, I don't," said March. "But it's the unpardonable sin. What have
you been doing?"
"I asked the official at the door when our train would start, and when he
said at half past three, I said, 'How tiresome!' Rose says the railroads
belong to the state here, and that if I find fault with the time-table,
it's constructive censure of the Emperor, and that's lese-majesty." She
gave way to her mirth, while the boy studied March's face with an
"Well, I don't think you'll be arrested this time, Mrs. Adding; but I
hope it will be a warning to Mrs. March. She's been complaining of the
"Indeed I shall say what I like," said Mrs. March. "I'm an American."
"Well, you'll find you're a German, if you like to say anything
disagreeable about the coffee in the restaurant of the Emperor's railroad
station; the first thing you know I shall be given three months on your
Mrs. Adding asked: "Then they won't punish ladies? There, Rose! I'm
safe, you see; and you're still a minor, though you are so wise for your
She went back to her table, where Kenby came and sat down by her.
"I don't know that I quite like her playing on that sensitive child,",
said Mrs. March. "And you've joined with her in her joking. Go and
speak, to him!"
The boy was slowly following his mother, with his head fallen. March
overtook him, and he started nervously at the touch of a hand on his
shoulder, and then looked gratefully up into the man's face. March tried
to tell him what the crime of lese-majesty was, and he said: "Oh, yes.
I understood that. But I got to thinking; and I don't want my mother to
take any risks."
"I don't believe she will, really, Rose. But I'll speak to her, and tell
her she can't be too cautious."
"Not now, please!" the boy entreated.
"Well, I'll find another chance," March assented. He looked round and
caught a smiling nod from Burnamy, who was still with the Eltwins; the
Triscoes were at a table by themselves; Miss Triseoe nodded too, but her
father appeared not to see March. "It's all right, with Rose," he said,
when he sat down again by his wife; "but I guess it's all over with
Burnamy," and he told her what he had seen. "Do you think it came to any
displeasure between them last night? Do you suppose he offered himself,
"What nonsense!" said Mrs. March, but she was not at peace. "It's her
father who's keeping her away from him."
"I shouldn't mind that. He's keeping her away from us, too." But at
that moment Miss Triscoe as if she had followed his return from afar,
came over to speak to his wife. She said they were going on to Dresden
that evening, and she was afraid they might have no chance to see each
other on the train or in Hamburg. March, at this advance, went to speak
with her father; he found him no more reconciled to Europe than America.
"They're Goths," he said of the Germans. "I could hardly get that stupid
brute in the telegraph-office to take my despatch."
On his way back to his wife March met Miss Triscoe; he was not altogether
surprised to meet Burnamy with her, now. The young fellow asked if he
could be of any use to him, and then he said he would look him up in the
train. He seemed in a hurry, but when he walked away with Miss Triscoe
he did not seem in a hurry.
March remarked upon the change to his wife, and she sighed, "Yes, you can
see that as far as they're concerned."
"It's a great pity that there should be parents to complicate these
affairs," he said. "How simple it would be if there were no parties to
them but the lovers! But nature is always insisting upon fathers and
mothers, and families on both sides."
The long train which they took at last was for the Norumbia's people
alone, and it was of several transitional and tentative types of cars.
Some were still the old coach-body carriages; but most were of a strange
corridor arrangement, with the aide at the aide, and the seats crossing
from it, with compartments sometimes rising to the roof, and sometimes
rising half-way. No two cars seemed quite alike, but all were very
comfortable; and when the train began to run out through the little sea-
side town into the country, the old delight of foreign travel began.
Most of the houses were little and low and gray, with ivy or flowering
vines covering their walls to their browntiled roofs; there was here and
there a touch of Northern Gothic in the architecture; but usually where
it was pretentious it was in the mansard taste, which was so bad with us
a generation ago, and is still very bad in Cuxhaven.
The fields, flat and wide, were dotted with familiar shapes of Holstein
cattle, herded by little girls, with their hair in yellow pigtails. The
gray, stormy sky hung low, and broke in fitful rains; but perhaps for the
inclement season of mid-summer it was not very cold. Flowers were
blooming along the embankments and in the rank green fields with a dogged
energy; in the various distances were groups of trees embowering cottages
and even villages, and always along the ditches and watercourses were
double lines of low willows. At the first stop the train made, the
passengers flocked to the refreshment-booth, prettily arranged beside the
station, where the abundance of the cherries and strawberries gave proof
that vegetation was in other respects superior to the elements. But it
was not of the profusion of the sausages, and the ham which openly in
slices or covertly in sandwiches claimed its primacy in the German
affections; every form of this was flanked by tall glasses of beer.
A number of the natives stood by and stared unsmiling at the train, which
had broken out in a rash of little American flags at every window. This
boyish display, which must have made the Americans themselves laugh, if
their sense of humor had not been lost in their impassioned patriotism,
was the last expression of unity among the Norumbia's passengers, and
they met no more in their sea-solidarity. Of their table acquaintance
the Marches saw no one except Burnamy, who came through the train looking
for them. He said he was in one of the rear cars with the Eltwins, and
was going to Carlsbad with them in the sleeping-car train leaving Hamburg
at seven. He owned to having seen the Triscoes since they had left
Cuxhaven; Mrs. March would not suffer herself to ask him whether they
were in the same carriage with the Eltwins. He had got a letter from
Mr. Stoller at Cuxhaven, and he begged the Marches to let him engage
rooms for them at the hotel where he was going to stay with him.
After they reached Hamburg they had flying glimpses of him and of others
in the odious rivalry to get their baggage examined first which seized
upon all, and in which they no longer knew one another, but selfishly
struggled for the good-will of porters and inspectors. There was really
no such haste; but none could govern themselves against the general
frenzy. With the porter he secured March conspired and perspired to win
the attention of a cold but not unkindly inspector. The officer opened
one trunk, and after a glance at it marked all as passed, and then there
ensued a heroic strife with the porter as to the pieces which were to go
to the Berlin station for their journey next day, and the pieces which
were to go to the hotel overnight. At last the division was made; the
Marches got into a cab of the first class; and the porter, crimson and
steaming at every pore from the physical and intellectual strain, went
back into the station.
They had got the number of their cab from the policeman who stands at the
door of all large German stations and supplies the traveller with a
metallic check for the sort of vehicle he demands. They were not proud,
but it seemed best not to risk a second-class cab in a strange city, and
when their first-class cab came creaking and limping out of the rank,
they saw how wise they had been, if one of the second class could have
As they rattled away from the station they saw yet another kind of
turnout, which they were destined to see more and more in the German
lands. It was that team of a woman harnessed with a dog to a cart which
the women of no other country can see without a sense of personal insult.
March tried to take the humorous view, and complained that they had not
been offered the choice of such an equipage by the policeman, but his
wife would not be amused. She said that no country which suffered such a
thing could be truly civilized, though he made her observe that no city
in the world, except Boston or Brooklyn, was probably so thoroughly
trolleyed as Hamburg. The hum of the electric car was everywhere, and
everywhere the shriek of the wires overhead; batlike flights of
connecting plates traversed all the perspectives through which they drove
to the pleasant little hotel they had chosen.
On one hand their windows looked toward a basin of the Elbe, where
stately white swans were sailing; and on the other to the new Rathhaus,
over the trees that deeply shaded the perennial mud of a cold, dim public
garden, where water-proof old women and impervious nurses sat, and
children played in the long twilight of the sour, rain-soaked summer of
the fatherland. It was all picturesque, and within-doors there was the
novelty of the meagre carpets and stalwart furniture of the Germans, and
their beds, which after so many ages of Anglo-Saxon satire remain
immutably preposterous. They are apparently imagined for the stature of
sleepers who have shortened as they broadened; their pillows are
triangularly shaped to bring the chin tight upon the breast under the
bloated feather bulk which is meant for covering, and which rises over
the sleeper from a thick substratum of cotton coverlet, neatly buttoned
into the upper sheet, with the effect of a portly waistcoat.
The hotel was illumined by the kindly splendor of the uniformed portier,
who had met the travellers at the door, like a glowing vision of the
past, and a friendly air diffused itself through the whole house. At the
dinner, which, if not so cheap as they had somehow hoped, was by no means
bad, they took counsel with the English-speaking waiter as to what
entertainment Hamburg could offer for the evening, and by the time they
had drunk their coffee they had courage for the Circus Renz, which seemed
to be all there was.
The conductor of the trolley-car, which they hailed at the street corner,
stopped it and got off the platform, and stood in the street until they
were safely aboard, without telling them to step lively, or pulling them
up the steps; or knuckling them in the back to make them move forward.
He let them get fairly seated before be started the car, and so lost the
fun of seeing them lurch and stagger violently, and wildly clutch each
other for support. The Germans have so little sense of humor that
probably no one in the car would have been amused to see the strangers
flung upon the floor. No one apparently found it droll that the
conductor should touch his cap to them when he asked for their fare; no
one smiled at their efforts to make him understand where they wished to
go, and he did not wink at the other passengers in trying to find out.
Whenever the car stopped he descended first, and did not remount till the
dismounting passenger had taken time to get well away from it. When the
Marches got into the wrong car in coming home, and were carried beyond
their street, the conductor would not take their fare.
The kindly civility which environed them went far to alleviate the
inclemency of the climate; it began to rain as soon as they left the
shelter of the car, but a citizen of whom they asked the nearest way to
the Circus Renz was so anxious to have them go aright that they did not
mind the wet, and the thought of his goodness embittered March's self-
reproach for under-tipping the sort of gorgeous heyduk, with a staff like
a drum-major's, who left his place at the circus door to get their
tickets. He brought them back with a magnificent bow, and was then as
visibly disappointed with the share of the change returned to him as a
child would have been.
They went to their places with the sting of his disappointment rankling
in their hearts. "One ought always to overpay them," March sighed, "and
I will do it from this time forth; we shall not be much the poorer for
it. That heyduk is not going to get off with less than a mark when we
come out." As an earnest of his good faith he gave the old man who
showed them to their box a tip that made him bow double, and he bought
every conceivable libretto and play-bill offered him at prices fixed by
"One ought to do it," he said. "We are of the quality of good geniuses
to these poor souls; we are Fortune in disguise; we are money found in
the road. It is an accursed system, but they are more its victims than
we." His wife quite agreed with him, and with the same good conscience
between them they gave themselves up to the pure joy which the circus,
of all modern entertainments, seems alone to inspire. The house was full
from floor to roof when they came ins and every one was intent upon the
two Spanish clowns, Lui-Lui and Soltamontes, whose drolleries spoke the
universal language of circus humor, and needed no translation into either
German or English. They had missed by an event or two the more patriotic
attraction of "Miss Darlings, the American Star," as she was billed in
English, but they were in time for one of those equestrian performances
which leave the spectator almost exanimate from their prolixity, and the
pantomimic piece which closed the evening.
This was not given until nearly the whole house had gone out and stayed
itself with beer and cheese and ham and sausage, in the restaurant which
purveys these light refreshments in the summer theatres all over Germany.
When the people came back gorged to the throat, they sat down in the
right mood to enjoy the allegory of "The Enchanted Mountain's Fantasy;
the Mountain episodes; the High-interesting Sledges-Courses on the Steep
Acclivities; the Amazing-Up-rush of the thence plunging-Four Trains,
which arrive with Lightnings-swiftness at the Top of the over-40-feet-
high Mountain-the Highest Triumph of the To-day's Circus-Art; the Sledge-
journey in the Wizard-mountain, and the Fairy Ballet in the Realm of the
Ghost-prince, with Gold and Silver, Jewel, Bloomghosts, Gnomes,
Gnomesses, and Dwarfs, in never-till-now-seen Splendor of Costume." The
Marches were happy in this allegory, and happier in the ballet, which is
everywhere delightfully innocent, and which here appealed with the large
flat feet and the plain good faces of the 'coryphees' to all that was
simplest and sweetest in their natures. They could not have resisted, if
they had wished, that environment, of good-will; and if it had not been
for the disappointed heyduk, they would have got home from their evening
at the Circus Renz without a pang.
They looked for him everywhere when they came out, but he had vanished,
and they were left with a regret which, if unavailing, was not too
poignant. In spite of it they had still an exhilaration in their release
from the companionship of their fellow-voyagers which they analyzed as
the psychical revulsion from the strain of too great interest in them.
Mrs. March declared that for the present, at least, she wanted Europe
quite to themselves; and she said that not even for the pleasure of
seeing Burnamy and Miss Triscoe come into their box together world she
have suffered an American trespass upon their exclusive possession of the
In the audience she had seen German officers for the first time in
Hamburg, and she meant, if unremitting question could bring out the
truth, to know why she had not met any others. She had read much of the
prevalence and prepotence of the German officers who would try to push
her off the sidewalk, till they realized that she was an American woman,
and would then submit to her inflexible purpose of holding it. But she
had been some seven or eight hours in Hamburg, and nothing of the kind
had happened to her, perhaps because she had hardly yet walked a block in
the city streets, but perhaps also because there seemed to be very few
officers or military of any kind in Hamburg.
Their absence was plausibly explained, the next morning, by the young
German friend who came in to see the Marches at breakfast. He said
Hamburg had been so long a free republic that the presence of a large
imperial garrison was distasteful to the people, and as a matter of fact
there were very few soldiers quartered there, whether the authorities
chose to indulge the popular grudge or not. He was himself in a joyful
flutter of spirits, for he had just the day before got his release from
military service. He gave them a notion of what the rapture of a man
reprieved from death might be, and he was as radiantly happy in the ill
health which had got him his release as if it had been the greatest
blessing of heaven. He bubbled over with smiling regrets that he should
be leaving his home for the first stage of the journey which he was to
take in search of strength, just as they had come, and he pressed them to
say if there were not something that he could do for them.
"Yes," said Mrs. March, with a promptness surprising to her husband, who
could think of nothing; "tell us where Heinrich Heine lived when he was
in Hamburg. My husband has always had a great passion for him and wants
to look him up everywhere."
March had forgotten that Heine ever lived in Hamburg, and the young man
had apparently never known it. His face fell; he wished to make Mrs.
March believe that it was only Heine's uncle who had lived there; but she
was firm; and when he had asked among the hotel people he came back
gladly owning that he was wrong, and that the poet used to live in
Konigstrasse, which was very near by, and where they could easily know
the house by his bust set in its front. The portier and the head waiter
shared his ecstasy in so easily obliging the friendly American pair, and
joined him in minutely instructing the driver when they shut them into
They did not know that his was almost the only laughing face they should
see in the serious German Empire; just as they did not know that it
rained there every day. As they drove off in the gray drizzle with the
unfounded hope that sooner or later the weather would be fine, they bade
their driver be very slow in taking them through Konigstrasse, so that he
should by no means miss Heine's dwelling, and he duly stopped in front of
a house bearing the promised bust. They dismounted in order to revere it
more at their ease, but the bust proved, by an irony bitterer than the
sick, heart-breaking, brilliant Jew could have imagined in his cruelest
moment, to be that of the German Milton, the respectable poet Klopstock,
whom Heine abhorred and mocked so pitilessly.
In fact it was here that the good, much-forgotten Klopstock dwelt,
when he came home to live with a comfortable pension from the Danish
government; and the pilgrims to the mistaken shrine went asking about
among the neighbors in Konigstrasse, for some manner of house where Heine
might have lived; they would have been willing to accept a flat, or any
sort of two-pair back. The neighbors were somewhat moved by the anxiety
of the strangers; but they were not so much moved as neighbors in Italy
would have been. There vas no eager and smiling sympathy in the little
crowd that gathered to see what was going on; they were patient of
question and kind in their helpless response, but they were not gay.
To a man they had not heard of Heine; even the owner of a sausage and
blood-pudding shop across the way had not heard of him; the clerk of a
stationer-and-bookseller's next to the butcher's had heard of him, but he
had never heard that he lived in Konigstrasse; he never had heard where
he lived in Hamburg.
The pilgrims to the fraudulent shrine got back into their carriage, and
drove sadly away, instructing their driver with the rigidity which their
limited German favored, not to let any house with a bust in its front
escape him. He promised, and took his course out through Konigstrasse,
and suddenly they found themselves in a world of such eld and quaintness
that they forgot Heine as completely as any of his countrymen had done.
They were in steep and narrow streets, that crooked and turned with no
apparent purpose of leading anywhere, among houses that looked down upon
them with an astonished stare from the leaden-sashed windows of their
timber-laced gables. The facades with their lattices stretching in bands
quite across them, and with their steep roofs climbing high in
successions of blinking dormers, were more richly mediaeval than anything
the travellers had ever dreamt of before, and they feasted themselves
upon the unimagined picturesqueness with a leisurely minuteness which
brought responsive gazers everywhere to the windows; windows were set
ajar; shop doors were darkened by curious figures from within, and the
traffic of the tortuous alleys was interrupted by their progress. They
could not have said which delighted them more--the houses in the
immediate foreground, or the sharp high gables in the perspectives and
the background; but all were like the painted scenes of the stage, and
they had a pleasant difficulty in realizing that they were not persons in
some romantic drama.
The illusion remained with them and qualified the impression which
Hamburg made by her much-trolleyed Bostonian effect; by the decorous
activity and Parisian architecture of her business streets; by the
turmoil of her quays, and the innumerable masts and chimneys of her
shipping. At the heart of all was that quaintness, that picturesqueness
of the past, which embodied the spirit of the old Hanseatic city, and
seemed the expression of the home-side of her history. The sense of this
gained strength from such slight study of her annals as they afterwards
made, and assisted the digestion of some morsels of tough statistics.
In the shadow of those Gothic houses the fact that Hamburg was one of the
greatest coffee marts and money marts of the world had a romantic
glamour; and the fact that in the four years from 1870 till 1874 a
quarter of a million emigrants sailed on her ships for the United States
seemed to stretch a nerve of kindred feeling from those mediaeval streets
through the whole shabby length of Third Avenue.
It was perhaps in this glamour, or this feeling of commercial solidarity,
that March went to have a look at the Hamburg Bourse, in the beautiful
new Rathhaus. It was not undergoing repairs, it was too new for that;
but it was in construction, and so it fulfilled the function of a public
edifice, in withholding its entire interest from the stranger. He could
not get into the Senate Chamber; but the Bourse was free to him, and when
he stepped within, it rose at him with a roar of voices and of feet like
the New York Stock Exchange. The spectacle was not so frantic; people
were not shaking their fists or fingers in each other's noses; but they
were all wild in the tamer German way, and he was glad to mount from the
Bourse to the poor little art gallery upstairs, and to shut out its
clamor. He was not so glad when he looked round on these, his first,
examples of modern German art. The custodian led him gently about and
said which things were for sale, and it made his heart ache to see how
bad they were, and to think that, bad as they were, he could not buy any
In the start from Cuxhaven the passengers had the irresponsible ease of
people ticketed through, and the steamship company had still the charge
of their baggage. But when the Marches left Hamburg for Leipsic (where
they had decided to break the long pull to Carlsbad), all the anxieties
of European travel, dimly remembered from former European days, offered
themselves for recognition. A porter vanished with their hand-baggage
before they could note any trait in him for identification; other porters
made away with their trunks; and the interpreter who helped March buy his
tickets, with a vocabulary of strictly railroad English, had to help him
find the pieces in the baggage-room, curiously estranged in a mountain of
alien boxes. One official weighed them; another obliged him to pay as
much in freight as for a third passenger, and gave him an illegible scrap
of paper which recorded their number and destination. The interpreter
and the porters took their fees with a professional effect of
dissatisfaction, and he went to wait with his wife amidst the smoking and
eating and drinking in the restaurant. They burst through with the rest
when the doors were opened to the train, and followed a glimpse of the
porter with their hand-bags, as he ran down the platform, still bent upon
escaping them, and brought him to bay at last in a car where he had got
very good seats for them, and sank into their places, hot and humiliated
by their needless tumult.
As they cooled, they recovered their self-respect, and renewed a youthful
joy in some of the long-estranged facts. The road was rougher than the
roads at home; but for much less money they had the comfort, without the
unavailing splendor, of a Pullman in their second-class carriage. Mrs.
March had expected to be used with the severity on the imperial railroads
which she had failed to experience from the military on the Hamburg
sidewalks, but nothing could be kindlier than the whole management toward
her. Her fellow-travellers were not lavish of their rights, as Americans
are; what they got, that they kept; and in the run from Hamburg to
Leipsic she had several occasions to observe that no German, however
young or robust, dreams of offering a better place, if he has one, to a
lady in grace to her sex or age; if they got into a carriage too late to
secure a forward-looking seat, she rode backward to the end of that
stage. But if they appealed to their fellow-travellers for information
about changes, or stops, or any of the little facts that they wished to
make sure of, they were enlightened past possibility of error. At the
point where they might have gone wrong the explanations were renewed with
a thoughtfulness which showed that their anxieties had not been
forgotten. She said she could not see how any people could be both so
selfish and so sweet, and her husband seized the advantage of saying
"You women are so pampered in America that you are astonished when you
are treated in Europe like the mere human beings you are."
She answered with unexpected reasonableness:
"Yes, there's something in that; but when the Germans have taught us how
despicable we are as women, why do they treat us so well as human
This was at ten o'clock, after she had ridden backward a long way, and at
last, within an hour of Leipsic, had got a seat confronting him. The
darkness had now hidden the landscape, but the impression of its few
simple elements lingered pleasantly in their sense: long levels, densely
wooded with the precise, severely disciplined German forests, and
checkered with fields of grain and grass, soaking under the thin rain
that from time to time varied the thin sunshine.
The villages and peasants' cottages were notably few; but there was here
and there a classic or a gothic villa, which, at one point, an English-
speaking young lady turned from her Tauchnitz novel to explain as the
seat of some country gentleman; the land was in large holdings, and this
accounted for the sparsity of villages and cottages.
She then said that she was a German teacher of English, in Hamburg, and
was going home to Potsdam for a visit. She seemed like a German girl out
of 'The Initials', and in return for this favor Mrs. March tried to
invest herself with some romantic interest as an American. She failed to
move the girl's fancy, even after she had bestowed on her an immense
bunch of roses which the young German friend in Hamburg had sent to them
just before they left their hotel. She failed, later, on the same ground
with the pleasant-looking English woman who got into their carriage at
Magdeburg, and talked over the 'London Illustrated News' with an English-
speaking Fraulein in her company; she readily accepted the fact of Mrs.
March's nationality, but found nothing wonderful in it, apparently; and
when she left the train she left Mrs. March to recall with fond regret
the old days in Italy when she first came abroad, and could make a whole
carriage full of Italians break into ohs and ahs by saying that she was
an American, and telling how far she had come across the sea.
"Yes," March assented, "but that was a great while ago, and Americans
were much rarer than they are now in Europe. The Italians are so much
more sympathetic than the Germans and English, and they saw that you
wanted to impress them. Heaven knows how little they cared! And then,
you were a very pretty young girl in those days; or at least I thought
"Yes," she sighed, "and now I'm a plain old woman."
"Oh, not quite so bad as that."
"Yes, I am! Do you think they would have cared more if it had been Miss
"Not so much as if it had been the pivotal girl. They would have found
her much more their ideal of the American woman; and even she would have
had to have been here thirty years ago."
She laughed a little ruefully. "Well, at any rate, I should like to know
how Miss Triscoe would have affected them."
"I should much rather know what sort of life that English woman is living
here with her German husband; I fancied she had married rank. I could
imagine how dull it must be in her little Saxon town, from the way she
clung to her Illustrated News, and explained the pictures of the
royalties to her friend. There is romance for you!"
They arrived at Leipsic fresh and cheerful after their five hours'
journey, and as in a spell of their travelled youth they drove up through
the academic old town, asleep under its dimly clouded sky, and silent
except for the trolley-cars that prowled its streets with their feline
purr, and broke at times into a long, shrill caterwaul. A sense of the
past imparted itself to the well-known encounter with the portier and the
head waiter at the hotel door, to the payment of the driver, to the
endeavor of the secretary to have them take the most expensive rooms in
the house, and to his compromise upon the next most, where they found
themselves in great comfort, with electric lights and bells, and a quick
succession of fee-taking call-boys in dress-coats too large for them.
The spell was deepened by the fact, which March kept at the bottom of his
consciousness for the present, that one of their trunks was missing.
This linked him more closely to the travel of other days, and he spent
the next forenoon in a telegraphic search for the estray, with emotions
tinged by the melancholy of recollection, but in the security that since
it was somewhere in the keeping of the state railway, it would be finally
restored to him.
Their windows, as they saw in the morning, looked into a large square of
aristocratic physiognomy, and of a Parisian effect in architecture, which
afterwards proved characteristic of the town, if not quite so
characteristic as to justify the passion of Leipsic for calling itself
Little Paris. The prevailing tone was of a gray tending to the pale
yellow of the Tauchnitz editions with which the place is more familiarly
associated in the minds of English-speaking travellers. It was rather
more sombre than it might have been if the weather had been fair; but a
quiet rain was falling dreamily that morning, and the square was provided
with a fountain which continued to dribble in the rare moments when the
rain forgot itself. The place was better shaded than need be in that
sunless land by the German elms that look like ours and it was
sufficiently stocked with German statues, that look like no others. It
had a monument, too, of the sort with which German art has everywhere
disfigured the kindly fatherland since the war with France. These
monuments, though they are so very ugly, have a sort of pathos as records
of the only war in which Germany unaided has triumphed against a foreign
foe, but they are as tiresome as all such memorial pomps must be. It is
not for the victories of a people that any other people can care. The
wars come and go in blood and tears; but whether they are bad wars, or
what are comically called good wars, they are of one effect in death and
sorrow, and their fame is an offence to all men not concerned in them,
till time has softened it to a memory
"Of old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago."
It was for some such reason that while the Marches turned with instant
satiety from the swelling and strutting sculpture which celebrated the
Leipsic heroes of the war of 1870, they had heart for those of the war of
1813; and after their noonday dinner they drove willingly, in a pause of
the rain, out between yellowing harvests of wheat and oats to the field
where Napoleon was beaten by the Russians, Austrians and Prussians (it
always took at least three nations to beat the little wretch) fourscore
years before. Yet even there Mrs. March was really more concerned for
the sparsity of corn-flowers in the grain, which in their modern
character of Kaiserblumen she found strangely absent from their loyal
function; and March was more taken with the notion of the little gardens
which his guide told him the citizens could have in the suburbs of
Leipsic and enjoy at any trolley-car distance from their homes. He saw
certain of these gardens in groups, divided by low, unenvious fences, and
sometimes furnished with summer-houses, where the tenant could take his
pleasure in the evening air, with his family. The guide said he had such
a garden himself, at a rent of seven dollars a year, where he raised
vegetables and flowers, and spent his peaceful leisure; and March fancied
that on the simple domestic side of their life, which this fact gave him
a glimpse of, the Germans were much more engaging than in their character
of victors over either the First or the Third Napoleon. But probably
they would not have agreed with him, and probably nations will go on
making themselves cruel and tiresome till humanity at last prevails over
He could have put the case to the guide himself; but though the guide was
imaginably liberated to a cosmopolitan conception of things by three
years' service as waiter in English hotels, where he learned the
language, he might not have risen to this. He would have tried, for he
was a willing and kindly soul, though he was not a 'valet de place' by
profession. There seemed in fact but one of that useless and amusing
race (which is everywhere falling into decay through the rivalry of the
perfected Baedeker,) left in Leipsic, and this one was engaged, so that
the Marches had to devolve upon their ex-waiter, who was now the keeper
of a small restaurant. He gladly abandoned his business to the care of
his wife, in order to drive handsomely about in his best clothes, with
strangers who did not exact too much knowledge from him. In his zeal to
do something he possessed himself of March's overcoat when they
dismounted at their first gallery, and let fall from its pocket his
prophylactic flask of brandy, which broke with a loud crash on the marble
floor in the presence of several masterpieces, and perfumed the whole
place. The masterpieces were some excellent works of Luke Kranach, who
seemed the only German painter worth looking at when there were any Dutch
or Italian pictures near, but the travellers forgot the name and nature
of the Kranachs, and remembered afterwards only the shattered fragments
of the brandy-flask, just how they looked on the floor, and the fumes,
how they smelt, that rose from the ruin.
It might have been a warning protest of the veracities against what they
were doing; but the madness of sight-seeing, which spoils travel, was on
them, and they delivered themselves up to it as they used in their
ignorant youth, though now they knew its futility so well. They spared
themselves nothing that they had time for, that day, and they felt
falsely guilty for their omissions, as if they really had been duties to
art and history which must be discharged, like obligations to one's maker
and one's neighbor.
They had a touch of genuine joy in the presence of the beautiful old
Rathhaus, and they were sensible of something like a genuine emotion in
passing the famous and venerable university; the very air of Leipsic is
redolent of printing and publication, which appealed to March in his
quality of editor, and they could not fail of an impression of the quiet
beauty of the town, with its regular streets of houses breaking into
suburban villas of an American sort, and intersected with many canals,
which in the intervals of the rain were eagerly navigated by pleasure
boats, and contributed to the general picturesqueness by their frequent
bridges, even during the drizzle. There seemed to be no churches to do,
and as it was a Sunday, the galleries were so early closed against them
that they were making a virtue as well as a pleasure of the famous scene
of Napoleon's first great defeat.
By a concert between their guide and driver their carriage drew up at the
little inn by the road-side, which is also a museum stocked with relics
from the battle-field, and with objects of interest relating to it. Old
muskets, old swords, old shoes and old coats, trumpets, drums, gun-
carriages, wheels, helmets, cannon balls, grape-shot, and all the
murderous rubbish which battles come to at last, with proclamations,
autographs, caricatures and likenesses of Napoleon, and effigies of all
the other generals engaged, and miniatures and jewels of their womenkind,
filled room after room, through which their owner vaunted his way, with a
loud pounding voice and a bad breath. When he wished them to enjoy some
gross British satire or clumsy German gibe at Bonaparte's expense, and
put his face close to begin the laugh, he was something so terrible that
March left the place with a profound if not a reasoned regret that the
French had not won the battle of Leipsic. He walked away musing
pensively upon the traveller's inadequacy to the ethics of history when a
breath could so sway him against his convictions; but even after he had
cleansed his lungs with some deep respirations he found himself still a
Bonapartist in the presence of that stone on the rising ground where
Napoleon sat to watch the struggle on the vast plain, and see his empire
slipping through his blood-stained fingers. It was with difficulty that
he could keep from revering the hat and coat which are sculptured on the
stone, but it was well that he succeeded, for he could not make out then
or afterwards whether the habiliments represented were really Napoleon's
or not, and they might have turned out to be Barclay de Tolly's.
While he stood trying to solve this question of clothes he was startled
by the apparition of a man climbing the little slope from the opposite
quarter, and advancing toward them. He wore the imperial crossed by the
pointed mustache once so familiar to a world much the worse for them, and
March had the shiver of a fine moment in which he fancied the Third
Napoleon rising to view the scene where the First had looked his coming
ruin in the face.
"Why, it's Miss Triscoe!" cried his wife, and before March had noticed
the approach of another figure, the elder and the younger lady had rushed
upon each other, and encountered with a kiss. At the same time the
visage of the last Emperor resolved itself into the face of General
Triscoe, who gave March his hand in a more tempered greeting.
The ladies began asking each other of their lives since their parting two
days before, and the men strolled a few paces away toward the distant
prospect of Leipsic, which at that point silhouettes itself in a noble
stretch of roofs and spires and towers against the horizon.
General Triscoe seemed no better satisfied with Germany than he had been
on first stepping ashore at Cuxhaven. He might still have been in a pout
with his own country, but as yet he had not made up with any other; and
he said, "What a pity Napoleon didn't thrash the whole dunderheaded lot!
His empire would have been a blessing to them, and they would have had
some chance of being civilized under the French. All this unification of
nationalities is the great humbug of the century. Every stupid race
thinks it's happy because it's united, and civilization has been set back
a hundred years by the wars that were fought to bring the unions about;
and more wars will have to be fought to keep them up. What a farce it
is! What's become of the nationality of the Danes in Schleswig-Holstein,
or the French in the Rhine Provinces, or the Italians in Savoy?"
March had thought something like this himself, but to have it put by
General Triscoe made it offensive. "I don't know. Isn't it rather
quarrelling with the course of human events to oppose accomplished facts?
The unifications were bound to be, just as the separations before them
were. And so far they have made for peace, in Europe at least, and peace
is civilization. Perhaps after a great many ages people will come
together through their real interests, the human interests; but at
present it seems as if nothing but a romantic sentiment of patriotism can
unite them. By-and-by they may find that there is nothing in it."
"Perhaps," said the general, discontentedly. "I don't see much promise
of any kind in the future."
"Well, I don't know. When you think of the solid militarism of Germany,
you seem remanded to the most hopeless moment of the Roman Empire; you
think nothing can break such a force; but my guide says that even in
Leipsic the Socialists outnumber all the other parties, and the army is
the great field of the Socialist propaganda. The army itself may be
shaped into the means of democracy--even of peace."
"You're very optimistic," said Triscoe, curtly. "As I read the signs,
we are not far from universal war. In less than a year we shall make the
break ourselves in a war with Spain." He looked very fierce as he
prophesied, and he dotted March over with his staccato glances.
"Well, I'll allow that if Tammany comes in this year, we shall have war
with Spain. You can't ask more than that, General Triscoe?"
Mrs. March and Miss Triscoe had not said a word of the 'battle of
Leipsic', or of the impersonal interests which it suggested to the men.
For all these, they might still have been sitting in their steamer chairs
on the promenade of the Norumbia at a period which seemed now of
geological remoteness. The girl accounted for not being in Dresden by
her father's having decided not to go through Berlin but to come by way
of Leipsic, which he thought they had better see; they had come without
stopping in Hamburg. They had not enjoyed Leipsic much; it had rained
the whole day before, and they had not gone out. She asked when Mrs.
March was going on to Carlsbad, and Mrs. March answered, the next
morning; her husband wished to begin his cure at once.
Then Miss Triscoe pensively wondered if Carlsbad would do her father any
good; and Mrs. March discreetly inquired General Triscoe's symptoms.
"Oh, he hasn't any. But I know he can't be well--with his gloomy
"They may come from his liver," said Mrs. March. "Nearly everything of
that kind does. I know that Mr. March has been terribly depressed at
times, and the doctor said it was nothing but his liver; and Carlsbad is
the great place for that, you know."
"Perhaps I can get papa to run over some day, if he doesn't like Dresden.
It isn't very far, is it?"
They referred to Mrs. March's Baedeker together, and found that it was
"Yes, that is what I thought," said Miss Triscoe, with a carelessness
which convinced Mrs. March she had looked up the fact already.
"If you decide to come, you must let us get rooms for you at our hotel.
We're going to Pupp's; most of the English and Americans go to the hotels
on the Hill, but Pupp's is in the thick of it in the lower town; and it's
very gay, Mr. Kenby says; he's been there often. Mr. Burnamy is to get
"I don't suppose I can get papa to go," said Miss Triscoe, so insincerely
that Mrs. March was sure she had talked over the different routes; to
Carlsbad with Burnamy--probably on the way from Cuxhaven. She looked up
from digging the point of her umbrella in the ground. "You didn't meet
him here this morning?"
Mrs. March governed herself to a calm which she respected in asking, "Has
Mr. Burnamy been here?"
"He came on with Mr. and Mrs. Eltwin, when we did, and they all decided
to stop over a day. They left on the twelve-o'clock train to-day."
Mrs. March perceived that the girl had decided not to let the facts
betray themselves by chance, and she treated them as of no significance.
"No, we didn't see him," she said, carelessly.
The two men came walking slowly towards them, and Miss Triscoe said,
"We're going to Dresden this evening, but I hope we shall meet somewhere,
"Oh, people never lose sight of each other in Europe; they can't; it's so
"Agatha," said the girl's father, "Mr. March tells me that the museum
over there is worth seeing."
"Well," the girl assented, and she took a winning leave of the Marches,
and moved gracefully away with her father.
"I should have thought it was Agnes," said Mrs. March, following them
with her eyes before she turned upon her husband. "Did he tell you
Burnamy had been here? Well, he has! He has just gone on to Carlsbad.
He made, those poor old Eltwins stop over with him, so he could be with
"Did she say that?"
"No, but of course he did."
"Then it's all settled?"
"No, it isn't settled. It's at the most interesting point."
"Well, don't read ahead. You always want to look at the last page."
"You were trying to look at the last page yourself," she retorted, and
she would have liked to punish him for his complex dishonesty toward the
affair; but upon the whole she kept her temper with him, and she made him
agree that Miss Triscoe's getting her father to Carlsbad was only a
question of time.
They parted heart's-friends with their ineffectual guide, who was
affectionately grateful for the few marks they gave him, at the hotel
door; and they were in just the mood to hear men singing in a farther
room when they went down to supper. The waiter, much distracted from
their own service by his duties to it, told them it was the breakfast
party of students which they had heard beginning there about noon. The
revellers had now been some six hours at table, and he said they might
not rise before midnight; they had just got to the toasts, which were
apparently set to music.
The students of right remained a vivid color in the impression of the
university town. They pervaded the place, and decorated it with their
fantastic personal taste in coats and trousers, as well as their corps
caps of green, white, red, and blue, but above all blue. They were not
easily distinguishable from the bicyclers who were holding one of the
dull festivals of their kind in Leipsic that day, and perhaps they were
sometimes both students and bicyclers. As bicyclers they kept about in
the rain, which they seemed not to mind; so far from being disheartened,
they had spirits enough to take one another by the waist at times and
waltz in the square before the hotel. At one moment of the holiday some
chiefs among them drove away in carriages; at supper a winner of prizes
sat covered with badges and medals; another who went by the hotel
streamed with ribbons; and an elderly man at his side was bespattered
with small knots and ends of them, as if he had been in an explosion of
ribbons somewhere. It seemed all to be as exciting for them, and it was
as tedious for the witnesses, as any gala of students and bicyclers at
Mrs. March remained with an unrequited curiosity concerning their
different colors and different caps, and she tried to make her husband
find out what they severally meant; he pretended a superior interest in
the nature of a people who had such a passion for uniforms that they were
not content with its gratification in their immense army, but indulged it
in every pleasure and employment of civil life. He estimated, perhaps
not very accurately, that only one man out of ten in Germany wore
citizens' dress; and of all functionaries he found that the dogs of the
women-and-dog teams alone had no distinctive dress; even the women had
their peasant costume.
There was an industrial fair open at Leipsic which they went out of the
city to see after supper, along with a throng of Leipsickers, whom an
hour's interval of fine weather tempted forth on the trolley; and with
the help of a little corporal, who took a fee for his service with the
eagerness of a civilian, they got wheeled chairs, and renewed their
associations with the great Chicago Fair in seeing the exposition from
them. This was not, March said, quite the same as being drawn by a
woman-and-dog team, which would have been the right means of doing a
German fair; but it was something to have his chair pushed by a slender
young girl, whose stalwart brother applied his strength to the chair of
the lighter traveller; and it was fit that the girl should reckon the
common hire, while the man took the common tip. They made haste to leave
the useful aspects of the fair, and had themselves trundled away to the
Colonial Exhibit, where they vaguely expected something like the
agreeable corruptions of the Midway Plaisance. The idea of her colonial
progress with which Germany is trying to affect the home-keeping
imagination of her people was illustrated by an encampment of savages
from her Central-African possessions. They were getting their supper at
the moment the Marches saw them, and were crouching, half naked, around
the fires under the kettles, and shivering from the cold, but they were
not very characteristic of the imperial expansion, unless perhaps when an
old man in a red blanket suddenly sprang up with a knife in his hand and
began to chase a boy round the camp. The boy was lighter-footed, and
easily outran the sage, who tripped at times on his blanket. None of the
other Central Africans seemed to care for the race, and without waiting
for the event, the American spectators ordered themselves trundled away
to another idle feature of the fair, where they hoped to amuse themselves
with the image of Old Leipsic.
This was so faithfully studied from the past in its narrow streets and
Gothic houses that it was almost as picturesque as the present epoch in
the old streets of Hamburg. A drama had just begun to be represented on
a platform of the public square in front of a fourteenth-century beer-
house, with people talking from the windows round, and revellers in the
costume of the period drinking beer and eating sausages at tables in the
open air. Their eating and drinking were genuine, and in the midst of it
a real rain began, to pour down upon them, without affecting them any
more than if they had been Germans of the nineteenth century. But it